Narcissus' Echo

Thoughts, tears, rants, ruminations, hopes, fears, love(s), and prayers of just another being passing through this wracked sphere...

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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Saturday, November 19, 2005

When the fallen lead

Revelations like these make one wonder how deep this goes. FWIW, there is a really good book edited by Professor Thomas G. Pante regarding this problem: Bless Me Father for I have Sinned: Perspectives on Sexual Abuse Committed by Roman Catholic Priests.

Missionary's Dark Legacy

Two remote Alaska villages are still reeling from a Catholic volunteer's sojourn three decades ago, when he allegedly molested nearly every Eskimo boy in the parishes. The accusers, now men, are scarred.

By William Lobdell
Times Staff Writer

November 19, 2005

ST. MICHAEL, Alaska — Peter "Packy" Kobuk has to walk past the old Catholic church to get almost anywhere. To fill a drum of heating oil. To take his children to school. To wash his clothes at the only laundromat in this Eskimo village of 370.

"I think about burning it down, but I have to block that out," says Kobuk, 46. "It all comes back to me right away each time I have to see it."

The decaying wood-frame building also haunts John Lockwood, a married father of nine. Its bell tower, which rises above the village's 90 plywood shacks and prefabricated houses, is one of the first landmarks he sees when returning home in a longboat from hunting seals in the Bering Sea.

"It brings back a lot," says Lockwood, whose weathered face reflects a life spent in the Alaska outdoors. "He did all those bad things to us little kids there, and no one did nothing to stop it."

Even after 30 years, the men can't shake their memories of the late Joseph Lundowski, a volunteer Catholic missionary who arrived in their village in 1968.

The devoutly Catholic village elders welcomed Lundowski warmly, as they did all men of the cloth. But the children soon grew to fear and despise him.

Now grown, they said that over a seven-year period, "Deacon Joe" molested nearly every boy in St. Michael and the neighboring settlement of Stebbins.

The alleged victims, now in their 40s and 50s, say they secretly carried this burden until last year. Then, after watching the Catholic sexual abuse scandal unfold on satellite television, 28 men from the two villages decided to break their silence.

"We couldn't tell anyone [before] because no one would believe us," said Kobuk, one of the few St. Michael Eskimos who is still a Catholic. He wears a homemade rosary around his neck, the blue beads held together by string from a fishing net.

"He worked for God, and I was just an Eskimo child."

In 1886, the Jesuits established their first mission in western Alaska. Making converts in this frozen, unforgiving corner of the world proved difficult at first.

For thousands of years, Eskimos' lives as hunters and gatherers had been ruled by Yuuyaaraq, or "the way of the human being." Yu'pik people believed that their elaborate oral traditions and spiritual beliefs helped ward off bad weather, famine and illness.

It wasn't until an influenza epidemic in 1900 wiped out more than 60% of Alaska's native population that the Jesuits began to make headway.

The Eskimo shamans seemed no match for the deadly virus. The spiritual defeat, along with encroaching Western influences, caused entire villages to convert to the new religion.

Today, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks stretches across the upper two-thirds of Alaska, a rugged chunk of territory bigger than Texas but with just 41 churches and 24 priests.

Staffing remote parishes such as those in St. Michael and Stebbins with full-time priests has proved impossible, which is why Lundowski and other volunteers played a key role in village ministries.

Just 200 miles below the Arctic Circle, the wind-swept settlements of St. Michael Island sit 12 miles apart on a rugged section of coast where the tundra meets the Bering Sea. They are accessible only by small plane or, when the ice melts on Norton Sound, by boat.

In summer, the island is a place of great beauty. Wildflowers blanket the rolling hills, and the occasional Beluga whale swims among schools of herring and king salmon in the dark blue sea.

In winter, the landscape becomes a white, windy Arctic desert, and even the sea freezes for months on end.

Lundowski arrived in 1968, at the end of a long personal odyssey. An orphan, he was raised in West Virginia by his aunt. During World War II, he served in the Army under Gen. George Patton in North Africa and Europe, former associates said.

After the war, he lived at a Trappist monastery in Oregon and worked as a commercial fisherman in Alaska before volunteering to help Father George Endal, a Jesuit priest, in several Eskimo villages.

Father Endal was responsible for St. Michael, Stebbins and a third settlement, Unalakleet, 45 minutes away by plane. Villagers said that for long stretches of time, he left parish affairs on St. Michael Island in the hands of Lundowski and another lay missionary.

Though Lundowski was never ordained, he assumed the role of a Catholic priest.

Villagers said he wore vestments and held Sunday services, gave homilies, taught catechism, baptized children, officiated at weddings and performed burial services at a hillside cemetery, where digging a grave required breaking through six feet of frozen tundra with picks and shovels.

Lundowski started molesting boys soon after he arrived, according to legal documents. Joseph Steve, a slight, soft-spoken man in his mid-50s, believes he was the missionary's first target.

Then 17 and a devout Catholic, Steve had volunteered to help Lundowski teach catechism classes at St. Bernard Church in Stebbins.

One afternoon, he said, Lundowski asked him to stay after class and wash some dishes. "He sneaked up on me," Steve said. "He pulled my pants down and penetrated me."

"I never finished the dishes," he said.

Lundowski had daily access to the village children, teaching them catechism and holding afternoon recreation sessions in the "monkey rooms," as parish play areas were called.

Kobuk said he attended Lundowski's catechism classes at the St. Michael parish beginning at age 12.

One day, after Kobuk recited the Ten Commandments and sang "This Is the Day the Lord Has Made," Lundowski told him to stay after class. After the other boys left, Lundowski locked the doors and lowered the window shades, Kobuk said.

"I was scared and asked him what he was going to do, and he says, 'You'll see,' " Kobuk recalled.

Kobuk said that Lundowski removed his dentures and performed oral sex on him in the missionary's rectory bedroom. Then Lundowski gave Kobuk a $20 bill — a fortune for an Eskimo boy in 1971 — and told him he was a "special kid," Kobuk said.

Over the next four years, Kobuk said the missionary plied him with altar wine, sodomized him and forced him to engage in sexual acts with other Eskimo children — boys and girls.

Kobuk said that when he threatened to tell, Lundowski told him to go ahead, insisting that no one would believe a child over a man of God. Kobuk said the missionary also threatened to flunk Kobuk in catechism class.

"I was torn between getting my first Communion, the money, the alcohol and the candy, and the molestation," he said.

Another villager, Elias Pete Jr., 43, hung out at the Stebbins church on weekday afternoons and Saturdays through the winter, drawn by the warmth of its oil-burning stove. When he was 9, Pete said, Lundowski performed oral sex on him for the first of many times. Afterward, he said, the missionary gave him 25 cents that he shook out of an Easter Seal donation can.

Nicolas Pete, Elias' 41-year-old uncle, said Lundowski would threaten to take away stars that tracked his progress toward confirmation unless the boy consented to sex.

"When he was all done, he would say, 'You can keep that star,' or 'I'll give you another one.' Silver or blue, those were the high-ranking ones."

Lockwood, 48, of St. Michael, said Lundowski would drag him into the rectory bedroom, digging his meaty fingers into Lockwood's biceps hard enough to leave bruises.

