Hard to believe that it is 57 years since the Kitchen Debate between Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschchev. The US scored one of the biggest propaganda coups of the Cold War by building a typical American house, cut in half for easy viewing, at the American National Exhibit at Sokolniki Park in Moscow in 1959. This was part of an agreement where the Soviet staged an exhibit in New York the same year. Ordinary Soviets flocked to see it and were awed at the technology in the house featuring the latest labor saving and recreational devices in 1959. They were floored at the contention of the Americans that this was a typical house that an average American could afford. The impromptu debate between Khruschchev redounded greatly to the benefit of Nixon who came across to American audiences as an able champion of their cause. Khruschchev was also impressed by Nixon, so much so that he later claimed that he did everything in his power to defeat Nixon when Nixon ran for President in 1960. Continue reading
Breitbart is running a free showing of the documentary Clinton Cash at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM Eastern time today. Go here to watch it. You can also find it other places, Youtube that is your cue, on the internet. I have watched it. It is an absolutely damning indictment of how the Clintons have sold out American interests in exchange for massive donations to the Clinton Foundation slush fund and in speaking fees, up to $750,000 for one speech, to Bill Clinton. As I have noted before, the Clintons are completely transparent crooks.
Go here to read a review by a left of center writer regarding the book Clinton Cash on which the film is based. It is not merely conservatives who are troubled by the ethics of the woman who is being nominated for President by the Democrat party this week.
I went to see Dinesh D’Souza’s Hillary’s America on Friday with with my bride and my son. We all loved it. My review is beneath the fold. The usual caveat as to spoilers is in force. Continue reading
The Washington Post had a lengthy editorial yesterday proclaiming how Donald Trump is a threat to American democracy. Go here to read it. Of course the Washington Post never ran anything like this until Trump was safely the standard bearer of the Republican Party, a party the Washington Post opposes. Leaving aside the nauseating and blatant partisanship, some of the criticisms in the editorial are valid and they echo some of the critiques of Trump that I have made. They never, however, in their condemnation stop to ask themselves a simple question: Why Trump? How has Trump become the Republican nominee for President and why does he stand a good chance of becoming President? If they asked themselves the question a truthful answer would be an uncomfortable one. The reason for the rise of Trump is because so many leaders in the West, in all walks of life, have acted like fools, lunatics and worse, manifestly pushing policies that cannot succeed and failing to take reality into account, which has become a hallmark of Western leadership and thought over the past quarter century.
Raymond Ibrahim has a fine example of this at PJ Media in regard to Islam:
When it comes to the connection between Islam and violence against non-Muslims, one fact must be understood: the majority of those in positions of leadership and authority in the West are either liars or fools, or both.
No other alternative exists.
The reason for this uncharitable assertion is simple: If Islam was once a faraway, exotic religion, today we hear calls for, and see acts of, violence committed in its name every day. And many of us still have “ears that hear and eyes that see,” so it’s no secret: Muslims from all around the world and from all walks of life — not just “terrorists” or “ISIS” — unequivocally and unapologetically proclaim that Islam commands them to hate, subjugate, and kill all who resist it, including all non-Muslims.
This is the official position of several Muslim governments, including America’s closest “friends and allies” like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
It’s the official position broadcast in numerous languages on Islamic satellite stations that air in Muslim homes around the world.
In short, there’s no excuse today for anyone to still be ignorant about Islam, and especially for those in positions of leadership or authority. Yet it is precisely this group that most vehemently denies any connection between Islam and violence.
On July 18 in Germany, an axe-waving Muslim refugee attacked a number of train passengers and critically injured three. Although an ISIS flag was found in his room, although he called for the slaughter of any Muslim who dares leave Islam, although he yelled “Allahu Akbar” — Islam’s unequivocal war cry — authorities claimed “it was too early to speculate about the motives of the attacker.”
Catholic Bishop Friedhelm Hofmann of Wuerzburg, where the axe attack took place, was bewildered: “One is speechless at such a moment. This fact can not be understood.”
Instead of being vigilant around Muslim migrants, he said: “Maybe we need to help the unaccompanied young refugees even more and help them to overcome their own traumas.”
About a month earlier in Germany, this same scene played out. While screaming “Allahu Akbar” and “infidels must die,” another Muslim man in another train station stabbed to death one man and injured three others. Still, German authorities “found no evidence of Islamist motive.”
