MLB Preview: AL West

Wednesday, March 23, AD 2011

Though the American League’s western division is arguably the weakest in all of baseball, it is the home of the defending American League champions, the Texas Rangers.  There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.   Like the American League Central, the AL West sports a trio of decent teams that should be in the hunt for a division title, though two should separate themselves from the third. 

Continue reading...

One Response to MLB Preview: AL West

  • Okay, the name joke is getting a bit played out

    Ya think? Especially considering that the name goes back to 1903 in the Pacific Coast League. The interlopers from Brooklyn even stole their logo.

Jesus is Hardly a Pacifist (Neither is St. Michael, nor Gandalf)

Wednesday, March 23, AD 2011

Whenever the Gospel scene of Jesus cleansing the Temple comes up in conversation, is it always entertaining to see people try to rationalize or explain away the anger that our Lord displayed.  There are those who will say that this is a demonstration of Jesus’ humanity, but such an explanation always seems to have an accompanying tinge of “perfect divinity, imperfect humanity.”  After all, when we say of someone, “He is only human,” we are usually doing so to justify an imperfect action or reaction, as if to say, “He is human, and therefore not perfect.”  Such an accusation of Jesus is misleading at best.  Yes, Jesus is human, fully human, in fact, as well as fully divine.  However, Jesus is perfect in his humanity.  Therefore, any reaction he gives is the perfect reaction to the situation that stands before him.  This is good news for the rest of us, for it demonstrates that humanity in both its core and destiny is fundamentally good, that imperfections found within all of us are the result of sin (both original and personal), and not the result of being human as such.  Therefore, the perfection that Jesus possesses in being fully human is a perfection that awaits us, God willing, in our glorified state.

 

What then, should we make of the anger demonstrated by Jesus in his cleansing of the Temple?  The first conclusion we can draw is that there is a place for a righteous anger in dealing with the problem of sin.  Of course, we should not mistake this kind of anger for the irrational, impatient, and reactionary kind that we so often demonstrate in our lives.  But Jesus is hardly a pacifist.  To get a better sense of righteous anger, it helps to consider a few examples.  The first we will take from the life of Jesus, the second from the archangel Michael, and the third from that master of myth, J.R.R. Tolkien.

Continue reading...

10 Responses to Jesus is Hardly a Pacifist (Neither is St. Michael, nor Gandalf)

  • Pingback: WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON EDITION | ThePulp.it
  • Pingback: Jesus is Hardly a Pacifist (Neither is St. Michael, nor Gandalf) - Christian Forums
  • To what specific sin or sins was Our Lord responding when he cleansed the temple, and to what sort of human reaction are you referring when you distinguish between His response and our own “irrational, impatient, and reactionary” anger?

  • I think the point is that Jesus is true God and true man. He is man in all ways except sin. He was conceived and born without original sin.

    Therefore, Jesus’ “cleansing” the Temple was sinlessly done.

    The point, I think, of the post is that there can be a “just” war, and, me and the Pope, I think (added bonus) “capital punishment” is a prudential judgment.

    St. Bernard de Clairvaux explains it in his letter endorsing the Knights Templars Order.

  • And yet Jesus taught us that everyone who grows angry at another falls into sin: “I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.”

    Jesus does not forbid anger, but he does forbid anger against a brother.

  • T. Shaw, how does Christ’s non-lethal act of ‘cleansing’ the temple justify the butchery of mechanized warfare?

  • Nate,

    I think here there is a problem equating the two angers. What separates them is not against whom they are directed, but rather whether they are “righteous” or “irrational” (perhaps even “emotive” here). After all, the anger Christ showed was directed at those in the temple, surely his “brothers”, at least in their common humanity. When he speaks of anger towards the brother (in the passage you quote), I have a feeling it is more along the line of the murderous anger that one hold in the heart, the kind he strictly forbid in the Sermon on the Mount. Putting you quote in the context of the whole Gospel, I think, reveals the distinction to be between the type of anger (righteous vs. irrational/emotive/murderous/etc.) rather than he against whom it is directed.

    Food for thought.

  • You might be right, Jake. Paul writes in Eph 4, “Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger.” St. Aquinas gives a good case for just-anger as a rationally oriented passion that gives us the energy to correct sinners. And I think that is the key–a key you pointed out–that anger’s goal is to confront, oppose, and defeat evil.

    I have only found that getting angry at people makes the situation worse. People get angry at one another instead of being angry at the true crime: sin, lies, etc.

  • I’m just a dum accountant.

    Read St. Bernard de Clairvaux endorsement of the Knights Templars, or Thomas Aquinas on “just war.” I get brain freeze from TA.

    Also, Jesus told people to sell their coats and buy swords.

    St. John the Baptist told soldiers to be content with their pay and not do injustice.

    Pope Urban preached the First Crusade.

    My point (not on my head) is: we are all sinners. Jesus is sinless. He is true God and true man. By His life, death and resurrection Jesus purchased for us the rewards of eternal life. If He used a knotted cord to forceably remove the money changers . . .

    Jesus’ sole desire is to bring us Redemption. He taught, if your eye sins pluck it out. It is better to gain eternal life blind than to go to Gehenna whole. He taught us to repent of our sins; to possess a sprit of mortification; He gave us the ultimate example of moral courage, obedience and patience. His Sacred Heart was so filled with love for us (even though what we were doing to Him was so unjust and so wrong) during his three hours agony on the Holy Cross. He loves us so much. He is the most courageous man that ever lived.

    Now, when someone like Hitler unleashes a whole nation massacring half of Europe . . . Yes, the brutality of mechanized war may be justified.

  • “That person who does not become irate when he has just cause to be, sins. For an unreasonable patience is the hotbed of many vices; it fosters negligence, and stimulates not only the wicked, but above all the good, to do wrong.” —St. John Chrysostom

    Great article, Mr. Tawney! Couldn’t have put it better myself—plus, it just so happens that St. Michael is my patron saint.

Mormon Long March

Wednesday, March 23, AD 2011

One of the oddest episodes in American military history occurred during the Mexican War.  In 1846 the Mormons were beginning their epic trek West which would end with their carving a Mormon Zion out of the wilderness in what is now Utah.  The Mormons, realizing they would need at least tacit Federal approval to accomplish this, sent representatives to Washington.  The Polk administration asked for a quid pro quo.  The Federal government would render assistance if a battalion of Mormons would enlist to fight in the Mexican War.  Brigham Young readily agreed, and a battalion was raised after much cajoling by Young, due to the suspicion of most Mormons of the Federal government as a result of Federal indifference to the persecution of Mormons in Illinois and Missouri.

Along with the approximately 500 men, the Battalion was accompanied by 30 Mormon women, 23 of whom served as laundresses, and 51 children.  The Mormons were mustered into the Army on July 16, 1846.  They were assigned to the Army of the West under General Stephen W. Kearny, a tough regular.  From Fort Leavenworth on August 30, 1846, the Mormon Battalion made the longest infantry march in US military history, 1900 miles to San Diego, California which they reached on January 29, 1847.  The Battalion captured Tuscon, Arizona on the way to California, but saw no fighting, although the harsh climate and terrain they marched through more than made up for the absence of human adversaries.

The Battalion was discharged on July 26, 1847 in Los Angeles, and most of the men began the long trek to rejoin the Mormons in Utah.  Among the men who marched in the Mormon Battalion was George Stoneman, a future governor of California.  The video below at the end shows members of the battalion rejoining a Mormon wagon train after their service in the Mexican War.

Continue reading...

One Response to Mormon Long March

  • The “Extermination Order” is known in Latter Day Saint history as the executive order issued on October 27, 1838 by Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs to have Mormons driven from the state in response to what he termed “open and avowed defiance of the laws, and of having made war upon the people of this State … the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace—their outrages are beyond all description.”

    The law made it legal to kill anyone who belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the state of Missouri, until it was repealed in 1976. At least 60 Mormons were killed and dozens of women and girls raped, and countless others died from exposure in 1838 under the executive order and resulting forced evacuation from the state (See History of the Church Volume III, preface).

    There is nothing new under the Sun.

    History repeats itself, again. Now, we have a new, vicious threat to our lives and property. The muslim problem that needs to be resolved. The commanders-in-chief have done nothing to protect us.

Libya and Just War

Tuesday, March 22, AD 2011

President Obama, winner of the Nobel peace prize, has thrust the United States into yet another war. I know from facebook and twitter that many of Obama’s liberal supporters are shocked and upset with the decision. It really shouldn’t surprise anyone. As I noted out in the run-up to the election, Obama never was a peace candidate, much less a proponent of just war theory. Instead he uses roughly the same calculus for war as Bush did, though as Douthat points out he uses a more multilateral approach once he’s made that calculus. Obama’s position as a peace candidate was grounded more in not being a Republican than being a believer in peace, and it is the fault of those advocates for peace that they didn’t do the basic research to see that truth. I am curious to see if this has changed the minds of many of the more “liberal” Catholics who voted for Obama, but I have not seen anything from them yet.

Since most of our attention was on Japan, I think most Catholics and Americans are still feeling a little whiplashed by the quickness. It’s so difficult to determine whether this action was just b/c there is so much confusion and secrecy both about our true intents towards Libya as well as the actual situation in Libya. The Vatican hasn’t been able to offer much guidance either. It is true that Pope Benedict’s neutral statements are far less condemnatory (if they are condemnatory at all) than JPII’s during the buildup to Iraq, but the key word there is “buildup.” There was very little buildup, and very little opportunity for debate and dialogue before the war was begun. It is true that the Vatican is more comfortable with a multilateral, UN-endorsed war than a unilateral war but it is not certain whether the Vatican approves.

So we’ll need to rely on the sources of just war doctrine ourselves to determine whether this was a just war. I confess that I don’t feel comfortable enough with the facts of Libya to say for certain, but I find it very unlikely that this is a just war. Don did a post a few days ago with different just war standards, and just for the sake of brevity let’s assume that there are two different approaches to just war: the Thomistic approach and the current approach.

Under the Thomistic approach, there are 3 requirements in the Second Part of the Second part, Question 40: (1) that the war be declared by a legitimate sovereign; (2) that there be a just cause; and (3) there must be an intention of advancement of good. Catechism 2309 has a more detailed description (I would argue that they simply explain further what Aquinas is saying rather than raising the requirements, but that may be an argument for a different time) in which the aggressor nation (i.e. the one to be attacked) must be inflicting lasting, grave, and certain damage, all other means must be exhausted, there must serious prospects of success, and the use of arms must not produce greater evils than the evils sought to be prevented. Let’s look at the Libya situation in detail

Continue reading...

69 Responses to Libya and Just War

  • Actually, we’re going for–ta da!–regime change!

    http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/151191-white-house-suggests-regime-change-is-goal-of-libya-mission

    This time for sure, Bullwinkle.

  • “… he uses a more multilateral approach …”

    By multilateral, I’m assuming you’re not including Congressional consultation.

    Not only that, Bush waited months before attacking Iraq, trying to build support both at home and abroad for a coalition to oust Saddam. If I’m not mistaken, he actually had more countries involved in that effort than are currently involved in the efforts to oust Ghadaffi.

    Our Nobel laureate’s rush to war makes W look downright deliberate.

  • That said, I don’t believe either the justification for attacking Iraq or the justification for attacking Libya met the just war prerequisites.

  • You indicated in your essay that the UN is a legitimate sovereign. The UN is sovereign of nothing. It is a conglomeration of loosely affiliated nations. It has no sovereign (nope, the UN Secretary General doesn’t count, nor does the UN Security Council). I fear a world in which a non-sovereign body like the UN can declare war.

    As for Obama, up to the 2008 election he said that the US President doesn’t have the ability to wage war without going to Congress and getting its consent first. Well, he didn’t get Comngress’ concurrence for this attack.

    This is all so simple to see: under the liberal Democrats (who are in a state of confusion over Obama’s decision for war) we are on the path to a world-wide UN-sponsored dictatorship, and under the Republicans we are on the path to a unilateral Empire. What exactly is the difference?

    Jesus’ Kingdom isn’t of this world and this mess will only be straightened out when He returns to Earth. I WANT Him to return – and soon. Don’t you? I place no hope in the machinations of man, UN, US, or otherwise. My hope is in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead, never to die again.

  • I believe it’s a stretch (at best) to frame this as a just war.

  • Well, nothing really passes the just war test, does it? I’ll come out and say it: just war doctrine bothers me. Is it “unjust” to oppose an aggressive tyrant because you don’t have (and couldn’t possibly ever have) a legitimate sovereign to declare your opposition? And exactly how good do the opposition’s chances of success have to be before it becomes “just?”

    Is a different calculus applied to Libyan opposition and American involvement? If so, why?

    Although I have no horse in the Libyan race (which is why I think it’s prudentially very ill advised to take sides in this case), I don’t see how the Libyan rebels are waging an “unjust” war when it was the result of Qaddafi’s aggression against his own people. Pacifist leanings aside, if you fight back against a thug and bully, how is your action unjust? And if someone decides to help you in that fight, how could that assistance be unjust?

    Fighting back against dictators like Saddam and Qaddafi who have no problem using violence against their own people doesn’t seem like an injustice to me. Prudentially, it might not make sense to join that fight, but that’s a different question. If it’s not “just” to defend one’s self and one’s family against murderers, then I don’t know what to make of just war doctrine.

  • I will weep no tears if the butcher of Lockerbie finally meets justice.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_Am_Flight_103

    It says something very bad about our time that a murderous psychopath like Gaddafi has been in power for four decades.

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

  • Applying the intention category in a modern setting is tricky because there are a lot of actors involved and the intentions and objectives of the action probably vary a great deal from person to person. For example, there is one group among the supporters who seem to view this solely as a humanitarian exercise. Gaddafi was getting ready to slaughter a bunch of civilians and see the no fly zone as a means of preventing that rather than as a means of aiding the rebels or removing Gaddafi. There is also a group, however, for whom removing Gaddafi is the real goal.

    I suspect that there are also a lot of people who want to see Gaddafi gone but who don’t want the West to be seen as having removed him. When it looked like the rebels were going to win on their own, this group opposed involvement, but once it became clear that the rebels were going to lose unless Gaddafi’s air power was taken away, they flipped and supported intervention under the guise of purely humanitarian concerns. My guess is that Obama and Secretary Clinton fall into this camp.

  • It might also be worth asking what exactly we know about the various rebel groups that are fighting Gaddafi. When the question was raised on one of the Sunday shows, Wolfowitz said that it didn’t matter who the rebels were exactly because nothing could be worse than Gaddafi, which is very very not true.

  • Not only the intention category, but also the probability of success. There might be a low probability of strategic success (e.g., regime change), but a very high probability of tactical success (e.g., stopping this tank from shelling my neighborhood). I suppose it’s called just *war* theory and not just *battle* theory, but wars are fought at the tactical level. To the Libyan rebel trying to repel that tank, the chances of strategic success aren’t foremost in mind. Which is why it seems so hard to apply a one-size-fits-all just/unjust label to a conflict like this.

  • “Wolfowitz said that it didn’t matter who the rebels were exactly because nothing could be worse than Gaddafi, which is very very not true.”

    Someone could conceivably be worse than Gaddafi, but that seems to me be a poor argument for not taking fairly minimal steps to help escort him off the stage of history. Gaddafi has been a menace not only to his own people luckless enough to live under his rule, but to all the people who have died due to his support for terrorist actions abroad. Getting rid of him is an exercise in international hygiene. Obama and I stand shoulder to shoulder on this. (One can contact me for signed copies of that last statement at a minimal fee. :)) We stand shoulder to shoulder of course until Obama changes his mind on the policy.

  • By multilateral, I’m assuming you’re not including Congressional consultation.

    Yeah, no one seems to do that nowadays. Its true Congressional consultation is a very good thing, but alas a lost art.

    The UN is sovereign of nothing.

    I misstated my position then; the Vatican sees the UN as a legitimate authority (though not sovereign) to arbitrate international conflicts, particularly the decision to go to war. Thus the Vatican wants countries to discuss their issues before the UN before going to war, in part b/c it ensures that there is more dialogue & negotiation before the last resort is used.

    Fighting back against dictators like Saddam and Qaddafi who have no problem using violence against their own people doesn’t seem like an injustice to me. Prudentially, it might not make sense to join that fight, but that’s a different question.

    Aquinas puts it in that the offense against the people needs to be pretty bad and that the revolution won’t cause more harm. I don’t want to pass judgment on the rebels b/c I don’t know what Qaddafi was doing at the time, but it is a high burden. It can however be met and I think if I was being attacked, I would fight back.

    I will weep no tears if the butcher of Lockerbie finally meets justice.

    No question he’s a bad person. No question we should have done more earlier. But being a tyrant doesn’t automatically justify war (not saying you’re saying that), as the civilians are going to be harmed as well.

    Applying the intention category in a modern setting is tricky because there are a lot of actors involved and the intentions and objectives of the action probably vary a great deal from person to person.

    I agree. I imagine the intention is more applicable on a personal level. So I imagine the soldier who goes to Iraq to help them rebuild is different from the politician seeking to improve his legacy or secure oil or any other possible nefarious motives.

    When the question was raised on one of the Sunday shows, Wolfowitz said that it didn’t matter who the rebels were exactly because nothing could be worse than Gaddafi, which is very very not true.

    I completely agree, which is why a better plan was needed. We may be creating a worse monster.

  • Someone could conceivably be worse than Gaddafi, but that seems to me be a poor argument for not taking fairly minimal steps to help escort him off the stage of history.

    It was this line of reasoning that brought the Bolsheviks to power. Not only is something worse than Gaddafi conceivable, statistically speaking it is likely.

  • As usual, this all Ronald Reagan’s fault.

    He missed…

  • Many bloggers have addressed the common and faulty argument that opposing one tyrant means having to oppose all tyrants using the same methods, probability of success be damned.

    As for the last resort requirement, I can’t imagine a situation where dialog would make Qaddafi step down or the rebels to give up that demand and I don’t think there’s anyone who’d disagree.

    Primavera, you don’t need a legitimate sovereign but a legitimate authority and the Holy Father considers the UN a legitimate authority.

  • “It was this line of reasoning that brought the Bolsheviks to power. Not only is something worse than Gaddafi conceivable, statistically speaking it is likely.”

    Rubbish. What brought the Bolsheviks to power was a building revolutionary crisis in tsarist Russia for decades, Russian military failure in WW I, that poor doomed Nicholas II couldn’t lead a dog with a leash and that Kerensky was much better at making speeches than running a revolutionary regime. As for the statistical argument, I assume that you just tossed that in as a throw away line since I very much doubt that any such statistical studies relating to the aftermaths of the downfall of tyrants exist. I can think of several examples off the top of my head to the contrary, including Hitler, Mussolini, the Japanese militarists, Saddam, Ceausescu in Rumania, Franco, albeit he was “toppled” only by the Grim Reaper, etc. Contrary examples can be summoned up, but to assume that a worse tyrant will replace a toppled one is a mere recipe never to take action even against the most odious of tyrants, since one can never predict what the future will bring with certainty.

  • Actually of course the Western Allied forces, including the US, did, in a haphazard fashion sponsor efforts by the White Russian forces to topple the Bolsheviks after they seized power in November 1917 in the following Russian Civil War. Would that they had succeeded in introducing Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin to the ashheap of history.

  • RR,

    Did the Pope confide in you as to what he considers legitimate authority? By e-mail or phone?

    😉

    Perhaps he did, perhaps he didn’t. Nevertheless, whatever the case may be, the UN is NOT a legitimate authroity over sovereign nations. Never has been. But if the Obamanation of Desolation has his way, it will become the ONLY authority.

  • With all respect to the Pope, the UN has all the moral authority of a Chicago ward boss caught with his hand in the till.

  • Don. . . the man who has never met a war that is not just or he has not loved. Using your rational we should be bombing half the world to be sanitizing it of tyrants. It is far better that innocent civilians should die as collateral damage a result of our humanitarian air attacks and sanctions than should die at the hands of their own leaders.

    “It was this line of reasoning that brought the Bolsheviks to power. Not only is something worse than Gaddafi conceivable, statistically speaking it is likely.”

    Ok, then lets look at the rational for WWI we fought the tyrant Kaiser resulting in the rise of Hitler . . . we fought the tyrant Hitler resulting in the the Soviet enslavement of Eastern Europe. . . we fought the Japanese in China resulting in its turn over to Mao . . . we backed rebels in Afghanistan to weaken the USSR resulting in the Taliban . . . and on and on and on and on.

  • Primavera, the pope, then cardinal, confided in the press. http://www.zenit.org/article-5398?l=english

  • In all this discussion, how many people think that Joshua’s war against the people in Canaan was just, i.e., when God told him to slay every man, woman and child? How many think that the war which Kings Saul and David waged against the Philistines was just? How many think that the war which the Maccabbean brothers waged against the Seleucid Empire was just?

    War is hell. If you’re not there to ruthlessly, quickly and completely defeat the enemy, then get the heck out. I have grave misgivings over this war in Libya. But what do I know? I am a nuclear engineer (not a good thing to admit to after the events at Fukushima Daiichi), not a theologian, or a sociologist, or a psychologist.

    And yes, I would love it if we got out of the UN and told that band of thieves and murderers to leave NYC. But then again, we’d half to evacuate much of the remaining part of NYC since they too are thieves and murderers of the same sort. Can’t we just cut Manhattan off and tow it out to the middle of the Atlantic?

    😉

  • RR,

    The text on the web page does not state, “I, Pope Benedict XVI, consider the UN a legitimate authority.” However, it’s entirely likely that he does. With all due respect, in this matter he is not infallible. The UN has no legitimacy. Just look at the madness of the world. No one really listens to (much less obeys) the UN except for the Obamanation of Desolation, and perhaps France, Germany and a few other Western European nations. In this matter, what you state as the Pope’s position is a feeling generally shared by those of Western Europe who continue in their sad slide into abject secularism and atheism.

  • Ok, then lets look at the rational for WWI we fought the tyrant Kaiser resulting in the rise of Hitler . . . we fought the tyrant Hitler resulting in the the Soviet enslavement of Eastern Europe. . . we fought the Japanese in China resulting in its turn over to Mao . . . we backed rebels in Afghanistan to weaken the USSR resulting in the Taliban . . . and on and on and on and on.

    Not saying reason and prudence should go out the window, but this list is a bit misconceived. Let’s try it this way.

    Ok, then lets look at the rational for WWI we fought the tyrant Kaiser resulting in the end of what was at the time the great (and senseless!) bloodbath known…we fought the tyrant Hitler resulting in the liberation of Western Europe, stopping the slaughter of millions of innocent peoples of various ethnic and political groups, as well as stabilizing the continent…we fought the Japanese in China resulting in the halt of a bloody and barbaric empire and the liberation of millions…we backed rebels in Afghanistan to weaken the USSR which worked and is in part responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Empire which was responsible for the death and enslavement of countless millions as well as many wars . . . and on and on and on and on.

    In each of the above cases the outcome was a good that was intended and was satisfied. True, there is always more to do afterward and while you may find me praising FDR for his war effort, you’ll find equal scorn for his selling out Eastern Europe. Ditto Truman abandoning free China, Bush I not finishing the job in Iraq, etc.