"He'd block the door, and there was no way to fight that big, blubbery guy," Lockwood said.

After one attack, he said, "I showed him the bruises and said I was going to tell. But he just said, 'You're a little kid. People will just think you fell down.' "

The isolated and impoverished Eskimo villages had spotty telephone service and no police officers. But Kobuk and several others said they tried to get help. A few told their parents, who didn't believe them. Three said they reported Lundowski's conduct to Father Endal, who promised to take care of it, though the molestations continued.

Endal died in 1996 and has since been accused of molesting a minor.

"I thought [Lundowski] would get in trouble for what he was doing," said Thomas Cheemuk, who alleged that he was molested as a boy. "I couldn't figure it out. I decided one time to tell somebody, but I couldn't figure who to go to."

The end came without warning. One day, Lundowski was teaching catechism classes to the village boys. The next morning, he was gone.

Jerry Austin, who owned St. Michael's only plane, said an agitated Father Endal approached him one day in 1975 and asked him to fly Lundowski to Unalakleet the next morning.

Austin suggested Lundowski wait until later in the day, when a bush pilot was expected to fly in. "He said it would be too late," Austin recalled.

He said he agreed to make the flight as a favor to the church. "Everyone around here had heard the rumors about Lundowski," Austin said.

The next morning, Lundowski climbed into the single-propeller plane carrying only a small duffel bag. They flew in silence to Unalakleet.

With the missionary gone, most of his alleged victims set about trying to forget.

Like many others, Lockwood turned to alcohol and drugs. Because both villages are dry settlements — a fifth of hard liquor goes for $150 on the black market — Lockwood made "home brew" alcohol, a mixture of yeast, sugar and fruit juice.

"It's not good, but it does the job," Lockwood says.

Thomas Cheemuk got married, raised six children and attempted suicide three times. In 1999, his brother, John "Dunny" Cheemuk Jr., killed himself, a death Tommy attributes to the molestations.

Kobuk vented his rage with a string of assaults — on fellow villagers, a church secretary and his own children. His convictions drew sentences totaling 495 days in jail.

The troubles of Lundowski's alleged victims stood out, even in the Eskimo villages of western Alaska, which have some of the highest rates of alcoholism and drug abuse, domestic violence and suicide in the world.

"They are probably the ones I arrest the most," says Theresa Kobuk, Packy's niece and St. Michael's public safety officer for the last seven years.

H. Conner Thomas, a criminal defense attorney in Nome, says he often wonders why the men of St. Michael Island seemed to have "more than their fair share of significant problems" with the law.

"This may be an explanation," he says.

Packy Kobuk was one of the only Eskimos to talk openly about what had happened. He said he spoke about the alleged abuse with at least nine priests and one nun. On three occasions, he said, he brought it up with Bishop Michael Joseph Kaniecki, who came to the village annually to perform the confirmation ceremonies.

"He would just change the subject," Kobuk said. "He didn't want me to bring it up."

The prelate has since died and church officials said they have no record of any complaints about Lundowski.

One summer evening in 2004, Kobuk saw a television news report about a sexual abuse case against a popular Nome priest. For the first time since the Catholic Church molestation scandals had erupted, someone was taking on the Alaska church.

Kobuk said he began to consider taking legal action himself.

"I wanted everyone to know that there was a lot of us involved, and the abuse happened out here too, and not just in the cities," Kobuk said.

The first lawyer he approached turned the case down, citing a conflict of interest. The rejection hit him hard.

He said he rode his four-wheel Honda ATV to a remote beach where a grizzly bear had been spotted and he followed its tracks in the sand.

"I didn't want to kill myself," Kobuk said. "I wanted an animal to do it."

After a few hours of walking and crying, he had a change of heart.

"I was saying the rosary on the way back," he recalled. "I didn't want that bear to eat me."

A week later, Kobuk saw an advertisement in the Nome Nugget: "Did You Know Joseph C. Lundowski, Also Known as Brother Joe or Deacon Joe?"

The ad read, in part: "You may be able to help several children who were possibly abused. Any information, no matter how small, can help a child seek justice and healing."

Kobuk called the number at the bottom of the ad, placed by attorney Ken Roosa.

A former state sex crimes and federal prosecutor, Roosa signed up his first client in Alaska's clergy sexual-abuse scandal in 2002. Shortly afterward, he was swamped with calls from others who said they had been abused. He brought in John Manly, a Costa Mesa attorney who had helped negotiate a record $100-million settlement for sexual-abuse suits against the Diocese of Orange County.

Since then, 85 Alaska natives from 13 villages have filed claims against the church for alleged abuse by six priests and two lay missionaries from 1956 to 1988.

The flood of allegations has led to speculation that the Eskimo settlements were a "dumping ground" for abusive priests and lay workers affiliated with the Jesuit order, which supplied priests and bishops to the Fairbanks diocese.

"It's like the French Foreign Legion — you join rather than go to prison," says Richard Sipe, a former Benedictine monk who is an authority on clergy sexual abuse and has served as an expert witness in hundreds of cases, including those in the Eskimo villages. "I was absolutely convinced this happened in Alaska."

Father John D. Whitney, chief of the Jesuits' Oregon Province, which includes Alaska, denied that known deviants were shipped there. To the contrary, Jesuit literature portrayed Alaska as "the world's most difficult mission," a prestigious assignment for the most courageous and faithful priests.

"They weren't in exile," Whitney said. "They were looked on as people who were blazing the trail for faith."

Initially, all of the Stebbins and St. Michael men wanted to remain anonymous, agreeing to file suits only under the legal pseudonym "James Doe." That changed when Kobuk came forward and encouraged others to go public as he had.

"I wanted the priests to know they had hurt us," he said, "and not just a bunch of James Does."

Now the men must prove their claims. As victims of clergy sexual abuse across the country have learned, reconstructing events that occurred decades ago in secret is a daunting task. For the Eskimos, the job was complicated by the church's initial insistence that there was no record that Lundowski had ever volunteered for the church.

The villagers and their attorneys dug through church archives, family photo albums and old letters looking for evidence.

Roosa came across a grainy copy of a 1975 church newsletter that listed participants in a training program for deacons in the Diocese of Fairbanks. It included a photo of a bald man with horn-rimmed glasses. The caption read: "Joe Lundowski, 59 yrs., Stebbins."

This was proof that the church had trained Lundowski as a deacon and knew he was serving in Stebbins.

In the same file, Roosa found a 1965 letter by a senior Jesuit stating that the church "should have gotten rid of [Lundowski] a long time ago."

The letter was written three years before Lundowski arrived in St. Michael by Father Jules M. Convert, then in charge of the Jesuits in Alaska, to Father Jack Gurr, chancellor to the bishop of Fairbanks. Convert began by asking for a shipment of food for his men and more nails to complete the building of a village church, but most of the letter was devoted to his concern about Lundowski.

Convert expressed dismay that the bishop in Fairbanks, Theodore Boileau, had moved Lundowski from one village to another after receiving "complaints" about his conduct.

Convert described Lundowski as a church volunteer and wrote that he had forbidden him to use the title "brother" because "it greatly confused the folks."

