20

Army Values

Obama's Military

 

There is an old saying in the military:  once is an accident;  twice is carelessness;  third time is enemy action.  Faithful readers of this blog will recall this post here about an Army briefing which labeled Christians, including Catholics, as extremists.  Another incident has arisen this week.

An officer at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where my brother was stationed when he was an Armor officer in the Army, recently sent out a 14 page e-mail to subordinates which makes for interesting reading.  Here is the e-mail from Lieutenant Colonel Jack Rich:

Subject: Domestic “Hate Groups” (UNCLASSIFIED)
 
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
 
Caveats: FOUO
 
Leaders,
 
Many events have been taking place across the country – just want to ensure everyone is somewhat educated on some of the groups out there that do not share our Army Values.
 
When we see behaviors that are inconsistent with Army Values – don’t just walk by – do the right thing and address the concern before it becomes a problem.
 
We need to make sure that we maintain our standards – starting with reception and integration. Continue Reading

2

Who is the Terrorist?

The second video in Live Action’s expose on late term abortions.  Go here to view the first video.  Here is the Live Action press release:

During the breaking “Inhuman” investigation, Live Action investigated the Washington Surgi-Clinic where Cesare Santangelo performs late-term abortions in Washington, D.C. Santangelo revealed several horrors involved with late-term abortions that America needs to know.

1) Babies are purposely suffocated or otherwise cruelly killed to ensure their deaths.

Santangelo explained:

Um, I cut the umbilical cord first, wait for the baby to expire, and then we do it that way.

Of course, we all know that the umbilical cord is a baby’s means of receiving the vital oxygen her body needs to survive. The umbilical cord also conducts blood to the baby’s body. In order to ensure that a baby does not survive a late-term abortion at his facility, Santangelo purposely suffocates the baby and stops her vital blood flow.

And did we catch the word “wait”? This is a process – suffocation, that is. It does not happen instantly. What terror and pain does an almost-born baby experience through this process?

2) The ability of babies to survive at later stages of pregnancy is greatly misrepresented.

Santangelo tells the investigator, who is 24 weeks pregnant (or, in Santangelo’s words, 24-25 weeks along) this:

– in your pregnancy, it’s too early to survive, usually. It will expire shortly after birth.

He also goes on to relate false statistics:

When you have a pregnancy that is 23, 24 weeks, if you’re you know, extra – if you – if you do everything possible to help it survive, you know, there’s a – maybe a 20-30% chance that it would survive. If you don’t do anything, then, you know, the chances are much, much less.

Maybe a 20-30% chance of survival? What about the findings of this Swedish study, back in 2009:

Among babies born alive at 22 weeks, fewer than 10% survived; at 23 weeks, 53% survived; at 24 weeks, 67% survived; at 25 weeks, 82% survived; at 26 weeks, 85% survived, the study shows.

This review of 33 different studies on survival rates of premature infants found that “the survival of infants born at 23, and mostly at 24 and 25 weeks of GA is significant in the majority of studies.” Rates vary from study to study, and yet, the conclusion is that a significant number of babies at these stages do indeed survive – quite different from the picture that Santangelo was painting. Continue Reading

1

Life of Julius

My first job was doing dishes, scrubbing pots and pans and scrubbing floors at a country club in my hometown.

I was paid less than minimum wage at the time, the princely sum of $1.55 per hour.  I loved the job.  I held it all through high school.  When work was slack I was allowed to do homework and the management fed me a free meal each night I worked, whatever I liked.  I saved the sum of $3,000 for college, a not inconsiderable sum at the time.  The most important part of the job was what it taught me:  showing up on time, working hard and learning to work with other people.  I learned more on that first job of value to me in my future life, than any of the classes I took in college or law school.  Too many kids are denied this opportunity today because of government polices like the minimum wage that act as a deterrent to employers hiring employees, especially green kids with no employment track history.  If we wished to design a system that would handicap young people from becoming productive workers building a future for themselves, I think we would be hard pressed to “improve” on current policies: Continue Reading