  • Getting rid of him (Gadafi) is an exercise in international hygiene.”

    😆 guffaw. 🙂

    Its time for Gadafi to go, and the reports I am hearing is that now he is randomly shelling civilians in the rebel held towns. So the sooner he is out the better. The reports also say that the UK is leading the action with the US providing most of the firepower, along with France, so that’s to a degree keeping Uncle Sam off the hook politically in the international sense.
    Get rid of him and see what happens – there are a lot of other Arab countries in the region with the same agenda, so maybe its their time.

    I wish the Brits had been as equally keen to put a bullet in Mugabe’s head a few years ago – he’s another despot that needs to go – he has turned the food-basket of southern Africa into a desert.

  • to assume that a worse tyrant will replace a toppled one is a mere recipe never to take action even against the most odious of tyrants

    I never said we should assume this, just that we should not assume the contrary. Yes, you can cite examples where the violent overthrow of a government has improved things. But you can cite many more examples where it has made things worse. France in 1789, Russia in 1917, China in 1949, Cuba in 1959, Iraq and Vietnam in 1963, Iran and Nicaragua in 1979, Rhodesia in 1980. I could go on, but you get the idea.

    Personally I do not have a strong opinion about the wisdom of the Libya action. It might be that given the circumstances this is the best course of action. What I find distressing, however, is how many people simply dismiss the question of what replaces Gaddafi as if it isn’t worth considering. That does not fill me with confidence that their conclusion he should be removed is justified.

  • “Don. . . the man who has never met a war that is not just or he has not loved. Using your rational we should be bombing half the world to be sanitizing it of tyrants.”

    Ah, Marv Wood, the man who does not know what the phrase”you are banned from this site” means apparently. I’ll leave your comment up Marv since this is Michael’s thread. For those who haven’t been around Saint Blogs as long as I have, Marv doesn’t believe we should have fought againt the Third Reich and has a real bee in his bonnet about Israel and Jews.

    RL has dealt with your feeble red herring Marv. My reasons for supporting toppling Gaddafi are because his people are already in revolt against him, giving him some belated justice this side of the grave and hopefully stopping him from adding much more to his tally of slain innocents.

  • “France in 1789, Russia in 1917, China in 1949, Cuba in 1959, Iraq and Vietnam in 1963, Iran and Nicaragua in 1979, Rhodesia in 1980. I could go on, but you get the idea.”

    France in 1789-mixed. The Revolutionary regime was bad. I find it hard to see how Napoleon was a worse tyrant than Louis XIV for example.

    Russia 1917-The Kerensky regime, the February Revolution, was better than that of Nicholas II. The seizure of power by the Bolsheviks in 1917 is actually an argument I think in favor of international action against tyrants.

    China 1949-Once again, wouldn’t that be an argument in favor of international action against a tyrant, Mao, after his seizure of power?

    Cuba 1959-Ah the dictator who got his job courtesy, in part, of some bad reporting by the New York Times. Once again a good argument for international action. Something that Kennedy should have contemplated prior to the Bay of Pigs in 61.

    Iraq? I am not sure what you are referring to, unless you are talking about the coup that brought the Baath party to power: that occurred in 1968. Arif who took power in 1963 with some Baathist support, quickly turned on the Baathists and locked up Saddam until Saddam escaped from prison in 1967. (Too bad he didn’t execute him.) Arif I think was an improvement on Qasim who he overthrew in 63. Saddam would prove to be far worse than Arif.

    Vietnam-1963-Nah, I don’t think Thieu was any worse than Diem. They were both plaster saints compared to Ho. I also think that it is a canard that that event had any long lasting impact on how the Vietnam War played out.

    Iran-1979-Ah the poor Shah trying to rely on limp reed Carter. The Shah was a tyrant and Khomeini and his successors have been worse.

    Nicaragua-1979-Actually I think the Nicaraguans are better off today than they were under Somoza, even with Danny Ortega back in power. With intervention by Reagan and the contras against the Sandinistas compelling them to hold a free election that they lost in 1989, and which led to the democratization of Nicaragua, on the whole I think the process was ultimately beneficial for the Nicaraguan people rather than a few more decades under the latest scion of clan Somoza.

    Rhodesia-1980-One man, one vote, one time. Yep Mugabe turned out to be a worse tyrant than Ian Smith ever was. I do not think however that negates the essential justice of blacks fighting to have votes and legal rights in their own country.

  • The world is certainly well rid of Gaddafi. It’s unfortunate it didn’t happen when Reagan bombed the joint back in the 1980’s. I am uneasy though, about the lack of a game plan.

    Doesn’t France get much of its oil from Libya? I search in vain for indignant leftist protesters marching and holding “No Blood for Oil” signs outside of French embassies. It’s fine for the French to act in their own self-interest, but dreadful when we Yanks do it. To some, apparently, French approval of and participation in a particular action is akin to some sort of moral Michelin star.

    Let’s see, according to Marv, no war has ever solved the world’s problems on a permanent basis so therefore we should never fight wars. There is only one way the world’s problems will be solved on a permanent basis and it’s called The Second Coming. I don’t think that means we should give the world’s monsters carte blanche to do what they will until Christ appears again.

  • Looking at just one aspect of the Just War doctrine. The war is lawful in International Law. At least for countries that have signed the treaty establishing the UN.

    Prior to the UN a country had to meet the Just War Doctrine to lawfully go to war, though that was sometimes honored only in the sophistries presented in argument. Since then it is governed by Chapter VII of the UN charter. While the the article 51 of that chapter allows countries to go to war in self-defense that is not the main part of the chapter. If the Security Council determines by 10 votes no vetos that a “threat to peace” exits it may order enforcement actions including going to war. All members are supposed to support it according to their means. The counties providing the 10 votes no vetoes can base their votes on any criteria they want. I assume that the drafters of the Charter assumed they would use the JWD but with so few members of the council being Western and even the Western countries governed by seculars politicians I see little room for confidence that this is the case.

    The Security Council has voted literally 10 votes no veto’s that there is a threat to international peace and a enforcement action is needed. Just what is that threat. One possibility. The coalition would go to war without it.

    Whether or not it meets the Just War standards – The war is legal in International Law.

    This is not to say that Kaddafi is not a first class tyrant and Libya and the world would be just as well off without him, we cannot forget the larger issues in discussing the question.

  • This war presents a view of an aspect of the Just War doctrine that is often overlooked.

    There is a tension between the requirement that there be reasonable possibility of success and a resonble possibility the godd accomplished will be greater than the harm caused.

    Many of the prewar calls for a no fly zone seemed to assume a minimal action shooting down military aircraft flying where we don’t want them to fly. A course of action with abput zero probability of success in this situration no matter what the objectives are. The coalition has adopted a much more aggressive means to establish a no fly zone, one that has a chance of success or contributing to a success depending on what the objectives are. A consideration of a reasonable possibility of success pretty much precludes a the minimal force alternative. And is likely to result in the least casualties all around in the long run.

    But it involve a more harmful course of action than many of it’s advocates thought was acceptable.

    A point to keep in mind for future discussions on the JWD.

  • I wish the Brits had been as equally keen to put a bullet in Mugabe’s head a few years ago – he’s another despot that needs to go – he has turned the food-basket of southern Africa into a desert.

    “Many that live deserve death. Many that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.

  • “This war was declared by a legitimate sovereign, either by Obama or by the United Nations.”

    We have a government of separated powers, or in this case, power – the national sovereignty is shared by the President, Congress, and the Judiciary. Pres. Obama cannot commit troops to war without consulting Congress and obtaining a declaration of war.

    As Justice Jackson noted in Youngstown Sheet and Tube v. Sawyer, 343 U. S. 579 (1952):

    “When the President acts pursuant to an express or implied authorization of Congress, his authority is at its maximum, for it includes all that he possesses in his own right plus all that Congress can delegate. In these circumstances, and in these only, may he be said (for what it may be worth) to personify the federal sovereignty. If his act is held unconstitutional under these circumstances, it usually means that the Federal Government, as an undivided whole, lacks power.” – Id. at 635-637.

    Even without direct authorization of war, the President has not even a Congressional resolution to stand on in this case. I do not think he can be considered a legitimate sovereign for the purposes of a just war analysis.

  • ““Many that live deserve death. Many that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”

    Nor even us simpler Hobbits.

  • Government without justice is organized brigandage.

  • One of the great things about Tolkien is that one can find a quotation to suit almost any point of view. I agree with Don the Kiwi in regard to Mugabe who has turned Zimbabwe into a starving police state. I hope that eventually someone will rise up in Zimbabwe and apply the sentiment behind these Tolkien words to a cornered Mugabe:

    ‘We will have peace,’ said Théoden at last thickly and with an effort. Several of the Riders cried out gladly. Théoden held up his hand. ‘Yes, we will have peace,’ he said, now in a clear voice, ‘we will have peace, when you and all your works have perished – and the works of your dark master to whom you would deliver us. You are a liar. Saruman, and a corrupter of men’s hearts. You hold out your hand to me, and I perceive only a finger of the claw of Mordor. Cruel and cold! Even if your war on me was just as it was not, for were you ten times as wise you would have no right to rule me and mine for your own profit as you desired – even so, what will you say of your torches in Westfold and the children that lie dead there? And they hewed Háma’s body before the gates of the Hornburg, after he was dead. When you hang from a gibbet at your window for the sport of your own crows, I will have peace with you and Orthanc. So much for the House of Eorl. A lesser son of great sires am I, but I do not need to lick your fingers. Turn elsewhither. But I fear your voice has lost its charm.’

  • So said Theoden, king of Rohan. But his sword did not strike down Saruman; instead Saruman was allowed to leave.

  • Yes the Ents allow him to leave Orthanc. He then goes to the Shire and sets up a police state under the name of Sharkey. Bad call on the part of the Ents I would say. Better if Theoden had hanged him on a gibbet. Never send a tree to do a king’s job.

  • I never read Tolkein, but what an odd thing to say: “Never send a tree to do a king’s job,” for it was on a tree that our King was hung.

  • paul

    In “Lord of the Rings” the Ents are trees or tree like creatures. They have very laisse faire attatude to other creatures. Exile when most would call for a more serious punishment would be their way. Just don’t get them angry.

  • Pingback: WEDNESDAY MORNING EDITION | ThePulp.it
  • “Never send a tree to do a king’s job.”

    Nor a Wood? 😉

  • Ok, then lets look at the rational for WWI we fought the tyrant Kaiser resulting in the rise of Hitler . . . we fought the tyrant Hitler resulting in the the Soviet enslavement of Eastern Europe. . . we fought the Japanese in China resulting in its turn over to Mao . . . we backed rebels in Afghanistan to weaken the USSR resulting in the Taliban . . . and on and on and on and on.

    It does not seem to occur to you that priority in time in an element of causality. It is not causality itself. It also does not seem to have occurred to you to tease out the counter-factual scenarios and ask which ones contemporary policy-makers might be expected to select.

    3.

  • I know from facebook and twitter that many of Obama’s liberal supporters are shocked and upset with the decision.

    I’m not.

    It really shouldn’t surprise anyone. As I noted out in the run-up to the election, Obama never was a peace candidate,

    True. I understood that at the time I voted for him and appreciated that fact.

    I am curious to see if this has changed the minds of many of the more “liberal” Catholics who voted for Obama, but I have not seen anything from them yet.

    Here it is now. I approve of the NATO action in Libya and the US involvement. To me, it seems consistent with the thinking of Barack Obama as I understood him at the time I voted for him.

  • Well, nothing really passes the just war test, does it? I’ll come out and say it: just war doctrine bothers me.

    Well, as with many other things, it’s not a clear “you must do this” kind of thing. Whether something passes the just war test has a great deal to do with the inputs one selects, and the selection of inputs depends a great deal on one’s point of view about human existence, violence, how the world works, etc.

    As a result, though who tend to frown on war generally find that virtually no war passes the just war test. And those who are more likely to have a “War never solved anything except slavery, nazism, etc.” are likely to find that a great many interventions pass the just war test.

    In many ways, it seems to provide a structure for argument rather than an answer.

  • Just war theory is actually simple if you ask the question – Who is fighting defensively? If you follow the news closely, it is evident that in Libya, one side is the aggressor and the other side is merely defending itself.

  • OK. Who is fighting defensively?

  • Just war theory is actually simple if you ask the question – Who is fighting defensively? If you follow the news closely, it is evident that in Libya, one side is the aggressor and the other side is merely defending itself.

    Who is fighting defensively overall, or who is fighting defensively at the moment? Near the beginning of the conflict in Libya, Gaddafi was on the defensive, now the rebels are on the defensive.

    Is Gaddafi in a just position because he held power when this started, or are the rebels defending themselves against the injustice of Gaddafi’s tyranny?

    I’m not clear that even your “simple” answer is going to solve many disputes that have real people on both sides.

  • Don, the colonel is no better or worse than any other dictator with blood on his hands. Why, after 40+ years, is must he suddenly “go,” when he has been so long tolerated? Just because the “rebels,” or should we say “rabble” are restless, does that mean we need to take up their “cause”? Why does the U.S. tolerate outlaw regimes in Korea, Iran, half of Latin America, and other countries that are un- or anti-democratic? Could it be the oil?

    If armed sedition arose in America, would not the National Guard be called our to quell the disturbances by whatever means necessary? How is what Ghadaffi doing any different than any other regime that wants to stay in power?

    Finally, why is it our business to interfere in the affairs of sovereign nation? To become involved in Libya’s civil war is no more justified than our sticking our beaks into Iraq and Afghanistan — unless, of course, there’s oil, natural gas and pipelines at stake — worth hundreds of billions to the Exxons of the world.

    “You think you die for your country when you’re actually dying for some industrialist,” one observer once said.

  • I agree with T. Shaw and will add that those who call themselves Catholic and support the Obamanation of Desolation are Catholic in name only. Whatever manner of rationalism and excuses, sophistry and obfuscation one uses, that godless reprobate sitting in the Oval Office is a baby murderer and a sanctifier of homosexual filth. Now that hardly means while I utterly loathe and despise liberalism, progressivism and Democracy (two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner, in this case the body of an unborn baby), I am enthused with the Republicans. Jesus’ Kingdom is NOT of this world.

    The children of Israel had this same problem back in 1st Samuel chapter 8. They wanted to have a king like the other nations around them, and we wanted a President like the weak-kneed, yellow-bellied, cowardly Europeans. And we got a special kind of coward – one who hesitates to give murderous thugs like Khaddafy what they clearly deserve, but unhestitatingly murders the most innocent and vulnerable members of humanity. Now that’s a real bully of the worst sort.

    I expect nothing good to come out of this action against Libya. The allies are falling apart. Germany has just abandon NATO in the Mediterranean over this. For so long we (i.e., America) have acted as the world’s policeman, and whether that’s right or wrong, the bully in the Oval Office simply isn’t up to the task at hand. Why? Because he is a godless liberal, progressive Democrat (again, not that Republicans are much better, but 1 plus 0 is still 1).

    BTW, no one has answered me: Was it a just war that Joshua waged against the pagans in the land of Canaan as God ordered him to? Was it a just war that Kings Saul and David waged against the Philistines? Was it a just war that the Maccabbean brothers waged against the Seleucid overlords? Were they justified in making a treaty with Sparta and Rome against the Syrians?

    War is hell and no Democrat is up to the task – they would rather murder the unborn (again, Republicans aren’t much better – didn’t I say that a few times already?).

  • tell me again what is the difference between Jihad and your ‘just war’?
    i do not support Gaddaffi but find it a Hypocrisy to approve of an act by usa and when muslims defend their countries it is an act of terrorism

  • Why does the U.S. tolerate outlaw regimes in Korea, Iran, half of Latin America, and other countries that are un- or anti-democratic? Could it be the oil?

    1. With the exception of Cuba, all governments in the western hemisphere are superintended by their elected officials and have been since 1990 or earlier.

    2. Ditto South Korea (since 1987).

    3. In each case, the decision to intervene is going to be influenced by questions of marginal benefit, opportunity, and constraints borne of the quantum of men and materiel involved and reasons of state.

    a. The Far East (especially N. Korea) is within the Chinese sphere of influence. Deference to their preferences is required.

    b. Clocking Iran is a large undertaking, intrudes on Russian and Chinese interests, and precludes a policy of waiting for internal political conflict to do its work. There is an organized and vigorous opposition to the Establishment in Iran. Not so elsewhere in enemy territory.

    Don, the colonel is no better or worse than any other dictator with blood on his hands.

    Oh yes he is.

  • “Don, the colonel is no better or worse than any other dictator with blood on his hands.”

    Disagree Joe. Lockerbie should put him in a class all his own for all Americans. Additionally, Gaddafi has spent his career inflicting violence not only on his own downtrodden people, but around the globe.

    “Why, after 40+ years, is must he suddenly “go,” when he has been so long tolerated?”

    Because he is now an easy target of opportunity since his own people are in rebellion.

    “Why does the U.S. tolerate outlaw regimes in Korea, Iran, half of Latin America, and other countries that are un- or anti-democratic? Could it be the oil?”

    North Korea because we do not want to ignite a Second Korean War, although one fine day I think North Korea will succeed in doing that.

    Iran-because the cost to take out the mullahs would be too high and we are unwilling to do that except as a last resort in the face of a nuclear armed Iran.

    Latin America-Unless a country south of the border is playing footsie with an adversary of the US, the US has been fairly hands off since Johnson’s intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965.

    “Finally, why is it our business to interfere in the affairs of sovereign nation? To become involved in Libya’s civil war is no more justified than our sticking our beaks into Iraq and Afghanistan — unless, of course, there’s oil, natural gas and pipelines at stake — worth hundreds of billions to the Exxons of the world. ”

    In my mind we do so when it is morally right and it accords with US interest to do so. Afghanistan had served as a refuge for the terrorists who assailed us on 9-11. Saddam had done his best to take over much of the oil vital to us. In each case both had odious oppressive regimes. In the case of Libya I defy anyone to say with a straight face that the Libyan people wouldn’t be better with him gone or that it would not be a good thing from the US standpoint for the butcher of Lockerbie to receive justice.

    ““You think you die for your country when you’re actually dying for some industrialist,” one observer once said.”

    That was Marine Corp General Smedley Butler Joe, and you and I had a long combox discussion about him in which I explained why I found his arguments less than compelling.

  • Art…Unconvincing rebuttals. “There is organized and vigorous opposition to the Establishment…” a comment that could be made about America. Does this mean revolution is coming (again)?

    As for your assertion that Ghadafi is “worse,” facts and figures would be in order. Do we decide this by body count? Do we get into a tit-for-tat with Bush Jr. and Sr., with the lethal effects of their “shock and awe”? Does the U.S. expertise and capability in killing wholesale compare with the “terrorist” incompetence in killing retail?

    Further, notice how the narrative has been spun. The state-controlled media, clearly in the thrall of Obama with some likely on CIA payroll, categorizes the opposition to Ghadafi as “rebels,” “freedom fighters” and “pro-democracy forces” whereas elsewhere, i.e. Iraq and Afghanistan, et. al, (when they are not on “our side,”) they are labeled “terrorists,” “insurgents,” or “radical extremists.”

  • Thanks for helping this half-black manchild ruin my country.

    You’re welcome. It’s comments like that which are sure to help the President be re-elected.

  • It is quite likely that the failed performance of the Obamanation of Desolation will open the eyes of the American people and result in his eviction from the White House in 2012. One may hope and pray. But given that 50% of the Catholics in this country are totally and completely enamored with the false gospel of social justice, the common good and peace at any price instead of the Gospel of conversion and repentance, then his re-election is a possibility. Sadly, these so-called Catholics never learned the lesson in John chapter 6 of the people who followed Jesus around the lake after the feeding of the crowd with the loaves and fishes. They asked Him where he went and He responded that it wasn’t because of the signs they saw that they followed him, but because their bellies were filled. He then admonished them to seek the Bread of Eternal Life. Note that outside of the 5000 and the 4000 He did NOT feed them bread again. Today’s modern Catholics who have been done educated into imbecility are just like that same crowd. Thus we have the man of wickedness in the Oval Office promising bread and delivering up dead babies.

    I don’t expect a Republican to be much better, but 1 + 0 = 1, and Sarah Palin is infinitely preferrable to the little anti-christ who defers to Europe and the UN for his decision on ridding the world of a ruthless dictator while he himself legitimatizes the ruthless dismemberment and death of the unborn. Great going, liberal Catholics. What happened to the children of Israel under the Assyrians and Babylonians will be like a walk in the park compared to what we deserve for our godless sexual promiscuity and our murderous ways.

  • Okay, this is getting deeply silly, guys.

    Intervening in Libya may or may not fit the definition of a just war (I’m not sure I have a fully settled opinion on it, though I’m not going to go out of my way to decry Gaddafi having a bad day) and the mission may or may not be thought out in a strategically sound fashion, but apocalyptic rants are not in order.

    [nor are odd racist comments like the one I just had to put on moderation]

  • I concur with what Darwin just said, especially in regard to racist comments. The American Catholic is not going to tolerate that.

  • “Obama and I stand shoulder to shoulder on this. (One can contact me for signed copies of that last statement at a minimal fee. ) We stand shoulder to shoulder of course until Obama changes his mind on the policy.”

    Problem is Don, Obama has stated that removing Gaddaffi is NOT his objective.

  • Darwin and Don,

    Thank you. I am being totally sincere in saying that it is often difficult for liberals to know what is mainstream conservative thinking and what is outside the bounds. As much as certain statements can be entertaining for us, I would rather be told that they are not representative of conservativism and be expected to accept that.

    When other liberals have referenced such comments, either innocently or knowing that they are unfair representations of conservative thought, my apologies. You do your best to educate me and I will do my best the discipline those on my side (including myself).

  • I still wonder about the question posed by Joe Green at 11:54 am: “why is it our business to interfere in the affairs of [a] sovereign nation?”

    I mean, as a matter of principle, is the government of one country responsible for protecting the people of another country from aggression? Is there any magisterial document on this?

    In the Summa IIaIIae.40.1, St. Thomas says, “as the care of the common weal is committed to those who are in authority, it is their business to watch over the common weal of the city, kingdom or province subject to them. And just as it is lawful for them to have recourse to the sword in defending that common weal against internal disturbances, when they punish evil-doers…so too, it is their business to have recourse to the sword of war in defending the common weal against external enemies.” (newadvent.org)

    I note that St. Thomas speaks of a sovereign waging war on behalf of the city, kingdom, or province subject to it; should a sovereign wage war on behalf of a people *not* subject to it?

    I’d say that a sovereign should definitely go to war not only on behalf of his own people but also on behalf of an ally; but is there any definition of “ally” by which the Libyan rebels would be considered our allies?

  • Kurt, There won’t be anything left in 2012.

  • Darwin:
    The side that targets civilians – that is the aggressor.

    Jonathan:
    Technically, they are not our allies, but based on the knowledge we have right now, they are (apparently) the lesser of two evils.

  • Further, notice how the narrative has been spun. The state-controlled media, clearly in the thrall of Obama with some likely on CIA payroll, categorizes the opposition to Ghadafi as “rebels,”

    You need to lay off the Bircher Kool-Aid, Joe.

