Saturday, October 24, 2015

Why such an increase in lawlessness?

While certain crimes appear to be fewer in number, general lawlessness seems on the increase, as does a disrespect for the concept of Law.  Why?

Some argue that increased enforcement of laws has also come with lawless behavior on the part of those enforcing laws.  Is that true...or is that a nurtured perception made possible by the ubiquitous nature of phone cameras and the social networks that make no effort to separate truth from fiction?  Whatever the truth, and I would suggest the impact is relatively small, that does not really help to answer the question as to basic cause.

There is a theory that of the total population in America, there are about 20% that will always try to do the right and just thing, regardless of the law, its enforcement or the attitude of those around them.  That theory also puts forward the likelihood that about 15% of the people in the country are true psychopaths, who ignore the law and attitudes about them with the exception of the care they take to do exactly what they want to, when they want to.  Laws have no effect on them, and they regard the attitude of others as inconsequential.  That leaves 65% of the population.  That 65% is arguably highly influenced by the attitude of those around them and the degree of enforcement that various laws receive; if a law is ignored by the authorities, they will ignore it and break it with impunity and no sense of guilt...if a law is enforced and stringent punishments applied in a timely manner, they will forego breaking that law, even if they would wish to.  While I can not verify the percentages suggested, I have no doubt that the three categories exist and that the vast majority of the populace is affected by laws and their enforcement.

So...back to the question.

It is inarguable that most of the laws in America are NOT enforced effectively; many are archaic and remain on the books, others are spottily enforced to the point where people are fined when caught but the vast majority will break those laws to some degree because of the small odds of being caught.  But these factors have always been around and can be considered a constant.

So, let us turn to the matter of "selective" enforcement of laws...and almost as importantly, the selective "unenforcement" of laws.  Laws were intended to reflect "right" behavior.  Over time the concept or "right" and "wrong" have, for better or worse, gone by the wayside and now the law reflects "legal" and "illegal" behavior.  Often this allows what is clearly wrong to be allowed as legal.  This muddies the waters of any logical mind as they view the power and dictates of a formal society that has a governmental presence to enforce this "Legal" point of view.  Civil Rights is a case in point where for years "wrong" was "legal."  People broke the "law" to point this out.  What was remarkable in the last century, however, was that those who broke those laws expected and were willing to suffer the legal punishment in order to bring attention to the "wrongness" of those laws.  They did not expect to go unpunished; they respected the need of laws to be enforced if they were to have any validity at all...that to not be punished would take away the efficacy of ALL laws.

That is no longer true today.  The Judicial System, including both judges and prosecutors, frees without penalty the vast majority of those arrested by police officers with little regard for the fact of the misdeed in favor of the technicalities that allow them to release most accused.  In truth, such actions have fostered a belief in the majority of our citizens that most laws don't matter and there is little reason to be concerned for, or expect the meaningful enforcement of, the law generally.

Then we have the example set by the Federal Government of the United States of America;  The President ignores laws on the books and directs law enforcement personnel to disregard them; the Congress passes RICO statutes but exempts themselves from the application of them; the Justice Department ignores perjury in sworn statements to Congress on the basis of political alignment, and then fails to elicit facts of disputes before condemning those front line Police Officers around the country tasked to be the first line of defense against lawlessness and crime.   Government employees routinely break the law and are, save for the very occasional sacrificial lamb, never punished in any way, while citizens are routinely charged, have their money and property taken without due process and otherwise abused.  Arguably the Federal Government made Organized Crime illegal because it didn't want the competition.  And now, many would argue that they now are willing to license such activities as long as they get their share.

So why is there any wonder at all as to why lawlessness is on the increase.  There is little, if any, honor of the concept of "what is RIGHT" in Washington.  Instead, it is whether something is legal or...if illegal...proof can be eliminated.  Our "Leaders" set the example and then they complain that we do as they do instead of as the "say".

Our police departments know how to fix this...but they are ignored.  It is the "broken window" approach: take notice and action against the smallest infraction and it will lessen the tendency of more egregious law breaking to take place.  Protect the civil nature of a neighborhood and lawbreakers find it harder to have a disparate impact.  Bring to trial those who are accused quickly so that both the miscreant and the public understand the relationship between the misdeed and the punishment (does anyone other than a victim's family really connect a killer being put to death with the horror of their crime 10 or 15 years ago?).

A true Leader...a Representative Government...trusts the system to discover and prosecute fairly those who break the laws.  They forego pre-judging any matter, as that is for a jury of the citizenry, not an elected or appointed official, to rule.  And even as the quality and training of our Law Enforcement Personnel is scrutinized and their performance analyzed, there is respect and a demand made by all for the well-being and honoring of those who put their safety at risk to protect the rest of us.

