Richard Rich Pretty Much a Disaster as Ambassador to Malta

Friday, April 8, AD 2011

Hattip to Catholic Key Blog. Richard Rich Douglas Kmiec, who sold out the pro-life movement by supporting the most pro-abortion candidate in our nation’s history for President, Barack Obama, now the most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history, is pretty much a disaster as ambassador to Malta, his equivalent of the going rate for traitors of thirty pieces of silver, according to a State Department Report.

He is respected by Maltese officials and most mission staff, but his unconventional approach to his role as ambassador has created friction with principal officials in Washington, especially over his reluctance to accept their guidance and instructions. Based on a belief that he was given a special mandate to promote President Obama’s interfaith initiatives, he has devoted considerable time to writing articles for publication in the United States as well as in Malta, and to presenting his views on subjects outside the bilateral portfolio. He has been inconsistent in observance of clearance procedures required for publication. He also looks well beyond the bilateral relationship when considering possible events for the mission to host in Malta. His approach has required Department principals, as well as some embassy staff, to spend an inordinate amount of time reviewing his writings, speeches, and other initiatives. His official schedule has been uncharacteristically light for an ambassador at a post of this size, and on average he spends several hours of each work day in the residence, much of which appears to be devoted to his nonofficial writings.

At the same time, he has not focused sufficiently on key management issues within the embassy. . .

. . .The Ambassador advised the inspection team that he intended to discontinue his outside writings and focus on matters that directly pertain to the embassy and priorities outlined in the Mission Strategic and Resource Plan (MSRP). Within weeks of the team’s departure, however, he resumed drafting public essays that addressed subjects outside his purview as Ambassador to Malta and detracted from his core responsibilities. These activities also detracted from the core responsibilities of embassy staff members who devoted time and effort to reviewing and editing the ambassador’s drafts and seeking approvals occasionally after the writings had been submitted for publication from Department officials.

Continue reading...

7 Responses to Richard Rich Pretty Much a Disaster as Ambassador to Malta

Worse Than Murder, Inc Goes Astroturf

Friday, April 8, AD 2011

Hattip to Creative Minority ReportWorse than Murder, Inc , a/k/a Planned Parenthood, and the other denizens of the “murder is a right!” movement, must be getting desperate judging from this ad.  The Pro-aborts are subletting to Grassroots Campaigns the gaining of “volunteers” for their cause at the rate of $335-$535  a week.  Go here to have a gander at Grassroots Campaigns, and here to gain some background information on these paid “astroturfers.”  “Astroturfing” is the creation of fake groups to simulate an actual grassroots popular organization.   David Axlerod, Barack Obama’s chief campaign strategist in 2008, became a very wealthy man perfecting this political black art

Continue reading...

15 Responses to Worse Than Murder, Inc Goes Astroturf

  • The liberals will NOT give up baby murdering without a civil war. It took war to free the blacks. It took war to stop Hitler’s genocide of the Jews. Like it or not, these things are only resolved by war. And no, I do NOT advocate civil war. I do NOT advocate violence against baby-murderers or anyone. Such violence to me seems oxymoronic – “I’ll save babies’ lives by murdering abortionist doctors.” BUT I do note that throughout human history “the tree of liberty must be periodically refreshed by the blood of tyrannts and patriots alike. It is its own natural manure.” And that’s the way it is – sadly and regrettably.

  • “the tree of liberty must be periodically refreshed by the blood of tyrannts and patriots alike. It is its own natural manure.”

    Thus spake Thomas Jefferson, a man who never served a day in the Continental Army, and whose main feat of arms as a wartime governor of Virginia was the rapidity with which he fled from a British raiding party. If Jefferson had ever seen a battlefield, I very much doubt he would have spoken so glibly about blood. I think the pro-life cause will succeed peacefully through conversion of hearts and winning elections. If there was ever a struggle where violence is completely counter productive, it is this one.

  • Your tax dollars ($750 million to PP) at work . . .

  • At the risk of derailing this thread, Donald and Paul’s exchange reminded me of this quip from Connor Cruise O’Brien: “The twentieth-century statesman whom the Thomas Jefferson of January 1793 would have admired most is Pol Pot.”

    Speaking of TJ, I am going to see his “bible” today, currently being repaired. Should be fun.

  • Whether Thomas Jefferson said that famous quote or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is whether or not it is true. History says it is. I do hope that you’re right and this war can be won without bloodshed, and I do think people in the pro-life movement should be pro-life. Bombing abortion clinics and shooting abortion doctors is just as anti-life as what they do – dismember living infants in the womb. BUT it took bloodshed to free the blacks. And it took blood shed to stop the Nazis. Lord Jesus, please may it never come to that!

  • “Whether Thomas Jefferson said that famous quote or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is whether or not it is true.”

    He said it; that he said it is relevant since he had no personal experience of what he was praising; and it simply is not true. Most wars have had precious little to do with liberty. Sometimes fighting for freedom or some other just cause is necessary; most of the time wars can, and should be, avoided. (As the most hawkish contributor to The American Catholic that may sound odd coming from me, but that has always been my view regarding wars.)

  • Well, Donald, maybe you’re right. I will admit that I am a coward when it comes to shedding blood. That’s why I went into the submarine service instead of the Army or Marine Corps when I was a youth. The idea of actually seeing and dodging bullets on a battlefield was horrifying to me.

  • I served in the Green Machine in peace time Paul. My main service to the defense of my country I suspect was when I was discharged from the Army. 🙂

  • Pacem. Here’s what has come to pass in our country.

    “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil.” Romans 1:28-30

    And, it’s mainly funded by taxes.

    PWP: “Peace is our profession.” Your sub was capable of more righteous “good works” than all the soldiers, sailors, and marines since Cain slew Abel.

  • Folks,

    Forgive me that I digress.

    T. Shaw,

    Technically, I was assigned to a fast attack, not a boomer. But still, I felt not the slightest bit of moral discomfort (just physical discomfort) sleeping beside a nuclear tipped sub roc in the torpedo room (there wasn’t enough berthing space, and when you’re a junior ETN2/SS, you sleep where you can). Nuclear weapons were a necessary deterrent to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. And while I was a reactor operator back aft and not a torpedo man’s mate, I did have to learn how to load, flood and launch a weapon (we all did to get qualified “Submarine Service). If I had ever been asked to launch a nuclear weapon, then I would have done so without hesitation. I was a submarine sailor. At that time we were facing what we did not know and we kept the peace by doing what we did.

    Now let it be known that I am NOT a war monger, nor would I WANT nuclear weapons launched. But I would have done my duty. Forgive the reptition: “Peace IS Our Profession,” and we kept it.

    Besides, as previously explained, I was a coward. I didn’t want to face a hail of bullets on the battlefield or see soldiers disemboweled across field and stream. If I had to go, then let it be instantaneous with explosive decompression at test depth. 😉

  • Opps – I meant to say, if I had to go, then let it be with explosive compression (really not the right phrase) at test depth.

  • Sub service, Paul? Yikes. I thought it was established doctrine that the three quickest paths to insanity were dropping copious amounts of acid daily, being a tail gunner in a B-17 or B-29, and sub service (even in peace time!). Glad you made it out with more than a few marbles left.


  • Pingback: Liberal Astro-Turf | Blogs For Victory
  • The problem with the pro abortionist of the 60’s and 70’s is that THEY are in the highest positions. They are in our government, colleges and schools, and community organizations. These people are well organized and are in positions to that enable them to “buy” votes and manipulate their followers. As Paul W P pointed out, cleaning this mess up without bloodshed is preferable but not likely.

Terror on the Ivory Coast

Friday, April 8, AD 2011

The blogger Gateway Pundit relays the news that Muslim Troops have slaughtered 1,000 Christians on the Ivory Coast:

Early reports suggested that more than 800 people, largely from the Gbagbo-supporting Gueré tribe, were killed in a single day at the sprawling Salesian Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus mission in Duekoue, 300 miles west of Abidjan towards the Liberian border. The attackers seem to have been largely soldiers descended from Burkina Faso immigrant Muslim families loyal to Ouattara.

Late yesterday the Roman Catholic charity Caritas said more than 1000 people were massacred in Duekoue. A Caritas spokesman said Caritas workers visited the town and reported seeing a neighbourhood filled with bodies of people who had been shot and hacked to death with machetes.

The perpetrators of the massacre are troops loyal to the Muslim President Alassane Ouattara, rebels attempting to forcefully remove Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent President refusing to step down after allegedly losing the vote in November 2010.

As Gateway Pundit notes, “the conflict has been brewing for years,” with a country divided between the Muslim North and Christian South and a disputed election of a Muslim president against a Christian incumbent who has remained in office since 2000.

Further reading is required to grasp the true horror (and nature) of the conflict:

Continue reading...

7 Responses to Terror on the Ivory Coast

  • The violence in Ivory Coast is indeed horrific.

    It is, however, largely tribal and political in nature.

    Don’t get me wrong: I think that Islam as such has serious problems with violence – but to describe the conflict in Ivory Coast as an essentially religious one is inaccurate.


  • The conflict may be tribal in origin, but the presence of Islam in any form in any area of conflict is a guarantee that the differences are magnified to the point of war and massacre. It is a satanic system that at its innermost core enjoins violence and rapine as a religious duty. This is why it has such purchase on tribes and peoples that live on plunder and mayhem. Paraphrasing Bertrand Russell, it have all the advantage of theft over honest toil. Considering only examples from Africa and then only from the recent past we had widespread killings of Christians in Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. But hey no worries, they are just a bunch of Christians.

  • Ivory Coast “savages vs. western cowards” . . . [see “Never Yet Melted” blog posts].

    In other related news, Obama throws another key GWOT ally, Yemeni Prez, under the bus as The Won previously discarded long-time ally, Mubarak.

    In other news: Saudi royalty courts China and Russia as US no longer seen as solid ally.

    Poor Israel . . .

    The US had better, post haste, end its dependence on foreign oil!

  • “It is, however, largely tribal and political in nature.”

    Chris A. — Yes, I’d agree it’s hard to isolate any one primary motivating element. There are definitely tribal, economic and political factors as well.

    What I took away from reading and researching this was the difficulty of fitting this kind of conflict into the framework of an ‘Islamic Conquest of Africa’, as some bloggers are doing.

    The free-for-all, morality-be-damned anarchic nature of the conflict with atrocities being committed by both sides reminds me more of the Rwanda than anything else.

    Contra Ivan, it is not just the Muslim presence that we can attribute a “guarantee of violence” to — as demonstrated by the horrific conduct of
    President Gbagbo’s own non-Islamic forces.

    Gbagbo portrays himself as a sincere “evangelical Christian” when schmoozing it up with Pat Robertson; his tolerance for the human rights abuses committed under his watch tell another story.

  • Sultan Knish covers the Ivory Coast at his site; its the same story all over again: when the Muslims are in a minority they are only too eager to please, but watch out when their number increase. I may not know anything at all about Africa, but having lived all my life in India and South East Asia, I can smell the Muslim MO from a mile off. Darwin himself would have trouble coming up with a system that can compete with the Islamic juggernaut, that evolved so purposefully for the ruin of others.

  • Peter Cardinal Turkson of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is just returned from his mission to Ivory Coast. He shared his take on the conflict with Vatican Radio here:


11 Responses to Somalia, Libertarian Paradise!

  • Very nice Tito. I have never been quite sure how “Conservative Catholics” in this country embraced Libertarianism. Up until very recently (and maybe in the ideal, still), the Church has seemed more ready to embrace Catholic Authoritarian governments that would enforce Catholic moral teaching with laws at the expense of individual freedoms.

  • Tito,

    Bless your heart.

    I wish you had counted to 10,000 before you posted that video. And, I know you did not put it together.

  • No, I didn’t put it together.

    But after listening to Ron Paul wanting our military to withdraw from South Korea, among other things, my enthusiasm for libertarian ideals have matured.

  • I thought this was hilarious! As much as most of the bloggers here prefer to focus on the threat of a bloated, oppressive “nanny state” it helps to be reminded once in a while that the other extreme — no government at all — ain’t that great either.

  • Pingback: Should Catholics Support Ron Paul? | The American Catholic
  • Pretty amusing.

    Of course, as the blog’s resident pseudo-libertarian, I should note that compared to other African countries (which have governments) Somalia has been doing fine.

  • Has anyone here even read the US Constitution? Powers granted to the federal government are specific and limited. Today however our federal government is so large that it is about to take everything away from the people. We will not have to worry about our states rights or the Bill of Rights as they pertain to religious freedom, noooooo, the Global government will see to that.

    Sounds farfetched ?!? Twenty years ago could anyone here see the demise of this country? We are actually debating Sharia Law and Ginsberg worries about how our laws differs with international laws.

    Wake up people!

  • Blackadder,
    While other states in Africa are having issues, I think you are seriously underestimating how bad things are in somalia. Lets remember, this is country whose multiparty civil war has lasted for twenty years now, that is the home to numerous pirates that have been raiding shipping in the Indian Ocean, sell people of Bantu heritage into slavery….

    In other words, there might be countries that are worse off in Africa, but there are also countries that are much better off.

  • It’s interesting to note that three new countries (not recognized by the international community) have emerged from the shambles of Somalia.

    They are Somaliland, Puntland, and Galmudug.

    I say let them break up if those countries are able to function!

  • Pingback: Should Roman Catholics Support Congressman Ron Paul? : An Examination Of A Conscience! « Political Vel Craft

Oh No! Not the Non-Essential Services!

Thursday, April 7, AD 2011

Unsurprisingly the big story here in the Washington DC Metro area is the potential government shut down.  While most Americans go about their business, hardly giving it a second thought, dire predictions of the doom to come are broadcast throughout all media institutions.  We should expect rioting in the streets (no, seriously, I heard someone suggest this), mass mayhem, a crippling of our Nation’s infrastructure, and worst yet – feline and canine cohabitation.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  The Washington Express – the free, Reader’s Digest version of the Washington Post – had a headline this morning that blared “NOT THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS!!!”  It seems that this weekend’s cherry blossom parade would be canceled if there is a government shutdown.

