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Thursday 31 May 2012

Letting God Be God-a Second Conversion

I had an insight into the real power of  the Passion and Death of Christ. God died. We have emphasized the Humanity of Christ so much in the last two centuries, that we Catholics have forgotten, as our abuses in the Mass reveal, such as noise in the Church, and the lack of reverence, that Christ always was, is and will be. He is the Second Person in the Holy Trinity. He was present at the origin of the material universe. He died.

Now, at the Passion and Death of Christ, Christ did not reveal His Godhead. He did not reveal Himself as He truly was and is. He let Himself be denied by His Own People. He let Himself be abused, tortured, killed by His relatives in the flesh and in the Spirit.

God let Himself die at the hands of humans, so that we would be fully human and regain our divine life, lost in Eden.

If we let God be God in our lives, if we do not play God by ordering our lives merely by our own lights, we allow the Crucified One to live, to be Resurrected in our own lives. We allow God to be God in our lives. God is a Living God. And, we live in Him.

Here is the new insight. God allowed Death to have a moment of victory, just a  moment, three days, so that we are not doomed to plan our own lives (sorry,Sartre). Christ died to free us from our own self-will. our own puny ideas of ourselves, of others, our own desire to play God.  Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane saw the entire world's humanity's efforts to be God-and to play God is to sin, to be presumptuous, to fall into pride or despair.

Christ became Man so that we could become Sons and Daughters of God. We, who were made in the Image and Likeness of God, again regained the ability, the chance to regain that image and likeness.

Such happens in the Sacrament of Baptism. If and how we cooperate with the graces of Baptism is our response to God.

My insight is not new or original. But, we must all come to the personal appropriation of Truth. Some come to this earlier than I have. Those live in trust, in hope, in faith, in love. These are the saints. I am just beginning life over again.

For Greater Glory-the Cristiada Martyrs

There are 37 martyrs beatified from the time of the Cristeros. There is an encyclical on the persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico (see below). The martyrs were from many types of people-lay, priest, seminarians. One was thirteen years old. Here is a partial list of the saints. I leave the links. The first, Cristóbal Magallanes Jara (1869–1927), may be the most well-known, as well as Blessed Miguel Pro, whose photo is on another post below. 
Tomorrow in the States, the movie on the Cristeros movement or the Cristiada in Mexico open. Link is on name. I have seen some trailers. It may be too violent for the children, so parents, see it yourselves first, which is what my parents did and what I did. Go to the link and follow the timeline. Home schooling mom alert---this would make a good section of your American History curriculum.

The movie has a timely opening date, as the theme is the war for religious freedom in Mexico. Here is a blurb from the website linked above. Comments welcomed for those who see this film. I would like some feedback

In addition, there is the encyclical of Pope Pius XI on the persecutions, on the Vatican website.

Here is a section of Iniquis afflictisque:

