About Crucis

I'm a retired telecom engineer, life NRA member, Amateur Radio Operator and Air Force vet. I created this blog at the urging of some folks who think I have an occasional thought. A liberal friend once described me as "being just to the right of Atilla the Hun." I thanked her for that description and told her I'd do my best to maintain her expectations.

Friday Follies for May 29, 2015

This story could correctly be entitled, “Cycles.” For most of the 20th Century and the first decade and a half of the 21st, we’ve watched this cycle occur in our foreign and defense policies. It began with Wilson, continued with FDR, Carter, Clinton and now Obama. Each iteration of liberal polices led to disaster. It always seem to require a conservative administration to put our house back in order…until the next liberal administration betrays us once again.

Disavowing the appeal of the appeaser

The next president will be forced to face down tyrants whom Obama ignored

– – Wednesday, May 27, 2015

For a time, reset, concessions and appeasement work to delay wars. But finally, nations wake up, grasp their blunders, rearm and face down enemies.

That gets dangerous. The shocked aggressors cannot quite believe that their targets are suddenly serious and willing to punch back. Usually, the bullies foolishly press aggression, and war breaks out.

It was insane of Nazi Germany and its Axis partners to even imagine that they could defeat the Allied trio of Imperial Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States.

But why not try?

Hitler figured that for a decade America had been unarmed and isolationist. Britain repeatedly had appeased the Third Reich. The Soviets initially collaborated with Hitler.

Hitler met no opposition after militarizing the Rhineland. He annexed Austria with impunity. He gobbled up Czechoslovakia without opposition.

Why shouldn’t Hitler have been stunned in 1939 when exasperated Britain and France finally declared war over his invasion of distant Poland?

Six years of war and some 60 million dead followed, re-establishing what should have been the obvious fact that democracies would not quite commit suicide.

By 1979, the Jimmy Carter administration had drastically cut the defense budget. President Carter promised that he would make human rights govern American foreign policy. It sounded great to Americans after Vietnam — and even greater to America’s enemies.

Then Iran imploded. The American embassy in Tehran was stormed. Diplomats were taken hostage. Radical Islamic terrorism spread throughout the Middle East. Communist insurrection followed throughout Central America. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. China went into Vietnam.

Dictators such as the Soviet Union’s Leonid Brezhnev and Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini assumed that Mr. Carter no longer was willing to protect the U.S. postwar order. Or perhaps they figured that the inexperienced American president was too weak to respond even had he wished to do so.

Then, Ronald Reagan defeated Mr. Carter in 1980 on the promise of restoring U.S. power. At first, both America’s friends and enemies were aghast at Reagan’s simplistic worldview that free markets were better than communism, that democracy was superior to dictatorship, and that in the ensuing struggle, the West would win and the rest would lose.

Foreign media damned Reagan as a warmonger for beefing up the U.S. defense budget, reassuring America’s allies and going after terrorists with military force.

The column continues onto a second page with Hanson’s analysis of Obama. The pattern is well established. Liberal, i.e., democrat administrations, weaken the nation, creates choas within our military with massive cuts and misappropriation of funds, thus allowing our enemies to become emboldened. The problems resist until a conservative administration is elected to fix the problems the liberals have created.

The column ends with this final statement:

The Obama foreign policy cannot continue much longer without provoking even more chaos or a large war. Yet correcting it will be nearly as dangerous.

Jumping off the global tiger is dangerous, but climbing back on will seem riskier.

Now you know why I said this section could rightfully be titled, “Cycles.”

***

Here is an item where the ACLU and Missouri conservatives agree. The use of ‘StingRay’ technology should be banned within the state. The St Louis Post Dispatch published this editorial on Wednesday.

Editorial: Secret use of StingRay technology could backfire on St. Louis police

May 27, 2015 4:07 pm  • 

http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/stltoday.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/1e/e1e8581f-afef-5885-bf81-13720cd549d9/55319997d8573.image.png?resize=620%2C368

Last summer, as the American Civil Liberties Union was standing side-by-side with Missouri Republicans supporting the passage of a constitutional amendment that sought to protect “electronic communication and data” from unreasonable search and seizure, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department was sitting on a secret.

In cooperation with the FBI, the St. Louis police had been using a cellphone tracking device known generically by the brand name of one such device: StingRay. The high-tech gadgets allow police to mimic a cell tower. They screen and track nearby digital data, determining the specific location in a building, for instance, of the cell phone they are tracking.

