4

American Taliban

Here’s some news out of Egypt.

An Egyptian court has ordered the government to ban pornographic websites in order to protect society and its values.

The decision and a similar initiative in parliament has fed into fears by liberal and secular Egyptians that their country is moving down the path to fundamentalist Islam, following a sweeping victory by Islamists in parliamentary elections.

The ruling came from a lower court and can be appealed. Three years ago a court made a similar ruling, but it was not enforced because at the time, officials argued filtering systems were not effective.

Meanwhile, in California . . .

Desert Sun Resort owners and Orange County residents John and Elizabeth Young filed a lawsuit March 16 in Orange County Superior Court against 500 unnamed defendants asking a judge to rule that the resort’s policy against children does not violate state law.

KNX 1070?s Margaret Carrero reports the couple were dumbfounded when they received a letter last month seeking penalties and damages over their policy against allowing kids on their property.

…The lawsuit was filed in response to a letter the Youngs received Feb. 17 from Palm Springs attorney David Baron — written on behalf of “certain individuals” — which threatened legal action against the clothing-optional resort “for maintaining and enforcing a No Children Allowed Policy and a Couples-Only Day Pass Policy”.

Listening to some individuals on the left you would think that America is but a regime away from a full-throated theocracy.  Something tells me we are very, very far away from realizing the delusional nightmares of said individuals.

6

Abide With Me

Something for the weekend.  No hymn seems to me more appopriate for a Palm Sunday weekend than Abide With Me, a song that reminds us that we all must die and that death is only a new glorious beginning for those who die in Christ.  The song was written in a magnificent act of faith by Henry Lyte, a supporter of the Oxford Movement, as he lay dying of tuberculosis in 1847.

In the movie A Bridge Too Far, wounded survivors of the British First Airborne Division are shown singing the song as they await capture by the Wehrmacht at the conclusion of Operation Market-Garden.

Continue Reading

3

Ronald Reagan, C.S. Lewis and Abraham Lincoln Comment On Our Times

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

                                                                                             C.S. Lewis Continue Reading

28

Liberals, Cocoons and the Supreme Court

 

It has been amusing to witness the left side of the blogosphere over the three days of hearings before the Supreme Court.  By and large they were absolutely certain that it was smooth sailing for ObamaCare  at the Supreme Court prior to the hearings and were dismayed when arguments against ObamaCare that seemed to gain traction were made in the oral arguments.  John Podhoretz today in the New York Post captures the surprise on the Left well:

The panicked reception in the mainstream media of the three-day Supreme Court  health-care marathon is a delightful reminder of the nearly impenetrable  parochialism of American liberals.

They’re so convinced of their own correctness — and so determined to believe  conservatives are either a) corrupt, b) stupid or c) deluded — that they find  themselves repeatedly astonished to discover conservatives are in fact capable  of a) advancing and defending their own powerful arguments, b) effectively  countering weak liberal arguments and c) exposing the soft underbelly of liberal  self-satisfaction as they do so.

That’s what happened this week. There appears to be no question in the mind  of anyone who read the transcripts or listened to the oral arguments that the  conservative lawyers and justices made mincemeat out of the Obama  administration’s advocates and the liberal members of the court.

This came as a startling shock to the liberals who write about the court. Continue Reading

6

Pope Benedict’s Sermon on Freedom in Revolution Square

Yesterday Pope Benedict capped off his visit to Cuba with a huge mass in Revolution Square in Havana.  The theme of his homily, freedom, probably made the Cuban officials at the mass squirm, at least I certainly hope so.  Here is the text of the Pope’s homily:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

“Blessed are you, Lord God…, and blessed is your holy and glorious name” (Dan 3:52). This hymn of blessing from the Book of Daniel resounds today in our liturgy, inviting us repeatedly to bless and thank God. We are a part of that great chorus which praises the Lord without ceasing. We join in this concert of thanksgiving, and we offer our joyful and confident voice, which seeks to solidify the journey of faith with love and truth.

“Blessed be God” who gathers us in this historic square so that we may more profoundly enter into his life. I feel great joy in being here with you today to celebrate Holy Mass during this Jubilee Year devoted to Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre.

I greet with cordial affection Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, Archbishop of Havana, and I thank him for the kind words which he has addressed to me on your behalf. I extend warm greetings to the Cardinals and to my brother Bishops in Cuba and from other countries who wished to be in this solemn celebration. I also greet the priests, seminarians, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful gathered here, as well as the civil authorities who join us.

In today’s first reading, the three young men persecuted by the Babylonian king preferred to face death by fire rather than betray their conscience and their faith. They experienced the strength to “give thanks, glorify and praise God” in the conviction that the Lord of the universe and of history would not abandon them to death and annihilation. Truly, God never abandons his children, he never forgets them. He is above us and is able to save us by his power. At the same time, he is near to his people, and through his Son Jesus Christ he has wished to make his dwelling place among us in.

“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:31). In this text from today’s Gospel, Jesus reveals himself as the Son of God the Father, the Saviour, the one who alone can show us the truth and give us genuine freedom. His teaching provokes resistance and disquiet among his hearers, and he accuses them of looking for reasons to kill him, alluding to the supreme sacrifice of the Cross, already imminent. Even so, he exhorts them to believe, to keep his word, so as to know the truth which redeems and justifies. Continue Reading

10

Obama Shout Out to Worse Than Murder, Inc

The most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history salutes Planned Parenthood aka Worse Than Murder, Inc.  Somehow he manages to do this without uttering the A word, but all Planned Parenthood supporters know that when it comes to the sacred right to kill their offspring, Obama will always have their back.  Any pro-lifer who does not think that giving this man his walking papers is priority number one this year, take a good, long, hard look at this video.

