24

A Future President of these United States

 Our national motto, “in God we  trust”, reminding us that faith in our creator is the most important  American value of them all.

Marco Rubio

Three predictions from this convention.  Mitt Romney will be President of the United States, Paul Ryan will be President of the United States and Marco Rubio will be President of the United States.  Here is the transcript of Senator Rubio’s introduction of Mitt Romney last evening: Continue Reading

1

Workmanlike, Heartfelt and Sufficient

But this president cannot tell us that YOU are better off today than when he took office.

Mitt Romney

 

 

Yesterday, in response to an inquiry, I offered these observations about how Romney needed to come across in his speech:

Romney needs to come across ultra competent and optimistic.  I think most of the nation understands that Obama cannot fix the economy, but they are skeptical that Romney can do better.  He needs to convince them that he can. 

Romney will have the usual advantage of most Republican candidates in that much of the mainstream press has given a fairly distorted view of him.  Just showing up without horns and a tail will give him a boost, as it does most Republican presidential candidates. 

Romney should echo what Ryan said:  does anyone, outside of rabid Democrat partisans, really believe that if Obama remains in office that his economic policies will do any better in the next four years than they have in the last four?  Time for something new.

I don’t view Romney’s task as very difficult.  He has never been much of an orator, but he has improved over the campaign.  This speech doesn’t require the touch of genius that Ryan’s speech had.  A solid, workmanlike effort, obviously heartfelt, should be sufficient.

I believe that Romney’s speech last night met these goals.  The speech was a “more in sorrow than in anger” look at the abysmal stewardship of the Obama administration as to the economy, and Romney brought up what is the overriding issue in this campaign:

What is needed in our country today is not complicated or profound. It doesn’t take a special government commission to tell us what America needs.

What America needs is jobs.

Lots of jobs.

Since the 1820’s in this nation the economy, unless overshadowed briefly by a war or some great issue like slavery, has determined the outcome of almost all presidential elections.  If the economy is good the party in power is rewarded on election day.  If the economy is bad the party in power is thrown out.  The economy today is quite bad and Romney understands that this is the determining factor in this election.  Last night I think he succeeded in his task of convincing enough people that Obama had failed and that he might do a better job at getting the economy up and running.

Here is the text of the speech: Continue Reading

24

Absolutely Disgusting and Disgraceful: TSA Targets Paul Family

The details are here.

The reason for the blatant harassment?

TSA agents did not cite any specific threat, but insinuated the Paul family was a threat to Mitt Romney, claiming the nominee “might be nearby.”

If I ever needed concrete proof that what the TSA does is not only a violation of human dignity and absolutely intolerable in a country that claims to be free, but also completely unnecessary and politically-motivated (after all Paul publicly criticizes the TSA), this is it.

Love or hate his politics, the idea that Ron Paul, his wife, or anyone else in his family poses a threat to Mitt Romney or anyone else is an absolute joke. Incidents like these make me ashamed of my country, and I am more than disappointed that this is one problem that the GOP in neither able or willing to address.

There is no level of security that is worth this level of invasive and perverted government intrusion into our lives. If the price of “security” is seeing children traumatized, old and disabled people humiliated, women sexually violated, and citizens in general being treated as potential enemies and threats by a fraternity of uniformed government thugs, I will gladly do without it.

Live free or die, America.

 

20

Clint Eastwood Interrogates Empty Chair!

I would just like to say something, ladies and gentlemen. Something that I think is very important. It is that, you, we — we own this country.

Clint Eastwood

Truly one of the most bizarre, and entertaining, moments I have witnessed in almost fifty years of observing national political conventions.  People may forget almost all of this convention as the years roll by, but they will always remember Clint and the empty chair!  Here is the text of his unforgettable act: Continue Reading

9

Romney’s Speech: Likes & Dislikes

Likes: Romney did a fine job undermining the hysterical “war on women” propaganda being shoved down our throats 24/7 by the DNC. Undecided voters in the battleground states will be less likely to accept the notion that Romney is a “dangerous extremist” who wants to send women “back to the dark ages.” He stated his willingness to defend innocent life and the institution of marriage but did not press the point.

I appreciated his emphasis on family, community, and religious faith comprising the foundation of social and economic life in the United States – this, in contrast to inefficient welfare bureaucracies and self-appointed nannies deciding what is best for us. The best social safety net is a spouse, a job, and a church.

I also appreciated his insistence that success in business is not something to be ashamed of, but something to celebrate, and that private-sector experience is an asset to the Presidency.

Dislikes: Of course my co-bloggers and half of my readers will disagree (and that’s ok), but the reassertion of America’s old foreign policy really strikes a sour note with me. I wasn’t particularly thrilled when Chris Christie called for a “second American century” either. A country with financial problems and cultural divisions as deep as ours, and with a serious and unattended crisis on its southern border, cannot afford to be the policeman of the world.

Granted I didn’t expect Romney to say anything about the broken border tonight, but in my view this is the most serious national security threat and the one that ought to be the top priority. One of the reasons I supported Ron Paul in the primaries is because I agree with his foreign policy views – and reject those of the rest of the GOP.

But since I don’t really believe that Obama’s foreign policy is significantly different, at least for my tastes, this is really a non-issue for me as far as the election itself goes.

32

Ryan’s Speech at the GOP Convention

College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.

Paul Ryan

 

 

 

I have been a connoisseur of oratory, especially political oratory, since I became old enough to understand that a speech was being given.  Last night’s speech by Paul Ryan was truly remarkable.   How was it remarkable?  Let me count the ways.

1.  It is difficult to deliver an attack speech with pleasant good humor, and Ryan did just that, and the good nature in which the indictment of the Obama administration was delivered made it all the more effective.

2.  The speech was delivered in a low-key style with Ryan hardly raising his voice.  The temptation, when you get in front of a vast live audience, like a convention, full of partisans, is to go “hot” and deliver a full-throated roaring speech.  Ryan did not make that mistake.  He understood who his real audience was:  uncommitted voters watching on television or the internet, and he presented his arguments coolly and non-confrontationally.

3.  He allowed his personal affability to shine through.  Many politicians find this difficult to do.  Rick Santorum, who I supported in the primaries, is a very likable and witty man off the stump.  He often found this hard to convey in his speeches.  Ryan does this effortlessly.

4.  Ryan dealt deftly with the issue of Romney being a Mormon:

Mitt and I also go to different churches. But in any church, the best kind of preaching is done by example. And I’ve been watching that example. The man who will accept your nomination tomorrow is prayerful and faithful and honorable. Not only a defender of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best. Not only a fine businessman, he’s a fine man, worthy of leading this optimistic and good-hearted country.

Our different faiths come together in the same moral creed. We believe that in every life there is goodness; for every person, there is hope. Each one of us was made for a reason, bearing the image and likeness of the Lord of Life.

Note the reference to “Lord of Life”.  This is not a man who is a sunshine pro-lifer.

5.  Ryan got nicely to what this election is truly about on a philosophical level:   sometimes, even presidents need reminding, that our rights come from nature and God, not from government.

6.   Ryan hammered away at the poor economy and asked a question that Obama simply can’t answer:  Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?

 

 

Here is the text of the speech: Continue Reading

4

Did John Pope Claim that His Headquarters Was in the Saddle?

 

One hundred and fifty years ago today General John Pope was busily engaged in having his Union Army of Virginia thrashed by the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia at the Second Battle of Bull Run.  In the 1880’s Pope wrote an article for Century Magazine, one of its many articles by Civil War commanders which would later come out in the four volume set Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, in which Pope did his unconvincing best to defend his conduct in this fiasco.  Go here to read it.  At the end of the article Pope claimed that he never said that his headquarters was in the saddle.

There are other matters which, although not important, seem not out of place in this paper. A good deal of cheap wit has been expended upon a fanciful story that I published an order or wrote a letter or made a remark that my “headquarters would be in the saddle.” It is an expression harmless and innocent enough, but it is even stated that it furnished General Lee with the basis for the only joke of his life. I think it due to army tradition, and to the comfort of those who have so often repeated this ancient joke in the days long before the civil war, that these later wits should not be allowed with impunity to poach on this well-tilled manor. This venerable joke I first heard when a cadet at West Point, and it was then told of that gallant soldier and gentleman, General W. J. Worth, and I presume it could be easily traced back to the Crusades and beyond. Certainly I never used this expression or wrote or dictated it, nor does any such expression occur in any order of mine; and as it was perhaps served its time and effected its purpose, it ought to be retired. Continue Reading

22

The Dark Side of Ideological Inconsistency

A couple of days ago I was listening to a radio show on Sirius. The hosts were playing audio of a woman who had spent six hours waiting in line at the welfare office. The woman did not sound particularly old, and she had six kids.

There were several disconcerting elements to the story. The fact that this woman waited so long highlights the inefficiencies of government bureaucracies. More importantly, it was clear that this woman not only depended on the welfare checks to get by, the attitude expressed in the soundbite revealed how deeply she felt entitled to the government benefits.

