Monthly Archives: September 2012
For only $25.00 you too can have from the official Obama campaign store a portrait of Fearless Leader with his campaign slogan Forward! Sheesh! If the Obama campaign must steal a Nazi slogan, the least they could do is come up with an updated version of the old Hitler Jugend Vorwarts! Vorwarts!
Hattip to Neo-neo Con who suggested the connection to me with this post. Dostoevsky in his The Brothers Karamazov has a striking tale of the Grand Inquisitor. In that tale Christ comes back to earth in Sixteenth Century Seville and is arrested by the Inquisition. The Grand Inquisitor explains to Christ why He is going to be burned the next day. At first glance this all appears to be a fairly psychotic anti-Catholic diatribe, but I think it aptly describes not the Church, but modern socialism. We see it most clearly in this passage:
“‘Receiving bread from us, they will see clearly that we take the bread made by their hands from them, to give it to them, without any miracle. They will see that we do not change the stones to bread, but in truth they will be more thankful for taking it from our hands than for the bread itself! For they will remember only too well that in old days, without our help, even the bread they made turned to stones in their hands, while since they have come back to us, the very stones have turned to bread in their hands. Too, too well will they know the value of complete submission! And until men know that, they will be unhappy. Who is most to blame for their not knowing it?-speak! Who scattered the flock and sent it astray on unknown paths? But the flock will come together again and will submit once more, and then it will be once for all. Then we shall give them the quiet humble happiness of weak creatures such as they are by nature. Oh, we shall persuade them at last not to be proud, for Thou didst lift them up and thereby taught them to be proud. We shall show them that they are weak, that they are only pitiful children, but that childlike happiness is the sweetest of all. They will become timid and will look to us and huddle close to us in fear, as chicks to the hen. They will marvel at us and will be awe-stricken before us, and will be proud at our being so powerful and clever that we have been able to subdue such a turbulent flock of thousands of millions. They will tremble impotently before our wrath, their minds will grow fearful, they will be quick to shed tears like women and children, but they will be just as ready at a sign from us to pass to laughter and rejoicing, to happy mirth and childish song. Yes, we shall set them to work, but in their leisure hours we shall make their life-like a child’s game, with children’s songs and innocent dance. Oh, we shall allow them even sin, they are weak and helpless, and they will love us like children because we allow them to sin. We shall tell them that every sin will be expiated, if it is done with our permission, that we allow them to sin because we love them, and the punishment for these sins we take upon ourselves. And we shall take it upon ourselves, and they will adore us as their saviours who have taken on themselves their sins before God. And they will have no secrets from us. We shall allow or forbid them to live with their wives and mistresses, to have or not to have children according to whether they have been obedient or disobedient- and they will submit to us gladly and cheerfully. The most painful secrets of their conscience, all, all they will bring to us, and we shall have an answer for all. And they will be glad to believe our answer, for it will save them from the great anxiety and terrible agony they endure at present in making a free decision for themselves. And all will be happy, all the millions of creatures except the hundred thousand who rule over them. For only we, we who guard the mystery, shall be unhappy. There will be thousands of millions of happy babes, and a hundred thousand sufferers who have taken upon themselves the curse of the knowledge of good and evil. Peacefully they will die, peacefully they will expire in Thy name, and beyond the grave they will find nothing but death. But we shall keep the secret, and for their happiness we shall allure them with the reward of heaven and eternity. Though if there were anything in the other world, it certainly would not be for such as they.” Continue reading
By now, most are aware that the State of Delaware has passed a piece of child welfare legislation that, in effect, criminalizes the act of spanking a child. The language is subtle, but is general enough to be disastrous for a parents’ right to raise and discipline their children. The key passage in question is actually a definition:
“Physical injury” to a child shall mean any impairment of physical condition or pain.
The synopsis provided by the legislature near the bottom of the bill reads:
This bill establishes the offense of Child Abuse. These new statutes combine current statutes and redefine physical injury and serious physical injury to reflect the medical realities of pain and impairment suffered by children. A new section provides special protection to infants, toddlers and children who have disabilities. The statute also expands the state of mind necessary for certain offenses against children allowing for more effective prosecution of parents who subject their children to abuse by others and fail to protect their children. The bill also re-numbers the definitional section making clear that the definitions apply to all crimes in the subchapter.
