Atrocities

This will be short and sweet. Not because the world isn’t complicated, but because it’s late and I don’t care to tease apart all the little details of history and politics and religions.

There was quite an uproar over President Obama’s speech at the Annual Prayer Breakfast the other day. As true as it may be, I see no point in saying the things he said about all religions having their extremists.  In most, if not all religions, we find adherents who don’t see eye to eye on some pretty important details, like matters of life and death, and love and hatred. (Maybe if he’d said that the same religion that was used to justify slavery was also used to end it, that might have kept some folks from being offended.) However, this was a Prayer Breakfast attended by folks from all over the world who don’t want to fight each other or anyone else. They want peace which makes his comments sound pretty bizarre. So, who was he talking to at this Prayer Breakfast?

After today’s announcement that he wants authorization from congress to go after ISIS, and any cohorts of ISIS, with no geographic boundaries, I think he was talking to congress when he addressed the folks at the Prayer Breakfast. I think he was trying to suggest that bad people shouldn’t be allowed to continue committing their atrocities, without actually saying that. I think on that day, he had today in mind.

As far as what he is actually asking congress for, it sounds to me like he wants to use drones to drop bombs on anyone who is thought to be a member of ISIS, or anyone thought to be affiliated with them, no matter where on the planet this suspect is found. If that’s what you are thinking, Mr. President, that is trial by death. Tell me that’s not an atrocity.

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Weirdness at the Courthouse

I went to the courthouse today to pay my property taxes. (Who really owns what we own if we have to pay taxes to keep it? But that’s another blog for another day.) In order to get into the courthouse anymore, we have to go through a metal detector outfit that screens purses, wallets and bodies for metal objects. Because we had a shooting outside the courthouse, we have to do this to get in. Makes sense I guess, if your necktie is too tight. So, y’all can tell I’m not thrilled about any of this.

I greeted the fellows and put my purse in the plastic box and walked through the metal detector. They ran my purse through then handed it back to me and I started walking off when I was called back. They weren’t happy and said something about a knife in my purse. No. No knife. I don’t even have fingernail clippers. They ran my purse back through and told me I had a credit card knife in my purse. I told them they will have to show me what that is, because I’ve never heard of it.

I started pulling things out of my purse, even with them telling me not to. It seemed like they just wanted to gingerly poke around in it. I’m thinking, “Oh, no. I’m not going to stand here and play with this. We are going to empty my purse!” I am too old to be carrying things that embarrass men to see, so out it all came. All the notebooks, the Altoids boxes (one with Altoids and one with business cash), comb, coin purse, checkbook, measuring tape, calcium tablets, cards from every store around that wants to give me a card, Kleenex, etc. ALL of it. They were trying to stop me. Ha. No. We’re doing this. I know I don’t have whatever that thing is and they will know it, too, in a minute. They were a bit upset at first, and I don’t care for huffiness. I was as friendly as if we were all old friends having a picnic together in the park by the river on a beautiful day. No one needs to get aggressive with me, so I figured friendliness would diffuse that.

It’s kind of funny now that I look back. My ‘Jones’ kicked in. If you are related to me, or you know any of us Joneses, you know what that means. I really sort of took charge of things in a way, because over their protests, I emptied everything and told them to run it through empty, then put the stuff that was in the purse in the box a bit at a time and run that through, too. In the meantime, they kept trying to explain what those credit card knife things look like. I’m sure they thought they could find it if they looked, and I was acting like the stupid thing was invisible and could only be seen by their metal detector. They did run it through empty, then ran some of the stuff through just loose in the box. I even tossed in the Wet Ones pack and told them to scan that, too.

One of them (there were four or five guys making sure our courthouse is safe!) looked up credit card knives on his phone and showed me a photo of one. I told him I’d never seen one of those. They also showed me the screen, so I could see what they saw. I could identify keys and phone but I’d never seen that other thing. I told them it could be a dangerous thing in the wrong hands. They explained that you can buy credit card knives at convenience stores really cheap. There’s not much I want in a convenience store, so I wouldn’t know. The longer this mess went on, the nicer they all got.

