Wait! Sin Has Consequences?

Friday, January 11, AD 2013

 

 

One of the more popular illusions of the past half century is that sin can be redefined and that we can engage in conduct formerly regarded as sinful free of consequence.  Alas, inconvenient reality keeps creeping back into the picture:

 

 

Workers at a Canadian clinic have discovered that almost 7 percent of their patients with gonorrhea had a strain of the bacteria against which all oral antibiotics are useless. This alarming report suggests gonorrhea may become an untreatable disease, warn public health experts.

Antibiotic-resistant strains of gonorrhea have been reported in outbreaks throughout Europe and Japan, according to US News, but the Canadian study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, marks the first time the strain has been seen in a large North American population.

“We’ve been very concerned about the threat of potentially untreatable gonorrhea,” Dr. Gail Bolan of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told Fox News. “We feel it’s only a matter of time until resistance will occur in the United States.

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11 Responses to Wait! Sin Has Consequences?

  • Noooo…it’s just you religious right types who think that sin has consequences. A direct quote from what you just said: “The Bible says that everyone who has sex outside of marriage will get STDs as a punishment from God.” You said it right in that paragraph there….

    Just thought I would save the trolls some time. 🙂

    –Jonathan

  • The duel relationship, man / nation, is paramount when discerning the Holy Scriptures as most all of you know.
    The sickness, sinfulness of man and the sickness, sinfulness of a nation go hand in hand.

    Our remedy is penance, prayers, sackcloth and Ashes…..starting with de-funding P.P.
    dismantle HHS mandate and establishing a respect for our Constitution starting from DC then out to the schools. Yes, Public school prayer to Jesus, Father and Holy Spirit to be encouraged! This is a nation under God, the one True God that suffered died and rose from the dead to save us from the gonorrhea that is false mercy being promoted from the Left.

  • We don’t call it sin anymore, we call it mental illness.

  • Just a failure of technology– or it is technology’s fault.

    The STD– oops, I mean “socially transmitted disease,” always use the full term to avoid confusion– is resistant to treatment. That means that the treatment is at fault. Possibly someone way back when is at fault for not using the treatment properly at a prior point, only mostly killing off the disease.

  • The bad news is that this becomes a public health threat to people who don’t fornicate indiscriminately. Transfer of genes can occur across bacterial species. So the meth head gets MRSA and the genes are transferred to his STD bacteria. Or some person who “hooks up” frequently, gets the STD and the genes are transferred to naturally occuring streptococcus bacteria in the vagina. This becomes the predominant strain of streptococcus in the woman’s body over time, and the gene gets transferred to a virulent strain of strep that causes strep throat. Suddenly, strep throat becomes incurable. Oh, but it’s everyone’s right to hook up, and it’s harmless.

    http://www.tufts.edu/med/apua/about_issue/about_antibioticres.shtml

    I see the results of antibiotic resistant bacteria in my line of work, and it drives up medical costs considerably. A guy goes in for a surgery, and his hardware gets infected. Suddenly, you are looking at a hospitalization and surgeries to debride necrotic tissue that runs to a quarter million dollars. That’s five years of earnings at the average U.S. wage of 44,000. Five years of a person’s production eaten up for the medical sequelae of sin.

  • If God wanted to deter immoral behavior with physical suffering, would we as a people respond in a rational manner? If not, can we still be considered rational creatures? If so, how will our creator judge those of us that act irrationally with full will?

    We are but a breath away from particular judgment.

  • If God wanted to deter immoral behavior with physical suffering, would we as a people respond in a rational manner?

    Don’t even need to involve God in this.

    People do stuff that they know they’re likely to end up with really bad results.
    Why?
    Because they value the almost-assured thing they’ll get more than the possible but much worse side-effect.

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  • “People do stuff that they know they’re likely to end up with really bad results.
    Why?”

    Original sin I suspect.

  • How long before someone from the “reality based” community informs us that this strain of gonorrhea was synthesized by the same military scientists who developed the AIDS viris and faked 911?

    (This next sentence should be skipped by those who are in any way squeamish:) According to a New Yorker article these newer strains, due to recent shifts in sexual behavior, incubate in the human pharynx.

Roosevelt Speaks!

Friday, January 11, AD 2013

Theodore Roosevelt throughout his life eagerly embraced new technology, and so it was no surprise that during the 1912 election he recorded some of his speeches.  Go here for links to the sound recordings of these speeches.   I wish there was a sound recording made of many of the nuggets of wisdom dispensed by Roosevelt.  I especially have always been fond of these two:

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One Response to Roosevelt Speaks!

Never Bet Against Theodore Roosevelt in a Knife Fight

Friday, January 11, AD 2013

From the Deadliest Warrior television series.  I have always enjoyed absurd alternate history speculations a la “What if Napoleon had a B-52 at Waterloo?”

By the time Lawrence of Arabia arrived on the scene TR was getting fairly long in the tooth and was in ill health, however, I would not have bet against him.  He used knives for killing fairly frequently.  This letter to his kids in 1901 is typical:

 

Keystone Ranch, Colo., Jan. 14th, 1901 –

Soon we saw the lion in a treetop, with two of the dogs so high up among the branches that he was striking at them. He was more afraid of us than of the dogs, and as soon as he saw us he took a great flying leap and was off, the pack close behind. In a few hundred yards they had him up another tree. This time, after a couple of hundred yards, the dogs caught him, and a great fight followed. They could have killed him by themselves, but he bit or clawed four of them, and for fear he might kill one I ran in and stabbed him behind the shoulder, thrusting the knife right into his heart. I have always wished to kill a cougar as I did this one, with dogs and the knife.

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2 Responses to Never Bet Against Theodore Roosevelt in a Knife Fight

Could Husband of the Year be Next?

Thursday, January 10, AD 2013

Former president Bill Clinton can add Father of the Year to the many awards he’s garnered in his decades of public service.

The National Father’s Day Council, which has been giving out such an honor for 72 years, has named Clinton one of its recipients for 2013.

“With the profound generosity, leadership and tireless dedication to both his public office and many philanthropic organizations, President Clinton exemplifies the attributes that we celebrate through the Father of the Year award,” said Dan Orwig, chairman of the National Father’s Day Committee.

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16 Responses to Could Husband of the Year be Next?

Molon Labe

Thursday, January 10, AD 2013

 

 

“While Leonidas was preparing to make his stand, a Persian envoy arrived. The envoy explained to Leonidas the futility of trying to resist the advance of the Great King’s army and demanded that the Greeks lay down their arms and submit to the might of Persia. Leonidas laconically told Xerxes, “Come and get them.(Molon labe).”

                              Plutarch, Leonidas

Vice President Joe Biden revealed that President Barack Obama might use an executive order to deal with guns.

“The president is going to act,” said Biden, giving some comments to the press before a meeting with victims of gun violence. “There are executives orders, there’s executive action that can be taken. We haven’t decided what that is yet. But we’re compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and the rest of the cabinet members as well as legislative action that we believe is required.”

Biden said that this is a moral issue and that “it’s critically important that we act.”

You know, if we have domestic unrest during the second term of this administration, I wouldn’t be surprised if it starts from Joe Biden shooting off his mouth and giving us glaring insight into how Obama would proceed if he thought he could get away with it.  Obama has nothing but contempt for American liberties and Biden merely idiotically repeats what he has heard.

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9 Responses to Molon Labe

  • We know that the bloody history of 20th century leftism depended upon first disarming the population.

  • “Come and get them!”

    Damn straight!

  • From Breitbart.com: “Good news — it has become known that hidden deep within the massive 2800-page bill called Obamacare there is a Senate Amendment protecting the right to keep and bear arms.

    “It seems that in their haste to cram socialized medicine down the throats of the American people, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Barack Obama overlooked Senate amendment 3276, Sec. 2716, part c.”

    I will not comply with any registration or confiscation order.

  • T Shaw,

    You found an obamarang…
    Kiwi might like that one.

  • Good one philip. 🙂

    You really need to have addressed that to any of our Australian brothers – are there any that lurk here?

    The opening words of our Maori haka challenging an oponent is probaby appropriate:

    Ka mate, ka mate – ka ora, ka ora!………
    “I live, I live – I die, I die.”

    Kia kaha . ( Stay strong)

  • G’day Don the Kiwi,

    Any chance I could immigtate into New Zealand? It’s something like that or “live free or die” the motto of the State of New Hampshire.

    Speaking of haka and diggers:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RpW507Y7ek

    Numbers Two and Three sons played college rugby.

    I got to see them play a lot of games. Mother didn’t appreciate it. She saw them both have their noses re-arranged.

    Guns and the man I sing.

    3,900,0000 Americans died in 2010.

    1,500,000 were unborn children killed by abortions.

    600,000 died from eating Whoppers and twinkies (heart disease)

    198,000 killed in preventable medical mishaps

    54,000 Killed by cars

    26,000 Killed by gravity (falls)

    17,000 killed by drunk drivers

    1,694 killed by knives

    726 killed by unarmed assailants (there are 51 ways, and counting, to kill with the empty hand.)

    496 killed with hammers/clubs.

    323 killed by long-barreled weapons (assault rifles, shotguns).

    BAN GUNS!

    In 18 days, NRA added 100,000 new, paid members. They’re aiming at 5,000,000 total membership.

  • Gidday T. Shaw

    I got to see them play a lot of games. Mother didn’t appreciate it. She saw them both have their noses re-arranged.

    That’s all part of character building, doncha reckon? 😉

    NZ is always looking for good migrants, particularly those who come with something to add – not ones that come from islamic countries as refugees, or bludge on our social welfare system, but get let in by the liberals. Trouble is at the moment, we’re inundated with liberals and progressives like the USA and much of western society, so many of our potential good migrants get turned away- like farmers from Zimbabwe, because they’re white, businessmen from South Africa because they can’t bring all their money with them etc. etc. You know the story.

Right, Left and Science

Wednesday, January 9, AD 2013

Daniel Sarewitz has a post at Nature in which he decries the trend among many scientists of acting as shrill Democrat partisans:

The US scientific community must decide if it wants to be a Democratic interest group or if it wants to reassert its value as an independent national asset. If scientists want to claim that their recommendations are independent of their political beliefs, they ought to be able to show that those recommendations have the support of scientists with conflicting beliefs. Expert panels advising the government on politically divisive issues could strengthen their authority by demonstrating political diversity. The National Academies, as well as many government agencies, already try to balance representation from the academic, non-governmental and private sectors on many science advisory panels; it would be only a small step to be equally explicit about ideological or political diversity. Such information could be given voluntarily.

To connect scientific advice to bipartisanship would benefit political debate. Volatile issues, such as the regulation of environmental and public-health risks, often lead to accusations of ‘junk science’ from opposing sides. Politicians would find it more difficult to attack science endorsed by avowedly bipartisan groups of scientists, and more difficult to justify their policy preferences by scientific claims that were contradicted by bipartisan panels.

Go here to read the rest.  The comments to the article are instructive and reveal the battle going on within the scientific community regarding partisanship:

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19 Responses to Right, Left and Science

  • Valuable insights Donald. Bookmarked for review. Thanks.

  • Maybe I’m a Romantic, but I thought back in the day there were massive rewards for successfully demonstrating scientific findings were false. If there wasn’t such a system, there should. Couple that with an iron-clad rule that Congress can make laws based on scientific conclusions only if they have been subjected to rigorous and multiple double-blind researches as opposed to models.

  • I published in Science journal in 1999, and thus maintained a subscription off and on since then. Two years ago, we cancelled it because we were sick of the constant bombardment in the mail with literature asking us to donate and support extremely left liberal political policies, in the name of science. They were unabashedly partisan.

    For a while I was just curious to know how far it went — it was Obama this and Obama that, global warming this and global warming that, save our universities from anti-science people, etc. — until I’d had enough. I contacted them a few times to tell them I saw right through the partisanship and was disappointed. No response, just kept asking me for money.

    Very disappointing.

    Also, if you notice, much of what they call evolutionary discoveries are directed at trying to demonstrate that our ability to think evolved (so they can say there is no soul, no God), and that all kinds of sexual deviancy are really just normal evolutionary developments.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking article, Don.

  • It’s an interesting subject, but I’m not sure that I agree with the Nature editorial. The goal shouldn’t be balance in politics among scientists; it should be the removal of political considerations from science.

    A side note, but an example: when did we start listening to Nobel non-Peace Prize winners for advice on peace? Every year you see a group of physicists or whatever issuing their policy prescriptions on human rights and politics. The kind of person who wins a Nobel Prize is very smart, but he may typically be one who throws himself completely into his work. Better a smart person’s advice than a dumb person, but better someone who’s smart in the field he’s talking about than someone who’s spent the last 30 years looking at bacteria in a college lab. Of course the bacteria guy is going to think that Republicans are anti-science. He read it in the one newspaper article he’s seen in the past decade.

    The ugly parallel that I thought of when reading the article was racial balance. These days, we judge committees on whether they “look like America”. We root against a football team if they have a mostly-white coaching staff. But color has nothing to do with their quality or sportsmanship. Likewise, I don’t want to see a bipartisan scientific report filled with policy recommendations. I want to see sound science stated clearly, with costs, benefits, and risks spelled out for the policy expert and voter to consider.

    The missing virtue is humility. Science requires humility. Like its Enlightenment relative America, it requires checks and balances because it knows that humans are fallible. A humble scientist would never endorse a candidate as a representitive of his field of study.

  • I was a Radiation Monitoring System Engineer at a Westinghouse Pressurized Water Reactor about a decade and a half ago. The following statement in the article is 100% correct:

    “We have the example of distinguished Taiwanese scientists begging that attention be paid to the inadvertent experiment of exposure of thousands of persons to radiation by accidental contamination of reinforcing bars with cobalt 60. That inadvertent experiment seemed to show that the risks of radiation have been vastly overstated, and that, of course, threatens the radiation hysteria industry.”

    This effect is called radiation hormesis. More about this is discussed here:

    http://www.radpro.com/641luckey.pdf

    Please go to the right bottom side of PDF page 15 or physical page 35 to start reading about the Cobalt-60 contamination of structural steel in a Taiwanese apartment complex that led to an apparent rise in health and longevity of the residents.

    The current radiation exposure limits mandated by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission are so absurdly low that exposure to these limits is completely inconsequential. The fact of the matter is that a little radiation is GOOD for you.

    About 1.7 billion years ago a naturally occurring deposit of uranium in Okla, Gabon, Africa went critical and fissioned on and off for hundreds of thousands of years:

    http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/Files/Okloreactor.pdf

    The result was a subsequent proliferation of all manner of various life forms through the central part of the African continent.

