Friday, March 30, 2012

Race Card Color Chart

We’ve been treated to a display of racism which should make your stomachs turn sour this past week.  The same folks seem to find their way into the spot light while at the same time working their magic to turn an already tragic event into a spectacle of epic proportions based on the color of a man’s skin.  I’m referring to Trayvon Martin’s being shot by a lighter colored man of Hispanic lineage whom the media characterized as “white”.

Here in Texas “State Representative Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, set his sights on revising Texas’ “Castle Doctrine,” similar to Florida’s “stand your ground” law linked to the Trayvon Martin slaying.”  This appeared in an article in the Houston Chronicle where it continued:

“Coleman says a 2007 change that eliminated a “duty to retreat before using deadly force” clause in the law makes it too easy for Texans to shoot first.”

Rep. Coleman apparently doesn’t believe individual citizens have the right to defend themselves and should run or hide until properly trained police officers arrive; never mind the chance you might already be maimed or killed.  I like the old truism, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away”.

“South Texas College of Law professor Gerald Treece, who believes Coleman’s proposal doesn’t stand much of a chance said, “You can be a man in Texas and stand up for yourself without retreating,”’

I don’t think the race pimps will be happy either way so maybe a different approach toward media coverage of those killing each other might be in order, a means of determining when a simple killing becomes a hate crime.  There needs to be a standardized color chart, something which the news media can use to determine if race may or may not have been a contributing factor when someone of “color” gets shot dead.

Several years ago our home owners association sent us a notice demanding we paint our house, an item on my “honey do list” which I agreed was needed.  A couple of days later another letter came, a form which I was supposed to fill out to get permission from the home owners association to paint the house.  I had to wonder, did their left hand know what the right hand was doing. 

I called the folks at the home owners association and was informed that the house had to be painted in “earth tones” which they approved; but when asked to supply me with a list of approved “earth tones” they couldn’t come up with one.  Eventually they dragged their feet to the point where I painted the house the same color as was on it already and told them if they didn’t like it to take me to court.  They dropped the issue and never did come up with a list of approved “earth tones”.

This morning I went by the local Home Depot and grabbed a variety of paint sample cards, twelve shades which come close to human pigmentation, close enough for “government work” anyway.  When the State legislature acts on this recommendation, here’s how it might work:

If a person is shot by someone whose skin color is at least 2 shades lighter then it automatically becomes a hate crime based on racial prejudice; however, if the person who gets shot down, blood running from the multiple gunshot wounds, if that person has a lighter skin tone then it's just your every day act of violence which is to be expected.  This should clarify the insanity which prevails in our society.

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, March 26, 2012

Pimping Racial Tension

This past week the public has been inundated with hate mongering in what can only be interpreted as race bating; stories in the news regarding allegations of “murder” in a case where a Black teenager was shot down.  To hear some of the opinions voiced by long time Race Pimps, you heard me, Race Pimps like Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, with the help of a compliant drive by media you’d think the young man was gunned down just because he was Black. 

I can’t fathom why anyone would intentionally stir up such feelings across America, deep feelings which pitted race against race as if all the progress made in my lifetime had been wasted.  I remember a time, walking into stores where they had a drinking fountain for Whites and another for Blacks.  I thought those days were behind us or at least well on their way into history; but the Race Pimps would have to earn a living some other way if everyone started acting civil to one another.

With all that’s been going on this past week I was reminded of something which happened over thirty years ago.  I ran my locksmith business by day and served as a Houston Police officer on night shift.  One of my contract locksmith accounts was the American Automobile Association (AAA).  Just as with the police department they had an assigned area for which I ran emergency locksmith calls.

One evening I’d already changed into my police uniform prior to reporting for duty when AAA called asking if I could squeeze in one more call; the dispatcher knowing I had other commitments.  Upon hearing the nature of the call and looking at the clock I figured if everything went smoothly it wouldn’t make me late for roll call.

I arrived to service the locksmith call wearing my police uniform, something I seldom if ever did.  The call was in a predominantly Black neighborhood and the customer was an elderly Black lady wearing her Sunday best.  When I stepped out into view her eyes fixed upon the uniform as if she’d seen the Devil.  She’d seen far too much over the years and considered a White police officer a possible threat to her well being; I observed all this just from watching her countenance. 

