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Saturday, June 05, 2004
Ronald Reagan has passed away

He wasn't a Catholic but he appealed to Catholics with his values in a way that no Republican prior or since.

He started a revolution but the revolution is incomplete. The rest of us have to carry it on.

Reagan was an optimist about the United States. We'll all have a chance to see the high points of his life in the days to come.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:40 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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A Footnote on the Middle East

Lawrence of Arabia

During December and January, [Arab Prince] Faisal was in Britain, where [Col. T.E.] Lawrence introduced him to Chaim Weizmann, the Zionist leader to whom the British had promised a postwar Jewish homeland in Palestine. Looking upon Semitic Jews and Arabs as "an indivisible whole," Lawrence hoped for their cooperation in developing the Middle East. In return for uncontested entry to Palestine, the Jews were to lend Faisal money to establish his kingdom in Syria.

I was so impressed with Lawrence of Arabia, the film, I read part of T.E. Lawrence's account Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

It's a shame that he died in 1935 in a senseless motorcycle accident at the age of 47. Had he lived on to 1948, he'd only be 60 and in a position to mediate between Western, Arab, and Zionist interests

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:59 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Friday, June 04, 2004
A sense of the priorities of the Associate Press

AP: Bush Late for Vatican Meeting With Pope

President Bush arrived 15 minutes late for his meeting with Pope John Paul II - unusual for a president who makes no secret of his impatience when others keep him waiting.

It was a rare breach of protocol in Vatican City, too, and raised eyebrows in the papal delegation.

"The president is 15 minutes late," John Paul's secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, pointed out to Vatican reporters.

White House aides blamed Bush's tardiness Friday on a longer-than-expected preceding meeting with the Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.

We can be thankful that at least Dziwisz didn't deny that there was a meeting scheduled.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:29 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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opinion journal. Paul Johnson: D-Day The liberation of Europe has lessons for today's war leaders.
These reflections of D-Day and its aftermath remind us that military decisions can never be entirely separated from their political consequences. Geopolitics is like a game of chess: You have to think a dozen moves ahead. This is as true today as in 1944-45.

When President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair decided to destroy Saddam Hussein's military power, they took a risk that was abundantly justified both geopolitically and morally. But they paid insufficient attention to the possible political consequences.

Unlike Montgomery in 1944, who never underestimated the German genius for counterattack, and made provision against it, the allies this time did not study and prepare for the peculiar Arab genius for counterattack, which is to carry out prolonged and vicious guerilla warfare, completely disregarding human life, including their own.

Moreover they did not study and prepare for the difficulties of meeting this form of counterattack against the political background of a free society at home, reacting nightly to what it sees on TV, and reading highly critical reports from the front written by journalists who have their own opinions and agendas and feel under no obligation to pursue the war (and peace) aims of the allied commanders.

Both Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair are currently suffering from their lack of provision and foresight.

Given patience and determination, all will be well in time: Democracy and the rule of law will grow in the Middle East, and the roots of terrorism will be destroyed.

But we are learning, once again, that the lessons history has to teach are inexhaustible and that statesmen should never plunge into the future, as we did in Iraq, without first examining what guidance the past could supply.

From one of my favorite historians. I think Johnson's History of Christianity and William Manchesters's The Glory and the Dream got me to become a total history geek after already reaching the peak of computer geekdom 20 years ago.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:38 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Reuters: Here is an Advocate of Peace

A hooded protester shoots a firework into the Defense Ministry during anti-war demonstrations in Rome, June 4, 2004. Thousands of armed police lined the streets of the Italian capital on Friday as activists gathered to protest against visiting U.S. President George W. Bush and the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

My question is, if a photographer could get close enough to this person to get a photograph, why couldn't a police officer get close enough to disable this person?

Who is to know if the payload of the missile (firework?) is black powder or concentrated explosive?

In New York City, you won't see such masked protesters because as soon as the mask goes up, they are subject to arrest.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:11 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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War and Peace

The anti-American or pro-terrorist lines from the Pope are quoted to demonstrate the condemnation of the liberation of Iraq by the United States and its coalition partners.