    Junk science? That’s the anti-nuclear groups of UCS, WISE and NIRS, and the rest of liberal progressive Democrat Academia. That’s why when a previous contributor here referenced Academia for his source of information on all things nuclear and radiation, I just about puked. How about some really truthful information, say from a submarine reactor operator, or a radiation health physicist, or a commercial nuclear power engineer? Liberal professors in colleges and universities are just about “done educated into imbecility”.

    One more thing: I do not agree with materialistic evolution, either, and for good scientific reasons. The following web site run by astrophysicist Hugh Ross who is an Evangelical Protestant Christian has a ton of information that reconciles the fossil record with what the Bible says:

    http://www.reasons.org/

    The two things I believe in? Science and Divine Revelation in the Bible, Tradition and the Church. Pope JP II said in his encyclical Fides et Ratio that they go together, and he was 100% right. That encyclical ought to be required reading for every Christian regardless of denomination.

  • “A side note, but an example: when did we start listening to Nobel non-Peace Prize winners for advice on peace? ”

    Or, considering some of the Nobel Peace Prize Winners, any Nobel Prize winners on the subject of peace.

    People can be very bright in one area of life and complete idiots in others. One of Bertrand Russell’s wives noted that he was unable to boil water for tea even after she gave him written instructions as to how to do it. One of the problems in our society currently is that too much power has flowed to the legal profession and our government’ awash with laws and regulations that no one can fully comprehend and which are often contradictory, is proof of that sad fact. We have confused glibness, credentials and technical expertise in narrow fields of knowledge with wisdom and as a result have often exiled common sense and broad experience of life from our decision making process.

  • A side note, but an example: when did we start listening to Nobel non-Peace Prize winners for advice on peace?

    The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Linus Pauling, Le Duc Tho, Yasser Arafat, Bernard Lown & Co., Desmond Tutu, Rigoberta Menchu, Jimmy Carter, Albert Gore, and Barack Obama. Of course we are listening to someone else.

  • Legal “experts” mishandling things at the beginning, journalists misreporting things at the end. The actual experts in the middle don’t stand a chance.

    And then, after all that is done, non-experts getting equal say. Everything from youtube to evangelical Bible study encourages each person to weight his opinion equally against the people who’ve actually studied the subject. (And comment threads permit the same thing.)

    I made a comment on Foxfier’s “culture war” thread about the importance of learning how to filter information. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that this skill is *the* skill for the information age. Oh, I’ve got a good one: let’s say that we’ve left the information age and entered the excess information age. Handling garbage statistics and disguised opinions is increasingly important.

  • I was recently told by a good friend who work at a local large college – specifically with sheep reproduction – that there is no difference in stem cells. Adult and embryonic is all the same just simple stem cells. I was going to comment but I knew it would go no where and mean nothing if I did… But the obvious is missing from that thought process. I am sure if the emrbyo had a chance to say something it would be different…

  • Robert: ” I am sure if the emrbyo had a chance to say something it would be different…”
    The embryo has much to say. Scientists do not and often refuse to listen. The speaker in the video says that he is for Embryonic Stem Cell research. Informed consent from the sovereign person who is created equal to every other human being in the human species, self-evident truth, is forbidden. Embryonic stem cells are human body parts taken wihout consent or permission from the sovereign person.

    Stacy Trasancos: “Also, if you notice, much of what they call evolutionary discoveries are directed at trying to demonstrate that our ability to think evolved (so they can say there is no soul, no God), and that all kinds of sexual deviancy are really just normal evolutionary developments.”

    Some scientists say that there is no soul, no God. Man’s ability to think may have evolved, but man’s soul is metaphysical, no material parts and therefore cannot change or evolve. Man’s sovereign personhood is created and endowed to him by our Creator. Unalienable rights are not legislated for him by the state. The Majority of One, often discarded. Man recognizes the magnificent sovereign person as who he is created. The magnificent design of man’s body and soul dictates respect. The human being exists because God exists. God is life. If the human being is alive, then God is his life. Beauty does not need reason to exist, cannot sized or counted or captured.
    Scientists tell us that man only uses 11 % of his brain. This coming from a man using only 11% of his brain. If man’s thinking evolved, this means that 89% of science is faith. 89% of the atheist’s brain is religious. It is not all very scientific.
    Sexual deviancy in animals, I have observed scientifically, is a matter of dominance, not of lust. Lust is peculiar to man and is not of beauty and virtue.

  • I am not sure that the solution proposed by Sarewitz in the Nature article would be a complete fix for the problem. Having token dissenters or token conservatives in the academy and on journal boards will help, but will not change what I think is the real problem. There are a lot of scientists doing bad science out there and their peers, the academy, and the science journals are not calling them on it.

    Many bemoan the lack of scientific literacy among non-scientists, but the real problem is lack of scientific literacy among actual scientists. There is a lack of understanding of basic logic and confusion about what science can be certain of. The abuse of statistics by scientists is widespread. It lends itself to great parody. My favorite is this:
    http://www.jsur.org/ar/jsur_ben102010.pdf

    Besides the token conservatives, some additional solutions would be:
    1. Better training of scientists in logic, science theory, and how statistics can be miss-used (Mann’s hockey stick would make the perfect case study).
    2. Total transparency in the peer-review and article acceptance processes at science journals.
    3. The insistence that all papers include links to all raw data, program codes used and any other information needed to completely reproduce the author’s work.
    4. The insistence that anything written in a summary of a paper actually be supported by the facts presented in the body of the paper. (Anyone who’s looked at the IPCC reports knows exactly what I’m talking about.)

    I work in the energy industry. My industry is the perfect storm of multiple bad sciences (environmental extremism, global warming alarmism, nuclear paranoia) and idiotic government policies derived from them. I can’t express the level of my frustration at finding out that the extension of the wind energy production tax credit had been included in the fiscal cliff deal.

  • If I recall correctly Bertrand Russell wrote (in Why I am not a Christian) that what distinguishes a scientist from a religious believer is his innate scepticism, a stance that enables him ever able to change his theories in the light of experiments and experience. He can change his current beliefs as easily as he changes clothes without feeling much angst about it. Now this may have been true of Russell. the philosopher, mathematician and all-round gadfly; though I suspect that he like most others who turn away from Christianity , did so for reasons having to do with Jesus Christ’s severe injunctions on sex (which in fairness none of us can live by except through Grace,) rather issues of pure science. But this is not true of the average scientist working today. There is an inertia associated with the years of study and ideological training that cannot be easily jettisoned without impacting his career and life prospects, hence much of his defensiveness. Most people would have a warm feeling reading how Gottlieb Frege set aside ten years of work logic on account of an apparently decisive objection from Russell, but few of us would be as sanguine at the prospect.

    The modern scientist is a victim of the “Renaissance Man” effect wherein he has to be knowledgeable in a host of subjects. The average physicist knows far more than Einstein did in 1905, (the papers he wrote that year can be read by a diligent physics freshman,) but is unable to make a decisive contribution because of the sheer numbers of physicists at work today and the overwhelming complexity of the field. This is apart from the peer review process, where the editors are ever ready to spot any plagiarism unlike the case with Einstein where got away without attribution in at least two of his papers.

    The prestige of science today, has little to do with the work of the current generation of scientists, much of the science that has impact on our lives were the work of natural philosophers working in the empirical tradition of the nineteenth century as exemplified by such (most of whom were religious) men as Faraday, Maxwell, Babbage, Boole, Pasteur, Edison, Parsons and Kelvin to name only a few. To them and their influence on subsequent generations we owe the electric generators, telephones, engines, radio, penicillin, electronics and all the impressive systems and gadgetry without which modern life would not be possible. The Wright Brothers were mechanics.

    In those days it was possible to conduct experiments with very little money. According to Steven Weinberg it took only about sixty pounds of His Majesty’s money for Ernst Rutherford and his assistants to establish that an atom is mostly empty space with a hard centre. The search for the Higgs particle on the other hand required the use of multi-billion dollar facilities and subsequent examination for resonances by hundreds of highly-qualified scientists. A maverick scientist begging for cash to run an experiment counter to the prevailing orthodoxy would thus be on own, for who in government is prepared to go against a cabal that has billions of dollars behind it. The fear of being labeled a flat-earther, and losing one’s job is ever present

    Dissidence must be made costly in order to keep the plum jobs and financial backing, and is largely suppressed by blatant hypocrisy.Thus we have the spectacle of the global warming scientists who even while drawing billions from the government teat, and denying the contrarian scientists the same, accuse the sceptics of being in the pay of Exxon or Shell. As the fable of the Emperor’s new clothes indicates such a level of untruth cannot be sustained without the cooperation of legions. And the legions don’t work for free, they too demand their pound of flesh, hence we have a situation where if it is indeed the case that there is global warming, a neat solution would be to build more nuclear reactors which produces no carbon dioxide to replace the coal-fired generators. Instead we have the anomaly that thanks to the greens everything else except nuclear power is considered.

    Such ideological cooperation is apparent in many fields, and is clearly evident in the nonsense about the spread of AIDS. It is has been clear for many years now that homosexuals are seven to ten times as likely as normal people to get AIDS, (and let’s face it the sodomites among the heterosexuals are not queuing up to admit to sodomy) thus a valid hypothesis is that sodomy causes AIDS. But try to get funding to test this on a large scale. The howls of protest from Obama down to the kindergarten teachers, with possibly a jeremiad from Marvin Heir about a hidden plan for a second Holocaust this time of homosexuals, would quail any such attempt. Or for that matter try launching any studies into IQ differences between races.

    In totality then, given the nexus of patronage, ideology, money and influence that the practice of science in the US has to deal with, the confederates find a natural home Democratic Party. And thus the same type of fools who write books such as The Republican War On Science would never consider subjecting the Democrats to the same. This even as the average Republican tends to have a better education and greater common sense.

    For similar reasons it is usually the engineers having a comparable education with physicists, but not beholden to patronage and having to build reliable working systems instead of imaginary hand-waving, who tend to be skeptical of Darwinism and other grand theorising that have little support by way of clear experiments.

  • please read : … the confederates find a natural home in the Democratic Party …

  • @Paul

    I, too, was skeptical of macro-evolution for a time, but the fact that the Church recognizes there is no conflict between evolution and Christianity and, indeed, now seems to subscribe fully to the theory, has helped assuage my doubts, which were admittedly not based on science. I am of the opinion that strict creationists and Genesis literalists suffer from a lack of imagination and an unfortunate tendency to limit the genius and power of God.

    The more interesting question to me has to do with how certain Catholic doctrines should be understood in light of what we now know about evolution. I speak specifically with regards to the ensoulment, the origin of our species, the unique nature of man, and common parentage.

  • @ JL,

    Thank you. I refer the reader to Pope Pius XII’s encyclical, Humani Generis:

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_12081950_humani-generis_en.html

    The Pope states in paragraph 37:

    “When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents.”

    We know the Pope was correct because in 1987, geneticists in the journal Nature examined the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from 147 people across all major racial groups. These researchers found that the lineage of all people alive today falls on one of two branches in humanity’s family tree. One of these branches consists of nothing but African lineage.The other contains all other groups, including some African lineage. The geneticists concluded that every person on Earth can trace his or her lineage back to a single common female ancestor who lived around 200K years ago. Because one entire branch of human lineage is of African origin and the other contains African lineage as well, the study’s authors concluded Africa is the place where this woman lived. The scientists named this common female ancestor Mitochondrial Eve. There was one Adam and one Eve exactly as Pope Pius XII states.

    Now I also refer the reader to Dr. Gerhard Schroeder’s work (he is an orthodox Jew and a physicist who does REAL science):

    http://geraldschroeder.com/AccordingToGod.aspx

    Please click on the “Articles” field in the horizontal bar near the top of the page. I summarize with math equations Dr. Schroeder’s thoughts on correlating days of creation with the 13.73 billion year history of the universe here (the equations are the same as those for radioactive decay which as a former Radiation Monitoring System Engineer, I do know something about):

    http://commentarius-ioannis.blogspot.com/2009/07/correlation-of-creation-days-with.html

    The one theological problem I have is this. Romans 5:12 states, “Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.” If old Earth History Creationism is therefore correct, then death pre-existed Adam’s sin and that is not consistent with what St. Paul wrote. So this means that I am not as smart as I think I am because I can’t figure all this stuff out. But just because I can’t figure it out does NOT mean that science and divine revelation are inconsistent. Rather, it means that I am a fallible human being who “sees through a glass darkly now.”

  • @Paul

    Thank you for the references. Humani Generis is clearly something I must read on the matter. I’ve also heard that the-Cardinal Ratzinger’s “In the Beginning…” is particularly insightful. I’ll get to your other resources when I have the time and the resolve to plow through scientific text (which might admittedly be never!).

    Perhaps Paul refers more to spiritual death than the biological variety? The capacity for the soul to turn away from God and thus be lost? Whatever the case, the intersection of evolution and Catholicism is highly fascinating and extremely difficult for me to fully understand.

    The doctrine of common parentage is one to which I know Catholics must assent, but evolution still raises all sorts of questions and complications. If one species of near-humans was evolving toward human status, how did only two cross this threshold? What happened to the rest? Did they become “human” biologically, but, for whatever reason were not ensouled? And what can be said of other humanoid species, such as the neanderthals? Their apparent capacity to create art seems to cast doubt on GKC’s dichotomy of degree and type, a notion that I always found very explanatory and romantic. Were they not ensouled?

    I also do not quite fully comprehend Church teaching on Original Sin. I tend towards explanations of it and its effects as a sort of gradual propensity of man to turn away from God, thus resulting in a fallen state of creation, to which all are born into. However, the Church has consistently, as far as I know, maintained that the Fall was a single event in history. If this is the case, then I have no way of understanding how such a condition is transmitted from one generation to the next. Sin doesn’t seem like something that can be passed on through genetics, and Jesus clearly condemns this Jewish belief. So how then is the stain of original sin, something intrinsic to humans and not an extrinsic condition of their reality, passed on from father to son?

    Clearly lots of questions. But the dearth of answers, as you indicate, is hardly an indication that the Church’s theology is wrong nor incompatible with science. I just feel like a petulant, impatient child who wants his mother to refine an explanation of something in light of what he just learned in science class.

  • Folks, I taught an Apologetics course on Mitochondrial Eve that JL and I briefly disucssed here. This is the substance of that course. It demonstrates that there was a real Eve, and one day we will be able to demonstrate that there was a real Adam, too. Yes, I plagiarized shamelessly from Dr. Hugh Ross, Dr. Gerald Schroeder, Pope Pius XII, etc.

    A geneticist, Dr. Wesley Brown, in 1980 noticed that when the mtDNA of two humans is compared, the samples are much more similar than when the mtDNA of two other primates — for example, two chimpanzees — is compared. Brown found, in fact, that the mtDNA of two humans has only about half as many differences as the mtDNA of two other primates within the same species. This suggests that humans share a much more recent common ancestor.

