THE VET 'THREAT': OBAMA GOV'T IDS PUBLIC ENEMY NO. 1
By Ralph Peters -- who is so stupid he served in the military for almost 22 years
HOLLYWOOD and countless professors warned us: Military vets are drooling trailer-trash who beat their wives and, at best, wind up as homeless street people -- at worst, as homicidal psychos deformed by war. Now, thanks to our ever-vigilant Department of Homeland Security, the full extent of the danger has been revealed: Our so-called "war heroes" are rushing back to join right-wing-extremist hate groups to overthrow our government.
Let's not quibble about little things like evidence. The Obama administration just knows that vets are all racist, Jew-hating crazies waiting to explode. Thank God, DHS has a fearless leader, Janet-from-another-planet Napolitano, who isn't afraid to call white trash "white trash."
In this administration's published opinion, those who've served in our military are a menace to society and the state. And DHS's racist, bigoted implication is that the only danger comes from white, Christian vets (there's not a whisper about minority violence). Thanks for bringing us together, Mr. President.
Racism is racism. The left-wing propaganda document published officially by your government under the title "Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment" may be the shabbiest US Government publication of our time.
The report warns that "the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists . . . carrying out violent acts."
The document's evidence? None. It contains no hard data, no statistics. It's nothing but a racist, anti-military opinion column that might pass muster in The New York Times, but shouldn't be issued by our government.
The report adds that "rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans" who "possess combat skills." The point? Our hayseed, uneducated, unskilled, wacko vets aren't able to think for themselves and will be patsies for right-wing fanatics. Guess that's how things look from Harvard.
Then the report warns us that "a prominent civil-rights organization reported in 2006 that 'large numbers of potentially violent neo-Nazis, skinheads, and other white supremacists are now learning the art of warfare in the armed forces.' " Which civil-rights organization? The Rev. Jeremiah Wright's? Why not name it? Why accept this bigoted hearsay? Where's the proof? Where's the data?
And where are those "large numbers of potentially violent neo-Nazis," anyway? Last time I checked, American Nazis had trouble mustering a couple dozen overweight losers in Halloween costumes.
Of course, Timothy McVeigh is invoked. Repeatedly. He's the sole example of a violent anti-government vet the report's drafters could produce. And there's no mention of the fact that, when he tried to join Special Forces, McVeigh promptly washed out and soon found his butt on the street. No, McVeigh will serve as eternal evidence that a homicidal nut lurks within every former soldier.
In just 8½ pages of text, the report manages to link our veterans to anti-Semitism, racism, economic failure and those dangerous citizens who think illegal immigration's a bad idea. Oh, and vets can't be trusted with firearms.
But never fear: Obama's commissars at the Department of Homeland Security have already responded that DHS simultaneously issued a report on extremist danger from the left. It's title? "Leftwing Extremists Likely to Increase Use of Cyber Attacks over the Coming Decade."
Get the point? Left-wing extremists aren't violent (and right-wingers are too stupid to understand computers). Timothy McVeigh can be invoked, but let's not mention Bill Ayers, our president's good buddy (until he became inconvenient) or his murderous wife. Left-wing fanatics might make a little online mischief, but, hey -- kids will be kids.
Read both reports. You'll find that those on the political right (not just vets) are unable to cope with the stress of economic hardship, the real-estate crisis or job loss. Not a word about those issues driving leftists to extremes. They're just defending animal rights and the environment (honest -- read the reports).
Narco gangs aren't a threat, either. And the real and present danger from Islamist fanatics resident in our country goes unmentioned -- even though there's plenty of data on that threat. The only anti-government violence DHS fears comes from crackers with carbines.
And from chumps so dumb they joined the military. We're the threat to our fellow citizens. You and me. Our first minority president just took a giant step toward creating the most bigoted administration since that of arch-segregationist Woodrow Wilson. Apologize to our veterans, Mr. President. And send Ms. Napolitano back to the minors.
Police photography hatred in Britain again (1)
Terror quiz for man who took photo of British police car.