Here are some of the sound bites from the 2004 World Day of Peace Message (1/1/2004) the are now well-quoted favorites.

It is essential that the use of force, even when necessary, be accompanied by a courageous and lucid analysis of the reasons behind terrorist attacks... The fight against terrorism must be conducted also on the political and educational levels: on the one hand, by
  • eliminating the underlying causes of situations of injustice which frequently drive people to more desperate and violent acts
  • and on the other hand, by insisting on an education inspired by respect for human life in every situation: the unity of the human race is a more powerful reality than any contingent divisions separating individuals and people.

Has anyone quoting the first bullet point ever bothered to quote the second point. Iraq's regime had the least respect for human life on the planet. Good Riddance.

Terrorists always have reasons.

Osama wanted to remove the deterrent American military presence from Saudi Arabia which was left after the first Gulf War at the request of the King. And, of course, Osama wanted to remove the King and there's evidence of terrorist activity in the Kingdom to show that this hope is alive. It is his reason.

The reason for the Madrid bombing in which 200 were killed was to remove the Spanish military presence from Iraq. Spain complied. The greatest capitulation to a terrorist movement since the French withdrew from Algeria.

Victor Davis Hanson addresses the elimination of root causes in NRO

The so-called Arab street and its phony intellectuals sense that influential progressive Westerners will never censure Middle Eastern felonies if there is a chance to rage about Western misdemeanors. It is precisely this parasitic relationship between the foreign and domestic critics of the West that explains much of the strange confidence of those who planned September 11. It was the genius of bin Laden, after all, that he suspected after he had incinerated 3,000 Westerners an elite would be more likely to blame itself for the calamity searching for "root causes" than marshalling its legions to defeat a tribe that embraced theocracy, autocracy, gender apartheid, polygamy, anti-Semitism, and religious intolerance. And why not after Lebanon, the first World Trade Center bombing, the embassies in Africa, murder in Saudi Arabia, and the USS Cole? It was the folly of bin Laden only that he assumed the United States was as far gone as Europe and that a minority of its ashamed elites had completely assumed control of American political, cultural, and spiritual life.

Hatred of Israel is the most striking symptom of the Western disease. On the face of it the dilemma there is a no-brainer for any classic liberal: A consensual government is besieged by fanatical suicide killers who are subsidized and cheered on by many dictators in the Arab world. The bombers share the same barbaric methods as Chechens, the 9/11 murderers, al Qaedists in Turkey, and what we now see in Iraq.

The root cause of Islamist terrorism is that Islam has failed and Christianity has advanced the quality of life for the greatest number of people in the world -- its materialist appeal and has given life to more persons with goodness and holiness -- its spiritual appeal. The root cause of Islamist terrorism is the rage of the failed (Cain) against the success of the faithful (Abel).

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:55 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Did Laghi Lie on May 13? (23 days ago)
Zenit: Pope to Ask Bush for Radical Shift in Policy, Says Cardinal Laghi

John Paul II will ask U.S. President George Bush to stop basing his policies in Iraq and the Holy Land on recourse to force, when they meet June 4, a cardinal says.

The meeting is over and apparently the President wasn't told to stop anything.

Islam Online had an predictable anti-American spin on this story. Of course -- when Laghi criticizes violence, it is the United States that is named and not the terrorists and their state sponsors.

I don't expect a retraction or clarification from either Laghi or Islam Online.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:41 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, June 03, 2004
In War, the first casualty is the truth
Washington Post: The Difference Between Terrorists and Wedding Guests

A terrorist safe house? Or a wedding celebration? Or both?

What exactly did U.S. military aircraft attack in the western Iraqi desert in the early morning of May 19, 2004?

If you read the U.S. press, that question is the subject of legitimate dispute and official investigation. If you read the overseas online media, you will find little doubt that the U.S. forces, deliberately or accidentally, perpetrated a "massacre" near the village of Qaim that killed up to 45 people, including many women and children.

Being the Washington Post, it is skeptical of official US accounts.

