Category Archives: George W. Bush

Remembering 9/10/2001

Yes, you read that right.

Last night, I was in the ER.  I was in what I call “Marfan limbo”: I felt kind of like I did before my aortic dissection: I’ve been very active lately, I’ve had a lot of stress, my blood pressure has been erratic, and I feel a lot of pressure and pain in my arteries (a concept which many doctors claim is “Impossible,” even though it’s the experience of many people I’ve talked to either with Marfan syndrome or atherosclerosis).  Before I digress into a complaint about ERs, the point is I came to the hospital around 7 PM and got into a room at 11.   I went to CT at 12:15 AM and noticed that the clock in my room said 2:15, so I wondered if it was broken or just off by 2 hours.  It still said 2:15 when I left the hospital at 1:45.  So it wasn’t “off by two hours”; it was “off, period,” thus illustrating the adage that a “stopped clock is right twice a day.”

An illustration of the adage in application happened 17 years ago.
On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh, a disgruntled Gulf War veteran and atheist, used a truck full of fertilizer to commit what at the time was the deadliest and most destructive act of terrorism on US soil in history.
On June 11, 2001, McVeigh was executed, and given St. John Paul II’s guidelines for the proper use of the death penalty, his execution could have been considered justified.  At that point in my life, I was a young husband with a wife and unborn daughter, trying to work on my MA thesis and trying desperately to find a full time job so my wife could be a stay at home mother as she wanted.
We had a stack of Catholic periodicals I hadn’t had time to read yet.

On September 10, 2001, I was doing both–working on my thesis and catching up on my periodicals.  I read two things which a day later had great significance and showed me as always that God tends to guide my reading where He wants and when He wants me to know things.

C. S. Lewis’s fictional and allegorical books are sometimes considered novelizations of his nonfiction-he himself makes that point specifically in some cases, such as his association of That Hideous Strength with The Abolition of Man.

So in preparation for my thesis on Till We Have Faces, I was rereading The Four Loves and happened to be reading the part about patriotism.  Therein, Lewis (who was ironically pro-death penalty and one of the few pro-death penalty Christian writers that influenced me in my early reading) talks about how “Just War Theory” and Self-defense follow parallel principles.   He says that if someone invades your home and threatens you, robs you or assaults you, you have the right to fight back, but you do not have the right to chase the invader back to his home and kill him.  That’s vigilantism, not self-defense.  Thus, Lewis says, just war has to be defensive, not retaliatory.

Then I picked up a stack of slightly old diocesan newspapers and scanned for articles that might still have relevance.  I hit upon the USCCB’s statement about the then-upcoming execution of McVeigh.  I thought of the broken clock metaphor when I read the statement, presented by Roger Mahony, who argued that violence only perpetuates violence.  They warned that worse terrorism might result from McVeigh’s execution.

Three months to the day after McVeigh was executed, those words proved prophetic, as an even deadlier and more destructive act of terrorism was perpetrated by men with utility knives on commercial airlines.

These men had come into the country “legally” on student visas but stayed after those visas were expired.  Like McVeigh, the disgruntled Gulf War veteran, they were supposedly motivated by their anger at the United States’ imperialism in the Middle East.  I thought at the time how this event not only fulfilled that warning by the Catholic bishops–it also validated every warning that Patrick “I like what he has to say but I don’t think he can win so I’m not voting for him” Buchanan had made during his bids for the presidency, how if Republicans had nominated Buchanan instead of “likely to win” incumbent Bush in 1992, or possibly even in 2000, that 9/11 might not have happened because Buchanan would have tightened immigration policy, and brought our troops back to guard our own country instead of oil companies’ interests.

A week or two before, we went to a Sunday Mass where the priest quoted the famous Billy Graham quip that if God didn’t punish America, He owed an apology to Sodom and Gomorrah.

“Yet know this, that the kingdom of God is at hand. [12] I say to you, it shall be more tolerable at that day for Sodom, than for that city. [13] Woe to thee, Corozain, woe to thee, Bethsaida. For if in Tyre and Sidon had been wrought the mighty works that have been wrought in you, they would have done penance long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. [14] But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgement, than for you. [15] And thou, Capharnaum, which art exalted unto heaven, thou shalt be thrust down to hell.” (Luke 10:11-15, Douay).

For about a week, people flooded into churches.  People prayed.  It seemed like America was having its Ninevah moment.  Then, suddenly, it became “They hate us because of our freedom.”
Suddenly, we were being told, “Islam means ‘peace,'” even though I was always taught before that–by Muslims–that “Islam means ‘submission.'”  We were being told that it was wrong to see God’s justice in the “tragedy,” that the victims were “innocent” (even though there has only been one innocent victim in history).  Rather than doing things that might have actually prevented something like 9/11 from happening again, like tightening our immigration policies and bringing our troops back to our country to defend our own borders, we got involved in a perpetual “War on Terror” that has just perpetuated the cycle of violence even further, and we’re told that if one criticizes this cycle of violence, if one criticizes the imperialism of it, one is “dishonoring the Troops.”

Socrates said it is better to suffer wrong than to do it.

A common theme of many Marian apparitions–which have very accurately warned of the times in which we live–is that our only weapons should be the Rosary and the Cross.

Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

What’s your price?

We’ve all heard the story, attributed to various writers, of the British humorist sitting next to the beautiful woman at the banquet and asking, “Would you sleep with me for 1 million pounds?” “Of course!” “Would you sleep with me for 10 pounds?” “What kind of woman do you think I am?” “We’ve established that; now we’re just haggling over price.”
Chesterton said that men do not differ so much over what they consider evil as what evils they consider acceptable.
It is the easy compromise that keeps the culture of death going. Every one of us who refuses to compromise gets labelled an “extremist” precisely because of the easy way people sell out.
Every time the Republicans gain ground in national office, pro-life and pro-family issues are a major reason for the voters, but the Republicans never follow through because they claim they won’t be reelected. “Next time,” they tell us.
In the 1970s, the National Right to Life Committee developed a “long term strategy” for overturning _Roe v. Wade_. The first law passed was the Hyde Amendment, banning federal funding of abortion. 40 years later, “progress” is the Republican House passing a new ban on such funding.
Meanwhile, does anybody even talk about embryonic stem cell research anymore? George W. Bush’s “if the babies are already dead, might as well put the remains to good use” reasoning has crept not only into the NRLC’s positions but into the Catholic commentariat. And that’s the same position we hear on vaccines derived from fetal tissue.
In 2005, the Pontifical Academy for Life (pro Vita, or PAV) issued a statement supporting conscientious objection to vaccines derived from from fetal tissue research. There were already position papers from several organizations, most notably the so-called “National Catholic Bioethics Center,” saying such vaccines were acceptable. For most people, this isn’t even an issue. The sheer fact that the Vatican bothered to issue a statement should lean any ambiguities in favor of conscientious objection. Many have tried to twist the document to say it opposes conscientious objection. If so-called “anti-vaxxers” are a minority of extremists, why would the Vatican, which so often fails to address prevalent problems of theological discipline, bother to tell “anti-vaxxers” to comply?
Yes, the document explains the parameters of remote material cooperation (more on that later). Yes, the document explains there are conditions which mitigate culpability for such cooperation. Yes, if somebody feels compelled to vaccinate, the document says they should voice their objections, but that is supposed to be the exception, not the rule.
In 2008, a lot of people said, “I’m pro-life, and I voted for Obama because I figure that, if he knows pro-life people voted for him, maybe he’ll change his views.” Yep, that’s how politics works.
If nobody stands up and says, “I won’t support this,” what is to motivate those in power to change?
There are very few vaccines for which the only form is derived from fetal tissue research, and all of those are diseases that have other means of treatment or prevention and/or are rarely life threatening. The most life threatening diseases (e.g., polio) have alternatives that exist, but they’re increasingly unavailable. When our eldest was a baby, there were separated forms of measles and mumps vaccine available, but they were hard to get, and you had to find a doctor willing to order them. The ethical rubella vaccine is not available in the US because of “FDA” regulation, even though it’s proven effective in other countries.
If there were more people standing up and saying, “We want ethical alternatives and will not vaccinate until you provide them,” things would change pretty quickly, but as it is, a) most people just vaccinate, with or without “stating their objections”; and b) the rest just become out right “anti-vaxxers,” objecting to all vaccinations and tying in other issues to fetal tissue. So thus of us who merely object to specific vaccinations on specific ethical grounds are left without support. It is so disheartening to have to file for a “religious exemption” at Catholic institutions when we’re Catholic, and explain to Catholic school and parish officials why we object. It is disheartening to find that most state regulations and doctors’ offices take an all-or-nothing approach, so we can’t get the ethical vaccines, either.

The original NCBC position paper from the 1990s had two related points that really irk me.
1) They, and most subsequent “the good of the vaccines outweighs the evil” ends-justify-the-means arguments, hold that parents have a “moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children.” To a certain extent, this is true. However, this moral obligation gets transmuted into saying it’s mortally sinful to get someone sick. This is also applied in the question of whether you should go to Mass when you’re sick, and other situations. Now, if such moral obligations and sinful circumstances exist, and I have a 50% chance of passing on Marfan syndrome, which will be far more likely to be fatal than any virus, to my children, I think one can see why I take some offense to this, especially when so many people who *do* have Marfan syndrome insist on contraception, IVF and/or abortion for that reason.
2) The original NCBC document grants that conscientious objection constitutes heroic virtue (and I think most of us on that side would agree), but argues that parents do not have the right to make decisions of heroic virtue for their kids. The problem with this (and the previous premise) is, what about Catholic parents in Muslim and Communist countries? Should they not baptize their children for fear of putting their children’s lives at risk and making decisions of heroic virtue?

If you’ve decided that vaccination was the right choice for you and your family, and you feel no pang of conscience about it, then why be so hard on “anti-vaxxers”? Aren’t you and your kids safe?

If we, as Catholics, mistrust the medical establishment on contraception and other issues, why is the rhetoric on vaccines to do as you’re told by Big Pharma?

If measles is making a comeback, why won’t Merck provide the ethical, separate measles vaccine it discontinued in favor of MMR? Why is Merck so adamant about forcing people to violate our consciences?

On Phil, A&E, Freedom, and Urban versus Rural America

Some of my left-leaning Facebook friends (yes, I do have a few) have been posting memes about the alleged hypocrisy of the “red state” folks regarding the recent controversies about Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame being fired by A&E and some people talking about it as a “freedom of speech” issue.

This is from the page “Being Liberal.” For lack of a better word, “Duh.” That’s not what we’re saying.

Here’s another from “The Beer Party”:

Again, I’d agree, insofar as what *some* people are saying, but most people I’ve read are acknowledging this.

