Monday, February 28, 2011

Sadao Watanabe

Sadao Watanabe *1913, 1996† was a Christian artist in Tokyo. The official religion of Japan is Shinto, but the ethos is Buddhist. Christianity is a small minority of one percent.

In the 20th century the Japanese were enthusiastic about technological acceleration of society. This was true under liberal democracy, and in militaristic fascism.

Watanabe began as a fabric dyer of kimonos. He was apprenticed into folk art tradition of mingei. This was anachronistic to the society. It was also, politically, suspect. Folk art was a socialistic movement, that was not favored among fascists or modernists.

The medium he chose was stenciling kneaded mulberry paper (momigami ). The paint was minerals in soybean whey, and the colors of Okinawan bingata fabric. This applied over a rice starch, the outlines in chinese black ink. The colors are bright and solid, the materials natural. The prints are similar in look to wood block prints, and for whatever reason, remind me of northwest Pacific Coastal Indian art.

Now as a youth he contracted tuberculosis and underwent a religious commitment. His sincerity and humbleness were deep. His subject matter was mostly biblical. He did treat some post-biblical Christianity.

His first champion in the West was James Michener. The Vatican had his prints displayed, as did Lyndon Johnson's White House. I have not found out which prints, he did many.
He portrayed non-Japanese characters in Japanese forms. Saint George looks like a samurai, but the serpent is not very menacing. The oriental dragon is not a symbol of evil. In Japanese mythology the emperor was a descendant of dragons. The dragons were wingless, yet flew, or flowed on chi energy (a sort of vital force). The dragon was sentient and capable of choice, and could choose to go bad.
Saint Francis' habit is a kimono. He blesses many colored birds of the same size and shape. The birds are treated as apostles.
Watanabe did several Last Suppers. Jesus, the largest figure (because of his importance) is top center with nimbus. Judas the Betrayer's face is not seen by the viewer, his purse of lucre is. The meal is Nipponese. Saki bottles are on table. The fish is special. In March and April the tai (sea bream) is red. This is the food of happiness and celebration. This is the food for parties and weddings, and gift giving. The culture of this food has been extant for centuries in Japan, and known before recorded time.

Here the diners are seated on the floor in kimonos as in Japan. They are in different poses as they are often depicted in the West. There is emotional and cultural impact in this. He acculturates Christianity into Japan.
Then Abimelech departing from thence came to the town of Thebes, which he surrounded and besieged with his army. And there was in the midst of the city a high tower, to which both the men and the women were fled together, and all the princes of the city, and having shut and strongly barred the gate, they stood upon the battlements of the tower to defend themselves. And Abimelech coming near the tower, fought stoutly: and approaching to the gate, endeavoured to set fire to it: And behold a certain woman casting a piece of a millstone from above, dashed it against the head of Abimelech, and broke his skull. Judges ix. 53.

Watanabe also illustrates lesser known stories of the Faith. Now, there is the Japanese traditional idiom in his work. The subject matter is foreign, and that is western. Now what is the most distinctive western physical characteristic? Hmm? — big, long, ridiculous noses.

He is not interested in perspective. His works while very figurative, are not concerned with visual realism. It is of a pre-renaissance abstraction. The eyes are not in the center of the head, but near the top as anatomical exactitude is not important. People perceive the eyes to be higher than they are. If the Japanese were of carolingian Europe, this could very well be a national style, not more divergent than celtic or slavonic from gothic.

In the spirit of Vatican II, and historical missionary evangelisation, such art could be on the walls of a church. It is not flamboyant. It is craftsmanship of artisan guild style. It is true art with a message and a spirituality. It is not empty polemic instead of art. There is truth and beauty, though the form may be unfamiliar. Not all Christian art needs to be in imitation of one style. I wonder how well known is this man's work?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

God or Mammon Sunday

For those of you who went to english language Mass to-day in the diocese of Cleveland [Lennongrad], you might have heard the first words of this Sunday's Gospel:
Jesus said to his disciples: “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Most probably, you did not hear an homily. Instead, there was a recorded advertisement of Lennon for the diocesan charities' appeal.

This is not the only society, not the only country that needs to hear a sermon on the Gospel topic; but it SURELY needs to. In the United States many who profess to believe in the Triune God of the New Testament, or in the God of Abraham have made Mammon their object of worship.

It was easy to not pay attention to the recording. Many congregations had their pastor slowly go through steps of having the seated to pledge money with the pencil and form provided.

