Saturday, May 31, 2008

To Defend Mendacity and Loyalty, not Truth

  • Mendacity is a system we live in. — Brick Pollitt
  • Didn't you notice the powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room? — Big Daddy Pollitt *
Bob Dole sent a damning and accusatory, electronic letter to McClellan, complaining of his lack of integrity, love of money and lack of loyalty. Of course, the loyalty is in regard to bush junior, and not the United States. He acknowledges, that, McClellan may be speaking the truth, but why did he not quit earlier. If it is true, then why did not more busheviks leave? Again, loyalty was to bush and not to America. If the object was the country, the republic, the Constitution, then, the Executive Mansion and the administration would have been a ghost town.

Dole took money shilling for a drug company about his pecker problem. Did he not have enough money, so that, that was not needed? apparently the embarrassment and ickky-yuck dimension did not shame him. I realise that is a cheap ad hominem, but the crop is in the field. And then, it is, shoot the messenger, when you do not like the message. Gangsters in the rackets never appreciated snitches.

In an ironic, ass-biting moment, it is McClellan, now, being in the position of Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neil, whom he both excoriated when he was in the liar's pulpit. This corrupt and usurperous administration has contacted the public with a permanent, propaganda campaign of falsity. Fleischer, McClellan, Snow and now, Perrino are their designated mouth pieces. Their job was to misdirect, attack, defend and lie. Fleischer was very aggressive, McCllelan was stolid, Snow had an air of false suavity, though, Perrino is cute and far less obnoxious mendacityis their stock and trade and their job description. McClellan seemed embarrassed at some of the lies he told. It was noticeable.

The press were, often, lazy and cowardly. The Washington Post and the New York Times, the [hold a stifled giggle] supposed liberal titans, swallowed whole the war rubbish. Most of the press seemed to be in agreement with the Wall Street Journal's editorial page. The Knight Ridder reporters, Jonathan Landay, Warren Strobel and John Walcott were diligent and observant, but their capable talent was no basis to be considered, as they were small fish swimming against the tide.

Miss Helen Thomas, also was not fooled, and she was insulted, ignored and frozen out. When David Gregory showed some tenacity, it was, not unsurprisingly, that he was treated in an unfriendly manner. Snow, especially, was curt when challenged by the truth, or a tenacious questioner.

But, the country loves its myths and lies, just as an insecure and stupid woman would bed, a smarmy and unctuous horn dog, whom would tell her, that, she is beautiful. Mendacity is the system we live in. Mendacity is used to manipulate. Mendacity creates the objects of our desires, that, reality refuses to invent. Cold, sober reality only suggests the truth. The truth is, that, which is. And people want, what, they want.
_________________________
from Tennessee Williams', Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sacred Heart of Jesus


sic enim dilexit Deus mundum ut Filium suum unigenitum daret ut omnis qui credit in eum non pereat sed habeat vitam æternam
For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. ― John iii. xvi.
The Friday the octave after Corpus Christi is dedicated to the Sacred Heart, by his request to Margaret Mary Alacoque (*1647,†1690). This year, it is in May, because of the extremely early Easter moon. To-day, the 30th, is also for Saint Joan of Arc and the pre-Monday holiday observation of Decoration/Memorial Day. The government moves its vacation days to Monday; Catholics move holidays to Sunday, but not this one, it is not a day of obligation. Christ showed the world, His Scourged Heart, on a Friday. This feast logically needs to fall on a Friday. The Heart that suffered for us in love, can be recognised by its continual beating for us. In a manner of cosmic, divine poetry, It circulates throughout creation.

Saint Gertrude the Great (*1256,†1302) bore the stigmata and her heart was pierced. Her writings are the earliest, we have, of detail of the devotion. Throughout the centuries this devotion has been linked to the lance wound to Christ on the cross. To that wound where there flew both water and blood. The Sacred Heart has also been connected with the Five Wounds. Saint John Eudes, Saint Francis de Sales, Claude de La Colombière, St Francis Borgia and St Peter Canisius all encouraged and helped the spread of the devotion.

Christ’s wounded Heart shewed His love for us. The Divine Mercy vision of Saint Faustina, and the teaching of the Divine Mercy, must be connected with the Sacred Heart, for the Source is the same. In 1765 the day became a feast for the Church in Poland, and in 1856 for the entire Church.

The Gospel for the day, from the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, is:

Then the Jews, (because it was the parasceve,) that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath day, (for that was a great sabbath day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. The soldiers therefore came; and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him. But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water.And he that saw it, hath given testimony, and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true; that you also may believe. For these things were done, that the scripture might be fulfilled: You shall not break a bone of him. And again another scripture saith: They shall look on him whom they pierced. ― John xxxix. 31-7.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cartoon Coyote Moment




(Overconfidentii Vulgaris)>>

There is the moment, when, in saturday morning cartoons, a determined, yet oblivious, character disastrously overruns a cliff. He stays suspended in air, and finally he realises what he did, and what will happen next. In physics and nature, when an object reverses direction, there is a moment, when the velocity is zero, it is at that moment, that, the character finally understands. He sometimes, holds a sign that says, “Yikes”, “Help”, “Genius”, “OH, NO” or some such.

With the character, Wiley Coyote, and his prey; there often appeared various, humorous, faux-latinate taxonomic names, which, defined their rôles in the play.The colossal effort had failed. The ACME product was ridiculous. It is humorous, especially, when the attempt was doomed from the start.

This can have real life avatars. When does Hillary Clinton admit her campaign is over. Did a moment come for Scott McClellan’s conscience to admit, that, he played a part in a charade to fool the nation? When will the Republicans see that the fall election will sweep them away? The bushevik regime never had legitimacy or credibility, the nation is coming to dawn at that moment. The war, the economy, the execution of law, the accountability and capacity to govern and legislate, have all past the cliff. The jig is up.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Doctor Issam Nemeh

Last Sunday, I attended a healing service by Dr. Issam Nemeh at Saint Stephen’s Cleveland. It was, the sixth, in six locations, that, I had been to. Doctor Nemeh prayed and touched people, with help from his wife, Kathy, and a religious sister, Sister Monica, and he has a crew of volunteers. He murmurs, almost silently, inviting, imploring the Holy Spirit to come and act.

He became known to me through a local broadcaster, Ted Henry (WEWS), whom first told his story on television. A fellow broadcaster, and medical doctor, Ted Castele, also testified on the man’s veracity and gift. With this public announcement, the next few, healing sessions were jammed. A private individual rented out Cleveland State University’s basketball building, for a service, as he was so impressed with the doctor, and the results.