In fact, I’d say there are some interesting parallels between the “Dixie Chicks” controversy and Phil Robertson. First, the difference, in part, is that the Dixie Chicks were not fired by their publisher; Phil Robertson was. Secondly, the Dixie Chicks are singers. I don’t generally like it when singers or actors take positions on “issues,” or force their audiences to support their “causes,” regardless if I agree with them. However, Robertson is in that strange amorphous zone known as “reality TV,” which is about as “real” as professional wrestling. He entertains people (I’ve never seen his show) with a certain persona, and it has become clear over the past few years that a) he’s a Christian, b) he’s a conservative, c) A&E doesn’t like that, and d) audiences do.

The Dixie Chicks took some flack for mocking the president, and in *that* respect it’s hypocritical of “Red Staters” in terms of criticism of Bush versus criticism of Obama. Their careers have gone on just fine. They never got fired. However, the situation is the same in that both cases involve the media not “getting” the “Red State”/”Flyover State” public. It’s an issue that goes back for decades, if not for all of history, in entertainment: “Town Mouse and Country Mouse,” as it were. “Country Come to Town” is a subgenre of American literature. In the 1960s, the TV industry produced lots of “rural comedies” like _The Andy Griffith Show_, _Green Acres_, _The Beverly Hillbillies_, etc., that were supposed to ridicule “country bumpkins,” but people *identified* with the characters.

Then there was the “rural purge” and the rise of liberal ideology-promoting “urban comedies”, mostly from Norman Lear. When _All in the Family_ came along, there was a Hollywood stereotype of an urban blue-collar conservative in Archie Bunker as exaggerated as the redneck stereotypes of the rural comedies, pitted against the liberal hero, son-in-law Michael Stivic (Rob Reiner), forever known to the public as “Meathead,” which symbolizes the public’s reaction to the show: they liked Archie and hated “Meathead,” the opposite of Lear’s intention.

Flannery O’Connor’s discussion of how professors interpret “A Good Man is Hard to Find” applies here:

I’ve talked to a number of teachers who use this story in class and who tell their students that the Grandmother is evil, that in fact, she’s a witch, even down to the cat. One of these teachers told me that his students and particularly his Southern students, resisted this interpretation with a certain bemused vigor, and he didn’t understand why. I had to tell him that they resisted it because they all had grandmothers or great-aunts just like her at home, and they knew, from personal experience, that the old lady lacked comprehension, but that she had a good heart. The Southerner is usually tolerant of those weaknesses that proceed from innocence, and he knows that a taste for self-preservation can be readily combined with the missionary spirit.

That sums up the conflict that has always existed between the “elites” in the “big cities” of the Northeast and the “Left Coast,” versus the “Red State” “rednecks” (a term which, interestingly enough, used to refer to Southern Democrats, farm workers who had “red necks” because of working in the sun).

That gets us back to this Phil Robertson fellow. His recent interview with GQ has been well discussed. In short, he talked about his sinful youth, as he has done before, and how he “found Jesus,” and how he believes (rightly) that we all need Jesus’ grace to be healed of our sin. Then he paraphrased the “controversial” passage of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:

9
* Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes* nor sodomitesc
10
nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11
That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

(emphasis added)
As my friend Kevin O’Brien has pointed out, homosexuality seems to have “Most Favored Sin” status in our culture. Or, as Jay Leno apparently put it, ” Gay people are upset with him. Then he went on to criticize adulterers, drunks and swindlers, and now Congress is mad at him. So the guy just can’t win.”

I’ve never watched _Duck Dynasty_ and I’ve never read _GQ_, but from the quotations of the interview that are all over http://www.amazon.com/Holocaust-Childlike-The-Progress-Spiritual/dp/1492895474/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387218063&sr=8-1&keywords=holocaust+of+the+childlike Net, I don’t see the problem.
Yes, some of his phrasing was a bit crude, but that fits with his persona and intended audience (both on his show and _GQ_).  It was also arguably “The Emperor’s  New Clothes” principle: he’s in trouble for stating the obvious.  Again, he said it in the context of “sin is illogical.”  He probably could have made a better argument for “theology of the body,” but I don’t know enough about him to know if that was (as some say) his own lack of sophistication or his intentional persona.

People are saying he implies that homosexuals engage in “bestiality” because he presents a (very true) slippery slope argument about society’s tolerance of sin.

He is accused of “equating gays with terrorists” because he says he loves all people, regardless of who they are or what they do.  He is accused of “hate speech” by saying that he doesn’t judge anyone’s souls but wants everyone to know  Jesus.  Oh, and, while he was clearly fired for offending the GLBTQXYZ lobby  (which at most accounts for 18 million Americans, is most realistically 9 million and that includes statistics on anyone who has ever had a “same sex relationship”), some people have accused him of “racism” for saying that when he was a farm worker (again, a literal “red neck”) in the 60s, he didn’t see his African American co-workers being treated any worse than whites–at worst, an ignorant statement but hardly meant in hate.

But, again, even if it means cancelling what is supposedly the highest-rated show in the history of cable, TPTB are so literally hell-bent on pushing their agenda that they will sacrifice views and even advertisers rather than sacrifice their agenda.

So, no, this is not, strictly speaking, a First Amendment/Free Speech issue.  It’s a free market issue.  A&E had every right, theoretically, to fire Robertson, and the viewers and advertisers had the right to react according to their positions.  Robertson will do fine.  He’s a millionaire.  He has already garnered a national following and is circulating the “mega-churches.”  This publicity has increased his status.  He reportedly already has offers from Fox News and Glenn Beck’s “the Blaze” network.  He’s going to do fine, just as the Dixie Chicks have done fine.

What worries me, and many others, is the double standard the media apply to these situations.  Look at all the controversy about suppression of speech online (again, it’s “Facebook [or whichever entity] has the right to suppress users’ speech”).  Where does that end?

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?

Have a Heart: Rabbi Gellman, a Marfan, talks about War on Terror (only YouTube video I could find with him)

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.

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.

How a member of the “Christian Left” Thinks

I try, I really do. I really try to give an open mind to people who claim to be “Christian Left,” “pro-life Democrats,” etc., but it just doesn’t work. To be a part of the Christian Left, it seems that one must:

1. Turn a blind eye towards, if not condone, all the moral filth promoted by the Left in general, while condemning members of the Christian Right for being political allies of some people who are greedy or racist.
2. Support Socialism, even though the Popes have unequivocally and consistently condemned it.
3. Repeatedly insist, “Judge not lest ye be judged” when it comes to abortion, contraception, homosexuality or divorce yet simultaneously (and at the same time) insist that everyone who supports a conservative position is secretly racist, sexist or greedy, even if the latter’s words give no indication of those positions.
4. Clairvoyantly insist that all who profess to be pro-life or pro-family are just covering up deep-seated hatred for women, gays, or humanity in general.
5. See “racism” in any political cartoon, joke or photoshopped image regarding Barack Obama, yet say that even the most offensive depictions of George W. Bush or Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum are excusable because “rich white guys deserve it.”
6. Ignore statements like, “It’s Constitutional, m*****f****s” or even defend such statements as acceptable political speech yet say that “You’d have to be an idiot to think Obamacare’s giving you anything for free” is offensive and crosses the line.
7. Ignore if not support horribly sexist comments about Sarah Palin, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, Ann Romney, etc., but say that Rush Limbaugh crossed the line by saying an unmarried girl who claimed to spend $1000 a year on birth control is a “slut.”
8. Again, while supporting “freedom of choice,” “same sex marriage,” etc., you insist on condemning “hate speech” and labelling any statement of traditional Christian morality, even from the Bible itself, as “hate.”
9. Make no comment when liberals say, “Republicans are nothing but a bunch of hatemongers,” but when a conservative friend quotes Russell Kirk or Dietrich von Hildebrand and tries to philosophically explain his position, and the liberals just jump in and say, “See? Another hate-monger,” you tell the conservative to cool it.
10. Most of all, to be a member of the “Christian Left,” you must support the notion of “progress,” even though if you’re truly a believing Christian you’ll know there’s no such thing: the only “progress” in human history happened 2000 years ago, and there is only the choice between accepting Christ’s grace through the Church and the Sacraments and not accepting that grace. There is individual progress in holiness, but the world can never have “progress,” especially when “progress” is defined as moving *away* from the principles of Christendom.
“Progressives” condemn the Christian Civilization of ca. 400-ca. 1800 as “the Dark Ages,” by definition condemning the Christianity that informed those times, so how could any Christian be a “progressive”?
“Progressives” ascribe to a false Marxist view of history, or at least to the Hegelian system upon which Marxism was based, which runs contrary to the Christian view of history elucidated by St. Augustine, so how can any Christian be a “progressive”?

How “Arrest Bush” People Promote a Catholic State

I think everyone in our culture, if they know anything about Catholicism, know that the Catholic Church used to have an Inquisition. Now, much like Bishop Sheen’s statement about people hating not the Catholic Church but what they *think* that Catholic Church is, those people often think they know what the Inquisition was but know little about it.
First, there were technically two sets of entities known as the “Inquisition.” On the one hand, there was/is the entity that worked within the Church to enforce orthodoxy and investigate heresy and other issues. It still exists, though some of its methods and organizations have changed with its name. Its name was later changed to the Holy Office, and it is now known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.
The other side or form of the “Inquisition” was the internal agencies of local countries where Catholicism was the state religion, which enforced violations of Catholic teaching as criminal offenses. Sometimes, quite rarely, that meant “witchcraft” or “heresy,” but it also included moral offenses. The different state Inquisitions would use different methods, and the exact methods of the Inquisition would vary with different officials like any organization. Sometimes, it used torture. In some cases, it was actually closer to modern notions of justice than the criminal and civil courts of those times.

Sometimes, it would be over-zealous.

When Joan of Arc was sentenced to death by the Inquisition, her trial was overseen by substitute officials because the Grand Inquisitor was in Rome during the whole affair, and as soon as he came back, he reviewed the trial and found it to be unjust, though it took another 50 years to fully reverse the verdict and 500 years for Joan to be canonized.

King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella who united Spain after centuries of wars between Christians and Muslims, instituted the Spanish Inquisition, which was notoriously harsh and overzealous in trying to keep the Muslims from retaking the country, and trying to keep Protestantism from overtaking Spain as it had so many countries in Northern Europe. The Spanish Inquisition was overzealous to the point that Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, two of the greatest saints of all time and both later deemed Doctors of the Church, lived in fear of the Inquisition, and at least one of Teresa’s books was “lost in the shuffle” as the Inquisition investigated it.

Yet in spite of these offenses that everyone knows about, the Inquisition did a lot of good. Back in those days, there were priests who committed sexual abuse (Holy Mother Teresa writes about one in her _Life_), but the Inquisition punished them. In World War II, the Holy Office used its network to assist Allied spies and as an “underground railroad” to help Jews and Allied POWs escape the Nazis.

The abuses had more to do with the local state-affiliated Inquisitions than the overall Inquisition of the Church, which is why the Church changed the name and reorganized it. On the other hand, a lot of what is “commonly known” comes from anti-Catholic propaganda and is actually historically inaccurate.

