An Army Air Corps film from 1943 regarding the interrogation of enemy air men. Attorneys in the service were often used as interrogation officers, as they were used to asking questions and ferreting out the truth from reluctant individuals.
Dialogue: our contemporary equivalent of a shaman waving his enchanted sticks:
Pope Francis sent a message to Venezuelan bishops, amid a wave of protests across the country, against the government of President Nicolás Maduro, which has left more than 30 dead.
“I assure you that I am following with great concern the situation of the beloved Venezuelan people in the face of the grave problems that afflict it,” said the Pontiff in his letter Friday. “I feel a deep sorrow for the confrontations and violence of these days, which have caused numerous deaths and injuries, and which do not help to solve the problems, but only cause more suffering and pain.”
The Catholic leader called on Venezuelan church leaders to warn against”any form of violence,” adding that “the serious problems of Venezuela can be solved If there is a will to establish bridges, to dialogue seriously and to comply with the agreements reached.”
The Pope, who has repeatedly urged dialogue between sectors in Venezuela, recently criticized a section of the opposition for not being disposed to talks.
Despite Pope Francis’ calls, Venezuelan opposition leaders said they would not participate in the National Constituent Assembly convened by President Nicolas Maduro to rewrite the constitution.
“(The process) is not a Constituent, we could hardly go to an absolutely fraudulent process, we Venezuelans will not be part of a fraud,” leader of the opposition MUD coalition, Henrique Capriles, said Sunday.
After the death of Frederick Funston on February 19, 1917, it was inevitable that the newly promoted Major General John J. (Blackjack) Pershing would command the American Expeditionary Force that would be sent to France. It must have seemed somewhat dizzying to him. Nineteen years before he had been an overage thirty-eight year old First Lieutenant who would be lucky to make Major before retirement. In 1893 he obtained a law degree in case he decided to leave the Army, fed up by the slow promotions offered by the minuscule peace time Army.
The Spanish-American War and Theodore Roosevelt made him. At the battle of San Juan Hill he made a lifelong friend of Theodore Roosevelt. Under fire he was as “cool as a bowl of cracked ice”, as one observer noted. Rising to the temporary rank of Major of Volunteers he gained a reputation as a good combat officer in both Cuba and the Philippines and would serve as Adjutant General of the Philippines Department.
After the Spanish-American War he reverted to the regular army rank of Captain. In 1905 Captain Pershing was promoted to Brigadier General Pershing by President Roosevelt over the heads of 835 officers more senior than him. Surprisingly there was not much animosity over this, Pershing enjoying a reputation of extreme professional competence in the Army, a soldier’s soldier.
This is going to cause a firestorm, although after the events of last year I don’t see how any President could trust Comey.
President Trump has fired FBI Director James B. Comey, who had been criticized by Democrats and Republicans since the presidential election.
“The president has accepted the recommendation of the attorney general and the deputy attorney general regarding the dismissal of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters in the briefing room Tuesday afternoon.
Comey was confirmed in 2013. He has been investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and any potential collusion with the Trump campaign.
Hillary Clinton blamed his late disclosures of an investigation of her emails for her electoral loss
In a statement, the White House said that Trump had told Comey that he has been fired. No reason was provided.
In the current pontificate, Mary Jo Anderson at The Catholic World Report reminds us, speaking the truth about Islam is verboten:
A Catholic teacher in Florida remains under fire in his diocese, three weeks after the Huffington Post reported that he assigned “anti-Muslim” material to sixth- grade students. Mark Smythe, who teaches social studies and religion at Blessed Trinity Catholic School in Ocala, Florida, faces termination unless he signs a letter of reprimand. Theresa Simon, Human Resources Director for the Diocese of Orlando, in consultation with Henry Fortier, Superintendent of Schools, informed the school’s principal that Mr. Smythe “must” be reprimanded because he caused an incident that distressed Muslim community members and furthermore it was an “embarrassment for BT(Blessed Trinity)School, the Office of Schools, and the Bishop’s Office.”
Despite school principal Jason Halstead’s defense of his teacher—“It’s obvious from your comments that you are quite supportive of Mr. Smythe….”—Ms. Simon confirmed that “there is no way around” the reprimand. Should Mr. Smythe decline to sign the reprimand “he will still be held accountable for its contents.”
