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Avian Flu, Serious threat or blown WAY out of proportion?

Since it’s discovery in mainland China was revealed, The avian flu has been the subject of an ever increasing ammount of talk. It’s been compared to the flu outbreak of 1918. Tens of thousands of birds have been destroyed in an effort to contain it.

This strain of flu is apparently resistant to most, if not all, current antibiotics used to treat it. It seems to also have a high mortality rate, although I have not seen anything like an official estimate of what that is, the way people have been talking about it one would be very easily inclined to believe that it’s an inordinately high number.

We’ve seen reports of it appearing in country after country, spreading all over Asia, the Middle East and Europe . More recently there has been more news to make people nervous, it’s started showing up in cats which means that it’s no longer restricted to just birds. People are worried about and talking about a possible pandemic. Not just an Epidemic, where lots of people get sick, but a Pandemic where MOST people get sick and lots of those die.

The level of fearfull anticipation of disaster was brought home this morning when on Good Morning America we are shown examples of survival supplies and told that official recommendations are that everybody should have bottled water, food that does not need refrigeration and can be prepared without electricity and other supplies to last at least ten days.

I can’t help but ask WHY? Is this avian flu actually this bad? and if it is, why has there been so little reporting about it in mainstream media? The preparations that we’re now being told to make remind me of the days when we all expected to have to run for the bomb shelters because the Russians had finally pressed the button.

We’re not just being told “A lot of people might get sick.”. We’re being told “Almost everybody is going to get sick and a lot of the sick will die causing society, basic utilities and even government itself to come to a standstill for nearly two weeks.”

If the situation is that serious, then avian flu and the efforts to combat it should be the number one story on every newscast. Yet it isn’t. Is this because it’s really NOT that serious? Is it because it IS that serious and nobody wants to start a panic? Or is it because very few people have any real clue as to what the real danger is?

For now, the jury is still out on the question that is avian flu. I just hope that if there is a threat, that information starts flowing to the public fast. And if it’s not a threat, that a panic is prevented by getting THAT information fowing fast.

Enough is too much

There’s a few things to talk about this time. First up, The NSA Spying beast is still around. Four senators have proposed a bill that’s supposed to provide oversight for the President’s domestic spying program.

One of the things I’ve got against this is the fact that it’s bypassing the need to get a warrant. I realize that in todays world where stuff happens so fast, warrants are a genuine PITA for a lot of situations. I realize that potential and actual terrorists need a certain amount of investigation. But doing so in a way that bypasses or evades the constitutional requirement for a warrant is a bad precedent. It starts us on the way down the slippery slope that so many peoples have ridden to their own destruction.

When in doubt, if that’s even possible in such a clear constitutional issue, err on the side of staying within constitutional boundaries. Let wiretaps not be permitted without a warrant. Those boudaries are there for very good reasons.

GOP senators propose NSA spying bill

Measure would codify, oversee no-warrant surveillance program
Wednesday, March 8, 2006; Posted: 3:34 a.m. EST (08:34 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Four Senate Republicans have proposed a bill to provide what one called “very rigorous oversight” of President Bush’s controversial no-warrant domestic surveillance program while also giving it the force of law.

Sens. Mike DeWine of Ohio, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, all members of the Intelligence Committee, introduced the bill late Tuesday afternoon in an effort to address criticism of the program and reach a compromise.

In a recent Lastdays Watch article, “Down The Rabbit Hole” I mentioned the case of Amal Graafstra, who had RFID chips implanted for convienience, operating locks, controlling access to his home, car, computer, bank accounts Etc. I noticed in this article that he says “It can’t be used to track my movements or to keep tabs on me. It only has a range of a couple feet.

I would like to point out that while the reader devices that he is using may only have a range of a couple of feet, but the chip will reflect ANY signal that it can detect on the right frequency. All that would be needed is for “Readers” to use stronger signals and then that traitorous chip would dutifully respond, enabling anyone with one implanted to be easily tracked.

As always, My recommendation is NEVER allow anyone to implant such a device in you. See Revelation 13 and beyond for the reason why.

Couple Implants Microchips Into Hands Chip Allows Access to Car, Doors and Computer

March 8, 2006 – Amal Graafstra waves his hand in front of a locked door, and it opens. His girlfriend, Jennifer Tomblin, places her hand inches from her computer, and she is instantly signed on.

