April 27, 2011

Bombing Libya

 Credit: Reuters/Yannis Behrakis
Certainly it was quite unavoidable, but Italy’s decision to send its warplanes on missions to bomb Libya “has not been easy,” as Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi admitted during a joint press conference in Rome with French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Not by chance, in fact, for weeks Italy has resisted joining the air missions over Libya. The official reason for this reluctance was that, as the former colonial ruler in Libya, the political cost of causing casualties was too high. But the truth is that, first of all, Italy is the North African country’s biggest trading partner, and second of all, both many conservative members of the government and opinion leaders across the Country are doubtful about this whole thing. There is no substantial likelihood, according to them, that the rebels are better than Gaddafi—which is not to say that Gaddafi is a good guy, on the contrary, the fear is that the rebels are even worse than him.

Are they too pessimistic? Perhaps yes, perhaps no, it depends on too many variables—what do we really know about these rebels? Well, that’s the problem, at least in my humble opinion—but I would like to be optimistic, that’s for sure…

Be it as it may, what is certain is that Berlusconi will now have to calm tensions with his key Northern League coalition partner which has threatened to make the government collapse if Italy conducts lethal attacks on Libya.

April 24, 2011

“I Have Seen the Lord!”

Giotto, "Noli me tangere," Cappella degli Scrovegni, Padua

Now on the first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, while it was yet dark, unto the tomb, and seeth the stone taken away from the tomb. She runneth therefore, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went forth, and the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. And they ran both together: and the other disciple outran Peter, and came first to the tomb; and stooping and looking in, he seeth the linen cloths lying; yet entered he not in. Simon Peter therefore also cometh, following him, and entered into the tomb; and he beholdeth the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, that was upon his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself. Then entered in therefore the other disciple also, who came first to the tomb, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. So the disciples went away again unto their own home. But Mary was standing without at the tomb weeping: so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; and she beholdeth two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and beholdeth Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou hast borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turneth herself, and saith unto him in Hebrew, Rabboni; which is to say, Teacher. Jesus saith to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God. Mary Magdalene cometh and telleth the disciples, I have seen the Lord; and that he had said these things unto her.

~ John 20:1-18

April 20, 2011

Have a Blessed Holy Week!

Giotto, The Kiss of Judas, Cappella degli Scrovegni, Padua 
I wish all my readers a blessed Holy Week and a glorious Easter!

April 19, 2011

Going Kindle

Even the last few days have been very busy for me, and as it was not enough I have been mostly off-line lately (new ISP, new modem-router) and still have troubles with Internet connection. Hence the light or no blogging at all. Once again, too bad, since so many things have been happening meanwhile. But if I was prevented from having my say on what is happening in the word—well, no real big loss though, I’m sure you were able to get by on your own these days…—I must say that I took advantage from one of the circumstances which kept me away from the blogosphere: my new Amazon Kindle 3 3G + Wi-Fi.

It has been said that the new Kindle is to the old what the paperback is to the hardback, and this is no doubt true: it’s smaller, cheaper, faster and better connected than its predecessor. Besides being a relatively inexpensive device for reading books (Kindle is widely regarded as the best e-reader on the market), it offers an experimental web browser which is free to use over Kindle’s 3G or Wi-Fi connections. And if you are travelling outside the United States, there is free access to the Amazon store and Wikipedia in over 100 countries anywhere you have a 3G connection. You can browse other websites globally via a Wi-Fi connection. Access to other websites while travelling abroad is available via a 3G connection in over 60 countries. It’s absolutely fantastic. Here is a video review (full written review here):

April 16, 2011

Breakin' the Law

~ “LETTERS FROM AMERICA” - by The Metaphysical Peregrine ~

Last year the Democrats controlled the legislature and executive branches and did not pass a budget as required by law. That left the Republicans with the task of passing that budget for the rest of the fiscal year (the result of the elections which gave them control of the House). We are $14 trillion in debt; that’s $45,000 for every man, woman and child in this country. Republicans tried to curb some of the spending and the result was the usual Leftist rap, Republicans want to steal from the poor (how does one take from those that don’t have?), starve children, send old people out into the streets to eat dog food and die and all the rest. They actually say those things seriously, and this is just for reducing the rate of growth of governmental spending, not actual cuts.