3

Third and Final Day of Oral Argument on ObamaCare

 

 

Day 3 of oral argument on ObamaCare.  Go here to read the transcript.  Go here to listen to an audio recording of the oral argument.   Go here for audio highlights of the oral argument.

A very long day in the Supreme Court today with the severability argument this morning, and the expansion of medicaid under ObamaCare in the afternoon. Continue Reading

8

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Recently I followed the twitter feed of the National Institute of Marriage (NOM), an organization that is fighting efforts to permit gay marriage.  There is another twitterer with the blog handle Ifollowhate, and he (or she, or maybe they) follows every person who follows the NOM account, and promptly tweets to said person, “why do you follow a hate group?”  I thought little of it and didn’t bother to respond, so I just blocked this account.  Then I thought about this.  There is a person (again, maybe more than one person is attached to the account) who spends their entire day parked on twitter, seeing who follows another twitter user, ready to pounce on any individual who dares follow this group.  (NOTE: Not exactly – see comments.  This is an automated program, though the Ifollowhate twitter account does followup with other twitter users.)

What a sad existence.  Imagine if your entire life was spent devoted to nothing more than harassing people you disagree with politically, accusing them of being (or following) a hate group.  Yet the mentality that drives such a person (or group) is more and more common.

In Los Angeles, the City Council passed a resolution that condemns certain types of speech on the radio. Continue Reading

52

The Welfare State, Saint Paul and Pope Leo XIII

Charles Sykes, of the Wisconsin Policy Institute, has a superb article on the Entitlement Mentality which is sinking the country:

The cultural shift has become so pronounced today that even some progressives are showing signs of unease. Were it not for her impeccable ideological pedigree, Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker of the House, might have irreparably damaged her standing with her mother’s friends when she produced a brief video for HBO about her recent encounters outside a New York welfare office. In the Pelosi video, a man waiting in line is drinking beer and smoking cigarettes as he admits that he’s fathered five children by four different mothers. “I’m here to get a check … whatever they’ve got to offer,” he explains. “It’s not like they’ve got a checklist … I’m just here to get what I can get.”

Of course he was. 

In the video, Alexandra Pelosi quizzes one man: “Why should I help you? Why should my tax dollars be going to you?” He replies, “Because my ancestors came here to help build this place – my ancestors, the slaves.” The last time the man worked, he says, was “half a decade” ago. Continue Reading

15

Hollow Victories

There is some excitement that oral arguments are going well for opponents of Obamacare.  Though oral arguments are not perfectly indicative of how the Supreme Court will vote in the end, there is some cause for guarded optimism.  That being said, even if the Court completely strikes down Obamacare, it will be something of a hollow victory.

Don’t get me wrong.  There is no other correct course of action for the Court to take than to strike down the individual mandate and thus effectively kill Obamacare.  It is one of those remarkable monstrosities that happens to be both bad policy and unconstitutional.  The problem is that something this monumental is essentially being decided on the whims of a single Justice.  How did we reach the point where our basic liberties come down to what Anthony Kennedy may have had for breakfast one day?

I don’t mean to be flip, but it feels like we’ve taken a very wrong turn somewhere along the line.  Continue Reading

5

The Russo-Union Alliance: A Marriage of Convenience

Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it, “all men are created equal except negroes.” When the Know-nothings get control, it will read, “all men are created equal except negroes and foreigners and Catholics.” When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty–to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to Joshua F. Speed, Aug. 24, 1855

SHADOWED so long by the storm-cloud of danger,

Thou whom the prayers of an empire defend,

Welcome, thrice welcome! but not as a stranger,

Come to the nation that calls thee its friend!

Bleak are our shores with the blasts of December,

Fettered and chill is the rivulet’s flow;

Throbbing and warm are the hearts that remember

Who was our friend when the world was our foe.

Look on the lips that are smiling to greet thee,

See the fresh flowers that a people has strewn

Count them thy sisters and brothers that meet thee;

Guest of the Nation, her heart is thine own!

Fires of the North, in eternal communion,

Blend your broad flashes with evening’s bright star!

God bless the Empire that loves the Great Union;

Strength to her people! Long life to the Czar!

So Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in 1871 in honor of the visit of Grand Duke Alexei, fourth son of Tsar Alexander II, as a good will ambassador to the US.  He encountered in the Northern states a vast reservoir of good will towards Russia for its steadfast support of the Union during the Civil War.  Russia and Great Britain were enmeshed in the cold war known as the Great Game for control of Central Asia.  The Russians viewed the United States as a power traditionally hostile to Great Britain and viewed the Civil War with alarm as a possible diminution of the power of the United States, along with a potential Anglo-Confederate alliance if the South achieved independence.  From the beginning the Russian government publicly proclaimed its support for the Union and its opposition to any attempt by other powers to intervene in the conflict. Continue Reading

19

Day 2 of Oral Argument on ObamaCare: Train Wreck For the Administration

 

Day 2 of oral argument on ObamaCare.  Go here to read the transcript.  Go here to listen to an audio recording of the oral argument.  Today’s argument focused on the constitutionality of the individual mandate and the argument did not seem to observers to go well for the Obama administration.   Jeffery Tobin, CNN’s legal analyst, put it succinctly:

This was a train wreck for the Obama administration,” he said. “This law looks like it’s going to be struck down. I’m telling you, all of the predictions including mine that the justices would not have a problem with this law were wrong… if I had to bet today I would bet that this court is going to strike down the individual mandate.”

Toobin added that he felt that U.S. Solicitor General David Verrilli simply wasn’t prepared for the conservative justices.

