This is a reply post to one that I read the other day over on No Milk Please…
After the hellacious week we have had, it is finally Friday and the weekend is upon us. It is snowing outside once again. UGH!! I have fired up my little player with some music from ‘Deborah Cox Remixed’ Cd.
I guess you can safely say that I am truly gay…
Ive been listening to a lot of radio out of Seattle Washington, on SEA 89.5, which is a really great radio station, that I pipe in on my virtual DJ player. You can go into the radio station selector and pick stations from an assortment of musical genres. They are listed under dance as [SEA 89.5 Worldwide ] Online, it streams very well. They play some really great tunes.
I have also found, on the dance dial, a station called Sanctuary Radio that plays some awesome music from all over the time line. You can find the [Virtual DJ] radio link over on my sidebar. It is a quick and painless, FREE download of the tool bar, that makes it very easy to stream whatever kind of music you like on your desktop.
There is nothing much else going on here tonight, it is quiet, hubby is asleep on the sofa and I am going to get back to my IMVU community. If you haven’t joined, it is quite addictive – build your avatar, buy some clothes and come join us.
Other than that, I don’t know what else to say at the moment. Oh, we are closing in on the 90,000 hit mark and very soon, I am hopeful of that BIG 100,000 hit mark in the coming months…
I’ve been away for a couple days, and in the middle of this, I came home the other night and hubby tells me of the death of Heath Ledger. Like many people, I am sure, I saod those words out loud, “I can’t believe it…”
A beautiful man, a wonderful actor, they call him a gifted man. taken from us, in the prime of his young life. Like many of my fellow gay writers, we saw Ennis Del Mar as a human being, a man with great passion and love, “You can’t fight it, you have to ride it.” Brokeback Mountain is my connection to this brilliant young man. It is just too sad for words.
Eternal Rest Grant him and may Perpetual Light shine upon him…
Forgive my indiscretion, but this is my blog.
For many years I have navigated the waters between the Sacred and the Profane. I have seen the beauty of man that is Profanely Sacred and I have seen the beauty of God that is the Holy Sacred. Having witnessed both in my life, I can write about them freely without any guilt, remorse or shame. For what more beautiful specimen of man is there than the naked man. In leather of course…
Many years ago in my religious studies with Donald, we explored the Sacred within the leather lifestyle and how man attains the sacred while exploring the profane. It was for me, some of the most intense times of my life, when all of me was in flux and I danced with the profane while navigating my way through my HIV diagnosis. I have a deep respect for my leather upbringing and my Master Todd…
Which brings me to the discussion of this post. Over the last year my prayer life has been ratcheted up quite a bit. Praying for others has become a full time job. Working with others has become a way of life. Living an authentic life from the inside – out, demands that I am aware of my emotions and my feelings. I am acutely aware of every sensation, of and in my body, when I meditate and more when I pray, at any given moment of the day or night.
It happened Monday night, while sitting in class, we were discussing Christian Spirituality and the many ways one might approach spirituality from the many disciplines that are availed to us on any given day. As I listened to the lecture, my thoughts began to circulate and my body reacted to those thoughts of the Sacred, and immediately I felt a longing inside of me that I could not put my finger on, but I felt it. It was an ache that resonated deep within me, a feeling that seemed eerily familiar and oddly profane.
It was as if I sat in the balance between the Sacred and the Profane and I could have ventured into either one at the drop of the hat or the offing of a thought. It wasn’t a purely sexual thought, like I wanted to commit a mortal sin and touch myself, but I was acutely aware of a presence, the presence of something Sacred, something Profane.
And I find that when I am at work, or when I am deep in contemplation or prayer that this feeling arises, and maybe I am a bit more aware of it and I am conscious of it that I can name it, but nonetheless, it is there. So I made this confession to a man that I trust with my deepest secrets and desires tonight. And here I write it for public consumption, my first spiritual confession…
Having known the depths of utter profanity in all its grandeur and also knowing the Sacred leaves me, in what one could construe, as a “tight spot.” I think to myself that I am open to the stirrings of the Sacred equally as I am to the Flesh and the Profane. But again, this feeling does not reside in the sexual center of my being, but it lies at the core of my soul. That place where everything intermingles and where the body feels its most deepest desires and acknowledges that there is a place for every feeling and desire.
That Eros, that Rolheiser writes:
“Our soul is not something that we have, it is more something that we Are. It is the very life-pulse within us, that which makes us alive…The soul is what gives life. Inside it, lies the fire, the EROS, the energy that drives us.”
“The soul has a principle of chaos and a principle of order within it and its health depends upon giving each its due. Too much order and you die of suffocation; too much chaos and you die of dissipation. Every healthy spirituality, therefore, will have to worship at two shrines: the shrines of the God of chaos and the God of order. One God will keep us energized, the other will keep us joined together. these two functions of the soul are always in a creative tension.
That is why we experience such intense struggles sometimes inside of ourselves. Energy and integration, passion and chastity, fire and water, are forever fighting each other, having its own legitimate concerns for our health. Small wonder that living is not a simple task.
Mythically, spirituality is often seen as an interplay between these elements, fire and water. Small wonder. In mythology the soul is forever in a forge, heated and shaped by fire and then cooled off by water.”
That is my spiritual observation for tonight.
And once again, forgive my indiscretion…
DUBLIN, Ireland –, star of the Henry VIII soap opera “The Tudors,” has been charged with public drunkenness and breach of the peace at , police said Monday.
This lapse into [BAD BEHAVIOR] is brought to you by
The Ministry of Pleasure. One of the most visually beautiful
Blogs on my read list. This Is A Taste of their 2008 Calendar.
Forgive me father, for I have sinned…
By ARTHUR MAX and MONIKA SCISLOWSKA, Associated Press Writers
BAD AROLSEN, Germany – Deep in Shari Klages’ memory is an image of herself as a girl in, going into her parents’ bedroom, pulling a thick leather-bound album from the top shelf of a closet and sitting down on the bed to leaf through it.
What she saw was page after page of ink-and-watercolor drawings that convey, with simple lines yet telling detail, the brutality of Dachau, the Nazi concentration camp where her father spent the last weeks of.
Arrival, enslavement, torture, death — the 30 pictures expose the worsening nightmare through the artist’s eye for the essential, and add graphic texture to the body of testimony by Holocaust survivors.
“I have a sense of being quite horrified, of feeling my stomach in my throat,” Klages says. Just by looking at the book, she felt she was doing something wrong and was afraid of being caught.
Now, she finally wants to make the album public. Scholars who have seen it call it historically unique and an artistic treasure.
But who drew the pictures? Only Klages’ father could know. It was he who brought the album back from Dachau when he immigrated to America on a ship with more than 60orphans — and he had committed suicide in 1972 in his garage in , N.J.
The sole clue was a signature at the bottom of several drawings: Porulski.
Klages, 47, has begun a quest to discover who Porulski was, and how her family came to be the custodian of his remarkable artistic legacy. The Associated Press has helped to fill in some of the blanks.
What unfolds is a story of Holocaust survival compressed into two tragic lives, a tale with threads stretching fromto Auschwitz and Dachau, from to suburban England, and finally to a bedroom in where a fatherless girl makes a traumatic discovery.
It shows how today, as the survivors dwindle in number, their children and grandchildren struggle to comprehend the Nazi genocide that indelibly scarred their families, and in the process run into mysteries that may never be solved.
This is Shari Klages’ mystery: How did Arnold Unger, her Polish Jewish father, a 15-year-old newcomer to Dachau, end up in possession of the artwork of a Polish Catholic more than twice his age, who had been in the concentration camps through most of?
None of the records Klages found confirm that the two men knew each other, though they lived in adjacent blocks in Dachau. All that is certain is that Unger overlapped with Porulski during the three weeks the boy spent among nearly 30,000 inmates of Dachau’s main camp.
“He never talked about his experiences in the war,” said Klages. “I don’t recall specifically ever being told about the album, or actually learning that I was the child of a Holocaust survivor. It was just something I always knew.”
