Marlowe's Shade

Monday, February 28, 2005

Blogburst for Terri: A Portrait of George Felos

Terri's parents have documented the bias of the St Petersburg Times against their daughter pretty extensively. Here is a piece they wrote on George Felos back in 2001.

If he had his druthers, Felos and his Birkenstocks would be at a West Virginia monastery, where he'd sit cross-legged and meditate for hours at a time, as he did on vacation last year. Or maybe he'd be doing yoga and centering his chi.

Instead, in a controversial case, he is here to argue that 37-year-old Terri Schiavo should be allowed to die. Felos represents Schiavo's husband Michael Schiavo, who has been waging an intense and public fight to have her taken off life support after 11 years in a vegetative state.

Felos, 49, has taken on about 10 right-to-die cases in the last decade. He balances his quest for spiritual growth with his lawyerly duty to fight.

"Many people find the litigation process to be aggressive, to be combative, to be harsh," he says. "And the question is: How do you work within that type of system and not become hardened . . . and maintain a spiritual center? How do you litigate without becoming a combatant?

The article goes on to describe the case that started his "right to die" crusade:

Felos' spiritual and professional lives intersected in a public way 12 years ago, in the case of Estelle Browning. The case gained him a reputation as the person to see when you want to let someone die.

Browning, of Dunedin, had written a living will in 1985, saying she did not want to be kept alive by artificial means if she ever became ill. A year later, she had a stroke. But the nursing home refused to stop feeding her because she was not technically brain dead. Her cousin and former roommate, Doris Herbert, asked Felos to take the case.

He wanted to see Browning for himself. She could not speak, but Felos says his spiritual side picked up on something. He says her soul cried out to his soul and asked, "Why am I still here?"

In case you missed it, the article makes the point again:

Who is George Felos?

"Well, what we are in essence can't be described by words," he says. "The mind is finite, and what we are is infinite. We know what we're not. We're not the body. We're not the mind. We're not our thoughts. We're not our emotions.

"In essence," he says, "we're spiritual beings."

Felos was a spiritual being first and a laywer second. He was in law school at Boston University when a friend asked if he wanted to try yoga as a stress-reliever.

Felos learned how to meditate, to "notice" his reactions to his thoughts. He says he learned the events in his life were only as important as he thought they were.

And he learned about other cultures and Eastern religions. Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Greek Orthodox worship -- all may have a point, Felos says.

"I believe that Christ was God incarnate and was resurrected. But, by the same token, I believe that there were other incarnations of God as well," he says. "All the great religions in their essence express the same fundamental truths."

Felos is apparently so spiritual, that no one religion can contain him. And now we understand that his involvement with the Suncoast Hospice isn't a conflict of interest. See, George Felos, despite being a lawyer, isn't into confict at all. It's, like, a "convergence of interests".

There's much more to unpack in this portrait of George Felos. If you are inclined to read the whole thing I'm sure you will find it as "enlightening" as I did.

Update- Further reading on euthanasia in hospices
papijoe 8:01 AM |

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Blogburst for Terri: The Business of Death

The numerous conflicts of interest in the Terri Schiavo case parallel the situation of abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL being allowed to "counsel" women on their decision and then being paid for the services. The abortion industry has proved to be very profitable but it isn't really a growth industry due to the "Roe Effect". By aborting more of their children than their opponents, abortion supporters are also decreasing the potential market for abortions in the next generation. Cigarette manufacturers can sympathize.

But apparently hospices are a booming business, now that is is covered by Medicare. I don't know how hospices are regulated, but if a pro-euthanasia champion can serve on the board, as Michael Schiavo's attorney George Felos does at Suncoast where Terri is being held, then that opens up some entirely new business opportunities.

A cynical investor or abortion clinic operator might see a whole new market in aging baby boomers and other invalids whose families no longer want to care for them. For an amoral entrepreneur, all that would stand in the way of this lucrative business is getting together a great PR campaign to market this as a compassionate "choice" [sound familiar?] and a few legal precedents by a sympathetic judiciary.

The problem is that George Felos is way ahead of you.
papijoe 5:41 AM |

Friday, February 25, 2005

Islamic Society Chairman Sues Local Fox Affiliate

From the Boston Herald

A leader of the Islamic Society of Boston filed a defamation lawsuit yesterday against WFXT-Fox 25 News because the station broadcast a report saying he is a member of a terrorist organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Dr. Yousef Abou-Allaban, a psychiatrist and chairman of the board of directors of the ISB, denies he is a member of the terrorist group. His lawsuit, which is asking for at least $4 million, claims Fox erroneously based its November 2004 report on a ``sole source,'' Dr. Ahmed Elkadi, who allegedly was president of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States between 1985 and 1995.

I love this part:

Abou-Allaban's lawsuit charges that Elkadi was severely impaired with dementia - resulting from cerebral infarctions and a hemorrhage - at the time of his interview with the Fox network local affiliate.

Which no doubt qualified him for the position as head of the MB.

The Boston Globe is eating this story up with a spoon and how can they resist?

"I felt I was victimized," Abou-Allaban said in an interview. "There have been many people in the Muslim community who have been demonized and lost their businesses. I felt my reputation had been tarnished. . . . I felt I became a walking criminal associated with a criminal like Osama bin Laden."

Mr Abou-Allaban is represented by uber-leftist lawyer Harvey Schwartz

Mr. Schwartz has an active First Amendment rights practice. He has successfully tried free speech cases in state and federal courts for a broad diversity of clients, ranging from a neo-Nazi organization denied a parade permit to a political science professor arrested for displaying a campaign sign too close to a polling place. Mr. Schwartz has been an active member of the Board of Directors of the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and serves on that organization's case screening committee.

The irony keeps it from being a cheap shot.

You can read more on the ISB here

Now I know why I had this in my referrer log the other day:

Referring Link abou allaban brotherhood&hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1
Host Name
IP Address
Country United States
Region Massachusetts
City Dedham
ISP Foxtvbos
Returning Visits 0
Visit Length 3 hours 49 mins 58 secs

I wonder if the ISB will be suing me next?

papijoe 8:26 AM |

Blogburst for Terri: A Case for Abuse

Yesterday Mystery Achievement posted about this older article that questions the "bulimia" story from, of all places, the Village Voice. Hats off to Nat Hentoff for being an old school liberal whose beliefs are still based on real compassion.

The degree to which this investigation is widely reported by the media may help determine whether Terri Schiavo lives or dies. Her husband is in court again to demand that her feeding tube be removed once more.

If the courts continue to support the husband, she may die before the investigation is completed. But even in that case, the results may lead to a change of state laws that could save other lives.

Conducting the investigation is the Advocacy Center for Persons With Disabilities (ACPD). Its website says it is "Florida's protection and advocacy program for persons with disabilities." As reported by Jeff Johnson on (October 29), the agency has, according to its website, "the authority to investigate incidents of abuse and neglect when reported if there is probable cause to believe the incidents occurred."

As Jeff Johnson writes, "How quickly ACPD makes a determination will depend on how difficult it is for the agency to gain access to Mrs. Schiavo's medical records and to the people it needs to interview on both sides of the legal battle."

I have learned that ACPD has sent Michael Schiavo's lawyer a request that he authorize the release of Terri Schiavo's medical records. There was initial resistance, but the records have been turned over.

What gives this investigation the potential for a dramatic reassessment of previous court decisions on the legitimacy of Michael Schiavo's guardianship is in the lead of Jeff Johnson's story: "The Schindler family [Terri Schiavo's parents, who are fighting for her life] has found a new ally in the battle—one it did not seek out—in the person of a famed New York forensic pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden." Former chief medical examiner for the city of New York and co-director of the Medicolegal Investigation Unit of the New York State Police, Dr. Baden is often quoted in news reports and interviewed on television.

In one such interview on Fox News Channel's On the Record With Greta Van Susteren, I heard Baden agree with a panel of lawyers that Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state, and will not recover. But on a subsequent October 24 appearance on that program, Dr. Baden had a different perspective on the origins of the Terri Schiavo case.

Baden had now seen a 1991 bone-scan report that cast considerable doubt on a claim in Michael Schiavo's successful medical malpractice suit, that Terri's brain injury was caused by a potassium imbalance that led to a heart attack depriving her brain of oxygen.

Dr. Baden, who has written three books on forensic pathology, told Van Susteren: "It's extremely rare for a 20-year-old to have a cardiac arrest from low potassium who has no other diseases . . . which she doesn't have. . . . The reason that she's in the state she's in is because there was a period of time, maybe five or eight minutes, when not enough oxygen was going to her brain. That can happen because the heart stops for five or eight minutes, but she had a healthy heart from what we can see." (Emphasis added).

Dr. Baden then addressed the 1991 bone-scan report on Terri Schiavo, which was completed on March 5 of that year by Dr. W. Campbell Walker in order to "evaluate for trauma" that may have been caused by a suspected "closed head injury." In the report, Walker wrote:

"This patient has a history of trauma. The presumption is that the other multiple areas of trauma also relate to previous trauma." (Emphasis added).