“I don’t know why he had a bad day,” he said. “He is a good lawyer, he was a perfectly fine lawyer in the really sort of tangential argument yesterday. He was not ready for the answers for the conservative justices.”

Toobin also said he thought Justice Kennedy, the perennial swing vote, was a “lost cause” for supporters of the health care reform law. Continue Reading

1

The Pope in Cuba

Apparently, he’s staying busy.

SuburbanBanshee has two very good posts on the topic– the first has the great opening of “seldom have I enjoyed myself more watching a speech at an airport.”  The second one is on what he said at Mass, with the bonus of an honorary mention of the Swiss Guard Ninja Death Squad Elite.  (Which doesn’t exist.)

Have I mentioned lately that the fellow has guts?

5

It’s Over Newt

 

 

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  We have had a few hard core Gingrich supporters who have been commenting here recently.  If they have 50 bucks to shell out they can have a memento to remember the wild Gingrich for President campaign:

In a sign that his campaign is in need of fresh funds, Newt Gingrich on Monday began charging $50 to have a photograph taken with him following a campaign speech to Republican groups here in the northernmost part of the state.

It was the first time that the former House speaker has charged those attending one of his public speaking events to pose for a photograph with him. Lately, a member of his campaign staff has been snapping photos of any interested attendee and later posting them online at the campaign’s website, newt.org.

On Monday night, those paying for a photograph were also told they could find their photos on Gingrich’s website, after they had filled out a form providing their credit card information. Continue Reading

6

Why Illinois Is Bankrupt

 

,

 

My beloved state of Illinois has a terrible economy, and a shrinking tax base but that is apparently no problem for the bi-partisan pirates who have been plundering the Land of Lincoln for decades:

When Republican state Rep. Roger Eddy announced his retirement from the House Thursday, you could hear the “ding, ding, ding” of a slot machine all the way from Springfield.
Eddy hit the pension jackpot.
He is retiring early from the House to run the Illinois Association of School Boards, which, among other activities, lobbies the Illinois Legislature. His start date is July 1 — although now that he’s leaving the Statehouse before the end of the spring session, he said it’s likely he’ll work for the association before July.
Why the sudden defection? One likely reason: He’ll be much richer in retirement, thanks in part to taxpayers.
In his new job, Eddy will not only stay in the Teachers’ Retirement System, he can collect more in benefits from it. He has been working both as a state representative and superintendent for Hutsonville Community Unit School District 1. He has been part of TRS through his Hutsonville job, where he earned a salary of $107,400. His new salary is expected to be at least $200,000, and his pension will be based on that.
Illinois Statehouse News reported that Eddy’s pension as school superintendent would have been about $70,500 a year. It will climb to at least $141,000 in his new job. His predecessor at the IASB, Mike Johnson, is earning an annual pension — get ready to swallow hard — of $193,273, according to TRS.
But that’s not the end of Eddy’s pension largesse. He’ll be eligible in two years to begin collecting a pension of about $24,000 a year from his nine years of part-time work in the Legislature. Illinois Statehouse News projected his lawmaker pension carries a lifetime value of $584,273. Eddy is 53 years old.
Continue Reading

Transcript of First Day of ObamaCare Oral Argument

 

 

I would caution everyone from reading too much into the questions asked by the Justices on the first of three days of oral argument, but it was an interesting day of oral argument.  Go here to read the transcript.  Go here to listen to an audio recording of the oral argument.  My thoughts on the first day I will post this evening. Continue Reading

30

Obama Speaks the Truth!

Ah, Politicians tend to be most honest when they do not realize the public is hearing them.  Case in point Mr. Obama in the video scene above which is destined for immortality in this campaign

 

 

The exchange was picked up by microphones as reporters were let into the room for remarks by the two leaders.

The exchange:

President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.

President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…

President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir. Continue Reading

15

“You had better be careful about what you ask for in prayer”…

 

The International Tribunal Into Crimes of Church and State (ITCCS) is announcing the worldwide “Occupy The Vatican” movement.  It’s set to begin on Palm Sunday which, in 2012, ironically is April Fool’s Day.

According to the ITCCS announcement, Occupy The Vatican will take “direct action against the world’s oldest and most ruthless criminal.”

 

“Gee, what’s that human exorcism chain?”

 

“Not in Our Name” (NON), a group of Catholic and Protestant clergy who “support the legal disestablishment of criminal church corporations like the Vatican and the Church of England,” will be linking up with Occupy the Vatican.  NON seeks a “return to an egalitarian, congregational system of Christianity devoid of the genocidal legacy of Christendom.”

Also joining in the movement will be traditional indigenous elders in Canada from the Mohawk, Squamish, and Ojibway nations who survived Catholic and Protestant “Indian residential schools.”  Their particular contribution to the movement will be to issue new banishment orders evicting these churches from their lands.

On April 8—Easter Sunday—Occupy the Vatican supporters will gather in Rome to create a “human exorcism chain” around the Vatican.  They’ll be praying that God “expel the spirit of lies and violence” from the Church.

Caoimhin Ui Niall of Occupy the Vatican said:

The important thing is to take action to dismantle the church from the ground up, and place it under public control.  That’s the only way future generations of our children will be safe from a church that’s a law unto itself and feeds and profits off the suffering of the innocent.

Let everyone do something on April 1 and April 8 to end the reign of terror of this false church.

 

The Motley Monk’s Mom used to warn him about prayer.  “Be careful about what you ask for.  You may just get what you’re asking for,” she’d say.

That warning seems apropos for the Occupy the Vatican’s human exorcism chain.  They had better be careful about what they’re asking for.  They might just find that God expels their spirit of lies and violence from the Church.