As adults, she and her three siblings took turns keeping the album and Unger’s other wartime memorabilia.
The album begins with an image of four prisoners in winter coats carrying suitcases and marching toward Dachau’s watchtower under the rifles of SS guards. It is followed by a scene of two inmates being stripped for a humiliating examination by a kapo, a prisoner working for the Nazis.
One image portrays two prisoners pausing in their work to doff their caps to a soldier escorting a prostitute — intimated by the seam on her stocking. Another shows a leashed dog lunging at a terrified inmate.
The drawings grow more and more debasing. Three prisoners hang by their arms tied behind their backs; a captured escapee is paraded wearing a sign, “Hurray, I am back again”; an inmate is hanged from a scaffold; and, in the final image, a man lies on the ground, shot dead next to the barbed-wire fence under the looming watchtower.
The album also has 258 photographs. Some are copies of well-known, haunting images of piles of victims’ bodies taken by thethat liberated the camp. Others are photographs, apparently taken for Nazi propaganda, portraying Dachau as an idyllic summer camp. Still others are personal snapshots of Unger with Polish refugees or with American soldiers who befriended him.
Barbara Distel, the director of theMemorial Site, said Porulski probably drew the pictures shortly after the camp’s liberation in April 1945. He used identical sheets of paper, ink and watercolors for all 30 pictures, she said, and he “would never have dared” to draw such horrors while he was still under Nazi gaze.
“It’s amazing after so many years that these kinds of documents still turn up,” Distel told the AP. “It’s a unique artifact,” and clearly drawn by someone with an intimate knowledge of the camp’s reality, she said.
artwork has turned up before, but Distel and Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum, who is with the American Jewish University in , say they are unaware of any sequential narrative of camp life comparable to Porulski’s.
“I’ve seen two or three or four, but never 30,” said Berenbaum.
In Coral Springs, Fla., where she now lives, Klages showed the book in 2005 to a neighbor, Avi Hoffman, executive director of the National Center for Jewish Cultural Arts. Hoffman immediately saw its quality and significance. The two became determined to uncover its background and find out if the artist had created an undiscovered body of work.
In August, Klages, Hoffman and Berenbaum went toto begin their hunt. They hired a crew to document it, hoping a film would help finance a foundation to exhibit the book.
They began chipping away at the album’s secrets at the Dachau memorial, outside, where they found an arrival record for Michal Porulski, which listed his profession as artist, in 1941.
They learned that Unger hid the fact that he was Jewish when he reached Dachau three weeks before the war ended. “That probably saved his life,” Hoffman said. They also discovered a strong likelihood that the album’s binding was fashioned from the recycled leather of an SS officer’s uniform.
Unger, an engaging youngster, became an office boy and translator for U.S. occupation authorities at Dachau, which was turned into a displaced persons camp, and obtained a U.S. visa in 1947.
Research by Klages’ group and the AP has begun to pull together the scattered threads of Porulski’s life from long forgotten records at theAcademy of Fine Arts, a tiny museum in Warsaw, and Dachau, the International Tracing Service of the Red Cross, the archives in , Australian immigration records and data from England.
Porulski enrolled in the Warsaw arts academy in 1934 after completing two years of army service. Attached to his neatly written application is a photograph of a good looking young man with light hair and dreamy eyes.
It says he was a farmer’s son, born June 20, 1910, in the central town of Rychwal, although in later records Porulski said he was born five years later.
Chronically poor, he left the academy after failing to secure a loan for his tuition but was later reinstated. Afterinvaded in 1939, he made some money painting watercolor postcards of Nazi-occupied Poland, two of which have survived and are now in the Warsaw Museum of Caricature.
In June 1940, he was arrested in a Nazi roundup “without any reason,” he wrote many years later in an appeal for help from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
Two months later, he and 1,500 others were the first Poles to be shipped from Warsaw to Auschwitz. He spent eight months there, then was sent to the Neuengamme camp and finally to Dachau, near, in May 1941.
In Dachau, according to a brief reference in a Polish book on wartime art, he painted portraits, flowers, folk dance scenes and decoration for a clandestine theater.
In 1949 he sailed toand tried to work as a painter and decorator but mostly lived off friends. He returned to in 1963 and lived in England and . He visited Poland in the early 1970s for several months, and stayed with his sister, Janina Krol, in on the Baltic coast, and another relative outside Warsaw, Wanda Wojcikowska.
He brought his sister paintings of Dachau, his niece, Danuta Ostrowska, now 75, recalls. But her mother threw them away, saying “I can’t look at them.” The family still owns 10 of his mostly prewar paintings.
He was robbed of his money and passport, and‘s communist authorities wanted Porulski out of the country, Wojcikowska’s daughter, Malgorzata Stozek, recalls. “My mother even found a woman willing to marry him, to help him stay in Poland,” she said. But he already had borrowed money from his sister and left.
His letters from England said he found work maintaining bridges, Stozek said. “He wrote that the moment he finished painting a bridge over some river, he had to start again.” It could have been a metaphor for a life going nowhere.
“One day I came to see my mother and she was crying because he wrote to her that he had no money, he was hungry and was sleeping on park benches. He lived in terrible poverty,” Stozek told the AP.
He was so lonely, she said, he had considered suicide.
In 1978 he sent a request for war compensation to the International Tracing Service in the central German town of, which houses the world’s largest archive of concentration camp records and lists of Holocaust victims.
“I have no occupation of any sort. I was unable to resume my studies after all those years in the camps,” he wrote. “I am just by myself, and I live from day to day.”
The ITS replied that it had no authority to give grants, but was sending confirmation of his incarceration to the U.N. refugee agency to support his earlier reparations claim.
Unger also shows up in the Tracing Service, in a 1955 two-page letter he wrote recounting his ordeal that began when he was 9.
Unger’s father had a prosperous furniture business near. “Then the infamous horde of Nazis overran our town, disrupted our life, murdered my parents and little sister, and robbed us of all we had.” He was the only survivor of 50 members of the Unger family.
Christian friends hid him for a while, but he ended up imprisoned inside the Krakow ghetto, then was moved to a series of concentration camps.
His daughter says that after he immigrated to America, he told a cousin with whom he lived inthat his job at Dachau had been to tend the ovens. The Nazis commonly used inmates for such purposes — it was one of the few ways of surviving.
Newly arrived in America, Unger spoke to Newark newspapers of his years of torment, saying he escaped three times during marches between camps but was always recaptured.
At one point, he told the Newark Evening News, he was herded into a gas chamber at Natzweiler camp with 50 other prisoners, but they were spared at the last minute because some of them were electricians whom the Nazis needed for their war effort.
The two lives, briefly intertwined by theand an album of photos and paintings, ended 17 years apart — Unger by hanging himself in 1972, Porulski in 1989 in St. Mary’s Hospital near , of pneumonia and tuberculosis.
The death certificate gives his age as 74 and his profession as “painter (retired).”
Shari Klages was 12 when her father died.
He had just been laid off from his 18-year job in the aeronautics industry, and his wife had been diagnosed with brain cancer. His suicide is given added poignancy by the image of the hanged inmate in the album, and Klages believes it was his Holocaust experience that weighed most heavily on him.
“I have no doubt it was the most significant contributor to his death,” she said.
Associated Press investigative researcher Randy Herschaft incontributed to this report. Arthur Max reported from , and Monika Scislowska from .
On the Net:
Two months ago, the suitcases were packed. My lone, large suitcase sat in my bedroom for nearly six weeks, so full of clothes and personal items, that it took me, E. and our six year old neighbor to zip it closed.
Packing that suitcase was one of the more difficult things I’ve had to do. It was Mission Impossible: Your mission, R., should you choose to accept it is to go through the items you’ve accumulated over nearly three decades and decide which ones you cannot do without. The difficulty of your mission, R., is that you must contain these items in a space totaling 1 m by 0.7 m by 0.4 m. This, of course, includes the clothes you will be wearing for the next months, as well as any personal memorabilia- photos, diaries, stuffed animals, CDs and the like.
