Independent Christian Voice


LAST POST: The Subjective Scribe bids farewell...

...but to the chagrin of this blog's detractors, the spirit of "Scribe" will live on. With the addition of two new contributors and after thoughtful consideration of the plentiful feedback from our readers, we have decided to retool the blog soon to be known as the blog formerly known as The Subjective Scribe. As the New Year is ushered in, the blog will re-launch with a new name, a new address, a new look and a new attitude. Until then, the blog will officially be on hiatus as we work on the new and improved blog. Thank you to all of our faithful readers, both those who agree with us and those who respectfully disagree. Your support and feedback help keep us plugging along. Please check back here with us in after the New Year and we'll point you to the new and improved site. Thank you again. Merry Christmas and have a blessed holiday season. .

U.S. consuming the planet, ignoring responsibility to rest of the world

The United States proudly heralds itself as the "greatest nation in the world" and most Americans consciously or unconsciously look down on other countries who just can't raise themselves up to our standard of living. There's a reason we're "better." We're taking a grossly disproportionate share for the world's resources at the expense of the rest of the world, especially the low-income countries. The U.S. accounts for about 4% of the world's population, but we consume more than 20% of world energy consumption and are responsible for 25% of the world's greenhouse gases. Even worse, some scientists now estimate that world consumption is outpacing what the planet can produced by more than 20%. Is this the example a "Christian" nation should be setting for the world? Our nation's greed and insatiable appetite is not only at the expense of other nations but also our own future. And our "Christian" administration is doing its part to maintain the status quo. From the Associated Press:
Global warming gases grew by two per cent in the United States last year, the Energy Department reported.

The report came nine days after a United Nations conference at which the United States and China refuse to join any talks for imposing binding limits on emissions of such gases. [...]

The UN conference's Kyoto Protocol, which took effect among many countries last year despite U.S. President George W. Bush's rejection of it in 2001, had called for countries to cut their 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 5 per cent by 2012.

Instead, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 would be nearly 25 per cent higher than they were in 1990 if they continue at the current pace of growth. The United States is responsible for a quarter of these heat-trapping gases globally.

More than 150 countries have agreed to negotiate a second phase of mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2012. India has joined the United States and China in declining to take part in it.

There will be a huge price to pay for our refusal as a country to "pay the piper."

African-American 'overrepresentation' in the Army declining

From Knight-Ridder Newspapers:
Fewer African-Americans are joining the Army, a trend likely to make it harder to keep the all-volunteer military at full strength.

The percentage of African-Americans among all those who signed up for active-duty Army service fell from 24 percent in 2000 to 14 percent in 2005, according to Army statistics. That's the lowest percentage since 1973, when the draft ended and the all-volunteer military began, say David R. Segal and Mady Wechsler Segal, sociologists with the University of Maryland's Center for Research on Military Organization.

In the past, African-Americans have enlisted at higher rates than their overall percentage of the U.S. population, which was 12.9 percent in the 2000 census.

"These trends may spell trouble for the Army, which has depended on blacks to meet its recruiting goals and re-enlistment targets," the Segals wrote in a November study. [...]

"Basically, what has happened over time with the all-volunteer force is that the Army has become sort of dependent on the overrepresentation of African-American recruits, who have been more inclined to stay," David Segal said in an interview.

The problem with an all-"volunteer" army is that there is a gross underrepresentation by the privileged classes. The security of our nation is shouldered disproportionately by the underprivileged, which includes the economically disadvantaged. Unfortunately, African-Americans make up a disproportionate share of that group and many are faced with little alternative but to join the military for gainful employment. Now, many are paying a much higher price than they bargained for in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Drudge (False) Report

Matt Drudge shows that he's as committed as ever to the right-wing talking points disinformation machine. In another effort to justify Bush's illegal actions, Drudge employs the "Clinton did it to" defense, plastering the following headlines at the top of his page (as of this morning at 5:30):
Think Progress exposes the Drudge Distort's disinformation:

What Drudge says:

Clinton, February 9, 1995: “The Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order”

What Clinton actually signed:

Section 1. Pursuant to section 302(a)(1) [50 U.S.C. 1822(a)] of the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance] Act, the Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order, to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year, if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that section.

That section requires the Attorney General to certify is the search will not involve “the premises, information, material, or property of a United States person.” That means U.S. citizens or anyone inside of the United States.

The entire controversy about Bush’s program is that, for the first time ever, allows warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens and other people inside of the United States. Clinton’s 1995 executive order did not authorize that.

Drudge pulls the same trick with Carter.

What Drudge says:

Jimmy Carter Signed Executive Order on May 23, 1979: “Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order.”

What Carter’s executive order actually says:

1-101. Pursuant to Section 102(a)(1) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802(a)), the Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order, but only if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section.

What the Attorney General has to certify under that section is that the surveillance will not contain “the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party.” So again, no U.S. persons are involved.

CARTOON CONSCIENCE: Restrained spending

by Bruce Plante, Chattanooga Times Free Press