Kathleen Sebelius and her HHS regulations: A violation of religious liberty and inconsistent with the Catholic faith…

Friday, January 20, AD 2012

Evidently, President Obama has allowed his minion, U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services (HHS), Kathleen Sebelius, to set forth his administration’s argument concerning religious liberty for the 2012 election.  Today, Ms. Sebelius announced that HHS would implement regulations mandating health insurance coverage for sterilizations and  contraception, including some that cause abortion.

Interestingly, there was a “compromise”: To allow religious groups one year to comply with the regulation.

The Motley Monk has been chronicling the development of this story, hoping that Ms. Sebelius—who is Catholic—would eventually have an “Emmaus moment” and see the light.   Instead, with this decision, she remains steadfastly aligned with the U.S. pro-abortion lobby.

One can only guess why Ms. Sebelius does so.

Perhaps the exemption is designed to allow the regulation to be litigated, as Belmont Abbey College has already brought suit.  The list of defendants include: the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: U.S. Department of Labor; U.S. Department of Treasury; and, the departmental secretaries.


In a News 14 Report late last year, the President of Belmont Abbey College, Dr. William Thierfelder, said the healthcare mandate is a violation of the institution’s constitutional rights and religious values:

This is a much bigger case and this effects every American.  In other words, if they can do this to us they can do this to everybody.

Thierfelder said Belmont Abbey College will not comply with the mandate and because of noncompliance, the institution will receive recurring fines.  This potentially could cause Belmont Abbey College to close.

Perhaps the reason Ms. Sebelius allowed the one year exemption was that she knows it is illegal, violating the First Amendment, and is likely to be overturned by the Courts sometime in late 2012 or 2013.  That would allow the Obama administration to promote its pro-abortion credentials during the election while at the same time tell pro-life forces that the matter is being litigated and, while it is, the status quo remains in place

Forget the truth.  What matters are the votes, pro-abortion and pro-life.  Maybe the truth is that today Ms. Sebelius “split the difference” to win some votes for her mentor.


To read the HHS Secretary’s statement, click on the following link:

To read about the Belmont Abbey College suit, click on the following link:

To see the News 14 Report, click on the following link:


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15 Responses to Kathleen Sebelius and her HHS regulations: A violation of religious liberty and inconsistent with the Catholic faith…

  • The most pro-abortion administration in our nation’s history is also the most anti-Catholic. The hubris of these idiots! They are going into an election and they are deliberately picking a fight with the Church, comfortable in their assumption that Catholics can be safely used as a punching bag for them to rally votes among the pro-abort fanatics who constitute their base. Time to prove them wrong.

  • Unfortunately, many of the pro-aborts are catholic. Lord, have mercy on us.

  • I hope you’re right Don, but I doubt it. It’s not like there are any surprises coming from this administration. This is what a large number of Catholics knowingly voted for. Not a small number put themselves out there in support of Obama during the election, through the Obamacare debacle, and to this very moment. I don’t even to expect to many to claim they didn’t see it coming.

  • Then RL we need to convert those who we can convert and defeat those we can’t at the polls. Catholics who will tolerate this aren’t even CINOs.

  • The folks at Vox Nova have a strong condemnation of the administration’s actions you might want to check out here.

  • I have said this before and I am saying it again: It is the duty of government to protect and defend the virginity, innocence and civil rights of every citizen. “or prohibit the free exercise thereof” The free exercise of conscience is a First Amendment right. Government cannot define a person’s conscience, or man’s response to the gift of Faith from God, nor the Catholic Church, the Sacraments, nor its adherents without violating the tax code, double taxation, without representation. For their taxes, each citizen has bought and paid for his freedom in conscience, has paid his fair share for his freedom to be free, simply because government is not authorized to violate the sanctuary given the parishioners of the Catholic Church

  • “The folks at Vox Nova have a strong condemnation of the administration’s actions you might want to check out here.”

    Yes, and they have added to it:

  • Paul, thank you for that very informative link.

  • The bishops need to go Gen. McAuliffe and send a one word reply to our God King:


    Of course, there’s a good two word reply too, but bishops aren’t supposed to talk that way.l

  • I suspect some bishops don’t care about contraception, sterilzations or abortions. They care about “social justice.” For some, social justice even includes these things.

    They sell their birthright for a mess of pottage.

  • “The bishops need to go Gen. McAuliffe and send a one word reply to our God King:


    Of course, there’s a good two word reply too, but bishops aren’t supposed to talk that way.”

    Bravo Mark! Well said!

  • two thoughts: One, Catholic Taxes are Catholic Taxes are Catholic Taxes. Taxes belong to the citizen even while being administered by the administration. This concept of “government funding” is stealing from the Catholic taxpayer. This bullying, OWS are measures designed specifically to exhaust resources. Those in power can then pull the strings and the people in the pews are without a leader and the strength to maintain their civil liberties. From whom did the government get the government funding? Government funding is not charity, that is, generosity, nor largess. Government funding is public tax money that must be distributed with equality. Discrimination is a crime. It is the people’s will to educate. The choice is the citizen’s. It is the people’s will to be free

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  • Finally, America has been traveling down the highway to Sodom and Gomorrah with its dual lanes of economic disaster and moral decay while the laity was gasping and scratching their heads wondering when the “E” bomb was going to be dropped on politicians and celebrities who openly defied Church law and trampled the truth of the Gospels long enough that even the fearful politically correct voices of Shepherds of the Faithful have had enough.
    It took over three years of the most anti-Christian reign of the most pro-abortion and anti-American messiah of the progressive liberals president to awaken the bishop from their self inflicted comma of capitulation to the media’s constant cry for tolerance, diversity, and its version of social justice in place of their rigid dogma, doctrine, and Catholic teaching.
    Thank God, if it has taken this latest assault by the current demonic leadership in Washington on our religious freedom and moral conscience to arouse justified vocal resentment and resistance to the administrations policies aimed at turning our beloved country into a totally secular socialist bureaucracy run essentially by a dictator without regard for the peoples constitution to finally get the Bishops of America to stand up for the faith and values thousands and thousands of catholic men and women have given their lives to protect and preserve for America and all those who sincerely want to be part of what most have referred to as the shining city on the hill.

  • Why is this women and others like her not excommunicated? Actions speak louder then words.

Pope Benedict: Religious Freedom Under Threat in America

Friday, January 20, AD 2012


Pope Benedict, judging from this address on January 19 to American bishops in Rome, apparently understands the high stakes in the outcome of this year’s election, even if many American Catholics do not:

Dear Brother Bishops,

I greet all of you with fraternal affection and I pray that this pilgrimage of spiritual renewal and deepened communion will confirm you in faith and commitment to your task as Pastors of the Church in the United States of America. As you know, it is my intention in the course of this year to reflect with you on some of the spiritual and cultural challenges of the new evangelization.

One of the most memorable aspects of my Pastoral Visit to the United States was the opportunity it afforded me to reflect on America’s historical experience of religious freedom, and specifically the relationship between religion and culture. At the heart of every culture, whether perceived or not, is a consensus about the nature of reality and the moral good, and thus about the conditions for human flourishing. In America, that consensus, as enshrined in your nation’s founding documents, was grounded in a worldview shaped not only by faith but a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature’s God. Today that consensus has eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such.

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9 Responses to Pope Benedict: Religious Freedom Under Threat in America

  • Quite timely, given the Administration’s offering of the tall finger of fellowship on conscience protections today.

  • “For though absent in body I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man [or woman] to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his [or her] spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 1st Corinthians 5:3-5

    It is now time for the Bishops to act consistent and in synchronicity with St. Paul’s instructions with respect to Kathleen Sebelius, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden and all the rest of the liberal Catholycs who have exchanged the truth and mercy of God’s only begotten Son for the convenience of childlessness by murder and the fleeting pleasure of homosexual filth.

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  • The American atheist, in denying other citizens’ Creator endowed unalienable rights, forfeits his own unalienable rights and has no legal standing in a court of law and must be prevented from removing other civil liberties and freedoms set forth in our founding principles: The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. The atheist may choose to be an atheist for himself, but the atheist may not choose atheism for me or any other human being endowed with unalienable rights to LIFE, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, our destiny as a person, as a citizen, as a people, and as a nation. Government of the people, for the people and by the people will have none of the chicanery going on in Washington: abortion is human sacrifice offered to the devil and the establishment of a religion. sue HHS. In cases of rape, the innocent victim is put to death for the crimes of his parents, JUSTICE? Fornication is the second form of religion to the devil. Lies, perjury, perversion. God created man in FREEDOM. NINCOMPOOPS, IMBECILES, IDIOTS, MORONS, MISCREANTS, THE HIERARCHY OF POLITICIANS IN WASHINGTON, EXCEPT CHRISTOPHER HENRY SMITH R. NJ. I feel bad Chris Smith has not be drafted for president. He’d be real good at it. And thank you for letting me sound off.

  • I love Pope Benedict’s way with words in how he both teaches and cares about us :

    – the deepest truth about our being and ultimate vocation –
    – countering cultural currents which seek to promote notions of freedom detached from moral truth –
    – a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience –

    Our marching orders and perfect prayer intention for USA in:

    – a more consistent witness on the part of America’s Catholics –

    ” … or suppressing it in the name of political power or majority rule, they represent a threat not just to Christian faith, but also to humanity itself and to the deepest truth about our being and ultimate vocation, our relationship to God.”

    “With her long tradition of respect for the right relationship between faith and reason, the Church has a critical role to play in countering cultural currents which, on the basis of an extreme individualism, seek to promote notions of freedom detached from moral truth.”

    “Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.”

    “There can be no doubt that a more consistent witness on the part of America’s Catholics to their deepest convictions would make a major contribution to the renewal of society as a whole.”

  • @PM: Pope Benedict XVI’s words bear repeating. Thank you.

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Gingrich, Media Bias and the Mainstream Media as Morality Police

Friday, January 20, AD 2012

Gingrich turned the tables effectively on John King of CNN last night at the final debate prior to the South Carolina primary on Saturday.  Here is the transcript:

JOHN KING: And just as speaker Gingrich surged into contention here in South Carolina, a direct fresh character attack on the Speaker.

And Mr Speaker, I want to start with that this evening.

As you know, your ex-wife gave an interview to ABC News and another interview with The Washington Post. And this story has now gone viral on the internet.

In it, she says that you came to her in 1999, at a time when you were having an affair. She says you asked her, sir, to enter into an open marriage.

Would you like to take some time to respond to that?

GINGRICH: No, but I will.


GINGRICH: I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. And I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.


KING: Is that all you want to say, sir?

GINGRICH: Let me finish.

KING: Please.

GINGRICH: Every person in here knows personal pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question for a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.


My – my two daughters – my two daughters wrote the head of ABC and made the point that it was wrong, that they should pull it, and I am frankly astounded that CNN would take trash like that and use it to open a presidential debate.


KING: As you noted, Mr Speaker, this story did not come from our network. As you also know, it is a subject of conversation on the campaign. I’m not – I get your point. I take your point.

GINGRICH: John, John, it was repeated by your network. You chose to start the debate with it. Don’t try to blame somebody else. You and your staff chose to start this debate with it.


Let me be quite clear. Let me be quite clear. The story is false. Every personal friend I have who knew us in that period said the story was false. We offered several of them to ABC to prove it was false. They weren’t interested because they would like to attack any Republican. They’re attacking the governor. They’re attacking me. I’m sure they’ll presently get around to Senator Santorum and Congressman Paul.

I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans.


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84 Responses to Gingrich, Media Bias and the Mainstream Media as Morality Police

  • I must be honest. I despise and loathe Barack Hussein Obama and the liberal elite media. They use Gingrich’s second wife to accuse Gingrich of something that they in their diabolical sexual perversion of adultery want legalized and sanctified themselves. Godless satanic hypocrites!

  • It surprises me that the people have not claimed back their aairwaves which are rented to the media to provide a public service. It has seemed to me and noted here that most are extremely biased leaning Left, anti- organised religion, particularly Catholicicism and conservative mainline Christians and anti the GOP. One is offered only the extremes of the self-proclaimed Left and Right while the so-called mainstream media are so off center in their coverage. My suggestion repeated now here is to work toward a system whereby the primetime hours are devoted in some sort of organised way to allow free, fair and unbiased chair-persons to handle debates. Not examples like Mr King who was forced to admit that the blame was not with ABC but his representing CNN to lob this hand-grenade at Mr Gingrich. He showed his presence and character under fire by lobbing it back, to provide a reasonable and thorough answer, including his daughters’ testimony to ABC. That kind of grace under fire is what leaders are made of. The audience reaction shows they were on the side of fairness. Good for the Republic and efforts to use the First Amendent to swing elections.

  • My understanding of the Catholic faith is that you do not enter heaven by being a “nice person”. You need to be sanctified and in the grace of our Lord. Even with this knowledge Our Lord can do what he pleases and His name is “Mercy”. Newt deserves mercy as Our Lord has given us. He deserves respect because he is very knowledgable, experienced and will have to take on Obama, Washington elites and our enemies here in the USA and in the world. He is not afraid to fight. If he were a coward like many politicians, he would never have entered this race. His sins of the past are not relevant anymore and certainly not our business because he has said he repented. We as
    Catholics need to remember that. If you do not agree with his policies, fine then don’t vote for him. But remember who We really are. Jesus told the people regarding stoning a woman, “You who are without sin cast the first stone.” St. Paul killed Christian women and children and Jesus chose him to bring the gentiles into the fold. Just a reminder as I have to do daily with my own sins. God Bless.

  • Some more thoughts on the PACs (ABC, NBC, CNN etc.) providing tens of millions of dollars of free attack ads on Republicans:


  • Whatever the media bias may be, I was far more concerned with his response than his “original” sin–Speaker Gingrich admitting his fault instead of blaming CNN and the Democrats and then moving on would have served his cause much better. We know his former wife was doing this to attempt to destroy him, and as you stated, Donald, it was a good story for ABC and CNN to push forward, but he knew it was coming in any case and “no excuses” would have been far more humble and easier to hear for many of us.

    The sheer amount of anger he showed caused me to wonder about his repentance, frankly. And character does count. And I say that simply as an opinion, I leave the judging to God of course. I hope he truly has repented and had embraced his Catholicism as he seems to have.

    What I believe he needed to do was look and sound sorry that he hurt her, clearly say so, which he has in the past at less “unhinged” moments, and then let the debate go on from there.

    So why do so many people think that was his “finest moment?” To me it was one of his weakest. I would contend that people think so because we have a whole generation raised on reality shows and Jerry Springer. Very sadly people love this stuff. Media, public, Democrats, and Republicans. We have always enjoyed scandal.

  • Stipulated:

    1. Bracketing out Fox News and some radio networks, about 85% of the national press corps favors the Democratic Party (and from that it is a reasonable wager that about 70% are strongly oriented thereto and 35% or so have a nexus of political views which resemble those of Victor Navasky).

    2. Some of these are unscrupulous and some have no talent whatsoever for impartial judgement.


    Now can we please get hold of the vaudvillian’s cane and get Dr. Gingrich off the stage? He is poisonous.

  • God….to head the Jewish people and lead them out of Egypt….picked an ex-murderer, Moses
    who you’ll remember killed an Egyptian for assaulting an Israelite. God punished that murderer, Moses, with 40 years of shepherding sheep. Then God made that murderer a leader. God did a similar thing with the new people of God. He chose the violent Peter of the Gethsemane ear incident and made him a leader after mortifying Peter much quicker than He did with Moses.
    I feel that Peter was trying to split the man’s head at Gethsemane, the man moved in the nick of time and only lost an ear. Within hours Peter would be mortified by his denying Christ despite his rash courage at Gethsemane. Moses was punished for 40 years….Peter in moments. We all wonder. Is Newt like Peter? Has he been mortified deeply but quickly by God….or did he go through the motions. His anger at John King last night helps us trust him a bit more that he might be Peter because Newt is angry at the mega theme of media timing embarassments prior
    to a republican debate
    Mitt gained points in how, unlike Santorum,.he did not make it easy for the moderator to continue to legitimize the question in a follow up moment…Mitt just said no….ask me aboutthe issues. Santorum got suckered immediately. Paul helped Ginrich’s point but then ended with saying how long he was married. Mitt and Ginrich won as being those who perfectly resisted John King who increased by his perseverance his negative image as huckster. CNN has become news-entertainment-celebrity culture. CBS, ABC etc. have become news entertainment-recipes-celebrity culture. CNN will stay out of recipes and cooking spots….to maintain faux gravitas.

  • I would agree with you Art if the alternative were not Romney. Although Santorum is my candidate he just has not caught fire yet, and I am beginning to doubt that he will unless Gingrich drops out, and after last night’s performance by Newt I do not see that happening soon.

  • We have a couple of generations of broken marriages. With the state of marriage in this country, do we really need a leader who has broken his vows 2 times? Gingrich is well spoken and knows his stuff, but his history says he doesn’t know much about commitment. We need someone who can lead by consistency and persistence; I know, our present leader does this to the detriment of the country, but how about having someone who plays by the Constitution and doesn’t play by Saul Alinsky? Having Newt fight for the solidity of marriage is like having the fox in the hen house.

  • “Having Newt fight for the solidity of marriage is like having the fox in the hen house.”

    I doubt if that would be one of his Presidential duties elm, and considering some of the prior occupants of the White House I can understand why.

  • Art, it’s not that 85% of the media favors Obama and the left-wing agitprop.

    It’s that eighty-five percent of the lap dog media swears to Obama’s lies.

    So exactly what do Gingrich’s private, decades old sins have to do with the sky-rocketing prices of gasoline and Big Macs, and no jobs?

  • Newt has acknowledged his wrong. He does not have to “grovel” before the public. Only before God. We do not know what transpired between him and his ex-wives.
    I question more Marianne’s motive after all these years. This was an opportunity for vengeance. That seems more apparent. I do sympathize with her, as that happened to me. But I learned a long time ago, I had to let the resentment go. This was not a show of her good sense and her “character” to tear him apart at this time. My opinion only.
    With the stupidity of many of our politicians we have had in office, plus President’s who openly committed adultery, I hardly think that Newt’s conduct 20 yrs ago, should be a problem. He has much to offer. Some people cannot forgive. We as Catholics better. I am just saying that if this is the only reason to not vote him in, a self-examination may be in order. I can’t see another candidate up there that has a “chance” of beating Obama. That is the real goal. The other candidates are “nice”, but not strong enough in my opinion. Not experienced enough. Remember, he was not Catholic at that time. When you convert to Catholicism, your past life is remembered no more. In God’s eyes this marriage is their first. Just saying…………….

  • By the way, if the measure of a man’s committment to marriage would make a better President…..Ron Paul stated he has been married 54 years. Would you want him to be President??? We would be speaking in middle east “tongues”. Just saying again…….

  • 430 – A person exits the confessional pure, not flawless. I forgive Newt, and rejoice at the prospect of his attaining Heaven, but that’s not the same thing as trusting him.

  • Pinky – What exactly do you think he did that was so detrimental to our country that you would not trust him? Just because his marriages? That does not make sense. He did many good things during his years as Speaker. If he made mistakes, so what. Remember, the country’s well being did not hinge on “Newt Gingrich” only. There has been corruption all through our politically history by many. Well, we have to trust somebody. If past mistakes of humans is the only measure for some, then I guess life is going to be very hard for many to trust anyone. You certainly are entitled to make your choice. Just my thoughts. I was told by a Priest that when I walk out of the confessional those sins are gone and remembered no more. I have to let them go too or else I would not be trusting the Lord. We get a new lease on life every time we go to confession. Everyone is flawed including the other candidates and neighbors and family. We do have to trust someone. I do understand sometimes caution is in order in life with people, but we are talking very difficult times and a very important election. To me perfect character with these candidates won’t go far with Obama. I could be wrong, but I would not trust Santorum or Romney to beat Obama. Newt knows about his marriages better than anyone else what he did. I don’t think many can handle his intelligence. Of course he will need a congress as every President can’t do it all alone. Well……Obama has at times. Oh well.

  • Pinky: What did Newt do to you?

    Media Bias: Adultery, fornication, infidelity, promiscuity were not newsworthy in 1992 and 2008. For those people, sodomy is a basic human right.

    Professor Jacobson: “On the two key inflammatory statements made against Newt, ABC News presented the statements without challenging his accuser based on readily available public information casting doubt on her version of events. We can debate the propriety of running an interview with a bitter ex-spouse at a critical juncture in a campaign. What is not open to debate is that ABC News used Marianne Gingrich for its own purpose of trying to damage one of the top contenders for the Republican nomination.” Instapundit: “It’s as if they’re just dutiful apparatchiks or something.”

    Work the curse of the drinking class!

  • 430 – Praise God, we are all cleansed by Jesus through the sacraments of Baptism and Confession. No argument there. And really, not much of an argument about the rest, either. We each can judge the candidates by our own prudential criteria. And I’m not saying that we shouldn’t trust Gingrich. I’m saying only that we aren’t required to trust him.

  • Pinky – Well taken, but we all need to think about this election and who can beat Obama. With all the problems we face here and abroad, including the loss of family values and morals, we better pay real good attention and try to elect a candidate with our intelligence rather than emotions. I also believe Newt would fight to end Roe Vs. Wade, Gay Marriage, repeal Obamacare and stop the persecution of our Christian faith in USA and maybe abroad. Santorum and Romney (maybe) would too. But they can’t beat Obama as far as I see now. Again I may be wrong. Time will tell. God Bless.

  • Some seemon here (1) to forget that a condition for forgiveness as Matthew tells us “when you go to the altar and remember (a hurt done to you) go seek reconciliation with that person, then come back with your worhip offering. IF Mr Gingrich get an annulment as one would presume, there is a process for both parties to exchange views, and each may respond if each wishes. One cannot either way presume that he made some form of apology or offer to do so, especially since he was becoming Catholic. (2) I remind all on here again that Mr Gingrich continued to explain that – not only was the allegation against his conduct out publicly already but he said his daughters and others who knew the circumstances could have added balance or even repudiated his ex-wife’s ABC story so soon before the SC causus. Reminded me of the accuser of S Court Justice Clarence Thomas to ignore all his precious court appointments but came forward at the Supreme Court. The People for the “American” (?) Way spent a lot of money- I seem to recall four million dollars- to “Bork” Mr Bork whose too many opinions sank him along with the Leftists, lled by the TV producer Norman Lear founder of PFTAW who usedde sit-oms to promote the anti- moral sexula agenda of those simpler days. The abortion question seemed to be their fear. I listened until 2-3 AM the last night of the trestimony and was very impressed to hear the testimony of a professor who rode with them to the airport when he had delivered a lecture at the accuser’s university and they were very animated. Get them with cash or sex if you cannot assassinate them with a rifle. Thank God they lost second time around. i anxiously await the next POTUS to see if 44’s two “pro-abort choosers” get a third added to tip the scales 5-4 IF he wins.