8

Kermit Gosnell and the Abortion Industry

Abortion, all abortion, is violence and violence is an impermissible alternative in a world of reason.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, Eclipse of Reason

 

One of the myths of the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell is that he is not representative of the abortion industry.  In regard to the manner  in which Gosnell performed late term abortions, and his indifference to state laws restricting late term abortions, Gosnell is typical.  Lila Rose and her intrepid band at Live Action are helping establish this fact with their patented undercover videos.  From their press release: Continue Reading

7

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Theodore Roosevelt

 

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt

Born to a family of wealth, Theodore Roosevelt could have led a quiet life of indulgence and plenty.  Instead he devoted himself to service to the country, one of the few elected officials who actually deserved the title public servant.  He combined this with a belief that life is an adventure, sometimes a hard and dangerous one, but always an adventure.  Roosevelt always heard the trumpets of life and he led his life at a joyous charge.  As a country and a civilization we desperately need his energy, his optimism and his sheer joy.  May we know his like again at the head of our nation. Continue Reading

7

Why the Episcopal Church is on Life Support

 

 

 

Christopher Johnson, the non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, demonstrates in the following post at Midwest Conservative Journal why the Episcopal Church is dying and the Catholic Church is living:

Long-time readers of this site know that there are two Episcopalians that I don’t mention around here if I can possibly avoid it.   One, of course, is former Newark Bishop John Shelby “KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!! Spong.

MCJ veterans have long since given up sending me e-mails with “Did you see what Spong just said?!!” in the subject line.  Because I already know that whatever the megalomaniacal old fraud just said had nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity and was sneeringly contemptuous of anybody who holds anything close to a traditional view of the Christian faith, in whatever Christian church they find themselves.

The other is homosexual Bishop Gene Robinson, who is a homosexual, formerly of the Diocese of Nobody Ever Gave A Crap, Bitches, Shut Up.  As most people figured out a long time ago, if you ever stand between Robbie and a camera, you run a considerable risk of a concussion when Robbie knocks you down and runs over you.  Publicity is Robbie’s crack and I don’t want to feed his habit.

But every now and then, Robbie writes something so titanically and magisterially stupid that I’m forced to break my own embargo.  In the Washington Post’s “On No Particular Faith Of Any Truly Meaningful Kind” section, Bishop Stompy Foot is increasingly frustrated by the fact that the Roman Catholic Church refuses to be instructed by him:

Polling shows that ex-Catholics are the third largest religious group in the United States. Many Catholic laity are experiencing a painful disconnect between the official teachings and pronouncements of the Catholic hierarchy and what they believe in their hearts. It’s no wonder they are voting with their feet.

The Detroit Free Press recently reported on comments made by Edward Peters, who teaches Catholic canon law and was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 to advise the top judicial authority in the Catholic Church.

Peters stated that Catholic teaching makes it clear that marriage is between one man and one woman. He goes on to write, “Catholics who promote ‘same-sex marriage’ act contrary to ‘Catholic law’ and should not approach for holy Communion…They also risk having holy Communion withheld from them…being rebuked and/or being sanctioned.”

Allen Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit, offered this clarification: “For a Catholic to receive holy Communion and still deny the revelation Christ entrusted to the church is to try to say two contradictory things at once: ‘I believe the church offers the saving truth of Jesus, and I reject what the church teaches.’ In effect, they would contradict themselves. This sort of behavior would result in publicly renouncing one’s integrity and logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury.”

Which is bad and stuff.

I believe that using Communion as such a manipulative tool surely profanes the sacrament. Perhaps these Catholic leaders should revisit their church’s theology of the Eucharist. Reception of the body and blood of Christ at Communion is God’s gift to God’s people, not a reward for right behavior. We receive Communion not because we are worthy of it, but because God’s offers us the body and blood of Christ despite our unworthiness.