Most, but not all, take place in Catholic churches. He has been in the Cleveland area, extending to Sandusky, Canton, Ashtabula, and onto Michigan. After the first rush of interest, the local establishment rag, which purports to be a newspaper, reviewed him badly. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has not been known to be friendly to catholicism, it was little surprise assigned reporter was not pleased with Dr. Nemeh.* The next winter, another local television station (WKYC) ran a week long morning series with a radio disc jockey, Trapper Jack, Philip Keller, who is blind and is Dr. Nemeh’s spokesman.

I look at televangelists with great scorn. That class, of so called faith healers, are confidence men on the make. The main attraction of their own traveling side show carnival. I consider them charlatans and, as slippery as, snake oil salesmen. They are vainglorious, pompous and adept and dishonest of speech. This man, Dr. Nemeh, and his organisation, Path To Faith, is none of that. The doctor is a Syrian born anesthesiologist, who now has a busy, acupuncture practice. The man is a medical doctor, he has no need to spend time doing this for money. He and those around him see this as a christian ministry, a path of evangelisation.

All the ones I attended, and at least the ones held in Catholic (Latin and Byzantine) churches begin with the regularly scheduled mass and then the service, with the good doctor, begins. It lasts several hours, a good shift, and some times longer. The lessening of the novelty, and the notoriety, and I believe the strain, have reduced the schedule. Everyone who stays, some people are frustrated by the duration, receives a blessing and prayers that invite Jesus and especially, the Holy Spirit to arrive and bestow a healing; it must be understood that the good comes through God.

Bearing on the resources of the church and people available, there are musical backgrounds and interludes of organ, singing, and other instruments, or a music disc playing. There are also: testimonials, the praying of the rosary, and other prayers by the assembly.

No promises are made. NO money is solicited. Donations for the church, and the organisation are accepted, but no requests are made, or even alluded to. There are some discs available, music, video for purchase, and this is away from the assembly.

An honest sceptic can doubt the efficacy, or even the attempt, but only an ill spirited individual can deny the sincerity. A sceptic can suggest that it is psychosomatic placebo. An alternative view, may suggest, the benefit may come from so many people praying together, that has an effect, even to the point, that some good karma, or an equivalent is produced.

A goodly number who ridicule, and cast aspersions on the particulars of this case, show anger, and even malice. I can see, and calmly accept, that some people cannot see this as being real. I cannot see, that, an honest witness would not see the veracity, and sincerity of it.

I find the experience in the assemblage, peaceful and pleasant, and I can tune out the people who grouse about the wait, and why some go before them. For as many people who do come, it takes time, period. If, they are aware, that someone is of a greater physical challenge, they and their family/group go ahead. You can see some are in sad, and even pitiful condition. They have suffered, and are suffering, some people you cannot see what condition of torment, that, they have undergone. The time spent over an individual is not the same for all. Some individuals are prayed over, by several people, and for several minutes.

Some people weep, others slouch and stagger, and some fall straight backwards. There are people to catch them, and mats for them to lie on, and if they are out — a blanket. Some fall very quickly, sometimes several people in succession. Some demonstrate no outward effects.

Some report only a feeling of warmth, or a type of rush, or current. Some say an ailment becomes better. I, the first five times, can say nothing. The last time, with my head down and eyes closed, I somewhat more than vaguely felt/saw something approaching, I can’t say that it arrived.

If you come in goodwill, patience and faith if you can muster it, you will find a good experience and perhaps improvement. In the New Testament, some are said to enjoy this gift, it may only last a season, but that aperture can help many.
________________
postscriptum: October 2008. I am happy to report, that, my aged mother, whom I brought six times to these events, has had a physical improvement. She has come from her biennial physician
’s visit, and a kidney problem that has worried, her physician, has gone away, and this much to the wonder of that physician. Now, Dr. Nemeh, and his crew, never interviewed my mother, yet, especially during the last visit, the doctor and the Sister gave some attention to her kidneys. I am wont to believe, that, their touch, and the influence of the Holy Spirit, were active in this recovery. 

postscriptum: October 2009. I have been told (I have not confirmed this), that, the event I attended in May of 08 was the last in that format. Now there are events, some with lectures, and tickets at $ 20; I have not been to one.

*I crossed out some text above, as seen. The management and the reporters are different groups. The management are very attentive to the establishment. Some reporters are very careful, and try to be scrupulous. Some writers are different, the reporter who wrote was no fan of his subject. 

Monday, May 26, 2008

Confederate Memorial Day

Spotsylvania Virginia
Confederate Memorial Day is a state holiday in most of what one considers the South. Most people from outside the south do not know of it. When I first read about it, as a child, I thought why the duplication, there was the national day. There are many southern negroes under forty years of age, that are not aware of it, now. Many black americans are surprised and shocked, when they encounter its existence. Many are insulted, angered and want it ended. Human charity demands that people be allowed to mourn.

It was a precursor to a general Memorial Day. It was meant to remember and honor the fallen of the 1861-5 war, the most traumatic event in the history of this land, and the most significant. It is the only lost cause that is of the US.

As George Patton (or George C. Scott, it is the same to the country) is to have remarked*, this country only has respect for winners. It (CMD) is, thereby, remarkable for its existence. Other than the Indian Wars, this land has not known war since. The United States wars, and is damn proud of it, but those wars are on some one else’s land. With the failed War of Southern Secession, americans experienced real war, not a vicarious, hidden war of expedition.

When the southern textbooks referred to the war as the ‘War of Northern Aggression’, they were not meaning to be coolly objective. They wrote with pained, humiliated resentment; they did not lie. A more neutral, and ambiguous term ‘War Between the States’ is better and far more accurate than ‘Civil War’. The rejoinder, “there was nothing civil about it”, is true. In a political sense, it was a civil war, only, in some communities in border areas. Massachusetts was on one side, Mississippi on the other.

The South, the secessionists, lost. The feelings of the vanquished were similar to the central powers (germans, turks, magyars, bulgarians), whom lost the First World War and to the losers in many another war. Pride in the action of existence was a psychological bulwark. We fought therefore, we who survive, we exist. Bello ergo sum.

From this many corollaries are. The current military is more revered, than, the country as a whole. A ‘south will rise again’ attitude lingered and has manifested itself; it still can be discerned.

Where it is observed, it is usually a separate state holiday. It is not on a common date. A couple states move it to a Monday. Three different dates are commemorated. 26 April was Johnston’s surrender to Sherman. Jefferson Davis’s birthday is the 3rd of June. 10 May is the death of Thomas Jackson and the capture of Davis. In addition, some states have a separate Davis Day, and a Lee birthday (19 January). The only one, of these states, to have a Lincoln birthday is his birth state, Kentucky.