  • Newt has acknowledged his wrong. He does not have to “grovel” before the public.

    Who the heck are you supposed to be quoting, here, CATHOLIC430? That goes past red herring and well into the Wookie defense….

  • (amusingly, on a post that is defending Newt from unequal targeting)

  • If the Republicans nominate Gingrich, there will be a “gender gap” of at least 25 points. As I said on someone else’s site today, I know otherwise impeccably conservative women who cannot stand the man, or at a minimum trust him as far as he can be spat.

    Though I enjoy seeing him rochambeau the media as much as the next person who despises the MSM, that’s not an argument for electability.

  • Dale, It didn’t matter in 1992 or 2008.

    You ain’t seen nothing. This vale of tears can be a lot worse.

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  • Foxfire -I don’t understand what you mean by my post. You sound insulting here. You may disagree with what I say, but you seem to have an edge to your tone. What is red herring and wookie defense? I am trying to give my opinion as everyone else. I do not think Newt Gingrich should have to “grovel” before the public debates on TV regarding his personal past (20 years?). This is an election that is important. He owned up to his past. That should be enough for Catholics to understand. But you don’t have to vote for him if you don’t want to. This is between him, his wife and God. They have been at him about this, which he knew they would. I am not defending his past life, but it’s not relevant now. I don’t know what you did not understand. There is no quote, it’s my own opinion.

  • You sound insulting here.

    And more good, red herring….

    What is red herring and wookie defense?

    It means that you are trying to distract attention and turn a discussion to a subject that you prefer. Donald mentioned one before, and the other is the internet cousin.

    The topic of the post is “Media bias and the morality police.” I’d imagine it took a while to write and format, not counting any time thinking about it and polishing some reasoning.

    You respond by implying that it is about how Newt needs to abase himself to overcome the weight of his past– quotes in that context imply that you are quoting someone, generally in the same stream of conversation that the statement is made– and imply that anyone caring about Newt cheating on multiple wives is defying Jesus.

    This is a topic that you should be able to jump right on board with– the topic of people actually singling out Newt for attacks on his personal history— and you can’t even keep close to it, or avoid the same accusation you’ve made several times already that taking Newt’s weaknesses into account is stepping into God’s area? (With a side implication that those who don’t agree might not “understand” the way they should as Catholics.)

    And you think that I sound insulting….

  • Foxfier – You are too smart for me. You got me!!! 😉 But I will say what I think and feel. Who made you the editor of how posts should be? I have no idea what you mean. I was putting in an opinion and maybe persuade others to look at it in a different way. So what? We are allowed to try to influence each other. This topic is about the Presidency. We as Catholics have to make judgements certainly, but not be judgemental. There have been a lot of judgement on Newt for his marriages. I am talking about using our Catholic Teachings as a guide if this is the only barrier to considering him. I don’t need to use red herrings as you put it. I say what I think and feel and try not to harm anyone or insult anyone. That does not mean that one cannot disagree with me. This is definitely in God’s area when we start using people’s mistakes in life after they have repented. Do we know he did? That’s not my call. He has very good ideas on how to change the way Washington is run. And he is strong enough. This is not written in stone. We don’t know, but it’s all we have. I want Obama out like many others. I think he would be able to do it. By the way, with all due respect, there are so many Catholics that don’t understand the teachings of the church and Christ. I only know what I know and can respond to it. I will always try to bring our faith into areas in a discussion if I feel it appropriate. God Bless.

  • It’s interesting that a lot of the people who are trusting in Newt’s conversion of heart are the same people who most vociferously distrust Romney’s conversion on abortion.

  • I was putting in an opinion and maybe persuade others to look at it in a different way.

    By hijacking posts to say the same thing you’ve said elsewhere on this blog, making the same accusations against those who disagree with you and follow it up with accusations? By arguing against things that aren’t said? (which would be strawman, from Donald’s lovely list.)

    We know what Churchill said about those who can’t change their minds and won’t change their subjects– what is there to say about someone who changes everything to the same subject just to say the same thing over and over?

    But I will say what I think and feel. Who made you the editor of how posts should be?

    I’m someone who is interested in the original topic of the post, rather than reading what you “think and feel” for the umpteenth time.

    Media bias is important and insidious, since it warps the way that reality is portrayed. Examining, evaluating and making arguments for and against aspects of how media bias touches on elections and “politics” (which, sadly, includes things like all humans are human) in general is a very important topic.

    Incidentally, one of the great strengths of the Church is that it is rational, not impulse/emotion based, and it teaches that we can reason out a great deal– one of my favorite gifts from God, really.

  • Paul Z.,

    “It’s interesting that a lot of the people who are trusting in Newt’s conversion of heart are the same people who most vociferously distrust Romney’s conversion on abortion.”

    Newt converted to Catholicism. Romney remains a pagan LDS adherent. That being said, I would not be surprised that the percentage of Mormons who lead moral lives might exceed the percentage of Catholics. Nevertheless, Romney has not converted, and Newt did. Romney simply changed his mind on a subject that he knows he must win in the hearts and minds of conservative Christians which he is demonstrably not.

  • “Pinky: What did Newt do to you?”

    T – I thought that was a well-delivered response and I took it as such, but I’ve been thinking about that question more and more, and I need to answer it seriously.

    He embarrassed me. As a conservative, as a Republican, and as an American, he embarrassed me. He walked out on his first wife, then walked out on his second wife. And that does offend me more than I ever realized. And then – and this may the worst part – he acts huffy when he gets called out on it. And that grates on me. I cheered when he criticized the press for their stupid, liberally-biased questions, and then he uses the same tone to criticize the press for talking about something he doesn’t wanna, just because he doesn’t wanna. And that discredits the entire conservative critique of the media. And that makes me feel like he still doesn’t recognize the difference between the message and himself.

    He reminds me of a problem drinker who’s fallen off the wagon a couple of times, and now gets upset when I check his breath before tossing him my car keys. That’s the same kind of self-importance that derailed a political movement that I believed in. So yes, I expect a little less Pharisee and a little more tax collector from him when the subject of infidelity comes up.

  • Well, well, well…
    If Jesus were here to read all of the hateful comments directed at The President of The USA, and at followers of the Mormon faith, and other, ….as a defense of this Newt Gingrich, he would be astonished to see how his Words have been interpreted.

    As a member of the Roman Catholic Church I have to say it’s really quite perverse, how people that claim to follow the teachings of Christ are so willing to foster hatred and refuse to see the hypocrisy of their actions.

  • Doctor,

    If you voted for that nothing, thank you for ruining my country.

    All that justice and peace stuff is cynical political posturing.

    The government is wrecking the people.

    Today, in St. Louis, your president bragged about forcing religious employers to pay for contraceptive and soon abortions.

  • Pinky,

    “Forgive all injuries.” For our MD obama worshiper: that is one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy.

    I forgive those who harm me.

    Did Newt harm you or is it pride?

    Here’s the drill: repentance, Confession, penance, amendment of life and good works for the greater glory of God Almighty through Jesus Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit. I Hope (this is one of the Theological virtues) that Newt is on that road, as I hope I am.

    PS: I know the devastation of alcoholism. My brother killed himself with drink, and ruined his family; that killed my father, too. Don’t equate what Newt did with that.

  • The President of the United States is a murderer of unborn babies and a sanctifier of the filth of homosexual sodomy.

    The former governor of Massachusetts is a pagan who believes that Jesus and Lucifer are brothers, God the Father had sexual intercourse with the Virgin Mary, and if he tithes enough to a Mormon Temple, then he himself will be elevated to godhead and put in charge of his own planet after death.

    In earlier times the Church dealt with apostates, heretics and pagans more forcefully than it does today. We’ve gotten better. But remember how St. Peter dealt with Ananias and Sapphira, how St. Paul dealt with the adulterer at the Church in Corinth, and how St. John dealt with Jezebel at Thyatira- what they did would each be classified as that unforgiveable crime of “not nice.”

    Was God “not nice” when He had Sennecharib drag evil King Manasseh by a ring through his nose to a dungeon in Assyria because he murdered babies the way that godless man of sin Obama does? You bet He wasn’t nice. And being God, God does not change one iota. If Obama doesn’t repent, then sadly the same is possible for him. Do we want that? NO! But might it become necessary? YES! So get on your knees and pray for repentance!

    But to today’s liberals who call themselves Catholic, telling such truth in public is hatred but love is giving assent to intrinsic evil. Do you want souls to go to hell? St. Paul handed that incestuous adulterer at Corinth over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh so that his soul would be saved on the last day. 2nd Corinthians chapter 2 records that St. Paul’s efforts were successul – the pervert repented! Better that that happens to Romney and Obama than that they go to hell. How is that unloving? Or do you prefer we love them into hell?

    I despise and loathe liberalism and the doctrine of “be nice and tolerant.” The Saints were anything but nice and tolerant. And so was Jesus.

    PS, Gingrich repented. Period.

  • I will answer to any blog I want unless the owner of this website tells me different. I have not attacked anyone. I have responded to one post personally and that was Pinky. This is my first time on this website. If there is anyone that I have insulted I certainly did not intend to do so. I responded to the ideas in several posts. I can answer the same if I want to. If there are any rules that I am breaking I would appreciate someone else telling me this. It seems only one person is irate with me. If this continues I will call the site myself and complain. This is any open forum. I can repeat certain ideas if I want to. This is America and I have Free Speech. If I don’t like something I read, I will not attack them. I will ignore them. I appreciate feedback, but not condescending posts telling me off.
    God Bless.

  • OK, that is quite enough on this thread about Mormonism. There are any number of grounds to oppose Romney, but Mormonism is not going to be one of them on this blog. Any further comments attacking Romney for his inherited religion will be deleted.

  • Sorry, Donald – that was me. If Romney is the nominee, then I will definitely vote for him. I was trying to make a point with Leon and went too far.


    -10 pts for me.

  • … but not condescending posts telling me off.

    Can dish it out, but not take it?

    If you think I’m irate, I’m afraid you’re very sheltered.

    There are rules.
    They’re linked up top, under comments policy. If you can find a number to “call” the site at, I’d be surprised, but I have no fear of you contacting the editors of TAC “to complain” when– horrors!– someone else says what they “think and feel” about you constantly dragging the topic to how sinful it is for anyone to even considers serial adultery to be worthy of consideration.

  • This is typical of most the mainstream media. If a story can damage a Republican they will spare no effort to get it, even if it is essentially an old story from 14 years ago with little new news in it. A Democrat scandal however, will usually be greeted with indifference by most of the mainstream media until such time as it gets big enough that they have to cover it.

    It’s not just a R/D divide– last fall a little boy (IIRC he’s autistic) went missing, and after several days of searching, a guy came forward and asked the police if they’d looked in an area. They had, so he asked if he could do it again, and walked out with the child in no time– the little boy was fine. He checked out as not involved in the kid’s disappearance, but requested that his name be kept private because it wasn’t his doing, the Holy Spirit had come to him and told him where the boy was. I vaguely remember the story, but hadn’t heard anything about the Holy Spirit being involved; a friend from the area mentioned it, because she gets both the “local” paper and reads the national papers. It was mentioned locally, but gradually got dropped the further you got from the town.

    The worldview of the reporters is probably very important– there’s a theory about history that boils down to, well, history gets boiled down so it fits into stories. If stuff shows up already boiled down, you’d better at least know how the cook tends to be so you know how much salt to add!

  • HA!! Now I figured out what the problem is. I linked to this blog and read some posts and was putting in my opinions not realizing that Donald Mcclarey put a topic that we were supposed to reply to. Again this is my first day on this blog. I did not know there was a format to follow. No wonder some may be confused by my posts. I was replying to some posts regarding Newts candidacy and the attacks because of his past marriages and was trying to relate my Catholic faith to certain responses. DONALD MCCLARY I APOLOGIZE FOR NOT FOLLOWING THE FORMAT. Are you the person who leads the topics for people to respond? I am sorry if I caused any upset here.

  • If you’re that new to blogs, email me– foxfier “at” gmail “dot” com — and I’ll try to explain how it works. Think more like a news paper (this is the ‘front page’) where you can comment on the articles than, say, a bulletin board. (which sounds like what you’re talking about)

  • at 7:50pm
    “Well, well, well…
    If Jesus were here…”
    “As a member of the Roman Catholic Church I have to say it’s really quite perverse, how people that claim to follow the teachings of Christ are so willing to foster hatred and refuse to see the hypocrisy of their actions.”

    Is that comment an example of reverse psychology?
    Also, no “ifs” about the fact that Jesus is here, and not just for “members” only.

    When He commissioned His disciples, Jesus said “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, … , teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
    See also Mark Ch. 16
    Faith, Hope, and Love for God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

  • Gingrich’s self-righteous indignation doesn’t play well with me. Let me count the ways . . .

    GINGRICH: I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. And I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.

    I know something more destructive, more vicious, and more appalling: serial adultery.

    GINGRICH: Every person in here knows personal pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things.

    So that’s what his wife went through: personal pain. Like some kind of disease or accident. Just one of those things that happens, you know? Divorce happens. Adultery happens.And sometimes adultery happens three times.

    To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question for a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.

    I know something more despicable: unrepentant adultery combined with self-righteous indignation. The pretense of penitence gave way to the only kind of response that could save Gingrich’s “open” minded libido: deny, deny, counter-accuse.

    Forgiveness is entirely applicable in this situation, whether or not Gingrich really has reformed. He is to be loved with compassion. But love doesn’t refuse to judge character. And Gingrich’s uber-narcissistic character revealed itself with all its grandiose glory last night.

    The only person Gingrich has the right to be appalled at is himself.

  • I know something more despicable: unrepentant adultery combined with self-righteous indignation.

    As has been pointed out, he did repent.

    As much as it may not bother you, I am greatly bothered by rules or standards being selectively applied. As much as Newt’s background makes me slow to trust him– a debt forgiven is made even, not made to have never existed– I wish that he could give the other candidates lessons in how to respond to these gotcha type questions.

  • Bah, “may not bother you relative to everything else,” gotta watch my implications.

  • PS, Gingrich repented. Period.

    I will say this: when I saw Gingrich at the end of mass at the National Shrine in Washington, D.C., he was texting, not singing. But you know, here’s his idea of repentance:

    There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.

    Not appropriate? He loved his country too much to love his wives? He worked too hard not to commit adultery over and over again?

    But you know, there is this quote:

    I’ve spent many nights in agonizing tears, Bill, knowing how much my two girls have suffered because of my addiction to lust. I look back on those years, and the only thing that keeps me from giving into despair is my love for God, and my trust in his mercy.

    Now, this quote almost convinces me, except that I just made it up.

  • On the merits of King’s question: it deserved to be asked, and deserved to be asked up front. Why? Because the man is an unquestioned liar, hypocrite, and two-time vow-breaker. It is entirely with his puffed-up ego to request an “open” marriage: especially since it would be far more politically expedient to have a mistress rather than another public scandal. So what if liberals give liberals a pass on sexual ethics: the liberals don’t claim to have repented, and the liberal constituents don’t claim to care. Of course liberals are going to hold conservatives feet to the flames when it comes to perceived hypocrisy. Except in this case, it isn’t perceived.

  • Newt’s repentance is after the scandals, Nate.

    Also, if you listened to his ex-wife, it sounds more like he was complaining she was too clingy. (Probably with good reason, since she was “the other woman” at one point, but it still doesn’t sound like ‘I want to sleep with other people while still married to you’.)

    and the liberal constituents don’t claim to care

    Not true. Those constituents who are publicly catered to care when it’s useful– when it’s not, they don’t.
    Liberals don’t claim to be sexually pure, but they do claim respect for women.

    On the merits of King’s question: it deserved to be asked, and deserved to be asked up front.

    So, accusations– which cannot be proven one way or the other– about a topic that is widely known should be brought up at every excuse, but ONLY if the target is a conservative?

  • “Personally, I find Newt’s behavior in his first two marriages to be despicable, and I still find him preferable to Romney and light years better than Obama.”

    OK, no arguing about tastes, but how exactly do you find a serial adulterer better than Obama, character-wise?

    I mean, why confine yourself to Newt’s marriages while ignoring his affairs?

    And why on earth would you find a treacherous bastard like Gingrich to be more moral than Romney, who at least has stayed with the mother of his children?

    Not to mention Obama, who is also still happily married to the mother of his children?

  • “OK, no arguing about tastes, but how exactly do you find a serial adulterer better than Obama, character-wise?”

    I said that I found him preferable as President. The reasons for that would include:
    1. That Gingrich does not view unborn children as disposable property that can be slain at the whim of the mother, as does Obama.

    2. That Gingrich understands that government spending must be slashed if we are not going to end up in national bankruptcy, unlike Obama.

    3. Gingrich is pledged to repeal ObamaCare.

    4. Gingrich would appoint judges and justices that understand that the Constitution is not a license for them to act as Platonic Guardians and legislate from the bench, unlike Obama.

    The list could go at considerable length, but suffice it to say that I cannot think of any aspect of Obama as President where I would prefer him to Gingrich.

    As to Obama’s character, considering that he has had a lap dog media running interference for him every step of his career, I believe that there are quite a few lacunae in his life that the media has never been eager to fill in. However we do know a few things.

    He and his family for decades attended a Church run by Reverend Wright that seemed to specialize in racial hatred rather than Christianity.

    Obama has been a political associate of William Ayres, an unrepentant member of the Weather underground, and a domestic terrorist responsible for deaths in bombings in the early seventies, including the daughter of a late friend of mine, James Oughten.

    He won his US Senate seat by behind the scenes engineering of the release of damaging divorce information about two of his opponents: Blair Hull in the Democrat primary who was the odds on favorite to win, and Jack Ryan in the general election. Politics is a low business at best, but using information in sealed divorce cases, where none of the parties involved wanted the information released, struck me as bringing politics to an all time low.

    Obama throughout his career has been an outspoken ally of Planned Parenthood, an organization I lovingly refer to as Worse Than Murder, Inc, and I think that is a sign of very bad character indeed.


    Obama’s administration has shown, through its policies, a complete disdain for Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. I would direct you to these posts on this blog:



    If Obama is a man of good character, it is a trait very well concealed.

  • I wonder how many of us have been addicted or still are. The conventional wisdom is Freduian and attributes the root evil to being hurt emtionally in the first five years of life. From that alienation comes addictions to cover for it, medicate for it, and we get Power, which is rooted in the first deadly sin of hubris, excessive pride which is from the dark side of insecurity- then one or two more manifetations such as alcohol, gambling, and various sexual activities. Seeing the various attempts to dismiss, denouce, criticise Newt’s past on here reminds me that not all have dealt with our own demons. IF we have faced, named and dealt with our own demon(s) acknowledged that my sin has been forgiven and Jesus is merciful, we could never say your sin is worse or i cannot forgive you for doing that. Jesus was rather blunt about it, the public sinners of His day would make it to the Kingdom before the tu-tut tut -ers who were sick but did not humbly go to the Hospital where He is the physician. Sexual sins are not in and of themselves the worst kind.

  • In my post the other day I said that Newt has used people in his life as if he viewed them as nothing more than pawns. I would submit that though there is no evidence of adultery in Obama’s life, he has a similar vice, and it is a vice that continues to manifest to this very day. Those unfortunate sad sacks that he trots out at press conferences and State of the Union addresses are nothing more to him than pieces he can use to advance a political agenda.

    An ability keep one’s pants zipped is not the only marker of one’s character.

  • At this point even before the SC caucus, my view of this very long thread is we have said everthing , and repeated it, about all the candidates, repeated all their faults and continued to compare “Evils.” Tennis anyone?

  • Fair enough, Paul. I don’t think anyone is saying that Newt’s errors make Obama virtuous, or even preferable. I think that 430 and especially the MD are getting beaten up not for what they said, but for what a lot of people who say the same things also say. Or, to put that a little more coherently, for sounding like people we might disagree with.

    We all agree on the facts. We all share the same faith (as far as I know). We agree that abortion in America is a great evil, and that three wives doesn’t make you a Mormon.

  • I think that 430 and especially the MD are getting beaten up not for what they said, but for what a lot of people who say the same things also say.

    Where did this happen, specifically? There has been a lot of replying to what people haven’t said, but mostly 430 (accidentally) did it, while Leon dropped one post that was specifically responded to then ignored.

  • Also– cowalker implied that O both more virtuous and preferable to Newt.

  • Foxfier, cowalker didn’t say anything about Obama being preferable to Newt, if you mean preferable as a potential president. T. Shaw called the MD an Obama-worshipper. And I probably said a few obnoxious things, myself. And as to Paul Primavera’s comment about the saints, they weren’t “nice and tolerant”, but they were nice. Nicer than we tend to be on the internet, once a debate gets heated.

  • Pinky- yes, he did imply that O was clearly morally better than Newt, and as he was replying to the statement: Personally, I find Newt’s behavior in his first two marriages to be despicable, and I still find him preferable to Romney and light years better than Obama, that means that he was implying that he was also better president material.

    Yes, Shaw called the MD an Obama-worshiper, probably on the basis of his one comment being a rather out-of-the-blue defense that seemed more like a scan-and-respond than a read-and-respond; perhaps T. Shaw googled Leon’s name and found that he’s got a cottage industry of denouncing conservatives.
    Foonman is a rather unusual name, but he’s on facebook. Doesn’t show up as a doctor anywhere, though, isn’t in the AT&T phone number database, etc, but if you can get google to work for you you’ll get LOTS of “I denounce you” type statements. (Amusing: search for ‘foonman “As a lifelong Republican”‘. Less than a week since he left the party, though there’s years of attacks….)

    And as to Paul Primavera’s comment about the saints, they weren’t “nice and tolerant”, but they were nice.

    Punching people is nice?! (old Saint Nick) Jerome was, as I remember, a really cranky old man, and I seem to remember a lot of saints just wanted to be left the heck alone. St. de Paul, by his own description? I seem to remember that some groups of monks came about because the head holy man wanted to be left alone, and the more harsh hurdles they put in place, the more men came to follow them.