Turning to the United States, one finds the same pattern. Most recently, a Muslim man entered a gay nightclub in Orlando and killed 49. Despite the fact that ISIS regularly kills homosexuals and that the killer — who “recited prayers to Allah during the attack” — pledged his allegiance to ISIS, “Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that the investigation is still ongoing, and a motive has yet to be established,” while “the FBI was confused about [his] motive.” Continue reading
Marlana Vanhoose is 20 years old. She was not expected to live past her first birthday. She was born afflicted with congenital Cytomegalovirus. Blind, her optic nerve never formed. At the age of two she was diagnosed with a mild form of cerebral palsy. God gifted her with musical ability and she has made a career for herself as a singer. A Christian, she does not let her lack of sight slow her down in this Vale of Tears. She has said that in Heaven she knows she will have sight and that the first thing she will see will be the face of Jesus. In the presence of such faith all the terrible evils and ills of this world are so much dross and dust.
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
A number of paragraphs from Pope Francis’ Wednesday General Audience speech appear to have been lifted from Melania Trump’s Republican National Convention speech.
Francis aide Monsignor Guido Marini said late this afternoon that Francis wrote the speech largely on his own, telling EOTT that, “I read it once over, and that’s all. His Holiness wrote it…with as little help as possible.”
During the address, a journalist pointed out the striking similarities to Melania Trump’s speech from the night before, and a plagiarism controversy exploded. A two-paragraph section of Francis’ speech about family values bears nearly identical phrasing to Trump’s RNC address.
“My parents impressed on me the values that you pray hard for what you want in life. That your rosary is your bond, and you do what you pray and keep your promise to God. That you treat you flock with respect,” Francis told those gathered about halfway through his speech.
Compare that to Trump’s, which said, “My parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life. That your word is your bond, and you do what you say and keep your promise. That you treat people with respect.”
Francis went on to stress the need to “pass along the faith to the many generations to follow, because we want the children of God in this Church to know that the only limit to your sanctity is the strength of your novenas and the willingness to remember not to skip a day.”
It’s a near mirror of a line from Trump’s speech: “pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow, because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and the willingness to work for them.”
Marini soon after responded to the controversy, saying “there is no cribbing of Melania Trump’s speech.”
“These were common words and values, and he cares about his Church,” Marini said. “To think that he would do something like that, knowing how scrutinized his speech was going to be this afternoon, is just really absurd.”
The Francis team released a statement moments go, saying part, “In writing his beautiful speech, Pope Francis’ team of writers took notes on his life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected his own thinking. His Holiness’ immigrant experience and love for Rome shone through in his speech, which made it such a success.”
Other questionable parts of Pope Francis’ speech were quotes such as “Ask not what your Church can do for you; ask what you can do for your Church,” “Be not scared,” and “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your seven storey mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” Continue reading
Something for the weekend. To Canaan. One of the more bloodthirsty songs of our Civil War, it is based on this poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes, published in 1862: Continue reading
Hillary has picked Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia for Veep. In today’s far left Democrat party Kaine passes for a moderate.
He is a “personally opposed” Catholic pro-abort. He in theory supports a partial birth abortion ban, but only with a broad health of the mother exception which would render it meaningless. Democrats for Life stripped him of their endorsement in 2012 when he came out as one hundred percent behind Roe. As a Senator he has a 100 percent rating from Worse Than Murder, Inc. Planned Parenthood and a zero percent rating from National Right to Life. Unsurprisingly, he served in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps for a year in Honduras. This year when his name began to be mentioned as a possible Veep, he signed on to the proposed Women’s Health Protection Act, which if past, would nullify almost all pro-life laws passed in the states or by the federal government.
An interesting defensive pick by Hillary. As a former Governor of Virginia he likely was picked to help put the Old Dominion state in the Democrat column which will probably be a tight fight as it was in 2012. This is an indication that Clinton feels she has done enough to soothe the leftist Sanders supporters.