6. Referring now to certain notorious facts concerning which We have already raised Our voice in solemn protest and which even the daily press recorded at great length, there is no need to take up much space in telling you of certain deplorable events which occurred even in the very recent past with reference to Our Apostolic Delegates to Mexico. Without the slightest regard for justice, for solemn promises given, or for humanity itself, one of these Apostolic Delegates was driven out of the country; another, who because of illness had left the Republic for a short time, was forbidden to return, and the third was also treated in a most unfriendly manner and forced to leave. Surely there is no one who cannot understand that such acts as these, committed against illustrious personages who were both ready and willing to bring about peace, must be construed as a great affront to their dignity as Archbishops, to the high office which they filled, and particularly to Our authority which they represented.
7. Unquestionably the events just cited are grave and deplorable. But the examples of despotic power which We will now pass in review, Venerable Brothers, are beyond all compare, contrary to the rights of the Church, and most injurious as well to the Catholics of Mexico.
8. In the first place, let us examine the law of 1917, known as the "Political Constitution" of the federated republic of Mexico. For our present purposes it is sufficient to point out that after declaring the separation of Church and State the Constitution refuses to recognize in the Church, as if she were an individual devoid of any civil status, all her existing rights and interdicts to her the ac quisition of any rights whatsoever in the future. The civil authority is given the right to interfere in matters of divine worship and in the external discipline of the Church. Priests are put on the level of professional men and of laborers but with this important difference, that they must be not only Mexicans by birth and cannot exceed a certain number specified by law, but are at the same time deprived of all civil and political rights. They are thus placed in the same class with criminals and the insane. Moreover, priests not only must inform the civil authorities but also a commission of ten citizens whenever they take possession of a church or are transferred to another mission. The vows of religious, religious orders, and religious congregations are outlawed in Mexico. Public divine worship is forbidden unless it take place within the confines of a church and is carried on under the watchful eye of the Government. All church buildings have been declared the property of the state. Episcopal residences, diocesan offices, seminaries, religious houses, hospitals, and all charitable institutions have been taken away from the Church and handed over to the state. As a matter of fact, the Church can no longer own property of any kind. Everything that it possessed at the period when this law was passed has now become the property of the state. Every citizen, moreover, has the right to denounce before the law any person whom he thinks is holding in his own name property for the Church. All that is required in order to make such action legal is a mere presumption of guilt. Priests are not allowed by law to inherit property of any kind except it be from persons closely related to them by blood. With reference to marriage, the power of the Church is not recognized. Every marriage between Catholics is considered valid if contracted validly according to the prescriptions of the civil code.
9. Education has been declared free, but with these important restrictions: both priests and religious are forbidden to open or to conduct elementary schools. It is not permitted to teach children their religion even in a private school. Diplomas or degrees conferred by private schools under control of the Church possess no legal value and are not recognized by the state. Certainly, Venerable Brothers, the men who originated, approved, and gave their sanction to such a law either are totally ignorant of what rights pertain jure divino to the Church as a perfect society, established as the ordinary means of salvation for mankind by Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer and King, to which He gave the full liberty of fulfilling her mission on earth (such ignorance seems incredible today after twenty centuries of Christianity and especially in a Catholic nation and among men who have been baptized, unless in their pride and foolishness they believe themselves able to undermine and destroy the "House of the Lord which has been solidly constructed and strongly built on the living rock") or they have been motivated by an insane hatred to attempt anything within their power in order to harm the Church. How was it possible for the Archbishops and Bishops of Mexico to remain silent in the face of such odious laws?
10. Immediately after their publication the hierarchy of Mexico protested in kind but firm terms against these laws, protests which Our Immediate Predecessor ratified, which were approved as well by the whole hierarchies of other countries, as well as by a great majority of individual bishops from all over the world, and which finally were confimed even by Us in a letter of consolation of the date of the second of February, 1926, which We addressed to the Bishops of Mexico. The Bishops hoped that those in charge of the Government, after the first outburst of hatred, would have appreciated the damage and danger which would accrue to the vast majority of the people from the enforcement of those articles of the Constitution restrictive of the liberty of the Church and that, therefore, out of a desire to preserve peace they would not insist on enforcing these articles to the letter, or would enforce them only up to a certain point, thus leaving open the possibility of a modus vivendi, at least for the time being.
11. In spite of the extreme patience exhibited in these circumstances by both the clergy and laity, an attitude which was the result of the Bishops' exhorting them to moderation in all things, every hope of a return to peace and tranquillity was dissipated, and this as a direct result of the law promulgated by the President of the Republic on the second of July, 1926, by virtue of which practically no liberty at all was left the Church. As a matter of fact, the Church was barely allowed to exist. The exercise of the sacred ministry was hedged about by the severest penalties as if it were a crime worthy of capital punishment. It is difficult, Venerable Brothers, to express in language how such perversion of civil authority grieves Us. For whosoever reveres, as all must, God the Creator and Our Beloved Redeemer, whosoever will obey the laws of Holy Mother Church, such a man, We repeat, such a man is looked on as a malefactor, as guilty of a crime; such a man is considered fit only to be deprived of all civil rights; such a man can be thrown into prison along with other criminals. With what justice can We apply to the authors of these enormities the words which Jesus Christ spoke to the leaders of the Jews: "This is your hour, and the power of darkness." (Luke xxii, 53)
12. The most recent law which has been promulgated as merely an interpretation of the Constitution is as a matter of fact much worse than the original law itself and makes the enforcement of the Constitution much more severe, if not almost intolerable. The President of the Republic and the members of his ministry have insisted with such ferocity on the enforcement of these laws that they do not permit the governors of the different states of the Confederation, the civil authorities, or the military commanders to mitigate in the least the rigors of the persecution of the Catholic Church. Insult, too, is added to persecution. Wicked men have tried to place the Church in a bad light before the people; some, for example, uttering the most brazen lies in public assemblies. But when a Catholic tries to answer them, he is prevented from speaking by catcalls and personal insults hurled at his head. Others use hostile newspapers in order to obscure the truth and to malign "Catholic Action."
13. If, at the beginning of the persecution, Catholics were able to make a defense of their religion in the public press by means of articles which made clear the truth and answered the lies and errors of their enemies, it is now no longer permitted these citizens, who love their country just as much as other citizens do, to raise their voices in protest. As a matter of fact, they are not even allowed to express their sorrow over the injuries done to the Faith of their fathers and to the liberty of divine worship. We, however, moved profoundly as We are by the consciousness of the duties imposed upon Us by our Apostolic office, will cry out to heaven, Venerable Brothers, so that the whole Catholic world may hear from the lips of the Common Father of all the story of the insane tyranny of the enemies of the Church, on the one hand, and on the other that of the heroic virtue and constancy of the bishops, priests, religious congregations, and laity ot Mexico.
14. All foreign priests and religious men have been expelled from the country. Schools for the religious education of boys and girls have been closed, either because they are known publicly under a religious name or because they happen to possess a statue or some other religious object. Many seminaries likewise, schools, insane asylums, convents, institutions connected with churches have been closed. In practically all the states of the Republic the number of priests who may exercise the sacred ministry has been limited and fixed at the barest minimum. Even these latter are not allowed to exercise their sacred office unless they have beforehand registered with the civil authorities and have obtained permission from them so to function. In certain sections of the country restrictions have been placed on the ministry of priests which, if they were not so sad, would be laughable in the extreme. For example, certain regulations demand that priests must be of an age fixed by law, that they must be civilly married, and they are not allowed to baptize except with flowing water. In one of the states of the Confederation it has been decreed that only one bishop is permitted to live within the territory of said state, by reason of which law two other bishops were constrained to exile themselves from their dioceses. Moreover, because of circumstances imposed upon them by law, some bishops have had to leave their diocese, others have been forced to appear before the courts, several were arrested, and practically all the others live from day to day in imminent danger of being arrested.
15. Again, every Mexican citizen who is engaged in the education of children or of youth, or holds any public office whatsoever, has been ordered to make known publicly whether he accepts the policies of the President and approves of the war which is now being waged on the Catholic Church. The majority of these same individuals were forced, under threat of losing their positions, to take part, together with the army and laboring men, in a parade sponsored by the Regional Confederation of the Workingmen of Mexico, a socialist organization. This parade took place in Mexico City and in other towns of the Republic on the same day. It was followed by impious speeches to the populace. The whole procedure was organized to obtain, by means of these public outcries and the applause of those who took part in it, and by heaping all kinds of abuse on the Church, popular approval of the acts of the President.
16. But the cruel exercise of arbitrary power on the part of the enemies of the Church has not stopped at these acts. Both men and women who defended the rights of the Church and the cause of religion, either in speeches or by distributing leaflets and pamphlets, were hurried before the courts and sent to prison. Again, whole colleges of canons were rushed off to jail, the aged being carried there in their beds. Priests and laymen have been cruelly put to death in the very streets or in the public squares which front the churches. May God grant that the responsible authors of so many grave crimes return soon to their better selves and throw themselves in sorrow and with true contrition on the divine mercy; We are convinced that this is the noble revenge on their murderers which Our children who have been so unjustly put to death are now asking from God.
17. We think it well at this point, Venerable Brothers, to review for you in a few words how the bishops, priests, and faithful of Mexico have organized resistance and "set up a wall for the House of Israel, to stand in battle." (Ezech. xiii, 5)

