ISIS Releases Photo of Bomb It Used to Down Russian Passenger Jet

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by SuperJet International

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by SuperJet International

ISIS has taken credit for the murder of the 224 people who were on board the Russian passenger plane that exploded last month. They have released a photo of the bomb they used to commit this crime.

From AP The Big Story:

CAIRO (AP) — The Islamic State group has released a photo of the bomb it says was used to bring down a Russian passenger plane in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula last month, killing all 224 people on board.

The picture was published in the latest issue of the extremist group’s English-language magazine, with the caption “EXCLUSIVE – Image of the IED used to bring down the Russian airliner.”

The picture showed a yellow can of Schweppes Gold, a non-alcoholic beer marketed in Egypt, and what appeared to be other bomb components made of plastic and metal. It also published a picture of what it said were passports belonging to people who died in the plane crash.

The extremist group, which has a powerful affiliate in the Sinai, had previously claimed to have downed the plane, which was mainly carrying Russian tourists without offering further details. It said the attack was to avenge Russia’s air campaign against the group in Syria.

Russia’s FSB security service said Tuesday that a bomb brought down the plane. Most of those onboard were Russian tourists. Western officials had earlier said they suspected a bombing.

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Boko Haram Suicide Bombing Kills 32, Wounds 80

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by AK Rockefeller

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by AK Rockefeller

Boko Haram used a suicide bombing to kill 32 people and wound 80 others in northern Nigeria yesterday. The attack occurred at a truck stop.

Nigeria’s military has reported that it has stopped several suicide bombers recently. It has also killed and captured militants and destroyed Boko Haram camps.

If this is true, it is a huge step forward and a big change for Nigeria whose military has often seemed to be colluding with the terrorist group. However, analysts says that Nigeria’s military is not able to hold ground. It takes an area and the muslim extremists move somewhere else. Twenty thousand Nigerians have been killed by Boko Haram in the last six years.

From Fox News:

A night-time suicide bombing blamed on Boko Haram extremists killed 32 people and wounded 80 Tuesday at a truck stop in northeastern Nigeria, an emergency official said.

Tuesday night’s blast breaks a three-week hiatus in bombings after a string of suicide attacks culminated in twin explosions in mosques in two northeastern cities that killed 42 people and wounded more than 100 on Oct. 23.

One of the mosques attacked was in Yola, capital of Adamawa state, where the insurgents struck again. It was the third suicide bombing in as many months in a city overflowing with some of the 2.3 million refugees driven from their homes by the Islamic uprising.

At least 32 people were killed and about 80 wounded victims were evacuated to hospitals after Tuesday night’s blast, coordinator Sa’ad Bello of the National Emergency Management Agency told the AP.





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It’s Time to Discuss America’s Immigration Policy.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Anne Je suis Paris

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Anne Je suis Paris

Not all Muslims are terrorists.

In fact, very few Muslims are terrorists.

ISIS, despite its successes, is a tiny percentage of the world’s Muslims. Also, much of the Islamic world is itself at war with ISIS, trying to end this evil.

At the same time, all of the recent terror attacks, such as 9/11, last weekend’s attacks in Paris, the bombing of trains in Spain, the massacre at the elementary school in Chechnya, and the repeated horrors within the Muslim world itself are Islamic in origin. Add to that the 70-year terror warfare against Israel, and the horror show that occurred in Lebanon. It is clear, for those who are not willfully blinding themselves to the unhappy facts of reality, that there is a consistent problem with Islamic terrorists in much of the world.

I am not saying this because I love being called a bigot and an Islamophobe. I certainly am not saying it because I think that everyone who follows Islam is a terrorist or a bad person. Far from it. I know beyond doubt that most Muslim people are good and moral individuals.

However, we are confronted with a hard reality, and if we want to survive, we need to begin, as the Alcoholics Anonymous people say, to accept reality on reality’s terms. The root reason why the Western world is being held hostage to repeated terrorist attacks is the disastrous and flat-out suicidal immigration policies that it has practiced.

Our media and political leaders push immoral “moral” arguments on us stating that, as we all know, all Muslims are not terrorists. In fact, almost none of them are.

So, in this la-la-land of betrayal of their responsibility to the truth, and in the case of political leaders, to the welfare of those they govern, they use this fact to deny the reality that their immigration policies are importing terrorism, unrest and the destruction of the civil order into our societies.

