August 29th, 2003 ~ What a bloody month this has been.
11 killed in the car bombing of the Jordanian Embassy at Baghdad,
25 killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers in the occupied territories,
10 killed and over 100 injured in a car bombing at a Jakarta hotel,
23 killed in Israel by homicide bombers,
23 killed and over 100 injured in a truck bombing at the U.N. Headquarters in Baghdad,
48 killed and nearly 100 injured in two separate blasts in Mumbai, India, and today,
over 145 killed and twice as many injured in a car bombing at a Shia Islamic mosque in Najaf, Iraq.
Do all these murders tell us something? Do they have any meaning? Yes they do. These murders tell us there are monsters amongst us; monsters disguised as human beings; twisted, obscene, vessels, overflowing with hatred. Some wear holy words upon their brow and drive explosive-filled vehicles; some wear the perfect Brooks Brothers suit and are driven by chauffeurs to their murderous appointments; others wear the traditional garb of the Middle East and build schools of murder; still others wrap their killings in the mock legitimacy of a uniform. All are abominations in the eyes of God.
Some day we will all wake from this nightmare. Some day we will clearly see the monsters for exactly what they are. God grant that day arrives soon.
August 25th, 2003 ~ A legal battle is being waged in Montgomery, Alabama at this hour. A holy war, if you will, but a war of words nonetheless, regarding a two-ton granite representation of the Ten Commandments at the state judicial building. Supporters of suspended Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice, Roy Moore - who had the contested edifice installed there two years ago - have filed for an injunction at the U.S. District Court in Mobile to prevent it's removal.
The plaintiffs in the suit - Kelly McGinley and Pastor Richard Dorley - claim that removing the monument is "...an affront to their religious freedom and an attack on their Christian beliefs...". Much of the rhetoric defending the monument has been about the intent of the Founding Fathers. Judge Moore stated this controversy "...is not about a monument. It's not about religion. It's about the acknowledgment of Almighty God." He points to the inclusion of "In God We Trust" on our money, as well as the words "...endowed by their Creator..." in our Declaration of Independence, as evidence of the Judeo-Christian underpinnings of our legal system as well as our society. He has also said that the First Amendment to our Constitution prohibits the U.S. Congress from establishing a religion, but says nothing about prohibiting a State from expressing the religious sentiments of it's citizens.
Leaving aside the question of "Which Ten Commandments" are inscribed on that monument, let's look at some of the points involved in this controversy...
Judge Moore has a good point regarding the specific wording of the First Amendment. It specifically applies to the U.S. Congress. Furthermore, he and his fellow defenders of the monument can point to the Tenth Amendment in establishing the sovereignty of a state and it's citizens in matters where the Constitution has not granted specific jurisdiction to the U.S. Congress.
In ruling last year to remove the monument, U.S. District Court Justice Myron Thompson was responding to the case of Johnson v. Hobson, brought by three Alabama attorneys who regularly have business in the judicial building -- Melinda Maddox, Robert Beckerle, and Wade Johnson. Maddox, who is a Roman Catholic, and Beckerle and Johnson, who are Southern Baptists, said they were offended by the monument because it violates constitutional requirements and sends a message of exclusion to the community.
In referring to the intent of our Founding Fathers and their source of revolutionary inspiration, Judge Moore and his supporters may have stepped into a bit of flaming doo-doo on their doorstep. Writings from Adams, Paine, and even Jefferson, clearly show that these men were "Deists", a popular movement of the 18th Century which held a monotheistic, but otherwise non-denominational recognition of God. You will find no mention of Jesus in either the Declaration of Independence or our Constitution. Furthermore, Article VI, Paragraph 3 of the Constitution states:
"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."
These do not sound like the words of Christian zealots. They sound like the words of thoughtful men who may have held personal Christian beliefs, but were moral enough not to impose their beliefs upon their fellow Americans. They sound like the words of men who would rather have us come to our beliefs in the quiet contemplation of our own hearts rather than coerce us through state mandated observance. So invoking the "Christian underpinnings" of our Founding Fathers is a false position of those defending the monument.
When Judge Moore says this matter "...is not about a monument. It's not about religion...", I truly pray that it is also not about "States Rights". If the true colors of this controversy have more to to with the sovereignty of the state of Alabama than "the acknowledgement of Almighty God", it would make a mockery of devout men such as Ambassador Alan Keyes and the High Rabi of Alabama who have stood in defense of this monument.
