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

Friday, November 26, 2010

Shell game

An unprovoked North Korean artillery barrage against the South Korean island of Yeongpyeong on Tuesday carries the potential to be a major game-changer that could potentially affect all our lives if it spirals out of control (and such events rarely remain in control). In another of its typical "We did it but we're blaming you" attempts to justify the attack, the North claimed the shelling was in response to South Korean military drills in the area - which were directed away from the North.

The reason this is a major incident is because diminuative dictator Kim Il Jong - like his father before him - has for years steadily been building a huge military offensive capability which now potentially has at least a handful of tactical-grade nuclear weapons at its disposal. It has also been in a dangerous game of "catch me if you can" with the South, highlighted by the torpedo sinking of a South Korean naval vessel earlier this year. Because of the North's close ties to China (which is believed to be helping them with their illegal nuclear program), and because we have a defense pact with the South, there remains a distinct possibility of a tactical nuclear exchange that could escalate into a global nuclear war.  Just one more reason to be glad if you kept those Y2K supplies close by, and a good reason to bone up on your nuclear survival skills.

North Korea has a long record of playing the brinksmanship game with his military assets. Usually they are designed to blackmail the West into giving his country fuel, nuclear technology, commodities and food (little of which makes its way to the starving population). The question is, what game is he playing now? What is the goal this time? Is there a line he won't cross?

New enhanced security searches
The (Boarding) Gates of Hell?  If you've flown commercially or watched the news lately, you know about the Gestapo-esque tactics being used by the TSA on passengers, and with some exceptions, aircrews. It has become so prevalent that at least one clever blogger has taken to calling it "Gate Rape."  The inconvenience, abrasion of our most personal rights, and the humiliation is currently not being uniformly applied (not that that would be any more acceptable) and there is no apparent consistency to the types of people the invasive searches and interrogations are applied to. Children, cancer survivorsamputees and certain others are not exempted - although most pilots (after numerous complaints from their union) and certain politicians are. There is also the little-discussed problem of basic hygiene, since the gloves only protect the screeners and not the pubic...uh...public from cross-contamination of various diseases and parasites.  Oh, and the lies they tell you about the new body-scanner pictures not being a problem are being dispelled as we find out that simple photo-processing software can be a voyeur's dream come true.  You might be a tough guy and be willing to let some stranger literally man-handle you or , but do you still think it's OK to have your wife or kids go through it?

When recently interviewed on Fox & Friends about the inspections and asked whether profiling - proven to be one, if not the most effective countermeasure - was even being discussed, TSA chief  John Pistole admitted its effectiveness but claimed the US won't use it "because America doesn't profile." Too bad the American people don't get a vote on that.  If the current "inspections" aren't egregious enough on their own, consider that they aren't always done purely for reasons of security. There have been instances where these personal intrusions have been performed as "a joke".

This sort of thuggery lends to the question: if the groping technique is so essential, why aren't these legally-sanctioned groping sessions committed behind translucent or opaque screens, at least in the knee-to-neck range, to provide the offended passengers even a modicum of privacy? Why are they being conducted in plain view of other passengers and passers-by? Why is TSA apparently hiring and harboring some of the most low-class, least-trained people to enforce these actions? And why do they steadfastly refuse to consider profiling by well-trained and carefully selected personnel - the very technique that has kept the most-threatened people in the world safest in the air.  It becomes apparent that this is all designed to promote outrage, not deterrence. The fact that the leading promoter of the invasion of the body-scanners, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was making big money from their sale  (and so was George Soros) doesn't settle too well, either.

I believe in leading by example (something I wish more Muslim "martyrdom" leaders would consider doing). Therefore, I think all government employees, and especially every politician and agency official, should be required to go through the exact same process as the other passengers. The number of top officials shown to be corrupt and working against the best interests of this nation indicates that potential terrorists could be anywhere, so why should anyone flying be exempted?
All this leads me, as opined by Glenn Beck, to believe it may be part of a plan to purposely infuriate the public, with the expectation that eventually the rancor would "force" the government to stop the searches. This in turn would invite another terrorist attack. In the wake of a successful attack, the president would then claim the "necesssity" to declare a national emergency and clamp down even further on our rights. So, either this is a postulated power-grab, or it is intended to destroy the US airline industry - which would have a ripple effect on rental cars, hotels, restaurants, fuel companies, oh; and the pilots, airline mechanics', and flight attendants' union members (but I'm pretty sure the union officials will be OK, so don't worry). In either case, it leads us to one of two logical conclusions: either we are being led by grossly incompetent people, or we are being led to slaughter by people whose life work and inclination has been to wreck the United States, which they have been programmed to believe is the enemy of the world.

The current system is broken, because we are giving up liberty for the illusion of security. We should keep the machines we've already bought, and do the invasive searches when appropriate. But they shouldn't be our primary or sole reliance for safety. The bottom line is that we need to keep all options on the table. If we don't, we may soon find out the government has taken "the table" and everything on it away from us...for our own protection, of course.

As if there was any doubt.  In yet another startlingly candid admission of what many conservatives have been saying all along, Ottmared Edenhofer, a leading UN IPCC official, told a German interviewer that, "...one must clearly say that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy...One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy."  Edenhofer should know; According to Newsbusters.org he was co-chair of the IPCC's Working Group III and co-authored the group's 2007 report which helped fuel the "illusion".

Thankfulness.  As I send out this Thanksgiving edition, I want to offer my own thanks to those of you who bother to read this tacky little blog.  I obviously don't write this for personal gain, and in fact it takes considerable time to put it together. This is my way of expunging my own frustrations with the world around us; a means of letting off steam and hopefully, alerting others to some things they might not have been aware of. Or at least, to start thinking about certain things in a different light. I'm nowhere near rich but I have a lot of people to be thankful to, and that list begins with God, who has given me the light to see things, the ability to put the words together, and the opportunity to put those words out for others to see. I want to thank my wife, friends and family members who put up with me even though they mostly hate what I have to say (honestly, I don't like a lot of it either, but it needs to be said). I'm also thankful for those who have helped to open my eyes and who inspire me to be more than I'm normally inclined to be. I'm extremely thankful for having been born in this country at a time when I could still grasp the reasons for some of its greatness. My hope now is that there will be an America worth being thankful for, next year.

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