Monday, February 05, 2007


Post lifted from Daniel Mandel

The situation of Christians in the Muslim Middle East, as I have outlined earlier, continues to deteriorate, not least within the Palestinian Authority. To Khaled Abu Toameh's earlier account of the depopulating of Bethlehem's Christian community can be added his more recent piece describing their ongoing plight as a minority of 15% in a city in which they were once a majority. As Toameh reports, incidents include fire-bombing of Christian homes, theft of lands, and physical violence and intimidation of those Christians brave enough to complain or seek redress. Further bleak details also emerge in Elizabeth Day's account.

More general analysis of the Christian predicament in the region comes from the Spiegel Online and Zlatica Hoke, the latter including some little-known details regarding Israeli Christians, a rare exception to the trend of Middle Eastern Christian demographic collapse, demoralization and emigration.


Obnoxious Penance "Scoop" Outrages Catholics

Post below excerpted from Newsbusters

How far will reporters go to get a juicy story: How low will they go? How many rules will they break? How many sacred cows will they make into hamburger? Reporter Riccardo Bocca of L'Espresso is attracting worldwide attention from Catholic media outlets and bloggers. Bocca stealthily visited confessionals at 24 Catholic churches in Rome, Turin, Naples, Milan and Palermo, and lied to each priest he visited, manufacturing false confessions for various sins. He said he wanted to show the disparity between what the church teaches and what priests do. Would they conform to Catholic teaching or slip out of orthodoxy to show sympathy? Bocca found priests who would step away from orthodoxy, although not on abortion.

Fox News explained that the official Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, was furious: "Shame! There is no other word to express our distress toward an operation that was disgusting, worthless, disrespectful and particularly offensive," the Vatican's paper said in an editorial headlined "Fake confessions in search of a shameful scoop." (Philip Pullella at Reuters also had a story.) I can't imagine even many "secular progressive" reporters finding it ethical to lie your face off in a supposedly sacred ritual.

Catholic blogger Mark Shea headlined his post From our "Take Off 50 IQ Points Whenever the Press Talks about Religion" File. His take is just as sharp as the headline:

So some jackass reporter goes around to different churches, lies about various sins and ethical conundrums in the confessional, gets 24 different pieces of advice from 24 priests and then compares them to what he calls the "official teaching" of the Church. Then he writes a "Gotcha" article which proves that priests are not computers dispensing dogmatic formulae, but shepherds who, within their varying abilities and limits, try to mercifully help struggling people do the best they can in living up the admittedly hard ideals of the Faith. Of course, he doesn't realize that's what he proves. He *thinks* he's proving that the Catholic Faith is crap, which shows what a jackass he is.

He also proves that he is a liar and a jerk, not to mention a blasphemer. I generally think it unwise to try to learn the truth about plumbing from liars, much less the truth about something weighty like a religion. I also think it unwise to try to learn the Catholic faith from people who neither understand nor believe it.



Judge rejects bid to make Simpson return book money: "A US judge has dismissed a lawsuit against O.J. Simpson over an advance the ex-football star and actor was paid for his scrapped, hypothetical book about the murders of his ex-wife and her friend. But the father of murder victim Ron Goldman intends to pursue his case in state court. US District Judge Manuel Real ruled yesterday that he had no jurisdiction in the dispute between Fred Goldman and Simpson over the reported $US1 million ($1.3 million) advance he was paid for the controversial book If I Did It.... Simpson was acquitted of the June 12, 1994, murders. A civil jury found him liable for the deaths in 1997 and ordered him to pay $US33.5 million in damages to the murder victims' families. Little of that judgment has been collected and Simpson has vowed never to pay voluntarily."

Brits flocking to the anti-immigration British National Party: "Success breeds success and we have enjoyed a great deal of success over the last 12 months! Election triumphs and legal victories have helped raise our profile and brought many new members into our ranks and this deluge of new blood combined with the most impressive renewal rates we have ever had, has caused a bottleneck in membership processing. The workload of the membership team has increased due to the changeover to the fairer rolling membership system and the introduction of a 2 month lapsed membership deadline, which caused an increase in the volume of enquiries to the department checking on the progress of applications, well before the 4 week grace period requested, in last months' BN. This has now pushed the processing time back even further."

U.S. Communists say terrorism doesn't kill enough people: "The Fox Television Network series "24" is an incredibly brazen example of the ultra-right-wing's use of that medium to spread fear to win support for its political agenda and for President Bush.... MSNBC commentator Keith Oberman rightly described "24" as "naked brainwashing." All people of good will, of course, oppose terrorism. The Communist Party USA has often pointed out that terrorism substitutes individual acts of violence for the mass action essential for real progressive change... Terrorism is a political tactic that should indeed cause all of us great concern. Unfortunately, "24" is an attempt to use fear, propaganda and lies to conceal the real perpetrators of terror, the ultra-right and George W. Bush."

Air strike targets senior al Qaida leaders in Iraq: "Coalition Forces targeted the leadership of an al-Qaida in Iraq related vehicle-borne improvised explosives devices network Friday during an airstrike operation near Arab Jabour. Intelligence reports indicated that this network is responsible for a large and devastating number of VBIED attacks in the Baghdad area. They are also responsible for IED and sniper attacks conducted against the Iraqi people and Iraqi and Coalition Forces. Coalition Forces believe that key terrorist leaders were killed during the airstrike. Results are still being assessed at this time. It is believed that several members of the VBIED cell, in addition to the targeted leadership, were present at the meeting place immediately prior to the airstrike"



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. He pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason -- Details here and here

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