Thursday, December 28, 2006

Iraq War and Clinton / Gore

I was asked some time ago "what would have happened, regarding the Iraq War, if either Bill Clinton won a third term or if Al Gore had won in 2000. My answer came out very spontaneously.

While neither Bill Clinton nor Al Gore nor anyone else could have prevented 9/11/01, and the U.S. was justified in going into Afghanistan. The U.S. would not have invaded Iraq - because the U.S. was not justified in its invasion of Iraq.

Bombing / invading Afghanistan - that was because Al Quaida had just attacked America and Al Quaida was sponsored by the Taliban, who was the government of Afghanistan.

And its well known, well thought of, and well believed that the U.N. is just a puppet of the U.S. So in response the U.S. orders the U.N. inspectors back into Iraq. And then, two months later, orders them back out of Iraq because the U.S. is invading. Now I may not have a college degree, but common sense tells me it would takes a year or two to "inspect" Iraq, not two short months.

Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein was recent sentenced to hang by an Iraqi court. I opposed to his hanging - right now or reasonably soon. The following trials will continue with him in abstentia. I really think that he would be better off learning and knowing the reasons for his death other than just the one reason.

While I'm not in opposed to the death penalty, I can't find a reason why it would be better to kill a person versus letting them sit, in prison or solitary confinement and sit and brew over what he had done and knowing that there would be nothing else than they could do - either for or against other people.

The only flaw in this penalty is that it depends on a person actually having a conscience, it depends on a person actually being capable of being sorry for what they had done.

take care,


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Happy Christmas


Well, Happy Christmas everyone. I never thought that saying "Merry Christmas" would be a political statement. It is! It is of the arch-conservatives who think that they are being politically corrected by the progressive liberals who think that anyone and everyone who says "Merry Christmas" is trying to evangelize. No - its simply a polite greeting or a freindly greeting of the second half of December.

And its a day when we get together as a family to have dinner and to exchange gifts. We have dinner and we exchange gifts because we are a family who actually get along with each other. I'm sorry if you don't like the other members of your family - perhaps you should try it, you might like it.

Well, former President Ford died last night. President Ford was actually my first political memory - when he pardoned Nixon. I was between six and seven years of age.

I've been reading Sierra Magazine today. I'm pleased with how much they emphasize the Global Warming issue as well as the need of Conservation. Delaware is a state where the have little recycling "igloos" where if you bring your recyclables to them (and put them in the correct igloo) then they recycle them. Unfortunately they've removed a lot of the igloos and, unfortunately, they were used too often as dumpsters or trashcans.

Recycling is one of those things that, with the correct work and motivation, can work well. Recently Philadelphia passed some law requiring that citizens sort their trash for recycling. I just don't think that the negative re-enforcement of "breaking the law", regardless of how many penalties are associated with that, I just don't think that the negative re-enforcement is the right way to enforce and encourage recycling. Anyway, not much happened over Christmas, as it should be, and I'll get onto writing something new tomorrow.

take care,


Friday, December 22, 2006

Religious Symbols

In America, the anti-religious people are really getting on my nerves. Its already accepted that the basic symbols of the major religions (and many minor ones) are accepted - the cross, the crescent, and the star of david. But, supposedly, secondary symbols are not accepted - namely, pictures and statues of the nativity. Banning them is stupid, utterly stupid.

I was told there was one person, a few years ago, who claimed religious "persecution" because of an angel at the top of a Christmas Tree. Did they know whether it was a Christian angel, Jewish angel, or Muslim angel - no. They just complained about it - mostly to make noise and so they could hear themselves. I work with several Hindus and several Buddhists - they have angelic symbols as well (glowing people with wings - close enough to angels).

Anyway, my opinions. Happy Christmas.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006



On the Kuwait Liberation War - I've refused to call it the Iraq War for a long time. Now, on the Iraq Invasion War - it just goes on and on and on. In the December 18-24 issue of the Washington Post - Weekly they had an article (on p.22) entitled "Gulf War 3 May be Inevitable".

The article drew parellels between the Kuwaiti Liberation, the Iraqi Invasion and the Thirty Years War and Hundred Years War. Mostly that, at the time, they didn't refer to it as the Thirty / Hundred Years Wars but they refered to it as King Henry's War or King Edward's War or the English Invasion of France (again). I've even heard WW1 and WW2 being referred to the "The Second Thirty Years War".

Its obvious that whatever discontent the cause the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait weren't resolved but cause, directly or indirectly, the Iraqi Invasion War. Its likewise fairly obvious that after the American and British troops are withdrawn that there will be some "loose ends" that still need to be collected and tied up.

take care,


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Immortale Dei and Libertas

Well, I've read Confessions by St.Augustine and I'll be getting City of God either later this week or right after Christmas. I've also read both Immortale Dei and Libertas sevral times. And here is supposed to be a quick summary of the two of them. Not that I can make an extensive summary of them, not that I would try to make an extensive summary of them, not that any of you would read what I had written - well, you might, but it won't be anytime soon.

As a quick summary of Immortale Dei governments are destined to govern because that is there job. Governments should govern justly and fairly. If they don't the people governed have the right of selecting a different government.

It therefore seems likely that if a government wants to government many people that it would be a fair and just government. Because if the government were neither just nor fair, then people would get up and move. This could be as dramatic and changing cities or changing countries and languages.

Summarizing Libertas, people will and should be allowed to do whatever they choose - as long as it doesn't go against the will of God. However, not everyone is Catholic and we therefore get into the arguement of what should people be allowed to do that Catholic cannot, should not, or would not.

