Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's The Veteran

It is the VETERAN, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the VETERAN, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the VETERAN, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the VETERAN, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.

It is the VETERAN, who salutes the Flag!

Friday, December 26, 2008

DHS Forecasts 5-year Terror Threats

5-year Terror Threats Forecast
December 26, 2008

WASHINGTON - The terrorism threat to the United States over the next five years will be driven by instability in the Middle East and Africa, persistent challenges to border security and increasing Internet savvy, says a new intelligence assessment obtained by The Associated Press.

Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks are considered the most dangerous threats that could be carried out against the U.S. But those threats are also the most unlikely because it is so difficult for al-Qaida and similar groups to acquire the materials needed to carry out such plots, according to the internal Homeland Security Threat Assessment for the years 2008-2013.

The al-Qaida terrorist network continues to focus on U.S. attack targets vulnerable to massive economic losses, casualties and political "turmoil," the assessment said.

Earlier this month, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction remains "the highest priority at the federal level." Speaking to reporters on Dec. 3, Chertoff explained that more people, such as terrorists, will learn how to make dirty bombs, biological and chemical weapons. "The other side is going to continue to learn more about doing things," he said.

Marked "for official use only," the report does not specify its audience, but the assessments typically go to law enforcement, intelligence officials and the private sector. When determining threats, intelligence officials consider loss of life, economic and psychological consequences.

Intelligence officials also predict that in the next five years, terrorists will try to conduct a destructive biological attack. Officials are concerned about the possibility of infections to thousands of U.S. citizens, overwhelming regional health care systems.

There could also be dire economic impacts caused by workers' illnesses and deaths. Officials are most concerned about biological agents stolen from labs or other storage facilities, such as anthrax.

"The threat of terrorism and the threat of extremist ideologies has not abated," Chertoff said in his year-end address on Dec. 18. "This threat has not evaporated, and we can't turn the page on it."

These high-consequence threats are not the only kind of challenges that will confront the U.S. over the next five years.

Terrorists will continue to try to evade U.S. border security measures and place operatives inside the mainland to carry out attacks, the 38-page assessment said. It also said that they may pose as refugees or asylum seekers or try to exploit foreign travel channels such as the visa waiver program, which allows citizens of 34 countries to enter the U.S. without visas.

Long waits for immigration and more restrictive European refugee and asylum programs will cause more foreigners to try to enter the U.S. illegally. Increasing numbers of Iraqis are expected to migrate to the U.S. in the next five years; and refugees from Somalia and Sudan could increase because of conflicts in those countries, the assessment said.

Because there is a proposed cap of 12,000 refugees from Africa, officials expect more will try to enter the U.S. illegally as well. Officials predict the same scenario for refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Intelligence officials predict the pool of radical Islamists within the U.S. will increase over the next five years due partly to the ease of online recruiting means. Officials foresee "a wave of young, self-identified Muslim 'terrorist wannabes' who aspire to carry out violent acts."

The U.S. has already seen some examples of these homegrown terrorists. Recently five Muslim immigrants were convicted of plotting to massacre U.S. Soldiers at Fort Dix in a case the government said demonstrated its post-Sept. 11 determination to stop terrorist attacks in the planning stages.

The Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah does not have a known history of fomenting attacks inside the U.S., but that could change if there is some kind of "triggering" event, the Homeland assessment cautions.

A 2008 Interagency Intelligence Committee on Terrorism assessment said that Hezbollah members based in the U.S. do local fundraising through charity projects and criminal activity, like money laundering, smuggling, drug trafficking, fraud and extortion, according to the homeland security assessment.

In addition, the cyber terror threat is expected to increase over the next five years, as hacking tools become more sophisticated and available. "Youthful, Internet-savvy extremists might apply their online acumen to conduct cyber attacks rather than offer themselves up as operatives to conduct physical attacks," according to the assessment.

Currently, Islamic terrorists, including al-Qaida, would like to conduct cyber attacks, but they lack the capability to do so, the assessment said. The large-scale attacks that are on al-Qaida's wishlist - such as disrupting a major city's water or power systems - require sophisticated cyber capabilities that the terrorist group does not possess.