Here is a lesson: when they say it is not about the money, it IS about the money. Lennon suppressed parishes for their money. His words are hypocrisy, at best.

For several months, cars have been leafleted in parish lots. The bishop's tax (a.k.a. assessment) for parishes without grade schools had been 16½% [i heard it has been raised]. That is the highest on the continent, about 3x the average. In response to all of this, there has been a Boycott the Basket programme. Occasionally there are other messages with the appeal.

Lennon has tried several times to initiate a capital programme. He has been advised by some of the presbytery that it will flop. Currently there is a pilot programme with ten (?) parishes. It looks like the operative definition of "vibrant" is the ability to produce money on demand. There is a pressing episcopal demand for money in the diocese of Lennongrad.

Last month SS. Cyril & Methodius was leafleted by members of Endangered Catholics. The pastor of the renamed parish (now Transfiguration) was extremely displeased. He noted in the church bulletin of 30 January that "this was really a very cowardly action". He further says, he has "consulted the legal office of the diocese". Well, this would be no news to them. They have not stopped or attempted to stop this activity in the past.

He also conflated the boycotting with hurting the poor, and not the bishop. Now, the notices did not say withhold money from the parishes and the poor. Canon law allows specific gifts prescribed for parish use. When this is done, those monies are to be exempt from the bishop's tax. When using your own envelope and specifically donating your money to certain parish uses, the parish will get 100% and the bishop 0%. Give to your parish for payroll, heating, maintenance, lighting and sundry other uses. Do not give to the general offertory collection unspecified monies. All the financial scandals of the chancery have not been made public. Joseph Smith and Anton Zgoznik were not the only thieves. It goes much deeper. The slime underneath the rocks is repulsive.

Also, the diocesan charities' is run with about 80% federal money. One can give to any charitable cause, or can give to any Catholic charity specifically, WITHOUT going through the chancery. Remember, whether it is the Red Feather Campaign, or Muscular Dystrophy or whatever — the credit, recognition and the plaudit does not go to the many, many anonymous individuals, but to the corporate executive.

Since the Lakewood leafleting there has been an exchange of letters between Fr. Rooney. Now, he is a Franciscan. In his response he is bellicose and bluffing, most unbecoming and counter to the Franciscan image. It is to be noted he had been pastor of St. Rose of Lima, and acquired the nickname 'Looney Rooney'. Perhaps, he is thinking of the many [doubtful]; but he is certainly a lennonist. His private correspondence is mean spirited and threatening.
left click on the document, or right click, for larger view

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Doctors, popes, patriarchs, on bad prelates

"When there is an imminent danger for the Faith, Prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects." St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II, II, q. 33, a. 4

Leo XIII wanted all of us to read the Angelic Doctor. The encyclical Aeterni Patris put Thomism as the foundation of Catholic philosophy. Leo writes: We exhort you, venerable brethren, in all earnestness to restore the golden wisdom of St. Thomas, and to spread it far and wide for the defense and beauty of the Catholic faith, for the good of society, and for the advantage of all the sciences.

"Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops", has been quoted as the words of several saints: John Eudes, Athanasius, Chrysostom and other highly revered saints. It is not easy to find it in their extant writings. A similar statement was used in quotation by John Wesley.

The Great Hierarch, Ecumenical Teacher, Patriarch of Constantinople, author of the Divine Liturgy, the man with a silver tongue in a golden mouth Saint John Chrysostom, * c. 349, 409†, had memorised the whole of the Bible. He was an aesthete that ruined his health. He became a priest and taught in his native Antioch.

He was chosen in 398 for Constantinople against his will. He was deposed by clerical enemies and the Empress Eudoxia in 403. He preached for the poor against the rich. He refused to dine and party with courtiers. He reformed his clergy. Saint John was not loved by the decadent and haughty.

He was brought back by the people. He was exiled again. Pope Innocent I sent an embassy on his behalf. John died in Pontus.

People had written down his homilies. Fifty-five survive on the Acts of the Apostles, in the Third one he says:
I do not think there are many among Bishops that will be saved, but many more that perish: and the reason is, that it is an affair that requires a great mind.
Now, this has been most colorfully translated as:
"The road to Hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lamp posts that light the path."