There are no supernatural forces at work in the couple’s home in Vancouver, British Columbia, just the latest technology. Graafstra and Tomblin are among about 30 people in the world who have voluntarily implanted microchips into their hands.

“I did it because I don’t want to carry anything around,” Graafstra said. “I really did this for convenience.”

At Graafstra’s request, a surgeon friend implanted a chip in each of his hands in March 2005.

Tomblin, a 23-year-old marketing student, thought the chip was odd at first, but over time she became sold on its usefulness. Her chips were implanted in December.

“Because the procedure didn’t hurt, it was really no big deal,” Tomblin said. “It’s not interacting with my body in any way, and the chip can only be used for what I want to use it for. It can’t be used to track my movements or to keep tabs on me. It only has a range of a couple feet.”

Iran sure seems to have a high opinion of itself these days. They’re also showing a clearly underdeveloped level of self preservation. Their threats against the U.S. are sending them down a road that’s already been traveled by Saddam Hussein and Bin Ladin and others. They would do well to learn the lessons of history and cool their jets real fast.

Simply put, The United States doesn’t react very well to threats. We tend toward rendering any threat harmless.

Iran Threatens U.S. Over Nuclear Program
Iran Threatens U.S.  With ‘Pain’ if Tough U.N. Measures Are Imposed Against It for Its Nuclear Program

The Associated Press

VIENNA, Austria – Iran threatened the United States with “harm and pain” Wednesday if the U.S. tries to use the U.N. Security Council which has the power to impose sanctions as a lever to punish Tehran for its suspect nuclear program.

Washington warned that Tehran has enough nuclear material for up to 10 atomic bombs.

Hours after the Iranian and U.S. exchange, the some members of the Security Council took up the issue for the first time, with the five permanent nations holding consultations in New York.

I recently saw this little gem in a .sig on UseNet and just had to pass it on.

“The more corrupt the State, the more numerous are it’s laws”
-Tacitus (an ancient Roman historian)

House approves safeguards to Patriot Act

I cannot help but wonder how good are the “safeguards” that the Senate, and now the House approved? How carefully are civil liberties protected?  How much attention is paid to people’s right to privacy? Will it perhaps mean an end to unconstitutional wiretaps without warrants?

Here’s hoping there’s *something* decent in there. If not, I suppose we’ll all know when it’s too late.

House approves safeguards to Patriot Act (Reuters) Reuters – A White House-backed bill to bolster protection of civil liberties under the anti-terror USA Patriot Act won final congressional approval on Tuesday from the U.S. House of Representatives.

Analysts claim Fear and is the reason for Objections to Dubai port deal

This just proves that among other things, policy analysts aren’t really listening to what people are saying. The objections to the Dubai port deal are many, but they’re not based on isolationism or fear.

They’re based on simple security principal that almost anyone can understand; Dubai is a State owned Saudi company. The Saudi’s have been involved in supporting state sponsored terrorism. Allowing them to have control over ANY of our major ports is a strategically unsound move.

Simply put, NO foriegn interests, regardless of who they are, should control ANY American ports, any more than the mouse should be left guarding the cheese.

Fear, not isolationism, drives ports outcry
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The public outcry over the proposed takeover of cargo operations at six U.S. ports by a company based in Dubai reveals a U.S. electorate beset by anxiety and fatigue, policy analysts said.

“There is a low-level anxiety pervading U.S. society. It’s different from anything we’ve seen in the past,” said Karlyn Bowman who analyzes public opinion trends at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

Since the September 11 attacks, polls have constantly shown that more than two-thirds of the public expects another attack within a year and that figure has not fallen over time. The public also identifies lack of port security as a major U.S. vulnerability.

Senate Approves Patriot Act Renewal 89 – 10

I cannot help but count this as a negative event. In spite of all that lawmakers think they have accomplished, this renewed Patriot Act is continuing to chip away at individual civil liberties and the right to privacy.

I believe The only way to deal with it is to repeal it completely. Then we need to pass a constitutional amendment to explicitly guarantee the right to privacy and firm up our weakening civil liberties. Check out The Missing Admendment to learn why we need an amendment to specifically cover this issue.

Senate Approves Patriot Act Renewal (AP) AP – The Senate on Thursday gave its blessing to the renewal of the USA Patriot Act after adding new privacy protections designed to strike a better balance between civil liberties and the government’s power to root out terrorists.

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