    Mr. McClarey has elaborated quite adequately on some of my points. If you find that ‘unconvincing’, you will just have to specify how.

    Strange as it may seem to you, multiple vectors are present in influencing decision-making in international politics.

    With regard to Col. Qadafi’s peculiarities: his regime is not the abbatoir that was Ba’athist Iraq. It has been, however, abnormally repressive. Freedom House has, over a period of 37 years, given it either the lowest possible marks or the next lowest in the realms of civil liberties and political rights. It invested in research in weapons of mass destruction, apropos of ambitions few countries of its size have. It financed, trained and harbored international brigands in expression of atavisms which are fairly atypical as well. It is a weirdly revanchist and oddly ambitious regime. It is also oddly durable. Hasn’t been a chance like this to get rid of him in 40-odd years.

  • In the NY Times article written by the four journalists held captive in Libya, the Qaddafi loyalists seemed perplexed that the United States would side against them because, in their view, the opposition is a bunch of upstart Islamists and al Qaeda affiliates. Which goes to show, I think, that there are probably more demons than angels in this thing.

  • Art, I have no wish to disabuse you of your notions nor to spar further on this subject other than to reject your characterization of my drinking habits. I assure you that my objectivity has been long in development and whatever opinions I express are subject to revision when new facts justify an alteration. In this matter, however, such new light has yet to be provided.

  • G.W. Bush had a coalition of twice as many countries before going into iraq. The U.S. also waited almost a year and went through 16 UN resolutions and Saddam still would not let inspectors in. This “war” decision took one weekend.

  • To my mind, the overwhelming reason not to be sanguine about the outcome of the present US adventure in Libya, is that at least since 1991 all of its interventions in the Muslim world has resulted in the strenthening of the worst elements among the Muslims. This misadventure will prove no different. Saner voices (Diana West, Sultan Knish…) have already pointed that (Qu)(K)(G)addafi is at war with substantially the same elements who have been sending suicide bombers that target US forces in Iraq. The fate of the Iraqi Christians, and the inevitable return to power of the Pakistan backed Taliban has cured me of any lingering faith in the credibility of US intentions and abilities.

  • I would second the comment about the opposition being “islamists”. There is a recent report by a counter-terrorism center at Westpoint that found that the very region of libya that the revolution is based out of and which the US is supporting sent per capita more jihadists to iraq to fight american forces than any other country on earth. the overthrow of Gaddafi is likely just to be the opening of pandora’s box.

The CIA and Facebook

Tuesday, March 22, AD 2011

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.   Hmmm, so I guess that Facebook could potentially do more harm to people than merely being a venue where future employers can see drunken photos of job applicants. I don’t know, this seems a bit too clever for the CIA.  On the other hand, if someone wanted to claim that Facebook was started by the Internal Revenue Service, I would readily agree.

Continue reading...

3 Responses to The CIA and Facebook

  • That was really good. Didn’t see this coming though:

    …it allows me to interact with my fans without having to see, hear, or smell them.

    LOL

  • The Onion news anchor RL is a priceless parody of the shallow, self-obsessed “star” anchor. Think Katie Couric, only funny instead of merely pathetic. 🙂

  • And hot, rather than not, but I don’t know if noting something so shallow is allowed during Lent or not. Well, I guess thinking about Katie Couric is enough penance to allow such a comparison. 🙂

Augustine’s Confessions: Sin for the Sake of Sin

Monday, March 21, AD 2011

In Book 2, we find Augustine (the character) as a teenager, while Augustine (the author) takes the opportunity to think about what makes us sin. The connection will be familiar to us all. Augustine talked about Original Sin in Book 1, that tendency which we can see even in very young children towards selfishness in which we can see the rooted tendency towards self over others which is at the root of sin. But that selfishness of childhood is largely unthinking. It is as we enter late childhood and early adolescence we attain the ability to think about sin in a way much like that of adults, but with the drives almost unique to adolescence. Augustine sees this in his past self and doesn’t like what he sees:

For as I grew to manhood I was inflamed with desire for a surfeit of hell’s pleasures. Foolhardy as I was, I ran wild with lust that was manifold and rank. In your eyes my beauty vanished and I was foul to the core, yet I was pleased with my own condition and anxious to be pleasing in the eyes of men.

In this book, the story of what’s going on in young Augustine’s life (versus his examination of the human condition) struck me, with the ways that it seemed both familiar and alien.

Continue reading...

4 Responses to Augustine’s Confessions: Sin for the Sake of Sin

  • Transgression for transgression’s sake is a lot like drug addiction in that it takes ever increasing doses to achieve that “high.” What’s shocking to one generation is quaint and amusing to later generations. This fact should give pause to all those who delight in being transgressive as a sort of antidote to bourgeois sensibilities. One can only deconstruct and break down barriers for so long — eventually there’s nothing left standing at all, except for maybe the sheer force of will. There’s a reason we seem surrounded by “man children” and adults stuck in perpetual adolescence; someday we might be talking about “adult toddlers” the way things are going. If I were a Freudian, I’d say the future is all Id.

  • Pingback: MONDAY EVENING EDITION | ThePulp.it
  • as I grew to manhood I was inflamed with desire for a surfeit of hell’s pleasures. Foolhardy as I was, I ran wild with lust that was manifold and rank. In your eyes my beauty vanished and I was foul to the core, yet I was pleased with my own condition and anxious to be pleasing in the eyes of men.

    Change manhood to womanhood and you have me my 20’s (although I wouldn’t exactly say I ran ‘wild with lust,’ I was not a chaste young woman. And the sad thing is that I read Augustine’s Confessions in college and didn’t see myself in them at all.

    Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa!

  • Pingback: Catholic Phoenix

Scott Walker: Crusader Against Abortion

Monday, March 21, AD 2011

 

In all of the furor over Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s bill to curb the power of public employee union to careen the state of Wisconsin into insolvency, other stances of the Governor have been overlooked.  Leftist magazine Mother Jones notes in a current story that Walker is an ardent foe of abortion:

Walker, the son of a minister, attended Marquette University in Milwaukee from 1986 to 1990, where he served as chair of Students for Life. He dropped out of the school without graduating in 1990, and unsuccessfully ran for the Assembly that fall. He ran again in 1993 in a special election and won an Assembly seat representing Wauwatosa, a city just outside of Milwaukee. It didn’t take long for him to take up the abortion fight.

In November 1996, Walker and Assemblywoman Bonnie Ladwig R-Caledonia announced plans to introduce a bill banning “partial-birth” abortions, or what’s medically known as dilation and extraction. Anti-abortion groups have condemned the practice, but groups that back abortion rights argue the procedure could save a woman’s life in the case of severe late-term complications during a pregnancy. Walker said partial-birth abortions are “never needed” to save lives, adding, “This procedure is not a medically recognized procedure.”

Continue reading...

72 Responses to Scott Walker: Crusader Against Abortion

  • Good scoop!

    I’ve been married to a nurse for 33 years (we were six years old!?). I was present for the births of three sons.

    Governor Walker speaks truth to murderers.

    The whole premise is a lie. The inducement of labor (I saw it with Number One Son) is highly stressful for the mother. If the murderers intend to save both critically-ill mother and baby, they would perform a C-Section.

    But, for infanticide to meet the test for “basic human right,” the murderers must induce labor, turn the doomed baby into the breach (legs first) birth position (dangerous) and over-stress the (weakened, severely ill?) mother so they can kill the baby before the baby is “born”, i.e., completely out of the birth canal.

    Voting for peace and “social justice” has kept this monstrous murder mill running; and (added bonuses!) given us a third war, 9% unemployment, $4 a gallon gasoline/home heating oil, bankrupt state and local governments, shuttered clinics and hospitals, etc.

    Yes, this hillbilly rube is rubbing your bloody noses in it.

  • Gov. Walker is the son of a Methodist minister. Although not of the Faith, he is our brother in Christ.

    I am deeply depressed these days. I see and hear Walker and the GOP slandered incessantly on a daily basis and I see the Democrat State Senators who hightailed it to Illinois hailed as heroes, not cowards. Up is down, and black is white in my little lefty corner of the world. Only teachers are workers, apparently; the rest of us who pay teacher’s salaries without having anything close to their benes and pensions are, apparently – well, we just don’t count.

    I must go to confession, for I know despair is a sin, and yet I find it very difficult not to despair in these days when every value I hold dear is held up to ridicule and the craven and corrupt are called heroes.

    I must keep reminding myself that the little very liberal corner of Wisconsin I live in is not the universe. And yet, since the days of Terri Schaivo and the Obama infatuation, it is difficult to persuade myself that my views are the views of some sensible majority.

  • Oh, and just to lighten up things a bit, I should mention that while I am depressed, I am not as sad as poor Denver:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGOCxmq0-gs&amp

    Now, that is the saddest, guiltiest creature in the universe 🙂

  • Gov. Walker,
    I will side with him with this topic, but I still think overall he as corrupt as many politicians. Getting rid of collective bargaining and the means in which he did was just wrong.

    @Donna : “Only teachers are workers, apparently; the rest of us who pay teacher’s salaries without having anything close to their benes and pensions are, apparently – well, we just don’t count.”
    We pay for the salary, but not these pensions it is 100% funded by the teachers. Now it is sad to see the middle class eat each other because one person has something more than the other. That if I can recall is a SIN. If you think 52k is a lot then I feel you need to see what the medium income is in the united states. I help my community by on occasion substitute teach and see that the salary is low in my opinion because many of the teacher in my community they stay overtime and come before class to help these children. I am a person that would gladly pay an extra 20-30% in taxes if it went to education,fire/police, and infrastructure. But instead I just saw my elect officials increase their salaries and lowered education funding while cutting teachers. To be honest its these elected officials are the people we should be targeting about taking our money not the teachers and police/fire! I would like to see any elected office Demo/Rep vote on having a paycut for themselves for the next 5 years.. we will see that when pigs fly..

  • “It is sad to see the middle class eat each other because one person has something more than the other. That if I can recall is a SIN.”

    I have to agree. Although I believe Gov. Walker has good intentions, the manner in which he and other leading conservatives and GOP figures are going about attacking the problem of public employee pay and benefits bothers me greatly.

    Yes, reforms are needed, and local and state governments can’t go on forever supporting levels of pay and benefits that are unsustainable. Even the most liberal Illinois Democrats are beginning to realize this — they have of late been seriously discussing measures likely to incur the undying wrath of AFSCME, such as not allowing managerial-level employees to join unions and cutting back future pension benefits for CURRENT employees even though such a move is likely to be declared an unconstitutional breach of contract. But, I digress.

    In many cases, the problem was NOT that “greedy” public employees demanded too much, it was that elected officials PROMISED too much, and then never bothered to properly fund those promises. In many cases they went so far as to borrow — or more precisely, steal — money that they knew ought to go toward pensions to spend on pork projects and other vote-getting measures without having to raise taxes.

    Skipping or deferring pension payments is a very popular state budget “balancing” tactic used by BOTH parties. It “worked” in the 1980s and 1990s and for most of the 2000s only because most pension fund investments performed well enough to make up for the money that hadn’t been paid in.

    Something else that bothers me is seeing the pro-life cause tied so closely to economic conservatism. If I didn’t know better from having been pro-life all my life, I’d get the impression from the media and from blogs on both sides of the aisle that being anti-union, condemning all public employees as “parasites”, rigidly opposing tax increases of any kind for ANY reason, insisting upon tax breaks for big business while imposing draconian budget cuts upon the middle class and poor, and insisting that everyone (except big business owners) should be knocked down to a Wal-Mart level of pay and benefits are a “package deal” that goes hand in hand with being pro-life and pro-marriage.

    If one part of this policy package fails to perform as advertised it will drag down the credibility of everything else associated with it, including pro-life. And that, my friends, is why we must NEVER give up on trying to establish a pro-life presence in BOTH parties. This is too important an issue to be tied down to one party or one faction within it.

  • “And that, my friends, is why we must NEVER give up on trying to establish a pro-life presence in BOTH parties. This is too important an issue to be tied down to one party or one faction within it.”

    That was my position Elaine, up until the passage of the Obamacare debacle, when it was revealed that for all the energy put into attempting to establish a pro-life presence in the Democrat party, perhaps 10 of the Democrats in Congress were truly pro-life. Pro-lifers who are Democrats will always have my best wishes for their efforts, but I think their attempt is bound to fail. The modern Democrat party has at its core a committment to keeping abortion legal. That party will compromise on almost everything else, but not on that issue. It might help of course if pro-life Democrats would emphasize that they will not vote for pro-abort Democrats, but I think the pro-abort powers that be in the Democrat party long ago decided that the sacred right of abortion is worth losing disgruntled pro-life votes.

  • “Now it is sad to see the middle class eat each other because one person has something more than the other. That if I can recall is a SIN.”

    Rubbish. It is called taxpayers realizing that the sweetheart deals between politicians and the public employee unions, which are more accurately characterized as bribes, are bankrupting states and literally cannot be paid. This day has been coming for decades and since states cannot print money out of thin air like the Feds, there is no alternative to it.

  • “Perhaps 10 of the Democrats in Congress were truly pro-life.”

    Well, that’s 10 more than zero, and 10 righteous men would have been enough for God to spare Sodom…

  • “It’s not just about being against something, it’s believing that every individual deserves dignity and respect, whoever they are, at whatever stage of life they’re in,” Lipinski said. “That is something I hear my Democratic colleagues say. And I say that it’s self-evident that the individual is there at conception.”

    “We know that at conception, the genetic code is there, for a unique individual. This is not something that is just a religious belief,” Lipinski said. “If you look at what we know about reproduction, you can see it.”

    That is what representative Bill Lipinski (D.Ill) said in explaining his no vote on final passage of Obamacare. He is one of the true pro-life Democrats in Congress. For him proclaiming himself pro-life simply wasn’t part of a marketing strategy, which apparently was all it was for most self-proclaimed pro-life Democrats in the last Congress.

  • Alex wrote:

    “it is sad to see the middle class eat each other because one person has something more than the other. That if I can recall is a SIN. If you think 52k is a lot then I feel you need to see what the medium income is in the united states.”

    Alex, you have forgotten to mention the gold-plated benefits and pension plans, which is something the overwhelming majority of Americans do not get. It is the middle class majority comprised of non-public employees who are footing the bill so a small minority of their peers can enjoy perks and privileges the rest of us do not get. Walker’s reforms are actually very modest, and yet the unionists are screaming like scalded cats. The system as presently scheduled prevents any true reform of our educational system, because poor teachers with seniority cannot be fired.

    Collective bargaining is a privilege, not a “right” Moses came down the mountain with. Federal employees don’t have it, teachers in right-to-work states don’t have it. May I ask why teachers should not have the right to choose whether or not they belong to a union? Why should they be forced to join a union and have their dues used to fund Democratic causes and candidates they may not personally support themselves? If being in a union is so wonderful, I would think they would be happy to pull out the checkbook themselves instead of the state withholding dues. (And why on earth is the state in the business of withholding union dues anyway.)

    Elaine and Alex, do you really comprehend the magnitude of the fiscal disaster that is headed our way? If you think Scott Walker is being a meanie now, just wait until those government checks start bouncing. Part of the problem is that Americans generally agree that oh, yes, we’re spending way to much – but don’t you dare cut MY programs, my entitlements, my benes. Go cut somebody else’s – take more money from the corporations (nevermind that as of April 1, the US will have the highest corporate tax rate in the world and that the unions putting the screws to The Man is a big part of the reason Detroit has become the glorious garden spot it is.)

    The lefties I hear everyday bang on about taking all the money from the rich. That certainly worked so well for everybody in 1917. One small problem – the total net worth of US billionaires is about $1.3 trillion – which doesn’t even cover US debt for 1 year. We are spending money which does not exist.

    DeTocqueville pointed out many years ago that once the populace discovered they could vote themselves largesse out of public funds, the American republic would be in danger, because people would eventually vote themselves into bankruptcy. That is where we are headed – that is the SIN, Alex – and I am alternately saddened and angered by people who refuse to see it.

    No, Walker’s problem isn’t that he’s corrupt. It’s that he’s too honest. We say we want honest politicians, politicians who will take political risks and level with us – but when one does,oh, how he is hated. No, we want pretty lies, pols who promise us more and more and let us believe in the fairy tale that government can provide for all and the gravy train will never end. We deserve everything that’s coming to us – and it will be very ugly.

    Elaine, you might wish to be a pro-life Democrat. The Democrats don’t want you. You are not welcome among them. That was made very clear the night Stupak caved.

  • Bard professor Walter Russell Mead is writing many interesting posts these days about the demise of “Liberalism 4.0” – the Blue State Social Model operative for much of the 20th century:

    Regardless of what happens in Madison this week, it is a hopeless battle. 4.0 liberalism and the Blue Social Model aren’t immoral and they helped many Americans enjoy roughly two generations of unprecedented prosperity — but they are unworkable in the contemporary world. States that don’t make the kind of changes that Wisconsin seeks will face the problems that loyally blue Illinois does now: staggering pension bills that undermine the state’s credit and cripple its ability to attract and hold business. An article in the New York Times, that bastion of blue thinking, mocks Illinois’ latest plan to pay its current pension bill with a $3.7 billion bond issue. Note reporters Mary Williams Walsh and Michael Cooper, Illinois “is essentially paying a single year’s bill by adding to its already heavy debt load. That short-term thinking is not unlike Americans taking out home equity loans to pay for cars and vacations before the housing bust.”

    However much money the public sector unions fling into the maw of Democratic party politics, the old system is going down. Workers will actually do better in states that act quickly; the longer the day of reckoning is postponed, the higher the bill will be, and the more savage and draconian the cuts will have to become.

    I really, honestly don’t understand why this is so darned difficult to comprehend! Isn’t that how it works in your personal life?

    I suspect people really don’t believe that the wheels can come off our system, that there really, truly isn’t any money left (unless the Feds start printing it – hello, hyper-inflation!) Because hey, we’re America! Just as there were undoubtably Brits 100 years ago who scoffed at the idea that mighty Britain could possibly become a 3rd rate power in the space of a couple of generations and Romans who believed the glorious Empire would last forever.

    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/02/18/the-madison-blues/

    BTW, Donald, in addition to having interesting insights into contemporary US domestic and military policies, Mead is also a fellow Civil War buff and is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the War by blogging about Civil War events as though they were current events.

    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/03/05/lincoln-davis-in-inaugural-shuffle/

  • “Elaine and Alex, do you really comprehend the magnitude of the fiscal disaster that is headed our way?”

    Yes, Donna, I believe I do. I work for the state, and if checks start bouncing, I’m first in line to get bounced! I don’t even think about the allegedly lavish pension I’m supposed to get someday because I presume it won’t be there. No early retirement for me, I’m just going to keep working until I’m too old, sick or dead to stand up.

    I’m NOT saying benefits cannot or should not be cut back. I’m NOT saying concessions should not be made. And that includes my own benefits even though I’m NOT union and don’t make all that much money ($35,000 a year, folks, it’s a matter of public record) Nor do I think Walker is being all that “mean” or unreasonable in the financial concessions he has sought.

    No, I think the problem is more with conservative pundits and others who have consciously chosen to pursue a strategy of emphasizing the alleged greed of public workers as a class, hoping that this will translate into more GOP votes. All you have to do is read the comments on ANY conservative blog to see what I mean. Sorry if I take that a little too personally, but, I do.

    I am simply saying to place the blame for this situation where it really belongs…on the elected officials who overpromised time and time again, and on the private employers who pulled the rug out from under THEIR pensioners, thereby creating the expectation that because private sector workers got screwed out of their retirement, therefore so should public sector workers.

    The blame does NOT belong to ordinary people like myself who took public sector jobs — not because they wanted to get rich at public expense, or wanted to spit in the face of the taxpayers, or wanted to sit around and do nothing all day — but because they just wanted to do what seemed best for their own security and that of their families. I suppose you’d all rather I go back to trying to support my family on $9 an hour?

    As much as I despise the intimidation tactics and stands of the WI public union crowd, and even as much as I despise most unions and would prefer NEVER to join one, please don’t try to convince me that public employees are ALL some kind of Marie Antoinette-like privileged class… I KNOW that’s not true, and others can certainly see it too, and it will only make everything else conservatives say appear equally ridiculous (including pro-life and pro-marriage stands).

    No, all I am saying is to cast the issue a little differently… instead of pitting public and private sector against one another just say we are ALL fellow citizens TOGETHER in the same boat and for the good of ALL we need a fiscally sound and sustainable government that doesn’t make promises it can’t keep. Is that so hard to understand?

    Sorry if this sounds like an unhinged rant but if you spent the last two days trying to decipher hundreds of pages of Medicaid regulations until your head was ready to explode from eyestrain, well, maybe you would feel like ranting too.

  • Thanks, Elaine, for your thoughtful and even-handed analysis. Will it change minds here? Probably not. Would it change minds if posted on Vox Nova? No. But it needs to be said. The Church has many teachings, all of them pro-life: opposition to abortion and respect for the sanctity of marriage are two big ones these days, but upholding the dignity of workers is one as well.

  • Elaine: My older brother retired from a job as city administrator of a small town after 30+ years in that position. I certainly do not think he was lazy; in fact, he worked many evenings and weekends and I know he was very dedicated to the good of the community. At the same time, he has not yet turned 60. None of his siblings will retire before 60, or, I estimate, before we turn 70. The rest of us work in the healthcare system, and none of us get the gold-plated healthcare coverage he receives. My ex-brother in law retired from teaching at age 55. I am resigned to having to work until I am 70 or older. What I resent – and I am sorry that Alex considers this a sin – is having to work until I am at least 70 because I have to foot the bill, not only for myself, but for people like my ex-brother-in-law who is thoroughly enjoying his retirement.

    This is what I deeply and (God help me) bitterly resent – the idea, as expressed on signs and in protests that public union employees are the only middle class people, the only workers who count. What am I, what are the people employed by private industry? Chopped liver? People who exist to support public employees?

    I am not rich either, Elaine. I make a bit more than you, but I am single and fending for myself in the world. I live in a 2 bedroom apartment in a “yuppie” neighborhood – and I permitted myself the luxury of having a second bedroom and more space only because I didn’t own a car and could walk to work. Then my job moved to a business center miles away and I suddenly had to get up at 4 am and take 3 buses to get to work. So I bought a car (used) last fall and I am now having trouble salting away extra money in my savings account. Last week, I received word that the hospital system I work for is in terrible trouble financially. They are bringing Deloitte and Toche in within the next couple of weeks and there will be serious cuts. Our department may be outsourced. If our financial situation doesn’t improve, the whole organization will go out of business in 18 months.

