Saint Oscar Romero

Oscar Romero was Archbishop of San Salvador when he was assassinated while officiating Mass in the chapel of the Hospital of Divine Providence. Pope Francis canonized Romero as a saint on 14 October 2018.

A Mass for the Archbishop

 holy mary mother of god
  have mercy
Virgins murmur at street corners
­  tapping five-inch heels
Officer Christos in a cruiser presses fingers to baton
On #14 the congregation rises for a hymn
 gloria
  peace to his people on earth

Over the spires of San Salvador the generals sang
 glory  glory
Rutilio Grande  Alfonso Navarro  Ernesto Barrera
kneeling at the altar
Choirboys in camouflage raised candles to the chancel
 holy  holy

“I’d like to suggest to you
that some of the investigations
would lead one to believe
that perhaps…”

 sanctus  sanctus sanctus dominus
  deus sabaoth

“And this could have been
at a very low level of both
competence and motivation
in the context of the issue itself.”

Maria Evangelista draws a red heart on her face
Props a red shoe on the sheet
Pulls a rosary between her breasts
Blows smoke from a cigarette
 pray for me a sinner
  i have squandered the inheritance of your saints

Margarita opens her door for pious men
Pouring oil she warms her hands
Schubert plays the violin
Raphael reclines on sandalwood
Lilies sway on the mantelpiece
Jasmine wafts from a celadon vase
 lamb of god have mercy
  grant us peace
 the blessing of god almighty  the father  the son

©Lena Tan, 1993

Quotations from Alexander Haig, U.S. Secretary of State, 1980, during an investigation into the murder of four American nuns in  El Salvador. Fathers Grande, Navarro and Barrera were murdered in 1977 and 1978.

From the Wikipedia page on Oscar Romero:

“‘In less than three years, more than fifty priests have been attacked, threatened, calumniated. Six are already martyrs–they were murdered. Some have been tortured and others expelled [from the country]. Nuns have also been persecuted. The archdiocesan radio station and educational institutions that are Catholic or of a Christian inspiration have been attacked, threatened, intimidated, even bombed. Several parish communities have been raided. If all this has happened to persons who are the most evident representatives of the Church, you can guess what has happened to ordinary Christians, to the campesinos, catechists, lay ministers, and to the ecclesial base communities. There have been threats, arrests, tortures, murders, numbering in the hundreds and thousands…. But it is important to note why [the Church] has been persecuted. Not any and every priest has been persecuted, not any and every institution has been attacked. That part of the church has been attacked and persecuted that put itself on the side of the people and went to the people’s defense. Here again we find the same key to understanding the persecution of the church: the poor.’
  — Óscar Romero, Speech at the Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium, 2 February 1980″

Also:

“A 2000 article by Tom Gibb, then a correspondent with the Guardian and later with the BBC, attributes the murder to a detective of the Salvadoran National Police named Óscar Pérez Linares, on orders of D’Aubuisson  [Roberto D’Aubuisson, Salvadoran politician and death-squad leader, President of the Constituent Assembly from 1982 to 1983]. The article cites an anonymous former death squad member who claimed he had been assigned to guard a house in San Salvador used by a unit of three counter-guerrilla operatives directed by D’Aubuisson. The guard, whom Gibb identified as ‘Jorge,’ purported to have witnessed Linares fraternizing with the group, which was nicknamed the ‘Little Angels,’ and to have heard them praise Linares for the killing. The article furthermore attributes full knowledge of the assassination to the CIA as far back as 1983. The article reports that both Linares and the Little Angels commander, who Jorge identified as ‘El Negro Mario,’ were killed by a CIA-trained Salvadoran special police unit in 1986; the unit had been assigned to investigate the murders. In 1983, U.S. Lt. Col. Oliver North, aide to then-Vice President George H.W. Bush, is alleged to have personally requested the Salvadoran military to ‘remove’ Linares and several others from their service. Three years later they were pursued and extrajudicially killed – Linares after being found in neighboring Guatemala. The article cites another source in the Salvadoran military as saying, ‘they knew far too much to live.'” [Guardian article is here]

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Russia and the Art of War

 

Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.

No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique.

If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are.

Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content.

But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.

Hence the enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of caution. This is the way to keep a country at peace and an army intact.

