Tags: Let's | Not | Lower | Ourselves | the | Level | the

Let's Not Lower Ourselves to the Level of the Terrorists

Monday, 17 September 2001 12:00 AM

Look – every religion has its extremists and fanatics. Just look at the Protestants throwing bombs at Catholic schoolgirls 10 days or so ago. Do we initiate random attacks on Protestants because of the vile acts they commit in Northern Ireland? Do we initiate random attacks on Christians every time hideous violence is carried out against abortion providers in the name of God?

Get a grip, folks. Just because you wear a turban doesn't mean you're an Arab. Sikhs are from India. Just because you attend a Christian church doesn't mean you use sniper rifles to shoot doctors while they're having breakfast with their children. With every news story of a random act of violence against someone with a turban, someone wearing a robe, someone who looks Middle Eastern, or someone with a Muslim name we lower ourselves in the world's eyes to the level of the Taliban and other religious fanatics. Americans are better than that.

... to the U.S. Constitution. On September 17, 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention met and signed the document that protects our freedoms.

When is the proper time to say this? After the mourning? Before we get a chance to fire our first shots? Talk about this too early and you risk lacking respect for those who died and those who still cry. Say it too late and it's … well, too late.

Americans, if you love freedom – I mean if you truly love freedom and don't just pay the word lip service – don't let your guard down. These are very dangerous times for liberty, and the threat doesn't come only from terrorists.

We are in the mood to grant our leaders and elected representatives extraordinary temporary powers right now. Surely some extraordinary powers will be needed to fight this difficult war. This is where the danger lies.

Let's turn back the clock about 60 years to the beginning of World War II. Then, as now, our politicians asked citizens to indulge them some temporary extra powers. With Pearl Harbor still coated with a layer of oil and blood, Americans were in no mood to say "no." Here's one example.

Up until WWII Americans would pay their taxes once a year. They would figure out how much they owed from the previous year's salary, write a check, and send it in. Under this system there was not one taxpaying American who did not have a clear idea of just how much money he made and how much of that money he sent to the federal government in taxes.

Well, the politicians needed to step up the cash flow a bit. There were uniforms and equipment to buy and the government truly couldn't wait until the next tax payments were due. The politicians went to the people of the United States with a plan. That plan was called "withholding." It was really very simple. While America was fighting the war, the government would go to our employers and ask them to take out the income taxes before the paychecks were written to the employees. This would be entirely temporary. When the war was over, everything would return to normal. Enter the era of "take-home pay."

If there is one word that best explains the ability of politicians to constantly expand the size and scope of government, and thus their own power, without raising an alarm among and incurring the wrath of the electorate, that word is "withholding."

To put it mildly, working, salaried Americans really don't know what they're paying in federal income taxes. Walk up to a co-worker on April 15 and ask them how much they had to pay in taxes this year. You're going to get one of two answers. Either they will say "I didn't have to pay anything, I'm getting some back!" or they will quote a figure equal to the check they actually had to include in their tax return. All of those taxes collected out of every paycheck and bonus for the entire year? Gone and forgotten. Never an issue. Now, ask your friend how much he makes. My bet is that the answer – if he does answer – will begin with the words "I take home …" Ahhhh, the magic "take-home pay."

If Americans don't know how much they make and how much they pay in taxes, how are they going to get upset at our over-burdensome tax rate and the obscene growth in government?

Another example of temporary restrictions in time of national emergency? How about the wage freezes during WWII? These wage freezes caused employers to seek other ways to compete for valued employees. From this came the idea of "benefits." Benefits like health insurance. Now, the conventional wisdom in America is that the employer, not the employee, is responsible for the employee's health care. The concept that someone other than the individual is responsible for that individual's health care is the primary causative factor in the spiraling cost of health care in the United States.

I have been saying for years that Americans are, by and large, increasingly willing to trade freedom for security. Now, with the arrival of terrorism on our shores, that willingness may increase. I've lost count of the national leaders, Gephardt, Daschle, Lott, Brokaw, Jennings and others who have talked of our need to give up some of our freedoms for a little increased security. Ronald Reagan had an answer for that. He said that there was no "s" on "freedom." It is indivisible. You're either free, or you're not.

I was speaking to a group of businessmen and women last week when this very issue came up. One of the people in the group strongly promoted the benefits of trading freedom for security. I asked him to tell me what he would imagine to be the most secure living arrangements one could find in America. He had no response, but I did … a jail cell.

Over the next days, weeks and months we are going to see a multitude of proposals and ideas coming from legislators and pontificators. Many of these ideas will involve encroachments on the privacy of individual Americans and on our basic freedom.

Try, for instance, the idea of a national identity card. I have seen this idea proposed at least a dozen times since the attacks. Presumably we would show these ID cards when we board airplanes or enter secure or sensitive areas. Most Americans are just about ready to accept this idea, right? After all, ID cards might have helped prevent this terrorist tragedy.

