6 Responses to Hollywood Knows Best

Susan G. Komen Supports Abortion Still

Wednesday, September 30, AD 2009

[Updates at the bottom of this article as of 8:31pm CDT AD 9-30-2009 shows alternatives  –other than Komen– for fundraising activities related to Breast Cancer research that are Pro-Life in their outlook]

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure (Komen) is an organization that funds breast cancer research.  This noble effort by Komen to save the lives of both women and men who are afflicted with breast cancer is tainted by their funding of abortion via Planned Parenthood.

Each year Catholics and most other Christians raise their concerns about supporting Komen specifically because Komen donates money to Planned Parenthood.  Catholics and most other Christians unknowingly assist Komen in their fundraising efforts which goes against the teachings of Jesus as stated in the Fifth Commandment of “You shall not kill”.

Due to this criticism attributed to Komen in funding abortion, Komen released an open letter in March 2009 concerning their relationship with Planned Parenthood.  In this open letter they defended their donations to Planned Parenthood raising three (3) reasons why it is acceptable to continue to donate money to Komen even though they provide funding to abort innocent unborn children.

I will address their open letter with their three (3) reasons here:

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39 Responses to Susan G. Komen Supports Abortion Still

  • It might be worth pointing out that their argument you summarize in 1) seems to be not that they do other good things and so funding abortion is okay, but rather that the funds they are giving to Planned Parenthood are specifically and only for cancer screenings, not for abortions or “family planning services”. Their claim is that only Planned Parenthood has a large enough network of locations in rural and low income areas for their screenings to be available to everyone.

    Now, I think there are two legitimate questions in regards to this:

    1) Does Komen’s funding of these programs free up other funds at PP for use on abortions and birth control?

    2) Is it simply unacceptable to work with PP for any cause, given how morally reprehensible their primary line of work is?

    I’m not sure if 1) is a problem in this case or not, but I do think that 2) is a problem, and it strikes me as a good reason not to support the Komen foundation. If we’re serious about how bad we think Planned Parenthood’s main business is, using them as a handy provider network for some other service is kind of like using the mafia to deliver packages — the fact that your particular activity is innocent doesn’t excuse providing business to such a reprehensible organization.

  • Even the World Health Organization and the Mayo Clinic (hardly pro-life institutions) recognize the synthetic hormones used in the Pill and hormone replacement therapies as human carcinogens.

  • Darwin,

    Excellent points.

    Komen uses PP because of their network, but nowhere do they (or PP) say how those funds are used. Though any support to PP is wrong to begin with.

    I think your two point are intertwined to the threshold that regardless of how you argue point 1, it is negated by the simple fact that they are PP, ipso facto, provide abortions is never a good thing.

    I like your analogy about the mafia, no matter how effective they are, using the mafia is never a good thing.

    Christina,

    Thank you for your points.

    I wanted to post this as soon as possible. The more I researched on my post the more links I was able to find so I had to stop somewhere or I would be posting a dissertation paper in the end! 😉

  • I’m glad you mentioned #3. While many doctors unfortunately seem to still cling to the “there’s no evidence” reasoning, there is much reason to suspect otherwise.

    The clinical upshot is that the Komen foundation may be shooting themselves in the foot through these contributions. And there are other organizations that support breast cancer research that do not make such contributions. Why the rush to promote this organization when others exist that do the same good work without the baggage?

    A side note: My youngest child was born in Germany. When I made contact with the doctor who provided my care for that birth, I observed that during my initial health questionnaire I was asked if I had ever terminated a pregnancy. The question, which was subsequently repeated over the next three years each time I visited for well care, intrigued me as no health care practitioner in the U. S. had ever asked me that question (or has, since.) I’m sure it wasn’t an idle question; had I answered yes it might have made a difference in my treatment (more or earlier testing, maybe?) Unfortunately, I never got up the nerve to ask why it was a concern.

  • DarwinCatholic,
    It might be worth pointing out that their argument you summarize in 1) seems to be not that they do other good things and so funding abortion is okay, but rather that the funds they are giving to Planned Parenthood are specifically and only for cancer screenings, not for abortions or “family planning services”. Their claim is that only Planned Parenthood has a large enough network of locations in rural and low income areas for their screenings to be available to everyone.

    We’re actually responding to the “Catholic ethicist” claim here, not their defense of using PP:
    “The good that Komen does and the harm that would come to so many women if Komen ceased to exist
    or ceased to be funded would seem to be a sufficiently proportionate reason”

  • This is a timely post for me.

    The principal of my children’s parochial school asked my wife and I to come with an alternative to Komen when we informed her about the link between Komen and PP. The children have had fundraisers in the past with proceeds going to Komen. I have not had any luck so far finding a suitable pro-life breast cancer research charity that I can recommend. Any ideas?

  • Nick,
    While not a perfect substitute, you might consider researching this option: http://www.bcpinstitute.org/home.htm
    Cheers,
    Mike

  • Nick,

    I just got off the phone with the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer and they recommended the following:

    Breast Cancer Prevention Institute:
    http://www.bcpinstitute.org/home.htm

    The Polycarp Research Institute:
    http://www.polycarp.org/

    Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer:
    http://www.abortionbreastcancer.com/abc.html

    The first two actually do research to prevent breast cancer and the last one analyzes and dissects the information of all research done on breast cancer and disseminates the information (even the information suppressed by Komen and Planned Parenthood).

    I’ve also updated the article to show these links.

    Mike,

    Excellent link!

  • Thanks for drawing attention to this.

    The absurdity of the argument is glaring. I saved 10 men from drowning last week, so it must be OK for me to drown one this week.

    I feed hundreds of poor people out of my own stores so it must be OK if I want to starve one child to death in my basement for amusement.

    What kind of warped thinking makes this irrationality seem plausible?

    I notice the Shirner’s (freemasons) have hospitals for children, while they promote a Luciferian agenda. So is it OK for them promote Satan becuase they have hospitals for kids?

    Is it OK for me to support the Shriner hospitals knowing that frees-up resources to promote Satan’s agenda?

    I guess there’s nothing wrong with a teeny, little compromise with evil along as everything else I do is good right?

    No wonder Glenn Beck has blood shooting out of his eyes!

  • No wonder Glenn Beck has blood shooting out of his eyes!

    Exorcism?

  • I am so glad you mentioned the link to breast cancer. You said, “note that hormone therapy for the treatment of menopause has been banned because of the breast cancer link, it seems a short leap to birth control pills…” It is a very short leap. Research on synthetic hormones, specifically progestin, is directly related to an increase of breast cancer. Planned Parenthood and even the Mayo Clinic do not share any of the research findings on this subject. If I were a researcher, I’d search for statistical data linking the increase of breast cancer to the advent of the birth control pill.

  • Excosrcism?

    :rofl:

  • The letter itself only says the studies have not shown there is a conlcusive link between abortion and breast cancer – typical weasel words. Very few, if any, studies show a conclusive link between anything. In fact, even lung cancer studies don’t claim a “conclusive” link between smoking and lung cancer. That is such BS.

    Anyway, I am glad they came up front about their involvement with PP. I was always suspicious of a link, and now we know.

    As for the mafia analogy, I suppose it would be like donating to a “feed the hungry” organization that pays rent to mafia owned/run brothel network to use as a soup kitchen during the day. And every dollar of rent from the hunger organization frees up a dollar for running the brothel.

  • and the Catholic ethicist argument is a joke.

  • Tito:

    At least as I read it, argument 3 is not that there is no evidence of link, but that there is no conclusive evidence. In fact, they concede there is some evidence since they refer to the “bulk” of studies, though not clearly defining what a “bulk” is – 55%, 60%, 70%? Even if it was 80%, that means 20% of the studies showed a link, hardly a factor any prudent person would ignore. Do you think if 20% of studies showed high caffeine intake was linked to breast cancer, that the Foundation wouldn’t be screaming it from every corner?

    So while their claim may be literally true (bulk of studies show no conclusive link) it is completely misleading when talking about risks. It just shows they are more concerned about maintaining ties to PP than to actually exploring ways to reduce breast cancer.

  • Great article and thanks especially for the links to organizations that Catholics can donate to…

    When you get a chance, see if you can figure out where to donate money to fight Parkinson’s disease that doesn’t fund ESCR.

  • Based on what I’ve read, interpretation of some of those study results is kinda subjective. In any case, there’s often a disconnect between what the paper reports and what the press says about it. If you recall that far back, C. Everett Koop’s public remarks about why he didn’t think a new study on post-abortion syndrome would be useful was widely interpreted by the media as “Koop says there ain’t no such!”

  • CMinor, C Matt, et al,

    Thank you for vetting my article.

    I believe we can all agree that organizations such as Komen and Planned Parenthood have done for more to hurt women than to help (if any).

    They continue to block most research that shows connections between abortion and breast cancer (as well as birth control pills).

    What they do reeks of impropriety when they stonewall this research (and petty to say the least).

  • Thanks to everyone for the various leads!

  • You exposed the Komen Hypocrisy. They LOVE abortion, and they fund it PERIOD! There has been a new film about Planned Parenthood, called Maafa21. You need to see it http://www.maafa21.com

  • Its okay if they support Abortion. Really, Its the choice of the person who gets the abortion. Not everyone else. Abortion can be a good thing. Because if the person doesn’t have any money to support the baby then the baby will die of a diease due to lack of healthcare. Cause now a days doctors could careless about you if you don’t have healthcare. So why not support abortion??? Let it be done right instead of being done half assed. Donate money into doing an abortion the right way.

  • There is so much one could say here, but I will restrain myself. The handle ‘the one who knows’ could not be more ironic. I think it requires great intellectual confusion to think that abortion can ever be done “right.”

  • The Komen letter points out that some affiliates grant money to PP (not all affiliates). Do you know which ones? I’ve reveiwed the grants that my local Komen affiliate has donated and none of it goes to any organization associated with abortion.

    The national organization only funds research. It’s the local affiliates that fund breast health and screening programs. If you want to stop Komen from funding PP then identify the affiliates fund Planned Parenthood and put pressure on them.

    I will support my local Komen affiliate because I know where their funds are spent.

  • Dave,

    so you would fund your local KKK as long as none of the money went specifically to fund lynchings?

    Beyond the specific funding aspect, this is a matter of not affiliating with organizations which support evil. Komen supports evil (fetal stem cell research, and abortion), they also suppress information which would save women from breast cancer (abortion and contraceptive links) in order to appease their evil associates at PP.

  • This month I was inital taken aback by seeing my favorite NFL players decked in pink! I understand that this was support in breast cancer awareness month. Actually after the NFL unofficially told Rush Limbuagh to take a hike this week I think they should adopt pink as the official color of the NFL. Apparently welcoming the Susan Komen foundation is OK. Giving international recognition to this organization that lies to women about the logical risk relationship between terminated pregnancies through abortion and breat cancer is OK but welcoming a conservative businessman whose character was lied about in the media is not OK. But I am sure that the $805,000 given to Planned Parenthood by SBK affiliates will only be used for breast screening.

  • Somehow, I managed to miss this article and only found it via google…. Very timely, since they also just disinvited all Israeli doctors from the international conference SGK is having in Egypt.

    I think you might appreciate my mom’s response: “There is no disease I could possibly have that would make it alright to chop up babies.”
    (She ends up using many variations on it, since folks folks tend to make set assumptions. Bonus, she’s got a BS in animal husbandry, so generally knows more about fetal development than the ESCR supporters.)

  • Hey Foxfier,
    Ever watched your mom suffer in intensive care for three months and die a horrible death from breast cancer ? Very insensitive comment. I have and until you live threw this stop pissing on Komen people. What is the Catholic church doing to help out? Hopefully one day one of your family members will be cured due to research from the Komen foundation. I bet you will not refuse treatment.

  • Hey, Unbelievable, you have a child?

    You want insensitive?
    Try insisting that chopping up babies is a valid cure for suffering to someone holding their baby…which is what you just did.

    Apparently, you flunk at basic reading comprehension, too, because you failed to realize: I quoted my mother. Who has breast cancer.

    All that aside, “insensitive” is no reason for someone to fail to state a needful truth: embryonic stem cell research requires the deaths of thousand upon thousands of children, on the off chance that there may, some day, be some sort of a cure.

    As a bonus, those pushing for ESCR routinely attack adult stem cell research, which is not only a proven science that dodges the killing people issue, but which can be done with body fat in some cases.

  • Unbelievable I watched my mom die a painful death from breast cancer. She would have preferred a thousand such deaths rather than have an innocent child sacrificed to save her life.

  • I am very pro-life, and I send an angry e-mail asking what exactly they do to support abortion. Somebody e-mailed me back saying they gave money to abortion centers that gave cheap mammograms for poor women who couldn’t get proper check-ups. I think that they can tell them to not put any of the money they donate to abortions, but Susan G. Komen decides not to do that. The money goes to the abortion centers in general.

  • I have no idea what SGK does or does not do vis-a-vis PP. But I do know that Sierra is correct that SGK certainly can make earmarked contributions if it wishes. Whether such earmarked gifts would actually solve the moral question is less clear to me given the fungibility of money. While I would probably refrain from making contributions even under this scenario, I would not be confident in asserting the existence of a moral problem. Moral rules must be applied to facts, and often the rules are easier to come by.

  • Mike & Sierra,

    It’s called compromising with evil.

  • Darkly amusing: a run for SGK this week in the Tacoma area is using a tagline something like “because everyone deserves a life.”

  • Please don’t speak for “most other Christians” without citing references. I can’t speak for “most other Christians,” but I can speak for myself as a Christian and tell you that I appreciate discussions that are both moral and factual at the same time rather than opinions through a megaphone. Saying something louder or attributing an opinion to a larger group doesn’t make it right.

  • Just found out no PP has any breast imaging equipment. The vans are scheduled and it cost $220.00. It’s $60.00 for a manual exam and that is not by a Dr. There might be a sliding scale but like was written earlier, do you have to be without anything? I don’t know.
    A few years ago $475,000.00 was given to one of the Dallas PP facilities so that it would not close down. That is just one of many donations…there are many in each state. So, with no imaging equipment…it makes no sense.
    Nancy Brinker (Brinker International—Chili’s, Macaroni Grill, On the Border etc.) started SGK when her sister Susan G. Komen died of breast cancer. I am sure this was very tragic for her. Her husband Norman Brinker helped fund the start-up of Komen. Nancy Brinker was and maybe still on the PP board. She is a card carrying member of PP. She is a believer in PP and all that it stands for. The monies will continue to flow from this cash cow for contraception, Embryonic stem research and PP.
    There is a reason Komen exists…watch Maafa 21.
    Ever wonder why so many Proctor and Gamble products have the “pink”? Dr. Gamble worked with Sanger in the early 1900’s is what my search revealed.
    Folks walk, feel good and think they are doing good. The PP part does not matter—-what matters is how I feel right???
    As far as I am concerned Nancy Brinker and her organization Susan Komen has made pink a very ugly color.
    My mother had breast cancer.

  • Just found out no PP has any breast imaging equipment. The vans are scheduled and it cost $220.00. It’s $60.00 for a manual exam and that is not by a Dr. There might be a sliding scale but like was written earlier, do you have to be without anything? I don’t know.
    A few years ago Komen org. gave $475,000.00 to one of the Dallas PP facilities so that it would not close down. That is just one of many donations. There are many in each state. So, with no imaging equipment at the PP facilities for the Komen org. to say their donations to PP are for breast exams, it really makes no sense.
    Nancy Brinker (Brinker International—Chili’s, Macaroni Grill, On the Border etc.) started SGK when her sister Susan G. Komen died of breast cancer. I am sure this was very tragic for her. Her husband Norman Brinker helped fund the start-up of Komen. Nancy Brinker was and maybe still be on the PP board. She is a card carrying member of PP. She is a believer in PP and all that it stands for. The monies will continue to flow from this cash cow for contraception, Embryonic stem research and PP.
    After watching Maafa 21 I realized the reason Komen exists. I firmly believe that if Komen was legit it would not be as big.
    Ever wonder why so many Proctor and Gamble products have the “pink”? Dr. Gamble worked with Sanger way back when is what my search revealed.
    Folks walk, feel good and think they are doing good for breast cancer via the Komen org. The PP part does not matter—-what matters is how I feel right???
    As far as I am concerned Nancy Brinker and her organization Susan Komen has made pink a very ugly color.
    By the way my mother had breast cancer.

    Oh and the European interest in terminated abortions. They acknowledge the link and tie abortions to insurance rates. The more abortions the higher the premium. You can do a search of Great Britain/abortion/breast cancer. An actuary figured all of this out around 1967.

  • “Oh and the European interest…They acknowledge the link and tie abortions to insurance rates.”
    Thanks for the info, RLDP. I’ve read that some countries with longer histories of legal abortion than ours have data to that effect. Wonder if women going in for legal abortions in those countries are told their decision will result in their premiums being jacked up? Or if taxpayers there realize how those abortions raise their tax burden?

  • PB, if it’s the original post you’re referring to, please reread. It’s pretty clear that the statement refers to that group of Catholics and Christians whose concerns about SGK’s relationship with PP is leading them to drop support; it’s not a reference to everybody on earth who self-identifies as a Christian. Oh, and another good reason to reread is that there are actually a number of facts there (complete with linked references) that you seem to suggest were not. Might learn something.

Two Reasons Why Government Drives People Crazy

Wednesday, September 30, AD 2009

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1.  Lack of Common Sense: Lisa Synder, of Middleville, Michigan, pictured above, decided to help out a few friends get their kids safely on the school bus.  For free she allowed three other moms to drop off their three kids at her house.  The kids wait for an hour and then Snyder and another mom escorted the three kids and Snyder’s child to the bus.  Some neighbor with way too much time on his or her hands complained to the State and now Snyder faces possible misdemeanor charges for running an unlicensed daycare center!  That’s what you get for being a good samaritan Lisa!  A Republican state rep.,  Brian Calley, is attempting to pass legislation so that the resources of the state are not arrayed against moms helping each other gratis to keep kids safe.

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16 Responses to Two Reasons Why Government Drives People Crazy

  • The Senate Finance Committee (with 5 democrats) shot down the Government Option.

    We still have hope.

  • Tito,

    Zombies are already dead but they keep coming at you. The so-called public option is a zombie.

    You cannot kill it until you kill its master. The master of the Zombie is socialism and socialism’s masters are ignorance and Lucifer.

    Without a fundemental addressing our the philosophy of government we are only chopping at the branches. The root is still sick and no matter how many sick branches you purge the tree will still die.

    This is why people who are becoming aware of the sickness, finally, are seemingly being driven crazy by government.

    We need leaders who follow the rules – The Ten Commandments and the Constitution.

    We get the leadership we deserve. Obviously we don’t deserve much that is good judging by ALL the elected idiot’s actions.

  • The reason they attacked Lisa Snyder is because she’s white and all those kids are white. I’m telling you… it’s RACISM.

  • Pauli,

    I didn’t know you were a liberal. 😉

  • It should be fairly easy for these neighbors to identify the neighborhood kid-hating curmudgeon who called the law. Someone might be cleaning raw eggs and toilet paper off his house and lawn the day after Halloween.

  • You can criticize corporations all you want, but you have to admit there’s no private sector equivalent to this kind of meddling. Only government can be this boneheaded.

    On that note, I’ll share a little personal anecdote about a recent government experience of mine: I recently applied for a position with a large, local law enforcement agency as a statistical analyst. I have completed graduate work at the Ph.D. level in a very rigorously quantitative discipline (including extensive work in statistics, although it’s technically a degree in policy analysis). I’ve also done quite a bit of research on criminal justice policy and law enforcement — in fact, I co-authored a book about the LAPD. So I was probably a bit overqualified for the job — but hey, it’s the worst recession since the Depression, right? Any job is better than no job.

    Guess what? This agency said I was not qualified for the position because — wait for it — I didn’t have at least an associate degree in statistics! Never mind that I could probably teach statistics and econometrics at the university level — I didn’t go to a community college and get that stats major on my diploma.