No one should begrudge those who truly need government assistance. I know nothing of this woman’s history, so I won’t comment on her situation specifically. But I was saddened as I listened to this woman speak, and I thought of how welfare has turned many people into truly helpless individuals – not because they are so by nature, but because that is what the welfare state does to people.

The radio hosts who played this story have what can be described as a libertarian bent, and they decried the welfare state’s tendency to breed dependency. Yet I couldn’t help but laugh at their willful blindness, for they are certainly the types who would mock social conservatives. So many libertarians, or socially liberal and economically conservative individuals, fail to appreciate the nexus between social and economic issues. The breakdown of the family contributes to the rise of the welfare state. More and more children are born out of wedlock, and single mothers must turn to the state to provide financial support to their families. Yet these social libertarians (indeed some of them are libertines) see no contradiction in promoting lax cultural mores while decrying ever-increasing government dependency.

Yet libertarians are not the only ones who fail to connect economic and social issues. Looking at it from a different perspective, those who consider themselves socially conservative but who advocate enhanced government intervention in economic affairs do not see how the welfare state itself leads to the breakdown of the family. The welfare state has practically displaced the family in many situations, fostering the sense of independence from family life. The family hasn’t been wholly displaced as the primary means of financial support, but many people have been brought up to expect that the government will be there to bail them out of poor life choices. Therefore, just as the breakdown of the family contributes to the rise of the welfare state, the welfare state itself contributes to the breakdown of the family. It is a vicious cycle, and those who insist that we can separate economic and social issues perpetuate that cycle.

2

Mia Love

Keep your eye on Mia Love, the Republican candidate in Utah’s 4th Congressional District.  Pro-life and endorsed by the Susan B. Anthony List, she is a passionate conservative and gives a great stump speech.  Bright and articulate, she is a formidable campaigner and a hard fighter.  If she is elected in the fall I expect her to have an impact on Congress rare for a freshman member.

2

Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth

 

Pro-lifers in the past two years have made immense gains as CBS ruefully noted yesterday:

While the national GOP is trying to tamp down the abortion issue after Mo. Rep. Todd Akin’s controversial comments, it’s growing on the local level.

Americans have been divided over the issue of abortion since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade almost 40 years ago, and at the state level the debate is louder than ever.

In the past two years alone, 32 states have adopted some form of abortion restriction.

The Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights, tracks legislation. Elizabeth Nash, its state issues manager, said: “Since the November 2010 elections, we have just seen a huge tidal wave of abortion restrictions roll across states.”

In the first six months of 2012, 15 states passed 39 restrictions on abortion. Last year, 24 states passed 92 restrictions, an all-time record.

Restrictions include bans on abortions at 20 weeks; 24- to 72-hour waiting periods; and a requirement to inform women of suicide risks if they seek an abortion. Continue Reading

2

Josephus on the Beheading of John the Baptist

Today is the feast of the beheading of Saint John the Baptist, an event which is mentioned in a source other than the Gospels.  Here is the Jewish historian Josephus who wrote circa 93-94 AD  regarding the death of the Baptist in his Jewish Antiquities:

About this time Aretas, the king of  Petra, and Herod the Tetrarch had a quarrel on account of the following. Herod the tetrarch had married the daughter of Aretas and had lived with her a great while; but once when he was on his way to Rome he lodged with  his half-brother, also named Herod but who had a different mother,  the high priest Simon’s daughter.  There he fell in love with Herodias, this latter Herod’s wife, who was the daughter of their brother Aristobulus and the sister of Agrippa the Great.     This man ventured to talk to her about a marriage between them; she accepted, and an agreement was made for her to come to him as soon as he should return from Rome, one condition of this marriage being that he should divorce Aretas’s daughter. So when he had made this agreement, he sailed to Rome; but when he had finished there and returned again, his wife, having discovered the agreement he had made with Herodias, and before he knew that she knew of the plan, asked him to send her to Machaerus, a place on the border between the territories of Aretas and Herod, without informing him of any of her intentions.     Accordingly Herod sent her there, thinking his wife had not perceived anything. But she had sent messages a good while before to Machaerus, which had been under the control of her father, and so all things necessary for her escape were made ready for her by the general of Aretas’s army.  By that means she soon came into Arabia, under the conduct of the several generals, who carried her from one to another successively; and soon she came to her father and told him of Herod’s intentions.     Aretas made this the start of his enmity toward Herod. He also had a quarrel with him about their boundaries in the area of Gabalis. So they raised armies on both sides and prepared for war, sending their generals to fight instead of themselves. And when they had joined battle, all Herod’s army was destroyed by the treachery of some fugitives who, though they were of the tetrarchy of Philip and joined the army, betrayed him.  So Herod wrote about these affairs to Emperor Tiberius, who was very angry at the attempt made by Aretas and wrote to Vitellius to make war upon him and either to take him alive, and bring him in chains, or to kill him, and send him his head. This was the command that Tiberius gave to the governor of Syria.

Continue Reading

3

How Not To Be A Racist

 

 

I wish I could say  the above video is an exaggeration, but it really isn’t.  Timothy Noah demonstrates this in The New Republic in a charming article entitled, Romney Cribs from the GOP’s Willie Horton Playbook.  In the article Noah somehow fails to note that in 1988 the first candidate to bring up the fact that Michael Dukakis as governor of Massachusetts defended a furlough policy for prisoners, including convicted first degree murderers serving a life sentence, was Al Gore.  Willie Horton, a first degree murderer serving a life sentence, received a weekend furlough, did not come back, and committed the crimes of rape, assault and auto theft.  Horton was sentenced to two life sentences plus 85 years in Maryland.  The Maryland judge refused to return him to Massachusetts, saying, “I’m not prepared to take the chance that Mr. Horton might again be furloughed or otherwise released. This man should never draw a breath of free air again.”  Michael Dukakis as governor of Massachusetts thought that such furloughs were a great idea and defended the policy.  Bush is accused by Noah of racism for bringing up these very inconvenient facts against Dukakis.

So much for history.  How is Romney guilty of racism according to Noah?

Edsall sees the Romney campaign using race in two ways. Most overtly, the Romney campaign is accusing President Obama by of gutting welfare reform by dropping the work requirement—a gross distortion of an unexceptional waiver Obama granted several states allowing them to experiment with alternative ways to meet the work requirement. Two of the five governors requesting the waivers were Republicans, and among those who have denounced the workfare accusation as flat-out untrue is the Republican former congressman and current talk-show host Joe Scarborough. The second way Edsall sees the Romney campaign using race is more subtle. According to Edsall, Romney is conveying a racially-charged message in accusing Obama of taking money away from (mainly white recipients of) Medicare to fund (majority non-white recipients of) Obamacare.

According to Edsall, Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, have so far been leaving the race-baiting to ads on TV and the Internet while taking the high road in their own appearances. That isn’t quite right, as TNR’s Alec MacGillis has shown; Romney is not above integrating the welfare-based attack into his speeches. Now Romney has taken the game to a new level in an interview published today in USA Today. Romney tells USA Today’s Susan Page that Obama issued the welfare waivers to “shore up his base. Continue Reading

20

Devastating: Charlie Crist Endorses Obama, Will Speak at Democratic Convention

Devastating to Barack Obama, that is.

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist says he’s backing Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential race.

The former Republican made the announcement in an op-ed piece published in Sunday’s Tampa Bay Times. The endorsement came as Republicans are gathering in the Tampa Bay area for the GOP convention. It also came amid preparations statewide for Tropical Storm Isaac.

Crist left the Republican Party during his unsuccessful bid for a U.S. Senate seat in 2010 and is currently registered as having no party affiliation. He was elected governor of Florida as a Republican in 2006.

Yes, that “unsuccesful” bid, where as a sitting governor he netted a whopping 30% of the vote and lost by 18% to Marco Rubio.

So after being humiliated in the general election by Rubio, Crist has decided to take his marbles and endorse President Obama. Hmm, where have we seen this act before? A person’s ambitions for greater glory are thwarted, and he decides to simply switch allegiances in an effort to suck up to Barack Obama. I really feel like I’ve seen this play out before. Hmmm.

Crist will be speaking at the Democratic convention in Charlotte. I’m sure the Democrats are excited that a former Republican governor will be addressing their convention. Actually, they’re probably excited that anyone is speaking at their convention at this point.

As for Crist’s endorsement, it is interesting that the man who once claimed that Sarah Palin was more qualified to be president than Barack Obama is now endorsing the latter. What changed Crist’s mind? Well, let’s look at his op-edContinue Reading

6

Intolerant Jackwagons!

I know that the Marine Corps will be here forever; this administration won’t.

Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey

One of my favorite character actors is R. Lee Ermey.  A gunnery sergeant and drill instructor in the Marine Corps, he was honorably discharged from the Corps in 1972 as a result of injuries he sustained in two tours in Vietnam.   Since that time he has built an acting career, playing off his DI personae and his flair for comedy.  Recently he was a spokesman for Geico, but was fired for giving vent to his views about the current administration during a Toys for Tots program in Chicago last year.

After being asked about his GEICO commercial wherein he played a psychiatrist calling his patient a “jackwagon,” Ermey said, “GEICO fired me because I had, I wasn’t too kind about speaking with the, about the administration, so the present administration. So they fired me.”

“So they fired you because of political reasons?” asked the TMZ representative.

“Yeah,” Ermey answered. “If you’re a conservative in this town, you better watch out.”

Here is the program and a transcript of what he said.

I got to tell you, folks, we’re having a big problem this year. The economy really sucks. Now I hate to point fingers at anybody, but the present administration probably has a lot to do with that. And the way I see it, they’re not going to quit doing it until they bring this country to its knees. So I think we should all rise up, and we should stop this administration from what they’re doing, because they’re destroying this country. They’re driving us into bankruptcy so that they can impose socialism on us, and that’s exactly what they’re doing. And I’m sick and damn tired of it, and I know you are too. But I know the Marine Corps is going to be here forever – this administration won’t. Semper Fi. God bless you all. Continue Reading

8

The New York Times and the Hive Mind

 

 

 

 

Arthur Brisbane was the Public Editor (ombudsman) for The New York Times.  In his last column he made this observation:

 

I also noted two years ago that I had taken up the public editor duties believing “there is no conspiracy” and that The Times’s output was too vast and complex to be dictated by any Wizard of Oz-like individual or cabal. I still believe that, but also see that the hive on Eighth Avenue is powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds — a phenomenon, I believe, that is more easily recognized from without than from within.       

When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.       

As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.

In the same column Brisbane made the startling revelations that fire burns and water is wet.  Not really, but that would be on the same level of stating the bloody obvious. Continue Reading

7

High Flight

This seemed appropriate on a weekend when Neil Armstrong died.  The poem was written by 19 year old John Gillespie Magee, Jr. an American serving as a pilot with the RCAF in World War II in England, prior to the entry of America into the War.  A few months after he wrote the poem  he was killed in a mid-air collision. Continue Reading

37

The Party of Death in Convention Assembled

 

 

Playing up the War on Women meme and the Todd Akin gaffe, the Democrats are going to be celebrating their most sacred rite right at their Convention in September:

Democrats said that they will feature Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parent Action Fund, Nancy Keenan, president of the NARAL Pro-Choice America and Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University student whose plea for federal birth control funding drew the ire–and a subsequent apology–from Rush Limbaugh.

What’s more, the Democrats are expanding their list of women ready to assail the GOP on women’s issue, adding Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski and actress Eva Longoria to the list that already includes Sen. John Kerry and Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren.

This goes hand in hand with their rejection of Cardinal Dolan’s offer to pray at the Democrat convention.  Dolan is giving the benediction at the Republican convention this week, so in an effort at even-handedness, he offered to do so for the Democrats.  This offer was rejected out of hand.  Why?  It would have been smart politics for the Democrats to have the Cardinal pray for them, perhaps the visuals marginally helping them with Catholic voters.  Yet they turned up their nose.  I can think of three reasons for the rejection: Continue Reading

8

Neil Armstrong: Requiescat in Pace

For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.

Statement of the Armstrong Family

 

 

The first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, died today at 82.  He served as a naval fighter pilot in Korea, flying 78 combat missions.  A test pilot after the war, his feats in that field were legendary, combining strong engineering ability, cold courage and preternatural flight skills.  He was accepted into the astronaut program in 1962.  On July 20, 1969, in the middle of the night in Central Illinois, he set foot on the moon.  My father and I, like most of the country, were riveted to the television screen as we watched a turning point in the history of humanity.  He intended to say, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”  It came out:  “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”  Godspeed Mr. Armstrong on the journey you have just embarked upon. Continue Reading

53

Latter Day Leftist Secessionist

Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Faith that I have named him Defender of the Faith, has an unforgettable look at a book written by splenetic Leftist, Chuck Thompson, who wishes that the South would secede:

It may interest you to know that a significant number of those Americans who think that Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox was a devastating tragedy, maybe even most of them, reside north of the Mason-Dixon Line and probably have never been to, have no ancestors from and have no interest in visiting that large area south of it.

If a leftist Yankee travel writer named Chuck Thompson, author of Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession, ever put together a list of the worst American presidents, George W. Bush would probably come in second behind Abraham Lincoln.  In the Wall Street Journal, Barton Swaim reviews the book:

On the first page, the author wonders why the American electoral system must be “held hostage by a coalition of bought-and-paid-for political swamp scum from the most uneducated, morbidly obese, racist, morally indigent, xenophobic, socially stunted, and generally ass-backwards part of the country.” You expect him to let up, to turn the argument around, to look at the other side of question. But he never does. For more than 300 pages, Mr. Thompson travels through the South observing customs, outlooks and people and subjecting them to an unremitting stream of denunciations.

The American South is certainly not above criticism or satire.  And many writers from other parts of the country or the world have visited the South and written useful and interesting books about their experiences.  Thompson, on the other hand, made up his mind beforehand and went looking for what he thought he needed to see. Continue Reading

30

“Don, There’s A Nut On The Phone.”

 

I was working at my desk in the law mines Wednesday afternoon, when I heard one of my secretaries say loudly “Mr. McClarey never speaks to anyone who will not give their name!” followed by a phone being slammed down.  I sauntered into her office to see what was up.  She told me that some bitter old harpy was yelling and talking a mile a minute, demanding to speak to me and ranting about who was paying for The American Catholic, that Biden was a better Catholic than Paul Ryan, and spewing various insults aimed at conservatives.  When she wouldn’t give her name my secretary hung up on her per our standard operating procedures.  I learned long ago that if someone will not leave their name that is almost a certain sign of someone with a few screws loose, and I simply do not have the time to waste dealing with such phone calls.  My other secretary heard us and said that she had received a similar call a few minutes ago and after letting the woman vent for five minutes hung up on her after she repeatedly ignored requests to give my secretary her name.  At this time the caller called back and we put her through to voice mail.  The person began her diatribe by denouncing me as a coward, this from someone who would not give her name.  I deleted her call at this point since she was obviously merely going to repeat the tiresome rant that my secretaries had already described to me.

If she had merely given her name I would have been happy to talk to her and tell her who is paying for The American Catholic.  Fifty percent of our revenue comes from the Vatican.  I was in the midst of fingering my monthly pot of Vatican gold when she called.  This of course is in addition to the squad of albino squirrel assassins that I received from the Vatican when I helped form The American Catholic four years ago this October.  The remainder of our funds comes from the Koch Brothers.  They usually pay us in blood diamonds, although I would note that the shipment last month seemed to be of a lesser quality than they customarily send.  As a result, I am happy to report that each contributor to The American Catholic is rich, rich beyond your wildest dreams of avarice!  (Don laughs evilly:  Ha! Ha, Ha, Ha!  Chortle, snort!) Continue Reading

59

In Defense of Mother Russia

I haven’t heard much about the ongoing dispute between the Russian government and the Western media over the fate of the faux “punk rock band” ***** Riot in the American Catholic media. But this is a dispute in which I believe we ought to take sides as Catholics.

[No, I will not give the vulgar hate group the sociopathic pleasure of having yet another Christian publication use their name]

Three members of the vulgar hate group were arrested following their desecration of Moscow’s largest Orthodox cathedral. They have now been sentenced to two-year prison terms, with the six months spent at trial counting as time served.

My position on this incident is pretty clear. I stand 110% with the Russian government, the Orthodox Church, and the tens of millions of Russian Orthodox who have condemned the vulgar hate group – and I believe all Catholics in all countries ought to do likewise.

Not simply because this appears to me to be a deliberate ploy encouraged and promoted by anti-Russian elements in Europe and the United States; not simply because in all of the Western countries hypocritically condemning Russia these same actions could be and likely would be regarded as hate crimes according to their own established laws; not simply because the right to free speech does not, never has, and God willing, never will mean the right to invade any space one chooses and defecate on the floor; not simply because I respect the religious sensibilities of the Russian people; not even because I am fairly certain that being on the opposite side of whatever cause the degenerate celebritariat is championing is almost always the best and wisest choice – ???. Not just for those reasons.

Continue Reading

15

Solidarity and the Welfare State

An interesting look at Paul Ryan by Father Barron based upon the twin poles of Catholic social teaching:  subsidiarity and solidarity.  It is easy to see how the welfare state, consolidating ever more power in the central government, is destructive of subsidiarity.  What is often overlooked however, is how destructive the welfare state tends to be also of solidarity.

1.  A welfare state by its nature needs government employees, and lots of them.  We are seeing in our time how the interests of these employees and the populations they purportedly serve often clash.  Think, for example, teachers unions and school choice.