Wednesday 30 May 2012

Assange and Occupy International-an Interview

Today, I have watched an exclusive interview with Julian Assange on RT.  That the Russian television station would show an exclusive interview is not an accident. The Friends of Occupy were at the interview-Occupy New York and Occupy London. Assange and others explained how Occupy came to be and where it is going.

It is a global movement starting in Tunisia, moving from there to Greece, Italy, Spain and other places. The Day of Rage in 2010 was also a beginning. Social media and what is called "swarms", that is movements. These people are against nation-states. They claim that that national leaders are no longer accountable, that the institutions are not viable. IMF, WTO etc are which groups they see as the real leaders. While some conservatives may agree on who is really running countries, the language and agenda of the Occupy is very different than, let us say, tongue-in-cheek, the Acton Institute.

There are different streams, as the persons in the groups stated, galvanized into one large movement. This is a global movement, which the Americans do not understand. The Indignatos, for example, were in New York, anarchists travelling. Egyptians were in Occupy Wall Street. The European movement is connected. They admitted that without the new media, without the Internet, twitter and other stuff, they would not have made the main media at all. This was an online movement which moved offline.

What Assange talked about was political techniques. These people are the grandchildren, spiritually. of  Saul Alinsky. Street drama, hand waving, etc. are planned--communication for online audiences is planned. These Occupy leaders are against all coercion, and have no real plan except creating consensus online.These young people have memorized Rules for Radicals.

They are in some ways naive--they are engaging in what they call the political imagination. They are in some ways extremely good at what they do. They are not (quote), "talking about legalities" with regarding to occupying places, but about defiance. They do not accept the existing order at all. The Occupies are, as Assange said, "mini-states" which the Occupiers control. They want it to be serious. They do not want nutsy people or naked people, for example, as they do not want their movement ruined. There were drummers, for example, and they negotiated with the drummers. Without rules, there is anarchy. But, that is what this is all about--different levels of anarchy.

There is a worry from Assange that nutsies will rise to the top.

In three weeks, there were 800 worldwide of the members said the "enemies are worldwide".

I want to say and this is a quote, that they want the "end of capitalism".

Of course, they blame the police for all the violence. Watching Occupy Rome in the Autumn and the violence was not started by the police. Some want violence and some do not. Some what to push the envelope and see how far they can go.

They are against all the structures which govern the world at this time. Wake up Europe, wake up America.

Update: I am adding Dr. Sanity's excellent article here. It is connected.

Update Two on Occupy Bilderberg 2012: Check out this article.

Joy is a sign of Christian belief

Reason 23,976 why I am a Christian. Joy is a sign of Christian belief. You won't believe this unless you read it.

British Government Attack on Freedom of Conscience Heats Up

There are many ways to try to destroy the Catholic Church. None have worked. Many have caused pain and misery for Christians through-out the ages. We are heading for a remnant Church.

Things are heating up in Great Britain and in Ireland as to persecution of the Catholic Church. There are three areas of attack with endanger religious freedom in these two countries.

The first is the push for civil marriages for homosexual and lesbian couples.
The second is the increased interference in so-called Catholic schools regarding the curriculum.
The third is the restriction of conscience protection for doctors and nurses.

Here is a complete article from LifeSiteNews on the latest and on-going attack. To use the word attack is not to exaggerate. Those who can should act now, especially voters. Do not ignore this period of consultation. Make your views known, please.