A man was detained as a terrorist suspect for taking a photo of a police car being driven erratically across a public park. Malcolm Sleath, who is chairman of his local park society, was stopped by two officers and told he had breached Section 44 of the Terrorism Act. The law was amended in February to allow police to stop and search anyone they consider is a terrorist threat. Those found guilty face a maximum ten years in jail.
But Mr Sleath, acting chairman of the Friends of Town Park in Enfield, North London, was furious because police are not allowed to drive in that area of park. The 62-year-old management consultant said: 'It was coming a public footpath and leaving tyre marks everywhere and making people move out of the way. 'They are supposed to park and investigate things on foot, so I wanted to show the picture to the sergeant. '(The officer) was clearly embarrassed to be photographed where he shouldn't have been and wanted to intimidate me.'
The two PCSOs had been dispatched to the park to look for evidence of drug use in the surrounding bushes. But their bosses issued an immediate apology to Mr Sleath after the incident and admitted the pair should have been on foot. The PCSO concerned has also received 'formal words of advice', a police spokesman said.
Police photography hatred in Britain again (2)
Police delete London tourists' photos 'to prevent terrorism'
Like most visitors to London, Klaus Matzka and his teenage son Loris took several photographs of some of the city's sights, including the famous red double-decker buses. More unusually perhaps, they also took pictures of the Vauxhall bus station, which Matzka regards as "modern sculpture". But the tourists have said they had to return home to Vienna without their holiday pictures after two policemen forced them to delete the photographs from their cameras in the name of preventing terrorism.
Matkza, a 69-year-old retired television cameraman with a taste for modern architecture, was told that photographing anything to do with transport was "strictly forbidden". The policemen also recorded the pair's details, including passport numbers and hotel addresses. In a letter in today's Guardian, Matzka wrote: "I understand the need for some sensitivity in an era of terrorism, but isn't it naive to think terrorism can be prevented by terrorising tourists?" The Metropolitan police said it was investigating the allegations.
In a telephone interview from his home in Vienna, Matka said: "I've never had these experiences anywhere, never in the world, not even in Communist countries." He described his horror as he and his 15-year-old son were forced to delete all transport-related pictures on their cameras, including images of Vauxhall underground station. "Google Street View is allowed to show any details of our cities on the world wide web," he said. "But a father and his son are not allowed to take pictures of famous London landmarks."
He said he would not return to London again after the incident, which took place last week in central Walthamstow, in north-east London. He said he and his son liked to travel to the unfashionable suburbs. "We typically crisscross cities from the end of railway terminals, we like to go to places not visited by other tourists. You get to know a city by going to places like this, not central squares. Buckingham Palace is also necessary, but you need to go elsewhere to get to know the city," he said. He said the "nasty incident" had "killed interest in any further trips to the city".
Jenny Jones, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority and a Green party member of the London assembly, said she would raise the incident with the Met chief, Sir Paul Stephenson, as part of discussions on the policing of the G20 protests. "This is another example of the police completely overreaching the anti-terrorism powers," she said. "They are using it in a totally inappropriate way.
"I will be raising it with the commissioner. I have already written to him about the police taking away cameras and stopping people taking photographs and made the point that if it was not for people taking photos, we would not know about the death of Ian Tomlinson or the woman who was hit by a police officer."
A spokeswoman for Metropolitan police said: "It is not the police's intention to prevent tourists from taking photographs and we are looking to the allegations made." The force said it had no knowledge of any ban on photographing public transport in the capital.
Religious freedom doesn’t mean religious silence
The rights of conscience, Pope John Paul II once wrote, are the "primary foundation of every authentically free political order." If that is so, then we better redouble our vigilance. Here in the United States, where we fancy ourselves religiously tolerant, recent high-profile cases suggest that First Amendment rights are widely misunderstood.
