Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Friday, April 06, 2012

Good Friday, 2012

Two days ago, the U.S. military announced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of 9/11 and four other accused plotters will be tried together by a military tribunal at Guantanamo Gay on charges of terrorism, hijacking aircraft, and murder.  They will face the death penalty if convicted for their roles in the September 11th attacks.

Today, we learned that their successors have been plotting again to attack the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, and probably other targets as well.  This is the same failed plan for which the Blind Sheikh Abdel Rahmen was convicted and imprisoned for life.  He was later tried for the more successful first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.

According to Newscore, defense attorneys had sought to avoid charges that carried the death penalty and wanted the five to face separate trials.  The accused terrorists have been provided with additional attorneys with special expertise in death penalty cases, the military said Wednesday.

“The Obama Administration is making a terrible mistake by prosecuting the most important terrorism trials of our time in a second-tier system of justice,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said in a statement.  “Whatever verdict comes out of the Guantanamo military commissions will be tainted by an unfair process and the politics that wrongly pulled these cases from federal courts, which have safely and successfully handled hundreds of terrorism trials.”

Pakistani intelligence agents apprehended Mohammed in a raid in 2003 and he was soon transferred to U.S. authorities. In 2006, President George W. Bush announced that Mohammed was among the al Qaeda captives who had been held in secret CIA prisons before being transferred to military custody at Guantanamo Bay.

Mohammed's lieutenants are accused of helping the 9/11 hijackers train for the suicide mission as well as providing financial support for the attack.  Mohammed will be tried alongside Walid bin Attash of Saudi Arabia, Ramzi Binalshibh of Yemen, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali of Pakistan, and Mustafa al Hawsawi of Saudi Arabia.

Under the charges, Mohammed and his cohorts are deemed responsible for the deaths of 2,976 people in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2001.

The prosecution should have enough evidence against KSM and the others to convict them.  The ACLU is howling that this tribunal is second-tier justice and that KSM should be tried in federal court with a civilian jury.  They point out that similar cases, including that of the Blind Sheikh, were tried successfully.

Andrew McCarthy didn’t face the challenges that the prosecution faces in this trial.  They have a defendant who claims he wasn’t even on U.S. soil on September 11th, much less in a plane.  He claims, or rather boasts, that he was part of the “back-up” team for a second wave of attacks and that he intended to land on the lower tip of Manhattan and then carry out his attack.

The prosecution also has a bit of a puzzle on their hands.  Two hijackers in California were scheduled to fly on a plane on September 11th.  Instead, they took an earlier flight home and subsequently disappeared.  No one (or almost no one) knows if they had abandoned a scheme that was well in progress at the last minute, which would discredit KSM’s claims of a “second wave” attack, or why they abandoned it.

KSM claims the late Osama Bin Laden felt that trying to hijack more than five planes was risky, hence the second wave plan.  Yet, in these 10 and a half years since 9/11, while the terrorists might have attempted a second wave here in America, they’ve been noticeably unsuccessful, something Osama Bin Laden would have known in the weeks prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. 

Even somnolent America would be expected to wake up after such a notorious attack and it did.  The U.S. heightened its security.  If you’re a terrorist taking a gamble, better to throw all your cards on the table all at once.  When you’re a suicide hijacker, what have you go to lose, after all?  Why would OBL be afraid?  What would he have to fear?

The mystery surrounding the California hijackers indicates something went wrong.  OBL is no longer around to tell us (not that he would have) what made him change his mind.  Meanwhile, we have an election coming up, and after what will be 11 years, it’s high time the government put KSM on trial through the military.

The conspiracy theorists are out in force now, insisting that it was all a government cover-up; it was not.  If you read anything at all about Osama Bin Laden, you learn he made a lot of mistakes and a lot of bad calls.  We just don’t know where or when he made this particular call involving the California hijackers or why.  We'll probably never know.  But it’ll make fodder for a great Hollywood movie, someday.

While we wait for KSM to get his, today is the observance of the trial of a truly innocent man, Jesus Christ.  Jesus is still on trial today, being thrown out of schools and public squares.  His is the longest trial in history.  Christians have this satisfaction at least;  in the final Day of Judgment, it is Jesus who will hand down the verdict for all of us.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

An Example of American Exceptionalism

Obama has one doozy of an imagination. 

In 2011, he said, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”  Which was to say, he did not believe that America was exceptional.

