Saturday, December 31, 2005

Cheney Concept of Executive Power Slammed by Greeley in Op-Ed Article

In a searing article, published in yesterday's Chicago Sun-Times, Roman Catholic priest Andrew Greeley, slams the interpretation of executive power, which has been postulated by VP Dick Cheney. This article is well worth reading, see link address after excerpt for the complete piece.

The controversy about spying on the American people fails to understand the implications of "Cheney's Law" -- the president of the United States has unlimited power in his role of commander in chief to do whatever he deems necessary in a time of war. He can intern prisoners without trial, approve the kidnapping of suspected enemies, send these suspects to prisons in foreign countries where they will be tortured, deny the right of habeas corpus, even nullify laws Congress has passed. He needs no permission from Congress or the courts to engage in any of these activities. The president, in other words, is the maximum leader at any time that he decides it is appropriate for him to exercise ultimate power in the United States.

Vice President Dick Cheney has argued this with considerable vigor and persuasiveness. Indeed, he argued it even before he was vice president. The current White House has obviously bought it.


Nail Bomb Targeted at Eastern Indonesian Christians Kills 6 Injures 45

Reuters reported today that:

A bomb packed with nails exploded in a crowded Christian market selling pork ahead of New Year celebrations in eastern Indonesia on Saturday, killing six people and wounding 45, police said.

The blast in Palu, capital of volatile Central Sulawesi province, comes amid warnings of militant violence during the Christmas and New Year season in Indonesia. Pork is forbidden to Muslims, but eastern Indonesia has large pockets of Christians.

Bystanders carried bloodied shoppers from the makeshift market to a road, putting them in passing cars to be taken to hospital. One man screamed as he held up his bloodied arms.

"Suddenly there was a flash of light and a really loud bang. We were all thrown to the ground," one wounded pork seller said in an interview with El Shinta radio from his hospital bed.

"I saw many buyers who had lost their legs. We just tried to save ourselves by fleeing the market."

National police spokesman Major-General Paulus Purwoko put the death toll at six, with 45 wounded.

"It was a homemade bomb. It was full of nails," he said.

The complete story may be found at this link:

Details of CIA Flights Into Europe Revealed By Human Rights Group

Earlier this month(12-5-05) Amnesty International Delineated the large number of CIA
aircraft which had been flying in an out of Europe since 2001. Your Editor thought that you might like to review this story, if you had not previously heard of it.

"Amnesty International today revealed that six planes used by the CIA for renditions have made some 800 flights in or out of European airspace including 50 landings at Shannon airport in the Republic of Ireland.

The information contradicts assurances given last week by the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern, that Ireland's Shannon airport had not been used for "untoward" purposes, or as a transit point for terror suspects.

The organisation also rejected assertions by the US Secretary of State as she began a four-nation tour of Europe. In a statement today, Ms Rice argued that rendition -- transferring detainees from country to country without legal process -- was permissible under international law. Although the victims of rendition usually end up in countries known to use torture in their interrogations, Ms Rice added that the US government seeks assurances on treatment from receiving nations.

"Flying detainees to countries where they may face torture or other ill-treatment is a direct and outright breach of international law with or without so called "diplomatic assurances". These assurances are meaningless. Countries known for systematic torture, regularly deny the existence of such practices," said Claudio Cordone, Amnesty International's Senior Director of Regional Programmes.

Amnesty international has obtained flight records for six CIA-chartered planes from September 2001 to September of 2005. According to the US Federal Aviation Administration over this period, these planes landed 50 times in Shannon and took off 35 times, suggesting that some flights were kept secret. Although Shannon airport is used as a refuelling stop for the US military, none of the planes were military transport planes. In total for this period, the six planes made some 800 flights originating or landing in Europe.

The planes include:

Boeing 737-7ET, call sign N313P (Later re-registered as N4476S). The largest of the six planes, with 32 seats, is owned by Premier Executive Transport Services, a CIA front company that also owns N379P. N313P has been frequently seen at US military bases, including in Afghanistan.
Gulfstream V: call sign N379P (Later re-registered as N8068V and then as N44982): this plane, which has made more than 50 trips to the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, has been nicknamed "The Guantanamo Bay Express". It was also used in the CIA rendition of Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed al-Zari from Sweden to Egypt.
Gulfstream III: N829MG (Later re-registered as N259SK). This plane took dual Syrian-Canadian national Maher Arar from the US to Syria where he was detained for 13 months’ without charge, during which time he was tortured. He was finally released in October 2003.
GulfstreamIV, call sign N85VM (Later re-registered as N227SV), the plane that took Abu Omar to Egypt from Germany after his kidnapping in Italy, turned around and flew to Shannon. The plane's flight log also shows visits to Afghanistan, Morocco, Dubai, Jordan, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic.

Amnesty International is publishing the information after a challenge by the Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern on Thursday last week. Asked about CIA planes using Shannon airport, the Foreign Minister said, "If anyone has any evidence of any of these flights please give me a call and I will have it immediately investigated." On 17 Feb 2003, for instance, the Gulfstream IV, N85VM took Abu Omar from Ramstein to Cairo, then turned around and flew to Shannon, arriving at 0552 on the 18th.

The latest information confirms other persistent and reliable reports in the media and by non-governmental organizations that CIA-chartered flights are used for renditions. Amnesty International only has partial flight logs for six planes whilst the CIA has been reported to use some 30 leased aircraft.

European countries have allowed these aircraft to land, refuel and take off from their territory. Under international law and standards, all States must cooperate to bring to an end any serious breach of the prohibition of torture and other peremptory rules of international law. They must also refrain from aiding or assisting those carrying out such breaches.

Amnesty International calls on European countries to investigate promptly and thoroughly allegations that their territory has been used to assist CIA-chartered flights secretly transporting detainees to countries where they may face "disappearance", torture or other ill-treatment. Pending the results of such an investigation, all States must ensure that their territory and facilities are not used to assist rendition flights.

The organization urges all member States of the Council of Europe to provide full cooperation with the investigation carried out by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on allegations about secret detention centres, and provide complete information on their internal law and practices relating to secret rendition flights, as requested by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe."

U. S. Planning Iran Military Strike? German Press Abuzz with Reports

According to the German Magazine Der Spiegle:

Recent reports in the German media suggest that the United States may be preparing its allies for an imminent military strike against facilities that are part of Iran's suspected clandestine nuclear weapons program.

Der Spiegle reports that:

"The most talked about story is a Dec. 23 piece by the German news agency DDP from journalist and intelligence expert Udo Ulfkotte. The story has generated controversy not only because of its material, but also because of the reporter's past. Critics allege that Ulfkotte in his previous reporting got too close to sources at Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the BND. But Ulfkotte has himself noted that he has been under investigation by the government in the past (indeed, his home and offices have been searched multiple times) for allegations that he published state secrets -- a charge that he claims would underscore rather than undermine the veracity of his work."

The complete story may be read at this link:,1518,392783,00.html

Friday, December 30, 2005

Abramoff May Implicate Up to 20 Lawmakers As He Nears Plea Deal

A story reported today by the Associated Press indicates that
"Federal prosecutors and lawyers for Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff consulted briefly Friday with a federal judge in Miami as they put the finishing touches on a plea deal that could be announced as early as Tuesday, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

The plea agreement would secure the lobbyist's testimony against several members of Congress who received favors from him or his clients.

Abramoff and a former partner were indicted in Miami in August on charges of conspiracy and fraud for allegedly lying about their assets to help secure financing to purchase a fleet of gambling boats.

For the past two weeks, pressure has been intensifying on Abramoff to strike a deal with prosecutors since his former business partner, Adam Kidan, pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy in connection with the 2000 SunCruz deal.

Abramoff's cooperation would be a boon to an ongoing Justice Department investigation of congressional corruption, possibly helping prosecutors build criminal cases against up to 20 lawmakers and their staff members."

