Sometimes I Feel Like Sarah Connor

Saturday, June 30, AD 2012

I have to remind myself sometimes to refrain from immersion in current events, politics, and social issues because I swell up with machine-like resolve and start thinking of myself as a Sarah Connor, the fictional mom in the Terminator films who transformed from a timid victim to a hardened warrior on the verge of losing touch with her own humanity. She knew Judgement Day was coming, and her son would have to fight evil mightily. She knew she had to prepare and protect him.

I don’t think I’m the only mom that conjures up such an image. We lay awake at night wondering what kind of battles our children will face as adults. Will they lose faith? Will they be hurt? Will they be warriors? Will they be martyrs? Will they be ready? Are we doing enough to take a stand as Catholics? No kidding, there are nights when I feel compelled to rise and do chin-ups on the door frame to flex some muscle (though I’d faint after three).

I have learned, instead, to pray. As awful as I may think some current events are, this world still belongs to God. If I believe that Christ healed the sick, commanded demons, and died and rose for the salvation of souls, then in faith I need to guard against despair and overwhelming ferocity. Remember what the centurion in Capernaum said to Jesus when he wanted his servant to be healed? He had great faith. “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” He also had humility. That last part reminds me of St. Francis’ advice, “Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.”

Surely in some ways we do need to become a legend among the resistance, to warn that humanity is doomed to self-destruction if they don’t listen, and to store up a proverbial cache of weapons for our children if there is a rise of the machines; but mostly what we need to do is to accept the graces and abundances offered now in this time of our own lives. We do need to fight, but we can’t let ourselves become so steeled we forget we are human.

Even so, I wouldn’t mind having her deltoids, and I admit I rather like imagining myself standing strong with a steady gaze across the landscape as I prepare to defend and inspire my children, but without the cigarette and Commando rifle.

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13 Responses to Sometimes I Feel Like Sarah Connor

  • Lose the cigarette, but keep the rifle. 🙂

    Good column, Stacy.

  • I just asked my wife, but she said no. She doesn’t feel like Sarah O’Connor. But sometimes I feel kind of like a male version…

  • We shape the future as parents:

    “Sarah Connor: Reese. Why me? Why does it want me?
    Kyle Reese: There was a nuclear war. A few years from now, all this, this whole place, everything, it’s gone. Just gone. There were survivors. Here, there. Nobody even knew who started it. It was the machines, Sarah.
    Sarah Connor: I don’t understand.
    Reese: Defense network computers. New… powerful… hooked into everything, trusted to run it all. They say it got smart, a new order of intelligence. Then it saw all people as a threat, not just the ones on the other side. Decided our fate in a microsecond: extermination.
    Sarah Connor: Did you see this war?
    Kyle Reese: No. I grew up after. In the ruins… starving… hiding from H-K’s.
    Sarah Connor: H-K’s?
    Kyle Reese: Hunter-Killers. Patrol machines built in automated factories. Most of us were rounded up, put in camps for orderly disposal.
    [Pulls up his right sleeve, exposing a mark]
    Kyle Reese: This is burned in by laser scan. Some of us were kept alive… to work… loading bodies. The disposal units ran night and day. We were that close to going out forever. But there was one man who taught us to fight, to storm the wire of the camps, to smash those metal mothers into junk. He turned it around. He brought us back from the brink. His name is Connor. John Connor. Your son, Sarah, your unborn son.”

  • You may recall that in the second Terminator movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cyborg has switched sides and is now trying to SAVE John and Sarah Connor from being killed by a different, more advanced cyborg (with the ability to turn into liquid metal and other cool special effects) programmed to kill them.

    Now, here is a comedy sketch from “Mad TV” — a fake “trailer” for a movie called “The Greatest Action Story Ever Told” — in which Arnold goes back in time to save Jesus from being crucified! It’s actually, in my opinion, pretty funny because Jesus keeps trying to explain to the Terminator that he’s SUPPOSED to die for the sins of mankind, but Ahnold doesn’t listen (where have we heard that story before?):

  • Although this is a comedy sketch, I think it does have some relation to the topic of this post, in that as much as we WANT to save our children from all suffering and hardship, we cannot and should not.

  • Although this is a comedy sketch, I think it does have some relation to the topic of this post, in that as much as we WANT to save our children from all suffering and hardship, we cannot and should not.
    How will our children know that we love them?

  • The Judas shootings scene was very funny. Thanks for the laugh.

    As to the subject of the post, I am interested in Colonial and Revolutionary War history and have often considered the reactions of fathers and sons as the world began to spin out of control.

    Colonials knew That the English had not dealt kindly with rebels, particularly commoners. Would-be patriots certainly expected that, unless they won, the English would have punished them mightily.

    I like to think I would have set aside my interests to join what must have seemed to be an almost hopeless cause. It was probably easier to do if one didn’t have a wife and children that would be exposed by one’s action.

    I was 17 when I joined the Navy. At some level I knew I was exposing myself to harm. It was a subject that came up on occasion. It seemed remote though, something that happened to other people. Bravado alone made it easy to say that death was nothing to fear.

    I’m sure many Colonials felt the same, sitting with their mates in a tavern, drinking and singing, it must have been easy for them to damn King George and bravely call out the English army. How for the men with families, crops, shops full of wares, babies on the way, and ailing parents?

    My guess is that men in my position feared war, not for their sake but for those that God put in their charge. And yet they exposed all of that for a cause that must have seemed, at times, hopeless. What kind of men were these? Would I have been one of them? I like to think so but, looking at my bright-eyed and innocent 5 year old, I’m not sure.

    So pray, pray, pray… Not that you will be willing to lay down your life, but the lives and safety of those for whom you are responsible if God calls for it.

  • “How for the men with families, crops, shops full of wares, babies on the way, and ailing parents?”

    Many of them saw service during the war as militia. During the war about 100,000 men saw service in the Continental Army and about 250,000 saw service as militia called out to fight. Fairly impressive for an adult male population of less than a million.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtQgjyaJqkI

  • I do sometimes feel like Sarah Connor, especially when you try to talk to people about things happening in this country and the world, or when you try to talk about what the Catholic Church teaches on moral issues. Many look at you like you’re crazy. They don’t want to see anything, hear anything and they will not speak up and defend anything.

    This part of Mr McClarey’s comment: “Reese: Defense network computers. New… powerful… hooked into everything, trusted to run it all. They say it got smart, a new order of intelligence. Then it saw all people as a threat, not just the ones on the other side. Decided our fate in a microsecond: extermination” is very interesting. Sounds a lot like today, doesn’t it?

    I can’t do much of the physical stuff, but I can speak up and pray and try to live my life like Christ wants us to. Yes, I am a member of the “Church Militant”!

  • I think the willingness to give over one’s children affects number of religious too.

    It is easier to give over a son or daughter to the religious life if you have nine kids than it is when you have one. There is a calculation to be made in how encouraging we are for those entering the religious life. There is a question for most of us on how much sacrifice we are willing to bear. When you have only one son, it is harder to imagine him becoming a priest than when you have five. When you have two children, it is harder to encourage a daughter to enter the religious life.

    I suspect that no small part of God’s plan is letting Him control the number of kids we have. This is probably true, at least in part, because our having children is an essential first step to His evangelization.

  • I very much liked the Patriot Don. Heck, I liked something about every Mel film I’ve seen.

    Satan worked powerful hard to render his talents impotent.

  • We could use more Sarah Connors – men and women, kids and even old ladies in nursing homes who pray. We can chooser to fight on many fronts with whatever gifts and insights we have been given. lLike Churchill’s often quoted comment about all the places we will fight– we have to fight socially, culturally, Spiritually and even physically

    “not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and the oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

  • I’m not sure that, even after all of our fervent prayers and peaceful political action, the Church will not need Sarah and Sam Connors if the current persecution of the Catholic Church continues. We are really only a couple big steps away from the situation the Cristeros found themselves in before they had to fight for their right to worship. Our beliefs are being singled out for elimination by the secularists in society. Remember, we don’t know what God will need us for or when.:-) I guess I’ll be getting in a couple pull-ups and some aerobics, and stay vigilant while praying and remaining forthright in insisting on the right to our beliefs. That’s what I see in Sarah Connor — an understanding of the enemy she faces and vigilance. We just need to be equally vigilant about expressing our joy in the Lord and in the wonderful life He’s given us. We need to keep our humanity and love.

Fortnight For Freedom Day Ten: God Bless America!

Saturday, June 30, AD 2012

 

 

 

Beginning for two weeks, up to Independence Day, the Bishops are having a Fortnight For Freedom:

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First,  Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.

 

Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to  highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic  institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation  with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to  defend our most cherished freedom.

 

The fourteen days from June  21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to  July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for  freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face  of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More,  St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the  Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our  Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that  would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for  religious liberty.

 

We here at The American Catholic are participating in the Fortnight For Freedom with special blog posts on each day.  This is the tenth of these blog posts.

Something for the weekend.  God Bless America sung by the imperishable Kate Smith.  This song became the rallying song for the United States during World War II.  Witten by Irving Berlin in 1918 while he was serving in the Army and revised by him in 1938, it was performed by Kate Smith on her radio show in 1938 and became an immediate hit, reaching unbelievable heights of popularity during World War II.  The song is a prayer to God, as the first stanza, rarely performed today, makes clear:

While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,

Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,

Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,

As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.

God bless America,

Land that I love.

Stand beside her, and guide her

Through the night with a light from above.

From the mountains, to the prairies,

To the oceans, white with foam

God bless America, My home sweet home

God bless America, My home sweet home.

Few entertainers became so connected with one song as Kate Smith did with God Bless America.  A Protestant, Kate Smith attended Mass for years prior to her conversion to Catholicism.  In this Fortnight For Freedom we express our love for America and fervently beseech God to guide her.

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4 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom Day Ten: God Bless America!

  • It was good while it lasted.

    I remember freedom and the feeling that will never come back. The feeling that liberty would last forever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lured us to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort – to death; the triumphant conviction of liberty, the heat of freedom in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grew dim, grew cold, grew small, and expired – and expired, too soon, too soon – before life itself.

    Apologies to Joseph Conrad, 1857-1924, English writer, “Youth”

    Defend Freedom.

    Repeal Hell Care.

    Defeat Obama.

  • Fortnight For Freedom Day Ten: God Bless America!
    He does, He does. We have you, Donald McClarey.

  • If it were possible for me to do so after three decades of being an attorney, I would be blushing Mary!

The Worst Supreme Court Decision of All-Time

Friday, June 29, AD 2012

As bad as yesterday’s Supreme Court decision was, it doesn’t hold a candle to one handed down twenty years ago today. On this date in 1992, the Court decided the case of Casey v. Planned Parenthood. People might be disappointed with John Roberts right now, but the fury at Justices O’Connor and Kennedy, and to a lesser extent Souter, after they voted to uphold Roe v. Wade dwarfs that.

Ed Whelan links to post by Michael Stokes Paulsen in which he calls Casey the worst Supreme Court decision of all-time. Part one is here, and part two is here. I wholeheartedly agree. I also ranked Casey as the worst when compiling my list of the worst decisions of all-time. Sure, there have been several atrocious decisions handed down by the Court, and Paulsen highlights some of the worst defenders in part one. But what makes Casey so egregious is the combination of the sheer awfulness of the decision from a constitutional perspective, as well as the devastating real world impacts it had.

Paulsen details all that is wrong with the decision. The plurality opinion relied on stare decisis to reach its conclusion, treating the doctrine as though it were sacrosanct. If you listened to the plurality you would come to the conclusion that Court had never struck down a decision it considered to be wrongly decided. What’s more, the plurality opinion is simply a mess of contorted logic, rightfully mocked by Scalia in his brilliant dissent. Most damning, it ensured the continued legal protection of abortion, dooming millions more unborn children to their premature death.

I’ll leave you to read both articles in their entirety.

Roe v. Wade may have made abortion legal in all 50 states, but Casey entrenched that decision. Worse still, it did so in a way that made the Roe majority opinion seem like a masterwork of originalist logic by comparison.

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6 Responses to The Worst Supreme Court Decision of All-Time

  • Paul:

    Funny you should mention the Casey case on occasion of yesterday’s Obamacare decision. The reason is that in both cases, the swing votes flipped. Kennedy with Casey and Roberts with Obamacare, according to Jan Greenburg’s book Supreme Conflict (pg. 155), Scalia and Kennedy took a walk near their homes shortly before the decision came out. Scalia went away thinking the conservatives could still count on Kennedy. But alas, we now know different.

    Nothing really new under the sun.

  • The worst scourge of the Supreme Court was Jan 22, 1973. We have lived under the pallor of death since that day. Nothing good will happen until that death sentence is stopped in it’s tracks. God is the only One we can “count” on to change the bitter hardened hearts of not only arrogant judges but misguided Christians. Rev 3 15-16.

  • A Catholic wrote the majority opinion in Roe v Wade. Kennedy is an alleged Catholic, and so is Roberts.

    We are our own worst enemy. No Protestant, Muslim or atheist has ever caused as much arm to the Catholic Church as bad Catholics.

    Sometimes, I too am a bad Catholic due to my thoughts and deeds, lest anyone think I only practice “j’accuse”.

  • Abortion kills a person. The United States Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade said: “We do not know if it is a PERSON, so kill it anyway.” Thomas Jefferson said: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal”
    The Supreme Court said: “We do not know if there is a God, so get rid of Him, His Son and His followers.” Thomas Jefferson said: “…and endowed by their Creator”
    The Supreme Court said: “We may tax and penalize conscientious objectors to our killing of persons.” Thomas Jefferson said: “with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” The Ninth Amendment says that “the person has rights not enumerated in the Constitution” like conscientious objection to the killing of persons.
    Bishop Fulton J. Sheen in his Patriotism said that Thomas Jefferson believed in the dignity of man and in the sovereignty of God. St. Just, Thomas Jefferson’s opponent believed man had no inherent rights, that there was no God and violence was the only language to be spoken. 1) Terror, destruction of civil Liberty, confiscation of property. Government built upon a pile of corpses.
    2) Political Mysticism: My will or nothing.
    Spiritual Mysticism: God or nothing.
    3) Satanism: Destruction of law and order, violence. The new Violence.
    The choice is ours: Thomas Jefferson: God or nothing, or Obama: “My will or nothing”.

  • Until the recent Obamacare decision, my vote for “Worst Supreme Court Decision of All Time” would have been “Wickard v. Filburn”, the case that decided that interstate commerce included everything, including things that weren’t interstate and were not commerce (like growing wheat on your own land for your own use).

    Eliminate that one case, and perhaps as much as 85% to 90% of all the filth the government pushes would lose its “justification”.

    But now Roberts has informed us that non-taxes (penalties) are really taxes and constitutional, so anything can be justified by attaching a penalty and calling it a “tax”.

    In case anyone hasn’t figured it out, the Founding Fathers included the Second Amendment in the Constitution for just such an occasion as appears to be forming… to ensure that oppressive government maybe overthrown, violently if necessary, by the People.

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Man Up Conservatives!

Friday, June 29, AD 2012

 

From a thread at Creative Minority Report on the ObamaCare decision:

Anonymous said…

If I encountered John Roberts at this point I would not shake his hand. This is simply appalling. Add to this the fact that Obama is going to be re-elected, and our nation as it once was has effectively been destroyed.
I am actually questioning the decision to try to bear children at this point. If I could go back in time I would strongly consider not having made the life choices I have but instead just living out the rest of my life in a monestary and just finding a way to tolerate the rest of my days.

My response to this type of hysterical hogwash:

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108 Responses to Man Up Conservatives!

  • I may be a pessimist, Donald, but I shall work tooth and nail to the best of my ability to help in whatever small way I can in the defeat of Barack Hussein Obama. The fat lady has not yet sung, as it were. Things may look grim right now, but Jesus Christ is still on the throne and nothing happens but that He permits it to happen for His own divine reasons.

    Death to Democracy (two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner)!
    Long live liberty (a well armed sheep contesting the vote)!
    Viva Cristo Rey (a saying which the Democrats simply can’t stand)!

  • Talk show host Michael Savage asserts that Roberts suffers from epilepsy and his meds may have affected cognition and ability to think straight. A wild theory but not discountable in light of the irrationality of his decision. In effect, one man and one vote may have determined America’s future.

  • I agree that the political fallout from this might benefit the GOP, though I remind everyone that the man tasked with carrying the mantle to attack Obamacare is the guy who implemented the same thing in the state of Massachusetts. Regardless, I do think that Romney will most likely win in the Fall. Whether or not he and the Republicans in Congress have the gumption to do with they must next year remains to be seen.

    Just as we must not fall prey to undue pessimism, let’s also not whitewash the decision. The Chief Justice abrogated his responsibility to uphold the Constitution in a quixotic effort to save the “integrity” of the Court, while in the end accomplishing the exact opposite of his aim. There is nothing to celebrate with such an outcome, particularly when the GOP likely would have emerged victorious anyway this November if the outcome had been different.

  • Oh I find the decision of Roberts appalling Paul, especially since I suspect that at bottom he caved because of the relentless drum beat from the Left accusing him of running a politicized court (The Left has never been noted for understanding the concept of irony.) However, I do think this decision is political gold for convervatives. It makes certain that Obamacare is a front and center issue, and highlights Obamacare is a tax increase. The issue could not be framed better for conseratives. The repeal of Obamacare will begin by repealing the Personal Mandate and the taxes used to support the system. Shell-shocked Democrats, the survivors of the tsunami that will hit them in November will put up only tepid opposition.

  • Semi-rhetorical question: All the talk is about Romney, and the news of the sudden windfall is certainly welcome. But shouldn’t the more pointed focus be on Congress? What’s the landscape there? If there’s a Romney administration but a 219-216 House or a 52-48 Senate, what’s the point? The onus needs to be on installing as large a GOP contingent as possible so that Weathervane has a prevailing wind to spin with.

    Thoughts?

  • All signs point to the Republicans adding a few seats to their huge majority in the House. The Senate is almost certain to flip to GOP control.

  • Lol wk, indeed we must supply the weathervane with fair winds… Only 4 more in the senate I believe

  • Donald—I wish to add another dimension to the political fallout which is none to pleasant to contemplate. The Roberts’ decision is not just flawed, not just vapid, but is of evil consequence if not design. He found that there was standing on a tax issue by declaring that it was not a tax issue for purposes of standing—no amount of legalistic construct can make sense of this. On the pathway to obamacare deliverance Roberts then legitimazes a strictly and exclusively punitive mandate as a tax (which is not an enumerated constitutional tax). He further joins a majority in declaring that congress was not empowered under the otherwise boundless Commerce Clause making obamacare unconstitutional for purposes of regulation but constitutional as a vague nefarious tax. He decoupled tax legitimacy from any enumerated power.

    The worst part is that we fight the political battle to address this mess, Roberts’ opinion now stands as precedence—-a precedence far worse in its potential consequences than the obamacare political battle. It may take 20 years to overturn this creature of an opinon if the country is lucky……or if Obama wins this election, or for that matter any lefty in the future or any democratically controlled congress, will now be comforted with extraordinary power to tax anything at any time without regard for enumerated powers, or perhaps in the future regard for the bill of rights.

    This decision is stunning in its poor reasoning, and one must conclude it had an intended purpose beyond the obamacare fight.

  • Amazing how it’s always anonymous who goes for the “slit your wrists now, it’s hopeless” angle, isn’t it?

  • There’s a lot of speculation about Roberts’ turnabout and most seem to attribute it to, for better or worse, heading off or preparing for something else coming down the pike along with public opinion w.r.t the court. I don’t know if justices really do that or not, but if it is the case, then I wonder if Roberts is looking to the Bishop’s case. The four good justices happen to be Catholic, the swing vote dingbat is Catholic and one of the liberals is Catholic and so far doesn’t seem to be as a ideologically driven leftist as the rest of the liberal wing. That case really has the making for a vote split upon Catholic lines. And while IMO, the obvious answer to the Constitutional question is to side with Bishops. However, there would surely be accusations of bias on the bench. Perhaps Roberts voting this way on ACA was to disarm those arguments.

  • The power of mainstream American conservatives to rationalize their support for right-liberal politicians never ceases to amaze me. Man up, you abused spouses, and keep coming back for more abuse!

    And they do. For decades, “conservatives” just keep coming back for more. Which is why the country keeps on getting more.

    Quit complaining and man up! This is no time to withdraw your support from your alcoholic Uncle GOP! If you just keep on acting codependent, the country will eventually sober up.

    Talk about abuse of the concept “hope”.

  • Above may well be true except for the fact that President Obama is a thief and a lier. He has the ability to steal the election and the thirst for power. Recently, I became aware that he has arranged for the election totals of 17 states to be sent directly to a company in Spain to be tallied—-with no oversight; no guarantee of election tampering or fraud.
    Obama has tentacles of corruption spread vast and wide and is being allowed to further spread their reach unchecked. Where are the other branches of government—-complicit? Are they afraid to scrutinize and do their job? Look what is being done to the Sheriff in Arizona simply because he wants to see an authentic birth certificate? Eligibility to vote in America today does not require a valid ID?
    As a side note, does he still have his blackberry?

  • ‘Quit complaining and man up! This is no time to withdraw your support from your alcoholic Uncle GOP! ”

    Hey Bob, feel free to throw away your vote on third party candidates that, if they work real hard, may crack .08% of the vote. For those who oppose the Democrats the GOP is the only game in town, delusional ranting notwithstanding.

  • “Recently, I became aware that he has arranged for the election totals of 17 states to be sent directly to a company in Spain to be tallied—-with no oversight; no guarantee of election tampering or fraud.”

    Tin-foil hat bunk Tess.

  • Nobody’s even entertaining the theory that Roberts made the decision he did because he thought it was right. I’m not saying he was right, but should we be so quick to savage people who we perceive as turning against us? I’ve never liked the idea of replacing activist left-wing judges with activist right-wing judges, and it looks to me like Roberts took an aggressively non-activist stance. I dunno. I haven’t read it yet.

    As to the original point of the article, that kind of despair smacks of political determinism. That’s just unseemly.

  • Nobody’s even entertaining the theory that Roberts made the decision he did because he thought it was right.

    It’s possible that he rendered the decision he did because he thought it was the proper thing to do from a constitutional standpoint, but based on the language of the dissent and Roberts’ own about-face halfway through his own ruling it’s fairly unlikely.

    it looks to me like Roberts took an aggressively non-activist stance.

    Except he actually ended up doing just the opposite. By transforming the justification from the commerce clause to the taxing power, and by also engineering a rather muddled compromise on the Medicaid mandate, he essentially legislated from the bench. His ruling was in fact more “activist” than even the four liberals on the Court.

