6

Obama Forward!

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!

Continue Reading

8

A Perfect Description of Modern Socialism

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

14

The Delaware Legislature Needs a Good Spanking

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.

Dad:  Why?

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.

11

Fanfare for the Common Soldier

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

6

A Fundamental Threat to American Democracy

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

4

Now This is Bare Knuckles

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:

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8

Solidarity Health Share: Discussion Starter

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.

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23

Libyan Lie

From day one the Obama administration knew that the Libyan attack on our Benghazi consulate and the murder of our ambassador was an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist attack that had nothing to do with the Mohammed video.

U.S. intelligence officials knew within 24 hours of the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that it was a terrorist attack and suspected Al Qaeda-tied elements were involved, sources told Fox News — though it took the administration a week to acknowledge it.

The account conflicts with claims on the Sunday after the attack by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice that the administration believed the strike was a “spontaneous” event triggered by protests in Egypt over an anti-Islam film.

Two senior U.S. officials said the Obama administration internally labeled the attack terrorism from the first day in order to unlock and mobilize certain resources to respond, and that officials were looking for one specific suspect.

 

In spite of that, President Obama and members of his administration for days afterwards pretended that the attack was in reaction to the video.  Go here to read a first-rate time line put together by the Washington Post blog.  Why the lie?  Several reasons.

1.  Osama dead and General Motors alive- One of the few foreign policies successes of the Obama administration was the killing of bin Laden.  A successful  al-Qaeda attack on the anniversary of 9-11 undercut this in a huge way.

2.  Now we have to do something?- In the midst of the Presidential campaign the last thing Obama wanted was to admit that this was a terrorist attack.  Such an admission would require that he take action.  In fact Obama has done precious little in the aftermath attack.  More than two weeks after the attack, the FBI still has not examined the attack site at Benghazi.

3.  AppeasementThe Mohammed video bogeyman allowed Obama to do what his preferred policy is to the jihadists:  pretend that if we bend over backwards not to offend Muslims, everything will be sweetness and love between Islam and the West. Continue Reading

81

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki: Democrat Party and Intrinsic Evil

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Springfield, Illinois diocese minces no words as to what is at stake in this election:

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Much attention was given at the Democratic National Convention held recently in Charlotte, N.C., to the fact that all references to God had been purged from the draft version of the party platform. After outcries of protest from outside as well as within the Democratic Party, the sentence with the same reference to God used in 2008 was restored to read, “We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.”

Before anyone relaxes and concludes that all is well now that the Democratic Party Platform contains a single passing reference to God, the way that this was done should give us pause. Convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa had to call for the voice vote three times because each time the sound level for the “ayes” and the “nays” sounded about even, far short of the two-thirds necessary according to convention rules to amend the platform. That did not stop the convention chairman from declaring, “The ayes have it!”

What is troubling about that is the blatant disregard for the rules and for the apparent wishes of about half the delegates. The reference to God is back in the platform apparently because President Obama wanted it back in. That may be fine for now, but if a future president wants references to God taken out, apparently that can be done regardless of the wishes of the delegates if that is what The Leader wants. That does not bode well for democracy in the Democratic Party.

Even more troubling is that this whole discussion about God in the platform is a distraction from more disturbing matters that have been included in the platform. In 1992 Presidential candidate Bill Clinton famously said that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” That was the party’s official position until 2008. Apparently “rare” is so last century that it had to be dropped, because now the Democratic Party Platform says that abortion should be “safe and legal.” Moreover the Democratic Party Platform supports the right to abortion “regardless of the ability to pay.” Well, there are only three ways for that to happen: either taxpayers will be required to fund abortion, or insurance companies will be required to pay for them (as they are now required to pay for contraception), or hospitals will be forced to perform them for free.

Moreover, the Democratic Party Platform also supports same-sex marriage, recognizes that “gay rights are human rights,” and calls for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law signed by President Clinton in 1996 that defined marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman.

Now, why am I mentioning these matters in the Democratic Party Platform? There are many positive and beneficial planks in the Democratic Party Platform, but I am pointing out those that explicitly endorse intrinsic evils. My job is not to tell you for whom you should vote. But I do have a duty to speak out on moral issues. I would be abdicating this duty if I remained silent out of fear of sounding “political” and didn’t say anything about the morality of these issues. People of faith object to these platform positions that promote serious sins. I know that the Democratic Party’s official “unequivocal” support for abortion is deeply troubling to pro-life Democrats.

So what about the Republicans? I have read the Republican Party Platform and there is nothing in it that supports or promotes an intrinsic evil or a serious sin. The Republican Party Platform does say that courts “should have the option of imposing the death penalty in capital murder cases.” But the Catechism of the Catholic Church says (in paragraph 2267), “Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm — without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself — the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”

One might argue for different methods in the platform to address the needs of the poor, to feed the hungry and to solve the challenges of immigration, but these are prudential judgments about the most effective means of achieving morally desirable ends, not intrinsic evils.

Certainly there are “pro-choice” Republicans who support abortion rights and “Log Cabin Republicans” who promote same-sex marriage, and they are equally as wrong as their Democratic counterparts. But these positions do not have the official support of their party.

Again, I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against, but I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.

I pray that God will give you the wisdom and guidance to make the morally right choices.

May God give us this grace. Amen. Continue Reading

6

Head to Head

The Romney and Obama campaigns have released two talking head ads.  Obama’s ad consists of a laundry list of things he wants to do, which begs the question why he didn’t do any of them in his first term.  Two things struck me about the ad.  First, where Obama says we should take the savings from not being in Afghanistan and use that money to pay down the national debt and for “nation building”, shudder, here at home.  The mendacity of this is truly startling since with a trillion-dollar deficit Obama knows that there is no money other than borrowed money that will be freed up by no more involvement in Afghanistan.  The statement screams the complete contempt that Obama has for the intelligence of most of his supporters.  Second, the sinister phrase “economic patriotism”.  It brings to mind the Democrat dream tax return.  Question One:  “How much income did you make last year?  Insert answer in blank and send a check for that sum made payable to the United States Treasury.” Continue Reading

14

Dropping all insurance coverage appears to be the most morally sound approach…

 

Founded in 1972, the National Catholic Bioethics Center  (NCBC) “pledges its fidelity to the magisterial teaching of the Church and to the bishops who provide leadership and pastoral guidance to clergy and laity on complex bioethical issues.”

NCBC recently has published a detailed analysis which concludes that it would be immoral for a Catholic who owns a private business to purchase health insurance for his or her workers under Obamacare.   The conclusion is terse: “Dropping all coverage appears to be the most morally sound approach.”

Assessing all of the options available, the NCBC also calls for action, including suing the Obama administration: “We support and encourage the many lawsuits challenging this injustice and expect them to be successful before the Supreme Court.”

The NCBC’s excellent analysis raises some politically difficult choices for faithful Catholic business owners. If they choose to drop insurance coverage, it is likely their employees will be forced by circumstances—fully intended by those who crafted Obamacare—into healthcare plans offering medical services that are contrary to Church teaching.  While those employees would not be forced to avail themselves of those morally objectionable services, the simple fact remains that those services would be funded by taxpayer money, meaning in this instance the taxes paid by those businesses owned and operated by faithful Catholics.

Is this not an infringement on religious liberty?

