Wish I'd said that!

In recent decades, the ACLU has used its so-called "wall" to fight tooth and nail to prevent government sponsorship of the Pledge of Allegiance, memorial crosses, Ten Commandments displays, nativity scenes, Bible displays, and virtually every other acknowdgement of America's religious heritage.

At the same time, it is worthwhile to note that there have been some instances in which the ACLU has endorsed public displays of religion. For example, When New York City Mayor Rudi Giuliani threatened to cut taxpayer funding from the Brooklyn Museum of Art for displaying a painting of the Virgin Mary with cow dung and pictures of female sexual organs pasted all over her body, the ACLU was first in line to defend the display. U.S. District Court Judge Nina Gershon ruled that New York City's elected officials were not allowed to place conditions on the museum's funding.

In another instance, the ACLU offered its support to the taxpayer-funded National Endowment for the Arts, after the agency sponsored an art show featuring "Piss Christ" - an exhibit consisting of a crucifix submerged in a jar of urine.

In the ACLU's myopic world, it appears that the only permissible publicly-funded displays of religion are those which blatantly mock or disparage the Christian faith.

-- Indefensible: 10 Ways the ACLU is Destroying America, Sam Kastensmidt, 2006

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Step By Step

Ah; the world is sunny and bright, we have no enemies wanting to destroy us, there will be a chicken in every pot by the end of the week, and we have no problems that can't be fixed purely by good intentions.

Umm; not so much.  I'd love to just use this blog to send cheery little anecdotes and puff pieces, but that's not the stuff that this world is made of, and I would be failing you if I did.  So let's get down to it, shall we?

Humpty Dumpty rocks!  Greece is on the verge of collapse after the EU announced a pledge to back up the failing national economy by papering it over, a la the Obama method. It is quite likely that frustration, panic, and anger will - as it increasingly has in France - turn the streets into humongous riot zones. This is especially disconcerting with the growing popularity of a communist student group's manual for insurrection that is flooding college campuses throughout Europe and now, in the U.S.  Since the late 1960s, college radicals here and abroad have shown a propensity for tearing their own civilizations apart for the dubious accomplishment of showing everyone else how intelligent they think they are.  Vladimir Lenin is often associated with a term for such people, supposedly calling them "useful idiots."  Regardless of the source, if the shoe fits...

Meanwhile, a number of scary scenarios threaten to bring our own house down. But those who are actually interested and concerned are portrayed as fools and paranoiacs.  Who gets the last laugh?

Can you hear the sound of jackboots?  The Obama malAdministration is pushing for greater access to cellphone records. According to a CNET article, "the Obama administration has argued that warrantless tracking is permitted because Americans enjoy no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in their--or at least their cell phones'--whereabouts."  You see, it's difficult to monitor conversations; "people of interest" can be vague, talk in code or simply not say anything relevent.  In many instances, though, it's just as good or more useful to know where they are at a given time; which is why government lawyers are arguing that "a customer's Fourth Amendment rights are not violated when the phone company reveals to the government its own records" that show where a mobile device placed and received calls."  Leave it to a lawyer to word a work-around that worms itself into one more facet of our lives.

Speaking of police states (did I say that?), does anyone else see the implications of this clever little device in the coming Land of Big Brother? 

The president has chosen Missouri's Democrat Governor Jeremiah Nixon to join his advisory panel for military actions inside the US. Nixon oversaw the committee that issued a report last year implying that returning combat veterans and "right-wing Christian extremists" who opposed illegal immigration, abortion and other issues should be watched as potential domestic terrorists.  After that report was brought to light, it was quietly withdrawn, but not before it demonstrated the mindset of the Progressives in that state.

Now Nixon may join a panel of 10 governors who will advise President Obama on military and National Guard operations within the country. Aside from the redundancy of such an "advisory board" among all the other commissions, committees and panels that are already in place to advise such operations, it begs the question of whether it might violate The Posse Comitatus Act, which generally prohibits United States Military forces (except the Coast Guard) from conducting policing actions within the continental US unless it has constitutional or congressional authorization.

More power!  Virtually every US president, at least since 1826 has slowly absorbed more power for the presidency than was originally envisioned in the first edition of the Constitution. Most of those additional powers have come through the mechanism of Executive Orders.  But since Woodrow Wilson, the power grab has expanded dramatically, in ways that can or do directly impact our freedoms.

I understand that times are constantly changing, and we face determined, relentless and merciless enemies, but although I believe we must have a firm hand in the face of threats, what sets us apart from them if we become just as bad as them?  Don't think I'm going soft, but I want us to remain a nation of free and responsible people, led by a restrained and responsible government.

What does that mean, anyway; "responsible"?  I hear a select few politicians use the term, but it's generally either an indictment against someone else, or something they're claiming only when backed into a corner. When a president, for example, claims responsibility by stating "the buck stops here," or "I accept full responsibility...", you might expect that the words actually mean something.  But in most instances it doesn't.

Accepting responsibility usually implies a penalty for failure; a fine, loss of position, hara-kir, whatever.  But in most instances all we get from politicians is a verbal panacea; i.e., if they say they accept responsibility, that's enough.  It isn't.  Without consequences, such a 'mea culpa' is meaningless.

The last president I can recall actually accepting responsibility was - and I'm not trying to evoke sympathy for him - Richard Nixon.  He at least mustered enough character to resign the Oval Office, rather than go through a show trial that would have been used by his political enemies and the liberal media to all but destroy the office and throw the country into further turmoil.  Most politicians today would just lawyer up and try to work the system to evade any serious repercussions.  I can appreciate President Nixon for that, if nothing else. Oh, there was that little thing about getting us out of Vietnam, too.

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