John Chrysostom spoke what he said with bravery. (Catholic) Christianity had just recently (Edict of Thessalonica 380) been made the official religion of the empire. There were many Arian (non-trintarian) and other non-Nicene bishops. Many pagan [and secular] influences were there, even amongst the supposed christians. The arrogance and immorality of the powerful was abundant. They could easily band together and make their vengeance palpable.

How different is that from to-day. Pope Paul VI wrote and preached, in living memory, an homily for SS. Peter and Paul: «da qualche fessura sia entrato il fumo di Satana nel tempio di Dio».

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Views from a department store

When Cleveland had people shopping in the department stores of downtown, Higbee's was the top of the line. Its twelve floors were part of the Terminal Tower complex. The central tower, sat over trains, and once was the tallest building between New York City and Chicago.

The elevators were five on one side, and five across from them.  They were modeled after those in the transoceanic liners like the Normandie and the Titanic. Plastic jambs and lintels were formed to resemble marble. Handsome veneers on the outside door, with long vertical inlays where they met. On each door there were art nouveau stencils. These will remain when the lower floors are converted to a casino.

Now, I have pointed out, St. Michael's is visible from many points in the city. From the Higbee's building looking along W. 2nd, beyond the neon guitar, and the Lorain-Carnegie bridge, is the taller steeple of St. Michael's. The shorter one is directly in line and behind.

Daughters of St. Paul had a bookstore at Ontario Street, kitty corner from Higbee's, now there are lawyers' offices there, and the property has been sold in speculation to a parking lot magnate. The sisters left behind a statue of Paul [it must not have been on Lennon's inventory].
Postscriptum 2 November 2011: The building and the block, that had the bookstore, has been demolished.

Monday, February 21, 2011

On, Wisconsin!

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Plunge right through that line!
Run the ball clear down the field,
A touchdown sure this time. (U rah rah)
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Fight on for her fame
Fight! Fellows! - fight, fight, fight!
We'll win this game.

The goofy-looking, college dropout Scott Walker has been governor of Wisconsin for a little over a month. In a very Republican year, he had 52% of the vote. Now, for Republicans that is a landslide mandate equivalent to unanimity. Often now, even if they are a minority they claim the right to dictate. His desire is to have a fascist state. Where business and government combine as one (just the way Mussolini and his writer Gentile wanted in corporatism, and what the US had before Franklin Roosevelt).

“It’s like Cairo has moved to Madison these days.” -- Cong. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), chairman of the Budget committee.

Ryan is a good looking youngish man. He is a self-contradicting (R, here is redundant) trickle down theory spouter of rubbish. He may have been right on this one, accidentally.
And other people have seen it too. Egypt is sending pizza money for the unionists.

Walker is a catspaw for the monetary royalists. The Wisconsin state budget deficit is a ruse. Walker wants to eliminate unions. He wants reduced wages and rights for the majority. He wants reduced taxes on the rich and the corporations. That increases the deficit. Kasich wants the same in Ohio, he is scheduled for a worker's demonstration on the morrow. Most of the economic troubles of America are on account of the continuous roll back of Jeffersonian and Rooseveltian Democracy, to the greater benefit of the avaricious and their powerful. Is Bernie Madoff the only swindler imprisoned? The banksters got off scot free and are now receiving millions in lucre, eh, bonuses.

One of the things Walker and his crowd object to is collective bargaining. No bargaining, only dictates are desired. Dictatorship not Democracy. Unionisation is democracy. "Conservatism", Republicanism, or whatever they wish it to be called, is corporatism which is fascism.

Recently, Green Bay's football team won the championship. They are the only municipally owned major league sports franchise, is the smallest town to have a major league team. Some players are publicly backing the workers.

We are seeing interesting theatre there. The Democrats in the state senate have left the state, so as not to have a quorum. In 2003 some Texas legislators did this, and Tom Delay (outside his jurisdiction, of course, but not his desire; he has since been convicted for one of his tactics in fixing and rigging government) sent out the Fed. Aviation Adm., and the Texas state police (Rangers) to get them. Also, thousands of Wisconsin's laboring people have come to the capital in Madison, as well as out-of-state teabaggers to counter protest.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Republican wave collapsing

The timing was very fortunate for the Republicans. Their popularity hit a crest in early November, it is down hill now. The gains they made throughout the nation were very impressive. They control more states than before. They will gain through redistricting.

In Ohio, the wretched John Kasich is governor. He has within his first month shown how he will conduct business [in secret and benefiting those with money, while attacking those without]. Boehner is Speaker of the House. Now, if the Democrats acted as Republicans they would start impeachment campaigns.

