Random Thoughts on the HHS Rule

Saturday, February 11, AD 2012

So much has been written about the HHS rule and its “compromise” that I hardly think I have much to add to the conversation.  Nevertheless, there are a few points that I think have been missing form the debate, even in Catholic circles.  Allow me to take a brief moment to give a relatively disconnected trio of issues that just may help to spark some more conversation.

1. Religious Liberty is an Individual Freedom.

It seems to me that the focus of the national Catholic conversation has been on the Obama administration’s violation of the freedom of religion by forcing Catholic institutions such as hospitals and universities to provide employees with contraceptives and sterilizations, a practice that is in clear contradiction to the teachings of our faith.  While this is certainly deplorable and the most overt violation of the First Amendment, what has been relatively missing from the dialog is that religious liberty is not merely a liberty granted to religious organizations.  First and foremost, religious liberty is an individual liberty.  Each and every citizen of our nation is guaranteed under the Constitution the freedom to practice one’s religion both publicly and privately and to not be coerced into violating our consciences by acting in a way contradictory to the tenants of one’s faith.

Thus, the HHS rule is not simply a violation against specifically religious organizations.  It is also a violation of the religious liberty of the individual business owner, Catholic or otherwise.  As a Catholic, the owner of a private business cannot, under the Constitution, be compelled by the government to pay for “medical” services that violate his or her faith, including contraceptives and sterilizations.  This applies not only to those companies that have a religious mission, such as EWTN or the Knights of Columbus, but also to the owner of a chain of restaurants, a manufacturing form, or an publishing company.  Further, it also applies to the faithful Catholic owner of a medical insurance company.  Forcing the insurance company to provide coverage for these services despite religious beliefs, is a clear violation of the protection guaranteed under the First Amendment.

My fear is simple.  If the conversation focusses exclusively on those organizations for which Bishops have direct involvement, we may very well see further “compromise” between the Obama administration and the USCCB, but tens of thousands of other Catholic business owners will be lost in the shuffle.  In fact, I will go so far as to say that even if the HHS does a complete 180 on the current issue, i.e. incorporating Catholic hospitals and universities in the exemption clause without the bogus compromise that forces the insurance companies to cover the costs and services … even then, the fight is not over.  Because even then there will be thousands of businesses who are not included in the exemption clause because business activities have no specifically religious purpose.  Yet these owners too have the right to practice their religion, and hence should not and cannot be compelled to act in a way contrary to their faith.

That being said, there is admittedly a certain advantage in focussing on overtly Catholic organizations like hospitals and universities.  First, they are the most obvious cases of government intrusion in the religious sphere.  Second, they have high profile leaders, i.e. the episcopacy, that will be forced to take a stand.  Yet still, we should not for a minute think that the battle ends with these organizations.  Each and every one of us is entitled to religious liberty as an American citizen, and forcing a Catholic (or other religious) business owners to pay for plans that include contraception and sterilization is very much a violation of this liberty.  The problem is compounded, of course, if the business is a medical insurance company.

2.  There is a Silver Lining.

The felix culpa effect never ceases to amaze me.  God can bring good out of the most heinous evils, the case and point being the crucifixion.  The silver lining to the current HHS tragedy is the unified effort of the Catholic Episcopacy.  While the thought that the Obama administration feels that it can abuse its power in this manner terrifies me, the response by the Bishops has given me great cause for joy.  When the Bishop’s letter was read from the pulpit two weeks ago, the congregation applauded.  It is a powerful moment for the Church.

Our Church, after all, thrives on persecution.  It is precisely in the midst of being “kept down” that we can rise up against tyranny.  Such is the lesson of the Cross.  There is a quote from 2010 that has been circulating recently, in which Cardinal George of Chicago says, “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”  Whether or not the Cardinal is prophetic remains to be seen, but such an “exaggeration” may not be so exaggerated after all.

In light of this, I would encourage those whose Bishop was one of the hundreds that wrote a letter and had it read to send a note of gratitude.  Yes, it was a coordinated effort, but it was the coordination that made it so powerful and effective.  While Friday’s “compromise” is manipulative and nothing really close to a compromise, it seems clear that even this minimal response would not have happened had it not been for the organized outcry.

3.  “Health Care” is Being Redefined.

My final point has been mentioned by several others, but it warrants reiteration.  There is a not-so-subtle redefinition of “health care” in this whole debate.  There is a certain amount of irony that under the president’s health care bill and the accompanying HHS ruling, I will not be able to receive Tylenol or toothpaste for free, but women will be able to receive birth control and abortifacients for free.  Tylenol is a drug that actually tries to cure something that is “wrong” with the body, and toothpaste is authentically “preventative” in terms of dental health problems.  Yet birth control and abortifacients have little to do with the health of the body.  In fact, they are often used for reproductive systems that are otherwise heathy.  They are designed to take a perfectly healthy and well-functioning bodily system and stop it from functioning how it should.  Since when did fertility and pregnancy become a disease?  Since when is birth control more “preventative” than toothpaste and abortifacients more of a “cure” than Tylenol.

Whether we agree or disagree on the morality of birth control is not the relevant question here, nor is whether or not we agree or disagree on the “right” of a woman to take these drugs.  The Catholic Church has always been clear on this, but it seems to me that there is something else at issue here.  Even for those who condone the consumption of these drug, it is a rather large leap to insist that someone else pays for it.

Let me give an analogy.  I believe firmly in the right to bear arms.  However, I do not believe the the government should provide a gun to every citizen who wants one.  Moreover, I don’t believe that my business owner should be forced to provide each of its employees with a gun.  Yet this is precisely what is happening with the HHS rule.  Even if an individual thinks they should have the right to use oral contraceptives, how does that translate to insisting that the government forcing employers and insurance companies to pay for it?  The only answer is to misclassify the contraceptives as “health care.”

I have two clarifications before I sign off, mostly to ensure that I am not misunderstood.  First, I understand quite clearly that oral contraceptives are occasionally prescribed for reasons not having to do with birth control.  This is emphatically not what I am talking about, and such an issue requires a separate conversation.  For my own part, I am of the firm belief that non-contraceptive methods such as NaPro technology have had far more positive results at a cost that is a fraction of many of the contraceptive techniques in dealing with serious medical issues.  Yet again, this is another topic for another time, and is not my intent here.  However, the media has successfully and unfortunately recast the debate in this light, causing a decent amount of public confusion over the issue.  (In a way it reminds me of a person who believes in abortion on demand up until the cutting of the umbilical cord who insists of focussing the debate on the “hard” cases of rape and incest.  In the HHS debate we have people who believe that the government can force employers to cover contraceptive for every purpose but insist of focussing just on those cases where they are not being prescribed for contraceptive purposes.  It is both misleading and disingenuous.)

Second, I am in no way claiming that an individual does have the right to use contraceptives (for reasons of birth control), less so abortifacients.  For my own part, given the objective immorality of such acts, such a “right” would be in direct contradiction of the natural law in which we were created.  My point was only that even if one believes in the right to birth control, it still doesn’t mean that employers or insurance companies should be forced to provide it anymore than they should be forced to provide their employees with firearms.

The main point is simple: birth control is not health care because fertility is not a disease.

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33 Responses to Random Thoughts on the HHS Rule

  • Very well written, Jake! Thanks!

  • “My fear is simple. If the conversation focusses exclusively on those organizations for which Bishops have direct involvement, we may very well see further “compromise” between the Obama administration and the USCCB, but tens of thousands of other Catholic business owners will be lost in the shuffle”

    This is my fear as well.

  • Excellent post, Jake.

  • What about an employer forcing their religious beliefs onto their employees? My daughter is a nurse and works at a catholic hospital. She is not Catholic and feels birth control should be a woman’s decision. The woman has the right to decide when she wants to start a family. She was surprised when she found out that birth control was not part of the insurance program. She has been buying it on her own, and it is not cheap. What about those who can not afford to purchase birth control? Viagra is covered under the insurance program, and that is health care? Don’t think so. I’m not surprised that the article and comments here are all by men. It is not your body and you should not make the decision for women who want to use birth control.

  • Your daughter is a nurse, an educated woman, and did not know the stance of the Catholic Church on contraception before she hired on to a Catholic hospital? Hello! As to your daughter’s desire not to present you with more grandchildren, I would suggest she either get a new job that will supply her with “free” contraceptives, or she simply pay for it out of her own pocket. As a nurse I would imagine she is earning between 50-70k a year and the contraceptives should cost your daugher between $15-50 a month, assuming she is using birth control pills. I think religious liberty is somewhat more important than the fact that your daughter has to cough up the cost of eating out at a restaurant once a month to make certain that there are fewer people around the table when you eat together at Thanksgiving.

  • Mary,

    A woman has no more right to contracept than a man has a right to commit fornication. No one has a right to do evil, and there is only one standard for determining good and evil – God’s.

    BTW, no sex outside of marriage between one man and one woman. This applies to both sexes. No adultery. No fornication. No homosexual intercourse. None. Zero. And if a man gets a woman pregnant, then he is obligated to support woman and child for the next 18 years and nine months.

    Furthermore, neither woman nor man is a mindless baboon to be given over to the lust of the flesh. God gave us brains, and He expects and requires that we use them. Saying “I am so scientific and logical and rational”, and then surrendering to the lust of the flesh, contracepting and aborting with complete abandon is exactly the same as acting like a wild animal without responsibility or accountability. If I don’t want a baby, then I ought to refrain from the titillation of my genitals. The same applies to you and everyone else. God made His Law equal for everyone, and that, my friend, is true equality because it demands personal responsibility and accountability. Contraception is the abdication of responsibility and the evasion of accountability. And abortion is murder most foul indeed.

  • Post Script: it is very disturbing when a mother thinks her daughter has the right to contraception, and that that right ought to be paid for by the Catholic Church or its institutions through insurance premiums. Here is what Pope Paul VI said would happen as a result of our contraceptive mentality in Humanae Vitae, section 17:

    (a) Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

    (b) Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone.

    This exact thing is happening now. The Obama government is doing item (b) above, and the consequences of item (a) were shown to us in full force when able bodied men escaped from that Italian cruise ship which recently crashed, abandoning women and children to their fate. Why should I help you as a woman who declares herself equal in function to a man?

    That a mother’s daughter would embrace such a contraceptive mentality is cause for grave concern. Much prayer and fasting are needed because sadly, a majority of Catholic women of child-bearing years think exactly this way.

    I shouldn’t quote Robert Heinlein, but I shall (and no, I don’t necessarily agree with his “universal morality”, but his point is well taken):

    All societies are based on rules to protect pregnant women and young children. All else is surplus age, excrescence, adornment, luxury or folly which can–and must–be dumped in emergency to preserve this prime function. As racial survival is the only universal morality, no other basic is possible. Attempts to formulate a “perfect society” on any foundation other than “women and children first!” is not only witless, it is automatically genocidal. Nevertheless, starry-eyed idealists (all of them male) have tried endlessly–and no doubt will keep on trying.

  • Oh how I wish I could “Like” Don’s comment a hundred times. 🙂

    Perhaps Mary should reread Jake’s post where he ably dismisses the notion that birth control is health care.

  • Mary, as Don points out, birth control is not that expensive. And as a woman, I find it tiresome in the extreme when women play that whiny “you’re all mean men, you don’t understand!” card. (Also, may I point out that you seem to have missed all the comments written here by women.) Your daughter is an adult – she has the choice to work at or not work at a Catholic hospital (nice of you to spit on the organization that employs her), she has the choice of having or not having sex, and if she wants to use BC, it’s not like the stuff is rare or unaffordable and as a nurse, she certainly understands the medical pros and cons of each method. It’s not like Fr. Flynn or Sr. Margaret are going to follow her to the drugstore and physically prevent her from buying it.

    She’s a big girl – she can pay for her own fun (or – here’s an idea- how about her sex partner chipping in, if she’s so strapped for cash and such a godawful manager of her own money she can’t afford $20 for pills every month). Demanding that BC be paid for by others, and particularly by others who have a religious objection to it is childish. But then, that is what many Americans have become circa 2012 – entitled little brats who want everything for “free.” And you’re “oppressing” them if you don’t want to pay their way, just as a 3 year old feels oppressed when Daddy doesn’t buy him the Snickers bar in the grocery store line.

    It’s people like Mary who make me despair for the future of this country. Quite honestly, I wish all of these whiners could be sent to live in Saudi Arabia for a month or so, so they would get a taste of what real religious oppression feels like.

  • “birth control is not health care because fertility is not a disease.”

    Succinctly put and well said. Same argument applies to abortion.

    As to the Silver Lining, no doubt push has come to shove and since Jesus did not come to bring peace but a sword, it is long past time for the Church Militant to don her armor and advance as Christians soldiers ought.

  • Mary,
    Viagara is covered because it addresses very real physiological disfunctions. Don’t you care about the women who benefit from its use? And if you’re going to insult the men who post here why don’t you point out the real chauvinists. You know, the ones who only want to see an end to the slaughter of male babies (roughly 50%) in the womb. What’s that? Can’t find any? Didn’t think so.

  • I would note that I think insurance paying for viagra is absolutely ridiculous, although perhaps not quite as ridiculous as old goats of my vintage attempting to pretend they are 18!

  • Mary, how about a reversal in the women/men scenario? On Thurs., I had network problems with my printer and needed one copy to be edited. A lifelong friend retired from NYC and has settled back nearby. He is also vehemently ‘pro-choice’ and anti-Church (bunch of old men … one of which he has a;so become). I called and asked him to print the attachment to my email which I needed by 6:30 meet. He called back and said, among other hurtful, opinionated things, that he wouldn’t waste the ink. I finally figured out an answer to all who wondered about why he wasn’t my ‘the boy next door’. Protecting a belief system vs imposing an ideology for free contraception and a chance to bully liberty. Your problems could be more serious.

  • Intrinsic to this discussion is the question whether or not universal health care is a right. The USCCB, in a letter dated 1/26/11, was supportive of government health care and lauded the Obama Administration’s efforts for comprehensive health care reform. They failed to recognize that where life is arbitrarily taken away, as is done every day through abortion; all other rights are in jeopardy. In the Declaration of Independence, life is listed as the first of the rights Our Founding Fathers believed unalienable. This is because they understood that one cannot pursue happiness if one does not have liberty. Yet, to possess liberty one must first have life. Thus, life is the RIGHT upon which all other rights are contingent. The USCCB should be neither aghast nor surprised if an Administration that disregards the sacredness of life would also disregard the right of people to adhere to the principles of their conscience. The USCCB supported the government’s attempt to take more power over the lives of men than God Himself takes in this life. God permits men to exercise their free will. The Health Care Law makes government equivalent to God Almighty. The law is designed to give to government unprecedented jurisdiction over the lives of individual persons and makes the government omnipotent without respect to a person’s free will. Jesus Christ mandated the Catholic Church to perform corporal works of mercy, not government. To this end, in my opinion, the USCCB has failed Christ, His flock, and their mission to serve the poor.

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  • “Old goat?” Don, you make it sound like you’re in assisted living! One would think you personally witnessed the Gettysburg Address, the way you talk! That can’t make your good missus feel like a spring chicken! You’re not that much older than me and we’re not that darned ancient yet! Of course, my definition of “ancient” has changed since I was 12, when I thought of my 25 year old teacher as an old fellow. Since I turned 40, old is now “15 years older than whatever my current age is.” Not that I am going to tell anybody what my current age is….;-)

  • Mary and Mary’s daughter need to grow up and get off of their “gimme” mentality. What a pair they are! Next they will want the Church to fund Planned Parenthood – if they don’t already.

