Alan Grayson (D.Fla.), one of the more deranged Democrat members of the House, he compared the Tea Party to the Ku Klux Klan, is apparently an easy mark, as well as being a maniac:
In most of the court papers, Grayson’s identity is protected — prosecutors say only that an elected official with the initials A.G. was the primary victim — but documents twice mention Grayson by name. The Democratic congressman on Monday confirmed he is the A.G. mentioned in the documents.
Nothing in the court papers suggests Grayson was anything but a victim of the scheme. Grayson, a former trial attorney, said he has had a long record for picking winning stocks, which formed the basis for his personal fortune. Continue reading
Michael Snyder at Zero Hedge has 37 reasons why the talk in portions of the mainstream media about an economic recovery is utter rubbish:
There has been absolutely no employment recovery. The percentage of Americans that are actually working has stayed between 58 and 59 percent for 51 months in a row. But most Americans don’t understand these things and they just take whatever the mainstream media tells them as the truth.
And of course the reality of the matter is that we should have seen some sort of an economic recovery by now. Those running our system have literally been mortgaging the future in a desperate attempt to try to pump up our economic numbers. The federal government has been on the greatest debt binge in U.S. history and the Federal Reserve has been printing money like crazed lunatics. All of that “stimulus” should have had some positive short-term effects on the economy.
Sadly, all of those “emergency measures” do not appear to have done much at all. The percentage of Americans that have a job has stayed remarkably flat since the end of 2009, median household income has fallen for five years in a row, and the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen for eight years in a row. Anyone that claims that the U.S. economy is experiencing a “recovery” is simply not telling the truth. The following are 37 reasons why “the economic recovery of 2013″ is a giant lie…
#1 The only reason that the official unemployment rate has been declining over the past couple of years is that the federal government has been pretending that millions upon millions of unemployed Americans no longer want a job and have “left the labor force”. As Zero Hedge recently demonstrated, if the labor force participation rate returned to the long-term average of 65.8 percent, the official unemployment rate in the United States would actually be 11.5 percent instead of 7 percent.
#2 The percentage of Americans that are actually working is much lower than it used to be. In November 2000, 64.3 percent of all working age Americans had a job. When Barack Obama first entered the White House, 60.6 percent of all working age Americans had a job. Today, only 58.6 percent of all working age Americans have a job. In fact, as you can see from the chart posted below, there has been absolutely no “employment recovery” since the depths of the last recession…
#3 The employment-population ratio has now been under 59 percent for 51 months in a row.
#4 There are 1,148,000 fewer Americans working today than there was in November 2006. Meanwhile, our population has grown by more than 16 million people during that time frame.
#5 The “inactivity rate” for men in their prime working years (25 to 54) has just hit a brand new all-time record high. Does this look like an “economic recovery” to you?…
#6 The number of working age Americans without a job has increased by a total of 27 million since the year 2000.
#9 Only about 47 percent of all adults in America have a full-time job at this point.
Last week Adam Shaw of Fox launched a blistering attack on Pope Francis.
Pope Francis is undergoing a popularity surge comparable to the way Barack Obama was greeted by the world in 2008. And just as President Obama has been a disappointment for America, Pope Francis will prove a disaster for the Catholic Church.
Much is being made of his ‘compassion’ and ‘humility,’ but kissing babies and hugging the sick is nothing new. Every pope in recent memory has done the same, yet only now are the media paying attention. Benedict XVI and John Paul II refused to kowtow to the liberal agenda, and so such displays of tenderness were under-covered.
Just like President Obama loved apologizing for America, Pope Francis likes to apologize for the Catholic Church, thinking that the Church is at its best when it is passive and not offending anyone’s sensibilities.
In his interviews with those in the left-wing media he seeks to impress, Francis has said that the Church needs to stop being ‘obsessed’ with abortion and gay marriage, and instead of seeking to convert people, “we need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.”
This softly-softly approach of not making a fuss has been tried before, and failed. The Second Vatican Council of the 1960’s aimed to “open the windows” of the Church to the modern world by doing just this.
The result was the Catholic version of New Coke. Across the West where the effects were felt, seminaries and convents emptied, church attendance plummeted, and adherence to Church doctrine diminished.