There's plenty of places on the web now where you can see conclusive and compelling evidence that this was a terrorist safe house. The area near the point where Jordan, Syria, and Iraq meet is one of the most inhospitable places in the world. Makr al-Deeb is the center of the Syrian desert.

NewsMax: Iraqi 'Wedding Party' Had Terrorist Ties

Members of a so-called Iraqi wedding party attacked by U.S. forces last week near the Syrian border were heavily armed, carried Syrian cash and held passports from Sudan, Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman Dan Senor revealed Monday.

"Keep in mind what we found at the site of the 'wedding party,'" Senor told Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly.

"We found Sudanese passports, we found Syrian currency, we found a stockpile of weapons," he explained. "We found individual phone numbers to Afghanistan, Syria and other countries that often serve as bases for terrorist operations."

Senor said the size of the "wedding party's" weapons cache was so large that it raised questions about whether the group was actually manning a "way station" for terrorists traveling into Iraq.

He also questioned film footage obtained by The Associated Press showing the alleged wedding celebration taking place in broad daylight - since the attack itself came around 2 a.m. in the morning.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:11 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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St. Paul Archdiocese and Archbishop Harry Flynn welcomes Protestants, er... Protesters
St Paul Pioneer Press: Clash at the cathedral

Roman Catholic laypeople formed a quasi-barricade at the Cathedral of St. Paul on Sunday, forcing gay-rights supporters to step over, around and through them to receive Holy Communion.

As the extraordinary action unfolded, men broke out in spontaneous prayer, women wept and the presiding priest shifted back and forth in an attempt to offer the Communion host to those coming forward.

What is typically an orderly line of communicants became jumbled along the center aisle, as a group calling itself Ushers of the Eucharist knelt and blocked a direct path to the priest.

No one appeared to be denied Communion, and no physical altercations were reported. Although some bishops of the Catholic Church have debated whether it is appropriate to deny Holy Eucharist to those opposed to church teachings, it was 35 laypeople on Sunday who confronted fellow Catholics during Communion.

In other accounts, I read the Ushers of the Eucharist were effective in preventing the members of the Rainbow Sash Movement (RSM) from defilment of the Holy Eucharist.

In typical distortion of the RSM agenda, the linked article omits that defy and protest the Church teaching on homosexuality.

St. Pioneer Press: Man objects to Communion for gay group is the article from Thursday May 27 covering the planning for Pentecost.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:14 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Revising History

Crusader Family

Chicago Tribune: Bush talks of `great clash' in Iraq

...In the opening minutes of the speech, Bush harkened back to June 2, 1944, and repeated the words Gen. Dwight Eisenhower crafted that day in his headquarters in the English countryside before the invasion of Normandy. Telling his troops that "the eyes of the world are upon you," the supreme Allied commander referred to the mission as a "great crusade."

Bush, however, deleted the word "crusade" as he read aloud the rest of Eisenhower's message. The president has taken great care to avoid that word since September 2001, when he incensed Muslims around the world by using "crusade" to describe the war on terrorism.

As if killing 3000 Americans didn't incense us.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:04 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Scott Hahn's Latest Swear to God is now on Amazon.

And if you buy through my web site you will be making a donation to Good Counsel Homes for unwed mothers though the Amazon affiliate program.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:42 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Villiage Voice Gary Indiana: Opus Heyday
The success of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code excites interest in a secretive Catholic lay group—and further notes on the culture of conspiracism.

Conspiracy theories emanating from both the left and the right, along with the many that issue from the Planet Debby, almost invariably rely on scapegoating as a core methodology. The interdigitating shadow organizations that fill so much of conspiracy history invariably involve the Jews or the Jesuits or both. What right-wing conspiracy theory could be complete without The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and what secularist or Protestant conspiracy theory without the Jesuits thrown in? (The extreme left has its own menu of the automatically culpable, which I won't elaborate on here.)

A basic introduction to the topic. Pretty much free of anti-Catholic bias, unusual for the Village Voice.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:24 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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1010 WINS: North Jersey Parochial Schools May Close
Some of the 170 Roman Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Newark could be closed or merged with others under a plan that could take effect in the next few years.
170 to close? What will be left?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:47 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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1010 WINS: Killer is Free
A man convicted of stabbing a Hasidic scholar during the 1991 Crown Heights race riots in New York was released Wednesday from a federal prison in Texas.