    The saints are to be loving— and frequently, that is ANYTHING but nice!

  • Professor Joseph Campbell on Media Bias: “ABC News offered yesterday a risible lineup of two-timing politicians that omitted Bill Clinton, the philandering 42nd president, but included Thomas Jefferson, about whom the evidence of sexual dalliance is thin at best.”

    Sorry, I just learned Obama gave the Church a year of grace before it must pay for abortions and contraception.

    I now realize it is forbidden to say bad things about President Obama or his virtuous acolytes. I keep forgetting all this is punishment for 400 years of racism.

    I will forthwith STFU.

    There is no evident of Obama being or doing anything. We don’t know the name of his dope dealer. We don’t know the name of the blond he slept with for 18 months. That’s adultery, too.

    Somewhere some Birther found evidence our scourge received college student loans in connection with a program intended for foreign students.

    The whip won’t air his birth certificate because “what the eff does that have to do with punishing you for being racists?”

  • “And as to Paul Primavera’s comment about the saints, they weren’t ‘nice and tolerant’, but they were nice.”

    Saint Paul wrote that he hope that the Judaizers at the Church in Galatia would cut it all off – Galatians 5:12. St. John the Baptist called the Pharisees a brood of vipers – “who warned you to flee the wrath to come?” – Matthew 3:7-12. Say comments like that here at TAC and you could get banned!

  • Buyers’ Remorse Department?: “Almost every employer and insurer in the country forced to provide sterilization and contraceptives, including some abortion-inducing drugs, in their health plans… Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights.” designate-Cardinal Tim Dolan, NYC.

    Not altogether true: Obamacare forces US citizens to buy health insurance.

    The Scourge must think we’re stupid: He says he’ll prohibit the Canada oil pipeline; impose life/death-crisis-solving Obamacare; and force the Church to pay for abortion drugs, etc. after they re-elect punishment for 400 years of racism. Four more years!

  • See, I used to think this way too. You can always find selected quotes that make the saints look combative. But I recently read a biography of St. Joan of Arc – I was expecting her to be an angry, violent anti-Brit. It turns out that she was a compassionate person who prayed for her opponents and begged them to leave the field of battle and go to Confession. Then I read a biography of St. Dominic – surely, he’s got to be a tough one, right? A crusader, the proto-Inquisitor? He won people over by his preaching and simplicity of life. The trait that struck people most about him was his kindness. St. Frances de Sales, a leader of the Counter-Reformation who converted the French Calvinists, of all people, did so by being the warmest guy you’d ever want to meet and never giving up on anyone. And the more I’m reading, the more I find that these great figures of the Church were not heavy-handed.

    We live in a screwed-up time, when polite people won’t stand up for anything. In response to the wishy-washiness of our age, we’ve become convinced that we have to be hard. We (I) want our saints to be tough guys who are right but not good, because that’s something that I know I can be. Well, guess what – we’re supposed to be both. I don’t have the right to be nasty to people online simply because what I’m saying is true. We’re supposed to be right and good, have truth and love. And sometimes love *is* saying the difficult thing, but that doesn’t mean that being a difficult person is a sign of charity.

    And this is something I’ve really been struggling with. I want Father Kolbe to be shooting Nazis with a high-powered rifle. I prefer the ornery Latin Mass crowd to the feel-good Novus Ordo gang. But truth be told, I know that we’re supposed to be as nice as the dippiest liberal and as correct as the most bitter orthodox person. That path is so narrow that I don’t think I can make it sometimes, but it’s the right path.

  • Pinky, for what it’s worth, I found that in teaching inner city high school seniors that a happy intolerance always worked wonders in dealing with misbehavior. If I gave them an inch, they’d take a mile. If I showed the the slightest negativity, they’d escalate.

    A ruthless intolerance of evil, combined with a joyfulness of spirit, is about the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Especially when I didn’t feel very joyful, or I didn’t feel like confronting some small infraction. But it kind of sounds a lot like what you’re describing in the saints.

  • We are called to love God with our whole beings and with all our might. Second, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves.

    That love does not always mean we should be nice.

    One translation of the Old Testament saying is, “Spare the rod, hate the child.”

    The humanists with their blinders on human dignity seem too often to discard the concept of evil and that evil must with charity be resisted.

    Our ardor/zeal must be for the glory of God and for the salvation of souls, our’s and our sisters’ and brothers’. “What has a man gained if he wins the entire World, but has lost his immortal soul.” St. Paul, I think.

    From the Spiritual Works of mercy:

    Admonish the sinner.

    Counsel the doubtful.

    Instruct the ignorant.

    These may require us to be other than “nice.”

    Then, more Spiritual Works:

    Forgive all injuries.

    Pray for the living and the dead.

    Did I miss any?

  • You can always find selected quotes that make the saints look combative.

    When did we go from “nice” to “not combative”?

    And how does being able to find a few saints who don’t strike you as “combative” show that none of them are, in the face of the testimony of the saints themselves?

    Congratulations, you proved that some saints aren’t combative in your view, even when they are famous for leading soldiers into battle— taken with the other evidence offered, there are a wide range of saints. I’ll take saint Maximilian Kolbe and raise you St. Gabriel Possenti, Michael the Archangel and Jesus himself in the Temple.

    Possibly, the root of this entire issue is one of definition– what on earth do you mean when you say “nice”? Generally, it’s used to mean pleasant or agreeable— neither of which describe a saint when faced with the wrong situation; on the other hand, from the way you’re using it, you’re using “nice” to mean “not a total donkey,” part of the time, and the rest of the time it’s not clear what on earth you mean.

    Paul P. clearly used it in the “non-confrontational” sense.

  • These days just plainly call for a return to objective reality.
    The media and Oval Office people are serving. The baffled by b.s. voting public is: either being good so no one shuts them up with insults and name tags or worse; or on to the rules of acquiring public funds for support and care. Hear no, see no, speak no (don’t even say the word…). The rest of the voting public has 75% of 2012 left to not stfu about good and evil, truth and hypocrisy, oaths of office and accountability, budgets and accounting, bailouts and accounting, debt and accounting, money trails and accounting, humor and aspersion, virtues and values, or propaganda and facts.

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  • Foxfier – I guess I’m thinking mostly of the virtue of gentleness. And yes, I know that there are times when anger is appropriate.

  • Pinky-
    so, you scolded Paul P. for saying the saints weren’t nice when you meant they sometimes express gentleness?

    You then defend your claim that the saints were (implied, all) nice by pointing out, basically, that they were not the idiot bulls in a china shop that you had imagined them to be? Rather than caricatures, they were… well… holy people? Perhaps ones that express the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity? What made you think that Paul P. did not know that?

    Incidentally, gentleness isn’t a virtue. It’s one of the fruits of the Spirit.

    Here’s from a bit below the one mention of gentleness, the “in brief” explanation of the cardinal virtues:
    1833 Virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do good.
    1834 The human virtues are stable dispositions of the intellect and the will that govern our acts, order our passions, and guide our conduct in accordance with reason and faith. They can be grouped around the four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.
    1835 Prudence disposes the practical reason to discern, in every circumstance, our true good and to choose the right means for achieving it.
    1836 Justice consists in the firm and constant will to give God and neighbor their due.
    1837 Fortitude ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good.
    1838 Temperance moderates the attraction of the pleasures of the senses and provides balance in the use of created goods.

    (Whole big huge quote because I couldn’t find a good spot to make it any more brief. It’s like it was written by experts or something. /joke)

  • I wish to thank and concur with Dr LF. I have quoted St Aaugustine often, we love the sinner but hate the sin. And we have absolutely no business judging the sinner, EXTERNALLY, without knowing the facts or circumstances of the sin- we certainly cannot rely on the media for “truth” and “facts” As to judging the person’s heart – that is always off limits, Jesus has that brief. Now as to saints having faults. Being a saint does not mean the person was faultless. Some had bad tempers, St Jerome who translated the Bible had a notorious temper. Augustine was a sex addict in today’s terms before his conversion, then lived a chaste life and became a bishop. As long as each of us is in this flawed world of sin and grace, we can move forward- Newt can be a faithful husband and it is possible that the very young Mr Obama could eventually become a pro-life citizen. No one of us can guess, Ask St Paul about his striking conversion on the road to Damascus; or the woman in the Roe v Wade case in 1973 who is now for unborn life and a Catholic.

  • Foxfier – Gentleness is a virtue, but not a cardinal virtue.

  • HT-
    We’re not judging the state of the sinner’s soul, we’re trying to figure out if someone is up to a difficult job when he’s got a huge, known weakness that he publicly has admitted to
    . And nobody was talking about if the saints were perfect– Pinky just claimed they were always nice, and we’re trying to get to the bottom of what he(?) means.

    Again, you’re not being very clear. Are you speaking of “virtue” in the secular sense of “a trait showing good morals,” or in the Catholic sense of “a habitual and firm disposition to do the good”? In the former way, you’re right, in the latter, you’re mistaken, since gentleness is a possible result rather than a cause. (Which is rather cool, when you think of it– our language has been so influenced by the Church that the natural drift of common use is theologically important! That’s even bigger than when I first realized as a little kid that holidays were “holy-days” and that it’s “Christ’s Mass”– not just Christian, but Catholic.)
    Either way, the problem stands– there is a long list of examples of saints not being gentle in the least, following in the footsteps of Jesus in the Temple.

  • The Theological virtues: Faith, Hope and Love. The greatest is Love

    The human virtues: fortitude, justice, prudence, and temperance. Sometimes patience listed as a virtue.

    Moral courage (fortitude) is generally missing but is the most vital human virtue. I think General Patton said that.

  • I was referring to earlier comments about the saints’ foibles and faults.
    AS FOR YOU: What accurate knowledge does any of us have about Newt’s marriages, his former wives’ personaliities, their dynamic together, how emotionally mature he was when married to them- much younger and had a tough role in Congress.
    I am not making excuses but pointing out possible factors one considers when we have not “Walked a mile in the other person’s mocassins.”

  • Get the theology and biblical data straight. there are three theological vrtues; four cardinal virtues, produence justice temperance and forrtitude- cardinal from the Latin for hinge; patience is one of the several fruits of the Holy Spirit listed by St Paul; the gifts of the Holy Spirit are listed in Isaiah, applied to Christ in prophecy and to the confirmed person.

  • HT: Does this mean I don’t get a gold star?

    My little Rosary booklet says for the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, The Carrying of the Cross, we should desire the Virtue of Patience. That’s where I got that.

  • TShaw, I’ll add this copied from the back page of the St. Gregory Society calendar, with which I was gifted:

    Three Theological Virtues:
    Faith, Hope, Charity (Like you said, Love for God and neighbor)

    Four Cardinal Virtues:
    Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance

    Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit:
    Wisdom, Counsel, Knowledge, Understanding, Fortitude, Piety, Fear of the Lord

    Twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit:
    Charity, Understanding, Peace, Patience, Benignity, Goodness
    Long-suffering, Mildness, Faith, Modesty, Continence, Chastity

    Three Evangelical Counsels:
    Poverty, Chastity, Obedience

    Four Last Things:
    Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell

    Seven Capital Sins:
    Pride, Lust, Gluttony, Covetousness, Anger, Envy, Sloth

    Four Marks of The Church:
    One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic

    Four Truths Necessary to believe for Salvation:
    1. That God exists.
    2. That there are three Persons in One God.
    3. That the Son of God became man and died for our salvation.
    4. That God rewards the good and punishes the wicked.

    The Spiritual Works of Mercy:
    1. To admonish the sinner
    2. To instruct the ignorant
    3. To counsel the doubtful
    4. To comfort the sorrowful
    5. To bear wrongs patiently
    6. To forgive all injuries
    7. To pray for the living and the dead

    The Corporal Works of Mercy:
    1. To feed the hungry
    2. To give drink to the thirsty
    3. To clothe the naked
    4. To visit the imprisoned
    5. To shelter the homeless
    6. To visit the sick
    7. To bury the dead

    There’s also the Ten Commandments, Eight Beatitudes, Mysteries of the Rosary, and the Precepts of the Church….
    It’s like a syllabus and I wish everyone had this one page reference for the coming 2012 discourse.

  • Patience=Fortitude=Moral Courage=virtuous ways
    Tomayto, tomahto

  • Thanks for putting them all in one convenient list. The Beatutudes from Mt 5 and Luke 4 would fill it out. Commandments for those who are stuck back there without working on the more demanding Beatitudes !

  • Of course you get a gold star for praying the rosary and an added bonus for associating patience with the Crowning with Thorns. Offer the next rosary for the post-ers on several topics who cannot make a point on many blogs without attacking and judging matters of which they do not have all the facts.

  • AS FOR YOU: What accurate knowledge does any of us have about Newt’s marriages, his former wives’ personaliities, their dynamic together, how emotionally mature he was when married to them- much younger and had a tough role in Congress.
    I am not making excuses but pointing out possible factors one considers when we have not “Walked a mile in the other person’s mocassins.”

    Aaaaannndd…. your point is….?
    That has nothing to do with either the conversation up to now, nor with what I actually said.
    Incidentally, while 38 might be considered “much younger” than sixty something, he was only a newbie rep the first time; 50-something isn’t that much younger than sixty-something, though he was a big man in the party for the second breakdown a decade back.

    Kind of ironic that you talk about folks judging without knowing all the facts when you can’t get the known facts right– even as simple as what was said right here!

  • CMR has a good post on the topic of “forgiveness.”

  • Chronological age has little to do with emotional and moral maturity for men ( more SO than women) as I review the world to date. Male menopause can be very devastating to men and their wives and families; human sexuality ” only dies in men three hours after men die ” as the old saw has it. judgment applies to deciding with all the facts available, if we only heard it, read it or saw it on TV from someone else it is hearsay as the Civil Courts rule.

Another Win For Governor Quinn: Illinois Has the Lowest Credit Rating of all the States!

Friday, January 20, AD 2012


I have designated Governor Quinn of my homestate of Illinois the worst governor in the country.  Not content to rest on his laurels, Governor Quinn has continued to misgovern the Land of Lincoln with the skill of a spendthrift who is afraid that he has a cent somewhere that remains unspent.  Such diligence will always reap a reward, and one has now come to Quinn:

Illinois, unable to solve its long-running financial problems, was given the lowest credit rating of any state in the country by Moody’s Investors Service on Friday, a move that will increase costs to taxpayers.

A second agency, Standard & Poor’s, left its Illinois rating unchanged but warned of a negative outlook that could lead to a downgrade in the future. A day earlier, Fitch Ratings also left the rating unchanged and declared a stable outlook.

Lower credit ratings generally mean the state winds up paying more interest when it borrows money by selling bonds.

Both Moody’s and S&P said they are troubled by Illinois’ failure to balance its budget and strengthen government pension systems, although a tax increase and other measures have helped.

Moody’s cited “weak management practices” and a recent legislative session that “took no steps to implement lasting solutions.”

Moody’s now rates Illinois “A2,” below any other state. Only one state, California, qualifies for the next-highest rating. All the rest are ranked higher.

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3 Responses to Another Win For Governor Quinn: Illinois Has the Lowest Credit Rating of all the States!

  • Congratulations, Illinois!

    I was TDY at Chanute AFB one winter. That was enough Illinois for me. Although, winter in the TX panhandle was . . .

    When you least expect it, expect it.
    The US is next.

  • Winter in Central Illinois, America’s Siberia at its worst, can indeed be memorable T.Shaw, as I thought to myself one day in 1979 when I was trudging to class at the U of I and found the fabric of my parka beginning to crack in the 37 below zero temperatures.

  • It seemed that only things cutting the wind between the North Pole and Chanute/Champaign-Urbana were barbed wire and outhouses.

Live-Blogging the CNN South Carolina Debate

Thursday, January 19, AD 2012

With the field reduced to four and the possibility that this is the last significant Republican primary debate, the moment appeared ripe for a live blog. Feel free to discuss in the comments.

By way of disclaimers, I’ll mention that I dislike all of the candidates to varying degrees and that Macallan’s 12 may or may not be influencing some of my remarks:

8:05: CNN says we will have audience questions. Oh, great.

8:07: Romney mentions how long he has been married and his kids. I wonder if that remark was influenced by any recent events…

8:09: And CNN leads off with the ex-wife story. Newt blames CNN and the news media for lowering the level of discourse; says the story is false. Not clear what part is false, though. Update: The ‘open marriage’ part.

 8:13: What do the other candidates think about the ex-wife story: Santorum says personal life is part of what people examine. Romney says get to the ‘real’ issues. Ron Paul disses media, says nevertheless he’s proud of his long marriage. Not sure what the best tack is there. I like Santorum’s.

8:15: Ron Paul, to the shock of all observers, says that we need to get the government out of the way.

 8:17: Bain Capital. Newt says the business model was leverage, cash out, and leave’em. Romney responds with: let’s get America working again! Then, as the moderator presses, that ‘free enterprise works’! Then describes job creation record at Bain again….mentions Dominoes pizza…”there’s nothing wrong with profit”. “Freedom makes America strong!” I suppose we are lucky Newt didn’t respond to the initial question with “Marriage is great!”; “Marriage works!”; and “Marriage makes America strong!”

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16 Responses to Live-Blogging the CNN South Carolina Debate

  • I’m out of Macallan, so I felt I better sit this one out. Our candidates are more than I can take sober (or at least mildly buzzed). So thanks for taking one for the team.

  • Gee darn, had a meeting tonight. Guess I missed this one. Shucks.

    But hey, only six more to go. Seriously. There are actually six more of these things scheduled, though I doubt we’ll actually see that many in the end.

  • I did just see the exchange at the beginning with John King. As my post below shows I don’t think Gingrich should be left off the hook, but that was about the best retort possible.

  • Gingrich has more skeletons than a small town cemetary, but when it comes to dealing with the mainstream media he is simply brilliant:

    JOHN KING: And just as speaker Gingrich surged into contention here in South Carolina, a direct fresh character attack on the Speaker.

    And Mr Speaker, I want to start with that this evening.

    As you know, your ex-wife gave an interview to ABC News and another interview with The Washington Post. And this story has now gone viral on the internet.

    In it, she says that you came to her in 1999, at a time when you were having an affair. She says you asked her, sir, to enter into an open marriage.

    Would you like to take some time to respond to that?

    GINGRICH: No, but I will.


    GINGRICH: I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. And I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.


    KING: Is that all you want to say, sir?

    GINGRICH: Let me finish.

    KING: Please.

    GINGRICH: Every person in here knows personal pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question for a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.


    My – my two daughters – my two daughters wrote the head of ABC and made the point that it was wrong, that they should pull it, and I am frankly astounded that CNN would take trash like that and use it to open a presidential debate.


    KING: As you noted, Mr Speaker, this story did not come from our network. As you also know, it is a subject of conversation on the campaign. I’m not – I get your point. I take your point.

    GINGRICH: John, John, it was repeated by your network. You chose to start the debate with it. Don’t try to blame somebody else. You and your staff chose to start this debate with it.


    Let me be quite clear. Let me be quite clear. The story is false. Every personal friend I have who knew us in that period said the story was false. We offered several of them to ABC to prove it was false. They weren’t interested because they would like to attack any Republican. They’re attacking the governor. They’re attacking me. I’m sure they’ll presently get around to Senator Santorum and Congressman Paul.

    I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans.


  • Don, I have to say that I am proud of his dealing with rooting-around-like-pigs-do- when-feeding media and the response of the audience. (Cannot stomach the unending insidious bottom feeding for the appetites of viewers who care for nothing.) It’s like the people in the Coliseum right before the empire fell.
    Oh, and it occurred to me that some of our Saints wrote about their skeletons.

  • I agree that Gingrich’s response was good debate tactics. On substance, though, meh. His ex-wife is the one who decided to come forward with those allegations at this point in time. She did the Esquire story a while back, but otherwise has been pretty quiet. I’d rather live in a world where the media reported this stuff as it arose, rather than live in the 1960’s where the hoi polloi were carefully protected from anything that might inform voters about the character of the candidates. Gingrich tries to take the moral high ground here, but, for me at least, it didn’t really work: “How dare you bring up the elephant in the room!” can momentarily set a moderator back, but that’s about it.

  • PM, Newt remembers well a quotation from Danton that I have always been fond of:

    “L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace.”

  • John Henry I find it diffcult to take the media seriously as an arbiter of public or private morality. If they like a politician they will do their level best to protect him. They were forced, kicking and screaming, to give the John Edwards love child scandal any coverage, and that nasty piece of private and public corruption was left to the National Enquirer to explore initially, solely because Edwards was a liberal with a D after his name. Republicans understand that this game has been rigged against them for several generations and they are beyond tired of it. Newt touched a raw nerve in regard to this, and that is why he got the standing ovation.

    As to the substance of the story, he has long admitted to cheating on his first two wives. Marianne, the aggrieved Newt wife 2 who gave the interview, happily cheated with Gingrich while he was married to Newt wife 1. Whatever damage this has caused to him has already been factored in by any voter who isn’t comatose. Personally, I find Newt’s behavior in his first two marriages to be despicable, and I still find him preferable to Romney and light years better than Obama.

  • I agree with John that his response did come across as “he doth protest too much.” But it was genius politically. Also, whatever one thinks about the issue, I do think it is out of bounds for a debate. If the media wants to investigate and report on it, that is their right, and the public can decide for itself. But there’s no point in bringing it up in this forum, though it must be said that Newt may have benefited from the exchange.

  • I like the polish of Gov Romney and his ability to GET THIS ECONOMY GOING !!! THATS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ! With a republican house and senate, we can change Roe v Wade, and get more restrictions on abortion and this crazy same sex “marriage” thing.

  • Don, you may like Romney and think that all Republicans are the same and will guarantee a better economy, better Supreme Court nominees, etc. But, it isn’t true. Romney is, to be kind, a moderate Republican. To be truthful, he is a Wall Street democrat. He loves big Government because he knows it best benefits crony Capitalism and his pocket book (see his six houses, 15% tax rate and all his millions he is hiding by not releasing his taxes). Beyond that he is a man with very little substance. He pandered to the left when he was running for Governor in Massachusetts. He is pandering now when he says he is Pro Life. I agree that beating Obama is important. But, it will be an empty victory if it’s Romney. It may please you to see a Republican in office, but policy won’t really change all that much (see RomneyCare). And the only real winners in a Romney Administration will be Wall Street and big Government. I don’t think it will happen regardless. If the Republican party runs Romney, it will lose in November. Only a true Conservative Christian like Gingrich or Santorum or Sarah Palin will truly advance the cause of good in this country.

