Tuesday, April 29, 2003

From Mike Russell
US forces make Iraqis strip and walk naked in public

Common misconceptions about Russia
by Anders Aslund

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Samer al-Batal
Robert Fisk on audio: ‘My feeling is that there will be a war - it may already have begun - against the Americans by the Iraqis’

More from Mr Fisk: Did the US murder journalists?

A beautiful monastery
Reminds me of the Catholic Carthusian semi-hermits at Cowfold in England many years ago, as described by the Revd Colin Stephenson in Merrily on High. East meets West in a good way at this Roman Catholic monastery - the Catholic Church says thou shalt not mix and match rites but its chapel with Byzantine Rite things, even a kind of iconostasis, isn't offensive and 'works'.

Joke: Amazing thing I’ve learnt from American TV
All white tough guys, all over the country, even in Milwaukee and L.A., talk with a Bronx accent.

British noblewoman speaks out on persecution of Christians in the Sudan
Exclusive report by David W. Virtue

RIDGECREST, NC—British Baroness Caroline Cox, a world authority on
Christian persecution in the Sudan, blasted US President George Bush for
reneging on the US's hard line policy against the Government of the
Sudan opposing the slaughter of Christians in the southern part of that

Lady Cox, who is president of Christian Solidarity Worldwide
(CSW-UK) lamented the position the US government took in reversing its
previous principled position with regard to the brutal National Islamic
Front regime, which took and holds power by military force in Sudan
since a coup in 1989.

"Since then 2 million Sudanese have died and 5 million displaced from
war related causes, following the declaration of Jihad or Holy War in
its most militaristic form, by the regime and by all who oppose it,
including moderate Muslims and animists as well as Christians," said
Lady Cox.

"The weapons of the Jihad are three fold; military offensives against
innocent civilians, the manipulation of aid and slavery."

"Typically, the regime will undertake its military offensives in areas
which they declare as 'no go' to international aid organizations, so
that its victims are left without any life-saving supplies and with no
one to witness what has happened or the regime has done.

WorldNetDaily.com reports that Sudan's militant Muslim regime is
slaughtering Christians who refuse to convert to Islam. The forced
conversions are a source of deep concern for Lady Cox and her organization.

"We are alarmed that despite continuing reports of military offensives
against innocent civilians, President Bush has softened the US
administration stance against the National Islamic Front (NIF) regime."

"The Sudan Peace Act required by April 21st was a decision as to
whether to continue measures designed to put pressure on the regime to
improve its record of human rights and to desist from attacks against
civilians," she said.

"However, without giving any reason for his decision, President Bush has
appeared to have let Sudan off the hook and to believe the regime's
rhetoric that it is operating in good faith."

Lady Cox has visited Sudan, originally working in the Northern Sudan
with Arab Muslim communities developing immunization programs in remote
desert areas in North Kordofan. Since the NIF military coup she has
visited Sudan over 25 times, focusing particularly on the regimes
designed “no go” areas, taking in the medical and food aid and providing
authentic first hand accounts of the suffering inflicted by the NIF on
its own people in areas ranging from Bahr-El-Jahazal in the West, The
Nuba Mountains, eastern and western Upper Nile, southern Blue Nile, and
regions in eastern Sudan inhabited by the Beja Muslim people.

She has testified on many occasions and in many places to the suffering
endured by innocent civilians who have been bombed, by high flying
Antonov (Russian) bombers and the strafing of civilians by low flying
helicopter gunships.

She has walked through many miles of villages reduced to ashes by the
NIF scorched earth policies and seen the anguish of people dying from
starvation and avoidable diseases.

Lady Cox has also been in the “killing fields” around the oil
developments where the regime is carrying out ethnic cleansing of
African tribes living around the areas of oil exploration and development.

"Given such massive accumulated evidence independently corroborated by
other Human Rights and AID organizations, many will feel concerned by
President Bush decision and would like to ask him what are the unstated

Recently a court in Khartoum passed a prison sentence on Lady Cox for
“illegal entry”. Her riposte is that if the regime did not designate
areas as “no go” there would be no need for illegal entry. Lady Cox was
sentenced to 5 years. Undaunted the baroness says she will return to
Sudan despite the sentence hanging over her head.

She frequently addresses the issues in the House of Lords where her
comments are picked up by the British Press. She was featured in a film
produced by the BBC Everyman series, which documented the barbaric
practice of slavery.

In an address before a 1000 orthodox Episcopalians at a Global Missions
conference in Ridgecrest, North Carolina, Lady Cox described the
courage, faith and dignity of her persecuted brothers and sisters in the
Sudan. "I speak for those who cannot speak for themselves," she told her

"Christian persecution is escalating around the world at an alarming
rate. There are 250 million suffering some kind of persecution ranging
from discrimination to imprisonment and torture right through to
martyrdom. Around 180,000 Christians have actually being martyred for
their faith so far this year. For those being persecuted, Cox said their
priority request is always for prayer. "Prayer without deeds is dead.
St. Paul said to the Corinthian Church that when one part of body
suffers all suffers. That is true of the persecuted church."

The baroness condemned what she called, the deafening silence for the
persecuted church. "Our secular confused West is declining in
spirituality. They do not understand and have no understanding of those
being persecuted for their faith in other parts of the world."

The baroness gave graphic accounts of persecution in the Sudan, Nigeria,
Indonesia, Burma and Armenia.

Cox described the politics of hunger and aid. She recalls the words of
one hungry Sundanese man, "Thank God you came. Our homes have been
burnt, the earth scorched."

"Oil revenues are being abused. Money is used to buy helicopters and gun
ships while ethnic cleansing is going on everywhere. All the while
people are becoming Christians by the drove. She said that in the Sudan
11,000 recently came to Christ and seven new churches were started. "In
the ashes of persecution celebration is made. Jihad means forced
Islamazation and forced Arabization. The men are killed and the women
and children are forced into slavery."

Cox said that some moderate Arabs hate what is being done to the Dinkas.
They abominate slavery. "The militant jihad movement wants South East
Asia to go Islamist. If so it will change the whole complex of that area."

"I came, I saw, I heard, I touched and I was moved to do whatever I
could. Please pray for Christians persecuted around the world."

If you would like to learn more about the work of Baroness Cox and
Christian Solidarity Worldwide you can read of her work by going to:

You can also make a contribution in the US by
sending your tax deductible donation to:

CSW, USA PO Box 50608, Casper, WY 82605-0608
Tel: 307 235 4800
Fax: 307 266 3514
Anne Zimmerman (President)
Email: cswusa@compassoc.com
Website: www.cswusa.com

Monday, April 28, 2003

Scuffles mar Orthodox Easter in Jerusalem
Youch. Well, try looking at it this way. It's like the Pope said to Napoleon when he threatened to destroy the Catholic Church - our own people haven't managed to do it, so I don't think you can. The thing to look at here is that the Holy Fire appeared to the Orthodox, as always, in spite of everything. Glory to God. Plus, thousands of people came, which can't be said of the event described in the story linked below.

More evidence that modern-day heretical dissent is a game of the old and is on the wane:
Only 100 people show up for pro-women’s ordination speaker
In Boston, a city famous for its huge Catholic population. Apparently this is only a burning issue for a few mostly ageing cranks.

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Lee Penn
Marketing effort by implantable chip-maker
They are trying to sell the idea of implantable ID chips for people, including measuring temperature (an interesting idea for a time of plague) .... but ADSX stock remains at a small fraction of its price in the late 1990s.

The ‘messianic’ vision of Bush and his administration
Just what the world needs - another Protestant do-gooder mucking things up. The same mindset that brought you the British Empire, the genocide of the American Indians and Prohibition. World empire sugarcoated with religiosity and 'good intentions'.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Orthodox Easter

Христосъ воскресе!

Christ the victor has despoiled hell - in this icon He is in the place of the dead rescuing Adam (left, whom He is holding) and Eve.