 

To read the NCBC analysis, click on the following link:
http://www.ncbcenter.org/document.doc?id=450&erid=0

26

Recession Here We Come

 

 

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  Orders for durable goods dropped a calamitous 13.2% in August, the worst decrease since 2009.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in August decreased $30.1 billion or 13.2 percent to $198.5 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This decrease, down following three consecutive monthly increases, was the largest decrease since January 2009 and followed a 3.3 percent July increase. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 1.6 percent. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 12.4 percent. Transportation equipment, down following four consecutive monthly increases, had the largest decrease, $27.8 billion or 34.9 percent to $51.9 billion. Continue Reading

6

Rove and His White Board Explain the Polls

Karl Rove, a hero to much of the Right and a demon figure of the Left.  Frankly I have never been that impressed by Rove.  In 2000 he almost threw away a race that Bush was winning going away due to his inability to have Bush admit early in the campaign that he had once been arrested for drunk driving.  He should have told Bush, or more likely Mrs. Bush, that everything tends to come out in a presidential campaign.  Instead a Democrat political operative springs this the weekend before the election and converts an easy Bush win into a national ordeal.  In 2004 a fairly lackadaisical Bush campaign struggled to defeat John Kerry, a weak candidate who should have been little challenge.

Having said that, Rove in the video above does an excellent job  demonstrating why most presidential horserace polls, with their fixation on the 2008 electorate are, to be blunt, crap.

Michael Barone, who I have always regarded as the best political prognosticator, yesterday on the Hugh Hewitt show talked about problems with the current batch of polls: Continue Reading

6

That Inconvenient First Amendment

Eric Posner, a University of Chicago law professor, and son of Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, one of President Reagan’s less wise judicial appointments, writing in Slate thinks that perhaps it is time that Americans stop making a fetish of freedom of speech as embodied in the First Amendment.  Christopher Johnson, a Protestant who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have designated him Defender of the Faith, gives Posner a fisking to remember:

University of Chicago law professor Eric Posner thinks that this country really needs to dial down its obsession with free speech:

The universal response in the United States to the uproar over the anti-Muslim video is that the Muslim world will just have to get used to freedom of expression. President Obama said so himself in a speech at the United Nations today, which included both a strong defense of the First Amendment and (“in the alternative,” as lawyers say) and a plea that the United States is helpless anyway when it comes to controlling information. In a world linked by YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, countless videos attacking people’s religions, produced by provocateurs, rabble-rousers, and lunatics, will spread to every corner of the world, as fast as the Internet can blast them, and beyond the power of governments to stop them. Muslims need to grow a thick skin, the thinking goes, as believers in the West have done over the centuries. Perhaps they will even learn what it means to live in a free society, and adopt something like the First Amendment in their own countries.

Maybe that’s right.  But actually, America needs to get with the international program.

But there is another possible response. This is that Americans need to learn that the rest of the world—and not just Muslims—see no sense in the First Amendment. Even other Western nations take a more circumspect position on freedom of expression than we do, realizing that often free speech must yield to other values and the need for order. Our own history suggests that they might have a point.

Look at it this way.  At least the trains will run on time and everyone will be able to read the “No Food Today” signs.  Posner points out that it was the left which first turned the First Amendment into an weapon.

The First Amendment earned its sacred status only in the 1960s, and then only among liberals and the left, who cheered when the courts ruled that government could not suppress the speech of dissenters, critics, scandalous artistic types, and even pornographers. Conservatives objected that these rulings helped America’s enemies while undermining public order and morality at home, but their complaints fell on deaf ears.

Shogi, the Japanese version of chess, has a unique characteristic.  Because of the way the pieces are shaped, no piece is ever completely out of the game.  Any of your pieces that I happen to take can be turned around and employed by my army.

A totem that is sacred to one religion can become an object of devotion in another, even as the two theologies vest it with different meanings. That is what happened with the First Amendment. In the last few decades, conservatives have discovered in its uncompromising text— “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech”—support for their own causes. These include unregulated campaign speech, unregulated commercial speech, and limited government. Most of all, conservatives have invoked the First Amendment to oppose efforts to make everyone, in universities and elsewhere, speak “civilly” about women and minorities. I’m talking of course about the “political correctness” movement beginning in the 1980s, which often merged into attempts to enforce a leftist position on race relations and gender politics.

Posner wants Americans to remember two things.  The First Amendment is strictly an American idea whose inspiration is not shared by anybody else in the world and which cannot force people stop thinking bad thoughts.

We have to remember that our First Amendment values are not universal; they emerged contingently from our own political history, a set of cobbled-together compromises among political and ideological factions responding to localized events. As often happens, what starts out as a grudging political settlement has become, when challenged from abroad, a dogmatic principle to be imposed universally. Suddenly, the disparagement of other people and their beliefs is not an unfortunate fact but a positive good. It contributes to the “marketplace of ideas,” as though we would seriously admit that Nazis or terrorist fanatics might turn out to be right after all. Salman Rushdie recently claimed that bad ideas, “like vampires … die in the sunlight” rather than persist in a glamorized underground existence. But bad ideas never die: They are zombies, not vampires. Bad ideas like fascism, Communism, and white supremacy have roamed the countryside of many an open society.

In the past, American “values” have made this country look bad to the rest of the world.

Americans have not always been so paralyzed by constitutional symbolism. During the Cold War, the U.S. foreign policy establishment urged civil rights reform in order to counter Soviet propagandists’ gleeful reports that Americans fire-hosed black protesters and state police arrested African diplomats who violated Jim Crow laws. Rather than tell the rest of the world to respect states’ rights—an ideal as sacred in its day as free speech is now—the national government assured foreigners that it sought to correct a serious but deeply entrenched problem. It is useful if discomfiting to consider that many people around the world may see America’s official indifference to Muslim (or any religious) sensibilities as similar to its indifference to racial discrimination before the civil rights era.

It says in another part of the First Amendment that the US government is supposed to be indifferent to the sensibilities of all religions.  That’s what we were always told whenever some governmental entity allowed the display of the Cross or the Ten Commandments anyway.  So it’s unclear why the United States government should care one way or the other about the feelings of Muslims.

But according to Eric Posner, they apparently should care deeply whenever Islamic feelings are hurt.  Not only that, this American law professor thinks that the fact that Washington was unable to legally force Google to take that film down is a scandal.

The final irony is that while the White House did no more than timidly plead with Google to check if the anti-Muslim video violates its policies (appeasement! shout the critics), Google itself approached the controversy in the spirit of prudence. The company declined to remove the video from YouTube because the video did not attack a group (Muslims) but only attacked a religion (Islam). Yet it also cut off access to the video in countries such as Libya and Egypt where it caused violence or violated domestic law. This may have been a sensible middle ground, or perhaps Google should have done more. What is peculiar it that while reasonable people can disagree about whether a government should be able to curtail speech in order to safeguard its relations with foreign countries, the Google compromise is not one that the U.S. government could have directed. That’s because the First Amendment protects verbal attacks on groups as well as speech that causes violence (except direct incitement: the old cry of “Fire!” in a crowded theater). And so combining the liberal view that government should not interfere with political discourse, and the conservative view that government should not interfere with commerce, we end up with the bizarre principle that U.S. foreign policy interests cannot justify any restrictions on speech whatsoever. Instead, only the profit-maximizing interests of a private American corporation can. Try explaining that to the protesters in Cairo or Islamabad.

I’ve got a better idea, Professor.  Try explaining to the protestors in Cairo and Islamabad that ANYTHING that happens inside this country is none of their damned business.

The mendacity and dishonesty of this piece is easily ascertained by asking yourself a simple question.  If some form of artistic expression had insulted Jesus or villified Christianity, would Posner still have written it?

If some museum displays an egregiously blasphemous painting of Jesus or Mary, if a particularly blasphemous movie was made, if another TV show or play debuted which ridiculed Christians or if Bill Maher opened his pie hole, would Posner think it regrettable that the US government was unable to legally prevent these things from happening?

Of course  he wouldn’t.  The question wouldn’t even come up.  And the reason why the question wouldn’t come up is simple.  Christians don’t kill people and destroy property when they are insulted and villified or their Lord is blasphemed.