    In 1987 geneticists in the journal Nature examined the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from 147 people across all major racial groups. These researchers found that the lineage of all people alive today falls on one of two branches in humanity’s family tree. One of these branches consists of nothing but African lineage. The other contains all other groups, including some African lineage. The geneticists concluded that every person on Earth can trace his or her lineage back to a single common female ancestor who lived around 200K years ago. Because one entire branch of human lineage is of African origin and the other contains African lineage as well, the study’s authors concluded Africa is the place where this woman lived. The scientists named this common female ancestor Mitochondrial Eve.

    Evolutionists maintain that the Mitochondrial Eve was not the first — or only — woman on Earth during the time she lived. Instead, this woman is simply the most recent person to whom all people can trace their genealogy. According to them, there were many women who came before her and many women who came after, but her life is the point from which all modern branches on humanity’s family tree grew. If true, then why is she the only one to have successfully passed down her mtDNA?

    When the researchers in the 1987 study looked at samples taken from 147 different people and fetuses, they found 133 distinct sequences of mtDNA. After comparing the number of differences among the mtDNA samples within races, they found that Africans have the most diversity (that is, the most number of differences) of any single racial group. This would suggest that the mtDNA found in Africans is the oldest. Since it has had the most mutations, a process which takes time, it must be the oldest of lineages around today.

    The two distinct branches contained the mtDNA found in the five main populations on the planet:

    African
    Asian
    European
    Australian
    New Guinean

    Researchers found that in the branch that was not exclusively African, racial populations often had more than one lineage. For example, one New Guinean lineage finds its closest relative in a lineage present in Asia, not New Guinea. All of the lineages and both of the two branches, however, can all be traced back to one theorized point: Mitochondrial Eve.

    So how did Eve end up being humanity’s most recent common ancestor? We shall investigate that, as well as some arguments lodged against the Mitochondrial Eve theory. But first, what is DNA, what are mitochondria, and why do scientists use mtDNA to track lineage?

    Biologists have been aware of mitochondria since the 19th century. In the late 1970s the value of using the DNA within mitochondria to track ancient human history became clear. Mitochondrial DNA differs in a few key ways from nuclear DNA — the variety of DNA located within the nucleus of each of one’s cells determines eye color, racial features, susceptibility to certain diseases and other defining characteristics. mtDNA, on the other hand, contains codes for making proteins and carrying out the other processes mitochondria undertake.

    The genes carried in the form of nuclear DNA are the result of a merger between mother’s and father’s DNA — this merger is called recombination. mtDNA, however, is derived almost exclusively from the mother. This is because the egg of a female human contains lots of mtDNA, while male sperm contains just a bit of mitochondria. A function of a single mitochondrion is generating power for the cell containing it, and sperm use a few mitochondria in the tail to power their race towards the egg for fertilization. These mitochondria are destroyed after the sperm fertilizes the egg, and thus any mtDNA that could be passed on from the father’s side is lost.

    This means that mtDNA is matrilineal — only the mother’s side survives from generation to generation. A mother who gives birth only to sons will see her mtDNA lineage lost. Examination of mtDNA so far has yielded only rare and unusual cases where paternal mtDNA survives and is passed onto the child. Mitochondria are also valuable to evolutionists because copies of the exact same mtDNA one has can be found in cells throughout one’s body. Within each cell, too, there may be thousands of copies of mtDNA. Conversely, the nuclear DNA in a cell usually contains just two copies. It is also easier to extract mtDNA than nuclear DNA, since it is found outside the fragile and more rapidly decaying nucleus of the cell.

    What all this adds up to is that a one’s mtDNA is the same as one’s mother’s, since there is no recombination to form a third version, distinct from both one’s mother’s and father’s but a combination of both. This makes mtDNA much easier to track from an anthropological standpoint. Humans have been around for a long time. In the hundreds of thousands of years we’ve been walking the planet, our numbers have grown. How is it that only about 200K years ago a single woman became the great-grandmother of us all? Does NOT human history go further back than that? We will now examine how humanity may have come close to extinction, setting the stage for Mitochondrial Eve to leave her enduring legacy.

    It was estimated that Mitochondrial Eve lived about 200K years ago. With a margin of error included, she would have been alive between 500K and 50K years ago. Given that Eve is thought to have lived during a time when there were other women alive, how is it that all of us alive today descended from her alone? There are a couple explanations for how only Eve’s mtDNA alone could have survived Most likely a combination of converging factors is responsible.

    The likeliest possibility is that an evolutionary bottleneck occurred among humankind while Eve was alive. This is a situation where a large majority of the members of species suddenly die out, bringing the species to the verge of extinction. This sudden decrease in numbers is NOT due to any kind of failure to adapt. Instead, it’s more likely the result of a catastrophe of some sort, for example, the result of a comet hitting the Earth or a super volcano eruption. Afterward, just a few members remain to repopulate the group and continue to evolve. Bottlenecks are suspected to have taken place at different times in humanity’s history Thus, it is credible that an event like this could have taken place during Eve’s lifetime.

    A 1998 report concluded that about 70K years ago, humanity was reduced to only about 15K people on the whole planet. With very few people spread out across the planet, humankind was on the verge of extinction. The event that caused the near-loss of our species was an eruption of Mount Toba in Sumatra. This volcanic eruption was so immense that it:

    Lowered global temperatures
    Killed off the animals and plants that nourished humans, and
    Spurred the coldest ice age the planet has seen, lasting 1,000 years.

    The Mitochondrial Eve theory evokes similar scenarios. IF the human population was reduced dramatically, AND there were NOT many women around to bear children, THEN the stage is set for one “Lucky Mother” to emerge as a most recent common ancestor. It is possible that after a few generations, the mtDNA of the other women died out. IF a woman produces only male offspring, THEN her mtDNA will NOT be passed along, since children do NOT receive mtDNA from their father. This means that while the woman’s sons will have her mtDNA, her grandchildren will NOT, and her line will be lost. It is possible that this was the cause of Eve emerging as the sole “Lucky Mother” who in essence gave birth to us all.

    Alternate Hypothesis – A reviewer of this presentation asked: Is it truly Eve we are talking about or is it not more likely that the “Lucky Woman” was Noah’s wife? She fits the conditions described exactly…except the literal readers of the Bible would place her more in the 5,000 – 10,000 BC range. While the Bible states we have one common mother in Eve, the events that have occurred since then would seem to make it impossible to ascertain what she was like. Only Noah’s wife, or the wives of his sons could be the focal point of our mtDNA since the Flood. And the Flood provides exactly the kind of cataclysmic event that would have created a bottleneck as described in this presentation.

    The reason why this alternative does not seem tenable is that the Great Flood of Noah appears to have been a localized event around the Black Sea area instead of an inundation that flooded the entire planet. If a world-wide flood had occurred, then today there would not be massive fresh water lakes with separate salt water oceans because such a flood would have equalized salt content everywhere. There are additional archeological reasons to think this was localized around the Black Sea area, as well as linguistic reasons pertaining to the use of the word “land” or “earth” in the Genesis account. One only objection to a world-wide flood is the migration of all diverse species from Antarctica in the south and the Artic in the north, and from North and South America that would be required across the vast oceans to the Middle East where Noah was located so that they could be housed in the great Ark for the duration of the flood. Such is simply non-feasible.

    Now back to Mitochondrial Eve. Although talk of genetic mutations and DNA sequences makes it seem complex, at its core, tracking mtDNA is based on a deceptively simple notion: People whose ancestors were once closely related should have almost identical mtDNA. mtDNA can undergo mutations over time, but it takes time for these mutations to occur. Logically, the fewer there are, the less time has gone by since two families’ ancestors diverged. Those people who have just a few differences in their mtDNA sequences would be more recently related than those sequences which bear many differences.

    Let us suppose your great-great-grandmother on your mom’s side — whom we’ll call Mildred — had a sister, whom we’ll call Tillie. Both shared identical mtDNA which they received from their mother. But imagine that Tillie and Mildred had a terrible argument, and Tillie moved across the country, while Mildred’s descendants — including you — stayed put. Tillie and Millie never spoke again. Both women gave birth to girls, and so their matrilineal mtDNA was passed on. But as the generations continued, the families of the two grew less and less aware of the existence of the other branch, until neither line was aware of the other. But the two lines are about to be inadvertently reunited. Researchers placed a national advertisement asking for test subjects for a study of recent human population trends using mtDNA for mapping. By coincidence, you and a distant cousin of yours on Tillie’s side of the family both decide to volunteer. After they collect a DNA sample from you, the researchers compare your mtDNA to the sequences from the other candidates. Lo and behold — they find that two volunteers are cousins. Comparing your mtDNA to your cousin’s, the geneticists should be able to tell about how long ago Tillie and Mildred had their argument. If they checked the local populations of your area and your cousin’s area, they should also be able to tell whether it was Tillie or Millie who migrated, by finding which population shared more of the mtDNA present in your family line. More people with the same mtDNA means that that sequence has been around longer. What’s more, they can also conclude that since you and your cousin share similar mtDNA, you have a most common recent ancestor, the woman who is mother to Tillie and Mildred. Since it takes a while for mtDNA mutations to occur, it would be pretty difficult for these imagined geneticists to pin down you and your cousin with accuracy. But when this technique is extrapolated over a period spanning tens or hundreds of thousands of years, it becomes much more viable. Not everyone accepts the Mitochondrial Eve theory, however.

    Evolutionary mapping through the use of mtDNA is inexact. As mtDNA study continued after the late 1970s, scientists discovered a property known as heteroplasmy — the presence of more than one sequence of mtDNA found in the same person. Even within a single person, there are differences between mtDNA that make comparing one person or group to another tricky. The 1987 study of the Mitochondrial Eve came under attack when it was pointed out that the “African” population the researchers sampled was actually made up almost entirely of African-Americans. Is it possible that in the few hundred years since Africans had been imported to the Americas against their will that African-Americans’ mtDNA had mutated enough so as to render the sample useless? In the face of the criticism, researchers took an additional sample of Africans living in Africa, but found virtually the same results.

    Another problem with mtDNA study is the differences in the rate of mutation. If a particular sequence of mtDNA was concluded to develop a mutation in 1,000 years, then would two strains of mtDNA from the same lineage with two mutations have diverged about 2,000 years ago? This is how researchers decided Mitochondrial Eve was living around 200,000 years ago. The researchers assumed that mtDNA mutates at a consistent rate. However, the rate of mutation for mtDNA is uncertain and immeasurable. If we look at the rate of mutation among a whole group of organisms, say, all people alive today — called the phylogenetic rate — we might conclude that mtDNA mutates at a consistent rate. But if we look at a single family line within that larger group — the pedigree rate – we will most likely find an entirely different rate of mutation.

    Since the “mutational clock” used by the researchers was called into question, they expanded the date for Eve’s existence to between 500,000 and 50,000 years ago. Decades after the Mitochondrial Eve study was published, the results are still hotly debated. Are we all descended from a most recent common ancestor who lived 200,000 years ago? Can mtDNA even tell us precisely? These questions remain unanswered by science and frame the future work of evolutionary geneticists. But the 1987 study changed the way we think about ourselves as humans. It pointed out that somewhere down the line of history, we are all related.

    Genesis chapter 2 states the following:

    The LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being. Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and he placed there the man whom he had formed…The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it. The LORD God gave man this order: “You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and bad. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die.” The LORD God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” …So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”

    Pope Pius XII stated: “When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parents of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now, it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the teaching authority of the Church proposed with regard to original sin which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam, and which, through generation, is passed onto all and is in everyone as his own” (Humani Generis 37).

    The story of the creation and fall of man is a true one, even if not written entirely according to modern literary techniques. The Catechism states: “The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents” (CCC 390). Conclusion: If there is no Fall, then there is no Redemption.

  • “The missing virtue is humility. Science requires humility” (Pinky)
    True True .. and really so does every field of study and every method in search of truth

  • Very interesting essay and discussion…regarding human evolution:

    Even if in some sense true, it seems to me that it had to have reached ‘Omega’ (at the Incarnation?). Perhaps now its locus is entirely spiritual (i.e. we ‘evolve’ if/as we become holier, saintlier, imitating Christ), leading us to the Kingdom of God.

Klavan: Gloom Begone!

Tuesday, January 8, AD 2013

 

 

Andrew Klavan writes a column and notes reasons for optimism in our winter of discontent:

1. Fracking. As I’ve said before, Obama and the EPA will ultimately be splatter on the windshield of this progress. There’s energy in them thar hills and eventually we’re going to get at it, whether these luddite environmental knuckleheads like it or not. That means wealth, energy independence, jobs, power and a reboot of Dallas. Obama may be choosing decline, but the rest of the country may well choose prosperity and growth in spite of him.

2. Federalism. Around the country, conservative governors are taking action that could galvanize reform nationwide. Right-to-work laws, state budget cuts, reduced property taxes and creative approaches to education. As prosperity follows these practices — and abandons California and Illinois and other lagging states — they will gain credence with the general population and make political stars of the governors who supported them.

3. Reality is on our side. When I call Obama a reactionary, what I mean is that he adheres to a grievance-based socialist ideology he learned in college from professors who were probably old even then. As these academics die and go to hell for all eternity, up-and-comers may begin to notice that the poor suffer under left-wing programs and rise under the free market, that education improves under conservative guidance and gets worse under liberals, and that big business actually gets more entrenched and powerful under the left while the right helps the little guy thrive. That, after all, will be the off-beat, radical position, and academics love to be off-beat and radical as long as everyone around them is being off-beat and radical too. A new generation is already on the rise that understands entitlements are unsustainable and that freedom works. It won’t be long at all before we begin to hear their voices in the mainstream. I hope.

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21 Responses to Klavan: Gloom Begone!

  • In addition to point 1 on fracking for oil and gas above, we should also mine coal and build new nuclear power plants based on a thorium-232 / uranium-233 fuel cycle. With the gas and oil from fracking, and with energy from new nukes applied to the Fischer-Tropsch process of producing liquid fuels out of coal, we won’t need Saudi oil and can tell the Islamists to go drown in their mineral slime.

  • I really wonder how long it will take mindless American traitors to realize they made the worst mistake in our entire history with the reelection of a socialist president. I expect Gloom to really deepen in the new year.

  • I am sincerely sorry.

    I am positively pessimistic. I can’t talk about it with my sons. They will suffer.

    It all has been shoved too far down the rat-hole. The Obama gang set out to destroy the evil, unjust private sector and they killed the “goose that lays the golden eggs.”

    The vile imbeciles re-elected the destroyer ensuring it cannot be resurrected.

    The gutless GOP House majority now is smaller.

