Saturday, May 30, 2009

La Pucelle, Sainte Jeanne d’Arc

Thérèse de Lisieux portraying Jeanne d’Arc

Many are the images of this french teenager. She, that saved France from the anglais, and was so treacherously, dastardly, wickedly and cruelly martyred by her captors. Two centuries later, even Shakespeare blasphemed her. But again and again, she inspired France.

We have always lived in a biased world. It is nearing six hundred years from time she walked the world. One can say, that, it was just an episode of mediæval dynastic war, perhaps a bit more interesting than most, but apparently, immediately after her initial public appearance, her presence was real celebrity. Quickly, the english were unnerved, apoplectic and desperate. Agincourt was not in the distant past. Most of non-burgundian France was either occupied by [or in proximately pending] the english. France would be as Poland in the century prior the first world war. The french nation would exist, but the state gone. France was desperate

Even in doing the most un-christian, and anti-christian acts, people thought in christian terms. The english had a remarkable reversal. Either God, or the devil conspired against England, and the agent was Jeanne. The english needed to demonize Jeanne, otherwise they were damned.

Charles VII, the french king, who owed his crown to Jeanne was despicably aloof and negligent. The burgundians, who captured Jeanne, were avaricious. Jeane was sold by the burgundians to the english, for the price of king, a king’s ransom, ₤ 10,000.

The trial and conditions under which she was held were illegal and criminal, and everyone, whom, brought this up was either, ignored, dismissed, dispatched and endangered. The english wanted her tried as a witch, no evidence was available. She was to be tried as an heretic. Her persecutor in charge was Peter (no longer Pierre) Cauchon, the bishop driven from Beauvais, and desirous of Rouen, a lackey of Cardinal Winchester. Cauchon had not jurisdiction, but ambition. Winchester was the wealthiest, and most powerful, man in England. He was uncle to the regents of England, and the occupied possessions in France. Jeanne had no chance to survive. Michelet wrote, “Never were the Jews filled with such hatred against Jesus as the English against the Maid.” The english wanted her shamed, recanting and burnt.
an idealised martial statue
Jeanne’s mission was on the surface warlike, but it really had the effect of ending a century of war, and her love and charity were so broad, that they could only be matched by Him who prayed for His murderers. ― Arthur Conan Doyle, who translated a french biography of our heroine in 1924.
People have found in Jehanne, or presented, what they want. She is used for noble purposes, and base. She is loved and respected; and she is used to promote inanities. There have come out theories concerning her as varied as the causes of dinosaur extinction. Do not be so gullible to run with the next one that appears in the press.

Some great writers have fell in love with her: Schiller, Shaw, Twain. One of the best silent films ever made was that on her trial, La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc, directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer (1928). It was on her trial testimony, which the original is extant, that her strength, spirit and sanctity was shown. All the marvel and gallantry of her campaigns for France were not central. In her interrogations, she was caught by the church militant, the visible church, and she maintained that the church triumphant, the invisible church smiled on her. She was soldier and martyr. Her martyrdom trial confirmed her sanctity.

Michelet ends with:
A secretary of the king of England, as he returned, said aloud, “We are lost, we have burnt a saint.”

Sainte Jeanne
*Domremy ............1412

rehabilitated ..........1456
cause introduced 1869;
Actor Causae: Félix A.P. Dupanloup, Bishop of Orléans
nulla osta...............1894
declared venerable 1904

Friday, May 29, 2009

Are ‘pro-lifers’ pro-life?

I was in conversation, with a friend, and he said, “capital punishment is euthanasia”. He was exactly right.

I have seen many people denounce abortion, and yet favor execution by the state, offensive and defensive war, torture, increasing poverty and gun proliferation. I have seen the same people object to government welfare programmes. They invent specious and vacuous arguments as premises, the academic logic is absent. Usually they ARE against assisted suicide and other sorts of euthanasia.

To be pro-life, one must be more than anti-abortion. Some of the intellectual divides are hard to make, others should be extremely easy. How can a moral person be for torture or elective war? They can not be, by definition.

Capital punishment can be just, when the crime is great enough, and the individual who is responsible is the one to be executed. The state has a judicial and political right to do so. Capital punishment is still death, it is a form of euthanasia. It has been applied haphazardly and unjustly often. It is not the christian response! It is pro-death.