This is indeed horrible news.  Sure American troops are in harm’s way around the world, and we are printing money hand over fist as our country goes deeper into debt to totalitarian regimes, but that’s nothing compared to the sheer terror of tourists being slightly inconvenienced by the cancellation of a hokey parade in downtown Washington.  Leave aside the fact that they will still be free to see the cherry blossoms themselves (even if they are now past their peak bloom), and that many of the tourist attractions in our Nation’s Capital are outdoor sites that will still be open.  It is surely worth compromising on such an insignificant thing like the federal budget in order to avoid this catastrophe.

The Express goes on to detail some of the ways in which we are all going to be affected by a shutdown.  I would recommend listening to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings as you read the proceeding paragraph in order to set the appropriate mood.

The Obama administration warned Wednesday that a federal shutdown would undermine the economic recovery; delay pay to troops fighting in three wars; slow the processing of tax returns; and limit small-business loans, and government-backed mortgages during peak home-buying season.

The Express then calls this a “dire message.”  Indeed.

Now that you’ve had the appropriate amount of time to digest this warning of the coming apocalypse, let’s take these items one at a time.

Continue reading...

26 Responses to Oh No! Not the Non-Essential Services!

  • As long as the fried pizza places in DC are still opened, all will be right with the world. 🙂

    Note how the news stories about a government shut down never focus on how the fifth assistant to the second assistant of the third assistant to the assistant secretary at the EPA in charge of swamps, will be using her time off to spend all her time surfing the net, instead of the 30% of her time devoted to that task during her average day at work? (By the way Don, I am telling myself now, GET BACK TO WORK!!!!)

  • …Don’t worry, some old hippie will probably be digging up copper to sell for scrap and inadvertently cut your cable so you can get back to the peoples business.

  • Okay, no one other than Ned Flanders actually does their taxes after the break of midnight on New Year’s, but April 18 is not the only date that tax returns must be filed – it’s the last day to file taxes without penalty.

    Hi-de ho, neighbor…. I get the money the government has been holding on to ASAP, to the point that we actually got our return filed before the military pay system crashed from everyone trying to get their tax information. (happens every year, usually several times)

    Military folks over seas are going to be more worried than they should be because they’ve been briefed that they may not be paid starting on the pay day that already passed; one of my buddies was spitting fire about it on facebook. They did something to the pay system already, since it usually goes into the Navy Fed system several days before and is held, and it didn’t do that this month. So if this goes on long enough, expect mischief with military pay.

    Hit a radio talk show that had a lady breathing fire– her class has been saving all year to go to DC, and she’s going to make this a teaching moment that will not help the dems at all! (Beware when you send someone to teach how gov’t is supposed to work, they might do it.)

    For the folks who depend on their reserve weekends to keep their heads above water, and for the folks who have trouble making two month’s rent, the timing is very good– there are several weeks to go before next month’s rent.

    I’ve heard jokes going around that they’ll be able to save 30 billion just in energy costs in a few weeks of shutdown!

  • You. Monster.

    No doubt you think cutting funding for cowboy poetry slams is a good idea, too, Thurston Howell IV.

  • More seriously, putting our enlisted men and women through the wringer is a genuinely bad idea. They’re living paycheck to paycheck as it is.

    As are a lot of the “excepted” federal law enforcement officers who are going to be working without pay if there’s a shutdown. There’s the possibility of passing a bill funding the former, but the latter–among whose ranks are my brother in Customs and Border Protection.

  • Omitted concluding phrase “are out of luck.”

  • I know, Dale. They’re going to have to start wheeling me around in one of those Hannibal Lecter thingies.

    As for military pay, I’ve heard some conflicting news reports, but Gates talked to the troops and had this to say:

    “But in all seriousness, based on some stuff I read this morning, if the government shuts down starts on the 8th and goes for a week, you’d get a half a check. If it goes from the 15th to the 30th, you wouldn’t get a pay check on the 30th but you would be back paid for all of it. So that’s the deal and I’m, you know, frankly, I remember when I was your age I did a lot of living from pay check to pay check and so I hope this thing doesn’t happen.”

    Republicans have proposed a bill that would fully fund the DoD for the rest of the year and thereby would ensure that the troops would get paid throughout a shutdown, but it’s unlikely to pass the Senate. And why?

    But the bill, HR 1363, already has been rejected by Senate leaders because poison-pill riders have been attached to the measure that are unacceptable to many Democrats — such as preventing the District of Columbia from spending its own money on abortions — and because Democrats don’t want to separate the Defense Department from the rest of the federal budget out of concern such a move might make it even harder to get an complete federal funding agreement.

  • The thing that’s really annoying is that the military usually makes up for short-falls from the future benefits fund– which means that they went out of their way to hurt the people out there getting SHOT AT for them.

    To make a political point.

  • “because Democrats don’t want to separate the Defense Department from the rest of the federal budget out of concern such a move might make it even harder to get an complete federal funding agreement.”

    Yep, a lot of phoney baloney government spending simply doesn’t stand a chance of surviving unless the Democrats can hold the troops in harm’s way hostage.

  • Sure hope those federal inmates lock their doors, like Otis of Mayberry.

  • “Sure hope those federal inmates lock their doors, like Otis of Mayberry.”

    A lot of the “Club Feds” have less security than the jail on the Andy Griffith show. As for the Super Maxes, I am confident that they will continue to function as usual, despite the government shutdown so the Democrats can protect investment in such useful functions of government as the Department of Education’s 70 billion or 700,000 to the University of New Hampshire to study cow flatulence.

  • Wait–did I just read this?

    “As long as the fried pizza places in DC”

    *Fried* pizza? Seriously? I love watching “Man vs. Food,” but that concept kicks in the gag reflex.

  • Meanwhile, many second-class citizens (taxpayers who work in the evil, unjust private sector) are having a hard time driving to work; feeding their families; and heating their homes.

    Ed Morrissey at Hot Air: “Obama fills the role of clueless aristocrat by telling a man who explains that he can’t afford to fill his gas tank at current prices that he should instead buy a new car. If the press reported it, the retort would prove rather embarrassing — which may be why the Associated Press scrubbed it from their coverage of the event. . . . Just think how Marie Antoinette would have fared with a media so devoted to spinning for her.” Instapundit saved a screenshot for the record.

    “The horror! The horror!”

    They must think we are as stupid as are they. Bart Simpson famously said, “I’m insulted!”

    The Obama-worshipping, moronic MSM are aiding and abetting the zero’s lying demagoguery with the budget process. They will endlessly prattle on that it’s the extremist tea party’s/GOP’s fault because they viciously refused to accept Obama’s no-cut spending . . .

    Shut ‘er down. And, throw away the keys.

  • I am sure all those defense workers, law enforcement officials, other essential personnel who may have to work without pay will be thrilled to do so. Oh yes, I know, they will get paid, probably, eventually. Anyone care to tell that to their banks who want to know why their mortgage checks are late?

    Honestly, I am steamed at both parties. The Democrats because this could have all been avoided if they had passed a budget last summer like they were suppose to… when they controlled Congress. It might not have been one that many of us would have liked, but at least the government could have functioned. And ultimately, I am mad at both parties for threatening to shutdown the government over what really amounts to a tiny percentage of the budget ($30 billion is essentially 1% of the budget). The budget is simply not going to be fixed or broken over these cuts (Now if we are talking about shutting government down over funding Planned Parenthood, then we are talking about a different issue).

    I do give credit to Paul Ryan for actually attempting to take entitlements in the 2012 budget, though I think it is sheer fantasy to believe that most Americans will accept deep enough cuts in their entitlements to fix the budget and cut taxes at the same time (Not to mention the tax cuts seem to be targeted at the rich and cut deductions for the middle class… meaning most of us will not actually see a tax cut…).

    Ultimately, here is the deal, fighting over thirty billion dollars, claiming it is to fix the budget is frankly as idiotic as trying to find a dry spot on the Titanic.

    Oh one last point. Paul, your opinion regarding filing taxes is frankly insulting. First of all, in 25 years of getting W2s, I have never once gotten one before the end of January, and often other documents, like 1099’s are even later (well at least the correct ones). So in practice, it is the middle of February before most people can even begin doing their taxes. Add to that the responsibilities of work, raising a family (Try telling a two year old you can’t spend time with him so you can do taxes!), and the various other obligations that come with life and it is frankly surprising that most people get them done on time. To tut-tut the people who might have their returns delayed because they only got their returns in a week or two early is incredibly uncharitable.

  • Honestly, I am steamed at both parties.

    Well then you’re sense of steam is misplaced.

    So in practice, it is the middle of February before most people can even begin doing their taxes. Add to that the responsibilities of work, raising a family (Try telling a two year old you can’t spend time with him so you can do taxes!), and the various other obligations that come with life and it is frankly surprising that most people get them done on time.

    Everything you’ve just mentioned fits my situation to a tee. I filed my taxes in mid-February. Yes, that hour was grueling, but I managed to do it.

  • *Fried* pizza? Seriously? I love watching “Man vs. Food,” but that concept kicks in the gag reflex

    That kinda got my saliva glands going.

  • Where is this fried pizza of which you speak?

  • Larry, when we get out to lunch, I pick the restaurant.

    Not so BTW:

  • And just to make it clear – I’m not rooting for a government shutdown. I’m also not saying no one will be impacted. As I said, I have many good friends who are going to be without pay for who knows how long if this thing is not resolved. But this is not the dire tragedy that people are making it out to be, and is nothing compared to the budget mess that we face.

  • The year was 1989 and the fried pizza was great. I can’t recall the name of the place. It was on Connecticut just off Dupont Circle. Hadn’t had fried pizza before and haven’t found it since. It was unique and it tasted very good.

  • “Anyone care to tell that to their banks who want to know why their mortgage checks are late?”

    Happens to people in the private sector all the time. Government employees are only at the very beginning of a process which will amply demonstrate that governments are no more immune to the laws of economics than the private sector. Broke means broke, whether it be a business or a government, and that is our current situation. It is always a tragedy for the people involved, but we simply cannot continue pouring ever increasing amounts of borrowed money down the federal drain.

  • You might be thinking of Pizza Paradiso, which is very good. I guess I didn’t realize they termed it fried pizza.

    Now pizza on the barbecue grill – that’s good stuff.

  • When you fry vegetables, you destroy the healthy nutrients in them. You don’t have that problem with fried pizza. So you could argue that fried pizza is better for you than vegetables.

  • “…Democrats can protect investment in such useful functions of government as the Department of Education’s 70 billion or 700,000 to the University of New Hampshire to study cow flatulence.”

    “As long as the fried pizza places in DC”

    Stop the study, I just found the source of the flatulence. 😉

  • I’m thinking it must be Pizza Paradiso too – I remember that place as having the best pizza in DC.

    I lived in DC during the ’95 government shutdown (on Macomb St. near the Cathedral). I recall my very nice landlady was in shock when she was deemed an “inessential worker.” Her job was at the VOA,I believe, she set up cultural exchange programs with the Russkies. Soirees for visiting ballet companies, embassy parties. The sort of job that was tailormade for a WASPy 1955 Vassar graduate from New England. I was a lowly slave laborer in a big law firm, ordered about by lawyers all the livelong day, and so rather jealous of her for having such a creampuff of a job, but I did not share her opinion that the Republic would go to hell in a handbasket if she wasn’t organizing tea parties for visitors from Moscow and Kiev.

    I also knew someone at HHS whose shrink convinced her that her parents had been part of a secret cult and had sexually abused her – she discovered all that due to “uncovering repressed memories.” Then she began seeing cult members all over the place. She became convinced I was a cult member. The longer she was in treatment, the crazier and more paranoid she became. She told me that one of her co-workers put vodka in an empty milk carton and sucked it through a straw all day.

    And the two of them worked on the Clinton healthcare plan.

  • “And the two of them worked on the Clinton healthcare plan.”

    Now it all makes sense Donna! 🙂

The Unquiet Afterdeath of Thomas Paine’s Corpse

Thursday, April 7, AD 2011

The Reformation was engendered in beastly lust, brought forth in hypocrisy and perfidy, and cherished and fed by plunder, devastation, and by rivers of innocent English and Irish blood.

William Cobbett

A good trick question for a history quiz would be, “Where is Thomas Paine buried?”  The correct answer would be, “No one knows!’

Paine died in New York City on June 18, 1809.  His views on Christianity had made him persona non grata in the US, his services during the American Revolution to the cause of Independence being overlooked.  A controversy has raged since his death as to whether he did or did not recant his attacks against Christianity.  I would say the burden of the evidence is that he did not.   Six people attended his funeral.  No Christian church would bury him, so his corpse was interred in unhallowed ground under an oak tree on a farm he owned in New Rochelle.  There his bones rested until September 1819, when his body was stolen.

Continue reading...

The Crushing Burden of Having a Real Life

Wednesday, April 6, AD 2011

John Hawkins talks about a little kerfuffle that emerged over remarks made by Kay Hymowitz:

“Before [today], the fact is that primarily, a 20-year-old woman would have been a wife and a mother,” author Kay Hymowitz told the crowd of about 100 for the Manhattan Institute in New York City. Men would have been mowing lawns and changing the oil in their family sedans instead of playing video games and watching television. In previous decades, adults in their 20s and 30s were too busy with real life for such empty entertainment, Hymowitz says. “They didn’t live with roommates in Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Dupont Circle in D.C.

Hey, I didn’t have a roommate when I lived in Dupont Circle.  All 400 square feet of that place were entirely mine!   And I’ll have Kay know that I broke up my Madden playing and television watching with at least 20-30 minutes of work on my dissertation per day.  Hmmm, maybe that’s why it took me five years to finish it.

In all seriousness, this is a fairly innocuous statement, or at least it is for those of us who don’t have a secularist perspective on happiness.

Cue the angry liberals.

Amanda Marcotte, famed for a writing style that makes Maureen Dowd look like George Will, as well as for her way TMI-laden posts about her sex life, is none too pleased:

I think it’s important to remember that no matter how much huffing and puffing and rationalization goes on, a great deal of conservative ideology can be summed up as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy”. Or even just the fear that someone might just be having fun, at least without clearing it with the authorities first that they’re the right race and income level to feel pleasure.

…I often find myself wondering, and today more than most days, how things can get this bad. It seems to me that if wingnuts put a tenth of much effort as they do into resenting others into improving their own home and sex lives, they’d be too busy being happy and blissful to give a f*ck what anyone else is doing. It’s just basic logic, and I wonder why not just do the math and go for it.