    And, worse, GOP House leadership are equally as bad borrowers/spenders, e.g., their surrender in the so-called “fiscal cliff” deal.

    I see no way they can do any better on needed spending cuts and the debt ceiling curtailments in two months.

    God gave us memory so we could have jobs in 2014.

  • “And, worse, GOP House leadership are equally as bad borrowers/spenders, e.g., their surrender in the so-called “fiscal cliff” deal.”

    I have read that many times on conservative sites T. Shaw and it is rubbish. If the Republicans had done nothing severe tax increases would have been imposed on the American public. Now the Republicans have made permanent the Bush tax cuts for 98% of American taxpayers and solved the problem of the Alternative Minimum Tax be having it finally pegged to inflation. In regard to spending cuts I am disappointed but not surprised. With the Democrats in control of the Senate, the best the Republicans can do is to attempt to block new spending and I believe they will do that. So there will be no new trillion dollar “stimulus” and Obama can forget about Congress allocating large funds for new programs. In the wake of an unnerving defeat in November I actually believe the Republicans haven’t done too bad so far.

    My kids are 21, 21 and 17. I refuse to be pessimistic about the future of their country, and as long as I live I will fight to brighten that future. Woe is me pessimism is a luxury I cannot afford.

  • I like Donald’s sense of hope even if I do not always feel it: “My kids are 21, 21 and 17. I refuse to be pessimistic about the future of their country, and as long as I live I will fight to brighten that future. Woe is me pessimism is a luxury I cannot afford.”

    All we have to do to prosper is repent. As I have repeatedly commented before, we have access to enough natural resources – uranium, thorium, coal, gas, etc. – for a more than adequate supply of low cost energy essential to a thriving technological society. God has been exceedingly generous towards us. That isn’t the problem. Rather, man’s attitude and rebellion are the problem. I see signs of that reversing as Life Site News now says 83% of Americans want restrictions for abortion, and as the militant homosexual movement starts revealing itself for what it really is. So maybe Donald’s sense of hope is justified. Besides, isn’t despair a sin?

    I can believe that pessimist me just wrote all that.

  • “If the Republicans had done nothing severe tax increases would have been imposed on the American public. Now the Republicans have made permanent the Bush tax cuts for 98% of American taxpayers and solved the problem of the Alternative Minimum Tax be having it finally pegged to inflation. In regard to spending cuts I am disappointed but not surprised.”

    Thing is Obama will take credit for both and the GOP will be more than happy to allow that. Before you say, “Who cares who gets the credit for it?” consider that the propaganda war is an essential battleground of this war and for too long the GOP has conceded this to the Dems, to the detriment of the conservative movement and the country. And there are defintely ways the republicans can do a better job in the propaganda department. For one, they can go on offense and demonstrate the alarming disparity in what we spend on entitlement programs and what is actually received by the recipient. We can propose that we can maintain levels of benefits while cutting overall spending on these programs. Responses to State of the Union addresses and Saturday radio messages can be good venues for starters. A repeated articulate simplified explanation will do well. But to expect immediate results would be foolish. After all, the prediciment we are in now is the result of an aggressive and incremental push by the left over the last 100 years. So, we need to look furhter down the road. Getting young conservatives like Rubio and Cruz, for starters, as our spokesmen would be a good idea. Ryan, in my view, while good where he is at, is too much of a wonk and not really able to convey these things in simple terms. Besides, I think he has demonstrated he is too beholden to the GOP establishment. And we have to stop being afraid to demonize the demons for crying out loud! This, “there ain’t no good guy there ain’t no bad guy. There’s only you and me and we just diagree (my apologies to Dave Mason)” approach has got to go. It is killing us.

    Another thing is there needs to be an effort aimed at encouraging young conservatives to consider careers in the Federal Departments that control our government. We can talk about cutting spending all we want (and yes I agree we need to cut spending) but if the leftists who control these governemnt bureaucracies are still able to determine how the money is being spent, the probelm will not just not get better, but will get much worse.

    “With the Democrats in control of the Senate, the best the Republicans can do is to attempt to block new spending and I believe they will do that. So there will be no new trillion dollar “stimulus” and Obama can forget about Congress allocating large funds for new programs.”

    With baseline budgeting, spending automatically goes up eight percent anyway. There should at least be a propaganda campaign with a view towards repealing it. Ever notice that when the Dems lose elections, they don’t give up on their agenda? They just continue pusuing it with even more vigor. Maybe one day it will dawn on the republicans that they would do well to do the same. But as it stands right now, we lose even when we win.

    In the wake of an unnerving defeat in November I actually believe the Republicans haven’t done too bad so far.

  • With noting to add to the conversation, I looked for a word to describe the video and Robert A. Rowland’s word: “mindless” works.

    Greg Mockeridge: Paul Ryan has maintained his integrity. I believe you underestimate him.

  • what’s the point of calling Obama a reactionary as if that’s a more stinging remark than picking apart his doctrinaire liberalism? it reminds me of how the word “fascist” is abused. why this need to appropriate rhetoric from the Left. i don’t care if something’s “reactionary” as in it’s old established opinion, i just care if it’s right or not. being pedantic i know, just certain semantics i’m not a fan of

    anyway the GOP will win presidential elections in the future, sure. the question though is whether it will continue to exist in its current form, or whether someone like Jon Huntsman will come along and transform it into a less conservative party that has policy differences but no deep philosophical disagreement with the Left.

  • “Greg Mockeridge: Paul Ryan has maintained his integrity. I believe you underestimate him.”

    I wasn’t saying anything one way or the other abgout Ryan’s integrity. It’s just that he goes along with the GOP leadership when push really comes to shove. He probably does so because he thinks it’s the prudent thing to do. And an argument can be made for that. In any event, ma main point is that Ryan is not a leading movement conservative. He is good right where he is, heading up the Budget Committee in the House.

  • “what’s the point of calling Obama a reactionary”

    For the sake of accuracy. Obama is the tail end of welfare state liberalism, a movement that is manifestly coming to an end. He has no new ideas to salvage it and is unconcerned that the funding of it simply does not not exist. “Apres moi le deluge” might as well be Obama’s personal motto.

    “the question though is whether it will continue to exist in its current form, or whether someone like Jon Huntsman will come along and transform it into a less conservative party that has policy differences but no deep philosophical disagreement with the Left.”

    The GOP will be the conservative party, or another conservative party will arise to displace it. THe RINO wing of the party has actually never been weaker.

  • Greg Mockerigde: ” In any event, my main point is that Ryan is not a leading movement conservative.”
    Paul Ryan did support the Right to Life and our founding principles at the RNC, and it appears these principles may be found in his work. My reference to his integrity, is to these points.

    Donald McCleary: “The GOP will be the conservative party, or another conservative party will arise to displace it. THe RINO wing of the party has actually never been weaker.”
    This is absolutely true. You are correct, Donald.

  • “The GOP will be the conservative party, or another conservative party will arise to displace it. THe RINO wing of the party has actually never been weaker.”

    But at this point it’s the RINO wing that controls the party.

  • I have read that many times on conservative sites T. Shaw and it is rubbish. If the Republicans had done nothing severe tax increases would have been imposed on the American public. Now the Republicans have made permanent the Bush tax cuts for 98% of American taxpayers and solved the problem of the Alternative Minimum Tax by having it finally pegged to inflation. In regard to spending cuts I am disappointed but not surprised. With the Democrats in control of the Senate, the best the Republicans can do is to attempt to block new spending and I believe they will do that. So there will be no new trillion dollar “stimulus” and Obama can forget about Congress allocating large funds for new programs. In the wake of an unnerving defeat in November I actually believe the Republicans haven’t done too bad so far.

    Thank you, Donald! I have seen very few conservative commentators make these points, but I agree completely. Of course I would have preferred an even better fiscal cliff deal, but I think that the deal we got is just about the best that anyone should have realistically expected considering we have a Democrat-controlled Senate and Obama in the White House, and considering that the tax cuts were originally implemented with an automatic expiration date.

    If Congress had done nothing, the tax situation would have been much worse. At least many of the Bush tax cuts were extended — and not only temporarily but permanently. Of course, Congress could raise the tax rates in the future, but now the tax rates will not be raised automatically at some point in the future. So as long as conservative Repulicans control at least one house of Congress or the presidency, a major tax increase is unlikely.

    I think that the Republican caucus in the House and Senate got the best deal that they could get, and I hope to be able to say the same about the spending battle that is coming up soon.

  • “But at this point it’s the RINO wing that controls the party.”

    Disagree Greg. The only reason Romney was nominated was due to conservatives forming a cirular firing squad, too many no-hopers (Yeah, Michele Bachmann was going to be President.) running and Romney’s cash advantage. If Perry hadn’t self destructed Romney would have gotten an early start on his retirement from politics.

    The GOP controls more states now than at anytime since the twenties. (After the 1976 election the Republicans controlled one state.) Most of those state Republican parties are dominated by conservatives.

  • the thing about the RINO vs. true-blue conservative dichotomy is that it’s not always clear what the latter is supposed to be.

    my view on this may be a little “out-of-touch” in that it’s filtered through certain conservative blogs (not talking this one,) but there seems to be a not-insignificant number of self-proclaimed true-believers who dislike the cultural conservative aspect of the party as much as the RINO consultants. they’re hardcore anti-Obamaites but their conservatism seems to be of a generic anti-government sort. the liberal “Randian right” meme was overdone but it does appear to be true in certain strains of thought, this framing of government as the Great Oppressor, every issue talked about in 10th amendment terms, and no real vision laid out for what an ideal conservative government would do.

    as far as politicians i thought the dichotomy was overdone this last year. i’m not gonna gloss over his chameleon political style but Romney was the best of a weak field. other candidates had flaws that were totally separate from whether they were moderate or conservative, as he did. a “true conservative” would’ve been able to do better than him based on political talent and general appeal, the latter of which doesn’t have to = pivoting to the center.

  • Umm, Donald, the RINOs control the party at the national level and that’s what really counts. Romney get the nomination because he was the next in line. The only reason why Santorum got as far as he did is because he was the last not-Romney standing. He wasn’t even on the radar until after the other not-Romney hopefuls fizzled out.

  • the “RINO” vs. true argument seems to boil down to generic “fight harder” sentiment, not meaningful policy differences (though of course there’s occasional exceptions)

    i roll my eyes at “GOP is sooooo extreme these days” rhetoric but it’s definitely true that the parties have become much more ideologically distinct

  • “Romney get the nomination because he was the next in line.”

    No he got the nomination because he got more votes in the primaries due to a fragmented conservative field, his money advantage and because Rick Santorum could not exercise message discipline.

  • But at this point it’s the RINO wing that controls the party.

    The RINO discourse is silly and should cease. When you are the Republican presidential nominee, you define what an authentic Republican is. The term would not have made sense in any circumstance. Prior to about 1980, the parties had programmatic tendencies, but programmatic preferences were not a boundary condition. There was a difference in priorities, associations, and sensibility that made Thomas E. Dewey distinct from Tip O’Neill; neither was spurious in his affiliations. The odd exception to this was Jacob Javits, who enrolled as a Republican and made his career within the Republican Party at the recommendation of the president of the Hatters Union, who told him he would be more utile to them as a Republican than in any other venue. His preferred affiliation was with the American Labor Party and its successor, the Liberal Party of New York.

    If you can find a politician whose affiliation is purely opportunistic – and Robert Dole did once say he enrolled as a Republican because they exceeded the number of Democrats by a margin of two-to-one in his home county – that would be a RINO. The thing is, who would that be? Olympia Snowe may be an irritant, but her portfolio of expressed preferences would be troublesome to Senate Democratic whips as well. Robert Dole, Capitol Hill apparatchik though he was, was a pure product of the old-line, rural, impecunious bourgeoisie. That social stratum is very foreign to the post-1980 national Democratic Party, and Dole’s most salient preference was a distaste for public-sector borrowing. Mitt Romney is opportunistic, but would an unalloyed opportunist have attempted to build a political career in Massachusetts as a Republican?

  • In the above mindless video, in a low and subdued voice, almost subliminal suggestion, Obama claims to be “like Jesus.” Wish that he were.

  • No he got the nomination because he got more votes in the primaries due to a fragmented conservative field, his money advantage and because Rick Santorum could not exercise message discipline.

    The political parties might consider attempting to rid themselves of the interminable idiot media donnybrook and hold their caucuses and primaries the 3d week of June. Hold the conventions in August and decide the nominee there. We might just be able to break the candidate-centered process and have the selection repair to local elected officials and county chairmen, re-introduce an element of peer review and deliberation into the choice (no more B.O.s), and curtail the advantage the current process gives to knuckleheads inclined to career around Iowa and New Hampshire for 18 hours a day for 18 months to the exclusion of gainful employment. William Scranton’s candidacy in 1964 lasted all of two months. More of that, please.

Of Trillion Dollar Coins, Prancing Unicorns and Paul Krugman

Tuesday, January 8, AD 2013

 

 

 

I have written before of a truly wacked out nostrum popular among bloggers on the Left in this country to have a coin minted with a trillion dollar value in order to “solve” the debt crisis.  Go here to read my post on the subject.  Now economist Paul Krugman, Nobel laureate and barking mad Leftist moonbat, has endorsed the proposal:

Enter the platinum coin. There’s a legal loophole allowing the Treasury to mint platinum coins in any denomination the secretary chooses. Yes, it was intended to allow commemorative collector’s items — but that’s not what the letter of the law says. And by minting a $1 trillion coin, then depositing it at the Fed, the Treasury could acquire enough cash to sidestep the debt ceiling — while doing no economic harm at all.

So why not?

It’s easy to make sententious remarks to the effect that we shouldn’t look for gimmicks, we should sit down like serious people and deal with our problems realistically. That may sound reasonable — if you’ve been living in a cave for the past four years.Given the realities of our political situation, and in particular the mixture of ruthlessness and craziness that now characterizes House Republicans, it’s just ridiculous — far more ridiculous than the notion of the coin.

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32 Responses to Of Trillion Dollar Coins, Prancing Unicorns and Paul Krugman

  • Actually, that authority (set the values of coins) is (Constitution) reserved to Congress.

    Common sense is subversion.

    Out of control class war spending led to ruinous deficits. Democrats and the lying, vile media/propaganda arm are running the country to the ground with ever more humongous government spending that requires ever more ruinous borrowing to fund ever more spending, etc. ad infinitum; and the Federal Reserve aids and abets this insanity as it keeps real interest rates negative and monetizes (prints dollars) the debt. This destroys the people’s wealth.

    Now, they want to coin a trillion dollar platinum piece to repay a part of the gargantuan debt: insane. How does this differ from printing a trillion bill?