Easter sermon of St John Chrysostom

From the Net
The beginning of the Gospel of John in Arabic
1 فِي الْبَدْءِ كَانَ الْكَلِمَةُ، وَالْكَلِمَةُ كَانَ عِنْدَ اللهِ. وَكَانَ الْكَلِمَةُ هُوَ اللهُ .
2 هُوَ كَانَ فِي الْبَدْءِ عِنْدَ اللهِ.
3 بِهِ تَكَوَّنَ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ، وَبِغَيْرِهِ لَمْ يَتَكَوَّنْ أَيُّ شَيْءٍ مِمَّا تَكَوَّنَ.
4 فِيهِ كَانَتِ الْحَيَاةُ. وَالْحَيَاةُ هَذِهِ كَانَتِ نُورَ النَّاسِ.
5 وَالنُّورُ يُضِيءُ فِي الظَّلاَمِ، وَالظَّلاَمُ لَمْ يُدْرِكْ النُّورَ.
6 ظَهَرَ إِنْسَانٌ أَرْسَلَهُ اللهُ ، اسْمُهُ يُوحَنَّا،
7 جَاءَ يَشْهَدُ لِلنُّورِ، مِنْ أَجْلِ أَنْ يُؤْمِنَ الْجَمِيعُ بِوَاسِطَتِهِ.
8 لَمْ يَكُنْ هُوَ النُّورَ، بَلْ كَانَ شَاهِداً لِلنُّورِ،
9 فَالنُّورُ الْحَقُّ الَّذِي يُنِيرُ كُلَّ إِنْسَانٍ كَانَ آتِياً إِلَى الْعَالَمِ.
10 كَانَ فِي الْعَالَمِ، وَبِهِ تَكَوَّنَ الْعَالَمُ، وَلَمْ يَعْرِفْهُ الْعَالَمُ.
11 وَقَدْ جَاءَ إِلَى مَنْ كَانُوا خَاصَّتَهُ، وَلَكِنَّ هَؤُلاَءِ لَمْ يَقْبَلُوهُ.
12 أَمَّا الَّذِينَ قَبِلُوهُ، أَيِ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاسْمِهِ، فَقَدْ مَنَحَهُمُ الْحَقَّ فِي أَنْ يَصِيرُوا أَوْلاَدَ اللهِ،
13 وَهُمُ الَّذِينَ وُلِدُوا لَيْسَ مِنْ دَمٍ، وَلاَ مِنْ رَغْبَةِ جَسَدٍ، وَلاَ مِنْ رَغْبَةِ بَشَرٍ، بَلْ مِنَ اللهِ.
14 وَالْكَلِمَةُ صَارَ بَشَراً، وَخَيَّمَ بَيْنَنَا، وَنَحْنُ رَأَيْنَا مَجْدَهُ، مَجْدَ ابْنٍ وَحِيدٍ عِنْدَ الآبِ، وَهُوَ مُمْتَلِىءٌ بِالنِّعْمَةِ وَالْحَقِّ.
15 شَهِدَ لَهُ يُوحَنَّا فَهَتَفَ قَائِلاً: «هَذَا هُوَ الَّذِي قُلْتُ عَنْهُ: إِنَّ الآتِيَ بَعْدِي مُتَقَدِّمٌ عَلَيَّ، لأَنَّهُ كَانَ قَبْلَ أَنْ أُوْجَدَ».
16 فَمِنِ امْتِلاَئِهِ أَخَذْنَا جَمِيعُنَا وَنِلْنَا نِعْمَةً عَلَى نِعْمَةٍ،

(In actual Arabic books the text is aligned at the right margin because it is read from right to left.)

There is no Pascha bunny

'Kicking Out the Riff-Rabbit' by Nik Stanosheck

MP may be tried as traitor

Antony Barnett and Martin Bright
Sunday April 27, 2003
The Observer

George Galloway, the anti-war Labour MP who is suing over allegations he secretly took money from Saddam Hussein, faces the prospect of a criminal prosecution for treachery.
The Observer can reveal that the Director of Public Prosecutions is considering pursuing the Glasgow politician for comments during the Iraq war when he called on British troops not to fight.

In an interview with Abu Dhabi TV during the Iraq conflict, Galloway said: 'The best thing British troops can do is to refuse to obey illegal orders.' Lawyers for service personnel claim his call for soldiers to dis obey what he called 'illegal orders' amount to a breach of the Incitement to Disaffection Act 1934. The maximum penalty is two years in jail.

The relevant part of the Act is Section 1, which states: 'If any person maliciously and advisedly endeavours to seduce any member of His Majesty's forces from his duty or allegiance to His Majesty, he shall be guilty of an offence.' Under the terms of the Act, the word 'maliciously' means wilfully and intentionally.

Galloway dismissed attempts to prosecute him, but said: 'I hope to have chiselled on my gravestone: "He incited them to disaffect."'

The lawyer spearheading the action is Justin Hugheston-Roberts, chairman of Forces Law, a nationwide group of 22 law firms which acts for service personnel and their families.

The case is being handled by Hugheston-Roberts's law firm in Wolverhampton, Rose Williams and Partners.

The last time a prosecution was brought under this law was in 1974, when a protester was charged after distributing leaflets outside Army camps urging soldiers not to accept postings to Northern Ireland.

Galloway's calls for British troops to disobey orders came during the TV interview in which he described Tony Blair and George Bush as 'wolves' for embarking on military action.

When accused of treachery, Galloway said: 'The people who have betrayed this country are those who have sold it to a foreign power and who have been the miserable surrogates of a bigger power for reasons very few people in Britain can understand.'

[Me: Yes, and the titular leader of that power says things like 'nucular' and 'flammamable'.]

After Galloway made the comments on Abu Dhabi TV, Hugheston-Roberts wrote to the DPP asking him to prosecute or allow a private prosecution to be brought.

Last week the Crown Prosecution Service wrote to the lawyers requesting more information and details of the comments Galloway made.

Hugheston-Roberts has refused to reveal the identity of his clients, but said they were meeting this week to decide on the best course of action.

Hugheston-Roberts said if the CPS decided not to prosecute but gave consent for a private action, then his clients would be happy to pursue that avenue.

Human rights lawyers said last night it would be an extremely difficult case to pursue. Roger Bingham of the civil rights group Liberty said: 'Galloway's statement is an expression of opinion. We live in a free-speech, democratic society and elect MPs to speak out on national issues.'

Andrew Burgin of the Stop the War Coalition denounced the move. He said: 'This war was immoral and illegal and should never have been fought. This proposal to prosecute is part of an ever-expanding witch-hunt against George Galloway because he was the most vocal anti-war voice.'

This latest twist comes as The Observer reveals details of a secret trip Galloway made to Morocco for the British-based Saudi dissident Saad al-Fagih, an Islamic fundamentalist who purchased a satellite phone used by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

In February 1996 Galloway flew to Morocco for a secret meeting with the then Crown Prince of Morocco to explore a deal between the Islamic Saudi dissidents in the UK and the Saudi royal family. [End.]

Unbelievable - they're acting as if Mr Hussein wanted to move into Buckingham Palace. Madness.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

From Dave McLaughlin
Patriotism and criticism

From lewrockwell.com today
The aftermath of war: Iraqis are weeping, but neocons are not

On Sen. Santorum and offending the sodomite ‘community’
First of all, contra the propaganda of homosexual activists, is there really such a 'community' (of rainbow flag-waving, Judy Garland show-tune-loving, happy-clappy campy stereotypes), or are there, as I believe, simply 'people who are homosexuals', some good people (and some who are Christians and living chastely), others not, as 'diverse' as any other kind of people?

About government and special treatment: my city has put up rainbow-striped banners on lampposts to celebrate what used to be 'Pride Week' - I forget what it has been renamed. Number one, why on earth would any self-respecting adult want to wave a flag telling strangers how he likes to reach orgasm? Secondly, I am offended that the city used public money to propagandize this 'cause'. (Taxpayers' dollars, in a city with a large Catholic population, too - and my city charges a hefty wage tax.)

US Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) said recently that if you enact special protection for homosexual activity then you have to protect other kinds of immoral activity (immoral according to Judæo-Christian morality). He's already in the dock as far as the PC crowd is concerned because he is prolife.

Here's my take.

Of course I agree with the Orthodox and Catholic churches, and with conservative Protestants, that homosexual activity is objectively wrong for all and not an option for Christians. (Nor, for that matter, is uncharity such as violence to homosexuals - all people on earth are sinners, and all are dear in the sight of God.) End of that discussion.