A faculty sinecure at the University of Chicago Law School would seem to suggest a certain level of intelligence.  So it’s hard for me to figure out why Eric Posner thinks that restricting American rights simply to avoid offending Muslims is a good idea. Continue Reading

24

Stupid Meme: Libertarianism & “Gay Marriage”

One of the more annoying memes I am often confronted with is the automatic assumption that libertarians must be for “gay marriage.”I can understand why some people automatically assume such things in good faith, but I can also tell when the leftist media is attempting to exploit an apparent rift between libertarians and conservatives on the right. Whenever I read somewhere that there may be tension between different wings of the American right on an issue such as “gay marriage”, it is almost never a conservative or a libertarian writing it.

Is it consistent with libertarianism to be an uncritical and loud advocate of “gay marriage”? In my view, the answer is no. In fact, it is more consistent with libertarianism, at least in the current political climate and given the way the issue is currently framed, to be opposed to the “marriage equality” movement. The word “equality” ought to be the first indication to a libertarian that something may be amiss, since egalitarian movements are often statist, sometimes outright totalitarian movements that seek to achieve an ideal of equality by sheer force. Communism is the most obvious example, but what feminist and certain racial groups have achieved on college campuses is only a microcosm of what they would like to see in society at large: free speech utterly silenced, opposing views ostracized, careers denied or ruined over the utterance of a heterodox opinion (just view the archives of The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education for countless examples). To some extent this already does happen in society at large, but only selectively – for now.

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4

Household Incomes In Decline Under Obama; Democrats in Denial

 

Feeling a little bit poorer?   Well, a lot of our fellow Americans are.  Last month median household income dropped 1.1%, an ominous sign that the Obama Riches to Rags policies are continuing to have an impact:

In another sign that the economic recovery under President Obama is not producing gains for average Americans, median household incomes fell 1.1% in August to $50,678, according to a report released Tuesday by Sentier Research.

Since the economic recovery started in June 2009, household incomes are down 5.7%, the Sentier data show, and they are down more than 8% since Obama took office.

“Even though we are technically in an economic recovery, real median annual household income is having a difficult time maintaining its present level, much less recovering,” said Sentier co-founder and former Census Bureau official Gordon Green.

Earlier this month, the Census Bureau released its annual report showing that the number of people in poverty was nearly 3 million higher in 2011 than in 2009, an increase of 6%. Continue Reading

5

Angel of the Trenches

Joao Baptista DeValles was born in 1879 in Saint Miquel in the Azores.  At the age of 2 his family moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts.  His first name anglicized to John, he quickly proved himself a brilliant student, eventually being fluent in six languages.  Ordained a priest in 1906 he served at Falls River at Espirito Santo Church, founding the first Portuguese language parochial school in the United States while he was there.  He later served at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in New Bedford and was pastor at Saint John the Baptist Church, also in New Bedford.

After the entry of the US into World War I, he joined the Army as a chaplain, serving with the 104th regiment, a Massachusetts National Guard outfit, part of the Yankee (26th) Division, made up of National Guard units from New England.  The Yankee Division arrived in France in September 1917, the second American division to arrive “Over There”.

The 104th was a hard fighting outfit, serving in all of the major campaigns of the American Expeditionary Force.  For heroic fighting at Bois Brule in April, 1918 the French government awarded the regiment a collective Croix de Guerre, an unprecedented honor for an American military unit.  There were quite a few very brave men in the 104th, and among the bravest of the brave was Chaplain DeValles.  For his heroism in rescuing wounded, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest decoration for valor in the United States Army.  Here is the text of the citation:

104th Infantry Regiment, 26th Division, A.E.F. Date of Action: April 10 – 13, 1918 Citation: The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to John B. De Valles, Chaplain, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Apremont, Toul sector, France, April 10 to 13, 1918. Chaplain De Valles repeatedly exposed himself to heavy artillery and machine-gun fire in order to assist in the removal of the wounded from exposed points in advance of the lines. He worked for long periods of time with stretcher bearers in carrying wounded men to safety. Chaplain De Valles previously rendered gallant service in the Chemin des Dames sector, March 11, 1918, by remaining with a group of wounded during a heavy enemy bombardment. General Orders No. No. 35, W.D., 1920 Continue Reading

13

Madonna (Not The Madonna) Endorses “Black Muslim” in the White House

Nuclear bomb content warning for the above video.  Madonna, the bad actress not the Mother of God, endorses the “black muslim” in the White House.  With friends like Madonna, surely Obama does not need enemies!

Update:  Madonna is now claiming that her incoherent stream of consciousness endorsement was meant to be “ironic” when she referred to Obama as being a “black Muslim”.  Sure.  I doubt if Madonna would recognize irony if irony tossed caution to the wind and decided to announce his presence by biting her on her aging rump.

18

Third Party Love & Hate

A couple of posts at Breitbart’s “Big Government” site have resulted in thousands of comments  and intense debate between libertarians and conservatives, and between libertarians themselves over the merits of supporting a third-party/independent alternative to Mitt Romney. Having been involved in third-party politics myself at one point in my life, I am sympathetic to the cause. But given the stakes this November, I’ve decided to hold my nose and vote for Romney, as I’ve already posted here at TAC.

I must say, however, in response Kurt Schlichter (the author of the aforelinked pieces) that I regard this as a highly personal choice, and not one that I am willing to guilt others into making. On many of the issues that matter to me and other Ron Paul supporters, Romney is absolutely abysmal and nearly indistinguishable from Obama, whether we are talking about civil liberties, constitutional protection of the lives of American citizens (even the bad ones), foreign policy, monetary policy, and a host of related issues. Those who prioritize such issues cannot be expected to give Romney their vote. There was also the disgraceful treatment of Ron Paul and his delegates by the GOP at the RNC this year. Schlichter would have us basically forget all about it.

With that said, however, when Ron Paul stopped actively campaigning for the GOP nomination, his candidacy in effect came to an end. There certainly is something bizarre about a pledge to vote for a man who by the looks of things would like to settle into a well-deserved, hard-earned retirement from public life. I always suspected that Paul didn’t really want to be president. Some see this as a positive trait, and it can be in certain contexts, but men also need leaders. If that makes me sound fascistic, so be it. Human nature is what it is.

So people who accept the reality that Paul is unable or unwilling to capture the nomination and the Presidency are then faced with other options. I’ve explained my choice, but many others are considering Gary Johnson, and Schlichter is addressing them as well (as well as Virgil Goode, the Constitution Party candidate’s supporters). Aside from the fact that Johnson is pro-choice and therefore unsupportable for Catholics, I don’t begrudge anyone the right to support either of these men as an alternative to Romney.

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18

2012 is not 2008

 

Susquehanna Polling released a poll showing Obama with a two point lead over Romney in Pennsylvania.  Today on their blog they have a fascinating post explaining their methodology and why the makeup of the electorate is likely to be quite different from 2008:

Recently two polls conducted by our firm showing President Obama narrowly leading Mitt Romney by 1 point (48% to 47%, sponsored by the Republican State Committee of Penna.), and a second released by the Pittsburgh Tribune Review on Sunday, September 23 showing Obama leading Romney by 2 points (47%-45%).  Both margins conflict with other surveys conducted recently including one by the Philadelphia Inquirer (Obama +11) and Muhlenberg College (Obama +9).  Following are answers to questions about our survey methodology as well as our basis for predicting a close election.

Our vote model for gauging the number of interviews conducted with voters of different demographic groups (things like party affiliation, racial background and age range, etc.) is a blend of turnout models from both the 2008 and 2004 presidential elections, but leans more towards 2004 VTO and is predicated on the belief that turnout this November will not be anywhere near ’08 levels when 5.9 million votes were cast.