  • How anyone reading this blog Tom could think I like Romney is simply beyond me. Please look at my post from yesterday regarding Romney as a lousy politician. I have nicknamed him The Weathervane. My disdain for Romey is only exceeded by my disdain for Obama.

  • Don, then I heartily apologize. I usually don’t read the comments. It is unfortunate that the Republican party is force feeding us Romney (in the belief that he is the only electable Republican) — especially when Romney’s record indicates he could easily be at home in or support just about political platform and benefit financially to boot. At this point, I fear the only thing to do is to get either Gingrich or Santorum to back out so that the conservative voice can be heard. Otherwise, the debate in November will be about Wall Street — which takes the focus entirely off of Obama and his poor record of leadership and governance.

  • Santorum is my candidate Tom, followed by Gingrich. I will vote against Obama in the Fall if Romney is the candidate nominated by the GOP but I will hold my nose while doing so.

  • Don, I did a search on that quote:
    (Your comment is in there! More cyber amazement here.)

    Danton was guillotined later. He wanted the peasants to have bread, then education.
    Too bad there was destruction of so much culture then in the 1790’s.

    Good for Newt Gingrich to call out the audacity of the media in our culture which is not moving toward virtue.

  • Danton was converted to Catholicism prior to his downfall. He told his executioner to hold his head up for the people to look at after his head was sliced off since it was worth the seeing. After he was sentenced to death he looked at Robespierre who had engineered his downfall and said, “After me, you, vile Robespierre!” a prophecy which came true with the downfall of the Jacobins shortly thereafter.

Newt Is (or at Least Was) Kind of a Jerk

Thursday, January 19, AD 2012

Marianne Gingrich’s claim that Newt wanted an open marriage is the news story of the day.  In all honesty, this doesn’t tell us that much more about Newt than we didn’t know already.  Some have already said that this is no worse than simply cheating on your spouse, and, politically speaking, this might not have any impact at all on the race.

That being the case, it does serve as a forceful reminder that Newt Gingrich is kind of a jerk.  In fact, I think that if his ex-wife’s claims are true (and admittedly, we don’t know for certain), then it is even a bit creepier than just having an affair.  It indicates that Newt is not that concerned about the feelings of other people.  Based on what we know of the man, he gives off a vibe that he views other people as simply pawns.  While he would hardly be the first such personality to become president, it doesn’t mean we should be so flippant about allowing such a man to obtain the highest office in the land.

Now, we know that Newt has had a conversion, and that people change over the course of their lives.  Perhaps the Newt from the mid 1990s is not the same man that he is today.  We can’t really judge the state of a man’s soul, and I don’t propose to do that now.  But we have to consider a couple of things.  First of all, as we are all too well aware, simply becoming a Catholic does not make one a saint.  We are abundantly aware that we are all sinners, and though we all hope that a closer relationship to Jesus fostered through the Church makes us better people, it’s still a struggle.

More importantly, this didn’t happen when Newt was a young man.  Newt was nearly two decades older than I am right now when this all happened.  Yes, men older than Newt have had conversions of the heart.  But a conversion is not necessarily a transformation into a completely new man.

I don’t know what kind of person Newt is right now.  But I know what he has been, and I’m not going to turn a blind eye to an individual’s character simply because people on the other side of the aisle are all too willing to do so.

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29 Responses to Newt Is (or at Least Was) Kind of a Jerk

  • She has said this before. This is her first on TV but the story has been around. He has apologised for it all. I miss you point, age has nothing to do with whether a man or woman are satisfied in a marriage. He could have carried on secret liaisons, but was open with her about it all. Not ideal but this side of heaven few people are.

  • The point about age is that he was not some young cad who had not yet fully matured. He was a past middle-aged man whose moral character had fully developed. As I said, it doesn’t mean that he couldn’t have changed, but let’s be honest about who he was.

    Not ideal but this side of heaven few people are.

    Not all of us habitually break marriage vows or treat others as disposable playthings. Yes, we are all sinners. But, well, some sin more than others. While we’re not electing saints, can we at least have a little bit higher of a bar than this?

  • Yeah, honestly, given how I felt about Clinton in the same time period this was going on, this makes me pretty damn reluctant to give Newt any support.

    We already know the guy is a policy loose cannon. Now we have further evidence (not like we didn’t have evidence before) that he’s personally unreliable. There’s just not much to like about the guy. (Other than not being Obama, of which the US currently has over 300 million.)

    Santorum or Romney.

  • Imagine the polling disparity between male and female voters if Newt gets nominated. Won’t be pretty. The only way he could win is if the economy tanks more than it has now. Too much baggage, too little discipline, too much of a risk of Bad Newt returning. He’s a better debater than Obama–by far–but that won’t move enough voters, all other things being equal.

    I’ve tried to talk myself into supporting Gingrich, but I find my arguments less than compelling. The only one left who doesn’t give me the willies is Santorum. And I don’t see him winning either.

  • *in with the obvious joke*

    Maybe she’s trying to help him with the hard-line Ayn Rand crowd….

  • Yeah, our choices for president this Fall have been whittled down to: the scrub already occupying the Office, the milquetoast moderate flip-flopper, the libertarian loon, the egotistical sociopath, and Rick Santorum. Such a tough call for me, but I’m gonna go with Santorum.

    Oh, but he endorsed Specter.

    Again, look at the alternatives.

  • In reply to Newt is a Jerk…the whole purpose of the Catholic Church is to save souls. What good is it if we repent before God and then our own community condemns our past when Christ has blotted out our sin? Don’t you think this is very judgmental? I would remind the brethren that we are all sinners and it may take a longer time for transformation, but that is between us and the Lord. If our lives have changed then we need to give people the benefit of the doubt. Jesus told us, “The man who says he does not sin is a liar.” The church is for “sinners”. Duh?! Newt Gingrich is the only candidate I believe that can beat Barack Obama, a support of abortions and gay marriage among other things I am sure we know God would not want. This is a fact. Not judging. Barack Obama is “not a christian”. He can’t be with these ideals. Remember the type of men Jesus chose to establish his church. They were far worse in some areas. Please think. I like Rick Santorum and maybe in another election he would win, but I believe Newt can beat him and we have a better chance to save our country and our church. God Bless.

  • Wait a second, Paul! What do you mean, you don’t become a saint automatically? No one told me I was going to have to *work* on being good. That does it, I’m becoming an evangelical. They don’t have to do anything.

    In the spirit of ecumenism, I would like to denounce my last paragraph.

    More seriously, this interview doesn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. Did Newt use the phrase “open marriage”? Or did he just say that he didn’t want to break off his affair? There may not be much of a practical difference between the two, but the creepiness factor of an open marriage is way worse.

    430, I don’t think it’s a gimme that Newt could win the general, or that Santorum or Romney couldn’t.

  • I also think our country needs to wake up. Newt tells it like it is. Our people don’t seem to hear or see anymore. It’s like we’ve been in a fog for so many years, including our church. My personal opinion only, I think God has allowed us to be kicked in the pants and many don’t know what to do with “reality”. We are in trouble in our country and in our church. The idea of offending anyone or hurting someone’s feelings has left us with a group of whining liberals and cowards as politicians. Newt knew he would take the pain and decided to do it anyway. Most would never dare with the baggage that Newt has had in his life. Oh how God does confound the wise! Think, pray and ask for wisdom. If Newt can’t beat Obama, than nobody can unless we have another candidate. When are we going to see a democrat rise up and fight for these values we have held in our country. We are a free nation and if we want to stay this way, we better get tough and stop attacking Catholics that have repented.

  • Pinky, you may be right. But I speak as a Catholic and I can only vote as a Catholic. Romney made it clear last week that “contraception is working just fine and we should leave it alone”. So….we still have two Catholics available to us. Santorum and Gingrich. Gingrich is pro-life and for marriage between man and woman. So does Santorum. Ok. We do have a choice on morals this election. And we have a Catholic that could beat Obama. I do not believe that Santorum can beat Obama. I believe Newt can. I also believe that Romney is just not tough enough. Romney is very wishy washy and always sounds like he is stuttering and nervous in his answers. Not very sure at times how to answer. This is just the primary. How would he do in the general election. We would be taking a chance we cannot afford this time. Newt is experienced, knowledgeable and not afraid to speak his mind. We need to wake up and listen. Hear what Newt is saying. He speaks clearly and explains what he means. I can’t believe the sharpest minds on many websites distort what he says all the time. They don’t seem to “hear” or understand what he says and means. He will beat Obama if he wins. We need tough. Look at the Presidents we have had in the White House and people judge Newt? Really??

  • And we have a Catholic that could beat Obama. I do not believe that Santorum can beat Obama.

    How do you know that? If anything, the morally clean gentleman who twice won statewide election in a moderately blue state is more likely to win a general election than one of the most nationally reviled political figures of the past 20 years. Honestly, Obama is so unpopular that almost any conservative who retains the support of the base is very likely to win. Finally, considering the ins and outs of this primary season, I don’t know how anybody can predict the mood of the electorate 10 days out, let alone 10 months.

  • Paul, that’s a valid point, and one that was really driven home during the last election. Everyone assumed that the election was going to be “about” foreign policy, and that’s how McCain and Obama positioned themselves. That was before the stock market lost a billion points in September. We don’t know yet what this election is going to be about. BTW, that’s one of the problems with such early primaries. Ideally, each party would choose a candidate who is qualified and has a vision for all fronts, but in truth each party makes decisions about a candidate’s marketability on the issues that they think will be important in November. And that’s a long way away. As I’ve said before, I hope the election isn’t about US/Pakistan relations and government meat inspection, because that would mean that something horrible had happened on those fronts. We can somewhat safely predict that the economy and the budget are going to be major issues – but there’s a full 1/4 of a presidential term between now and the election.

  • Paul, Good question. South Carolina has to determine who wins this Saturday. Based on the polls, Santorum so far, is not doing good. Maybe I should have said that if Newt wins the nomination, then I do think he can beat Obama. You might be right with Santorum, but I just dont’ see him tough enough. I could be wrong. I do hope one of them beats Obama. I certainly do not want Romney. I can’t anyway. He approves contraception which is a no no to Catholics. I know some don’t count that, but I do. I have to as a Catholic. BUT…to assume “anyone” is better than Obama and would win it, I beg to differ. All would BE a better President than Obama, but NOT all can beat Obama. I do hope you are right. Thanks for your post.

  • That was then. This is now.

    Big thing: Newt is (and always will be) not Obama.

    Seems talking about someone’s divorce is how Obiemessiah got to be a senator.

  • Mr Gingrich has already done yeoman service by breaking the mould of political discourse. He has taken on all comers; Wall Street predators, race greviance mongers and the Muslim crybabies. By doing so he has made easier for genuinely republican values to prevail.

  • Newt Gingrich is and was a statesman who can think on his feet without the need for “advisors”. Elections are not the same as opportunities for speculation and judgment about personal aspects of a life being lived. He is and was able and willing to address the state of the nation.

    I object to the term ‘jerk’ here. There are and have been others elected to govern that earned the term, however.

  • Instapundit: Seen on Face Book, “I don’t care if Gingrich was a swinger at this point. If he gets the nod, he gets my vote, because at least he was screwing a woman and NOT AMERICA.”

  • Bet he’d get some work for the USA done at the desk, too.

  • Harsh crowd here, last I heard him say he has sought reconciliation and forgiveness. If God can forgive him so can we.

    Let’s move on from it and see it for what it is, an attack by a liberal media network one day before the primaries with the sole purpose of derailing Newt. Like him or not, ABC was out to get him. They dug up dirt from a long time ago and threw it all over the internet.

  • No doubt about it, what Gingrich did to his ex-wife was the act of an unmitigated cad. There is no excusing it nor is there any way around it…but there is Christ’s offer of forgiveness, along with the warning that those who don’t forgive will not be forgiven. Leave it to the people on the left to say that if you ever once sinned, you are forever condemned…leave it to them to assert that if you’ve done wrong, you’re only way to “redemption” is to claim that doing the wrong thing is virtuous (this is how “gay rights” got its foothold). It is for us to ask – what has Gingrich done, lately? If, as I understand, God in some way forgets our sins once we ask forgiveness, then surely we can do as much. A man who cheated on his wife last month is someone who needs to go in to the spiritual dog house for a while in order to find redemption…someone who cheated on his wife more than a decade ago and has since converted to the one, true Church is someone who long ago left the dog house.

  • Are we done with the red herrings yet?

  • “We can’t really judge the state of a man’s soul, and I don’t propose to do that now. ”

    …and a few minutes later:

    “our choices for president this Fall have been whittled down to: the scrub already occupying the Office, the milquetoast moderate flip-flopper, the libertarian loon, the egotistical sociopath, and Rick Santorum.”

    what a swell guy you are Paul….getting tips from Mark Shea?

  • You are correct Jasper, and I should have been more temperate in my remark there regarding Gingrich. But I do stand by the fact that we cannot be naive with regards to the man’s character.

  • Did anyone on here see or hear or read today the full Mr Gingrich interview by Mr King.? He said his two daughters made themselves available to ABC regarding his second marriage, as well as friends who knew the facts. Not allowed! Character is not just about fidelity in marriage. It is about one’s whole life, past to present. Take away the spin-doctors, the advisers, the speech writers and the teleprompter and what is the real character of any POTUS? The candidate is much more “transparent” to use the much-quoted word today. As a US citizen looking back at the scene from Europe, Newt was a real human being last night.

  • As I read history only one perfect human was without sin and He was crucified and accused of being a traitor and worked His miracles with Old Nick himself. I add King David to the list of sinners who kept their jobs, a miurderer-adulterer who wrote Psalm 51 in repentance. Mr Gingrich as I noted said that ABC refused to allow his daughters and some in-the-know people tell what happened with his ex-wife. He said the reports were not true. To me that puts his reply to Mr. King, in contrext, using ABC as an excuse to nail Newt. IF I were back there he would have my vote as the most qualified, less burdened by baggage candidate who has any chance at beating the incumbent in debate and on the issues. He is not running to replace Jesus or the Pope but to unseat a man who has not met his own goals and broken too many promises. And came from Chicago’s School of Democratic Public Service and was a community organiser which are not really qualifications for the POTUS.

  • HT, I think we can set the bar for our candidates somewhere between Christ and Lucifer.

    And no, I am not comparing Newt or anyone else to Satan. I just think that it’s a little bit extreme to say that no one is perfect, therefore we should have absolutely no concern about a candidate’s character. To me that is moral relativism run amok.

  • If my Irish humour may be excused, I do not consider Mr Obama “Lucifer,” the Light-bearer. He is not that ” bright” without the teleprompter!

  • If my Irish humour may be excused, I do not consider Mr Obama “Lucifer,” the Light-bearer. He is not that ” bright” without the teleprompter!

22 Responses to Breaking News: Perry Out

  • Paul,

    You are quick to the draw! I was already preparing the email to send you when I checked TAC.

    With Gingrich and Santorum surging and Perry dropping, it’ll be an interesting weekend in SC. Especially with Gingrich’s ex-wife interview and Romney’s inability to think on his feet in debates.

  • Interesting: according to this Perry is going to endorse Gingrich:


    From this I derive the following:

    1. Perry really hates Romney.
    2. Perry wants Romney to lose in South Carolina.
    3. Perry is not convinced that Romney is the inevitable nominee. As Governor of Texas I assume that he would want to be on good terms with a man who might well be the next President. That he is not in fence mending mode yet is a good indication that he believes that a unified conservative opposition could still derail Romney.

  • I note the Romeny campaign has put out a new TV spot that features pro-abortion Catholic Susan Molinari. So far, no criticism from Catholic conservatives.

  • Kurt, you have been following the contempt with which the Weathervane is generally held on this site have you not, or has that completely passed you by? How you, who run a site called Catholics for Obama, think that you score any points by pointing out Romney’s flaws while shilling for the most pro-abortion president in our nation’s history, speaks well for your chutzpah if not your judgment.

  • . So far, no criticism from Catholic conservatives.

    Yeah, we Catholic conservative bloggers have really been shilling for Romney, there. Good call.

  • Kurt,

    Did you just skim over our website and not read how much we have not been supporting Romney (just as you skimmed reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Holy Bible, Encyclicals, etc. on your way to supporting the most notorious abortion supporter in the history of the United States of America).

  • *votes for Tito’s explanation*

    Not that I think any objective reader would fail to notice the…odd trends in Kurt’s responses.

  • Wait wait wait, Don. Are you actually trying to say that this isn’t the most pro-Romney blog after Jen Rubin’s?

    Nice try.

    But no sale, *sir.*

  • Good economic news: US gun sales are soaring. Unbelievable: This booming US manufacturing sector isn’t being touted by Obama. He ought to take credit. He’s hugely assisting these home-grown manufacturers. Maybe he owns stock . . .

  • “Wait wait wait, Don. Are you actually trying to say that this isn’t the most pro-Romney blog after Jen Rubin’s?’

    I do not think it is possible Dale for you to have your tongue thrust further into your cheek! 🙂

  • “I note the Romeny campaign has put out a new TV spot that features pro-abortion Catholic Susan Molinari. So far, no criticism from Catholic conservatives.”

    Kurt, you’ve been to my blog, at least to post a comment. Did you bother to read anything while you were there? I haven’t blogged in a few days, so haven’t addressed the Molinari ad, but I daresay there are few people in this country who routinely expresses as much antipathy toward Romney as this particular Catholic conservative. And none of the Catholic conservatives at TAC have ever written anything positive about Romney from what I’ve seen.

    But I’m glad to see that criticism of abortion supporters is something you’d like to see. Perhaps you could start with the abortion supporters (and those Catholics who vote for them) in your own party.

  • Perry gave 3 reasons why he’s dropping out: “One, my campaign has stalled. Two, we’re really far behind in the polls. And three…uh, three….um, dang it, what was the third reason again?”

  • “I do not think it is possible Dale for you to have your tongue thrust further into your cheek!”

    So much so that I may have pulled a muscle there, in fact.

  • Awwww, LarryD, for shame! Such low hanging fruit – I expect better.

  • Paul – someone had to do it.

    I’m wondering – who’s gonna save a pretzel for the gas jets, now that Perry is out?

  • I can’t blame Larry for swinging at that hanging curve.

    The reaction over at Hot Gas has been somewhat muted, all things considered.

  • The reaction over at Hot Gas has been somewhat muted, all things considered

    Haven’t read the blog in months. I feel much saner for it.

  • I think the blog itself is fine (AP’s bouts of anti-religious snark notwithstanding)–and a very good news aggregator.

    But too many of the commenters need to be beaten with a sock full of wood screws.

  • But it’s no Ace of Spades, I’ll admit.

  • Even Ace has annoyed me lately with the anti-Santorum stuff, but it’s far more entertaining, and the commenters far less insane.

  • Hot Gas, you mean the anti-Catholic bigots blog called Hot Air?

Rick Santorum Won Iowa

Thursday, January 19, AD 2012

After a recount, the vote tally from the Iowa Caucuses show that Rick Santorum defeated Mitt Romney by a whopping 34 votes.  Previously Romney had been declared the winner by eight votes.

In the grand scheme of thing, this means little.  It doesn’t change the delegate vote one iota.  It does mean that the talking point that Romney won both Iowa and New Hampshire needs to come to a halt.  It is funny to read stories about this development suggesting that the Iowa caucuses were a split a decision, yet when Romney was considered to have won there was no such talk.  He might as well have won by 8,000 votes judging by some of what was said in the aftermath.

I do note that there seems to be a lot of confusion about the vote tally.

The deadline for final certification of the results was Wednesday. Party officials said eight precincts failed to follow the rules and fill out the official forms on caucus night, meaning those results can never be certified, while other precincts turned in forms that didn’t meet the legal requirements.

And yet we continue to allow this state to have over-sized influence on the nomination process.  Are we prepared to just ignore Iowa yet?

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3 Responses to Rick Santorum Won Iowa

  • I think that increasingly South Carolina is being perceived as the must-win state for primary candidates. Iowa and New Hampshire can be, and have been, won by a full-bore campaign that expends all its resources. By the time SC rolls around, though, only people with money are still in the race.

    Then again, as the years go by, people might try to focus on SC the way they currently do on Iowa and NH. But for the time being, it’s perceived as too big to win without an extensive advertising budget.

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  • Sadly, Iowa has a significant liberal element even in the Republican party. Need I say more?

Anyone Else Noticing that Romney is a Lousy Politician?

Thursday, January 19, AD 2012

Romney, a/k/a the Weathervane, is a lousy politician.  I do not mean that in a pejorative sense but in a descriptive sense.  Being a politician is a job that requires a certain set of skills and abilities.  The Weathervane is giving every sign of not being very good at being a politician.  Current evidence of this includes the following:

1.  The Bain Mess-The Weathervane had to know that the Obama campaign would use his work at Bain Capital against him, but he seemed completely flat-flooted when Gingrich raised the issue.  The responses from the Romney campaign thus far have been lacklustre.

2.  Tax Returns-Did the Weathervane really think that he could go through this campaign without releasing his tax returns?  Now he says that he will release his current tax return sometime in the Spring.  He has also sheepishly stated that his tax rate is around 15% due to his income largely being from investments.  His tax returns should have been released months ago.  By now they would be an old issue and harmless to him.  Instead, his stubborness about releasing the tax returns has transformed a non or minor issue into one that could hurt him badly.  Idiocy.

3.  Out of Touch-Talking about his speaking engagements in 2010 and early 2011 the Weathervane said that he made very little money on them.  The very little money was 374K.  Romney might as well hang a sign from his neck stating “out of touch rich guy”.

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24 Responses to Anyone Else Noticing that Romney is a Lousy Politician?

  • On the other hand, he is not Barrack Obama. That is all I need.

  • If it is the Weathervane against the Worst President Ever T.Shaw, I will vote for the Weathervane, but Romney is giving off signs of being in the Bob Dole-John McCain school of Republican losers who get the nomination and then proceed to spend the campaign attempting to lose gracefully.

  • I did not notice it, because it is not true. If he were a lousy politician, his career in politics would look like this man’s:


    He is a politician who makes mistakes. People do.