In his reply, Gurr questioned "why the Mission Superior (i.e., yourself) cannot give 'guidance' to [Jesuit priests and volunteers] on such matters. What would you do if it involved a woman? … You should try to bring the scandal to end…."

Convert replied that he didn't have the authority to remove Lundowski, and that only the bishop could do so.

"He's a lay volunteer, sent by the bishop to Hooper Bay against what he knew to be our thinking of the fellow. I happen to know he's a possible cause of trouble, so I refer him and the case to the proper [church] authorities, for whatever action they see fit to take…."

There is no evidence that church authorities investigated the allegations. Convert himself now stands accused of molesting 20 Eskimo children.

An additional piece of evidence against Lundowski came from one of his alleged victims. The man, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and is serving a prison sentence for rape in Alaska, gave the plaintiffs' lawyers a letter Lundowski had written to him in 1993.

The inmate, who asked to remain anonymous, told attorneys that he wrote Lundowski to describe the emotional turmoil he had suffered as a result of the missionary's molestations.

In a handwritten letter with a postmark from Chicago, Lundowski replied: "Your letter came to me as a shock and sadden me as to your condition. It goes without saying that if I am in anyway to blame for your illness, I apologize….

"I pray to God who relieves all illness to comfort you and to restore you to perfect health. Since I left Alaska and came [to Chicago] to work, I have accepted the Lord in a real and personal manner …. I too have suffered. Two years ago I had a heart attack with a stroke and still have limited use of my legs and arms. My prayer for myself every day is for Him to come and take me. I don't write this for sympathy, but to let you see the Lord punishes us in his own ways."

Lundowski spent the final decade of his life as the night switchboard operator at a Christian rescue mission on Chicago's South Side. He died in 1996.

Officials of the Diocese of Fairbanks and the Jesuits' Oregon Province — the two defendants in the Lundowski suits — have asked a Superior Court judge to throw out the claims.

In legal papers, they argue that the statute of limitations on the allegations has run out, and that Lundowski was an unauthorized volunteer not under the supervision of the diocese or the Jesuits.

None of the missionary's 28 accusers in St. Michael and Stebbins — nor the dozen who have filed suit from other villages in which Lundowski previously served — has received a settlement offer.

Bishop of Fairbanks Donald Kettler said the church must find a way to help any victims of abuse, but that money is a problem for his cash-strapped missionary diocese.

Whitney, head of the Jesuits' Oregon Province, said that "we're not culpable for the actions of Mr. Lundowski, who was never a Jesuit. We have a moral responsibility in our role as priests to be part of the reconciliation work of Christ."

Whitney said that reconciliation and healing would come in a relationship with God, and not in a courtroom.

"We've remained faithful to the people in the villages," Whitney said. "We haven't withdrawn or run away. We want to be companions in their pain and healing. We want to know how we can help."

On most Sunday mornings now, the Catholic church in St. Michael is nearly empty.

Packy Kobuk says he longs to go to church but cannot overcome the feeling that the elders there have turned their backs on him twice — once when he was a child and again now.

If the weather is right, he takes long strolls through the village during the church service. On his walks, he sometimes recites the Lord's Prayer or the Apostle's Creed or another of the prayers he learned in his youth, many from Joseph Lundowski.

To the Virgin Mary, he offers his own prayer.

"We need your help," he tells her.

He goes on to pray that wrongdoers will be exposed.

"I want everyone to know what happened to us here," he said. "It's been covered up too long. And I also pray for forgiveness. That's the hardest part."


Friday, November 18, 2005

Where does it begin?

Trail of Abuse Leads to Seminary

St. John's in Camarillo fielded a disproportionate number of alleged molesters, records show, in some cases up to a third of the graduating class.

By Paul Pringle, Times Staff Writer
November 17, 2005

Any examination of the sexual abuse crisis afflicting the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles leads inevitably to a bell-towered campus in the rolling hills of Camarillo: St. John's Seminary.

The 66-year-old institution has trained hundreds of clerics for the archdiocese and smaller jurisdictions across Southern California and beyond. It is the alma mater of Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, Diocese of Orange Bishop Tod Brown and other prominent prelates. Former San Francisco Archbishop William Levada, now the Vatican's chief enforcer of doctrine, taught at the school.

But St. John's, the only seminary operated by the archdiocese, also has produced a disproportionate number of alleged sexual abusers as it prepared men for a life of ministry and celibacy, records show.

About 10% of St. John's graduates reported to have been ordained in the Los Angeles Archdiocese since 1950 — 65 of roughly 625 — have been accused of molesting minors, according to a review of ordination announcements, lawsuits, published reports and the archdiocese's 2004 list of alleged abusers. In two classes — 1966 and 1972 — a third of the graduates were later accused of molestation.

The St. John's figures are much higher than the nationwide rate of alleged molesters in the American priesthood, as calculated by a church-commissioned survey. The John Jay College of Criminal Justice study found that 4% of priests and deacons between 1950 and 2002 have been accused of abuse.

"The numbers get scary," said Patrick Wall, a former monk who works for an Orange County law firm that represents alleged abuse victims suing the church, including about 100 who have accused St. John's graduates. "I don't think it's coincidental."

Archdiocese officials deny that the seminary was in any way responsible.

Spokesman Tod Tamberg blamed intense publicity over sexual abuse in the church for the higher rate of accusations involving St. John's graduates, and noted that a California law temporarily lifting the statute of limitations for molestation lawsuits brought a flood of allegations against Los Angeles priests.

But J. Michael Hennigan, a lawyer for the archdiocese, conceded that exaggerated claims alone cannot account for the large numbers of alleged abusers in some graduating classes.

"There were a couple of years at that seminary where lightning struck," Hennigan said. "I doubt we'll ever figure out why."

Several former students recall a licentious atmosphere at St. John's that might have accommodated a range of sexual behavior, especially in the years before the 1990s.

They say that many classmates routinely broke their celibacy vows, that emotionally troubled students were allowed to drift though the seminary, and that administrators either were ignorant about sex on campus or turned a blind eye to it.

Some told of seminarians having sex in St. John's dormitories, bathrooms and orange groves.

"There was an awful lot that was shocking," said Jaime Romo, who lost his passion for the priesthood after three years at St. John's in the early 1980s. Now an education professor at the University of San Diego, a Catholic school, Romo has sued the Los Angeles Archdiocese, accusing the late priest Leland Boyer of molesting him as a teenager.

He remembered a small group of students who dressed in nuns' clothes during his time at St. John's, and others who were "full-blown alcoholics." He said the faculty avoided any talk of sex: "There was no discussion of celibacy."

A number of active priests who attended St. John's said they had never witnessed sexual activity at the seminary, and believed the administration would not have tolerated it. "Could guys have carried on a secret life? Sure," said Leon Hutton, a St. John's history teacher who graduated in 1980. "But it certainly wouldn't have been condoned."

The John Jay survey determined that the quarter-century from 1960 through 1984 was particularly troublesome for alleged abuse by clerics nationwide. At St. John's, about 15% of priests who graduated during that period and served in the Los Angeles Archdiocese were accused of sexual abuse, records show.

