Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The church militant of Elmer Gantry and storefront prophets

5 December 2003

Protestants are a factious fraction of Christianity, that do not realize their importance within it. They are the majority in the english speaking world and by the combined exceptionalism of calvinism and american chauvinism they project their imagination as the defining one for all.

We can see their combative thought in their musings concerning those who were closest to Christ, when He walked the earth. The hostility toward Mary is greater than the indifference of the innkeepers on the eve of the Nativity. The axis of human history, which is the Incarnation and the Crucifixion, that our salvation revolves about, had only two people in common attendance. It seems that Mary's presence is an encumbrance to these some, who would approve of the mechanisms manifest to have been otherwise---the appearance of the Messiah without nativity, and an Ascension without Passion, and a Tridium of different itinerary.

The chief earthly associate in the ministry of Christ, for those who ever read a gospel by the words that are within it, was Peter. Whatever of the failings that Peter demonstrated, none disenfranchised him to Christ. Yet, by circumlocutions and selective filtering that would make a drunken Talmud scholar blush, Peter does not receive the keys to his office in their reckoning.

To those who proclaim, "sola scriptura", by sola sciptura are vanquished. Ultimately and instantly the claims of the reformers and their descendants are null on continuity and elegance.

And then there is primary commandment of the decima. Ten percent is mine, praise the tithe. The widow's mite will not do. Twist and turn, rave and pay. Now Elmer Gantry was a huckster, but can we not find him less artfully on the television and in his place of practice still plying his trade?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Under the Rosebush

28 September 2003

Under the Rosebush

Q. The fountain of youth, seven cities of gold, the cock's egg, bigfoot, flying saucers, weapons of mass destruction and the unicorn. What have these all in common?
A. All have been vainly sought for.

Q. Which one does not belong?
A.The weapons of mass destruction.

Q. Why?
A. Only they have been claimed to have been found under a rosebush or searched for in a Scottish distillery.

The DTRA (Defense Threat Reduction Agency) notified Bruichladdich Distillery on the Scot's Hebridean isle of Islay that one of their webcams was awry. Osama has been forgotten, Saddam is also missing and since Ali Baba hid in an oil jar, why not find an atom bomb in a copper whisky pot. Does the al-Qaeda gourmand prefer single malt?

I vaguely remember, in university, making the acquaintance of certain students, for part of a quarter, at some parties. Through the alcoholic bluster and probable exaggeration, the one kid, in this circle of friends, pointed to a bush outside a dorm window as the place our drunken, coed friend ditched the pistol her daddy gave her, when she thought campus security was about to go into her room. I was not there for that one, but guns were not a problem on campus, they were not sent in care packages from home, now musical, plastic hammers were though. I didn't bother to look, for it was on the walkway at the railroad crossing that led to the new south green where hundreds of people passed by each day.

I had not thought about that hidden, smoking gun till the current occupation after this Second Iraqui war. American forces pointed out to television reporters bunker, drum and vehicle that held the smoking gun -- weapon of mass destruction -- again and again. The headlines broke loudly and triumphantly to be followed by a sub voce, "nevermind." After a series of these, it was mentioned to Washington that no gun was yet found, in inestimable logic Fleischer, Rumsfeld and company said it was the responsibility of those who did not believe in their existence, to find them. Huh?

I remember teaching a science class and somehow alien life in other worlds came up in discussion. One girl was adamant in their existence. I tried, but failed, to impress upon her the logic that, though it is speculatively possible, it can not be assuredly maintained prior to its discovery. This merely angered her. They existed without evidence--period.

Now this came trickling back into recollection, when, in late June there was found the scientist, Mahdi Shukur Obeidi, who claimed to have buried nuclear plans and parts, under his rosebush, on the orders of Saddam's son. That could well replace the line, "my dog ate the homework," as the humorously lame falsity.

In 1958 Graham Greene's, "Our Man in Havana", began to be read. Mr. Wormold, a vacuum cleaner salesman, is recruited to be a British spy. He (Alec Guinness, at the picture show) invents other spies, and has vacuum cleaner parts and diagrams pass for military ones. Danger and excitement ensue when these reports and drawings are accepted. Beware the atomic pile cleaner. Perhaps the Mack Sennett Studios can come out of mothballs and Arnold can play Dr. Hasselbacher. How horrible it is when farce becomes real.

Parties on Abortion

27 September 2003

Parties on Abortion

We have in America certain issues that politically generate much heat, sway many votes solely on the one stance and are peripheral to governance. Anyone who is suggested to be anti-Israel has no real chance to be a winning candidate. Anyone who does not agree totally with the gun lobby, which are absolutists, cannot win in non-urban areas. Now in abortion we have an unusual situation.

