Obama Uses Judgeships to Buy Votes in Congress

Let the Bribes Begin: Obama selling offering judgeships to secure health care votes

What does that busted Chicago bank have to do with government support of shari'a law?

ShoreBank, Shari'a Law, and Bank Bailouts

Imagine this situation. You have a bank savings account with a balance of a hundred thousand dollars. You also hold a home mortgage of about the same amount. Your bank leverages your money fractionally and then makes Sharia compliant loans abroad for nine hundred thousand dollars, set beside your mortgage. You pay all interest on that mortgage, while your savings earns next to nothing, but as it pertains to the rest of that cool million – not so much. So what is the big deal?

Well, here is the big deal. That bank finds itself over-leveraged as a result of it’s attempted social engineering and unable to meet the demand for withdrawals. Remember that hundred grand you have saved? Well, you have decided to pay for your grandson’s college instead of seeing him saddled with student loans. In order for your bank to cover your withdrawal, it requires a taxpayer funded bailout so it doesn’t fail. Do you see it yet?

You pay interest on the front side of loans that you take on, and now you pay taxes on the backside to fund a bailout because your bank used your money to make social engineering investments that do not provide enough returns to sustain it’s own chosen activity. This so that do-gooders can “spread the wealth around”. Many avenues to accomplish this spreading have been developed. Think “green”. Environmentalism is the ultimate social engineering tool useful in every branch of government to the ends of controlling private business.
Read the rest.

Busted Chicago bank - with Clinton ties - is circling the drain

ShoreBank's Evolution from Community-based Banking to the Microfinancing Arena

Interesting comments follow the article.

Back to the 1930's - packing the courts all over again

Democrats try to pack the courts

The Supreme Court has been choosing to consider fewer cases each year. This means the lower courts provide the final disposition for a larger percentage of controversies than ever before. Packing those courts with new, loyal liberals can thus have a huge effect on legal issues without the high profile - and public backlash - of unpopular Supreme Court decisions and fringe appointments to the high court.

In other words, packing the federal courts at the district court and appellate court level is a stealthy way to enlarge Democrat influence over the judicial system and over legal and Constitution issues in general.

Just as well the Olympics won't be in Chicago

Chicago Crime: Obama's Olympic Failure Tied to Windy City's Violence

Taking Jobs Away from Puerto Rico

Bailing out British Booze Charlie Rangel, Max Baucus, and Diageo

Back to the 1930s

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (MarketWatch) -- The fledgling economic recovery appears to be running out of gas.

Exactly as I have pointed out repeatedly, both here and in my other blog, we are in much deeper trouble than anyone can imagine.

Spending limit in proposed Constitutional amendment

Why wait for a spending limit?

Two young girls offer a YouTube cooking show

2 Aprons - YouTube Cooking Show

These are simple recipes that even I can use, with my very limited storage space, equipment, and cooking facilities.


Is there no end to the destruction coming out of the BHO administration?

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC): White House Land Grab

By Sen. Jim DeMint
You'd think the Obama administration is busy enough controlling the banks, insurance companies and automakers, but thanks to whistleblowers at the Department of the Interior, we now learn they're planning to increase their control over energy-rich land in the West.
A secret administration memo has surfaced revealing plans for the federal government to seize more than 10 million acres from Montana to New Mexico, halting job- creating activities like ranching, forestry, mining and energy development. Worse, this land grab would dry up tax revenue that's essential for funding schools, firehouses and community centers.
President Obama could enact the plans in this memo with just the stroke of a pen, without any input from the communities affected by it.
At a time when our national unemployment rate is 9.7 percent, it is unbelievable anyone would be looking to stop job-creating energy enterprises, yet that's exactly what's happening.


Want to help at a disaster site? Prepare yourself first!

Health Care Volunteers and Disasters: First, Be Prepared

You know you're a Serb if...

The vocabulary here is slightly rougher here than usual for this blog; my apologies if anyone is offended. Nonetheless, it's worth a read if you are a Serb or are acquainted with any Serbs:

From LA Serbs:

Your mom uses lard instead of Crisco to fry eggs.

Your family owns a coffee grinder..and a nut grinder

You have 17 consonants and 2 vowels in your last name

Duck tape is your father's only tool next to using a kitchen knife as a screwdriver .

Baba chased you around the house with Kamilica to drink and Vicks toshove up your nose when you had a cold.

Your 15 year old sister can out-drink any Amerikanac

You get a C in history, but can recite every Serbian king, in order,from Czar Dusan

Your dad never told you about the birds and the bees

At your wedding you know only about a third of the people there.

At your wedding you have a minimum of 350 guests.

At your wedding the first song is always "danas majka zeni svoga sina".

You have at least 3 slave to attend to on the same day.

All slave have the same cuisine "supa, sarma, Pecenje".

All weddings have the same cuisine "supa, sarma, Pecenje".

All christenings have the cuisine "supa, sarma, Pecenje".

A Serb girl tries to look 23 but she's actually 15.

At least one of your friends name is "Dragan".

You are somehow related to every 1 in 3 Serb girls/boys.

You don't actually attend University, just hang out there and play "tablic".

You can derive "Steve" from "Nenad".

You can derive "David" from "Zeljko".

You can derive "Mark" from "Mirko".

Your father calls you a "dummy" for not knowing how to do something he can't either.

Even the fat Serb chicks put on the tightest skirt possible.

Your father expects you to study or "hit da books" every waking hour that he's home, and he expects nothing less than an "A".

A cold shiver runs down your spine when your mom threatens by using the word "tata" in a sentence.

Your Deda cuts the grass with knee high black socks and slippers.

You work out six days a week, but somehow you dad whoops your ass in like five seconds after he comes home from a thirteen hour day from the bakery/factory/food business.

You own a leather jacket.

You have three pairs of black shoes.

You drive a nicer car than your parents.

There is a 120-gallon barrel of wine and Cabbage in your garage.

There is more alcohol in your liquor cabinet than at the local bar.

You hear birds chirping and see the sun rise every time you come home from the bar.

Your mother still makes your bed.

You are 18 years old but your parents still call you by your brother's name.

Every car your family owns has chrome wheels.

Your Baba calls all cereal "Corn Flakes".

You can hear your dad snoring from across the street.

Your dad carries around enough money to buy a car.

Your dad wears black socks to work everyday.

Your Baba and Deda live in your basement.

You wear a DKNY t-shirt when you work out.

Your parents never go on vacations because they are afraid to leave you home alone for a week.

You have all brand new appliances in your kitchen but your mom cooks in the basement with the stove from your old house.

Your baba swears more than you do.

Your dad claims not to be a racist but insists the whole world should speak Serbian.

You are prohibited from speaking English in you own home.

Before school every morning your parents had to look after the sheep, milk the cows, gather all hay, feed the animals etc..

Both your parents had to walk to school barefoot in the snow, 5km uphill both ways. And over rocks.

Your parents can't pronounce "Thursday".

You argue that your mobile phone is better than anyone else's.

Your mum makes her own bread and slices it with a BIG kitchen knife to a thickness of 5cm per slice.

You have the biggest sandwiches at school, always consisting of "prsut Or salami".

Your dad wears dress socks with tennis shoes.

Each one of your friends has a distinct, annoying laugh.

All the hot girls/guys are your cousins.

Your dad starts to swear obsessively whenever he watches CNN.

Your parents have gone on vacation ONCE and it was to Yugo.

There's oil stains on your driveway.

There's at least one relative that your family refuses to talk to.

Being someone's KUM really has no meaning.

Your dad thinks he knows everything about the world today.

You had to break off a tree branch from your back yard, so your dad could whoop your ass with it.

When your walls are crowded with icons of saints

Your last name ends with a CH

You have black hair and brown eyes

When you speak Serbian and not English on your "You know when you're Serb" list

When you are reading this list and you're cracking up

Your mom uses lard instead of Crisco to fry eggs. ..... and tells you it's good for you

When you are hopelessly trying to bring the Serbian community together

When you make jokes based on your own tragedy

Your church has a fully loaded bar

One of your relatives is a construction worker / painter

You are high maintenance

The main menu for lunch is cabbage and beans.

A loaf of bread is eaten for lunch.

You don't want to have or do any business with Serbs.

The minute Church services are finished you run to the bar in the Church Hall and get plastered

You only go out of town for Serbian Tournaments and Dances

Your dad pronounced the silent b in Climb, plumber, comb etc…

Your parents have a shot of rakija for breakfast

You started to drink at the age of 12

You don't talk to your Kumovi

Your mom wears her bra as a bathing suit

It takes over 8 years to finish college

If you are female, you first name ends in "A"

You have a Serbian cross, flag, or icon, hanging from your rear view mirror

Your uncle makes his own wine that is stronger than rakija

You think everything is a conspiracy

Your dad thinks that the phone is bugged

If you are a girl and not married by the age of 20 you are an old maid

There is a baba hotline 1-800-CALL-BABA

Your mother insists that "promaja" will kill you

Your mother insists that you must eat something with "kasika" at least several times a week

You base your whole life on the fortune in your coffee cup

You eat canned peppers and ajvar with every meal

You have a Kosovka Devojka goblen hanging on your wall

You live with your mom and dad until you are married

You have a pair of wool slippers that your baba knit

Your mom tells you not to sit on concrete or your ovaries are going to freeze

On your birthday, your parents make you take a picture cutting the cake with a huge knife.

Your dad washes the garage floor with the hose wearing cheap criss-cross brown flip-flops.

There's a slab of fat in your fridge called "slanina"

Rakija is used to cure all illnesses, celebrate all occasions and as a massage lotion

When you celebrate Christmas and Easter and New Year two weeks after everyone else

At your birthdays everyone is singing "Happy brzday tu u"

You wear as much gold as your girlfriend/mother/sister

When the head of a pig with an apple in its mouth is looked upon as a delicacy

As a kid you are paid to steal the bride's shoe at a wedding

When your baba will not accept the fact that you're not hungry

You teach all your American friends Serbian cuss words

When your friends can't believe you got drunk at a church function

When all your Serbian friends dad's kick your ass.

