Cult of Personality? What Cult of Personality?

Wednesday, September 19, AD 2012

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.

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11 Responses to Cult of Personality? What Cult of Personality?

  • The cult of personality is a trademark of autocratic regimes, and is particularly prevalent in modern times with those that have no meaningful religious basis. With respect to leftist Democrats though they tend to view all their pols as fit objects for hagiolatry. If one views the government as the source of all that is wise and good and not to be questioned, it’s quite reasonable to venerate its ministers who deliver the “goods”.

  • I wonder if the Arab Street will be outraged when YouTube posts a thousand videos of guys burning “Obama Glory.”

    “One Nation Under Obama!”

    New Liberal catholic prayer suggestions:

    The Obama Noster

    The Hail Obama

    Praise Obama, O my Soul

    Act of Obama

    The Obama’s Creed

    Hail Holy Obama

    Remember, O most Gracious Obama . . .

    Obama conceived we know where no pray for us who are about to be ruined.

  • Do you think many fans of Obama make the connection to Isaiah 53?

  • Sovereign personhood is who we are. Personality is where we are going.
    Every man’s Personality is the sovereign person’s response to his sovereign personhood, a sovereign personhood endowed by our Creator to His creatures, a sovereign personhood endowed through the rational, immortal human soul at the newly begotten, innocent virgin’s beginning of Life, in Liberty and this person’s pursuit of Happiness, his destiny. Man’s Personality is the result of man’s sovereign personhood. Personality is the outward sign of the exercise of the human being’s unalienable rights endowed by our Creator, man’s free will, man’s conscience, man’s intellect, man’s ability to love, to reason and to live. Personality begins at the beginning of life. Without the acknowledgment of the Creator’s endowment of the human soul and sovereign personhood, the personality is an artificially manufactured idol to be imagined by extremely insulated, indoctrinated, intelligent individuals who have relegated their reason to lower realms.

    In the American Flag, the blue is sovereignty, the stars are the states, the red is courage, the white is purity. Obama’s flag is stripped naked of sovereignty, all 57 states, the red is abortion and the white is contraception, the vacuum of purity, the black hole of servitude, the sucking down the United States symbolized by the swirling circle in the upper left quadrant.

  • If O loses the election (and he will), he can always move into Moon’s job, right? Isn’t that succession unstable?

  • Go see Gateway Pundit blog and see how the red stripes on the zero flag resemble the bloody stains on the wall of the US Embassy in Libya.

  • Hey, I thought it was Republicans who always wrapped themselves in the flag. Isn’t that what the press tells me?

  • “Hey, I thought it was Republicans who always wrapped themselves in the flag. Isn’t that what the press tells me?”

    Yeah, but now these are “OUR Stripes” now.

    (Harking back to the late Ron Silver who, while attending the first Clinton inauguration, was angry to see military jets flying overhead – until he realized that “Those are OUR planes now.” Ironic that he later became a big backer of Bush’s military policy following 9/11, and even spoke at the 2004 GOP Convention – although one of his last political acts before passing away of throat cancer was to vote for Obama.)

  • I remember him telling Lech Walesa that the Reagan and Bush administrations oppressed the arts. (Feel free to reread that sentence.) Sure, he did have his 9/11 change of heart, but to me it just felt like he was being a self-righteous jerk on a different side.

  • Obama did not build that, your tax dollars did. Read the fine print under the posters to learn the names of the graphic artists. Obama makes my great-granchildren pay for Solyndra but he does not secure the blessings of Liberty for us. Why is that?

President of All the People

Wednesday, September 19, AD 2012

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.

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10 Responses to President of All the People

  • I stand by my statements on Barack Hussein Obama that I wrote in other com boxes here at TAC. He advocates the murder of the unborn and newly born. He sanctifies the filth of homosexual sodomy and lesbianism. He bankrupts the nation by increasing debt and stealing from the public treasury. He is evil – as evil as his predecessor, King Manasseh of Judah. Yes, he is in the style of Chicago gangsters. Yes, he has contributed nothing new to the liberal, progressive cause, but only enacted what they already supported. But like every murderous gangster thug before him, he is evil.

    I suppose now I should take another OxyContin and calm down. Jeremiah never had that option when he confronted the King in Jerusalem (not that I am a Jeremiah – I don’t qualify).

    Sorry, Paul Z. Yours is a good post. But I get so angry and frustrated at all this. That godless man has time to go on David Letterman’s TV show and campaign against Romney, but he doesn’t have time for national security conferences, attendance at which is necessary for the protection of ALL the people.

    Barack Hussein Obama is NOT my President. NOT! And never ever will be.

  • So, does Mitt merit equal time?

  • I understand that Obama also claimed in this interview that the national deficit is “not a problem”, and when asked what the deficit was when he took office, said he doesn’t remember. He is artful at rhetoric, and at denying our most critical problems! As a Catholic, I would like to hear the alternative to Obama tell us that he cares about all Americans even though he knows they won’t all give him their vote, and that as a society, our goal is that dependency is a temporary status on the road to self-sufficiency through good jobs and better incomes (with exceptions, of course, such as retired or disabled.)

  • It wasn’t too long ago that former congressman Patrick Kennedy did an interview
    where he briefly touched on the necessity of raising funds for the White House in
    order to insure continuing good relations. He seemed to regard it as only natural
    that POTUS should closely track monies forwarded by congressmen of his own party
    and cause his face to shine only upon those who coughed up enough. Naturally, the
    flip side of that coin is the implication that this president is less of a president for
    those who are unwilling to pay to play.

  • “So I feel that I’ve been President for all Americans – the stupid Cambridge Police, the members of my security detail who wouldn’t think twice about shooting a black guy, doctors who perform unnecessary amputations out of greed; bankers and pitchfork-wielding mobs; Hispanics and their enemies, who I encouraged them to attack; the people who were entitled to money when GM went bankrupt, and the people who got money when GM went bankrupt; filmmakers critical of Islam who give me lots of money, and filmmakers critical of Islam who are invited to come downtown for routine questioning.”

    “It’s on behalf of all of those people that I have worked as hard as I can. That’s what you’ve seen the past few years. Me, working as hard as I can. Barring only occasional moments of rest – a couple of rounds of golf each month, watching less than half of the college basketball that ESPN and ESPN2 televises, a bit of daily exercise, and the odd date night flight to New York or Chicago or Los Angeles or Paris or Rio or Casablanca or Majorca or Fiji or Maui or only a couple of dozen other places – I’m at work every waking moment.”

    “I don’t think most Americans realize how much is involved in this job, probably because I make it look so easy, but I have to give a lot of speeches in front of a lot of admirers, and I feel like I owe it to them to make it the greatest experience of their lives. It’s not just speeches, either. There are a lot of dinners where I have to listen to other speeches, and campaign material to film, interviews to sit through, donation reports to review, photo shoots of me working to arrange, state dinners to host, just many different things. Tonight alone, Dave, I’m not just here talking to you, I have to go have dinner next to Beyonce later. Again.”

    “And then there’s the foreign affairs component – of course my opponents are new to diplomacy – but it’s a very important component of my job to meet with foreign leaders, smooth over damage that has been done to our relationship due to missteps by previous administrations, and explain to them what I have noticed about how they can fix various problems in their countries.”

    “The truth is, I don’t think Mitt Romney is capable of doing what I’ve done over the past three and a half years, and frankly I think deep down he knows it.”

  • ‘Cept us bitter people clinging to God . . . guns . . . ‘stills . . .

    And, Catholics that oppose abortion and artificial contraception . .

    And, GM bondholders from whom he stole . . .

    And, the evil rich that don’t pay their fair share to house, feed and clothe looters, moochers, and 17,000,000 bureaucrats and politicians . . .

    And, “stupid” cambridge police . . .

    And, filmmakers critical of Islam who are invited to come downtown for questioning.

    And, he’s a Chicago gangster/politician.

    St. Augustine, “Government without justice is mass brigandage.”

    “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”

  • Except the innocent. He has a real affection for killing children in the womb.

  • Paul, you comment is an oasis of reason.

  • UNEXPECTEDLY: Obama Campaign’s Flag Poster No Longer Appears In Store.

    – From an instapundit post this evening.

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Wednesday, September 19, AD 2012

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.

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We Believe in Free People and Free Enterprise

Wednesday, September 19, AD 2012

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.

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8 Responses to We Believe in Free People and Free Enterprise

  • Someone should have explained This before to the 54% of stupid caatholics who voted for This clown in Wash. D C. Also the 70% of catholics that voted for Clinton in past! I still don’t know, is abortion alright? Is men doing men alright? People=catholics in my parish vote for these guys,

  • The clear choice this November is between totalitarians, looters, and moochers or taxpayers.

    If the left wins, eventually they’ll run out of taxpayers.

  • Redistribution is a buzzword. It has a bad version and a good version.

    Bad version. I did one year of welfare casework in Manhattan and Brownville after university while waiting for something else. I threw a prostitute off welfare and her pimp came after me briefly in the intake area. I was warned by the FBI on one visit to a Times Square hotel that my client was receiving multiple welfare checks at different addresses and selling heroin but I was to act as though things were normal and ps…he is a huge body builder. Thanks I said…and I’m getting paid how much to go into these situations unarmed? Those are bad redistributions.

    Good version? The young mother of three children whose husband is killed in an auto accident at 24 years old receives social security as a widow monthly for the three children for years in amounts
    that she and her young husband never paid in at their age to social security. Romney didn’t rule
    that out…”government helps those in need”. Neither does Christ want you checking the hungry as to what they paid in before you feed them. Another person pays their whole life into social
    security and dies at 63 years old…never having collected a dime. He in effect paid for the three children of the widow. Social security has math graduates working on the likelihood of all these
    scenarios in the aggregate.
    Redistribution can be bad or good

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  • ever-increasing dependence on government is a terrible thing

    Truer words never spoken. To be fair, does Mitt include in that dependence the bailout recipients?

  • To be fair, the commies would have had to air the entire Romkney tape, not just the MSM-defined “gaffes.”.

    c matt,

    To which bail-out recipients do you refer? The UAW, 17,000,000 bureaucrats and politicians, Warren Buffett, George Soros?

    Obama’s bailout of GM stole from bondholders (generally, widows and orphans who were heavily invested in investment-grade, fixed-income securities) and enriched his union thug allies. GM is going to cost the few people that pay taxes $$$ tens of billions.

    The governmnet is turning profits on AIG, and 99% of the TARP monies it invested.

  • All of them.

    TARP profit is debatable:

    But whether it turned a profit or not, it is still a form of government dependence (not to mention the entire defense industry). Whether it is good government dependence, or bad (ala B. Bannon) is another question.

  • Agreed.

    Government expenditures and programs that benefit all the people are “public goods.”

    Expenditures and programs that benefit select people or entities, or recompense political allies/benefactors are “public not-so-goods.”

    I didn’t agree with TARP and bail-outs because they tend to result in asset/resource misallocations. I understand the fear and uncertainty that motivated the rash acts.

    Now, the central planners need to NOT lead us into such a huge trap.

    Fat chance . . .

    FNMA/FHLMC conservatorship (but still dominate mortgage markets), Federal guarantees of $$$ hundreds of milions of BAC/Citigroup mortgages, FDIC coverage to $250,000, QE1/QE2/QEternity, zero percent interest rates, $5 trillion added national debt, HAMP/HARP . . .

    Drink heavily!

Free Speech and the Left

Wednesday, September 19, AD 2012

 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.