They decided it must have been the purse before my purse and they apologized. I wondered what they thought they needed to do then, with contraband running loose in the courthouse! When I got my purse all packed back up (I told them it’s like packing luggage) and started to walk off, that’s when I noticed the line was out the door to get in. Gee, we kind of held things up. There was a man who came through as I was leaving and he told them, “I don’t like this new system!” and I said, “I don’t either!” He and I were headed off to the same place and I told him we just emptied my purse because they thought I had a credit card knife, but it must have been the purse before mine. Then I told him it’s not those guys’ fault, but I don’t think I could do that for a living. I’d feel like I was violating the Constitution.

More Thoughts On The ISIS Situation

Scott Pelley. Good grief. The man is risking his life to run all over the Middle East to get interviews supposedly to let us know what is going on, but he’s only telling part of the story. I should know better. If anyone thinks they can condense the complexity of centuries of conflict in the Middle East down to anything less than an hour, well, they are leaving out a lot. Since writing about this yesterday, I’ve read more and have had discussions with my family and now I’m aggravated.

On 60 Minutes, I saw Jordan’s king say he wanted us to help. I guess so. ISIS has threatened to kill him after they take his country. According to this article on World Net Daily, 60 Minutes didn’t tell the whole story. (Well, color me surprised. CBS sometimes really appears to be a propaganda machine, from TV shows to news coverage. Scott must be one of their most compliant puppets.) There are people in Jordan who actually want ISIS to take over. The Sunni’s in Iraq felt the same way until it happened. Well, at least one man changed his mind. He was the one 60 Minutes interviewed. The ones who still support ISIS haven’t been interviewed by 60 Minutes. The Prime Minister of Jordan doesn’t want us involved. It sounds like the reason is because he’s trying to avoid conflict. How can he avoid conflict when this group wants to take his country and there are people in it who support ISIS and people who don’t? It sounds like even though Jordan is with us on bombing ISIS, they are not united. My husband said that lack of unity in that region is how all this is perpetuated.

Something else I learned answers my question about Turkey. I wondered why they weren’t doing anything to stop this murderous organization? This is happening right on their southern border. Well, guess what? Silly me thought no government would sell weapons to ISIS, so they must be getting bullets and such off the black market. Not so. If you read the article linked to above on World Net Daily, you saw that Turkey is helping them. Seems Turkey wants a caliphate and thinks ISIS is the way to establish one.

One thing that gets to me is the beheading of US journalists by ISIS. Great Britain and the US have been looking for them. I guess really that is all that can be done. Bombs and missiles really won’t fix that. I’ve learned that the journalists were reporting on the Free Syrian Army. They were with them and the army sold them to ISIS for $50,000. I learned that here.

Another thing that concerns me is the people who support ISIS and who are scattered here and there all over the world. They could do a lot of harm. I am not willing, however, to give up any more civil liberties in order for the government to hunt for them amongst the population. Serial killers are a danger to us all but we don’t search folks’ persons and vehicles trying to find duct tape and knives. Let’s not lose perspective, please.

Syria is a stew of rebels and fighters of all sorts and we have jumped in by supplying weapons. That never goes well, as you can see from, oh, from history, the most recent being the article linked to a couple of sentences back. I’m glad my congressman voted not to arm rebels. He said he couldn’t do that without more info on how they would decide who to arm and what to do if it didn’t work. Besides, our getting involved in Syria looks like an excuse to meddle in who is running the country, which is none of our business. Here we go poking the bear in the eye again, too. (Russia, who of course, isn’t happy about our meddling in Ukraine’s business either.)

Supposedly,  congress is waiting until after the elections this fall before discussing the President’s decision to drop bombs and fire missiles all on his own, without congress making that decision. And see, that’s the thing. You would think that congress would have more info than we have and they could discuss this now and make an informed decision. We can only look at our news sources and hope they are giving us all the information without leaning this way or that. Is that too much to ask, anyway?

My Thoughts On The Most Recent Mess In The Middle East

Normally I’m not in favor of this sort of thing. Until I saw enough and read enough, I wasn’t sure we ought to be messing with this at all. A few months back when there were discussions about whether or not we should arm rebels in Syria, I didn’t think we should because we didn’t know who was who over there and I’m glad we stayed out of it. As usual, I think John McCain and Lindsey Graham were wrong. I think what I saw on 60 Minutes online last night, along with what I’ve seen on CBN News has been very informative and helped me make up my mind on this.