  • Pingback: National Science Foundation causing online porn shortage!
  • Government always chooses form over substance and judging from the last election so do a majority of the people (of course most, if not all, were ‘educated’ in government schools).

    Credentials have their place; however, competence is often measured by the actors efficacy and not their assertions.

    j. christian, count your blessings that they rejected you. Sure it is better to have income than not have income; however, being trapped in a job managed by people who are more interested in your 13th grade math skills than your adult analytical skills will kill you — slowly.

    The biggest problem with the entrenched government fiefdoms is that if they actually become efficient and effective at their stated mission then they might actually end up undoing their own fiefdom. Preservation of the status quo and expansion of the budget rules the day with government. Incidentally, that also rules the day with corporations that seek government monopoly-guarantess instead of market competition.

    Many Americans cannot articulate that but they know it in their gut – that is why so many, and not just the right-thinking intellectuals (boy that is a loaded term, perhaps thinkers is better) are upset and seemingly being driven crazy by government.

    As a wise leader once said, “government is NOT the answer, government is the problem.”

  • Where did you get the 61.34% number? Fox News? Forgive me if I don’t take ol’ Grover’s facts and figures at face value. Fox is propaganda, pure and simple.

    #1 leaves me wanting more information. The way the information is presented makes me a little suspicious (not of the government, but of the context).

    #2 is simply picking the WORST example and then assuming that the entire federal government is the same across all agencies. I’ve seen a lot of “waste” in private business too.

    I guess nowadays a socialist is anyone who doesn’t hold the government in complete and utter contempt. There used to be a little more nuance in our political beliefs than there is now. Because I can’t hold the government with the same contempt that you all do (I’ve seen a lot of waste in private business- it just doesn’t get reported like government figures do- it doesn’t make me feel better just because my tax dollars didn’t go to it), I guess I must be a Marxist…

  • John,

    74.317% of what you said is hyperbole.

    😉

  • Distrusting government is an American principle.

    Socialism isn’t. Being an active socialist isn’t the same thing as being ‘tolerant’ of socialism but the result is the same.

    Private business does waste and it is punished for it by competative forces.

    Government is a monopoly – there is a reward for waste and no consequence.

    That is the difference. Humans are fallen and weak in the government and in private industry. One rewards our fallen nature, the other doesn’t.

    Distrusting government and encouraging anarchy are not the same thing. The drafters of the Constitution distrusted government because they knew it would be administered by sinners. They didn’t advocate anarchy becuase anarchy is free reign for sinners.

    The developed a balance – LIMITED government. Any logical, God-fearing, patriotic American loves their country, wants a limited government and inherently distrusts it.

    As for Fox News, if that is in fact where the statistic came from, may be better than most mainstream ‘news’ outlets, but it still sucks and is probably a tool for controlled opposition.

    Nevertheless, the fundemental philosophy of politics is far more important than temporal results and statistics.

    John, you may or may not be a Marxist, but accusing the rest of us of painting ALL government with that brush is ridiculous. I haven’t seen one post that espouses that. I also think you have to be blind not to see a Communist conspiracy working in the shadows under the guise of liberalism and progressivism.

  • John,

    The title of the post is “Two Reasons Why Government Drives People Crazy,” not “Two Reasons Why All Government Is Socialism.” True, the tone can be a bit contemptuous at times, but that’s the frustration talking — springing as it does out of anecdotes like the ones shared here.

    As for the percentage of the year worked for the government: I have no idea what the exact number is, but some groups estimate and publish it, and it’s certainly not a low figure when you add in federal, state, and local taxes on property, income, sales, etc. Not to mention fees, fines, and other hidden “taxes.” It’s a fair question to ask: Do we get our money’s worth from all this spending? Maybe there is a better allocation of resources, maybe not. With federal budget deficits running into the trillions, I’d say it’s worth asking.

  • I’ve seen a lot of “waste” in private business too.

    No doubt. However, when a private business fails, it tends to go out of business. When a government operation fails, it tends to get a bigger budget. That’s not a recipe for success.

  • No doubt. However, when a private business fails, it tends to go out of business. When a government operation fails, it tends to get a bigger budget.

    Plus, if a gov’t–well, any non-profit-based-funding group, I suppose– agency manages to slim down for a year or two– they lose their funding, which screws them when something big comes along that they _do_ need to spend on.

  • “This year the cost of government day was August 12, 2009, the day when the cost of government was paid for the year. We spent 61.34% of national income on government this year. I am curious as to how many of our readers believe we are getting our money’s worth.”

    We’re not, and as the blessed William F. Buckley, Jr. once noted, “Thank God we don’t get all the government we pay for.” Off to your rosary now, American Catholic but before you go, thanks for the opportunity to see more examples of why a constitutional republic based on any principle of equal rights for all citizens is inconsistent with a welfare state.

5 Responses to Why Health Care Reform Is Getting Conservative

  • Karlson is right. It is precisely that type of ineffective leftist agit-prop pushing a policy that the majority of Americans do not want that is causing the socialist aspects of ObamaCare to fall by the wayside. Dems who are not lucky enough to run in states or districts where Lenin or Stalin could win if they had a D after their names are beginning to realize they are facing electoral disaster next year. For example incumbent senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas is running behind all four of her prospective Republican challengers.

    http://www.hedgehogreport.com/

    ObamaCare is about fork ready. On behalf of my fellow Republicans everywhere, I do thank the Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress for pushing this ill-conceived plan that has managed to awake most Americans to the dangers of one party rule in Washington. I have often said that Jimmy Carter created more Republicans than Ronald Reagan ever did, and I do appreciate the efforts of Obama, Pelosi and Reid to outdo Carter’s heroic efforts for the GOP.

  • I’m happy to see the public option getting the treatment it deserves, but it would be nice if conservatives came up with a coherent, alternative plan that addresses the uninsured population (or, at least the segment of it deserving of subsidy/aid).

  • Here is what the Republicans have proposed:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124277551107536875.html

  • j. christian,

    Make sure you do NOT confuse uninsured with uninsurable.

    Uninsured are people who do not have but may access insurance. Some may not be able to afford it; however, that is very few judging by the fact that ‘poor’ in America own a TV, DVD, game console, car, live in a home better than 90% of the planet, etc. Others don’t want insurance becuase they don’t see the benefit, and some other reasons.

    Uninsurable are people with existing health problems that CANNOT get individual medical insurance. That is less than 5 million people. You cannot expect an insurance company to offer coverage for someone who they know WILL make a large claim. That would defy the defenition of insurance, medical or otherwise. Additionally, this is not fair to the insurable in those risk pools.

    I am confident that if we increase American aggregate wealth with lower taxes, less redundant regulation, rational tort reform and eliminate other illicit government intervention, we, as a country can more than afford to provide care for the uninsurable.

    Our responsibility to the less fortunte, in this case, people with health problems, is to choose to take care of them in Charity, Love. Government is force, it cannot be charitable it can only redistribute by force and distort the natural price system in the process, which creates a whole host of other evils.

    Access to health care has nothing to do with medical insurance. Medical insurance is a risk management tool like any other insurance. Health care is not a right either; however, since we have been blessed with a free market (sort of) that has advanced health care so dramatically, we should provide access to everyone — that is done through lower prices, more choices and increased wealth which can be used for charitable purposes. The free market is the best mechanism we know to do that.

    Those are all overwhelmingly genuine conservative values – note, coservative doesn’t mean Republican.

Jesuitical 9: Marquette and Dave Barry

Tuesday, September 29, AD 2009

Hattip to Instapundit.  Part of my ongoing series on the follies of some Jesuits in this country.  Marquette is a Jesuit run university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Notoriously, Marquette has employed as a  Professor of Theology for decades Daniel C. Maguire.  Maguire is an ex-priest.  He has long been an ardent pro-abort.  He has been an adviser of the pro-abort group Catholics For a Free Choice for decades.  One of his recent books is Sacred Choices which is a look at the right to contraception and abortion in ten religions.  In 2007 the USCCB publicly condemned as erroneous various aspects of the views propounded by Maguire and the statement can be read here.

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8 Responses to Jesuitical 9: Marquette and Dave Barry

  • Marquette, Jesuit, that explains it all.

  • Well, speech codes are hardly unique to Marquette or Jesuit schools. As Barry and FIRE point out, its endemic to colleges around the country. But then, everyone knows colleges aren’t about searching for truth or clash of ideas, they are all about getting that piece of paper so you can get a decent job. Nothing else.

  • A couple of points.
    Marquette University [cost: $39,000 p.a.] is not a Jesuit college. There are a few token Jesuits around, but the Board of Trustees are lay people. [Need that to get state funding].

    What is needed is the naming of such as the Jesuit Provincials who seek shelter in anonymity.

    The protested line was first spoken by Thomas Paine, followed by Thomas Jefferson, and the many others.

    One should disrecommend [is that a word?] students from the English department, given the incoherent gobbledey-gook served up as a mission statement.

    It would be entertaining to ask the trustees and faculty members if they knew who Pere Marquette was, and if they have read Agnes Repplier’s wonderful biography.

    Maguire is but one of many Irish Americans who gave a vow as priests and then broke it. Much as I find questionable in Freud, I believe he might well be correct that it is a sexual failing, with an overbearing mother in the background.

  • Ah, yes, my alma mater (hangs head in shame).

    Actually, I consider I got a pretty good education at MU. However, I did not get a Catholic one.

  • Donna, much of my education at the University of Illinois consisted of listening intently to my professors, and then doing the opposite of what they advised!

    I will say that Marquette has a pretty campus. My family and I visited there about a decade ago.

  • MU’s Gesu church is a beauty.

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On Glenn Beck & Other Crazy People

Monday, September 28, AD 2009

I am allergic to political cable tv shows, talk radio, and nightly news. I cannot watch or listen to these programs for longer than fifteen minutes without subjecting anyone within earshot to a lengthy rant. And so I won’t pretend to be deeply familiar with Glenn Beck’s work. Instead, I’ll rely on Joe Carter at First Things:

There isn’t much I could add to the criticisms—from the left, right, and center—that have been made against him in the last few weeks. His recent comments have shown that he’s a naked opportunist who will say anything to get attention: If he’s on his television show on Fox he’ll pander to the audience by saying that President Obama is a racist who is ushering in an age of socialism, if not the apocalypse; then, when he is in front of Katie Couric and CBS News, he says that John McCain would have been worse for the country than Obama (which begs the question, “What exactly is worse than the socialist/communist/fascist apocalypse?”).

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100 Responses to On Glenn Beck & Other Crazy People

  • If anything, we need to keep in mind the media is not in this for us or for the ‘good.’ The media is in the drama business and will promote any sort of mass hysteria.

    You are absolutely right, Eric. When all is said and done, the raison d’etre for these programs is to sell dishwasher detergent. Perhaps Joe will have some comments about the degradations of capitalism to insert here (and they would have merit).What I find frustrating is that some Catholic conservatives either look the other way, or, worse, defend this type of cynical ratings ploy. And, of course, it goes without saying that the same is true of many Catholic liberals.

  • Apologies, Eric. It looks like I quoted part of a comment you decided to delete. If it’s ok with you, I’ll leave that quote in my comment (if not, feel free to delete the comment).

  • It’s fine John Henry. I was deleting my comment about Republicans and ended up deleting the whole thing and was too lazy to move ‘back’ so the changes would not go into effect. I just let everything be deleted. 🙂

  • Glenn Beck is trying to get the people of this country to wake up! he is doing a far better job of
    telling the truth and mobilizing folks to educate themselves on the Constitution than are many in the media. He is the parent of a child with severe cerebral palsy. Who the hell are you to judge him?
    Why don’t you get the lumber out of your own eye first before removing the speck in your neighbor’s???

  • I don’t much appreciate sensationalism from Glenn Beck, any more than sensationalism in attacking him as has been done above and on First Things. I think, John Henry if you consider a few of the sources of your post, aside from First Things you’d find that you’re actually pulling data from the loonies on the left, to attack who you’re calling a loon on the right.

    That said, I won’t defend Beck, though many of the complaints are based on out of context quotes.

    I will say, as one who sympathizes with his notion of restoring a government actually based on the founding documents, I do have some concerns about the 9/12 movement, and Glenn Beck, as well as the “5000 year leap”. I’ve just started reading it and so will perhaps have more to say another time.

  • For those interested, ‘Kate Sullivan’ is a new commenter who has never commented on any other thread. I think it’s likely that she is either a Democratic astro-turfer (who else would suggest the medical condition of one of Beck’s children places him beyond criticism?), or an overly enthusiastic Beck supporter using Google Alerts (a la the kind Joe Carter described above). All of which is a long way of saying, respond at your own risk.

  • KateSullivan: Now that is a heroic statement, honestly, we need to know what is going on. That is for certain.

    I don’t think mentioning someone has a child is saying they are beyond criticism. It’s saying, hey, he’s probably a good guy. No, I wouldn’t go marking anyone, especially with a Catholic name like “Sullivan” as saying they have found this through some questionable means. It doesn’t change the fact, that her remarks are right on the mark.

    Fox showed this morning how some public school around San Francisco showed some sort of gay oriented cartoon to kids. This is a very random example, however, I do believe it points to the fact, that we do need people out there telling us what is going on.

    I’m not into Glenn Beck, I like Hannity a lot. I don’t really get into Beck’s show that much but I’ve heard good things from him. This James Trafficant was on Hannity’s radio show today and I understand was going to be on tv. Something about Trafficant being a former congressman who got sent to prison. I have heard of him but don’t know his story.

  • Beck goes on it seems about some things, once being an alcoholic, etc. But I’ve heard him speaking about the existence of God! Spot on! It was about the first time I ever heard him as they were playing his show during the evening hours and he did indeed testify. So, although, some odd quotes seem to be taken out on him and I haven’t read his book, I’d like to see these quotes about his faith quoted. I think I’ve heard he’s a Mormon but again, he really hasn’t caught my interest that much but I don’t find fault with him. I do admit he may say somethings that sound like kneejerk reactions and seem to be made too rashly.

  • John, I tend to agree with you on political cable TV shows and talk radio, although I’ve found a singular exception to the talk radio phenomenon, a conservative who is principled and not simply in it to “sell soap”: Dennis Prager. He’s an observant Jew and a neo-con to some degree (mugged by reality as a young adult, etc.), but his show focuses only about 50% of the time on politics. The rest is society, religion, ethics, and the most random topics that tickle his fancy. For example, his producer and best friend, Allen, has the hobby of collecting honey from around the world, so once a week or so he’ll have a “honey update.” He also has an excellent segment for an hour every Friday called the “Happiness Hour,” which completely eschews political topics and focuses on the human condition.

    As a Catholic I find his views on some sexual issues too libertine (e.g., he thinks men looking at girlie magazines is normal and should be encouraged by wives to keep their husbands from straying), but otherwise he is an honest and very wise man who really enjoys digging deeply into issues and debating/discussing them with callers and guests representing a wide variety of viewpoints. Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity can’t hold a candle to him intellectually, or I would even say as hosts.

  • Beck is an entertainer above all and not to my taste. However, his popularity in the ratings is I think more attributable to the fact that he covers stories that the mainstream media simply ignores. For example he led the charge against Van Jones in the Obama administration. The first story in the New York Times about the Van Jones affair was published on the day when he resigned.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Why-did-the-press-ignore-the-Van-Jones-scandal_-8210602-57658222.html

    When clowns are reporting the news because journalists are too biased to do so, people are going to be tuning in to the clowns.

  • , is there even any political benefit to defending this type of lunacy?

    I don’t really like Beck, but I don’t think the criticisms of him are completely fair. So while I will continue to not watch his television show, I don’t think jumping on anti-Beck bandwagons are completely worthwhile, not when there are much more important things to worry about. Then again, I don’t begin every day wondering how I can suck up to people who disagree with me.

  • So I express disagreement with you, Paul….and your response is to accuse me of sucking up to people I disagree with? Was I too polite? If you want me to go further, I could say something like “you’re lame and noncommittal attempts to defend Beck because he happens to be a Republican are an embarrassment, and the ‘let’s talk about something else’ routine with an ad hominem and an et tu quoque tossed in on the side reminds me of a certain Minion.

    I suppose we could trade insults and I could try and exonerate myself from the charge of being a suck up. But that’s not a very interesting subject. I’d rather just reiterate the questions I asked in the post: why do you think people like Beck are successful? Do you think there is a political benefit from this nonsense, and, even if there is, should Catholics be defending him?

  • Awww, John, did I touch a nerve? Frankly, I don’t really care about this topic, and I’m not going to delve further into this stupidity. But I’ll leave you free to criticize Beck and Limbaugh – that’s a really important priority. I mean it’s not like there are people out there defending human cloning or other things which actually may affect our lives.

    So fight the good fight, you crazy culture warrior you.

    BTW, Beck’s not even a Republican, but why waste some good sanctimony.

  • I don’t think I’ve watched Glenn Beck more than two or three times. I have explained in the past why I cannot stand even to listen to Rush Limbaugh for more than a few minutes at a time so I’m probably not missing anything by not watching Glenn Beck.

    Years ago I was chatting with a DRE in the parish I was attending at the time. He mentioned that he had once aspired to be a writer of political satire but eventually gave it up because, and I quote, “it kills your soul eventually.” And this was before the internet and blogging really took off.

    One only has to look at the effect the “take no prisoners” approach to political discourse has at times even on people like us, who are for the most part conscientious Catholics, to see what he meant. ;-(

  • The “gasoline” incident, which I just watched for the first time, would have played much better as an SNL sketch. When you can’t tell the difference between a real show and an SNL parody version, something’s wrong!

  • Paul,

    It’s true of almost every post in the history of the blogosphere that it could be devoted to something more important. If you’re not interested in a subject, just don’t comment….

  • When clowns are reporting the news because journalists are too biased to do so, people are going to be tuning in to the clowns.

    It’s a good point. The Times coverage, or, rather, lack thereof, of the Van Jones and Acorn scandals has been inexcusable. To rephrase what you said slightly, if all journalists are clowns, the ones with the most outlandish outfits will capture the viewers.

  • Never heard Beck, myself. Those who find talk radio obnoxious might try listening to William Bennett’s show occasionally. It’s generally civil and smarter than your average bear.

  • What I’m curious about is why people find this type of nonsense appealing. After all, it’s fairly obvious that elections are determined by independents and swing voters.

    People do not play those angles when they elect what to listen to on the radio. Crude radio programming is a function of declining standards of taste. The question which has been unanswered for upwards of forty years is where the bottom is.

  • Watched Beck a few times a couple of years ago. Have listened a few times on radio. Listened a few more times since the left has erected him as the new boogie man (no more Bushitler and railroading Limbaugh hasn’t worked.) Stopped listening again after a couple of shows. Too conspiritorial and over the top. Not as bad as an Olberman or Maddow. Actually more sane than them. But who will critcize the latter two?
    Has his good points. Very pro-family. And then there’s this about Obama’s asinine commment on “a baby as punishment”:

    “This is the amazing thing. This is what you can — this is what you need to take away from Barack Obama on this. What you learned from Barack Obama in, you know, I don’t want them punished with a baby is this: That he sees children as a punishment, not for everybody but for some children are a punishment. Others, children is a blessing. A child is a blessing because you are trying. You are trying to avoid it. So it’s a punishment. The point is the baby becomes an “It.” The baby is just it. So he doesn’t see the sanctity of life is something that can punish you or bless you. I’m sorry but that’s an abomination in the eyes of God as I would see it. I can’t imagine how a baby could punish you. A baby is a gift at all times. A baby is the closest to perfection that we get at all times. We should be striving to be more like that innocent child than trying to just say, I don’t want them to be punished by a baby.”

    So on this point he is a lot more sane than our President.

  • As far as Glen Beck and the value or spectacle of his cable TV show ranting, one needs only to acknowledge some of the very obvious results he has produced, some would say almost single handedly but it is safe to say that he had assistance from Hannity and Limbaugh.