    Romney is giving off signs of being in the Bob Dole-John McCain school of Republican losers who get the nomination and then proceed to spend the campaign attempting to lose gracefully

    You need to stop drinking that Kool-Aid. The federal elections in 1992, 1996, and in 2008 were depressing in that they revealed that lounge lizards and verbose dillettentes were neither screened out by primary voters nor regarded as unfit by a decisive corps of the general public. However, in the latter two campaigns, economic conditions and ambient views of the incumbent rendered the result more-or-less baked in the cake, whatever the Republican candidate did.

  • “I did not notice it, because it is not true.”

    Romney’s sole success thus far Art is becoming governor of Massachusetts for one term. That sounds mildly impressive until one realizes that Massachusetts has a surprising history of electing Republican governors on a fairly regular basis for such an icy blue state. He achieved that office by running as a moderate to liberal Republican, completely contra his born again conservatism today, a decade later. He was so unpopular with the electorate in 2006 that he decided not to run again. If elected, Romney would have less experience in elective office of any President since Herbert Hoover with the sole exception of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and unlike Ike Romney has won no wars. Also unlike Ike Romney was bitten with the political bug fairly early, and except for his single term as governor of the Bay state, he has to show for it an unsuccessful Senate run in Massachusetts in 1994 where he attempted to run to Ted Kennedy’s left on social issues and his unsuccessful run for the Presidential nomination in 2008.

  • I could not agree more. The naysayers are so anti-Obama they sidestep every critique of Romney. The anti-Obamists add nothing to discussion.

  • The bit about the speaking engagements is just alarmingly tone deaf. To say that an amount that is roughly 8x the amount of money that the average person makes is “very little money” is simply dumb. Sure, his defenders are going to play the capitalism card, and I agree that there is nothing wrong at all with earning money this way. But use a little common sense before speaking, will ya?

  • Yeah. Here is the way it should have been handled. “I earned over 374 K speaking and I was worth every penny! I wish I had earned more! Now we are all going to give President Obama a chance to earn a lot of money making speaches after we send him packing in November!” This isn’t rocket science. All it takes is a little imagination and a bit of style. What it does not need is Romney’s deer in the headlight reaction to obvious avenues of attack against him, followed by hemming and hawing, followed by truly lame comments that help the attack succeed against him. This is politics 101.

  • Romney’s sole success thus far Art is becoming governor of Massachusetts for one term. That sounds mildly impressive until one realizes that Massachusetts has a surprising history of electing Republican governors on a fairly regular basis for such an icy blue state.

    Not one of those six Republican governors stated views on public policy in tune with the mode of the Republican Party as it has been during the last 35 years.

    Also unlike Ike Romney was bitten with the political bug fairly early,

    His father was a politician. I do not believe Eisenhower’s was. He made his first run for political office when he was 47 years old.

    and except for his single term as governor of the Bay state, he has to show for it an unsuccessful Senate run in Massachusetts in 1994

    Everybody lost to Ted Kennedy, sad to say. Romney did better than anyone bar the Lodge scion Kennedy ran against in 1962.


    his unsuccessful run for the Presidential nomination in 2008.

    He is one of 18 individuals in the last 40-odd years who have made a competitive run for the Republican presidential nomination and one of 11 who have done so more than once. You do not get from here to there by being a globally lousy politician, though you may be perfectly lousy in various aspects of the political vocation. (Contrast Gov. Perry’s career with Gov. Perry’s campaign).

  • Dollar Bill,

    Here is some more nothing:

    Obama doesn’t want America to have gasoline or jobs: Keystone Canada oil supplies denied; EPA requires $700 million in added costs to upgrade an oil refinery: it closes down;

    Investors Business Daily, “President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL oil pipeline sums up his presidency. When it comes down to well-paying new jobs and cheaper energy vs. his political base, guess which wins.”

    Instapundit: “For all his populist rhetoric, whenever it comes to a choice between the interests of working people and the values of the gentry class, Obama chooses the latter.

    “Related: Obama Kills Keystone Pipeline Plan: Why He Did It. ‘After all, who needs a secure energy source from a best friend when you can pay a fortune to buy it from unfriendly people in faraway unstable places?’”

    I will hit you with more sleek nothings, once an hour: next one 1015 hours EDT, if I complete my 1000 hours annoy-my-clients telephone call.

  • What this post says about Romney are the reasons why the Obama supporters want Romney to win the GOP nomination. Herman Cain’s candidacy is destroyed. ABC News is about to release an interview with Gingrich’s ex-wife that will go far to destroy his candidacy. The electorate doesn’t take Rick Santorum seriously, and Dr. Delusional (as Don M. calls him) isn’t a viable candidate either except for the vociferous libertarians who drink his koolaide. Geez, and I write that as a person who like much of libertarian thought. Boy, I must be slipping!

  • “Not one of those six Republican governors stated views on public policy in tune with the mode of the Republican Party as it has been during the last 35 years.”

    Including Romney when he ran in 2002, as opposed to the 2012 version of Romney, hence my calling him the Weathervane.

    “He made his first run for political office when he was 47 years old.” Indeed, and he had been contemplating a run for public office years before that. He always planned to emulate his father: succeed in business first and then go into politics.

    “Everybody lost to Ted Kennedy”

    Every other Republican did not attempt to run to Ted Kennedy’s left on social issues.

    “He is one of 18 individuals in the last 40-odd years who have made a competitive run for the Republican presidential nomination”

    I don’t think the Weathervane was ever much of a threat to McCain, even with the Huckster acting as Romney’s pawn in that contest. That Romney lost, and decisively, to the inept McCain is futher evidence of his low level political skills.

  • Perry is dropping out according to Drudge. Probably good news for Gingrich in South Carolina if he can stand up to the battering that he is about to receive from scorned ex-wives and his unfailing ability to allow his mouth to land him into trouble when he is rising in the polls.

  • The federal elections in 1992, 1996, and in 2008 were depressing in that they revealed that lounge lizards and verbose dillettentes were neither screened out by primary voters nor regarded as unfit by a decisive corps of the general public.

    Awesome. I demand a line-item “like” feature.

  • I was just starting warm up to the idea of Romney being our nominee than I saw his terrible performance at the S.C. debate.

    The guy couldn’t even answer a simple question about when/if he was ever going to release his tax returns. I almost felt sorry for him as I saw him try to mumble through his reply.

  • *hasn’t read the comments yet*

    Yes, he is, in both meanings.

  • “Romney’s sole success thus far Art is becoming governor of Massachusetts for one term.”

    My guess is that most voters would be ok with his level of experience, between that one term, the business background, and the Olympics. Recall that the 2008 winner had four years of high-level experience on his resume, and the 2008 loser’s VP had two years. I don’t think anyone is going to choose between Obama and Romney on the basis of either one’s political experience. And anyway, it’s very difficult to campaign against an incumbent by claiming that you have a better resume.

    I don’t think that Romney spent the last three years well, though. Between November 2008 and November 2010, his party could have used a spokesman, particularly someone with a specialization in health care. Various past and/or future candidates found forums – Huckabee, Palin, and Bachmann come to mind. But Romney wasn’t on the radar. I’m sure that he was building his organization, but he would have been better off giving future voters a reason to remember him.

  • No way!

    Romney has $$$ millions stashed overseas. The traitor . . .

    Maybe he’s as smart as Apple which keeps $$$$ Billions away from Obama and Geithner.

    How come Romney must give everyone copies of his pay checks from speakling engagements? Obama doesn’t have to produce any document.

  • Mitt Romney reminds me of John Kerry, the Brahmin

  • Mitt Romney reminds me of John Kerry, the Brahmin

    Kerry’s mother was a Brahmin (and not personally wealthy though her collateral relatives were). His father’s family was Jewish (and severely deracinated) and also not wealthy. His father was in the Foreign Service, so he did not grow up any place in particular. He was sent to boarding school on the dime of his great aunt. He grew up around the patriciate but was never quite one of them.

  • “He grew up around the patriciate but was never quite one of them.”

    He solved that problem by marrying an heiress and then marrying one of the richest women in the nation.

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  • And anyway, it’s very difficult to campaign against an incumbent by claiming that you have a better resume.

    Part of the incumbent’s resume is his performance in office. This one’s makes the challenger’s look much better.

  • What it does not need is Romney’s deer in the headlight reaction to obvious avenues of attack against him, followed by hemming and hawing, followed by truly lame comments that help the attack succeed against him. This is politics 101.

    Exactly! One thing I readily concede to Romney are his organizational skills. The fact his campaign was not prepared for this painfully-obvious line of questioning and attack makes the electability argument all the more dubious.

    Even the tax return issue, if he really is worried about it, has an obvious parry: “Sure, I’ll be happy to release them. When the President releases his collegiate and graduate transcripts. I’ll even throw in mine in the bargain.”

    If he can’t offer up a credible defense to the “corporate out of touch rich guy” offensive, he’s done like a TV dinner.

  • Romney is acting precisely as a man who, having garnered a large war chest, expected to be handed the nomination and was never psychologically prepared for other hopefuls to put up credible fights for it. His lackeys and apologists keep talking as though he were the only one who could beat Obama — who, I keep saying, is not an 800-pound gorilla — and yet he acts as though the whole nomination process is pro forma. Even Hillary put up a better fight against Obama’s astroturf campaign! Frankly, Mitt’s campaign is an insult, and the sooner the free delegates figure it out the better.

Ron Paul’s Foreign Policy: Golden Rule or Relativism?

Wednesday, January 18, AD 2012

If you move about those regions of the internets in which righteous display their moral superiority by posting sixty second video clips showing just how bad their opponents are, you have probably seen headlines lately along the lines of “Christians Boo Jesus” or “Republicans Mock Golden Rule”. Of course, one hardly needs to watch the clip, because in the dualism that is politicization, everyone already knows that they’re right and their opponents are wrong. But after the fifth or sixth iteration, I had to go ahead watch Ron Paul (who else) present his Golden-Rule based foreign policy to boos. Here’s the clip in question:

Or if, like me, you tend not to watch posted videos, here’s the money quote:

“My point is, that if another country does to us what we do to others, we aren’t going to like it very much. So I would say maybe we ought to consider a golden rule in foreign policy. We endlessly bomb these other countries and then we wonder why they get upset with us?”

Now, this sounds superficially high minded, and some people who really are high minded seem lured by it. Kyle, who has an genuine and expansive desire to understand “the other” has his dander up and says:

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27 Responses to Ron Paul’s Foreign Policy: Golden Rule or Relativism?

  • Ron Paul may have avoided 9/11/2001 if congress would have listened in 1999. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XguvMUUtTtI
    Now look at the normal political trashing of our freedoms. Watch the video from a year ago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmdpXNIwunc
    No other military in the world can take away our freedoms. We should not let our government either.

  • If Ron Paul’s foreign policy and spending priorities were enacted (which is, perhaps appropriately given his other policy stands, a pipe dream) it would pretty quickly not be the case that no other military in the world could take away our freedoms — much less other people’s freedoms. We too easily forget the advantages that come to us and others as a result of living in a unipolar world.

    That doesn’t mean that we should be quick to dismiss our freedoms at home, but it does underline the basic insanity of Ron Paul’s non-interventionalism and isolationism.

  • Excellent post, DC.

  • WFB, Jr. on the problem I have with Paul’s thinking:

    “… to say that the CIA and the KGB engage in similar practices is the equivalent of saying that the man who pushes an old lady into the path of a hurtling bus is not to be distinguished from the man who pushes an old lady out of the path of a hurtling bus: on the grounds that, after all, in both cases someone is pushing old ladies around.”

    ~ William F. Buckley

  • Darwin, a major kudos to you for ending with C.S. Lewis’s extraordinary statement:

    I imagine somebody will say, `Well, if one is allowed to condemn the enemy’s acts, and punish him, and kill him, what difference is left between Christian morality and the ordinary view?’ All the difference in the world. Remember, we Christians think man lives for ever.

    The dualism that inhabits Lewis’ theology is nowhere more stark than here. The interior life and the exterior life have been entirely divided. Our interior beliefs (“man lives forever”) do not modify our external acts: “one is allowed to condemn the enemy’s acts, and punish him, and kill him.” This kind of disconnect between belief and act poses a major threat to the Gospel: it turns grace into a program for pagan virtue training.

    If we believe that man lives forever, if we truly believe this, then everything changes. If we believe that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities, then everything changes. If we believe that mercy triumphs over sin, then everything — everything inside us and outside us, from every thought to every act — changes.

    Even national policies related to security changes.

    While I thank Ron Paul for bringing scripture into the national debate, the heart of the Gospel is not the Golden Rule, but rather the cross and the resurrection. The cross and resurrection, presents us with an entirely new way of facing evil in this world. A national security policy based upon an invincible trust in Christ’s death, life, and love is what the Gospel calls for.

  • Nate,

    I don’t think that Lewis is being particularly dualistic here. Rather, he’s seeing how the human person, as an integrated person, is not confined by the exigencies of the world in which he finds himself — exigencies which may place him at odds with his fellow men, whether through his fault or his unknowing. To quote that second bit at greater length:

    I imagine somebody will say, `Well, if one is allowed to condemn the enemy’s acts, and punish him, and kill him, what difference is left between Christian morality and the ordinary view?’ All the difference in the world. Remember, we Christians think man lives for ever. Therefore, what really matters is those little marks or twists on the central, inside part of the soul which are going to turn it, in the long run, into a heavenly or a hellish creature. We may kill if necessary, but we must not hate and enjoy hating. We may punish if necessary, but we must not enjoy it. In other words, something inside us, the feeling of resentment, the feeling that wants to get one’s own back, must be simply killed. I do not mean that anyone can decide this moment that he will never feel it any more. That is not how things happen. I mean that every time it bobs its head up, day after day, year after year, all our lives long, we must hit it on the head. It is hard work, but the attempt is not impossible. Even while we kill and punish we must try to feel about the enemy as we feel about ourselves – to wish that he were not bead, to hope that he may, in this world or another, be cured in fact, to wish his good. That is what is meant in the Bible by loving him: wishing his good, not feeling fond of him nor saying he is nice when he is not.

    I admit that this means loving people who have nothing loveable about them. But then, has oneself anything loveable about it?

    Now, I suppose one can take our immortality one of two ways. One can either say that because we are immortal, and God will judge each one of us in his infinite knowledge and mercy, that when we are forced to kill in order to protect the innocent and the common good, we do not thus condemn the person killed to non-existence or to perdition. Or one can say that because we are immortal, it isn’t worth using violence in order to protect the innocent or the common good since, after all, there are worse things than being killed or having all your possessions destroyed.

    It seems to me that Lewis is saying the former, while you are implicitly arguing the latter. The Church has had members who have gone both ways, but if one actually looks at the doctrines of the Church, it pretty much comes down on the former side. While the Church recognizes the heroic nature of self-sacrificing non-violence, it also states that it is the duty of those in authority to preserve the common good and protect the innocent, and it acknowledges that this sometimes requires the use of force. Indeed, the catechism states that defending one’s country in the armed forces (as Lewis references having done in WW1) is at times an obligation.

  • Ron Paul’s foreign policy mindset is informed entirely by notions of moral equivalence. Nothing else can explain his analogizing of Osama bin Laden to a Chinese dissident here in the U.S.

    I’m starting to have flashbacks to the arguments of the anti-anti-communists of the 1980s. The only difference is that these days, they call themselves libertarians instead of liberals.

  • Agree, Dale — hence the quote I offered above.

  • Bravo Darwin! More thoughts this evening after I wade through 20 return calls to clients, dictation, and a meeting with clients. Spending most of the day in court wreaks havoc on a lawyer’s schedule!

  • Mike–that’s a good quote. I kinda blipped over it, I sheepishly admit.

  • Hold on, Mike, I could swear that one of the doyens of the Catholic blogsphere established that pushing old ladies is intrinsically evil, in which case saying that it’s or wrong right depending on whether you’re pushing them in front of the bus or away from the bus is just so much consequentialism.

  • Darwin, double kudos for further quoting Lewis. I’d forgotten that he’d double-downed (it’s been years since I read Mere Christianity).

    We may kill if necessary, but we must not hate and enjoy hating.

    If this isn’t dualism — dividing the body from the soul, the thought from the act — I don’t know what is. He might have well as said, “We may murder millions of babies if necessary, but we must not hate and enjoy hating.” The passionless extermination of the unborn may not be accompanied by passionate feelings of hate, but it is no less an act of hate and a sign of a hateful heart.

    Hate isn’t a disembodied emotion with no connection to our external acts. Neither is faith, hope, or love. Mother Theresa spent the last forty years of her life without any emotional conviction in God’s existence or love. Nevertheless, her life demonstrated a heart of immense faith.

    Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth
    — 1 Jn 3:18

    If faith and love are demonstrated by our acts, then so too hatred.

  • To be a little more academic, the whole doctrine of double-effect has immense applicability to the idea of killing without hatred. It is possible to kill without hatred only if our intention is not to kill.

  • Nate,

    No, you’re weirdly twisting Lewis’ argument and inserting assumptions of your own which neither he nor the Church shares with you.

    First off, you’re inserting the assumption that the act of killing necessarily involves hate, and thus that if one acts in a way one knows will cause death (to go with Lewis’ example: firing a rifle at a soldier charging at you across the no man’s land) that one is performing an act that necessarily is connected with hate. However, the Church has clearly taught that the use of lethal force in order to protect oneself, the innocent and the common good is, at time, not only morally acceptable but a duty.

    Next, you take the argument as if Lewis is saying that the only reason killing is every wrong is if you hate:

    He might have well as said, “We may murder millions of babies if necessary, but we must not hate and enjoy hating.” The passionless extermination of the unborn may not be accompanied by passionate feelings of hate, but it is no less an act of hate and a sign of a hateful heart.

    If Lewis had said that, he would clearly be wrong. But what Lewis is objecting to is the error (which you seem to be making) that killing is necessarily and always an evil, that it is never just. Abortion is always an evil, not matter what emotions one is feeling (and surely you realize that Lewis is not talking about the emotion of hate but rather hate in the theological sense: that act of the will of wishing another person ill) because abortion is the killing of an innocent person. Killing in self defense or in defense of another, etc. is not in and of itself an unjust act. The Church recognizes and teaches this, even if you disagree with the Church in that regard.

    Finally, you misunderstand the concept of double effect:

    To be a little more academic, the whole doctrine of double-effect has immense applicability to the idea of killing without hatred. It is possible to kill without hatred only if our intention is not to kill.

    You need to be more careful in your use of the world “intention” here. In double effect as regards to killing, your “object” cannot be to kill. So, for instance, if Lewis is standing on the firing step and a German soldier is charging towards him, Lewis may shoot at the soldier in order to stop the soldier from attacking him. If the soldier suddenly drops his rifle and puts his hands up, Lewis may not shoot him, because the object to stopping the attack has already been achieved. However, that doesn’t mean that when Lewis fires his rifle at the oncoming soldier he needs to be thinking, “Well, gee, I’m shooting a rifle at him, but really, I have no idea if this will kill him.” Not having killing as your object is not the same as ignorance of the likely effects of one’s action. The phrase is “forseen but not intended”, as in, you know it will happen but it is not your object in performing the action.

    But since you’re enjoying the Lewis quotes so much, here’s one from slightly before (this is all from Chapter 17: Forgiveness) that should blow the modern mind:

    For a long time I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life – namely myself. However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. There had never been the slightest difficulty about it. In fact the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things. Consequently, Christianity does not want us to reduce by one atom the hatred we feel for cruelty and treachery. We ought to hate them. Not one word of what we have said about them needs to be unsaid. But it does want us to hate them in the same way in which we hate things in ourselves: being sorry that the man should have done such things, and hoping, if it is anyway possible, that somehow, sometime, somewhere he can be cured and made human again.

    The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad ass it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, `Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally, we shall insist on seeing everything – God and our friends and ourselves included – as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.

    Now a step further. Does loving your enemy mean not punishing him? No, for loving myself does not mean that I ought not to subject myself to punishment – even to death. If you had committed a murder, the right Christian thing to do would be to give yourself up to the police and be hanged. It is, therefore, in my opinion, perfectly right for a Christian judge to sentence a man to death or a Christian soldier to kill an enemy. I always have thought so, ever since I became a Christian, and long before the war, and I’ still think so now that we are at peace. It is no good quoting ‘Thou shaft not kill.’ There are two Greek words: the ordinary word to kill and the word to murder. And when Christ quotes that commandment He uses the murder one in all three accounts, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And I am told there is the same distinction in Hebrew. All killing is not murder any more than all sexual intercourse is adultery. When soldiers came to St John the Baptist asking what to do, he never remotely suggested that they ought to leave the army: nor did Christ when He met a Roman sergeant-major- what they called a centurion. The idea of the knight – the Christian in arms for the defence of a good cause is one of the great Christian ideas. War is a dreadful thing, and I can respect an honest pacifist, though I think he is entirely mistaken, What I cannot understand is this sort of semi-pacifism you get nowadays which gives people the idea that though you have to fight, you ought to do it with a long face and as if you were ashamed of it. It is that feeling that robs lots of magnificent young Christians in the Services of something they have a right to, something which is the natural accompaniment of courage – a kind of gaiety and whole-heartedness.

  • “The sad thing is, our foreign policy WILL change eventually, as Rome’s did, when all budgetary and monetary tricks to fund it are exhausted.”

    The idea that the Roman Empire fell because it was a hugely expansionist power is completely falacious. The Empire stopped expanding under the first emperor Augustus just before the time of Christ. The only large scale exceptions to this were the conquest of Britain under the Emperor Claudius in the first century, and of Dacia in modern day Rumania in the second century, which was abandoned by the Romans in the third century. Rome under the Republic was ruthlessly expansionist; under the Empire it was almost always in a defensive mode.

    Rome fell in the West for a multitude of reasons, but one of the primary ones was the hiring of barbarian mercenaries, and an ever lessening willingness by citizens of the Empire to enlist in the Roman military. The barbarian mercenaries eventually held all the real power in the empire in the West and often made common cause with the tribes which made successful invasions in the fifth century. Frequent Roman civil wars also weakened the Empire, but the main reason for the fall of the Empire in the West is that the Empire ceded military supremacy to their adversaries.

  • Darwin, a lot of these words are slippery, including both ‘intention’ and ‘object’. By intention, I mean ‘object of the will’ rather than motive. I’m grateful for your impersonal use of logic with these questions, and always have been. I think, however, that you’ve misunderstood double-effect theory.

    The phrase ‘object of the will’ does not refer to the motive for an act, although the simple word ‘object’ might. I think that’s where you’ve made a mistake.

