Kidnapped by Japan - How A Mother's Dying Wish Led To A Father's Unimaginable Loss

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Church Of Nothing

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One of the great appeals that religion has had for people throughout history is that, through its particular doctrine a religion makes sense of existence for them. It gives purpose, it sets forth rules to live by and a corresponding moral code. And then there is the Church of England...

"Secret plan to avoid church gay split", a story from Britain's Telegraph website chronicles The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams' latest contortions in trying to hold together the Anglican Church which, largely under his leadership has so chipped away at its own core beliefs that as the saying goes, the center can no longer hold.

As one of the leading forces behind the Church's attempt to mainstream homosexuality and change the Church's longstanding doctrinal opposition to its practice even before his elevation to Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002 Rowan is now in the position of having to try hold the Church together as numerous dioceses and conservative factions threaten to leave the fold. His solution seems as ill considered as are most of his decisions. He plans to create a "parallel" church wherein these conservative factions operate under the guidance of foreign bishops, a sort of religious ghetto for those not fit to consort with decent folk. More liberal bishops are angered that Williams should consider letting these errant forces get their way in even this distorted manner and are threatening trouble of their own.

Williams' problem here and with the difficulty he has found himself in of late, dealing with the growing Muslim population in Britain is that he has placed the liberal mantra of "inclusion"and "diversity" above what should be the eternal doctrine of his church. Religious doctrine cannot by its nature be inclusionary. Christianity is not all things to all people. It makes demands of the faithful, demands cannot be made upon it. It is not fashion, changing with the whims of a given age. For it to have any real value a religion must stand outside of time and fashion. It may try to make itself understood in terms that a particular age may understand but its basic nature must be unchanging if it is to have any real meaning at all.

The Church of England is trying to be all things to all people and is instead becoming the church of nothing, shepherding a flock that is dwindling as quickly as its principles. It is at the vanguard of the forces of nihilism which now are ruling Europe into oblivion. Well, at least that is something it is doing well.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Skip This Post - First In A Series

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The New York Times' story about John McCain's "Affair", Ron Paul, Conspiracy theories, Saving the Earth, Outraged people, Political moderates, Those who want to impeach George W. Bush, Oprah and all of her "friends", Every member of the Kennedy family living and dead, Militant Atheists.

All of those things in the foregoing eclectic list have one thing in common and if you can't figure out what that is immediately then this post, in all likelihood, will irritate you at some point. You see everything listed above is boring. By that I mean tiresome, dull, uninteresting and tedious. Yes, I know that when you read through that little inventory you probably found a couple of things that you think are just fascinating, that you spend much time admiring, talking about or otherwise find involving. That is why you may be irritated. Too bad. It is my list and you are perfectly free to make your own, portions of which I will probably disagree.

And it is not as if I'm just throwing insults around thoughtlessly. There are reasons that I find each person or persons and every thing on the list to be a drag. And (no surprise here) I'm not afraid to say why.