It took only a few minutes to figure out that her ignition switch was broken and would have to be replaced; not a very difficult job and one I’d done many times.   Her vehicle was a Dodge with a wrap around dash that would make it a bit more difficult since I would use a “slam hammer/dent puller” to jerk the ignition switch; didn’t want to take a chance on damaging that portion of the wrap around molding that would be directly in line with the motion of pulling the ignition switch.

In pulling the switch, which came out on the very first “yank”, my pinky finger got pinched by the slam hammer.  The pain was intense; but I was more concerned with letting any blood spill onto the lady’s carpet as I cupped my hands.  I stepped from the vehicle and let the blood splash to the ground. 

The look on the woman’s face haunts me to this very day.  All her fears about White people, much less White police officers surfaced.  In her mind she knew she was either going to jail or the hospital; after all, a White police officer had injured himself while working on her car.   She didn’t say a word for several minutes as I cleaned up my busted pinky finger; checking to see if it still worked and putting a band aid around it.

I did my best to explain there was no extra charge for the blood, a weak and useless attempt at humor.  AAA was picking up the tab so there was no need for an exchange of money.  I felt bad for the whole human race for the inability to get past her lifetime of seeing racial prejudice.  Now, when she had someone in front of her, a White police officer who held no animosity towards her or her race, the opportunity to move forward had been thwarted by far too many bad experiences.

If only we could learn how to see each other as brothers and sisters, children of our Father in Heaven; then we might learn how to properly serve one another. This is the Dream which Martin Luther King wanted to see fulfilled. Past being sad for the events which have brought me to write this article; I’m angry, angry that Race Pimps are still able to generate so much hatred so easily.  Looks like we have a long way to go Brother King before your Dream is realized.

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”.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Intellectual Property Rights

There’s an article on Fox News website, Senators call for federal probe over employers asking for Facebook passwords, as if they didn’t already know the answer.  This is nothing more than show boating; and besides, look who they are asking,

“Two U.S. senators are asking Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate whether employers asking for Facebook passwords during job interviews are violating federal law, their offices announced Sunday.”


“Specifically, the senators want to know if this practice violates the Stored Communications Act or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Those two acts, respectively, prohibit intentional access to electronic information without authorization and intentional access to a computer without authorization to obtain information.”

If an employer asks you for the combination to your safe with the belief that you may or may not have stored information which they think they deserve to have as a condition of employment, is that any different than asking for an electronic password which would unlock entry to an internet file?

Why bother asking Eric Holder to investigate anything of importance?  Holder, who has refused to do his job, Holder who turned a blind eye to Black Panthers intimidating voters at the polls and developed a massive brain cramp when asked about gun walking in Fast & Furious.  Should anyone expect a reasonable answer regarding the legality of something as simple as individual property rights? 

“I think it’s going to take some years for courts to decide whether Americans in the digital age have the same privacy rights” as previous generations, American Civil Liberties Union attorney Catherine Crump said in a previous interview with the AP.”

A good portion of modern law is based upon the writings of Bastiat who wrote:

“Each of us has a natural right – from God – to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but and extension of our faculties?”  (The Law pg 6)

Just in case you missed it, “For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but and extension of our faculties?”  Your thoughts, stored on a sheet of paper or digitally in a virtual file, are property and are protected by natural laws which existed before governments were formed as Bastiat recorded on the same page:

“Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”

Here’s a solution which would avoid lengthy court battles and require very little effort; have employers request “friendship” status of any employee with a Facebook or Twitter account.  The information employers desire would then be available to them, as it would anyone else consider friendly to that individual.  I suspect most folks wouldn’t mind having their company listed as a friend; or not.

