Sunday, December 25, 2011

Posse Comitatus


One thing about writing this column is that It doesn’t leave much margin for error. Even though it is the Holiday season and we thankfully celebrate the birth of our Christ, this column isn’t always a joyful one. Fun for me to write; not always fun to read.

There was action taken last week by the United States Government that really bothers me, and that is that the Congress AND the President has given authority for the United States Military to detain United States citizens believed to be involved in terrorist activities. This is tantamount to a phrase I thought I would only read about in books; called Posse Comitatus.

Posse Comitatus was a law passed back in the late 1800’s that forbids the federal military forces from intervening in maintaining law and order in the civilian community. It derives its name from the old west when the sheriff would round up a “posse” to hunt down the bad guys.

President Eisenhower used the Posse Comitatus act to enforce desegregation in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1958. He brought in the federal troops to maintain order in Little Rock (George Wallace).

The closest I ever saw this law being used was during the Watts riots in 1964. I was stationed in the Air Force at March AFB, in Riverside California. When the people in Watts (a suburb of Los Angeles) went nuts and started looting and burning, the National Guard was called into service to assist the police in controlling the carnage in Los Angeles. Needless to say we were briefed about being called into assist if needed, and the Posse Comitatus was pounded into our heads that we had to be very careful about our role in this.

Under the current laws and administration, the department of Homeland Security, which includes the Coast Guard, is exempt from this law. This is fine, but here is the problem. Congress and the President has authorized the Army to detain United States citizens accused or believed to be involved in terrorist acts to be detained at GITMO. They can be held indefinitely and there is no deadline on bringing them to trial or into the legal process. This is the first step to a police state and quite frankly, scares the hell out of me. Can you imagine being picked up; whisked away and nobody explaining to you what or why this is being done?

To even talk about this coming into being is abhorring to me. What is this country coming to? To even have such a scenario on the books is absolutely nutty. The old saying that “Hello, I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.” Phrase is a distinct reality. This is a situation that, if it were to get out of hand, could have devastating effects on the people of this country.

Well, enough of the bad stuff, let’s get to my favorite subject – The commissioners. At their meeting back in the end of November, commissioner Karpen made the statement that Mr. Roggow needs to look at all county property and see if there is any property out there that could be leased or put up for auction. “We need to get these properties back on the tax rolls.” I just about cracked up when I read this. That statement is coming from a commission that purchased a lot across the street from the court house for $64,000 and turned it into a parking lot which they subsequently lease to Thermo bond for the ungodly price of $100 a month. Now is that getting a good return on your money or what? Why, they will have the lot paid for in another 63 years at this rate. I will be kind and stop talking about the commissioners now; my Christmas present to them.

Julie Madden had an article in the “hometowner” a few weeks ago about Tony Heisterkamp (The Barn) and his nursery farm over by Big Springs Church. That article was intriguing and I called Tony and he gave me a tour of his farm. He has grapes, 1,500 apple trees, gardens and most curious of all, 3,500 Aronia Berry bushes. The Aronia berry is very high in antioxidants. They are even higher in antioxidants than blueberries. Curiosity got the best of me and I bought a quart of the berries to give them a try, and hopefully they will be as healthy for me as Tony claims. Some people say these are wild chokecherries, but these are a berry, not a cherry. They are very tart and bitter tasting, but if you add a sweetener like apple cider or apple juice, they are really good, and good for you. I hope they do the job and really make me healthy, wealthy and wiser than I already am. (a little play on words there!) Google them on the internet and Tony will be more than happy part with this precious berry. (For a price that is….)

Merry Christmas everyone and have a blessed new year 2012. See you after new years.


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