Then, at a press conference alongside Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on April 2, he bragged, “It's worth noting that I first arrived on the national stage with a speech at the Democratic convention that was entirely about American exceptionalism and that my entire career has been a testimony to American exceptionalism.” 

The only model he plays for exceptionalism is that he enjoys being the exception to the rule.  He’d be an exceptional American president, except that he despises the U.S. Constitution and believes that it is outdated and should be cast aside in favor of a new, socialist constitution.

Likewise, he’d be an exceptional leader except that he doesn’t believe in the separation of powers.  He believes that Congress is a mere political theater and that the Supreme Court justices are puppets for carrying out his dictates.  FDR enjoyed dictating laws, too.  “Grace!” he would cry out to his secretary, “I want to dictate a law!”

Without exception, Obama has spent more money on buying votes, unions, and corporations than any other president in U.S. history.  He’s exceptionally ignorant about history, particularly U.S. history.  He believes in redistributing wealth rather than leaving Americans free to make their own way.  He’s an exceptional busybody, ordering his then-Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, ram through Obamacare without anyone even examining it, much less criticize it.

No other president in history has ever bowed to foreign potentates, as Obama has.  Not only has his behavior been exceptional but entirely singular.  He set a new precedent and broke a record for the number of bows he made all in one term.  He’s done an exceptional job of setting a mandate for the destruction of Capitalism and the imposition of Socialism.

As for his speeches, which some have praised for their loftiness, he is an exceptional stutterer and stammerer (all apologies to those who are afflicted with this problem).  There is also the exceptional way in which he tilts his chin upward, affecting a most exceptional arrogance.  His arrogance is most exceptional when he boasts of an improving economy, even as more people are forced onto the public dole.  The government doesn’t count those who give up looking for work.

His very election was the work of an exceptional group of Socialists, laboring to get this one-term U.S. Senator into the White House.  That anyone with less experience could have been elected is a testimony to Americans’ exceptional gullibility, selfishness, laziness, and egotism.  We’ve gone from being the land of milk and honey to being the land of free milk and honey.  “Free” bests “freedom” every time and Obama had the exceptional sagacity to latch onto this moral weakness.

Obama is a hero in his own mind and that of his Socialist followers.  Now that we know we have a president with a Napoleon complex, we can retire him to the funny farm where he can make speeches to all the other exceptional mediocrities.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Look for the Union Label

Moderate pundits are celebrating today the fact that Mitt Romney won the GOP primaries in D.C., Maryland, and Wisconsin.

Let’s take a closer look at those districts, though.  In the case of the District of Columbia, we’re talking about Inside the Beltway; in fact, the very heart of the Beltway.  Rick Santorum received no percentage at all, as opposed to Romney’s 70 percent.  Well, who lives in D.C. but politicians, their friends and families, and bureaucrats?

Then there’s Maryland, a chief suburb of the District of Columbia.  More bureaucrats, politicians, and government workers.  Still, Romney didn’t pull off a majority, there, although at 49 percent it was pretty close.  There’s no great surprise in Romney’s win in these places.

Wisconsin.  Now that was a disappointment.  We can’t blame the Moderate pundits for this loss.   We can’t blame Mitt Romney.  We can’t even blame the Liberal Democrats and their union thugs.  Rick Santorum has only himself to blame.  Publicly supporting the unions is not the way to win friends and influence people in the Tea Parties.

The race was much closer in Wisconsin:  Romney’s 44 percent to Santorum’s 37 percent.  This is a state that hasn’t forgotten how the union thugs tore up Madison, the capital city.  They haven’t forgotten how the Liberals ran out of town to prevent a vote on the unions.  They haven’t forgotten how those Liberals ran a vicious, but failed, campaign to get Wisconsin’s governor recalled.

Wisconsin was Santorum’s for the taking.  With such a close race, he has to keep an eye on his home state of Pennsylvania in case he doesn’t get the job of president in November.  Failing to achieve the presidency, he’ll have to return to the union miners and factory workers who got him elected in western Pennsylvania. 

According to the Associated Press, Romney has 655 delegates, compared with 278 for Santorum. Newt Gingrich trails with 135, followed by Ron Paul with 51.   It takes 1,144 to win, and Romney has blown past the halfway mark with his wins on Tuesday.  There is the possibility that Gingrich will throw his delegates over to Santorum, giving him a more respectable 413.  He doesn’t stand a chance of getting Ron Paul’s delegates, of course.  Paul is waiting to see how close the race is.  If Santorum gets too close to Romney’s numbers, Paul’s numbers will ensure that Romney gets in.