The politically astute and sly Republicans have played these single issues, that mean so much to so many people, brilliantly. They take the side issue, that is decisive to many, as their own. The Republicans have always represented the moneyed interests and, of course, want access to power. They know that their real platform would not garner one vote in twenty. They would rather run on banning flag burning, prayer in schools or whatever else can be opportunely used. The last refuge of a scoundrel is patriotism, as we all know.

But abortion is the one issue that Republicans have the discretion to have a stance independent. It is the one issue that makes a Republican a moderate, no matter what else. Now, nationally, it is the reverse with the Democrats. No matter what a Democrat believes in, he is persona non grata, if he is against abortion.

When George H. W. Bush was a congressman, he was the Planned Parenthood poster boy in the House. His father, Prescott, was Margaret Sanger's treasurer, beginning in 1947. Since abortion was legalized five Republican presidents have held the office. It seems only funding for abortion has been reduced. Robert Casey, who had been governor of Pennsylvania, was refused by Clinton to speak at the 1996 Democratic convention. The national Democratic website has links to anti-Catholic pro abortion sites.

There has been instituted a religious test act for judges who are or once were faithful members of the Catholic church. We first saw this in connection with the confirmation of Clarence Thomas. Kwase Mfume, then a Democratic Maryland congressman, questioned whether Clarence's former faith disqualified him. This was mostly about Roe v. Wade. Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, thought such a religious concern was legitimate. Thomas was questioned about abortion and natural law and recanted and was confirmed 52-48.

Now federal judgeships have been delayed on Miguel Estrada and Bill Pryor for similar reasons. An advertisement that upset the Democrats had judicial doors holding the sign, "no catholics need apply". Orrin Hatch finds the sentiment accurate. This is the first time since 1960 that anyone has politically suggested anti-catholicism existed. The suggestion which culturally is so visibly obvious is not game to say, because it is so weaved in the fabric of the english speaking world. The Republicans have never been pro-Catholic. This is just a fortunate accident. These judges have not been nominated for their position on abortion. The Republicans will play this out better than the Democrats.

Abortion is a profitable industry. Social darwinism and eugenics have argued for abortion. Paul Ehrlich wrote a successful book using the lifeboat metaphor for global overpopulation. He has since admitted, that he was not academically honest in his admitted propaganda. Rich foundations supported Planned Parenthood, which is the chief provider of abortions and, significantly, bears an orwellian, doublethink name. Bill Gates and Ted Turner have recently given millions to similar causes. The solution to poverty and the wretched among us, as the prohibition of birth has been portrayed, is procured abortion on demand or abortion demanded as the final solution.

Abortionists' other lies that modern science, beyond just rational thought, have disproved have included: the fetus is not living, the fetus feels no pain, the fetus before full term cannot survive. These were standard arguments for abortion that are no longer used. The hallowed Roe v. Wade case was based on a fraudulent plaintiff, whom now speaks against abortion. The duplicity and ugliness of the proponents' arguments and philosophies are astounding. Economic and social convenience seem the only fully non-malevolent rationale for abortion.

It is understandable how the Republicans have played abortion. They have finessed marvelously. They gain votes and positions and sacrifice nothing. All these issues benefit the Republicans and they need them to continue for enduring success. Their true agenda will win them nothing, it has to be camouflaged and diverted. But the Democrats' commitment to abortion is wrong, senseless and counterproductive. They alienate many one time supporters, they are exhibiting a negative religious bias that is counter to their history, they lose votes and they are politically foolish: less abortions, more voters.

post script -- 11 August 2007
We can see that with even a congress with democrat majorities in both houses, Bush can get his way. For most of six years the will of congress and the federal government was dictated by Bush. Bush could have increased, constitutionally, the number of supreme court justices to have Roe v. Wade overturned. It has never been suggested by anyone, I can think of, since the 30s. I bring it up, to point out, that, Bush and his party are not interested in the ending of abortion, but only in the continuing battle.

post script -- 13 March 2009
The current chairman of the Republican party, Michael Steele, had a lengthy interview with a reporter from GQ, in which he let slip the truth. He may be punished for that. Now, there you have a former catholic seminarian, who is "pro-choice" and welcomes that view in party members.

The Anti-Democratic Party

27 September 2003

The Anti-Democratic Party

On issues there are generally two sides: for and against, pro and contra, this or that. Anti means against. The first political party in the United States was the Federalists, they were opposed by the Anti-Federalists which became the Democrats. Now the Democrats were called the Democratic-Republicans, eventually a party appeared that was called the National Republicans and became the Whigs. In the elections of 1860-64 there were recombinations and local name variations: Northern Democrats, Southern Democrats, Republicans, Unionists, Constitutional Unionists, Unconditional Unionists and so forth. Lincoln was constitutionally elected as a minority winner as a Republican candidate in 1860 and as a Unionist in the '64 election.