The Lincoln item is further interesting. Kentucky recognises Franklin Roosevelt’s birthday (30 April). Most of the south is solidly Republican, it does not recognise the greatest Republican, who was, also, the first Republican president and the only good one.
________________
*Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. ― Speech to the Third Army. 5 June 1944.

noto bene: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is the junior senator from Alabama.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Assassination of a Catholic Radical



Forty years ago at a quarter past midnight, the 5th of June 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California, a most tragic and decisive event transpired. A madman shot, to death, Robert Kennedy. The course of american and world history was changed, and changed for great ill. Thomas Carlyle espoused a theory of the hero, the great man of history, whom in his person and action effects history. Such a man was our Bobby.

I have previously* posted concerning this. In my generation, this was the critical point, where the slope of the graph changed. Beneficial, progressive change was dashed. We have had two score years of degradation or mediocrity. On the 6th of June, Robert Francis Kennedy died. For many, the hope of a better America did perish also. The more one looks back, the more certain the verdict.

As I type this, on the 23rd of May, Hillary Clinton spoke in South Dakota. After I read, saw and heard her statement, I was appalled. I filled out an electronique courier form and sent this out:
Hell-o Mr. Dean,

Mrs. Clinton's recent remark that referred to the assassination of our dear Robert Kennedy as a reason to continue campaigning is too outré. It's truly time for her to fade away.
Just recently, Bobby’s only, surviving brother† was given grave health news. Some hideous partisans revelled. The hatred of the Kennedys, by a part of this country, is often, hysterically vicious. Though they have erred often, and even seriously before God, they have served, yes, truly served this country well and continuously. So much of the good name, that, this country still enjoys in the world, is on account of the Kennedys. They have not preyed on it such as the Bushes, whom have not garnered an equitable share of opprobrium for their deeds.

Hillary Clinton is like a Republican. Shame is not in her makeup. She feels entitled to the office she aspires. Yes, ruthless ― that is the Republican characteristic. She would be better than an official Republican, but she has that quality of arrogant meanness they are engendered with.
__________
*October 9, 2007.
†His brother, Edward “Teddy” Kennedy — “My brother need not be idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.”
noto bene: In 2006 the fictional, but inspiring tribute movie, “Bobby” was released. It is worth seeing by all, for some, it is a necessary corrective.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Corpus Christi

Disputation over the Blessed Sacrament. Raphaël.Vatican. c.1509.

Stanza della Segnatura, was an office, library, court and ceremonial document finishing room. In this room four great frescoes were done by Raphaël (*1483, †1520). The first completed was supra. Another on the opposite wall, The School of Athens, has been far more reproduced. They are similar in construction, but the Disputà is the grander masterpiece. Its competition is Michelangelo’s ceiling. They are the climax of the High Renaissance, which ended with the Sack of Rome, by german imperial troops, on the 6th of May 1527.

The papal swiss* guard in valiant and heroic military defense were obliterated by the germans†, whom in pillage, vandalism, rape and murder‡ devastated Rome. The frescoes, being paint infused plaster walls, were not mobile. On this fresco the names, of the emperor and Luther were cut in, on two of the limned popes.
“Rome and the Pope have been terribly laid waste. Christ reigns in such a way that the Emperor who persecutes Luther for the Pope is forced to destroy the Pope for Luther.” — Martin Luther
The geometry and perspective of the painting is an architectural feat that translates theology into an icon. This image is on the centrality of The Sacrament in heaven and earth. The indentation on the bottom right is for a door. On a flat wall, Raphaël paints the vault of heaven. On a ledge of clouds and angels sit a company of saints of both Testaments. Moses is holding his stone tables, Peter has a key and so on. Above them stay two coteries of angels, below from left to right a band of historical doctors and members of the Church Militant. Some are identifiable by the books§ beneath them. Aquinas, Dante and some contemporaries are discernable. The Trinity, the Eucharist and the entire Church of heaven and earth in union. With the talent of Raphaël, depth and perspective present a quarter sphere, with diagonal rays and strong rectangles delineated. But, the central axis proves the highest theological demonstration. Raphaël paints a theological geometry. And the focus is the Sacrament.

God the Father, God the Sun, God the Holy Spirit and the Eucharist, displayed in a monstrance are in a direct line. Their Unity is allegorically shown. Jesus is flanked by His Mother and John the Baptist. And this Communion invites us, to join.

There is so very much in this painting. This was completed before the protestant heresies came. The centrality of the Eucharist in our universe is portrayed. An item of instructive humor is the location of the Bird. It can be hypothesised, that, if the Bird (the representation of the Holy Spirit) was positioned between the Father and the Son, then the eastern interpretation (and the only real difference between the Catholicism of the west and the Orthodoxy of the east) of the Spirit proceeding from only the Father, would be asserted; but Raphaël being the exacting draftsman, he was, portrays the Spirit proceeding from both the Father and the Son. On either side of the Holy Spirit are putti holding the four Gospels inspired by Him.

To-day is the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, traditionally Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Body (and Blood) of Christ. Now, in Holy Week, which is so solemn and grave, Thursday saw the institution of the Eucharist; but this wonderful Sacrament that is an ever continuing gift to us is not, cannot be, festively celebrated. The Eucharist is in repose. Now, to-day it can be festively celebrated. After mass was celebrated there would be colorful and joyful processions with a monstrance and a Benediction. It is quite sad, that these traditional practices have become rare, and it is sad, that for convenience, this great day has been transferred to Sunday.

This mass contains the sequence, Lauda Sion, composed by the foremost doctor of the church, and poet of the Sacrament, Saint Thomas Aquinas, when the feast was instituted for the entire Church in 1264|| . The First Gospel, of the old rite is from the 6th chapter of John 56-9:
For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever.
___________________________________
*500 total, 147 of 189 died outside the Basilica
†20,000 mercenary Landsknechte
‡ 40 - 50,000 ?
§ Moralia at the feet of Gregory the Great, De civitate Dei by Augustine, Bible and Epistles by Jerome. Now, if the Koran lay on the ground, how many fatwas would there be on Rapha
ël?
|| “Although we daily, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; renew the memory of this Holy Sacrament, we believe that we must, besides, solemnly commemorate it every year, to put the unbelievers to shame; and because vie have been informed that God has revealed to some pious persons that this festival should be celebrated in the whole Church, we direct that on the first Thursday after the octave of Pentecost the faithful shall assemble in church, join with the priests in singing the word of God ” — Urban IV, 1264

Monday, May 19, 2008

Republican Slogans

Being a Republican means, NEVER saying you’re sorry.

I have maintained, that the foundation of the Republican party is hypocrisy. There is some fluff in the press, that they are looking for a new slogan to market themselves as a product. It seems, that, their brand has faltered. The Depression of the 1920s should have ended their run. The party of established money proved they could wreck the economy. The Watergate, and other, scandals of the law and order party, in the 1970s, proved they could not be trusted to run government within the rule of law The Iran-contra affair re-confirmed that. Now, Bush junior and crew have proven they can be trusted for nothing. When will America learn?