What are the implications of beating one’s children? Well, that depends on their age. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association:
Under the new law, a parent causing “physical injury” (e.g., pain) to a child under age 18 would be guilty of a class A misdemeanor and subject to one year in prison. A parent causing pain to a child who was 3 years of age or younger would be guilty of a class G felony and subject to two years in prison.
Of course many a blogger will be up in arms, and rightfully so, over the passage of this bill. I will let those who have more of a aptitude for jurisprudence to dismantle the constitutionality of the legislation. Actually, I would love for someone skilled in this area to address the possibility of “pain” eventually being interpreted in a general enough manner to include psychological pain, something we often deal with in the fight against abortion and clauses to include “the health of the mother.”
For my own part, I have only two things to offer.
First, this language is so ridiculous as to be entirely unenforcible. Any time I cause my children pain I am guilt of a class A misdemeanor? Do you have any idea how many times I violate this statue during a sixty-minute Mass? A pinch here, a squeeze there, and yes, even the occasional smack upside the head. In the course of a single Mass, under Delaware State Law, I could probably be issued somewhere between three years and three centuries of prison time depending on the weekend and sitting arrangement of my six kids. And it gets worse for my three-year-old, in which the misdemeanor is elevated to a felony. Good Lord, I wouldn’t stand a chance! The weekend when I found the little booger dropping my keys behind the radiator, squeezing an entire bottle of hand sanitizer on his sister’s school work, microwaving his plastic blocks, and standing on the sink so her could see in the mirror … let’s just say that I wouldn’t get out of prison until somewhere between hell freezing over and the day the Browns win a Super Bowl.
Second, I thought the dialog with my nine-year-old daughter was entertaining:
Daughter: What are you guys taking about?
Dad: The State of Delaware has passed a law saying that parents can’t spank their kids.
Daughter: That’s silly.
Daughter: Parents need to spank so their kids will behave.
Dad: What do you think will happen if parents can’t spank their kids?
Daughter: The kids will probably end up voting for Obama.
Something for the weekend. Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland. Composed seventy years ago, it was Copland’s reaction to the US entering World War II. Watching the video above, a salute to the soldiers of World War II, brought back memories from 36 years ago for me.
Back in the summer of 1976 I was on vacation between my freshman and sophomore years at the University of Illinois. My father ran the steel shears at a truck body plant in Paris, Illinois. They were hiring summer help and I got a job working on the factory floor. Although I liked the idea of earning money, I was less than enthused by the job. The factory floor was not air-conditioned, and the summer was hot. Additionally I had never worked in a factory before, had no experience with heavy machinery and did not know what to expect.
I was placed under the supervision of a regular worker at the plant. He looked like he was a thousand years old to me at the time, but I realize now that he was younger than than I am now at age 55. I would assist him at a press in which we would manhandle heavy sheets of steel and use the press to bend them into various shapes. Before we began he pointed to a little box and said that if I lost a finger or a part of a finger as a result of the press, I should toss it in the box and proceed with the job. Thus I was introduced to his macabre sense of humor.
I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but he was engaged in a rough and ready form of instruction. He had to take a completely green kid, and teach me various tasks, all the while keeping up with the jobs the press was assigned. He did it pretty skillfully, and I learned. I never got to like the job, but I learned how to do it. I also learned to grudgingly respect my mentor. He obviously wasn’t well read, but he was handy with machinery, and under his tutelage I learned how to operate the press without losing one of my digits, or costing him one of his. He kept me out of trouble at the factory, and included me in his conversations with his fellow veteran workers. All in all I probably learned more that summer of future value for me in life, than I learned from any of my courses in college.
One day during the half hour we had for lunch, I asked him if he had served in World War II. I was in Army ROTC at the University, and I had a keen interest in military history. He told me that he had been an infantryman in the Army and that he had participated in Operation Torch. Continue reading
(AoftheAP) As the first presidential debate of the 2012 election nears, scheduled for Wednesday October 3 at the University of Denver, each campaign continues to lower their candidate’s performance expectations, issuing counter statements that oddly seem to flatter their opponent while downplaying any notion that their own candidate will do well.
“If these expectations get lowered any further,” an unnamed pollster said, speaking on condition of anonymity to AoftheA News, “any minute now, they’re going to look up and see the Great Wall of China.”
Members of President Obama’s campaign began the narrative in mid-September, explaining that “the structured — and time-limited — nature of the debates isn’t a natural fit for Obama, who often is long-winded when answering questions during news conferences or town hall-style meetings.” In addition, the Obama camp admitted that Romney’s recent participation in the Republican primary debates could give him an edge heading into the presidential debates.