  1. The New York Times' story about John McCain's "Affair": RI Fitzhenry once said, “Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don't let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity.” That is why I find this little non-scandal so tedious; there was nothing even slightly uncertain about or any mystery in the fact that the Times or The Washington Post or some other organ of the msm would run some slander against McCain as soon as he became the presumptive Republican nominee. I said as much in a previous post. I would be every bit as fascinated if someone were to tell me, with a look of surprise on their face that the sun will rise tomorrow morning. Really? ZZZZZZZZZZ
  2. Ron Paul: I agree with much of what Ron Paul says. I can sit there and listen to him, nodding in agreement and then, all of a sudden he'll go off on some tangent that makes you wonder how he slipped out of the clutches of the men in white jackets. I have never met or read the writings of a single supporter of his who didn't sound equally mad. I'm probably going to regret writing this as the fanatical zombies who still believe he's going to be President seem to know when someone somewhere has said something untoward about him and then try to absorb them into The Collective. They and he are the very definition of tiresome.
  3. Conspiracy theories: Well, these are somewhat related to Ron Paul and his minions as many of them are big believers in a host of conspiracy theories, the more outré the better. The problem with conspiracy theories is that they don't take into account the fact that if more than two people are in on a secret, it is a metaphysical certainty that within a few hours one of those two is going to tell a third. People can't keep secrets. Period. Therefore the idea that there are these super-secret, world-spanning conspiracy theories that only the evil-doers behind them and the nut telling you about them are aware of is a sign of someone needing to take their meds as prescribed and not that any such theory is actually real. Stupidity and lunacy bore me. Conspiracy theories rely on both. I'm getting sleepy just writing about them.
  4. Saving the Earth: Anybody who tells you that you need to do your part in "saving the Earth" or uses the word Gaia in anything but a mocking manner takes their own importance far too seriously. Little old me can't "save" the Earth and neither can they. The Earth doesn't need saving in the first place. Get a sense of proportion, folks. I'd rather spend a month in a Super-Max prison than ten minutes with a self important "Save the Earth" evangelist. Booooooooooring.
  5. Outraged people: People who are constantly outraged suffer to a large degree from the same sort of self importance as the Save the Earthers, above. They add a bit of self congratulations into the mix, to boot. Usually they are outraged that someone has done something that they would never do. They also like the attention their outrages brings to them. Attention-grabbers: T-e-d-i-o-u-s.
  6. Political Moderates: These folks have self importance, enjoy a good bit of self congratulations and oh, yes aren't really sharp enough or have enough character to actually stand for anything. There is no political philosophy called "Moderate". It is a catch-all phrase for those who haven't worked out a real philosophy. "I'll take one position from column A and another from column B". Have some gumption, dammit! Pick a consistent philosophy and stick to it. Excuse me. I have to grab a strongly caffeinated cup of coffee before I can go on.
  7. Oprah and all of her "friends": Saint Oprah has overstayed her welcome as America's premier secular saint by a number of years. Instead of doing the polite thing of course and going away, she is stepping up her game and running around giving Barak Obama her blessing. She also has a whole radio channel on XM Radio where she and her friends peddle such twaddle as her Soul Series which she claims is "the most exciting thing" she can think of in the whole wide world. Somewhere in America her acolytes are squealing in anticipation. Here at my computer I am falling asleep.
  8. Those who want to impeach George W. Bush: It ain't gonna happen folks. Hate-filled, deluded sufferers of Bush Derangement Syndrome make me sad. They also are sleeping pills in human form.
  9. Every member of the Kennedy family living and dead: This speaks for itself, doesn't it? Turn out the light.
  10. Militant Atheists: They're smug, self satisfied, condescending and in fact they don't know there is no God any more than those who do believe in Him know that he does exist. But religious people have the humility to acknowledge that they rely on faith; militant atheists don't so they're just relying on their own brilliance. Think Bill Maher. No, don't and stay awake instead.

Well, that's the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of other things that send me into a swoon of boredom and in future installments I'll be getting to them. Of course that idea may bore you to death as this little rant might have. If that's the case, face it, you were warned. Read the title of this post. Personally I feel kind of energized!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bush And Africa: Where Did Everybody Go?

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George W. Bush is the most powerful and controversial man in the world. His every move is watched and critiqued and his every word is avidly transcribed, broadcast, analyzed, mocked and once in a long while even praised. He lives in what could reasonably be considered one of the most all-encompassing media bubbles in the world. But George W. Bush has found a way to get away from it all. He went to Africa.

The Bush Administration's Africa policy, its ambitiousness, its comprehensiveness and its extraordinary success in saving lives is one of the great, neglected stories of our time and the degree and quality of the coverage of his current visit to that most troubled continent shows that this media disinterest is unlikely to end anytime soon.

Bush's attention to Africa has been complex and multilayered and its most remarkable accomplishment has been the saving of millions of African lives. In 2003 the administration introduced the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a five-year plan with a $15 billion price tag, concentrated primarily on Africa. It is the largest, costliest program ever targeted at a single disease and its beneficiaries are the millions currently afflicted with HIV as well as those who, but for the program would be its next victims. Since its inception PEPFAR has been responsible for 1.4 million Africans receiving treatment for the disease. Not satisfied with this accomplishment President Bush has proposed the doubling of the program's budget over the next five years.