As Hawkins rightly points out, the irony of this statement is that studies show that “married people are happier than single people, religious people are happier than non-religious people, and conservatives are happier than liberals.”  I would also point out married people have more sex than single people, so if anything conservatives are the ones pushing people to more fulfilling sex lives, an observation I heard Alan Keyes make when he was running for President in 1996 (before he lost his mind).  Evidently in Marcotte’s world the only good sex to be had is when you get good and loaded at some slimy bar in the downtown DC, take some random stranger to your bed, and never see the guy again.  Boy that really sounds joy-filled to me.

It also never ceases to amuse me when I hear religious conservatives derided as being uptight about sex, the implication being that we’re not getting laid enough.  Yet, at the same time, we’re mocked for having such large families.  Hey, geniuses – how do you think we got those large families?  Biology may not be your strong point, as evidenced by Andy Sullivan’s deranged rants about Sarah Palin and the maternity of Trig, but try to put two and two together.

As dumb as Marcotte’s rebuttal is, Matt Yglesias takes the cake:

Continue reading...

23 Responses to The Crushing Burden of Having a Real Life

  • Bachelorhood… you can have it, Matt.

  • Great post Paul. After three years of marriage and two of postnatal fatherhood, I can honestly say I wouldn’t trade my current life for the life I lived prior to my wife. There are some things I miss… mostly involving the freedom to practice my hobbies (Irish Music and Amateur Astronomy) for long hours at a stretch. That being said, I have gained so much more. Its amazing how much it lifts you up at the end of a long day to see your two year old not simply glad to see you, but positively eager. My wife greets me with a smile and a kiss; my son is practically doing back-flips.

  • Hymowitz is definitely my favorite agnostic.

  • “are less crushed down with family and household obligations and are spending more time enjoying themselves.”

    Yes, it is all about the self. Others are viewed as crushing obligations.

    Hardly enlightening…truly materialistic and de-humanizing.

  • “I think it’s important to remember that no matter how much huffing and puffing and rationalization goes on, a great deal of conservative ideology can be summed up as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy”.”

    If Ms. Marcotte is going to steal from Mencken his famous line attacking the Puritans, someone should send her a copy of his tome from 1918 In Defense of Women. She could read it to her cats.

  • If Yglesias were to lose his inanity writing gig at whatsoever rag/site (I don’t waste eyesight reading), he’s qualified for an entry-level job flipping burgers at Mickey D’s.

    Comprehensive ignorance backed up by uncompromising arrogance.

  • In regard to Mr. Yglesia, someone whose scribblings I have studiously ignored, this post seems to say it all:

  • I am married, have raised 11 children, have 2 jobs, and to top it off a third job is that of a parish priest (Anglican).

  • “I am married, have raised 11 children, have 2 jobs, and to top it off a third job is that of a parish priest (Anglican).”

    So does that mean you have fewer parishioners than children? 🙂

  • It is a bit reductionist to think either position must be normative.

    To take but one example, the Church doesn’t proscribe stealing because stealing isn’t pleasurable. It proscribes stealing because it is harmful to society.

    It is somewhat humorous to see those commenting making the error that they are criticizing: treating what is pleasurable as what is good.

  • A crushing existence is a loveless life seeking out another lay and waking up at noon before writing a blog post that will be forgotten by the time the Jets are up 42-0 on the Pats in Madden.

    ah yes. i remember those days. then it all changed…when i got call of duty 😉

  • a 20-year-old woman would have been a wife and a mother,” author Kay Hymowitz told the crowd of about 100 for the Manhattan Institute in New York City. Men would have been mowing lawns and changing the oil in their family sedans instead of playing video games and watching television. In previous decades, adults in their 20s and 30s were too busy with real life for such empty entertainment,

    She is treating adolescent marriage (which was abnormally common ca. 1955) as if it were an abiding norm.

  • In previous decades, adults in their 20s and 30s were too busy with real life for such empty entertainment, Hymowitz says.

    Are reading science fiction, amateur astronomy, gin rummy, poker, bowling, and skeet shooting ’empty entertainments’? My father did them all while working and having four children.

  • Art – I think that any entertainment is empty if it’s used to fill a life, rather than as an opportunity to recharge.

  • She is treating adolescent marriage (which was abnormally common ca. 1955) as if it were an abiding norm.

    Do you mean that in earlier eras, people commonly got married before their 20s?

  • I recently dropped about 20 lbs.

    Is that reductionist enough for you-all?

    And, none of you noticed. I’m crushed.

  • The common age for marriage has varied a lot over the centuries. Sometimes it was before the 20s, sometimes the early 20s, sometimes after — depending on class, prosperity, and social situations (war, disease, etc.). But it was rarely as old as it is now. What the author didn’t realize is that, whatever age people used to get married, they ALL had adult responsibilities by the time they hit their 20s. What we ought to wonder is, if people for pretty much all time have had adult responsibilities by the time they hit their 20s, why do we all think people that age are not mature enough to do anything?

  • I am single and in my 50’s, which makes me the proverbial maiden aunt. When I was younger, I made bad choices – dated men I shouldn’t have and turned away ones that (in retrospect) I should have given a chance. Well, that was dumb of me, but I can either spend my time berating myself and wallowing in self-pity (which I have done from time to time, but then I snap out of it) or I can try to make myself useful and to be a good Catholic, a good aunt, a good friend, a good sister, etc. On one hand, I sometimes hope to meet a good man; on the other, I am so set in my ways at this point, I think living with someone again – even a roommate- would be difficult to adjust to!

    What I certainly know is that the single life, as defined by Marcotte and Matt Yglesias, gets very dull by the time you hit your mid-30’s. Paul, I also had a postage stamp-sized efficiency in DC (over the course of a dozen years, I lived in all 4 DC quadrants and Maryland and Virginia) and downed many a pint at the Dubliner and Irish Times and Tune Inn, but it gets really stale, unless you’re stuck in permanent adolescence. I haven’t been in a bar in years.

    The insidious thing about remaining single is that one becomes becoming very self-absorbed by default, simply because the time and energy which would be spent on a spouse and kids is deflected back on yourself. I knew quite a few never-married and divorced and childless people in DC and while I felt more at home with them than I sometimes do around couples with children (who can sometimes unwittingly make single people feel like circus freaks), it struck me very strongly back in my ’30’s that we older singles were all way too wrapped up in me, myself and I and in a way you can’t be if you’re a decent spouse or parent (let us not forget that marriage and parenthold is no cure for the terminally narcissistic.)

    So if you don’t have a family’s need to focus on, the next best thing to do is to do volunteer work, get involved in the Church, in the lives of your siblings’ children (the biggest reason I moved back to Wisconsin was because it bothered me that my nieces and nephews didn’t know me and I didn’t know them) – something to get the focus off your own navel.

    It sounds like Marcotte and Yglesias are perfectly content to contemplate their own navels. It seems to me that’s a great way to end up bitter and angry in middle and old age.

  • A few years ago at St. Matt’s there was a course on the Theology of the Body, and one subject that came up was the vocation of the single life. Not all are called to Holy Orders, and not all get married. So there is a vocation to be had for the single, and that seems to me to be what you’re talking about.

    For Marcotte and Yglesias, well, they seem to have a different interpretation of what that vocation entails.

  • Pingback: Reflections of a Paralytic » A Few Good Counter-Culteral Reads
  • Mr. Zummo, please allow me to share my own response to Kay Hymowitz. It’s not like the others you’ve addressed here, but it wasn’t favorable to her original column in the least.

    “I’ve grown tired of these gender stereotypes and hurtful generalizations.

    It seems as though Hymowitz et al paint all unmarried males with a broad brush, as if to suggest that any man/guy/male (choose your term) older than 30 who is still unmarried simply MUST be out ‘playing the field’ or ‘sowing his oats’ or whatever other sickening phrase is used. She seems to think we’re all like the character portrayed on television by [sigh] Charlie Sheen, moving from one ‘hot babe’ to another, free of commitment or marriage and family aspirations. It does not seem to occur to any of you that some of us have just been alone (romance-wise) throughout our lives.

    Many of us have never found a romantic partner, let alone a spouse. I myself have always wanted a very G-rated, non-sexual romantic relationship with someone, but it just hasn’t happened, though I’m now well into my 30s. (I’m not looking for sex of any kind.)

    I hate my birthday and cannot watch films or plays with romantic themes without feeling miserable. I have difficulty sleeping at night. And now, on top of the loneliness and despair, I have people like Hymowitz suggesting, without ever having met me, that I must be some frat-boy lothario or Good-Time Charlie. Such words are hurtful — insult upon injury.”

  • “She is treating adolescent marriage (which was abnormally common ca. 1955) as if it were an abiding norm”

    I love you man, but the notion that 20 year-olds are adolescents is just plain mistaken (and that is the most generous adjective I can think of). And from an historical perspective, marriage in the late teens or early 20s is not abnormal so at all.

8 Responses to Compare and Contrast: Which Video is Funnier?

  • My gold position loves the Won!

    10. Happiest man in America: Jimmeh Carter. He is no longer worst prez in US history.

    11. Coming soon 8.8% unemployment plus 11% inflation. No way, man! We remove food and fuel from the equation; just like we dropped 2,300,000 out of the unemployment equation denominator. Way!!

    Obama-worshipping simpletons . . . A nation of “You want that super-sized” burger flippers, i.e., MA’s in clown suits.

    Since 2008, Jason Matera has termed them Obama-zombies . . .

    Maybe Obama can start that fourth war with Belize. Let’s fight one in the Western Hemisphere (is that one of the 57 states?) for once. Yeah, it’s close to Cozumel for R&R!

  • 12. President Obama: He’s kept the oceans safe from the dangers of off-shore drilling.

    13. President Obama: Teaching America there’s no problem so great that a beer summit can’t solve.

    14. President Obama: A staunch supporter of freedom, should you happen to live in Libya or Egypt.

    15. President Obama: Singlehandedly saved the teleprompter industry!

  • Four more years?! No more years!

  • Obama: Maybe born again, but the question is where?
    Obama: Dope and mange,
    Obama: The race card is better than the Trump card.
    Obama: He ain’t no peanut farmer.
    Obama: Ready for the Final Four!

  • 16. President Obama: Preserving Satan’s will by fighting against life.

  • 17. President Obama: It’s still Bush’s fault.

  • 18. President Obama: Never met a Muslim I didn’t like or couldn’t bow to.

  • “This is the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow…” — Mr. President, the people of Japan are willing to take you up on your promise.

3 Responses to A True Cowgirl

  • Good for her. I always thought cows make for better pets than horses anyway. They’re just so placid and endearing. Plus, instead of leaving you feeling sorry when they pass on, they leave leave you a freezer full of joy to last many months.

  • “Plus, instead of leaving you feeling sorry when they pass on, they leave leave you a freezer full of joy to last many months.”

    One always has to look on the bright side RL! 🙂

  • That is one fine looking cow. Looks like a beef breed. I’m from the Bronx. I’m no judge live beef. I think that animal is a pet and past market weight.

MSNBC Talking Heads: Koran Holier Than the Bible, or Something

Tuesday, April 5, AD 2011

Warner Todd Huston reports on an exchange between MSNBC fill-in host Chuck Todd and Time Magazine’s World Editor Bobby Ghosh.

GHOSH: The thing to keep in mind that’s very important here is that the Koran to Muslims, it is not, it is not the same as the Bible to Christians.

The Bible is a book written by men. It is acknowledged by Christians that it is written by men. It’s the story of Jesus.

TODD: Yes.

GHOSH: But the Koran, if you are a believer, if you’re a Muslim, the Koran is directly the word of God, not written by man. It is transcribed, is directly the word of God.

That makes it sacred in a way that it’s hard to understand if you’re not Muslim. So the act of burning a Koran is much more, potentially much, much more inflammatory than…

TODD: Directly attacking… directly attacking God.

GHOSH:…than if you were to burn a, burn a Bible.

TODD: … Directly attacking God.

The stupid, it hurts.

This is a nonsensical distinction.  Jews and Christians may acknowledge that the Bible was physically written by men, but we also believe that it is the inerrant word of God.  No, the biblical authors did not act as mindless stenographers transcribing for the Almighty, but they were truly inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit.  This makes it no less sacred or less holy to us than the Koran is to Muslims.  After all, there must be some reason that we place our hands on the Bible when we make public oaths, right?  If it was just a bunch of words written by men, then why would we swear by it?

No, the different reactions to the desecration of our holy books has nothing to do with how we respectively view them.  What they tell us is not that Muslims revere the Koran more than we revere the Bible, but rather that a certain portion of the Muslim population will violently react to any mere insult, and that violent extremists within Islam are looking for any excuse to kill infidels.  But that’s a lot less politically correct of an explanation than the vapidness offered by these two goofs.

Continue reading...

38 Responses to MSNBC Talking Heads: Koran Holier Than the Bible, or Something

  • Hard to tell who is the bigger idiot here, Ghosh or Todd. Let’s call it a tie.

  • Joe,

    As noted, let’s throw Reid into the race.

  • Also, the Bible is correct while the Koran is wrong. So regardless of what the Muslims believe the Bible is infinitely more sacred than the Koran.

  • If those fools attempted to run a blog and post their opinions, they would be completely ignored. No wonder that MSNBC has ratings that would need to grow by 25% in order to reach pathetic status.

  • It is accurate to say that Muslims revere the Koran more than Christians revere the Bible (which is obviously not to say that Christians do not revere the Bible). The way many Muslims view the Koran might be more analogous to the way many Catholics view the Blessed Virgin or even the eucharist.

    Obviously none of this serves to justify the Muslim reaction here.

  • What BA said. (The Eucharist is really the analogy.) And as BA said, it still doesn’t justify the reaction.

  • I would concede that there is slightly more reverence for the Koran on the part of the Muslims than for the Bible for Christians – without getting into distinctions about various denominations and what have you. But from the talking heads one would be left to believe that the Bible is held to be just another book among many and not a source of reverence in and of itself.

  • The Muslim’s hard base reaction to burning the Koran so mirrors the typical NEA war lords on hearing even the threat of negotiating their collective bargaining or a liberal politician at the mention of cutting government spending or fixing Medicare and Social Security, less the beheadings for now of course. But, as the top union boss said on camera recently, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” God help us if our own amundantly blessed citizens compare themselves to the poor dimented souls using their religion as an excuse for violence and plunder.