 

 

To read the ITCCS announcement, click on the following link:
http://itccs.org/2012/03/09/%E2%80%9Ca-new-reformation%E2%80%9D/

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
http://themotleymonk.blogspot.com/

10

Fan Mail

 

We recently got this missive over the transom at The American Catholic which made my day:

It’s really unfortunate to read a Catholic publication so full of hateful speech and uncharitable thought and partisan bigotry. Jimmy Carter is many things but he is not, nor has he ever been, a bigot. To denounce Carter and Obama in these crude ad hominem assaults  doers nothing to advance rational discourse, does nothing to propagate the faith, does nothing but drive deeper wedges into a society already torn by  ideological  zealots.  The editors of the American Catholic are far more Catholic than they are Christlike and far more Republican than they are American.  Your screeds are  reminiscent of the rants from the South in the tragically blind days before the Civil War.  Step back and think of the damage you are doing to the grace and coherence of  what once was known as Christian doctrine. 

I am sincere in my contention that it made my day.  Praise rarely elicits anything other than a brief moment of pleasure.  Criticism, even off the wall bitter criticism, provides an opportunity for thought and for fisking! Continue Reading

1

Prayer for the Pope in Cuba

 

“There is not one single social or economic principle or concept in the philosophy of the Russian Bolshevik, which has not been realised, carried into action, and enshrined in immutable laws a million years ago by the White Ant.”

                                                              Winston Churchill

Let us pray today for Pope Benedict while he is in Cuba that, like Moses, he may help lead a people in bitter bondage out of slavery.  Pope Benedict XV named Our Lady of Charity patroness of Cuba in 1916, and therefore we will beseech her aid:

Our Lady of Charity, we humbly ask you to intercede with Our Lord, Your Son, for your suffering people in Cuba.  Inspire the hearts of your people to turn to God and pray for their deliverance from sin and from the tyranny that has deprived them of their freedom for more than five decades.  Strengthen Pope Benedict as he brings the truth of Christ to your people of Cuba longing for that truth and for spiritual and temporal freedom.  Let this year O Lady, if it be the will of God, be a year of Jubilee and Freedom for all Cubans.  We ask this in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

 

38

Dawkins Meet Clovis

 

At the atheist rally in Washington on Saturday, which drew a pathetic 20,000 worshipers of the Great Vacuum, Professor Richard Dawkins delivered himself of this tolerant and loving sentiment:

Dawkins didn’t appear until five hours into the event, but few seemed discouraged by the near-constant rain or drizzle. They whistled and cheered for his familiar lines such as:

I don’t despise religious people. I despise what they stand for …

Evolution is not just true, it’s beautiful …

Then Dawkins got to the part where he calls on the crowd not only to challenge religious people but to “ridicule and show contempt” for their doctrines and sacraments, including the Eucharist, which Catholics believe becomes the body of Christ during Mass.

Dawkins obviously needs our prayers for the state of his soul and our horse laughs for him being such a bigoted dweeb.  However, part of me wishes that he could encounter a Catholic convert like Clovis.  Clovis was a chieftain of the Franks in the late fifth and early sixth centuries.  He laid the framework for Frankish domination of Gaul and is the Father of France.  A pagan, he was converted to the Faith primarily through the prayers and loving example of his Catholic wife Clotilde.  In the battle of Tolbiac where the Alemanni were defeating his Franks, he cried out to the God of Clotilde that he would convert if victory was granted to him.  He won and began instruction in the Faith under Saint Remigius Bishop of Reims.  The Saint told Clovis when he was baptized on Christmas Day 496:  Bow thy head, O Sicambrian, adore what thou hast burned and burn what thou hast adored! Continue Reading

31

Jimmy Carter, Ex-President and Anti-Catholic Bigot, Attacks Pope John Paul II

 

 

Bad enough that James Earl Carter, Jr. is the worst president this country has had not named James Buchanan or Barack Obama, but he is also an anti-Catholic bigot as his latest mind droppings amply demonstrate:

Former US President Jimmy Carter has disclosed that he had angry exchanges with Pope John Paul II about liberation theology and about the ordination of women.   

The former president said that he complained to the Pontiff about the Church’s “perpetuation of the subservience of women” while Blessed John Paul II was visiting the US in 1978, and “there was more harshness when we turned to the subject of ‘liberation theology.” Carter said that he classified the Pope as a “fundamentalist,” placing him in that category along with Iran’s late Ayatollah Khomeini.   

In the same interview Carter said that “it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies,” although he suggested—“maybe arbitrarily”—that churches should not be required by law to solemnize same-sex unions.   

Carter made his remarks as he introduced a new edition of the Bible with his own study notes, helping readers to follow his understanding of the Scriptures.   Continue Reading

64

Louisiana Loves Rick

Santorum needed a big victory today in Louisiana, and he got it.  The polls closed at 8:00 PM and the networks called the Pelican state for Santorum immediately.  According to the exit polls Santorum won every demographic except those earning over 200k who went for Romney.  Vote percentages look like they will be in the range of 46-28, with Romney taking the 28.  As in Illinois, Gingrich was a non-factor. This race is supposed to be all over according to most pundits, but I guess someone neglected to tell the good voters of Louisiana.

Continue Reading

2

Socialism in Art and Life

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

Winston Churchill

Those of us of a certain vintage may recall Rocky IV where Rocky fought a Soviet Superman, Captain Ivan Drago, portrayed with robotic efficiency and inhumanity by Dolph Lundgren.  I therefore found it interesting to come across the interview below in which Dolph Lundgren relates why his father advised him to come to America: Continue Reading

7

Pope to Castro: Drop Communism!