When all your Serbian friend's dads offer you slivo at age 16.

Your Tata complains da ga ledga BOLE!!!

When you had/have a pet named Mishko.

Your parents pronounce three, thirteen and thirty three as tri, tirteen, and tirty tree.

You get the mumps and your baba ties slabs of bacon (slanina) around your ears to cure the mumps.

You have a vegetable garden in your backyard consisting of a variety of peppers, onions and tomatoes.

You have a freezer that is loaded with meat products, especially pork.

You have a cold cellar that includes a variety of meat/deli products,pickled goods, and wine.

When your parents constantly say you'll end up a nobody if you don't graduate from University

When you have to reassure your Mother that her cooking is the best

When your Mom proclaims that she doesn't gossip about other Serbs but full well knows that she does

When you're an adult and still recieve Easter chocolate

When you had to go perform as an altar boy

You go to a restaurant and you bring your own drinks

Whenever you went by Baba's house, she offered you supa, sarma, pecenje or kolace and got mad if you didn't eat EVERYTHING.

You are at a zabava and guy's try to pick you up with "Hey baby, what's your slava??"

In your house, the walls are neon green or yellow and your carpet is brown

You can think of nothing you would rather do an a Saturday night than go to a dance

Your American friends will never understand why you spend so much time at church events and you are the farthest thing from holy that there is

You live for the annual Folkfest and/or Soccer Tournament

Whenever you kiss somebody, you kiss them 3 times.

When your grandma says that farting is healthy.

You have 4 pairs of opanke in your attic, basement, closet...

When you are told that you'll grow a tail if you drink coffee at a young age

You are freaked out by 'Babaroga'

You took a bath in a lavor when you were a kid.

Your tata pronounces "oops" as "ups."

All the older Serbs around you are always worried about drafts.

You hear the word "BATINE" and you cringe or go into convulsions

Your tata has a smoke house and smokes all the slanina/prsut/pecenje for the surrounding serb colony

You have opanke hanging from your rear view mirror

The first conversation you had as a baby used the words "jebi ga"

You cant imagine hearing a song without the obligatory "harmonikas solo"

You use Shljivovitca down the carburetor to start your 69 Dodge Charger on a cold winter morning

You know you are a Serb when you live in Detroit and are proud of it!

You know you are a Serb when you can hear your parents talking, and you are across the street.

All other action stops when you hear the music : "Boze Pravde", "Kad sam bio mali", or "Marsirala"

When you're a girl, and you dye your hair no other colour than burgundy..

"Your Baba says everything you do is bad and what you need is a nice Serbian girl to take care of you!"

"You're the first of your friends to get hair on his back, and grey hair to follow"

"Everyone is sure that you're Italian or Greek"

"Your Baba wastes absolutley no food and even sticks flour in the freezer to keep fresh"

"Your Baba lectures you everyday of your life because her own children know better than to listen to her"

"No one has ever pronounced your last name right, and every kid on the block has a nickname for it"

You know you're Serbian when you don't work and you go shell out $300 easy on the weekend

You know you're Serbian, when you are a fan of whatever basketball team Vlade Divac is on

You know you're Serbian when your mom has a whole pharmacy in the medicine cabinet.

When your mum cuts your hair with a "serpa"

When your mum calls you "stoka"

When you can always smell garlic on your parents breath and they insist it kills all the bacteria.

You know you are a Serb when you go to the annual picnic on the 4th of July and it's a big car show where your fellow Serbs show off their cars....

Your parents still prefer to buy cassettes instead of CDs.

When your Baba made you drink warm water when you had a cold, because cold water would make you feel sicker

When your mom tells you not to drink cold water after you have exercisedyou know

When no matter what age you are or how much smarter than your parents you are, they will never listen to what you say 'cause you're still their little " beba "

When your baba tells you that your deda is perfect but don't ask him anything.

When your parents know everything you did at the basketball tournament before you get home

When the baba grapevine travels faster than the national emergency alert system.

A Serbian baby shower is as big as most American weddings!

When your friends can't understand why your summer vacation consists of playing golf in a town called Farrell or Aliquippa.

You know you're a Serb when your neighbors never see you during Memorial Day Weekend because you're traveling with 'that choir'.

You have not seen baba's hair since deda died.

When your mother yells at you for taking a shower each and every morning with her sarcasm "Did you plow the fields today?"

When all guys balk at the idea of meeting you family, especially the male relatives

When no matter how old you are, your parents say you are never right.

When you are 6'5" 250# and your parents think you are too skinny.

You know at least 20 Tool and Die Makers or Machinists or you are one yourself.

Your Dad tells you "kad sam ja bio u tvoje godine...."

You go to church 2 times a year... Bozic and Uskrs

When you say you're hungry, and then go buy pack of smokes

When your baba chases you down the street with her cipela...

When your baba rather walk five miles to the grocery store instead of getting a ride.

When you have a chicken running around in your back yard...

When your tata is talking to you and every other word he calls you is budala...

When your mama gives you vodka when your teething...

When your tata whips you before your relatives come over for your birthday...

When you hang your clothes in the backyard on a clothes line even though you have a dryer...

When you are a eating at the kitchen table with your family and you get in trouble for talking.

You have a shot of rakija followed by a crna kafa and a pack of Malboro's for breakfast.

You sport the latest Nike and Adidas outfits but have never exercised in your life

You always have the latest mobile phone on the market

You can spend 3hrs in a Cafe drinking the same one coffee

Calling someone for a chat at 1am on a weeknight is the norm

When your parents call relatives in Yugo they shout to be heard

Your parents work day and night to build the ultimate brick and concrete mansion so their sin and snaja can live with them in eternal happiness

When everytime your family needs to buy a household item, your father asks the salesperson "how much for cash" and continues to bargain down for at least half an hour

Your parents believe that being left handed is the sign of the devil

When as a young boy/girl you have your head shaved to promote a thick head of healthy hair

As soon as you tell a neighbour you're Serb they ask you for some rakija

When your front yard is all concrete ... and your dad then paints it green

When at least 3 of your cousins are Cro

When you believe the most famous people in the world are Serbs who changed their name

When you're married with kids and your mother still insists on cooking and cleaning for you

When on your birthday everyone pulls your ears

When your baba chases you around the house with a varjaca

When your parents call you "sine" no matter if your a boy or a girl.

When your parents only want to invite your Serbian friends in your house

When your parents only let you go to your Serbian friends' house.

Your mom gloats about how good Serbian food is but cooks Turkish coffee for all her friends

Thinking there's no such thing as Santa Claus but believing St Nicholas will come to your house

When you work part time and drive a BMW

A cassette or Video of Lepa Brena is in your Video case or radio

When your tata tells you a narodna poslovica for everything single wrong thing you do and you think that he made them all up just to prove a point.

Your parents always complain about how the "matematika" you're doing in school is too easy for kids your age.

When your baba and deda believe that you got sick because your parents didn't feed you properly

When you are watching your favorite basketball team and someone scores a three pointer you interpret the referee's three fingers in the air as support for Serbia

When you open gifts not to tear the wrapping so your baba can reuse the paper and bows

When there are more fights at a wedding than a championship match

When you write on your history exam that Nikola Tesla is the father of electricity not Thomas Edison and you teacher fails you.

When you make a pilgrimage to Chicago

When your parents tell you that the laws pertain only to North Amaericans and not them

When you call your next door neighbor "kone"

You get scared when your dad sneezes

When you insist on talking Serbian even when you're with your American friends

When you date someone from church

When all your Serb guy friends insist they're Cetnici

When your dad likes to sit home and play the harmonika

When you go on vacation and your dad spends all his time playing tablic at the hotel

When the spaghetti and macaroni and cheese your mom makes tastes like lamb from the lamb grease she saved to put in everything

When tipping rule of thumb is: no need to tip if you will never eat at that restaurant again

When no one enters your house through the front door. .. everyone is to enter through the garage

When your cat is named matcak and your dog is named kutcak

When your parents will only go to the doctor if they are passed out on the floor or have severed a limb

When to ensure that you will never marry a non-serb, whenever you are in the car with your parents, your parents play Serb music and sing along really loud when the windows are rolled down in the car

If your real first name isn't Serbian, you have two first names -- one is definitely Serbian.

When the first thing you do when you walk into a friends house, is take off your shoes, kiss their mom, and shake their dad's hand

When your friends' parents talk to you like they're YOUR PARENTS too.

When you beg a friend going back to Yugo to get you some kajmak

When you beg a friend going back to Yugo to get you some Serbian cigarettes

When you bang the table and break glasses while singing when you're drunk.

When your father threatens you with a papuca

When your father says "samo ako te zgrabim ja"

Drinking a cold glass of water will get you sick

When beans are served and your dad tells you that you should call it "gospodin pasulj

You know you are Serb when your boyfriend / husband says to you "cut bre"

When you step on poop and your mom tells you that it's a sign of luck or money

You know you're a Serb when this list keeps growing and it's getting hard to edit it!

Baba's extra refrigerator is the back porch...

You can't even think about beginning the kolach until 1:00 in the morning, since it's bad luck to make it any earlier than the morning of slava.It's 2:10 AM when you realize the oven, which deda just "repaired", won't light...

Your first real kiss was during the Kissing Kolo.

You know you're a serb when you are 25, live on you own, and still sneak up the stairs when you get home at six in the morning.

You cut up some onions and garlic and then decide what you will make for dinner.