  • Covering Viagra or covering BC – what’s the diff? Look, sexual intercourse has 2 purposes – 1. procreation, and 2. pleasure. If you are using BC, by definition you are only having sex for pleasure. That’s wonderful and good, but why should the RC church or ANYBODY else, for that matter, pay for your fun? Chemo, yes. Major surgery, yes. But Viagra? BC? What’s next? What is the next “freebie” we have an inalienable right to? Boob jobs? Penile implants? Botox to get rid of the crow’s feet?

    I work for a Catholic healthcare system. That doesn’t necessarily make me an expert on healthcare costs (I do not work in billing or reimbursement) but I do understand that one reason costs have exploded is because insurance has expanded from being something used to cover major expenses and now covers routine “wellness” exams, Pap smears and so forth. As P.J. O’Rourke once said, “If you think healthcare is expensive now, just wait until it’s free.”

  • “Don, you make it sound like you’re in assisted living!”

    I think my secretary and my wife Donna think on some days that I am already in it, and they are rendering the assistance! 🙂

    As for witnessing the Gettysburg address, I missed that. I was actually born in 1796, taught that whippersnapper Abe Lincoln how to prepare writs, saved the Union by not enlisting in the Union army, taught Theodore Roosevelt dirty fighting, slept through both of Wilson’s inaugural addresses, ended a brilliant political career when I challenged the wheel chair bound FDR to a footrace, served in World War II as fifth assistant briefcase holder to Douglas MacArthur, forgot to vote for Wendell Wilkie in 48, didn’t like Ike, thought that Nixon was more photogenic than Kennedy, got into a fist fight with Barry Goldwater over a parking space, ran the White House “Carpenters” under Nixon, voted for Billy Carter, instead of Jimmy, appointed Secretary of Historical Oddities under Reagan, got George Bush senior to wear a Ross Perot mask to a Skull and Bones reunion, lost a fortune in Whitewater, and then got into blogging. 🙂

    As long as we can laugh at ourselves, none of us are too old, even me!

  • Don, I laughed so hard at your post I think I pulled a muscle! That was terrific, thanks!

    I am quite glum and depressed these days, as I watch my beloved country embrace dependency and decadence. Again, this is why I have become quite the sports fan in middle age – it’s pure escapism. Don, your post reminds me that humor is always a welcome relief and release, even in dark times.

  • “saved the Union by not enlisting in the Union army, taught Theodore Roosevelt dirty fighting, slept through both of Wilson’s inaugural addresses, ended a brilliant political career when I challenged the wheel chair bound FDR to a footrace, served in World War II as fifth assistant briefcase holder to Douglas MacArthur”

    OK, that right there is brilliant!! Kudos, Donald!

  • “In a way it reminds me of a person who believes in abortion on demand up until the cutting of the umbilical cord who insists of focussing the debate on the “hard” cases of rape and incest. In the HHS debate we have people who believe that the government can force employers to cover contraceptive for every purpose but insist of focussing just on those cases where they are not being prescribed for contraceptive purposes. It is both misleading and disingenuous.” This is a matter of Justice, Divine and social Justice. In both, cases of rape and incest, there are two victims and one criminal. The woman and the innocent child she has conceived are victims and the perpetrator of the crime. To punish the innocent child conceived for the crimes of his father is an atrocity of an injustice, miscarriage of justice. I am afraid that Cardinal George may be right. Jesus Christ was martyred in the public square when He was denied His religious freedom. I appreciate the opportunity to vent and enjoy the comraderie amongst and between people of the same mind. This piece is very informative. I like the analogy of gun ownership. In my day, threads were new clothes.

  • Great article – one more thing I would like to add. The “compromise” offered by the administration and hysterically accepted by Sr. Keehan attempts to absolve the participating organization of moral culpability by shifting responsibility to the insurer, who has to provide contraception at “no cost.” In other words, there is no active participation by the subscriber – let’s call it a Catholic university for the sake of an example – in the decision to purchase contraceptives as part of the health plan offered to the employee. Here’s the rub, though. Surely, what this really means is that the insurer offers contraceptives at no CHARGE to the insured, meaning they can’t collect a co-pay or a deductible. So they will simply increase the overall price of the bundle to cover the losses.

    “Ah,” some would object, “but contraceptive services actually cost less than coverage for pregnancy, so they won’t charge more.” I would invite the actuarials among you to weigh in, here. What we need to remember is that the insurer calculates price not for an individual, but for a population. They care about the distribution curve, not the points in the curve. In other words, what they are comparing is not cost for contraception vs cost for pregnancy and delivery for one individual, but the EXPECTED costs for the entire population. They know that (and this is a scandal, but it’s true) MOST participants would elect contraception if it were offered, but only some would get pregnant, regardless of whether it were offered or dropped (even if it were dropped, they know that many individuals will pay for their own contraception). The TOTAL expected expenditure in both scenarios is what they care about. Unlike the Democrats, insurers know that money doesn’t come from trees. The compromise plan will result in increased total cost, even if we don’t see charges specific to “women’s health coverage.” This is a classic shell game, and I expect that Sr. Keehan her organization are not falling for it. They are satisfied with the APPEARANCE of moral acceptability, because it diminishes the scrutiny on their betrayal of the Catholic faith. Either way, the insurer will be compensated for these services, and the administration’s “compromise” is forcing Catholic institutions to be complicit in the violation of their consciences.

  • The contraceptive, sterilization, and abortificant mandate bothers me on many levels, the constitutional problems it spawns of the greatest concern. I want to address the concept of “free medication” separately though.

    The mandate is that health providers provide for “free” contraceptives and abortificants. I have a problem with characterizing the medications as “free” because the insurers will not eat those costs, they will pass them off to their customers. It is, therefore, duplicitous to state that insurers will provide any “free” services under their plans. In reality, women receiving those drugs for free will be paying more for different services under their same plans. It is, essentially, “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

    My bigger problem is that it opens the door to government mandate that more and more medications be provided for “free” and threatens to undo the pharmaceutical industry on which modern health relies.

    It is odd to choose contraceptives and abortificants if your concern is that women aren’t able to afford necessary medications. Surely, if there is a state interest in providing low-cost or free medication, the medications mandated should be those that relate to life itself: heart, diabetes, depression, etc. If the concern is “women’s health” diabetes should be pretty high on the states’ list of concerns, much higher, indeed, than contraceptives.

    But why “women’s health,” specifically; or, more to the point, why “women’s health” for women of childbearing years? Men die of heart problems in droves. Women die of diabetes-related conditions at an increasing rate. And what about Mental Health? Surely, providing depression medications is a state’s interest on par with contraceptives?

    Let us assume, for a moment, that the Administration gets exactly what it wants and all health providers have to provide contraceptives and abortificants for free. How long will it be before Congress adds other medications to the list of “free” drugs? Having the model for mandating low-cost or free pharmaceuticals, each advocacy groups will quite rightly petition for their members to receive a similar boon. Does anyone believe that HIV Advocacy will stand by and let their members remain uncovered? Will the AARP stand by and let older Americans struggle to pay for heart medication? And on and on…

    The result must be that either the government will have to step in and pay a premium to offset the losses or the pharmaceutical industry will collapse.

    Pharma will not eat the cost; indeed, they cannot.

    To my reckoning, insurers will not continue to pay full price for medications that they must provide for “free.” They will collectively squeeze Pharma for less and less costly drugs. Pharma will either have to recoup those losses from government subsidy or will have to cut back on research and development to balance their books. However flush Pharma is with cash now, those resources must fail as the income from their drugs falters.

    I assume people in power to be at least as smart as I am. Coupling their intelligence with their specific industry knowledge, I must conclude that the folks over at HHS know at least as much about the consequences of this decision as I do.

    So, what in God’s name are they thinking?

  • Perhaps this can be the Vox Nova creed. Paraprhased of course:

    “The word “Social Justice” is God’s Word! Whosoever understands this is released from all theological conflicts. This is Social Justice: deny the American experiment and leave behind egoism and your feelings of abandonment. …Christ has come to us through radical redistribution and the egalitarian social state. …Obama has taken root in us; through his strength, through his honesty, his faith and his idealism we have found our way to paradise.”

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  • G-Veg – I wouldn’t worry about pharma collapsing. This is a shell game. Of course the manufacturer will be compensated for the drug – there simply will not be a corresponding charge to fill the medication that is transparent to the subscriber. As you rightly point out, the insurer will simply bundle this cost into the total expected program costs, and this will be reflected in the premium price. Copay’s don’t magically disappear – lower/no copays and lower deductibles always mean higher premiums. And so, as before this brilliant “compromise,” the employer will continue to pay for contraceptives, although thru indirect pricing, rather than direct charges. It’s not a compromise, and it’s not “accomodation” – it’s an illusion.

  • Jaha Arnot – It think your analysis works for the short-term but I’m missing how it could continue as more and more drugs are added to the list of “free” or “low cost” medicines. Doesn’t your answer depend on how much money insurers lose in providing the pharmaceuticals and, so, pass on to Pharma under a government mandate?

    I’m out of my element here so I may be missing something.

  • G-Veg – the drug manufacturer won’t lose anything, nor will the insurer, either in the short-term or the long term. They (the drug manufacturer) will simply be compensated directly by the insurer, who will not be able to charge a co-pay for the medication, and will collect thru premium pricing adjustments. There might be an issue about price elasticity in this pricing model, but I doubt it – drug pricing is already negotiated by the insurer, not by the individual consumer. The point is that costs will be fully passed on to the insured – insurance companies and drug manufacturers won’t see any negative economic impact.

  • JA and GV – the end game: insurers will be seized, er, bankrupted, and pharaoh will control all. Best case (for them) scenario, pharaoh’s cash bundlers make billions and serve pharaoh.

    Camus: “The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.”

  • I am shocked to read Mary’s response and indignation that her daughter is being forced to buy contraceptives. Sheesh!!! when did fornication become acceptable in your country???? Are you people Christians at all – never mind Catholics????? And, Donald, may I ask yet again, for the tenth time: When did PREGNANCY BECOME AN ILLNESS TO BE COVERED IN MEDICAL INSURANCE????? We are all praying that your Bishops and the Faithful Catholics remain firm and refuse to bow to the Graven Image called Obama….. and thank you, Jake for reminding us that there are many, many more Catholics who are under the hammer of Obama, not just the Catholic Institutions. Once again, I urge you, my beloved American Catholics : Fight gallantly like the Martyrs of old. We are with you all the way, with Prayers and fasting. Lent is just around the corner. Let us dedicate our Penances for the victory of America and the crushing of the Culture of Death Satan who is stranding your Country cheering Obama

  • I could not agree with you more. however, I think the legal definition of pregnancy, which written in healthcare coverage as “the same as any illness”, needs to be redefined. Thirty five years age, some insurance policies did not cover pregnancy. Eager to support pregnancy, many accepted the description of pregnancy as “the same as any illness”. Consequently that route lead into protective coverage from pregnancy. Everyone knows pregnancy is not an illness. I think we took a short cut in the 70 and 80s that has lead to this issue. Of course there are other things that have. Ontributed to this as well.

Vichy Catholics

Saturday, February 11, AD 2012

While most Catholics with at least two brain cells to rub together realize that the HHS Mandate “compromise” is a transparent fraud, the usual suspects among the Obama-uber-alles branch of Catholics in this country have been hailing it.

Richard Rich Doug Kmiec is back on board the Obama bus (and demonstrates again the truth of the Socrates adage that an unexamined life is a tragedy):

Sister Carol Keehan, head of the Catholic Health Association, last seen getting a pen from Obama for her support in passing ObamaCare, loves the compromise.  She was actually supporting it before it was announced, indicating that the Obama administration slipped her advance knowledge.  The administration is aware of the tame Catholics they can rely on.

And, mirabile dictu!, Morning’s Minion at Vox Nova gives the “compromise” a thumbs up!

Streiff over at Red State sums up this phenomenon of Catholics who can always be counted upon to carry Obama’s water for him in any dispute with the Church:

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36 Responses to Vichy Catholics

  • Watching that Granholm and Kmiec clip makes me want to throw up.

  • Oh how nice – my former governor and Catholyc Jennifer Granholm, still carrying the water for Obama. Another one that deserves ex-communication.

    I just realized – that news clip will probably get viewed by more people than there are total Current subscribers, merely because you linked to it. And that’s not saying much.

  • Its said to say but there are far too many useful idiots in the Church willing to follow Obama despite his blatant assault on our beloved Church.

  • Morning’s Minion at Vox Nova gives the “compromise” a thumbs up!

    Sheesh. I see that the ruling troika of Mornings Minion, MZ and Henry are all full throatedly in favor of the “compromise” and accusing the USCCB of being a bunch of out of touch rubes led around by partisan hacks. What a pathetic disgrace that place can be.

  • I cannot go to look at anything on Vox Nova. My eyes will bleed.

    Some Catholics amaze me. They should not, but they do. They shouldn’t be referred to as Catholics, but as left wing nuts.

  • I don’t get to be a ruling troika DC. I moved on several months ago from Vox Nova.

    …the USCCB [are] a bunch of out of touch rubes led around by partisan hacks.
    That sounds about right.

    While most Catholics with at least two brain cells to rub together realize that the HHS Mandate “compromise” is a transparent fraud, the usual suspects among the Obama-uber-alles branch of Catholics in this country have been hailing it.
    Most Catholics had no problem with the mandate. I’m doubtful any new dissent will be created with the compromise.

    The administration is aware of the tame Catholics they can rely on.
    You mean the ones that successfully applied political pressure and achieved their goal. I suppose I can concede that Obama wasn’t looking to receive respect from hacks like yourself who still believe he instituted health care reform in order to fund abortion. It is quite apparent the Obama administration is not interested in dialog with those who willfully continue to misrepresent his health care package. Unfortunately, that includes the USCCB. That is too bad for the USCCB, but I can’t really feel too much pity for them.

  • Carol Keehan ( I doubt if she is really a nun) is an Obama pawn. What is she thinking.

    She is for the compromise before it was announced? So the Lame Stream Media will herald this as a support for the compromise of a very influential group.

  • It seems that the basic economics of insurance are lost a great many people. Who do you think makes up for the “free” contraceptives? There is no free lunch.

  • “Most Catholics had no problem with the mandate.”

    Actually MZ, most Americans in general and Catholics in particular had a big problem with the mandate, although I understand you do not like being confused with facts.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/rasmussen-voters-oppose-hhs-contraception-mandate-50-39_626420.html

    Obama understood this, which is why he floated this “compromise” to take the political heat off him, Obama having a better grasp of public opinion apparently than some of his more crazed acolytes.

    “receive respect from hacks like yourself”

    And the Pope MZ?

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/01/20/pope-benedict-religious-freedom-under-threat-in-america/

    Don’t worry MZ, you will get all the respect you can stomach from those like yourself who confuse Catholicism with a love of the welfare state, everything else be damned. Enjoy whatever solace that gives you.

  • ‘ … I don’t like my faith being used as political weapon … ‘ DK
    ‘ … Obama on the ropes taking punches from …’ JG from the war room
    and the CA lady distributing NYT gospel on the good people in Cinn., OH ?
    and an old vox of heresy just blathering against the Church Jesus established on earth to help us get to His Father ?

    War cry n. – A phrase or slogan used to rally people to a cause.

    All this muscle flexing talk in reaction to the Church standing up for the Constitutional right of its own religious liberty which is granted in the political arena where it’s now necessary to speak. What happened to pretty philosophic ideas of celebrating diversity and leaving no children behind? The answers given to the Church and public are in the spirit of telling misbehaving children to go sit in the corner and be quiet forever.

  • 10:28 ‘ I suppose I can concede that Obama wasn’t looking to receive respect from hacks like yourself who still believe he instituted health care reform in order to fund abortion. It is quite apparent the Obama administration is not interested in dialog with those who willfully continue to misrepresent his health care package. Unfortunately, that includes the USCCB. ‘

    Then, please explain why his ‘magnanimous’ 2/10 “Compromise Speech” was centered on the word ‘contraception’ with no specific details for the listening public. Or what areas of health, other than women’s preventive healthcare, is included.