  • Although the decision of Roberts was well written Pinky, it was intellectually incoherent. His transformation of a penalty into a tax flies in the face of prior Supreme Court case law, and was obviously done simply to find someway to find ObamaCare constitutional. I assume that Roberts was simply cowed by unending charges from the Left that he was running an ideological court.

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  • Thanks for the feedback D. McClarey. Please google SKYTL and SOE merger and let me know if in your opinion the information is still not credible. Your objective evaluation of the facts presented will ease my concern that election fraud will insure another 4 years of President Obama.

  • “Update: Survey USA conducted three statewide polls overnight of likely voters on the Supreme Court decision to see if it would move the needle. So far, the results look pretty poor for Obama.
    •California – In one of the liberal bastions of Obama’s support, 45% disagreed with the Court ruling that ObamaCare is constitutional, with 44% agreeing. Nearly three-quarters expect their health care to get worse (38%) or stay the same (34%), as opposed to just 23% who expect it to improve now that ObamaCare will be implemented. And this is thebest results of the three states.
    •Kansas – Romney’s going to win Kansas anyway, but the numbers here are still bad news for Obama’s hopes in the Midwest. 52% disagree with the court, as opposed to only 38% who agree, with 48% expecting their health care to get worse as a result. Only 16% think it will improve.
    •Florida – This state actually matters, and it looks bad for Obama here, too. Voters disagree with the court 50/39, 47% expect their health care to get worse while only 20% expect it to improve, and 51% think it will get more expensive, too. Only 6% of Florida seniors expect health-care costs to decline, while 44% expect costs to rise.”

    http://hotair.com/archives/2012/06/29/changing-the-subject/

  • My advice:

    Drink heavily.

    It works for me.

    Did you think you would live forever?

    Does the UK already operate Obamacare-like death panels? UK Professor Patrick Pullicino, quoted Daily Mail synopsis: Top doctor’s chilling claim: The NHS kills off 130,000 elderly patients every year
    • Professor says doctors use ‘death pathway’ to euthenasia of the elderly
    • Treatment on average brings a patient to death in 33 hours
    • Around 29 per cent of patients that die in hospital are on controversial ‘care pathway’
    • Pensioner admitted to hospital given treatment by doctor on weekend shift

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2161869/Top-doctors-chilling-claim-The-NHS-kills-130-000-elderly-patients-year.html#ixzz1yLo1yfRc

  • Get to that liquor store and buy the alcoholic another drink, Don. After all it has worked so well up to now, and anyway that’s just what manly men do.

  • As I said Bob throw your vote away on whatever fringe candidate you wish, or not vote, it amounts to the same thing. Fortunately the overwhelming majority of conservatives in this nation will not follow your example.

  • “Please google SKYTL and SOE merger and let me know if in your opinion the information is still not credible”

    Nope not credible. The sites mentioning it are kook sites that run up hits by appealing to readers who believe in paranoid conspiracies.

  • TOGA party in Tampa, open bar, buy tickets for all your alcoholic friends!

  • I tend to think Roberts tries to be an honorable man and this is all the more reason why the decision seems incongruous with a man of conservative judicial temperament.

    But way of analogy, motorcycle riders learn early in their training that one of the most deadly mistakes that can be made is the phenomenon known as target “fixation”. A rider becomes target fixated when despite trying to avoid a collision by all means, the rider stares at an oncoming vehicle and consequently steers directly into its path.

    In much the same way it appears in Roberts debatable attempt to remain apolitical and not legislate from the bench that his target fixation caused the very thing he was trying so much to avoid. And we are left with an absolute travesty and wreck of jurisprudence.

  • Was Roberts’ pro bono work for the homosexual lobby before his nomination an attempt to remain “apolitical”?

    I guess it is true what they say: neither the alcoholic nor the codependent spouse will reform until they hit bottom. It is always a challenge figuring out just where “bottom” is going to be.

  • Unfortunately target fixation in law can be repeated over and over again by the same jurist.

    In most other cases the mistake is self-correcting by reason of death.

  • Chile is looking good to me now. The señora already speaks Spanish and most people there are Catholic.

    Poland looks pretty good, too. I know just a few Polish words from my childhood, but, again, their currency is stable and they are mostly Catholic.

    Having said that, I am not giving up. I refuse to cede this nation to the stupid among us. The stupid have pressed and pressed and pressed for what they want for almost a century. It does not mean they cannot be defeated. I cannot fathom any possibility where this ruling helps Obumbler or his pathetic socialist party. Did Pelayo quit? Did Don Juan of Austria quit? Did Queen Isabella quit? Did John Sobieski quit? Did George Washington quit?

    Squishy Republicans become squishy because the rank and file conservatives are usually so busy raising families, managing small businesses and doing similar things. We cannot just elect a GOP majority. We the people must hold their feet to the fire.

    It is our only option. Throw the bums out and put the fear of God into their replacements. There is no other countermeasure for Potomac fever.

  • Oh, and Don, isn’t opium just the best thing ever? Natural, synthetic, it doesn’t matter, it’s wonderful stuff.

  • This isn’t non-Sequitur Friday Pinky.

  • I was referring to the kidney stone and pain meds. Hope everything’s better.

  • Penguins Fan:

    A co-worker who vacationed in Chile told me it looks good for emigartion. The Chilean gov took Milton Friedman’s (RIP) advice and privatized the social security ponzi scheme. Chile’s fiscal condition is nearly ideal compared to the debt and entitlement maelstrom the USA is rapidly approaching.

    Canada is closer. Now, assuming the worst and Obamacare becomes your health, there will be no reason to not emigrate to Canada. Although not as fiscally sane as Chile, Canada’s fiscal prospects are far more sustainable than the fiscal catastrophe confronting the USA.

  • Thank you Pinky. Things are tolerable now which isn’t a bad state when dealing with a kidney stone!

  • This sums it up completely:

    Please Stop – Justice Roberts Is Not Being Clever

    If I see one more person on the internets suggest that perhaps Justice Roberts is being clever and outwitted the Dems by using a tax justification instead of the Commerce Clause I will scream.

    Stop. Please stop.

    http://www.creativeminorityreport.com/2012/06/please-stop-justice-roberts-is-not.html

  • I am actually questioning the decision to try to bear children at this point.

    Wow, as my 6 year old son likes to say:

    Man, take a chill pill…..

  • Thanks for the dose of sanity, Don. (And glad you’re feeling better.)

  • As a tax lawyer concentrating in Commerce Clause issues, I think Roberts’ opinion has more merit than most visitors of the fine Blog are willing to give it. The fact of the matter is that Congress may constitutionally impose a tax in the amount of the mandate’s associated “penalty” that can be reduced by a credit for purchased health insurance. Such mechanisms are commonplace in tax law, employed as deliberate incentives. In substance this is what Congress did, and all Roberts does is acknowledge this and correctly note that what Congress wishes to call something is not dispositive. Indeed, for months the Obama Administration stubbornly refused to yield to conservative demands that it admit that the penalty is a tax and the mandate is therefore a tax increase.

    This is not to say that Roberts’ opinion is beyond legitimate criticism. First, the legal distinction between a tax and a penalty is one that is well-developed in American tax law, and Roberts does a poor job of exploring it. In essence he simply concludes that because the characterization of this particular levy is a close call (probably true) the Court should be willing to treat it as a tax in order to preserve the Act’s constitutionality, relying on the time-honored (and conservative) doctrine that when the meaning of legislation is in doubt it should construed in a manner that preserves its constitutionality as long as reasonable. One weakness with Roberts’ application of this doctrine is that it is not clear that he is so much interpreting the statute charitably in order to preserve its constitutionality as he is neglecting to determine or apply a straightforward definition of “tax” under the Constitution. That said, the importance of this weakness is doubtful insomuch as it is doubtful that such an effort would have produced a definition that would not have embraced the levy at issue, especially if the examination is substantive.

    The key to Roberts’ opinion is his decision to discard formalism in favor of substance. This decision is also open to criticism. First, to the extent it is grounded in the idea that such an interpretive approach is reasonable and necessary in in order to preserve the Act’s constitutionality, Roberts may be confusing (i) the very real obligation to interpret a statute’s substance in whatever reasonable way available to render it constitutional with (ii) a putative by unsupported obligation to select whatever reasonable interpretive approach (i.e., form versus substance) that is available to save the statute.

    In the end, while Roberts’ opinion is not immune from criticism, such criticisms are both technical and not free from doubt. Moreover, the decision’s lasting legacies are likely to be a more robust limitation on Congress’s ability to (i) use its Commerce Clause power to enact what is substantively police power legislation and (ii) use its spending power to coerce states to conform to its will. These legacies may well prove more important that the Act’s survival (for the moment), as odious as that Act may be.

    Finally, folks should remember that when confirmed, Roberts emphasized the importance he attached to deferring to legislative action. Accordingly, his opinion should not be considered all that surprising.

    P.S. Hang in there, Don.

  • “The fact of the matter is that Congress may constitutionally impose a tax in the amount of the mandate’s associated “penalty” that can be reduced by a credit for purchased health insurance.”

    Is this contextually true, Mike? I thought that the entire novelty of the matter was that even in the form of a tax, Congress had never imposed a tax on a non-transaction.

  • You bet it is true. The Constitution even expressly contemplates the possiblity of a capitation (i.e., head) tax. The only expressed limits on Congressional taxing power are apportionment and uniformity requirements, though all constitutional scholars acknowledge that the power to tax may be constrained by the Bill of Rights. For instance, a direct tax on speech would be invalid.

    No, the Act’s presumed novelty rested on the assumption that it represented an exercise of Congress’s commerce clause power, which many scholars hypothesized could not be extended to include requiring an activity, even in commerce. Roberts merely recast the mandate as being not only an insurance requirement subject to penalty but a tax incentive to encourage insurance. It is a line-drawing contest over which reasonable lawyers could disagree. Roberts ultimately decided that it could go either way, but gave greater weight to the doctrine requiring courts to interpret statutes in a manner that would render them valid than to the fact that Congress chose to call the levy a penalty rather than tax.

  • Except the Chief Justice himself expressly states that this is not a capitation.

    All given examples of tax incentives are tax credits. There is a distinction between a credit and a tax. Just because my neighbor who rents and makes the same amount of money as me pays higher taxes (due to my tax burden being lighter because of the homeowner credit) doesn’t mean he is being taxed for renting. The novelty here is that for the first time a person is taxed for not doing something.

    This is not a tax incentive. It’s a tax.

  • Thanks Mike Petrik.
    ” lasting legacies are likely to be a more robust limitation on Congress’s ability to (i) use its Commerce Clause power to enact what is substantively police power legislation and (ii) use its spending power to coerce states to conform to its will. These legacies may well prove more important that the Act’s survival (for the moment), as odious as that Act may be”
    I think the ball is in the people’s court now (maybe a baad choice of words.) but that robust limitation has to ultimately come from us, n’est ce pas?

  • Mike, where would be a good place to start in researching this?

    “Roberts merely recast the mandate as being not only an insurance requirement subject to penalty but a tax incentive to encourage insurance.”

    Tax incentives such as lower rates, tax credits, etc are one thing. Conflating tax incentives such as this with tax “incentives” of punishing non-activity appears to be separate question. Any examples that would shed light on this from your perspective?

  • Paul,

    Unfortunately for you, I agree. In substance the mandate’s “penalty” can be fairly described as a tax, which is precisely why Roberts upheld Congress’s authority under its taxing power. The fact that this tax can be avoided by receiving credit for insurance is precisely an incentive credit. The fact that this tax is not a capitation is not relevant at all. My reference to capitation was only in response to Paul’s question whether taxes could be levied on inactivity, which is made plain by the fact that even a capitation tax would be constitutional. Paul, if you are claiming that a tax cannot be levied for doing nothing, then you have a mighty idiosyncratic and non-literal understanding of the constitution.

    And there was no sophistry in my post, nor in Roberts’ opinion; though I concede my sense is uncommon!

  • Mark Levin shreds the idea that the commerce clause limitation will have any lasting import. Also, as I noted yesterday, the Court did not do anything drastically different in this regards than it already had previously under the Rehnquist regime.

    I understand the desire to be optimistic and find silver linings. But as Pat Archbold said, please stop.

    I just want to add Scott Wilson’s comment from that Mark Levin post:

    Whatever it is or isn’t, probably doesn’t matter practically, for even it was part of the opinion’s central legal holding, you’d have to be delusional to believe that a precedent establishing a limiting principal on the Commerce Clause would mean anything to any future Court with a liberal majority. It wouldn’t.
    However, you can bet grandma’s silver that the broad reading of the Tax Clause will be cited as supporting precedent for every Court from here until the Chinese finally foreclose on our sorry behinds.

  • The fact that this tax can be avoided by receiving credit for insurance is precisely an incentive credit.

    So I can avoid being taxed for not buying a car by buying a car? I can avoid being taxed for not buying broccoli by buying broccoli? Sense, this makes none.

    Again, there is nothing at all normal with applying a tax to a non-activity and saying it’s merely an incentive. The only way this would work is if all of our taxes were raised by whatever amount the penalty is, and then we receive a credit for purchasing insurance. Now you might say that the two ways of going about this are substantively the same, but in fact they are two different approaches. One of them has the good fortune of being constitutional.

  • Again, as I said in my analysis yesterday, there is absolutely nothing in the plain constitutional language that anticipates this kind of a selective tax, capitation or no.

  • I apologize for my apaulling lack of precision. Please understand that my last post was directed to Paul Z.

    Paul B,
    Justice Roberts recasting of the mandate can best be understood by simply reading his opinion, which is what I did. I’m sure there are some good explications out there, but I have not relied on them.
    It is true that a penalty and a tax are not the same thing, but the fact remains that many levies are close calls. There are literally hundreds of cases dealing with the distinction precisely because courts often have to draw lines in difficult cases, and these decisions all agree that the nomenclature, while relevant, is not dispositive. Basically, Roberts determined that because the levy operated exactly like a tax that could be reduced by a credit for the cost of insurance it operated like a tax coupled with an incentive credit. As I mentioned above, reasonable criticisms can be asserted against Roberts’ reasoning, but such criticisms are not so compelling that Roberts deserves to receive the invectives being launched.

  • I actually do agree with Mike that the tax/penalty distinction isn’t that clear-cut – it’s probably the least bad part of Roberts’ decision. My main issues are with his inconsistency (it’s a tax when it comes to the mandate, not a tax for purposes of the anti-Injunction act), the fact that all parties involved originally said it’s not a tax, and of course the dubiousness of taxing a non-activity.

  • Oh, and the Chief deserves every bit of scorn being thrown at him today. I will say that I haven’t quite given up on him, and hold out hope that he hasn’t become another David Souter – in fact I very much doubt it. But his ruling yesterday was in fact the very definition of judicial activism, and that’s a phrase I actually don’t like very much.

  • Paul Z,
    The constitution is plain. Congress may levy any tax as long as (i) it satisfies relevant apportionment and uniformity requirements and (ii) it is not incompatible with any other constitutional provision. Anticipation (let alone “normal”) has nothing to do with anything.
    You concede that Congress could have accomplished the same thing by raising everyone’s taxes and then providing a credit for purchasing insurance, but then say that that this distinction in vocabulary is of constitutional moment. Perhaps, but the doctrine that substance should prevail over form is pretty well-entrenched, especially when it comes to taxes. Even the dissent applied the doctrine, but ultimately decided that the levy was in substance a penalty.
    The keys here are (i) does one think that form should prevail (i.e., Congress said it’s a penalty and therefore it cannot be a tax) and (ii) if not, is the levy in substance a penalty or a tax. There is a lot of law on (ii) and Roberts does a weak job of exploiting it (as does the dissent), but as a lawyer who knows that law well I can assure you that his conclusion that it is a close case is probably correct. Roberts then says the close case should be resolved in favor of considering the levy a tax since such an interpretation would preserve the levy’s constitutionality. This is a straightforward application of a time-honored principle of construction.
    Roberts opinion can be criticized, and the dissent does score some points (though they have weaknesses too). But the criticisms you have shared are without legal merit. I fear you are committing the cardinal sin of liberals, which is you regard a law as being so odious that it must be unconstitutional. In this case you are at least half right — the law is odious for sure. Whether it is saved by the taxing power is a hard call. One can disagree with Roberts, no doubt, but Roberts opinion is not lawless or without merit.

  • Paul Z,
    I’m afraid I have to disagree with you on the disparate meanings of tax for purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act and the Constitution. On this, I think Roberts is plainly correct that they are not the same. Whether he is right on his understanding of the constitutional definition is a closer call, and I’ve not been shy about sharing its weaknesses with my happy lefty friends, but again in a measured way.
    I hope that we conservatives can appreciate not only that sometimes principle requires us to sustain laws that are bad and reject laws that are good, but also that it is just possible that Roberts was simply trying to apply proper principles as correctly as he could. That is what a judge should do.

  • Mike – I think one reason a lot of conservatives are angry at Roberts is that the other four “good” justices came to the opposite conclusion. Can you tell me, what are the weaknesses in their dissent that you alluded to?

  • Gotta go, Pinky, but will try this weekend. But basically they give a lot more weight to the fact that the levy is called a penalty than what courts generally do in these cases. I tend to sympathize with them because I tend to think that if the legislature wants deference as to constitutionality (i.e., court should adopt whatever reasonable interpretation that preserves constitutionality) then it should accept deference in its own characterization of the law (in this case, penalty not tax). But to be fair, I don’t think that is where the weight of authority is. Ultimately, this all comes down to how charitable a judge should be in interpreting a law so that it is constitutional. Even Roberts conceded that the characterization of the levy as a tax was not remotely compelled, but he was more willing to defer to that characterization as a reasonable one in order to save the law. The dissent seemed to not even take that possiblity seriously, which is hard to understand. They more or less concluded that on balance the levy was better classified as a penalty (something Roberts does not really deny), and viewed that as dispositive.

  • No wonder lawyers charge $300 an hour.

  • @ Joe Green: Michael Savage’s remark about CJ Roberts’ epilepsy just show how ignorant he is. You do yourself no credit by repeating him.

    1.) given all the condemnation of Roberts, will anyone consder the possibility that the ruling actually reflects his honest opinion (or as close to it as he could get four other Justices to agree to)?

    2.) maybe he’s pulling a “switch in time to save nine”?

    3.) I’m not a lawyer but didn’t the Chief Justice do us a favor uphold the ACA as a tax rather on Commerce Clause or Necessary & Proper grounds? Doesn’t that throw the whole thing back into Congress?

    Btw, buried in Justice Ginsberg’s opinion:
    “Other provisions of the Constitution also check congressional overreaching. A mandate to purchase a particular product would be unconstitutional if, for example, the edict impermissibly abridged the freedom of speech, interfered with the free exercise of religion, or infringed on a liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause.”

  • But the criticisms you have shared are without legal merit. I fear you are committing the cardinal sin of liberals, which is you regard a law as being so odious that it must be unconstitutional.

    Or perhaps as someone who has actually studied the Constitution I have considered the constitutional questions and find Roberts’ logic wanting. I recognize that not having a law degree leaves me without the incredible ability to stretch words beyond all recognizable recognition, so I guess I am just lacking in that regard.

    Take care Mike.

  • “Recently, I became aware that he has arranged for the election totals of 17 states to be sent directly to a company in Spain to be tallied—-with no oversight; no guarantee of election tampering or fraud.”

    Tin-foil hat bunk Tess.
    I have heard the same, only that George Soros (I own the world) owns the company. That is scary.

  • It’s not the SC’s fault that this major crap sandwich will harm the majority of we the people.

    Anyhow, FTSC.

  • “For instance, a direct tax on speech would be invalid”. How about a direct tax on the free exercise of conscience or a penalty for Liberty? “or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” A tax or penalty to burden the free exercise thereof?

  • Lawyers: think of a man, then take away reason and accountability. Don’t bother adding back in the appealing qualities of women.

  • “For instance, a direct tax on speech would be invalid”. How about a direct tax on the free exercise of conscience or a penalty for Liberty? “or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” A tax or penalty to burden the free exercise thereof?
    And then there is the matter of all the exemptions from Obamacare. For whom and why? This is the item that defines penalty or tax for the exemptees. It appears to me that the commerce clause may only be invoked for FREE ENTERPRISE, not a monstrosity invented by the government. This mandate is not FREE ENTERPRISE. Tax some but not all, penalize some but not all? The exemption defies the definition of FREE ENTERPRISE. the penalty defies the definition of LIBERTY. Obamacare defies the existence of the human soul and predicates its existence on citizenship, a citizenship that is being subjected to RAPE OF THE HUMAN SOUL.

  • In reading these comments by Mary De Voe and others, something occurred to me (that perhaps someone else already articulated): this tax or levy or penalty or whatever one wishes to call it that would be imposed on those not acquiring medical insurance is akin to forcing us to be subjects of the Imperium Americanum. Think about it. Everyone is forced to have medical insurance in order to ensure healthy subjects in service to the State. Those who do not obtain such on their own are taxed because presumably government would provide it for them, the goal being subjects healthy and productive towards the aims and needs of the State. It isn’t the citizen who is sovereign, but government. And indeed the citizen isn’t any longer a citizen but a subject.

    Hasn’t an analogous thing happened with TSA frisk downs of senior citizens and young children at airports? These rules, ostenisbly for our safety, are really nothing more than reminders that we are not citizens but subjects. And it is exactly that kind of mentality on the part of government that warrants action. I am not and shall never ever be Obama’s subject, but he is treating all of us in exactly this way.

    (Yeah, I know the analogy isn’t perfect, and that TSA started up under Obama’s predecessor, but only when the Democrats in Congress forced Homeland Security down his throat. However, that’s a subject for a different blog entry and not this one.)

  • This nation has banned the free exercise of religion in the public square to God, Himself and now this administration wishes to impose restrictions, taxes and/or penalties for not serving mammon.

  • Paul: “It isn’t the citizen who is sovereign, but government. And indeed the citizen isn’t any longer a citizen but a subject.”
    You made me think. The existence of the person’s soul is rejected by the government. The government is taking possession of the person’s soul and is remaking him into someone who is not sovereign, something only the person can do by surrender of his will to God, never to government, as government is an artificial person.

  • “given all the condemnation of Roberts, will anyone consder the possibility that the ruling actually reflects his honest opinion (or as close to it as he could get four other Justices to agree to)?”