There have always been two major parties in the United States: a democratic and an anti-democratic party. This one began in 1854, and with the success they enjoyed with the Civil War, and have been the party of the moneyed establishment. They have won through fraud, fiction and fear mongering ever since. Family values they trumpet.

#1 -- Vito Fossella, a Republican congressman from Staten Island and a wedge of Brooklyn, New York, has been recently stopped for drunken driving. Vito had his mistress get him out of jail. She had been a military liaison to Congress and they share parentage of a child. Nothing much there, but he also has a wife and children in New York. Double good family values, how is that for a campaign slogan?, or something to the gum company’s tune.

There is a folk song, The Mormon Engineer, that I am reminded of.
Old Zack, he came to Utah, way back in seventy three,
A right good Mormon gentleman and a bishop too was he.
He drove a locomotive for the D. and R. G.,
With women he was popular, as popular as could be.
#2 -- Mike Erickson, had been the Republican party’s candidate for Congress in Oregon in ought-six. He was supported by Oregon Right to Life that time. He is now running in this year’s primary. It has come to print that he paid for a girlfriend to terminate their pregnancy in 2000. Oregon Right to Life was aware of this when they endorsed him.

I am against abortion. I am a democrat. I am a Democrat. I do not approve of hypocrisy. The Republicans only use right to life as a campaigning device, though some are sincere. Some people, who say they are pro-life, are Republicans first and foremost. Jesus taught us, that, we can not be loyal to two masters.

I am sure that there are many instances of this that are not widely known. Perhaps, one day soon, some historian or biographer will detail a story from the hypocrite-in-chief.* Hypocrisy, you say that like it
’s a bad thing.
_______________________
noto bene: Apologies to Erich Segal, who had
Oliver Barrett IV, say in 1970, Love Story, “Love means never having to say you're sorry.” But, then again, amongst Republicans that is très gauche, n’est pas?
*1971 Texas
postscriptum: 21May. At this point in time, the Oregon races have been called. Erickson took his primary 5:4. Fossella has posted a letter, dated 20 May, where he states, he is not seeking election in November. He has reversed his previous position.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Trinity Sunday

To-day is Trinity Sunday, the first Sunday after Pentecost, the second Sunday of Pentecost.

The first Gospel, in the old rite, for to-day is:
18 et accedens Jesus locutus est eis dicens data est mihi omnis potestas in cælo et in terra
19
euntes ergo docete omnes gentes baptizantes eos in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti
20
docentes eos servare omnia quæcumque mandavi vobis et ecce ego vobiscum sum omnibus diebus usque ad consummationem sæculi

18 And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.
19 Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. — Matthew xxviii
At the time of the legalisation of christianity in the roman empire, the chief heresy that the Catholic Church vied with was Arianism. Saint Athanasius was the chief defender, promoter and evangelist of orthodoxy. His creed, as well as the Nicene Creed, was a formulaic confession, that stated that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were of the same substance. The Arians stated that the Son, Jesus, was a created being, therefore not equal, co-substantial and co-eternal with the Father.

The Trinity is not part of natural theology, it cannot be ascertained by reason alone. It is revealed theology. The Revelation came on that first Pentecost. The eastern churches view Pentecost as Trinity Sunday. It has been a universal feast, in the Latin rite, since the early 14th century.

In the vernacular rite this year, cycle A, the Gospel begins with the passage that had , at one time been so favored at sporting events:
16 For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him.
18 He that believeth in him is not judged. But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God. — John iii.
The last Gospel read in the old rite is not the usual beginning of the Book of John, but a portion of the sixth chapter of Luke:

36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37 Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven.
38 Give, and it shall be given to you: good measure and pressed down and shaken together and running over shall they give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you shall mete withal, it shall be measured to you again.
39 And he spoke also to them a similitude: Can the blind lead the blind? do they not both fall into the ditch?
40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one shall be perfect, if he be as his master.
41 And why seest thou the mote in thy brother's eye: but the beam that is in thy own eye thou considerest not?
42 Or how canst thou say to thy brother: Brother, let me pull the mote out of thy eye, when thou thyself seest not the beam in thy own eye? Hypocrite, cast first the beam out of thy own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to take out the mote from thy brother's eye.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Saint John Nepomuk kept silence


The representation of a saint in art is meant to convey a message of his story. Many of these saints died centuries ago, and many never had a likeness, in their lifetime, recorded in any artistic media. But, one glance at an icon, or statue, or painting transmits a story. Some subjects may have more than one representation, each which tells a story.

I always had in my mind, the image of Saint John Nepomuk (Nepomucene*1340), in a definitive identification, a priest in a surplice, a biretta, and a stole, with a finger, or two, in front of his closed lips. To a non-Catholic, I suppose, this is puzzling. It seems that our spiritual references are alien to many, and those persons if not honestly bewildered, can create their own backstory and presentation, which then confounds us completely.

Often martyred saints are depicted in regards to their last moment. We have seven sacraments, instituted by Our Lord Jesus, which grant us graces. One is called by several names, as a child, I knew it as confession. It is also called penance or reconciliation. We are responsible for what we do. We confess our sins, not another’s, in solemn confidentiality to a priest. He is bound not to break the sacramental seal by thought, sign, word, or deed; to do so he would incur the highest clerical penalty. Saint John Nepomuk is emblematic of this fidelity.

I had a teacher, in high school, Brother Joe Clark, whom made up facetious eleventh commandments. One, I vaguely misremember, as: thou shall not have a test on a Monday (?). Well, another was: thou shall not rat.* So then, there is Saint John.

John of Nepomuk was Vicar-General of the Archdiocese of Prague and was martyred on 20 March 1393. King Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia had him tortured in sundry manners beforehand. The king, himself, put a torch to the flesh of John. John’s corpse was thrown into the Vltava from Charles Bridge.† This was done, because the king thought himself as a Leviathan, and wanted to control church appointments and property. John was a doctor of canon law and the official in charge of the canon court. Wenceslaus did not care for his judgment. But, prievously, John was the deceased queen’s confessor, and he would not reveal her confession to the king, sorely vexing him.

Again and again, the state or the power that controls the state, which, believes it is the state, declares its right to power and jurisdiction to be absolute. How little changes. The church is often in conflict, when she tries to maintain her jurisdiction. This is another argument for the separation of church and state.

It was believed, that, the enmity for John existed from his rôle as confessor. The king wanted all power, and personal revenge. Immediately, John was recognised as a holy martyr of Christ, although his canonisation would wait till 1729. In the mean time, protestant propagandists conflated his story, that there were two different men tossed, or John Huss (Jan Hus) was repackaged by conniving Jesuits. There are historical documents predating the existence of the birth of the first Jesuit and before the trials of Hus, but in manipulation for sake of partisan arguments, cogent facts can be ignored and dismissed.