The complete article may be found here:

ACLU Calls for Special Counsel To Investigate Bush Wiretaps

NEW YORK - December 29 - In a full-page advertisement in today's New York Times, the American Civil Liberties Union intensified its call for a special counsel to be appointed to determine whether President George W. Bush violated federal wiretapping laws by authorizing illegal surveillance.

The ACLU said President Bush's actions were a clear violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which was passed by Congress in response to revelations that former President Nixon was using "national security" claims to spy on American citizens he considered his "enemies."

"President Nixon was not above the law and neither is President Bush," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "President Bush cannot use a claim of seeking to preserve our nation to undermine the rules that serve as our foundation. The Attorney General, who may have been involved with the formulation of this policy, must appoint a special counsel to let justice be served."

The advertisement, as well as a similar ACLU ad that ran last Thursday, was spurred by revelations earlier this month that Bush authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct electronic surveillance of people within the United States, including U.S. citizens, without a warrant.

The text of today's advertisement compares the words of President Nixon and President Bush, both of whom denied allegations of illegal spying. Next to the image of Nixon, the advertisement says: "He lied to the American people and broke the law." Below that is an image of President Bush, with the words, "So did he."

The FISA wiretapping law made it a crime to intentionally engage in electronic surveillance without court approval. The president clearly violated the law when he authorized, and then repeatedly reauthorized, the NSA to spy on Americans without first obtaining a warrant, the ACLU said.

In a formal request sent last week to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the ACLU called for the appointment of "an outside special counsel with the independence to investigate and prosecute any and all criminal acts committed by any member of the Executive Branch in the warrantless electronic surveillance of people in the United States over the past four years by the NSA," noting that "such crimes are serious felonies and they need to be fully and independently investigated."

The ACLU's Dec. 29 advertisement is online at

New Allegations of Torture At Guantanamo, U. N. Official Reports

The BBC reported today that:

There are credible allegations that Guantanamo hunger strikers are being force-fed in a cruel manner, the UN special rapporteur on torture has said.

Manfred Nowak's comments came after it emerged that the number of detainees refusing food at the prison camp had more than doubled since 25 December.
Some 84 inmates are now refusing food, according to the US military.
But a Pentagon official said there was no evidence that they had been treated in an inappropriate way.

Mr Nowak has not been to Guantanamo, and turned down an invitation to the camp because the US refused to give him unrestricted access to the detainees.
If these allegations are true then this definitely amounts to an additional cruel treatment
Manfred NowakUN special rapporteur on tortureHe told the BBC that he had received reports that some hunger strikers had had thick pipes inserted through the nose and forced down into the stomach.
This was allegedly done roughly, sometimes by prison guards rather than doctors. As a result, some prisoners had reported bleeding and vomiting he said.

The complete article may be found at this link:

Gonzalez's Justice Deparment Opens Probe Into Domestic Spying Whistleblower Leak

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department has opened another investigation into leaks of classified information, this time to determine who divulged the existence of a secret domestic spying program authorized by President George Bush.

The inquiry focuses on disclosures to The New York Times about warrantless surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, officials said.
The newspaper recently revealed the existence of the program in a front-page story that also acknowledged that the news had been withheld from publication for a year, partly at the request of the administration and partly because the newspaper wanted more time to confirm various aspects of the program.

White House spokesman Trent Duffy said Justice undertook the action on its own, and Bush was informed of it Friday.
According to Duffy, "The leaking of classified information is a serious issue. The fact is that al-Qaida's playbook is not printed on Page One and when America's is, it has serious ramifications," Duffy told reporters in Crawford, Texas, where Bush was spending the holidays.

Catherine Mathis, a spokeswoman for the Times, declined to comment.

Disclosure of the secret spying program two weeks ago unleashed a firestorm of criticism of the administration. Some critics accused the president of breaking the law by authorizing intercepts of conversations — without prior court approval or oversight — of people inside the United States and abroad who had suspected ties to al-Qaida or its affiliates.

It's pretty stunning that, rather than focus on whether the president broke his oath of office and broke federal law, they are going after the whistleblowers," said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Pretty stunning indeed Mr. Romero. The World Monitor agrees, perhaps someone needs to investigate Mr. Gonzalez and his Justice Deparment for possible malfeasance and his possible removal from office.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Conservative Advocacy Group Protests New NBC Series About Episcopal Priest

A conservative advocacy group is urging its supporters to protest an upcoming NBC television series that portrays a "completely dysfunctional family" as models of the Christian faith.NBC's "The Book of Daniel" is scheduled to premiere on Jan. 6, and even before the public sees it, the American Family Association is complaining about the series.The main character, Daniel Webster, "is a drug-addicted Episcopal priest whose wife depends heavily on her mid-day martinis," the AFA said in a message to its supporters."Webster regularly sees and talks with a very unconventional white-robed, bearded Jesus," AFA said, adding that the Webster family also includes "a 23-year-old homosexual Republican son, a 16-year-old daughter who is a drug dealer, and a 16-year-old adopted son who is having sex with the bishop's daughter. At the office, his (Webster's) lesbian secretary is sleeping with his sister-in-law."

The complete story may be read here:

Nearly 64% of Casino Lobbyist Abramoff's Contributions Went to Republican Lawmakers

An outstanding graphic representation of former Indian casino lobbyist Jack Abramoff's donations to U.S. politicians, has been designed by The Washington Post.

Our readers will definitely find this an interesting read, so please follow the link below to the complete graphic story:

Your editor is certain that you will find this most enlightening.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Barron's Magazine Calls for Impeachment of Bush, Issue--- Did Bush Break The Law

Barron's calls for impeachment (via Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture)

"AS THE YEAR WAS DRAWING TO A CLOSE, we picked up our New York Times and learned that the Bush administration has been fighting terrorism by intercepting communications in America without warrants. It was worrisome on its face, but in justifying their actions, officials have made a bad situation much worse: Administration lawyers and the president himself have tortured the Constitution and extracted a suspension of the separation of powers . . .

Certainly, there was an emergency need after the Sept. 11 attacks to sweep up as much information as possible about the chances of another terrorist attack. But a 72-hour emergency or a 15-day emergency doesn't last four years . . .

Willful disregard of a law is potentially an impeachable offense. It is at least as impeachable as having a sexual escapade under the Oval Office desk and lying about it later. The members of the House Judiciary Committee who staged the impeachment of President Clinton ought to be as outraged at this situation. They ought to investigate it, consider it carefully and report either a bill that would change the wiretap laws to suit the president or a bill of impeachment.

It is important to be clear that an impeachment case, if it comes to that, would not be about wiretapping, or about a possible Constitutional right not to be wiretapped. It would be about the power of Congress to set wiretapping rules by law, and it is about the obligation of the president to follow the rules in the Acts that he and his predecessors signed into law.

Some ancillary responsibility, however, must be attached to those members of the House and Senate who were informed, inadequately, about the wiretapping and did nothing to regulate it. Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, told Vice President Dick Cheney in 2003 that he was "unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse these activities." But the senator was so respectful of the administration's injunction of secrecy that he wrote it out in longhand rather than give it to someone to type. Only last week, after the cat was out of the bag, did he do what he should have done in 2003 -- make his misgivings public and demand more information.

Published reports quote sources saying that 14 members of Congress were notified of the wiretapping. If some had misgivings, apparently they were scared of being called names, as the president did last week when he said: "It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in a time of war. The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy."

Wrong. If we don't discuss the program and the lack of authority for it, we are meeting the enemy -- in the mirror.

Barron's editorial page editor Thomas G. Donlan wrote this column for Monday's edition entitled "Unwarranted Executive Power" which calls on members of the House Judiciary Committee to investigate if the Bush Administration violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and to either change the law or consider impeachment.

Bush Anti-Impeachment Strategy Laid Bare, Former Congressman and Prosecutor Barr, Outlines Gameplan in Op-Ed Piece

This article by Bob Barr,describes in explicit terms, the strategy which is now developing in the White House to prevent George Bush and Dick Cheney's impeachments.
Barr begins as follows:

"Two of the most powerful moments of political déjà vu I have ever experienced took place recently in the context of the Bush administration's defense of presidentially ordered electronic spying on American citizens.