Some of the allegations have resulted in criminal convictions or civil settlements. Most are unresolved. The accusations lodged in civil complaints have not been formally denied because the suits are the subject of a court mediation, Hennigan said.

Typically, the suits focus on incidents that allegedly occurred after a priest left the seminary. But in a 2003 suit, Esther Miller alleges that a seminarian sexually abused her at St. John's in the mid-1970s.

Miller, now a human resources manager, accuses former priest Michael Nocita of molesting her when she was 16 and 17 while he was a deacon seminarian assigned to her family's parish in Van Nuys.

The suit, which names the archdiocese rather than Nocita as a defendant, also alleges that St. John's then-rector, John Grindel, once saw Nocita embracing her in his dorm room but did not ask why she was there.

"He just closed the door," said Miller, who says that Nocita molested her in the dorm and the orange groves.

Attempts to reach Nocita and Grindel for comment were unsuccessful. They have not responded formally to the lawsuits because of the mediation process, Hennigan said.

Other suits allege that a St. John's student molested three sisters — ages 6 to 15 — while visiting their home as part of a "field pastoral education" program in the early 1980s. The lawsuits do not identify the student.

Wayne Yehling, a Tucson attorney who received a philosophy degree from St. John's now-closed undergraduate college in 1982, said most of his classmates had been committed to celibacy, but "there was a great deal of sexual activity among students. I saw it, and yes, I participated in it." Yehling said he had a sexual relationship with another student for most of his three years at St. John's.

"It was like shooting fish in a barrel to seduce somebody there," he said of the college, a gateway to the graduate theology school. "You learned to hide what you do."

Yehling and others noted that engaging in consensual sex at the seminary and molesting minors were hugely different things, and said no link between them should be inferred.

They also said, however, that St. John's administrators and teachers had appeared so oblivious to sex on campus that it would have been possible for students who exhibited sexually abusive behavior to go unchecked while at the school.

Fred Berlin, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said if a "subculture of permissiveness" had taken hold at St. John's, students prone to molestation might have found it easier to succumb to their desires.

"We often see that people, when they get into these group situations, will sometimes behave in ways they might not otherwise behave," said Berlin, an expert on sexual disorders.

Berlin said he knew of cases in which young men tormented by their sexual urges entered seminaries in the hope that a celibacy vow would still their impulses.

"When they get there," he said, "it's a very different reality."

Robert Greene, who left St John's undergraduate college in 1972 after a year, said the vast majority of students took their vocation seriously. "But many people seemed almost preadolescent…. They were pretty much shipped through the system in this kind of numb state." He said the seminary "did a disservice by not emphasizing spiritual and psychological development."

Greene, a part-time Anglican minister who works in aerospace finance, said he quit the seminary because Robert Manning, who was serving as a visiting cleric at Greene's Redondo Beach parish, had been molesting him.

"He would pick me up at St. John's and take me home," said Greene, who has sued the church, alleging that Manning began to abuse him in high school.

Archdiocese officials have labeled Manning a "bogus priest," saying they cannot confirm that he was ordained. He is not a defendant in the suit and could not be reached for comment.

Luis Godinez, who briefly attended St. John's in the late 1980s, said he left because he was offended by the promiscuity on campus.

He said he often could not use his dorm bathroom at night because it was occupied by men having sex.

In 2003, Godinez sued the church, alleging that Stockton priest Fernando Villalobos, who died in 1985, had molested him as a boy. The suit is pending.

During the 1970s and '80s, St. John's sometimes played host to a Tucson priest, Robert Trupia, who brought young men interested in becoming priests to the seminary as part of his "Come and See" program, according to court documents.

Arizona authorities arrested Trupia on child molestation charges in 2000, but dropped the case because of the statute of limitations.

In 2002, the church paid a multimillion-dollar settlement to nine former altar boys and another alleged victim who accused Trupia and three other Arizona priests of molestation.

The mother of one boy who was a witness in the case wrote to church officials that her son had an "especially painful memory" of spending two nights at St. John's with Trupia, and waking to find the priest sitting on the child's bed.

"The bedcovers were pulled down but [he] doesn't know or remember if Trupia touched him while he slept," the mother wrote. "He does know that the door to his room was locked…. The door wasn't locked when he went to bed."

Hennigan said the archdiocese found that Trupia had been "discouraged from further visits to St. John's," but there was no record of the reason. "We heard he was banned," he said.

Msgr. James Gehl, who was at St. John's for eight years ending in 1974, first at the undergraduate college and then in the theology school, said he saw nothing of the sexually charged environment others describe. "I'm not saying there weren't [instances of sexual activity], but I never heard of one," he said. "Sometimes people were dismissed, and we were never given the reason."

Gehl, now pastor at St. Bede the Venerable in La Cañada Flintridge, said it "blew me away" to learn of abuse allegations against a former classmate and a second St. John's graduate with whom Gehl shared a church residence for three years in Palmdale. "I never would have guessed," he said.

Back then, he said, there was little if any psychological vetting of students: "When I went to the seminary college, I just went from 12th grade to 13th grade. I don't remember being interviewed in any psychological way."

"We were all ignorant," said the Rev. Msgr. Helmut Hefner, a 1969 St. John's graduate who is rector of the seminary. "I went to school with people who subsequently became abusers. I couldn't tell. There was no hint."

Hefner said a reluctance by seminaries to aggressively address sexual matters in the 1960s and '70s might have inadvertently opened the door to a few young men with abusive tendencies. "Sexual issues were taboo," he said.

Seminaries have since adopted tougher measures to weed out candidates who might have a predilection for perversions, and Hefner says the regimen of background checks, psychological tests and celibacy counseling is working.

"It's gotten more sophisticated," he said. "We are much more aware of the risk factors."

He sees a bright future for St. John's. Enrollment has been holding steady at about 100, he said.

The archdiocese is selling 60 of St. John's 100 acres to developers, with the proceeds to secure the seminary's endowment.

Like other seminaries, however, St. John's has been laboring to reverse a decline in its output of priests, a trend that resulted in the 2003 closure of the undergraduate school.

Its ordinations have lagged far behind the growth in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, the nation's most populous with 5 million Catholics.

Today's student body, Hefner said, is about half foreign-born with an average age of 34. He said any problems of immaturity, sexual and otherwise, have disappeared.

"The scandals have only kind of encouraged people to work harder at what we're about," Hefner said.

The Process

The Los Angeles Archdiocese said it did not have a comprehensive roster of St. John's graduates. It also declined to provide The Times with access to the campus or to photographs of graduating classes. For those reasons, The Times relied on ordination stories published annually in the archdiocesan newspaper, the Tidings — an approach that church officials said would yield accurate results.

The stories listed the names of about 620 St. John's priests who were ordained in the archdiocese since 1950. Several more graduates were identified in legal documents and in interviews with church officials and former St. John's students.

Some St. John's graduates were ordained into dioceses outside Los Angeles. Repeated attempts to obtain a complete list of these graduates were unsuccessful. Priests ordained into the Los Angeles Archdiocese were recruited and sponsored for the seminary by the archdiocese.

All the names were checked against those in the archdiocese's 2004 report on alleged abusers, news accounts of molestation cases, and in some instances, court documents and supporting materials.

