Bill of Rights
This past Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), while visiting my parents in Jonesborough, Tennesse, I came across a letter to the editor in the Johnson City Press concerning the issue of traffic light cameras. It happens that the Johnson City Commission is considering a proposal to install traffic light cameras at various key intersections, primarily to catch violators of traffic signals. See the following articles: Traffic Camera Plan Again Delayed and JC Again Defers Vote on Red Light Cameras.
There was a period in American history where economic turmoil turned Americans over to unprecedented expansions of governmental authority. This was the sort of thing we got in return:
A South Texas grand jury has indicted Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on charges related to the alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County’s federal detention centers.
The indictment criticizes Cheney’s investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and “at least misdemeanor assaults” on detainees by working through the prison companies.
Cheney’s office said it has not received an indictment yet.
As election day is dawning upon us, emotions are running high, particularly among those entrapped in the major political party of their choice, urging those of us who cannot abide either of the major party nominees to pick the “lesser of evils”. The reason given depends on which side of the divide from which it comes. I’ve been hearing, or expect to hear, from my Obama-supporting friends, “You MUST vote for Obama, because we cannot have eight more years of Bush”.
For a while now we have heard the McCain campaign trying to foment some type of backlash against Obama for promising to take public funding and his subsequent rejection after he found out he could raise hundreds of millions of dollars. The tactic was nothing more than the throwing of a dart while blindfolded and it has yielded little to no benefits. This widely held assumption was confirmed by recent gallop polling with a near super majority of participants not even knowing who took or rejected what funding. But the polling did have some great data that delved deeper into the policy issues as opposed to the election issues.
As a writer, I’m always concerned about freedom of speech. Without it, I’m unemployed or out writing a bunch of puff pieces for a celebrity gossip rag.
In a follow up to last week’s post- Gitmo Prosecutor Quits Due to Lack of Fairnesss in System- 5 detainees originally being prosecuted by Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, who resigned recently due to “a crisis of conscience”, will have their current charges against them dropped.
During the Rally For The Republic I was approached at least a half dozen times and asked for an interview (because I sang the anthem). My standard answer was-
“I’m sorry but regulations prohibit me from talking to you.”
Periodically I come across a horrific story about some lowlife who is trying to save his (or her) ass, so he becomes an informant for the police. He feeds information, usually about drugs or drug-related activity, and the police act on this info, with no guarantee of it’s veracity. This informant is not a police officer, nor does he have any training to determine illegal activity. He is not accountable to any authority, and for his “protection” his identity is rarely revealed. With the promise of a more lenient or nonexistent punishment, what motive does the informant have to tell the truth? The police then use this sketchy information to obtain warrants, specifically no-knock warrants, to search and seize what they have been told is illicit material.
A few weeks back, Berwyn Heights mayor, Cheye Calvo, was the subject of a no-knock warrant served on his home after a package addressed to his wife was delivered to his home. During shipping, drug dogs searched for and discovered 32 pounds of marijuana in that package. Police delivered the package dressed as FedEx deliverymen and were instructed to leave the package on the porch by Calvo’s mother-in-law. The Washington Post gives a full account of the ensuing happenings here.