Thus, I find it ironic that, on the one hand, the Church is criticized for having the Inquisition. On the other hand, the *contemporary* Church is often criticized for things that the Inquisition used to handle. The extensive problem of sexual abuse by priests in this century could be blamed, in part, on the absence of an Inquisition. The insistence of bishops on emphasizing reform and forgiveness in dealing with sexual abuser priests was due, in part, to a mentality of “We don’t want to be like the Inquisition.” If the Inquisition was still active, and was a government agency, there would have been a clear avenue for punishing priests who engaged in sexual abuse or embezzlement or other offenses. But since the US insists on separation of Church and State, and the Church says, “fine; we’re separate, so stay out of our business,” the problem arose that we are all aware of.

Dr. Charles Rice points out that people are opposed to the notion of Natural Law until it’s convenient. Suddenly, at the Nuremberg Trials, people were talking about Natural Law. Then it was moral relativism all over again. People will tell me that they don’t believe in Natural Law, then say that BP needs to be punished for the oil leak in the Gulf–a form of Natural Law.

Earlier, I posted about uncivil political rhetoric and noted that I believe Barack Obama should be impeached and prosecuted for a number of things, including war crimes, violations of the Constitution and defrauding the people.

I figured an automatic reply from some would be, “Prosecute Bush,” and in one sense, I agree. Anticipating that response inspired *this* post.

Morally, Bush is responsible for a lot of offenses. I don’t think he’s responsible for everything that the Left claims. The assertions of WMDs in Iraq, for example, were made under the Clinton Administration, and again, proving a negative is impossible. We’ll probably never know for certain whether the WMDs were there or not. There are Iraq veterans who claim they found WMDs but the media didn’t report it. There are various conspiracy theories about the WMDs being sent off to other countries before the invasion. Who knows? I think that Bush was sincere, though, in acting on the intelligence he was given. I suspect something like what happens in the movie _Wag the Dog_, however.

I still think Bush also did a lot to violate the Constitution, and to violate human rights, but he did it with the support of Congress, and there is nothing in US law that would directly impeach him. Even if the Supreme Court were to rule the Patriot Act, or NCLB, unconstitutional (it already ruled McCain-Feingold unconstitutional), that still wouldn’t be grounds for prosecution. You can’t prosecute someone for passing a law that’s later overturned.

Of course, the Left would argue that he should be arrested by some UN agency, but of course that’s not an option I would support. The UN goes against everything I believe in, starting with the principle of subsidiarity, and including the fact that it’s basically a Masonic entity.

To this, I note how many Papal documents, such as Caritas et Veritate, that seem to support the UN are actually undermining it. When the Vatican says something like, “There needs to be a global entity overseeing the morality of the banking industry,” the Church is saying, “Wink, wink, nudge, nudge”; “There needs to be an entity to oversee global morality. By the way, we’re a global entity that God established to oversee morality.” It’s saying basically that the Church should be running the UN.

That gets us back to the Inquisition. Just as a modern day Inquisition would have stopped the sex abuse crisis in its tracks, so too would it give us something to do with Bush.

Obama is clearly guilty of constitutional crimes. Bush is guilty of grave moral offenses, many of which he shares with Obama, but he did them all with the protection of the institutions we have in this country. We don’t have an entity that punishes violations of Natural Law that are not also part of the criminal code. That’s what an Inquisition is for.

So, that’s how the Occupy Wall Street Left, which would reflexively say “Inquisition” as a response to any pro-Catholic statement, is actually arguing *for* an Inquisition.

Can we please NOT feed into the other side’s characterization of us?

OK, I have had it.

Yes, satire, polemic, sound bites, etc., are part of rhetorical debate and discourse. Yes, the reason our country is so ideologically divided is that we’re facing such crucial issues that people have disparate views on. I don’t understand how anyone can deny the humanity of an unborn child or the right of a disabled person to live. I also don’t understand how anyone who supports those rights can deny that the vulnerable need some help from society to live, and part of that includes some level of government assistance. Yet at the same time, I don’t understand how people can stick their heads in the ground about the fact that our government is already bankrupt, and this spend-spend-spend with no budget cuts or tax increases mentality will only lead to self-destruction (personally, I think officially adopting state capitalism is the only way to really get out of the mess we’re in). I understand that people are still afraid from 9/11, but I also don’t understand why people who profess to be devout Catholics can refuse to honestly interpret the Church’s teachings on Just War. I don’t understand why people who claim to be pro-life can fail to recognize that Blessed John Paul II, John Cardinal O’Connor and even Fr. Frank Pavone have all taught that war and the death penalty are just as much pro-life issues as abortion. At the same time, I can’t fathom how people refuse to recognize that the vast numbers of children killed by abortion compared to those other issues, and the fact that the Church teaches the state sometimes has to use them out of extreme necessity, mean that abortion should be our top issue in terms of voting. OK, I get why our country is so hotly divided.

I also think Barack Obama is a monster. His position on Born Alive Protection, that letting babies who survive abortions starve to death is “necessary to protect the right to abortion,” an issue which even NARAL won’t take a position on, which Alan Keyes pushed in the 2004 Illinois Senate election, ought to be enough to discredit him. I think the damage he’s done to our economy is offensive, and the fact that his supporters think that trillions of dollars in corporate welfare is equivalent to FDR’s New Deal shows how ignorant most of his supporters are. I’m a “birther” in that I don’t think Obama is eligible, whether or not he was born in Hawaii, because of his Indonesian joint citizenship, and his possible criminal activity. I certainly think he has nothing to hide, as he has refused to release, and instead suppressed, records which most presidential candidates have shown to the public. I think he should be impeached for his unconstitutional invasion of Libya, for his other gross violations of the Constitution, and now for his own lawyer’s admission that the “Long form birth certificate” published by the White House in April 2011 was actually a forgery meant to deceive the American people.

(Now, for those who say, “Throw Bush in jail,” I have a response coming later; stay tuned).

I am sick to death of the claim that those of us who oppose Obama do so only because we’re racists, and the ensuing debates that end up making Obama’s critics look racist in their attempts to save themselves from accusations of a “thought crime” and the effort to prove a negative.

All of that said, could we please stick to the issues and avoid making that impression? People tend to ignore the extremes of political argument that come from people they agree with. I have argued with people on the Left who insist that political discourse has only become so nasty under Obama, and that the Right is only nasty, and when I point out the 8 years of “Kill Bush” and attempts at obscene references to the president’s last name, etc., they have no idea what I’m talking about. People who never listen to Rush Limbaugh insist that he’s a hate-spewing demagogue. Then they happily listen to Jon Stewart and Bill Maher and other “comedians’ who do nothing but rip on the Catholic Church, rip on conservatives, etc.

So we keep excusing the ever-volatile rhetoric because in our eyes the other side does it worse.

But conservatives should be better. If we’re sincerely about promoting Christian values and human dignity and the Right to Life, then we need to reflect those values. Most of my political arguments with liberals the past few years have involved me fighting to prove I’m not a racist.

Then I look on my Facebook wall, and I see posts from my conservative “friends” (quotation marks referring to the Facebook term, not questioning the friendship of the individuals in question) that make me cringe: “Tar and Feather”; “Arrest Him” (again, used for Bush, took, but the pictures are the key); pictures showing either Barack or Michelle Obama with expressions on their faces that harken to anti-African American stereotypes. Then there’s the occasional outright racist reference, like the bumper sticker that plays on the N-word (in a manner that doesn’t even make sense). I saw a headline about how “Facebook censors conservative sites” that a few of my friends forwarded, apparently without reading the article. The article was actually about Facebook censoring *racist* sites, and the comments were things like, “I’m not a racist. I just believe white people are superior.” What the heck? How can anyone call themselves Christian and believe these things?

I wish to God that Alan Keyes had been the first African American president. I know one of the major reasons he wasn’t was that there is a great deal of active and latent racism among my political bedfellows–he was arbitrarily shut out of debates, for example. When Keyes and his supporters were protesting a debate he was shut out of in Atlanta, the police came and put him in cuffs, and then drove him to an African American slum and dropped him off.

I realize race is an issue, even though I think it’s stupid that people make such a big deal about it on both sides. Why should the color of one’s skin matter any more than the color of one’s hair? Oh, that’s right. In some parts of Europe, you might as well be black as have red hair (in fact, these days, red heads get treated worse than “racial minorities). African Americans argue amongst themselves about the merits of being “light” or “dark.” It’s absurd.

We intentionally put our daughters in an inner city Catholic school with a predominantly African American population partly because the school and parish are relatively orthodox/conservative/traditional, but also because we wanted them to be exposed to people of different races. While there are white children in their classes, our daughters’ closest friends are all of other “races.” Our son goes to a racially public school and in spite of his autism and severe aversion to socialization of any kind, his classmates adore him, and he seems to like them as best as he’s capable. We recently went to a birthday party for one of his classmates. We were only one of two white families at the party. It was clearly not a “we’re inviting everyone in the class” party. I think most of the guests were relatives, and it was a joint party for two sisters, so the guest list per sister was correspondingly reduced. The mother told us that, when they were doing the invitations, her daughter said, “We *have* to invite Josef!”

On the adult level, our friends are very diverse. We have friends who are white, black, Hispanic, Oriental and Arab. We don’t care about race. We *do* care that a person is Catholic and pro-life. I have a brother in law who says his standard for friends is, “Are you Catholic, are you pro-life, and do you like _The Simpsons_?” For Mary and me, it’s something similar. We dislike Kerry, Gore, and Clinton, and some of our own relatives as much as we dislike Obama, because we believe being “pro-choice” is a reprehensible position equivalent to being pro-Holocaust or pro-terrorism, but just because he happens to have darker skin tone than they do, people say we’re “racist”. It’s absurd.

But fighting that image is not helped by conservatives who consciously or unconsciously use racist language or images. I’m sick of it. You want to show Obama disrespect because he supports killing babies or he supports bankrupting our country? Fine. Then make sure your satires and images and sound bites reflect those reasons. Otherwise, when it comes to personal attacks, why can’t we as conservatives set a higher standard then stooping to the level of Jeneane Garofalo and Al Franken?

Why This Paleocon Solidly Supports Rick Santorum

Let me start this very clearly: anyone reading this blog should realize I’m a solid paleoconservative, and I’ve been very critical of both neoconservatism as a philosophy and Rick Santorum insofar as he exemplifies it. That said, with all things put together, I have decided that Santorum is not only the best candidate among the standing Republicans but the only possible candidate to face the crisis our country is in.

Will he win? Well, polls are indicating he’s the only Republican who has a chance of beating Obama, and it’s really a question of whether he has a chance of beating Romney. At this point, since I’ve argued for years that a repeat of 1860 is the only way to end abortion, I’m counting on the GOP to split at the convention the way the Democrats did in 1860. In a three way race between Obama, Romney and Santorum (or Paul, but he hasn’t got a shot at this point), I’m sure Santorum would be the spoiler the way Lincoln was in 1860, because Santorum appeals to the same voters Lincoln did, and they’re still roughly the same percentage of the population.