    Its a possibility Thomas, but an unlikely one. Roberts was obviously straining mightily throughout his decision to find some ground by which he could vote to uphold ObamaCare and he fastened on the very unconvincing tax argument. I think it more likely that Roberts feared the criticism that the Court would get from the Left if ObamaCare was ruled unconstitutional on a 5-4 vote. I think Krauthammer has nailed it:

    “That’s Roberts, philosophical conservative. But he lives in uneasy coexistence with Roberts, custodian of the court, acutely aware that the judiciary’s arrogation of power has eroded the esteem in which it was once held. Most of this arrogation occurred under the liberal Warren and Burger courts, most egregiously with Roe v. Wade. More recently, however, few decisions have occasioned more bitterness and rancor than Bush v. Gore, a 5-4 decision split along ideological lines. Roberts seems determined that there be no recurrence with Obamacare. Roberts’ concern was that the court do everything it could to avoid being seen, rightly or wrongly, as highhandedly overturning sweeping legislation passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president.

    How to reconcile the two imperatives — one philosophical and the other institutional? Assign yourself the task of writing the majority opinion. Find the ultimate finesse that manages to uphold the law but only on the most narrow of grounds — interpreting the individual mandate as merely a tax, something generally within the power of Congress.

    Result? The law stands, thus obviating any charge that a partisan court overturned duly passed legislation. And yet at the same time the Commerce Clause is reined in.

    Law upheld, Supreme Court’s reputation for neutrality maintained. Commerce Clause contained, constitutional principle of enumerated powers reaffirmed. ”

    I fear the major constitutional ruling of the day was decided by a man who is much more concerned about the prestige of the Supreme Court than he is about the law.
    The dissent sums it up well:

    “The court today decides to save a statute Congress did not write. It rules that what the statute declares to be a requirement with a penalty is instead an option subject to a tax. And it changes the intentionally coercive sanction of a total cut-off of Medicaid funds to a supposedly noncoercive cut-off of only the incremental funds that the Act makes available.

    “The court regards its strained statutory interpretation as judicial modesty. It is not. It amounts instead to a vast judicial overreaching. It creates a debilitated, inoperable version of health-care regulation that Congress did not enact and the public does not expect. It makes enactment of sensible health-care regulation more difficult, since Congress cannot start afresh but must take as its point of departure a jumble of now senseless provisions, provisions that certain interests favored under the Court’s new design will struggle to retain. And it leaves the public and the States to expend vast sums of money on requirements that may or may not survive the necessary congressional revision.

    “The court’s disposition, invented and atextual as it is, does not even have the merit of avoiding constitutional difficulties. It creates them. The holding that the Individual mandate is a tax raises a difficult constitutional question (what is a direct tax?) that the court resolves with inadequate deliberation. And the judgment on the Medicaid expansion issue ushers in new federalism concerns and places an unaccustomed strain upon the Union….

    “The values that should have determined our course today are caution, minimalism and the understanding that the Federal Government is one of limited powers. But the Court’s ruling undermines those values at every turn. In the name of restraint, it overreaches. In the name of constitutional avoidance, it creates new constitutional questions. In the name of cooperative federalism, it undermines state sovereignty.”

    As in Roe this decision resovlves nothing and merely sets the stage for a battle royal over this issue until Obamacare is repealed. Roberts served the law, the Court and his country ill.

  • It is a tax. Roberts did not wish to infer that citizens faithful to their conscience, exercising their First Amendment rights were being penalized with a penalty for being innocent. This would make Obamacare illegal. It could not be called a “law”. Furthermore, as a tax, imposed to further the agenda of Obama, the IRS is a mechanism that can be employed to confiscate property for unpaid taxes. I believe that I read this in an earlier comment.
    Our Constitution is the only kind in the whole world that has the power to protect its citizens against tyranny.

  • T Shaw,

    Canada is certainly an example of fiscal sanity compared to the USA. However, I cannot take Canada’s policies towards homosexuality and abortion. If my family goes anywhere it will be Chile or Poland.

    However, I am not giving up without a fight. This entire stinking law is a tax increase which can be repealed through the budget reconciliation process. 218 votes in the House, 51 votes in the Senate and Romney’s signature and the whole mess will be repealed. Those who agree with me must make this happen – and ObumblerCare is not the only federal law that needs repealed.

  • I rather think Paul W Primavera is drawing a false distinction between citizen and subject

    Those who make up the state are known collectively as the People who, in a democracy, are sovereign. The individuals who make up the people are called citizens, as sharing in the sovereign power, and subjects, as being under the laws that the People enact.

    As Rousseau notes, “But it is asked how a man can be both free and forced to conform to wills that are not his own. How are the opponents at once free and subject to laws they have not agreed to?” The answer is obvious. “When a law is proposed, what the people is asked is not exactly whether it approves or rejects the proposal, but whether it is in conformity with the general will, which is their will. Each, in giving his vote, states his opinion on that point; and the general will is found by counting votes. When therefore the opinion that is contrary to my own prevails, this proves neither more nor less than that I was mistaken, and that what I thought to be the general will was not so. If my particular opinion had carried the day I should have achieved the opposite of what was my will; and it is in that case that I should not have been free”

    Thus, “whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free.”

  • PF:

    Right. I am older (I refuse to grow up!).

    I can still write checks and vote.

    MP-S:

    I have lived long enough to learn that the US Constitution empowers Congress to take (tax) everything I have.

    Unexpectedly, the US private sector is screwed.

  • If I were 20 or 25 years younger, and the question of whether to marry or have children were still an open question for me, I have to say I would kind of sympathize with the anonymous hand-wringing commenter from CMR. On the one hand, conservative/traditional Catholics keep emphasizing how the world is going to hell in a handbasket and we face financial ruin, poverty, persecution, martyrdom, and God knows what else; yet they also keep emphasizing how we’re supposed to be open to life and have lots of children. Yes, yes, I know that life is always a good even when touched by earthly suffering and we have to trust in God. Still, it seems that painting a horrific picture of the future is not exactly the way to encourage people to start families (although that is really what this society needs). This may be a bit harsh but it reminds me of Jesus’ saying that the Pharisees placed great burdens upon people but didn’t lift a finger to help carry them.

  • “Those who make up the state are known collectively as the People who, in a democracy, are sovereign.”

    The nation was NOT founded as a national democracy. It was founded as a Christian Constitutional Republic.

    Sadly, I don’t know enough about these matters to argue further other than to say I am and shall never be Obama’s subject, and that is exactly what he and the Democratic Party intend for all of us.

  • @Tom Collins. Hey, Tom, don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just relaying what I thought was an interesting point of view. A mental impairment such as epilepsy could very well impact the ability to think. On the other hand, I prefer to believe that Roberts merely wanted to find a way to “save the act” no matter what. Just like Lincoln wanted to “save the union” no matter what. Even if it cost 660,000 lives.

  • The responsibilty for every one of those lives Joe rests squarely on the shoulders of those who attempted to destroy the nation to preserve their “right” to hold their fellow Americans as slaves.

  • “If I were 20 or 25 years younger, and the question of whether to marry or have children were still an open question for me, I have to say I would kind of sympathize with the anonymous hand-wringing commenter from CMR. ”

    I would not Elaine. First of all because such hysteria over our current situation is completely unwarranted. Second, because none of us would be here if our ancestors had not brought children into this world, frequently in situations that make our current world seem like a paradise in comparison. Life is a grand adventure, sometimes a hard and scary one, but always an adventure. I have no patience with those who moan their way through this life that God has given us.

  • Game over……a majority of Americans now want to live on free “obama bucks” and let the Gov. pay for everything. The worse things get the more we will need obama to take care of our ever need, want and desire. From food stamps to free health insurance, to gay marriage, to contraception, to abortion…….Obama will take care of us all.

    Yes, some of you foolish conseratives still think people should have some responsibility for themselves but that is so old school. Our country wants it’s obama bucks and we want them now and forever!

  • Don,
    If you read the transcript from the March 26 oral argument, you will see that even then Roberts was very intrigued by how the penalty essentially operated like a tax.
    I enjoy reading Krauthammer — he’s a smart gent. But explaining Supreme Court opinions via psychoanalysis is not a serious sport. Roberts opinion is a strong one, even if it does have weaknesses, as they all do actually.

  • Defeatist rubbish. How do you explain the outcome of the 2010 elections based upon your analysis?

  • I disagree Mike. Although well written and brilliant in places it is a bizarre opinion that was obviously written to find some ground by which Roberts could vote to uphold ObamaCare. I find his tax argument simply a pretext to uphold it and a shamefully weak pretext. As the dissent noted:

    “For all these reasons, to say that the Individual Mandate merely imposes a tax is not to interpret the statute but to rewrite it. Judicial tax-writing is particularly troubling. Taxes have never been popular, see, e.g., Stamp Act of 1765, and in part for that reason, the Constitution requires tax increases to originate in the House of Representatives. See Art. I, §7, cl. 1. That is to say, they must originate in the legislative body most accountable to the people, where legislators must weigh the need for the tax against the terrible price they might pay at their next election, which is never more than two years off. The Federalist No. 58 “defend[ed] the decision to give the origination power to the House on the ground that the Chamber that is more accountable to the people should have the primary role in raising revenue.” United States v. Munoz-Flores, 495 U. S. 385, 395 (1990). We have no doubt that Congress knew precisely what it was doing when it rejected an earlier version of this legislation that imposed a tax instead of a requirement-with-penalty. See Affordable Health Care for America Act, H. R. 3962, 111th Cong., 1st Sess., §501 (2009); America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009, S. 1796, 111th Cong., 1st Sess., §1301. Imposing a tax through judicial legislation inverts the constitutional scheme, and places the power to tax in the branch of government least accountable to the citizenry.

    Finally, we must observe that rewriting §5000A as a tax in order to sustain its constitutionality would force us to confront a difficult constitutional question: whether this is a direct tax that must be apportioned among the States according to their population. Art. I, §9, cl. 4. Perhaps it is not (we have no need to address the point); but the meaning of the Direct Tax Clause is famously unclear, and its application here is a question of first impression that deserves more thoughtful consideration than the lick-and-a-promise accorded by the Government and its supporters. The Government’s opening brief did not even address the question—perhaps because, until today, no federal court has accepted the implausible argument that §5000A is an exercise of the tax power.And once respondents raised the issue, the Government devoted a mere 21 lines of its reply brief to the issue. Petitioners’ Minimum Coverage Reply Brief 25. At oral argument, the most prolonged statement about the issue was just over 50 words. Tr. of Oral Arg. 79 (Mar. 27, 2012). One would expect this Court to demand more than fly-by-night briefing and argument before deciding a difficult constitutional question of first impression.”
    http://www.maggiesnotebook.com/2012/06/obamacare-scotus-dissent-transcript-scalia-kennedy-thomas-alito-verbal-wizardry/

  • Fair enough, Don. We’ll just disagree. But as a tax lawyer I can tell you this is a tax dressed up as something else. Whether the Court should have respected the clothing is a fair question. I say yes, but Roberts’ position that the clothing must give way to the substance if necessary to save an act’s validity is more than defensible. Moreover, I bet he really believes it, and I can’t criticize, let alone ridicule, him for that.

    Frankly, I have been somewhat embarrassed by the criticism and ridicule — they are replete with invective and conclusory assertions, but devoid of analysis. More in keeping with the crude anti-intellectual black and white approaches used by fundies, than the careful analysis expected of Catholics.

    As for the quoted dissent, it is not especially convincing. Roberts wasn’t re-writing anything. He simply examined the mandate’s operation and noted that it operated as a tax even if it wasn’t called such. It is not shocking for a judge to resist form and nomenclature in favor of substance. As noted, I think the Court should have in this case, but I regard it as a close call where reasonable jurists can disagree, with that disagreement grounded in their jurisprudence rather than their politics. It is profoundly uncharitable to assume otherwise.

  • Mike I believe there is a fascinating back story here, especially if, as many suspect, Roberts flipped during the writing of the decision. The full story will come out sooner or later, and I hope it is sooner.

    http://prospect.org/article/reading-tea-leaves-supreme-court-opinions

  • Don, I’m aware of the back story as well as rebuttals to it.

    http://www.volokh.com/2012/06/29/did-chief-justice-roberts-change-his-vote-perhaps-not/

    Hard to say, but not likely we’ll ever know enough to satisfy everyone’s appetite for conspiracies and intrigue.

  • I think within a decade or two we will know everything about the back story, at least judging from how long it has taken for the behind the scenes decision making on other decisions to come out. I hope it is sooner than that since I do not want to wait until I am 65 or 75!

  • WE ALL NEED TO TAKE A GOOD LONG LOOK IN THE MIRROR! You might think you’re the greatest christian on earth. We are here for a reason. Between the infiltration of so called liberalism in our own Church, and the people’s refusal to stand for life way back in the late 60’s and 70’s, the situation is indeed dire. Things always have to get so bad before action is taken. The evil one is alive and well and knows the vulnerabilty and weakness of the human spirit. Man up! Woman up! We are being called to defend the faith. It’s not going to be pretty but it is the right thing to do.

  • Thus, “whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free.”
    FREEDOM is from God. “…force to be free”???
    Rousseau was an atheist who did not believe in the human being’s immortal soul. Given the reins of government Rousseau would be doing what Obama is doing, taxing people without recourse to defending their immortal souls. Atheism is established as religion, abortion, pornography, blasphemy and the like, prove my point. Rousseau lives again in Obama.

  • Galatians 4:30
    But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”

    For thousands of years, Don, slavery was tolerated by the Jews. There are hundreds of references in Scripture that differentiate between “slave” and “free.” To this day the distinction is what sets the sons of Ishmael and Isaac against each other.

  • Indeed Joe, along with many other evils. American slavery endured for 250 years, a crime and a stain on a nation dedicated to freedom.

  • To this day the distinction is what sets the sons of Ishmael and Isaac against each other.

    I’d say it’s more likely the whole “blowing up pizza parlors during birthday parties and shooting rockets at school buses” is a bigger point. Just my oh so humble view.

    For thousands of years slavery was “tolerated” by every single group; it’s still practiced in much of the world. (including those who cheer at their buddies being brave enough to blow up little kids, if not by those murderers themselves)
    It’s not great, but it is a human history thing.

  • I do think it was a political decision on Robert’s part. I worry about the voters as too many will just come to accept the ruling by November. I still hope Romney will get elected but how many decease voters will be voting? The same with the senate. I pray that Obama doesn’t get re-elected as he scares me but I wonder which next group he will pander to next week.

  • Mary De Voe

    As a a matter of fact, Rousseau’s religion was very similar to Jefferson’s – “There remains therefore the religion of man or Christianity — not the Christianity of to-day, but that of the Gospel, which is entirely different. By means of this holy, sublime, and real religion all men, being children of one God, recognise one another as brothers, and the society that unites them is not dissolved even at death.” He clearly believed in God and in the immortality of the soul.

    Again, he speaks of “ the purely internal cult of the supreme God and the eternal obligations of morality, is the religion of the Gospel pure and simple, the true theism, what may be called natural divine right or law.”

  • M Mary and Michael
    The founders were very influenced by the thinking of the Prot reformation– and the quote you gave Michael indicates to me that the deist Rousseau was thinking like a protestant that there once was a true christianity somehow lost by the Church.
    Our founders were brilliant and good men, but I think a more thorough understanding of Catholicism would have been a better protection for their great experiment.
    The Founders knew that morality provided by religion was necessary for democracy to work. They did not want to say what religion that should be, although in different places we hear an “understood” Christianity.
    The title is “Man up Conservatives– I guess Catholic thinkers have to lead the way, since protestantism (if not protestants) tends to be liberal, whereas Catholicism is inherently conservative

  • “whereas Catholicism is inherently conservative”

    I would like to think that Anzlyne, but the history of many Catholic nations, France and Italy come to mind, do not support such an assumption. Quebec produced a fairly, conservative, if not reactionary society, and then came “The Quiet Revolution” of the 1960’s and they tossed the Church and everything else, except for a fairly cranky nationalism, out the window, and now they are one of the more socially radical societies around.

  • Yes that is true. There are plenty of liberal Catholics and plenty of groups of Catholics (even nations) that behave as liberals. The authoritarian aspect of Catholicism (which as you indicate in Canada) may drive people to abandon the faith and become only cultural catholics (more liberal and more protestant).
    The claimed authority over faith and morals ( behaviors) is seen by some as a threat to democracy but it ( the conservativism that comes with “orhtodox catholocism ) can be seen as helping even insuring our civil experiment

  • Anzlyne

    Rousseau was, indeed, a Protestant and congratulated his native city of Geneva on being able “to rank, among its best citizens, those zealous depositaries of the sacred articles of faith established by the laws, those venerable shepherds of souls whose powerful and captivating eloquence are so much the better calculated to bear to men’s hearts the maxims of the Gospel, as they are themselves the first to put them into practice. All the world knows of the great success with which the art of the pulpit is cultivated at Geneva; but men are so used to hearing divines preach one thing and practise another, that few have a chance of knowing how far the spirit of Christianity, holiness of manners, severity towards themselves and indulgence towards their neighbours, prevail throughout the whole body of our ministers.”

    Like the Founders, he was very much the heir of Calvin and of Beza.

  • Donald R McClarey

    In fact, many French conservatives, especially of the New Right (Nouvelle Droit) regard Liberalism as the product of Christianity.

    “Actually, one finds in Christianity the seeds of the great mutations that gave birth to the secular ideologies of the first post-revolutionary era. Individualism was already present in the notion of individual salvation and of an intimate and privileged relation between an individual and God that surpasses any relation on earth. Egalitarianism is rooted in the idea that redemption is equally available to all mankind, since all are endowed with an individual soul whose absolute value is shared by all humanity. Progressivism is born of the idea that history has an absolute beginning and a necessary end, and that it unfolds globally according to a divine plan. Finally, universalism is the natural expression of a religion that claims to manifest a revealed truth which, valid for all men, summons them to conversion. Modern political life itself is founded on secularized theological concepts. Reduced to an opinion among others, today Christianity has unwittingly become the victim of the movement it started. In the history of the West, it became the religion of the way out of religion.”

    In their view, the Catholic Church always required the support of the secular arm to repress the anarchic tendencies inherent in Christianity, whilst they admire it for its conservative principles of hierarchy, corporatism and state-sanctioned religion.

  • thanks Michael – if I knew that about Rousseau before I had forgotten it!
    I still stand by my statement that a more thorough understanding of Catholicism would have been a better protection for the great experiment of our generally deist and protestant founders.

    We Catholics today are also very shaped by protestantism and modernism that surrounds us
    Egalitarianism — when it shades to secularism it is much different than equality in the eye of God
    I see the point about Christianity being misused and misapplied against itself.

  • Call me a pessimist if you will, but is Mitt Romney really going to be any better than Obama? He’s on record as saying he wouldn’t need Congress’s approval to fight Iran–even though only Congress Constitutionally has the authority to declare war–which means he’s planning to break his oath of office before he’s even made it! Can it really be anything but a grave sin to vote for either man? Honestly, of the four candidates that have enough votes to be likely to win, I don’t like any of them. I don’t feel that my conscience will allow me to vote for any of them, and I don’t think this is the time for compromise. I think we should be focusing on voting in better people in Congress, especially the Senate–and even more so, the State governments, let’s not forget those exist. They should be nullifying this thing and reasserting their authority. This is a federal union of States, and it’s about time we remembered that.

  • “Call me a pessimist if you will, but is Mitt Romney really going to be any better than Obama?”

    Yes much better, and I doubt the sanity of anyone who doubts that.

    “He’s on record as saying he wouldn’t need Congress’s approval to fight Iran”

    Give his exact words. My guess is that he was referring to an emergeny situation where Iran was about to launch an attack on the US.

    “Can it really be anything but a grave sin to vote for either man?”

    Rubbish.

    “Honestly, of the four candidates that have enough votes to be likely to win, I don’t like any of them.”

    One of two men is going to be President next year, Obama or Romney. I have no idea who the other two individuals are who you are referring to.

    “I don’t feel that my conscience will allow me to vote for any of them, and I don’t think this is the time for compromise.”

    Cue the melodramatic music.

    “I think we should be focusing on voting in better people in Congress, especially the Senate–and even more so, the State governments, let’s not forget those exist. ”

    I think it is possible to vote in as many Republicans at all levels of government, while still making certain that Obama has to find new lodgings in January.

    “They should be nullifying this thing and reasserting their authority. This is a federal union of States, and it’s about time we remembered that.”

    Nullification, the first refuge of cranks in American history.

  • I can appreciate your replies to the above statements Donald, but the thought of a Mormon being in charge still makes me feel uneasy. Then again I am Australian (which is given away by my handle) and it probably isn’t appropriate for me to comment on the US election.

  • I am always queasy when a man’s ancestral faith is brought up against him Oz, Catholics have suffered from such prejudice too often. I do not believe that Romney’s Mormonism will play much of a role in the election, the efforts of Democrat operatives to incite religious bigotry against him notwithstanding.

  • and it probably isn’t appropriate for me to comment on the US election.

    Why not appropriate? Just make sure your commentary exceeds in quality that of Robert Hughes.

  • My apologies Donald. I wasn’t trying to incite bigotry. Everyone has the right to believe what they want including the President. My uneasiness is more to do with theological issues. As a Roman Catholic I am sure that you would be familiar with many of the Catholic theological objections to the foundations of the Mormon faith. As someone who would like someone in the White House with Catholic values you may feel uneasy about someone whose values are counter to these. (whether secular or another denomination) I do agree with your post (especially the first sentence) and yes for decades Catholics in America faced horrible prejudice as they did in Australia.
    So I want to say again, Donald that my post was not one of religious bigotry. And of course, Romney’s politics appear a lot more sound than those of Obama.

  • I would disagree with the theology of all American presidents OZ, except for JFK perhaps, who was far from a model Catholic. Those type of considerations simply do not enter into my voting decision, which focuses on the policy positions of candidates, their leadership ability and whether I think they are more good than bad for the country, or at least more good than bad than their opponents.

  • Advantage of being in favor of limited gov’t. Doesn’t matter much what their theology is, what you think they’ll do in a few limited instances is about it.

  • Thanks Donald. Fair points. As the JFK example shows, calling oneself a Catholic is no guarantee.
    RE: ltd government. I will say from the outset that I am not a Libertarian. I have no time for those who see Govt per se as the enemy. Of course I don’t believe in Big Govt but I also don’t believe in Laissez Faire. I came back to my faith a year ago after 20 years and yes, I am a conservative in the broadest sense of the term but since coming back I have been introduced to the ideas of Subsidiarism and Catholic social justice which I feel is far removed from Libertarianism. Perhaps the problem is centralised government (ie big govt) as opposed to govt per se. I am new to your blog Donald so am not familiar with your older posts but are you a subscriber to Subsidiarism? If so can you provide me with some links to find out more? Of course I will also do some googling myself.