Two responses immediately suggest themselves.  The first, of course, is, “Who the hell asked you, hot shot?”  And the second is that before you suggest that bishops of another church than your own need to “revisit their church’s theology of the Eucharist,” you might want to learn “their church’s theology of the Eucharist” yourself.

I’ll give you a head start.  Two words.  The first one’s “real” and the second one is “presence.”  If you teach that Christ is really there in the Eucharist, then indiscriminately giving the real Lord Jesus Christ to everyone who calls himself or herself a Catholic but who takes it upon himself or herself alone to decide what that means is, at the very least, hypocrisy and, at the very most, blasphemy.

After all, Judas didn’t get the very first Communion, did he, Robbie?  And then, blissfully unaware of the trap he is walking into, Robbie plays this card. Continue Reading

5

Before They Go

And there’s one thing you’ll be able to say when you get home. When you’re sitting around your fireside, with your brat on your knee, and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you won’t have to say you shoveled s–t in Louisiana.

                       General George S. Patton

 

Hattip to Instapundit.  People at Reagan National cheering World War II vets on an Honor Flight to Washington DC to see the World War II memorials.  Here is a post from 2009 that I wrote regarding the urgent necessity to talk to our World War II veterans now.

Time is doing what the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese could not do:  vanquishing our World War II generation.  The youngest American veteran of that conflict would now be 86, and in the next two decades or so they will all be in eternity.  Time now to express our heartfelt gratitude for what they accomplished for the country.  They have been called the greatest generation.  I am sure that most of them would reject that title, maybe putting in a vote for the generation that won the American Revolution or the generation that fought the Civil War.  Modesty has been a hallmark of their generation.  When I was growing up in the Sixties, most of them were relatively young men in their late thirties or forties.  If you asked them about the war they would talk about it but they would rarely bring it up.  They took their service for granted as a part of their lives and nothing special.   So those of us who knew them often took it for granted too.  Uncle Chuck, he works at the Cereal Mills, and, oh yeah, he fought in the Pacific as a Marine.  Uncle Bill, he has a great sense of humor and I think he was in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered to MacArthur.  When they talked about the war it was usually some humorous anecdote, often with some self-deprecating point.  They’d talk about some of the sad stuff too, but you could tell that a lot of that was pretty painful for them, so you didn’t press them.  They were just husbands and fathers, uncles and cousins.  The fact that the janitor at the school won a silver star on Saipan, or  the mayor of the town still walked with a limp from being shot on D-Day, was just a normal part of life, like going to school or delivering papers. Continue Reading

20

Obama, Abortion, the 1950s and Race

The most pro-abortion president in our history, Barack Obama, once again displayed his fealty today to Worse Than Murder, Inc, a\k\a Planned Parenthood:

WASHINGTON     (AP) — President Barack Obama vowed Friday to join Planned Parenthood in fighting against what he said were efforts across the country to turn women’s health back to the 1950s.

Obama’s comments were the first by a sitting president before the abortion-rights group. He lauded its nearly 100 years of service to women, providing cancer screenings, contraceptives and other health services.

“When politicians try to turn Planned Parenthood into a punching bag, they’re not just talking about you,” he said. “They’re talking about the millions of women who you serve.”

Obama asserted that “an assault on women’s rights” is underway across the country, with bills being introduced in nearly every state legislature to limit or ban abortion or restrict access to birth control.

“The fact is, after decades of progress, there’s still those who want to turn back the clock to policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st Century,” Obama said. “And they’ve been involved in an orchestrated and historic effort to roll back basic rights when it comes to women’s health.”