Sometimes it is a choice of the lesser of two evils. I also belief in the just war theory. But, in modern war, increasingly, just war does not approach the thresholds of justness. Modern war is, primarily, the killing of non-combatants. In bushjr’s iraq war people LIED, completely, about it being a ‘just war’, when it only was just war for the purpose of war, and of course the whole thing was based on lies.

― To be pro-choice on abortion is to be pro-death.
― To be pro-war is to be pro-death.
― To be pro-euthanasia is to be pro-death.
― To be pro-capital punishment is to be pro-death.
― Capital punishment is euthanasia.
― To be pro-torture is to be pro-death.
― Gun proliferation is pro-death.
― Extending poverty is pro-death.
― Drug abuse and its black market is pro-death.
― O, yes many, many people are pro-death.

Killing is never good. Some may say, some killing is more egregious than others, and some killing is not so bad. I will agree, that, some is more senseless, and more cruel. All killing is bad. People have a right to self-defense, but killing is still evil.

To-day, is Shavous, the pentecost of the hebrews, fifty days after Passover. Shavous is the day Moses received the Ten Commandments. One commandment is Thou shalt not kill. The command is not modified, nor conditional.*

It is simple. To be pro-life is to be anti-death, to be pro-death is to be anti-life. There is nothing being justified. No killing, do not engage in killing, Thou shalt not kill. To say: this killing is acceptable....this killing is good... this killing is unacceptable... this killing is bad... is being pro-choice, it is making selections at the life and death cafeteria. People who call themselves pro-choice are some times pro-life on this fetus, and some time pro-death on that one. A person who is truly, pro-life has a catholic consistency, he does not pick and choose, and reject entrées, so as to be a cafeteria pro-lifer.

These and other acts are all pro-death. I believe in consistency. I disdain double standards. I believe in christian mercy and clemency.

If one is TRULY pro-life, he must be broadly pro-life, not narrowly and selectively. Pro-choice people are narrowly and selectively pro-abortion, or pro-life on pregnancies.

I know, when people say pro-life, they mean anti-abortion, sometimes exclusively. Honestly, they are two different terms, in which pro-life is inclusive of the other, and being inclusive, is the broader, and therefore, should be recognised as such.

If one is only speaking of abortion, then one is either pro-abortion, or anti-abortion. Pro-life and pro-choice are not logical, twin, diametrically, opposite alternatives. When there is one issue and two views, one must be pro and the other con (or anti). Having two ‘pros’ is debate trickery, it is a falsity. I have argued what ‘pro-life’ is; ‘pro-choice’ is only a cover for pro-abortion, it is duplicitous.

I am pro-life and anti-abortion, or anti-abortion and pro-life! One is not pro-life, in actuality, if they are ONLY anti-abortion. In our recent christian past, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Pope John Paul the Great, Joseph Bernardin†, and Oscar Romero were genuinely, consistently pro-life.
noto bene: this was a continuation, of a point of the last essay.
*(this is a postscript clarification) The Latin is simple, Non occídes”; but the Hebrew verb used, r-ṣ-ḥ, is more flexible. There is debate, that, the prohibition is of murder. Semantics sometimes matter a lot. Is it general and absolute? or vague? or poetic? Non occídes” is St. Jerome's learned translation of Hebrew c. a.D. 400. English translation of academic Hebrew c.a.D. 2000 may be Do not murder”.
†Joseph Cardinal Bernardin gave the Gannon lecture at Fordham, on 6 December
1983. The spectrum of life cuts across the issues of genetics, abortion, capital punishment, modern warfare and the care of the terminally ill.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama's pick for Justice, Republicans, abortion

“The essence of being a Republican is the belief in free markets, the belief in individual responsibility, the belief in the faith of the individual. This is what our party is about.” -- Eric Cantor, on whether there can be pro-abortion Republican candidates. -- reported 14 May
Republican party chairman, Michael Steele: The choice issue cuts two ways. You can choose life, or you can choose abortion. You know, my mother chose life. So, you know, I think the power of the argument of choice boils down to stating a case for one or the other.

Q by Lisa DePaulo. March 11, 2009 : Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?
Michael Steele: Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.
Q: You do?
Michael Steele:Yeah. Absolutely.

Q:Do pro-choicers have a place in the Republican Party?
Michael Steele: Absolutely!