This leads to a fairly minimalist and fairly "hands off" of government. It also leads to other stipulations which I think I'll write about later.

take care,


Ilegal Immigration

Last night on the News Hour (PBS) they had an article about illegal immigration. A few months ago ICE (Immigration Customs and Enforcement) had raids and arrested and potentially deported many people.

The article display several problems with current American law. The parents would be arrested and the children left behind because the parents were illegal but the children were natural born citizens. Likewise there were cases where the father was arrested but the mother not because she was viewed as "necessary" for the native born children's survival.

There was one case where a person came here, legally, who wanted the illegal immigrants deported. I really think that this is going to force the passing of a Constitutional Ammendment. Should the parents stay because their children are native born citizens or the native born children be deported because the parents are illegal and undocumented?

This can have effect even with who is elgible to become elected president - in spite of the fact that every American President, except three, have had either and English last name or an Irish last name. (Those three are Roosevelt, Roosevelt, and Eisenhower.)

The main problem that I can see is the families are being broken up and families are being broken apart. They are being broken up and broken apart because the parents are illegal and they choose to have children who become citizens by their birth.

They will have to ammend the Constitution to redefine who is a native born citizen or, more specifically, to redefine who can and who cannot be regarded as native born citizens. Namely, if your parents are illegal immigrats, then you cannot be regarded as an American Citizen.

take care,


Monday, December 18, 2006


Well, this the first day without Rumsfeld and this the first first day with Robert Gates - hopefully we didn't go out of the frying pan and into the fire. I also saw the article last week on Hannity and Colmes on Rumsfeld's last visit into Iraq.

I remember in Driver's Ed in High School that we were taught that a person had a better chance of dying in Vietnam than they had of dying on the roads in America. Me, I was Navy ROTC after I was rejected from Annapolis. Then when I changed schools (Viginia Tech to Temple U) I dropped ROTC as well - no scholoarship (that was in 1986 and 1987). Then when I tried to enlist in 1992 (Air Force enlisted) I was medically rejected. Maybe its better that I didn't get a scholoarship; the whole thing is kind of fuzzy and blurry.

So in ten or thirty years teens will be getting taught that they had a better chance of dying on American roads versus being in Iraq. But Hannity and Colmes had interviews in Rumsfeld on his last visit in Iraq as the Secretary of Defense. During part of the time they also interviewed soldiers and marines. Listening to the people, mostly soldiers and marines, over there was very much like listening to my Dad - both of my parents are fairly militant Bushians. And except for mindless political rhetoric they didn't say much that was enlightening.

Considering that almost three-thousand people died in Iraq versus some six-hundred-odd thousand that have been sent there (I don't know any real numbers, I'm just typing speculatives), that's a 0.5% of dying in Iraq. I don't know highway fatality number either.

But we're at a critical point right now. Nearly as many people died in Iraq versus people who died on 9/11/01 in New York. That doesn't include Afghanistan, Washington, or Pennsylvania. but the "about" numbers are good enough right now. Only two more years of W.

The whole mindset of wanting to fight and kill and die just because someone else says so is a foreign concept to me. Maybe that's why I'm not military.

Anyway, take care,


Friday, December 15, 2006

Liberalism is a Sin

Few things get me off (angry) as much as hearing this. In fact, recently, I saw this on a t-shirt - as a quote, supposedly, from Leo-13. First, doing a Google search does not reveal Leo and probably does not reveal any Catholic clergy. I haven't done more than just a cursory search. But I wanted to read the writings of Leo-13 long before I saw this "quote".

Now when reading Immortalie Dei and Libertas there is obviously an encyclical or some writing or understanding between these two. I think it may be St.Augustine's _City_of_God_. And while I still have to read them both several times, as well as City of God, I've come to some understanding.

First, many of those espousing that "Liberalism is a Sin" are either conservative or arch-conservative. And for them, including supporting anti-abortion, including being harsh upon the poor and needy - they all view it as "being Godly" or "being godly".

What they don't realize (and what they probably choose to remain ignorant of) is that Leo wrote during the late nineteenth century. People who claim to be as high and lofty as these should consider that what "Liberal" meant one- or two-hundred years ago is not what we mean by "Liberal" today.

In Libertas, Leo is very clear. It is in the same voice that Satan, through Liberalism, tells God "I will not serve". That is not what modern Liberals mean at all by "Liberalism".

Unfortunately those arch-conservative do not recognize Modertism as being a legitiamate way. Perhaps they consider it "Liberal Lite".

But what they fail to realize is that what Leo meant by "Liberal" is not what they mean by "Liberal". So the quote from Leo or whoever is entirely out of context and *wrong*.

take care,


Division of Iraq

Before Bush-43 invaded Iraq I knew of the potential religious differences there - because I knew that Iran was Shia, Arabia was Sunni, and Iraq was mixed. At the time I related the Sunni Shia split to the Catholic Protestant split (but didn't realize how wrong I was or how different it was). Shortly after the invasion I realized Iraq could split into three parts .

When Ayatollah Sistani was "making peace" I related him to a thirteenth century cardinal. This isn't far from accurate because Islam did most of its growth in the 700's. It's not terribly surprising that the thirty years war, between Catholics and Protestants, occured during the 1300's. Or that the hundred years war (Joan of Arc) occured shortly after.

Now the U.S. is casually threatening to pull out of Iraq. On this I take W almost entirely at his word. He'll start pulling after the 2008 presidential election and not one day before. At the same time, while Iran is back Iraqi Shiites, Arabia has voiced support for Iraqi Sunnis.

And it was shortly after W invaded that I saw Iraq could split into three countries. I likewise said that Basra / East Iraq will be allied with Iran and the Anbar / West Iraq will be allied with Arabia. But that the allian between Anbar and Arabia was more of self-defense rather than out of friendship.

