PopeWatch: Father Benoka

Tuesday, September 2, AD 2014

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCEThe Cavalry that Christians throughout the Middle East, and particularly in Syria and Iraq have been undergoing continues unabated:

Pope Francis telephoned a priest serving refugees at a camp in northern Iraq last month after receiving a heartfelt letter from him about the suffering of Christians there.

Fr Behnam Benoka, who received the call, told the Zenit news agency that the Pope expressed his closeness to persecuted Christians and his gratitude at the work of volunteers. He also promised to do his utmost to relieve their suffering, the priest said.

Fr Benoka had sent a message via Viber to Rome-based journalist Alan Holdren, who handed it to the Pope on his return from South Korea.

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2 Responses to PopeWatch: Father Benoka

  • Revelation chapter 6:
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    9 When he broke open the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar[i] the souls of those who had been slaughtered because of the witness they bore to the word of God. 10 They cried out in a loud voice, “How long will it be, holy and true master,[j] before you sit in judgment and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?” 11 Each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to be patient a little while longer until the number was filled of their fellow servants and brothers who were going to be killed as they had been.

  • Pingback: Anti-Christian Hate Crime by Muslims - BigPulpit.com

Syria and Iraq

Sunday, June 15, AD 2014

 

 

More from Strategy Page on the situation in Iraq and how it relates to the winding down of the revolt in Syria:

 

Currently ISIL is trying to gain complete control over eastern Syria and western Iraq. That is proving difficult because of continued resistance in Syria by government forces and Kurds as well as some rival Islamic terrorist groups (mainly al Nusra). In Iraq the Shia controlled government sent so many of their best units to Anbar that the security forces in Mosul collapsed and handed ISIL an unexpected victory. That appears to be backfiring because now the Shia government of Iraq has given in to years of Kurd demands that the autonomous Kurds of northern Iraq be allowed to take control of Mosul and Kirkuk and nearby oil fields. At this point the Iraqi government doesn’t have much choice. The Kurds will have to fight hard for Mosul and Kirkuk, but the Kurdish army (the Peshmerga) have been defeating Sunni Islamic terrorists for a long time. In this fight, the ISIL is the underdog. ISIL can afford to give up Mosul and Kirkuk because these are not historically Bedouin lands but rather Kurdish. The Kurds will be fighting harder for them. Ultimately ISIL wants to control their own homeland to the south. Once that is done ISIL believes their Holy Warriors can gain control of all of Syria and Iraq and then the world. This has never worked, in large part because of the extreme brutality these Holy Warriors use against their opponents. ISIL has been deliberately murdering Shia, Christian and Kurdish civilians in an effort to terrorize their groups into surrender. That is not working and rarely has in the last few centuries. All these groups have powerful foreign allies who work hard to help their kinsmen fight back.   

Despite these problems ISIL is real and dangerous. There’s a reason for that. Islamic terrorists have long been depicted in Arab culture as noble and pure warriors fighting to protect Islam. This is partly religion and partly culture but the reality is no Islamic radicals have ever managed to do any permanent good for the Moslem world. This truth gets realized and accepted eventually and then forgotten again. For example after the 2008 defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq, and the 90 percent decline in al Qaeda attacks there it was believed that Islamic terrorism was on the ropes once more and many Arabs were visibly relieved. But the Arab Spring changed all that. Terrorist attacks worldwide, most of them by Moslem religious radicals, more than doubled from 7,200 in 2009 to 18,500 in 2013.    

There have been many outbreaks of Islamic terrorism in the past but his time around the chief cause was state sponsored Islamic terrorism by Pakistan and a recent boost by the Arab Spring uprisings and continued financial support by wealthy Arabs in the Persian Gulf and fanatic young men throughout Arabia. The Pakistani policy of covertly supporting and encouraging Islamic terrorist groups began in the late 1970s and after September 11, 2001 there Islamic terrorists were increasingly out of Pakistani control. Thus Pakistan found itself in the position of continuing to support Islamic terrorists who attacked India and Afghanistan while fighting a growing number of disaffected terrorist groups at home that had declared war on Pakistan. The result was a huge spike in Islamic terrorist violence. For the Arab Spring countries it meant prolonged unrest and more Islamic terrorist deaths. Worse, it isn’t over, especially in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and Algeria. Over 200,000 have died so far in the Arab Spring countries, and millions more wounded, imprisoned or driven from their homes.

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23 Responses to Syria and Iraq

  • Iran has deep-seated problems of its own. Because of its collapsing birth-rate (from a TFR of 7 in the 1980s to 1.6 today), by 2050 about one-third of its population will consist of the dependent elderly, as compared to about one-twelfth today, while its oil exports, which currently account for about one-fifth of per capita GDP will have virtually dried up by 2020. Indeed, Iran is already a net importer of refined products.

    Moreover, there are unresolved disputes over Caspian oil with both Russia and Azerbaijan (and a large part of the population of Northern Iran is Azeri.)

    It would not be surprising, if Iran sought a solution to this impending disaster by trying to gain control of the oil-fields in the majority Shia areas of Iraq and Western Arabia. Any Iranian government will, in any event, be obliged to present itself as the champions of Shia Islam. Iran is a confessional state, with religion the bond of unity between the different races that compose it. Persians make up only 60-65% of the population.

    If that is the plan, they had better do so before their dwindling financial resources and the decline in the number of men of military age renders it impossible.

  • Why is the Iranian birthrate in such decline? Is that not unusual for an Islamic country?

  • All Islamic countries have experienced a birth rate decline, but Iran has fallen off a cliff in regard to birth rate:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/10554866/Iran-attempts-to-reverse-falling-birth-rate.html

  • Throughout the Muslim world, the lowest rates of adult literacy correspond to the highest population growth rate.
    Even allowing for other factors, like urbanization, altered patterns of living, of housing, of the human relation with space and land, of marketing, employment, and consumption, and the very structure of family and social hierarchy, UN figures for the 34 largest Muslim countries suggest literacy alone accounts for 58% of the variation in birth-rates.
    What happened over three generations in the Maghreb has taken place over a single generation in Iran.
    In the Middle East, Israel presents a curious contrast with its neighbours. Although it has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, its Jewish population has one of the highest fertility rates (2.8%) and one of the lowest suicide rates (5-6 per 100,000) of any industrialised country. Amongst Mizrahi and Sephardic Jewish settlers, mostly from Muslim countries, the birth-rate is even higher.

  • Thank you, Donald. So the Iranian govt encouraged birth control and look what happened!

  • The liberal main stream media rarely reports the real story–on anything–they are too busy pushing their agenda and manipulating public opinion to complete any real investigative, accurate reporting.

    A lot of the “Christian” media follow suit in the same manner–as has been discussed regularly on this blog. I was sickened to hear a fluffy, feel good, give each other big hugs & smiles to make the world a better place, kumbaya report on K-Love radio this past week re: Iran. Apparently some poor Iranian government approved artist has painted several government approved murals in government approved spots. K-Love radio hosts just thought that was the sweetest thing & commented that the artist was making the world a more beautiful place. I could have vomited while listening to the report. Mean while, as these murals are being painted, Iranian citizens are being imprisoned, raped, tortured, murdered, & denied every basic God given freedom known to man. At least we may take comfort that there is a pretty mural for Iranians to view on their way to being decapitated. *sarcasm*

    If it were not for alternative media & the internet, I would never know what was really going on in the world.

  • I would dearly love to help the Kurds in anyway possible. I know at one point Samaritan’s purse was assisting Kurdish widows & orphans.

    I have no doubt that the Kurds will fight harder for their home land than any intruders. I know I would fight with every ounce of strength in me for my family and homeland.

    Does anyone know if America still keeps a no fly zone over the Kurdish region of Iraq as we did in order to save their lives after Sadam Hussein gassed an entire town of Kurds to death. I will never forget the raw video I saw of the aftermath of that ethnic cleansing episode.

  • 2 of my very best friends in college were young Syrian Christians from their Capitol city. They lived under the dictatorship of Assad. They could only discuss their faith inside the walls of their church, their mail came to them opened (all of it,) they were followed by a government agent every where they went in public, told stories of people simply disappearing to never be seen again after an accusation of that individual criticizing the Syrian government, even in college in a foreign land my friends, women, were in fear of the government and still shuddered when thinking about having to wear Muslim head garb in their schools. Their father was working in a refrigeration plant in Saudi Arabia at the time I was in college with them. The women showed me pictures of the Christians worshipping in secret in Saudi Arabia. They said if the Saudis ever found out that their father was a Christian that he would be given 3 days to leave the country or be decapitated. Being young and niave in the ways of dictatorships at the time, I did not fully believe that the Saudis would kill another nation’s citizens for being a Christian. Then not long after hearing the threat against their father, I saw pictures of 3 Christian men who were indeed found out by the Saudis & were decapitated. The information re: those martyrdoms was received through an organization that reports on the underground/persecuted church world wide. Apparently the men who were martyred were either unable to get out of Saudi Arabia in the allotted time or simply were never given the chance.

  • Donald & MPS: To my knowledge, Islam strictly teaches against abortion as such. I have had something explained to me about Islam requiring a type of respect for unborn children. Do you know if Iran has instituted use of any form of abortion since they have introduced birth control?

  • Ms Barbara were your Syrian friends followed because they were Christians or because they were going to college and thus likely to get some new-fangled ideas about freedom? One has to distinguish between the two. At the end of the day, it is for the people there to make their adjustments. There is no need to spell out, in light of what is happening to the Iraqi Shiites right now, what the fate of the Syrian Christians would be, had the same ‘freedom fighters’ overcome the Syrian Army. No thanks surely to the US and other heralds of freedom.

  • Ivan,

    As I understand it, at that time which was in the mid to late 1980s, it was strictly because my friends were of a Christian faith thatctheyvreceived such intimidation & harrassment at the hands of the Syrian dictatorship. My friends were members of an evangelical Alliance church in the capitol of Syria. All of their church members & famiky mrmbers were followed by Syrian government agents everywhere they went in public in Syria, all mail going to households in which church members lived was opened & read by government agents, their homes & cars were bugged, they were only able to practice and/or discuss their faith inside of the walls of the physical Alliance Church, & they were not even allowed to invite someone to their church while in Syria. My understanding is that the Syrian dictator allowed the Christians to have a public presence only as a political tool to keep the majority Muslim faith from over throwing his government. The dictator was a member of a minority Muslim group & needed the Christisns to help him maintain power. Otherwise the Alliance Churches would not have been allowed to exist within Syria at the given time. My understanding was that Assad was doing all he could to keep both the majority Muslims & the minority Christians in his country under his thumb for the purposes of maintaining control & the power of his dictatorship. These young women attended a Christian college with me in Arkansas for 2 years after leaving Syria & making a treck through Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to see their family and then coming to the East coast of the US for a few months of training in the English language. Only then did they start college–far away from the dictator’s goons & his influence.

  • Barbara Gordon asked, “Do you know if Iran has instituted use of any form of abortion since they have introduced birth control? “

    No. The Shia jurists are unanimous that abortion is haram (forbidden). If a child is aborted, the diya (blood money) is payable to the heir, those heirs who connived at the abortion being excluded, which is the ordinary rule for homicide. Similarly, if a pregnant woman is injured and suffers a miscarriage, diya is payable to the child’s heirs, including the mother.

    An exception is permitted to preserve the life of the mother, relying on Surah Baqarah, 2:233: “A mother should not be made to suffer because of her child.”

  • Paul W Primavera wrote, “So the Iranian govt encouraged birth control and look what happened!”

    Of course the government policies had some impact, but comparative figures from 34 other Muslim majority countries suggest that, at most, they exacerbated a trend. As I noted above, increased literacy rates alone appear to account for 58% of the decline in the birth-rate.

    It is noticeable that, when women from Muslim countries move to a country with a vigorously pro-natalist policy, like France, their total fertility rate rises, in comparison to that in their home countries, but, in most cases, only marginally.

    Turkey 3.21 against 2.16 an increase of 1.05
    Algeria 2.57 against 1.78 an increase of 0.79
    Tunisia 2.90 against 2.73 an increase of 0.17
    Morocco 2.97 against 3.28 a decrease of 0.31

    This suggests the impact of government policies is limited, one way or the other

  • Ms Barbara, it is possible that it met with the approval of the other Christians. There was little love lost between the Evangelicals who are largely perceived to be beneficiaries of American largesse and even their agents, and the other Christians. When I was in India the Roman Catholic Church went so far as to deny Evangelical converts extreme unction and burial on church grounds, which makes sense, but was lost on the dying who needed the comfort.

  • President Taliban got in two rounds of golf (if you call what he does “golf”) this weekend. PS: Hasn’t the US and et al aided and abetted Syrian anti-government terrorists? Now the guys (we aided) are undoing the mission for which over 4,000 US GI’s died?

    Killing prisoners stiffens the enemy who quickly learns that surrender is not an option.

    That being said, What is not to like? Muslims killing muslims; and fewer spawns of filthy pagans – sounds like a win-win situation.

    In conclusion, all this proves that Washington, DC is not the only place on the planet with one, collective lump of $#!+ for brains.

  • T Shaw

    Unfortunately, about 10% of the population of Syria is Christian and the only power likely to protect them from the Jihadists is the Assad régime. They include several high-ranking officials.

    As in Iraq, the Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party has always been a secular party and, unlike many countries in the region, under President Assad and his father, Hafez al-Assad, the government has allowed Christians to allows churches to preach, teach, evangelize, publish religious materials, and build churches and Christians have enjoyed access to education and employment.

  • So, that is the reason Obama backs the terrorists fighting to overthrow Assad.

  • T Shaw

    I fancy Obama’s real reason is that there has long been a strategic alliance between Syria under the Assads, father and son and Iran.

    Ideologically, they are poles apart; a secular Arab nationalist regime on the one hand and a pan-Islamic, Persian Islamic republic on the other. No one in the upper échelons of either government cares twopence about that. They share a common hatred for Israel and Syria has always allowed Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, to operate freely in its territory and given it a measure of logistical and intelligence support.

    By the by, they also shared a common hatred for Saddam Hussein, despite his being a secular Arab nationalist and, like the Assads, a Ba’athist. In line with his secularist beliefs, Saddam, too, favoured the Christian minority in Iraq and his Foreign Minister and deputy Premier, Tariq Aziz was an Assyrian Chaldean (Catholic) Christian.

    Syria destabilised poses no existential threat to Israel and weakens Hezbollah in the process.

  • Ivan,

    Let me point out that I entered the Catholic Church 2 Easters ago.

    I, having spent time in Central American countries as a missionary for Protestant churches in the 1990s, am very aware of the type of conflicts you describe between Catholics and Evangelicals taking place around the world although I was not aware that there was any presence of the Catholic Church within the borders of Syria at the time I was in college with my dear Syrian friends. There may have been a public Catholic presence or underground Catholic presence in Syria in the ’90s, I just basically was a foreigner to the Catholic Church in the ’90s and was told by my Syrian friends that the Alliance Church of which they were members was the only church allowed to exist at that time. My Syrian friends may have meant that the Alliance Church was the only Protestant Church–I simply am not sure on that point. As my friends could not discuss Christianity outside of their church building, they would not have been able to talk with other Christian faiths unless someone of that separate Christian faith attended an Alliance church service with my friends local congregation.

    There obviously is a Catholic presence in Syria now as I have read in alternative media re: the persecution taking place against Catholics in Syria.

    I, personally as a Protestant Evangelical, visited a very isolated mountain village near the Southern border of Mexico in the late 1990s under the explicit threat of physical harm from local Catholics who did not want a Protestant presence in their village. We literally risked our lives to drive to the mountain village and back.

    I, my sister, & her husband visited an isolated Honduran mountain village with Protestant Evangelical ministers to take needed medical supplies and carry the first ever medical doctor to the Catholics & few Protestants in the villages. Protestant missionaries did not care what the religious faith of those needing medical care might be. All were treated until we ran out of supplies. Again, the trips themselves were a real risk of our lives. It was common knowledge that our vehicle breaking down on one of such trips, apart from a miracle of God, meant we would never be seen alive again–if our body was found at all. My sister, her husband who is a Protestant minister, another male Protestant missionary, & an American medical doctor had to lock themselves into a sealed building in one such village over night with a rifle for protection. Without taking such extreme steps for saftey, they were not certain that they would be alive to see the morning sun rise due to threats from local Catholics–even after having provided free medical care to an entire Catholic Mountain village.

    A Protestant Evangelical medical doctor with whom I worked in Sula, Honduras had bullets, rocks, & other items s.a. Rotten food shot/thrown through the windows of the church building while he was preaching to some locals. After a few years ministry to these Catholics through a hospital the doctor built in this area, this same Protestant Evangelical doctor/preacher had delivered so many Catholic babies, sewn up so many machete fight wounds, & performed so many surgeries on the local population that when the doctor himself became seriously ill–the Catholic Church in the area said a mass for this Protestant Evangelical doctor/preacher to get well. Lol

    The Catholic powers that existed at that time in Mexico had become so concerned about the influence of the Protestant Evangelical schools that attempts were being made to outlaw their very existence.

    I look back on such risks of our lives now and know that it must have seemed crazy and foolish for us to risk our lives in such manners to some. My only explanation is that I & the others were willing to do what we felt God was calling us to do at the time to meet the needs of those to whom we felt He had sent us and trust Him for the outcome. I, literally, almost died three times during a simple 4 month visit to Honduras. I have permanent physical repercussions from my time spent in Central America. And I would do it all over again should God ask it of me. I & my sister were taught growing up that the safest place to be is in God’s will–hence our willingness to go to other continents & take such risks.

    I saw many literal, physical miracles take place during my time in Central America.

    The governing bodies of most Protestant Evangelical individual churches & entire denominations are built and operate entirely on the same Democratic Republican form of government that our founders created for us here in the US–so where ever most Protestant Evangelicals are–the American philosophy of one man/one vote, God given human rights, limited government, and self government are being taught. There are also often American federally funded feeding/health programs being administered through ministries of such churches. In more than one sense, most Evangelical Protestants can be viewed as “American agents.”

  • Barbara Gordon

    The largest Christian church in Syria is the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, followed by the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.

    Then there is the Assyrian Church of the East, which separated from the rest of Christendom in protest at the Council of Ephesus in 431. They are sometimes referred to as Nestorians, but the Common Christological Declaration of 1994, subscribed by the Pope and Catholicos-Patriarch suggests this may have been more about formulae than actual belief. There is also the Chaldean Catholic Church, a branch of the Assyrians in union with Rome.

    There is also the Oriental Syriac Orthodox Church, which separated from the rest of Christendom in protest at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 and who are traditionally considered Monophysites (the opposite heresy to the Nestorians). Again, this may have been more a question of words, than of belief and the Pope and the Oriental Patriarch signed common declarations in 1984. They are in communion with the Armenians and the Copts.