But al-Qaida has the capability to hire sophisticated hackers to carry out these kinds of attacks, the assessment said. And federal officials believe that in the next three to five years, al-Qaida could direct or inspire cyber attacks that target the U.S. economy.

Counterterrorism expert Frank Cilluffo says the typical cyber attack would not achieve al-Qaida's main goal of inflicting mass devastation with its resulting widespread media coverage. However, al-Qaida is likely to continue to rely on the Internet to spread its message, said Cilluffo, who runs the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University.

Officials also predict that domestic terrorists in the forms of radical animal rights and environmental extremists will become more adept with explosives and increase their use of arson attacks.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Wayward, Selfish United States Senate

More than anything, the lack of integrity and moral principles in our Senate, in particular, scares me the most. It is the root of the problem with our over-sized government today. President Bush should not be the brunt of blame--rather it is our Senate who stonewalled all efforts over the last decade to regulate our large mortgage lending agencies.

All one has to do to is to look at the U.S. Senate's voting record to realize that they do not represent the voice of the people. Rather they are driven by their rich constituents who put them in office.

Too many people are drinking the "Change" Kool-Aid without the "Character" Sweetener right now. The Senate has ceased to represent the American people and instead, seek to line their own pockets. Many of these Senators should be in jail while others should be relieved for negligent leadership at the expense of our country.

I am a Patriot. I love America in good times and in bad. These challenging times we are embarking upon may be the reality check this country needs in order to refocus on important priorities and values that some of our nation's leaders have ignored while wandering astray. Remember, "Change really does matter, though governmental change in the absence of integrity equals flawed leadership with inevitable, disastrous national consequences"

Friday, December 12, 2008

Prayer For The Troops Engaged in Global War Against Terrorism

Heavenly Father,

We pause again to give You thanks for Your divine protection that we so often take for granted. You watch over us and keep us safe, individually as Your children, and as a nation whose heritage and hope are in You alone. Throughout our short history as a nation, You have always blessed us with a strong and honorable military. And by and through our military, You have not only protected us, but many other nations and peoples as well.

Today, we remain engaged in a "global war against terrorism”a war that threatens to, and would if possible, destroy the very peace for which Christ died. And while we as Your people have the assurance that the peace we enjoy through Christ can never be destroyed, millions of others who long for this same peace, continue to suffer at the hands of those who kill and destroy in the name of all that is unholy and ungodly.

So tonight again, we call upon You to protect those whom You call to protect us. We pray for every soldier, sailor, airman, Guardsman, and Marine, who wears the uniform of their nation's military. All who wear the uniform serve by choice, and many serve in answer to the calling You have placed upon their lives. We pray that you would protect all those in places of combat around the world, and those who serve here at home.

As You keep them safe, we pray that You would embolden those who have taken the name of Christ, that they would be used by You to bring many to salvation. May You use them as ambassadors of Your peace ambassadors to nations and peoples for whom Christ died. We ask also that you would grant wisdom to all of those in positions of command and authority.

For family members who pray for the safe return of those whom they love, show Yourself strong and faithful in their lives as well.

Finally LORD, as this war continues, remind each of us of our duty to pray. And remind us all, that our true enemies are not flesh and blood, but are the rulers, the authorities, the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

We ask these blessings of You in and for the name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Same Old Flag

I Am Still The Same Old Flag Hello, remember me? Some people call me Old Glory, others call me Stars and Stripes; I have been referred to as the Star Spangled Banner. But whatever they call me, I am your Flag, or as I proudly state ....the Flag of the United States of America.

There is something that has been bothering me, so I thought I might talk it over with you.... because it's about you and me. I remember some time ago, I think it was Memorial Day, people were lined up on both sides of the street to watch the parade.

The town's high school band was behind me, and naturally, I was leading the parade. When your Daddy saw me coming along, waving in the breeze, he immediately removed his hat and placed it against his left shoulder so that his right hand was directly over his heart. Remember?