Most significantly about all this, is the lawlessness of the Democrats, and most especially this president. In the final budget that was just passed to complete fiscal year 2011, was Section 2262, which defunds many “adviser” positions Obama has created in the executive branch. These “czars” are not vetted by Congress, and are not Executive Branch positions; they are the crony’s of Obama, and not answerable to anyone but Obama. These are the full blown communists and extremist “greens” that would not pass a congressional vetting. In response to this, Obama wrote in his signing statement:

“The President has well-established authority to supervise and oversee the executive branch, and to obtain advice in furtherance of this supervisory authority,” he wrote. “The President also has the prerogative to obtain advice that will assist him in carrying out his constitutional responsibilities, and do so not only from executive branch officials and employees outside the White House, but also from advisers within it. Legislative efforts that significantly impede the President’s ability to exercise his supervisory and coordinating authorities or to obtain the views of the appropriate senior advisers violate the separation of powers by undermining the President’s ability to exercise his constitutional responsibilities and take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
…the executive branch will construe section 2262 not to abrogate these Presidential prerogatives.”

In other words, he will not abide by the legislation.

This is his way. After the oil drilling disaster in the Gulf of Mexico last year, he declared a moratorium on drilling there. He's continued that moratorium and has refused to issue any more drilling permits. Two federal judges have ruled this is against the law, and he’s ignored the rulings.  

He’s refused to protect the borders as is required by law. As a result US citizens living along the Mexican\US border are getting murdered, raped and robbed. Arizona decided to enforce federal law and Obama sued the state.

Two federal judges have ruled that his health care bill, passed around midnight on Christmas\Christmas Eve last year (only Democrats voting for it), unconstitutional. He’s ignored the rulings and has continued to implement the program. Leading up to the vote, he spent an estimated $200 million of taxpayer money to advertise the benefits of the Affordable Health Care Act (aka ObamaCare), and is still spending. This is an illegal use of taxpayer money.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, department of the executive branch) has been and is paying the American Lung Association (ALA) to finance campaigns against Republican legislators that vote to curtail the power of the EPA. This is illegal. The EPA creates regulations and fees that are in fact legislation and taxes, which is illegal.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), another executive branch department, recently passed regulations and fees regarding the internet, in violation of a federal judicial ruling last year confirming the FCC has no jurisdiction regarding the internet. This is an illegal action.  

During the last election, racist Black Panthers stood outside an election site with clubs and made threatening gestures at white voters; caught on video. US Attorney General Eric Holder (a black man) has refused to press charges of this violation of civil and voting rights laws because of the Black Panthers race. (Several staff of the Department of Justice have quit because Holder does not allow prosecution of blacks.) The Department of Justice is in the Executive Branch. This is illegal.   

These are the most blatant violations of the law this president has engaged in. These violations have the support of the mainstream media, the Democrat Party, most federal employees, and the unions. We can only hope the American people wake up enough by election time to realize we have a criminal president; that and his running the economy into the ground with his Marxist principles will hopefully oust this regime.

April 9, 2011

What Sharia Law Is All About

Ok, perhaps this is nothing new, but, as the old saying goes, repetita iuvant:

Islam is far more than a religion; it is a complete culture which includes a political system and legal code, known as Sharia law. Sharia law is based upon the Qu’ran and the Sunna, which is comprised of the Sira (Mohammed’s biography) and the Hadith (his Traditions). Sharia law covers traditional legal matters such as contracts, wills, criminal law and punishment. However, it also sets rules for conducting all the minutiae of day-to-day life, from every detail of religious behavior to all the mundane tidbits of family life.
Sharia law represents a threat to our civilization far more dangerous than the traditional idea of jihad. Only under Sharia law can Muslims practice “pure” Islam; therefore Muslims will strive to establish Sharia law in any country they inhabit. Our Constitution is an obstacle to pure Islam, as such cannot be practiced in America while it exists. According to Islam, there is no actual knowledge outside of the Qu’ran, the Sira, and the Hadith, and only laws based upon these books are “true” laws. The U.S. Constitution, because it’s man-made law, is inferior to Sharia.
Our Western legal system is based in large part upon the Golden Rule, which mandates equal treatment for all people. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – to Westerners this means ALL others, regardless of gender, race, or age. This type of ethical system is unitary because there is one rule which determines the code of conduct, and is based upon critical thought.
Sharia law, by contrast, is based on the dualistic ethics of Islam. One set of rules exists for Muslims while there is another set for kafirs (non-believers). Further dualism of Sharia law is illustrated by the fact that there are two different codes of law for men and women. Because it is based upon the teachings of Islam, Sharia law is the product of authoritative thought rather than critical thought. Its’ absolute truth is discovered by reference to the authoritative texts of Islam. Sharia cannot change – it is utterly inflexible – because the foundational texts cannot change. Accordingly, then, all people in the world, all governments of the world, must adapt to Sharia.