A. Constistently Pro-Life?

Again, I disagree strongly with some of Santorum’s foreign policy positions. I agree with those who say that his positions on “enhanced interrogation,” assassination of civilians, and foreign interventionism belie his pro-life convictions and do not reflect a consistent pro-life philosophy. However, I always recognize, with the Church, that there is a hierarchy to pro-life issues.

1. Abortion and contraception are absolutes. I’ve always argued that given the choice between two anti-abortion candidates, the next issue to consider is contraception, and Santorum is better than the other candidates on that. Indeed, my otherwise favorite Ron Paul and his non-Catholic supporters have specifically criticized Santorum’s position on contraception. This was why, literally at the last minute, I decided to vote for Rick in the SC primary.

2. War is not an absolute, as then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in his infamous “secret letter” to Cardinal McCarrick. Since the state has the right to wage war when necessary, and since the judgement of whether a war is just or unjust is prudential, even though I disagree with Santorum’s positions on war-related issues, he seems to be exercising his prudential judgement and taking Church teaching, as he understands it, into consideration.

3. Santorum has shown himself willing to adjust his own beliefs to the Church’s teachings, more than any other politician I’ve seen. Since being voted out of office, from what I’ve heard from him on EWTN, he seems to have repented of his support of Specter, for example. If any politician is willing to change to be more in accord with the Church, he’s it. So I pray he’ll alter his foreign policy views as time goes on.

4. While I disagree with his views, again, I think he’s sincere in them. I’ve always pointed to Pat Buchanan as the ideal Catholic paleocon and the late Bob Casey, Sr., as the ideal Catholic liberal–both argue sincerely from their Catholic principles to their political conclusions. I happen to agree more with Buchanan, but respect Casey’s reasoning. I say the same thing about Santorum: I respect his reasoning, even though I disagree with some of his conclusions and his view on the function of government.

B. Paleocon versus Neocon view of Government

As a paleocon, I’d prefer small-government solutions to problems. I’d rather we outlaw abortion the Ron Paul way than by passing yet another federal law.

However, I have to recognize the signs of the times. If Ron Paul had done better so far, it would be one thing, but he’s hardly gotten any votes at all. Paleoconservatism is a dying position. In Canada, neither dominant coalition is officially pro-life anymore, and the “Religious Right” is suffering as a minority. That will happen in the US if Romney gets the GOP nomination. Rush Limbaugh said last year how the GOP leadership wants to the Christians to shut up about abortion. For the most part, paleocons and neocons agree about issues; we just disagree about the best way to tackle them. Even though I disagree with Santorum about *how* to tackle them, I also acknowledge that, at this point, his methods may be the only way to win on certain issues. Having seen Buchanan, Dornan, Keyes and now Paul get rejected time and again, I have to admit that paleoconservatism is a losing viewpoint, and if we don’t find a way of working with the neocons, we face the fate of not just paleocons but all pro-lifers in Canada.

C. Catholicism

Right before I went to the polls in the South Carolina primary, I went across the border to a pro-life rally in Augusta for the Anniversary of _Roe v. Wade_. It was sponsored by the interfaith “Alleliua” community. It was raining, and crowded, so I sat in my van and listened to some of the talks. I heard some speaker–don’t know if he was Catholic or Protestant–saying how we’re all “flavors of the same Christianity,” and that the Magisterium of the Catholic Church is subordinate to the Bible. Heresy trumps abortion, and I high-tailed it out of there. Then I went to the polls, and thought how I could not stomach voting for a non-Catholic when I had two acceptable Catholic candidates to choose from. Then I thought about the fact that Paul’s people were criticizing Santorum’s position on contraception, and voted for him.

That same weekend, this stuff about the HHS mandate came out. We are faced with a true culture war, where everything is pointed against the Catholic Church. Even ex-Catholic Glenn Beck, who was criticized here and elsewhere for seeming to tell Catholics to leave their Church a few years ago when he told people to leave any churches that talk of social justice, is praising the Church for taking a stand, and saying that the Obama administration is at war with the Catholic Church. Glenn Beck and the Limbaugh brothers have recently been speaking out in support of the Catholic Church, Rick Santorum, Pope Benedict XVI and Timothy Cardinal Dolan, saying how they’re taking a firm stand against Obama and for Christian values.

We’re at a watershed moment in our culture, and the Church Herself is under attack. I have no doubt that Romney, if elected, will just continue the work that Bush and Obama have started. The only one who can stem this tide against the Church in America is Rick Santorum.

D. Santorum shows signs of being the next “Reagan.”

It was under Ronald Reagan that Pat Buchanan coined the term “Paleocon” to distinguish from the former liberals who had joined the GOP over abortion and other social issues. Reagan breaking his promises to shut down the then relatively new EPA and Department of Education in favor of using them to promote a conservative agenda was one of the tell-tale signs of the so-called “neo-conservatism.”

The last GOP primary to last this long was 1976, when Reagan won 10 states against Ford. Obviously, Ford lost the election to Carter, but Reagan won four years later. If Santorum *doesn’t* win this nomination, he’s a shoe-in for 2016 (assuming there *is* a 2016 to look forward to). If the delegates are tied or close to it going into the Convention, we may see what I’ve been predicting: a party split where the GOP divides along its social conservative and economic conservative lines the way the Whigs did in the 1850s and the Democrats did in 1860. If Obama and Romney split the secularists, and Santorum wins the religious voters, Santorum could win.

E. Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Anthony “Swing Vote” Kennedy

Those three are now the longest-serving members of the Supreme Court, if not the oldest. At least one of them is most likely to die, retire or get sick in the next 5 years. If Obama has a chance to nominate another justice, it will most likely be to replace a conservative or moderate. We’re not only dealing with overturning Roe v. Wade now, but “gay marriage” in numerous states, as well as Obamacare (which may hopefully be overturned in a few weeks), and several other unconstitutional laws passed under Obama (and Bush).

In 8 Years, George W. Bush nominated 2 justices to replace a couple “moderate” Republican justices. Obama’s replaced a liberal with a liberal. If he can replace a moderate or a solid conservative with a liberal, then liberals will have the majority on the Supreme Court for the foreseeable future, and if any of these issues make it to the Court, they can solidify them into so-called “settled law.”

If Romney gets in, he’ll most likely appoint “moderate Republicans” who can go either way.

Only with Santorum do we have a chance of appointing conservative jutices and getting the solid conservative majority we need to get this country back on the right track.

That’s why paleocons need to hold their noses and vote for Rick.

The Iraq War In Perspective

Now, if a war is unjust, or the method used in a just cause is unjust, it doesn’t matter if one person dies.
However, I get sick of hearing about how the war in Iraq should have outweighed abortion as a respect life issue.

So, we all know that in America, abortion kills about 4,000 people daily, about 1.2 million per year. Worldwide, there are 42 million abortions a year, which works out to about 115,000 per day.
Under Saddam Hussein’s regime, between 70 and 125 Iraqis were killed per day.

While some sources claim the total deaths in Iraq from 2003-2011 number in the millions, there is no official statement to back that up. We know a total of 4408 US soldiers died, a total of 318 soldiers from other coalition countries, and a total of 1487 contractors.

187 reporters and media support staff were killed, and 94 Aid Workers.

Given that a certain number of soldiers die every day just due to accidents, given that the reporters and aid workers who died would have been in Iraq or some other troubled part of the world, I wonder how many of them would have died anyway.

The Iraqi government estimates that between 110,000 and 150,000 Iraqis died of violence between 2003-2011, including Iraqi security forces, “insurgents,” and, again, those who died from acts of terrorism and other violence that may have happened without the war. A little over 40,000 of those were Iraqi security and “insurgents.”

So if we go with the maximum figure of 150,000 Iraqis, as stated by the Iraqi government, and add the whopping total of 6,494 non-Iraqi deaths in the conflict, that’s an average of 17,389 deaths per year.

So if we are to accept the false dichotomy that a Catholic voting in 2004 or 2008 was choosing between the pro-life issue of Iraq, and the pro-life issue of abortion, and had to decide which was more pressing:
0,017,389 deaths per year (Iraq)
1,200,000 deaths per year (abortion).

Which looks more pressing to you?

110,000-150,000 total Iraqis killed from 2003-2011
115,000 abortions per day, worldwide

48 deaths per day in Iraq, versus 4,000 abortions per day in the US
48 deaths per day in the Iraq war (including people who probably would have been murdered, died from accidental causes in the military, or killed by terrorism or violence if the war wasn’t going on), versus as many as 125 Iraqis killed per day by Saddam Hussein during his regime (not to mention the people he killed in the wars he fought).

One of the arguments by the Vatican to say that the Iraq invasion was unjust was that the damage to potentially be done outweighed the damage to be rectified.

I don’t see how 48 deaths per day in the war is worse damage than 125 deaths per day before it.

I want to make sure DHS is reading my blog

One of the reasons I set up this blog was the ability to say “I told you so” (I have a post to that effect set to post on my hundredth birthday). When Bush said he was going to “wipe out terrorism,” knowing that liberals considered pro-lifers to be “terrorists,” I knew what the long term game plan of the Masons was. When he set up the Department of Homeland Security, I knew it was no good. It was interesting that shortly after 9/11, my wife and I watched a movie (I forget the title) about what went on in the UK in the 1970s, when paranoia about the IRA was used as an excuse to treat all Irish people and all Catholics as potential terrorists, and many of the strategies used by the UK then have been used by the US in the past decade. For 11 years, I’ve been warning my fellow conservatives that what Bush set up would be turned against Christians. Then, of course, Obama took office and immediately set about doing that very thing. Now, finally even the Pope and the Bishops are saying what I said in 2001. Francis Cardinal George, OMI, of Chicago, has said that he expects his successor to die in prison and his successor’s successor to be publicly executed.

So, I was interested to see a web site about some of the buzzwords that the DHS uses to flag websites.

I want to make sure that the Obama Administration knows who I am. I want to make sure they’re reading this blog so they can learn the truth of the Catholic faith, which according to the encyclical Testem Benevolentiae of His Holiness Leo XIII, they are obligated to obey as government officials: they can allow freedom of religion all they want so long as the government recognizes the Supremacy of the Catholic Church.

I hope for the sake of their own souls that they repent of following the Culture of Death, and convert to the Catholic faith. I hope for the sake of our country that they change their Satanic policies.

But, if they don’t, if they continue on this head-on course for full scale Communism in America, I want to make sure I’m one of the first people they round up when they start rounding up Catholics. To borrow from Flannery O’Connor, I don’t know if I can be a Saint, but I know I can be a martyr if they kill me quick enough.