    It is inconvenient to point out that the result of some of the healthcare is death. ( I think of that part as hellth.) The USCCB, the Catholic Church, and many other religions which branched off from the Catholic Church are the places where people entrust the guidance of their Souls. They are as much doctors as the ones guiding the executive branch.

  • Hitler on Vichy Catholics:

    “Do you really believe the masses will ever be Christian again? Nonsense. The tale is finished but we can hasten matters. The parsons will be made to dig their own graves. They will betray their God to us. They will betray anything for the sake of their miserable little jobs and incomes.”

    Describes Kmiec and Sr. Carol pretty well, I’d say. And as for Vox Nova – well, it’s interesting. Over the past week, I’ve seen outrage about this from Protestants and Jews and even atheists and agnostics, who understand full well what an assault on religious rights it is. But the Catholic statists like MZ and the Vox Nova crowd keep digging their graves. However, I wouldn’t say they are betraying their god – no, they’re in full grovel mode before him. Well, if you can stomach voting for a man who approves of leaving babies to die on tables, forcing the Church to pick up the tab for birth control isn’t going to be that big of a deal to you.

  • I do not find it at all difficult to imagine a situation arising here similiar to the one in China, where you have the state-approved “Catholic” clergy and the ones who actually follow the Vatican.

    And I also do not find it difficult to imagine left-wing “Catholics” gleefully helping to turn in and persecute those who remain faithful to Rome rather than to Obama and the nanny state. Really. They are showing us now who they really worship and adore.

  • The filthy animals are showing themselves for what they are: Obama first, the state second, hatred of liberty third, and Christ number ten.

    You can’t reason with those in the thrall of the demon; those . Those that call good evil and evil good.

    It’s way past talking. Some real Christians say they’ll go to jail.

    Next from the Obama-worshiping imbeciles:

    3 . . . 2 . . .1 . . . Racists!

  • Maybe we should take comfort in the fact that WE know right from wrong as is noted in the commits here. The problem is that the propaganda seems to reach more than the truth does. Then again, more and more do not find the truth comforting as it conflicts with their lifestyle and desires.

  • While Obama got 54% of the overall Catholic vote, McCain got 57% of the vote of Catholics who attend Mass every Sunday. The fact that Obama got 43% of the Catholics who attend Mass on Sundays is what I find more troubling. While it is true that not all of those who attend Mass every Sunday, most of them are. So, we can safely say, as a conservative estimate, that about 25% of orthodox Catholics went for Obama. That is what concerns me. That is far more telling. And what it tells is that many orthodox Catholics do not understand how economic, national security, foreign policies affect the cultural and life issues. I mean how can honestly claim to be for life when you support big government nanny state policies that financially underwrite the culture of death (of which Obamacare is proof postive) or when you have a national security posture that projects weakness?

  • Very well said Donna-
    Well, if you can stomach voting for a man who approves of leaving babies to die on tables, forcing the Church to pick up the tab for birth control isn’t going to be that big of a deal to you.

  • Simply, this assault on Church Teachings (Pharaoh calls it opinion and ancient religious hatred) is the straw that broke the USCCB’s back.

    All that common good, justice and peace guff is corollary to the alibi (welfare of humanity) of tyrants and, worse, cynical political posturing.

    How is any of this (higher food and energy costs) good for the common man?

    In 2008, Obama promised he’d bankrupt the coal industry and raise the cost of energy if elected. He was elected, and we are suffering.

    This year, Pharaoh is closing three West Virginia coal plants.

    The shortages in energy supplies will ripple through the economy and put out of work about 100,00 people more, with added misery, and will raise the cost of living for all Americans, . . . including those deleted from the propaganda, unemployment/labor force numbers.

  • I’m reading various threads on Catholic blogs and I’m amazed at how disconnected (IMO) so many people are from Church teaching and an understanding of the moral component as well as the deeper understanding of the person and society. They are actually factoring in the idea that contraception is a cost savings and trying to use that angle in evaluating “compromises”. Contraception is NOT a cost savings. Only in the narrowest and inhuman view can one say that. The cost of contraception to our society is huge. It’s in part why as a nation we kill millions of innocents a year. It has probably done more to destroy the foundation of society, the family, than anything else in this country. The effects of that have resulted in many expensive, yet family destroying “fixes”. Not mention the overall degrading of both men and women. I really wish the bishops would call this out. It’s not that they need it for their defense of the Church and religious and conscience rights, but maybe they could help take that sort of misguided logic off the table.

  • Not one liberal did a thing to help.

    Don Surber: “About 40,000 people signed an online petition to demonize the bank of a Nashville woman who stands to lose her house to foreclosure, instead of actually stepping up and helping her.

    “Liberals: Not here to help so much as to seize power on your misery.”

    Justice and peace!!! All that 2008 human dignity, faux charity, “have-you-no-decency” wailing and gnashing of teeth was truly partisan BS.

    In 2012, a majority of liberal hypocrits, like MM et al, support drone assassinations and keeping the Gitmo tortuary operational. Funny how just as in 2008, death penalty, evil tax cuts for the evil rich, and water boarding still trump abortion, contraception, gay privileges, the moral destruction of our youth, mass desperation, tyranny, etc.

    It seems Obama-worshiping idiots think we are as stupid as they.

  • Whatever Doug Kmeic says to do, do the opposite. You won’t go wrong.

  • I know, I know. We’re all supposed to be adults. We’re supposed to educate ourslves on the vissicitudes of life. But can it be ignored that the silence form the pulpits is deafening? Especially concerning the American Holocaust. I guess it’s just human nature. If it doesn’t affect me directly then so what.

    Let’s face it; there are alot of socialists in the Ivory Towers of chancery buildings who just got bitch-slapped by Marxist numero uno and have been temporarliy(?) awakened.

  • Obama just wanted to get the Carol Keehan Catholics back into his flock, and it looks like he has succeeded. It is for the Bishops to revoke some charters which includes so-called Catholic association as well as religious orders such as the one which spawned Carol Keehan.

  • They have their reward.

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  • I think Obama was on a fishing expedition, 1) to see just how the Church would respond, and 2) back off enough to win back his ‘Catholic’ supporters and drive a wedge in the Church’s opposition.

  • If the Bishops keep slamming hard, and don’t give up their just criticisms, then it doesn’t matter what these Catholic ignoramuses (or is that ignorami?) blurt out of their mouths.

    Keep writing to your Bishops who have demonstrated courage and tell them that you’re in their corner, helping on blogs, newspapers, etc. They NEED to hear that from you.

    Do it now.

  • Dan, and they (Bishops/USCCB) want us to contact our US Reps. about supporting the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179 S. 1467).

    We can support these brave defenders of the Church as well. The Reps aren’t afraid to ask for votes, so it seems like a time to urge cooperation all around. There’s more at stake than O’s contraception card.

  • …the USCCB [are] a bunch of out of touch rubes led around by partisan hacks.
    That sounds about right… I suppose I can concede that Obama wasn’t looking to receive respect from hacks like yourself who still believe he instituted health care reform in order to fund abortion. It is quite apparent the Obama administration is not interested in dialog with those who willfully continue to misrepresent his health care package. Unfortunately, that includes the USCCB. That is too bad for the USCCB, but I can’t really feel too much pity for them.

    God love ya, MZ, being an ObamaCath means never having to admit you’re wrong. The fact is that the “out of touch” USCCB and the “partisan hacks” who allegedly lead them around turned out to be 100% right on the conscience clause issue, and you and the rest of the ObamaCaths turned out to be 100% WRONG, as the original HHS mandate clearly demonstrates.

    “Trust us”, you said in the debate over the Stupak Amendment, “ObamaCare won’t lead to Church insitutions having to do anything that violates their beliefs, and the out of touch Bishops who are telling you otherwise are being led around by partisan hacks.” You were wrong (or lying) them, so forgive me if I believe you’re wrong (or lying) now when you claim the same thing about this alleged “accomodation”.

    The fact is that Catholic institutions providing medical coverage as part of their employee benefits will be providing things that violate their beliefs. Nothing has changed with the alleged “accomodation”. And it’s just a matter of time before additional items that violate Catholic teaching are added to the list of “must cover” items, abortion among them.

    Again, when I see you and yours FOR A SECOND TIME paying less heed to the Bishops on these matters than you do to a man who, via the extreme position his adminsitration took in the recent Supreme Court case that he lost in a 9-0 decision and via the extreme position his administration has taken with the HHS mandate, is clearly trying to limit religious freedom, you’ll have to pardon me when I say you no longer have any credibility (not that you ever did) after having been conclusively shown to have been WRONG the first time you chose sides.

  • Being credible in your eyes and $5 will get me a cup of coffee at Starbucks. I shouldn’t be shocked that you lack the intellectual honesty to admit the USCCB was wrong about abortion coverage. I confess to being slightly disappointed though. Good play though on attempting to question mine by shifting the goal posts to a phony conscience controversy.

    And for the record, I don’t see any any conscience issue involved with employers being compelled to offer a contraceptive benefit if they provide health insurance. I don’t think employers have a legitimate interest in whether or not their employees have a sex act that respects the unitive and procreative dimensions.

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  • I must post what I know, after are my comments and opinion. FAITH IS A GIFT FROM GOD. GOD IS BEING AND EXISTENCE. All men come into existence at the will of God, our Creator. The virtue of religion is how man responds to the gift of Faith from God in private and in public. The virtue of religion can be perfected only by complete adherence to the love of God. Doug Kmeic teaches? Law? Constitutional LAW? An open question on conscience rights? What is an open question but to do what one knows is right in accordance to the will of God? I am stunned by the profound ignorance of Doug Kmiec. Doug Kmiec belongs on Saturday Night Live. no foolin’. Doug Kmiec has a problem with his “faith being used as a political weapon”. What Kmiec really means to say is that his virtue of religion, his response to the gift of Faith from God, is being pressed to do what is right in the eyes of God and he does not like it.

  • MZ “a phony conscience controversy”? Justice is giving each man what he truly deserves. Can there be JUSTICE without conscience? Animals have no conscience and do not require JUSTICE. Devils have no conscience because demons have no human body, therefore no human soul, therefore no eternal life in heaven. Justice requires that the newly begotten sovereign person, who constitutes our nation and whose perfect moral and legal innocence is the standard of Justice be given life as an unalienable right. Our nation’s constitutional posterity is being deprived of Justice and you call it a”phony conscience controversy”? The rest has been deleted by the poster.

  • Dan: Ignorami is Latin for ignoramuses. I really enjoy reading your post. You are correct especially the part about supporting our bishops, It is up to each and every man, if he enjoys freedom, he must stand together with the truth for the truth will set you free.

  • RL: Cost saving contraception drives Divine Providence away from our nation. Our Creator, WHO made us, makes the rain fall, the seed germinate, the sun shine. Malthus and Population Bomb ignored Divine Providence in their calculations. Therefore, It may be said of Thomas Malthus and Paul Erhlick: IGNORAMI. The horror of abortion is that the abortionists and those whose minds and souls are pro-abortion is that they enjoy murdering the innocent. Pro-abortionists revel in bloodlust, worship in bloodlust their demon god, moloch.

  • Hope and Change:

    “I strongly urge you not to be intimidated by extremist politicians or the malice of the cultural secularists (me: e.g., vox nova) arrayed against us.” Bishop Daniel Jenky

    “Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois warned Catholic democrats that one day they will indeed have to meet their Creator and will have to give account for their irresponsible acts before God.” Gateway Pundit

    That goes for all you rascals that voted for pharaoh.

    Malicious secularist MZ: Thanks for reminding me!

    We NRA Endowment (I upgraded from Life) Members are going to Starbucks to show our support. Starbucks supports Second Amendment liberties. We will support Starbucks.

    3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . “Justice and peace and cynical political posturing!!! Only criminals and the gestapo are allowed to carry weapons!”

Santorum at CPAC 2012: Leads Romney by 15 Points Nationally in Latest Poll

Saturday, February 11, AD 2012

Rick Santorum’s speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference convention this week.  According to The Hill, the impact of the speech on the conservative audience was electric.  Go here to read the story.  Coming off his trifecta wins on Tuesday, Santorum is now neck and neck with Romney in national polls, and is beginning to see poll results where he outpolls Romney against Obama.  We may be witnessing one of the greatest comebacks in American political history.   

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13 Responses to Santorum at CPAC 2012: Leads Romney by 15 Points Nationally in Latest Poll

  • Speaking only for myself….I need to do more fasting and prayer so that Santorum wins this year. Oh, the schadenfrude I would enjoy from the likes of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review and the Lame Stream Media would be icing on the cake, but that cannot be the primary reason.

    A life preserver has been thrown our way. Will enough Americans recognize it?

  • What a blessing for America — Rick Santorum will be president and he will be one of the greatest US presidents ever.

    He is the only candidate worth taking the presidency and bringing America back to what she was founded on. Rick Santorum’s vision and policies are the best I have heard from any western leaders in 30 years! God bless and protect Rick Santorum – presidential candidate. We all know the truth — he is the only one who can and will do the job.. He is a brilliant, good and wise man — with a great love for God, for the Declaration of Independence – ‘all men are created equal’… — and he is a man of greath faith who loves his family and his own people.— What more could you ask for.
    I wish we had him in Canada..— !!

  • Santorum still has to answer for his throwing Pat Toomey, a very electable conservative, under the bus when he endorsed Arlen Specter in the 2004 GOP senate primary. It, for one, shows he can be bought off by the GOP establishment. And no, this “We have to support our incumbents’ BS won’t fly. Santorum did a very bad thing then and that’s that!

    The base needs to hold him accountable for it and he has to do a mea culpla. Period!

  • Santorum already has expressed regret over his endorsement, and conservatives have certainly have held his feet to the fire on it. What more exactly needs be done?

  • “Santorum already has expressed regret over his endorsement, and conservatives have certainly have held his feet to the fire on it. What more exactly needs be done?”

    Paul can you provide examples of both? I have followed this pretty closely and haven’t heard conservatives say much about this or Santorum express regret. If you can provide suffcient examples I wouild galdly stand corrected.

  • See here with a link to an interview, and his rationale for why he endorsed Specter. Note my name in the comments suggesting that this was a wrong-headed reason, though I can understand that at the time the composition of the Senate was in doubt, and he thought that we were going to need Specter’s vote to get Bush SCOTUS nominees confirmed. In retrospect he was wrong, but hindsight is admittedly 20/20.

    As for conservative angst about the Specter endorsement, you can’t read one thread about Santorum on a conservative blog without it being brought up. It was the reason that many conservatives were originally reticent about fully supporting him.

  • I saw it as wrongheaded at the time. What help was Arlen Specter in getting SCOTUS nominees confirmed that warranted his being endorsed over Toomey? After all, Specter’s relibiality in that area was doubtful at best. Just ask Robert Bork. And by 2004, this was clearly 20/20 hindsight. No, Santorum did this for purely selfish reasons, hoping his endorsement of Specter would help him in an uphill fight with Casey, which of course, he lost by an 18 point drubbing.

    But think about it. If you’re Romney, this would be his best trump card. He can play this to hilt in painting Santorum as an establishment sellout. And those of us who don’t want Romeny can’t say a damned thing about it because it is true.

    What more can be done?, you ask Paul. Well, for starters, Santorum can actually man up and admit he was selling out to curry favor with Bush and the rest of the GOP establishment and stop insulting our intelligence with that lame excuse he gave. I say this as someone who wants him to get the nomination.

    As far as conservatives holding his feet to the fire, so what if a bunch rather obscure conservative blogs talk about it. Nowhere in any real national venue, like talk radio for example has this been dealt with in any substative way. Mark Levin, who is probably Satorum’s most vocal supporer in national talk radio, hasn’t said boo about it as far as I know and I have listened to him rather regularly. Hugh Hewitt talked about it in passing on his show with Byron York, I think it was.