    For example, someone might say, “the object of going to school is to become educated”. One could never say that about the ‘object of the will’. The object of the will of going to school is much more discrete, much more direct. It is getting in the car. It is driving. It is getting out of the car. It is sitting. It is listening to the teacher. It is reading the book. Those are all ‘objects of the will’ — deliberate acts. These are all ‘objects’ chosen by the will.

    Lewis may shoot at the soldier in order to stop the soldier from attacking him. If the soldier suddenly drops his rifle and puts his hands up, Lewis may not shoot him, because the object to stopping the attack has already been achieved. (my emphasis)

    I think this quote shows that you are using ‘object’ in terms of motive rather than deliberate choice. Think of ‘object’ less in terms of subjective reasoning, and more in terms of objective outcome. The object of the will of Lewis shooting the Nazi is, well, aiming the gun, squeezing the trigger, putting a bullet in the Nazi’s chest, twice preferably. The precise ‘object’ is a bullet-wounded Nazi.

    If we can agree on these points, I’d love to press forward with the discussion.

  • I should clarify even further (since we’re getting all philosophical), that “object of the will” should really be the “immediate object of the will”.

  • Nate,

    I similarly appreciate your calm and reasonable discussion. 🙂

    I agree that the terms being used are slippery, and probably doubly so as different philosophical and theological schools use the same terms differently. Additionally, I should confess right up front that as an interested amateur who’s training is in classics rather than either theology or philosophy, I am probably additionally muddying the waters in that my experience in reading Aquinas, Aristotle and Plato is in “getting the sense” of the original Latin or Greek, and so I’m probably doubly imprecise in the “somewhere between the various definitions in the dictionary” kind of way that language folks tend to be.

    All that said, maybe it’s best if we take a look at where Aquinas lays out the principle of double effect in Summa Theologica Q64, Art. 7:

    I answer that, Nothing hinders one act from having two effects, only one of which is intended, while the other is beside the intention. Now moral acts take their species according to what is intended, and not according to what is beside the intention, since this is accidental as explained above (43, 3; I-II, 12, 1). Accordingly the act of self-defense may have two effects, one is the saving of one’s life, the other is the slaying of the aggressor. Therefore this act, since one’s intention is to save one’s own life, is not unlawful, seeing that it is natural to everything to keep itself in “being,” as far as possible. And yet, though proceeding from a good intention, an act may be rendered unlawful, if it be out of proportion to the end. Wherefore if a man, in self-defense, uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repel force with moderation his defense will be lawful, because according to the jurists [Cap. Significasti, De Homicid. volunt. vel casual.], “it is lawful to repel force by force, provided one does not exceed the limits of a blameless defense.” Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense in order to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s. But as it is unlawful to take a man’s life, except for the public authority acting for the common good, as stated above (Article 3), it is not lawful for a man to intend killing a man in self-defense, except for such as have public authority, who while intending to kill a man in self-defense, refer this to the public good, as in the case of a soldier fighting against the foe, and in the minister of the judge struggling with robbers, although even these sin if they be moved by private animosity.

    From this I’d take a couple things:

    1) Aquinas does not think that one actually needs to appeal to double effect in order to justify a soldier killing another soldier in combat, he sees that as springing from the right of authority (the state’s) to protect the common good.

    2) That aside, in the case of someone using lethal force in self defense, Aquinas seems to be talking about one’s “intention” as being what I’d call the “end of one’s actions”, as in, that for which purpose one acts. This is not the same as “motive”, exactly, but it is more a matter of purpose, I think, than the examples you give. I’d say that in our example Aquinas is saying you can “shoot to stop” in self defense, which in practical terms is often the same as “shoot to kill”, but you may not in fact “shoot to kill”. The big difference, from a practical point of view would be when you stop. If you’re shooting to stop, you stop shooting when your assailant stops attacking. If you’re shooting to kill, you keep on till you know he’s dead. (Again, the practical difference here in many situations may be nill.)

    Anyway. Hopefully that’s enough to move the discussion forward a step. As I dig into this, I find myself thinking about writing a post specifically on double effect, which is a model that I’ve had mixed feelings over in the past — though I’d have to think if I’d still address the topic in the same way I did then.

    (Also, just as a historical side note: Lewis never shot at a Nazi. He fought as an infantry officer in World War One, in the trenches of the Somme, but was too old to be called to serve in WW2.)

  • Thanks for the thoughtful response, Darwin!

    1) You’re absolute right. It is one of the most interesting loopholes in Catholic doctrine that I have ever found. While Aquinas and others give plenty of justification for double-effect defense when it comes to civilians, there is a real lack of justification when it comes to soldiers and police. What is stranger is that the modern Catechism doesn’t address the issue at all, and in fact seems to apply double-effect reasoning to soldiers. There’s a pretty good scholarly article about this that I read years ago, about how if double-effect reasoning is applied to soldiers (as the Church’s teachings seem to be headed), then war would have to be fought on very different terms. Unfortunately, I can’t find this article.

    2) It’s my understanding that Aquinas uses the word ‘intention’ with a wide variety of meanings, but I agree that Aquinas doesn’t seem to be using it in the sense that double-effect doctrine currently does. But because I’m not that familiar with Aquinas’ vocabulary, or with Latin, I’m not going to try to get much deeper into his thought.

    Lewis makes an interesting point:

    There are two Greek words: the ordinary word to kill and the word to murder.

    The funny thing is that if you try to define what murder is, you end up with “unjust killing”, and if you try to define what is unjust, you end up with . . . something pretty close to what the Catechism says: “The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful.”

    And unfortunately, there’s where that slippery word comes in again: ‘intention’. Intention could mean, on one very far end of the spectrum, motive, and on the other very far end of the spectrum, the immediate object of the will. But in double-effect reasoning, what counts is both: both the immediate object of the will and the motive must be good or neutral.

    Veritatis Splendor makes this point:

    78. The morality of the human act depends primarily and fundamentally on the “object” rationally chosen by the deliberate will, as is borne out by the insightful analysis, still valid today, made by Saint Thomas. In order to be able to grasp the object of an act which specifies that act morally, it is therefore necessary to place oneself in the perspective of the acting person. The object of the act of willing is in fact a freely chosen kind of behaviour. To the extent that it is in conformity with the order of reason, it is the cause of the goodness of the will; it perfects us morally, and disposes us to recognize our ultimate end in the perfect good, primordial love. By the object of a given moral act, then, one cannot mean a process or an event of the merely physical order, to be assessed on the basis of its ability to bring about a given state of affairs in the outside world. Rather, that object is the proximate end of a deliberate decision which determines the act of willing on the part of the acting person. Consequently, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “there are certain specific kinds of behaviour that are always wrong to choose, because choosing them involves a disorder of the will, that is, a moral evil”

  • Darwin,
    I was threatened by a criminal a year ago with gun retaliation after I defeated him in a fight after he fled my secondary inherited home in an edgy neighborhood…(a house I’m working on to sell)… which he had broken into (I arrived home to hear him slam the side door). My instincts were correct in chasing him to ambush him after hearing the door slam because he had stolen inter alia….a weapon….which I retrieved. In the NY harbor area, that weapon would have been sold by him and killed someone someday. I pray for his salvation and keep a tactical shotgun ready to kill him if he carries out his threat. Why don’t I plan to wound him? One’s goal is to stop the trigger finger and you do that by death only unless you can shoot a man’s hand off which is a
    delusional goal where there is movement….if you wound him, he can still kill you or paralyze you.
    Aquinas passage seems to imply that only soldiers can self defend. But the modern states depute civilians through gun licenses to protect themselves in their homes in my area….outside the home in many states.
    The gospel is fascinating in that repeatedly, disciples of Christ are found to be carrying machaira…war swords….both prior to Gethsemane and Peter at Gethsemane. Christ rebukes Peter for “living by the sword” in his Gethsemane choice to assault a temple soldier….but Christ nowhere stops any of them from what Pennsylvanians call….open carry. Christ’s good Samaritan parable is about a mugging and if you let muggers damage your body pre modern surgery, you may well be lame and unable to work for life. Hence it strikes me that Chrst therefore let them carry machaira….for opposing muggers….but not for attacking authorities as Peter did at Gethsemane.

  • I know less than nothing about philosophy and theology.

    Here’s what I see. Jesus advised, “Sell your coat and buy a sword.” He taught the man who sliced the temple guard’s ear if he lived by the sword he would perish by the sword. OTOH, Jesus taught if you call your brother “fool”, you will be subject to judgment and fiery gehenna. See the difference?

    St. Bernard de Calairvaux’s endorsement of the Templars contains concepts (evil may be violently confronted) that have been largely discarded by humanists and liberals.

    St. John the Baptist taught repentance, charity and justice, not pacifism or tax evasion, he did not tell the soldier to desert or the tax collector to quit.

  • Don,

    The more I think about it, there’s probably some really interesting historical analysis to be done over this whole myth that “first the Republic was replaced the by Empire, then it got too big and it got degenerate under Caligula and Nero, and next thing you know the whole thing fell apart and Rome fell.” It gets caught up in popular culture where you see things like Marcus Aurelius being made out as a secret republican in Gladiator.

    My instinct would be that it crept in in the English speaking world via the Whig political philosophers who took Polybius as guide on how to set up a balanced republic that would last. From there it’s easy to root for the Republic and to see its fall as the “beginning of the end”.

    Is this something that springs from Gibbon? (Whom I confess I’ve never read, though I know you have.)

  • It is fascinating Darwin how this myth of imperial overstretch has been imprinted on the public mind. For generations movies have shown Roman decadent early emperors as you point out, and I agree that people believe that this demonstrates how rotten Rome was, and that it was doomed to fall. Yeah, four centuries later! Most people, including quite a few people with intellectual pretensions, know very little about Roman history, which is a complicated and vast topic that stretches over a thousand years of history. Roman history is usually used as a handy vehicle when axes are ground in contemporary political conflicts, and it is normally a safe vehicle because so many people are simply bone ignorant on the subject.

    Gibbon is not responsible for this. He considered the fall of the Empire to be caused by the triumph of Christianity and Barbarism. He was nonsensical as to the first ground, but on stronger footing as to the second. Roman elites in the fourth and fifth centuries began aping barbarian fashions and contrasting the “honest barbarians” with their increasingly decadent world. The Empire in the West suffered a crisis of confidence among their elites and in that limited sense Gibbon was on to something.

    My favorite living historian, Victor Davis Hanson has summed up that line of argument well:

    “The difference over six centuries, the dissimilarity that led to the end, was a result not of imperial overstretch on the outside but something happening within that was not unlike what we ourselves are now witnessing. Earlier Romans knew what it was to be Roman, why it was at least better than the alternative, and why their culture had to be defended. Later in ignorance they forgot what they knew, in pride mocked who they were, and in consequence disappeared.”

  • Nate,

    I feel like part of the issue here is that Aquinas and I (and, I would argue, the weight of Church history and doctrine) are reasoning from the assumption that killing in just war and self defense are murder (not unjust killing) and working back from there to figure out why, while you’re working from the assumption that all killing is unjust and looking to see if there are any exceptions.

    Thus, you say:

    The funny thing is that if you try to define what murder is, you end up with “unjust killing”, and if you try to define what is unjust, you end up with . . . something pretty close to what the Catechism says: “The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful.”

    And my immediate response would be, “Yes, but the catechism immediately goes on to explain that using lethal force in a just war, in self defense and even at times in capital punishment is not unjust killing.” I see the short bit you quote as necessarily incomplete because it hasn’t yet got into the boundaries to the basic principle that is being stated, while you seem to be assuming that this is a moment of clarity in which the full truth is stated before rationalizations set in.

    On 1) I think the “loophole” actually comes from the Church historically taking the importance of the “common good” as being so great that it outweighs the needs (including the life) of the individual. In our more individualistic age, people often go the opposite direction and hold that person defense is perhaps permissible, but that the polis or civitas is not worth taking life to defend or enforce. (Puts a whole new spin on that emphasis on “common good” which the Catholic left is usually so comfortable with.) This seems exemplified by the Augustine quotes that Aquinas uses:

    Objection 1. It would seem that nobody may lawfully kill a man in self-defense. For Augustine says to Publicola (Ep. xlvii): “I do not agree with the opinion that one may kill a man lest one be killed by him; unless one be a soldier, exercise a public office, so that one does it not for oneself but for others, having the power to do so, provided it be in keeping with one’s person.” Now he who kills a man in self-defense, kills him lest he be killed by him. Therefore this would seem to be unlawful.

    Objection 2. Further, he says (De Lib. Arb. i, 5): “How are they free from sin in sight of Divine providence, who are guilty of taking a man’s life for the sake of these contemptible things?” Now among contemptible things he reckons “those which men may forfeit unwillingly,” as appears from the context (De Lib. Arb. i, 5): and the chief of these is the life of the body. Therefore it is unlawful for any man to take another’s life for the sake of the life of his own body.

    On 2) I guess now I’m trying to understand how you’re using “intention” or “object of the will” in relation to double effect. In the more modern summaries that I’d read, it seemed to me that the idea was that you have an “intention” or “end” and an action that you’re going to perform to achieve that end. The action has two effects, one intended, the other foreseen but not intended. So in one example I’ve read before: Your end is to blow up an enemy missile installation via an action: a missile precision strike. You foresee that because the installation was put in an ordinary neighborhood, you may well accidentally kill innocent civilians nearby, but this is not your intention, it’s a foreseen effect of acheiving the effect you intent: to blow up the missile site. The remaining question is one of proportion: Are you using no more force than is necessary to achieve your end, and is the end itself sufficiently worthy to justify the unintended effects. The thing you can’t do (and this is where people often slip up) is to provide a “motive” such as “I want to end the war quicker” and to achieve that pick a means “kill ten million civilians via a biologically engineered plague” which you think will achieve that motive, because in that case there are not two effects, there’s just one: kill ten million people. (explained with my typical lack of precision vocabulary)

  • Bill,

    I’m rapidly running out of time for my morning’s blogging, but just to be clear: Aquinas actually is supporting the idea that the individual person has the right (and at times duty) to use lethal force in self defense or for the common good. He’s arguing against another interpretation which was apparently around that the time that only those acting directly on behalf of the state could use lethal force.

    One’s goal is to stop the trigger finger and you do that by death only unless you can shoot a man’s hand off which is a delusional goal where there is movement….if you wound him, he can still kill you or paralyze you.

    I guess the thing I’d point out is that while you shouldn’t shoot at anyone you’re not willing to kill (otherwise, why are you shooting a gun at them?) most shootings aren’t fatal. I think people are always kidding themselves when the imagine every police officer, soldier or citizen should be some kind of Annie Oakley shooting guns out of hands or shooting people in the knee, etc. At the same time, most gun wounds aren’t fatal. The moral (if unprecise) point would be: Once the person is no longer a threat to you, you can’t shoot him.

  • Darwin
    I agree with your final idea….when he is no longer a threat, you can’t shoot him. Shotshells to the chest at close range in a house would have lethality rates far above 9mm fights on the street though. In the dark or half dark of flashlights, one can not easily determine an enemy’s being no longer a threat….ergo one may well keep shooting if one has not seen that man’s gun drop from his hand. Scripture thus in the ancient Jewish context allowed killing a night intruder and forbade killing a daytime intruder if he could be subdued (intruders then didn’t have glocks).

    Exd.22:1 “If a thief is found breaking in, and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him;
    Exd 22:2 but if the sun has risen upon him, there shall be bloodguilt for him.”

  • The moral object of an act is a slippery critter. One can begin with the thought of Martin Rhonheimer particularly in regards to Summa Theologica II q. 64, a. 7. As we see, Aquinas allows for self-defense even if the result is the death of the aggressor. Here he notes that an act can have two effects. One can kill a person who is attacking in order to defend oneself. But what is the effect of the act that determines the moral quality – the killing or the defense? Again Rhonheimer states that it is what is intended by the actor. It is that which is intended and not which is besides the intention (praeter intentionem). Acts, as noted, are not merely a physical process but rather they “…take their moral species according to what is intended and not according to what is besides the intention.” But self-defense is not an exception to the prohibition of killing as Aquinas notes that excessive force should not be used. The death of the aggressor cannot be intended and if it is then the act is immoral. Thus there is no weighing of the good of one’s life versus that of the attacker in this analysis. For Aquinas, the act solely consists in what is intended, which is the defense of one’s own life. What is “indirect” is the physical effect of killing. But this is non-intended and as such is purely a physical effect from a moral perspective. There are not two moral acts of killing and defense but only a physical act with a specific moral intent – defense. The killing is praeter intentionem even if it occurs as the “…immediate effect of the action.” Thus the physical event is no longer the object of the action but an accidental event. There is thus no “direct” or “indirect” as in PDE but only intended and what is praeter intentionem. Human acts thus should not be judged on the basis of the physical causality of the act but on what the person acting wills as the immediate end of the act.

    This is not to argue that resolving vital conflicts for Rhonheimer is a matter of self-defense. Rather, he uses this thought of Aquinas as the basis for his understanding of the moral object of the act that holds for his subsequent analysis in vital conflicts. That is, any moral analysis must be directed towards “…what is actually willed, on the level of means and end, in a concrete action.” The analysis for Rhonheimer thus becomes not whether something was done physically “directly” or “indirectly.” In self-defense, the defense comes directly from the physical killing of the aggressor. The good comes from the killing. But this is only in physical terms – an indirect willingness. This physical act is of the genus naturae. What is intended is the act of stopping the aggressor. In other terms, a direct killing is not merely a physical end of an act. Rather, directness is what is chosen as a means to an end. It is not the physical act itself that determines the moral object, but the intention of the actor. The object of the action is always conceived of as the object of the will informed by the judgment of practical reason. As a result, what occurs as a physical consequence of what is directly willed is not formative of the morality of the act. Thus, in an analogous fashion, one can consider that reason determines the species of an act as the form determines the species of natural objects. That is, reason is to the moral object as form is to matter. It is reason that determines the species of the moral object. This is of the genus moris.

    This is all of course only true if Rhonheimer’s understanding of the autonomy of practical intellect from the speculative intellect holds. If not, then we have to consider that the physical act has some bearing on the moral object.

    Obtuse enough?

7 Responses to General George S. Patton: Art and Life

  • Donald,

    Just in case no one else tells you – Keep posting stuff like this. I love it.

  • Thank you Nicholas. The Law pays my bills, but History always rules my mind.

  • I remember seeing this powerful movie – but not the opening speech as much as the size of the flag. Thanks for the replay because, as is said, after all these years …
    When I was little, I found a leather case in my father’s top drawer which contained a little medal and paper that said Lucky Bastards Club. There was a picture of him with soldiers (airmen? Air Force) next to an airplane. He was a tailgunner between England and Germany, later an aircraft mechanic. I always felt embarassed by whatever that club could mean and didn’t ask him. Think I get it now.

  • Your father was a very brave and lucky man PM.

    “The casualties suffered by the 8th Air Force in World War II exceeded those of the US Marine Corps and the US Navy combined.

    The B-17G carried a standard crew of 10: comprising a pilot, co-pilot, bombardier/chin turret gunner, navigator/cheek gunner, flight engineer/top turret gunner, radio operator, ball turret gunner, two waist gunners, and tail turret gunner.

    The area of England known as East Anglia, about the size of Vermont, became what flyers called an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” and was the home for more than 130 American bases and 75 airfields. Almost 350,000 airmen passed through these 8th Air Force airfields during the war. The very *British* names of these bases became familiar to all who flew — Glatton, Snetterton, Stowmarket, Lavenham, Bassingbourne, Polebrook, Molesworth, Martlesham Heath, Podington, Eye, Bury St Edmunds and Kingscliffe to name just a few.

    The typical airfield in East Anglia was home to about 50 B-17’s or B-24’s and had a compliment of about 2500 men who flew, repaired, serviced and supported the air operation. Not to be forgotten were the men who “kept ’em flying”. For every bomber at the field there were 30 or more men who did not fly. They repaired the plane, loaded the bombs and munitions, policed the field, maintained the radios, cooked and fed 2500 men a day, operated the laundry, worked in the PX, and handled the many other duties required to keep the planes flying and the field operating — all essential to the successful launching of the air strike.

    The average flyer was about 20 years of age and even for these young men the effects of flying very long missions under extreme cold, the constant hum and vibration, and being exposed to enemy fighters and flak, resulted in unusual stress that sometimes resulted in a breakdown. Most flyers slept long hours when not flying. I can attest to that.
    In the early years of the air war crews were required to fly 25 and later 30 and then 35 missions before they were returned to the States. This was called a “tour” and upon completion the survivors automatically became members of the “Lucky Bastards Club”.”


  • “KIll them with kindness”, General George Patton. “I can attest to that” means that you, Donald R. McClarey, were a flying man? God love you. In my humble opinion your posted photograph reminds me of Ulysses S. Grant.

  • Thank you so much for the story behind the medal – have been trying to imagine how it was. He spoke little about the time. I suspect that, since his father and mother emigrated from Germany and Austria in the 19-teens to NY just west of Mass. border, the gunning missions began a lifelong off and on vodka disease. He did say that mechanical work was his avocation before and after WWII – cars, trucks, airplanes, even buses – until the need for conversion to metric tools in the 1970’s. The picture of the airmen was taken on an airfield with a B-17 and they had the expressions that spoke of something happily accomplished.

  • RE: AAF air crew bravery. See the movie, “Memphis Belle.” When I was in SAC, I served with men who been bomber crew in the War. Our group CO had been shot down over Ploesti and was a POW.

    I am reading Unbroken by the author of Seabiscuit. I recommend it. It gives a good description of a successful B-24 bomber raid on a Japanese occupied island and of an air raid the air and ground crews endured on an island air base. The author also reports the large numbers of training and accidental air deaths and the pressures and angst suffered between missions (both combat and training). The B-24 ditches at sea on a search mission for another lost aircraft and crew. Our Lord’s bitter agony in the Garden of Gethsemani comes to mind.

    Also, lest we forget: I think 40,000 young Americans (America’s finest) gave the “last full measure of devotion” with 3 Army from Normandy through Czechoslovakia.

    All the WWII men (RIP) with whom I grew up have gone to their rewards. They were the greatest generation, without a doubt.

    Greet them ever with grateful hearts.