Individual property rights have been under attack from many directions.  Let’s remind lawmakers of a line in our Declaration of Independence (tell Nancy Pelosi it’s not in the Affordable Care Act or as it has become known, “Obamacare”)

“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…”

The pursuit of Happiness refers to property; the accumulation of tangible property as well as intellectual property.  (Here’s an aside for Nancy Pelosi; taking money from those who have earned it and handing it to those who have not is called theft, a violation of individual property rights.  Obamacare requires the use of wealth redistribution; government acting to force some individuals to relinquish, under threat of force, their property to pay for medical costs for those who chose not to pay themselves.)  Thomas Jefferson admonished anyone who might trample upon an individual’s right to property:

“The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.”

With all due respect to Democrat Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, have you ever read any of our nations founding documents?  From what can be gathered, the answer is no.  Why are you two sitting in honored seats representing a freedom loving people?  Time for you both to step down and let someone else represent the people.

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”.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

TSA Sells 4th Amendment Protection

You read that right, TSA is now selling individuals their unalienable right that protects them from unreasonable and unwarranted searches.  It will only cost $100 for the new government entitlement that permits frequent flyers to avoid having to wait in long lines, take off their shoes, expose their toiletries in a clear plastic sack or even turn on their computer at the airport.  This was explained in an article which appeared in the Wall Street Journal last week; but gave the impression that folks thought this was a good thing.

“The Transportation Security Administration is rolling out expedited screening at big airports called “Precheck.” It has special lanes for background-checked travelers, who can keep their shoes, belt and jacket on, leave laptops and liquids in carry-on bags and walk through a metal detector rather than a full-body scan. The process, now at two airlines and nine airports, is much like how screenings worked before the Sept. 11 attacks.

To qualify, frequent fliers must meet undisclosed TSA criteria and get invited in by the airlines. There is also a backdoor in. Approved travelers who are in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's “Global Entry” program can transfer into Precheck using their Global Entry number.”

Precheck, well isn’t that special… (doing my best Church Lady voice from the old Saturday Night Live show).  If you’ve passed the government’s rigid interview, which as the article states are “undisclosed”, then you can pay the government a hundred dollars to restore your unalienable God given right previously covered under the Fourth 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.” 

Do you see what is going on?  We as a people have lowered our expectations and accepted the fact that our government no longer is restrained from violating our rights.  The purpose for the Fourth Amendment was to acknowledge that all men have the right to be secure in their person…to be free from unreasonable searches; not just those who’ve passed some government established rule. Rather than fight them to the ground and force them to follow the Constitution and Bill of Rights we cower and suffer their abuses; even pay them to speed the process of enslavement and think we are the better for it.

“…let us first consider the origin of those freedoms we have come to know are human rights. There are only two possible sources. Rights are either God-given as part of the Divine Plan, or they are granted by government as part of the political plan. Reason, necessity, tradition and religious convictions all lead me to accept the divine origin of these rights. If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government.”   Ezra Taft Benson from his talk, The Proper Role of Government

Where are Thomas Jefferson, Ezra Taft Benson and Fredrick Bastiat when we need them in our day?  You can find them; their voices springing forth from folks like Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh and other prominent conservatives who unrelentingly point out the abuse of powers by our government and bring them into focus through their daily on air messages and through their writings.  

Modern day “pamphleteers” have a stake in the awakening of public opinion; but now a days they’re called “bloggers”.   If you consider how many people are influenced by the written word as found on the Internet through social media such as Facebook or Twitter entries which contain significant political issues; are they not modern day pamphleteers?  So, stick a feather in my cap and call it macaroni!

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”.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Firearms Quasi Real Property?

In an article written by Bruce McQuain, Fifth U.S. Circuit Rules Guns Are Not “Property-Like”, conservative values which have been a part of America’s founding principles have been eroded a bit more.  Certain guns are not considered property nor do they fall into 2nd Amendment protection; at least that’s the reason police didn’t have to return a weapon (to its rightful owner) seized during an arrest in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, after charges had been dropped.

“The war against private property proceeds apace with the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals deciding that while you have a right to keep and bear arms, that right doesn’t extent to you keeping or bearing a particular arm.”

Exactly what dictionary did the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals use?  Maybe their rulings are based on scientific studies which prove the molecular structure of certain guns are unstable, changing from moment to moment; kind of like depending on the rule of law to be consistent from one day to the next. 