    All these churches and their Patriarchs enjoyed good relation with the Ba’athist Arab Socialist Party, both in Syria, under the Assads and under Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

    They all view Protestantism, in any form, as an alien and Western thing, but especially those not ruled by a hierarch, who takes responsibility for his subordinates’ actions.

  • MPS: Great info about the Catholic Church in Syria. Until about 1.5 yrs ago during RICA classes & reading a book, Catholicism For Dummies (LOL,) I did not understand the connection between the Greek Orthodox churches & the Catholic Church. I know I still don’t understand the connections fully!

    I sure had no idea about such connections as a college sophomore at a Fundamentalist Baptist College where the focus was on learning our own history/theology/philosophy, etc. My Protestant Syrian friends whom I referenced had not the least interest in Catholicism or closely related faiths to my knowledge.

    In one of your posts you referenced the ability of Protestants under Assad having the ability to proselytize. In the mid to late 1980s, my Protestant Syrian friends had no such freedoms in Damascus. It was strictly forbidden to discuss their faith outside of the walls of their church–they could not even invite someone to their church nor sing Christian songs outside the walls of their church. Once they were inside of their church, they could speak freely about their faith to those present I still remember the overwhelming joy the youngest sister expressed in my presence when she figured out that she could sing songs about her faith at full volume anywhere she wished here in Arkansas. She literally experienced some type of spiritual revival in her life, and against all denominational rules/regs one of our Baptist pastors re-baptized her–at her request. I was wondering what you meant exactly when you said that Syrian Protestants could proselytize freely and if you were referencing a given period of time?

    It is a misrepresentation of Protestant churches/denominations to think that there does not exist a hierarchy among them where people, in the church hiearchy, are seen as not having responsibility for those beneath them in a hierarchy. For instance, the Assembly of God has a presbytery that has local pastors, state, regional, & then national levels. When a Southern Baptist Convention pastor resigns, his entire staff of ministers including the ministers of music & education resign as well with the local church making the determination which staff ministers who resigned will stay if any wish to do so. There are independent (meaning not associated with a given formal association, cooperative, or denominational religious hierarchy) churches called “Bible” churches which are lead completely by “elders” who function as minsters and a ministerial board for the church with full responsibility for every facet of church life.

    I wish some of the hierarchy in the Catholic Church took their leadership capacity more seriously and practically dealt with things like pro-abortion politicians here in America.

    Also, I am wondering what you mean when you say that these Greek Orthodox and other Catholicly affiliated/connected churches have a good relationship with the ruling dictatorial powers in Syria. Do such faiths have the freedoms we have here in America regarding their faith & practice? Are such churches licensed/approved by the dictatorial government?

  • MPS: Also, I can see from a Syrian Catholic frame of reference WHY they would view Protestant churches as a weird Western thing. To them it IS a weird Western thing that occur from its beginning completely outside their frame of reference, geographical region, experience, or ability to influence.

  • Barbara Gordon

    There is a very long tradition, going back at least to Ottoman times, to regard religious communities as semi-autonomous and to let them follow their own laws in such things as marriage, inheritance, settling disputes between their own members. The Patriarch of Constantinople was the Rum Millet Bashi or Ethnarch, the civil, as well as the religious head of the Greek Orthodox throughout the Empire. Thus, when the Greek War of Independence broke out in 1821, the Patriarch was taken from his church – it was Easter Sunday – and hanged from the archway of his Phanar palace.

    The fact that religion and ethnicity tend to go together in the Middle East helped to reinforce this attitude. Syrians who speak Syriac, rather than Arabic, also tend to be Christians and whole villages tend to be of one faith. Even in towns, they gather in their own quarters Protestants do not fit this pattern.

    Now, in theory, Syria is a secular state: the government neither recognises, salaries or subsidises any religion – in theory. In practice, religious leaders are important channels of information, communicating the desires and grievances of their communities to government and communicating government policies back to their communities; they are, in effect, an informal but important part of the administration of a country that is a complex network of communal and tribal groups. Hafez al-Assad was brilliant at this, his son, not so much.

Speak Loudly and Carry No Stick

Monday, September 16, AD 2013

26 Responses to Speak Loudly and Carry No Stick

  • “Thou are weighed in the balance and found wanting.”

    Daniel chapter 5 well applies to Barack Hussein Obama, today’s King Belshazzar:

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=daniel%205&version=RSVCE

    “Mene, mene, tekel, parsin.”

  • Churchill mentions a first foretaste of the bitter cup to be offered year by year.
    ” … unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and … ”

    This idea of moral health has been trashed by people in education, entertainment, politics, government, finance, journalism, and art.

  • Thank our good God for answering the prayers of countless thousands and bringing about this first step towards peace in Syria.

    While it doesn’t end the violence, the cessation of the threat of US military intervention, which most religious leaders in the region–including Muslim–say would lead to further bloodshed to all and even more Christian persecution, is nothing short of a miracle.

    Thank you Pope Francis for leading the Prayer Warriors and bringing it to the world’s attention. God Bless you. God Bless all who prayed.

  • Rubbish on stilts. The Civil War in Syria will grind on and the body count will ramp up swiftly. There is absolutely nothing to celebrate in this debacle.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24114746

    At the end of it all Assad will remain in power, or, more likely, after another year or two of fighting the rebels will win and a government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and/or Al-Qaeda will take his place. Syria is a lose-lose proposition except for tyrants and would be tyrants.

  • Don’t we have to admit that we ARE already in a war and that it is multifaceted, and not against nations or factions but against an evil ideology that seeks our destruction. If we morally oppose Assad and seek justice in Syria but do not want to intervene because his opposition in Syria is no better than him, is that giving up—acquiescence of a sort on our part? Too many layers of evil for us to go against? Shouldn’t we find a way to actively oppose them both? perhaps one at a time, like the war against the Axis (actually divided into different war “theaters” followed by the cold war. I admit I am way out of my league here thinking of solutions on the world stage- but – those are my questions.
    I think about W. Churchill saying something about we will fight them on the beaches…etc.

  • Donald R. McClarey

    To say that a prayer of thanksgiving for Pope Francis and the world’s prayer efforts that helped prevent the US from getting militarily involved in the Syrian civil war is “rubbish” says a lot about a man’s character and his soul. That “there is nothing to celebrate” about the US not bombing the garbanzos out of President Assad –an effort which we had no authority to do—I heartily disagree. It is a great day to say a prayer of thanks.

    US intervention would have only brought about more bloodshed as Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, the Grand Mufti of Damascus Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, the USCCB and the Canadian Bishops have all pleaded. You said that you didn’t support US military involvement but you didn’t like the US losing face in the global chess game. While I am absolutely not a supporter of Abortion President Obama I think it is better to lose face if it saves a single life—worth the whole universe.

    Then you dredge up Churchill’s criticism of the Munich Pact. That is absurd. Let me assure the readers that these circumstances have none of the gravity whatsoever of 1938. The fate of Europe, or the world, is not in the balance. There are no Panzer divisions or Stuka squadrons poised to go into Poland or in today’s setting Israel. Every time the US decides not to blow the barley seeds out of some tinhorn dictator some writer drags out the old Churchill/Chamberlain comparison

    Then you say that in “two years’ time the rebels will probably win.” I defer to Pulitzer Prize winning writer Charles Krauthammer who in his last two articles in Human Events says that Russian President Putin is pretty much in the driver’s seat and will keep Assad in power to keep the Russian naval base and other assets in Syria intact.

    And I say once again, “Praise be to the good Lord and Pope Francis for leading the world in prayer that helped keep the US out of Syria. May there be Peace there.” If you think such a prayer is “rubbish,” sir, what do you value?

  • “To say that a prayer of thanksgiving for Pope Francis and the world’s prayer efforts that helped prevent the US from getting militarily involved in the Syrian civil war is “rubbish” says a lot about a man’s character and his soul.”

    I know nothing about your character and your soul. I do know that your analysis of the situation is rubbish and I said so.

    “That “there is nothing to celebrate” about the US not bombing the garbanzos out of President Assad –an effort which we had no authority to do—I heartily disagree.”

    Of course you do, based upon a completely erroneous view of the situation. Your comment about the US not having the authority is rich. Who would give us that authority? The UN, that exemplar of corruption and hypocrisy?

    “US intervention would have only brought about more bloodshed as Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, the Grand Mufti of Damascus Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, the USCCB and the Canadian Bishops have all pleaded.”

    All lacking any military knowledge whatsoever. The Grand Mufti is a tool of the Assad regime. Ditto Bishop Antoine Audo. The USCCB and the Catholic Bishops of Canada know zip about the Assad regime and its long history of brutality against the Syrian people. The simple truth is that with non-intervention the Civil War will grind on and all the men you cite are completely clueless as to any realistic plan to bring the Civil War to an end.

    “While I am absolutely not a supporter of Abortion President Obama I think it is better to lose face if it saves a single life—worth the whole universe.”

    Rubbish again. Weakness inspires war. Even a cursory study of history reveals that.

    “Then you dredge up Churchill’s criticism of the Munich Pact. That is absurd. Let me assure the readers that these circumstances have none of the gravity whatsoever of 1938.”

    Yeah, its only Syrians being killed. It’s not as if we know these people, right? Bishop Antoine Audo who you cite has actually said that intervention would lead to a World War. I suspect that is hyperbole, but since you cited him perhaps you agree with him. My citation of Churchill was due to the fact that the bumbling of Obama, who you support in this case, is like the bumbling of Chamberlain. A leader as weak as Obama inspires those who wish to do us harm.

    As to the outcome of the war, Assad pays cold cash for every piece of Russian equipment and his resources are limited, even with his support from Iran. The rebels are being bankrolled by the Saudis who do not want the Iranians to have a power base in Syria. Qatar and Turkey have also been supplying aid, and I suspect if they have to the Turks will intervene to topple Assad if they think the rebels cannot. Numerous border clashes have already occurred. The Turks shot down a Syrian helicopter yesterday and they have beefed up troops along the border with Syria in recent weeks.

    In regard to Syria there is no good solution, which is why I oppose US intervention, and that is very sad. Lots of innocent people are going to die and after an ocean of blood is shed the Syrian people likely will be no better off and still under a despotic regime and that is nothing to cheer about.

    In regard to foreign policy and national defense I value clear analysis and rigid attention to reality. Wishful thinking and platitudes tend to have a dire effect when they are adopted as national policy in regard to a crisis like Syria.

  • FWIW, my piece in the Catholic Stand.

    I opposed intervention in Syria, but to celebrate the lack of American involvement as a great victory for peace is awfully myopic.

  • Comment:
    If it saves one human life–which is worth the entire universe–and I am certain that it does, it is a cause for celebration.

  • Donald R. McClarey:
    Comment:

    “Who would give us that authority?”

    Yes, who would? Who would give us the authority to bomb another country? On the other side of the world? Right in Russia’s backyard? The Congress didn’t. Britain opted out. I guess Obama would give himself the authority. And why? Because we’re bigger and stronger? And because we can? Bullying is prohibited in the schoolyard and much of the international community condemns it on a global scale.

    “The USCCB and the Canadian Bishops know zip about the Assad regime and its long history of brutality against the Syrian people”

    Says who? You? By your authority? I hate to interrupt your rant with a few facts. Perhaps you should Google some of the Catholic publications, but the Bishops and everyone in Christendom and anyone who has seen an iota of news has been talking about this for months.
    Apparently you think you are the sole informed person breaking this earth shattering story. Who gives you the authority to cavalierly dismiss all these people as ignorant of your special knowledge? I guess you do—much like Obama.

    And Catholic Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo is in Aleppo right in the heart of the bloodshed. He told the National Catholic Register, “That the only road to peace is through dialogue…not a new charge of hatred.” Sounds like he was addressing this to you. But I guess he doesn’t know as much as you do, right? By your authority? Wow, such hubris.

    “With non-intervention the Civil War will grind on and on and the men you cite are completely clueless as to any realistic plan to bring the Civil War to an end.”

    Obama has a realistic plan? Of course not. Your argument is untenable. You support non-intervention but then rant that it will only prolong the war. Did you forget to type in a few clarifying sentences? It doesn’t connect. It seems you just like to rant that nobody knows what to do but you. But then you don’t say what to do except “peace through strength.”

    I do know that the Muslim Brotherhood/Al Qaeda rebels have persecuted the Christians and a victory by them would lead to further persecution. A US strike on Assad would embolden them. That it looks like we won’t is a cause for celebration. And deep gratitude to our good Lord, also to Pope Francis.

    “Yeah it’s only Syrians being killed. It’s not as if we know these people, right?” Please leave the high school debating tactics in high school. The main thrust of your article was the Churchill quote on the Munich Pact implying that the fate of the world was in the balance today, much like 1938 when Hitler coveted Sudetenland, poised to strike Czechoslovakia and Poland. Give me a break. A reader who couldn’t find Syria or Russia, for that matter, on a map might believe this distortion but most would see right through it. I greatly admire Churchill but he would not have committed a single Tommy soldier or Manchester bomber to the madness of Syria. Assad can barely keep the rebels out of his bathroom and Putin can’t even quiet down the gays in Moscow.

    “Weakness inspires war. Even a cursory study of history reveals that.”

    But a deeper study of history reveals that, in the words of Pope Francis, “Only dialogue brings peace.” Bishop Aleppo echoes this and the Catholic Church has been saying this over and over for decades. Practically every speech or letter by the Popes or Bishops says this. Cardinal Dolan head of the USCCB– who “know zip,” by your royal decree—in his letter to President Obama asks him not to send financial or military aid to the rebels.

    It is a dreadfully tragic situation. 100,000 lives lost for nothing. But once again I am divinely thankful that the US did not get involved which would have made it even worse.

  • “Right in Russia’s backyard?”

    You have a rather expansive view of Russia.

    “The Congress didn’t.”

    Congress would have been the proper authority.

    “Bullying is prohibited in the schoolyard and much of the international community condemns it on a global scale.”

    I trust you really are not that foolish. The “international community” you celebrate was ever content to sit on its hands while tyrants have turned large segments of humanity into fertilizer. The simple truth is that most people are not really bothered by other people being slaughtered somewhere far away until whoever is doing the slaughtering turns their attention to them. That is an odd standard to raise as a moral guide.

    “but the Bishops and everyone in Christendom and anyone who has seen an iota of news has been talking about this for months.”

    The Bishops are reflexively against military intervention anywhere under any form. They know as much about Syria as a group as they do about military tactics and strategy, which is close to nil.

    “Apparently you think you are the sole informed person breaking this earth shattering story.”

    Certainly much more informed than you judging from your comments.

    “And Catholic Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo is in Aleppo right in the heart of the bloodshed.”

    Yep and touting the Assad line. When the Civil War began in 2011 as a result of Assad unleashing his military against demonstrators, the Bishop participated in a demonstration in favor of Assad in Damascus.
    From an interview the Bishop gave in 2011 as the crackdown began

    “Do you think President Assad will be able to stay in power?”
    I think so. He’s a very loved man, young and well educated, and he’s working in the interests of Syria. Syria is not a perfect country – as all countries [in the Middle East], we have had difficulties with the international and economic situation. But I think he [Assad] is doing very well and wants to serve the interests of Syria. He’s defending our country with great dignity.”
    http://www.terrasanta.net/tsx/articolo.jsp?wi_number=3030&wi_codseq=++++++&language=en

    Now even making allowance for the Bishop living in a country where if you criticize the government you can quickly find yourself dead, that is pretty sickening stuff.

    “But then you don’t say what to do except “peace through strength.””

    No, what I actually wrote was that intervention will not work in this case due to the fact that the major contending factions are all bad, and that is a sad reality and not something to celebrate. Reading comprehension truly is not your forte is it?

    “I do know that the Muslim Brotherhood/Al Qaeda rebels have persecuted the Christians and a victory by them would lead to further persecution.”

    Yep, the problem is that for Christians Assad is no bowl of cherries either:

    http://freebeacon.com/christians-and-syria/

    In Syria it is largely bad guys fighting bad guys and whoever wins it is not going to be good news for the native Christians of Syria.

    “Please leave the high school debating tactics in high school.”

    Rubbish. You are the one hailing non-intervention as some grand victory for peace. As far as you are concerned the Syrians could continue killing each other from now to doomsday, as long as the US is not involved.

    “I greatly admire Churchill but he would not have committed a single Tommy soldier or Manchester bomber to the madness of Syria.”

    Actually Churchill as Secretary of State for War and Air after World War I was instrumental in establishing the boundaries of the Middle East and the British Empire was involved in the Middle East throughout his lifetime with constant interventions. Of course, once again you ignore why I raised the Munich debacle.

    “Only dialogue brings peace.”

    Not really. What peace we have on this Earth is almost always a result of war, from the flags we salute, the boundaries of the nations we live in, the laws we follow, the languages we speak, whether our churches are persecuted, etc. Pacifists and semi-pacifists may abhor this, but that is the fact. In the present case, who rules in Syria will be determined on the battlefields of Syria and not through negotiations.

  • If it saves one human life–which is worth the entire universe–and I am certain that it does, it is a cause for celebration.

    Bumper sticker jingoism does nothing to alter the reality of what is happening in Syria or elsewhere for that matter.

  • Paul Zummo:
    You’re using the word “jingoism” incorrectly unless the country you think I’m touting is the Vatican State in which case you would be correct.
    I do think that one human life is worth the whole universe.

  • Comment:

    “Who would give us that authority?”

    Yes, who would? Who would give us the authority to bomb another country? On the other side of the world? Right in Russia’s backyard? The Congress didn’t. Britain opted out. I guess Obama would give himself the authority. And why? Because we’re bigger and stronger? And because we can? Bullying is prohibited in the schoolyard and much of the international community condemns it on a global scale.

    “The USCCB and the Canadian Bishops know zip about the Assad regime and its long history of brutality against the Syrian people”

    Says who? You? By your authority? I hate to interrupt your rant with a few facts. Perhaps you should Google some of the Catholic publications, but the Bishops and everyone in Christendom and anyone who has seen an iota of news has been talking about this for months.
    Apparently you think you are the sole informed person breaking this earth shattering story. Who gives you the authority to cavalierly dismiss all these people as ignorant of your special knowledge? I guess you do—much like Obama.

    And Catholic Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo is in Aleppo right in the heart of the bloodshed. He told the National Catholic Register, “That the only road to peace is through dialogue…not a new charge of hatred.” Sounds like he was addressing this to you. But I guess he doesn’t know as much as you do, right? By your authority? Wow, such hubris.

    “With non-intervention the Civil War will grind on and on and the men you cite are completely clueless as to any realistic plan to bring the Civil War to an end.”