That said, American freedom works both ways - the faith has the freedom to flourish and evangelize, but people also have the right to be wrong. Here my libertarian views come in. I don't want the government snooping around, looking into people's bedroom windows. Here I agree with William F. Buckley Jr, a neocon shill with whom I haven't got much in common, that anti-sodomy laws are 'dumb laws' not because sodomy is OK but because they're unenforceable and set bad precedent for government power.

However, what people do becomes my (and the government's) business when it becomes a public health hazard - AIDS certainly is that - and some of the shenanigans of what liberals so reverently call 'gay people' fall into that. We outlaw prostitution and adults having sex with kids - for the common good. So it's appropriate for vice squads to raid bathhouses, certain bars, etc.

The papal kiss (of the Koran)
by Joseph Sobran
Vatican II was a mistake.
From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Lee Penn
SARS death rate worse than thought
It may be 10-20%. Compare that to the worldwide 1918 Spanish influenza outbreak (the worst such in history) at 2-4%.

Lee Penn: For those who wish to track the epidemic and related news, visit the
following web log, which is updated daily:

Agonist.org Bulletin Board - SARS

The daily updates track the spread of the disease, current information on
prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, and official responses. There are many
links to news and research items, and they are trying to stay rational about

Friday, April 25, 2003

Благообразный Иосиф, с Древа снем пречистое тело Твое, плащаницею чистою обвив, и вонями во гробе нове покрыв положи.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Greetings on Orthodox Great Friday.

Разбойник ... глаголаше Иисусови, "Помяни мя, Господи, егда приидеши во царствии Си." И рече ему Иисус: "Аминь глаголю тебе: днесь со Мною будеши в раи." ... И возглашь гласом велиим Иисус, рече: "Отче, в руце Твои предаю дух Мой", и сия рек издше. - от Луки

Tariq Aziz, Chaldean Catholic and deputy prime minister in Hussein government, arrested by US

88th anniversary of Armenian genocide by Turks
Armenia (Hayastan) is the world's oldest Christian country
From Mike Russell
Bush's Urgent & Confidential Business Proposal



202.456.1414 / 202.456.1111
FAX: 202.456.2461

Dear Sir / Madam,

I am GEORGE WALKER BUSH, son of the former president of the United
States of America George Herbert Walker Bush, and currently serving as
President of the United States of America. This letter might surprise
you because we have not met neither in person nor by correspondence. I
came to know of you in my search for a reliable and reputable person to
handle a very confidential business transaction, which involves the
transfer of a huge sum of money to an account requiring maximum confidence.

I am writing you in absolute confidence primarily to seek your
assistance in acquiring oil funds that are presently trapped in the
republic of Iraq. My partners and I solicit your assistance in
completing a transaction begun by my father, who has long been actively
engaged in the extraction of petroleum in the United States of America,
and bravely served his country as director of the United States Central
Intelligence Agency.

In the decade of the nineteen-eighties, my father, then vice-president
of the United States of America, sought to work with the good offices of
the President of the Republic of Iraq to regain lost oil revenue sources
in the neighboring Islamic republic of Iran. This unsuccessful venture
was soon followed by a falling-out with his Iraqi partner, who sought to
acquire additional oil revenue sources in the neighboring emirate of
Kuwait, a wholly-owned U.S.-British subsidiary.

My father re-secured the petroleum assets of Kuwait in 1991 at a cost of
sixty-one billion u.s. dollars ($61,000,000,000). Out of that cost,
thirty-six billion dollars ($36,000,000,000) were supplied by his
partners in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other persian gulf
monarchies, and sixteen billion dollars ($16,000,000,000) by German and
Japanese partners. But my father's former Iraqi business partner
remained in control of the republic of Iraq and its petroleum reserves.

My family is calling for your urgent assistance in funding the removal
of the President of the Republic of Iraq and acquiring the petroleum
assets of his country, as compensation for the costs of removing him
from power. Unfortunately, our partners from 1991 are not willing to
shoulder the burden of this new venture, which in its upcoming phase may
cost the sum of 100 billion to 200 billion dollars ($100,000,000,000 -
$200,000,000,000), both in the initial acquisition and in long-term

Without the funds from our 1991 partners, we would not be able to
acquire the oil revenue trapped within Iraq. That is why my family and
our colleagues are urgently seeking your gracious assistance. Our
distinguished colleagues in this business transaction include the
sitting vice-president of the United States of America, Richard Cheney,
who is an original partner in the Iraq venture and former head of the
Halliburton oil company, and Condoleeza Rice, whose professional
dedication to the venture was demonstrated in the naming of a Chevron
oil tanker after her.

I would beseech you to transfer a sum equaling ten to twenty-five
percent (10-25 %) of your yearly income to our account to aid in this
important venture. The internal revenue service of the United States of
America will function as our trusted intermediary. I propose that you
make this transfer before the fifteenth (15th) of the month of April.

I know that a transaction of this magnitude would make anyone
apprehensive and worried. But I am assuring you that all will be well at
the end of the day. A bold step taken shall not be regretted, I assure
you. Please do be informed that this business transaction is 100% legal.
If you do not wish to co-operate in this transaction, please contact our
intermediary representatives to further discuss the matter.

I pray that you understand our plight. My family and our colleagues will
be forever grateful. Please reply in strict confidence to the contact
numbers below.

Sincerely with warm regards,

George Walker Bush

Switchboard: 202.456.1414
Comments: 202.456.1111
Fax: 202.456.2461
Email: president@whitehouse.gov

(Source: This parody of the ubiquitous Nigerian scam letter was written
by Zoltan Grossman) [End.]

Ha ha, brilliant!

Icon of Our Lady of Kazan in Vatican confirmed as the original
Pope may return icon to Russian Orthodox in August, reports say

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- For 10 years the Vatican has been engaged in
on-again, off-again discussions with the Russian Orthodox Church to
arrange for the transfer of a Russian icon from Pope John Paul II's
apartment to Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow. Italian news agencies
reported April 14 that the pope would give the icon of Our Lady of
Kazan to a Russian Orthodox representative during a brief stopover
in Kazan, capital of the autonomous Russian republic of Tatarstan,
on a flight to Mongolia in August. The pope's desire to give the
icon to the Russians is well known, said Vatican spokesman Joaquin
Navarro-Valls in an April 14 statement. "The appropriate occasion
and the means of consignment will be evaluated at the opportune
time," he said. The 16th-century icon of Our Lady of Kazan, which
had been kept in an Orthodox church in Moscow for centuries,
disappeared in 1904. A group of U.S. Catholics bought an icon of Our
Lady of Kazan from an art dealer and gave it to the pope in 1993. A
Vatican official said April 15 that a mixed commission of Russian
and Vatican icon experts met at the Vatican to study the pope's icon
and determined that it was the original.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

News of the weird
Phoney sultan nabbed for fraud in New York
Maybe he should have been a used-camel salesman instead.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A con artist who posed as the son of Kuwait's prime minister and a Harvard-educated brain surgeon was charged on Wednesday with bilking two women out of over $65,000 in cash, state prosecutors said.

Sultan Ibn Chandler Sabah Al Sabah Dantata, 39, who legally changed his name from Benjamin Maybanks, was accused of conning the women by claiming impeccable credentials and temporary lack of access to his fortune.

He allegedly told his girlfriends he was born in the Middle East, a member of Kuwait's royal family, part of the Kuwaiti delegation to the United Nations and a graduate from Harvard Medical School in neurosurgery.

Claiming a personal fortune of more than $10 million, the man court documents repeatedly referred to as the "Sultan" told his victims that the attacks of Sept. 11 had left him unable to take money out of his bank accounts in the Middle East.

According to the criminal complaint, he told Ari Shirasaka, whom he dated from December 2002 to March 2003, that "because of world events, he temporarily did not have access to money in his Middle Eastern bank accounts."

Shirasaka told authorities that she allowed him to charge over $60,000 in cash advances to her credit cards based on statements he made regarding his background, education and financial status.

She also said he took over $3,000 worth of household items from her apartment after claiming he couldn't use his UN complex and had to use an apartment in Astoria, in the New York City borough of Queens.