From that process, The Times found 65 Los Angeles priests ordained from St. John's since 1950 who have faced abuse allegations.


I wonder why there aren't incidences of similar nature resulting from the priests of other religions. E.g. Imams, Buddhist monks, rabbis, etc.

The horror! The horror!

Oh, mother of God!

'Literary' texts no more?

Project reduces classic works to text messages

Thursday, November 17, 2005; Posted: 2:32 p.m. EST (19:32 GMT)

LONDON, England (AP) -- "Romeo, Romeo -- wher4 Rt thou Romeo?"

It could be the future of Shakespeare.

Dot mobile, a British mobile phone service aimed at students, says it plans to condense classic works of literature into SMS text messages. The company claims the service will be a valuable resource for studying for exams.

Academic purists will be horrified. Hamlet's famous query, "To be or not to be, that is the question," becomes "2b? Nt2b? ???"

John Milton's epic poem "Paradise Lost" begins "devl kikd outa hevn coz jelus of jesus&strts war." ("The devil is kicked out of heaven because he is jealous of Jesus and starts a war.")

Some may dismiss the summaries as cheat notes for the attention-deficit generation, but John Sutherland, a University College London English professor who consulted on the project, said they could act as a useful memory aid.

"The educational opportunities it offers are immense," said Sutherland, who chaired the judging panel for this year's Booker Prize for fiction.

Sutherland said the compressed nature of text messages allowed them to "fillet out the important elements in a plot."

"Take for example the ending to Jane Eyre -- 'MadwyfSetsFyr2Haus.' (Mad wife sets fire to house.) Was ever a climax better compressed?"

But political commentator and author Oliver Kamm said the terse texts were "more than a travesty."

"What you lose with text messaging in literature is what makes literature what it is -- the imagery, the irony, the nuance," he told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

"What I fear will happen with text versions of Shakespeare is that students will be encouraged not to read the books but to settle for something else, and people don't need excuses not to read books. They don't read enough as it is."

Books planned for the service include Charles Dickens' "Bleak House," whose tale of the interminable legal suit of Jarndyce and Jarndyce is reduced to a few snappy lines, and Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice," which describes hunky Mr. Darcy as "fit&loadd" (handsome and wealthy).

Dot mobile said it planned to launch the service in January, with Shakespeare's complete works available by April. The texts will be free to subscribers to the company's phone service.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Mommy, can I have that bomb in the window? The one with the waggley fuse?

Mums' permission needed for terror plan
By Natalie O'Brien,

November 15, 2005

MAZEN Touma and Omar Baldjam were training for jihad.

Police claim they talked about running to ensure they were fit when the time came "to shoot some motherf..kers".
But first they needed permission from their own mums.

Extracts from transcripts of secretly recorded conversations, produced in evidence yesterday before Sydney's Central Local Court, show that the terror suspects were allegedly ordered by their spiritual leader, Abdul Nacer Benbrika, to consult their parents before waging jihad.

"Some people claim to love jihad but don't respect their own parents," Mr Benbrika allegedly said. "You need permission from your parents to go to jihad. If your mother says no jihad, then no jihad."

It was July 31. The suspects were alleged to have gathered at 24-year-old Khaled Sharrouf's modest Wiley Park home in Sydney's west to hear a sermon from Mr Benbrika. The 45-year-old is alleged to have travelled from Melbourne to speak to the men in the Bradley Crescent bungalow.

Two days later Mr Touma, 25, allegedly requested permission from his mother to undertake jihad. Her response does not appear in the police evidence and the family refused to speak to The Australian yesterday.

Little is known about Mr Touma, except that he was born in Lebanon, is married with pre-school-aged children and lived in an apartment block in Bankstown, in Sydney's west.

His wife has not been seen at home since last week's raids.

Neighbours have also said they know little about the family. But they said friends had dropped by in the past week, collecting some of the family's belongings.

It is alleged from the statement of facts tendered to the court that Mr Touma and co-accused and former actor Omar Baldjam, 28, had been undergoing fitness training for some time.

A bugged conversation between the men alleged to have taken place on March 24 had them talking about training, running, and getting fit and healthy to "shoot some motherf..kers" on the order from Allah.

The police brief also alleged that they seized from Mr Touma's home video cassettes titled Are you ready to die?, and Sheik Osama's training course.

It is alleged that the police also seized weapons including a Glock pistol, a pump-action shotgun and more than 20 boxes of ammunition including magazines for a rifle, shotgun shells, pistol cartridge packs and boxes of .22 and .40 calibre bullets.

The list of seized items also includes canisters containing 165 railway detonators and batteries.

They also found a silver and black replica pistol and plastic boxes filled with gunpowder.

It is not known if Mr Touma was a registered gun holder.

However, the police statement says that Mr Balajdam was and that he had approached the Condell Park Indoor Shooting range, in Sydney's southwest, to ask about opening times.


Forget about Bali, they are already on Australia's shores...

Clear off! Part II: Accept our law or leave

On August 2005, the Federal Education Minister for Australia, Dr Brendan Nelson, told Muslim immigrants "to develop ways to teach so-called Australian values to Muslim school children," and that "those who do not accept and teach Australian values should 'clear off'" (Source). Last week, these sentiments were echoed by yet another government official, the Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Honorary Peter Costello.

'Accept our law or leave'
From: AAP
November 10, 2005,

TREASURER Peter Costello said radical Muslims would not be allowed to turn Australia into an Islamic state.

Mr Costello said Muslims who wanted to live in a country governed by sharia law, which imposes strict limitations on freedoms, would be better off living elsewhere.
"If you are somebody who wants to live in an Islamic state governed by sharia law you are not going to be happy in Australia, because Australia is not an Islamic state, will never be an Islamic state and will never be governed by sharia law," Mr Costello said.

"We are a secular state under our constitution, our law is made by parliament elected in democratic elections.

"We do not derive our laws from religious instruction."

Mr Costello said anyone who was alienated by Australia's form of government, judicial system and civil rights and wanted something else "might be better advised to find the 'something else' somewhere else".

"There are Islamic states around the world that practise sharia law and if that's your object you may well be much more at home in such a country than trying to turn Australia into one of those countries, because it's not going to happen," he said.



"There are Islamic states around the world that practise sharia law..."
But they don’t seem to be magnets for migrants.

Posted by blogstrop on 11/10 at 04:59 AM

[-ben: Hmm... I wonder why...]

Funny how when Westerners show up in Bali in Bikinis with a drink in their hands they’re accused by the pandering Left of disrupting or intruding upon a ‘traditional culture.’

But when 7th century theocrats show up in the 21st century West demanding legal space for wife beatings and honor killings the same pandering Left demands the West be more accepting and ‘tolerant.’

Can this double standard be any clearer?

Posted by cosmo on 11/10 at 10:06 AM

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Death of Europe

Bicultural Europe is doomed
by Mark Steyn

15 November, 2005

Three years ago -December 2002 - I was asked to take part in a symposium on Europe and began with the observation: "I find it easier to be optimistic about the futures of Iraq and Pakistan than, say, Holland or Denmark."

At the time, this was taken as confirmation of my descent into insanity. I can't see why. Compare, for example, the Iraqi and the European constitutions: which would you say reflected a shrewder grasp of the realities on the ground?