I half-way view the situation as to what happened to Judea and Samaria durings their last centuries - where Egypt was south of Judea and Assyria and Babylon were north and east of Samaria.

The big trouble in Iraq is Baghdad. Baghdad is divided between a Shites and Sunnis. And a person from western Baghdad cannnot go into eastern Baghdad without needing fairly high security.

I've already spoken in favor of breaking Iraq apart. And if, with the downfall of Iraq, if Baghdad falls as well, so be it. I'm neither in favor of the dissolution of Baghdad nor opposed to it. But Baghdad is central to the troubles in Iraq right now. I think and I hope that there will be two cities - East Baghdad and West Baghdad - or whatever names the Arabs choose to give the cities.

take care,


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Three Estates

As I'm reading through Immortale Dei, currently, I'm constanted driven back to something historical.

In June 1789 was Bastille Day. Louis-16 and Marie Antoinette were killed in 1792. Napoleon-1 arose in 1798-99 and was defeated (finally) in 1814. Louis-16's son, Louis, was not king, only the Dauphane (crowned prince). But is still celebrated as Louis-17. Hence, Louis-16's brother claimed rulership of France in the 1790's although he never actually ruled until the eighteen teens.

Following Louis-18 were Charles-10 and Louis-Phillipe. And then Napolean-3, because Napoleon's son, presumably Napoleon-2, was killed, ruled until 1870 - when he was unceremoniously dethroned by Bismarck and the Kaiser.

But following the 1789 rebellion / revolution Louis-16 called a meeting of the three estates - the royal, the religious, and the commoners. The third estate, the commoners, became the assembly. But when the religious arrived for the meeting of the three estates all the cardinals, bishops, heads of orders, and others who were "somebody" in the Church of France showed up.

take care,


Fifth Worst President in the U.S.

On the December 11-17 issue the Washington Post - Weekly listed W as the fifth worst president in American history - several were, supposedly, worse than Bush-43 - namely Buchanan, Johnson, Nixon, and Madison.

Perhaps its not surprising that all five had similar personality traits. First, Nixon was only, supposedly, the third worst. Johnson was actually a "higher ranked" president - when segregation and prejudice were virtues instead of flaws. Now, because he was biased against Afro-Americans and civil rights, his ratings have fallen.

Buchanan was president during the Confederacy Secession - Lincoln was still President-Elect. Being president while the nation divided into two - there isn't much worse that a presdent can do.

Johnson, the second worst president, was Lincoln's (democrat) vice-president. And he likewise inherited the early part of the reconstruction. But that's when the President and Vice-President were usually of different parties. It was the twelveth ammendment to the constitution that specified that a candidate must specify that they are running for either President or Vice-President.

Except that Bush-43 has been mostly oblivious to the desires of the citizens and has tried to "work around" and "get around" Congress. Yes, Congress was limiting the president's power, but Congress is supposed to limit the president's power as well.

When we address the president we simply call him "Mr. President". We don't call him "Your Highness" or "Your Majesty". Why, because the President is not a King.

take care,


Wednesday, December 13, 2006


There's one thing that is obvious - getting marred in the Catholic Church is not like getting married outiside the Church. Why? If two Catholics should marry each other then to get divoced they need an annulment. Whereas if a Catholic and non-Catholic should marry (or two non-Catholics) then no annulment is needed - what does the Church have to do in their relationship?

To myself, this is obviously a hold-over from when the Church was a government and, in some cases, was the government. And still, before 1500, most countries were willing to recognized the supremacy of the Catholic Church. So they did not do marriages, except where one or both of the parties were non-Catholic. Because that was the right and privedledge of the Church - to whom all countries held (questionable) allegiace.

In Immortale Dei Leo-13 said that all people have two government - civil and ecclesiastical. And some / many of what he said were throw-backs to Pius-9 or earlier. Hence, part of what he said was how the Church would deal with non-religous states - obviously, in Leo's mind, the Church would rule in religious matters while the State would rule in Civil matters.

But there has been many changes since the nineteenth century. In 1910 the House of Lords surrendered their right to veto laws that that the House of Commons might pass. And 1792 France Leo 16 was beheaded and Louis-Phillipe stepped down before 1850 although Napoleon wasn't captured until 1870. Kaiser Wilhelm argueably ruled Germany and the Habsburgs Austria until the end of the First World War. Now America, as well as most of Europe, and democracy as its form of government instead of a monarchy. Yes, Queen Elizabeth still rules Britain and the entire British Empire, but most of the rights of leadership has been given to either the British Prime Minister or the head of the state of the "colony".

The Church, not claiming more land area other than Vactican City apparently agrees the civil / political power is better given to "the people" and not held by a monarch, bishop, archbishop, Cardinal, or the Pope.

take care,


National Catholic Reporter

Wow, I never thought I get a publication that had three articles worth writing on. Then the 12/15 issue of National Catholic Reporter came out.

First was the Los Angeles lawsuit. Its a shame, a damn shame, that situations have arisen causing this to happen. Unfortunately the $60 million dollars is for just 8% of the potential plaintiffs. The Los Angeles archdiocese better get ready to pay another $700,000,000.

Page 11 initiated discussion on celibacy. Although a central issue to many, the Bible says that Elders (Bishops) and Deacons must have wives. On one side I'm agreeing with the Bible. On the other I'm agreeing with the Church.

When I was in RCIA I commented on celibacy to my co-worker. Now Orthodox priests can marry, well, not quite. Married men may become Orthodox priests - but once an othodox priest, a man may not marry. And Jesuits need not take the vow of poverty - they take the vow of obedience instead. So what do you think of a married, rich priest? He didn't answer.