First, in the best tradition of former President Bill Clinton's classic, "it-all-depends-on-what-the-meaning-of-is-is" defense, President Bush responded to a question at a White House news conference about what now appears to be a clear violation of federal electronic monitoring laws by trying to argue that he had not ordered the National Security Agency to "monitor" phone and e-mail communications of American citizens without court order; he had merely ordered them to "detect" improper communications.

Your editor highly recommends that you read the complete piece at the link below.

Link to the complete article here:

Couldn't Have Said it Better Myself, Bush Chutzpah Exposed

An outstanding posting today by Chris Floyd, on his website, certainly lays bare in the starkest terms the choices facing politicians and the electorate of the United States.

Excerpt follows, the complete article may be found at the address at the end of this excerpt.

Floyd states:

"So now, at last, the crisis is upon us. Now the cards are finally on the table, laid out so starkly that even the Big Media sycophants and Beltway bootlickers can no longer ignore them. Now the choice for the American Establishment is clear, and inescapable: do you hold for the Republic, or for autocracy?

There is no third way here, no other option, no wiggle room, no ambiguity. The much-belated exposure of George W. Bush's warrantless spy program has forced the Bush-Cheney Regime to openly declare what they have long implied -- and enacted -- in secret: that the president is above the law, a military autocrat with unlimited powers, beyond the restraint or supervision of any other institution or branch of government. Outed as rank deceivers, perverters of the law and rapists of the Constitution, the Bush gang has decided that their best defense -- their only defense, really -- is a belligerent offense. "Yeah, we broke the law," they now say; "so what? We'll break it again whenever we want to, because law don't stick to our Big Boss Man. What are you going to do about it, chump?"

Link to the complete article here:

Indonesian Claims Torture By Saudi Employers, Suffers Amputations, Sentenced By Saudi Judge to 79 Lashes

A report in the Arab News dated 26 December 2005 states that; A Riyadh judge sentenced an Indonesian maid, who accused her sponsor and his wife of torturing her, to 79 lashes yesterday.

“We have made our appeal to the court and we trust in the Saudi court system and have confidence in it,” said Nour Miyati’s lawyer, Nasser Al-Dandani, who was appointed to her by the Indonesian Embassy.

In March, Miyati was brought to a hospital in Riyadh by her sponsor in a critical condition suffering from gangrene to her fingers, toes and a part of her right foot. Doctors had to remove some of her fingers and toes.

At first Miyati claimed that her sponsor tied her up for a month in a bathroom and beat her severely injuring her eyes and knocking out several of her teeth. But Miyati later changed her testimony and was subsequently charged with making false accusations of torture against her sponsor.

A judge later sentenced the sponsor’s wife, who admitted to beating Miyati, to 35 lashes. The husband was found innocent due to lack of evidence against him.

The judge is yet to issue a decision on Miyati’s case against her sponsor for beating her. The sponsor will have to provide monetary compensation to the maid if the judge rules in her favor.

In July, Saudi authorities imprisoned Miyati while she was still being treated at the Specialist Hospital in Riyadh for her wounds and amputations.

Following complaints by her lawyer, Dandani, and the Indonesian Embassy, Miyati was released to the care of the Nahda Women’s Charity Society by orders of Riyadh Gov. Prince Salman.

The complete text of this pitiful story may be read here:§ion=0&article=75308

Question? What is going on in Saudi Arabia?

Arab News Reports Maids Running Away From Their Saudi Employers...What Could The Reason Be?

This unbelievable editorial in the Arab News, may give our readers some insight into this wonderful kingdom which is referred to as our ally, by the U. S. Government.

Dated December 8, 2005
The problem of maids running away is not a new one but it has increased lately to a shocking level. Columnists have written about it in newspapers and it has been widely discussed on TV. In my opinion, one thing that leads maids to run away is the absence of rules and punishments applicable to those who flee their employers. This absence is an encouragement as well as a motive for maids to run away.

Recent police raids all over the Kingdom have shown the size of the problem. Thousands of maids have been arrested in Makkah alone. The police are aware of the reasons for the problem and of its negative impact on society — but there is, as yet, no explanation about why the problem is growing worse.

Citizens are quick to be blamed because many of them hire illegal maids at low salaries to do house work. Government authorities are also blamed for other reasons. Reporting that a maid has run away from her sponsor is a long and complicated procedure. Maids do not face any punishment if they are caught.

Citizens who have hired the maids face a financial loss when the maid runs away even though she may be working illegally elsewhere and making money doing so. Recruitment offices here and abroad make profits from runaway maids. Many people believe that these offices play a role in encouraging maids to run away from their sponsors after three months.

Some say that injustice is the main reason for maids running away. I say that is sometimes true but also sometimes not true. There are certainly cases of abuse and non-payment of salaries. The authorities are usually on the side of the maid rather than the sponsor. They force sponsors to get signatures of maids saying that they have received their financial dues before being given an exit only visa. Surely it would be fair for runaway maids to pay damages to their sponsors before they are deported.

The solution is to be fair with all sides. If not, then citizens will feel victimized and will break rules and maids will feel safe in breaking rules because there are no punishments.

link here:§ion=0&article=74357&d=20&m=12&y=2005

Outrageous "Honor Killing" in Pakistan Highlights Lingering Problems In Conservative Islamic Countries

According to a report today from the Associated Press, Nazir Ahmed appeared calm and unrepentant as he recounted how he slit the throats of his three young daughters and their 25-year old stepsister to salvage his family's "honor" — a crime that shocked Pakistan.

The 40-year old laborer, speaking to The Associated Press in police detention as he was being shifted to prison, confessed to just one regret — that he didn't murder the stepsister's alleged lover too.

Hundreds of girls and women are murdered by male relatives each year in this conservative Islamic nation, and rights groups said Wednesday such "honor killings" will only stop when authorities get serious about punishing perpetrators.

The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that in more than half of such cases that make it to court, most end with cash settlements paid by relatives to the victims' families, although under a law passed last year, the minimum penalty is 10 years, the maximum death by hanging.

The complete story may be read here:

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

U.S. Ambassador in London Creates Diplomatic Incident, Misleading Statements Charged

The Independent Online today reported that the US ambassador in London has been forced into an embarrassing retreat after his embassy clarified comments he made denying that the United States was involved in removing terrorist suspects to Syria.

Robert Tuttle,pictured above right, told Radio 4's Today programme last Thursday that there was no evidence that US forces had sent suspected terrorists for questioning in Syria, a practice known as "extraordinary rendition".

The US embassy issued a statement yesterday acknowledging that there had been claims that a suspect arrested in New York had been sent by the CIA for torture in Syria.

It is the second time in recent weeks that Mr Tuttle has had to correct misleading statements about the actions of US forces, and provoked a fresh outcry from Labour MPs over the practice of extraordinary rendition.

Andrew Mackinlay, a senior Labour member of the foreign affairs committee investigating the use of UK airports for rendition by the CIA, said: "It is troubling that they are contradicting their own assurances. We have no confidence in the denials that they have issued. Increasingly, a number of us ... don't believe what the US administration states any more. Nobody believes that this is not going on."

Robert "Bob" Holmes Tuttle, Republican fundraiser and Beverly Hills car-dealer, was sworn in as Ambassador to the Court of St James on 14 July, 2005.

The complete story may be found here:

Catholic Cardinal Says Women Have "Bitter Experiences" When They Marry Muslims

According to BBC News, two documents published in Rome have called for extreme caution by Catholic women contemplating marriage to a Muslim.

In one, issued by the Vatican last year, a Vatican cardinal, Stephen Hamao, wrote about what he called the "bitter experiences" that European women have had in marrying Muslims.

Pope John Paul II had tried to improve relations between faiths

The difficulties are compounded if the couple then goes to live in a Muslim country, the cardinal warned.

The tone was unusually strong in an age when interfaith dialogue seems the predominant buzz word. Then last month, Cardinal Ruini, the head of the Italian bishops, added his voice.