Pope Bendict has a simple message for Castro:

 

Speaking on the plane taking him from Rome for a five-day trip to Mexico and Cuba, the pope told reporters: “Today it is evident that Marxist ideology in the way it was conceived no longer corresponds to reality.

Responding to a question about his visit to the island, a communist bastion off the coast of the United States for more than 50 years, Benedict added: “In this way we can no longer respond and build a society. New models must be found with patience and in a constructive way.”

Benedict offered the help of the Church in achieving a peaceful transition on the island, saying the process required patience but also “much decisiveness.”

“We want to help in a spirit of dialogue to avoid traumas and to help move forward a society which is fraternal and just, which is what we desire for the whole world,” the pope added. Continue Reading

9

Profile in Courage

One of the great farces in modern political times is President Obama’s “opposition” to gay marriage.  His opposition is given with a wink and a nudge.  One of the reasons gay marriage supporters haven’t pilloried Obama on this issue is that everyone knows that he is completely insincere in his convictions, or lack thereof.

Here’s further proof of that.

Obama’s top political advisers have held serious discussions with leading Democrats about the upsides and downsides of coming out for gay marriage before the fall election, a Democratic strategist who has discussed these matters directly with Obama’s campaign inner circle tells me.

This does not mean that it will happen, and there are plenty of reasons to assume it won’t. Indeed, it would be political malpractice if Obama’s top advisers didn’t discuss every permutation and possibility, no matter how far fetched. However, the fact that it has been discussed seriously at high levels means it’s not out of the question.

So Team Obama is basically poll testing his position on gay marriage.  Presumably if they see there’s enough support, he can proudly finally come out of the closet.

It’s a good thing his likely opponent is a man who would never dream of running his positions before focus groups in order to come to the right conclusion.

 

22

140 Rallies Around Country Against HHS Mandate

 

We will need a lot more of this before we prevail in this struggle to preserve religious liberty:

The Coalition to Stop the HHS Mandate, which is being coordinated by the Illinois-based Pro-Life Action League; and includes multiple pro-life, social conservative, and religious groups, including Human Life International, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the Alliance Defense Fund, and Priests for Life; have organized the “Stand Up For Religious Freedom” rallies “in defense of religious freedom and STAND UP against the Obama administration’s HHS mandate at federal building in cities across the country. Continue Reading

7

The Obama Record: The Debt

 

The second in my ongoing series on the Obama record as President, the first part of which may be read here,  leading up to the election in November.  Few things show more graphically the disaster of the Obama presidency than the debt he has piled on this nation.  This week the Obama Debt reached a grim milestone, as he surpassed the debt run up by his predecessor George W. Bush in eight years.  That right-wing news organization CBS News, gives us the forbidding numbers: Continue Reading

14

Hey Teacher, Leave Those Kids Alone!

Just a typical sample of the craziness that besets the land in the fourth year of Obama:

A Virginia middle school teacher recently forced his students to support  President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign by conducting opposition research  in class against the Republican presidential candidates.

The 8th grade students, who attend Liberty Middle School in Fairfax County,  were required to seek out the vulnerabilities of Republican presidential hopefuls and forward them to the Obama  campaign.

“This assignment was just creepy beyond belief — like something out of East  Germany during the Cold War,” one frustrated father, who asked for his family to  remain anonymous, told The Daily Caller.

The assignment was for students to research the backgrounds and positions of  each of the GOP candidates for president and find “weaknesses” in them, the  parent explained. From there, students were to prepare a strategy paper to  exploit those weaknesses and then to send their suggestions to the Obama campaign.

Liberty teacher Michael Denman, who declined to comment, unveiled the  assignment in mid-January when he broke the Civics Honor’s class into four  groups, one for each Republican candidate. The students were then to collaborate  as a group and research the backgrounds of their assigned candidate.

Denman assigned two kids to write a paper revealing the identified “weaknesses,” two to write the attack strategy paper and two others to locate an  individual inside the Obama campaign to whom they could send the  information. Continue Reading

10

A Voice for the Voiceless

My state’s senior Senator has just achieved a milestone that has put her in the record books.  Barbara Mikulski is now the longest serving female member of Congress in American history, having served her 12,892th day in Congress last week.  There’s this touching piece in the Washington Times discussing how beloved she is among her colleagues.  It features this quote from Olympia Snowe, “R” – Maine:

“She gave voice to the voiceless, power to the powerless”

Three paragraphs later:

The 4-foot-11 former social worker has looked out for her state as a member of the Appropriations Committee and has been a tough advocate for NASA and space programs. She has favored abortion rights and pushed for health care coverage.

Well, perhaps not all voices.

This is also serves as another reminder that Ms. Snowe will not be missed.

 

22

Sandra Fluke and Walmart

 

Sandra Fluke professes not to have known that birth control pills  for $9.00 for  a month’s supply are available within easy walking distance of Georgetown.  I believe her.  I doubt if Sandra Fluke would ever do anything as declasse as shop at a Walmart.  That is for the hoi polloi.  Sandra’s life as a struggling law student includes trips to Europe, presumably paid for by her mega-rich boy friend. Continue Reading

21

For Greater Glory: Viva Christo Rey!

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  I have been waiting for this movie for over a year and now it is finally being released on June 1, 2012.  For Greater Glory (formerly entitled Cristiada).  The must see movie for 2012 for all American Catholics and all of our fellow Americans who cherish religious liberty.  At a time when the Obama administration is firing the opening shots in a struggle against the religious freedom of Catholics, and exploiting a de facto schism within the Church in America to accomplish their ends, a film is being released this election year detailing the struggle of Mexican Catholics in the last century against a bitterly anti-Catholic regime.  Most of the time in life coincidences are merely coincidences, but sometimes I suspect they are sent by God for His purposes.  In any case it appears to be a worthy movie to retell the heroic story of Mexican Catholics and their fight for the Church and freedom.

