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The Officer’s Duty

Law enforcement has a hard job, made doubly so because those they are sworn to protect the law-abiding against are not constrained by the laws officers must uphold.

Officers of the law must track and apprehend the lawless while themselves remaining within the bounds of the law at all times. While police officers breaking the law while chasing the bad guys makes for good TV, movies and dramas alike, it negates the law they are sworn to uphold.

Police Officers

In this country, and all the freer countries around the world, it is the fact that the law is an absolute authority, that there is no one, no matter how high or powerful, who is not constrained by its dictates, that makes those countries free. When all people are equal before the law, there can be equality.

But when officers, who are sworn to uphold the law, break the law, even for purposes we may rationalize and agree with, they must be doubly punished, for they are leaders and are held both to slavish obedience to the law, and to enforcement for the protection of all those who abide by it.

In other words: mind the Constitution, policemen and women. We citizens have our rights. It may be frustrating when we fail to obey you, but you are not the law, and we are not compelled to obey any command given by you if the power to make that command is not explicitly granted in the laws drawn up by our representatives. You serve and exist at our behest, for our protection, and the protection of our rights and property. Power trips and petty scrabblings which end up with our going to jail without legal justification can and should end up with you paying a strict penalty.

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I support law enforcement. They have a hard and dangerous job as guarantors and protectors of my freedom. They are often unappreciated by those they serve. I will do my best to make sure the officers of the law have the resources they need to carry out their necessary work effectively and as safely as possible. But when they overstep their bounds and become not a protector of the law, but a law to themselves, with their own pride and power as their ultimate goal, then shall earn nothing except a quick trip to jail or whatever other punishment is commensurate to their crime.

With Friends Like These

With Friends Like You

A few days ago I received an issue tracking survey email from Chuck DeFeo at the Republican National Committee that began with the sentence:

At the RNC, we’re always working on ways to grow and strengthen our party.

Well Chuck, I looked at your survey and found it pointless and repetitive, so let me share with you a few ideas.

First, it’s about the Country, not the Party. Want people to like the Republican party? Make the Republican party about the United States. Friend of my friend, and all that.

Next, we’ve seen what “principled conservatives” like John Boehner and his ilk have done, and frankly I’m over that term, especially when it’s coming from the elephants mouth.

I do not think it means what you think it meansYou had a grassroots movement thrust into your lap. A vibrant and effective movement that was looking for partners, not controllers, and the GOP went and mucked that up to the point there’s an effective third part that is only nominally Republican, and getting more and more fed up with even that tenuous connection.

The reason? The GOP is not about about Constitutionally limited government. It’s not about conservatism. It’s not about freedom or liberty. Oh, it pays great lip service to them, but they aren’t really guiding principles. It seems they’re being used more to placate and control a voting bloc which are then manipulated to your own preferred ends.

Think this means I’m jumping ship to the (D) side? Not a chance. Everything bad about the Republican party is magnified 10 times worse for Democrats. That’s the party of the nakedly powerful manipulating and controlling and enslaving the weakest to increase their own power. Republicans are the party of those desirous of power or content in mediocre levels of power trying to control the middle class to keep them in power. Also, the Republican party at least pays lip service to freedom and liberty, while the Democrats stopped doing that years ago.

What it does mean is that I’m not enthused, not excited, not interested, and not particularly hopeful of our chances. With bumbling idiots like you and your pals in the driver’s seat, who needs Democrats.

You don’t get technology. You don’t understand branding and the marketing of ideas. You can’t conceive of any idea that began outside the paneled rooms of the upper echelons of party power. Democrats won the last TWO Presidential elections because they were able to manipulate those at the bottom into supporting yet another upper cruster by thinking it was their own ideas embodied in Mr Obama. I like Romney and think he would have made a fine executive, but once again, since he had friends like y’all, he had no need of enemies.

The only purpose to engaging minority communities is to welcome them into the melting pot. We love their food, most aspects of their cultures, their character, their skills, their passion for liberty that far exceeds our own. We don’t need them to remain outside, separate, different.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
~Emma Lazarus

The United States was and is a nation of immigrants. Sure there are some who want the border locked down tight, and they have good arguments, but they’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Yes, there are some who want to benefit from the very cheap labor these new and frightened people are willing to give up for the appearance of success. The first rule of immigration has to be: It has to be easy and safe and fast. This means removing bureaucratic bloat and testing and retesting each aspect of the process for efficiency and efficacy. There should be no reason for people to come here illegally because we should welcome any and all legally and openly. The penalties for illegal immigration should be just and fast. These people are not our citizens and are not owed any Constitutional privileges. Make the process just, make it fair, and make it safe, but make it about the rule of law. When the door is wide open, punishing those who still refuse to use it regains it’s moral legitimacy.

Armed Liberty

The GOP can be the party of a strong defense (offense has become offensive, good or bad) by being vocally and effectively protective of any and all US citizens endangered overseas.

The Constitution doesn’t need to be protected, it needs to be applied. Applied with judicial and legislative force. Applied brutally. The government has become brutal in its overreach and it hurts everyone it touches. It must be beaten back with equal force and vigor.