Santorum will have a more difficult time with Conservatives, having revealed his union label.  Still, “almost a conservative” is better than “a Conservative when my numbers demand it.”  Santorum was also captured yelling at someone or other and using bad language, which doesn’t help to convince Moderates you’re the guy (not that anything would – but swearing doesn’t help).

When we’re vetting candidates in the future, let’s make sure we look for the union label before endorsing them.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

All in a Day's Work

In a video clip filmed in Union Square in New York City on Friday, radical left-wing activist Bill Ayers told Occupy Union Square protesters that ending Capitalism is his mission in life.

“I get up every morning and think, today I’m going to make a difference,” Ayers said in a video clip posted online. “Today I’m going to end Capitalism. Today, I’m going to make a revolution. I go to bed every night disappointed but I’m back to work tomorrow, and that’s the only way you can do it.”

Up until last week, my job was to get up every morning and interview employees and take their photos, all the while thinking my real mission in life was to end Communism. Maybe not all by myself, but I sure wanted a piece of the action.

Now that my excellent former company and I have parted ways, on very good terms, I’m free to get up every morning and think, today, I’m going to make difference. Today, I’m going to end Communism. Today, I’m going to make a revolution.

Unlike Ayers, I don’t go to bed every night disappointed. I go to bed encouraged, having listened to Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh, and especially their callers, the people like me. I’m back to work at my mission the next day (really, his English leaves something desired). I only have a small part; my blog and my new missive, the Laszlo Letter. I don’t lead crowds of people. I do my work behind a computer screen and in stealth, for we have many enemies who watch our every move.

Today, I must purchase some computer supplies for my computer in order to continue my work, as a hacker crashed my computer a few weeks ago. I can’t even put my resume up on LinkedIn at the moment and the Department of Labor will be looking it for it soon.

If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. I didn’t “work” for 13 years (and 5 months) and I don’t intend to start now. I love what I’m doing at the moment. I don’t lay around in my bathrobe and slippers simply because I’m unemployed. I’m up at 7, ready to make the world safe for liberty and freedom and I have a smile on my face.

This isn‘t the 1930s or the 1960s. “This time, I know our side will win.”

Monday, April 02, 2012

False Sense of Security

New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission has announced that beginning May 7, New Jersey motorists will have to provide more identification in order to obtain a state driver’s license that will bear a federal gold-star stamp.

Last year, the state began issuing digital driver’s licenses with enhanced security features to make it harder to counterfeit driver’s licenses. Motorists seeking new licenses or renewals will need to produce their actual social security card, along with two forms providing residency instead of just one.

According to the Star Ledger, after Dec. 1, 2017, people without the federal designation will not be able to board domestic flights or enter a federal building. A federally-approved identification, such as a U.S. passport would will be acceptable.

In order to combat driver’s license fraud the MVC recently began using facial recognition technology, as part of a federal standard. New Jersey drivers born after Dec. 1, 1964, must meet the new federal identity requirements before December 2014.

Those born before Dec. 1, 1964, have until their next renewal cycle. Federal enforcement for them begins in December 2017. The federal program is called REAL ID and the New Jersey version is TRU-DI (The Real U). The Motor Vehicle Commission admits that the additional verification could slow down the license renewal process. Therefore, once the photo is take, the state will issue an eight-year license instead of a four-year license.

Every driver’s information will be stored in a database. Wait. What?! Gold stars? Databases? Eight-year old photos? The state will only demand we renew our licenses every eight years. What kind of security is that? Why bother having the photos at all, in that case?

As a former company studio photographer, do the state and federal government realize how much people change in eight years? Eight years is a very long time in the life of an ID photo. Five years was the limit in our studio. After five years, we suggested employees come back for a new picture and they willingly agreed (for the most part). At eight years, the photo could apply for social security.

As for the gold stars, that’s just a little too reminiscent of the Holocaust of World War II and the totalitarian state of Nazi Germany. If the government wants us to prove we’re Americans, how about the American flag instead, especially since they want to make counterfeiting more difficult?