Go here to read the rest. In addition to working for Fox, Shaw used to be a writer for Catholic News Service. PopeWatch says used to be, because he has been fired:
Tony Spence, editor in chief of the wire service commented on the firing:
“(W)hen he penned the recent piece on Pope Francis, comparing him to President Obama, and presenting it as an op/ed, he seriously compromised his credibility as an objective Catholic journalist for CNS. Had Adam merely reported on the pope’s apostolic exhortation, even citing unflattering sources, there would have been no problem. However, Adam’s caustic condemnation of the exhortation and of Francis himself, one of the key figures we cover daily with objectivity, fairness and certainly charity, left me little choice but to end his service with us.”
PopeWatch understands this firing. Catholic News Service is a financially independent arm of the USCCB, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As in any organization, if you publically criticize the boss you had better polish up your resume first. What PopeWatch cannot understand is why the USCCB has allowed Ralph McCloud to continue as head of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development even though, as head of that organization, he simultaneously served as campaign treasurer for pro-abort uber alles Wendy Davis when she first ran for her state senate seat in Texas. Go here to read all about it. Why the double standard? PopeWatch is puzzled! Continue reading
So what can be done? I have been conducting frequent meetings on the subject with the most senior nuns, and a number of options have been proposed:
- KICK HER OUT. Vetoed. These walls were not built to shut out problems; we have to face them.
- FEED HER LESS. By limiting her rations, we may deny her the energy to do things like waltzing on the way to Mass or spinning around on mountaintops with her arms outstretched.
- ADMINISTER FREQUENT, SAVAGE BEATINGS. I am shocked at the number of times this was suggested. For shame, sisters. I know it can be truly frustrating when she will not stay and listen to all you say, but we are nuns! Nuns!
- LOAN HER OUT AS A NANNY TO AN ECCENTRIC NAVAL HERO. I don’t really understand this plan. How is this going to make her a better nun? If anything, I feel that putting her in close proximity to children will exacerbate her own childish tendencies.
Sisters: I will consider our course. In the meantime, let us pray for a solution to this seemingly insoluble problem of Maria. We must have faith that we can climb every mountain, ford every steam, follow every rainbow, ’til Maria either stops being so annoying or falls in love with someone and gets married. I sincerely hope that the time soon arrives when we can turn our attention to more pressing matters. For instance, I hear the Nazi Party is quite popular nowadays? Continue reading
Greenpeace has released the above video where an obviously fake Santa complains about global warming at the North Pole. Rejoice children of all ages, the video is a lie:
The inconvenient truth is that planet Earth now has the equivalent of 330,000 Manhattans of Arctic ice, Steve Goddard notes in the blog Real Science. Even before the annual autumn re-freeze was scheduled to begin, he says, NASA satellite images showed an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretched from the Canadian islands to Russia’s northern shores. No polar bears were seen drowning.
As the Daily Mail reports, “A chilly Arctic summer has left nearly a million more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last year — an increase of 60%.” The much-touted Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific froze up and has remained blocked by pack ice all year. More than 20 yachts that had planned to sail it have been left ice-bound and a cruise ship attempting the route was forced to turn back. Continue reading
Hattip to Erika Johnsen at Hot Air. Even the New York Times is beginning to notice the skyhigh deductibles and co-pays of ObamaCare:
In El Paso, Tex., for example, for a husband and wife both age 35, one of the cheapest plans on the federal exchange, offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has a premium less than $300 a month, but the annual deductible is more than $12,000. For a 45-year-old couple seeking insurance on the federal exchange in Saginaw, Mich., a policy with a premium of $515 a month has a deductible of $10,000.
In Santa Cruz, Calif., where the exchange is run by the state, Robert Aaron, a self-employed 56-year-old engineer, said he was looking for a low-cost plan. The best one he could find had a premium of $488 a month. But the annual deductible was $5,000, and that, he said, “sounds really high.”
“Deductibles for many plans in the insurance exchanges are pretty high,” said Stan Dorn, a health policy expert at the Urban Institute. “These plans are more generous than what’s prevalent in the current individual insurance market, but significantly less generous than most employer-sponsored insurance.”
