Category Archives: Barack Obama

On Football, the First Amendment and the Third Commandment

A couple years ago, we were ironically at McDonald’s on a Sunday morning, in a picking grain on the sabbath capacity, and while we were waiting, and whichever news channel was on (why must restaurants ruin people’s digestion with “news”? I wish they’d just play Boomerang or something that all ages could enjoy without stress or ideology), the anchoress said, “It’s Sunday, and that means Americans’ thoughts turn to football!”
It made me sad that that statement is so true: Americans’ thoughts on Sunday don’t turn to God.  They turn to football, or golf, or Sunday brunch or sleeping in or going to the movies.

In the City, we need no bells:
Let them waken the suburbs.
I journeyed to the suburbs, and there I was told:
We toil for six days, on the seventh we must motor
To Hindhead, or Maidenhead.
If the weather is foul we stay at home and read the papers.
In industrial districts, there I was told
Of economic laws.
In the pleasant countryside, there it seemed
That the country now is only fit for picnics.
And the Church does not seem to be wanted
In country or in suburbs; and in the town
Only for important weddings.

[….]

And the wind shall say: “Here were decent godless people:
Their only monument the asphalt road
And a thousand lost golf balls.” (T. S. Eliot, Choruses from ‘The Rock’)

This whole NFL/National Anthem thing is thus a bit confusing to me:
1) I hate professional sports, football in particular, both in that I don’t see the point of watching sports and get annoyed when my shows are preempted by sports, but also in that I think it involves way too much money and way too much physical risk.  So the idea of having people lash out against the NFL and hopefully free up Sundays and holidays a bit for other activities makes me kind of hopeful.
2) In addition, though I’m conflicted when it comes to prerecorded TV or going to a restaurant, Western culture is far less respectful of the Lord’s Day today than it was when Eliot wrote those words over 80 years ago.
We’ve come a long way since Eric Lidell in the 1924 Olympics.  Now, we have players who are “controversial” for openly praying during sporting events, and people who schedule their church attendance around football praise him while getting mad at the “irreverence” shown by players who protest the performing of the “National Anthem.”

3) What of the Anthem itself?

Everybody knows the first verse, but here’s verse 3, the source of the controversy:

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

How is it the “land of the free and the home of the brave” if we’re going to hunt down and kill runaway slaves? (And yes I know the historical context was the slaves fighting on the side of the British during the War of 1812).

Long before anyone ever hear of Colin Kaepernick, Ray Charles and others were asking for the “Star Spangled Banner” to be replaced with something like “America the Beautiful” or “God Bless America.”  Besides, it’s also a notoriously difficult song to sing.

So it’s not some sudden new thing that African Americans find the “Star Spangled Banner” offensive, and I think they’re justified in doing so.  Given that “hirelings” would have meant Irish and German Catholics, anyway, I’m inclined to more than sympathize with their objections.

4) Why do we *have* a National Anthem?
Because in 1931, the news circulated that the City Council of Erie, Pennsylvania, was so left-wing they were singing the “Internationale” at their meetings.  The story “went viral,” as we now say, and the Star Spangled Banner was adopted as a National Anthem as a move against Socialism (so for that reason I’m inclined to agree with it).

5) OTOH, why do we put such emphasis on the flag?
In that case, it’s almost the opposite: in the late 1800s, concerned about rising immigration from Ireland and Eastern and Southern Europe, and trying to reunite the country after the Civil War, there was an alliance of Socialists and Protestants who pushed for US nationalism.  They wanted to downplay the Constitution to downplay both Federalism and the First Amendment, so they wrote and promoted the Pledge and veneration of the Flag as a new approach to unifying the country.
All these historical contexts validate another longstanding instinct of mine, which is that if we are to truly honor our military, we should honor the Constitution they vow to uphold, and that includes not forcing people to engage in particular speech or expression with which they disagree. Let’s recall that the early Christians’ refusal to swear an oath to Caesar was one of the major reasons they were persecuted.

6) Then there’s the “taking the knee” thing.  In one of those mind-numbing twists of human behavior, the players are genuflecting because, as Americans, they see subservience as a bad thing, so they are performing a gesture they perceive as a repulsive gesture of subservience to protest a song referring to hunting down and killing their enslaved ancestors.

Why now?  Well, let’s see, it’s only been since 2009 that NFL players have been officially required to stand on the field for the Anthem,  although it was customary before that.  And hmm, why, with more and more attention being paid to African American males, whether legitimate suspects or completely innocent, being shot in the back, might African American males in positions of influence might want to draw attention to a song about killing fleeing “slaves”?

7) What of the First Amendment?  A popular notion-depending upon whose side is at the center of the First Amendment issue in question–is that the First Amendment only applies to the Federal government and not to one’s employment status.  To a certain extent, I’d agree. But this also presumes people have a choice about their employment status.  It is one thing to look at an athlete who makes millions of dollars for playing a game or an actor who gets millions of dollars to play pretend and say, “You are paid to entertain me, and I am not entertained by your behavior. So I am not going to buy your product.”
A few years ago, we said of the “wedding cake” controversy, “What if Nazis wanted a liberal baker to make a cake?”  Well, now liberals are trying to get actual Nazis who get photographed at rallies fired from their jobs.  They’re refusing to perform for Trump or members of his administration, flat out telling Trump supporters they don’t want their business, etc.
If we don’t want someone like Tim Tebow fired for genuflecting in prayer, why do we want someone like Colin Kaepernick fire for genuflecting in protest?
There is a difference between telling a business, “I’m not going to give you business because I disagree with you,” or “I’m going to support your business because I agree with you,” and suing the business or asking the government to fine the business for some perceived “civil rights violation.”

8) Still, should the first Amendment protect employees’ speech?  Before disability, I could accept that, as an employee, and as someone trying to feed my family, I should refrain from certain kinds of speech.  But that seems different than requiring an employee to actively violate his or her conscience.  What about the right to pray or read the Bible in one’s cubicle?  To have political or religious signage on one’s vehicle?  What about after-hours?  There’s a list that circulates the Internet of requirements for teachers 100 years ago, and they were expected to adhere to various behavioral standards even in their off hours that today we might consider draconian, yet many contemporary contracts or “ethics courses” say the same.  I worked for employers who said, for example, that their “harassment policy” extended to one’s private life. That if an employee was out in public, and a coworker or client overheard an offensive conversation, the employee could still potentially be sued or fired for it!

9) Lastly, does protesting a requirement as a civilian, in a country that is supposedly founded on freedom of speech, to sing a particular song or say a particular pledge or revere a flag honor or dishonor the troops who’ve sacrificed and died to uphold the Constitution?  I’d argue that mandatory expression is a greater dishonor to the troops.

“It Can’t Happen Here”?

Some are suggesting that we’re overreacting in saying Friday’s ruling is the door to open persecution.  If it weren’t for the fact that Antonin Scalia himself says it is, I’d share their “let’s keep cool heads,” but no, we need to make a stand for religious freedom.   I often quote a Joseph Sobran column I read once–can’t find the original, and the only hits I’ve found on Google are from me–saying, “The only problem with pessimists is they underestimate how bad things are going to get.” I know Kreeft and Kirk have written similar things.
All my more conspiracy-minded friends, and people like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck, sometimes seem to be wrong only in that regard. It’s easy to see how the whole thing was engineered just as people have warned for years.
First, things like the blue/gold dress that a) show how fast a “meme” (in the original sense it was coined) can travel in this digital age; b) get people fired up about nothing; and c) undermine people’s confidence in their own abilities.
Then some conveniently timed acts of violence–again, I don’t think the Feds sent the attackers, but I know they’ve permitted it because Scott Roeder was on 24 hour FBI surveillance when he shot George Tiller.
Now, just in time for the two rulings that destroyed the American Republic by saying the letter of the law means nothing, and the will of the people means nothing, they do this Confederate Battle Flag thing (a symbol that I don’t personally support) and show how swiftly censorship can happen in an age when information spreads swiftly.

In two days, SCOTUS has ruled that a) words don’t mean anything, and they can insert whatever they want to into laws; b) state laws, referenda and constitutional amendments don’t mean anything; c) the Constitution itself doesn’t mean anything; and d) once again, the Anthony Kennedy Doctrine of “People can decide what they want to be or whether they’re even people” has been given another precedent, this time with the notion that the government exists not to protect the liberty to pursue happiness but to *make* people feel happy and loved.
Let’s not forget that, 20 years ago, St. John Paul warned about the Conspiracy of Death in _Evangelium Vitae_.
Cardinal George famously predicted that his successor would die in jail, and the next archbishop of Chicago would be publicly executed.

The US has remained the one bastion of safety amidst all those aforementioned persecutions: ISIS may be more public and scorched earth, but the violent persecution of Christians has always been going on, and there is only one reason it doesn’t happen here: the First Amendment. From George Takei to Barack Obama, we’ve heard radicals this weekend saying it’s their next and ultimate target. 
When Catholics said, “contraception will lead to acceptance of abortion, divorce, and homosexuality,” it was “you’re being paranoid; that’s a slippery slope fallacy,” yet we were right. When they started legalizing gay marriage, they insisted on no one being affected, yet now we’ve had little old ladies sued out of their life savings and small businesses. Yes, it’s a small price to pay for eternal life, but then so’s death.

Yet, it’s less of a martyrdom than being directly killed, but it’s more Satanic. It’s the very agenda the Chinese communists use.

Killary wants us to change our beliefs on abortion; Obama wants us to change our beliefs on marriage.
Now, reports are trickling in of faithful Catholics being reported to Facebook, or worse, the police, for petty offenses.

Meanwhile, radicals are threatening, and some Catholics are warning, that the next step will be demands that Catholic schools and adoption agencies comply, that churches lose tax exemption status, that they’ll do everything they can to financially cripple the Church–and it’s still the same dismissal of “paranoia” and “that’ll never happen,” and “what’s so bad about that,” even after every other warning has been proven ?
Even if we “win” in court, it will be costly, and the enemies of the Church only care about their futile attempts to destroy Her. They won’t, of course, but that doesn’t change that we all need to be vigilant and take a stand.
 

7 years ago, some of my RL friends predicted that Obama would engineer some violent crisis, declare martial law and declare himself dictator. The old saying about learning from history applies here, since this has happened in every Republic/democracy throughout history (you can start by reading about Julius Caesar).
It’s a pattern that, 10 years ago, George Lucas expected Dubya to follow, making _Revenge of the Sith_ an allegory for what he thought the Bush Administration was doing, and yet it’s Obama who’s really implemented the patterns Lucas describes.  While there’s still a chance a Bush or Clinton will be the one to go full Julius or Augustus Caesar on our Republic, there’s also time for Obama to do it, or else we could be truly honest and declare Anthony Kennedy imperator.

On Riots, Racism, and Standardized Testing: All you need is Love, and that means Christ

Our nation is in turmoil.  Everything distopian novelists and “crazy conspiracy theorists” have written about seems to be coming true.  Early in the Obama administration, for example, people said he’d create a national crisis to declare Martial Law and establish a dictatorship.  Well, the tensions are arising, and Obama  established aprogram under everyone’s noses to begin nationalizing local police forces.  Major cities keep erupting in race riots.  The Supreme Court is likely to overturn every state law on marriage and establish yet another fictious constitutional “Right.” Some people are being driven out of business for expressing thir Christian beliefs while other businesses are denying Christians their services.   Hillary Clinton says if (and when) she’s “elected” President, she wants to force all religions to accept abortion.