Even if that were so, it wouldn’t “matter”; ideas, which are not tangible, are considered property on an equal footing as any other item which an individual can claim ownership to.  The courts are not permitted to redefine property rights to suit their desire to disarm society as a whole or disarm even one individual.

“Each of us has a natural right – from God – to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but and extension of our faculties?”  Bastiat (The Law, p.6)

The fabric of America began with the understanding that certain foundational concepts were eternal.  John Adams mentioned in his writings, A Defense of the Constitutions of the United States:

“The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.”

Thomas Jefferson asked:

“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?” (Works 8:404; P.P.N.S., p.141)

With only these references a reasoned person might conclude our judicial system has abandoned the foundations of a civilized society in which individual liberties are held sacred in favor of a police state where the laws of God are supplanted by arbitrary, unpredictable and unreliable edicts.  Our nation’s sure foundation, a foundation based on the rule of law is on slippery footing if the meaning of long established words like “property” no longer can be depended upon.  If even one piece of property belonging to an individual can be taken away at the whim of government then nothing is safe or sacred.

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”.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Trick of the Trade for GM Tele/Tilt Column

This morning started out with an antique; got to make replacement keys for a 1989 Cadillac that had a telescoping/tilt steering column.  The car was in reasonably good shape considering its age; still had the original ignition switch while the glove box lock also matched the door and trunk lock.  These vehicles use a variation of the standard “Saginaw” column and require additional skills and tools; not recommended for beginners or “shade tree” mechanics.

Something worth knowing about this particular steering column is the way the horn makes contact via a rather clumsy looking spring assembly on the back of the steering wheel.  The base of the assembly which holds the steering wheel lock plate is covered by a plastic insulator which must be removed.  Unfortunately this piece of plastic becomes brittle with age and often breaks into pieces upon removal.  Most times it will come out in two or three large chunks.  Don’t despair, keep all the broken pieces; they can be salvaged.

“This insulator was used on vehicles with telescopic steering column from 1976 through 1990. The plastic star shaped horn insulator protects the spring contact from touching anything metal in the column, allowing the horn contact in the steering wheel to ground properly.”

The ideal solution would be to have a brand new spare horn insulator and replace the old one; the part sells for about $ 30.00 depending on availability.   Availability, now that’s the kicker; try to find one locally and listen to the parts counter representative’s standard line, “We show to be out of stock on that item; but can have one in a couple of days”.  

Here’s an old trick that works most of the time and saves you $30.00.  As you start to tear down the steering column, start chewing a piece of gum.  You’ll want to chew until the flavor has lost its appeal which means most of the sugar has been removed.  At that point the gum becomes very sticky, enough that it will adhere to the broken plastic pieces of the horn insulator.  

While putting the steering column back together, having already fit the key to the ignition switch, secured the turn signal assembly, telescoping column shaft, locking plate and managed to return all these parts to their working position and locked them into place with the “U” clip; carefully place the horn insulator pieces around the steering column post as if it were one piece.  Now take the chewing gum and mash it around so that it holds the broken pieces together. 

When you place the steering wheel back onto the shaft, carefully guide the horn activation spring into position.  The base of the spring will hold all the pieces of the horn insulator together and the horn will function as it was intended.  This might not be “kosher” or by the book; however, it does work and will continue to work for many years.   When you explain to the customer that he/she won’t have to wait a couple of days for the part, which you will mark up to cover shipping and handling; also mention how your work is guaranteed for ten thousand miles or ten minutes, which ever comes first.   Make sure you wink and grin at the same time or this joke falls flat. 

In all seriousness, I’ve had to perform this trick many times over the years and have never had to go back and replace a chewing gum repaired horn insulator.  You can try Super Glue; but it doesn’t work as good as chewing gum, go figure.

This will also appear as a feature article on Fiercely Independent Locksmiths of America’s website.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Buffalo, Man Lifts and the Evil Eye

The Travel Channel presented an historic glimpse of Buffalo, New York; it being a major port on the Great Lakes supplying a means of getting grain from the Midwest via the Erie Canal.  Ten story grain elevators stood like giants frozen in time longing for a chance to prove their worth now that grain finds its way to the Atlantic via the St. Lawrence.