Here we get to what focused Dr. Baden's attention. On, Jeff Johnson reported, "Walker listed apparent injuries to the ribs, thoracic vertebrae, both sacroiliac joints, both ankles and both knees."

In his interview with Greta Van Susteren, Dr. Baden noted "that the bone scan describes her having a head injury . . . and head injury can lead to the 'vegetative state' that Mrs. Schiavo is in now."

But, Baden continued, the bone scan "does show evidence that there are other injuries, other bone fractures that are in a healing stage [in 1991]."

Those injuries could have happened, Baden continued, from "some kind of trauma. The trauma could be from an auto accident, the trauma could be from a fall, or the trauma could be from some kind of beating that she obtained from somebody somewhere. It's something that should have been investigated in 1991 . . . and maybe [it was] by police at that time."

ProLifeBlogs cites another expert with impeccable credentials who also brings up evidence of abuse.

Dr. William Hammesfahr, a world renowned neurologist wrote a complete report concerning the Schiavo case in September, 2002, revealing that medical tests conducted after her collapse did not show evidence of a heart attack. In the emergency room, a possible diagnosis of heart attack was briefly entertained but then dismissed after blood chemistries and serial EKG's did not show evidence of a heart attack. Dr. Hammesfahr testified that she had sustained injuries consistent with abuse.

Although the investigation mentioned by Hentoff in 2003 was not successful in freeing Terri, a new investigation by the State of Florida gives us cause to hope.

The administration of Gov. Jeb Bush, already forcefully rebuked by the Florida Supreme Court for trying to override judicial orders and block the removal of a brain-damaged woman's feeding tubes, launched itself back into the case Wednesday by asking for a delay to investigate abuse allegations.

We can pray this one is more successful. But at the same time it is critical to keep the facts in the forefront of public opinion. The bulimia myth is a major pillar of Michael Schiavo's story, and if we can bring that down the rest of his case could very well go with it.
papijoe 7:26 AM |

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Blogburst for Terri: Is the Tide Turning?

Until Terri is safely out from under the guardianship of Michael Schiavo the battle won't be won, but I'm encouraged by the events of the last few days. Terri has another emergency stay until tomorrow, and it seems that her supporters have been galvanized by a fresh outpouring of support. It's tempting to start crediting the blogosphere already but I'll leave that to more appropriate people at a more appropriate time. However a Google search shows that it is still mostly the blogosphere that is carrying this story. Fox of course is allowing the Schindler's side of the story to be told. But most of the rest of the MSM is either silent or sticking close to Attorney George Felos' party line like this article from a CBS affiliate and this recent CNN piece isn't much better. Still I'm optimistic that if the facts aren't getting out to all the people, they are getting out to the people who will take action. I think there's ample evidence of that in this WND article from yesterday (courtesy of NY Nana) spokesman Gary McCullough told WorldNetDaily the state Department of Children and Families, which probes abuse of disabled people, gave notice of its intent to intervene in the case due to allegations of abuse against Terri Schiavo by her husband...

...McCullough...said the Schindlers are "thanking God and all the people who have been praying," for the additional 48 hours in which their daughter's life is "not going to be at risk."...

...The Schindlers' attorney, David Gibbs, has said he plans to file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on religious liberty grounds, asserting Terri's rights as a Catholic would be violated by forcing her to starve to death.

In October 2003, Terri went without food or water for six days before a new state law allowed Gov. Jeb Bush to order the tube reinserted. "Terri's Law" later was struck down by the the Florida Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

This afternoon, Bush told reporters he's exploring options to block removal of the tube.

"I can assure you, I will do whatever I can within the means, within the laws, of our state to protect this woman's life," he said. "I won't go beyond that."

Bush noted he's received thousands of e-mails and phone calls from backers of the Schindlers.

"People with deep faith and big hearts are concerned, as I am about the circumstance that Ms. Schiavo is in," he said. "I want them to know I will do what I can, but there are limits to what any particular person -- irrespective of the title they currently hold -- can do."

The Schindlers asked Terry to lobby the governor and legislature in Tallahassee to pass legislation that would require courts and doctors to give food and water to an incapacitated patient unless the patient had requested otherwise in an advance directive.

A bill sponsored by state Rep. Dennis Baxley is in the works, according to the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper.

Jeb Bush has been trying to manage expectations with Terri's supporters for a while now, but I think we have to credit him with the efforts he has made on Terri's behalf and it looks like a shift in public opinion can give him the political juice he needs to take the judicial system head on.

I think Michael Schiavo's case is vulnerable on several points, although my legal expertise is nil. If I have time today I might explore this further. But for the time being we should all be encouraged and use this grace period to double our efforts to finally tip the scales in Terri's favor.
papijoe 7:24 AM |

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Blogburst for Terri: Personal Matters

I've wondered at a few points during the past weeks how much our own experiences affect our view on Terri's fight for life. I've also wondered if my own view is too subjective. My brother died in an ICU after being taken off life support. Unlike Terry, he was not only in a vegetative state but wasn't able to survive without a respirator. I would have done anything to have him back again if there was any hope that he would live, but 80% of his heart was damaged and life support was postponing the inevitable.

The experience of seeing him on a respirator was harrowing. Much of the time he would gag and his body would go into spasms when his own attempts to breath didn't synch with the timing of the machine. But every minute he was still with us, to hold his hand or stroke his head was precious. It gave us time to say goodbye. I believe God granted us that mercy, as I finally came to accept that it was time for him to go home.

I miss my brother enough that the selfish part of me wishes he could have stayed, even if it meant being in a state like Terri. And it isn't for me to comment on the reasons why my brother had to go and Terri is still with us. But had we been in the Schindler's situation, and had he married someone as heartless as Michael Schiavo instead of my wonderful sister in law, we would be fighting every bit as hard.

At Wittenberg's Gate, bloggers Baillie and Corie share there own stories as they relate to Terri. After reading them you my also conclude that "objectivity" is not always what it's cracked up to be.

Update - Ed at ProLifeBlogs had a post today about a father who asks "When will they come for my son?"

In February 1991 our son Ryan suffered a severe brain injury. He was in the hospital for 6 months, and has never regained the ability to walk or talk. He cannot answer Yes or No by any means. He is totally dependent on our care. When he came home from the hospital, he had a feeding tube to his stomach just like Terri Schiavo does now. Through a lot of repetition he learned how to eat and drink again at home, and since we didn't need the feeding tube we removed it and the hole in his stomach healed quite well, quite naturally. He likes to be around people, and he watches a lot of TV.

In short, Ryan's pretty close to the level of functioning of Terri Schiavo, as far as I can tell from the news reports about her. And now her husband, Michael Schiavo, is very close to having her feeding tube removed and having her starved to death. It's at this point I hear the words of actress Frances McDormand as Fargo's Police Chief Marge Gunderson in my head: "And for what? A little bit of money." A little bit of money. The hundreds of thousands Michael Schiavo got to help her, he now stands to receive when she is starved to death. So he can continue on with the other woman he now lives with, and their children. The honorable thing would be for him to simply walk away and let Terri live, but I guess precedent-setting case law is not often set by honorable men doing the honorable thing.

So Terri Schiavo is about to die of a court-ordered thirst, to be starved to death. Ironic, isn't it? In this country a condemned man gets a Last Meal of whatever he wants -- steak, lobster, you name it. So the only thing you can conclude is that mass murderers have more rights than Terri Schiavo. But that's not the worst of it. If a demented disk jockey were to attempt to stage a wacky radio stunt that involved starving a bunch of small rodents, he would be run out of town on a rail. In this country, even gerbils have more rights than Terri Schiavo.

Right now the chess game in the courts continues. And when Terri Schiavo is put to death, you all will feel bad about it for a while, but it will slowly fade from memory as you move on to other things. But for us, a haunting question will remain: When Will They Be Coming For Ryan?

It doesn't get any closer to home than that.
papijoe 8:20 AM |

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Blogburst for Terri: A 24 Hour Reprieve!


The husband of Terri Schindler Schiavo will have to wait at least another 24 hours before his wife's feeding tube is removed. A Florida circuit court ruled Monday afternoon that Michael Schiavo could take no action until after a previously scheduled hearing on Wednesday.

Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, filed an emergency motion seeking the temporary protection for their daughter after losing an earlier court battle Monday morning. In that action, the Florida Second District Court of Appeals indicated that it would issue a mandate on schedule Tuesday that would clear the way for the lower court to set the date on which Terri's feeding tube could be removed.

I have heard another report that this story might be in error and although there is a hearing on Wednesday, Schiavo may go ahead with his plans to stop the feedings.

I'm going to trust God and praise Him for this reprieve until I heard differently.

Update - It appears that Michael Schiavo is going to ignore the court order.