If the agenda of Justice Moore is to roll back the clock to a simpler time in America, when God was a close companion on the rough road of life, he may be forgiven for overstating the intent of our Founding Fathers in trying to recapture the sense of Right vs. Might which we seem to have lost somewhere along the way. But it is not through public displays of piety that our moral strength is shown. Rather, it is in the words of Jesus Himself that we are told "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."
August 17th, 2003 ~ I just watched a rebroadcast of the "60 Minutes" piece on the shoulder-launched missile threat to American aircraft and I'm angry all over again. I can't fathom our President's foot dragging on this matter. He has no problem reaching into our pockets for $80 BILLION in so-called Emergency Appropriations to support his Texas Tea Totalers' activities in Iraq. He has no problem reaching into our pockets to outfit Air Force One and all the other fat cats' jets with anti-missile defense systems. He has no problem reaching into our pockets for $4.5 BILLION to keep our airlines flying EMPTY. He has no problem with $1.2 TRILLION (that's $1,200,000,000,000.00) of our hard-earned tax dollars unaccounted for in defense appropriations. But when it comes to protecting YOU and ME in a way that REALLY matters to US, well, that's an expense we just can't afford!
I IMPLORE YOU to contact your Senators and Representatives TODAY to push through the $11 Billion required to retrofit all our aircraft with the same anti-missile defense systems installed on EVERY El-Al jetliner! We don't need any more studies; we don't need any more commissions; we don't need any more stalling! The systems already exist and are available for purchase NOW. If the President doesn't give a damn about our loved ones, then it's up to US to!
August 15th, 2003 ~ The lights went out a little after 4:00 p.m. yesterday and stayed out across much of the Northeast and Central states until this afternoon. Oddly, no lights went out in Georgia. I'm sure that as soon as the lights came back on, certain enterprising souls contacted their Chinese suppliers to order up thousands of "I Survived the Big Blackout of 2003" tee shirts.
August 11th, 2003 ~ This speech, delivered yesterday by author William Rivers Pitt at the Veterans for Peace National Convention in San Francisco, says it all.
August 7th, 2003 ~ Kudos to CNN for today's follow-up story on the status of Ali Ismael Abbas, the 13-year-old Iraqi boy who gained worldwide attention, if only briefly, when he was terribly injured and orphaned in a missile attack on the outskirts of Baghdad in April. Ali, who was badly burned and lost both arms as well as his family that awful night and another boy, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohammed Hamza, who lost his left leg below the knee and his right hand during a bombardment, were flown by the RAF from Kuwait to England along with Ali's Uncle, so that the boys can be fitted for prosthetic limbs at Queen Mary's Rehabilitation Center in Roehampton, southwest London.
Kudos also to the Kuwaiti people for opening their arms to Iraqi children injured in the war. Last, but most certainly not least, kudos to Chairman Zafar Khan and the volunteers of The Limbless Association, many of them, like Khan, amputees themselves, who helped bring Ali to London and have helped so many other children maimed in war and by landmines; the awful legacy of war.
August 5th, 2003 ~ Early this morning, I heard a slight mention of a terrorist attack in Jakarta, Indonesia and for the rest of the day, I waited for more details; listening closely to the standard U.S. broadcast news services. My wait was in vain. Instead, I was treated to the circus in Colorado surrounding the Kobe Bryant rape trial and plenty of coverage of the newly installed gay Episcopal bishop. I eventually saw a BBC report on the attack which killed 10 and left over 100 injured - 8 seriously - in a car bombing reminiscent of the Bali resort bombing last October. Since this latest bombing was carried out by the same Islamic terrorist group, Jemaah Islamiah, the Bali connection is no surprise.
What I did find surprising is that I had to actively hunt down this story. That made me curious, so I did a little checking. I found a small item from Monday on an Algerian man held in Germany, accused of plotting bombings in Spain. Another from Sunday indicated the death toll in the recent Chechnyan military hospital bombing had risen to 50 and is linked to other recent Russian bombings.
Are our mass media suffering from some form of mass amnesia, or have their bean counters informed them that such news disturbs the consumers and is bad for business? Regardless of whether these ommisions were intentional or not, they make an even stronger case for rolling back FCC Commissioner Michael Powell's lifting of media ownership restrictions. I was only able to discover these and other related stories on the internet because that medium is not yet fully controlled by the few giant media corporations and their so-called news operations. Imagine how much Kobe Bryant "news" we'll be treated to when they do.