BEST WISHES TO MY AMERICAN READERS ON THANKSGIVING DAY
Thanksgiving is mainly an American holiday and there is no such thing in Australia. But I am flying Old Glory from the flagpole in front of my house in honour of the occasion.
Australia's two great days of the year are both military commemorations -- Armistice day (aka Remembrance day) and ANZAC day. Australia has supported its brethren in Britain and the USA in most of their wars so we have many war dead to remember.
Reason to be thankful every day
Cal Thomas below draws on the experience of a refugee from Communist Vietnam to highlight how much Americans have to be thankful for. It is similar in Australia. Some decades ago when Vietnamese refugees began arriving in Australia, many of them set up restaurants -- most of which were successful. One of them was a very small Vietnamese restaurant in a side street in central Sydney. It was called the "New Hope" restaurant and it always brought a tear or two to my eyes whenever I walked past it. I felt how wonderful it was that Australia was able to give people new hope after they had obviously lost it in their own country
As millions of us gather at tables to offer thanks during this uniquely American holiday (OK, Canada has one, too, but without our Pilgrims), most will express gratitude to God for freedom and material blessings. This year, as in every year since 1989 when she escaped with other "boat people" from communist Vietnam, Kim Vu will offer thanks borne out of a deep gratitude for what America has meant to her since she and so many others risked their lives for something they regarded as even more valuable: freedom.
A generation has grown up since the boat people caught the public's attention. To many in what has become a self-indulgent generation, it may be difficult to fathom how anyone could go to such lengths to achieve something too many of us take for granted.
Vu was 20 years old when her father urged her to follow her brother, who was the first to escape. She is now 41. Vu says she was not afraid, though the Vietnamese communists sank boats they could spot and killed many who tried to escape. Vu tried twice to escape, but pulled back when she sensed danger. On her third try, she succeeded.
Vu's father, a retired officer in the South Vietnamese Army, gave her two gold bars to pay for the journey. She was taken in a small boat that held no more than three people to a larger boat that waited offshore in darkness. "We spent seven days on a trip to Malaysia with no food, only water and the water consisted of three bottle caps each day."
Later she was transferred to another refugee camp in the Philippines where she spent six months before the paperwork was completed and she was allowed to come to Virginia where her older brother lived following his escape.
What does freedom mean to Kim Vu? "It means a lot, because I lived with communists, who wouldn't let me go to school. I am very appreciative to live in this country." She became a U.S. citizen in 1995.
What would Vu say to her now fellow Americans who might take their freedom for granted and not appreciate the country as much as someone who once experienced oppression? "They need to see what other countries don't have that we have here. Some people don't see, so they don't know."
Kim now cuts hair at a shop in Arlington, Va. I ask her what she likes best about America. She laughs and replies, "Everything is good." How many native-born Americans think this way?
Vu maintains contact with relatives still in Vietnam (three of her six siblings are now in the U.S.). And while things are "better" in her native country than when the communists first took over, she says, "It is still a government-controlled country." Citing as one example the restrictions on her Catholic church, Vu says the church must ask permission from the government "about what time they can do the Mass."
America is too often criticized for its actual and perceived shortcomings. Critics seem incapable of appreciating America's exceptionalism, including President Obama who has dismissed the notion by saying everyone feels their country is exceptional. If that were true, why do so many want to come here? Perhaps it takes someone like Kim Vu to remind the rest of us not only of the cost of freedom, but just how fragile freedom is and how it must be constantly fought for if it is to be maintained.
More than anything else we might possess, or hope to possess, freedom ought to be at the top of every American's list of things for which we should be thankful every day, not just at Thanksgiving.
Counting Our Mixed Blessings
The Thanksgiving holiday offers mixed blessings that run from anxiety to celebration. When the different generations gather together to mix memory with desire (as the poet sayeth), we recognize differences as well as affinities, angry feelings along with the affectionate. We hasten and chasten our will to make known.
