Wednesday, February 14, 2018

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #153 “The Police, Pillars For Liberty?”

judgejim                When I was a small child my parents continually drummed into my head: “Jimmy, if you get lost what will you do?”  Answer: “I will find a policeman, he’s my friend.”  Tragically that probably isn’t taught much anymore.  Nevertheless, being a police officer is a noble calling – in fact, the police should be seen as the epitome of public servants.  But we should insist that, just as surgery is the last option for a medical doctor, an arrest should be the last option used by the police.  Why?  Because bringing someone into the criminal justice system is really easy, but getting them out is often truly difficult.  And that involvement can leave lasting and often unnecessary damage to a person’s ability to get a job and otherwise lead to further involvement in crime.  So we should have an environment in which we trust and partner with the police as they protect and serve us!  In that atmosphere, the police will protect both our safety and our freedoms, and thus be pillars for Liberty.

But that is mostly not what we have today – and we should all work to change that!  How has this tragedy evolved?  Many reasons, like the War on Drugs, which has caused many minority communities to see the police as an “occupying force;” so-called Civil Asset Forfeiture laws, which are often known as “Policing for Profit;” and the traffic law system, which is used far too frequently as a government revenue-gathering resource instead of a means to keep us safe on our roads.  We as citizens and voters must stress that the most critical job of the police, just like with all prosecutors, is to do the right thing for the right reason – every time!  Having a badge and a gun gives them enormous power over all of the rest of us.  So they must be taught and mandated to stay within the law and reasonably use their discretion, and supported and appreciated when they do so.  But they also should face consequences when they do not.  Because we need the police to be pillars for our Liberty!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

 

** Here is an additional quote for the week:
“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
– Winston Churchill

 

And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com. Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty!



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2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #152 “George Orwell’s Nightmare — Cubed”

jimg            Talk about an emerging and present threat to Liberty?  Today the city of Guiyang, China has state of the art artificial intelligence facial recognition cameras in its surveillance system city wide.  So with that technology they can, combined with photographs of every person in the city in their database, track the movements of everyone virtually anywhere in their city.  And they can store the information in their memory banks for a week!  Enclosed is a video of a reporter from the BBC showing us how that system works.  As you can see, with the reporter’s photograph in the system, it took only seven minutes for the police to detect and detain him.

            Like most other totalitarian states, the authorities in Guiyang defend their system by saying that “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”  So this is George Orwell’s nightmare – cubed – and it is still alive and well, at least in China.  But can the United States be far behind?  Or are we already there?  This should scare you as much as it does me!  Technology has always been far ahead of both public awareness and our Justice System, with transponders that can be surreptitiously placed upon vehicles and even people, tiny audio and visual surveillance cameras, surveillance drones and much more.  Today our various governments, as well as private individuals and entities, have incredible technology at their disposal to snoop on us all.  So how can we who are concerned and protective of Liberty do anything about this situation?  We can help by being aware, and by reacting and voting accordingly.  This is truly a daunting task, but we have no other choice.  Because in this situation, like in every other, it is our government – and if it isn’t working, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

 

** Here is an additional quote for the week:
“Racism is endemic to the human condition – just as stupidity is.”
– Shelby Steele of the Hoover Institute

 

And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com. Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty!



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Sunday, January 28, 2018

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #151 “Bonhoeffer”

image            I have just finished reading “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” by Eric Metaxas.  The book is superb.  It is about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was a pastor of the “Church of Luther” during the rise and reign of Hitler’s Nazi Germany.  This man of Christ conducted a principled fight against what Hitler and the corrupted Church of Germany were doing, and eventually was imprisoned and executed for his efforts and beliefs.  But he was unafraid, because he was doing what knew his God wanted him to do.  Regardless of our religious faith or beliefs, how many of us can genuinely say that we are standing up for our principles and Liberty for ourselves and others anywhere near to this degree?  This is an inspirational book, and I strongly recommend it to anyone.

