Pearl Harbor Lessons



The attack on Pearl Harbor, the date which will live in infamy in F.D.R.’s ringing phrase, happened 75 years ago today.  Less than 2500 of the 42,000 sailors, soldiers, marines and airmen stationed there that fateful day are still with us.  Time has done what the forces of Imperial Japan could not, and soon the memories of that attack will be only a page in history.  The lessons of Pearl Harbor are however as timely today as they were on December 7, 1941:

1.  It Takes Two to Avoid a War-Today, too many people speak the most dreadful rubbish that boils down to the contention that the US can avoid war if it simply adopts a peaceful policy to all other nations.  Nations, like people, have their own goals, and they will pursue those goals as they will, whether the US adopts a “smiley-face” foreign policy or not.

2.  Peace Time Mentality-Pearl Harbor was such a disaster largely due to a mindset that gripped too many in the military that it was sufficient to simply go through the motions.  This is a common enough attitude in the world, and in peace time it becomes all too common in the military.  Pearl Harbor teaches us how disastrous this mentality is in war-time.

3.  Peace or War can be a Matter of Seconds- Throughout its history the US has often had wars start quite quickly:  The Revolution, The Civil War, Korea, World War II and 9-11.  George Washington warned us that: To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.   Too often in our history we have forgotten that sage advice and paid for it at our peril as we learn the old lesson that war can come upon us with the speed of  summer lightning, especially in our modern age.

4.  Assumptions-Behind every great disaster there are usually a string of bad assumptions.  We assumed that the Japanese if they attacked would likely not attack Pearl Harbor.  We assumed that a Japanese fleet could not sail from Japan to Hawaii unnoticed.  We assumed that our air power, especially with the new-fangled technology called Radar, would be on alert, and that in any case our fleet could defeat anything that Japan could send against it.  Pile enough bad assumptions on top of each other and a debacle is in the making.

5.  Killing More People Won’t Help Matters-That quote comes from Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin, the lone dissenting vote in the House against declaring war on Japan after Pearl Harbor.  A Republican from Montana, Rankin is an interesting figure.  The first woman elected to Congress, she served two terms.  In her first term she voted against declaring war on Germany in World War I and in her second term she voted against declaring war on Japan.  Both votes stemmed from her deep-seated pacificism, both votes were immensely unpopular and both votes effectively ended her political career at two different points in her life.  I give her the courage of her convictions.  However, her stance after Pearl Harbor illustrates the folly of pacifism as a national policy.  The sad truth is that in this vale of tears it is sometimes necessary to take up arms to avoid greater evils than war, and those peoples who forget that truth of the human condition will experience such evils sooner or later. Continue reading

Pope Francis: Green Crusade



Pope Francis continues his Green Crusade:



Reuters reports, “Pope Francis urged national leaders on Monday to implement global environmental agreements without delay, a message that looked to be squarely aimed at U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

“Addressing a group of scientists that included theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, the pope gave his strongest speech on the environment since the election of Trump, who has threatened to pull out of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

‘The ‘distraction’ or delay in implementing global agreements on the environment shows that politics has become submissive to a technology and economy which seek profit above all else,’ Francis said.”


So the pope thinks opposition to the Paris Treaty stems from profit seeking?

How about all the billions in profits sought by renewable energy corporations like wind turbine makers General Electric and Siemens or solar panel makers First Solar and Solar City, whose products can’t compete economically with fossil fuels or nuclear without massive government subsidies and mandates?

How about the billions of taxpayer dollars showered on Solyndra and similar now-bankrupt renewable energy companies? Continue reading

A Date Which Will Live In Infamy

The US Naval Academy Glee Club singing Eternal Father aboard the USS Arizona Memorial.  The dastardly sneak attack on Pearl Harbor killed 2,402 American servicemen and wounded an additional 1247. About one hundred civilians were killed or wounded.

For most Americans living today the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, seems like ancient history.  It does not seem like that to me.  As I was growing up in the Sixties I was surrounded by adults who recalled Pearl Harbor.  My father, who was 8 years old at the time of the attack, remembered the long lines the next morning in our small town of men waiting outside of the recruiting offices of the Army and Navy to join up.  He also conveyed to me the shock of a nation one moment at peace, and the next morning at war.  Until September 11, 2001, I really didn’t fully comprehend what my father was talking about.  Continue reading

Patton’s Weather Prayer


“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.”



Well, we had the first snow that stuck in Central Illinois this winter last Sunday.  Temperatures are quite brisk.  Time for my annual look at General Patton’s famous weather prayer!


The famous “weather prayer” of General Patton was written by a Catholic Chaplain, Colonel James H. O’Neill.  Continue reading

France Attempts to Criminalize the Pro-Life Movement

I am not afraid; I was born to do this.