    Obama has a realistic plan? Of course not. Your argument is untenable. You support non-intervention but then rant that it will only prolong the war. Did you forget to type in a few clarifying sentences? It doesn’t connect. It seems you just like to rant that nobody knows what to do but you. But then you don’t say what to do except “peace through strength.”

    I do know that the Muslim Brotherhood/Al Qaeda rebels have persecuted the Christians and a victory by them would lead to further persecution. A US strike on Assad would embolden them. That it looks like we won’t is a cause for celebration. And deep gratitude to our good Lord, also to Pope Francis.

    “Yeah it’s only Syrians being killed. It’s not as if we know these people, right?” Please leave the high school debating tactics in high school. The main thrust of your article was the Churchill quote on the Munich Pact implying that the fate of the world was in the balance today, much like 1938 when Hitler coveted Sudetenland, poised to strike Czechoslovakia and Poland. Give me a break. A reader who couldn’t find Syria or Russia, for that matter, on a map might believe this distortion but most would see right through it. I greatly admire Churchill but he would not have committed a single Tommy soldier or Manchester bomber to the madness of Syria. Assad can barely keep the rebels out of his bathroom and Putin can’t even quiet down the gays in Moscow.

    “Weakness inspires war. Even a cursory study of history reveals that.”

    But a deeper study of history reveals that, in the words of Pope Francis, “Only dialogue brings peace.” Bishop Aleppo echoes this and the Catholic Church has been saying this over and over for decades. Practically every speech or letter by the Popes or Bishops says this. Cardinal Dolan head of the USCCB– who “know zip,” by your profound royal decree—in his letter to President Obama asks him not to send Donald R. McClarey:

    “You have a rather expansive view of Russia”

    Russia has a naval base at Tartus, Syria. That might give them concern wouldn’t you say? And it’s certainly on the other side of the world from us.

    “I trust you really are not that foolish. The “international community” you celebrate was ever content to their on its hands while tyrants have turned large segments into fertilizer. The simple truth is that most people are not really bothered by other people being slaughtered somewhere far away until whoever is doing the slaughtering turns their attention to them. That is an odd standard to raise as a moral guide.”

    Pope Francis is head of the Vatican State, an influential country that you seem to ignore. He decries the violence in Syria every single day with speeches, letters to the G-20, meetings with political and religious leaders and of course his Global Day of Fasting and Prayer –the mere mention of which seems to inflame you and incite you to hurl insults of “rubbish on stilts” when I write about it. I think you would do well to heed Bl. Pope John Paul II’s remark that, “Prayer when united with fasting is the most powerful weapon in the history of mankind.” Or is he another one of those Bishops that “knows zip” about foreign policy? He was the Bishop of Krakow before he became Pope.

    The US and the western world and freedom loving countries everywhere decry every act of violence or barbarism or terrorism. Don’t you read the papers?

    It’s curious that you speak negatively of every religious leader and you write for “The American Catholic.” Maybe for those articles you should change the banner to “catholic” with a small “c” or call it “The American Gnostic,” because you write under the premise that no one in the world knows all the secret information that you alone know.

    “The Bishops are reflexively against military intervention anywhere under any form. They know as much about Syria as a group as they do about military tactics and strategy, which is close to nil.”

    Please see above comment.

    “Now even making allowance for the Bishop living in a country where if you criticize the government you can quickly find yourself dead that is pretty sickening stuff.”

    He is being diplomatic and accommodating and probably trying to save his head. Cardinal Dolan head of USCCB said on TV this week that “President Obama has done some good things. We might have disagreements…” Now Cardinal Dolan totally disagrees with Obama on abortion and military and financial intervention in Syria but he’s being diplomatic. He came away from a meeting with abortion monger Gov. Cuomo and said something to the affect that the Governor was very open to our discussion and we had a good exchange of ideas. And I know that Cardinal Dolan is absolutely opposed to abortion.

    And back to Bishop Assad he is right in the heat of the battle and he says, “The only road to peace is dialogue…not new charges of hatred,” directed at armchair generals in Illinois who know far more than him.

    “No, what I actually wrote was that intervention will not work in this case due to the fact that the major contending factions are all bad, and that is a sad reality and not something to celebrate. Reading comprehension truly is not your forte is it?”

    Apparently memory of what you wrote is not your forte. I was commenting on your statement “Weakness only inspires war.” Yes I paraphrase you. When your argument is weak you criticize the other guy for not quoting correctly. Pretty soon you’ll be criticizing my grammar and punctuation.

    “Rubbish. You are the one hailing non-intervention as some grand victory for peace. As far as you are concerned the Syrians could continue killing each other from now to doomsday, as long as the US is not involved.”
    You say in another article that “Flight of the Bumblebee” is your favorite song. Maybe you should turn it off for a while and listen to some Gregorian chant to calm your frenzy and maybe read what you are criticizing before you erroneously publish it to the whole world and make a fool of yourself.
    I have said repeated that I pray for peace and thank Pope Francis for his Global Day of Fasting and Prayer and all of his efforts to end the violence. Curiously you have not mentioned “pray” or “God” or any religious words in this “Catholic” article. Wonder why? Did you pray and fast on that day? I did.
    “Actually Churchill as Secretary of State for War and Air after World War I was instrumental in establishing the boundaries of the Middle East and the British Empire was involved in the Middle East throughout his lifetime with constant interventions. Of course, once again you ignore why I raised the Munich debacle.”
    Churchill actually opposed Gandhi and his quest for Indian independence so he could be wrong at times. But I’m sure that he would not get involved in the Syrian chaos, the same stance that Britain takes today.
    No I got your “deep thought” that Obama gave away his bargaining chip of the threat of military intervention. Did you get that from Charles Krauthammer? He wrote about it a week before. So if Obama came on TV every night still threatening to blow up every cotton field and fig grove in Syria, even though he wasn’t going, would that make our Gnostic genius who-knows-everything happy?

    “Not really. What peace we have on this Earth is almost always a result of war, from the flags we salute, the boundaries of the nations we live in, the laws we follow, the languages we speak, whether our churches are persecuted. Pacifists and semi-pacifists may abhor this, but that is the fact. In the present case, who rules in Syria will be determined on the battlefields of Syria and not through negotiations.”
    “The languages that we speak?” Maybe you should take a day trip into the city sometime. Here in NY Spanish is spoken everywhere and that is because of immigration not war. Please, please, don’t bring up Davey Crockett and the Alamo and the Mexican War.
    “The laws that we make?” Our laws are made by Congress and Legislatures and there may be some dirty battles there but I wouldn’t call them wars.
    “Whether our churches are persecuted?” In the US religious freedom came through dialogue and study. Jefferson, who got many of his ideas from St. Thomas Bellarmine, dialogued and argued and came to an agreement with the others. Please don’t say that without the Revolutionary War there would have been no dialogue and therefore no religious freedom. For the most part Britain was not curtailing religious freedom in the colonies.
    Did the computer you work on come from war? Or the Star Trek shows that you love—created by agnostic Gene Roddenberry—or the science fiction books written by Atheist Isaac Asimov that you quote come from war? I wish that you would quote from a Catholic once in a while, maybe a saint or a theologian or a snippet of a prayer. It might be refreshing on a “Catholic” website. You think you could try it?

  • (Very sorry my last post merged it with my former)

    Donald R. McClarey:

    “You have a rather expansive view of Russia”

    Russia has a naval base at Tartus, Syria. That might give them concern wouldn’t you say? And it’s certainly on the other side of the world from us.

    “I trust you really are not that foolish. The “international community” you celebrate was ever content to their on its hands while tyrants have turned large segments into fertilizer. The simple truth is that most people are not really bothered by other people being slaughtered somewhere far away until whoever is doing the slaughtering turns their attention to them. That is an odd standard to raise as a moral guide.”

    Pope Francis is head of the Vatican State, an influential country that you seem to ignore. He decries the violence in Syria every single day with speeches, letters to the G-20, meetings with political and religious leaders and of course his Global Day of Fasting and Prayer –the mere mention of which seems to inflame you and incite you to hurl insults of “rubbish on stilts” when I write about it. I think you would do well to heed Bl. Pope John Paul II’s remark that, “Prayer when united with fasting is the most powerful weapon in the history of mankind.” Or is he another one of those Bishops that “knows zip” about foreign policy? He was the Bishop of Krakow before he became Pope.

    The US and the western world and freedom loving countries everywhere decry every act of violence or barbarism or terrorism. Don’t you read the papers?

    It’s curious that you speak negatively of every religious leader and you write for “The American Catholic.” Maybe for those articles you should change the banner to “catholic” with a small “c” or call it “The American Gnostic,” because you write under the premise that no one in the world knows all the secret information that you alone know.

    “The Bishops are reflexively against military intervention anywhere under any form. They know as much about Syria as a group as they do about military tactics and strategy, which is close to nil.”

    Please see above comment.

    “Now even making allowance for the Bishop living in a country where if you criticize the government you can quickly find yourself dead that is pretty sickening stuff.”

    He is being diplomatic and accommodating and probably trying to save his head. Cardinal Dolan head of USCCB said on TV this week that “President Obama has done some good things. We might have disagreements…” Now Cardinal Dolan totally disagrees with Obama on abortion and military and financial intervention in Syria but he’s being diplomatic. He came away from a meeting with abortion monger Gov. Cuomo and said something to the affect that the Governor was very open to our discussion and we had a good exchange of ideas. And I know that Cardinal Dolan is absolutely opposed to abortion.

    And back to Bishop Assad he is right in the heat of the battle and he says, “The only road to peace is dialogue…not new charges of hatred,” directed at armchair generals in Illinois who know far more than him.

    “No, what I actually wrote was that intervention will not work in this case due to the fact that the major contending factions are all bad, and that is a sad reality and not something to celebrate. Reading comprehension truly is not your forte is it?”

    Apparently memory of what you wrote is not your forte. I was commenting on your statement “Weakness only inspires war.” Yes I paraphrase you. When your argument is weak you criticize the other guy for not quoting correctly. Pretty soon you’ll be criticizing my grammar and punctuation.

    “Rubbish. You are the one hailing non-intervention as some grand victory for peace. As far as you are concerned the Syrians could continue killing each other from now to doomsday, as long as the US is not involved.”
    You say in another article that “Flight of the Bumblebee” is your favorite song. Maybe you should turn it off for a while and listen to some Gregorian chant to calm your frenzy and maybe read what you are criticizing before you erroneously publish it to the whole world and make a fool of yourself.
    I have said repeated that I pray for peace and thank Pope Francis for his Global Day of Fasting and Prayer and all of his efforts to end the violence. Curiously you have not mentioned “pray” or “God” or any religious words in this “Catholic” article. Wonder why? Did you pray and fast on that day? I did.
    “Actually Churchill as Secretary of State for War and Air after World War I was instrumental in establishing the boundaries of the Middle East and the British Empire was involved in the Middle East throughout his lifetime with constant interventions. Of course, once again you ignore why I raised the Munich debacle.”
    Churchill actually opposed Gandhi and his quest for Indian independence so he could be wrong at times. But I’m sure that he would not get involved in the Syrian chaos, the same stance that Britain takes today.
    No I got your “deep thought” that Obama gave away his bargaining chip of the threat of military intervention. Did you get that from Charles Krauthammer? He wrote about it a week before. So if Obama came on TV every night still threatening to blow up every cotton field and fig grove in Syria, even though he wasn’t going to, would that make our Gnostic genius who-knows-everything happy?

    “Not really. What peace we have on this Earth is almost always a result of war, from the flags we salute, the boundaries of the nations we live in, the laws we follow, the languages we speak, whether our churches are persecuted. Pacifists and semi-pacifists may abhor this, but that is the fact. In the present case, who rules in Syria will be determined on the battlefields of Syria and not through negotiations.”
    “The languages that we speak?” Maybe you should take a day trip into the city sometime. Here in NY Spanish is spoken everywhere and that is because of immigration not war. Please, please, don’t bring up Davey Crockett and the Alamo and the Mexican War.
    “The laws that we make?” Our laws are made by Congress and Legislatures and there may be some dirty battles there but I wouldn’t call them wars.
    “Whether our churches are persecuted?” In the US religious freedom came through dialogue and study. Jefferson who got many of his ideas from St. Thomas Bellarmine dialogued and argued and came to an agreement with the others. Please don’t say that without the Revolutionary War there would have been no dialogue and therefore no religious freedom. For the most part Britain was not curtailing religious freedom on the colonies.
    Did the computer you work on come from war? Or the Star Trek shows that you love—created by agnostic Gene Roddenberry—or the science fiction books written by Atheist Isaac Asimov that you quote come from war? I wish that you would quote from a Catholic once in a while, maybe a saint or a theologian or a snippet of a prayer. It might be refreshing on a “Catholic” website. You think you could try it?

  • I do think that one human life is worth the whole universe.

    Except, evidently, for the ones slaughtered by dictators. They merit nothing but a polite yawn.

  • I’m pleased that the US will not likely intervene militarily, though the realites of continued bloodshed and Putin’s strengthened hand are odd things to celebrate or lay at God’s doorstep. This is a tragic situation to be celebrated only by the callous. The fact that prudence suggests that we are unable to effectively assist the innocent in this case is not good news for the innocent.

  • Bingo, Mike. There is nothing to celebrate about this situation.

  • “Russia has a naval base at Tartus, Syria. That might give them concern wouldn’t you say? And it’s certainly on the other side of the world from us.”

    Tartus was a relic of the Cold War. The Russians have recently reactivated it since they wish to use Assad as a client as the Soviets did his father, who was also a butcher of the Syrian people. This has nothing to do with Russian interests and everything to do with Russian adventurism, ably assisted by Obama’s weakness.

    “the mere mention of which seems to inflame you and incite you to hurl insults of “rubbish on stilts” when I write about it.”

    No, what I declared to be rubbish was your absurd claim that this debacle is a cause for celebration. In regard to the international community and its usual attitude to people far away being slaughtered, I cannot improve on James Thurber’s parable from 1939:

    “The rabbits who caused all the trouble

    by James Thurber

    Within the memory of the youngest child there was a family of rabbits who lived near a pack of wolves. The wolves announced that they did not like the way the rabbits were living. (The wolves were crazy about the way they themselves were living, because it was the only way to live.) One night several wolves were killed in an earthquake and this was blamed on the rabbits, for it is well known that rabbits pound on the ground with their hind legs and cause earthquakes. On another night one of the wolves was killed by a bolt of lightning and this was also blamed on the rabbits, for it is well known that lettuce-eaters cause lightning. The wolves threatened to civilize the rabbits if they didn’t behave, and the rabbits decided to run away to a desert island. But the other animals, who lived at a great distance, shamed them saying, “You must stay where you are and be brave. This is no world for escapists. If the wolves attack you, we will come to your aid in all probability.” So the rabbits continued to live near the wolves and one day there was a terrible flood which drowned a great many wolves. This was blamed on the rabbits, for it is well known that carrot-nibblers with long ears cause floods. The wolves descended on the rabbits, for their own good, and imprisoned them in a dark cave, for their own protection.
    When nothing was heard about the rabbits for some weeks, the other animals demanded to know what had happened to them. The wolves replied that the rabbits had been eaten and since they had been eaten the affair was a purely internal matter. But the other animals warned that they might possibly unite against the wolves unless some reason was given for the destruction of the rabbits. So the wolves gave them one. “They were trying to escape,” said the wolves, “and, as you know, this is no world for escapists.”

    Moral: Run, don’t walk, to the nearest desert island.”

  • “It’s curious that you speak negatively of every religious leader and you write for “The American Catholic.” Maybe for those articles you should change the banner to “catholic” with a small “c” or call it “The American Gnostic,” because you write under the premise that no one in the world knows all the secret information that you alone know.”

    Nope, no hidden knowledge is being conveyed. Merely a knowledge of history, current events and a refusal to allow interlocutors to take refuge either in bunkum or wishful thinking.

    “He is being diplomatic and accommodating and probably trying to save his head.”

    If he fears for his life don’t you think that would make his opinion fairly worthless as a result? How can we assume that he is speaking what he honestly believes?

    “The only road to peace is dialogue”

    Well what is stopping him? He could call up his good buddy Assad and have him sit down with rebel leaders tomorrow couldn’t he? Of course that is where ugly reality enters in. The Bishop knows that there is zero possibility that such a meeting would take place and less than zero possibility that anything productive would come about if such a meeting occurs. In this situation a call for dialogue is as meaningless as Bill Clinton giving a talk on marital fidelity.

    “I have said repeated that I pray for peace”

    And that will accomplish absolutely nothing in stopping the Civil War in Syria. It was the Rosary and the fleets of the Holy League that beat the Turks at Lepanto. Faith without works is useless, something that Catholics have traditionally understood when it comes to military matters in this Fallen World, but many, alas, do not today.

    “But I’m sure that he would not get involved in the Syrian chaos, the same stance that Britain takes today.”

    Churchill emphasized Britain being a close ally of the US and acting as a great power. I think he would have attempted to get approval from Parliament, but unlike the wet Tories of today, he would have gotten the votes.

    “No I got your “deep thought” that Obama gave away his bargaining chip of the threat of military intervention.”

    No, you truly do not understand my argument. Obama should never have threatened to intervene in Syria at all because both sides are equally bad. Once he put US prestige on the line, he then fumbled the ball so that he grasped upon the Soviet proposal to look even more like a clown. It is his weakening of the US through this farce that I deplore, as I made clear in my post.

  • “Here in NY Spanish is spoken everywhere and that is because of immigration not war. Please, please, don’t bring up Davey Crockett and the Alamo and the Mexican War.”

    Sophistry. We would not be speaking English but for a whole host of wars fought down through the centuries. The Mexicans would not be speaking Spanish but for the conquest of the Aztecs by Cortez.

    “The laws that we make?” Our laws are made by Congress and Legislatures and there may be some dirty battles there but I wouldn’t call them wars.”

    And we wouldn’t have a Congress or our system of government but for victory in the American Revolution.

    “In the US religious freedom came through dialogue and study.”

    Religious freedom in the US, at least for Catholics, is directly attributable to victory in the American Revolution. That is why Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the Catholic signer of the Declaration, tossed in his lot with the Patriots. If we had lost World War II or the Cold War our religious freedom would now be only a feeble memory.

    “For the most part Britain was not curtailing religious freedom on the colonies.”

    I can only assume that you are bone ignorant of the Irish penal laws and the Test Act. Try reading some Edmund Burke on the subject.

    “Did the computer you work on come from war? Or the Star Trek shows that you love—created by agnostic Gene Roddenberry—or the science fiction books written by Atheist Isaac Asimov that you quote come from war?”

    They all came from freedom which is very much a result of successful wars fought down through the centuries by those who cherished freedom.