In an ongoing imbroglio, Catholics around the country have lodged objections to the University of Notre Dame's decision to grant an honorary degree to President Barack Obama. They are upset that the university's honor comes in the wake of a series of decisions that flout Catholic teaching on abortion and they judge that Notre Dame's action contradicts a directive issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2004. Some of these objecting Catholics happen to be bishops, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago among them. In response, William M. Daley, in an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune, reacted with dismay. The former co-chairman of Obama's presidential campaign called the cardinal's remarks part of "a worrisome pattern in which the Catholic hierarchy in America is mixing religion with politics." Faith, he implied, is a private matter, and religious figures violate the separation of church and state by offering their opinions in a way that might affect the public discourse.
Last week, the Iowa Supreme Court struck down a state law prohibiting homosexual men and women from marrying same-sex partners. The decision depended on the court's finding that there was no "rational basis" for Iowa's statute. More specifically, the Court determined that opposition to same-sex marriage was all (or mostly) motivated by "religion." By endorsing the law, the Court concluded, it would be endorsing religion, which is forbidden by the First Amendment.
Legal scholar Matthew Franck summarizes the implication of the court's argument well: "if a moral argument finds support in any religious commitment, then the promulgation of that argument in law is a violation of the principle of religious disestablishment." More to the point, Franck observes, this approach to First Amendment jurisprudence is "logically fallacious, historically illiterate, and politically brutish."
It is politically brutish because it, like the approach taken by Daley, tries to shove religious people from the public square by disallowing their views any influence in the formation of law or public policy. As George Weigel pointed out in a commentary on the Tribune column, it is ironic that Daley, the son of the Chicago mayor who helped John F. Kennedy win the presidency, would try to vitiate the authority of Church leadership by invoking a hoary anti-Catholic myth about bishops scheming for political power.
The problem should concern everyone, believer or not. As the Iowa case demonstrates, any religious view will be suspect, so long as it grates the sensibilities of whomever the political elite happen to be at the time. Even the views of non-religious people can be ostracized in this way. In Iowa, if an atheist favors a traditional definition of marriage, that position is nonetheless deemed unconstitutional because it happens to fall in line with the policy views held by some evangelical Christians, Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, or any other religious group.
It should be obvious that this is no way of building a pluralistic society that is free and peaceful. The American Founders knew better when they fashioned an amendment forbidding the national government from establishing a church, guaranteeing all people the right to practice their faith, and leaving the rest to local custom and personal freedom.
Recognizing the influence of religion, tyrants have always begun their quest for absolute power by coopting religious leaders. Where they have failed in that enterprise, would-be despots have neutralized them by undermining their authority or doing away with troublesome ministers altogether. History's tyrants recognized the progression that some of us have forgotten: Where people are free to act according their conscience, they will demand the right to determine their political destiny. Where they choose their political leaders, they will seek the space to exercise economic freedom as well. The many dimensions of freedom tend to rise--and to fall--together.
These are the connections that John Paul II, a churchman under Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, understood and articulated. Those who love freedom, be they of devout religious faith or none at all, should resist attempts to silence believers under the auspices of a perverted notion of separation of church and state.
Internet privacy: Britain in the dock
'Big Brother' state comes under fire as European Commission launches inquiry into secret surveillance of web users
Britain's failure to protect its citizens from secret surveillance on the internet is to be investigated by the European Commission. The move will fuel claims that Britain is sliding towards a Big Brother state and could end with the Government being forced to defend its policy on internet privacy in front of judges in Europe. The legal action is being brought over the use of controversial behavioural advertising services which were tested on BT's internet customers without their consent.
Yesterday, the EU said it wanted "clear consent" from internet users that their private data was being used to gather commercial information about their web shopping habits.
Under the programme, the UK-listed company Phorm has developed technology that allows internet service providers (ISPs) to track what their users are doing online. ISPs can then sell that information to media companies and advertisers, who can use it to place more relevant advertisements on websites the user subsequently visits. The EU has accused Britain of turning a blind eye to the growth in this kind of internet marketing.
Yesterday, the EU telecoms commissioner, Viviane Reding, said: "I call on the UK authorities to change their national laws and ensure that national authorities are duly empowered and have proper sanctions at their disposal to enforce EU legislation."