In addition to the problems any couple faces setting up a family, he said, Catholics marrying Muslims have to reckon with extra difficulties arising from deep cultural differences.

Some Muslim scholars have expressed surprise at the Vatican documents and Italian liberal groups have also criticised them.

The complete article may be read at this link:

Monday, December 26, 2005

Today's Amazing Quote from Archbishop Burke of Saint Louis

"The faithful who approach a schismatic priest for the reception of the sacraments, except in the case of danger of death, commit a mortal sin. All of the faithful of the archdiocese should guard against any participation in the attempt to celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. Also, they should caution visitors and others who are unaware of the status of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, lest they unknowingly participate in the schismatic acts."

Try to find this commandment, anywhere in the scriptures, pretty amazing!

Source may be found here:

Georgetown Professor to Present Paper On Queer Perspectives on Heterosexuality

Washington, D.C. – Georgetown University professor Dana Luciano will present her paper “Femininity’s Queer Time, or, Far From Heaven” at the 2005 Modern Language Association Convention in Washington, D.C., December 27-30. Luciano’s presentation is part of a larger discussion on queer perspectives on heterosexuality.
Luciano examines the concept of time as it relates to femininity in Todd Haynes’ 2002 melodrama Far From Heaven, which centers on the life of Cathy Whittaker, a 1950s housewife, and her relationships with both her closeted gay husband and their black gardener. She argues that Haynes’ film subtly undermines the idealization of the self-sacrificing mother in the classic melodrama. Highlighting Whittaker’s inability to adhere to the traditional role of a 1950s wife and mother, Luciano traces the film’s queerest traits not to Whittaker’s husband but to the protagonist herself.

Dana Luciano teaches sexuality and gender studies in the Department of English at Georgetown University. Her work on the temporality of affect has been published in Arizona Quarterly, The Henry James Review, American Literature, The Western Humanities Review, and the collection Loss: The Politics of Mourning, edited by David Eng and David Kazanjian, and she has recently completed a manuscript titled Arranging Grief: Sacred Time and the Body in Nineteenth-Century America.
Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in America, founded in 1789 by Archbishop John Carroll. Georgetown today is a major student-centered, international, research university offering respected undergraduate, graduate and professional programs on its three campuses in Washington, DC.
(news release from Press Zoom)

Catholic Parishioners Defy Archbishop Burke, Attend Services Conducted By Excommunicated Priest

According to the Associated Press, at least 1,500 people attended Christmas Eve Mass presided by an excommunicated Roman Catholic priest, despite warnings from Archbishop Raymond Burke that participating would be a mortal sin.

The Rev. Marek Bozek left his previous parish without his bishop’s permission and was hired by St. Stanislaus Kostka Church,in Saint Louis Missouri, earlier this month. As a result, Bozek and the six-member lay board were excommunicated last week by Burke for committing an act of schism.

The former bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse said it would be a mortal sin for anyone to participate in a Mass celebrated by a priest who was excommunicated — the Catholic Church’s most severe penalty. Burke, who couldn’t stop the Mass, said it would be “valid” but “illicit.”

Despite the warning, Catholics and non-Catholics from as far as Oregon and Washington, D.C., filled the church. An overflow crowd viewed the Mass by closed circuit TV in an adjoining parish center.

“I’m not worried about mortal sin,” said worshipper Matt Morrison, 50. “I’ll take a stand for what I believe is right.”

Many wore large red buttons reading “Save St. Stanislaus,” and said they wanted to offer solidarity to a parish they believe has been wronged.

When Bozek entered from the rear of the church, the congregation rose and greeted him with thunderous applause.

“It was magic,” said JoAnne La Sala of St. Louis, a self-described lapsed Catholic. “You could feel the spirit of the people.”

The penalty was the latest wrinkle in a long dispute over control of the parish’s $9.5 million in assets.

The parish’s property and finances have been managed by a lay board of directors for more than a century. Burke has sought to make the parish conform to the same legal structure as other parishes in the diocese. As a result, he removed both the parish’s priests in 2004.

Bozek, a Pole who arrived in the U.S. five years ago, said he agonized about leaving his previous parish but wanted to help a church that had been deprived of the sacraments for 17 months.

To be Polish is to be Catholic, he said, and to be Catholic is to receive the sacraments.

“I will give them the sacrament of reconciliation, the Eucharist. I will visit the sick and bury the dead,” he said. “I will laugh with those who are laughing and cry with those who are crying.”

Bozek said he doesn’t believe that receiving sacraments at St. Stanislaus, especially Holy Communion, puts a Catholic at risk of mortal sin, in which the soul could suffer eternal damnation.

The Rev. Charles Bouchard, moral theology professor and president of Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, said Burke was following canon law “to the letter” in excommunicating Bozek and the board.

But some argue that St. Stanislaus’ more than century-old governing structure holds the same authority as church law and the bishop lacked merit for imposing excommunication, he said.

“Whether the parties should have reached this impasse in the first place,” Bouchard said, “is another matter.”

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Muslim Groups Furious, Claims U. S. Has Two-Tiered Justice System

A recent report by the New York Times reveals that the FBI and the Department of Energy have conducted thousands of searches for radioactive materials at private sites around the country in the last three years, government officials confirmed on Friday.

The existence of the search program was disclosed on Thursday by US News & World Report, on its Web site. Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, government agencies have disclosed that they have installed radiation-detection equipment at ports, subway stations and other public locations, but extensive surreptitious monitoring of private property has not been publicly known.

The federal government has given thousands of radiation alarms, worn like cell phones on the belt, to police and fire departments in major cities.

A spokesman for the Justice Department, Brian Roehrkasse, confirmed that law enforcement personnel were conducting "passive operations in publicly accessible areas to detect the presence of radiological materials, in a manner that protects US constitutional rights."

US News, citing people it did not name, said many of the sites that federal agents had monitored were mosques or the homes or businesses of Muslims, and the report set off a dispute between a Muslim group here and the FBI.

The group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a statement: "This disturbing revelation, coupled with recent reports of surveillance without warrant, could lead to the perception that we are no longer ruled by law, but instead one in which fear trumps constitutional rights. All Americans should be concerned about the apparent trend toward a two-tiered system of justice, with full rights for most citizens, and another diminished set of rights for Muslims."

This report certainly reinforces the American public's opinion that the Bush Administration has certainly stretched its authority beyond any presidency in recent memory.

It remains to be seen how the U. S. electorate will react to the avalanche of revelations regarding domestic spying in the upcoming November 2006 congressional elections.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Republicans Worried as 2006 Elections Loom, Baggage From Iraq War, Katrina Weighing Heavily

An article in today's Financial Times, highlights the dour mood of Republicans as the face the prospect of mid-term elections November 2006. It appears that the "chickens are coming home to roost" after some serious missteps by the Bush Administration.

It was not quite the finale that the president and the Republican leadership had in mind," said Thomas Mann, a political analyst at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think-tank.

The political disappointments will intensify Republican concerns about the 2006 mid-term elections, and add to pressure to show voters more concrete accomplishments if they are to maintain their majorities next November.
But several factors have combined to limit their progress. Weak public support for Mr Bush - attributed to his handling of the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina - united and emboldened Democrats.

Concerns about Mr Bush's conduct of the war on terror prompted lawmakers to increase their scrutiny of the administration and the policies adopted after the September 11 terror attacks.

Mr Mann is not optimistic that the situation will improve soon for Republicans.
"Everything I've seen here suggests that next year is going to be worse."

Recent disclosures that the president authorised secret domestic surveillance of US citizens strengthened the hand of those who opposed renewal of the Patriot Act without first toughening its civil liberties protections.

The full article may be read here:

Ultra-Conservative American Family Association Apoplectic Over Duquense Decision

The ultra-conservative American Family Association lashed out at Duquense University's recent decision to approve a gay/straight alliance group at that school.
Amazingly Diane Gramley, the president of the AFA of Pennsylvania seems to try qualify herself as a theologian with her statements.

The following paragraphs and quotations will give the reader this gist of this hateful organization's thrust as it propagates its own agenda.