I packed and unpacked it four times. Each time I unpacked it, I swore I’d eliminate some of the items that were not absolutely necessary. Each time I packed it again, I would add more ‘stuff’ than the time before. E. finally came in a month and a half later and insisted we zip up the bag so I wouldn’t be tempted to update its contents constantly.
The decision that we would each take one suitcase was made by my father. He took one look at the box of assorted memories we were beginning to prepare and it was final: Four large identical suitcases were purchased- one for each member of the family and a fifth smaller one was dug out of a closet for the documentation we’d collectively need- graduation certificates, personal identification papers, etc.
We waited… and waited… and waited. It was decided we would leave mid to late June- examinations would be over and as we were planning to leave with my aunt and her two children- that was the time considered most convenient for all involved. The day we finally appointed as THE DAY, we woke up to an explosion not 2 km away and a curfew. The trip was postponed a week. The night before we were scheduled to travel, the driver who owned the GMC that would take us to the border excused himself from the trip- his brother had been killed in a shooting. Once again, it was postponed.
There was one point, during the final days of June, where I simply sat on my packed suitcase and cried. By early July, I was convinced we would never leave. I was sure the Iraqi border was as far away, for me, as the borders of Alaska. It had taken us well over two months to decide to leave by car instead of by plane. It had taken us yet another month to settle on Syria as opposed to Jordan. How long would it take us to reschedule leaving?
It happened almost overnight. My aunt called with the exciting news that one of her neighbors was going to leave for Syria in 48 hours because their son was being threatened and they wanted another family on the road with them in another car- like gazelles in the jungle, it’s safer to travel in groups. It was a flurry of activity for two days. We checked to make sure everything we could possibly need was prepared and packed. We arranged for a distant cousin of my moms who was to stay in our house with his family to come the night before we left (we can’t leave the house empty because someone might take it).
It was a tearful farewell as we left the house. One of my other aunts and an uncle came to say goodbye the morning of the trip. It was a solemn morning and I’d been preparing myself for the last two days not to cry. You won’t cry, I kept saying, because you’re coming back. You won’t cry because it’s just a little trip like the ones you used to take to Mosul or Basrah before the war. In spite of my assurances to myself of a safe and happy return, I spent several hours before leaving with a huge lump lodged firmly in my throat. My eyes burned and my nose ran in spite of me. I told myself it was an allergy.
We didn’t sleep the night before we had to leave because there seemed to be so many little things to do… It helped that there was no electricity at all- the area generator wasn’t working and ‘national electricity’ was hopeless. There just wasn’t time to sleep.
The last few hours in the house were a blur. It was time to go and I went from room to room saying goodbye to everything. I said goodbye to my desk- the one I’d used all through high school and college. I said goodbye to the curtains and the bed and the couch. I said goodbye to the armchair E. and I broke when we were younger. I said goodbye to the big table over which we’d gathered for meals and to do homework. I said goodbye to the ghosts of the framed pictures that once hung on the walls, because the pictures have long since been taken down and stored away- but I knew just what hung where. I said goodbye to the silly board games we inevitably fought over- the Arabic Monopoly with the missing cards and money that no one had the heart to throw away.
I knew then as I know now that these were all just items- people are so much more important. Still, a house is like a museum in that it tells a certain history. You look at a cup or stuffed toy and a chapter of memories opens up before your very eyes. It suddenly hit me that I wanted to leave so much less than I thought I did.
Six AM finally came. The GMC waited outside while we gathered the necessities- a thermos of hot tea, biscuits, juice, olives (olives?!) which my dad insisted we take with us in the car, etc. My aunt and uncle watched us sorrowfully. There’s no other word to describe it. It was the same look I got in my eyes when I watched other relatives and friends prepare to leave. It was a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, tinged with anger. Why did the good people have to go?
I cried as we left- in spite of promises not to. The aunt cried… the uncle cried. My parents tried to be stoic but there were tears in their voices as they said their goodbyes. The worst part is saying goodbye and wondering if you’re ever going to see these people again. My uncle tightened the shawl I’d thrown over my hair and advised me firmly to ‘keep it on until you get to the border’. The aunt rushed out behind us as the car pulled out of the garage and dumped a bowl of water on the ground, which is a tradition- its to wish the travelers a safe return… eventually.
The trip was long and uneventful, other than two checkpoints being run by masked men. They asked to see identification, took a cursory glance at the passports and asked where we were going. The same was done for the car behind us. Those checkpoints are terrifying but I’ve learned that the best technique is to avoid eye-contact, answer questions politely and pray under your breath. My mother and I had been careful not to wear any apparent jewelry, just in case, and we were both in long skirts and head scarves.
The trip was long and uneventful, other than two checkpoints being run by masked men. They asked to see identification, took a cursory glance at the passports and asked where we were going. The same was done for the car behind us. Those checkpoints are terrifying but I’ve learned that the best technique is to avoid eye-contact, answer questions politely and pray under your breath. My mother and I had been careful not to wear any apparent jewelry, just in case, and we were both in long skirts and head scarves.
Syria is the only country, other than Jordan, that was allowing people in without a visa. The Jordanians are being horrible with refugees. Families risk being turned back at the Jordanian border, or denied entry at Amman Airport. It’s too high a risk for most families.
We waited for hours, in spite of the fact that the driver we were with had ‘connections’, which meant he’d been to Syria and back so many times, he knew all the right people to bribe for a safe passage through the borders. I sat nervously at the border. The tears had stopped about an hour after we’d left Baghdad. Just seeing the dirty streets, the ruins of buildings and houses, the smoke-filled horizon all helped me realize how fortunate I was to have a chance for something safer.
By the time we were out of Baghdad, my heart was no longer aching as it had been while we were still leaving it. The cars around us on the border were making me nervous. I hated being in the middle of so many possibly explosive vehicles. A part of me wanted to study the faces of the people around me, mostly families, and the other part of me, the one that’s been trained to stay out of trouble the last four years, told me to keep my eyes to myself- it was almost over.
It was finally our turn. I sat stiffly in the car and waited as money passed hands; our passports were looked over and finally stamped. We were ushered along and the driver smiled with satisfaction, “It’s been an easy trip, Alhamdulillah,” he said cheerfully.
As we crossed the border and saw the last of the Iraqi flags, the tears began again. The car was silent except for the prattling of the driver who was telling us stories of escapades he had while crossing the border. I sneaked a look at my mother sitting beside me and her tears were flowing as well. There was simply nothing to say as we left Iraq. I wanted to sob, but I didn’t want to seem like a baby. I didn’t want the driver to think I was ungrateful for the chance to leave what had become a hellish place over the last four and a half years.
The Syrian border was almost equally packed, but the environment was more relaxed. People were getting out of their cars and stretching. Some of them recognized each other and waved or shared woeful stories or comments through the windows of the cars. Most importantly, we were all equal. Sunnis and Shia, Arabs and Kurds… we were all equal in front of the Syrian border personnel.
We were all refugees- rich or poor. And refugees all look the same- there’s a unique expression you’ll find on their faces- relief, mixed with sorrow, tinged with apprehension. The faces almost all look the same.
The first minutes after passing the border were overwhelming. Overwhelming relief and overwhelming sadness… How is it that only a stretch of several kilometers and maybe twenty minutes, so firmly segregates life from death?
How is it that a border no one can see or touch stands between car bombs, militias, death squads and… peace, safety? It’s difficult to believe- even now. I sit here and write this and wonder why I can’t hear the explosions.
I wonder at how the windows don’t rattle as the planes pass overhead. I’m trying to rid myself of the expectation that armed people in black will break through the door and into our lives. I’m trying to let my eyes grow accustomed to streets free of road blocks, hummers and pictures of Muqtada and the rest…
How is it that all of this lies a short car ride away?