Judge Greer never cited Michael for contempt for failing to show up for scheduled appearances. Maybe he will now.
papijoe 12:37 PM |

Blogburst for Terri: Terri's Feeding Tube to be Removed Today

I got an email from Tim at ProLifeBlogs that he sent to his mailing list. Michael Schiavo will have Terri's feeding tube removed at 1PM today. There will be another hearing tomorrow, but the situation is obviously pretty desperate. I agree wholeheartedly with Tim's suggestions to help Terri at this critical point:

    1. Pray for Terri and her family.
    2. Blog - communicate the truth about what is going on and rally support for Terri and the Schindlers. You can join BlogsforTerri here
    3. Visit BlogsforTerri for information and to join the team of blogs for Terri.
    4. Deluge Gov. Jeb Bush with emails and phone calls. He has the power to intervene. Here is his contact information:

    Governor Jeb Bush
    850 / 408-4441
    850 / 487-0801 (fax)

    5. Support HB701
    6. Important - Bypass the Mainstream Media - pledge support a paid advertisement in the St. Petersburg Tribune to inform its 450,000 paid subscribers about what is really happening to Terri. []

Also, there is a petition for the President to intervene with an Executive Order.

If you haven't had an opportunity to act on behalf of Terri, TODAY'S THE DAY!

Update - I'll keep this post on top for the rest of the day but will be adding additional posts below
papijoe 12:05 PM |

Blogburst for Terri: Best of Blogosphere

I just read a sampling of posts for Terri at Wittenberg Gate and there is some great work there. Go read as many as you can.
papijoe 9:03 AM |

Monday, February 21, 2005

Blogburst for Terri: An Important Way to Help

It's been mentioned several times that the malpractice award for Terri, which initially was almost $1 million, is being used for Michael legal effort to end her life.

Her parent's on the other hand don't have that kind of a warchest available. Please consider making a donation to help them fund their legal battle and other related expenses.

The PayPal link was quick and easy and accepts all major cards.
papijoe 9:43 AM |

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Blogburst for Terri: The Case Against Michael Schiavo

I think the two greatest fallacies that support Michael Schiavo's attempts to end Terri's life are the myth that she is in persistant vegetative state and Michael's claim that he is carrying out her wishes. Terri's family's site has done a good job debunking the PVS claim, and is supported by the testimony of her caregivers. But the claim of Terri's wish to die is based on Michael's word alone. I think the best way to refute that is by exposing Michael's actions that clearly don't reflect a loving dedicated husband trying to carry out his wife's request. Instead it points to someone dedicated to destroy his wife's remaining health and will to live by any means available, including cruel neglect and pyschological and physical torment. His treatment of her family also displays his lack of good will. Please read this post from ProLifeBlogs that details all of Michaels abuses. It is rather long, which is significant in itself. I strongly believe he has no legal or ethical case to end Terri's life, but even if a reasonable argument could be made, it wouldn't come close to justifying in any way what he has done to Terri and her family.
papijoe 7:00 AM |

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Blogburst for Terri: The Message that Her Brother Wants the Blogosphere to Convey

Blogs for Terri, the homesite for the blogroll responsible for the current Blogburst for Terri, had launched with over 100 blogs participating. In an interview with Terri's brother, he tells us what Terri's family would have us tell the world.

Terri's condition, from the beginning of this court battle, has been mischaracterized by the media. Although the court has sided with Michael Schiavo's two doctors at the original trial in January 2000 that Terri is in a PVS condition, there have been at least twelve doctors since then that have testified to the court adamant that Terri is NOT in a PVS. Additionally, these doctors have testified that with proper therapy Terri could improve significantly, be taught to speak, and learn to eat food again, which would then mean Terri would not need the assistance of a feeding tube.

Also, all the abuse/neglect that have been ongoing since 1993. It astounds me that the court allows Michael Schiavo, as Terri Schaivo's legal guardian, to treat Terri in the manner that Terri is being treated. From not permitting Terri to go outside for over four years, to ordering Terri's nurses to pull her shades completely shut in her room. You can read the >list of abuses at

Lastly, state agencies that are in place to protect people like my sister are grossly failing their responsibilities to protect vulnerable adults like my sister.

There has never been an investigation conducted to see if Michael Schiavo attacked Terri the night she collapsed, despite the overwhelming evidence that has been gathered the last two years suggesting that something horrible happened to Terri that night. For example, there exists a bone scan taken in 1991, illustrating broken bones throughout Terri's body, but only was recently discovered in November 2002, and no agency in the state of Florida seems to care how this occurred, and that Terri's husband might be the reason Terri's in the condition that she is in today.

These state agencies are also permitting the abuse/neglect of my sister regardless of numerous Florida Statutes that are clearly being violated. These agency have a responsibility and a duty to protect vulnerable adults, but for some unexplained reason they will not intervene in my sister situation

This is a great synopsis of the case and a good thing to cut and paste to friends who might not be familiar with the details of Terri's fight.
papijoe 9:48 AM |

Friday, February 18, 2005

No Praying at the Temple Mount

From The Conservative Voice

An elderly woman on tour lowered her heard while seated on a bench. It was hot. She was weary. But she took a breather at the wrong spot — the Temple Mount.

In short order, Temple Mount police — Muslim patrols — flew their arms into the air, questioning everyone around as to why she was brazen enough to pray there.

It’s not allowed. You can’t talk to God while on the Temple Mount. You can’t whisper, for the guards may conclude that you are praying to God. You must keep your lips sealed, still. You must keep your head erect.

You cannot take with you any Bible, surely nothing with Hebrew lettering, no religious symbols of any kind. If you flew into Jerusalem wearing a cross around your neck or attached to a pin noticeable on your clothing, you’d better see to it that it’s left back in your hotel room before ascending the Temple Mount.

If you are used to walking about the holy sites of the Holy City with a small New Testament, hide it. Better yet, leave it back in your suitcase. If you are a male Jew, don’t even think of wearing your usual headdress. You could get by with a baseball cap. That’s it.

God is not permitted there.

Worldnet Daily had this report:

"It was a hot day and she just wanted to rest for a few minutes. The Wafq started screaming and the police arrested her. She told me she was held for six hours and had to sign documents stating she would never again return to the Temple Mount.

"You also can't bring anything with Hebrew letters, even secular Hebrew books. The Wafq confiscated many of my tour books. One time I brought a guy who pulled out the Hebrew edition of the [Jerusalem] Post, and they took that from him."

The Temple Mount is an object lesson for those would reach out to Islam in the interests of "tolerance". Like the United Way:

MIM: Instead of a post 9/11'backlash' which Muslims had hoped for to vindicate their illusory victim status, the opposite phenomenon occured, with an unprecedented surge in the number of converts and an outpouring of charitable funding going to organisations and mosques which themselves were linked to terrorism .

One example of this involves the Islamic Society of Boston, a hotbed of radical Islamism going back to the 1990's, whose roster of Jihadi's included Yusef Qaradawi, a Qatar based cleric who issued a fatwa urging women to become suicide bombers, who was banned from the US in 1999. Qaradawi worked together with Abdulrahman Alamoudi, who was jailed for 23 years last year on terrorism related charges.

The United Way charity awarded the ISB terrorist enclave $15,000 after 9/11 so they could propagate Islam and recruit converts under the guise of outreach. A week after 9/11 the ISB received more then 700 visitors. An article in the Christian Science Monitor of 2001 chronicled such an outreach session - and gushed that the two converts who spoke that evening were "easy emissaries of Islam to embrace...because they can "use American idioms and use American slang".

In an even more obscene travesty of the 9/11 attacks the United Way was reported to have given the Islamic Center of Boston an additional $50,000 dollars as part of an 'outreach grant' and the convert recruiting group used part of it to commission" a study into the pyschological effects of 9/11 on Muslims."

It is worth noting that it is not clear if the grant of $50,000 cited in the Atlanta Journal Constitution included the original $15,000 dollar grant from United Way, (which is documented on their website) or if it was separate.

(Another possibility is that the journalist mistook 15,000 for 50,000 and cited the wrong amount. Whatever the case, it is a misuse of United Way donor funding for any amount to go for Da'wa (converting people to Islam) anywhere,and it is adding insult to injury when the group is the Islamic Society of Boston, known for being a terrorist 'mecca)'.

The take-away from this is never assume "tolerance" will be reciprocated.
papijoe 8:06 AM |

Blogburst for Terri: Minding our Own Business

I've been meaning to comment on this post by Trudy Schuett which is by turns mystifying and infuriating.

I’ve kind of passed this one by because I deal with terrible stuff every day on the domestic violence front and I figure this one is not my business. What I’m thinking about here is the family with no idea how to deal with media suddenly needing to handle all that every day. I’m willing to bet nothing is normal for the family anymore, and some members will get sucked in, think they’re God’s gift to whatever, and soon be seen on some trash reality program.

If you remember that little girl in Texas who fell down the well, the whole community was damaged. Her parents divorced, the sheriff in charge ended up in therapy, and it was an eventual disaster for all involved. The whole town will never be the same.

