Monthly Archives: April 2009

Irony Alert

human-being

Hattip to The Catholic Key BlogComments of President Obama at the Holocaust Memorial in Washington.

“It is the grimmest of ironies that one of the most savage, barbaric acts of evil in history began in one of the most modernized societies of its time, where so many markers of human progress became tools of human depravity: science that can heal used to kill; education that can enlighten used to rationalize away basic moral impulses; the bureaucracy that sustains modern life used as the machinery of mass death — a ruthless, chillingly efficient system where many were responsible for the killing, but few got actual blood on their hands.”

Obama: Armenian 'Atrocities', Not Genocide

April 24, 1915 A.D. is the date fixed for the beginning of the Armenian Genocide where over 1.5 million Armenian Christians were slaughtered by the Turkish Muslims through deportation, starvation, slave labor, and concentration camps.

Today President Obama referred to the Armenian Genocide as “one of the great atrocities of the 20th century.”  Thus breaking his campaign promise of calling it a genocide in deference to Turkey’s delicate sensibilities to their Armenian question.

This display of masterful verbal calisthenics has not been seen since Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearings of ’99.     President Obama skillfully used over a 100 words to explain these ‘atrocities’ instead of utilizing the more efficient use of ‘genocide’, which is one (1) word exactly (comments mine).

“(O)ne of the great atrocities of the 20th century.  I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed (a falsehood).  My interest remains the achievement of a full, frank and just acknowledgment of the facts.  The best way to advance that goal right now is for the Armenian and Turkish people to address the facts of the past as a part of their efforts to move forward.  (The  Armenians who were massacred in the final days of the Ottoman Empire) must live on in our memories.  Reckoning with the past holds out the powerful promise of reconciliation.  I strongly support efforts by the Turkish and Armenian people to work through this painful history in a way that is honest, open, and constructive.”

For the article click here.

To learn more about the Armenian Genocide click here.

Update I: The following are excellent articles relating to today about the Armenian Genocide.

Armenians Remember 1915 Killings

Turkey Declares Armenia Deal

Q&A Armenian Genocide Dispute

Turkey’s Armenian Dilemma

Fears of Turkey’s ‘Invisible’ Armenians

Cold War Haunts Armenian Border

Colbert On Obama's Tortured Reasoning

The Pandora’s box that President Obama has opened with the release of the torture memo’s has caused quite a stir in the Catholic blogosphere.  Nonetheless the stealth Catholic, comedian Stephen Colbert, has geniusely made a humorous rendition of the logic floating around Washington on the torture controversy.  Biretta tip to Mark Shea.

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.2419680&w=425&h=350&fv=autoPlay%3Dfalse]

more about “Colbert: The Word – Stressed Position“, posted with vodpod

No Guarantees

I was struck by this Megan McArdle post, of which I will go ahead a quote a large chunk:

Guess what, honey? You’re not entitled. You can do everything right, and the universe doesn’t owe you anything. Neither do your fellow taxpayers. If there is any way to save the banking system without paying you $2 million a year, I will do it, not because I hate you and want to rob you, but because I don’t want to pay more than I have to. You may have come across this concept in business school. At Chicago, we called it “a market”.

The real problem with investment bankers goes deeper, and is the problem of the entire upper middle class: we have come to believe that complying with the rules produces excellent results as by some natural law. In school, if you do your work, teacher gives you an A. It comes to seem like a sort of a natural law: if you have a good education and work hard, the universe is supposed to reward you. After school, the upper middle class gravitates towards careers with very well defined advancement hierarchies: medicine, law, finance, consulting, where this subtle belief is constantly reinforced. Continue reading

April Is Abortion Recovery Awareness Month

jindal-family-being-blessed

Hattip to Opinionated CatholicAbortion Recovery International, a group dedicated to helping women heal from the trauma of abortion has proclaimed April as Abortion Recovery Awareness Month.  Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana, has issued a proclamation, as has Governor Rick Perry of Texas.  Bravo to the Governors!  Hey Jenkins, if Notre Dame really needs to honor a politician, you need look no farther than Catholic convert Bobby Jindal!

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Will The Real Utopians Please Stand Up?

To follow up my last post on the Papal defense of Distributist ideas, I think it is also time we cleared up this notion of  ‘what can work’ and what actually does work.

Distributism, if it is practically defined as a set of social or political initiatives that encourage greater ownership of property, and specifically, worker ownership of the means of production, does exist and does work.