Q: How so?
Michael Steele: You know, Lee Atwater said it best: We are a big-tent party. We recognize that there are views that may be divergent on some issues, but our goal is to correspond, or try to respond, to some core values and principles that we can agree on.
“A vacancy on the Supreme Court. This is something we haven't seen in awhile. Let's just hope the president is better at picking a justice than the justices were at picking a president.” --Jay Leno. 1 May
I do not wish to constantly revisit this topic. I am a catholic. I am a democrat. I am pro-life. I am anti-abortion. I have maintained that the distinguishing principle of the Republican party is hypocrisy. I also maintain, that, many so called pro-life, or anti-abortion, Republicans are only Republicans. President Obama has been reflexively attacked by catholic Republicans, including the episcopacy over this. Now, with the following two additional facts, we may see which master they [catholic Republicans] serve.

I lifted this directly from the Wikipedia to-day:
In Center for Reproductive Law and Policy v. Bush[40], Sotomayor upheld the Bush administration's implementation of the "Mexico City Policy" which requires foreign organizations receiving U.S. funds to "neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations". Sotomayor held that the policy did not constitute a violation of equal protection, as the government "is free to favor the anti-abortion position over the pro-choice position, and can do so with public funds".[41]
I lifted this directly from to-day:
In 2004, she ruled that a group of clinic protesters could proceed with its suit.
Ted Olsen | May 26, 2009 9:30AM

In 1989, members of Amnesty America entered an abortion clinic in West Hartford, Connecticut, chained themselves together, and blocked the entrance. When police arrived, the protesters used passive resistance to continue their protest (among their techniques: covering their hands in maple syrup to make handcuffs less useful).

The police dragged the protesters out anyway, and Amnesty America members sued, saying several of them suffered lasting physical damage from the police officers' actions (among the claims: an officer rammed a protester's head into a wall).

A district court issued a summary judgment for the town of West Hartford, but Sotomayor's Second Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the judgment and sent it back to the lower court for a jury trial.

"It is entirely possible that a reasonable jury would find, as the district court intimated, that the police officers' use of force was objectively reasonable given the circumstances and the plaintiffs' resistance techniques," Sotomayor wrote. "Because a reasonable jury could also find that the officers gratuitously inflicted pain in a manner that was not a reasonable response to the circumstances, however, the determination as to the objective reasonableness of the force used must be made by a jury following a trial."

Sotomayor also warned the group that its lawyer was unprofessional. He "has hardly acted as an effective advocate for his clients by presenting briefs so haphazardly prepared that they contain almost no legal argument," she wrote. His behavior was so bad, she wrote that, "we would be within our discretion to summarily dismiss this appeal. We opt, however, to consider the merits of this appeal because plaintiffs' claims are substantial enough to merit a trial, and declining to consider this appeal would unfairly penalize plaintiffs for Williams's failings as an advocate."

Pro-lifers seem unimpressed by the decision. "Though not concerning abortion policy directly, the case is viewed as a stand against free speech for pro-life advocates," says a briefing at Eh? It's hard to see the decision as anything but a good thing for this particular pro-life group. The question is more about how large the decision's implications are.
President Barack Obama was attacked for having the temerity to speak at Notre Dame. He spoke of a common ground. The Republicans were against any selection Mr. Obama was going to make for the Supreme Court, they were preparing, at least, since the announcement of justice Souter retiring. We will now see, how they will react to, or merely attack Sonia Sotomayor. It is, certainly within the realm of possibility, that Ms. Sotomayor is not in favor of abortion. It is to be remembered that Alito and Roberts were evasive on the issue, and that bushjr stated, that, he had no idea, whether Miers had an opinion. Also note: I have not seen, or expect logical continuity, or coherence, or consistency, or one to one correspondence, concerning Republicans’ words, or words and deeds.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ventura body slams mouthfoamers

Jesse Ventura became known to America as a television wrestler and loudmouth. He became a political figure, first as a mayor and then as a successful, third party candidate for Minnesota governor. He defeated the loser Coleman, and Hubert Humphrey’s son. He made the national media notice by some controversial statements.

Well, recently he has been promoting a book. I have seen three segments of television, where he is not promoting the book, but fighting for the honor of the nation. He has, in succession, verbally defeated three, rabid mouthfoamers. Their logic is wretched, their enthusiasm is dogged. Mr. Ventura makes the honest and rational argument, that, torture is illegal, immoral and ineffective. Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Brian Kilmeade and Sean Hannity advocated for the devil, and could not speak calmly, honestly or rationally. Kilmeade, an individual I was blissfully unaware of, was extremely repugnant toward Ventura, and eventualy fled his own show in a fit of pique, and defeat.