The Calm Man who did his best at reporting
A photo from April of 1971 of the towers
The Man who changed us all
The Man who gave his life for his faith
I want to write, I mean, I’ve been meaning to write, yet I don’t know what to write. I don’t know if it is you or it is me, but it seems that the world has shifted, or I have shifted, or I am just going crazy.
If I was standing on my balcony right now, staring out into space, would you see me? Would you know that my balcony is the best place to sit and watch the sky? I wouldn’t trade my 17th story view of the city for any real estate in the city, unless of course if was either higher up the mountain or in a tower greater than the one I live in.
There is this really handsome man I’ve been reading – yes, that’s him above! He says he’s shy, so I mention him here to say hello and to tell him that I have listed him on “The List.” Not that my list is any more important than any other list. Because I am just me. And lately I haven’t been feeling me – does that make sense? We have exited a full moon phase the end of August and the new moon is Tuesday the 11th…
I’ve decided to drop the Religions of Tibet because it is outside my study and I think that Christian Ethics and Christian Origins will keep me plenty busy this term. I am still at full time status with six credits.
DISCLAIMER: I AM A DISABLED STUDENT LIVING WITH AIDS, SO I HAVE MET FULL TIME STATUS. But thank you for your concern. I don’t need to be told directions and rules.
Tomorrow all bets are off as we are in “real time” study mode for the rest of the semester. We are down to drop dates and penalties now, all the sundry introductions have been made and things will begin to get crazy now, with deadlines, papers and can you imagine, Mid Terms!! I know, I am rambling about nothing!!!
I’ve been having some really funky dreams as of late. And they have been really great visual landscapes, with adventure and people I know, which is strange, because the people in my dreams are not presently a part of my life. They are “in Technicolor dreams” happening in the present, but with people from the past! Go figure?? I haven’t had the right mind to write any of them down, but as of late they have been traveling dreams, I’ve been revisiting places from my past, YIKES!! What is this a life review period? OY!!
I’ve just been feeling a little bit funky as of late, and I don’t know if this is because of school starting again, the fact that I am not working any more, and I am having to retrain my body to live on a day schedule instead of a night schedule. I am missing some of my friends, people I held close to me, advisers who have been silent for a long time. Every time I see the “Combined Jewish Appeal” commercial with them singing Hava Nagila, the world ‘Mespucah’ goes through my head. ‘Mespucah’ is Yiddish for family, and I only used that term with few people that I don’t see very often at all any more, and I miss them.
The Holidays will soon be upon us here in Canada. One of my boys is coming home for the Thanksgiving Holidays and I am feeling a little bit maternal. My feminist sensibilities are getting the best of me, I cannot wait to see him. OY!!
Men – Inspiration – Profanely Sacred – Aye Mi Madre!!
I have been working on my body for the last few months, hoping that these new medications would facilitate the beginning of new bodily shape, so I got a membership to the new EV Gym located on the downtown campus. So this is what I want for Christmas… Tomorrow begins a new schedule and I will be updating accordingly. Tomorrow is another day and I will hit a meeting tomorrow night. Stay tuned…
Until Later, Peeps!!!
This is the exact kind of Religious SHIT that I hate – HATE about Christian Fundamentalists. That you believe that you hold sway over the government any more than the rest. This is why America needs a clear SEPARATION between CHURCH and STATE.
In the year 2007, Straight Evangelical Minions are so concerned with Gay Rights, Hate Crimes Legislation, AIDS funds, Gay Marriage, that you are going to spend millions of dollars and hundreds of hours of lobby time to sway the electorate to elect a God Damned President?
Oh the Gays are gonna come and get us, they threaten the sanctity of marriage, Oh the gays want Special Treatment, Rights, and Protection from Hate Crimes!! Oh Oh Oh….
The Evangelicals are on another Witch Hunt. They are going to press the Gay Issue on the Candidates and they will attempt to KILL any nomination of any candidate who is soft on the Homosexuals, Gays and Lesbians. I guess we are not past the wedging of Sexual Orientation or Sexual Orientation issues into a Presidential Campaign.
It is really sad when you think that all Evangelicals do with their spare time is THINK about all things GAY!!! Does this strike anyone as problematic for them and informative for us?
God, We pray for Salvation from Evangelical…
- Osama Bin Laden is still alive [See Video]
- The United States is engaged in a war [Read:IRAQ] that they cannot win
- President George Bush is an idiot – And needs to be IMPEACHED
- Your foreign policy needs work
- People need health care
- There are children going without food
- There is not enough money for People with AIDS across the board
- All you Christians can think about is the GAY AGENDA!! Pardon me while I THROW UP!!! You limey bastards…And God Wept!!!
by The Associated Press
Posted: September 9, 2007 – 3:00 pm ET
(Washington) Prominent evangelical leaders who spent the summer hoping Fred Thompson would emerge as their favored Republican presidential contender are having doubts as he begins his long-teased campaign.
For social conservatives dissatisfied with other GOP choices, the “Law & Order” actor and former Tennessee senator represents a Ronald Reagan-like figure, someone they hope will agree with them on issues and stands a chance of winning.
But Thompson’s lack of a full endorsement of a federal gay marriage amendment and his delay in entering the race are partly responsible for a sudden shyness among leading evangelicals.
“A month or two ago, I sensed there was some urgency for people to make a move and find a candidate,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a Washington-based conservative Christian group. “Right now, I think people are stepping back a little and watching. The field is still very fluid.”
A loose network of influential evangelical leaders known as the Arlington Group met privately Wednesday and Thursday in Washington to discuss presidential politics and other issues, participants said.
Although the group does not endorse candidates, individual members have done so in the past, and one of the organization’s founding principles is to get the movement’s leaders on the same page when possible.
Some in the meeting shared their presidential leanings, but the consensus was that more time is needed to gauge Thompson’s performance, according to a participant.
A clearer picture may develop Oct. 19-21 during a “Values Voter Summit” in Washington that will include a presidential straw poll.
In June, Thompson met privately with several Arlington Group members, many of whom are uncomfortable with the GOP top tier for various reasons: Arizona Sen. John McCain for championing campaign-finance overhaul and labeling some evangelical figures “agents of intolerance”; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for backing abortion rights and some gay rights; and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for his social-issue policy reversals and – for some members – his Mormon faith.
With the post-Labor Day primary push under way, the 65-year-old Thompson faces a crucial month to prove he is the best alternative for a key GOP constituency.
“He’s got a real opportunity to be the most credible conservative candidate across the board,” said Gary Bauer, a one-time presidential aspirant who heads the advocacy group American Values. “Whether he can put it all together remains to be seen. But he’s got a real chance to emerge as the major conservative alternative to Giuliani.”
Others are skeptical about whether Thompson can fill that role.
Rick Scarborough, a Southern Baptist preacher and president of Texas-based Vision America, said that while he is encouraged by Thompson’s strong voting record in the Senate against abortion, he questioned the candidate’s commitment to social issues.
“The problem I’m having is that I don’t see any blood trail,” Scarborough said. “When you really take a stand on issues dear to the heart of social conservatives, you’re going to shed some blood in the process. And so far, Fred Thompson’s political career has been wrinkle-free.”
Thompson’s long-delayed entry is another concern, Scarborough said. “The hesitancy has made us wonder whether he has the stomach for what it’s going to take,” he said.
Earlier this summer, doubts crept in following reports on Thompson’s role in crafting campaign finance reform and stories that he lobbied for an abortion rights group.
More recently, Thompson has come under scrutiny for his position on a constitutional amendment on gay marriage, a defining issue for the Christian right.
Thompson over the past month has stated on more than one occasion that he supports an amendment that would prohibit states from imposing their gay marriage laws on other states. (story) That falls well short of what evangelical leaders want: an amendment that would bar gay marriage nationwide.
Thompson’s position surprised evangelical leaders who say they met with him in June and came away thinking he shared their desire for a more sweeping constitutional change. Now, they wonder if he is flip-flopping.
One person in attendance – Mathew Staver of the Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based conservative legal group – said Thompson described going back and forth about the merits of an amendment prohibiting gay marriage nationwide.