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7 Responses to Free Speech and the Left

  • I really would like many of these out-spoken anti-first amendment people, especially the women, to go live in a muslim country for awhile. I wish I had the money to pay for their trip. What happened to all the liberals who were up in arms when the British couple was put in a Saudi jail for being immodest on the beach? The thing I really, honestly can’t figure out is that it’s so completely obvious to me that if the muslims come to take over the United States, these liberals would be put first in the infidel line. I’ve often imagined the priority order of the infidel line. I really believe that pro-life Catholics would be last & the homosexual loving, pro-choicers would be first. Why can’t they see the obvious? They hate everything that a “normal” muslim family would like (big family, woman who doesn’t work). When I was in Jordan, I was not allowed to drive. It was recommended that I did not go sight-seeing, or even go to the store without my husband (it was a working vacation when we went). I got strange looks when I went to the hotel restaurant with just my kids for lunch. My impression when I was there, though, was that the Jordanians loved Americans, but they still have their culture & customs. So, when it all comes down to the basics, I just cannot understand why on earth any person who is from America would put their allegience to muslims, or anyone else for that matter, above the constitution. I have an acquaintance who is from France, but recently became an American. She will tell you how awful socialism is and how proud she is to be an American. She is very sad at what our Nation has been going through since Obama took office. She can see very clearly what is happening to our country & is scared.

  • They do not love Muslims. They hate America and our way of life.

    Free speech for me, not for thee.

    It’s okay to criticize and vilify Mormons but forbidden for Muslims because: one, Mormons don’t hate America and freedom; and two, Mormons don’t mass murder people that say things about them.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy has some good coverage of Obama and his ilk trying to bring the US Constitution into line with “international norms”.

    As one commenter put it, for folks like this “liberty is a bug, not a feature”.

  • The United Nations has long wanted a standing army, the power to tax the United States and this international criminal court, to levy taxes and arrest us if we do not pay. It talks about “economic interdependence” “narcissism”, an immature love for our First Amendment Freedoms and tries to seduce America into what the United Nations does not have, namely, FREEDOM. The United States of America is the only nation on the face of the globe that has the guarantee of Freedom.

    On American Exceptionalism: for the word “Exceptionalism” substitute the word and meaning of “SOVEREIGNTY”, as in the sovereign person who constitutes American SOVEREIGNTY. It would appear that all this “international law and comity” Is nothing more than the imposition of tribute to an unelected dictator, denying the endowed rights to the human being in existence as the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights and the Creator as the only Supreme Ruler in the world…Simply by convening an international CRIMINAL court and criminalizing any nation who refrains from submitting itself and its sovereignty to the international court, the United Nations has set itself over every nation in the world, entitling itself to supreme and uncontradicted power and authority without the mention or acknowledgement of the Creator and endower of unalienable rights to the human being. This international CRIMINAL court has made of itself the dispenser of JUSTICE, the particular realm of the author of all law, the Supreme Sovereign Being. The international criminal court has set itself up as GOD without GOD. Simply by changing the wording on law, long before anyone notices, this international criminal court will criminalize everybody and everything until it gets control of the whole world. The international criminal court will then call itself the WORLD COURT.

    In the matter of free speech in front of the abortion clinics: The pro-life people speak for all freedom, the unborn carry the genes of their fathers, who have been disenfranchised. These genes do not belong to the mother, these genes belong to the father and to destroy them is violence, as well as murder of another sovereign person. The pro-life advocates uphold the truth and rights of all persons especially persons who have not learned how to speak for themselves.

    Statesmen and politicians
    Statesmen are persons who comprehend and respect the laws of nature and nature’s God. Statesmen acknowledge the human being’s sovereign personhood, his endowed, unalienable human rights that derive from and are endowed in body and soul by “their Creator”. The statesman relies on Divine Providence to deliver and protect the innocent, the virgins, about to be born as citizens and the citizens who are born.

    Politicians are individuals who have forfeit their unalienable human rights through unlawfully denying to other sovereign persons, human rights. Human rights are unalienable rights that are endowed by their Creator, through the laws of nature and nature’s God.

  • T. Shaw: ” Mormons don’t mass murder people who say things about them.” The punishment must, absolutely must, fit the crime, for JUSTICE to be done.

  • “The United States of America is the only nation on the face of the globe that has the guarantee of Freedom”

    Not quite true – “The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.” – Déclaration des droits de l’Homme et du citoyen 26 août 1789, incorporated into most European constituions

    See also the European Convention on Human Rights “1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

    2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.”

  • “but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law”

    Abuses as defined by the powers that be.

    “The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.”

    In other words freedom so long as the powers that be like it.

    I prefer the bracing words of the First Amendment without any ifs, ands or buts:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Murray Rothbard & Catholic Political Thought

Tuesday, September 18, AD 2012

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.

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8 Responses to Murray Rothbard & Catholic Political Thought

  • Interesting, Bonchamps. Am curious as to what others will say.

  • The Rothbard essay you link, “The Progressive Era and the Family”, was one of the most viewpoint-affecting essays I’ve read about U.S. Catholic history, and remains so.

    Have any more mainstream historians backed up his interpretation or given it a critical analysis? I’d like to get a second opinion.

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  • The “statue in the center of the room” of Austrian School economics, Ludwig von Mises, originated a conceptual study called “praxeology,” or, simply, the study of human action. It is based on the prime supposition that “People Do Things.” The next time some liberal relativist makes that sophomoric challenge, “Name one absolute truth,” throw that one at him. It cannot be denied and once you have the buy-in, the rest is dominoes.

    From that basic truth, all action is informed by the values held by individuals acting in concert or opposition to all other individuals in any given sphere. In this progression, the inevitable outcome is a nation either built freely from the ground up by moral, informed and educated citizens, or imposed via state coercion from the top down on indoctrinated subjects, a la the Peoples’ Democratic Party.

    There can be no State, no society, no community without individual, Created persons. The Liberty given us as a gift from God Almighty is our birthright, second only to the Salvation of Christ. The Church holds the teachings we need to obtain the promises of both to the best of our abilities.

  • Good article, Bonchamps. Rothbard’s affinity for Catholic thought is often evident in his writings. Even when he goes wrong–such as on the issue of abortion–he still respectfully characterizes Catholic opposition to abortion, as he wrote in “For a New Liberty” (1973):

    “For the libertarian, the “Catholic” case against abortion, even if finally rejected as invalid, cannot be dismissed out of hand. For the essence of that case—not really “Catholic” at all in a theological sense—is that abortion destroys a human life and is therefore murder, and hence cannot be condoned. More than that, if abortion is truly murder, then the Catholic—or any other person who shares this view—cannot just shrug his shoulders and say that “Catholic” views should not be imposed upon non-Catholics. Murder is not an expression of religious preference; no sect, in the name of “freedom of religion,” can or should get away with committing murder with the plea that its religion so commands. The vital question then becomes: Should abortion be considered as murder?”

  • A good post — thank you, Bonchamps.

    It seems a book to engage on this topic (one which I would like to see discussed by somebody who is acquainted with Rothbard) is Christopher Ferrara’s The Church and the Libertarian: A Defense of the Catholic Church’s Teaching on Man, Economy, and State — have you read it?

  • Christopher,

    I have read Ferrara’s book. It is an ignorant polemic that does not take the object of its critique seriously. It’s full of strawmen and wildly inaccurate claims. It does make some good points, I’ll grant, but they’re rather obvious points that aren’t going to convince any serious thinker to avoid the Austrian school.

  • W K Aitken

    “People do things” – Indeed.

    This obvious truth can easily by obscured by a sort of sleight of hand, by focusing, not on actions, but on their results. As the great Catholic historian, Lord Acton, explains, “That which is done is become a material external product, altogether independent of the interior determination, or free-will, which motivated or gave the first occasion of its existence. Hence no examination of these facts, apart from the consciousness of the doers of them, can possibly give us the element of freedom; they are mere material external facts, as subject to numeration and measurement as a crop of wheat, or the velocity of a bullet… as soon as we seek simply statistics and averages, we have lost sight of man, and are contemplating only his works, his products.”

    It is easy, therefore, to overlook the fact that statistical laws are inferences, not causes. That is why the method of the economist can never replace that of the historian.

Romney and Voters Who Don’t Pay Taxes

Tuesday, September 18, AD 2012

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.


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37 Responses to Romney and Voters Who Don’t Pay Taxes

  • It’s damaging because it’s being spun as Romney “despises” the 48%.

    As for the other question, remember to think in terms of the economic life cycle. Many of the people who aren’t paying taxes are young or old. The youth are more likely to vote Democratic, but have a poor turnout rate. The old are more likely to vote for the party they’ve always voted for, and have a high turnout rate. It’s a big (but common) mistake to think of the poor or the non-taxpayers as a permanent underclass, urban with low education.

  • It was dumb. Some people on social security did back breaking work their whole life like beef luggers and meat cutters back in the day but were paid at such a level as to need social security when they aged and they now in retirement hear Romney picturing them badly. I think the comments will do real damage in the debates wherein moderators will bring it up and by then, factcheck dot org will estimate the other taxes everyone is paying. Cigarette taxes (Federal $1.01 a pack), half of which are paid for by low income people, are paying some real bills in the Schipp programs. Everyone pays sales tax and even renters pay property taxes indirectly in the exact price of their rent. Ultimately even the welfare check does not stop in the welfare person’s wallet but moves on to the Bodega and the landlord who pay taxes.

  • I think Romney’s comment will resonate positively with most Americans, especially those who are picking up the tab for the rapid expansion of the Welfare State under Obama. Romney should take advantage of this to launch an ad offensive attacking Obama’s policies as directly leading to more and more dependence on government by an ever increasing share of the population. I don’t think Romney will be hurt among Americans who do not pay income tax and who do not receive government benefits and that is a fair amount of the 47% who do not pay income tax.

  • Bill,

    What I’m wondering, though, is: Will a retired meat cutter who hears this Romney clip here on the news going to think, “He despises me because I’m dependent on the government?” or is he going to think, “By golly, that’s right. I worked hard my whole life, paid my taxes, and I live on the Social Security that I paid into my whole life. I don’t want to support people who aren’t willing to take care of themselves!”

    At least among those likely to vote Republican anyway, I don’t think most people on Social Security and MediCare think of themselves as being “dependent on the government” or not paying taxes (actually, a lot of them do pay taxes, even though their income is very low, because they don’t have dependents and they often don’t have mortgages).

    I may well be wrong. I’m just not sure that many people who could be persuaded to vote for Romney in the first place are likely to think of themselves as being insulted by this remark. (Though I think it was slip on Romney’s part, because it’s clearly not the case that all people who don’t pay taxes support Obama.) It seems like a remark that’s callibrated to pretty much only offend those who are already die hard Democrats.

    That said, if it adds to the “Romney is an out of touch rich guy” meme, it could well end up hurting him. Sadly, elections in the US don’t tend to be decided by the people with any real kind of political awareness (they mostly have their preferences already set) but by the sort of people who don’t have strong or clear political beliefs and base their decisions of vague ideas of “what sort of person” each candidate is.

  • I think Romney can salvage this one by expanding on his point. It’s not just the poor who don’t pay income tax who are government dependent. It’s the fat cats in academia who live off of public university subsidies, the public sector unions who depend on laws from state governments mandating union dues be collected automatically and who get their pay from the government, the fourth rail (the media) who live on insider access to beltway folks, the big investment banks that Obama bailed out with Federal funds, and all the rest who live on government pay and therefore have stake in government remaining unsustainably large.

  • 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.

    That bubble of GOP-haters includes large sections of Republicans, including the likes or Karl Rove, who live in a perpetual state of pessimism and despair.

    Pinky might have a point that this could be spun by a complict media in a way that Obama’s comments were not. That said, the post-9/11 “gaffe” did no apparent harm to Romney, and I think this will largely be a kerfuffle only in media circles, but will have no lasting impact one way or the other on the campaign.

    Finally, as one who has been – to put it mildly – no fan of Mitt Romney, I have to say that this Mitt Romney is someone I could have gotten behind (or at least disliked less) in the primary season. I will say this in his favor: he hasn’t exactly run to the middle as I thought he would once he secured the nomination.

  • The greatest insult to another, in terms of the Left, is to be insensitive (or even perceived as insensitive) to another’s feelings, unless those feelings are couched in either orthodox Christianity or non-intellectual turn of life (hunting, Nascar, etc.). Therefore, Romney is being insensitive to the poor, the lower classes, etc., and must pay for his insensitivity.

  • This would be a great time for the Romney campaign to remind them of the Obama campaign’s Life of Julia, that celebration of reliance on government:

    The Obama campaign has not been subtle: Vote for us and we will give you freebies! (Sandra Fluke, that is your cue!) When it comes to giving away things Romney can’t compete with Obama, but when it comes to pointing out that this Welfare State on steroids is sending the country off a fiscal cliff, Romney can make that case very effectively if he has the intestinal fortitude to do so.