As I implied, I would not have a problem with a married Father - there is Biblical precendant for this. But I know many would. A happily lapsed Catholic said she had a problem with taking communion from a Eucharistic Minister. Now she's attended mass fewer than two-dozen times in the past twenty years so whatever opininions she has bounce loudly off her own house I'm sure. But that's not to say that others won't have a problem with it.

Thirdly and finally, page 2a had an article or editorial "Faith Under Depression's Clouds". This strikes especially home with me - because while I'm not generally depressed, I do have depression tendencies. But I've found that most of the Depression comes from me "dwelling" on a problem - from me thinking about a problem too much or too often. Particularly from me thinking about solutions to a problem that can't readily be fixed. I've also talked with other and I find that quite a few people who "dwell" on their problems too much and more susceptable to depression.

There isn't a good solution except to stop thinking about "the problem" that is causing so much of my attention to be drawn towards it - hence, to distract myself. This is especially true if the problem can't be readily fixed - like if I'm having money problem or if / when my parents are / become sick. And then there really isn't much I can do, in these cases, except wait for another paycheck or help my parents get to the doctor or hospital.

take care,


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hillary in 2008


For starters, I'm personnally opposed to Hillary Clinton running for president in 20o8. I've nothing against her, but she made a promise to the New York voters to be their Senator for another six years - and New Yorker accepted her promise by re-electing her for another six years. I don't approve of her being Senator for eight years and then being president.

I mean, it looks bad. The last person to be New York Senator before being President and after a former White House post was Richard Nixon. Is Hillary trying to pull a Richard Nixon maneuver - it really looks like it.

Then, over the past half century we've had Republican Presidents almost sixty percent of the time (seven terms) and we've had Democrat presidents over fourty percent of the time (five terms). Right now we're just trading out years of W for years of Eisenhower.

In the short term we've had six years of W and will be getting two more. That's preceded by eight years of Clinton. I really think that America is going to elect another Republican president in 2008.

So then you're left with the Clinton / Obama scenario. If either of them with the Democratic nomination I think they are going to loose - and right now they are the four-hundred pound gorillas.

Likewise I think that if McCain runs for president he's a shoe-in for the Republican nomination. I'd vote for him. The only big question is whether or not he'll run - he's getting up-there in terms of age.

Being a moderate, I'd sooner vote for a Moderate or Liberal Republican rather than a Liberal Democrat.

take care,


Dubai Ports

Yesterday they announced that the ?six ports, who were briefly owned by Dubai Ports - World were sold - to AIG. I really thought they'd do something cheesy - like creating a Dubai Ports - America and then have DPW sell them to DPA. I'm glad they didn't.

I really don't know what W was thinking - sure, we can give an Arab company total access and complete security authority over ? six of our east coast ports. What was he thinking? Was he thinking?

And since 9/11/01 happened to happen during his presidency, he's really been "beating on the drum" of national security.

take care,


John Bolton

From a headline:
An unhappy President Bush said he regretfully accepted John Bolton's decision to leave his temporary job as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Like with most thing Bush-43 has done, I wasn't happy with the Bolton nomination. Like most of Bush-43 appointments - I don't have anything against John Bolton as ambassador. He seemed to do a fairly adequate job.

That John Bolton is stepping down with his "term of office" coming to a close is just a matter that he got a better and more secure job in the "soon" future.

I hold it against W that he couldn't find a less controversial U.N. appointment. I further hold it against him that he didn't try to find a less controversial appointment. I hold it against him even more that instead of trying to find an appointment which the formerlly Republican Senate would approve of, he resorted to an absantee apointment.

This shows a real weakness of character, in my opininion. And a real lack of willingness to compromise - and this from a President who, in 2000, campaigned on "being a uniter, not a divider". Oh well, 770 days until the next president is sworn in - that's just over twenty-five months.

On the other hand Kofi Annan is making way to step down from being secretary-general of the U.N. And Moon has already been elected as the incoming secretary-general. I wonder how thing will change, or if there will be a change, between an African and a Korean?

take care,


Friday, December 8, 2006

Catholicism and American politics


Right now I'm reading Libertas (I've read it twice so far) and realized I have to re-read Immortale Dei. But no, while some can't conceive of American Catholics being anything except Democrat others can't conceive of American Catholics being anything except Republican.

That's because Republicans (and Social Conservatives) revere abortion as being foremost. While other look at freedom and lack of restriction, as well as charity, as being first. Neither is right, neither is wrong. That's because both are right and both are wrong.

Republicans, while the hold anti-abortion as being foremost, because its the body of a soul, look on charity as being voluntary and would rather give of their own free will rather than be compelled to give. I understand this. For a while I did my employers charity campaign, which was cool. Until I started to want to give to charities who weren't on their "list". Likewise, Democrats view charity and tolerance of others as being more important while anti-abortion is a voluntary thing (but should not be imposed on other against their free will).

That's not to say that Democrat Catholics have abortions, just that anti-abortionism can't be imposed on the three-fourths of America who is not Catholic. Likewise, Republican Catholics engage in charity. They just engage in charity in direction that the law does not dictate.

You see, neither is right, neither is wrong. And both are right and both are wrong.

take care,


Iraq Study Group

I was impressed. Yesterday W almost sounded apologetic - almost. About the Iraq war. There are a thousand things wrong and I can criticized W about it endlessly.

Clearly the insurgancy is tougher than was thought. Clearly the resistance is tougher than was thought - otherwise they would not have sent women into the combat zone.

