"To brush aside America's responsibility as a leader and more profoundly our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are,” Obama said "Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action."
At least 90 people were reportedly killed and dozens were injured when Syrian security forces fired live bullets and teargas to disperse “Good Friday” protests in several cities, witnesses reported. The death toll seemed to be rising late Friday.
The reported deaths have created a new crisis for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, raising questions about whether he is fully in control of Syrian security forces. The deaths raise questions about how far Mr. Assad is prepared to go to stay in power, and if the international community will take steps to prevent a humanitarian disaster in this geopolitically strategic Arab country.
The deaths on Friday also bring back memories of large numbers of political opponents who were mowed down by security forces in the city of Hama when Mr. Assad’s late father, President Hafez al-Assad was in office. Mr. Assad’s brother, Rifaat al-Assad, personally conducted a “scorched earth” campaign in February 1982 against Sunni Muslims who protested against the Alawite regime of Hafez al-Assad. Estimates of those killed in Hama range from 10,000 to 40,000.
On Friday, thousands of protesters swarmed the streets in the southern flashpoint town of Deraa, Moadamia, Latakia, Banias, and the mainly Kurdish northeastern city of Qamishli. Thirty were killed in the southern town of Izzra’, 22 in Damascus, 18 in the Homs area and the rest in other towns and villages, activists said, in what was the deadliest day so far during weeks of protest. Human Rights Watch said in a statement that two boys aged 7 and 10 years old were among those killed in Izzra’ as was a 70-year-old man.
“The Syrian authorities have again responded to peaceful calls for change with bullets and batons. They must immediately halt their attacks on peaceful protesters and instead allow Syrians to gather freely as international law demands,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa director.
With more demonstrations slated for today, and with a history replete with wholesale slaughter of the opposition, it will likely get much worse before it gets better in Syria.
I imagine that Obama will have to play a couple of rounds of golf before issuing a statement, one likely to counter those issued while defending his Libyan policy. For if we've learned anything about the man at all in the last two and half years, it's that he has but one core driving principle.
To fool the electorate into thinking he's something he damned sure is not. So far, sadly, he's been pretty successful.
Malkin, doing what she does best, peels back the shell on the rotten egg that Trump has managed to pass off, and unbelievably some have swallowed, as a conservative.
Don’t be fooled by The Donald. Take it from one who knows: I’m a South Jersey gal who was raised on the outskirts of Atlantic City in the looming shadow of Trump’s towers. All through my childhood, casino developers and government bureaucrats joined hands, raised taxes and made dazzling promises of urban renewal. Then we wised up to the eminent-domain thievery championed by our hometown faux free-marketeers.
America, it’s time you wised up to Donald Trump’s property redistribution racket, too.
Pass this around, help end the charade so when the real candidates declare we can get down to the serious business of who we want to defeat Obama. We don’t need another RHINO running to help keep the Socialist in Chief in office for another four years.
Leave it to a Religious Leftist to minimize this day by elevating everyone else who has ever died "in solidarity with" another... to the Christian Left, Christ is but a hero who died in the service of others... and nothing more:
This is it. This is what's it's all about...
Today the primary human problem, the core issue that defeats human history, is both revealed and resolved. It is indeed a “good” Friday. The central issue at work is the human inclination to kill others, in any multitude of ways, instead of dying ourselves—to our own illusions, pretenses, narcissism, and self-defeating behaviors. Jesus dies “for” us not in the sense of “in place of” but “in solidarity with.” The first is merely a heavenly transaction of sorts; the second is a transformation of our very soul and the trajectory of history
There was a body on the cross. This was the shocking revelation of a 12 year-old seeing a crucifix for the first time. I was not used to seeing Jesus there—or any body for that matter. The many crosses in my world were empty. But here, visiting a friend's church, in a denomination different from my own, was a scene I had never fully considered.
In my own Protestant circles I remember hearing the rationale. Holy Week did not end with Jesus on the cross. Good Friday is not the end of the story. Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried. And on the third day, he rose again. The story ends in the victory of Easter. The cross is empty because Christ is risen.
In fact, it is true, and as Paul notes, essential, that Christians worship a risen Christ. "[For] if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith is in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:14). Even walking through the events of Holy Week—the emotion of the Last Supper, the anguish in Gethsemane, the denials of the disciples, the interrogation of Pilate, and the lonely way to Golgotha—we are well aware that though the cross is coming, so is the empty tomb. The dark story of Good Friday will indeed be answered by the light of Easter morning.