First, our ratio of interviews conducted with Republicans and Democrats in our recent polls (49D – 43R) gives Democrats a 6-point advantage based on the fact that Democrats outnumber Republicans in actual registration.  However, this ratio is slightly more Republican based on both national and state polling showing that Republicans are more likely to vote than Democrats this year given high intensity among Republicans who strongly disapprove of the President’s job performance.  Nonetheless, this +6 Democratic advantage is only one point less Democrat than the 7-point advantage these same exit polls gave Democrats in the 2008 presidential election.  Besides, simply conducting more surveys with Democratic voters (as some have suggested) doesn’t necessarily translate into more votes for President Obama when you consider that Mitt Romney is winning Democratic-leaning counties in Western Pennsylvania by ten or more percentage points.  Nonetheless, it is entirely appropriate to sample Republicans one or two points higher than in 2008 if you believe as we do that voter turnout this November will have little resemblance to the last presidential election.

Second, our ratio of younger to older voters reflects turnout that is likely to be slightly higher with older voters given the lack of enthusiasm from younger voters.  In our surveys, 18-44 yr. olds make up 30% of all interviews and voters 45 years of age and older represent the remaining seventy percent.  For instance, according to 2008 exit polls voter turnout among 18-29 year olds peaked at 18%, but national and state polling proves interest among younger voters down sharply this year due to higher unemployment with younger voters and college graduates in particular.  So conducting approximately ten percent of surveys with 18-29 year olds is a reflection of this lower anticipated turnout among these less-enthusiastic voters.  Besides, the fact that Obama backers have suggested that over sampling older voters skews results in favor of Mitt Romney is a striking revelation in a state like Pennsylvania known for having the 5th largest population of senior citizens in the country. Continue Reading

38

Debate Advice

 

 

 

The first Presidential Debate is coming up on October 3.  It will focus on domestic policy.  Currently the race is tied up, contrary to many media polls dreaming of a 2008 Democrat D-7 turnout, with both candidates at the mid-Forties.  That is bad news for any incumbent.  What does Romney have to do in the debate to begin to take the lead?

1.  Showing up without horns and a tail.  The media currently is so laughably biased that you should gain at least a point by simply demonstrating that you are a fairly intelligent, articulate candidate.  One advantage to running against a stacked media is that when voters can see the candidate unfiltered it begins to penetrate through to a few undecided voters that they have been lied to by the media about the candidate not favored by the media.

2.  More of the same.  One of your main arguments should be that if you liked the last four years you should vote for Obama, because you are bound to get precisely the same policies from him in the next four years.

3.  Gas and food.  Gas prices and food prices have sky-rocketed under Obama.  Hit that hard, and then hit it hard again.

4.  Ignore the questions.  Rest assured that the questions will range from the asinine to the gotcha.  Ignore them.  Talk about what you want to talk about while paying mere lip service to answering the question.

5.  Jobs, Jobs and Jobs.  By the time you are finished make certain that the voters believe that your middle name is “Jobs”.  Promise to put America back to work.  Tie it in with stopping Obama’s job killing restrictions on energy production.  Don’t be shy about saying that Obama has virtually no private sector experience and that it shows, and that if Obama were the CEO of a company, that company would be in bankruptcy court. Continue Reading

6

Cold Iron

The thirteenth 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, here and here.     I have noted several times in this series that Kipling was not conventionally religious, yet many of his poems dealt with religious themes.  One of his lesser known poems, Cold Iron, written in 1910, I have always found personally very moving.

Gold is for the mistress — silver for the maid —

 Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.”

 “Good!” said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

 “But Iron — Cold Iron — is master of them all.”

 

So he made rebellion ‘gainst the King his liege,

 Camped before his citadel and summoned it to siege.

 “Nay!” said the cannoneer on the castle wall,

 “But Iron — Cold Iron — shall be master of you all!”

 

Woe for the Baron and his knights so strong,

 When the cruel cannon-balls laid ’em all along;

 He was taken prisoner, he was cast in thrall,

 And Iron — Cold Iron — was master of it all!

 

Yet his King spake kindly (ah, how kind a Lord!)

 “What if I release thee now and give thee back thy sword?”

 “Nay!” said the Baron, “mock not at my fall,

 For Iron — Cold Iron — is master of men all.”

 

“Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown —

 Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.”

 “As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small,

 For Iron — Cold Iron — must be master of men all!”

 

Yet his King made answer (few such Kings there be!)

 “Here is Bread and here is Wine — sit and sup with me.

 Eat and drink in Mary’s Name, the whiles I do recall

 How Iron — Cold Iron — can be master of men all!”

 

He took the Wine and blessed it. He blessed and brake the Bread.

 With His own Hands He served Them, and presently He said:

 “See! These Hands they pierced with nails, outside My city wall,

 Show Iron — Cold Iron — to be master of men all.”

 

“Wounds are for the desperate, blows are for the strong.

 Balm and oil for weary hearts all cut and bruised with wrong.

 I forgive thy treason — I redeem thy fall —

 For Iron — Cold Iron — must be master of men all!”

 

“Crowns are for the valiant — sceptres for the bold!

 Thrones and powers for mighty men who dare to take and hold!”

 “Nay!” said the Baron, kneeling in his hall,

 “But Iron — Cold Iron — is master of men all!

 Iron out of Calvary is master of men all!” Continue Reading

9

Distrust in Media Hits Record High

I am shocked, shocked, to report that Gallup finds a steep decrease in faith in unpaid Obama press agents the media.

The record distrust in the media, based on a survey conducted Sept. 6-9, 2012, also means that negativity toward the media is at an all-time high for a presidential election year. This reflects the continuation of a pattern in which negativity increases every election year compared with the year prior. The current gap between negative and positive views — 20 percentage points — is by far the highest Gallup has recorded since it began regularly asking the question in the 1990s. Trust in the media was much higher, and more positive than negative, in the years prior to 2004 — as high as 72% when Gallup asked this question three times in the 1970s.

This year’s decline in media trust is driven by independents and Republicans. The 31% and 26%, respectively, who express a great deal or fair amount of trust are record lows and are down significantly from last year. Republicans’ level of trust this year is similar to what they expressed in the fall of 2008, implying that they are especially critical of election coverage.

Independents are sharply more negative compared with 2008, suggesting the group that is most closely divided between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney is quite dissatisfied with its ability to get fair and accurate news coverage of this election.

More broadly, Republicans continue to express the least trust in the media, while Democrats express the most. Independents’ trust fell below the majority level in 2004 and has continued to steadily decline.

What could possibly explain such a lack of confidence in the ink-stained wretches? Continue Reading

7

September 22, 1862: Lincoln Issues Notice of Emancipation Proclamation

Something for the weekend.  Give us a Flag, the unofficial anthem of the United States Colored Troops during the Civil War, written by a private serving in the 54th Massachusetts.

Today is the 150th anniversary of the issuance of the notice by Lincoln of the Emancipation Proclamation, to take effect on January 1, 1863, Lincoln doing so after the Union victory at Antietam on September 17, 1862.  Reaction was, to say the least, mixed.  In the North the abolitionists were enraptured.  Most Northern opinion was favorable, although there was a substantial minority, embodied almost entirely in the Democrat party, that completely opposed this move.  Opinion in the Border States was resoundingly negative.  In the Confederacy the Confederate government denounced the proposed Emancipation Proclamation as a call for a race war.  Today, almost all Americans view the Emancipation Proclamation as a long overdue ending of slavery.  At the time it was very much a step into the unknown, and the consequences impossible to determine.  Lincoln had converted the War for the Union into a War for the Union and against Slavery.  It remained to be seen as to whether the War, whatever its objectives, could be won.  Here is the text of Lincoln’s announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation: Continue Reading

14

Keep Your Day Job

As support for my belief that modern life is increasingly resembling a poorly written Monty Python skit, I point to the pro-abort members of the Michigan state legislature:

Pro-abortion legislators are protesting pro-life bills in the Michigan state legislature in an odd, eye-rolling fashion.

They gathered on the steps of the Michigan Capitol to perform a flash mob-style dance to a bastardized version of Carly Rae Jeppson’s “Call Me Maybe” with their own version, “It’s My Vagina, So Hands Off Baby.”