When you’ve got a ton of attention focused on a handful of people with nothing much to do, suddenly the minute becomes movie material. Somebody farts and it’s cause for blogs and discussion around the world.

The mystifying part is that she claims to be a Christian and an advocate for victims of domestic abuse, and there is no reason I can see to doubt this. What is infuriating is the cavalier tone that she uses to dismiss Terri's case. The arguments are neither well researched or well reasoned. What does a husband seeking every legal means to starve his wife to death have to do with an unfortunate little girl falling down a well? And the fart comment speaks for itself.

She goes on to say that she has a lot of experience with crises in hospitals and nursing homes and this may give us a clue to where Ms Schuett is coming from:

Even non-public individuals have well-meaning friends second-guessing everything, so often home is no respite, either, when we deal with the phone calls from those who “just know” how badly we’re handling things.

Does anyone else get the feeling that were are not discussing Terri anymore?

Then Ms Schuett tells us to move along, nothing to see here.

It’s not my intention to slam any of my blogging buds for expressing interest. Most of them will move on after expressing an interest, and/or an opinion. The problem I’m seeing is that there apparently are groups of bloggers forming, all with their opinion on this matter.

Good people, please try to understand this is not our business. While obviously family members have done their bit to put this situation in the public arena, they really had no idea what they were doing. People with no media training tend to think their problems will be magically solved by media attention. They do not understand that all you get from media attention is media attention.

As bloggers with a very real means of tracking public opinion, and influencing that same public voice, I implore each of you to allow this situation to devolve back to the place where it should be, as a situation involving a family and a local court jurisdiction. We do no one any service by placing the plight of a woman, who is seriously ill with family members in dispute over her care, into the public arena. It cannot be helpful for Terri herself.

I don't know if taking the trouble to familiarize herself with this case would have made a difference, because the picture she paints is so far from the facts of the case that she has already filled in the blanks from her own experiences, which she has projected onto Terri and her family, clueless pawns of the media that they are.

I won't comment on her charge of "slacktivism" because it is indefensible. I'm not in a position to judge Ms Truett's Christian works, or talk about mine or anyone else's. That's between ourselves and God. But it does bring up a point. It is easy for a Godly cause to very quickly go awry. Good deeds and intentions done in our own strength come from our flesh and have no eternal value. It's prudent to remind ourselves that God comes before any cause, and I welcome any correction from fellow Christians in this effort to save Terri's life. I confess I've spent time that was dedicated to prayer and meditation to trying to think of what to post that day. In my outrage I've probably said things in my flesh. And there is always the temptation to take the glory that belongs to God.

But as imperfect as we are God still prompts us to do his will. No matter how many times we've messed up His Spirit nudges us to say something to our neighbor, share the Word with a co-worker, give up the time we had planned to spend on ourselves to help out. The trick is to trust Him and not ourselves.
papijoe 7:06 AM |

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Blogburst for Terri: Some Thoughts on Why This Is Happening Part 3

One of the strange things about this case is that one would think that the Liberal Left would be solidly behind Terri Schiavo. She is a handicapped women who was mentally and possibly even physically abused. In fact blogger Dean Esmay initially was so put off by the rhetoric directed against Michael that he suspected it was the kind of "misandrism" that used to be typical of the feminist left. But abortion and pornography have eroded the moral impetus of feminism and I'm not aware of any feminists who have come out in support of Terri. Meanwhile Dean has become a strong supporter.

Similarly, we would expect the Mainstream Media to jump at a story with such man-bashing potential. But the media has often been biased against and even hostile to Terri's case. Terri's family has tried to document the bias of the St Petersburg Times in the their own area.

Here's a selection of some headlines with excerpts that the St Pete Times ran on Terri's story, and I'll let the reader decide if there is an agenda there.

November 7, 2004: Time to let Terri go
It is a desperate claim raised solely to continue gaming the system. As long as the litigation stays alive, Terri Schiavo can be forced to continue her vegetative existence...It is past time for the courts to end this family's tragedy and allow Terri Schiavo the peaceful end her husband believes she would have wanted.

May 1, 2004: At Pope’s word, new Schiavo Cases?
But Father John Paris, Walsh professor of bioethics at Boston College, said the pope's remarks were tailored to a specific audience and will have little impact. "I think the best thing to do is ignore it, and it will go away," Paris said. "It's not an authoritative teaching statement."

January 10, 2004: Look At The Person Attached to the Tube
Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband and legal guardian, consented to 10 years of medical life support and rehabilitation attempts that failed to improve Schiavo's condition. Finally, convinced that his wife would not want to be kept alive in such a degraded condition, with so little hope of recovery, Schiavo went to court to request that his wife's feeding tube be withdrawn so that she could be allowed to die.
(Terri has not received 10 years of rehabilitation attempts. This article was penned by James M. Hoefler, who is the author of "Managing Death".)

December 4, 2003: A Wise Voice Pierces Bitter Din of Schiavo Case
But when I put the question to the Schindlers' lawyer, Pat Anderson, and asked if she would be bound by the results of the swallowing tests, she said she wasn't prepared to answer. That should tell you something. It looks likely that what's good enough for one side is not good enough for the other.

November 23, 2003: Schiavo Clash is Rooted in Cash
"I think one might conclude looking at the facts that a possible motivation on the part of the Schindlers is revenge," said Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, referring to the Schindlers' opposition to Schiavo's decision to pull his wife's feeding tube. "I certainly hope that's not true."

October 28, 2003: If Byrd Flies North, Will Mischief go with Him?
Last week, Byrd led the charge in the state House to overturn five years of court rulings and reinsert Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. If the religious right were in charge, the Senate wouldn't have been enough. They'd have beatified Johnnie right then and there.

October 23, 2003: Schiavo's life confiscated by agendas of strangers
If I were a newspaper cartoonist, my drawing this week would be of Terri Schiavo in a hospital bed. Her husband, Michael, would be holding her hands, while others - the governor, House Speaker Johnnie Byrd or her parents - pull at her feet.

September 28, 2003: As Schiavo debate rages, others play their hands
On a Web site dedicated to her, you can find court records and other information. There is a report of a bone scan that the lawyer for Schiavo's parents uses to claim Schiavo was (?) affidavits from a few nursing assistants who cared for Schiavo who said her husband purposely mistreated her or withheld treatment... Read those things and you get the impression they're facts.

September 25, 2003: Let Schiavo fade away, as so many others do
There is nothing unusual about denying medical treatment to the terminally ill who don't want their lives prolonged. Withholding food and water is one way to accommodate them.

September 21, 2003: Crusade is blind to hard facts of medicine
Which do you believe? One of several physicians who have looked at this case, or a lawyer who seems to lump the doctors into some nefarious cabal?

August 28, 2003: Governor as guardian - in whose interests?
The governor of Florida is incapable of keeping his nose, and his lawyers, out of places where they don't belong... He'd stay out of the pathetic fight over Schiavo..

To be fair these are all op-ed pieces and the ones I could find were the work of Mary Jo Melone. To put it mildly, Mary Jo Melone has a big chip on her shoulder for Christian conservatives and pro-lifers. And she also defended Sami al Arian until this column:

For a long time, I have defended Sami Al-Arian.

The former University of South Florida professor indicted last February deserves the chance the law gives him to reply to his indictment in federal court, I said. We should stand by until the charges against him - that he is the leader of a U.S. faction of a Palestinian terrorist group and one of its chief fundraisers - can be aired.

But the government released an outline of some of its evidence last week, and it is no longer possible to simply look away.

"Look the other way"? Mary Jo, is that shorthand for clinging to your agenda until the evidence becomes so overwhelming that it's indefensible? I give you credit for admitting you were wrong in the al Arian case, but you are certainly looking the other way by claiming that Terri is in a vegetative state despite the testimony given by care providers at the risk of their own livelihoods.

As firmly entrenched in her anti-faith, pro-abortion stance as she is, she sees too many of her foes on Terri's side, so when facts are presented, she looks the other way. Could she really have seen this video and claimed with a straight face that Terri is in a vegetative state?

Whether it was regarding terrorists like al Arian or the advocates of euthanasia, Ms Melone, like much of the Mainstream Media she represents, time and again throws her support behind the Cult of Death.
papijoe 1:00 PM |

Real Life Airport Applause for Soldiers

From Matt Friedeman at Agape Press

You've seen the beer commercial. Apparently some people didn't like it.

Rick from Winona, Mississippi, called my state-wide talk radio program this week. Sometimes, you get a phone call that ought to be read in the broader market.

On the program that day we were discussing the report that some Europeans were disgusted with the Super Bowl commercial of American soldiers getting applause in an airport. The critics thought it too extreme in its patriotism and a possible incitement to further war.

How Clintonian. But Rick had his own story.

At any rate, Rick (he asked us not to use his full name) called to talk about his experience coming back recently from the fields of war. His words (and they are worth your time reading, only lightly edited):

"I heard you talking about the Super Bowl commercial. I'm a Marine, a re-con Marine. I just got back from overseas, the second week of December, actually. I was injured overseas, so that's why I'm home now.