Leftists like the President usually accuse opponents of seeking to roll back the clock, even as they seek desperately, and futilely, to keep the clock frozen in a present they find desirable.  The video at the beginning of this post is from the National Black Pro-life Coalition, a group dedicated to revealing that no group in our society has been ravaged more by abortion than blacks.  Kermit Gosnell’s butcher shop is merely a particularly ugly manifestation of something that every one in the abortion industry knows and almost never speaks of:  blacks are the number one targeted group for abortions in this country.  In a country where blacks make up around 12% of the population, 35% of all abortions are performed on blacks. Worse Than Murder, Inc, a/k/a Planned Parenthood locates 79% of its abortion clinics in minority areas.  Abortion, the Klan’s dream come true. Continue Reading

The Battle of San Pietro

Probably the most realistic depiction of World War II combat put to film, The Battle of San Pietro, in the public domain, is now considered a minor masterpiece.  At the time of its release in 1945 it was intensely controversial.  Fought between December 8-17 in 1943, the assault of the 143rd Infantry of the 36th Division was filmed by Captain John Huston, who was making films for the Army, a rare case where the Army actually made use of the civilian expertise of one of its soldiers.  Huston’s film shows war in all of its unglamorous horror.  After the Hollywood depiction of war during World War II it came as an unpleasant revelation for viewers.  Army brass were concerned about the film having a depressing effect on the morale of the troops.  Army Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall, however, came to the defense of the film, thinking that it would make a good training film, underlining to troops why they had to take their training seriously.  The film was used in training and Huston was promoted to major.

21

Civil War History and Inevitability

I’ve been on a bit of a history kicker lately, particularly Civil War history, even if by chance. On successive occasions I read Tony Horowitz’s Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War, followed by April 1865: The Month that Saved America by Jay Winik. It was purely coincidental that I read those books back-to-back, though they serve as proper bookends to Civil War history. I also happened to finally see Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. 

First a review of the works themselves. Midnight Rising is an excellent recounting of the events leading up to John Brown’s raid, the raid itself, and of course the fallout. Horowitz’s account is fairly straight, though one can’t help but detect a bit of admiration for Brown peeking through his narrative. You can probably make a good argument for both the proposition that Brown was a complete lunatic and that he was a hero who stood on principle (though probably more the former).

Winik’s narrative is engaging, and if you are unfamiliar with many of the details of not just the events of April 1865, but of the Civil War in general, then Winik’s book is a very good primer. Unfortunately it suffers from a few severe, though hardly fatal defects. First of all, Winik litters his story with repeated digressions, filling in biographical details of the main figures – Lee, Grant, Lincoln, Davis, Forrest, Sherman, Booth, even Johnston. Again, this may or may not infuriate the reader depending upon his knowledge of Civil War history. It felt like padding to me, and unnecessary padding at that.

Second, while he gets his history mostly right, there are a few notable lapses. Most grating to me was his discussion of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and their respective writings on nullification. Like many other writers, he contends that Madison supported nullification in the Virginia Resolutions, when in point of fact Madison completely rejected the doctrine of nullification throughout his life and merely argued for a concept known as interposition in the Virginia Resolutions. This is a relatively minor point, but Winik makes a handful of errors, especially with regards to Lincoln’s attitudes towards having extra protection on the day of his assassination. Winik makes Lincoln seem callous about his own security, but it was Edwin Stanton who denied him an extra bodyguard.

Finally, Winik’s fundamental thesis is overstated (and also restated repeatedly in a  seemingly unending epilogue). Though the conclusion of the war was a momentous occasion in American history, Winik overstates the willingness and the capability of the south to engage in guerilla warfare to prolong to conflict. Certainly Lee could have decided to rebuff Grant’s peace overtures, and Johnston could have listened to Jefferson Davis’s appeals to continue the fight, but would the south have kept the Union at bay as effectively and as long as Winik speculates?  I suppose that is a matter of some conjecture, but I think Winik drastically overestimates the ability of any sizable confederate band to harass the Union for much longer.

As for the movie Lincoln, I’ll largely second Donald’s review. It was an epic film, and Daniel Day-Lewis was simply outstanding. I’ll admit I even got choked up at the end – a rarity for me as usually only Field of Dreams ever makes me cry.