    And, they are no better. Last week, the cowardly GOP refused to stop lunatic tax hikes but agreed to keep disastrous borrowing/spending.

    The truth is treason.

  • Pixie dust for everyone!
    If the imposters in Washington go through with this what could loom around the corner?
    Maybe a presidential wand that would transform Republicans into Democrats….wait, that already exists.

  • Oh! Paul krugman is a crazy person with credentials. That he was awarded a Nobel prize tells more about the Nobel prize than about the lunatic.

  • Krugman actually did do some very good academic work on trade and specialization which was the basis for his Nobel price, but he hasn’t done much of any real academic work in 10+ years, now he’s a talking head and an increasingly crazy one. That he is endorsing the trillion dollar coin idea is arguably a new low even for him.

    One of the deeply troubling things is that this line of thinking (that it’s utterly hopeless to try to govern the country in cooperation with the opposing party so it’s better to look for ways to subvert the law in order to govern without dealing with the other half of the country) has become increasingly standard on the left in recent years.

  • “(that it’s utterly hopeless to try to govern the country in cooperation with the opposing party so it’s better to look for ways to subvert the law in order to govern without dealing with the other half of the country) has become increasingly standard on the left in recent years.”

    A similar spirit prevailed in the latter half of the 1850’s Darwin. I trust we will benefit from our history during that cataclysmic time, but considering how widespread historical illiteracy is now I fear that such may not be the case.

  • And yet the US Treasury 10 year yield is 1.87% (1.31% after tax) and the 2-year is at 27 basis points.

    Given inflation at 1.8%, this means that people are prepared to pay for the privilege of lending money tot he US government, when they could buy investment grade corporate stocks at a forward earnings yield of 8%. They could even buy the S & P at a dividend yield of 2.2% (1.87% after tax) and a maximum tax rate of only 15%, against 30% for Treasuries and that does not count the rest of the earnings.

    Too much government debt? Investors obviously do not think so – Not if they are prepared to buy it at those sort of yields.

  • Krugman did some slipshod academic work on trade a few years back, that has been largely overtaken by game theory and microeconomic modeling. His theories revolved around countries erecting trade barriers on an item but never took into account that other countries might respond to those trade barriers. Then he started criticizing Bush in the NYT and won a Nobel prize.

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  • Not defending Krugman here, but what theory of money do you subscribe to Mr. McClarey? What about a trillion dollar coin is like a unicorn?

    I don’t like that it basically enables a way around the Congressional budgeting process, but I do like that it makes plain that the U.S. government, as a currency issuer, is much different than a household or EMU member–currency users.

    You must understand monetary operations of the Fed and Treasury before you compare them to mythical creatures.

    Doing so would also enable you to better guide public policy toward the common good. Instead, you are letting “leftists” use their better understanding of government monetary operations to seek their own purposes.

    It is not so much your philosophy that I quibble with, or your desire for less government, it is your understanding of money and particularly the monetary operations of currency issuers that I find lacking.

  • “What about a trillion dollar coin is like a unicorn?”

    They are both myths Alex. A trillion dollar coin does not create a trillion dollars of value. It merely adversely impacts the currency already in existence, which I believe is about a trillion, seven hundred billion. It puts us firmly on the path of Zimbabwe and Weimar Germany. Money supply cannot be divorced from economic strength, and attempts to do so are usually disastrous.

  • Someone had to be the first commenter that thinks the proposal has validity.

    Who will be paid with the $1,000,000,000,000 coin? China? the Fed? the Social Security Trust fund? And, who will accept it in exchange thereafter and for what amount of value?

    How is that different than printing a $1,000,000,000,000 paper greenback (not a Federal Reserve Note, denominations are not allowed of over a set amount)?

    An ounce of platinum is worth, I don’t know, say $900. BEing a gold bug: gold is about $1,650.

    How does stamping $1,000,000,000,000 on it make an ounce of plat worth/fair value more than $900 to a typically motivated, knowledgeable buyer?

    After WWI, France, et al imposed on Germany $34 billion in war reparations. The onerous debt was payable in gold or foreign currency so that Germany could not play the print paper marks/platinum/unicorn game. The debt led to Weimar inflation which contributed toi the rise of Hitler, the breakdown of German culture and morality, and WWII.

    I spent the past 36 years at high levels in the financial services industry. I know exactly how the banking, fiscal and monetary systems are supposed to work.

    I have no confidence that governments’ acceptance of paper/platinum in payment of taxes gives money value.

    Money (not US fiat) is a store of value which value is determined by typically motivated, knowledgeable/rational players in the economy each acting in his own best interests.

    Once the Federal Reserve Note (a debt instrimnent) loses the people’s confidence, it’s all over.

    Buy gold and silver; and pray that someone, somehow will save us from Obama’s and Bernanke’s sestructive economic policies.

  • That’s a lot to address, and it has been by MMT’ers. Most MMT’ers are progressives, but there are some who stick to descriptions of monetary operations and try to leave out the prescriptions. So please look into it from their perspective. They’ve studied the operations of the Fed and Treasury thoroughly and are quite aware of the potential for inflation and hyper inflation.

    Nothing about monetary operations is mythical. They may not always be the best for the common good, but they are very real. ‘Value’ is a philosophical musing and not one that can be answered exclusively by economic or material thinking. Money does not determine value, it is a measure of value, or rather an attempt at measuring value created by society. Just like inches measure distance, money measures debts and credits that facilitate trade of real things that we regard as having some value. So adding money (a la deficit spending or trillion dollar coins) without adding real goods can be inflationary, but only if that money uses up the real good capacity of the economy and then tries to use more. We will not have demand-pull inflation until then.

    Since we are below capacity and interest rates and inflation are historically low and haven’t budged, there is no reason to suspect hyperinflation any time soon, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the possibility.

    If you want a healthy economy then you need a bigger deficit, you can even get smaller government by lowering spending and taxes and keep the deficit.

    Debt ceilings are arbitrary and useless. Debt-to-GDP ratio or overall level of debt does not matter for inflation, inflation depends on current spending vs. current capacity.

    Currency issuers can spend via trillion dollar coins, they are not mythical.

    Would you rather government spending serve the public purpose from the moral subjectivist point of view or would you rather it serve the public from the Catholic Social Teaching view of the common good?

    T. Shaw–
    The proposal has validity in that the White House can and will use it if necessary. That doesn’t mean it is necessarily a good thing, but it certainly isn’t a myth.

    Much of your claims are leftovers from the gold standard, which no longer exists. I regret that your 36 years of experience has not taught you otherwise.

    I come here and comment, not to trash your views, but to help you understand how monetary operations work, so that you can use that knowledge to better educate and pursue the common good. I feel quite alone as a Catholic in the MMT camp which is composed mostly of atheist, subjectivist, progressives. I share some of their desires, but contrast greatly with their philosophy and world views.

    We must understand money correctly to better make our case to the general public and to fellow Catholics and Christians who may be persuaded by progressives (with a correct understanding of money) because they care about about their own economic situation more than a good and moral society.

    We can have both a good society and a good economy, but only if we understand fiscal and monetary operations in a modern money society. Your understanding of money is outdated and no longer applies. I come in peace to share what I know so that we can work together.

    I engaged Darwin in a debate a little over a year ago over employment policy with the same intention. So please don’t dismiss me as a progressive trolling your blog. I read and comment because I care.

  • T. Shaw-
    “Your understanding of money is outdated and no longer applies.”
    I’ll use those exact words if I decide to stop paying on my loan.
    I’ll tell them Alex sez it’s all good.
    We have the “obamacoin.”

    The old adage applies: “If it sounds to good to be true it probably is.”

  • Alex-
    You sound sincere. How does it help the common good to use a loophole (coin) to wave away real debt. What are we teaching our future responsible citizens?

  • Alex,

    I desire the Virtue of Patience (Fourth Sorrowful Mystery – The Carrying of the Cross).

    The unicorn metaphor is less apt than the “ostrich head in the sand” metaphor.

    The hole they’ve dug is very deep. Some consequences are too horrid to contemplate. There is no easy, painless solution. There will be some sort of “great reset.” It could be apocalyptic.

    At some point the pedal hits the metal. The rubber meets the road.

    Think Zimbabwe.

    Think central planning, central control, and command economy. And, ponder how well that worked everywhere it was imposed.

    They abandoned the gold standard (invented by Isaac Newton: he also invented Calculus) and US inflation went ballistic (think jet fighter climbing near vertical). That’s an exaggeration.

    They replaced the GS with the PhD/idiot politician standard.

    We are going to learn (the hard way) that the delusions of credentialed crazy men and dishonest/idiotic politicians will be far worse for the common good than the GS and free market.

    Obama and his gang have pretty much destroyed everything: the economy, the dollar, the culture, common morals, and tragically the ties that once bound us as a nation.

    Eat, drink and be merry for in the near term the SHTF.

    If Obama (save us!) deigns in his plenipotentiary power, for the common good (the alibi of all tyrants) to coin a trillion dollar coin, will the coin weigh, say, 1,000,000,000 troy ounces, or will the market value of platinium meteorically rise to $1,000,000,000,000 a troy ounce?

    Er, why waste the platinum, just print a trillion-dollar bill. Put Michelle’s face on it.

    How do destroying the private sectior and debauching the currency advance the common good?

    I think your professors are ideologues (use “truth” to advance their opinions) and not scholars (seek the absolute truth).

    Here’s the reason they’re 24/7 talking about gun control and not the coming economic zombie apocalypse. The USA credit rating is AA- (when Egan-Jones dropped it from AA in Sep 2012 when they announced QEternity). That means the likelihood of a US default is about 10,000 times more likely than you will be shot by an assault weapon.

  • philip–
    your debt and the debt of the currency issuer are much different operationally. Currency issuers can always pay their debts denominated in the currency that they issue. Your not an issuer of the dollar, and so you don’t have that same ability. Being financially responsible means different things for currency users and currency issuers.

    There is no necessary financial constraint to a better economy. (Inflation is a real phenomenon not a nominal phenomenon. It comes when there isn’t enough capacity to meet aggregate demand). This isn’t “too good to be true”. Unemployment and low growth because of low demand is unnecessary, or is rather created by the currency issuer taxing too much for how much they spend. This doesn’t mean the end of suffering, or that we can have whatever we want, but it does mean that we don’t have to suffer from a poor economy induced by lack of demand.

    I am not in favor of the coin, but would prefer it to needlessly and voluntarily defaulting on our financial obligations. I would rather Congress repeal the debt ceiling as it serves no (economic) purpose and decide on a budget together. I would rather see lower taxes, especially highly regressive payroll taxes, and lower overall spending, especially in defense, with more spending on what government does best–infrastructure. It is not good to have to unilaterally use a loophole to prevent economic catastrophe, but neither is it good to cause it needlessly because we can’t get along or agree on anything.

    The common good involves both morality and economics, among other things. I find that leftists often care less about morality and conservatives want morally responsible economics but don’t understand just what exactly that means–mostly because of their poor understanding of monetary operations.

  • T. Shaw–

    You use a lot of metaphors and so it can be hard to know exactly just what you are saying. We can see inflation coming before it gets anywhere close to hyperinflation and have the tools to prevent it just as we have the tools to boost aggregate demand when it is low.

    We abandoned the gold standard because of the volatility it caused financial markets and the economy as a whole. The free market is way more unstable with a gold standard and without fiscal stabilizers.

    I, too, think many politicians and phD’s aren’t very bright or have some ulterior motives. Neither are very comforting.

    The coin is platinum because that’s what the loophole allows, at least that’s my understanding of it, but that doesn’t mean it will use $1 trillion dollars worth of platinum. No coin in the US is worth its weight in whatever metal its made out of–nominal value of coin doesn’t have to equal its real value. A trillion dollar platinum coin won’t do anything to the price of platinum.

    My professors may be ideologues, but they do have the monetary system right. Maybe as a scholar you should seriously consider learning it too so that we can pursue truth together and not let ideologues steer the country toward their end.

    I don’t know why you bring guns into this, but the probability of US default is zero, unless they voluntarily declare it (for example, by not minting the coin and not repealing the debt ceiling and thus hitting the ceiling) which I will grant you seems sort of likely, which is quite unfortunate since it is so unnecessary.

    As an aside, I must say that you speak in lots of hyperbole, so it is hard to take you seriously. I don’t know your profession and I know this is just a blog, not a paper, but as a teacher, I penalize my students heavily for speaking/writing in hyperbole. It is a tactic for fear-mongering or hate-mongering, and I do not tolerate it or respect it at all.

  • It is worth bearing in mind that there is no difference in principle between a government’s bond issue and its issue of currency notes, except that the latter are issued in smaller denominations and pay no interest to the holder.

    The central bank’s note issue is wholly or largely backed with government bonds and the more it holds, the more notes it can issue; in other words, it can print the notes necessary to cover the cost of purchasing the bonds.

    Besides, fractional reserve banking means that currency is the small change of commerce; the note issue has very little to do with the money supply.

  • Obama is President because George Bush ran up the debt with two unfunded wars, unfunded Medicare part B, and a tax cut for the wealthy. The “damage” has been surveyed. I think between you and Krugman I will go with the Nobel Prize winner. Some of these comments are funny, “He really hasn’t done much since…”. Can you say arm chair quarter back? There is a reason he writes for the times and you are writing a blog. Haha! The fed has had their boot on our neck since 1913. Only sheeple would hear the coin idea and freak out and sweat their panties wet. The money has ALREADY BEEN SPENT. IT’S ALREADY BEEN SPENT. What they are arguing about is whether or not to write the check to pay the bills that have already been incurred. So the argument that this will increase inflation is RIDICULOUS. Our country did best when we issued our own currency. I think some of you need a serious history brush up lesson.

  • “Obama is President because George Bush ran up the debt with two unfunded wars, unfunded Medicare part B, and a tax cut for the wealthy.”

    The shelf life of blaming Bush for the bad Obama economy ran out last year.

    “I think between you and Krugman I will go with the Nobel Prize winner.”

    A man making an idiotic suggestion who has a Nobel Prize is still a man making an idiotic suggestion.

    “There is a reason he writes for the times and you are writing a blog.”

    His lack of sanity and/or the lack of sanity of the powers that be at the Times?

    “Only sheeple would hear the coin idea and freak out”

    Actually those who have even a cursory knowledge of economic history would view this idea as bizarre and completely destructive tp the economy.

    “So the argument that this will increase inflation is RIDICULOUS.”

    Of course. Creating a trillion dollars out of thin air could not be inflationary because the prancing unicorns radiate an anti-inflationary aura. It all makes logical sense.

    “I think some of you need a serious history brush up lesson.”

    I think you need your first history lesson. You might start with the fate of the Continental Currency, the Confederate Currency and contemporary Zimbabwe.