All of it just shows society’ need for Christ.   

Attempts to “fix” broken schools with more money and more legislative interference for 50-60 years have only made things worse.  All we have is a “race to nowhere” with high stakes standardized tests that demonstrate nothing about real learning, line the pockets of educational conglomerates, and cause students to burn out, or worse, from the stress.  When I was in elementary school, the teachers would say, discussing the differences between the US and Communist countries, taht Communists made students take tests that determined their entire lives.  When I was a young adult, a teacher friend went through a few years where a faculty member had a heart attack or stroke during standardized testing, because it was so stressful.  

We can’t fix something unless we know why it’s broken, and what’s broken is a lack of transcendent values.   
If the reason people riot is lack of advantage, or discrimination by police, what is served by looting or burning small businesses and charities?  One of the reasons the July 1832 revolt that Hugo immortalized failed was that most of “the people” were mad at the students for stealing their stuff.  But, at least they knew whom they were revolting against (a just, Catholic king who was popular for giving he people more rights than the “Republic” or Napoleon) and why (they believed that secular government could and should end poverty). I saw a meme pointing out how people riot over sports games, and implying that race riots at least have a point.  The way I see it, it’s equally meaningless: unbridled anger, expressed in random violence.  If revolution is ever effective or just–and the Church has always been wary of revolution, even in the case of the Cristeros–it needs to be focused on the right enemy.  

I often refer to Catechism 676, the passage that tells us to beware of any movement that claims to try and solve all the world’s problems through  secular means because that is the “spirit of Antichrist.”  This was the reason the Church condemned Freemasonry.  It’s what Pope Benedict XVI expounded on in _Caritas in Veritate_, saying taht charity must be from love and truth, both of which are personfied in Christ, and that since the Church is the arbiter of Christ’s teachings and the Natural Law, economic justice cannot be divorced from the Church.

Prayer, fasting and forgiveness are the only solutions to these crises.  The more we abandon Christ as a society, the worse thigns will get.  If as 1 Samuel warns us, we choose a “King” over God, the warnings Samuel gave to the Israelites will continue to be proven. 

Pray for Peace in the Ukraine and in the World


If you’re reading this, and you’re not doing something that absolutely prevents it (which you likely aren’t if you’re reading Facebook or blogs; if so, do it when you’re free), drop everything else and take 15 minutes, at least, to pray together for the Ukraine. Preferably say the Rosary, or the Jesus Rosary, and/or the following Psalms (first number is Septuagint/Second is the Masoretic/common English numbering): 29/30, 111/112, 131/132, 132/133, 140/141, 143/144

Our Lady of Guadalupe, to whom the winning fleet at Lepanto was dedicated.

Things I Don’t Understand

Things I don’t understand:
1) Why “George Zimmerman,” who is half Hispanic and half German, was an Obama supporter, etc., is considered a “white racist,” but Barack Obama is considered “black.” Could that not itself be racism regarding their names?
2)  Why, when one party calls 911 and says, “There’s a suspicious looking teenager,” and 911 asks for a description, and he says he can’t be sure but the kid may be black, that’s racism, but the other party calls a friend on his cell phone and says that “some white guy” is following him, and his friend on the other end suggests the guy might be gay and trying to rape him, the latter party is not accused of “hate.”  If Martin had killed Zimmerman, would the media have accused him of homophobia?  Or would the whole case have been ignored?
4) Why is the “Stand your ground” concept being judged based upon one specific but very ambiguous case, one way or the other, and not on its own merits in terms legitimate self-defense?
5) Why are people using this one case as the epitome of “everything wrong with America”?  Ironically, it is, but not in the way people mean.  News is news because it’s rare.  Yes, minority youth are sadly the victims of more gun violence than other socioeconomic classes–just as minority babies are statistically the victims of more abortions, but if you point out a connection there, regarding the cheapening of life, you’re accused of racism and/or cheapening the deaths of gun violence.  However, minorities are also the *perpetrators* of most gun violence, usually against each other, and rarely using “legal” firearms.
My dad once observed how his high school students, even in the 90s, had such a cheap evaluation of life that it was difficult for them to even appreciate the moral dilemmas at work in literature: they were more baffled than “scholars” about the age-old question of Hamlet’s procrastination.  It was perfectly logical to them that if someone kills your dad, you kill them.  They didn’t understand what the big deal was.   I don’t like guns myself, but I really do not understand why people blame guns but balk at blaming the media, and abortion and contraception, for creating the “Culture of Death.”

ACLU Suing Catholic Hospital

Doctor tries to “force his opinion” regarding abortion on patient. Patient complains. ACLU sues Catholic hospital. Sounds predictable, right?

Not this time.

This time, they’re suing on behalf of the *doctor*.

You see, if a patient goes to a doctor or pharmacy, even one that’s openly Catholic, and demands contraception or abortion, then it’s “The doctor/hospital doesn’t have the right to force their moral views on the patient.”

However, if a patient goes to a Catholic facility expecting it will follow Catholic moral teachings, then it’s “the patient doesn’t have the right to force her moral views on the doctor”

If you want to put your own blood pressure at risk, you can see the typical hate-filled account and commentary at “Reproductive Health Reality Check” (aka, “Reproductive Poisoning Delusion Check”).

What makes this case hit close to home, and the exact kind of situation this blog was created for, is that the patient in question was suspected of having Marfan syndrome. And much like the cases of so many people who’ve been advised to abort their babies for eugenicist purposes only to find out later the babies didn’t have the genetic disorder in question, the woman doesn’t even have Marfan.

So much for “pro-choice.” If a person with same sex attraction disorder wants therapy for that problem, New Jersey’s “Catholic” “Republican” governor has made it a crime to provide that person with such therapy. Now, the ACLU is trying to say that it’s illegal for those of us who put our moral views first in making medical decisions to seek out providers who agree with us.

The unnamed woman had an unspecified “family history” and was sent to the cardiologist by her Ob/Gyn because she got pregnant. If she had been going for an evaluation for school sports, we know darn well she’d be told, “there’s very little risk, go for it,” even though if you go by the pre-1990s statistics, sports are far more dangerous than childbirth (given the mortality rate for untreated women is much higher). If a person *were* diagnosed with Marfan, and chose to play sports anyway, that would be considered “courageous,” but a woman who chooses life is considered “foolish” and “throwing her life away for a blob of tissue” (better than throwing her life away for a blob of rubber).

At least one of the articles thankfully specifies “severe cases may be fatal,” but a “severe case of Marfan syndrome” would have been obvious before she was pregnant, especially if she had a family history and knew to look out for it. Media are about as accurate in reporting on Marfan syndrome as they are about reporting on Catholicism, and the reports on this case illustrate both areas of gaping ignorance. Typically, “Marfan syndrome” is referred to as synonymous with “aortic root aneurysm,” and while that, in conjunction with ectopia lentis, has become the distinguishing characteristic from other connective tissue disorders, if she truly had a “severe case,” with a family history, other signs would have manifested themselves. If she did not have any existing aortic enlargement, there would have been no more risk from childbirth than any other strenuous activity she’d likely engage in.

As for the Catholic hospital side, commentbox feminazis (noting that the definition of “feminazi” is “a person who uses feminism as an excuse to ensure there are as many abortions as possible”) are making all sorts of false claims about “women’s health care,” saying that Catholic hospitals don’t treat ectopic pregnancy, give “emergency contraception,” etc. Treating an ectopic pregnancy is not the same thing as an abortion; the death of the child is a matter of double effect, and in many cases the child is already dead. The Church allows for necessary medical care which may endanger the baby, so long as there is not a direct abortion. It’s why St. Gianna Molla demonstrated heroic virtue; she went above and beyond the call of duty, opting not to have life saving medical care the Church would have permitted. Similarly, while the question of contraception in the case of rape is a matter of debate in Catholic circles, most Catholic ethical guidelines state that “emergency contraception” is permissible within 24 hours of a rape, so long as conception has not yet occurred.

I have never understood, “Don’t get pregnant, or have an abortion, because your child might me killed by your medical treatment,” any more than I’ve ever understood, “Kill your child now so you don’t have to watch him or her die later.”

Also, she went to a cardiologist because she was pregnant and had a family history. This could be taken either way, but anybody with a modicum of experience knows that’s one of the first things the “experts” say about Marfan syndrome: that it can be fatal for pregnant women (I’m not sure what the statistics are, but again, best I can tell it’s no more dangerous than any other strenuous activity one engages in while trying to actually have a “life”).

I’m sure that this woman heard this “advice” already and specifically went to a Catholic hospital to avoid being pressured into an abortion.

Want to go to a doctor for advice on Natural Family Planning? That’s illegal now, because according to the reasoning of the the ACLU, the likes of Chris Christie and the Obama Administration, since contraception is legal, that makes NFP illegal. If it’s illegal to provide “gay conversion therapy” or to provide a 100% pro-life medical practice to people who want it, then should Weight Watchers be illegal? How about vaccinations, regardless of your reason for objecting? “Don’t force your religious views on your doctor.” Don’t want to benefit from embryonic stem cell research, fetal tissue research, etc.? “You can’t put your religious views ahead of your health care.” What about “alternative medicine”? How many of those people who insist on polluting their bodies with birth control pills yet won’t eat at McDonald’s or take antibiotics would like it if people suddenly started suing them and saying, “McDonald’s is legal, so you *must* eat there”?

The hypocrisy of the ACLU and the “pro-choice” euphemism is that liberty is a two-way street. Even if we take a bare modicum standard of “liberty,” setting aside Natural Law, medical ethics, etc., a free market needs to operate both ways.

What is a “Real Journalist”?

This past weekend, I was watching Part 2 of _Karol: the Man Who Became Pope_ on EWTN (one of my FB friends pointed out that the whole miniseries is on YouTube). The previous week, part 1 was on, dealing with his life under the Nazis and ending with Poland’s “liberation,” was on, and I thought, “This is what’s coming.” Watching Part 2, I thought, “This is what the US already has”:
1) The government spying on the Church (we know they were doing it at least as early as Clinton, and that the current regime has gone so far as to bug the Papal conclave)
2) The government talking about “the will of the People,” and then responding to complaints that they’re *not* doing the “will of the People” with “The people don’t know what’s good for them; we do.”
3) Independent journalists being silenced and “disappeared.”
This also raised one of those “Why do we think anything’s different now?” issues. For the past 10 years or so, a debate has raged about whether the “new media” constitute “journalists.” Earlier this year, Senator Dianne Feinstein (Communist from California) proposed an amendment to the superfluous “Media Shield Law” (a law which basically says that journalists fall under First Amendment protection, which just shows how Washington fails to understand the Constitution) which identifies a “journalist” as one who “draws a salary” and specifically limits the First Amendment rights of bloggers and other “new media” types.
Blogging, Tweeting, Podcasting and so forth may make it easier to generate an audience (my dad is fond of bragging that I have an “international blog”, which had my nurses at the hospital thinking I was some kind of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist or something), but “independent journalism” is nothing new. Indeed, it wasn’t too long ago, in the scope of human history, that *all* journalism was “independent.” After the invention of the typewriter, anyone who had the wherewithal could produce a “newspaper” or “magazine” or “newsletter.” The personal computer and printer made production quality and distribution cheaper and easier.
Twenty years ago, when I was in college (wow!), one of my professors used to speak of growing up in New York City in the early 20th Century, when his family subscribed to at least 6 different newspapers (and there were many more available). They represented a range of political ideologies, and it was just understood, “This was the conservative paper, this was the liberal paper, etc.” The consolidation of media to a few conglomerates (even locally–here in the Augusta, GA, area, the “local” channels mostly operate out of one building, through some kind of legal agreement that skirts the FCC’s rules) has led to this notion of “unbiased” journalism that really just means “liberal bias,” “corporate/government control.” FOX News (which, in this household, is considered just another example of liberal anti-Catholic TV news) is challenged by the Obama regime for it’s “bias” (meaning that FOX reporters are the only ones doing their jobs right now–the bright spot that CBS recently reported on Benghazi was dashed when the reporter recanted), and commonly referred to as “Faux News” by liberals.
It’s always been the “independent journalists” who have forced reform. This country was founded by “independent journalists” like Benjamin Franklin and James Madison. The First Amendment exists precisely to protect the speech of those who don’t “collect a salary” to promote propaganda for those in power. The fact that a “Media Shield Act” even exists is absurd.