The ACLU of Michigan, in partnership with Planned Parenthood, staged the flash mob and rally on the Capitol lawn. The two pro-abortion groups emailed out an instructional video of the “Hands Off Dance” along with two others, “Can’t Say It” and the “Pelvic Exam.” Continue Reading

8

By His Own Admission

Well that was quick.  The Republicans didn’t waste any time in putting together this ad in response to Obama’s claim that you can’t change Washington from the inside.  Certainly he will not even try.  If the last four years have been your cup of tea, then I think that you should vote for Obama.  The next four years if he is re-elected will be more of the same, as the nation careens toward bankruptcy, the economy goes from bad to worse, the welfare state continues to swell, regulations oppress those who disagree with the policies of Obama and a feckless foreign policy leads into a general war in the Middle East bigger than any seen since World War II.  Reagan liked to say when he ran for re-election in 1984:  “You ain’t seen nothing yet!” From Reagan it was a promise.  From Obama it would be a threat.

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Will Money Make Everyone Virtuous?

One of the many divides among modern Catholics is between what we might call the “moralizers” and the “justice seekers”. “Moralizers” are those who emphasize the importance of teaching people moral laws and urging them to abide by them. “Justice seekers” seek to mitigate various social evils (poverty, lack of access to health care, joblessness, etc.) and believe that if only these social evils are reduced, this will encourage people to behave better.

Moralizers tend to criticize the justice seekers by pointing out that following moral laws is apt to alleviate a lot of the social evils that worry the justice seekers, arguing, for example, that if one finishes high school, holds a job and gets married before having children, one is far less likely to be poor than if one violates these norms.

Justice seekers reply that the moralizers are not taking into account all the pressures there work upon the poor and disadvantaged, and argue that it’s much more effective to better people’s condition than to moralize at them (or try to pass laws to restrict their actions) because if only social forces weren’t forcing people to make bad choices, they of course wouldn’t do so.

(I’m more of a moralizer myself, but I think that we moralizers still need to take the justice seeker critique into account in understanding where people are coming from and what they’re capable of.)

One area in which the justice seeker approach seems to come into particular prominence is the discussion of abortion. We often hear politically progressive Catholics argue that the best way to reduce abortions is not to attempt to ban or restrict them, but rather to reduce poverty and make sure that everyone has access to health care. There’s an oft quoted sound bite from Cardinal Basil Hume (Archbishop of Westminster) to this effect:

“If that frightened, unemployed 19-year-old knows that she and her child will have access to medical care whenever it’s needed, she’s more likely to carry the baby to term. Isn’t it obvious?”

You’d think that it was obvious, but I’m suspicious of the idea that having more money or resources makes us better or less selfish people (an idea which strikes me as smacking of a certain spiritual Rousseauian quality that doesn’t take fallen human nature into account) so I thought it would be interesting to see if there’s any data on this.

I was not able to find data on the relationship of abortion to health insurance, but I was able to find data on the relation of abortion to poverty, and it turns out that the Cardinal, and conventional wisdom, are wrong.
Continue Reading

3

Benjamin Franklin’s Speech on Signing the Constitution

A woman to Benjamin Franklin at the close of the Constitutional Convention:

“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

  Benjamin Franklin “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

September 17 of this week was the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution on  September 17, 1787 at the close of the Convention.  The speech of Benjamin Franklin on this occasion has always struck me as being chock full of wisdom.  Here is the text of his address: Continue Reading

15

We Apologize For Breathing

Hattip to AllahPundit at Hot Air.  Your tax dollars at work.  The State Department is paying for the above video to run in Pakistan.  I find it breathtaking in its complete incomprehension.  The foolish anti-Mohammed video is merely a pretext for the Jihadists to carry on their war with us.  Obama and Clinton could apologize from now until Doomsday and it would have no impact, except to convince watching muslims that the United States leadership is weak and confused which is a completely accurate assessment of the Obama administration abroad. Continue Reading

21

Timely Quotes

In light of the 47% (oops, where did those one to two minutes of recording go?) non-controversy, I thought that a game of guess who said the quote would be fun.  Use of a search engine is verboten!

1.  A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.

 

2.  The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled. The assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.

 

3.  I accuse the present Administration of being the greatest spending Administration in peacetime in all American history – one which piled bureau on bureau, commission on commission, and has failed to anticipate the dire needs or reduced earning power of the people. Bureaus and bureaucrats have been retained at the expense of the taxpayer. We are spending altogether too much money for government services which are neither practical nor necessary. In addition to this, we are attempting too many functions and we need a simplification of what the Federal government is giving the people.

 

4.  Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.

 

5.  It is an injustice, a grave evil and a disturbance of the right order, for a larger and higher organisation, to arrogate to itself functions which can be performed efficiently by smaller and lower bodies. Continue Reading

9

Who is Obama?

When it comes to Obama and most of the Mainstream Media there are two salient facts:

1.  Most members of the Mainstream Media have a crush on Obama that would embarrass many a teen-age girl with its intensity and its studied indifference to facts.

2.  Most of the Mainstream Media have been reluctant\hostile to doing elementary investigative reporting into Obama’s past.

The Washington Examiner is now doing the job that other members of the Mainstream Media simply will not do.  Go here to read their series The Obama You Don’t Know.  The series is a tribute to what reporting, the gathering of facts, can be at its best.  I consider myself reasonably well-informed as to Obama’s biography, and I found out things I didn’t know.  This is a must read series.  It would have been nice to have this information before the election of 2008, but we at least have it now before the election of 2012.

11

Cult of Personality? What Cult of Personality?

For only $35.00 you too can own a print of the Obama Flag.  The (sic) artist who designed this calls it, signficantly enough, Our Stripes.  Go here to the official Obama Store to see it in all of its native glory before one of the less crazed acolytes of the Southside Messiah decides to take it down.  The bizarre cult-like atmosphere that surrounds Obama is like nothing ever seen before in American political history, and it is a disturbing development in our society.

Update 1:  Go here to see a short visual history of the creepy Obama Cult.

Update 2:  The Obama flag print is gone from the Obama store.  I assume now it will be reserved for only the high initiates of Cult Obama.

10

President of All the People

President Barack Obama went on the David Letterman show last night and responded to the leaked video where Mitt Romney explained why 47 percent of the electorate was basically shut off to him. Obama took the softball and hammered one out of the park, waxing poetic about being responsive to all the people.

Such stirring words, and certainly President Obama has repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to respecting the values of those who disagree with him.

Continue Reading

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Aarg Maties, I can scarcely believe that it is Talk Like a Pirate Day again.  As a landlubber lawyer, I have only one thing to say to pirates:  amateurs!

The above sentence translated into pirate:  “Aarg Maties, I can scarcely believe that it be Talk Like a Pirate Day again. As a landlubber lawyer, I have only one thin’ t’ say t’ pirates: amateurs! ”  Go here to amuse yourselves with the English to Pirate Translator.

8

We Believe in Free People and Free Enterprise

Mitt Romney being interviewed in regard to the 47% remark by Neil Cavuto yesterday.  (Go here to read Darwin’s brilliant post on the 47% controversy.)  I have never been a fan of Mitt Romney, who I have nicknamed the Weathervane.  I have always planned to vote for him, but almost entirely in order to get Obama out;  Mitt Romney becoming President being merely a necessary by-product of ending the Age of Obama.  However, I found this interview impressive.  Romney ably presented his view that ever-increasing dependence on government is a terrible thing and is a result of the miserable failure of Obama’s economic policies.  Romney is taking what is widely assumed by the Obama press agents the Mainstream Media and turning it around by standing his ground.  People tend to admire politicians who have convictions they are willing to fight for, even if they do not entirely share the convictions themselves.  The rap against Romney has always been that he has no such convictions, nothing that he is willing to do battle for.  This is Romney’s opportunity to demonstrate that he does have core beliefs that he will defend, no matter what the chattering heads on television say.  Not bad Mitt.