The president has made gains in stature and popularity. His level of aloofness hurt the Democracy. The Democracy was going to suffer losses and Obama's relative disinterest in fighting made matters worse.

After the Arizona assassination attempt, some Repukes have curbed their vile tongues, after loudly affirming their vicious vitriol serves the public. To-day, there is news Kyl, who made that affirmation, a senator from Arizona and the second 'man' [Miss McConnell is first] in the Republican Senate power structure, is not seeking re-election.

An odd development happened overnight. Chris Lee a multi-millionaire Repuke from the Buffalo suburbs resigned from Congress. He had just won his first re-election. This is surprising in the extreme. Not because of the moral hypocrisy of a "family values" man wanting to cat around. Republicans have no problem with hypocrisy. They have only some problem getting caught. Senator Diaper Dave Vitter was caught using prostitution services [more than once], he won easy re-election. Mark Sanford [(R-naturally) governor S. Car.] finished his term, his wife refused to stand beside him. She did not have to, she held the money. Senator Larry Craig [(R-naturally), Idaho] finished his term after engaging in rude behavior in an airport toilet.

Why did Lee resign so fast? After all, being a Republican is never having to say, "I'm sorry".

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ecclesial Glass

Cyril and Methodius. Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cleveland, O.
Many like stained glass windows. Windows bring in light. In part, stained glass mimics a prism. Stained glass adds to the ambiance of sacred space. Stained glass became associated with gothic architecture, early modern Europe, not much. Then a revival came with 19th century romanticism. A painterly style was very successful in south Germany, and very well distributed throughout the world.

Some churches do not have colored glass. Some Catholic churches do not have colored glass, though in this area not many. There is some overlap of subjects between Catholic and Protestant churches. The tendency is for the Catholic universe to be larger and more numerous.

There are different types of glass. The oldest is mouth blown glass. The glob of molten sand has metallic salts in it, producing the colors. The glass is cut and fixed between leaden cames, almost a mosaic (and older art form). Now there is machine glass. There is painted glass that is fired in a kiln.
faceted glass of Jesus and the Eucharist with loaves and fishes. St Louis, Cleveland Hts
A different sort is faceted glass, dalle de verre. Whereas traditional glass is ¼′′ or ⅛′′ thick, faceted glass is 1′′ thick hammer chipped dalles (slabs of glass akin to flagstone pavers). The areas between dalles are filled with opaque epoxy resin (usually black). Now such dalles can be sorted into a figure. Often they are not, and the epoxy is wide and the result is often bands of color. Sometimes thick bands of metal separate the dalles and epoxy. There are more abstract configurations than with older glass. Overall, there are more aesthetic failures. Some could be windows in storage rooms of commercial buildings, and no one would think they were ever installed in a church or chapel. Some good installations take a time to warm to.

The tendency is for Protestants to have less visual art. Some churches have only colored glass, solid sheets, or panes, or leaded cames with one color; sometimes alternating diamond patterns of two colors, and other geometric forms. An american innovation was opalescent (milky colored, semi-opaque) glass. Of course other religions, or non-religious groups have these also.

Then there are windows that have one symbol surrounded by other panes of colored glass. In christian iconography there is a selection, which includes: butterfly, dove, peace dove, cross, pillar, the veronica, turtle doves, ten commandments twin slabs, cross and crown, chalice, grapes, wheat, bread, fish, thurible, pierced heart, sacred heart, peacocks, pelicans, lily, pomegranates, scallop, alpha, omega, chi rho, harp, anchor, lamb, bells, and more.

Then there are people and scenes. Jesus, Mary and Joseph show up; Jesus most of all, the other members of the Holy Family rarely in Protestant windows outside of nativity scenes.

Many churches have the four evangelists, and or their symbols: Matthew (man/angel), Mark (lion), Luke (ox), and John (eagle). Slightly bigger churches may have the twelve apostles, often with Paul, sometimes Matthias (Judas is rare outside the Last Supper). Some have the four latin doctors (Augustine, Ambrose, Jerome, Gregory the Great). The three greek doctors (John Chrysostom, Basil, Gregory Nazianzen), more so in Byzantine, and Eastern Orthodox. The western church would add Athanasius for a fourth.