    Washington DC was recently deluged with throngs of “common folks” who came from all over American to protest the sudden new intrusion of big government into their lives and openly express their objections to the policies of the current administration as well as the desire to protect the nation they love from the onslaught of a socialist agenda. Limbaugh had been educating the public and Hannity had called for the freedom express across the country but Don’t even attempt to deny that, especially if you admit you didn’t bother to watch it unfold.

    The president’s beloved and highly praised favorite community organization which he worked for and ignited his political career, ACORN, was involved in voter fraud and voter intimidation charges during the recent election. The MSM had little or nothing to say while several states had lawsuits pending against them. Many Americans who were paying attention to the issues had every right to believe ACORN had more in its agenda than “voter registration”. So who do we thank for exposing the deception and outright corruption we now know was part of Obama’s beloved before but suddenly now not that much aware of what was going on at ACORN? No one more so than the GB show!

    The agenda set for the very inexperienced Barack Obama was obviously too big for him to handle, community organizing was child’s play next to being president, so he needed lots of help if it was to “fundamentally change” America and establish his personal goal of redistribution overnight as intended. Enter the far left’s most radical group of elitists and Marxist leaning liberals along with the usual batch of Washington insiders. The anointed one, possibly at the urging of the many “catholic” cronies flocking to help the most pro-abortion president in history, quickly assembled and incorporated “Czar City” for “The One”. These Bishops of Bureaucracy were given lots of money and the power to spend it anywhere to further the Marxist inspired presidents “social justice” initiatives. Oops! The Audacity of Arrogance, scum rose to the surface. Van Jones the race baiting self proclaimed Communists somehow had taken a seat beside the president as the MSM continues to ignore their job. So how will the American people be privileged to the truth?
    Enter Glen Beck! You can’t deny he has been accused of personally exposing this heavy handed Obamination.

    Now as far as Beck sounding crazy and causing a ruckus, well a while back I seem to remember the liberals in their inevitable way of trying to persuade the hearts of Christians to their point of view to compare them to Jesus the “radical” as a “community organizer”.
    Now children , back to reality on the count of three 1 2 3
    Mmm Mmm Mmm Barack Hussein Obama Mmm Mmm Mmm

  • For the record I really don’t like any of the talking heads on TV or radio, Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, Levin, O’Reilly, Meadows, etc.. How anybody can listen to an a**-**** like Levin for more than 30 seconds is beyond me. There use to be a time in the early ’90’s when I found Limbaough to be extremely entertaining, but then he began to believe his own press and merely became the drug and vice addicted shill of the Republican party.

    However, I find it extremely interesting that Beck was never criticized by fellow “conservatives” as long as he was defending the Bush war and torture atrocities and Bush’s building an ofincreasingly bigger and intrusive Federal government and called crazy those on the right those who criticised Bush, e.g. Ron Paul, crazy.

    It is only now that Beck is increasing in his criticism of the Republican party that he is being increasingly criticised by his fellow “conservatives”. He has had the audacity to point out that big givernment is not the fault of Democrats alone. Would McCain have been worse than Obama – yes, because he would have advanced basically the same programs – perhaps at a slower pace and under different names – but he would not have faced resistance from the Republicans and conservatives because he was one of them. Just as Nixon was able to flush Taiwan down the toilet because he was an “anti-communist” and Bush was able to push Socialist corporate bail -outs through with minimal Republican opposition. Government continues to grow no matter who is in power. Presidents continue to accumulate executive powers no matter what party they belong to. They just use different rataionalizations and move at different speeds.

  • John Henry,


    When clowns are reporting the news because journalists are too biased to do so, people are going to be tuning in to the clowns.

    It’s a good point. The Times coverage, or, rather, lack thereof, of the Van Jones and Acorn scandals has been inexcusable. To rephrase what you said slightly, if all journalists are clowns, the ones with the most outlandish outfits will capture the viewers.

    You didn’t rephrase what he said, you changed it. Regardless of a degree of ‘clownishness’, people listen to Beck because of the news that the MSM does not present.

  • All right, let me try this with a little bit less snark. Here’s where I’m coming from – I am not a particular fan of Beck. I used to listen to his radio show from time to time when he was on in DC, and he wasn’t quite as, well, crazy as he is now. He hasn’t been on in this market for probably about a year, and the Fox show is on at a time when I am almost never home. This was the first time I had seen much of it, and I am not really impressed. I think he is hyperbolic, and frankly his idol seems to be William Shatner at least when it comes to over-acting.

    My only point is that I think there is an over-reaction against him as well. I really don’t see him as being any kind of particular threat to the well-being of the republic, nor am I much concerned that he’s doing the conservative cause any significant harm. In the grand scheme of things, he probably attracts as many people as he repels, and perhaps actually gains more, but I can’t prove that one way or the other. When there are so many worse pundits out there – people who are advocating things like cloning and genetic engineering and all sorts of horrible things, why waste this much ink on people like Beck. I recognize that not all blogging has to be about one thing – you can certainly castigate me for putting up posts about the red zone channel rather than the situation in Honduras. But when I see these kinds of posts again and again, it gets wearying.

    One last thing. I found your reaction a little funny because when I cross-posted my thoughts on Back on Southern Appeal, his defenders acted as though I had blasphemed. And now your reaction is to say that I am (tepidly) defending him. It’s all a matter of perspective I guess.

  • JH,

    If you’re not interested in a subject, just don’t comment….

    It’s you’re thread man, but a comment to the extent that too much concern is placed in an area to the distraction of others is a completely legitimate opinion that deserves to be heard.

  • Awakaman: I was not aware that the Congressionally Approved Iraq War is exclusively Bush’s War. Furthermore, we do see the Washington Post has in fact, defended the use of enhanced torture techniques versus the unpatriotic Americans who would not mind seeing our citizens blown to smithereens.

  • TomNSDAPSVDP:

    I agree TomNSDAPSVDP the Democrats have just as much blood on their hands as the Republicans do for these unjust and bloody wars. War=bigger and stronger federal government and that is something to which both parties can agree.

    So, TomNSDAPSVDP, the Washington post is now your Magisterium? How special! Who are these unpatriotic Americans you’d like to have enhanced torture techniques used on? I’m sure that your list would differ from that of the Obama administration. Please give specific instances where American lives have been saved through the use of torture.

  • John Henry said: “If you’re not interested in a subject, just don’t comment.”

    One could hardly blame Paul for commenting when it was YOU who linked to his post and, unfairly in my view, accused him of offering “tepid support” for someone of whom he had been somewhat critical.

    Paul said: “It’s all a matter of perspective I guess”

    Paul,
    It’s a matter of triangulation. If Tony A looks bad, and you, on the other end of the political spectrum, get compared to him (i.e. you also look bad), then guess who comes out smelling like a rose by comparison?

    There are a lot of Douthat/Dreher/Brooks/Frum copycats popping up these days. They see the mileage that those guys have gotten from triangulating to make themselves look “reasonable” by comparison.

    John Henry and I have discussed this before, and we’ve both made our positions on the matter clear. I certainly wish him no ill will, and we probably agree on far more than we disagree, but I disagree with him on how he chooses to handle these particular situations.

    For the record, I didn’t even know what Beck looked like until I saw a photo of him on the internet a few weeks back. I don’t watch Fox News (or any TV news programming for that matter). And I don’t listen to (nor do I particularly care for) Rush Limbaugh. So, on that basis, I hope it is clear that I am not offering “tepid support” for any of them.

    I agree with you, Paul, that this triangulation BS wherein a few self-appointed “reasonable” conservatives feel they must denounce “those people” in order to maintain some semblance of credibility (with whoever they’re trying to remain credible) is beyond wearying.

    I have absolutely no connection to the afore-mentioned media personalities or organizations because they are not even on my radar screen. I don’t care for them, but neither do I feel particularly compelled to denounce them either. And those who act as though I have some such obligation are playing with a sick form of guilt by association. I won’t denounce Fox or Beck or Limbaugh, primarily, because I don’t dance to their drummer in the first place (so why should I feel so compelled since they’re no reflection upon me to begin with?) And I won’t denounce Fox or Beck or Limbaugh, secondarily, because neither do I dance to the drummer of their detractors.

    I’m not playing that game.

  • Jay Anderson,

    You (and Donald) articulated my feelings exactly.

    I’d like to throw in there Mark Shea who seems to get a lot of traction attacking traditional Catholics and conservatives on the most minuscule of issues.

  • Awakaman can not argue, NSDAP stands for Nazi. I will not address you! But when you fly lies which is the reason for this person’s sordid and sorry personal attacks I will address it.

    Anti-War Nuts say torture: Well, it would be torture to even go to a minimum security prison. I am sorry that you can not make any kind of argument without resorting to the most vile personal attacks.

    And by the way, you take issue with my using the word “Unpatriotic Americans”, well you started it by saying “Bush’s War” when European Intelligence showed Saddam was trying to get everything to make Weapons of Mass Destruction. Likewise, is labelling torture the same kind of technique.

    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/morality-and-enhanced-interrogation-techniques-15125

    The Washington Post indeed does represent a liberal view in this nation. If they see Enhanced Interogation as having thwarted terrorists attacks, it shows you really are digging to start hurling personal attacks at someone. Better to keep your closed and narrow mind to yourself.

  • Awakaman: My heritage is Polish. There is no country that felt the wrath of the Nazis more and murdered many of on par with their other victims, Jews, Gypsies etc.

    SVDP get it through your mind means St. Vincent De Paul of Charity.

    You have no shame and you have no integrity.

  • John Henry,

    I agree with you on this topic in full.

    Glen Beck is an embarrassment. I dislike him for the same reason I dislike Sarah Palin: his appeal is to the mob, to the lower and baser instincts in man.

    Appeals to man’s lower nature are almost always more profitable than any attempt to elevate or enlighten. Like Sarah Palin, Glen Beck doesn’t challenge you. If you agree with him, you’ll love him. If you don’t, you’ll hate him. But one thing you’ll probably never do with either of those two is say, “hmm, I never thought of it that way before”, or “hmm, now there’s an idea that, even though I am of the opposite political persuasion, I think I can accept”.

    This I understand, for all movements need such types. The troops must be rallied. But as in all things, there is a hierarchy of priorities. When rallying the troops becomes of far greater importance than trying to build a broader tent, priorities are out of order.

    Neither the Republican Party nor conservatism – in spite of whatever anger at Obama might be unleashed in 2010 (backlash is always out there) – will not survive in the long run if its public face is Palin/Beck. It will rightfully be regarded as a shrinking sect of angry, aging, white reactionaries who won’t surrender even an inch of ground for the sake of political progress.

    Obama’s appeals to common ground might sound hollow to some, and he may not even take them that seriously himself, but they still need to be made. Political polarization is NOT something we want. As Catholics we cannot compromise on life issues – on everything else, we really must reject party lines and forge new solutions.

  • Tom:

    My grandparents came from Poland also. My grandfather fought in the anti-bolshevik wars after WWI. I agree that Poland suffered greatly under Nazism due to torture and war. But the lesson I learned from that was not to engage in such tactics with others no matter what the supposed justification.

    Invoking the name of St. Vincent DePaul of Charity to advance war and torture? How can you seriously ask who lacks shame and intgrity here? May SVDP pray for you.

    Well, I’ve sidetracked these comments enough. Back to work.

  • Joe,

    t will rightfully be regarded as a shrinking sect of angry, aging, white reactionaries who won’t surrender even an inch of ground for the sake of political progress.

    tell it to the million or so people who marched on the Capitol a couple weeks ago.

    You’re a thoughtful guy Joe, look beyond the emotion, and see what the underlying principles he’s putting out there are.

    9 Principles, 12 Values

    9 Principles, 12 Values

    The 9 Principles
    1. America Is Good.

    2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
    God “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” from George Washington’s first Inaugural address.

    3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
    Honesty “I hope that I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider to be the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” George Washington

    4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
    Marriage/Family “It is in the love of one’s family only that heartfelt happiness is known. By a law of our nature, we cannot be happy without the endearing connections of a family.” Thomas Jefferson

    5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
    Justice “I deem one of the essential principles of our government… equal and exact justice to all men of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political.” Thomas Jefferson

    6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
    Life, Liberty, & The Pursuit of Happiness “Everyone has a natural right to choose that vocation in life which he thinks most likely to give him comfortable subsistence.” Thomas Jefferson

    7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
    Charity “It is not everyone who asketh that deserveth charity; all however, are worth of the inquiry or the deserving may suffer.” George Washington

    8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
    On your right to disagree “In a free and republican government, you cannot restrain the voice of the multitude; every man will speak as he thinks, or more properly without thinking.” George Washington

    9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
    Who works for whom? “I consider the people who constitute a society or a nation as the source of all authority in that nation.” Thomas Jefferson

    The 12 Values
    * Honesty
    * Reverence
    * Hope
    * Thrift
    * Humility
    * Charity
    * Sincerity
    * Moderation
    * Hard Work
    * Courage
    * Personal Responsibility
    * Gratitude

    I’m not sure if you agree with all of them, but they’re worth discussing. It would be much better to look at this rationally then to just jump on the bandwagon of visceral reaction.

    I started reading “The 5000 Year Leap”, while I am cautious about it, so far it’s very good, I’ll have more to say about that later.

    For the record: I listen to Laura Ingraham, Bill Bennett, Michael Medved, Mike Gallagher, and Hugh Hewitt mostly, along with Praeger sometimes. I take each one with varying grains of salt. I don’t watch or listen to Beck’s show, nor Hannity very often. My interest is mainly about principles, not particular policies.

  • Ok, lets look at these nine principles.

    1. It depends. To take that as axiomatic is simply impossible. America has done evil things – one can say that slavery wasn’t unique to America but what I think was unique was the Constitutional reduction of black people to something less than human, something no classical slave society ever did so formally. Then there is the treatment of Native Americans. And there are a few other issues. Point is – America is not built on goodness alone, and NO country is.

    2. As far as I am concerned, it is idolatrous to have this as number 2 behind “America is good”. God is good – America is made up of human beings with free will who can and often have chosen evil, like all other peoples in all other countries.

    3. Ok.

    4. Ok – but society (meaning neighbors and extended family, if not the state as well) has a right to intervene in cases of manifest abuse and neglect.

    5. Ok, provided only that the punishment is proportionate to the crime. Justice can be blind but it must also be, to what extent it can, merciful.

    6. Of course. No one really wants equal results. Even Marxists don’t want equal results. What I want is an established minimum and maximum within which there can be variation.

    7. Everyone has a moral obligation to contribute to the common good, including, but not limited to, the payment of taxes. That is in the Catechism and cannot be thrown aside.

    Catholic social teaching has established that the state has a role to play in promoting the common good. Government cannot force you to be charitable in your heart, but it can morally compel you to contribute to the common good. HOW the money is spent, we can debate, yes – but NOT whether or not it is moral to collect and distribute it at all.

    If you wish to have it out on this particular topic, my recommendation is that we do it on a new post that I will make upon your request.

    8. Of course.

    9. That sounds nice, but I don’t make any plan of action on that premise.

  • For me, it’s not about party. I’m a member of no political party. I denounce plenty of so-called “conservative” postitions on the issues when I disagree with them (which is a lot, by the way – see, e.g., immigration, waterboarding, war, etc.). But I denounce them on my own terms, not as part of someone else’s feeding frenzy.

    I’m just not into playing the game, which, at its core, is a sort of guilt by association: you MUST denounce this person or else have the face of your entire movement tarnished (i.e. you don’t want to be one of the “other crazy people” alongside Beck/Limbaugh/Palin/etc., do you?). It’s Alinsky 101 (actually, it’s Alinky’s Rule 12):

    “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)”

    Demonization. Sorry, not going there, whether it’s President Obama being demonized or Governor Palin being demonized. Or whether it’s Fox, Beck, and Limbaugh or MSNBC, Olbermann, and Maddow.

    I don’t see the need to continue to denounce and demonize and disassociate. And I’m not going to do it. Or at least not on someone else’s terms and as part of someone else’s agenda because they think I need to speak up lest I be “tarnished” by association.

  • “But I denounce them on my own terms, not as part of someone else’s feeding frenzy.”

    I respect that fully. For my part I don’t demand denunciations of a person in order to befriend them or work with them. I don’t like Sarah Palin but there are plenty of people who like her that I do like.

    So I’m with you on this 🙂

  • Beck certainly was not responsible for calling Obama a racist just for the remark of calling Police stupid, however, when you combine that with Obama making “Special Olympics” jokes on that one late night show, I definitely consider that a bigotted statement against challenged individuals. Likewise, sometimes bigotry is okay as the course, crude remarks Letterman made about Sarah Palin who to her credit, after Obama’s attack on handicapped children, Palin said how special her child was who was inflicted. Liberals tend to dislike someone who did not opt for their sacrament of abortion. She challenges their secular beliefs. Making jokes about mentally or physically challenged people just appeals to the lowest and most crude instincts of mob mentality.

    Gerald Ford never was a stumbler in any way, yet, Saturday Night Live had no problem doing all of those skits and Chevy Chase himself said that was to help elect a new president. With the Mainstream Media so biased, Glenn Beck and his like offer a valid alternative. This is what the left does not like, counter opinions.

  • What Jay said.

  • One could hardly blame Paul for commenting when it was YOU who linked to his post and, unfairly in my view, accused him of offering “tepid support” for someone of whom he had been somewhat critical.

    Ok…did you miss the part where Paul left three comments and wrote a post for two different blogs about a subject, then insulted me for talking about it? I wasn’t criticizing him for commenting, but rather for commenting multiple times about how irrelevant it was, having posted on the subject himself. If it’s that irrelevant and not worth talking about…then why is he talking about it so much?

    It’s a matter of triangulation. If Tony A looks bad, and you, on the other end of the political spectrum, get compared to him (i.e. you also look bad), then guess who comes out smelling like a rose by comparison?

    This is just b.s. I criticized Paul’s method of disputation – an ad hominem and a ‘let’s talk about something else’. Sure I pointed out that it is the exact same thing Tony A does, but it wasn’t to make myself look good. It was because Paul’s argument was erroneous in the same way Tony A’s are. I’m not trying to curry favor with anyone (unlike, for example, Conor Friedersdorf, who’s trying to make a career out of this).

    There are a lot of Douthat/Dreher/Brooks/Frum copycats popping up these days. They see the mileage that those guys have gotten from triangulating to make themselves look “reasonable” by comparison.

    Again, this is b.s. I’m not writing to get paid or to make a name for myself or to get mileage, any more than you’re writing to improve you’re street cred. Blogs are completely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. I get no benefit from this, I’m just expressing my opinion.

    For the record, I didn’t even know what Beck looked like until I saw a photo of him on the internet a few weeks back. I don’t watch Fox News (or any TV news programming for that matter). And I don’t listen to (nor do I particularly care for) Rush Limbaugh. So, on that basis, I hope it is clear that I am not offering “tepid support” for any of them.

    For someone trying not to support them, you sure are intent on attacking anyone who criticizes them.

    I agree with you, Paul, that this triangulation BS wherein a few self-appointed “reasonable” conservatives feel they must denounce “those people” in order to maintain some semblance of credibility (with whoever they’re trying to remain credible) is beyond wearying.

    Again, my on-line credibility is not the issue; the issue is that I find people like Beck repulsive. Listening and watching that stuff is like taking a long, hot bath in a large tub of stupid. Some people can’t tell the difference, but imo the people who can should point out that these types of shows are pernicious.

    I have absolutely no connection to the afore-mentioned media personalities or organizations because they are not even on my radar screen. I don’t care for them, but neither do I feel particularly compelled to denounce them either. And those who act as though I have some such obligation are playing with a sick form of guilt by association. I won’t denounce Fox or Beck or Limbaugh, primarily, because I don’t dance to their drummer in the first place (so why should I feel so compelled since they’re no reflection upon me to begin with?) And I won’t denounce Fox or Beck or Limbaugh, secondarily, because neither do I dance to the drummer of their detractors. I’m not playing that game.