Last month, as first reported by the Post-Dispatch’s Robert Patrick, prosecutors dropped more than a dozen charges against three defendants in a case where the technology was employed. Defense attorneys believe the charges were dropped because police don’t want to reveal details about their new high-tech toy.

But in Missouri, there may be a bigger problem. It has to do with that constitutional amendment that the strange bedfellows of the ACLU and Missouri Republicans were promoting.

A plain reading of the language of Amendment 9, passed by 75 percent of the voters who turned out on Aug. 5, suggests that it is now unconstitutional in Missouri to use a StingRay device — at least without a warrant that offers significantly more detail about the data being sought.

The column continues at the website. As the editorial admits, the Post-Dispatch opposed the passage of Amendment 9 last year. They are reconsidering that opposition now that it appears the St Louis Police Department is actually using StingRay technology in defiance to Federal, and now, Missouri law.

Well, shoot!

I had a nice post all planned out for today until I ran into one of those pesky little issues that so many ‘real’ journalists ignore. There is a story floating around the internet first published by this website. I even shared it on FB (my bad.) The story highlights a column that supposedly appeared in late April in the New York Times.

This same story appears in numerous postings on the internet. All lead back to here, one website. A single source. ‘Real’ journalists know they should have at least two or three corroborating sources, not just one. I don’t claim to be a journalist, but I do try to follow the same standards of journalism wherever I can. There is a difference between reporting and editorializing. Too many “real’ journalist ignore or were never taught that difference.

That column is interesting—if it is true. But I can’t confirm it and I’m beginning to believe it is just another piece of fiction fabricated to support an agenda. I don’t doubt there are some elements in the story that are true but once one piece cannot be verified, the entire story becomes, “fruit from a tainted tree.”

***

This section could be called, “Actions have consequences.” After Baltimore’s Mayor and Prosecutor sided with the mob against the police, Baltimore’s crime—and death rate, had sky-rocketed while arrests have dropped by 50%.

Baltimore Residents Fearful Amid Rash Of Homicides

BALTIMORE (AP) — Antoinette Perrine has barricaded her front door since her brother was killed three weeks ago on a basketball court near her home in the Harlem Park neighborhood of West Baltimore.

She already has iron bars outside her windows and added metal slabs on the inside to deflect the gunfire.

“I’m afraid to go outside,” said Perrine, 47. “It’s so bad, people are afraid to let their kids outside. People wake up with shots through their windows. Police used to sit on every corner, on the top of the block. These days? They’re nowhere.”

Perrine’s brother is one of 36 people killed in Baltimore so far this month, already the highest homicide count for May since 1999. But while homicides are spiking, arrests have plunged more than 50 percent compared to last year.

The drop in arrests followed the death of Freddie Gray from injuries he suffered in police custody. Gray’s death sparked protests against the police and some rioting, and led to the indictment of six officers.

Now West Baltimore residents worry they’ve been abandoned by the officers they once accused of harassing them. In recent weeks, some neighborhoods have become like the Wild West without a lawman around, residents said.

“Before it was over-policing. Now there’s no police,” said Donnail “Dreads” Lee, 34, who lives in the Gilmor Homes, the public housing complex where Gray, 25, was arrested.

“I haven’t seen the police since the riots,” Lee said. “People feel as though they can do things and get away with it. I see people walking with guns almost every single day, because they know the police aren’t pulling them up like they used to.”

Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said last week his officers “are not holding back” from policing tough neighborhoods, but they are encountering dangerous hostility in the Western District.

“Our officers tell me that when officers pull up, they have 30 to 50 people surrounding them at any time,” Batts said.

At a City Council meeting Wednesday, Batts said officers have expressed concern they could be arrested for making mistakes.

The column continues at the CBS website. The residents are beginning to realize that without police crime is without restraint. Now the citizens are beginning to learn the consequences of supporting criminals instead of supporting the police. It is a repeat of the adage, “What goes around, comes around.”

Petty Tyrannies

One of the legislative bills that passed this session and is sitting on Jay Nixon’s desk, is a bill that would place a cap on the amount of revenue a city can collect from traffic fines. This has been a problem with some municipalities for decades, Ferguson, MO, being one.

Some cities anticipate Nixon’s signature. They have chosen a different path to collect revenues from their citizens. Instead of issuing a high number of traffic tickets, they issue tickets for a plenitude of other reasons…like allowing your grass to get too high, allowing toys to be scattered across your lawn, having a BBQ pit that doesn’t comply with city codes or is visible from the front of your house. In some cases, allowing your children to play outside the house unsupervised will lead to a yellow ticket on your front door.