On Voting: “Fraud” is in the eye of the beholder

In 2000, we were told that Bush won by fraud because no one in their right mind would vote for Pat Buchanan, and even though it’s impossible to prove in retrospect that anyone did or did not vote a particular way, except for absentee ballots, we were told that Buchanan got “too many votes” in some counties. The Democrats and their shills in the media produced some random individuals who claimed that they couldn’t read the ballot and voted for the wrong guy. This was supposedly exposing a massive flaw in our voting system (yes, it was, but the liberals pointed to the wrong flaw), and evidence of massive fraud. It was also the first time Pat Buchanan was ever accused of drawing votes away from a Democrat.
Yet, in 2012, when Obama supposedly got 100% of the vote in some counties, with Romney getting *0* votes in counties that were highly Republican, and when people came forward and said, “I voted for Romney, but he supposedly got no votes in my county,” we’re told that there’s no evidence of fraud or error in Obama’s favor, and that the only evidence of fraud is on Republicans’ part. After all, if Snopes says it, it must be true.
In the intervening 12 years, Democrats, in their typical fashion, convinced most districts to switch to electronic voting. You see, we learned from 2000 that Democratic voters are too dumb to a) read a ballot, b) punch a hole in a piece of paper, and/or c) fill in a bubble with a pencil. This is, of course, Republicans’ fault. It’s so much easier, they told us then, to tap your finger on a touch screen (back then, if you may recall, it would often take several attempts to enter one’s PIN at an ATM or cash register because the touch screens were so very accurate). Not only would electronic voting make things easier for illiterate voters who couldn’t use pencils, they claimed, but it would make it much easier to make sure that votes were reliably counted and recorded than having to look at actual physical ballots.
After all, there’s no way a computer voting system could be hacked, or crash, etc. There’s no chance that such votes could simply be deleted and replaced. There’s no chance that, after Republicans won the 2000 and 2004 elections, Democrats got their electronic voting machines and started winning in 2006 because of “more accurate” votes.
Then, to add insult to injury, they started claiming that it was Republicans who pushed for electronic voting and that electronic voting is too subject to fraud, and that any minor Republican victories in the past 7 years *have* to be due to fraud.

I don’t know what makes me more cynical: the fact that our votes really mean nothing and can easily be replaced, or the fact that “the people” buy into all the two-faced lies the media tell them.
Oh, and how is it going with keeping your health insurance and your doctors?

Are “We the People” the “Enemies” of “the United States of America”?


A few days ago, some former private named Bradley Manning was sentenced for 35 years in prison for selling military “secrets” to Wikileaks. Now, this case raises many questions/issues. One is the problem of whether it’s possible to 99% disagree with someone and then use the person as an example in the 1% where you agree, just as it’s possible to agree with 99% of someone yet disagree with 1%.
So, in this case, I shared he above “meme” the other day, which happens to use Manning’s picture to illustrate a point I happen to agree with. It got several “likes,” mostly from people whom I would expect to give such a response, and angry comments (including one de-friending) from two people I’d have expected to respond angrily. One provided a few facts about the case with which I was admittedly unfamiliar. Earlier that day, when I had replied to one friend’s post on the verdict, I asked who Manning was, and said I couldn’t keep all these Obama scandals straight.
Now, one detail which Angry Commentor #2 pointed out was that Manning *sold* the documents to Wikileaks: this is certainly problematic on multiple levels, including the “principles” to which Wiki/Open Source sites are supposed to adhere. Also, around the time that I had tentatively shown Manning some modicum of support, the “news” broke that “he” considers himself a “she,” and wants to be called Chelsea and given a “sex-change” operation at taxpayers’ expense. So, again, he obviously has some issues of his own. However, the Manning case, like the Edward Snowden case, raises an important Constitutional issue in our present media age, especially in the light of the recent revival of Jane Fonda’s controversial acts in Vietnam.
Once again, I was expecting to alienate a few people in Facebook last week when I questioned why people are protesting Fonda–a Communist pro-abortionist–portraying Nancy Reagan, an occultist pro-abortionist. I can understand and agree with people who protest Fonda in general, but I am a bit perplexed over taking issue with this particular role, as if Nancy Reagan is some sacred person who makes Fonda’s portrayal offensive–such as, for example, if she’d been portraying the *other* Mrs. Reagan, the late Jane Wyman, TOP. interestingly, I’ve seen articles about protests of “one actor” in the movie which show Oprah Winfrey and Michael Rainey in the accompanying picture, making it appear to a causal reader/clicker that the opposition is about one of them and, therefore, “racist.” Anyway, in one discussion of Fonda’s role in _The Butler_, someone claimed she was given a list of names and SSNs by POWs in Vietnam who hoped she’d let their families know they were still alive, but instead turned the information over to their captors, who killed them. This story has been proven a hoax, however. Fonda did actively support the Viet Cong, but she never acted in a way that directly killed POWs–especially since some of those allegedly dead POWs are alive.
Anyway, the allegations seemed to be an interesting parallel to the claims that Manning’s and Snowden’s actions have resulted in the deaths of US soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. At first, I was going to include it as a contrast: that if what Fonda is falsely accused of doing (and, as often gets pointed out, the 8th Commandment still applies to celebrities) is true, it would certainly constitute treason. However, that allegation is of secretly leaking secret information directly to an enemy (in which case, since all the alleged “witnesses” were killed, how would anyone know of it?). Is it really the same thing to release “secrets” to the public?
Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution states:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

In the cases of Snowden and Manning, they were revealing information to “We the people” via “the Press.” As various commentators and memes have pointed out, if they are giving “aid and comfort” to the “Enemies” of the “United States,” then the conclusion must be that the government considers “The People” to be “Enemies.”
My angry interlocutors insisted that Manning deserves the death penalty. While capital punishment was the standard penalty for treason at the time of the Founding Fathers, Article 3, Section 3, Clause 2 clearly modifies the English Common Law practice (“Corruption of Blood” meant that the penalties could be extended to the traitor’s family), and some of the most notorious traitors in US history, such as Aldrich Ames and Robert Hansen, were sentenced to life in prison. In any case, this creates a dilemma for Catholics that my interlocutors were not willing to address (particularly the one who left one comment then defriended me without opportunity to respond): Manning or Snowden may meet the standard for capital punishment under US Law (obviously, the courts decided Manning’s actions did not meet that standard), but do they meet the standards of the Catholic Church?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church was famously revised to reflect adjustments to Church teaching in Bl. John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae</em?. Paragraph 2267 of the Second Edition states:

Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”68

Assuming that it was Manning or Snowden’s intention to cause the deaths of soldiers or spies, and assuming it could be proven with certainty that their actions directly resulted in actual deaths, the death penalty could only be justly used if that was the only way of protecting people against further deaths. Since their alleged crimes involved “theft” of information, it is hard to see how either case meets that standard.

That gets us to the second question: is what they did actually *theft*?

The Zimmerman trial should have been about Parental Permissiveness

I have learned more about the Zimmerman/Martin case in the last 39 hours than the last 16 months, since I try to avoid such cases. First, I don’t understand why this is about “racism”: I see some punk comes down the street, mall concourse, or wherever wearing “gangsta” attire (e.g., a hoodie, which in particular obscures his face), with that distinct swagger, etc., and I get scared. I don’t care what the color of his skin is, how old he is, or even if the person’s a “he” or a “she.” What gets me, though, is that, if Trayvon was the innocent helpless child they’re making him out to be, what in the blazes (literally) were his “parents” (specifically, his father and his father’s fiancee in this case) doing allowing him out alone at night to go *anywhere*, much less “buy a pack of Skittles”? The parents should be charged with criminal neglect, but that notion is offensive to 99% of Americans because they see no problem with Trayvon’s behavior (not that it necessarily warranted killing him), or the fact that his parents were divorced, which should itself be a horrible scandal (even if the divorce was justified).

Yes, I think this case really speaks to my own qualms about the popular interpretation of the Second Amendment. Do I think Martin was likely up to no good? Yes. Do I think Zimmerman shot him in self defense? Yes. Do I think Zimmerman was looking for a fight? Yes. Do I think it’s a good idea to have a neighborhood watch and have somebody who’s willing to try and *prevent* crime versus waiting for it to happen? Absolutely. Should that person carry a gun? I don’t think so, not when a baseball bat would do for most cases (and if a baseball bat wouldn’t suffice, a gun wouldn’t, either).

Nonetheless, this shouldn’t be about race, guns or anything but the over-permissiveness of parents in this country. Why is a 17 year old a “child” when it’s convenient to liberals? Homosexual priests molest 16 and 17 year-olds and are accused of being “child molesters” to avoid identifying them as “homosexuals,” and now a 17 year old high on marijuana is an “innocent child”?

“Why should I bless you? Your sons are in jail because of your permissiveness.”–St. Pio, to a couple who asked for a blessing because they were distressed over their two sons’ imprisonment.

However, according to the same people who are calling Trayvon Martin an “innocent child,” teenagers are supposed to be permitted to have sexual relations before the legal age of consent, be given free contraceptives and free abortions without parental consent, be permitted to engage in statutory rape with impunity, etc.
A 17 year old can have a driver’s license. An 18 year old can serve in the military and vote, and liberals argue that 18 year olds should be allowed to drink alcohol. It’s like the same “logic” applied to abortion: an infant at 36 weeks’ gestation is a “blob of tissue” and “part of the woman’s body” 5 minutes before birth. A “17 year old” is an “innocent child,” but an 18 year old is a “responsible adult.”

Class Warfare: Who are “the Rich”? — America starts to feel the hurt from Obama’s Policies

When I was growing up, I was always confused by the term “bourgeois.” It seemed like “everyone” hated the Bourgeois: Communists, Fascists, Aristocrats–whatever the context in fiction, “bourgeois” was always an insult.

Obama tells us he wants to “tax the rich,” which in and of itself would be an OK idea according to Catholic Social Teaching, but the problem is one’s definition of “the rich.”

“Rich” is a vague term. “Upper class” is defined as anyone whose primary source of income is *not* from working a job. A longtime medical doctor, for example, who may have millions of dollars in investments but still has a practice, is just “upper middle class.” As soon as he retires, however, he becomes “upper class.”