Saint Joan of Arc



The Socialist government in France, deemed likely to be massacred in the coming elections, are doing what Leftists traditionally do when they are running behind:  wave the bloody fetus and bash pro-lifers:




On Thursday, the French National Assembly passed a bill that makes it a crime to post information online that challenges abortion. Pro-life activists who continue to operate online face up to two years in prison and a fine of more than $30,000. The bill is an expansion of a 1993 law that penalized giving out “false information” or physically blocking those seeking abortion from entering clinics. The bill passed by French lawmakers will punish web operators who post material considered “deliberately misleading, intimidating and/or exerting psychological or moral pressure.”

The French legislation follows a controversy that erupted after the French government blocked an advertisement featuring smiling children with Down syndrome because it could dredge up feelings of guilt from woman who decided to abort babies diagnosed with the genetic condition in-utero. About 96 percent of all babies diagnosed with the condition are aborted in France. The two-minute ad featured testimony from Down syndrome children and adults, as well as their parents explaining that they were capable of living full and happy lives. In November a French court upheld the ban, saying the video would “‘disturb the conscience of women who, in accordance with the law, have made personal life choices.’” Continue reading

I Saw Santa Punching Arius



“After the king seated himself on the throne, one hundred and fifty nine fathers seated themselves at either side of him, both they and Arius arguing with much unease.  Saint Nicholas, noticing that Arius was about to quash all the archpriests and moved by divine zeal, rose up and gave him a slap that shook all his members. Complaining, Arius says to the king: “O most just king, is it fair, before your royal highness, for one to strike another?  If he has something to say, let him speak as the other fathers do; if he is ignorant, let him remain silent as his like are. For what reason does he slap me in the presence of your highness?”  Hearing this, the king was greatly disappointed and said to the archpriests: “Holy archpriests, it is the law, that whosoever raises his hand before the king to strike someone, that it should be cut off. I leave this to you, so that your holiness(es) might be the judge.”  The archpriests replied, saying: “Your majesty, that the archpriest has acted wrongly all of us confess it; except that we beseech you, let us unstate him now and imprison him, and after the dissolution of the council, we shall then convict him.”

Having unstated and imprisoned him, that night Christ and the Holy Mother Theotokos appeared in prison and said: “Nicholas, why are you imprisoned?”  And the saint replied: “For loving You”. Christ then said to him: “Take this,” and gave him the holy gospel; the Holy Mother Theotokos gave him the archpriestly omophorion (scapular).  The next day some acquaintances of his brought him bread and they saw that he was freed of his fetters and on his shoulder he was wearing the omophorion, while reading the holy gospel he was holding in his hands. Having asked him where he found them, he told them the whole truth.  Having learnt of this, the king took him out of the prison and asked for forgiveness, as did all the others.  After the dissolution of the council, all the archpriests returned home, as did saint Nicholas, to his province.”


Damascenos the Monk:  Life of saint Nicholas the wonder-worker

Billy Mitchell Predicts Pearl Harbor Attack in 1924

“This officer is an exceptionally able one, enthusiastic, energetic and full of initiative (but) he is fond of publicity, more or less indiscreet as to speech, and rather difficult to control as a subordinate.”

From General John J. Pershing’s 1923 efficiency report on General William Mitchell

Brigadier General William “Billy” Mitchell did not suffer fools gladly.  Dismayed that his demands for the development of air power were ignored in the post World War I era, he became increasingly caustic in his comments against his superiors.  After the deaths of several airmen in 1925 flying obsolete equipment, he castigated the heads of the Army and Navy for an almost treasonable administration of the national defense.  Court-martialed, he was found guilty and suspended from the Army without pay for five years.  President Calvin Coolidge amended the judgment so that Mitchell would receive half pay.  Mitchell left the Army, his military career at an end.

In 1924 General Pershing, perhaps to keep Mitchell out of harm’s way, sent him out on an inspection tour of the Pacific.  In his notes of that tour, later reduced to a 323 page report, Mitchell took a look at the weakness of the US in the Pacific and the rising power of Japan.  He predicted war between Japan and the US, and a Japanese strike on Pearl Harbor and Clark Field in the Philippines: Continue reading

PopeWatch: Petition



Lifesite News is sponsoring a Petition to the Pope:


Here is the text of the Petition:


To: His Holiness, Pope Francis

Recently four cardinals sent you a letter expressing their concerns about what they called the “grave disorientation” and “great confusion” that has followed in the wake of the publication of the apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.

Bearing in mind canon law (§ 212:3) which states that the faithful “have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church” I express to you my full support for the content of the cardinals’ letter. I also add my voice to their urgent request that you dispel confusion by responding to their five questions with a clear affirmation of the perennial teaching of the Church on marriage, the Sacraments, the moral law, and the nature and role of conscience.