  • Alex,

    The problem with ideologues masquerading as scholars is they poison young minds. You know what to think, not how to think. If you had that faculty you would disbelieve any validity in a $1,000,000,000,000 platinum coin.

    If you could, think supply and demand.

    The governments you prefer can print fiat money and make the serfs use it. Also, they can line up serfs against walls and shoot. And, fly drone over them and zap. It’s all the same: raw, unlimited power.

    Central planning, central control and command economies are not metaphors, they are actual historical crimes against humanity, which produced massive misery wherever imposed.

    {I deleted my qualifications. You don’t have a need to know.}

    My advice: never leave the classroom.

    d says:

    “Obama is President because George Bush ran up the debt with two unfunded wars, unfunded Medicare part B, and a tax cut for the wealthy.”

    Points of information:

    In the year before the financial bailouts/crisis, the deficit was reduced to $164 billion. Since then, deficits have been $1 trillion plus for five years (unbeleivably continuing three years after the recession ended in June 2009).

    In fact, Obama pretty much persisted in doing that which did Bush. And, BHO ran against John McCain, not George W. Bush.

    In fact, the two wars were funded by Congressional resolutions.

    In fact, at the time Part B (a liberal wet dream) was imposed, Medicare cash inflows were higher than outflows. In order to fund Part B, Bush would have raised the Medicaid tax. Are you in favor of higher payroll taxes?

    In fact, 85% of the Bush tax cuts benefited lower earners’ tax brackets (percentages). From day one, the shrieks of “Bush tax cuts for the rich” were compete lies fomented by lying, vile scum/journolists and only believed by Obama-worshiping idiots.

  • Flash from Tyler Durden at Zerohedge: The Central Bank of Mars has expressed interest in purchasing 100, $1,000,000,000,000.00 US platinum coins.

    “A small cadre of analysts suspect the Martian Central Bank naively believes the fantasy that the arbitrary creation of assets, either via platinum coins or electronic entries in the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet, creates actual value. Though this credulity borders on the fantastic, these analysts point to the many commentators in the U.S. who have bought into the platinum coin fantasy. If Paul Krugman et al. have swallowed the fantasy that something of real value can be created from nothing, then why not the Martian Central Bank?”

  • Interesting “Ace of Spades” read: “Enron and the Trillion Dollar Coin.”

    http://ace.mu.nu/archives/336406.php

  • Alinsky Rule #5:

    Recent Frank J. Fleming Tweet: “Mint a bunch of trillion$ coins and give 3 to the elven kings, 7 to the dwarf lords, and 9 to mortal men to rule them all!”

    I promise. I’ll stop, now.

  • T. Shaw–
    I do not know why you are so hostile.

    I reject the idea that I know only ‘what to think’, unless you think that my education at well respected Benedictine College taught me nothing.

    I also don’t accept everything my professors teach me–I am not an atheist, I am not a Marxist, and I am not a pragmatist. I am quite critical of all three.

    Despite my professors’ beliefs or ideologies, they are quite good at being open to competing ideas–I am the fourth student in the past 5 years to be writing a dissertation on Catholic Social Teaching at UMKC.

    So you can reject them and me out of hand if you like, but it doesn’t change the fact that you are wrong about money and until you take understanding it more seriously, you will be just an ideologue.

    I care too much to follow your advice. I will teach both in and out of the classroom.

  • It perhaps would take a while to go through all of your links. I find it interesting that the two page brief on CST linked at your site mentions nothing of the rights of people not to be made dependent on the govt., that excessive taxation not be placed on people, that subsidiarity is a function of lower levels of govt. and not of groups of persons and makes no mention that the rights of unions are limited by the common good.

    Another link talks about the errors to the “naturalistic” approach of, what is, Aquinas. Instead citing the integrated approach of De Lubac. Of course there are many, many theologians that think that De Lubac, and the political course that some take on these errors, is fundamentally wrong. In fact it seems that there is much left out that is in CST and that ultimately may be false in Catholic theology.

    Thus it seems that one may find your conclusions on a platinum trillion dollar coin to be only a prudential judgment of CST and perhaps even only marginally supported by Catholic theology.

  • Alex,

    I apologize. But, you commented that I don’t know squat.

    I don’t mean to reject you.

    I reject the Trillion Dollar Coin trope; and, concomitantly, anyone that thinks there is an iota of validity to this outrageous scam.

    Think the United States of Enron.

    Here goes.

    It is a tyrannical/unlimited government executive branch power-grab wherein the Executive, with no check or balance from the Legislative or the Judiciary, creates/prints one trillion in fiat money/Federal Reserve Notes/green confetti; exceeds the Congressionally-enacted legal debt limt, has another trillion to pay for power; etc.

    And, here is how it works to debase the currency and destroy the middle class.

    The President instructs the Secy. of the Treasury to mint a one-ounce platinum coin with $1 trillion stamped thereon. That piece of platinum (worth, say, $900 in the free market) is deposited at the Fed Bank of NY: debit cash, credit UST checking account. That is the same as when you deposit $900 in cash to your checking account, except you actually give your bank $900 in hard-earned cash. Here, again, the FRB credited the Treasury with $1,000,000,000,000 to spend from the Fed UST checking a/c for a deposited $900 piece of platinum. The Treasury then spends/distributes the $1 trillion to Federal agencies which spend it/give it to polkitically connected banks, crony capitalists and dependents. And, a $trillion more confetti is in the economy: almost none goes to the middle class .

    Here is how this destroys the middle class: largely, they don’t get any of the money (the politticially connected, lobbysists, super-rich, banks, and government dependents get the trillions) but if you earn what you eat, drive with or heat your home with prices rise (B.B. median family income declined each year since Obama took over). Each month more middle class families are ruined. They are going to runout of taxpayers.

    POOF! $1 trillion cash in the market place is created out of thin air. The same thing happens when the Fed directly (monetizes the debt) buys UST securities; debit UST security, credit UST checking account. Alternatively, Obama could order the Secy to print a $1 trillion FR Note OR print 1,000,000,000,000 ones. It’s all the same: printing money out of thin air.

    I don’t reject you. But, I can’t help noting your inability to recognize this massive excrement sandwich.

  • T Shaw

    But “monetising the debt” is simply substituting one instrument of debt for another.

    As I said earlier, there is no difference between a government bond and a currency note, except one pays interest and the other does not. Both are equally government liabilities

  • Michael PS:

    Absolutely, agree.

    The issues are inflation and somehow paying government liabilities.

    We do not have a convertible currency/government debt instruments, aka, liabilities, i.e., one that can be exchanged/redeemed by the issuer for something of value like gold or silver; or land.

    When they stopped issuing greenbacks, early in the last century, they exclusively went to Federal Reserve Notes. They also stopped redeeming “dollars” with UST debt instruments (instead of gold).

    So what backs the buck? Pick one or more: the “full faith and credit of the US Government” (power to issue more debt and confiscate/tax); and its power to print/coin and circulate ad infintum: like a trillion dollar ($900) coin.

    In addition, “monetising the debt” is much more than substituting one debt instrument for another. It is also creation of one debt instrument with another that is used as the national medium of exchange. If it” was substitution, there would be no increase in the amount of outstanding debt or dollars in the economy.

    This increase in “government liabilities” (likley soon to be green confetti) that are running about in the economy: adds inflationary pressures, which have been held in check because little of this created money gets into the hands of the middle class, whose median income is declining. Go figure.

    It’s similar to what happened in the recent housing bubble. Say you had a home with a $200,000 mortgage. The RE agent tells you your house is worth $600,000 and you can substitute your $200,000 mortgage note with a $500,000 mortgage note. If you did, you substituted that debt and put $300,000 in your picket to spend on a lake house, a yacht, BMW’s, etc. The probkem arises if you couldn’t afford the payments on $500,000 debt. Only difference from the US is you cannot repay the note with scrip your print.

  • T Shaw

    Nothing shows this more clearly than the Bank Return, issued by the Bank of England, every Thursday

    http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/bankreturn/2013/130109ids.pdf

    The more Ways & Means Advances and Bonds & other securities are increased, the more notes can be issued.

    The converse is also true. Notes in circulation can be reduced by selling securities or other assets and holding the proceeds in the Banking Department.

    Also, compare the total note issue of £58bn with, say, the liabilities of Barclay’s Bank alone of £1,498bn – 25 times the whole of the note issue. RBS’s balance sheet is similar.

    That is what I mean by calling the currency (notes and coins) the small change of commerce.

  • Michael PS:

    Best regards,

    You and I cannot affect the decisions taken by unlimited/unchecked governments. We can rationally act in our own best interests.

    I’m overjoyed each day to roll out of bed, say my prayers, and note that the plumbing and etc. are still working.

Knute Rockne & The Eucharist

Monday, January 7, AD 2013

After the college football national championship game, faith filled fans of Notre Dame Football need something positive on which to dwell, so how about a miraculous story surrounding Knute Rockne? Many readers may be aware of legendary Notre Dame Football Coach Knute Rockne’s winning prowess on the football field. However, he was also a budding scientist and man of faith. Before becoming a coach, then promising student Knute Rockne worked with famed Notre Dame Priest and scientist Father Julius Nieuwland who helped invent synthetic rubber and is the only priest in the Inventor’s Hall of Fame. Father Nieuwland CSC believed that a bright future lie ahead for his promising Chemistry student named Rockne. Both Father Nieuwland and the future Notre Dame Coach were immigrants, Father Nieuwland from Belgium and Knute Rockne from Norway. However, the labratory was not to be for Rockne, for it was the college gridiron where he would earn his lore.

While Rockne was surrounded by Catholicism, he was a Norwegian Lutheran. However, it was Coach Rockne’s players that helped convert him to Catholicism. What was it about Catholicism that did it? The Eucharist.  During the early 1920’s when the Four Horseman strode the gridiron in South Bend, Coach Rockne was worried that all of the new found fame might make his players stray from the straight and narrow. The late George Gipp was known to do just that and a slightly older 30something Coach Rockne didn’t want that to happen again, so the coach would often keep a close eye on his players.

One morning Coach Rockne noticed several of his players leaving their dorms in the wee hours of the morning. He followed them to early morning Mass. Before practice that day he asked them about their movements in the wee hours. They informed him that they had early classes and couldn’t get to Mass any other time.  “It’s that important to you,” Coach Rockne asked?”They told him that the Eucharist was just that important.

Coach Rockne then discussed the matter with several priests who gave him books to read about the Faith. In 1923, Knute Rockne was received into the Church, thanks in great part to the personal witness of his own players.

Knute Rockne is hardly alone in being a faithful example of Catholic leadership on the gridiron at Notre Dame. While Coach Gerry Faust will hardly be remembered for his record, no coach stands taller as a faith leader than Coach Faust who would tell anyone who would listen about the Catholic Church and “Our Lady.”  Coach Faust was certainly helpful to me with regard to my first book and went out of his way to help me promote it. Keep in mind he didn’t know me from Adam only from meeting me at a high school football game, talking on the phone and reading the book’s manuscript. He spends many days a year at small Catholic school fundraisers that help those schools keep their doors open.

He is much beloved by his former Notre Dame players as well as those at Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati where Coach Faust garnered his fame. While some have gone on to become college and NFL stars, others have achieved success in many different venues. In the late 1960s, one overachieving young man who played for Coach Faust at Archbishop Moeller High school came from a large working class Catholic family. He would go on to become the current Speaker of the House. Speaker John Boehner and Coach Faust remain in contact to this day and speak highly of of another.

I would be remiss in not mentioning former Coach Lou Holtz who also does his fair share of fundraisers for worthy Catholic charities. He can rattle of the names of every grade school nun who taught him back in East Liverpool, Ohio. Obviously there is so much more I could write, but I go into much more detail about this and many other matters in my book; The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn. I hope this helps paint the picture of Knute Rockne and two other coaches at Notre Dame who were leaders of men and personal examples of faith.

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9 Responses to Knute Rockne & The Eucharist

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  • My first experience with Lou Holtz was when he was coaching at the University of Arkansas, and through the years my respect for him as a coach, as a person, and now as a sports commentator has really deepened. What a great credit he is to the sports world.

  • Please spellcheck post, then delete this comment.

  • Pauli is your comment directed at me? I would worry about my own posts before I take on the role of being Der Kommissar of the Language Police.

  • Wonderful article! The Eucharist is the heart of all life!

  • CK thank you for your kind words. It is a pleasure to write about such inspiring, but little known stories. I must confess to having a pet peeve at those who find it necessary to correct posts that seemingly need to correcting. If I sounded a bit harsh in my last post directed at Pauli, it was not my intention. However, it was my intention of bringing to light the problem some have with taking away from the joyous tone of articles such as these.

    I have worked with a number of editors and the funny thing about editors is they disagree and will readily admit that one can agree to disagree over grammar and style. Jesus reminded us that we shouldn’t get worked up over gnats.

    Robert, great comments on Coach Holtz. I am amazed as to how many of these busy men gave of their time to be quoted in my two books, when they didn’t know me from Adam. They only knew I was writing a positive book about the Catholic Church. I will be forever grateful to Coaches Faust and Holtz, as well as a former Catholic basketball coach (University of Detroit now called Detroit Mercy) turned big time college basketball commentator, Dick Vitale. God Bless them all.

  • Great catholic stories from ND but don’t forget Fr. Teddy who along with so many liberals has destoyed the Catholic university system in our country. Love to discuss how he allowed the smoke of satan to flow from the golden dome to all the Catholic universities. What a great man who was the ceo of the infamous Rockefellar Inst. that financially supported hitler, yes i said the H word and all their diabolical acts not to mention planned parenthood,ect let the debate begin!!

  • Increased reverence for the Body of Christ will eventually put an end to the murder of His innocent miracles

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David Green and the Better Angels of Our Nature

Monday, January 7, AD 2013

 

 

The nation has been through a bad four years under President Obama and I expect the next four years, courtesy of his reelection by a majority of the voters last November, to be even worse.  In these dark times it is good to point to glimmers of light.  Such a glimmer of light is the fight being put up by Hobby Lobby and other employers against the contraceptive mandate.  Here is a letter from David Green, CEO of Hobby Lobby, which explains why Hobby Lobby is making this stand:

We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.

But now, our government threatens to change all of that. A new government health care mandate says that our family business MUST provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million PER DAY in government fines.

Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad economy. Our government threatens to fine a company that’s raised wages four years running. Our government threatens to fine a family for running its business according to its beliefs. It’s not right. I know people will say we ought to follow the rules; that it’s the same for everybody. But that’s not true. The government has exempted thousands of companies from this mandate, for reasons of convenience or cost. But it won’t exempt them for reasons of religious belief.

So, Hobby Lobby – and my family – are forced to make a choice. With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit today, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don’t like to go running into court, but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.