So, for the sake of getting their attention, I’m going to copy and paste some of those buzz words, just as I’ve reported myself to every “Enemies List” they’ve set up this past 4 years (the latest is http://www.attackwatch.com, and local “Truth Teams” they’ve recently announced who will be going around to ensure that you are towing the Party Line).

If you’re using any of these words, DHS thinks you may be a terrorist, and your freedom of speech may be in danger:
DHS & Other Agencies

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Coast Guard (USCG)
Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Border Patrol
Secret Service (USSS)
National Operations Center (NOC)
Homeland Defense
Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Agent
Task Force
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Fusion Center
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
Secure Border Initiative (SBI)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS)
Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS)
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Air Marshal
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
National Guard
Red Cross
United Nations (UN)

Domestic Security

Assassination
Attack
Domestic security
Drill
Exercise
Cops
Law enforcement
Authorities
Disaster assistance
Disaster management
DNDO (Domestic Nuclear Detection Office)
National preparedness
Mitigation
Prevention
Response
Recovery
Dirty Bomb
Domestic nuclear detection
Emergency management
Emergency response
First responder
Homeland security
Maritime domain awareness (MDA)
National preparedness initiative
Militia
Shooting
Shots fired
Evacuation
Deaths
Hostage
Explosion (explosive)
Police
Disaster medical assistance team (DMAT)
Organized crime
Gangs
National security
State of emergency
Security
Breach
Threat
Standoff
SWAT
Screening
Lockdown
Bomb (squad or threat)
Crash
Looting
Riot
Emergency Landing
Pipe bomb
Incident
Facility

HAZMAT & Nuclear

Hazmat
Nuclear
Chemical Spill
Suspicious package/device
Toxic
National laboratory
Nuclear facility
Nuclear threat
Cloud
Plume
Radiation
Radioactive
Leak
Biological infection (or event)
Chemical
Chemical burn
Biological
Epidemic
Hazardous
Hazardous material incident
Industrial spill
Infection
Powder (white)
Gas
Spillover
Anthrax
Blister agent
Exposure
Burn
Nerve agent
Ricin
Sarin
North Korea

Health Concern + H1N1

Outbreak
Contamination
Exposure
Virus
Evacuation
Bacteria
Recall
Ebola
Food Poisoning
Foot and Mouth (FMD)
H5N1
Avian
Flu
Salmonella
Small Pox
Plague
Human to human
Human to ANIMAL
Influenza
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Drug Administration (FDA)
Public Health
Toxic
Agro Terror
Tuberculosis (TB)
Agriculture
Listeria
Symptoms
Mutation
Resistant
Antiviral
Wave
Pandemic
Infection
Water/air borne
Sick
Swine
Pork
Strain
Quarantine
H1N1
Vaccine
Tamiflu
Norvo Virus
Epidemic
World Health Organization (WHO and components)
Viral Hemorrhagic Fever
E. Coli

Infrastructure Security

Infrastructure security
Airport
CIKR (Critical Infrastructure & Key Resources)
AMTRAK
Collapse
Computer infrastructure
Communications infrastructure
Telecommunications
Critical infrastructure
National infrastructure
Metro
WMATA
Airplane (and derivatives)
Chemical fire
Subway
BART
MARTA
Port Authority
NBIC (National Biosurveillance Integration Center)
Transportation security
Grid
Power
Smart
Body scanner
Electric
Failure or outage
Black out
Brown out
Port
Dock
Bridge
Canceled
Delays
Service disruption
Power lines

Southwest Border Violence

Drug cartel
Violence
Gang
Drug
Narcotics
Cocaine
Marijuana
Heroin
Border
Mexico
Cartel
Southwest
Juarez
Sinaloa
Tijuana
Torreon
Yuma
Tucson
Decapitated
U.S. Consulate
Consular
El Paso
Fort Hancock
San Diego
Ciudad Juarez
Nogales
Sonora
Colombia
Mara salvatrucha
MS13 or MS-13
Drug war
Mexican army
Methamphetamine
Cartel de Golfo
Gulf Cartel
La Familia
Reynose
Nuevo Leon
Narcos
Narco banners (Spanish equivalents)
Los Zetas
Shootout
Execution
Gunfight
Trafficking
Kidnap
Calderon
Reyosa
Bust
Tamaulipas
Meth Lab
Drug trade
Illegal immigrants
Smuggling (smugglers)
Matamoros
Michoacana
Guzman
Arellano-Felix
Beltran-Leyva
Barrio Azteca
Artistics Assassins
Mexicles
New Federation

Terrorism

Terrorism
Al Queda (all spellings)
Terror
Attack
Iraq
Afghanistan
Iran
Pakistan
Agro
Environmental terrorist
Eco terrorism
Conventional weapon
Target
Weapons grade
Dirty bomb
Enriched
Nuclear
Chemical weapon
Biological weapon
Ammonium nitrate
Improvised explosive device
IED (Improvised Explosive Device)
Abu Sayyaf
Hamas
FARC (Armed Revolutionary Forces Colombia)
IRA (Irish Republican Army)
ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna)
Basque Separatists
Hezbollah
Tamil Tiger
PLF (Palestine Liberation Front)
PLO (Palestine Libration Organization)
Car bomb
Jihad
Taliban
Weapons cache
Suicide bomber
Suicide attack
Suspicious substance
AQAP (Al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula)
AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb)
TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan)
Yemen
Pirates
Extremism
Somalia
Nigeria
Radicals
Al-Shabaab
Home grown
Plot
Nationalist
Recruitment
Fundamentalism
Islamist

Weather/Disaster/Emergency

Emergency
Hurricane
Tornado
Twister
Tsunami
Earthquake
Tremor
Flood
Storm
Crest
Temblor
Extreme weather
Forest fire
Brush fire
Ice
Stranded/Stuck
Help
Hail
Wildfire
Tsunami Warning Center
Magnitude
Avalanche
Typhoon
Shelter-in-place
Disaster
Snow
Blizzard
Sleet
Mud slide or Mudslide
Erosion
Power outage
Brown out
Warning
Watch
Lightening
Aid
Relief
Closure
Interstate
Burst
Emergency Broadcast System

Cyber Security

Cyber security
Botnet
DDOS (dedicated denial of service)
Denial of service
Malware
Virus
Trojan
Keylogger
Cyber Command
2600
Spammer
Phishing
Rootkit
Phreaking
Cain and abel
Brute forcing
Mysql injection
Cyber attack
Cyber terror
Hacker
China
Conficker
Worm
Scammers
Social media

Why Political Parties are Irrelevant: where the Real Power Lies

I’ve said it many times. Look at the lists of richest Americans. Most of them are registered Democrats: Gates, Buffet, Turner, Winfrey, Lucas, Dimon, etc. Those who are not are liberal Independents. The ones who are Republicans are pro-choice Republicans. Look at the list of richest politicians in America. Again: mostly Democrats (Warner, Kohl, Kerry), liberal Independents (Bloomberg) or pro-choice (or fake pro-life) Republicans (Romney, Schwarzeneggar, Trump, etc.)

A few years ago, a friend told me that Warren Buffett and Bill Gates were just “bootlickers” compared with the real wealth and power in the world, and I thought that sounded kooky. The thing is: it’s about hidden assets. For “old money” families, they have ways of keeping the money hidden from the way Forbes and other monitoring groups consider “the wealthiest people in the world.” Secondly, most such lists rank *individuals*. In old money and aristocratic *families*, the fortune is distributed throughout the members, but what matters is the power structure within the Family.

Now, let’s talk about the people who *really* have all the power in the world. There are eight families who control all the world’s banking and, by extension, the world’s corporations. The largest investers in all the major oil companies and all the fortune 500 companies are also the US’s largest banks. The banks themselves do a lot of mutual ownership between themselves and the federal reserve, but the ownership of all of it traces primarily to eight families (as well as Middle Eastern families).

In any case, in the West, eight Families basically control all the banking, and those eight families are, at this point, all intermarried among themselves. And they all intermarried among the top Banking Family of them all, the Rothschilds, the family whose founder basically created modern international banking back in the 1700s. When conspiracy nuts talk about “Rich Jews,” they mean the Rothschilds. Doesn’t mean all Jews are rich or all Jews are involved in a conspiracy to take over the world. It just happens that the main families that control most of the wealth in the Western world are Jewish families (Rothschild, Goldman-Sachs, etc.)

Again, the Rothschilds have, over the past century, intermarried with the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, etc., such that they’re all essentially one big clan, and they’ve also intermarried with all the extant royal houses and aristocratic houses of Europe. Presuming they all follow some kind of traditional Family system, then whoever is at the top of the food chain can theoretically pull the strings through the Family system to get whatever he or she wants. Collectively, through wealth, titles, connections, through the power of the Banks and having *just enough* stock interest in every fortune 500 company, the Rothschild dynasty really does control the world economy. There may be other families with that kind of power, but they do.

This is why it really irks me to hear rank-and-file liberals complaining about the “Super Rich” or the “Mega Rich”. Only a pro-life paleoconservative or libertarian has any business complaining about “the Rich.” All political parties serve the “Mega Rich,” and the Democrats don’t serve the poor, unless you mean serving the poor up on a platter to the Rothschilds.

Even Rush Limbaugh has finally admitted that the GOP is ultimately run by a pro-choice mega rich power structure who are only using Christians, and it’s far time that Christians who vote Democrat admit that the Rich elites who control the government are using their sympathies for the poor to get them to vote Democrat.

The upper middle class are not the “mega rich.” They are our neighbors who own small businesses or decent sized investment portfolios. When the rank and file Republicans talk about “the rich give you jobs,” they really mean “the upper middle class give you jobs.” Those who are truly “THE RICH” (defined not even as millionaires but as those whose fortunes are primarily based upon investments and who do not need to “work” to earn a living) only serve themselves and don’t care about jobs, helping poor people, etc.

But the RICH do a great job of engineering their little war between “Republicans” and “Democrats” that keeps the rest of us from focusing on the real enemy. When George Lucas wrote his _Star Wars_ prequels, particularly the last two, he as much as equated Palpatine to George Bush, but Palpatine could just as much be George Soros (or George Lucas himself).

The Billionaires want the rest of us on the ground to think that there’s this big war between Republicans and Democrats, while they enjoy socializing with one another in spite of the alleged differences in their political views.

It’s time the people who call themselves advocates of the poor stop labeling small business owners (the people who really create jobs and wealth) as “the Mega Rich”. The whole point of a term “mega rich” is to distinguish the billionaires and Hollywood celebrities and athletes and stock brokers and aristocrats from those who work to earn a living and create wealth. It’s time that upper middle class people stopped being so defensive of “the rich” and realize that there’s a huge difference between themselves and those who are truly “Mega-Rich.”

It’s time the pro-life movement stops thinking the GOP has any interest in outlawing abortion. It’s time the anti-war movement stops thinking that the Democrats have any interest in ending war. It’s time the advocates of social justice stopped thinking that the Democrats had any interest in helping the poor.