And yet, there is scarcely a theologian I can imagine who would set aside the fathomless mystery of the crucifixion in the interest of a doctrine that "over-shadows" it. The resurrection follows the crucifixion; it does not erase it. Though the cross has indeed taken away the sting of sin and death, and Christ has truly borne our pain, and the burden of humanity is that we will follow him. Even Christ, who retained the scars of his own crucifixion, told his followers that they, too, would drink the cup from which he drank. The Christian, who considers himself "crucified with Christ," will surely "take up his cross" and follow him. The good news is that Christ goes with us, even as he went before us, fully tasting humanity in a body like yours and mine.
Thus, far from being an act that undermines the victory of the resurrection, the remembrance of Jesus's hour of suffering boldly unites us with Christ himself. For it was on the cross that Christ most intimately bound himself to humanity. It was "for this hour" that Christ himself declared that he came. Humanity is, in turn, united to him in his suffering and is near him in our own. Had there not been an actual body on the cross, such mysteries would not be substantive enough to reach us.
In a wonderful scene from the movie Megamind, the evil genius has grown bored because he has no challenge after defeating the “good guy”. Believing that it was the struggle between good and evil that excited him, he decides to create a new super hero whom he can battle to restore some pizazz to his life. His faithful sidekick, Minion, questions the plan.
“I think this is a bad idea,” he cautions.
Megamind replies, “Yes, it's a wickedly bad idea for the greater good of bad.”
Minion tries again. “But I'm saying that it's the kind of bad that... OK, you might think it's good from your bad perspective, but from a good perspective, it's just plain bad.”
Megamind ends the debate, “Oh, you don't know what's good for bad!”
It's confusing, isn't it? Tomorrow Today is Good Friday. Isn't it strange that we call it that? We remember the day the only innocent man was horribly mistreated, tortured and executed and we call it Good Friday. It certainly was a day that was “good for Bad” yet we who aspire to be good, still call it Good Friday.
You may recall that for the last few weeks I've been thinking and writing about the conundrum of Good and Evil; how God takes evil and somehow untwists it and makes it good. Tomorrow we remember the apex of all that mystery. The immortal God-man dies as a despised criminal though He has never committed a crime; He is cursed although he blesses and is blessed; humiliated and embarrassed, He is exalted and glorified. So, we call it Good Friday.
Consider one powerful symbol from the day; that Crown of Thorns. A crown is a symbol of glory and honor, yet someone had the idea to twist some thorn branches into a symbol of scorn and degradation. Painfully jammed into His scalp, the thorns mock the supposed King of the Jews. Who would do such a thing?
Well, we do it all the time. We call it sarcasm. We take words of honor and twist them to mean the opposite. “Aren't you special!” we say, but everyone knows our meaning is anything but special. Or responding to an observation, “That's what I like about you. You have a firm grasp of the obvious!” Isn't it clever to surround good words with barbs of tone or attitude that stick and jab and draw blood? Yes, very clever of us to turn good into bad. That's what we do.
Yet God is much more clever than we are. He takes the mocking joke of a crown of thorns and without untwisting it or even removing a single thorn, transforms it into a glorious symbol, honored the world over for its power. He takes the darkest day imaginable and turns it into shining light. A cruel death becomes Life itself, not just for one, but for all. Of course it's bad, but it's good for Good.
I know this failing well. Those who know me know I know this failing well. Some know I know this failing better than others who know me not. Others will know I know this failing the longer they know me.
It's a roundabout and rather long winded way of stating I'm a sinner. And it's an indication that I need to regularly be treated for the condition. A huge reason why I need to attend Mass and to receive Christ in the Eucharist regularly. We all do if we're honest but I'm of the opinion that I perhaps need to be treated more often than most. One of the Pauline passages of Scripture that resonates with me is the one found in Romans 7:
I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
I go to confession because I understand that I have failed in following Christ’s lead. But I also go because I want to be challenged about it. I don’t want to hear “well, everyone gets mad, sometimes but you’re still a good person. It’s not like you killed someone, or anything…” because in truth, it’s not alright to give anger an opening, I’m not a “good person” and it is exactly like I killed someone.
