Beyond the Cusp

May 23, 2015

The Sad Truths About American Election 2016

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The one constant around the world is that everywhere one hears discussions about the upcoming 2016 American elections and the talk immediately turns to the potential Presidential results and how they will either improve or ruin the plans of our leaders, nations, areas, threats, trade or economies. The truth is that trying to divine the thoughts of the American public and how they will vote for in the Presidential elections is complete folly, especially if one is using the relations between in foreign affairs as their criteria. While across the globe the United States foreign policy or lack thereof is of vital importance and in many instances potentially critical and even deadly, the American public usually cannot see any further than their wallet. Yes, there are numerous Americans who understand and even use a fair degree of foreign policy knowledge and positions of Presidential candidates, I must sadly report that when we left the United States that number decreased and even with our presence in the voting booths the people voting their wallets probably outnumbered foreign policy wonks by a thousand to one if not a hundred-thousand to one. This is why the Presidential debates only have one which presumably is advertised as pertaining to foreign policy. The truth is that most of the questions end up actually being turned inside-out, upside-down and twisted all around until it actually sets the candidates attentions to foreign situations as it pertains to the effects it might have on the budget or social programs at home. Still, the choice of who will be the next President of the United States will have a determining effect on every part of the globe; it will just be whether it will be for better or worse. So, what should we seek as far as the most preferentially positive effect generally around the globe?

 

The usual rule of thumb is that a Republican President will be more involved in foreign policy than a Democrat President. This does not necessarily mean this is preferential as it also depends on whether the Republican President has advisors and other assets which drive a thoughtful and thoroughly researched foreign policy or if they have a more seat of the pants reactionary policy. An example of the former would be President Dwight David Eisenhower who though often derogatorily called a do nothing President actually was responsible for the reconstruction of Europe and the Far East policy after the fall of Japan and much of the American ascendance after World War II all while the United States enjoyed some of its best economic growth years in its history. Another President who also did well largely due to advisors was John Fitzgerald Kennedy whose advisors were very knowledgeable and who when tested by Russian President Khrushchev over the Cuban Missile Crisis set a strong and potentially dangerous posture of no nonsense strong response that eventually led to the Soviet Union to retreat from Cuba removing their missiles. Kennedy also answered the Soviet initial success and leads in the start of the space race to set the goal as the Moon and challenged the American space industries and NASA with, “We choose to go to the Moon! … We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” On the other hand, the United States has had Presidents from both parties who were unmitigated disasters when it came to foreign policy though I will not shame any by naming them and instead allow each to choose their own examples. From the juncture where many currently observe the two Administrations under President Obama, these could easily be defined by numerous presumably traditional friends of the United States, who would, if choosing to be totally candid, would describe these as total disasters with potentially the worst yet to come. Then there are some of the worst mischief makers and oppressors or would be conquerors who likely would heap praise on President Obama’s choice to not challenge anything which might prove challenging or potentially difficult and demanding taking a principled stand.

 

So, first off, let me assure those who might be misled into believing that the Americans generally have begun to awaken and see what a disaster President Obama has been for the world as a whole, if it were somehow made possible for President Obama to run for a third term, the American public would likely reelect him and even the Jewish voters who might claim that Israel is one of their top concerns would still vote for President Obama by an easy majority likely near to sixty-five percent against thirty-five percent voting Republican. Actually, there would be a sizeable percentage of the Jewish voting public who would refuse to vote Republican and simply stay at home which is the same as voting for whichever candidate proves victorious. With this established, this fact does not bode well for the Republican Party if the American public, which is made predominantly of ‘low-information voters’ who vote pretty much as they are advised by such criteria as, my family have always voted Democrat/Republican/Whig (OK, most families who had voted for the Whig Party have moved on since then), what’s his name on Comedy Central/Saturday Night Live/the Late Show/Family Guy/South Park character, Media such as ABC/CBS/NBC/FOX/CNN/PBS/MSNBC, print media, favorite personality/close friend/boss at work/union boss or whatever ridiculous source even to include Tarot Card reader’s advice, are the mainstay of the voting public which as time has passed has become more the norm. This is partly why the politicians fight over voting rules such as removing people from voter rolls through validation techniques to remove those who have moved, died or not voted in decades or the need for picture identifications, motor voter laws, and even register to vote outside the polling place and then enter and vote or permitting prisoners to vote even from death row as there is no area not pursued as a voting base that the party who thinks something is to their advantage will not use to the utmost of their ability. So, we have established that the American voting public is not necessarily the pure cerebral and reasoned public which Thomas Jefferson, Sam Adams, or James Madison envisioned, though probably Benjamin Franklin may have had the right attitude and worldly experience to realize how far the electorate would eventually slip. So, now what?