And you, Yes, I remember you. Standing there straight as a soldier. You didn't have a hat, but you were giving the correct salute. They taught you in school to place your right hand over your heart. Remember little sister? Not to be outdone, she was saluting the same as you. Oh, I was very proud as I came down your street.

There were some soldiers home on leave and they were standing at attention giving their military salute. Also, some V.F.W. veterans with their caps at jaunty angles were saluting smartly. Ladies as well as men, paid me the reverence I deserve.

Now, I may sound a little conceited. Well, I am. I have a right to be, because I represent the finest country in the world.... the United States of America. More than one aggressive nation has tried to haul me down, but they all felt the fury of this freedom loving country.

Remember...many of you had to go overseas to defend me. What has happened? I'm still the same old Flag. Oh, I've had a couple more stars added since you were a boy. A lot more blood has been shed since that Memorial Day parade long ago. Dad is gone now, The home town has a new look.

The last time I came down your street, I saw that some of the old landmarks were gone, but in their place, shinning majestically in the sun, were a number of new buildings and homes. Yes sir, the old home town has changed. But now....I don't feel as proud as I used to.

When I came down your street, you just stand there with your hands in your pockets and give me a small glance, then look or turn away. When I think of all the places I've been... Ansio, Guadalcanal, Battle of the Bulge, Korea, and Vietnam I wonder what's happened?

I'm still the same old Flag. But now I see children running around and shouting as I pass by. They don't seem to know who I am. I saw an old man take his hat off, and then look around. He didn't see anybody else with theirs off, so he quickly put his back on. Is it a sin to be an American anymore? Have you forgotten what I stand for? Have you forgotten all the battlefields where men fought and died to keep this nation, your nation, free? When you salute me, you are actually saluting them.

Take a look at the Memorial Honor Rolls sometime. Look at the names of those who never came back, and are resting 'neath white crosses on a far away shore. Some of them were friends or relatives of yours, maybe even went to school with you. That's who you're saluting....when you revere me. Well, it won't be long until I come down your street again.

So when you see me, stand straight, place your hand over your heart, and you'll see me waving back. My salute to you, I'll show you that I too, remember!

A Nation's Strength

"What makes a nation's pillars high
And it's foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy...
The foes that round it throng?

It is not gold.
Its kingdoms grand,
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.
Is it the sword?
Ask the red dust,
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.

And is it pride?

Ah, that bright crownHas seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster downIn ashes at his feet.
Not gold but only men can makeA people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor's sake,
Stand fast and suffer long.
Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly...
They build a nation's pillars deep
And lift them to the sky."

....Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, December 5, 2008

I am The Flag

I am the flag of the United States of America.

I was born on June 14, 1777, in Philadelphia.

There the Continental Congress adopted my stars and stripes as the national flag.

My thirteen stripes alternating red and white, with a union of thirteen white stars in a field of blue, represented a new constellation, a new nation dedicated to the personal and religious liberty of mankind.

Today fifty stars signal from my union, one for each of the fifty sovereign states in the greatest constitutional republic the world has ever known.

My colors symbolize the patriotic ideals and spiritual qualities of the citizens of my country.

My red stripes proclaim the fearless courage and integrity of American men and boys and the self-sacrifice and devotion of American mothers and daughters.

My white stripes stand for liberty and equality for all.

My blue is the blue of heaven, loyalty, and faith.

I represent these eternal principles: liberty, justice, and humanity.

I embody American freedom: freedom of speech, religion, assembly, the press, and the sanctity of the home.

I typify that indomitable spirit of determination brought to my land by Christopher Columbus and by all my forefathers - the Pilgrims, Puritans, settlers at James town and Plymouth.

I am as old as my nation.

I am a living symbol of my nation’s law: the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.

I voice Abraham Lincoln’s philosophy: “A government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

I stand guard over my nation’s schools, the seedbed of good citizenship and true patriotism.

I am displayed in every schoolroom throughout my nation; every school yard has a flag pole for mydisplay.

Daily thousands upon thousands of boys and girls pledge their allegiance to me and my country.

I have my own law—Public Law 829, “The Flag Code” - which definitely states my correct use and display for all occasions and situations.