A second victim, Emi Iijimi, also dated the man known as "Sultan" for over eight months. The complaint alleges she gave him over $5,000 in cash after he gave her a sob story about being unable to touch his Middle Eastern bank accounts.

Bail for "Sultan," who also used two other aliases, was set at $5,000 during his court appearance. He was unable to post bail, a spokesman for the Correction Department said late Wednesday.

The "Sultan" has a previous police record. In June 2000, he was charged with grand larceny and two counts of criminal possession of stolen property and sentenced to five years probation.

In the earlier case, he was accused of taking over $100,000 in jewelry from the Park Avenue firm of David Saity by again claiming to be a Kuwaiti Sultan whose father was an Emir.

The latest scam finds the "Sultan" charged with two counts of grand larceny and scheming to defraud. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the larceny counts.

He is due back in Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday.
Bruce Springsteen defends the Dixie Chicks. Though I didn't like his PC turn with Philadelphia, the Boss has still got the right stuff.

Ilana Mercer on the price of ‘collateral damage’

From Dave McLaughlin
Islamicism in Iraq
A history I read in the indie press by Henry William Brownejohns told me that the great schism in Islam that happened after Muhammad's death resulted in the Sunni (which most Muslims worldwide are) and Shi'ite (the majority in Iran) branches, which, even worse than the Orthodox-Catholic split in Christendom, absolutely do not recognize each other's authority. (Most black American converts are members of Sunni Islam and thus are real Muslims. Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam, a racist sect, are like the vagantes of this world - they aren't real Muslims, and in fact they murdered Malcolm X after he converted to real Islam and renounced their racist beliefs.)

From orthodoxchristianity.net
St George
Patron of England and Greece
Today is his feast day according to the Gregorian calendar.

From the Malankara Church of India, founded by St Thomas:

Come, you who have discernment and listen to the heroic deeds of Saint George.
What tortures and sufferings the saint endured
In the house of judgement from evil-doers and he was not frightened,
Neither by the fire nor by the wheel of torture nor by the sword.

As I was passing near the court, I saw a wonder, a young man, George,
Stretched out on the wheel of torture, with fire under him,
Fire on his side and tortures of all kinds, but the Holy Spirit comforted him like a mother,
"Fear not, George, your crown is already woven."

While the judges put the young man George to torture,
The Holy Spirit comforted him like a mother,
"Come in peace, glorious athlete, who offered yourself in sacrifice to God.
If the impious tyrant cuts off your tongue, I will speak for you and nothing will go wrong."

Glory to the Father Who chose you and conferred great honour on you, O glorious martyr.
Adoration to the Son Who strengthened you and led you to triumph in the contest.
Thanksgiving to the Holy Spirit Who magnified your name in the four quarters of the earth.
May your prayer protect the Church which celebrates your festival.

Canadian Muslim criticizes ‘Law and Order’ episode about Muslim convert
The one obviously based on the Lindh case. Some of that annoying convert Eastern Orthodox type I mentioned yesterday remind me of the make-believe Muslim on that program.

Debunking the FDR myth

Two days ahead of Orthodox Good Friday:
A physician’s view of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Lee Penn
National Post: Saudi ties to terror; Bush ties to Saudi

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Lee Penn
Carnegie Endowment: pre-9/11 history of plans for regime change in Iraq

Bush’s Faustian deal with the Taliban

Project for a New American Century - their plans, in their own words

Lee Penn: For more details, navigate the rest of the site. And note the signers of the "Statement of Principles," and see how many are in power now. Catholic neocon George Weigel is part of this group.

The earth is the Lord’s and all the fulness thereof
I see from the colourful Google banner today that this is 'Earth Day'. Not a bad thing in itself - conservation and stewardship of God's creation of course are good. But my libertarian mentors at lewrockwell.com (LRC) would argue that recycling is pointless anyway (fact: most trees used for lumber, paper, etc., are grown as a crop) and of course I don't buy into worshipping the earth and creation (Gaia, etc.). (And why does it seem that people who can cry over endangered species don't feel the same way about killing unborn people?) Though the argument that the earth is somehow alive - something not unknown in Russian folk belief - doesn't necessarily mean one pays it divine worship.

Speaking of LRC, here is an excellent article debunking liberal Protestantism, contrasting the classical liberalism or liberality of sites like this (grounded in orthodoxy) and Liberalism.

Поздравляем вас!
Svetlana Zacharova, 32, won the women's race at the Boston Marathon yesterday in 2:25.19. L'ubov Denisova finished second in 2:26.51.

SSPX Bishop Tissier de Mallerais confirms rumour is false
by John Vennari (whom I've met)
Editor, Catholic Family News
This afternoon (April 21) after I had written my first report about the false news of the SSPX [Society of St Pius X] "reconciliation", I spoke with Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais of the Society of Saint Pius X who is presently giving a retreat at St. Peter’s Priory in Browerville, MN. The bishop says there is no truth in the stories now in the press that three of the four bishops are about to be "reconciled" with Rome. "This is a rumor thrown by Rome in an attempt to divide us" said Bishop Tissier de Mallerais. "We four bishops are all together and are not divided. We do not seek 'reconciliation' with Rome unless Rome converts back to Catholic Tradition, back to the traditional Catholic Profession of Faith".
Is it just to attack Iraq?
No, said Bishop Richard Williamson back in January: ‘Often, the confusion of our godless times will make unclear the rightness or wrongness of a particular war, but the wrongness of the attack on Iraq seems to be so clear that apparently not even the Pope and American bishops are confused!’

Also from today’s LRC:
On American morals
by G.K. Chesterton
Yankee, go mind your own business - and a healthy orthodox worldview ≠ 'puritanism'. (I will concede, though, that while Chesterton was right that smoking and drinking in themselves don't affect the state of one's soul, Russian Orthodox piety sees smoking as sinful and tobacco seems to have no redeeming medicinal value - it just gives you cancer.) This robust Chestertonian view reminds me of a conversation I had recently in which I complained about two kinds of converts one sees in Eastern Orthodoxy. The commoner one in America seems to be the puritanical ex-Protestant who wants women to wear Amish-style antediluvian clothes all the time (as I wrote here before, I think such simply have a problem with women, period) and basically is angry (jealous, if they were honest with themselves) that somewhere somebody is enjoying (not abusing) God's creation, be it wine, sex, what have you. The other, far less common type is the liberal who has latched onto the aesthetics or the flavour of 'spirituality'. (They hate Catholics and other traditionalists who take refuge in Eastern Christendom for real, religious reasons.) Thankfully in my real, offline life I see neither type very much. I know people who follow religion, not 'spirituality' - born Orthodox and Russian immigrants who light candles to their favourite saint who has helped them before, have their babies baptized, have молебны and паннихиди sung and buy loaves of просфора to have Masses (Divine Liturgies, in this case) offered for the quick and the dead as listed in their помянники. 'The kind of people who eat meat on Friday and confess it' as a Russian батюшка once put it. This is real - this is Russian Orthodoxy. It is medieval Christendom, today. (Yes, I know, academic types - the late, great Fr Alexander Schmemann wrote in For the Life of the World that Christianity is different from religion and the end of all religion. But I think my meaning still stands.)

Thought of this difference again when I was given a photo album showing ordinary Russians back in 1909, living their lives (including regular 20-year-old men clowning around in front of the camera - timeless) - made me wonder, if somehow they met, if these wonderful people and the annoying hardline converts could even relate to each other. Мне кажется, что не поняли бы друг друга совсем.

Nuns reach out with massage therapy
At face value I have no problem with it - massage therapy is wonderful!

'Some see it as a natural extension of nursing.' I agree.

However, I'm not stupid - I know that massage has New Agey connotations and that some heretical dissenter types might get into it for that reason.

From about.com

The neocons’ dream:

Monday, April 21, 2003

Peterson home was crime scene in Laci and Connor murder case

Laci Peterson Memorial
National Network to End the War Against Iraq

Baghdad’s self-proclaimed mayor promises Islamic laws
To Mr Bush: Wasn't it extremist Muslims and not secular rulers like Mr Hussein who staged Sept. 11? < sarcasm> You sure showed them. And I'm sure Iraq's Christians are thrilled. < /sarcasm>

Not that Shrub and his Protestant rah-rahs care.