 

The next is choosing who will most likely be the candidate for each of the two major parties. Let us start with the Republican Party and the myriad of candidates there seeking to be the candidate chosen to represent the party in the elections in November 2016. The one thing we are assured is that the Republican candidates will mostly be breaking what President Ronald Reagan called the Eleventh Commandment, do not speak ill of thy fellow Republicans. The Republican candidates will refuse to bow out until it becomes mathematically impossible for them to win the nominations and some even then will continue just in case they can make a surge from out of the blue once the delegates are freed to vote however they choose, usually around the fifth ballot or later. With all the candidates, and a fair number of top ties candidates, it is quite likely that the Republican Party may reach its convention without any one candidate with sufficient numbers of delegates to win on the first or second ballot and there may be five candidates who are all actually closely matched in candidate count with none even remotely close to a majority or even a resounding plurality. This might lead to a lengthy and harshly fought convention which will go into the fourth day or beyond without reaching some resolution or producing a candidate. There appears now that Jeb Bush will have a loyal set of establishment delegates and the ‘movers and shakers and moneyed establishment supporting him while the Tea Party and Christian Right will be divided amongst a core of select candidates including but not limited to Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Dr. Ben Carson and Scott Walker; with the likes of Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Bobby Jindal will all have a base of support which may be sufficient to retain their hopes and finally there is Carly Fiorina who as the sole woman, might receive additional support as she is the only candidate against whom Hilary Clinton would not have the advantage of gender running to be the first American female President. The end result is whoever eventually survives the scathing attacks and fevered battle with the nomination may find themselves limping into the actual Presidential election race as damaged goods sorely injured by their own party. Oddly enough the one person who might mostly escape such infighting and scorn from their fellow Republicans might be Carly Fiorina simply because should she avoid falling prey to the gotcha media assaults most Republicans face, she could be the one without any damaged armor and slide between the barbs and arrows and prove the strongest candidate of them all and take the nomination with minimal damage and able to rally the Republican base and establishment as she belongs to neither but can make overtures to both.

 

That brings us to the Democrat Convention and the presumed coronation of Hillary Clinton as the ‘deserved one,’ the ‘chosen one.’ From the very beginning I have not believed that Hilary Clinton would survive to become the Democrat Party Presidential candidate in 2016 or ever as if she is cast aside this time it will be for good. Hillary Clinton’s most formidable and undefeatable opponent is Hillary Clinton of campaigns and offices past which will eventually make her untenable as a candidate. Her time as Secretary of State will tie her inexorably to President Obama’s disastrous foreign policy and much of the blame for President Obama’s failures will be heaped upon Hillary and she will be unable to escape this baggage. Additionally there will be the baggage from the entire Benghazi debacle, and even worse, her hearings before the Congress where the immortal words were uttered never to stop echoing in many ears where Hillary, referring to four dead Americans including two men whose heroic efforts became known making the inaction simply unacceptable and un-American and now forever tied to her stating, “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?” The absolute cynicism of her caustic remarks and the bald faced attempt to brush off any responsibility and to make any questions in this area as improper as that the reason for the hearings was not about those who gave their lives presumably in service of their country and for a mission which originated within the State Department, but to allow Hillary Clinton to be cleansed of any wrong-doing and to be vindicated and be lauded for striving to assure that such a situation never again presented such a deadly situation. The line of questions seeking to pinpoint blame was, in Hillary’s mind, completely out of bounds. Between Benghazi, the e-mail scandals, the missing records, scrubbed and sanitized memos and communications, Clinton Foundation contributions and influence peddling from her position as Secretary of State, foreign monies which likely were derived as payments for favors, the rise of Blumenthal communications concerning Libya where he had business interests while advising Hillary Clinton during her time as Secretary of State as well as numerous other scandals yet to surface, and Hillary Clinton is damaged even beyond the capability for the Democrat Party to attempt to repair her to make her presentable to the public. All the baggage which has been in the mainstream news about Hillary Clinton was originally being exposed now early in the process and before she announced her intentions to run for President such that it could be labelled old news already beaten to death if brought up during the campaign by the Republican side. The problem is that there seemingly is no end to the scandals as they just keep jumping out from everywhere. As the media and Democrat operatives keep attempting to put these scandals to rest and tie up all the loose ends they run into another problem and then a scandal which follows as night follows day and there is no putting this to bed as more and more loose ends keep appearing and the Hillary apologists are beginning to become somewhat short tempered as their patience dies. In the end Hillary Clinton and former President William Jefferson Clinton will be required to hang up their hopes of returning to the White House until Chelsey is old enough which will be fairly soon, so they should get her elected to some office, governor of the state of their choosing, Maryland sounds easy as does Massachusetts.