    So, Elaine, you’re not the only one who feels like ranting. I ask, who will be standing on the street corners waving signs around if my hours are cut, or my job is lost? I am a middle manager in my 50’s. What if I try to go back to my former occupation as a legal assistant? Competing against recent college grads? I have spent nights tossing and turning and asking God to help alleviate my fear and dread.

    please don’t try to convince me that public employees are ALL some kind of Marie Antoinette-like privileged class…

    When did I say that? And Walker has never said anything of the sort. In fact, he has praised the dedication of public employees – and he’s absurdly called a dictator by the mob in Madison. Yes, certainly some conservatives have If you want to castigate someone for tainting the reputation of public employees, look to the unlovely crowd in Madison (and the people in my own neighborhood) who have signs up comparing him to Hitler. The Wisconsin GOP assemblymen and women have been subjected to death threats and the blogger Ann Althouse has been threatened (for simply recording and posting what the Madison protesters have being saying and doing during the past month). When a local grocery store chain refused to post anti-Walker, pro-union signs in its windows, the doors were superglued shut. I take regular walks along N. Lake Shore Drive – yesterday, I noticed that the 2 signs supporting the GOP candidate for Supreme Court Justice were ripped up and tossed in the bushes. The many signs favoring the Dem candidates were untouched.

    Yes, it is wrong to associate such thuggish behavior with public employees as a whole. And yet, I can understand why some conservatives might get confused on that score.

  • Ron wrote:
    upholding the dignity of workers is one as well

    Ron, are you aware of the “rubber rooms” in NY state? They are where teachers accused of sexually abusing their pupils and other serious charges go to spend their days – because they can’t be fired according to union rules. They go there to play cards, chat and watch the soaps – at full pay, with the NY taxpayer footing the bill. Does that fit your concept of “upholding the dignity of workers?”

    I am so sick I could scream of the notion that only those in unions are “workers” while the rest of us, apparently, are just cash cows who should shut up and pay our ever escalating taxes – and if we complain or rebel we are uncharitable or rude or greedy. Go ahead, lefties, make the whole country look like Detroit. ‘Cause that is exactly where we’re headed.

    In Ron’s head, apparently, only the rich are guilty of greed. If a union employee screams because he or she has to pay *horrors* for a portion of their benes or healthcare, well, that’s not greed or selfishness. Yes, like the Pharisee, we thank God that we are not like those miserable others! We are always on the side of the angels, correct, Ron?

  • And during the past few weeks, I have noticed that no Walker critic has an answer for this:

    May I ask why teachers should not have the right to choose whether or not they belong to a union? Why should they be forced to join a union and have their dues used to fund Democratic causes and candidates they may not personally support themselves? If being in a union is so wonderful, I would think they would be happy to pull out the checkbook themselves instead of the state withholding dues.

    Ron, kindly tell me, why “upholding the dignity of workers ” means forcing them to join unions?

  • Thanks, Donald.

    Oh, and here’s yet another lovely example of a union leader’s touching concern for “the dignity of workers”:

    Lerner (a former SEIU official) said that unions and community organizations are, for all intents and purposes, dead. The only way to achieve their goals, therefore–the redistribution of wealth and the return of “$17 trillion” stolen from the middle class by Wall Street–is to “destabilize the country.”

    Lerner’s plan is to organize a mass, coordinated “strike” on mortgage, student loan, and local government debt payments–thus bringing the banks to the edge of insolvency and forcing them to renegotiate the terms of the loans. This destabilization and turmoil, Lerner hopes, will also crash the stock market, isolating the banking class and allowing for a transfer of power.

    Lerner’s plan starts by attacking JP Morgan Chase in early May, with demonstrations on Wall Street, protests at the annual shareholder meeting, and then calls for a coordinated mortgage strike.

    Lerner also says explicitly that, although the attack will benefit labor unions, it cannot be seen as being organized by them. It must therefore be run by community organizations.
    Lerner was ousted from SEIU last November, reportedly for spending millions of the union’s dollars trying to pursue a plan like the one he details here.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/seiu-union-plan-to-destroy-jpmorgan

    Nevermind, of course, that many millions of average Americans would suffer terribly if the stock market went under. Nevermind that Obama himself blessed the bailout of Wall Street and that Wall Street firms donated heavily to his campaign.

    “Dignity of workers,” my big fat foot. What the unions are after is power, raw power, and they could care less than a fig about who suffers as a result.

  • “What I resent – and I am sorry that Alex considers this a sin – is having to work until I am at least 70 because I have to foot the bill, not only for myself, but for people like my ex-brother-in-law who is thoroughly enjoying his retirement.”

    @Donna: So instead of helping everyone retire at 55/65 you would rather pass on your misery? I see this to be the sin of Envy?

    This is what I deeply and (God help me) bitterly resent – the idea, as expressed on signs and in protests that public union employees are the only middle class people, the only workers who count. What am I, what are the people employed by private industry? Chopped liver? People who exist to support public employees?

    @Donna: I work for a private business as well and get a fair wage. I expect my taxes to go to infrastructure (fire/police, schools, and parks/roads) and happy to pay 28% or more. As well believe if I made more than 3 million that the next dollar should be taxed at 90%.

    Alex, you have forgotten to mention the gold-plated benefits and pension plans, which is something the overwhelming majority of Americans do not get.

    @Donna My dad worked for ford his whole life worked nights to put me through school and put me in a very middle/high middle class neighborhood so I can do what he could not, go to school. My dad worked for 35 years and retired with that “gold-plated” benefits because he had a union. My dad is a very humble person that never asked for anything and was happy he had a job. If it was not for the union he would not be fairly compensated. Because of the years of work, blood and sweat I was able to go to school in order to work and be productive. I don’t have a union, but because of my father I able to stand on my two feet and quit when I feel taken advantaged unlike my dad, but he had the union to help him negotiate fair wage. I left my previous job because of a 30% cut in wage and was out of work for a year. Mind you I have a house that is 90k and 2 cars. Today I found a job that I am making 40% more all because of my dad providing for my future. Now my dad is retired with a “gold-plated” pension with a successful son that has not forgotten were he came from like many others have. If that is so bad for a person to retire at 55 you try doing some hard manual labor for sometime. You know what is sad is I make what may dad made before he retired… and i feel that I nor many people posting on this blog have never work as hard has him and many others. Unions are needed if you don’t think so I am afraid that you don’t believe in democracy since i do see unions as mini-versions of our gov’t.

    Collective bargaining is a privilege, not a “right” Moses came down the mountain with. Federal employees don’t have it, teachers in right-to-work states don’t have it. May I ask why teachers should not have the right to choose whether or not they belong to a union? Why should they be forced to join a union and have their dues used to fund Democratic causes and candidates they may not personally support themselves? If being in a union is so wonderful, I would think they would be happy to pull out the checkbook themselves instead of the state withholding dues. (And why on earth is the state in the business of withholding union dues anyway.)

    Collective bargaining is a privilege, not a “right”<— with this logic lets just say that voting is also privilege not a "right". What is wrong with Collective bargaining? We do this all the time passively and actively in democracy… unless you want a dictatorship be my guess. I would like you to explain to me why this is not a right? How do you define what is a human right versus a privilege.

    "It is the middle class majority comprised of non-public employees who are footing the bill so a small minority of their peers can enjoy perks and privileges the rest of us do not get. Walker’s reforms are actually very modest, and yet the unionists are screaming like scalded cats. The system as presently scheduled prevents any true reform of our educational system, because poor teachers with seniority cannot be fired. "

    @Donna: Have you every volunteered to work as a substitute teacher ? Many of these Sr. "teachers" that should be fired my guess are less than 10% so you would get rid of collective bargaining for these rotten teachers. Even though most of the issue is not the rotten teacher but the rotten parents.

    Here is a few questions for you what is your take on the elected offical's salaries? Do you think Citizen United Decision is the correct direction for our country? Would you rather take from people that are working hard then those who will always be well off?

  • Donna, I am very sorry to hear that your job is in jeopardy. Involuntary unemployment is something both my husband and I have experienced, and the only thing I can say about it is, it sucks. In fact he’s unemployed now and no longer getting unemployment benefits, so my salary is all the three of us have.

    I am quite aware of the death threats and intimidation tactics going on in Wisconsin. I discovered Ann Althouse’s blog about a month ago and have been reading it every day since so I know about everything she and her husband, Larry Meade, have been reporting. I chafe constantly at how conservatives, even on their best behavior, are always painted in the media as the intolerant thugs while leftists get away with all sorts of “incivility” and worse.

    Yes, public employee unions are doing their best to make all public employees look bad and incite class warfare — that’s obvious. But what may NOT be as obvious to people like us is that there are some (certainly not all) conservatives doing the same thing. You can find them on any conservative blog, or any newspaper website. People who say ALL unions, even in the private sector, must be abolished; people who say ALL public employees are mere parasites who produce nothing of value and whose very existence is a form of theft; people who say that all public employees only have their jobs because they are losers incapable of making it in the “real world,” etc.

    I don’t think public employees are the only “real” middle class people or that their jobs are the only ones that matter. I do not want to see ANYONE lose their job if it can be avoided. And should I ever lose my job (it could happen if our agency budget gets cut severely enough) I don’t expect anyone to go out on a street corner and protest. All I am saying is that I don’t like class warfare, no matter who instigates it.

  • Donna: So instead of helping everyone retire at 55/65 you would rather pass on your misery? I see this to be the sin of Envy?

    Alex, you really, really don’t get it. “Helping everyone retire at 55/65?” How, given the demographics of this country and the financial straits we are in, is such a thing possible? Again, do you even begin to comprehend the hole that we are in? It’s like saying you’re in favor of the tooth fairy. No, Walker is asking the public union employees to give up a small fraction of what they currently have for the greater good. By doing that he avoids layoffs. But the teacher’s union has shown that they would accept thousands of layoffs rather than making concessions. You, Alex, are insisting that other people make the sacrifices while absolving the teachers from making any. Guess what? We will all have to make sacrifices and I don’t understand why teachers should be exempt.

    Your view of unions is influenced by your father’s experience. I don’t doubt he worked hard, but I wouldn’t confuse reverence for a parent with reverence for an institution. There was a place and time for unions – but that time is over and done, as Prof. Mead explains so well in his articles. My sister worked in the medical department of a GE plant up until 5 years ago. She was in one of the few non-unionized departments there. The plant is now shuttered, in large part because the UAW would not make even the smallest concessions. Michigan is a basket case economy for the same reason.

    What is wrong with Collective bargaining?

    Can I ask you, what about those of us workers who do not have collective bargaining, but have negotiated on our own for raises? What about all the German and Japanese car company plants located in the South -plants which are doing just fine without collective bargaining? Are those workers slaves? Do they live in a dictatorship? What about people who live in Right to Work states? Are they peons? Four families of my acquaintance have moved to Texas or Tennessee over the past year. Silly fools, leaving the union paradise that is the upper Midwest for the benighted South – which is where all the job creation happens to be these days. What would you do to stop such flights of labor, Alex? Forbid corporations from moving to right to work states? Good luck with that.

    You absolve yourself of the sin of envy, Alex, but you have no problem with the idea of taking from those more well-off than you. My guess is that you blame the rich and those evil corporations for all the ills of the world. Oh, but you’re not envious. Well, take a look around the room you’re sitting in and name me one item you own that was NOT made by a corporation. Like I noted earlier, you could take every single dime away from Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and that would not solve our financial crisis. Unfortunately, we are not only killing the goose that lays the golden eggs, we are making omelets from the eggs.

    what is your take on the elected offical’s salaries?
    It’s my understanding that Walker has agreed to the same cuts he has stipulated for other public employees.

    Do you think Citizen United Decision is the correct direction for our country?

    Yes, although I know that’s the politically incorrect answer. McCain/Feingold was terrible, terrible law.

    And may I ask you -again- why you think that forcing people to be in unions and pay union dues is democratic?

    I could make this post much longer, but I must get ready for work. I leave with the words of former SEIU exec Lerner, who sounds like he has exactly the same understanding of “democracy” as you do, Alex:

    Lerner (a former SEIU official) said that unions and community organizations are, for all intents and purposes, dead. The only way to achieve their goals, therefore–the redistribution of wealth and the return of “$17 trillion” stolen from the middle class by Wall Street–is to “destabilize the country.”

    Lerner’s plan is to organize a mass, coordinated “strike” on mortgage, student loan, and local government debt payments–thus bringing the banks to the edge of insolvency and forcing them to renegotiate the terms of the loans. This destabilization and turmoil, Lerner hopes, will also crash the stock market, isolating the banking class and allowing for a transfer of power.

    Yeah, let’s bring down Wall Street and the banks! Or, as Alex would put it, let’s take from the rich! It’s not sinful to do that!

  • Oh, and one last thing: most Wisconsin teachers stayed in their classrooms and did not run over to Madison to throw a giant hissy fit. Those who did – and took students with them – certainly taught those kids some valuable lessons. Such as: it’s fine to lie about being sick, the results of the last election can be ignored if you don’t like the results, it’s also OK for legislators to run off to another state to avoid taking a vote, it’s wonderful to spew hatred of Walker and the GOP and call them Nazis and fascists, it’s terrific to bully and threaten businesses into publicly supporting you, as the unions are doing, it’s great to turn a beautiful capitol building into a dump and to refuse to leave, it’s me-me-me and mine-mine-mine all the way and sacrifices are for others to make.

    Yes, wonderful lessons for our children.

  • Elaine: I don’t think we are that far apart. No, I do not agree with blanket condemnations of all teachers or all public employees. I think that when conservatives are relentlessly demonized by the media and progressives as selfish and uncaring there is a temptation to demonize the other side in turn. That is not helpful, but I don’t think it is coming from Walker or the GOP legislators.

    Now I really must go! Have a good day!

  • I think it is regretable that Walker elected to make an attack on working families his first priority, ahead of defense of the unborn. The public revolt against his anti-worker actions will likely lead to a loss of his Senate majority after the recall and maybe his own recall next year*, stalling any pro-life initiative he might someday get around to. He has thrown away a chance to protect the unborn.

    * Something I doubted could be pulled off until the news reports that he gave a government job to the mistress of one of the married Republican senators who did his bidding — and a government job with at a 30% raise over the civil servant who held the job before, all while the Governor claims the state is “broke”

  • I think it is regretable that Walker elected to make an attack on working families his first priority,

    I would suggest that demagoguery is beneath you, but based on your prior comments it seems fitting that you’d resort to the usual progressive cliches.

    He has thrown away a chance to protect the unborn.

    Empty words coming from someone who worships at the feet of a president who doesn’t even think that infants born alive after an attempted abortion deserve protection.

  • “He has thrown away a chance to protect the unborn.”

    Given that unions generally, if not always, support abortion, reducing union power in Wisconsin is a pro-life move.

  • Criticizing a politician for prioritizing financial matters over anti-abortion measures can and often is a valid criticism. However, if it’s a financial crisis (which I accept is the case in WI, though others may argue otherwise), it would seem prudent to address that first because ultimately matters of life are involved.

    However, I find Kurt’s remarks to be laughable and the type of argument that if I were tempted to make would likely cause me to change my opinion – or at least reconsider my position. By the standard he is holding Walker to, Kurt would not – could not – possibly have supported Obama. It was well known that Obama would not only prioritize pro-life initatives but that he prioritize the expansion of abortion. The only thing remotely pro-life Obama has done was delay his planned overturning of the Mexico City Policy to the third day of his presidency.

    Kurt, I’ve enjoyed reading your arguments in these threads and have gained insight due to them, but I’m calling you out on your last comment. It’s those types of tortured arguments that can cause one to lose any bit of credibility. Eventually people won’t even give you the courtesy to give consideration to your substantiative and valid arguments.

  • Given that unions generally, if not always, support abortion

    I can count on my fingers the number of unions that have taken a stand on abortion (pro or con).

  • Unions generally support Dems who almost always support abortion.

    In Wisconsin, its the teachers’ union which has lost power. Teachers’ unions almost invariably support abortion. So still a pro-life move.

  • Unions generally support Dems who almost always support abortion.

    I know I am not going to change your mind, but you have no idea how alienating and offensive that is to large segments of the public, particularly blue collar voters. Labor, like business, environmentalists, defense contracters, the NRA, Realtors, and Immigrant rights organizations make their endorsements on a narrow range of issues that directly concern them, abortion not being one of them. Yet you single out labor because you’ve done some calculation. Calling someone a supporter of abortion is a serious charge. You cheapen it and in doing so you cheapen the Pro-Life movement. These unions are not supporting abortion. They have made objective evaluations of candidates based on their positions on labor issues. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), maybe the most pro-life member of Congress gets labor support every election because of his positive voting record on labor issues.

    Your goal is to taint your secular political opponents with abortion. Sadly, because so many have done that, more pro-life voters have simply stopped listening to the Pro-Life movement than have been one over. But, of course, that is alright with you as well, because the last thing many conservatives want is a bunch of “working class slobs” as pro-life leaders.

  • Kurt,

    The Oscars are over so you can save your dramatics for another year.

    Put another way, BS on fine bread is still a BS sandwhich. You can use polemics to try to make your point, but the fact is that unions (especially teachers unions) support abortion. In fact many “working class slobs” are trying to get their dues back to stop this. But don’t let facts get in the way of your speeches:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2007/jun/07062603

  • Oh, and Alex, your complete and utter lack of compassion for any worker who is not union is noted. You honor your dad. That is -honestly and truly- commendable. You think everyone else should sacrifice to keep your dad in clover – well, that is not so commendable. If your dad did not have the foresight to save for his retirement, as my steel factory dad, who squirreled away every cent he could, did, well then that is your job and your responsibility, Alex. You also blur the lines between private and public unions. Please don’t tell me that teachers hauling home lesson plans compromises hard physical labor. Most of us do not get June, July and August off.

  • When it comes to retirement benefits the real problem isn’t unions, taxation, or over- or under-paid public employment.

    The real problem is that Baby Boomers and later generations are living longer and “larger” (i.e. at a higher standard of living) than their retirement benefits were designed to last, and that they didn’t have enough children to replace themselves in the workforce.

    Social Security was created at a time when life expectancy was below age 70 — meaning most people who retired at 65 would only draw benefits for about 5-10 years — and there were at least 5 or 6 (or more) younger adults in the workforce for every retiree.

    Now that life expectancy is creeping up on 80+, many retirees live 20-25 years after retirement, and there are only 2-3 younger workers for every retiree, it doesn’t take an economic scientist to see there are going to be big problems sustaining the system. The best short term solution IMO would be to raise the retirement age to 70 or even farther, to reflect increased life expectancy.

  • Put another way…

    Put another waym the candidates endorsed by the RTL Committee are almost all anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-consumer protection and pro-gun. Therefore the Por-Life Movement is anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-consumer and pro-gun.

  • Put another waym the candidates endorsed by the RTL Committee are almost all anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-consumer protection and pro-gun. Therefore the Por-Life Movement is anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-consumer and pro-gun.

    Really? Anti-worker? I suspect “pro-worker” in your mind is strictly defined by whether or not they subservient to the union machine or not. Anti-environment? As little respect as I have for politicians of any stripe I don’t recall having ever considered one anti-environment. Again, I think you’re making leaps here and attributing something to another just because they don’t accept your narrowly defined (and possibly quite imprudent or incorrect policy preferences). Anti-consumer protection? Here too I think what’s at issues is prudential judgment and evaluation of the pros and cons of various policies. Pro-gun, not sure that’s a criteria of RTL, it may just be that most people who support the dignity of life at the earliest stages of life also support throughout life. I see nothing contradictory to life and the dignity of man in upholding the right of someone to possess a firearm. Besides, aren’t firearms owners primarily workers and consumers, many of whom have a sincere appreciation of the environment and wildlife? Perhaps we could use “pro-gun” to be a catch-all position for all that is good and just. 🙂

  • “Therefore the Pro-Life Movement is anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-consumer and pro-gun.”

    Let’s not forget “bible-thumping.” 🙂

  • Pro-gun, not sure that’s a criteria of RTL,..

    Thank you for conceeding to my point.

  • Was just being a little sarcastic in as respectful of a way as i could. I don’t know the mind of RTL, but I find it hard to believe that they select candidates to support based on the criteria you mention. I first and foremost reject your your characterizations regarding anti-worker, environment, etc. Second, I’m willing to acknowledge that people who who place a high value on the right to life and the dignity of the human person are likely to carry those convictions to other matters of public policy, it just so happens you may not view those as desirable things.

  • I don’t know the mind of RTL, but I find it hard to believe that they select candidates to support based on the criteria you mention.

    Yes, well Phillip’s standard is the criteria used in making endorsement is not a factor. If the AFL-CIO, the American Medical Association or the National Association of Realtors uses criteria of issues particular to their organizations, so what. Nevertheless, that does not save them from Phillip’s judgment of being pro-abortion. So, the same with RTL. It’s not the criteria they use, but someone’s judgment that too many of their candidates are pro-gun. It really is quite silly and certainly cheapens the pro-life cause by flinging accusations around.

  • The American Medical Association supports abortion. Therefore it is not pro-life. The National Association of Realtors has no opinion that can be found. The AFL-CIO at this point is agnostic on abortion but has clearly steared near supporting it:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1989/11/14/us/back-abortion-rights-afl-cio-is-asked.html

    http://www.forerunner.com/forerunner/X0479_Stop_the_AFL-CIO

    htmlhttp://ymlp.com/zONtml

    Please note the number of unions in the first link that were avowedly pro-abortion and sought the AFL-CIO to do so also.

    This is as opposed to the NEA and other teachers’ unions, like Ohio linked above, are also pro-abortion:

    http://www.inthefaith.com/2004/04/24/teachers-union-weighs-in-on-abortion/

    One might consider your criteria to be rhetoric. Mine are the facts. More of your BS sandwhiches.

  • I make no apologies for democracy. If that is something you find offensive, I hear a colonel in Libya is looking for guys to help him out.

    The AFL-CIO is a democracy. Some portion of the membership proposed a resolution and it was voted down. We who believe in democracy have no problem with this. It is only the totalitarian mindset that objects.

    You are squirming back and forth. On the one hand you call the AFL-CIO pro-abortion not because the group has adopted any such policy or uses abortion as a criteria in its political endorsements, but because you find that too many of its endorsed candidates are pro-abortion, even if it be by accident rather than design. The same standard applied to the RTL Committee would say that RTL is pro-this or anti-that not based on their positions or endorsement criteria but is too many of their endorsed candidates take those positions.

    You have slid into silliness and nonsense.

  • On the moral imperatives top ten priority list, the liberal places abortion number ten after number nine spending $2 trillion to discover the cure for insomnia.

  • More BS. If you note 6 unions asked for the AFL-CIO to become pro abortion. Its merely taken a neutral position. Sort of like taking a neutral position of Jim Crow laws.

    But a quick internet search has found hundreds of unions that support abortion, not a handful.

    Sorry if facts don’t support your rhetoric. When rhetoric persists in the face of facts, its call lies.

  • Thank God that outside gubmint unions using taxpayer funded salaries to elect politicians to raise their taxpayer funded salaries, fewer than 20% of employees are trapped in unions that are intent on destroying the evil, unjust private sector thus terminating their employment opportunities.

    Kurt, Are al Qaeda and sharia law (i.e., the Libyan rebels) democracy????

  • More facts:

    “Meeting behind closed doors last month, the California Labor Federation — which represents more than 2.1 million workers belonging to more than 1,100 affiliated unions — voted to oppose Proposition 85, a November ballot initiative that would require doctors to notify parents before performing abortions on minors. In a policy statement, the labor federation also urged the national AFL-CIO “to reconsider its position of neutrality on the issue.”

