Friday, November 20, 2009

How to Get a Job in Government

Note: Neither of these are mine; just passing along. Enjoy!

Case Study #1:
A country boy answered an ad to buy a mule and paid $500 for it. A few days later he came by with his truck to pick it up and the seller came around and said, “I’m real sorry son, but the mule has died and I can’t give you your money back ‘cause I already spent it.”

The country boy said, “Well, just give me the mule anyway and I’ll raffle it off.”

Weeks later, the seller met the country boy and asked him how the raffle went. The country boy said it was a rip-roarin’ success; he raised $900 by selling raffle tickets for $2 apiece.

The seller exclaimed, “Wasn’t the winner upset when he found out the mule was dead?”

“Oh, landsakes, yes,” the country boy replied, “he was real mad.”

“Well, what did you do?” the seller asked.

“I apologized and gave him his $2 back,” the country boy said.

One year later, the country boy was hired to run the U.S. Treasury.

Case Study #2:
A father was trying to prompt his teenage son into choosing a career, but he had no idea what the boy’s interests were. Sneaking into his son’s room one day, he laid a Bible, a silver dollar, a flask of whiskey, and a girlie magazine all in a row on top of his son’s dresser.

He then hid in the closet with the door cracked open so he could see what his son would do when he came into the room, thinking to himself, “If he picks up the Bible, he’s going to be a preacher. If he picks up the silver dollar, he’ll probably be a banker. If he picks up the whiskey, he’ll wind up a drunk. And if he picks up the girlie magazine, he’s doomed to be a womanizer.”

Pretty soon the his son walked in the room and went straight over to the dresser. He picked up the Bible and put it under his arm, slipped the silver dollar into his pocked, took a shot of whiskey, and then started flipping through the girlie magazine.

“Oh, no!” the father thought, “he’s gonna be a congressman!”

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Intent to Deceive

There is a lot of concern today over the accuracy of information found on the internet. That concern is absolutely justified; anyone can get on the web, start a website or blog, and say anything they want. Dress it up nice, write intelligently, provide lots of references, and you gain instant credibility for your position (with at least some of the world).

With so much disinformation out there, we have to be careful to take what we read (and see) on the internet with a grain of salt. We are encouraged – and rightfully so – to get our information from trusted sources rather than from extremists in any direction.

But what constitutes a trusted source these days? Take me for instance. Surely my blog carries far less weight than a more “respectable”, well known institution, does it not? After all, who am I anyway? What makes me an authority? Why should I be trusted?

Good questions, and I don’t have answers for them, other than to say, “no one”, “nothing”, and “no reason”, respectively. If that’s okay with you, it’s okay with me.

Where we all run into a problem is when sources that should be reliable & credible prove that they aren’t.

For example, I ran across an article from the Anti-Defamation League this morning entitled
Rage Grows in America: Anti‑Government Conspiracies

I would consider the ADL to be a legitimate organization, more so than “some guy” blogging from a little town in Kentucky, anyway. But right off the bat they lose all credibility. The article starts with this:

“Since the election of Barack Obama as president, a current of anti-government hostility has swept across the United States, creating a climate of fervor and activism with manifestations ranging from incivility in public forums to acts of intimidation and violence.”

Wrong. Completely wrong. Yes, there is most definitely a “current of anti-government hostility”, but it has nothing to do with Barack Obama. Anti-government sentiment has been building steadily – and, in fact, began to skyrocket – throughout the Bush era. I know that, because I’ve been keeping my eye on it for years. It is merely continuing to grow under Obama, namely because nothing has changed.

By trying to twist “anti-government” to mean “anti-Obama”, the ADL is purposely misinforming its readers.

Later in the article it makes the following statements regarding a group that refers to themselves as “Oath Keepers”:

“One manifestation of the ideology of resistance was the creation in March 2009 of the Oath Keepers, an anti-government group that tries to recruit police and military personnel and veterans. Members refuse to obey hypothetical “orders” from the government, “orders” that speak more to their own paranoid and conspiratorial beliefs than to any realistic government action.”

Again, this is a complete misrepresentation of what the Oath Keepers are about. Oath Keepers make one assertion and one assertion only: that they will not enforce un-Constitutional orders. That’s it. Period.

Is that anti-government? Does that speak to paranoid and conspiratorial beliefs? Why would a group that has vowed to uphold the Constitution of the United States be considered a “manifestation of the ideology of resistance”?

Do you want to know why there is a growing frustration and anti-government current sweeping the country? Because people feel that they cannot trust the government, and they feel that the government is overstepping its constitutional bounds.

Is that unreasonable? I don’t think so. It’s not like they don’t give us plenty of reason to feel that way. We are lied to all the time.