Manual labor was used to off load all that grain, that is until Joseph Dart figured out how to convert a conveyor belt into a grain carousel, adding large scooping bins to dig into mountains of grain and carry it up to the top where it could be redirected into storage bins.  Progress in off loading grain turned a three day job into a matter of hours as ships were emptied of their cargo in a much more efficient manner.

Inside the grain elevators there was a similar conveyor contraption, this one for hauling workers up and down the ten storied buildings quickly; the man lift.  Instead of attaching large scooping bins to the conveyor belt a small platform about the size of a milk crate was bolted, just large enough for a pair of shoes to fit.  Holes were cut in each floor to accommodate the vertical conveyor and small hand grabs also bolted to the belt.  The idea was for worker to time the continuously moving belt, step onto the platform and ride until you’d reached which ever floor you wanted, time the arrival and step off; all without breaking your neck.

I mention this piece of history because, as a police officer working an extra employment opportunity at a large professional office building in downtown Houston, they had a multi-level parking garage with a continuous feed belt operated man lift for parking attendants.  The apparatus, while fairly simple in design, was very efficient, a little daunting to use at first; but very efficient. 

I figured if parking attendants could do it, why not a cop?  Once the timing was figured out, watching the handle appear followed by the arrival of the platform, it wasn’t much different than stepping onto an escalator like you’d use at the department store; well maybe just a tad different as I noticed how small the narrowness of the hole through which you had to pass between floors.

Working as a police officer at the parking garage lasted for an extended period.  I got to know many of the parking attendants, at least on a casual basis.  I could tell who would always be working minimum wage jobs and who would eventually climb the ladder to more rewarding careers (no pun intended; man lift/ladder, never mind).

There was a quiet young fellow who stayed to himself and didn’t get along with almost anyone; his name was Tyrone.  For some reason Tyrone felt more comfortable talking to a young traffic cop than to his fellow parking attendants.  There was something unsettling about Tyrone, like a time bomb quietly ticking as his eyes would dart about as if startled by a shadow unexpectedly coming too close for comfort.

One afternoon, after I’d left for the day, Tyrone used the man lift and retrieved a pistol from his car.  He traveled back down the lift, one hand holding the grip while the other had his pistol.  Upon reaching the entrance level and stepping off all in one motion, he emptied the pistol into one of his fellow workers; killed him dead, as they say around here.  Tyrone placed the pistol on the ground and calmly waited for the police while the body was hauled away to the morgue. 

I learned about this the following day from the officer who made the arrest.  Tyrone explained that he’d waited until I left, out of respect; didn’t want to upset me by shooting the other attendant in my presence.  How’s that for friendship?  When asked why he shot the other guy, Tyrone said it had something to do with being given “the evil eye”.   The deceased apparently looked at Tyrone the wrong way, made him feel bad or at least, worse than usual.   Like I said, Tyrone was a ticking time bomb; hope they gave him a pleasant room at the State hospital; prison would have been too dangerous for other prisoners.

The original Dirty Harry movie was on the other day.  Near the end, where Harry chased the bad buy through the gravel yard, jumped on the conveyor belt and exchanged gun fire, riding along being raised to each successive level, looking into the dust and shadows for a target; I thought of Tyrone riding down the man lift and finding his target; just like stepping off an escalator. 

What’s the lesson in all this?  Well for one thing, make sure you tip the parking attendant and thank him for providing excellent service.  The next time you open a box of cereal you might consider the effort that went into hauling the grain, getting it off loaded via a fancy grain elevator with conveyor systems.  Buffalo’s brightest days may have come and gone; but if not for the man lift Tyrone would still be out there parking cars.

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, March 12, 2012

Unwarranted Searches of Vehicles

March 12, 2012

Hank Glamann
Public Information Officer
Galveston-Port Bolivar Ferry System
Texas Department of Transportation

Topic: Unwarranted Searches of Vehicles
                 A follow up to Goons and the 4th Amendment

Mr. Glanmann;

This letter will be posted on T F Stern’s Rantings and The Moral Liberal.  Regardless of our ongoing disagreement as pertain to random searches of vehicles I wanted to thank you for your phone call and associated email regarding how the Texas Department of Transportation and Bolivar Ferry Operations have addressed the Coast Guard’s and Department of Homeland Security’s mandated random search measures. 