A comparable personage is Saint John Sarkander, *1576.1620. He was taken prisoner in 1618 by protestant authorities in Olomouc, Moravia. He died after his third session of torture. The torturers, also, wanted him to betray the seal of confession. Our, sainted Pope, John Paul II formally canonised him in Olomouc in 1995, over protestant protest.
________________________________
*This brings up the ethicality of the civil authorities, police and the courts, pressuring people to rat others out. I am responsible for what I have done. I can confess to my actions, asking me to confess another’s transgressions is of a different order. Now, we know bushjr cannot be a Catholic, he confesses to nothing and promotes and awards his confederates. The first step, component, of a good confession is sorrow for the wrongs done, the second is self accusation, and the third, is penance.
†There is a statue at that spot on the bridge in Prague. There are other statues of Jan Nepomucký throughout the country on bridges. These statues have John holding a crucifix and five stars about his head. The only other saint depicted with stars is the Virgin Mary.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

When you are facing a wall

Yesterday, Laura Dern, was a delightful guest on David Letterman’s show, after a ten year absence. Some people should visit more often, but people often only come to promote something; and, conversely, a few should never appear. The very tall Dern is to portray, the very painted, and petite, Katharine Harris, in a cable movie, “Recount”, which tells part of the story of theft of the 2000 election. To paraphrase her, in telling an anecdote to Dave: My son came home from kindergarten, and said to me, “Mom, they have told me, that you are playing a Republican.”

It reminded me of the cartoon character, Sylvester Junior. There was an element of shame and hurt betrayal, spoken with a tinge of melodrama. The dear, revered parent, did not confide, beforehand, of their disgraceful behavior.

To-day, there came the news of John Edwards announcing his support of Barack Obama. Mrs. Clinton has not relented. Her doggedness is remarkable. If Gore and the Democrats had shown such tenacity, Florida would have been counted more accurately, and the world would have been saved this horrendous disaster of an usurpation.

Hillary Rodham had been a Republican, and it shows, al-be-it a Nelson Rockefeller Republican. She was president of some college Republican organisation. Oh, [insert emoticon, with hand on face, head tilted downward, nodding no]. I saw these people at university. Their oblivious smugness, condescending nastiness, and their inability to listen to reason and logic, when those faculties, contradicted their assumptions. I, think I, must confess a class revulsion.
In eadem hora apparuerunt digiti, quasi manus hominis scribentis contra candelabrum in superficie parietis aulæ regiæ: et rex aspiciebat articulos manus scribentis.
In the same hour there appeared fingers, as it were of the hand of a man, writing over against the candlestick upon the surface of the wall of the king's palace: and the king beheld the joints of the hand that wrote. Daniel v. 5.

Hæc est autem scriptura, quæ digesta est: MANE, THECEL, PHARES.
And this is the writing that is written: MANE, THECEL, PHARES. Daniel v. 25.

in the footsteps of Iscariot

In those days Peter rising up in the midst of the brethren, said: (now the number of persons together was about an hundred and twenty:) Men, brethren, the scripture must needs be fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who was the leader of them that apprehended Jesus: Who was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. And he indeed hath possessed a field of the reward of iniquity, and being hanged, burst asunder in the midst: and all his bowels gushed out. And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: so that the same field was called in their tongue, Haceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms: Let their habitation become desolate, and let there be none to dwell therein. And his bishopric let another take. [et episcopatum ejus accipiat alius] Wherefore of these men who have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus came in and went out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, until the day wherein he was taken up from us, one of these must be made a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph, called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And praying, they said: Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, to take the place of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas hath by transgression fallen, that he might go to his own place. And they gave them lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. — Acts of the Apostles i.15-26.

The first event after Pentecost, that is attested to, in Scripture is: the election of Matthias into the college of apostles. A number of details are told, to us, of the nascent Church and how Catholic the Church was and is. It is clear that after Jesus ascended to Heaven, that, Peter is the prince of the apostles. He declares the acting of the Third Person (of the Trinity) in the Old Testament. Because of the scandal of Judas, there is a vacancy amongst the apostles and an open bishophric, a sedevacantism. A descriptive grossness of the end of the great betrayer (et diffusa sunt omnia viscera ejus) is described, Judas was one of their number, a successor is called for. Well, beyond the twelve apostles, there had been seventy-two disciples from the beginning of Jesus’s ministry. From these, two candidates were chosen; and the lot fell to Matthias, and somehow the Holy Ghost guided this.

Matthias replaced Judas. And not much can be confirmed with certainty, after the centuries, about Matthias other than that. But, place yourself in his position, it has become your lot to replace a treacher and scoundrel. He was a saint and the church continued.

At one time, his day was 24 February, upon the re-ordering of the calendar, his day has been 14 May, and this year, it is three days after Pentecost. We have finished the first chapter of the Acts, and of the history of the Church.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Election Day Ephemera

The press has, only, been talking about Clinton’s strength in the West Virginia primary. Her victory will make her feel better. They have not mentioned Huckabee had already won the West Virginia convention and its delegates. A second also ran will take West Virginia.

I have been waiting for the Travis Childers’ results in Mississippi’s First Congressional District. I have been waiting to hear, that a third Democrat has won (Bill Foster in Illinois’ 14th District formerly filled by Dennis Hastert. Don Cazayoux in Louisiana
’s 6th District) in a non-Democrat area in recent bye elections.

Another interesting race is the Democratic primary in Oregon, a mail in affair. One of the candidates was born with less bones than a full complement. Steve Novick finished university at eighteen and has a strong sense of humor. He is 4' 9" and has an hook for a left hand.
  • Because the working people need a senator who will fight for them, and a fighter needs a hard left hook.
  • Every politician says hes for the little guy, but when I say it you can believe it. — Steve Novick
There, may, be a growing tide that will roll the Democracy into the Potomac and onto the District of Columbia. Obama’s campaign has invigorated and expanded the party. He has brought out the youth vote. The last such enthusiasm, in the Democracy, was with Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy. Barack’s campaign has attempted registration drives in all 50 states, while the fascists in the Republican party have been trying to reduce and restrict the electorate. Ron Paul and Bob Barr’s supporters have not been involved in these activities. Mister Barr is running as a Libertarian, though I disagree, at least they tend towards being democrats.

After the wreck of the Republican hegemony that brought us the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal saved the republic. The congressional make-up was roughly:

Session .......... Senate........... House
1933-34........... 59-36-1...........311 -117 -5
1935-36........... 69-25-1-1....... 322 -103 -7 -3
1937-38........... 73-20-2-1........334-88-8-5
1939-40........... 69-23-2-1-1.....252-177-3-1-1-1
1941-42........... 66-28-1-1........267-162-3-1-1-1
1943-44........... 56-37-1............222-209-2-1-1
1945-46........... 57-38-1............242-191-1-1

Perhaps we will be there again.