    Link here:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2006/aug/07/local/me-abortion7

    Then there is the Ohio state teachers’ union which supported abortion and the NEA which is the largest union in the country which radically supports abortion:

    http://www.lifenews.com/2009/07/07/nat-5198/

    Was just going with your example of the AFl-CIO and abortion. But as far as CST is concerned, the AFL-CIO is radically opposed to marriage:

    “As the AFL-CIO Executive Council gathers in Miami this week, hearing addresses from Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis dealing with the economic crisis and its impact on workers across the country, the Executive Council has spoken up again for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers by passing a resolution, in unanimity, calling on the California Supreme Court to invalidate Proposition 8. ”

    Full link here:

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=102×3769814

    Of course California and national unions spent huge amounts to defeat the protection of marriage (contra their members’ wishes.) And of course promoting gay marriage has nothing to do with worker protections. At least not according to CST.

  • Great news. Next weekend, my parish church is inserting in the bulletin a letter in support of an AFL-CIO action for parishioners to sign an either mail to the offending employer or leave with the ushers so the parish can deliver them. I’m can’t wait for the boss of this company to find out his antics have been exposed to every Mass goer in the parish. I wish I could be there to watch as he wets himself in his $5,000 imported Italian suit.

  • Though when one does just a little more research, one finds that the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO is in fact in favor of abortion:

    http://myuniondues.com/acorn/

    Just think if one had time to look at this in detail. How much that unions support is contra CST?

  • Wow, look at some of the unions that sought to overturn marriage in California:

    California Labor Federation
    National Federation of Federal Employees
    Screen Actors Guild
    UNITE HERE!
    Alameda Labor Council, AFL-CIO
    Fresno-Madera-Tulare-Kings Counties Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
    Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
    Sacramento Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
    San Mateo County Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
    San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO
    South Bay Labor Council, AFL-CIO
    California Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
    California Faculty Association
    American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, District Council 57, AFL-CIO
    American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local 2019, AFL-CIO
    American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local 2428, AFL-CIO
    American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local 3299, AFL-CIO
    American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local 3916, AFL-CIO
    American Federation of Teachers, Local 6119,Compton Council of Classified Employees
    American Federation of Teachers, Local 6157, San Jose/Evergreen Faculty Association, AFL-CIO
    El Camino College Federation of Teachers, Local 1388, California Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
    United Educators of San Francisco, AFT/CFT Local 61, AFL-CIO, NEA/CTA
    University Council-American Federation of Teachers
    Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
    Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Council 97
    Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Council 99
    Communications Workers of America District 9, AFL-CIO
    Communications Workers of America, Local 9000, AFL-CIO
    Communications Workers of America, Local 9503, AFL-CIO
    Communications Workers of America, Local 9505, AFL-CIO
    Communications Workers of America, Local 9421, AFL-CIO
    Communications Workers of America, Local 9575, AFL-CIO
    District Council of Ironworkers of the State of California and Vicinity
    Jewish Labor Committee Western Region
    Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund
    National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 1450
    Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ Local 300, AFL-CIO
    Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ Local 400, AFL-CIO
    Pride at Work, AFL-CIO
    SEIU California State Council
    SEIU Local 521
    SEIU Local 721
    SEIU Local 1000
    SEIU Local 1021
    SEIU Local 1877
    SEIU United Healthcare Workers West
    Teamsters Joint Council 7, International Brotherhood of Teamsters
    Teamsters Local 853, International Brotherhood of Teamsters
    United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 5
    UNITE HERE Local 19
    United Steelworkers, Local 5, Martinez, Ca.
    University Professional and Technical Employees, Communications Workers of America, Local 9119, AFL-CIO

  • @ Donna : My sister worked in the medical department of a GE plant up until 5 years ago. She was in one of the few non-unionized departments there. The plant is now shuttered, in large part because the UAW would not make even the smallest concessions. Michigan is a basket case economy for the same reason.

    Response: I am sorry to hear that, No institution is perfect I never said that there should not be some more regulations to unions and that is something I would like to see. Just as background the Union worked with the state and did all that was asked to save jobs and took cuts. My question if they did everything that was needed why did they still go after the Collective bargaining when infact they already gave provisions to cut wages to save jobs?

    Can I ask you, what about those of us workers who do not have collective bargaining, but have negotiated on our own for raises? What about all the German and Japanese car company plants located in the South -plants which are doing just fine without collective bargaining? Are those workers slaves? Do they live in a dictatorship? What about people who live in Right to Work states? Are they peons? Four families of my acquaintance have moved to Texas or Tennessee over the past year. Silly fools, leaving the union paradise that is the upper Midwest for the benighted South – which is where all the job creation happens to be these days. What would you do to stop such flights of labor, Alex? Forbid corporations from moving to right to work states? Good luck with that.

    Response: If i recall I said “I don’t have a union, but because of my father I able to stand on my two feet and quit when I feel taken advantaged unlike my dad, but he had the union to help him negotiate fair wage. I left my previous job because of a 30% cut in wage and was out of work for a year. Mind you I have a house that is 90k and 2 cars [and yea I saved over 2 years of pay for working 18 months at this position]. Today I found a job that I am making 40% more all because of my dad providing for my future.” So Yes I never said people would not speak up so please read what i said I said that some people like my dad will never ask for more even though he works 2x harder then the next guy probably because he like about 20% of the population that are intraverts. There will always be a need for unions and non-union take an advance economics course. Unions are needed if you don’t think so let all the unions fold and you will see a bigger decline in wages. If you look in the last 30 years the middle class wages have fallen. If you read any economic study on class disparity you will find this to be true.

    what is your take on the elected offical’s salaries?
    It’s my understanding that Walker has agreed to the same cuts he has stipulated for other public employees.

    Response: Please show me the evidence I have yet to see any political person take a cut? Unless you mean only a salary cut my suggestion is look at the overall package my guess would something got cut but something got added … this is true with any executive or politian don’t be a fool

    And may I ask you -again- why you think that forcing people to be in unions and pay union dues is democratic?

    Response: Is paying taxes also democratic? With any institution you have a choice if you do not want to be in the teacher’s union QUIT and go to a charter/private school. That is democracy you can choice to stay or leave. If you want to continue down this logic lets see if i stop paying ~60% of my taxes because i don’t want to give it to the military? I like to see how far that get me. Just as many people in the past had said if you don’t like it leave the country…. everyone has choices,right?

    As far, Lerner. I think you missed my whole point because you cannot see past black or white. Lerner for all intensive porpoises is a economic terrorist so do i agree with him, no i do not. I understand economics a little better than you since I do have a 4 yr degree in it from one of the top 10 schools for economics. I never said to bring down wall street ( i do beleave we need more regulation, oversight, and enforcement if you don’t think so please enlighten me how to stop people like Bernard L. Madoff )

    Oh, and one last thing: most Wisconsin teachers stayed in their classrooms and did not run over to Madison to throw a giant hissy fit. […] it’s me-me-me and mine-mine-mine all the way and sacrifices are for others to make.

    I also didn’t saw that I supported things like this. again goes back that unions also should have some regulations. If you look at healthcare many of the staff cannot strike and do things like this because it is illegal and damages the public well being. (Yet they still have Collective bargaining??) AGAIN YOU AND MOST DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLIANS THE ISSUE IS NOT BLACK AND WHITE!! We need regulation on both sides in economics we call it constraints. By removing unions you are removing a constraint wich will be bad for all workers.

    “Oh, and Alex, your complete and utter lack of compassion for any worker who is not union is noted.”
    R: Where did that come out?

    Please don’t tell me that teachers hauling home lesson plans compromises hard physical labor. Most of us do not get June, July and August off.

    @Donna: About having lack of compassion… I think as most people are only focusing on one aspect of the benefits of the job. Yet do not understand its hardships. I will not say for instance my future wife’s job is easy because she only works 15 days a week. Would you be hurt to know she makes over 250k? Please stop me if you think that is too much for an Doctor that works in the Emergency Room? If you count the amount of time off she has it is a little over 6 mouths not including her 160hrs of vacation? Is that fair? She doesn’t work a incredably difficult physical job like my dad did does she? Again like most people in america we all just look at life as binary, black and white and yet we live in a very gray world.

    @Elaine: Actually SS was never really ment to be a retirement account as people think it is today. It was for disability and unemployment insurance like whole life insurance that at the end of the term it pays out what you put into it. I really think our elected officials need to said that, but they don’t since the democrats want people to think it was for retirement and the republicans want to just get rid of it completely. I believe it is ok and should only pay what you put into it … that would solve this issue. It would also push people into saving more for retirment and not count on SS as a retirement acount and make this country strong but that will not happen. You will see that this issue will be dragged for another decade because it is political suicide for republicans nor democrats to say the truth. That is the true problem not extentending the insurence benefits it will only prolong the problem. NOT A RETIREMENT ACCOUNT

    *excuse the typos getting close to bed time for me*

  • Alex: “There will always be a need for unions?” Really? Then why has union membership in the private sector been shrinking since the 1970’s? Again, I refer to you to Detroit – the fact that it is dying a long slow death has much to do with the power of the UAW.

    And again, you keep conflating public and private unions. FDR himself, who was certainly not against private unions, opposed the creation of public ones. In major cities,you have the public union sitting down to “negotiate ” with elected (Democratic) officals who have received campaign contributions from those same unions. Of course, over the years, the Democrats have lavishly rewarded the people who are buttering their bread.The people who are not represented at that table? The taxpayers who have to fork over the money to pay for things like Viagra for Milwaukee schoolteachers and plastic surgery for NJ ones.

    I must get ready for Mass, but Alex and Kurt – you are not progressives. You are reactionaries, bitterly clinging to the status quo and unwilling to acknowledge the world has changed since your father’s day. Well, it doesn’t matter what you or I think or feel about any of it. The fact is that we are out of money and you can scream and cry and make CEO’s wet their expensive suits, but you can’t change the economic facts.

    See what is happening in England:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/03/028694.php

    I expect those ugly scenes will occur here in the States as well as milllions of addicts get weaned from their government-supplied crack in the upcoming years. The social welfare model is coming to an end throughout the Western world due to demographics, and it doesn’t matter one whit how you feel about it.

    Phillip, you make the mistake of thinking Kurt gives one hoot about aborted babies. Millions of piles of them count for nothing compared to the glorious, vengeful delight Kurt feels at the thought of making a CEO wet his pants – that’s social justice, you see!

  • “Actually SS was never really meant to be a retirement account”

    And from what I understand, neither was the 401(k) plan… which was invented in the 1980s as a means for wealthy people to supplement OTHER sources of retirement income, including pensions. However, private companies latched onto it as a means of getting out from under their pension obligations and today it is being pushed as the “ideal” solution to unsustainable public pensions.

    I’m not disputing the fact that 1) many public pensions in their current form are unsustainable, or that 2) something needs to be done to freeze or scale back these obligations (regardless of who is ultimately to blame) before they consume entire state/local government budgets.

    What I AM disputing is the notion that simply converting all public employees to a 401(k) type defined contribution plan will magically solve these fiscal problems overnight, or guarantee retirement security as long as people do all the “right” things and faithfully make their contributions. There are additional costs that states would incur on the front end from instituting defined contribution plans, not the least of which is the fact that they would have to start paying Social Security for many employees who do not currently get it.

    What the situation really requires is thinking out of the box — looking for arrangements that blend greater employee responsibility with a degree of “backup” from the public entity, and (it goes without saying) fiscal responsibility on the part of all parties — no making promises that can’t be kept just to win votes!

    In fact, Nebraska, which converted employee pensions to 401(k) defined contribution back in the 1990s, recently decided to institute a “hybrid” plan that combines employee contributions with a guaranteed rate of return and professional fund management. West Virginia has also gone BACK to a defined benefit plan for some of its employees:

    http://mywebtimes.com/archives/ottawa/display.php?id=288867

  • @Donna: I think you need to do some history and background on Unions. Unions have been attacked since they were created it started stagnating since the creation of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947. Union Membership actually started declining in that 1980s actually around 1983 if i recall. Unions have been dropping because of Globilization mostly (NAFTA/CAFTA) and state laws since the 1970 had either made “right-to-work” statutes or forbid it outright.
    As for as those ugly scenes we saw it in egypt and now england, it will get much worse in england and here in the US. I expect almost the brink of anarchy here in the states because of laws like NAFTA and a slew of other mandates. If you consider that we are in a global market place we have not adapted to creating laws and import/export taffifs to stop the loss of jobs being outsourced in a manner that would provide positive externailities both nationally and internationally. We are behind in that aspect We as I see back in the 1900 in regards to labor. We have now to think how to make global labor inititives that is fair nationally and able to provide a balance fairness internationally. FOr example many jobs today are service jobs and we should not outsource those, but we have lost our manufacturing in this country and those jobs pay much lower than service jobs because of the leave of skill it takes.

    @Elaine: Well said, I have to agree in many parts especialAnd from what I understand, neither was ”
    which was invented in the 1980s as a means for wealthy people to supplement OTHER sources of retirement income, including pensions. However, private companies latched onto it as a means of getting out from under their pension obligations and today it is being pushed as the “ideal” solution to unsustainable public pensions.” Yea I have to agree with that statement. But SS is not the answer the answer is more regulation to these businesses and to make sure they honor there obligations.


    What I AM disputing is the notion that simply converting all public employees to a 401(k) type defined contribution plan will magically solve these fiscal problems overnight, or guarantee retirement security as long as people do all the “right” things and faithfully make their contributions. There are additional costs that states would incur on the front end from instituting defined contribution plans, not the least of which is the fact that they would have to start paying Social Security for many employees who do not currently get it.

    I agree this should had never happen i feel if most people understood VALUE Nuetral economics most of these political issues that cloud true capitialism. We need to get rid of a lot of things that do not give you subsidies anything that do not provide society with something back such as corn, oil, etc… any way that is a different conversation, but yes i do agree with this point but many of these true solutions will not happen until people on both sides start waking up and get out of the ideological positions that only seperate everyone and start agreeing on somethings to start working on solutions or we will very well see riots in the street like egypt and england. I for one am very scared to see this happen because it will be way less “peaceful” then england and egypt.

  • Alex: I don’t understand why you think I am “hurt” at the thought of your physician wife making more than I do. You are mistaking me for Kurt J I work with doctors every day and am well aware of the rigors of their training and the hefty responsibilities they have to match the hefty paychecks.

    I know the history of American unions, thank you. While they were a necessary corrective at one time, their history is far from being spotless. Remember “On the Waterfront?” Racketeering, corruption, Mafia ties, Hoffa, violence against “scabs” – that is also a part of union history.

    I don’t know how we can put the globalization genie back in the bottle. The heyday of unions and the golden age of American manufacturing were largely due to an unrepeatable moment in history – at the end of WWII, we were the only game in town, because we were just about the only industrial power that hadn’t been bombed to smithereens during the war. Globalization was bound to happen as countries like Germany and Japan rebuilt and then as Third World countries began their own Industrial and Technological revolutions.

    Elaine: Again I strongly recommend the writings of Walter Russell Mead over at the American Interest. (Mead, BTW, is a life-long Democrat.) Mead writes brilliantly of the present day collapse of “Liberalism 4.0” as he calls it, but he also offers some “out of the box” thinking re: what comes next. I read him to cheer myself up. I admit I am not as optimistic as he is that Americans can creatively think their way out of the bind we are in. Living in Wisconsin and looking around me, I fear the old American “can-do” spirit is dead. Everyone – not just union people, or public employees, or welfare recipients – is stuck in a mode of peevish entitlement, or what the Brits call “I want mine, Jack.” Increasingly, I feel that we are just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

    Alex wrote:

    “Start working on solutions or we will very well see riots in the street like egypt and england. I for one am very scared to see this happen because it will be way less “peaceful” then england and egypt.”

    Oh, I agree with you there! Take care!

  • Oh and BTW, Elaine and Donald, I wish to apologize for a certain feeling of superiority I had over my Illinois and Minnesota neighbors in November, when we voted for change (or so I thought) and the good folks in your state voted for the same-old same-old.

    Well, it feels like Chicagoland here. You have no idea how nasty and ugly the atmosphere is in these parts. And now the Church has been dragged into it, with the charge being made that Supreme Court Justice Prosser refused to prosecute the Church in a sexual abuse case dating back in the 1970’s. (Nevermind that the victim in the sexual abuse case has released a statement defending Prosser and has denounced Prosser’s opponent for making political hay of this. The Dems are throwing mud left and right and assuming some of it will stick. So now all the anti-Catholics have predictably come out of the woodwork to charge Prosser with being “in cahoots with the Vatican” and similar nonsense. ) One of the most depressing things about this neverending feud in Badger Country is that my belief in the friendliness and guilelessness of Midwesterners has deserted me. It was my boast when I lived in DC that I came from a state of warm, friendly, and polite people. Well, now the mask has come off and Wisconsinites are showing the snarl under the smile. And I cannot say how ashamed that makes me.

  • Political battles over very important issues are rarely pleasant Donna, and Governor Walker has begun a fight that is all-important, not only in Wisconsin but around the nation. We either get control of government spending, or we can say farewell to prosperity as a people.

  • Oh, and Commie Kurt, what do you think of this:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/25/nyregion/25cuomo.html?_r=1

    Gov. Cuomo is going to fight unions. Not GOP gov. Walker, but NY Gov Cuomo, son of a Democrat icon.

    As Prof. Mead has noted, it isn’t the GOP governors the unions should be frightened of, but Democratic governors like Cuomo who have read the writing on the wall and are acting accordingly. 2 +2 will never = 5, no matter how earnestly you wish it to be so, Kurt.

  • Sorry, posted twice because I’m not seeing these posts appear right away.

  • Kurt – you are not progressives. You are reactionaries, bitterly clinging to the status quo and unwilling to acknowledge the world has changed since your father’s day.

    That not what my Church teaechs me. Catholic Social Teaching is quite clear that labor unions are not something extraordinary to be utilized only during a (hopefully brief) period extraordinary situation, but they are normative and “indispensible” to a just society.

    BTW Donna, any update on that nice government job Walker gave Senator Hopper’s mistress?

  • Given unions support for abortion and gay marriage, all limits on their power is likely for the common good and in accord with CST. For example this effort at the common good:

    http://www.live5news.com/story/14351520/ohio-house-to-vote-on-collective-bargaining-limits

  • Kurt, do you belong to the church of Fr. Phelge (or whatever that leftist goofball’s name is) in Chicago?

    You certainly have a problem with your hatred and envy of the rich. It’s not good for your soul, Kurt.

  • And Kurt, I stand by my statement that you are a reactionary,fighting with all your might for the status quo. Well, the social welfare state will be dead within 10-15 years, because there is no money for it.

    Kurt, please don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back because you support such a highly moral system. ‘Cause it really isn’t:

    Because the institutions of the welfare state are intended to be partial substitutes for traditional familial, social, religious, and cultural mediating institutions, their growth weakens the very structures that might balance our society’s restless quest for prosperity and novelty and might replenish our supply of idealism.

    This is the second major failing of this vision of society — a kind of spiritual failing. Under the rules of the modern welfare state, we give up a portion of the capacity to provide for ourselves and in return are freed from a portion of the obligation to discipline ourselves. Increasing economic collectivism enables increasing moral individualism, both of which leave us with less responsibility, and therefore with less grounded and meaningful lives.

    Moreover, because all citizens — not only the poor — become recipients of benefits, people in the middle class come to approach their government as claimants, not as self-governing citizens, and to approach the social safety net not as a great majority of givers eager to make sure that a small minority of recipients are spared from devastating poverty but as a mass of dependents demanding what they are owed. It is hard to imagine an ethic better suited to undermining the moral basis of a free society.

    Meanwhile, because public programs can never truly take the place of traditional mediating institutions, the people who most depend upon the welfare state are relegated to a moral vacuum. Rather than strengthening social bonds, the rise of the welfare state has precipitated the collapse of family and community, especially among the poor.

    This was not the purpose of our welfare state, but it is among its many unintended consequences. As Irving Kristol put it in 1997, “The secular, social-democratic founders of the modern welfare state really did think that in the kind of welfare state we have today people would be more public-spirited, more high-minded, more humanly ‘fulfilled.'” They were wrong about this for the same reason that their expectations of the administrative state have proven misguided — because their understanding of the human person was far too shallow and emaciated. They assumed that moral problems were functions of material problems, so that addressing the latter would resolve the former, when the opposite is more often the case. And guided by the ethic of the modern left, they imagined that traditional institutions like the family, the church, and the local association were sources of division, prejudice, and backwardness, rather than essential pillars of our moral lives. The failure of the social-democratic vision is, in this sense, fundamentally a failure of moral wisdom.

    That’s just a small snippet from an excellent article by Yuval Levin on the death of the social welfare state. Man up, Kurt. It’s coming.

  • I don’t know why only the first and last paragraphs of the long section I cut and pasted from Levin’s article were italicized.

    The full article is here and it’s a good companion piece to the Mead articles I referred to earlier.
    http://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/beyond-the-welfare-state

  • Kurt, do you belong to the church of Fr. Phelge (or whatever that leftist goofball’s name is) in Chicago?

    Nope. But the Cardinal-Archbishop of whom my pastoral care is entrusted is aware of my public policy views and holds me in full communion with the Catholic Church.

    You certainly have a problem with your hatred and envy of the rich. It’s not good for your soul, Kurt.

    Your suggestion that every dime that every rich person is currently in possession of is justly there likely endangers your soul. But no man has any right to profit from unjust acts.

    Donna, can you mention any social welfare initiative that the Catholic Bishops in this country have ever objected to? Any?

    I’m not suggesting you are a bad Catholic to wholy and totally reject the public policy positions of the Catholic bishops, but have they ever sided with your views on a social welfare question? Social Security? Medicare? Disability Insurance? AFDC? Food Stamps? Medicaid? LIHEAP? Head Start? Pell Grants? Community Service Block Grants? Section 202 Housing? SSI? Unemployment Insurance? Title XX Social Service Block Grants? Pension Insurance?

  • “I’m not suggesting you are a bad Catholic to wholy and totally reject the public policy positions of the Catholic bishops, but have they ever sided with your views on a social welfare question? Social Security? Medicare? Disability Insurance? AFDC? Food Stamps? Medicaid? LIHEAP? Head Start? Pell Grants? Community Service Block Grants? Section 202 Housing? SSI? Unemployment Insurance? Title XX Social Service Block Grants? Pension Insurance?”

    Wow, from reading Vox Nova I thought there was no social welfare net, nor the redistribution of income to provide such a net, in America. But I miss where Church teaching specifically says these programs (as opposed to others) are necessarily the fulfillment of CST.

    Also, given the current recession, its not clear that setting limits on them is contrary to CST. I do look forward to your linking the definitive teaching on this however.

  • Pray for the conversion of liberals and the Democrat Party operatives of the USCCB.

  • But I miss where Church teaching specifically says these programs (as opposed to others) are necessarily the fulfillment of CST.

    Phillip, I would fully respect your prayerful discernment if you have determined these programs do not meet your understanding of the Church’s Social Teachings. I am just asking if the Episcopate has ever concurred with your views.

  • You need to put me on moderation before I severely offend everyone.

  • “I am just asking if the Episcopate has ever concurred with your views.”