“33 CFR Chapter 1 (7-1-10 Edition)
Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security

CFR104.265 Security measures for access control
(a) General: The vessel owner or operator must ensure the implementation of security measures to:
(1) Deter the unauthorized introduction of dangerous substances and devices, including any device intended to damage or destroy persons, vessels, facilities, or ports;
(2) Secure dangerous substances and devices that are authorized by the owner or operator to be on board;
(3) Control access to the vessel.

As I explained, operations such as ours that are subject to these regulations formulate a plan in response, this plan is reviewed and approved by the Coast Guard, and upon such approval it becomes law. As I also mentioned, the plan under which we operate is intended to be the least intrusive possible within the limitations imposed by the regulations.”

I’m aware of your desire to protect the good people who use the Bolivar Ferry and would agree with your approach if searches were carried out in a manner which showed respect for an individual citizen’s constitutional right to be free from unwarranted searches.  The fact remains, as you stated in your correspondence, you formulated the procedures at the local level and sent the details of how to carry out the procedures on to the Coast Guard for approval knowing the content of such a plan would become the law of the land.   The framework for the law was approved with an understanding that the particulars, that is, the procedures for implementation would be filled in later.  The term for such transfer of power actually has a name, the Intelligible Principle .

The Intelligible Principle has been applied in far too many pieces of legislation and has been abused in just about every instance since this usurpation of power was approved by the Supreme Court as I wrote in regard to licensing locksmiths in the State of Texas.

“According to a Supreme Court ruling made by Chief Justice John Marshall many years ago such shifting of authority is constitutional under certain guidelines which have become blurred to the point of irrelevance.”

Marshall explained: If Congress delegates quasi-legislative powers to another body, it must provide a “general provision” by which “those who act” can “fill up the details.” In other words, Congress cannot give an outside agency a free hand to make law, but it can authorize the agency to flesh out the particulars of a law Congress has already shaped.”


“Not surprisingly, with such open-ended authority, the power and discretion of agencies expanded rapidly. In recent years, the Court has refused to limit agency power whenever the statute is silent or ambiguous on delegation and the agency’s regulations are based on a “permissible” interpretation of the statute. In practice, the vast majority of regulations are now deemed permissible.”

“This does not erase the issue of government having usurped authority in the Utopian desire to protect the general citizenry at the expense of individual constitutional rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is not the purpose of government to sacrifice individual God given rights in the name of public safety; to do so turns individual citizens into subjects of the state.”

The public has entrusted elected representatives with upholding basic individual rights and we hold them, along with those who are employed as officers charged with enforcement of the law, responsible for destruction of principles and foundations of our constitutional republic; either through neglect of duty or by intent to transform our nation into a totalitarian socialist/communist society.  That having been expressed, the closing line in my original letter to the Texas Department of Transportation remains.  You cannot excuse yourselves by saying, “I was only doing my job” when you violate any citizen’s unalienable rights as protected by the Constitution.

“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”  Benjamin Franklin


T.F. Stern

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”.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Goons and the Fourth Amendment

My son William and his sweetheart Abbey were married last night on the same beach he proposed to her a year ago.  Bolivar peninsula isn’t the easiest destination, requiring a very long road trip or, as an alternative, a short ferry ride across the ship channel.  It was a lovely ceremony in spite of the mosquitoes which showed up as uninvited guests.

After the wedding we got into our vehicles for the trip back to Galveston where the reception was to be held.  Some of the wedding party made it onto the ferry which was already loading while the rest of us got to wait in line for the next boat.  The security detail randomly selected vehicles and pulled them out of line to be searched just like they do at the airports.   Mind you, this is a public road with a ferry; not really any different than crossing a body of water over a bridge so it bothered my sense of right and wrong to watch Gestapo tactics being employed. 