You think the expression "Don't laugh so much, you will cry" sounds reasonable

The word "Sramota!" will deter you from anything

Every one of your relatives from the old country that immigrates to the the US is an engineer

Cevapcici on the grill are better than steak any day

All Middle Easterners are "Turci"

Your parents order "Pepsi , no ice"

Your grown uncle gets a "batine" from your baba and you don't think twice about it

Your majka is fond of saying "Tanks God"

Garlic flavored boiled pigs feet spread is yummy

Deda has a 25 year club hat and license plate frame from his steel mill job and lost three fingers achieving that milestone

Theres a bust of Cica Draza in your house and a hand made afghan on your recliner

You can hear Ceca pumping in your car, with the subs cranked to the max, two blocks away

You understand what "made in the garage" really means

A week after Slava, Bozic, and Easter you are still eating sarma

When returning from Jugo, everyone at the airport is staring at you becuase your suitcase smells of rakija

After a few years of working there is a pattern on your leave of absence, you are sick every year on the 7th, 14th, and 20th of January

You can dance a kolo to anything, including Serbian rock

You read this list to your mama and tata and all they have to say in their defense is "IC NAT TRU!!!"

You work on a construction, but when you come to YU for vacation you tell everyone how successfull "biznismen" you are.

You feel nostalgic for drinking and vomiting in front of the liquor store.

When you eat any kind of meat for lunch and your baba says that the greasiest part is the sweetest.

You listen to gusle and you actually LIKE it

When your mom can bake a cake without sugar, chocolate, flour and oil, and she calls it " the embargo cake "

When you're sitting in your room and listening to "narodnjake"

When your mama and baba have to wear 18 lbs. of gold around their necks at the zabavas "zato sto narod moze da vidi koliko smo mi bogat!"

You always buy a Mercedes Benz when you decide to move back to YU.

When you've been called djubre at least once in your life

Your parents buy peppers by the bushels

You have a gold chain with a 'pravoslavni krst' on it

..if you sit too close to the T.V., you'll get cancer.

Your father didn't wear under arm deodorant because it could cause cancer

Your parents insist that piling blankets on your body is the way to cure your 102 degree fever

When in the family gathering every generation has its own war and is boming to talk about and be proud for surviving it.

When you think green onions from your deda's garden and a plate of salt is an appetizer

When your mom does your laundry and makes your bed

Your house smells like luk or krompir and you get pissed because it gets on your clothes

When you started going to the clubs at 14

You tell your friends to rebel when their parents tell them to be home before midnight

When you say bitch instead of beach or beach instead of bitch

When your american friends come to your party and beg for you to play something in english

When you try to spell and it comes out the way you speak it

You've either thrown a hotel party or have gotten thrown out of one

You know you are a Serb when you're mom is running after you to put on a "podkusulja"

You know you're a Serb when you refer to John Travolta as "Jontra"

You talk to everyone at a distance of 6 inches

When a lamb/pig was roasted on a backyard pit for your graduation party to the horror of your friends

You know you're a Serb when you sing "DJURDJEVDAN" at all serbian parties

When you are never certain whether to stay abroad or return to Serbia

Your dad tells you "dis is the turd time I am telling you dis" and you are afraid to laugh.

Truisms such as "you don't have to look for a fool with a lantern" and "until you are age 21 you don't have no more brains than a chicken" are meaningful to you.

All your male relatives in the Old Country have a three day growth of beard, smell of onions and B.O., and leave saliva on your cheeks when they kiss you.

Reunions are not complete without dissension and the airing of grievances.

You bring gifts when you come and take gifts when you leave.

You are adored the first 10 years of your life, then treated like a complete idiot until you get married.

You have no idea why the other girls in second grade are so upset when you tell them you eat lamb

When you were a kid you made enough money for any electronic toy you wanted every time you saw your older relatives

You have a doily covering your DVD, VCR, printer, scanner

You make sure to bring pictures of your new car/apartment/house with you to YU and show them to your jealous relatives & friends but make it look unintentional

When you know what "merak" is and spread your arms every single time you hear "Nema raje bez rodnoga kraja"

When you roll pancakes and eat them as a dessert after dinner

When your tata never misses to "oglodati oko kosti"

When you think there is no better thing in the world but to dip bread in the lard dripping from a roasted pig

When your pride is more important than your own happiness

When you do not announce yourself before visiting a friend and are happy to see him/her at your door in the same manner

When you say your last name first and prefer last names that ends in "ic"

You know you're a Serb when your dad thinks everyone from China has a black belt

You know you're Serbian when all you have to do is sniffle and your parents (almost gladly) say, "Uh- huh" and start yelling at you for getting sick

You are poor in the United States, but when you go back to Yugo everyone thinks you are rich.

When there is a knock on the front door and your father asks: Who is?"

When you have run away from Serbia and you’re still saying :It’s the best place to live!

When you’re BABA is criticizing you every time you say the word "picture"!

When you’re BABA doesn’t want to eat Pizza because it has an AWFUL name.

When you make sure that every non-Serb KNOWS that while at the English court they were eating with hands King LAZAR was using a golden fork

When you say that the family is to be loved only in the photos

When the hospitality is consisting in making the guest eat till he doesn't die

When your tata is ironing, cooking cleaning and cooking, but when the doorbell rings, you must not open till he doesn’t put himself on the sofa with a cigarette and a turska kafa

When you meet someone special and the first question you ask is "imas li papire?"

When working 9-5 is like working under fascism the first question you ask at a job interview is "how much vacation time do I have"

When people still think you are from Siberia no matter how many times you tell them Serbia

When you watch a movie and wait to the end to see if there are any jugovic in the credits

You think this list is way too long but have already read to the bottom because it's so funny

When your parents' friends have no shame to tell you that you gained weight

You move next door to a family member to be closer but then end up not talking for something stupid someone said when they were drunk

Your mother serves you tea only when you are sick

Your Baba tells you to eat ice cream only in summertime

You don't understand the language of your church prayers

The tunes of your popular folk songs sound oriental

Your favorite phrase is "Nema problema"

You get phone calls from your relatives in Yugo at 3AM

Every letter you receive from Yugo ends with "Posalji malo para"

Your parents tell you that sleeping in a cold bedroom is good for your health

You're told to speak Serbian to be understood by the whole world

When you're going away for the weekend with your girlfriend/boyfriend and your mama and baba tell you to buy some nice pyjamas and underwear

For the first 16 years of your life you think your name is J.... Ti Sunce'

No matter what the price is your Dad will still say 'kol'ko?,.., ooh, bogati, pa skupo' and 'Nasta trosis pare'.

When you put a pound of butter and a pound of cream cheese on your bagel, then fold it in half.

When you have pictures of saints in your bathroom

Everybody exept for your father serves the guests on "Slava"

When your Dad insists that he must be called Tata and not Dad because to him Dad means Deda

Your parents insists on you dancing the kolo from an early age and can't leave it till they had enough taking you to lessons and that is usually around 16 years of age.

If you were taught to love not just your immediate family but up to your 10th cousin or more and NOT to marry them

When you call the youngest child in your family Bato and don't use their real name

You know you are born in Australia, America, UK etc but the first words out of your mouth is Serbian and not English

When everyone in Yugoslavia asks you "pa de ti se vise svidja? tamo ili ovamo?"

You get mad when somebody says that you speak Yugoslavian

When your deda drives a Yugo

Your easter eggs are coloured brown

When relatives immigrate from Yugo, they live at your house for 6 months first

When your date comes to pick you up and your dad sits on the couch cleaning his hunting gun

You're 14 and some 50 year old guy is trying to pick up on you at the hall

Your mama tells you never to cut out the "srce" of a watermelon, but the whole slice or "tata ce da vice kada dodje kuci!"

When you pack to go for serbia and out of the 4 suitcases you are carrying, only one of them is actually yours

When 3 different strangers are waiting for you at the airport to collect their gifts that you are carrying with you

When you tell people you are Serbian, they always ask... "So ... What is it like there now?"

You live in the adult world but when you go home, you feel like your 9 years old all over again

When you can actually pronounce the "g" in jagnje

When your Tata always says "Dodji Tati"

When your Deda always says "Dodji Dedi"

When your mother in law puts garlic under the cradle of your baby to save him from "uroka"

When your baba complains about the mess but does not intend on doing anything about it

When your mama tells you that the sweetest things on earth are luk and kiseli kupus

When your dad yells at little Serbian kids for speaking English

Your dad calls your friend Sarah > sera, and your friend Jose > koza

When your dad tells you not to drink so much, but he drinks non stop

When you're at a soccer game and your tata is yelling "j**** ja" at the whole team and all the "amerikanci" know it can't be a good thing

Your parents tell you that "gurlz" love guys that can dance a good kolo

if your not married by the age of 20 your family wants to send you back home to find “a nice boy”

When your family suggests that u go to Yugo to marry your cousin so u can bring them over to Canada

Asian people are friends with your dad because he's name is Dragan. And they think it's Dragon

You have more than 200 serbian movies, but you have never watched them

You have a good husband if he works and doesn't beat you

At your christening a silver dollar on your navel will protect you from evil and make you rich

Baba says "palachinki" and everyone heads for the table

When she is mad your mama tells you that she will send you back to where you came from

When your tata does a running commentary through a movie and he thinks he knows everything that's going to happen even though he has never seen the movie

When you are in a circle of fellow Serbs having a conversation and anything round dropped into the middle of the group becomes a soccer ball subject to juggling

When you actually know what it means when Peja Stojakovic holds up three fingers

When you put ground potatoes in your socks to cure a fever

There is always "pita" on the kitchen counter and multiple pita dough bundles in your freezer at all times

After cooking Pita, you eat it for dinner, breakfast, lunch and dinner

Your parents don't expect you to make good grades, as long as they are better than everybody else's

Your tata yells at you "budala, neznas nista!" when you tell him that the crowd isn't yelling "DIVAC", they are actually yelling "Defense" during the Sacramento Kings game regardless if they are home or away

Seeing an animal's brain in the fridge doesn't freak you out

Your mom or baba only use two settings on the stove: MAX or OFF

When you call Santa "Deda Mraze"

When you mom or grandma tells you to pee before you go outside

When the only family u have here is your mom dad and siblings

You use the words brat i sestra for your brother and sister and for your cousins

You know when you are a Serb when you are born on a Serbian Saint Day and named after that saint.. eg Nicola, Lazer, Savo etc..