Caroline F. Pearson, a vice president of Avalere Health, a consulting company that has analyzed hundreds of plans, said: “The premiums are lower than expected, but consumers on the exchange will often face high deductibles and high co-payments for medical services and prescription drugs before they reach the cap on out-of-pocket costs,” $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family. Continue reading
Continuing our Advent look at Messianic prophecies for this year, which we began in Advent 2011 and continued last year, the earlier posts of the series may be read here, here, here ,here, here, here, here, here , here , here, here and here, we come to Zechariah 12: 10:
10. And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace, and of prayers: and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for an only son, and they shall grieve over him, as the manner is to grieve for the death of the firstborn.
Saint Justin Martyr views this as a prophecy of the Second Coming of Christ: Continue reading
Father Z points out how disappointing for the Catholic Left Evangelii Gaudium is in regard to one of their top priority issues: Ordination of women:
I have written before that the ordination of women is the flagship issue for liberals.
So long as Pope Francis won’t change Church “policy”, he will remain in their dog house.
Some conservatives frown when the Pope gets out over his skiis in matters of economics, but liberals attack Francis when he upholds defined faith and morals.
The good thing about Miss Mansons’ piece is that she totalizes her analysis of Pope Francis: Francis can’t be wrong about gender and right about anything else. Obviously NSR disagrees with that judgment!
On lack of vocations, Francis’ diagnosis comes up short
Like many who care passionately about a fully inclusive priesthood in the Catholic church, I read paragraph 104 of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium with deep sadness, though not surprise. [Remember when I wrote that Francis had created a split on the left? Remember also that Sr. Maureen Fiedler already attacked Francis on this point … as the surrogate for the NSR. The editors work thought surrogates.]
“The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the Spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion,” Francis wrote, “but it can prove especially divisive if sacramental power is too closely identified with power in general.” [For true liberals, priesthood is about power, nothing less. That is one reason why the ordination of women is a liberal flagship issue.]
“It must be remembered that when we speak of sacramental power ‘we are in the realm of function, not that of dignity or holiness,’ ” the document continues. “The ministerial priesthood is one means employed by Jesus for the service of his people, yet our great dignity derives from baptism, which is accessible to all.
“The configuration of the priest to Christ the head — namely, as the principal source of grace — does not imply an exaltation which would set him above others.”
[And now the Popette speaketh...] Much as Francis would like to erase the dynamic of domination from the priesthood, his teaching will remain unrealistic if he continues to reinforce an unjust power structure [DING! Say da magic woid, win a hundred dahlahs!] in which only celibate males are permitted to consecrate the Eucharist.
Even as Francis perpetuates the same rigid restrictions on who may and may not answer God’s calling to the priesthood, just three paragraphs later, in section 107, he goes on to blame the “dearth of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life” on “a lack of contagious apostolic fervour in communities which results in a cooling of enthusiasm and attractiveness.” 
Apparently for the pope, “vocations” are limited to the number of people in Roman Catholic seminaries or novitiate programs. He seems unaware that if he were to look into divinity schools and graduate programs in theology and ministerial formation, he would find no lack of Catholic young adults with a fervent desire to devote themselves fully to serving the church. [They can't do so as priests. Too bad, Jamie.]
Read the rest there, if you can stand it. You’ll find a lot of whining about unfairness and an exaltation of lesbianism. Continue reading
Sometimes The Motley Monk finds himself feeling irked when good intentions get translated into social policy and those good intentions end up hurting the very people who were supposed to be helped.
Why don’t the people holding those good intentions first consult competent economists about the unintended negative consequences that may follow once their much-cherished policy is implemented?
Consider the short-term negative consequences due to the roll out of Obamacare. Not the website, but what it has meant for real people. Like The Motley Monk’s retired priest-friend with advanced diabetes. His plan no longer will allow him to see his current doctor. Or, his neighbor who has a chronic illness. Her “substandard” policy was dropped. Now, she can’t afford the increase in the cost of her premiums if she were to sign up for what Obamacare calls a “standard” policy. Will The Motley Monk’s employer’s plan be cancelled next year when the mandate is implemented?
The Motley Monk recalls the testimony of the Chairman of the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Justice and Human Development, Bishop William F. Murphy, before the United States Senate on May 20, 2009. In that testimony, Bishop Murphy laid out four assumptions which, he asserted, the USCCB hoped would “bring true reform to the nation’s health care system.” Those assumptions included:
- a truly universal health policy with respect for human life and dignity;
- access for all with a special concern for the poor;
- pursuing the common good and preserving pluralism, including freedom of conscience and variety of options; and,
- restraining costs and applying them equitably across the spectrum of payers.