"But the whole time I was [there, in recovery] we watched the news to see what's going on. And we saw the protests, and we saw what the media was saying about what's going on, and we were worried about what we were actually going to face when we came home. We didn't know what to expect, to be honest with you. From the news media we were seeing, the whole country was basically telling us we're a bunch of jerks.

"I thank God that the troops that are there don't see the news coverage. I thank God every day, because there'd be ten times the number getting killed, just because it would so un-motivate [sic] them.

"Back to the story: there were seven other soldiers that came home with me that day. We flew into JFK, and we were talking on the way back: What's going to happen? What will we be facing? Is it going to be like the Vietnam era, are there going to be people spitting at us?

"We didn't know. We had that much trepidation about it.

"We get into JFK, we step out of the breezeway into the main terminal, and directly in front of us was an elderly gentleman carrying a bag. And he immediately stopped, set his bag down, and the first thing we all thought was, 'Oh, Lord, here we go already.' He just stopped and looked at us for a second, and then tears came to his eyes and he saluted us.

"And -- I'm breaking up now [editor's note: with tears] -- every one of us just started crying like babies. Everybody in the terminal -- I kid you not, at least two to three hundred people -- just started clapping, spontaneously. To me, it was so much worth what we were doing, to realize that people over here actually get what we were doing. We weren't over there because it's fun. We're over there doing a job.

"When I saw the Super Bowl commercial, I just started bawling like a baby again because that was something totally unexpected. We had no idea that people actually appreciated what we're doing, from what we see on the news. We thought we were going to come back and get eggs thrown at us. It was so refreshing to know that what we were seeing on the news is just a bunch of garbage that's being concocted by the media, that 99.9 percent of the country doesn't believe that way.

Here's a petition you can sign from The American Family Association to let the MSM know what you think about the way they are reporting the war.
papijoe 9:39 AM |

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Blogburst for Terri: Some Thoughts on Why This Is Happening Part 2

I was going to comment on the Mainstream Media's role next, but after reading this affidavit from one of Terri's nursing assistants, Heidi Law CNA I'm going to comment on the third factor which is personified in Terri's husband Michael.

Reading the affidavit has removed all doubt for me of Michael's malevolent intent. He not only wants her dead, but views her with appallingly cruel indifference, bitter resentment, and at times what can only be described as hatred. Ms Law paints a portrait of a petty despot who intimidates all caregivers who would show any kindness or extend even the slightest comfort to Terri. Similar testimony has been given by a registered nurse Carla Sauer Iyer. Here is an excerpt:

I know that Terri did not receive routine physical therapy or any other kind of therapy. I was personally aware of orders for rehabilitation ther were not being carried out. Even though they were ordered, Michael would stop them. Michael ordered that Terri receive no rehabilitaion or range of motion therapy. I and [Nurse] Olga would bive Terri range of motion anyway, but we knew we were endangering our jobs by doing so. We usually did this behind closed doors, we were so fearful of getting caught. Our hearts would race and we were always looking out for Michael, because we knew that, not only would Michael take his anger out on us, but he would take it out on Terri. We spoke of this many times [Section 4]

On one occasion Michael Schiavo arrived with his girlfriend, and they entered Terri's room together. I heard Michael tell his girlfriend that Terri was in a persistent vegatative state and was dying. After they left, Olga told me that Terri was extremely agitated and upset, and wouldn't react to anyone. When she was upset, which was usually the case after Michael was there, she would withdraw for hours. We were convinced that he was abusing her, and probably saying cruel terrible things to her... [Section 11]

Ms Law also stated that any positive reports of Terri's condition where tossed in the trash. Nurse Iyer accuses Michael of this and worse:

I made numerous entries into the nursing notes in her chart, stating verbatim what she said and her various behaviors, but by my next on-duty shift, the notes would be deleted from her chart," claimed Iyer in potentially devastating detail. "Every time I made a positive entry about any responsiveness of Terri's, someone would remove it after my shift ended. Michael always demanded to see her chart as soon as he arrived, and would take it in her room with him [snip]

Iyer claims that she "became fearful for my personal safety" and was terminated after she called police about comments and activities at the nursing home relative to the Schiavo woman. "When Michael visited Terri, he always came alone and always had the door closed and locked while he was with Terri," the affidavit alleges. "He would typically be there about twenty minutes or so. When he left Terri would be trembling, crying hysterically, and would be very pale and have cold sweats. It looked to me like Terri was having a hypoglycemic reaction, so I'd check her blood sugar." The glucometer reading would be so low it was below the range where it would register an actual number reading. I would put dextrose in Terri's mouth to counteract it. This happened about five times on my shift as I recall. Normally Terri's blood-sugar levels were very stable due to the uniformity of her diet through tube feeding."

The Ms Law's whole affidavit [seven pages] is worth reading to get a full sense of how Michael is denying Terri the faintest hope and the simplest comfort, as well as how his misrepresentation of her condition can't be attributed to ordinary denial.

I can't see any reason not to hold Michael Schiavo up as a paragon for the current moral climate. The erosion of marriage is certainly a factor but larger than that is the fact that he is able to get away with his treatment of Terri because neither our legal system or any of the other institutions that are supposed to protect her have the moral courage or authority to end this domestic atrocity. It's not that the solution is unclear, anyone with an ounce of compassion can see that Michael Schiavo should be removed as her guardian. But our society has degenerated to the point that passing moral judgment on someone is a worse crime than murder.

The infuriating part is that the ethical standards that would stop him are universal rather that subjective, appealing to anyone of goodwill regardless of their religion, and supremely practical. For example Michael's infidelity alone disqualifies him as a guardian, not because of prudishness or hurt family feelings, but because it is a conflict of interest. But we as a society have abandon what is sensible for fear of imposing an absolute moral value.

And the Michael Schiavos of the world run amok.
papijoe 1:01 PM |

Blogburst for Terri: Some Thoughts on Why This Is Happening Part 1

Terri's case is significant because she is a human being. She was and is still dearly loved. Despite her serious impairment, she has intrinsic worth. I believe from her interactions with her family she is still aware and capable of feeling love. There simple shouldn't be a question of keeping her alive. So why is her life in danger?

I find it significant that the forces at work threating her life are the same that we have seen at work opposed to what can (somewhat glibly) be described as traditional American and Judeo-Christian values. The attacks of 9-11 were a wake up call to many like myself that the consequences not defending those values and way of life were potentially lethal. Terri's case is another wake up call. On 9-11, adherents of a cult of death were responsible for taking over 3000 lives. However this Cult can be seen as having many different orders, jihadi Islam being one. Up until now I would probably be a little reluctant to describe some of these forces in such strong terms, previous to this I might worry about appearing alarmist. But the forces that have been converging to eliminate the Judeo-Christian foundations of our society can now be seen as unambiguously enabling the judicially sanctioned murder of Terri Schiavo.

As the courts should have been her last line of defense, Judge George W Greer can be seen as one of the arch-villains of this story. There is a great deal of commentary on the legal issues here, but the link I posted for the petition to have Judge Greer impeached still has the best synopsis I've seen so far of the many violations of Terri's rights. I can't speak to Judge Greer's motivations, from what I've read he seems to be a lazy judge who makes cavalier rulings. His refusal to grant a restraining order cost one woman her life. Now his poor judgment may cost another woman her life.

Judge W. Douglas Baird is also culpable for striking down a law that would prevent Terri's feeding tube from being removed.

The same judicial activism that seeks to secularize our society, hampers the war on terror, and redefine marriage has now assigned itself a new and deadly role. This began with Roe vs Wade, but now the judges would have us embark on an agenda of euthanasia reminiscent of Nazi Germany. We've already seen this agenda advanced in the Netherlands. According to Father Pavone Terri isn't the first to be targeted, but it's in Terri's case where we are making a stand.

I'll try to post later about the two other major forces at work, the Mainstream Media and one that's a little harder to identify.
papijoe 7:23 AM |

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Help Save Terry Schiavo

"To save one life is as if you have saved the world" - The Talmud

The blogosphere has been responsible for a righting a number of wrongs this year, but now there's an opportunity to rescue a woman from an estranged husband and a activist judge who would deny her food and water and let here die a horrible death. Terri Schiavo's parents are fighting this with every resource they have but they need help. More details can be found on their website. There are a number of ways we can help. Hyscience and ProLifeBlogs are organizing a blogburst. Some of my favorite blogs like Discarded Lies and LaShawn Barber's Corner are already on board.

There is also a petition that outlines the the disregard of the laws and due process that should be protecting Terri that calls for Judge Greer to be impeached. The most appalling of these is that Terri's husband has been allowed to use a money awarded by a court to pay her medical bill for his own legal expenses in his attempts to end her life.