Mr. Ventura was a navy veteran, with highly specialised training. He was a SEAL. Kilmeade, in effect, called him a coward and a traitor. Ventura has repeatedly identified Cheney's motive and lies. ‘Enhanced interrogation’ is an obfuscation, an insidious, invented synonym for torture. The bully, Hannity (practically admitted he was a bully that could not intimidate Ventura), tried to get his false last words in again, and again. Mr. Ventura did not relinquish the ground to this villain.

Jesse Ventura has been painted, and has acted the entertaining fool, but he is telling the necessary truth. Those, who are trying to stifle him, all speak from the same, diabolic script. They do not interview, they interrogate.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Short shrift

This term appears in Shakespeare's longest play, Richard III. Lord Hastings is to be executed, to his surprise, and these being christian people, the condemned is supposed to be allowed last rites for the benefit of his eternal soul. To be shriven is to use the sacrament of confession, hence 'Shrove Tuesday'. Hastings is being pressured first by Ratcliff, and then by Lovel to hurry up, and dispatch. Richard (Duke of Gloster) is hungry, presumably so are they, and he wants the beheading executed, so that, he can be nourished and satiated.
Lord Hastings. Woe, woe for England! not a whit for me;
For I, too fond, might have prevented this.
Stanley did dream the boar did raze his helm;
But I disdain'd it, and did scorn to fly:
Three times to-day my foot-cloth horse did stumble,
And startled, when he look'd upon the Tower,
As loath to bear me to the slaughter-house.
O, now I want the priest that spake to me:
I now repent I told the pursuivant
As 'twere triumphing at mine enemies,
How they at Pomfret bloodily were butcher'd,
And I myself secure in grace and favour.
O Margaret, Margaret, now thy heavy curse
Is lighted on poor Hastings' wretched head!

Sir Richard Ratcliff. Dispatch, my lord; the duke would be at dinner:
Make a short shrift; he longs to see your head.

Lord Hastings. O momentary grace of mortal men,
Which we more hunt for than the grace of God!
Who builds his hopes in air of your good looks,
Lives like a drunken sailor on a mast,
Ready, with every nod, to tumble down
Into the fatal bowels of the deep.

Lord Lovel. Come, come, dispatch; 'tis bootless to exclaim.

Lord Hastings. O bloody Richard! miserable England!
I prophesy the fearful'st time to thee
That ever wretched age hath look'd upon.
Come, lead me to the block; bear him my head.
They smile at me that shortly shall be dead.

[Exeunt] III. 4.
One of the characters, in the novel and movie, The Reader, speaks of the task in killing many people. One of the soldiers, the fellow speaking, sits down to smoke a cigarette, between dispatches. This bunch is done, and I take a smoke break, and then return to the job at hand. No thought of significance or morality, just the infringing annoyance preventing an ordinary enjoyment done several times a day.
"...It was in a quarry, and above the Jews and the soldiers there was an officer sitting on a ledge in the rock swinging his legs and smoking a cigarette. He looked a little morose. Maybe things weren't going fast enough for him. But there was also something satisfied, even cheerful about his expression, perhaps because the day's work was getting done and it was almost time to go home. He didn't hate the Jews. He wasn't..."
Evil is often banal. Consideration for a victim's life is trivial in comparison.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Harry X Sysack

At a triangle of a lot, where Pearl and State meet, in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio, there is a public library branch. Across the street, on Pearl there is a billboard four times as wide as it is high. It belongs to the artist, and libertarian looney, Russell Sysack. I believe he, himself, has been in business over forty years, the company [Harry X Sysack] longer, perhaps it is a family business. The library has plate glass windows facing the sign, the library places large posters on those windows.

Sysack exercises his art, the first amendment, and a bilious spleen. From time to time he displays a new work. I thought I would photograph his signs for years, I had thought. I had not. To-day, I saw he had put another one up. I thought over the years, people would have posted, on the internet, his previous signs. The current one was posted by a few people, a few other recent ones also, but far fewer than I'd expected. The current one, equating environmentalists with nazism, has made it onto a few, internet, message exchanges. The nazi party flag with a green background is not the first swastika he has painted, it is the first green one. He is not subtle!