  • I think the eucharist analogy is correct. Some Jews and evangelicals may hold the Bible to be divine in the same way that Muslims hold the Koran.

    If I heard about someone disgracing (wrong word) the Blessed Sacrament, I wouldn’t attack UN workers. I’d pray for him. The difference is that I believe in a God who suffered indignities and death, largely because of me.

  • Here is an actual letter published in the WSJ:

    “I say to the Western scholars: Do not interpret the Quran for Muslims. We Muslims are capable of interpreting the Quran for ourselves. No other people have shown the level of hostility to another faith as Westerners have shown to Muhammad, the Quran and Islam. It continues to this day. Islam doesn’t need reformation; the Western mind needs reformation about Muhammad, the Quran and Islam.

    “It will be better for both of us.”

    Tahir A. Qureshi; Silver Spring, Md.

    You see the formula. Massacres are regretable. Mass murder is not Islam. But, you richly deserve it. If you fail to “straighten up”, you will get more death and destruction.

    Bill Sr.: The liberals/progressives are working their way up to beheadings.


    Reportedly, 17 death threats were received by WI state legislators.

    Tea party members are routinely assaulted by union goons.

    Black congressmen fabricate racist slurs and spitting incidents.

    The idiot Jesse Jackson blasphemed Our Lord comparing necessary union curbs to the Crucifixion. At least, the libtard didn’t commit the travesty on Good Friday.

    Ban the Q’ran. Deport terrorist sympathizers.

  • [This is Paul’s thread, but please rein it in T Shaw.]

  • Vatican II is strongly convinced as to the Bible’s being written by God.

    Chapter 3 of Dei Verbum

    11. Those divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For holy mother Church, relying on the belief of the Apostles (see John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-20, 3:15-16), holds that the books of both the Old and New Testaments in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.(1) In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him (2) they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, (3) they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted. (4)

    Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings (5) for the sake of salvation. Therefore “all Scripture is divinely inspired and has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind” (2 Tim. 3:16-17, Greek text).

  • I think the Pope made pretty much the same point a few years ago. The Bible is revelation filtered through human agency–the word of the Lord in the mouth of the prophet; the Gospel according to Matthew…Each book is a product both of divine inspiration and particular historical circumstances and also, perhaps, individual human personalities. This allows for a difference in emphasis and temperament. It was not the product of a mechanical dictation and should not be received in a mechanical way. . .

    The Koran, on the other hand, is the unadorned word of God, literally transcribed by the prophet. The text is this, and there is no arguing with it. This is an obstacle to rational discussion of religious truths, not only between Islam and other religions but within Islam itself.

  • What Blackadder said @ 12:35pm, and the comparison of Muslim reverence for the Koran to Christian’s reverence for the Eucharist is accurate.

    Robert Spencer is correct in this regard:

    The Qur’an is, according to classic Islamic thought, a perfect copy of a book that has existed eternally with Allah, the one true God, in Heaven: “it is a transcript of the eternal book [in Arabic, “mother of the book”] in Our keeping, sublime, and full of wisdom” (43:4). The angel Gabriel revealed it in sections to Muhammad (570-632), an Arabian merchant. Like Jesus, Muhammad left the written recording of his messages to others. Unlike Jesus, Muhammad did not originate his message, but only served as its conduit. The Qur’an is for Muslims the pure Word of Allah. They point to its poetic character as proof that it did not originate with Muhammad, whom they say was illiterate, but with the Almighty, who dictated every word. The average Muslim believes that everything in the book is absolutely true and that its message is applicable in all times and places.

    This is a stronger claim than Christians make for the Bible. When Christians of whatever tradition say that the Bible is God’s Word, they don’t mean that God spoke it word-for-word and that it’s free of all human agency — instead, there is the idea of “inspiration,” that God breathed through human authors, working through their human knowledge to communicate what he wished to. But for Muslims, the Qur’an is more than inspired. There is not and could not be a passage in the Qur’an like I Corinthians 1:14-17 in the New Testament, where Paul says: “I am thankful that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius; lest any one should say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any one else.)” Paul’s faulty memory demonstrates the human element of the New Testament, which for Christians does not negate, but exists alongside the texts’ inspired character. But in the Qur’an, Allah is the only speaker throughout (with a few notable exceptions). There is no human element. The book is the pure and unadulterated divine word.

    It is why, for example, Muslims will only refer to books as “translations of” the Koran — copies of the divine.

    NOT that this is grounds for the behavior of those doing the beheading, but understood from this perspective, you can see why any Muslim might get a tad upset witnessing somebody burning a copy or posts a Youtube video ripping one to pieces.

    Would that all Christians regard the Eucharist with such reverence.

  • Christopher;

    I am of the opinion that beheading and killing innocent people is a tab bit more than being a “tad bit upset”. Please do not diminish muslims evil acts and the loss of life because of their actions by calling muslim behavior a “tad upset”.

    My mother always taught me that “but” erases everything that came before it.

    I can never understand from any perspective why muslims can kill innocent people.

    Would you regard human life with such reverence.

    Please keep carrying the water for muslims. When they come for you do not cry that you did not know. Read about Dhimmi.

  • Catholic Lawyer, you are off base here. Christopher has a brother with the US Army who has fought in the Middle East and who he is very proud of. Christopher fully understands the threat posed by radical jihadists.

    He has also been supportive of Israel in her struggle for survival in the Middle East.

    Here is one of his posts on the subject:

    Here is another post on the Catholic Friends of Israel:

  • If we were to grant that Muslims revere the koran to the same as extent as Catholics are to revere the Eucharist, then it follows that no koran or queeran should be on display in any public library, bookshop, dawa centres etc., for heaven forbid that such an exalted object should fall into the hands of infidels who might trash it like the homosexuals and atheists did to the Eucharist. I’ll be happy with that, but I suspect that almost everyone who has thought about this knows, that the manufactured outrage by muslims is a clear attempt at intimidation of non-muslims. I frankly do not care what Jones does, and the I won’t p*** on a koran if it was on fire, as I see that the main issue here is the special treatment that muslims seek to gain whether passively by their unctious bathos a la Karzai (which is a replay of the drama put on earlier by Imran Khan during the Motoon riots) , or as now increasingly by terrorising and butchering christians.

  • Catholic Lawyer,

    Cool your jets. If you bothered to read my post, you would understand we’re on the same page as far as the killing of innocent people in protest — no matter how great the sacrilege.

  • It is probably accurate to say that the reverence Muslims have for the Quran is somewhat equivalent to that of Catholics for the Virgin Mary or for the Eucharist. Then again, when was the last time you heard of Catholics rioting in the streets over a desecrated Host, or a portrait of Mary plastered with elephant dung? When was the last time you heard the pope or any bishop call upon the faithful to rise up and kill anyone who receives the Eucharist in an apparent state of “manifest grave sin”?

  • There are Muslims who do the beheading, and there are Muslims who condemn them in turn. Lest we forget: Sunni Muslims in Anbar province got fed up with “Al Qaeda in Iraq” and joined General Petreus in rooting them out. Or we can talk about Ahmad Shah Massoud, “Lion of Panjshir” — a Sunni Muslim who fought against the Soviets and stood up for the Taliban, forming the Northern Alliance. It was believed that he had caught wind of and attempted to warn the West about 9/11 and was assassinated.

    Good Muslims? — you bet.

    “Are you happy to meet Allah with this heavy burden on your shoulders? It is a weighty burden indeed – at least hundreds of thousands of innocent people, if not millions [displaced and killed]. And it is all because of the ‘crimes’ perpetrated against civilians by bin Laden’s Al Qaeda on 9/11.”

    Who said this in an open letter to Bin Laden? — a Muslim. Moreover, Salman al Ouda, cited by and influence on Bin Laden.

    I recommend to everybody a reading of Fawaz A. Gerges’ The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global

    Fawaz Gerges’ book on al Qaeda and the jihadist movement has become a classic in the field since it was published in 2005. Here he argued that far from being an Islamist front united in armed struggle, or jihad against the Christian West, as many misguided political commentators and politicians opined, al Qaeda represented a small faction within the jihadist movement, criticized by other groups who preferred to concentrate on changing the Muslim world, rather than attacking the Far Enemy and making the fight global. In the intervening years, with the advance of the ‘War on Terror’ and the invasion of Iraq, much has changed and, just as Gerges showed, al Qaeda’s fortunes have taken a significant downturn. Revisiting The Far Enemy in this new edition, Gerges demonstrates that not only have the jihadists split ranks, but that voices from within the ultra-religious right, those that previously supported al Qaeda, are condemning its tactics as violent, unethical, and out of accord with the true meaning of jihad. In fact, millions of Muslims worldwide have rejected al-Qaeda’s ideology and strategies and blame Osama bin Laden and his cohorts for the havoc the organisation has wrecked on their communities. Al-Qaeda is now in the wilderness suffering massive erosion of authority and legitimacy in Muslim eyes and facing a fierce revolt from within. As Gerges warns, the next US administration would do well to use political and socio-economic strategies rather than military means to ensure that it stays there.

    Gerges makes a convincing case that the “identity crisis” within Islam extends even to the ranks of the Islamists themselves.

    Rage on against “the Muslim horde”, but I think it is to our benefit that we pay attention to the nuances, the distinctions, the complexities of Muslims and within Islam itself.

  • “Then again, when was the last time you heard of Catholics rioting in the streets over a desecrated Host, or a portrait of Mary plastered with elephant dung? When was the last time you heard the pope or any bishop call upon the faithful to rise up and kill anyone who receives the Eucharist in an apparent state of “manifest grave sin”?”

    Elaine — I couldn’t agree more, and precisely the point of my own post on the topic.

  • Donald;

    Thank you for your perspective. You are normally a very reasonable but in this instance I think you are mistaken.

    Please re-read Christopher post. He is rationalizing why Muslims are killing innocent people. He is asking us to look at it from their perspective – which is to kill innocent people who had nothing to do with burning a book, be it holy or not. With all due respect to Christopher as a fellow human being, he uses the word “but” in his argument hence my comment on the affect of that word. Lets look at what rationalize means:

    ra•tion•al•ize is to ascribe (one’s acts, opinions, etc.) to causes that superficially seem reasonable and valid but that actually are unrelated to the true, possibly unconscious and often less creditable or agreeable causes. (see

    He is asking us to look at killing innocent life from the Muslim perspective. That “NOT that this is grounds for the behavior of those doing the beheading”, BUT if we could only be enlightened enough to see it from the Muslim perspective their action would make sense. I am sorry but it does not make sense to me – maybe I am just slow and not as enlightened as some but God made me how I am.


    Thank you for your concern about my jets but they were not in need of cooling. Just as I cannot understand why a baby can be killed (aborted) so to do I fail to understand why Muslims can kill innocent people. Again, I cannot understand from any perspective that it is justifiable or understandable to kill innocent people no matter what someone else did. Just because some fool in Florida burned the Koran does not make it okay for some one else thousands of miles away to kill innocent people. Muslims must take ownership of their actions – not claim it is the will of God (Inshalla). I hope you will not next tell me that I need to understand from a rapist’s perspective why they raped a person no matter what type of clothes the victim was wearing.

  • To explain why Muslim A would be upset over the burning of the Koran is in no way to rationalize why Muslim B would *kill* innocent people.

  • Thank you Chris (Burgwald).

    I said as much in the prefix to the sentence Catholic Lawyer is citing:

    NOT that this is grounds for the behavior of those doing the beheading, but understood from this perspective, you can see why any Muslim might get a tad upset witnessing somebody burning a copy or posts a Youtube video ripping one to pieces.

    I’d also refer Catholic Lawer to this post:

    Where I am making the same point: protesting sacrilege cannot be taken as grounds for murdering the innocent.

  • What Chris Burgwald said.

    I would also ask the Catholic Lawyer to take note of my disclaimer …

    NOT that this is grounds for the behavior of those doing the beheading, but understood from this perspective, you can see why any Muslim might get a tad upset witnessing somebody burning a copy or posts a Youtube video ripping one to pieces.

    — and to please read the prior post as well: On the Muslim Response to Terry Jones where I specifically dispute the notion that protesting sacrilege is legitimate grounds for murdering the innocent.

  • Christopher;

    Words have meaning. Look at what you really said “NOT that this is grounds for the behavior of those doing the beheading, BUT understood from this perspective, you can see why any Muslim might get a tad upset witnessing somebody burning a copy or posts a Youtube video ripping one to pieces.” (Emphasis added).

    But defined:

    1. On the contrary: the plan caused not prosperity but ruin.
    2. Contrary to expectation; yet: She organized her work but accomplished very little. He is tired but happy.
    3. Usage Problem Used to indicate an exception: No one but she saw the prowler.
    4. With the exception that; except that. Often used with that: would have joined the band but he couldn’t spare the time; would have resisted but that they lacked courage.

    So lets write what you really said “NOT that this is grounds for the behavior of those doing the beheading, EXCEPT THAT understood from this perspective, you can see why any Muslim might [kill] witnessing somebody burning a copy or posts a Youtube video ripping one to pieces.” If this is not your intended meaning then you should be more careful in what you are writing.

    Men of good will can disagree and still treat each other with common courtesy and respect.

  • Sorry “definition” not defination – my bad

  • Good grief, do you have a vendetta or something?

    What Chris Burgwald said @ 3:25pm.

    And did you bother at all to read my post? –

  • Chris, isn’t it fun to be accused, on one thread, of being an apologist for Islam, while on another thread someone tweaks you for making a religious issue out of supposedly political and tribal slayings?

  • The Internet: A place where people who want to misunderstand you, will.

  • Christopher;

    I may have misunderstood your post but I am not alone. I come to this conclusion because
    1. Other people on this site have; and
    2. I asked others to read your posts and they came to the same conclusion that I did. Admittedly, the people I asked are of similiar temperment and mind set as I. In thier defense, they are highly intelligent and highly educated (not that these two are necessarily related).

    If your position is to compliment or remind other of those Muslims that have not reacted violently even when provoked then you should make this point more clearly. I know you have in other places but, I know this will come as a shock to some, not everyone reads all the posts here

    I did not intentionally misunderstand your post but took it at face value. It says what it say. If what it says is not how it should be interperated then please speak more clearly.