Now the Federalists wanted a federal form of government, hence there name. A republic means a public thing. The sovereign and the country are not a private singular person or property -- no monarch, monarchy, king, kingdom, pharao or personal state. So in this sense, we are republicans. A democrat has an etymology too, the people rule.

Today, in America, we have two parties: the Democrats and the anti-Democrats. Will Rogers said, " I don't belong to an organized party. I am a Democrat." The anti-Democrats are tightly bound like the fasces on a mercury dime. There was no Democrat more reviled and hated than Franklin Roosevelt by the anti-Democrats. Prominent financial supporters of the anti-Democrats planned a military coup to prevent his accession. The majority of the press and the anti-Democrats raved against him, his wife and his dog. "A traitor to his class", "that man", "communist" he was called with great vexing loathing.

The word of mouth campaign against him continued upon his party after his death. The Democrats started wars, created fiscal irresponsibility, were anti-american, were communists and so on. Reagan as president blamed Roosevelt for World War II, did he forget Hitler and Pearl Harbor? His accuracy of history was always fussy. He suggested that the Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill, was a communist for disagreeing with him on the Iran-contra operation and other matters

Now we have a president who came to office by extra-constitutional means and has instigated, with his his underlings and party, a war that no one before his regime saw coming. His fiscal policy has amassed a remarkable, quick and grand change in the national account book that sees no correction coming. And with all this; a smug careless attitude prevails and the media either salutes him or leaves him alone.

The last president was constitutionally elected twice, and went through an unending barrage that relentlessly worked against him. He survived the legal attempt to remove him from office on account of a petty sexual dalliance that the anti-Democrats saw as a threat to the Union.

The present government of Texas is controlled by the anti-Democrats. The Texas legislature was supposed to meet every second year. This year its session would have ended, but extra sessions were called and were going to be further called. And for what reason? So that congressional boundaries could be further gerrymandered to the benefit of the anti-Democrats.

In California a Democratic governor was legally re-elected. A rich anti-Democrat engineered a recall election so that he could gain the office and instead, he tearfully quit, after the field produced over a hundred candidates, and at least one candidate that his party would rather have.

Yes, America has an anti-Democratic party. Its methods are beyond regular civil politicking. They want power. They do not care for any result that does not give it to them. Majorities and constitutions mean nothing to them. They are allied to money interests. They care nothing about consequences. They will hide behind and try to manipulate nationalistic fervor. They do not care for world opinion. Italy and Germany had similar parties in the 1930s.

Presidents Acknowledge Nations' Brutalities

25 September 2003

Earlier this month in Beograd, Serbia, the former jugoslav capital, Svetozar Marović, the president of Serbia and Montenegro surprised the Croat president Stjepan Mesić by admitting national fault in the war after Croat secession. "I want to apologize for all the evils that any citizen of Serbia and Montenegro inflicted upon or committed against any citizen of Croatia." The architect of the war, Slobodan Milošević is imprisoned and on trial in Holland for crimes against humanity. Mesić then quickly reciprocated for his nation's wrongs against the Serbs. " I also apologize to all those who have suffered pain or damage at any time from citizens of Croatia who misused the law or abused their position. As I said, anywhere, any time." Outside observers had no clue that this would occur.

Milošević had caused several disastrous wars in the former multinational state. People died, suffered and lost their human dignity, their homes and many their humanity. The Serbs, as did all the Balkan peoples, had suffered for centuries under the Turks and then in the german wars of this last century. The last of the former, brought about a multi-sided civil war in which the communists won with allied connivance. After a transnational pogrom that physically eliminated anyone who would not externally profess in the personal dictatorship of Tito, the newly reformed country settled in to an independent socialism. After Tito's death one sly, remorseless and conscienceless appartchnik, Milošević, amassed power by playing to Serb nationalism. The suppressed national desires and animosities yearned and churned to break out.

A series of wars broke out, NATO and the U.S. intervened, there was a Christmas bombing of Beograd and a partial occupation of Bosna and Kosovo. All these horrors are on the hands of Milošević and his cohorts, some who are still operating. Milošević made his nation seem as monsters to the world and every war he agitated and lost. The veneer of civilization on people is quite thin indeed and many people shared in actions.

That Croatian-Serb war ran from 1991 to 1995. Estimates of 20,000 dead and over a quarter million Serbs displaced from their homes in Croatia (national and ethnic borders are not the same), many still so, came from that one conflict in the wars of the break up of Jugoslavija.