He does not like politicians, especially Democrats, especially Edward Kennedy. He noted Teddy's death, earlier this year, yes Teddy is alive. Sysack was just relishing with bated anticipation. He does not like negro politicians, or any negroes, it seems. Many local celebrities he ridicules. The Catholic church, public education, NBC, and others he displays odium for. He does not mind being scatological in caricature or word. He uses vulgarity and obscenity. Occasionally, in the past, local television highlights a new sign. He has many targets. He claims to stand for the ravaged taxpayer, and the beleaguered, small business man. He is very provocative and mean spirited.

I remember one sign was hit with a couple of paintballs, but usually they are left completely alone, without defacement. Once, if I recall, the sign was hit by a vehicle, and once partly torched*. He used the initialism 'H.N.I.C.', and the words spelled out, in regards to two, competing, local, black politicians. That made the television news, a few get more than passerby notice. The racial hatred, he indulges in, is what has unnerved people to complain and retaliate. It seemed for a long time, that, he was intimidated to stop. He came back.

He is a sort of evangelist. Many such nuts paint a vehicle, add speakers and proselytise their propaganda. Some owners of businesses place a sign with their editorial comment for the public to view. This clever fellow's mania is part of his trade. He engages his talent and business practice to spew forth. Are there such individuals in many towns? His theses echo a common script, of many of the angry white people, whom listen to mouthfoamer radio, and cable television. Harry(Russell) and company are more than town cranks, they believe they are powerless patriots and defenders of capitalism.
*one torching came in February 2002, Martin King was pictured with Osama as two type of terrorists. I am a bit vague of the details, someone must have photos.

Postscriptum 9 March 2013: Sysack died late November 2009. To my surprise, he was Catholic. His sister, Nancy, is continuing the family business.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


The current prosecution of John Demjanjuk has nothing to do with justice.

Inconvenient facts:
Sobibor was a concentration death camp, that was in existence for eighteen months during World War II. Approximately one hundred germans, and two hundred prisoners of war, formerly members of the soviet army (mostly ukrainians), operated the camp. Each and every german outranked each, every and all ukrainians, et alia. The ukrainians were prisoners of war. Prisoners of war do not create policy for their captors.

The germans have tried some of the geman personnel. The vast majority were either freed, or spent less time in prison than Demjanjuk had in Israel. The russians, under the USSR, tried some ukrainian guards, most were killed by the state under the imposed, death penalties.

Israel had Demjanjuk tried as Ivan Marchenko, a notorious guard at Treblinka's camp. There were eyewitnesses, Treblinka survivors, who testified, that, Demjanjuk was Marchenko.

Demjanjuk lived in Indiana, and then the Cleveland (Ohio) area, from 1952 to 1986, after which he was deported to Israel. In 1988 he was sentenced to death. In 1993 the Supreme Court found doubt, and he was returned to the US.

In the 1970s the US's Immigration service wanted Fedor Fedorenko, a former Treblinka guard, deported, and Demjanjuk's picture came up. In 1977 Demjanjuk was targeted for revocation of citizenship. This came to be a cause célèbre, that has not ended in the Cleveland area. A few hours ago the US had a plane carry Demjanjuk to Germany. He is now imprisoned in Munich.

[How to write the rest of this without being accused of being an anti-semite?] (I am not writing a dissertation, and am not going through old newspapers, so I am not researching each date.) Somewhere along the timeline CBS's 60 Minutes, gathered the evidence, witnesses, et cetera, to show that Marchenko was dead. Youngstown, Ohio area congressman James Trafficant (currently imprisoned) became involved in the case.

In Israel, the trial was a spectacle. A defense lawyer was attacked with acid, if I remember correctly. It was a show trial. It was propaganda. It was used to impress young israelis, and the outside world.

In Cleveland from 1977 on, though waning at each new chapter, sides were drawn. Vocal jews and zionists wanted centerstage. Some ukrainians counter demonstrated. The local news media followed attentively. It has again made the news. There is an absolute presumption of guilt by many, to whom this is new to, and the local media does not have to look far to present an angry, jewish voice.