Doctors must refer for abortion, perform ‘gender reassignment surgery’: UK draft guidelines

Thaddeus BaklinskiTue May 29 16:25 ESTAbortion
LONDON, May 29, 2012 ( - A draft of new guidelines titled “Personal beliefs and medical practice” issued by the UK’s General Medical Council warns doctors that exercising their conscience rights to not prescribe contraceptives, including the abortifacient morning after pill, as well as not referring for abortion or performing “gender reassignment surgery,” could endanger their license to practice.
“Serious or persistent failure to follow this guidance will put your registration at risk,” the document forewarns.
Under the guidelines, some circumstances allow a doctor “to opt out of providing a particular procedure because of your personal beliefs and values.” However, this provision is set aside in the case of gender reassignment surgery because, say the guidelines, refusal would amount to discrimination against an identifiable group of patients.
“The exception to this [opt out] is gender reassignment since this procedure is only sought by a particular group of patients and cannot therefore be subject to a conscientious objection. This position is supported by the Equality Act 2010 which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment,” the draft states.
While physicians can refuse to participate in abortions under Section 4(1) of the Abortion Act 1967, the new guidelines state patients seeking “a procedure you have a conscientious objection to” must be referred to another doctor who will carry out the procedure.
The draft guidelines also state that doctors “may have a conscientious objection to providing contraception.” However, they “cannot be willing to provide married women with contraception but unwilling to prescribe it for unmarried women. This would be a breach of our guidance as you would be refusing to treat a particular group of patients.”
Paragraph 54 of the guidelines sums up the restrictions on doctors acting on their personal beliefs with the statement, “You must not express your personal beliefs (including political, religious and moral beliefs) to patients in ways that exploit their vulnerability or that are likely to cause them distress.”
Chief Executive of the General Medical Council, Niall Dickson, said in a statement, “We know that personal beliefs are central to the lives of many doctors and patients.
“Our draft guidance seeks to balance doctors desire to practise medicine in line with their own personal beliefs, whilst ensuring that they are providing patients access to appropriate medical treatment and services.
“We do want to hear what doctors and patients think about the draft guidance and we hope as many people as possible will respond to our consultation by 13 June.”
Bishop Tom Williams, Chairman of the Bishops’ Conference Healthcare Reference Group, criticized the draft guidelines and urged Catholic healthcare professionals to respond to the General Medical Council consultation.
Bishop Williams said in a statement that the GMC guidance “does not have a balanced or positive appreciation of the value of religion,” and that, “Both religion and conscientious objection seem to be treated as problems to be minimised and circumscribed as much as possible.”
He said the guidelines fall far short of achieving their stated purpose and instead have the possibility of creating “an atmosphere of fear in which doctors are prohibited from ever expressing their own religion,” with the result that they “would directly discriminate against certain categories of doctor and indirectly discriminate against patients who may be deprived of a healthcare professional from their community who understands their concerns.”
“It is important that the voice of Catholic doctors and patients is heard in this consultation, which ends in mid June,” Bishop Williams concluded.
Dr David Albert Jones of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, a Roman Catholic academic institute that engages with the moral questions arising in clinical practice and biomedical research, has produceda document outlining key issues of concern in the GMC’s Personal Beliefs guidelines in order to assist healthcare professionals and patients to understand the issues and to respond to the General Medical Council consultation.
“The Anscombe Bioethics Centre echoes this encouragement [of Bishop Tom Williams] to respond to the GMC consultation, as the Personal Beliefs document will be of great and lasting significance for doctors and for patients. The more people who are able to respond, the more evidence this will provide to the GMC of the serious concerns of doctors and patients on these issues,” Dr Jones said.
The Anscombe Bioethics Centre’s “Notes and Key Points on Personal Beliefs and Medical Practice” is available here.
The link to the General Medical Council (GMC) Consultation on Personal Beliefs and Medical Practice explanation page is available here.
The link to take part in the Consultation is available here.
The General Medical Council’s document titled “Personal beliefs and medical practice” is available here.

The Boredom of the British

The British are so weird and get bored easily. I just learned today that in 1809, two bored men bet that one of them in competition could make a house the most famous house in London. The bet was horrible as the man who one the bet did not even use his own house, but his neighbors, Mrs. Tottenham. The poor widow even received at least one coffin on this day. Now, that is mean. Here is the article in wiki on it, but I have heard of this crazy story from others.

Why the British do such weird things is beyond me. But, maybe someone could do this and irritate a famous person in the White House. Security wouldn't allow it.

The Berners Street Hoax was perpetrated by Theodore Hook in the City of Westminster, London, in 1809.[1][2] Hook had made a bet with his friend, Samuel Beazley, that he could transform any house in London into the most talked-about address in a week, which he achieved by sending out thousands of letters in the name of Mrs Tottenham, who lived at 54 Berners Street, requesting deliveries, visitors, and assistance.[3]
On 27 November, at five o’clock in the morning, a sweep arrived to sweep the chimneys of Mrs Tottenham's house. The maid who answered the door informed him that no sweep had been requested, and that his services were not required. A few moments later another sweep presented himself, then another, and another, 12 in all. After the last of the sweeps had been sent away, a fleet of carts carrying large deliveries of coal began to arrive, followed by a series of cakemakers delivering large wedding cakes, then doctors, lawyers, vicars and priests summoned to minister to someone in the house they had been told was dying. Fishmongers, shoemakers, and over a dozen pianos were among the next to appear, along with "six stout men bearing an organ". Dignitaries, including the Governor of the Bank of England, the Duke of York, theArchbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Mayor of the City of London also arrived. The narrow streets soon became severely congested with tradesmen and onlookers. Deliveries and visits continued until the early evening, bringing a large part of London to a standstill.[4]
Hook stationed himself in the house directly opposite 54 Berners Street, from where he and his friend spent the day watching the chaos unfold.[4]

People who have time like this now blog.