  • Darwin,
    In an extraordinary situation of 8+% unemployment, 45 million people received food stamps in 2011 according to Judicial Watch. But that’s 12% of the country not 47% which tells me and others that Romney is dissing anyone getting a check and not paying income tax. And that is the meatpacker on social security. But it’s also every young widow with children because each of them gets a social security check for the children. A Merrill Lynch manager with a wife and three children was stabbed to death on the train platform in Jersey City four years ago by an insane person off his meds. That widow just to roughly keep that standard of living would have to accept social security. I presume she lost her home given the loss of income involved. TV showed a woman living in a shelter with her three children and working two low paid jobs. She receives
    medicaid for medical coverage because privately that would be $12,000 for the four of them. She is in Romney’s 47% as perhaps is the Merrill Lynch widow….receiving government help…earning too little to pay tax since three children and no real career in perhaps both situations.

  • The comments undercut Romney’s “the President is dividing us” theme. Now, I don’t know if that theme was resonating, but Romney would have been better off going into the debates with that theme intact. It would have made a great rebuttal. But now, Obama can dismiss any such criticism with a single reference.

  • The upside is that lots of members of the 47% who don’t pay income tax probably don’t realize it and may even be upset at the thought of so many people not paying taxes.

    On the other hand, writing off 47% of the American public, for whatever reason, is generally not a good idea for a presidential candidate.

  • I definitely think the worst part of it is the optics of apparently writing off 47% of the electorate. Sure, it’s highly unlikely that Romney could squeak out of win of more than a couple percentage points, but it never looks good for a presidential candidate to say that he just can’t reach nearly half the country (even if it’s true.)

    Bill: Again, I think it’s mostly only people on the left who are going to take the comment in those terms. I’ve known plenty of tea party sympathizers who due to their individual circumstances don’t pay federal income taxes, but aside from the fact that many people who don’t pay taxes don’t realize that they don’t pay taxes (after all, even people on Social Security pay taxes on it — though if they have low enough total income and enough deductions they may get it all back and more), people aren’t necessarily consistent in their political impressions. It’s not at all unlikely that someone who doesn’t pay income taxes would at the same time be angry at the idea of “freeloaders” not paying taxes and being dependents.

  • This “tempest in a teapot” is meant to distract the unoffocial Obama re-election camaign flaks/MSM and the OWS crowd from Obama’s lethal failures in foreign policy and GWOT and the fact we are being run into the poor house.

    Obama and his people gave us the “Julia” vids.

    This re-states the same theme.

    Vote for Obama. He will take care of all your needs.

    Hope and change: will 197,000 new, August food stamp recipients largely vote Obama?

    Will 96,000 that got jobs in August largely vote Romney?

  • Hi GOPers.

    I’m surprised none of you have made a post about the LUNACY of Paul Ryan’s economic plan.

    Cutting govt spending to 20% of gdp its currently just under 40% removing that much money is large scale austerity and would make things absurdly tight in the states plus would have alot of negative consequence also a tax system of just two rates 25% and 10% isn’t something that could ever work.

    Margaret Thatcher’s austerity programs, British government spending never went below 40% of GDP. 20% of GDP would lead to mass unemployment and even starvation.

  • Darwin – You reminded me of something. Romney’s statement uses tea party phrasing. It may alienate some people, but it’s going to energize the tea partiers, who are potential contributors and volunteers. They haven’t been particularly vocal so far this election.

  • Pinky,
    The whole tape is being released later today as per his request by Mother Jones. Who knows what lurks therein. Boredom is not an option in U.S. elections now that cameras with speakers rule.

  • Coolio,

    Your numbers are wrong. According to White House numbers (table 1.2) federal spending was 24% of GDP in 2011 and federal tax receipts were 15% of GDP. The Ryan plan is to get both of those numbers to around 20%. That’s far from crazy, it’s the post WW2 norm for the US.

  • How exactly does that link support your numbers?
    I clicked on it and it’s just a bunch of more links.

  • bah!
    I’m an idiot.

    I see you mentioned table 1.2.

  • Hmmmm.
    if I’m reading this right was fed spending well below 20% of GDP in the past?
    My prof is saying that going under 20% of GDP is absurd.

  • Your prof is, well, a college prof. Private-sector folks have a different perspective.

  • If hunting in non-intellectual, it’s only seen that way by people who have never bothered to go hunting.

  • Coolio,

    If you go back to before the Korean War, and certainly before WW2, federal spending was way under 20% of GDP. Back then, the federal government did a lot less (Dept. of Agriculture didn’t have all the subsidies it does not, welfare didn’t really exist, nor did Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid, there weren’t appreciable Federal education subsidies, even the military was a lot smaller.) Since the late 60s the federal budget has pretty consistently been 20% of GDP. The main reason it’s higher now is that with an extended recession the GDP hasn’t grown as much as usual and the government has spent more than usual both trying to help people directly (unemployment, foodstamps, etc.) and also via stimulus spending (spending programs, GM bailout, Wall Street bailout, etc.)

    It may be that your professor was thinking of the total government spending number (federal + state + local) for which I think I’ve seen some numbers that approach 40% of GDP, though I don’t know how good those numbers are. However, obviously, the Ryan budget wouldn’t cut state and local spending.

    Whatever one may think about the details of the Ryan budget, the overall size of it in relation to the economy is pretty much the same as what existed under Clinton.

  • We didn’t hit double digits until World War I (Civil War excepted). Generally federal spending as a percent of GDP was in the 5% range, and then has continually ramped up since the rise of the Progressives. But Darwin’s correct – the 40% number must encompass all government spending, not just federal.

  • “Watch this “campaign-changing gaffe” become a nonstory as soon as the press decides it’s hurting Obama instead of helping him.” Instapundit

  • Gallup: 54% of voters think government does too much and 39% think the state doesn’t do enough. Go figure.

  • Generally federal spending as a percent of GDP was in the 5% range, and then has continually ramped up since the rise of the Progressives.

    I believe federal spending stood at ~1.4% prior to the 1st World War. It was ~1.7% as of the fiscal year concluding in June of 1929 (while state and local spending stood at ~9%). It increased to around 3% by 1933 as nominal federal spending was maintained while nominal domestic product declined severely. During the period running from 1933 to 1940, a plateau of 6.5% was reached. Over the course of the period running from 1947 to 1974, proportionate federal spending and state and local spending was on an upward trajectory (initially from an increase in the baselines devoted to the military). The sum of these reached a plateau around about 1974 and then fluctuated around a set point of ~ 33% of domestic product until 2008/09.

  • That bubble of GOP-haters includes large sections of Republicans, including the likes or Karl Rove, who live in a perpetual state of pessimism and despair.

    If the topic is the dynamics of an electoral campaign, Rove is about as informed an opinion as you are likely to find. One of the annoying features of those insipid things called Presidential campaigns is the amount of kibbitzing from people who know little or nothing of either promotional campaigns or the mechanics of electoral politics.

  • What I’m wondering, though, is: Will a retired meat cutter who hears this Romney clip here on the news going to think, “He despises me because I’m dependent on the government?” or is he going to think, “By golly, that’s right. I worked hard my whole life, paid my taxes, and I live on the Social Security that I paid into my whole life. I don’t want to support people who aren’t willing to take care of themselves!”


    A lot of doom-and-gloom-there-is-no-hope stuff requires that one believe most people are idiots.
    The retired folks that I know who would give Romney anything like a chance are bright enough, if pressed, to say something like “Sure, I don’t pay federal income taxes and would probably be in the forty whatever percent, but it’s just silly to expect him to say ‘the 40-something-percent minus people who were charged their whole lives for social security and may or may not be paying income tax part of the population that is getting free money from the government isn’t going to vote against getting their free money,’ what kind of loon are you? Now, about my medicare cuts and how none of the doctors I use can take it anymore because filing the paperwork costs more than the government will give them—”

    The retired folks that I know who wouldn’t do that are the same ones that blocked me when I pointed out that a 19 year old married woman having a kid isn’t proof that religious states have too many high school kids getting pregnant.

  • Foxfier,
    But in 2005, those totally dependent on welfare in the U.S. were 3.8% of the population. Another 11+% both work and receive food stamps etc. based on low wages for family size.
    A majority then of Romney’s 47% of the nation are already taking responsibility and care for their lives and he said he could not convince 47% to do so. At best Romney can’t convince 3.8% of the nation not 47%.
    Federal checks go to retired military, retired federal workers and pols, disabled on ss, elderly on ss, widows with children on ss, and all federal workers and active military if you go beyond
    Bottom line, Romney actually was trying to lower the polling hopes of the rich donors he was speaking to so he was explaining away the Obama voter base as 47% of the nation that doesn’t care for themselves when at best that figure is 3.8% and only if you are totally exacting on that group.

  • Because American’s median household income is down $2,000, or 4%, lower now than at the June 2009 end of the Great Recession.

    Because QEternity might raise the price pf an ounce of gold to $2,400 (Thank you, Ben!!!) and oil $190 a barrel.

    Because mortgage lending hits a 16 year low.

    Because food stamps unexpectedly hit an all-time high.

  • Rove is about as informed an opinion as you are likely to find.

    When it comes to analyzing political data and understanding the dynamics of each district – heck, each county – then yes, few are as savvy as Karl Rove. When it comes to taking the data and offering good political advice, Rove is no better than a snake oil salesman.

  • Bill-
    your response doesn’t have anything to do with what I wrote, and even goes on to conflate having any other source of income with not taking more than you give.

  • The networks are rabid about Mitt Romney’s simple objective observation about part of the entire population. People from all sectors hear the daily bias, and aren’t seriously listening to constant one-sided childlike whining.
    It seems as though DNC media is counting on idiots and trying to create some more.

    I wonder whether the DNC is giving prizes to the reporters and newcasters who best spin facts.

    Demerits when they don’t forget the President’s insulting those for clinging to religion and morals, his fruitless spending excesses and corporate bailouts, his promises to be flexible for Russia next term, his pandering to terrorists in countries where his Americans are slaughtered, and his racial bigotry division troublemaking, and his contrasting attitude to Muslims versus Christians. Or his wife’s video about the ‘damn’ flag last year. Or question or address his backing of law to let babies born alive after a failed abortion attempt to die on the table. Or the fact that radicals in the middle East and worldwide want to kill Americans due to things in his own immoral Democrat platform. Or his altering traditional references to and denial of his Creator to whose church he went with his family. Or a slew of other outrageous gaffes, facts and figures that no one else could ever live down. Symptoms of severe amnesia over the fact that as Governor, Mitt Romney helped better the lives of people on gov. aid by using responsible management. No one wants demerits for doing honest work.

    Anyway some neighborhood kids were bemused by his Presidency of the 57 states of America!

  • “many people who don’t pay taxes don’t realize that they don’t pay taxes”

    In the world of sound bites, I don’t know that too many people who would otherwise have been inclined to vote for Romney are going to connect themselves with the 47% who allegedly “don’t pay taxes” (or more accurately, do not OWE federal taxes under current law) and consider that such an egregious insult that they will run out and vote for Obama. However, this kerfluffle points out the weakness in this meme that the Tea Party has been flogging for some time and which I have always found particularly irritating.

    If you are told that a particular person or group of people “doesn’t pay taxes,” what do you immediately think? If you’re like me, the first thought that comes to mind is that they must be doing something wrong — that they are evading tax liability through deliberate action, or that they are failing to file tax forms or fill out W-4 forms to have taxes withheld from their wages. That’s why I would be extremely hesistant to equate not having a tax liability with “not paying” taxes.

    However, a good chunk of the 47% consists of people who do have taxes withheld from their paychecks every week (or 2 weeks, or month) and who file tax forms every year in order to claim a refund. How can they be accused of “not paying taxes” if they go through the hassle of filing income tax every year? What are they supposed to do — let Uncle Sam keep their refund, which they effectively lent him interest-free for the previous year?