I am not a European, so I will not speak to what I regard as the obscene neglect of their responsibility to the welfare of the nations that they govern that their leaders have practiced. I am American. So I will address our own government’s refusal to govern on behalf of the welfare of America.

To put it bluntly, we need to change our immigration policies. Our immigration policies should reflect the first responsibility of governance, which is to maintain the domestic tranquility. The American people have an absolute right to expect that those they elect will act in ways that do not undermine their safety in the name of some nefarious political correctness.

The edifice of political correctness has become a thought prison that denies reality and punishes those who refuse to accede to its delusions with social approbation, and oftentimes, legal discrimination. It is being used in a crude and heavy-handed manner to bully and badger people into bowing before the lie du jour.

I won’t get into the obvious lies of moral and social machination which are constantly being pushed on the people of this nation. I will not address the way that our public education system is being used to propagandize our children into twisted thinking that flies in the face of reality.

I will simply address the craziness of immigration policies which continue to bring people into this country from parts of the world which are known to produce organized terrorists. This is being done in the face of nightly news reports that this army of terrorists we call ISIS actively recruits Muslims from America and Europe, trains them and sends them back to us with the intent of wreaking havoc on our lives, property and domestic tranquility.

Our political correctness has become suicidal. Unfortunately, the people who make these policies are well-guarded. They will be the last to pay for their neglect of duty.

It is the ordinary American citizen, going about their ordinary life who will find themselves staring down the barrel of the gun, or standing next to the bomb-packing murderer. It is the ordinary American citizen, going about their ordinary life who will be sent to fight the War on Terror.

At the same time that we are importing terrorists under the guise of “tolerance,” we use “illegal” immigrants for political demagoguery. The Republican political party is very fond of railing at Mexicans during certain election cycles.

Up until Donald Trump’s candidacy, they concentrated this in the off-election years and did not do it during presidential election years. The reason is simple. Attacking Mexicans can be used in off-year elections to win races in a selective way without harming the party. But in a national campaign, the large numbers of American citizens of hispanic origin who are concentrated in states that pack a powerful electoral punch come into play.

In short, the Rs can win a lot of local and statewide elections by attacking “illegal” immigrants, i.e. Mexicans, in by-elections. But they stand to lose the presidency if they go at them in presidential years. So, every off election, the right wing media machine cranks up a “crisis on the border” which they blast out at the public for about six months and then drop when the election is over.

Donald Trump has upset this a bit by raising this issue in a presidential campaign. We’ll have to watch and see what effect that has in November 2016.

I mention this now for one reason. Mexicans did not fly planes into the Twin Towers. Mexicans did not kill anyone in Paris last week. Mexicans did not burn that school in Chechnya. They did not bomb mosques in the Middle East. Mexicans are not committing genocide against the Christian population of a whole region of the world.

Politicians openly try to incite us to hate Mexicans during every off-year election. At the same time, they use appeals to “tolerance”  and telling us not to “hate” to cajole us into a suicidal immigration policy in which they continue to import immigrants from a part of the world which is exporting terror on a mass scale around the globe.

We don’t have to hate Muslims or anyone else to know that this is insanity. Worse, it is a clear dereliction of duty on the part of elected officials of both parties. Let me say that again: The fault lies with both parties.

Both parties are putting this nation and its citizens at risk with their intransigent support of insane immigration policies. They excuse this to We the People with babble about tolerance and how all Muslims are not terrorists. But their true reason is that they are, as they always are, acting on behalf of corporate interests.

In the meantime, we appear to be in a forever war with the people of the Middle East. This war is being sold to us as necessary to “keep us safe.” It would keep us a lot safer, and save the lives of American soldiers, if we just changed our immigration policies.

But — and this is the reason, never doubt it —  there’s a lot of money to be made in war. Not, mind you, by the American people who must fight these wars. The same Congress that could not agree on defunding Planned Parenthood got it all together to shuck the retirement of our men and women in the military. The same Congress that can’t change immigration laws that are allowing terrorists to enter this country somehow managed to agree to raid social security monies.

Our sons and daughters who fight the wars created by our bad politicians’ neglect of their duty do not get rich for their suffering. And the people who get rich from the wars do not fight them. Their children go to elite schools where they are slotted to run the country.