 

So, with no Hillary as their candidate, who can the Democrats turn to as their best bet? There are a number of people which have been mentioned as potential replacements should Hillary self-destruct. Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley though his having also been Mayor of Baltimore might be a slight drawback, Vice President Biden who has a history of foot-in-mouth disease but actually would be solid in foreign policy as even if a threat he made in a speech by his going off-script the adversary would never know for sure whether or not Old Joe might actually follow through. Bernie Sanders has also declared his interest and though we agree on very little I admire his forthrightness and honesty which are very admirable qualities and he can be counted on to do what he says and say what he means. Then we have Andrew Cuomo and Howard Dean who both are known for mouths beyond their control, Al Franken also has given a definite maybe which is quite comical as well as noncommittal though he and Biden debating would make for great comedy, and finally Ms. Elizabeth Warren whose credentials, or lack thereof, are equal to those of President Obama when he took up the mantle of Democrat candidate for President with a few critical differences making her worthy of a deeper look.

 

Though Senator Elizabeth Warren has claimed she is not running, this may not be left as her choice as she has a sizable supportive following without ever overtly seeking such. She is a far superior believer in the true Progressive way of which President Obama campaigned upon in his initial 2008 campaign. She is well spoken and needs little prompting from any crutches such as a teleprompter. Senator Elizabeth Warren is quick on her feet, knows what she believes and is very comfortable in stating her views unequivocally and with great passion. She is a strong supporter for individual rights though she does appear to place too much emphasis and burden upon government for protecting individuals from failure by providing a broad and sweeping system of safety nets and she does not appear to be adverse to a guaranteed minimal wage for everybody whether they be employed or not. She favors Obamacare with some modifications making it more workable, not less dependent on government as her adjustments would bring Obamacare closer to a single payer health plan than as it currently sits. Senator Elizabeth Warren is a believer in Keynesian economics where the government is the principle engine behind the economy. She also is opposed to free trade much of the time claiming instead to stand for fair trade which she has not fully explained. She is a through and through socialist progressive and like Bernie Sanders says what she means and means what she says and always sticking to that exact path. At least she would not produce any big surprises as the Democrat candidate or a President if successfully elected. Her largest area which is unfortunately untested and unknown is foreign policy. Here she would be untested and undefined and until such could be filled in she should not be taken as a serious candidate. But as I explained, foreign policy is the last and least of things on the average American’s mind so it is quite likely that with her populist political talking points and her appeal to those dependent upon government Senator Elizabeth Warren would likely gain a large popular appeal and could breeze to the Democrat nomination once Hillary Clinton realizes she had already failed and failed miserably, but it remains to be seen if she will even be willing to be dragged thus appearing to have the nomination and run in the primaries thrust upon her rather than actively sought. Though I have little in common with Senator Elizabeth Warren’s viewpoints and fear her lack of foreign policy experience or even exposure, I find that she would have little problem being elected as the next United States President, her biggest obstacle would be attaining the Democrat nomination and that is something remaining to be seen. The final note is that the next President of the United States will be the one who emerges as the victor in the Democrat nomination and only give the Republican candidate a one in three chance at winning the general election. But there is still a race to be run and we have to have the race just to prove every prognosticator to be so wrong it is embarrassing.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 23, 2015