April 8, 2011

A Huge Theological Issue

Masaccio, St. Paul, Museo di S. Matteo, Pisa 
I’ve been very busy these days, that’s why I haven't blogged lately. It’s really too bad because I had a lot of stuff to talk about. However, the below is my first attempt at trying to make up for the delay.

Steven, at the Metaphysical Peregrine, puts forward a classic theological issue (even though in a very personal context): What about those who have never heard of Christ? Are they condemned to Hell? Well, if I may express my humble opinion on such a huge and controversial matter, I think that Hell may not be the penalty for ignorance; it is the penalty for sin. Furthermore, no one is really ignorant:

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse (Rom 1:20).

In reality, there are several ways God reveals Himself in this world, and no one can hide behind the claim of ignorance, because the law is written on every heart (Rom 2:1,3). Therefore, to put it the way Steven did in his post, what about us believers? I’d say that it’s our responsibility to take the light of Christ to those who have no excuse.

April 2, 2011

Praised Be the Bridge

Photo courtesy of Venice Daily Photo (click to enlarge)

Let every man praise the bridge that carries him over.

~ English proverb.

April 1, 2011

Benedict XVI, Hans Küng and Fr. de Lubac

Is contemporary Europe a religiously-barren place? Maybe, maybe not. What is certain is that two books, written by two Catholic theologians, recently rocketed up Germany’s best-seller list. One of the theologians is Benedict XVI. The other is Fr. Hans Küng, whose text, Ist die Kirche noch zu retten? (Can the Church Still Be Saved?), was published the same week as volume two of Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth. In his Vatican II diaries, the great French theologian Henri de Lubac entered pithy observations about his two colleagues (as well as all those he encountered). Joseph Ratzinger is portrayed as one whose powerful intellect is matched by his “peacefulness” and “affability.” Hans Küng, by contrast, is denoted as possessing a “juvenile audacity” and speaking in “incendiary, superficial, and polemical” terms. Read this piece by Samuel Gregg, Research Director at the Acton Institute, to further explore the differences between the two theologians and their respective visions of the Church.

If Hillary Calls Assad a Reformer

  Assad & Ahmedinejad
Yet another interesting point of view on the U.S. administration’s policy towards the Arab revolution. This time the focus is on Syria (after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is “a reformer”). Charles Krauthammer in his Friday column in the Washington Post:

Sometimes you cover for a repressive ally because you need it for U.S. national security. Hence our muted words about Bahrain. Hence our slow response on Egypt. But there are rare times when strategic interest and moral imperative coincide completely. Syria is one such — a monstrous police state whose regime consistently works to thwart U.S. interests in the region.
Yet here was the secretary of state covering for the Syrian dictator against his own opposition. And it doesn’t help that Clinton tried to walk it back two days later by saying she was simply quoting others. Rubbish. Of the myriad opinions of Assad, she chose to cite precisely one: reformer. That’s an endorsement, no matter how much she later pretends otherwise.
And it’s not just the words; it’s the policy behind it. This delicacy toward Assad is dismayingly reminiscent of President Obama’s response to the 2009 Iranian uprising during which he was scandalously reluctant to support the demonstrators, while repeatedly reaffirming the legitimacy of the brutal theocracy suppressing them.
No one is asking for a Libya-style rescue. Just simple truth-telling. If Kerry wants to make a fool of himself by continuing to insist that Assad is an agent of change, well, it’s a free country. But Clinton speaks for the nation.