    “I wish that you would quote from a Catholic once in a while”

    You might try reading my post on John Paul II and the Constitution yesterday. You obviously have read little that I have written on this site in the almost five years it has been in existence. Here is a quote to you from a saint:

    “King of England, if you do not do these things, I am the commander of the military; and in whatever place I shall find your men in France, I will make them flee the country, whether they wish to or not; and if they will not obey, the Maid will have them all killed. She comes sent by the King of Heaven, body for body, to take you out of France, and the Maid promises and certifies to you that if you do not leave France she and her troops will raise a mighty outcry as has not been heard in France in a thousand years. And believe that the King of Heaven has sent her so much power that you will not be able to harm her or her brave army.”

    Joan of Arc

  • The Catholic Church has a policy of incremental reduction of evil. In regards to abortion the Church is supporting legislation that prevents late term abortions. While the evil of abortion still exists at least the late term abortions can be stopped. This is the case in NY State and Cardinal Dolan has put great pressure on the Legislators and Governor here. The late term abortion bill was recently defeated. Hallelujah! Is that a cause for celebration? Yes. Do we still mourn the fact that abortions still go on? Yes, of course.

    In regards to Syria the US turning back militarily will save many lives. Many, many prayers were answered. That is a cause for gratitude and celebration. That the violence is still going on is a cause for mourning and continued prayer and action.

    Great Thurber story. You should check out Wikiquotes: GK Chesterton, (particularly “The Everlasting Man”) St. Francis, St. John Vianney, C.S. Lewis, and St. Augustine. Would really jazz up the site.

  • “In regards to Syria the US turning back militarily will save many lives.”

    Only if many means zero. A quick dumping of Assad would probably save many lives short term and a strong US intervention would accomplish that. The problem is what the rebels would do long term which is why I oppose intervention.

    I quote all of those you cite constantly, as faithful readers of the blog know.

  • Donald R. McClarey:

    “Sophistry. We would not be speaking English but for a whole host of wars fought down through the centuries. The Mexicans would not be speaking Spanish but for the conquest of the Aztecs by Cortez.”

    Were it not for Emperor Constantine’s Edict of Milan in 313 A.D. granting religious freedom to the Christians there would be no Western Civilization. The Christian Church sanctified the Roman Empire and the Empire continued to spread its culture and now with the holy teachings of the Faith to the whole Empire. And how was this conversion of Rome brought about? By war? No but by Christians living and teaching the Faith. The monks even continued to civilize even the barbarians. With force? No by applying the teachings of our good Lord of kindness, forgiveness and patience.

    “And we wouldn’t have a Congress or our system of government but for victory in the American Revolution.”

    All of the states had Charters before the Revolution such as the Virginia Charter that the Constitution was modeled after. These contained varieties of religious freedoms.

    “You might try reading my post on John Paul II and the Constitution yesterday. You obviously have read little that I have written on this site in the almost five years it has been in existence. Here is a quote to you from a saint:”

    What do you think of the Bl. John Paul II quotes: “War, never again war.” This was echoed by Pope Francis this week. Or “Prayer when united with sacrifice, is the most powerful weapon in the history of mankind.”
    You just said in another post that “(Prayer) will accomplish absolutely nothing in stopping the Civil War in Syria.” Whew! Sounds hypocritical. You say in one sentence to read JPII then in the next you say prayer will not work here. If you said that to JPII he’d march you right off to confessional. And you have the nerve to call yours a “Catholic” site. Why don’t you be honest and label it “The Militaristic Catholic?” Every other word is “war, war” or “military this or that.” The one saint you quote is the warrior saint Joan of Arc.

    There’s more in life, more in the news, than Syria. I sent in a short prayer of thanks that lives would be saved as a result of Pope Francis’ Global Day of Fasting and Prayer and the prayers of countless people of good will around the world –which you called “rubbish” then, and you continue to say that “prayer will accomplish nothing in the
    “Syrian Civil,” and it’s become a 3-day battle. How can I deal with someone who denies one of the basic tenets of the Faith? Do you also deny the Cardinal Virtues of Faith, Hope and Love? You’d probably say, “But not without military action.”

    Couldn’t we change the subject? Let’s talk about something we have in common such as that evil Dawkins. I just heard on Al Kresta’s Show on Catholic radio that Dawkins had been a supporter of eugenics in keeping the races from mixing. Could be a column for you.

  • Donald R. McClarey:

    “Only if many means zero. A quick dumping of Assad would probably save many lives short term and a strong US intervention would accomplish that. The problem is what the rebels would do long term which is why I oppose intervention.”

    I basically agree with you. I would go in to stop the monster Assad except that it would cause greater harm in the long run enabling the rebels to finally win. I am not a pacifist.
    Our disagreement seems to be on how many lives would be saved by the US standing down and I think it would be some, particularly Christians.
    I am not happy about the US losing power over this. I didn’t like Obama stopping the missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. I am totally against Communism. I have been opposed to practically everything Obama has done foreign or domestic. Except for quitting smoking—it has made him even more angry and hateful of the Church.

  • “Were it not for Emperor Constantine’s Edict of Milan in 313 A.D. granting religious freedom to the Christians there would be no Western Civilization.”

    Constantine was emperor solely by his victory at the Milvian Bridge. In hoc signo vinces and all that. On the other hand many historically Christian areas were lost to Christendom by military defeat at the hands of the Arabs centuries later. North Africa, Saint Augustine’s old stomping ground, was lost, and in the most Christian province of the Empire, Egypt, the Copts became a despised minority at the hands of their Arab overlords. Military events have played a tremendous role in the advance and retreat of Christianity.

    “All of the states had Charters before the Revolution such as the Virginia Charter that the Constitution was modeled after. These contained varieties of religious freedoms.”

    Which specifically left Catholics out, except for Rhode Island and Pennsylvania.

    “War, never again war.”

    That it was a hope that an intelligent man like the Pope realized would likely never come true in this Fallen World. I think he said it as an aspiration. Without the outcome of World War 2 he almost certainly would never have survived to become Pontiff as the Third Reich planned to eliminate most of the Polish population. The Pope often praised the courage of the troops who fought for Poland during World War 2, so I find the Pope’s attitude towards war contradictory.

    “You just said in another post that “(Prayer) will accomplish absolutely nothing in stopping the Civil War in Syria.”

    I stand by the statement. Unless you assume that God will work a miracle to end the War, how in the world will any amount of prayer stop the war in Syria as a practical matter? God does not give us prayer so that we can hide our eyes and not take practical steps to accomplish good. The Faith has never confused prayer with a genie like summoning of God. Prayer would not have relieved the suffering of the man helped by the Good Samaritan. God expects us to pray but he also expects us to take practical steps to work good in His world.

    “The Militaristic Catholic?”

    War takes up only a fraction of what I write about on this blog. However, I refuse to pretend that this great evil can be ignored with platitudes and pious good wishes. That is not the traditional Catholic position. Some would attempt to claim pacifism as the default position of Catholicism and that simply is not the case. Joan of Arc was sent by God on her mission to expel the English from France. She, a maid, started the process that led to French victory. God chose war as His method to accomplish His end, and that is why I quoted her.

    “and it’s become a 3-day battle”

    As faithful readers of this blog know, when someone challenges one of my posts I usually will respond. That is why we have com boxes for give and take.

    “Faith, Hope and Love”

    Indeed I believe in them. I have a long running series of posts on military chaplains who exemplify these virtues. In the midst of the evil of War they bring the love of Christ and I honor them for that.

    “I just heard on Al Kresta’s Show on Catholic radio that Dawkins had been a supporter of eugenics in keeping the races from mixing.”

    After his defense of “mild pedophilia” I would believe almost anything of Dawkins. Some atheists are wishing he would convert so they wouldn’t have to claim him any more!

Obama is Charlie Brown to Putin’s Lucy

Tuesday, September 10, AD 2013

18 Responses to Obama is Charlie Brown to Putin’s Lucy

  • Pingback: A Postmodern Christianity? - BigPulpit.com
  • OK, so if the Bumbler in Chief is Charlie Brown, and Comrade Putin is Lucy . . . who’s going to be the big fat guy and where do we get one?

  • Here’s a commentary on last night’s speech from “National Review” online:
    http://nationalreview.com/corner/358176/weak-late-jim-talent
    Posted on the “Corner” blog.

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  • Honestly, this is pretty petty. I’m no Obama supporter, but I can’t understand WHY anyone/everyone even CARES about Syria. Syria was never a US ally, nor was it any threat to major US interests in the region. It has a VERY notable, sizeable and historically important Christian minority which is the ONLY thing ANY Catholic (i.e. true Christian) should be concerned about. Frankly, I hope Obama does keep on “bumblng” if it means inaction in a conflict that the US should absolutely keep out of (save providing humanitarian aid to our Christian brethren) and NOT by ANY means helping the Mohammedan terrorists there!

  • “Honestly, this is pretty petty.”

    No, this is pretty descriptive of what has happened.

    “but I can’t understand WHY anyone/everyone even CARES about Syria.”

    No doubt quite a few Syrians would disagree with you.

    “Syria was never a US ally, nor was it any threat to major US interests in the region.”
    Syria was actually our ally in the Gulf War, but your overall point is correct.

    “(save providing humanitarian aid to our Christian brethren)”

    How can we do that effectively so long as the civil war grinds on and the body count mounts? Once again I do not think we should intervene, but no intervention means that our ability to help any Syrians, Christian or not, is extremely limited.

    “It has a VERY notable, sizeable and historically important Christian minority which is the ONLY thing ANY Catholic (i.e. true Christian) should be concerned about.”

    What, me be concerned about those wretched Samaritans? I do not believe we should get involved in Syria, but that quite a few innocent Syrians, and not just the Christians, are being slaughtered is something that should bother all of us. That we can’t do something effective about it, because the contending major factions are all bad, is the sad reality of the situation.

  • How can we do that effectively so long as the civil war grinds on and the body count mounts?

    We do what we always do: we work through Catholic charities (of which there are MANY operating in the region; including Syria). I would recommend Aid to the Church in Need. Although they do not have it currently listed, I can assure you they do have a mission in Syria which has been instrumental here.

    And I guess my comment about the post being petty stands: if you are not for intervention, wouldn’t it be a better idea to take on this topic from a different angle, rather than poking a dog? It’s like saying, “Well, he’s a wimp. I don’t want him to do anything anyway, but he’s still a wimp.” What possible charitable good can come from such a tact?

    As an orthodox/Traditional Catholic, I’m alarmed at several of like-minded websites taking this tone not only with Obama, but with the Jesuits as well. Yes, they didn’t speak out against Obama’s pro-abortion stance.

  • (CONT…sorry, my son sat on my lap/hit submit before I could finish the thought)

    But still, when the Jesuits finally DID speak out against Obama’s recent proposals on military intervention in Syria (which will HARM the Christian communities further, as it did in Iraq) the traditional communities thumbed their noses at the Jesuits and said “yeah, yeah! where were you when we needed you!? too little/too late”. I personally never side with the heretic, nor with the Mohammedan; regardless of the cause or convenience as a justification. However, on this issue, where there are many MANY human CHRISTIAN lives at stake, I think it’s best to underscore and reassure those in power when they are making the correct decision/course of action, rather than take an opportunity to snipe.

    That’s all.

  • Cardinal Richelieu, speaking of the Thirty Year’s War, said that the wars of religion in Europe would only end when those who were willing to die for the cause had been given every opportunity to do so.

    War is a great evil, but it can bring lasting peace, when it ends in a crushing victory or mutual exhaustion. Outside intervention, as often as not, fails to address the underlying causes, arrests the process and allows each side to regroup and rearm.

  • “We do what we always do: we work through Catholic charities”

    Which is almost totally ineffective in the midst of a civil war of this magnitude and does not get to the root of the problem. Such aid is praiseworthy, but people should not delude themselves that it is anything but a bandage that is being placed as a patient dies of a thousand wound.

    “wouldn’t it be a better idea to take on this topic from a different angle, rather than poking a dog?”

    No, because the level of ineptitude and folly displayed by Obama emboldens our enemies, makes a major war more likely and encourages bad actors like Assad and Putin.

    “What possible charitable good can come from such a tact?”
    That more people can see what happens when the American people, through ignorance, indifference and greed, puts a man like Obama at the helm of this Republic.

    “Jesuits finally DID speak out”

    Considering the slavish worship, and I use the term advisedly, that most Jesuits in this country have tendered to Obama, my reaction to any opposition they might have to any of their policies would be, “Who did you think he was?”

    “I personally never side with the heretic, nor with the Mohammedan; regardless of the cause or convenience as a justification”

    Christ took a much broader view than you do. All men are brothers as He taught. Sometimes we have to oppose our brothers when they are in the wrong, but His parable of the Good Samaritan is quite clear that all of humanity is bound together under God, and we are expected to remember this always.

  • “Cardinal Richelieu, speaking of the Thirty Year’s War, said that the wars of religion in Europe would only end when those who were willing to die for the cause had been given every opportunity to do so.”

    If there is a God, Richelieu will have much to answer for. If there is not, he lived a successful life. -attributed to Pope Urban VIII

  • Donald R McClarey

    We can only hope that the Cardinal profited from the guidance of his spiritual director (and founder of the French Intelligence Service) the Capuchin, Përe Joseph du Tremblay. Tremblay’s “Introduction to the spiritual life by an easy method of prayer” is an adaptation of St Igantius Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises to the Franciscan spirituality. Published in 1616, the « Introduction à la vie spirituelle par une facile méthode d’oraison » has never been out of print.

  • “Which is almost totally ineffective in the midst of a civil war of this magnitude”

    Do you have any proof AT ALL here? No? Moving on…

    “Christ took a much broader view than you do”

    LOL, I have found very little “Christ-like” in your posts, so I’m not really receptive on your opinion on my view vis-a-vis the teachings of Our Lord and Savior. I never said all men aren’t brothers. However, Our Lord was very specific on to whom His mission was based. He performed miracles to gentiles and Samaritans as an exception…not the rule. My number 1 concern is the Christians in need. Your agenda is clearly secular in nature.

  • Qualis Rex

    But St Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, says, “Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith. ” (Gal 6:10)

  • “Do you have any proof AT ALL here? No? Moving on…”

    Don’t be obtuse when you suddenly realize you have an indefensible position.

    “LOL, I have found very little “Christ-like” in your posts,”

    LOL, attacking someone’s religious faith when you once again have nothing to defend your position. Time to dust off the Bible on your shelf and read the New Testament again, with special emphasis on the parable of the Good Samaritan, the woman at the well, and the centurion’s servant. To give you time to do so, I am banning you from this site. Have fun finding other venues to spread your “unique” perspective on Catholicism.

  • I feel like we are missing the resident Russophile’s take on this. Paging Bonchamps…

12 Responses to Oops, I Wonder if They Will Give Back the Donations?

  • Great bit.
    The thinkless zombies were spot on.
    “Moon wars.” Very good.
    Thanks for passing this on.
    Because Obama.

  • DRAT!

    Philip beat me to it!

    “Because Obama!” is the Obama-worshiping imbecile’s coined response to every adverse national “situation” engendered by this the worst POTUS in history.

  • T Shaw,
    Don’t worry.
    There’s plenty of time to pounce on these followers of Bahl.
    I know……pray for them.
    I’m trying.

  • What’s up with the picture of the Immaculate Heart of Mary behind one of the speakers? Is that just to remind us that the catholic vote got him elected?

  • I hadn’t noticed that. I wonder if it was intentional?

  • I realize that this clip was satire, but I’ve met not a few folks like Tom, the
    “public policy scholar… and a barrista”. They are out there. Back
    when this president was running for re-election, they were useful idiots.
    Now that he’s been re-elected, they’re no longer as useful (which I suppose
    now makes them merely idiots).

    In early 2012, Obama was caught on video assuring Russia’s Medvedev that
    after the November election he would have more ‘flexibility’. Now he doesn’t
    have to keep pretending to care what fools like ‘Tom the barrista’ think. Will
    the ‘Because Obama’ crowd ever figure that out?

  • World War III is good for the economy, war production jobs, uniforms for the unemployed, cannon fodder for the Depart. of Defense, reduction of the “over-population” and the best of all at last, one world government under the world bank. The movie betrays the inhumanity of the ruling class to war, to your neighbor’s children’s lives being snuffed out by war. “Because Obama” might get himself elected to being Emporer. I’ll bet they will get a great number of donations. I would like a follow up count.
    Philip: My prayer is “Dear God, do not let Obama get away with this evil.”

  • “Will the ‘Because Obama’ crowd ever figure that out?”

    Most of them, probably not.

  • I think the cause for Obama’s sainthood should move swiftly forward. No one has done more to inspire Catholics since Emperor Nero. No one has done more to rebuild the Church since St. Francis. Nancy Pelosi could lead the cause and Joe Biden could use his clout to get the whole thing done by the midterm elections. I can hear Biden saying, “It would be a real first: the first non-Catholic, living person to ever become a saint. Would really fill up the pews.”
    And NJ Gov. Chris Christy would be heartily in favor. I can hear him saying, “Can you imagine hearing in the Litany of the Saints ‘St. Barak Hussein Obama pray for us?’ I don’t know, sounds kind of long. Maybe shorten it to St. Barry. Yeah, that’s good. ‘Barry’ rhymes with ‘Mary.’ Maybe put it in the Rosary. Kids love rhymes.”

  • If President Obama bombs Syria’s President Assad, who is Muslim, that would make Obama a Muslin in Name Only—a MIMO. See how secularism creeps into every religion these days?

  • War is Peace
    Freedom is Slavery
    Ignorance is Strenght

    This blog is full of haters! Where is the Ministry of Love when you need it?? Mary DeV. has the right of it. War is good until it isn’t. The Ministry of Truth has always said it is so.

  • Mary DeVoe-

    God knows. He isn’t fooled. He hears our prayers, the prayer of orphans, of addicts, childless families and parents who’s hearts are broken.
    Please. I would never ask you to change your prayer, however I’m asking you to add one more. Add the prayer for forgiveness. That we can find the compassion to forgive as Christ was able to forgive. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
    Obama May think he knows exactly what he is doing….regardless we are called to forgive. Please add that to your prayer tonight. If not, then forgive me for being so bold as to ask you.
    Peace.

Rank Amateurs

Tuesday, September 10, AD 2013

I didn’t think the Syrian fiasco could get much worse.  Now it has.  Fearing the near certainty that Congress would not authorize an attack on Syria, Obama has supported a Russian proposal to have Assad turn over his chemical weapons to an international agency, presumably all of this to be supervised by Russia.  Actually the proposal first came out of the mouth of the Metternich of this administration:  John “Reporting for Duty!” Kerry, sans any Russian involvement, in an off hand response to a question. What is wrong with this:

1.  Assad will Cheat-Assad is fighting a life and death struggle to hang on to power.  The idea that he will not hang on to, and use, any chemical weapons he deems necessary to prevail is rubbish, and is a tribute to policy-as-make-believe that infests this administration and its supporters.