  • I would say Rove has the point of view of Beltway Repubs. This is how he could support immigration “reform”, big entitlements and lavish spending. He also has their myopia so he could convince Bush in 2006 that they had no need to worry about the possibility of Dems taking over Congress. Rasmussen has consistently shown almost inverse opinions between the Northeast elites and the rest of the country on many topics.

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Why Most Presidential Horserace Polls Are Rubbish

Tuesday, September 18, AD 2012



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:

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7 Responses to Why Most Presidential Horserace Polls Are Rubbish

  • The DaTechGuy is using data only from 2000 and up.

    I hope he’s correct, because, if he is, then we are looking at something akin to a Reagan landslide for Romney.

    One caveat I can add to these polls, most people have been cowered into believing they’re racist simply for holding an opinion contrary to the meme that the MSM constantly puts out.

    So it could be the case that no one wants to be labeled as racist so they tell pollsters that they will vote for Obama, which in reality they mostly likely will vote for Romney once they close the screen behind them to vote in the booth.

  • Another factor Tito is that some people are just plain scared to reveal their political beliefs in this country, a truly shameful situation. Considering the attacks by Leftists on Chick-Fil-A, I cannot call such concerns misplaced.

  • Austin Ruse, the President of C-FAM, a UN NGO that promotes the Catholic family in the UN, had his car keyed, tires slashed, and windows broken simply because he had a “Vote for Romney” bumper sticker on his car.

    He works and lives in DC.

    Can you imagine the hateful climate there?

  • He works and lives in DC.

    Can you imagine the hateful climate there?

    Some of us don’t have to imagine it.

  • The prospect of a Romney landslide is potentially a pretty alarming one. The media has been bleating, “Close race! Close race!” for so long now that an overwhelming Romney victory could trigger a riotous response from the losers.

    Of course, if Romney wins a real squeaker, it’ll be Y2K all over again, on steroids. Let’s shoot for a 7% margin in the popular vote, like in 2008… 😉

  • The mainstream media with the Obama convention bounce last week was trying to sell the meme that the race was over and Obama had won. Now that the Obama convention bounce has dissipated it will be interesting to see them ignore the polls. Today the Rasmussen Tracker has Romney 47-Obama 45. The Gallup Tracker has Obama 47-Romney 46. Translate the Gallup tracker into a likely voter Tracker like Rasmussen, and they would both show a slight Romney lead.

  • Here’s another site that shows the real numbers when properly weighed.

Obama Chamberlain

Tuesday, September 18, AD 2012




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.

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3 Responses to Obama Chamberlain

  • Before the war, the word appeasement was not normally used pejoratively. With hindsight Britain and France should have backed the Czechs who had the best army in central Europe and were prepared to fight. The German General Staff knew that the Wehrmacht was not strong enough to take on Czechoslovakia and France simultaneously in 1938. However, it’s a bit unfair on Chamberlain to lump him with Obama; on the domestic front NC was a capable minister. Still, no British politician since Chamberlain has ever appeared in public carrying an umbrella.

  • Chamberlain would have made an adequate prime minister in peace time John. It was his great misfortune to climb to the top of the greasy pole when a great war leader was needed, and poor naive Chamberlain could never fill that role.

  • Mac,

    I agree with John Nolan.

    No one comes close to being as feckless and useless as Obama. He makes Jimmeh Carter look absolutely presidential.

    Here’s the if-then game. If idiot leftists (yow, I repeated myself again) say Romney is Thurston Howell. Then, Obama is Gilligan, and the eroding economy shows it.

    Egypt is Iran 1979.

    Now, they are indicting Americans in absentia for insulting their seventh century hellion, Muhammad.

    In 2013, Obama will extradite them, so maybe the savages won’t murder his ambassadors for a month or two.

    In 2014, will anyone volunteer to be an American diplomat in the ME???

Lincoln’s Voice

Tuesday, September 18, AD 2012

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

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3 Responses to Lincoln’s Voice

  • ” … Disenthrall ourselves … ” – that is a good way to consider media bias, for listeners and, especially for spokesmen.

    He said, “Study the Constitution!

    Let every American, every lover of liberty, every wellwisher to his posterity swear by the blood of the Revolution never to violate in the least particular the laws of the country, and never to tolerate their violation by others.

    As the patriots of ’76 did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and laws let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor.

    Let every man remember that to violate the law is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own and his children’s liberty …

    Let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges,
    Let it be written in primers, in spelling books and in almanacs,
    Let it be preached from the pulpit,
    proclaimed in legislative halls,
    and enforced in courts of justice.

    And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation, and, in particular,
    a reverence for the Constitution.”

  • Spare us O Lord, from what a Spielberg/Doris Kearns-Goodwin view of the War for Southern Independence and the Lincoln presidency would be. I’ll just guess, slavery first, middle, and last as the one and only issue of importance.

    They filmed this here in Richmond, ironically enough.

  • I think Tom that the main problem in the film will be a “dumbing down” of Lincoln. Lincoln could put more thought into fewer words than any other writer I have encountered, and complexity and films today are a poor match. However, I will reserve judgment until I see the film. (Having Sally “You like me! You really like me!” Fields as the First Lady might add a nice touch of accurate hysteria to Mary Todd Lincoln!)

Archbishop Chaput on Faith and Public Life

Monday, September 17, AD 2012

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.


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21 Responses to Archbishop Chaput on Faith and Public Life

  • Like I said, thank God for faithful shepherds…

  • Archbishop Charles Chaput in Philadelphia, Archbishop (Cardinal) William Lori in Baltimore and Cardinal Dolan in New York, the Golden Triangle.

  • I find myself having a serious problem with the sin of wrath and, perhaps, the even worse sin of pride these days…I have devoted much of my free time in the last 10 years to the study of politics, psychology and human nature to add to my increasing theological background knowledge and I find myself often overly certain of my hard-studied beliefs regarding good governance (a healthy cross between Reagan and Washington would be a good start). My fiance is liberal – I love her with all my heart – but our debates frequently make me feel miserable because there is that voice in my head that says she lives a life in conflict with her faith (she is also Catholic and pretty passionate about it) and that rejects my beliefs in deed and thought. Being in a relationship with a liberal from Boston who believes, for example, that, though abortion is a negative outcome, government cannot make it illegal and take away a person’s choice to be immoral (never mind the lack of choice provided to the baby), is making me guilty of hating liberal ideas more fiercely and spending more of my time trying to find the way to reach her and move her toward conservatism and it isn’t good for my soul to stay this focused on such divisive issues.

    So I can relate somewhat to the folks who spend their time yelling at the TV talking head shows, though I don’t do this, because I have found that I can love a person for who they are, but that doing so challenges my studied beliefs in ways that lead to anger and frustration. Now, more than any other time in recent memory, politics makes everyday life difficult.

  • Matt, I definitely can relate to what you’re going through. It’s a difficult situation, but the important thing is that you remain true to yourself. Sorry for the hackneyed cliche, but it’s really the truth in this situation.

  • @Matt

    ” I love her with all my heart”

    Sometimes, Matt, that is not enough. You have to be true to yourself, for her and you. The fact that she is “Catholic” (so is Congresswoman Pelosi,) is not enough if she is “that” kind of Catholic. You’re a man, and unlike James Carvel, you cannot keep your mouth shut, or your mind, on things very important to you spiritually. I have found that in searching for a wife that liberal women who had an interest in me, dropped me like a hot coal when they discovered I was conservative. It amused me because it occurred early in our getting to know each other. They were so interested up until that point. So there was no emotional connection, yet. I was engaged, once, in my senior year of college, which I was putting myself through, I was 26. She was beautiful, and what passion we had for each other. But I broke off the engagement when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to trust her because so many guys wanted her and she led them on. It hurt, but I had to do that to protect myself. I never regretted my decision. You deserve a woman that has the morals and passion you have for your faith and belief in God. i see some couples in early Sunday Mass with 6 and 7 children, a teenager down to infants, so respectful of where they are, with the girls heads’ veiled, prayerful as are the boys, and I marvel at them as a family. And I look a the mother, so beautiful in her spiritual prayerful and motherly life and think how lucky that man, the husband and father, is. It reminds me of how Catholics families used to look back in the ’50s when less than 50 percent of attendants went to communion. Pray to God and listen to him as he will guide you as to what he wants you to do. Listen to him. If it is to break off the engagement, then do so. Stay together as a couple to see if that will lead to a renewed relationship where you are more on the same page as Catholics. If not, realized you saved yourself and her, and the future children, a lot of pain. I will pray for you.

  • good post.

    i have this problem too. i sort of “cocoon” myself in conservative sources because, while i am interested in the liberal side of the argument, i get the overall gist of their ideology (Equality Uber Alles) and can predict their position on a given issue fairly accurately. also i’m not a fan of constantly being told that conservatism is bad-faith bigotry/greed, which seems to be equally shared by both the most rabid leftists as well as mainstream liberals. sure if you look hard enough you can find those on the Right who portray Obama as a kind of Muslim sleeper agent, but it’s the sort of stuff limited to comment threads on certain sites.

    i also sort of get caught up in horse-race politics, which is pointless as far as deepening intellectual understanding of issues, and at its worst leads to Frumianism where our conservative “betters” instruct us on what issues we need to become liberals on to win, as if that’s the only thing that matters.

    probably when this election is over i’ll try to cool off from politics a bit.

  • I am reminded of a very telling analysis by the great 19th century Catholic historian, Lord Acton.

    “Civil and religious liberty are so commonly associated in people’s mouths, and are so rare in fact, that their definition is evidently as little understood as the principle of their connection. The point at which they unite, the common root from which they derive their sustenance, is the right of self-government. The modern theory, which has swept away every authority except that of the State, and has made the sovereign power irresistible by multiplying those who share it, is the enemy of that common freedom in which religious freedom is included. It condemns, as a State within the State, every inner group and community, class or corporation, administering its own affairs; and, by proclaiming the abolition of privileges, it emancipates the subjects of every such authority in order to transfer them exclusively to its own. It recognises liberty only in the individual, because it is only in the individual that liberty can be separated from authority, and the right of conditional obedience deprived of the security of a limited command. Under its sway, therefore, every man may profess his own religion more or less freely; but his religion is not free to administer its own laws. In other words, religious profession is free, but Church government is controlled. And where ecclesiastical authority is restricted, religious liberty is virtually denied.”

    That is why a passion for civic equality, hatred of nobility and anti-clericalism tend to go together and often coexist with a tolerance of despotism. Bonapartism was the consummation of the Revolution, not its reversal.

  • Separation of Church and State has given us: civil divorce, legalized contraception, legalized abortion, and HHS mandate.

  • Caution regarding the subversion of basic human rights: Correlation is not causation.

    That being said, our Constitution was made for an industrious, moral people, it may prove unsustainable given the demonstrated immorality of contemporary people.

  • No, the problem is not separation of Church and State, but rather the State attempting to act as if it were a Church. Separation of Church and State as envisioned by the Founding Fathers has been a very good thing for all Americans, and especially for Catholics.

  • Matt, seriously consider your situation in the light of what a future family will look and behave like – either united in all matters moral and social, or divided and contentious. I wish I had been given that counsel 22 years ago.

    Yet, as with all things, placing your trust in Him, discerning and accepting His will for you and your fiance and asking her to pray along with you for His plans for your lives to come to fruition will ensure the right outcome. Another piece of advice I wish I’d gotten back then.

  • What a lesson, Paul. In a non political area, I must regroup. It’s about letting 7% of life become 90% of life. I believe you’ve saved lives with this piece.

  • Archbishop Chaput:
    “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.”

    One way is fasting and prayer.
    I saw on Etheldredasplace that a group of people who are bloggers and commentors will be fasting and praying for a new president and this country on Friday, 9/21st.
    Think Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, for returning to dignity and humanity.

  • Thanks for your responses, all who shared their thoughts on my situation.