2.  A welfare state, once it reaches a large enough size, becomes a crushing burden on the economy.  Paradoxically, the welfare state which is meant to alleviate poverty, ends by increasing it.

3.  As governmental power and scope grows through a welfare state, elections tend to become much more important to ever larger segments of the population, as society increasingly divides between those who receive benefits and those who pay the taxes to provide the benefits.

4.  By increasing dependence upon government, the welfare state lessens the initiative among a great many people to not only improve their own lot through their efforts, but also the lot of their families.

5.  Welfare states tend to become substitute husbands for low-income women and substitute fathers for the children born to single low-income women.  The impact upon illegitimacy rates is as obvious as it is destructive of the family, the basic building block of solidarity in any society. Continue Reading

10

Father John Ireland and the Fifth Minnesota

 

 

One of the titans of the Catholic Church in the Nineteenth Century in the United States was Archbishop John Ireland, the first Archbishop of Saint Paul, Minnesota.  Future blog posts will cover his career as Archbishop.  This blog post is focused on his service during the Civil War.  Ordained a priest only a year, Father John Ireland at 24 in 1862 received permission of his bishop to join the Fifth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry.  He joined the regiment immediately after the battle of Shiloh.

At the battle of Corinth on October 4, 1862 the Fifth Minnesota saved the day for the Union with a charge that stopped a Confederate breakthrough of the Union lines.  Running short on ammunition, the troops received additional cartridges from Chaplain Ireland who ran down the line dispensing ammunition.  When the fighting was over, the soldiers noted that their chaplain tirelessly tended the wounded and administered the Last Rites to soldiers whose wounds were beyond human aid.

The troops were very fond of their young priest and built him a portable altar from saplings.  His sermons were popular with the men, being direct, blunt and brief.  He was noted for his sunny disposition, quick wit  and his courage.  He was also an enthusiastic chess player, and would take on all comers in the evenings in camp.

Before battles he would hear the confessions of huge numbers of soldiers, with some Protestant soldiers often asking for admission to the Church.  He was always ready to pray with any soldiers no matter their religion, and give them what comfort he could in reminding them that God was ever at their side during their time of peril.  On one occasion he went to the side of an officer who had been shot and was bleeding to death and had asked for a chaplain.   the Archbishop recalled the scene decades after the War.   ‘Speak to me,’ he said, ‘of Jesus.’ He had been baptized — there was no time to talk of Church. I talked of the Savior, and of sorrow for sin. The memory of that scene has never been effaced from my mind. I have not doubted the salvation of that soul.”

Father Ireland was mustered out of service in March of 1863 due to ill-health, but he never forgot his time in the Union Army.  He was ever active in the Grand Army of the Republic, the Union veterans’ organization,   and would write about his experiences as a combat chaplain.  Unlike most Catholics of his day, he was a firm Republican, the friend of Republican presidents including McKinley and Roosevelt, and never forgot why the Civil War had to be fought, as this statement by him regarding the rights of blacks indicates: Continue Reading

2

Hope and Change Shattered

Trailer of an anti-Obama documentary The Hope and the Change detailing why 40 Obama voters from 2008 are not voting for him in 2012.  The Romney campaign has been running ads like his featuring former disillusioned Obama voters.  Obama ran in 2008 with the type of hype that I have never seen before in an American political campaign.  More than a few of his acolytes viewed him literally as a messianic figure.  The hopes he raised in many of his followers could never have been met by any president.

Continue Reading

81

Has Ryan “Softened” His Pro-Life Views?

Brace yourself for the latest meme to hit the politosphere: the word is now that Paul Ryan has “softened” his views on abortion. Ryan has long opposed abortion in all cases save in a few cases where he believes it may be necessary to save the life of the mother. This means that he has opposed abortion in the case of rape. But in this post-Akin political environment, so the narrative goes, Ryan, in the interests of being a team player, is renouncing his opposition to rape exceptions.

What set this off? First there was the statement made by various Romney campaign spokespeople in the aftermath of Akin’s blunder:

“Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape”

Then there were Ryan’s responses to some reporters who were pressing him on the abortion/rape issue, and focusing particularly on some legislation he previously supported which made distinctions between different types of rape. Ryan said to the reporters:

“I’m proud of my record. Mitt Romney is going to be president and the president sets policy. His policy is exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. I’m comfortable with it because it’s a good step in the right direction.”

One the basis of one or both of these statements, major news outlets and some in the Catholic blogosphere are claiming that Ryan has “softened” his views on abortion. Or, to put it in Mark Shea’s words, Ryan has “partly renounce[d]” his position. In response to a comment I made on Mark’s blog, he elaborated further:

 I just don’t see how anybody can regard movement from “It is always gravely evil to deliberately kill innocent human life” to “I am opposed to the murder of innocent, unborn children except in cases my boss tells me not to be opposed,” or, “unless I feel it jeopardizes my chances of becoming VP” and maintain that Ryan is not compromising.

It is quite obvious to me that Paul Ryan has not said or done a thing to warrant the attribution of such cynical and selfish motives to him – though I do believe he, like most pro-life politicians and even people such as myself, is willing to compromise on a few points to make significant gains, a point I will elaborate on below. In any case, Mr. Shea goes too far. Because I often find his commentary to be fair-minded (even when I disagree), I am surprised at this rather unjustifiable attack on Ryan’s character but also willing to grant the benefit of the doubt. So I will offer my take on these comments and Mark can reply if he feels it’s worth his time.

Continue Reading

13

Deroy Murdock Wants the GOP to Engage in Five Minutes of Hate Against Akin

Sometimes I can get heated in my writing. I recognize that I am not always the most temperate of bloggers. But if I ever write anything as hysterically removed from reality as this Corner posting by Deroy Murdock, please have me forcibly removed from the internet.

Murdock starts out semi-sensibly, expressing his disgust over Akin’s comments and stating that he should have dropped out of his Senate race. Fair enough, that’s how I felt about the matter. Then he delves into apocalyptic nonsense.

This will be an utter catastrophe for the GOP — from St. Louis to San Diego to Seattle to Sarasota to Seabrook.

Any American who does not know Akin’s name already is about to hear it non-stop, thanks to Democrats who cannot believe the beautifully wrapped gift that Akin just handed them. Rather than engage the buoyant Paul Ryan and the re-energized Mitt Romney or explain to seniors why President Obama swiped $716 billion from Medicare to finance Obamacare, Democrats will have a much more startling theme to pound home until November: Republicans are soft on rape.

Yeah. It is true that Akin has likely prevented the Republicans from picking up a Senate seat, but Murdock is just as likely highly exaggerating the ramifications of his comments for the rest of the party. Yes, Akin provides some fresh meat for a Democrat party, but really, they aren’t really saying anything new about the woman-hating GOP. Meanwhile, the economy remains a shambles, and the American public is only so willing to permit distractions to make them forget that fact. So I think that Akin’s comments, while insanely idiotic, will not have a far-reaching impact beyond his own race.

Around the clock, Democratic candidates, spokesmen, commercials, and the party’s foot soldiers in the news media will labor sedulously to transform the party of Lincoln and Reagan into the party of Akin. By Election Day, Akin will be more famous, ubiquitous, and inescapable than Kim Kardashian. His twisted comments on rape will be played again and again, with spooky music, scary edits, and every instrument in the campaign consultant’s tool box applied to amplify this message.

By November 6, the only woman who will vote for Mitt Romney will be Ann Romney — maybe.

Uh huh. The GOP will be able to replay Obama’s “you didn’t build that” comment on the same repeated loop (and actually slightly more often considering the GOP money advantage). Which of these two ploys will resonate more deeply with voters this election cycle?

With women (and many men) terrified by the Party of Rape, Republican candidates and causes will fall like autumn leaves, after which some will blow away, and others will gather in piles and fester.

Sure. Moreover, failed Republican candidates will grieve for months over the shocking loss. Bereft of comfort, they will spiral out of control, dying desolate and alone, clutching nothing but an empty bottle that was their only means of warmth on the cold streets in which they dwelled. Their widows and orphans will wallow in misery. Even with Obamacare fully implemented and strengthened by the McCaskill amendment barring all private insurance, making the federal government the sole provide of healthcare, the GOP widows will be abandoned by a vengeful government. Eventually they will be killed – as will we all – by the machines that rise to power after President Biden accidentally flips the wrong switch on the day they are to be activated in our war with Canada.

Does Akin want to be the man whom history will recall as guaranteeing McCaskill’s reelection, possibly keeping the U.S. Senate in the hands of hardened liberal Democrat, Harry Reid?

Does Akin hope to be known in perpetuity as the cause of Barack Obama’s reelection, notwithstanding the multifarious merits of the Romney-Ryan ticket?

Does Akin want to lie on his deathbed and exhale his last breath while trying vainly to forget that he made it impossible to repeal Obamacare, reverse the rampant damage of the Obama years, and turn America from the path to decline?