This gets to the notion of “the 1%”, so touted by the Occupy Wall Street folks: 1% of Americans are “millionaires,” but that means a lot of things. When they talk about “the millionaire next door,” they’re talking about the fact that most “millionaires” live middle class lifestyles. I know a few people who are technically very well off financially, and even millionaires, who could be much better off but live the Church’s teachings and engage in a great deal of both personal and organized charity.

The “millionaire next door” is your grandparents who technically own their middle class home outright after paying two or three times its worth in mortgage payments, and have a few hundred thousand dollars in life savings that they live off of.
Now, in other circumstances, I might address such people to consider, voluntarily, whether they’ve done enough to store up treasure in Heaven.

However, I do not think that such people should be considered “rich.”

Regardless, when I hear liberals talk of “the rich,” they often mean “small business owners,” “entrepreneurs,” and/or “people with jobs,” even if those people are barely staying afloat financially.

Now, I have repeatedly said that, whether or not Obama is a “Communist,” he is certainly a Marxist in his historical and economic theory (and no less than the former Soviet propaganda engine, _Pravda_, has described Obama as a Leninist).

In “real life,” there are various social strata described by various terms and indicated by various conditions (i.e., actual wealth versus where that wealth comes from, net worth, debt, etc.)

So in terms of my pre-graduate school confusion, the bourgeois may be just as “rich” as “aristocrats,” but the aristocracy look down on the bourgeois because they are “nouveau riche”. The “poor” and socialists look down on the “bourgeois” because they are capitalists. In some contexts, “bourgeois” refers to having a sense of social morality.

Generally speaking, “bourgeois” is supposed to refer to the upper middle class, to capitalists, entrepreneuers, etc.

However, in Marxist theory, there are only two classes: bourgeois and proletariat. In Marxist theory, anyone who works is proletariat; anyone who employs others and/or owns land is bourgeois. So a person could be both in different relative contexts.

A person who makes $200,000 a year for an employer is still technically the “proletariat” in Marxist theory. A person who is an entrepreneur with a small business and takes home only $40,000 a year is “bourgeois.”

So, yes, in Marxist theory, most Americans are “rich,” because most Americans qualify as “bourgeois” in some regard: i.e., if you hire a tutor for your kid, you’re bourgeois, or whatever.

So, yes, Liberals, when Obama said he wanted to tax “the rich,” he meant to tax YOU.

Enjoy your 2% tax hike and whatever else is coming.

Remote Material Cooperation Explained in a Nutshell

Once again, this year, a majority of US “Catholics” went out to vote and cast their vote for a man who:
a) is a more radical pro-abortionist than NARAL or Hillary Clinton (i.e., he supports outright infanticide by starving born babies to death and says that is necessary for preserving the right to an abortion)
b) is forcing Catholics to pay for other people’s contraceptives and abortifacients
c) is forcing Catholic health care workers to violate their consciences
d) is bringing this country closer and closer to recognizing same sex “marriages”
e) has involved us with several more unjust wars and increased rather than pulled back his predecessor’s policies regarding bombing of civilians, unjust treatment of prisoners, etc.
f) has taken away, with Congress, US citizens’ constitutional right of habeas corpus
g) criticizes people who “cling to their Bibles”
h) says Jesus is just a great moral teacher and not necessarily God incarnate or the only savior
i) is supported by a party that “booed” God at its convention
i) whom Pope Benedict XVI indirectly called an enemy of the Church (he called present administration an enemy of the Church, and commenter on this blog once asserted I was lying because he did not directly name Obama).

I could, of course, go on way past “z” if I wanted to.

These Catholics say this doesn’t matter because (supposedly) those aren’t the reasons they support him (though some at least have the courage to admit they do), but because supposedly their greed for more money (in other words, their worship of Mammon) supersedes those issues in importance. They don’t care that our country is headed for complete bankruptcy, that the government is not going to be able to help those who truly need it if they keep driving it into insolvency with huge debts to pay for pork (such as the pay increase that the Executive and Legislative branches just gave themselves).

These “Catholics” say voting for this puppet of the Freemasons is OK because he “cares for the poor” (hogwash: he was supported and paid for by the richest men in the world, and his policies are only designed to help the rich). When confronted with the Church’s teachings on material cooperation, they say that they’re OK because it’s “remote.” It’s the same justification they use for benefitting from medical procedures developed with embryonic or fetal tissue research.

The problem is that the whole point is “remote” material cooperation is still material cooperation. There are obviously mitigating factors for someone engaging in remote material cooperation, but it’s still cooperation. The remote control doesn’t control the TV any less than the buttons on the TV itself: it just does it from far away.

The classic example of remote material cooperation is the mob: if the only restaurant in town is owned by the Mafia, and you know it, you don’t have much choice but to use that restaurant if you’re in a situation where going to a restaurant is necessary. However, if the only restaurant in town is owned by the Mafia, and you don’t really need to go there, you’re consenting to funding the Mafia’s actions. If there are two restaurants in town, and the Mafia owns one but doesn’t own the other, you’re morally obliged to go with the one that’s not owned by the Mafia.

I always say that people’s attitudes towards remote material cooperation with abortion just show how they really do not believe abortion is the taking of a human life (and thus, under _Evangelium Vitae_, they are heretics). The Nazi soldiers tried at Nuremberg and elsewhere used the infamous defense of “I was only following orders”: they claimed that even though they committed the atrocities themselves, Hitler was to blame, not them (obviously, they had a choice). I don’t know if anyone ever tried those who *voted* for Hitler, but I think most of us would say that those who voted for Hitler are morally culpable for their participation in what he did. Indeed, it has become a popular way for secular liberals to discredit Pope Benedict XVI in that the young Josef Ratzinger was enlisted unwillingly in the “Hitler Youth.”

Most of us would agree that a person who is a supporter of the KKK, even if that person isn’t an active participant, is in some way guilty of encouraging the violence done by the KKK and other hate groups.

Indeed, the very Catholics who insist they can detach their support for Obama from his support for slaughtering babies will say that you’re a schismatic if you show any sympathy for views of the SSPX, so they show their own double standard.

What do I think of Guns and Gun Control?

1) I HATE THE ISSUE. It is such a non-issue, on both sides. It’s absurd. Yes, the Demonocrats want gun control so they can establish a grand Communist tyranny. Yes, Republicans oppose gun control because they want a grand Libertarian anarchy. It’s a complex issue, with various complex moral layers, and each side tries to drastically oversimplify it, stating the problems in the other side’s position without seeing the problems in its own.

2) As far as the Second Amendment goes:
a) It says “well-regulated Militia” Much has been made of how people in Switzerland have lots of guns and very low violent crime in recent weeks, but it was pointed out to me the other day by a FB friend who lives in France, the people in Switzerland have to undergo yearly tests to retain their gun ownership rights.
b) It can be amended.
c) If we are to take the Founding Fathers’ word that it is to protect the people *against* the government, we must also remember that they were Masons, with an attitude of opposition to traditional forms of government.

3) Catholics like to quote Catechism 2265:

Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another’s life. Preserving the common good requires rendering the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm. To this end, those holding legitimate authority have the right to repel by armed force aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their charge.[66]

Without including its qualification in 2264:

Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:
“If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful…. Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s.[65]” (emphasis added)

So when someone says, “I wish they’d have shot that guy dead before he even got into the school, they are not following Church teaching regarding legitimate self-defense. The Mississippi shooter who has been discussed as a parallel case–who killed his own mother before coming to a school but was stopped in progress and later said he did it as part of a Satanic cult–was stopped by an assistant principal using a private handgun. And that assistant principal never fired a bullet. Indeed, in many of these mass shootings, the shooters stopped when confronted by either a private citizen, security guard or police officer with a gun–and either surrendered or killed themselves.

It may not even be necessary to fire a gun to stop an assailant. More on this later.

Here are some other passages from the Catechism that gun fanatics ought to consider. First, the passage from _EvangeliumVitae_ which led to the _Catechism_ being almost immediately revised:

2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.
“If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
“Today, in fact, given the means at the State’s disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender ‘today … are very rare, if not practically non-existent.’ [68]

While 2265 is taken by some as saying there’s a moral obligation to use violence, 2306 offers a different perspective:

Those who renounce violence and bloodshed and, in order to safeguard human rights, make use of those means of defense available to the weakest, bear witness to evangelical charity, provided they do so without harming the rights and obligations of other men and societies. They bear legitimate witness to the gravity of the physical and moral risks of recourse to violence, with all its destruction and death.[103]

Again, when “pro-gun” people speak with glee about the notion of killing a would be assailant, they’d do well to remember these passages:

2302 By recalling the commandment, “You shall not kill,”[93] our Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced murderous anger and hatred as immoral.
Anger is a desire for revenge. “To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit,” but it is praiseworthy to impose restitution “to correct vices and maintain justice.”[94] If anger reaches the point of a deliberate desire to kill or seriously wound a neighbor, it is gravely against charity; it is a mortal sin. The Lord says, “Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment.”[95]

2303 Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm. “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”

And the following passages, while specifically applying to war, should be taken into consideration by those who “stockpile” weapons, especially in “preparation” for a hypothetical societal collapse or government oppression:

2315 The accumulation of arms strikes many as a paradoxically suitable way of deterring potential adversaries from war. They see it as the most effective means of ensuring peace among nations. This method of deterrence gives rise to strong moral reservations. The arms race does not ensure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them. Spending enormous sums to produce ever new types of weapons impedes efforts to aid needy populations;[110] it thwarts the development of peoples. Over-armament multiplies reasons for conflict and increases the danger of escalation.

2316 The production and the sale of arms affect the common good of nations and of the international community. Hence public authorities have the right and duty to regulate them. The short-term pursuit of private or collective interests cannot legitimate undertakings that promote violence and conflict among nations and compromise the international juridical order.

4) I never understand what a gun can do that a knife, a sword, an arrow, a spear or a throwing star cannot. Indeed, in terms of the Church’s teaching on disabling rather than killing an opponent whenever possible, these weapons would be far more effective.

5) I also do not understand why Christians are not more eager for the opportunity to try and convert a would-be assailant, to confront someone obviously in the grip of the Devil with holy water, prayer and preaching, and the power of Sacramentals, and not with violence.

6) The situations in my life where I’ve been most afraid for my life, having a gun in the house wouldn’t have helped, and may have actually allowed the individuals the opportunity to kill someone.

7) I know a lady who has lived for many decades in an older neighborhood where because of trees, sidewalks, etc., there are a lot of prowlers. On several occasions, she has protected her house merely by the threat of having a gun (yelling, “I have a gun, and I’m going to shoot you” at prowlers whom she could see but could not see her). This on the one hand shows how actually having a gun is not necessary and, again, killing the criminal is not necessary. It also shows how having the *ability* to own guns protects people.

8) Criminals by definition don’t follow laws: if they want guns or any other weapons, they’ll get them.

9) There are several websites that discuss the Texas “concealed carry” law and how many crimes have been committed by people with concealed carry permits, how many crimes have been committed by people *without* concealed carry permits, and how many crimes have been prevented by people with concealed carry permits:

http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba324
http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/rsd/chl/index.htm

Note, however, that by definition “concealed carry” is a form of “gun control”: requiring licenses to own weapons is a form of gun control, and is the form of gun control I support.