Upon meeting another Serb, one of your first questions is, "What church do You go to?"

When at your wedding reception as you enter the hall, they play "Marsh Na Drinu".

You've convinced all your friends that Bon Jovi's name is actually Bojan Jovic

You coverted the garage into a kitchen just to feed all the family and guest that showed

When your tata chases the pigeons off the balcony with a mop, then sits down and says "dayll be back"

When tata allways "AMMA YOY"

When everyone always turns over their cup after drinking tursku kafu even though they know there is no one to tell them their fortune.

When your tata is looking at an old photo album and sees himself young and says "jao sto sam bio frajer" and ur mom tells him "molim te nemoj da s...š!"

When your pit bull's name is Pedja

You can make a public announcement by telling just one Serb friend something in confidence.

As a child, the babas at your church caused you permanent brain damage from asphyxiation by pressing your face into their ample boobs while shouting, "o joj, zlato!" over and over again

You have an ashtray in your shower

Your parents spend hours talking about the best djubre for the vegetables

Your deda tells you that his family were the wealthiest in the village because they owned two cows and a donkey

When you go on holiday, you take the same suitcase that your dad had with him when he arrived in the country over 30 years ago

You are named after your ujko, stric, tata or deda

Your mother keeps buying and sending you clothes long after you have grown up and left home

No one believes you are a Serb if you come from Texas, Alabama, Georgia or Mississippi and have a drawl, even if your last name is Manojlovich or Bogdanovich

You are the only race that suffers from PROMAJA

When TATA goes to any professional and says STA ON ZNA, NEMA POJMA

You know you're a Serb when your parents yell "kakva je ta skola" when you cannot complete their tax returns while you're in the third grade.

You tell your friends that you love sipak (rosehip) jam and they have no idea what it is

When you've heard "kuku meni" way too many times in your life ..

--- new entries ---

When your tata, ujko, stric, tetak, or deda cross their legs like a woman

When you're about 4 years old and you have to show your "cuna" to some old Serb who gives you one dollar and is pleased to see that you are becoming a man.

If u hate wearing opanke but u still have to for folklore

If your American friends cant understand why you spend every summer vacation in Yugo

If u use "bre" or "j___ g_" in your dialog

If your parents think that Yugos are the best, and the whole world is just stupid

If your parents can't pronounce "turtle"

The only place your Djedo and Baba shop is Sears.

You believe drinking the juice from the kupus barrel is as good as a flu shot.

Your church fries fish on Fridays

Your Baba always gestures with a large kitchen knife

Your Baba can only cook in quantities of 20.

There are enough canned goods in your Baba and Djedos cellar to stay underground through the next millennium

A healthy Serbian breakfast is fried eggs, slanina, pogacha and a shot of slivo or rakja. Your deda has been eating this for years and has the lowest cholesterol count in the family.

When your mom makes you put on a sweater in the house because SHE's cold.

When you know the biggest killer of Serbs isn't heart disease or cancer, but PROMAJA.

When your neighbors think your garage is on fire, but it's just your Dad smoking meat.

When your entire garage smells like an outhouse from the 55 gallon barrel of Kupus.

When your Dad tries to make you dring "Rasola" (kupus juice), and tries desparately to convince you how good it is!

When everytime you ask your Dad where he's going, he says; "U g____u. Oces li i ti?"

When people are readig this list and they are serious in analyzing each line, contemplating its truth in depth and giving it a historical perspective

When you have a stomach ache and your mom says "Skupi se"

Your baba, deda, tata, mama wash off every inch of concrete around your whole house at least once a week.

When you have a wrestling match against your dad your deda laughs.

Your baba and deda are born in Croatia

When every wedding you go to the kolo is always cacak

There is no wedding without a kolo

When people at weddings shout like mad people

When a pop has a beard

When everyone likes kolo's.

Not only do you eat bread with every meal, but then you use the left-over bread to wipe your plate clean.

You dance folklor... or if you're a guy your mom makes you

Your day suddenly lights up when you meet another Serb

You tell Americans where you are from and you end up explaining the entire history of Yugoslavia

Tata and brat drive 75 mph with one finger on the wheel and no seat belt while smoking and telling a story

Mama knocks on wood when saying "Hvala Bogu"

Salata is eaten with the meal, not before

Your relatives are constantly trying to hook you up with some Balkan person they know

Deda drinks rakija to "clear his throat" in the morning

When your dad makes rakija from grapes from your backyard

When your real name is Nick/ Nikola, serbs call you Nidjo

When your dad has a ton of yarn socks from Serbia

When your relative comes from Serbia they bring home-made rakia

When your baba does all the household chores

When a relative/friend comes from Serbia, they bring chocalate for the kids.

When your dad buys a car he says it's a great car

When your baba taught you the serbian language as a kid

When your mom was the only one to buy you video games and clothes

When you need something you're dad asks right away, "sta ti treba to?"

You started smoking when you went to Serbia for the first time.

When you get back from Srbija, you immediately go on myspace and download all the songs from Serbian singers' pages. Then listen to them for 2 months before getting back to American music.

Your MySpace page has a hundred photos with you and your friends holding up three fingers

When your mother or grandmother bathed you in a "korito" with boiling hot water when you were a baby

When you translate for your father at court but he answers the judge in English

You know your Serbian when your parents....relatives...... and most of all Grandparents incourage you to drink.... and if you back away they make fun of you.

You're the only one on your block that has Christmas lights out on your house till well after December 25th

Your dad is out in the backyard with a large bowl or plastic bag and cutting dandelion leaves with a knife to put in the salata.

Your parents praise the country they came from but would never move back.

You rip the hleb and eat it dry.

You eat bread that's ripped up in a bowl of hot milk and love it.

You must wear papucas (slippers) at all times so you don't catch cold

From B92 Blog:

when you go to Serbian wedding, and every male is trying to make passes at Kuma.

When at that same wedding, kuma always ends up dancing on the table.

When the church has the bar in the basement, and a beer cooler directly under the altar.

When there are two Serbian churches in your town, and they are on non-speaking terms (calling each other "communists".)

When the priest of that church got a beating for trying to put up a "No Smoking" sign.

When he eventually did put up that sign, he lost half of the church attendants.

When, even after living for 30 years in the US, you still refer to it as "tudjina".

When, after living for 30 years in the US, you still answer the phone with "molim?"

They lower their voice when speaking about "Udba", "Tito", or "komunisti", even though they live 10,000 miles away, thirty years later.

When you judge the quality of the soup by the amount of fat that floats on top of it. "Dva prsta" is the best.

When by "fish" you mean fried carp, even though you live in Florida.

(Been there seen that).
Some replies:

"Kuma? You mean godmother?! :)"

"one who, apart from being the first one up on a loosen table in high heels, is dressed in the most provocative way at the wedding ... either in an ultramini skirt, or in a dress with ultralarge decolletes from up and below ... or both, if wedding is really good"

"you are serbian...

when you go into your local bombshelter and get gassed by the stink of onions."

"local bombshelter?"

"Better forget 1999 Serbian experience during 78 days of NATO (read USA) bombardment.

I heard loud airplane flying over Ljubljana tonight and this always reminds me of the shocking noise when hundreds of them from Western Europe grouped overhead on March 24th."

"Every ex-communist country has a lot of bombshelters in towns, because they were always preparing for war. Actually, not only ex-commie countries, I beleive you Americans built quite a few bombshelters during the Cuban missile crisis...

Now, being practical as we are, we turned our bombshelters in either mini-malls (usually occupied by Chinese stores nowadays) or storage rooms for potatoes and sauerkraut... :)"
Friends/Serbian Friends comparison:

Rather true comparison, have seen myself in most of it :)

FRIENDS: Move out when they're 18 with the full support of their parents.
SERBIAN FRIENDS: Move out when they're 28, having saved for that nice house and are a week away from getting married...unless there's room in the basement for the newlyweds.

FRIENDS: When their mom visits them she brings a nice bunt cake and you sip coffee and chat.
SERBIAN FRIENDS: When their mom visits them she brings 3 days worth of food and begins to immediately tidy up, dust, do the laundry or rearrange the furniture.

FRIENDS: Their dads always call before they come over to visit them and its
usually only on special occasions.
SERBIAN FRIENDS: Are not at all fazed when their dads come over, unannounced, on a Saturday morning at 8:00am and start pruning the trees with a chainsaw or renovating the garage.

FRIENDS: You can leave your kids with them and you always worry if everything is going to be ok plus you have to feed them after you pick them up.
SERBIAN FRIENDS: No problem, leave the kids there and if they get out of line the Serbian friend can set them straight...plus they get fed.

FRIENDS: Always pay retail and look in the yellow pages when they need something done.
SERBIAN FRIENDS: Just call their dad or uncle and ask for another dad's or uncle's phone number to get it done...cash deal

FRIENDS: Will come over for cake and coffee and expect cake and coffee, no more.
SERBIAN FRIENDS: Will come over for cake and coffee, a meal, a choice of two meats, Sarma , Potatoes, Homemade cookies and cakes and plates to take home...time permitting there will be a late snack as well.

FRIENDS: Think that being Serbian is a great thing.
SERBIAN FRIENDS: Know that being Serbian is a great thing

FRIENDS: Never ask for food.
SERBIAN FRIENDS: Are the reason you have no food.

FRIENDS: Will say "hello"
SERBIAN FRIENDS: Will give you a big hug and a kiss.

FRIENDS: Call your parents Mr. and Mrs.
SERBIAN FRIENDS: Call your parents mom and dad.

FRIENDS: Have never seen you cry.
SERBIAN FRIENDS: Cry with you.