I’m sure that I’m going to be called everything but a nice person for writing this post. I’ll say for the record that I do not advocate hate of anyone. Far from it. Hate separates us from God. It can send us to hell. Hate clouds the mind and makes the hater incapable of thinking straight. Hate is an emotional cancer that destroys its host.

I think we should pray for the people of the Middle East and treat Muslim Americans as our brothers and sisters in this fight against terrorism. But I do not think we should allow further immigration from that region so long as this evil of terrorism reigns there.

I also think that instead of demonizing Hispanics to win elections, we should begin seriously to deal with the problems that create and fuel the illegal immigration in the first place. The first step is to use fines and loss of government contracts and tax benefits to stop businesses from employing them. The second step is to close down the drug cartels.

I would like to have an American government that cared about the American people. I would be gratified to hear a debate in Congress about how our elected officials can help the American people, rather than rip them off. I don’t expect that so long as we keep electing corporatist puppet people.

But that is another discussion. I think I’ve called enough lightning down on my head with this post.

I hope that commenters can engage in civil and fruitful discussion of what I’ve said. I hope I make you think and decide to ask more of our elected officials. If I do that, being called a few names is well worth it.

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History of the Crusades: President Obama’s Prayer Breakfast Comments

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by

I’m going to backtrack for today’s video. This video is a discussion of President Obama’s comments about the Crusades at the 2015 National Prayer Breakfast.

I decided to put these videos on Public Catholic because of the president’s comments. Inaccurate history is used by Christian bashers to attack Christianity every single day. Christians do not know enough history to reply or deal with this intelligently. That needs to change.

After I finish with this series of videos on the Crusades, I’m going to take up the ignorant mis-use of Scripture to bash Christians.

We are living in a time in which Christians are the new group of people that it is ok to attack, bash, haze and hate. I see it all the time in crazy mean hate blogs and their crazy mean authors. I’ve encountered it repeatedly at certain political gatherings. It’s out there for everyone to see in the constant drip-drip-drip of anti-Christian articles in the press. We get a continuous battering from televised specials about Jesus which consistently seek to attack the veracity of the Gospels. It’s Lent, with Easter coming, so we’re going to see a lot of that right now.

Then there is the false history, the anti-history, about the Crusades and all other Christian history. You can be sure that whether the topic is the Black Death or the fall of Rome, there will be a jibe against Christians and Christianity in there somewhere. In fact, most of the time, anti-Christian propaganda pretending to be history will be prominent. What you will not see is any mention of the civilization-building power of Christianity, or the development of human rights because of the teachings of Christ. Some of these slanders in the popular media are distortions, but  a lot of it is direct lying.

Americans aren’t just ignorant of the truth, they are actively and aggressively being taught lies about Christianity and Christian history by the popular media. The media appears to be working in tandem with aggressive Christian bashers in an effort to destroy the faith of Christians in this country. The president’s speech, as well as a lot of other things he’s said and done, is an indication of how deep this hatred of Christians runs in certain circles.

It is no accident that we are witnessing an on-going genocide of Christians in a whole region of the world. These two things are, as they always are, tied together. Verbal hazing, degrading propaganda, lies and slanders of a whole people, are the intellectual scaffolding on which those who would commit genocide stand.

We really need to stop dismissing these constant attacks on our faith and ourselves as if they don’t matter. We also need to stop being overawed by the verbal violence and self-proclaimed authority of our attackers. I am not counseling a descent into the slime pit of public discourse alongside them. What I am suggesting is that Christians make the effort to learn the truth so that the lies will not impact us.

Equipping Christians to deal with this post-Christian culture is the primary purpose of Public Catholic. The first step is overcoming ignorance of their faith and their history among Christians themselves.

Christians do not need to apologize for Jesus Christ. We need to stand for Him without fear or equivocation.

I am aware that there are Islamic teachings which lead to a more peaceful application of that faith. I think that the interpretation referenced here is an accurate depiction of of the application of Islamic teachings of a thousand years ago. It also seems that it is still relevant to Islamic extremists today.

I want to emphasize that this video discusses events which happened almost over a thousand years ago. The reason I am posting it here is to correct the inaccurate  history of the Crusades which is being used in the popular media to attack and degrade Christians and Christianity.