But AIDS is not the only disease that the President has put in his sights. The President's Malaria Initiative, whose objective is to cut the mortality rate of that disease in half in five years, has also been a great success, benefiting an estimated 25 million people via the distribution of 6 million bed-nets treated with insecticide.

But the administration has not concentrated on disease while ignoring Africa's other large and complicated problems. Realizing merely distributing money and care-packages is not likely to address the larger issues causing misery to millions the administration created the Millennium Challenge Corporation which ties assistance to adoption of free-market principles, thereby promoting fiscally sound policies in an effort to improve standards of living.

Africa has been a breeding ground for Muslim extremism and the disaster that is Darfur is an ongoing human tragedy and the president is attempting to address that situation (which is proving even more intractable than AIDS or malaria) with an increase of sanctions against the Sudanese government responsible for Darfur and the creation of AFRICOM, a security command that the President is attempting to launch.

These and other efforts are realistic, conservative (the Heritage Foundation has written glowingly about them), humane and have proven to be largely effective. Sadly their success is inversely proportional to the attention they have drawn in America and the world outside of Africa.

No president in American history has ever lavished such concern and largesse on Africa, certainly not President Bill Clinton, who until this presidential season was often touted as being America's first "Black President'. (After his recent race-baiting tactics however Clinton seems to be turning whiter with each passing day.) One might think that the man who had been accused in the 2000 campaign of being responsible for a Black man being dragged to his death by a group of racists and accused by the Left and their friends in the media as neglecting the victims of Hurricane Katrina because of the color of their skin might get a little recognition for the success of his African humanitarian efforts. But one would be wrong. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Julian Bond are not to be found grabbing media face-time touting these great accomplishments. And the msm coverage has been perfunctory at best.

No so in Africa itself where Bush has largely been hailed as a hero. Tanzanian President Jakay Kikwete says that, "Of course, people talk with excitement of Obama....The US is going to get a new president, whoever that is. For us, the most important thing is, let him be as good a friend of Africa as President Bush has been." And "We feel proud because it's recognition of our contribution towards bringing security and stability not only to Darfur but also our region. The U.S government has been our strong partner in this," army spokeswoman Jill Rutaremara told Reuters. Traveling with Bush has been former Live Aid promoter and Boomtown Rat,
Bob Geldof hardly a natural ally of the President's, who said Mr. Bush, "has done more than any other president so far.""This is the triumph of American policy really," he said. "It was probably unexpected of the man. It was expected of the nation, but not of the man, but both rose to the occasion...What's in it for [Mr. Bush]? Absolutely nothing," Mr. Geldof said.

It may not be surprising that the msm hasn't paid much attention to Mr. Bush's superlative record here. What is surprising that the conservative press and blogosphere has reacted with not much more than a shrug, as well. The msm undoubtedly finds that the President's efforts in Africa don't match their template for him on one level (he's an uncaring fascist) and where it does (the President's humanitarianism is inseparable from his deep Christian faith) it turns out that the template itself works against them. Conservatism's neglect may be due to the President's poor pr on the issue or the fact that Africa has appeared to be such a basket case for so long it is hard to recognize true progress when it occurs.

This is all quite unfortunate but the lack of accolades the President has received makes his actions that much more notable. While the President's African policies may not make large headlines today when the history books are written on the Bush years it is likely they may finally get the attention they deserve.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Why I Am A Nazi - A Surprising Confession

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I have dreaded this moment for a long time, knowing that someday it would certainly come. But I am worn down, tired of the denials, tired of being defensive, trying to hide. The evidence has been mounting for a long time and I must face the facts and state the truth boldly and admit it to the world: I am a Nazi!