    So, I stand by my original assertion.

  • What help was Arlen Specter in getting SCOTUS nominees confirmed that warranted his being endorsed over Toomey? After all, Specter’s relibiality in that area was doubtful at best. Just ask Robert Bork.

    Santorum’s endorsement was contingent on getting this promise from Specter. Specter was slated to become Chair of the Judiciary Cmte, and for what it’s worth, he did forcefully back both Alito and Roberts. Santorum thought Specter was more of a sure thing in the general than Toomey, and this was at a time when it looked like the Senate could be up for grabs. Even at the time I thought Santorum was being overly pessimistic both as regards to Toomey and the Senate in general, but it was a reasonable gambit. But he was wrong, and I fully concede that.

    He can play this to hilt in painting Santorum as an establishment sellout. And those of us who don’t want Romeny can’t say a damned thing about it because it is true.

    Sure Romney is going to play this to the hilt, and it’s an admitted weakness. But somehow it pales into comparison to lavishing praise on ted Kennedy after signing into law the legislation that would become the model for Obamacare.

    Well, for starters, Santorum can actually man up and admit he was selling out to curry favor with Bush and the rest of the GOP establishment and stop insulting our intelligence with that lame excuse he gave.

    So in other words, he should proffer an apology that may or may not actually have any basis in fact. That you deem the excuse lacking does not mean it was not precisely why Santorum gave the endorsement.

    so what if a bunch rather obscure conservative blogs talk about it.

    Obscure blogs like National Review, Hot Air, Ace of Spades? Seriously? This has been brought up every single time Santorum is even under dicussion.

    Nowhere in any real national venue, like talk radio for example has this been dealt with in any substative way.

    I suspect I listen to as much talk radio as anyone. It has been brought up – by Levin as well. He didn’t excuse Santorum’s endorsement, but he did mention it at some point. Rush has discussed it as well. In fact, I believe both have discussed the Santorum endorsement of Specter as a talking point likely to be brought up by Romney’s camp.

  • Now, Paul, Specter’s being slated to become judiciary chair was actually all the more reason to primary him, given his suspect reliability. You mean to tell me that there weren’t already more suitable and reliable republicans availible to fill that post? And that Santorum didn’t know it? Sorry, I’m not buying it. At the very least Santorum should have stayed out of that. He didn’t have to endorse anyone. Based upon the facts we do know, the reason I cite is far more plausable than the excuse he gave.

  • As the tight Presidential polls that year indicated, there was every prospect that 2004 was going to be a bad year for the Republicans. The Democrats had slightly more seats up than the Republicans, 19-15 in the Senate that year, but the playing ground was fairly even. On election night Kentucky, Florida and Alaska were fairly close, and South Dakota was won by a hair. Control of the Senate would have shifted if those elections had gone the other way, and they might well have.

    I think what Santorum did was reasonable at the time, assuming that one’s goal is to have Supreme Court justices on the Court that will overturn Roe. Bush lost Pennsylvania to Kerry, and I think it likely that Toomey might well have been defeated that year, considering that he only got 51% of the vote in 2010, the best election year for Republicans since Calvin Coolidge was in office, and running against a rather weak Democrat opponent.

  • Oh goodie. Conservatives are all ga-ga over another neo-con puppet who can’t wait to start another war. By all means, let’s ignore that pesky little idea known as a Just War. No thanks. Warmongering and the lies that form the basis of such criminal activity is why God will not bless this nation until a leader can be found who possesses discernment. One more reason among many the US is headed for Divine chastisement.

  • Bye, bye Dawg em. I am sure that there is a paleocon site waiting breathlessly for your contributions.

  • Mr. McClarey, thank you for dismissing the gentleman with the rather old Cleveland Browns related name.

    Greg, you have to get over the endorsement of Specter by Santorum. We are not electing Christ to the presidency. Santorum has expressed his regret in helping Specter. Do you live in Pennsylvania, Greg? Did you know how much help Specter gave Santorum in getting elected to the Senate – twice? Specter helped Santorum compete in the Philly suburbs.

    Specter switched parties when it was apparent to Specter that Toomey would wipe up the floor with Specter in 2010 – this was not the case in 2004.

    I do not, did not and will not like Arlen Specter. I wish he would have quit years before losing in 2010. So Romney wants to attack Santorum for Specter?

    There’s plenty to go after Romney for. I remembere the Massachusetts Senate debate in 1994 on CSPAN. Romney was slightly leading Kennedy. Romney was asked about the Contract with America – the means by which Newt Gingrich and Company wiped out the most corrupt Democrat leadership in the House of Representatives. Romney turned tail and verbally hid from the moderator. Kennedy moved in for the kill.

    Romney will attack Santorum, but Romney is still a well tailored, well-spoken ninny. Santorum can roast him about Romneycare, and Mittens knows it.

The HHS “Accommodation”: Lie to Me

Friday, February 10, AD 2012

So the Obama Administration released a proposed compromise today on the recent contentious HHS rule and there was good news: The Administration is now saying that Catholic institutions will not need to pay for abortifacients, sterilization, and contraception for their employees. The bad news is that the good news is a lie.  Catholic institutions will still be paying for these things, but health insurance companies will be instructed to tell Catholic institutions that they are free.

It’s possible that this will provide the Administration with enough cover to defuse the issue; it is clever in its own way. “Obama Administration requires Church to pay for abortifacients” is a straight forward story that even a reporter can understand. “Obama Administration uses accounting gimmick to force Church to pay for abortifacients, while assuring them they are free” is harder to explain. A little misdirection can go a long way with a sympathetic press. But, for Catholics, I think the takeaway is clear enough: this is no compromise at all. The Obama Administration has decided to double down on the mandate, and Catholics can no longer expect him to deal in good faith with Catholic institutions and their leaders.

Update: This post is probably superfluous here, but I’ll leave it up. See also Paul and Tito’s earlier takes.

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6 Responses to The HHS “Accommodation”: Lie to Me

  • John Henry, I have occasionally had clients who wish to lie in court. I explain to them that I can be no party to perjury. I also tell them usually that their lies are so feeble that it is an insult to the intelligence of the judge and jury. That is precisely my reaction to the compromise con that you correctly designate as a lie plain and simple. What has always struck me about Obama and his administration is the utter contempt they so often manifest for anyone who is not in lockstep with their administration. This contempt is shown not only to critics on the right but also critics on the left. Trying to sell this utterly transparent fraud is yet another manifestation of this treatment of critics as if they were children or sheep.

  • Obama must go. We have known this since 2008.

  • Just say free contraception. They’ll both vote for me and look for work at religious institutions. Win win. Poll #’s can only rise.

    Profit to pharm co. and ins. co. comes with cost to consumer one way or another. Details to follow or not.

    It’ll be the garden of eden for them all, again. The women (unmentioned young girls,too) into “preventing babies’ sort of health can be Eve, and the apple can be the generalized ‘contraception’ word, and we the executive branch can be the snake aka you know who. Is that biblical enough you Church people? We who are mindful of religious liberty are here to accommodate you. Your employees get free contraception.
    And this is not a political football.

  • How stupid Obama thinks we are. Well, con men always have contempt for their marks, particularly when they have successfully gulled them in the past.

  • I’m glad to see that the bishops aren’t falling for it one little bit. Whispers in the Loggia has a leaked copy of the USCCB internal response sent out to all the bishops:

    http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/2012/02/our-understanding-of-rule-bishops-on.html

  • What we need is the Bishops to come out with a letter to be read at the pulpit, letting the parishioners know that the latest attempt of president Obama is not compromises at all.

    They should also state a reminder of the teaching of the Church on contraception.

    …and they should do it now!

    Come on Bishops, you need to be public as much as possible on this.
    Lead from the front.

    WWC

Other Reactions on the HHS Mandate and the “Compromise”

Friday, February 10, AD 2012

I don’t have much to add to what’s already been said on the subject other than to express my wonder at who President Obama thinks he is fooling.  Granted I’ve already encountered vacuous leftists using the “but they don’t have to pay for it” talking point, but these are the types of people content to loyally follow Obama over the cliff anyway.

I just wanted to use this space to highlight a few other blogs that have written copiously about this subject.  Ron Kozar thinks this has been something of a missed opportunity for Catholics.

One point, which cries out to be made but isn’t being made, is how stupid it is to buy insurance for something as inexpensive as contraception, even if one has no moral objection to it.

It’s like requiring your auto insurer to cover an oil change, with no deductible.  Thus, rather than simply collecting the money from the consumer, the oil-change mechanic would have to employ a clerk to “process” your insurance and await an eventual check from your auto insurer.  This kind of nonsense – mandating coverage for routine, inexpensive procedures, and relieving the consumer of the need to pay – is one of the larger reasons why the healthcare and health-insurance systems are so utterly out of control.

Another point that cries out to be made but isn’t being made is that the government shouldn’t be dictating the terms of health-insurance benefits to employers in the first place, regardless of the employer’s religion.  The debate is being framed as a question about which package of coverages the federal government should mandate, rather than about whether the feds, or any government, should be dictating any terms at all.

Meanwhile, Jay Anderson has been on fire lately.  He has several blogposts this week worth reading, so just read his blog. Needless to say, I agree that it is time to disinvite certain so-called Catholics to the supper feast of the lamb.

Finally, if you’re not reading Jeff Goldstein’s blog Protein Wisdom, you should be.  Jeff is a Jewish, Santorum supporting, libertarian-conservative, and he’s done just as good a job of getting at why Obama’s actions are so tyrannical as anyone else.  Here’s his take on the compromise.

The problem is, rules or laws that provide exemptions to specific identity groups are ripe for corruption — and there’s no more reason that the federal government should be able to direct insurance companies to provide free contraception that it should the Catholic church. And by making the accomodation a waiver or derivation, Obama is still asserting his own Executive authority to tell private companies how they must spend.

Catholics shouldn’t have to go on bended knee before the State and beg for a conscience exemption for providing the kind of coverage it wishes to provide. And the State should not have the arbitrary power to pick and choose who must follow laws, who gets waivers and exemptions, and so on.

Obama’s “accommodation” is meant solely to hide his underlying power grab: namely, the unstated authority of the State to set these kind of dictatorial demands on private industry, and by extension, on individuals.

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7 Responses to Other Reactions on the HHS Mandate and the “Compromise”

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  • It’s too bad Jeff Goldstein used the “f” word in one of his posts – the very one I wanted to share on Facebook. But by golly, he’s right on the mark! I empathize with his anger. Liberals are so stupid, but as someone said, that’s what sin does.

  • I looked over Protein Wisdom and it looks like a great blog. Thanks for the tip.

    Obama is the anti-constitutional president, looking for any way to undermine citizens’ rights. The contraception mandate “compromise” is a farce. We don’t compromise when it comes to our religious liberty.

  • “It’s like requiring your auto insurer to cover an oil change, with no deductible.”

    Or like your homeowner’s insurance providing 100% coverage for gutter cleaning and lawn mowing. Yes, it would be convienient but it would hardly be “free”.

    “This kind of nonsense – mandating coverage for routine, inexpensive procedures, and relieving the consumer of the need to pay – is one of the larger reasons why the healthcare and health-insurance systems are so utterly out of control.”

    I have suspected as much for a few years now. It seems to me that, TOTALLY aside from the religious freedom/moral issue (important though it is), the HHS flap would be a great opportunity to reexamine the whole idea of “preventive” care being covered by insurance in the first place. Isn’t insurance designed mainly to protect people from catastrophic losses or expenses they could never hope to pay for on their own? It never was intended to cover EVERY conceivable (pardon the pun) expense.

  • It’s about Obama telling you what you can and cannot do with your property and your life.

  • How funny — I’d recently picked up on this site, and see reference to Jeff’s site Protein Wisdom! Been reading it for years; cannot recommend enough. If you’re looking for visceral and pithy and effective, there you go. Do watch for the strong language, though.

  • Another reason this can’t possibly be just about health care: if I’m not mistaken, birth rates in general are down due to the poor economy, which in and of itself proves that lack of money is not preventing people (in general) from avoiding pregnancy if they truly want to. Moreover, birth AND pregnancy rates among teens are at 20-year or more lows, and abortion rates (at least for reported surgical abortions) are markedly lower than they were in the 70s and 80s.

    If birth rates and abortion rates were going through the roof because ALL forms of birth control had been priced out of the reach of most women, AND if many insurance plans didn’t already cover birth control, AND if cheap or free birth control weren’t already available from places like Planned Parenthood, then there might be some semi-logical reason to mandate or encourage contraceptive coverage to combat an “epidemic” of unwanted pregnancies. That’s not happening, as far as I can see. And even if it were, it would be no excuse for running roughshod over the 1st Amendment in order to insure that a relatively small fraction of women (those of childbearing age who happen to be employed by Catholic institutions) were covered.

Obama’s Latest Fig Leaf is Not Acceptable

Friday, February 10, AD 2012

Update III:  The USCCB Pro-Life Director Richard Doerflinger and Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey agree with me that this “accommodation” or “compromise” is unacceptable.  Sadly Sr. Keehan of the the Catholic Health Associate found this “satisfactory”.  It looks like Obama will be happy that Sr. Keehan is on board.  Of course, Planned Parenthood and Sr. Keehan agree.

Update II:  Rumor confirmed.  Insurance, that Religious Institutions pay into, will provide contraception, ie, it is still a violation of the First Amendment.

Update I: Rumor is that “Hawaii” compromise will be offered, but the bishops have already rejected this.  So basically it’s a poor attempt at stalling and not really offering a solution.

The buzz this morning is that Obama is “caving in” to the pressure and will announce a “compromise” today at 12:15pm Eastern.

The news reports are saying that Religious Organizations won’t have to offer birth control, only the insurance companies that these Religious Organizations provide will offer birth control.

Yeah, that’s the compromise.

If these reports are true, this is dead on arrival.  Changing the meaning of the words won’t do it.

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34 Responses to Obama’s Latest Fig Leaf is Not Acceptable

  • It’s George Orwell’s 1984, except the date should be 2012.

  • …only the insurance companies that these Religious Organizations provide will offer birth control…

    And who pays premiums into the insurance pool? The Religious Organizations and in most cases, their employees. This is no compromise; it’s word-smithing.

  • Exactly Big Tex.

    I wish I were more eloquent and prescient as you were, but I wanted to get this out and digested before Obama did another Pravda Announcement.

  • Next, he’ll offer 30 pieces of silver, the price of a man.

    I’m insulted.

    He must think we are as stupid as he.

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  • Politics at its worst. This administration is not caving in on anything. They are mandating and telling the insurance companies what product to sell and at what price to sell. Unconstitutional.

  • He’s on the run.

    Don’t accept the first.

    Counter with: “Resign tyrant.”

  • Let’s pretend that birth control is a health issue (hahahah, sorry — I’ll stop laughing now). Since when is the President qualified to ORDER medical treatments? Did he go to medical school or something?

  • Lord have mercy. Has Sr. Keehan have no shame? No conscience? Her bishop should have a friendly chat with her, remind her that part of the reason the Church and the entire country is in this mess is in part her doing, and then politely ask her to keep her mouth shut.

  • Unfortunately it may be that Sr. Keehan has no problem with contraception, sterilization etc.

  • She also has no problem in wearing anything but a habit.

  • HHS was The Institute of Medical Services idea. BO and KS said so.
    The change in payment was recommended by some Insurance Business Institute.
    One, quick little mention of ‘religious liberty’ being intact, so there you guys who are complaining so much.

    Contraception was the whole focus of what HHS means to USA, no mention of the laundry list of other ‘care’.

    Contraception is good for preventing women’s health problems. What about all the studies of causes for women’s cancer? Women, not girls, what happened to the 11 year olds that were going to be ‘cared’ for? Not PC for a noonday speech for Catholic listeners. Ugh. More questions than answers from he who was paid by a Catholic org. to do work.

