Monday Morning Musings… I’m going to try something a little different. Once a week, probably on Mondays, I’m going to put out a list post on a variety of topics. The topics will be interesting, but probably won’t rise to the level of being standalone posts. So let’s lead off this post with this little topic – the do not call list is not working.
Feel free to weigh in with ideas on each of these topics. If any prove to be particularly popular, or you’re able to introduce a different angle, I might turn it into a standalone post in the near future.
The Do Not Call List is Not Working for Me – Is it Working for You?
A few years back the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) introduced the Do Not Call List to prevent telemarketers from bombarding people, primarily cell phone holders, with solicitation calls. It seemed to work for a couple of years, but it clearly doesn’t anymore. What’s worse, the telemarketers seem to have no fear of the law whatsoever.
Both me and my wife get several telemarketer calls each day, despite the fact that we’ve been on the list for several years.
The telemarketers have even got more sophisticated. The first six numbers of my phone number are (770)598-XXXX. So now I get bombarded with calls from numbers that start with (770)598. Very clever. The telemarketers likely assume that since their calls will come through from local numbers, we’ll believe them to be legitimate calls.
Sure, you can report the telemarketing companies to the FTC. The problem is that they keep calling from different numbers, probably changing numbers to avoid prosecution. It seems that they’ve found ways to circumvent the law, and there are now more solicitation calls than ever before.
Are you experiencing something similar, or are my wife and I alone with this dilemma?
The Anti-Trump Crowd Isn’t Even Bothering to Attack his Agenda Anymore
Have you noticed that the anti-Trump crowd no longer wastes their time attacking his agenda?
I think part of that is because they’ve been so successful in preventing him from having an agenda at all. Trump’s presidency thus far has been almost entirely about dodging attacks from his opponents, who are still intent on trying to reverse the 2016 presidential election.
The attacks are far more intense than what Richard Nixon faced during Watergate. Nixon at least had the benefit of being allowed to be president for his first term. Trump on the other hand, has been under attack since the day after the election. His opponents haven’t even given him a chance to implement the kinds of policies that they find so objectionable.
We now have a power vacuum at the top – meaning no leadership for practical purposes – while Congress is consumed with disjointed backstabbing and political posturing. This won’t end well, but right now no one seems to care. It’s all about Trump-hunting now.
“Paul” – the Sprint Pitch Guy who jumped from Verizon – Is an Illegitimate Endorsement
He introduces himself simply as “Paul”, but his full name is Paul Marcarelli. He gained fame as a pitch man for Verizon Wireless, with the now familiar can you hear me now? chant. But now he’s over at Sprint, pulling against his former employer.
His endorsement however is completely hollow. For starters, Marcarelli is an actor, but that’s probably not a surprise. More importantly, it’s beyond obvious that he’s been paid to make the jump – after being let go at Verizon. How much he was paid by Sprint wasn’t disclosed.
But while his sudden endorsements of Sprint may seem shockingly amazing, they’re nonetheless paid endorsements that shouldn’t fool anyone.
We recently got a solicitation from Sprint, and it was nothing short of desperate. They were offering $25 per person, per line, or about half the rate we’re paying now. And then there were gifts. There was the offer of $450 in gift cards, as I recall, plus a bunch of other goodies.
I’m always leery about companies that are too anxious to get my business. They’re trying to buy the business, and usually end up paying too much in the process. That creates cash flow problems down the road, one of which I’m sure will be a sudden and dramatic increase in rates in the near future.
We’re not going there. Can you hear me now, Paul?
Minneapolis Police are in a No-Win Situation
The shooting and killing of an Australian woman, Justine Ruszczyk, last week by a Minneapolis police officer has put that city’s police department in a serious conundrum.
This will be a hard one for the police to wiggle out of, since the woman was unarmed and was in fact the person who called the police in the first place. Thus far a rational explanation has not been put forward justifying the officer’s behavior. But it may not be as simple as dismissing this episode as a lone, rogue cop.
The Minneapolis Police Department – and maybe the entire criminal justice system – has a serious dilemma. Though the pattern thus far has been consistent exoneration of police officers shooting unarmed civilians, this one seems to be particularly egregious. It will be hard to justify an innocent verdict.