  • On the subject of Catholic governments, I came across this very interesting passage in a speech made by Alexis de Tocqueville as a Deputy in the National Assembly (12 septembre 1848) I do not know if it has been translated into English

    “The Ancien Régime, in fact, held that wisdom lay only in the State and that the subjects were weak and feeble beings who must always be led by the hand, for fear they fall over or harm themselves. It held that it was necessary incessantly to obstruct, thwart, restrain individual freedom, that to assure an abundance of material goods it was necessary to regulate industry and to impede free competition. The Ancien Régime believed, on this point, precisely like the socialists of today. And who thought otherwise, pray? The French Revolution.” [My translation]

    The same was true of almost all the Catholic Powers of Europe, up to 1789.

    Similarly, the EU, that Leviathan of regulation and protectionism was largely the work of three Catholic politicians, Adenauer of Germany, Schumann of France and De Gasperi of Italy.

  • the led by the hand part makes me think of ” by” OR “for” the people?–
    whether the people have charge of the government, or vice versa..
    Tough balance.

    maybe De Toq was just a bit flamboyant in his characterization? : ” necessary incessantly to obstruct, thwart, restrain individual freedom”

Fortnight For Freedom Day Nine: Top Ten Movies For the Fourth of July

Friday, June 29, AD 2012

 Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it. 

John Adams

 

Beginning for two weeks, up to Independence Day, the Bishops are having a Fortnight For Freedom:

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First,  Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.

 

Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to  highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic  institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation  with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to  defend our most cherished freedom.

 

The fourteen days from June  21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to  July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for  freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face  of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More,  St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the  Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our  Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that  would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for  religious liberty.

 

We here at The American Catholic are participating in the Fortnight For Freedom with special blog posts on each day.  This is the ninth of these blog posts.

 

As we are embroiled now in a struggle to preserve our religious liberty, I think the Fourth of July is a good time to recall the price made to establish our liberties.  A number of feature films and miniseries have been made about the events of the American Revolution.  Here are my top ten choices for Fourth of July viewing:

10.  Ben and Me  (1953)- Something for the younger patriots.  Disney put to film the novel of Robert Lawson, Ben and Me, which related how many of Ben Franklin’s bright ideas came from his mouse Amos.  Quite a bit of fun.   Not a classic but certainly an overlooked gem.

9.  The Crossing (2000)-A retelling of Washington’s brilliant crossing of the Delaware on Christmas 1776 and the battle of Trenton.  This film would rank much higher on my list but for Jeff Daniels’ portrayal of Washington as sullen and out of sorts throughout the movie.  Washington had a temper, and he could give vent to it if provoked, although he usually kept it under control, but the peevish Washington portrayed here is simply ahistoric and mars an otherwise good recreation of the turning point of the Revolution.

8.  John Paul Jones (1959)  Robert Stack, just before he rose to fame in the Untouchables, is grand in the role of the archetypal American sea hero.  Bette Davis is absolutely unforgettable as Catherine the Great.  The climactic sea battle with the Serapis is well done, especially for those pre-CGI days.  The only problem with the film is that many of the details are wrong.  This is forgivable to a certain extent since scholarship on Jones was badly skewed by Augustus Buell in a two-volume “scholarly biography” which appeared in 1900.  Buell was a charlatan who made up many incidents about Jones and then invented sources to support his fabrications.  Buell was not completely exposed until Samuel Eliot Morison, Harvard professor of history, and an Admiral in the Navy, wrote his definitive biography of Jones. Here is a list of the fabrications of Buell compiled by Morison.  Morison’s book appeared after the movie, which is to be regretted.

7.  The Patriot (2000) Finally, a film which depicts the unsung contribution of Australians to victory in the American Revolution!  Actually not too bad of a film overall.  Heath Ledger is quite good as Gibson’s oldest son who joins the Continentals at the beginning of the war against his father’s wishes.  Jason Isaacs is snarlingly good as the evil Colonel Tavington, very loosely based on Banastre Tarleton, commander of Tarleton’s Raiders during the Southern Campaign.  The film of course allows Gibson to carry on his over-the-top vendetta against all things English.  No, the British did not lock up American civilians in churches and burn them alive.  However, the ferocity of the partisan fighting in the South is well depicted, and Banastre Tarleton  at the Waxhaw Massacre earned a reputation for slaughtering men attempting to surrender.  The final battle of the film is based on the battle of Cowpens where General Daniel Morgan decisively defeated Tarleton.

6.  Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)-A John Ford classic starring Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert.  Through the eyes of a young newlywed couple, Fonda and Colbert, the American Revolution on the frontier is depicted in the strategic Mohawk Valley.  Full of the usual Ford touches of heroism, humor and ordinary life.

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6 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom Day Nine: Top Ten Movies For the Fourth of July

  • I was “forced” to read “Johnny Tremain” in the 5th grade. That assignment was followed by “Rifles for Watie,” a very insightful look at the complexities of the Civil War. These are the books that inspired my fascination with miltary history and revolutionary politics, American-style. Only in later life did I realize the favor my teacher did for us. Would that educators still educated in such ways!

  • Great classics listed here. Another one is “Yankee Doodle Dandy” starring James Cagney as George M. Cohan.

  • Gibson’s character in “The Patriot” is based on Francis Marion, the “Swamp Fox.”

    Excellent point on the Revolution in the South–it was a brutal civil war, as battles like King’s Mountain demonstrated. It was also where most of the war was fought after Monmouth, as the Redcoats did not care to tangle with the vastly-improved Continentals in the north.

  • An excellent list. I agree with adding Yankee Doodle Dandy. Check out my book Christians at the Movies: A Century of Saints and Sinners for adding a Christian dimension to the list with such films as A Man for all Seasons, Becket, The Fighting Sullivans, The Fighting 69th, Sergeant York, and lesser known films that focus on Christians fighting for freedom from tyranny like The Prisoner, Joan of Paris, and the 1947 film The Fugitive about suppression of religion in Mexico

  • I watched the series on John Adams and agree it was superbly done. The Mel Gibson film might be considered offensive, but you have to remember that like the same actor’s ‘Braveheart’ it was fiction. The latter was worth sitting through on account of the battle scenes and the final 15 minutes when the Wallace character gets his just deserts.

  • It could have been worse for Wallace John. He could have been forced to sample some English cuisine! 🙂

Fulton J. Sheen declared Venerable by the Pope

Thursday, June 28, AD 2012

Although news and discussion about the Supreme Court’s decision is the main news topic of the day, there’s another news item that deserves mention: Fulton J. Sheen has been declared venerable by the Pope. With a miracle having already been submitted to the Vatican for review, it is not unlikely that Sheen will soon (soon in Vatican time, mind you) be beatified. 

This is an occasion of great rejoicing for me personally. Although far too young to have watched his Emmy-winning television show, It was Sheen’s Life of Christ that challenged me to become more than a cultural Catholic and and exposed me to some of the depths of Catholic theology. Sheen’s gift for distilling complicated Catholic teachings and presenting them to a broad audience was impressive; managing to keep those messages challenging to his audience & keeping that audience tuning was amazing. Moreover, Sheen was an unapologetic American, though always a Catholic first (he condemned the use of the atomic bomb). He was known for wearing full clerics, including his garb as bishop, into heavily Protestant areas.

The timing of his being declared venerable is impeccable. With the news today that the Church will have to fight the HHS mandate in the courts Fulton J. Sheen’s intercession is particularly important. Sheen provides us an example of an American who brought the Catholic faith unapologetically to the American people, showing that Catholicism could not only be tolerated by the American project but also that Catholicism had the potential to provide important and unique contributions to American society.

That is precisely the argument the Church needs to win in our time. It is not enough to win legal decisions striking down the mandate; we need to do more than convince the American people that Catholicism should be left alone to do whatever wacky things. Rather, we need to demonstrate that Catholicism brings something to our troubled times; that the teachings of the Church are not antiquated but rather provide a vibrant thriving message for happiness in the 21st century.

Whatever battles lie ahead for the Church in America, the intercession of Ven. Fulton J. Sheen will be invaluable. Ven. Fulton J. Sheen, ora pro nobis.

 

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13 Responses to Fulton J. Sheen declared Venerable by the Pope

  • Although far too young to have watched his Emmy-winning television show, It was Sheen’s Life of Christ that challenged me to become more than a cultural Catholic and and exposed me to some of the depths of Catholic theology. Sheen’s gift for distilling complicated Catholic teachings and presenting them to a broad audience was impressive; managing to keep those messages challenging to his audience & keeping that audience tuning was amazing.

    You forgot that he had an amazing voice. I’ve played his stuff on youtube, and had my formerly-agnostic husband come over and listen in silence.

  • This is awesome news. One thing my parents agreed on was their admiration of Fulton Sheen.

  • “Whatever battles lie ahead for the Church in America, the intercession of Ven. Fulton J. Sheen will be invaluable. Ven. Fulton J. Sheen, ora pro nobis.”

    Amen!

  • Good luck on the bar Michael. Thirty years ago I was studying for the Bar. I think I learned more from the Barbri course than I did in three years of law school!

  • One evening in the mid-1950’s I met Venerable Fulton J. Sheen in St. Patrick’s.

    Mother (RIP) and Grandmother (RIP) were thrilled: unforgettable. My young brother, John, was running amok and they were calling for him.

    Bishop Sheen told us, “My mother called me John.”

    I was also able (privileged) to visit and pray with his mortal remains in St. Patrick’s when he was born into eternal life.

  • I’m happy to hear this. If there is one person, besides Jesus Himself, it is Bishop Sheen who has kept my from going off the reservation totally. I still watch his sermons on EWTN and they are as relevant today as ever. I’ve read his autobiography, “Treasure in Clay,” every couple of years and find it is the best antidote to Hitchens’ “god is not great” and Mencken’s “Treatise on the Gods.”

  • Pingback: Chiara Petrillo Plenary Indulgence Medjugorje SSPX Sts. Peter & Paul | Big Pulpit
  • I was a little girl and would watch Bishop Sheen on TV with my mom. My mom always made time for his program. I catch replays of his sermons on Relevant Radio here in MN. I too think praying for his intercession would be a good thing. Also, I’m going to read his autobiography.

  • When we, the people, are free again as a nation, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen may be credited with another miracle, the big one for canonization.

  • Venerable Fulton Sheen was a truly holy man. For those who would like to learn about their faith in a deeper sense, I would reccomend two works. The first is a book, “Those Mysterious Priest” and the second is a retreat that he gave to priests in the 1970’s, “Cor Ad Cor Loquitor”(Heart Speaks to Heart). These two works will clarify the depth and beauty of our Church. Also always remember that Bishop Sheen always downplayed his importance and claimed all he did and said were possible through the Daily Holy Hour, he never missed. Try and get a Day of Adoration started in your parishes and pray for Sheen’s intercession, it will be successful and most rewarding.

  • Archbishop Sheen was a brilliant communicator, and, when listening to his talks, I never cease to be impressed and the power of his words and logic.

    I have been working my way through a 50 CD collection of his talks that is published by St. Joseph communications.

    Information on the the CD collection can be found here for those that are interested:
    http://www.saintjoe.com/prodinfo.asp?number=45

  • In the fall of 1962 a group of seminarian types including me met briefly with Uncle Fultie after mass outside the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in D. C. We expected another round–he had just delivered a rip roaring homily–of Sheen eloquence. The good bishop didn’t disappoint: Squinting at the circle of aspiring priests that eyed him with baited breaths, he said simply: “Fight the Devil.” And with a swoosh of his cape he turned and walked into the sunset. OK, ok, but there should have been a sunset.

  • And with a swoosh of his cape he turned and walked into the sunset. OK, ok, but there should have been a sunset.

    <3

The Majority Opinion that Became a Dissent

Thursday, June 28, AD 2012

If you had told me before the day started that John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy would have penned differing opinions on the Obamacare case, and that I’d be siding with the latter’s opinion, I would have said that you were nuts. Alas, it appears that John Roberts is the new Anthony Kennedy.

Ed Whelan has speculated that Chief Justice Roberts changed his vote at the last minute, and therefore the dissenting opinion was originally the majority opinion. He has a follow-up post that posits another theory supporting that notion, which also explains how that could be logistically possible. Having now fully digested the dissenting opinion, I am just about 99 percent certain that John Roberts did indeed change his vote, and that the dissenting opinion was the majority opinion until the Chief Justice changed his mind.

Frankly, the dissent just doesn’t read like a dissent at all. As Whelan points out, the dissenting opinion repeatedly alludes to Justice Ginsburg’s opinion as the dissent. In fact, the dissenters barely alludes to the Chief Justice’s opinion at all until the very end. The final couple of pages are a scathing attack on the majority’s opinion, heretofore unmentioned. It certainly seems like the dissenting Justices felt jilted by the Chief Justice, thus the unusually harsh rhetoric of the final few paragraphs of the dissent. Another sign that the dissenters were in the majority comes on the second page:

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36 Responses to The Majority Opinion that Became a Dissent

  • I wonder if Chief Justice Roberts believes that he has secured peace in our time with his decision.

  • This is a brilliant and thoughtful post and I love it. But I couldn’t help but not the double meaning at the spelling here-

    “left at the alter by the Chief Justice”

  • I meant to write NOTE the double meaning!

  • Ha! Good catch anzlyne. That was unintentional, thus I edited the post.

  • Chief Justice Roberts = Neville Chamberlain
    Barack Hussein Obama = Adolf Hitler

    Nothing could be clearer.

  • Oh, but Paul Z., “alter” is perhaps MORE correct.

    😉

  • If Roberts is such a spineless jellyfish, he should not serve on any court, anywhere.

    Honestly, I feel hatred toward the man. And yes, I recognize that that is a terrible sin, and I am praying for the hate to go away. But at the moment, it is difficult for me to feel any other emotion for the man who shoved a knife into the back of the USA today. And when I think that he is a young man and will be Chief Justice until he dies or retires, I feel utter despair for our future (and yes, I know despair is also a sin). It’s funny – I frequently feel anger toward and contempt for Obama, but I don’t hate him. I recognize that he is following his own principles, twisted though they may be. But Roberts – a man who has apparently caved because he couldn’t stand the heat? His legacy? His rightful place will be next to Justices Taney (Dred Scott) and Holmes(the government has a right to sterilize the mentally handicapped because “3 generations of imbeciles are enough.”

    But, hey, on the upside, I’m sure Roberts will get lots of invitations to chi-chi G-town parties now!

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  • On the other hand, by returning the issue to the political sphere, Roberts has put it back where it belongs. Sure, I wanted the mandate struck down so I could spike the ball and gloat…but the reality is that if the mandate had been found unconstitutional then the liberals just would have brought it back under different guises at a later date. Heck, even if struck down you have to figure Obama would continue to implement it by regulatory fiat (DREAM Act, anyone?). Upon reflection, I wish we hadn’t even brought it to the courts – the proper place for this battle is in the court of public opinion. Either we can convince a majority to repeal ObamaCare, or we can’t. If we can, then we’ve won the war – if we can’t, then striking down this particular law would do no long term good.

    Take this, my friends, as a blessing – we are not challenged to work with a will and, with our trust given to God, do what we know is the right thing.

  • Think, for a moment, just how dead gun control is – sure, some court decisions were helpful but, at the end of the day, it was an awakened American people determined to preserve their right to bear arms which made the issue politically toxic…and now the Courts follow the people on the matter. That is how not just Obama Care but all manifestations of socialism must be defeated…

  • I am reminded of the story about a bird that did not fly south for the winter. Stuck in a barnyard, nearly frozen to the ground, accepting fate that nothing was worse and it would die. A cow walked by and dropped a load of “out-put” on the hapless bird. But the dung was warm and there were undigested seeds. The bird was warmed, ate and then started to sing. That was when a barn cat came along and started to dig. Happy to be free the bird sang and stretched. And was promptly killed and consumed by the cat.

    Moral of the story, not everyone that craps on you is your enemy, not everyone that gets you out of s@#% is your friend, and if you are buried and happy, keep quiet about it.

    I do not believe that Chief Justice Roberts is our “enemy” nor do I think he is another Chamberlain. It was left to the voters to remedy the action of this Act of Congress. Otherwise from now until the end of the USA there will be the constant court battles to undo what was done by a prior administration.

    It can be done, through the ballot box and our elected Representatives, not from appointed judges that many of whom owe more allegiance to a political ideology than to justice.

  • Ah, yours is the calmer, wiser take on things, Mr. Noonan. I was so bitterly angry today and felt so betrayed….I pray you are right.

    I am a Burkean conservative, and as such, am frequently disgusted with Republicans professing to hate big government and yet voting for big government as soon as they get nice offices in DC. I hope for and fully expect Romney and a GOP Congress to strike down Obamacare. If they don’t, well, I will be done with the GOP. We will end our days as slaves to the Almighty State and there is nothing the little people like me can do about it.

    A few months ago, in confession, a priest reminded me to put not my trust in kings – or politicians, or hopped up lawyers (which is what Roberts is)….Yes, he was right.

  • BTW, it takes a full 10 minutes before I can download TAC and probably another 5 before I can access the comments section. I have showered and blown-dried my hair in the morning- and then I return to my computer and find TAC is still not downloaded. I find it the slowest site in the Christian world 🙂 It is the number one reason why I rarely comment here- does anybody else have similiar difficulties?

  • I did worry about Roberts as I’ve been reading how he doesn’t want his court to look too political but I didn’t think he would actually go this far. It was like he was reaching for something to uphold this law & he found it in taxes. I’ve lost total respect for this man. We need healthcare reform but not this one. I’m a moderate conservative but I was very angry & I’m totally disliking Roberts right now as he changed America as we see it. Obama is changing this country & I won’t even recognize it if he remains president. I’m just sad.

  • Mark, it isn’t up to the Court to decide issues based on the politics of the situation. Roberts’ attempt to play John Marshall and get the Court out of a political jam was unnecessary. What exactly would have been the fallout if the Court struck down Obamacare? President Obama and the Democrats would have complained. So what? A majority of the population would have supported the outcome, and even if a majority did not that is irrelevant. As the dissenters correctly pointed out, the Chief Justice’s attempt to the get the Court out of politics only entangled it further. In the end, the Court made law. How is that an example of the Court returning the issue back to the political sphere. With this decision the Court became part of the political sphere.

    All that being said, I agree with what others have said in terms of dialing back our emotions. We are not in Nazi Germany, and the tanks aren’t going to start rolling into our Churches. This is a terrible defeat for the rule of law, and I think also a worrying sign that we’re still two votes away from repealing Roe. But we need to take it down a notch.

  • Donna, I don’t have any problems, but you are not the only person to notice that. We’ll look into it.

  • Indeed. Additionally I view this as a Pyrrhric victory for Obama, as this decision will be a millstone around his neck during the remainder of the campaign. Too many conservatives become disheartened too easily when there is every reason to think that this decision is a Godsend politically.

  • Don, you’re ever the optimist, which I admire. Of course, I always see a half-full glass. The rosy reaction is like finding good news in a recession by reading a headline: “Mafia forced to lay off 6 judges”

  • Another thing that irks me about the rationalization of this decision, as seen in Charles Krautahammer’s column:

    Obamacare is now essentially upheld. There’s only one way it can be overturned. The same way it was passed — elect a new president and a new Congress. That’s undoubtedly what Roberts is saying: Your job, not mine. I won’t make it easy for you.

    This is akin to George Bush avoiding the question of the constitutionality of McCain-Feingold and letting the Courts decide. All three branches of the government have the equal authority and obligation to decide upon the constitutionality of legislation before them. It is an abrogation of duty, not a sign of political pragmatism, to simply punt the matter away.

  • I try not to be a pessimist or an optimist when it comes to politics Joe but to call ’em like I see ’em. Many conservatives were saying that the game was up when Obama got elected in 2008. 2010 demonstrated how out of touch that view was. American political history is a series of reactions and counter-reactions. Obama went too far to the Left, and he reaped a political whirlwind in 2010 and the same is in store this November.

  • I agree with Donald. The President has just been made a liar, at least on the subject of a tax increase (which was a large part of the objection to the ACA in the first place…who is going to bear the cost?). I saw an ABC News blog link this morning to the interview I which he absolutely rejected the notion that the individual mandate was a tax. Guess Mr. Constitutional Law missed that class.

    No, I think we need to give this a few days to unfold. The analyses I’ve read aside, I believe Justice Roberts may have given those who oppose the law exactly what they need to fit it… He avoided giving the President. White martyrdom on the subject, and he exposed the law for what it is: a massive tax increase on those least able to afford it.

  • TAC does load slowly – probably a side-effect of the litany of links on the side.

    Dick Morris is saying the same thing Krauthammer says, which will probably be the theme of many variations in weeks to come. The November’s gonna be a slugfest. Hopefully Holder’s out of the SecState chair so we don’t have Black Panther goon squads threatening polling places.

    Question – Supposing a GOP quash and concomitant numerical ability, what’s the chance/point/P&L for an attempted Constitutional amendment expressly forbidding Congress to tax non-activity? I would not know how to word it properly, but, could or should such a thing be considered?

  • Good article from Jonah Goldberg today. Ignore the misleading headline – he really takes Roberts to the woodshed.

    what’s the chance/point/P&L for an attempted Constitutional amendment expressly forbidding Congress to tax non-activity?

    Somewhere between slim and none. The GOP will almost certainly have legislative majorities in both Houses of Congress, but not enough to get such an amendment through.

  • “Politics and Culture from a Catholic Perspective?” I don’t think so. I am Catholic, but this blog ‘s authors and commenters certainly do not speak for me or, I suspect, for a majority of Catholics. Alhough I would have preferred a single-payer system, I agree with the purpose and intent of the ACA, and applaud the Supreme Court’s action. There will be no tax assessed against anyone if people who have enough income to pay federal income taxes do the individually and socially responsible thing and buy health insurance. The tax is imposed only on those who do not, and for whose healthcare either health providers or the rest of us end up paying.

  • Paul:

    If yesterday you were “just about 99 percent certain that John Roberts did indeed change his vote,” the following excerpts from yesterday’s dissents should make you just about 100 percent certain. Make note of the reference to “Chief Justice Roberts” in Justice Ginsburg’s dissent and “we” in the joint dissent:

    From Justice Ginsburg’s dissent:

    In failing to explain why the individual mandate threatens our constitutional order, THE CHIEF JUSTICE disserves future courts.

    From the joint dissent:

    The dissent claims that we “fai[l] to explain why the individual mandate threatens our constitutional order.” Ante, at 35. But we have done so. It threatens that order because it gives such an expansive meaning to the Commerce Clause that all private conduct (including failure to act) becomes subject to federal control, effectively destroying
    the Constitution’s division of governmental powers. Thus the dissent, on the theories proposed for the validity of the Mandate, would alter the accepted constitutional relation between the individual and the National Government.