There are many other opportunities on Terri's site to write letters and send emails to influence those who could prevent her death. I'll keep blogging about this but here's a story to give us hope that some day Terri may be able to communicate again.
papijoe 7:51 AM |

Entry 2-15

This will be the last regular entry of my prayertime journal. I'm at a point now where my journaling will be either repetitively monotonous, or, as I started to address in my last entry, increasingly intimate. I had hoped that blogging my journal would help me be consistant, and to some extent it did. But I'm on my own hook now.
I anticipate that this study will produce some future posts, but although fewer in quantity hopefully they will be greater in quality.
papijoe 7:12 AM |

Monday, February 14, 2005

Taking up the Hijab

From the MetroWest Daily News

Many meet every Friday or Sunday at the Islamic Greater Society of Worcester to pray to Allah and socialize. Men sit in front of the Iman, the spiritual leader, who recites half in English, half in Arabic, the way to reach paradise. Women climb the stairs to the first floor as they walk in, separated from the men.

They all kiss the floor two times before sitting down, with their shoes off, their heads down.

At a recent Friday service in Worcester, Dunia Ramadan, a 21-year-old who was born in Hudson and now lives in Northborough, closed her eyes to pray. She started wearing the veil last year and it wasn't a difficult decision to make.

"I was never told to do it. My parents never told me I had to wear it," said Ramadan. "As you learn more about your religion, you learn more about your obligations. This has to come from yourself, nobody else."

Next to Ramadan, Shafaq Kazi, 34, from Northborough, smiles. Her mother does not wear the 'hijab,' but Kazi did not hesitate and took the step.

"I have seen an increase of women wearing it," she said. "I think right now there are many ways to know more about your religion, through the Internet, for example. Maybe that's why more women want to express their Muslim identity."

When they are asked about the head scarf seen as a symbol of oppression from men, they both clarify concepts: a sign of oppression is when women are forced to reveal instead of covering, they say.

"Women deserve to be respected," adds Kazi.

Personally I am ambivalent about the hijab if it doesn't cover the face. The interesting issue for me is that despite the claims of the acceptance of the hijab being voluntary, I think there is a much more complex dynamic of influence.
papijoe 8:27 AM |

Entry 2-14

I’m starting to realize that the reason that intimacy with God is difficult because of my track record concerning intimacy with humans. The first issue is that intimacy has become sexualized in this world. I remember a friend from China lamenting that he was afraid of the thoughtless intimacy he had with his male friends after being exposed to American culture that would mistake that innocent intimacy as homosexuality.

The other problem is that humans disappoint each other. This can run the gamut from intentional betrayal to unfortunate misunderstandings, but to different degrees the result is that we get hurt and shy away from intimacy.

Also related to this is that intimacy is impossible with unrepented sin, and yet a history of sin can bring feelings of condemnation even when we aren’t particularly guilty of anything at the moment.

All these obstacles being present, today there was an overwhelming sense of blessing and protection that I’ll be trying to carry through the whole day. It was like waking up with a Valentine from God.
papijoe 8:08 AM |

Friday, February 11, 2005

Unembedded Propaganda

It's been a while since I've gone dumpster diving at (I still won't give them a link). I came up with a particularly pungent piece from an "independent unembedded journalist" named Dahr Jamail,who's report from Iraq led off like this:

"Speaking on condition of anonymity, the doctor sits with me in a hotel room in Amman, where he is now a refugee. He’d spoken about what he saw in Fallujah in the UK, and now is under threat by the US military if he returns to Iraq.

“I started speaking about what happened in Fallujah during both sieges in order to raise awareness, and the Americans raided my house three times,” he says, talking so fast I can barely keep up. He is driven to tell what he’s witnessed, and as a doctor working inside Fallujah, he has video and photographic proof of all that he tells me.

The piece is an almost endless litany of stories like this:

“One story is of a young girl who is 16 years old,” he says of one of the testimonies he video taped recently, “She stayed for three days with the bodies of her family who were killed in their home. When the soldiers entered she was in her home with her father, mother, 12 year-old brother and two sisters. She watched the soldiers enter and shoot her mother and father directly, without saying anything.”

The girl managed to hide behind the refrigerator with her brother and witnessed the war crimes first-hand.

“They beat her two sisters, then shot them in the head,” he said. After this her brother was enraged and ran at the soldiers while shouting at them, so they shot him dead.

“She continued hiding after the soldiers left and stayed with her sisters because they were bleeding, but still alive. She was too afraid to call for help because she feared the soldiers would come back and kill her as well. She stayed for three days, with no water and no food. Eventually one of the American snipers saw her and took her to the hospital,” he added before reminding me again that he had all of her testimony documented on film.

Leaving aside that the piece is based on one source, Jamal's credulity in regard to these stories is never marred by any critical inquiry. Jamail is never at a loss for superlatives or hyperbole to describe the endless accounts of atrocity, and they are all of course documented, and in light of the overwhelming evidence, never dishonors the memory of the victims by employing descriptors like "alleged" or "reported".

So I decided to take a look at Jamail's webpage to see what motivates this fearless champion of the truth. I found a link to this profile of him in New Utopia Magazine:

I was born and raised in Houston, Texas and attended college at Texas A&M University where I majored in Speech Communications. After graduating, I moved to Colorado, then Utah, then Washington State where I worked for awhile on a Masters in English Literature. Funds ran out, so I took a job working in an air monitoring laboratory on Johnston Island, a US territory in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. We monitored the air at a chemical demilitarization plant that incinerated 6% of the chemical weapons (now obsolete) of the military.

While there I traveled around the world on my breaks from the monotonous job. The perspective and experiences I gained from my travels opened my mind and heart to the world-seeing the unearned and unfair privilege we in the US had struck me whilst traveling to so many developing countries like Indonesia and Palau, then later Nepal.

I had a calling to move to Alaska to climb Denali. I moved there in 1996, climbed Denali the next summer, and have stayed ever since. There I worked as a mountain guide during summers, as well as assisting in rescues with the park service. My life there for 5 years centered primarily on climbing and being in the mountains. Climbing found me traveling to Mexico, Pakistan, Chile and Argentina.

One of the largest influences on me was a job I took in the climbing off-season which was working as a personal assistant for my dear friend Duane French, who experiences quadriplegia. I saw the efforts he went to just to exist, and how government policy directly affected his life. Here I was awakened politically. Our daily discussions of policy and political parties got my wheels turning, pulling me out of the classic American comfort-zone of apathy and ignorance.

Then of course watching the stealing of the presidency in 2000 by the Bush regime shocked me further into action, followed by the military response to 9/11, then of course the selling of the Iraq invasion. During the media sell job, I could take no more and knew that this was an information war. I had done some freelance writing for various magazines and continued this by writing in our alternative weekly rag in Anchorage.

We did a good job showing the alternative view after the events of 9/11, showing the US support of bin Laden, who the Reagan administration funded and trained them, etc. Shortly thereafter our editor was fired, so the entire staff left in protest within one month.

So I started saving my money and came to the front lines to start telling the truth from Iraq in November, 2003.

So Jamail is not merely a journalist, but a warrior. Here he describes some of his fellow "media warriors":

However, as with repression of any kind, the more the “powers that be” attempt to muzzle independent media and the truth, the more they create a growing, powerful, diverse entity that finds new and creative ways to work here.

For example, the closing of the Al-Jazeera office here has simply caused their journalists to go underground and decentralize, making it impossible for the government to control them. In this way, the repression naturally creates a smarter, more diverse and creative resistance in the form of increased independent reportage.

Wow, covert cells of journalist resistance warriors! There's something almost Romantic about it in a kind of T.E. Lawrences sort of way. Because of his militant commitment to the truth he is uniquely positioned to distill the kernel of truth out of the deceptive images of jubilant Iraqis displaying ink stained fingers:

The elections are viewed as a joke. Most here now believe there is no way they can be held in an honest, transparent and truly democratic way. Most are also too afraid to vote. I’ve heard people say things like, “The Americans won’t even allow a legitimate election in their own country, so why would they want to have one here!”

After his current speaking tour, I think we can count on Jamail to return to Iraq, which will permanently silence his critics who claim he never left the US, and continue to speak the truth to power! And you can bet your Birkenstocks it will all be documented.
papijoe 8:26 AM |

Entry 2-11

As uneventful as my prayertime seems to me lately, I've started to value it more and more to the point that I can't imagine starting a workday without it. As a result, my commutes have been much more peaceful and that is a big improvement. I've got a long way to go, but this is very encouraging. Still I have to remind myself that having a better day is not the goal, but rather a side benefit.
papijoe 7:54 AM |

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The New Long March

Tang Jiaxuan, a member of China's State Council, said Russia and China have similar positions on regional and global issues. Tang said Moscow is Beijing's key ally in its effort to maintain a strategic partnership.

Sources say, Russia and China have formally joined hands to stop expanding American and European military as well as economic global influences.

The strategic partnership can be very significant in providing a combined counter effect to the only Super Power of the world – America

Hey, let's not be coy about what's behind it.

The partnership between China and Russia actually started last year just after the start of the Iraq war. The two countries came close to each other in terms of supporting each other.