    I don’t have illusions that I can somehow change my fiance’s mind on everything, but the life issue is critical. I should be clear…she isn’t “that kind” of Catholic in the sense that she doesn’t live by the church’s teachings. She does. She wants t do natural family planning (as do I), she wants to get the proper Catholic marriage sacrament, she wants to be fruitful and have many children, as do I, and to raise them to be Catholic. Everything about her personal life is in line with what I’d hoped to achieve in my own or I wouldn’t have come this far in a relationship with her. Her professed political beliefs are really the only thing I worry about at this point. It leaves me wondering what a priest would say (I’ll find out in pre-cana).

  • “No, the problem is not separation of Church and State, but rather the State attempting to act as if it were a Church. Separation of Church and State as envisioned by the Founding Fathers has been a very good thing for all Americans, and especially for Catholics.”

    Well said, Donald McClarey. When the State acts as if it were the Church, Freedom is the first casualty, for Who is being the State, when the State is being the Church? The State ceases to exist. A government Who is God is no government.

    Government as God is government without constituents. Who did government create? Government will give a person a birth certificate and citizenship and a tax bill. Government as the Church is a church without God, without Truth and without Love, for God is Truth and Love, government without parishioners, who will not be engineered by the laws of the Godless. Can government dictate to our conscience or will our conscience lead us in the path of Truth?

    Read more at: Rosary Victory

  • Chaput’s two KIA by politics is tragic.

    The Paki that earned his “Darwin Award” at an Old Glory conflagration is farcical.

    Too bad it was a million.

  • I don’t think the problem is with liberalism. Its with sin. That preceeds liberalism.

  • Separation of Church and State has given us: civil divorce, legalized contraception, legalized abortion, and HHS mandate.

    I think you have confounded the separation of Church and State with the separation of the moral teachings of the Church from the body of thought which informs public policy. You do not need to concede parastatal authority to ecclesiastics or to put tax money into the Church in order to have penal and matrimonial law which respects Christian teachings.

  • I agree with Art Deco.

    We should conceive of the Church not so much as the institutional “Spiritual Power” alongside the “Temporal Power” of the State, but rather in terms of an evangelical presence, a “leaven,” that nurtures efforts in society ordered to the coming of God’s Kingdom.

    This is what Blondel meant, when he said that efforts “from below” to establish a just society would lead persons of good will to respect Christianity and “to find only in the spirit of the gospel the supreme and decisive guarantee of justice and of the moral conditions of peace, stability, and social prosperity.”

    This is not to argue that politics can be separated from religion, quite the contrary. As Blondel also reminds us, “one cannot think or act anywhere as if we do not all have a supernatural destiny.” Maritain, too, declared that “the knowledge of human actions and of the good conduct of the human State in particular can exist as an integral science, as a complete body of doctrine, only if related to the ultimate end of the human being . . . the rule of conduct governing individual and social life cannot therefore leave the supernatural order out of account”

  • Matt, here’s a thought that occurred to me and which might be helpful to you. You have probably heard, many times, the parable Christ told of the father who asked his two sons to work in his vineyard. One said “no”, but later changed his mind and went. The other said “yes,” but never went to the vineyard. Christ then asks His listeners, “Which of the two did what the father wanted?”

    In my experience, I have known people who describe themselves as pro-choice politically, but where it really counts — in their own lives and that of their families — they have acted pro-life. They had babies in difficult circumstances when they could have aborted; they have made great sacrifices to assist others who have chosen life as well. These are like the first son, whose actions spoke louder than his words. Likewise, there are cases where people say they are pro-life but give in to the temptation to abort when faced with an actual crisis. These are like the second son, whose actions didn’t measure up to his words.

    Perhaps your fiancee is someone who is pro-life in spirit though she may claim to be pro-choice politically. Of course it would be better to have both pro-life words AND actions, but action is the more important of the two, IMO.

    Also, you may need to examine more closely why your fiancee is pro-choice. Does she truly believe that women SHOULD have the right to choose abortion just as they have the right to choose to get drunk, smoke, gamble, etc.? Or does she believe that as evil as abortion is, there’s just no practical way for government to stop it without resorting to draconian police state measures (e.g. throwing pregnant women in jail), so pro-lifers would do better to focus their efforts elsewhere? If it’s the latter, while I wouldn’t embrace that point of view, I wouldn’t consider it a deal-breaker either.

5 Responses to Happy Constitution Day!

  • Isaiah 50:4c-9a Sunday, September 16, 2012 reading:
    “If anyone wishes to oppose me, let us appear together. Who disputes my right? Let that man confront me. See, the Lord God is my help; who will prove me wrong?
    If anyone wishes to oppose me, let us appear together. Who disputes my right? Let that man confront me.” : Habeas Corpus, a person must be confronted by his accuser in a court of law. No trials in absentia. “See, the Lord God is my help; who will prove me wrong?” Two witnesses will establish a judicial fact. One witness is no witness. The Magna Carta and The U.S. Constitution based on Judeo-Christian principles found in Isaiah.

    The militant feminists have embraced Roe v. Wade, the miscarriage of Justice against the newly created sovereign soul of the human being. The abortionists work to erase the Preamble to our Constitution which identifies “our posterity” as one of the reasons for the Constitution, as well as the Ninth Amendment which reiterates the sovereignty of the person as coming from our Creator inscribed in our Declaration of Independence. Being as it is, that the sovereign soul is endowed with life from the very first moment of conception, the sovereign person is present in the very first cell of every human being’s existence as “I AM”. “I AM” is the sovereign person scraped from the womb in abortion through the miscarriage of Justice called Roe v. Wade.

  • 1787 – 2012, so 225 years old
    (and surviving euthanasia attempts … )

    For the occasion, I found my parents’ beyond yellowed copy that I kept because the notations are good, if sad in light of how the Constitiution is getting ignored and worse.
    It seems that the House and Senate hold power to protect it, but these people aren’t doing anything to do so because why? Or is the media not saying?

    From Thomas James Norton’s book, 1951 edition,
    The Constitution of the United States:
    Its Sources and Its Application
    A Handbook for Citizens and Public Officials

    [1st ]
    On the cover is the OATH taken by all Officers elected or appointed to Civil or Armed Services:

    I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic;
    that I willl bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
    that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion;
    and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter so help me God.

    [2nd & interesting]
    Next to the copyright page …

    Our Constitution – Civil Bible of America

    Menaced by collectivist trends, we must seek revival of our strength in the spiritual foundations which are the bedrock of our republic. Democracy is the outgrowth of the religious conviction of the sacredness of every human life. On the religious side, its highest embodiment is the Bible; on the political, the Constitution. As has been said so well, “The Constitution is the civil bible of Americans.” Next to the Bible, the best book on the Constitution should be in every home, school, library, and parish hall.

    page signed by 10 people …
    Herbert C Hoover
    Alfred E Smith
    Alfred M Landon
    Mrs. Calvin Coolidge
    Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt
    James M Cox
    John W Davis
    Mrs. William H Taft
    Mrs. Benjamin Harrison
    Frances Cleveland Preston

    [3rd – a picture]
    of George Washington presiding over the Constitutional Convention urging
    “a standard to which the wise and honest can repair”
    86 days from May 1787 to September 17, 1787.

    There’s so much more.
    Maybe the Preamble that Barney Fife learned then forgot, trusting that elected representatives were watchdogging for him is what happened to us.

  • PM “Maybe the Preamble that Barney Fife learned then forgot, trusting that elected representatives were watchdogging for him is what happened to us.”

    I was told in no uncertain terms that the Preamble to our Constitution was no longer the Law of the Land. Roe v. Wade was. That the founding fathers were old fashioned men over two hundred years old to be ridiculed, and no longer relevant.

    It is time to force our education establishment to teach our U.S. Constitution and our Declaration of Independence to our constitutional posterity with respect and intelligent citizenship. One might add The Emancipation Proclaimation.

  • “We have buried the putrid corpse of liberty.” Mussolini 1937/Obama 2013.

  • Mary DeVoe: The schools would need a computerized lesson for the students to do at their pace but it would probably be somehow slanted.

    Or! Captain Kirk could go on the commercials for finding good prices with an entree about what’s free for all people. They’d lend an ear.

Counseled to Abort in a Catholic Hospital

Monday, September 17, AD 2012

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?”

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37 Responses to Counseled to Abort in a Catholic Hospital

  • Thus we have today’s women’s rights – a movement that denies them of their sacred vocation as wives and mothers, and instead denigrates all that true womanhood is. I hate, despise and loath liberalism, progressivism and Democracy – two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner (in this case, the bloody corpses of 53 million unborn babies since Roe v Wade in 1973).

    BTW, this is but one more problem with the tearing asunder of that seamless garment which was to be the Roman Church in America. Pray for our Pope, our Bishops, our Priests, our Doctors and our Nurses. Most of all, pray for the protection of all babies, unborn and born. God have mercy on us all!

  • PS, forgot to say thank you, Stacy! Good post! Keep up the good work!

  • What was the end of the story? Did the complaint to the Bishop work to get this so-called “therapist” out of the office?

  • Thank you Paul. I feel the same way about the “women’s rights” movement. It’s a war on motherhood. I detest the lies that are told.

  • Ted,

    For us, it was a long learning experience. At first I just wanted to demand that X, Y, and Z change, or else I was going to make this a big media story, oh, and I almost did.

    But the truth is, I’ve received care from a number of Catholic hospitals, and they all promote contraception and talk about abortion (genetic testing). I’ve heard so many similar stories. Plus, non-Catholics are employed so although they are, in theory, supposed to follow the USCCB directives, there’s no way to enforce it behind closed doors, as evidenced in this story.

    That’s why I decided that encouraging Catholic patients to speak up – directly to clergy – was a good solution to pursue. They can change things, and they need our support and encouragement.

    On doing that with this situation, I also learned that the particular diocese had no obligation to inform us of the details of their actions either. I understand this need for confidentiality, and my husband and I respected it, taking our frustrations to prayer. I never went back to that counselor so I don’t know what happened. I couldn’t bring myself to go back. Maybe I should have…I’ll always wonder. I didn’t envision it going well.

    This is a nation-wide, if not world-wide, problem. We have non-Catholics working in Catholic hospitals. We have non-practicing Catholics working in Catholic hospitals. I’ve decided to open my big mouth directly to the doctors any time I encounter something that isn’t right, but it wears a person down — to the point that I dread even setting foot in Catholic hospitals now. I know there are some good ones, but I fear that is the exception. I’ve even found out that pediatric offices give kids over 15 (or a certain age) contraception without consulting parents, if they want it. Flew into a frenzy over that one.

    I’m interested in what other think can be done by laity. Speak up to priests? Speak up to doctors? Pray, of course. What else?

  • Speak to fellow Catholics. And speak with your wallet to the charities you choose to support or not support.

    Great article and great cause.

  • There is a sequel of books titled Fatherless, Motherless, and Childless by Brian J Gail. They are about the infiltration of contraception and abortion into the American Catholic mindset and the Catholic health system. I’d call them fiction but they are prophetic. They are based on Blesses John Paul’s warnings as well as current science. It’s like reading about the future as it is happening.

    Lord, have mercy on your people as we place out trust in You.

  • “I’ve even found out that pediatric offices give kids over 15 (or a certain age) contraception without consulting parents, if they want it.” Sue for your parental rights. Informed consent, minor children do not have to give. The parents are responsible for their children when they contract HIV/aids and herpes and all the rest. It might be good for the child, when he grows to emancipation to engage a malpractice lawsuit over his being ill-advised to suffer a health risk. The law is the only thing they will understand

  • This, I am sure, could help many:

    The thing about living in a capitalist nation, is that all businesses, including health care businesses, need customers. Voting with your dollars would help greatly.

  • I had good luck with going to Crisis Pregnancy centers and asking for their list of doctors. Sadly, more effective than looking for the local Franciscan health system. 🙁

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  • I was afraid of the exact situation described when I had a crisis pregnancy 32 years ago. I was so upset and distracted that I was afraid if a counselor acted as that one did, I might just cave in and get the abortion. I hung on to Christ and ran “He Shall Feed His Flock” from the Messiah over and over in my head, refusing to talk to anyone who might possibly try to persuade me to end my child’s life. I told myself that I would probably live long enough to be grateful I let him live, and I am. He’s a great guy.

