Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, "You are mad, you are not like us."St. Anthony of Egypt
Doreen M. Truesdell:
I am a middle aged, middle income, traditional Catholic female and I don’t belong here anymore.
The nation I have loved all my life has rebelled, like some arrogant teenager who smugly tells his mother and father that he knows more than they do. It’s been coming on for some time, but I’ve always comforted myself with the thought that I stood with a silent majority that was just too busy working and striving and living and dying to voice their concerns about where the culture of our nation was headed.
Forty years or so after the cultural and sexual revolution began, the “teenagers” have won, the silent majority is a minority, and this nation — on an executive level — has become alien ground to me and many others.
This is not just inaugural griping, this is the realization that our nation has finally, officially embraced the post-modern world; that, in addition to media elitists and collegiate intellectuals spreading nihilism, we finally have a U.S. president who embodies such a culture. Propelled into office by voter greed, Barack Obama will now lead the nation that leads the world, using his successful blend of atheistic humanism and political manipulation that make for easy-to-digest sound bytes. The immoralists are no longer only in the ivory towers, they are in the White House, not to mention the courts, the educational systems and the financial industries. And most Americans don’t mind at all or are too busy or distracted to notice.
The U.S. has unequivocally, unabashedly and electorally embraced a subjective reality where truth is changeable, depending upon how it can serve our pocketbooks and our uninformed consciences.
“Every generation feels the same way, and yet the nation survives,” you may say. But I say our nation is dying and it’s closer to its death throes now than ever before in its history. The United States is 233 years old and it is creaking under the weight of its own arrogance.
“In the end Christ will triumph and the His truth will be vindicated,” you may also say, and I concur with a grateful heart. I thank God for His promises, which I know He will keep. But between now and His triumph could be the end of the great American experiment. Christ never promised the U.S.A. would be around to welcome His victory, and it’s not alarmist to say that our beloved nation may well fall before that glorious day arrives.
Stop. Before you click the “comment” link, stay with me a while longer because here’s where this article takes a surprising turn towards optimism. After two months of pondering what this new presidency and administration will wreak upon unborn babies, legitimate marriage, public education, health care and a bevy of other life-altering issues, I maintain there is opportunity alongside this heartache. In God’s universe, thanks to His mercy and providence, there always is.
The universal struggle between good and evil, between Christ and His enemies has now taken center stage in this nation. For decades most American Catholics have lived relatively comfortably by accepting shades of gray. Little by little the grays became darker as more of the Church’s moral teachings were questioned, ignored and rejected. Now, the gray areas have turned to blackness. It is no longer possible for lukewarm Catholics to remain faithful. The gray areas are gone. American Catholics will either embrace the white light of Truth or accept the darkness.
So where does this leave aliens like me? Totally reliant upon God, and for many of us it will be the first time in our lives. I used to define myself as an American Catholic, but now I realize I am a Catholic in America. The nation I used to depend upon to accept my spiritual composition is gone. No longer does our citizenship agree that our laws are, and should be, based on Judeo-Christian concepts. No longer can a Christian assume his moral beliefs will be given fair representation or even toleration in the public forum.
As aliens, we have an important role to play as keepers of the faith on hostile soil. Here’s our opportunity to get off the fence on every controversial issue that offends God and start pulling our weight as Catholics in America. Many Catholics already are very publicly defending Christ and His Gospel truths. Most aren’t. Are you defending Christ in America? Am I?
Video tribute to the Obamessiah*
h/t Happy Catholic for the St. Anthony of Egypt quote.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
I studied in a Jewish seminary (yeshiva) a few years back, and at the time I was just beginning to consider the idea of serving in the Israeli Army. This particular yeshiva is a "charedi" institution - essentially ultra-orthodox. Charedi yeshivas are generally not very Zionistic, and their opinion of young men serving in an army instead of spending all day every day studying Torah is fairly low. So, when I volunteered to a rabbi that I was interested in the IDF, the response wasn't warm, to say the least.
The rhetoric thrown around was that the IDF is a "bad place for religious Jews." They liked to say that it's hard to be religious there, that it's hard to keep your level of faith, and that there are too many bad influences. At the time I didn't have any other information, I didn't know what it's like to be orthodox in the army, so I just took it for what it was worth: hyper-religious Jerusalemites judging what they had no experience in in the first place. I didn't know what to think, but I assumed that they were being slightly dramatic.
And now I know just how wrong they were. I have become even more observant of Torah law in the army. I pray three times a day, as required in Judaism, I'm kosher without condition, and I celebrate all the holidays and cultural events to the max. It's just so easy to be religious in the army. We wake up in the morning, do a gun safety check, and then we are promptly given nearly an hour for the morning prayers. It's either pray or clean the rooms...