Or take last week's attacks in Jordan by a quartet of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's finest suicide bombers. The day after the carnage, Jordanians took to the streets in their thousands to shout "Death to Zarqawi!" and "Burn in hell, Zarqawi!" King Abdullah denounced terrorism as "sick" and called for a "global fight" against it. "These people are insane," he said of the husband-and-wife couple dispatched to blow up a wedding reception.

For purposes of comparison, consider the Madrid bombing from March last year. The day after that, Spaniards also took to the streets, for their feebly tasteful vigil. Instead of righteous anger, they were "united in sorrow" - i.e. enervated in passivity. Instead of wishing death on the perpetrators, the preferred slogan was "Basta!" - "Enough!" - which was directed less at the killers than at Aznar and Bush. Instead of a leader who calls for a "global fight", they elected a government pledged to withdraw from any meaningful role in the global fight.

My point in that symposium was a simple one: whatever their problems, most Islamic countries have the advantage of beginning any evolution into free states from the starting point of relative societal cohesion. By contrast, most European nations face the trickier task of trying to hold on to their freedom at a time of increasing societal incoherence.

True, America and Australia grew the institutions of their democracy with relatively homogeneous populations, and then evolved into successful "multicultural" societies. But that's not what's happening in Europe right now. If you want to know what a multicultural society looks like, read the names of America's dead on September 11: Arestegui, Bolourchi, Carstanjen, Droz, Elseth, Foti, Gronlund, Hannafin, Iskyan, Kuge, Laychak, Mojica, Nguyen, Ong, Pappalardo, Quigley, Retic, Shuyin, Tarrou, Vamsikrishna, Warchola, Yuguang, Zarba. Black, white, Hispanic, Arab, Indian, Chinese - in a word, American.

Whether or not one believes in "celebrating diversity", that's a lot of diversity to celebrate. But the Continent isn't multicultural so much as bicultural. There are ageing native populations, and young Muslim populations, and that's it: "two solitudes", as they say in my beloved Quebec. If there's three, four or more cultures, you can all hold hands and sing We are the World. But if there's just two - you and the other - that's generally more fractious. Bicultural societies are among the least stable in the world, especially once it's no longer quite clear who is the majority and who is the minority - a situation that much of Europe is fast approaching, as you can see by visiting any French, Austrian, Belgian or Dutch maternity ward.

Take Fiji - not a comparison France would be flattered by, though until 1987 the Fijians enjoyed a century of peaceful stable constitutional evolution the French were never able to muster. At any rate, Fiji comprises native Fijians and ethnic Indians brought in as indentured workers by the British. If memory serves, 46.2 per cent are Fijians and 48.6 per cent are Indo-Fijians; 50-50, give or take, with no intermarrying. In 1987, the first Indian-majority government came to power. A month later, Col Sitiveni Rabuka staged the first of his two coups, resulting in the Queen's removal as head of state and Fiji being expelled from the Commonwealth.

Is it that difficult to sketch a similar situation for France? Even in relatively peaceful bicultural societies, politics becomes tribal: loyalists vs nationalists in Northern Ireland, separatists vs federalists in Quebec. Picture a French election circa 2020, 2025: the Islamic Republican Coalition wins the most seats in the National Assembly. The Chiraquiste crowd give a fatalistic shrug and Mr de Villepin starts including crowd-pleasing suras from the Koran at his poetry recitals. But would Mr Le Pen or (by then) his daughter take it so well? Or would the temptation to be France's Col Rabuka prove too much?

And the Fijian scenario - a succession of bloodless coups - is the optimistic one. After all, the differences between Fijian natives and Indians are as nothing compared with those between the French and les beurs. I love the way those naysayers predicting doom and gloom in Baghdad scoff that Iraq's a totally artificial entity and that, without some Saddamite strongman, Kurds, Sunnis and Shias can't co-exist in the same state. Oh, really? If Iraq's an entirely artificial entity, what do you call a state split between gay drugged-up red-light whatever's-your-bag Dutchmen and anti-gay anti-whoring anti-everything-you-dig Muslims? If Kurdistan doesn't belong in Iraq, does Pornostan belong in the Islamic Republic of Holland?

In a democratic age, you can't buck demography - except through civil war. The Yugoslavs figured that out. In the 30 years before the meltdown, Bosnian Serbs had declined from 43 per cent to 31 per cent of the population, while Bosnian Muslims had increased from 26 per cent to 44 per cent.

So Europe's present biculturalism makes disaster a certainty. One way to avoid it would be to go genuinely multicultural, to broaden the Continent's sources of immigration beyond the Muslim world. But a talented ambitious Chinese or Indian or Chilean has zero reason to emigrate to France, unless he is consumed by a perverse fantasy of living in a segregated society that artificially constrains his economic opportunities yet imposes confiscatory taxation on him in order to support an ancien regime of indolent geriatrics.

France faces tough choices and, unlike Baghdad, in Paris you can't even talk about them honestly. As Jean-Claude Dassier, director-general of the French news station LCI, told a broadcasters' conference in Amsterdam, he has been playing down the riots on the following grounds: "Politics in France is heading to the Right and I don't want Right-wing politicians back in second or even first place because we showed burning cars on television."

Oh, well. You can understand why the Quai d'Orsay is relaxed about Iran becoming the second Muslim nuclear power. As things stand, France is on course to be the third. You heard it here first. You probably won't hear it on Mr Dassier's station at all.


By the way, is a British publication, and Mark Steyn isn't American--he's Canadian.

Mark Noonan's comments on Steyn's opinion piece, while inexcusably politically incorrect (I was never a fan of the PC-Nazi crowd anyways. I believe in calling a spade a spade.) is right on the money:

We could call the Europeans spineless, but that would be an insult ot invertebrates. I can only put it down to too many of the best and bravest having been killed in two world wars (it stands to reason that most of the 30 million odd dead were those who were willing to fight for a cause) coupled with decades of multiculturalist socialism. God almighty, have mercy on the Europeans and give them some courage to fight for survival.


Five questions non-Muslims would like answered
by Dennis Prager, Los Angeles Times

November 13, 2005

THE RIOTING IN France by primarily Muslim youths and the hotel bombings in Jordan are the latest events to prompt sincere questions that law-abiding Muslims need to answer for Islam's sake, as well as for the sake of worried non-Muslims.

Here are five of them:

(1) Why are you so quiet?

Since the first Israelis were targeted for death by Muslim terrorists blowing themselves up in the name of your religion and Palestinian nationalism, I have been praying to see Muslim demonstrations against these atrocities. Last week's protests in Jordan against the bombings, while welcome, were a rarity. What I have seen more often is mainstream Muslim spokesmen implicitly defending this terror on the grounds that Israel occupies Palestinian lands. We see torture and murder in the name of Allah, but we see no anti-torture and anti-murder demonstrations in the name of Allah.

There are a billion Muslims in the world. How is it possible that essentially none have demonstrated against evils perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam? This is true even of the millions of Muslims living in free Western societies. What are non-Muslims of goodwill supposed to conclude? When the Israeli government did not stop a Lebanese massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982, great crowds of Israeli Jews gathered to protest their country's moral failing. Why has there been no comparable public demonstration by Palestinians or other Muslims to morally condemn Palestinian or other Muslim-committed terror?