Beyond the merits of these works, I wanted to explore some of their themes – or at least some of the thoughts that they inspired in me directly or indirectly. Continue Reading

48

Anti-Bullying=Gay Trojan Horse

 

 

The whole anti-bullying campaign is basically a means by which gay activists can gain access to kids and indoctrinate them.  That is not an opinion but a simple statement of fact as demonstrated by this story:

Parents say their daughters were told to ask one another for a kiss and they say two girls were told to stand in front of the class and pretend they were lesbians on a date.

“She told me, ‘Mom we all get teased and picked on enough. Now I’m going to be called a lesbian because I had to ask another girl if I could kiss her,’” parent, Mandy Coon, told reporters.

Coon says parents were given no warning about the presentation and there was no opportunity to opt-out. Both the school principal and the district superintendent are defending the workshops and advising they will schedule more.

“The school is overstepping its bounds in not notifying parents first and giving us the choice,” another parent said. “I thought it was very inappropriate. That kind of instruction is best left up to the parents.”

“I was absolutely furious — really furious,” a parent who asked to remain anonymous told reporter Todd Starnes, “These are just kids. I’m dumbfounded that they found this class was appropriate.” Continue Reading

3

A Video You Won’t Be Seeing Much Of

On the other hand if the shooter had been a deranged conservative shooting up a Leftist office, this video would be running non-stop for months, with learned commenters pontificating about the inherent violence of conservative ideology.

Family Research Council (FRC) officials released video of federal investigators questioning convicted domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins II, who explained that he attacked the group’s headquarters because the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) identified them as a “hate group” due to their traditional marriage views.

“Southern Poverty Law lists anti-gay groups,” Corkins tells interrogators in the video, which FRC obtained from the FBI. “I found them online, did a little research, went to the website, stuff like that.”

The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard reported that Corkins, who pleaded guilty to terrorism charges, said in court that he hoped to “kill as many as possible and smear the Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in victims’ faces, and kill the guard.” As Bedard explained, “the shooting occurred after an executive with Chick-Fil-A announced his support for traditional marriage, angering same-sex marriage proponents.” Continue Reading

26

The Third Rail of the Catholic Blogosphere, Part II: Crying Kids at Mass

A couple of years ago I tackled a topic (modesty in dress for women) that had become a “third rail” of the Catholic blogosphere — a topic that had a tendency to burn any St. Blogger who touched it due to the intensity of the resultant combox war.
Recently it seems an even more highly charged topic has come up at several blogs: whether or not infants and toddlers belong at Sunday Mass, given their propensity to squirm, bounce, giggle, cry, scream and otherwise do things adults find distracting.
In general, commenters on this issue fall into two camps: the “Bring The Kids” camp who believe children of all ages should attend Mass regularly from birth if possible, and the “Leave Them Home” camp who prefer that parents not  bring children to Mass regularly until they are old enough to sit still, pay attention and maintain appropriate behavior for a reasonable length of time.
As with most combox wars, each side seems to believe the worst of the other. The Bring The Kids faction accuses the Leave Them Home crowd of buying into the secular anti-life mentality that treats children as spoilers of adult peace and contentment. Meanwhile, the Leave Them Home camp accuses the Bring The Kids camp of placing unreasonable expectations upon their children and others, and selfishly interfering with the ability of other parishioners to worship in peace.

Continue Reading

10

Congress Seeking to Exempt Itself From ObamaCare

Yep, ObamaCare is probably worse than its harshest critics contended:

 

Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential  talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance  exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health  care overhaul, sources in both parties said.

The talks — which involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House  Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Obama administration and other top lawmakers — are extraordinarily sensitive, with both sides acutely aware of the potential  for political fallout from giving carve-outs from the hugely controversial law  to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides. Discussions have stretched out  for months, sources said. Continue Reading

3

April 25, 1943: ANZAC Day and Easter

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

Laurence Binyon

In 1943 Anzac Day, April 25, fell on the same day as Easter.   Anzac Day commemorates the landing of the New Zealand and Australian troops at Gallipoli in World War I.  Although the effort to take the Dardanelles was ultimately unsuccessful, the Anzac troops demonstrated great courage and tenacity, and the ordeal the troops underwent in this campaign has a vast meaning to the peoples of New Zealand and Australia.