An apology is a defense, a rationale. It is a word that is almost always misused in english. What these two presidents did was repentedly admit gross failings in national behavior to their brothers of another nation. No translation was necessary, they speak the same language, they were not talking of abstract hypotheses of psychic emotion but of physical blood and gore realities. The only thing we do not know is the level of sincerity involved.

What can strike us as remarkable, in America, is the very act of those words being spoken. George H. W. Bush took a boastful pride in the vow that he as president would not ever to say that America would be sorry for anything (one of the several matters was the wartime internment of japanese Americans, Clinton did not have that reluctance). And who can imagine similar words of admission to trip from George W. Bush's tongue.

What 'men' do is speak the truth. Alexander Isajevich Solzhenitsyn at the end of his Nobel acceptance speech said, "One word of truth outweighs the world." Earlier his compatriot Boris Leonidovich Pasternak had said, "In every generation there has to be some fool who will speak the truth as he sees it." We are all called to do this, why is it so unusual when it is done?

Changing Partners – Anastasia Volochkova

25 September 2003

So much that happens in what once was known as Holy Mother Russia has been either tragedy or farce. After a century that saw the devastation of the german wars and the brutal imposition of a foreign and evil system of tyrannical materialism and finally its fall, only to be replaced by another materialism and spiritual torpor has left nations more shaken than sensate.

Dostoevskij thought beauty would save the world, he also thought Russia would save the world. In Russia many art forms have found an exquisite realization. In dance, classical ballet, people the world over have russian pre-eminence come to mind. And here we do not have tragedy but an episode of farce. A prima ballerina, Anastasia Volochkova, has shined, become renown and enjoys a following among the masses. She has beauty and elegance. She was dismissed for being too cumbersomely large and heavy. She claims that there are political and personal animosities weighing against her.

In the russian press this is playing out like an old fashioned melodrama or a present day soap opera. A hundred years ago Matilda Kshesinskaya was the attraction of the stage and the fancy of a few of the male Romanovs. Her story has been brought up in the present context. She did not get along with her ballet director and the tsar had him dismissed, today the ballet director may have people to answer to, but there is no tsar and the girl is sent away. Twelve hours before the performance of Swan Lake she is sent adrift.

One is reminded of the Dance of the Hours in the cartoon Fantasia and the hippo ballerina being lifted by the croc danseur. We do not have this here. Our lissome heroine may rely too much on stage cosmetics, but she is far from gruesome. I sit here an ocean away and can only view the brouhaha at a very distant balcony seat. But, she is more attractive than many fashion models and her face has animation, I have no knowledge of her personality, she may exhibit the horrid prima ballerina persona, but unlike many popular idols here, she does possess the ability commensurate to her adulation.

So how big is our agile nymph giant of the Bolshoi ?, apparently in the neighborhood of five foot six inches and a hundred and eight pounds. The more silly and absurd a reason given for someone's firing, the more illegitimate the real reason. Someone does not want someone around and they are made to go. But why?, the true reason may be petty and capricious to the extreme, but people want to know why. So something is given. The more stupid, the more suspect it must be.

As I said this is not tragedy. Performers travel. The Bolshoi is in Moscow, the girl is from Saint Petersburg and there are ballet companies there (the Mariinsky for one the Kirov for another, though their costumes have recently burned up). The tragedy is for individuals in everyday jobs who are dismissed by similar happenstance and have no place to go and no one willing to see their case.


Who Shall Depart Next?

22 September 2003

Who Shall Depart Next?

Over a century ago, the fortunes of Standard Oil, and some other industries, built mansion after mansion on Millionaire's Row, on Euclid Avenue, in Cleveland, Ohio. Some of that money also built a tony, and impressive, cut sandstone, English Gothic church with beautiful paneling, and painted, and gilted mahogany beams, and walnut pews. With the motorcar as the access to the first suburbs, the rich left Euclid Avenue. The Anglican congregation of St. Paul's moved east with them, and a new larger church was built in the Heights. The old building remained, and was sold, at the beginning, of the Depression to the Catholic Diocese, and by whimsical irony was sanctified, and dedicated, as the Conversion of St. Paul. A monastery was soon built for the somewhat, newly arrived, Austrian nuns whom came to Cleveland, for the perpetual adoration of the Sacrament. There now resides there: three orders of St. Francis. The second order is the Poor Clares.

The Poor Clares are a contemplative and cloistered order. They are there every weekday at the noon mass, and Sunday at ten, behind a screen and they participate at mass, as you may at the polished walnut benches. They also pray and sing the Liturgy of the Hours five times a day. Sisters Mary Cecilia, and Mary Catharina, are there now. They have come from Korea. Immigration wants to deport them. The paperwork submitted does not fulfill the requirement, that, they can prove they have worked, for the same employer, for two years.