(2) Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?

If Israeli occupation is the reason for Muslim terror in Israel, why do no Christian Palestinians engage in terror? They are just as nationalistic and just as occupied as Muslim Palestinians.

(3) Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country?

According to Freedom House, a Washington-based group that promotes democracy, of the world's 47 Muslim countries, only Mali is free. Sixty percent are not free, and 38% are partly free. Muslim-majority states account for a majority of the world's "not free" states. And of the 10 "worst of the worst," seven are Islamic states. Why is this?

(4) Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the name of Islam?

Young girls in Indonesia were recently beheaded by Muslim murderers. Last year, Muslims — in the name of Islam — murdered hundreds of schoolchildren in Russia. While reciting Muslim prayers, Islamic terrorists take foreigners working to make Iraq free and slaughter them. Muslim daughters are murdered by their own families in the thousands in "honor killings." And the Muslim government in Iran has publicly called for the extermination of Israel.

(5) Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other religions?

No church or synagogue is allowed in Saudi Arabia. The Taliban destroyed some of the greatest sculptures of the ancient world because they were Buddhist. Sudan's Islamic regime has murdered great numbers of Christians.

Instead of confronting these problems, too many of you deny them. Muslims call my radio show to tell me that even speaking of Muslim or Islamic terrorists is wrong. After all, they argue, Timothy McVeigh is never labeled a "Christian terrorist." As if McVeigh committed his terror as a churchgoing Christian and in the name of Christ, and as if there were Christian-based terror groups around the world.

As a member of the media for nearly 25 years, I have a long record of reaching out to Muslims. Muslim leaders have invited me to speak at major mosques. In addition, I have studied Arabic and Islam, have visited most Arab and many other Muslim countries and conducted interfaith dialogues with Muslims in the United Arab Emirates as well as in the U.S. Politically, I have supported creation of a Palestinian state and supported (mistakenly, I now believe) the Oslo accords.

Hundreds of millions of non-Muslims want honest answers to these questions, even if the only answer you offer is, "Yes, we have real problems in Islam." Such an acknowledgment is infinitely better — for you and for the world — than dismissing us as anti-Muslim.

We await your response.

Dennis Prager's nationally syndicated radio show is heard daily in Los Angeles on KRLA-AM (870). He may be contacted through his website.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Letter from a Major General to a Senator

Stumbled upon this gem thanks to Clark Baker:

On the 25th of October, 2005, Major General (Dr.) Vernon Chong (retired), 71, sent the following letter to Senator Saxby Chambliss:

Subject: War on Terror
To: Sen. Saxby Chambliss
From: Major General Dr. Vernon Chong, USAFR

This WAR is for REAL!

To get out of a difficulty, one usually must go through it. Our country is now facing the most serious threat to its existence, as we know it, that we have faced in your lifetime and mine (which includes WWII). The deadly seriousness is greatly compounded by the fact that there are very few of us who think we can possibly lose this war and even fewer who realize what losing really means. First, let’s examine a few basics:

1. When did the threat to us start? Many will say September 11, 2001. The answer as far as the United States is concerned is 1979, 22 years prior to September 2001, with the following attacks on us:

* Iran Embassy Hostages, 1979
* Beirut, Lebanon Embassy 1983
* Beirut, Lebanon Marine Barracks 1983
* Lockerbie, Scotland Pan-Am flight to New York 1988
* First New York World Trade Center attack 1993
* Dhahran, Saudi Arabia Khobar Towers Military complex 1996
* Nairobi, Kenya US Embassy 1998
* Dares Salaam, Tanzania US Embassy 1998
* Aden, Yemen USS Cole 2000
* New York World Trade Center 2001
* Pentagon 2001.

(Note that during the period from 1981 to 2001 there were 7,581 terrorist attacks worldwide).

2. Why were we attacked?

Envy of our position, our success, and our freedoms. The attacks happened during the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2. We cannot fault either the Republicans or Democrats as there were no provocations by any of the presidents or their immediate predecessors, Presidents Ford or Carter.

3. Who were the attackers?

In each case, the attacks on the US were carried out by Muslims.

4. What is the Muslim population of the World? 25%.

5. Isn’t the Muslim Religion peaceful?

Hopefully, but that is really not material. There is no doubt that the predominately Christian population of Germany was peaceful, but under the dictatorial leadership of Hitler (who was also Christian), that made no difference. You either went along with the administration or you were eliminated. There were 5 to 6 million Christians killed by the Nazis for political reasons (including 7,000 Polish priests).

Thus, almost the same number of Christians were killed by the Nazis, as the six million holocaust Jews who were killed by them, and we seldom heard of anything other than the Jewish atrocities. Although Hitler kept the world focused on the Jews, he had no hesitancy about killing anyone who got in his way of exterminating the Jews or of taking over the world - German, Christian or any others.

Same with the Muslim terrorists. They focus the world on the US, but kill all in the way — their own people or the Spanish, French or anyone else. The point here is that just like the peaceful Germans were of no protection to anyone from the Nazis, no matter how many peaceful Muslims there may be, they are no protection for us from the terrorist Muslim leaders and what they are fanatically bent on doing — by their own pronouncements — killing all of us “infidels.” I don’t blame the peaceful Muslims. What would you do if the choice was shut up or die?

6. So who are we at war with?

There is no way we can honestly respond that it is anyone other than the Muslim terrorists. Trying to be politically correct and avoid verbalizing this conclusion can well be fatal. There is no way to win if you don’t clearly recognize and articulate who you are fighting.So with that background, now to the two major questions:

1. Can we lose this war?
2. What does losing really mean?

If we are to win, we must clearly answer these two pivotal questions.

We can definitely lose this war, and as anomalous as it may sound, the major reason we can lose is that so many of us simply do not fathom the answer to the second question - What does losing mean?

It would appear that a great many of us think that losing the war means hanging our heads, bringing the troops home and going on about our business, like post Vietnam. This is as far from the truth as one can get. What losing really means is:

We would no longer be the premier country in the world. The attacks will not subside, but rather will steadily increase. Remember, they want us dead, not just quiet. If they had just wanted us quiet, they would not have produced an increasing series of attacks against us, over the past 18 years. The plan was clearly, for terrorist(s) to attack us, until we were neutered and submissive to them.

We would of course have no future support from other nations, for fear of reprisals and for the reason that they would see, we are impotent and cannot help them.

They will pick off the other non-Muslim nations, one at a time. It will be increasingly easier for them. They already hold Spain hostage. It doesn’t matter whether it was right or wrong for Spain to withdraw its troops from Iraq. Spain did it because the Muslim terrorists bombed their train and told them to withdraw the troops. Anything else they want Spain to do will be done. Spain is finished.

The next will probably be France. Our one hope on France is that they might see the light and realize that if we don’t win, they are finished too, in that they can’t resist the Muslim terrorists without us. However, it may already be too late for France. France is already 20% Muslim and fading fast!

If we lose the war, our production, income, exports and way of life will all vanish as we know it. After losing, who would trade or deal with us, if they were threatened by the Muslims.