We're blessed to live in America, and yet we take due notice of the dark shadow of terrorism that falls across the horizon. We dilute fear of traveling with jokes about pat-downs and body scans, trying to hide the disgust at having been brought low with humiliation. We salute the "grannies from Topeka" pulled out of line as suspects hiding detonators in their Wal-Mart underwear. We try to laugh at airport chaos, but only after we're home again in the comfort and cozy security of our homes. We worry deeply about the proper balance of public safety against private rights, the country's safety against personal dignity. We won't let the terrorists demoralize us, but we can't throw precaution to the winds.
The words of John F. Kennedy, assassinated 47 years ago this week, ring as true today as they did when he spoke them in 1961. "Terror is not a new weapon," he said. "Throughout history, it has been used by those who could not prevail either by persuasion or example."
To that we can add the words George Washington placed in his proclamation prayer for the first Thanksgiving, "to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed."
Americans traditionally accent the positive. As we join the extended family for the holidays, we delight at the youngest at the table and look forward to watching them grow up. We engage the adolescents while ignoring, or at least dropping our eyes, at the tattoos and piercings of the most rebellious, with hopes that they, like their aunts, uncles and older cousins before them, will eventually put away childish things. (We also hope they refrain from texting while eating.)
We politely ask young vegan adults about the tofu turkey recipe, while repressing a turkey-eater's smile of superiority. We appreciate it when they hide their contempt for the cannibals of fowl and cow seated with them. We indulge the tipsy uncle who lost his wife last year, and we encourage the oldest among us to tell their stories of Thanksgivings past.
The inevitable talk of politics -- this is Washington, after all -- differs from last year. Republicans no longer have to listen to Bush-bashing. The man from Prairie Chapel promoted his memoir, "Decision Points," with panache, grace and good humor, steadfast in his refusal to criticize his predecessor, no doubt made easier since so many others are doing it for him. He can see how tacky Jimmy Carter looks, parading his second-guesses and trying desperately to make his failed presidency look at least presentable for the historians. "Decision Points" is not Ulysses S. Grant's remarkable "Personal Memoir," but it resets W., like him or not, as a thoughtful guy.
Thanksgiving is our most traditional of holidays, still relatively unscarred by commercial marketing, even as we update it with contemporary fads and fashions, Googling what we don't understand or remember. Nostalgia nurtures the older folks as so much of the familiar disappears into microchips for safekeeping. Youngsters thrive on the latest gadgets with ingenuity and inventiveness, showing smarts and saving face with spell-checks and Wikipedia (we can only hope they learn to sort the wheat from the chaff).
The most traditional of holidays has come a long way since our Puritan ancestors stepped on Plymouth Rock to breathe the air of religious freedom, to brave the hazards of the New World. We are grateful to them and marvel at their courage (though they never had to confront a pat-down). No matter how life changes, and change it does, we continue to gather together to count our blessings. Happy Thanksgiving.
Thankful for a Bygone Era and New Dawn
Many of us consistently ponder and wrack our brains to put in perspective what every Thanksgiving mean to us and our fellow man. While we usually and traditionally are thankful for family, friends, and our soldiers who fight to defend our freedoms home and abroad, I'm reminded of my fears and concern as a boy growing up in rural South Carolina. Many of you may remember the drills that we endured in preparation for a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. We were absolutely convinced that America or the Kremlin would obliterate the world with their nuclear arsenals within our lifetime.
This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the Soviet Union. I know this sounds strange and dated, but bear with me. I’m thankful for Soviet Union because without it, I would not have grown up appreciating this great country as much as I do. When I’ve talked to our younger generation, from children to college students, over the past 10 years, I heard very little pride for being an American.
Growing up, the USSR was the Big Bad Enemy that was out to destroy America and Western Civilization. Because of this ominous and ever-present threat, we as Americans had to remain steadfast to the principles that made America great- Freedom, Truth, Hard Work, and Justice.