ALL lives, including the quality of those lives, matter.  Those who call for the killing of members of the Police Force are inciting lawlessness.  Truly, if they were to be successful and we return to mob rule, it is they who would fall as the first victims of majority mob rule.  Be careful what you wish for.

A cohesive argument can be made that the true cause of the current state of disrespect and disregard for the law lies with the actions and words of the United States Federal Government...and that they should be held accountable.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Has America stopped respecting and being governed by the Constitution?

My generation revered the Constitution.  Beginning in grade school...and right through High School...all kinds of History classes were linked and compared to the Constitution, comparing and contrasting it's content against other governments in other times.  The Founding Fathers were also shown great respect for the thought and considerations they embodied in the Constitution, and than the Bill of Rights...and even the declarations and wording of the Declaration of Independence.

Not so anymore.

My grandchildren to to highly ranked schools, several now in Middle school, one in High School, one in College.  They had almost zero teaching centering on the Constitution.  Any time spent on the Founding Fathers seemed designed to find fault and to "bring them down" to a level that was disrespectful of their person's and, by extension, their work product.  Their teaching seems designed, through criticism as well as neglect, to create disrespect for the "idea" of America.

Today technology seems to rule.  Technology is a wonderful tool, although I often think that the young people of today have become too dependent on it; they don't know multiplication tables in their head, they often can't do simple math and need a calculator, a slide rule is an unworkable puzzle to them, and except for the math "nerds" Algebra and the solving of simultaneous equations might as well be Greek (and don't get me started on languages and vocabulary).  They can't write legibly...even printing is questionable, and they can't "problem solve" without "Google" or "Bing" and they are lost if the internet goes down for even a moment.  They "text" to each other even if in the same room, and walk down streets and malls blind to the actual world around them.  Most don't know their elected officials on any level, have no idea of how any government actually works, can't create a budget, read anything that takes more than 3 minutes, and can't be bothered to be civil to anyone.  Discuss the assumptions that the founding fathers had when they started to consider and create and write, and you get puzzled, confounded faces.

The concepts of "opportunity", "consequences", Pursuit", "earning", "civility", "responsibility", and "respect for others"...among foreign to them.  They are familiar with the concepts of "being owed", "privileges", "my rights", "someone else's fault", and other narcissistic traits.  Their schooling (not sure if that term is appropriate any longer...perhaps indoctrination would be more truthful) and their experiences as they went through their school years have indicated that this is the way to look at life.

"Someone" has done these folks a disservice.  And that "someone" is us...all of us.  Oh, I could write for hours on the Progressive infiltration and present control of the entirety of our educational (Yeah...right!) systems, from Kindergarten (note the Germanic origin of the word...our school system is based on the Prussian Model that was intended as much for indoctrination and regimentation as it was for any real education.  Basic reading, writing and math was fine, but independent problem solving and thinking was not desired) through Doctorate Level Degrees and the application of Alinsky's Rules to turn out intellectually inadequate "graduates."  I could point out how many of the High School Graduates today cannot write a cogent sentence, cannot spell, cannot do simple math without a machine, and are unable to concentrate for more than 3 minutes on anything before wanted some cases...needing to consult "Facebook" or the like.

But what is most disappointing is that it is our collective fault.  The not-so-slow disintegration of our society has not been done in secret.  It has happened out in the open and ... although couched in ways and terms that seemed legal, civil, and considerate at the time ... we all knew that we were allowing a diminution of our ideals and allowing avoidance of the concepts of "right" and "wrong."  Oh, we had excuses.  We had "reasons".  The end results was that we gave up the concept of standards and the expectation of "striving" in favor of the lowest common denominator; of not wanting anyone to "feel bad" about not being first.  And we gave up on the standards assumed in the Constitution to be a constant...that of "earning" one's way, of suffering consequences of bad decisions, of recognizing that there is such a thing as failure...and that one can actually learn from it and use failure as a sign-post to success.  This is the kind of thing that a study of the Greek Empire and the Roman Empire would have revealed to our children and grandchildren.  Such an understanding is essential to being a good citizen, whether having a College Education or not...but it no longer is taught in our Grade, Middle, and High Schools.  Oh, an occasional perceptive teacher who is dedicated to his or her students' well-being and success in life may include some portion in the course of a semester or year...but not many do, some because they themselves are not aware of its importance.

Is it too late to save the "idea" of America?  I want to believe that it is not, but...when close to 50% of us are living on the Government's tab rather than on what we have achieved and earned on our own, and that Government tab is creating what is approaching Nineteen Trillion ($19,000,000,000)Dollars in debt, it is hard to see any way to repay it without telling a lot of people, many of which will be determined voters if you take away their "free" stuff, "NO!"  Madison and Jefferson warned about the dangers once any democratic form of government served a populace who discovered they could vote themselves money that they didn't earn.  I fear that we are now there...

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Barack Obama - a layman's analysis

For almost eight years now...ever since he burst on the scene as a Junior Senator running against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Nomination to be President...Mr. Obama has been an enigma.