Well, let's spin the clock hands forward a few hundred days. Let me tell you where the national ID card idea will undoubtedly lead. This all stems from the basic concept that the more information a government has on its citizens the easier it is to rule those citizens.

Times of national peril present a wonderful opportunity to politicians to increase their power. Yes, they feel the same patriotism we all do … but their desire for power doesn't diminish.

Just keep your guard up.

People like what? People like one Bill Schrempf. He's the CEO of NCCI Holdings Inc. in Boca Raton, Florida. NCCI is a company that compiles workers compensation insurance data. How exciting. It has about 850 employees in its Boca Raton offices.

It seems that some of the NCCI employees are proud of their heritage and proud of their country. In the wake of the terrorist attack some of these NCCI employees decided that they wanted to display an American flag on their desks. At that point the dynamic Bill Schrempf swung into action. The orders went out to his managers and they immediately fanned out throughout the workplace

So, NCCI boss Bill Schrempf finds himself in the same rogues' gallery as John Smeaton, the vice provost of student affairs at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. Smeaton ordered flags removed from campus buses for fear that foreign students might be (gasp!!!!) offended!!! The one difference between Lehigh and NCCI is that at Lehigh there was someone above Smeaton who actually possessed an ounce of sense and some feelings of patriotism. Smeaton's order was countered in minutes. At NCCI Schrempf is the boss! There IS nobody above him (unless the board of directors calls a quick meeting).

How's this for a workplace rule? Nobody works here who is offended by the American flag. Period. If the American flag offends you, then you are a virtual cancer in this workplace. Pack your stuff and don't let the doorknob hit you in the ass on your way out. Let me put it another way. If I have a flag on my desk and you try to confiscate it because you are offended, then you have a damned good chance to be the subject of one of those statistical records that NCCI collects.

DAMN – this just pisses me off. Sorry, can't hide it. I wish I had the money to buy that company just so I could send Schrempf packing.

Now, it just happens that I don't have any need for a company that compiles workers compensation data. In the interest of all fairness – since I have slammed Bill Schrempf and his company – don't you think it's only fair that I list the company name and phone number? I mean, just in case you happen to agree with Bill Schrempf and would like to call and congratulate him! So, for that purpose only ...

And here's a link to the story from the Palm Beach Post: http://www.gopbi.com/partners/pbpost/epaper/editions/saturday/business_3.html

Barbara Lee is a U.S. representative from California. She represents the 9th District of California, which includes Berkeley and Oakland – two notorious bastions of leftism. Lee has a degree in social work from the University of California at Berkeley.

The name of Barbara Lee will be on the lips of many in America today – because Barbara Lee was the one representative who voted AGAINST authorizing the use of force against terrorism.

She says, "I don't think we should take any action that would cause any more loss of life. ... Violence begets violence, and we don't want that to happen. That kills people."

Her vote should come as no surprise.

The Washington Times describes Barbara Lee as "the political heir" to former Representative Ron Dellums, who was first elected to Congress in 1970. Dellums described himself as a "commie pinko." Lee's political career began as a political intern to Dellums. She then became his senior adviser and chief of staff before serving three terms in the state assembly and one term in the state Senate.

Barbara Lee is also a longtime friend of Angela Davis, a Communist Party militant. Lee served on the national coordinating committee of the "Committees of Correspondence." That's a splinter organization of the Communist Party of the United States. Lee also was a member of the U.S.-Grenada Friendship Society, which WorldNetDaily says is a front group that supports the Communist dictatorship of Grenada.

In 1983, Lee and Dellums traveled to Grenada on official business of the House Armed Services Committee. They were there to gauge the military threat posed to the U.S. by a new airport that was being built there. U.S. military forces later captured documents that revealed that Lee had presented Grenada's Politburo with a draft of Dellums' report – before it was presented to the congressional committee!

It doesn't stop there. In 1999, Barbara Lee was the only House member to vote against Bill Clinton's plan to bomb Serbia. She was one of just five House members to vote against bombing raids on Iraq in 1998.

What exactly does Barbara Lee want? Does she want to sit down and negotiate with terrorists? They want to kill Americans! How in the hell does she intend to get them to back down from that goal?

The only thing terrorists understand is violence. Barbara Lee doesn't seem to get it.

Robert Cresswell is an official with Rockdale County Schools. He is reacting negatively to a report I aired last week that a teacher at Salem High School told children that America was basically getting its just desserts because we are like the big schoolyard bully that takes kids' lunch money.

Well, Cresswell isn't pleased. It's no wonder – the school is taking heat. That's fair. He has a right to be displeased. I have had communication with the parent who wrote the original e-mail. That parent is convinced the child is telling the truth about the teacher's statements. The child, however, is afraid of retribution.

So – why am I bringing this up again? Because Cresswell sent a letter to Salem parents denying the allegation. That's fine. But the last sentence of Cresswell's letter reads "Things that are not check [sic] out to be true should not be allowed to be in the Media."