    For what it’s worth, I’m 100% certain the Chief Justice switched sides at the last minute, and I’m substantially certain he did so on the misplaced belief he was preserving the integrity of the Court by protecting it against further attacks of politicizing the judicial process. By switching at the last minute, he also gave insufficient time to what became the joint dissent to dismantle his holding that “commerce clause regulation of inactivity is unconstitutional but regulation by taxation of inactivity is constitutional” or his similarly contradictory position that, on the one hand, the penalty-for-inaction “tax” is not a direct tax because it is not akin to a Capitation which is easily susceptible to apportionment or a tax on personal property or real estate, but, on the other hand, we shouldn’t be worried that the government has just now been given the power to tax inactivity because the power to tax inactivity has been around from the founding as evidenced by . . . of course, the Capitation or poll tax which applies merely for being a citizen. I imagine with a little advance notice Justice Scalia could have put a few more barbs into the joint dissent or dissented separately.

  • I am Catholic, but this blog ‘s authors and commenters certainly do not speak for me or, I suspect, for a majority of Catholics.

    While I’m sure you have your finger on the pulse of the Catholic community at large, we’ll continue to express our opinions as our Catholic faith informs us to do.

    There will be no tax assessed against anyone if people who have enough income to pay federal income taxes do the individually and socially responsible thing and buy health insurance.

    Ah, the compassionate left in action. Nobody will be punished so long as everybody does what we demand that they do in the name of social justice. There is nothing particularly “Catholic” about such an attitude, but I’m sure you will go on believing that you are more Catholic than the rest.

    Fine then.

  • Hank: Good catch, and more evidence that Roberts did indeed change his mind, and fairly late in the game at that. And I agree fully with your take. Clearly Scalia and the rest were caught off guard, as evidenced by the the relative lack of attention the dissent paid to the Chief Justice’s opinion until the very end of the dissent. I’m sure Scalia would have torn into Roberts more than he did for his double-talk on the tax had he had sufficient time – note he only addresses the government as being sophists, and not the majority of the Court.

  • Paul,

    Good points but now there are two things:

    1. Obama and the Democrats have to run with this horrendously unpopular law still the law of the land.

    2. Obama and the Democrats can’t point to the Evil, Wicked, Nasty, Republican Supreme Court as the source of blame for what went wrong.

    Obama carries the ObamaCare millstone around his neck in to November and the Courts are out of the political fray. I actually kind of like this outcome.

  • Donna,

    A great calmness came over me as I took in the decision – all is well and its all going to be for the best. And, yes, TAC does load slowly.

  • yes mark of norwich “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well”

  • W F Aiken

    Would you regard a levy, confined to uncultivated land, as a tax or a penalty?

  • Would you regard a levy, confined to uncultivated land, as a tax or a penalty?

    At least that levy would be attached to property ownership; not to nothing, not to non-action. I am not saying it is a good thing, but at least there might be some reason behind it.

  • I don’t think the levy you mentioned is just.

  • “I don’t think the levy you mentioned is just.”

    Nor do I, but would it be a tax or a penalty?

  • God did not want His Chosen People to be governed by a king. God wanted the Israelite nation to be a nation of sovereign persons, ruled and governed by the Supreme Sovereign Being, disciplined by LOVE. Still, Israel insisted. God relented and gave them Saul, then David.
    George Washington had served two terms as President of the United States. When Washington refused a third term as president, the people wanted to crown him king. Washington absolutely refused. George Washington was truly disciplined by LOVE, a sovereign. As a sovereign, George Washington exemplified the true meaning of sovereignty for each and every person and our nation.
    Justice is predicated on intent. As the personification of Divine Justice, the perfect Justice of God, The Supreme Court for the United States of America is empowered by Divine Justice, to root out all corruption, all falsehood, all malevolence, any evil that would threaten the Liberty and the common good of each and every individual person, every citizen, every state and nation, for whom the Justices have taken an oath to preserve FREEDOM, through the United States Constitution.
    CJ John Roberts statement that it is not the Supreme Court’s job to correct our mistakes and /or crimes is simply Roberts reneging on his oath. Swallowed by atheism and secular humanism, Roberts aids and abets the establishment of these disordered aberrations as religion through which the FREEDOM of religion might be practiced by the sovereign persons who happen to be citizens, in spite of the fact that these aberrations have been thrown off by the plaintiffs, violate the Ninth Amendment, (the Ninth Amendment states that persons have rights not enumerated in the Constitution) and deny the freedom of conscience, the human being’s immortal soul, the human being’s rational soul. Without a rational soul man becomes a beast, a rapacious beast or a subject, a member of a herd to be driven and corralled. Man has already witnessed the violence and been subjected to inhumanities un-thought of several decades ago. To this John Roberts adds his imprimatur. “It’s not my job”
    Obamacare cannot be dealt with because it is not a law. Obamacare is tyranny, coercion and fraud, the establishment of a God-less society. Obamacare will have no new generation, only a new generation of flatliners.

  • Mary De Voe

    There is an inscription in the Chapelle Expiatoire in Paris, built by the Catholic community as an act of reparation for the murder of the Royal Family “in diebus illis non erat rex in Israhel sed unusquisque quod sibi rectum videbatur hoc faciebat.” – In those days, there was no king in Israel and every man did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6)

    In fact, the phrase, “there was no king in Israel” recurs four times in Judges(17:6, 18:1, 19:1 & 21:25) and each time it goes on to describe some disaster or act of wickedness.

Of Kidney Stones, the Obamacare Decision and Election 2012

Thursday, June 28, AD 2012

 

 

I was primed today for the Obamacare Decision.  I made certain that I had no court hearings today, and my appointments were not starting until 10:00 AM.  Alas my third kidney stone decided to make its appearance at 7:00 AM.  By 9:00 AM I was suffering from truly memorable pain.  I stayed home from the law mines and had my secretary reschedule all my appointments except the 2:00 PM which was in the nature of an emergency.  Nursed by my wife, and my doctor who opened his office early for me, God bless him, I soon had in my system very strong painkillers and Flowmax.  By 1:30 PM I still felt like bayonets were probing my nether regions, but duty is duty and my wife drove me to my office for the 2:00 PM appointment.  By the end of it at 3:00 PM I was feeling semi-human, the pain killers and the Flowmax working their magic.

As for the Obamacare decision, a plain text copy of the decision may be read here, the majority opinion by Chief Justice Roberts is both brilliant and wrong.  His exposition of how th individual mandate violates the Commerce Clause is magnificent.  His transformation of the mandate into a tax was clever and wrong.  The idea that something is a tax if it is used as a penalty to compel behavior is imaginative and absurd.  Go here to read an examination of the decision shorn of legal gobbledygook.  Lost in the hubbub over this part of the decision is that Roberts had a majority of the court rule that states could refuse to take part in the Medicaid expansion, a key part of Obamacare, and that Congress could not punish them by taking away all their Medicaid money.  Go here to read an analysis of that portion of the decision.

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22 Responses to Of Kidney Stones, the Obamacare Decision and Election 2012

  • RAPE OF THE AMERICAN SOUL. RAPE OF THE VIRGIN SOUL OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The bishops of the Catholic Church said “NO” we cannot abide contraception, abortaficients and sterilization, as these are evils against the dignity of the human being. Obamacare said that every person forced to participate, must dispense free contraceptives, sterilizations and abortaficients, nobody has to pay for this evil. This evil is free and therefore, you will cooperate in this evil by disseminating it to whomever demands it of you. This evil is a free gift and you have no choice, you must accept it and do as you are told. You may not say “virgin” or “abstinence” or “conscience” or FREEDOM as Obamacare does not care. You must accept this free gift of evil or you will be penalized, taxed, disenfranchised and pay, pay, pay.
    All Obama cares about is the power and the money, none of which is his.

  • Good timing I say. Thankfully Obamacare isn’t in effect yet, eh Don?

  • I am truly glad you are OK, Donald. Praise the Lord! You, Paul Zummo, Bonchamps and the others here at TAC are voices of sanity in an insane world. And thank you for the update.

  • Glad you’re on the mend, Don. I suggest you start drafting the Lincoln piece. If Obama’s not a lock, he’s certainly gotten a huge bounce.

  • I’m afraid it is not good timing. It is a political win for Obama. How many people read The American Catholic? How many people believe all that the Catholic Church teaches? Far too few. Far too few to shift an election. I’m afraid that this will be trumpeted as an accomplishment and the vastly uniformed people who vote in presidential elections will accept it as that. That said, I still hold hope that the abortion/contraception/conscience may be re-legislated even by a Democrat controlled Senate and a Republican President.

  • You completely misread the politics Joe. Obamacare has always been very unpopular and there is only one way now to kill it: defeat Obama.

  • “the majority opinion by Chief Justice Roberts is both brilliant and wrong. His exposition of how th individual mandate violates the Commerce Clause is magnificent. His transformation of the mandate into a tax was clever and wrong. ”

    IOW, this is something only a defense attorney could love, right Don?

    On a more serious note Chapman University’s John Eastman gave the decision a thorough fisking on both the Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt shows. On the former, he said he thought Roberts was a problem from the word go.

  • First of all, glad to see you’re on the mend, Don. This cannot have been the most pleasant of days for you, all around.

    I am curious as to whether the dissent was originally a majority opinion. Did Roberts flip sides and why? We will find out in due course, but that may be years down the road.

    Having read the dissent, I am about 99% certain that Roberts changed his vote, and that the dissent was meant to be the majority opinion. I should have a post providing further analysis up in about an hour or so.

  • Mac,

    Feel better.

  • What if there was an umpire and he called a strike when the ball was way outside– and then said, well that’s what I call a strike. Would the batter be called out after three of those pitches? What happens when you change or greatly expand the definition of a word-
    what else could be called a tax?

  • Don, I may be naive on some things but I read the political tea leaves pretty good. Before today, most of the “experts” were predicting a setback for Obamacare. The best bet to thwart it is for the states to refuse compliance, as some Republican governors have signaled. Obamacare/Romneycare (writ small), pretty much same thing.

  • Donald, I hope you are feeling much better now.

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  • Shoot Don – get well!

  • Well more of a plea for better health than a demand:)

  • “You completely misread the politics Joe. Obamacare has always been very unpopular and there is only one way now to kill it: defeat Obama.”

    I have my doubts that even defeating Obama, as necessary as that is, will rid us of the scourge of Obamacare. Getting rid of it, unpopular though it may be, will be no small task. As Ronald Reagan once said, “The closest thing we get to eternal life here on earth is a temporary government program.”

    Having a repulican president who basically provided the blueprint for it and a deplorably weak GOP leadership, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  • I have no doubt that Romney will keep his word to do away with this Greg. This election is now about two things: the economy and Obamacare and on both issues Romney and conservatives and on the right side of public opinion. Roberts, inadvertantly, has assured the defeat of Obama and more Democrats in Congress by his bizarre switch. I would also note that since Obamacare is now a tax, a move to repeal it would probably not be subject to a filibuster in the Senate. Roberts, by sustaining Obamacare as a tax, couldn’t have given the GOP a more potent campaign issue if he had set out deliberately to do so.

  • Anzlyne:

    BINGO!

    Congress, on a majority vote, can take everything you have.

    It’s in the Constitution.

    Ask Obama.

    Ask Roberts.

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  • I hope you are right Don. But the thing is this is not going to be all that easy to do away with. Romney also has a serious credibility problem on this issue given that he did much the same in Massachusetts. The likelihood of the seriously gutless GOP leadership facing down this behemoth is slim to none.

    But we shall see.

  • Don

    Hope your feeling better.

    Well pushing back Wicked v Filburn is good, but it is still a net loss if Obamacare is not repealed.

    Repeal Obama in November!

  • The stone hasn’t passed yet Hank, but I am largely without pain and functional. We will repeal Obamacare at the polls!

The Chief Justice’s Ruling: A Gross Expansion of Federal Power

Thursday, June 28, AD 2012

Conservatives looking for some kind of victory in today’s decision in National Federation of Independent Business et al. v. Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al. (the Obamacare case) are pointing to two aspects of Chief Justice John Roberts’s rulings. First, a majority of the Court ruled that the individual mandate was unconstitutional under the commerce clause. Second, the Court ruled that the Federal Government could not force the states to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Therefore, the Court narrowed the scope of Congressional power in two different arenas.

Indeed, 44 pages of Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion are absolutely constitutionally sound. During the course of the opinion the Chief Justice made the same argument that many individual mandate opponents have been making for months: you cannot create an economic activity in order to regulate it under the commerce clause. “The power to regulate commerce presupposes the existence of commercial activity to be regulated. If the power to ‘regulate’ something included the power to create it, many of the provisions in the Constitution would be superfluous.” The Chief Justice latter adds that the individual mandate “does not regulate an existing commercial activity. It instead compels individuals to become active in commerce by purchasing a product, on the ground that their failure to do so affects interstate commerce.” Construing the Commerce Clause to permit Congress to regulate individuals precisely because they are doing nothing would open a new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority.” Furthermore, “[a]llowing Congress to justify federal regulation by pointing to the effect of inaction on commerce would bring countless decisions an individual could potentially make within the scope of federal regulation, and – under the Government’s theory – empower Congress to make those decisions for him.”

Roberts further tears into the logic of those defending the mandate on commerce clause grounds by pointing out that other activity – such as people not eating a healthy diet – does far more to raise health care costs than does failure to have health insurance. Therefore, under the government’s logic, “Congress could address the diet problem by ordering everyone to buy vegetables.” Therefore, the government’s arguments with regards to the commerce clause are ultimately unsupportable.

The problem with those taking the rosy view; however, is that the Chief Justice’s opinion is 59 pages. The Chief takes a detour roughly halfway through the opinion that is so unfathomable, it almost reads as if an entirely different person wrote the opinion.

Chief Justice Roberts holds that despite the statutory language, the penalty for failure to buy health insurance can more accurately described as a tax. This, despite what the language of the bill actually says, and what President Obama himself even said. And that’s also in contradiction of what had just been argued when discussing the anti-Injunction act. As Carrie Severino puts it:

The main holding of the case is that the mandate is upheld as a proper exercise of the taxing power. This is a decidedly awkward result, as the first section of the result explains that the mandate is not a tax for the purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act. During the oral argument the courtroom erupted in laughter when the solicitor general was asked how he could argue that the mandate was not a tax on Monday but was on Tuesday. In the end, the court chose that implausible — even laughable — result in a fairly explicit attempt to hold the mandate constitutional.

Jeff Goldstein also mocks this bit of legal jujitsu. Intentionalism is a concept that he blogs about frequently, and he rightfully calls out the Chief Justice for his violation of the concept.

According to the CJ, a penalty is indeed a tax when it can be viewed as a tax for purposes of a ruling.  Meaning, a penalty is a tax when a Justice decides to rewrite the law to turn a penalty into a tax.  Which he justifies because the way the penalty looks to him suggests that “reasonable”  people (or philosopher kings) can, if they squint — and if they ignore the intent that turned the law into law in the first place, and turned a set of marks into a set of signs, into language — see a tax.  How that is “reasonable” is anyone’s guess:   we know in no uncertain terms that Obama and the Dems who passed the law didn’t devise the mandate as a tax (despite what they later argued); for one to conclude that it is reasonably possible to “read” a penalty as a tax,  therefore, what c0mes to count as “reasonable” must be redefined as “ignoring what we know to be true”.  And that seems antithetical to “reason.”

Roberts has chosen to see a tax where a penalty was intended — thereby rewriting the law and turning it into a new text, one which he intends, though he incoherently and disingenuously suggests that he is finding meaning in the text that can “reasonably” be ascribed to it.

Roberts justifies this change in terminology by noting that the amount of the penalty that would be levied would not be punitive – in fact the cost of paying the penalty would often be less than the cost of buying health insurance. And since the so-called penalty would not be burdensome, it’s not really penalizing behavior.

Yeah.

But the most egregious aspect of this decision, and one which an astounding number of commentators seem to be missing, is that the Chief Justice has massively expanded the use of the taxing power. Roberts asserts that “taxes that seek to influence conduct are nothing new.” He then rattles off a list of things that are taxed heavily in order to change behavior, including cigarettes. The problem with this is that people have to buy cigarettes in order to be taxed. This “tax” is applied to people who don’t make a purchase. In other words, the federal government is taxing non-activity. It is the same exact logic that the government used to justify the mandate under the commerce clause. All Roberts has done is shift the authority under the Constitution which justifies government intervention.

Then Roberts makes the astounding claim, also amazingly echoed approvingly in certain quarters, that “While the individual mandate clearly aims to induce the purchase of health insurance, it need not be read to declare that failing to do so is unlawful. Neither the Act nor any other law attaches negative legal consequences to not buying health insurance, beyond requiring a payment to the IRS.” (emphasis mine)

I’m actually embarrassed for the Chief Justice here. Surely he is not as incapable of making a logical progression as this statement suggests he is. But let’s make this crystal clear. If you do not purchase health insurance, you will be penalized, err, “taxed.” If you fail to pay that tax at the end of the year, what do you suppose happens to you? Does the IRS send you a series of letters pleading with you to “please, pretty please, with a cherry on top, please pay your tax?” Do they put little frowny faces at the bottom of these letters? Does the Commissioner of the IRS stand outside your window with a boom box blaring “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, the rain pelting him as he cries out “Please, just pay this tax which, by the way, should in no way be construed as a penalty?”

Oh, that’s right, you go to jail. So you totally have the right to not buy health insurance, and there’s absolutely no punishment for failure to pay the tax. This assumes, of course, you always wanted to share a very small space with a drug dealer named Zeke. Just think of this as a government-funded vacation where you may, or may not, have discomfort walking towards the end of the vacation. You see – what a bargain!

The Chief Justice makes several more spurious claims. He notes that “tax incentives already promote, for example, purchasing homes and professional education.” But tax incentives are reductions in the level of taxation for making certain purchases. Your taxes are not increased when you decide to rent a house instead of purchase one.

Roberts observes that the “Constitution does not guarantee that individuals may avoid taxation through inactivity. A capitation, after all, is a tax that everyone must pay simply for existing, and capitations are expressly contemplated in the Constitution.” Really? The income tax was made allowable only through the 16th Amendment, but it’s not a tax merely for existing. It’s a tax that only applies if you earn money – in other words, it’s a tax that applies only when you engage in the activity of earning your daily bread. It’s not a “mere existence” tax, and it’s certainly not a taxation of non-activity.

According to Article I of the Constitution, Congress has the ability to issue direct taxes apportioned among the several States, but the Chief Justice himself declares that this is not a direct tax.

Section 8 of Article I states:

Clause 1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Again, I fail to see how that justifies taxation of non-activity. The idea that this kind of tax would have been countenanced by the same people (by and large) who fought the War of Independence is laughable on its face.

Attempts to sugarcoat this opinion are wrongheaded. In many ways, Roberts’ basing his decision on the tax power is worse than if he had relied on the Commerce Clause, for he has actually expanded the reach of the federal government in a way heretofore unseen. It’s true that Roberts and the four dissenters limit the reach of the commerce clause, but in reality they haven’t done much more than what the Rehnquist Court did in the mid-90s in the Lopez and Morrison cases in limiting the scope of the Commerce Clause. No new ground has been broken, and no old precedents were over-ridden. Much the same can be said with respect to the Medicaid ruling. On the other hand, the Chief Justice has broadened the taxing power so that it can now be applied to non-activity. Long story short, the federal government has more power today than it did yesterday. That is the most chilling aspect of this decision.

I believe that the commenter cthemfly25 has it right in the comments on my previous post:

Congress can always use taxing authority to undermine the constitution.  And if a tax can be used to undermine the constitution and modulate and control social behavior, then the all powerful central government can use its unmitigated taxing power to regulate religion (there is no way applying Roberts’ logic that the religious mandate could be struck down), regulate home schooling or private schooling (“taxed” for not teaching homosexual curriculum), regulate the size of families (taxed for having more than two kids), regulate food or beverage consumption (taxed based on calorie intake), regulate fuel consumption (“taxed” for excessive fuel consumption), regulate choice of consumer goods such as vehicles (“taxed” for not purchasing a “green” car),—–regulate from a central authority any human or civic activity under the rubric of “taxation”.

Perhaps the Anti-Federalist Brutus was right, after all, about the taxing power under the Constitution.

This power, exercised without limitation, will introduce itself into every comer of the city, and country — It will wait upon the ladies at their toilett, and will not leave them in any of their domestic concerns; it will accompany them to the ball, the play, and the assembly; it will go with them when they visit, and will, on all occasions, sit beside them in their carriages, nor will it desert them even at church; it will enter the house of every gentleman, watch over his cellar, wait upon his cook in the kitchen, follow the servants into the parlour, preside over the table, and note down all he eats or drinks; it will attend him to his bed-chamber, and watch him while he sleeps; it will take cognizance of the professional man in his office, or his study; it will watch the merchant in the counting-house, or in his store; it will follow the mechanic to his shop, and in his work, and will haunt him in his family, and in his bed; it will be a constant companion of the industrious farmer in all his labour, it will be with him in the house, and in the field, observe the toil of his hands, and the sweat of his brow; it will penetrate into the most obscure cottage; and finally, it will light upon the head of every person in the United States. To all these different classes of people, and in all these circumstances, in which it will attend them, the language in which it will address them, will be GIVE! GIVE!

 

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10 Responses to The Chief Justice’s Ruling: A Gross Expansion of Federal Power

  • “Long story short, the federal government has more power today than it did yesterday. That is the most chilling aspect of this decision.”

    Is this necessarily a problem that Catholics have to deal with or just Republicans, Libertarians, etc?

    I am still waiting for Mr. McClarey to lead the way now that his desire became reality. I think Mr. McClarey overestimates the number or Catholics or Christians who care in the least about this ruling.

  • Thank you, Paul Z. As I just commented on Don’s post, you, he, Bonchamps and the others here at TAC are voices of sanity in an insane world.

  • Bar prep prevents me from reading the opinions in good conscience, but my guess is that the states made a major misstep in stating that it would obviously be permissible for Congress to tax everyone and then give a tax break for everyone who purchased insurance. By admitting that there was essentially another justification to do basically the same thing, the states opened themselves up for an interpretation that desperately was seeking a peg to save the bill. That doesn’t excuse Roberts though.

  • The state now has the power to control every aspect of human life in America.
    Resist and you will be taxed. Resist the tax and you will go to jail and lose
    all of your assets, including your income.

    The state can also demand all Catholics to renounce their Catholic faith or face financial
    ruin via a tax. The state can prohibit certain categories of human beings from procreation or face financial ruin via a tax.

    Further, the state can control the population of the U.S. through the use of abortion and euthanasia of ObamaCare.