10) I think gun control has been a contributing factor to the mass murders of the past 20+ years, because gun control advocates have convinced families to keep guns away from their children. So children in households *with* guns, who used to be raised to hunt and to know how to use a gun and how to respect it, have been taught that their parents’ guns are a mysterious taboo waiting to be explored. On the other hand, they watch violent movies, and mommy says, when the person dies on the screen, “You know that’s just pretend, right? And he’s coming back. He’s not really dead.” They play video games and get to “kill” people and monsters, and have them “come back,” and if they get “killed” in the video games, they get to “start over,” and for certain kinds of personality types, this can be very damaging.

11) Just as with guns as such, blanket suppression/condemnation and blanket permissiveness of TV/movies/video games are equally to blame. Instead of parents telling their kids “this is OK to watch/play, but this isn’t,” and explaining *why* the “not OK” is “not OK,” parents either ban everything or permit everything. A while back, a nice lady on Facebook was concerned that her kids were invited over to a friend’s house to play _Super Smash Bros_. “It sounds horrible” she said. I explained that, while I’ve never seen or played it directly, the game is really no more harmful than _Wii Boxing_: it’s just basically a boxing game featuring a mix-up of classic video game characters, particularly from the Mario franchises. Parents ought to have such basic, minimal knowledge about TV, movies and video games, especially when it’s as simple as looking something up online. If they really don’t know this stuff, then they’re not participating in their kids’ lives. And THAT is the thing to be concerned about in terms of societal causes.

12) People who want to do evil will do evil. As several Facebook memes are pointing out, Timothy McVeigh did it with fertilizer. The guy in China stabbed a classroom full of kids with a knife. The 9/11 terrorists used plastic knives. As my wife pointed out this evening, in the past few days, while she was driving the kids to school, two different idiots tried to kill her and them with automobiles. What ultimately infuriates me about the gun control “debate” is that it’s about epiphenomena.

You can ban and round up every legally owned assault rifle, and criminals who want assault rifles will get them (and apparently with the help of the Obama Administration). You can put TSA agents at every public venue, and strip search everyone, and those with wicked designs will find ways to get around it.

Unless you directly take on evil, all the rest of it is useless. More on that later.

Do Liberals Always Think We’re Angry Because *They’re* So Angry?

In his short-lived sitcom Bob, Bob Newhart played a cartoonist who had been a popular comic book writer a generation before and was hired by a comic book firm to work with a hip young writer on reviving the superhero he created with a “gritty,” 90s approach. In the show’s most memorable scene, often used in ads, the younger writer encourages Bob to express his anger in his work.
“But I don’t have any anger,” says Bob.
“Show me your anger, Bob!” shouts the other guy.
“I don’t have any anger.”
They go back and forth a few times, until “SHOW ME YOUR ANGER, BOB!”
Until Bob finally screams, angrily, “I DON’T HAVE ANY ANGER!!!”

One of the surest ways to incite someone to anger is to claim they’re angry when they’re not, and a favorite debate tactic of liberals is to accuse conservatives of being angry, especially when we’re giving impassioned defenses of causes like the Right to Life. Ever since those early 1990s, the racist, sexist expression “Angry white males” has been used to dismiss conservatives.

So, the other day, after what I’ll admit became a bit of an angry Facebook discussion with a self-proclaimed daily Mass attending Catholic who supports gay marriage and opposes the Church’s right and obligation to tell the State what to do in matters of Natural Law, I posted a reflection on how we often speak of “poorly catechized” Catholics, but there are actually a lot of *badly* catechized Catholics. Some woman who, from what I can discern from her blog isn’t Catholic but likes to post a lot of anti-Catholic stuff, posted an extremely condescending comment with three points:

1) She claimed that my mission statement is a lie because I oppose Obama. Apparently, she thinks that abortion and eugenics constitute support of children and disabled people.
2) She approved of my interlocutor’s disrespect for the Pope, made condescending comments about how she presumed I must have been “dismissive” in my tone, and how people have to be nicer to each other when debating vital moral truths, and how I ought to be capable of seeing some good in my interlocutor’s demonic positions in support of government-endorsed sin.
3) She said she sensed a lot of “anger” in my post.

Hmm, that’s funny, since I thought in the post in question I was being fairly neutral, if not expressing dismay and sorrow that so many Catholics have been misled about what Catholicism is. I sometimes confuse Ven. Fulton Sheen’s observation that not 1 person hates the Catholic Church but millions hate what they think the Catholic Church is with GK Chesterton’s observation that Christianity has not been tried and found wanting but found difficult and not tried. It is also Fulton Sheen who said, after the infamous Land of Lakes convention that fomented dissent against Humanae Vitae in Catholic universities, that the worst thing a Catholic parent can do is send their child to a Catholic college.

Ironically, as I noted in my previous post, I had baited my “Catholic” interlocutor at one point the other night with a charge that he had been brainwashed by a secular education, expecting him to say he had a Catholic education–since usually when I encounter someone who thinks they way he does, that person has been to 12 years of Catholic school, and probably has an MA in theology from one of several universities.

The first time I was suspiciously dismissed from a teaching job was at the first Catholic college I taught for online, when I had been careful to do everything they said, and had even done a great deal of work, unpaid, because I had been verbally offered classes several quarters in advance, only to be told at the last minute that my classes were assigned to someone else. “Did I do something wrong?” “No. We just had to give your classes to someone we hired after you.”

Later, I applied for a job with the online program of another university. My training went well, though I was uncomfortable with the notion they wanted me to do a semester of “training” unpaid. The very last training assignment was an essay on “diversity.” I was puzzled. I had never had to talk about “diversity” at any of the public or secular for-profit universities I’d worked for, so why at a Catholic school? Then I did a more careful perusal of the school’s main site to find they had an active “LGBT” program, including a Gay Rights Week on campus. So I wrote my essay on how great it was to finally teach at a Catholic institution and be able to incorporate my faith in the classroom, and I never heard from them again.

Anyway, I’m getting off track from this post’s intent.

Another time I was directly fired from a teaching job, this time at a for-profit college, it was nominally for cause (they always emphasized how gradebook and attendance errors could be grounds for immediate dismissal, and I had a couple due to entering the information in the computer the wrong way), I felt that the firing was not due to that. I had a couple openly homosexual students, and I found myself put on the spot at one point, and in the following class session, I was being observed again, when I had just had an observation a few weeks before, and a week after that I was called in to the dean’s office and fired. I was vindicated, however, when I saw the campus advertising for a dean and assistant dean later that quarter.

Francis Cardinal George, OMI, has said that he expects to die in bed, but he expects his successor to die in prison and his successor’s successor to be publicly executed. Archbishop Chaput has made very similar statements. As I’ve noted many times since last January, the Holy Father himself, addressing the US bishops at their ad limina visit, said the “gay rights movement” and the present administration pose an unprecedented threat to religious freedom in our country, particularly the freedom of the Catholic Church. The UK this year passed a “gay marriage” law that specifically requires churches to participate if they provide weddings to non-members. My interlocutor the other night kept insisting that legalizing gay marriage isn’t a threat to the church, even after I listed the number of ways that it is a threat to the Church and to heterosexual couples (for example: various government forms are now changing to say “Spouse 1” and “Spouse 2”, rather than “husband and wife”), including the stated goal of many homosexual activists–and many of my students whose papers I graded over the years–that they want to see the day when the Catholic Church, specifically, is forced to endorse gay marriage.

When Archbishop Levada was appointed prefect of the CDF by Pope Benedict XVI, a lot of people were concerned because of his compromise on San Francisco’s law requiring employers to provide benefits to gay couples. After unsuccessfully suing the city, Archbishop Levada said he was going to allow employees of the Archdiocese of San Francisco to name any adults who lived with them without paying rent to be “dependents”–thus not creating a special right for homosexuals but also providing a needed benefit for adult relatives who live together, etc. In a discussion with some other Catholics who were concerned about whether this made Levada a “liberal,” some of whom were from Canada, I asked what the justification was for the “gay marriage” movement in Canada. Here in the US they make impassioned arguments about legal property rights and insurance coverage, when Canada has socialized medicine. One fellow said, “They don’t make any pretense about it. They openly say their goal is to force the Catholic Church to recognize gay marriage.”

If I say that gay marriage creates a situation where it’s harder to protect my children from sin, that means I’m a “hater.” If I say that it’s frustrating to see so many openly gay characters on television, and how gay couples are becoming more and more prominent on TV, that somehow extrapolates (as my interlocutors the other night directly accused me of saying) that I want to kill gay people or something. No, it just means the same thing as why I try not to let my children see programs involving cohabitation. They still think of the Sixth Commandment as the _Veggietales_ “Dance with who brung ya,” and they think it’s gross when people who aren’t married kiss each other.

Canada is now saying that homeschooling families can’t teach Christian morals to their kids. Canada is saying that it’s “bullying” and “hate speech” to say that homosexual behavior is wrong. Members of the “Christian Left” will respond that we are all sinners, and that’s perfectly true. The other night, one of the guys I was arguing with (there were two, but one was more active than the other) pointed out that the only New Testament passages that explicitly mention homosexuality group it with drunkenness, theft and slander. I responded that I try not to let my children get exposed to drunks, thieves and slanderers, either, and that if someone started a movement to legalize drunk driving, theft and/or slander, people would object to that. That didn’t go over well, and I was accused of confusing bigotry with reason.

Again, angry liberals like to accuse conservatives of being angry when they don’t have a leg to stand on in their arguments.

Then there’s the famous, “It’s biological,” which I’ve addressed many times. My body’s propensity to have its arteries blow up is also biological. Just because I am, as “Lady Gaga” tells her followers, “Born that way,” doesn’t mean it’s God’s intention: the Church has that covered in the doctrine of Original Sin. Sociopaths, manic-depressives, addicts and schizophrenics are all, in some extent, born that way. That doesn’t mean we allow them to *stay* that way. My autistic children are “born that way,” and autism actually has a lot of redeeming qualities, but that doesn’t mean they should be permitted to throw self-destructive fits.

If there’s a biological basis for homosexuality, that doesn’t mean God intends it or it’s something good. I often mention the “study” a few years back where some geneticists got together and debated homosexuality: normally, a favorable genetic trait leads to individual health and procreation, and if something doesn’t meet those criteria, it’s a genetic defect. Homosexual behavior doesn’t lead to procreation, and it leads to all sorts of health problems. A logical conclusion would be that it’s a genetic defect, but these geniuses decided to redefine the standard for an advantageous evolutionary trait and say that homosexuality is a natural tool for population control! So much for survival of the fittest!

But, again, that’s hate. That’s anger. That’s bigotry.

When an unmarried woman gets up in front of Congress and claims that college students like herself have to spend close to $1000 a year on birth control, and someone calls her a “slut,” that’s dismissed as anger and bigotry.

I call it the little boy pointing out that the emperor’s naked.