Many insightful comments permeate the book, which all people who treasure Liberty should be aware of – today and every day. Here are some of them:

  • For Hitler, ruthlessness was a great virtue, and mercy, a great sin.  This was Christianity’s chief difficulty, that it advocated meekness.  (Meekness has its place but, as stated in the musical Camelot: “I find humility means to be hurt.  It’s not the earth the meek inherit, it’s the dirt.”)
  • Bonhoeffer believed it was the role of the church to “speak for those who could not speak.”  (Thus he saw Jesus Christ as a “man for others.”)
  • One of Bonhoeffer’s thoughts was “Absolute seriousness is never without a dash of humor.“  (We should never lose the ability to laugh at ourselves.)
  • The Nazi regime always cast their aggressions as defensive responses to actions against them and the German people.  (Virtually always the justification for war.)
  • Bonhoeffer was the principal point of connection between his new “Confessing Church” and the Ecumenical movement, seeing the best and the worst in both.  But each saw the best in itself and the worst in the other.  (Is this not how the various politically “warring groups” see themselves and others in our country today?)
  • Bonhoeffer was quite clear in his convictions, he saw the truth and spoke it out with absolute freedom and without fear.  (Bless him, his memory and his legacy!)
  • He knew his classics in art, music, literature before he criticized; he knew how to read and listen before voicing his opinion.  (Don’t we all wish that all people were more like this?)

It is not always easy to stand up for Liberty for ourselves and others.  But Dietrich Bonhoeffer provides great inspiration for doing just that!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

 

** Here is an additional comment for the week: “Let us speak courteously, deal fairly and keep ourselves armed.”  Teddy Roosevelt

 

These columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com. Please visit these sites for past editions, and help spread the word about Liberty!



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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #150 “Words Mean Something”

image                News flash: We Think in Words.  So if people do not understand the difference between (or among) different words, they do not understand many nuances or even concepts.  For example, there are many dialects in the languages of the world that do not make a distinction between the word “stranger” and the word “enemy.”  So if some unknown person were to stumble into a small village of people who did not understand that distinction, the stranger would automatically be their enemy.  Imagine how much needless violence, or at least how many lost opportunities, has been caused simply by that reality.  Over the years, I have found similar problems for people saying they advocate “legalizing” marijuana.  I don’t favor that, because if you think of a legalized drug, think aspirin.  Your 12 year-old daughter could buy a case of it at any pharmacy if she so chose.  No restrictions on advertising, price, licensing or age of the buyer.  So the connotation of legalizing a substance is that you don’t care if my children get hooked.  But if you were to ask the question, “Would you like to strictly regulate and control for adults marijuana like wine?” the answer is increasingly Yes.  It’s all in the nuances of the words, and it is also more accurate.

So when we are fighting for and supporting Liberty, and otherwise living our lives, remember that your choice of words frequently matters.  For example, once as a student when I had a summer job copying drawings and plans for a civil engineering company (We called ourselves “Reproduction Engineers.”), I asked my counterpart if we should use the “old” paper for a particular job for an engineer who was standing right there with us.  At that point the engineer got upset with me, saying this was an important project for a big client, and we should not use old paper.  My counterpart quickly assured him that I was just asking if we should continue our practice of rotating our stock by using the paper we received last week instead of today.  So the engineer was mollified, and I learned a lesson.  In a similar vein, many current politicians have learned that instead of seeking a “compromise” with other politicians, which people interpret to mean not standing up for their values, they try to “find common ground” instead.  The intentions and results are the same, but they won’t get criticized for trying to work things out.  Final example: I was raised that when I did something nice for someone else and they thanked me for it, I simply was to say “You’re welcome.”  But today many of our young people instead say “No problem,” which implies that if it had been a problem they wouldn’t have done it.  Of course, I understand that in Spanish the phrase is “de nada,” which literally means “It was nothing.”  But please join our budding movement to bring back “you’re welcome” into our young people’s vernacular.  Why?  Because words mean something.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

** Here’s another of the daily posts from the gasoline station in Gauteng, South Africa: “When you forgive, you heal. When you let go, you grow.”

 

And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com. Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty!