2.  Putin-Yeah, we can always rely upon this ex-KGB thug to act in the best interests of America.

3.   War Goes On-The Syrian opposition will not stop fighting until they are all dead or Assad is a corpse or fled.  Chemical weapon use is a symptom of a desperate civil war and that will go on.

4.  Russian influence in the Middle East-Obama has opened the door to renewed Russian influence in the Middle East, helping to ensure that future conflicts in the Middle East will have the possibility of a US-Russian clash.

5.  Paper Tiger-Mao in 1956 on the US:  “In appearance it is very powerful but in reality it is nothing to be afraid of; it is a paper tiger. Outwardly a tiger, it is made of paper, unable to withstand the wind and the rain. I believe that is nothing but a paper tiger.” 

In a very dangerous part of the world Obama is making sure that our enemies treat with complete contempt US threats and warnings, at least so long as he is President.

Continue reading...

19 Responses to Rank Amateurs

  • Obama to his credit never really wanted to fundamentally transform the Middle East; he reserves that for the US. If the proposed attack on Syria is really to send a message to Iran, why don’t Krauthammer and the AIPAC advocate attacking Iran and see how that flies. The very clever McNamara lost the war in Vietnam by sending bombing messages that North Vietnam refused to read. I must say I enjoy immensely the sight of the Russians employing jiu-jitsu against the war-mongers. Marvin Heir even brought in the ever serviceable Holocaust story. At the end of this ideally all WMD including those possessed by Israel and Iran should be on the table.

  • Rubbish from start to finish Ivan. Obama’s weakness as a leader invites a major war in the Middle East and Putin is only too happy to take advantage of his fecklessness in order to prop up the Russian client state of Syria which supplies the Russians with their naval base in the Mediterranean. The idea of Iran being convinced diplomatically to give up its quest for a nuclear weapon is absurd, along with your bizarre equation of Iran’s bomb lust with Israel’s defensive nuclear arsenal. Whenever people look to Russia as a solution to a crisis I know I have entered Cloud Kookooland.

  • 2. No, really! I place greater reliance on Putin than Joe, Barry and Kerry to act in America’s best interests.

    I’m with the majority (Onion polling) of Americans that believe that 535 Washington-based, Capitol idiots, and Barry and Joe need to get their boots bloody dusty in Syria.

    Ivan’s correct. The war (to save America from fundamental transformation) is to be fought in Washington not Afghanistan, Syria or the Mid-East.

  • Anyone who trusts Putin for a nano-second T. Shaw is a total fool. I oppose the Syrian intervention because I see no advantage for the US in it. That does not mean that I do not perceive Assad as an enemy of this country along with Putin. Obama and Kerry are idiots who are weakening this country, but those who think we have no stake in what occurs in the Middle East are also idiots.

  • How many Iranians do you personally know Donald? I’ve known a few, Muslim and peaceable. The Iranians have a new president, its no longer the Mahdi man in charge if he ever was. This is a nation of seventy millions that we are talking about, patriotic to their own country who have a natural right to defend their own when attacked. As to the big bad Iranian nuclear arsenal, the NIE way back in 2007 assessed that the Iranians are not pursuing one, so far that has proved accurate. In my rebound from the lies of the Likudniks, I’d take the NIE’s word over that of pundits both in Israel and America, who have popped up every few months or so from 2006 to the present assuring us that an Iranian bomb was around the corner. Israel finds itself is in a part of the world that is unstable and riven by tribalism and religious discord. It is has to do what is necessary to secure peace. My concern, for what it is worth, is that all American interference has achieved since 2003 is to destroy the fragile Christians communities who have their own modus vivendi with the Muslims. The spectacle of some pundits enjoying from their “Villa in the Jungle”, the sight of Arabs slaughtering each other leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

  • “How many Iranians do you personally know Donald?”

    That sounds precisely Ivan like those idiots in England who could not believe that Nazi Germany was a threat because they had met Germans who were so nice and polite. (I have known several Iranians, all over here because the Iranian government would persecute them if they could.)

    “This is a nation of seventy millions that we are talking about, patriotic to their own country who have a natural right to defend their own when attacked.”

    And whose leaders routinely talk about using nuclear weapons.

    ” As to the big bad Iranian nuclear arsenal, the NIE way back in 2007 assessed that the Iranians are not pursuing one,”

    Rubbish:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2011/nov/09/iran-nuclear-programme-iaea-report

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/09/us-iran-nuclear-iaea-idUSBRE9880B620130909

    http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?eid=109723&frid=19&seccatid=32&cid=19&fromval=1

  • Ivan, what is the basis for your first statement that Obama does not want to bring about change in the middle east?
    After his Cairo speech and his peace prize he stated his support for the creation of a Palestinian state. His and announced that his job is to make peace with muslims, and seems to cast doubt on our long time friendship with Israel.
    His approach to the factionalized muslims makes his approach and intentions very hard to read.
    His “after the election I will have more flexibility” statement also indicates that he does have some intentions for action of some kind.
    Ivan your tone is a bit smart alecky: if Krauthammer thinks this could have an impact ultimately on Iran why does he just advocate attacking Iran. Please.
    Saying that you enjoy the jujitsu of Putin on the world stage is like a gawker in the depth of the crowd at a tragic event, mocking and ridiculing and jeering without understaning the weight of what is going on.

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  • Donald, either the Iranians are too stupid to duplicate in a decade what the US achieved in four years in WWII, in which case there is little to worry about, or their programme has been sufficiently disrupted that it poses little threat. Iran is not Nazi Germany which could work on weapons of the future whatever the difficulties the Allies imposed. Apart from Israel, the Iranian Shiites have to deal with the ambitions of the Turks, Saudis and the Pakistanis all Sunnis. There is clearly little love lost between them. When I was a 110% supporter of Israel, I had welcomed the idea that these people should kill each other. The fact is peace in the Middle-East require sacrifices from all, and this includes poor, helpless, powerless, land-grabbing, nuclear-armed Israel.

    Analyze, I have followed Israeli news from the time I was a boy in the early seventies – the Yom Kippur War onwards, and I know that the Obama, his meaningless rhetoric aside, is the one president whom the Israelis have to fear the least. This is not to say that there was a conspiracy afoot. There was none. It is not Obama’s fault that brain-dead Christian Zionists, myself included, had tagged him as a crypto-Muslim. Obama has done nothing to undermine Israel in any way, in any forum, hell there isn’t even the usual make-believe shuttle diplomacy between the Israelis and the Palestinians which is obligatory for second-term presidents.

    If I were a Likudnik, I’d worry not about Obama, but how ineptly the AIPAC and such like have handled this, in the middle of a poor economy, battle fatigue and resurgent isolationism. For the apogee of Israel’s support in the US has passed, the numbers may hold for a while, but the general perception that the US is being inveigled into another war for Israel in the name of WMD, will definitely mark down any support for action against Iran should that prove necessary.

  • Mac,

    Trust? I’m highly uncertain whether Puting’s hatred of America is less than Barry’s.

  • “Donald, either the Iranians are too stupid to duplicate in a decade what the US achieved in four years in WWII, in which case there is little to worry about,”

    Apples and rock salt. What the Iranians have been doing makes absolutely no sense unless they wish to attain nuclear weapons.

    http://www.irantracker.org/nuclear-program/zarif-timelines-data-estimates-july-10-2013

    http://blog.rizwanladha.com/2012/05/iran-nuclear-weapons-not-energy.html

    Iran at any time could call a halt to this. That they have not indicates that nuclear weapon possession is the main goal of Iranian foreign policy.

  • I don’t speak for brain dead anybody, or political party. Neither did I indicate any thought of a conspiracy. I say that Obama is still largely. Mystery, an unknown . Unlike you I can not clAim to KNOW his thoughts and policy plans in the Middle East ,

  • “Anyone who trusts Putin for a nano-second T. Shaw is a total fool.”

    I trust Putin – to do anything that advances whatever Putin wants at anyone else’s expense.

    That said, I don’ t think we should go to war in Syria. Let Assad and the rebels fight it out. Both sides are using chemical weapons and both sides are evil. Sadly, it is the innocent who are suffering and dying.

    🙁

  • Apples and rock salt. What the Iranians have been doing makes absolutely no sense unless they wish to attain nuclear weapons.”

    Correct. Why does everyone talk about Iran’s gas centrifuges being used to enrich U-235 to weapons grade, but nothing about Iran’s heavy water reactor that is being used to breed Pu-239 from U-238 by the U-238 absorption of a neutron, becoming U-239, which beta decays to Np-239 which also beta decays to Pu-239. If Iran does it right, then it can extract the Pu-239 and make a bomb, or at least a very dirty (radiologically speaking) weapon. No centrifuges needed. Iran is using a two-pronged approach to a nuclear weapon, one a U-235 bomb and the other a Pu-239 bomb.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IR-40

  • Paul, you are indispensable for this blog when nuclear issues arise!

  • I am against intervening in Syria because there is no up side for the US in intervening. I rather hope that Putin as a result of this debacle caused by Obama decides to pour weapons and money into Syria in support of Assad, as I suspect that Assad, eventually, will be on the short end of this conflict no matter how much material Putin gives him.

  • I think Obama is just trying to uphold the honor of his Nobel Peace prize: if a leader doesn’t start a war or two—Libya, Syria—people won’t think he is really serious about peace.

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  • 7. Putin and Assad questionably give up the use of poison gas in exchange for avoiding a pin prick but substantial response, or something, from our ego wounded warrior Obama. Poison gas is not a strategic weapon like a nuke (such as is the goal of Iran) and is only a useful tactical weapon when delivered through artillery for bombardment on massing troops as was done in the Iran Iraq war, or as a terror weapon to be used on innocent civilians as was done by Iraq against the Kurds.  Conventional weapons like napalm, frac and cluster bombs are far more effective tools of war not dependent on weather and wind conditions, etc.   As a weapon in a civil and guerrilla war, gas has almost no tactical value at all making it less likely that assad had any preference for the use of gas—it simply does not make sense.   So the day after Putin checkmates Obama, Assad launches a massive offensive and is being re-supplied mightily by Russia.  In the meantime, the Turks, Jordanians and Saudis recognize that Obama abandoned his pledge to aid their surrogate Sunni terrorists.    And finally, Iran now recognizes with absolute certainty that Obama is indeed a paper tiger, and thus is proceeding with its strategic nuclear ambitions while Russia supplies Iran with its advanced missile defense system to ward off an attack by Israel while at the same time using the court of low information world “leaders” to advance a condition that the US back off from its tour de farce in the Med. In the meantime, Obama is gutting the military in armament, preparedness, morale, and even purpose.

    Bottom line—Assad and Putin gave up nothing. The world is now becoming exponentially more dangerous due to our mastermind POTUS….and the obamabots march on.

Biden Predicted War in Syria!

Friday, September 6, AD 2013

 

 

Our Veep and Beloved National Clown, on September 2, 2012, predicted the war against Syria.  He just was mistaken about the name of the man who wanted to go to war in Syria:

 

Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday that Republican rival Mitt Romney is  “ready to go to war in Syria and Iran” while hurting the middle class.

The warning came during a campaign stop in York, Pa., designed to promote  President Barack Obama’s economic policies  among white, working-class voters. The thrust of Biden’s pitch has been that  America is digging out from the 2008 economic collapse and that Romney would  take the country backward. But Biden, a foreign policy heavyweight, also  cautioned voters that Romney would adopt policies that favor confrontation over  cooperation.

“He said it was a mistake to end the war in Iraq and bring all of our  warriors home,” Biden said of Romney. “He said it was a mistake to set an end  date for our warriors in Afghanistan and bring them home. He implies by the  speech that he’s ready to go to war in Syria and Iran.”

Biden made the claim about Syria and Iran without offering specifics; his  campaign did not immediately respond to a request for details and he did not use  similar language on Syria and Iran at a later stop in Green Bay,  Wis.

Romney’s campaign dismissed the criticism. “It’s no wonder that a politician  who has been wrong about every major foreign policy question of the last 30  years is wrong on every count about Gov. Romney’s strategy to restore America’s  leadership role in the world,” spokeswoman Amanda Hennenberg said.

Romney has said he would consider military action in Syria if the war-torn  country’s chemical weapons were at risk of falling into the wrong hands. Obama,  who has opposed military action in Syria, has made similar remarks, calling it a “red  line” for the U.S. if Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime were to use  chemical or biological weapons.

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5 Responses to Biden Predicted War in Syria!

Profiles in Obama

Thursday, September 5, AD 2013

markey-war-with-syria-pic

What an Obama like Senatorial delegation Massachusetts has.  Ed Markey, a truly worthless machine pol from Massachusetts, voted present on the Syrian resolution.  Fauxcahontas  Elizabeth Warren, the other seat warmer in the Senate from the Bay State, has indicated she has not yet determined how she is going to vote when the Resolution comes before the whole Senate.  I understand the dilemma.  Obama is the closest thing to a god that many liberals worship, and default pacifism is their lockstep answer to any foreign conflict.  What to do, what to do when the god and the dogma come into conflict?  Run and hide!  (A lot more Democrats than Markey and Warren will be doing just that before this Syrian debacle runs its course.)

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4 Responses to Explaining the Democrat Positions on Iraq and Syria

Various & Sundry, 9/4/13

Wednesday, September 4, AD 2013

The Priest’s Side of the Confessional

When Simcha Fisher wrote last week about reasons to go to Confession, someone protested that Priests would be feel burnt out from hearing too many Confessions.

Well scratch that excuse off the list because Priests actually get quite a lot out of administering the Sacrament.

Permits for Baptism

Elaine mentioned this in the comments of yesterday’s post.

A few weeks ago my office in Rolla received a phone call from church members who expressed concern about the Park Service requiring permits for Baptisms in the rivers of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Yes, you read that correctly, the Park Service was actually requiring churches and pastors to get a permit in order to perform Baptisms.

After learning of this ridiculous rule, I immediately contacted Bill Black, the Superintendent of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. In a letter, I expressed my serious concerns about the permit requirement and need for a 48-hour notice. I told Superintendent Black that the permit requirement would hurt church ceremonies that have happened in our region for generations and the condition also would infringe upon the religious liberties of the families living in the Eighth District.

The Superintendent reversed this silly rule, but this is just the beginning.

Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens to Promote Obamacare in Maryland

And just when the thug Ray Lewis was no longer a member of the team, now there’s another reason to despise the franchise located 35 miles to my north.

It’s the first official partnership formed with a sports franchise to encourage participation in President Obama’s signature healthcare law.

The White House had sought national partnerships on ObamaCare with the NBA and the NFL, but both leagues backed away under pressure from congressional Republicans.

Obama’s Last Intervention Has Really Worked Out Well

Hey, remember our last efforts at helping out that Arab Spring? The results aren’t so hot.

Yet now Libya has almost entirely stopped producing oil as the government loses control of much of the country to militia fighters.

Mutinying security men have taken over oil ports on the Mediterranean and are seeking to sell crude oil on the black market. Ali Zeidan, Libya’s Prime Minister, has threatened to “bomb from the air and the sea” any oil tanker trying to pick up the illicit oil from the oil terminal guards, who are mostly former rebels who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi and have been on strike over low pay and alleged government corruption since July.

As world attention focused on the coup in Egypt and the poison gas attack in Syria over the past two months, Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi two years ago. Government authority is disintegrating in all parts of the country putting in doubt claims by American, British and French politicians that Nato’s military action in Libya in 2011 was an outstanding example of a successful foreign military intervention which should be repeated in Syria.

The Buck Stops Way, Way Over There

Every now and then I reflect on what a cowardly, petulant individual we have in the White House, and I just weep.

Enough of Woody Allen Catholicism

Pat Archbold thinks it’s time we have a bit more John Wayne and little bit less Woody Allen.

Alert Jody Bottum

Even noted non-social conservative Ace of Spades is getting sickened by the bullying of Christian businesses.

But what we see here in Oregon — as we saw earlier in New Mexico, and as we will see everywhere, unless we do not pass a law sharply delimiting people’s right to sue people for unamerican, subversive crime of nonconformity with the current temporary government’s ephemeral cultural allegiances — is the attempt of a group of people who have long contended that they merely wish to be left alone to live their lives in peace suddenly feeling a little power and deciding that now that they have a short-term burst of political muscle, they may now indulge in the bullying and coercion they once thought was kind of a bad thing.

Northern California County Votes for Secession

Not gonna happen, but still amusing.

Jack Won’t Be Back

Nicholson is done with acting. While many will no doubt remember him most for scenes from The Shining and A Few Good Men, this is my favorite Nicholson role.

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17 Responses to Various & Sundry, 9/4/13

  • Paul Z. or Don,

    As an off-topic inquiry…what ever happened to the contributors section of TAC?

  • Re the “baptism permits” story: it’s not uncommon for parks or other facilities open to the public to require advance notice or permission to stage events like weddings, family reunions, etc. simply to prevent conflicts — what if two or more groups show up at exactly the same time wanting to use the same location or facility? Logically, one could apply the same system to church groups gathering for baptismal ceremonies and it would not be inherently wrong — as long as it was fairly and consistently enforced.

    That said, it does appear that the NPS was engaging in some selective enforcement of this policy, especially since these baptisms (as far as I can tell) are probably not much bigger than a typical swimming/float party on any given weekend, and don’t last nearly as long.

  • Pat Archbold thinks it’s time we have a bit more John Wayne and little bit less Woody Allen.
    Generally a good idea.

  • “Not gonna happen, but still amusing.”

    Such movements are beginning to spread in the country as red rural areas sicken of being governed by blue cities. I would keep my eye on this movement, especially as blue states continue down the path of bankruptcy in more ways than one.

  • My excuse is I don’t want to bore the priest with my sins. I have to admit that I am not that good at being that bad anymore.

  • Such movements are beginning to spread in the country as red rural areas sicken of being governed by blue cities. I would keep my eye on this movement, especially as blue states continue down the path of bankruptcy in more ways than one.

    The rigidities of the political order given the evolution of settlement patterns in this country have left a number of states in the following condition:

    1. They are demographic behemoths; and

    2. The are assemblages of incompatible components, and one portion of the state is functionally a tributary of the other.

    Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Arizona, Nevada, California, and Hawaii all have one or the other problem; Maryland suffers a variant of the latter problem and Minnesota, Utah, Colorado, Washington state, and Oregon may end up in that zone in the coming decades.