“At one time, he said he was against it,” Staver said. “Then he said in June he was for it. So if now he’s saying he’s against it, to me that’s a double-minded person. And that would be a real concern for religious conservatives.”
Messages left with Thompson campaign were not returned.
Several Christian right leaders said opposition to a broad amendment would hurt Thompson with evangelicals, but not necessarily cause irreparable harm. Others played down the issue, pointing out that their favored approach was politically impossible anyway because Democrats control the House and Senate.
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said Thompson’s position is consistent with the former senator’s support for limited federal government and giving power to the states.
Land said it is healthy that expectations for Thompson have diminished from unrealistic levels and he does not think evangelical excitement has dimmed for a man he described as a “masterful retail politician.”
Many evangelical leaders said one of Thompson’s biggest draws is his perceived electability. Some are watching whether former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, can build on his second place finish last month in the Iowa straw poll.
Tim Wildmon, president of the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association, said that while he likes Huckabee, Thompson’s better name recognition and fundraising potential is a strong draw for evangelicals.
“This is a dilemma a lot of people have,” Wildmon said. “They want to support the candidate that most reflects their values. “But at the same time, you have to balance that against finding someone who can actually win.”
2008 Men On A Mission Calendar – Version 2
Originally Found at: The Ministry of Pleasure…
Get your calender and Information: Mormons Exposed
There is great ministry testimonies on the site under “Meet the Missionaries.” When I studied the Mormons in my “Death and Dying” Course many years ago, “Mission” was very important to each young person. Aside from the eye candy, I think that there is also a learning dimension to this site, if you look for it.
“Brandon’s mission took him to Mozambique, one of the poorest countries in the world. He witnessed people dying on a daily basis from disease and saw firsthand how HIV has ravaged Africa. Brandon did his best to affect change by teaching English, rebuilding homes and giving medical care and love to orphans as well as assisting men and women to develop job skills and find work. In addition, Brandon focused on the religious aspects of his mission by helping to build chapels and baptizing 69 converts.
Brandon is appearing in the calendar because he would like to help create a more positive view of returning missionaries among non-church members. Echoing the sentiments of many of the other models, Brandon says, “We are down to earth just like everyone else. We live to do good things, but we make mistakes as well. We aren’t perfect going out there and we aren’t perfect coming back.”
JetBlue and a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official, identified as “Inspector Harris,” would not let Raed Jarrar board his flight at John F. Kennedy Airport until he agreed to cover his t-shirt, which read “We Will Not Be Silent” in English and Arabic script. Harris told Jarrar that it is impermissible to wear an Arabic shirt to an airport and equated it to a “person wearing a t-shirt at a bank stating, ‘I am a robber.’” The American Civil Liberties Union and New York Civil Liberties Union today filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the TSA official and JetBlue Airways.
“It is a dangerous and slippery slope when we allow our government to take away a person’s rights because of his speech or ethnic background,” said Reginald Shuford, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program. “Racial profiling is illegal and ineffective and has no place in a democratic society.”
I’ve had this blogger on my read list for some time, along with Baghdad Burning, since the war in Iraq began. I happened upon Raed’s blog today and saw this latest entry and I thought I’d share it with you, since it is relevant and appropriate. You can click on the link above and find out more.
Let’s Hold A Funeral For Misguided Principles
by Rev. Lea Brown
[BACKGROUND: In August 2007, a fundamentalist mega-church in Texas refused to conduct funeral services when it found out the deceased man was gay. Rev. Lea Brown, the openly lesbian pastor of Wichita Falls Metropolitan Community Church (Texas) and a veteran of the U.S. Army, has a few thoughts about that.]
Whew. I don’t know about you, but I sure sleep better at night knowing the Christian churches in Texas are standing by their principles.
Take the High Point Church in Arlington, Texas, led by Rev. Gary Simons (brother-in-law of mega-church pastor Joel Osteen). The church believes that homosexuality is a sin. When they recently found out that they had inadvertently (according to their version) agreed to provide a funeral for a gay man, they withdrew their invitation 24 hours before the event on the principle that they didn’t want to appear to be endorsing “that lifestyle.” Sure, the grieving family was left scrambling to find an appropriate venue in which to say goodbye to their loved one, and then contact 100 expected guests about the change of location in their time of sorrow. But hey, principles are principles.
Aren’t you glad that at least in Texas there are church folks who are willing to risk looking like heartless bigots rather than betray what they believe to be their “Christian” beliefs?
I mean, let’s give credit where credit is due. They chose one principle that they believe is true (homosexuality and homosexuals must be rejected), when there are so many principles that they could have chosen instead. Let’s review a few, shall we?
First, there is the principle of compassion, which dictates that we seek to understand the suffering of others, and do what we can through kindness to help in times of need. Cecil Howard Sinclair, the gay man who died at the age of 46 from an infection prior to heart surgery, didn’t really need to have the funeral at High Point Church. But his mentally challenged brother probably did. Mr. Sinclair’s brother works as a High Point janitor, cleaning the toilets, dusting the pews, and sweeping the floors that church members soil each week. Perhaps saying goodbye to his brother in a familiar place would have been comforting to him, and would have given him some peace as he returned to work each day in the weeks and months after his brother’s passing. Perhaps all of Mr. Sinclair’s family, including his partner, might have been comforted by the knowledge that the 5,000-member church actually cared about them at such a difficult time.
We could say that the church acted with compassion when it offered to pay for a community center space for the funeral, and provide food and a video presentation for those attending the service. In fact, we could even say they came dangerously close to violating their principle by these actions. But thank goodness they didn’t offer to find another church space for the funeral. That would imply homosexuals and their loved ones actually deserve to grieve in a sacred place, as if God was actually with them in their pain. And we could probably agree that feeding homosexuals and their families is acceptable, but for heaven’s sake – don’t pray with them or stand with them at the graveside! Because that would certainly imply endorsement of two people of the same gender being in love with each other, wouldn’t it?
Then there is the principle of gratitude. Cecil Howard Sinclair was a veteran of the United States Navy, and he served in the first Gulf War. He was willing to risk his life for our country, and for principles like “freedom of religion” that High Point members enjoy each day. Perhaps their willingness to make a video presentation of Mr. Sinclair’s life for the funeral was the way they chose to express their gratitude. Thankfully, we can again be assured that they didn’t compromise their principles though, because they edited out the images that showed Cecil being affectionate with his partner. After all, we wouldn’t want a veteran’s image to be tarnished with pictures like that.
Finally, there is the principle of hospitality. In the Bible, in the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 10 Jesus instructs his followers to shake the dust from their feet from any town that does not welcome them warmly and listen to what they have to say. It seems that hospitality was rather important to Jesus, because he said that any such town would actually be worse off than Sodom and Gomorrah at the day of judgment. (Funny, he never mentioned homosexuality as being the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah – just their lack of hospitality). How courageous of High Point Church (which has a larger population than many towns in Texas) to risk fire and brimstone. They could have considered entertaining the notion that perhaps being a Christian is more about love than about unbending principles, but they didn’t. Jesus would be so proud!
Now, it is true that not all churches in Texas are so principled. Right here in my own town of Wichita Falls there is a church that would have gladly received the family of Cecil Howard Sinclair. At Wichita Falls Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), we celebrate the lives of all of God’s people of all sexual orientations. In fact, we would even lovingly welcome anyone from High Point Church into our sanctuary. Lest we forget, even Jesus reached out with compassion to those who were the oppressors of his day, just as he did when he healed the Roman centurion’s son. The fundamental principle we live by is this one: Love your neighbor as yourself. We think that means loving all of our neighbors – straight, bisexual, transgender, Baptist, Muslim, lesbian, HIV+, poor, Latino, queer, disabled, Republican, veteran, peace-activist, immigrant, and gay.