    Yeah, but you are playing the game, Jay. You’re just as involved as anyone else. You just wrote several hundred words and two comments attacking me for criticizing them. I didn’t bring you up in the post or link to you; you just decided to comment. I didn’t implicate you. If you want to criticize people including me for criticizing Beck, be my guest. But don’t claim that I’m trying to force you to comment, then say you won’t comment, then comment, and then criticize me for forcing you to comment when I never addressed you in the first place.

  • John Henry:

    I actually took the time to read *all* of the combox entries before I responded to your post, to ensure that I wasn’t merely parroting someone else’s much more sage rendition.

    I have a problem with, not just you, but *anyone* criticizing a public figure like Beck or Limbaugh with no background for doing so. It’s as bad as the mischaracterization of the Church that goes on every day by folks who don’t know what we teach and believe (only what they’ve been told or *assume* we teach or believe).

    I think it’s a good idea to listen to someone for a time before lambasting them as “crazy”. Does Beck have some “interesting” ways of presenting info? Sure. Does he employ theatrical devices to make his point(s)? Sure. But is he the political right’s equivalent of a 9-11 truther? I don’t think so.

    Beck’s criticism of Vann Jones was, by all appearances, spot-on. His analysis of things that are going on in the Obama administration? At least plausible (I found this morning’s exposition of the relationship between the President and the head of the development organization responsible for Chicago’s Olympic bid interesting, to say the least).

    Glenn Beck is a radio personality. He is not a mouthpiece for the Republican party, in my estimation, mainly because he criticizes them too much. But all of that falls into the realm of Personal Opinion, and is not germaine to the discussion.

    What *is* germaine is this: how can we, as followers of Christ, publicly lambast even a *public* figure only on the basis of third-party testimony? I’m not sure, but it seems like that would be scandalous, at minimum.

    Here’s my challenge: Listen to him for a week or two. Actually spend the time separating the things that are said for their comedic value, and things that are put forward seriously. The man’s show tag-line is “The fusion of information…and entertainment>” It is up to *us*, as listeners/viewers, to discern the line between the two. N’est-ce pas?

  • Btw, let me be clear that Jay and I probably agree on 80%-90% of matters related to public policy. We’re basically having a meta-level disagreement about how debate plays out in the public sphere; I don’t think it’s completely unimportant (obviously), but it’s pretty small beer in the grand scheme of things. Maybe it would be better discussed over a large Shiner’s than in a com-box.

  • Ok…did you miss the part where Paul left three comments and wrote a post for two different blogs about a subject, then insulted me for talking about it?

    I wrote one post, then simply put it on another blog. That’s not writing two posts. And I’m not insulting you for talking about it, I am criticizing you for harping on the evils of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh when there are other more important issues to tackle.

    This is just b.s. I criticized Paul’s method of disputation – an ad hominem and a ‘let’s talk about something else’.

    For someone trying not to support them, you sure are intent on attacking anyone who criticizes them.

    You see, this is your problem, John. You express all this sanctimony about civility in discourse, and then you basically excoriate anyone who doesn’t feel exactly as passionately about the issue as you. Jay, myself, Donald and others have all said the same thing – we don’t much care for Beck, but we don’t think that he merits the derision thrown his way. And for that we’re labeled as defenders of Beck because we simply don’t hate him and think him as dangerous as you do. This is like all of the BDS-afflicted leftists who made it sound like anyone who didn’t hate Bush with as much passion as they did was a Bush sycophant.

    the issue is that I find people like Beck repulsive.

    That’s your prerogative. Where you go off the rails, again, is getting all huffy when we don’t exactly share your sentiment.

  • Well, I have read about Beck, but I have never watched his show. Too busy at the office when his show is being broadcast. This thread has awakened my curiosity. I guess if we are going to debate the man it might be a good idea to have a sample of his show. Here he is on Obama’s science czar.

  • I wrote one post, then simply put it on another blog.

    In other words, you wrote “a post for two different blogs,” right? What am I missing there?

    I am criticizing you for harping on the evils of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh when there are other more important issues to tackle.

    Again, Paul. There are nearly always more important issues to tackle. The same could be said of nearly every post in the history of this or any other blog. As I said, I don’t find this criticism particularly helpful.

    you basically excoriate anyone who doesn’t feel exactly as passionately about the issue as you.

    Uh, no. I didn’t excoriate anyone. I said I thought Beck deserved more criticism than you provided. And I objected to you taking personal shots at me rather than addressing the subject matter of the post.

    And for that we’re labeled as defenders of Beck because we simply don’t hate him and think him as dangerous as you do.

    That’s a complete distortion, Paul. First of all, I didn’t say anything about Don, much less label him a defender of Beck. I agreed with and quoted his comment above approvingly. I didn’t call Jay a defender of Beck, although I may have implied above after he he accused me of being an opportunistic triangulator for having the temerity to criticize Beck. With regard to you, I said that your post amounted to a tepid defense of Beck. Feel free to dispute that characterization. But don’t accuse me of saying things I didn’t say about people I didn’t say them about.

    This is like all of the BDS-afflicted leftists who made it sound like anyone who didn’t hate Bush with as much passion as they did was a Bush sycophant.

    Well, it might be like that if I said the things you accuse me of saying. But I didn’t.

  • Chip,

    I appreciate your comments, and that you took the time to read through the thread. As I said, I am not deeply familiar with Beck, but I have seen several clips of him, and I’ve read quite a bit about him. I was careful in the post to link to several people who are more familiar with his work. I will try as you suggest to catch his show once or twice in the next two weeks – I’m on travel for work, so it should be manageable. I probably won’t post on this again, though. I find the weird dynamic of people attacking me for criticizing Beck, even though they don’t want to be called defenders of Beck a little wearying.

  • But don’t accuse me of saying things I didn’t say about people I didn’t say them about.

    Whatever John. You malign my motives, accuse me of not providing quite a Catholic enough critique of Beck, and generally distort what I have written, but far be it from me to accuse you of saying things you haven’t said. It’s getting cold here in the north, and I can use the warm glow of your sanctimony to keep me comfortable.

  • Joe Hargrave Tuesday, September 29, 2009 A.D. at 11:01 am
    “John Henry,
    “Glen Beck is an embarrassment. I dislike him for the same reason I dislike Sarah Palin: his appeal is to the mob, to the lower and baser instincts in man”.

    Interesting. GKC remarked that it the mob – with its low and basic instincts – [lege human instincts] – which is the basis of democracy.

  • Paul,

    I appreciate you rescuing me from having a monopoly on sanctimony. You did accuse me of saying things I didn’t say; and I invited you to correct my interpretation of your remarks. Why the attitude?

  • Joe,

    I think I would have preferred that Gov. Palin and her daughter ignore requests for interviews from People magazine. That aside, just what is ‘low’ and ‘base’ about her?

  • Joe Hargrave writes Tuesday, September 29, 2009 A.D.
    “I don’t like Sarah Palin but there are plenty of people who like her that I do like”.

    If I may respectfully suggest, all this talk about liking someone or not liking them is more fit for a television psychology afternoon show. [I name no names].

    What has “like” or “dislike” to do with the discussion? Do you dislike Mrs. Palin because of her hairdo? her glasses?

    Come, come. Get off the personal reaction and discuss the issues.

  • Why the attitude?

    Gee, can’t think of any reasons.

    And, even if there are political benefits, shouldn’t we see more Catholics denouncing people like Beck, rather than offering tepid defenses?

    attempts to defend Beck because he happens to be a Republican

    So you impugn my Catholic credentials because I refuse to condemn Beck (I hardly defended him – if what I said is a defense I’d hate to see how you’d react to this post), but that’s neither here nor there. You then falsely accuse me of coming to Beck’s defense because he’s a Republican, which is ridiculous especially if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time. I have absolutely no qualms about attacking Republicans, and for about a six month stretch this year I think I put up more posts attacking the GOP than the President, which I now kind of regret.

    Finally, I am somewhat, I don’t know, bemused that you spend so much time attacking Beck for his over-the-top rhetoric, yet in this very thread you have one commenter calling another a Nazi, and that you pass over in silence.

  • “I find the weird dynamic of people attacking me for criticizing Beck, even though they don’t want to be called defenders of Beck, a little wearying.”

    It’s not the criticism of Beck. At least not for me.

    For me, it’s the notion that people are feeling compelled to “denounce” people like Beck or else be seen as offering “tepid defenses” or, worse, being cast as part of a “crazy fringe”. For example, I saw a clip the other day where Joe Scarborough said that every time he had a prominent Republican or conservative on his show he was going to put them on the spot and get them on the record either denouncing Beck or else being seen as expressing support for him. (Never mind that it’s my understanding that Beck isn’t even a Republican or a conservative.) That’s just a form of guilt by association. Next, I suppose Scarborough will ask them when they stopped beating their wives.

    And it’s not that I don’t want to be called a defender of Beck, it’s that I wouldn’t even know what I was defending if I were defending him (I’ve never watched him … I didn’t even watch Don’s video posted above). It’s not that I don’t want to be called a defender of Beck; it’s that I’m not actually defending him.

    My whole point is that the denunciation game is getting wearying. I’m tired of watching what can only be called a “movement” on the right to cast out the “wrong kind” of conservatives. Whether it’s calling Palin “a cancer” (by Brooks) or Bob Novak being called unpatriotic (by Frum, not to mention any number of recent Frum attacks on those whose “conservative” credentials are far more impeccable than anything Frum has to offer).

    Ideas and policies, I’m all up for discussing and even denouncing. Personalities? Not so much.

  • Thanks Jay, for putting it a little more eloquently than I did.

  • Thanks, Don, for posting the video. My mother absolutely adores Beck and has been admonishing me to watch him all year. Now I can finally say that I have! And he did a pretty nice job taking down Holdren and Erlich.

    Beck may be a first class jerk and opportunist, heck if I know. But let me ask you this, John Henry. Why not spend some time taking down Holdren rather than going after putative crazy people. The truth is Beck isn’t a danger to anyone, really, but Holdren is.

  • As a person who sometimes listens to Beck and Limbaugh, and finds them entertaining and informative, I admit I get a kick out of their outrageousness . Not being Republican, (or even American) I perhaps miss what the benefit of going after these guys might be. Is there one?

    Personally I appreciate that I have someone to listen to that has some of the same concerns I do about the culture of death and the repression of personal freedom… and they give me the occasional belly laugh as well.

    I have to say, as a Canadian, I don’t much care for the ‘David Frum’ approach. Seems to me there should be lots of room for free expression without unnecessary chastisement by ‘intellectual’ elites. Also, as a (non-aligned small-c) conservative Canadian I perhaps enjoy the vicarious employment of free expression a bit more than Beck’s detractors do.

    pax

  • Is Glenn Beck the problem with conservatism today?

    I don’t think so. Popular pundits play toward popular opinion – they always have and they always will. You have to consider them for what they are. They’re not austere scholars; they’re part entertainers, part opinion-makers.

    Anyone who takes them more seriously than this, I think, is mistaken.

  • Don’t mind Awakaman’s remarks. I should not have said unpatriotic Americans but on the other hand, it was way off topic. Dennis Miller is probably correct in saying something like “who cares about these Terrorists”… that’s fine, we heard last week, Abortion was legal per the Constitution just the way, Slavery was legal per the constitution, a Slave was 2/3rds of a human being. This is what the Democrats stood for. Are we making progress??

  • I don’t have cable. I have only seen YouTube clips of Beck and since those are taken out of context I am not going to express an opinion until I actually see his show. I don’t feel qualified to say much about Limbaugh either, since I’ve only spent about 5 minutes of my life listening to him. Contrary to what many liberals seem to think, all conservatives are not spoon-fed opinions by Beck and Limbaugh.

    However, Beck performed a great service by reporting on the Van Jones story and ACORN. What’s the greater evil here – that Beck may sometimes say extreme things or that certain ACORN workers did not appear to have much of a problem with 13 year old prostitutes? Who else was reporting on those stories? Not the “respectable” NY Times.

  • I am not trying to change the subject, but what I am really finding disturbing today is how many in Hollywood are defending admitted rapist Roman Polanski on the grounds that he is a great artist who has suffered tragedies in his life, etc.

    Whoopi Goldberg saying that the drugging and forcible sodomizing of a 13 year old was not “rape rape” is many degrees more disturbing than anything Beck has said.

    HuffPo has quite a few articles up defending Polanski. The heartening thing is that HuffPo’s own liberal readers disagree and are (mostly) agreed that Polanski should face the music.

    The dividing line on this one does not appear to be left/right but the artistic/media elite vs. everyone else. Don’t any of those people have daughters?

  • TomSVDP,
    It looks to me like awakaman Godwin’s Law’ed himself out of relevance early on, actually. Such overreaction to a little criticism betokens a mighty thin skin.

  • Off-topic or not, Donna–Amen! And a very intriguing observation about the divide.

  • Glenn Beck, by his own admission is NOT a journalist. He is an entertaining commentator. The frightening things is that he is a better journalist than most who claim to be.

    If anyone expects to agree with everything he says then they are going to be sorely dissappointed – that just isn’t possible.

    For most of us on this site it is ABSOLUTELY impossible. He is a Mormon convert. Nevertheless, he is an America loving patriot and he is right about many issues. Republicans suck. Democrats suck. And the rest of us DO SURROUND THEM.

    Do I like his 912 project? Not really, but then again I am more informed than most people. I also happen to be a news junkie. Not everyone’s cup of tea. That’s OK. What Beck has been able to do is amazing. People that had no interest in politics. People who don’t know the difference between Iran and Iraq, those who haven’t read the Constitution, etc. are NOW paying attention and getting active. That is great becuase we are duty-bound to participate in our own governance.

    If you defend him rabidly all the time you are probably nuts, if you attack him rabidly all the time you are definitely nuts. If you can respect his influence and that it is mostly positive and beneficial then you have seen his show, read his books and/or listened to him on the radio.

    If you haven’t then you are buying into the packaged spin and sound bites about him. The fact that everyone is attacking him, tells me he’s on to something and the twisted, lost, confused leftist anti-God establishment in this country is scared.

    Good.

    Also, do not confuse the messenger and the message. Beck has an odd sense of humor and some honest quircks that belong on a radio morning show and not prime time TV. I get it — I enjoy it. Some won’t. Don’t let that make you miss what he says. Sometimes, he’s off his rocker. Most of the time, he makes a great deal of sense.

  • Donna V.

    The Holy Father tells us to watch out for the dictatorship of relativism. That dictatorship already owns Hollyweird.

    Polanski didn’t rape the 13 year-old girl. She wanted it. As the adult he obviously knew that before he proceeded to violate her. We Americans are so prude. What’s wrong with a little underage sex?

    If you think the above is sick then you haven’t seen a Hollywierd movie in the last two decades. This is exactly what they promote. How can they see anything wrong with what he did since that is what their craft is all about these days.

    That’s like asking the toilet to be offended because there is fecal matter in it.

  • Um, no more comments about Polanski here. Jay did a good post on it earlier today; I’d refer you there if you want to talk about it. Here’s the link:

    http://proecclesia.blogspot.com/

  • Here are my final thoughts on the post.

    1) I appreciate everyone’s comments.

    2) I intended the post to prompt a non-partisan discussion about a) what people find appealing about people like Beck; b) whether such personalities help or hurt their cause; c) how Catholics should view such theatrical political commentary (I think it’s pernicious). The discussion kind of touched on those topics at points, but for the most part it failed, and I’ll take primary responsibility for that. At the same time, many of the comments were quite thought-provoking, so I think the post was at least an interesting failure.

    3) I apologize to Paul if I misrepresented his post (we disagree about that, but I may just be too stubborn to see that I was wrong…if I was wrong 😉 )

    4) Have a good night all.

  • Art,

    Palin uses crude gimmicks to enhance her appeal to “Joe six-pack”, to use the phrase she used. She challenges no one’s beliefs, does not demonstrate that she has even a rudimentary grasp of the positions and philosophy of her opponents, does not clearly articulate her reasons for taking the positions that she does, takes her own positions for granted and thus does not develop convincing rhetoric to promote them among the electorate, and was appallingly unprepared for the rigors of a political campaign.

    Instead she trades on slogans, on physical gestures such as winking, on folksy turns of phrase, and other mindless gimmicks to make an appeal to a culture that is hostile to anyone who “sounds too smart”. Her ignorance and lack of erudition were actually celebrated by many of her fans as evidence of her “authenticity”, and her whole candidacy lent legitimacy to the completely erroneous notion that our leaders ought to be “just like us”.

    It is sad and unfortunate that so many educated people in this country are so hostile to traditional values, but I am quite positive that we can do better than Sarah Palin. I don’t want a leader who is just like “Joe six-pack” or who primarily appeals to “Joe six-pack”. I don’t want “Joe six-pack” in charge of the country. “Joe six-pack” needs to be challenged and elevated, not placated and coddled.

    Gabriel Austin,

    Please stop the needless nitpicking and hair-splitting with words. Expressing like or dislike is not logically connected to emotion or subjectivity. It does not logically imply something petty or vain.

    It is a simple way of expressing the fact that I do not believe that Mrs. Palin ought to be the or even a leader or spokesperson for traditional moral values, that there are many who are more experienced, more articulate, and more intelligent than her that are suited for the task, that her presence on a conservative platform diminishes its potential effectiveness.

    Rather than state all of that each time to satisfy the petty nitpicking of people who automatically ascribe inferior or demeaning motives to anyone who dares criticize one of their beloved political icons, in a sentence that actually has nothing to do with my opinions of Mrs. Palin but rather with the fact that I actually don’t reject a person as an intelligent or decent human being because they actually do like her because I think reasonable people can disagree on this topic, I choose, for the purposes of expediency only, to say that “I don’t like her”.

    But way to completely misread the sentence, invent motives for me I don’t hold, imply feelings for me that I don’t have, in a petty and ultimately unnecessary attempt to defend the honor of Mrs. Palin. You have a lot to be proud of.

  • Actually Joe Palin challenges the beliefs of those who currently consider themselves the cultural elite of our society. Consider their reaction to Trig and her decision to bring a Downs Syndrome baby into this world. Their beliefs need challenging much more than those of the people who do most of the work in our society, as demonstrated most repulsively by the defense of some elites of the child rapist Polanski.

    Since resigning as governor she has helped derail ObamaCare, given an impressive address in Hong Kong, begun emerging as a leader in the Republican campaign to retake Congress in 2010 and is now poised to have a best-selling memoir Going Rogue. With the epic fail of the Obama Administration, and at this point I think that is a given, I believe she will be a formidable candidate for the White House in 2012, if she wishes it. I view her as the politician with the greatest potential I have seen since the first time I saw Reagan give a speech in 1968.

  • Don,

    I don’t reject the possibility that Palin can polish herself and become the sort of candidate I could accept.

    But I absolutely detest gimmicks and pandering, I loathe all celebrations of ignorance, I am not at all convinced that Palin is capable of making the sort of appeal that is absolutely necessary to independents, moderates, and conservative leaning Democrats, and I wouldn’t count the Obama administration totally defeated within its first year. Bill Clinton was thwarted on healthcare and the Democrats were swept out of power during his first term, but was still reelected. That could play itself out again.

    I don’t care what anyone says – love or hate Obama on the issues, he presented his positions skillfully and respectfully during the campaign. He brought an element to political discourse during the campaign that I appreciated very much, in spite of disagreeing with him so vehemently on life issues. I give credit where it is manifestly due, and criticism likewise.

    Now if comments like that are going to earn me insults and petty, vicious attacks, (I know they won’t from you, Don) I think that’s really sad. I know they’re coming, I know that writing article after article in defense of life and Church teaching will mean nothing next to one kind word for Obama and one criticism of Palin, but, that’s the way it is.

    So here I am, ready to catch your refuse. Fling it boldly!