Does Akin want to wake up in the fiery depths of hell, Satan welcoming him to an eternal torment?

Does Akin want to spend his hellish eternity watching re-runs of What’s Happening while listening to the soulful tunes of Kenny G?

Does Akin want to open the portal that allows all of the demons of hell to march triumphantly upon heaven, thus causing all of eternity to be erased in an instant?

Well if Akin doesn’t want to end all of existence, then there’s no choice but to unleash the hounds of parliamentary procedure.

On its opening evening in Tampa, the Republican National Convention should vote on prime-time television to denounce Akin, reject his wretched comments, disassociate the party from him, and pledge that no GOP resources will be deployed to support his campaign. Each delegation should express itself on this matter through a roll call of the states. The decision should be overwhelming, if not unanimous, against Akin.

His name will be stricken from the records, his mere existence denied Republicans for all eternity. Any who dare even mention the name Akin – who hereafter shall be referred to as He Who Must Not Be Named – will be arrested and jailed.

Of course this still might not be enough. Todd Akin should be dragged onto the stage and sacrificed. Sandra Fluke should be invited to be the one to plunge the knife into Akin’s still-beating heart. And she should be given a lifetime supply of contraception as a final means of atonement.

Then, and only then, will this long national nightmare finally be behind us.

Until somebody else says something stupid. In other words, when Joe Biden speaks in public again.

6

At His Execution

 

 

The twelfth in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling.   The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , herehere , here, here, here, here , here and here.  Kipling was not conventionally religious.  He once described himself jokingly as a pious Christian atheist.  However, many of his poems dealt with religious themes.  One of his most moving religious poems he wrote in 1932, four years before his death.

At His Execution

 

I am made all things to all men–

 Hebrew, Roman, and Greek–

 In each one’s tongue I speak,

Suiting to each my word,

That some may be drawn to the Lord!

I am made all things to all men–

 In City or Wilderness

 Praising the crafts they profess

That some may be drawn to the Lord–

By any means to my Lord!

Since I was overcome

 By that great Light and Word,

 I have forgot or forgone

The self men call their own

(Being made all things to all men)

 So that I might save some

 At such small price to the Lord,

As being all things to all men.

I was made all things to all men,

But now my course is done–

And now is my reward…

Ah, Christ, when I stand at Thy Throne

With those I have drawn to the Lord,

 Restore me my self again! Continue Reading

16

It is not Dishonorable to be Honorable

Chris Johnson, whom Donald has labeled as Defender of the Faith, sums up my feelings on the Todd Akin affair both here and here. Darwin also has an eminently sensible take. Meanwhile, Akin continues to labor under the delusion that he can still defeat Senator McCaskill this November, bolstered by this preposterously over-Republican sampled poll showing that he maintains a one point lead. Evidently his idiocy extends to issues beyond rape.

What’s remarkable is that a hefty proportion of conservatives are calling for Akin to withdraw. When Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter and (kinda sorta) Rush Limbaugh are all urging you to get out of the race, it’s a sign that it’s not just establishment “RINOs” that have turned against you.

Now I do also think that Levin and our own Bonchamps make good points about Democrat hypocrisy on this issue. That said, those few who continue to defend Akin are relying on the most obnoxious tu quoque strategy in order to justify Akin’s continued presence in the Missouri Senate race. Chris and Dana Loesch have been Akin’s most ardent supporters on twitter. They haven’t necessarily defended his statement, but they have insisted that because Democrats say and do much viler things, and because leftists tend to rally around those Democrats who say and defend stupid things, it’s wrong for conservatives and Republicans to insist that Akin get out. They argue that conservatives opposed to Akin are being cowards who are chickening out in the face of Democrat aggression.

First of all, I would argue that the more cowardly and politically weak-minded thing to do is to essentially cede what should be a fairly easy pick-up for Republicans. More importantly,  blind partisan loyalty is not a virtue to be emulated, and the proper response to gutter politics is not to get in the gutter with your opponents.

Let’s take a look at two comments left on Bonchamps’ post.

Yes women get pregnant from rapes. No your body doesn’t shut that down. If a man ejaculates semen into a woman, she can get pregnant whether it’s consensual or it’s rape. I knew a woman who did indeed get pregnant after being gang raped. It happens. Apparently you folks think rape is a joke. Hardy har.

This was downright erudite in comparison to this one:

i hope all of you get raped and then you can feel what it is like, bunch of hypocrites

If you read the comments on Congressman Akin’s facebook page announcing that he is staying in, you’ll see comments from conservatives supporting him, comments from conservatives politely asking him to step down, and comments from unhinged leftists who think that Akin’s comments are a sign that he and all Republicans want women shackled and subservient. Twitter is alive with comments from the likes of Michael Moore:

Don’t let the Repubs paint Akin as a lone nut. HE is THEM. They all believe this: Gov’t MUST have control over what women do w/ their bodies

This is a sentiment that has been echoed in various corridors.

There’s really no charitable way to put it: these people are obviously out of their gourd. These are people not interested in dialogue, nor or they people who can be reasoned with. Yet these are types of people that Akin supporters, in a sense, want to emulate. Instead of being reviled by the viciousness or ruthlessness of the hyper-partisans on the left, some on the right are consumed with the idea of “fighting fire with fire.”

Don’t get me wrong. The Akin supporters (by and large) have not said anything nearly as dumb or vile as these people. Yet instead of recognizing the behavior of the other side as something anti-social and to be avoided, it’s as though certain conservatives see this, dig in their heels, and insist on playing a somewhat milder version of the same game.

A lot of the people on the right behaving like that think that they are simply following in the path of the late Andrew Breitbart. Breitbart, of course, was largely beloved on the right because of his take no prisoners attitude, and because he had an amazing ability to beat the left at their own game. But there’s a difference between sticking to your guns and blind partisan loyalty. I can sympathize with individuals who believe that Republicans are too soft at times and easily back down from political fights. Yet, I don’t think it’s a bad thing that Republicans actually are willing to hold other Republicans’ feet to the fire. In other words, there is nothing dishonorable about being honorable. I don’t think blind partisanship is something we need more of.

71

Ryan and the Catholic Left

 

 

 

The reaction of the Catholic Left in this country to Paul Ryan has been completely predictable.  This is a movement, with honorable exceptions, that long ago fell into lockstep behind the “abortion now, abortion forever” policy of the Democrat party.  When a pro-life Catholic like Paul Ryan arises they must strive, by any means necessary, to drag him down to their level as dissenters against basic Catholic teaching.  Bill McGurn in the Wall Street Journal has a brilliant column looking at this phenomenon:

Say this for the liberal impulse in American Catholicism: In its day, it leavened the faith. Against the church’s tendencies to clericalism, it promoted the contributions of the laity. Against suspicions in Rome, it championed the American experiment. In particular, the liberal impulse advanced the idea of religious liberty for all that would ultimately triumph in the 1960s at the Second Vatican Council.

No longer, alas. Today the liberal impulse in American Catholic life has substituted political for religious orthodoxy. In retrospect, the turning point is easy to spot: liberal Catholicism’s acquiescence in the Democratic Party’s drift toward supporting abortion at a time when church leaders had the influence to stop it.

So here we are in 2012, when all but one of the active senators and representatives who are members of the official Catholics for Obama campaign team enjoy a 100% approval rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America.

This fundamental dissent from a basic church teaching is now a fact of modern Democratic Catholic life. The result for our politics is an extraordinary campaign, in the 10 days since Paul Ryan became the Republican candidate for vice president, by those on the Catholic left to strike a moral equivalence between Mr. Ryan’s reform budget and Democratic Catholic support for the party’s absolutist position on abortion.

Thus the column in the National Catholic Reporter characterizing Mr. Ryan as a “champion of dissent” regarding the church’s social teaching. Or the headline at the website Jezebel, “Badass Nun Says Paul Ryan is a Bad Catholic.” When this sort of thing seeps into the mainstream, it takes the form of the recent article in the Washington Post that found moral parallels between the two vice-presidential candidates: Mr. Ryan is a dissenter from “social justice,” while Vice President Joe Biden, also Catholic, dissents on issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion.

***********************************************************************************

Mr. Ryan’s own bishop, the Most Rev. Robert C. Morlino, addressed the subject with his most recent column in the diocesan paper for Madison, Wis. The church, he wrote, regards abortion as an “intrinsic evil” (meaning always and everywhere wrong, regardless of circumstances). In sharp contrast, he said, on issues such as how best to create jobs or help the poor, “there can be difference according to how best to follow the principles which the church offers.”

“I’m not endorsing Paul Ryan,” the bishop told me later by phone. “People are free to disagree with him, and disagree vehemently. But it’s wrong to suggest that his views somehow make him a bad Catholic.” Continue Reading

4

A Ryan Roundup

Love him or hate him, the “future of the Republican party”, new poster-boy for conservative Catholic politics and vice-presidential pick Paul Ryan is in the news. A roundup of serious (and not-so-serious) commentary from recent days …

  • Assertion without Evidence Paul Zummo (The American Catholic) finds that “When it comes to Paul Ryan and his evil Randian ways,” the usual requirement to marshal evidence for a serious argument is cast aside.

