Sunday, October 29, 2006

Last Sunday in October:

The Feast of the Kingship of Our Lord

Collect of the Mass of this day:
Almighty everlasting God, who in Thy beloved Son,
King of the whole world, hast willed to restore
all things anew, grant in Thy mercy that all the
families of nations, rent asunder by the wound of sin,
may be subjected to to His most gentle rule. Who liveth.

Monday, October 23, 2006

"Arrogance and Stupidity"
Alberto Fernandez, the director of the press and public diplomacy office in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs for the United States State Department was recently interviewed (Oct. 21, 2006) on the Arab network Al-Jazeera. In the interview he stated: "We tried to do our best [in Iraq], but I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq," (see article here).

Apparently Mr. Fernandez has apologized for his comments, stating that he seriously misspoke and these comments do not represent his views nor that of the State Department (gathered from various news channels and articles I have seen/read). I think he was right the first time; America was arrogant and stupid to invade Iraq. My guess is that he came under pressure from his neo-con bosses. Unless Americans, especially politicians, are willing to admit we were wrong to invade Iraq, I don't see how we can ever overcome this sad chapter in our history.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Nuclear North Korea

The Communist government of North Korea announced that it successfully carried out a test of a nuclear weapon on October 9, 2006 (01:36 UTC). I must confess that I was glued to the TV last night watching news reports of this story. This incident concerns me, as it does most governments in the world. The fact that it appears that North Korea now has "the bomb" scares me, and I wish it never had happened. But I nonetheless thought I'd comment on the situation from a larger perspective.

According to some news reports I heard last night, the reasoning behind the North Koreans' desire to have nuclear weapons is fear of U.S. aggression. Some member of the North Korean government was supposed to have said (I'm going from memory and paraphrasing here) that if Saddam Hussein had the bomb, he'd still be in power. Is this true? I think so. The U.S. invaded Iraq based on either lies or faulty intelligence (I lean toward the lies option), with the hope of taking out Saddam before he attacks us. If Saddam had nuclear weapons, the U.S. would have risked nuclear war by invading Iraq. No one, not even the U.S. wants an all-out nuclear war, so we would not have invaded Iraq under this hypothetical.

Now that North Korea apparently has nuclear weapons, the U.S. will be much more hesitant to show any overtly aggressive behavior towards North Korea because of the treat of a nuclear attack. Kim Jong-il can remain in power with confidence. Were his actions justified? Morally, no, they were not. All nations have a duty to avoid nuclear proliferation due to the possible (and horrible) consequences. From a strictly political standpoint, one can understand the concerns of Kim Jong-il. The U.S. under the Bush administration has a history of unjust aggression against those it considers its enemies, and one could argue that Kim Jong-il was only trying to make sure the U.S. won't invade North Korea.

One could also argue this point: Why shouldn't North Korea have the bomb? The U.S., Britain, and Israel all have it. Why shouldn't North Korea have it? "North Korea is part of the Axis of Evil and can't be trusted with nuclear weapons," a neo-con might respond. I agree, as a Communist government that is horribly repressive, North Korea is an evil government. But why should the U.S., Britain, and Israel have the bomb? "We, along with our allies, can be trusted with the bomb, because we stand for freedom," says the neo-con. In the history of mankind, only one government has used nuclear weapons against people: the United States. And even more than that, the U.S. used the bomb against civilians. It seems to me that even we can't be trusted with the bomb. Why do we have an inherent right to nuclear weapons? It isn't a God-given right, I can tell you that.

(As a disclaimer, I do not support the North Korean government in any way, and I hereby condemn their recent nuclear weapons test, along with all nuclear weapons proliferation.)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Why The Republicans Deserve to Lose

The allegations that Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) engaged in inappropriate e-mails and instant messages with a former under-age congressional page is certainly disturbing. What is more disturbing is that the former page is male. A homosexual Republican? Yes, you got that right. Not only is the whole affair embarrassing, but to make it worse, Foley sought to dodge responsibility by blaming his behavior on alcoholism, being molested as a teenager by a "clergyman," and that he's gay. None of these reasons are excuses for what he did. He's apparently a drunk (despite no one knowing about it in the past), but being drunk doesn't make you hit on teenage boys. He was molested by a clergyman, but that also isn't an excuse. If my mother was murdered, that doesn't give me an excuse to turn to murder to deal with my personal tragedy. He's gay. Being gay is supposed to be okay in America in 2006, so he can't quite use that as an excuse either, or can he?

If we look at the abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church a few years back, the vast majority of the sexual abuse occurred between priests and teenage boys. Despite what the law say (and no, I am not trying to give the predator-priests a pass) teenagers are not children. If I had consensual sex with a 16 year old girl, it does not make me a pedophile, in fact it doesn't even make me a criminal (the age of consent in my state is 16). But looking again at the predator-priests we will see that most of them are homosexuals who have a preference for teenage boys. Is there a connection between being an active homosexual man and attraction to teenage boys? I'm no scientist, nor am I trying to make some wide sweeping scientific statement, but perhaps there is. But I digress.

Foley dodged responsibility by checking himself into rehab. It was a pathetic attempt to garner sympathy from the American people, as well as an attempt to get out of the unwelcome attention for a while.

So why do the Republicans deserve to lose in November? The Foley incident has brought several things into the open about the Republican party. First, apparently there are several other closeted gays in the Republican party who are known to be gay by their fellow Republicans but who won't expose them for the imposters that they are. Secondly, Foley's indiscretions (including allegedly showing up at the congressional pages' dorm drunk) were exposed up to years ago, and it seems that the Republican leadership in the House did nothing about it. Another strike against them. And for strike three?

I've said it before, but the Republicans have played the pro-life base for dupes. They aren't committed at overturning Roe v. Wade, they just use it to drive out their conservative base. The Republicans have become so out of touch with their supporters and become so arrogant in their own security of power, they have forgotten who put them in that position of power. If pro-lifers and those who support traditional religious values will abandon the Republican party, perhaps all those Republicans in Washington will remember what they used to stand for and re-embrace those values. If not, it will be the status quo for decades. Either way, I predict big losses for Republicans next month.