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Lee Penn
News of the weird: Pat Robertson spins geopolitical tales
Sounds like the chaplain for the Shrub administration. < high horse> Ha ha, they misspelled 'Tigris'. < /high horse>

Rowan Williams apologizes to Masons
It turns out the Protestant archbishop of Canterbury doesn't think Freemasonry is so bad after all. Shame.

From The Rockall Times
Spot the weapon of mass destruction
Move your mouse over the map to get on-the-spot analysis.

From the Net
'In 1946 during a gathering of youth at Fatima, Sister Lucia was asked by a young Russian girl how the conversion of Russia would come about. She stated that the conversion of Russia would come through the Orthodox Church and "the Oriental rite", meaning the Byzantine Catholic Church. This statement does not appear to be generally known.

'While the "conversion of Russia" does not mean an abandonment of the Byzantine tradition for "conversion" to Roman-rite Catholicism, many believe that it does imply a reunion/reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church.' [End of Catholic quotation.]

Tikhvin icon of Mother of God begins journey from Chicago home to Russia, with stop at St Tikhon’s Monastery in Pennsylvania
History of the icon

Sunday, April 20, 2003

White rapper who does not look or sound stupid
England's Mike Skinner, a.k.a. The Streets - hip-hop with a North London accent. The first white rapper I've liked since Ireland's House of Pain over 10 years ago.

NOW are against double-murder charge in Peterson case
Why is that not surprising, coming from one of the Pro-Murder Movement's biggest groups?

The Times of London reports that on May 24 three of the four excommunicated (on a technicality, not for heresy) Society of St Pius X bishops, including SSPX superior Bishop Bernard Fellay, will come to an official agreement with the mainstream Roman Catholic Church. The article is a little condescending, making it seem Catholic traditionalism is largely about Latin. Something the mainstream media often do. What one wonders is if this development is really an endorsement of traditionalism or just a patronizing offer to become part of a religious smorgasbord - to be on the same team as the liberals.

SSPX says story is not true

‘God bestowed upon his glorious Mother the blessedness of the two states of human nature; for she possessed the innocence which the first Adam lost, but also enjoyed after the most excellent manner the Redemption which the second Adam obtained for men’ - St Francis de Sales
Patriarch of Moscow sends Easter message to Pope


Pope Says Iraqis Have to Take Charge of Own Future
By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope John Paul, in his Easter message on Sunday, made a ringing call for peace around the world and said Iraqis had to take charge of the rebuilding of their country with the help of the international community.

The pope, marking the 25th Easter season of his pontificate, also called for an end to the "chain of hatred" threatening the human family at the start of a new millennium "tragically marred by acts of violence and conflict."

The Vatican's English translation of his speech used the phrase "chain of hatred and terrorism" but all other translations did not and the pope did not use the word terrorism when he spoke in Italian.

He said he was profoundly grieved by unending violence in the Holy Land and urged the world to remember forgotten wars.

In the message beamed live to hundreds of millions of people in 54 countries, he wished the world a happy and peaceful Easter in 62 languages, including Arabic, Hebrew and some languages spoken in countries that are in conflict in Africa and Asia.

The 82-year-old pope, speaking from a St Peter's Square bedecked with tens of thousands of flowers, appeared in overall good condition although somewhat tired. His voice was a bit hoarse after a hectic seven days of Holy Week activities.

"Peace in Iraq!," he said in his twice-yearly "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message after celebrating an Easter Sunday mass for worshippers who stood under umbrellas in a steady rain.

The crowd roared with approval and applauded when he called for peace, prompting him to raise his voice energetically to repeat several phrases with emphasis.


"With the support of the international community, may the Iraqi people become the protagonists of the collective rebuilding of their country," he said.

The pope, who wore white and gold colored vestments at Sunday's ceremony, led a vigorous anti-war campaign ahead of the U.S.-led attack to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Since Saddam's rule was toppled, the Vatican has urged a quick end to the conflict and has offered to help coordinate humanitarian assistance through its embassy and dioceses.

The pope again spoke of his fears that both fresh and protracted conflicts in the Middle East could spark what he called "a tragic clash between cultures and religions."

Forgiveness, understanding, patience and peace-building were the watchwords if people really wanted to inaugurate what he called a "new era of justice and peace."

He called for "peace in other parts of the world, where forgotten wars and protracted hostilities are causing deaths and injuries amid silence and neglect on the part of considerable sectors of public opinion."

He mentioned conflicts in Africa, Asia, the Caucasus and Latin America.

Despite all the conflicts and tragedies, the message of the pope, who lived through the horrors of World War II and suffered oppression both at the hands of Nazis and Communists in his native Poland, was one of optimism.

"However dark the horizon of humanity may seem, today we celebrate the radiant triumph of Easter joy. If a contrary wind slows the march of peoples, if the sea of history is tossed by storms, let no one yield to dismay and lack of trust!" he said.

The past Holy Week, which saw the pope preside at about 10 Vatican events, was another test for his stamina. But he seems to have held up very well and at times appeared more healthy and energetic than for several years.

During the week, the Vatican introduced three innovations, to help him conserve his strength and to take strain off his legs, which are afflicted by arthritis.

He has used a mobile throne to move up and down the main aisle of St Peter's Basilica and a small lift to reach the main altar. He also began saying mass seated in a special high chair that lifts him to the level of the altar.

Easter at Chaldean Catholic church in Iraq

Iraqi Christians Pray for Better Times at Easter
By Edmund Blair

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi Christians celebrated Easter under the shadow of uncertainty and sorrow, praying for an end to the chaos that has engulfed their lives since the United States led an invasion to oust Saddam Hussein.

Sunday is the day Christians believe Jesus was resurrected. But in Baghdad's churches -- which, like the city's mosques, have been spared the looting that has wrecked much of the capital -- the mood was somber and uncertain.

Christians dressed in the best clothes they could find mourned dead relatives and prayed for a rebirth of Iraq.

"We are praying that God protects the people," said Suhail Elias Kusto, 50, at the Lady of Our Salvation Catholic church. She said her 24-year-old nephew had been killed on the first day of the bombing of Baghdad last month.

"We just want an end to killing. We have had enough," she said, weeping. "Hasn't there been enough fighting?"

U.S. troops also attended Easter services at their camps and bases. Major Kelly Ward of the 2nd Cavalry said his unit, based on the outskirts of the impoverished Saddam City suburb, held three services -- Catholic, Protestant and non-denominational. The same pattern was repeated at U.S. bases across the city.

Iraq's Christians enjoyed relative religious freedom under Saddam's secular rule. Many of them worry that the collapse of Saddam's government and the advent of democracy in a Muslim majority nation could affect their freedom to worship.

Some also fear a backlash from those who considered the Christian community too closely linked to Saddam. Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz was the top-ranking Christian under his rule.

There are an estimated 700,000 Christians in the country of 26 million people of various sects -- many, but not all, of which celebrate Easter on the same day as Rome.

A few hundred people attended the Easter Sunday service in the Lady of our Salvation church. Ceiling fans kept them cool in the morning heat, as white-robed priests led the service.

"We are just praying that the situation stabilizes. That is the most important thing for this country," said 27-year-old mechanic Firas Showkal. "We don't have electricity. We only have a little water. There are still no schools."

Outside the Church of St Joseph, where Catholic priests in black robes and pink skullcaps led the celebration of Easter, two Iraqi Dominican nuns said what they wanted most of all was a return to some semblance of a normal life.

"My family are in America. My thoughts are with them and I want to hear their news. We don't have telephones," said Sister Marie-Yvette, 51. "We don't have security."

Sister Marta, a 40-year-old Iraqi who studied in Rome, said her prayers had been for a better Iraq: "We have been praying that people will be able to live in peace, and the situation in Iraq will improve, and life will return to normal."

Saturday, April 19, 2003

Famous lost words
Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. - George Washington

Fact of the day
One of the co-founders of the Baath party in the mid-1900s was Michel Aflaq, a Greek Orthodox Christian (probably of the patriarchate of Antioch), who shared the radical notion that the Arab countries such as Iraq should control their own resources and not the British and the French.