    A repartition of territory is very much in order, but it would require multiple constitutional amendments passed in series and a difficult deliberative process.

  • All that would be necessary would be Congressional approval and approval of the old state and the new state as the creation of West Virginia demonstrated. Difficult but not impossible, especially under crisis conditions and with the Republicans in control of Congress and the White House. I can think of a few states in the South where Democrats might be in favor of such a division.

  • The Priest’s side of the confessional:

    The Church forgives sins. The state prosecutes crime. This is the essence of the principle of separation of church and state. The men ordained to the Holy Priesthood still retain their citizenship as ordinary persons and members of the state. Ordinary persons who are citizens and who are not called to a vocation to serve the Catholic Church as priests remain ordinary citizens, members of the state and are called laity.
    It is a crime to allow a baby raping murderer to live and breathe his crime every moment of his despicable murderous life in prison. It is a crime to expose the warden, his family, the guards, the doctors and nurses and the contractors who serve in the prison to the murderous rages of the capital one murderer. The homicidal maniac must be taught that he is going to be put to death by the very power of attorney and the virtues, especially of JUSTICE that he rejected.
    These are the marks of a civilization and the reverse of: “Do unto others as you would be done unto.” It is not the job of the priest, or bishop or the Catholic Church to execute capital one punishment, which is the temporal punishment due to capital one homicide. It is the job of the state to prosecute and punish capital one homicide and execute the temporal punishment.
    A truly penitent murderer will have expired with grief at the thought of his crime against God and man. Therefore, the state must deny the murderer time to relive his crime. The state must enable the murderer to repent of his crime. The Catholic Church must forgive the crime and pray for the murderer’s soul.
    So, the USCCB has rightfully come out against capital one punishment. The laity and the state must do its job of prosecuting capital one homicide. Thomas More, now Saint Thomas More told his executioner to do his job well and not be afraid.

    P.S. Yesterday, I was excoriated in public for not being pro-life, perhaps because I have not done my job as well as I might, but because I know the catechism of the Catholic Church calls for the execution of capital one punishment, the death penalty, for the takers of innocent human life. For the state to allow homicidal maniacs to survive their victims is nothing less than human sacrifice. The killer has taken the life of his victim. Now, he must live it. The victim is dead.

  • The state can only ban capital punishment by banning homicide.

  • I was thinking of something more comprehensive and flexible. An alternative might be for states to reconstitute themselves as confederations. The state would remain as a data collection unit and as a unit for Congressional representation. There would be a common constitution and some portmanteau bodies to propose constitutional amendments, interpret that document, and administer elections which cross internal frontiers. Otherwise, the components of a confederated state would have separate law codes, separate governments, and lead separate lives. There might be a number of candidates for this institutional form, among them Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Illinois (!), Arizona, Nevada, California, Hawaii, &c.

    You could append to that an innovative use of the practice of interstate compacts. Two adjacent states are reconstituted as confederations and then one component of each is associated through an interstate compact which creates a municipal corporation; New York, Washington, and Philadelphia would be the obvious candidates for that. Alternatively, you might set up spare regional governments of small states in New England or the Plains, or the Mountain West. The regional governments could handle lumpy public works and the governance of the medical profession, the public universities, and some watersheds. Greater capacity at the periphery = less excuse for centralization.

  • Art, funny you should mention Illinois as a possible candidate for “confederated” statehood. The biggest problem I see with the Chicago/Downstate divide is NOT that city and rural people “can’t get along,” or that Chicagoans despise Downstaters or vice versa.

    The biggest problem is simply trying to apply one set of laws and rules to such divergent environments. I see this not only with the “big” laws like gun control, but with all sorts of “smaller” regulations governing significant details of daily life, business, etc. A law or rule drawn up with the needs of urban or suburban residents in mind simply may not work in a rural environment.

    Here’s just one example: A couple of years ago the state proposed new regulations for nursing homes that would require at least 20 percent of each resident’s hands-on care to come from licensed RNs. Hiring RNs is not a problem for Chicago area or suburban nursing homes; most of the “better” ones already meet or exceed that standard. Downstate, however, it’s a big problem because there just aren’t enough RNs to go around and most of them will choose to work in hospitals for better pay and benefits rather than in nursing homes. I talked to several nursing home administrators who said it was well nigh impossible to hire RNs for any position below administrator once you got south of Springfield or Champaign. The rule was proposed with good intentions, but it just would not have “worked” outside of the Chicago metro area, and was eventually dropped. And as I said, that’s just one of many examples. It got me to wondering if it wouldn’t just be easier to have separate statutes and administrative codes for each region… which is basically what you are suggesting here.

  • John Wayne at least in the movies, believed in Victory. We did not pray for peace at Lepanto but Victory. We celebrated Victory at the end of WWII. Appeasement is a measly peace.
    Constantine did not hear or see “In This Sign coexist ” It was in this sign Conquer- a word that is anathema to today’s thinking.
    Yes evil is happening but nor to us, not to us.
    If we think not “getting involved in the middle east will keep the peace we haven’t learned much.
    We can cry peace peace but there is no peace.
    St Francis went into the sultan’s tent for purposes of evangelization. He survived. The Franciscan protomartyrs however died at the hands of the religion of peace. That war continues today.
    I don’t think of bombings or air strikes but an action much more personal and directed (Special forces?) against the strong men, perhaps a deterrent to other strong men. Are we considering that?
    At one time President said out loud that we would get the perpetrators-find out who they are and get them– I think that should be our public aim- not threatening bombings over the heads of the populace, but let it be known that we aim to find the perpetrators and get them in as surgical an operation as we can.
    hand wringing and mumbling doesn’t deter anyone.–and first of all we have to get over the stateside partisanship and realize that we have enemies that want to put an end to our partisan ways permanently

  • I think Elaine has it right. Requiring a permit to make private use of public property is not a violation of religious freedom. If the permit was denied, it would be a different story.

    Even noted non-social conservative Ace of Spades is getting sickened by the bullying of Christian businesses.

    A business refused to serve gays but when gays and their allies boycott the same business it is objectionable. Mayeb the compromise is that businesses that don’t want to serve the general public need put up signs in their window saying who they do not serve.

  • Mayeb the compromise is that businesses that don’t want to serve the general public need put up signs in their window saying who they do not serve.

    Most already do.

    They say “we reserve the right to refuse service.”

    Incidentally, it’s not that they “refused to serve gays.” It’s that they refused to take actions which could be interpreted as endorsement of homosexual activity.

  • Such signs would have no legal significance to help the owners of the business and would be taken as an admission of an intent to discriminate.
    In another victory for the glorious cause of forcing people to knuckle under to gay activists, a cake store is going out of business:

    “A follow-up to the story of the New Mexico photographer who lost her court battle after refusing to take a job at a gay wedding. Different state and a different trade this time but a similar result potentially: The business owners in this case said no when a lesbian couple came into the shop looking for a wedding cake. The latter filed a complaint with the state under the relevant antidiscrimination law and an investigation, which could have taken up to a year, was launched. The bakers, having already been targeted for a boycott by opponents and likely fearing the expense and aggravation of a long court battle themselves, decided to close the shop and move operations into their home, which presumably renders the business “distinctly private” and therefore beyond the reach of the state’s public accommodations law. (Does it?)

    Watch the extended interview with them about what they’ve gone through, paying special attention to the bit in the middle about “mafia tactics” by some gay-rights supporters. Two interesting wrinkles to this case vis-a-vis the New Mexico one. First, remember that Dale Carpenter and Eugene Volokh argued on the photographer’s behalf that, because photography is an art and inherently expressive, forcing her to cover an event to which she’s morally opposed necessarily violates her right of free expression. The same isn’t true, wrote Carpenter, of “more mundane and generic services (like cake-baking).” Presumably he’d agree with the gay couple, then, that the bakers have no right to refuse service. I’m not sure I grasp the distinction, though: In both cases, the business owners are being asked to celebrate an act to which they conscientiously object by producing a beautiful product in its honor. What’s more expressive, framing a shot of a married couple posing or crafting an elaborate cake to glorify the occasion? I’m not sure that there’s more artistry in photography in this case.

    Second, note what the guy says in the clip about how they’ve made cakes for this couple before. They don’t refuse to serve gay customers, they refuse to serve gay weddings specifically. The same is true, I assume, of the New Mexico photographer. That’s a potential line of attack for social-conservative pols as they start to push back against cases like this — this isn’t a categorical refusal to serve a minority group, it’s a religious objection to serving at one particular type of event in which that group participates. That may not help them legally but it’ll help in the court of public opinion, where the majority in support of religious exemptions in situations like this is already overwhelming. I’d be surprised if we don’t start seeing legislative hearings about it, whether in Congress or at the state level, sometime next year.”

    http://hotair.com/archives/2013/09/03/oregon-bakery-closes-doors-after-state-investigates-over-refusal-to-cater-same-sex-wedding/

    The only right, beyond abortion, that most liberals hold sacred is their right to compel you to agree with them.

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Top Ten Reasons Syria Differs From Iraq

Wednesday, September 4, AD 2013

 

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President Obama was an ardent critic of the war in Iraq.  Here are suggestions for arguments to be made explaining how intervention in Syria is completely different from intervention in Iraq.

1.  Assad has used chemical weapons on Syrians which is a terrible crime against humanity, unlike Saddam who used chemical weapons against Iraqis which is permissible.

2.  The US intervention into Syria will be a proud go it alone venture by the US, unlike Bush who mucked up the Iraqi intervention with lots of allies.

3.  Obama is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, so we can trust him unlike that cowboy Bush.

4.  Michele Obama is proud of this intervention.

5.  John Kerry is onboard with this intervention unlike Iraq which he supported until he changed his  mind.

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Various & Sundry, 9/3/13

Tuesday, September 3, AD 2013

Tonight’s V&S has a Syria-heavy theme. It’s pretty much what everyone’s talking about, so I apologize in advance.

Not so Smart Power

If there’s a sub-theme to tonight’s post it’s that everything you heard Democrats say a few years vis a vis foreign policy has basically been discredited within the past few weeks – if not more. Jim Geraghty discussed this in his Morning Jolt, parts of which he highlighted on NRO.

As we await Congress’s decision on authorizing the use of U.S. military force in Syria, Democrats are suddenly realizing that their foreign-policy brain-trust completely misjudged the world.

Being nicer to countries like Russia will not make them nicer to you. The United Nations is not an effective tool for resolving crises. Some foreign leaders are beyond persuasion and diplomacy. There is no “international community” ready to work together to solve problems, and there probably never will be.

You can pin this on Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Susan Rice, but most of all, the buck stops with the president. Those of us who scoffed a bit at a state senator ascending to the presidency within four years on a wave of media hype and adoration are not quite so shocked by this current mess. We never bought into this notion that getting greater cooperation from our allies, and less hostility from our enemies, was just a matter of giving this crew the wheel and letting them practice, as Hillary Clinton arrogantly declared it, “smart power.” (These people can’t even label a foreign-policy approach without reminding us of how highly they think of themselves.) They looked out at the world at the end of the Bush years, and didn’t see tough decisions, unsolvable problems, unstable institutions, restless populations, technology enabling the impulse to destabilize existing institutions, evil men hungry for more power, and difficult trade-offs. No, our problems and challengers were just a matter of the previous hands running U.S. foreign policy not being smart enough.

The President Must Make His Case Directly

Kurt Schlicter, meanwhile, argues that the President must make his appeal for war directly to the people. His column is worth reading if only for the first few paragraphs.

The grossly obese Syrian officer was coming in the door of the King Khalid Military City exchange while I was coming out. I saw instantly that this was no soldier; this was a thug, a threat only to the unarmed civilians that are his kind’s prey. My eyes fell downward from his cruel face to the piece of flair gracing his olive green fatigues.

“Nice Assad button,” I sneered. Real warriors don’t wear pictures of dictators on their uniform. He glared back at me with his dark, rat eyes, not understanding my words but fully appreciating my contempt. Though Syria was a putative coalition partner, I knew I was staring at an enemy.

Not much has changed since Operation Desert Storm. The Syrian regime’s “soldiers” are still just punks fit only to oppress the defenseless, unable to even hold their own against a ragged band of barely-armed insurgents. But like the vast majority of Americans, I have grave concerns about attacking them.

Guess Who Came to Dinner

Yes, I know there’s a limit to these gotcha games, but in light of all the mileage the left got out of the picture of Donald Rumsfeld shaking Saddam’s hand, this is delightful.

Speaking of shaking hands, heh.

Russia’s False Concern for Children

Not directly related to Syria, though it does concern its BFF.

 

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3 Responses to Various & Sundry, 9/3/13

  • Here’s an item to add for today (Sept. 4) if you haven’t heard about it already:

    The National Park Service was (until recently) requiring local churches to get permits 48 hours in advance for performing immersion baptisms in the Ozark National Scenic Riverway in Missouri — that is, until the local Congressman called them out on it:

    http://jasonsmith.house.gov/media-center/weekly-capitol-report/capitol-report-permits-for-baptisms

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/08/30/btodd-american-dispatchb-feds-forced-churches-to-get-baptism-permits/?test=latestnews

    No permit is needed to swim in said river, by the way. This also isn’t the first instance of state or federal parks cracking down on baptisms in public waters either (other examples are cited in the Fox News story).

  • Are we really sure who is the villain and who is the good guy in this debacle? Feeling like we are caught in a bad rendition of What’s My Line. There will be no winners in this deadly game we are playing. How do we know Assad wasn’t set up by those we will be supplying with arms? What is in it for him to gas his countrymen? Guess we will have to wait until the Friday p.m. media dump to find out.

  • In Capulin Colorado the little church of St. Joseph has had a parish Mass for decades near a little mountain stream up in the San Jaun Mountains. This year the Mass was cancelled as they received a notice that they had to have a”permit” which apparently for the parish was an extravagant expense.. It is a very poor parish and well known for it’s “Penitente” heritage. They have exposition of the Blessed Sacrament every day. They “tithe” a certain amount every month to help a little church school in Mexico. Most of the parishoners were born and raised there and founded the church hundreds of years ago. What’s wrong with this picture. The problem is these people are so humble and work so hard just to keep the Church going. There is one priest from Nigeria and he serves 5 mission parishes! freedom of religion? I think not.

Syria: Never Mind!

Monday, September 2, AD 2013

10 Responses to Syria: Never Mind!

  • “May God help this country if a true foreign policy crisis should arise with this man at the helm.”

    If the Russians or Chinese launched their ICBMs, what would Obama do?

    If Israel makes a preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities, what would Obama do?

    If Al Qaeda detonates a stolen Soviet-era tactical nuclear weapon in a US city, what would Obama do?

  • PS, I completely oppose intervention in Syria.

  • Personally, I think the President’s dithering and weakness are a blessing for us. Think of how bad it could be for us if Obama were actually competent! Obama wants to do what is essentially a punitive raid. These are usually announced after the fact. They are not telegraphed before being undertaken because that would be a risk to the troops conducting the raid and reduce the odds of success. This is a different sort of operation than a full blown invasion whose objective is to take and hold ground. Ronald Reagan didn’t ask for congressional approval before the 1986 raid on Libya. Clinton didn’t seek congressional approval before bombing Serbian troops or ordering cruise missile strikes in Sudan and Afghanistan. Being the narcissist that he is, the Syrian chemical weapon issue is not about truth or effectiveness, but what Obama hopes people will think about him. With this in mind, he won’t take a risk by doing something that might meet with disapproval from fellow leftists. So he will continue to test the waters and do nothing until either the negative opinion from his dithering is greater than the negative opinion of military action, or if he receives approving signals from his fellow leftists.

    His narcissism can actually work in our favor. It means he won’t force his anti-Christian agenda to the point where there is blood in the streets because it would turn some leftists against him. Not all, but some. As long as he worries about what his fellow leftists think of him we are safe. This is because a narcissist hates nothing more than being disliked by those whose approval he seeks.

  • I see that Obama’s undergrad degree in International Relations is paying off. Obama’s real goal is to use this crisis to turn the screws on the real enemy – those who oppose his agenda.

  • There are three things to consider:
    – There is no definitive evidence that Assad used the chemical weapons – there is limited evidence that the rebels did it to drag in the US and others to assist in their unseating of Assad.
    -The potential for a wider war in well in contention.
    -The American people arguably do not want further involvement, particularly in that there is no threat, and no benefit to the USA.
    – Obama, along with Kerry and the other merry men (and women) have no strategy, no objective, no purpose than to stroke the president’s ego, and they are all a bunch of dithering, blithering idiots.

    BTW, point four was not something to consider, but a statement of fact – in this country, and many others around the world including Russia and China, Obama is an ineffective, egotistical, incompetent joke of a president, and a threat to the security and continued exceptionalism of the USA.

  • Five years of being governed by this jumped-up, usurping tyrannicule have made me permanently suspicious that he is less incompetent than it appears, though I do not deny that there is serious incompetence on foreign-policy matters.

    I think we need to look at the broad sweep of his agenda, look at what Congress is facing when it returns from recess next week, and then ask about this decision to go to Congress, cui bono?

    How better to derail a serious threat that Congress — spurred by the folks back home and fears of punishment at the polls if they don’t deliver — will defund O’care than to have them spend time debating military action against Syria? How better to minimize the chance that the Cruz-Lee-Meadows strategy of passing a CR funding everything except O’care (and thus putting Harry and Barry in the position of forcing a government shutdown) will happen? How better to give a way out to the knock-kneed GOP House leadership than by giving them an international crisis to deal with so they can seem to be courageous while using the whole thing as cover for their cowardice on the most important domestic item?

    I think there is a good case to be made that, far from being victimized by an incompetent, we’re being played by a master. And his Master, needless to say, ain’t ours.

  • Did Moe, Barry, and Curly decide that the distraction was becoming a distraction???

  • You got that wrong, T. Shaw: “Did Moe, Barry, and Curly decide that the distraction was becoming a distraction???”

    It’s “Bo, Barry and Curly” – Bo, the Obamanation of Desolation’s dog who gets his own Air Force jet.

  • PWP: Likely, Bo is the brightest of the three.