What came out was--that, at some point in time, it came apparent to Israel, and the US, that Demjanjuk was innocent of the charges accused. Then the point became that none of that mattered. If he was not that Ivan, then he was another Ivan. Still now, the unrelenting arguments are to imprison, and try him. The past judicial mistakes are glossed over, denied, or equivocated away. The US's contention is, that, he lied in his documentation in 1951, therefore...
What is Germany's interest? Have they tried another ukrainian guard before? Is there an element of double jeopardy? What prompted Germany to prosecute, now?

Is there a word that we don't have, or my memory can not grasp?
What word is there for the inability to abide, and allow to exist, someone that you want destroyed? an imperiousness of hauteur and hatred? a vindictive vengeance? an invincible spite? Perhaps english needs to borrow. There is a strong, german word for spite, ‘gehässig’. These instances do not occur only on a human level, but also, on an institutional level: the power of the state of its highest reluctance to admit error, its overweening desire, and feeling of intensive necessity to execute its will, regardless, irrespective and irrationally, but completely.
addendum: 14 May '09. This is not the only example. Don Siegelmann was the governor of Alabama. Karl Rove, and Republican lawyers and judges under his control, had him imprisoned. Since then, in March, a three judge panel threw out two charges. They permitted some of the rubbish. Now the busheviks want Siegelmann to receive an even, longer sentence. Justice has little place in the Justice Department, political vendettas and
gehässiglich gall trump justice.

Perhaps, the foremost reason I detested the eight years of the imposed bushevik regime was its total disregard for the law, after all, it was not legally installed. Now, Obama and his attorney general Holder have the opportunity to uphold the Constitution and other laws. They have done little, not nothing, but little to this point. This is why it is is so ridiculous, that the anti-Democratic party holds so much venom for Obama, and the Democracy.

postscriptum: Demjanjuk died 17 March 2012 in Germany waiting appeal of a conviction in a German show trial. I have encountered many people claiming his guilt a priori, and totally disregard the myriad irregularities of his prosecutions. Guilt has been assigned.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lying like Dick Cheney

Occasionally, new words and phrases enter the language. Some are proverbial or axiomatic, they even become reflexive. A new one ought to be, lying like Dick Cheney. Darth Cheney will not stop. That permanent smirk announces, with a voice of invented, constant certitude, lies without end. He will carefully select where, and with whom, he speaks. He retracts nothing.

Remember, he told the first public lies that began the ginning up to war. Now, he spews constant diarrhœa cheering torture. Also remember, that another sobriquet for the Devil is the father of lies. He is truly evil.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Die Schuldfrage/The Question of Guilt

In 1946, a professor of philosophy, at Heidelberg, lectured on guilt. That year a short book was published, Die schuldfrage : ein beitrag zur deutschen frage, The question of guilt: a contribution to the german question, which is usually rendered, The Question of German Guilt. Karl Jaspers had been a psychiatrist. After the first war, he became a philosopher. After 1933 and especially after 1938, life became difficult. Jaspers had married a jewess. After Dachau was established, he at any day, might become a resident, and his wife...

Jaspers was an existentialist, who was interested in christian mysticism, but did not believe in a personal God. He believed in a transcendence. As a psychiatrist, he studied delusion. As a man, he worried about the power of the modern world to crush men. He was an humanist. One can see how he would not have been a favorite of the fascists, then or now.

He wrote, and spoke, and by doing so ― questioned. There is guilt and liability, personal and collective, and there is responsibility. It is not sui generis, there is criminal, political, moral, and [he is a philosopher] metaphysical. Nuremberg had trials, at the time. The student in Germany must confront this in his culture and education.

Two of the recent award winning movies concerned this: The Reader, from a novel by Bernhard Schlink, and Frost/Nixon, from a play by Peter Morgan. In the former, Jaspers book, is specifically mentioned, at the beginning of a law seminar, as required reading. Several books are read from in the film, that one is not; but it is a thesis of the story. In the latter, there is an admission, by Nixon in an interview with Frost,“Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.”
* The ‘it’― that which, Mr. Frost posits, is something illegal. This is the old political theory, that, the sovereign is above the law; it is the opposite of that which is taught, in the american classroom, to children.

After Nixon’s resignation, his successor pardoned him. Gerald Ford lost the 1976 election, in part, due the anger of that move. Much of the nation believed and wanted a criminal trial. Some Republicans wanted revenge. Carter, Clinton and Obama are immaterial, any Democrat, thoroughly irregardless of thought, belief or deed will be attacked, even hysterically ― a priori.