Municipalities ticket for trees and toys, as traffic revenue declines

May 24, 2015 12:15 pm  • 

A ticket written by the city of Pagedale dated May 1, 2015 is pasted on the front door of home in the 1500 block of Engelholm Avenue on Thursday, May 21, 2015. The ticket cites the property for having high grass and gives the property owner one day to get it cut. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

PAGEDALE • Drive through this working-class suburb filled with 1950s cottages and you will see many edged and weeded lawns. You’ll also notice orange sticky notes on the doors — at least one or two per street in many parts of town.

They are warnings the city gives to residents who violate local ordinances. And in this community of 3,304 residents, the list of what earns a ticket and fine is long.

Among the things that will be “closely monitored” through the spring and summer, according to a newsletter that recently went out to residents:

Pants worn too low or grass grown too high. Children riding bikes without helmets. Barbecue pits or toys in front yards. Basketball hoops in the streets.

There’s no loitering — described in city code as “the concept of spending time idly” or “the colloquial expression ‘hanging around.’” And, despite a citywide 20 mph speed limit, there’s no playing or walking in the street.

Pagedale handed out 2,255 citations for these types of offenses last year — or nearly two per household. That’s a nearly 500 percent increase from five years ago, according to an analysis of state court data by the Post-Dispatch.

And yet none of the fines and fees from these offenses count under the Macks Creek Law. The law is the state’s one tool for keeping cash-hungry municipalities from relying too much on court fines for revenue.

But it has a major blind spot: Its revenue limits apply only to traffic cases.

Cities and villages have no restrictions on raising revenue from other types of tickets.

In Pagedale, 40 percent of last year’s citations were from nontraffic matters, according to the newspaper’s analysis. More than half of tickets in Ferguson and four other communities were for nontraffic violations.

You can read the entire column on the Post-Dispatch’s website.

Not all of the petty tyrants live on the eastern side of the state. Sly James, Mayor of Kansas City, pushed a ban on open carry knowing full well the legislature would pass a measure allowing open carry in Missouri. One exception that Sly James and other petty tyrants in Missouri lobbied for and succeeded, was that only licensed CCW carriers could carry openly in cities and counties that had ordinances against it. Mayor James rammed his ordinance through the Kansas City Council before passage of the Open Carry bill for nothing more than pure spite.

Missouri’s pre-emption of these petty tyrannies is a continuing thorn in the side of liberals and statists across the state. The Columbia Daily Tribune, a well know democrat house organ, bemoaned the loss of ‘local control’, the pre-emption of the state over local ordinances that run contrary to state law.

Locus of control

Overruling local prerogatives

I remember…

Update: I had intended this to appear yesterday but I entered the wrong date in the scheduler. It is a repost from a couple of years ago. I still remember Ken Tate.


 

Kenneth Tate, US Army, 1946 – 1967

Sgt_Kenneth_W_Tate

I had intended that last Friday would be my Memorial Day post. But I’ve been remembering a friend and today is a good time to record my thoughts.

I was born and grew up in Illinois, southern Illinois in Benton, IL, the Franklin County seat. I attended Benton Consolidated High School along with several hundred others. One of those in my class was Kenneth W. Tate, a very distant cousin from my mother’s side.

Ken was a tall, lanky, farm boy, who lived, if I recall correctly, to the northeast of town.  I lived on another farm in the opposite direction.  If it weren’t for the occasional family get-togethers and high school, I’d probably never have met him.  But we were distantly related and we did attend high school together.  We ran around with the same bunch.  We were geeks and band-members.  I played a trombone, Ken played the drums. 

For him, like many of us, being in the band was more of an opportunity to get out of PE class that is was for music. The school felt that being in the marching band in the fall was sufficient to meet the state’s PE requirement.  That drew many into our band clique.

Ken and I were also geeks. We took the same math and science classes. We were lab partners for Biology, Chemistry and Physics…the standard college-prep curriculum. When we graduated in 1964, I went off to Southern Illinois University. Ken started classes at a nearby Junior College but he didn’t attend long.

The draft was in force during that time.  It was a strong motivator to remain in school with a 2-S deferment. Rather than being drafted, Ken enlisted in the Army.  I lost track of him until a couple of years later when I received a letter from my Father. Inside with the letter was a clipping…Ken’s obituary.  I didn’t know the details until later.

From the Benton Evening News, September 18, 2009.

Benton, Ill. —

A trip to Northern Illinois by a U.S. Army veteran resulted in an emotional tribute to a Benton man who died in the Vietnam War.