Here was an unproven young man with what appeared to be an excellent educational background and an exceptional oratorical ability seeking the approval of a major Political Party to attempt to win the Office of the Presidency of the United States.  Any cursory examination of his background revealed that he had fine educational opportunities (although curiously his transcripts and papers from that period were never made available) and his work experience seemed confined to that of a Chicago-based Community Organizers, with little administrative experience or record.  Further reading revealed that the closest thing to a mentor was one Frank Marshall Davis, an admitted and proven Communist active in Communist, Socialist and Marxist causes.  Also of interest to any researcher was his long-time attendance and affinity for the Church of one Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who's sermons seemed to glorify a "victim" status for his church members and often called down the wrath of God on America for their treatment of his members generally.

Few attempts to discuss this background ever found its way into the mainstream media.  There seemed a protective cocoon established around Mr. Obama's background and history other than the superlative labels of intelligence and high Educational background.  Any challenge to this cocoon...any attempt to pierce it...were met with accusations of racism.  You see, what we have not yet mentioned was that Mr. Obama's genetic background is 50% black, as his father was from Kenya, although not present for most of Mr. Obama's life, as he was raised in a single parent home in Hawaii.

However, the cocoon was no excuse for awareness of the totality of Mr. Obama's background.  Any person who deemed it important enough to know details about the background for a candidate for the Office of the President of the United States of America could easily find and read the essential details.  Few did.  There was an aura of "special" about him seen by his supporters.  How much of this perceived "awe" was the admitted power of his oratory and how much was the collective vision of putting to rest the stain of slavery by putting into the office of the Presidency a man of the black race, or some other perception may never be known.  What seems clear, however, is that absent his Black background...if he were a white man of European heritage...he would have been judged as too young, too inexperienced, of unproven ability and with no track record by which to judge his likely intentions upon achieving the Office of the President.

He won.

Since taking office, Mr. Obama's performance has been spotty at best.  Running on the ambiguous (subject to being defined differently by each listener) tag line, "Hope and Change,"  Mr. Obama promptly disappointed the first of his well-wishers by approaching elected officials of the opposing party, not with offers to compromise and work together but, with the comment, "I won," and then pushing through (barely) a partisan health-care bill.  He failed to use his majority control of government to achieve promised immigration reform and generally earned a failing grade in "plays well with others" by totally neglecting to even attempt to establish a working, friendly relationship with Congress...even within his own party.  He disturbed many with what appeared to be an "apology" tour of the world as unseemly and obsequious.  Over his two terms, his Foreign Policy has seemed, at best, puzzling and at times non-existent.

While his supporters will deem my comments extreme, even they will admit a certain lack of achievement and direction, as well as Mr. Obama's proven propensity to lie to the the general public.  I will not bore anyone with the multiple examples...the fact stands. rises the ongoing question of...Why?  Some have argued that the lack of performance is simply a matter of lack of experience.  Others assign darker motives.  And the scope of the speculation is absolutely breath-taking with most being beyond the ability of this writer to consider, ...even momentarily.

I would like to suggest the major explanation (or motivation, if you wish) of Mr. Obama's behavior and attitude in office goes back to a self-perception of victim-hood.  Certainly, Mr. Obama was subjected to the challenges of growing up as neither fish nor fowl; he was half-Black, raised in a single parent home by a loving mother but feeling clearly that he was a minority.  He spent much time hearing the country and the world being analysed by Mr. Davis.  While a card-carrying Communist, Mr. Davis also saw the Black race as being victims...and felt he was a victim.  The truth is that Mr. Davis WAS a victim and was punished continually for the "sin" of "being black."  Of course, he was also seen as at fault for his Communist views, a judgement that would have descended upon him regardless of his skin color.  But...much of what an impressionable youth would take from the relationship was that element of being a victim, even as his education would steer him away from the Communist point of least in part, although clearly there were associations (again, never explored or discussed during his campaign by anyone, much less the public) with socialist groups.

Would a self-image of being a liberated "victim" explain most, if not all, of Mr. Obama's character, behavior and attitudes?  Consider: he has a thin skin, reacting badly to criticism, unable to admit fault; he is virtually unable to punish others or hold them accountable, finding sympathy with them regardless of outcome; he finds it virtually impossible to confront anyone or anything directly, unless at a distance or in surroundings he deems "safe"; he avoids contact with people where is is not in absolute control, where he can avoid one-on-one challenges (where unavoidable, he does not challenge directly any person face to face); he expresses true feelings and particularly anger only when with trusted friends.

"Victim-hood" places an almost unimaginable burden on anyone.  To me, the consideration of it as a primary element explaining Mr. Obama's behavior and attitude, as well as his character, gave occasion to an "Ah-hah" moment.  That doesn't make it so.  But perhaps it is worthy of consideration?