The vocation of the Clares is to pray to God unceasingly. They do this in the belief that is efficacious and necessary for the world. They do so separated from society and in poverty. They have done so since the thirteenth century, this particular order since 1856 France.

Now, we all know that Republicans always campaign they are against big government and bureaucracy, so they created the Department of Homeland Security, originally Office of Home Defense, and gave it the concern of immigration. I was worried they might have called it the Committee of Public Safety. This along with the orwellian Patriot Act sounded an ad hoc fearsomeness that might be used to squelch liberty. Walter Cronkite speaking, to David Letterman, came close to saying something similar, immediately, after this governmental response to Osama's aerial assassins; an excuse to exercise fascism.

Bureaucracy loves to make itself officious, its sense of self importance is, always, something to marvel at. It is characterized by being rigid, and defined by inertia. The functionary, petty or grand, feels he does his job by saying 'no'. and not 'yes'. This bureaucracy is part of the administration, but essentially bureaucracy is the fourth branch of government. What ever disagreeable act they do, they justify with the plea, that, they are doing their job, or it is the law! Remember the apt words Charles Dickens had Mr. Bumble say, in Oliver Twist, "the law is a ass, a idiot."

These possible, enemy, foreign nationals may be here on some nefarious adventure, that, is why laws were passed in the nineteenth century to inspect nunneries, even in states that had none. And in case a few needed to be burnt down to the ground, that was also done. Excuse me, that was pre-civil war xenophobia and paranoia. This is merely a chain of idiot Barney Fifes following procedures.

As ridiculous as all this is, it is only an incident among many. There are many long term resident foreigners with green cards and visitors with visas that the Fifes, Ashcrofts, Ridges, Bushes and their ilk have fingered or made to jump through hoops to satisfy conflicting, changing and silly demands. This is done to protect America?

Bernadette MacAlisky [née Devlin] was roughly detained by immigration officials at O'Hare airport, Chicago, in February and deported on "national security" reasons. In 1969 she was elected as the youngest person to serve in the British Parliament. She represented occupied Ireland, and is noted as being a peace activist, she is a tiny, middle-aged woman, who has visited America many times. I don't think that made the evening news, too, many places.

And there are many people anonymous, and invisible, to all but their families, that have encountered such treatment or worse. Some people have been arrested, secretly, and deprived of all rights. Osama's bandits were very distinct, and they were ignored. These governmental actions neither correct previous errors, nor prevent future ones from occurring. Rationality is scarce today; brusque action is not.
postscriptum: This has bee resolved in the women’s favor.

Mosaic Stone of Contention

20 September 2003 The Mosaic Stone of Contention

Let us now reflect a bit on the passing of summer 2003 in Alabama. One point I come again and again to, is that, there is no vacuum; so one matter interplays with another in confluence and in correlation -- the process of constructing metaphors mentally illuminates us toward greater understanding of the world. Politically and in the eye of the media's attention we have discovered Roy's Rock. The Chief Justice of his state, Roy Moore, was forced to allow the removal, under great protest, a five thousand pound plus granite representation of the mosaic law from the Montgomery judicial rotunda, which he had placed there formerly. The final destination of this legal icon is yet to be determined. Moore may wish to further grandstand, but to what effect ?

Now, there has often in the past been placed visual representations of historic law codes in the courthouses of America. The statutes in statuary have included: Gregory's decretals, the codes of Hammurabi, Justinian and Napoleon, the Magna Carta, the Mayflower Compact and, yes, Moses' Decalogue dyptyche. This has been done without particular attention until now. The ten commandments are beginning to join the nativity manger in a governmental ban to make naked the public square. The annoyed and aggressive atheists and their fellow travelers are getting their political platform enacted, in order, to divorce government from religion and the natural law from the statute law, first in the public mind and ultimately in the private heart.

In America, it has long been lauded to be 'progressive'. Reform is progressive. Successful protest is progressive. Failed protest is conservative reaction. In the reformer Martin Luther we have the first protestant and a lauded iconoclast and, for many, a hero for public and private intellectual freedom. His story has recently been filmed again and the fictitious cathedral posting of his theses may be portrayed again. Of Moses he had to say: "Moses must ever be looked upon with suspicion, even as upon a heretic, excommunicated, damned, worse than the Pope and the devil." "I will not have Moses with his Law, for he is the enemy of the Lord Christ." "If Moses should attempt to intimidate you with his stupid Ten Commandments, tell him right out: chase yourself to the Jews." Now tone down the invective and change the object of some of the clauses and we are here. So in our successful common culture we have inherited this antipathy to ancient conservative foundations of society. The kernel was there, what shall be harvested?