    Contraception is the lowest common denominator of appeal for those who would trash Church teaching before letting go of complacency.

    No apology for using the word Mandate in olden times like yesterday. Now, it’s all about being the bearer of ‘good’ compromise for all concerned, especially those who want contraception. Politics, pandering to voters, and shutting up the Church.

  • I think Sr. Keehan has no idea how insurance works.

  • from he who was paid by a Catholic org. to do work.
    He said so.

  • Too busy today to do anything right now except to note that this is no compromise and anyone who thinks it is is either a fool or a knave. Obama truly does have nothing but contempt for those outside of his ideological bubble.

  • Who is this Senior Keehan?

  • Obama went out of his way to say that he supports freedom of religion, pointing out that one of his stints as a community organizer in Chicago was funded by a Catholic group.

    Gag me with a spoon. I wonder which Catholic group funded his community organizing. I wonder further if those funds made their way through the CSA.

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/obama-announce-accommodation-religious-groups-contraceptive-rule-enough-170500694.html

  • There can be no compromise with evil.

    I would hold out for his resignation. That’s me.

  • Another great takedown of this duplicitous “compromise” over at Vox Nova.

  • Haha Paul. I’ll comment on that later. I’ll let others read the takedown first.

  • “Sister” Keehan is a traitor. If she approves of this, then it is not to be trusted. The road of compromise is never ending! Don’t take it. Time for Catholics willing to suffer persecution to stand up and be counted. If Obama wins this, it’s all over for Faith and freedom. Wake up America!
    Immaculate Conception pray for us.

  • I’ll update my post with that link, Paul. Good catch.

  • If the bishops will not or cannot make (Sr.) Keehan behave then hopefully the vatican will discipline her and her order. She is a disgrace to American nuns who are pro-life. In effect, she is giving comfort to the enemy and she needs to be stopped!!!

  • I clicked on the link thinking someone at Vox Nova had actually written something critical of Pharaoh Obama’s “compromise.” It seems most there are content to retreat into philosophical condemnations of American Democracy and other acts of mental onanism.

    I suspect MM is waiting for the Dem talking points.

  • Phillip:

    Kudos. I am afflicted with violent nausea by ravings of lunatics that believe in a vast array of dumb and illogical rubbish.

    Apparently, that pack of catholic Commies (adherents of the gospel of Mao) believe the destruction of the evil, unjust private sector justifies both the damnation of souls and the denial of basic human rights, i.e., religious liberty.

    Seems, they have bought into the tyrant’s alibi: the “welfare of humanity justifies enslaving humanity.”

    You are too kind and genteel. I would have waxed sort of alliterative: “acts of mental masturbation.”

  • The vn are not compromising with evil. They are evil.

  • There aren’t enough exorcists — are there?

  • I was going to rebuke T Shaw for going a bit too far, but he’s really not far afield. To rationalize this decision in such a way is just astounding. There really is no road low enough for these folks at VN. That said, I have to agree with Tony on one thing.

    Think of Romney attacking Obama when he did the same thing in Massachusetts!

    Well, at least that one was non-demented sentence in the rant.

  • How did Sr. Keenan get quoted? I understood this article was about what Catholics thought?
    Dan Malone

  • May God Change Sr. Keehan’s heart. We all should pray she converts and repents. She is truly a lost soul directing others to HELL.

  • The Catholic Church will never obey this mandate, not if all the powers of Hell were to shove it down our throats. I know that moral doctrine may seem a strange and ancient thing to your administration Mr President, but understand that as Catholics, we are required to disobey unjust law. Commanded. It is our duty. Do you understand the gravity of the ultimatum you’ve made? You have placed the faithful Catholic in a position in which he must choose between obeying your mandate and obeying God. To comply with the HHS mandate will be considered a sin. Regardless of how you view your actions, do not so easily ignore how the Church views your actions — as attacking her flock. Force the mandate on faithful institutions, and faithful institutions will shut down their services. Force it on our hospitals, our universities, our schools, and our convents and we will bear the consequences of looking you, Sibelius and all the rest in the eyes and saying “No.” As it turns out, the Church doesn’t give a damn what you think — She never has cared for the powers of the world — and will resist you with all Her might. To be briefer still, and to say what those bound by politics cannot: Bring it.

  • Me and my wife have been trying to have a child for over a year and we are seeing a fertility doctor who is putting my wife on birth control for one month to regulate her cycle (i.e., as part of a plan aimed at treatments during the following month). I don’t think this is a sin and I don’t see any problem with the Catholic Church providing those contraceptives if I worked for them. I don’t see the catch-22 Nancy describes because it seems the sin only occurs when contraceptives are used to prevent a pregnancy. Although contraceptives can be used in a sinful way, so can other health-related drugs, medical devices, or equipment. The most obvious examples are the use of many prescription drugs to commit suicide or to be abused. In the case of these other drugs, the Church doesn’t eliminate the drugs from their health plan but instead provides them and expects Catholics to follow its teachings and not use the drugs in the commission of a sin. Why are contraceptives different? They have a number of non-sinful uses, including use by non-Catholic employees or to regulate menstruation (i.e., in someone who is not having sex). I don’t see why providing these drugs would be any more a sin than providing Oxycontin or morphine. Would it be a sin for the Church to provide baseball bats because they could be used to commit a murder?

Dyspeptic Mutterings

Friday, February 10, AD 2012

My friend Dale Price is posting again regularly at his blog Dyspeptic Mutterings after something of a hiatus.  Go here to have a gander at his blog.  Dale has long written some of the sharpest commentary on Saint Blog’s.   I stop in every day looking for blogging topics to steal borrow, and I rejoice that he is writing frequently again.

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10 Responses to Dyspeptic Mutterings

  • And here I thought this was a post about the current state of politics.

    *rimshot*
    Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week, tip your waitress….

    Incidentally: curse it, I just got my “visit daily” list down by subscribing-via-email for a bunch of sites that offer it, and you point out a worthy blog. -.-

  • Ha! Your blog Foxfier, Head Noises, is also one where I frequently commit the blogging activity of idea theft!

    http://sailorette.blogspot.com/

  • They say to steal from the best– I guess stealing from those who steal from the best works pretty well, too. (I’d also accuse you of blarney if I wasn’t smiling too hard.)

  • LOL

    “Dyspeptic”: I think I know its meaning.

    However, my 678 page Webster’s New World Thesaurus ends the “D” section with “dysentary.”

    “Dysentary” surely describes Obama politics. The tragedy is that 54% of the people don’t see it for what it is: copious amounts of excrement produced by the male of the bovine species.

    “Stealing” is such a harsh term. I see it as “riding on the shoulders of giants.”

  • From my (wonderful!) high school English teacher, who really should’ve been in a college: “Stealing from one person is plagiarism. Stealing from many is research.”

  • Dyspeptic Mutterings is a great name for these days and today … Announcement pending from WH in DC on ” … controception controversy …”

    More dysentary.
    1. Just because the Sunday sermons are upon us – throw a wrench.

    2. It’s for people to think it’s about contraception, and cover up trying to force the Catholic Church to go against its teaching.

    3. It’s to keep minds on matters below the belt.

    4. It’s to deflect voters from being aware of their Religious Liberty.

    5. How about – will the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (HR 1179 S.1467) be mentioned? or that it’s not about pills etc.?

    Dyspeptic about waking hours preparing a contact list/nutshell notes msg. for bulletin insert only to now have to wait for edit possibility.

  • Thank you kindly, Don!

    It’ll be mostly quick hits and links until I get my writing legs back underneath me.

    Fair warning to those unfamiliar with me–I can be rather salty with my verbiage. Not often, but it’s there.

    For those curious about the picture, it’s part of my sidebar. It is the stunning Byzantine mosaic dome in Santa Maria Assunta, on the island of Torcello in the northern end of the Venetian lagoon. I’ve been there, and no picture does it justice. The foundation stone was laid by the Byzantine exarch (military governor) of Ravenna in 632, but the mosaics date from the 11th Century.

    Another fair warning–I’m capable of droning on about Byzantium at exceptional length.

  • I used to visit Dale’s blog several years ago before he stopped blogging.

    On checking his articles, had to chuckle at the post where he call Cardinal Egan a “sack of shit.” 🙂
    Then checked the link to find out why – he is dead right – about the sack of shit, I mean.

    We could, however, use latin, where it sounds more genteel – stercus tauri

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  • “Another fair warning–I’m capable of droning on about Byzantium at exceptional length.”

    Yet another reason why I love your blog Dale, as Byzantium and its relations with the West have always fascinated me!

True Ecumenism

Friday, February 10, AD 2012

 

I must confess that I have never been a great fan of Ecumenism, as a drive for greater Christian unity, as it has played out in the Catholic Church since Vatican II.  Too often it has resulted in “dialogues” with non-Catholic faiths that seek to paper over theological chasms that divide us from them.  If the price of Ecumenism is any watering down of the Catholic Faith, please count me out.

However, there is a true Ecumenism which I interpret as the banding together of people of different faiths to accomplish some great good in the name of God.  A striking example of what I am referring to was the action of the four chaplains of the USS Dorchester on January 22, 1943, a Catholic priest, two Protestant ministers, and a Jewish rabbi, who gave up their life jackets so other men could live, and died together, arms linked, praising God to the end.  Go here to read their story.

In my 29 years of work in the pro-life cause, I have often encountered such true Ecumenism.  Each month I pray with members of the board of directors at the crisis pregnancy center which I have had the honor to be the Chairman of for over a decade.  I am the only Catholic on the board and I have found much to inspire me by the faith and the goods works of the evangelicals and other Protestants I have encountered and worked with over the years.

In the face of the HHS mandate in regard to contraception and abortifacients, I have been heartened to see how many people of good will have been standing shoulder to shoulder with the Church in opposition to this villainous assault on our common heritage as Americans  of religious liberty.

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13 Responses to True Ecumenism

  • “If we do not hang together we will surely hang separately.” – Thomas Paine

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  • It is to be hoped that the Catholic hierarchy has learned a valuable lesson of the costs of hobnobbing with these modern day totalitarians masquerading as social justice advocates.

  • You are papering over the chasm. When it comes to standing for the moral truth that contraception and sterilization is wrong the Catholic Church stands alone.

    They need us. They need us to lead them to the fullness of the truth may it begin today.

  • Rubbish. I am noting those who stand with us in our struggle for religious freedom. I papered over nothing.

  • Amen and Yes they certainly are standing for religious freedom and that really is great but that as far as they are traveling down the road with us and the road is much longer than that. Unless we invite them to join us the rest of the way. To bring them into the joy of the authentic Christian teaching of being fully open to life. To renounce contraception.

    from the USCCB yesterday “First, he has decided to retain HHS’s nationwide mandate of insurance coverage of sterilization and contraception, including some abortifacients. This is both unsupported in the law and remains a grave moral concern. We cannot fail to reiterate this, even as so many would focus exclusively on the question of religious liberty.”

    We have walked (since 1931) are now walking the moral stretch alone. Its time for that to change. Today is a good day.

    I am a convert largely because of the Churches teaching on contraception. I cannot tell you the difference the truth makes and the depths to which it can heal. So yes lets stand together and fight back this government intrusion and yes lets take this opportunity to show the world why a life without contraception is a life truly worth having.

  • Well I agree with you on contraception George, a teaching my wife and I have followed all our married lives. However, that is not what my post is about. If someone is standing with me to accomplish some great good, I am not going to reject their assistance simply because they do not agree with all Catholic teaching. I do not pretend that the differences in belief do not exist, but I appreciate the hand given to aid me in the task.

  • ‘ This is one Catholic who will never forget that when the Church in America stood up to defend Her religious liberty, She did not stand up alone. ‘

    It’s great to be able to say that and know it’s being done, as you said, for the greater glory of God. Healing, renewing, and a source of joy for me. Much more of the past couple of years without their heroic stand and I, for one, would need true care for my health. God loves us and does help us. His Spirit is moving in those standing.

    It was actually thrilling to see the impromptu gathering of religious leaders who were able to appear on Hannity last night on such a choppy, busy day probably filled with distraction and fatigue for them.

    They are Light in the darkness.

  • I think also must be noted many individual Protestants oppose contraception just as strongly as faithful Catholics do. Unfortunately, the Cathoic Church is only “denomination” that opposes it at the institution level.

    It is also woth noting that many Catholics who converted from Protestantism say that their study of the contraception and the Church’s position on the issue and rationale for it was the thing that begin their trek across the Tiber. Dr. Scott Hahn and musician John Michael Talbot being two prominent examples.

    Sorry Don if I strayed from the topic of the post. BUt I thought I needed to point that out in light of George’s comment.

  • Im quit certain the topic was True Ecumenism.

    CCC 816…The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism explains: “For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God.”

    821…- conversion of heart as the faithful “try to live holier lives according to the Gospel”; for it is the unfaithfulness of the members to Christ’s gift which causes divisions;

    – prayer in common, because “change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement, and merits the name ‘spiritual ecumenism;”‘

    Pope Benedict XVI – …Consequently, spiritual ecumenism – prayer, conversion and the sanctification of life – constitutes the heart of the meeting and of the ecumenical movement. It could be said that the best form of ecumenism consists in living in accordance with the Gospel.

    No I don’t think we are off topic at all rather opening more fully what you gave a great start too. So Amen to True Ecumenism and Amen to its fruits. Hearts are being converted Lives sanctified.

    So we are united against tyranny now let’s continue to speak with our Protestant brothers and sisters (and our Catholic as well) on what still divides us to an ever deeper conversion. To the healing and saving power of Truth. To a Life pleasing to God without contraception, sterilization and abortion. We are protesting against the government because these things are wrong in addition to government interference in mandating them or at least it seems to me from the USCCB latest statement.

    May all come to join us in the entire fight of surrendering ourselves to Truth, may the True Ecumenism bear fruit a prayer and hope in which I know we all agree.

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The “Other” Winston Churchill

Friday, February 10, AD 2012

Most TAC readers are familiar with Winston Churchill, the British statesman. But they may not be familiar with another Winston Churchill whose fame, at one time, eclipsed that of his British counterpart.

The “other” Winston Churchill was an American novelist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He wrote several best-selling historical novels, including one (which I will discuss later) that provides a fascinating glimpse into the Civil War era and the rise of Abraham Lincoln.

The American Churchill was born Nov. 10, 1871, in St. Louis, Mo., three years and 20 days before the British Churchill. After attending primary and secondary schools in St. Louis, he entered the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, graduating in 1894. Less than a year after receiving his commission, he resigned to pursue a literary career. In 1895 he became managing editor of The Cosmopolitan magazine — at that time a literary periodical nothing like its modern incarnation. Then he gave up that post to devote himself to writing his own novels, poems, and essays.

His first novel, The Celebrity, was published in 1898, but his second, Richard Carvel (1899) proved to be his most popular. Richard Carvel tells the story of an orphaned descendant of English nobility who grows up in colonial Maryland, journeys to England in pursuit of the woman he loves, then returns to America just in time to join the American Revolution. It was a huge hit, selling over 2 million copies in a nation of only 76 million citizens at the time.

His next book, The Crisis (1901), which can be read online at this link, is set in his native St. Louis in the years 1857 to 1865. The third of Churchill’s  popular historical novels was The Crossing (1904), which recounts the settlement of Kentucky and the conquest of the Illinois Country during the American Revolution.

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2 Responses to The “Other” Winston Churchill

  • I learned something today…when I was a child we had an old bookshelf full of even older books. Our family of 8 children and two parents left little ‘extra,” but one thing our mother especially but our dad too encouraged and instilled in every one of us children was a love of reading. I was # 8 and born in 1955, so I remember seeing those old and somewhat tattered books and spending plenty of time perusing through them, as we all did.