Finally, I assure you of my heartfelt and daily prayers, that you be given the grace to lead Holy Mother Church with wisdom, prudence, and a courageous commitment to proclaiming the Gospel of Life in season and out of season.  Continue reading

Sunday in Paradise



Lieutenant j.g. Aloysius Schmitt had just finished morning mass aboard the USS Oklahoma.  Acting chaplain of the Okie, a Sunday meant a busy day for him, a relaxed day for almost everyone else on board the ship.  Since they were in port and the country was at peace a Sunday was a day of rest.  Besides,  the port was a tropical paradise.  Life was good for the crew of the Okie.


Father Schmitt, born on December 4, 1909, was an Iowan, about as far from the sea as it is possible to be in the US.  Studying in Rome for the priesthood, he was ordained on December 8, 1935.  After serving at parishes in Dubuque, Iowa and Cheyenne, Wyoming, Father Schmitt received permission to join the Navy and was commissioned a Lieutenant j.g. on June 28, 1939.

On December 7, 1941 at 8:00 AM the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor began.  The Oklahoma and the other battleships on battleship row were the primary targets.  Alarms began to sound on the Oklahoma, and the ship was hit almost immediately by nine torpedoes from Japanese torpedo bombers.  The ship began to list badly and every sailor knew that it was probably just a few minutes before the Okie would capsize. Continue reading

What Difference Do We Make?



Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts has turned the Big 50:


Yeah.  50.   To quote Alec Guinness from the classic The Bridge on the River Kwai:

There are times when suddenly you realize you’re nearer the end than the beginning. And you wonder, you ask yourself, what the sum total of your life represents. What difference your being there at any time made to anything. Hardly made any difference at all, really, particularly in comparison with other men’s careers. I don’t know whether that kind of thinking’s very healthy, but I must admit I’ve had some thoughts on those lines from time to time.

Yep.  Time to reflect.  And since I’ve been told that everyone has planned a full, rich weekend, I’ll be scarce until Monday.  Please feel free to comment.  That’s one of the reasons I blog.  It helps me see insights from others, even if they inexplicably reject my wisdom.

Thanks for all the visits, and I’ll see everyone at the start of my next half century!  TTFN.

Continue reading

Fidel Castro: Out of Gas


The Babalu Blog. the go-to blog on all news Cuban, gives us this tidbit on the funeral of Castro:


The photo below taken in Cuba shows soldiers having to push the vehicle carrying the cremated remains of dictator Fidel Castro throughout Cuba. Rumor has it that the jeep pulling the ashes of the deceased despot on the planned parade route where Cubans were ordered by State Security to line up and mourn openly for the cameras or risk arrest ran out of gas. How fitting.

It would be hard to think of a more appropriate image to mark the end of Fidel Castro’s half-century of utter failures and misery in Cuba.



Que Lastima.  Never fear Fidel, I am sure that Satan, like all dictators, makes transportation run on time in his domain!

PopeWatch: Letter to a Dying Girl




Paolina Libraro was taken from this world by cancer on November 22, 2016.  She was ten years old.  Pope Francis wrote her a letter on September 22:


Dearest Paolina,

Your photos are on my desk, for in your truly special gaze I see the light of goodness and innocence. Thank you for sending them to me! Read this letter together with your mother, and the kiss that she will give you now will be a kiss from the pope.

I join my hands to yours and to those of all who are praying for you. In this way, we will form a long chain which, I am certain, will reach all the way to heaven. But remember that you are the first link in this chain, because you have Jesus in your heart! Remember this! And so, speak with him, talk to him about yourself, but also talk about your mother and father who need very much to be helped and comforted in the face of the very difficult steps ahead of them. You shall certainly be very good at suggesting to Jesus what to do for them! Remember, please, to tell him what he should do for me, as I remind him of what he should do for you. I give you a big, big hug and I bless you with all my heart, together with your parents and loved ones.

Francis Continue reading

Messianic Prophecies: Genesis 3: 15


Continuing our Advent look at Messianic prophecies for this year, a series which we began in Advent 2011 and continued in 2102, 2013, 2014 and 2015, the earlier posts of the series may be read here, here, here ,here, here, here, here, here , here here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here,   here, here here, here, here ,  here,  and here, we come to Genesis 3: 15, the first messianic prophecy in the Bible:

[15] I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.