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

37

The Church in America: Low Grade Civil War

 

,

 

Dale Price over at Dyspeptic Mutterings is being brilliant again:

 

Fr. Thomas Massaro would like you all to calm down.
I’m not going to fisk this, because it’s an admirable sentiment, as far as it goes. Which means it stagged a step or two before dropping in a messy heap.
Yes, it would be nice if things in the world were more civil and respectful. That’s fine.
But the problem with his call for civility is that he sees the white-hot anger as the problem rather than the symptom. It’s not–the real problem goes far, far deeper than that, and has been savaging the Body of Christ for decades now.
The HHS mandate is just the catalyst causing it to explode to the surface.
The real problem is that the Church in America has fractured into at least two churches. If it hadn’t been this issue, it would have been a dispute over the language of the liturgy, or the latest pronouncement from the Vatican, some university conferring honors on someone who is an open enemy of Catholic teaching or even the renovation of the local cathedral church. The struggle–more bluntly, low-grade civil war–between the churches has been going on since the last bit of incense dispersed at Vatican II. We don’t agree on how to worship, what our schools should teach, what laws should be enacted/opposed, what canons apply and when or even what our parish church should look like. In fact, we can’t even agree on whether or not Jesus actually rose from the dead.
And for forty five years, our shepherds have been trying to keep it together by careful tacking, including soothing rhetoric, trying to give everyone half a loaf or so (depending on the year, bishop and constituency) and generally trying not to see the coal pile in the ballroom. Continue Reading

11

The Value of Well-Paid Advisers

I don’t often call-back prior posts, but now I am going to do it twice in one day.  Yesterday I discussed a Jennifer Rubin article that criticized Santorum for, among other things, failing to surround himself with a troupe of advisers to help him stay on track as a candidate.

Meet Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom.  Earlier today he had this exchange on CNN:

HOST: Is there a concern that Santorum and Gingrich might force the governor to tack so far to the right it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election?

ERIC FEHRNSTROM: Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.

People have been having a lot of fun with this comment on twitter, and it took about ten minutes for this to make its way into a political ad:

Maybe we should say former Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstron.

2

Vote for the National Catholic Register (Now)!

The National Catholic Register is tied with Our Sunday Visitor for the best Catholic Newspaper in Christendom! The voting ends tonight so vote and put the Reg over the top!

The National Catholic Register has been selected as a finalist in the 2012 About.com Catholicism Readers’ Choice Awards in these categories: Best Catholic Newspaper, Best Catholic Website, Best Catholic Radio Show, Best Catholic Facebook Page, Best Catholic to Follow on Twitter. You can cast one vote, in all five categories, every day of the voting period. Voting runs until 11:59 P.M. EST on Wednesday, March 21, 2012.

Click here to vote.

Note: The above was freely edited from the mad journalistic skillz of Matt “Not Pat” Archbold.

8

So Which Is It?

In light of yesterday’s post about Morning Minion’s challenges to Rick Santorum’s authentic Catholicity, I found this column at the Huffington Post to be quite interesting.  (Vox Nova and Huffington Post mentioned on the same blog post?  Please, do not panic.  You eyes will not explode.)  If you recall, this is one of the claims that Tony made about Santorum:

Santorum defines his theology as stemming from the bible (Protestant) as opposed to the single sacred deposit of the Word of God comprising sacred scripture and sacred tradition (Catholic).

On the other hand, Professor Howard Schreber observes:

Rick Santorum is a case in point. Santorum’s is a specifically Catholic form of faith. The recent flap over contraception is only an example of a much deeper phenomenon. As observers have noted, he talks frequently about natural law, but rarely quotes the Bible directly — his arguments draw on a theologically informed view of the nature of the world, not a personal relationship with the text.

Indeed, in the past Santorum has been quite forthright about the fact that he does not look to the Bible for guidance, he relies quite properly on the guidance of the Church. There is obviously nothing wrong with that … but it sits very curiously with traditional Evangelical Protestant attitudes.

Now, one of these individuals sounds more intimately familiar with what Rick Santorum has actually written and said in his life.  I’ll leave it to you to guess which one.

I think that Shreber both overstates the connection between conservative Evangelicals and Catholics and understates the broad schism that still lingers at the heart of their respective philosophies (both theological and political).  But his post is worth a read.

Less worthy of your time – this screed by Daniel Nichols, which concludes thusly:

This is a man [Santorum], in the final analysis, despite his piety, is willing to contradict what his Church teaches to serve America.

This, my friends, is idolatry.

To choose Rick Santorum for president is to choose Nation over Church, this world over heaven, and Mammon over God.

When the secular left has a less unhinged view of Catholic candidates than the Catholic left, and is more willing to engage in actual analysis of what Catholic candidates stand for, we’re in for a world of trouble.

 

9

Ronald Reagan: For God and Country

The things that you find on YouTube.  Ronald Reagan in a training film for Army chaplains, For God and Country (1943).  Much higher production values than the average training film, and I found it moving.   Reagan was assigned to the 1rst Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Corps.  During the War it made some 400 training films for the Army.

18

When the Man is Right, He is Right

Gaius Gracchus proposed a grain law. The people were delighted with it because it provided an abundance of food without work. The good men, however, fought against it because they thought the masses would be attracted away from hard work and toward idleness, and they saw the state treasury would be exhausted.