Now, the germans must struggle with morality. The United States has no such compunction, or even scruples. A great deal is because of the essential, calvinist mythology developed here. Such americans, and the United States are uncondtionally, predestined for earthly glory; will not be damned: because, they cannot be; they need partake in no, personal atonement, it has been done for them by God; they can never lose this state. What this means, is they have absolute license and no culpability. History, even chronicles, are devoid of meaning and cannot instruct.

The german has to consider the burden of the nation’s fascist and nazi past. Certain routes of behavior are suspect, and cannot appear to be engaged in. In the United States of America there is a sizeable percentage of people, that will complain and accuse, and condemn the “blame America first crowd” and those citizens whom “hate America”. A german is required by the world to be moral, many americans, merely, and quickly sanctify every action.

Now, Nixon was wily, paranoid and vindictive. His Viet Nam policy and all the spying, dirty tricks and criminality that surrounded Watergate indicts him to history; but the man had a certain gravitas, he did do good things, he had diligence and he is better than any Republican who followed. Perhaps, the greatest evil he did was the promotion, from political oblivion, of GHW Bush, for his spawn, had none of the good qualities of Nixon, and did greater harm to the nation, and the world, in exceeding the degree of criminalities that Nixon invoked, caused and did do.

Just recently, Miss Rice, took a question at Stanford about busheviks and torture, she answered, “by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture.” Yesterday, she was asked, by a fourth grade elementary student a similar question. She responded, “So the president was only willing to authorize policies that were legal in order to protect the country.” She has a remarkable firmness in denial, she will not shake the party line. Those are just two incidents, but will the nation’s youth be undaunted in asking the questions, that, the press and the legal system are silent about?
*This was on the third televised program, seen 19 May 1977, in the story it is at the end.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Good Shepherd Sunday

Statua del Buon Pastore. from Catacomb of Domitilla. 3rd C. Rome. Vatican.
In the extant catacombs of Rome there appears scores of frescoes, and many sarcophagi, with the image of the Good Shepherd. Some are from the first century, it is the oldest motif in depicting Jesus. It is funereal. It is metaphorical. The lamb about the neck and shoulders of Christ, is the soul of the deceased. The shepherd bears the soul to paradise, the sheep about Jesus are the souls already there. Note Jesus is beardless in early Rome.

These survivals, from the pre-toleration times of the empire, prove a christian iconography from almost ab ovo. They also run counter to the iconoclasm heresy of centuries later in the east, and a millennium later in the west. In all three years of the new liturgical cycle, to-day, the 4th Sunday of Easter, is Good Shepherd Sunday

The images [Good Shepherd] gave comfort, and taught the faith. The Montessorians, Sofia Cavalletti, and Gianna Gobbi, believed this seminal image spoke intuitively to the child. Jesus cares, and nurtures, and protects the small and young. They developed a programme, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, to teach the young, the faith.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Saint Joseph the Worker, Our Patron

Holy Family at work. Immaculate Conception. Cleveland, O.

The primary feast day of Saint Joseph is that of 19 March. In 1955, there was instituted, by Pius XII, the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker for the 1st of May. It replaced the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Patron of the Universal Church, which was called, in short, “The Patronage”, which was held on the Third Sunday after Easter, and had an octave day, from 1847, and from 1913 on the Wednesday after the Second Sunday after Easter.* It had been first celebrated in Spain, in the 17th century and then spread, and very early during the long pontificate of Pio Nino, was extended to the whole world.

Joseph, the foster father and guardian of the Redeemer, worked to feed, house and clothe his family. The fruit of his labor gave succour, that is the value of work, and the workman should be so recognised and respected. His work is not meant for another to be enriched, while he and his have nought.
And in the same house, remain, eating and drinking such things as they have: for the labourer† is worthy of his hire. Remove not from house to house. ― Luke x. 7.

Nor scrip for your journey, nor two coats, nor shoes, nor a staff; for the workman† is worthy of his meat. ― Matthew x.10.

Some saints are privileged to extend to us their patronage in certain cases, but not in others, with peculiar efficacy; but to our holy Patron, St. Joseph, it is given to assist us in all cases, in every necessity, in every undertaking. ― Thomas Aquinas IV. Sent. 9, 45.
*If it were held in 2009, it would have be on the 3rd of May, in the first instance, and the 29th of April on the second. Really, I think, I need to see an old calendar.