    Yes, where the Magisterium teaches that the principles of CST are the guides to action. That these principles are not concrete proposals. That the Church does not, and will not, teach specific proposals for the application of CST. That this application to world problems properly belongs to the laity. That the laity may differ on the applications of these principles in good conscience and that these differences may represent legitimate applications of CST.

    That’s where the episcopate agrees with me on the noted social programs.

  • That these principles are not concrete proposals. That the Church does not, and will not, teach specific proposals for the application of CST. That this application to world problems properly belongs to the laity. That the laity may differ on the applications of these principles in good conscience and that these differences may represent legitimate applications of CST.

    Phillip, I have no disagreement with you that when it comes times to take Catholic principles and translate them to particular pieces of legislation or policy proposals, the laity have great liberty to determine what is proper and prudent. I try to not fall into any inconsistency on that be it a matter where the Church appears to take a position that is suppotrted by the secular right or the secular left.

    Yet the Episcopate frequently sends letters to Congress urging a particular stand on this piece of legislation or that piece of legislation on a wide variety of policy matters. I don’t consider these letters to be Church teachings to which all faithful Catholics are bound to.

    But with that in mind, and again respecting your right in good faith to disagree with the Episcopate’s stance in these letters, I take it we have no disagreement that on social welfare questions, the American Episcopate has never* sent a letter whcih supports the conservative position on such a question.

    * To amend and modify my own statement, the American Episcopate in the 1920s did oppose legislation restricting child labor as an interference in the natural law right of parents to raise their children. The Church has since retracted and apologied for that action.

  • “Yet the Episcopate frequently sends letters to Congress urging a particular stand on this piece of legislation or that piece of legislation on a wide variety of policy matters. I don’t consider these letters to be Church teachings to which all faithful Catholics are bound to. ”

    As St. Josemaria Escriva said, “Whenever a cleric talks politics, he is wrong.”

    I accept the bishops right to express their prudential judgment in matters. I’m glad you note we are not bound by their prudential judgments. Escpecially as they are frequently wrong. It would be nice for the bishops to be so humble as to note that they are prudential judgments and not, as you note, binding on the laity.

    I might disagree with you on bishop’s supporting my position. I would say that Bishop Morlino’s letter which took a neutral stand on the Wisconsin Teachers’ Union matter and which, coming after Archbishop Listecki’s letter, did in fact offer rather overt support for those who were in favor of limiting collective bargaining.

  • “Whenever a cleric talks politics, he is wrong.”

    I note there was no qualifier in his statement — no exclusion of social welfare, war and peace, social or cultural concerns, contraception, the gay employment non-discrimination act, etc. I appreciate that unqualified statement.

    I accept the bishops right to express their prudential judgment in matters. I’m glad you note we are not bound by their prudential judgments.
    I think we have agreement here. God bless.

    Escpecially as they are frequently wrong.

    On social welfare, I guess always wrong rather than frequently wrong, in your mind. That certainly is your right.

    It would be nice for the bishops to be so humble as to note that they are prudential judgments and not, as you note, binding on the laity.

    It would. Maybe on the USCCB stationary there should be a tag line on all of their statments addressed to Congress or about legislation.

    I might disagree with you on bishop’s supporting my position. I would say that Bishop Morlino’s letter which took a neutral stand on the Wisconsin Teachers’ Union matter…

    I did say the Episcopate (i.e. as a class), not individual bishops. Anyway, if you, like Bishop Morlino, take a neutral or agnostic stance on the Wisconsin labor question, I am pleased to hear that. God bless you.

  • “I note there was no qualifier in his statement — no exclusion of social welfare, war and peace, social or cultural concerns, contraception, the gay employment non-discrimination act, etc. I appreciate that unqualified statement.”

    Unqualified to the application of principles, not the principles themselves.

    “On social welfare, I guess always wrong rather than frequently wrong, in your mind. That certainly is your right. ”

    Not always, frequently. My original point stands.

    “It would. Maybe on the USCCB stationary there should be a tag line on all of their statments addressed to Congress or about legislation.”

    No. But as with their recent comment about Libya, where they stated they made no comment on the prudential aspects of the intervention, that would be fine.

    “I did say the Episcopate (i.e. as a class), not individual bishops.”

    There is no such thing as a class as far as bishops teaching. Each teaches his respective diocese.

    “Anyway, if you, like Bishop Morlino, take a neutral or agnostic stance on the Wisconsin labor question, I am pleased to hear that. God bless you.”

    Bishop Morlino, appropriately, is neutral (though as noted, in a qualified sense.) As a laymen I believe it is a good thing to limit the public unions in Wisconsin.

MLB Preview: AL Central

Sunday, March 20, AD 2011

The American League Central boasts a trio of good, but not great teams that should battle it out down to the wire.  It’s difficult to see any of these teams pulling away or fading from contention.  In the end, I’m going with the team that always seems to wind up on top.

Continue reading...

3 Responses to MLB Preview: AL Central

  • Detroit had 2 other important acquisitions – Benoit, a reliever from Tampa Bay, who had a crazy low ERA and averaged over 1 strikeout per inning. He’s penciled in to set-up Valverde. Could be a key component in the bullpen (esp. if Zumaya is unreliable health-wise again). And they also signed Brad Penny as the 4th starter – he’s either going to be fine, or not so fine. I think of him as a one-year fill in while the organization waits for some young pitchers – Wilk, Turner and Oliver in particulat – to develop in the minors.

    Second base is still a question mark, even if Guillen comes back.

    The number five starter is lefty Phil Coke – a reliever last season. He’s had a good spring, but that means as much as an Obama promise – not much. Still, I am more confident with him in the rotation rather than Galaragga I’m not so worried about Porcello, as his 2010 could be chalked up as that dreaded ‘sophmore jinx’.

    I’m excited for the Tigers this year – it’s shaping up to be a fun summer, and hopefully they’ll be playing some meaningful games in September again.

  • Yeah, I like the Penny signing. It’s never a bad idea to see if someone who’s had recent injury concerns can rebound, and the Mets are trying that as well with guys like Capuano and Young. If it works, great. If not, you’re only out a relatively small sum. And Penny was fairly effective in limited innings down the stretch, so he could definitely provide a boost.

    It occurs to me that I didn’t get into much detail about any of the bullpens. That’s not entirely an oversight. Bullpens are such crapshoots, but if you can find four or five solid arms in a pen that’s an enormous boost.

  • GO TWINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Von Galen Contra the Swastika

Sunday, March 20, AD 2011

In my first post on Blessed Clemens August Graf von Galen, which may be read here, we examined the life of this remarkable German bishop who heroically stood up to the Third Reich.  Today we examine the second of three sermons that he preached in 1941 which made him famous around the globe.  One week after his first breathtaking sermon against the Gestapo, my examination of which may be read here, he preached on July 20, 1941 a blistering sermon against the Nazis and their war on Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular.

Today the collection which I ordered for the inhabitants of the city of Münster is held in all the parishes in the diocese of Münster which have not themselves suffered war damage. I hope that through the efforts of the state and municipal authorities responsible and the brotherly help of the Catholics of this diocese, whose contributions will be administered and distributed by the offices of the Caritas, much need will be alleviated.

Charity, always a prime duty of Catholics.

Thanks be to God, for several days our city has not suffered any new enemy attacks from without. But I am distressed to have to inform you that the attacks by our opponents within the country, of the beginning of which I spoke last Sunday in St. Lambert’s, that these attacks have continued, regardless of our protests, regardless of the anguish this causes to the victims of the attacks and those connected with them. Last Sunday I lamented, and branded as an injustice crying out to heaven, the action of the Gestapo in closing the convent in Wilkinghege and the Jesuit residences in Munster, confiscating their property and possessions, putting the occupants into the street and expelling them from their home area. The convent of Our Lady of Lourdes in Frauen­strasse was also seized by the Gau authorities. I did not then know that on the same day, Sunday 13th July, the Gestapo had occupied the Kamilluskolleg in Sudmühle and the Benedictine abbey of Gerleve near Coesfeld and expelled the fathers and lay brothers. They were forced to leave Westphalia that very day.

The Nazi war on the Church is becoming more brazen in the midst of the War.

Continue reading...

7 Responses to Von Galen Contra the Swastika

Hardtack: Civil War Taste Treat!

Saturday, March 19, AD 2011

 

Something for the weekend.  Ah, hardtack!  A food that superb has to have a song about it, as indicated by the first of the above videos.

Hardtack, a very hard, thick cracker, was the soldier staff of life North and South during the Civil War.  Prior to the War, hardtack had long served as a food staple for explorers, hunters and anyone else who needed a food source that was light and could last forever.  Unfortunately, the hardtack often became infested with weevils.  Soldiers who didn’t want the extra protein would often put the hardtack into water and skim the weevils off the top.

The hardness of hardtack was legendary and gave rise to many soldier jokes.  This one was typical.

Private Jones:  I bit into a piece of hardtack and hit something soft.

Private Green:  A worm?

Private Jones:  No, by glory, a ten-penny nail!

Things like hardtack remind us that it is definitely more amusing to read about the Civil War than it was to actually participate in it!

Continue reading...

4 Responses to Hardtack: Civil War Taste Treat!

Henry V, Shakespeare and Just War

Friday, March 18, AD 2011

In the comments to  my post last week, Henry V Times Four, which may be viewed here, and which had four versions of the immortal “band of brothers” speech, commenter Centinel posed a very interesting question to me:

Mr. McClarey,

I’ve come to respect your knowledge of history and your insights. I just wanted to get your honest opinion on oneissue. As I understand it, Catholic doctrine would say that wars of aggression are not justified (most of the time). Though I enjoy Shakespeare’s plays, it bothers me that Henry V was fighting a war of aggression – hence, an unjust war.

From Henry V’s point of view, the war was about his (legitimate?) claim to the French throne. But from the point of view of the French peasantry, whichever dynasty sat on the French thronedid not really make any difference in their lives. They were merely caught in the middle; the longer the war lasted, the greater the collateral damage to French civilians. Besides, Henry V already had the Kingdom of England. Hence, it was just pure greed driving Henry V to claim the French throne.

I would appreciate your opinion on this.

My response:

Centinel thank you for very kind words and for inspiring a forthcoming post! The more I thought about your question the more complicated my answer became and only a post length reply, which I will attempt to do in the next week, will do it justice. The short answer is that Henry V, by the just war analysis of his day, had a defensible claim to be fighting a just war, while under the just war analysis of our day his war would be unjust. However, there is much more to say than that, and I will attempt to do this intriguing question justice in my forthcoming post.

In answering the question we must first examine how the formulation of the Just War doctrine has changed from the time of Henry V to our time.

Continue reading...

10 Responses to Henry V, Shakespeare and Just War

  • Very convincing. I have no doubt that Henry V sincerely believed in the justness of his cause. But I cannot help feel that God was on the French side all along. It was never God’s will that the English conquer the French. St. Joan of Arc received visions from St. Michael and other saints commanding her to raise an army, lift the seige of Orleans and see the Dauphin crowned at Reims.

    That God would use a lowly maiden to defeat the English, shows which side He favored.

  • Interesting, although I don’t think Shakespeare was a Just War philosopher, and as a historical source you must take him with a grain of salt!

    But I think you should also discuss the conditions of war at the time. European wars (as opposed to wars in Europe against barbarian invaders, who in some cases slaughtered and enslaved everyone they encountered) were fought be very few people, relatively speaking, all of whom had some kind of societally recognized obligation to fight when their lords told them to. Some were professional soldiers, others were men who had an obligation to military service a certain number of weeks or months every year. They did not have large paid armies, and they did not have army bases. They brought their food with them and/or lived off the land. As a consequence, they could be quite brutal to the people whose land they were on, but didn’t have much of an impact on other people unless they were besieging a town or city. The large number of civilian casualties and destruction of civilian property we expect in a modern war were unknown. Deaths in war were brutal, but then so were many deaths outside of war, and more soldiers died of disease than died of wounds.

    My point is that not just philosophical considerations for a just war are different now than they were then — but that war itself was also different in many crucial respects than it is now.

  • “That God would use a lowly maiden to defeat the English, shows which side He favored.”

    I agree Centinel. It also shows the inscrutability of God. Why He decided that Charles the Well Served, not a very inspiring monarch, should have received divine aid in driving the English from France, while many ultimately defeated worthy causes have not, is a mystery to me, but that is why He is God and I am not! 🙂

  • “but that war itself was also different in many crucial respects than it is now.”

    True Gail, although as wars of the Middle Ages went, the Hundred Years War, albeit an inaccurate title, got pretty bad. A good history of the wars is in the process of being written by a British barrister\historian Jonathan Sumption. In three first rate volumes he has gotten up to 1393. I hope he lives long enough to complete the series.

    http://www.amazon.com/Hundred-Years-War-Divided-Houses/dp/0812242238/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_c

  • Pingback: Libya and Just War | The American Catholic
  • Pingback: THURSDAY MORNING EDITION | ThePulp.it
  • Writing from England and as an English Literature graduate, I must congratulate this website on the very thorough and fair analysis of HENRY V. American readers might not quite grasp that when William the Conqueror ( of Normandy) defeated the Saxons in 1066 and became King of England, he had many French claims. For about three hundred years, the official language of England was French. The French in 1944 were very glad to see the English ( and Scots and other British, and Americans, and Canadians, and Poles and the others).

    As for Joan of Arc, well, she was not canonised until 1920 – no “Santo subito” there. A good English joke is: “When and where did the English Catholic bishops last help someone to become a saint?” Answer, “1431 in Rouen.”

    Keep up your good work. God bless.

  • Thank you Eric. Yep, after the Conqueror, with the approval of the Pope I would note, took over England, England and France were intertwined for centuries. The Hundred Years War can be looked at as the ending of a very long process begun at Hastings.

    As for Saint Joan, many English in France, and those French who supported the English, at the time viewed her as a Saint, and thought her execution was an incredible sin. The words of Jean Tressard, secretary of King Henry VI reflected this sentiment: “We are all lost for it is a good and holy woman that has been burned. I believe her soul is in the hands of God, and I believe damned all who joined in her condemnation.”

  • The Church recognizes Joan as a saint, so her visions about St. Michael and others pushing her to battle must be considered as true. She was handpicked by God for a mission – like David confronting Goliath.

    As a tangent, the Pope also authorized Henry II of England to conquer Ireland. Of course, the Pope did not foresee the long history of English oppression in Ireland, but that’s another story.

  • Pingback: Agincourt | The American Catholic

Union Impressions: Rules vs. Work

Thursday, March 17, AD 2011

All of the discussion in the Catholic blogosphere, and the wider public square, about unions (and public employee unions in particular) has given me cause to think a bit about my attitude towards organized labor. There are a lot of rational political, economic and moral reasons I can give for why I don’t like labor unions as they exist in the US, but as is so often the case with deeply held opinions, my most basic reaction to unions has a lot to do with my personal experiences relation to work and to unions. As such, it seemed like a good way to address the issue is through the lens of the experiences which have helped shape my opinion of unionization.

1. Most of my exposure to unions was through my father, who held a staff position at a community college for twenty-five years, retiring just a month before losing a multi-year battle with cancer. (In a state college, the major divide is between staff — which includes basically everyone who is neither an instructor nor a manager — and faculty, who are the actual instructors. Since he only had a bachelor’s degree, Dad’s position was classified as staff, and staff positions were represented by a state school employees union which is a member of the AFL-CIO.) The college was not unionized when Dad got his job, but it became a union shop half-way through his time there, via an election which he always wondered about the validity of. (Union members and non-union members were given different colored ballots, so it certainly would have been easy to cheat if someone had wanted to.) Not only were the union’s politics diametrically opposed to my father’s (he always used their “state issues” political mailing to decide how not to vote) but the union supported people for the college board of directors who hired a college president who eventually drove the college into the financial ditch, resulting in constant fear and occasional layoffs. His more daily frustration, however, was the effect of the union’s vigorous protection of people who did not do their jobs well.

Continue reading...

40 Responses to Union Impressions: Rules vs. Work

  • What you said seems to be true from my experience as well: unions put an emphasis on rules (though I’d add ‘benefits’ too) and not on getting work done and done right. In my opinion, somewhere along the time-line of unions, they lost their purpose.
    But if it weren’t for unions, my father wouldn’t have had a job to support me and my 5 siblings: he worked as a negotiator between a union (for the FAA workers) and the government–a good one at that, apparently: no workers strikes in his almost 30 years with the FAA.

    I’m still undecided on the whole issue, but I do believe one thing for sure: that is that unions should not be allowed to donate to campaigns when using federal or local monies (ie only allowed to donate what union members volunteer to give).

  • Several years ago I spoke against the IBEW at an open meeting. I was pleased not to have been beaten up or my car torched, but the threats were real. The IBEW and their stooges, including the local newspaper, accused me of belonging to a union myself, which I don’t How ironic later to be accused by fellow Catholics of being a union member also because I am a (gasp) public-school teacher (happily, in a non-union state). Unions are objectively evil, but let us all be sure that we don’t believe everything we hear on the radio and read on the ‘net, and in so doing accuse people falsely.

  • I for one object to the notion that Unions are objectively evil. Some things that some Unions do might be objectively evil, but often the situation very much depends upon which side you view the issue.

    Lets take a closer look at the rules. My Dad was a union member for years, and many of those rules had very good reasons behind them. For example, in the warehouses he worked at, jobs were assigned by seniority. This served two purposes, it prevented the supervisors from assigning people based on favoritism (not ability to do the job, but rather based on friendship or other factors unrelated to work itself), it also gave guys who had worked very hard for a company for 20-30 years a chance to do easier jobs when their bodies were no longer able to do the hardest jobs, but they were not yet ready for retirement. Other rules, like mandatory breaks were instituted because companies use to make workers work non-stop for hours, sometimes without so much as a bathroom break.

    Now lets look at the way Unions fight for fired workers. This may come as a shock to you, but sometimes companies, or at least managers fire people for unjust reasons. I know I have been fired unjustly at least twice in my career. The first time was so a manager could hire a friend to fill my position (though he lied about the reason he fired me to his superiors) and the second time was because I disagreed with my manager about a technical issue (I am an engineer, she wasn’t and I told her her method of solving a technical issue was wrong). In both cases, had I been a Union employee, I am confident I would not have lost my job. My Dad had been a shop steward, and I know how they approached workers who were fired. A company had to document particular failings if it was going to fire a worker (failure to do their job, chronic lateness, etc.). It prevented many arbitrary firings that had less to do with job performance and more to do with bad tempers.

    Unions are an essential method in a capitalist society of balancing the scale between employers and employees. People may complain about unions these days, but how many of them would want to work in the conditions that Americans worked in in the 19th century, or that third world workers work in to this very day? Either hour days, five day weeks, breaks, child labor laws were all passed at least in part because of strong union support. If the have over reached in the present, that signals a need for reform, not elimination.

  • Your experiences with unions are entirely yours. Let me counter with some experiences in Texas – a right-to-work state – as an unemployment insurance judge. I used to do many hearings with Wal – Mart, which hires people part-time, schedules them for 60-hour-weeks for three weeks out of the month and then no time for the fourth week, so the employees don’t get paid overtime and don’t qualify for full-time benefits, but also so that the employees can’t claim for unemployment for that off-week. HEB does the same thing. Under Texas law, that’s perfectly legal. Wal-mart pays huge amounts of money to lawyers and lobbyists to keep its workplaces free of unions and organizers, to preserve its right to pay coolie wages and impose ridiculous work rules.

  • “If the have over reached in the present, that signals a need for reform, not elimination.”

    That’s difficult when the unions and their supporters treat EVERY effort at reform as tantamount to elimination. (See, e.g., Wisconsin and Ohio.)

  • “Your experiences with unions are entirely yours.”

    Yeah, no one else has ever had the same types of experiences with regard to unions.

  • A friend of mine at a Big Ten Campus had to fight for five years to fire a union subordinate who had an unexplained 50% absentee rate. Union reps seemed to think it was their sole responsibility to drag the matter out as long as possible, and had no concern that their member was being paid money to perform a job she obviously had no interest in performing.

  • If you believe that unions are “objectively evil” and need to be abolished because of the numerous abuses of union power we see today, then perhaps you should call for marriage and childbearing to be outlawed as well because of the numerous cases of domestic violence, child abuse, adultery, etc. we see today. Or perhaps police should be abolished because of police brutality. Or maybe the priesthood should be abolished because of… you get the picture. Abuse, no matter how widespread, does not negate proper use.

    Still, it is obvious that unions are in urgent need of radical reform, and that most unions in the U.S. do NOT fit the mold envisioned in Catholic social teaching. The most radical and needed reform IMO would be making union membership voluntary. Also it is not out of line to question whether unions really need to exist in the public sector where taxpayers fund the pay and benefits they receive.

    I do not have any personal experience of belonging to a union, and neither did anyone in my family with the exception of my grandfather who was a steel mill worker through the Depression, World War II and into the 50s. His union had to fight pretty hard for every benefit they got, and they inevitably went on strike every 3 years when their contract expired. My grandfather hated being on strike, especially when the strikes dragged on long enough that it began to hurt his family financially. Their last strike, just before he retired, lasted more than 6 months.

    My grandfather, who died when I was in my late teens, never had anything good to say about unions when the topic came up. However, in his last and longest strike one of the concessions the union got from the company was a much improved pension plan. That pension enabled my grandparents to live reasonably well for the remaining 25 years of their lives. Since they themselves lived simply, they even were able to set aside money to help me and my brother pay for our college education. So he did at least get some kind of compensation in the end for all the strikes he had to endure.

    As with anything else run by fallen human beings, unions have their advantages and disadvantages.

  • Mack Hall,

    One could say that many unions at this time support objectively evil things — but I don’t think it’s at all possible to say that unions “are” objectively evil. Indeed, it’s hard for me to see how any organization could be objectively evil in and of itself. Organizations just are — and I certainly have no objection to an organization consisting of workers forming to give workers a voice. I do tend thing that the union regulations we have here in the US probably create some bad incentives for both employers and employees. But I don’t think that unions per se are evil or even are by their natures bad or unhelpful, I just think that in our current economy and polity their incentives drive them to look out for bad workers over good ones.

    Not to join the (justifiable) pile on, I just figure as the author of the post I need to be clear on this.

    Maryland Bill,

    I can see that seniority rules would sometimes have benefits, but at the same time, when rigidly enforced, they can have some serious downsides. For instance, one of the stories that the GOP was pointing to in Wisconsin was how a young teacher voted “Teacher of the Year” for outstanding work was laid off the next year because there were budget cuts in the school district and the union insisted that the teachers with the least experience go first. Now, one could argue that that teacher will do much better finding a new job than someone with twenty three years of tenure who’s just punching the clock, but it hardly seems just or desireable for the work of the school that people be laid off completely irrespective of merit.

    On the flip side, I do know of instances where (especially because a union shop often results in a company effectively outsourcing their HR work to the union) unions have done good work on behalf of people fired unjustly. For instance, I recall a friend of my in-laws who was a UPS drive who was fired because in deep snow he failed to see a curb while backing out of a drive way and drove over it with his truck, accidentally crushing an ornamental nick-nack the homeowner had out by the mailbox. The homeowner complained and UPS, having a “zero tolerance” policy terminated him without questions despite his having worked there more than a decade with no prior complaints. The union got him re-instated, and I would consider that a good thing.