"Duquesne is continuing its cave-in to homosexual students who have an agenda. A month and a half ago they punished a student for upholding Catholic teaching demanding that he write a ten-page paper discussing the pros and cons of homosexuality. According to Catholic teaching there are no pros in homosexual behavior," said Diane Gramley, president of the AFA of PA.

According to Gramley, the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines homosexual behavior as "acts of grave depravity ... intrinsically disordered ... contrary to natural law ... Under no circumstances can they be approved."

"Will Duquesne's new GSA clearly state that homosexual activity is immoral? I doubt it. Further Duquesne will be asking all students to help fund this group through their student activity fees. Students like Ryan Miner and their parents who adhere to Catholic teaching will be forced to support a group they doctrinally oppose," Gramley added.

"Duquesne University is walking a fine line. Next year will their name be added to the list of schools participating in conferences which promote acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle? In a couple years, will they be forced to change school policies?" Gramley asked.

The complete story may be found at this link:\Culture\archive\200512\CUL20051219b.html

ACLU To Release Documents on FBI Spying Next Week, Social Activist Groups Allegedly Targeted

The latest batch of documents, parts of which the A.C.L.U. plans to release publicly on Tuesday, totals more than 2,300 pages and centers on references in internal files to a handful of groups, including PETA, the environmental group Greenpeace and the Catholic Workers group, which promotes antipoverty efforts and social causes.

Many of the investigative documents turned over by the bureau are heavily edited, making it difficult or impossible to determine the full context of the references and why the F.B.I. may have been discussing events like a PETA protest. F.B.I. officials say many of the references may be much more benign than they seem to civil rights advocates, adding that the documents offer an incomplete and sometimes misleading snapshot of the bureau’s activities.

“Just being referenced in an F.B.I. file is not tantamount to being the subject of an investigation,” said John Miller, a spokesman for the bureau.

But the documents, coming after the Bush administration’s confirmation that President Bush had authorized some spying without warrants in fighting terrorism, prompted charges from civil rights advocates that the government had improperly blurred the line between terrorism and acts of civil disobedience and lawful protest.

A.C.L.U officials said the latest batch of documents released by the F.B.I. indicated the agency’s interest in a broader array of activist and protest groups than they had previously thought. In light of other recent disclosures about domestic surveillance activities by the National Security Agency and military intelligence units, the A.C.L.U. said the documents reflected a pattern of overreaching by the Bush administration.

“It’s clear that this administration has engaged every possible agency, from the Pentagon to N.S.A. to the F.B.I., to engage in spying on Americans,” said Ann Beeson, associate legal director for the A.C.L.U.

The fact that we’re even mentioned in the F.B.I. files in connection with terrorism is really troubling,” said Tom Wetterer, general counsel for Greenpeace. “There’s no property damage or physical injury caused in our activities, and under any definition of terrorism, we’d take issue with that.”

Jeff Kerr, general counsel for PETA, rejected the suggestion in some F.B.I. files that the animal rights group had financial ties to militant groups, and said he, too, was troubled by his group’s inclusion in the files.

“It’s shocking and it’s outrageous,” Mr. Kerr said. “And to me, it’s an abuse of power by the F.B.I. when groups like Greenpeace and PETA are basically being punished for their social activism.”

Some Catholic Colleges Seem More Friendly Than The Vatican to Gay Students

Approximately 50 Catholic colleges and universities have organizations similar to the new gay/straight alliance recently approved by Duquesne University of Pittsburgh, according to a news release, posted on Duquesne's website, these include:

Boston College
Loyola of Chicago
NY Medical College
Villanova Law School
LaSalle University
Mercyhurst College
Xavier University (OH)
John Carroll University
Fordham University
Canisius College
Gonzaga University
Iona College
Wheeling Jesuit University
Marquette University
Notre Dame
Alverno College
Assumption College
Barry University
Cardinal Stritch University
College of the Holy Cross
DePaul University
Edgewood College
Fairfield University
Loyola College of Maryland
Loyola Marymount University
Loyola University New Orleans
Marywood University
Merrimack College
Saint Joseph College (Connecticut)
Saint Martin’s College
Saint Michael’s College
Salve Regina University
Santa Clara University
Seattle University
St. Edward’s University
Stonehill College
Avila University
St. Louis University
Albertus Magnus College
University of Dayton
University of San Diego
University of San Francisco

You may read the complete release at:

Friday, December 23, 2005

U. S. Government Spying May Be Worse Than First Thought-New Revelations Surface Today

The National Security Agency has conducted much broader surveillance of e-mails and phone calls — without court orders — than the Bush administration has acknowledged, The New York Times reported today on its Web site.

The NSA, with help from American telecommunications companies, obtained access to streams of domestic and international communications, said the Times in the report late Friday, citing unidentified current and former government officials.

These companies names were not revealed.

Since the Times disclosed the domestic spying program last week,
President George W. Bush has stressed that his executive order allowing the eavesdropping was limited to people with known links to al-Qaida.

But the Times said that NSA technicians have combed through large volumes of phone and Internet traffic in search of patterns that might lead to terrorists.

The volume of information harvested from telecommunications data and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger than the White House has acknowledged, the paper said, quoting an unnamed official.

The story quoted a former technology manager at a major telecommunications firm as saying that companies have been storing information on calling patterns since the September. 11 attacks, and giving it to the federal government. Neither the manager nor the company he worked for was identified.

Commentary-The Meaning of Christmas, A New Approach

As we near December 25th, your editor has paused to reflect on the commercialization and secular aspects of the Christmas Season.
For Merchants of course, the holiday means more business than usual, and for many December is the "make or break" month of the year.

All kinds of ploys are used by retailers to make sure that their customers buy as much as possible before year's end, and credit card debt swells to astronomical levels. It's part of capitalism, were are told.

A long time ago, this writer decided that true Christians don't celebrate the birth of Christ on only December 25, but everyday of the year! I have tried to practice this myself, in my attitudes, deeds, and interactions with others. My own feeling is that our world would be a far better place, if more people did the same.

We have added a new feature to The World Monitor.(courtesy of} At the bottom of this page you will see a daily quotation from the Bible, especially selected for you. There is also an Audio Link so that you may listen to the complete reading of the passage.

We hope that you enjoy this new feature, and we wish all of you God's Blessings, now, and all year long.

Merry Christmas to you, from our staff!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Backtracking Rick Santorum Appears to be Getting Caught in His Knickers

According to an article from the Associated Press - Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, one of the Senate's most right wing members, Thursday withdrew his affiliation from the Christian-rights law center that defended a school district's policy mandating the teaching of "intelligent design."

Santorum, the Senate's No. 3 Republican who is facing a tough re-election challenge next year, earlier praised the Dover Area School District for "attempting to teach the controversy of evolution."

But the day after a federal judge ruled the district's policy on intelligent design unconstitutional, Santorum told The Philadelphia Inquirer he was troubled by testimony indicating religion motivated some board members to adopt the policy.

"I thought the Thomas More Law Center made a huge mistake in taking this case and in pushing this case to the extent they did," Santorum said Wednesday. He said he would end his affiliation with the center.

The leading Democratic challenger in Santorum's 2006 re-election battle, state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr., accused him of backtracking on intelligent design.
Casey spokesman Larry Smar said Wednesday that Santorum's statements were "yet another example of 'Election Year Rick' changing his positions for political expediency." Casey has led Santorum in recent polls.

U.S. District Judge John E. Jones ruled Tuesday that the Dover district's policy of requiring students to hear a statement in biology class about intelligent design was "a pretext ... to promote religion in the public school classroom." The statement said Darwin's theory is "not a fact" and has inexplicable "gaps." It referred students to an intelligent-design textbook

Santorum said in a 2002 Washington Times op-ed article that intelligent design "is a legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in science classes."

Santorum's reversal seems to be the case of another arch-conservative feeling the heat of an aroused public opinion with which, he is totally out of sync.