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Ditto

Saturday, August 31, AD 2013

 

 

 

 

Some of the best analysis of political issues on the net is contained at the site Baseball Crank.  The site owner loves baseball and has many posts about it.  I, to put it mildly, do not share this passion.  However, I do read each of his non-sports post with keen interest.  In regard to his perspective on the situation in Syria I found myself nodding repeatedly as I read it:

 

There are many good reasons to wish to be rid of the brutal Assad regime, long an Iranian proxy, sponsor of Hezbollah, supporter of the insurgency against the U.S. in Iraq, shelterer (and maybe backer) of culprits in the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing that killed 241 U.S. Marines, oppressor of Lebanon and assassin of its prime minister, enemy of Israel and perpetrator of serial massacres against its own people.  But it seems increasingly likely that the alternatives to Assad would be even worse, ranging from domination of Syria by Al Qaeda and its Sunni extremist allies to splintering into an anarchic failed state.  As it stands, the Syrian civil war is a proxy battle between Assad’s backers (Iran and Russia) and the backers of the rebel resistance (Saudi Arabia and Turkey).  It doesn’t need more combatants who intend to show up, lob in a bunch of missiles and leave without resolving anything, and for the U.S. to control the post-Assad situation to our advantage would require a huge and for many reasons infeasible commitment of ground troops.  We did that in Iraq in part so we would not have to do it again every time there was an opportunity to topple a dictator in the Greater Middle East – we can leave the locals to resolve these things themselves.  Recent experiences in Egypt and Libya show that the public in the region hungers for change and a greater voice in how their countries are governed, but hardly inspire confidence that the results will be less anti-American or more respectful of individual liberty.  The fact that Syria affects the interests of the U.S. and its allies does not mean that we currently have any options on the table that would advance those interests.

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18 Responses to Ditto

  • It is coherency that is most lacking and the lack of it is deeply troubling. I hear from many quarters that we “have a moral obligation” to deal Assad a blow because of his use of chemical weapons. There has been no attempt to articulate a national interest beyond a moral argument. If we HAVE such an obligation, it must be one that would commit us to stepping in every single time such atrocities occur. This would be new. We have let a great number of utterly diabolical acts go unrevenged. We did not intervene in a meaningful way in Somalia, Uganda, Sudan, South Africa (Apartheid), Tibet, or Georgia (former Soviet State, not the one with the kickass college football team) – to name a few. If we have a moral obligation, a duty to prevent such crimes against humanity, it must be a duty applicable to all like situations. If we don’t have a general duty then we don’t have this particular duty either. Coherency… If it is a duty now, it is a duty always. If it isn’t a duty always, it isn’t a duty now.

  • …who use the world’s most heinous weapons (scissors) against the world’s most vulnerable people (babies in the womb)…

    Well said Lurch.

    I suppose I’ll see you and President Obortion at the next pro-life rally.

  • Brutally accurate reminder Daledog.

  • David Spaulding overlooks the fact that all positive obligations are qualified, by time, place, circumstances, means and opportunity

  • No, Mr. Paterson-Seymour, with respect, I have not.

    “Coherency” provides underlying principles on which decision-making is based, not specific answers. Different problems require different solutions but leadership absolutely requires thinking about the similarities of problems and articulating principles that underpin decisions.

    In the instant case, the President is saying that we have a “moral obligation” to act. Curiously, he is also saying that 1) we know we won’t be unseating Assad in the process and 2) the missile strikes we contemplate likely will not eliminate the chemical weapons at the center of the dispute. If we aren’t taking out a tyrant for his tyranny and aren’t eliminating weapons he is alleged to have used against his people in order to prevent him from doing it again, what are we doing?

    The only underlying principle articulated by the Administration is that “Assad has it coming and we it is a moral imperative to do something.” That sounds an awful lot like vengeance but let us leave that aside and say that it is merely a “show of force.” If the only underlying reason for acting is because our moral code demands a show of force then that show of force is demanded by all like problems – all situations in which a tyrannical regime murders innocent people in a brutal way. If that is what the President is saying and that is his policy then he should say so. I suspect it is not and that we won’t do anything for a like event in, say, North Korea or Uganda, or Central Asia.

    I am calling for coherent policy, not a one-size-fits-all strategy. If you see it differently, please explain. I am willing to be convinced that there is a coherent foreign policy at work and I have stated my view. I cannot guess at what you see so you will have to state it if I am to understand and potentially change my view.

  • Even for very articulate people, some things are just very hard to articulate.
    In the think-through process, carrying things to their iron clad logical extreme of “what ifs” and “if thens” is not helpful –Example: ” if…only underlying reason for acting is because our moral code demands a show of force then that show of force is demanded by all like problems ” I agree with MPS that there are modifiers- “time, place, circumstances, means and opportunity”
    I also wonder about the vaunted principle of “What Is In It For Us”- not to demean the importance of national interest, but in some circumstances might there not be altruism ?

  • I don’t think it is an extreme to ask whether a principle as ambiguous as “moral duty” should apply broadly to outrageous conduct. If national interest is a proper modifier to a moral duty then the duty isn’t based on objective duties, it is just a way of describing that which makes this particular administration angry.

    Would I have intervened in Uganda, Somalia, or the Darfur? probably not. National interest may be a floating concept and it surely isn’t grounded in anything approaching a science but it does require that one state that if A happens it will effect us. We can say, for example, that if Syria acquires nuclear weapons our options for influencing Syria’s activities are more limited and that our national interests in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Israel will be adversely affected. I don’t think I would have intervened in Uganda, Somalia, or the Darfur because I can’t think of how the evils done there affected our national interest.

    The problem with “moral duty” as an organizing principle is that moral duties have a degree of absolutism to them that do not attend national interest. I have a moral duty, for example, to report a corrupt government official. Failing to do so is wrong. I have a self interest to report drug dealing on my block. Doing so is likely good for me. However, if I can’t move and there is drug dealing everywhere on my block and the drug dealers are known to retaliate against such reports and the police are not known to provide security for those who dime out drug dealers, my self interest may well suggest I should keep my mouth shut and spend my time figuring out how to move.

    Moral duties are more absolute – not entirely… I am outraged by the situation in Tibet and there is something reprehensible about the situation in North Korea but I am not suggesting that attacking China is a good idea. If we follow the President’s articulation we do have such a duty.

    It is well and good to describe things in moral terms but, if our nation isn’t going to use a consistent ethical construct to decide when and where to intervene in other nations’ affairs, it is a farce.

  • Effective foreign policy depends on effective communication of your nation’s interests and the seriousness with which they will be pursued. This happens at multiple levels.
    For example, it has been related that President George H. W. Bush’s ambassador to Iraq told Saddam Hussein that the dispute between Iraq and Kuwait should be settled among themselves. She neglected to stress that any settlement must be peaceful. This missed communication may have led Saddam to believe that the US would not react forcefully to his planned attack on Kuwait.
    Coherency (based on consistent principles) makes these communications less risky. There is less chance to miss the overall direction and less chance that someone will incorrectly read between the lines. This applies to those who are carrying out our policy, as well as foreign governments trying to understand it.
    Unfortunately, our ‘Smart Diplomacy’ ™ crowd does not have any understandable principles or coherency. Even the initial principles of ‘do the opposite of Bush’ have not held up. The impression is that they are making it up as they go along, as time permits, between rounds of golf and fundraising events.
    This does not encourage foreign governments to carefully consider ‘what will the US do if we take this action?’ There is so little predictability that they might as well just go ahead and see what happens next.

  • That is an extremely helpful analysis and important point Mr. Tefft. It does, indeed, appear to me that the Administration is “making it up as [it] goes along;” hence my lack of faith that an appeal to moral duty is other than an after-the-fact justification.

    It was a little easier during the Soviet era I think. The overarching concern was to contain Communism and, while there were lots of missed signals and armchair quarterbacking gives us many instances where the US’ interest would have been served better by a different choice, the overarching concern provided a framework for decision-making that lent considerable coherence to US policy. US policy across broad fronts: economics, foreign, military, etc. was able to coordinate to the overarching containment goals.

    In fairness to administrations that have the misfortune of living a much more complex, multi-polar world in which US power and influence is both greatly diminished and diminishing farther, daily, there is no similarly overarching concern to swing US policy around. That reality makes it all the more important though for administrations to think abstractly about the principles that they use to determine US policy and to seek coherence.

    “Moral obligation” is a poor choice to underpin policy choices because there are many evil things that we cannot do anything serious about and our unwillingness to address the evils done by powers that can hurt us makes our policy choices look like mere bullying. In the instant case, Assad did something really bad and so we are going to fire missiles at him and take no risks to vindicate that moral duty. However, we don’t dare do that in North Korea so those crimes will not be vindicated. What determines our action looks like an assessment of strength, not an assessment of moral duty.

  • David Spaulding

    Two of the conditions of just war are:-

    3. there must be serious prospects of success;

    4. the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition” [CCC 2309].

    These would obviously impose grave restrictions on the duty of humanitarian intervention, supposing it to exist.

  • Thank you for the Just War reminders. They are important to determining the scope of engagement. However, any duty we have to militarily engage in Syria must stem from our duty of Christian charity since no articulation of threat to the US or her interests has been proffered. I think the Just War teachings of the Church will become a significant issue if the Administration moves forward but I’d like to hear how they effect the decision of whether to vindicate our moral indignation at the chemical deaths of civilians in Syria.

  • Wouldn’t it be nice if all the posturing would morph into plain, concrete comfort aid and help for the victims and populations targeted for oppression (Christians and those in the wrong place at the wrong time)? I do not understand imposing more deaths in Syria.

  • David Spaulding writes “any duty we have to militarily engage in Syria must stem from our duty of Christian charity since no articulation of threat to the US or her interests has been proffered…”

    I believe a case can be made that, in international law, intervention on humanitarian grounds may, and I stress may, constitute an exception to the general rule prohibiting interference in the internal affairs of another state. Now, the value of the general rule is obvious and, I believe any exception should be strictly construed. Respect for Public International Law, for the benefits it confers on people everywhere is no small part of Christian charity.

    Again, the use of chemical and biological weapons are a special case, given the Geneva Protocol of 1925, of which Syria is a state party, although it has never ratified the UN Convention of 13 January 1993. However, most publicists believe that that convention left existing conventions intact.

    I believe a case for intervention by any co-signatory of the 1925 protocol could be made; I might not find it particularly convincing myself, but that is by the by. Then again, I am a civilian, not a publicist

    Now, that still leaves open the question of what intervention is justified; an embargo on precursors and delivery systems of chemical weapons, ratified by the Security Council, would not, I suggest, be controversial.

  • Pat raises a wider point. I would suggest that minorities often do better under despotic government, The history of the Jews under the Ottoman power demonstrate that despots can be cajoled or bribed and are also vulnerable to pressure from foreign powers, in a way that the mob is not.

  • MPS, you raise a point I hadn’t considered: that there is a legitimate international law ground on which to base an attack. Who determines the scope of obligation though for a treaty that pre-dates the UN? Is it up to each member state to determine for themselves what they wish to do? The Geneva Convention made chemical weapon use actionable but most member states, including the US and Russia, continued to develop and produce the weapons and delivery systems. It seems a bit two-faced to make weapons and yet say they should never be deployed. I’m not arguing for chemical weapons and I apologize if pointing that out deviates from the subject at hand but I wonder if a pre-NATO and pre-UN treaty is actionable when the underlying principles of it are so easily dispensed with by the parties that are expected to enforce it.

  • David Spaulding

    The Geneva Protocol (Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare) of 1925, to which Syria is a party, bans the use of chemical weapons. It does not deal with research and development. Many if the early chemical weapons were by-products of the artificial dying industry. The Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 (to which Syria is not a party) prohibits the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical weapons.

    The Geneva Protocol was established under the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 and it was registered with the League of Nations on 7 September 1929. Presumably, state signatories retain the same rights of enforcement that they had under the Hague Conventions.

    Some publicists contend that the Hague Conventions and the Geneva Protocol, along with the Lieber Code are declaratory of customary international law and are binding, even on states that have not ratified them. I wonder if this applies to my personal favourite, Declaration (XIV) Prohibiting the Discharge of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons “or by similar means.” The Hague, 18 October 1907. Based on the Russian circular note of 1898, it was ratified only by China, the US and the UK and was to be in force until the Third Peace Conference, which was never held.

  • The balloon problem may have resolved itself with the development of the V2 🙂

    As applied to the present situation, how does this help us determine whether we have a “moral obligation” to “send a message” to Assad about the use of chemical weapons? I think we agree that the Just War teachings are binding once the decision to attack has been made. How do we determine though whether the only justification offered by the Administration – our “moral obligation” – is, in fact, an “obligation?”

    If such an obligation exists, it must stem from our Christian duty of charity, not treaty since the Administration isn’t using any treaty obligations as their justification. How do we get from the duty to care for refugees and the hungry to the duty to pointlessly bomb a State to “send a message?”

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Various & Sundry, 8/30/13

Friday, August 30, AD 2013

Kevin William’s Modest Proposal

Kevin Williamson thinks Allison Benedikt is right – rich liberals have a moral obligation to send their kids to public school. And he has a way to make it fair.

People hold capital in the form that brings them the best returns, and for the modestly affluent professional class, your lawyers and high-school principals and such, holding capital in the form of a nice house in a neighborhood with good schools provides the maximum return. Ms. Benedikt, savvy social observer that she is, concedes that “rich people might cluster.” (Might?) That the main trend in socioeconomic migration over the last few centuries or so seems to have escaped her here is not my particular concern, but it should be pointed out that the enemies of private education generally fail to consider the extent to which that rich-guy clustering provides advantages beyond high-quality schools. The development of social and professional networks, prestige, learning high-status habits and manners, etc., all are enormously important perks associated with living among the well-to-do. (I believe it was WFB who observed that a sufficiently motivated student could get a Yale-quality education practically anywhere, but that’s not what Yale is for.) The difference between a summer job answering phones at your neighbor’s law firm and a summer job mowing grass (or, more common, no summer job at all) is considerable. Redistributing funds is not sufficient; we have to redistribute people.

What we obviously must do, therefore, is turn rich white liberals out of their homes.

Ideally, they would relocate to the very worst neighborhoods, where, applying the Benedikt principle, they would do the most good. But I do not really care where they go, so long as they go.

Why a medieval peasant got more vacation time than you

They didn’t transfer feasts to Sunday, that’s why.

That said, I wouldn’t volunteer to change places.

Good to see fascism is still alive in Germany

At 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 29, 2013, in what has been called a “brutal and vicious act,” a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, forcibly removing all four of the family’s children (ages 7-14). The sole grounds for removal were that the parents, Dirk and Petra Wunderlich, continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were taken to unknown locations. Officials ominously promised the parents that they would not be seeing their children “anytime soon.”

Just Timberlake as the Riddler?

Couldn’t be any worse than the choice for the next Batman.

Ya Think?

A House panel says that Obama needs Congressional approval before attacking Syria. What, do they think this is a constitutional republic with clearly delineated lines of  authority?

Hot Summer Snark

Larry D announced the winner of the summer’s hottest contest.

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22 Responses to Various & Sundry, 8/30/13

  • “The sole grounds for removal were that the parents, Dirk and Petra Wunderlich, continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.”

    I guess they still view kids as property of the Reich.

  • “What we obviously must do, therefore, is turn rich white liberals out of their homes. Ideally, they would relocate to the very worst neighborhoods, where, applying the Benedikt principle, they would do the most good. But I do not really care where they go, so long as they go.”

    We can also have them surrender their jobs to people of color in the interests of affirmative action. Although in regard to the person of color who took the place of Allison Benedikt, it would doubtless be a merit action replacement.

  • Germany’s ban on homeschooling is the silencing of dissent against the inept school system, the propagandizing of the captive audience of minor children without parental consent and the unauthorized usurping of the parents’ role as first educators of their offspring. The state, as an artificial sovereign person constituted by real sovereign persons, the citizens, cannot own or otherwise evict parents of minor children or their rights to dissent from public school for as long as the children remain minors without informed consent to attend, or not, such public school. Such informed consent remains the sole property of the mother and father, offices of vocation of which the newly begotten individual sovereign person makes of a man and a woman when they conceived the new human being.

  • “What we obviously must do, therefore, is turn rich white liberals out of their homes. Ideally, they would relocate to the very worst neighborhoods, where, applying the Benedikt principle, they would do the most good. But I do not really care where they go, so long as they go.”

    Good news.

    In the last two decades, there has been a growth of urban, interracial neighborhoods, of course solidly liberal in their politics. All white neighborhoods have in their voting behavior moved to the Right, indicating that white conservatives are getting their desire to see their liberal neighbors move away.

  • “In the last two decades, there has been a growth of urban, interracial neighborhoods, of course solidly liberal in their politics.”

    It is called gentrification Kurt, meaning poor blacks get out. Your average limousine liberal would sooner eat ground glass than live where poor blacks reside. The largest demographic trend for blacks is blacks moving to the suburban and rural south over the past ten years.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/us/25south.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

  • Don,

    Yes. White college educated liberals have followed your advice with too much enthusiasm. Though the first to arrive are the first to complain about the neighborhood losing its vibe when more follow your advice.

    And yes, Blacks are moving to certain areas in the South where they and their white neighbors are turning those locales liberal. Seven counties around suburban Atlanta voted for Obama last time around. We used to be lucky to win the city of Atlanta.

    My point remains. Find me a neighborhood that is diverse in race and class and that is where you have the most liberal voting whites. Look at the most conservative voting precincts and there you have the lion’s share of all white housing.

    If it is a singularly liberal principle that we would be a better society if rich and poor; Black and white, were more likely to live side by side, we liberals (though not in my case) have some hypocrisy.

    If that is a universal principle, then we liberals do a better job than our conservative fellow Americans in living that way. Not that we are all are not just a pilgrim people trying to make our way in this fallen world the best we can.

  • “And yes, Blacks are moving to certain areas in the South where they and their white neighbors are turning those locales liberal. Seven counties around suburban Atlanta voted for Obama last time around. We used to be lucky to win the city of Atlanta.”

    Dream on Kurt. The Republican party has never been stronger in the South in regard to Congressional representation and control of state legislatures. In 2012 the Republicans completed the process by taking control of the Arkansas legislature, a legislature controlled by your party since 1874, the end of Reconstruction. Long term if I were a Democrat strategist I would be alarmed rather than heartened by the fact that the South is now home for 57% of the nation’s blacks. I think that their adherence to the Democrat party will weaken over time, as fewer of them remain in urban centers of the North. Additionally their migration makes northern states, look at Michigan, much more competitive for the GOP. We shall see how all this plays out in the years to come.

    “My point remains. Find me a neighborhood that is diverse in race and class and that is where you have the most liberal voting whites.”
    Not really. Racial diversity has long existed in the South in communities where whites vote almost entirely Republican.

    As for liberals and living arrangements, the bluest enclaves in the country, outside of black inner city districts, tend to be rich white urban areas, where almost all racial minorities are effectively kept out due to cost. As the Marxists were wont to say, this is no accident.

  • The Republican party has never been stronger in the South in regard to Congressional representation and control of state legislatures. In 2012 the Republicans completed the process by taking control of the Arkansas legislature, a legislature controlled by your party since 1874, the end of Reconstruction. Long term if I were a Democrat strategist I would be alarmed rather than heartened by the fact that the South is now home for 57% of the nation’s blacks.