The last matter, I wish to discuss is the loony minister problem. O
bama has been attacked on account of Jeremiah Wright. John Kennedy was accused, as all Catholics were, of being controlled by the clergy. John Hagee, televangelist and veteran, anti-Catholic, bigot was friendly with Huckabee, and now McCain. Wright has espoused an angry, aggrieved, black, nationalist interpretation of the church and America. He and Obama, guilty by association, have been pilloried by the media. Then Wright had a chance for further exposure and the spotlight and, possibly, made things worse. The Republicans escaped such scrutiny.

William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights, had been rightfully pointing this out. I had allowed my membership lapse, after the continuing, Republican drift of the organisation. I was pleased to see that he was tacking sail. Well, Hagee, who wants to have political and public clout, has been lying low. Recently, he met with
Deal Hudson, Rove’s operative, and other, Catholic Republicans. To-day, Hagee’s letter of apology was issued. Very clever, very clever and politically expedient; Mr. Donohue is satisfied. I am not that naïve.
  • I want to express my deep regret for any comments that Catholics have found hurtful.— John Hagee
Hagee has made money, and written much calumnious slander. He has made, as of yet, no announcement or attempt of having those books and broadcasts corrected, nor do I believe his sincerity. He has not had his Damascus moment. He is, simply, politically savvy, and the Republicans behind the scene activity continues.
__________________
postscriptum: Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley defeated Steve Novick in the Oregon primary.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Of postage, petroleum, pennies and profit


To-day the price of a first class stamp increased a penny. There does not seem the usual amount of piffle on the cathodique and other media, this time around; after all, look at the price of petroleum. When the controversially, divisive Bill Clinton ended his constitutionally, obtained, tenure in office, postage was 34¢. At the close of business, to-day, a barrel of oil was $124.23, it had decreased from yesterday.
The OPEC nations are responding to decreased demand. World demand, they think, is going to decrease and, therefore, they've responded with a million barrel cut. The piece of good news in their decision was that the Saudi minister made it clear that he and his friends would not allow the price of oil, crude oil to exceed $28 a barrel. — gwbjr 3/19/01
When the postage went from 22¢ to 2 bits, a hue and cry arose. A comedian had a wonderful comment: I put a message in an envelope, someone comes to my my house, and it is carried anywhere in the country to the house of someone else, for a quarter; a kid won’t lick an envelope for a quarter.

I worked in the post office. It is run as an ersatz military organisation. The highest officer is the postmaster general. There are many levels (grades) between him and the carrier and clerk. There is a numeric code with slashes for everything. 1.30 p.m. is 13.50. You are AWOL, if they do not your whereabouts. Straightforward clear english is not used. The terminology is faux military and, generally, you are treated with the respect a recruit receives in basic training.

Bush junior has escaped blame for the oil situation. I remember, people berating Jimmy Carter for the price of gasoline and its availability, up to the point of the start of the current war bush created. These people, who were older than myself, had all forgotten the 1973 oil crisis under Nixon as ever occurring. Being Republicans, they had different standards and selective memory and outrage. Granted: there has been no Republican better than Nixon since, but Carter was morally superior. Bush and Cheney were both Texas oilmen, it is unconstitutional for both the president and vice-president being from the same state*. The oilfields of Iraq were to pay for the war, they said, they assured the country.

There had been non-denominated stamps for Christmas 1975. Beginning in ’78 there were stamps identified by letter, that were indexed to new rates. The last was ‘H’. Some other stamps also were not denominated, some specifically created to make up the difference between old and new rates. Now a new system has been implemented, where non-denominated stamps are to remain good, for future rates . It is a good idea. [God knows, that postal management does not have many. Practically every novelty is flawed.] People do not remember all the changes. All previous stamps remain their intended, original, value. Customers and workers would need charts. The quarter of 1988 will have more value than the 25¢ of 2038. Many stamps bought are never used. People pay for services never to be done, profit for the postal service.

Under Reagan, the capitalist cheerleaders came out of the woodwork to privatise, rob and wreak havoc. Stamps printed by the government, an internationally logical and thoroughly legitimate practice, were being relegated out to different private printers, creating an inferior product. Postal stamps are like currency and official documents, they should not be advertising labels. Some people thought the contingency stamps unattractive. The text only one, certainly, was. The new design is a good one.




_________________________
*But, as they have often demonstrated, they are not bound by the Constitution. A Wyoming address was provided, to actually, satisfy the Constitution, perhaps the last action they modified for its sake.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pentecost


El Greco. Pentecost. c.1600. Museo del Prado. Madrid.

The Holy Rosary’s 3rd Glorious Mystery is to-day, The Descent of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost.
AND when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak. Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded in mind, because that every man heard them speak in his own tongue. And they were all amazed, and wondered, saying: Behold, are not all these, that speak, Galileans? — Acts of the Apostles ii. 1 - 7.
The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • Wisdom
  • Knowledge
  • Counsel (Right Judgment)
  • Fortitude (Courage)
  • Understanding (Common Sense)
  • Piety
  • Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe in God)
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. Isaias xi.2.
There in the room, the cenacle, where the Last Supper (Cena) took place the remaining eleven apostles, the Mother of God and the Magdalen were gathered, and the Paraclete, the Third Person of the Trinity came. The Church is fortified and becomes emboldened. That room became the location of our first church. The apostles speak in languages that reverse Babel. They lose fear of the establishment: government, military, sanhedrin and the jews. The Holy Spirit, the Comforter shall be with us, always. He bestows many gifts, too many people, but sometimes only for a season, but still He is with us.
__________________________________
noto bene: These Sundays in May can be busy, besides the great Solemnity and Feast of Pentecost, there are Marian May crownings and first Holy Communions. And the american civic calendar has to-day as Mother’s Day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Damien of Moloka‘i

Here I am a priest, dear parents, here I am a missionary in a corrupt, heretical, idolatrous country. How great my obligations are! Ah! do not forget this poor priest running night and day over the volcanoes night and day in search of strayed sheep. Pray night and day for me, I beg You.
There are seven habitable islands of Hawai‘i. Moloka‘i had a reservation for lepers. They received their first priest on the 10th of May 1873. He was a 33 year old fleming, neé Joseph De Veuster, the seventh of eight children of peasants from Tremeloo, Belgium. He had followed his brother, Auguste, into the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. In 1860, he became Brother Damianus. Damien was devoted to St. Francis Xavier, patron of missionaries. On Saint Joseph’s Day 1864 he arrived in Honolulu. Two days later he was ordained.