Never Seen the Problem so Plainly Stated

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Often we hear about how people are surprised when an obviously conservative candidate wins an election where nobody has ever remembered reading a pro-conservative editorialist or especially a news columnist. Nobody knows of any conservatives where they work, at their country club or social club, nor are there any in their union, bowling league, classic car club etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I found the problem which stands behind this situation described by Rabbi Professor Dov Fischer titled Conservative “Marranos” and the Absurd Charge of Racism. Below is the last part of the first paragraph which left me in shock and feeling a sharp pinch of sadness and emptiness as one might hope that such a respected Rabbi could hold conservative positions, especially on many social issues where Torah and the laws of Judaism would give him the backing and freedom to at least express such views with impunity and free from the affects others of us have suffered when speaking our minds similarly.

Throughout the West, we conservatives must be careful when we speak, toe political lines that are drawn for us, hide our true political beliefs and voting preferences, and basically live the life of political Marranos or Conversos. We must join unions that we do not wish to join, must advocate programs and leisure activities that we do not wish to advocate, and we must hide furtively until, once every two or four years, we can vote in secrecy.

 

Once my initial shock and sadness passed, I was left with a sense of anger as, oddly enough, I have always had the exact opposite reaction when presented with false boundaries and leftist expectations that, under peer pressures, all will wilt and obey the societal bounds and act as those self-labelled all-compassionate expect and enforce, lest one transgresses at risk of ostracization. I decided to read the remainder of Rabbi Fischer’s article where he described the reactions in the United States and especially in the great White House and around the world where Israel has become the great apartheid state replacing South Africa who having defeated the real apartheid now leads the anointing of Israel as the new enforcer of apartheid politics, after all did not the Bibi again win against the great reformers who accept the European credo and would blindly obey and follow their betters down the path to oblivion. The meat of the article went to explain how politics is a different animal in Israel than it is in the United States, Europe and other citadels of freedom of the Western world. There is the explanation that in Israel we allow a political party whose defined aim in their declarations of principles is to dissolve the Jewishness of Israel and expel or subjugate the Jews and put in place the very Palestinian Arab state which is at its very core not far distant from the same madness that engulfed the continent of Europe and almost the world in the last great conflagration. When at the end of a brilliant description explaining that the phrase Bibi utilized to rally any last vestiges of support from the Zionist, nationalist and right wing voting blocks to get out and vote as a measured grass roots effort financed and manned by leaders from outside of Israel were attempting to hijack the elections and seize power and influence in order to command Israeli obedience to their desires which would in short time mean the end of Israel as the one and only Jewish state, the last refuge the Jewish people have for a safe place, a refuge and blessed haven to which they will be able to escape as the world once again turns mad with red shot eyes and an inner rage for Jewish blood and from there who knows the next victim of the coming madness, perhaps religious Christians who remain dedicated to ancient and outdated parchments and even still believe that the Constitution and the Bible were written in stone and not living, breathing documents whose interpretations depend on the end desire to redefine all norms to fit their unholy societal demands. The article explains that there is a force in the darkness which does desire to squelch all opposition and extinguish the flames of freedom and compassion in the world and install in the place of liberating doctrines a religiously enforced straightjacket which will break the will and end the dreams of the millions who lead the assaults on the battlements of Israeli society as that is the identified instigator that has unsettled an old, dormant, expellent force which seeks dominance over all societal norms and the final implementation of their holy order, though which form is still being debated, by force of arms. The point was made that none of these paragons of all that is fare and knowledgeable were to expound their doctrines in any of the societies such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran or many others of similar ilk that they would soon be meted out their just rewards for thinking beyond their canonical precepts meant to place all societies under its order. Then he relates how after expressing our honest desires we will again have returned to our basements and reassumed our placid facades we use in our daily excursions in the public eye.