If we can’t stop the Muslims, how could anyone else?

The Muslims fully know what is riding on this war, and therefore are completely committed to winning, at any cost. We better know it too and be likewise committed to winning at any cost.

Why do I go on at such lengths about the results of losing? Simple. Until we recognize the costs of losing, we cannot unite and really put 100% of our thoughts and efforts into winning. And it is going to take that 100% effort to win.

So, how can we lose the war?

Again, the answer is simple. We can lose the war by “imploding.” That is, defeating ourselves by refusing to recognize the enemy and their purpose, and really digging in and lending full support to the war effort. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. If we continue to be divided, there is no way that we can win!

Let me give you a few examples of how we simply don’t comprehend the life and death seriousness of this situation.

President Bush selects Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation. Although all of the terrorist attacks were committed by Muslim men between 17 and 40 years of age, Secretary Mineta refuses to allow profiling. Does that sound like we are taking this thing seriously? This is war! For the duration, we are going to have to give up some of the civil rights we have become accustomed to. We had better be prepared to lose some of our civil rights temporarily or we will most certainly lose all of them permanently.

And don’t worry that it is a slippery slope. We gave up plenty of civil rights during WWII, and immediately restored them after the victory and in fact added many more since then.

Do I blame President Bush or President Clinton before him?

No, I blame us for blithely assuming we can maintain all of our Political Correctness, and all of our civil rights during this conflict and have a clean, lawful, honorable war. None of those words apply to war. Get them out of your head.

Some have gone so far in their criticism of the war and/or the Administration that it almost seems they would literally like to see us lose. I hasten to add that this isn’t because they are disloyal. It is because they just don’t recognize what losing means. Nevertheless, that conduct gives the impression to the enemy that we are divided and weakening. It concerns our friends, and it does great damage to our cause.

Of more recent vintage, the uproar fueled by the politicians and media regarding the treatment of some prisoners of war, perhaps exemplifies best what I am saying. We have recently had an issue, involving the treatment of a few Muslim prisoners of war, by a small group of our military police. These are the type prisoners who just a few months ago were throwing their own people off buildings, cutting off their hands, cutting out their tongues and otherwise murdering their own people just for disagreeing with Saddam Hussein.

And just a few years ago these same type prisoners chemically killed 400,000 of their own people for the same reason. They are also the same type enemy fighters, who recently were burning Americans, and dragging their charred corpses through the streets of Iraq.

And still more recently, the same type enemy that was and is providing videos to all news sources internationally, of the beheading of American prisoners they held.

Compare this with some of our press and politicians, who for several days have thought and talked about nothing else but the “humiliating” of some Muslim prisoners — not burning them, not dragging their charred corpses through the streets, not beheading them, but “humiliating” them.

Can this be for real?

The politicians and pundits have even talked of impeachment of the Secretary of Defense. If this doesn’t show the complete lack of comprehension and understanding of the seriousness of the enemy we are fighting, the life and death struggle we are in and the disastrous results of losing this war, nothing can.

To bring our country to a virtual political standstill over this prisoner issue makes us look like Nero playing his fiddle as Rome burned — totally oblivious to what is going on in the real world. Neither we, nor any other country, can survive this internal strife. Again I say, this does not mean that some of our politicians or media people are disloyal. It simply means that they are absolutely oblivious to the magnitude, of the situation we are in and into which the Muslim terrorists have been pushing us, for many years.

Remember, the Muslim terrorists stated goal is to kill all infidels! That translates into ALL non-Muslims — not just in the United States, but throughout the world.

We are the last bastion of defense.

We have been criticized for many years as being ‘arrogant.’ That charge is valid in at least one respect. We are arrogant in that we believe that we are so good, powerful and smart, that we can win the hearts and minds of all those who attack us, and that with both hands tied behind our back, we can defeat anything bad in the world!

We can’t!

If we don’t recognize this, our nation as we know it will not survive, and no other free country in the world will survive if we are defeated.

And finally, name any Muslim countries throughout the world that allow freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, equal rights for anyone — let alone everyone, equal status or any status for women, or that have been productive in one single way that contributes to the good of the world.

This has been a long way of saying that we must be united on this war or we will be equated in the history books to the self-inflicted fall of the Roman Empire. If, that is, the Muslim leaders will allow history books to be written or read.

If we don’t win this war right now, keep a close eye on how the Muslims take over France in the next 5 years or less. They will continue to increase the Muslim population of France and continue to encroach little by little, on the established French traditions. The French will be fighting among themselves, over what should or should not be done, which will continue to weaken them and keep them from any united resolve. Doesn’t that sound eerily familiar?

Democracies don’t have their freedoms taken away from them by some external military force. Instead, they give their freedoms away, politically correct piece by politically correct piece.

And they are giving those freedoms away to those who have shown, worldwide, that they abhor freedom and will not apply it to you or even to themselves, once they are in power.

They have universally shown that when they have taken over, they then start brutally killing each other over who will be the few who control the masses. Will we ever stop hearing from the politically correct, about the “peaceful Muslims”?

I close on a hopeful note, by repeating what I said above. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. I hope now after the election, the factions in our country will begin to focus on the critical situation we are in, and will unite to save our country. It is your future we are talking about! Do whatever you can to preserve it.

After reading the above, we all must do this not only for ourselves, but our children, our grandchildren, our country and the world.

Whether Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal and that includes the Politicians and media of our country and the free world!

Please forward this to any you feel may want, or NEED to read it. Our “leaders” in Congress ought to read it, too. There are those that find fault with our country, but it is obvious to anyone who truly thinks through this, that we must UNITE and stand as ONE!

Lithonia , GA


Click on picture or click here.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Man in Black

'Been listening to Johnny Cash, and stumbled upon his cover of NIN's (Nine Inch Nails) "Hurt." The lyrics, penned and sung with teenaged angst by NIN, is transformed into the lament of a broken old man by Cash, with terrible beauty.


I hurt myself today
to see if I still feel.
I focus on the pain
the only thing that's real.
The needle tears a hole
the old familiar sting.
Try to kill it all away
but I remember everything.
What have I become,
my sweetest friend?
Everyone I know
goes away in the end.
And you could have it all,
my empire of dirt.

I will let you down.
I will make you hurt.

I wear this crown of thorns
upon my liar's chair,
full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair.
Beneath the stains of time,
the feelings disappear.
You are someone else,
I am still right here.

What have I become,
my sweetest friend?
Everyone I know
goes away in the end.
And you could have it all,
my empire of dirt.

I will let you down.
I will make you hurt.

If I could start again,
a million miles away,
I would keep myself,
I would find a way.

Director Mark Romanek made the song into a video that was subsequently nominated for several MTV Video Music Awards, including video of the year. It won the award for the best cinematography. Click here or on the image to download the video.

IMHO, I find the song more powerful without the accompanying video, but maybe that's just me with my vivid imagination.

Based on the life of Johnny Cash, the movie, "Walk the Line," is due to be released this friday, Nov 18, 2005.

It stars Reese Witherspoon as Cash's second wife, June Carter. While I cringed at her role in "Legally Blonde," she is very alluring in this movie.