Last year, BT tested the Phorm technology to track its customer's internet searches without their knowledge, provoking complaints from users and from UK members of the European Parliament.
Because it is considered lawful to intercept data when there is "reasonable grounds for believing" there is consent, the issue falls outside the UK's wiretapping laws. Linda Weatherhead of Consumer Focus said: "While phone tapping is clearly illegal and unacceptable, it seems that spying on the digital communications and activity is not." Richard Clayton, treasurer of the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR) – which described Phorm as "illegal" last year – said: "The laws are fit for purpose, but it seems that Whitehall have misunderstood their own laws." He said that users at both ends need to have consented to the system, which is not the case here and so contravenes the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act from 2000.
The Commission is also critical of the Government's implementation of the European electronic privacy and personal data protection rules. They state that EU countries must ensure the confidentiality of communications by banning the interception and surveillance of internet users without their consent. Ms Reding said: "We have been following the Phorm case for some time and have concluded that there are problems in the way the UK has implemented parts of EU rules on the confidentially of communications." She added that the enforcement of the laws "should allow the UK to respond more vigorously to new challenges of e-privacy and personal data protection such as those that have arisen in the Phorm case. It should also help reassure UK consumers about their privacy and data protection while surfing the internet."
The EU's intervention was welcomed by privacy campaigners. The Open Rights Group recently wrote to some of the world's biggest websites including Google, Yahoo and Facebook, asking them to block Phorm. Its executive director, Jim Killock, said yesterday: "There are big legal questions surrounding BT's use of Phorm, so we welcome the EU taking the Government to task. It's a pity our own Government haven't had more backbone and stood up for their voters' rights."
The UK has two months to reply to the EC's formal notification. Should no satisfactory response be made, the Commission could issue a reasoned opinion, before the case moves to the European Court of Justice. Last year the Information Commissioner's Office passed the Phorm technology as legal.
Advertisers are particularly keen on this form of marketing as the more targeted it becomes, the more value for money they feel the advert offers. One consultant said: "It is basically a very fine line between advertising that helps people and those that intrude."
Phorm boss Kent Ertugrul has been increasingly forced on to the back foot over the issue of privacy, fending off a series of questions over the issue last week at a "town hall" meeting. He said that the technology does not store information to identify a user; that all participants can opt out of it; and that it complies with data protection and privacy laws. The group added yesterday that the Commission's statement did not contradict that its technology was fully compliant with UK legislation and EU directives.
It is illegal in the UK to unlawfully intercept communications, but this is limited to "intentional" interception, the EC said yesterday. This is also considered lawful when those intercepting have "reasonable grounds for believing" consent has been given. There is no independent national supervisory authority dealing with such cases.
Several bodies including FIPR have blamed the Government and the UK regulators for playing "pass the parcel" with the issue, which has left it hanging with no one wanting to enforce it.
The Commission received its first complaints over the issue in April last year following BT's trial. Other providers including Virgin and Carphone Warehouse's TalkTalk are also interested. Users complained to the UK data protection authority and the police. The Commission wrote to the UK authorities in July and upon receiving the answers "has concerns that there are structural problems in the way the UK has implemented EU rules".
Simon Davis, director of Privacy International, believes the row has erupted more over "sovereignty than substance. It is almost entirely political".
'Big Brother' Britain: Private data under threat
* The mobile calls, emails and website visits of every person in Britain will be stored for a year under sweeping new powers which came into force this month. The new powers will for the first time place a legal duty on internet providers to store private data.
* Privacy campaigners warn that all this information could be used by the Government to create a giant "Big Brother" super-database containing a map of everyone's private life. The Home Office is expected shortly to publish plans for the storage of data which it says will be invaluable in the fight against crime.
* Facebook, one of the world's biggest internet sites, faced a privacy backlash when thousands of members signed a petition calling on the website to remove an advertising programme called Beacon, which can be used to track the spending habits of its users' visits to other websites.
* Google also courted controversy this year when it launched Street View, the controversial 3D mapping feature, in the UK. In one village householders stopped a Google vehicle from taking pictures of their street.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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