I'm constantly surprised at the religiosity of this organization. So when Hanukkah came around I was happily surprised as we were gathered each night to light the candles, say the prayers, and join in on singing and dancing to celebrate the victory that the Maccabeans had over the powerful Greeks. Here we were, a group of Jewish soldiers celebrating the most unlikely of upsets by our Jewish brothers 2000 years before. For so long we had no state, much less no army, and consequently we had no security. Our people were thrown from land to land, abused and led like sheep to the slaughter. But finally we've returned, and I'm a part of that.
As we sang "Al HaNisim" I couldn't help but feel the hand of divine assistance; the Maccabean War and the 1948 War of Independence seemed like one and the same. Hanukkah is a celebration of the Jews overcoming the Greek oppressors, a regime that attempted to destroy the Jewish people, faith, and state. We overcame them then, and we will overcome the attackers of our state again. Hanukkah is a celebration of the physical strength to be found in faith, and I think what the charedi yeshivas are missing is that the IDF's fist is steeled only because its other hand is grasping a Torah.
We know where our strength comes from, just as Joshua and David knew, just as Judah The Maccabee knew.
The rest (including a video Brothers shot of his platoon dancing and singing part of "Al HaNisim.")
Related: The Book of Maccabees
WASHINGTON - Many people like to stop and play with newborn babies, but now some adult women are playing house with fake babies.
Some women are even going as far as taking day trips with the fake babies to the park, out to eat, and even hosting birthday parties for them.
Forty-nine-year-old Linda is married with no children of her own. Now, she says she feels like a mother because she has Reborns [link added]-- dolls made to look and feel like the real thing.
"It's not a crazy habit, like, you know, drinking, or some sort of, something that's going to hurt you. It's like a hobby and it doesn't really hurt anybody," Linda said.
The sadly bizarre rest.
Related: Dolls Replacing Children in Ever-Aging, Childless Japan
Anyone who knows anything about the Middle East knows that Sunni and Shiite radicals don't work together -- er, except when they do. Proof that the conventional wisdom is badly wrong is on offer in Gaza, where the manifest destiny of the Islamic Republic of Iran is now unfolding. Tehran has been aiding Hamas for years with the aim of radicalizing politics across the entire Arab Middle East. Now Israel's response to thousands of Hamas rocket provocations appears to be doing just that.
Born in the 1980s from the ruins of the Palestine Liberation Organization's corrupt and decaying secular nationalism, Hamas is a grass-roots, Sunni Islamist movement that has made Shiite Iran a front-line player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Before Hamas, the mullahs had financed the Palestine Islamic Jihad, whose holy warriors became renowned suicide bombers. But Islamic Jihad has always been a fringe group within Palestinian society. As national elections revealed in 2006, Hamas is mainstream.
Although often little appreciated in the West, revolutionary Iran's ecumenical quest has remained a constant in its approach to Sunni Muslims. The anti-Shiite rhetoric of many Sunni fundamentalist groups has rarely been reciprocated by Iran's ruling elite. Since the death in 1989 of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the charismatic, quintessentially Shiite leader of the Islamic revolution, Iran's ruling mullahs have tried assiduously to downplay the sectarian content in their militant message.
Khomeini's successor, Ali Khamenei, has consistently married his virulent anti-American rhetoric (Khomeini's "Great Satan" has become Khamenei's "Satan Incarnate") with a global appeal to faithful Muslims to join the battle against the U.S. and its allies. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the most politically adept of the revolution's founding clerics, loved to sponsor militant Sunni-Shiite gatherings when he was speaker of parliament and later as president (1989-1997). He and Mr. Khamenei, who have worked hand-in-hand on national-security issues and have unquestionably authorized every major terrorist operation since the death of Khomeini in 1989, have always been the ultimate pragmatists, even reaching out to Arab Sunni radicals with a strong anti-Shiite bent.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
French public television network France 2 on Tuesday revealed they had aired photographs that allegedly showed destruction caused by the Israel Air Force during Operation Cast Lead, which were in fact taken during a different incident in 2005, one in which Gaza civilians were killed by an explosion caused by militants in the Strip. The footage aired on Channel 2 on Tuesday afternoon showed dozens of dead bodies, including Hamas gunmen and citizens, which the channel said were killed by an IAF bombing raid on January 1st. It later came to light that the channel had instead aired footage of the devastation caused after a truck full of explosives blew up in the Jabaliya Refugee Camp.
Wrong year, wrong cause. Though probably an honest mistake that has nothing to do with eager anti-Israel demonization in the France 2 newsroom. These things just happen.