I couldn't improve on the headline. Lemrick Nelson stabbed Yankel Rosenbaum to death. As he lay dying the victim identified Nelson as the killer. Rosenbaum's blood was all over Nelson's knife and clothes.

A shameful 1992 verdict of "not guilty" led many including me to doubt that the black jurors could ever convict a black person for murder - in a way foreshadowing the 1995 OJ Simpson verdict.

If he was found "not guilty" in 1992, why then do headlines call Nelson a "killer"?

The answer is he confessed to killing Rosenbaum as a legal tactic in his third trial.

I wish Lemrick Nelson well and hope he stays out of trouble.

15 year-old Shavod Jones shot police officer Stephen McDonald in July 1986 in Central Park. McDonald lowered his gun and his guard believing that this boy was holding a toy and not a gun. Today Detective McDonald is paralyzed from the neck down and breathes with mechanical assistance.

He forgave Jones and even hoped that the two of them could go on a speaking tour. Jones never responded.

Jones was in prison for 8 years and then on the third day after his release died doing a stupid stunt on a powerful motorcyle.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:57 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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No one debates abortion with a ferocity like Laura Ingraham

If you are not listening to Laura Ingraham on the Internet or on the radio, you ought to be.

She takes on a lot of popular culture stuff that is bit more interesting to me than all politics all the time. She pointed out the paradox of Kerry echoing Clinton's line that abortion should be "rare". Like Clinton, Kerry doesn't elaborate how it can be made rare. Laura counters with the obsevation that if abortion is a fundamental right, why does it need to be rare? Politicians don't win votes by saying that freedom of speech, press or religion ought to be rare.

She also showed the Phyllis Hamilton accepted without allowing any refuting testimony that partial-birth abortion was in fact necessary for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.

Rather than a right it's a wrong. Thanks to judicial tyranny it's like to remain so.

I'm asking Laura to ask the next person who comes on with a pro-abortion position: "Has there ever been a denial of a abortion by a doctor or a hospital on the basis that the health claim made by the mother was not demonstrated (i.e. a greater health risk to the mother by carrying the baby to term than obtaining an abortion)?"

This supremacy of choice for any reason or no reason at all under the cover of "health" was established in the Doe v. Bolton which included "emotional" health in its list and precluded any impartial review of the "health" claim (Georgia had legislated the concurrence of two additional doctors to make a finding of a danger to the health of the mother). This "burden" was held unconstitutional.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:07 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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What a surprise! A very positive book on the Catholic priesthood is ranked #2 on Amazon now.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:17 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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It's a Global Jihad

Reuters: Fearful Buddhists rally in Thailand's Muslim south

NARATHIWAT, Thailand, June 2 (Reuters) - Buddhists in Thailand's Muslim-dominated south gathered on Wednesday for a morale-boosting rally after the beheading of a Buddhist man this week stoked fears of sectarian conflict in the restive region.

Tension between Muslims and Buddhists, who are the overwhelming majority in Thailand but are outnumbered four to one in the deep south, is on the rise after five months of attacks on government officials, teachers and security forces.

The Thai government called off talks between the military and a Muslim separatist group on Tuesday because of the beheading and an attack on a Chinese shrine popular with Buddhists.

Some Buddhist temples have been ransacked and three monks killed this year. The unrest burst into major bloodshed on April 28 when police and soldiers killed 108 Muslim attackers, including 32 who had taken refuge in a mosque.

The Lim Ko Nhieo Chinese shrine in the town of Pattani is next to Krue Se mosque, where the 32 militants were hiding after an earlier shootout.

"In the past, when monks went out for alms, children helpers followed to help carry food," said Phrakru Praphassorn Sirikul, abbot of the temple that hosted the gathering to commemorate the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha.

"But nowadays when they go out, soldiers carry M-16s to protect them. This is very ugly," he said.


The rally, led by Deputy Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, was billed as a morale booster for the region's nervous Buddhist population.