    One of those books was “The Inside of the Cup” (which you mention in your article) by Winston Churchill. I never knew there were two–and always just assumed it was written by the British Prime Minister!

    It would be great fun to once again obtain a copy of that book, almost 50 years after I first saw it as a child. I may just have to do some book hunting, and this time I will know who the “real” author was!

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post, and I am off to do some “book hunting.”

  • The Winston Churchills also corresponded with each other (both wittily) regarding how to avoid confusion regarding the English Churchill’s forthcoming–and only–novel, Savrola.

    Later, the American Churchill hosted a dinner for the English Churchill in America. Amusingly enough, the tab was delivered to the English Churchill at the end. The American Churchill quickly remedied that.

Father Barron on the HHS Mandate

Thursday, February 9, AD 2012

Over at National Review Online, Father Robert Barron has, as usual, a perceptive take on what the HHS Mandate means:

The secularist state wants Catholicism off the public stage and relegated to a private realm where it cannot interfere with secularism’s totalitarian agenda. I realize that in using that particular term, I’m dropping a rhetorical bomb, but I am not doing so casually. A more tolerant liberalism allows, not only for freedom of worship, but also for real freedom of religion, which is to say, the expression of religious values in the public square and the free play of religious ideas in the public conversation. Most of our founding fathers advocated just this type of liberalism. But there is another modality of secularism — sadly on display in the current administration — that is actively aggressive toward religion, precisely because it sees religion as its primary rival in the public arena.

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6 Responses to Father Barron on the HHS Mandate

  • This is about the 7th time Obama has bared his fangs over the last three years. Hopefully, this time, people will understand what he is.

  • O Lord, this November, ” . . . deliver us from evil.”

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  • Good thing for the Lord’s Prayer – there’s always just what we need to say to Our Father.

  • To me, this is exactly what is Obama’s Agenda : “…Catholicism off the public stage and relegated to a private realm where it cannot interfere with secularism’s totalitarian agenda”. Since be believes American Catholics are not committed to their Church’s Teachings, he hopes the objections of the Church will result in a split in the Church. Those pseudo Catholics who sides with him, will ensure he is re-elected and the remnant of the faithful Church will be so weak as not to threaten his totalitarian agenda. Hitler took the same route, too.

  • Think of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in the Garden of Gethsemani suffering bitter agony for our sins.

    I desire true repentance for my sins.

Bigot Mail

Thursday, February 9, AD 2012

 

At The American Catholic we get almost daily comments submitted by anti-Catholic bigots.  We routinely place them in our trash file as unworthy of the effort to respond to.  However, I thought that our readers might be amused to see the typical type of rant we receive from these individuals.  This one was submitted in response to my post about Eric Metaxas, a Dietrich Bonhoeffer biographer and a non-Catholic, comparing the contraceptive mandate of the Obama administration to the initial moves of Nazi Germany against the German churches in the Thirties of the last century.

If the Catholics want to get into a political battle then don’t whine.  That’s Politics.  Chaplains want to use their positions to push their political ideology from Rome.  That not their job.  Use your own time not USA;s time.  For a Catholic to talk about freedom of speech and liberty with their history of killing people, persecution, and enslaving western civilized is and utter joke.  Hate is what the Catholic showed to all non Catholics.  Catholics want a political fight then lets fight.  Significant number of priests are gay or child rapists, then your church shopped them around.  This is been going on since the 1100?s.  The Church’s political views against women health will alienate women.  How about shinning a light on church supporting fascist counties in WW2.  Germany, Italy, Spain, Argentina, and Croatia.  The pope told all of their leaders they were Christ defenders.  Your religion killed our ancestors civilization (Greek and Roman) and produced the Dark ages.  That is the politics of pain and suffering and I will proudly fight against it.

Well, let’s examine this screed shall we? 

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25 Responses to Bigot Mail

  • …….and this, I presume, is from a voting age American, Don?

    Not at all surprising, but indicative of the importance due the pursuit of truth among those who have made up their mind, absent the facts. Apparently this is a sampling of the fruits of our system of education, or is that, indoctrination?

    It gives one pause to reflect upon the fragility of the long-term prospects of civilized society.

    Karl

  • “I know that my Redeemer lives.”

    From Father McCartney’s sermon, “Jesus came to take sin out of the world. He did not come to take suffering out of the world.”

    The same “thing” hit me right between the eyes, Karl.

    The republic is doomed.

    Imbeciles such as that vote and so we have Obama and his gang blithely tearing the Constitution to shreds and destroying the economy.

    It’s all over.

  • No it isn’t T.Shaw. Fools and bigots are always with us. The task for us to prevail against them.

  • You very ably dismantled the “reasoning” of this fool point by point, Donald. I have little to add except to note the terrible grammar and poor writing skills on display. Mr. or Ms. Bigot, if you are going to pose as some sort of champion of civilisation, at the very least you should write complete sentences. A nun of the old school never taught this illiterate dolt how to diagram a sentence, more’s the pity.

  • Mac,

    I guess. Sitting in occupied America, it’s hard to be optimistic.

    I hope you’re right.

    We won’t go down without a fight.

    I saw a poll that 39% agree with the idiot agenda. Hope it carries through November.

    Meanwhile, for what it’s worth strategic investing: God. Gold. Whiskey.

  • Donna, unimaginative illiteracy is almost always a feature of the anti-Catholic diatribes we receive. I do credit our correspondent however for leaving out references to the Illuninati, Pope Joan and Jesuit mind control, which I sometimes think are included in some sort of style guide for anti-Catholic rants.

  • Their number is legion.

  • Now I know where my comments have been ending up….
    .
    .
    .
    .
    What?

  • Don,
    I agree with Donna. Your reasoning is clearly superior to the Bigot’s.
    I’m surprised you didn’t say anything about the lack of proper punctuation and grammar in this example you offered.
    In the 1970’s, my parents were featured in the NY Times for the arrival of their 16th child. My parents held on to the mail that arrived after that article was published, the majority of it bashing large families. When I read through most of the letters they received, I’m surprised by the apparent illiteracy of those who bought into the myth of overpopulation.
    I see the same lack of knowledge exhibited in the example you offer, and I’m not surprised, frankly. An inability to intellectually study the Church (or any world affair for that matter) rightly indicates a lack of intellectual ability – period.
    And so, I’m left with the question: “Is it worth our time and energy to even respond, when it would seem that intellectually, our adversaries are incapable of understanding our reasoning?”

  • Sister Colleen, bigots such as my correspondent are harmless to us and warrant no response. Bigots who hold power in government, or who have platforms where they sway public opinion, always warrant swift, pointed and effective responses from all faithful Catholics who have the knowledge, talent and spine to do so, especially in a democracy. Our ancestors in the Faith understood this. Archbishop John Hughes of New York, known universally to friend and foe as “Dagger John”, after a Catholic Convent was burned to the ground in Philadelphia in the 1840s, advised the anti-Catholic mayor of New York that if one hand was raised against a Catholic Church in New York, New York would look like a second Moscow, referencing the burning of Moscow in 1812. For too long Catholics in this country have been used as a punching bag by those who hate us and the Faith. Time for Catholics to peacefully, but forcefully, defend themselves in the Public Square, and to remember that there is a reason why we are called the Church Militant here on Earth.

  • “Now I know where my comments have been ending up”

    🙂

  • True, Don…I was referring to the letter-writing brand Bigot! Those in power are even more dangerous, power+ignorance=disaster.

  • Quite right Sister. Unfortunately power and ignorance too often walk side by side these days.

  • Whenever I run across a comment like this one, I try to engage the other person. Calling him a typical athiest doesn’t show any more imagination than his collective attacks on all Catholics. I would probably say that he underestimates the amount of child abuse by about 1100 years – but how does that prove that Catholicism is right or wrong? Or, I’d admit to Croatia, and explain to him the truth about Germany and Spain. I don’t think you can do much more than get in one or two points on the internet, but if they stick, or if someone else reads them and they stick, well then I’ve sown a seed.

  • ‘ And so, I’m left with the question: “Is it worth our time and energy to even respond, when it would seem that intellectually, our adversaries are incapable of understanding our reasoning?” ‘

    Sr. Colleen Clair: I would say, Yes. This is an important time. Whether or not understanding is established isn’t as important (or possible?) as actively defending the freedom to exercise religion and protect our 1st Amendment rights.

    If your mission involves young people, be sure they understand the Catholic Church established by Jesus is their meaning in life. It is where they will find a lifelong way for life to be manageable throughout their lives. Our young need direction and hope to work for now. I think our Father in Heaven wants us to learn to defend His Church for His people. Youth with direction will remember and carry on, they will care.

  • PM You are correct, our children need to be armed against whatever the devils throws at them.

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  • Its a universal problem.
    I , along with a few other Catholics, and some protestants, on our most popular secular blog are continually having to defend or counter much of the screaming anti-christian sentiments and lies perpetrated by some of the commenters.

    It’s almost a sport – let’s hope it doesn’t become a blood sport !!

  • The scary thing is that this commenter is a Mensa candidate compared to some of the followup commenters (obviously not the ones who posted here and were approved). Sin makes you stupid.

  • Yeah, our trash file has been busy today!

  • I have to wonder how much longer it will be before Christian blogsites are ordered to give equal time to the liberal atheists, or worse, they are shutdown as “hate speech.” Liberty, equality and fraternity were Robespierre’s watch words.

  • My response to such an Order Paul would be “Eat lawsuits Feds!”

  • Praise God for men like Donald McClarey.

  • Wait just a doggone minute, now! No Pope Joan?

    But . . . but . . . She’s my very favorite false idol to which I like to bow down and pray to!

    (sarcasm/off)

    Thank you for giving me a smile!

Biographer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Compares Obama Contraceptive Mandate to Nazi Germany

Wednesday, February 8, AD 2012

 

Hattip to Matthew Archbold at Creative Minority ReportEric Metaxas, biographer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Protestant minister and theologian martyred by the Nazis, compares the contraceptive mandate to steps taken by the Nazis against the churches in the thirties.

 

 

“I met the president. I gave him a copy of my book on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which he said he’s going to read,” Metaxas said during the interview. “In that book, you read about what happened to an amazingly great country called Germany…”
“In the beginning, it always starts really, really small. We need to understand as Americans — if we do not see this as a bright line in the sand — if you’re not a Catholic, if you use contraception — doesn’t matter. Because eventually, this kind of government overreach will affect you.”

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16 Responses to Biographer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Compares Obama Contraceptive Mandate to Nazi Germany

  • This is only partially about birth control.

    It is all about control.

  • Litmus test in progress …
    Re: Free exercise of religion and 1st Amendment rights
    We are the lab rats, but the cage isn’t scheduled for locking until after 11/12.

    It’s so sickening that this test is based on connecting religion to birth control etc., the most private area of people’s lives. Like a replay of Satan, Eve, and the apple.

    The test is invalid, but it is part of our reality now.

  • “cage isn’t scheduled for locking until after 11/12” gives me chills– right now the other side still has to play ball with us because they still have to be elected– once they no longer have to worry about re-election– God help us.

  • The dismissal of God from the public square around 1962 has begotten an era of defining man as having no free will, no unalienable rights and no immortal soul made in the image and likeness of the Supreme Sovereign Being, God.

  • I hope our Catholic leadership realizes, belatedly as it is, that there should be no possibility of negotiating with the Obama administration. Even if they back down, they have proven they can not be trusted. Do not leave them with the power to do this again.

  • Imagine this instead: The Department of Education mandates that there be vending machines to distribute condoms, placed in every high school.

    Or imagine this: The Department of Education mandates that a gay studies curriculum be part of every school’s offerings.

    They’d do it in a heartbeat if they thought they could get away with it. As for the Stupidly Evil party (as opposed to the Evilly Stupid party), the words of Hamlet come to mind: “I will trust them as I do adders fanged.”

  • Yeah, Tony, the “Stupidly Evil” party, the vast majority of whose elected representatives have been voting against abortion for decades, as opposed to the Democrat party that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Planned Parenthood. When it comes to the fight against abortion I find such a pox on both their houses attitude unwarranted, fashionable though it may be.

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  • Dr. Esolen:

    In Canada, the Department of Education of the Province of Ontario is “mandat[ing] that a gay studies curriculum be part of every school’s offerings.” That includes the Province’s state-supported Catholic schools. See this story from LifeSiteNews for the details.

  • Tony
    those things you ask us to imagine are no longer unimaginable! I wonder how long it will be until the government tries to require Christian ministers to “marry” gays.
    … already pharmacists in some states are required to sell morning after pills …the government banning bibles for soldiers who want to carry them in Afghanistan? Is the government going to come to catechism class and threaten the teacher…?

    on another note I have been re reading your “rough beast” article- may take me a few more times through to get it– but if I am right – the danger is not in the attitude that leads to torturing nature so she can be dominated– but even less respectful than that–redefining nature God bless you

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  • From this ravaged Continent of Africa, we are supporting you – beloved American Catholics – with Prayers and Divine Mercy Chaplet at the Hour of Great Mercy. Fight courageously and fearlessly. Heaven is on your side.

  • I am heartened to learn about the Bonhoeffer book as it reminds us that democracy not only requires voting but also an understanding of history and philosophy. I recently learned that hole digging is a new and popular sport in Japan. I can’t believe that people sit around and cheer as competitors dig holes (by hand). Then I think about the complacency and ignorance we North Americans show when it comes to various ethical issues and wonder if this sport isn’t a metaphor for we intellectual couch-potatoes of the 21st century?

  • I live in Denver and watched the Democratic Convention. Not too close mind you but the press did reveal much though they were not aware of doing such, the revealing of who were the fellow travellers on the ticket, Planned Parenthood, NARAL representatives and others with the same thoughts. So that clearly was a marker that it seems most people did not catch but was clear to myself. So you can only guess what were my choices? I voted for the other guy who I was in Vietnam the same time he was.
    I was under fire further south as he was taken his beatings up north.

  • TShaw, yes control.
    The government should not force the Catholic Church to go against it teaching.

    Regardless of the other subj. …
    which it is using as a LCD tool to confuse enough catholics into not seeing the forest for the trees.

    Not seeing that they need to stand and vote for Religious Liberty and Right of Conscience (H.R. 1179 S. 1467) no matter what.

    Birth control will be intact. The Church needs everyone’s vote to be able to exist also.

  • Think of the cruel scourging Our Lord suffered at the pillar and the heavy blows which tore His Sacred Flesh.

    I desire a spirit of mortification.

Santorum Rising

Wednesday, February 8, AD 2012

 

Last night in Missouri Rick Santorum finally got to go one on one against Romney, since Gingrich did not bother to get on the ballot, and the results were devastating to the Weathervane.  Santorum won two to one, garnering 55% of the vote to 25% for Romney, with Ron Paul bringing up the rear with 12%.  Santorum won every county in the state.  The Romney camp will claim that since this was a non-binding beauty contest and that Romney did little campaigning in the state, this is meaningless.  Rubbish!  What does it say about the Romney campaign and its appeal to Republican voters that they lost this badly in a state that has been a bellweather of the nation in most Presidential elections?

However, Missouri was not the end of the bad news for Romney last night.  In the Minnesota caucuses Santorum came in first with a stunning 45% and second was, wait for it, Ron Paul with 27%.  Romney, who won the caucuses by 20 points in 2008, came in third  at 17% with Gingrich being Tail-end-Newt with 11%

To complete the trifecta of woe for the Weathervane last night, we turn to Colorado, a state Romney was supposed to win according to the polls.  In the caucuses, Santorum came in first with 40%, Romney took second at 35%, Gingrich a very distant third at 13%, just edging out Paul at 12%.

So, the night couldn’t have been better for Santorum or worse for Romney, but what does it all mean?

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30 Responses to Santorum Rising

  • Thank God! Indeed, the liberals hate Santorum as much as thy hate unborn babies.