But that’s not the worst of it. If the offending officer is convicted, there’s a risk that Black America will claim unequal treatment. That will be an entirely valid point. Numerous unarmed Blacks have been killed by police, with the officers typically being cleared after the fact. But now we have a white woman being the victim, and a conviction of the officer is highly probable.
A guilty verdict raises the possibility of justifiable agitation in the African-American community. But exoneration risks White America waking to the fact that there are insufficient citizen protections from overzealous police use of deadly force.
Up to this point, White America has desperately tried to believe that the problem of cops shooting unarmed people is nothing more than another “simple” racial issue. But then maybe this latest shooting forces White America to wake up to the reality that this is a problem that affects us all.
I know that there are a lot of people out there who enthusiastically support the police and “get tough on crime” laws. But these shootings are the inevitable result of the pendulum swinging too far in one direction.
People say that we can’t tie the hands of the police, but what is the inevitable outcome if we don’t? After all, they’re the ones with the guns. It’s the responsibility of all citizens and politicians, as well as the police themselves, to prevent situations like this from occurring. But while everyone is busy being complacent, these shootings are becoming far too frequent.
Criminal justice operates on a delicate balance, and that’s the way it needs to be. The citizens must see the police as the “good guys”, which is hard to do when you literally have to fear for your life. It’s long past time for the criminal justice pendulum to start swinging back the other way.
Which leads nicely into the next and last topic…
The Criminal Justice System Wants the Really Bad Guys Out on the Street
There’s another very disturbing trend that I’ve noticed over the years. I’m no longer convinced that the criminal justice system actually wants the Really Bad Guys behind bars. And I’m not talking about the police here, but the courts and the politicians.
In too many cases of criminal behavior, we learn that the perpetrator had a long criminal history. Here are just thee noteworthy examples – we could fill volumes of books with more if we were so disposed – just do a google search if you doubt it:
- A man from Mashpee, Mass., was arrested on July 21 for hitting a utility pole while driving drunk; in fact he has 18 prior arrests for similar episodes.
- Cosmo DiNardo, the Pennsylvania man facing charges for having killed and incinerated four young men this month has been found to have had – get this – 40 previous “encounters” with police. DiNardo is only 20 years old.
- Back in 2004 Joseph P. Smith was convicted of the rape and murder of an 11 year old girl in Florida. It was known that he had a long prior criminal record. I had heard at the time that he had 32 prior arrests, which due to the age of the case I haven’t been able to verify.
Question: Why were/are any of these men breathing free air if they had so many previous run-ins with the law? Meanwhile, some first time offender ends up getting five years in the slammer for a drug possession charge, or some other victimless crime.
Where’s the justice in that perverted arrangement?
I also believe the tendency of the system to have so many Really Bad Guys on the street is a major reason why police have become trigger happy. When you deal with Really Bad Guys all the time, you really do have something to fear. It gets hard for the police to discern the rest of us from the career criminal types, who seem to be more desperate and dangerous than they were less than a generation ago.
But if it’s one thing I’ve learned in life it’s that nothing “just happens”. If something totally ridiculous is happening – routinely – it’s because someone wants it to be that way. Hence, we can conclude that the Really Bad Guys are out there by design.
But that begs the question why? It comes down to the follow the money doctrine.
Here’s my theory: criminal justice has become Big Business in America. And like the higher education, healthcare and military juggernauts, it’s gotten too big to reign in. Millions of people earn their living in criminal justice, and many thousands are making fortunes off of it.
Meanwhile, politicians are leveraging it to get elected and to remain in office by standing “tough on crime”. And the citizenry? Spoon-fed crime-saturated programming through the mainstream media, many are just eating it up.
Keeping the Really Bad Guys on the streets insures that the “crime epidemic in America” will never go away. Everyone in the industry gets to keep their jobs, and the industry leaders continue to reap massive profits, while the politicians perpetuate their status as Caped Crusaders for Justice.
We can largely thank the Republican Party for the crime hysteria, but the Democrats aren’t putting up much resistance either. You gotta love the disaster that American politics has descended into! They can’t do much good anymore, but they can sure do plenty to keep screwing things up.
Any thoughts on any of these random musings?