As tomorrow is Easter for Roman Catholics and also inexplicably for the externally otherwise completely Orthodox Russian Catholics in New York (Orthodox Pascha is a week later this year - tomorrow is Вербное Воскресенье, Palm Sunday, in the Orthodox Church), here is something from blog reader Dave McLaughlin, who is one of the latter. Happy Easter/Христосъ воскресе!

Fr Aleksandr Men on Pascha
"When we open the Bible and read of those radiant days when the Lord appeared
after his Resurrection, let us reflect on something important which it is
possible to not notice: He appeared to many people but to each of them in a
different way. To the weeping Mary Magdalene, alone by the garden tomb;
antother time it was to Peter confused and troubled. Later to the disciples
on the lake, It is John who senses the Lord's presence in his heart and
recognizes him and Peter who plunges into the lake and swims to him. Then to
Saul who persectured the early Christians and became the Apostle Paul.

This continues also today, the Lord though unseen manifests himself
perceptably to each of us. Any one of us who has sensed even for a moment the
presence of another world ,has had an encounter with the risen Christ. He
comes to everyone knocking at the door of their heart and finding his own
words right for each one of us. Our task is to listen and respond for the
Lord has come to save, revive and change the life of each of us, uniquely and personally.
So on Easter as we return to our homes, let us each take that joy with us,
knowing that the Lord has risen for precisely me and manifests himself also to me.
He speaks to me and will remain always with me, my Lord, my savior and my God! "
This from Fr Aleksandr and also the final words of his final lecture, the night
before his death...

"The victory which began Easter morning will continue until the end of the

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Lee Penn
(who is Russian Catholic and follows the Orthodox paschalion)
Computer joke about the mess in Iraq
Error message and menu for our times

These Weapons of Mass Destruction cannot be displayed


The weapons you are looking for are currently unavailable. The country
might be experiencing technical difficulties, or you may need to adjust your
weapons inspectors mandate.


Please try the following:

a. Click the Regime change button, or try again later.

b. If you are George Bush and typed the country's name in the address
bar, make sure that it is spelled correctly. (IRAQ).

c. To check your weapons inspector settings, click the UN menu, and
then click Weapons Inspector Options. On the Security Council tab, click
Consensus. The settings should match those provided by your government or NATO.
d. If the Security Council has enabled it, The United States of America
can examine your country and automatically discover Weapons of Mass Destruction.
If you would like to use the CIA to try and discover them, click Detect weapons
e. Some countries require 128 thousand troops to liberate them. Click
the Panic menu and then click About US foreign policy to determine what regime
they will install.
f. If you are an Old European Country trying to protect your interests,
make sure your options are left wide open as long as possible. Click the Tools
menu, and then click on League of Nations. On the Advanced tab, scroll to the
Head in the Sand section and check settings for your exports to Iraq.
g. Click the Bomb button if you are Donald Rumsfeld.

Cannot find weapons or CIA Error
Iraqi Explorer
A.R.Cox 2003
From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Lee Penn
US forces encourage looting
by Ole Rothenborg, Dagens Nyheter, Sweden's largest circulation daily

But there is still some good in the world:
Carlos Santana’s official site
¡Gracias a Dios! A master musician for 35 years and the elder statesman of Latino fusion rock. He deserved that Grammy four years ago (long overdue).

About the last Hapsburg emperor of Austria-Hungary:
The Emperor Karl League of Prayers for Peace Among Nations
The Vatican is considering his cause for sainthood and on April 12 declared he was of heroic virtue and named him 'venerable'.

World War I was evil. Period. Note it knocked out both apostolic Christian emperors in Europe, dethroning Austria-Hungary's and marytring (murdering) the Tsar of Russia. (The late Fr Seraphim [Rose], Russian Orthodox, saw the latter event as supremely important, opening the door to the antichrist.) It directly paved the way for Hitler and, worse, the Soviet empire and, longer lasting (continuing today), it passed the baton of world power from the nominally Christian British Empire (it helps to remember that this world empire, not exactly moral, was the creation of Protestant, not medieval, Britain) to its secular offspring (a product of English Protestantism and its sequential movement, the English 'Enlightenment'), what was fast becoming the American empire.

April 19th (Roman Rite)
St Alphege (Also known as Elphege)
Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 954-1012

Saint Elphege was born in the year 954, of a noble Saxon family. He became a
monk in the monastery of Deerhurst, near Tewkesbury, England, and afterwards
lived as a hermit near Bath, where he founded a community under the rule of
Saint Benedict and became its first abbot.

At thirty years of age he was chosen Bishop of Winchester, and twenty-two
years later became Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1011, when the Danes landed
in Kent and took the city of Canterbury, putting all to fire and sword,
Saint Elphege was captured and carried off in the expectation of a large
ransom. He was, however, unwilling that his ruined church and people should
be put to such expense, and was therefore kept in prison at Greenwich for
seven months.

While he was thus confined, some friends came and urged him to impose a tax
upon his tenants to raise the sum demanded for his ransom. "What reward can
I hope for," said he, "if I spend upon myself what belongs to the poor?
Better give to the poor what is ours, than take from them the little which
is their own." He continued to refuse to exact a ransom, and the enraged
Danes finally fell upon him in a fury, beat him with the blunt sides of
their weapons, and bruised him with stones. One whom the Saint had baptized
shortly before, put an end to his sufferings by the blow of an axe. He died
on Easter Saturday, April 19, 1012; his last words were a prayer for his

His body was first buried in Saint Paul's, London, but was afterwards
translated to Canterbury by King Canute. A church dedicated to Saint Elphege
still stands upon the place of his martyrdom at Greenwich.

Reflection. Those who are in high position should consider themselves as
stewards rather than masters of the wealth or power entrusted to them for
the benefit of the poor and weak. Saint Elphege died rather than extort his
ransom from the poor tenants of the Church lands.

Source: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on
Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea
(Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

Spiritual Bouquet: What does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world,
but suffers the loss of his own soul? St. Matthew 16:26

Other Martyrs of the Faith

At Corinth, the birthday of St. Timon, one of the seven first deacons (of
Jerusalem) (Acts 6:5) He first took up his abode as a teacher at Berea; spreading
the word of the Lord from there, he came to Corinth. There, he is said to
have been cast into the flames by the Jews and Greeks, but was in no wise
hurt. He at last completed his martyrdom by crucifixion.

At Melitine in Armenia, the holy martyrs Hermogenes, Caius, Expeditus,
Aristonicus, Rufus, and Galata, who were all crowned on the same day.

At Collioure in the Spanish Archdiocese of Tarragona, the suffering of
St. Vincent, martyr. (Actually, Collioure is on the French side of the Pyrenees; but long
ago, the Diocese of Perpignan to which it belongs was a suffragan of
Tarragona; hence the rather confusing reference in the Martyrology.)

On the same day, the holy martyrs Socrates and Dionysius, who were pierced
with lances.

At Jerusalem, St. Paphnutius, martyr.

At Rome, Pope St. Leo IX, noted for his virtues and miracles.

At Antioch in Pisidia, St. George, bishop, who for his veneration of holy
images died in exile.

In the monastery of Lobbes in Belgium, St. Ursmar, bishop.

At Florence, St. Crescentius, confessor, who was a disciple of Bishop St.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Greetings on Good Friday, traditional Roman Catholics.

Image from blogforlovers.blogspot.com

Crucified today: In the Philippines today, 13 people and their followers observed their extreme version of the Spanish penitente tradition imported there centuries ago - the volunteers were nailed to crosses (and tied onto them - the nails can't support a person) and crucified for something like 15 minutes (the limit of how long a normal person can endure this and stay alive or not be permanently harmed) as a form of prayer and penance. Part of the same kind of devotion as Oberammergau, but much more graphic. The Catholic Church there discourages it and one can see how and why this ritual understandably scares Protestants (hey, that sounds kind of fun) - it looks as though the people believe they are adding to Christ's sacrifice or trying to earn their own way into paradise. And perhaps the badly catechized people do think that. My take? It can be a beautiful thing, very sacramental, and mortification is part of ascetic prayer East and West - a way of psychological and spiritual healing that makes you a participant in Christ's once-for-all sacrifice, not a blasphemous addition to it. (Just like fasting: Jesus did it, and said some demons can only be purged through it, and the Russian Orthodox St Seraphim of Sarov said if you don't fast, you're not a Christian!) In my opinion, this Filipino custom can be construed as orthodox but only with a lot of explaining.