 

It has always been my experience that it is best to exhibit those exact traits which best and most deeply depict standing on what is defined as the right wing, conservative or sometimes even Neanderthal behavior and risk the immediate recoil as if close proximity might cause them to be infected as if your political and societal beliefs are akin to a disease which one must quarantine for the health of their society. Does such an initial reaction make existence somewhat difficult initially, of course it does and must be expected. Once you have exhibited that you are quite comfortable existing within their space though an orbital radius is placed around you into which none initially and eventually only the brave dare be seen entering, let alone such trivialities as conversing or even sharing a joke or relating an anecdotal experience from the weekend as such interactions risk contamination. This cannot last indefinitely and slowly but inexorably your societal peers will find that you are not a monster and will not cause them contamination or other afflictions but that you actually share many of the beliefs they themselves accept as we are all raised in the same society which has rules which are universal, it is just that such rules are mostly about conduct and politeness which makes society possible. With extended exposure your fellow travelers will inevitably realize that what you consider right and just is very similar to those things they once believed but have since slid down that slippery slope which you have often warned about and upon realizing this some may even attempt to climb back from their proximity further down the slippery slope which actually will eventually be the death of their society as at the bottom of that slope nothing is worth defending and complete surrender to the great call of empty nothingness where every act no matter how perverse, iniquitous or reprehensible can be condemned lest you be condemned for the bottom of the slope is a society with no standards and nothing is enforced as being beyond acceptance. No society so defined can continue to exist as it becomes a society completely enthralled with self-indulgence to such an extent that even the idea of sacrifice of the self to raise the next generation becomes too burdensome that the idea that it takes a society to raise a child finally becomes simply the society must raise the child and children are given over to specially trained teams who know the best manner for raising the child and every child is molded or forced to obey the rules of inclusiveness and to abhor those who claim that some actions are beyond acceptable behavior as the self-indulgent new define morals and conduct such that nothing is too much or against acceptance except maybe having expectations that all have self-respect and a code of conduct which does limit behavior and set standards, real standards and not an anything goes unbounded limitless standards-free society. Those who are right wing are simply the morals which are necessary to restrain society from swinging so far from center that any hope of a return to those basic beliefs which once produced a society which was productive and functional believing in itself and the ideals which were worth extending to the next generation and knowing that it was the greatest of all accomplishments to raise children instilled with values which guided them to exceed the accomplishments you attained and built a better and more compassionate society which had structure worthy and even beyond what you might have hoped for. There is nothing more honorable than raising a child who exceeds your accomplishments and is making a better parent than you were when raising your child as they took those things that were right and true and took a different path avoiding many of the errors you committed and you realize they are in fact committed to doing what you had strove to do, be a better parent than your own parents and by producing a greater grandchild that they too can be proud and feel they too contributed to that wondrous hope for the future. Does such a society go off the rails, of course that is a possibility which is why as parents we never stop teaching and hopefully we never stop learning for learning is the first step to teaching.

 