It's often pointed out that Hamas does not recognize Israel's right to exist. It's more than that. Hamas, with Iran's backing, is committed to Israel's violent destruction. Missiles have fallen on schools and homes. Hamas is explicit about desiring Israeli counterattacks, because while Hamas aims to kill Israeli civilians, they know that Israel tries very hard not to kill Palestinian civilians. But every Palestinian death at the hands of Israel is seen as a propaganda victory for Hamas — which is why they place their munitions and terrorists in mosques, hospitals, and homes crowded with children. Hamas representative Fathi Hamad [link added] stated it explicitly: "For the Palestinian people death became an industry, at which women excel and so do all people on this land: the elderly excel, the Jihad fighters excel, and the children excel. Accordingly (Palestinians) created a human shield of women, children, the elderly and the Jihad fighters against the Zionist bombing machine, as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: We desire death as you desire life." [emphasis added]The rest.
It's impossible for Israel to hit back at Hamas without harming and killing innocent civilians. As Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu has pointed out, by aiming at Israeli civilians and using Palestinian civilians as human shields, Hamas is committing a double war crime.
But you will wait in vain for an international outcry.
Paging Naomi Klein. In her book The Shock Doctrine, the left-wing polemicist claimed that right-wing governments — which she defined very broadly — take advantage of crises, or “shocks,” to implement their dastardly policies of free trade, privatization, and tax cuts. Well, one government has now announced its intention to take advantage of an economic crisis to implement “things you could not do before.” And since this government no doubt includes a lot of people who have read Naomi Klein, she may very well be able to take credit for giving them the idea.
According to the Wall Street Journal, President-elect Obama’s first and most central appointee is excited at the opportunities presented by the current economic shock:
Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, speaking to a Wall Street Journal conclave of business leaders Tuesday, said the economic crisis facing the country is “an opportunity to do things you could not do before.”
“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” Mr. Emanuel said.
“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Klein’s fans would be all over that if a Republican had said it. Instead, Paul Krugman praises that very line. Maybe he’s learned a few things from Naomi Klein, too.
In Crisis and Leviathan, Robert Higgs demonstrated that government growth in the United States has not been slow and steady, year in and year out. Rather, its scope and power tend to shoot up during wars and economic crises. Occasionally, around the world, there have been instances where a crisis led to free-market reforms. Generally, though, governments seek to expand their power, and they take advantage of crises to do so. But they rarely spell their intentions out as clearly as Rahm Emanuel did.
Monday, January 05, 2009
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Wow. From elation to rock bottom in just 2 months. I think he set a land-speed record or something:
It's all coming to pieces, isn't it -- the world we live in, the continuity we thought we could count on, the climate, the economy, the fragile peace. The 20th century was called "the American Century," with some reason. I do not believe the 21st century will belong to anybody, and it may not last for 100 years of human witness. There are nuclear weapons in the Middle East and on the Indian subcontinent, and if one is used, more will follow and who can say when the devastation will end?
The weather is unhinged. It is no longer a question of global warming. It is a question of what in the hell is happening? I do not have to rehearse for you the details of this horrible American autumn, and a winter not yet half over. The tornadoes, the hurricanes, the floods, the blizzards, the wild fires, the heat waves, the water shortages, the power blackouts. The White House declares "a state of emergency" and the federal government sends money. How many states of emergency are we still in? How much more money is there?The economy is going to get worse. We may have no idea how much worse. The greed and corruption at the economy's core reached a scale unimaginable at the time of the Great Depression. Even responsible banks are threatened, because they cannot borrow and are fearful of lending. The world seeks safe havens for wealth, but the dollar is weaker, the yen is also surrounded by Recession, and if we park our money in China, a risky notion, what will happen with their money, parked here?
What a daunting situation [Obama] will face. How well can he possibly "succeed" when so many of the problems, starting with the climate, cannot be cured by the actions of man? How can he lead the economy back from a pit of unbridled, unregulated greed--when we learn that CEOs protected their own $100 million bonuses as part of the bailout package we all paid for? How will he bring world peace between peoples who have hated each other for decades? [source]
Admittedly, he did sounds a note of caution even while rhapsodizing, perhaps realizing that all those inconvenient expectations about the Obamessiah might have to be ratcheted back a wee bit:
As the mighty tide swept the land on Tuesday night, I was transfixed. As the pundits pondered red states and blue states, projections and exit polls, I was swept with emotion. Not because America was "electing its first Black president." That comes a little late in the day. It was because America was electing the right President.
Our long national nightmare is ending. America will not soon again start a war based on lies and propaganda. We will not torture. We will restore the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of privacy, and habeas corpus. We will enter at last in the struggle against environmental disaster. Our ideas will once again be more powerful than our weapons. During the last eight years, the beacon on the hill flickered out. Now the torch will shine again.
But, oh, it will be hard for him. He inherits a wrong war, a disillusioned nation, and a crumbling economy. He may have to be a Depression president. [source]Or perhaps a president of the depressed.