Read more:

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The Crusades, Christian Bashing and Our Two-Tier Educational System

NOTE: I noticed a couple of comments on other topics that reflect the popular ignorance about the Crusades. Since this ignorant and inaccurate mis-use of history has routinely been used for Christian bashing, I’m going to re-run the series on the history of the Crusades. I will probably run it many times. It’s just a bit of light, shining in the lies-about-history-Christian-bashing-propaganda darkness. 

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by

Our two-tier educational system has become essentially a trade-school education for people who live in most of the zips codes of these United States. Among other things that kids in most of our schools aren’t taught are music, philosophy, the arts and history.

It is entirely possible to graduate from our public school system, go on to college and earn advanced degrees and never learn anything of these subjects at all except a smidgen of anthologized literature and a gloss of textbook history, along with the state-mandated history of the state in which the schools exists.

No one reads original sources in most of our educational system. Except for those who are being fed the royal jelly at our elite schools, students are taught almost entirely from hideously expensive textbooks. That means everything they learn is shallow, predigested, committee-approved and edited to conformity of thought.  The “curriculum” is homogenized multiple-choice-oriented trade school stuff designed to train hirable employees for lower level positions — ranging from middle management on down — at one of our corporate or government bureaucracies.

Our educational system actually works against creating thinkers and decision makers. It works toward developing shallow thinkers who can blast through a multiple choice test. The trouble with that, of course, is that multiple choice tests always give you the answer. There’s no thinking involved.

This universal ignorance leads to a population that is like the proverbial goose, born into a new world every day. It also makes We The People easy pickins for the propagandists who seek to destroy Christianity — along with much of the rest of our societal structure — by lies and obfuscations that a truly educated person would strip clean immediately.

Every day, I delete a steady drip of Christian-bashing comments that are based on the stuff and nonsense of propaganda lies. These comments are not only based on lies, they are usually rancorous, rageful and almost identical with one another. Any politician worth his or her salt would recognize that the commenters have been programmed by misinformation and are speaking from somebody else’s script.

The first question an elected official asks when they get a wave of comments like this is “Who” (meaning which special interest) “is behind this?” That’s survival 101 for elected officials.

It’s also a skill We the People need to learn. In this day of propagandized history that is used to bash Christians and Christianity, coupled with an almost universal ignorance of history, theology, philosophy and the arts, its survival 101 for all of us.

One area in which lies and distortions of fact are used against Christianity is the Crusades. The Crusades are actually a rather small part of the misinformation and distortion used against Christians and Christianity. But, given the blank ignorance about the entire history of the Crusades in the general population, it’s also low-hanging fruit for the Christian basher, including, sadly, our own president.

The Crusades are being used to convict Christians of the beheadings, rapes, kidnappings, immolations, and mass slavery that is occurring right now, today. In an irony that belies any concept of truth or fair play, the Crusades are being used to convict Christians of the sins which are being right now, today, committed against Christians. We are facing a Christian genocide in the Middle East. This is not being done just by ISIS. It is on-going, has been on-going for a long time.

Only a truly ignorant population would “buy” the notion that Christians are somehow guilty of their own genocide because of the Crusades. Not only does that defy logic, it is a misrepresentation of the causes of Crusades themselves.

Here, for those who are interested, is the beginning of a series of videos I’m going to post about the Crusades. The videos are themselves only a brief introduction to the actual history of the Crusades.

When I was in Spain, I was struck by the passion of the people who had fought the fight to repel Islamic invaders. Even today, all these hundreds of years later, the depth of their commitment was right in front of me when I looked at the fortifications they built using their toilet seats, pig troughs and whatever else came to hand. These people had fought a desperate fight for their freedom, and their faith animated that fight.

When I was in Turkey, I encountered the bitterness of the Christians there, much of it still aimed at the Roman Catholic Church. I also encountered the gloss that is applied to the bloody history of Christian persecution in that region. There is so much history that Americans do not know and will never learn so long as they confine their thinking to the gloss and the sham.

I picked up several books about both the Crusades and the Inquisition while I was in Spain. The books were dense, and it took me a while to read them, but they taught me a lot. I also went back and plowed through the papal encyclicals that I could read (some were in French, which I don’t read) of the past 1000 years.