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9 Responses to David Green and the Better Angels of Our Nature

  • Religious Liberty in an Enlightened Society
    American taxpayers, without current legal exception on moral or religious grounds (it would classify as civil right if it was a liberal cause), are required to fund government run high schools that have classes teaching students how to use a condom and then dispense them free of charge to both boys and girls. The taxpayers who may object to this enlightened approach to educational instruction and choose to send their children to private or religious schools must do so at their own personal expense in addition to the continued funding of their local government school. Vouchers and school choice are vehemently opposed by secular progressives like Obama.
    The same government school systems are also teaching the children as young as kindergarten that lifestyles contrary to nature’s law such as homosexual marriage are both socially acceptable and to be encouraged by our enlightened society.
    Today sexually active boys, girls, men and women have, as a result of this enlighten society, the ability to reduce what has always been the sacred gift of procreation within marriage to a form of personally satisfying recreational activity with the legal right to disclaim, discard or destroy any living persons created naturally by such activity due to failure to use proper equipment or judgment. Not only can the participants deny their basic obligation to nature but our enlightened secular government with the anti-Christian guidelines of the Obama administration now in power requires business enterprises and even religious institutions with more than fifty employees who have health insurance plans for their employees, under Federal Law, are now required to include in their plans coverage to pay for the human carnage of human life and dignity left by such behavior. Opposition to the dictates of this HHS law or any of Obama’s agenda aimed at the destruction of Judeo-Christian morality is now considered hate speech.
    The White House has recently permitted a petition to appear on its website for signatures to officially recognize the Catholic Church as a Hate Group. This was not by accident! The church with its stand on abortion, same sex marriage, euthanasia and religious liberty along with our Constitution are all that stand in the way of the total transformation of America the liberal’s messiah has in mind for us.

  • Hypothetical: Say five million Catholics who currently pay their income tax collectively gave notice to the current Administration that they will cease paying income taxes due to the unprecedented attack on Catholics / Christians, would it make a difference? 8 million? The risks are obvious, however what is it going to take to let them know that this not acceptable?

  • HAPPY NEW YEAR FOR WHOM?

    The New Year does not bode well for our amoral nation.
    America has become a godless imitation.
    How many more will lose life, liberty, and survival?
    The Constitution and rights must have serious revival.

    The religious freedom we once had is now being denied.
    Objections by religious leaders are being defied.
    The God of Abraham was once our nation’s guiding light.
    Immorality has almost become a legal right.

    Marriage of a man and woman is God’s moral demand.
    Will the Supreme Court now deny His eternal command?
    The American people are enemy number one.
    Our religious liberty and freedoms they have undone.

    Our nation has grown cold to God’s love – we are divided.
    The Ten Commandments are being openly derided.
    Those who do not trust God have misplaced their intended goal.
    They alone have the power to rescue their eternal soul.

    As light fades, what we so proudly hailed no one can now see.
    The ramparts were not watched – we are no longer free.
    The future of America has never seemed so bleak.
    Hope is possible only if the Son of God we seek.

    Bob Rowland
    1/IV/MMXIII

  • A post epiphany.
    Soon after Mel Gibson had “taken a gamble” and opened The Passion to $900 M profits, he followed up with a timely production called Apocalypto. Mel begins with a quote from Will Durant; ” A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.” Fitting in our self-destruct Administration.
    Upon further discovery of Mr. Durants works this seems appropriate in light of your topic; “The political machine triumphs because it is a united minority acting agonist a divided majority.”….enter the divided Catholic Church.

    If we we’re only united with our Magisterium the Catholic majority in America would not have V.P. Biden or House Speaker Peloski “speaking for Catholics everywhere.”

    Divided we will fall.
    May God intercede for our beloved Countrymen and freedom for All…born and unborn.

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  • Today the Susan B. Anthony List reports that Planned Parenthood released their 2011-12 annual report. According to the report $542 million dollars of tax payer funding help to kill a total of 333,964 Americans on American soil in the year 2011. Viet Nam 50,000 – over 50 million dead since 73′
    God help us.

  • Bill Sr

    Jules Ferry, one of the leading architects of public education in Europe, was simply more candid than most politicians, when he said its purpose was, “to cast the nation’s youth in the same mould and to stamp them, like the coinage, with the image of the republic.

    That is why the right of parents to control their childrens’ education was at the heart of the Church’s struggle with the secular state.

  • Michael PS: Amen.

    That “parental control” was one of Pope Benedict’s “four non-negotiables” which majorities of US (so-called) catholics ignored in the 2008 and 2012 elections.

    Obama’s (unpunished 1960’s terrorist/bomber) political godfather has been pushing youth brainwashing since his “rehabilitation.”

    They know what to they. They don’t know how to think.

    God help us, now.

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Culture War on a Shoe String (Budget)

Sunday, January 6, AD 2013

Over at the blog of the author, Sarah Hoyt, there’s a very good post.

I was going to try to use the theme to combine with some conversations from over at Ricochet.com, but then she went and put what I would’ve been pointing at into its own paragraph:

Both of these endeavors will change your perception and you’ll find yourself huffing at sitcoms you used to enjoy.   This is good.  Most of the politics are snuck into stuff like that (hence the directive that came down for more plots about healthcare in sitcoms and episodic dramas) and if you’re not aware of them they’ll insidiously color the way you see the world.  It’s brilliant to sneak them into entertainment because if you complain, you’re a sour puss.  But at this point they’re not even subtle, and you’ll start seeing them if you look: cardboard “conservative” characters who are anything but and who can’t defend their positions.  “Dangerous” tea partiers.  Liberating yourself through having indiscriminate sex and stuff.  The government as a fount of goodness.  It’s all there.  And it’s there on purpose.

There’s more, some general stuff on how the polite refusal to inject politics into everything puts us at a bit of a disadvantage, and it’s quite worth reading.  Now, on to my comments:

She’s right.  My husband is a lot more easy going than I am, but we both can’t watch some shows because of the obvious agenda involved.  Recognizing it isn’t just about paying attention or such– we had a rather long argument with my mother over a TV show that opened with a guy being shot inside his house by a SWAT team called in for a false hostage situation. (Before SWATting got big.)  The show, and the woman who taught me to not trust the story that the news presented, held the SWAT team (personified by the leader) responsible.  TrueBlue and I held those who certified that it was a hostage situation on an anonymous call from a random number as being responsible– there wasn’t any way for the guys who’d been told they were going in to a known hostage situation to know that the guy charging them with a kitchen knife was righteously defending his house.  The guy risking their lives had to be at fault, while the paper-pushers that actually created the entire situation had to be blameless– not even faceless, but as natural a thing as the sun rising, and as unquestioned.  Something goes wrong?  It’s the fault of those uniformed Authority Figure guys. (Who all incidentally looked military.)

Stories set up the way we see the world.

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7 Responses to Culture War on a Shoe String (Budget)

  • Just gave up cable, and it felt liberating. It’s not that I think we should detach ourselves from the culture – in fact I believe I advocated just the opposite here recently – but if we start making wiser cultural purchases (for lack of a better way to phrase it) then we can start slowly turning the tide.

    You’re right about the little things. It’s easy to just sort of shrug your shoulder at the little digs, but it’s the little things that frame the narrative.

  • “But at this point they’re not even subtle,”

    About as subtle as this:

  • Giving up cable is good. Another option is to get something like netflix – it then tracks what you watch and becomes, in a sense, a Nielsen type rating, but one that gets real input from real viewers, and one you actually control to some extent.

    I have also noticed how shows that have any intelligence whatsoever seem to get cancelled while the most idiotic ones get five seasons. Although it may hae had biases, a show like Caprica explored issues your average viewer never even thought about (what it is to be a person, use and abuse of technological power, etc.). It may have eventually degenerated in unhealthy directions, but at least it was asking the right questions. It seems sci-fi and fantasy are where the real philosophy happens; sitcoms are essentially cultural anesthesia.

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  • Our home has never had cable. Internet, sure, and about two years ago we got Netflix– recently I figured out how to use my husband’s old computer that we use as a back-up system to work with Hulu, so the girls can watch “Where’s Boo?” on our schedule.

    It seems sci-fi and fantasy are where the real philosophy happens; sitcoms are essentially cultural anesthesia.

    Building worlds means that you get to put in a lot more assumptions. *grin* They do inject a lot of BS into the non-fantastic, but it is usually a LOT more obvious. Suspension of disbelief doesn’t require you to be blind when something is required by the world, but sometimes you do blink past it when it’s a “just happens” thing in “real” shows.

    The same lady I quoted often mentions the “Gray Goo” type of scifi– you know, the hopeless, depressing drek that they were pumping out when I was a teen, and have kept doing. Baen pulled a Fox News and filled the niche demands of “people who read scifi for enjoyment instead of the message.” (To be fair, I think Baen got there first, but since they print “anything we think will sell,” it’s a bit less obvious.)

  • I really liked Hoyt’s article.

    Increasingly, with the ease of access to information, the skill of being able to sort through information critically is becoming ever more important. Even if there were no right/left battle, and no fight between religious tradition and secularization, it’d be important to teach your kids to review things that they hear and read and consider what underlying assumptions they make, what points of view they advocate. That ability to skim, digest, and appreciate information is essential. Of course, as Christians defending a certain framework, those skills are tested every day. So by all means, teach your children to critically analyze their history lessons and their entertainment.

  • I am never quite certain if they are laughing at me, with me, or for me. It is important to take a stand for the slightest insult, indignity imposed or heresy. This would consume one’s whole day, but one’s children will know where to draw the line when they are being sucked into a black hole. The shows and their sponsors are not invincible and they know they can do better.
    In the old days, the pastor would go down to the moviehouse and turn away any of his parishioners from an x-rated movie.

Spanking and Abortion

Sunday, January 6, AD 2013

 

Back in 1967 my maternal grandmother, who was a formidable lady, visited my family.  While there she saw my mother give me a well earned slap.  I was 10 at the time.  My grandmother called my mom a savage.  My mother, also a formidable lady, responded that if she did not discipline me when I was young, I would be the savage after I grew up, respecting nothing and no one.  Wise woman my mother.

My bride and I used spanking sparingly with our three kids when they were  younger, along with other disciplinary techniques.  Spanking was usually reserved for repeated disobedience, or the children engaging in activity which could be dangerous to them.  I am biased of course, but I think that our kids turned out rather well.  In regard to being a parent, discipline without love can descend into mere brutality.  Love without discipline is a sure and proven path to producing spoiled adults.  Giving neither discipline nor love to a child is simply catastrophic.

The Washington Post has a story that advocates banning spanking:

George Holden envisions a world without spanking. No more paddling in the principal’s office. No more swats on little rear ends, not even — and here is where Holden knows he is staring up at a towering cliff of parental rights resistance — not even in the privacy of the home. When it comes to disciplining a child, Holden’s view is absolute: No hitting.

“We don’t like to call it spanking,” said Holden, a professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University and head of a newly formed organization aimed at eliminating corporal punishment in the United States. “Spanking is a euphemism that makes it sound like hitting is a normal part of parenting. If we re-label it hitting, which is what it is, people step back and ask themselves, ‘Should I be hitting my child?’ ”

For centuries, of course, the answer to that question has been yes for a huge majority of families. We’ve been unsparing of the rod, spanking our children just as we were spanked by our parents. And there’s precious little evidence to suggest we feel much differently today. While the percentage of parents who say it’s okay to occasionally spank a child has declined marginally in recent years, that “acceptability level” still hovers between 65 percent and 75 percent nationally.

And surveys that measure actual behavior reveal even higher rates of moms and dads willing to whack. Depending on how you ask the question, most surveys show that between 70 percent and 90 percent of parents in this country spank their kids at least once during childhood. In 2013 America, spanking a child is about as common as vaccinating one.

 

But Holden and a growing number of children’s advocates still believe the time is right for a serious effort to end corporal punishment. For some in the burgeoning stop-hitting movement, the goal is nothing less than a total legal ban on spanking in all settings, as has been passed by 33 nations in Europe, Latin America and Africa (soon to be 34 when Brazil becomes the largest country to outlaw spanking in final action expected this year).

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31 Responses to Spanking and Abortion

  • Spare the rod, hate the child.

    Common sense is subversive.

    Truth is treason.

    Big Brother is watching.

  • What can one expect from children that never bothered to grow up?

    Don’t like authority, consequences, responsibility, obligations… and nobody else can be allowed to make them feel bad.

  • My 2 cents or so, from my own experience. Some kids really need to be spanked, and some situations almost demand it. With other kids the practice simply does not work. After about age 5 or 6 it doesn’t really work in our family (6 kids, all male). Best punishment for older kids: if I make my older kids write lines, or copy something out of scripture, it’s like I pulled out the thumbscrews. (Not that I own any thumbscrews….)

  • You’ve got to love the unreality of the comment about “hurting” a child. Children hurt all the time. They don’t get fed the moment they want, they don’t get the toys they want to play with, they have to go to bed when they don’t want to. That kind of stuff “hurts” children more than a swat across the fingers does. A hurt-free environment doesn’t exist, because children (and all humans) are a bundle of unsatisfied urges. Once you accept that, then you can have a real-world conversation about the reasonable middle ground between pampering and beating. Unfortunately, in our legalistic society, we want to quantify everything, and the golden mean is notoriously difficult to define. It’s easier to overreact and make something illegal.

  • When I was in high school in the early Forties, I was guilty of stretching the rules a bit too far. For that, I received three backhand swats from a paddle wielded by a teacher who was also a tennis pro. That taught me the most lasting lesson in all my school years – That self discipline was better and much less painful than enforced discipline. And if I could, I would thank that teacher for lifelong self- discipline.

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  • Agree completely, and I feel very strongly about this topic. Ther is no question that this, and the ultimate in chid abuse – abortion – will not diminish until abortion is ended.
    My children were smacked when they needed to be – after repeated warnings, they were challenging our (my wife & I) authority – which is normal for healthy children. My boys rarely needed a slap after they were around 5 or 6. Then they got to 15 – 16. Both of them at different times challenged my authority over them – both of them got a good “biff”: which reminded them who was the head honcho of the house in which they were living, at at whose expense they were fed and clothed. Several years later, they have both recalled the incidents, and , in their own way (;-) ) thanked me.
    My daughter was an ideal child, right up till she was about 10. She contradicted and swore at her mother – so she got 1 fairly solid slap from her father. She cried for most of the day, because her daddy hit her for the first time in her life. She recognised her fault, and then continued to be the perfect daughter, even in her teenage years.
    I have also slapped 1 or 2 of my grandchildren whom I love dearly – and they love and respect me in return. In NZ we have a law which forbids smacking. If I had been reported for what I had done, then I would recieve a fine, or a stretch in prison. This law was introduced by the well meaning and deluded progressives who wre trying to prevent the child abuse in this country, which is arguably the worst in the developed world.
    So what has happened? NZ still remains at the top of the heap for child abuse – many children die, or suffer terribly physically and emotionally through child abuse, because those for whom the law was introduced couldn’t give a stuff about the law. The Green Party intrduced this bill supported bt the Labour Party – all radical leftists. They have done nothing, however, to propose how the continuing problem is to be addressed. While child abuse continus unabated, and a problem with youth delinquency and crime grows as they are now unable, legally , to be disciplined, its time for responsible and sensible parents to reclaim their God given authority over their children.
    In a un-binding-on-the-government refendum voted in favour ( 85% of the populace) of rescinding the law with a sensible compromise was denied by our current (so called) conservative government, many are being drawn toward a more conservative government.