The truth of being a right wing, religious and attempting to lead a righteous life is something which it is never too late to start. Many of us who are on the right were leaders of the charge down that slippery slope but had an epiphany and realized that the bottom of that slope was a waiting disaster and where we should be headed is back to the top of the hill. Of course we who have taken this path realize that the top of that hill awaits the fact that it is but a foothill and beyond is another slightly higher foothill and in the distance is a mountain that so very few of us ever even reach the bottom of its craggy and high cliffs which are seemingly impossible to scale. I am hopeful but unfortunately uncertain that there are those still alive today who are somewhere upon those stratospheric heights holding fast to those principles which all too many of us have little knowledge or understanding of such thoughts. The truth we do know is that to have such thoughts must be wondrous and fulfilling. It is that knowledge which guides those who hold conservative standards and believe in that higher truth which we have realized is atop the hill and not at the bottom of that grassy, wet, slippery slope no matter what the promises of ecstasy and unlimited freedom for even freedom must be limited by boundaries, even if the only boundary one recognizes is that their freedom stops at the next person’s nose. One can punch the air, punch the heavy bag, punch the light bag, but one may not punch the person next to them as that infringes on their freedom. Thomas Jefferson once stated about a neighbor’s religious beliefs but can be more generally applied very simple truism, “If it doesn’t break my arm or pick my pocket I don’t care which religion a person pursues.” If only everyone today could apply that to political beliefs instead of initially treating any conservative as a leper, a societal pariah, as for the most part it is all we would ask or expect as decent behavior of a group of people who pride themselves with their so-called acceptance of others with different beliefs for is that not exactly what a conservative is, a person who believes differently, or is it that we arise in you a twinge of conscience, a pang of guilt of something dear that is now misplaced or a hunger to be able to return to your lost values; whatever it may be, listen to that call and find a direction which leads more efficiently to that fulfilling satisfaction that you have a craving but have become lost in the direction to best for which to find it.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

December 17, 2014

Has the World Gone Crazy? Government Wants to Look and See

 

Thus far this week we have witnessed too many instances of violence from all across the globe with none of it making much sense. There was the taking of hostages in a small eatery in Australia with a wannabe ISIS crazy who amongst his demands insisted on talking to the Prime Minister of the country. There was a Taliban raid on a Pakistani school murdering innocent children with the count approaching one-hundred-fifty and nearly countless more reportedly in area hospitals, let’s pray it does not exceed that number. The United States did not miss out as a former Marine went on a killing spree in Philadelphia northwestern suburb in Pennsylvania murdering his ex-wife and her sister, mother, grandmother and two children of the sister as well as shooting and injuring the sister’s husband. These, as with too many murders reported unfortunately almost daily, are the actions of disturbed minds or people blinded beyond sanity by their cause will remain beyond our ability to understand. Where the twisted reasoning behind any murder may be beyond the ability of our ability to discern and understand, efforts should continue to see if any discerning and identifying character traits or other determining actions and indicators can be discovered such that in the future some of these grisly events can be prevented. We will probably never have the ability to prevent every time somebody goes beyond all societal norms and commits some act of violence tearing a hole in society as a whole.

 

The question we as societies will need to answer is how far are we to permit law enforcement to go both in their abilities to collect information and survey public or even private areas in order to prevent crimes and provide a higher level of safety in their efforts to circumvent crimes, especially crimes of violence. There are already increasing usages for cameras and sound detection equipment in cities throughout the world with London taking the lead as the most surveyed city with sound detectors and cameras placed throughout so that they can see virtually every area of the streets, river, shopping centers, service alleys and probably the darkest recesses and corners throughout the city. Surveillance carried out to such an extent combined with the advancing artificial intelligence advances in computer technology including facial recognition software, gait detection and profiling which will lead to computers monitoring the entirety of these cameras and potentially adding the microphones so that they can discern every spoken word and conversation using software collating the data in order to alert police to suspected criminal acts they determine are imminent. The police would be directed in the hope that their mere presence would prevent the crime and to interdict any criminal act as soon as it occurs or prevent any violent action intervening at the predicted moment such violence might occur. It would be a virtual future crime system used as deterrence and placing police exactly where they might be needed moments before any criminal act. For crimes such as theft or a holdup such a system would likely deter many criminals but then how far would such a system be empowered. Would they use such a system to determine the name of a person crossing a street in other than a designated crosswalk and send them a summons or ticket just as speed cameras and red light cameras do in many cities currently? Such a system would potentially provide a huge increase in revenue which could potentially completely finance the entire police department.