We Owe an Apology to Richard Nixon

Watched James Taylor’s _One Man Band_ concert the other night. It was pretty entertaining up until he started talking about Richard Nixon, at which point I hit the FF. For 40 years, Democrats have been defining themselves by hatred of Nixon, and it was because of Nixon that the media broke their longstanding tradition of complete deference to the president. For 40 years, Watergate has defined American politics.
And what was Watergate? A scandal about a cover-up of a break-in that was intended to cover up the fact that Nixon had an “enemies’ list” and was using the CIA to spy on US citizens. Nixon got blamed for the genocide that happened because he got us out of Vietnam, *and* he gets blamed for Vietnam itself, which John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson got us into (consider how one of the proofs John Kerry has lied about his Vietnam record is that he’s attributed to Nixon decisions that were LBJ’s).
The media, and whichever party has not had the presidency at the time, has tried to make various scandals into the “next Watergate.” So there was “Irangate,” or “Iran Contra,” a scandal involving the Reagan Administration supposedly trading arms to terrorists for the release of hostages. Then there were the very scandals of the Clinton Administration, which involved an awful lot of mysterious deaths surrounding corrupt business deals, though most national attention was given to Clinton’s sexual escapades to distract from the real scandals.
Then there’s George W. Bush. Demonocrats supposedly hate Bush for getting us involved in the Vietnam-esque conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan (and, admittedly the Neocon Dubya is the first Republican to get us invovled in such a quagmire, where the military actions authorized by his father and Ronald Reagan were efficient and ended when the “mission was accomplished”).
Bush gets blamed, rightly, for spying on US citizens, expanding the powers of the president, getting us into two wars, and giving massive bail outs to huge corporations (bail outs that Congressional Democrats pushed for).
So, now we have Barack Obama.
Obama’s done everything that Bush, Nixon, Reagan and Clinton did (except maybe the sexual stuff), and worse.
We have more wars, entered into with no justification.
We have unmanned drone strikes.
We have “Fast and Furious,” a scandal about outright giving guns to drug lords and terrorists, guns that were in turn used to kill US agents, without the benefit of trading them for hostages.
We have Obama’s cover-up of the administration’s inaction regarding the Benghazi embassy attacks.
We know that Obama not only has an “Enemies List” but has established various online initiatives asking his loyal followers to turn in their neighbors who oppose the president’s policies.
We have an administration that now says it’s OK for the government to unilaterily assassinate not only foreign nationals but US citizens if it deems them threats, with “Attorney General” Eric Holder saying that their determination someone is a threat is sufficient for “due process.” We have Congress almost unanimously approving a law allowing indefinite detention of US citizens. And Nixon was in trouble just for spying on US citizens.
Oh, and Bush’s Patriot Act makes law what Nixon did.

Yet for Obama, the media have amazingly returned to the old tradition that had them covering up the flaws–whether cosmetic (FDR’s wheelchair) or genuine (JFK’s adultery and drug addiction) of former presidents. Will anyone in the mainstream media finally pick up on Benghazi? Will a contemporary Woodward and Bernstein have the courage to bring down this wannabe tyrant? Will the scandals of Obama cast the shadow on the Democratic Party that Nixon’s scandals have cast on the GOP?

Ruth Graham famously said that if God doesn’t do something to certain US cities, He owes an apology to Sodom and Gomorrah. Well, if Barack Obama is not impeached, the American people owe an apology to Richard Nixon.

Hitler was a Rothschild

Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1818) founded modern international banking in the 18th century. He put each of his five sons in charge of a bank in one of the five major financial capitals of Europe at the time: Frankfurt, Vienna, Naples, London and Paris. From that time until today, the Rothschild companies have always remained privately held corporations, with ownership distributed among the members of the fmaily, so the true assets of the Rothschild family as a whole have always remained a mystery:

Paul Johnson writes “[T]he Rothschilds are elusive. There is no book about them that is both revealing and accurate. Libraries of nonsense have been written about them… A woman who planned to write a book entitled Lies about the Rothschilds abandoned it, saying: ‘It was relatively easy to spot the lies, but it proved impossible to find out the truth'”. He writes that, unlike the court Jews of earlier centuries, who had financed and managed European noble houses, but often lost their wealth through violence or expropriation, the new kind of international bank created by the Rothschilds was impervious to local attacks. Their assets were held in financial instruments, circulating through the world as stocks, bonds and debts. Changes made by the Rothschilds allowed them to insulate their property from local violence: “Henceforth their real wealth was beyond the reach of the mob, almost beyond the reach of greedy monarchs.”[11] Johnson argued that their fortune was generated to the greatest extent by Nathan Mayer Rothschild in London; however more recent research by Niall Ferguson, indicates that greater and equal profits also were realised by the other Rothschild dynasties, including James Mayer de Rothschild in Paris, Carl von Rothschild and Amschel Mayer in Frankfurt.[12] (http:/en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rothschild_family)

Because of the Bible’s condemnation of interest among God’s people but permission of interest charged to gentiles, a strange policy developed in Europe historically that Christians were not permitted to swindle each other, but they were permitted to swindle Jews, and vice versa. This is most popularly illustrated in Shakespeare’s _The Merchant of Venice_. This is why, historically, Jews have been associated with banking and money-lending. It has facilitated anti-Semitism and mutual hatred among Jews and Christians. And European Jews have historically used their wealth, as Shakespeare illustrates and as the above-quoted articles mention, to influence politics.

Mayer Rothschild successfully established branches of his family in every major European nation. Several wings of the Rothschild dynasty were either promoted to nobility or married into nobility.

Back in 2011, conspiracy reporter Alex Jones (not to be confused with the African American Pentecostal minister who converted to Catholicism) reported on research proving that the Rothschilds essentially control the world economy.

The Four Horsemen of Banking (Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo) own the Four Horsemen of Oil (Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch/Shell, BP Amoco and Chevron Texaco); in tandem with Deutsche Bank, BNP, Barclays and other European old money behemoths. But their monopoly over the global economy does not end at the edge of the oil patch.

According to company 10K filings to the SEC, the Four Horsemen of Banking are among the top ten stock holders of virtually every Fortune 500 corporation.[1]

So who then are the stockholders in these money center banks?

This information is guarded much more closely. My queries to bank regulatory agencies regarding stock ownership in the top 25 US bank holding companies were given Freedom of Information Act status, before being denied on “national security” grounds. This is rather ironic, since many of the bank’s stockholders reside in Europe.

Jones goes onto explain how much of the ownership of these banks is held by an organization called US Trust Corp, and he proceeds to explain the eight families who, along with Saudi oil dynasties, control ownership of the world’s major banks: “They are the Goldman Sachs, Rockefellers, Lehmans and Kuhn Loebs of New York; the Rothschilds of Paris and London; the Warburgs of Hamburg; the Lazards of Paris; and the Israel Moses Seifs of Rome.”
Further, he goes on to explain how all these “eight families” are really just one family, because as each of these other banking dynasties grew up in the 19th and 20th Centuries, they eventually married into the Rothschilds.

Jones explains all of this in the article I just linked and quoted, and of course like most “conspiracy theories,” he has tons of evidence and academic citations–unlike your average “mainstream media” story which expects you to believe what it says based upon the reporter’s word alone.

Once the ball gets rolling, one can see how the Rothschilds have pulled the strings of most of the last 200 years.

So yesterday I learned something very interesting through a Facebook meme that apparently started on Jesse Ventura’s page. My wife said, “It’s true because it’s in a picture,” right? I said, “No, it’s true because they have the genealogy.”

Oddly enough, for a family that has backed the worldwide Population Control movement, the Rothschilds’ family motto is Psalm 127:5 (“Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with these arrows”).

Mayer Rothschild had five sons: Nathan (London), Amschel (Frankfurt), Salomen (Vienna), Carl (Naples), and James (Paris).

The following graphic shows the official genealogy of Mayer and his son Nathan:

There are more complicated versions of the family tree out there, but this is sufficient for what we are talking about.

Note Nathan’s firstborn son, Lionel (1808-1879).

Lionel had a housekeeper named Matild Schueckelgruber.

Matild Schueckelgruber had an illegitimate son, who was believed to be fathered by Lionel Rothschild. When her son, Alois Schueckelgruber (1837-1903) married Clara Poltzl, he had his name legally changed to protect his family because of his illegitimacy: he adopted his mother-in-law’s maiden name, Hitler.

Alois and Clara Hitler had three children: Gustav, Adolf and Paula.

It is often noted that Hitler was part-Jewish, but no one ever mentions that his Jewish ancestry was Rothschild!

The meme on Facebook shows the faces of Hitler and the Rothschilds, illustrating some of the family resemblance.

It’s tempting to think that Hitler was himself a plant by the Rothschilds and funded by them, but it’s not necessary to leap to such conspiracy theories. It’s far more likely that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was inspired by his hatred for the family that had denied his father’s birthright: note from the graphic that Alois Schueckelgruber/Hitler was three years older than his half-brother Nathanial Rothschild (1808-1879).

But far more important is how these facts are expunged from history. Like so many fictional masterminds from Moriarty to “Dale the Whale” on _Monk_, as the Wikipedia article I quoted above notes, the Rothschilds have made great efforts to cover up their mere existence, much less the extent of their assets, from the history books, and any attempt to chronicle their history has been muddled with lies and rumors and contradictory stories.

This little tidbit just illustrates the point: regardless of whether they were pulling Hitler’s strings or World War II was a family squabble, either way you cut it, the Rothschilds don’t want people to know that Hitler was their relative, the first cousin once removed of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild (1931-?), rumored to be the true richest man in the world, with a net worth estimated at somewhere between $1.5 Trillion and $500 trillion.

In 2008, for example, Evelyn de Rothschild and some partners bought Lehman Brothers for $10 billion.

While liberals are fond of complaining about Halliburton and the Koch family, the real power behind the government is the Rothschilds. Back in 2008, I was dining at a friend’s house, and he had been reading up on “conspiracy theories,” and he told me that Warren Buffet and Bill Gates were just “boot lickers” compared to the real wealth in the world, which is covered up in private companies. I had heard similar claims before from disparate people. Again: people dismiss “conspiracy theories,” but it’s funny how the “conspiracy” theory books, websites and Internet videos always come with plenty of documentation and evidence, but the mainstream “news” and “history” always just expect the reader or viewer to take the author’s word for it.

You may think you’re voting for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney this November, but you’re not. You’re voting for which one of Evelyn de Rothschild’s puppets you’d rather be entertained by for four years. As another friend of mine put it, the only difference between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama is whether, when the government turns the military on the people, it starts with the pro-life activists or the labor unions.

So, “conservatives,” while you celebrate the speech of Clint Eastwood, the “surprise speaker” at the Republican Convention who is an outspoken opponent of Life, who paid for several abortions of his own children and recently produced and starred in a pro-euthanasia, anti-disability movie, go and pat yourselves on the back for what good you’re doing by supporting Tweedle-dee.

Who’s your Pope?

Tracy: “So what’s your religion, Liz Lemon?”
Liz: “I pretty much do whatever Oprah tells me.” –_30 Rock_

“His heart was moved to pity for them, for they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” –Mt 9:36

The Catholic Church is often attacked over the concept of Papal infallibility, yet one of the ironies is that people long for “infallibility.” There is a reason the Bible is constantly comparing people to sheep: sheep are, as a priest once pointed out in a homily I heard, stupid. This is a controversial point, I know, but most people really are stupid. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”: our great excuse at personal and final judgement day will be, as the Catholic Church teaches, stupidity (Catechism 1793).

So we seek out people to guide us, like Israel begging Samuel for a king (1 Sam 8). Yet, just as when Samuel warned Israel that a King would become a tyrant (and all the kings of Israel fulfilled that warning, so too do the little kings we create for ourselves inevitably fail, because all are human.