New York City saw its first public observance of Anzac Day that year as some 300 Australian airmen and sailors marched in the Easter Parade and were cheered by the crowds lining the parade route.  Anzac Day observances in Australia and New Zealand were muted that year, due to the day falling on Easter, and so many men were away fighting in the War.

American audiences had become familiar with the courage of Anzac troops by viewing the documentary Kokoda Front Line, the video at the beginning of this post, which memorialized the struggle of Australian troops fighting in New Guinea.  Damien Parer, the cinematographer on the film won an Oscar for the film in 1943.  He would die on September 17, 1944, age 32, filming Marines in combat on Peleliu

In Melbourne, Australia on Anzac Day, the US 1st Marine Division marched through the streets in honor of the day to the cheers of their Australian hosts. Continue Reading

4

Feeling Mulish

Sometimes com threads take on a delightfully daffy life of their own, and so it was on my other blog, Almost Chosen People, in regard to my post on Streight’s mule raid.  Such threads I cherish.

The kind of things that leads people to say that “military intelligence is a contradiction in terms”.

  • On April 21, 2013 at 9:12 am Donald R. McClarey said: |Edit This

    You can say that again Fabio!  I have always found studying military disasters fascinating.  To be fair to Streight he did seem to recognize the problem of the mules from the first.  What I can’t understand is why Grenville Dodge and his 8000 cavalry weren’t sent along on the raid.  Dodge went on to win fame as a manager of military railroads for Grant and played a substantial part in the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, but he was unimpressive in his role in the Streight Raid to say the least.

  • On April 24, 2013 at 8:46 am Dennis McCutcheon said: |Edit This

    I wrangled mules in Montana the summer after high school and before joining the Navy… I think I joined the Navy knowing that there were unlikely to be mules in my future.  Strong beasts, could take impressive loads, but a devious lot they were.

    • On April 24, 2013 at 10:29 am Fabio P.Barbieri said: |Edit This

      Mules are for high mountain fighting. When I served in the Italian Army in the eighties, the Alpini unit I was attached to had hundreds of them, and although the barracks and grounds were kept wonderfully clean, when the wind was in the wrong direction and you caught the whiff of them you knew it. Luckily for me, I was infantry and under no obligation to care for them – though I’m sure it would have taught me a lot. I don’t think they have invented anything better, even now, for moving heavy loads at high altitude. But as for using them at any other level, WELL!

      • On April 24, 2013 at 10:50 am Dennis McCutcheon said: |Edit This

        Chuckle.  We had a huge white mule (Tony) that could carry a house but he always wanted to lead the string.  The head wrangler would shorten the lead so that the lead horse would crap on Tony’s face.  I cleaned his face on several occasions.  He would take off through the woods in an attempt to take the lead if you didn’t keep him on a short rope.  He bit me once and tried on several other occasions.  The second weekend I was at that ranger station I saw someone putting his children on Tony for a ride.  Fabio I cleared the steps five/six at a time to get down to the pen to save those children.  But that damn mule had a completely different attitude with kids.  He would side step to keep those kids balanced on his back. The ranger laughed at me when he found out I was trying to save his kids from death. Tony loved kids… hated adults trying to load him.  Maybe they are smarter than we think.

        So infantry in highlands of Italy, must have been some mighty pretty sights at times.

    • On April 24, 2013 at 5:50 pm Donald R. McClarey said: |Edit This

      “He would side step to keep those kids balanced on his back.”