    That is true. The Democratic Party is pretty much done for with native southern whites. Our residual support among white rural southerners is kaput. Minorities, native and transplant, as well as transplanted whites will be the only Democratic base in the South and they are growing but along way off from becoming a majority. We’ve seen no data of movement of southern Blacks away from the Democratic Party.

    Additionally their migration makes northern states, look at Michigan, much more competitive for the GOP. We shall see how all this plays out in the years to come.

    Yes, that is an open question. Michigan has an open Senate seat in 2014 which the GOP seems to already have given up on. Not a good sign for them. Minority population growth through birth rates and immigration has been enough that even with Black migration to the South, it has not meant a decline in the minority population in northern states.

    As for liberals and living arrangements, the bluest enclaves in the country, outside of black inner city districts, tend to be rich white urban areas

    I’m looking at my Election Data Services breakdown, as that is what my Republican friends most often use. It shows the predominately white Democratic voting areas to be: 1) Along the Quebec border (ME, NH, VT, NY); 2) Scranton-Wilkes-Barre area; 3) the Upper Midwest dairy region (WI, MN, IA); 4) the Minnesota Iron Range; 5) Eugene, OR; 6) Everything in coastal California.

    I’m looking at the five wealthiest counties that are 70% or more white non-hispanic. Hunterdon (NJ), Douglas (CO), Somerset (NJ) and Morris (NJ) are all deep red. Los Alamos (NM) voted strongly for Obama but has a Republican county government.

    Are you still using Romney’s data guy?

  • “1) Along the Quebec border (ME, NH, VT, NY); 2) Scranton-Wilkes-Barre area; 3) the Upper Midwest dairy region (WI, MN, IA); 4) the Minnesota Iron Range; 5) Eugene, OR; 6) Everything in coastal California.”

    Too broad a focus Kurt. There are plenty of Republicans in all those areas. My focus is on the wealthiest regions of the country, also tending to be the whitest. Obama won eight of ten of the wealthiest counties in the country:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/obama-wins-8-10-wealthiest-154837437.html

  • Too broad a focus Kurt. There are plenty of Republicans in all those areas. My focus is on the wealthiest regions of the country, also tending to be the whitest. Obama won eight of ten of the wealthiest counties in the country

    OK. My wonderful colored coded map gives three shades of blue and three shades of red and those areas all show deep blue. But one could delve deeper.

    Of the ten wealthiest counties in the country, Romney won handsomely in 91% white Huntington (NJ), 93% white Douglas (CO), 70% white Somerset (NJ) and 82% white Morris (NJ). Obama won widely in Los Alamos (NM), Fairfax (VA), Howard (MD), and Arlington (VA). He won narrowly in Loudon (VA). All of these counties have large minority populations, as high as 38% minority in Howard, Arlington, and Fairfax.

    So it seems rich + white votes Romeny. Rich + diverse votes Obama.

  • Actually Kurt, the richest county in the country is Nantucket County in Massachusetts. It is 89% white and went for Obama with 63% of the vote. White and rich is Obama country.

  • While Montgomery, Howard, Arlington, Loudon and Fairfax counties may be considered diverse in the sense that within the sprawling landmasses between the county lines reside pockets of non-whites living in ghettoized communities amongst themselves and middle class whites, the rich (and white and generally liberal) live in quiet seclusion in fortified mansions. So while the public schools of Silver Spring in Montgomery are somewhat diversified, Thurston Abercrombie Smith III of Bethesda will not likely be going to school with anyone named Jorge Valencia.

  • “Thurston Abercrombie Smith III of Bethesda will not likely be going to school with anyone named Jorge Valencia.”

    But of course. Jorge Valencia’s father might be, “shudder”, a Yale man! I am sure Jorge’s mom would be welcome however into Thurston’s home: good maids and nannies are so hard to find for the uber rich.

  • Paul & Don,

    Bethesda Chevy Chase HS is 42% minority. By comparision, North Hunterdon HS in Romney country is 10% minority.

    Again, are you still using Romney’s data guy?

  • Bethesda Chevy Chase HS is 42% minority

    I assure you Thurston Abercrombie Smith III is not attending Bethesda Chevy Chase High School. But keep googling, Kurt. I’m sure eventually you’ll happen upon a tidbit that actually makes it sound like you’re familiar with the subject area.

  • Paul —

    Whatever shortcomings it has, I’m the only one here citing data rather than gut feelings.

    My understanding is that Thurston Abercrombie Smith III lives in Republican Potomac rather than Bethesda and attends the Tridentine Latin Mass in Mongomery County when his driver can’t get him to the Anglican Use service in Baltimore. The only African American he knows is the waiter at the Metropolitan Club.

  • My understanding is that Thurston Abercrombie Smith III lives in Republican Potomac

    Emphasis mine. Yep, you’ve sure got your finger on the pulse of Maryland.

    attends the Tridentine Latin Mass in Mongomery County

    You see Kurt, if you knew anything about the area instead you could have said that he and his driver went to the EF at St. Johns’s, in Virginia because a) it’s actually closer to Potomac, and b) located in a much tonier neighborhood than where the lone regular EF Mass is Montgomery County is celebrated over in Silver Spring.

    I’m the only one here citing data rather than gut feelings

    No Kurt, you’re trying to google your way into being informed about an area of the country I actually live in.

  • Paul —

    We need to get together for drinks as it seems we are neighbors. The Metropoltian Club is near my workplace but they don’t even like me looking at their doors as I walk by. I’m sure you’re a member. Invite me anytime.

  • Kurt – You live in the DC area and call Potomac “Republican”?

  • Apologies Kurt, I thought you lived in the Midwest.

    That said, ditto Pinky.

  • Paul,

    Native of Wisconsin now living in exile. Therefore if you want to buy me that drink it would only need to be a beer.

  • Kurt,

    As long as it’s Leinenkugel and not Miller, that’s cool with me.

To Intervene or Not to Intervene, that is the Question

Friday, August 30, AD 2013

 

 

 

President Obama is deciding whether to intervene in Syria against the Assad regime.  I think any hesitation is for show, and the decision to intervene has been made.  Intervening in the Syrian Civil War is not popular, so I guess I should give Obama some credit for having a conviction he is willing to defy public opinion on.  What that conviction is, I am not quite certain.  The Assad regime is a revoltingly bloody tyranny even by Arab standards.  However, the main rebel factions are closely allied with groups like Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, with the Muslim Brotherhood backed factions being dominant.  In Egypt there are constant accusations by Egyptians, largely correct, that the administration has tilted in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood, so perhaps that is the explanation for the desire of the administration to get involved in Syria.

My own opinion is that uttered by Henry Kissinger in regard to the Iraq-Iran war of the eighties:  a pity they both can’t lose.  I see no interest of the United States furthered by intervention, other than a mild setback to Iran which has become the main backer of the Assad regime, and I see no humanitarian benefit.  It is very troubling that Obama is not even making a pretense of gaining the approval of Congress.  It is richly ironic to see some of the harshest critics of President Bush and the war in Iraq, now rallying behind Obama’s Syrian adventure.

Neo-neocon at Legal Insurrection has a first rate parody of the to be or not to be soliloquy from Hamlet for Obama:

To strike, or not to strike: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous Assad,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To attack: to dither
No more; and by attack to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That Syria is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To act, to attack;
To attack: perchance to depose: ay, there’s the rub;
For in its wake what next may come
Whether or not Assad shuffles off this worldwide stage,
Should give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of intervention;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of chemical war, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his mark make
With a bare missile? who would tyrants bear,
To defy the red lines that he drew?
But that the dread of something afterward,
The unknown consequences in whose grip
A legacy might founder, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?

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8 Responses to To Intervene or Not to Intervene, that is the Question

  • “… and I see no humanitarian benefit.”

    Me neither, sadly. I’d likely be strongly in favor if there were. More than two years this war has raged and there was no groundswell of support for intervention all that time, so today seems no different. Two and half million Syrians have fled their homes with roughly a million that have crossed into neighboring countries and live in camps. Christian churches are periodically targeted for attack by either side for no military benefit, just to terrorize the worshippers.

    It’s been said that Assad is “winning” this war, and if the U.S. strike against him is not definitive in the sense that it is sufficient to give his opponents the upper hand, it may have the effect of prolonging the conflict and the humanitarian crisis.

    “Ah, I imagine those Norwegian leftists are now regretting that Nobel Peace Prize they bestowed upon Obama for the glorious achievement of not being George Bush.”

    We’ll see. Obama may yet yield to public indifference and decide not to strike Syria. If the Nobel Prize committee hasn’t regretted its decision after all these drone strikes, I doubt a few more cruise missile launches will move them any.

  • Er, he’s working on his second nobel peace prize . . .

    One aspect: it’s a distraction same as the fabricated bruhahaha over the rodeo clown.

    Aristotle wrote, a tyrant “is also fond of making war in order that his subjects may have something to do and be always in want of a leader.”

    You give Obama, and his moronc cheerleaders, way too much credit.

    They are ideologues: data, facts, truth have no purpose unless they advance the devolution.

    In Obama’s (pea-brained) world view the so-called muslim brotherhood and al qaeda are the good guys; and any (e.g., handing over to them North Africa) thing will be done to help them and any and all enemies of evil, unjust America.

    What evidence can you produce to prove that this worst prez in US history is an iota smarter than the Obama-worshiping imbeciles that gave him four more years to complete the wreck of our country?

    PS: Don’t even try to say he’s smarter than morons like McCain and Boehner: that’s like comparing head lice to dog ticks.

  • Wars – whether civil or international – are, often enough, the product of irreconcilable conflicts and, if allowed to run their course, end in decisive victory or mutual exhaustion. They can lead to a durable peace, when all those willing to die for the cause have been given every opportunity to do so. The Wars of Religion in France and the Thirty Year’s War in Central Europe were of this kind.

    Humanitarian interventions, however well intentioned, may simply allow both parties to regroup and rearm and may shelter the weaker side from the consequences of refusing to submit for the sake of peace. In the long run, they may lead to more suffering than they prevent.

  • What if Russia decides that she really doesn’t like our intervention at all, and acts on that?

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  • “What if Russia decides that she really doesn’t like our intervention at all, and acts on that?”

    Perhaps the admin thinks they’ve already made a secret deal with Russia.

    Clinton was slick enough. Reagan was smart enough. These guys will just be Wiley Coyote enough.

  • For info, the pope asked for prayer and fasting for peace in Syria on September 7th.

    “May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and be let themselves be led by the desire for peace.
    To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.”

    A number of bishops in that part of the middle east have spoken on the matter of military intervention in Syria recently (available on the internet).

  • The wolf call that screams weapons of mass destruction echoes in my mind!
    In our speed to right the wrong we must first identify the culprit involved.It
    appears that there may be other factors non-disclosed.
    Unfortunately with media posturing its difficult to receive good and correct
    information.
    As a Viet-nam veteran I would urge cautiousness.Our government must learn
    we cant buy friends with foreign aid and we cant police the world!

Various & Sundry, 8/28/13

Wednesday, August 28, AD 2013

Obama’s Half-Measures with Syria

I disagree with Abrams that we should intervene, but he’s right about Obama’s approach. Why are a hundred thousand killed by conventional means not a cause for action, but several hundred killed from chemical weapons means action NOW?

What I Meant to Say

Okay, we’re probably beating a dead horse, but this is a pretty funny satire of Jody Bottum.

Now, on to my non-arguments. I begin with a Bald Assertion: Although all of Western law, foundational decisions of the Supreme Court such as its original polygamy decision, and powerful dissents by Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, are all against court-imposed same-sex marriage—and although I am not a constitutional jurist myself, and haven’t even read those dissenting opinions, or any of the legal briefs—still, I say that THE EQUITIES ARE ALL ON THE SIDE OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE. NO ONE HAS EVER GIVEN A SINGLE COHERENT JURISPRUDENTIAL ARGUMENT AGAINST IT. NO PRINCIPLED LEGAL VIEW CAN RESIST IT.  And if you continue to doubt this, then, superb writer that I am, I will be able to find even other ways of stating the same un-nuanced point, until you finally acquiesce in it.

It’s very important for my purposes that you accept this point, because, you see, as a writer, my goal at the start is to play on the ignorance of my young readers especially and make them feel embarrassed for believing in marriage as solely between a man and a woman.  Ultimately I wish to undermine that conviction, or at least to lead them to accept the courts’ and my distinction between “marriage” and “civil marriage.”  And so, I want them to feel—maybe for the first time—that they are being grossly inequitable, unfair, unprincipled, fundamentally illegal, and basically un-American if they oppose same-sex marriage.

It’s a bold gambit, to be sure, yet it’s very likely to succeed, because after all a young Catholic without much experience of the world—or any poorly catechized layperson, for that matter—will feel that if a former editor of First Things can say these things so boldly, or if they are printed without correction in Commonweal, then they have to be true.  Why would a responsible writer say these things unless they were true?

Whither First Things?

A symposium on its future. Maybe it should hire Bottum back, you know, just for fun.

Today’s Adventure in Petty Attack Ads

I have no love lost for Chris Christie, but this is an especially petty beef. Christie stars in an ad saying that Jersey is recovering from Hurricane Sandy, so come on down, and his opponent runs an ad criticizing him for making it sound like the state is fully recovered. Christie is one hundred percent on the money with his response.

When a reporter asked about critics of the “Stronger Than The Storm” tourism ads, Christie shot back, “What would they have us do: go into the fetal position? I’ve never said everything’s all right.”

Christie should realize that carping about the fallout from a hurricane is much preferred nowadays to moving on and recovering.

Some of You Are Clearly Drinking Whiskey Wrong

$20 whiskey mixed with soda should be an offense punishable by death, or at least banishment.

Moving Past Errors and Pitcher Wins

Great stuff from Joe Posnanski on the silliness of relying on either state to measure player and pitcher performance. While you’re there, also check out his post on the Cleveland Browns.

The Tragedy of Derek Jeter’s Defense

Two baseball posts today as I couldn’t pass up this fantastic feature in Grantland.

If Michael Bay Directed Heartwarming Documentaries

It would definitely be something a lot like this.

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13 Responses to Various & Sundry, 8/28/13

  • We should intervene. We are also accountable for what we fail to do.
    “… everyone is is doing (or not doing)” and “yesterday we did (or didn’t)” .are not good arguments.
    Did Christ sigh, “they’ve been profiteering in my temple all my life— why now?”

    This killing in Syria deserves a swift targeted response. We might die trying. Our culture is dying right now, maybe it ought to be about something.

    Do people think that if we don’t intervene that will mean that there will be no war then? Oh yes there is going to be war.
    Is this sunni or shia? is this atheistic communism? Is it just one bad actor? is it the Hydra? let’s see is HItler far left or far right. We’d better have our semantics and discussion correct.

    If Christians don’t fight for Right, who will? If we should not be the policeman who should?

  • Stopped Clock Department:

    The former Rep. from Saturn nails it.

    “So what, we’re about to become Al-Qaeda’s air force now?” said Dennis Kucinich.

  • We should most certainly should not intervene: these people need Christ, not more bombs raining down on top of them. Pity we do not pray for the conversion of non-Catholics to the Catholic faith after every Mass/Divine Liturgy.

    And with a government as seriously, deeply in debt as our is, can we afford it? Bombing people costs money. Lots of it.

    Seriously, are the people (most especially the Christian community) in Iraq better off now than before we invaded many moons ago? How about in Afghanistan? Once we leave, can the government there hold it together in the long term? Or will the Taliban take over once again? And Egypt “post Arab spring” does not seem to have much to recommend for it.

  • AP and the former Congressman from Jeckyll Island weigh in (from Zero Hedge):

    AP reports that US intelligence officials are admitting that linking Syrian President Bashar Assad or his inner circle to an alleged chemical weapons attack is no “slam dunk,” as opposed to Obama (and Kerry) who are ‘unequivocal’ of the fact. This would appear to confirm Ron Paul’s comments this morning on Fox News that “We’re not positive who set off the gas,” and indeed – who is set to benefit most from any Assad-regime-smackdown? Al-Qaeda. “Assad is not an idiot,” Paul adds, “it’s unlikely he would do this on purpose… look how many lies were told to us about Saddam Hussein prior to that build-up.” “I think it’s a false flag…” Paul adds, there is a big risk that “we are getting sucked in” and the American people are against this war.

  • “AP reports that US intelligence officials are admitting that linking Syrian President Bashar Assad or his inner circle to an alleged chemical weapons attack is no “slam dunk,””

    Assad is a butcher just like his old man:

    http://middleeastvoices.voanews.com/2012/02/syrias-1982-hama-massacre-recalled-lesson-for-assad-today/

    I have little doubt that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons, perhaps some spirited into the country by Saddam:

    http://blog.usni.org/2012/07/20/iraq-chemical-weapons-moved-to-syria-before-2003-invasion

    The basic problem with Syrian intervention is that I think there is zero possibility of replacing the current Syrian regime with one friendlier to the US. We are dealing with a situation where all the factions are profoundly hostile to the US.

  • Would evangelizing be a better response?
    Remember when the Kurds were gassed?
    What does “strong man” mean?

    Ron Paul’s opinion means nothing to me.

  • “Would evangelizing be a better response?”

    Only if we wanted to end up with a bunch of dead evangelists. I can think of few things more futile than the efforts to evangelize the Muslims over the centuries in Islamic states.

  • Another question: What are Russia and China’s interest in this?

  • Russia has traditionally been an ally of the Syrian regime, from the days of the old Soviet Union. China depends upon the Middle East and is fearful of intervention being destabilizing.

  • Speaking of Jody Bottum Al Kresta had him on his radio show/ You can hear the interview here:

    http://www.avemariaradio.net/audio_archive/kresta-in-the-afternoon-august-26-2013-hour-1/

  • regarding intervention
    At one time in my life I was insulted by the terminology ” nattering nabobs of negativity ” — I’ve come on a journey since then to recognize my own natural conservativism, and see that both Democrats and Republicans take the nattering nabobs role by turns, even against the very position they were recently holding. apparently just because it is the other side saying it now.

  • Russia has traditionally been an ally of the Syrian regime, from the days of the old Soviet Union.

    The shady-character parliamentary governments which preceded the Ba’ath also had congenial and co-operative relations with Soviet Russia.

  • Greg, thanks for that link to that interview with Jody Bottum on Ave Maria radio.

    Bottum went on the show and clearly his interviewer, Al Kresta (whoever he is), thought that the defense of the article was brilliant and illuminating. What I still can’t fathom is how either of these gentleman reconcile his heretical position with that of the Church. There was a very concerted effort to make it appear as if his position was merely a prudential matter rather than one abutting Faith & Morals.