I have my special day, Flag Day. June 14 is set aside to honor my birth.

Americans, I am the sacred emblem of your country.

I symbolize your birthright, your heritage of liberty purchased with blood and sorrow.

I am your title deed of freedom, which is yours to enjoy and hold in trust for posterity.

If you fail to keep this sacred trust inviolate, if I am nullified and destroyed, you and your children will become slaves to dictators and despots.

Eternal vigilance is your price of freedom.

As you see me silhouetted against the peaceful skies of my country, remind yourself that I am the flag of your country, that I stand for what you are - no more, no less.

Guard me well, lest your freedom perish from the earth.

Dedicate your lives to those principles for which I stand:

“One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

I was created in freedom. I made my first appearance in a battle for human liberty.

God grant that I may spend eternity in my “land of the free and the home of the brave” and that I shall ever be known as “Old Glory,” the flag of the United States of America.

It's Washington's Birthday,Not Presidents' Day

It's Washington’s Birthday, Not Presidents’ Day

The Republic should go back to publicly celebrating the American Cincinnatus.

People ask why a few of us presidential junkies would like to see Presidents’ Day changed back to Washington’s Birthday. The technical explanation has to do with a misguided law called HR 15951 that was passed in 1968 to make federal holidays less complicated. The real answer is simply this: George Washington is our greatest president, and too few American children know why.George Washington earned the respect even of his former enemy, King George III, by doing something exceedingly rare in history:

When he had the chance to increase personal power, he decreased it — not once, not twice, but repeatedly.

During the American Revolution, Washington put service before self. His personal example was his greatest gift to the nation. It has often been said that the “Father of our country” was less eloquent than Jefferson; less educated than Madison; less experienced than Franklin; less talented than Hamilton. Yet all these leaders looked to Washington to lead them because they trusted him with power. He didn’t need power.Washington knew that the bold American experiment in self government under the rule of law could survive only if leaders exercised self-restraint and accepted institutional limits on executive power. He believed that leading virtuously was more important than anything he could write or say. This is why Washington has been compared to two great republicans of Ancient Rome — Cincinnatus, who traded his sword for a plow, and Cato the Younger, who died defending the republic against the tyranny of Julius Caesar.Consider all the times that Washington put service before self.
In 1775, when he accepted command of the Continental Army, he promised Congress that he would resign his commission when the war was over. Once the British withdrew, he was true to his word, and surrendered command of an army fiercely loyal to him. In a moving scene before Congress on December 23, 1783 (then assembled in Annapolis, Maryland), Washington pledged loyalty to the civilian government he had served. He thereby established the principle that our nation’s military would always be under civilian rule. Earlier in the 1780s, Washington had been approached twice by army officers who promised their support if he decided to seize civilian power. In one famous incident in 1782, Col. Lewis Nicola wrote a letter urging Washington to overthrow Congress and.become America’s king. The commanding general scolded Nicola the very same day.

In 1783, Washington caught wind of officers wanting to stage a coup d’├ętat against Congress. The so-called Newburgh Conspirators were frustrated that Congress was not paying them what had been promised when the nation desperately needed their sacrifice. Washington would not be moved — that die would not be cast. On the Ides of March, he called the men together and sternly reprimanded them for losing faith in the idea of America. The new nation had a chance to succeed only if its leaders and military adhered to the rule of law.

When King George III heard that Washington would resign his commission to a powerless Congress, he told the painter Benjamin West: “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.”Washington returned home to Mount Vernon in December 1783. Like Cincinnatus, he put down his sword and took up his plow, making him the most trusted man in America. Delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 selected him to be their president, knowing he would not abuse his position to aggrandize himself. And a grateful nation unanimously elected him president of the United States in 1789 and again in 1792, because they knew he would devote all his energies to serving the new nation.Washington, when convinced that he had done all he could to help the country, retired after two terms as president.

True to principle, he relinquished the power that was his for the taking. It was an example of selfless leadership that inspires Americans and the world to this day. Why don’t more American children know that?

Prophetic Words for Obama From Abraham Lincoln

"You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away people's initiative and independence. You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves."

~ Abraham Lincoln