  • Now THIS is what I call sending a message. Even if Romney does end up winning the nomination he now knows he MUST turn more to the right if he is to generate enough momentum in the key swing states to win. At the very least, he has to pick a solidly conservative running mate… perhaps Santorum himself, or Marco Rubio.

    The most surprising outcome of the evening to me is Ron Paul doing as well as he did in Minnesota. Then again, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised given that Minnesota has a history of electing some really odd pols like Jesse Ventura and Al Franken….

  • It is time to go “all in” for Rick.

  • Although it is the only strategy he has, Romney’s going negative on Santorum – especially if it’s done in the manner it happened to Newt in Florida – will NOT sit well with Republican primary voters.

    The “grassroots” were never altogether comfortable with Newt as the “not-Romney” candidate, so there was really no downside to going negative against him the way the Romney campaign did. But if they do the same thing to Santorum, there is a HUGE downside – they run the risk of further alienating those who are not sold on Romney, and perhaps getting a backlash from those who were supporting Romney only because they saw him as the only electable alternative to 4 more years of Obama.

    Watch how National Review handles this Santorum surge – if they go negative, that will be a clue that the Romney camp plans on holding nothing back in their attacks. If National Review takes the high road, that’s no guarantee that Romney won’t go negative, but it is an indication of how little tolerance some of his supporters will have for that tactic.

  • Jay – Very good point. Beating up on a guy like Newt is just karma (if you’ll forgive that word on a Catholic site). Beating up on a good family man – a Mormon beating up on a good family man – well, that’s gonna backfire. The biggest weaknesses of Santorum are his 2006 loss and his strong anti-gay stand (which I agree with, but by the time the press tells the story, it’s going to hurt him). So, what can Romney’s people do? Beat up on Santorum for being outside the religious mainstream?! Move to the left on gay rights?! It’s a nightmare for them. They’ll have to go clean, stressing Romney’s business experience, because there’s no other difference between the Romney package that they’re trying to sell and Santorum.

    Do I need to unpack the phrase “the Romney package that they’re trying to sell”? I hope it’s obvious. Romney is running as an experienced, likeable, electable conservative.

    OK, there’s one other angle I just thought of, but it’s going to be a doozy to pull off. Paint Santorum as a moderate. Attack him for the Bush deficit and the expansion of Medicare. It’s really the only move.

  • Yeah, between these victories and those polls showing Santorum doing just as well as Romney against Obama, this seems to me to make Santorum the only credible Romney alternative.

    I’ll admit, as perhaps the most Romney supporting writer here, I’m still kind of split. I’m worried that in the general election, Santorum would prove less slippery and teflon coated versus Obama and Romney — especially as the cultural left will go totally ape shit on him. They perhaps have Santorum even more than Sarah Palin. Maybe that would turn off mainstream voters, or maybe it would succeed in painting him as an extremist. I’m not sure. On the flip side, if Romney wins, in addition to some conservatives not rallying the Left will still paint him as a hard core extremist and they’ll work hard to activate every bit of anti-Mormon prejudice out there to their advantage. This will be a massively vicious campaign on the part of the Dems no matter what.

    Generally speaking, I like Romney more on economic/business policy and I’m a bit more inclined to trust him on foreign policy and perhaps immigration. I’m more inclined to trust Santorum on the environment (as in, not rolling over to greens) and I trust Santorum much, much more on the moral issues of the day, which in the end are the most important.

  • OK, there’s one other angle I just thought of, but it’s going to be a doozy to pull off. Paint Santorum as a moderate. Attack him for the Bush deficit and the expansion of Medicare. It’s really the only move.

    This is already in effect, as witnessed also at “conservative” sites like Red State where they have painted Santorum is basically a big government moderate. And as someone who served in Congress for well over a decade, he will have cast votes that now appear to be quasi-socialist. Never mind that most of them were wither procedural votes or were votes where he lined up 100% with the rest of the party, they will be spun to paint him as somehow being to the left of Romney. That’s why running for the presidency as sitting or former member of Congress is so difficult: lots of votes to explain away.

    But if Santorum clearly emerges as the main non-Romney, even that line of attack will likely backfire, especially if the attacks are seen as far-fetched. As I said on my post last night, Santorum’s effectiveness when he has gone negative is that he’s concentrated his fire on a few select substantive policy differences. If they try to throw the kitchen sink at Santorum, it could be viewed as desperation. And camp Romney is certainly desperate.

  • . Maybe that would turn off mainstream voters, or maybe it would succeed in painting him as an extremist. I’m not sure.

    As I said on Pat Archbold’s NCR blog, in point of fact Santorum isn’t much more socially conservative than Presidents Reagan and Bush policy-wise, and his views on issues like abortion and gay marriage actually aligns with majority sentiment. His two potential drawbacks are his personal social conservatism and the fact that he actually genuinely believes what he says. Even right-wingers are falling for the spin that Santorum wants to ban contraception or enact sodomy laws. So the left will certainly try to spin that as much as they can.

    In the end, we have to keep in mind that the left will completely attack and smear whoever the nominee is. Santorum will be attacked for his social conservatism, Romney for being the rich aristocrat (who, we might as well just mention, paved the way for Obamacare), and Gingrich – well, where to begin? So trying to divine which candidate will be most affected by the negativism is somewhat futile, because voters are swayed by the most absurd things. It’s quite possible that attacks on Santorum’s social views might backfire, especially if they try to bring up some of the personal stuff related to their baby dying. Then again, it might work like a charm. We just don’t know. So as I’ve said before, you just have to vote for the guy that you personally believe is the best candidate, whoever that is for you.

  • Although not my first choice, I could certainly vote for Rick easier than I could for Romney.

  • The other arrow they might try would be the Specter/Toomey affair. But that would be rather difficult for the Weathervane to pull off with any credibility. It could come from other quarters allied with the Weathervane.

  • Maybe this is a topic for a different blog post, but Paul Z. stated, “Even right-wingers are falling for the spin that Santorum wants to ban contraception or enact sodomy laws.”

    Why shouldn’t contraception be banned and why shouldn’t anti-sodomy laws be enacted? They are intrinsic evils. So why not make them illegal? Is the reason, “Well, the non-Catholics don’t agree, nor do even a majority of Catholics.”? Since when is truth determined by opinion? Oh yes, I will be accused of wanting a theocracy. Well, one way or another, we’re going to get a theocracy. The theocracy of today’s society is atheism (yes, I realize that is a contradiction in terms and that’s why it’s called “liberalism”.) But Jesus Christ will return and establish His theocracy with a rod of iron. No voting allowed. And that’s bad because?????????

  • They are intrinsic evils. So why not make them illegal?

    Aside from the argument that it’s not practical to push an agenda too far outside the mainstream in a democracy, there would be the argument that actually enforcing certain kinds of laws would be more destructive than their absence.

    St. Thomas Aquinas actually made this argument in relation to not outlawing prostitution, even though it was clearly immoral: that the effects of trying to ban it would actually be more destructive than allowing it to continue. (So I guess we can at least feel like we’re better off that his time in one respect. Evil has a funny way of shifting around.)

    Back when we had laws against contraception and outlawing sodomy, I would have been in favor of keeping those laws — not only as a matter of morality but also because they served as a bulwark against other “logical” conclusions from their repeal. But at the point we are in right now (and at any point in the foreseeable future) I think it would be destructive to push for such laws.

  • Santorum is the doctor this country needs to make it better.
    1. $ is more a vehicle for Mitt Romney than a god, so, in a way (not- counting- the- neg.- ads- which- may- hurt- him- in the end), he is for the USA.

    2. Please don’t be quiet though, Newt Gingrich. People on both sides hear you and learn both manners and thinking with minds.

    3. He could save $, the O’s will have that covered.

    4. Santorum could do it on a shoestring in a better world, but he need to continue becoming known. Ads are forgotten rushes of images.

    5. … now if RPaul wants to defeat O., he could cooperate and support RSantorum.

    Romney/Santorum? a hope for GOP unity, one trait of Dems that works for them.

  • I expect no significant realignment of the federal government with the Constitution with any of the remaining viable candidates. Santorum will be a continuation of compassionate conservatism, i.e. big spender, big government. Newt is Mr. Toad’s wild ride, thrilling dips into conservatism and scary climbs into adventurous ideas. Romney is a weathervane.

  • “The other arrow they might try would be the Specter/Toomey affair. But that would be rather difficult for the Weathervane to pull off with any credibility. It could come from other quarters allied with the Weathervane.”

    I don’t see how that could work in the primaries. Who would be persuaded to back away from Santorum because of it? Party faithful respect party loyalty; newcomers would have no strong feelings about it. Moderates would admire him for his willingness to compromise; conservatives wouldn’t flock to Mitt or Newt because of it, since those two candidates have had to work with moderate Republicans plenty of times. The only portion of the party that could have a problem with it are the Ron Paul supporters, who already have their man in the primary. They’d be less likely to be loyal to Santorum in an Obama/Santorum general election. Otherwise, the only people who would take offense at it are consummate insiders who would distrust Santorum’s political instincts.

  • They will use Catholicism against him, in subverted ways.

  • Santorum ideas are linked with that “old” oppressive Church– out of date– needs to get with the time- modern and…liberal. People who don’t understand why Santorum appeals, don’t understand that the Church is really always young, and just right for the times.
    We are so over the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s…. Santorum is more with the times than Madonna– how long has she been doing that same schtick? black and silver, smoke and lights and bumping and grinding— Young people I know, when asked about her performance the other night said, “Meh.” That is what they are saying to Romney, Gingrich and Obama. Santorum is doing great because his old ideas are new again.

  • they are not saying “meh” to obama– they are saying “no”

  • LIke I said before, if Santorum can go from an 18 point drubbing as an incumbent senator in 2006, a long shot at the GOP nomination to winning the nomination and then the presidency, it would be one of the most miraculous of all political miracles in history. I’d love to see it because I don’t think much of Romney and rather detest Newt. But it’s still a long shot.

    Oh, and you can bet his endorsement of the hideous Arlen Specter in 2006 GOP senate primary over Pat Toomey is now gonna be an issue. That’s one thing I have passionately disliked about Santorum.

  • I think Don happened to be channeling Jim Morrison with the title of this post. Mr San–to–rum rising, Mr San–to–rum rising Got-ta keep on ri-sin etc.

  • I am pleased with Santorum’s victories. However we must remember that Santorum added little to his delegate total.

    Red State had a temper tantrum at Rick Perry’s failed Presidential run and they took it out on Santorum. What Erick Erickson et al have failed to realize is that Santorum is far more conservative than Romney and would go farther in reigning in the government than Romney would – given a Congress that would work with him.

    There is some significant dirt on Mrs. Santorum and what her career was prior to her marriage and her personal conversion. Be forewarned. Romney and the Obama attack Machine will attempt to shred Santorum over it. It matters not to me, as there is no force on earth that would cause me to vote for Obama or any Democrat.

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  • “There is some significant dirt on Mrs. Santorum and what her career was prior to her marriage and her personal conversion.”

    Yeah, as a young nurse she was shacked up for years to a much older abortionist, before she met Santorum, fell in love with him and returned to her Catholic faith. It is a beautiful story of love triumphing over sin and I pity Romney or Obama if they think that will be a successful avenue of attack. Most of the American people are sentimental softies at heart, and they will recognize a magnificent love story when they see one.

  • I think its awesome that Senator Santorum is finally getting the attention he deserves. I’ve been saying right along that Santorum knew how to stay alive, and he’s done so – all along proving that money and sparkle aren’t the only measures of a presidential candidate – or a president, for that matter.

    I worry that this support of earmarks is going to bite him in the rear, though. I mean, the truth is that he’s got a LOT less baggage than Gingrich generated in a good year, and the fact is that he resonates with the sort of voters who don’t necessarily watch TV or listen to what a slick city politician has to say. So I think that the Midwestern base which he’s developing is now all but permanently in the Santorum camp.

    The question is whether or not he can play in other parts of the country – he needs some strong showings in the South, like Texas or North Carolina, to solidify his candidacy. If that happens, he could very well be our nominee, which would be fantastic. It’s about time.

  • Mr. McClarey, I write this as I am holding my sleeping nine week old son – I pray a majority of voting Americans see this as you and I do.

    A man can often be judged by the words and deeds of his adversaries and enemies. I find most anti-Santorum types to be quite obnoxious.

  • Penguins Fan, may God bless you and your nine week old son!

  • Well. I think if Romney or his surrogates ever brought up Karen Santorum’s past (I don’t think Mitt is stupid enough to do that), he ought to be run out of the party.

    Somehow, I don’t think the underhanded attacks will work as well against Santorum as they did against Newt. Why? The character issue. Newt’s questionable character made the attacks, whether they had any real merit or not, appear more credible. Santorum’s character is pretty solid in the minds of republicans, especially the conservative base. The strongest trump card (other than the Donald) Romney has against Satorum would be his throwing Pat Toomey under the bus to save Specter’s job.,

  • We’re electing a president, not a savior, so absolute perfection is not required. The trick is separating weaknesses (for example, poor performance in debates) and past mistakes that will not be, or are not likely to be, repeated (e.g. a “wrong” endorsement of another candidate) from fundamental character flaws and bad policy ideas that could cause real harm to the country. Unfortunately, the MSM and excessively rabid partisans tend to put all of these flaws on the same level and hold them up as equally valid reasons why a candidate cannot win or should be disqualified from consideration.

  • Electorally, Santorum would seem to be best positioned to benefit from blue collar Catholics and Midwesterners who Obama has been thumbing his nose at with things like the Keystone Pipeline denial and the HHS mandate.

    Politically, the advantage of a Santorum presidency is that for once you wouldn’t have to worry about issues like judges. He would also bring a focus to the relation between economic and family issues that has been lacking in the public discourse.

    I personally think Romney is a decent candidate personally and politically, there seems to be something about him that turns people off. I don’t quite get it myself, but I’m coming to the conclusion that it isn’t something that will go away.

    We’ll have to see whether Santorum can sustain his current momentum. But for now he arguably meets the Buckley Test of being the most conservative viable candidate, and hence deserving of conservative support.

  • What’s wrong with Romney? Let me count the ways.

    1. Search YouTube for “Romney flip flops.”
    2. Minimum wage indexed to inflation.
    3. Supporter of socialized medicine, which is what put the U.S. Church in the place its in.
    4. Supporter of government bailouts.
    5. Milquetoast

Looks Like A Two-Man Race to Me

Tuesday, February 7, AD 2012

Rick Santorum has won two of the three election contests tonight, and as of the time I write this is dead even with Mitt Romney in a state that had been all but conceded to Romney before this weekend.  Santorum has now won three of the eight primaries/caucuses that have been held thus far, and possibly four.  That puts him about even with Romney, and comfortably ahead of Gingrich and Paul in states won.

Admittedly he will be behind Romney in the delegate count, especially considering that no delegates were up for grabs in Missouri.  But 200,000 people went to the polls in Missouri, and a majority of them voted for Santorum (and again, I’ll admit that Gingrich was not on the ballot there).  He drubbed Romney in Minnesota as well.

This primary season has been a wild one, and who knows what will happen in the coming weeks.  The Romney sleaze machine* is already out in full force hitting Santorum.  Santorum is radically underfunded compared to Romney and even Newt, although that makes his victories thus far that much more impressive.  Right now it is looking like a two-man race, but it’s not between Newt and Romney but rather Romney and Santorum.

*: I wrote a post a few weeks back in which I said that Newt was and perhaps still is a jerk.  For the record, Mitt is kind of a jerk, and over two election cycles has proven himself to be a rather despicable campaigner.  For those of you who would vote for Romney in the general election, I suppose the silver lining is that the man is willing to fight dirty.  So at least he’s got that going for him.  Which is nice.