 

If placing cameras and listening devices all throughout our cities and towns is acceptable, then what if the government decides to go further? It would start with a program where the government would give people payment if they were permitted to add any monitoring cameras and sound devices people currently had in their homes and businesses. The program would begin innocently and be voluntary so what would be the harm, people could simply say they have no interest and such a program might make others who would be unable to afford an alarm system with cameras and twenty-four hour monitoring and such a program would be enabling more homes to be monitored and kept safe. What argument could be made that this was not a good thing and it is still voluntary, right? Then the government would eventually see this as now a right they could extend as were not most of the people who had systems voluntarily opting to join the government subsidy. Anyways, anybody now refusing the government mandated monitoring systems and the government including these systems in their extensive monitoring would be proof that you have something to hide. The thing is such a demand would not be instituted until the vast majority of the public had already agreed to this monitoring by the government and nobody had been adversely affected, so where is the harm in government placing monitoring in every home. Such monitoring would keep homes safe from burglaries while people were at work and where would be the harm? There was a time when people would only accept a ticket if it was written by an officer who had witnessed their exceeding the speed limit or running a red light. Nobody would accept a ticket from a camera radar trap and receiving one would result in their going to court and demanding to confront their accuser. Initially this defense was accepted by the courts and then the city council allowed for a regulation, or even passed a law in some instances, that made these tickets legal and no longer permitted the defense of demanding to confront your accuser and thus no judge would accept that defense. It has become common for camera evidence to be considered superior to an eye witness’s testimony. Add facial recognition and cameras can be utilized to identify people beyond any reasonable doubt in most courts. Where these automated law enforcement technologies will end is anybody’s guess. The camera and the microphones are just the tip of the coming iceberg as we can expect explosives detection systems placed in sensitive areas or places where large crowds are expected to form such as malls, ballparks, amusement parks, concerts, fairs and special events as well as whatever devices and data gathering system which have yet to be developed. Many of the larger ports and other commercial shipping and mass travel systems including trains, planes and ships have detection equipment which checks the luggage or shipping containers as well as magnetometers to check the people while visual checks are made of carryon luggage and bags. These detection devices are simply a computerized version of using a dog or other trained animal and currently almost as reliable and their evidence is acceptable in a court as sufficient evidence for permitting an officer to search and arrest any person refusing the search in order to search the person once in custody.

 

There are numerous types of surveillance equipment with abilities which would astound the average person readily available to police departments should they care to make the outlay funds to purchase such devices. There is equipment which can listen to a conversation simply by placing an invisible laser onto any window to the room which the conversation of interest is being held. This technology has progressed to the point that one would need to cover the window with sound dampening screens or external cover such as aluminum storm shutters. There are systems which can see through walls with amazing detail capability. There are systems being researched which will allow governments to monitor people in ways they likely never imagined. People can be tracked by tracking their cell phones. Using your cell phone a person can be located to within ten feet and their cell phone can be activated to listen to any noises or conversations within the ability of the microphone to detect. Even the cell phone camera can be activated though such is often not very revealing as if the phone is in a purse or pocket the video will not reveal much. There are ways to monitor people’s computer usage as long as their computer is linked to a network which has internet connection active or if the computer itself is connected to the internet. The invasions of our privacy which government can potentially utilize if they wish to monitor our lives covertly are astounding and place every individual potentially in a very compromised position even without their knowledge. These are simply implications of the modern world we all reside within. But then in a world where many of us post even intimate information about ourselves on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, Vine and others, why would many of us complain or have any problem with the government monitoring our daily activities. Perhaps the government could start their own social media site and simply put videos of some of the craziest things they monitored and maybe also the top ten crimes of the day. The one prediction which can be made safely is that privacy is a quaint idea whose definition is growing ever smaller with every passing new technology. Perhaps any legal definition claiming that we have unalienable rights to privacy, that our homes are inviolable or that our papers, effects and private information are secure from search or seizure without a court order, summons or warrant are simply cute little ideas whose potential possibility is nil in our high-tech world where information rules and those who can best gather information rule. In simpler terms, if one wishes to have privacy they best be prepared to make a sizeable effort to assure that their desire has been attained. Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Perhaps this could be adapted to modern times where we add that not only is eternal vigilance is the price of liberty but also the price for personal privacy from government. It could be argued that privacy is necessary to have liberty and to have real freedom. To be honest, it is rightly well worth the effort and allows one to sleep better each night.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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