Cicero, Speech in Defense of Publius Sestius

Faithful readers of this blog know that I am not a big fan of Romney aka the Weathervane, to say the least, but he is right on target here.  The ever broadening expectation of many in this country for “freebies” from Uncle Sucker is destroying American pride, self-respect and our economy.  Romney’s total rejection of this mentality, as exemplified by the heckler’s demand for “free” contraceptives, impresses me more due to it being impromptu and also being in front of a somewhat hostile college audience.  If he is the nominee, he will need many such moments to attract doubting conservatives to the polls.  Some, like my good friend Jay Anderson of Pro Ecclesia, will not vote for him under any circumstances.  Others can be persuaded.  He has a long way to go to assuage my many doubts about him, and to make my vote for him in November if he is the nominee something other than a purely anti-Obama vote, but this is a start.

19

Pope Tony Excommunicates Santorum

Well that’s certainly how I read this screed by Morning’s Minion.  It seems that Rick has offended the Magisterium of Vox Nova.

I get annoyed by silly media talk of Santorum’s connections to Opus Dei, everybody’s favorite dark and sinister Catholic cloak-and-dagger society.

Such a promising beginning.  Then it unravels.

The underlying assumption is that Santorum is a deeply orthodox Catholic, with a whiff of old-school authoritarianism about him. But this is nonsense. Opus Dei is a traditionalist Catholic group, heavily influenced by Spanish spirituality. It’s not my cup of tea, but it puts strong emphasis on fidelity to Church teachings, and I assume that means all Church teachings. Santorum, on the other hand, is a classic American right-wing liberal, picking and choosing his Church teachings, and with a spirituality that seems far more evangelical than Catholic. It is no accident that Santorum’s core support comes from right-wing evangelicals, not Catholics. Opus Dei has a vaguely “foreign” feel in the United States. Nobody could possibly say that about Santorum!

Goodness gracious.  My favorite part is where MM describe Santorum’s spirituality as “Evangelical,” whatever that means.  It’s the usual litany of cliches from Tony: right-wing liberals, scary Evangelical bogeymen, accusations of cafeteria Catholicism.  Honestly at this point you can play the Morning’s Minion drinking game and you’d be drunk by the second paragraph.  As for the astute observation that Santorum polls better with Evangelicals than with Catholics – well, I’m not sure if that fact reflects poorly on Santorum or on other Catholics.  Considering that many Catholics share Minion’s, umm, unique perspective on the faith it’s not surprising that Santorum is not doing so well with his co-religionists.

As for the specific charges that Morning’s Minion lays out against Santorum, I’ll link to Lisa Graas’s blog post here, and paste her responses after the jump.  She does a good job dismantling every claim laid against Santorum, and so I have nothing else to add.

Continue Reading

12

Don’t Know Much About History

No, seriously, our Vice President knows next to nothing about history.  Speaking about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, ole Joe said:

“You can go back 500 years. You cannot find a more audacious plan. Never knowing for certain. We never had more than a 48 percent probability that he was there.”

William Tecumseh Sherman, George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Dwight Eisenhower, Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill, and Ulysses S. Grant could not be reached for comment, but surely they would have agreed.

Sure was a good thing we didn’t elect that idiot Sarah Palin, or else we would have had a Vice President who continuously made completely idiotic remarks.

8

The Ballad of Jennifer Rubin

Jennifer Rubin sent a strong message today.  She wants Mitt Romney to know that she’s got his back every bit as much as Ann Coulter.

Rubin makes a lot of hay over the fact that Rick Santorum never visited Afghanistan, and has not said that he would go to Afghanistan were he the nominee, a promise that Mitt Romney made a few days ago.  Santorum made a pretty compelling case as to why:

And I’m not too sure making the trip Afghanistan is necessarily anything other than what it looks like: a show. And what I’m looking at is trying to, you know, make sure that we successfully win this nomination

Sounds right to me.  There is nothing to be gained for anyone by the candidates flying to Afghanistan for some pr stunt.  But that’s not how Rubin sees it. Continue Reading

15

The Land of Lincoln Votes

 

By thy rivers gently flowing, Illinois, Illinois,

 O’er thy prairies verdant growing, Illinois, Illinois,

 Comes an echo on the breeze.  

Rustling through the leafy trees,

 and its mellow tones are these, Illinois, Illinois,

 And its mellow tones are these, Illinois.

From a wilderness of prairies, Illinois, Illinois,

Straight thy way and never varies, Illinois, Illinois,

 Till upon the inland sea,

  Stands thy great commercial tree,

 turning all the world to thee, Illinois, Illinois,

 Turning all the world to thee, Illinois.  

When you heard your country calling, Illinois, Illinois,  

Where the shot and shell were falling, Illinois, Illinois,

 When the Southern host withdrew,

 Pitting Gray against the Blue,  

there were none more brave than you, Illinois, Illinois,

 There were none more brave than you, Illinois.

Not without thy wondrous story, Illinois, Illinois,

 Can be writ the nation’s glory, Illinois, Illinois,

 On the record of thy years,

 Abraham Lincoln’s name appears,

 Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois, Illinois,

 Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois.

 

 

 

Continue Reading

7

Green Jobs Answer Man!

Right you are Green Jobs Answer Man!  In regard to Wind Energy, take away the tax subsidies and the entire industry would die:

Let’s take it back to 1992. The parents are watching Murphy Brown, the kids are watching Full House, and people are rockin’ out to Nirvana and Dr. Dre. (Some things never change.) And wind was ready to usher in a new era of energy production. In fact, Matthew Wald wrote in a 1992 New York Times article, “A New Era for Windmill Power,” that “striking improvements in technology, the commercial use of these windmills, or wind turbines as the builders call them, has shown that in addition to being pollution free, they can now compete with fossil fuels in the cost of producing electricity.”

He went on: “Kingsley E. Chatton, president of U.S. Windpower, which operates 22 new-generation windmills here, said the economics of wind power was at the point where it ‘will compete with fossil fuel.’ Others agree.”