My definition of a lie, by the way, is “anything that is done with a purposeful intent to deceive”. This would, of course, include “bald-faced” lies, but it also includes those other things we call “half-truths” and even complete silence, if it is done with the intent to deceive.

And, unlike the below*, that’s no lie. “Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?”

Pelosi: “Are you serious? Are you serious?” “Yes, yes I am.”

*Excerpt from a conversation (or lack thereof) that occurred on Oct 22nd between a reporter and Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi never did answer the question; her spokesman later made the statement that she didn’t answer it because it was not a “serious question”.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Drone Wars

In the very first “Star Wars” movie back in the mid-70’s, Obi-Wan Kenobi makes a reference to “the Clone Wars”. Although he didn’t elaborate on what the Clone Wars were – and regardless of how silly it actually played out when George Lucas finally got around to putting it on the silver screen decades later – it was easy to surmise from his comment that the Clone Wars were a bad time.

Clones and drones aren’t the same thing, but are they really so different? One is biological, the other is mechanical. Other than that, both are carbon copies of a set design, and both presumably exist for a single purpose.

Drones are becoming more and more commonplace in modern warfare, with increasing capabilities and deadlier payloads. Conventional wisdom (at least for those who have drones available to use at their pleasure – namely us) seems to be that they are a good thing: Destroy your target without incurring any personal risk to yourself.

Sounds nice. But have we really thought this through?

Below is an article by Tom Engelhardt that questions our current love affair with drone warfare.

The Folly Of A `Drone War'

As I read this piece, a couple of things caught my attention. The first was this:

“Everything, in fact, will be almost infinitely upgradeable, since we’re still in the robotics equivalent of the age of the "horseless carriage," as Peter Singer of the Brookings Institution assures us. (Just hold your hats, for instance, when the first nano-drones make it onto the scene! They will, according to Jane Mayer of the New Yorker, be able to “fly after their prey like a killer bee through an open window.”)”

I’ve been hearing about “nano-drones” for some time, and although the technology may or may not be there yet to do what Engelhardt describes above, it’s certainly not a stretch to believe that if we can’t do it today, it won’t be long before we can.

What would a man living 2,000 years ago think if he saw something like that in a vision? How would he describe something he couldn’t possibly understand? Would it possibly sound like this:

Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man. And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death flees from them.

The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle. They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months.
- Revelation 9:3-10

Interesting. In and of itself, it means nothing; just pure speculation.
But it is interesting.

Moving beyond possible Biblical connections, Engelhardt goes on to say:

“So why am I not excited -- other than the fact that the drones are also killing civilians in disputed but significant numbers in the Pakistani tribal borderlands, creating enemies and animosity wherever they strike, and turning us into a nation of 24/7 assassins beyond the law or accountability of any sort? Thought of another way, the drones put wings on the original Bush-era Guantanamo principle -- that Americans have the inalienable right to act as global judge, jury, and executioner, and in doing so are beyond the reach of any court or law.

Whatever the short-term gains from introducing drone warfare in these last years, we are now locked into the 24/7 assassination trade -- with our own set of non-suicide bombers on the job into eternity. This may pass for sanity in Washington, but it’s surely helping to pave the road to hell.

Haven’t any of these folks ever seen a sci-fi film? Are none of them Terminator fans? Are they sure they want to open the way to unlimited robot war, keeping in mind that, if this is the latest game in town, it won’t remain mainly an American one for long. And just wait until the first Iranian drone takes out the first Baluchi guerrilla supported by American funds somewhere in Pakistan. Then let's see just what we think about the right of any nation to summarily execute its enemies -- and anyone else in the vicinity -- by drone.”

Think closely about these two statements in the above:
“ . . . that Americans have the inalienable right to act as global judge, jury, and executioner, and in doing so are beyond the reach of any court or law.”
“ . . . the right of any nation to summarily execute its enemies -- and anyone else in the vicinity -- by drone.

Judge, jury, and executioner. Not just of your enemies, but anyone else you choose.

Surely, however, not your own people. It would never come to that. Would it?

. . . the AG was squeezing harder and harder. Already they were starting to fly patrols out west using UAV’s equipped with thermal scanners, computer recognition systems, and Vulcan III cannons. They had decimated our ranks in the desert regions of Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada, and as the AG’s grip got tighter , they were becoming bolder about their methods and less concerned with who might see them. There was a war going on, you know.
- excerpt from What So Proudly We Hailed

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Behold My Beautiful Wife

My wife is beautiful.

