Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day redux

I wrote the following last year. Thought I would post it again. I can't add much, and I don't have to speculate what he would be saying about Obama's policies. "Never live beyond your means," was one his Iron Rules and he trusted neither politicians or police.

Too bad all of us didn't follow his rule. And now all of us will have to pay for breaking it.

I think it's time for a Father's Day post.

What? You say it isn't Father's Day? True, but I'm not much on such "days," believing that they were created more to put money in some one's pocket rather than honor a Father, or Mother or the birthday of Christ.

But I think of him a lot, the older I get the more so. Born into a middle class environment, he saw that disappear with the Depression. And while banks even then were probably cutting special deals for Senators, a la Dodd and Hussein and Conrad, no one was cutting any special deals for the common man. At least not until Roosevelt.

So his formal education was cut short but he loved books and newspapers and because of that tolerated his oldest reading anything and everything in sight. He loved to hunt and he loved dogs. There's a picture of him with his dog and his shotgun. He would grin and say that he had no shells for the gun but carried it because the dog expected it. He loved jokes but his humor was gentle and I have often seen him dance around the warm morning stove in the morning, just pleased to be alive and in the world.

There were no jobs, just farming, timbering and working in a "store." So he went to Roosevelt's CCC camp and sent money home to the family while working to build roads and parks. It was hard physical labor with actual things done. No "organizing," no "midnight" basketball. Just work. And that was precious and meant something.

Later he met my Mom and they married and I came along. Having nothing they became sharecroppers and lived in a shotgun house. When WWII came along he was 36 and it was unlikely he would have been drafted. Yet he joined the Marines and served in the Pacific. He never discussed his service and refused to see any war movies. But he was always a Marine and had a disdain for the Army that was only partially hidden.

He was Scot Irish tough but would give you anything he had if you asked. Family came first followed by friends and country. Politicians and police were not to be trusted although both groups were required. He taught me that it was "Yes Sir and No Sir and Thank You Sir Please." He never lectured about segregation, but the "N" word was not allowed. It was "Colored People" or "Negro" and the greeting of respect was used without exception to race. Both may be out of favor now but remember this was in the early fifties.

He learned to be a machinist and my Mom worked in a local garment factory. They bought and paid for a farm and they retired comfortably, yet he never wanted to quit working. He worked a few years with the University on demonstration projects and could drive you around the county and show you the results. We have to grow more food he would say. Simple and direct and spot on. I don't have to wonder what he would think about using corn for ethanol while people in the third world are going hungry. "Who in the hell is doing that?" he would demand, even though he knew.

He never had a major health problem, yet at age 75 stood up one morning while at a friend's place of business and announced, "I feel bad." He died on the spot the same way he lived, quietly and with little fuss.

It broke my heart but I have since come to understand there are much worse ways to die. He was a Common Man that did much with very little. The country used to have millions of them. But there appear to be damn few left. We suffer because of that.

Ron Paul supporter detained at St. Louis airport

Is that $4700 in your pocket or are you just a criminal?

Pardon the partial paraphrase, but it is nice that the ACLU has finally decided to take notice of some things...

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A lawsuit filed Thursday against the Transportation Security Administration alleges a Ron Paul supporter was unreasonably detained at the St. Louis airport because he was carrying about $4,700 in cash.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of Steven Bierfeldt, director of development for the Campaign for Liberty, an organization that grew out of Ron Paul's 2008 presidential campaign.

The organization had hosted an event in St. Louis that included the sale of tickets, T-shirts, stickers and other materials and Bierfeldt said he was carrying the cash proceeds in a metal box when he was detained at Lambert Airport for about 30 minutes on March 29.

The lawsuit does not seek money but asks the court to declare the TSA's actions unconstitutional and to prohibit the agency from similar searches when there is no evidence aircraft are endangered.

I am going to take a leap here and assume that the issue started when the metal box went through security. I am going to further assume that the money, and perhaps other objects, looked suspicious in the Xray.

"It's obviously important that the safety of flights be ensured," Bierfeldt said in a telephone interview. "But subjecting innocent travelers like me who are doing nothing wrong — I think it diverts TSA away from its core mission of safeguarding air travel."

TSA spokesman Greg Soule said the agency would not comment on pending litigation.

Bierfeldt said he refused to answer when a TSA official asked what was in the box. Another TSA official arrived, and Bierfeldt was taken into a separate room where he used an iPhone in his jacket pocket to record the officials' questioning.

An audio clip provided by the ACLU includes repeated questions from a TSA official about why Bierfeldt was carrying so much money, and his repeated refusal to answer. On one occasion, the questioner swears and asks, "Is there any reason you're not answering questions?"

Now I am going to assume that Bierfeldt, or the TSA, had opened the box. And I am going to assume that Bierfeldt, a Paul supporter and likely Libertarian was radiating hostility when:

Bierfeldt answers, "Am I legally required to answer the question?"

I admire his grit and see his point, but I wonder if a simple 30 second explanation wouldn't have sent him on his way. Not, mind you, that I am not glad he did what he did because it may lead to some clarification.

Soule said while there is no limit to the amount of cash a person can travel with domestically, travelers must cooperate with the TSA screening process.

A few years back I was questioned about the amount of cash I was carrying. When I just said I liked cash, nothing happened. When I asked if their was a limit a person could carry I was told they could seize it if was over $5000.

And about two January's ago a professional poker player, on his way to a World Series of Poker event in Tunica, MS, was stopped in Detroit and his money seized. The amount was around $15,000. He missed his flight but his money was returned and he was sent on his way after he had explained why he had the money.

That we get conflicting answers from government officials shouldn't be a surprise. And I have to agree with this.

"Cooperation may involve answering questions about their property," Soule said. "A passenger who refuses to answer questions may be referred to appropriate authorities for further inquiry."

True, but what was Bierfeldt going to do with the money that would cause damage to the flight he was going on? Slap the flight attendants in he face with it?

Bierfeldt's attorney, Ben Wizner, said the lawsuit does not challenge TSA's authority to search and detain those suspected of taking weapons, explosives or other dangerous objects onto planes.

"That's the whole purpose of airport searches," Wizner said. "These are not, however, open-ended criminal searches."

Of course that is exactly what some of them have become. That, and a power trip by the agent.

But the real thing that I find of interest is that this hasn't really made the news cycle. Oh I know that AP reported it, but I haven't seen NBCObamie or WhiteHouseABC opining about the evil of the administration. I mean perhaps someone on the Left has said something about this administration destroying our rights but I haven't seen them. Can someone show me??? I would take that as a sign that the Left, especially the Libertarian Left has started to understand who Obamie is.

But having condemned the TSA let me add a small note. Our legal system, in fact our society, runs on a lubricant called courtesy and cooperation. Wouldn't it have been easier for Bierfeldt just to say it was proceeds from fund raising? And then raise hell if the agent went further? Yes, TSA was wrong, just as they were wrong in Detroit and just as they were wrong to question me.

And I especially wonder that in matters of security if it wouldn't be better for the ACLU to sue because TSA routinely lets young ME males glide through security while searching grandmothers, all because they are forbidden to profile.

But that would make too much sense.

Link to source article.