There were 816 souls in that colony, a fourth being of the Faith. Their health and poverty was fetid, rotting and truly wretched. Their was a harsh and depraved anarchy in the community. They were truly abandoned. Damien became a carpenter and physician and a true priest of God. He founded the Parish of Saint Philomena in Kalaupapa.


The lepers became Catholic. Father Damien began a perpetual Eucharistic adoration. Christ was to be with them always. At one time, catholicism was banned and catholics jailed in the Sandwich Islands. The government, the powered and moneyed elite were protestants, calvinists and some mormon. They held Damien, “the papist”, with enmity. Damien had troubles with his fellow priests, also. He suffered melancholy.

Walter Murray Gibson, a scoundrel of wonderful talent and remarkable exploits, was governmental minister of near everything and owner of The Honolulu Advertiser, and founder of The Nuhou . He had been a gun runner and world adventurer, a very high ranking mormon friend of Brigham Young and no friend to Damien in his governmental rôles . Damien was the only friend of these people for a long while.

After many years Damien contracted leprosy himself. His congregation realised this, when, one day, he began with the words, “We lepers”. He needed help in his mission and controversy made the world’s press. Ira Barnes Dutton (Brother Joseph) in 1886, Fr. Louis Lambert Conrardy, James Sinnett, and Franciscan sisters with Mother Marianne Cope* came in 1888. The bishop warmed and sent Damien more help, the mission to the lepers continued.

At the beginning of spring 1889 he was bedridden. April 15 he died, now Father Damien Day is celebrated in the islands on April 15. On June 4, 1995 he was beatified. A poll in Belgium, in 2005, voted him history’s greatest belgian. He is expected to be canonised this year.


When he died, it was news. Many recognised a saint and wanted to help Molokai. But there were those who hated him. A calvinist, Reverend C. M. Hyde† libeled him with calumny, to a Reverend Gage:
Dear Brother,— In answer to your inquiries about Father Damien, I can only reply that we who knew the man are surprised at the extravagant newspaper laudations, as if he was a most saintly philanthropist. The simple truth is, he was a coarse, dirty man, head-strong and bigoted. He was not sent to Molokai, but went there without orders; did not stay at the leper settlement (before he became one himself), but circulated freely over the whole island (less than half the island is devoted to the lepers), and he came often to Honolulu. He had no hand in the reforms and improvements inaugurated, which were the work of our Board of Health, as occasion required and means were provided. He was not a pure man in his relations with women, and the leprosy of which he died should be attributed to his vices and carelessness. Others have done much for the lepers, our own ministers, the government physicians, and so forth, but never with the Catholic idea of meriting eternal life.
This was published in the Sydney Presbyterian and read by Robert Louis Stevenson who then visited Molokai, and famously, and successfully rebutted his co-religionist, with an open and lengthy letter, which began in part:
To do this properly, I must begin by quoting you at large: I shall then proceed to criticise your utterance from several points of view, divine and human, in the course of which I shall attempt to draw again, and with more specification, the character of the dead saint whom it has pleased you to vilify: so much being done, I shall say farewell to you for ever.
In the eighth grade, Sister Mary Harold showed our class a short film on Damien. I think it was, The Great Heart (1938). The year before, John Farrow wrote a biography, Damien the Leper. I was surprised he was not declared a saint then. He was a missionary to the outcast. The medical community has renamed the feared malady, Hansen’s disease. As historically, and biblically, feared the disease was, those who suffered from it, suffered psychologically, socially and emotionally to a great degree. The leper saint is being called to intercede with a disease of our generation, hiv/aids.
Father of mercy, in Blessed Damien you have given a shining witness of love for the poorest and most abandoned. Grant that, by his intercession, as faithful witness of the heart of your Son Jesus, we too may be servants of the most needy and rejected.We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.
______________
*Blessed Marianne of Moloka‘i as of 14 May 2005.
† Charles McEwan Hyde, not the Edward Hyde in Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 1886.
POSTSCRIPTUM: On 16 February 2009 the Vatican announced that on 21 February 2009 Damien will be recognised to be canonised. He will be formally, infallibly recognised as a saint, one who shares the beatific vision of God on 11 October with pomp and ceremony.
postscriptum: Damien was canonised, along with four others, in Rome on 11 October 2009.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Vive la dent-de-lion

The cleverness of the dandelion is remarkable. It is so much more than people realise. Here now, we have gone through a flowering cycle.

In the city, lawns and fields that have not been aggressively mowed or chemically controlled have had this plant run free. An otherwise clean portion of grass, devoid of wildfowers and many weeds that break up the consistent hue and tint have seen this herb.

I look at the green, and see, interspersed, the bright yellow heads. Some yards when in full bloom have a greater preponderance of yellow than green. On days that are rainy and overcast or at twilight, or at gloaming, you have these two strong, deep and bright colors unbleached by strong and excessive light and glare. That is why green and yellow appear with stoplights. I enjoy those clean colors. But, a fecund transformation arises. Hollow stalks shoot up.The collection of yellow flowers that make up a head transform into a puffball of seeds. They scatter, bloody well, everywhere. The bare stalks remain. When darkness falls and headlights shine on the lawn, an army of ugly stalks are sighted, some completely bare, some partially, and some with seed and fluff entire intact .

When I was a small child, my father impressed upon me a disdain for thoughtless superstition. Children of my cohort had all sort of nonsense they professed to believe in. One of the damnedest, was to tear a dandelion stalk and puffball, and then blow the seeds and fluff away. It may be enjoyable to watch the initial separation and the course of the flight path, but the idiocy was to plead a wish upon this action. To a child of a pious Catholic family, with a strong willed father, this was to exhort to a conjuring.

My father came to this land, knowing of the plant, but unaware of the silly folklore attached by some children to the puffball. The indians were gone from the land. The later arrived nations did not have this ceremony. Did these children inherit their belief from an unlettered, uncivilised, hillbilly background? Pagan superstition (sueverie, cuprnija), it was in his revered opinion. My lack of credence in the efficacy to their, then, sincere ritual did not endear me to my playmates. It was easier, and to my self-interest, to refrain from their enlightenment.

Now, this plant was an immigrant to the new world as were we. Somewhere in the centuries back, the anglais transmogrified ‘dent-de-lion’, tooth of the lion, into dandelion. It was not the flowers, but the long serrated leaves that named the plant. The french, still, prize certain varieties as cultivated salad.

Now, not only the seeds, but the root and the stalk and the timing all promote this plant. I spoke to a professor of biology, that was fond of the term ‘opportunistic plants’. I said, “weeds ”. He was not pleased. He explained how a plant colonises an area. In different works, our friend, the dent-de-lion, is described as a persistent or nearly ubiquitous or hard to eradicate weed. It is highly successful, insult it or admire it, it still carries on.