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  • Watching my 3 boys, I can’t help but wonder if we aren’t a more violent society precisely because we look down on “violence” so much. I do think there comes a time with spanking doesn’t work anymore, but physical punishments (let’s not call it discipline, okay? It is punishment) of a different sort are okay. Take my oldest son’s “performance” tennis class–if the kids don’t “perform,” or don’t behave, there are pushups, “b*tts up,” extra runs or sprints, etc. My son doesn’t understand why these sorts of things are not used in the Christian school he attends. My other son, the one who gets detention, has no respect for the way punishments are doled at school because there is a “procedure” that must be followed–letters home, dates for detention to schedule etc. Punishment should be done immediately…not two weeks later after the infraction is forgotten.

  • Holding a child in a kind of straight-jacket, occasionally, until he/she stops struggling against the parent initially requires more time but in the long term is much less time consuming than repeated hitting. Because it is much more personal, it is also more effective. It demonstrates deep caring for the child, which the child remembers for a lifetime.

  • Sarcasm should not be tried by amateurs Cy. Do you have anything to add to the discussion or is an inane trollism all you are capable of?

  • *snort* Swatting didn’t work on my sister, but “time out” did. It’s a lack of attention, which she loves. (Part of why swatting worked on me is because it was embarrassing.)

    Being the absolute center of attention that being held “in a kind of straight-jacket” would require would have backfired. Quickly.

  • Watching my 3 boys, I can’t help but wonder if we aren’t a more violent society precisely because we look down on “violence” so much.

    Absolutely. This extends to referring to this kindergarten kid killer as a “shooter” rather than a murderer.

    To your point–“violence” is many times the proper solution to violence.

  • I was spanked when I was a child. It wasn’t quite abuse, but it wasn’t pleasant, and it’s not something I would ever consider doing to my own children. My mother would make my sister and I “pick switches” and would then hit our bottom and legs with them for a period of 5-10 minutes. It made me angry and afraid. I was not a particularly difficult child, nor was my sister, and there were certainly other, more effective methods of discipline available. My mother spanked us less because we needed it than because she is a protestant fundamentalist who believes that to spare the rod is to spoil the child, as per the Bible.

    Part of the reason I’m Catholic is so we don’t have to take such a literal — and destructive — reading of every line in scripture. I mean, there’s a Psalm that celebrates bashing the heads of your enemies’ babies against rocks, but I don’t think anyone thinks that would be okay. Context is important.

    I’m anti-spanking and pro-life. I’m glad your kids came out fine, and I don’t think that every parent who spanks is a bad parent; I am aware that my mom was on the extreme end of the spanking spectrum. There’s no need, however, to resort to ad hominem attacks, e.g., those who oppose spanking are all pro-choicers who want babies to die, so we can ignore their point of view because obviously they don’t really care about children!

  • “There’s no need, however, to resort to ad hominem attacks, e.g., those who oppose spanking are all pro-choicers who want babies to die, so we can ignore their point of view because obviously they don’t really care about children!”

    No ad hominem was used by me Becky, merely speculation that the commenters to the article in the Washington Post likely were both pro-aborts and anti-spanking, judging from their tone and the fact that the Washington Post is an uber liberal paper. As I am against the banning of spanking by parents, I would also be against a law requiring spanking. Each child and parent is different and what works in one situation may not work in another.

    My mother who believed in spanking and slapping and hugging was an Irish Catholic with fiery red hair and a disposition to match both in the warmth of her love and the fire of her wrath! She died 28 years ago, after her second bout with breast cancer, and I would give a fairly high sum to be on the receiving end of one of her slaps just one more time.

  • “As I am against the banning of spanking by parents, I would also be against a law requiring spanking. Each child and parent is different and what works in one situation may not work in another.”

    My sentiments exactly.

  • Lynette Burrows penned an article for Human Life Review a number of years ago on this very subject. Her angle was a report on evaluations of the effect of the legal ban on spanking in Sweden in 1979. She said it took quite a bit of ingenuity and legal footwork to persuade public agencies in Sweden to cough up the data, but when released it revealed the frequency of child seizures by social welfare agencies in Sweden (using the United States and Germany as baselines) was truly massive and that the effect of the ban (and perhaps its purpose) was to empower social workers. When you see the term ‘children’s rights’, recall that what it means is ‘the prerogative of the helping professions’.

    Becky,

    Just a thought. One can confuse the trouble which originates from a mother or father whose punishments address not the behavior of the child but the parent’s own inner turmoil with the trouble which originates from the mode of punishment itself. You do not correct the first problem by ceasing to spank, you merely change its expression from spanking to verbal rebukes &c.

  • There’s no need, however, to resort to ad hominem attacks, e.g., those who oppose spanking are all pro-choicers who want babies to die,

    I have some 1st and 2d degree relatives to whom I could introduce you. These people are not in Mr. McClarey’s imagination. They live and breathe.

    so we can ignore their point of view because obviously they don’t really care about children!

    I can introduce you to a proximate relation who cared and cares very much about his daughter. He simply has no respect for the viewpoint of anyone outside the small subcultures in which he lives and works, including his father and his father-in-law.

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  • The vast majority of parents I know are anti-spanking and pro-life.

  • “The vast majority of parents I know are anti-spanking and pro-life.”

    You must run with an unusual crowd David. If people wish to not spank and are also pro-life that is fine with me. I have not usually encountered that juxtaposition.

  • The vast majority of parents I know are paranoid about anti-spanking loons accusing them of child abuse and getting their children taken away. THAT has been true since I was a little kid!

  • Not to me… most of the people I know who heartily endorse spanking are very pro-contraception and pro-abortion. They see kids as a burden, to be avoided after one or two. “I’m gettin’ the shots after him…he’s too much, I tan his bottom and he still acts up… no more for me.” That is a typical sentiment. Kids are seen as time and resource stealers, ruining life, deliberately doing “bad” things (as opposed to what is really happening most of the time…going through a developmental stage, where they need talking and guidance, not red bottoms from hands and switches…yes, my dad did the switch thing…had to go out and pick the switch from the tree outside that he would spank me with). The other motto is “Spare the rod spoil the child…. if I don’t hit her she’ll grow up to be a spoiled tramp”. Stuff like this is said about kids starting from before the kids can even pull themselves up onto their own two little feet all the way up til the kid is too old to be spanked. Nevermind that a real shepherd prefers to use a gentle nudge of a staff to guide a stray sheep back. A rod may be thrown towards a sheep straying too far, but it is meant to startle the sheep back to the fold, not to hit and hurt the sheep. I have a daughter who turned 22 today, a 19 year old son, and a 21 month old son. I have seen these patterns ever since my oldest was born, in several parts of the country as my husband and I moved around because of his career in the Marine Corps. I met few people who would try guidance and communication before resorting to hitting and strong non-physical punishment. Those that did rarely had to resort to physical punishment. There are parents that are extremely permissive, but that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about seeing the child a person, another human being created by God, and treating him or her with respect. It doesn’t mean never saying no, or anything like that. The vast majority of parents I have known that spanked saw their kids as either burdens to carry til adulthood or possessions and extensions of themselves, not their own persons. Anyway, that has been my experience.

    Davida

  • As Donald says, you are around an incredibly strange crowd.

    In many ways; depo is a really odd choice for sterilization, being an ongoing expense and having a 3% failure rate when used “typically”…unless one is living on the gov’t dime, in which case it’s a low-commitment and low cost means. Those who choose to sterilize on their own dime either get their tubes tied (if single) or have a vasectomy. (if married)

  • Ah– military. That explains it.

    NOBODY with a hint of sense, not even the dumbest of my Marines or the drunkest sailor, is going to let someone they have less than total confidence in see them swat their kid. It’s like handing out a golden “please, destroy my life” ticket. Even utterly innocuous yelling (along the lines of “honey, hurry up! We have to go!”) will bring out the obnoxiously abusive controllers if they know they have a handle. There’s a reason most folks I know don’t want to live in the toxic environment that is base housing– it only takes one jerk to destroy your life, and if you’re on base they know you’re military.

  • “I am talking about seeing the child a person, another human being created by God, and treating him or her with respect.”

    Agreed! And that respect, when my kids were younger, sometimes required spanking. I think I am in good company in regard to that belief, judging from this passage from Hebrews 12:

    “6 For whom the Lord loveth he chastiseth: and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 Persevere under discipline. God dealeth with you as with his sons. For what son is there whom the father doth not correct? 8 But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are made partakers, then are you bastards and not sons.”

  • Dumb Marines? Thanks so much. And we have lived both in housing and in the community. He retired 15 months ago. It is, I said, in many communities around the country, and not just military people. Depo was one example….any method would do for most. That was just the most recent I heard by a mom at the playground, talking to a friend. Most of the women would prefer non-surgical methods (although they were not adverse to pressuring their husbands to get “snipped”)

    Toxic environment in military housing? I have had harder times in civilian communities.

  • Dumb Marines? Thanks so much.

    Counter to what many Marines like to think, they are still humans.

  • Dumb Marines and drunk sailors are stereotypes. And most military housing communities I have been in have been supportive communities, not toxic.

  • I knew this thread would get silly.

  • Davida- being a stereotype does not mean that they do not exist. It means that it’s a broad generalization. Perhaps you should go re-read what I said before you work yourself into a tizzy of self-induced insult.

    How nice for you that the environment in base housing was conductive to your preferences; that makes, oh, two out of hundreds of folks I’ve spoken to about them.

Pope Leo the Great on Epiphany

Sunday, January 6, AD 2013

 

 

After celebrating but lately the day on which immaculate virginity brought forth the Saviour of mankind, the venerable feast of the Epiphany, dearly beloved, gives us continuance of joy, that the force of our exultation and the fervour of our faith may not grow cool, in the midst of neighbouring and kindred mysteries. For it concerns all men’s salvation, that the infancy of the Mediator between God and men was already manifested to the whole world, while He was still detained in the tiny town. For although He had chosen the Israelitish nation, and one family out of that nation, from whom to assume the nature of all mankind, yet He was unwilling that the early days of His birth should be concealed within the narrow limits of His mother’s home: but desired to be soon recognized by all, seeing that He deigned to be born for all. To three wise men, therefore, appeared a star of new splendour in the region of the East, which, being brighter and fairer than the other stars, might easily attract the eyes and minds of those that looked on it, so that at once that might be observed not to be meaningless, which had so unusual an appearance. He therefore who gave the sign, gave to the beholders understanding of it, and caused inquiry to be made about that, of which He had thus caused understanding, and after inquiry made, offered Himself to be found.

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Charge!

Sunday, January 6, AD 2013

A great compilation of cavalry charges in movies.  Cavalry charges in reality were much grislier of course, with wounded and dying horses adding to the inherent horror of any battlefield.  However, it would take a heart of purest granite not to be stirred by the sight of a cavalry charge.  Job 39:  19-25 captures the glamor that has ever attended the cavalry:

[19] Wilt thou give strength to the horse, or clothe his neck with neighing? [20] Wilt thou lift him up like the locusts? the glory of his nostrils is terror.

[21] He breaketh up the earth with his hoof, he pranceth boldly, he goeth forward to meet armed men. [22] He despiseth fear, he turneth not his back to the sword, [23] Above him shall the quiver rattle, the spear and shield shall glitter. [24] Chasing and raging he swalloweth the ground, neither doth he make account when the noise of the trumpet soundeth. [25] When he heareth the trumpet he saith: Ha, ha: he smelleth the battle afar off, the encouraging of the captains, and the shouting of the army.   (Whoever the inspired author  was who wrote Job, I would wager that he had been a horse soldier at some point in his life!)

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As With Gladness, Men of Old

Saturday, January 5, AD 2013

Something for the weekend.  As With Gladness, Men of Old seems appropriate  for an Epiphany weekend.  It was written by William Chatterton Dix in 1859 on Epiphany.  By profession Dix was the manager of a marine insurance firm.  He wrote many hymns during his lifetime.  He started to do so when he was confined to his bed as a young man suffering from a near fatal illness.  Out of his depression he fastened his faith on the Alpha and the Omega, his hymns being a lasting testament to that faith.

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The Rebel Yell

Friday, January 4, AD 2013

There is nothing like it on this side of the infernal region. The peculiar corkscrew sensation that it sends down your backbone under these circumstances can never be told. You have to feel it.

A Union soldier in 1861 on the rebel yell.

A tribute to the courage with which Confederate soldiers fought their lopsided fight for independence was the fear inspired in Union ranks when they heard the high pitched wail of the Rebel yell.  It is a pity that sound recordings were more than a decade in the future at the time of the Civil War.  We do have recordings of Confederate veterans screeching the yell, but they would invariably state that it was only a pale reflection of what the yell sounded like during the War.  Financier Bernard Baruch recalled how his father, a surgeon who had served in the Confederate Army, would let loose with it whenever he heard Dixie:

As soon as the tune started Mother knew what was coming and so did we boys. Mother would catch him by the coattails and plead, ‘Shush, Doctor, shush’. But it never did any good. I have seen Father, ordinarily a model of reserve and dignity, leap up in the Metropolitan Opera House and let loose that piercing yell.

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2 Responses to In the State we Trust

  • I think you might consider relabeling it “Tragedy, Obama Misadminstration”.

    Somehow the humor escapes me.

  • E Pluribus Obama.

    A growing number of this witless ilk thinks that Obama can repay $16 trillion national debt with 16 each, one-ounce US platinum coins with “$1,000,000,000,000” stamped on them; and, of course, Che Guevera’s face on the obverse.

    Actually, that authority is reserved to the Legislative branch: Artivcle I, coining . . .

    Unbelievable as it appears, there is even more glaring evudence of their stupidity: they voted to re-elect the utter failure.

    All this verifies the appellation: “Obama-worshiping imbecile.”

    I desire zeal for the glory of Barry.

    We are in the last chapter of the American Tragedy.

    In Barack We Trust.