George Wallace had been a judge before he became the governor. He was bested on one try and vowed to be an extremist on the race issue, for he had been too soft or too fair and lost on account of it. So by quirk of fate he made an iconic stand for photographers and the public imagination and will be remembered for standing at the door of Foster Auditorium, Tuscaloosa. 'Segregation forever' was the litany that he declaimed. That was forty summers past. He stood aside as he privately preferred to do. He knew that battle was lost and used it for personal political gain.

Also in this season Governor Bob Riley placed a tax referendum before the state. The press and America should have focused on this conspicuous anomaly more than they have. A Republican advocating tax increases. An individual who can actually make the term, compassionate conservative, something other than an oxymoron that has been more akin to another invented verbal absurdity, such as fascist humanism than any phenomenon in reality.

Currently, in Alabama, a family having less than five thousand dollars per annum can be taxed upon it. Now the governor being a christian saw this as an inequity; the poor are taxed beyond their ability, leaving the richer, some very richer, under taxed in comparison. More than twice as many voters decided to render unto Caesar's treasury the widow's mite before the magnate's largess. The particulars of the tax proposal may not have solved all problems, but a call to the christian conscience in a christian state to bear the crux of tax burden and reform was answered with a very loud, "No."

We sit in wait to see who will govern Alabama (and America) next and what principles will be the overriding ones. Ethics, self-interest and will are realities of our social and political lives. As has been said, one can not have two masters. One will be sacrificed so that the other will win out.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

odno slovo pravdij – Natalia Dmytruk

11 May 2005.

One word of truth outweighs the world. -- Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Lecture (1970).

Solzhenitsyn addressed the world, a generation ago with the tenet of, "The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie." Odno slovo pravdij (one word of truth) can bring down a facade of falsity when people are susceptible to accept the obvious. When an individual acts upon his integrity, he announces his humanity by refusing to act as a perfunctory and, therefore, anonymous cog in and for the machine of power. These acts of declarations of truth are our credentials of validity, our witness to
the world and to history.

Inconsistencies and improbabilities clouded the election results in the Ukraine on the 21st of November last. Although, Viktor Yanukovich, the ruling regime's well funded candidate was declared the official winner, irregularities, the polite term for chicanery and fraud, were evident. Viktor Yushchenko refused to concede defeat because he believed in the independent polling and the anecdotal evidence of fraud. Yushchenko encouraged people to protest and the world took notice.

Natalia Dmytruk performed a job that close captioning has eliminated in America, she does simultaneous sign language of television news. On November 25, on the 11 a.m. show, she rebelled and acted upon her conscience, she spoke the word, silently, by manual gesture, that only a fraction of the audience could, but did, hear: "I am addressing everybody who is deaf in the Ukraine. Our president is Victor Yushchenko. Do not trust the results of the central election committee. They are all lies. ... And I am very ashamed to translate such lies to you. Maybe you will see me again..." Some people had been protesting in the streets of Kiev but the rest of the country was not fully aware, but after that one moment circumstances continued to unfold, and a month later a new election, with an accurate result replacing the charade. The confidence of the Ukrainians has been confirmed to all, yet, they claim no mandate. They are consigned to make do.

The United States has been plunged into an unjust war by lies, and the prosecution of that war has been, and is being, propelled by lies. The supposed causus belli was the vague and ominous possession of weapons of mass destruction. Americans were inclined to believe this fiction. The attempt to display their possible existence was exceedingly strained. No one, by rational thought and logical means, who did not want to believe in this phantom could be made to, only by misplaced faith or mindless conformity did the deception succeed. The merits of responsibility were not and are not being borne. Conversely, those who cooked the murky mélange have risen in reward; those, here, who rightly and correctly opposed, have not been recognised but have been shunted derisively aside and effectively silenced.

Robert Byrd gave a remarkable speech against this war, Jimmy Carter wrote using Aquinas's program of just war to show that this was not a just war, John Paul and the Vatican spoke out and tried to impress Bush against the war. All were true and all were ignored and slandered. Those who will to do wrong can not be deterred by argument. A clever propaganda campaign invoked a false iconostasis of "support the troops" before the war began to camouflage an altar to Ares, whose will it was to attack, invade and ultimately to occupy and control. Those who were not willingly for the cause were intimidated not to speak. The real message was--support the war or be presumed to be disloyal. Thus began the war.

The fifth day of the war, March 23, 2003 saw a convoy of vehicles lost and then surprised by an Iraqui ambush. The military-administration-news media cerberus improbably and inanely promoted a wee, teen-age lass from Palestine, West Virginia as an action hero comparable to the combined, super-human exploits worthy of Rambo, Xena and the Perils of Pauline combined The extreme description beggared the credulity of the nation, the world was told though crippled from the wreckage, she "continued firing at the Iraqis even after she sustained multiple gunshot wounds," and she was stabbed, then tortured, and then on film she was heroically saved, Eventually, but after the intended effects had settled in, and grudgingly, the actuality emerged.