    However, on balance, it seems to me that unions bring more of a bad attitude to the workplace than a good one.

    Karen,

    Well, everyone’s experiences are theirs, that’s a bit of a tautology, isn’t it.

    I certainly don’t think that employers never behave badly. I know people who have been unjustly fired (in Texas, no less, where I lived and worked for seven years), though in my experience it was always in companies too small to be unionized anyway.

    At the same time, I’d submit that if your full time job is dealing with situations where people are disputing whether they’ve been justly fired, that’s going to give you a highly biased set of experiences since you’ll invariably deal with a lot of bad situations. It’s like the issue with police starting to stereotype because they deal with so many people of a certain look and background who really are criminals.

    Trust me, though, there are equally bad sets of experiences which people dealing with unions can point to. There was, for instance, an admin who was terminated for never doing any work. The administration tried to fire him, but the union had him re-instated claiming there wasn’t sufficient proof. The department was so frustrated that they spent six months gathering a dossier of proof that the guy wasn’t doing his job. At that point the union reps insisted this proved that the department had a personal vendetta against him and had him reinstated again.

    Nor is this entirely the union’s fault, because according to current labor law the union is supposed to do this. Indeed, if they fail to pull every trick to protect a bad employee, the employee can sue them for failure to represent.

    Thus, naturally, in a situation where the management is not actively stupid and malevolent (which at least in my experience seems to be most places most of the time — bosses are much like workers, most of them are just trying to do their jobs well even if they aren’t particularly good at it) unions end up benefiting bad workers much more than good ones. After all, the employers want the good ones, and thus “protecting” them isn’t a huge help. The bad ones, on the other hand, need protection.

  • to preserve its right to pay coolie wages and impose ridiculous work rules.

    Stop it. Wal-Mart’s employees are not imported from India with contracts of indenture. The wages they pay are market wages.

    _____

    Re Maryland Bill’s story v. Darwin’s & c.:

    One should note that while both are describing service enterprises, two different eras are concerned, one is a private and one is a public employer, and one is an essentially masculine milieux where the brawn of the employees is salient and one is a more generic milieux. One might suggest that Wagner Act unionism was a response to defaults in industrial relations characteristic of one type of setting and not manifest in other settings, and that the extension of practices adapted to constructions sites, factories, and warehouses to clerical offices (public and private) was an error.

  • I know people who have been unjustly fired (in Texas, no less, where I lived and worked for seven years), though in my experience it was always in companies too small to be unionized anyway.

    I suppose I could be one of those people Darwin speaks of, though I don’t know if he recalls the conditions in which I lost my job in Texas. Suffice it to say, applying a normal distribution (a.k.a the bell curve) to a particular group’s performance reviews isn’t necessarily the best way of assessing your team’s talent and subsequently making job cuts based upon that data, especially when your sample size is a mere 8 people. I was that guy and was let go despite the protests of my remaining team. I suppose the logic was to either trim the fat or cull the herd (I don’t begrudge my former employer that right, it helps them in their goal of profitability.) It seems HR departments would benefit from a staff member being a mathematician or statistician to let this people know bell curves tend to be a more accurate model when your sample size is larger rather than smaller.

    Interestingly, this incident ended up starting a chain reaction which ended in me uprooting my family to a non-right-to-work state, with a new (and better!) job. Even more interestingly, the place is a union shop with unionized engineering staff too (which is where I am). We are private sector. My status with this engineering union is that of a Beck objector (basically, I pay an agency fee, which I also object to, rather than full dues and have no voting rights).

    While I have thrived in this environment, I believe it’s more due to the people around me (management & team members) rather than the legalities regarding unions. With that in mind, you could probably guess that I’d much prefer that my current home was a right-to-work state. More often than not, the management that I have encountered (at many different levels) are good people trying to get the job done. I’ve encountered a couple of pricks, similar to what I experienced in my previous gig. Yet when contract negotiations come up, the rhetoric (at least from the unions) tends towards class warfare and is needlessly adversarial in nature. It becomes us (good, little guys) versus them (bad fat cats), when in fact it should be that we are all on the same team. I consider it a privilege to work in this field, as do a great many other people around here.

    My biggest complaint about the negotiations around here, is that the benefits packages are heads and shoulders above what other companies offer. And the union leadership and others don’t seem to realize just how good we have things. I fear they try to bite the hand that feeds them way too often. It’s ungrateful, really. One of my friends at church also works for the same employer, but in a fairly high position in HR. We’ve spoken about things of this nature, and he’s mentioned the ruthless nature of these negotiations. In fact, he’s been responsible for some aspects of these compensation packages in the past, only to have the union spit on what he considered a just and generous compensation package. (By just, I mean that he tries to practically apply CST.)

    I’ve also heard other stories similar to those related in this post.

  • “to preserve its right to pay coolie wages and impose ridiculous work rules.”

    Stop it. Wal-Mart’s employees are not imported from India with contracts of indenture. The wages they pay are market wages.

    Heh. I’ve never quite understood why WalMart is the “evil empire” to people in ways that Target and other similar stores aren’t. I don’t personally enjoy shopping at WalMart (and so stopped once I could afford to) but it’s reputation for being evil is outsized for sure. Indeed, in an amusingly “bootleggers and baptists” situation, WalMart has lobbied to raise the minimum wage. (Not because they’re all full of rainbows and butterflies, but because they can afford the hit better than their competitors and so forcing all low wage employers to increase wages a bit would help them more than hurt them.)

    One might suggest that Wagner Act unionism was a response to defaults in industrial relations characteristic of one type of setting and not manifest in other settings, and that the extension of practices adapted to constructions sites, factories, and warehouses to clerical offices (public and private) was an error.

    I would agree with that. I think unions are best suited to addressing situations where there is a lot of fairly undifferentiated labor that employers can easily take advantage of because of plentiful supply. With more skilled labor, it becomes much more of a racket.

  • The college was not unionized when Dad got his job, but it became a union shop half-way through his time there, via an election which he always wondered about the validity of. (Union members and non-union members were given different colored ballots, so it certainly would have been easy to cheat if someone had wanted to.)

    I hate to suggest your departed father may not have had his story right, but this makes no sense. If it was an election to create a union, then at the time of the election, no one was a union member. What I suspect your Dad misunderstood is that, by law, separate elections must be held for “professionals” and “non-professionals” unless the pros vote to be in the same unit as the non-pros. I imagine this is what was happening and I think you might want to consider his objectivity on other matters he related to you.

    Nevertheless, bosses to not share the grace given to the Blessed Mother of being without sin. Nor do workers. Having a system of due process and representation serves the common good. We can all find a few stories of the worst abuses (be they verifiable or not). But I am willing to bet that if I blindly grabbed the case load of any one of my stewards, a review of the cases might not convince my conservative friends here that the union is right every time, but I think they would be very embarrassed to defend management on most of the cases and to defend the proposition that in this workplace, justice would be served by the workers not having a negotiated grievence process.

  • I imagine this is what was happening and I think you might want to consider his objectivity on other matters he related to you.

    Yeah, I’m way not buying the poisoning the well approach, Kurt. I’m willing to qualify the point about the election (though I heard it from two different staffers as well as my dad, it was many years after the fact) but that was exactly what it was, a parenthetical. I don’t consider it remotely central to what I was relating.

    Issues such as the union defense of the department secretary I know personally from multiple sources — in part because once I was a teenager I got under-the-table work from various instructors doing her work for her on a cash basis since she didn’t do much herself. As I say, a sweet lady. But unfortunately, she just didn’t do the job.

    Having a system of due process and representation serves the common good.

    I agree, and I strongly encourage a company to have an HR department. That is no reason for the kind of idiotic lengths that unions are willing to go to in order to protect people who don’t do their jobs. For instance, it’s pretty telling when even the NY Times has done a whole series on the idiocies inflicted on their school system by the teachers unions.

    But I am willing to bet that if I blindly grabbed the case load of any one of my stewards, a review of the cases might not convince my conservative friends here that the union is right every time, but I think they would be very embarrassed to defend management on most of the cases and to defend the proposition that in this workplace, justice would be served by the workers not having a negotiated grievence process.

    Perhaps, but workplaces that you’re called into are, of necessity, workplaces that have already been turned into adversarial environments by the fact that they are unionized. And as I pointed out to Karen above — your files are, of their nature, going to be full of grievances. They’re not going to be full of how much more inefficient and hostile to getting work done your union has made the workplace for us workers who just want to get work done.

    I don’t expect you to agree with my impressions — speaking of lacking objectivity, it’s quite obvious that you have a political, professional and financial interest in not doing so. But I would advise that rather than going around suggesting that people who disagree with you on whether unions actually serve the common good as they exist and operate in the US are under the illusion that management is immaculately conceived (which is a pretty offensive notion for you to impute to others) it might well be that most of us have been put off by precisely the kind of experiences I and others have related here.

  • There is plenty of undifferentiated labor in clerical offices and (if anything) a lower aggregate skill level than you would find on a shopfloor. My suggestion was that there was a different set of social dynamics at work. One possibility is that clerical work does not lend itself as readily to production metrics. Another is that the back-and-forth between a female workforce and management tends to have a different resultant than that between a male workforce and management. A third might be that there is a greater sense of psychological distance between management and production workers than there is between management and clerical workers.

  • Here’s what due process for union workers means: LA having to spend $3.5 million to try to fire 7 horrible teachers. http://www.laweekly.com/content/printVersion/854792/

    Surely there’s a better way than this?

  • More union due process:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/nyregion/13homes.html?_r=3&sq=at%20state-run&st=cse&scp=1&pagewanted=all

    The state initiated termination proceedings in 129 of the cases reviewed but succeeded in just 30 of them, in large part because the workers’ union, the Civil Service Employees Association, aggressively resisted firings in almost every case. A few employees resigned, even though the state sought only suspensions.

    In the remainder of the cases, employees accused of abuse — whether beating the disabled, using racial slurs or neglecting their care — either were suspended, were fined or had their vacation time reduced.

  • Full disclosure: I am currently a public school teacher in Louisiana. For 5-1/2 years (2001-2006) I was a UniServ Director for the Louisiana Association of Educators. Louisiana is a right-to-work state. I am not currently a member of the union … er, professional association.

    With that in mind, I’d like to offer some perspective “from the inside”, so to speak.

    As a UniServ Director, it was my job to defend the legal rights and privileges of our members; lobby for more rights/privileges/increased compensation; inform/provide professional development opportunities; and – above all – recruit more members.

    I joined the union as a new teacher because I saw it as a way to provide myself some legal protection and because I believed – and still do believe – that workers have the right to organize for their benefit.

    I got the job quite by accident, as I was not active *at all* in the union. During my time, I saw a fair share of abuses on both sides – the teachers and the “management” (principals/superintendents/school boards).

    I ultimately quit because – through the grace of God – I found myself escorting NEA President Reg Weaver around South Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. It was just the two of us. I asked him some hard questions about the funding of immoral groups by using dues money, not PAC money. He confirmed by suspicion, and I knew that I could no longer pretend that the NEA was a morally legitimate organization.

    By the grace of God, I was re-hired by my old school district, at my old high school, just 1/2-mile from home. I will not pay dues to NEA again.

    Nevertheless, I think that I was able to do some good work. I did certainly protect employees who were being railroaded because of personal reasons.

    Did I help to make it difficult to fire a bad employee? Maybe. But, if a principal did his work, then the employee was reprimanded, suspended, or terminated. However, such action was based on demonstrable evidence; not some “subjective” feeling.

    Tenure – at least in Louisiana – does not prohibit bad teachers from being fired. All tenure does is give due process to the employee, allowing him to explain his side of the story to the body that makes the decisions – the school board. Otherwise, the school board only hears from the administration, which obviously wants the firing.

    I wish that the muckety-mucks who run the National Education Association would simply stick to education issues. But, they won’t. So, they lose members.

  • Issues such as the union defense of the department secretary I know personally from multiple sources

    Okay, let’ take that one. I’ve had more than my share of discussions with union and non-union workers who wanted my advice on how they could sue (non-union) or grieve (union) “because my boss was unfair to me.” Which, of course, my response is “okay, he was unfair. Did he violate any law (non-union)/article of the contract (union). I have no idea of the provisions of the contract this secretary was operating under, but I can’t imagine on what basis a grievence would have been filed under. Can you give me some guidence on this?

    Perhaps, but workplaces that you’re called into are, of necessity, workplaces that have already been turned into adversarial environments

    Your claim is that prior to the labor movement, America’s factories, mines and mills were models of non-adversarial environments, polluted by the advent of unions?

    I strongly encourage a company to have an HR department

    And when your advice to have an HR department that has a system of due process that serves the common good is not followed?

  • I’ve had more than my share of discussions with union and non-union workers who wanted my advice on how they could sue (non-union) or grieve (union) “because my boss was unfair to me.” Which, of course, my response is “okay, he was unfair. Did he violate any law (non-union)/article of the contract (union). I have no idea of the provisions of the contract this secretary was operating under, but I can’t imagine on what basis a grievence would have been filed under. Can you give me some guidence on this?

    From your equivalence of “grieving” with suing, I’m wondering if I am, perhaps, inadvertently using some sort of technical union terminology without meaning to. There wasn’t an attempt to seek damages or anything. What did happen, in more detail, was as follows:

    The secretary (let’s call her Kathy) had a full time secretarial job which was split between the cost centers of two departments, so she worked for Earth Science in the mornings and Psychology in the afternoons. During the course of the ’90s, as the college became increasingly computerized, the departments started asking Kathy to do things on the computers rather than via her trusty typewriter. Kathy was in her early 50s (making her the same age as most of the instructors in Earth Science, perhaps five years older than my dad) and found computers deeply mystifying. She went to various training classes provided by the college, but could never seem to retain anything even about very basic things like putting together fliers in Word or keeping an address list in Excel. Whenever one of these kind of tasks came up, she would ask for help (typically from my dad, since after the department got moved into smaller quarters they shared and office, later often from me, since when I was hanging around between classes I had more time on my hands than Dad did) and it would take a very, very long time, unless you simply did it for her.

    Thus, things she was asked to do on computer (and increasingly, you couldn’t do the things wanted with a typewriter instead) they wouldn’t get done on time, and other tasks would pile up and get delayed as well. Things got worse and worse in both departments, with other people having to pick up the slack even though it was outside their jobs descriptions, and eventually Psychology (being a larger and more anal department) eventually threatened to discipline her and have her terminated if she couldn’t get it together and get her work done.

    Kathy went to the union, saying that it wasn’t a matter of her not doing work that but the departments were asking for more and more work, and that they were trying to force her to do more work than was possible during her hours, and then disciplining her — thus creating a hostile environment. (Arguably, this was true from her point of view, since it took her four hours to type up on a computer what she could type on a typewriter in an hour — she just couldn’t learn how to format documents on a computer, how to name files so she could find them again, etc.)

    The union investigated and took the position that they were indeed violating her contract by trying to force her to do more work than was possible during her hours. The departments needed to back off and stop attempting to get extra hours out of her (or disciplining her for not doing unrealistic amounts of work) or else the union would have to take action.

    So the departments couldn’t discipline or fire her for not doing the work that was needed — given that state run colleges are very, very heavy on due process for getting rid of anyone.

    They could have declared that her work wasn’t needed, and laid her off, but then they wouldn’t have been able to hire a replacement. (If it looked clear that they’d claimed she was excess, got rid of her, and then immediately hired a replacement, that would clearly have been actionable.) They could also have attempted in pass her off to another department, but clearly this was hard to do since other departments didn’t want someone who couldn’t do the work. The union’s advice was to hire an additional secretary, since there was clearly so much work to do, but state budgets being what they are, that was never an option. So the solution for the following decade until she retired was to have her do the work she like (walking to the mail room twice a day, xeroxing, etc.) and put scheduling, fliers, mailing lists and such in the hands of someone who could do the work — usually dad, since he was the only other classified (staff rather than faculty) employee in the department, cared about whether or not things worked well, and shared an office with the secretary.

    And as I said earlier: It goes without saying that the union would have been very happy to support Dad in insisting that he didn’t have to do the work either.

    But that’s where the union mentality bugs me. I find it virtually impossible to think in terms of, “Look, it doesn’t matter whether things get done or get done right — I’ll do my hours and that’s it.” What seems to me important about work is that it be done — regardless of how long it takes. (Which can mean working late for no extra pay, or that if you get done early you should be able to walk without taking a hit on your paycheck.)

    It’s the sort of attitude it seems to me should be brought to any job — but watching how things played out at the college convinced me it was not how things worked there in a unionized environment. Which is one of the reasons I was determined to head into a non-unionized industry.

    Your claim is that prior to the labor movement, America’s factories, mines and mills were models of non-adversarial environments, polluted by the advent of unions?

    Clearly not. The spur to create unions was that in many cases employees were being treated badly by owners or managers.

    However, unions, like any other organization, become self justifying in their need for existence. And in any work environment, half the workers are going to be below average. So there’s always going to be a natural constituency for an organization which promises to protect workers as a whole and to “fight for” higher wages and benefits.

    And when your advice to have an HR department that has a system of due process that serves the common good is not followed?

    Leave and work for another company. I think companies that mistreat their workers deserve to go bankrupt. (Or else they’ll catch on suddenly that they can’t retain good talent and they’ll mend their ways. Either way, better for everyone.)

  • Leave and work for another company.

    Bingo. The mobility of the workforce is much greater than was the case eighty years ago.

  • Well, and FWIW, it seems to me that one of the things that a fraternal organization of workers could potentially be good at in the modern economy would be making labor mobility easier by providing a non-employer source of benefits.

    Blue-skying here: Say it was required that companies offer an either/or option on benefits like health insurance and 401k matching: either you can get the benefit through the company, or the company can make a transfer payment to a worker’s association you belong to where you participate in a transferable health care plan and retirement savings account.

    It would also be interesting if membership in a worker’s association actually denoted better than average accountability and performance — say if such a group provided certifications or ratings that were actually useful to employers in finding the best candidates to fill jobs.

    On the other hand, it seems like the difficulty is that given a democratic structure to a worker’s association, it would naturally tend towards non-performance-based approaches to rank and pay. It’s easier to get a majority to support seniority based pay or piling up useless certifications than it is to get a majority to support a meritocracy.

  • Which can mean working late for no extra pay, or that if you get done early you should be able to walk without taking a hit on your paycheck.

    In some cases, the nature of the work dictates the degree of flexibility in hours worked. There’s no “leaving early” for police officers. But for the increasing number of desk jobs out there, it makes sense not to treat employees like children and make them sit at their desks, twiddling their thumbs until they’ve put in their eight hours (even if they’ve finished their work and more).

    In the unionized environment where I work, employees invite micromanagement and being treated like children. That’s the flipside of getting those benefits and smoke breaks — someone’s going to be riding you to make sure you put in every minute and dot every i. I can’t say I blame management entirely — there are probably quite a few employees who would take advantage of having more autonomy. Sadly, there’s a huge divide in employee mindsets. There are many people out there who don’t have an orientation towards “getting the job done.” It’s just a paycheck, and as long as they follow the rules and show up, all is good.

    Which brings up another point…

    The mobility of the workforce is much greater than was the case eighty years ago.

    Mobility works well for a lot of white collar, private sector employees. It’s their replacement for job security. However, I’m convinced that there is a very large stratum of workers out there who can’t be, won’t be, or just aren’t very mobile. Occasionally, it’s because the nature of the work they do is so highly specific to their field, there are very poor prospects of translating it into something else. (In the defense industry, for example, there are many occupations that have no close equivalents in other sectors.) There are other reasons for a lack of mobility, not all of which are related to employee intransigence. What to do about this is a thorny issue. The standard economist’s answer is “retraining,” but that’s a bit of a hand wave to me.

    I, too, have the mindset of “getting the job done,” but I’m also aware of the Catholic teaching that the economy serves the person, not the other way around. Unions will continue to play a role for that reason. At the same time, if workers don’t want to be treated like children, they need to reject union ways that invite the comparison.

  • Blue-skying here: Say it was required that companies offer an either/or option on benefits like health insurance and 401k matching: either you can get the benefit through the company, or the company can make a transfer payment to a worker’s association you belong to where you participate in a transferable health care plan and retirement savings account.

    It would also be interesting if membership in a worker’s association actually denoted better than average accountability and performance — say if such a group provided certifications or ratings that were actually useful to employers in finding the best candidates to fill jobs.

    You have described what is currently commonplace in the unionized building trades.

    The union investigated and took the position that they were indeed violating her contract by trying to force her to do more work than was possible during her hours. …So the departments couldn’t discipline

    I’ve never seen a union contract that said a union finding prevents discipline. A Step 1 Grievance allows a worker (or the steward) to put in writing their objection to proposed discipline and receive in writing back from the supervisor the basis for the discipline. Step 2, if appealled, would allow the steward to make the case to the supervisor’s superior. 98% of cases end there. I will conceed that the union is certainly a force in favor of a poor performing worker under a manager who is incapable of articulating or describing what a worker’s preformance problem is. (I,e, a manager who can’t manage). From what you have said, it seems that management could have objectively shown that she is not performing her duties.

  • You have described what is currently commonplace in the unionized building trades.

    Good for them. Though I must say, I think the giant inflatable rats in front of companies that hire non union builders are a bit much. Quality being equal, people do tend to go for the lower bidder. (And when quality is higher at the lower bidder, all the more.)

    http://www.inc.com/magazine/20050301/nbrodsky.html

    Well, and hiring non-union workers to walk the picket lines is also mildly amusing:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704288204575362763101099660.html?mod=googlenews_wsj#printMode

    I will conceed that the union is certainly a force in favor of a poor performing worker under a manager who is incapable of articulating or describing what a worker’s preformance problem is. (I,e, a manager who can’t manage). From what you have said, it seems that management could have objectively shown that she is not performing her duties.

    Honestly, I don’t know where this fell on that question. On the one hand, I know the college had administrative procedures which made it virtually impossible to terminate someone or seriously discipline them without the union’s agreement via an internal arbitration panel with both managers and classified employees on it. On the other, we’re talking about academics here. The department heads were professors in their 60s who taught half time and managed half time, so they may well have been following the path of least resistance: if the union objects, why get into a fight about it.

  • Though I must say, I think the giant inflatable rats in front of companies that hire non union builders are a bit much.

    Really? I LOVE the rat!!!

    Honestly, I don’t know where this fell on that question.

    It seems to me to be a pretty important point. Evaluating a professor seems to me to be a rather subjective discernment and one which I imagine the profession would want their academic peers to be part of the process, not just university administrators. But a secretary? I’m impressed that she was given the opportunity for training. Management did the right thing there and yes, I would recommend filing a grievance if a worker was fired because she was given new duties without the opportunity for training.

    But she took the training and still failed to be able to perform her duties? I don’t see how you get that to arbitration. There is no dispute of fact. Her duties require “X” and she failed to achieve “X” as a simple typing test would show. How do you arbitrate over a typing test?

    If I was her steward, I think I might suggest to management a performance improvement plan where she has three months to bring herself up to objective standards that management defines at the beginning of the 3 month period (such standards being a management prerogative that a union has no right to negotiate over). After that she is either out or in. But that would be my offer to management. They could object.

    if the union objects, why get into a fight about it.