Mr. Smythe’s class read St. John Bosco’s evaluation of Islam. A mother of a student was surprised to see Islam described as a “monstrous mixture” of several faiths containing “ridiculous, immoral and corrupting” doctrines. She shared the material with a Muslim friend whose children had also attended Blessed Trinity. The latter contacted the Huffington Post’s “documenting hate” project. When the Post contacted the Diocese of Orlando, Jacquelyn Flanigan, associate Superintendent apologized for the teacher’s “unfortunate exhibit of disrespect” and assured the Post that a reprimand had been ordered. Flanigan, who is not a theologian, pushed further in her statement to the Post, saying “the information provided in the sixth grade class is not consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.” Ms. Flanigan had not met with the teacher, the principal, or the pastor, Fr. Patrick Sheedy, to determine the nature of the full presentation of the lesson or the context. Additionally, she gave no authority for her statement that St. John Bosco’s work isn’t “consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
Blessed Trinity School uses the acclaimed series, All Ye Lands, by Catholic Text Book Project. Formed in 2000, the Catholic Textbook Project recognized a critical need for textbooks that avoid a secularized, sometimes anti-Catholic worldview. “But most importantly,” states the Project’s website, “our textbooks are Catholic; they proceed from the insight that mankind and history have been transformed irrevocably by Christ and his Church. Put simply, without the Church, history simply would not be the same. We tell that story fully and accurately.”
The introduction to the volume of All Ye Lands that Mark Smythe has in his class states, “Thank you for undertaking the education of the next generation of American Catholics in a century filled with perils and promise. Christ offers our youth a challenge and a hope that no other religion or philosophy permits. We, their teachers and parents, cannot allow our children to be ignorant of the origins of the Faith or of the beliefs of other cultures in an increasingly hostile world.”
The tempest In his “final warning” memorandum dated April 28th, Superintendent of Schools, Henry Fortier, again reminded the teacher that the “incident has cast an embarrassing spotlight on Blessed Trinity Catholic School as well as the Diocese of Orlando.” The Superintendent concedes in his memo that Mr. Smythe did balance his presentation in class by citing the areas of faith that Islam and Christianity share: faith, prayer, charity, fasting and pilgrimage. However, the material from Saint John Bosco was rejected by Fortier as not currently approved thinking. Mr. Fortier instructed Mr. Smythe to familiarize himself with “the Catholic Church’s position on the Islam faith” by reviewing “current scholarly Catholic faith-based analysis of the Islam faith… We especially note the writings and living witness of Pope Francis with all Muslims.”
Mr. Smythe was given a deadline of May 7th, to report back to the principal with a list of the documents he had read per the memorandum. Further, Fortier warned Smythe that he is “not to venture away from the approved teachings of the Catholic Church.” And, whether inside or outside of school, “a negative comment about or disparagement of the Islam faith” will result in immediate termination.
Finally, Smythe is directed by the memo to sign the reprimand. According to his attorney, Henry Ferro of Ocala, Mr. Smythe has not signed the reprimand because he does not think that his actions warrant the reprimand. Legally, a reprimand in an employment dossier can be grounds for termination and/or make future employment difficult. Smythe is married and has three children. Absent any prior guidelines or statement of policy by the Church, how is a Catholic school teacher, teaching in a Catholic school, to know that material from a canonized Saint, and one who is a patron saint of school children, is disallowed, much less grounds for reprimand that jeopardize his future?
The incident raises other serious questions. Was Mr. Smythe’s pamphlet by St. John Bosco a matter of correct and accurate teaching used imprudently? Did the diocese overreact in order to appease a powerful national media outlet? Are diocesan personnel under the misunderstanding that there is one official “approved” Catholic teaching on Islam? (Requests from CWR for comments from representatives of the Diocese of Orlando have not been returned.)
These questions and others merit a broad discussion within the Catholic education establishment. Is it not the mission of Catholic schools to prepare students to live out and defend their faith in a world increasingly hostile to the Gospel of Christ? If so, how so?
Fr. Peter Stavinskas is the executive director of the Catholic Education Foundation and holds a doctorate in school administration and another doctorate in theology. From his decades of experience as a teacher and administrator in Catholic schools Fr. Stavinskas observed that, as starting point, “There is no ‘Catholic teaching’ on Islam, as such. Don Bosco’s reflection is not ‘Catholic teaching’ but an historical perspective and a straightforward description of what that religion teaches.
Similarly, Vatican II has no ‘Catholic teaching’ on Islam, merely a one-paragraph summary of points of convergence between Christianity and Islam (as Nostra Aetate does for Judaism and even pagan religions).”