So, I guess we could say that High Point Church doesn’t have the corner on principles – just on their particular principle, which does indeed put them at great risk of looking like heartless bigots. But like many others on a spiritual path, those of us at Wichita Falls MCC will love and pray for them anyway. We will pray, “Forgive them, God, for they know not what they do.” We will pray for their healing, that they might change their ways. We will pray that God will bless them and be with them, and that our actions would truly show that we desire to love those at High Point Church just as we love ourselves.
I guess we just have different principles.
Rev. Lea Brown is the openly lesbian pastor of Wichita Falls Metropolitan Community Church, Wichita Falls, Texas, and a veteran of the U.S. Army
by Nancy Armour, Associated Press
(San Jose, California) Paul and Morgan Hamm aren’t yet the gymnasts they were the last time they were on the floor.
Then again, the U.S. men aren’t what they were in 2004, either.
Competing for the first time since the Athens Olympics, the Hamms showed why they were among the best in the world. But it was clear they are still working their way back into competitive form.
“First one’s out of the way,” Paul said afterward.
Paul, the Olympic champion, scored a 15.7 on floor that was not only best in the event, but among the highest of the competition. Morgan was solid on floor until he under-rotated his final tumbling pass, needing to take a few steps to steady himself. Even with the error, he scored a 14.950 that put him in eighth place.
Both got hung up on the pommel horse, and neither cracked 14.0, which is not a world-level score under the new scoring system.
At least they have an excuse. The rest of the men at the U.S. gymnastics championships have been working for three years, and had very little to show for it that will scare China, Japan or Romania.
David Durante had a few nice routines, Kevin Tan was spectacular on the still rings and Sasha Artemev looks good even when he’s faltering. Durante and Artemev were tied for the lead going into Friday night’s final competition. Other than that, though, there were too many spills and splats from guys who are expected to be leading the way.
Which explains why everyone was so eager for the Hamms to come back.
Paul is the first U.S. man to win the Olympic title, and he and Morgan were the catalyst for the U.S. men’s resurgence in the sport. With the two on the team, the U.S. men won a silver medal at the 2003 world championships and the 2004 Olympics – the first U.S. team medal since the golden boys of 1984.
Without them, the Americans crashed to 13th place at last year’s worlds. Do that again at next month’s worlds in Stuttgart, Germany, and the United States won’t be able to send a full team to the Beijing Olympics. Only the top 12 teams will qualify for Beijing.
The Hamms aren’t planning to compete at worlds – floor and pommel horse are their only fine-tuned routines right now – and say they’re confident the Americans can qualify for Beijing without them. But it’s clear to see how badly the U.S. team will need them at the Olympics.
The rest of the Americans look as if they’re plodding through their routines, just trying to gut them out. There is none of China’s sheer power or any of Japan’s fluidity. And those aren’t the only teams the Americans have to worry about. Everyone in the world has gotten better; Switzerland finished ahead of the United States last year.
The Hamms, though, have undeniable star power. Always have. Their routines just look better – crisper, quicker and with more polished tricks. Their tumbling passes are bigger than anyone else’s, and even their mistakes don’t look as bad as some of the cringe-producing crashes that were out there.
In short, they look like Olympians while most of their competitors look like wannabes.
The twins decided to take some time off after the controversy that followed Paul’s gold medal, which he was forced to defend all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. They finished up their degrees at Ohio State, and got the chance to be “regular” guys.
They announced their comeback in February, and it was clear they were nervous about their first competition in three years.
“Typically, you don’t start off at the U.S. championships as your first competition,” Paul said Tuesday.
The sport has changed dramatically in their absence, thanks to the overhauled scoring system. The traditional 10.0 scale is out, and longer routines jam-packed with tough skills are in. The twins have spent hours evaluating the new scoring system and tweaking their routines, and this was their chance to see how the work they’d done in the gym translated to the competition floor.
They may not have been perfect. But it’s a long road to Beijing, and this was a solid start.
This IS Mr. Chad Fox !!!
So I’ve cranked up a pod cast and I am currently jamming to The Bad Cast!!!
The boys of Summer are on their way back to the Sphere, so make sure you go check out the boys on the sidebar. And I think that if enough people write him and ask, maybe just maybe Mr. Chad Fox might grace us with a new podcast for Summer’s coming to an end.
In just a couple of weeks, we return to the grind of University! Finally! We will be shifting gears in the coming weeks to a Fall format. If you have any requests for writing or publishing please let me know.
My publishing partner has the preface to our chat book of the three writers from my birthday celebration. Ben Leto, Angela Leuck and Cooper from B.C. will be featured in my first book to be published this fall. The books is titled “Celebration!!”
These books will go on sale here on the blog in the coming weeks.
I am also putting together several other writing projects in bound form. If you would like customized copies of some of my “Pages” writing please let me know. We thought that putting these small booklets together and publishing them ourselves, that we could offer them for sale here on the blog.
Just a little shameless publishing advertising for myself!!!
We have upgraded the blog to accommodate more uploads and I am working on adding audio-visual widgets to my sidebar so that I can share with you some music for your listening pleasure.
Big Things are happening here The Evolution of Jeremy is Evolving once again.
Publishing will come from Miracle Press here in Montreal.
Go visit Scott and Chad and tell them I sent you!! The boys are coming back, we are still waiting on a return confirmation from Knotty Boy out in Etna! Get out there and read, read, read…
Requests for writing and most importantly your input, comments and visits are very important to us here at Evolution. We look forward to offering you some NEW works in the coming weeks and months…
By CHARLES J. HANLEY and ARIEL DAVID, Associated Press Writers
PERUGIA, Italy – In a hidden corner of‘s busy Fiumicino Airport, police dug quietly through a traveler’s checked baggage, looking for smuggled drugs. What they found instead was a catalog of weapons, a clue to something bigger.
Their discovery led anti-Mafia investigators down a monthslong trail of telephone and e-mail intercepts, into the midst of a huge black-market transaction, as Iraqi and Italian partners haggled over shipping more than 100,000 Russian-made automatic weapons into the bloodbath of Iraq.
As the secretive, $40 million deal neared completion, Italian authorities moved in, making arrests and breaking it up. But key questions remain unanswered.
For one thing, The Associated Press has learned that Iraqi government officials were involved in the deal, apparently without the knowledge of the U.S. Baghdad command — a departure from the usual pattern of U.S.-overseen arms purchases.
Why these officials resorted to “black” channels and where the weapons were headed is unclear.
The purchase would merely have been the most spectacular example of how Iraq has become a magnet for arms traffickers and a place of vanishing weapons stockpiles and uncontrolled gun markets since the 2003 U.S. invasion and the onset of civil war.
Some guns the U.S. bought for Iraq’s police and army are unaccounted for, possibly fallen into the hands of insurgents or sectarian militias. Meanwhile, the planned replacement of the army’s AK-47s with U.S.-made M-16s may throw more assault rifles onto the black market. And the weapons free-for-all apparently is spilling over borders: Turkey and Iran complain U.S.-supplied guns are flowing from Iraq to anti-government militants on their soil.
Iraqi middlemen in the Italian deal, in intercepted e-mails, claimed the arrangement had official American approval. A U.S. spokesman in Baghdad denied that.
“Iraqi officials did not make MNSTC-I aware that they were making purchases,” Lt. Col.of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq (MNSTC-I), which oversees arming and training of the Iraqi police and army, told the AP.
Operation Parabellum, the investigation led by Dario Razzi, anti-Mafia prosecutor in this central Italian city, began in 2005 as a routine investigation into drug trafficking by organized-crime figures, branched out into an inquiry into arms dealing with, and then widened to Iraq.
Court documents obtained by the AP show that Razzi’s break came early last year when police monitoring one of the drug suspects covertly opened his luggage as he left on a flight to Libya. Instead of the expected drugs, they found helmets, bulletproof vests and the weapons catalog.
Tapping telephones, monitoring e-mails, Razzi’s investigators followed the trail to a group of Italian businessmen, otherwise unrelated to the drug probe, who were working to sell arms to Libya and, by late 2006, to Iraq as well, through offshore companies they set up inand .