The complete story may be found at

Britain Awash in "Gay Weddings", Blair Labels Step Progressive

As Christmas approaches many Gay couples in the U. K. took advantage of the new civil partnership law, to "tie the knot" prior to year's end.

The United Kingdom's biggest social reform for 40 years came to fruition yesterday when nearly 700 couples, including Sir Elton John and David Furnish,(pictured above left) celebrated England's first gay "weddings".

Prime Minister, Tony Blair, welcomed the new civil partnerships as "a modern, progressive step" of which he was proud.

The reform is widely seen as the most significant advance for homosexual rights since 1967, when the Sexual Offences Act, which partially decriminalised sex between men over 21, received royal assent.

Ceremonies ranging from the flamboyant to the discreet took place at register offices across the country as an estimated 687 couples took advantage of the new legislation. The Government expects 4,500 couples to become "partnered" in the first year.

Meg Munn, the deputy equality minister, who was in Brighton to witness some of the first, said the occasion marked "another step along the road of equality".

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

United Arab Emirates Given Warning by United States Reps About Gay Bashing

Today a bipartisan group of senior House members who are active on foreign policy and international economic matters released a letter sent on Monday to the United Arab Emirates ambassador in Washington warning of the negative impact a government-led crackdown against gay men in the UEA could have on that country’s efforts to attract international business and tourism.

Last month, 26 men were arrested during a police raid on what authorities described as a gay wedding at a hotel in Abu Dhabi. Following an initial statement from a UAE official that the men could be subjected to forced hormone treatments, international criticism, including a public condemnation from the US State Department, was swift.

Within days, the UAE Ministry of the Interior denied these reports, claiming instead that any hormone treatment would be optional.

In their letter, the federal lawmakers associate themselves with the State Department’s condemnation of these arrests and, responding to government reports that undergoing any hormone treatment would be “optional,” the lawmakers state that there “has been some suggestion that agreeing to hormone treatment could be used as a bargaining tool to reduce the severity of an individual’s sentence, and if there is any truth to this, we believe this is in fact coercive and contrary to standards of international law.”

“Sadly, anti-gay sentiments are present in many Arab states,” added Rep. Barney Frank, “but even by that low standard, this is particularly outrageous. I was pleased that the U.S. State Department spoke out against these actions, and I believe it’s important for members of Congress to express our agreement with that stance.”

Referring to public anti-gay statements by the Ministry of the Interior following these recent arrests, and with another incident of mass arrests of gay men at a UAE beach resort last year in mind, the congressional leaders in their letter also expressed concern that these actions “appear to be part of a broader, systematic crackdown on gay men in your country,” which “seem clearly intended to let gay people know not only that they are not welcome in your country, but also that animus against them will be a public policy priority.

“We must tell you that this kind of state-led effort to seek out and persecute adult gay men who are doing no harm to anyone is not the kind of behavior we expect from an ally, and we urge you to stop it.”

In recent years, the UAE has undertaken several projects to diversify its economy and to reduce its dependence on oil and natural gas revenues. The WTO named Dubai the world’s fastest-growing tourism destination, and as part of its strategy to further expand its hospitality and tourism industry, the UAE is building new hotels, restaurants and shopping centers, and expanding airports and duty-free zones.

The country is also working to position itself as the financial and capital market center of the Middle East through the creation of a financial free zone with international-style regulations to attract leading companies within targeted sectors. Dubai International Financial Centre is its latest and most ambitious project, which the emirate hopes will support the development of a regional capital market.

The United States signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the UAE to examine ways to expand bilateral trade and investment opportunities, which the UAE hopes will lead to a bilateral Free Trade Agreement with the U.S.

The House members conclude their letter by warning the UAE’s leaders that they “hope you recognize that your government’s persecution of gay people will be repugnant to many of the world travelers you hope to attract as tourists, as well as to other governments and even corporations who believe that this kind of terrible intolerance against individuals based on their sexual orientation is unacceptable.”

The letter was organized by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA),(pictured above left) the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Financial Services, and was joined by seven other senior lawmakers, including Rep. Sue Kelly (R-NY), vice chair of the Committee on Financial Services; Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), chair of the International Relations subcommittee on Middle East and Central Asia; Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), ranking Democrat on the Committee on International Relations; Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) ranking Democrat on the Financial Services subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology; Rep. James Leach (R-NY), a senior member on the both the House Financial Services and International Relations Committees; Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), ranking Democrat on the International Relations subcommittee on Middle East and Central Asia; and Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT), member of the Committee on Financial Services and chairman of the Government Reform subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations.

Gay Groups Sharply Criticize Pentagon Spying, Military Gone Loopy?

In a story written by Christopher Curtis,of the GAY.COM/ Network, he reports that Gay groups are criticising the Pentagon after press reports claimed it has been spying on civilian groups, including student groups opposed to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel.

In a report last week Lisa Myers of NBC News reported Pentagon investigators had records citing a February protest at New York University, with the law school's LGBT advocacy group OUTlaw classified as "possibly violent" by the Pentagon.

Myers report also uncovered surveillance of military-ban protests at the State University of New York at Albany and William Patterson College in New Jersey during April.

In addition, a "don't ask, don't tell" protest at the University of California at Santa Cruz that featured a gay kiss-in was labeled by the Pentagon as a "credible threat" of terrorism.

"To suggest that a gay kiss-in is a 'credible threat' is absurd, homophobic and irrational," said C Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN).

"The Pentagon is supposed to defend the Constitution, not turn it upside down."

The complete story may be found here:

Russian Orthodox Plan to Picket Catholic Cathedral in Moscow

A report from Victor Khroul of indicates that a group of ultra-orthodox protestors plan to picket in front of the Catholic Cathedral of The Mother of God in Moscow on December 24.

According to Asianews – "Orthodox deacon Andrej Kuraev, a young well-known theologian, has invited the youth branch of an ultranationalist movement to organize, for December 24, a picket “in defence of Russian Christmas” outside the Catholic cathedral of the Mother of God.

The proposal was launched through the deacon’s web-site ( and intends to be a “defence of Russian Christmas, in other words the traditions of celebrating Christ’s birth according to the old calendar.” The Catholic Church, with the Gregorian calendar reform, celebrates Christmas on December 25. The Russian Orthodox Church, which still follows the Julian calendar, celebrates Christmas on January 7."

The complete article may be found at the link below:

As We Approach Christmas, An Interesting Quiz for Our Readers

Have you ever wondered where you really fall on the continuum of Christianity?
You may be in for some surprises. The link below will take you to a quiz, designed to evaluate exactly what your real leanings are.
We hope that you enjoy it and that it will make you think a bit about your life as a Christian.

Here it is:

Be sure to let us know what you think about this quiz.

Soul Searching Continues in Australia Over Causes of Race Riots, Comment and Opinion

Having visited Australia, and experienced the warm hospitality of its inhabitants, your editor was as shocked as anyone, at the race riots which erupted in the Sydney suburbs earlier this month.

There is no doubt, that these episodes have blemished the reputation for tolerance and inclusivity, which Australia has carefully guarded for decades.

That image was tarnished, when an angry crowd of approximately 5,000 or so Anglo- Australians staged vicious mob attacks on dark-skinned beachgoers and on people they believed to be Muslims.

As the Australian Nation searches for causes and answers, many observers are viewing the riots, at least in part, as a local manifestation of the broader ethnic troubles linked to the world-wide fight against terrorism.

Immediately after 911, there were isolated attacks in the United States by white Americans on ordinary Muslim inhabitants. These attacks were no doubt linked to a sense of powerlessness, felt by many in that country at the time.

In a public opinion poll by the Sydney Morning Herald published this past Monday, 75 percent of respondents disagreed with Australia's Prime Minister Howard, saying that Australia has underlying racial problems.
"Australia has changed in the post-9/11 world without many of us even realizing it," said Amanda Wise, a fellow at Macquarie University's Center for Research on Social Inclusion.(as quoted December 20, 2005 in an excellent report by Anthony Faiola for the The Washington Post) "It is clear that we are now in the middle of Islam-aphobia, and we need to admit that racism is at the core of this so we can begin dealing with it."