  • I’m so glad this Mother turned to God, and was able to get true help. A few years ago, I was suffering from severe depression and anxiety. I had been going to a “therapist” for several months and taking antidepressants. During this time, my husband and I turned to the Church and fully embraced “being Catholic” including NFP. The change in my condition was rapid and profound. When I told my “therapist” about how much better I was feeling and how my entire outlook had changed when I chose Christ over myself, she actually tried to talk me out of it! How silly it was for a woman to find peace in the Sacraments and No Contraception! It was like she couldn’t believe that the advice I received from my Pastor, and the peace I found in prayer could possible be better for me than the “therapy sessions” I endured with her. These sessions focused mainly on my abusive childhood and hardly anything at all as far as helping me in the present. I would leave “therapy” feeling much more depressed then I did going in, and it would take several days to recover! Needless to say that was my last visit to her. I did continue with the medication for several years, but have been off of it for over a year now and doing well! I have decided if I ever relapse, I will find a good Catholic therapist who recognizes the strong link between spiritual health and mental health!

  • There is no substitute for knowing your faith and Church teaching, and inssiting on following that. The idea that a Catholic hospital or staffer would never offer anything considered unacceptable under the E&R directives is no longer true, as the above story illustrates perfectly. I wish it were the exception but it isn’t.

  • This story highlights an incredible moment of powerlessness and unmanagability. In those moments, God is very close, very willing, and very able to help those who ask for His help in those moments.

    Powelessness and unmanagebility are also the starting point for 12-Step programs, which offer a practical aid to recovery and growth in the spiritual life, usually in the context of a particular issue. The steps are non-denominational and can be very helpful to Catholics (or anyone) to grow closer to the God of their understanding as a supplement to (not a replacement for) a sacramental life. That’s been my experience, at least.

  • Relative to Matt’s comment on the 12 Steps, the Biblical basis thereof can be found here:

    Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith based the AA Program on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 through 7, St. Paul’s discourse on love in 1st Corinthians 13, and St. James exposition on faith without works being dead in his epistle.

    Every Christian should read from the Preface through Chapter 11 in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, whether alcoholic or not:

    This is the practicality of how to put Christian principles into action.

  • Every Catholic needs to have their own copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to refer to when questions arise so they can tell correct answers to their questions and situations. You can’t necessarily trust anyone’s replies anymore with even clergy and religious answering based on their own particular bias.

  • There are some great suggestions here, much wisdom. I worry about unsuspecting patients who don’t know, but you are absolutely right — if you’re Catholic, you have no excuse for not knowing. Amen to that.

  • Stacey wrote, “If you’re a Catholic, you have no excuse for not knowing.”

    Can we have a chorus of Amens, Hallelujahs, and Glory Bes for that?

    No excuse. None. Zero point nihil.

  • I’ve got to disagree that there’s no reason for a Catholic not to know– they may have never been taught that there was a Catechism.

    I wasn’t. Found out on my own. Jimmy Akin’s place, if I remember right.

    As best I can tell, every level either assumed we’d already covered it or that we were too young for it. Or that it was outdated. Or that it didn’t fit with what they wanted to teach. Had lots of teachers who wanted the authority of teaching, but not the work, and I’m still wondering what geninus let a man-hunting divorcee be in charge of “continuing education.” (I was a teenager, as was the rest of the group. She had us cutting out shapes to glue on things, and I seem to remember coloring books.)

    Never underestimate the damage bad teachers can do, especially if they’re defensive about their “authority” and don’t want parents “interfering.”

  • Stacy I am so happy that you continued to listen to that still small voice and were so much trying to find out God’s counsel. Teachers and therapists, priests and nuns, men and women around us have offered us a world view that does not admit the Truth.
    We have a personal responsibility to keep listening and trying. I cried reading your story–I and many others have been there in some ways. but I rejoiced when I saw the photo of your beautiful daughter, and then read her beautiful meaningful name. I rejoice at you efforts to do right.

  • Foxfier,

    I understand the point that catechesis in the post Vatican II environment has been abominable, and that a great many – even a majority – of Roman Catholics are ignorant of both Scripture and what the Catechism teach. The Shepherds – that is to say, the Bishops and Priests – who not only allowed, but in large measure caused this to happen will be responsible to the Lord God Almighty exactly as Ezekiel 34:1-10 describes.

    Nevertheless, with today’s internet access to information, there is no reason for any Christian – Roman, Orthodox Anglican, Eastern or Russian Orthodox, or Evangelical or Pentecostal – to any longer be ignorant of Scripture, and since Romans pride themselves on being “THE” Church, they are particularly without excuse. Papal Encyclicals are readily available at the Vatican’s web site. The Catechism and the Bible are both available at the USCCB web site. There are now a plethora of orthodox Roman bloggers like Father Z., Jimmy Akin, Father Longenecker, etc. And there is the availability of orthodox teaching via EWTN and various Catholic radio stations of the Roman persuasion.

    Members of my immediate family – all of whom are Assemblies of God Pentecostals – know that abortion and homosexual behavior are intrinsically evil. They have always known that without moral behavior there can be no social justice, and they have NO Catechism to tell them that. Thus, there is NO excuse for Romans to complain, “But I wasn’t taught, so it’s not my fault.” That may be the reason for having been raised in ignorance, but it isn’t an excuse to fail to read and study the Bible and the Catechism. When people in other jurisdictions do what is right and Romans don’t but claim their jurisdiction is “THE” Church, then their claim fails hallow. They should remember St. Paul’s analogy of the branches of the olive tree in Romans chapter 11 – Christ will cut off unfruitful limbs and graft in those who will produce fruit.

  • Again, you cannot study what you do not know exists, and do not forget that some of those entrusted with teaching have TAUGHT FALSEHOOD. That is why those in authority must make sure their delegated authority goes to fitting people.

    My mom stopped teaching CCD when the priest walked in and told her teenagers that it was OK to have sex outside of marriage so long as you “really loved” the other person. This is not isolated, as the abortion nuns demonstrate.

    I’m sure we’ve all met “Spirit of Vatican II” AKA Fr. O’Leary in Japan? The English speaking priest that isn’t too sure that Jesus was even divine, among other…”odd” beliefs? If it’s against Church teaching, he’s probably promoted it. There are a lot of bad priests floating around, you get to meet a lot of them in satellite parishes. (Some just can’t speak very well, some are a menace to all but the most stubborn of believers.)

    We can’t stand around and growl that there’s “no excuse” for someone who has been told a lie to not realize it, we have to tell people. It’s not comfortable. REALLY not comfortable when it comes to family. We have to tell them about all the incredible resources, explain why they should trust them over what Ms. Smith told them in confirmation class.
    We also need to do our best to hold our local parish’s feet to the fire when it comes to offering decent information.

    We’re not supposed to figure this stuff out on our own, we’re supposed to learn it. Like any other important job, if the guys on either side are slacking or failing, you pitch in to get their work done.

  • Bizarre teaching from moral theologians is nothing new, as anyone who has read Pascal’s « Les Provinciales » will know only too well.

    A decree of the Holy Office of 4 March 1679, issued with the approval of Pope Innocent XI condemned the following two propositions, extracted from the works of notable theologians: –

    “ 34. It is permitted to bring about an abortion before the animation of the foetus, lest the girl found pregnant be killed or defamed.

    35. It seems probable that every foetus (as long as it is in the womb) lacks a rational soul and begins to have the same at the time that it is born; and consequently it will have to be said that no homicide is committed in any abortion.”

    Others include

    “ 30. It is right for an honourable man to kill an attacker who tries to inflict calumny upon him, if this ignominy cannot be avoided otherwise; the same also must be said if anyone slaps him with his hand or strikes with a club and runs away after the slap of the hand or the blow of the club.”

    And (two of my favourites)

    “ 37. Male and female domestic servants can secretly steal from their masters to gain compensation for their work which they judge of greater worth than the salary which they receive.

    38. No one is bound under the pain of mortal sin to restore what has been taken away by small thefts, however great the sum total may be.”

    The condemnation is as laconic as it is restrained, “All condemned and prohibited, as they are here expressed, at least as scandalous and in practice pernicious.”

  • Foxfier,

    Part of me agrees with you on this. But part of me feels that people should take charge of their own learning instead of waiting to be spoon fed. I know that’s not what you’re saying. And I know that through no fault of their own, many people in the Roman jurisdiction (and in others) have been lied to. But Rome’s insistence on preeminence in Christendom places a special responsibility on itself. If Rome can’t ensure that the Truth is consistently and accurately preached, taught and otherwise disseminated, then who can?

    Pray for our Bishops and Priests. Pray for the Pope. And don’t wait for someone to teach you. Teach yourself. (I speak in the global sense, not as directed to Foxfier.) The resources are there.

  • But part of me feels that people should take charge of their own learning instead of waiting to be spoon fed.

    And we are part of that Church– the “it’s not my job to teach you, it’s your job to learn” mindset is a betrayal of that special responsibility. It’s not just “Rome”– we need to do it, not growl about how “if you don’t know it’s your own fault.” The pathetic mess that I was given as education, both in the Church and in civil life, is a result of that mindset.

    Sure, you can’t make a horse drink– but you should lead him to water when he’s thirsty, and offer good water when you see him nuzzling into a fetid mud puddle.

  • Yes, Foxfier, with your last comment I have to agree. We are all responsible to help our brothers and sisters learn. I had that opportunity about six or eight months ago when the Bishops came out against the HHS mandate and a Roman person at work asked me what I thought. She admitted that I was very knowledgeable in the Catechism and in Scripture. So I gave her a 6 page essay on whole issue. I waited a few days and went back to find out what she thought. She said that she read the first few pages and stopped, and that she has a different opinion regarding a woman’s right to choose and regarding gay marriage and the other moral issues that face us. She is a 60+ year old educated in the spirit of Vatican II. It didn’t matter that I could quote from the Greek New Testament or the Didache or from St. Ignatius’ letters. It didn’t matter how many Papal Encyclicals I cited, or anything like that. Social justice and freedom to choose trumped everything else. Yet to this day she says she knows no one who knows as much about Scripture and the Catechism as I do (and truthfully, I feel abysmally ignorant when I read what Donald M., Paul Z., Bonchamps and others write here at TAC).

    The ignorance that the spirit of V II has founded has resulted in an almost invincible and purposeful ignorance. These people ask for the truth and when it doesn’t agree with their liberal progressive Democrat mindset, they reject it. You can’t teach them. And yes, they have ZERO excuse.

  • Heidi,

    I can relate to your story so much. The Sacraments! The saving grace. I have a friend who works in this area, and is a faithful, practicing Catholic. He wrote this about mental illness, how our soul is not the same thing as our physical brain. He would agree with you that therapists need to consider more than chemical imbalances or disturbances, and also treat damaged souls. I’m linking his essay here because I think you’ll like it. He works with children too. This brought a lot into perspective for me.

  • I’ve been reading the comments and learning from them. You know, I’ve actually avoided going to doctors for some time now because I got so fed up with how hard it is to find Catholic doctors. Now, because of some discussion between Paul, Foxfire and others, I think I’ll stop fearing that, and use any doctor visit as a learning opportunity — for the doctor! I’ll speak up more, complain less. Teach, even if I’m a patient.

    I have been a little distracted, too, with some news (not to change the topic, but):

    Looks like I’m going to get a chance to face the doctors again very soon…Just found out we’re pregnant again!

    LOL! What timing, huh?

  • Congrats, Stacy!

    I’ll echo some of the earlier discussion. As I’ve mentioned before, I attended a Jesuit high school, and boy some of the things I was taught (and not taught). It wasn’t until I started grad school at a real Catholic university and was surrounded by excellent books in the Basilica’s bookstore that I was able to basically self-catechize. And per a discussion had in our men’s group last night, we’re constantly learning and “converting” so to speak, as our faith grows deeper and we gain in knowledge.

  • Congradulations to Stacey on the baby now conceived.

    As far as educating doctors goes, Stacey’s attitude is most commendable. Now I know some people are going to say I can’t discuss the following lest I violate the 11th Tradition in 12 Step Programs, but I don’t know any other way of emphasizing Stacey’s point effectively. Of course, this isn’t related to religion, but it confirms the need to educate your doctor.