Four Italians have been arrested and are awaiting court indictment for allegedly creating a criminal association and alleged arms trafficking — trading in weapons without a government license. A fifth Italian is being sought in Africa. In addition, 13 other Italians were arrested on drug charges.
In the documents, Razzi describes it as “strange” that the U.S.-supported Iraqi government would seek such weapons via the black market.
Investigators say the prospect of an Iraq deal was raised last November, when an Iraqi-owned trading firm e-mailed Massimo Bettinotti, 39, owner of the Malta-based MIR Ltd., about whether MIR could supply 100,000 AK-47 assault rifles and 10,000 machine guns “to the Iraqi Interior Ministry,” adding that “this deal is approved by America and Iraq.”
The go-between — the Al-Handal General Trading Co. in— apparently had communicated with Bettinotti earlier about buying night visors and had been told MIR could also procure weapons.
Al-Handal has figured in questionable dealings before, having been identified by U.S. investigators three years ago as a “front company” in Iraq’s Oil-for-Food scandal.
The Interior Ministry’s need at that point for such a massive weapons shipment is unclear. The U.S. training command had already reported it would arm all Interior Ministry police by the end of 2006 through its own three-year-old program, which as of July 26 has bought 701,000 weapons for the Iraqi army and police with $237 million in U.S. government funds.
Negotiations on the deal progressed quickly in e-mail exchanges between the Italians and Iraqi middlemen of the al-Handal company and its parent al-Thuraya Group. But at times the discussion turned murky and nervous.
The Iraqis alternately indicated the Interior Ministry or “security ministries” would be the end users. At one point, a worried Bettinotti e-mailed, “We prefer to speak about this deal face to face and not by e-mail.”
The Italians sent several offers of various types and quantities of rifles, with photos included. The negotiating focused on the source of the weapons: The Iraqi middlemen said their buyer insisted they be Russian-made, but the Italians wanted to sell AK-47s made in China, where they had better contacts.
“We are in a hurry with this deal,” an impatient Waleed Noori al-Handal, Jordan-based general manager of the Iraqi firm, wrote the Italians on Nov. 13 in one of the e-mails seen by AP.
He added, in apparent allusion to the shipment’s clandestine nature, “You mustn’t worry if it’s a problem to import these goods directly into Iraq. We can bring the product to another country and then transfer it to Iraq.”
By December, the Italians, having found a Bulgarian broker, were offering Russian-made goods: 50,000 AKM rifles, an improved version of the AK-47; 50,000 AKMS rifles, the same gun with folding stock; and 5,000 PKM machine guns.
The Iraqis quibbled over the asking price, $39.7 million, but seemed satisfied. The Italians were set for a $6.6 million profit, the court documents show, and were already discussing air transport for the weapons. At this point prosecutor Razzi acted, seeking an arrest warrant from acourt.
“The negotiation with Iraq is developing very quickly,” he wrote the judge.
On Feb. 12, in seven locations across, police arrested the 17 men, including the four alleged arms traffickers: Bettinotti; Gianluca Squarzolo, 39, the man whose luggage had yielded the original clue; Ermete Moretti, 55, and Serafino Rossi, 64. If convicted, they could be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison.
The at-large fifth man, Vittorio Dordi, 42, was believed to be in the, where he apparently is involved in the diamond trade. Italian authorities were seeking information on him from the African country.
In the parallelcase, the Italians allegedly paid two Libyan Defense Ministry officials about $500,000 in kickbacks to speed that transaction for Chinese-made assault rifles. It isn’t known whether such bribes were a factor in the Iraq deal. No Libyans or Iraqis are known to have been detained in connection with the cases.
Al-Handal’s operations have caught investigators’ notice before. In 1996-2003, the company was involved as a broker in the kickback scandal known as Oil for Food, thesays.
In that program, Iraq under U.N. economic sanctions bought food and other necessities with U.N.-supervised oil revenues. Foreign companies, often through intermediaries, surreptitiously kicked back payments to officials of‘s Iraqi government in exchange for such supply contracts.
Those Iraqi middlemen also engaged in “misrepresenting the origin or final destination of goods,” said the 2004 report of the CIA’s Iraq Survey Group, which investigated both Iraq’s defunct advanced weapons programs and Oil for Food.
That report also alleged that during this period Al-Handal General Trading, from its bases inand Jordan, secretly moved unspecified “equipment” into Iraq that was forbidden by the U.N. sanctions.
Reached at his office in, Waleed Noori al-Handal denied the family firm had done anything wrong in the Italian arms case.
“We don’t have anything to hide,” he told the AP.
Citing the names of “friends” in top U.S. military ranks in Iraq, al-Handal said his company has fulfilled scores of supply and service contracts for the U.S. occupation. Asked why he claimed U.S. approval for the abortive Italian weapons purchase, he said he had a document from the“that says, ‘We allow al-Thuraya Group to do all kinds of business.’”
In Baghdad, the Interior Ministry wouldn’t discuss the AK-47 transaction on the record. But a senior ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity, acknowledged it had sought the weapons through al-Handal.
Asked about the irregular channels used, he said the ministry “doesn’t ask the supplier how these weapons are obtained.”
Although this official refused to discuss details, he said “most” of the 105,000 weapons were meant for police in Iraq’s western province of Anbar. That statement raised questions, however, since Pentagon reports list only 161,000 trained police across all 18 of Iraq’s provinces, and say the ministry has been issued 169,280 AK-47s, 167,789 pistols and 16,398 machine guns for them and 28,000 border police.
A July 26 Pentagon report said 20,847 other AK-47s purchased for the Interior Ministry have not yet been delivered. Iraqi officials complain that the U.S. supply of equipment, from bullets to uniforms, has been slow.
A Pentagon report in June may have touched on another possible destination for weapons obtained via secretive channels, noting that “militia infiltration of local police remains a significant problem.” Shiite Muslim militias in Iraq’s civil war have long been known to find cover and weapons within the Interior Ministry.
In fact, in a further sign of poor controls on the flow of arms into Iraq, a July 31 audit report by the U.S.said the U.S. command’s books don’t contain records on 190,000 AK-47s and other weapons, more than half those issued in 2004-2005 to Iraqi forces. This makes it difficult to trace weapons that may be passed on to militias or insurgents.
, meanwhile, has described the Interior Ministry’s accounting of police equipment as unreliable.
Here in, Razzi expressed puzzlement at the Iraqi officials’ circumvention of U.S. supply routes.
“It seems strange that a pro-Western government, supported by theand other NATO countries on its own territory, would seek Russian or Chinese weapons through questionable channels,” the anti-Mafia prosecutor wrote in seeking the arrest warrant that short-circuited the complex deal.
I’m reading again, “I Heard the Owl Call My Name” and I am in the mindset to write about the custodianship of the living earth. The earth is in a shift, I think we can all agree on that – and attention is now on prevention and maintenance of the earth as it exists today. I have written recently about the fact that many people in my own community are not “Being Maintained” by anyone, they are lost among the crowd, banished to sidewalks, doorways and shelters. What can I do to change that? Write…
What if the governments of the world decided to stop warring and fighting amongst themselves? How much money would we have to spend on other things like food, shelter and water? I heard a comment on late night radio last night that
“There will be wars fought over drinking water!”
I am sure that there are some who think about the Order who seek to bring down the number of earths inhabitants by the millions. There is a surplus in population in certain areas of the world, and for some that is too much, and they would rather see them eradicated than to house and feed them.
The earth is sputtering on its axis. Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Hurricane, Oceanic changes to salinity and food source and the cooling of warm water fisheries all over the globe are causing catastrophic changes to major areas of the worlds oceans. How many more signs do we need from Mother Earth to tell us that something is wrong? And if we don’t stop with our preoccupation with war, division, killing and ignorance, that when “IT” happens we will not survive whatever IT will unleash.
