Saturday, July 30, 2005

Vatican rejects Israeli complaint

BBC NEWS World Europe Vatican rejects Israeli complaint

This is a very signfificant diplomatic action by the Holy See(go to BBC link) and one that will be welcomed by many throughout the world. All killing and terrorism is obviously wrong but, in the eyes of many socially conscious people of faith, the actions of Palestinians against Israelis are often in reponse to the illegal state terrorism by Israel against Palestinians, including the killing of civilians and children, the destruction of homes, and now the creation of a wall between the 2 peoples that has only one purpose - to create hardships for the Palestinian people. No nation, even the US, can bring itself to support this wall in any shape or form. This newly energized Vatican response to the slanderous attacks by Israeli officials will hopefully provide some support (or cover) for other nations to speak the truth. I have no hope that the US will do so but then the US is doing lots of things these days that show no decent respect for the opinions of mankind.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

I Don't Believe Them

After the London bombings, the attempts, the wrongful shooting and the incredible carnage in Egypt, I am less willing than ever to believe what they are saying. For years, I have been told in the mainline media that 1) Mossad has the most brilliant intelligence service in the world and 2) that Egypt and other Arab countries are under the heel of dictatorial police states where the government knows everything. Now we are supposed to believe the neither Mossad nor Egypt intelligence knew or could interfere with this strike. We still don't know what information was passed around pre-9/11, or by whom? I don't have buy some strange conspiracy theory to be very unsure of the reliability of the governments involved, including the US. I am very happy to hear Benedict XVI especially dismiss the "clash of cilivilizations" paradigm because I do believe that economic and political forces are pushing that view of inevitable war between Islam and the West. On a much, much lighter note, I love the rumor that it was Karl Rove who spilled the beans on Jude Law and his nanny.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A New Justice?

After all the speculation, Bush seems to have picked a reasonable possibility of success. Roberts does not raise all the flags that some might, yet he is acceptable (at least in the early going) to Bush's right. The real fight will obviously be about abortion which he has personally called "settled law," but that was for his confimration as a lesser judge and could still be open to modifications if not repeal. This remains a more likely development in any case - no matter who runs the court. The nation has turned against abortion on demand but not to the goal of making it illegal period. Roberts has a great legal pedigree but I can't imagine what a conversation between him and Bush would be about. Legal philosophy? Maybe the hot weather that we're all talking about.

Friday, July 15, 2005

EX CIA Chief: Get out of Iraq (NYT reg may be needed)

Time to Pull Out. And Not Just From Iraq. - New York Times (registration req).

I was greatly impressed by the substance and close reasoning of John Deutch, former Director of CIA. This is not a "cut and run" scheme but a very experienced argument about the inability of US military and a foreign power to succeed in nation building. Now with the obvious rise in the scale of the insurgency, the dwindling coalition involvement and the very real turning of US opinion, Deutch's article is extremely timely as well and full of well sourced personal wisdom and experience.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Home Grown Terrorism

According to accounts, Tony Blair has voiced shock that it now appears that the London bombers were born in the UK. I suppose it would a bit easier for the government spinners if they could portray evil foreigners sneaking into the country. But this is a different story, or is it? Many of the same reports indicate a rise in violence and property damage to UK Mosques since the bombing. Will there also be shock when these thugs are discovered to be home grown in the UK? I think not and I think I know why. People over here and there are portraying this as an Islamic force but never identify the religion (if any) of the victims. What are the religious ties of those on both sides of the ocean who deface Mosques or shout agressive slurs on the street or use the media to to voice vehement anti-Moslem, anti-foreigner bigotries? Think you'll see a headline like: "White, Christian male caught breaking windows of the local mosque."

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Journalists in Jail, Nowak, Rove

I think that its a sad time when journalists are imprisoned or threatened, yet many in the media often seem to claim a level of prestige that is unsupported by the quality of their work. Why couldn't a mediator confidentially meet with a journalist and then decide whether the source needs/deserves protect or not. I am convinced on the other hand that Karl Rove leaked. Is there anyone who thinks he is innocent? It could be a very serious charge for the Texas pirate.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Journalism, Evolution and Cardinal Schonborn