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  • As I think more about this Supreme Court decision, I think it might be a good thing. I know for sure that God can bring good from it.
    The decision in fact focuses our attention on the truth of what we need to do to protect our liberties, defining more clearly what is meant and what is allowed by our allowing the government to tax.
    We always thought the government could tax– and thought that there were a few defined direct objects at the end of that sentence. Now we see to the contrary, the the authority we have given over to the government ican be construed not just to tax Something, income or property or something, but simply the authority to tax… .

    Roberts has just pointed out that the penalty acts in effect like a tax and could be construed that way, and what are we voters going to do about it?

    The courts should not be activist; the people should be activists. We look at what we need to do to protect our selves and our national interest, and do it. We define more closely what is given in that authority to tax. If the umpire continually calls a ball a strike, the batter is out, the umpire becomes meaningless and the game is over– so we need to insist on clarity concerning our constitution… enough of this mish mash about it being so old we don’t know what it means. We do too.

  • Unless government acknowledges the rational, immortal soul of the human being with its conscience, and especially the human being’s conscience, Obamacare is taxation without representation, enslavement as brute animals to a force of ‘superior” brute animals. The Planet of the Apes was especially poignant as the Statue of Liberty is seen submerged in the ocean.

  • It must be added that taxation is to “secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity” from the Preamble to the Constitution for The United States of America. Since our tax monies have been abused to exile The Supreme Sovereign Being, the Giver of LIfe and the Endower of all unalienable rights to man, FREEDOM, conscience, speech, peaceable assembly, our taxes are being pirated to kill our constitutional posterity in the womb, to inflict pornography, assault and battery on our virginity, innocence and civil rights to be secure in our foundational and human liberties, our taxes are being swindled into deforming the TRUTH, embracing perjury, and treason, it may not be said, cannot be said, that the monies extorted from conscientious citizens is called tax, but taxation without representation.

  • “so we need to insist on clarity concerning our constitution… enough of this mish mash about it being so old we don’t know what it means. We do too.”
    All future presidents must be given a literacy test, a comprehension test, and a reading test. Are public schools so bad that presidents and politicians can graduate without being able to read? Swearing an oath to uphold a Constitution the President cannot read demands school vouchers for private schools, until the public school start teaching reading, writing and arithmetic.

  • “The courts should not be activist”

    Exactly. That is why the ruling is horribly wrong. Four of the justices recognized that pretending ‘Obamacare’ was constitutional is an activist position. Roberts took an activist position.

Et Tu, Ioannes?

Thursday, June 28, AD 2012

The Supreme Court has ruled the individual mandate is constitutional as a tax. So the individual mandate is not a permissible use of the commerce clause; however, it is appropriate for Congress to levy a tax that essentially forces taxpayers to buy health insurance.

I will have to wait until I read the entire opinion before rendering judgment, but at first blush this looks like a terrible defeat for the rule of law.

By the way, it looks like it was a 5-4 decision. Kennedy voted with Scalia, Thomas and Alito. Let that sink in.

Correction: I am now reading that it was 6-3. Honestly, I’m reading a lot of conflicting reports, so I’ll refrain from further commentary until I read the opinions.

Correction to the Corrction: Nope, Kennedy, Alito, Thomas and Scalia would have decreed the entire act unconstitutional. It was John Roberts who saved Obamacare.

And now I offer my apologies to all those I scolded for critiquing the John Roberts selection. You were right. I’ve thus changed the post title.

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74 Responses to Et Tu, Ioannes?

  • Roberts bows to King Obama. Another sorry day for the late great USA

  • (Guest comment from Don’s wife Cathy:) Don’s just come down with a kidney stone; otherwise, I’m sure he’d be commenting at length on this.

  • Past time to vote out Congress and start over.

  • We need to win both houses by super-majorities and the presidency in order to repel Obamacare.

    I don’t see this happening.

    And the argument that we can stop funding of Obamacare is pointless, because once a democrat takes the executive branch and the legislative branch (which will happen over time), they’ll go back and fund it.

    It’s a bad day for American Freedom.

    That and Chief Justice Roberts is looking more like the equivalent of Bush I’s Souter. A liberal wolf in conservative sheepskin.

  • Excellent re-title of this post, execpt it should read:

    “Et tu, Ioannes?”

    Ioannes is the Latin (and Greek) for John.

    I am beyonmd livid, BUT we have to remember that God allows everything to happen for a reason, and Jesus Christ is STILL on the Throne and STILL in control.

    Obama cannot and will not win. He will one day stand before that Great White Throne of Justice as we all shall. He will answer for his crimes and he will NOT escape the rightful punishment due to him (as none of us shall escape should we remain in a state of unrepentant sin).

    Lord have mercy!
    Christ have mercy!
    Lord have mercy!

  • And the day started out so well….

  • Trying to wrap my mind around KENNEDY being solid on this.

  • ACA: Taxation Without Regulation.

    If Congress can say you can be taxed for not buying health care, then they can say you may be taxed for not buying broccoli.

  • Excellent re-title of this post, execpt it should read:

    “Et tu, Ioannes?”

    So let it be written, so let it be done.

    We need to win both houses by super-majorities and the presidency in order to repel Obamacare.

    Well it’s a good thing we’ve got a nominee who can really lead the charge on the awfulness of an insurance mandate.

    Oh. Wait.

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  • If this doesn’t put the nail in the coffin of the “you must vote GOP because of the importance of Supreme Court nominations” meme, nothing will. The appointment of John “Roe is settled law, and I do pro bono work for the homosex lobby” Roberts should have been enough in itself; but really, can there be any reasonable doubters now?

  • Roberts (via FoxNews:) “The Affordable Care Act is constitutional in part and unconstitutional in part The individual mandate cannot be upheld as an exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause,” Roberts wrote. “That Clause authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce, not to order individuals to engage it. In this case, however, it is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance [empahsis mine]. Such legislation is within Congress’s power to tax.”

    So, just being unfairly rich isn’t bad enough anymore? Now, you can’t be unfairly rich and unfairly independent?

    They can’t make me buy an electric car that doesn’t work, but they can tax me at any given rate (which the Secretary shall determine at a later date) for NOT buying one.

    Great. I believe that gun and ammo sales will begin to increase soon.

    Ruger: RGR on NYSE.
    Smith and Wesson: SWHC on NASDAQ.
    Taurus Brazilian: SAO-FJTA4.

  • WK Aiken,

    Is that a gremlin or cat you are using as your avatar?

    /trying desperately to forget that John “Souter” Roberts is very young and will be on the Supreme Court for a good 40 years.

  • I feel like I just got punched in the gut….. really, really hard…..

  • So Obamacare now becomes the new litmus test for nominees. Only those who would agree to overturn Roe and Obamacare get nominated.

    Unbelievable. This day shall live in infamy.

  • Defeat for the rule of law? This was a great victory for limiting the scope of the Commerce Clause. Finally, a limit! Roberts just needs to learn how to read a statute and we will be all set.

  • The avatar is a photoshopped rabbit (eyes) who is objecting vociferously to having its teeth brushed. Ironically, it does well represent the emotional state of most right-thinking Americans today.

    I do not know why the website grabbed onto it from among the (literally) hundreds of graphic images I have on my computer. Perhaps I used it as a past logon avatar.

  • This was a great victory for limiting the scope of the Commerce Clause.

    Indeed, as I read through his opinion now, this would be one of the great Supreme Court decisions of all-time if Roberts had stopped on page thirty. Alas, he continues.

    Unfortunately, Roberts’ decisions to apply the taxing power to the individual mandate may be an even more absurd application than relying on the commerce clause. I’ll post on the Roberts’ decision in a little bit, I hope.

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  • This is a parody I wrote a few years ago.

    OHHHHHBaamaaa, Ohhhhhbbbbbbammmmaaa

    (sung to the tune of Ritichie Valens Oh Donna)

    We have a president, Obama is his name. Since January, he’s been goin’ insane. Oh I loathe his ways, but with Obama this is how it’s going to be.

    Ohhbaama, Ohhbaama, Ohhbaama,

    Turnin’ health care into welfare, he’ll make us all sick, it’s a part of his scheme, a socialist trick.
    Though we loathe his plan, but Obama wants to force it to be.

    Ohhbaama, Ohhbaama, Ohhbaama,

    He hates the military, this is clearly true. he prefers Code Pink to the red, white, and blue. He loathes this land, Obama this doesn’t have to be.

    Ohhbaama, Ohhbaama, Ohhbaama,

  • What can we do about it now?

  • What can we do about it now?

    According to the smart set, we now vote for the guy who implemented the same exact thing in his home state.

  • “What can we do about it now?”

    Put your head between your legs, lift your head up and kiss your sweet ass goodbye.

  • I will never comply! We have been stabbed in the back by Chief Justice “Bart Stupak” John Roberts! Sadly, I’ll probably end up in prison over this. I will never give my money for abortion!!! There will be no redress from this. The entire republic has been fatally undermined. I do not envision an electoral remedy. I am cleaning my shootin’ irons.

  • I haven’t really been praying about this in particular– thinking about it but not praying. I will pray more. I will give to the Becket fund. Would like to go to Courthouse steps but alas Even if we had a many people in Washington as they do on Jan. 22, will they pay attention? I will vote__________. II hope the repub convention speaks loud and clear to this issue. I hope Rubio etal take a look at what justice Kennedy saw.

  • The Roberts court is the lasting legacy of “conservative” support for George W. Bush. Now of course we simply MUST vote for Romney, because gosh, we can’t let the Left control the Supreme Court.

    Unless something happens to completely re-orient American conservatism to be actually, you know, conservative, there will no longer be a country worth conserving.

  • Arizona got trashed so why is this a big surprise? The fix was in when Kagan and Sotomayor got in. The bishops have zero chance of winning against the Obama juggernaut. “Women’s rights” will trump “religious liberty.” Time to re-read 1984.

  • From facebook:
    Todd Brophy posted in Hot Air Free Speech Zone
    Todd Brophy 9:38am Jun 28
    OK……………. I feel much better about this now. The States can opt out of the Medicare boondoggle. This reaffirms the 10th Amendment and States rights. This law cannot be supported by the Commerce Clause argument. The Federal Government, under this precedent, cannot force you to buy anything. The personal mandate is a tax. If you refuse to pay it, there is no mechanism to force payment. This makes the law a sham. If the mandate is a tax, it may be repealed by reconciliation. This means we need 51 votes in the Senate, not 60. Roberts is perhaps a genius and he is telling us, you make think you lost, you won big, now vote Obama out and secure your future.

    View Post on Facebook · Edit Email Settings · Reply to this email to add a comment.

    Anybody with better legal kungfu than me (ie, most any adult over 30) got a clue?

  • Don, praying that you get well so soon. For your own comfort and so you can get it taken care of before Obamacare fully kicks in and you find yourself in “hospice” due to this malady disease which would be too costly to treat.

  • “(Guest comment from Don’s wife Cathy:) Don’s just come down with a kidney stone; otherwise, I’m sure he’d be commenting at length on this.”

    Good thing for Don Obamacare hasn’t gone into effect yet.

  • “That and Chief Justice Roberts is looking more like the equivalent of Bush I’s Souter. A liberal wolf in conservative sheepskin.”

    Somehow this brings the image of Roberts unzipping himself only to reveal he is actually David Souter and says, “And you thought I retired…. hehehehehe.

  • The Federal Government, under this precedent, cannot force you to buy anything. The personal mandate is a tax. If you refuse to pay it, there is no mechanism to force payment.

    I simply do not understand how people can make this argument. If you don’t pay your taxes you go to jail. It would certainly be interesting to see a person make a legal challenge when they file their taxes but leave off the portion that is dedicated to the individual mandate. Methinks they would be less than successful.

  • Kinda what I was thinking….

  • (Don’s wife Cathy again:) Thanks for the prayers & good wishes! We convinced our family doctor to open his office early so he could see Don & call in prescriptions for Flomax & paid meds to the pharmacy. (How willing would a physician be to provide that kind of above-and-beyond service under Obamacare?)

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  • I’ve been thinking, which is always dangerous, but it’s been a fairly crisis-free work day so there’s been time. Maybe all the crises are in WDC right now . . .

    Anyway, this excerpt from Herr Roberts keeps jumping up at me and shouting.

    ” . . . it is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance. Such legislation is within Congress’s power to tax.” Again, emphasis mine.

    No legal scholar am I, but this looks like SCOTUS has just made it Constitutional for Congress to tax a non-activity. Like division by zero, this makes such power infinite in scope. Regardless of whether it takes place acorss state lines, it is now possible for Congress to say “You are not [doing, buying, participating in] thing X, and therefore we shall tax you for this not doing of it.”

    Now, I also do not consider myself an alarmist, but how many steps is it between the power to tax for Not Doing Something, and This:

    “He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.” Rev 13:16-17

    You want to be exempt from all the various taxes incurred by not doing things? Well, here. Just put this on yourself someplace obvious, just so we can keep track . . .

  • No legal scholar am I, but this looks like SCOTUS has just made it Constitutional for Congress to tax a non-activity.

    Bingo. Though 4/5 of the opinion is based on solid constitutional arguments, this one passage turns the decision into an utter abomination.

  • Catherine A. McClarey says:
    Thursday, June 28, 2012 A.D. at 9:20am
    (Guest comment from Don’s wife Cathy:) Don’s just come down with a kidney stone; otherwise, I’m sure he’d be commenting at length on this.”
    Catherine: To purge kidney stones, boil parsley, bunches of parsley and consume the water. After about two weeks, the kidney stone will be passed. My mom was told to do this and it worked for her saving her from surgery. Sorry you are ill, Donald. Many prayers, in Latin and in English. Parsley is an organic deodorant good for halitosis, body order and other things. Happy kidneys to you.

  • http://alphatronshinyskullus.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/this-is-how-they-will-turn-us-into-china/

    This Supreme Court decision can ultimately be used to implement forced family planning similar to China’s.

  • W.K. Aiken: Obama had rolled tanks into the street in a show of force.

  • Ah, the kidney stone. It’s said that imperfect contrition is sufficient for a sacramental confession – that is, a fear of the pains of hell. One little kidney stone and you’ll spend the rest of your life with a strong incentive to holiness.

  • In 923 Executive Orders, Obama has declared martial law and given as though he had the authority to order the Supreme Court around, the unauthorized power to enforce his 923 and all Executive Orders for the past fifteen years. These orders include assigning every piece of free land and waterway as well as all pieces of private property to himself. Obama has already made the law to take all private property as his own, he just needs a cover like Obamacare to set the leemings running. Saul Alinsky would be proud. Let Our Lady of Victories hold FREEDOM from despots, dictators and Obama. Let FREEDOM be granted to the unborn, and the Person of God in the public sqaure.

  • Mary: It will come to that. I remember Father Larry Richards saying only 2 years ago that he saw the end in about 4 years. Father Larry’s a pretty firey guy, but he’s also almost always spot on.

  • Get well soon, Don.

  • This is one ugly, senseless, malignant opinion on so many levels. The majority opinion is unreadable, or not necessary to read, in part because you know what to expect from the lefties. But Robert’s legal construction to side with the lefties is so bad, so absurd that it literally shreads the constitution. At least now there is no pretense of having a constitution limiting the powers of a central government.

    The dissent is real simple, eloquent and straight forward. The dissent points out, citing Madison, that taxing authority is limited to the purposes of the federal government as enumerated in the Constitution. Makes sense right? Otherwise, you can tax for that which is unconstitutional. So Roberts is part of the majority which held the law unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause—-you actually have a majority holding on this point. How then does Roberts go with the lefties, who hold the constitution in disdain, and find that the taxing provision of the Orwellian “Affordable Health Care Act” is permissible when he otherwise holds that congress did not have power under the commerce clause to enact it.

    Unlike the lefties, I find Roberts’ legal constuct to be dangerous. Congress can always use taxing authority to undermine the constitution. And if a tax can be used to undermine the constitution and modulate and control social behavior, then the all powerful central government can use its unmitigated taxing power to regulate religion (there is no way applying Roberts’ logic that the religious mandate could be struck down), regulate home schooling or private schooling (“taxed” for not teaching homosexual curriculum), regulate the size of families (taxed for having more than two kids), regulate food or beverage consumption (taxed based on calorie intake), regulate fuel consumption (“taxed” for excessive fuel consumption), regulate choice of consumer goods such as vehicles (“taxed” for not purchasing a “green” car),—–regulate from a central authority any human or civic activity under the rubric of “taxation”.

    This is an unspeakably dangerous precedent and a super highway to serfdom. If you hear a pundit say this will mobilize the base blah blah blah….ignore him. The danger is that as precedent any congress, and for sure any leftist president and congress has now been given unbridled powers. It’s not just bad for now, it’s bad for the future of this country.

  • “regulate home schooling or private schooling (“taxed” for not teaching homosexual curriculum), regulate the size of families (taxed for having more than two kids), regulate food or beverage consumption (taxed based on calorie intake), regulate fuel consumption (“taxed” for excessive fuel consumption), regulate choice of consumer goods such as vehicles (“taxed” for not purchasing a “green” car) . . .”

    Regulate the dispensation of contraceptives, sterilization and abortions on demand (taxed for not providing these things.) The left has been wanting to get its hands on the Church’s money for decades, and now it has the tools.

    Euthanasia is next.

    I just finshed “Sons of Cain.” While no Clancy novel, the underlying theme is crystalline and fighteningly real. The dogmatic narrative of Chapter 37 is the most clear and pointed explanation of the current political landscape I have ever read.

  • WK Aiken mentioned the book, “Sons of Cain”, which obviously I must now buy ad read. A review at Amazon says:

    “An ancient group of twelve unspeakably powerful men are prepared to implement mass suicide in the United States. Already in control of the Congress and the Presidency, all that they lack is the Supreme Court. The only thing standing between these SONS OF CAIN and the lives of the Court is a small group of dedicated warriors. Wealthy ex SEAL, Nick Rieper, and his dozen, Knights of Longinus, may be the most deadly strike force alive. The have pledged their lives, their fortunes and their honor to battle international Satanism. Battle is joined as they engage the Cainites and their demon leader, Namon, in mortal combat. They stand alone as the only force alive with the knowledge, the skill and the faith to prevent a crime that will change America… forever.”

    Sadly, Satan has been in control of SCOTUS for a very long time indeed, at least since Roe v Wade, and perhaps since the Dred Scott decision of 1857.

  • Hope you will feel better soon, Don.
    Have heard good things about blueberries (to add to Mary’s idea) from someone who could understand the discomfort, but this day is different … .
    My father warned me that I may live to see the loaf of bread I might have, if I were wise enough to stop shopping for inedible things, be why I got killed by some ‘starving’ mob.
    No exec. order to help with chaos from unknown right and wrong.

  • What we have witnessed today is something akin to the ascendancy of the NAZI’s to power in Germany. It was an evil turning point for Germany and the whole of Europe, the same here. We are on an unalterable path to destruction, and we are dragging the rest of the world down with us.

  • “What we have witnessed today is something akin to the ascendancy of the NAZI’s to power in Germany”

    You are absolutely right Tom. This is as momentous and dreadful as that event.

  • Let’s all sing together.

  • Alphatron, our country has taken a step that cannot be retraced. The momentum of evil is at a self-generating pace. I think we will not see the defeat of this evil until there has been much, much bloodshed.

  • Alphatron, our country has taken a step that cannot be retraced.

    Well, there’s always the “amend the constitution” thing to limit the Fed’s ability to tax.

  • Foxfier, well that would work only with an electorate that couldn’t possibly have elected the current POTUS. I don’t see any realistic solution outside of civil war.

  • Between the fraud, the protest no-votes and the disappointment that they still have bills, O might be a fluke.

    We’ve been in worse states. Giving up is giving in.

  • Don, Hope you feel better soon!

    Alphatron,

    This Supreme Court decision can ultimately be used to implement forced family planning similar to China’s.

    I agree that this is a lousy decision, but in a sense this is what is already being done, but in reverse. Due to the child tax credit, I pay $5000 less in taxes because I have five kids. Now, I think that’s a perfectly fair way to make up for the fact that parents are performing a valuable service to the state and absorbing a lot of social costs, but the anti-kid folks flip this around and complain that the government is charging them extra taxes for not having had kids.

    While there’s a psychological difference between taxing people for not doing something and giving people a tax credit for doing something, the incentive isn’t hugely different. (Where I think the ruling really stinks is that is basically makes up this gloss, the law clearly wasn’t written as a tax in the traditional sense, it was written to force people to buy health insurance.)

  • Thanks for the good wishes. I am now functional again. Full post to follow on the decision.

  • This is the equivalent of a “Dhimi” tax.
    Obama’s a muslim isn’t he?

    Great to hear you’re feeling better, Don.

  • “While there’s a psychological difference between taxing people for not doing something and giving people a tax credit for doing something, the incentive isn’t hugely different. ”

    I think I would disagree. A $1000 per kid tax credit is not going to affect my family decision-making, the same way that a mortgage interest deduction is not going to affect my home purchase decisions. I’m either ready for such steps or I’m not. Lowering my taxes a little because I do something I was going to do anyway is icing on the cake; in choosing not to do these things, I do not spend what those who get the credit do, and ulitmately I get to choose because I have my reasons: I don’t want to be a father or I don’t want the responsibility of home ownership. So the math is a wash and I still make my own decisions.

    However, a $1,000 tax on not requiring my kids to attend the State-mandated classes that all schools must teach on how there is no sin, all sexuality is fine and our Friend the State is our sole benefactor will have me howling. That’s a hypothetical, to be sure, but it’s not outlandish when one considers what’s already being promulgated in the indoctrination halls. The point is that I have no choice here. I have to do one of three painful things: betray my moral constitution, pay money I can’t afford or become a prisoner of the State. Forcing me into behaviors I object to on all levels by means of extortion is every kind of evil.

    This doesn’t even touch the aspect of how the State can now tax the Church into oblivion by charging her for the continued ability to obey her conscience.

    The difference is more than psychological, methinks.

  • Sometimes I just feel so defeated, but then the thought came to me: didn’t Our Lord say that when I am weak, is when He is strong? That means we must let go and trust Him completely because no matter how dark things appear, and it will get worse, He’s ultimately in control and will bring about an eventual purification. My prayer is: “Almighty God, Merciful Father, please restore us to your grace, rebuild us in your image, let America fulfill her destiny – the reason you called her into being. We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son, Our Lord. Amen. Our Lady of America, pray for us!”

    Don, for kidney stones, I’ve used Chanca Piedra. It’s a herbal formula from South America that can be purchased in a Health Food Store. You put about 5-10 drops in an 8oz glass of water, twice a day and it takes away the pain and breaks up the stone so it can pass. I hope you feel better soon – I know what you’re going through!