Let's hope that this can begin immediately, otherwise, Australia may become a destination of last resort, for the millions of holidaymakers who previously looked forward to visiting.


Mexico Starts PR Campaign to Counter Anti-Illegal Alien Sentiments in USA

In a news dispatch written by Mark Stevenson of the Associated Press, the pain which will be felt by the corrupt and inept Mexican Government, which has been failing its people for decades, is highlighted. American business interests are no doubt, disappointed by any restriction on cheap exploitable labor, which the U. S. Congress' recent actions have brought about.

Excerpt with quotes from Mexican officials follows:

The Mexican government, angered by a U.S. proposal to extend a wall along the border to keep out migrants, pledged Tuesday to block the plan and organize an international campaign against it.

Facing a growing tide of anti-immigrant sentiment north of the border, the government has taken out ads urging Mexican workers to denounce rights violations in the United States. It also is hiring an American public relations firm to improve its image and counter growing U.S. concerns about immigration.

Mexican President Vicente Fox denounced the U.S. measures, passed by the House of Representatives Friday, as “shameful.’’ His foreign secretary, Luis Ernesto Derbez, echoed his complaints on Tuesday.

“Mexico is not going to bear, it is not going to permit, and it will not allow a stupid thing like this wall,’’ Derbez said.

“What has to be done is to raise a storm of criticism, as is already happening, against this,’’ he said, promising to turn the international community against the plan.

This complete story may be found at:

Congressman Conyers Issues Report, Calls for Hearings Regarding Censure and Possible Impeachment of Bush, Cheney

Congressman John Conyers of Michigan today commented on a report issued by his staff which indicates that both George Bush and Dick Cheney have committed possible impeachable offenses.
It is no surprise to the staff of The World Monitor, that committee hearings with impeachment and censure as their focus are now forming. Following is an excerpt of Congressman Conyers' statement today.

"The Report concludes that a number of these actions amount to prima facie evidence (evidence sufficiently strong to presume the allegations are true) that federal criminal laws have been violated. Legal violations span from false statements to Congress to whistleblower laws.

The Report also concludes that these charges clearly rise to the level of impeachable conduct. However, because the Administration has failed to respond to requests for information about these charges, it is not yet possible to conclude that an impeachment inquiry or articles of impeachment are warranted.
In response to the Report, I have already taken a number of actions. First, I have introduced a resolution (H. Res. 635) creating a Select Committee with subpoena authority to investigate the misconduct of the Bush Administration with regard to the Iraq war and report on possible impeachable offenses. In Watergate, for example, the Congress did not begin matters as an impeachment inquiry, but investigated matters through the Ervin Committee and referred impeachable evidence to the Judiciary Committee.

Second, I have introduced Resolutions regarding both President Bush (H. Res. 636) and Vice-President Cheney (H. Res. 637) proposing that they be censured by Congress based on the uncontroverted evidence already on the record and their failure to respond to Congressional and public inquiries about these matters and have never accounted for their many specific misstatements in the run up to War."

The complete article may be read at this link:

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Newsweek Magazine Coins "Snoopgate" Name For Bush Secret Spying Program

In an extremely cogent manner, Newsweek Magazine's Jonathan Alter has laid out bare, for all to see, the panic which beset the White House earlier this week. According to Alter, "No wonder Bush was so desperate that The New York Times not publish its story on the National Security Agency eavesdropping on American citizens without a warrant, in what lawyers outside the administration say is a clear violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I learned this week that on December 6, Bush summoned Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and executive editor Bill Keller to the Oval Office in a futile attempt to talk them out of running the story. The Times will not comment on the meeting, but one can only imagine the president’s desperation." This article undoubtedly will help to clarify for many, the real issues involved in Bush's power grab, and to further illuminate his recent need to trot out well worn out, but not well thought out, arguments concerning his "commander in chief authority"

The complete article certainly worth reading can be found at this link:


No Separation of Church and State in the Philippines, Arroyo Does Archbishop's Bidding

A report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer December 20th, 2005, highlights the strong hold that the Roman Catholic Church still has on that country's political leaders.
Excerpt follows:

President Macapagal-Arroyo has assured that her administration would promote only natural family planning methods as legislators set debates on a population management bill, the chair of the Catholic Church’s commission on family life said on Sunday.

San Fernando Archbishop Paciano Aniceto said the President gave the assurance over breakfast Sunday, after Arroyo attended the 4 a.m. Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral here. Ms Arroyo arrived here unaccompanied by any member of the First Family.

“[Ms Arroyo] said she would follow the Church’s stand,” Aniceto told the Inquirer shortly after the President left for Manila.

‘Cafeteria method’

In their conversation, he said Ms Arroyo objected to the “cafeteria method” wherein family planning choices are varied and readily available.

“She’s a devout Catholic and she said she would abide with the doctrine of the Church,” Aniceto said.

The complete story may be read at this link:

Monday, December 19, 2005

Irish Roman Catholic Bishop Says Priests Should be Allowed to Marry

In an article in today's Irish Examiner, writers Caroline O’Doherty and Michael Brennan reported that the Catholic Church was staying silent last night on comments from one of its bishops that priests should be allowed to marry.

Bishop of Killaloe Willie Walsh, known to be Church Liberal, voiced his opinion which is in direct conflict with the Vatican, in a newspaper interview in which he said celibacy was meaningless if it had a negative impact on priests and the church they served.

"I have known some very fine priests who have left the priesthood because they found the challenge of celibacy not life-giving for them. Men like that are a great loss to the ministerial priesthood," he told the Sunday Tribune.

"Unless in some way celibacy is a generous gift to others and to God, it is meaningless. If we see celibacy simply as abstaining from sexual intimacy, then it is negative, not life-giving."

The full text of this story may be found at this link:

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Imperial Presidency? Or is it Just Regal? Lawmakers Furious

The heat was turned up another notch today on George Bush and his efforts to circumvent U. S. Federal law and the Constitution by spying on U. S. citizens.

A number of key lawmakers commented as follows on the latest Bush credibility crisis.

"I tell you, he's President George Bush, not King George Bush. This is not the system of government we have and that we fought for," senator Russell Feingold, a Democrat from Wisconsin, said.

Arlen Specter, the Republican chairman of the Senate's Judiciary Committee, said: "There is no doubt that this is inappropriate." He said that there would be hearings into the program early next year and that they would have a "very, very high priority".

His Democrat counterpart on that committee, Patrick Leahy, said: "The Bush administration seems to believe it is above the law. Our Government must follow the laws and respect the constitution while it protects Americans' security and liberty."

As was stated a couple of days ago in this blog....can the Impeachment of GW be very far away?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Senator Byrd Excoriates Bush Administration for Warrant-Less Spying on U.S. Citizens

(Excerpted Remarks delivered on the floor of the U. S. Senate By Senator Robert Byrd, Dec 17, 2005) 'Government fishing expeditions with search warrants written by FBI agents is not what the Framers had in mind. Spying on ordinary unsuspecting citizens without their knowledge is not what the Framers had in mind. Handing the government unilateral authority to keep all evidence secret from a target so that it may never be challenged in a court of law is not what the Framers had in mind. Yesterday we heard reports that the military has spied on Americans simply because they exercised their right to peaceably assemble and to speak their minds. Today we hear that the military is tapping phone lines in our own country without the consent of a judge. Labeling civil disobedience and political dissent as "domestic terrorism" is not what the Framers had in mind. '

'Our nation is the most powerful nation in the world because we were founded on a principle of liberty. Benjamin Franklin said that "those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Our founding fathers, intent on addressing the abuses they have suffered at the hands of an over zealous government, established a system of checks and balances, ensuring that there is a separation of powers within government, so that no one body may run amok with its agenda. These checks are what safeguard freedom, and the American people are looking to us now to restore and protect that freedom.

Text of complete remarks available at this url:

Sunday Focus-Skateboarding and BMXing for the Lord

With many churches facing a decline in attendance at Sunday Services, The Church of England is taking some bold initiatives to involve the lapsed, as well as the un-churched.