You can’t reform entitlement spending because the very idea that people are entitled to something is bunk, false, and results in theft. You can only end it. Cut it, by significant margins. By real margins instead of the fake margins we’ve been lead along with for the last two decades.

You’ve let yourself get bogged down in squabbling and in-fighting while we out in the trenches, in the real world, who have to live according to the dictates of your political operatives and political failures, face the brunt of each and every assault on our freedoms, our pocket books, our lives and families and property. And it’s not like the Democrats haven’t given you golden opportunity after golden opportunity. They’re the party of the gaffe, the flub, the out-of-touch snobbish elite who thinks his jet-set lifestyle is normal and acceptable.

Victor Davis Hanson has some good advice that I’ll leave you with:

To survive, Republicans must go on the offensive and point out that their accusers never live the lives they advocate for others. Liberal feminists seem to be John Edwards and Bill Clinton. Liberal men of the people are Al Gore, John Kerry, and Jon Corzine. Their populists who deplore outsourcing, offshore accounts, and non-unions are Apple and Facebook grandees who embrace all three. White privilege is not the fate of the West Virginian or West Texan working at Target, but the tiny, inbred old-boy and old-girl world of prep-school to Ivy League to the insider pull of Dad and Mom to land up with a phoned-in job in journalism, politics, finance, entertainment, the arts, and academia on the East and West coasts, followed by pro forma praise of diversity — for others. Open-borders zealots have their children behind the walls of private academies.

Surely there is a populist case to be made — or is the Republican establishment to manage a permanent, sober, and judicious out-party, as it is demagogued to death by the privileged?

Victor Davis Hanson, A Beat-up, Exhausted, and Terrified Republican Establishment

http://freelancefolder.com/myths-half-truths-and-other-freelance-lies/

Myths That Won’t Die: Sex Trafficking And The Super Bowl

While no one disputes the idea that any sex trafficking is too much sex trafficking, and that people caught in that evil trade are usually there unwillingly, there is ample reason to dispute what has become an annual refrain: that the Super Bowl attracts the highest level of sex trafficking.

Like the lie that domestic violence is highest on Super Bowl Sunday, this claim seems targeted at sports-loving men. Those animals!

Some attribute the genesis of this lie to then Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (now a candidate for Texas Governor) who, in 2011, said that the Super Bowl is “commonly known as the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States.” However, others have noted these stories go back at least 2 years earlier.

But there simply isn’t any evidence this is actually the case.

From The Gospel Coalition: FactChecker: Super Bowl Sex Trafficking and Other Myths

Human trafficking is one of the greatest evils of our age. But contrary to the claim of Abbott — and journalists who repeat the claim every year — there is no evidence that sex trafficking increases during the Super Bowl.

According to the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, police departments in cities hosting the Super Bowl deny that sex trafficking increases around the game:

2008: Phoenix police Sergeant Tommy Thompson: “We may have had certain precincts that were going gangbusters looking for prostitutes, but they were picking up your everyday street prostitutes. They didn’t notice any sort of glitch in the number of prostitution arrests leading up to the Super Bowl.”

2009: Tampa police spokeswoman Andrea Davis: “We didn’t see a huge influx in prostitutes coming into Tampa. The arrests were not a lot higher. They were almost the same.”

2010: Miami police said they arrested 14 for prostitution. Those figures are not uncommon for large cities during a seven-day period, experts said.

2011: Public information officer Sherri Jeffrey with the Dallas Police Department: There were “zero arrests for trafficking in the time frame surrounding the Super Bowl.”

Sports on Earth: The Sex Trafficking Super Bowl Myth

The persistence of the Super Bowl sex-trafficking myth can be credited to the theatrical quality of its anecdotes. McCain’s activism originated with an experience she had while shopping in Calcutta. She heard noises under the shop floor and looked down. “I could see all these little eyes looking up at me, and I realized it was probably 30 little girls, looking up through the floorboards at me,” she said. “I realized at that time that it was very serious, and these girls were either enslaved or being trafficked, but the kicker was [that] I walked out of that shop, and I never did anything.” Afterwards, McCain approached Arizona governor Jan Brewer to propose taking action on trafficking, and the state’s Task Force on Human Trafficking was created.

The Wire: The Super Bowl Sex-Trafficking Story That Just Won’t Die

In 2012, The Houston Press’s Peter Kotz thoroughly tore apart that story, explaining that law enforcement officials in the cities where past Super Bowls occurred never actually saw increases in prostitution busts or the number of trafficked prostitutes, even despite increased efforts to catch johns, pimps, and traffickers. “We didn’t see a huge influx in prostitutes coming into Tampa. The arrests were not a lot higher. They were almost the same,” a Tampa police spokeswoman said in 2009, and a police spokesperson in Phoenix said in 2008 that there was nothing out of the ordinary: “We may have had certain precincts that were going gangbusters looking for prostitutes, but they were picking up your everyday street prostitutes,” and not foreign women “imported” for the event.