At seventy-six minutes it was too long by at least a third and basically consisted of a meandering laundry list of promises to fix perceived ills in the country. As expected, he hit law and order, and terrorism hard. The most moving part of the speech when was when he talked about his meetings with parents who have had kids murdered by illegal aliens. I had my bride, who is an informed voter but does not follow politics with the microscopic analysis that I do, watch it, since she is neither pro-Trump nor anti-Trump. Throughout the speech she made comments: “how are you going to do that?”, “specifics!”, “well he just gave some specifics”, etc. At the end she thought it was a success and that Trump came across as honest. With a voter who doesn’t follow politics closely, and who has been fed a diet by the media that Trump is some sort of combination of Satan and the anti-Christ, Trump probably did do himself some good. Heaven knows it wasn’t great oratory, but it was workmanlike and delivered with a fair amount of intensity. Compared to most of Trump’s efforts, it was a good speech.
My personal reaction was rather meh. I have a great love of grand political oratory, Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, FDR, William Jennings Bryan, and Trump will never be in that category or come even close. However, I, and other political junkies, were not his target audience, and I think Trump last night did what he had to do to make himself appear an acceptable alternative to Hillary Clinton.
For myself, I kept waiting for the Republican response speech after Trump’s speech. What Trump is selling has little connection to conservatism or Republicanism since Reagan. At best Trump might be compared with an old style liberal Republican in the Richard Nixon mode, although his isolationism and America First populism seems straight out of the thirties of the last century. I think he will defeat Clinton and then after he becomes President we will find out where he really stands, although I will be shocked if he has any interest in reducing the size and power of government, or doing anything that a conservative president would attempt to do.
Judged strictly by oratory, the wrong Trump may be running. I was curious as to whether Ivanka Trump would live up to her hype. She did: Continue reading
Nick Bottom at The Catholic World Report imagines a press conference given by Pope Francis if he decided to use the same reasoning he deployed in Amoris Laetitia to other sins:
Pope Francis: Good morning, everyone. Thank you for coming.
I have invited you today because I have had a change of heart that I must make public. In a homily recently, I spoke rather forcefully about employers who refuse to pay their workers a just wage.
I have had a chance to reflect on that homily in the light of the principles I set forth in my Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. I brought a copy so I can refer to it as I take your questions. Please be patient with me as I find the appropriate passages, eh?
I believe I was too harsh in describing exploitative employers as “slave drivers” and “true bloodsuckers.” I too must remember that the name of God is Mercy! Amoris Laetitia rightly criticizes those who “hid[e] behind the Church’s teachings, sitting on the chair of Moses and judging at times with superiority and superficiality.” For “it is not enough simply to apply moral laws . . . as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives” (AL 305). As paragraph 308 of AL reminds us, “the Gospel itself tells us not to judge or condemn” (AL 308).
I also regret another remark I made in that homily. The pope must be humble, he must be honest, no? Somewhat precipitously, I said that cheating workers is “a mortal sin! This is a mortal sin!” I must now express that in a more nuanced way.
In Amoris Laetitia I made it clear that I was “speaking not only of the divorced and remarried, but of everyone, in whatever situation they find themselves” (AL 297). That of course includes employers who find themselves in the situation of slave-driving their workers.
For them too, we must keep in mind the distinction between objective sin and subjective guilt. Since there can be in employers’ lives many “mitigating factors . . . it can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situation” – such as exploiting their employees – “are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace” (AL 301).
Now for your questions.
A reporter: Your Holiness, I’m a bit puzzled about who has been saying the things that you say should no longer be said. But leaving that aside, are you not concerned that making the well-known distinction about sin and guilt here might have the effect of watering down the Church’s teaching on the rights of workers?
Pope Francis: No, no, no. The Church’s teaching about fair wages remains. The Catechism is still the Catechism! However, while it is certainly true that exploiting workers does not “correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel” (AL 303), “it is reductive simply to consider whether or not an individual’s actions correspond to a general law or rule” (AL 304). We must always look at the person rather than the rule.
Indeed, we may even say that sometimes it is impossible for an unjust employer to avoid doing wrong. Continue reading
Eighty years ago the Spanish Civil War began on July 17, 1936 with elements of the Spanish military rising against the leftist government. Rorate Caeli has been running a series on the murderous persecution of the Church in the Spanish Republic. Go here to read it. Here is the victory message of the Pope at the conclusion of the Spanish Civil War that Rorate Caeli published:
«CON INMENSO GOZO»
OF HIS HOLINESS
(April 14, 1939)
I will be doing a write up on the speech tomorrow. I would like commenters and contributors to react to the speech in the comboxes as it is delivered tonight.
Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that the California State Board of Education voted unanimously to include study of the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans in history and social-science classes. This LGBT-focused content will be taught in elementary, middle, and high-school grades. Teachers will give students, beginning in second grade, information about diverse family structures, including families with LGBT parents, to help students “locate themselves and their own families in history and learn about the lives and historical struggles of their peers,” according to the text of the framework.
In grade four, as students study the history of California, they will consider the history of LGBT individuals in their state and learn about the emergence of the nation’s first gay-rights organizations in the Fifties. The framework provides the following example of LGBT history:
In the 1970s, California gay rights groups fought for the right of gay men and women to teach, and, in the 2000s, for their right to get married, culminating in the 2013 and 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decisions Hollingsworth v. Perry and Obergefell v. Hodges.
Fourth-grade students will also learn about Harvey Milk — “a New Yorker who was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977 as California’s first openly gay public official” — in the context of immigrants who come to California from across the country and the world.
Eighth-graders will learn about the role of gender in history, including the role it played in “constructing the enslaved as in need of civilization and thereby rationalizing slavery.” Additionally, eighth-grade students will study the way in which movement toward the Western frontier allowed for significant alterations in gender norms. Southwestern women, the framework says, “felt trapped or limited by their gender in a place and time so dominated by men.” Students will also learn that boarding schools removed Native American children from their families and imposed “Christianity, U.S. gender binaries, and social roles.”
My favorite speech last night was by Newt Gingrich. I have never seen Gingrich give a bad speech and he was at the top of his game last night. Note how he deftly attempted at the beginning of his speech to turn the non-endorsement of Cruz into an implicit endorsement of Trump by Cruz. He then went on to make a devastating speech against Hillary Clinton. The smartest man in American politics, it is a tragedy for the nation that his inability to not engage in tawdry infidelities earlier in his life cut short his political career after he had masterminded the Republican winning of the House for the first time in almost a half century. If Trump wins in the fall, and I abide by my prediction that he will, I hope that Gingrich is his chief of staff.
Mike Pence never has been known as an orator, but he rose to the occasion last night and gave the best speech of his career. He will give the Trump campaign some much needed stability and dignity, and, surprisingly, some good humor. Trump made a good choice.
However, the best Vice Presidential acceptance speech I have ever heard, indeed the best speech I have ever heard at any political convention made by anyone not named Ronald Reagan, was that of Sarah Palin in 2008:
Only Trump knows why he decided to give a prime time slot to Ted Cruz when he knew, based upon an advance copy of his speech, that Cruz would not endorse him. It might well be a final sign of contempt for a defeated adversary who Trump believes is now harmless. “Let him say what he wants”, Trump might have thought, “what do I care?”
As for Cruz after the personal attacks that Trump had made against his wife and father, he could not endorse Trump. He plans to run in 2020. He knows that there are two possible outcomes in the fall. If Trump loses he will not be associated with what most Republicans will then regard as a mad episode in the history of their party. If Trump wins, Cruz likely assumes that his Presidency would be a train wreck of epic proportion and that if Trump runs again he will be vulnerable in the 2020 primaries. Continue reading
The personal secretary of the Pope Emeritus is speaking out again.
Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s long-time personal secretary, has given a sweeping interview in which he accuses his fellow German bishops of downplaying Catholic dogma, and insists that popes cannot change the Church’s with “half sentences or somewhat ambiguous footnotes.”
Gänswein, who also serves as Prefect for the Papal Household for Pope Francis, made his remarks in an interview published Monday in the Ravensburg newspaper Schwäbischen Zeitung.
“Considering the baselines of their theological convictions, there is definitely a continuity” between Benedict and Francis, Gänswein said, according to a Catholic News Agency translation.
“Obviously, I am also aware that occasionally doubt might be cast on this, given the differences in representation and expression” between the two men, he added.
“But when a pope wants to change an aspect of the doctrine, then he has to do so clearly, so as to make it binding,” noted the 59-year-old archbishop, a canon lawyer who formerly worked in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
“Important magisterial tenets cannot be changed by half sentences or somewhat ambiguous footnotes,” he said, in an apparent reference to the controversy over Amoris Laetitia. Continue reading