Just How Vital Is God to Homeland Security?

The American Atheists are suing the state of Kentucky over a provision that a fundamentalist Christian legislator managed to slip into the state’s law governing the state Office of Homeland Security,

(2) The executive director shall:
(a) Publicize the findings of the General Assembly stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth by including the provisions of KRS 39A.285(3) in its agency training and educational materials. The executive director shall also be responsible for prominently displaying a permanent plaque at the entrance to the state’s Emergency Operations Center stating the text of KRS 39A.285(3);

In this case I think the American Atheists’ lawsuit is fully warranted (and a slam dunk at that), but please can’t they find someone to write press releases that don’t sound like rants,

Can’t we let this alone?

No, we can’t.  It is our patriotic duty to protect our Constitution from threats.  The injection of religion into government offices, if left alone, would set a precedent and lead to more infringements, which would then become precedents themselves.  We have seen, first hand and in this case alone, that religion can never be satisfied — they will always want more.  The  [sic] Seaparation of Church and state is a doctrine we proudly and unapologetically defend.

Beyond that, the whole concept that the state and the country is powerless against other religious zealots without this specific god to help us screams of the same religious zealotry that got us into this war in the first place. “my god can beat up your god” is what they say before a war begins — or escalates.

Really? See, I’d have taken a different tack. If Homeland Security is dependent on ‘Almighty God’, I want to know where the hell he/she/it was on September 11, 2001? Taking a day off? (Come one, we already took God out of public schools — he can’t have much else left to do, can he?) Too busy downing some donuts to stop a few planes?

Along with the lawsuit, perhaps we should subpoena this Almighty God character and find out exactly what its role in terrorism is. If Almighty God is truly the lynchpin of anti-terrorism, it sounds like we might have grounds for a class action lawsuit here.

Barack Obama, Bill Ayers and Political Violence

Xeni Jardin over at Boing! Boing! highlights an absurd interview with Bill Ayers featuring (in Jardins words) “his suggestions on what those swept up in the current wave of hope following [Barack] Obama’s election might do to harness that excitement.”

Ayers, of course, is the former Weather Underground terrorist and Obama associate whom McCain tried (way too late and in a lousy way) to make an issue of when it was clear that he was going to lose the election.

It is odd to see just how easily left wingers who commit acts of political violence can be mainstreamed. It is difficult to imagine that happening in a similar way on the Right.

For example, imagine that John McCain had repeatedly associated with an anti-abortion activist who had led an underground group that attempted to bomb abortion clinics around the country during the 1980s. Does anyone seriously think that such an association would have been downplayed by the mainstream media the way Ayers was? Would left-liberals like Jardin approvingly cite, say, National Review if it made the mind boggling decision to run a political advice piece from such a former terrorist? In fact, anti-abortion advocates are generally considered beyond the pale when they coordinate plain old non-violent civil disobedience.

Somehow, I don’t think so. This is the same sort of dynamic that allows some left-liberals to deplore the regime of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet while cultivating the cult of Che Guevera. It’s the sort of dynamic that Bill Clinton relied on when he pardoned 16 members of the Puerto Rican nationalist FALN in 2000, knowing that even though the group was reponsible for carrying out deadly bombings in the United States, his legacy wouldn’t suffer (even after the 9/11 attacks outraged Americans, Clinton’s pardoning of the FALN terrorists has never really harmed his public image).

On the other hand, I assume if George W. Bush pardoned Michael Griffin that this would quickly become a defining incident of his presidency.

Three SHAC UK Animal Rights Extremists Jailed

Three UK animal rights extremists received jail sentences ranging from 15 months to four years their part in an illegal campaign against companies that had business relationships with Huntingdon Life Sciences.

Mark Taylor, 39; wife Suzanne, 35; and Teresa Portwine, 48, were the first to be charged under new UK laws designed to make it easier to crack down on animal rights extremists who skirted the law in their efforts to harass and intimidate animal research firms and nonprofits.

All three plead guilty to conspiracy to interfere with a contractual relationship. Portwine was sentenced to just 15 months, Suzanne Taylor received 2 1/2 years, and Mark Taylor was sentenced to four years in jail.

The judge in the case apparently took into account testimony from witnesses that Taylor had been a ring leader of the group’s activities in handing out the sentence. Taylor participated in numerous protests and drove others to said protests where groups of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty activists wearing masks would storm into the offices of the targeted companies.


3 animal rights extremists
. D’arcy Doran, Associated Press, March 6, 2007.

Animal rights activists are jailed for ‘intimidation’. New Scotsman, March 6, 2007.

Animal rights activist jailed. Press Association, March 6, 2007.

New Yorker Profile of “24” Co-Creator

Jane Mayer has written an excellent profile of “24” co-creator and executive producer Joel Surnow. Much of the article focuses on the television show’s depiction of torture and other tactics. Mayer writes,

The show’s appeal, however, lies less in its violence than in its giddily literal rendering of a classic thriller trope: the “ticking time bomb” plot. Each hour-long episode represents an hour in the life of the characters, and every minute that passes onscreen brings the United States a minute closer to doomsday. (Surnow came up with this concept, which he calls the show’s “trick.”) As many as half a dozen interlocking stories unfold simultaneously—frequently on a split screen—and a digital clock appears before and after every commercial break, marking each second with an ominous clang. The result is a riveting sensation of narrative velocity.