7

Free Speech and the Left

 Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.

Abraham Lincoln

One of the more refreshing aspects of the fallout in the wake of the Cairo and Benghazi embassy attacks, is the degree that it has brought out in the open the contempt that many people on the political Left have for affording constitutional protection to speech which they despise.  A case in point is Sarah Chayes.  Ms. Chayes is about as establishment Liberal as it is possible to get.  A graduate of Harvard, the offspring of Abram Chayes, and  Antonia Handler Chayes, both luminaries of the academic and political Left, she had a career as a reporter for The Christian Science Monitor and National Public Radio.  Under Obama she was a special assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Her credentials and background therefore make her opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times of special interest.  In that opinion piece she argues that the Mohammed video would not be worthy of constititutional protection because it is meant to be purely offensive and intended to provoke a violent reaction.  It therefore constitutes the equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater:

 

While many 1st Amendment scholars defend the right of the filmmakers to produce this film, arguing that the ensuing violence was not sufficiently imminent, I spoke to several experts who said the trailer may well fall outside constitutional guarantees of free speech. “Based on my understanding of the events,” 1st Amendment authority Anthony Lewis said in an interview Thursday, “I think this meets the imminence standard.”

Finally, much 1st Amendment jurisprudence concerns speech explicitly advocating violence, such as calls to resist arrest, or videos explaining bomb-making techniques. But words don’t have to urge people to commit violence in order to be subject to limits, says Lewis. “If the result is violence, and that violence was intended, then it meets the standard.”

Indeed, Justice Holmes’ original example, shouting “fire” in a theater, is not a call to arms. Steve Klein, an outspoken anti-Islamic activist who said he helped with the film, told Al Jazeera television that it was “supposed to be provocative.” The egregiousness of its smears, the apparent deception of cast and crew as to its contents and the deliberate effort to raise its profile in the Arab world a week before 9/11 all suggest intentionality.

The point here is not to excuse the terrible acts perpetrated by committed extremists and others around the world in reaction to the video, or to condone physical violence as a response to words — any kind of words. The point is to emphasize that U.S. law makes a distinction between speech that is simply offensive and speech that is deliberately tailored to put lives and property at immediate risk. Especially in the heightened volatility of today’s Middle East, such provocation is certainly irresponsible — and reveals an ironic alliance of convenience between Christian extremists and the Islamist extremists they claim to hate.

Interesting that she trots out Anthony Lewis to shore up her argument.  Lewis, now 85 and retired, was for decades the uber Liberal’s uber Liberal at the New York Times and regarded as a First Amendment absolutist.  Unless he is now in his dotage, one can only assume that, like many on the Left, his dedication to free speech ends when he disagrees strongly enough with what is being spoken.

The argument that Sayes is making is an old one.  It is called the Heckler’s Veto, and it has been used throughout American history to argue that speech should be suppressed because of the violent reaction it might cause.  Liberals, back when they were truly liberal, use to fight against it.  Lately they have embraced it, most notably in erecting bubble zones around abortion clinic, and banning pro-life protesters from those zones.  In the case of Christopher v. Hill,  530 U.S. 703 (2000), the Supreme Court upheld such zones 6-3.  The scathing dissent of Justice Scalia is instructive:

The Court today concludes that a regulation requiring speakers on the public thoroughfares bordering medical facilities to speak from a distance of eight feet is “not a ’regulation of speech,’ ” but “a regulation of the places where some speech may occur,” ante, at 14; and that a regulation directed to only certain categories of speech (protest, education, and counseling) is not “content-based.” For these reasons, it says, the regulation is immune from the exacting scrutiny we apply to content-based suppression of speech in the public forum. The Court then determines that the regulation survives the less rigorous scrutiny afforded content-neutral time, place, and manner restrictions because it is narrowly tailored to serve a government interest–protection of citizens’ “right to be let alone”–that has explicitly been disclaimed by the State, probably for the reason that, as a basis for suppressing peaceful private expression, it is patently incompatible with the guarantees of the First Amendment.

    None of these remarkable conclusions should come as a surprise. What is before us, after all, is a speech regulation directed against the opponents of abortion, and it therefore enjoys the benefit of the “ad hoc nullification machine” that the Court has set in motion to push aside whatever doctrines of constitutional law stand in the way of that highly favored practice. Madsen v. Women’s Health Center, Inc., 512 U.S. 753, 785 (1994) (Scalia, J., concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part). Having deprived abortion opponents of the political right to persuade the electorate that abortion should be restricted by law, the Court today continues and expands its assault upon their individual right to persuade women contemplating abortion that what they are doing is wrong. Because, like the rest of our abortion jurisprudence, today’s decision is in stark contradiction of the constitutional principles we apply in all other contexts, I dissent. Continue Reading

8

Murray Rothbard & Catholic Political Thought

Traditionalist Catholics are typically not fans of Murray Rothbard. And yet as I read more of his work, I find more reasons to appreciate Rothbard’s insights into political theory, which I believe were shaped by a deeper appreciation for the Catholic political and philosophical tradition than some are willing to admit. It is easy to see Rothbard as nothing more than a secular Jewish atheist who opposed “the Old Order” and supported unrestricted personal liberty. And yet he spent his final years advocating for Pat Buchanan’s presidential run and his socially conservative platform.

That there is an affinity for Catholicism in Rothbard’s thought is not surprising. He identifies the Catholic countries, above all Austria, as the originators of subjective-utility economics, while Protestant countries such as Britain developed more labor-centric economic theories. The Catholic tradition had identified consumption (in moderation) as a worthwhile activity and goal; the Calvinist tradition emphasized hard labor as the primary good and consumption as a necessary evil at best. He writes:

Conversely, it is no accident that the Austrian School, the major challenge to the Smith-Ricardo vision, arose in a country that was not only solidly Catholic, but whose values and attitudes were still heavily influenced by Aristotelian and Thomist thought. The German precursors of the Austrian School flourished, not in Protestant and anti-Catholic Prussia, but in those German states that were either Catholic or were politically allied to Austria rather than Prussia.

Continue Reading

37

Romney and Voters Who Don’t Pay Taxes

It seems like leftist pundits have decided that remarks by Romney at a fundraiser that were secretly taped and distributed by Mother Jones constitute the latest “now Romney has lost the election” moment. In the video, Romney tells supporters that Obama starts out with a huge base of 47-49% of voters who pay no income taxes, are dependent on government, and thus cannot be reached by Romney’s low tax message.

Of course, for those whose memories go back further than the most recent “Romney is finished” moment declared by Andrew Sullivan and Co., the obvious comparison to this is when Obama famously announced back in 2008 that the big difficulty for his campaign was that it was difficult to reach people who are see no evidence of progress in their daily lives and so they become bitter and cling to their guns and their religion.

Both comments spring from a degree of party mythology. It’s not the case that all 47% of people who don’t pay income taxes are Democrat supporters. Because our tax code is so progressive and because of the hefty child tax credit and earned income tax credit (both of which are things Republicans generally support) a lot of middle income families do not pay taxes. That certainly doesn’t make them default Obama supporters. Many of them are in fact die-hard Republicans, because they don’t participate in the modern Democratic Party’s vision of government dependence and social engineering as the solution to their problems.

That said, I think this particular media tizzy is particularly silly, and the pundits declaring Romney to be badly hurt by this are mostly reflecting the beliefs of a bubble in which the GOP is already hated.

Obama’s remarks were, if anything, far more offensive to potential swing voters. He categorized whole sections of the country, demographically, as being given over to bitterness because they hadn’t seen progress and explained that this bitterness came out in their becoming attached to guns, religion, hating minorities and immigrants, etc. There are a lot of small town people who like to hunt and go to church and don’t think of themselves as racist who nonetheless were potential Obama swing voters in 2008.