    Benjamin Wiker (National Catholic Register): The Paul Ryan-Ayn Rand Connection: What’s a Catholic to Think examines Ryan on Rand, and Rand herself, and finds that:

    Ayn Rand’s philosophy, then, is a mix — good and bad. But the bad is really bad, so that whatever good there is would have to be carefully extracted.
    To be perfectly frank, I find Ayn Rand to be deeply repulsive — the dark side is, again, really dark. So, if Paul Ryan wants to attract Catholic voters, he’s going to have to make much clearer what he’s taking — and even more, what he’s leaving behind.

    As Ryan said recently in his own words:

    I am nothing close to an objectivist, but I do think Ayn Rand did a service, did a great job of outlining the morality of capitalism, of making the moral case for freedom, free enterprise and capitalism. You don’t have to buy into all the objectivist stuff to appreciate what she did on that front.”

    Personally, while Ryan’s professed appreciation of Ayn Rand extends well beyond “when he was young”, if he now repudiates Rand’s “objectivism” and atheism, I’m inclined to give him the benefit of a doubt. I’m sure we haven’t heard the last on this topic and it will be interesting to see what Ryan himself has to say in the months ahead.

  • Dolan: Ryan Is a ‘Great Public Servant’ Kathryn Jean Lopez (National Review) talks with Cardinal Dolan of New York about his friendship and correspondence with Rep. Paul Ryan.
  • Responding to Michael Sean Winters (National Catholic Reporter), Linda Bridges (National Review) on Paul Ryan’s alleged “dissent” from Catholic social teaching.

  • Robert Costa on Paul Ryan’s Mentor. (NRO, 8-15-12). (And no, it’s not Ayn Rand).

Paul Ryan on Abortion

  • On the matter of abortion – here is Ryan himself: The Cause of Life Can’t be Severed from the Cause of Freedom (Paul Ryan’s congressional website, September 10, 2010):

    … after America has won the last century’s hard-fought struggles against unequal human rights in the forms of totalitarianism abroad and segregation at home, I cannot believe any official or citizen can still defend the notion that an unborn human being has no rights that an older person is bound to respect. I do know that we cannot go on forever feigning agnosticism about who is human. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.” The freedom to choose is pointless for someone who does not have the freedom to live. So the right of “choice” of one human being cannot trump the right to “life” of another. How long can we sustain our commitment to freedom if we continue to deny the very foundation of freedom—life—for the most vulnerable human beings?

  • And here is a detailed survey of Ryan’s voting record on abortion. (Ryan carries a 100% rating from the National Right to Life.

Presumptive vice presidential nominee for the Republican party Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) hold a campaign event and makes a speech at The Villages in Florida, accompanied by his mother — a small business owner and Medicare recipient.

On Reforming Medicare

  • The Return of Mediscare (The Editors, National Review)
  • Grasping the Medicare Distortion, by Yuvan Levin (NRO, 8-12-12):

    Medicare will not be the central issue of this fall’s campaign — economic growth and jobs are far more important to voters. But President Obama and his supporters seem intent on distracting voters from the failed economic policies of the past four years by scaring them about the Romney-Ryan Medicare reform. And it is already perfectly clear that their criticisms of that reform are based on either a misapprehension or an intentional misrepresentation of the actual proposal, and of the very significant ways in which it differs from past Medicare-reform ideas (including those proposed by Ryan in the past). So it is worth taking a moment to understand the proposal — generally known as the Ryan-Wyden reform after its originators, Paul Ryan and Democratic senator Ron Wyden of Oregon — and to see what its critics are missing or misrepresenting. …

  • Fact-Checking the Obama Campaign’s Defense of its $716 Billion Cut to Medicare, by Avik Roy (The Apothecary). Avik’s blog has been a recent discovery and proven to be interesting reading, unpacking — for the non-statistically and economically minded like myself — the difficult topics of Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), and consumer-driven health care. (Full disclosure: he’s a fellow of the Manhattan Institute and an outside consultant to the Romney campaign).
  • More Mediscare, by James Capretta and Yuval Levin. (Weekly Standard) A Harvard Journal of the American Medical Association study “turns out to offer one of the strongest cases yet published in favor of premium support.”
  • The $6,400 Myth: Breaking down a false Obama Medicare claim (Wall Street Journal 8-19-12):

    One of President Obama’s regular attacks on Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform is that it would force seniors to pay $6,400 a year more for health care. But merely because he keeps repeating this doesn’t mean it’s in the same area code of accurate.

  • The Republican Medicare Equation: The Best Defense = A Good Offense + Lots of Paul Ryan – Pete Spiliakos (Postmodern Conservative) believes the best thing the GOP can do to counter Democrat criticism is to let Ryan be Ryan.

… and on a comical note

  • Admit It, I Scare The Ever-Loving S*** Out Of You, Don’t I? – a faux-editorial to The Onion 8-13-2012 . . . cutting a little too close to reality for some Democrats. [Warning: profanity]:

    Face it: I’m not some catastrophe waiting to happen, like a Sarah Palin or a Dan Quayle. On the contrary, you have the exact opposite fear. I’m a solid, competent, some might say exceptional, politician.

  • Democrat Erskine Bowles praises Paul Ryan And His Budget Plan – A video of former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, Democratic co-chair of President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, praising Ryan’s budget plan.
  • HEY GIRL … IT’S PAUL RYAN.
29

Life is Life: Akin & Obama on Rape Pregnancy

CORDES

By now, most of you have heard about the monumental blunder made by Todd Akin, a GOP representative and Senate nominee from Missouri, with regards to rape and pregnancy. Here are his comments, in all of their cringe-worthy glory:

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

Frankly I have never heard of any doctors who claim that the female body has ways of “shutting that whole thing down”, by which I assume he means implantation or conception, and no doctors appear to have come forward to substantiate this notion. Who knows where Akin got it from. Much is being made of his use of the word “legitimate” as well, which was a clumsy attempt to distinguish forcible from non-forcible rape, a “legitimate” distinction used by law-enforcement in the classification of crimes. What Akin says next is something most pro-life advocates agree with: rapists, not the children of rape, deserve to be punished for the crime .

His comments were certainly poorly worded and bizarre. He may well deserve to lose the political race he is engaged in and perhaps even his office for a gaffe of this magnitude. So this is not a “Save Rep. Akin’s Career” type of post.

But this is one of those moments at which we must firmly reassert our opposition to abortion, regardless of the circumstances. Our opponents are seizing upon this incident to remind everyone of how utterly heartless and anti-woman the GOP supposedly is. Obama is leading the charge on this as well. He had this to say:

“Rape is rape,” Mr. Obama told reporters at the daily White House briefing Monday. “And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me.”

Mr. Obama added that Akin’s remarks underscore “why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.”

Leaving aside the ridiculous idea that the author of Obamacare, which forces everyone to purchase health insurance, doesn’t want to “make health care decisions” on behalf of women or anyone else, let us look at the statement “rape is rape.” Yes, indeed, rape is rape: it is always wrong, and can never be condoned. Mr. Akin had it in his head, apparently, that certain types of rape make it less likely for conception to occur. If that were actually true, it would make sense to distinguish between types of rape, though it wouldn’t necessarily be a statement on the morality of rape as such, and any honest person knows this. Since it isn’t true, of course it comes of rather badly. Akin’s profuse apologizing will not change this.

So “rape is rape.” But life is also life. That’s something Obama and the pro-abortion industry cannot and will not admit. The core principle of the pro-life position is this: it is never morally acceptable to kill an innocent human being. There are no circumstances, no matter how horrific or traumatizing, that justify the murder of an innocent human being. And frankly we don’t need the sort of half-baked theories that Akin was peddling to reinforce this point. It is a self-evident truth that we can and ought to proudly defend on its own merits.

We have nothing to run from, nothing to apologize for, and nothing to hide. I hope the Romney campaign is able to deal with this issue in a way that does not compromise in the least degree on the inviolable sanctity of human life, or which does not display fear or doubt regarding the absolute immorality of the left’s position on it.

Update: Given some of the information my co-bloggers and readers have left, I’m inclined to take back my remarks about Akin’s theories being bizarre or untrue. I will say, however, that if one is not prepared to articulate in a clear and sensitive way these finer points of medical fact, one should not speak at all. And in this case, I maintain that it is not necessary to bring up any of this, since it has no bearing at all on the morality of abortion, which is all that really matters.

5

Collegians unite: Occupy Chick-fil-A…

 

As The Motley Monk predicted back in February, it wouldn’t be all that long before the anti-Chick-fil-A forces (aka, “Occupy Chick-fil-A”) would amass on the nation’s college campuses and throw tantrums.  Their goal would be to force weak-willed administrators to cower to Occupy Chick-fil-A and its members’ demands that they remove the fast food chain from their campuses because of the company’s bigoted, non-inclusive, and anti-homosexual policies.