These statements prompted a reply the Romney campaign, where senior adviser Beth Myers issued a letter stating, in part, that “President Obama is a uniquely gifted speaker, and is widely regarded as one of the most talented political communicators in modern history.” Thus, Romney’s expectations in doing well against the president are fairly low.
Not long after seeing the letter, members of the Obama campaign responded by saying that while they appreciate Governor Romney’s kind words, their expectations were still lower, because the president has not had the sort of time to prepare that his contender has enjoyed. Jen Paski, a White House spokesperson, told reporters on Air Force One: “I will just take this opportunity to say that Mitt Romney on the other hand has been preparing earlier and with more focus than any presidential candidate in modern history: Not John F. Kennedy, not President Bill Clinton, not President George Bush, not Ronald Reagan has prepared as much as he has.” She went on to cite that “the president has ‘been doing some studying’ but cited his travel schedule, unfolding events in the Middle East, and ‘just the constraints of governing’ as preventing Obama from focusing more time on it.” Continue reading
Jimmy Carter’s pollster Pat Caddell calls out the Mainstream Media covering up the Obama administration’s lies on Libya as a fundamental threat to American Democracy:
PAT CADDELL: Thank you. Glad to be with you. This could take a long time, but we don’t have that, so let me just get right to this. I think we’re at the most dangerous time in our political history in terms of the balance of power in the role that the media plays in whether or not we maintain a free democracy or not. You know, when I first started in politics – and for a long time before that – everyone on both sides, Democrats and Republicans, despised the press commonly, because they were SOBs to everybody. Which is exactly what they should be. They were unrelenting. Whatever the biases were, they were essentially equal-opportunity people. That changed in 1980. There’s a lot of reasons for it. It changed—an important point in the Dukakis-Bush election, when the press literally was trying to get Dukakis elected by ignoring what was happening in Massachusetts, with a candidate who was running on the platform of “He will do for America what he did for Massachusetts”—while they were on the verge of bankruptcy.
Also the change from evening news emphasis to morning news by the networks is another factor that’s been pointed out to me. Most recently, what I call the nepotism that exists, where people get jobs—they’re married to people who are in the administration, or in politics, whatever. But the overwhelming bias has become very real and very dangerous. We have a First Amendment for one reason. We have a First Amendment not because the Founding Fathers liked the press—they hated the press—but they believed, as [Thomas] Jefferson said, that in order to have a free country, in order to be a free people, we needed a free press. That was the job—so there was an implicit bargain in the First Amendment, the press being the only institution, at that time, which was in our process of which there was no checks and balances. We designed a constitutional system with many checks and balances. The one that had no checks and balances was the press, and that was done under an implicit understanding that, somehow, the press would protect the people from the government and the power by telling—somehow allowing—people to have the truth. That is being abrogated as we speak, and has been for some time. It is now creating the danger that I spoke to.
This morning, just this morning, Gallup released their latest poll on the trust, how much trust—the Congressman [Lamar Smith] made reference to an earlier poll—when it comes to reporting the news accurately, fairly, and fully, and it’s the highest in history. For the first time, 60% of the people said they had “Not very much” or “None at all.” Of course there was a partisan break: There were 40% who believed it did, Democrats, 58% believed that it was fair and accurate, Republicans were 26%, Independents were 31%. So there is this contempt for the media – or this belief—and there are many other polls that show it as well. I want to just use a few examples, because I think we crossed the line the last few weeks that is terrifying. Continue reading
Hey Mitt, perhaps your ad men might want to take a look at the ads put out by my personal hero Allen West. One of two black Republican Congressmen, he was redistricted into a much less Republican district and was thought to be easy pickings for his Democrat opponent. Instead, West is clobbering Patrick Murphy, and is now leading by eleven points. How did he do it? Because he knows what he believes in and he fights for his beliefs. Conviction and honest emotion go a long way in politics, along with a verbal hard right to the kidneys every now and then:
I spent several days last week with my husband’s high school teacher cousin and her husband who works for the teachers’ union in California. To say they are Liberal would be to undersell their political stances in the same way that calling me a Conservative wouldn’t begin to cover it. As they are nice people, it was an enjoyable weekend of back-and-forth political banter. They support the President. We don’t. We both knew that going in which made any mention of politics more play than work. Neither one was going to be persuaded which made it about the intellectual exercise.