More details:

Russia now provides significant amount of China’s energy needs. China now provides financial guarantee and loan to Russia without announcing the same explicitly.

Russian and Chinese military are having secret joint sessions to create the strategy of self defense in case of any invasion from other countries...China's creation of a mechanism to consult with Russia on security issues marks the first time China has ever entered into such a venture, a senior Chinese official visiting the Kremlin said.

China secretly loaned Russia US Dollar 6.0 Billion to nationalize the Yukos oil company.

International think tanks suggest that soon Russia-China strategic partnership will form a NATO type military and G7 type economic alliance. India and Brazil will be invited to join the alliance.

Isn't that nice? I'm sure Venezuela will be next after Brazil. India has good relations with Israel and some bad blood with China. Economic ties with the US are good in the high-tech sector and they are a democracy. We should woo India into a partnership that has a lot more than China can offer, even if it means dumping Pakistan.
papijoe 1:28 PM |

From Mount Moriah to al Aqsa

Kinda swamped today, but here is a great overview of the history and politics of the Temple Mount from the Middle East Forum
papijoe 11:24 AM |

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Is Sharon Being Blackmailed by the Left?

Thanks to Colt of Eurabian Times for spotting this, originally from Israeli Insider.

What has happened in Israel in the last two weeks is a secret, bloodless coup d'etat.

The stage was set a year or more ago, when the state prosecutors and the police were breathing hard down the neck of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his two sons on various charges of corruption, bribery and breach of public trust. Suddenly, all the investigations were canceled because of "lack of evidence."

Over the next few months, Eliyakim Rubenstein, the Attorney General who served the Labor establishment with faithfulness and competence, was elevated to the Supreme Court; the chief prosecutor, Menahem Mazuz, a dyed-in-the-wool leftist, was moved up to Attorney General, one of
the most powerful positions in the government and Sharon committed the government to unilateral abandonment of all of the Gaza Strip with its 21 Israeli settlements and four strategically placed settlements in Samaria.

That was the very policy proposed by Amram Mitzna and the Labor Party in the election in 2003, which Sharon roundly lambasted and denounced and, on the basis of which, the Likud crushed Labor in the elections. It certainly looks like Sharon sold out the country's defense and foreign policies to Labor in exchange for dismissal of all investigations against him and his sons.

The problem with submitting to blackmail is that, once blackmailed the victim is hostage to the blackmailer forever. So Sharon not only pursued unilateral retreat with ruthless determination, but he also brought Labor into the government, all "democratically," of course, by means of more breaches of public trust and suborning of breach of trust by the Likud Central Committee, blatantly above and beyond what is called in America "pork barrel." It looked more like bribery and extortion.

If this turns out to be true Sharon should fall on his sword. Nothing could be worse than making his party take the blame for what would be the Liberal agenda in the pull-outs.
papijoe 11:33 AM |

Desecration of the Temple Mount

From Baptist Press News

I've had a number of posts about the Temple Mount recently. I was aware of some of the destruction being cause by the Waqf, but this article drives home the bad stewardship of the Islamic authorities over the Temple Mount.

Barkay, professor of archaeology at Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv, visited to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for a Jan. 27 lecture sponsored by the seminary's Center for Archaeological Research.

"In November 1999, the Islamic authorities carried out a huge excavation of [the part of the Temple Mount known as Solomon's Stable]," Barkay said. "They built a modern entrance to the building instead of the existing entrance, and they dug a huge pit with the help of bulldozers and 300 [dump trucks] that removed the dirt from the earthen fills of this spot."

Barkay showed pictures of tractors demolishing structures dating to the Twelfth Century Crusades. The demolition went on without any regulation or archaeological supervision, he said. Builders at the Temple Mount took many of the ancient stones from earlier Jewish buildings and cut them down to make modern stones.

"Who knows how many inscriptions we lost in this way?" Barkay said. "Who knows how many decorated stones were defaced in this manner? The earth was saturated with ancient materials, and it was dumped in the Kidron Valley to the east of the Temple Mount."

Many of the Jewish and Christian artifacts dating to the Crusades and to the first and second temples were covered up, destroyed or removed. In view of these developments, Barkay began to act.

"We formed a committee for monitoring what goes on at the Temple Mount," he said. "We take weekly aerial photos of it. Today there is much less activity. We're doing our best to protect every grain of dirt."

Just two months ago, Barkay put his archaeological know-how into action; he got a license to excavate the dumping grounds in the Kidron Valley.

"We began a project of collecting the dirt from the dumping areas. We moved the piles of dirt to a well-protected area," he recounted. "We covered them with plastic sheets. Each pile was marked with the exact place of origin and exact depth we could estimate from which it came."

His team used sifting machines to separate stones from more delicate items. Then they began searching through the material by hand.

"This effort already yielded some scores of coins," he said. "We have coins from the 12th century, the 19th century, up to the first century B.C. We have some second-century B.C. Antonian coins. We have some Herodian coins."

Among the other things, the team found a Christian charm bearing the image of John the Baptist with an infant Jesus and the Jordan River in the background. They found an alabaster dish from the Persian Period and an ivory comb from the Second Temple period. Though much had already been lost, the substance of what they are finding is encouraging amid the delicate and unfortunate situation.

There has been a lot of discussion lately of Christian interest in the Temple Mount, particularly surrounding End Time prophecy, but the destruction by the Waqf is a more immediate concern.

"The Temple Mount is the most important part of Jerusalem," Barkay said. "No doubt the Temple Mount is the most delicate, the most disputed, the most fragile point of the current conflict between Palestinians and Israelis."

After a pause, he continued: "Actually, the Temple Mount represents the whole conflict in a nutshell."

We can be grateful at least that Arafat wasn't buried there.

Update - In a somewhat related story from Arutz Sheva

The re-established "Sanhedrin" convened to hold its monthly meeting this week, with the question of the Holy Temple's precise location the main topic on the agenda.

The recently re-established Sanhedrin - ideally, Judaism's top legal assembly - of 71 rabbis and scholars also moved to solidify logistical aspects of the body.

The Sanhedrin heard expert testimony on the various opinions as to the exact part of the Temple Mount upon which the Holy Temple stood. The fact that there has never been an archaeological expedition or dig on the Temple Mount, coupled with continuous Muslim efforts to destroy historical evidence of the Holy Temple at the site, have made determining the exact location difficult.

Identifying the spot on which the Temple stood is a matter of controversy among scholars, and has serious ramifications for those wishing to visit the Temple Mount. It is also critical for the renewal of the Passover sacrifice, and ultimately for the building of the third and final Holy Temple. While numerous opinions have been expressed throughout the years, and while several of them were expressed at the Sanhedrin gathering this week, the two main opinions state that the Temple stood either on the spot currently occupied by the gold-topped Dome of the Rock, or just to the north of that spot. An opinion that the Temple stood south of that spot, approximately behind the present-day Western Wall, was also presented - though most scholars basically discount it.

One important point that this article brings up is that the longer the Waqf is on the Temple Mount, the more opportunities they have to destroy archaeological evidence of the Temples.
papijoe 8:08 AM |

Entry 2-9

I was very sleepy this morning and wasn't able to feel the Spirit until the end.

Even once I got past the grogginess, the activities, worries, and agendas of life want to intrude. Once they are in the driver's seat, relationship is forgotten.

I started Revelations last night. Since Y2K, I've been emotionally allergic to anything having to do with prophecy, but there seems to be renewed interest in the End Times and there is a lot of interpretation out there, so I feel the need to get myself grounded again in what the Word says before I open my big mouth.
papijoe 7:49 AM |

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Wayfarers to Joy

I'm still mulling over some of the ideas I posted yesterday. I've also been reading Tolkien's essay "On Fairy-Stories" (which I recommend highly to fans of a scholarly bent) and in the epilogue he draws the connection between the happy endings of his favorite tales (be advised that Tolkien has a much more rigorous standard for "fairy stories" than the more recent watered-down versions) and the Gospel. The deeper sense of the genre of "Passion plays" expresses part of this in drama, and Shakespeare was highest development of comedy in a Christian context. But for Tolkien, drama is human, all to human, and comedy isn't big enough a concept for him, so he coins his own term, "eucatastrophe". To inject some of my own perspective at this point, I was always struck by the quote from Tolstoy that all happy families are alike but unhappy ones are unhappy in there own particular way, and from this diverse misery comes the material for novels. This notion that anything other than strife from a literary (and possibly personal) perspective was boring has been pretty persistent. And there is some truth in that so that even Tolkien acknowledges that for this reason the tale usually ends with "...and they lived happily ever after."

However not so with The Lord of the Rings when in The Return of the King instead of ending with the marriage of Aragorn and Arwen as a proper comedy should (and so it was with Peter Jackson's movie version), there is instead what has to be the longest denouement in literary history. It seems as a true Christian, Tolkien won't be content with a mere happy ending (which at one point he states that no one believes anyways) but continues down a path of restoration and healing that aims for a culmination of Joy. The fulfillment of that Joy can only occur after the protagonists have left our sight, but portions of it have been provided throughout the journey.