W is only as good as his advisors. Unfortunately he has *no* idea on how to pick advisors.

My trouble witht the Iraq war was W calling the U.N. inspectors into Iraq (again) and then ordering them out because the U.S. and U.K. were going to invade.

The Bible speaks clearly on this - "Doesn't a king first consider whether he can, with 10,000 troops, defeat another king with 20,000 troops?" Apparently W never read that part of the Bible.

Now the easiest way to make peace in Iraq would be to divide Iraq into three little states - East Iraq / Basra, West Iraq / Anbar, and Kurdistan. Yes, East and West Iraq would be buffer states between Shia Iran and Sunni Arabia. But let whatever happens then happen. Don't keep the two countries together if they want to be apart.

Take care,


New Mexico fence

It was realeased yesterday that New Mexico Governor Richardson proposed increasing security along the U.S. Mexico border instead of building a fence. While the fence always seemed like a bad idea the increased security seems like an expensive idea.

What the fence would do is that once immigrants cut hole in the fence, future immigrants would use the same holes (in all likelihood) making it easier to catch them.

The one big problem is that we still have a giant revolving door on the U.S. / Mexico border. They come across, we send them back. They come across again, we send them back again. The idea of sending back illegal immigrants / undocumented workers really isn't a solution.

What needs to happen is the economy of Mexico has to be improved to provide jobs for all the "undocumented workers". Or that we have to expand NAFTA do allow workers from one of the three nations work in any other of the three nations - the way that the E.U. does.

Its not that I'm unsympathetic. My father's parents came from Sicily. My mother's parents came from Cuba. My parents met in New York City. My problem is that the people don't want to immigrate "the right way".

This is where imprisoning them on one of the Pacific Islands we captured during WW2 might be useful - although its a decidedly British tact. But there are people with much more to loose than I have.

take care,


Thursday, December 7, 2006


During WW2 Germany had taken over (militarily) most of Europe. Franco's Spain was an ally as was Italy. Northern France was an ally while the Vichy regime knew they couldn't vary too far; Poland was similar with Poland being divided into two portions - east and west. Likewise Austria, Benelux, and Denmark knew they could have too much independance. Western Europe was divided into three camps - states directly controlled by Germany, states allied with Germany, and Britain and Ireland. Eastern Europe wasn't that much different. The only real difference is how much the state was controlled by Germany.

The core of the Soviet Union was Russia and, partially, one of the function of the auxillary fifteen states was to protect and preserve Russia. In the same way the Soviet Union created the Warsaw Pact to defend itself from "the west".

Now Iran is spreading its influence throughout the middle east. Iran has its allies and foes in Afghanistan and Pakistan knows that it can't act overtly against Iran. Similarly the 60% of Iraq that is Shite is closely Iran-philic while the fourty percent that is either Sunni Arab or Kurd are fairly independant.

Syria (and Lebanon) seem to have strong Shite factions. While Jordan and Arabia are strongly independant Sunni (mostly Arab). Turkey is likewise pro-western Sunni.

One can easily see how Iran is spreading its influence through the middle east. I believe that Iraq is going to split into East Iraq (Basra) and West Iraq (Anbar). Kurdistan is going to for a third "country" or maybe a semi-autonomous region.

I was raised, strongly, believing in separation of church and state. Naturally I favor Sunni Islam for that reason. Except that, now, the Sunnis are more militant. Shia Islam favors not only lack of separation of church and state but also believing that church is state and, perhaps, state is church. The closest example we have in "the west" are Vatican City and the former Papal States, which fell around 1870. Shia Islam also has the Ayahtollah's which Sunni Islam does not.

So yesterday Robert Gates was approved by the U.S. Senate as Secretary of Defense by a vote of 95-2. I wonder if Gates's speedy questioning and vast approval was the Senator approving of Gates or disapproving of Rumsfeld.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Immortale Dei (1885)

In Immortale Dei Leo-13 wrote, "33. To wish the Church to be subject to the civil power in the exercise of her duty is a great folly and a sheer injustice. Whenever this is the case, order is disturbed, for things natural are put above things supernatural; the many benefits which the Church, if free to act, would on society are either prevented or at least lessened in number; and a way is prepared for the enmities and contentions between the two powers, and ho evil result to both the issue of events has taught us ony too frequently.

OK, let's look into what Leo said. The "two powers" are civil and religious government. But recently there have been several problems in the Church with China forcing bishops to make other "bishops". For which the Vatican is then forced to expel both the canonizing bishop and the newly canonized "bishop".

I do not have no problem with what was done, it was all in accordance with Church rules.

But this problem has occured several times. Even back to the emperor Justinian, who imprisoned and killed several popes who tried to express authority over the emperor. Hence, Justinian brought in his own candidate for the cardinals to name as Holy Father.

A similar case arose during the era of "two popes" when the Italian people demanded that an Italian be named as Pope, so the cardinals named an Italian pope and then, on returning to France, said the prior naming was under duress and named a second, a Frenchman, as pope. On one hand the Italians did not have the right to demand who was to be named pope. On the other hand, the Cardinals had a responsibility to name an Italian as Bishop of Rome. I, first, believe that both sides were wrong. But I do believe that the Cardinals were more wrong because after over eighty years the Italians deserve to have an Italian Bishop of Rome.

The big difference is that in the sixth century the Italians may have just been glad to get a Bishop who lived (outside of the dungeon) for longer than two or three years.