So, there you go. From a government school administrator his feelings on freedom of the press. A talk show host should not be allowed to express an opinion or relate a story until some entity somewhere has proven it to be "true."

And so it goes.

Yesterday local firefighters were having a boot drive. They stand at major intersections holding empty firefighter boots asking for donations. The money in this case is going to the families of firemen and policemen who lost their lives in the New York tragedy. I'll tell you, I have never been so proud to give money as I was when I passed by that intersection. I hope they're out there again.

Did you see that picture taken by a man escaping one of the towers? He and the others are scrambling down the stairway to get out. There's a young firefighter loaded with hoses and equipment heading up. Can you imagine the bravery? The dedication to saving lives?

While we're at it – something needs to be said of the bravery of the men of Flight 93. They knew what the hijackers had in mind and they knew they were almost certainly going to die – yet they attacked the bastards with nothing but their bare hands and quite probably saved hundreds, maybe thousands, of lives.

There are more lives to be lost in this war against terrorism, more valor to be witnessed. It's going to be hard to match the bravery of New York's finest and the passengers of Flight 93.

And Mr. John tells us that he isn't going to get on a U.S. jet airliner unless there are armed guards on board. Now, isn't Elton one of those who has been so strong on the issue of gun control and banning guns?

I caught hell for saying this on the air, so I'll say it again. These terrorists knew that an airplane would be a gun-free zone, an area where their victims would have no means of self-defense. Throughout the country the statistics reflect the same stark fact: People who pass background checks and obtain concealed-carry permits present NO threat of criminal activity. What if there had been such a person on any of the three aircraft that reached their targets?

I'll draw a parallel for you. Luby's Cafeteria, Killeen Texas. Shoney's Restaurant, Anniston Alabama.

In October of 1991 a deranged gunman shot 23 people to death in a Luby's Restaurant in Killeen, Texas. None of the victims were armed. There was one woman there with a gun, but the rule was no guns in restaurants. That woman left her gun in her car while she went inside to have lunch with her parents. The gunman didn't care about Luby's rule. When he opened fire the woman who had left her gun in her car watched both of her parents die.

Anniston Alabama, several months later. Two predators with guns entered a Shoney's restaurant. They told everyone to get up and head to the back of the restaurant. One of the diners had a gun. He pulled it out and fired. Result? One dead predator, the other captured.

Oh – by the way. The media gave extensive coverage to Luby's. None to Shoney's. No surprise there.

Is there a chance some nut case would get a permit? Sure there is! Is there a chance that these terrorists might have decided that airliners weren't a good target if there had been the possibility of armed people on board? You decide.

This morning a listener telefaxed me a copy of a calendar he had purchased. Every day you turn a page in this calendar – and every day there is a new verse from the Bible for you to consider. The listener forgot to turn the page in his calendar Tuesday morning. He was too busy following the tragedy in New York. When he did open his calendar later in the day he was, to put it mildly, in for a shock. The scripture for September 11, 2001, was from The Book of Zephaniah, Chapter 1, Verses 15 and 16. Read this ... and ponder:

Predictable – and there they were. The messages from readers and listeners who are outraged that I actually dragged Clinton into this thing yesterday.

So, what did I say?

First, I pointed out that it was the Clinton administration that stood in the way of the implementation of a 1995 law that would allow an American victim of a terrorist act to sue and recover damages from any foreign nation which sponsored that act of terrorism. The family of an 18-year-old woman who was killed in an Iranian-sponsored terrorist act sued. They won. Clinton blocked their efforts to seize Iranian assets to satisfy the judgment. That, my friends, is giving aid and comfort to Iran.

Second; I pointed out that Clinton and his CIA director made huge changes in the way the CIA did business in 1995. From that point on, the CIA was not allowed to recruit informants and operatives who were, shall we say, bad people. CIA agents knew that the best way to get information about terrorist activities was from terrorists – and the bait was money. When Clinton took that tool out of the hands of the CIA, it reportedly resulted in great decline in CIA morale.

Part of responding to a terrorist act on our country is addressing anything we may have done that made life easier for the terrorists or encouraged their actions. Protecting terrorist governments from the financial consequences of their actions doesn't help. Gutting the CIA's ability to penetrate terrorists organizations isn't helpful either. Clinton did both of these things. Saying so isn't "hate speech." Sure, it makes big-time Clinton supporters uncomfortable So be it. He's your guy. You supported him. I'm sure this news distresses you and I can understand why you strike out at the messenger.

At least I didn't say "I told you so."

But I did, you know.

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Look - every religion has its extremists and fanatics.Just look at the Protestants throwing bombs at Catholic schoolgirls 10 days or so ago. Do we initiate random attacks on Protestants because of the vile acts they commit in Northern Ireland?Do we initiate random attacks...
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Monday, 17 September 2001 12:00 AM
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