FRIENDS: Will eat at your dinner table and leave.
SERBIAN FRIENDS: Will spend hours there, talking, laughing and just being together.

FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back.
SERBIAN FRIENDS: Keep your stuff so long they forget it's yours.

FRIENDS: know a few things about you.
SERBIAN FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.

FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing.
SERBIAN FRIENDS: Will kick the whole crowds' ass that left you.

FRIENDS: Would knock on your door.
SERBIAN FRIENDS: Walk right in and say, "I'm home!"

FRIENDS: Are for a while.
SERBIAN FRIENDS: Are for life.

FRIENDS: Your friends' father laughs when he talks about junk cars he used to drive as a student.
SERBIAN FRIENDS: Your Serbian friends' father can talk affectionately, with tears in his eyes, for hours about his 1967 used "Fica", and the great fun he had driving it for 10 years.
Another reply:
"Great list. Did you write this yourself? One small edit - Serbian friends never give "a kiss", they give three."

Bible According to Kids

(The jewels found below are said to be written by actual students and are genuine, authentic, and unretouched... Compiled by Richard Lederer. They appear in the 12/31/95 issue of National Review.)

"In the first book of the Bible, Guinessis, God got tired of creating theworld, so he took the Sabbath off.

Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree.

Noah's wife was called Joan of Ark. Noah built an ark, which the animals come on to in pears.

Lot's wife was a pillar of salt by day, but a ball of fire by night."

"The Jews were a proud people and throughout history they had trouble with the unsympathetic Genitals.

Samson was a strongman who let himself be led astray by a Jezebel like Delilah.

Samson slayed the Philistines with the axe of the Apostles."

"Moses led the Hebrews to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread without any ingredients.

The Egyptians were all drowned in the dessert. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten ammendments."

The first commandement was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple. The fifth commandment is to humor thy father and mother. The seventh commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery."

"Moses died before he ever reached Canada. Then Joshua led the Hebrews in the battle of Geritol. The greatest miracle in the Bible is when Joshua told his son to stand still and he obeyed him."

David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. he fought with the Finklesteins, a race of people who lived in Biblical times.

Solomon, one of David's sons, had 300 wives and 700 porcupines."

"When Mary heard that she was the mother of Jesus, she sang the Magna Carta."

"When the three wise guys from the east side arrived, they found Jesus in the manager. Jesus was born because Mary had an immaculate contraption. St. John, the blacksmith, dumped water on his head."

"Jesus enunciated the Golden Rule, which says to do one to others before they do one to you. He also explained, 'a man doth not live by sweat alone.'"

"It was a miracle when Jesus rose from the dead and managed to get the tombstone off the entrance."

"The people who followed the Lord were called the 12 decibels."

"The epistles were the wives of the apostles."

"One of the opossums was St. Matthew who was also a taximan."

"St. Paul cavorted to Christianity. He preached holy acrimony, which is another name for marriage."

"A Christian should have only one spouse. This is called monotony."

More laws of combat

From www.emlra.org
From www.specialoperations.com
From www.oeri.info

Rules for survival when the chips are down

Gunnery…some thoughts making the rounds.


How the US used social networking to capture Saddam Hussein

Slate Magazine: Searching for Saddam
Note: This is an interesting article; however, I do not have personal knowledge as to its accuracy.

Busting the Climate Change Myth #14: Scientists Want EPA to Reconsider

SPPI Blog: Many leading scientists tell EPA to think again

US/NATO/EU: Attacking the Serbian people by attacking the Serbian Orthodox Church

"Pity the world if the Serbs ever unite" - Suleiman the Magnificent, 1541

By Kosara Gavrilovic

(Lecture given in September 2009 in the Parish Hall of the Russian Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Washington, DC.)

Before I begin my talk on Kosovo and Metohija in today’s Serbia I must express my gratitude to Father Victor for allowing me to share with you my impressions of Kosovo and Metohija and thank you all for staying behind after the Liturgy just to hear me speak.

I must also ask you to bear in mind four things:

  1. I stand before you not as anybody’s representative. I speak to you simply as myself. I speak as someone who has spent a year and a half in the monastery of Gračanica in Kosovo dedicated to the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God. The fact that I live and work there as a translator/interpreter of His Grace Artemije, Bishop of Ras-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, doesn’t mean that I am speaking to you on his behalf. I speak to you without his permission or knowledge because when I took my leave of him neither he nor I knew that this would happen. However, since my arrival hardly a day went by without someone asking: “How are things in Kosovo?” And every time I was asked this question I gave the same answer: “Things in Kosovo and Metohija are bad and will get much worse.” And every time I gave this answer I realized anew just how bad, how utterly awful things were. So I decided to tell you all about it and to ask for the Bishop’s blessing after the fact hoping that he would forgive this sin of self-willfulness.
  2. If I speak about something as a fact, it means that I have either seen or heard it myself or have heard it from an unimpeachable source. But we must remember that we live in an imperfect world where even unimpeachable sources may make mistakes.
  3. If I leave out things that are of interest to you, you can bring them up either as questions or as your own comments after my talk.
  4. And finally I must warn you that what I have to say will be very unpleasant. It will be very unpleasant for the Russians, even more so for the Americans and most of all for the Serbs here. But I beg you to hear me to the end. Hear me for your own sakes because it is as much about you as about us. I am not asking for help. No one can help us. Only God can save us now.
Having heard this warning you have probably concluded that in my view the chief culprits for the catastrophic situation in which Serbia finds herself today are the Serbs. And you would be right: we are the chief cause of our misery. However, this does not mean that Albanians are not killing us.

They kill us every day, and every day they make our lives just a notch harder to sustain. With every day that dawns there are fewer Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. We are slowly disappearing from Kosovo and Metohija. But that is nothing new. You know it all already.

Neither does it mean that the West as a whole and America in particular are blameless in this catastrophe. They have played a very dirty role in the case of Serbia. America’s behavior towards Serbia was immoral, dishonorable, in contravention of their own and international laws and contrary to their own interests. But I don’t want to talk about that today because the Albanians, Western Europe and America are far from what matters most in our lives today. It can truly be said of us: We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us.

Today I want to speak about a new danger which threatens you as well as us, and if you don’t understand that today, then tomorrow, or in a month or two — in any case in the near future — you will wake up one fine day and discover that this calamity is your reality, not only ours.

And now let us turn to Kosovo and Metohija in today’s Serbia and to Serbia in general—not because Kosovo and Metohija are an inalienable part of Serbia — not because they are “the heart and the cradle of Serbia,” not because they are “Serbia’s Holy Land.” They are all that but that is not the point. The point is that everything that happens today in Serbia is more than just connected with Kosovo and Metohija; it is defined by them. Everything that happens in Kosovo and Metohija depends directly on the government of the country in which these regions are located, namely on Serbia. And also because what is happening today to Orthodoxy in Serbia is inextricably linked to Orthodoxy all over the world.

What can I tell you about Serbia in general and in particular about the situation of Kosovo and Metohija within it today? Is it possible at all to speak about today without saying at least a few words about yesterday and even times long past? You already know that the story of Serbia is a story of continual, or continually repeated, divisions. It is a story of endless disagreements and fateful internecine troubles. By the way, some seventy years ago, when I was in junior high school and just started to learn about Serbian history, there was a word which kept cropping up at every history lesson with amazing frequency. None of us in the classroom knew what the word meant, but it sounded dark and evil as, indeed, it should have done since it explained all the failures and all the defeats of our early history. And although we as school children did not understand the meaning of the word medjusobica even then we began to realize that internecine troubles were the curse of Serbia. But the identification of the root of one’s troubles is one thing and the eradication of it is something quite different. Internal divisions were and will always be the curse of Serbia.

It is not surprising then that even today Serbia is a divided country. When I think of Serbia I see the Serbian symbol—a large cross dividing the space into four open quadrants, each containing the letter “S.” These letters stand for the absurd and yet wholly accurate Serbian motto Cамо Cлога Србина Cпасава — only concord saves the Serbs — but instead of these letters I see four segments of Serbian society divided by a cross.

Vertically, society is divided into: 1. The State headed by the secular government and 2. The Church with its government, i.e. The Holy Assembly of Bishops and the Holy Synod of Bishops. These two segments are clearly separated from each other. Horizontally, society is divided into those who govern and those who are governed. In the third quadrant we have the non-believers who are subject only to the secular government. The segment in the fourth quadrant represents those who believe, i.e. the clergy, the monastics and the congregation. But this last segment must submit not only to the church government but also to the state government. This has always been the case.

Today, however, each one of these four segments is further divided in two parts—parts which are far from being equal. One part, headed not only by the secular government but also by the church government, is much bigger and much more vociferous and powerful than the other part, which seems to me to be so small as to be virtually invisible. The majority is furiously determined “to join Europe.” While we in the other part ask: “What? Are we not in Europe?” If you were to ask people in the street why they are so eager to get into Europe, what they expect to find in Europe, you would get the impression that their only real desire is to get a visa and be able to travel.

For the Serbs the Visa has become a new Golden Calf. If you were to ask them further what they would do in that promised land to which the so passionately desired visa would take them and which is called the European Union, you would not get a straight answer. Not because the people are afraid to say what is in their hearts. No, the people of Serbia are no longer afraid of anything — and that is the trouble. This phenomenon is worth elaborating on because this absence of fear is in fact one of the greatest and most frightening problems facing Serbia today. You would not get a straight answer because there isn’t one. People don’t know why they want to travel. It doesn’t matter to them. They don’t care where they would go; they don’t care what they would do once they get there.