  • According to Roberts’ logic (which, again, I want to emphasize, I don’t agree with) in order for the “tax” argument to work rather than the “penalty” argument, the tax has to be lower than the cost of the behavior avoided. Thus, there could only be a tax for not sending your kid to public sex ed classes if the tax was lower than the cost of the class — which if it’s a public school would be $0.

    Look, I agree that it’s a ridiculous piece of reasoning, I just don’t think it leaves us notably more open to tyranny than we were before. This isn’t going to “turn us into China”, it’s just a lousy decision. And hopefully one that we can overturn come the fall by kicking Obama out of office.

  • Agreed. Some of you need to get a grip.

    We need to win both houses by super-majorities and the presidency in order to repel Obamacare.

    No. We need for a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate to have the sense to get rid of rancid parliamentary rules, among them the abuse of holds and the filibuster. Of course, they won’t.

  • I don’t think Romney would be effective in overturning Obamatax. One of his economic advisers is Greg Mankiw, an economics professor at Harvard. Mosey on over and take a look (http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/) at how similar Mankiw’s logic was back in 2007 to this Court’s and the very close similarity to Romney’s Health Care Plan in Massachusetts.

    I was in need of medical care in Sweden during a visit in the early 80s and was lucky to be able to avail myself of a free medical clinic. Certainly no frills and comfy upholstered chairs in the packed waiting room, but the medical care seemed to be adequate for my needs. Our populace won’t like the downgrade of facilities and the long wait if it truly comes to that here, but I think we should be more concerned and focused with religious freedom at this point.

  • PM Hope you will feel better soon, Don.
    Have heard good things about blueberries (to add to Mary’s idea) from someone who could understand the discomfort, but this day is different … . Blueberries and cranberries aid in the removal of e-coli that adheres to the kidneys like barnacles. The kidney stone is an aggregate of uric acid, which may be reduced to particles like sand and passed, by sonic waves, while the patient sits in a specially prepared bath of water. The continued use of parsely, blueberries and cranberries are more enjoyable than the bath. Celery reduces the uric acid in the joints called gout. I am sure you are appraised of all this but I had to say it. I am sorry you are sick.

  • W.K. Aiken. I see Father Larry Richards on Living Right with Dr. Ray Guarendi, a show on EWTN. Prayer always gives us more time, if we ask for it. The good will die with the bad. May it not come to that.

  • DarwinCatholic:

    “While there’s a psychological difference between taxing people for not doing something and giving people a tax credit for doing something, the incentive isn’t hugely different.”

    Actually, I see a huge difference. When a tax credit is given, it serves to reduce the taxes one owes. The child tax credit has been written to give people money if their tax liability is reduced to less than zero. I have eight children, and so I turn around and use it to pay the very regressive taxes that exist in my state. At any rate, the cost of that subsidy is spread over the entire population, and to future generations through the issuance of federal debt. No one person is on the hook for it. Furthermore, by the monetization of our national debt, the recipient also ends up paying for it through higher prices that result from the weakening of our currency. There are also tax credits for a number of other things such as electric vehicles. The government says, “you pay less and we might kick in a little extra.” I disagree with this on principal. The government shouldn’t be cutting me a check for my children. It’s insulting.

    When an activity is taxed, however, that individual bears the full brunt of it. It’s not spread out among the rest of the population. If the government decides to tax someone $50,000 for not using birth control, that individual had better cough up the cash or their wages will be garnished, their assets seized, and they could potentially end up in jail if it’s judged to be tax evasion. If they decide to give a tax credit for up to 2 children, and tax someone $100,000 for each extra child after the second, it’s the same. Pay up, or else. This is actually how they do it in China. They call it the “social maintenance fee.” This article at http://www.economist.com/node/21557369 explains how it works.

    It states “The fine for having extra children is known as the “social maintenance fee”. Mr He estimates the government has collected over 2 trillion yuan ($314 billion) in such fees since 1980. Failure to pay means the second “black” child cannot obtain a household-registration document, or hukou, which brings with it basic rights such as education. The amount of the fine varies from place to place. A husband and wife in Shanghai will each pay 110,000 yuan ($17,300), three times the city’s average annual post-tax income, for a second child. The fine increases with income. The rich can shell out millions.”

    This sounds strikingly similar to enforcement of the individual mandate for health insurance.

  • Would you describe an annual levy on uncultivated land as a tax or a penalty?

  • Well… As the smoke clears I would like to share mho.

    0.01: If the supreme court had said it was unvalid, the left would have blamed it on the partishanship of the court. Every liberal, and independant would think that they are the victim because partisans impede “progress”. The gloating on the right would be a powerful force of encouragement for these leftists to do everything they can to win this election. Now however, they think they’re flying high, when in reality the people who voted for him are now seeing the arrogance and the straightforward decieving they are submitted too. That creates much needed repugnance on the people who otherwise would have voted for him. The brilliancy of the Supreme Court assuring that people know it is a Tax, and the excerpt that refers to the fact that the Supreme Court is not there to help the ignorance of the voters who put such a leftist in power is a clear rallying call for people to wake up. An awakening that would not have happened in another way.

  • 0.02: what if in catholic prayer….it was revealed…. that the only thing that could stop his re-election was to make that decision, and word it so to give Romney the much needed ammunition. Look at how riled up people are now… that translates into votes. One has to welcome the overconfidence of the Democrats right now…

  • “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.” Mt 10:16

  • Furthermore, when the contraception mandate lawsuits make their way to a supreme court decision, no one can say that it was made in deeply flawed partisan court. People’s eyes would awake to the fact that the only ones that can fight the liberal march to perdition will be the Catholic Church. All ye conservatives, join the only ones who can fight the gates of hell—and prevail!

Has the Austrian hierarchy “had it”?

Thursday, June 28, AD 2012

Although the undercurrents have been there for decades and similar ideas and conduct transpires beneath the radar, dissident U.S. Catholic priests had better observe what’s happening in Austria—where 10% of the clergy have formed a dissident group named “Call to Disobedience”—before signing documents espousing their heterodox ideas and conduct.

What does the Austrian group propose?

Similar to American dissident priests, Austrian dissident priests have for decades formed groups that publicly have advocated “reforms,” including the ordination of women and abolishing clerical celibacy.  More recently, they have publicly pledged to break Church rules by giving Holy Communion to Protestants and divorced Catholics who remarry.

 

The dissident priests’ policies are popular in Austria, with public opinion polls demonstrating broad support for them.

But, “the times…they are a’ changing.”

In May, the Archbishop of Vienna , Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, priests in May that dissidents would not be appointed to the post of dean and those who would be coming up for renewal would have to choose between Church teaching or their group’s “reform” campaign.

Clarifying matters, an archdiocesan spokesman Nikolaus Haselsteiner said:

You can easily remain a member of the Priests’ Initiative. You must only distance yourself from the “Call to Disobedience” in an appropriate way.

In an average company, a department head can’t say he doesn’t care what the CEO says.

According to a Reuters report, one priest has withdrawn his support for the reform campaign and kept his job.  Two or three more have yet to decide whether to withdraw their support from the manifesto.  But, the Reverend Peter Meidinger—a founding member of the group issuing the Manifesto—has stepped down from the post of dean rather than renounce the “Call to Disobedience” manifesto.  Meidinger said:

I spoke to the archbishop and perhaps you cannot say I had to choose, but I had the impression that there was no way out for me so I am stepping down and freeing up the spot.

For me what is important is the Priests’ Initiative and not the term “disobedience.”  The term civil disobedience is used when the leaders are simply not prepared to listen to people.

Yes, that’s what the problem has been: The hierarchy is “not prepared” to listen to the people.

 

The Motley Monk is wondering if the opposite is more likely the case.  Namely, might it be that the hierarchy has listened long and patiently and finally has decided “enough is enough”?

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn

Will Cardinal Schoenborn’s more confrontational approach to dealing with dissident priests be exported to the United States?

Time will tell.

 

 To read the Reuters report, click on the following link:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/27/us-austria-catholic-priests-idUSBRE85Q0ZO20120627

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

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3 Responses to Has the Austrian hierarchy “had it”?

Fortnight For Freedom Day Eight: Catholics and the Father of our Country

Thursday, June 28, AD 2012

 

Beginning for two weeks, up to Independence Day, the Bishops are having a Fortnight For Freedom:

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First,  Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.

 

Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to  highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic  institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation  with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to  defend our most cherished freedom.

 

The fourteen days from June  21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to  July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for  freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face  of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More,  St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the  Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our  Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that  would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for  religious liberty.

 

We here at The American Catholic are participating in the Fortnight For Freedom with special blog posts on each day.  This is the eighth of these blog posts.

America has been blessed by God in many ways but I suspect no blessing has been greater than His granting us George Washington to lead us in our struggle for independence and to be our first President.  Catholics have perhaps more reason than other Americans to keep the memory of Washington alive in our hearts.  In a time of strong prejudice against Catholics in many parts of the colonies he was free from religious bigotry as he demonstrated on November 5, 1775 when he banned the anti-Catholic Guy Fawkes celebrations.

“As the Commander in Chief has been apprized of a design form’d for the observance of that ridiculous and childish custom of burning the Effigy of the pope – He cannot help expressing his surprise that there should be Officers and Soldiers in this army so void of common sense, as not to see the impropriety of such a step at this Juncture; at a Time when we are solliciting, and have really obtain’d, the friendship and alliance of the people of Canada, whom we ought to consider as Brethren embarked in the same Cause. The defence of the general Liberty of America: At such a juncture, and in such Circumstances, to be insulting their Religion, is so monstrous, as not to be suffered or excused; indeed instead of offering the most remote insult, it is our duty to address public thanks to these our Brethren, as to them we are so much indebted for every late happy Success over the common Enemy in Canada.”

Order in Quarters, November 5, 1775

– George Washington

This stand against anti-Catholicism was not unusual for Washington.  Throughout his life Washington had Catholic friends, including John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in the US.  He would sometimes attend Mass, as he did during the Constitutional Convention when he led a delegation of the Convention to attend Mass in Philadelphia as he had attended Protestant churches in that town during the Convention.  This sent a powerful signal that under the Constitution Catholics would be just as good Americans as Protestant Americans.

Washington underlined this point in response to a letter from prominent Catholics, including Charles and John Carroll, congratulating him on being elected President:

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2 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom Day Eight: Catholics and the Father of our Country

  • The oath of office which George Washington took – an oath which Barack Hussein Obama has never believed in, does not now believe in and will never believe in. May God have mercy on this nation and deliver us from such a reprobate of depravity, iniquity and idolatry.

  • The words of George Washington bring tears to my eyes. Would that we could be blessed with such a leader again.
    I think he is a saint, really.
    Maybe he’ll pray for us from where he is.

19 Responses to Jefferson’s Jesus

  • Poor Jesus. If only He had the benefit of Jefferson’s wise counsel while He dwelt among us! Or perhaps Jefferson could have benefited in having CS Lewis to give him counsel:

    (In the first place they all tend to direct men’s devotion to something which does not exist, for each “historical Jesus” is unhistorical. The documents say what they say and cannot be added to; each new “historical Jesus” therefore has to be got out of them by suppression at one point and exaggeration at another, and by that sort of guessing (brilliant is the adjective we teach humans to apply to it) on which no one would risk ten shillings in ordinary life, but which is enough to produce a crop of new Napoleons, new Shakespeares, and new Swifts, in every publisher’s autumn list. In the second place, all such constructions place the importance of their Historical Jesus in some peculiar theory He is supposed to have promulgated. He has to be a “great man” in the modern sense of the word – one standing at the terminus of some centrifugal and unbalanced line of thought – a crank vending a panacea. We thus distract men’s minds from Who He is, and what He did. We first make Him solely a teacher, and then conceal the very substantial agreement between His teachings and those of all other great moral teachers. For humans must not be allowed to notice that all great moralists are sent by the Enemy not to inform men but to remind them, to restate the primeval moral platitudes against our continual concealment of them. We make the Sophists: He raises up a Socrates to answer them. Our third aim is, by these constructions, to destroy the devotional life. For the real presence of the Enemy, otherwise experienced by men in prayer and sacrament, we substitute a merely probable, remote, shadowy, and uncouth figure, one who spoke a strange language and died a long time ago. Such an object cannot in fact be worshipped. Instead of the Creator adored by its creature, you soon have merely a leader acclaimed by a partisan, and finally a distinguished character approved by a judicious historian. And fourthly, besides being unhistorical in the Jesus it depicts, religion of this kind is false to history in another sense.

    No nation, and few individuals, are really brought into the Enemy’s camp by the historical study of the biography of Jesus, simply as biography. Indeed materials for a full biography have been withheld from men. The earliest converts were converted by a single historical fact (the Resurrection) and a single theological doctrine (the Redemption) operating on a sense of sin which they already had – and sin, not against some new fancy-dress law produced as a novelty by a “great man”, but against the old, platitudinous, universal moral law which they had been taught by their nurses and mothers. The “Gospels” come later and were written not to make Christians but to edify Christians already made.)

  • What is this? Bash Jefferson Week

  • A week from now, everyone will be celebrating the Declaration of Independence, written by Jefferson, amid whoops and hollers. Ol’ Tom was hardly the only deist among the Founders; in fact, most were Deists and not Christians.

  • Wrong Joe. The vast majority of the Founding Fathers were perfectly conventional Christians.

  • I don’t mean to belabor the point. I just reemphasize that it is essential that we understand our historical figures for who they really are, and not for who we want to pretend they were.

    Let us hope the same applies to Lincoln and Hamilton : )

    BTW, Don, I accept your wager. As I look at a five-dollar bill, I already am having positive thoughts about ol’ Abe.

  • Correct, Don. Not all of the Founders were conventional Christians, but Jefferson stands apart for his heterodoxy.

  • Don, what’s a “perfectly conventional Christian”?

  • Let us hope the same applies to Lincoln and Hamilton : )

    Of course! I’m for disseminating all the facts, just not caricatures based on cherrypicked evidence.

  • Paul, in a wider context, Jefferson, along with Madison, co-authoried the Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom. Without it America would have gone on as it was — with Jews banned from holding office in some states, Catholics in others, and Protestants in Maryland. So while Jefferson had doubts about the divinity of Jesus, he nonetheless embraced Intelligent Design. By the way, if one studies Mother Teresa’s life, she had many doubts, too.

  • Researching, I came across this list. I cannot affirm its accuracy but if it is then I suppose most were “Christian,” although not quite conventional:

    Here is a list of our Founding Fathers religion.
    Signers Name

    Religious Affiliation
    Connecticut
    Adams, John Congregationalist/ Unitarian
    Adams, Samuel Congregationalist
    Bartlett, Josiah Congregationalist
    Braxton, Carter Episcopal

    Delaware
    Clark, Abraham Presbyterian
    Chase, Samuel Episcopal
    Carroll of Carrollton, Charles Roman Catholic

    Georgia
    Clymer, George Quaker/ Episcopal
    Ellery, William Congregationalist
    Floyd, William Presbyterian

    Maryland
    Hall, Lyman Congregationalist
    Gwinnett, Button Episcopal/ Congregationalist
    Gerry, Elbridge Episcopal
    Franklin, Benjamin Episcopal/ Deist

    Massachusetts
    Hancock, John Congregationalist
    Harrisson, Benjamin Episcopal
    Hart, John Presbyterian
    Hewes, Joseph Quaker/ Episcopal
    Heyward Jr., Thomas Episcopal

    New Hampshire
    Hopkinson, Francis Episcopal
    Hopkins, Stephen Episcopal
    Hooper, William Episcopal

    New Jersey
    Huntington, Samuel Congregationalist
    Jefferson, Thomas Episcopal/ Deist
    Lee, Francis Lightfoot Episcopal
    Lee, Richard Henry Episcopal
    Lewis, Francis Episcopal

    New York
    Middleton, Arthur Episcopal
    McKean, Thomas Presbyterian
    Lynch Jr., Thomas Episcopal
    Livingston, Philip Presbyterian

    North Carolina
    Morris, Lewis Episcopal
    Morris, Robert Episcopal
    Morton, John Episcopal

    Pennsylvania
    Rutledge, Edward Episcopal
    Rush, Benjamin Presbyterian
    Ross, George Episcopal
    Rodney, Caesar Episcopal
    Read, George Episcopal
    Penn, John Episcopal
    Paine, Robert Treat Congregationalist/ Unitarian
    Paca, William Episcopal
    Nelson Jr., Thomas Episcopal

    Rhode Island
    Sherman, Roger Congregationalist
    Smith, James Presbyterian

    South Carolina
    Thornton, Matthew Presbyterian
    Taylor, George Presbyterian
    Stone, Thomas Episcopal
    Stockton, Richard Presbyterian

    Virginia
    Walton, George Episcopal
    Whipple, William Congregationalist
    Williams, William Congregationalist
    Wilson, James Episcopal/ Presbyterian
    Witherspoon, John Presbyterian
    Wolcott, Oliver Congregationalist
    Wythe, George Episcopal

  • Franklin, listed as “episcopal/deist,” was more the latter and may have, like some of the others, filled in the religion box for the sake of political correctness. He famously speaks for himself here:

    “God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” -Ben Franklin–(Constitutional Convention of 1787)

  • Without it America would have gone on as it was — with Jews banned from holding office in some states, Catholics in others, and Protestants in Maryland.

    I’m not trying to pile on, but in a bitter irony, *Catholics* had been disenfranchised in Maryland by the Revolution. They were only 8 percent of the population of that colony at that point, and the Protestants were determined to keep them chained. The example of Charles Carroll (of Carrollton) radically changed the views of the Protestant majority, and this injustice was remedied.

    I strongly recommend Bradley Birzer’s biography of Carroll, “American Cicero.” It gives a nice background on the status of Catholics in the colony.

    Birzer also advances the argument that the Quebec Act was the real final straw for a lot of the American colonists.

  • Your list is wrong about Carroll’s colony–Carroll was a native of Maryland, and arguably the richest man in America by the time of the Revolution.

  • There’s something wrong with that list. The names of the signers are in roughly alphabetical order. I’d guess that there was an embedded column in the cut-and-paste that distorted it.

  • It’s also worth noting that the founders were representitives of colonies, each made up of a large number of denominational emcampments. They weren’t looking to encode their own beliefs into the founding documents; they were trying to protect their populations. So this wasn’t a Deist document, or a Presbyterian/Episcopalean document. It was intended to protect the rights of every goofy New England utopian town of 200 souls, and everyone else. That’s the danger of emphasizing the founders’ individual beliefs over those beliefs that they wanted to prevent government from restricting.

  • There were witnesses to the “historical Jesus”, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John.

  • Pinky: That is good reasoning.

  • When Jefferson was in charge of the University of Virginia, he actively urged all the local religious groups to use the university buildings and grounds for events. Which was shrewd for gaining community support and goodwill, but also showed that his instinct was to be generous and impartial. It’s the American way to share.

    No, Jefferson’s beliefs were weirder than a barrel of komodo dragons, but that didn’t mean he didn’t believe in other people following their own religions.

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ObamaCare Ruling Watch

Wednesday, June 27, AD 2012

 

 

When the decision of the Supreme Court is released tomorrow at 9:00 AM Central Time I will do my best to link to the decision and have some commentary, work permitting in the law mines.  Now of course we can only guess what will happen.  Few things are more futile than attempting to guess what a court will do, but it is fun!  I share in the conventional wisdom that the Court will likely strike down the mandate but uphold the rest.  From a political standpoint, although it would be a travesty under the Constitution, I would prefer that the Court uphold the whole thing, since I think it would ignite a firestorm among conservatives and lead to a devastating defeat for Obama in the fall.  Well, we will see what happens tomorrow.

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One Response to ObamaCare Ruling Watch

Fortnight For Freedom Day Seven: The Freemen Have Assented

Wednesday, June 27, AD 2012

 

Beginning for two weeks, up to Independence Day, the Bishops are having a Fortnight For Freedom:

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S.  Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First,  Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.

 

Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to  highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic  institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation  with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to  defend our most cherished freedom.

 

The fourteen days from June  21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to  July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for  freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face  of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More,  St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the  Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our  Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that  would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for  religious liberty.

 

We here at The American Catholic are participating in the Fortnight For Freedom with special blog posts on each day.  This is the seventh of these blog posts.

Maryland, the Catholic colony, played an important role in early American colonial history.  Although Catholics in Maryland would eventually be stripped of many of their civil rights in Maryland by a Protestant majority until the time of the Revolution, while they were a political force they helped lay the foundations for a new nation.  One of the most remarkable documents produced during the time that Catholics ruled Maryland is The Toleration Act of 1649, one of the first legislative acts in the American colonies to establish toleration for all Christian faiths.  This was a compromise document between the Catholics and Protestants of Maryland and its text is as follows:

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15 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom Day Seven: The Freemen Have Assented

  • “Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to principles. Intolerance applies only to principles, but never to persons.” Bishop Fulton Sheen.

    HOW COULD ANY MAN DENY TO ANOTHER MAN PRESENCE IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE? Isn’t the public square the possession of each and every PERSON in joint and common tenancy and each and every PERSON, the child of “their Creator”? It appears that some men can impose their form of hatred upon other men using the very FREEDOM endowed by “their Creator”, the Father of Jesus Christ and our Father, WHO is in heaven. The PERSON of Jesus Christ cannot be disenfranchised of His rights endowed by “their Creator” to all men without proof of evildoing, in this case treason, incurring the necessity for removal of scandal and impending harm. Let the punishment fit the crime. Let the evildoer be hung upon his own gibbet (petard).

  • “Toleration, or, to be more exact, religious liberty, is in every one’s mouth, and the constant theme of declamation with all who would depreciate their ancestors, glorify themselves, or win the applause of the multitude ; but, unless we are greatly deceived, it is a theme on which there is much loose writing, and still more loose speaking and thinking. ”
    this is a quote from “Civil and Religious Toleration” in Orestes Brownson’s Quarterly Review, July, 1849.
    Brownson is too little read I think..
    If you are interested: http://www.orestesbrownson.com/166.html

  • I’m concerned that the Catholic Bishops unfairly pound the drum of religious freedom to infringe on the rights of Catholics and non-Catholics in a manner which is inconsistent with our Constitutional liberties. Recently we have heard sermons about how the government is interfering with these liberties, without making reference to exactly how this is being done, but anyone who has been paying attention is aware this has all to do with women’s reproductive rights (e.g., birth control) which the Bishops are going to mat against Pres. Obama. Since reproductive medical care is a legal right, it is the Bishops who foist their ill-conceived notion of public morality down the throats of the US public.