It doesn’t matter whether the allegations are true or not.  What does matter for Occupy Chick-fil-A members is that they feel the company is all of those things…and more.

It was at Northeastern University where Occupy Chick-fil-A leader bleated in delight:

I’m very excited and really, really surprised this is the decision [the NU’s  administration] came to. We didn’t expect them to cut the contract with  Chick-fil-A.

As the new academic year is set to unfold, Occupy Chick-fil-A forces are amassing at the University of Maryland, agitating for the institution to close its owner-operated store.  According to the the Baltimore Sun, Occupy Chick-fil-A forces have posted an online petition demanding that the University shut down its store in the Stamp Student Union Building.

Why?

Dan Cathy
Chick-fil-A President

 

When asked in an interview with the Baptist Press about reports that the Chick-fil-A corporation is opposed to homosexual marriage, the President of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, responded, “Well, guilty as charged.”  He added:

We are very much supportive of the family—the biblical definition of the family unit…We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.

 

Feeling outrage upon hearing of Cathy’s remarks, Occupy Chick-fil-A forces at the University of Maryland are demanding a “more accepting” option, the Baltimore Sun article states.

As one who enjoys Chick-fil-A’s products and tried to participate in Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day but couldn’t get near the local owner-operated store, The Motley Monk would have thought Occupy Chick-fil-A forces would be more upset that the fast food chain’s on-campus stores are closed on the Sabbath.

Sabbath?

What Sabbath?

 

 

To read about Northeastern University’s decision to drop Chick-fil-A:
http://themotleymonk.blogspot.com/2012/02/every-once-in-while-chick-fil-gets-some.html

To read the Baltimore Sun article, click on the following link:
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/bal-university-of-maryland-students-start-petition-to-remove-chickfila-from-campus-20120819,0,1531183.story

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

14

Man Bites Dog: Newsweek Runs an Anti-Obama Story

 

 

Having followed the political scene in this country since 1964, few things surprise me.  Newsweek running an anti-Obama story did.  British historian Niall Ferguson writes a damning article on Obama as he calls for his defeat:

Unemployment was supposed to be 6 percent by now. It has averaged 8.2 percent this year so far. Meanwhile real median annual household income has dropped more than 5 percent since June 2009. Nearly 110 million individuals received a welfare benefit in 2011, mostly Medicaid or food stamps.

 

Welcome to Obama’s America: nearly half the population is not represented on a taxable return—almost exactly the same proportion that lives in a household where at least one member receives some type of government benefit. We are becoming the 50–50 nation—half of us paying the taxes, the other half receiving the benefits. Continue Reading

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August 20, 1862: The Prayer of Twenty Millions

 

 

Half sage and half quack, Horace Greeley, who in 1841 founded the New York Tribune, was a power to be reckoned with in the United States one hundred and fifty years ago.  On August 20, 1862 he published in his paper an open letter, entitled The Prayer of Twenty Millions,  to President Lincoln demanding the abolition of slavery within the Union.

To ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States

DEAR SIR: I do not intrude to tell you–for you must know already–that a great proportion of those who triumphed in you election, and of all who desire the unqualified suppression of the Rebellion now desolating our country, are sorely disappointed and deeply pained by the policy you seem to be pursuing with regard to the slaves of the Rebels. I write only to set succinctly and unmistakably before you what we require, what we think we have a right to expect, and of what we complain.

I. We require of you, as the first servant of the Republic, charged especially and preeminently with this duty, that you EXECUTE THE LAWS. Most emphatically do we demand that such laws as have been recently enacted, which therefore may fairly be presumed to embody the present will and to be dictated by the present needs of the Republic, and which, after due consideration have received your personal sanction, shall by you be carried into full effect, and that you publicly and decisively instruct your subordinates that such laws exist, that they are binding on all functionaries and citizens, and that they are to be obeyed to the letter.

II. We think you are strangely and disastrously remiss in the discharge of your official and imperative duty with regard to the emancipating provisions of the new Confiscation Act. Those provisions were designed to fight Slavery with Liberty. They prescribe that men loyal to the Union, and willing to shed their blood in her behalf, shall no longer be held, with the Nations consent, in bondage to persistent, malignant traitors, who for twenty years have been plotting and for sixteen months have been fighting to divide and destroy our country. Why these traitors should be treated with tenderness by you, to the prejudice of the dearest rights of loyal men, We cannot conceive. Continue Reading

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Paul Ryan, the USCCB and the Poor

A fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal by economist Antony Davies and Catholic theologian Kristina Antolin:

Someone is twisting the Catholic Church’s teachings on caring for the poor, but it isn’t Paul Ryan. His controversial budgetary ideas demonstrate that he has a better grasp of Catholic social thought than do many of the American Catholic bishops.

The culmination of centuries of theological and philosophical thought, the church’s teachings cannot simply be satisfied by a government edict to “feed the poor.” Commanding “Let there be light!” works fine for God, but for mortal beings, edicts don’t carry the same punch.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has long supported government interference in the economy as a means to help the poor. But we suspect the bishops haven’t fully thought this through: If God really did favor a top-down approach to poverty reduction, why wouldn’t He establish a government with the power to wipe away poverty on demand instead of leaving things to chance and the possibility that someone like Mr. Ryan would come along and mess up His plans?

Perhaps we dehumanize the poor when we treat them as nothing more than problems to be solved, and we dehumanize the rich when we treat them as wallets to be picked.

Wealth and poverty are catalysts for bringing the rich and the poor together in community, and community is the hallmark of the church’s mission on Earth. Government is not community. Government is one of community’s tools, a coercive one we use when it is necessary to force people to behave in ways they would not otherwise behave voluntarily. Continue Reading

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Leave Our Beloved National Clown Alone!

Lately our beloved national clown and veep, Joe Biden, has come under attack.  Light-heartedly attempting to whip up racial hatred and paranoia in a speech before a predominantly black audience in Danville, Virginia, Biden said that Romney and the Republicans would “put y’all back in chains!”

These remarks were denounced by various people including Douglas Wilder, a former Democrat governor of Virginia.

This is all so wrongheaded.  I could understand such recriminations if Biden were a serious politician of an ordinary sort, but he is not.  His entire gaffe-ridden political career has been one long extended comedy routine.  His purpose as Veep has been to relieve the public mood during the Great Depression II, much as his intellectual peers, The Three Stooges, did during the original Great Depression. Continue Reading

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Revelations from a Twitter Exchange

It has always been incomprehensible to me that we don’t require photo identification for voting. The idea that you can just go up to an election official, simply state your name, and then receive your ballot is mind boggling. We require identification for so many other important functions, yet we’re basically leaving it up to the honor system when it comes to voting. It’s simply a matter of fairness. It’s bad enough that my vote gets cancelled out by idiots – you know, people like Joe Biden – but it is even more unfair to have it cancelled out by someone who does not have a legal right to vote in that particular election. Requiring identification certainly wouldn’t eliminate all incidents of voter fraud, but they would go a long way in ensuring that everyone who votes has a legal right to do so.

Well, the major argument against these laws is that we are somehow disenfranchising people. This is utter nonsense. No one who has a legal right to vote would be barred from voting because of a photo i.d. law. Sure, there are people who do not possess photo identification, particularly the elderly. How they function without identification is a mystery to me, but most of the proposed laws have provisions to help these people get identification.

Yet that is not how some people on the left claim to see it. To them, evil Republicans just want to make sure the poor and the elderly are forced to stay home on election day. Today I had a twitter exchange that typified the attitude of many anti-i.d. folks. It hammered home a few things about their attitude that is frankly quite scary.

Continue Reading

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That Radical Ryan

Carl Olson has an extensive post tackling the “radical” nature of evil right-winger Paul Ryan. He starts by quoting one of Ryan’s more extreme statements.

[We] will confidently proceed to unshackle American enterprise and to free American labor, industrial leadership, and capital, to create an abundance that will outstrip any other system.

Free competitive enterprise is the most creative and productive form of economic order that the world has seen. The recent slow pace of American growth is due not to the failure of our free economy but to the failure of our national leadership. …

Economic growth is the means whereby we improve the American standard of living and produce added tax resources for national security and essential public services. …

The American free enterprise system is one of the great achievements of the human mind and spirit. It has developed by a combination of the energetic efforts of working men and women, bold private initiative, the profit motive and wise public policy, until it is now the productive marvel of mankind. …

We will seek further tax reduction—and in the process we need to remove inequities in our present tax laws. In particular we should carefully review all our excise taxes and eliminate those that are obsolete. Consideration should be given to the development of fiscal policies which would provide revenue sources to hard-pressed state and local governments to assist them with their responsibilities.