The Motley Monk shares those assumptions. But, had they been subjected to rigorous scrutiny by competent economists, the USCCB might not have been so quick to make the critical deal with then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that made it possible for Obamacare to pass the House of Representatives. According to an Accuracy in the Media report, all the USCCB wanted deleted from the bill was abortion and artificial contraception. And they got that…at least for a while.
Prior to the passage of Obamacare, eminent economists were sounding the alarm that the so-called “Affordable Care Act” would have deleterious consequences. It would end freedom of choice in healthcare. Large large numbers of doctors would have to leave the practice of medicine or form “concierge” practices catering solely to people of means. The health insurance market would be altered in such ways that carriers would have to drop individual policies in the short term and perhaps corporate policies in the long term. And, despite all of the promises, millions of Americans would be left without healthcare insurance. Some economists even warned that Obamacare had the potential to bankrupt the United States within a couple of decades.
Having fallen for a political promise that would translate their assumptions into law, the USCCB—similar to most Catholic members of Congress—either didn’t read the bill’s contents or allowed their experts to tell them that Obamacare presented no substantive problems. It’s also pretty clear the economists the USCCB may have consulted failed to warn that Obamacare would ultimately hurt the very people Bishop Murphy and the USCCB were lobbying so hard to protect.
The outcome of those efforts?
Currently, 4.8M+ Americans have lost or will lose their health insurance (with perhaps 100M+ more to come, if competent economists are to be believed). Thousands of doctors have been dropped by health insurance carriers, are leaving (or likely to leave) the practice of medicine, or forming concierge practices. The doctor shortage is expected to grow, perhaps creating long waiting lines for people who need immediate medical care. Untold numbers of Americans cannot keep their doctors or medical treatments, as the President himself promised on many occasions.
There’s certainly a lot of blame to pass around on this one. And the USCCB certainly deserves its share of the blame. Why? They didn’t heed the warnings of those economists who were predicting these deleterious consequences long before Obamacare was enacted. Worse yet, the bishops may end up having compromised their teaching authority in the process.
This issue is not one that’s going to disappear any time soon. The Motley Monk intends to follow up this discussion with an analysis of some European nationalized healthcare systems to provide factual information about what people should expect as Obamacare continues to be implemented. So far, everything that eminent economists have been predicting (and more) has already transpired across the pond, despite what those who want to “Europeanize” the American healthcare system are stating to the contrary.
To read Bishop Murphy’s testimony, click on the following link:
To read Accuracy in the Media’s report about the USCCB’s role in passing Obamacare:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, the Omnibus, click on the following link:
Memorandum On the Immaculate Conception
1. IT is so difficult for me to enter into the feelings of a person who understands the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and yet objects to it, that I am diffident about attempting to speak on the subject. I was accused of holding it, in one of the first books I wrote, twenty years ago. On the other hand, this very fact may be an argument against an objector—for why should it not have been difficult to me at that time, if there were a real difficulty in receiving it?
2. Does not the objector consider that Eve was created, or born, without original sin? Why does not this shock him? Would he have been inclined to worship Eve in that first estate of hers? Why, then, Mary?
3. Does he not believe that St. John Baptist had the grace of God—i.e., was regenerated, even before his birth? What do we believe of Mary, but that grace was given her at a still earlier period? All we say is, that grace was given her from the first moment of her existence.
4. We do not say that she did not owe her salvation to the death of her Son. Just the contrary, we say that she, of all mere children of Adam, is in the truest sense the fruit and the purchase of His Passion. He has done for her more than for anyone else. To others He gives grace and regeneration at a point in their earthly existence; to her, from the very beginning.
5. We do not make her nature different from others. Though, as St. Austin says, we do not like to name her in the same breath with mention of sin, yet, certainly she would have been a frail being, like Eve, without the grace of God. A more abundant gift of grace made her what she was from the first. It was not her nature which secured her perseverance, but the excess of grace which hindered Nature acting as Nature ever will act. There is no difference in kind between her and us, though an inconceivable difference of degree. She and we are both simply saved by the grace of Christ.
Thus, sincerely speaking, I really do not see what the difficulty is, and should like it set down distinctly in words. I will add that the above statement is no private statement of my own. I never heard of any Catholic who ever had any other view. I never heard of any other put forth by anyone. Continue reading
Part II of my presentation of the four sermons on the Anti-Christ given by Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman during Advent in 1835 before his conversion. Part I is here.