By contrast, Romney’s analysis may be off (and I don’t think that does him any credit) but it’s really hard for me, at least, to picture someone saying, “Gee, I was really thinking Romney might have some answers on the economy, but now I heard this clip where he says that people who don’t pay taxes and want to be dependent on the government are in the bag for Obama, and I’m proud of the fact that I don’t pay taxes and depend on the government, so forget about him! I’m supporting Obama.”

A lot of people who don’t, on net, pay taxes don’t really think of themselves as not paying taxes. The tax code is complex enough to make it tricky to tell in some ways. (And they pay other taxes even if they don’t pay federal income tax.) Nor do many people who are potential GOP voters think of themselves as dependent on government. If anything, the argument that Obama already has a huge advantage because he’s bribing voters with lots of government handouts seems to fit with Romney’s overall campaign message. Whether that’s a winning message I don’t know (I hope it is) but it’s hard for me to see how this is actually all that damaging.

Thoughts?

7

Why Most Presidential Horserace Polls Are Rubbish

 

 

Datech Guy explains why most presidential horserace polls are, to put it politely, worse than useless:

For the last two weeks we have been treated to the narrative that Barack Obama is surging at the polls, Mitt Romney is in trouble and unless there is a massive change in direction it is all over.

Simply put this is a lie.

Of all the polls you have seen, there is one poll that has gotten no attention, it is a poll that has been taken monthly, it is a poll that Doug Ross spotted and promoted on his site.  It is the Rasmussen Poll of party identification.

They have party identification results online dating back to 2004.  Here are the 2012 numbers through August

That shows a GOP advantage in registration this year but you might say:  “Hey, Datechguy, you’ve  been hitting polls all year, why can’t THIS poll be wrong?”

That’s a good question, we can answer it by asking another question: Does this poll of party identification correspond with the results of national elections?

Lets take a look: Continue Reading

3

Obama Chamberlain

 

 

 

The latest in appeasing the Jihadists.  No doubt this was to be revealed in 2013 if the American people were stupid enough to re-elect Obama:

The U.S. State Department is actively considering negotiations with the Egyptian government for the transfer of custody of Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as “the Blind Sheikh,” for humanitarian and health reasons, a source close to the Obama administration told  The Blaze.

The Department of Justice, however, told The Blaze that Rahman is serving a life sentence and is not considered for possible “release.”  Previous calls to the State Department were referred to the Department of Justice and so far, the State Department has neither confirmed nor denied the report.

Glenn Beck revealed the controversial news on his show Monday.

The Blind Sheikh is currently serving a life sentence in American prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, but the newly-elected Islamist government in Egypt has been actively petitioning his release.  Many have pinpointed a cause of last week‘s unrest in the country to be protests over the Blind Sheikh’s release — not an anti-Muslim YouTube video. Continue Reading

3

Lincoln’s Voice

A trailer for the Lincoln movie, directed by Stephen Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, which is being released on November 9th.  I will go see it and review it.  Heaven knows that I doubt that it could possibly be worse than Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.  Capturing Lincoln on film is difficult.  He was a complex man who lived in complex times, and trying to say much of substance about him in a two hour film is probably a futile undertaking.

Some criticisms of the trailer have arisen, most centering on the objection that Day-Lewis does not sound like Lincoln.  Of course, since Lincoln died 22 years before the first primitive sound recordings we will never hear his voice.  We do have a number of contemporary accounts as to his voice.

Lincoln’s voice was, when he first began speaking, shrill, squeaking, piping, unpleasant; his general look, his form, his pose, the color of his flesh, wrinkled and dry, his sensitiveness, and his momentary diffidence, everything seemed to be against him, but he soon recovered. –William H. Herndon letter, July 19, 1887 Continue Reading

21

Archbishop Chaput on Faith and Public Life

A friend forwarded me this excellent article written by Archbishop Charles Caput. It’s a detailed post outlining our responsibilities as Catholic citizens.

The Archbishop begins with an anecdote that hits a little close to home.

A priest I know does a lot of spiritual direction.  Two of the men he was helping died suddenly this past year, one of a heart attack and one of a stroke.  In both cases they were relatively young men and quite successful.  In both cases they watched Fox News.  And in both cases they had gotten into the nightly habit of shouting at President Obama whenever he came on the TV.  In both cases, the wives believed – and they still believe – that politics killed their husbands.

Now that’s a true story.  And it’s a good place to begin our time together today.  Henri de Lubac, the great Jesuit theologian, once said that if heretics no longer horrify us, it’s not because we have more charity in our hearts. (i) We just find it a lot more satisfying to despise our political opponents.  We’ve transferred our passion to politics.

I don’t yell at the television – well, not every night. I do spend more time than I should on the internet. Now there are some excellent sites – like this one, of course – but the cumulative effect of reading so much about politics can be bad for both the soul and the heart. And there are times when my obsession with politics truly dispirits me.

At the same time, there is the opposite temptation to completely shut oneself off from politics. There have been times over the past few months where I have felt like completely tuning out. Despair is a terrible sin, and when it comes to politics it is easy to despair when it seems like so many things are going wrong that you can’t even keep track anymore. Yet this would be just as irresponsible as shutting out all things  except politics. Archbishop Chaput explains why we can’t exactly separate the political and religious aspects of our lives.

What all this means for our public life is this:  Catholics can live quite peacefully with the separation of Church and state, so long as the arrangement translates into real religious freedom.  But we can never accept a separation of our religious faith and moral convictions from our public ministries or our political engagement.  It’s impossible.  And even trying is evil because it forces us to live two different lives, worshiping God at home and in our churches; and worshiping the latest version of Caesar everywhere else.  That turns our private convictions into lies we tell ourselves and each other.

Later on he adds:

Third, despite these concerns, Christians still have a duty to take part in public life according to their God-given abilities, even when their faith brings them into conflict with public authority.  We can’t simply ignore or withdraw from civic affairs.  The reason is simple.  The classic civic virtues named by Cicero – prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance – can be renewed and elevated, to the benefit of all citizens, by the Christian virtues of faith, hope and charity.  Therefore, political engagement is a worthy Christian task, and public office is an honorable Christian vocation.

Read the rest of the Archbishop’s excellent article. It’s refreshing to read a cleric who can discuss these issues so unambiguously and without concern that he might be offending someone somewhere.

 

37

Counseled to Abort in a Catholic Hospital

Also published at Catholic Lane.

“What’s going on?” asked the therapist.

“I told my doctor that I am having issues with anxiety. I’ve had three babies in the last four years and just found I’m pregnant again, and no matter how hard I try, I keep having panic attacks. I feel out of control. I’m ready to admit I need help. I have some past issues I need to face, but I don’t know what to do. My doctor said I could talk to you because you have experience helping pregnant women.” It all finally came out, stuttered, yet punctuated, a first plea for professional help.

“Why do you feel anxious?”

“I want to do everything perfectly, I want to do it right, I’ve made some bad decisions in my past, but I want to do better. Now I get so confused and overwhelmed. When I give up, I feel ashamed, sometimes I harm myself because the emotional pain is so great. I know I need help. I’m pregnant!”

The therapist replied with a knowing grin, “You don’t have to be perfect, you know. Don’t you see? You are beating yourself up trying to be perfect. Slow down. Right now you need to take care of yourself. You have living children and they need their mother. They need their mother to be healthy. Have you thought about abortion? You know, it’s alright to abort this pregnancy so you can take care of yourself right now.”

“What? I’m Catholic, that’s why I came to a Catholic hospital, well, I mean, I’m a recent convert and I’m learning about the teaching of the Church, and this…”

The confused mother stared past the licensed mental health professional out the window of her obstetrician’s office, where she was meeting with this therapist. In this hospital that bears the name of a saint and a crucifix in every room, the mother was more confused than ever. She tried not to let the vortex starting to swirl in her mind show. Abortion? She trusted these people under this roof, but abortion? Catholics are not supposed to have abortions. She could barely speak.

“…this isn’t right.”