It seems to me that they want to travel so as not to be alone anymore, so as not to feel lonely, abandoned and rejected by all. The Serbs are sick and tired of loneliness. But the tragedy lies in the fact that they don’t seem to understand that once they get to the European Union they will continue to be just as alone and rejected as they do today because the European Union is a club for the chosen ones, a club so exclusive that even the membership in it would not guarantee their reception as equal members. Poland, Bulgaria and Romania and even Greece know this already. But the Serbs seem to be deaf to their bitter complaints against the “promised land.” The Serbian people look with absolute indifference at a considerable body of evidence of the fact that for the Bulgarians and the Romanians Europe proved to be the wicked step-mother of fairy tales rather than the loving mother they had expected. Nations, just like ordinary people, hardly ever learn from the mistakes of others.

And what about the Serbian government? The Serbian government probably knows why it wants so badly to be part of the Europe Union. It is very articulate in its explanations as to why we must consider the European Union the Promised Land and it does not understand why that other part, that small, insignificant, barely noticeable part of Serbia which is against it, does not believe its government. We don’t believe our government for many reasons, the first of which being that we know perfectly well that the European Union will never accept us. We may fulfill all conditions set before us EU will present us with a new condition, never before mentioned, and demand of us to fulfill it. We know this and the government knows it, but the government does not care. It is not afraid of any new conditions that the European Union may dream up. Evidently it has its own interests. What are these interests? I don’t know, but I am sorely tempted to say that our government has been bought.

All those in the pro-European camp, all the Westerners—in the government and outside the government—think that the greatest obstacle on their way to Europe is the Province of Kosovo and Metohija. They are firmly convinced that if only they were to disappear off the face of the earth, we would be admitted to the European Union that very second, and together with Kosovo and Metohija would disappear all our problems—economic, political, social, spiritual and ecclesiastic problems. You might say: “Surely not ecclesiastic problems. What can they have to do with Kosovo and Metohija?” But I assure you that the European-bound Serbian public thinks that the serious problems which plague our Church today would be cleared up immediately with the disappearance of Kosovo and Metohija.

You have already heard me speak of divisions within Serbia and of internecine troubles which have been the curse of Serbia since the beginning of her history. But in contrast to our present life there was something in the Serbian past which was indivisible and never divisive. That was the Church. Yes, I know. The Church has always known schisms; there have always been heresies among the people. But in the Serbian Church after the fourteenth century, after the Turkish invasion, after destruction of the Serbian empire the Church survived. It survived without its external splendor, without rich vestments and magnificent, gold-encrusted icons, without the angelic sounds of its choirs, but also without schisms. The Church survived. Poor, persecuted, driven underground the Church survived. Even the communists failed to destroy it entirely. It survived until the end of the twentieth century and then it stumbled.

As I said, our Church today is just as divided as is the government, as is the nation. The nation is divided on such issues as “Should we join Europe or not?” “Together with Europe towards globalization or not?” The Church is divided on the same issues. But for the Church these issues are a little more complicated than for the rest of the world. The Church cannot consider these issues from a purely economic or geopolitical point of view. As far as the Church is concerned these questions lead to a whole series of other issues which are of moral or spiritual or purely ecclesiastic nature which the Church must take into consideration. We could expect also our government and our people individually and collectively as a nation to try to answer such questions as “ What Europe are we so anxious to join? Is it the Europe which calls the NATO bombing of Serbia, in which over 3000 civilians, including children, died, a humanitarian intervention? Or is it the Europe which dares not protect the rights of its Christian citizens because that would not be politically correct, while at the same time diligently protecting religious rights of the Muslims?”

The government, of course, is not obliged to take care of the spiritual life of its people, but the Church is. The Church is obliged to take care of the spiritual salvation of its faithful. We look to our Church for salvation. We look for the truth in our apostolic Church. Christ called the disciples the salt of the earth. “But if the salt should lose its savor with what shall it be salted?” (Mt 5:13) What if the Serbian bishops lose that which should be their chief attribute, that which should define them? What if the Serbian bishops have decided to join the secular government in its pursuit of western values? What if they also want to join Europe and together with the European Union embrace globalization? Do they even know what “globalization” means? Can they, explain to us why they, our hierarchs, are so frantically anxious to join Europe?

Each bishop has his own reason. Some are greedy. Others are insatiably ambitious. There are yet others who are afraid. Fear is an amazingly convincing reason.

I know personally of two bishops whom the State Department has blackmailed into submission maintaining that they are war criminals, that the US government has incontrovertible evidence of this and that at any moment they could find themselves in The Hague being charged of war crimes. However, the US government considered it more useful for America, or so the State Department maintained, if they remained at their posts and collaborated with America. And they were frightened and behaved like cowards. They remained at their posts and meekly started doing America’s bidding.

Towards the end of the Bosnian war, or immediately afterwards, I no longer remember the exact year, I interpreted for one of them. I was with him in the Congress when he was accused of ethnic cleansing. It was Bishop Atanasije whom I knew well and respected and loved deeply. I knew at the time that he was not guilty of what they were accusing him. I knew it not only because I knew him and loved him. I knew it because I saw his face; I heard his voice as I listened to his responses and most of all because the accusation made no sense. No one in their right minds would consider his actions, which, incidentally, he never denied, anything but an act of courage and humanity. No court in the world would ever try him—except, of course, the court at The Hague. I don’t know whether The Hague accuses him of other crimes as well. Nor do I know what charges America thinks could be brought against Metropolitan Amfilohije. I don’t know whether the State Department really has any incontrovertible proof of crimes committed by either of the two hierarchs. I don’t know and it does not matter. What matters is that they are both guilty of something else: they were frightened and they behaved like cowards.

To be afraid is not a sin. The Holy Apostle Peter was afraid and gave in to his fear, but it did not stop him from hearing the cock crow. He repented and wept. But Amfilohije and Atanasije not only behaved like cowards they became cowards. And when they became cowards two of the three of the strongest and most fervent defenders of Orthodoxy, of Orthodox truth and the Serbian Orthodox people became the chief proponents of Western Europe, America, their values, their needs and their plans for the New World Order.

And worse than that, they not only sinned but they found it necessary to construct a whole new concept of the Church, her dogmas, our entire faith in order to justify their sin.

And so a new heresy appeared in Serbia. Truth to tell, this was not a new heresy. It had appeared first in Greece some ten years ago or maybe even earlier. One might say that in Serbia the first to notice it were our village grandmothers. They might not know how to read or write but they know their liturgy by heart. And the liturgy suddenly started to change. First there were almost imperceptible changes in the order of the service; then there were omissions—or it only seemed so to the old dears? But when it came to the Great Entrance and when the choir was forbidden from the ambo to sing the Cherubic Hymn, it wasn’t just the old village grandmothers who noticed that something was not quite right. And when it became known that confession was no longer necessary, it became clear to everybody that things were pretty bad. Serious talks then began within the Church, which the Church tried to keep secret. But it failed. The people knew. Not everything, of course, not every detail, but some very important and very sad and frightening facts did reach the people. We learned for instance that when one of the bishops who did not share the views of Bishop Atanasije said to him “What you are doing is against the canons,” Atanasije replied, “In new reality canons are for the birds” (У новој стварности каноне мачку о реп.).

These are the words of a man who until recently was one of Serbian great canonists, respected not only as an expert in canon law, but even more as one of its zealous defenders.

And what, might one ask, is “new reality?” Or as it is mostly called “new evolving reality” or yet “realities” in plural?” Don’t you find it frightening to think of all these new realities? What and how many are they? And how far are they likely to evolve? And what will they evolve into?

Don’t you feel the earth beneath your feet shift? Doesn’t it make you seasick? And this is not something thought up by a “mad scientist.” This was a Serbian bishop speaking, a hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church in which we praise and glorify the Lord who has established us on the rock of His teaching. We can no longer stand firm on solid rock.

This was why it was decided last year to put the question of the new heresy on the agenda for the meeting of the Assembly of Bishops. The heresy, of course, is never referred to officially as heresy. It is called “changes” or, less frequently, “reforms”.

Last year, the people or rather that barely noticeable segment of society interested in such matters, waited with enormous interest, even excitement, for the Assembly of Bishops to meet and for the debate on the new heresy to start. We were not nervous or afraid. We were already celebrating the victory because we knew that Bishop Atanasije was to speak in favor of the reforms and that the canons were to be defended by the third of the Three Great As—the name by which Amfilohije, Atanasije and Artemije were called in the seventies of the last century. Our side never doubted that Bishop Artemije would win.

However, most probably the other side agreed with our assessment of the likely outcome, because at the very beginning of the session of the Assembly of Bishops the question of heresy was taken off the agenda. The same thing happened this year. The question of “changes” was put on the agenda and then, most unfortunately, removed from the agenda. I say “most unfortunately” because a discussion about proposed changes must necessarily involve a discussion of the heresy itself, and an open discussion of that question is essential for our spiritual welfare. It is absolutely necessary for us first to recognize the existence itself of the heresy and then identify its essence in detail.

A year ago, shortly before the convocation of the Assembly of Bishops, in one of his talks with his monks Bishop Atemije asked the following question: “What do you think, brethren, what is the most important question which confronts us today?” The answer unanimously given was, of course, “Kosovo and Metohija.” “No,” said the Bishop. “Not Kosovo and Metohija. After all, Kosovo and Metohija is just a piece of land. The most important question before us is how to protect and save our faith from heresy.”

I am not going to analyze in detail the elements of the heresy. I shall only tell you what I was told by, those who understand these things better than I do, represents the core of the heresy—its principal dogma. Briefly, there is no sin. So now we know why no one in Serbia is afraid or ashamed of anything. There is no sin because through his passion on the Cross Christ “trampled death by death” and cleansed us not only of the original sin but of sin in general forever. In other words, in “new reality” all sins are forgiven in advance. It means there is no longer need for repentance. What could we repent of if there is no sin? It means confession is no longer necessary. We can still take communion, probably because it is considered a purely symbolic gesture.