Now, Old Testament figures are less common; though here they are maybe more common in Protestant churches that have people depicted. Often four prophets, instead of four doctors, are paired with the gospel writers. The major prophets: Isaias, Jeremias, Ezechiel and Daniel or Moses and Elias (the last two are in Transfiguration windows). Jonas (and the whale), Osee (Hosea), Amos and Michæas are rarer. Zacharias, Abdias, Habakuk, and the rest are rarer still.
Mother of Our Savior. Saint Mel, Cleveland, O.
Catholic churches are filled with Marian Windows. Sometimes many with symbols from the titles in the Litany of Loreto (e.g. Mother Most Chaste, Virgin Most Merciful, Seat of Wisdom, Tower of Ivory, Queen of Martyrs, etc.). Foremost, the scenes of the Rosary, and people do not notice. Now, many protestants have a bias against Mary. Mary always points to Jesus. Many of the mysteries of the rosary are scenes of Jesus, so people who are not familiar with the rosary do not recognise the connexion. Many churches will have one side of the nave lined with the Joyful Mysteries, and the other with the Glorious Mysteries, along with other windows, depending on the number of bays.

Now, there were three sets of five mysteries.
Five Joyful Mysteries
Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Presentation, Finding Jesus in the Temple

Five Sorrowful Mysteries
Agony (Gethsemane), Scourging, Crowning with Thorns, Carrying of the Cross, Crucifixion

Five Glorious Mysteries
Resurrection, Ascension, Pentecost, Assumption, Coronation

The late pope, John Paul II, added a fourth. The windows were already there.
Five Luminous Mysteries
Jesus' Baptism, Cana, Proclamation of the Kingdom (this can be any or all of the following: Calling Apostles, Sermon on the Mount, Friend of Children and Men, Giving Peter the Keys, Curing the Sick, Raising the Dead, Forgiving the Penitent, Mary Magdalene Anointing Jesus' Feet), Transfiguration, Last Supper

Often ethnic churches have national saints or scenes of their historical christianity. A church will often have their patron saint on a window. Now, since most Protestant churches don't have a patron saint this is less so, although they sometimes have a memorial to a church member.
St. Francis of Assisi. Saint Cecilia, Cleveland, O.
Many churches have a window of Saint Cecilia (the patron of music) in the choir loft. Other popular saints are Anthony of Padua, and Thérèse of Lisieux. Windows of the parables are made, the most frequent—the Prodigal Son.

This is not exhaustive. There are so many churches, and so many opportunities. Some are thematic, like the seven sacraments.
At Francis de Sales, Parma there are the first five popes on one side of the nave, and the first five of the 20th century on the other; Pius XII was still living when the window was made. Some are unexpected. In the Perpetual Adoration chapel at St. Gregory, South Euclid there is Iscariot with his back turned to you. Judas is always holding the purse, or betraying Jesus.

Saint Stephen, Cleveland has windows of
several shapes and of many figures and ornamentation. They had a deluxe order from Munich. They have the common scenes, and the less common ones (death of Joseph, Jesus driving away the merchants from the Temple, Jesus teaching Nicodemus--the John 3.16 window) and they have two large windows of two scenes of the parish patron Stephen, the martyr deacon of Jerusalem, and Lawrence, the martyr deacon of Rome. At Saint Stanislaus, Lorain, there was a small window of God breathing life into Adam. Most people never saw it. It was on the stairwell going to the organ. Last time i saw it, it was misidentified on Lennon's/Henniger's internet trading site.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

of bishops and saints [and parishes]

“As a convert, I never expected much from the bishops. In all history popes and bishops and father abbots seem to have been blind and power loving and greedy. I never expected leadership from them. It is the saints that keep appearing all thru history who keep things going. What I do expect is the bread of life and down through the ages there is that continuity. Living where we do there certainly is no intellectual acceptance of the Church, only blind faith. I mean among the poor.

The gospel is hard. Loving your enemies, and the worst are of our own household, is hard.” – Dorothy Day (*1897, 1980†) from a letter to Gordon Zahn
(*1918, 2007†)

The Eucharist was initiated with the Last Supper. The apostles were the first bishops. They were at the table, and Judas Iscariot was amongst them. Bad bishops were there at the beginning. As centuries passed several bishops promoted heresies and schisms. A bishop was not a guarantee of saintliness, nor orthodoxy. In the centuries, there were many bishops that were political, and dynastic appointments. Many bishops were interested primarily in secular activities. No, a bishop is not equal to a saint. Many bishops persecuted those that were to be recognised as saints.