Reading books and original sources is a good way to learn more. It’s important when reading about a subject like this, which is being used as a propaganda tool, to read books written from all viewpoints. That’s an education in itself. If you put on your political eyes, you can often, just by reading the distortions from the angles of opposing distorters, arrive at something that is close to the truth.

Please share these with other Christians and encourage them to learn more. We can’t stop the propagandists from lying. But we can at least inform ourselves.

History of the Crusades.

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Nigerians Pray for Missing Girls

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Tim Green

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Tim Green

Boko Haram kidnapped 200 Nigerian school girls a year ago.

They’ve also kidnapped 100s of other Nigerians in the year since.

Kidnapping, slavery, murder and theft seem to be the hallmarks of both Hoko Haram and ISIS.

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The R and the D: Destroying America to Win in ’16.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by DonkeyHotey

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by DonkeyHotey

Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a stirring speech to a joint session of Congress.

Fifty Democratic members of Congress decided to boycott the speech because they didn’t want to involve the United States Congress in politics. That is a little like a doctor boycotting his patients because he doesn’t want his practice involved in medicine.

After that, (and we’ll get to this in detail in the next post) 47 Republican Senators of equal concern for this country to the Ds who boycotted the speech decided to send an open letter to Iran. Yeah. You heard that right. They sent an open letter to Iran about an agreement that hasn’t been made yet. Evidently, they forgot they were in the United States Senate.

All this leads back to the question I asked in an earlier post: Is beltway partisanship going to get us killed? 

We deserve better than the government we’re getting people. I mean from both political parties.

Now, back to Prime Minister Netanyahu and his excellent speech. What’d he say that caused all this ruckus?


I’m not saying that he said nothing. I’m saying that nothing he said should have caused this childish, destructive and utterly disgusting behavior on the part of our elected officials. Prime Minister Netanyahu did exactly what he should have done. He gave a stirring speech on behalf of the interests of the nation that he clearly cares about, his own country, Israel. I only wish that members of our Congress cared so much about America.

His concern in the speech was based on his fear of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. No one on any side of this situation argues that Iran is working to do this. There seems to be only one question: What are we going to do about it?

Before I get into the speech in a bit more detail, I want to backtrack a few years to our totally useless and ultimately destructive to everybody invasion of the nation of Iraq.

Before I do that, I want to back track a couple of decades to the first war in Iraq.

We fought the first war in Iraq under the leadership of President Bush 1. President Bush 1 did a lot of things right. First, he went to Congress and got actual, legal authorization for a war. Second, he put together a real coalition of allies. Third, he went into the war with clear military objectives.

The result was that we got the thing done quickly and got back out.

The salient phrase there is that we got back out. Why, when we had Iraq down for the count, didn’t Bush 1 go ahead and finish off Iraq? I think there were a couple of reasons. First, this was not the objective he had given the American people, Congress or our allies. Second — and this is the one that applies to our discussion today — Iraq served as a stopper in the bottle where Iran was concerned. With Iraq in place, there was a counterbalance to Iran, which kept America from having to be so exposed to the need to military intervention in that part of the world.

He did it for the now seemingly quaint and never considered reason in American politics of preserving future peace and saving the lives of American soldiers.

Enter Bush 2 and our pyrrhic “victory” in Iraq. People have been dying in that region of the world because of this ham-handed and destructive war ever since we engaged in it. Not only did President Bush 2 needlessly kill American troops, he created a political and military vacuum that has led directly to the slaughter under ISIS. He also pulled the stopper out of the bottle that was holding Iran in place.

Now, we are faced with the possibility of a nuclear Iran, which is to say with a possible conflagration of unimaginable proportions. Would Iran use such a weapon to kill on a mass scale immediately after obtaining it? Maybe not. But, given the instability of governments in the Middle East, and the obvious willingness of the various Islamic radical groups to kill, kidnap, torture, enslave on a mass scale, plus their evident love of genocide as a practice of domination, that is not reassuring.

From Prime Minster Netanyahu’s viewpoint, the first and most pressing fear concerning a nuclear Iran is the resulting change in the balance of power in the Middle East. Israel has the bomb. If Iran has the bomb, what would that do to Israel? Will we see another holocaut of the Jews?