非 利 不 動 , 非 得 不 用 , 非 危 不 戰 。 主 不 可 以 怒 而 興 師 , 將 不
可 以 慍 而 致 戰 ; 合 于 利 而 動 , 不 合 于 利 而 止 。 怒 可 以 復 喜 , 慍 可 以 復
悅 , 亡 國 不 可 以 復 存 , 死 者 不 可 以 復 生 。 故 明 君 慎 之 , 良 將 警 之 , 此
安 國 全 軍 之 道 也 。

(孫子  第十二篇 Sunzi, The Art of War, Chapter 12, translated by Lionel Giles)

Tony Cartalucci cited this passage from Sunzi in his analysis of an alarming incident in a part of the world that seemed ready to explode.

“Western and Russian media sources have reported an alleged joint Israeli-French strike on Syria on September 17. The attack included Israeli warplanes and French missile frigates operating in the Mediterranean off Syria’s coast. Amid the attack, a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft with 14 service members aboard disappeared.

“The attack immediately prompted commentators, analysts, and pundits to call for an immediate retaliation to the unprovoked military aggression, warning that a failure to react would leave Russia looking weak. Some commentators even called for Russian President Vladimir Putin to step down.

“It is not to Russia’s advantage to sink French frigates or expose the full capabilities of its air defense systems to shoot down a handful of Israeli warplanes to satisfy public desires for immediate revenge or to protect nonexistent notions of Russian invincibility.

“Instead, it is to Russia’s advantage to simply win the proxy war in Syria. Just as in 2015 when calls for immediate revenge were made regarding a Turkish-downed Russian warplane, Syria, Russia, and Iran will continue moving forward – slowly and methodically – to secure Syrian territory from foreign proxies seeking to divide and destroy the country, springboard into Iran, and eventually work their way into southern Russia.

“Avenging serial provocations is infinitesimally less important than overall victory in Syria. The fate of Syria as a nation, Iran’s security and stability as a result, and even Russia’s own self-preservation is on the line. The awesome responsibility of those who have planned and executed Syria’s incremental victory over proxy forces backed by the largest, most powerful economies and military forces on Earth could greatly benefit from a public able to understand the difference between short-term gratification and long-term success and how the former almost certainly and recklessly endangers the latter.”

 

Got it.

 

The lone fight of Carter Page

 

If Carter Page  succumbs to the McCarthyistic zeal of his inquisitors, it will prove the fragility of civil liberties, not under the boot of fascism, but in the well-meaning hands of ignorant liberals.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry discusses the Senate intelligence committee’s communications with Carter Page on his website, Consortium News, on May 7, 2017, under the title “The McCarthyism of Russia-gate”:

“In a letter dated April 28, the committee’s top Republican, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and top Democrat, Mark Warner of Virginia, gave Page until May 9 to provide: ‘A list of all meetings between you and any Russian official or representative of Russian business interests which took place between June 16, 2015, and January 20, 2017. For each meeting listed, please include the date, location, all individuals present, and complete copies of any notes taken by you or on your behalf.’

“Further, the committee set a deadline of May 19 for Page to also supply: ‘A list of all meetings of which you are aware between any individual with the Trump campaign and any Russian official or representative of Russian business interests which took place between June 16, 2015, and January 20, 2017. For each meeting listed please include the date, location, and all individuals present.'”

This is a portion of Carter Page’s reply as provided by Robert Parry:

“I remain committed to helping the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in any way that I can. But please note that any records I may have saved as a private citizen with limited technology capabilities will be miniscule in comparison to the full database of information which has already been collected under the direction of the Obama Administration during last year’s completely unjustified FISA warrant that targeted me for exercising my First Amendment rights, both in 2016 as well as in years prior.

“As a starting point for this latest step in the witch hunt which you suggested per the cumbersome chores defined in your … letter, I would request that you please begin by sharing [with me] the same information which you currently have…. Based on the database of my personal information already collected during the Obama Administration’s domestic political intelligence operations which reportedly began at some point last year, it seems clear that many of the weighty task[s] you assigned will have already been largely completed.

“As a lone individual, I can assure you that my personal administrative capabilities pale in comparison to the clerical juggernaut represented by the numerous staff in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the U.S. Government which have heretofore been allegedly involved in this unscrupulous surveillance for many months on end.”

Is Carter Page to be the unwitting vanguard in the defense of civil liberties in the United States of America?

Wonderland: the Trial of Carter Page

alice42a

On April 11, the Washington Post reported, citing unnamed officials, that the FBI had obtained a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant in the summer of 2016 to monitor the communications of Carter Page, an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, on the belief that Page was acting as an agent of Russia. On April 12, Jake Tapper of CNN asked Carter Page this series of questions.