“Kosovo is just a piece of land.” It is hard to believe that these words were spoken by the most passionate, the most tireless, the most fearless defender of Kosovo and Metohija. We who saw in him the second Holy Warrior Artemius could not believe that he actually said these words. But he did say them and much more. If we lose our faith, we lose also Kosovo. If we preserve our faith, God will preserve our Kosovo, if it is his will. And having said this Bishop Artemije gave the Synod an additional pretext for his removal.

The Synod has been trying for a longtime now to remove Bishop Artemije. He was repeatedly accused of financial malfeasance, for instance, but the charges could never be substantiated. In the fall of 2004 they tried to declare him insane. They even tried to convince me that he was seriously mentally ill. The then hieromonk and today’s Bishop of Australia and New Zealand, Irinej Dobrijević, and Suffragan Bishop Teodosije Lipljanski called me by phone and asked to meet with me to explain more fully Bishop Artemije’s mental condition. That meeting never took place. I was not convinced and I don’t believe that many were.

What form did Bishop Artemije’s insanity take? One of the symptoms of insanity was said to be his staunch refusal to allow the churches and other church buildings, including the Bishop’s Palace in Prizren, destroyed or heavily damaged on March 17, 2004, to be rehabilitated by the same Albanians who had wrecked them in the first place. One might say that his refusal, under the circumstances, was eminently reasonable.

However, the European Council, which wished to be involved in the financing of the rehabilitation project, insisted that contracts be given to Albanian contractors. Since the Bishop refused to do so, the European Council turned to the Synod, and the Synod ordered Bishop Artemije to sign the Memorandum on rehabilitation of churches and other structures. Bishop Artemije signed and immediately withdrew his signature. For the next four years he publicly and vigorously denounced the project. In the beginning it was a matter of principal: the Bishop simply found it grotesque that the destroyers could suddenly become rebuilders of what they had destroyed. Later there appeared another reason for his refusal—a reason of purely technical nature. What was rehabilitated by Albanian contractors began to fall apart after a year or so of their rehabilitation. Regardless of this fact, the Synod, now headed by the Metropolitan Amfilohije, who was by now a most compliant collaborator of the European Council and America, signed the Memorandum on the acceptance of “rehabilitated” structures without the approval of Bishop Artemije, According to the canons of the Church, the Metropolitan had no right to meddle in the affairs of another diocese.

A few months ago, in April or May of 2009 the Synod sent an ultimatum to Bishop Artemije: by July 1, the bishop will either accept rehabilitated churches and other structures owned by the Diocese, or the bishop will be brought before the Ecclesiastic Court for disobedience to the Synod and other activities likely to lead to a schism within the Church.

Numerous articles appeared in the press on this most recent confrontation between Metropolitan Amfilohije and Bishop Artemije. Among these articles were those written by specialists in Canon Law—both clerics and lay writers, both on our side and the side of the Synod—all of which asserted that the Synod had no canonical leg to stand on and that the Ecclesiastic Court would clear the Bishop of all charges. Everyone was absolutely certain that Bishop Artemije would reject the ultimatum.

However, no one told the people of one crucial fact. No one mentioned that the very moment the charges are brought before the Ecclesiastic Court, the Court would be canon-bound to relieve the Bishop of all his episcopal duties and appoint in his place an administrator. The trial could last one or two years. Perhaps seven or nine years? No matter how long the trial would last by the time it was concluded the struggle for Kosovo and Metohija, for the integrity of Orthodoxy, for everything which Bishop Artemije had fought for, would be over. And who would be the winner?

Bishop Artemije signed the Memorandum on the acceptance of rehabilitated churches and other structures.

Ultimatums, as other kinds of blackmail, have all one thing in common: they never come singly. The first is always followed by others. And so it was in this case. The second ultimatum followed close on the heels of the first: the Bishop must take up residence in his rehabilitated Palace in Prizren.

Prizren is an ancient Serbian town—the capital of Emperor Stefan-Dušan who ruled in the 14th century. Not far from Prizren, Emperor Stefan Dušan built a magnificent monastery, made of white marble and dedicated to the Holy Archangels. About the middle of the 15th century the Turks began to pull the monastery down and in the 16th century they started systematically carting the marble away.

In 1615 the marble was used to build a huge mosque in Prizren in honor of Sinan Pasha—the very same Sinan Pasha who ordered the holy relics of Saint Sava to be taken out of its shrine in the Monastery Mileševa, brought to Belgrade and burnt at Vračar. Incidentally, when the Serbs returned to Prizren at the end of the Turkish occupation in 1912 it never even occurred to them to pull down the Sinan Pasha Mosque.

This instance of political correctness ante factum may have been a big mistake.

In the 20th century the Albanians completed the destruction of the Holy Archangels. But at the end of that century Bishop Artemije rebuilt it. Actually the Bishop had to rebuild the monastery twice as on March 17, 2004 the Albanians burned it to the ground. Now the rebuilt monastery is surrounded with razor wire and protected by German KFOR troops. Some five or six monks live in it. There are no KFOR troops visible in the city of Prizren itself because only Albanians live there, except for one solitary old Serb.

When His Grace Irinej, the Bishop of Niš, transmitted to Bishop Artemije the Synod’s order to return with all due speed to Prizren, Bishop Artemije asked “What about protection there?” the answer was “Protection will not be necessary there.”

And that is true. The Bishop and all those whom the Bishop will have to take with him will need no protection in Prizren. Protection is not necessary because protection is impossible. No one could protect them there, as on March 17 five years ago no one could protect either his palace, or the church of Mother of God of Leviš, or the Holy Archangels, or the Serbian population who on that day disappeared in its entirety, except for one solitary old Serb.

And so the Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church is sending a Serbian bishop, Bishop Artemije, to his martyrdom and with unbelievable cynicism it does not even bother to conceal the fact.

Bishop Artemije has often been accused of seeking martyrdom. Bishop Artemije is not seeking martyrdom. None of us is seeking martyrdom. During every Liturgy the litany of rogation is chanted twice. Each time it ends with a prayer for “a peaceful, blameless and painless Christian death.” So it is no sin not to desire martyrdom, and none of us desires it. We only ask that God grant us the strength of faith which would give us the courage to endure and not to yield to fear at the last moment.

So what will happen now? The Bishop faces a choice: he can submit to the Synod again and go to his crucifixion or refuse and go to court. What he will choose we do not know. But we can say with certitude that he will choose what which at that moment will seem to him better, or at least less damaging, for his beloved Orthodox Kosovo and Metohija.

Now, I ask you, what other answer could be given to the question “How are things in Kosovo?” other than “Things in Kosovo and Metohija are bad and will get much worse?”

(Given in September 2009 in the Parish Hall of the Russian Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Washington, DC.)

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The Plight of Bishop ARTEMIJE

Statement by James George Jatras Regarding the Sequestration of His Grace, Bishop ARTEMIJE of Ras and Prizren and Kosovo and Metohija, and Pressure on Monastics and Laypersons Loyal to Him

February 23, 2010
Washington, DC

Since the suspension of Vladika ARTEMIJE from administration of his Eparchy the claim has been advanced that His Grace retains his full dignity as Bishop Ras and Prizren and Kosovo and Metohija and that he is only barred from direct control over the affairs of his Diocese. Supposedly, he is otherwise a free man and can do all else appropriate to his status. He can go anywhere and talk to anyone, without restriction, supervision, or need for permission.

However, circumstances since Vladika Artemije's suspension call that claim into serious question. Nothing in maintaining silence over matters for investigation requires Vladika Artemije to remain within his residence in Gracanica Monastery; to be unable to meet with his spiritual children within his Eparchy and elsewhere; to visit his doctor in Belgrade (His Grace is not a young man); or to be unable to speak with the media, at least about topics unrelated to the current controversy.

Yet we see him doing none of these things. In fact, we do not see him at all. It seems the only glimpse of Vladika Artemije has been a single photo posted on the website established on the purported "new" Eparchy website following the apparent seizure of His Grace's site. (In the same vein, what justifies seizure and shutdown of Vladika Artemije's site, if not to silence and isolate him?). That photo shows Vladika Artemije serving in church together with suffragan Bishop Teodosije, known to be aligned with those seeking to justify Vladika Artemije's suspension. The evident purpose of the photo is to demonstrate that Vladika Artemije is well and apparently content with his current status. Viewing the photo one cannot escape the sense one has from a photo of a kidnap victim sent to his family by his captors to show that he is still in good health. The only way to dispel the sense that Vladika Artemije effectively is sequestered as a virtual prisoner is for him to emerge from Gracanica and travel as he pleases, both within his Eparchy and outside it, including to Belgrade; and to meet with Serbian and foreign media to give a direct, uncensored account of his circumstances and wellbeing, and to speak his mind on issues of importance to his endangered flock. This must be permitted without further delay.

Inseparable from the issue of Vladika Artemije's evidently forced isolation are highly disturbing reports that monastics and laypersons loyal to him are being pressured to abandon or disown him as the price for their daily subsistence. It must be kept in mind that since Vladika Artemije's suspension all the financial resources of the Eparchy are in the hands of those responsible for his suspension. This means that monastics and laypersons, both at Gracanica and at other establishments in the Eparchy, who have their daily rations from the monastic refectories and other customary means of support, now find themselves entirely under the control of persons they have reason to believe are unfriendly towards their beloved Archpastor. There have been disturbing reports of individuals loyal to Vladika Artemije being told, in so many words, that they will be fed only if they consent to morally disown His Grace and take sides with the “new order” in the Eparchy. The only alternatives to submission are to rely on the meagre private resources of a few individuals, which are rapidly being depleted; or to physically depart from the Eparchy. It is clear that what is at work is a campaign of attrition against Vladika Artemije's most loyal supporters to draw them away, either morally or physically, and so isolate him further. This obscene un-Christian campaign must stop at once.

Once again, in accordance with the Open Appeal ([LINK]) for the Reinstatement of Vladika Artemije, I ask that he be returned to effective control over his Eparchy without delay.