National Post: Sex and the Super Bowl: Is the big game really a magnet for prostitution and human trafficking?

“This myth trivializes trafficking … and wastes needed resources that could be used to actually address trafficking,” said Julie Ham, author of a 2011 study on human trafficking and major sporting events for the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women.

“This is part of a larger moral panic about trafficking, which reduces all trafficking to sex. All trafficking is not about sex,” said Pardis Mahdavi, professor in anthropology at Pomona College, Cal., whose research focuses on human trafficking.

Hypocrite

There Are No Exceptional Sins

Ask yourself this: Do you consider some sins worse than others?

Then consider this: What is sin, and how might one sin qualitatively or quantitatively exceed another?

Sin is rather simply defined as a transgression of God’s law. God has given instruction, and we act contrary to His instruction. That’s sin.

What is the result, the wage, for sin? Death. Not simply the end of life here on earth, but an eternal death for our eternal soul. Eternal absence from God, and not just absence, but separation; an enforced absence that cannot be remedied.

If sin is the transgression of God’s instruction, and the wage of all sin is death, then how can there be levels, or grades, of sin? How can one sin be more “saintly” than another.

Now ask yourself again: Do I consider certain sins to be worse than others?

There are verses that speak specific cautions regarding certain groups of sins, and we in modern American evangelicalism and fundamentalism find these groups of sins nicely coincide with our own favorite lists of to-be-specially-demonized sinners: drinking, sexual immorality (especially homosexuality), and… that’s it.

The temperance movement used intemperate (imagine that) hermeneutics and loose theologies to turn one of God’s special blessings of love for His children into an inherently sinful pastime comprised entirely of addicts and not-yet-addicts.

The culture sweeping sexuality under the rug made any deviance not just another sin, but a special sin, and Paul’s abundant warnings in scripture were just as misinterpreted as other passages to support the special sin category for these sins.

What we’ve forgotten is that sexuality is an inherent part of our lives and our selves, comprising key aspects of how we relate to each other. Our mores say less about sex and much, much more about our cultural hangups.

What we’ve also forgotten is that Paul never said homosexual or any other sexual sin was any worse than any other sin.  Paul dealt with cultures that were dealing with a rise in homosexual behaviors much like we are today, and he gave clear warning that homosexuality is a sin, just like it is today. Not THE sin, not a special sin. A friend tried to argue that because homosexual behavior is especially prone to certain medical issues, that was evidence for God’s especial dislike for those who participate in that lifestyle. But stresses and excesses and many other unbalanced and unchristian behaviors have accompanying medical issues as well, and yet somehow we accept the glutton and the cad and reject others.

There is no special ring of hell reserved for the sexual deviant. The homosexual is just as much a sinner as the unfaithful heterosexual. In fact, the base status of sexual relations, the only blessed and sanctified and acceptable state of sexual relations is between the married woman and her male spouse, and the married man and his female spouse. Any deviance from any of these particulars is sin, and to reject one of the particulars is just as sinful as to reject each of the particulars.

The status of a Christian is not that they do not sin, it is not that they have not sinned. The status of a Christian is that they are relying on God’s grace to forgive them of their sin and to aid their avoiding sin, and to come alongside in their repenting sin. We are, each and every one of us, still sinners. Yet for those of us who are saved, we are characterized not by our own sin, but by God’s everlasting grace.

So ask yourself: Are there really any exceptional sins?

Stranger In A Strange Land by Pecuniam

Strangers In a Strange Land

If you weren’t already aware, recent events should have opened your eyes to the fact that Christians are not of this world. We are not welcome in it. Our words are twisted, our ideas ridiculed, our hopes and dreams remain unrealized because they are not from here. When we were given a new heart, that heart was not from here, and through it we are inexorably drawn away from the here and now towards the hereafter and Him.

This is a paradox, because while we are aliens and strangers, we are also inhabitants of Our Father’s World, which is certainly this physical realm that surrounds us. The earth itself and the things in it still belong to God, and it is still His will actively working in the world, yet still we do not belong here.

We see injustice, cruelty, hatred, not yet always leveled at us, but increasingly so. We are entering a period, here in the United States, of intolerance against those professing Christ crucified, yet it is we who are being called intolerant. Our Christians sisters and brothers around the world have suffered under such injustice since time immemorial, and they have grown strong and hearty in their faith through it, even as their possessions and bodies have been taken and weakened. It scares our minds accustomed to comfort and ease that we live in sight of losing those things we consider precious: our freedoms, our things, our rights, but we should never forget that this has been prophesied by Christ Himself and that we have only been enjoying a reprieve from what is the sinful order of things.

There are many things which should comfort us as we consider the inevitability of suffering, but here are two: first that it is yet another proof that we belong somewhere else, somewhere incomparably better, and second, that we find peace, love, hope, and forgiveness in showing these ourselves.

C.S. LewisIn speaking of this desire for our own far off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.

~C. S. Lewis, The Weight Of Glory

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

~The Prayer of Saint Francis (but probably not written by him)

Headline image Stranger In A Strange Land by Deviant Art Artist Pecuniam