The fall of the Soviet Empire not only created a vacuum, but began to subtly provoke the questioning of whether America really was the “Good Guy”. It was easy when we knew who the bad guys were and could consider ourselves the underdog, in a way. We were now the biggest game in town, and as such, we became the target, culpable for every ill in this world. Africa is poor? America’s fault. Amazon rain forest being razed? America did it. AIDS? Secret American bio weapon. On and on. It did not take long for those within our borders to take up the refrain. It became to be seen as naive and puerile to be proud of and love America. Everything that had been great about America became an anathema. It also led us to slowly giving into the tyrannical and socialism policies of our former enemy – torture, foreign wars based on meager evidence, government handouts and bailouts, and world apology tours for the evils of our distant (and not so distant past).
Without our great antagonist, we began to fall asleep- allowing sloth, moral decay, and entitlement mentality to take over our way of life. Rather than act as the bulwark against this putrefaction, our government (both Republicans and Democrats) largely went along with it and even encouraged such behavior. Aside from the Watergate scandal, we have largely trusted our politicians over the past half century. In turn, the politicians took advantage of our trust to run roughshod over "We the People". Instead of trying to spur private sector growth through encouragement, they began paying off the electorate. Maybe it's just the greater access that the Internet and modern media have given us, but it seems to me that we have had more scandals from public officials over the past 20 years than we had from 1900-1990. When we can't look to our leaders for positive examples, to whom can we look? Well, we answered that question by looking to ourselves.
This past year, America finally started to wake up to the problems that have crept in over the past 20 or so years. The Tea Party, for all its warts, served as a shot across the bow to all politicians that under no political party, would we allow this great country to slip quietly into the wayside of history. I honestly thought the liberal ideas that President Barack Obama and the far left had been espousing were where we were headed, especially in regards to health care and their attempts to cosign America to “once great nation” status. I thought we had resigned ourselves to corrupt politician who gave lip service, at best, to our ideals.
But the American people restored my faith in this country by remembering the lessons we held so dear when the Red Menace loomed. Today, I am thankful to see our countrymen awakening and charging full speed ahead to a new dawn and recommitting ourselves to the principle ideals of the nation. Freedom! Liberty! Justice!
Thank God I’m an American!
Spreadin' the glove: TSA infecting U.S.?
Latex coverings 'have been in crotches, armpits, touching people who may be ill'
Those latex gloves Transportation Security Administration agents wear while giving airline passengers those infamous full-body pat-downs apparently aren't there for the safety and security of passengers – only the TSA agents.
That's the word being discussed on dozens of online forums and postings after it was noted that the agents wear the same gloves to pat down dozens, perhaps hundreds, of passengers, not changing them even though the Centers for Disease Control in its online writings has emphasized the important of clean hands to prevent the exchange of loathsome afflictions.
"Herpes via latex glove ... ewwww," wrote one participant on the independence-minded AR15 website forum.
Responding to the question, "Does the TSA change latex gloves after each sexual assault?" another wrote on the same forum, "I seriously doubt it. Gloves are for their protection, not yours."
In fact, TSA officials in both national and regional offices declined to respond to WND inquiries about the policy for changing gloves to prevent an infection that may be on the clothes or body of one passenger during a pat-down by TSA agents from being transmitted to other passengers, including children, in line.
Martha Donahue in a commentary at Resistnet said she'd spent 30 years in the medical industry. "For those of you who fly and opt for the 'pat down,' you need to demand the TSA thugs change their gloves. I've been watching on the news how they operate. People are being searched [with] dirty gloves ... gloves that have been in crotches, armpits, touching people who may be ill, people who pick their noses. Do you want those gloves touching you?
"These thugs are protecting themselves from you. You need to be protected from them," she wrote. "In a hospital, nursing home, in-home care, or even labs, that would never even be considered an option."
ABC reported one of its news employees documented how a TSA worker reached inside her underwear. "The woman who checked me reached her hands inside my underwear and felt her way around," the ABC employee said in the network's report. "It was basically worse than going to the gynecologist. It was embarrassing. It was demeaning. It was inappropriate."
Asked today about the possibility of contamination being spread from one passenger to another on the gloves of TSA agents, a spokesman for the CDC bailed.
Much more HERE
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)