    As many readers may recall, I recently injured my left leg, tearing quadriceps from knee joint. Needless to say, drilling of the knee cap, inserting of Kevlar thread and all that happened in subsequent surgery. Of course pain medication is required and OxyContin was prescribed. I told the doctor, “Are you crazy? I am in recovery from ### and that’s like putting gasoline on a fire.” He said that I would have to have it so that I could withstand the pain enough and do therapy. He was right. But after 3 weeks, I am now down to 2 pills a day from an initial 5.

    I had a conversation yesterday with an Alanon guy I know, and after that conversation I got scared. So I called my doctor and asked to be taken off OxyContin and onto a less addictive medication. The Doctor agreed and was actually happy that I was staying on top of the issue instead of waiting for him. Well, fear of being back in the gutter is a strong incentive. The point in all this is that no one is responsible for my education or my health but me. I have to take responsibility and ownership. I can’t rely on a doctor or a priest to always know the ins and outs of my faith or my addictions (whatever those may be).

    So I applaud Stacey, and if anyone wants to slam me because of the 11th Tradition, then so be it. I am an example of nothing except how to do things the wrong way. I can’t even recover from arterial heart disease and diabetes without screwing up my quad! And I have no lock on either sobriety or spirituality. I am just lucky and blessed one day at a time.

  • Looks like I’m going to get a chance to face the doctors again very soon…Just found out we’re pregnant again


    I admit, I’ve done a little bit of evangelism at our daughters’ doctor’s office– happened to have a nurse come in to ask about fetal grown vaccines, since the nurse had never heard of such a thing. I did my chirpy short version– it’s hard to get mad at someone who is chirpy, at least to their face– and the next time I came in, I brought some papers on what vaccines have alternatives, and a letter from the USCCB on when it’s morally licit to use immorally produced vaccines. (Which is when I found out that the old scifi favorite of “do you let the Space Nazi doctor treat you, even though he learned how to save your life by killing people in the Background War that they lost?” would be much shorter if the characters weren’t such goobers.)

  • Congratulations, Stacey! Praying all goes well with the new baby.

    One thing many people (including, for a long time, myself) fail to realize is that medical advice is just that — ADVICE. It is not a command from on high; it is information provided to you by a hired professional to assist you in making a decision. No rational adult is legally or morally obligated to follow a doctor’s advice. If a doctor’s advice is not helpful to you for any reason, you are perfectly free to disregard it, or seek help elsewhere (though if one has an HMO or PPO type insurance plan one’s choice of doctors may practically be limited to within the network).

  • Gerard Majella pray for Stacy.

    What I find not adequately addressed is Holy Scripture, read daily and at Sunday Mass, the books of the Catholic Bible being approved of by the Catholic Church. There is LIFE in that Book. It breaks my heart to see the children hauled away to cut and glue in the classroom while the Sacred Scripture is read at Mass. The children have a right to the TRUTH. In my case, being at Mass as often as possible brought my children into a metaphysical understanding, and they were able to imagine and visualize the parables. Later, the abstract thinking enabled the children to secure good jobs. I, now, encourage mothers to bring their children to Mass and visits to the Real Presence as often as possible even while the children remain unborn. I believe that my generation was the last generation of children to receive proper Catholic training taught by the good nuns before Vatican II. I have witnessed the good nuns’ lives work miracles in the community. The hardest part, I find, is to not be able to verbalize the questions in my mind. Jesus is always there. Go ask HIM. Another way I find to answer questioning and stubborn friends and acquaintances is to say: “God is leading you”. and trust in the Lord.

  • This is a most beautiful post and comments.

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

Monday, September 17, AD 2012

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.

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

How I Chose To Argue For Free Will

Monday, September 17, AD 2012

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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7 Responses to How I Chose To Argue For Free Will

  • It is worth pointing out that determinism is an “empty” concept. It is incapable of distinguishing any conceivable sequence of events from any other and so adds nothing to a description of them. Put another way, what test can be used to distinguish an irresistible impulse from one that is merely unresisted?

    An hypothesis that cannot possibly be falsified is “not even wrong,” but meaningless.

  • I am sorry you were Il, Bonchamps. I pray that you are now restored to full good health. As for the tactic that you employed against your atheist detractor as described in your post, I say bravo.

  • Thank you for the post Bonchamps.
    Freewill is the medium used to love God, or distance oneself from Him. He Loves perfectly.
    We have a distorted love, however time and the practice of virtue, allows us to partake in refining our imperfect love. Thank God for freewill.

  • In my experience, materialists are not living lives totally disconnected from their beliefs. They are like those who claim they hold Christian beliefs yet hold back some area of their lives, such as a fond sin, an unforgivable hurt, or a small piece of autonomy.
    What materialists usually hang onto are generally profound things. They hang on to a deep desire for meaning in life, to a sense of good and evil, and to an acknowledgement that they are moral agents; that they have free will.
    I appreciate the frustration of dealing with people who are not totally conscious of their real worldview, whether they claim to be Christian or materialist. In the materialist camp, only the nihilists have completely thought thru their worldviews. I don’t know if Dawkins puts himself in that camp, but I put him there. He has written that asking what the meaning of life is, is itself a meaningless question.
    In dealing with these people I urge acting in love and praying for the quidance of the Holy Spirit. Finding that non-materialist nugget they are holding on to may be the key to their salvation, just as that last piece of our lives we’ve withheld from Christ is the key to our damnation.

  • I read somewhere that Fulton Sheen (I think) had the argument that atheists obviously do believe in God because they spend too much time worrying & thinking about Him. If I don’t believe in zombies & don’t think they exist, I can get on with my days quite nicely without having to shout from the rooftops or put up billboards or force others to not celebrate them. I can easily just say, “I don’t believe in zombies,” and live & let live. There’s no bullying involved in my hoping that everyone else would give up the idea that zombies do exist. I don’t need to start the Humans Against Zombies Club & hope that everyone will see my way. I don’t need to hurl insults at those who believe in zombies.

  • MaryAnne…nice point of view. Thanks. I know I’ll use this next week…if you don’t mind. Non-believer acquaintance…Phil.

  • Pingback: JRR Tolkien Law Natural Family Planning Pope Benedict XVI | Big Pulpit

Let There Be Light

Sunday, September 16, AD 2012

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.)

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4 Responses to Let There Be Light

  • Let there be light to know, to love, and to serve the Lord, the Lord, Who made all persons and keeps them in existence.

    The men, even in their most disarranged mental condition, never committed a crime, never broke the law. The men stayed honest and decent. Giving these men a job would never be a risk, but an appreciative thank you for their service and their suffering.

    At 35, there is an hypnosis of a young man. Be aware that this kind of viewing can cause some of the audience to be hypnotized, or so I have heard, and may be part of the reason that the film was not immediately released. I am not any kind of doctor, and I knew the doctor would bring the patient into the present and the doctor did, all the better for it.

    Audie Murphy wrote a book: TO HELL AND BACK about his WWII experience.

    An after thought. Soldiers are known as Government Issue, G.I.s. The government commandeers the soldiers’ time and energy but the government cannot own the soldiers’ sovereignty, the soldiers’ personhood. Government can commandeer the soldiers’ time and energy in the pursuit of Justice and Freedom, but does not own the soldiers’ conscience. This film explains this and is timely when Obama is imposing martial law on the civilians, as though he owns us.

  • Mary.
    I think you will find that G I stands for General Infantry – the Ground Troops – the foot sloggers- the Grunts, as they are called in the US Army, I believe.
    Down our way, during WW II and since, our infantry were known amongst the troops as the PBI – the Poor Bloody Infantry , because of all the difficult and dangerous work they had to do on the ground.

  • I have always liked the term Poor Bloody Infantry Don, as it perfectly describes both the gripe and the pride of the average dogface.

  • Actually, its interesting that you do this post on WW II at this time. I am presently typing up for our family, my father’s diary that he kept spasmodically during his time in Italy during WW II. He was in the 27th.Machine gun Battallion, attached to the NZ Maori Battallion, and on the 6th.Sept. 1944, they had moved near to a village called Mondolfa (his writing is difficult to read after nearly 70 years.) near the Adriatic coast. At this time, they are preparing for the Battle of Rimini.

    “15th.Sept.1944. Our bombers and fighters are passing overhead constantly, have seen numbers of formations of approx. 50 bombers at a time. Went for a swim. Only 10 mins. walk from the beach. Swimming around, decided to have a spell, and came to rest on a bloody mine. Did I get moving. (I remember Dad telling us of this when I was a kid – reckoned he made a huge bow wave to the shore 🙂 )”

    “Sat. 16th.Sept. Moved up through the Gothic Line today. The towms and bridges are well bashed about. Bivvie (bivouac – pitch shelter) within 10 miles of the front line. Could see the shells landing on enemy territory. One long range enemy shell landed in the village 1/2 a mile away. Climbed some high ground after tea and watched artillery duels – could see strikes on the enemy held ridge overlooking Rimini – an attack was going in and was an unusual sight.”

    Its fascinating reading and typing what my Dad was doing this day 66 years ago and stating it in his usual understating style, and a bit emotional. Dad died on the 11th. December 2005 – the same day my youngest grand-daughter was baptised – aged 93 years. A few months after this diary entry, Dad suffered a back injury from lifting heavy ammunition cases, and was later re-patriated, and had an experimental spinal operation which left him having to take pain relief for the rest of his life.
    (This comment got a bit out of control, didn’t it. 🙂 )
    Rest in the Love of God, Arthur Hamilton Beckett.

Barack Obama is Unfit to be President

Saturday, September 15, AD 2012

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:

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48 Responses to Barack Obama is Unfit to be President

  • Let us pray for strength in the face of this assault on First Amendment Freedoms and unalienable rights.

  • I have been cognizant of the totalitarian situation since January 2009.

  • yes pray. And what else to do? Run the course until November? There could be a lot more go wrong before then.

  • The Dept. of Justice under E. Holder: Is that who administrates the Sheriffs?

  • He was brought in for questioning by Federal probation officers PM, and you are correct that they would be under Eric Holder’s (sic) Justice Department.

  • I don’t get it. I don’t see how anyone favorable to this administration could possibly think that hauling this guy in for questioning would play well with the American public. What am I missing?

  • Hmmm. It was the movie.

    9/11 was this passing week when solemn memorials and Masses were held.

    Also, around 9/11, the American flag was burned in Cairo, Ambassador Stevens and three others were murdered in a US Embassy , and other events and threats ( not so well reported ) occurred. Violence in the Middle East and serious threats in other countries around the world and here in the US with evacuations in Texas and another western state university, almost at Valparaiso in Indiana all close to the anniversary of 9/11. Not the movie.

    Something about a good movie to do with 2016, and then using a not-too-good movie that’s been around awhile for another cheap trick on the world comes to mind.

    The probation violator needed five or more officers to show – what – how big stopping the cause of this trouble in the world is. Wrong guy, Chicago style.

  • Slightly off topic – See there were riots in Sydney Australia yesterday for the same reason – the film.
    But the rioters who were asked about the film had never seen it. They were stirred up by their radical clerics. There is a photo of a 10yr. old kid holding a sign “Behead all who insult the prophet”, and many of the muslim protesters were yelling out anti-christian slogans.
    The Aussies in general will be highly p—-d off by this, and are already demanding the end of” multiculturalism and diversity” (gag 🙁 ), and the deportation of extreme muslims. Just hope our government takes notice of these events, and acts accordingly while we have only a very small muslim population.

  • On Tuesday, 9/11, there was a memorial Mass where I saw tears, solemnity, and, before the recessional, we prayed for our nation and for peace in all nations among men.

    The front pew was reserved for family of a person who lost life on 9/11/01. A recent widow of a veteran and Knight of Columbus left her pew in tears so she wouldn’t disturb the Mass. People, many unknown to one another, were quietly together.

    With not much acknowlegment of similar purpose from their president.