Looking back, I think our involvement in Iraq to take out Saddam was a very bad idea. I think what is happening now could not have happened if we would have stayed at home and not started something over there. Now we have This. This is different. Iraq is losing territory to ISIS and Syria has lost land to them as well. They have a certain area staked out that they want to claim and rule. They are beheading and shooting anyone, Muslim or Christian or whatever, who doesn’t agree with them. They have killed Americans. Is that not an act of war?

We had Syria’s permission before we dropped the first bomb. France has been dropping bombs as well. ISIS has 40,000 troops, no telling how many supporters worldwide and is bringing in $6 million a day. At least 100 American citizens are involved with them over there and there are some who have been there and trained with them and are now back in the US. These are people who have a legitimate passport to come and go from here to there. I’m not big on believing I should be afraid of everyone the government says is a threat. I don’t need the government to say a word for this to make me uncomfortable. Plus, some of this information comes from an intelligence source from the Middle East who spoke on camera. I think they know more about what is going on than what our intelligence has known, such as how many fighters there are and how much money ISIS takes in on a daily basis.

Last night after seeing the 60 Minutes report, I told my husband I wish the other countries nearby would do something. Why is it just US? I wondered if the leaders that surround Iraq and Syria even care about this, or do they just expect us to come do everything for them? Today I learned that five of those countries do support what we are doing. Those countries are Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain. Knowing this made a difference to me and solidified my conclusion. I’d like to see Turkey and Lebanon get involved, too, since they are so near where ISIS has taken land.

So, these are my thoughts.

 

ADDENDUM: One of my sons gave me some info that I didn’t have, so there is a correction to make. We didn’t exactly get permission from Syria. This is what the US State Department said:

“[W]e informed the Syrian regime directly of our intent to take action through our Ambassador to the United Nations (Ambassador Power) to the Syrian Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

We warned Syria not to engage US aircraft. We did not request the regime’s permission. We did not coordinate our actions with the Syrian government. We did not provide advance notification to the Syrians at a military level, or give any indication of our timing on specific targets. Secretary Kerry did not send a letter to the Syrian regime.”

Also, where is congress? There is a way to go about whatever needs to be done and a way not to. I hope they have all their ducks in a row.

No More NCIS For Me

Well, Tuesday nights are about to change for me. After last week’s propaganda on NCIS, I quit. I’ve been watching this show for years and the new one, NCIS:LA, from the beginning. There have been a few times that I’ve wondered if those NCIS shows are a vehicle for government propaganda. Now I suspect that I was right.

The new character who is there to replace Ziva, and who seems to be a very interesting character, is from the NSA. You know the NSA. That’s the National Security Agency, the people who are freaking out the whole world with their spying. The new character said to another character, Abby, who had a low opinion of the new lady and her association with such a despicable organization, that at the NSA they don’t just sit around listening to people’s phone calls. She said they have to get a warrant. Yeah, right. A warrant from FISA court where they get pretty much whatever they want.

This may have satisfied Abby, who is only a character on a TV show, but I’m not satisfied. Real people who see this show promote things that are not in the best interest of U.S. citizens and our Constitution won’t like it. Surely, I’m not the only person who has seen this?

By the way, if they are recording your phone calls you will hear some clicks. At least on a land line phone you will. I don’t have a cell so I don’t know about those. If you want to see how it works, try discussing history or chemistry with someone. Talk about things like the Kennedy assassination, the Bay of Pigs, the Cold War, missiles and such things that set off their little roaming bot-like thingys. I’ve had it happen twice.

Yep, Tuesday evenings will be different, and I know I will miss the characters. It’s funny, but when it’s rerun season and I’m not watching, I do miss them. Oh, well. I’d rather not have my entertainment laced with propaganda, thank you. I wonder, in those polls that rate congress as compared to things such as hemorrhoids (congress is rated lower), where the NSA rates?

Happy Independence Day?

This is a sad 4th of July for me. It’s one thing to celebrate the beginning of our country, but quite another thing to realize what we have become. I can’t separate the two.

How can I celebrate a country that has allowed the President to have a “kill list” with any person who is merely suspected of being a terrorist on the list? They can be shot or a bomb dropped on them and anyone who is with them when it happens is just collateral damage. What happened to the rule of law, warrants for searches and charges being filed and a trial in a courtroom? We still have indefinite detention, and even if they didn’t detain American citizens (Do you trust them on this? I don’t.), but only non-citizens, what can be done to one will eventually be done to all. Anyone who participates in a protest can be suspected of terrorist activity. There doesn’t seem to be a definition of that word, terrorist. It seems to change with the circumstances and the whims of the accuser.