Tuesday 29 May 2012

On Chimeras and Mermaids

I home schooled. Now, I knew there were spurious science progams on television, but we did not watch these. Too many nature shows and history programs push theory or even false ideas. I remember one year when I wrote several letters to the History Channel and the BBC for false historical data. Relativism and docu-drama had overtaken serious research. I gave up. Both industries said they were not responsible for the content of the programs. Amazing.

Now, the same thing has happened again, as it does regularly with this report on the supposed findings of mermaids. Here is the link.

The problem with mixing myth and science has been based on the need for sensationalism. But, there is something more sinister behind these blatantly silly programs. I place yeti studies in the same category.

The problem is this. God created man and woman in His own image and likeness. He created the animals for His own pleasure and the pleasure of man and woman. I believe in the order of Creation in Genesis, and if one looks carefully at the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Teaching Magisterium, one sees clearly a few points repeated.

Men and women created in God's Image have an immortal soul. Although mammals, the life of God, the spirit, lives eternally.

There cannot be chimeras created by God. Animals have a distinctly animal soul, a la Thomas Aquinas' excellent studies, and others, and animals are the servants of humans.

Christ, the Second Person in the Blessed Trnity became Incarnated, became Man and took His Humanity, His Glorified Body back to Heaven with Him in the Ascension, which we just celebrated in the Church. Our Humanity has not only been restored from the Original Fall of Adam, but has been raised up in God Himself.

St. Paul is very good on this last point.

The problem with false science and mythology is that is blurs the clear distinction between the eternal soul and rational ability of men and women, denying the eternal element and making humans just one more animal without distinction. A natural law philosophy demands this moral and ontological difference. We are animals who are destined for eternity and share in sanctifying grace. Through the Resurrection, we have been restored.

Those who do not make a distinction between humans and animals degrade humans. Some see humans as the enemies of the planet, and not the stewards. These philosophical positions are not the traditional Catholic or even Christian ones of the hierarchy of humans, created in the Image and Likeness of God.

Christ is the New Adam, just as Mary is the New Eve, undoing the horrific separation of man and woman from God and eternal life.

Despite the cuteness of C. S. Lewis' Narnia and other tales where there are creatures who are half-human, such as mermaids and centaurs, these half-beast, half-human creatures who are neither fully man nor fully human create confusion, even in good Christians. Now, the Catholic Church in Britain had to make a decision on chimeras, and being that these are part human, made a statement on the creation of chimeras and the care of such after creation. The Church is against such creation, against cloning, but those creatures who have been made must be treated with dignity. Of course, there is also the excellent document on research and bioethics, found in this link.

Sorry, could not find a modest photo or drawing of a mermaid.

On The Blaze, Rubio Quote is Understatement of the Year

The Blaze is getting better and better.
And Rubio has stated the obvious
Check out this link.
The Hill is reporting that the United States House of Representatives is due to consider an international proposal that would give the United Nations more control over the Internet sometime next week.
Backed by China, Russia, Brazil, India and other members of the international body, the proposal is drawing fire on both sides of the aisle in Congress, as members of the Obama administration even move to criticize it.
“We’re quite concerned,” said Larry Strickling, the head of the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
He described the measure as “top-down regulation where it’s really the governments that are at the table, but the rest of the stakeholders aren’t.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also pointed out that China and Russia “aren’t exactly bastions of Internet freedom,” and just because they support a measure, that’s not exactly a reason to follow suit.

CNBC Media Online Finally Has Honest Report on Greece

Surprisingly harsh article on Greece shows the truth of the country which does not want to tighten its belt. Here is the link. About time.

Monday 28 May 2012

Now, I am on the list for posting this.......

A four post day, as I could not resist posting doing this, I am now on the list. Wow, all the words on one posting......whoa!

Revealed: Hundreds of words to avoid using online if you don't want the government spying on you (and they include 'pork', 'cloud' and 'Mexico')

  • Department of Homeland Security forced to release list following freedom of information request
  • Agency insists it only looks for evidence of genuine threats to the U.S. and not for signs of general dissent