In other words, it’s time that the rank and file voters stopped blinding themselves to the kinds of social engineering that are outlined in so many documents, including NSSM-200, and realized that our real enemy is the Big Government/Big Business complex which merely carries out the bidding of the Rothschilds.

If we do that: if we shed the allegiance to “parties” and look for a new coalition that is consistently pro life from conception to natural death (anti-contraception, anti-abortion, anti-war, anti-death penalty, anti-euthanasia), that is truly anti-big business and anti-big government, that is truly in favor of helping the poor and strengthening authentic marriage and the family, then that coalition could run the country and strike at the heel of the Rothschilds’ invisible empire.

If we’re just going to sit back and keep fighting the same old stupid battles by using the soundbites and talking points that the Think Tanks paid for by the Rothschilds are dreaming up, then we’ll never be able to unite against them.

Anyway you cut it, the “Birthers” Win: Obama is ineligible.

Dr. Alan Keyes explains it this way:

Except we find a rational explanation for his conduct, Obama’s actions must appear to be the result of some irrational and defensive pride, some insanely arrogant sense that the oath, duties, and lawful obligations of his position do not apply to him, as they have to the others who have occupied the office he claims. But we are in fairness forbidden to suspect Obama’s moral sanity unless we also question the rationality of the politicians, judges, and media personalities who joined in the campaign of lies, ridicule, and derision intended to quell public insistence that due respect be shown for requirements plainly stated in the Constitution. In addition to demeaning the status and responsibilities of American citizenship, some of these people went so far as to suggest that the Constitution can be amended de facto by simple majority vote in a general election, casting aside the procedures for amendment the Constitution establishes.

In other words, our argument has been that *anyone* who is running for president should be required to provide proof of being a natural born citizen, simply because Article 2, Section 1 of the United States Constitution requires it. Obama’s supporters, and some Republicans, think this concept is ridiculous, which shows their contempt for the Constitution.

We have been told that there’s no “long form” birth certificate, or that Hawai’i doesn’t release them, or that the “short form” “certification of live birth” previously released *was* his birth certificate. We’ve been told these various claims over the past 3 years and that they all somehow refute the “birthers.” Dr. Keyes points out the very obvious fact that the release of this alleged birth certificate on Wednesday proves, if nothing else, that Obama and his supporters have been lying!!

On Wednesday this week, after refusing the simple request for several years; after expending several million dollars in lawyer’s fees to battle anyone who dared pursue it; after vindictively engineering the court-martial and imprisonment of an honorable soldier who stood by his sworn oath to defend the Constitution of the United States — Barack Obama finally gave in and released what purports to be a copy of his full and complete birth certificate.

This constitutes incontrovertible proof that he, his media claque (including snopes.com, etc.), and the gullible or cowardly politicians (Democrat and Republican alike) who repeatedly claimed that he had already done so, were lying. The people they derided and ridiculed as “birthers” were telling the truth. The Certification of Live Birth published on the Internet, which these liars repeatedly referred to as his birth certificate, was an abridged certification that omitted the vital information needed to verify that he was born on U.S. soil, and could therefore claim, jus soli, to be a citizen at birth.

Meanwhile, the document released has itself been scrutinized for inconsistencies to other published “long form” birth certificates from Hawai’i. It has actually made converts *to* the “birther” movement of people who looked at it and said, “This doesn’t look right.” People are saying, “I wasn’t a birther until I saw this document.”

The Obama document is printed on a modern kind of watermarked paper that was not used in 1961. Some argue that it’s a photocopy printed on modern paper. Fine; that makes sense–except that it doesn’t have the telltale signs of a photocopy.

The document has been compared to some published long form birth certificates, particularly those of twins born on August 5, 1961. Critics have pointed to some alleged indiscrepancies, such as differences in how the date is written, which could easily be explained away.

However, the biggest of all is that Obama was born on August 4, 1961, but the file number on the alleged birth certificate says “10641,” while the twins born the day *after* him have file numbers 10637 and 10638. He was born before they were, and his birth was allegedly registered before they were, yet the document is numbered later.

The document has, of course, been scrutinized, and self-proclaimed experts have said the typeface is different on different parts of it.

The White House released the document in PDF format, and many have pointed out that it opens into layers in Adobe Illustrator. Some have argued that any document opened in Illustrator will open into layers. Another very basic argument that’s been raised is that the text has little white areas around it–areas that would not have occurred on an original typed document but would have occurred on a scan. Liberals claim that this is a result of OCR and can be seen on any scanned document. I’ve never seen it.

The following video is by a graphic artist who exposes the “layers” and inconsistencies in the document in Illustrator:

Perhaps the most noteworthy thing he says, which anyone who’s done any document scanning or art scanning can attest to, is that ink does not scan as solid color. If you scan a signature, it will come in as grayscale. If you zoom a scanned drawing or signature, you will not see black lines. You will see lots of pixels in different shades of gray and black. On the other hand, if you sign a document *in* Acrobat or Illustrator or a pain program, you will get a solid black line. Indeed, I often use Acrobat for legal documents, and I’m sometimes told that the recipient cannot accept it because it’s obvious the document is signed on the computer–even if I’ve signed it with a digital pen.

The guy in the above video shows how some of the signatures on the alleged birth certificate, particularly that of Obama’s mother, were done by computer! You can see the difference between signed-in-pen letters and signed-on-computer letters.

Here’s part 2, in which he responds to some of the critics:

It *does* strike me as a possible explanation for the whole sudden Trump-is-a-conservative thing: did Trump suddenly declare his conservatism and try to get instant credit just to raise a stink and “force” Obama to release this obviously forged “birth certificate” to make conservatives look bad?

In a _Hardball_ debate the other day (in which Pat Buchanan admittedly does a disservice to “birthers” by sounding a bit racist), Chris Matthews expresses his view that it’s completely unnecessary for a President to provide credentials for his job, and claims that he didn’t need any credentials to get his own job!!

The problem with your reasoning, Mr. Matthews, is the Constitution doesn’t require a journalist to be a natural born citizen!!!

What’s really insulting about the _Hardball_ debate, which included Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign manager Terry McAuliffe, besides just about everything, is that McAuliffe is sitting there all smug about “birthers” when it was Hillary Clinton’s campaign that first raised Obama’s birth certificate as a legal issue!!

Every time some idiot liberal tells me that “birthers are racists,” I say, “Well, I guess Hillary Clinton and her supporters are racists.” Then you have the point that Alan Keyes was the *first* to raise the issue. I guess he’s a racist, too.

Chris Matthews has accused Obama’s opponents of being “Crackers on the Right,” yet said after Obama’s 2010 State of the Union Address, “I forgot he was black tonight.” Really, Chris? Do you think about it that much?

When I look at Barack Obama, my first thought is not, “He’s a black man” (my thought is, “There’s a horrible monster who supports legalized abortion”) but that’s apparently the first thing Chris Matthews thinks: so who’s *really* a racist, Mr. Matthews???

No, we doubt Obama’s eligibility because he’s done so much to suppress evidence of it. We doubt Obama’s eligibility because he hates America. He says our Constitution is “flawed.” His wife says she hates America. His father was not only a foreign national, but served in a foreign government. The purpose of Clause 5 of the Article 2, Section 1 of the United States Constitution, as I’ve said many times, is to prevent having a president with dual allegiance. Barack Hussein Obama II shows more interest in foreign powers and the UN (evinced by his going to war with Libya solely because the UN wanted him to) than he does in US sovereignty, as evinced by the fact that, as no less a liberal than Garry Trudeau pointed out, he was “the first US presidential candidate to campaign for president in Europe.”

Obama was raised for a good part of his childhood in Indonesia. As many have argued, this should alone invalidate him. He was adopted by an Indonesian and went by “Barry Soetoro” for much of his life.

Further, the Founding Fathers got the term “Natural Born Citizen” from the 1758 treatise known as the “Law of Nations,” which declares that a person’s “natural born citizenship” is the country of his father’s citizenship, period.

One of the reasons Obama’s supporters claim “birthers” are racists is because John McCain was born in Panama. First, McCain made no secret of that, and sought a Congressional resolution declaring him a natural born citizen. However, McCain’s parents were both US Citizens. McCain being born of US citizens on foreign soil is far more eligible for the presidency than Obama, born to a foreign father, than raised in another country by a foreign stepfather.

In any case, as I’ve also said many times, why doesn’t the “penumbral shadow” of the Constitution fall on Article 2, Section 1?

I’m sick and tired of being told that no one can object to Obama’s positions without being a racist.

I’m sick and tired of the very people who spent 8 years saying George W. Bush was illegitimate because Al Gore won the “popular vote” (again showing their complete disdain for our Constitution) now saying that it’s unAmerican to question the authority of a legitimately elected president. I’m sick of the people who complain about Bush being a “rich white guy” saying that Obama’s critics, who hardly ever mention his race, are racists.

To wit, I agree that Buchanan sounds rather racist in insisting that we want Obama’s records because of “affirmative action.” No. We want Obama’s records because most presidential candidates show these records. We’ve heard for 10+ years that George W. Bush is “stupid,” even though he proved by publishing his college transcripts that he’s actually smarter than Al Gore. We have heard for 3+ years that Barack Obama is this brilliant guy, even though the Teleprompter President can’t go off-card for 20 seconds without hemming and hawing. The guy thinks we have 57 states.

Chris Matthews tells us that Obama is “obviously” smart because “he shows it every day.” HOW?? “I read his book,” says Matthews. Yeah, so?

When being interviewed off-the-cuff by a reporter who isn’t a sell-out, Obama gets mad. When he was signing his first set of executive orders in January 2009, Obama admitted that he hadn’t read them. With the media all gathered there in the Oval Office, Obama had a lawyer standing there, to tell him what each Executive Order he signed said. He consulted the lawyer before signing them. Rush Limbaugh played the clips on his show and said, “I’ll tell you what: George W. Bush never did anything like this. You know why? Because if he had, we’d still be seeing it replayed on CNN today.”

“I have visited 57 states”:

The brilliant orator who, Chris Matthews tells us, proves every day how smart he is:

Without a teleprompter:

Obama’s funniest bloopers:

In a Memorial Day speech, he referred to a relative who fought at Auschwitz, implying that a relative was either a Nazi or Soviet soldier (he meant Dachau), but we’re talking about the prepared text here: that’s a big difference from going off the teleprompter. The same goes for a speech in the above video where he claims that the March on Selma (1965) was the inspiration for his parents’ marriage (he was born in 1961)! The guy is either completely stupid or thinks his supporters are–and they most definitely are.

Again, if it is “racism” that motivates people to post these videos of Obama quotes, then is it “racism” that motivates Democrats to make fun of gaffes by George W. Bush, Dan Quayle, Sarah Palin, etc??