Saint Justin Martyr says of this passage: Continue reading

Advent Sermons of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux-Part II

This Advent we will look at Advent sermons of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.  They are concise in words and huge in thought, a model for priests to strive to emulate.  Go here to view the first one.  Here is the second:


GREAT are the works of the Lord,” (Ps. cx. 2.) says the Psalmist. Great indeed are all God s works, but the mysteries which chiefly excite our wonder and admiration are naturally those which concern our eternal salvation. Hence the same Prophet sings: “The Lord hath done great things for us.” (Ps. cxxv. 3.) His munificent dealings with us are shown forth chiefly in our Creation, our present redemption, and our future glorification. O Lord, how greatly art Thou exalted in all Thy works! Do Thou proclaim their excellence to Thy people, and let us not be silent concerning them.

There is a threefold commingling to be considered in these three mysteries, most manifestly heavenly, most evidently the effect of the omnipotence of God. In the first of these mysteries, that of our creation, “God made man from the slime of the earth, and breathed into his face the breath of life.” (Gen. ii. 7.) What a wonderful Creator, Who unites and commingles things so opposite! At His beck the slime of the earth and the spirit, or breath of life, are united, and make one being. The earth of which He made man had been previously created when “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” But the origin of the spirit was special, not common. It was not infused into the mass of matter, but is specially breathed into each individual of the human race.

O man, acknowledge your dignity! Recognize the glory of human nature! You have a body taken from this earth, for it was fitting that one who is the appointed lord of all visible creatures should bear a similarity to them. But you are at the same time more noble and more exalted than they; nor are they in any way to be compared to you. In you body and soul are closely united; the first is moulded and fashioned, the second is inspired. On which side lies the advantage? Which of the two is the gainer in this union? According to the wisdom of this world, where what is low and mean is associated with what is excellent, those who are in power lord it over their inferiors, and bend them to their will. The strong man tramples on him who is the weaker; the learned man ridicules one who is unlearned; the crafty one deceives the simple; the powerful man despises the weak. It is not thus, O God, in Thy work, not thus in Thy commingling. It was not for such a purpose that Thou didst unite spirit with matter; what is exalted with what is lowly; a noble and excellent creature with the abject, worthless clay. Thou didst will the soul to rule; at the same time who does not see what dignity and advantage it thus confers on the body? Would not the body without the soul be senseless matter? From the soul it derives its beauty, from the soul its growth, from the soul the brightness of the eye and the sound of the voice. All the senses are animated by the soul. By this union charity is commended to me. I read of charity in the very history of my own creation. Not only is charity proclaimed in its first page; it is imprinted within me by the gracious hand of my Maker.

Great indeed is this union of body and soul; would that it had remained firm and unbroken! But, alas! though it had been secured by the Divine seal – for God made man to His own image and likeness – the union was marred, for the seal was broken and the likeness defaced. The worst of thieves approached, stealthily damaged the yet fresh seal, and so sadly changed the Divine likeness that man is now compared to senseless beasts, and is become like unto them.

God made man just, and of this his likeness to God it is written: “The Lord our God is righteous, and there is no iniquity in him.” (Ps. xci. 16.) He made man just and truthful, as He Himself is justice and truth; nor could this union be broken while the integrity of the seal was preserved. But that forger came, and, while promising a better seal, broke, alas! that which had been stamped by the hand of God. “You shall be as gods,” he said, “knowing good and evil.” (Gen. iii. 5.) O malicious one! O crafty spirit! Of what use to that man and woman could the likeness of this knowledge be? Let them “be as gods” by all means, but let them be upright, truthful, like God, in Whom there is no sin. While this seal remained whole the union remained uninjured. Now we have a woeful experience of what we were persuaded to attempt by the devil’s craft. The seal once broken, a bitter parting followed, a sad divorce. O wicked wretch! where is your promise, “You shall not die”? Behold, we all die. There is no man living that shall not taste death. What, then, will become of us, O Lord our God? Will no one repair Thy work? Will no one help to raise the fallen? None can remake but He Who first made. Therefore, “by reason of the misery of the needy, and the groans of the poor, now I will arise, saith the Lord. I will set him in safety: I will deal confidently in his regard.” (Ps. xi. 6.) The enemy shall not prevail over him, nor the son of iniquity have any power to hurt him. Behold, I now make a new mixture, upon which I set a deeper and stronger seal. I will give to fallen man Him Who was not made to My likeness, but Who is the very image and splendour of My glory and the figure of My substance; not made, but begotten before all ages.


Continue reading

Santa and Socialism


Hattip to Instapundit.

The differences between Santa and  socialism.

  1.  Santa gives away his own stuff.
  2.  Santa is only a red due to his choice in clothing.
  3.  Santa gives things away rather than taking things from others.
  4.  Santa knows the State isn’t Santa.
  5. Santa understands the difference between naughty and nice.
  6. Santa operates an unregulated business.
  7. Santa has better music.
  8. Santa doesn’t spy on people as he enters their homes.
  9. Santa’s elves don’t belong to a union.
  10. Santa isn’t a grinch like many socialists.
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