“Well,” chuckled the mental health therapist sitting under a Catholic roof, “Catholics don’t really believe that today, that’s an old idea. Women are not expected to tear up their bodies giving birth to baby after baby, and besides, most Catholics have small families. If that’s what Catholics really believed there’d be many, many more large Catholic families, wouldn’t there? Look, I’ve travelled in Europe where there is a large Catholic population, and they all have one or two children. You don’t have to have lots of kids to be a good Catholic. Perhaps you’re just trying to have a lot of children to be a perfect Catholic.”

Later, they got around to the big question.

“Do you ever have thoughts of suicide?” Continue Reading

5

September 17, 1862: Antietam-America’s Bloodiest Day

Antietam, the bloodiest day in American history.  On that single day more American casualties were sustained than in all of America’s prior wars, except for the American Revolution, combined.  As for the American Revolution, the 23,000 killed and wounded at Antietam on a single day were more than one-third of the total of 58,000 Americans killed and wounded in the eight years of the Revolution.

Antietam was the culmination of Lee’s Maryland campaign. Lee had decided to enter Maryland in early September 1862 to take the pressure off war-torn Virginia, to gain supplies in Maryland and possibly recruits from sympathetic Marylanders and to inflict, if he could, punishing defeats on Union forces and, with luck, help opponents of the Lincoln administration do well in the fall elections as a result of those defeats.  Go here to read a post detailing Lee’s motivation for the Maryland Campaign.

All went superbly for Lee initially in the Maryland Campaign.  Supplies were abundant in Maryland.  Recruits from Marylanders, while not as abundant as the Confederates would have wished, were first-rate as to quality.  The Northern papers, and General Lee gained much valuable intelligence throughout the War by reading carefully every Northern newspaper he could obtain, were largely hysterical about the Confederate offensive, more than a few predicting that the War was lost.  General Stonewall Jackson’s II corps was detailed by Lee to capture Harper’s Ferry, which he did on September 15, 1862 against pathetically weak Union opposition, and inflicting one of the worst defeats on the United States Army in its history, the 12,000 Union troops being the largest mass surrender of United States military personnel until the surrender on Bataan in 1942.  Go here to read a post on the sorry tale.

Lincoln, desperate to stop Lee, placed Major General George B. McClellan, in disgrace after his humiliating defeat in the Peninsula Campaign, back in command of the Army of the Potomac.  McClellan followed Lee in a lethargic pursuit, obviously fearful of being defeated by Lee again.  The situation altered dramatically when McClellan was the beneficiary of the biggest intelligence coup of the Civil War, obtaining a copy of Lee’s Special Order No, 191 on September 13, 1862, which revealed to McClellan that Lee had divided his force and the routes that the portions of Lee’s army were to follow.  Go here to read a post on the finding of the famous Lost Order.  With this order in hand McClellan boasted that he would whip Bobby Lee or go home.

On September 14, 1862 McClellan attacked three gaps at South Mountain to seize them, to allow him to march over the mountain and fall on Lee’s separated units.  Lee held two of the gaps after a hard day’s battle.  Go here to read a post on the battle of South Mountain.  With one of the gaps lost, Lee retreated and began to swiftly reassemble his Army of Northern Virginia to confront the Army of the Potomac.  McClellan, inexplicably, threw away his advantage by doing almost nothing on September 15, instead of immediately following Lee in hot pursuit.

At dawn on September 17, 1862, the Army of the Potomac confronted part of the Army of Northern Virginia along Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Maryland.  Three of the divisions of the Army of Northern Virginia were still on the road from Harper’s Ferry, marching all night to reach Lee.  McClellan enjoyed more than a two to one advantage at the beginning of the battle, his 75,000 force confronting less than 30,000 Confederates.  McClellan, as he did throughout the War, assumed, against all evidence, that the Confederates outnumbered him.

MClellan issued attack orders for each corps.  He made no effort to coordinate attacks between the corps.  With the Union advantage in numbers McClellan could have annihilated Lee’s army if he had simply had each corps get into assault position and then attack simultaneously.  Instead, this very long day consisted of piecemeal attacks by individual Union corps which gave Lee the opportunity to shift his heavily outnumbered units to meet each threat in turn.

Continue Reading

7

How I Chose To Argue For Free Will

Hello TAC, it is good to be posting again after a prolonged illness that left me unable to do anything but make half-conscious Facebook updates. I have been following the news, and for the sake of our collective sanity, I am going to refrain from extended commentary on foreign affairs. Instead I wanted to share with you an interesting discussion I had recently with some rather confident, cocky atheists on the question of free will.

It had begun as a debate on the so-called “problem of evil.” They think we have a problem with evil; maybe some Christians do, but I don’t. But I do think atheists – by which I mean Western, science-worshiping, philosophical materialists – have a problem with evil. Namely, how do materialists who reject free will (either explicitly or implicitly, depending on how well they’ve thought it out) even speak of such a thing as “evil”? Assuming we are speaking of human acts, and not things like bad weather, to describe an act as “evil” or malicious or malevolent or something similar assumes and implies that it was freely chosen. No one speaks of a lion’s decision to tear apart a zebra for sustenance as an “evil” act. What mindless animals do has no moral significance whatsoever. What people do has significance solely on the assumption that we can choose otherwise. In other words, free will. Without the assumption of free will, morality utterly collapses into a meaningless rubbish heap.

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4

Let There Be Light

to care for him who shall have borne the battle

Abraham Lincoln

During World War II director John Huston produced three films for the US government.  Let There Be Light was shot for the Army Signal Corps.  It covers the treatment of 75 US soldiers traumatized by their combat experiences in World War II.  The film is narrated by Walter Huston, the academy award-winning actor father of John Huston.  The Army brass did not like the finished product, thinking that its focus on men who suffered psychological damage from their service could be demoralizing to the troops, and banned the film on the grounds that it invaded the privacy of the soldiers featured in the film and that the releases they signed had been lost.  (This reason was pretextual, but as a matter of law I would not place any reliance on a release signed by someone undergoing mental treatment standing up for an instant in court.) Continue Reading

48

Barack Obama is Unfit to be President

The Obama administration continues to show complete contempt for American liberties.

In the wake of the Benghazi and Cairo debacles, and the administration being caught completely flat-footed in regard to these coordinated assaults on our embassies, the Obama administration has acted to attempt to escape any responsibility.

First, they have had their lickspittle media friends blame Romney for speaking out.  Ah yes, Romney attacking the craven statement of the Cairo embassy is the chief problem and not minor issues like the Middle East going up in flames and the Obama administration being completely clueless as to what to do.

Second, the State Department is refusing to take questions, from those few members of the media who still occasionally act like reporters instead of unpaid Obama press agents, until their investigation is complete.  The Good Lord knows how long that would take, but I would wager Wednesday November 7, 2012.

Third, the administration is still attempting to claim that these attacks are the result of the film attacking Mohammed.  Of course that was merely the pretext for the attacks.  The administration knows this, but its policy of appeasement of jihadists would be in jeopardy if they admitted that the silly film had virtually nothing to do with these revenge attacks on the anniversary of 9-11.

Fourth, when one is seeking to evade responsibility having a nice fat scapegoat is very convenient.  Thus we have the maker of the film, who is on probation for a bank fraud conviction, being taken into custody for questioning as to his alleged violation of the terms of his probation.  The alleged violation is for using a computer not connected with his work.  Of course the administration cares not a fig about that.  It wants jihadists abroad and Americans at home to see that Obama is getting tough with this fellow who stirred up all the trouble.  (Ignore all those jihadists!  It is all the fault of this guy!)  That this tramples over the man’s First Amendment rights is of absolutely no concern.  The Administration might wish to eventually haul in this fellow’s co-conspirators:  John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Madison and all the other Founding Fathers who gave us the freedom that Obama is seeking to shred.

Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit, speaks for me in reaction to this: Continue Reading