In a previous post, I explained the limits and extents of Papal infallibility. Infallibility is, in one sense, a very limited concept, though it includes a general sense of obedience to the Pope. A traditional notion of anti-Catholicism holds that the Pope somehow micromanages the Church. The “Kennedy Doctrine” is heretical because, as Vatican II documents, Bl. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI all teach, the State *must* listen to the Church. However, in one sense, Kennedy was right in trying to dispel a common notion that Catholics all get secret personal marching orders from the Pope.

Papal infallibility only plays a big part in my life because religion plays a big part in my life. As I noted in the earlier post linked above, a Pope’s personal opinions are just that: opinions, and even his prudential judgements about matters of great import, and whether the Church’s teachings are properly being applied, are just that, prudential judgements. A Catholic owes a certain deference to the Holy Father, but Catholics are free to make up our minds on such matters, provided that we give them due study.

The principle of subsidiarity that the Church teaches in politics and economics applies in the Church as well. The Pope oversees 2 billion Catholics and does quite a lot but relatively little. A few thousand people work at the Vatican to oversee those 2 billion Catholics, and the proportion of Vatican employees to worldwide Catholics is far less a percentage than the staffs of most secular corporate or government headquarters.

Then there’s the local bishop, who oversees hundreds or thousands or even millions of parishioners. Again, the bishop’s authority is relatively minimal and mostly managerial. Most practicing Catholics only see their bishops on rare occasions, such as Confirmation or Ordination masses, or special events. I was a parishioner in my diocese’s cathedral as a kid, and I remember even *there* that the bishop making an appearance was a special event.

Then comes the local pastor, who *ought* to be involved intimately in each of his parishioners’ lives, but in practice this rarely happens. So the Church in general, in terms of Her human agents, doesn’t play that big a role in the average person’s life. I care about my pastor’s views on theology, morals, liturgy, church discipline and even politics. I don’t care about my pastor’s views on music (except liturgy or moral issues), sports, movies (except moral issues), etc.

The Pope doesn’t tell me what to watch on TV, though he may give advice on what to consider from a moral aspect when choosing a TV show.

However, people in general look for “infallible authorities” to give them simple answers. They balk at the notion of an established and official hierarchy, but they create one for themselves by seeking out little gurus, the way the fictional Liz Lemon “worships” Oprah.

Look at the way certain Protestant televangelists rake in the dough and the adulation, and people hang on their every word. Look at the range of issues where people would seek advice from James Dobson. Look at the followers of Oprah, Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura or Martha Stewart, the modern-day Sophists.

then add to that the polarization of society, and people’s basic need to separate everything in to “good” versus “evil.” So once a particular “guru” has been established as a “good guy,” then everything that person says *must* be good, and if anyone criticizes that person, watch out.

So the followers of Fr. Corapi, myself still one of them when his troubles started, reacted in his defense when he announced that he’d been suspended. Anyone who raised a sign of caution that there might be validity to the allegations–especially since he based his entire ministry on his allegedly sordid past–were attacked as agents of Satan.

Look at what happened when some people raised questions about the ethicality of Lila Rose’s “undercover” operations at Planned Parenthood.

Even questioning one aspect of a “good guy’s” behavior is offensive to the “follower” because the “good guy” is bestowed a kind of personal infallibility that goes far beyond the scope of the infallibility of the Pope–and often the person doesn’t have any real claim to such authority.

I raise this issue because, back in 2004, Catholic Answers, which is a wonderful apologetics organization, issued a “Catholic Voter Guide” was basically geared towards saying it’s wrong to vote for the Democrats. Interestingly, the content of the Guide itself favors voting for a third party candidate, but it has been manipulated to support the Republicans.

This “Voter Guide” was issued right around the same time as the leak of the “private letter” that then-Cardinal Josef Ratzinger sent to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, clarifying the prioritization of “life issues” in voting, and in various reports, the content of the Catholic Answers “Voter Guide” got conflated with the Ratzinger letter.

The Catholic Answers Voter Guide introduces a concept of “Five Non-Negotiables”: abortion, stem cell research, euthanasia, cloning and gay “marriage.”

Now, it’s true that these are “non-negotiable” in Catholic teaching. This refers to the fact that the economic documents always emphasize the freedom of Catholics to determine how to apply them, and it refers to how in matters such as war and the death penalty, the Church discourages them and gives strict guidelines for their application but still gives the State the right to use them when necessary.

The whole point of the Catholic Answers Voter Guide is this:

Candidates who endorse or promote any of the five non-negotiables should be considered to have disqualified themselves from holding public office, and you should not vote for them. You should make your choice from among the remaining candidates.Candidates who endorse or promote any of the five non-negotiables should be considered to have disqualified themselves from holding public office, and you should not vote for them. You should make your choice from among the remaining candidates.

Do not reward with your vote candidates who are right on lesser issues but who are wrong on key moral issues. One candidate may have a record of voting exactly as you wish, aside from voting also in favor of, say, euthanasia. Such a candidate should not get your vote. Candidates need to learn that being wrong on even one of the non-negotiable issues is enough to exclude them from consideration.

Eliminate from consideration candidates who are wrong on any of the non-negotiable issues. No matter how right they may be on other issues, they should be considered disqualified if they are wrong on even one of the non-negotiables.Eliminate from consideration candidates who are wrong on any of the non-negotiable issues. No matter how right they may be on other issues, they should be considered disqualified if they are wrong on even one of the non-negotiables.

These posts would seem to advocate voting for a third party candidate because the voter is encouraged to eliminate anyone wrong on one of these “five non-negotiables”. This is affirmed by the teaching of John Paul II, who said it was more important to vote for the candidate that’s morally correct than to worry about who would win. See “John Paul II on Incrementalism”.

The Voters Guide, on its own merits, is a helpful document. However, there are several problems that have arisen from it because of tribalism and party politics:

1) Because Catholic Answers has a reputation for “orthodoxy,” they are “good guys” in the above calculation, so they are, according to the reasoning, beyond reproach, and on the other hand, anything Catholic Answers issues gets elevated to Magisterial teaching. So even though this is a voter guide issued by a lay apologetics group, many Catholics speak of the “Five Non-Negotiables” as if the concept was an ex cathedra papal statement.
2) There are more than five non-negotiables in Catholic teaching, and the Catholic Answers staff were misrepresenting papal teaching to suit their own accomodation to American politics. This is my big beef with the document. The Voter’s Guide is used to argue why ESCR, abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage and cloning are always evil, but the Church also says many other things are always evil: contraception, in vitro fertilization, etc.
3) it has become confused and conflated in the public mind, which isn’t the fault of Catholic Answers. A woman once insisted to me that there are only “five intrinsic evils,” and she listed CA’s “five non-negotiables.” I quoted the passage in the Catechism (2297) which defines intrinsic evil, itself quoting Vatican II:

“Whatever is hostile to life itself, such as any kind of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide; whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution and trafficking in women and children; degrading conditions of work which treat labourers as mere instruments of profit, and not as free responsible persons: all these and the like are a disgrace, and so long as they infect human civilization they contaminate those who inflict them more than those who suffer injustice, and they are a negation of the honour due to the Creator”

Now, the lady in question told me that I wasn’t a Catholic for thinking that the Catechism, _Veritatis Splendor_ and _Gaudium et Spes_ superseded Catholic Answers and “defriended” me on Facebook. Surprisingly, she didn’t block me, and we run into each other periodically on other groups and pages.

But her confusion and tribalism represents a typical problem. In 2008, things were complicated by the war and ESCR. The “Catholic Left” argued that torture should be a “non-negotiable” since the above passage lists it as equally evil to abortion. That would be fine if Bush had been running for re-election, but the fact was that most of the Republicans running in 2008, and the third party right wing candidates, all opposed waterboarding: IIIR, only Giuliani (who’s also pro-abortion) and Thompson specifically supported it: Dr. Paul, Mike Huckabee, Chuck Baldwin, Bob Barr (pro-abortion) and especially John McCain all opposed “enhanced interrogation” for one reason or another, and so torture should have been a non-issue. Ironically, all the Catholics who voted for Obama because of “enhanced interrogation,” illegal detainment and other intrinsic evils of the Bush Administration, along with the questionable justification of the war in Iraq, elected a president who has been far worse for these evils and who has gotten us into several very clearly unjust military actions, such as Libya.

Meanwhile, Catholic conservatives continue to blindly vote Republican the way Catholic liberals have blindly voted Democrat. Even though the CA Voter Guide itself encourages voting third party if possible, Catholics have used the CA Voter guide to justify milquetoast Republicans over Democrats because “abortion is a non-negotiable!”

Well, the problem is that John McCain supported ESCR, and suddenly ESCR became a “negotiable” — NRLC even dropped it as a priority issue (and let’s not forget that Bush authorized it so long as the babies were already dead). Now, we have Mitt Romney, who passively legalized gay marriage in Massachusetts, passed a healthcare mandate law in Massachusetts (and convinced Obama to go with a mandate over total socialization), ignored a Catholic protest in MA to his own contraception mandate, gave money to Planned Parenthood, made money off two abortion-related companies (one that produced abortion pills and another that handled “disposal” of aborted fetuses), and was outspokenly pro-abortion and for changing the GOP platform.

We are supposed to believe that social liberal Mitt Romney has undergone a total change in his views since being governor of Massachusetts. We’re supposed to believe he’s pro-life, even though he’s skipped every pro-life event this year, including events that all his opponents in the primary attended. We’re expected to believe he’s opposed to a health care law he helped write.

We’re supposed to believe that he’s pro-life and pro-family because of his stay-at-home wife (in whose name the Planned Parenthood donations were made) and his 5 kids–one of whom is having his own children through “surrogate motherhood”–even though the Romneys had their kids in the 1970s, and their kids were grown before their father did his worst anti-life and anti-family actions. The fact that the Romneys were already Mormons with a big family when they supported PP and contraception mandates, etc., before they opposed them, they makes them far worse.

And for some reason people are buying this garbage and getting mad at those of us who don’t. They insist Romney’s going to be better than Obama and change things, but he’s not. He’s going to say “Ha, Ha!”

I remember the arguments of Catholics–from died in the wool liberals to people like Doug Kmiec–who argued that if Obama knew a lot of pro-lifers voted for him, maybe he’d change his mind. Yeah, right. How did that work out for *them*?

Now we have Catholics arguing on the Right that if they vote for Romney, and he knows they voted for him because he claims to be pro-life and claims to be pro-marriage,

I argue with the “Catholic Left,” and they say that abortion is a settled issue, and it’s futile to keep fighting it, and it’s never going to be illegal, so it isn’t worth considering it as an issue.

Then I argue with Catholic conservatives about issues like contraception, and they say that contraception is a settled issue, and it’s futile to keep fighting it, and it’s never going to be illegal, so it isn’t worth considering.

The odds are I’m going to be dead before the election. My concern is primarily with peoples’ individual souls–including the candidates’–and not with what actually happens in the election. It’s better to vote third party, and know that you vote for someone who represents your conscience, than to vote for a major candidate by compromising your beliefs. It’s fine to vote for a “lesser of two evils” if you really think that’s necessary, but don’t try justifying the evil.

C. S. Lewis warned about “Christianity AND”. The Vatican censured the Action Francaise because its leaders referred to the Church as a tool to achieving the monarchist cause, rather than the opposite.

Shape your politics to your religion, not your religion to your politics.