  • As always Joe I respect your opinion. In regard to Obama I have always regarded him as a glib empty suit and that is still my opinion. His policies are the same liberal bromides that have been staples of the left of the Democrat party for decades. Note how he simply repeats the same message about health care ad nauseum. The man is unable to adapt to the fact that his health campaign is flailing and he needs to try different tactics. The same thing could be said about the stimulus package that manifestly did not stimulate the economy. He appears to have great difficulty in knowing what to do next if his initial plans fail. His overall inability to get his policies through a Congress dominated by his party illustrates both his lack of experience and his unwillingness or inability to develop an effective legislative stragegy. A turn in the economy could save him in 2012, but with his current policies I expect mini-recoveries followed by rapid recessions. There is nothing in the current business environment to encourage long lasting recovery and the government is doing everything possible to make that environment worse. I also, and I pray I am mistaken, expect serious foreign disasters and domestic terrorist attacks, and I think Obama is ill-equipped to deal with either.

    As for Palin her next test will come in 2010 as she hits the campaign trail for Republicans. Reagan honed his oratorical skills stumping for Goldwater in 64 and I expect Palin to do the same next year, assuming she still wishes to be a force in politics, and I suspect she does. I disagree that Palin celebrates ignorance. What she recognizes however is that elite opinion and that of most Americans radically diverge on almost every issue of substance confronting the nation. This divide I think is one of the salient facts in our current national life, and I believe Palin understands that. I will be curious to read her memoir and see how she addresses this point.

  • I know it’s a little late in the debate, but I want to offer an apology to John Henry for accusing him of “triangulation”. In my zeal to defend Paul – whose post on Beck I still maintain was unfairly described – I crossed the line and impugned John Henry’s motives.

    There is no doubt in my mind that there is a certain sort of “conservative” pundit who makes their living engaging in such “triangulation” to make themselves more palatable to their more liberal readers. I refer, of course to the aforementioned Douthat/Dreher/Brooks/Frum/etc. In fact, on occasion, some if not all, have admitted to such a strategy. Douthat, for example, has written:

    “There is unquestionably a sense in which center-right scriveners who work for institutions more liberal than they (or merely exist in a climate more liberal than they) have both personal and professional incentives to criticize their own side as often as they do the other one, and to advance arguments and strike attitudes that drive more committed partisans up the wall. I’m flattered that Julian Sanchez’s list of conservative writers in this position includes David Brooks and, well, me, but I think it’s pretty easy to come up with a longer tally – it would include everyone from Rod Dreher (one of the very few explicitly-conservative writers at Beliefnet and the Dallas Morning News, I believe) to Christopher Buckley (Forbes FYI editor, New Yorker contributor, and now Daily Beast blogger) to various other (Peggy Noonan, Tucker Carlson, Joe Scarborough, etc.) with one foot in the right-wing intelligentsia and one foot in the MSM… And while I’m sure that these writers and talkers are striving for objectivity in all things and at all times, I’m also acutely aware, from my own experience, of the way that peer effects – the desire to be perceived as the “reasonable conservative” by friends and peers, the positive reinforcement from liberal readers, etc. – can subtly influence the topics one chooses to write about and the tone one chooses to take.”

    That is “triangulation” any way you look at it. John Henry, on the other hand, I know to be genuinely interested in raising the tone of dialogue and maintaining civility in discourse. I have no doubts that his principle concern in writing this post is that he is worried that people like Beck are poisoning the political well.

    It was wrong of me, therefore, to insinuate that he had ulterior motives such as “triangulating” to make himself appear more reasonable than the rest of the herd. For that, I apologize.

  • Is it time to close the comments on this? 🙂

  • I apologize to Paul if I misrepresented his post (we disagree about that, but I may just be too stubborn to see that I was wrong…if I was wrong 😉 )

    No worries John. I replied immediately with snark rather than engage your post. As I said, I actually found it funny more than anything considering the feedback I received on Southern Appeal. So I apologize to you for derailing the conversation.

  • John Henry,

    I thought the discussion was pretty fruitful and engaging.

    Awesome job in keeping us all on our toes!

  • love or hate Obama on the issues, he presented his positions skillfully and respectfully during the campaign.

    The trouble, Joe, is that ‘presenting his positions’ is what he does. You will in vain look at his career in law and teaching for the achievement of any professional benchmarks. He never founded a law practice, never was granted a partnership in any extant practice, never was granted tenure or hired for aught but an adjunct position in the academy, and has only one very brief scholarly publication to his credit (penned when he was a student). Bill Clinton, Michael Dukakis, and Jimmy Carter had superintended state governments with tens of thousands on the payroll; B.O. has run voter registration campaigns. As legislators, Bill Bradley was notable for persistent promotion of tax simplification and Albert Gore for a running critique of the prevailing wisdom in the Democratic Party on foreign policy and the use of force; B.O. was notable for absences and voting ‘present’.

    Palin uses crude gimmicks to enhance her appeal to “Joe six-pack”, to use the phrase she used.

    Which?

    She challenges no one’s beliefs,

    Joe, the neuralgic reaction to this woman is an indication that her public remarks are a challenge to a certain subculture.

    does not demonstrate that she has even a rudimentary grasp of the positions and philosophy of her opponents, does not clearly articulate her reasons for taking the positions that she does, takes her own positions for granted and thus does not develop convincing rhetoric to promote them among the electorate,

    I draw a blank, Joe. Not in my lifetime have campaign speeches ever been occasions for discourses in political theory. That aside, Gov. Palin’s entry into political life was in the realm of municipal administration, where explicit references to architectonic principles is fairly unusual.

    and was appallingly unprepared for the rigors of a political campaign.

    ?

    Instead she trades on slogans, on physical gestures such as winking, on folksy turns of phrase, and other mindless gimmicks to make an appeal to a culture that is hostile to anyone who “sounds too smart”.

    Some years ago the psychologist Margaret Singer was asked to provide some expert testimony at the trial of Patricia Hearst, most particularly to examine various communications from the Symbionese Liberation Army to ascertain who among them was the author of each. She said her own longitudinal research indicated that people’s verbal styles were fixed fairly early in life, by age 17, in fact. I will wager she has been using the same turns of phrase for 25 years or more.

  • Art,

    So then you agree – Obama presents his positions well. That’s all I contend.

    As for Palin, you are being easy on her to the point of what I think is, and please pardon my saying so, absurdity.

    All one has to do is contrast her response to questions about abortion to a candidate like Mike Huckabee. Your trying to let her off the hook by arguing that campaign speeches are not occasions for political theory is simply unbelievable. If all she is suited for is administration, then she should stick to administration and stop pretending that she can lead. A leader MUST have a grasp of “architectonic principles”, must be able to articulate clearly why what they advocate is objectively good – at least in order to win my respect and support.

    I don’t want a mayor who can talk folksy with the commoners. I want a person who understands and can articulate clearly what he is fighting for and why he is fighting for it. Palin does not provide that.

    Aphorisms and sound bites repeated ad nauseum about “big government”, “high taxes”, and “cutting spending” are as appealing to me as a bucket of puke.

    As for the final paragraph, do you really, honestly expect me to swallow any of that? All of Palin’s appeals to “Joe six-pack” are politically calculated down to the last muscle movement.

    I don’t know why you and others seek to stretch your own credibility to the breaking point in defending this woman, but I refuse to play along. If and when she shows some refinement, class, and genuine passion beyond the same old stupid red-meat slogans, I will give her another chance. Until then, make mine Huckabee.

  • Thanks to Paul, Jay, and Tito for their comments above. I was in meetings this morning, so I couldn’t respond sooner. In the future, I’ll try and provide a more focused discussion (and I’ll try not to lose my temper and impugn motives so easily).

    I would close comments now…but actually, I’m not sure how – and if Joe and Art Deco want to continue their discussion, Joe’s a contributor and can monitor that going forward.

  • More, more.

    I like the banter about Obama as ‘articulate’ and ‘effective’ – whatever that means — I think he stammers and hmms and uhs a great deal and cannot articulate an idea that isn’t some begnign sounding socialist slogan. He doesn’t even give credit to Chavez (Julio not Hugo) for, ‘si se pueda’.

    Palin may not be the ideal ‘conservative’ candidate but I think she is effective and genuine. The future is yet to be written but I think that an honest and genuine leader is exactly what this government needs if it is to be true to its Constitutionally mandated mission.

    Remember that if the Executive were to act as the Constitution dictates their power is severly curtailed – for that matter so is Congress’. Without the heady appeal of increasing power bordering on absolutism we’d have more leadership like Cincinatus than Ceasar.

    Palin is cast in the Cincinatus mold. Obama is cast in the Manchurian candidate mold.

  • Regardless of what conservative elites say about Palin, she has “it” and the American people respond to her.

    Peggy Noonan can eat her crabcakes and crumpets until the cows come home for all I care.

  • Joe Hargrave writes Tuesday 29 Sept.
    “Gabriel Austin,
    Please stop the needless nitpicking and hair-splitting with words. Expressing like or dislike is not logically connected to emotion or subjectivity.

    The word is expressive of emotion.

    “It does not logically imply something petty or vain”.

    Never said it did, but you seem to “feel” that it does.

    “[It is a simple way of expressing the fact that] I do not believe that Mrs. Palin ought to be the or even a leader or spokesperson for traditional moral values, that there are many who are more experienced, more articulate, and more intelligent than her that are suited for the task, that her presence on a conservative platform diminishes its potential effectiveness”.

    Now all you had to do is delete the first part and begin with “I do not believe…”. And then you can give reasons. [As against the unnamed others, it my opinion that her defense of her Down baby is a major experience. It seems to have raised the hackles of the non-maternal female talking-heads: “How dare she keep a Down’s baby”?].

    I had thought that I was doing you a favor by pointing out a lapse from logic into emotion. And that you are viscerally reacting against Joe Sixpack. All things told I believe that the instincts of Joe Sixpack are sounder than those of poorly educated college students. And much of that depends on making clear distinctions {“nitpicking]. It was the genius of GKC that he spent his life nitpicking. Must be where I picked up the habit.

  • Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was dealing with the next GK.

    “The word is expressive of emotion.”

    Really? I wasn’t informed that preferences were the equivalent of emotions now.

    “Never said it did, but you seem to “feel” that it does.”

    So you didn’t mean to imply that by suggesting that my comment reminded you of, I think, Dr. Phil? Oh I see, that was a compliment. How silly of me to have mistaken your charitable compliment with an implication of pettiness.

    “it my opinion that her defense of her Down baby is a major experience”

    That is not a qualification for office or leadership of a political movement, no matter how admirable a thing it may be.

    “I had thought that I was doing you a favor by pointing out a lapse from logic into emotion”

    Right!

    “All things told I believe that the instincts of Joe Sixpack are sounder than those of poorly educated college students.”

    I’d say they suffer from different problems, and that we are fortunate that there are more options than these.

    “And much of that depends on making clear distinctions”

    That had nothing to do with your post. No one is more on top of making clear distinctions than I. In fact, I’ll make one right now – a clear distinction between making a clear distinction, and nitpicking for the sake of scoring cheap points in a round of comboxing.

  • Noonan is a classic neo-con. Don’t be fooled by the word conservative in neo-con — they aren’t conservative. They are the same ilk that is on the left they are simply employing a pincer move to flank us on both sides.

    Fair-minded people will run from the ‘extremist’ neo-cons o the right and we will fall hard into the hands of their ‘opponents’ on the left.

    It is far better for us to stay away from extremists like Palin and Beck as well as extremists like Van Jones and Valerie Jarrett. We should just stay right in the middle where it is safe and we aren’t too hot or too cold.

    Oh, wait, I remember Someone telling me that He hates lukewarm more than hot and cold. He promised to spit me out of His mouth for being lukewarm, middle-of-the-road. . .mediocre. Hmm. Makes you think.

    Neo-cons and lefty-loony liberals are on the same side and this false Left/Right dichotomy, created during the Reign of Terror!!!! is not real.

    Assuming you want to use a right-left model. Then the right is anarchy and the left is absolutism. Both stink. What we need is a balanced approach, um, sort-a, kind-a like the one some wise, old, dead, white guys came up with.

    Defending it extremely isn’t a vice. The Constitution has no tolerance for neo-cons, like Noonan, or liberal/progessive/socialist/fascist/communists.

    The discussion about Palin and Obama seems to center around which one of them is better at articulating this point. Are we in America today, Constitutionalists, or are we anti-Constitutionalists?

  • Hey now, don’t put Noonan on us neo-cons. Someone who’s been reflecting on the golden past since end the end of the Reagan administration is hardly “neo”.

    Nor am I clear how you see neo-cons as being the same as liberals. If you were to go for a rough definition, neo-cons are conservatives who are not isolationist (and in some cases are actively interventionalist) in regards to foreign policy. One might also specify that they’re free market in economic orientation — to the extent that some paleo or traditional conservatives are protectionists. That’s about all the “neo” generally can be taken to predict in regards to distinguishing “neo-cons” from conservatives as a whole.

  • All these labels are confusing. You’d think that was the point. Oh, wait a minute it is the point.

    I like simple things.

    As far as the visible political spectrum is concerned I see it flanked by no authority and supreme authority. I don’t like either option and frankly each pole has a heavy gravitational pull. Commies, et al suck you toward the black hole of absolutism. There is no such thing as a little communism unless it is a tactic to get you more communism.

    No authority is absolute chaos, look at the lefties protesting the G20 meetings and all the violence and problems they created. Now if it wasn’t for their anarcho-communism, they may actually have gotten the nice “joe six-pack” tea party folks to join them. Becuae the G20 disaster is just another supernational organization seeking to take us to absolutism.

    Either way the devil wins – at least for a little while.

    So what are we to do? We need to look beyond the visibile political spectrum and look at the invisible.

    First order is to obey God and His law. For us that is the Magesterium, Tradition and Scripture. For others – it is a ‘personal’ relationship with Christ (I don’t know how much more personal you can get than eating Him). Either way, we know that He is the King and the only true sovreign. So how do we square that with the temporal order. Promote FREEDOM. Freedom to choose Him, or not. That can only exist in a Christian culture.

    So first order of business is respect the Christian basis for our Republic no matter what religious, or non-religious beliefs people have. Next, set up a temporal sovreign authority that is checked and limited by RULES and SEPERATION of powers. Then defend it — becuase it will be attacked – perpetually.

    If these two things, which we already have, are respected then the shades of political discourse eb and flow along a narrow spectrum becuase they have to be within the limits of the Constitution and God’s Law.

    That excludes all forms of communism (socialism, fascism, etc.). So the difference betweent he so-called left and right would be rather thin, as it is now, the difference is both parties would be much farther to the right, with their eye above.

    Our politics is inherently CONSERVATIVE and LIBERAL. It is conservative in that we wish to conserve that which has been handed to us. Adam gave away our freedom and Christ returned it – that is conservative. We are liberal becuase we are conserving freedom, which is liberty, which is liberal.

    Essentially, we have a broad range of freedom but it has limits. In that simple range, we are as liberal as we want to be so long as we remain within the conservarive boundries that we’ve been given.

    All this other stuff, is window dressing. We are arguing about whether government should give us a tax break or a tax hike. If they should give us a little more or a little less socialist security. We argue about if we should go to war in the Balkans or in Iraq. It is a fool’s game.

    Neo-cons, paleo-cons, liberals, progressive, blue dogs, blah, blah, blah. Come on. I’m not buying it.

    God or no God.

    Abortion or Life.

    Private Property or Communism.

    It is all about extremes, the shades in the middle are put there by someone who wants us lost and confused becuase he is mired in darkness.

    I opt out.

  • Oh, and Noonan is a neo-con. So there.

  • It seems the White House watches Glenn Beck. Also is concerned with “Fox News Lies.”

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/Reality-Check-Turning-a-Point-of-Pride-into-a-Moment-of-Shame/

  • I don’t care if Noonan is a neo-con – her column on Palin’s departure from the political scene was one of the most agreeable things I have ever read.

  • I tend to agree with some of American Knight’s sentiments.

    Neocons are not conservative in any way; they are not merely interventionist and free-marketers (as how DarwinCatholic has defined them, which by themselves, aren’t really bad qualities) but, more importantly –and worse, are for BIG GOVERNMENT!

    Moreover, they are far more dangerous than anything on theh Left.

    Because neocons tend to disguise themselves as being seemingly conservative, they are the ones actually responsible for moving conservatism farther & farther towards the Left, just how the many policies of Bush Jr. did!

    Hence, the sad and sorry state of genuine Conservatism today!

  • I don’t care if Noonan is a neo-con – her column on Palin’s departure from the political scene was one of the most agreeable things I have ever read.

    Hmmm. I found it bitter, catty and vile — and that even as someone who doesn’t think that Sarah Palin has a political future (or necessarily should) at this point.

    But I suppose that starts to get rather far off the topic.

  • “I found it bitter, catty and vile”

    I think that pretty well sums up the pretentious Peggy Noonan. For those who think Darwin exaggerates here is the Noonan rant.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124716984620819351.html

    “What she is, is a seemingly very nice middle-class girl with ambition, appetite and no sense of personal limits.” In other words, how could this Alaskan multiple mom with a degree from a no name school accomplish more than the superbly accomplished Peggy Noonan who has four honorary doctorates, and who, next month, will sell more copies of her book than Noonan could if she lived for a thousand years. I expect another Noonan anti-Palin column about that time.

  • Stuart Schwartz has a mediation on Noonan’s obsession with Palin.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/07/peggy_noonan_sarah_palin_jealo.html

  • If you take the major issues of the day they are boiled down to two simple things.

    Is more government the answer, or, is even more government the answer?

    I don’t like either option. Government is not the answer. Government is simply the handing over of our individual, God-given sovreignty to keep our appetites in check. Note that is a very, very limited definition of checking appetites.

    They do NOT get to decide what I eat unless it is another human being, or some such horror. If I want trans-fat I can choose to eat trans-fat. If that kills me, that is my choice and I’ll be called to judgement on it. If I choose to eat another human being, then first I have to kill them or steal their body. That is not a dietary problem, that is murder or theft and we have laws agains those because God forbids them in His Law.

    That is pretty simple. Anyone can wrap their brain around that. The problem is the Left wants to tell me what I can and can’t eat and the ‘free-traders’ on the Right want 1000 page treaties to determine where I can get foreign food from and destroy domestic production in the process. Neither activity is legitimately allowed by our Constitution.

    This is what Glenn Beck has hit on, and although I am a fan becuase I think he is well intentioned and entertaining, I am not foolish enough to think that he is some kind of hero or leader. He’s a guy with a TV and radio show. Often he makes sense. Usually he entertains me.

    His appeal is that we need to return God to His rightful place as the true sovreign of our country (it is a whole other discussion to address the fact that he is a Mormon, essentially a poly-thiestic, false religion – but he might not know that). He also does his best to encourage others to adhere to the Constitution. People are responding, either positively becuase in their gut they know that is right, or negatively becuase they are so mired in darkness that they actually hate the USA and probably God too.

    If we simply follow the rules of order, both eternal (God’s Law) and temporal (the Constitution) our life together will be better, or at least not as bad. The attacks, both foreign and domestic, will NEVER stop. Which is where most libertarians lose it becuase their God is the market. God made the market, but the market is not God. Neo-cons lose it becuase they want more government (as e. pointed out above) but they want it to use for ‘good’ as they define, or rather don’t define it. Right, trust me, let me have all the power, I will be a ‘good’ dictator not like that other guy. Come on, who buys that? Liberals lose it because they want government to be God.

    True conservatism is about adhering as closely to the Constitution and the Commandments as possible and being prepared for a vigorous defense of both. Defense is first religious, then cultural, then intellectual and finally sanctioned force. Not adventurism, not isolationism and not necessarily non-agression. It is certainly situational and the closest adherance we can maintain to just war doctorine will be best and mistakes will be made becuase we’re idiots. But at least we would know what we are fighting for – to perserve our Constitution and the freedom to worship God.

    Beck’s popularity is stemming from the fact that he articulates that and he does it in a way that appeals to a wide, relatively unintellectual, yet, intelligent audience. An audience that would be far more intelligent if they were not educated in the government schools of the leftists and the neo-cons. Derida sucks and so does Straus.

  • What was so wrong with Noonan’s so-called “rant”?

    Besides, what she said at the beginning:

    It is an opportunity they should take. They mean to rebuild a great party. They need to do it on solid ground.

