As I See It

  

The United States is becoming infested with control freaks and weak, jelly-backed, let the other guy do it, citizens.

 An Editorial by Ralph F. Mariano 11/20/03

In the early days, pioneers and frontiersmen braved the unknown to build this country.  Many died doing so.  It took courage, determination and a desire to better one’s self in life. Throughout the last three centuries, many leaders in this country were known for their honesty, courage and tenacity. What’s happened to today’s leaders?  Do we really have any?  Are they all either bought and paid for or, simply egomaniacal, power hungry, control freaks?

Today, the average citizen does not trust government from the local yahoo to the federal level.  Why?  The answer may, at first, seem complicated but in reality, it is simple… the politicians of today are for the most part, greedy avaricious animals out to grab any and every morsel they can score.

From awarding contracts to “buddies” to proposing “improvements” to our society, social structure and of course, our daily lives.  What are the real motives?  Look behind the veneer curtains they put up and seek the true reasons they make such proposals.  In many cases you’ll find the proposals they offer are done so to “get the ball rolling”.  In other words, they have alternative motives.  How many politicians are “bought and paid for” before they are elected?  Every one of them and that’s the truth. Take a look at the campaign contributions list for each and then observe the laws, ordinances and projects being proposed and/or supported by these “elected” officials and who these actions directly or indirectly benefit.

Take this for an example….. Federal guidelines made the suggestion that a deterrent be installed in vehicles that can stop thieves, terrorists and rescue people in disabled vehicles.  That’s wonderful and can be considered a bonus to a vehicle owner.  Sure, but if you look deeper, you’ll find that the devices being made (according to guidelines) are capable of two-way communications basically not controlled by the vehicle owner/operator, but remotely controlled.  Recently, in a ruling by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, it was stated that the FBI could not use the “OnStar” system or similar systems for the purpose of listening to the conversations of a vehicle’s occupants.

Considering the device was made to save lives and perhaps property, why would the function of being able to turn on a microphone (actually a Cellphone for the car) inside the vehicle from a remote location be needed if the original intention was not to eavesdrop on the occupants of said vehicle?  Think about it folks, the control freaks are reaching deeper and deeper into our daily lives.  This isn’t law and order, its law and disorder.  Imagine what one of the early frontiersman would’ve done to any politician wanting to control their every move?  I say a musket ball between the eyes would be the result.

Today’s citizens seemingly lack the fortitude and courage to stand up to whacky politicians and let them know exactly how they feel about the directions government is taking.  Today, the average politician seems to be more concerned with protecting him or herself from the angry voters whom they have disillusioned with campaign promises that are never kept or by their abominable actions and activities once they’re in office.

Recently, I observed a local politician propose cameras on street corners to thwart “red light runners” .. nice idea but offers serious consequences.  In most municipalities that have installed the video cameras, severe abuses have resulted, forcing traffic courts to reverse citations en masse.  Washington, DC’s experiences come to mind.  After all, the electronic eyes and ears are still controlled by government representatives.  I needn’t tell you that high percentages are either incompetent or dishonest.   The taxpayers and voting citizens would be at the mercy of these clowns.  In fact, they are!

Now, after a few months, the same cluck that proposed the traffic cams is busy proposing more electronic monitoring systems for installation in our city.  I highly recommend that if any surveillance system of any type is to be installed in any City, ordinances should be written prior to their implementation and use strictly limiting the application and use of such devices.  Further, the proposal maker should be sternly warned that if… any entity, company or individual, directly or indirectly, involved in the manufacture, sales and/or installation of said devices is involved with the politician in any way other than for professional and informational purposes will run the risk of removal from office and criminal prosecution .  Far too many times we find the politician enjoying “perks” of many descriptions as a result of making such proposals.  Simply put, the politician had better not be getting kickbacks of any kind.

In today’s society, the vast majority of citizens have become so complacent when it comes to government because they feel they cannot do a thing about what’s going on.  Our governments, from city councils on up are pleased with that since they are more removed from public scrutiny.  It’s kind of like offering tacit approval to these politicians to go off on “junkets”, “fact-finding” missions and all sorts of tax payer paid activities that are rarely audited or scrutinized by the taxpayers.  These political grifters should be forced to use the Internet for their research and stay right at their desks.  Not taking expensive trips, staying in lavish hotels and eating in fancy restaurants while their constituents back home are eating macaroni and cheese.

The Federal levels are worse… we have an Attorney General who would love to abolish the Bill of Rights and re-write the US Constitution from start to finish.  I’d expect nothing less than the removal of all protections afforded the US citizens from inept, malicious and false prosecution.  The egregious manner in which certain of our law enforcement officials carry on their daily business is, in plain language, frightening.  NYC is a fine example… NYC, going broke, we find the City’s cops writing tickets for the most absurd violations that haven’t been heard in court in decades.  Why?  Perhaps, because the city needs the funds?  Or, because the cops and all others who have the authority to write summonses are trying to teach the new Mayor a lesson at the expense of the taxpayers?  Who knows, but the practice is definitely abusive in every way imaginable.