That is clearly what Prime Minster Netanyahu fears.

Enter President Obama. Unlike every other president we’ve had, President Obama is opaque to the American people. I think that is the real reason why the people of this country distrust him on such a fundamental level. He does not make sense to us. I think the reason for that is that his history is not our history. He spent his formative years living in other countries as a native of those countries. He attended Muslim schools in Indonesia and clearly has a greater and more sympathetic understanding of the Muslim outlook than he does that of most of Christian America,

He spent the rest of his growing-up time in Hawaii. He attended Harvard, and then settled in Chicago. All this is to say that his experience of America is bi-coastal and, in terms of the life experiences of the vast majority of the American people, non-existent.

What does this mean to the questions surrounding Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech? It means that President Obama, for all his great speech-making ability, cannot communicate on the essential unspoken level where trust is built with the American people. This is nothing to do with his dark skin and everything to do with his almost total lack of an American ethos.

If he was an African American president, he’d be fine. But he’s more of an African-International president. American’s don’t “feel” him the way they have every other president. They don’t understand him, don’t “read” him on an unspoken level. He just doesn’t give off recognizable American vibes.

President Obama has done a good job of keeping America out of troop entanglement in the Middle East. He has done an excellent job of encouraging the countries of the Middle East to take on ISIS and wage war against them directly. This has done something that the war-sellers don’t seem to consider at all. It has saved American lives.

Now, he is engaged in an attempt of some sort to negotiate an agreement (not, notice a treaty) with Iran about the development of nuclear weapons by Iran.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is so alarmed by the potential for this agreement to let the nuclear Iran genie out of the bottle that he came across the ocean to address a joint session of Congress. Congress, for its part, doesn’t care very much about American lives or nuclear genies. They just want to poke the prez in the eye so that they can position things for the ’16 elections,

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech made three points: First, this agreement the President Obama is working to create will not stop Iran from developing nuclear weapon. Second, the agreement will enable Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Third, Iran cannot be trusted, as its interests are always antithetical to those of the United States.

The third point has certainly been true in the history of the past few decades, both for the United States and Israel. But is it always going to be true?

One question for America is how can we change that dynamic, without pulling another plug out of another bottle and setting off a holocaust of the Jews in Israel, as well as a third world war?

President Obama was trying to work out his agreement in secret, without informing the American people, or dealing with Congress.

He was outraged that Congress allowed Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak. Personally, I’m concerned that it took the speech of the head of another nation to inform the American people.

I don’t know enough about what our president is trying to accomplish to have a clear opinion of it, and that is the rub. We the people have a right to know. But I am very concerned about this new idea — which is being pushed by the press, by the way — that keeping the people in the dark about their government is patriotic.

I am also concerned about the total breakdown of governance in Congress. Even more than that, I am concerned about what these two political parties and their unending partisan power struggles are doing to all of us and to the future of this nation.

They are destroying America. They are dismantling and exporting our industry, keeping us constantly at war, bankrupting us with their constant war-time economy and allowing the nation to wallow and slowly degrade.

The only thing they care about is jockeying for the next election. I know people who were ecstatic after the election last November. They honestly thought that this new Congress was going to take any number of actions. These trusting souls actually believed the campaign rhetoric.

I knew this was not true. I knew that the only focus our newly elected Congress was going to have was the next election. The campaign for ’16 started the day after the votes were counted in ’14.

Now, this vicious, mindless and totally destructive partisanship has invaded foreign policy. I want to ask this Congress the same question that was once asked of Senator Joseph McCarthy: Have you no shame?

The bottom line is that this constant partisan bickering shows no sign whatsoever of abating. It is getting worse. If it doesn’t stop, it is going to get us killed.

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Catholic Bloggers Unite Against the Death Penalty. This Catholic Blogger Says Wait a Minute.

The map is from 2012. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by m01229

The map is from 2012. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by m01229

I’m always the outlier. No matter what the question, as soon as the crowd starts yelling Huzzah!! I’m the one standing slightly aside, saying “wait a minute now.”

I guess that means it’s no surprise that I’m the one saying “wait a minute now” about Catholic bloggers joining together in opposition to the death penalty. Not, mind you, that I favor the death penalty. And I certainly support Catholic bloggers getting together in support of Church teaching. I think that kind of initiative is long overdue.