Revealing: A list of keywords used by government analysts to scour the internet for evidence of threats to the U.S. has been released under the Freedom of Information Act
Revealing: A list of keywords used by government analysts to scour the internet for evidence of threats to the U.S. has been released under the Freedom of Information Act
The Department of Homeland Security has been forced to release a list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats against the U.S.
The intriguing the list includes obvious choices such as 'attack', 'Al Qaeda', 'terrorism' and 'dirty bomb' alongside dozens of seemingly innocent words like 'pork', 'cloud', 'team' and 'Mexico'.
Released under a freedom of information request, the information sheds new light on how government analysts are instructed to patrol the internet searching for domestic and external threats. 
The words are included in the department's 2011 'Analyst's Desktop Binder' used by workers at their National Operations Center which instructs workers to identify 'media reports that reflect adversely on DHS and response activities'.
Department chiefs were forced to release the manual following a House hearing over documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit which revealed how analysts monitor social networks and media organisations for comments that 'reflect adversely' on the government. 
However they insisted the practice was aimed not at policing the internet for disparaging remarks about the government and signs of general dissent, but to provide awareness of any potential threats.

see site for more

This is the list


Blessed Margaret Pole

Today, as I am in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, this is the memorial day of Blessed Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury. She was the last Plantagenet and is a martyr for the faith. She is one of my personal patrons. She was executed in 1541. Blessed Margaret, pray for us today and especially for my English friends and family.

Pay attention Christians in France--you voted for this...


And from the Great Spencer on May 27th....France: Muslims stone Christians in church during mass

No one will take much note of this. It is just one story among the thousands that together tell the tale of France's decline and Islamization. Eurabia Update: Here is my translation of "Carcassonne Des fidèles caillassés pendant la messe à Saint-Joseph," by Yannick Bonnefoy in Midi Libre, May 27 (thanks to David):
Carcassonne: The faithful stoned during Mass at St. Joseph
Yesterday at 6:20PM, as Fr. Roger Barthes began to celebrate mass, four youths, aged 14 to 18, broke into the Church of St. Joseph, before launching handfuls of pebbles at 150 faithful present at the service. Immediately, men began pursuing the young troublemakers, but in vain. They managed to vanish into thin air, heading towards the city La Conte.
Interrupted by regrettable unexpected event, Mass was finally able to proceed as planned. Although no one was injured and nothing was broken in the church, located along the Avenue Jean Moulin, the parishioners, many of whom are elderly, were greatly shocked by the disrespectful act of the youths of North African origin....
and from a comment on the website, "North African origin"—read, "Muslim".
Carcassonne has been under Muslim conquest before. In 725, the Wali Ambisa took the city following the Islamic conquest of the Visigoth kingdom of Spain. The city remained in the hands of Muslims until 752, when it was freed by the Franks led by Pippin the Short. 

The Charismatic Leader and the Downfall of the West

On this beautiful sunny morning in Surrey, my thoughts move to darker times in the past and perhaps ahead. I have been reading Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore. If you have not read it, do.

The research accomplished  by the author is compelling, as is the prose. But, what is striking me is the  repetition of history in the attraction of the Charismatic Leader. Now, I put that label in capitals as I want to emphasis not only that this is a type of person who becomes a leader easily in a leadership vacuum and that is an important follow-up on Saturday's post, but the Charismatic Leader is the type people want in a crisis.

The two points provide a framework for what is happening in Greece and even France. Dealing with France first, one may gasp and say, correctly, "Hollande, charismatic? No!" He seems the opposite of the bling-bling Sarkowzy, now fading into the past quickly in this modern age of media hype and un-hype. But, the charism of Hollande is exactly that he is the supposed intellectual next-door, the man of the people, even a populist, if a socialist can be a populist. Hollande's charism is that he reflects the normal man of France. The youth and middle-aged can identify with his manners, his seeming, caring demeanor (a la Clinton, I feel your pain) and even his non-first lady, the first mistress.

Hollande fits the bill for France and really is not Mr. Ordinary. Here is a comment from him before the election: 

Asked about fears that he was too bland to be president, Hollande said: “Everyone says François Mitterrand had huge charisma. But before he was president they used to call him badly dressed, old, archaic and say he knew nothing about the economy … until the day he was elected. It’s called universal suffrage. When you’re elected, you become the person that embodies France. That changes everything.”

Mr. Boring becomes President Charismatic. This does say more about the French about Hollande, but there it is.

The new president embodies the French ideal of the revolutionary, which is a charismatic ideal in France. They love their revolutionaries. The office of the President of France is one for an egotist. Now, Hollande's real ally is the scary Alexis Tsipras, a communist and real Charismatic Leader. He is a true radical and his agenda is more than getting Greece out of an austerity mode. He preaches hatred of the normal means of working with problems by an inflamatory and blatantly false rhetoric.  This past week in France, Tsipras stated. 

"We are here to explain to people in Europe that we have nothing against them. We are fighting the battle in Greece not just for the Greek people but for people in France, Germany and all European countries."

"I am not here to blackmail, I am here to mobilise," he said.