Joe Hare of Columbia, Ky., on Tuesday honored the memory of fellow Black Lions 28th U.S. Infantry member Kenneth W. Tate, who was killed in action on Sept. 6, 1967 — two days after his 21st birthday.

Hare and his wife, Pat, were joined by some of Tate’s family members and friends at his gravesite in the Masonic & Odd Fellows Cemetery.

“It’s not easy, is it?” Hare asked, his voice trembling. “I didn’t think I would do this bad.”
Tate was the first person from Franklin County to die in Vietnam.

“I’ve forgotten how many people came to his funeral,” said Tate’s stepsister, Alana Day, “but there were 140 cars at the funeral home.”

There’s a bit more information here at the Virtual Wall.  I didn’t know Ken was a LRRP (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol). All that we heard was that he was on a patrol and was killed. Someone, I don’t remember who now, said he was killed by a mine.  I don’t know if that’s true or not. It doesn’t really matter, now.

I don’t know why I keep thinking of Ken. We weren’t all that close. Circumstances put us together forty years ago for a period of time. I can still remember his face.

Perhaps it is, as someone once said, that as long as we remember, they aren’t really gone but live within us.  I have no doubt Ken and I will meet again…and laugh remembering when we made nitroglycerin and bombed pigeons outside the window of our 2nd floor High School Chemistry lab using an eyedropper.

Taking a few days off

It’s Memorial Day weekend and I, like many others, an taking some time off. OK, I know the forecast is for rain for the next ten days. I hope I won’t get too damp.

See ya next week.

Pseudoscience

pseu·do·sci·ence
ˌso͞odōˈsīəns/
noun
noun: pseudoscience; plural noun: pseudosciences; noun: pseudo-science; plural noun: pseudo-sciences
  1. a collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method.

We see more and more psuedoscience being presented as science every day. All too many folks accept pseudoscience without question. Just look at the controversy over Global Warming. It’s been proven time and again that man-made global warming does not exist. The climate models used to support man-made global warming were manufactured to fit the alarmists agenda. And some frauds, like Algore, made hundreds of millions of dollars pushing the hoax.

But, anyone with half a brain now knows that man-made global warming is a fraud. It’s unfortunate that the same people taken in by global warming will swallow the next piece of pseudoscience without hesitation.

Case in point. On today’s Drudge Report is a headline:  WIFI 'MAKING PEOPLE SICK'. When you read the actual article, you will see what is the truth. The claim is based solely on "feelings" and emotion.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — From using cell phones and computers to watching movies online, wireless technology has made life easier. But now, some say there is a serious downside.

As CBS2’s Maurice Dubois explained, there are those who claim that exposure to wi-fi is making people sick, and some people don’t even know it.

“Brain fog. That’s my worst problem. A brain fog,” Suzanne Hoyt said.

The media, CBS News in New York, presented this head line as fact. Most folks just skim the headlines and think, “Wow! My Wi-Fi is making me stupid.” I would submit that something else is causing your stupidity but if you believe the headline, you really are stupid. CBS had to search awhile to find a doc to support their agenda. They found one who says, “It’s real.” He’s sure he can prove it if he has enough funding. Again, emotion, not fact.

Other doctors counter that the evidence connecting wi-fi to illness just isn’t there. It’s only when you actually read the article, near the end, that you see facts.

“It’s a psychological phenomenon,” neuropsychologist Dr. William Barr said.

Dr. Barr said some people may have symptoms, but what causes them is something else altogether. He said the power of suggestion may play a role.

“They essentially establish a belief that something has the potential to cause a symptom, and then when they come in contact with the cause they develop those symptoms,” he explained.

That statement is true of so much we see in our society. People in dire circumstances want to blame something, anything, for what ails them. In some cases the belief in pseudoscience allows one to shift blame for their own shortcomings. In other cases, people can’t accept that sometimes life just isn’t fair. And their refusal to accept fact is a child’s reaction when reality strikes.

There are other elements in the growing rise of belief in pseudoscience. Education, or the lack of real education instead of rote-learning, is a factor. Schools no longer teach logic nor rational thinking. Education is geared toward passing standardized tests—and that’s all.

Regardless, the battle between real science and fact will continue against pseudoscience and emotion. The battle will never end, the stupid live among us. It’s not hard to find them.

Vacation Day

Now that the Missouri legislature is out of session, it seems that interesting stories and events has faded away. Oh, I know that isn’t true but I’m having difficulty motivating myself today.

I think I’ll just take the day off.