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Saturday, January 20, 2018

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #149 “War Is Not Glorious”

99a3f0e6e2ac09e2d96145fe3d41c7ef-350x196         War is not glorious!  And with war, of course, comes coldly arbitrary destruction, deaths and serious injuries which, in turn, exact a lasting cost not only for combatants who sustain both visible and non-visible wounds, but also to many of the people who have been left behind.   So war is devoutly to be avoided, if at all possible.  Nevertheless, and even with those understandings firmly in mind, there are some values that must constantly be fought for.  And foremost among those are our national safety and protecting our national interests, which vitally includes Liberty!  But tragically – and realistically – there are and have always been people in power around the world who see a reluctance in others to go to war as a sign of weakness.  And almost never can those people be appeased!  So sometimes the threat of war, or even war itself, is necessary.  But it is the sacred obligation of our national leaders only to pursue war when our core issues are truly involved.

So under what circumstances can war be pursued?  The Founders of our Great Country yet again showed their brilliance in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution, which requires a Declaration of War to be publicly presented, debated and voted upon by Congress before war can legally be declared.  “Resolutions” and other delegations of Congress’ responsibility are not enough!  A Declaration of War almost certainly means that the country or people against whom we are declaring war and the threats they are making against us will have to be identified.  Then this will invariably mean that we would be able to state what our goals are and know when they had been attained, and thus when peace can once again be restored.  Regretfully, Congress has abrogated that critically important responsibility for all of our police or other military engagements since World War II: Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and more.  Army General Raymond Thomas, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, said that, just in May of 2017, about 8,000 U.S. special forces were deployed in 80 countries!  And in the year of 2016, we sent special forces to 138 countries!  And all without declarations of war!  This is virtually treasonous to the Constitution!  All Americans who love and embrace Liberty should stand together to keep this ever from happening!  No war unless Congress has formally declared it!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

 

** Here’s another of the daily posts from the gasoline station in Gauteng, South Africa: “When you make a commitment you build hope. When you keep it you build trust.”

 

And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com. Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty!



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Sunday, January 14, 2018

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #148 “Merry Christmas!”

James-Gray             In my view, the most important thing in life is Gratification.  Not power, prestige, money or even love.  We can get gratification from all of those things.  But I define gratification as people inwardly knowing that the world is a better place for their having been here.  Of course, Gratification can come from many sources, such as having raised wonderful children, helping to defeat cancer or saving the Whales or the Redwoods.  It can also come simply from having been patient, considerate and kind in every facet of your life, including socially, politically and religiously.  So when I am on my deathbed looking back over my life, Gratification is what I hope to feel.

Carrying that thought deeper on this Christmas Day, Muslims, Jews and Christians share the same God of Abraham.  The Christmas Spirit dictates to me that each of us should try to do more to spread that historical fact, so that the felt differences among people of those religions are narrowed, if not erased.  I believe that our God desires this, for all of us.  The vast majority of people in the world simply want to live in peace, have a better life for themselves and their children, and live their lives free from the wrongful interference of others.  Of course, that is not completely obtainable in the real world, but each of us can do our part to get closer to that result.  And what gratification that would bring!  So with those thoughts, Merry Christmas, and I hope that in this and every year to come, you will give yourself the most precious gift of Gratification.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

 

** Here’s another of the daily posts from the gasoline station in Gauteng, South Africa: “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”

 

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration and to further the discussion. And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com. Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty!



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Monday, January 8, 2018

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #147 “Liberty Corrupted By Congress”

99a3f0e6e2ac09e2d96145fe3d41c7ef-350x196                It is fundamental in a democracy that the laws must be enforced equally as to all people.  But did you know that back in 1995, Congress created a slush fund of our tax money that is used to settle claims against members of Congress for the sexual harassment of others, and then to require the victims to be secret about it? Since that time, more than $17 million has been spent for this purpose!  I hope that you agree with me: The answer is No!  This cannot be sustained!  Not on our watch!

Fortunately, there is presently a bill entitled “The Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act” that is pending in Congress that would both require public disclosure of all sexual harassment settlements and ban public funds from being used for that purpose.  We should all take the time to contact our members of Congress and demand support for this bill.  Liberty demands that the Rule of Law must apply to everyone, and that includes members of Congress!  That means that everyone, including members of Congress, should be publicly held accountable for their misdeeds, and that they should make restitution for them with their own money!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

 

** Here’s another of the daily posts from the gasoline station in Gauteng, South Africa: “If you have to choose between drinking wine every day or being skinny, which would you choose? Red or white?”

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration and to further the discussion, and also be sure to visit http://ift.tt/2yi4Ldx to read more about my book on judging. And by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com. Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty!




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