    I am sorry that you feel that having a discussion about the use of words amounts to a vendetta or something. I cannot prevent you from feeling this way. I would hope you understand that it was and is not my intent. Christopher, we are both brothers in Christ and I hold no ill will towards you. I would hope that if we ever met we could be friends.

  • “Christopher, we are both brothers in Christ and I hold no ill will towards you. I would hope that if we ever met we could be friends.”

    Thank you, the feeling is mutual.

  • Good on you, CL.

    Let me explain *my* reaction–I’ve long thought that Chris Blosser was one of the five sanest men on the internet (honest–it’s not a backhanded compliment). The idea that he-of all people-would be thought of as apologizing for religious terror…astounds.

  • I’ve long thought that Chris Blosser was one of the five sanest men on the internet…

    Hear, hear.

Viva Cristo Rey

Tuesday, April 5, AD 2011

The must see movie of 2011:  Cristiada.  When this film comes out I will make it my personal mission to see that as many people view this movie as possible.  A movie retelling the heroic struggle of the Cristeros deserves all the support it can get, and I hope it is a box office smash. 

The story of the Cristeros is the tale of the attempt by the Mexican government to crush the Catholic Church.  Mexico had a long history of anti-clerical political movements prior to the revolution of 1910.  However, the Mexican Revolution brought to the fore radical elements that pushed through the Constitution of 1917 with its anti-clerical articles 3, 5, 27 and 130.  In his encyclical Iniquis Afflictisque, the first of three encyclicals he wrote condemning the persecution of the Church in Mexico, Pius XI decribed the war against the Church waged by the Mexican government:

In the first place, let us examine the law of 1917, known as the “Political Constitution” of the federated republic of Mexico. For our present purposes it is sufficient to point out that after declaring the separation of Church and State the Constitution refuses to recognize in the Church, as if she were an individual devoid of any civil status, all her existing rights and interdicts to her the ac quisition of any rights whatsoever in the future. The civil authority is given the right to interfere in matters of divine worship and in the external discipline of the Church. Priests are put on the level of professional men and of laborers but with this important difference, that they must be not only Mexicans by birth and cannot exceed a certain number specified by law, but are at the same time deprived of all civil and political rights. They are thus placed in the same class with criminals and the insane. Moreover, priests not only must inform the civil authorities but also a commission of ten citizens whenever they take possession of a church or are transferred to another mission. The vows of religious, religious orders, and religious congregations are outlawed in Mexico. Public divine worship is forbidden unless it take place within the confines of a church and is carried on under the watchful eye of the Government. All church buildings have been declared the property of the state. Episcopal residences, diocesan offices, seminaries, religious houses, hospitals, and all charitable institutions have been taken away from the Church and handed over to the state. As a matter of fact, the Church can no longer own property of any kind. Everything that it possessed at the period when this law was passed has now become the property of the state. Every citizen, moreover, has the right to denounce before the law any person whom he thinks is holding in his own name property for the Church. All that is required in order to make such action legal is a mere presumption of guilt. Priests are not allowed by law to inherit property of any kind except it be from persons closely related to them by blood. With reference to marriage, the power of the Church is not recognized. Every marriage between Catholics is considered valid if contracted validly according to the prescriptions of the civil code.

9. Education has been declared free, but with these important restrictions: both priests and religious are forbidden to open or to conduct elementary schools. It is not permitted to teach children their religion even in a private school. Diplomas or degrees conferred by private schools under control of the Church possess no legal value and are not recognized by the state. Certainly, Venerable Brothers, the men who originated, approved, and gave their sanction to such a law either are totally ignorant of what rights pertain jure divino to the Church as a perfect society, established as the ordinary means of salvation for mankind by Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer and King, to which He gave the full liberty of fulfilling her mission on earth (such ignorance seems incredible today after twenty centuries of Christianity and especially in a Catholic nation and among men who have been baptized, unless in their pride and foolishness they believe themselves able to undermine and destroy the “House of the Lord which has been solidly constructed and strongly built on the living rock”) or they have been motivated by an insane hatred to attempt anything within their power in order to harm the Church. How was it possible for the Archbishops and Bishops of Mexico to remain silent in the face of such odious laws?

Continue reading...

15 Responses to Viva Cristo Rey

On the Muslim response to Terry Jones’ Qu’ran Burning (a reply to Rick Sanchez @ Huffington Post)

Tuesday, April 5, AD 2011

[A reply to “Burning the Quran Is No Childish Game”, by Rick Sanchez (Huffington Post April 1, 2011; republished at Defend The Prophet) ~ Christopher]

With respect to Terry Jones’ burning of the Qu’ran, my position (as a Catholic) is to echo the statement of the Vatican: it is “an outrageous and grave gesture against a book considered sacred by a religious community,” and an unnecessary provocation (if even to make a point). A peaceful dialogue between communities is not advanced by such a direct attack on the other. Likewise, with respect to caricatures of Mohammed by the Western press:

In addition, coexistence calls for a climate of mutual respect to favor peace among men and nations. Moreover, these forms of exasperated criticism or derision of others manifest a lack of human sensitivity and may constitute in some cases an inadmissible provocation. A reading of history shows that wounds that exist in the life of peoples are not cured this way.

I said as much last year (“Lars Vilks, Gay Muhammad and Freedom of Expression” (American Catholic May 16, 2010) — Lars Vilks may endorse his right to depict a gay Mohammed or a paedophile Jesus. We might countenance his First Amendment “right” to sacrilege as Americans, but I believe as Catholics we should protest such offenses, not only to ourselves but to our fellow Muslims.

However, what I think also merits comment is exactly that which is noted by Rich Sanchez in his column: when a Qur’an happens to be vandalized, such an action is “not only offensive, but also dangerous — especially to our troops.” In fact, Terry Jones’ sacrilege “can have dire consequences for all of us.”

But why would it — why should it — be considered dangerous, even lethal, to our troops?

Surely this fact is a travesty as well?

In the past several days, a Muslim mob protesting the actions of Terry Jones in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, culminated in an attack on the United Nations headquarters, the murder of six Nepalese guards and 3 foreign staff members, “hunted down and shot, some in the back, as they ran from a bunker where they had tried to hide. One person’s throat was also slit.” [“Koran Burning Prompts Third Day of Rage” Globe and Mail April 3, 2011.] Two US soldiers were shot dead by an Afghan border policeman in Maymana, northern Afghanistan (The Telegraph April 5, 2011).

By no means am I equating all Muslims with the mob in Afghanistan. We do not see this level of violent protest here in the United States by American Muslims. But surely those Muslims protesting the actions of Terry Jones, and Mr. Rick Sanchez as well, can agree that there is something seriously amiss when the vandalization of a religious icon — or cartoons published in a newspaper — result in a violent mob and the slaughter of innocents.

Christians, much to our dismay, suffer similar incidents of abuse and vandalization of that which we hold sacred here in America: the Holy Mother smeared with feces, the Crucifix dipped in urine, funded with taxpayer dollars and labled “art” to boot.

And yet, has the media ever reported mobs of Christians hunting down and killing the perpetrators of such sacrilege? — Speaking from personal experience, by and large when such incidents occur, the result is the congregation of Christians in prayer and silent, nonviolent protest.

What is it about Muslims in other nations that we see them react in this manner? Is this a religious thing? — Can it be so readily dismissed as a ethnic or cultural thing?

When critics of Islam depict it as a “violent religion”, why do so Muslim reactions have a tendency to lend credence to the very characterization they are protesting against?

I ask this with all respect, as a reader, as a Christian, and as a friend to the Muslim community.

Continue reading...

34 Responses to On the Muslim response to Terry Jones’ Qu’ran Burning (a reply to Rick Sanchez @ Huffington Post)

  • I have pondered this issue too Christopher. Here are my thoughts:

    Terry Jones is a truly contemptible human being. In 2010 he got his more than 15 minutes of alloted fame by threatening to burn a Koran and touched off a world wide furor among the more bloodthirsty adherents of the Religion of Peace. Jones did not care in the slightest that his actions would doubtless put innocent people at risk. Having received enough publicity for the moment, he backed down. Publicity addicts always come back for more, however, and on March 20, he carried out his threat to burn the Koran, once again caring not at all that his meaningless stunt would put innocent lives at risk. Western media outlets, regarding Jones as old news, largely decided to ignore his “Watch Me! Watch Me!” pyrotechnics.

    Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan, is a truly contemptible human being. Always eager to gain “street cred” with the Muslim faithful in his country, he condemned in a public statement on March 24 the burning of the Koran and said that the US and the UN “should bring to justice the perpetrators of this crime.” Until Karzai made a big deal out of it, the whole business was being ignored in Afghanistan. Karzai of course would not be the President of Afghanistan today except for an enormous cost in US blood and treasure.

    The mullahs who fanned the flames of bigotry are truly contemptible people. Three of them in the city of Mazar-I-Sharif, a hitherto oasis of peace in Afghanistan, stirred up a mob which overran the UN compound in that city and slew 8 UN workers. Rioting continues throughout Afghanistan, and more people have died because someone burned a Koran half a world away.

    Karzai, in the wake of his countrymen acting like murderous lunatics, is demanding an apology from the US for the burning of the Koran.

    The Koran burning has been denounced by various US officials, and some politicians, Senator Lindsay Graham and Senator Harry Reid to name two, have expressed a desire to restrict people from burning the Koran, the First Amendment be hanged.

    As politicians tend to do, they miss the point. Grandstanding jerks like Mr. Jones are not the problem. The problem is that we share a world, that is growing smaller every day with technological advances, with a religion, second largest in the world, some of whose adherents believe that the proper response to a publicity stunt by a kook is to engage in riot and murder. Of course not all Muslims feel that way, but enough do to ensure that mobs howling for blood are easy to assemble in most Islamic countries over incidents which appear extremely trivial to non-Muslims.

    The blunt truth is that too many Muslims seem to feel that their religion gives them a license to engage in acts of incredible violence whenever their sensibilities are hurt. This is a bad problem in an ever shrinking world. An even worse problem for us is that too many of our leaders want to engage in make believe where Islam is a religion of peace, and that if we all walk on egg shells forever and ever whenever the subject of Islam comes up, everything will be peachy. This of course is a lie, and every sentient observer of current events realizes it is a lie. Best always to face reality, no matter how unpleasant, than to persist in a pleasant dream world at variance to the facts.

  • Yea. I too marvel at the fact that Ivory Coast rebels supporting the man who lost an election massacred 1,000 men in the Ivory Coast. They are muslims.

    Can you verify whether or not these people believe that on the last day, Jesus will appear and tell all us kafirs He was lying all along?

    ” . . . why do so Muslim reactions have a tendency to lend credence to the very characterization they are protesting against?”

    BECAUSE the murder cult IS a violent cult. The brutish, savage adherents have a collective lump of excrement for brains. The Q’ran is the manual for the massacre of nonbelievers and the enslavement of the planet.

    Ban the Q’ran. Deport all the massacre artists.

  • Roger Kimball has a good post on this issue over at Pajamas Media:

    “Bottom-line question: What are we willing to give up in order to appease a bunch of murderous thugs who approach the world with a pocket full of Semtex and say, “Do — and don’t do — what I want or I will blow myself and you to smithereens”? There’s the Lindsey Graham-Joe Klein-Yale UP-and (I very mush regret to say) David Petraeus answer: “OK. You tell us no cartoons of Mohammed: we won’t draw or publish any. You say, no burning of the Koran, we will prohibit that, too.” The problem is, as I noted about another incident of Muslim insanity some years ago,

    the list of the things Muslims are offended by would take over a culture. They don’t like ice-cream that (used to be) distributed by Burger King because a decoration on the lid looked like (sort of) the Arabic script for “Allah.” They are offended by “pig-related items, including toys, porcelain figures, calendars and even a tissue box featuring Winnie the Pooh and Piglet” appearing in the workplace. They take umbrage at describing Islamic terrorism as, well, Islamic terrorism and have managed to persuade Gordon Brown to rename it “anti-Islamic activity.” But here’s the thing: one of the features of living in a modern, secular democracy is that there is always plenty of offense to go around. No Muslim is more offended by cartoons of their Prophet than I am by their barbaric reaction to the cartoons. But their reaction when offended is to torch an embassy, shoot a nun , or knife a filmmaker. I write a column deploring such behavior. You see the difference.

    As I said above, Terry Jones is a pathetic buffoon. But what we should be alarmed about is not his stunt but the alacrity with which our leaders and commentators rush to curtail free speech because they fear the reprisals of barbarous people addicted to violence and intoxicated by a repulsive, freedom-hating ideology. The spoiled child says, “If you don’t do what I want, I’ll hold my breath till I faint.” The overgrown spoiled children of Islam require the same sort of medicine, though age adjusted, that little Johnny does.”

  • Don,

    Let me add to your list of contemptible human beings the Senator from South Carolina. Even before this incident, Lindsey Graham had demonstrated his unfitness to hold the office he now occupies. But lamenting the existence of the 1st Amendment and then trying to hide behind Gen. Petraeus to justify his disdain for the 1st Amendment takes Graham’s unfitness for office to a whole new level.

    I’m not sure there’s a sitting U.S. Senator for whom I have more contempt than Lindsey Graham, and that’s saying A LOT when one considers the likes of Barbara Boxer, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, et al.

  • Dick Durbin will always have pride of place in my Hall of Senatorial Contempt Jay, as a fellow Illinoisan that lifts him above the common herd of Senate miscreants for me. Graham is rising fast however. He is a fellow attorney, so one would have thought that he had a passing familiarity with the Bill of Rights. Amazing that South Carolina, South Carolina!, has a RINO like him as one of its senators.

  • Terry Jones maybe a contemptiable hman being, but I can’t understand why so many Catholics are getting their knickers in a twist about him burning a Koran. Hey, we’ve burned Talmuds because of the blasphemies they contained against Christ and BVM, and Waldensians, Wychif, Tyndale, and Geneva Bibles for the faulty translations and footnotes that taught heresy. We Catholics have always burned heretical books, so why condemn him for doing what we have always done. IMO, burn, baby, burn!

  • “We Catholics have always burned heretical books …”

    As well as heretics.