Heady stuff in a time when most of what passes for Art can barely cobble together a mediocre tragedy.
papijoe 7:53 AM |

Entry 2-8

I was all over the place with my prayertime this morning. After wards I realized that there is still this subtle attitude that God is drawing back from me, the problem is that I am drawing back from him.

Lately, if I don't connect in prayertime, I can often feel a strong Presence during my commute while I listen to praise and worship music in my car. I know it's best not to rely on this time as the basis of my day, but it can be a wonderful transition. Yesterday I was singing praise and was greeted, as I crested a hill, with a dazzling sunrise with bands of turquoise and coral.

When I get hung up like I did this morning, I think that I am searching for a tangible sense of His personal Presence so I can perceive Who He Is. I got the feeling today that one thing preventing that is not being comfortable with exposing who I am.
papijoe 7:28 AM |

Monday, February 07, 2005

Hardwired for Joy

A very interesting report has come out recently from the Commission on Children at Risk. The commission is made up of a team put together by Dartmouth Medical School, the YMCA and the Institute for American Values.

It paints a bleak picture of children and teams growing up in the modern world:

The commission was convened because of a growing sense that children and teens today are facing a widespread and deepening crisis. "In the midst of unprecedented material affluence, large and growing numbers of U.S. children and adolescents are failing to flourish," the commission said.

Mental and emotional difficulties seem to have afflicted our youth at staggering rates, including depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, conduct disorders, and thoughts of suicide – and a wide variety of physical ailments that have their roots in emotional troubles, such as heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers.

The report said: "Despite increased ability to treat depression, the current generation of young people is more likely to be depressed and anxious than was its parent’s generation. According to one study, by the 1980s, U.S. children as a group were reporting more anxiety than did children who were psychiatric patients in the 1950s." (Emphasis in original.)

The report compares this profile of youth at risk with that of young people brought up with a strong moral and religious upbringing.

Morality was also one of the things emphasized by the commission’s report. In fact, Hardwired stressed even more than morality – it stressed religion. The commission said a significant body of scientific evidence is beginning to demonstrate that "we are hard-wired for meaning, born with a built-in capacity and drive to search for purpose and reflect on life’s ultimate ends."

The report stated that the human brain appears to have a built-in capacity for religious experience. Using brain imaging, for example, scientists have discovered that such spiritual activities as prayer or meditation actually increase the activity in specific areas of the brain.

Many scientists still don’t delve into those kinds of issues, but some are beginning to see the importance of religion. Psychologist Lisa Miller of Columbia University said, "A search for spiritual relationship with the Creator may be an inherent developmental process in adolescence."

While such science appears to be in the early stages, it does give some added weight to the theory that adolescents who are involved in religion are not simply responding to the way they were raised. As the commission put it: "[T]he need in young people to connect to ultimate meaning and to the transcendent is not merely the result of social conditioning, but is instead an intrinsic aspect of the human experience."

The report suggests that the emphasis on the spiritual makes for healthier, more resilient kids:

"Compared to their less religious peers, religious teenagers are safer drivers and are more likely to wear seatbelts. They are less likely to become either juvenile delinquents or adult criminals. They are less prone to substance abuse. In general, these young people are less likely to endorse engaging in high-risk conduct or to endorse the idea of enjoying danger," the report said.

It added that "religiously committed teenagers are more likely to volunteer in the community. They are more likely to participate in sports and in student government. More generally, these young people appear to have higher self-esteem and more positive attitudes about life."

The key to this is identified by the report as a family and social environment that they term an "authoritative community"

"Authoritative communities are groups that live out the types of connectedness that our children increasingly lack," the report said. "They are groups of people who are committed to one another over time and who model and pass on at least part of what it means to be a good person and live a good life."

Among the characteristics that define an authoritative community: It is a social institution that is warm and nurturing; establishes clear limits and expectations; is multigenerational; has a long-term focus; reflects and transmits a shared understanding of what it means to be a good person; encourages spiritual and religious development; and is philosophically oriented to the equal dignity of all persons and to the principle of love of neighbor.

The commission stated: "We believe that building and strengthening authoritative communities is likely to be our society’s best strategy for ameliorating the current crisis of childhood and improving the lives of U.S. children and adolescents."

This is a fascinating concept. From a marketing perspective the name might be a little loaded, I guarantee that if Bush were to use it in a speech tomorrow, the liberals and leftists would go nuts. From a parenting standpoint it makes perfect sense. From my own experience I would describe it like this: The high-road that a child travels on has two curbs on either side. One is Discipline [or Justice] and the other is Love [or Mercy]. If either is lacking the child will go astray. And if we were in the habit of naming roads after their destinations, we would call it Joy.
papijoe 9:00 AM |

Entry 2-7

In his encounter with the Samaritan women at the well, Jesus tells us that we should worship him in spirit and in truth. I am still grappling which the idea that much if not all of what happens in the spirit is at least indescribable and possibly unrecognizable by the carnal mind.

Sometimes I dismiss this thought as a conceit, an excuse to explain my lack of tangible progress in my prayertime. And maybe I'm using it that way at times, but if we think about it, the Kingdom of God and the realm of the Spirit has to be more than what conventional wisdom has described to us. For example, Heaven not only has to be more than floating on clouds playing harps, it has to be indescribably more. Some of the more phantasmagorical visions of the Realm of the Spirit in Scripture point to a reality that transcends common thought and language. I do sense at times that something more than I am superficially aware of is going on in my prayertime but I don't seem to have the spiritual organs of comprehension and perception to make sense of it. I believe this is one of the reasons that when things don't make sense to us,we need to wait patiently on God.
papijoe 8:48 AM |

Friday, February 04, 2005

China Challenges the Monroe Doctrine

From the People's Daily Online.

With a firm foothold in Panama and Venezuela, China is using trade to extend its influence in the Western Hemisphere:

China hopes to further tighten friendship and cooperation via the China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum with the Caribbean countries, said Vice President Zeng Qinghong Wednesday in Kingston.

Zeng said this in meetings, on separate occasions, with leadersof Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominic, Cuba, Suriname and Barbados, who are here to attend the opening ceremony of the firstMinisterial Meeting of the China-Caribbean forum that opened here earlier Wednesday.

This is in the fundamental interests of the two sides, he said,adding it will have positive impact on promoting the South-South cooperation.

Zeng said the Chinese side is convinced that the forum will play a positive role in enhancing China-Caribbean cooperation withefforts of all parties concerned.

Isn't "tighten" an odd word to use in the context of increasing friendship and cooperation? A rough translation perhaps. But this is an odd subject to bring up in a summit on trade:

The [Caribbean] leaders also reiterated their persistence to the one China policy.

Opposition to Taiwan is of course the sin qua non of any friendly relations with China.
papijoe 8:17 AM |

Entry 2-4

It ain't easy, but my prayertime is getting better. What's improved is that I've been trying to focus on Who God is [as opposed to what He can do for me]. Understanding God's Person is tricky right off the bat. Do you focuse on God the Father, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit? I think in one sense it doesn't matter as long as you are not avoiding any aspect of God. Like many I'm intimidated by God the Father. Jesus came because, on one level, he would be easier for us to relate to. What I've found helpful is to look at his relationship with those disciples that seem to be like me in certain circumstances. Any of us who have messed up big time in our walk can relate to Peter. And who at some point hasn't been a doubting Thomas? Even the love and compassion He showed to Judas Iscariot should give us an idea of how he esteems us even at our worst. Today in prayertime I was meditating on his relationship with John. John was just a boy and yet he had the most spiritually intimate relationship with Jesus of all the disciples.

That kind of intimacy requires an innocence that must be reclaimed. I'm not there yet, and yet I know it is possible.
papijoe 7:57 AM |

Thursday, February 03, 2005

One "Progressive" View on the Iraq Election

James Carroll from The Boston Globe says don't be fooled by the jubilation. The Iraqi election was a trainwreck.

Iraq is a train wreck. The man who caused it is not in trouble. Tomorrow night he will give his State of the Union speech, and the Washington establishment will applaud him. Tens of thousands of Iraqis are dead. More than 1,400 Americans are dead. An Arab nation is humiliated. Islamic hatred of the West is ignited. The American military is emasculated. Lies define the foreign policy of the United States. On all sides of Operation Iraqi Freedom, there is wreckage. In the center, there are the dead, the maimed, the displaced -- those who will be the ghosts of this war for the rest of their days. All for what?

Tomorrow night, like a boy in a bubble, George W. Bush will tell the world it was for "freedom." He will claim the Iraqi election as a stamp of legitimacy for his policy, and many people will affirm it as such. Even critics of the war will mute their objections in response to the image of millions of Iraqis going to polling places, as if that act undoes the Bush catastrophe.

By the way Mr Carroll, how are your PEST sessions going?
papijoe 9:10 AM |