On March 4th of this year, an American soldier firing from a tank wounded Giuliana Sgrena and killed Nicola Calipari. At first the military's account was tense and nebulous but an investigation was promised. It was initially stated that "coalition forces ... fired on a vehicle approaching a checkpoint in Baghdad at a high rate of speed." After a month, nearly two, the Pentagon's report found no fault in the shooting. The Italians do not accept this version. In Italy there was and is horror, anger and outrage over this. In the United States it is barely registering as a story.

The bones of contention were: whether the Italians were in communication with the Americans, whether the checkpoint/roadblock was visible, how contact was made and how the shots were fired. There is no agreement between the two sides. The scenario, the past behavior of the military, the transparency of view to the world and the logic to the reactions and probabilities of actions of the participants suggest that the military continues to act with impunity and will tailor their story to their objectives and not to an outside standard of truth. Foreign allies to the current american regime are collateral damage in the orwellian language of the military and the administration.

Is there any word echoing out in the wilderness that will resound? or will this nation remain stone deaf.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Springsteen and the election

Yesterday, at work, an apprentice, who has been nicknamed ‘Creampuff’, to his naīve indignation, mentioned that the song playing on the radio was written by Bruce Springsteen. I said, “I know. I saw him play the night before the last presidential election. It was wonderful ... it felt great, the atmosphere was so pleasant, it was electric, peaceful. It was great and then, the next day, the rotten bastards stole the election. Yeah, he sang, Never Surrender, and then they did.” Creampuff, and another fellow in the crew, had been there too. We commiserated for a few moments and then continued with the wire pull.

Monday, July 23, 2007

outrageous republicans

The website Democratic Underground has a column it calls, "Conservative Idiots". In the high 90 percentiles it includes Republican scoundrels. Sometimes it is wrong or goes too far, but most of times it is 10 of ten in being correct on the infamy. I would consider myself a conservative, but not a "Republican", well I might be one in Ireland or in Britain, and that's the point. The same word means something else in someone else's lexicon. So here I will from time to time mention some outrageous or hypocritical Republican miscreant that is harmful to the body politic and the republic. Oh but where to start? by current incident? by accumulation of transgressions? Perhaps the latest is a Louisiana senator? But no! That one is a small rotting fish. Let us start with a stench defying hall of fame, and the numbers are not to be indicative of rank:

  1. george bush junior aka shrub
  2. Karl Rove aka turdblossom
  3. Tom Delay aka roachkiller
  4. Dick Cheney aka gunner
  5. Newt Gingrich aka fathead
  6. George Allen Jr.
  7. George Herbert Walker Bush
  8. Dick Armey
  9. Orrin Hatch
  10. Fox news [sic]

republicans, supreme court, & abortion

6 October 2005

At the beginning of the year seven of nine Supreme Court justices were Republican appointees, now Bush has nominated two more. How many cards need to be drawn to fill out a straight? On October fourth he stated there was no "litmus test" used on the subject of abortion, he either dissembled or was not interested. Now, for all those who cajoled, harangued or tried to shame Christians into voting Republican by maintaining that all other issues were secondary to abortion, your argument has played out. Abortion will be judged against the law or the Republicans were cynically duplicitous and successfully hypocritical in exploiting an issue they did not want resolved.

The current administration has shown itself in fascistic fiats and fiascos. The greatest being a fraudulent aggressive military invasion and almost all other actions rooted in crony capitalism and orwellian doublespeak. The rich have become even more decadent and the poor more wretched. The nation is feared because of its power in the world, it is not respected.

bush & Christianity

I remember during the last presidential campaign being told by the "born again" crowd that bush junior was a Christian. By implication this meant he was the one to vote for and conversely other candidates were not either Christian or vote worthy. John Kerry and myself are co-religionists, so I saw this, naturally and inevitably, as anti-Catholic bigotry. When countering that bush's opponent was also a Christian and perhaps more so, I was responded with a stunned silence.

I am skeptical about bush's declaration of faith. Words and actions should have some congruence, some one to one correspondence. This is what Jesus taught. Read Matthew, read James, even though Luther would deny and discard James as would many Americans. Any charlatan, read Sinclair Lewis's, "Elmer Gantry", or fraud can mouth words, even if they sputter and trip off the tongue. And if such a maladroit sputterer can say it smoothly, it has been calculatingly practiced.

Here follows some biblical passages to consider:

Isaias x
1 WOE to them that make wicked laws: and when they write, write injustice:
2 To oppress the poor in judgment, and do violence to the cause of the humble of my people: that widows might be their prey, and that they might rob the fatherless.
3 What will you do in the day of visitation, and of the calamity which cometh from afar? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?