  • I shouldn’t have added the emoticon to my previous comment, as it makes it appear that the comment itself was not a serious one. The point I’m trying to make is that just because Catholics have burned books in the past doesn’t make it right, and certainly shouldn’t be used to condone what Terry Jones has done. Just as the burning of heretics shouldn’t be condoned, and those historical are often used by the enemies of the Church to provide moral equivalence to the actions of the Islamists who go around killing people for “blasphemy”.

  • Comment above should have said “… those historical events are often used …”

  • A list of Muslim activities this year. Admittedly needs sources. But even if only part true, gives an indication of what some Muslims will do:

  • Burning heretical books was the right thing to do in the past as it helps in some way prevent the spread of heresy keeping Catholics from falling away. The Koran happens to fall under the category of heretical books and should be burned. Terry Jones is admirable; how many of you have the courage to stand up for Christianity especially when you know you will receive a lot of flak from liberals and Muslims? Terry Jones is in the right; the Muslims were very sinful and wrong in their reaction to the burning. It is not Jones’ fault that the people were murdered; it is the Muslims’ fault, they did it. The actions of another do not absolve them of guilt.

  • “The Koran happens to fall under the category of heretical books and should be burned. Terry Jones is admirable.”

    Of course by that logic, it is only right — from their perspective — that the global jihad against the West should continue, together with suppression of non-Islamic forms of worship, since it will encourage heresy. Muslims have every right to pursue their conquest of the Christian West, since they are only rooting out what they perceive as heresy by any means necessary.

    Pope Benedict’s insistence for “reciprocity” in allowing Mosque and Church to co-exist is a sham, together with the notion that Muslims and Christians can exist in peaceful disagreement without killing each other.

    Whatever happened to:

    “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets”?

  • “Terry Jones is admirable;”

    Terry Jones is somewhat lower than what I just scraped off my shoe. The man is a publicity hound who cares not one whit that his quest for headlines has proved fatal to innocent people. He and the mullahs who incited the mobs to murder have a symbiotic relationship, and I would subscribe to a fund so that Mr. Jones could meet them up close and very personal in Afghanistan.

  • I was about to type something offensive . . .

    Islamic intransigence and pretensions to supremacy lead to conflict. Many muslims refuse to recognize the equality of other religious faiths. Many refuse to assimilate. Many reject the principle of separation of church and state.

    As long as a huge number of islamists aspire to replace American culture and politics with their tyranny; as long as islam refuses to criticize itself, reform, or accommodate itself to modern pluralist societies; as long as islam is both a religion and a political adversary of the West; islam is not entitled to claim the immunities and privileges associated with being a religion.

    I bet no mussey-puke has the stones to go for Terry Jones.

  • IMHO, burning the Koran is, in itself, commendable. The problem is that by burning the Koran in the U.S. and then publicizing it all over the world, one is putting other people in danger while remaining safe oneself. It’s the Christians in the Middle East who suffer when Jones and his ilk burn a Koran .

  • I am increasingly astounded that people continue to equate Muslims in Afghanistan and primitive, poor countries with all Muslims. I do not understand why this difference is not instantly and immediately obvious.

    American Muslims have responded to Terry Jones by holding prayer meetings where they prayed for Terry Jones and preyed for peace, welcoming their Christian brethren. American Muslims have done things like started Facebook groups with hundreds of members saying “let’s shower Terry Jones with love.”

    Primitive poor people in a country like Afghanistan–where the average literacy rate is well under 50%, where the average lifespan is 45, where the average age is 18, act like violent petulent children, and you blame their religion?

    That is a thoroughly unChristian thing to do. Read again the parable of the Good Samaritan, and ponder the fact that in using a Samaritan, Jesus was using as his example someone of a heretical religious group (look up the actual Samaritans and you’ll see they were viewed as religious heretics by the Jews of the time–and they still are, by the way. See for a start.)

    Afghanistan is mired in desperate poverty, functional illiteracy, and torn from decades of war. Our enemies there are busy telling these frighteningly young people (again: average age is eighteen years old) that the Americans are crusaders, imperialists, murderers who want to destroy their way of life and destroy everything they hold sacred. Terry Jones comes up and demonstrates that yes indeed, that’s what we’re doing, and you’re surprised at a violent response?

    I am at turns flabbergasted and infuriated by this conflating of a backward bronze-age culture with the religion that’s part of it. Do we blame the Catholic Church for barbarism and poverty and illiteracy in countries where Catholics are the majority?

    Once again: AMERICAN Muslims do not respond to Terry Jones with violence. They respond with prayers and attempts at reaching out in friendship. Meanwhile, desperately poor, illiterate, short-lived population of Afghanistan responds savagely. Please understand that difference first and foremost before drawing sweeping conclusions about the faith. As Catholics we certainly don’t appreciate it when people do that crap to us.

  • Primitive poor people in a country like Afghanistan–where the average literacy rate is well under 50%, where the average lifespan is 45, where the average age is 18, act like violent petulent children, and you blame their religion?

    I think you mean the median age and life expectancy-at-birth, not the ‘average’ age or ‘average’ lifespan. About a quarter of the population of Afghanistan are adolescents or adults under 25, which is to say of the impetuous demographic cohorts. The comparable figure for the United States is 13%. Implicit in your statement is that technological progress and consequent affluence is readily and manifestly translated into moral progress and self-control. Also implicit is the notion that people’s cogitations about the ultimate reality and the moral life do not influence their behavior. I do not think either observation is sustainable.

  • Osama bin Laden and many of the leaders of Islamist terrorist groups did not come from dire poverty or functional illiteracy. Wanna try again Dean?

  • Art Deco:

    Median age in the United States: 39.6 years.
    Median age in Afghanistan: 18.2 years
    Life expectancy at birth in the United states: 78.37 years
    Life expectancy at birth in Afghanistan: 45.02 years

    Source: CIA World Factbook, 2010 edition.

    Spend some time there comparing the average literacy rate and the average PPP income comparisons, and other things, and you will find it is as I stated: Afghanistan remains essentially in the bronze age.

    And if you believe that short, hardscrabble lives of desperation and poverty, illiteracy and ignorance, do not tend to translate into primitive behavior, then I don’t even know what to say to you: literally, I can’t imagine how your mind works if you think such things are irrelevant.

    I note once again that the typical Muslim response in America to Terry Jones has been prayer vigil, outreach with Christian groups, and promises to shower Pastor Jones with love. Yet this is not noted, while instead we talk about people in one of the most primitive countries on the planet.

    I very much hope you don’t consider yourself a Christian with such sentiments. Especially not a Catholic one.

    Paul Zummo: Nice job completely changing the subject. When you want to come back to the subject at hand–how everyday Muslims in the civilized world behave compared to everyday Muslims in nations of absolute desperate primitive poverty and dark illiteracy behave–get back to me.

  • I am familiar with the statistics you cite and looked at them myself. I merely noted you had used incorrect descriptive terms for them (in addition to offering two bad arguments).

  • Nice job completely changing the subject. When you want to come back to the subject at hand–how everyday Muslims in the civilized world behave compared to everyday Muslims in nations of absolute desperate primitive poverty and dark illiteracy behave–get back to me.

    How is that changing the subject? You equated radicalism with dire poverty, and I noted that many of the leading Jihadis are quite well off. You obviously had no retort to my reply, and so you threw the equivalent of a hissy fit. Unsurprising.

  • I very much hope you don’t consider yourself a Christian with such sentiments. Especially not a Catholic one.

    Art mildly questioned your use of statistics and this is your response? Chill out, Dean.

  • No, Mr. Deco. You gave some unsourced statistics on Afghanistan that were grossly inaccurate.

    More than one-half of the Afghan population is 18 years of age or under. The average Afghan cannot read. The average Afghan lives on an income less than 1/13th of what we call “the poverty line” in the United States. Your callous indifference to these horrifying facts notwithstanding, this will tend to have an impact on how people there tend to behave: most people (you apparently not among them) would expect this to tend to be a state of fear and primitivism and ignorance. Because that is what it would do.

    And by the way, a median -is- an average, in case no one has told you.

    The average Afghan is quite young, desperately poor, and illiterate. That I’m afraid is a fact. That you would dismiss any notion that this would lead toward a state of primitivism in that country is morally vacuous and really quite bloodcurdling, but it’s your business I guess.

    Paul Zummo: Nobody mentioned bin Laden until you did. We were talking about a comparison between Muslims in the United States vs. Muslims in Afghanistan. That makes it a change of subject.

    And now you’re doing it again. It wouldn’t be embarrassing if Mr. Deco was a Christian who just obviously got his statistics wrong (which he very badly did). It would be embarrassing if he were purporting to be a Christian and then being so calloiusly dismissive of the notion that poverty+youth+ignorance=primitive culture, and for his utter indfference to the fact that these are lives of suffering in conditions that are nasty brutish and short.

    The Church has always known that these things cause woe in the world, which is why the Church has long fought them.

    When you have a mother who had 8 kids before she hit the age of 22, with only half of them reaching adulthood alive, and you can’t read, and are yourself 16 years old and have known nothing but wretched poverty and ignorance your entire life (a type of poverty that makes the average “poor” person in the United States look wealthy as a King), THEN you can look down your nose on these people when they act poorly. In the meantime, equating all of them with everyone who shares their religion? Shameful. I’m ashamed for you if you’re too thick to be ashamed for yourself.

  • I’m ashamed for you if you’re too thick to be ashamed for yourself.

    I’m not the one resorting to emotionalism in order to excuse terrorism. And since you are unwilling and unable to discuss this without theatrics, I’ll just call it a night.

  • You’re best calling it a night, if all you’re going to do is change the subject for yet a third time.

    In the meantime, it remains that American Muslims have reacted peacefully to Terry Jones. If we are going to make rational comparisons between Muslims, then we need to look at how American Muslims react to the likes of Terry Jones–and their reaction has been peaceful.

    And when we discuss Afghanistan, any rational, decent, moral person would immediately acknowledge the simple facts of that country: short lifespans, a very young population, no education to speak of, and desperate poverty would inevitably lead any population to have a large number of people who tend to react like thugs when they get offended. This isn’t hard for any reasonably person to understand, and perhaps when you wake up with a fresh mind you’ll come to your senses.

  • The statistics I gave you, Dean Esmay, were derived from population pyramids which are readily available online. They were not inaccurate at all. Those for the United States came ultimately from the U.S. Census Bureau. I offered those data because they were more salient for the point you were attempting to stress than are median age figures or life expectency figures.

  • literally, I can’t imagine how your mind works if you think such things are irrelevant.

    I very much hope you don’t consider yourself a Christian with such sentiments. Especially not a Catholic one.

    Your callous indifference to these horrifying facts notwithstanding

    That you would dismiss any notion that this would lead toward a state of primitivism in that country is morally vacuous and really quite bloodcurdling, but it’s your business I guess.

    It wouldn’t be embarrassing if Mr. Deco was a Christian who just obviously got his statistics wrong (which he very badly did). It would be embarrassing if he were purporting to be a Christian and then being so calloiusly dismissive of the notion that poverty+youth+ignorance=primitive culture, and for his utter indfference to the fact that these are lives of suffering in conditions that are nasty brutish and short.

    I offered you seven simple sentences and one compound sentence taking exception to what you understand to be motors of human behavior. Your response is rather florid.

  • Mr. Deco: If the unreferenced statistics you have used on Afghanistan are so readily obtainable, kindly have the decency to provide them. In any case, it’s pretty clear you now concede that my statistics were completely factual and that you corrected nothing at all. Thank you for that.

    In the meantime, let us have a few examples of “florid” assertions:

    Implicit in your statement is that technological progress and consequent affluence is readily and manifestly translated into moral progress and self-control.

    No such thing is implicit in anything I said; indeed, to me that’s a bizarre inference for you to draw.

    What appears implicit in your reasoning, however, is a belief that young, short, hardscrabble lives of absolute poverty and wretched ignorance will not tend to produce barbarism. Have I got you wrong there?

    Also implicit is the notion that people’s cogitations about the ultimate reality and the moral life do not influence their behavior. I do not think either observation is sustainable.

    I’m afraid I am having trouble even understanding this assertion. But if I read it right, you’re suggesting that I said people’s thinking on reality and morality don’t influence their behavior. But I said nothing of the sort, nor do I believe it. How you drew such a that inference I have no idea; it is certainly not implicit in my logic

    So let’s do the Christian thing and assume I misunderstood you and you misunderstood me, and cut to the chase:

    1) People who lead hardscrabble, short lives that are from infancy mired in utter poverty and illiteracy will tend toward barbarity. Do you dispute this? A yes or no will suffice.

    2) Conflating the behavior of people in lands where barbarism is the norm with that of people who grew up with the luxuries of civilization (literacy, long lives in which the old may effectively guide the young, physical security and stability, ready access to a wide variety of information) is foolish. Do you dispute this? A yes or no will suffice.

  • You can noodle around with the Census Bureau’s International Data Base. The current population estimate for Afghanistan is 29 million. If you do some interpolating, you see the number between their 13th and 25th birthday is 7 million and change.

    You were the one who said it was absurd, in the light of the general standard of living in Afghanistan, for us to consider the religion of an angry mob as a motor of consequence. Ordinarily in discussions such as this, I am arguing against people who seem to think that a statement of intellectual genealogies gives one an understanding of historical events. It would never occur to me to say what people think and assent to had no influence on what they do. Given that the mob in question had been incited by instructors in religion consequent to an act of desecration, I tend to think that this is a circumstance where the religion of the mob is influential indeed.

    I myself am not an adept of social psychology, so I do not have much to say about the sources of mob violence. I do not understand why you regard positing and unmediated and unqualified cause-and-effect relationship between the material circumstances of the population of Afghanistan and acts of mob violence to require no elaboration whatsoever. There may be some correlation there. In our own country, the practice of lynching declined as the country grew more affluent. (Of course, income levels are not the only social metric which changed during those years). In urban neighborhoods in affluent countries, levels of violence are also correlated with income levels. However, stating that relationship does not state what the social process truly is. (And I am not sure such a relationship has been established to exist in cross-national comparisons, much less that there are no confounding variables that might explain any such relationship observed).

    One might also ask how common it is for Peace Corps volunteers or USAID employees to be butchered by peasants (much less butchered by peasants reacting to an event in a suburb or Orlando) in any locale similar to Afghanistan in its standard of living. Not very, I will wager.