The War on the Drug War

Tuesday, January 17, AD 2012

I caught a little of the Mark Levin show tonight, and he had a Ron Paul supporter on his show.  He gave the gentleman a good deal of time – two segments in fact – and was actually gracious to the caller.  The Paul supporter spent most of his time talking about the seminal issue of our day, the one issue that is truly on the mind of every American voter: the drug war.

There are legitimate reasons to oppose the prohibition on drugs.  I don’t particularly agree with this philosophy, but it’s not outside the bounds of reasonable discourse.  What baffles me is the attention that libertarians pay to what is a fairly minor issue.  We are still suffering economically, with an unemployment rate that is hovering at about 8.5 percent, and a real unemployment rate that is significantly higher.  Our national debt is out of control.  Soon Obamacare will be fully implemented, thus making the debt problem and our health care even worse.  Meanwhile, President Obama shrugs off the Constitution like it is some dusty old piece of parchment in making “recess” appointments, and has an Attorney General who continues to obfuscate about a horribly botched gun operation in Mexico.  And yet this guy wanted to talk about the drug war.

Sometime ago I once watched a Libertarian convention, and watched speaker after speaker rail about the criminalization of marijuana.  I had the same reaction then as I did this evening: this is really the hill you want to die on?  Sure, if you want to make this a part of your platform, knock your socks off.  But to make this one of the focal points of your outrage against the government?  Really?

We all have issues that we care about more deeply than do other people.  It just strikes me that libertarians would be better off focusing their attention on matters that are a tad more relevant to people living in the real world.


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15 Responses to The War on the Drug War

  • “But to make this one of the focal points of your outrage against the government? Really?”

    Love of cannabis explains quite a bit about the Libertarian political philosophy which is basically the rest of the world can go to hell as I long as I can do whatever the hell I want.

    I am always amused when drug use is claimed to be a victimless crime. I have been a court appointed attorney in many juvenile cases. Invariably the parents have been druggies who I wouldn’t trust to “parent” a slug, let alone a human child. Illegal drug use also goes hand in hand with criminal activity. I have rarely represented a criminal defendant in non drug cases who was not an illegal drug user. Then we have the divorces where one party decides that he prefers heroin or cocaine to to his or her mate or kids. Victimless crime, yeah, right.

  • Donald-
    thank you.
    I was debating if I wanted to touch that electrified rail again. Made the mistake of sharing a story the association between cannabis use and mental illness requiring treatment a year or two back– otherwise perfectly rational people went utterly unhinged, making flatly counter-factual claims about the article linked, let alone the study it cited. (and linked– this looks like the same subject, but I don’t have the link itself)

    I know of one good outcome of drug use: the drug ring that was also stealing car radios (and swiping all papers in the car for ID theft) ended up being broken because one of their dealers thought they’d cheated him of his fair share, so he called the cops to complain about it. I may have told this story before, they got a suspended sentence of community service, even caught red-handed with thousands of dollars worth of stolen goods.

    I’ve got a post brewing somewhere working on a link between the spoiled rich kid type demonstration phenomina and pot, but I’ll probably never finish it because it’s worse than speaking ill of Ron Paul.

  • I do not wish to argue about priorities in the 2012 election over there. I do however know something about the drug epidemic as one who rented his upstairs to crack addicts, unknowingly, and had “friendly” neighbours while in the USA, I am also fully aware of the huge corruption, inflated prices, cost of policing and the officials being bought off, in the drug trade from South America and Mexico and the stories from Afghanistan. The drug trade has destroyed a huge section of the fabric of the society and culture. Vulnerable people are being robbed, murdered, injured, prisons are filled with the lower level people in the business and the high cost because of the danger of drugs is destroying lives . Some better strategy must be developed. What would be so wrong with admitting defeat in trying to eradicate them and working out a system to control the growth and market and care for the addicts by changing the current failed tactics. The Enemy is powerful and very wealthy and very ruthless, the Opponent is basically powerless to a large extent.

  • Sometimes I think libertarians are as bad as liberals.

    I agree with everyone.

    One thing: what drug war? They are not fighting a war. Read them their “Miranda rights.”

    I have seen what drugs do. Would you shoot a rabid wolf if it were about to kill your kid?

  • The use of illegal drugs is a sin in Catholic teaching. I was a drug prosecutor for 17 years. I KNOW that usiung pot does not necessarily mean that a person will use powder coke, meth, prescription pills, glue or crack. BUT the huge, huge majority of the informants we used, and I talked to them all, used pot before they used other drugs, and THEY said it was a gateway drug to them !! To make pot legal is saying to kids, we were wrong, it’s not that bad. You want “Joe’s Pot Shop” next to the Burger King or the Best Buy? There is an illegal sanction now, and my opinion is that it would be worse than it is now, in every respect, to lega ize any illegal drug. Obama has done zero in stopping drugs from Mexico. We could do more. Drug treatment programs in prison could be increased. And God forbid that the President of the United States should “lead” and talk about this issue in an address to kids and the public in general. Don’t hold your breath. When Reagan and Bush the First made it a priority, drug use went down. This nation cannot tell kids…”.We were wrong…its now legal if you are over 21…but dont take them if you are under 21!!”…Hows that theory involving booze working for us???
    Read this about drugs http://www.teen-drug-abuse.org/?referrer=http://www.teen-alcohol-addiction.com/teen_addiction/teen-marijuana-and-alcohol-abuse-can-lead-to-brain-damage.php&__utma=1.2008933314.1326895354.1326895354.1326895354.1&__utmb=|utmccn=(direct)|utmcmd=(none)&__utmv=-&__utmk=15501622

  • What baffles me is the attention that libertarians pay to what is a fairly minor issue.

    A number of them have a fanciful idea of the share of public expenditure which is allocated to enforcing drug laws (the correct answer is ~2%). Others retain an essentially juvenile world view and set of tastes.

  • As I noted, i rented to crack heads, without knowing it, had a weekly TV programme on topical issues and had highway patrol on as guests- including one ex-60s hippie! undercover officer- and taught College where a former undercover DEA officer became a good friend. I also volunteered as a counselor for religious programmes in prisons for women and men. That whole experience and seeing the failures or local, state and federal efforts to save lives and win people off drugs led me to see that something else or more needs to be done. The sticking point for me is the crime and ruin caused by addicts to get the cash for the drugs, the excessive price of the drugs since they are illegal and thus much more expensive. I am neither a liberal nor conservative as far as labels go socially. But I do think and my experience shows me that is looks broke, can we fix it without making it more broken. Seeing the destruction drugs caused was so depressing and it seemed nothing worked since there was no real alternative and of course not too many saw they had a problem.

  • Of course libertarians are going to bitch about legalizing pot! What else are they supposed to do all day in their mother’s basement besides look at porn?

  • jay A.: Your’s (8:44AM) goes on the list for best comment . . .

  • You mention concern with Obama shredding the constitution while expressing wonderment at why libertarians are concerned with the War on Drugs. The WOD is a trashing of the constitution that has been going on long before Obama brought his own particular zeal to the game. Those of you who believe that marijuana use should remain illegal completely miss the point. The WOD is illegal itself! There is no constitutional warrant for federal involvement here. If you aren’t willing to abide by the constitution why should anyone pay any heed to your insistence on legalization. f you think marijuana is bad then by all means do as was done with alcohol and abide by our laws and amend the constitution to give the feds legal authority to outlaw marijuana.

  • You mention concern with Obama shredding the constitution while expressing wonderment at why libertarians are concerned with the War on Drugs

    Actually, I expressed wonder at why libertarians stress this particular issue to the extent that they do. I don’t happen to think that it is outside the realm of polite discourse to suggest that it should be decriminalized or even outright legalized, but it seems to me that there are more pressing matters of concern.

    The WOD is illegal itself! There is no constitutional warrant for federal involvement here.

    Hogwash. This is one of those rare matters where the commerce clause is a justification for federal action.

    This sentiment is a good distillation of libertarian thought, and why so many are really as bad as progressives. Not everything that you disagree with is unconstitutional. You can argue against the drug war on policy grounds, but there’s nothing unconstitutional about it.

  • The commerce clause is ample constitutional warrant for the WOD. The languange is itself quite expansive and in my view gives Congress considerable latitute to effectuate national policy as long as there is some reasonable nexus to national commerce. While libertarians are uncomfortable with this, and I am too frankly, I tend to think that the words must be respected even when I think they yield Congressional actions that I think are imprudent and certainly unanticipated by the Framers. The Framers agreed to what was written — not to what they hypothetically might have thought they agreed to.

    Whether the WOD is a prudent exercise of the power to regulate interstate and foreign commerce is a matter of opinion. Certainly, abuse of drugs is a violation of natural law and therefore it is hardly unreasonable for citizens, including Catholic citizens, to desire that positive law be in alignment. But such alignment is a matter of prudence, and one can certainly reasonably argue that the enforcement of such laws creates more social problems than it solves. I favor the WOD, but concede reasonable people can disagree.

  • There is no constitutional warrant for federal involvement here.

    I think you might argue there is no warrant to render mere possession, home production, or street-level sales a federal crime. Please keep in mind that the drug trade involves often transporting merchandise accross state lines and possession while on Interstate Highways and U.S. Routes. Keep in mind also that 70% of those in the clink on drug charges are in county jails and state prisons.

  • Paul is right. In 2005, the Supreme Court decided the case of Gonzales v Raich. The case raised the issue of whether federal drug laws prohibiting the private possession of marijuana preempt state laws that authorize possession and consumption for medical pruposes with a doctor’s prescription. After the DEA seized doctor-prescribed marijuana from the home of a patient, Angel Raich and other patients sued. The United States contended that laws authorizing medical marijuana in California and 10 other states interfere with federal drug enforcement. Raich and fellow medical marijuana user Diane Monson argued that medical marijuana grown and consumed entirely on private property, or provided by a local medical caregiver, is not “an article of commerce” within the power of Congress to regulate.
    BY a 6 to 3 vote Writing for the Court, Justice Stevens found that the power of Congress to regulate local activities as part of a “class of activities” that substantially affect interstate commerce was “well established.” The Court concluded that the doctor-prescribed marijuana has a significant impact on both the supply and demand for black market marijuana, which was clearly within the power of the federal government to regulate. Joining the liberals in the majority were conservatives Scalia and Kennedy, who have been skeptical of strained exercises of the Commerce Clause power in other contexts. Justices O’Connor, Rehnquist, and Thomas dissented.
    There is no more argument folks. What the USSC says the Constitution means…it means!
    The Federal Drug law—21 US Code 801 states “(1) Many of the drugs included within this subchapter have a useful and legitimate medical purpose and are necessary to maintain the health and general welfare of the American people.

    “(2) The illegal importation, manufacture, distribution, and possession and improper use of controlled substances have a substantial and detrimental effect on the health and general welfare of the American people.

    “(3) A major portion of the traffic in controlled substances flows through interstate and foreign commerce. Incidents of the traffic which are not an integral part of the interstate or foreign flow, such as manufacture, local distribution, and possession, nonetheless have a substantial and direct effect upon interstate commerce because–

    “(A) after manufacture, many controlled substances are transported in interstate commerce,

    “(B) controlled substances distributed locally usually have been transported in interstate commerce immediately before their distribution, and

    “(C) controlled substances possessed commonly flow through interstate commerce immediately prior to such possession.

    “(4) Local distribution and possession of controlled substances contribute to swelling the interstate traffic in such substances.

    “(5) Controlled substances manufactured and distributed intrastate cannot be differentiated from controlled substances manufactured and distributed interstate. Thus, it is not feasible to distinguish, in terms of controls, between controlled substances manufactured and distributed interstate and controlled substances manufactured and distributed intrastate.

    “(6) Federal control of the intrastate incidents of the traffic in controlled substances is essential to the effective control of the interstate incidents of such traffic.” 21 U. S. C. §§801(1)-(6).
    Those are just some of the notes that justified the USS Ct to uphold the Fed Drug Laws. So….you may call it unconstitutionsl.BUT those that have the duty and authority to call it un constitutional—-disagree with you

Aligning with Catholic identity: An embrace or artful strategic communications and public relations?

Tuesday, January 17, AD 2012

With the 2012 election year well underway, the Obama administration’s intransigence concerning healthcare entitlements as these impact religious institutions, in general, and Catholic hospitals and educational institutions, in particular, continues to boil on the backburner.

At issue are some of the regulations concerning the implementation of the 2009 Obamacare law issued by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, and scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2012.  Especially disconcerting for the U.S. Catholic Church is the particular regulation requiring new insurance plans for women to cover all contraceptives approved  by the Food and Drug Administration with no co-pays or other cost sharing.

While the regulation provides an exemption for some religious employers, it is not broad enough to cover Roman Catholic and some Protestant institutions.  And even though religious organizations can be exempted from the regulation, the organization’s purpose must be to inculcate religious values, it must primarily employ and serve people holding the  same religious beliefs, and be considered a nonprofit organization under provisions of the tax code that cover churches and religious orders.  Furthermore, the exemption applies only to employer-sponsored health coverage, not the individual plans that some colleges and universities offer to  students.

Commenting on this regulation last October 5, the Chair of the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, said:

The HHS’s “religious employer exemption” is so  extremely narrow that it protects almost no one.  Jesus himself, or the Good Samaritan of his famous parable, would not qualify  as “religious enough” for the exemption, since they insisted on helping people  who did not share their view of God.

The reason this issue continues to boil on the backburner during this election year is that the nation’s Catholic colleges and universities may have awakened from their sleepy “catholic” identity to protest that, as Catholic institutions of higher education, they would be required to offer health insurance that covers those contraceptives and abortofacients despite the fact that Church teaching is opposed to them.

In November, 2011, Belmont Abbey College filed a lawsuit, seeking an injunction to keep the federal government from implementing the regulation.

The President of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Michael Galligan-Stierle, said: “Conscience is now moved to the margins and is no longer protected.”

And, in a  letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius, to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the University of Notre Dame’s President, Reverend John Jenkins, CSC, wrote:

It is an  impossible position.  This would compel Notre Dame to either pay for contraception and sterilization in violation of the church’s moral teaching, or to discontinue our employee and student health care plans in violation of the church’s social  teaching.

In contrast, the Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of  Church and State, Reverend Barry Lynn, believes a broader exemption is not only  unnecessary but also unconstitutional.  Lynn is of the opinion that since Christian and Catholic colleges and  universities accept federal money in the form of loans and grants, they should then be required to play by the government’s rules.  In an interview with Inside Higher Education, he said:

Denying contraceptive coverage to students because of religious belief isn’t  an issue of freedom of religion.  That seems wildly broad, painfully at  odds with the reality of good health care in America, and utterly unnecessary  under the Constitution.  What’s not sensible is declaring that every  belief you have needs to trump the generally applicable rules.


So, what has all of this to do with the 2012 elections?

The Motley Monk wouldn’t at all be surprised to discover that President Obama is waiting to see what his polling numbers look like come late Spring 2012.  If the President needs “the Catholic vote” (The Motley Monk disputes that such a monolith exists today), then the President’s minions at his Chicago election headquarters and White House policy operations office will figure out a way to “thread the needle.”

The outcome?

Some type of exemption that satisfies both pro-life and pro-abortion advocates.

Perhaps the good news is that at least some leaders of U.S. Catholic higher education are aligning themselves in public with Church teaching.  Or, might it be good strategic communications and public relations on their part, meaning that this is an artful way of seizing the argument and appealing to Catholic parents that the tuition they must pay for an undergraduate education at their institutions is worth the cost?

The Motley Monk thinks it likely that it’s a bit of both.


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28 Responses to Aligning with Catholic identity: An embrace or artful strategic communications and public relations?

  • There is a CATHOLIC vote in the sense that many Catholics and other Christians Jews and Moslems are not fanatically yelling about the pre-born, but see it as Gift from God. Many are also seeing the growing connection between the various strands of the Seamless Garment and see that it has to be whole and intact, otherwise it unravels. You may recall how, decades ago, many Catholics were convinced and converted by the US Bishops pastoral on war, European believers were not in need of that conversion experience, they had seen WW1 and WW1 and were sitting duck targets in any war between the USSR and the USA and UK allies. They also saw very quickly how iraq 11 was a disaster before the USA and UK caught on.

  • it is evident that that justice and peace stuff is nothing but political posturing.

    Aborion, contraception, eugenics, sterilzation mean nothing,

    They again will vote for Obama.

  • I am not that pessimistic about that T. Shaw as I see the trends develop. The younger citizens in the USA are very strongly pro-unborn life. They have lost siblings, classmates. see the effect on female classmates who had abortions and do not need to be taught that conception is not a glob of tissue. they. They also see the job losses and the mortgage problem and ask why and have answers to that, and the abortion quesion they do not find in the popular media and propaganda from those in power.

  • Catholic identity crisis really needs a warm embrace from leaders in Catholic education institutions more than the smattering of rhetoric and posturing (for wink nod tuitions).
    Couldn’t there be more word about trust in God’s Providence and evidence of adherence to the Gospel they stand for? Somehow, I think, people and potential students would be heartened by growth of understanding the strength found in sound Catholic identity.

  • “Many are also seeing the growing connection between the various strands of the Seamless Garment and see that it has to be whole and intact, otherwise it unravels.”

    That analogy only works so far however. For example, if Republicans were seeking to end poverty by killing the poor, then it would be the same as abortion. But as the majority of American poor have TV’s, cars and their biggest dietary problem is obesity. Thus reductions in benefits may not actually constitute killing and, given current economic circumstances, may actually promote the common good.

    The Church also in its wisdom teaches that there can be just wars and even just executions. Such is its wisdom in recognizing that men are not angels and that there is great evil as well as great good in human hearts and others may need to be defended against such evil. Such can never be the case with abortion. Thus, as noted, the Seamless Garmet moral theory only works on a superficial level.

  • Every time I see or hear that phrase “Seamless Garment”, I am truly nauseated to the point of vomit. There is no equivelency between the evils of abortion and homosexual filth that the left wing supports and lack of wealth redistribution. Social justice is never served by taking from those who produce and giving to those who refuse to produce. All that does is make those who don’t produce addicted to the teat of the public treasury. That doesn’t mean that individual cities and villages shouldn’t find the means to support the poor in their communities. But that isn’t the job of the Federal Government. The left (particularly left wing Catholycs) want to make it the job of government because they want a God other than Jesus. Like the Jews in the courtyard of Pontius Pilate, Caesar is their God.

    Europe used to have something to teach us that was worthwhile. Now all it has to teach us is the fallacy of social justice from the nanny state. Do we want justice? Then repent and be holy. Jesus told us to be perfect just as our Heavenly Father is perfect. And 2nd Chronicles 7:14 says prosperity comes after repentance, not before. No social justice without righteousness and holiness.

  • It isn’t charity if you do it with other people’s money.

    All that justice and peace stuff is nothing but political posturing.

  • If I were in charge of a Catholic hospital, university or diocese, i would not obey the regulation. The Federal Government has overstepped its bounds and compelling the Catholic Church to pay for contraception is against the First Amendment. Sebelius is a person that deserves words that I cannot post here. She is a perfect Obama lackey.

    I am beyond angry at so-called Catholic politicians who support the nauseating garbage of abortion, homosexual marriage and the rest of the left wing garbage that the Democrat Party has been shoving down our collective throats. Even the owner of my favorite football team, Dan Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who used to come to St. Mary of Mercy for daily Mass (I know, I saw him there almost every morning) sold out for Obama. Rooney knows of Obama’s support for abortion and he supported Obama for President anyway. Rooney got to be the Ambassador to Ireland, where his family originates.

    The USCCB is now spouting off about “migrants”, who are likely to be illegal immigrants that the USCCB wants to give amnesty. No way. The USCCB has never, in any meaningful way, blasted the Democrat Party for its abortion support. Back in the early 1980s, the USCCB had an opinion about nuclear war and drafted a pastoral letter about it. They were not fond of Reagan. JohnPpaul II knew better, but the USCCB didn’t want to listen to him much.

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  • The Seamless Garment image is just that, an imagedrawn from the Gospel account that the soldiers ddid not want to rip that precious piece of Jesus’ clothing apart. It cannot be used in any rational way to make priorities of the elements of LIFE, it is all part of a whole as given by God as gift. The NCCCB has been accused mercilessly of being pro-GOP for a long time re abortion. They were against Star Wars as waste, they agreed with RWR on opposing abortion as a matter of Catholic teaching which did not automatically make him “their” choice for POTUS. Their stand on immigration and dealing wth those who are here and have US-born children is crying out for a solution, so far no one has had the courage to deal with it. Tinkering around the edges with State law for a federal and complkicated issue is neither practical nor constitutional. The Church as an institution offers principles based on Natural law and the justice it requires, the basis of which is human life made in God’s Image. Applying those fairly and consistently is neither simple nor easy as hubris, political power, and greed and narrow-minded thinking, including racism, zenophobia and religious bias gets in the way

  • Star Wars – the Strategic Defense Initiative – was instrumental in defeating the USSR. It bankrupted them, and as a defesne against the weapons of rogue states like North Korea and Iran, it hardly qualifies as waste. What a surprise. Defense itself is even opposed by the left wing liberals. Read the Strategy of Technology by Stefan T. Possony, Ph.D., Jerry E. Pournelle, Ph.D. and Col. Francis X. Kane, Ph.D. (USAF Ret.) here:


    I have to go to work and so can’t argue the point right now, nor do I even wish to. It’s flabergasting how left wingers can’t understand what really happened (or don’t want to). Thus does Europe slide to destruction, and unless Obama is kicked out, so too America.

  • Paul: It bothers me that any ideas that are presented from the Catholic Christian humanist, Consistent Ethic of Life view are dismissed as “liberal” or in other people’s eyes as “conservative”, both words defined as “bad” and/or “extreme.” JP11’s moral forece, begun as a bishop in Poland, continued as Pope brought down the Soviet machinery, Ghandi, borrowing from Matthew 5, brought down the British Empire and MLK used it to break the back of the viciousness of Southern racism. JESUS made it quite clear, the Beatitudes are for LIFE not just for CHURCH and if they were practiced in Church more faithfylly it would not be so sinfully divided within and with Protestantism. Today’s reading for Mass is David killing Goliath, not because he wa a good shot with a stone and sling but because GOD was on David’s side. Korea’s nukes, Star Wars will stop them against S Korea? Iran against a quick strike on Israel or if they block the tankers going through? Rogues getting some Pakistani nukes RWR got in there by dubious means in the then-surrogate war against the USSR?