Finally, there’s the matter of not being able to board a domestic flight without it. Is this to be the digitalized beginning of having to have papers in order to cross the border of your state? That’s what they had to do in the old Soviet Union in order to travel.

All this, they tell us, is better than violating someone’s civil rights and profiling a likely terrorist.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Palm Sunday, 2012 - Finding Jesus

Among the personal items that occupied my former work space was a devotional book entitled, Jesus Calling: Devotions for Every Day of the Year. Authored by Sarah Young, with an additional subtitle, “Enjoying Peace in His Presence,” the book was recommended by one of the company’s traveling national catastrophe representatives.

Everything I brought home wound up on my living room floor. I had to search through several bags and piles before I finally found Jesus this morning, just in time for Palm Sunday.

The catastrophe representative was from the Midwest and as New Jersey isn’t exactly the Bible Belt, she didn’t find many employees in our office comfortable with and willing to talk about the Bible or Jesus. Another employee brought her to me because she knew I had no problem with it, and that I would at least be polite.

I saw that she had this book and used it as a reference in our discussions about God and Jesus, during which we received strange looks from other people in the lunch room. Like I said, we’re definitely not in the Bible belt. I asked if I could see the book.

“Jesus Calling” is an inspirational book, with brief, one-page essays by the author inspired by her readings of the Bible. The representative allowed me to borrow it, which was very kind of her. However, to her surprise, I went online immediately to order my own copy.

From then until my last day, I kept the book by my office telephone - Jesus calling. On bad days, I found a good deal of peace in the readings. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a Bible at my desk, so I took the author’s word for the scriptural inspirations. She writes as though Jesus is talking to her (and the reader) in the first person.

My favorites, the ones I bookmarked, happened to be back-to-back, for May 2 and May 3.

May 2

“Living in Dependence on Me is the way to enjoy abundant life. You are learning to appreciate tough times, because they amplify your awareness of My Presence. Tasks that you used to dread are becoming rich opportunities to enjoy My closeness. When you feel tired, you remember that I am your Strength; you take pleasure in leaning on Me. I am pleased by your tendency to turn to Me more and more frequently, especially when you are alone.

“When you are with other people, you often lose sight of My Presence. Your fear of displeasing other people puts you in bondage to them, and they become your primary focus. When you realize this has happened, whisper My Name; this tiny act of trust brings Me to the forefront of your consciousness, where I belong. As you bask in the blessing of My nearness, My life can flow through you to others. This is abundant life!”

Proverbs 29:25; John 10:10

May 3

“You cannot serve two masters. If I am truly your Master, you will desire to please Me above all others. If pleasing other people is your goal, you will be enslaved to them. People can be harsh taskmasters when you give them this power over you.

“If I am the Master of your life, I will also be your first love. Your serving Me is rooted and grounded in My vast, unconditional Love for you. The Lower you bow down before Me, the higher I lift you up into intimate relationship with Me. The joy of living in My Presence outshines all other pleasures. I want you to reflect My joyous Light by living in increasing intimacy with me.”

Matthew 6:24; Revelation 2:4; Ephesians 3:16-17; Psalm 16:11

The book really worked. I’d be having a tough time with a story or I’d be in one of those inevitable clashes with one of my departmental co-workers. Frustrated or depressed, I’d pick up the book and I’d find some passage that had the answer. I could feel my blood pressure and heart rate go down and I’d be much more relaxed. Jesus took all of whatever it was on His shoulders, relieving me of the anxiety and stress.

Today’s message, as I sort out the clutter from my previous work experience, is this (in brief):

April 1

“I am calling you to a life of constant communion with Me. Basic training includes learning to live above your circumstances, even while interacting on that cluttered plane of your life. You yearn for a simplified lifestyle. But I challenge you to relinquish the fantasy of an uncluttered world. Accept each day just as it comes, and find Me in the midst of it all.

“Talk with Me about every aspect of your day, including your feelings. Remember that your ultimate goal is not to control or fix everything around you. A successful day is one in which you have stayed in touch with Me, even if many things remain undone at the end of the day. Do not let your to-do list (written or mental) become an idol directing your life. Instead, ask My Spirit to guide you moment by moment.”

Still, I do need to get my laundry done and take some things down to the basement. Jesus may have been able to walk on water, but I can’t walk on clutter.

But Jesus may come along if He likes as I straighten up; I’ll be glad for His company.