It has a taproot, that can grow deeper than its height. That root has side roots. That long root gathers water, secures a hold in the earth and can regenerate its removed greenery. The seed will sprout in any crack and break up rock or asphalt to grow. This root can be harvested as a chicory substitute, which is a substitute for coffee. It makes itself valuable. I have had wine from its flowers, well mostly apple and grape with dandelion added.



That stalk can lay flat to the ground, or grow past and through other plants, so as to raise its head in the open. And from that vantage to catch the wind for dispersal.

Now they are out in flocks, but at anytime of the year one can sprout. This year, immediately after New Year’s Day, when a heavy snow was melted, there was dent-de-lion in bloom. Mow the lawn, the next day fresh ones will appear. Go out and physically remove every one you see, and to-morrow there are more.

Sometimes, you can enjoy a couple days of yellow. You have time to catch it when it telescopes out. You see the yellow flowers have become ovaries, but it needs no pollination. Its puff fluff has not formed. But, overnight, or less, you can find a bare stalk, when the day before there was neither flower nor leaf visible. Yes, dent-de-lion wins, even if you pay one of the many, aggressively, annoying, competing uniformed or not, lawn services to drench your yard with chemical treatments.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Two rules for elections

When I entered school, Cleveland public school district kindergarten, I learned a few things: vocabulary that we did not use at home, ‘vestibule ’– mudroom for removing boots (okay, that came in first grade, the kindergarten entrance didn't have one), ‘lavatory’ – euphemism for the euphemism for the room with toilets, sinks and pissoirs, ‘cloakroom’ – communal closet, but, chief of all, a lesson that I have had reiterated again, and again, throughout my life ― there are different rules for different people. Later, we were taught that the law, America in foremost, was equal for and to each. My experience and observation was contradicted and overruled. Later still, we were taught the scientific method, deductive reasoning, the proposing, testing, confirming or discarding of hypotheses and theories by the experimental method. Science and philosophy and later non-guided study of history had reaffirmed my kindergarten lesson, that civic allegiance had attempted to permanently dislodge. Many, to-day, do not allow that, especially those that are in social and economic comfort.

The one group favors the Democracy and the other group contains reaganites and busheviks. In Ohio the election of 2004 was stolen, not by voting irregularities but by rigging the system. Robert Kennedy Junior was published in Rolling Stone magazine and detailed this. The bush campaign chairman in Ohio, Kenneth Blackwell, was secretary of state (the same two positions were also entwined in Florida in 2000 by Katharine Harris). The heavily partisan Diebold company manufactured the voting machines. The Republican party had practically all state officers and branches of government controlled, in Ohio, for several years. 350,000 voters who came to vote that day, did not have their votes counted. The system was thoroughly gamed to prevent, discourage, disregard, disallow and erase certain targeted voters, Democratic voters. This total was greater than the supposed Bush - Kerry vote differential.

Very recently (28 April), the Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter identification law. A justice (Stevens), in his opinion, acknowledged there never was a documented case in Indiana of the problem that the law was meant to correct.
“Today's ruling rightfully allows states to safeguard against such destructive abuse.” ― John Boehner of Ohio, the Republican leader in the House of Representatives
The sixth of May, there was, in Indiana, an election. Several aged sisters of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross convent, in South Bend, were denied the vote. Upon the news of their being disenfranchised, other sisters were then disinclined to attempt. It seems that people who voted for Al Smith, and Franklin Roosevelt four times, rarely have driver’s licenses anymore. At the same polling place an eighteen year old student was turned away, her California driver’s license and college identification did not satisfy the law. Another person who had a federal photo identification without an expiration date was also denied suffrage.

Indiana’s Republican secretary of state, Todd Rokita, is the state’s officer in charge and chief defender of the law. Last year, he was agitated by the fact that black people have a tendency to vote for the Democracy. “How can that be? Ninety to 10. Who’s the master and who’s the slave in that relationship? How can that be healthy?” He has since admitted to poor word choice. But no, it is part of his party’s plan of disenfranchisement of targeted voters. It is part of voter suppression. In the middle ’60s when the Democracy led the republic, a constitutional amendment forbade the poll tax. These new laws written by the Republican party have found another method for the same ends.

There is a dope fiend, Republican party, radio agitator, Rush Limbaugh III, who has suggested to his servile and slavish listeners to vote in Democratic primaries for Hillary Clinton, so as to mess with the election. In Ohio one needs to sign a document, that one does this, in good faith, if not, it is a minor felony. There are no charges of election fraud or illegal electioneering directed at him.
____________________
Noto bene: this topic is not exhausted, there are many other areas within the political scene where this dichotomy holds, flagrant ones are those concerning impeachment for transgression of constitutions and laws versus sexual improprieties, but add Rokita to the roll of outrageous.

Monday, May 5, 2008

the myth of a benevolent military

There is a party line of thorough and successful brainwashing, done for the military, by the powers of this society. This is done to keep the military manned, and to benefit those that feed off the military budget, without public scrutiny to avoid complaint. More than one half of discretionary, government spending is for the military. People are taught to complain about welfare mothers, while corporate merchants of death receive untold, truly untold, millions. All of the rest of the world does not equal this country’s military spending.

The servicemen and their families are carefully taught the falsehood, that, they protect our liberties. They do not. People defending the Constitution against the powers of the domestic government, and those who the domestic government listens to and whose interest they promote, are those that defend our liberties.

One of the great lies is the word, ‘defense’. The word that it has very effectively camouflaged is, ‘WAR’. Early in our history, the Department of War had the naval forces separated from it, as the department of the Navy. In 1947 they were rejoined under the Department of Defense.

To-day, the United States has no competition as a military power. For some time, most american military bases are in foreign lands. In comparative language, they are outposts of the empire. What does the military do, when it is in action for the purpose it was trained and supplied for?

It is very true, that the serviceman serves his country, but the government directs his service. The government does not always do this well, honestly or even legitimately. This second iraqui war is testament to that.

One cannot lightly criticise or expose this. Any deviation from the mandatory line is reflexively met, quickly and sharply, with invective, rebuke and vitriolic and vile accusation. The masters of war have control. The false dictum — support our troops — meant and, really, only meant: support the war, or else shut up. It was announced before a shot was fired, before a bomb was dropped, but after the planning had begun and before the moment the invasion began, Who has this war defended? Who is more free? Certainly more iraquis have suffered and are suffering now, the United States is in worse condition in many, many ways. Qui bono? [“the war president”? Mars and Mammon? the Devil himself?]
_______________
noto bene: Listen to one of the cover versions, or Bob Dylan’s, Masters of War or With God on Our Side. Ask yourself, why with so many more media than over a generation ago, and with a much greater population, why has there been so little comparative music available and sung throughout the land?