Tapper [at 1:24]: You were dealing with a man named Victor Podobnyy who was charged later with being an unregistered agent of a foreign government. So that was 2013. At the time did you have any idea that Podobnyy was a Russian spy?

[at 2:34]: My question more specifically is, OK you knew that he was Russian, but did you know that he was a spy?

[at 6:07]: There are a few questions that in the past you have declined to answer, so let’s give you another opportunity, I think you owe it to the American people, and frankly, you owe it to yourself, to clear your name, if you are innocent as you say you are, so the first one, who brought you into the Trump campaign?

[at 7:00]: But Carter, I mean, you want to clear things up, there’s nothing wrong about bringing a Russia expert on to a campaign, I’m just asking you, who brought you into the campaign? Was it Paul Manafort?

[at 7:32]: Well, I mean, I know you want to get out all this information, but then you refuse to answer. There’s nothing wrong with somebody bringing you into the campaign, I’m just trying to find out who it was.

‘There’s more evidence to come yet, please your Majesty,’ said the White Rabbit, jumping up in a great hurry; ‘this paper has just been picked up.’

‘What’s in it?’ said the Queen.

‘I haven’t opened it yet,’ said the White Rabbit, ‘but it seems to be a letter, written by the prisoner to—to somebody.’

‘It must have been that,’ said the King, ‘unless it was written to nobody, which isn’t usual, you know.’

‘Who is it directed to?’ said one of the jurymen.

‘It isn’t directed at all,’ said the White Rabbit; ‘in fact, there’s nothing written on the outside.’ He unfolded the paper as he spoke, and added ‘It isn’t a letter, after all: it’s a set of verses.’

‘Are they in the prisoner’s handwriting?’ asked another of the jurymen.

‘No, they’re not,’ said the White Rabbit, ‘and that’s the queerest thing about it.’ (The jury all looked puzzled.)

‘He must have imitated somebody else’s hand,’ said the King. (The jury all brightened up again.)

‘Please your Majesty,’ said the Knave, ‘I didn’t write it, and they can’t prove I did: there’s no name signed at the end.’

‘If you didn’t sign it,’ said the King, ‘that only makes the matter worse. You must have meant some mischief, or else you’d have signed your name like an honest man.’

There was a general clapping of hands at this: it was the first really clever thing the King had said that day.

‘That proves his guilt,’ said the Queen.

‘It proves nothing of the sort!’ said Alice. ‘Why, you don’t even know what they’re about!’

Jake Tapper continued, saying [at 8:02]: When you went to Russia last summer, did you ever talk to any Russian about the Trump campaign or about the Clinton campaign or about the 2016 election in general?

[at 8:29]: I didn’t ask Russian official, I just asked any Russian because obviously Russians as you know in Russia people are affiliated with private industry but they also do work with the government etc. So, but you did not talk to any Russian at all other than students and parents and scholars about the presidential election?

[at 8:58]: Well, I’m not talking about negotiations, but as long as you bring it up, I mean, have you ever conveyed to anyone in Russia tht you think President Trump might have been more willing to get rid of the sanctions that were imposed against Russia after they invaded and seized Crimea, which I know are sanctions that you oppose and think are ineffective. Did you ever talk with anyone there about maybe president Trump if he were elected, then-candidate Trump, would be willing to get rid of the sanctions?

[at 9:38]: You never said that to anybody that you think that if Donald Trump won he might be willing to get rid of the sanctions against Russia?

[at 9:46]: One of the matters the FBI is investigating as you know is whether any adviser to the Trump campaign at any point discussed the release of the hacked and fished and stolen documents from the DNC and from the Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Did you ever discuss any of those documents or the release of them or the timing of them when you were in Russia or with a Russian?

[at 12:11]: The US intelligence committee, uh community, says that Russia interfered in the US election, they interfered with disinformation, they interfered with stolen information, the Kremlin says it’s not true, there’s no evidence of it. You seem to side with the Kremlin. Why?

‘Let the jury consider their verdict,’ the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.

‘No, no!’ said the Queen. ‘Sentence first—verdict afterwards.’

‘Stuff and nonsense!’ said Alice loudly. ‘The idea of having the sentence first!’

‘Hold your tongue!’ said the Queen, turning purple.

‘I won’t!’ said Alice.

‘Off with her head!’ the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved.

‘Who cares for you?’ said Alice, (she had grown to her full size by this time.) ‘You’re nothing but a pack of cards!’