Here are some regional facts to consider:

Canada

“In Canada, there are distinct trends in worker co-operatives in Québec and the rest of the country. From 1993 to 2003, there was 87% growth in Québec and 25% growth in the rest of Canada.”

The United States

” In 2004, there were 300 worker co-operatives and 11,500 ESOPs covering over 8.5 million participants and controlling about $500 billion in assets.”

Spain

“Spain is home to the world’s oldest and most famous worker co-operative, the Mondragon Corporacion Cooperativa (MCC), established in 1956. In 2004, this group located in the Basque County, had sales of 10.4 Billion euros, 10.0 Billion euros of administered assets, with a workforce of 71,500.”

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Torture, Effectiveness, & Consequentialism

I have been meaning to post on the torture memos since last week, but have not had time. For now, I’ll point you to a post of Blackadder’s, which highlights the unconvincing arguments currently being floated to justify the Bush Administration’s use of torture:

The latest meme running through these sites is that while it may be honorable to be opposed to torture on principle, we ought to be reasonable and just admit that torture works. Here, for example, is Jonah Goldberg:

I have no objection to the moral argument against torture — if you honestly believe something amounts to torture. But the “it doesn’t work” line remains a cop out, no matter how confidently you bluster otherwise.

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Unreasonable Compensation

With people focused on the economic downturn, many have found it a good time to give a little extra thought to whether other people are making more than they ought to. The president has spoken out several times against “excessive compensation” of executives, and a number of people have floated the idea of adjusting the top marginal income tax rate to effectively cap total compensation at ten million dollars a year. MZ tackled the question somewhat humorously here.

Beyond question, $10 million is a lot of money. Most of us will never see anything like that much money, and so it seems entirely reasonable to demand: Why should anyone be paid so much? What’s so special about CEOs and actors and baseball players that they deserve tens of millions of dollars? Aren’t they running off with the money that we should be getting instead?

I certainly wouldn’t claim that executives are not often paid more than they are worth. A board of directors is still a group of people with emotional commitments (including wanting to assure themselves that they made the right pick in choosing the current CEO) and they will certainly not always do what is in their own best interest. Though we may be comforted that in a free economy the incentives are in place to automatically punish them for not doing so.

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Bishop D'Arcy Responds

Stop Calling Me a Commie!

I can’t seem to go to any Catholic website or forum and talk about Distributism without at least one person accusing me of being a communist.

So, I post this not only for myself, but for anyone reading who is also sympathetic to the idea of spreading, by voluntary means, greater workers’ ownership of the means of production throughout society. Keep these in mind if you ever find yourself backed into a corner.

Rerum Novarum, 46 & 47. Excerpt:

“We have seen that this great labor question cannot be solved save by assuming as a principle that private ownership must be held sacred and inviolable. The law, therefore, should favor ownership, and its policy should be to induce as many as possible of the people to become owners.”

Quadragesimo Anno, 65. Excerpt:

“Workers and other employees thus become sharers in ownership or management or participate in some fashion in the profits received.”

Mater et Magistra, 75-77. Excerpt:

“[I]t is especially desirable today that workers gradually come to share in the ownership of their company, by ways and in the manner that seem most suitable.”

Laborem Exercens, 14. Excerpt:

“We can speak of socializing only when the subject character of society is ensured, that is to say, when on the basis of his work each person is fully entitled to consider himself a part-owner of the great workbench at which he is working with every one else.”

If this is communism, then the Church is the original communist international, and the Bolsheviks were just wasiting their time. Or, maybe, the people who call these ideas ‘communist’ don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s probably that.

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 4-22-2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. The HOT rumor of the day is that “Father John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, is in Washington today (Tuesday) for an unannounced meeting at the White House.”

Is he personally visiting with President Obama to offer his sincere apologies for rescinding the invitation to speak at the commencement?  Rescind the honorary law degree?  Ask for a job after he gets fired?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Phil Lawler of Catholic World News received a report from a reliable source of Fr. Jenkin’s unannounced visit to the White House and they cannot confirm this report yet.

In other news, this past Monday Fr. Jenkins expressed his profound pride in honoring the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history.

2. Have you seen Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s updated and revised blog?  It is awesome!

3. Even though the 2012 U.S. presidential elections are three years away we can dream and speculate who we would like to run for office between either a Democratic or Republican candidate (or even a legitimate third party candidate).  One name that has become quite intriguing to me is the former U.S. Representative from Georgia, Newt Gingrich.  His mea culpa of his previous marriages, his incredible intellect, speaking skills, and his recent conversion to our beautiful Catholic faith makes him my favorite for now.

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