  • Sheerest rubbish. No one is stopping women from buying contraceptives. For the cheapest political advantage Obama decided to run roughshod over religious liberty by mandating that employers provide insurance coverage which covers contraceptives. You couldn’t be more twisted in your perception of what this fight is about.

  • Ridiculous lies: How the left cheats in the war of ideas. E.G., Jim Hall.

    It’s not an “ill-conceived notion.” The bishops are promulgating 2,000 years consistent Church teaching against abortion and artificial contraception.

    You have the right to commit these mortal sins. Obama and you do not have the right to require the Church pay for sins against life, morals and the Holy Spirit.

  • You both have the right to your opinions, but neither of you, or the Church, have any right to make your religious views the law of the land. The complaint is that government interferes with religion, but it’s the other way around. Also, such intolerance is driving many Catholics out of the Church.

  • Once again total rubbish. The Church is not attempting to impose a ban on contraceptives on the nation. The Obama regime is attempting to impose on the nation that employers have to provide insurance to their employees that covers contraceptives, no matter their religious scruples. As for Catholics leaving the Church over the Bishops standing up for religious freedom, frankly such Catholics left the Church de facto long ago.

  • You both have the right to your opinions, but neither of you, or the Church, have any right to make your religious views the law of the land.

    It must feel wonderful to knock such a powerful strawman argument down, but sadly (for you) the Church is not trying to make its religious views the law of the land. It is simply fighting efforts by the government to impose its morality upon the Church by forcing it to pay for practices it deems to be immoral. Remember that first amendment thing you leftists pretend to hold so sacrosanct? Yeah, that’s what is at stake. (Cue leftist protesting that he is not a leftist.)

    . The complaint is that government interferes with religion, but it’s the other way around.

    Not that you haven’t done a masterful job of proving your argument, but we’re going to need a little bit more than “nuh uh, you’re the intolerant one” to convince us of the veracity of this claim.

    Also, such intolerance is driving many Catholics out of the Church.

    Really? The Churches I’ve been to look to be as full as ever. You don’t think this might a bit of wish fulfillment on your part?

  • JH: Quick! Call your Mom and thank her for not aborting you.

  • @7:59:
    “You both have the right to your opinions, but neither of you, or the Church, have any right to make your religious views the law of the land. The complaint is that government interferes with religion, but it’s the other way around. ”

    Not the other way around, the mandate was made on 1/20/2012 which interfered with religious beliefs. See the below three points.

    “June 27, 2012
    The HHS Mandate: A Question of Religious Freedom or the Life Issues?

    by Peter J. Colosi

    Editor’s note: This is the first of a three part article that will discuss the current approach of the US Bishops in order to thank them and praise their efforts, while at the same time pointing out a certain oversight in their approach. Following parts will look at the reasons not often mentioned for which the Administration is enacting the HHS Mandate as well as ideas on how most wisely to approach the question of contraception in the midst of the fight for religious freedom.

    The Approach of the Bishops: Praise and A Question

    Stating What the Fight Is and Is Not About

    It is wonderful to see the unity, work and leadership of the Bishops in the fight for Religious freedom. We should both thank God for and join with them in their focused attention on the wrongheaded general principles they list as built into the Mandate: (1) an unwarranted government definition of religion; (2) a mandate to act against our teachings; and (3) a violation of personal civil rights. Regardless of the specific content of this mandate (contraception), these wrongheaded general principles violate the nature of freedom and conscience, and they violate the laws and customs of the United States of America. This would also be true if the government had begun its attack on religious freedom by forcing the Amish to subsidize car sales on their property. …”

  • Jim Hall “reproductive medical care is a legal right” ??
    I am not a lawyer but I am asking- exactly how many rights have we enumerated?
    If it is a right, who supplies it?

    Your comment makes me think you just don’t understand the issues.. and the lack of knowledge must certainly be willful at this point. Anyone can plainly see the church is not trying to impose morality, but defending it’s own right to it’s own morals.

  • Mr. Hall, no one is making any serious attempt to make Catholic views on contraception the law of the land. There’s a whole lot of daylight between outlawing something and not providing a subsidy for it. (Ask anybody who likes their Jack Daniels.)

    And where are these Americans who are so priced out of the market for artificial contraception that they can’t afford condoms? Granted, I expect there are plenty of Americans, from Sandra Flew on down, who don’t *want* to use condoms. But there are plenty of Americans who want better housing than Section 8 affords, too, and I don’t hear anyone trumpeting *their* (much more defensible) right to good housing.

    You appear to be frightened of shadows.

    What *is* happening–and what can be verified simply by reference to public texts published by the U.S. Government–is that this Administration (apparently with your approval) is trying to force Catholics (and others) to pay for acts we consider intrinsically evil. Put more baldly, in order to solve a non-problem, you consider the consciences of millions of Americans expendable. (Just counting the observant Catholics, you still get millions, and I’m not even counting in the Mormons or the Orthodox or other folks who object to artificial contraception on conscience.)

    Who are you to tell us that our consciences don’t count?

  • The one comment, from Mr. Brown, which invites reply: “What *is* happening. . . . that this Administration (apparently with your approval) is trying to force Catholics (and others) to pay for acts we consider intrinsically evil.” Please, check your facts. After the Catholic Bishops raised a stink, the Obama Admin reached an accord to the effect that religious organizations may opt out of the requirement to include birth control coverage in their employee insurance plans, and upon doing so the insurers themselves will offer contraception coverage to enrollees directly, at no additional cost.

    Please note the manifest ironies, that even wholly “Catholic” hospitals and charities are staffed primarily by non-Catholics and largely provide services to people of other faiths or of none, paid for with tax dollars. Regardless, by now objecting to its employees election to secure such services–even when the Church is not ‘forced’ to paraticipate in the alleged evil–it is very clear that the Church is interfering with freedom here.

    The Church’s effort to cry foul over these matters is shameful. I’m not sure if you bunch are being run by Fox News, or if this is a “Saturday Night Live” moment which the Bishops hope to secure public ridicule. In either event, its position on these issues would be comical if not so pernicious and the outcome so damaging.

  • Jim Hall, It is the mission of the Catholic Church to save souls, that rational, immortal part of the human being . The spiritual works of mercy are inscribed in the bible. It is the duty of the church to resist anything that might endanger man’s soul. God cares for us as a mother cares for her infant. If an immortal soul goes to hell man is made more poor by its loss. Mankind was made for God and heaven. Without God and heaven, life becomes meaningless, and you can go to hell, unless you will to go to heaven. Now, Obamacare denies that you can will to go to heaven by denying man’s conscience and free will, which you call freedom from the state, but the true freedom, the truth from God is necessary to find heaven.

  • JIm Hall again with the willful misunderstanding.
    The Catholic organization pays the insurance provider for what the insurance provider provides. The Catholic then is still cooperating in paying for something he don’t believe in.
    Insurance companies should get to decide what kind of coverage they want to offer too.
    The government (Medicaid) provides the patient with the ability to pay for services provided, that does not give the government the right to require the service provider to provide something they don’t believe in. That’s like saying “I’ve got money so you have to sell me something, even if that something is not in your inventory.” Glad you’ve got money, but I don’t have to sell you what I don’t want to sell.
    People have the choice to go to Catholic organizations for service or for employment– the organization describes the job requirements and benefits, while also choosing to provide a service and what to include in that service… and who to hire.

Charlie Cook: Hard Election For Obama to Win

Tuesday, June 26, AD 2012

One of the political experts I pay close attention to is Charlie Cook.  His personal politics lean Democrat, but when it comes to predicting elections and reading political tea leaves, he has one of the best records among political mavens.  I therefore assume that alarm bells were going off all over the Obama campaign when they read Cook’s column today in The National Journal:

We are past the point where Obama can win a referendum election, regardless of whether it is on him or the economy. The success of his campaign is contingent upon two things. First, when focusing on the narrow sliver of undecided voters, between 6 and 8 percent of the electorate, the Obama team must make its candidate the lesser of two evils. It has to make the prospect of a Mitt Romney presidency so unpalatable that about half of those undecided voters will begrudgingly vote for reelection. Polling focusing on the undecided voters reveals they are a deeply pessimistic and angry segment of the electorate and don’t particularly like either candidate (fitting, because they don’t tend to like politicians). But they show signs of being more conservative than not. One unpublished analysis gives Republicans a 10-point advantage on the generic congressional ballot test among those undecided about the presidential race. Close analysis of the numbers shows that Obama might have an edge with between a third and a quarter of the currently undecided bloc. That’s cutting things awfully close.

The second key is turnout. African-Americans look solid for Obama and very likely to vote in high numbers, but young and Latino voters’ turnout appears problematic. Obama’s recent announcement of a newly articulated Dream Act-light policy could help, but it is too soon to see any data showing measurable change. It is what many Latino voters wanted to see, though Obama did it less than five months before the election when it could have been done three years ago. After deportations had reached levels higher than those under George W. Bush, it could take a lot to drive up Latino turnout.

This election is hardly over: The totally unexpected could happen that changes everything. Unless the Obama team can discredit Romney, though, convincing voters that he is a ruthless, uncaring corporate buccaneer, this will be a hard election to win.

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28 Responses to Charlie Cook: Hard Election For Obama to Win

  • Lord Jesus Christ, may Obama be utterly defeated on November 6th and may Romney prove that he has the right to govern. Amen!

    I cannot begin to express my hope for an Obama defeat.

  • When Obama is king, we, the people will not have to vote.

  • It will be a blowout, crushing loss for Obama. It won’t be a 1984-style route, but very much akin to 1980.

  • I just hope & pray that Obama gets defeated because it’s scary to think what will happen to this country if he continues to be our president.

  • If I were the Devil, I would vote for Obama. If Obama won my work would be done. I would retire to Pandemonium.

    Hope, pray and work for the the good. Prepare for the worst: Obama gets four more years to finish us off.

  • Seems it is hard for him to win by convincing people he is the best and piling up more votes than Romney.
    What else can he try? October surprise? The month of June, already replete with bowing and scraping before his various constituencies, is nearly over. But I think more gays and Hispanics are becoming increasingly skeptical.

    Of course he has not really tried an appeal to the older voters yet.

  • As long as Obama has the MSM on his side, he’s in the driver’s seat. His anti-rich, anti-white, anti-religious message is gaining traction in secular America and in the weeks leading up to the election all we will hear will be how he killed Osama, “created millions of jobs,” and how dangerous it will be to “turn back the clock” and hand the reins to a rich, greedy politician who exported jobs overseas and is “out of touch.” Somewhere along the way there will be a few Romney “gotcha” moments and the MSM will pounce. Obama will squeeze out a close win.

  • Baloney Joe, utter baloney. You exaggerate the power of the fading Mainstream Media to god-like proportions and you forget the first rule in American presidential politics: It is always about the economy unless an issue of the magnitude of the Civil War or World War II dominates. No amount of media malarkey can put a smiley face on this pig of an economy for the majority of the voters. Romney with 295-310 electoral votes, with an outside chance of going as high as 347.

  • It is good to see that Mr. Green has gone from “Obama blowout” to “Obama close squeeze.”

    Good trend – let’s keep it up.

  • Only chance Romney has is a big white guy turnout. Obama has the queers, Jews, Latinos, women and blacks solidly locked up. Older white conservatives are an ever-shrinking voting bloc. It’s simple math.

  • Don, perhaps you’d like to place a small wager. Like a year’s subscription to our favorite magazine. Your call.

  • P.S. That would be one bet I would be happy to lose.

  • Don, perhaps you’d like to place a small wager.

    Fine Joe. If I win you will write a guest post for TAC praising Lincoln. If you win I will write a post attacking Lincoln.

  • “Obama has the queers, Jews, Latinos, women and blacks solidly locked up.”

    Identity politics, the last refuge of a politician who presides over a lousy economy. Obama got elected in 2008 because the economy was in meltdown and the voters blamed the GOP. He will lose this year because the economy is still wretched and he is the guy in charge.

  • Don, can I praise with faint damns? : )

  • I think Obama got elected for 3 main reasons: 1) white guilt 2) a weak opponent 3) MSM support.

  • I might not worry so much about some of the demographics you mentioned, Joe. Jews are 2.1% of population, and only 64% support Obama, 10% less than last time around. Less than 2% of Americans self identify as homosexual, so they’re not a great demographic to rely on, and the GOP still managed to get a fifth of them in the midterm. While there is a gender gap, MARRIED women tend to be a pretty Republican demographic. Think about it; if women were really a solid liberal block, that means that the half of the country with more registered voters is solidly liberal, and therefore there shouldn’t be a single Republican in any office anywhere – but there is.
    Conservative white people might not sound cool, but conservative is America’s largest ideological group, and white the largest race.

  • It is my unhumble opinion that Obama got elected because the people fear the retribution of God for abortion, for the removal of Jesus Christ and FREEDOM of religion from the public square. Obama’s arrogance posed as a strength, a shield as it were, from the vengeance God will take upon the guilty. Obama, as chief executive, will indeed bear the brunt of God’s vengeance, for Obama has not humbled himself before God or the TRUTH. MSM and Obama’s cohorts will be there right next to him when the hand of God strikes, sooner than later, praise the LORD.

  • Its a sad commentary on the state of US politics and its demographic shadow, that a man with absolutely no ability except mouthing platitudes continues to be a credible incumbent. The truth may be unpalatable but it has to be faced: the US of old is not going come back unless the whites take stock and vote according to their interests both present and historical.

  • Obama has the queers,

    There’s no need for name-calling here. Certainly Obama will garner a majority of the homosexual vote – you can just say that.

  • Paul, point taken. Perjorative now, but widely used when I was growing up. Have to remain PC of course.

  • “…a guest post for TAC praising Lincoln. “

    Low blow.

  • I am not clear on what you said here in your first sentence Mary. I do think the people are beginning to have a little more fear of the Lord. And we have to keep remembering that His is the most powerful constituency! Yes praise the Lord
    (and pass the ammunition?) joke joke… I don’t mean to foment anything…

    You speak of God’s retribution Mary … I am wondering about the quickness of God’s smackdown after the building of the druid pagan house of worship at the Air Force Academy in Colorado

  • Obama has the queers…

    That’s, what, three votes (39 if you include former members)? Not much to get worked up about, methinks. 😉

  • Anzlyne: “I am not clear on what you said here in your first sentence Mary. ” The people who voted for Obama tried to hide behind him from the vengeance of God. Obama is a hot air filled shirt with absolutely no power to rule over the nation without the sovereign authority of God. Yes, Anzlyne, It may become “praise the Lord and pass the ammunitiion” and it is no “joke, joke”. After writing 923 Executive Orders imposing martial law upon the citizenry, Obama let the military tanks roll into the streets of a quiet town to impress every voter of his power.

  • yes I get it “Obama’s arrogance posed as a strength, a shield” You are prob right– and people don’t see past the pose. Yet.

    He does have lots of feisty people trying to help him with this election.
    I wish the woman named Julia Sweeney who is a “cultural Catholic” on TV ads would get a little fear of the Lord, she could do a lot of good if she was on the side of Good.

    Maybe the armored vehicles in the streets in Missouri will make the light dawn for people- if they can admit they need to change their minds. I wish some cultural leaders would publicly do that.

  • The objective factors of 2012 indicate a crushing loss for Obama:

    1. The economy is in lousy shape and getting worse.
    2. Obama has not governed remotely as he ran.
    3. The Democrats got crushed in 2010 – that wasn’t just a little, mid-term loss there boys and girls: it was a defeat of epic proportions. 7 Senate seats, 63 House seats, innumerable State legislative seats. Has anything happened since that drubbing to make people go, “hey, those darn Democrats are just great!”?
    4. Over the past couple years upwards of a million people took the time to switch their voter registration from Democrat to Independent or Republican. The number of registered GOPers in the US has grown (slightly) while the number of registered Democrats has dropped (like a rock in some places).
    5. Polling has been showing an increasing gap between the number of GOPers polled and the number who show up to vote: the Wisconsin recall and Indiana Primary are prime examples of this. Lugar was supposed to lose by a couple points: he lost by 21. A major surge in grassroots, conservative voters is showing up.
    6. A bunch of senior, elected Democrats are skipping the Convention. They don’t want to be seen in the same region of the country with Obama – not even in the same region he’ll be in the next day or two.
    7. While Obama continues to pull in huge bucks, he’s not pulling in nearly as much as expected, he’s burning through it faster than he’s taking it in and, at the minimum, the GOP which we thought would be outspent two to one will match the Democrats in 2012.
    8. Political rumor-mongering has it that Democrats are already engaged in Congressional “triage” where they are deciding which incumbents are already lost and thus where to spend money to save seats. In other words they are playing Congressional defense – just trying to hold on to as many House and Senate seats as they can rather than trying to take any away from the GOP.
    9. The Democrats are already in a “thread the needle” campaign mode…looking at the electoral map to see where they can dig up 270 electoral votes. Romney is expanding the field to traditionally Democrat States such as Pennsylvania and Michigan.
    10. It is the end of June and Obama is still in massive pander mode to his core supporters – he’s desperately trying to lock down single women, Latinos, homosexuals and urban professionals.

    The bottom line is that the Obama campaign strategy now is to try to so divide Americans in to mutually hating camps that he can eke out a narrow win as Independents stay home in disgust and the traditionally larger number of core Democrats slightly outweigh the core GOPers on November 6th. This is the campaign of a man who is facing crushing defeat, knows it, and is just working desperately to salvage his political career. It won’t work – even if Obama does manage to disgust everyone with politics, my view is that there are more GOPers these days than Democrats…so a fight between the bases, as it were, still has Romney winning.

    Yes, it is still a long way before November 6th. Yes, all of us committed to defeating Obama must work like heck to get it done. Yes, anything can happen. But the reality of 2012 is that it is a hideous year for Democrats – if they win, it will be by the narrowest of margins, because we dropped the ball and because they lucked out amazingly.

  • I suspect Obama might not step down when defeated. He’s already hired a ton of attorneys to contest the election results.

If I Were The Devil

Tuesday, June 26, AD 2012

Man has got to take charge of Man. That means, remember, that some men have got to take charge of the rest – which is another reason for cashing in on it as soon as one can. You and I want to be the people who do the taking charge, not the ones who are taken charge of. Quite.

CS Lewis, That Hideous Strength

Hattip to Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report.  I wasn’t a big fan of the late Paul Harvey but this is pretty good and true.

It struck me that the recent video “If I wanted America to fail” must have been modeled after the Harvey bit.  Always steal from the best!

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5 Responses to If I Were The Devil

  • This is exactly and precisely what has happened – and it has happened because we have not taken Ezekiel 33 seriously. We have not been the watchmen that we should have been. We have not prayed for our Bishops, Priests and Deacons. We have not written to our Senators and Congressmen. We have not stood up to our friends and neighbors as they embraced the neo-pagan, post-modern slide into heresy and apostasy. We have played with our own lives in the horsebarn while the devil set fire to it outside. We wanted to be known as nice, tolerant, kind, considerate, open-minded.

    And now the whirlwind is upon us. We shall reap what we have sown (Galatians 6:7). We have not just allowed the devil his way; we have encouraged and aided him by our apathy and selfish interests, and now without our repenting, God will give us up to the god we always wanted – the one with two horns.

  • You are right Paul. It is not too late to pay attention to the Warning in Ezekial, but we had better start paying attention right now!

    a story:
    I had a heart attack over a year ago at an inopportune time- (chagrin) I tried to ignore it.
    A Catholic businessman we knew saw me in pain and quietly Warned me that it sounded “cardiac” but you know what they say about De Nile —
    Later as pain in arm continued I asked another friend – a salesman and a part time evangelical minister to pray for me; I thought he would pray for healing. He put his hand on my head and prayed that God would lead “this woman to pay attention to the warning signs You have sent”.
    Husband, pretty much unaware, had to be absent for a bit. I bowed my head and asked God to send someone to be with me while he was gone. Short prayer. When I raised my head there were two smiling African faces in front of me. I said who are you? One said I am Peter and the other said I am Jean Paul. Delightful. Both were strong Catholics, veterinarians, had studied in seminary in the past. They prayed with me. My husband came back and I told him all about it. The symptoms went away.
    On the long ride home I heard the pastor on the radio ( the one predicting the end of the world) talking about Ezekial 33. Slept at home that night; symptoms came and went. Early in the morning, I thought I would look up the passage the pastor had been talking about. I read Ezekial 33:3-5 and took heed, we went to the hospital and now I’m fine and dandy. Thank God.

    33:3 and if the sentinel sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and Warns the people;
    4 then if any who hear the sound of the trumpet do not take Warning, and the sword comes and takes them away, their blood shall be upon their own heads.
    5 They heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take Warning; their blood shall be upon themselves. But if they had taken Warning, they would have saved their lives.

    God gives us Warnings because He loves us. We should pay attention.

  • Anzlyne’s words were prophetic the other day. While this isn’t relevant to the discussion at hand (and please forgive me for the digression), I have had to make a visit to the local hospital for eaxctly what Anzlyne described. The physicians found in their investigation something else amiss. Details do not matter, but were serious enough that any further delay would have been most imprudent.

    So thank you, Anzlyne. It is truly miraculous how God speaks to us. I have never met Anzlyne, nor do I know her.

    (PS, this hospital has a super fast WiFi – TAC loads promptly!)

    OK, enough out of me.

  • Paul Primavera does your name means something like Paul First Truth?

    When Ezekial 33 was written, neither you nor I nor America was conceived, but God’s words and His love are living and timeless and personal. God has blessed us! The devil would like for us Americans to forget God’s providence, but we turn to Him all the more. The devil can’t stop the good work of TAC either– it connects and encourages us all

  • Yes, Anzlyne:

    Prima = First
    Vera = True

    Today is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. The title of this post is, “If I were the devil….” Well, the devil isn’t going to win. I was playing the audio for the Scripture readings on my computer at my bed side – the story of the angel rescuing Simon Peter from prison, the Psalm about the angel of the Lord rescuing those who fear Him, the part in St Paul’s second epistle to Timothy about being poured out as a libation, and Jesus’ declaration to Simon that he was Peter the Rock. A nurse walked in as the audio was playing. She asked what it meant. She did not understand. I explained how Saints Peter and Paul were murdered by Caesar for their faith, how Caesar couldn’t stand the idea of religious freedom, and how much Caesar wanted to be worshipped as a god. The victory was in the eventual conversion of Rome to Christianity. The devil did not win.

    And the devil isn’t going to win either. But we have to speak out whether we are lying in a hospital bed (or sitting next to one listening to the USCCB web site), doing our job at work, or interfacing with our neighbors. “If I were the devil…” is a most appropriate blog entry here at TAC. Let it remind us to be His witness in whatever humble way we can.

    PS, Father Tom came and I did my confession. The devil isn’t going to win my soul today.