Our military is misused. We go to war to protect “our interests” rather than defending our country against foreign military attacks.  And speaking of the military – we have been militarizing our city police and county sheriffs. Look at the equipment these guys have these days. Tanks? Huge guns? Drones? OH…drones. Yes, those, too. Won’t be long and we will have thousands of them in our skies. They say this is to “keep us safe”?

Just writing something like this may land me on a list of some sort. I am complaining, after all. I’m looking back at how our founders didn’t trust big government and didn’t want a standing army. They didn’t want a government that could do to citizens even a fraction of what ours can, and does, do to us. I guess this article, along with all of our email, phone calls and whatever else they can gather up, will be in their huge database. If you wonder what I’m talking about, just do a search of “NSA database.”

We have a government agency in our airports that has a Ha-Ha I See You Naked Machine, which one can refuse to stand in front of and have their naked body viewed by a stranger, only to then be mauled by the gloved hands of a different stranger. The only basis for such invasive government activity seems to be that one is traveling. Even Henry Kissinger was groped by TSA agents who didn’t even recognize his name. This one truly turns the 4th Amendment on its head.

The abuses and losses just go on and on.

So, how did this mess happen? I read the other day that someone once asked Alexander Solzhenitsyn how Russia became a Communist state? What happened to allow that? His answer was that “the people forgot God.”

Now, if you have read much of my political or spiritual writings on this blog, you know that I am not in favor of making Christianity into a civil religion. I think when a country declares itself to be a “Christian Nation” and then behaves like ours does, invading countries that have not attacked us, going back on promises made to other countries and to groups of people who were fighting off dictators (ones we didn’t support),  just generally running over anyone who gets in our way, it gives Christianity a bad name worldwide. I don’t care if we have “In God We Trust” on our money, or not. I don’t care for the trappings of a show of religion. The church does not need the support of the state, and in fact, it seems to weaken the church when it has had that. The church, and all religions, only need the freedom to practice their beliefs and to speak out in the public square.

But, what happens when the people forget God? What happens when Christians forget about the dignity and reverence for life? What happens when they forget that all men are created in God’s image and deserve to be treated accordingly? They vote their pocketbook, that’s what. They look at their retirement accounts and want more regulation. We’ve got it, folks, and it’s intrusive.* They look at their bank accounts and vote for more welfare and care of every sort. We’ve got that, too. And everything we get takes something away. It takes our privacy and our dignity in being able to live our lives like adults who are able to care for themselves. We get protection that we need to be protected from.

So, now what we have is a President who has a “kill list” and local police who look like soldiers when they do raids and they act like soldiers, too. We have unreasonable searches in our airports and homes. Our papers (all our communications) are subject to the scrutiny of the federal government without our knowledge or consent. No dignity. No respect. This is what happens when we forget God.

*Someone showed me the questionnaire that is required by the Dodd-Frank Act. It asks not only about investments, but also, “For Natural Person, Estate, and Trust clients: Is the client, clients (sic) family member or other person who shares the client’s household a government official?” If the answer is “Yes” they want the name, relationship to the client, jurisdiction, etc.

Problems in the US Food Supply

This is a first for me, folks. I have never posted anything like this where I ask readers to watch a video in order to learn something. I assume you are here to read, and maybe look at photos, but if you ever eat a bite of food in the United States, this concerns you.

Did you know that the US has the highest cancer rate in the world? Did you know that 9 out of 10 breast cancers are not caused by genes? Did you know that food allergies are rampant in the US, having doubled between 1997 and 2002? This little video very powerfully explains why we have these problems, along with others, in less than 20 minutes.

If you want more information, check out Food, Inc. Netflix has it in case you only want to rent it. One helpful and inspiring book and DVD set to help one get away from some of this is the Forks Over Knives book and DVD set. My doctor recommended the book when we were talking about nutrition recently. The DVD explains a lot about food and health; the book is mostly recipes. (We had the Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash last night and the Banana Ice Cream dessert and it was delicious!)

I think we can change the situation, and in the meantime, we can all eat more healthful foods. I’m even more inspired now. I hope you are, too.