Most of the 1,000 people gathered at a temple in Narathiwat province, 1,200 km south of Bangkok, were government officials or students.

"Wealthy Buddhists have already fled their homes and the middle-class people are joining them," the abbot said.

"Only the poor can't afford to leave and they can barely nourish Buddhism. We may soon become another Indonesia where there are many Buddhist structures, but few followers."

Tension in the region began on January 4, when dozens of suspected Muslim militants raided an army camp and stole about 400 guns, provoking fears of a resurgence of a low-key separatist war that rocked the region in the 1970s and 1980s.

More than 200 people have died in the violence.

In the latest gruesome incident, an elderly Buddhist rubber tapper was found decapitated in Narathiwat over the weekend. Muslim leaders have urged locals not to assume the 67-year-old's attackers were Muslim.

The killers left a note suggesting the murder was linked to unrest in the south, where many people speak Malay and feel closer to Kuala Lumpur than Bangkok. Thai officials say the killers were trying to stir up religious strife ahead of Wednesday's Buddhist holiday.

The government has blamed gunrunners, smugglers, local mafias, and Muslim separatists for the violence in the south.

Talks to discuss the violence were planned for later this week between the Thai administration and Wan Abdul Kadir Che Man, the leader of Bersatu, an umbrella group for separatists.

Think of the exodus of Christians since the Lebanese Civil War which started in 1975 happening globally where there is a Muslim minority seeking Sharia or an independent state.

Where's the most-discussed Cycle of Violence in Thailand or for that matter in Beirut in 1975?

Connect the dots from Nigeria to East Timor and you can see the bloody borders of Islam - expanding into non-Islamic areas.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:35 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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"Winning Converts" for the Religion of Peace™
Reuters: Gunmen hunted "infidel" Westerners

"Are you Muslim or Christian? We don't want to kill Muslims. Show us where the Americans and Westerners live," Islamic militants told an Arab after launching a shooting spree on Westerners in Saudi Arabia.

The four gunmen, aged 18 to 25 and wearing military vests, grabbed Abu Hashem, an Iraqi with a U.S. passport, in front of his home in the Oasis compound in Khobar but let him go when he told them he was a Muslim.

"Don't be afraid. We won't kill Muslims even if you are an American," he quoted them as saying.

In the Reuters stylebook these are "gunmen". They have guns - but their not bumping a 7-11 for cash and beer. They are answering a higher calling.

Somehow, the Reuters stylebook calls for the scare quotes around "infidel".

For a perspective on the traditional meaning of the word "infidel" look at the 1918 Catholic Encyclopedia

As these stories continue to pile up, it just makes the fiction maintained by President Bush and Pope John Paul II less and less credible -- that this is not a religious war.

It may not be a religious war for us, but it is for them.

The utter failure of Saudi Arabia to control its own internal security -- letting the terrorist escape means that not even the "Kingdom" can be expected to be a security ally but a global security threat in the years to come.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:05 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Who are the "Leaders of Tomorrow"?

My personal life overwhelmed my abilility to blog. With a nephews's confirmation, and awards ceremonies for my elementary school-aged son and my high school-aged daughter.

My son led a team of three to win a Science Fair with a project on asthma and exercise. He's in fifth grade.

My daughter won a New York State Lottery Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship

And last night I was photoshopping pictures for their friends and teachers.

They are good kids, and it would be a shame to neglect them to deal my obsession with the blog, current events, and political talk radio.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:33 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, May 31, 2004
I liked Ike

specifically the Arts and Entertainment Channel presentation of Ike: Countdown to D-Day.

It was a great "just the facts" movie. To compress all that detail into two hours meant there were not a lot of padding.

I didn't realize that all of Ike's job really boiled down to hiring and firing generals and dealing with the politics -- and picking the critical day of the invasion.

If I were writing the ending, I'd have Ike receiving word of surrender of German forces on May 7, 1945 in Reims, France, less that one year after D-Day.

The final scenes of these movies should always be the explosion of the swastika at the parade grounds of the Zeppelin field at Nuremberg.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:28 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com