A new program is being launched, with the reported backing of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, which will send "pioneer ministers" (ordained clergy) to the people who are not attending traditional services.

Venues, have included such disparate places as skateboarding parks, and a BMX mountain biking club. A full report on this bold and interesting initiative, as reported by Christopher Morgan for Fresh Expressions, may be found at the following link:

This certainly will give some of us a new way of thinking about missionary work. Your editor highly recommends this story!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Controversial Patriot Act Rebuked by United States Senate Impeachment Looming for Bush?

Senator Charles Schumer of New York (pictured at right) was quoted today by CNN as saying in reference to his vote against an extension of provisions in the Patriot Act that "Today's revelation that the government listened in on thousands of phone conversations without getting a warrant is shocking and has greatly influenced my vote," he said. "Today's revelation makes it very clear that we have to be very careful -- very careful."
Schumer was referring to widespread reports that President George W. Bush had authorized the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens without a court warrant in violation of existing federal law.

Former CIA Director retired admiral Stansfield Turner was also quoted as saying, "I think they have transgressed the law here. I think they've gone too far in intruding into our civil liberties."

U. S. Senate Judiciary Chairman, Arlen Specter,(pictured left speaking with George Bush) looked genuinely shaken in news interviews regarding these revelations. He has promised a thorough investigation by his committee.

This story certainly seems to have legs, and it would not surprise this writer, if the next voices we hear out of Congress will be those calling for George W. Bush's impeachment. Richard Nixon was forced out of office for transgressions far less serious than those which were exposed today.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

39 Gay Roman Catholic Priests Protest Vatican Statement Barring Homosexuals from Seminaries

The Italian news agency Adista, has reported today that a group of 39 active Italian Roman Catholic Priests have signed a statement condemning the newly articulated instructions on gay seminarians.

A translated copy of this statement with pertinent quotes may be found at the website of the Catholic World News.

Please follow this link:

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ford Motor Company Squelches Rumors, Reaffirms Inclusiveness, Importance of GLBT Market

In a letter dated December 14, 2005, Joe W. Laymon, Group Vice-President, Ford Motor Company, Corporate Human Resources, wrote to Gay and Lesbian representatives, that "You asked us specifically to reaffirm our principles of nondiscrimination and inclusiveness. We agreed, without any reservations, and issued a statement immediately after the meeting in which Bill Ford did personally." He continued in his letter to GLBT organizations, ..."You asked directly for us to have Jaguar and Land Rover reverse its plans and advertise in gay and lesbian targeted publications in 2006." "As we said Jaguar and Land Rover made a business decision about their media plans and it would be inconsistent with the way we manage our business to direct them to do otherwise." "However it is clear there is a misperception about our intent." As a result, we have decided to run corporate ads in these targeted publications that will include not only Jaguar/Land Rover but all eight of Ford's vehicle brands." "As we have said, the content will be appropriate and effective in connecting with the intended audience." "It is my hope that this will remove any ambiguity about Ford's desire to advertise to all important audiences and put this particular issue behind us."
The apparent reason for this statement today was a reported rumored agreement that had been struck between Ford and the right wing American Family Association to not advertise in GLBT publications.
It is to Ford's credit, that they moved swiftly to squelch these rumors and reaffirm their commitment to inclusiveness.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Another Messy Execution, Cruel and Unusual Punishment, California Style

The execution today in California of Stanley "Tookie" Williams provided another spectacle for the neocons and nearly brain dead of the world.

Whether or not Williams deserved execution, is really not the question, the manner in which this task was carried out certainly is.

Apparently California law requires that not one, but two IV lines must be inserted into the condemned prisoner to assure that death is certain. According to most news accounts the first line was inserted fairly quickly, while it took 10-12 minutes to find a vein to insert the second line. The condemned man endured this prodding,and no doubt extreme mental distress, from all accounts with tremendous dignity.

If this ineptitude and carelessness does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment, this writer would certainly be interested in knowing what does.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Rendition and Human Rights...Has the United States Gone Mad?

As Condolezza Rice tours Europe, she has been valiantly trying to explain exactly what the United States is doing with prisoners held in "The War on Terror". It is readily apparent to those who have followed the discredited Bush administration's antics, exactly why Colin Powell didn't stay on as Secretary of State.
The mental gymnastics exercised by the policy makers in Washington can be illuminated by the following story published by the BBC today. Read it, and marvel, at how stupidity rises to the top, at least in the U. S. Government.
Please follow this link:

Christmas Blues Affect Many, Prescriptions for Healing

As I was talking to one of my younger friends recently, he told me that despite having a nice steady job, a cute boyfriend, and no immediate economic worries, he was feeling a bit down as Christmas approaches.

Being, a bit....ok well quite a bit older, I drew on some of the lessons I have gained over the past few decades, in an effort to comfort him.

All of us need to remember what professional salespeople do, as they fight every day to combat the rejection and disappointment they are handed regularly.

Firstly, the glass is never half empty, but always half full. Secondly, rejection and unhappiness are part and parcel of life, part of our human experience. Thirdly,for those of us who are Christians, God's healing love is always there for the asking, too many of us forget to just ask. Don't be too proud, or too self conscious to attend the services of your choice, get on your knees and ask for God's grace.

It will arrive, take it from one who has received it.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Gay Cowboys? New Movie Premiers December 9th

"Brokeback Mountain" Winner of the 2005 Venice International Film Festival, will be in theaters in three days. This film, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, is sure to pack in gay audiences from coast to coast. I am sure that the producer's are salivating over the projected worldwide revenues, as well.
Personally, I will probably wait for the DVD. If you would like to see the trailer, follow this link:

to the movie's official site. I personally think both of the young actors in the leading roles are a cut above their contemporaries in ability, not to mention looks!

Vatican Puts John Paul II on Fast Track for Beatification, Questions Linger Regarding His Orthodoxy

Reports from the Roman Catholic News Services indicate that the late Pope John Paul, no particular friend of mine, has been put on the speedway to sainthood.
If anyone in the curia is reading today, I would strongly suggest that they visit this website
It may give these orthodox closet cases some pause for thought.

Domestic Workers Beaten and Exploited, A Problem for Civilized Societies to Address

Recent reports from Maylasia, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore, indicate that the maltreatment of unsophisticated, vulnerable, poverty-stricken migrants to these countries has been on the rise. News stories relating this abuse abound.
The civilized nations need to respond in the strongest manner possible.

Please follow this link to a current report from the BBC.

The World Monitor's Current Campaign

Boycott Singapore...........City of Death

Human Rights Campaign Has Requested Assistance in Countering Recent Vatican Pronouncements

The Vatican's recent outrageous pronouncements about Gays and their suitability to enter the Roman priesthood, has elicited an appeal from the Human Rights Campaign; for Catholics and others who are interested in this most important subject, to make their feelings known to the Roman hierarchy.

You may access the full content of their website, which I highly recommend at:

Saturday, December 03, 2005

How Will Singapore's Behaviour Affect Its Relations With Australia?

This article may give Singaporeans some pause for thought please follow this link

Some Background on Singapore

This insightful article found on the BBC website may prove instructive for those who are unfamiliar with Singapore's "Justice System"
Please follow this link

Friday, December 02, 2005

Singapore's New Ad Campaign

Why Boycott?

The execution of Australian citizen Nguyen Tuong Van, yesterday, by the government of Singapore, calls into question whether or not it should have any standing among the civilized nations of the world.

This 25 year old man, was convicted of smuggling drugs through Singapore, not of murder, mayhem, or terrorism.

Despite pleas from the Australian Government, religious leaders around the world, and large protests by Australia's citizens, the repressive leadership of Singapore paid no heed.

The consequence of this intolerable behaviour, should be a complete boycott, by all members of the world community, of Singapore's Airline, its products, and those international companies who do business with, or have branches in this outlaw state.

This is a call to action to BOYCOTT SINGAPORE until they change their repressive and uncivilized policies, and allow for true democracy in their country.

The World Monitor