A good example of Law Enforcement going awry is the Kobe Bryant case in Colorado.  Are we today, to believe that Kobe Bryant did indeed pursue and force his amorous desires upon that female hotel clerk or should we consider her promiscuous behavior that is a matter of record? Didn’t she, in the early morning hours (1am) voluntarily go to his room? Why? For an autograph or a conquest?  Did she fully intend to entrap Kobe hoping for a big score?  Is she a genuine victim or is Kobe Bryant the true victim.  Is Bryant the true victim of the local law enforcement, prosecutor and of the young woman’s?  The prosecutor in Colorado seems inclined to dash for the bright lights and fame as opposed to offering true Justice to all parties concerned. I have grave doubts as to the validity of this matter.

Another good example is in today’s news.  It is the matter involving Michael Jackson.  Whether or not he’s done what he is accused of is none of my business but… there’s always a but.. take a look at history for a moment. Jackson was acquitted ten years ago of similar charges.  The prosecutor at that time is the very same prosecutor today.  The Sheriff at this time was the same one then.  Once Jackson was acquitted, the Prosecutor, as a result, lobbied for Law changes to force youths to testify and re-live any adverse experiences (if any) they may have encountered at the hands of an accused adult.  Looks good on the surface however, consider this; the prosecutor in question walked away ten years ago with egg on his face and a major celebrity case defeat in court.  Now, we see a similar case pop up and similar charges being filed against the same person by the same prosecutor!.  Actually, I feel both the Sheriff and the prosecutor must be removed, voluntarily or forcefully, from any involvement in Jackson’s new case if any indication of fairness is to be perceived.  Personally, I feel the prosecutor has seethed over his defeat for ten years waiting for his opportunity to pounce on Jackson again by utilizing the new laws he played a major role in having written.  This is justice?  Or, is it a plain and simple case of ego and vendetta? 

A further example is that of the ex-Jaguar, T.J. Slaughter (NFL player).  Picture this; He’s riding home at night from the airport with his girlfriend whom he had just picked up there.  They’re on the expressway zipping right along when a car pulls alongside and a coupla yahoos start shouting at TJ.  What would you do or think?  They’re busy asking for an autograph?  Want to compliment you on your lovely girlfriend?  Or, are they up to no good.  TJ reaches for his handgun and waves them off by showing it.  I would have done the same thing or something similar.  TJ is arrested shortly thereafter because the two clowns called the Sheriff’s office and complained about the gun or, so the story goes.  Does this sound right to you?  It doesn’t to me.  In fact, the first thing that ran through my mind was “setup”. Bust TJ and get shed of him.  The Jaguars dropped him from the roster as result of this incident and amazingly, a week or so later…. The charges against TJ were dropped.  That entire matter stinks!  TJ was punished before the fact and was exonerated after the fact. 

We need more professionalism in our law enforcement.  Remember, it can happen to you, your children and friends.  If the abuses of authority are allowed to continue it becomes easier and easier to perpetrate them with each successful attempt. From the Cop on the beat to the Judge on the bench, we need to be assured they are capable of handling their responsibilities in a fair and appropriate manner. 

The matters I’ve cited give me great cause for concern as to the validity of the charges, the practicality of the “rush to judgment” and most of all the lack of a thorough preliminary investigation and obvious lack of hard evidence and common sense.  If these matters, which are or were receiving heavy media coverage, proceed on mostly circumstantial evidence as opposed to hard evidence, then my friends, we all are at the mercy of the courts.  Even while we are presumed innocent until proven guilty, the severe damage to reputation, wealth and future are devastating. An arrest record alone is a stigmatism to be carried for life.

I trust I’ve given you reason to think and look deeper into the course of current events for if they persist and become “done deals” the precedents are set and we all face the possibility of being set-up for a ride in the judicial machine.  We are in fact, at the threshold of relinquishing our basic rights and freedoms.  Unfortunately, most folks are oblivious to the severity of its penetration into our families, lives and future.

Truly, the time has come for each and everyone to stand up and be counted.  Get out and vote, write or call your local and federal representatives and let them hear your concerns.  If enough of us do the right thing and demand that those who are supposed to represent us do so instead of resenting us then possibly, we can look to a brighter, less corrupted future.  Elected officials must be honest and fair if this country is to not simply survive but prosper and grow.  One point many seem to forget; elected officials appoint most of the judges and police chiefs.  If we do not protect our future by guarding our rights today there will be no future to speak of.