As for the diocese’s requirement for more “scholarly” presentations on Islam, and for an analysis more current than even Vatican II’s Nostra Aetate (which Ms. Flanigan cited for the Huffington Post), there is the scholarly address given by Pope Benedict XVI at Regensburg in 2006. If teacher Mark Smythe is remiss for quoting 19th-century Don Bosco on Islam, what then of Pope Benedict’s quote from a 14th-century Byzantine emperor’s statement, “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”
All but forgotten today, Major General Frederick Funston would almost certainly would have led the American Expeditionary Force in World War I if he had not died at age 51 of a heart attack on February 19, 1917. Nicknamed “Fearless Freddie” he was perhaps the most famous American soldier between the Civil War and World War I. He had a very unique career. Always in ill health, he was a physically small man, 5 foot, 5 inches, and throughout his life never weighed more than 120 pounds. After failing an admissions test to West Point in 1884 he pursued a career in botany. Tiring of the quiet life he enlisted in the Cuban Revolutionary Army fighting against Spain. Contracting malaria his weight fell to an alarming 95 pounds and he was granted medical leave in the United States.
After the declaration of war against Spain he was commissioned colonel of the 20th Kansas Infantry. Fighting against the Filipino Insurrection, he became a national hero by capturing the Filipino leader Emilio Aguinaldo. A separate action earned him a Medal of Honor. Playing a leading role in putting down the Insurrection, Funston came under attack by critics for the severe measures he took. The pen of Mark Twain was enlisted against him:
If this Funstonian boom continues, Funstonism will presently affect the army. In fact, this has already happened. There are weak-headed and weak-principled officers in all armies, and these
are always ready to imitate successful notoriety-breeding methods, let them be good or bad. The fact that Funston has achieved notoriety by paralyzing the universe with a fresh and hideous
idea, is sufficient for this kind—they will call that hand if they can, and go it one better when the chance offers. Funston’s example has bred many imitators, and many ghastly additions to
our history: the torturing of Filipinos by the awful “watercure,” for instance, to make them confess—^what? Truth? Or lies ? How can one know which it is they are telling ? For under
unendurable pain a man confesses anything that is required of him, true or false, and his evidence is worthless. Yet upon such evidence American officers have actually—but you know about
those atrocities which the War Office has been hiding a year or two; and about General Smith’s now world-celebrated order of massacre—thus summarized by the press from Major Waller’s
“Kill and burn—this is no time to take prisoners—the more you kill and burn, the better—Kill all above the age of ten—make Samar a howling
Funston was completely unrepentant:
I personally strung up thirty-five Filipinos without trial, so what was all the fuss over Waller’s ‘dispatching’ a few ‘treacherous savages’? If there had been more Smiths and Wallers, the war would have been over long ago. Impromptu domestic hanging might also hasten the end of the war. For starters, all Americans who had recently petitioned Congress to sue for peace in the Philippines should be dragged out of their homes and lynched.
He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression; and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbor without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy and a man without guile. He was a Caesar without his ambition; Frederick without his tyranny; Napoleon without his selfishness; and Washington without his reward.
Benjamin Hill on Robert E. Lee
Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts notes that Mark Shea has embraced the leftist crusade of purging the nation of all things Confederate:
Why should we have a monument in our capital named for a hypocritical racist slave owner? Or for that matter, why should our capital be named for one? Mark Shea explains. Mark isn’t advocating the eradication of Washington’s name from his home state, or the destruction of the Jefferson Memorial, or the closing down of Independence Hall, or moving the presidential residency from a building built on the backs of slaves.
Nothing in his post, however, could be used to condemn such actions. In fact, the post could be used to defend such actions. As a Believer, I’m a little bothered by the sudden emergence of the ‘erase the Confederacy and everyone in it’ movement that has gained steam since the Charleston Shooting. Mark himself decried the sudden removal of Confederate symbols from museums and other historic locations.
Nonetheless, he seems fine with the removal of monuments for even such luminaries as Robert E. Lee, who often was compared to Erwin Rommel, a brave and noble man on the wrong side of the debate. Sure, you could argue there is a dearth of high schools or statues celebrating Rommel, but that is because for the longest time, people actually believed that the American South, if not America, and Nazi Germany were different animals. Now, of course, those differences are eroding. Since there is typically good and bad in most people, places, and things, deciding to weigh all equally on the Nazi Comparison scale seems a dangerous trend.