My “now, wait a minute” in this instance is based on those confounding truths that reality often imposes on idealism when public policy is the question. This reality is multifarious, and I’m mentally and physically tired this morning. So I’m going to abandon long-winded explanations and number my thoughts. Here we go.

  1. Any question of public policy has to be decided based on one object: A just and stable government is always the greater good.
  2. There are people who cannot be allowed loose in the larger population. To do so would be to ignore government’s responsibility to provide for the public safety.
  3. The death penalty is not usually necessary to achieve this aim of a just and stable government in advanced societies which are capable of keeping people locked up.
  4. Innocents are convicted of crimes, including capital crimes, that they did not commit.
  5. When innocent people are executed by the state, the death penalty becomes an egregious wrong. It not only does not provide for the public safety, it abrogates it in this instance.
  6. Thus the death penalty is not necessary in most instances in advanced societies, and in the case of innocents who are wrongly convicted, it is a grave moral injustice.
  7. However, (you knew this was coming, right?) if, for whatever reason, it is not possible to keep killers off the streets, then the death penalty becomes a necessity. (Go back to point one.)
  8. Also, there are instances, when murderers murder for political or philosophical reasons, where incarceration may be a means and method for them to spread their murderous politics and philosophy further and enlist others to murder in the name of that politics or philosophy.
  9. Certain members of Boko Haram/ISIS/Islamic Brotherhood/Taliban/etc fit the criteria of number 8. Certain Bolsheviks fit the description of number 8 at earlier points in history.
  10. When people in our prisons use their prison time to enlist fellow prisoners in a murderous pact which they then unleash on the civilian population once they are freed, then simply incarcerating these people becomes a violation of point number 1.
  11. What to do? Do we use the death penalty selectively on people who murder for politics or philosophy? That is a dangerous business which will — I guarantee it — be abused. Once you allow government this type of power to selectively kill, government will — once again, I guarantee it — get around to using it on anyone who annoys those in power.
  12. We must, as a matter of guaranteeing point number 1, think clearly and without our usual social lies about points 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 when constructing laws about the death penalty.

This numbered list is my way of saying, “now wait a minute” about the death penalty. I oppose the death penalty. So far as I know, I am alone among the Catholic bloggers in having the votes and the scars to prove my opposition to the death penalty. In addition to questions about the death penalty, I have had to vote on many laws that changed the lives of millions of people. It is an awesome thing to hold that kind of power in your hands. It changes how you look at questions like this.

I oppose the death penalty within the parameters of the basic principle that a just and stable government is always the greater good. I oppose the death penalty so long as opposition to the death penalty does not endanger the public health and safety. I oppose the death penalty whenever there are just alternatives. In practical terms, that means I oppose the death penalty in almost all circumstances in Western society.

But I know full well that there are situations that make the death penalty necessary. I’m on record in support of the death penalty for Jihadi John. My reasoning has nothing to do with the horror of his crimes. I am calling for the death penalty for Jihadi John for two reasons. One, allowing him to live in prison leads to the recruitment of other murderers. Two allowing him to live in prison makes him a living martyr, an on-going symbolic reference point for those of his murderous philosophy.

Jihadi John, and all of ISIS, commit crimes that are not just crimes against the persons on whom they inflict them. They commit crimes that are crimes against the structure and fabric of civilization and humanity as a whole. That is what a crime against humanity constitutes. It is a crime that attacks the bedrock of human civilization and that destroys and diminishes all of humanity in a real and rending way.

I believe that those who commit crimes against humanity, in particular the leaders, figureheads and mouthpieces of such crimes, should be put to death. I also think that their bodies should be consigned to the sea in unmarked locations. They deserve no monument, no memoriam.

I am opposed to the death penalty. I am one of the few death penalty opponent bloggers who has actually voted against the death penalty in my role as an elected official and taken the hits that go with that action. When I say that I oppose the death penalty, I mean it, and I can prove that I mean it. However, I have to say “wait a minute” when we talk about a mindless and blanket end to the death penalty in all circumstances.

A just and stable government is always the greater good. Thumb through history, look around the world, and you will see what happens and how many innocent people die when governments are unjust and unstable. Unjust, unstable government is a killer on a mass scale. Given modern communication and weaponry, unjust and unstable government is a scythe, mowing down whole populations in short periods of time.