‘If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’ - Matthew 16:24

Tomorrow, Eastern Orthodox celebrate Lazarus Saturday.

From orthodoxchristianity.net
On the Raising of Lazarus

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Lee Penn
More New World Order news ...
Bush supports Blair bid for European Union super-presidency

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Samer al-Batal
Exposed: Are These US Marines Looting Liberating Or Fixing Saddam’s Door?
Samer al-Batal: Suspicious photo of suspicious behaviour: the Three Stooges perhaps?

With a bit of photographic modification to create a more accurate likeness to
the comedic trio, this one could hit The Onion.

I indulged the writers at their request and contributed my own caption:

"Hurry it up, you knuckleheads. Move. Otherwise someone will catch us and take
our picture."

"We're really trying, Moe."

"Quit with the whining excuses and finish scraping."

"Oooh, our pictcha? I can't say 'no' to that in these flashy uniforms. Nyuk nyuk

"Think that's funny, eh?...Well laugh this off. < smack! > Now get back to work or
we'll find ourselves hitting the front pages of The Onion before we know it. "

So much spin, so much more boldness

More on why reunion talk with Anglicanism is a waste of time
Making something an option in a religious smorgasbord isn't the same as positively believing in it and amounts to the same thing as rejecting it. This may be one reason why Catholic-Anglican and Orthodox-Anglican talks are a dead end.

Catholic/Orthodox: Do you believe in the change of the elements wholly into the Body and Blood of Christ? (Thinking: Do you, as a whole church, require belief that this really and truly happens - like we do - or not?)

Anglican: Yes. (Thinking: We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against requiring belief in this. However, if in your own journey you have found that this belief works for you - if it makes you feel good, like belief in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny - that is fine. We're sure such a belief is very comforting for wogs like you, but we enlightened Anglo-Americans are beyond all that - it just doesn't work for us anymore. Belief and nonbelief in this are equally valid paths.)

Truth in advertising: Daschle excommunicated

Film clichés from A to Z

It’s official: Bodies on California coast ID’d as Laci Peterson, baby son Connor
Philandering husband arrested
I don’t want to believe what has happened: somebody (perhaps even her husband) murdered this beautiful woman and her son (whom the media kept calling a 'full-term fœtus'). Requiescant in pace/вечная память.

From Steve Ray’s Catholic message board:
Dan Lauffer, ex-Methodist minister (27 years), now Byzantine Catholic: The word is that Scott Peterson will be charged with two murders. This has made me think again how incongruous our laws are. If a doctor murders a baby with the woman's consent it is protected by law. If anyone else does the very same thing it is murder. If Scott P murdered his wife and baby then he should be charged with two murders...but abortionists and mothers seem equally guilty of murder when abortions occur.

Ann Lewis: It's simple, Dan.

If the baby is wanted, it's murder. If it's not... it's just a piece of meat to be thrown away.

That's how it works - don't you know that?

God have mercy on us.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

A blessed Maundy Thursday, traditional Roman Catholics. 'Maundy' comes from the Latin mundare, to clean, and has to do with Jesus' washing His apostles' feet. The king of England used to wash beggars' feet on this day in medieval times; today the Queen gives a token money gift to specially chosen people.

America the bootyful
by Solomon Jones
Quotes of note: 'We live in a society where kids are on Ritalin, parents are on Prozac and reality is a show where people eat worms.'

'Picture it: An overwhelmed soccer mom drives her five kids to karate, marching band, swim class, basketball and transcendental meditation. After dropping off the last one, she takes off her housecoat, pulls off her scarf and turns into J. Lo. Then a handsome guy pops out of the cup holder. The voiceover: "Buy the Solomon Transporter, and take your kids to so much crap you'll never have to see them again. Taxes, tags and title extra."'

[Me: I think you've got their number, Sol. It's pretty obvious that an affluent society that legalizes abortion on demand hates children. Good job unmasking it.]

'...our way of life is extremely triflin'. Especially on television.'

From the letters to the same newspaper:

Do any hip-hop artists smile? What's up with all the scowling and bad looks?

More important, rather than pondering who will be the next Eminem (white rapper), why not focus on who will be the next black Albert Einstein? We need one.

Your cover (and the cover of nearly every magazine on any newsstand) features black men in sports, rap, entertainment, and that's about it. Black men covered in "bling-bling," wearing baseball hats sideways, sporting bulletproof vests and scowling for the camera.

Where are the magazine covers featuring/celebrating black men in the fields of economics, business, medicine, scientific research, etc.?

A recent national prison survey indicated that 28 percent of black males will be in prison at one time in their lives. That's tragic.

How many of those men failed to realize the unlikely dream of being a scowling, bling-bling-wearing rapper, slam dunker or singer? One in a million?

How many of those men really applied themselves to a goal? Of earning a high school degree? Of learning to read, write, add/subtract? Of attending college?

Ask a black kid who 50 Cent is and odds are he/she will know. Ask about Cornel West and you're almost guaranteed a blank look.

[Me: Cornel West is nothing to write home about either - for reasons having nothing to do with his ethnicity - but that's another matter.]

American "black culture" is doomed to filling our prisons for decades to come unless it realizes that bling-bling, sideways baseball caps, gold-capped teeth and bulletproof vests as a fashion statement are a road to cell block A.


Maybe it's SS, DD, Chris: the affluent, snide, condescending, mostly white hipster editors, writers and readers of that newspaper, for all their PC posturing about how much they care about black people, have (unconsciously) cast them yet again in the role they expect them to play, both as entertainers and as a kind of projection of their own base impulses. (A lot like the white gangsters who went to the Cotton Club in Harlem back in the day, looking for their fix of black exotica.) The same paper that recently made fun of a refined, mannerly young black TV newsreader for not looking and acting like they think he should.

It's a form of slumming for the city's young elite.

You're right on your second point, too. The reason the burned-out 'badlands' not far from my home are the way they are is because American black culture has been so badly damaged - partly because of what white people did to them but also partly because a kind of reverse-racist negative peer pressure keeps it that way.

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Lee Penn
Vatican seeks better relations with Russian Orthodox
Transfers deported Bishop Jerzy Mazur to his homeland, Poland

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Samer al-Batal
The split on the American right
Thomas Woods is interviewed by Die Tagespost
From lewrockwell.com

‘I saw Marines kill civilians’
Eyewitness account from ‘embedded’ photographer

For the people on the streets, this is not liberation but a new colonial oppression
by Robert Fisk, The Independent

More from Mr Fisk:
So now Syria is in America’s gun sights

It seems Planned Parenthood aren't the only Yankee carpetbaggers with a hostile (to truth) ideology who're salivating over their prospects in postwar, American-vassal Iraq. The Prots want in on the action too:

A crusade after all?
Samer al-Batal: Could there be, in addition to the apostles of secularism,
aggressive Protestant shock troops on standby waiting to move in?
Should there be any fear for the indigenous Apostolic Churches
of Iraq and their flocks? I would say it is difficult to draw a parallel between
this and places like Russia and Eastern Europe. Iraq, Christian and Muslim,
is steeped in tradition and hasn't been subjected to the purge of a cultural revolution.
Note however the tactic mentioned here of wooing people with material benefits.
The Pentecostals are notorious for this in Latin America.

Russia to pull troops from Bosnia, Kosovo

Photo of the day
From antiwar.com

Eastern Catholics not allowed to missionize?

Pope issues encyclical about the Eucharist
Seems to be lots of orthodox but innocuous pious rhetoric. The big question is will this translate into a restoration of pre-Vatican II, hieratic, objective, Godward worship in Catholic churches or is it just a defense of the current dismal status quo there?

From blogforlovers.blogspot.com

Today in Church history

April 17, 1492: Spain's King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella give Christopher Columbus a commission to seek a westward ocean passage to Asia. Though he was also interested in wealth, Columbus saw himself as a "Christ-bearer" who would carry Christ across the ocean to people who had never heard the gospel.