Often when we feel bad about our own behavior — when the healthy conscience awakens and starts kicking for attention — that’s the comforting blanket of moral anesthesia we use to put it back to sleep: “it’s not like you killed someone; it’s not like you blew up a bridge,” as though only the most demonstrably and destructively malevolent actions can have meaningful impact on the soul or society. We lull ourselves back to into numbness and do not notice the accumulated effect all of our unrepented little “mistakes” — how they have helped tumble our world away from those old cornball ideas of mannerly social interaction, and toward the valley of hipster ironic sarcasm; away from respect for the opinion of others, into flamewars and political down-shouting; away from commitments and values which might cost us something, toward an illusory “freedom” that costs us everything.
The Holy Week recollection of the passion and death of Jesus Christ serves to remind us that it’s not enough to be a “good person” who does not blow up bridges. Jesus is surrounded by “nice” guys who left commerce to follow him — to heal, to give alms, to feed multitudes — and they drink too much to be able to keep him company when he asks. They engage in skirmishes. They run away. One of them betrays him for silver, another — the first of the “good persons,” the one who first pronounces Jesus as Messiah and holds the keys to the kingdom — betrays him with his tongue.
Our sense of sin has been dulled; these days we talk about our human “mistakes.” Yet we squirm in discomfort in the pews because we recognize ourselves in these weaklings and cowards and self-interested liars who will do anything to save themselves. It takes nothing to imagine that before Peter denied Christ to the woman by the fire, he first thought to himself, ‘Oh, die, termagant, die!’ and wondered if there was a laundry basket handy.
Read the entire column, not only to understand the reference to the laundry basket but because I guarantee you'll be better for it.
So, you saw this reported and heard all about it in mainstream media right? Read on:
Obama decided to inform the Defense Department that they needed to make $400 Billion in cuts by announcing this is in a speech without even mentioning it to his Defense Secretary. Therefore it is unsurprising that the NY Times would take this opportunity to anounce their cunning plan to screw the troops and crush our expeditionary fighting capability. I guess this requires at least a partial Fisking.
We in no way minimize the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform.
Yeah right. Wait for it......
But after years of lagging far behind, military pay is now more than $5,000 a year higher than comparable civilian employment, more than $10,000 a year higher when special allowances and benefits are counted. Freezing noncombat pay for three years would save $3 billion per year. The formula for future increases should be adjusted to incorporate allowances and benefits, saving an additional $5 billion a year. Another $4 billion to $6 billion annually could be saved by reasonable increases in annual health insurance premiums for military retirees of working age. Those premiums — currently $460 per family — have been frozen for the past 15 years while health care costs soared.All told, these changes would save about $20 billion annually or more than $200 billion over the next 12 years.
Just exactly what comparable civilian employment are they using for this? Are there civilian jobs that cause multiple overseas deployments to combat zones with the realistic proposition that you could be killed or maimed? Or to be away from your family more often than not, while they check the news each day hoping there were no IED blasts or other casualties? I kinda doubt it. So comparing the pay of a clerk in the civilian world to a clerk deployed w/ an Infantry unit to a Forward Operating Base in Afghanistan is stupid and insulting. Now that the left is hell bent on giving every American free health care, they want to go ahead and add fees to the military community. Hey guys, you really need to head over to the nearest organic, free range, shade grown, union labor picked, coffee shop and order a Venti cup of STFU!
The Pentagon took too long to recognize that today’s wars make more intensive demands on the Army and Marines and less on the Navy and Air Force.
The Pentagon took too long to recognize this? Gimme a freakin' break. The Pentagon can shift mission faster than any organization on the face of the Earth, it just can't do so under the loving bureaucracy placed on them by Congress.
Ground forces have been increased, but that needs to be paid for by corresponding reductions at sea and in the air. That shift has already begun but needs to go further. Another $1 billion to $2 billion a year could be saved by reducing the number of aircraft carrier groups from 11 to 10 and associated air wings from 10 to 9.
There is a lot more there, so take the time to read the entire piece. Truly unbelievable, except for everything in this administration seems to take on the same hue of unbelievability. While the parties wrestle with the coming budget deals and so called cuts, keep you eyes on where those in the NY Times and those in Obama's administration would like to see the lion's share of any cuts.
We have done this before haven't we? Most recently during the Carter years and again during Clinton's tenure. The liberals call it a 'peace dividend.' I call it the liberal invitation for aggression. Have a look at what the Chinese have been up to and the Russians since Obama took office. Then try and convince yourself that all is well in the skewed world of Obama's intentions for this country and our military.