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In defense of His Grace, Bishop ARTEMIJE

Statement by James George Jatras Regarding Allegations of Misuse of Funds to Support Lobbying in the United States on Behalf of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija

February 18, 2010

In connection with the suspension of His Grace, Bishop ARTEMIJE, from supervision of his Eparchy, allegations have been made to the effect that funds allocated for other purposes (variously reported as earmarked for humanitarian relief or for repair of churches) instead were used to pay for lobbying service by two firms with which I have been associated, Venable and Squire Sanders.  To the best of my knowledge, this was first raised in Blic yesterday.  Later that same day, an item appeared in a website purporting to be that of the Diocese of Ras and Prizren and Kosovo and Metohija, denouncing me for beginning circulation of an open appeal in defense of Vladika Artemije, which started yesterday.

I will address the accusation of the alleged misuse of funds in due course, below. But first it needs to be made clear what is going on here: that a concerted effort is being made to destroy the man who, more than anyone else, has become the symbol of Serbia’s resistance to amputation and annihilation of Serbia’s most important spiritual and national patrimony. Can anyone doubt that should it succeed what would be the consequence for the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija and for the whole Serbian nation? Even if there are legitimate questions to be asked about administrative matters in the Diocese, everyone can see the methods being used to obliterate Vladika Artemije’s public witness and to terrorize and intimidate his supporters. Who benefits from that?

With regard to my contract for lobbying services on behalf of Vladika Artemije and of the Serbian people of Kosovo and Metohija, I have and always will regard the fact that His Grace asked me, and not someone else, to perform this task in Washington as the great honor of my life. It should be kept in mind that beginning with my work at the U.S. Senate, and subsequently during my testimony as the trial of Slobodan Milosevic at The Hague, I have tried to be conscientious regarding both the damage my own country was doing to itself through its misguided Balkan policy (and particularly support of radical Islamic elements in Bosnia and Kosovo) and the obscene unfairness of the demonization the Western powers, especially the United States, attached to the Serbs during the Balkan wars of the 1990s. For that, well before being engaged by the Serbs of Kosovo, I was attacked from many quarters, notably by Islamic organizations and the Albanian lobby. Perhaps for that reason, when Vladika Artemije decided that something on a professional basis needed to be done on behalf of his people, he selected me knowing that it would not be just a “job” performed by a “hired gun” who could just as happily represent Serbia’s enemies but someone committed to his cause.

In March 2006, I signed on behalf of Venable an agreement with the Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija (SNC), under the signature of its president, Mr. Dragan Velic. It should be kept in mind there was then no official Serbian government lobbying effort in the United States, at a time when the U.S. government clearly was moving towards a “final solution” of the province’s status. (Several months later the government did sign an agreement with another firm but not, as far as I know, with specific reference to Kosovo.) Vladika Artemije concluded that if no action was going to be taken by official Belgrade, he had no choice but to try to do something himself as the centerpiece of a professional effort to put the truth about Kosovo in front of the face of the American people and decision-makers.This is the same decisiveness and courage he displayed when I first met him, when I was working at the Senate, during the period 1997-1998, when he was, as far as I know, the only Bishop willing to speak against Milosevic and to come to Washington on a mission of peace.

Upon signing of the March 2006 agreement with the SNC, Venable immediately launched the American Council for Kosovo. Our goal was to provide a real American voice against the wrong-headedness of our country’s policy of supporting a group of Islamic terrorists and organized crime organizations (the KLA) under the command of the criminals Thaci, Ceku, and Haradinaj; and to show that far from perpetrators of genocide in Kosovo, Serbs are the victims. We knew we were starting a fight with an entrenched policy position in Washington, which held that all the merits were on the Albanian side and none on the Serbian side. We also were fighting against an Albanian lobby that had been active, literally, for decades, and which had vast sources of funds (of course, including criminal proceeds), the amounts of which can only be speculated, and which lavishly gave to American politicians’ campaigns.

The reaction to our beginning operations was hysterical.One of the Albanian-American groups accused us of trying to “hijack American policy toward Kosova,”to which, of course, the Albanians were accustomed to full and uncontested enjoyment. (It is quite meaningful that the information in theBlic article is taken almost word-for-word from this Albanian-American site.) They hacked our website. They launched a phony mirror site (which even fooled some people into thinking we were working for the Albanians too!).They denounced us as racists, extremists, etc., for pointing out the truth of Kosovo and the “friends” America had adopted there.We believed we could win only by changing the terms of debate.When we began, “Kosovo” meant only “the place where America stopped genocide of peaceful Albanians by evil Serbs.” Due to our efforts, for many, many Americans “Kosovo” now means “the place where our government insanely helps jihadists and gangsters terrorize Christian Serbs.”

Were we successful? Let us remember that when we began our efforts Washington fully expected smoothly to arrange the “final status” of Kosovo well before the end of 2006. The architects of American policy expected minimal resistance from Belgrade and were sure the Russians were not serious in their opposition to independence. And of course there were virtually no dissenting voices in the United States. While our efforts may not have been early enough to have accomplished a reversal of American policy, I am confident that if not for this campaign under Vladika Artemije’s guidance and direction Washington would have moved much faster than it did to “resolve” the issue. Instead, we threw enough sand in the gears that contributed to a delay of almost two years, by which time the Russian position had become rock-solid and it had become impossible for anyone (openly, anyway) in Serbian politics to consent to losing Kosovo. Even when Washington did make its move in early 2008, in concert with the KLA kingpins and with unprecedented bullying of our European allies, they did so with the increasingly desperate knowledge they were losing ground and that it was “now or never.” The result – the ongoing, unresolved crisis – is not one anyone wants to see but is far better than what likely would have been the case if we had not moved when we did at Vladika Artemije’s initiative.I sincerely believe we helped give Serbia a fighting chance, which it is still her option to take advantage of or not.

With respect to the money, there is a curious assumption behind the accusation that moneys were “diverted” to lobbying: that while Serbia’s enemies should take full advantage of all the influence money can buy, Serbs should rely solely on goodhearted, voluntary, nonprofessional efforts. That assumption is a large part of why Serbia and Serbs ended up where they did in the propaganda wars of the 1990s. It is an assumption Vladika Artemije wisely understood he had to reject if he was to have any hope of saving his flock. In any case, the cost for services in the agreement signed between SNC and Venable in March 2006 was for an initial six-month period for $600,000, and continuing thereafter unless cancelled at the same rate of $100,000 per month. Any search of lobbying records for international clients shows that is this is well within the range of such services, with two provisos:

  • First, that the payments under the SNC/Venable agreement were inclusive of out-of-pocket costs (like media buys, travel, conferences, etc.), and was not just for professional fees to the firm for its work. This is not usual. In most agreements the contract amount is what goes for the work, with costs added on top.This means that out of the SNC/Venable contract from one-third to up to forty percent of the funds paid went not for professional fees but for things like ads in papers read by officials, like Roll Call and The Hill; in well-read political sites like DrudgeReport and Daily Kos; conferences at locations like the Capitol Hill Club (Washington’s most well-regarded Republican gathering place); for travel around the U.S., Britain, Germany, Russia, India, Israel, Belgium (EU), Rome, and other locations; and similar expenses.This also means that the actual amount paid for the work of Venable’s professionals was far exceeded (by a factor of two or three times) by the amount of time devoted to the mission.
  • Second, that funding ($600,000) for the initial six months, which was paid out over the period March-December 2006, virtually exhausted the sources available for support of the representation.In February 2007, because I had changed firms, the agreement with Venable was reassigned to Squire Sanders Public Advocacy, under the signature of Fr. Simeon (Vilovski), continuing at $100,000 per month, though by then no further funds were available. Notwithstanding, the work continued at the same intensity throughout 2007 and 2008, and into 2009. Since then, it has been necessary to scale back the work but it has never fully ended despite having, in effect, ceased to be professional effort and transformed into essentially a volunteer activity.
So, that means that since the signing of the March 2006 contract, that initial $600,000 for six months has bought almost four years worth of work of varying levels of intensity. That’s an average of about $12,500 per month, of which, as noted above, a sizeable portion went to costs.

None of what is related above is a state secret, however. As noted, all of this has been public record since March 2006, and in a sense it is absurd and insulting to have to explain it. How, then, to understand the sense of breathless discovery by those trying to discredit Vladika Artemije? When all is said and done, there is only one legitimate question than can be asked that relates to the lobbying issue: did the funds for it come from some specific source for which it was absolutely impermissible to be used for any other purpose, such as lobbying? Not being party to the Eparchy’s ledgers, I would strongly doubt it. First, money is fungible. If money is given to the Eparchy for various purposes and then is spent for a number of legitimate activities, how is it determined which money went for what purpose? Second, I categorically reject any suggestion that Vladika Artemije, Fr. Simeon, or any of the monastics and laity associated with him would perform any clearly improper action, financial or otherwise. If, on the other hand, we are talking about questions of judgment, that should be left to the Bishop’s discretion. For example, if Vladika Artemije decides that instead of spending a dollar to help restore a damaged church (so the Albanians can attack it again) it would be better to spend it to help ensure churches won’t be destroyed, who better than he to be the judge of it?

In any case, such questions can be asked in a reasonable and humane way. That is not, however, what we see before us today, which can only feed the sense that something else is at work. It is hard to escape the conclusion that what really is unfolding is a political agenda reminiscent of the Milosevic era, to silence Vladika Artemije’s courageous and irreplaceable voice that is so offensive to some in Washington, Brussels, and Belgrade.

In closing, I note that the item posted on the “new” Eparchy site accuses me not only of hypocrisy but of attacking the Holy Synod. To appeal respectfully but firmly is not to attack. So, once again, I appeal to His Holiness, Patriarch IRINEJ, to the Holy Synod, and to the whole Serbian people, that this unjust and unjustified persecution of Vladika Artemije stop at once and that he be restored to authority over his Diocese.