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20 Responses to Looks Like A Two-Man Race to Me

  • For those of you who would vote for Romney in the general election, I suppose the silver lining is that the man is willing to fight dirty.

    Nope. Romney fights dirty only against Republicans. If he gets the nomination, he won’t campaign that way against Obama.

  • Larry, I’m afraid you are probably right. The thing is you can fight hard without fighting dirty. Republicans just don’t seem to understand that.

  • Republicans just don’t seem to understand that.

    Happens when objecting to dirty attacks is labeled fighting dirty. Get told something often enough and you’ll eventually believe it.

  • I’d love it if Santorum is the candidate. If it is Romney – that would not be much different than Obama.

  • In the cae of Newt, he seemed to have gotten genuinely shaken up by the attacks on him in iowa, and he never really recovered his momentum. He won South Carolina, but it almost seemed that was a spite vote by the South Carolina voters. Oddly Santorum, who was the attack dog in the early debates, is becoming the guy who has emerged above the fray. He’s doing what Newt did early: deliver a conservative message while focusing his fire on Obama and not the other candidates. The added bonus is that he’s a bit more genuine about it.

  • Because of the ups and downs of Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum, I think it’s crazy to say right now that it’s a two man race. Weren’t people saying it was a two man race after South Carolina between Romney and Gingrich? Weren’t people saying it was a two man race after the first caucus?

    I think it’s just bad judgement and short-sighted to rule out anyone right now.

  • Also to Greg and Foxfier’s points, Santorum has been effective when he’s criticized the other candidates because he largely deals with legitimate policy differences from a conservative perspective. All of the others have tried to go after character issues, or have even attacked from the left. But when Santorum goes after one of the other candidates, the other candidates are left reeling because he’s not flinging absurd charges at them. He hits them at their weakest points, and he does so in a way that doesn’t discredit his cause (other than sounding a tad whiny at various moments).

  • Brett, I’m being just a bit tongue-in-cheek here as all the talk over the past month has made this sound like a two-man race between Newt and Romney. Just pointing out that actual election results would put that characterization in doubt.

  • If Rick Santorum can go from getting an 18 point drubbing as an incumbent senator. being a long shot for the GOP nomination to winning the nomination and the presidency, it will one of the most miraculous miracles in American political history. I’d love to see it, but it’s still a long shot.

  • Greg, as a friend of mine who is a Mother Superior of her order once said, “if it takes a miracle from God, I know him.” I’m going to keep praying and suffering for Santorum’s campaign.

  • The question is, how does Santorum make it a one-man race. I think the only way to do that is to bomb Tokyo. The not-Romneys have been calling for each other to drop out of the race for a long time now; Santorum needs to win Michigan and call for Romney to drop out of the race. Make the narrative going into Super Tuesday that the Republicans have rejected Romney. I think Santorum needs to win Michigan to make the case.

  • I really wish people would stop writing garbage like this and trying to sway peoples’ opinions. No, it’s not your job to do that.

    Santorum cannot win the general election; not ever.

    If you think he can, then that’s your opinion.

  • “I really wish people would stop writing garbage like this and trying to sway peoples’ opinions. No, it’s not your job to do that. ”

    New to blogs are you?

    “Santorum cannot win the general election; not ever.”

    Polls are actually showing him 1-3 points behind Obama which is quite good for a challenger in February polls. Unless you have invented a time machine and seen the future, I will have to assume your opinion of an Obama-Santorum race is simply just that, your opinion.

    “If you think he can, then that’s your opinion.”

    That goes without saying, although you said it anyway.

  • Swaying people’s opinion in a democratic republic! Oh my stars and garters– what will happen next?!?!?

  • “I really wish people would stop writing garbage like this and trying to sway peoples’ opinions. No, it’s not your job to do that. ”

    Now you’re not trying to sway our opinions, are you?

  • I will talk to my friends Marty McFly and Doc. I will see if Ken can borrow their car.

  • Ken,

    Last poll I saw had Rick over pharaoh 45 to 44.

    That was before Steve Urkell’s imbecile cousin pissed off the Pope.

    Are you minimally brain damaged? Did you eat too many lead chips as a toddler?

  • Rick Santorum is on with Greta at the moment. Too bad Ken took off with the car.

  • Oddly enough I have a statistics and research oriented profession, so in some measure it is in fact my job to persuade people.

  • I have something I would like to persuade people to think about…. birth control /sexual responsibility is not a woman’s issue is it? Doesn’t it still take two to tango?

Real Hypocrisy

Tuesday, February 7, AD 2012

President Obama’s decision to accept Super PAC funding is neither surprising or even all that upsetting.  Even though he railed against the Citizens United decision, going so far as to call out the Supreme Court Justices during his State of the Union address in a pique of feigned outrage, nobody who actually has any understanding of who Barack Obama is (meaning people smarter or at least less naive than, say, Doug Kmiec and Kathy Dahlkemper) ever doubted for one moment that he would completely reverse course on yet another promise.

Honestly, there is nothing wrong with Obama’s decision.  Not only did the Supreme Court get it right in the Citizens United case, I think that most of the campaign finance restrictions in this country are either unconstitutional or are simply bad policy choices that actually exacerbate the problems with how campaigns are financed.  Every new regulation only creates some other entity that further eliminates transparency from the process and merely complicates things unnecessarily.

What is amusing is the blatant hypocrisy, and this is one of those rare times when the term actually applies.  The word hypocrite is often thrown around incorrectly.  Jonah Goldberg has been one of the foremost crusaders against the incorrect usage of the term.  A hypocrite is not someone who claims to uphold a certain principle and then falls short of meeting the ideal.  If that were the meaning of hypocrisy, then all sin is hypocrisy.  No, a hypocrite is one who pretends to have certain virtues but who, in fact, does not posses said virtues.  We all fail to live up to our own moral standards from time to time, but the point is that we are at least trying.  Does anyone for one second really believe that Barack Obama truly doesn’t want to receive funding from corporations or wealthy donors?  Of course not.  It was a populist front meant to distract attention away from the failings of his own administration.  He was absolutely insincere at the State of the Union, and he’s been insincere on this issue from day one.  This is a guy who raked in more money from Wall Street and other financial institutions than his Republican competitor in 2008, who still collects a hefty amount from this sector, and yet who pretends to be absolutely appalled that these groups have the temerity to influence elections through their campaign contributions.

Yet there are still going to be those who act shocked – SHOCKED! – that Obama could betray his stated principles.  As the examples of Doug Kmiec and Kathy Dahlkemper show, never discount the blindness of those who just want to believe.  Darwin’s already covered this ground earlier, so I won’t belabor the point.  It just astounds me that a man can be so transparently dishonest time and time and time again, and yet there will always be obedient lapdogs ready to be fooled again.

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2 Responses to Real Hypocrisy

  • Department of “That Was Then. This Is Now.”

    In August 2010, President Obama used his weekly address to denounce the flood of attack ads run by Super-PAC’s, “shadowy groups with harmless sounding names.” He referred to them as the “corporate takeover of our democracy.”

    I can understand their concerns.

    They spread around $6 trillion in federal deficit money and the FRB shells out another $2.5 trillion in QE’s.

    And, all they have to show for it is $1 billion in the campiagn lie chest.

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The “Food Stamp Diet” and How It’s Different From Being Poor

Tuesday, February 7, AD 2012

Every so often one hears about people doing the “food stamp diet” in order to see what it’s like to be poor in America. The idea is to subsist for some period of time (often a week) on the amount typically given to members of the “food stamp” program. Here’s one example, prepared by the Food Research and Action Center back in 2007. That one challenges you to live on $21/week. Here’s an annual challenge run by the San Francisco Food Bank. There the amount is $33.04 per person per week.

These amounts vary not only due to region and inflation over time (food inflation has actually been pretty high over the last five years, grocery store prices are up 6% from last year) but also because these are different attempts to model how the food stamp program works. Food stamp benefits are based on the idea of supplementing a family’s income so that the family can (according to the program’s rationale) afford to consume the amount of food budgeted according to the “thrifty plan” from the USDA “cost of food at home” guidelines. Of course, since food stamps can’t be used for anything other than approved food items, and they’re given to people who are already very short of money, the effective result is that people are often trying to get all their food off just the food stamp amount, even if the program is assuming it’s only a supplement.

What got me thinking about the topic is that I saw one of these “hunger challenges” linked to some time ago, via some Catholic organization which was encouraging people to take part “in solidarity with the poor”. I saw the amount mentioned in the San Francisco challenge of $33 per person per week and thought, “Wait a minute, for our family of seven that would be $231. That’s more than we spend per week on food, and we’re around the top 20% line in family income.” In normal times, we were spending around $200/wk on food. Since we’ve been on a tight budget paying off the boiler, we’ve managed to get that down to $100-$150 depending on the week (including household cleaners, diapers, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.)

So, is being on food stamps really cushy? Are these challenges just designed wrong? Being a chronic number cruncher, I had to get into it a bit.

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14 Responses to The “Food Stamp Diet” and How It’s Different From Being Poor

  • “And I’ve cut back the beer budget to virtually nil……..”

    Aaaarrrgghh!.
    You must have a death wish – you’ll let too much blood back into your alcohol stream. 😉

  • For our family of five we have $150.00 alloted a week for groceries and food. We find that adequate for food and cleaning supplies, and that includes one or two fast food meals a week. Back in 1982 when I was studying for the bar exam my wife and I got along on $15.00 a week for food. Koolaid is a good cheap drink, and a can of tuna fish can make two good sandwiches for a lunch with some left over to feed the sixth, canine, member of House McClarey.

  • I think the biggest stumble would be the cash flow issue rather than the actual dollar amount. You can save a lot buying in bulk, but that’s hard if you’re getting your food stamps in dribbles. Here at the Zummo house we like to eat and eat well. We make most food from scratch so that saves. We recently signed up for a meat CSA from a local farm. So we’ll get monthly deliveries of free range meats from PA for a little less than we were paying for regular old meat from the grocery store. The catch was we had to pay for 5 months worth and have a freezer. Not really an option if you’re on food stamps, but it is possible to eat fancier food for less than Whole Paycheck prices.

  • You’re getting milk for $1.99 a gallon at Aldi’s? I just picked up a gallon from Aldi’s tonight and it was $2.79. (This is in central Illinois.)

    Although I don’t have it worked out to the penny I generally can get by with feeding my family of 2 adults and one teenage girl with a pretty substantial appetite for about $80 to $100 a week. I could probably go lower than that if I really tried (e.g. cooked everything from scratch, grew our own veggies, etc.) but the other two members of the family have some pretty strong brand name and grocery store chain preferences that are a bit pricier than Aldi.

  • Don The Kiwi,

    Well, I may have given up beer, but I still have gin, bourbon and scotch in the cupboard. A man does have to live.

    Mrs. Zummo,

    Yeah, the ability to stock a freezer (and the money to do so a good prices) is definitely a help in eating cheap and quality.

    Elaine,

    Wow, I wouldn’t have thought the local differences were so much. Milks is $2.50 to $3 in regular supermarkets here (just north of Columbus, OH) and Aldi’s consistently has it at $1.99. Seems like prices were fairly similar in Austin, TX as well. Of course, our cows aren’t unionized…

  • Over the couple of years, I’ve been following most of the “food stamp diet” rules DarwinCatholic lists and not only have I saved lots of money, but I have lost 40 pounds, and rediscovered the joy of cooking! I have a freezer full of homemade soups and stews, and just finished making a batch of 3 bean chili.

    While buying in bulk can be money saver, a lot depends on what sort of storage space you have available and how many people you are shopping for. If you live in a 1 bedroom apartment with a galley kitchen (as many elderly people do), you don’t have a lot of room to store Sam’s Club size packages. Nor is it practical for one person to buy bags of apples or oranges – I love Clementines, but always have to take some to work to share, or they’ll rot before I can eat them all. I spend less at the grocery store than I used to but make more trips there to buy small amounts of fresh fruits and veggies.

    A Whole Foods is very close to where I live so it’s convenient when I’m making something and find I’m short an onion or a half a cup of flour or rice (since they sell bulk items). Some of their house brand 365 items and sale items are good deals, but if you load up at the salad bar or at the deli counter, you will indeed see why the place has been nicknamed Whole Paycheck. I do more of my shopping at Aldi’s, particularly for staples like pasta and condiments. I never buy soda – a massive savings right there- and have a supply of bottled water on hand only in case of emergency. The tap water here tastes just fine (I know that’s not the case everywhere though.)

    It’s considerably cheaper to buy a whole head of cauliflower or bunch of carrots rather than cut-up, bagged veggies. If you can stomach them, canned sardines are among the best deals around- cheap and chock full of protein, calcium, and Omega -3.

  • Elaine and Darwin Catholic:

    You’re both paying too much for milk from Aldi’s:

    http://milwaukeeconsumer.com/grocery/a-successful-shopping-trip-to-aldi

  • I work part time in a grocery store and I will say that people eat quite well when they use their EBT cards….they buy chips and soda and meat and veggies and all kinds of food..also cooked food from the deli..barbecued or fried chicken…fruit snacks and juice for the kids…….after their “groceries” are in the bag…. they buy lipstick, shampoo, conditioner, hair color, makeup, bath puffs, eye shadow, etc.,etc. with their debit card or with cash! I once asked a young well-dressed woman how to get one of those cards…she told me where to go and how to get one. I was tempted, but just went home to my husband and family….lol

  • Milk in WMass: 2.89 gal. whole milk at Save A Lot vs. up to 4.99 gal. at chain supermarkets. Lowest price I can find for essential butter is 2.79.
    On Friday, I bought one huge orange from CA for 1.85, a bunch of georgeous red grapes for 8.78 (!!), same as pkg. of hamburger or a roasting chicken, and felt – splurge – at the supermarket.
    Sometimes when I’m in line at check out, I imagine what would be in my basket with one of those cards, but most of the time, I avoid getting in line behind full carriages – near occasion of judgment.

  • Mrs. Zummo-
    EBT cards are issued once a month, to the best of my knowledge. One of the complaints is that this makes it too hard to budget….

    There’s a reason I don’t shop during the first week of the month if I can avoid it.

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  • I’ve worked as a grocery cashier, too, and it’s sadly apparent that almost no food stamp recipients buy cookable, economical food. They buy pre-made frozen pizzas, ice cream, bags of salty snacks, and tons of pop. I know the single mom is usually working a lot of hours and can’t cook every night, but there’s some loss of attention to cooking on the weekends, let’s say and working through food during the week, which is how I grew up.

    It’s culture, or education, but they are misusing their food stamps in a majority of the cases. And “they” are not all one ethnic group or race, it’s across the board.

  • Your budget sounds like the one my family uses! (except there are eight of us) Mom staying home and making almost everything (like our own pizza) from scratch really helps.

  • $5 per person, per day, for 7 days amounts to $175. If I tally up all the groceries (food only) and all the dining out we do (which we do a lot of), I acutally come out to about $7 per per person per day, not $5. We frequently have “the locusts” over (my son’s friends), though, and they raid the ‘fridge. They eat out with us and sometimes even go shopping with me even when my own kids are sacked out in front of the idiot box (sad, huh?)

    Even, then, though, I feel confident I could bring down the cost of food considerably–I use a “bring it to your door” food service for some items and that can be quite expensive, if convenient. (Many of those items I can get for cheaper at the store.) Interestingly enough, an aquaintance’s husband works for the “bring it to the door food service” and commented that a heavy proportion of sales come from food stamps.

    For plan for this Lent (which almost coincides with the end of coporate accounting season) is to tackle the food budget. The public schools in the area are now offering not only “free lunches”, but “free breakfasts”. (We do not use the public schools, so I guess I have to feed me own kids). I can’t help but wonder, if all these families are on food stamps and their kids are getting “free breakfast/lunch” if they aren’t eating even better than I am.