    Well, when I have been called to serve on juries, I’ve never taken the view that since defense counsel objects, why convict? But that’s me.

    In my lifetime, I can think of hundreds and hundreds of workers who would have been unjustly disciplined, had their pay docked, denied a promotion, fired, or been subjected to sexual harassment (a much bigger workplace problem than most white collar conservatives acknowledge) except for the union. And of interest to a Catholic audience, on too many occasion (one would be too many), were able to prevent women from being pressured into abortions by their bosses.

    And I can think of poor performers that, given a chance, were able to improve and become model employees rather than just being fired on the spot. (And I have never known a management official, no matter how anti-union, who to their great credit has not been willing to say to the Chief Steward “Listen, you know what’s happening on the shop floor. If you got one or two guys that are going through a divorce, just started AA, or something like that, you tell me who they are and I’ll give them a break. “)

    On the other hand, yes, there are times management punts. I’ve won cases I didn’t think we had a chance in heck. Part is that management is fine with the idea that one day folks come into work and Kathy is not there and her desk is cleaned out and everyone knows not to ask any questions about their dead of night disappearance. But management is loath to actually give Kathy notice she is in trouble because she might tell another worker that her boss is being mean to her. Well, tough luck. There is a reason management makes the big money and one of those reasons is that they have to manage and make tough decisions.

  • Well, all I can say is, these kind of horror stories simply don’t fit with what I’ve seen in the (primarily public college and school) union workplaces I’ve had most contact with. Getting someone fired at the college where my dad worked was so hard that the only case of an actual “for cause” firing I ever heard of was in the case of a janitor was was arrested for selling cameras and computers he had stolen from the college — and even then he was only fired after being on paid administrative leave for several months while the case was argued.

    How much of that was the result of actual union strength, and how much was the result of the complicated administrative rules which had been put in place (generally with the support of the unions) I don’t know, but competence was definitely not considered a reason for dismissal or even discipline.

  • Well, all I can say is, these kind of horror stories simply don’t fit with what I’ve seen in the (primarily public college and school) union workplaces

    I do note that almost all conservative complaints about unions are not from factories, mines or mills but practically exclusively about academic institutions. Just an observation.

    But your experience doesn’t match mine in a wide variety of employers in different industries. I’m willing to entertain that among academic professionals there is a long tradition (pre-dating unions) of protections regarding academic integrity and that could spill over into administrative jobs. Still, I don’t see how a union wins a grievance when there is objective, quantifiable data supporting management as you suggest with Kathy.

  • Ian Larkin had founded one of the dockworker locals in Liverpool. For three decades he led one of the most militant unions in any port. The workers loved him for his ability to speak up for them and their rights in their backbreaking work. When he died, the union shut down the port for the day of his funeral and the outpouring of emotion from the longshoremen was deep and sincere.

    His son, Jimmy, was elected the second president of the union. While he won the election easily, due to the great affect for his father, many of the other leaders were worried that Jimmy was not up to the job.

    The negotiation of the new contract was a great test for Jimmy Larkin. He stood outdoors on the dock to explain to the workers the new contract, as almost a thousand of them listened attentively. Jimmy announced “Lads, I have good news. Management has agreed to an increase of three pence an hour.” Upon hearing of such a paltry raise, less than Ian Larkin had ever negotiated , there was audible dissention. Jimmy continued “But as you know, times are tough and the company has asked that we give back one paid holiday.” Boos and hisses arose up from the longshoremen assembled before him. “And boys, management asked for give backs on the pension, but we got them to agree to no change.” The longshoremen became unsettled and starting calling out that Jimmy was a bum. He looked at the men before him and shouted out to them “But boys, what do you want?”

    And there, on the docks of Liverpool, was an incredible sight. These brawny workers, spontaneously and with one voice shouted in unison “WE WANT A SOCIALIST REVOLUTION!” Jimmy looked at them, stunned. After a pause, he remarked, “Oh, no lads. I’m sure management would never agree to that.”

  • Not sure how that anecdote was supposed to reassure anyone about unionism. Personally, I’m very much down on socialist revolutions — none of them have turned out well.

  • “And there, on the docks of Liverpool, was an incredible sight. These brawny workers, spontaneously and with one voice shouted in unison “WE WANT A SOCIALIST REVOLUTION!” Jimmy looked at them, stunned. After a pause, he remarked, “Oh, no lads. I’m sure management would never agree to that.”

    I do appreciate the humor of that anecdote Kurt! 🙂

  • Darwin,

    Its a joke, man! Don gets it and you’re much less a stick in the mud than he is!.. 🙂

  • Actually Kurt, among my fellow attorneys I am considered wild and zany, but that is among attorneys.

  • Sorry, I guess I have the tidal kind of humor — it comes and goes. 😉

    For what it’s worth (and I realize there’s nothing more dour than deconstructing a joke) I got the basic joke structure, it’s more that what I found off about the joke is that it seemed like the humor came from the interaction between the dock workers who want all out class war and the union leader who is simply a professional focused on getting the best he can out of each negotiating opportunity. To which my thought would be: See these union members really are crazy reds!

  • Wild and zany among attorneys. Gee…..

    Anyway, to DC. Yes, sometimes workers are crazy Reds. That is why you conservatives funnelled us American unions so much CIA money during the Cold War. Remember?

    Umm, just so I’m clear……you’re not asking for it back, are you? 🙂

  • Ah well, Kurt, maybe that CIA funding was simply to counteract the influence the CPUSA had with the unions during the 1930’s, no?

    My father ( who began as a simple, noble teenaged laborer in a steel factory, but later became evil incarnate when he graduated to management and thus became The Man) told me in that in the ’30’s the CPUSA ( who we now know was being bankrolled by Stalin) funded union rallies. He attended a few when he was about 15 or 16 years old. He told me the Commies gave the workers darn good sandwiches, which is what he, a male teen with the ravenous appetite of male teens, was mainly concerned about (bear in mind that this was about the same time the great famine was occurring in the USSR, which my dad had no way of knowing about. Not when you had the NYT’s Walter Duranty writing love letters to Stalin and all lesser American media following suit.)

    So, you know, if the CIA messed with the unions in the 1950’s I can sorta understand the rationale there.

  • And, just a reminder, Kurt, those wild and crazy Reds murdered 100 million in the century just past. Read the “Black Book of Communism,” for God’s sake, and tell me there is any humanity or sense in your sick, anti-human, anti-Christ ideology.

    I’ve grown tired of it. I’m tired of the charade that ‘yes, they’re on the left, but they mean well.” No, they don’t. If they do mean well, they are as ignorant and stupid as dirt and they are being led by the nose by those who do not mean well but lust to have power over their fellow humans.

  • Umm, just so I’m clear……you’re not asking for it back, are you?

    Naw. Mission accomplished.

  • Donna,

    Yes, and we of the anti-Communist left did more to contain and end Communism than you and your “useful idiot” (as the Commies called them) relatives ever did. I take it what you meant to say to me was “thank you, Kurt for your effective efforts in bringing down this great evil.”

  • Pingback: THURSDAY AFTERNOON EDITION | ThePulp.it

The Quiet Man

Thursday, March 17, AD 2011

A nice idealized version of Ireland for Saint Patrick’s day.  Go here to see the fight scene between John Wayne and Victor McLaglen, who was a boxer along with being an actor, for my money the best fight sequence ever filmed, and certainly the funniest.  Ironically, both Barry Fitzgerald, the matchmaker in the film, and Victor McLaglen, both of whom became screen archetypes as Irish Catholics, were Protestants, with the tough, burly McLaglen being the son of an Anglican bishop.

Continue reading...

9 Responses to The Quiet Man

Teachers’ Unions Explained

Thursday, March 17, AD 2011

Hattip for co-blogger Chris Blosser for pointing out the above video to me.  Back in 1979 when I graduated with my BA in the teaching of Social Studies from the University of Illinois, one of the factors motivating my decision to immediate run off to law school was my extreme antipathy to the teachers’ unions.  From what I had observed as a student training to be a teacher, the unions tended to focus their efforts on protecting the least competent teachers from being fired and political involvement on behalf of the Democrat party and leftist causes in general.

In three decades nothing has changed.  The advocacy of abortion by the largest of the teachers’ unions, the National Education Association, is of course the most objectionable aspect of the political involvment of a union which purports to represent those who help shape the minds of students.  In 2008 pro-life teachers wrote to the NEA protesting the NEA support of abortion:

Continue reading...

14 Responses to Teachers’ Unions Explained

  • Why are the teacher’s unions pro=abortion? Don’t these idiots realize thy’re killing off their future students and putting themselves out of a JOB?

  • If only shareholders in corporations who are equally supportive of abortion even had the right to introduce such a resolution.

  • If only Kurt unions were as neutral on the abortion issue as most corporations. Unions seem to go out of their way to take stances on political issues sure to raise the ire of a good portion of their membership. You are a union man. Do you have any explanation why that is the case?

  • Don,

    2/3rds of corporations directly finance the destruction of the unborn through their health care plans and a considerable number make corporate contributions to Planned Parenthood, far exceeding any labor union. Well beyond 90% of local, national and international unions (including the AFL-CIO) have never taken a stand on abortion policy.

    Most unions, particularly the Building Trades, the transport, pilots, maritime and railway unions, federal sector unions, have been very focused on a narrow definition of labor concerns. That is their tradition and it reflects the wishes of their membership.

    Another element, led by the UAW, the IUE and many industrial unions, have had a broader social vision that caused them to be a major force behind the enactment of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. In advancing that vision, Reuther and Carey and others were diligent to educate and bring the majority of their members with them, though certainly a minority raised their ire in opposition to this stance.

    In the handful of unions that have gone beyond this (and it can be counted on one hand), I’ve never know a situation when it did not come from the rank and file, contrary to the advice of the leadership.

    The pretense to the contrary is simply phoney. What is true is that labor political action raises the ire of white collar and managerial conservatives.

  • Leaving aside Kurt the fact that Unions, in distinction from their members, almost invariably support the pro-abort in almost every election state and federal, the union movement has been deeply in bed with the pro-abortion forces in this country.

    I would refer readers to the link below at the website MyUnionDues.Com which details the involvement of the major unions in this country with pro-aborts.

    http://myuniondues.com/acorn/

    This of course flies in the face I believe of the sentiments of many union members, judging from many polls over the years detailing how union households vote. My late father was a member of Allied Industrial Workers for three decades due to the fact that the truck body plant where he worked was a closed, oops, excuse me, union shop. You didn’t belong to the union, you didn’t work there, something that was made quite clear to me the two summers I worked there as a laborer while I was going to college. At any rate, my late father always appreciated the voting guides supplied to him by his union, as he would always make certain to vote the opposite way, and it greatly helped him in his decision making process at the polls.

    I believe Kurt that you are one of the principles behind the website Catholics for Obama-Biden.

    http://www.catholicsforobama.blogspot.com/

    I am curious as to how you square your Catholicism with your obvious ardent support for the most pro-abortion president in our nation’s history.

  • Kurt just wants to change the subject — rather than discuss the NEA, he launches into untrue allegations about “2/3 of corporations,” etc.

  • Don,

    That is one of the weakest, least fact based responses I have ever read in my life. Could you punch it up a bit with something meaningful rather than stuff like some union has a staff member who is married to a person who serves on a charity board with a person who works for Planned Parenthood?

  • Completely unresponsive Kurt. You truly do not want to deal truthfully with Unions, the Democrat Party, Obama and abortion do you?

  • Don,

    You can’t even get the name of the Democratic Party correct. When you are done just repeating what Beck told you to say, let me know.

  • What about the SCOTUS case Communication Workers of America vs. Beck (1988), which if I understand it correctly, established that unions CANNOT force members to cough up that portion of their dues which goes toward stuff unrelated to collective bargaining — i.e. political contributions and issue advocacy?

    If enough pro-life teachers got together and insisted on their rights under Beck (referring to Harry Beck, the plaintiff in the above case, not to be confused with Glenn Beck) I’d think it would make the NEA think twice about pushing pro-aborts. Has this been tried?

  • Elaine,

    Here’s one way that even dues money – not just PAC money – is funneled to immoral causes:

    The NEA has a discretionary fund, paid through dues money, that the executive council can vote to use to “partner” with groups that do things like afterschool tutoring.

    So, it works like this: One of these “partner groups”, say a pro-homosexual marriage group, promises to do after-school tutoring. But, it needs money to pay for the materials, facilities, etc. The group holds a gala dinner for a fund-raiser. The NEA purchases an entire table (or more) at the fund-raiser. The money then goes into the pro-homosexual agenda group’s general budget, to be used for after-school tutoring …. wink, wink.

    I know that this kind of thing happens because I directly asked the NEA’s President, Reg Weaver, in 2006. He told me that it does work like that.

    I had been working for the Louisiana affiliate for NEA – the Louisiana Association of Educators. Up to that point, I tried to justify my continuing work by saying, “Well, the NEAPAC might do immoral stuff, but I’m not signing people up for that. I getting people to pay dues, which is completely separate.”

    Of course, this was a false justification that I fooled myself into because I believed in the union’s work (in Louisiana) and because the job was good.

    God granted me the opportunity to see the situation clearly, and I am back in the classroom where I belong – and not in the union, where I don’t belong.

    Also, about “pushing pro-aborts”, I have to say that in my work, we never – never – discussed a candidate’s abortion record, one way or the other. Really. It was all about where the candidate stood on union and education issues.

    As it turns out, generally speaking, the candidates who supported the union line were Democrats, who also supported the anti-life line.

    But, in Louisiana, even that wasn’t really an issue. The majority of our Democrats here (Sen. Landrieu excluded) are pro-life. Louisiana is a very conservative state, even for Democrats.

  • “Don,

    You can’t even get the name of the Democratic Party correct. When you are done just repeating what Beck told you to say, let me know.”

    I bet you are a laugh riot Kurt when you gather together with your fellow Democratics. As faithful readers of this blog could tell you, I have no use for Beck and view him as a borderline loon.

    Now that I have dealt with your red herring, I can assume that you have absolutely nothing to say of substance in defense of unions and their support for abortion, their support for the Democrat party and its policy of abortion uber alles, or anything to say in defense of your ardent support of Obama, a man who raised campaign funds by trumpeting his opposition to a partial birth abortion ban? The question is purely rhetorical Kurt. You and I both know you have absolutely no intention of coming to grips with this issue.

    http://dianej.wordpress.com/2008/06/24/partial-birth-abortions-and-michelle-obama/

  • The question is purely rhetorical Kurt.

    Don, as far as I can tell, everything I read from you is rhetoric.

  • As I said Kurt, both you and I know that you have no intention of coming to grips with the issue.

One Response to Loyal Like a Dog

  • Aww, that’s a Brittany Spaniel. I don’t know why, but I’m surprised they have them in Japan. They’re not super popular even here but are known for being great bird dogs and family pets. I’m not surprised to see the loyalty and apparent affection though. They’re all around nice dogs but very dedicated to their master and family.

How Obama Spends His Time

Wednesday, March 16, AD 2011

This is a time with many crisis. A President has to chose where to put his efforts carefully. He could focus on the civil war in Libya. He could look towards Bahrain and the battles there. He could drum up relief for Japan in the wake of the tsunami. He could look to help Japan fix its nuclear reactor and ensure that such danger cannot be repeated here. He could work to reduce gas prices. He could create jobs. He could negotiate to ensure the government doesn’t shutdown due to a lack of a budget.

With all of these options, what is our fearless leader doing? He’s clowning around with ESPN discussing his “barack-etology” and why he thinks Kansas will win it all.

How insensitive and ridiculous is this? Even if you were in the throes of the Obamessiah movement in 2008, how is this justifiable? Look, I’m a huge sports fan. I understand the need for Obama to not spend every second on the presidency and take some time for sports. I don’t even mind that he spends time to fill out a bracket if he did it privately.

But to do this so publicly just sends all the wrong messages, both to those at home and abroad.

Continue reading...

5 Responses to How Obama Spends His Time

  • Maybe he could next, a la Hoover, serve his dog sushi.

  • He may have nothing of his own to contribute to the resolution of any of these problems and have entered a phase where he functions as an instrument of factions of his subordinates. He may also tend by default to obstruct and sabotage the works of the more public-spirited amongst them. There is precedent for this.

  • Actually, I think having no president is preferable to the way Obama has thus far attempted to lead the nation. I encourage him to pursue his interest in sports, smoking away from the stern gaze of his “She Who Must Be Obeyed”, ditto sneaking greasy snack food, lining up a good ghost writer for his memoirs and generally preparing for his next career which will be world-class-celebrity for life, anything but attempting to be a real, as opposed to a figurehead, president.

  • …or he could just golfing again.

  • Consider that “Charlie Sheen” is the No. 1 on the “most searched” list on Google these days and that college hoops are not far behind. War, pestilence, devastation, inflation, revolutions, despair, anxiety, fear fill the air, but bread and circuses, as they did 2,000 years ago, represent vox populi.

MLB Preview: AL East

Wednesday, March 16, AD 2011

The smell of freshly cut grass.  The thermometer registering above 50.  Birds chirping to signal the dawn of each new day.  Yes, if you live in the southern states, some of you might actually be enjoying these signs of Spring.  As for me, it’s perpetual rain and moderately cool  temperatures, which means that Spring is just around the corner in DC.  And those are the two best weeks of the year by far.

It also means it’s baseball time.  Yes, our long national nightmare – meaning the seven weeks between the Super Bowl and opening day for Major League Baseball – is almost over.  We can stop having to pretend to care about basketball and hockey and get back to some real sports.

So with baseball mercifully just around the corner, it’s time to look ahead to the upcoming season.  And I will begin with the best division in baseball, the American League East, or as it is otherwise know, “Four awesome teams and the Baltimore Orioles.”

Continue reading...

11 Responses to MLB Preview: AL East

  • We can stop having to pretend to care about basketball and hockey and get back to some real sports.

    Really? I can’t imagine caring about or watching any sport other than hockey and girl’s beach vollyball.

  • I feel kind of bad about bashing hockey, because in fact I love the sport. But it continues to languish in popularity and I haven’t really been into it for about a decade. As for basketball – pro and college – YAWN.

    Volleyball? It’s Lent and this is a Catholic blog. But yes.

  • Hockey is the only sport that I can bother watching for more than five minutes without my eyes glazing over, although I do deplore the dreadful playing of the game which gets in the way of the fights. As for girl’s beach volleyball, co-ed volleyball was the only sport, other than rappelling down cliffs with my army colleagues, that I engaged in as an undergraduate. Only for the exercise and the thrill of the sport, of course.

  • Speak no ill of hockey, pawn of the tempter!

    Really, the NHL regular season is something of a snooze, but there is no spectacle like overtime playoff hockey, where every shift is a nailbiter.

    As to the meat of the post: as much as I would delight in the Yankees missing the playoffs, they will probably scrape in on their formidable lineup alone. But they have no shot to get to the Series.

    Looking forward to your AL Lent-ral preview.

  • To be honest, I don’t really watch any sports anymore. I would certainly glue myself to the tube if women’s beach volleyball was on TV with any regularity. I so appreciate the athleticism of those dear creatures of fairer sex with the sun-darkened complexions and impressive uniforms. I still like hockey, but have little time or will to start paying attention again. I’ll take minor issue with Dale’s characterization of regular season hockey though. It may be less exciting than playoff games, but it’s still more exciting than even tournament/finals of baseball, basketball, football, and that activity where people run around and pretend they got a boo-boo when they fall causing the spectators to riot. Also to be noted. The boringest pre-1980’s hockey game was more exciting than just about anything now.

  • RL:

    Fair point. I guess I’m more thinking of the slog of the season, especially the overloaded scheduling of division rivals. Plus, in Detroit’s case, being in the Western Conference means a lot of West Coast games I can’t trouble myself to watch, given that the puck drops no earlier than 10pm. The regular season is still great when it’s old rivals (other Original Six teams) or bitter current rivals. And the game is always better live–TV is fine, but the atmosphere is much different in the arena.

  • I second Dale’s point about live hockey. By far and away it is the best of the sports to watch in the arena or stadium. The way the boards reverberate when guys are hit, the sound of the puck, etc – it’s just cool. With HD most of the other sports are frankly better on tv, especially football where there’s really almost no point in being there other than the crowd experience, which is admittedly nifty.

  • Oh yeah. Being at a hockey game is the ultimate spectator experience. I can only speak for the Detroit, but I bet any of the original six venues are the best. Oh, how I wish I could have seen a game at the Olympia or the Forum in Montreal!

    In the 80’s I was fortunate to get free tickets to a number of games a season at the Joe. 14 rows behind and to the right of visitor goalie. I always got the tickets for when the Habs were in town too (my second favorite team). It was from the time period when Park was coach then long into Demers reign. Got to watch a young and amazing Stevie Y speed around with great stick handling as well as Probert and Kocur kicking everyone’s butt (that was the whole of our strategy then – give Steve the puck and fight anyone who tried to stop him 🙂 ). I even got to watch an amazing rookie goal tender whose name on the back of his jersey made us chuckle – Patrick Roy. Ahh, good times!

  • The National Pastime has become the National Snoozefest until September at least. I look forward to the Masters at Augusta.

  • I’ve never been to a live hockey game, but I very much want to go. I used to be a very avid Dallas Stars fan, until the lockout knocked out most of the NHL TV coverage I get in South Louisiana (no Versus here unless you spend a pretty penny for it, and the Mrs. isn’t that big of a hockey fan).

    Football is better live. While TV allows you to better understand what’s happening more quickly, the crowd experience, particularly in college football, just can’t be matched. I’d say viewing experiences go in order or excellence: student section of college football, anywhere else in college football, Live NFL, TV, CBS’s crummy college football coverage.

    Basketball can be better live, but you need to be as close to courtside to do it. Otherwise, it’s just really just an outing to go (though it can be a lot easier than the grainy local feeds many NBA teams like the Hornets have). I think wherever you sit in baseball, it’s not that much better if at all. Again, just a fun outing.

    The sport that most requires live viewing to really experience it has to be NASCAR. You don’t get Daytona until you see the turns rising stories above, or the noise of the track. Moreover, you get to watch your favorite driver or the area where the racing is best instead of watching the stupid gopher pop out of the ground on FOX.

  • “I second Dale’s point about live hockey. By far and away it is the best of the sports to watch in the arena or stadium.”

    I’m a little shocked to read that from a baseball fan. Admittedly, I’m not much of a hockey fan, but when it comes to live sports absolutely nothing beats being at the ballpark to watch baseball on a summer evening.

    “Football is better live. While TV allows you to better understand what’s happening more quickly, the crowd experience, particularly in college football, just can’t be matched.”

    I don’t think so. TV timeouts have ruined watching football live. I can see the argument for attending a college game live, especially in a traditional venue, but probably only once or twice a year. I’d still rather watch it on TV on a week in and week out basis. Of course, I enjoy watching 2 or 3 college football games at once, which is difficult to do unless you’re at home in front of the TV or in a sports bar.

    And I’d rather watch paint dry than attend an NFL game. Nothing about watching the NFL live and in person appeals to me over watching it in the comfort of my own home with a fridge and a bathroom nearby to take advantage of all those TV timeouts.