    …is precisely what the Republican Party needs to do: rebuild the base by reclaiming its Conservatism, indeed, its very identity.

  • the ‘free-traders’ on the Right want 1000 page treaties to determine where I can get foreign food from and destroy domestic production in the process.

    Actually, the free traders on the right want simple, open trade with no tariffs or restrictions except for a few banned substances perhaps (weapons, fissionable materials, etc.) What results from them trying to work this out with established interests is a 1000 page “free trade” document. But if you look at actual free traders (say, Milton Freedman) they don’t seek 1000 page free trade deals, they seek free trade.

    But I will give you that Beck is populist. It’s just that that is exactly why I don’t like him or consider him a real conservative.

  • No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

    No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

    Article 1, Section 9

    That is all it takes to create a free-trade zone. Congress also has the power to charge a fee to all economic entities outside of the “US free trade zone”. As long as they are uniform across all actors and industries then that is a far preferable way to raise government revenue than taxing us.

    Now I agree that has become a ‘conservative’ principle, but the Republicans, as a party only pander to this. McCain kept talking about being a free-trader during the campaign, in the words of Joe Wilson, “He lies”. So although it is technically correct that free traders are on the right, the Republicans who tell us they are on the right, don’t qualify as authentic free-traders, they are managed-traders just like the Demoncrats on the left, except that they pick and chose different criteria and granted, for the most part, they can be better trusted to protect national security. I say for the most part becuase so-called Republicans like, Ike, gave away so much that we may as well have raised the hammer and sickle above the White House.

    As far as Beck goes, yes, he is somewhat of a populist, a neo-populaist if you will. He is relatively conservative, but that is a slippery label for him. He is most certainly an entertainer. He is not going away, his popularity will increase and so will his influence and that has dangerous consequences, not becuase he is dangerous, but becuase it means that people are playing follow the leader again and not thinking for themselves and not reading and following the rules.

    This Republic was made for a moral and (Christian) religious people who are educated enough to know what the Constitution actually states.

    Immoral, irreligious and dumb mobs will lose their freedom for a charismatic and powerful figure-head who will be managed by the trans-national banking elite. Oh, wait, I think that is already happening.

  • American Knight:

    This Republic was made for a moral and (Christian) religious people who are educated enough to know what the Constitution actually states.

    You might want to re-educate yourself on American History as well as the Constitution; in particular, Article 1, Section 9, among other things.

  • e.,

    Huh?

    Since I quoted Article 1, Section 9 in the previous post the only thing I can think is that you disagree with my interpretation of it, yet, you quote another section of my post that has nothing to do with that section.

    The part you quoted was in reference to John Adams and I think he may have known a thing or two about the Constitution and its context.

    Please clarify.

  • …Peggy Noonan…

    I’ve already was suspicious of her hallow Catholicism, and when she went after Governor Palin the ruse was over.

    She is out of touch with mainstream America, or at least the underclass and unrepresentative. Her many guffaws (I thought the mic was off excuse) pretty much nailed it for me that she talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk.

  • Pingback: Glenn Beck: Evangelical Outreach Coordinator? « The American Catholic

The Pope, The Clown and The Cross

Monday, September 28, AD 2009

skelton_pope

In 1957 comedian Red Skelton was on top of the world.  His weekly comedy show on CBS was doing well.  He had  curtailed the drinking which had almost derailed his career.  Not too shabby for a man who had started out as a circus and rodeo clown and who was now often called the clown prince of American comedy.  He and his wife Georgia had two beautiful kids:  Richard and Valentina Maria.  Then the worst thing in the world for any parent entered into the lives of Red and Georgia Skelton:  Richard was diagnosed with leukemia.  Unlike today, a diagnosis of leukemia in a child in 1957 was tantamount to saying that Richard was going to die soon.  Red immediately took a leave of absence from his show.  CBS was very understanding and a series of guest hosts, including a very young Johnny Carson, filled in for Skelton during the 1957-1958 season.

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37 Responses to The Pope, The Clown and The Cross

  • Beautiful story, Don. Thanks for posting it.

  • Thank you John Henry. I was vaguely aware of the death of Skelton’s son, but until I began researching Skelton last week I was unaware of the connection to Pius XII. Courage and grace in the face of death always moves me, and Richard Skelton had those qualities to the full.

  • Good story. I see Red’s own father died shortly after Red was born. He must have been grounded well in his beliefs. I’m sure there are DVDs of his shows, I think I’ve seen them advertized on TV.

  • Wikipedia has interesting information, I wonder if they reference his Catholicism.

    I see it says he was a FreeMason and more on the story above,

    “As if the loss of his show was not enough, his ex-wife Georgia committed suicide in 1976, five years after their divorce and on the tenth anniversary of their son’s death years before. That was her second attempt at suicide. Georgia left a note that said, “The reason I chose this day, is so you wouldn’t feel bad twice in one year.” [8]”

    So nix to that about being grounded in Catholicism. If Red were a midwesterner from Indiana, Dean Martin was born in Steubbenville, Ohio of all places, if Ohio is considered Midwestern. Interesting to track down where some of these people hailed from.

  • An anecdote about Skelton:

    “Funny how you can go to a doctor’s offices and find magazines that are years old in the lobby. I had to go to a dentist two week ago and found a Golf magazine from the 80’s. I also found a magazine that told me the following story:

    Decades ago, a young American was flying across the mountain ranges of Europe on his way to London. Accompanying his friend, a Catholic priest, the two were scheduled to have a meeting with the Pope in England. As the priest talked, the plane suddenly rocked. Then rocked again. Something told the priest the plane was not destined to ever touch
    land again.

    The passengers, busy in their individual conversations, failed to notice, the priest observed, until a flight attendant made an announcement of impending doom. The plane was over a mountain range and losing altitude.

    As expected, panic set in.

    The priest loosened his seat belt, realizing he had but minutes to offer last rites to any who might desire them. His young friend, Richard, sat motionless, staring at the seat before him. The priest went about his duties. Then, all at once, reality hit Richard in the face and he noticed that behind his seat and to the right was a child, two children, several children. If indeed this was to be the last moments of their short lives, Richard determined, he would make sure the children never knew it.

    The young American rose to his feet and started to make faces at the kids. Horrible faces, ugly faces. Most of the youngsters laughed, but one did not. This boy, about the age of 5, became Richard’s focus. Richard stuck his tongue out. So did the boy. Richard did it again, making an awful face. The boy imitated him. As the priest delivered last rites, Richard kept the children amused. None of them knew the earth was rushing up to meet their craft in spikes of ancient stone.

    Meanwhile, the pilot had been amazed that the plane had cleared most of the rough crags that reached for the skies. One lone mountaintop was left to clear; their fate waited on its other side. By inches, the plane cleared that last mountain. What lay on the other side was a large cow pasture with soft, rolling grasses. The craft slid in on a cushion provided by Mother Nature – rough, but not the landing the pilot and most of the passengers had imagined.
    Certainly not what either the priest or Richard had expected.

    Those young children never knew how close they had approached Heaven’s gates, nor did many of them ever know the young, auburn-haired performer who kept that knowledge from them miles above the earth.

    His name was Richard but we knew him as Red Skelton.”

    I can believe the anecdote. Throughout his life Skelton’s motto appears to have been “Kids First”.

    http://finaltaxi.wordpress.com/2007/09/17/has-america-forgotten-its-famous-clown/

  • Great story. Thanks Donald.

  • Thanks for this story, Donald.

  • Thank you gentlemen.

  • British journalists revel in being mean.

  • I see a family resemblance in his son. Bless Them.

  • Main thing I remember about Red Skelton:
    “Good night, and God bless.”

  • wow, that was very touching.

  • Great story! Thank you.

  • i recall Richard’s passing well. Such a tragic loss. Red was never ever the same. what parent is. He was a great clown ,lover of mankind and beautiful human being. thsnks Brad. I know this story for 50 years. may both their gentle souls rest eternally in peace. bless them and you for reminding us how gentle but strng love is between parent and child.

  • Thank you gentlemen. Tom, your last sentence says it all. I think in the love between parent and child we get a tiny taste of the love God has for each of us.

  • I have deleted the comments of Crusader. They were off topic and frankly a little strange. I have also placed him on moderation for the time being. I have also deleted my response to Crusader as well as the responses of foxfier and cminor, no offense to either of them intended, especially since they are two of my favorite commenters.

  • No offense taken, Donald; I understand completely. The whole situation had me wondering if there was a full moon out.

  • Keeping the peace without harm– sounds like a good plan to me.

  • Crusader, I’ve deleted your latest comments. They were bizarre and had nothing to do with this topic. You are banned from this blog.

  • From the little I know about families, it is extremely difficult for a marriage to succeed when a child dies before their parents, especially when they’re still in adolescence.

    I am sure there are marriages that have been able to stay together, though I have yet to hear or see of one.

    Just a side note.

    On the posting…

    Wonderful story, touching and moving.

  • Tito-
    I know of one, personally, where the child was killed in a farm accident while his mother and brother were near– keeping themselves intact was not easy. I think other children being very young and how sudden the loss is might have a big effect on it.

  • From the little I know about families, it is extremely difficult for a marriage to succeed when a child dies before their parents, especially when they’re still in adolescence.

    I am sure there are marriages that have been able to stay together, though I have yet to hear or see of one.

    My parents. My dad’s parents. My mom’s parents.

    I’m very much hoping not to have to follow in their footsteps, obviously — but a lot of people do deal with it and stay together.

  • That is great to hear Darwin. I knew there were those out there that persevered. That explains a lot of the deepness of your Catholic faith now.

    I hope the same for me if I’m blessed with a family.

  • I think it’s one of those things, like extreme financial difficulties, which can break a marriage that wasn’t strong to begin with. And sadly, a lot aren’t.

  • Also my uncle and aunt, grandparents, and great-grandparents. The latter two couples lived in a different time, of course: losing a child was unfortunately more common and divorce almost unthinkable. Likely that element of unthinkability makes a difference.

  • In the 1800s, killer diseases of children filled the graveyards. One story in my family that was told by my great-grandmother was the rapid succession of death of her three, beautiful, younger sisters from diphtheria. Her mother dreamed, or had a vision, of an angel who shed three tears, and said, “Bea, Flora, and Ada.” Her three, beautiful daughters soon thereafter contracted this childhood killer disease. From that point on, no one in the family was allowed to relate any mystical experiences or dreams. One can imagine the heartbreak of so many families in this time period and speculate that their wardrobe must have consisted of many black garments. No matter how much a family suffered grief and heartbreak, divorce was a rarity. Families were much, much larger then and perhaps were better able to absorb the loss.

  • Lack of three generations that have been taught “when the going gets tough, leave”– and a lack of unilateral decision making for said divorces.

    My mom’s dad’s folks were separated– never divorced, just decided they couldn’t stand each other and lived in totally different areas of the country thereafter.

  • It’s interesting how in the earlier generations families were larger, and by secular standards “to hard” to handle, and were more prone to infant deaths yet they remained in tact and even flourished though today many families divorce after the death of a child.

    Can we say “secularization” or “modernism” has had a net negative effect on the nuclear family?

  • Oops, forgot another aspect: most folks don’t have a support structure.

    When my mom was a kid her mother lost two children, and suffered from what we’d call post-partum depression; the older boys looked after my mom, neighbors watched the boys and made sure that Granny was functioning, siblings and in-laws picked up the slack, and it was a worry that the grandparents were in another state.

    Now? It’s unusual if you have one sister and one brother, it’s unusual if your parents are near to help, hardly any neighbors would be comfortable laying down the law for someone else’s kids and the only two examples I can think of where kids stayed at a cousin’s house, there were rather dire results because of such different parenting styles. (In English: folks with stressed marriages seem to always have utter _BRATS_ and defend their every misdeed to the death.)

    Random extra thought: those earthquakes that hit China and took down several schools, killing many children, also triggered suicides in the parents of the children– suspected to be a result of the one child policy, which means that many families were absolutely gutted.

  • Foxfier,

    Excellent point!

    Especially in rural parts of the country, you would have cousins, nephews, and nieces assisting in raising newborns, infants, and children.

    This was their baby-training for when they had families of their own.

    Now, especially secularized couples, have one or no children and they look around and have no cousins or aunts and uncles as well.

  • Speaking of having a family support structure reminded me of a true story. It’s the story of Charlie.

    Charlie was a momma’s boy. He simply adored his mother. He looked up to his older brother and loved his father but his mother was everything to him.
    When Charlie as 8 yrs. old he came home from school one day only to learn that his mother had taken ill and died while he was in class. He was devastated but took solace in prayer to the Blessed Mother the only other women in his young life.
    In less then 3 years Charlie suffered another loss, that of his big brother he so much looked up to. That left just Charlie to be with his father.
    Charlie grew in the love of his father but in Charlie’s 20th year he was alone in life as his father also died. Even before his 21st birthday Charlie had lost all those he loved in life, his entire family. To make matters worse Charlie got on the wrong side of the authorities in charge. He had to go into hiding after a while and was taken in by the towns man of the cloth for safekeeping.
    Charlie also decided to pursue the religious life and soon the man that had once lost his entire family took the entire world to be his family. He went to those that could not come to him. He traveled his whole life to be with that adopted world family. But Charlie grew old and the travel tired him greatly. Charlie left this life in his old age and know one will ever remember Charlie. Yes that’s right! Charlie will not be remembered at all. At least by that name. For you see Charlie is what his name would be in English. But his given first name in his native language was Karol. Karol Wojtyla…Pope John Paul II

    The man without a family left this world with his entire world family in tears at his passing…John Paul the Great…..

  • Great comment Robert!

  • I just happened upon this story. Sincere thanks to the gentleman who posted it.
    I was blessed to meet and become friends with Red Skelton during the last 18 years of his life. As the girl in the article pointed out, Red was just as wonderful a man when out of character as when he was in character. I saw Red in all kinds of situations through the years, but his faith and quiet strength never waivered. Once, he showed me that first Crucifix given him by Pope Pius, and I’ve never forgotten it. Red’s faith and strength of character had a profound effect on my life. I miss him very much; but, as he promised me years ago, “we’ll meet up there someday.” May God rest him, truly one of the finest men I’ve ever known.

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  • I was so moved by this article. I’d like to post it on my blog, attributing it to you of course, this Christmas eve. Please let me know if I can.

    There are people who face this Christmas without someone they love very much. I believe that Red Skelton’s experience with the pope and his son’s illness affirms the power of Christian love over death and despair. Let me know.

  • Please feel free Suzanne; the more people who know about this wonderful story of faith and love in the face of death, the better.

Cinema Classics: The Thin Man Movies

Sunday, September 27, AD 2009

Giving strength to the phase “they’re not making them like that any more” is the classic series of film noir take-offs the Thin Man movies, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy.

The first movie, The Thin Man (1934), was based on a novel by one of the godfathers of noir, Dashiell Hammett, who also worked on the screenplays for the first two movies. However the chemistry of Powell and Loy make the movie of The Thin Man a good deal more fun than the book: classy, witty and all-around a good time.

The movie was such a success it was followed in 1936 by Another Thin Man, and eventually a total of six Thin Man movies were made, ending with the 1947 Song of the Thin Man. To my mind, the three 30s movies are the best, with the feel of the movies changing slightly in the later movies.

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3 Responses to Cinema Classics: The Thin Man Movies

  • Yes, excellent movies, though when my wife introduced me to them I wondered if William Powell might have been the Bill W of AA.

  • Count me as another Thin Man fan. I’m just sad there are only six of them.

  • I am again one of the many that loves the Thin Man series. I was the same format would be made to make a new set of films for example the son of the tin man or grandson of the thin man takes over for Nick The one thing I hope would be not shown is someone throwing up on screen. I have never thought that was emtertainment.

Congress Goes Batty

Sunday, September 27, AD 2009

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  I wonder how the bat would vote on ObamaCare?

A few years ago my wife and I awoke in the middle of the night to a bat flying around our bedroom,  the only time we have seen  a bat in our house.  We turned on the overhead light and the bat began to circle it at top speed.  We opened the bedroom window, but the bat seemed to be having too much fun circling our light.  I grabbed a towel from our bathroom, and, hearkening back to the “towel wars” I participated in during high school a bit over three decades ago, I snapped the towel at the bat.  The creature fell stunned on our bed.  I threw the towel over the bat, and unceremoniously tossed towel and bat out the window.  The next morning I retrieved the towel.  No bat was lying on the ground, so I assume it went on its bat way unscathed.

That was my one and only run in with a bat.  On the whole I would rather deal with them than the results of most Congressional legislation.

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8 Responses to Congress Goes Batty

Just Desserts

Saturday, September 26, AD 2009

I’m not normally the guy putting up political YouTube videos, but this was just too funny to pass up. Ill. rep Baron Hill talks down to a journalism major about why she’s not allowed to record video during his town hall: because videos invariably end up showing compromising moments on YouTube. And now here he is, hectoring the girl, on YouTube.

Lesson: For politicians, life is like the Internet. If you do something stupid, it will always be there for everyone to see.

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26 Responses to Just Desserts

  • “Lesson: For politicians, life is like the internet. If you do something stupid, it will always be there for everyone to see.”

    Amazing how many of them still don’t realize that. The internet has changed everything about politics and so many practitioners are showing they have a very steep learning curve.

  • Desserts, Indiana.

    Agreement on … well, not stupidity, but errors.

    That said, I think it’s … unwise to suppose one’s public meetings won’t be broadcast on the internet. Somewhere. Eventually politicians will get the message, and they will be inclined to more circumspection in their public appearances. And that will be good, right?

  • It seems to me that the Congressman was in the right here. You don’t have the right to film a Congressman’s townhall if he doesn’t want you to. The fact that a video ended up on YouTube seems less a matter of just deserts than of vindication.

  • “You don’t have the right to film a Congressman’s townhall if he doesn’t want you to.”

    Why not? He is an elected official meeting with constituents. I doubt that there is any law giving him the right to unilaterally stop video taping of a public meeting. Even if he did have the right, he was a complete idiot for exercising it, especially in a district where, except for 2008, his victory totals have been unimpressive and he lost his seat for two years in 2004.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baron_Hill

    His perennial opponent Mike Sodrel, who beat Hill in 2004, is hinting that he might run against him in 2010.

    http://hoosierpundit.blogspot.com/search/label/Mike%20Sodrel

  • If he does not want compromising moments, then he simply should not create any.

  • I agree with Blackadder here; this is not to say I think he is wise to say “don’t film,” because that will encourage it. On the other hand, I understand why he says it — it is very easy to take such film out of context.

  • The least interesting question here is whether the Congressman has a legal right to bar videotaping of a town hall meeting that he convenes. People have the “right” to do all kinds of stupid, immoral, and wrongheaded things. A congressman who convenes a public meeting of his constituents with the stipulation that it may not be recorded is making a foolish decision at several levels, but the most important level is that he will be understood as behaving like a potentate rather than a servant.

  • “The least interesting question here is whether the Congressman has a legal right to bar videotaping of a town hall meeting that he convenes.”

    The fixation, in part, on rights. What about common courtesy? If a person hosts an event and asks people not to do something … take video, get drunk, spit tobacco juice on the carpet … what does it say when people do not heed a request? Even a servant can ask, “Please extend your leg further so I can shine your shoe.”

  • “What about common courtesy?”

    Mr. Hill was showing zero courtesy, common or otherwise. Townhalls used to be photo-ops for members of Congress. I guess Hill didn’t get the memo that times have changed quickly. Elected officials had better get used to being video taped by constitutents. That genie is never going back in the bottle.

  • Well, Donald, I didn’t watch DC’s video. I have no reason to doubt the congressman may have acted a bit like a rump if you say he did.

    The question then shifts: does it make a difference, then, if a potential YouTube target says please and thank you? Or if somebody demands you take your crappy boots off at the door, does that give you license to track mud where you please?

  • I do think that the journalism major shows herself quite a child of the moment with her phrasing “isn’t that my right?” I don’t see that video taping a townhall is any kind of a right.