April 17, 1708: Ambrose, Russian Orthodox metropolitan of Moscow from 1768 to 1771, is born. In 1771, in the middle of an outbreak of the plague, Ambrose (who is known for his translations of the Hebrew psalter and some Greek and Latin fathers) was martyred by a mob when he removed an icon from the church to prevent the spread of infection.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

From the Net
Some thoughts on feminism and religion

God could have had a daughter, but he chose to have a Son. Some will say, "Well, if Mary had given birth to a girl, who would have listened to her?" Jesus was rejected anyway. It is a moot point.

God chose to incarnate his Son as a son, because men are images of God's transcendence. Women are images of the Church. It is not a position of supremacy/inferiority or dominance/submission but mutual love and subservience.

Are we to call God "Our Mother?" God does have both feminine and masculine qualities. Do I have to think of my earthly mother as "dad" in order to be able to relate to her? Am I going to start saying "Hail Marios?" After all, women and men both have feminine and masculine qualities. Nonsense.

If a woman wants to marry, she is likely going to want to marry a real man. A real man calls God his "Father," and looks to him as the model for his goodness. And real men want real women. Real women call God "Father" as well.

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Lee Penn
Rumour from Iranian news service: US starts build-up on Iraq/Syria border

Сайт российский о войне в Ираке (English)
Lee Penn: This is a Russian news site about the war in Iraq; read it, and you
will see a very different war from the one covered by Fox or CNN
. A rumor
about this web site is that it is tied to the KGB, and disseminates Russian
propaganda -- in the same way that the http://www.debka.com site is
supposedly linked to the Israeli secret service. The editor of "Inside the
Vatican" magazine says of these two sites, "Regarding Israeli and Russian
information sources, we note the existence of two informative web sites, but
stress that both must be used with caution: the Israeli website debka.com,
and the Russian website iraqwar.ru (translated into English at
http://www.aeronautics.ru). We note that some consider the information found
at these sites "propaganda" disseminated by the Mossad (Israeli intelligence)
or the KGB (Russian intelligence). But both sites often contain early
information about events, before other sources, which later turns out to be
true. So... use these sites with due caution."

That having been said, check out these poll results. The respondents to the
iraqwar.ru site think that Russia will be attacked next (49%) - well ahead of
the next candidate, Syria (35%), The poll is NOT scientific or
representative. But if Russians are the ones reading the site and responding
to the poll, it does show that they fear the US. [End.]

I think officially the KGB (Комитет Государственного Безопастности, Committee for State Security) no longer exists - the Vatican must mean the Russian agency that replaced it.

Демократия по-американски
Democracy, American style
(From MSNBC, through iraqwar.ru)

Patriarch Alexis II’s latest veto of papal trip to Moscow
Lee Penn: Maybe that visit to Moscow and the reconciliation of the RCC and the Russian
Orthodox will happen later rather than sooner.

Interesting quote, given the source:

"Among the many other elements of great interest, there is one regarding the
Khrushchev years. In Catholic lore, that man and those years are enveloped
by a legendary halo. Years of thawing, of dialogue, of peace. The
idealization of Khrushchev is equal to that of the good Pope John XXIII and
his Ostpolitik. In reality, says Alexei II with an abundance of facts and
confirmations, under the direction of Khrushchev 'perhaps the most terrible
period of persecution and repression aimed at killing the church' took place."

If there is "Catholic lore" idealizing Khrushchev, I had never heard of it
.... but of course, there is lots of "lore" idealizing Pope John XXIII.

I have heard rumors that the Patriarch himself was KGB; is that true, or a
calumny? [End.]

All I know is he had a KGB code name, Дроздов, but that doesn't prove anything. So did the US president or anybody in the world who was of high rank. I wouldn't be surprised if he was, though. In Soviet times, there was no way one could become a ranking bishop without the support of the government.

From Dave McLaughlin
Questions Arise Over Return of Kazan Icon to Russia
Vatican looking into where and when the image will go back to Orthodox

From Mike Russell
Baath Badguy playing cards
Just like the ones given US troops - photos of Iraqi government officials, including Chaldean Catholic Tariq Aziz

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

From The Independent
US-British split over Syria

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Samer al-Batal
An open letter from Thomas Fleming to Michael Novak
One of the best things I've read recently. From Chronicles.

From Robert Fisk, The Independent
Library books, letters and priceless documents are set ablaze in final chapter of the sacking of Baghdad

Samer al-Batal: This is not a good [Western-calendar] Holy Week. God save us from anything like this should Syria be on the receiving end of missiles next. Permit me a little hyperbole: I wouldn't be surprised if a missile hits the Omayyad Mosque and incinerates the body of the Forerunner [St John the Baptist] himself.

From worldnetdaily.com (apparently some evangelical Protestant, Republican Party-oriented news service)
Bush warns Syria: Cooperate, or else
US intent on bringing about major reform in 'terrorist state'

Господи, помилуй.

The stopped clock, again - from the 'peace and justice' type of Catholics
Catholic leader wants Bush to be tried
Says international court should prosecute president as war criminal

'International court'? No, thanks. But invading countries that are no threat to yours is criminal.

And, especially for US Tax Day:
Libertarian Party presents feds’ top 10 money-wa$ters
Besides the Iraq war.

Two Eastern Orthodox neocons
Fr Johannes Jacobse and Frank Schaeffer

Блаженный миротворцы, яко тии сынови Божии нарекутся.

‘OPF draws deeply from the ideology of the secular peace movement—so much so that the two are often indistinguishable.’

Frank Schaeffer has drunk deeply from the ideology of the American neoconservatives, as has the Protestant religious right from which he comes, so much so that the two are often indistinguishable.

Funny, both these guys belong to the Greek Orthodox archdiocese in the US, nominally the country's biggest Orthodox group - the same one that gave a church award to proabortion US Sen. Paul Sarbanes in Maryland.

The OPF:

‘…Saddam Hussein is an enemy of the United States’

He's not a threat to the US.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Well put, sir
A former friend who was a formative influence on my views had this to say today about the whole sorry mess in Iraq:

Yes, the conventional wisdom this week from NPR, CNN, Faux News and the
rest is that we are are already beginning to see first of the many and
varied "dividends" -- all good, of course -- from the Iraq invasion,
including, we are told, some slight wobbling in the knees from other
despots like Kim Jong Il.

While there is probably an element of truth here, this sort of thinking
is incredibly short-sighted. So, while the blood of both dead Americans
and Iraqis is barely dry, and the museum looters are still running
through the streets of Bagdhad with busted pieces of Hammurabi's chamber
pot, the giddy elite news media is apparently ready to pronounce this
whole undertaking nothing less than an unqualified victory for the
forces of truth, justice and GPS-guided munitions.

This is foreign policy viewed at the level of a Saturday-morning
: The one-dimensional, totally evil (yet predictably inept),
caricature villains are routed by the totally virtuous heroes, whose
motives are entirely pure...(and whose stuff is a lot cooler, too.)

All this takes place with virtually no adverse long-term consequenses,
and is resolved tidily in one 22-minute episode. Just in time for the
next round of sugary cereal and made-in-China action figure commercials.

I can see it now...

'Next up on Fox Kids: Mighty Morphin' Foreign Policy Rangers...Brought to
you by Neocon Crunchies with Mesopotamian Marshmallows. (Part of your
complete breakfast.) Now, with a make-believe Weapon of Mass
Destruction, Drone Plane of Death, or Baath Badguy trading card in each
specially marked box... Collect them all... Trade them with your friends!' [End.]


Yeah, 'Drone Plane of Death' - as if Mr Hussein could have conquered the US (he had no plans to) with little balsa-wood drones that could barely go over the Persian Gulf (if that), let alone halfway around the world. As the lefty cartoon 'This Modern World' by Tom Tomorrow has Shrub and Dick Cheney say, 'Here are the keys to the White House, O mighty conqueror'. Please.

Like FDR (insert spitting noise here), Mr Bush has latched onto the big popularity boost (and distraction from problems at home, like a depression) from being a 'wartime president' - the propaganda 'news' services above are saying a whopping majority of the American sheeple support what he (or really, his handlers like Real President Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld) is doing.

As for Mr Kim, my guess is it's like Red China vs. Taiwan. He could destroy South Korea (with nukes?) but not really conquer and rule it.

From both Lee Penn and Dave McLaughlin, coincidentally received by e-mail simultaneously
Rumour: Pope and Patriarch of Moscow might meet