In this second sermon Newman concentrates on what we can glean of the Anti-Christ from Scripture and from the writings of the Fathers of the Church. One thing stands out in this sermon for me. The idea that the reign of the Anti-Christ may involve both ferocious atheism and a return to paganism. This seems like a contradiction, but Newman points to the French Revolution:
In that great and famous nation which is near us, once great for its love of CHRIST’S Church, since memorable for deeds of blasphemy, which lead me here to mention it, and now, when it should be pitied and prayed for, made unhappily our own model in too many respects,-followed when it should be condemned, and admired when it should be excused,-in the capital of that powerful and celebrated nation, there took place, as we all well know, within the last fifty years, an open apostasy from Christianity; not from Christianity only, but from every kind of worship which might retain any semblance or pretence of the great truths of religion. Atheism was absolutely professed; -yet in spite of this, it seems a contradiction in terms to say it, a certain sort of worship, and that, as the prophet expresses it, “a strange worship,” was introduced. Observe what this was.
I say, they avowed on the one hand Atheism. They prevailed upon an unhappy man, whom their proceedings had forced upon the Church as an Archbishop, to come before them in public and declare that there was no God, and that what he had hitherto taught was a fable. They wrote up over the burial places that death was an eternal sleep. They closed the Churches, they seized and desecrated the gold and silver plate belonging to them, turning these sacred instruments, like Belshazzar, to the use of their impious revellings; they formed mock processions, clad in priestly garments, and singing profane hymns. They annulled the divine ordinance of marriage, resolving it into a mere civil contract to le made and dissolved at pleasure. These things are but a part of their enormities.”
Yet at the same time the French Revolutionaries made an idol of the State and of abstractions. Think of the worship of the Goddess of Liberty.
After abjuring our LORD and SAVIOUR, and blasphemously declaring Him to be an impostor, they proceeded to decree, in the public assembly of the nation, the adoration of Liberty and Equality as divinities; and they appointed festivals besides in honour of Reason, the Country, the Constitution, and the Virtues. Further, they determined that tutelary gods, even dead men, may be canonized, consecrated, and worshipped; and they enrolled in the number of these some of the most notorious infidels and profligates of the last century. The remains of the two principal of these were brought in solemn procession into one of their Churches, and placed upon the holy altar itself; incense was offered to them, and the assembled multitude bowed down in worship before one of them,-before what remained on earth of an inveterate enemy of CHRIST.
This is all fascinating when we consider what has happened since Newman’s day. Communist regimes have brutally assaulted the Church and proclaimed the reign of atheism. The Nazis were hostitle to Christianity, Hitler considering it to be a Jewish fable and only waiting for the end of the war to settle accounts with the Churches. The collapse of religious faith in Europe and the rise of militant atheism are facts of life in our time. Yet at the same time we see a growth in paganism: Gaia worship, Wicca and all of the New Age mumbo-jumbo. Heinrich Himmler, chicken farmer turned Reichsfuhrer SS, was ahead of his time in his attempts to revive Nordic paganism. A regime that is both atheist and pagan seems much less unlikely in our time than in Newman’s, and Newman was quite perceptive in highlighting this as key to understanding developments which were in their infancy during his life. As another wise Englishman C. S. Lewis put it in the Screwtape Letters:
I wonder you should ask me whether it is essential to keep the patient in ignorance of your own existence. That question, at least for the present phase of the struggle, has been answered for us by the High Command. Our policy, for the moment, is to conceal ourselves. Of course this has not always been so. We are really faced with a cruel dilemma. When the humans disbelieve in our existence we lose all he pleasing results of direct terrorism and we make no magicians. On the other hand, when they believe in us, we cannot make them materialists and sceptics. At least, not yet. I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalise and mythologise their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, belief in us, (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy. The “Life Force”, the worship of sex, and some aspects of Psychoanalysis, may here prove useful. If once we can produce our perfect work—the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls “Forces” while denying the existence of “spirits”—then the end of the war will be in sight.
Newman’s second sermon on the Anti-Christ is most definitely a sermon for our time when atheism and paganism often seem to walk the same path. Here is the text of the sermon: Continue reading