I know better than to sit in my what if’s and coulda, woulda, shoulda! I can look out my windows from here and see trees and grass and the mountain off to the North. We can look out at our world and know that there are forests and people and animals who live amongst that forest. Forests are burning – trees are dying – infestations of beetles are killing swaths of forest across Canada, borne on the winds moving West to East. But I wonder what haven’t we done as custodians of the earth to try and mitigate these things from happening.
What if, The Almighty came down from heaven and told warring factions to lay down their arms, and those in power were removed and power was granted to the masses to govern themselves and the wars stopped all over the earth, not just in certain areas. All the warring areas on the globe. What if we heard from on high that “they” believe that wars fought over ideologies and factions needed to end today, right now, for us to stop killing each other and become custodians to one another. How would that change the face of the earth?
Is there a way for the world to get up and state unanimously that the wars should end? Can we impeach presidents around the world, in countries that are sponsoring, funding and are waging wars on other peoples? Do you see what I am asking here?
We truly need to depose several key world leaders, and the American President AND his entire cabinet need to be removed from office, sooner than later. Because America has been hijacked and “Nazi Control” is becoming an adjective to explain George W. Bush.
Mr. Bush, we are not With you -
And We Stand Against You!! It is time to leave Office…
DO WE want to maintain another Hitler in office? Do we want this man making law and imposing unconstitutional amendments upon his people and the world? Because if he does it – the world is watching and you know, the only reason Hitler was so successful at what he did in the Holocaust, was because the people listened to him, and if the American President can do what he is doing, that gives free reign to other leaders to do the same!!! Bush still has the ears of many world leaders, who are not MAN or WOMAN enough to say NO! We will not follow you. So what do we do?
There are some in power who would see people determined to be locked down and subjugated. That is already happening all over the globe, in many countries. Darfur, Sudan and in other areas of Africa, people are corralled into camps, with no water, electricity or better yet SHELTER. People are being slaughtered by militia men. We need to stop them and the killing needs to end. Genocide is happening in OUR time once again, and on many fronts, we must stop the genocide because:
“We Have Failed to Remember
and We Have Failed to Never
Let It Happen Again”
In the Middle East, the most contentious area of the globe, not to mention Iraq and the Fertile Crescent area of the world including Afghanistan, the militias and the Taliban are trying to eradicate (on a mass scale) entire peoples akin to the likes of Adolf Hitler. If we prayed for the savior to come again and save us, this would be the time and the place.
We must now act, decisively and verbally. We need to lobby those who are in power to do the right thing. We need to Impeach the President. We need to stop the killing in Darfur, we need to stop the wars in the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan. We need people on the ground who can be trusted to help reconcile the factions that are fighting with each other and those factions who have fighting going on within themselves. We need ambassadors to get in the game and negotiations must be made to end the worlds strife and wars. If we don’t start this now, WHO is going to take our place later to hold those in office accountable for
“Crimes Against Humanity”
It’s not about who – but What is in this photo, read on…
There are too many people around the globe, being ignored. There are entire continents and nations of people that need to be cared for, not to forget those people in warring countries who need to be fed, re-housed and repatriated back to where they came from, those who had to flee to save their own lives. Rich countries sit back and say “we are doing all we can for those inside our borders.”
Yet on the European continent we know for a fact that there are disenfranchised peoples, in the millions, who are not being cared for properly because of the arrogance of status, ethnic superiority and ignorance to accept everyone for who they are not what form of dress or religious affiliation they identify with.
It comes down to the people to start the tide of Anarchy and Dissension. It is time to take back our land and our government from those who have taken it from us. They have been poor stewards of the land, the environment and of peoples. We must stop this – there is too much conflict in the world, so much that any “other” needs are being ignored at the expense of the whole, for a chosen few.
It Is Time to:
Bring the Soldiers Home – Stop the Wars. You either follow certain prescriptions here: (1) You bring ALL warring leaders to Justice, (2) Let them kill each other and save us the headache, or (3) You bring ‘Just’ Diplomatic Solutions to Warring Factions and Areas – and Sit Down and HAMMER out Peace Agreements and Co-Existence Clauses.
Isn’t it time to sit down and think and come to the realization that what war has done for the last 4 years has NOT worked, so let’s allow the Diplomats to work on Peace.
The Mission is NOT Accomplished.
Peace and Democracy has not been attained and WON’T be attained with the present course of action. WAR does not create Democracy – it Breeds Contempt, Rancor, Hatred and brings Division instead of creating Unity.
In Stopping Wars, Governments Agree to Equal care to all Soldiers repatriated home and for their families. And Agree to Rebuild war torn areas with the funds used to carry out war, and Care for those most affected by the war in their Respective regions.
This applies to Canada and the United States and All Countries involved in wars worldwide. It is NOT Unpatriotic to stand against WAR!! It is NOT Unpatriotic to stand against a President or a sitting Prime Minister.
Democracy is built on the premise of government for the people by the people !! Well People need to start speaking out for Change…
The ‘People’ are being AND have been hugely ignored, save those who support the puppet in office and his cronies he protects. The Ship is Sinking – and is Going down. Who is going to save us? It comes down to us, those of us who are writing around the world, to speak up and ask each and every one of our readers to join this movement. To call your leaders and rulers to task, to make them accountable not only to you the citizens of the country that you reside in, but also to the immigrants who have resettled there as well. Leaders need to be accountable to the earth as well.
Or We Shall Pay when Catastrophe Occurs
We cannot remain self absorbed and self centered. We must step beyond the borders of nationalism and ethnic superiority. We all must be made equal, in that we must begin to love and take care of each other and to become custodians of the world at large, and it begins with me. It begins with you. It continues with US. We must, with a resounding voice say “we have had enough of this…” It is time to end this.
Before We Kill Each Other Trying to create Peace !!!
We must become better custodians to the earth. If we stop the raping and pillaging of the land, we must stop the wars, we must stop the killing of innocents. We must stop the tide of suicide bombers. West and East must come together. The West and The East must agree NEVER to wage war again, however possible that is… We must find peaceful and RIGHT means to the future sustaining of the worlds populations. We MUST find an earthly solution, if we must, a heavenly solution.
“We Have Failed to Remember
and We Have Failed to Never
Let It Happen Again”
You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter
Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,
Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.
Survival in Auschwitz
I finished the book at 4:00 a.m. Monday morning.
With that said, and hours of reading behind me, there is Definitely MORE to be written.
As a “Secret Keeper” I will not talk about the book until such time as it is possible or necessary. I’m sure there are people still reading. I was not disappointed.
Next Stop – July 31st … Harry’s and MY birthday!!!
By TRISHA THOMAS, Associated Press Writer
LORENZAGO DI CADORE, Italy –called Sunday for an end to all wars, describing them as “useless slaughters” that bring hell to Earth.
Benedict, speaking from this small mountain town where he has been vacationing, recalled that 90 years ago his predecessorurged a similar end to the first World War, then ravaging this part of northern Italy.
“While this inhuman conflict raged, the pope had the courage to affirm that it was a ‘useless slaughter,’” Benedict said. “These words — ‘useless slaughter’ — contained a fuller prophetic value that can be applied to so many other conflicts that have cut off countless human lives.”
Benedict did not cite any particular conflicts in his comments to several hundred faithful who gathered in Lorenzago di Cadore’s main piazza for his traditional Sunday blessing.
“From this place of peace, where one still senses how unacceptable the horrors of ‘useless slaughters’ are, I renew the appeal to pursue the path of rights, to strongly refuse the recourse to weapons and refuse to confront new situations with old systems,” he said.
He reminded the faithful that God put man on Earth to take care of his “paradise,” but that man sinned and began making war.
Benedict has been stepping up his peace appeals, issuing a major call June 17 in the hillside town of, known for St. Francis’ message of peace. A week earlier, Benedict told he was greatly concerned about the fate of Christians in Iraq — a concern he repeated in subsequent audiences and speeches.
Benedict’s blessing Sunday was attended by several top prelates as well asCardinal Joseph Zen, an outspoken critic of China’s treatment of Catholics in the underground church. Last month Benedict issued a letter to China’s 12 million Catholics, urging them to unite under his authority.