UPDATE:
Ultimately, the real “distraction” is the kinds of arguments used by liberals. The college records aren’t important because of “affirmative action” or because of whether he’s “smart enough to be president. The college records are important because some people claim he studied on foreign student scholarships. Obama claimed joint citizenship with the US and Indonesia–which should be enough to say he’s not a “natural born citizen”–and the issue is whether he used his Indonesian citizenship after age 18.

As for the birth certificate, I think they took a legitimate copy of a legitimate document and forged it to make it look like an “original.”

Let’s get our political terminology down

For many people, political terms are “insults”. Liberals don’t like being identified as liberals. Now, some who are actually socialists don’t like being identified as liberals, and that’s fine, since they’re not liberals. In the conservative movement, “paleocon” and “neocon” are often interpreted or used as insults, even though they were originally coined by those who held those beliefs.

The neoconservatives were a specific group of Reagan-era intellectuals, “Reagan Democrats,” who had once been liberals but didn’t like how the American Left went in the late 60s and the 70s. Further, proving Churchill’s famous statement about being a liberal when you’re young and a conservative when you’re old, the original neocons–men like Michael Novak, Richard John Neuhaus, etc.,–were thinkers who rejected certain of their liberal beliefs from their youth. However, when they became conservatives, they decided to use the federal power to enforce their views, just as liberals do. It was the neocons who convinced Reagan that, rather than abolishing the Department of Education as he’d promised, he should use the Department of Education to promote “standards and accountability” and “values-based education” across the country. Neocons promoted an activist foreign policy more like that of Wilson and Kennedy. Finally, as neocons became the predominent voice of the Republican Party, they pushed not just for overturning _Roe v. Wade_ or passing a Human Life Amendment (we don’t really need one, because we already have one; it’s called the Fourteenth), they instead wanted to pass a federal ban on abortion, starting with a federal ban on partial birth abortion.

Meanwhile, the original people to call themselves “paleoconservatives” were people like Russell Kirk and Patrick Buchanan themselves. They saw how conservatism was turning under Reagan, and they saw their more traditional views going to the “fringe.”

Yet, rather than being terms to define a particular view, these terms are often used as insults. Many people hear or say “paleoconservative” and think “Anti-Semite” or “Fascist.” Many people hear “neo-con” and think “That person calling me a neocon must be a racist.” “Neocon” has been ironically adopted by the Left in recent years to refer to warmongering Republicans, yet somehow they fail to recognize that the point of the term “neocon” is to distinguish anti-war conservatives from pro-war conservatives, and that those who are identified as “neocons” are usually criticized from the Right for being too liberal.

In the late 90s, when he conducted the Crisis Catholic Voter Survey, Deal Hudson sociologically proved that “Catholics” do not form a voting block, but that Catholics’ voting behaviors were associated with Church attendance. Having been around the block a few times, I’d argue that it’s even more nuanced than that. Catholics run the gamut. If you look up “neoconservative” and “paleoconservative”, you’ll find Catholic thinkers identified under both categories (Kirk, Buckley, Sobran and Buchanan, for example, or Neuhaus, M. Novak and Hudson). Oddly enough, both movements are considered “Catholic” movements within conservatism. Then on the left, of course, you’ll find Catholics prominent among all streams of Leftist thought. While many consider Catholicism and Libertarianism incompatible (especially if their view of libertarianism is Randian Objectivism), you’ll find many Catholics who are libertarians–and likely the ingellectual heavyweights of libertarianism. And, sadly, just as you’ll find Catholics who are Communist (Liberation Theologians), you’ll find some Catholics who are Fascists. Therefore, to distinguish categories from name calling, I thought I’d point out the idifferences between these groups on some of the key lines that distinguish the different nuances between movements.

On Abortion
Fascist: Abortion is good, and may sometimes be necessary
Libertarian: Abortion should be up to individuals
Paleoconservative: Abortion should be illegal at the state level
Neoconservative: Abortion should be against federal law
Liberal: Abortion should be up to individuals
“Progressive”/Socialist: Federal government should pay for abortions
Communist: Abortion is good, and may sometimes be necessary

On Foreign Policy
Fascist: People of a nationality should stick together; those of superior races should rule over others
Libertarian: Countries should mind each others’ own business
Paleoconservative: Countries should mind each others’ own business
Neoconservative: We should use global foreign policy to “promote Democracy” and fight various “threats to Democracy”
Liberal: We should use global foreign policy to “promote Democracy” and fight various “threats to Democracy”, and the world should work together as an egalitarian community
“Progressive”/Socialist: The world should work together as an egalitarian community. Ideally, there should be no national boundaries at all.
Communist: There should be no national boundaries at all

On War:
Fascist: War is good.
Libertarian: anti-war
Paleocon: anti-war, except legitimately defensive war
Neocon: defensive war can be broadly defined as a war to overthrow a government on the other side of the world that may theoretically pose a threat to US security. See also, Liberal
Liberal: War to promote democracy is good. See also, paleocon
“Progressive”/Socialist: War is bad, unless it’s the Revolution
Communist: War is bad unless it’s the Revolution

On Education
Fascist: Total government control, top-down. Education should be controlled by the state and teach the state’s view of things.
Libertarian: No public education
Paleocon: Public education should be locally controlled
Neocon: The federal government should be used to control public education with values education, national standards and accountability. We want to make all public schools teach the values that paleocons believe in, but in the most watered down way possible.
Liberal: The federal government should be used to control public education with values education, national standards and accountability. It’s just that we disagree about what values to teach and what standards to promote.
Progressive/Socialist: Federal government should control public education, and teach the most basic civil virtues. Standards are good if no one is made to feel bad about themselves, and if the standards promote our view of history, science, economics and politics.
Communism: Total government control, top-down. Education should be controlled by the state and teach the state’s view of things.

Now, people often balk at applying political terminology to the Church, but it can’t be denied that, especially post-Vatican II, the way Catholics see the Church and the way they see society often run parallel. Catholics who are more progressive politically will be more “progressive” in their view of the Church: they want rock music and women priests, etc. Catholics who are more traditional in their views of religion and morality are going to adopt a more traditional view of society. Indeed, you’ll probably find the greatest diversity of political views among traditional Catholics than other groups in the Church. Among traditionalists, you’re most likely to find monarchists, paleocons, and libertarians. However, there are traditionalists who are old school liberals, and there are sadly some traditionalists who are Fascists, but they’re mostly of the schismatic variety.

But Neocons are interesting, because if any “faction” in the Church best matches up to neoconservatism, it’s the Charismatics: they embrace Vatican II wholeheartedly, even to the point of embracing “the Spirit of Vatican II”. They may respect some aspects of tradition, but Catholics who are politically neocons tend to be as opposed to Summorum Pontificum, Liturgiam Authenticam and the Reform of the Reform as liberals are. When liturgy comes up, Catholics of a more paleocon bent are more likely to prefer GIA and Oregon Catholic Press. They’re more likely to be OK with altar chicks. They may be OK with a little Latin in the Sanctus or Agnus Dei, or a hymn or two. They may even be OK with the Gloria in Latin, but the idea of even saying the Novus Ordo in Latin is anathema to them.

Even beyond liturgy, then come questions of interpretation of Vatican II texts, and the question of which side of continuity one emphasizes in the “Hermeneutic of Continuity”. Neocons sound a lot like liberals when it comes to interpretation of Vatican II–they are willing to drop entire chunks of traditional Catholic teaching if it seems Vatican II “overturned” those teachings. Even while talking “hermeneutic of continuity” they don’t seem too concerned about making it fit, but merely accepting, “Vatican II says what it says, so I don’t have to worry about anything the Church might have said before.”

One Neocon I frequently argue with, for example, holds that Vatican II’s broad teachings on freedom of conscience and the possibility of baptism by desire mean that we don’t have to be concerned about the salvation of Muslims. This person will say, in one breath, that Islam is an evil religion and should be wiped out by military force and then, when confronted with the need to save the souls of the individual Muslims, say, “We are not supposed to judge their individual souls.” So, we can kill them because they’re evil, but we can’t try to convert them because we shouldn’t judge them. OK.

I hate it when I lose thoughts

There was some big story earlier this week that I wanted to comment on, and didn’t, and of course forgot which story and what I was going to say. Hate it when that happens.

And there have been a lot of big stories, so I thought I’d just give a run down of opinions:

1. The Arizona shooting:
a. the whole thing is a huge win for Obama.
b. If Giffords was so concerned about safety, why didn’t she use better security? She didn’t use basic security protocols at these events, and she put people’s lives in danger.
c. Everyone keeps trying to claim the shooter for the other side, but he really just exemplifies what I’ve been warning about since 2006: a generation of people who’ve been raised on MTV and Comedy Central, Michael Moore and Glenn Beck, who don’t necessarily have a coherent political philosophy other than anger at “the establishment.”
d. Sarah Palin is evil because she used a “targeting” metaphor (and I agree the way she did it was in bad taste, especially for a pro-lifer, and especially someone who has been a victim of some equally vicious rhetoric). But let’s not forget 8 years of “kill Bush”, Alec Baldwin’s tirade about Henry Hyde, and all the hateful things that the liberals have said and are saying about Palin. They are such hypocrites.

2. The arrest of Abortionist Kermit Gosnell in Pennsylvania. Yet another example of the kind of depraved monsters who engage in this “medical practice.”

3. Rick Santorum says it’s hypocritical for Barack Obama, an African American, to suggest we can define who is and isn’t human, and the liberals say that Santorum should apologize for making such an “offensive” comment. HUH?

4. EWTN is acquiring the National Catholic Register. Good to get the Register out of the hands of the Legion of Christ, but is it a wise move for EWTN, which is in perpetual financial trouble, to buy a newspaper, when print news is a rapidly dying medium? And, as one of my Facebook friends pointed out, they should have bought the National Catholic Reporter and then fired everyone who works for it.

5. John Paul II’s speedy canonization will proceed with a beatification on May 1. So much for the photos showing JPII standing with Maciel and Maciel’s illegitimate family. So much for concerns that too many of JPII’s “friends” were speaking out of turn. They won’t beatify Pius XII because of calumnies that are spread against him which have no basis in fact and scandalize non-believers, yet John Paul II, who did so much to scandalize faithful Catholics, is getting fast-tracked. I don’t even necessarily question his sainthood, but I get tired of the attitude that we are supposed to just ignore the Koran Kissing, the pagan sacrifices at the Assisi Conference, his association with Maciel, and other damaging facts. These need to be *explained*. The explanations are there. I often use some them myself. Some things I’m still waiting for better clarity on. But if they’re going to beatify him, and they’re *not* going to beatify Pius XII, then they need to do some explaining.

6. Monday our country honored the life and death of Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who said we should judge people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. King was himself an adulterer, and one of his closest associates, Bayard Rustin, was a Communist and a homosexual. Forty years after his death, Americans elected Barack Obama, a man of no discernible character, due to the color of his skin.