In fact some could argue, as Mark appears to, that there was little moral difference between the North and South. Perhaps the rest of the US was every bit as bad. And if so, then why keep anything honoring it or those who fought for it? No more God bless America? Just God damn America? Perhaps. Given that in my lifetime I watched a concerted effort to stop seeing such historical luminaries as Attila the Hun, or such civilizations as the Vikings or the Mongols in purely negative ways, I have a hard time seeing the reverse trend when it comes to America.
Seventy-five years ago, although they did not realize it, the American and Australian forces had won the Battle of the Coral Sea. The battle which ultimately saved Australia from Japanese invasion has been largely forgotten in the US. That is a pity. Just six months from the Pearl Harbor debacle, the US Navy won a strategic victory that largely shaped the outcome of the battle of Midway, the turning point in the Pacific War.
Admiral Yamamoto, commander of the Japanese Navy, launched an invasion force to take Port Moresby on the south side of the huge island of New Guinea. Once New Guinea was taken Australia was next. Admiral Shigeyoshi Inoue, in command of the Japanese of the Fourth Fleet would command this venture.
Allied intelligence learned of this plan, and Admiral Nimitz, Naval Supreme Commander in the Pacific, sent all four of his fleet carriers to intercept the Japanese force.
The Pope things too many young people in the Church are too rigid:
Pope Francis said Saul’s early life reminds him of “many young people in the church today who have fallen into the temptation of rigidity. Some are honest, they are good and we must pray that the Lord help them grow along the path of meekness.”
Others, the Pope said, use rigidity to cover up their weaknesses, sins and personality disorders and to assert themselves over others.
They are the rigid with the double life. They show themselves as beautiful, honest, but when no one is looking, they do bad things,” he said.
Saul, on the other hand, was rigid, but honest, the Pope said, and he let himself be led by the Lord, who spoke to him on the road to Damascus with “a language of meekness: ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’”
Saul was called with “the force of the meekness of the Lord” to become Paul, preach the Gospel and suffer and die for the Lord, the Pope said.
Saul’s conversion shows dialogue between condescending rigidity and meekness, a dialogue between “an honest man and Jesus who speaks with kindness.”
“This is the path of a Christian: going forward following Jesus’ footsteps,” which is “a trail of preaching, a trail of suffering, the trail of the cross” and resurrection, the Pope said.
The Pope asked people to pray to Saul for those Christians who are rigid — “for the honest-rigid like him, who have zeal, but get it wrong, and for the hypocrite-rigid, those with a double life.”
Ernst Janning: Judge Haywood… the reason I asked you to come: Those people, those millions of people… I never knew it would come to that. You must believe it, You must believe it!
Judge Dan Haywood: Herr Janning, it “came to that” the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.
Judgment at Nuremberg, (1961)
Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), loosely based on the trial of German jurists after World War II, is a powerful film. Burt Lancaster, an actor of the first calibre, gives the performance of his career as Ernst Janning. The early portion of the movie makes clear that Ernst Janning is in many ways a good man. Before the Nazis came to power Janning was a world respected German jurist. After the Nazis came to power evidence is brought forward by his defense counsel that Janning attempted to help people persecuted by the Nazis, and that he even personally insulted Hitler on one occasion. Janning obviously despises the Nazis and the other judges who are on trial with him. At his trial he refuses to say a word in his defense. He only testifies after being appalled by the tactics of his defense counsel. His magnificent and unsparing testimony convicts him and all the other Germans who were good men and women, who knew better, and who failed to speak out or to act against the Nazis. Janning’s testimony tells us that sins of omission can be as damning as sins of commission. When he reveals that he sentenced a man to death he knew to be innocent because of pressure from the Nazi government, we can only agree with his bleak assessment that he reduced his life to excrement. Yet we have to respect Janning. It is a rare man who can so publicly take responsibility for his own evil acts.
Yet even this respect is taken away from Janning in the final scene of the film where he attempts to justify himself to Judge Haywood, superbly portrayed by Spencer Tracy, by saying that he never believed that it would all come to the millions of dead in the concentration camps. Judge Haywood delivers his verdict on this attempt by Janning to save some shred of self-respect: “Herr Janning, it came to that the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.”
Our Bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear has listed what he sees as the range of opinions about Pope Francis by Catholics on the net:
Pope Francis is the respected successor to St. Peter, and, as such, is due slightly more veneration than was Emperor Hirohito in his day.