. . .

For all its fictional liberties, “24” depicts the fight against Islamist extremism much as the Bush Administration has defined it: as an all-consuming struggle for America’s survival that demands the toughest of tactics. Not long after September 11th, Vice-President Dick Cheney alluded vaguely to the fact that America must begin working through the “dark side” in countering terrorism. On “24,” the dark side is on full view. Surnow, who has jokingly called himself a “right-wing nut job,” shares his show’s hard-line perspective. Speaking of torture, he said, “Isn’t it obvious that if there was a nuke in New York City that was about to blow—or any other city in this country—that, even if you were going to go to jail, it would be the right thing to do?”

The article contains a lot of good material about torture in the real world vs. torture depicted on “24”, but the one frustration with “24” is that it doesn’t ever really go the full mile with Islamist extremism.

In the real world, Islamic terrorists crash planes into buildings or set off suicide bombs as a means to advancing any number of political agendas from creating a world-wide Islamic state to punishing nations that are friendly to Israel.

On “24”, Islamic terrorists carry out terrorist activities almost exclusively when they are manipulated into doing so by rogue elements of the U.S. government or American business.

If “24” ever confronted a plot by far right anti-abortion terrorists like Eric Rudolph, halfway through the series there’d be an episode where it was revealed that behind Rudolph was a rogue element from Planned Parenthood.

“24” confronts terrorism through an Oliver Stone lens where conspiracy layered upon conspiracy effectively diminishes the culpability of the terrorists themselves. This also has the effect of making Jack Bauer’s use of torture even more morally problematic.

Which is not to say that “24” is not highly entertaining, but to the extent that Surnow sees the series as pushing a conservative agenda in the War on Terror, the show is clearly a failure unless all conservatives have left is their devotion to water boarding, extraordinary rendition and other measures which, as experts in the New Yorker article note, are rarely effective in producing reliable information.


Whatever It Takes. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, February 12, 2007.

Morrissey: Meat Is Murder, But Violence Against Animal Researchers Is Just Fine

Former Smiths frontman Morrissey believes meat is murder, but in an interview with True-to-you.net, Morrissey explains that he believes violence against scientists and fur farmers is completley justifiable.

Responding to a question from a reader asking, “What would be your message to the world to make life better for animals on our planet?”, Morrissey replied,

With people in the world such as Jamie Oliver and Clarissa Dickson Wright there isn’t much hope for animals. I support the efforts of the Animal Rights Militia in England and I understand why fur-farmers and so-called laboratory scientists are repaid with violence – it is because they deal in violence themselves and it’s the only language they understand – the same principals that apply to war. You reach a point where you cannot reason with people. This is why the Animal Rights Militia and the Hunt Saboteurs exist. They are usually very intelligent people who are forced to act because the law is shameful or amoral.

In England, animals are hunted to the point of extinction, and then a great effort is made to save and reintroduce animals, and once they are re-established, they are then hunted back to the point of extinction. Everybody needs to hate something, it seems.

The Animal Rights Militia is a violent group of animal rights extremists that has regularly threatened “violent retribution” against scientists, fur farmers and others in animal industries unless they abandon their work.

In 1998, the ARM issued a list of 10 people it would murder if imprisoned animal rights terrorist Barry Horne died while on a hunger strike. Horne survived that hunger strike but died ina subsequent hunger strike in 2001.


Questions Answered. True-to-you.net, January 4, 2006.

Animal Rights Extremists Release Animals, Set Fires at Hunt Kennels in UK

In the early morning hours of November 20, animal rights extremists broke into the kennels at the Essex and Suffolk hunt, releasing dozens of animals and setting a couple of fires.

When police arrived shortly after 1 a.m., they found 82 dogs and 5 horses and been released, and the gates to the kennel, which opens into the road, left wide open. Additionally, the extremists set a couple of fires and spray painted “hunt scum” on the road.

Gary Thorpe, huntsman for the Essex and Suffolk hunt, told the East Anglian Times,

We are appalled. They let all the hounds and horses out of their stables and left the gates wide open so they could get on the road. Thankfully this did not happen, but that was more by luck than anything else or they could have caused a serious accident. These people call themselves animal lovers, but what kind of animal lover does this. We are hunting completely within the law and they still persist in coming out and disrupting what we are doing. It is very worrying when they are prepared to set fire to something and release your animals in the middle of the night.

A spokesman from the UK’s Hunt Saboteurs Association said that no one from that organization was involved in the action,

I can say categorically no member of the HSA would take any action that would endanger the life of hunting hounds and horses. We care for their welfare.

There’s no evidence that anyone from the HSA was involved, but unless the HSA actually knows the identity of the attacker, this categorical denial is a bit silly (hint, next time just say your organization does not condone such irresponsible actions and leave it at that).


Saboteurs blamed for hunt attack. The BBC, November 20, 2005.

Fury as hunt kennels attacked. Helen Skene, East Anglian Daily Times, November 21, 2005.

Arson attack on hunt kennels. Anna Tyzack, Horse and Hound, November 21, 2005.