Twenty years of subsidies later, wind still only provides a paltry 2.3 percent of America’s electricity in 2010, and it still needs subsidies.

Jim Nelson, CEO of Solar3D, argues that government subsidies are obstructing innovation in the renewable-energy sector:

Operating subsidies, or installation subsidies, helps get clean energy sources installed but the problem is that current technology is not economically competitive. Everything we do needs to be done with a view toward global competitiveness. Unfortunately, because current technology is not economical relative to alternatives, it does not promote our competitiveness.

The problem is that subsidies promote technological malaise. They take away the incentive to innovate and lower cost by promoting business models geared more toward gaining favor with politicians than on technological innovation. The result is that subsidized industries quickly become dependent on government. At that point, long-term competitiveness becomes secondary to near-term survival, which is generally conditioned on more handouts. Continue Reading

5

Don’t Wait By the Phone

 

 

Bristol Palin demonstrates that the political gene may run in the blood of the Palin women.  On her blog she posted this open letter to President Obama:

You don’t know my telephone number, but I hope your staff is busy trying to find it. Ever since you called Sandra Fluke after Rush Limbaugh called her a slut, I figured I might be next.  You explained to reporters you called her because you were thinking of your two daughters, Malia and Sasha.  After all, you didn’t want them to think it was okay for men to treat them that way:

“One of the things I want them to do as they get older is engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on,” you said.  “I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way. And I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens.”

And I totally agree your kids should be able to speak their minds and engage the culture.  I look forward to seeing what good things Malia and Sasha end up doing with their lives.

But here’s why I’m a little surprised my phone hasn’t rung.  Your $1,000,000 donor Bill Maher has said reprehensible things about my family.  He’s made fun of my brother because of his Down’s Syndrome. He’s said I was “f—-d so hard a baby fell out.”  (In a classy move, he did this while his producers put up the cover of my book, which tells about the forgiveness and redemption I’ve found in God after my past – very public — mistakes.) Continue Reading

3

Secretary Sebelius and “Document Dump Friday”: Protecting religious liberty?

In Washington, DC, the pattern for just about any administration is to “dump” bad news late on Friday afternoon.  The ostensible goal is to draw as little attention as possible to those news items so they “die” over the weekend without notice.

 

 

Last Friday proved no different with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius dumping the news that under the Obamacare healthcare reforms, the healthcare insurance plans that most colleges offer will now have to include contraceptive coverage at no cost.

Although the new HHS regulation apply to religious and secular colleges, HHS allows religious institutions one additional year to comply.

There is one loophole: Colleges offering students self-insured healthcare plans—in which colleges pool students’ premiums to pay for healthcare services rather than purchasing an insurance policy—will not be required to cover contraception.  HHS estimates that ~200k students (of an estimated 1M to 3M students) rely on these self-insured plans.

This loophole leaves President Obama’s so-called “compromise” intact: The healthcare insurer—not the institution—will pay for the “free” coverage which must be included in all policies.

Some religious colleges, like Belmont Abbey College, have sued the government, arguing in part that Church teaching forbids premarital sex as well as artificial forms of birth control.  They ask: How can these institutions uphold Church teaching and offer students contraception free of charge?

The Motley Monk would note that this “duplicity” argument actually matters little to this administration.  Remember when President Obama was lobbying hard for the passage of his healthcare “reforms” and guaranteed that the “conscience clause” exemption would be respected?

Respecting religious liberty?

 

However, Ms. Sebelieus did her best to protect her boss on Friday while announcing the new regulation when she said:

The President’s policy respects religious liberty and makes free preventive services available to women.  Today’s announcement is the next step toward fulfilling that commitment.

Let’s hope the United States Supreme Court has greater respect for conscience and religious liberty next week when oral arguments about the constitutionality of the Obamacare “individual mandate” are heard.

 

Let the discussion begin…

 

 

To read the HHS press release, click on the following link:
http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/03/20120316g.html

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
http://themotleymonk.blogspot.com/

 

11

Stanley Fish, CS Lewis and Might Makes Right

 

Stanley Fish, probably the most noted American literary theorist of our time, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times on March 12, 2012 called Two Cheers for Double Standards in which he demonstrated how deeply wed he and other members of the Left in this country are to the Orwell axiom from Animal Farm that some animals are more equal than others:

If we think about the Rush Limbaugh dust-up from the non-liberal — that is, non-formal — perspective, the similarity between what he did and what Schultz and Maher did disappears. Schultz and Maher are the good guys; they are on the side of truth and justice. Limbaugh is the bad guy; he is on the side of every nefarious force that threatens our democracy. Why should he get an even break?

There is no answer to that question once you step outside of the liberal calculus in which all persons, no matter what their moral status as you see it, are weighed in an equal balance. Rather than relaxing or soft-pedaling your convictions about what is right and wrong, stay with them, and treat people you see as morally different differently. Condemn Limbaugh and say that Schultz and Maher may have gone a bit too far but that they’re basically O.K. If you do that you will not be displaying a double standard; you will be affirming a single standard, and moreover it will be a moral one because you will be going with what you think is good rather than what you think is fair. “Fair” is a weak virtue; it is not even a virtue at all because it insists on a withdrawal from moral judgment.

I know the objections to what I have said here. It amounts to an apology for identity politics. It elevates tribal obligations over the universal obligations we owe to each other as citizens. It licenses differential and discriminatory treatment on the basis of contested points of view. It substitutes for the rule “don’t do it to them if you don’t want it done to you” the rule “be sure to do it to them first and more effectively.” It implies finally that might makes right. I can live with that. Continue Reading