Mobilize who and what?
Now, Hollande is not the same type of charismatic leader as Tsipras, but they are going to work together against austerity measures which are necessary. These socialists, and I think the new man of Greece, the man of the hour, is a communist, don't you, will work against the democratic and capitalist system with which ideologically they disagree. From the same article--

Opinion polls suggest Tsipras's party Syriza could be in a position to lead a coalition government in Greece after a second general election next month. He was in the French capital to meet members of France's far left, including Front de Gauche firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who stood as a presidential candidate in April.
The young and charismatic Greek politician will travel to Berlin to reiterate his message; this is that Greece wants no more austerity and is willing to tear up the country's €130bn (£105bn) bailout agreement if necessary.
His defiance appears to be catching. Before Greece held a general election on 6 May, the 37 year old and his Syriza party were widely mocked as a motley collection of ex-Trotskyists, Maoists, champagne socialists and greens, who appealed to fewer than 5% of voters. After polling more than 25%, the Greeks and the rest of Europe have been forced to take him and his party seriously.
At a press conference at the French Assemblée nationale on Monday, there was a scrum as dozens of journalists from around the world packed into a small wood-panelled room in the parliament building and jostled for the chance to ask Tsipras questions.
Pierre Laurent, national secretary of the French Communist party and president of the European Left party, himself a former journalist, was having no truck with those waving their arms about and huffing and puffing about not being able to address the Greek politician.

"It's me who decides," he said firmly. Laurent added that he was "delighted to welcome" Tsipras and supported his crusade against austerity that was not only "conducting us into a dead end" but was "anti-democratic".
Tsipras does not care about democracy or he is redefining it, as so many Marxists do.
Notice the language of division. Americans, does this type of rhetoric remind you of someone--the most divisive president we have ever had?
Wake up, Europe and America before the EU turns into one great playground for tyrants. and read the book.

Sunday 27 May 2012

A musical timeline, incomplete but fun...

I rarely write about music on this blog, but I love classical music and Gregorian Chant, as well as Medieval music and other types. What I have found is that my tastes have changed over the years. I thought I would share a timeline of my musical tastes for your amusement.

Age 0-3 Mostly Mother's nursery rhymes and a few Marian hymns in Church were my music of choice. However, my favorite tune was a soap commercial on the Bakelite radio in the kitchen. I loved all the nursery rhymes except Bye Baby Bunting, and my brother burst into tears on hearing I'm a Little Teapot, as it breaks at the end. My mom sang songs from World War II, such as Nightingale in Berkeley Square, The White Cliffs of Dover, We Will Meet AgainThe Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, I'll Be Seeing You...still brings tears to my eyes and I have these memorized

Age 4-6 Songs which I could sing became my favorites including Church hymns such as the Dies Irae, which I thought was really cool. I liked the signature tune of My Gal Sunday on the radio. (Not My Sunday Gal) I also liked the music to the Lassie show and Sky King series on television. My favorite was the title song to Robin Hood, yes it was. I had such a crush on Richard Greene. Mom introduced us to Hansel and Gretel by Humperdinck and my classical education began seriously. I also loved listening to her records of Offenbach and Puccini, which she had from her teens.

Age 7-9 My uncle and aunt took me to the movies to see all and I mean all, the musicals. I think my favorite was and still is Funny Face.  I saw so many musicals, I could not list them all. I also saw Ben Hur and memorized the music. I was taking piano lessons by this time and wanted to play show and movie tunes....I was also going to the children's symphonies and loved Peter and the Wolf and Amahl and the Night Visitors. But, the best was Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. Too cool.

Age 10-13 Movie music and show tunes, as well as Gregorian Chant dominated my musical life, but I also discovered Classical Music for myself in new choices...but the highlights were the music of films, the likes of Maurice Jarre, Lawrence of Arabia, and the music of Mutiny on the Bounty by Bronislaw Kaper. I was a hopeless romantic. But, living on the Mississippi, we had the jazz festivals every year, and that is a leit motif of my entire life. The family had all the Mitch Miller records and we sang as a family for a long time together. Many of the songs are early love Americana love songs which were sad. Family got involved in local symphony yearly for a long time.  Heard The Messiah several times. Sang in choir from age 8 to 16.

Age 14-16 Slowly but surely, I was becoming a teenager and oh dear, I liked the Beatles, the Band, Peter and Gordon, and Bartok, just for the heck of it. Also, I was starting to go to the jazz festivals on the river bank with my friends, and learning the different types of jazz. Cool days in hot Iowa summers.

Age 17-20 I was all into the folk scene, Peter, Paul and Mary, Simon and Garfunkle, John Denver, all who I saw in person. I also went to the Chicago Summer Music Festival on the Lake and saw Chicago, Santana, Grateful Dead all in person.....African and Indian music becoming popular. I bought a Ravi Shankar album.

Age 21 The Lead Zepplin, Moody Blues. Pink Floyd, Traffic era of my life, shared with Berlioz, Shostakovich, Schubert, Mahler, and Schumann. What a weird combination.....

Age 22-26 Bach, Bach, Bach and John Williams. Oh well, and a bit of Southern Harmony Gospel Songs from the 1910 Revival. Great Stuff. More Mozart was appealing as well to me. Chicago Blues...on the waterfront of Minneapolis and at the summer festivals by the lakes....There was so much talent in the Midwest in that time that we were spoiled for choice. Went to polka festivals with my friends. All good, clean fun and bratwurst.

If one grows up on the Mississippi, one grows up with music...