No one offered any new arguments to me until we began to discuss education. They seemed very interested in our decision to homeschool, the book I’m writing about it, and the children we’re raising. They both conceded that we appear to be succeeding in raising and educating children who are both well-informed and socially normal. It was then that she shook her head slightly and stated, “I think you’re doing a great job at it and you obviously have a love and a passion for teaching, which is what makes it even more selfish. Not only are you keeping money out of the schools by not putting your children in them, depriving other children of the resources which could be purchased with that money, but you’re depriving those children of the opportunity to have you as a teacher.”
It’s not a new argument, to be sure. I’ve been told many times that public schools are funded on a per-capita basis which means that our homeschooling keeps funds out of the public schools. Our local school district would receive around $11,000 for each of my children per year, so by teaching them at home, I’m keeping $77,000 out of the local budget. That money could be spent on computers, library books, or teacher salaries…or so the story goes. In reality, I’ve never seen a government bureaucracy spend money that efficiently and I suspect that that $77,000 would not make much of a difference at all.
What is new to me is the idea that my teaching of my own children deprives other children of my brilliance. The social obligation which she assumed I should feel is based in her deep belief in the notion of Collectivism, the idea that what we are and what we can do somehow belongs as much to each other as it does to ourselves. It’s a sort of communism of man. It is also an ideal which is central to Liberal ideology. It requires a moral and cultural conformity which are the antithesis of the American experiment.
In choosing to educate my children at home, I’m not making a selfish statement but an Individualist one. It is a decision which springs from my belief that the people in my household are my primary responsibility. It comes from the idea that God has entrusted these children to me to raise, and that while I must be concerned with the well-being of my fellow men it should not come at the expense of these children.
I have heard it argued that the Christian position should be a Collectivist one. It is the justification many Catholics make for voting for the Democrat Party. There is a beauty in the ideal of the Brotherhood of Man, and just enough truth in it to make it almost right. If only it didn’t require the subjugation of the family or the ownership of the individual by the group, but it does. Their ideal would necessitate that I should turn away from the raising of my own children in favor of the need to educate the children of everyone else. My ability to teach would be owned… and not by me.
So is it a selfish decision that I made to homeschool? There may have been an element of that in my wanting to keep my babies at home and with me for as long as I possibly can. On the other hand, while it may not be true for all children, this is the best choice for educating ours. They are thriving and doing quite well as they learn at our kitchen table, much better than they would do elsewhere. Our brief foray into traditional schooling showed us that quite clearly. So for these children, the selfish thing would be to send them elsewhere, because giving my life over to teaching them is the task which God has given me to do.
Yesterday The Motley Monk wrote and excellent article informing us about the National Catholic Bioethics Center’s (NCBC) advice, ”Dropping All Insurance Coverage…” Speaking as a concerned Catholic, mother and citizen, I would love to see a lot more discussions like this about our options. Catholics have an opportunity, possibly, to lead the way in our nation.
Some commenters suggested an “offer and ignore” approach, and I’ve noticed some other Catholics talking about that approach as well, though only in early stages. More on that toward the end. It’s something dear hubby and I have discussed extensively in the kitchen. Our motivation? We have a large, young family, and since he’s made his career in the insurance business, he’s aware of better possible options. Admittedly, it’s the auto insurance business, but the fundamental purpose of insurance is still the same. A conscientious insurance businessman seeks to:
1) Offer a product that truly adds value to the customer’s life.
2) Build a business that employs people oriented around that principle too.
As a quick aside, the people who see insurance as some big, greedy, capitalist monster have to base that premise (in this country anyway) on the assumption that customers are unable to chose wisely when it comes to the planning of their family’s future. The Trasancos family, obviously, rejects that premise. We don’t need the government to tell us what is good for us. Thank you, but no thanks, Obama et al.
As another quicker aside, it is common knowledge in the insurance industry that the more government regulation there is in any state, the more costs increase in a general linear fashion. Some regulation is necessary. Too much regulation only employs government workers and adds cost to customers. If oppressive regulation is enforced at the federal level, the government is basically ruling us and treating us like idiots.
Consider this question. Feedback or input, including correction, is welcome. It’s a good conversation to have.
How much do you already pay for health insurance? If you get health insurance through your employer (the situation for many Americans), you most likely pay more than you realize for it. Why? Most employee benefit plans pay 75-80% of the cost of coverage, and the employee pays the rest.