7. A secular news story has tried to make a stink about the disappearance of Fr. Thomas Euteneuer from public eye. Most notably, Euteneuer’s book on exorcism which came out last summer is out of print and is selling for hundreds of dollars online. HLI says that the book merely sold out, and they opted not to reprint it, since Fr. Euteneuer left HLI.

When Fr. Euteneuer announced his resignation from HLI, I said at the time I didn’t think this was any conspiracy or “smack down.” There are ways things are phrased. When the Jesuits tried to use obedience to silence Fr. Fessio a while back, his public statements honored obedience while making it clear he didn’t agree with their decision. When Cardinal Egan recalled Fr. Pavone from Priests for Life, Fr. Pavone said he was complying but looking for options (and did).

Fr. Euteneuer’s statement expressed full compliance. I think he requested to be recalled by his bishop. Exorcists are supposed to be generally out of the spotlight, for a variety of reasons (avoiding sensationalism, maintaining personal humility, etc.) I think that he has chosen this change in direction of his life, and we should honor that.

8. As if Ellen Degenerate wasn’t bad enough, that strange looking creature they hired to replace Simon on American Idol is just too disturbing to look at, even on advertisements.
That brings up the point that one of the effects of my dissection is that I’ve narrowed down a lot of my viewing even more. I’m trying to avoid anything that will unnecessarily raise my blood pressure, and trying to avoid anything that might possibly be an occasion of sin.

Still feel like there’s another big news story of the week I wanted to comment on, but that covers most of ’em.

Shepherds and Car salesmen

Originally Published 12/24/2006

I recall reading a Christmas meditation somewhere that speculated about who *else* might have heard the message that First Christmas–and ignored it.

Were the shepherds the only ones who saw the angels in the sky and heard the first Gloria in excelsis deo? How many people figured it was just a dream or hallucination? How many people just heard the commotion and hid in fear? How many simply slept through it?

How many astrologers saw the star and ignored its meaning or misinterpreted it?

Did God call the shepherds and Persian Magi only, or were the just the only ones who bothered to respond?

Throughout the Gospels, from Bethlehem to Calvary to Emmaus, it’s the shepherds, the fisherman, the prostitutes and the tax collectors who “get it”. With a few exceptions, like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, the theologians are out of the loop.

Today, I had my car in for a service, and, as I was waiting, I wandered around the dealership. I had brought my Christian Prayer with me to say Lauds. But first, I thought I’d wander around and look at the cars. A salesman came up to me and struck up a conversation. First, he noticed my “Good Book.” It’s often a moment of gentle evangelization when a Protestant asks about my “Bible” and then I say, “Actually, it’s a breviary,” which leads into an explanation of the Divine Office (Apologetics note: one of the many advantages of saying the Office vis the Rosary, besides that it’s actually liturgy, is that it’s a lot easier to explain the Office to a Protestant than it is to explain the Rosary).

As it turned out, he said, “Oh, I used to say the Office a bit in college, but fell away. . . .” As he proceeded, I was pegging him for some kind of Episcopalian. Of course, we were both “beating around the bush” a bit and speaking in non-denominatoinalese.

Then he started talking about his theological debates with some of the other car salesmen in town, and that got to my mentioning pursuing my MA in theology.
He said, “Catholic theology, I assume?” I replied in the affirmative, and that got us off the “beating around the bush”and into some pretty serious sharing.

He explained that he’s an orthodox Catholic, FUS graduate, but works with many Protestant ministries, as well, including the 700 Club. I talked about Flannery O’Connor’s theory of the convergence of Evangelicalism & Catholicism.

He warned me against the dangers of arrogance when one becomes a “theologian,” and I wholeheartedly agreed. Earlier on, he had mentioned how his theological debates (he specifically mentioned Calvinism & Purgatory) usually focus on the concept of relationship: God created us to relate to Him, and everything else stems from that. I agreed, and talked about my own work, how I’m working on a book on that topic, and my work with bioethics and the pro-life movement. I noted how I’ve been seeing the same problems popping up with “conservative” and “Loyal to the Magisterium” theologians that we see in “liberal” theologians now that “our side” is more mainstream, and he agreed: the fundamentalist treatment of the Catechism, for example, such that the absence of statement on some moral question (e.g., vaccines) makes it licit, especially if a stated principle (protection of health) can be exaggerated.

He said, “Yeah, like it’s OK to eat the baby if you’re starving.”

And I said, “We shouldn’t be thinking about what we can get away with or how much we can justify. My question is: if Jesus were standing next to me, what would He think of me partaking in this?”

That was about the time when the service guy came up and said my car was ready.

What part of “Nothing Positive” don’t you understand?

I don’t remember seeing this article before, although I may have used it in my series of reflections on Iraq last year. However, His Holiness, Benedict XVI, Pope of Rome, Servant of the Servants of God, etc., unequivocally condemned the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in April 2007.

He said that nothing good has come from the violence in Iraq and Afghanistan. He condemned those who use God’s name to promote war, and he said that Christians are to be a people of peace.

I don’t understand how anyone who has faith in God can say the kinds of things that the Warhawks say. Prayer and fasting are the greatest weapons we could have. If all of America turned to the Eucharist, the Rosary, and the Bible. If all of America fell on our knees in penance and confessed our sins the way Jesus wants them confessed, imagine the ramifications that would have for the whole world.

The main weapon that atheists and Muslims have is not their lawyers or their bombs. It’s the hypocrisy of Christians.

Comments, Necons?

“What are you going to do about the Christians?”

Recently, Rush Limbaugh gave a very interesting speech in Philadelphia (h/t to Kathy Shaidle).

This speech is Limbaugh at his best. Other than some stupid comments about conservationism, he’s insightfl and funny.

Rush admits there’s little difference between party when you get to the highest ranks:

For these 23 years I’ve thought that a whole bunch of people were on our team who really aren’t, and it’s become crystal clear. And we talked about this piece that was in the American Spectator by Angelo Codevilla called “America’s Ruling Class,” which is just a brilliant, brilliant piece and it codified and it established exactly what’s going on in the country today. It’s not Republican versus Democrat. And by the way, this is not to say that there’s no difference between the two because there clearly is. But we’re in the midst here of a crossroads that I don’t think any of us have ever faced in the country. I was thinking back the other day in my review of the 23 years: Make fun of liberals, talk about the things that they do and their policies. But we never, ever really thought that they would succeed to the point that the country as founded would be threatened.

But it is now. It is. This bunch — the Obama administration, the regime — is a disaster. They have succeeded in a year and a half. If we conservatives ever get power back, if we would implement as much of our agenda in a year and a half as Obama has succeeded in implementing, we would be throwing parties! Nationalizing car companies. Nationalizing the healthcare business. Daily assaults on freedom. And what we’ve learned that’s shocking to us, is so many people on our side still don’t see that. They still see it as a traditional Republican versus Democrat. “We’ll share power here. We’ll get some judges this year; you get some judges next year,” and we’re in a crossroads now where that’s not the case. I was listening to Obama’s speech at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Awards Banquet.

Then he talks about Rockefeller Republicans:

I was in the Hamptons back in the early nineties. One of the few times I’ve been there. It was a dinner party at some famous people’s house you would know. And after the dinner party one of them came up to me, jabbed me in the chest and said, “What are you going to do about the Christians?” I said, “What do you mean what am I going to do about the Christians?” “Well, yeah, yeah, they listen to you. What are you going to do about it?” I said, “What are you talking about?” “Abortion, man, it’s killing the party. It’s going to kill the party. You’re going to have to tell these Christians –” “Why am I going to have to tell the Christians? Why don’t you?” And this guy actually said, “My wife won’t leave me alone. She’s bugging me about this. You’ve got to do something because they listen to you.”

So the people who are not with us are something that I’ve grown to despise, people concerned about what others think of them, people who try to be what they are based on what they think others want them to be. You know, we’ve all done that. We’ve all done that in high school. The problem is some people still haven’t gotten out of high school and still live in that clique world and they’re still concerned, and too many people on our side are still concerned about what those people, the left and the liberals and the people that run the show in Washington think of them. And they don’t want to be thought of as unreasonable or racist or sexist. So they’ll criticize us. And they’ll jump in Christine O’Donnell’s chili. They’re afraid of being associated with her because they hear what the liberals are saying and they don’t want to be laughed at like they’re laughing at Christine O’Donnell. So we have two challenges. We have to prevent a third party from forming because that’s going to elect Democrats from here to kingdom come.

Agree up to the last part. A solid third party movement will not give the country to the Democrats. A solid third party movement, like the GOP in 1860, will get the vote of the people and leave the other two parties to split the rich.

On Obama’s hatred of America, which, as I’m always saying, makes him in principle ineligible for the presidency, even if he’s legally a natural citizen:

People still don’t want to believe it. And I am as serious about this as I have ever been about anything. I have no doubt that for whatever reason — and we can go through the list of what it is that Obama doesn’t like about the country. I know he’s been educated, informed and raised to not like this country from his father who didn’t like colonialism. His grandfather was run out of Kenya, the Mau Mau revolution, the Great British revolution at the time and that’s why Obama got rid of the bust of Winston Churchill first thing in the Oval Office. He didn’t just put it in the basement. He sent it back to the British embassy. He has a genuine animus. It’s not an accident that when it comes time to give a gift, he picks 25 DVDs at random from Amazon and doesn’t even send the correct country codes so the Prime Minister can watch them.

He’s got an axe to grind with the country. He doesn’t like it. He has been raised that this country as founded was unjust and immoral and he is hell bent on a course to change it, to cause us to have to pay the price for this. Now, you say this — and you’ve heard me say it on the radio daily — and if you’re immersed in this stuff daily and if you’re honest, if you’re honest with yourself about what you see and what you read; you can’t conclude anything other than that. But a lot of people, even who voted for him who are not happy now, they just can’t get their arms around the fact that we’ve elected somebody who has that view of the country. Sadly a lot of people on what I call “our side” of the aisle, the so called conservative media intelligencia inside the Beltway, they just think that he’s misguided, wrong, doesn’t understand economics, and is a little like a doofus.

And he may be all of that, but he’s much more. He has a plan. He’s the architect of reforming this country in a way that we wouldn’t recognize it as founded. There’s no way — folks, there’s no way — anybody that has the ability to be honest with themselves can look at his economic policies after a year and a half of utter, from our perspective, failure. Job destruction. I mean, the unemployment rate continues to climb. People have stopped looking for work. It is a disaster out there — and nobody in their right mind, after a year and a half of this, would say we need more of it. People would say, “This isn’t working!” This is his fault. We’ve had a year and a half of debt that has accrued, in his year and a half, that is more than all the debt from George Washington to Ronald Reagan. Yet he blames George W. Bush for it and he blames us! He blames the American people. He says, “No, the days of the American people, the days of America leading the world economically are over.” The hell they are! They are not over.