To-day, when we have a bishop that has become a martyr, such as Oscar Romero, a man that, truly, a call for "Santo Subito!" should have held, we see some in the church whom still oppose the man. What is true, is that, some bishops are exemplars of Christ and the friend to humanity, and others are not. The Iscariots are not equal in dignity to the Romeros, the Borromeos, the Baragas, and the Fishers. Some that fall far from universally accepted sanctity are not villains, but are merely joyless functionaries whom had ambitions. They will not be remembered in generations to come, while Augustines, Peters, Hilaries and Nicholases shall. And we have had horrible bishops of Rome:
Benedict IX, Sergius III, John XII

Now in Buffalo, parishioners appealed to Rome to keep their parish, Saint Adalbert open. They waited for a decision. Rome wants her open. It seems the local bishop [Edward Kmiec] is recalcitrant. Perhaps he does not need to listen to Rome, if he chooses not to. Perhaps he has forgotten Rome has made him a bishop.

Throughout the United States, parishes are being suppressed. Parishes were all created to be perpetual. Rome has been flooded with appeals. Being a bureaucracy, the Curia has an overwhelming tendency to agree with bishops. Many appeals are waiting. They have been on the table.

At least one recent decision allows the bishop to close parishes but not to sell the property. This sort of presents him the cake but forbids him to devour it. Has Rome had enough of arrogant american bishops acting as capitalist overlords?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


We have had a solid winter these two months. The atlantic seaboard has seen much snow. The middle west was to have been pounded, to-day and yesterday. The local television news channels are gung-ho and intensely excited whenever they can bring out Storm-master 2000 or equivalent. They send out an handful of 'reporters' to photograph, analyse and bravely investigate precipitation. Here in northeast Ohio on the south shore of Erie, we had some snow and some ice. We have had many greater visitations.

With winter storms, the advance publicity is two, three, four days. This promotes a rush to the food stores and the gas stations, although, if it really comes down, you are not driving anywhere. Rarely have we seen closed gasolineras.

Anxiety, and especially fear is played on. It attracts viewers, that increases advertising rates, and that brings in coin; and coin is the object of desire. And it is so much easier than doing journalism. Too much dogged attention and pursuit of actual journalism can be dangerous to employment and, in some countries, life.

Now, we have channels that have two hour blocks of air time. Especially, during morning programmes the time is filled by fashion, food, health, the fools gold glitterati of Hollywood, and other trivialities. Sports has been reduced [in Cleveland the exceptions are game day for the Browns, and the nauseating soap opera over a particular basketballer], perhaps ESPN has a near monopoly? Weather has expanded. Sometimes, there is a 'meteorologist' inside the studio, and one on the outside. Do you need a weatherman to tell you which way the wind blows?

Now, in the real world: from the Maghreb a movement for democracy has spread to the middle east, centering in Egypt. Is it a khamaseen or a samoom wind that will topple walls? Egypt which has entered its sixth millenia is again the focus of the world. China is displeased, or rather its government. The US has had Egypt do much dirty work for it in the last few years, the lion's share under bushjrcheney; but against the fears of rabid republicans, and against real democrats' desire, Obama has done little to end such arrangements. Whoever heads the US government does not change much government activity. The world was so happy, when bushjr left government, it granted Barack Obama a peace prize.

Now an earlier Nobel peace winner, Mohamed el-Baradei, is becoming a voice for freedom in Egypt. He as chief of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency frustrated the busheviks in not supporting their false claims against Iraq. Certain americans will never stomach him for being in the UN, or in his stance for reality and truthfulness, and attempt to prevent an unnecessary war.

The US foreign minister, Hillary Clinton, is dancing around this egyptian question. There is an air of inevitability -- kismet. Mubarak was good for business. Mr. Obama is making a mild commitment toward peace and democracy; this is counter to GHW Bush's extreme slowness to support those nations that brought down communism in eastern europe. Empires prefer stability over the exercise of popular sovereignty, or the voice of the populace.

To-day there is a report that has WikiLeaks (founder Julian Assange) nominated for the Nobel. Assange has angered Washington. He let loose 'secrets' that most of the world knew, he confirmed reality. WikiLeaks is against unnecessary government secrecy. An american soldier, Bradley Manning, is now a political prisoner in solitary confinement for his help to WikiLeaks. When one does nasty things, one prefers no spotlight, and the powerful lashes out at such people as not to encourage others.

Local news advises you to button up your overcoat.