    What does strike me as amusing here is that the girl asks a question very politely, having clearly obeyed the request to not use her video camera.

    The congressman then proceeds to put her in her place pretty rudely, explaining that it’s his townhall and no one can tell him how to run it — all the while being caught on video by someone else in the room (from the quality, I’d guess it’s someone using a cell phone to record the video). If the congressman had seen fit to explain his position politely, there would have been no YouTube moment, but instead he takes the assumed safety of there being no video cameras to give a college student the “I’m way better than you” treatment, and ends up as a YouTube sensation.

    I do think that it has to do with the importance of politeness, but the politeness of the congressman is the problem here. If he’d remained polite despite his assumption there were no cameras running, there would have been no YouTube notoriety despite someone disobeying his rules.

  • This wasn’t a private home Todd or a private meeting for invited guests only. This was a public meeting held by a Congressman and anyone, by definition, could attend. Video taping such a meeting is commonly done by members of Congress for campaign commercials to show how in touch they are with their constituents. Now members of the public are doing precisely the same thing and some of the members of Congress are foolish enough to say publicly that they think is terribly unfair. This is not about manners, but rather a testament to just how totally out of touch some members of Congress are.

  • I would disagree that the Congressman’s response was rude (he gets a little snippy towards the end, after he’s already been booed). In fact, if his response is considered rude, it’s hard for me to imagine how he could have explained his position without coming across as rude. Maybe if he’d said “I paid for this microphone” people would be applauding him. But I doubt it.

    As for the question of whether he could prohibit people from videotaping, come on. Suppose I had stood up at the townhall and started playing a violin. Presumably I would be asked to stop or leave. By whom? By the same people who told the young lady to stop recording. Why? Because they set up the townhall, and have the authority to set the conditions under which it is held.

  • Apples and Oranges BA. Your playing a violin would serve no useful purpose, while video taping a townhall does, and that is why Hill didn’t want it done. He realizes the political climate and he doesn’t want a video to add to his electoral difficulties. Ironically his futile attempt to stop video taping has added a great deal to his 2010 problem as the ad writes itself.

    A townhall is specifically set up for a Congress member to hear from his constituents. Some of Hill’s attendees want to video tape the process. Hill had a choice and he made the decision to attempt to enforce a self made rule against video taping which is clearly unenforceable due to modern technology. He now looks foolish on YouTube. Good. May his discomfiture be a lesson to other politicians who do not yet realize that they no longer control this process of public meetings alone.

  • “This wasn’t a private home …”

    What is it with the legalese of rights, privacy, et cetera? Isn’t “privacy” the mantra of the pro-choice effort? Are you sure you want to associate your argument with it?

    There are technical reasons why amateur video capture isn’t always a great idea. I for one feel frustrated when the questions from the floor aren’t properly mic’ed and equalized, like the main speaker usually is.

    And sure, a Fox-style editing of comments is well within the technical capability of many videographers. The ad, by the way, doesn’t write itself. It will need some editing, which I’m sure will be provided.

    So I went ahead and watched the video. I withdraw my assumption Donald was right. He was quite wrong. The representative stated his policy firmly but politely and was booed before he finished his statement. He reacted to it by stating his policy in a more stern tone of voice. Not what I would have done, but it wasn’t a butthead expression like his detractors. He didn’t seem at all discomfited to me.

    Not seeing what came before this exchange, it’s hard to tell if the boo-birds were just being boorish because they had a bad day or if the previous minutes weren’t going well for them.

    Like most anything else, context means quite a bit. I think Rep Hill was within bounds to request the meeting not be taped. The one who did tape it showed her or his colors by continuing to do so.

  • “The one who did tape it showed her or his colors by continuing to do so.”

    Yep. An American who understands that elected representatives are public servants and not lords of the manor. Last I checked the YouTube video has had 170,000 views and over 1000 comments, almost all of them scathingly against Hill. I do encourage all Democrat members of Congress to adopt the same policy, and attitude, of Hill at townhall meetings, and I also encourage all members of the audience to treat all such policies against video taping at a public meeting with the complete disdain they merit.

  • The decorous Baron Hill calling opponents of ObamaCare at townhall meetings political terrorists. No wonder he doesn’t want some of his rantings video taped!

    http://hoosierpundit.blogspot.com/2009/08/baron-hill-repeats-political-terrorists.html

  • I found it most interesting when he went beyond “This is MY townhall meeting” to “You’re not gonna tell me how to run my congressional office.” Tell me Mr. Hill, what exactly do constituents do in your world?

  • “What is it with the legalese of rights, privacy, et cetera? Isn’t “privacy” the mantra of the pro-choice effort? Are you sure you want to associate your argument with it?”

    Right, because not wanting to be filmed in your own home and wanting to murder a child in private are just soooo similar.

    Is this a desperate times call for desperate measures sort of argument, or are you trying to keep us all entertained?

  • While the legality of it may be in question in the current milieu, a appeal to the principal of it:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    If those words were not written to allow the accurate documentation of the public words and actions of an elected official for the purpose of disseminating it for those not present… the I have no clue as to why it would be inserted in such a place between freedom of speech and the right to peaceably assemble.

    This act was clearly an attempt to control the press.

  • “Last I checked the YouTube video has had 170,000 views and over 1000 comments, almost all of them scathingly against Hill.”

    Well, Donald, you’re already batting .350 on this comment thread. At that rate, you’d have posted almost thirty dozen times on YouTube.

    “Is this a desperate times call for desperate measures sort of argument, or are you trying to keep us all entertained?”

    Well I’m not part of your echo chamber, if that’s what you mean. It’s a good thing for the GOP that in the US, unlike in parliamentary democracies, you can’t sink lower than second place on the political totem pole. At least nobody has in nearly a century.

    “This act was clearly an attempt to control the press.”

    Right. Everybody with a cell phone and an internet connection is a member of the press. I’d stick with “peaceable assembly” instead.

    Take the last word, Donald. Three-fifty is worth another plate appearance … or seven.

  • “It’s a good thing for the GOP that in the US, unlike in parliamentary democracies, you can’t sink lower than second place on the political totem pole.”

    Todd, there is a political wave building that will relegate the Democrat party to that position. All the signs are there for a wipeout of the Democrat majority in the House next year and I assume you must not pay much attention to the internal mechanics of politics or you would not make such a silly comment. The best political prognosticator in the business is Charlie Cook and this is what he wrote earlier this month:

    “Clearly, the Obama administration was mindful that in the Clinton era Democratic majorities in Congress spurned the White House’s fully formed proposals. But in trying to avoid a repetition of President Clinton’s mistakes, Obama opened the door to charges that he was outsourcing domestic policy to Democrats on Capitol Hill.

    Even in the best of times, Congress is unpopular. And now voters see Obama as having sent suggestions rather than proposals to the Hill, staking his future and reputation on a body that they hold in low regard. (On foreign-policy matters, where Congress plays a small role, Obama’s job-approval ratings remain quite good. It’s on the domestic side that his numbers are dismal.)

    “With 14 months to go before the 2010 midterm election, something could happen to improve the outlook for Democrats. However, wave elections, more often than not, start just like this: The president’s ratings plummet; his party loses its advantage on the generic congressional ballot test; the intensity of opposition-party voters skyrockets; his own party’s voters become complacent or even depressed; and independent voters move lopsidedly away. These were the early-warning signs of past wave elections. Seeing them now should terrify Democrats.”

    http://www.cookpolitical.com/node/4828

  • I wonder how Hill would have reacted to audience members making audio recordings of the meeting? Or jotting notes of what was said. While any sort of recording can be used by an opponent against you, it can also be used as verification in your favor if somebody accuses you of an outrageous remark. It’s easier to misstate when taking written notes than when you have a backup recording.

    Hill, and other elected reps, should suck it up and get into the habit of practicing their manners and making sure they know what they’re talking about to minimize the likelihood that they will be filmed looking bad. It beats having your words misquoted and used against you.

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  • First of all, it is silly to predict the impending demise of one political party from the dumbest thing that one of its hundreds of members of Congress did. If that ever happened, we’d have no political parties at all. There is always a Republican or a Democrat doing something utterly stupid.

    And this is one of them. As a Democrat and a strong supporter of health care reform, I thank the heavens that town halls WERE videotaped so we can see certain elements of the opposition in all their ugliness. They not only won over no converts, but they gave us priceless moments such as the guy screaming at his Congressperson to keep the government’s hands off Medicare.

    But on the other hand, just exactly how far did this attempted ban on recording go? Were TV stations not allowed to videotape? Were print reporters not allowed to use audio recorders? And if you can’t ban all, then how on earth can you try to ban some?

    What next? Granting access to your public “town halls” only to those pre-selected members of the public you like? How George Bush can you get?

  • According to Rasmussen ObamaCare now is at its lowest ebb: 56% oppose-41% in favor.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2009/09/28/rasmussen-obamacare-falls-to-lowest-level-of-support/

    In regard to Medicare, in order to pay for ObamaCare there are substantial cuts planned in Medicare.

    “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proclaimed her support for this cost-cutting agenda on Thursday. “Half the bill will be paid for by squeezing excesses out of the [Medicare and Medicaid] system,” she said, “and there is $500 billion dollars to do that and we’re looking for more. That can be achieved—waste, fraud, redundancy, obsolescence, whatever it is.”

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/sep2009/heal-s12.shtml

    The gentleman yelling at his Congresscritter about Medicare has every right to be concerned.

Cult of Personality-Take 2

Saturday, September 26, AD 2009

A followup to my earlier post on school kids singing a hymn of praise to Obama.  Hattip to Gateway Pundit.  Apparently the video was posted on YouTube by the proud teacher behind this piece of agitprop.

“We began to write the song after watching the Inauguration. Our school day is packed bell to bell with academics, but were usually able to spend the last five minutes of singing songs as short ELD (English Language Development) activities. Day by day we used this tiny window of time to brainstorm lyrics. As the song took shape, the children became more and more proud of their accomplishment. It soon morphed into a tribute to MLK and others honored for their work towards social justice.

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13 Responses to Cult of Personality-Take 2

  • “Oooo Im a proud American”

    “Political indoctrination in our schools-thank the NEA.”

    Donald, are you sure you’re not a closet hippie? Relocating to Canada anytime soon?

  • And miss participating in the rout of the party that you vote for Todd? Not on your glory & praise hymnal!

  • Swing and another miss, Donald. I don’t vote Dem on the federal level. We independents outnumber R’s by a 2-1 margin. We might well be a political force that exceeds both parties. Another try?

  • Actually Todd I believe Obama is a Democrat on the federal level and you have stated you voted for him.

    Here is a link to the politics collection on your website. You are as independent as Nancy Pelosi.

    http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/category/politics/page/8/

  • And from a comment you left on Inside Catholic last year:

    “I think you overstate the choice, Deal. Obama is a moderate. If he were a true liberal, he’d have moved beyond Nixon’s universal health care. A true secular liberal would be bringing the troops home on 21 Jan 2009, abolishing the death penalty, advocating same day registration and voting, resuscitating the ERA, overhauling the tax code, repealing NAFTA, legalizing cannabis, refinancing social security, signing Kyoto, and deporting Rupert Murdoch.

    The scare tactics are unimpressive, my friend. Some will be duped, but you are right this election does provide a clear choice. McCain will have to distance himself from the stain of immorality and incompetence of the past 7.4 years of Republican rule. As I’ve said elsewhere, the only thing saving the GOP right now is that in a two-party system the worst one can do is second place. If the US were a parliamentary democracy, W would already be gone and the party would be in shreds.”

    http://insidecatholic.com/Joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3851&Itemid=80

    If you don’t regularly vote Dem on the national level, I suspect it is because you view them as too conservative.

  • “You are as independent as Nancy Pelosi.”

    Strike three. But you get a bonus point for the research … or the portfolio you keep on me. I’m a registered independent. Proudly so. I don’t believe the Speaker has abandoned her party affiliation overnight.

    It is true I view President Obama as a moderate Democrat. If he were as liberal as Dennis Kucinich, say, he would be unelectable. I disagree with his handling of foreign policy in Afghanistan. I don’t like the people he has in Treasury or their policies. But I’m a realist when it comes to politics.

    Getting back to your meme I don’t think you’ve uncovered indoctrination any more than some on the Far Left have uncovered racism in the opposition to the president.

    It’s more accurate to say this is a tussle over celebritism and anti-celebritism. Americans have their heroes: politicians, athletes, and media stars on the whole. And Americans also indulge an anti-celebrity streak, as you and many other Catholic conservatives do. It’s not a surprise that conservatives, still feeling the sting of getting mangled in the past two federal elections, are somewhat more anti- these days. After all, who do you have as a serious contender right now?

    Donald, I think you just need to look a little deeper than your hurt feelings. Otherwise, this kind of conservative commentary comes off as Oprah-worthy whining.

    Take the last word, my friend. This has been a tough one for you.

  • Let’s see Todd you don’t vote for Dems on the federal level but you did vote for Obama. You do see the contradiction therein don’t you? As for last year’s election Todd, I think it is good for Americans to give the Dems complete power every generation or so. It often serves as an innoculation against that particular mistake for quite a few years. Doubtless Todd we will be seeing more of you at AC as the outlook grows increasingly bleak for the Dems in 2010, and I look forward to it. Peace, Todd.

  • Todd:

    “Oooo Im a proud American” is a perfectly admirable sentiment. But in context–especially in the absence of anything similar pre-Obama–it’s clearly–and only–a pep rally for The One. And I know you didn’t miss this part of the chorus:

    “YES WE CAN!”

    Just admit it’s a ham-handed (and in the long-term ineffective) bit of political proselytizing and attack the outrage from another angle.

    BTW, I missed your NFL preview this year. I hope you didn’t peg the Lions as anything better than 3-13. The team is better, but that’s not saying much given last year’s historical milestone.

  • “I missed your NFL preview this year. I hope you didn’t peg the Lions as anything better than 3-13. The team is better, but that’s not saying much given last year’s historical milestone.”

    Though I like the Vikings and always have and they did well this past Sunday vs. the Lions, there is no way imho that they deserved to win that one game versus the Lions last year. Calls by the officials helped Minnesota. And then, it would have been Brad Childress’ team that lost the only game that Detroit won last year.

    Pro Football is a bit of an oddity, why some teams can do well every year and there are some teams that hardly ever do well. In general, I’m against the dominant teams. Before the Salary Cap; for some reason, money I guess, the Cowboys and the 49ers were way ahead of everyone else.

  • Pingback: Cults of Celebrity and Anti-Celebrity « Catholic Sensibility
  • Remember Rev Jim Jones ? Time to open a Kool-Aid stand

  • Did you notice nobody was kneeling? Where oh where are the liturgical police when you need them.

  • The Cult of the Lions! Detroit Wins!

Jesuitical 8: I am Shocked! Shocked!

Saturday, September 26, AD 2009

Part of my ongoing series on the follies of some of the Jesuits in this country.  Dana Loesch discovers that the Jesuit run Saint Louis University is still funneling volunteers to Acorn.   Of course this is over a year after the USCCB froze funding to Acorn, not to mention the recent colorful revelations that have led to investigations of Acorn and the cutting of funding by governmental bodies from coast to coast.  This is also after many years of scandal involving Acorn and voter registration fraud and misuse of funding.   I guess the hard pressed organization still has some friends among American Jesuits.  I am however shocked that the Jesuits would send student volunteers to a corrupt left wing organization, in much the same way that I am shocked that fire burns and water is wet.

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4 Responses to Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto 2

Beatrix Potter, Capitalist Swine

Friday, September 25, AD 2009

[This is neither American nor Catholic, but it is, I like to imagine, mildly amusing in a bored-parent-on-a-Friday kind of way.]

As you can perhaps imagine, there is much reading in the Darwin family, as we consider it necessary to corrupt the dear little tabula rasas of our children with a mixture of facts and fairy stories from the very youngest possible age. And how better may one corrupt the youth then by wrapping up the harsh teachings of the dismal science in the charming trappings of a bevy of dear little fuzzy animals? Do not allow these subtle deceptions, gentle reader! As I shall demonstrate, under the cover of a whimsical, Edwardian children’s authoress, lurks a deadly capitalist in sheep’s clothing.

Attend, to The Tale of Ginger and Pickles (ebook available here)

THE TALE OF
GINGER & PICKLES

BY
BEATRIX POTTER


Once upon a time there was a village shop. The name over the window was “Ginger and Pickles.”

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2 Responses to Beatrix Potter, Capitalist Swine

Red Skelton: Pledge of Allegiance

Friday, September 25, AD 2009

One of the forgotten geniuses of American comedy, Red Skelton.  Skelton rose out of abject poverty to become one of the great comedians of his time.  As the above video indicates Skelton also had his serious side.  A remembrance of better times when students pledged allegiance to the country rather than chanting hymns of praise for a living politician.

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4 Responses to Red Skelton: Pledge of Allegiance

Calling all Federalists!

Thursday, September 24, AD 2009

The Federalists

The Cranky Conservative, Paul Zummo, is beginning a series on his blog on the Federalist Papers.  His comments on Federalist 1 are here. The Founding Fathers created a system of government which has endured for over two centuries.  That is a formidable achievement.  The Federalist Papers, written in the heat of the ratification battles over the Constitution, are the primary text for understanding what motivated those who sought “a more perfect union”, how they expected the new government to function and their arguments in response to the anti-Federalists who opposed the Constitution.  It is easy to draw up schemes of government;  it is very difficult to make them function in reality.  In the Federalist Papers we see at the beginning the drive to create one nation out of the disparate states.  Paul has embarked upon an intellectual adventure in giving an exposition to these theoretical building blocks of our Republic and I urge you to join him for each installment.

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2 Responses to Calling all Federalists!

  • Thank you, Donald. I hope I have not bitten off more than I can chew. But one down, 84 to go!

  • It is a bold task you have set yourself Paul, but I have every confidence that you can meet it! I am certain that your expositions will bring to mind this quote from Madison: “What spectacle can be more edifying or more seasonable, than that of Liberty and Learning, each leaning on the other for their mutual and surest support?”

They Only Donate Money

Thursday, September 24, AD 2009

Every so often, when dealing with Church projects and non-profit work in general, one hears someone who does a lot of volunteer work toss off a disparaging remark alone the lines of, “Oh, those people. They only give money. You’d never see them down here working.”

Sometimes this is used to support a claim as to “who really cares” about an issue, along the lines of:

“Sure, you’ll find lots of [members of group X] a pro-life fundraising banquets, but you’ll never see them working at a crisis pregnancy center.”

or

“[Members of group X] may give money to ‘charity’, but you’ll never find them filling boxes down at the foodbank or working with at-risk kids.”

This has always struck me as a somewhat unfair criticism, for reasons I will get into in a minute, but I was particularly reminded of this last week when I had to go down to the diocesan offices to be trained to count and report the collections for the diocesan Catholic Services Appeal. The annual appeal provides a about the third of the operating expenses for the diocese — and since I deal with financial-ish stuff at work and I’m going to be rotating off the pastoral council in a couple months, I half volunteered, half was dragooned, into helping out with the processing of the collection this year at the parish. At the training session, I was particularly struck by the numbers of where the money in the appeal comes from:

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39 Responses to They Only Donate Money

  • Folks who put down charitable people who simply donate money are just jealous snobs who could care less.

    I have often observed this kind of snobbery amongst those people who are more so jealous of the fact that such affluent patrons of a particular parish is capable of donating so much to such charitable causes for the Church, wherein the mere mention of their names seems to inflame a kind of covetousness on their part than anything else.

    All I know is that if it weren’t for their generous donations, so many poor centers within that very diocese and the homeless that depend on these would be found utterly wanting — even worse, their very shelters closed down.

  • DC,

    CSA is only a portion of the giving options that this Catholic has. Myself, I give quite a bit to the Church, and to charitable organizations, but not a thin dime to the diocese or anything it sponsors. I won’t until the chancery and it’s affiliates are cleaned of pro-aborts and cafeteria Catholics and the bishop stands firm for Catholic teaching and liturgical rubrics. Many Catholics are of the same mind as me on this.