Perhaps it would be beneficial if the Vatican made efforts to improve diplomatic communication with Beijing / Peking. Because this is a case of where, after, people after having been Catholic fourty or sixty years and, not only Catholics, but priests as well - only to be excommincated. It is the right of Rome to do this, but it is the responsibility of both Beijing and Rome to come to some understanding.

take care,


Rumsfeld and Bolton

Recently, after the November 7 election, Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld resigned / was fired. First, I think that if W had done this a week, a month, or half a year earlier that Republican losses would have been much less. This means that the Republicans could have potentially maintained control of the Senate. But for W, its a day late and a dollar short.

Then it was leaked / release that Rumsfeld allegedly wrote a memo to W saying that the U.S. should change strategy in Iraq. Whatever.

First, I consider it very likely that Rumsfeld did write the memo. But that he pre-dated it to before the election - to make it look like he was considering change when, in fact, I doubt he was. Second, the memo shows how he may have disagreed with W. If that were the case, then it looks like W fired him (DR) for disagreeing with himself (W).

It goes back to W's old adage - he likes his friends and he like "yes-men". Supposedly Rumsfeld, before 2000, was an industrial efficiency expert. Who was hired because, supposedly, the military was getting too large, too bloated, and too inefficient. My disagreement with him is not that the military didn't need to be made more efficient, its that the military didn't need Rumsfeld for six years. They could have use Rumsfeld. But outside of either a "short stint" (as Secretary) or as a consultant and contractor the military didn't need him. Much more than a year or two or Rumsfeld was waste.

And yesterday John Bolton gave his resignation to W. I think that W pressured both Rumsfeld and Bolton to resign following the November 7 election. I'm glad he resigned - because he never had senate confirmation of his nomination. I'm disappointed he resigned because he didn't impress me as half the "bully" that his reputation said that he was.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Sean Hannity


Last week, Sean Hannity on his show on "Fox 'News' Channel" (I put the "News" in quotes just because most of what the channel does seems to be is commentary and opinion), but was saying and implying that when Benedict-16 quoted Emperor Manual 2 that he knew entirely what he was doing. The Holy Father apperently didn't think that he would be misquoted by the mullahs. (I've commented on this before if you want to get an earlier post.)

The riots happened because the mullahs misquoted Benedict and the riots happened because it seems that Muslims enjoy rioting. I fail to see how either is the Pope's fault. Benedict was commenting on an intellectual conversation that occured in history. Its pointless to say that most Muslims and that most mullahs are neither historian nor intellectuals.

None-the-less, I'm very pleased with how the Pope's visit went to Turkey. Perhaps now there will be more Muslims who try to think before generating an emotional reaction; somehow I really doubt it.

Never-the-less, I think that Benedict is probably the best successor to John-Paul the Great. It isn't possible to have a "good" successor to JPtG or any other "Great" pope. That he is a "nerd" and not more socially affinite is choosing the least of many potential evils.

I just object with Sean Hannity saying that "it was the Pope's fault" - saying that he knew better and that he should have known better.

take care,


Sexual Abuse

I'm sorry that the two posts I left last Friday were about the Church reconciling itself to others. I simultaneously feel, "Isn't this enough?" yes, at the same time, the answer is obviously "no".

As is four or five diocese have declared bankruptcy - Spokane, Portland (Or), Tuscon, and Davenport. I though that Boston had also declared bankruptcy but apparently not.

Former Congressman Foley said that he was abused. When the priest was confroted with it, the Father said something to the effect of "huh".

take care,


Friday, December 1, 2006

L.A. archdiocese settles 45 abuse cases

By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES - The nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese said Friday it has agreed to pay $60 million to settle 45 lawsuits alleging sex abuse by priests. The deal is the most significant step to date toward resolving extensive litigation against the archdiocese that has dragged on for years.

"I pray that the settlement of the initial group of cases will help the victims involved to move forward with their lives and to build a brighter future for themselves and their families," Cardinal Roger Mahony said in a news release.

Negotiations for the settlement of the uninsured cases have been in progress for at least a year.

Ray Boucher, the lead plaintiff's attorney, said the settlement involved 22 priests and was the largest settlement the Los Angeles archdiocese had reached "by far." He said more than $50 million would come from the archdiocese and about $8 million from religious orders.

"I wasn't certain we would ever get it done, but thankfully 45 very injured people will have a change to begin to heal, particularly at this time of the year," he said.

The Los Angeles archdiocese still faces more than 500 lawsuits from people who allege they were abused by about 200 priests and laypeople dating as far back as the 1930s.

The payout is the second-largest in California, behind the Diocese of Orange's 2004 agreement to spend $100 million to settle 90 abuse claims. It is also one of the fourth-largest in the nation since the clergy abuse crisis erupted in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2002, according to an Associated Press review.

Sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests has cost the U.S. church at least $1.5 billion since 1950. Several American dioceses have reached multimillion-dollar settlements with victims in the last few years, as bishops have tried to resolve the crisis and move on.

Four dioceses — Tucson, Ariz.; Spokane, Wash.; Portland, Ore., and Davenport, Iowa — sought bankruptcy protection from a flood of lawsuits. Tucson has emerged from the process.

Settlement talks have been under way in the remaining California cases since 2002, when legislators passed a state law that suspended for one year the statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims.

Nearly 1,000 people filed claims against the Roman Catholic Church in California under that law.

from CDoW Dialog: Bishop dedicates Advent to victims of clergy sex abuse

Bishop Saltarelli has dedicated this year’s Advent season to victims of clergy sexual abuse and their families, asking that they be remembered in prayers, Masses and other observances.
The bishop’s action comes on the heels of his release Nov. 16 of the names of 20 priests found
to have sexually abused minors.