Rarely have we been served up a more brilliant piece of journalistic ignorance than the story on the front page of this morning NY TIMES by Cornelia Dean and Laurie Goodstein, reporting on an oped in the Times by the Archbishop of Vienna and main author of the Catholic Catechism. Start at the beginning: the headline. Who at the Times thinks that a single Cardinal can "Redefine" Catholic teaching on anything. How deep does this ingnorance go? But their article then goes on to completely falsify what the Cardinal wrote. He was distinguishing between evolution as a scientific theory and a more atheistic version often called Neo-Darwinism which crosses the boundary and insists that the randomness of evolution utterly negates any provision for a creator. Are these 2 reporters and their editors really so shocked that a cardinal, while accepting the general contours of evolutionary theory, would point out that a dogmatic atheistic reading of the scientific picture cannot be reconciled with Catholic belief? I would love to see more coverage in the Times of religion and science but, please get some people who know something about both topics.

A Correction

Yesterday I attributed sentiments about the use of the therapeutic to understand terrorists directly to Dick Cheney when the honor for that really belongs to Karl Rove. With this cast of characters all claiming victory over terrorism, I plead guilt over this mistake and beg a "liberal" therapeutic forgiveness.

Friday, July 08, 2005

But Why ?

VP Cheney's pillorying of a therapeutic strategy against terrorists notwithstanding, we do need to ask why some young people in the Moslem world are motivated to bomb or suicide-bomb utterly innocent people as in London yesterday or here on 9/11 or in Madrid. Granted all the usual things that are said of them: young, uneducated (not usually true), susceptible to propaganda, etc, still it is an alarming reality that people hate us enough to do these deeds. We have Saddam in custody, we have nearly wiped out the Taliban, we have supposedly crippled Al Queda, yet they did London with precision and coordination. They hate us and will keep after us because of the US led policies in the Middle East. Without for an instant condoning the attacks, we have to face the truth that many of our policies are horribly wrong in that region. We prop up the most repressive Arab regimes who torment their own people, we take their oil on the cheap, we give almost unconditional support to Israel which has oppressed Palestinians since its inception. Now we have invaded Moslem lands and are planning a long stay. Sorry, Mr Cheney, but your country would be a lot safer and a lot greater, if it had the guts to look at itself and see itself as most see it (huge majorities in Europe, Asia and South America).

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Death in London

Prayer and thoughts go to the people of London, especially those who have lost loved ones. This insane war between elements in the West and elements in the Moslem world has to stop. Where are the leaders who can lead both sides out of this horror? Everything now comes down to retribution, even when completely mistaken. These inhuman attacks now mark a new level of confrontation. Guantanamo and all the abuse of Moslem detainees, the killing of so many Iraqis and Americans, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 keep fueling the next outrage. We must demand better leaders who have public commitment to justice and peace.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

No Olympics for NY - great

Like a lot of people here in NYC, this proud native NYer is relieved that we will not host the Olympics and, especially, that we will be spared all the futile building that would accompany a successful bid. NY needs more and more affordable housing, parks, better public transportation ( A/C for subway stations) and more intelligent, participatory urban planning. So lets get over the Olympics and make the city sparkle.

Monday, July 04, 2005

The 4th of July

Even while wishing people a happy Independence Day and relishing the struggle of our struggle for freedom from Britain, I feel a significant amount of ambiguity on this day. Patriotism does not come easily when your country is engaged in a deadly, wasteful, unpopular war. Most of the nations in the world are skeptical to very hostile because of this war. I agree with much of what they say. The ex-CIA officer, Ray McGovern uses the acronym, OIL, to explain our real motives in this Middle Eastern adventure. 1) Oil; 2) Israel and 3) Logistics of creating a military outpost to serve the interests of the first two. So I wish you a pleasant and safe holiday, and I am praying for the men and women in uniform and for all the Iraqi people, but none of my feelings are rooted in patriotism or pride of nation. In fact, I believe we are shamed by our government.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Born Again and Dying

A quick overnight trip to Boston allowed me the great privilege of baptizing little Ryan Callahan. There were 3 children in the gathering that I had baptized. A large crowd of family and friends then celebrated a brunch in the Back Bay. I feel so blessed to be a friend to Ryan's parents and they have been so wonderful to me over 20 years. After returning last night, we heard this am that a wonderful parishioner here, Celerina Garcia, died this am in Calvary Hospital. She was a woman of deep faith, who was also a good friend to many Paulists here. She and her parents had come here from Cuba and now they're all with the Lord. And so, as always, we live and die. A baby is baptized and a friend dies. And it is the Lord who calls us to both life and death.