Pope Francis may have a wobble in his orbit, but his ordinary magisterium remains just as worthy of respect and assent as any pope’s. That’s the LAW. (Query: if the answer is that we need pay attention only as far as he is right, i.e. in line with other popes, then do we have to memorize Denziger, and how do we know those popes were right? Seems a bit over-engineered for a bunch of Galilean fishermen, if you ask the Bear.)
Pope Francis can do no damage to the Church short of infallibly declaring some abomination before the Lord an Article of Faith, which is not going to happen.
Look, you don’t have to pay attention to everything the old fellow says. Only the big stuff. (Like homosexuality and divorce?) The Church will be protected by God.
Whatever you think about Pope Francis – and let’s admit he’s a few steps short of a tango – he remains THE POPE. Whom one must NEVER criticize. (Paging Michael Voris.)
Entertain your private doubts, if you must, but you’re in danger of heresy, and in any case must never, ever criticize him for fear of starting up the Know Nothings again.
Rome, we have a problem. Prudence and good taste dictate, however, that we do not speak of il Papa’s delicate condition.
We have never quite seen anything like Jorge Bergoglio’s disconnect with the deposit of the Faith nor his willingness to perform end runs around around the Church itself via incessant media exposure. The man is a menace.
No REAL pope would spout half the nonsense he does. Pope Benedict is still at the wheel and Bergoglio is flat out an antipope.
No REAL CHURCH would ever elect someone as evil as Jorge Bergoglio, so he is Exhibit A in the case for sedevacantism.
Jorge Bergoglio is nothing less than Damien in his old age. He is evil. In fact, he is at the very least the FALSE PROPHET. In other words, a cosmic player in the end times.
We had a good run, but the warranty has expired on the Church. Time to become one of those Protestants that get salmon and honey while the praise band is warming up. (Do not tempt Bear.)
Ulysses S. Grant was a great man and a great general, but he did make mistakes. At Cold Harbor, Virginia he made two very big mistakes. He made foolish assaults on Lee’s heavily entrenched lines on June 3, 1864 which cost the lives of 1844 Union soldiers compared to the lives of 83 Confederate troops who fell in this battle. This was the lesser of his mistakes.
A nice video of the Battle of Warsaw in 1920 where the Poles scored an upset victory against the invading Soviet Red Army, securing Polish independence and giving the nascent Communist movement its first serious defeat. Poland has helped save Western civilization several times, but on few occasions have the odds been bleaker than a bit over 97 years ago. All the Poles had to rely on was God, themselves and their laughing courage, but they were enough to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
Just days after the U.N. Elected Saudi Arabia to its Women’s Rights Commission, the Vatican announced this week that Pope Francis has elected Hugh Hefner to its Commission to Study Priestly Celibacy.
“Electing Hugh Hefner to study whether or not members of the clergy should be able to get married is outrageous,” said Dunkan Weber, executive director of Vatican Watch. “It’s insane and morally reprehensible.”
But others like Father Richard Moya applauded the choice, telling EOTT that it was a strong move.
“I believe it is a great decision. Who better than Mr. Hefner to assist in studying whether the Church’s discrimination against priests is gross and systematic in law and in practice? Mr. Hefner knows what makes people happy, and the Church clearly does not, as seen in its declining vocations. Every priest must have no bride but the Church who makes all critical decisions on his behalf, controlling his life from ordination until death. The Church bans priests from getting married, having sex, and smiling. It is about time they reached out to more open minded specialists in the field of happiness.”
The “kingpin of unbridled joy” now becomes one of 45 members of the commission that will play an instrumental role in “promoting priests’ rights, documenting the reality of priests’ lives throughout the world, and shaping universal standards on clergy equality and the empowerment of religious.”
Something for the weekend. The Reluctant Conscript performed by Bobby Horton who has waged a one man crusade to bring Civil War era music to modern audiences. This song is typical of the type of humorous songs sung by soldiers on both sides. Civil War soldiers endured hardships and casualties that modern students of that conflict can only regard as appalling. However, the amazing thing is the good humor that those very brave men also displayed, often directed against themselves. We stand on the shoulders on the giants, and among those giants are a lot of 18-20 young men clad in blue and gray, many of whom did not get any older, and who overwhelmingly met their fates with courage and a type of laughing gallantry that is all too foreign to our debased times.