Advent begins Sunday, Dec. 3, and ends Christmas Eve. The bishop has asked pastors to celebrate a special Advent prayer service or Mass dedicated to the healing of victims and their
families and to include the victims in a petition in the prayer of the faithful at every Mass in Advent. “The Advent season, where we remember Our Lord’s Incarnation and anticipate the second coming of Christ, is a time of hope,” the bishop said in a statement. “This season of
hope and expectation is an ideal time for us to intensify our prayers together for the healing of victims of clergy sexual abuse and victims of sexual abuse in general.

We also pray for parents, spouses, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, extended family and friends of victims who have carried a variety of painful crosses that are connected to their
loved one’s experience of sexual abuse.” The bishop acknowledged the publicizing of the priests’
names in a letter Monday to all priests of the diocese. “The release of names as well as all of our many efforts to protect God’s children,” he wrote, “must be complemented by these spiritual
efforts on behalf of victims and their families.”

civil war in Iraq

Recently many people, including many highly respected people and corporations, have come out saying, contrary to what the W administration has said, that Iraq is in civil war. Now, generally, in my opinion the W administration has done very little right, except make political appointments, which, with a few exceptions, have almost all been good. However in this case I must agree with the W administration, this is not a civil war, except I don't agree with the administration for the reasons that you might think.

To be a civil war there must be a legitiamate government force and there must be an organized force trying to overthrow the government. Now there are roughly four sides currently in the Iraq war - the U.S., the Maliki Iraqis, the Sunni Iraqis, and the Shia Iraqis. Not to mention all of the little sub-factions present in Iraq.

To start with the "rebellion" force is far from organized - the rebellion has two or three factions if not more. Second, I do not think that the Maliki Iraqis are a legitiamate government. They have only been in power for a few months, they're largely supported by the Americans and Allies, and they I don't think that they are recognized by the Iraqis as being a legitiamate goverment. Its not really my decision as to whether or not the Maliki government is legitiamate or not, it is the decision of the Iraqi people.

The last decendant of Julius Caesar to rule Rome was Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus - Nero. Following him were three or four short term "emperor" - each ruled for a few months only. Then after two years and four leaders Flavian Vespasian ascended the throne followed by four of his decendants. But by the time that AD150 rolled either the Flavians were weakening or they were outright replaced.

Were the short-term emperors legitiamate emperors - well they certainly thought so. But they probably spent as much time trying to solidify their power base as they did trying to learn the Imperial Roman Goverment.

take care,


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Militant Moderate Front

I was actually thinking of starting a blog a year or two years ago except calling it "Militant Moderate Front" - se la vie. It'd be hard for a practicing Catholic to not be moderate - we must be both compassionate to the needy and opposed to abortion. We must be both tolerant / accepting of minorities and we are obligated to have a standard for our own lives.

Now I've already said that it is my opinion that any Catholic needs to attend mass at last once a month. They also need to attend a majority of the Days of Obligation. If they don't do that then they shouldn't call themselves Catholic. Now the Church has more lenient rules. But to say the least, that if you are and the verge of becoming lapsed, the Church has already spoken (in AD1215 at the end of the Lateran-4 Council) as to when a Catholic becomes lapsed.

It would be hard for a "good" Conservative to be Catholic - because they must have the attitude of "pulling yourself up by your boot straps" (shouldn't everyone), which can border on being heartless. Likewise, it would be hard for a "good" Liberal to be Catholic, because of abortion and acceptance of homosexuals.

Not that homosexual lust is a sin, America magazine, a Jesuit publication, quoted the USCCB in their November 27 issue (on page six) that homosexual lust is not a sin. On the other hand, and I paraphrase here, for a guy to pick up another guy or for a girl to pick up another girl is a sin. I don't entirely agree. But lust certainly is a symptom of what can certainly lead to other sins (in both the homo- and hetero-sexual communities).

Now I may have already typed this or something very much like it - I had some computer problems earlier. For fifteen or twenty years Delaware had the "big four" - Senator Roth, Senator Biden, Congressman / Governor Carper, and Governor / Congressman Castle - two Republicans and two Democrats. At their peak the four of them had over 150 years of statewide elected experience. Then Tom Carper was running against Roth and, while campaigning, Bill passed out twice. Delaware voters said, basically, "We love you Bill, its time to retire."

take care,


Joe Lieberman

Have patience, I know that Senator Lieberman is Jewish - let me explain.

My main point is that it would be hard for a "good" Catholic to not be Moderate. They must be into charity and giving to the needy. Yet, they must be pro-life. Similarly it would be hard for a "good" Conservative to not have abandoned portions of the Church - because of the need to be compassionate and to be charitable to the poor. Likewise, it would be a hard for a "good" Liberal to not have abandoned part of the Church because of abortion and because of homosexuality.

That's one of the comical parts of life to myself. Conservatives consider all Democrats to be Liberal and Liberals consider all Republicans to be Conservative (or Neo-Con, more recently). Both sides have completely forgotten that there are "moderate" factions to both parties.

Now, that Joe Liebermann "lost" the primary but won the election doesn't and didn't surprise me in the slightest bit. Nearly half of all Connecticut voters (45%) are registered Independant whlie only one-third are registered Democrat. (This would mean that around one-fifth are Republican with the remainder being Libertarian, Green, and "Other".) Now Lieberman narrowly lost the Primary - 52% to 48%. That's not that big of a deal especially since only one-third of the Connecticut voters could participate. So that a good portion of the Independants and Republicans came out and voted for the incumbant is par for the course.

I live in Delaware (one congressman) and for a decade and a half we had the "big four" - Senator Roth, Senator Biden, Congressman / Governor Carper and Governor / Congressman Castle - two Democrats and two Republicans. Now, together, the "big four" had over 150 years of statewide elected experience. Translation - Delaware loves incumbants. (Since that time Tom Carper was challenging Bill Roth and Roth passed out *twice* while campaigning. Delaware voters came back saying "We love you Bill, but its time to retire.")