She is outwardly beautiful.
The clothes she chooses are feminine and appealing, yet they reflect a modest aura of mystery that others can only guess at. She is lovely when she wears her hair down; whether carefully sculpted before an evening out or carelessly tousled on her pillow as she awakens, it gives her a beauty and a soft feminine grace that defies logic. I feel as though she is teasing me when she wears her hair up, and I’m still amazed that with the simple pull of a comb and a gentle shake of her head, her beauty can be magnified so greatly with such little effort.

She is physically beautiful.
I love the softness of her body, the smoothness of her skin, and the warmth that I feel when I touch her. My favorite part of her body is where her waist gently swells out to her hips, and to feel that swell with my hands is to know without a doubt that I am in the presence of a woman. She thinks it’s unsightly, but she couldn’t be more wrong.

She is inwardly beautiful.
The genuine kindness and caring that dwell in her heart is magnificent to witness. She has a playful spirit, and I will go to great lengths to break her composure, and then delight in her tears of laughter. She is beautiful when she smiles. The light in her eyes, the happiness on her face. Her joy is my heart’s desire, and when that contented inner beauty shines out in her smile, all is right in my world.

She is spiritually beautiful.
What makes her most beautiful to me is something that no one else can experience. She is beautiful because she is my wife. Because she wears my ring. Because she said “I do”, and in doing so chose to spend the rest of her life on this earth with such an imperfect man, and to share her beauty with me despite all of my faults. She knows there will be no refunds on her time; there will be no “do-overs”. And yet, by my side she remains.

If that’s not beautiful to behold, what is?

“Like a lily among the thorns, so is my darling among the maidens.”
Solomon 2:2

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Monster Devouring Us

Just an interesting article on the potential perils of the internet. It's not very long, but it raises some very pertinent questions that very few people today seem to be concerned about:

The monster devouring us: Even the men who created the internet are beginning to fear its power to destroy our freedom

If the above is intriguing to you and you haven't read "What So Proudly We Hailed" yet, maybe you should. Every nightmare begins with someone crawling into a warm, comfortable bed, but what would it be like if you couldn't wake up?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Just Between You & Me

I’ve been thinking a lot about secrets lately. Not just secrets themselves, but more to the point, things that are done in secret.

As far as I can tell, there are only two real reasons why someone would hide something from you:

1) It’s none of your business
2) It’s something that they shouldn’t be doing

Are there other reasons? Quite possibly, but I would guess that any other justifications for secrecy would probably fall somewhere under those two, even if they appear to be different on the surface.

There are obviously many legitimate things that fall under the category of “none of your business”. Intimacy between a husband & wife, for example, would certainly qualify as something you have every right to do in private (even though there are some today who opt not to).

The government uses secrecy with different classifications that also fall under the “none of your business" category, such as “NoForn”, “Classified”, “Secret”, and “Top Secret”. To have access to something with one of these classifications you must not only have the clearance to view it, but just as importantly, you have to have a “need to know”. (In other words, just because you have a “Secret” clearance doesn’t mean you can arbitrarily look at everything labeled as “Secret”; if there is no valid reason for you to see it, you’re still out of luck.)

As long as everything is on the up and up, and the people holding the secrets are men & women of integrity, there’s really no problem.

But any study of history – secular or Biblical – will show beyond a shadow of a doubt that not everyone is a person of integrity, and regardless of how our environment may have changed over time, human nature has not. All people are inherently greedy, selfish, and power seeking to some extent, and we always have been.

There are some, however, who take that greed, selfishness, and lust for power to a much higher level than the rest, and they too have always been. Integrity is not an issue for these people; it’s something to be bartered or traded or sold outright to achieve what they want.

Consider this quote from an article that I read the other day:

“It's a safe bet that if control of the world is up for sale, you will be outbid. And the people who want to buy it--the people who crave dominion over everyone else--will not be good people. Good people don't want to rule the world.” Source: Government = Corruption

Do you agree with that statement? If you do, and if good people truly don’t want to rule the world (or rule anything else for that matter), then who does that leave?

And if we’re not talking about “good people” anymore, what reason do you suppose the people who want to be in charge have for doing things in secret? Is it really just “none of our business”, or is it possibly – or even more likely – that they are doing something that they shouldn’t be doing? Something that they know we would not approve of?

Evil lives in darkness & shadow because it wants to remain hidden; it cannot live in the light. Should we then be a little more skeptical of all the things done in secrecy these days? If there is nothing to hide, then why hide? Because there sure seems to be a lot of things that are hidden from the “unwashed masses”.

I don’t trust anything or anyone whose existence is shrouded in secrecy. Whether it has to do with the Federal Reserve, the Bilderburg Group, Bohemian Grove, Freemasonry, even the Vatican; if you’re doing it in darkness, you’re hiding something.

And my guess would be that it’s because you’re doing something you’re not supposed to be doing.