For that reason, when I consider blanket responses to questions of public policy, I am often forced to say, “Wait a minute …”

The death penalty is no exception.

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Boko Haram Murders 47 Nigerian Villagers. ISIS Bulldozes Archeological Treasures.

Nergal Gate Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Nergal Gate Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

The work of murdering innocents and destroying civilization continues apace in that part of the world afflicted by Islamic extremists.

Boko Haram’s latest atrocity was to attack a mosque in a village in Northern Nigeria named Njaba. According to witnesses, Boko Haram killers arrived at about 5:30 am and begin firing at people who were going to the community mosque. They specifically singled out men and boys to kill.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, ISIS bulldozed the ancient archeological site of Nimrud. This is part of a series of attacks on ancient structures which are treasure not only of Iraq, but the whole world. ISIS videotaped themselves last year destroying statues and artifacts in the Mosul Museum and also at the ancient Nergal Gate to ancient Nineveh.

From African News:

ABUJA, March 5 (Xinhua) — At least 47 villagers were killed in the latest attack by Boko Haram in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Borno, one of the three most-hit states by the terror group, a local security source said Thursday.

Ahmed Haruna, a member of the civilian joint task force responsible for the security of lives and property in Damboa area of Borno said suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked Njaba village, about 87 km south of Maiduguri, the state capital, on Tuesday.

The incident was not immediately reported to local officials until Thursday, due to telecommunication challenge in the state, Haruna said.

According to him, a woman who apparently was a survivor of the attack reported the incident in Biu, some 100 km from the Njaba village where the attack took place.

From The New York Times:

BAGHDAD — The Islamic State militant group attacked the ancient archaeological site of Nimrud in northern Iraq and damaged it with heavy vehicles, Iraq’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said Thursday.

It was the latest in a series of attacks on ancient structures and artifacts in Syria and Iraq that the group has destroyed in the name of its harsh interpretation of Islamic law. Last week, Islamic State militants videotaped themselves destroying statues and artifacts in the Mosul Museum and at the Nergal Gate entryway to ancient Nineveh. The militants captured the city during its offensive blitz through much of Iraq last June.

From The New York Times:

ISIS destroys the tomb of Jonah. BAGHDAD — When the Sunni extremists ruling Mosul destroyed the shrine of a prophet whose story features in the traditions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism — the most important of nearly two dozen marked for destruction by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syriain the first seven weeks of its reign — small groups of residents gathered to mourn.


From New York Times:

ISTANBUL — The reports are like something out of a distant era of ancient conquests: entire villages emptied, with hundreds taken prisoner, others kept as slaves; the destruction of irreplaceable works of art; a tax on religious minorities, payable in gold.

A rampage reminiscent of Tamerlane or Genghis Khan, perhaps, but in reality, according to reports by residents, activist groups and the assailants themselves, a description of the modus operandi of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate this week. The militants have prosecuted a relentless campaign in Iraq and Syria against what have historically been religiously and ethnically diverse areas with traces of civilizations dating to ancient Mesopotamia.


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Conversion on the Beach: One Man’s Conversion to Christ Before ISIS Execution

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Harrison Staab

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Harrison Staab

ISIS march 21 men onto a beach in Libya. Twenty of these men were Christians. One, a Chadian Citizen, was not.

He watched the Coptic Christians die for Christ. When the terrorist murderer demanded that he reject Jesus Christ as his God, he replied, “their God is my God.” He was then beheaded with his Christian brothers.

The joy in this story is that 21 martyrs to Christ entered heaven that day. They are praying for us now.

From the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church of the Diocese of Bombay:

ISIS announced the execution of 21 Copts but only 20 names were confirmed, most of them were from the province of Minya(Upper Egypt). There was an inaccuracy in the number of Egyptian Hostages; there were only 20 Egyptians(Copts). Then who was this remaining one non-Coptic victim?

Ahram-Canadian News was able to gather information about this man. He was a Chadian Citizen (Darker skin shown in picture) who accepted Christianity after seeing the immense faith of his fellow Coptic Christians to die for Christ. When Terrorist forced him to reject Jesus Christ as God, looking at his Christian friends he replied, “their God is my God“ so the terrorist beheaded him also.

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