How do I know? Well many powerful and influential sources have been saying it for a long time. I've heard it from virtually any movie that even touched on a political topic or deals with social issues in any way. The liberal blogs tell me daily. I hear it from magazines, college professors and Democrats. I hear it from TV. For a long time I'd see people like me, who believe that the government's role should be far more limited than it is today but who believe that national defense is one of the those things government should be doing and that that defense should be muscular and effective, portrayed as goose-stepping Jew, Black, Gay killers. I've seen those of us who believe that the US has a right to defend its sovereignty, make and enforce laws respecting who gets to come and go, live and work in the US shown as being swastika-tattooed, zeig-heiling murderers. I resisted what the media has been saying about me for so long now but I've grown weary and after watching an episode of CBS's series, Cold Case last night I finally broke down and have accepted the fact that yes, I am a Nazi.

The episode in question, Spiders, revolves around Tamyra Border, an abused seventeen year old girl who we see in flashback because we find out that ten years ago she was murdered and the case has gone cold. She had run away from her abusive father who burned her with cigarettes and beat her. Desperate she falls into the arms of "Spider" Leland who befriends her and takes her home to stay with him, his mother and loner, Elliot Leopold, another apparently lost and sympathetic soul. Once having settled in and starting to feel comfortable with Spider he reveals the reason for his extending Tamyra his and his mother's sympathies: Spider wants to her to join his group which believes that laws should be enforced, the government should be smaller and illegal immigration is bad...just like I do. Oh yeah, he also doesn't believe the Holocaust ever happened and all manner of bad things should happen to Blacks, Gays, Jews, etc. none of which I agree with for even a nano-second but I've learned from years of being told by the media, if you believe in the first group of things, you also believe in the second. By the time Spider took off his top shirt revealing the swastika on the T-shirt underneath I knew what CBS was telling me: I'm a Nazi!

Well as it happens Spider was lucky enough to find an Hispanic woman whose car had broken down. She was, of course a lovely, sweet (we're made to assume) illegal immigrant whose son was hiding in the car, watching as Spider got out of his car and beat her unconscious. He gave Tamyra a gun and told her to shoot the Hispanic woman but Tamyra refused so Spider did it instead. Tamyra was brought back to Spider and Spider's Mom's where she tried to escape and go to the police. As it happens Mom, who is some sort of combination of Nurse Ratchett and the Wicked Witch of the West tells Tamyra that "You're either with us or against us" in killing those danged Hispanics. Well those are the exact same words that Republican President George W. Bush has so famously used. So it is obvious that George W. Bush and the Nazi mom think exactly alike!! And I voted for him! So, I'm a Nazi, too!

Well, I have to admit that I was a little confused here as no president has been more welcoming to illegal aliens than GWB has been. I mean I think that he's been far too lax in enforcing immigration laws, which I guess means I'm an even bigger Nazi than George W. Bush. Also, GWB has done more to prevent AIDS in Africa than any other president and is actually very popular in much of Africa, but still CBS said it so it must be so: he just wants to kill all those Hispanics and Blacks etc.

Nazi-mom also quoted Republican President Teddy Roosevelt, who said, "We can have no "50-50" allegiance in this country. Either a man is an American and nothing else, or he is not an American at all." Well, there you have it: Nazis just love Republicans and that's because Republicans are just like them. See? I'm a Nazi.

Well, ok it may be true that, as Jonah Goldberg points out in minute detail, in Liberal Fascism, Nazism is really a Left-Wing phenomenon, which was much admired by many people in FDR's administration and that anti-semitism is spreading like wildfire in all the strongholds of socialism in Europe and that it was Democrat, Jimmy Carter who, according to his own Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, was going to "sell Israel down the river" if he'd been reelected, but still: I'm a Nazi.

Oh yeah, as it turned out it was Elliot who turned out to have been Tamyra's murderer; had to kill her to shut her up. It turns out he wasn't so nice after all. In the present it seems he is one of those right-wing college economics professors. They're everywhere, you know.

So there you have it. It is irrefutable and I'm through protesting. I'm a Nazi. I must be. CBS told me so. But you want to know the only solace I have? I think you might just be a Nazi, too.