Age 26-30 Popular music faded into new Church music and more opera. I was really into opera and was for a long time, like all the rest of my life! Fell in love with Ralph Vaughan Williams and the English Romantics at this time. Also, William Walton, Michael Tippett, Benjamin Britten, especially the War Requiem and other modern British composers. Calypso made a comeback. Danced to disco and Latin music. Had a great time. Saw some fantastic performers in person in Minneapolis, including the Metropolitan Opera on the road. Highlight was seeing Aaron Copland directing the Minneapolis Symphony with Fanfare for the Common Man, July of 1976. Minneapolis Ballet did Rodeo that year, I think.
Age 30-35 Began seriously studying and listening to Medieval religious and secular music, and early Church music, before and after polyphony. More opera, more classical, the Proms, and other good stuff. Also, I was a manager for a Pop's Orchestra in the Midwest and assistant manager for a Symphony Orchestra. Names back into Gregorian Chant....and great organ music, like Maurice Durufle and others. Attended organ recitals at the university. Saw Chicago Symphony Orchestra several times with Sir Georg Solti as friend had box seats. I was in heaven. Best was his Mahler. Saw several Mozart operas and others.

35-55 Opera, is there anything else, my favorites being Turandot and The Magic Flute. Saw a lot of opera, but had a baby at about 40 and was back to square one...except for the soap commercial However, I composed about thirty of my own baby songs, including a really good one about dinosaurs. Skip the baby photos.....back to opera and classical music. Sang 18th and 19th century sea-shanties in the car with the kid on long American car trips. Sang Civil War songs and soul music on long American car trips. Sang early Gospel music on long American car trips. Sang Motown songs on long American car trips. Took child to opera and musicals on stage including La Boheme, Beauty and the Beast,  Don Giovanni, Camelot, Die Fledermaus and more on stage. Sang musicals on long American car trips. Son had eight years of violin, so I attended lots of concerts and we saw some excellent soloists on tour. Played violin concertos on long American car trips. Sang at the baseball games--a real American tradition.

56-on Highly influenced by a teenager in the house. What can one do.....techno mostly and some anime movie stuff. Remixes of Chicago Blues. Deja vu. More Gregorian Chant as we found a Latin Mass, thank goodness and joined the choir. More Puccini, Bach and Beethoven to counteract the techno in the next room....Life and music went on. Got music to favorites movies seen as a family, such as LOTR and others. Kid decided he liked same stuff I listen to over one-third of a century ago. It was so weird...

58-Grown up child went to college. Silence, ah. But, I went back to my favorites, and found time to listen and learn. Sigh, no more long American car trips. But, joined choir when son came home and highlight was singing the Byrd Mass for Five Voices. Also, son was part of choir which made a CD of Latin Mass parts and ancient hymns in California. I think I am moving into more and more silence....interesting.

Saturday 26 May 2012

On States' Rights

Early this year, I wrote about the possibility of a civil war in the States. The is always the same reason why individual states get restless and want to secede from the Union. This reason is simple. The United States is a confederate of states which freely agree to be part of the larger union. If any state decides no longer to belong to that confederation, there is a constitutional impetus which may allow such a state to separate. There is no compelling reason for any state to surrender state's rights for the sake of the whole. State rights are enshrined in law.

Now, there are several issues which may push any particular state out of the union. The first is simply state sovereignty. A state can decide as a unite to be part of the union if that state both believes in the sacredness of that union and the viability. For example, if the United States Federal Government went bankrupt, but an individual state was financial sound, there could be no compelling reason for that state to give over state assets to bail out the Federal Government. In the EU, this is the same argument happening over Greece, Spain, and Portugal, for example.

Secondly, moral issues which were once held sacred by the Federal Government are no longer held so by the Executive and perhaps elements of the judicial branch. Civil marriage for same sex couples or abortion would fall into these categories of moral stands taken by some states in opposition to the Federal Government.

Thirdly, a state may not desire to support a particular effort or law, such as Obamacare, and decide not to cooperate with a national mandate.

I am a states' rights advocate. I believe that if the Federal Government oversteps its boundaries set down by the Constitution, or if the Executive Branch becomes too powerful, the states individually, or as a group, have the right to secede from an already faulty union. However, I would hope such a secession would be peaceful and not a repetition of the bloodiest war our country has ever seen.

If you do not think we are divided, take a look at this map. One of the experts on States' rights, J. Layne, writes this,
States' rights is about the states being able to maintain their individual identities in the community of states.  Each state is a unique and sovereign being that has a right to exist and direct itself to prosperity, within the limits it has agreed to in the Constitutional compact.  One of President Washington's U.S. Attorneys observed that the Federal Constitution effectively is incorporated into the state constitutions.  In other words, each state has its government, its laws, its constitution.  The Federal Constitution simply is like an amendment to each state's constitution, sharing power with the federal government.  As such, the federal power is delegated power, and that delegation comes from the people of each state, as James Madison himself admitted in an exchange with Patrick Henry at Virginia's ratifying convention.  And the power that delegates may undelegate.  That's as firm a principle of American freedom as any that can be named.  So it follows from this, or at least the South argued, that each state could undelegate the power it had once granted the federal government.

He added in a private interview that
 States' rights is not about racism.  That is unfortunately what it has often been tied to.  That was an abuse of states' rights.  States rights at its core is about local control.  The states pre-existed the federal government, and they made the federal government.  The federal government is a creature.  The states are creators.  That government which is closest to the people and still able to fulfill its proper functions is the best government.  So that's what states' rights is and should be about, not guaranteeing a state's "right" to do something it and no government may do, which is to enslave or oppress racial minorities.