Wouldn’t you know these goons singled out two vehicles from the wedding party, one of them had my son and his bride wearing her beautiful wedding gown.   My new daughter in law exclaimed, “You’ve got to be kidding!”  They were not, as she stood on the pavement, wedding dress gathered in her arms to keep it from getting oil on it.  They searched the entire car; engine compartment, trunk and the interior as if it were a piece of luggage at the airport looking for what…explosives, drugs or nail clippers; you tell me.

I remained in my car, grumbling loudly as the veins in my neck began to swell; but not so loudly as to make a scene.  The last thing I wanted was to wreck the night for these kids on their honeymoon.   I knew I could do more with a keyboard the next day; and besides, the goons wouldn’t have comprehended the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, they were simply “doing their jobs”.

The Fourth Amendment as contained in the Bill of Rights:

“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.”

Historically, the Fourth Amendment was a direct result of colonial days and British “General Warrants”, issued by the King which ignored anyone’s reasonable expectation of privacy.  In Virginia a law was drafted to protect individuals from this infringement on liberty.

“That general warrants, whereby any officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, or whose offense is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive and ought not to be granted.”

Searches carried out randomly are grievous and oppressive as they support the idea that everyone is guilty until proven otherwise.  Searches conducted without cause by a government official mean the search was conducted capriciously and had no merit other than curiosity. 

The Supreme Court has issued several rulings or exceptions, as found on the Wikipedia pages, that apply to the Fourth Amendment which tend to dilute its original intended purpose.  That having been said,

“Where society’s need is great and no other effective means of meeting the need is available, and intrusion on people’s privacy is minimal, checkpoints toward that end may briefly detain motorists.” (Michigan v. Sitz, 1990)

I’m not a legal scholar; but that comes off as vague to the point of being useless if we’re trying to justify violating the Fourth Amendment protections afforded individuals, at least from the founding father’s standpoint.  “Society’s need”, it would appear the Supreme Court might have forgotten which country they were in.   Society’s needs NEVER justify denying a God given individual right.  If this concept isn’t clear by now then none of the other protections offered by the Bill of Rights and Constitution mean anything either.

“In 1979, (Delaware v. Prouse) the Supreme Court stated that, absent articulable and reasonable suspicion that a motorist is unlicensed or that an automobile is not registered, or that either the vehicle or an occupant is otherwise subject to seizure for violation of law, stopping an automobile and detaining the driver in order to check his driver’s license and the registration of the automobile are unreasonable.”

That ferry check point is starting to look a bit shaky.  If these goons where searching for contraband of any kind then the check point was clearly a violation of law unless they had a signed search warrant based on probable cause; yea, right!  I forgot to notice the dates; we are in retrograde mode.  

As John Locke explained many years ago: 

“The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings, capable of laws, where there is no law there is no freedom. For liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others, which cannot be where there is no law; and is not, as we are told, ‘a liberty for every man to do what he lists.’ For who could be free, when every other man’s humour might domineer over him? But a liberty to dispose and order freely as he lists his person, actions, possessions, and his whole property within the allowance of those laws under which he is, and therein not to be subject to the arbitrary will of another, but freely follow his own.”

If that antique wording went over your head, it means that individuals have certain inalienable rights which cannot be usurped regardless of how many of his/her neighbors gather to abolish or reduce those inalienable rights.  People can give to their government ONLY that which they themselves have individually. 

Our Declaration of Independence pointed to this idea as we separated from the rule of Great Britain and its King. 

“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,..”

Ezra Taft Benson in his talk, The Proper Role of Government , quoted the Alabama state constitution. 

“That the sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression.”

This idea has been around since before governments were instituted by men and, as far as can be determined, can be found in every state’s constitution; worded in various and yet similarly structured manner. 

The moment we as a people permit our government representatives, be they elected or appointed, to violate individual’s God given rights as protected by our Constitution and Bill of Rights, at that moment we have thrown hundreds of years of blood, sweat and tears in the trash.  We will have taken these precious documents and publicly abandoned the principles upon which they were formed and recorded. 

Regarding public servants working at airports, ferry landings or setting up random check points along our roadways; these security measures were put in place to make everyone feel “safer”; but are in fact earmarks of a police state having been installed in direct conflict with everything our nation stands for.   You cannot excuse yourselves by saying, “I was only doing my job”.

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”.