    Another note on this question of volunteering vs. financial donation. I don’t think we are called to “volunteer” but we are called to care for the less fortunate. This can be financial in part, but MUST involve direct charitable work, face to face with those we are aiding. Writing a check, or stuffing boxes, or working on a committee do not replace direct acts of Charity.

  • Excellent point.

  • Matt,

    Leaving aside the merits of donating to one’s diocese, the CSA donation rate ties pretty well with what I’ve seen of how things work at the parish level too. At our parish, there are 3500 registered families, but only about 10% of those turn in any collection envelopes during a given month. Clearly, some people give without using envelopes, but give that the total weekly collections divided by the number of envelope users works out to <$50, it's pretty clear that again there's a minority of people providing the vast majority of the money — and not necessarily because they're writing vast checks.

  • So in a sense, donating time and donating money are actually exchangeable. This is further complicated by the fact that although all people have roughly the same amount of total time, their amounts of free time and the amount they’re paid for their working time vary. A professional who makes $90k/yr and spends 10-12 hours a day on work and work related activities has fairly little time for volunteering, and if he donates the money he makes for a few hours a week worth of his work to a charity, that money goes a long way. Someone who works part time for $8 a hour, on the other hand, has a lot of free time, but very little money. The amount of money that person could donate based on the same number of hours of working time would do a charitable organization comparatively little good (while taking away a lot of that person’s money.) Given these variances, it may well be that the professional giving a charity the pay he received for five hours worth of his work does the charity much more good (in regards to actually getting their charitable work done) than if he showed up and spent five yours helping out physically.

    Given how fungible time and money can be, you might also think of it this way:

    The generous money donated by a wealthy patron (e.g., $20,000) to Church can represent time devoted at work that was actually dedicated (i.e., volunteered) for that charitable cause (i.e., all those billable hours that comes to $20,000).

  • If I were to speculate, which I never fear doing, I imagine a lot of big hitters are contacted personally by the diocese and send the checks directly. It’s kind of annoying, but $100,000 is a lot of money, and there are people that can write those kinds of checks, and yet you have folks who want the bishops to play St. Athanasius on them. Obviously the rich can’t just get what they want, but a lot of budgets can be busted by angering the wrong people.

  • This is a great discussion. As a self-employed individual time away from my business costs me more than writing a check and if there is no margin, there is no mission.

    As e., pointed out, the money that I donate from my efforts in my for-profit business takes time to earn, that time is essentially being donated. Yet, the money costs me less than the time. Meaning if I were to devote time instead of money, I would earn considerably less and therefore my next donation would also be smaller. Most of my business activities (time) are not direct revenue generators (money) but they do build up to the generation of revenue and it is the increase in that revenue that allows me to donate more.

    Another point is that charity comes from Charity, Caritas, Love. It doesn’t mean feeding the hungry in a soup kitchen with my own hands or paying for the soup that another feeds them with only. Primarily it means loving others as Christ loves them out of love for Him. It is incumbent on us to love our employees, bosses, co-workers, clients and others and not necessarily because they are less fortunte but becuase they are human.

    Being remunerated for your efforts is good, maximizing your profit and ability to donate is good, loving eveyone, especially Christ while doing it is great!

  • As e., pointed out, the money that I donate from my efforts in my for-profit business takes time to earn, that time is essentially being donated.

    That’s something these folks seem incapable of deciphering.

    I myself might not be such a patron; however, it doesn’t take a genius to grasp the fact that the total dollar figure donated basically amounts to all those hours spent at work by the individual to make that money; hence, consider all those hours as virtually being volunteered to that charitable cause.

  • MZ,

    If I were to speculate, which I never fear doing, I imagine a lot of big hitters are contacted personally by the diocese and send the checks directly.

    In this case, the people who are writing $100,000 checks are included in that 2,500 people who are responsible for 50% of the collections. They are contacted directly by the diocese before the standard collection and invited to one of the regional receptions with the bishop (or at the moment, with the interim), but they’re given pledge cards to fill out as part of the main campaign so that their donations can be tracked back to the parish and the parish gets “credit”.

    That’s actually how I got into asking about the details of this 2500 households, because I was shocked to discover that I was part of the “big givers” group despite having given less than $1000 in the last annual appeal.

    Diocesan funding in the Austin diocese apparently comes in roughly equal thirds from 1) the annual CSA appeal, 2) the “tax” which all parishes send to the diocese — a portion of all their own collections, and 3) other. I would imagine there _is_ some big giver stuff going on separately in that “other” category, as well as fees for various diocesan programs, etc., but that’s separate from the whole CSA set of numbers I was discussing above.

  • This is good stuff, DarwinCatholic.
    A couple of thoughts: first, I volunteer with a number of organizations. In many cases, I am working on a board or similar administrative type responsibilities. Does that make my work less valuable, less worthy than if I was doing something face to face with an individual being served? I don’t think so.

    We each have different gifts. My gifts may allow me to serve 1,000 people, but, perhaps, not as intensely, not having as much recognizable effect, as someone whose gifts can serve 5 people but much more directly. On the other hand, my gifts may serve fewer people than someone else’s can serve, but, again, their service may not provide as much effect on a per person basis, even if their contribution (hours or dollars) is much more than mine.

    Second, there is a real trade off for the organization between hours of personal service and money. What I have seen over and over among volunteer organizations is that they start out with enthusiastic volunteers trying to make a difference in some area of interest to them. As they become more successful, the hours that the need demands tend to increase exponentially. The volunteers get burned out and the organization shrinks, or more volunteers are brought in. But that is self limiting, because there are only so many people out there with time available (and an interest in this organization’s goals, as opposed to something else’s). The only realistic alternative for the group to continue and to improve their service, to serve more people, is to professionalize. Paid staff.
    Frequently, these organizations have a difficult time adjusting to paid staff doing things that the volunteers used to do. Maybe there is now one paid staff person, an “executive director.” Lots of whining by the volunteers about how they wouldn’t have done things the way that new person is doing them. “All they’re looking for is the paycheck.” And so forth, while the executive director may sniff about how ineffective things are with the grunts doing so much of the work, “they aren’t here when we need them,” etc. But big needs require big organizations, if you truly want to have an effect, rather than just feel good about your personal heroic efforts. And the big organizations need full time people and that means that they need to raise money, not get five people to come down and mop out the warehouse, or whatever.

    Third, I give to a number of causes, Catholic and otherwise, but I also choose not to give to an even larger number of other organizations, Catholic and otherwise. So the people at the latter groups, volunteers or paid staff, can look down their noses at me for not supporting their worthy group. Sorry, there’s only so much time in my day and so many dollars in my pocket, even if I have more dollars than most people. I would submit that “you’re not doing enough” is an unchariable statement, whether made directly, made indirectly or only thought. How much I do and for whom is between me and God.

  • As e., pointed out, the money that I donate from my efforts in my for-profit business takes time to earn, that time is essentially being donated.

    Exactly.

    The only difference I would see, is that (at least for me) it can be hard to keep in mind “and this is the percentage of each day when I’m working for my parish instead of my own bank account; and this is the time when I’m working for the crisis pregnancy center; and this is the time when I’m working for the monestary; etc”. Work pretty much feels like work to me, even if I’m aware at a certain level that I’m supporting not only my family but a raft of other things too.

    But overall, as I wrote, I think getting all worked up about the difference between giving time and giving money is out of place.

  • Do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.

    It is good that you cannot count how much time you spent ‘donating’ — just do it. It isn’t our time and it isn’t our money. It all belongs to God, we simply get to use it for good or ill while we are in the Valley of Tears.

    I think the key point here is that we are all called to be Charitable and what that means for each of us is something different. Our part is in being receptive to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to know what we should, and should not do. So long as we don’t bury, waste, our talents.

  • Isn’t almsgiving a work of mercy?

  • Phillip,

    In the lean months it sure feels like it. 🙂

  • Not all volunteering is of the same net value, either, if we’re looking at dollars– I notice the folks who like to sniff about people “only” give money tend to have a lot of time on their hands, yes, but they’re also unskilled volunteers. (and stay that way)

    A trained carpenter’s five hours working on some old widows’ houses during a slow season is more “value” than Random Burger Flipper High School Kid #4 doing yard work for the same folks for ten hours, and the lawyer who has no time to offer but rented the van and bought the materials that they’re using for repairs and clean-up probably has a higher cash input.
    If they’re all doing it because they want to help older folks– that is, out of love– it’s rather unseemly for any of ’em to sneer at the others.

  • It seems to me that the point is being missed here. True Charity involves a giving of oneself, giving love. It is not just one’s “hours” or “cash”, and there aren’t any equations for it. If none of your charitable work involves direct contact with those you are trying to help, how could it be love?

    Charity is not just about seeing to material needs anyway, we must provide comfort, the kind of comfort that only comes from a friendly, face to face meeting. We can’t just hire people to do this for us.

  • If none of your charitable work involves direct contact with those you are trying to help, how could it be love?

    I’ll be sure to tell this to one particular person at a charity who practically volunteers all her time (at even the expense of time with her family) seeking out patrons to support it, so that all the homeless and battered women the charity supports could be accomodated as opposed to ever having direct contact with those folks directly.

    Or perhaps I’ll tell the same to an elderly person who happens to volunteer her time as secretary at the charity, who herself never actually has any actual contact with such homeless people. She probably just does so not in order to help these people (how can that be? she doesn’t even have contact with these people!), but to mock their existence!

    What cruel, selfish people! These are obviously devoid of love!

    In other words, for somebody who claims that there aren’t any actual equations for ‘True Charity’, you sure got some nerve to pronounce judgment on those folks who charitably donate their time/money to causes that actually help people.

  • Perhaps the example of the widow giving a penny to the temple? Christ saw love there.

  • e.,

    this is really not a personal issue, so don’t go getting all defensive and irrational.

    I didn’t pronounce judgment (an odd accusation coming from the likes of you).

    Ask those people you’re talking about if they never meet the people they help face to face, or do other acts of charity directly, I’m sure you’ll find that they are not so sheltered as your feigning on their behalf here.

  • You didn’t pronounce judgment?

    You essentially declared that it couldn’t possibly be love unless there was direct, face-to-face contact!

    You basically condemned these folks, judging these people who, although having charitably volunteered all their time at the charity, weren’t actually doing so out of love!

    How dare you!

    That elderly woman who basically volunteers most her time at the charity as a secretary isn’t much less a contribution, or even worse, should be judged as utterly devoid of “love”, simply for the fact that she’s never even had direct, face-to-face contact with those homeless people that the charity actually helps!

    Next time I see her, I’ll make sure to relay the truths of your Gospel:

    “What are you doing? None of your supposedly ‘charitable’ work involves direct contact with those people and, therefore, your contributions aren’t based on love!”

    And then show her the door!

  • e.,

    get lost.

  • The Gospel According to Matt declares:

    “If none of your charitable work involves direct contact with those you are trying to help, how could it be love?”

    You were the one who made “direct contact” a prerequisite to ‘True Charity’ and that anything that doesn’t (including the elderly woman who simply volunteers her time at the charity as a mere secretary) couldn’t possibly be considered as such and, worse, not even based on ‘Love’.

  • Matt,

    I hope you can understand why I find what you said not only disturbingly wrong but also quite twisted.

    That elderly person has never laid eyes on those folks face-to-face, but I can tell you she loves them regardless, or else why would she volunteer most of her time at the charity’s headquarters?

    I can assure you: it is out of profound love that she actually does so!

  • e. & Matt,

    I think you’ve both made your points clear — and both have some validity — but please avoid rancor of I’ll have to shut things down.

  • Whenever I hear the “you only give money,” argument I think,”Okay, let’s see how you get without my check or Bob’s or Mary’s or Todd’s?” It’s nice to hand out sandwiches to the street people but somebody had to buy that bread and peanut butter.

  • Matt,
    Your requirement for personal contact is grounded in the notion that love is an emotion. It is not. It is a decision. We are all called to love those we have not met.

  • The rather virulent over-reactions to the suggestion that if you love someone you might want to ACTUALLY SEE THEM IN PERSON suggests to me a twinge of guilt perhaps of being isolated from the destitute.

    I will post the works of mercy here which may be instructive in the way that they are worded:

    The corporal woks of mercy are
    * To feed the hungry;
    * To give drink to the thirsty;
    * To clothe the naked;
    * To harbour the harbourless;
    * To visit the sick;
    * To ransom the captive;
    * To bury the dead.

    The spiritual works of mercy are:

    * To instruct the ignorant;
    * To counsel the doubtful;
    * To admonish sinners;
    * To bear wrongs patiently;
    * To forgive offences willingly;
    * To comfort the afflicted;
    * To pray for the living and the dead.

    A number of these works explicitly demand being the face of Christ for those in need, but the others imply such a personal connection that it seems to me an error to suggest that all human contact in Charity could be dispensed by temporal work on behalf of Charitable cause or financial donation thereto.

    It seems to me that working in isolation from those in need, leaving the face to face to those paid professionals best able to deal with such “horrors” yields an almost bureaucratic result, as is clearly the case with Catholic Charities in many places. The resulting corruption is devastating.

    Now, let’s be calm, I am in no way condemning to Hell some old woman who works hard for the poor but doesn’t have the opportunity to see them. I’m sure SHE recognizes the need for direct acts of mercy and performs them daily to those who she does encounter even if she’s not so crass as to list them for you.

    Mike,

    love is an action, not merely a decision. You completely misunderstand my point if you think it’s rooted in the false notion of emotion.

    dymphna,

    I’m sorry, the most important element of charitable works is not material and so can not be fulfilled simply by writing a check. Frankly, if all of the large aid organizations that live on cash were gone, and charity began an ended in the parish hall with donated food and clothing distributed by those who sacrificed to provide them it would be, I think a much greater blessing, especially when dealing with the needs of those in our own communities. That certainly resembles more closely how Christians became known for their love.

    I’ll say it again to avoid repeated intentional misrepresentations… it is ALSO important for us to provide out of our wealth, and that should not be written off as useless has others have tried to suggest I was implying.

  • out damn italics.

  • Matt,
    The twinge of guilt that you perceive is the result of unfair, unChristian, and self-ighteous inferential liberties. You have no idea how your works of mercy, however defined, stack up to others here, and you won’t since only a jerk would discuss them with you.

  • The rather virulent over-reactions to the suggestion that if you love someone you might want to ACTUALLY SEE THEM IN PERSON suggests to me a twinge of guilt perhaps of being isolated from the destitute.

    The characterization of folks’ unfavorable response to the statement “If none of your charitable work involves direct contact with those you are trying to help, how could it be love?” suggests ya might be dealing with a bit of guilt yourself.

    For a very simple example, I know that the care packages I got when I was on the Essex touched me deeply, and that the folks who donated the cash to make them, the folks who carefully designed what went into each one so that there was variety but also good coverage of needs, and the folks who physically packed the boxes were all showing love for sailors like me– none of them had any physical contact with me.

  • Another example: cleaning up a common area when you’re done is showing care for the folks who will come after you– does anyone doubt that leaving a stinking pile of garbage and trash spread all around demonstrates a lack of care for those who will come after you? Even if you never see them face to face?

    The old “China Man Experiment”– I can’t remember the exact story, but a researcher told folks that if they pushed a button in a booth, it would kill a man in China, but they’d get some kind of small possible improvement, and nobody would know what they’d chosen to do; the researcher then kept track of how many people pushed the button.
    Anyone doubt that folks who believed they were killing a man, but did it anyways for some small benefit, were showing a lack of love?

  • Mike,

    The twinge of guilt that you perceive is the result of unfair, unChristian, and self-ighteous inferential liberties. You have no idea how your works of mercy, however defined, stack up to others here, and you won’t since only a jerk would discuss them with you.

    I think you’re proving my point by slanderous reaction. I made no claims about the quantity or kind of MY works of mercy or how they may stack up to yours or those of anyone else. I did not make this personal, it is an intellectual discussion. I’d be very happy to see you counter argue.

    Foxfier,

    The characterization of folks’ unfavorable response to the statement “If none of your charitable work involves direct contact with those you are trying to help, how could it be love?” suggests ya might be dealing with a bit of guilt yourself.

    I need only to point out Mike’s tirade above as ample evidence of the accuracy of my characterization.

    For a very simple example, I know that the care packages I got when I was on the Essex touched me deeply, and that the folks who donated the cash to make them, the folks who carefully designed what went into each one so that there was variety but also good coverage of needs, and the folks who physically packed the boxes were all showing love for sailors like me– none of them had any physical contact with me.

    I sincerely appreciate your service on board the Essex.

    I don’t know how things were there in terms of supply, but the months I spent in isolated army camps there was really no shortage of material goods, I truly believe what raised our spirits was the love with which those care packages where prepared, not the physical contents (though a pound cake or batch of 4 week old cookies can taste mighty good when you’re a week on IMP’s or MRE’s as they are known in the US).

    This is all very good and true, but it doesn’t respond to my point. I’m not saying that efforts which lack direct contact can’t be deeply appreciated, helpful, or even lifesaving. Only that if ALL OF YOUR WORKS OF MERCY are intentionally in isolation from those you seek to help because you LOVE them it is not a good thing. I would also suggest that the folks funding and preparing those packages NEVER missed an opportunity to cheer the Essex when she came to port, or the returning soldiers marching though town. I suspect they are the same ones who thank every servicemen they see carrying a rucksack through the airport bound for or returing from the Middle East or Central Asia.

    I will concede that there are certain things which go beyond the material even if done in isolation. Knitting sweaters, baking, writing cards and letters and perhaps carefully selecting comfort items for a distant stranger standing guard for example, I believe have a special way of reaching across the distance in a way that writing a check, or doing most forms of work do not.

    I wanted to point out regarding the word “almsgiving”, alms means “mercy” not “money”.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01328f.htm

    It seems to me that virtually all the references to the Christian duty of alms-giving speak of serving the poor and acting directly, while very few imply any sort of detached assistance. I refer again to my above citation of the acknowledged corporal and spiritual works of mercy, there is a clear focus on personal acts, though not exclusively.

  • Matt McDonald-
    Nobody is debating the meaning of “almsgiving”– it was only mentioned once before your statement, and yet the very first sentence of your link supports the broader definition that the OP suggests: Any material favour done to assist the needy, and prompted by charity, is almsgiving.

    The habit of people to puff themselves up, because their act of charity is in a different and more public form, is not supported by your link.

    Simple reason tells us: what good is it to offer your time to hand a sandwich to the poor, if there is no bread, meat or cheese with which to make a sandwich?

  • Matt,
    When you accuse others of acting or reacting out of guilt you ARE making it personal. To pretend otherwise is hardly in keeping with an intellectual discussion.

  • Matt,

    You’re really something.

    I take it that all those people donating money to help sick & impoverished 3rd world children, who they haven’t even seen face-to-face and met personally, are but fiends who do so not out of any wholesome Christian goodness, and not even based on *True Charity* or even *Real Love*.

    Amazing.

  • e.,

    what did i say that would support such an absurd notion? See my post about twinges of guilt.

  • On this related subject, since I heard it on Drew Mariani, Relevant Radio last week about CCHD (Catholic Campaign for Human Development), it seems we’ve got to be careful in donating to them. I see they cut off ACORN funds last year: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0805268.htm . People to be wary of and become informed about: http://www.usccb.org/cchd/ though I don’t mean to demean them, I know this subject has probably been talked about before. Sure, I give to CRS and would be hesitant about CCHD.

  • Matt,

    That absurd notion came from your absurd statement:

    If none of your charitable work involves direct contact with those you are trying to help, how could it be love?

    which was subsequently followed up by what was largely an attempt of justifying it:

    The rather virulent over-reactions to the suggestion that if you love someone you might want to ACTUALLY SEE THEM IN PERSON

    If anybody here has cornered the market on absurdity, it is you.

  • I think that all that ought to be said has probably be said at this point, and then a couple. I’m closing comments.