Shame on you! you who make unjust laws and publish burdensome decrees, depriving the poor of justice, robbing the weakest of my people of their rights, despoiling the widow and plundering the orphan. What will you do when called to account, when ruin from afar confronts you? To whom will you flee for help? (Isaiah 10:1-3) kjv

He that oppresseth the poor, to increase his own riches, shall himself give to one that is richer, and shall be in need. -- Proverbs xxii 16

He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want. (Prov 22:16) kjv

And I will come to you in judgment, and will be a speedy witness against sorcerers, and adulterers, and false swearers, and them that oppress the hireling in his wages; the widows, and the fatherless: and oppress the stranger, and have not feared me, saith the Lord of hosts. -- Malachias iii 5

And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:5) kjv

The fool shall no more be called prince: neither shall the deceitful be called great:
For the fool will speak foolish things, and his heart will work iniquity, to practice hypocrisy, and speak to the Lord deceitfully, and to make empty the soul of the hungry, and take away drink from the thirsty. -- Isaias xxxii 5-6

Sunday, July 22, 2007

super flumina Babylonis — Babylon

Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Marten Jacobsz Heemskerk †1574. Haarlem.
30 March 2003

We follow a liturgical cycle. Eventually psalm (136)137, super flumina Babylonis, turns up. "Upon the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept: when we remembered Sion:", I have heard the Melodians, Linda Ronstadt and Don McLean sing recorded versions. I enjoyed them all greatly. I always sing along and I enjoin at mass when it is the responsorial.

The ninth and last verse, "Blessed be he that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock.", is never sung by a Christian minstrel. War being war, we shall see the ninth ... eh, we will have the ninth, for in the first U.S. Iraqui War only censured views were presented and this group we have are more censorious than the last. I am not in this choir.

The waters of Babylon will be displaced. Today there exists in the penumbra of power an absurdly influential cadre of academic bureaucrats that favor a continuing war with a menu of destinations. A similar cadre brought us the domino policy in southeast asia, well this new bunch has gotten America into another asian war with a nebulous quest that substitutes the curtailing of the spread of the bogeyman -- communism, with the spread of the bogeyman -- terrorism. For those who read and think, see Greene's, "The Quiet American" and George Orwell's, "1984".

spring has sprung

from an electronic note to a former co-worker and friend -- March 2003:

Hi John,

The crocus began blooming in my backyard the morning the bombing began on the last day of winter, spring has sprung.


antebellum 2003 — Nineveh

I will post previous private scribblings of mine on this vehicle.

Scribblings from antebellum 2003:

War is not pleasant and the families of soldiers who are sent to fight are anxious. This is true. But, the U.S. has a volunteer service that has been sent by one individual alone and his rationale is not the defense of America.
"Support our troops" has become a pre-emptive euphemism and cover to support the war unflinchingly and unthinkingly. The actual combat time that the invasion forces will experience will most likely be too short for sentiments from the homefront to affect or even to reach them.

The world has become more troubled. Opinion here has become stifled. Speaking outside of like minded people if you are on one side of the matter is risky. If you are on the other side you are very free to speak, basically because you don't have to think.


if my notes are correct, 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - B Jon 3:1-5, 10 19 January 2003

Michelangelo Buonarroti. Prophet Jonah c. 1510. Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica.
Today in the old testament lesson a reluctant and xenophobic Jonah went to warn Nineveh to repent or be destroyed. Nineveh was saved. Today Nineveh is Mosul, Iraq. Bush junior is no prophet crying for justice, but a fortunate son of little ability who fraudulently bumbled into a de facto coup d'état and enjoys an overwhelming sense of entitlement, an arrogant entitlement with the façade of an academic degree that is a mere cover for the privileged voracity of mercenary capitalism -- the 1980s wunder product -- the mba.

Gustave Dore. Jonah Telling of Nineveh's Coming Vanquishment c. 1866.

initial tucket

In principio lorem ipsum. I wanted to do this for some time, but tarried through sloth, trepidation, ennui, cluelessness and speculation of whether it would be worthwhile. I have entertained thoughts of being a writer of notice --- it has not come to pass. We all have thoughts, many believe in the uniquity of their own. They over estimate themselves. People often have thoughts that are indistinguishable, at a distance, from their social cohort. Some would say, "That's a harsh and rash judgment without clear supporting evidence", yeah, but with the probability that any statistician or gambler would quickly lay his money down upon. A man who is right 7, 8 or 9 times out of ten has a better evaluating ken than one who is right one time of ten or twenty chances, and should so be acknowledged. I would wish to be in the former, rather than the latter. Time will tell.

Z -30-