    This is a Catholic blog. It is not ordinarily frequented by people who think human nature has much of a history, or that you will be redeemed by being made more affluent. Affluence certainly regulates the mode of expression of people’s sinfulness. It does not extinguish that sinfulness.

    As for comparisons between Afghan Muslims and their counterparts in the United States, I tend to think that distinctions in patterns of behavior between the two would be influenced by a number of factors. (One factor would be the balance of power between the Muslim population and the larger society. Muslims constitute about 1% of the population of the United States. That would tend to contain many an inclination to go on pogroms).

  • Heck! I made here my prior (not the last, for sure) inflammatory comment on 4 April.

    Yesterday, a judge jailed Rev. Jones so he couldn’t exercise his First Amendment right to offend the Religion of Peace.

    And, the Judge jailed him because . . . ?

    I don’t know.

    Maybe (unlikely) a journolist will ask the judge.

    I opine: Either, to keep Rev. Jones from insulting muslims or to protect muslims from committing outrages.

    Either, muslims are a special elite not to be insulted, unlike the families of New Yorkers massacred on 11 Sep 2001, or the familes of American combat KIA’s or the Roman Catholic Church.

    Or, the Judge felt the need to protect Rev. Jones from being beheaded.

    Either way it stinks.

  • Ok, folks …seeing as how it’s Easter, I was wondering if we can table the discussion and focus our minds on other topics for the duration of the weekend — like, oh, perhaps the Glorious Resurrection of Our Lord? =)

  • what horse dung all of this appeasement to fascism makes me puke this is the same as saying Rosa Parks should have went to the back of the bus cause her wanting freedom would have made the kkk mad. This is America not Nazi germany if truth being spoke to power offends people then so be it

    Palestinian Christian good will: “Jews, Jews! Your holiday [Passover] is the Holiday of Apes”

    Muslim Brotherhood leader: Our objective is to establish an Islamic state

Was the Victory of the Confederacy Inevitable?

Monday, April 4, AD 2011

(I wrote this for April 1, 2011 for the blog Almost Chosen People, and I thought that the various Civil War mavens who read The American Catholic might find this interesting.)

As we mark the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States there are many historical questions to ponder.  However, one question rises to the fore as it always does when the War Between the States is discussed:  Was Confederate victory inevitable?

Because of the ten following factors, I’d say that it was:

1.  Abraham Lincoln- Few Presidents have ever been elected with no executive experience, but that was precisely the case with Lincoln.    Although he could deliver a magnificent speech and was clearly a master of the English language, Lincoln quickly demonstrated that he was an amateur in running the government.  His frequent sacking of generals led to instability in the Union Army command, the frequently hostile relations with Congress, including members of his own party, that hampered his policies, the corruption that marred the supply of the Army, these and many more features of his administration attested to the fact that Lincoln was an extremely talented man who simply was out of his depth.  Perhaps the task was too large for any man to preserve the Union by force of arms, but certainly it was too great for Mr. Lincoln.

2.  Supremacy of the Defence-General Robert E. Lee quickly realized that the old Napoleonic charges were impossible against fortified positions held by troops armed with rifled muskets.  Although his troops initially meant the title derisively, Lee, the King of Spades, repeatedly used field fortifications, beginning in 1862,  to nullify the Union manpower advantage on the battlefield.

3.  Size of the Confederacy- The sheer size of the Confederacy, three times the size of France, ensured that the attempted Union conquest would be a massive undertaking, too massive as it turned out for the Union.  If British seapower, beginning in 1862, see number 6 below, had not caused the lifting of the Union blockade, prevented the landing of Union troops along the coasts of the Confederacy and contested Union naval control of the Mississippi river, it is conceivable that the Union could have coped with the immensity of the Confederacy, but such was not the case.

4.  Lee-Jackson partnership-No command team in history proved more effective than the Lee-Jackson combination.  Beginning at Chancellorsville, Lee and Jackson dealt the Union body blows at Gettysburg in 1863, and the Wilderness in 1864, almost a replica of the Chancellorsville victory a year before.  No wonder that Lee was the second president of the Confederacy and Jackson the third.

5.  Enlistment of black soldiers-After the victory at Gettysburg, Lee put his immense prestige behind the cause of enlisting black soldiers under the Confederate battle flag with the promise of freedom for themselves and their families.  Resistance to this move was immense in the Confederacy, but with Lee behind it all resistance was overborne.  The 100,000 black troops who fought for the South in 1864 were essential to the Confederate victory, and paved the way for the passage of the Gradual Emancipation Act of 1870, which President Robert E. Lee, just before his death, claimed to be his greatest victory.

Continue reading...

29 Responses to Was the Victory of the Confederacy Inevitable?

  • We have way too much time on our hands.

    Two words: Anaconda Plan. Union victory was inevitable barring complete (normal was plentiful but insufficient) incompetence ala Obama/Reid/Pelosi; or British military intervention; or the Northern population deciding “it” (preserve the “union”, emancipation?) wasn’t worth 600,000 KIA.

    1. Lincoln was elected on 40% of the popular vote. Obama was elected with 40% of the taxpayers’ votes and 98% of the taxtakers’ votes.

    2. Truth. I read (many years ago) a book by two university academics of a southern university that did a study which verified that. To start (like you say) military technology moves faster than military thought (oxymoron).

    3. Agrarian economy vs. industrial economy. North had large advantage in size of popuation, steel production, RR mileage, etc.

    4. See 2. Jackson died b/c of offense attitude.

    5. Glory-O! The freedman won the Civil War . . .

    6. After the USN stopped a Brit ship and arrested two CSA dipomats, the Brits moved 11,000 troops (battle-hardened killers from fighting hottentots and pathans) to Canada. Lincoln released the two.

    7. Uh . . .

    8. McClellan elected president . . . Troops were rushed from Gettysburg to NY . . .

    9. Uh, . . .

    10. Uh, . . .

  • The list falls down on #1. Lincoln, more than anyone else won the CW. Unlike Jefferson Davis he was willing to forgive (or at least overlook) any any insult or criticism, even near-insubordination from his commanders.
    This includes his handling of the Trent affair.

    #4: The Union had the manpower to make up its losses and the Rebels could not. With chilling ruthlessness Lincoln after Chancellorsville that if the battle were fought every day for a week the Army of N. VA would be annihilated and the Army of the Potomac would still be a mighty host.

    #5: Please. Early in 1862 Gen. Patrick Cleburne proposed just such an enlistment for emancipation scheme and was shot down. Jeff Davis said if blacks can be soldiers “our whole theory is wrong”. It wasn’t until late ’64 or early ’65 that the CS Congress began to start to consider bills for the arming slaves.

  • Lincoln made enough errors as President Thomas that if the War had come out differently he would have been blamed for the defeat. Lincoln understood that his reputation hinged on victory or defeat, and that nothing else mattered. Hence his 10,000 angels remark. Lincoln was fortunate to finally find a team in Grant and Sherman that could win the war. Up to that point his interventions in command appointments had not been especially notable for success.

    The manpower disparity I think is overrated in looking at the outcome of the War. The Confederates up until after the election of 1864 were able to keep enough men in the field to make it a contest. The problem for them was that in Grant and Sherman the Union finally had two first caliber commanders who knew how to make use of the Union resources to win. If McClellan had been in command of the Union forces in the east in 1864, I have little doubt that no progress would have been made in that theater by the end of that year, in spite of Union advantages in material and manpower.

    Actually on the question of enlisting blacks, that was a quote from Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy, and not Jefferson Davis. Davis was in favor of the last minute proposal to enlist black troops at the end of 1864 which was far too late. Opposition to such a proposal would have been immense in 1863, but I believe that a victorious Lee at Gettysburg could have carried the day on the issue. That would have meant stepping into a political role however, something that Lee was always careful to avoid.

    This of course is all an exercise in alternate history, and also a lampoon of how many people tend to call something inevitable after it has occurred.

  • Alternate history can be fun, but frankly, you forgot the first principle which is the further away from an event something occurs, the less likely it is that it will occur in an alternate time line. Thus in a timeline where the Trent Affair starts an Anglo-American war, it is very probable that there is no Battle of Gettysburg; this is especially true if the Defense did adopt a strategy of defense.

    That brings me to the other fault of the time line. A philosophy of setting up static defenses on the battlefield favors the North more than the South. The South needed to remain mobile to ensure that they were not flanked and surrounded by much larger Union Armies. A South that digs in might be very hard to dig out again, but they are also trapped in their trenches.

  • “A South that digs in might be very hard to dig out again, but they are also trapped in their trenches.”

    That works if you have commanders not wedded to frontal assaults against fortified positions. Even the best commanders of the War: Lee at Gettysburg, Grant at Cold Harbor and Sherman at Kenesaw Mountain, made that mistake. If a general early enough in the War had started a policy of implementing field fortifications prior to every battle, or as soon as possible during a meeting engagement, a fraction of the army so fortified could have held up a far larger enemy force, leaving most of the army free to maneuvere and to strike.

  • @ DR McClarey: Certainly Lincoln made plenty of mistakes but his success was in holding together a disparate coalition, giving him time until he could find the right commanders and start racking up victories.

    @ MD Bill: Quite right though I might add that the South needed victories just as much as the Union did and support on the home front crumbled down south much faster than the north when they saw the price they would have to pay.
    Both sides expected a short war and the South was never unified until after the war in its celebration of the Lost Cause.

  • I enjoyed this Donald, especially the critique of Lincoln. You might have a good novel in the making, especially if your protagonist starts as a young black slave.

  • Thank you Nate. There have been many fine novels positing an alternate Civil War, but I guess the world could always use one more. 🙂

    In regard to Lincoln, I think it is fair to say that I am one of his biggest fans. However, how we view an historical figure is often contingent upon whether they achieved their goal. Lincoln was successful in his attempt to preserve the Union and end slavery, so short shrift tends to be given by most writers to his shortcomings as President. If he had failed, those shortcomings would assume major importance in any look back at his Presidency.

  • Don,
    Perhaps yes, perhaps no. A force that sets itself up behind static defenses looses the initiative. Sometimes, when you know when and how the enemy is going attack, that can be a good thing. But, unless you can stretch your forces across the entire potential front of the enemy advance, you need to be prepared for that force to be cut off from resupply or reinforcement.

    If you fortify part of your army, it might tie up part of the other army… or it might get left behind in the battle. Lee, did on occasion split his forces up to his advantage, but it wasn’t so that the smaller part could dig in.

    Finally of course, it slows your army down. The last thing Lee needed was to loose the initiative. The Civil War ultimately was lost when Grant was able to force Lee into static defenses. Yes, Cold Harbor was a victory for Lee, but it was his last.

  • Undoubtedly General Rosecrans took a little longer to secure Vicksburg than US Grant in the alternate history, but also with less casualties.

    I think some commentaries are missing the distinction between tactics and strategy. Tactically the defense was much stronger, but to win the war required an offensive strategy, especially the North. Clausewitz commented on about the Napoleonic Wars but US manuals followed the Napoleon’s model which emphasized the Grand Assault in a tactical offensive. The development of the rifled musket in the 1850’s vastly increased the power of the defense. It should be noted that while we are used to frequent changes in technology the rifled musket was the first major advance in infantry weapons in 150 years. Making the transition took much more time than would be the case today.

    The biggest item in the the manpower disparity was opening up the Western theater. The union mobilized more troops that it could have supported in the field in Virginia. Which gave them the troops to go west without hurting the Army of the Potomac, the South was forced to keep troops in the west that it needed and could have support in Virginia.

    The NORTH will rise AGAIN!

  • Mr. McClarey,

    You ignore two important points that make me think you’re missing the forest for the trees.

    First, in 1860, the South had nine million people (of whom five million were white). The North had 25 million people. Southern schools like the University of Virginia closed down because practically everyone volunteered to join the military, whereas Northern schools like Harvard stayed open because the North fielded only a fraction of its fighting men – and it still had a numerical advantage. As Shelby Foote once said, the North was fighting with one hand tied behind its back.

    Second, have you heard of names like Colt and Smith & Wesson? The North was vastly superior in industrial capacity. Remember that the South was an agricultural society which grew foodstuffs, cotton and tobacco but was dependent on imports from England and the North.

    All told, the South needed a short war to win. The longer the war dragged on, the more important were the North’s advantages in fighting men and industrial capacity.

  • The South had far greater motivation than the North to win. The South simply had to fight until the North decided it wasn’t worth it and “Let the erring sisters go.” As our American Revolution, Vietnam and many another conflict indicate, a vastly superior power can be defeated in a war, if it eventually decides that losing the conflict is preferable to continuing to fight it. Considering that all the political signs in the summer of 1864 indicated that Lincoln was going to lose in the Fall, and he thought he was going to lose, the Confederacy came very close to doing this. Sherman taking Atlanta, and Union victories in the Shenandoah, reversed Lincoln’s political fortunes, but it was a very near run thing.

  • The last gallant attempt by a people close to the land and motivated by chivalry was obviously doomed to fail – I can say that in hindsight. (despite the wicked tolerance and promotion of African slavery, which is an evil that would have ended. Note, there are far more slaves, including Africans in the world today despite the loss of the CSA and not merely because of an increased population).

    Clearly the American Union is a noble goal and on this point I agree with Lincoln and with Lee. I exclude ending African slavery as a goal, because the North did not have that goal in mind initially. Ending slavery was a political ploy employed after the ‘inevitable’ victory of the North at First Manassas did not occur.

    Sadly, like all human endeavors, the noble goal of preserving the Union resulted in a severe blow to the vertical check against tyranny and laid the precedent and the ground work for transforming the General Federal government into a Autocratic National government. Is the Union preserved? In some ways yes, the USA is intact, but is it a union of sovereign republics? In the form, yes, in actuality, no. Additionally, the same money power (of which Lincoln spoke against) that sought the disunion in the 1860s is now seeking the elimination of the Union through an open borderless society.

    If we do not restore the vertical check against national power by restoring a reasonable and checked autonomy to the states and commonwealths we will lose the Union and then not only is pondering a Southern victory merely a Romantic exercise (BTW – one I love to engage in) but a Union victory would then be rendered a Union defeat as the USA gives way to a controlled Western economic block of modern-techno-feudal ‘happy’ slaves.