  • Quick reply; the rules for war as laid down by St Augustine would preclude most wars- talk first; proportionate means; no evil for good to come from it. The CatechismCC was revised to very technically allow for the death penalty IF there was no non-lethal alternative 2266-2267 CCC. Same principle as for war. LIFE trumps all.

  • The seemless garment of Jesus Christ is repentance and conversion, righteousness and holiness. As 2nd Chronicles 7:14 and Matthew 6:33 indicate, bellies won’t be fed without placing repentance and conversion, righteousness and holiness first.

    Boy, there is so much to de-bunk in the last comment. Ghandi and the British Empire – hah! Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were defeated by overwhelming force of arms. People on the left, however, can’t tell the difference between the British Empire and the evil that was Nazism.

    Star Wars stop them against S. Korea? S. Korea is a free nation and hopefuilly they will join the US in SDI against N. Korea. It’s N. Korea with its culmination of left wing liberal social justice – called communism – that’s the problem. Read the Strategy of Technology written by experts, not by arm chair lavender coated liberals.

    As for social justice, as I pointed out elsewhere:

    When Jesus gave his speech about feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, caring for the sick, etc. in Matthew 25:31-46, his audience was the disciples, that is to say, the Body of Christ. We are called as part of our penance (if you will) to do good for others for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Every time we abdicate our responsibility and evade our accountability to do this our sacred duty onto nanny govt, we sacrifice on the alter of political expediency our citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven and our adoption as sons and daughters of the great King. It is NOT the job of govt to help the poor. That’s OUR job as Christians.

    That being said, let’s remember John 12 where Mary (sister of Martha) was anointing Jesus’ feet with perfumed oil costing 300 denarii, a year’s wage. Judas Iscariot saw this and said that the oil could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor. And what does Scripture say right afterwards? Jesus pointed out that we’ll always have the poor with us, and Mary did this in preparation for his burial, for we would not always have him. Furthermore, the writer of the Gospel goes on to explain that the REAL reason Judas advocated selling the oil wasn’t because he cared a darn thing for the poor. He was like every liberal Democrat politician today (and not a few RINOs) who has spiritually succeeded him. He said this because he used to steal from the disciples’ purse. Read it. That’s what verse 6 says: Judas was a thief (just like Obama and all the rest).

    One other thing: remember the feeding of the 5000 in John 6. Afterwards Jesus and his disciples crossed the Lake to Capernaum on the other side. The crowd awoke the next morning and saw Jesus gone, so they followed on foot. When they caught up with him, they asked why he departed. What did Jesus say? It’s in verses 26 and 27: “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”

    The social justice types in the Church have reduced the Gospel message to feeding bellies. That is NOT the goal. Jesus said so. The goal is saving souls from Satan and hell. Yes, as Christians we must care for the poor – back to Matthew 25 again. And yes, it’s nigh unto impossible to attend to one’s spiritual needs when one has an empty stomach. That’s why Jesus fed the 5000 with food first in John 6. But instead of paying attention to their spiritual condition once their bellies were full, they expected another free handout and Jesus said “No!” That began the Bread of Life discourse.

    This isn’t confusing at all once one reads and studies what is plain as day in Sacred Scripture.


    The Seamless Garment of Jesus Christ is righteousness and holiness before the Lord God of Hosts. Let us wear that garment.

  • Agree with Hermit’s last comment. One clarification about my previous comment: “lavender coated armichair liberals” is a term not intended to refer to Pope JP II.

    Quick response 1: I was a submarine reactor operator during the Cold War, and as such there was scant chance that I would have ever received an order to launch our nuclear weapons. But as a qualified submariner, I had to learn things about weapons launch just in case I were the only man left alive (every submariner has to). If I had been given an order to launch, then I would have unhesitatingly done so.

    Quick response 2: no one should get to use other people’s money just to support his idea of social justice. Furthermore, social justice comes after we don the Seamless Garment of righteousness and holiness. A nation which murders the unborn and sanctifies homosexual filth deserves no social justice.

    Quick response 3: this idea that by wealth redistribution we can creaste a Kiongdom of Heaven on Earth is unmitigated hubris of the worst sort. St. Peter tells us in one of his epistles that one day the elements themselves will be melted away. Revelation goes on to describe the new Heaven and the new Earth. These social justice types who think they can bring about a man-made utopia on your tax dollars and mine will find themselves sadly mistaken.

  • “The Seamless Garment image is just that, an imagedrawn from the Gospel account that the soldiers ddid not want to rip that precious piece of Jesus’ clothing apart.”

    A statement that does nothing to refute what I said.

  • Liberals use the term “Seamless Garment” to equivocate their version of social justice (i.e., taking your money and giving it to those who refuse to work) with intrinsic evils such as abortion and homosexual filth.

    The real “Seamless Garment” is Jesus’ righteousness and holiness. He died NOT to fill bellies but to save souls from hell. However, a civilzation that commits wanton adultery, fornication, homosexual sodomy and infanticide with complete abandon as we have done has already cast off the Seamless Garment. Thinking that it can be re-donned by wealth re-distribution is the same as the complaint that Judas Iscariot gave in John 12, “But this oil could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor.”

    “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all these things shall be added unto thee.” We have got to stop sinning first. Duh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I admire and respect your faith and commitment to the Church and nation before that. A classmate from grade school here in Ireland became a SAC Pilot. I used visit him after retirement . He told me the the rock-hard place he was in IF the signal to drop the bombs was sent. Could not get back home due to fuel. I ;pray daily for all troops and all wars. I see you perhaps not understanding St Augustine’s “hate the sin but love the sinner” principle. Providing a secure social net for those in need is perfectly legitimate as i read the OT Prophets and Jesus’ Beatitudes. I see no justification for a nanny state nor for ubridled consumption and selfish use of the Good God’s gifts- no extremism.

  • I never said, Hermit, that I would be glad to launch a nuke. I said that I would unhesitatingly launch if given the order. Nothing in what I said should be construed as hating the sinner, else I would have to hate myself.

    I wonder if you ever served your country. That doesn’t mean that service to country overrides service to God as it does under Obama’s liberal social justice that forces Catholic institutions to promote abortion. But there once was a time when we faced an evil empire called the USSR and the only thing the Commissars respected was MAD – Mutual Assurred Destruction – a policy and program that has enabled you to live till now to say the things that you say.

    I have no opposition to local communities – cities and villages – voting on measures to care for those in need. I have every opposition to this being a responsibility of an already omnipotent federal government whose Caesar is deified for no other reason than the bread and circuses he can dispense to the rabble from the teat of the public treasury.

    Furthermore, if we say that the Bible implies that social justice should come from government, then why shouldn’t morality so derive? Why shouldn’t adultery, fornication and homosexuality be made illegal? If we mandate for religious reasons social justice from the government, then why not moral justice? Here the line of thinking of liberals breaks down. Now I don’t advocate legislating morality any more than I advocate legislating social justice.

    I will repeat: no social justice safety nets until this wicked and rebellious generation of iniquity and depravity repents. As long as we sin, then we can and should expect social injustice, and no amount of social engineering can override the law which states, “The wages of sin are death.”

  • Please Paul I did not quote the St Augustine principle to apply to war. No way. The OT prophets as you may know railed against the people in power, who were in a “theocracic” mode- they represented God, managed the holy shrines, later the Temple and were administrators of justice as well. Recall the Temple crowd re-wrote the commandment about honouring parents to allw that money to go to the Temple, korban and Jesus took a swing at them for that and other shenanigans.
    The Church in Rome after the pagan Empire collapsed took over the pagan Empire’s role of giving the people corn for their bread. There is no magic formula in the Bible or the CCC that decides how much for “butter and guns” the old question about food and security. At this stage of my life, praying for and encouraging respewct for all human life, Jesus’ compassionate forgiveness of the sinner

  • Phillip: do not understand your comment on the origin of the Seamless Garment image used by the late very saintly Cardinal J Bernardin of Chicago. My use of the image is to show that LIFE is of a piece, and we cannot destroy any of it recklessly, without leaving an opening for some group, Party or ideology to justify attacking all of it.

  • Hermit, I cannot disagree with your last comment. My point is this: we need to repent before we can expect social justice. Liberals think that if we just give a little bit more money from the public treasury to the rabble, then we can cure sin. It doesn’t work that way. In fact, I would say that the US, the UK and the rest of Western Civilization must go through a period of purgation (if you will) to purify us of the sin and filth that so infects our mutual countries before we can expect social justice. I would also posit that if we as Christians actually did our duty in caring for the sick, feeding the poor, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, etc., then we wouldn’t need nanny government to do that for us. But we have gotten lazy and complacent in our prosperity.

    Consider: when the rich man went to visit Jesus, he asked Jesus what he had to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus said he had to obey the Commandments. The young man responded that he had done so all his life. Jesus, Scripture tells us, looked on the young man and loved him, telling him that he still lacked one thing: he had to sell what he had and give to the poor. The young man went away sorrowful. Now notice that Jesus never said that the disciples were to confiscate the rich man’s belongings and redistribute the wealth to the poor (Judas Iscariot would have proposed that, keeping for himself much of the proceeds). Nor did Jesus say that Caesar was to redistribute the wealth. Rather, the young man had to give willingly. Now was the purpose of this to care for the poor? NO! It was to remove an idol between the rich man and eternal life in Heaven. That doesn’t mean that Jesus doesn’t care about the poor. Rather, it means that idolatry must first be removed before we can expect social justice.

  • Life isn’t a piece. Life IS the garment – HIS life.

  • Absulutely Paul. We are i ntrinsically free to decide to be part of a community or lone rangers caring for ourselves alone. JESUS told us in Matthew 25 and earlier in the Beatitudes in 5 and the next chapters of commentary to care for His Body the poor and naked etc. The Government uses its police power to get its share. As citizens we can lobby for more butter, as in more help for the poor as Jesus said- today “womb to tomb” we say and reduce the gun money IF IF and we know the principles and can name the extremes as we see the Big Picture from our values.

  • “My use of the image is to show that LIFE is of a piece, and we cannot destroy any of it recklessly, without leaving an opening for some group, Party or ideology to justify attacking all of it.”

    Agreed. Which is why we can’t reduce Catholic Social teaching to an image even if used by a saintly Cardinal. What we must use is reason to apply it properly. That includes the fullness of Catholic teaching which commands assent to fundamentals and freedom of thought where licit. This point is best summed up by the thought of our current Pope:

    “3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

  • The phrase “of a piece” is a way of saying it is seamless, has no sections or patches. No quarrel here about the fact that it is SEAMLESS but not all are equal in weight, value for public office, see what BXV1 as CDF Prefect said about how to decide for whom to vote. AS to one quote above, at one point every moral Bible OT teaching about same-gender activity, bestiality, adultery, fornication and divorce were adopted and made the basis of the US common law. You know what happened of course!

  • “Bible OT teaching about same-gender activity, bestiality, adultery, fornication and divorce were adopted and made the basis of the US common law”

    The prohibition of these immoral behaviors are NT teachings also: Romans 1:18-32 and 1st Corinthians 6:9-10.

    BTW, at one time they were the basis of English common law from which US commopn law descends. But the English went liberal and the US is following suit.

    As long as we tolerate “same-gender activity, bestiality, adultery, fornication and divorce,” then the Seamless Garment will remain torn. Righteousness and holiness come FIRST.

Political Miscellania: 1/17/12

Tuesday, January 17, AD 2012

The first of our Political Miscellanias for 2012.

1.  Newt Gingrich v. The Food Stamp-President-Gingrich demonstrated at the debate last night why he was once in first place  in the race.  He is unwilling to let the media set the terms of the agenda;  in the cut and thrust of debate he is unmatchable;  and he is invincibly politically incorrect, at least on the stump.  As to the importance of early jobs, he is correct.  My high school job, scrubbing dishes and floors, taught me some valuable early lessons about work, money and savings that have stood me in good stead throughout my life.

2.  Santorum won IowaIt looks like Rick Santorum probably won the Iowa caucus.  I have heard that his margin of victory is probably about eighty ballots.

3.  Jon Huntsman drops out-Every Democrat’s favorite Republican has dropped out of the race.  Mandarin Chinese teachers in this country are devastated.  Huntsman’s campaign never took off, and his Waterloo arrived swiftly when he came in third behind Ron Paul in New Hampshire.  Although it obviously did not help him, Huntsman will always have a warm spot in my heart for this campaign commercial:

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13 Responses to Political Miscellania: 1/17/12

  • Newt proved once again last night why he’s lower than scum. He captured the white supremacist vote last night. National Review was dead on. The only acceptable candidates were Romney, Huntsman, and Santorum. Huntsman competed with Perry for worst campaigner so it’s down to Romney and Santorum.

    I know some will say “That’s low to call Newt a racist. He just spoke the politically incorrect truth.” What Newt said was he doesn’t even understand why interchangeably using “those on welfare,” “those who don’t know the value of work,” and “blacks” could sound offensive. Forget, the policies. He says he doesn’t even understand why it can sound offensive! At the very least he’s ignorant.

    Had Santorum kept his mouth shut about homosexuality and birth control or if the public were wise enough to know that he was talking about constitutionality, not bans, he could’ve been the frontrunner. Across the board, he is the most moderate candidate. Yesterday, he advocated the highest taxes of all the candidates. 28%, the same as Huntsman. He went after Romney for not supporting the right of ex-cons to vote. He went after Newt, surprisingly, for not wanting to cut entitlement benefits for millionaires. He opposed the recent law, which the other candidates supported, that striped US citizens of hapeus corpus. He wants to keep foreign aid flowing. On no issue is he further to the right than the others (except for Paul on foreign policy). The debate was held on MLK Day and only Santorum and Paul even mentioned MLK. Santorum is intelligent, articulate, and understands how Washington works. I don’t agree with him on everything but I don’t agree with anyone on everything.

  • Newt proved once again last night why he’s lower than scum. He captured the white supremacist vote last night.

    And you just proved once again why your opinion is of little or no consequence.

  • I’m just speaking the politically incorrect truth. It’s time for you to join the Republican mainstream, Paul. Perry has a better chance of being elect president of Mexico.

  • I’m just speaking the politically incorrect truth.

    You’re being politically incorrect by repeating a politically correct trope? That makes sense to you how?

    Perry has a better chance of being elect president of Mexico.

    This is perhaps true, but also a non sequiter as I didn’t even bring up Perry in this comment.

    Seriously, do you have anything meaningful to contribute at all?

  • It’s evidence of how outside the mainstream of Republican thought you are. Republicans who find the following candidates unacceptable:
    Romney: 31%
    Santorum: 39%
    Gingrich: 46%
    Perry: 55%

  • “Newt proved once again last night why he’s lower than scum.”

    Are you saying, “If you disrespect welfare you are a racist.”? Or, is it “Free speech for me, but not for thee.”?

    Maybe the point is the entitlement society tends to reward evil.

    Newt’s point is the causes of inter-generational welfare dependency include absence of virtue, alcoholism, broken families, drug addiction, envy, fornication, gluttony, promiscuity, sloth, wrath, etc.

    If you call that “lower than scum”, it might be you are saying more about you than about Newt.

  • Let’s be realistic and listen to signs of hope and caring ideas for getting US citizens out of decline into ignorance and immorality. No one will be thrown out by consolidating programs and duplicated or overlapping entitlements that are becoming the engine of the economy.

    We can’t let tossing of accusatory, contentious, tiring, and hateful words blur or smear clarity for another four years. I hope these primary candidates stay strong and intelligently get their message through the smokescreens. (as Newt Gingrich did in the above video.)

  • “Newt proved once again last night why he’s lower than scum. He captured the white supremacist vote last night.”

    Thank you for giving us a preview of the Obama campaign strategy in the Fall RR. “My Republican opponent is a vile racist and only my re-election can stop the hate and restore civility to this great nation!” It certainly beats attempting to run on his economic record. Under Obama black unemployment is 15.8% and back in September it hit 16.7%, a 27 year high.

    What Gingrich understands, and what you fail to, is that the idea that anyone of any race can rely upon the government for their sustenance is a myth that is dissolving before our eyes. Obama is a reactionary paladin of the New Deal and the Great Society, and as his abysmal administration has amply demonstrated, those schemes simply no longer work.

  • “Thank you for giving us a preview of the Obama campaign strategy in the Fall RR.”

    Newt ain’t making it to the fall!

    What Newt understands and I don’t is how best to burn crosses.

  • The same tactic will be applied RR no matter who the Republican nominee is. If Cain were to have been the nominee, it would have made no difference, although hearing Democrat shills proclaiming that Cain really wasn’t black, as has been stated for the past 20 years about Clarence Thomas (whose nickname as a kid was ABC: America’s Blackest Child), would have been hilarious if not edifying.

    In regard to your bizarre attempt to paint Newt Gingrich as a Klansman, I suggest that you might wish to make that comment at Vox Nova where it will be taken as a sign of enlightenment, rather than derangement.

  • Mac,

    I keep thinking RR is short for “restrained radical” one of them credentialed morons over at VN.

    I apologize if that’s not you, restrained, er, RR. Actually, I need to apologize to both.

  • I keep thinking RR is short for “restrained radical” one of them credentialed morons over at VN.

    That is what RR is short for, though I do not believe he blogs for that particular site. After his, err, interesting display on this thread, he’s going to have to do all of his commenting there.

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November 2, 1983: Ronald Reagan Signs Bill Creating Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

Monday, January 16, AD 2012

Mrs. King, members of the King family, distinguished Members of the Congress, ladies and gentlemen, honored guests, I’m very pleased to welcome you to the White House, the home that belongs to all of us, the American people.

When I was thinking of the contributions to our country of the man that we’re honoring today, a passage attributed to the American poet John Greenleaf Whittier comes to mind. “Each crisis brings its word and deed.” In America, in the fifties and sixties, one of the important crises we faced was racial discrimination. The man whose words and deeds in that crisis stirred our nation to the very depths of its soul was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King was born in 1929 in an America where, because of the color of their skin, nearly 1 in 10 lived lives that were separate and unequal. Most black Americans were taught in segregated schools. Across the country, too many could find only poor jobs, toiling for low wages. They were refused entry into hotels and restaurants, made to use separate facilities. In a nation that proclaimed liberty and justice for all, too many black Americans were living with neither.

In one city, a rule required all blacks to sit in the rear of public buses. But in 1955, when a brave woman named Rosa Parks was told to move to the back of the bus, she said, “No.” A young minister in a local Baptist church, Martin Luther King, then organized a boycott of the bus company—a boycott that stunned the country. Within 6 months the courts had ruled the segregation of public transportation unconstitutional.

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3 Responses to November 2, 1983: Ronald Reagan Signs Bill Creating Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

The Very Quiddity of Civility

Sunday, January 15, AD 2012


Hattip to Creative Minority Report.  No, the above video is not a Daily Show spoof.  There really and truly is a Froma Harrop.  She is an editorial writer for the Providence Journal and President of the National Conference of Editorial Writers.  (I know that sounds like a spoof, but it isn’t.)  The NCEW has a project to restore civility in American life, and you may read all about it here.

On August 2, 2011, Ms. Harrop delivered herself of this glittering gem of civility:


Make no mistake: The tea party Republicans have engaged in economic terrorism against the United States — threatening to blow up the economy if they don’t get what they want. And like the al-Qaida bombers, what they want is delusional: the dream of restoring some fantasy caliphate in which no one pays taxes, while the country is magically protected from foreign attack and the elderly get government-paid hip replacements.

Americans are not supposed to negotiate with terrorists, but that’s what Obama has been doing. Obama should have grabbed the bully pulpit early on, bellowing that everything can be discussed but America’s honor, which requires making good on its debt obligations. Lines about “we’re all at fault” and “Republicans should compromise” are beyond pathetic on a subject that should be beyond discussion.

That the Republican leadership couldn’t control a small group of ignoramuses in its ranks has brought disgrace on their party. But oddly, Obama’s passivity made it hard for responsible Republicans to control their destructive children.

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9 Responses to The Very Quiddity of Civility

  • Obama has reacted by illegally, unconstitutionally depriving all citizens, but especially those with whom he (Obama) disagrees through the National Defense Authorization Act, enacted by Obama’s signature on New Year’s Eve, while he (Obama) was in Hawaii, giving Obama the power to detain any citizen indefinitely without charges, undoing the Magna Carta, eight hundred years of civil rights and Habeas Corpus. This, I believe, is because the nation refused to try enemy combatants as non enemies to give the enemies the civil rights of citizens, and as citizens under the Constitution

  • I always hate it when I have to defend Obama Mary, but that simply is not true, although it is claimed all over the internet.

    This section of the Authorization ensures that American citizens suspected of terrorism can not be held indefinitely on suspicion of terrorism:

    “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.”

    I would note that I do not want this thread to become a debate on that act. This thread is about “civility police” lacking civility, not tin foil hat hysteria spread on the internet. (My contribution to civility today!)

  • I never knew there was such a word as “quiddity.” I left school 40 years ago. When was it invented?

    Anyhow, Whatz-her-name seems yer typical idiot ideologue liberal: infallible ignorance.

    I observe that she lacks the intellectual capacity for dishonesty.

    I think the main item on display here is (I think the shrinks call it) “projection.”

    Obama must go.

  • “Terrorism is not confined to physical attacks. ”

    Example of a verbal one.
    Quid pro quo -ness, too.

  • “quiddity” comes from the latin “quidditas” a term used as a synonym for nature or essence.

  • @Donald R. McCleary: The only reason I responded to this post is because I like the word “Quiddity”. I hattip my aluminun hat to you. Thank you for your kind response.

  • I like the word too Mary since I became familiar with the works of the Angelic Doctor. It tickled me tan, if not pink, that I could use it in a title for a blog post!

  • Wrecking crew. Wreckers. Whatever. She’d clearly prefer all Tea Parties to “disappear.”

  • I think this is another example of civility quiddity from John Hinderacker at PowerLine (they post a pic of something that has “Newsweek”??? above and a whole-page picture of someone who doesn’t look happy):

    “We who are unhappy that unemployment has increased on Obama’s watch, that over-regulation has stymied economic growth, that our children now owe a $15 trillion debt that we can’t pay–hey, we’re just dumb! We obviously aren’t smart enough to understand how devastating our economy, unemploying millions of Americans and burdening our children with trillions of dollars in debt is really a great idea.”

    I think it’s the obama-worshiping idiots’ stupidity quiddity (or projection thereof), not faux civility.

    As Bart Simpson famously exclaimed 20 years ago, “I’m insulted!”