The White Rabbit’s interruption and the trial of the Knave of Hearts, accused of stealing the tarts, is from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll, Chapter 12, “Alice’s Evidence”. Available from Project Gutenberg.

ABCNews reported on July 7, 2016, on Carter Page’s Russian visit alluded to by Tapper, saying: “Page’s lecture today was to students from the New Economic School, a prestigious liberal-minded university in Moscow, where on Friday he will give a commencement speech at a graduation ceremony. In 2009, President Barack Obama also delivered a graduation speech at the school.”

You can watch Carter Page’s lecture here.

Justin Trudeau, same old, same old

 

On Thursday, you said: “There are continuing questions … about who is responsible for these horrible attacks against civilians, and that’s why I’m impressing on the United Nations Security Council to pass a strong resolution that allows the international community to determine first of all who was responsible for these attacks and how we will move forward. I think it’s important to make sure we have all the facts before we move forward in what is obviously an extremely important situation.”

On Friday, you said: “Canada fully supports the United States’ limited and focused action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against innocent civilians, including many children. President Assad’s use of chemical weapons and the crimes the Syrian regime has committed against its own people cannot be ignored. These gruesome attacks cannot be permitted to continue operating with impunity.”

You gave your unqualified support before you got all the facts. Nothing’s changed.

Yesterday’s McCarthy – our alternate reality

 

STYestEnterprise

USS Enterprise NCC-1701-C. Image from Wikipedia

 

Guinan: “Families. There should be children on this ship.”
Picard: “What? Children on the Enterprise? Guinan, we’re at war!”
Guinan: “No we’re not! At least we’re not… supposed to be. This is not a ship of war. This is a ship of peace.”

(from “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” episode 63, Yesterday’s Enterprise, February 19, 1990)

 

As the US House Intelligence Committee questions FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers on the “possible ties” between “associates” of Donald Trump and “agents of the Kremlin,” do you get the feeling that members of the U.S. political class and media are sweeping us into some bizarre reality?

Listen to this interview of Stephen Cohen (professor emeritus of Russian studies, history, and politics at New York University and Princeton University) by John Batchelor, March 22, 2017, on “How the New McCarthyism grows stronger.”

Spot on, Justin

W5_Trudeau

In an interview on CTV, Lisa LaFlamme asked Justin Trudeau: “Stephen Harper said after a decade in power we wouldn’t recognize the country. I wonder what your goal is for what Canada will look like after four years of a Trudeau government.”

Trudeau said, “I have spent an awful lot of time listening to Canadians, learning from them, working with them. I like to think that after four years of my government, Canadians will deeply recognize their country.”

So long, Stephen. You will not be missed.

On abortion, Sanders stays true

Bernie Sanders at Liberty University(Starting at 7:39 on the video):

“Senator Sanders, you have talked in your campaign about how it is immoral to protect the billionaire class at the expense of our most vulnerable in society, obviously children…. A majority of Christians would agree with you … but would also go further and say that children in the womb need our protection even more…. How do you reconcile the two?”

Bernie Sanders answers:

“…on this very sensitive issue on which this nation is divided… my view is I respect absolutely a family that says, ‘No, we are not going to have an abortion,’ I understand that, I respect that. But I would hope that other people will respect the very painful and difficult choice that many women feel they have to make and don’t want the government telling them what they have to do.”

Listen to women cheering at his answer. When medical science discovers a way to transplant a fetus to a man’s body, we’ll ask the question again.

Sanders also says in his response:

“I want to tell you what was in the Republican budget that passed a number of months ago… When you talk about issues of children, understand the Republican budget threw 27 million people off of health care, including many children, at a time when many families cannot afford to send their kids to college.”

The entire speech is worth watching –  he talks justice! morality!

My own view on abortion:

Let’s support girls and women with education and good jobs so that no woman has to defer to a man over control of her body. Let’s bring up boys to respect women and women’s bodies so that there are no unwanted pregnancies. Let’s give pregnant women the financial support they need to take care of their babies so that abortion is not a consequence of poverty.

Ever gonna happen?

Censorship, be gone gone gone

Tony Turner singing "Harperman"

I’m a bit late with this, but what the heck – call it election ad overload. Still, you, too, can sing-along on September 17 with the Unitarian church hippies (those were the days).

The story according to Maclean’s: “Newsmaker: Tony Turner, the scientist turned ‘Harperman’ star”

“Turner was working as a scientist with Environment Canada, specializing in GPS mapping…. Environment Canada has suspended Turner while investigating his musical fame, suspecting it could violate the public service’s code of ethics.”