    Nonetheless, all Americans fought nobly, yet, it is American tradition to favor the underdog and there is no question that the agrarian, romantic South with her sons who resembled Crusading Knights more than modern mechanized soldiers, were certainly the underdog.

    In truth, Waterloo was not the only dam*ed near run thing. Good post.

  • In the early phase of the War, the Northern and Southern generals were mostly West Point graduates. So on the strategic level, the War was a conflict of West Pointers versus West Pointers. But one advantage of the South was the high quality of generals it had – Lee, Jackson, et cetera.

    Without the War, Lee would have gone down in history as one of the best colonels produced by West Point. And Jackson would have lived the rest of his life as an obscure VMI professor who had served in the Mexican War. Who would have known that Jackson was one of the greatest military minds in world history? I think Jackson would agree with me that he would rather live in a world where the War had not happened and he remained obscure.

  • “I think Jackson would agree with me that he would rather live in a world where the War had not happened and he remained obscure.”

    Jackson thought the War was God’s will and he believed he was fighting a holy crusade. He also founded a Sunday school for blacks, slaves and free, and taught slaves to read, in partnership with his wife, although this was against Virginia law. In the War he would have preferred to have flown the blag flag, as he put it, to have taken no prisoners and put all captured Union soldiers to the sword. Since that was not the policy of his government however, Jackson scrupulously observed the rules regarding the treatment of captured enemy prisoners.

    “I have always thought that we ought to meet the Federal invaders on the outer verge of just right and defence, and raise at once the black flag, vis., “No quarter to the violators of our homes and firesides!”…But I see now clearly enough the people of the South were not prepared for such a policy. I have myself cordially accepted the policy of our leaders….President Davis and General Lee.”

    Complicated does not begin to fathom the many facets of Thomas Jonathan Jackson.

  • I weep that good people like Jackson had to die because of the War. I can only speak for myself, but I want this 150th anniversary of the war to be just a remembrance of the brave soldiers and their lives. If I can be spared yet another lecture on the South being evil, I don’t think I’ll miss it.

  • The North and the South both brought on the war through their tolerance of slavery:

    “If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?”

  • Consider that the death and destruction fell disproportionately on the South. Before the War, Northern merchants and manufacturers were also complicit in the slave trade and the cotton trade, but I cannot think of any permanent damage the War caused them.

    Sherman made good on his promise to turn half of Georgia and South Carolina into a howling wilderness – there are parts of both states where there are no buildings older than 1865. Mississippi spent 20% of its state budget on crutches the year after the war. Indeed, the South would not recover until World War II – a verse from Alabama’s Song of the South goes like this: “Well somebody told us Wall Street fell [in 1929] but we were so poor that we couldn’t tell.”

    Note that the federal government helped rebuild Japan and Germany after World War II, but after the War between the States there was no Marshall Plan for the South. I am grateful that Cornelius Vanderbilt endowed the university that bears his name, but this is one of the few acts of postwar Northern generosity I can think of.

  • “Consider that the death and destruction fell disproportionately on the South.”

    The families of the Union dead, some 340,000, and the Union maimed and crippled would beg to differ.

    “Before the War, Northern merchants and manufacturers were also complicit in the slave trade and the cotton trade, but I cannot think of any permanent damage the War caused them.”

    Confederate raiders actually dealt a serious setback to the merchant marine of the Union that took decades to recover from.

    “Sherman made good on his promise to turn half of Georgia and South Carolina into a howling wilderness – there are parts of both states where there are no buildings older than 1865.”

    Give me a break! The main problem for the South after the Civil War was the insistence on attempting to hold blacks still in virtual slavery. Pathetically bad race relations throughout the South was the major factor in the delay of industrialization throughout the South. Booker T. Washington understood this, which is why it is a great pity that the initial positive reaction to his Atlanta Compromise Speech in 1895 by whites in the South wasn’t acted upon.

    The attempt by the powers that be in the South to keep blacks as fifth class citizens had far more to do with poverty in the South than any lingering effects of the Civil War.

  • All the same, it would be nice to hear a Northerner express condolences for all the Southerners who died in the war.

  • All well and good, but at the risk of repeating myself, “If I can be spared yet another lecture on the South being evil, I don’t think I’ll miss it.” I am a Catholic and a Southerner. Call me thin-skinned, but I don’t take too kindly to criticisms of my beloved South. Most of us are well aware of our moral imperfections without them being slammed in front of our face. I might be able to take criticism coming from a fellow Southerner, but that’s my limit.

  • “The attempt by the powers that be in the South to keep blacks as fifth class citizens had far more to do with poverty in the South than any lingering effects of the Civil War.”

    I’m reminded of that section of Frederick Douglass’ autobiography where he describes the culture shock of going from Baltimore to his first home in freedom, New Bedford, MA. He was astounded by the dynamism of the latter compared to what was a fairly prosperous and commercial Baltimore. He ascribed the difference to the existence of entirely free labor, which has cascade effects throughout society, right down to how well the streets were swept.

    Not that he didn’t experience raw racism in the north–far from it. But the racism of men who couldn’t sell him was reasonably easy to bear.

  • Mico,
    Just a point, but I am not sure that all Southerners are aware of the moral imperfections of the past. I have met more than one Southerner who has tried to deny, repeatedly, that slavery was a major, if not the major cause of the war (They often concentrate on what the North has to say about maintaining the Union while ignoring what the Southerners of the time said about why they were seceding); they speak with nostalgia of the days of Jim Crow (Trent Lott got in hot water over this).

  • Oh a minor nitpick… The rifled musket was not a new invention. It had been around for hundreds of years and was famous for its use in the American Revolution, and has become famous to readers of historical fiction in the Sharpe’s Rifles series for its use in the Napoleonic Wars.

    What was new was the invention of the minie ball. Prior to the invention of the minie ball, loading a rifled musket was a painfully slow affair; too slow to make it an effective weapon in the main battle force. Thus the rifle, if used at all, was limited to skirmishers. The minie ball allowed rifled muskets to be loaded about as quickly (maybe a little slower) as a smooth bore musket. The effects of this were of course as described.

  • You are correct Maryland Bill. I used the term rifled muskets as shorthand for the minie-ball and the fact that almost all the muskets in the Civil War were rifled as a result. A recent revisionist study contends that the impact of the rifle musket in the Civil War has been greatly exaggerated:

    I find that hard to believe, although I think I will probably get this book to assess the argument that the author makes.

  • MarylandBill: Note that I used the word “most” not “all.”

  • Mr. McClarey, this is just my opinion but in your list of top ten factors, I would make Factor No. 4 into No. 1. We will never know how Gettysburg would have turned out with Jackson still alive.

  • Dale Price: New England ship owners and ship captains were knee-deep in the slave trade. Racism is not confined to the South.

Von Galen on Martyrdom

Sunday, April 3, 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 a sermon that he preached at the Cathedral of Saint Victor’s in Xanten, Germany on February 9, 1936, long before the three sermons that he preached in 1941 which made him famous around the globe.  Prior examinations of his 1941 sermons may be read  herehere and here.

I have just consecrated a new altar in your venerable and splendid cathedral,in a small space deep beneath the choir. But why? Your church is already so richly endowed with altars.

Beginning a sermon with a question is an approach that I wish more priests and bishops would use.  It engages the minds of the listeners from the outset.

You know the answer. The researches of the past few years have given proof that there below us lies a holy and particularly venerable place. Not only has the tradition been substantiated, according to which several previous churches were said to stand on the site of this present church, the oldest of them dating back to the time of the martyrs, to the fourth century A.D. We are also provided with fresh evidence that holy martyrs, who with their blood bore witness to Christ, were interred here, to await the resurrection. We believe in the resurrection of the body. Christ’s words have given us this promise: The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God. Whosoever does not
believe in the independent life of the individual soul, in its continued existence after the death of the body, in its reunification with the bodyand in life everlasting, this man is no true Christian. We hold these beliefs, because we believe in Christ, who is the truth. Because we hold fast to the beliefs of the Apostles and of our Christian forebears. The entire history of your city, speaking to you through the its towering churches, which are monuments in stone, proclaiming itself in the stones found lying beneath them, is evidence of our faith.

The martyrs have always been the human bedrock for Catholicism, from Saint Stephen, the first of the ever glorious martyrs, to our own day with the recent martyrdom of the brave Shahbaz Bhatti.

Continue reading...

2 Responses to Von Galen on Martyrdom

  • Wonderful and inspiring personal stories and history.

    We certainly need to be reminded of the brave souls throughout Christian history who, threatened with death, were willing to give their very life in sacrifice to Christ and His church rather than submit to the taunts or wiles of evil forces besieging mankind. These are true martyrs for the faith having chosen death of body over life without Christ.

    There is also another kind of martyrdom which our faith from time to time begs us to endure. That is a death of character to the status quo of elitist society. This sometimes is more painful than martyrdom by the sword because you must live with the “stigmata” of it in full view of your adversary or would be executioner. In our age and with the freedom granted to the minds of men in our multicultural “open society” which is pleased to challenge all Christian values there is great need for Culture Martyrdom.

    All of us, but bishops in particular, are given ample opportunities today to offer ourselves as candidates for a kind of martyrdom and stigma of conviction that goes with living and expressing our faith to the fullest with out regard for the cross of conscience a misguided media or pompous intellectuals will place upon us. Aptly named, the culture of death is upon us today and we pray it will be met with a huge wave of these most needed martyrs.



Saturday, April 2, AD 2011


Something for the weekend.  Agincourt by the ever talented folks at History for Music Lovers, to the tune of As Tears Go By, by Marianne Faithful.

October 25, 1415 was an amazing day for the English.  The English longbow had long proved in the Hundred Years War to be a devastating weapon in the hands of skilled archers, but rarely had the English faced such long odds as they did at Agincourt.  Approximately 6,000 English, exhausted and worn from their march, faced approximately 30,000 French.  About five out of six of the English were archers with the remainder men-at-arms, knights and nobility.  The French had about 10,000 men-at-arms, knights and nobility, and 20,000 archers, crossbowmen and miscellaneous infantry.

The English established their battle line between the woods of Agincourt and Tramecourt, which offered excellent protection to both of their flanks.  The English archers made up the front line with stakes set in the ground before them to impale charging horses.  Archers were also placed in the woods to provide flanking fire against advancing French.  The men at arms and knights and nobility, were divided into three forces behind the archers.  They fought on foot.

The terrain between the woods that the French would have to cross in their attack of the English consisted of newly ploughed, and very muddy, fields.  Having walked through muddy fields on several occasions in rural Illinois, I can attest that simply getting from point A to point B in such terrain can be exhausting, let alone fighting at the end of the tramp through the morass.

Continue reading...

4 Responses to Agincourt

  • John Keegan’s book, The Face of Battle, has a fair (I assume it’s factual) depiction of the battle and the men.

    Another famous battle and example of Catholic courage is depicted in Ernle Bradford’s, The Knights of the Order, chapters 19 through 23. It tells the story of the famous siege of Malta. The siege was endured about 70 years after Comumbus’ discoveries and 23 years before the tragedy of the Invincible Armada in 1588.

  • Excellent post.

    I love the way the History teachers get the essence of major event in 3 minutes.

    Henry V was in a bind. He was being chased by a larger French army that move dfaster than his army and could defeat hin in open country. Almost by luck he stopped at Agincourt where the woods protected his flanks. He did not have food more than two days and would have to move into open ground in a losing race to Calias if the French did not attack him. All the French had to do was sit and wait. The reason Henry V moved forward was to provoke the French. Luckily patience is not a French virtue.

    Keegan’s face of Battle is an accurate and excellent description of the battle. This is a ground breaking book that looked at the ‘face of Battle” in a very clinical manner. Do not read on a full stomach.

    Bernards Cornwell’s novel <a href= in additon to placing one in his view of the cultural milieu sets of the context of the campaign and battle in an entertaining style

  • Thank you Hank for first making me aware of History for Music Lovers. If the French had simply raided Henry’s army with small parties, and cut his force off from villages and towns where they could get resupplied, they would probably have bagged the entire English army with minimal French casualties. King Henry’s gambit at Agincourt to advance was a daring one, but it played upon the French dilemma of a large hit to the morale of their army if they seemed to be backing down from a much smaller English army. Morale in medieval battles was all important, as the troops were usually ill-trained except for the knights and men-at-arms, and once a force panicked, it was almost impossible for it to be reassembled before a battle was completely lost.

Montaigne and Machiavelli on Zombies

Friday, April 1, AD 2011

I thought I had read all of Montaigne’s essays!  Apparently not.  Withywindle at the blog Athens and Jerusalem reveals one I am unfamiliar with:

There are many sorts of zombies, and what means are efficacious against one are not against another. For some are fast and some are slow; some have the spark of life and others are revenant corpses; some savor brains while others will seize hold of what they can. Further, what we know generally of zombies is unreliable; for what Romeros says, Pliny contradicts; and Galen says first to do no harm, which does not appear to me to be of any use whatever. So the means to resist the undead are all uncertain.

I prefer to take no settled action. Some will flee zombies, others run toward them to decapitate them, but I will merely go about my daily round. If fortune dictates that I be bit by a zombie, or even eaten entire, I will attempt to compose myself in the interval before I begin to decompose; but there is no reason to be alarmed unduly before the event. Yet while I hold that philosophy should train us to be equable generally before the threat of the undead, yet may we scream as they approach, particularly if they are fast zombies, for it is not the job of philosophy to make us pretend a terror we feel not; and it is no weakness to be afraid of zombies at the moment. The weakness is only in the anticipation.

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Montaigne and Machiavelli on Zombies

  • Make the world a better place. Shoot a zombie in the face.

  • 0.o
    You listen to Coast to Coast, too?

    (Last Sat’s episode was a three hour meditation on the international and political response to zombies. Not bad, other than the guy 1] assumed movie-people were accurate representations of individual action, and 2] political groups would always do what he characterized them as doing before. Pretty obvious he was an “international realist” [who would have the ego to call their political philosophy ‘realist’?])

    Found the book:
    Theories of International Politics and Zombies

  • Well Foxfier I do believe that the “realists”, and I do agree that is a presumptuous title, claim Thucydides as their guru and I think it was Thucydides who wrote:

    “The secret of happiness is freedom from Zombies. The secret of freedom from Zombies is courage.” 🙂