More importantly, remember that human beings are flawed. The fact that you happen to like a lot of the things a particular writer or organization puts out doesn’t make that writer or organization infallible. You don’t have to 100% agree with someone. Decisions like whom to vote for are incredibly complicated, and any attempt to simplify the decision is going to be problematic.

And stop assigning absolute infallibility to people just because you generally agree with them. Let God be God.

What the heck did this Todd Akin dude actually say, and was he “right” in what he *intended* to say?

I haven’t been following the Todd Akin thing, but I find the diverse reactions interesting. Apparently, there are key three points that made his comments controversial:
1) he said, correctly, that rape as a motive for abortion is rare, but it came off to some people like he said pregnancy from rape is rare (or maybe he did, and he confused his own statistic).
2) he suggested “legitimate” rape, which created the firestorm–everyone took it as suggesting there’s such a thing as “legitimate” rape, but he meant “truly a rape”. Now, this has implications about such issues as spousal rape, date rape, etc., but I *think* he was referring to how abortionists are notorious for falsely reporting the reasons behind abortion. However, he should’ve been clearer in explaining that part of his position, which is the problem with our sound-biting, tweeting, shout-back-and-forth media/political culture.
3) he claimed that a woman’s body has ways of preventing an unwanted pregnancy, which truly is stupid and ignorant. Phrased a slightly different way, he again made a potentially valid point: the odds of any given sexual act resulting in pregnancy are extremely high. First, it has to occur within 5 days before ovulation or 24 hours after. Next, there are internal mechanisms that a woman’s body uses to filter out sperm: pH, her own immune system, etc.

On the other hand, it is also well documented than an ovulating woman puts out pheromones and other indicators that make her more desirable to men, just like an animal in heat (“more, but not less,” as C. S. Lewis puts it). So on the other hand, it is likely that’s a factor in rapists targeting victims–certainly “date rape” cases–so that would indicate a greater likelihood of pregnancy.

In any case, pregnancy that results from rape accounts for less than 1% of all abortions, and that shouldn’t even be the focus: the focus should be on the fact that the child doesn’t deserve to die for the sperm donor’s sin, a fact attested to by this woman’s powerful testimony (who is deeply offended by Akin’s comments).

I don’t know whether Akin was intending to say that a rape exception for outlawing abortion is a relatively minor exception or that it should not be an exception, but one thing that’s very clear is he phrased his arguments quite poorly.

However, the other thing that’s abundantly clear is that his idiotic comments are in turn being taken out of context by the Left to claim he said something he never said. The majority of the brouhaha has been over his poorly chosen phrase, “legitimate rape.”

From the context, as I noted, it’s clear that by “legitimate”, he meant “actually a rape.” Now, that again is a very problematic statement. However, to hear the liberals talk about it, Akin said that some rapes are “OK”, and that is NOT what he said at all.

So his comments were idiotic but well-intentioned, and they’ve set back the cause of protecting the biological children of rapists for being executed for their fathers’ crimes, but he never said anything like what the feminazis are claiming he said, and that is a grave injustice.

At first, I assumed the few pro-Akin bits I’ve glanced at over the past few days had been shallow attempts at partisan “my side can do no wrong”-ing, but now that I’ve read what he actually said, it’s very clear that this is another case of the left and the media finding some idiotic statement by a Republican and then twisting it completely so they can claim that all conservatives secretly think that way.

Meanwhile, Newsbusters is pointing out that the “mainstream media” have given 4 X the coverage to Akin’s comments that they gave to Joseph Biden’s offensive comments last week: comments that in attempting to castigate all Republicans as racists just showed Biden for the racist he is. Let’s not forget that Biden’s the guy who, in early 2008, said Barack Obama is special because articulate black men are, according to Biden, so rare. Which is kind of funny, coming from an inarticulate Irish-American.

So let me get this straight

1. An anti-abortion activist shoots an abortionist, and it’s instant news, dominating every headline and every TV station. Immediately, it’s “all pro-lifers are terrorists.”
YET

A gay “rights” activist shoots a security guard at the Family Research Council, which is constantly vilified as a “hate group” by the Left, and it gets barely a mention in the news.

2. If a “pro-lifer” commits an act of violence, pro-lifers are quick to denounce the violence, and the Left, again, is quick to say that the “rhetoric” of all pro-lifers is responsible. If a liberal is shot by another liberal, as in the case of Rep. Giffords, even *that* is blamed on conservatives

YET

A pro-gay rights activist commits an act of violence against the Family Research Council, and pro-lifers are quick to say that we should NOT blame all gay rights activists for this one act of violence. Meanwhile, the Left is saying FRC deserved it because it’s a “hate group.” (Whose rhetoric is inciting people to violence?)

3. An anti-abortionist shoots somebody, or a soldier shoots somebody, and Obama’s all over the place denouncing it. A gay activist shoots somebody, and you don’t hear a peep from the president–hours later, after much pressure, a white house spokeshuman issues a half-hearted and vague condemnation.

Thankfully, no one died in the FRC shooting, but what gives? Do people really not see the double standard and the hypocrisy of the Left and the Mainstream Media?

If somebody else builds it for you, will they come?

Obama’s now-infamous “You didn’t build that” speech may have been trying to express a valid point-that most people acknowledge anyway–that all our successes come from the people who helped us along the way, but it does so in a *negative* way. Yes, there are sadly people on the “Right” who insist, “This is *my* money, this is *my* business. I earned/built it, and it’s mine, mine mine,” and sadly given the polarized nature of our political dialogue, many people *say* that but don’t really mean it the way it sounds. However, Obama’s speech speaks to the difference between the Radical Left and, well, just about everyone else.

I’ve heard many of the “bosses” on _Undercover Boss_ say how they recognize the people who’ve helped them along the way, so they want to reach out to their lower level employees as benefactors or mentors–that’s great, and that’s what the occupant of the White House was theoretically getting at. However, his approach was to say you deserve taxation, not “you should voluntarily reach out to those who are trying and need a hand up.” Rather than positively building on the notion of showing gratitude to those who have helped us in life, he focused on being negative towards those who are successful, treating their success as a random aggregate of factors that put them where they are.

This is the expression of the attitude of the kinds of people who support Obama: liberals with an entitlement mindset who insist their own situations, whatever they are, were the “luck of the draw” compared to other people. It is a depressed, and depressing, way to look at life. Liberals insist conservatives are too negative because we speak out against sinful behavior. Liberals, however, are too negative in that they speak out against any kind of success.

Look at the liberal attitude towards education: back in the days of segregation, “White schools” supposedly did much better than “black schools” or “hispanic schools,” and since the white schools were better funded, and since rich kids generally do better than poor kids, the liberals started to insist that money was necessary for a good education. So they started throwing money at schools with no real understanding of what they were doing. Then neoconservatives came along and said, “We’re throwing all this money at schools, but nothing’s changed. We’ve had integration, and minorities are still performing badly. So it must be the *teachers*.” Both sides, when it comes to education, take Obama’s attitude of looking for someone to blame, of attributing lack of success to circumstances. No one seems to be aware that success in education is always correlated to parents. Affluent parents tend to be more educated themselves and more likely to encourage their children’s education, plus they’re able to pay for better resources *at home.* In “Lilies that Fester,” C. S. Lewis warns that one danger of mass education is a true education happens at home, not at school, and the poor cannot afford their own books and private tutors, etc., so mass education just turns into mass brainwashing, and that’s exactly what we’ve gotten today. States have adopted bi-partisan “Standards of Learning” that list, in great detail, what topics students are “supposed to know”: this war but not that war, this president but not that president, this novel but not that one. . . . It amounts to a very obvious attempt at biasing the students’ knowledge to what the legislators insist they should know–in order to better serve the legislators and their corporate sponsors. A true education is about learning how to think and how to read, and then being exposed to a variety of information and books so one can form one’s own mind.

I don’t think there’s a single Valedictorian, Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude, or other award winner who thinks, “I got here by myself.” We all recognize the role our parents, our elder siblings, our teachers, our friends, and our other mentors played, as well as the authors whose books we read. But there is still an element of personal motivation involved there, such that two people from exactly the same background can end up quite differently. The other day, I watched the movie _Eagle Eye_, where Shia Labeouf portrays identical twin brothers (one of whom is dead at the time of the film). One brother, the dead one, was an A-student who ended up in the USAF and as one of the top young people in US military intelligence. The other brother, Labeouf’s character, had the capacity to go to Stanford, with a little help from his father’s money and connections, but was always a poor student who needed his older brother’s help. He was never motivated to “succeed” like his brother was, and had been working odd jobs and bumming around the country for years. That wasn’t the point of the movie, but it does illustrate what I’m talking about here.

Modern liberalism originated with Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who held that an individual’s morality and worldly success were products of environment. That view has been the basis of liberal thought for centuries since, but as various ventures have tried to reform society to eliminate sin and eliminate poverty, they have all failed. One answer that modern progressives have come up with to explain the failure of their agendas regarding sin is that maybe certain things are not sinful. This is the agenda behind the “born that way” rhetoric of the homosexualist movement.

However again, when it comes to “success”, liberals/progressives continue to insist that circumstances are the primary reasons for success or failure. They refuse to state it in a positive way by encouraging those who succeed to become benefactors and mentors to those who don’t succeed precisely because they don’t see the success as coming *from* the person. To the mind of a liberal, there is no difference between Mitt Romney (whose net worth is estimated at $250 million) and a Mega Millions jackpot winner. Can a Mega Millions Jackpot winner give a speech saying, “This is how I won the lottery: you can do it, too?” No. And in their mind, the success of someone like Mitt Romney or John Boehner, both of whom were born into poverty and made it big, must be the result of some nefarious scheme or some cruel fortune.

A conservative, and even an “old school liberal,” says that people like Romney and Boehner have something to be proud of. That Boehner is one of 10 siblings and made it big while his other 9 siblings live middle class lifestyles at best should not be seen as the “luck of the die,” but rather as a testimony to his personal commitment.

Similarly, those who find success in a middle class lifestyle should have similar pride. I was just watching an episode of _Everybody Loves Raymond_ the other day where Ray is having a “mid life crisis,” and he tries to put together a “bucket list,” but all he can come up with are foods he never tried, and diseases he doesn’t want to get. Debra tries to explain to him that he’s content. My wife always talks about how much she admires her father for how he turned down opportunities for career advancement for his family. I know my own father did the same. Both our mothers did the same thing by turning down their own paths for career success to be stay-at-home mothers, and we admire them, as well.

To a liberal, a stay at home mother is someone to be pitied because she is “saddled” with the burden of a family by her religion, by the institution of marriage, by not having free government paid-for birth control, etc. A father who doesn’t “advance” in his career is to be pitied for the circumstances of his kids “holding him back” or because someone else got the job.

Those who get promotions are not to be admired because it’s entirely random and arbitrary–which is why liberals support affirmative action. Grades in school are random and arbitrary–so students are taught not to respect teachers whom they think are entirely ‘on the take”; successful students aren’t “hard workers” but “teachers’ pets”.

This is the attitude that leads people to vote for Obama and “Occupy Wall Street.” Again, those people would say they think conservatism is a miserable philosophy because we condemn the sins that they use as opiates, but we look at their philosophy and say, “How can anyone live with such a negative attitude about success?” When we find success in our achievements–whether as stay at home parents, small business owners, middle class workers or wealthy executives–we don’t need to resort to the opiates of sin to self-medicate our ennui. That’s why it’s ultimately happier to be a conservative.