Every penny of Federal spending must be accounted for in terms of the strictest economy, efficiency and integrity. We pledge to continue a frugal government, getting a dollar’s value for a dollar spent, and a government worthy of the citizen’s confidence.

Our goal is a balanced budget in a balanced economy.

Wow, that is extreme. What is Carl’s response?

Oh, wait. My apologies; the quotes above were all taken from the 1960 and 1964 Democratic Party Platforms. How did that happen? Whoops. Well, consider it a quick journey down memory lane.

• I actually started writing this post three days ago, not long after the news broke that the most right-wing, narrow-minded conservative in the history of the world had been chosen by Mitt Romney as vice-president candidate for the “Hate the Women!” party (yes, I’m struggling to control the sarcasm). A man so radical that in the early 1960s he would have been reasonably positioned and perceived as a moderate to conservative Democrat. A man so far to the Extreme Right that he is re-elected on a regular basis—by substantial margins—in a district that voted for Obama in 2008. Chew on that for a few seconds and then ask yourself, “Do the Dallas Cowboys have a shot at the Super Bowl this year? How much has changed in the U.S. in the past fifty years?”

Anyway, please read the rest.

 

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The Devil You Say?

Considering all the extravagant evil in the world, I have always found it remarkable that so many people do not believe in the existence of Satan and his fallen angels.  Pope Leo XIII I believe foresaw this, which is why he gave us the prayer to Saint Michael.  In 1942 CS Lewis in The Screwtape Letters wrote what may be an epitaph for the age in which we live:

When humans disbelieve in our existence we lose all the pleasing results of direct terrorism and we make no magicians. On the other hand, when they believe in us, we cannot make them materialists and  skepics. At least, not yet. I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalize and mythologize their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, a belief in us (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy. The “Life Force,” the worship of sex, and other aspects of psychoanalysis, may here prove useful. If once we can produce our perfect work — the materialist magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshiping, what he vaguely calls “Forces” while denying the existence of “spirits” — the end of the war will be in sight. But in the meantime we must obey orders.

Man without God is nothing but prey for Satan.  With God and Man united Satan is  impotent.  Alexander Solzhenitsyn when asked why Communism seized power in Russia, used to say the following:

More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.

Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened. Continue Reading

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Lincoln and Euclid

Abraham Lincoln was not an especially well-read man, but what he read he retained, thought about and frequently used.  One author he was fond of was the Greek mathematician Euclid.  His law partner Billy Herndon relates how Lincoln studied Euclid’s Elements:

He studied and nearly mastered the Six-books of Euclid (geometry) since he was a member of Congress. He began a course of rigid mental discipline with the intent to improve his faculties, especially his powers of logic and language. Hence his fondness for Euclid, which he carried with him on the circuit till he could demonstrate with ease all the propositions in the six books; often studying far into the night, with a candle near his pillow, while his fellow-lawyers, half a dozen in a room, filled the air with interminable snoring.

Lincoln wrote about why he decided to study Euclid:

In the course of my law reading I constantly came upon the word “demonstrate”. I thought at first that I understood its meaning, but soon became satisfied that I did not. I said to myself, What do I do when I demonstrate more than when I reason or prove? How does demonstration differ from any other proof? I consulted Webster’s Dictionary. They told of ‘certain proof,’ ‘proof beyond the possibility of doubt’; but I could form no idea of what sort of proof that was. I thought a great many things were proved beyond the possibility of doubt, without recourse to any such extraordinary process of reasoning as I understood demonstration to be. I consulted all the dictionaries and books of reference I could find, but with no better results. You might as well have defined blue to a blind man.
 
At last I said,- Lincoln, you never can make a lawyer if you do not understand what demonstrate means; and I left my situation in Springfield, went home to my father’s house, and stayed there till I could give any proposition in the six books of Euclid at sight. I then found out what demonstrate means, and went back to my law studies.

In the fourth Lincoln Douglas debate Lincoln used Euclid to illustrate a point:

If you have ever studied geometry, you remember that by a course of reasoning, Euclid proves that all the angles in a triangle are equal to two right angles. Euclid has shown you how to work it out. Now, if you undertake to disprove that proposition, and to show that it is erroneous, would you prove it to be false by calling Euclid a liar? Continue Reading

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One Term More!

This is one of the greatest spoofs of the left that I have ever seen.

Wait a second, that’s not a spoof. These people are deadly serious, as their website would indicate. Although the video is not nearly as unintentionally hilarious as the open letter attached to the video.

Amazingly, they aren’t even up to the standards of the previous time this was tried four years ago (h/t: Blackadder).

Anyway, my deepest apologies for inflicting those videos upon you. Here’s a classic rock song to cleanse the palate.  Continue Reading

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NOBama 2012: A Catholic Case for Romney

Fellow Catholics,

We are approaching the most important U.S. Presidential election for us – by “us” I mean theologically orthodox, politically conservative Catholics – possibly since 1960, when the election of the first Catholic president seemed so possible and actually occurred. I’m grateful to be a contributing member of The American Catholic during this election season, which is one of the most widely-read Catholic blogs in the country. This certainly won’t be the last thing I have to say about the presidential race, but rather the first.

When the GOP primary was getting underway, I was a firm Ron Paul supporter. I knew he would not and could not win, but I supported him anyway because I agree with him on most issues, particularly on the role of our government both domestically and abroad. To support Ron Paul was to support the drastic reduction of the federal government, to reject the arrogant assumptions of technocratic management of economic and social issues from the top-down, and to place a vote of confidence in individuals, families, and local governments to solve social and moral problems. I also believe that this is the fundamental political truth of our time: a state governed by militant secularists cannot possibly effect the common good as it is understood by Christians, people of other faiths, or even those secularists who recognize the value of the natural law tradition that has informed the politics of Western civilization since the time of Plato and Aristotle. And yet if we are destined to have secularists in power, we can at least work to limit their power by limiting government as much as possible.

The corollary of the political truth stated above is that one cannot simply discuss “the role of government” in the abstract, without considering who will actually run the state and what values and assumptions they take with them as they create and execute policies with coercive force. Who exactly will be deciding issues that affect your life and mine? Who will have coercive power over you and yours?

More important than what happens to me or my family, though, is how the Church will be affected by those who rule. Even in her most humiliated and rejected state, which the sex scandals have arguably wrought, the Church is still the light of civilization. If her light is extinguished, driven underground, or forced to hide in the shadows, then it is not simply we Catholics who will suffer (though there is certainly nothing wrong with suffering for the faith), but all of society. The Church can and has survived hideous persecution, but it is not clear that society can survive what it will inevitably become without the Church, as well as all of the other religious organizations that will be affected by federal policies, actively involved in public life. Finally, whether society recognizes its debt to the Church or not is irrelevant.

It may be that God has ordained this as a time of cleansing, a time during which the Church must be forced underground and reduced to a smaller size so that she can be tempered and purified. But we cannot know such things with any certainty. What we can know with at least a little more clarity, on the other hand, is what our duties are as Catholic citizens. It is my view that our first priority is to protect the right of the Church to publicly exist. Usually this doesn’t come up because usually the U.S. government does not enact policies that threaten this public existence. But the status quo has changed, and we now face the prospect of an open, vicious anti-Catholic regime in a lame duck Obama presidency. For this reason, I feel obliged as a Catholic to work for the defeat of Obama-Biden in 2012. In practical terms, this means supporting Romeny-Ryan for the Presidency.

Continue Reading

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Cardinal Newman on the Assumption

AS soon as we apprehend by faith the great fundamental truth that Mary is the Mother of God, other wonderful truths follow in its train; and one of these is that she was exempt from the ordinary lot of mortals, which is not only to die, but to become earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Die she must, and die she did, as her Divine Son died, for He was man; but various reasons have approved themselves to holy writers, why, although her body was for a while separated from her soul and consigned to the tomb, yet it did not remain there, but was speedily united to her soul again, and raised by our Lord to a new and eternal life of heavenly glory.

And the most obvious reason for so concluding is this—that other servants of God have been raised from the grave by the power of God, and it is not to  be supposed that our Lord would have granted any such privilege to anyone else without also granting it to His own Mother.

We are told by St. Matthew, that after our Lord’s death upon the Cross “the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints that had slept”—that is, slept the sleep of death, “arose, and coming out of the tombs after His Resurrection, came into the Holy City, and appeared to many.” St. Matthew says, “many bodies of the Saints”—that is, the holy Prophets, Priests, and Kings of former times—rose again in anticipation of the last day.

Can we suppose that Abraham, or David, or Isaias, or Ezechias, should have been thus favoured, and not God’s own Mother? Had she not a claim on the love of her Son to have what any others had? Was she not nearer to Him than the greatest of the Saints before her? And is it conceivable that the law of the grave should admit of relaxation in their case, and not in hers? Therefore we confidently say that our Lord, having preserved her from sin and the consequences of sin by His Passion, lost no time in pouring out the full merits of that Passion upon her body as well as her soul. Continue Reading