Now the Lieberman / Lamont election revealed one big thing to me. First, after the election when Ned Lamont was celebrating his victory he got on the stage with a bunch of other people, mostly politicians. Of that group the vast majority were Liberal - there were very few Moderates of any flavor. This told me that, almost assuredly, Joe Lieberman would have a fourth term. Both because of Liberal versus non-Liberal reasons as well as because of incumbant sentiment. In fact after the election a Liberal said that he didn't understand how Lieberman won as an Independant - "Because he's an incumbant".

And this is not to say that Speaker-Elect Pelosi and that Senator Kennedy aren't good Catholics, but I question, strongly question, how often they attend mass or any other religious servcie.

Now as far as homosexuality is concerned, I really don't care what you do in the bedroom, as long as if and when I'm there that there is a doorway through which I can exit. Recently America magazine, a Jesuit publication, quoted the USCCB in a meeting during mid-early November (November 27 issue, page six), when they said that feeling / having homosexual lust is not wrong but, and I'm rephrasing here, for a guy to pick up another guy or for a girl to pick up another girl is sinful. Me, I'm a bit more conservative than that, I do consider "lust" to be a sin. Or rather, while lust may not be directly a sin, it certainly can lead to further and greater sins.

take care,


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Abortion etc.


Personnally I don't think that abortion should be as big of a voter issue as it is. Few enough people want to get abortions, few enough people are elgible to get abortions - it shouldn't be that big of an issue.

But it is.

As far as stem cells are concerned, I'm opposed to embryonic stem cell research. I'm in favor of non-embryonic stem cell research. The biggest deal with stem cell research is that nearly everyone, when you say stem cells, predsumes you're talking about "embryonic" stem cells.

I think that the research into non-embryonic stem cells is sorely needed. That most people don't know that core, blood, and marrow stem cells exist is the problem.

Now back to abortion. In the eighties between fourty and four-five percent of America said they were Catholic (or were Catholic enough to check the box on the form). Then the pedo-philia "situation" arose (regardless of the fact that a child has a better chance of getting sexually molested by a teacher than by a priest). Now one-fourth of America says that they are Catholic. That's not a problem from my point of view and that's a good thing. Because most of those who "left" Catholicism (and stopped checking the box marked "Catholic" on the form) didn't regularly attend mass.

The Church values attendance to mass as being critical. Personnally, I think that if you don't attend a religious service at least once a month, meaning that that you want to attend mass at least half the time, then you shouldn't call yourself by that religious name.

Now the Lateran-4 specified that a "good" Catholic must attend mass at least once a year and they specified that a "good" Catholic must attend confession at least once a year (to confess the fifty-plus times they missed mass). But seriously, if you can't attend a religious service at least once a month then how much and how often do you really want to attend. You're on your way to becoming "lapsed". Lateran-4 just specified that if your "on the verge" of becoming lapsed for twelve months then you are lapsed.

As I said, one-fourth of America is Catholic or claims they are Catholic. And the fourty-odd percent number of Catholics that were lost during the nineties didn't attend mass that often.

Now of the one-fourth of America who is Catholic, I don't want to hold them to the Catholic standard of life - they aren't Catholic, they shouldn't have to keep the way of life. Yet there are some / many who think / believe that if they make abortion against the law that it will help America's spirituality. I'd rather work within the lives of the people of America to try to make the live a more Christain and a more Catholic life. I'd rather let them live their life as they chose (however they chose) rather than make legislation and make they not only live their life of "selfishness" and live their life in deceit and as a lawbreaker.

Do people / doctors and nurses really deserve to go to prison and/or be killed because they're not Catholic and because they don't keep the Catholic way of life. Some would say "yes" - I disagree. Do people really deserve to go to prison and/or be killed because they don't adhere to the Bible and the interpretation of the Bible that the pro-life "sect" chooses to give it. Some (many) say yes - again I disagree.

take care,


Benedict and Turkey

The whole issue is borderline silly. What happened is Benedict quoted Emperor Manual 2 as saying "this". The various mullahs and other Muslim leader quoted Benedict as saying "this". When, in fact, Benedict was quoting someone else. So the Muslims should really be angry at Manual 2 for what he said six-odd hundred years ago. But they seem to enjoy getting angry and having riots - that's why they are there and I am here.

Its entirely a problem of communication and understanding. If the Muslims had bothered to understand that Benedict had not said "this" but that he was quoting Manual 2 there would not have been half the problem that there was. But it seems that Muslims enjoy getting angry and like to riot.

I'm glad that Benedict was not cowed by the angry Muslims. Then again, most Muslims seem to be angry at one thing or another. Its a shame that Benedict has to go to Turkey under such tight security - except Muslims enjoy getting angry and they enjoy rioting.

Will much come of it - maybe, maybe not. Salmon Rushdie is still alive - and he had a fatwa declared against him. Likewise, the Danish cartoonist is still alive as well. On the other hand, Benedict is in Turkey and not in ?England or Denmark.




I've created this blog to enable conversation - not just to spout my own ideas. Because, recently, there have been several Catholic events and several (American) Democrat Party events that need voicing. Moreso, many (older Catholics) wonder how could a Catholic be anything except Democrat. Likewise many (modern Catholics) wonder how could a Catholic be anything except Republican.

There was some misunderstanding between Benedict-16 and the Muslims. Now the Pope is visiting Turkey. I'll be typing my opinions about this as well.

Oh well, more later,