  • Kissing up to Muslims is a complete waste of time. If it is not this it will be something about a Qeeran in a toilet, or a mute Christian blaspheming their alleged prophet. One has to ignore these motivated Muslim concerns in theit totality. On the other hand nemesis has strange ways of working out. As Lawrence Auster indicates only a year ago the disgusting woman Hillary, was celebrating the brutal death of Gaddafi who made the mistake of giving up his nuclear program. I see some benefit accruing to the beleaguered Christians and Allawites in Syria from this, as all but the brain-dead left understands that the Muslims do not share your values.

  • Barry doesn’t have time to meet the Israeli PM Netanyahu, whose nation is in line to be nuked by Iran.

    The leader of the choom gang has lots of time to go “live” on the radio with FL radio star, “the Pimp with a Limp.”

    The filmmaker of the “Innocence of Muslims” is hauled in for questioning and Soetoro’s unofficial campaign apparatus (the lying, liberal so-called media) says nothing about the First Amendment. That is Freedom of Speech, Obama-worshiping imbeciles.

  • Yes, and according to a wonderfully written article on another website, it is no less than the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago which is responsible for launching Obama’s career? After watching selections of the Democrat National Convention, with its parade of virulent anti-Catholic Catholics, flaunting their belief in abortion, contraception, gay marriage and every other excommunicable offense, followed by deafening silence from the “Catholic” (yeah, whatever!) leadership, we must conclude the American Catholic church is in full-on schism. I continue to believe it is time to purge the membership, reduce the ranks to only those who actually profess the faith. By allowing the pollution of Catholicism by such unholy, satanic forces is destroying the faith of many. I will not be answering to my God for that.

  • Slightly off topic – See there were riots in Sydney Australia yesterday for the same reason – the film.

    The published commentary of Australia’s politicians was rote and insipid and both newspapers and broadcasting outlets appear to have disabled commentary by their readers.

    None of the Australian chapter of the international regime class at the top of the heap of every occidental country bothered to point out the lunacy of a violent protests in downtown Sydney over a Youtube video posted by a random individual living in California. What could possibly be the point of such a ‘protest’ other than ‘hear me roar’. If that is the point, the proper response is ‘go roar elsewhere’. It is not in the interest of any country to be importing masses of people whose vanguard are given to effrontery and efforts at intimidation. For the current foreign minister of Australia the issue is “the damage to Australia’s multicultural reputation” or some such, to which the response is to tell his diplomatic and consular staff to redouble their efforts bridge the gaps blah blah. Maybe one day Australia and other countries will have a set of public officials who actually give a rip about the peasants whose taxes pay their salaries.

  • Chicago style!? Gestapo style fits better.
    Holder & Goring (Hermann) could become synonymous. As our Freedoms are dissolved in a wash of Obamaclean I can’t help seeing Obama in Germany in 08′ giving his heroic speech in the infamous site. Hold on America, it isn’t over yet.

  • My biggest fear is that Obumbler will be reelected. Obumbler openly insulted Pennsylvania in 2008 with his “bitter clinger” remarks. His Misadministration has made an enemy of coal and wants to shut down every coal fired power plant. Next, the EPA will go after fracking. Gasoline is approaching $4 a gallon and is loikely more than that (suburban Philadelphia, I guess you love abortion and gay marriage so much that you would vote for Obumber if gas was $6 a gallon). Allegheny County would vote Democrat if Satan, Stalin or Hitler ran as a Democrat.

  • “Maybe one day Australia and other countries will have a set of public officials who actually give a rip about the peasants whose taxes pay their salaries.”

    My ladyfriend just called me and told me that she is afraid to fly to Medugorjie this Thursday. When the tourist profits dry up, the public officials will notice.

  • From facebook-
    who knew “buy this or the cute and fluffy animal gets it!” gag would be the basis for some folks’ foreign policy, or that claiming the guy that shot the cute defenseless animal when his demands weren’t met was somehow not at fault, while those who didn’t comply to his unjust demands were?

  • That photograph should cost Obama the election.

    If it doesn’t, it will say more about the living, breathing trash that comprises the American electorate than it does about the dull and illogical incumbent running America into the dirt.

  • “The Good Lord knows how long that would take, but I would wager Wednesday November 7, 2012.”

    Or the twelfth of never.

  • Only fasting and prayer will drive out this demon. And a daily rosary. Lord, have mercy on your people who put their trust in you.

  • “it is no less than the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago which is responsible for launching Obama’s career”

    Could you provide some further explanation?

  • John 14: 8: If God is all you have, you have all you need.

  • Elaine,

    There is nothing too absurd that it can’t be posted on the internet. If Obama wasn’t a useful cog in the Chicago machine, any other quality good or bad would have counted for nothing. Obama himself credited Rev Wright for giving him street cred so let’s leave it at that. He doesn’t cling to guns or religion does he?

  • Further to Don the Kiwi’s remarks about the demonstrations in Sydney, there were reports of a demonstration outside the American Embassy in Paris on Saturday.

    Now, Saturday was the Feast of the Seven Dolors and Monteverdi’s Vespers of the BVM was sung at the Madeleine that evening. The church is only a few hundred metres from the embassy and I noticed an American official I know slightly in the congregation. Afterwards, he and his friends walked down the rue Royale and turned right into the av. Gabriel, where the embassy is. There were no signs of any special security precautions and, yet, if the television reports were to be believed, Paris was in a state of siege.

  • County sheriffs aren’t under the auspice or jusrisdiction of the DJ. They are county officials, all deputized and hired by the County Sheriff who is most usually elected. He/She may answer to a County Council or other duly elected civil authority, but is not bound to follow orders from any Federal authority, including the AG or anybody in the Dept of Justice.

    The only reason I bring this up is because there is a nascent effort whereby Sheriffs around the country have closed ranks and said that they will oppose all Federal intrusion into thier counties that is of questionable Constitutional merit. Of course, the Lamestream Media have breathed not a whit of this and won’t until it can find an incident that it can spin into a negative.

    More on that effort here.

  • “County sheriffs aren’t under the auspice or jusrisdiction of the DJ”

    Yep, which means that the Sheriff of Los Angeles County made the decision to pick the film maker up for the Feds.–Feds-interview-Calif–filmmaker-WEB

  • They warned us that if we voted for McCain/Palin Americans would be jailed for criticizing religion.

    And, they were correct.

  • Meanwhile, Obama’s vile, idiot occupy movement is playing its game down around Wall Street.

  • Don’t under estimate the demonic power behind Obama and I say this will all seriousness. Everything about this guy defies logic and commonsense. The fact that almost half the country still supports demonstrates the power of this delusion. Non-stop prayer, especially the rosary will be the only thing that defeats him. With that said, I still feel in my heart that on election night, we will be down on our knees giving thanks to God for pulling out a very close race.

  • Siobhan says “we will be down on our knees giving thanks to God for pulling out a very close race”

    Obama won’t lose a very close race. Just saying. And if it’s a few votes more than he and his team can “overcome”, the country is still on the downward path. Romney is not the Man of Steel and the Repubs would be blocked at every turn. It better be decisive in spite of Romney and the Repubs efforts to lose.

  • “County sheriffs aren’t under the auspice or jusrisdiction of the DJ”

    …unless Obama says so
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period.
    -EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.
    -EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.

  • I think some of you need to take a pill.

  • Agreed Art. Sheesh, some of you people are turning Obama into an arch fiend with the power of Lucifer behind him. He is an average politician from Chicago, who could deliver a good speech, and who lucked into the White House. He has been a disaster as President and the odds are that he will be looking for a new job come January. Rasmussen is the pollster to keep your eye on for the most accurate reflection as to the current state of the race.

  • Who, Art D., needs to take a pill, and what kind of pill?

    People are very concerned about the fate of the Republic, the possibility that Obama will be re-elected, and the impact that will have inevitably on freedom of religion in the public square. The very fact that a man like Obama could have been elected in the first place in very scary and points to something very fundamentally wrong in society.

    Perhaps when Jeremiah was going to confront the King, he should first have taken a pill and thereby avoided being thrown into the cistern. Perhaps he shouldn’t have walked into the King’s Court wearing that yoke. Perhaps he should not have said, “Thus saith the Lord God…” Personally, I thank God for the people at this forum (like Mary DV and T. Shaw and others) who are unafraid to say, “Thus saith the Lord God…” I say if anyone deserves a pill, it is the Obumbler. Perhaps he is already on drugs. His pagan adulators certainly seem to be.

  • Paul Primavera this reminds me of the homily yesterday by my pastor Rev. Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute fame. He said “thus saith the Lord God… and I tend to agree with Him.” This is the mental state of our dear leader. He has all the original ideas. And his ideas are the only ones that count.

  • Well, Mr. Paul, how’s this:

    Don’t under estimate the demonic power behind Obama and I say this will all seriousness

    And if it’s a few votes more than he and his team can “overcome”, the country is still on the downward path.

    Under the previous administration, the accusatory commentary crossed into lunatic’s territory. We do not need to repeat that. The institutional culture of the Democratic Party is quite bad enough as it is. I do not think that Obama adds much to that. The man’s a cipher.

  • I second what Art and Don have said. Barack Obama is a terrible president, and deserves much of the criticism thrown at him. But we don’t need to intimate that he is somehow evil or demonic.

  • Okay, I re-read my post and I didn’t mean to sound like a drama queen. I’m just very concern about this election because this election will say so much about who we are as a people. I also maintain the position that anyone who promotes abortion, sodomy, the complete disregard for the rule of law, etc., like Obama is evil. What else do you call it?

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  • We know him by his works. They can be characterized in no uncertain terms: destruction.

    There are few jobs because they don’t care about jobs. Slaves are easier to control. The regime cares about income redistribution and power. Either that or they’re utterly incompetent because in August, 197,000 American got new food stamps entitlements and 79,000 got new jobs.

    And, constant lies to camouflage the abject failure of Obama’s appeasement/foreign policy. The regime insults our intelligence by contending that a YouTube (the savages don’t have toilets, much less laptops) caused the coordinated, long-planned al Qaeda attack, and murders of four Americans, on the Libyan Embassy.

    Obama never held a real job; and neither will most of your kids.

  • elm says:
    “Paul Primavera this reminds me of the homily yesterday by my pastor Rev. Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute fame.”
    elm, you are truly blessed.

    Paul W. Primavera: one Holy Rosary…right now.

  • Yes Ma’m, Mary De Voe! I read and obey! Am flat on my back in bed with my injured leg immobilized, so instead of TV, a Rosary is most appropriate. I shall pray for our Republic.

  • •Elaine Krewer says:
    “it is no less than the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago which is responsible for launching Obama’s career”
    Could you provide some further explanation?

    On EWTN World Over, Raymond Aroyo told that the Bishops’ Campaign For Human Development funded ACORN and thirty or so abortion groups, listing the groups. The Bishops’ Campaign for Human Development funded community organizations and organizers including Obama.

  • Paul: When I pass away, I have asked God to let me say the Rosary forever. I, too, said the Rosary. Take care of yourself. So sorry to hear you are invalid.

  • don’t be afraid to say it, the devil is active and has more influence on some people than on others. the warfare is spiritual.
    the people we can more readily identify with the angels may be more hidden from view, but they are here.

  • Rather than saying Obama is a cipher, it’s better to say that he reflects in his attitudes and statements what his supporters have believed for many years. He doesn’t add any new thought but neither does he subtract anything or question any of their beliefs. If Obama were singular in his unfitness he would not matter. He and his supporters mean to win no matter what. What’s going in Wisconsin is emblematic of their approach. Any belief that they can be stopped by a victory here or there is not facing facts. It will take a long term concerted effort to have any chance of success.

  • “The Bishops’ Campaign for Human Development funded community organizations and organizers including Obama.”

    The Catholic Campaign for Human Development was established by the USCC, which includes all U.S. bishops and its establishment would have to have been approved by a majority vote of all bishops (not just the Archbishop of Chicago). Moreover, since the campaign funds so many different organizations the amount of funding that it provides to any single organization is probably fairly small (though not insignificant, and still problematic). If ACORN’s sole source of funds was CCHD, I doubt that it would have survived. To say that the Archdiocese of Chicago “launched Obama’s career” because its parishioners contributed to CCHD collections is a bit of a stretch.