      Mules tend to have well-developed senses of personality and I suspect their own mule codes of right and wrong.  Looking at that it sounds crazy, but they are very strong willed creatures but will be quite obliging if they like you.  If they do not however…

  • On April 24, 2013 at 11:11 am Fabio P.Barbieri said: |Edit This

    Not infantry – Alpini, specialist mountain troops. That is why I, as a mere infantryman, had no truck with mules. Mind you, being an Alpino had its perks. Because of the hard work to be expected on mountain duty, they get larger rations than ordinary infantry, plus one large block of solid chocolate and a glass of strong “grappa” with every lunch. And because Alpini officers are the cream of the army, you may in general count on exceptionally well ran barracks and facilities – I tell you that, for as long as Lt.Col. Mario Giordano was Deputy Commander at our base, we ate better than in many restaurants. It may be the good fellowship, the songs (Alpini choirs are famous), the mountain environment, or just the grappa, but boys who have been Alpini never forget it, and annual reunions are enormously well attended and enjoyed. You might like these photos, from an Alpini festival held in Rome,when a particularly popular public personality was given an honorary Alpino hat with the gold-on-red badge of an Army Commander-in-Chief: Continue Reading

April 24, 1863: Promulgation of the Lieber Code

Art. 43. Therefore, in a war between the United States and a belligerent which admits of slavery, if a person held in bondage by that belligerent be captured by or come as a fugitive under the protection of the military forces of the United States, such person is immediately entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman To return such person into slavery would amount to enslaving a free person, and neither the United States nor any officer under their authority can enslave any human being. Moreover, a person so made free by the law of war is under the shield of the law of nations, and the former owner or State can have, by the law of postliminy, no belligerent lien or claim of service.

Francis Lieber led a colorful life.  Born in Berlin in 1798, he enlisted in the Prussian Army in 1815 and was wounded at Waterloo.  Unable to attend a university in Berlin due to his membership in a Liberal group that opposed the Prussian monarchy, he attended Jena University and, a brilliant student, completed his dissertation on mathematics in four months in 1820.  He took time out from his academic career to fight in the Greek War of Independence in which he was severely wounded.  He served as a tutor for the son of the Prussian ambassador in Rome for a year and wrote a book about his experiences in Greece.  Receiving a royal pardon, he returned to Prussia only to run afoul of the authorities again for his Republican beliefs.  Imprisoned, he took advantage of the time to do what any good Romantic of his generation would do, he wrote a book of poetry, Songs of Wine and Bliss.

After his release he fled to England, where he supported himself by acting as a tutor.  Meeting his future wife and marrying her, the Liebers left the Old World to start a new life in the New World in 1827.  There Lieber embarked on an academic career.  In Boston he achieved notoriety for opening a school which gave instruction in swimming, a first in America.  He edited a 13 volume Encyclopedia Americana.  From 1833-1835 he resided in Philadelphia while preparing a plan of education for Girard College.  In 1835 he began a sojourn of 21 years duration at the University of South Carolina teaching history and political economics.  He retained an interest in Germany, and returned for a few months after the revolution of 1848 although his hopes that Germany would take the Liberal path he favored were quickly dashed.

From 1856-1865 he was professor of history and political science at Columbia.  In 1860 he was also appointed a professor of political science at the law school at Columbia, a post he would hold until his death in 1872.

The coming of the Civil War tragically divided Lieber’s family, just as it divided the nation.  One of his sons fought and died for the Confederacy, while his other two sons fought for the Union.  Lieber himself was a staunch advocate of the Union and an opponent of slavery.  He founded and headed the Loyal Publication Society that wrote scholarly pro-Union propaganda during the War.  He first met Lincoln at the White House in 1861 to confer upon him an honorary degree from Columbia.  Thereafter he was called to Washington frequently to consult with Lincoln, Stanton and Seward on questions of international law.

During his academic career Lieber had written many books and articles on law, politics and history that had given him an international reputation.  It is therefore not surprising that Lincoln turned to Lieber to draft a code of Law to govern the Union forces during war-time.  The Code was promulgated in General Order 100 on April 24, 1863. Continue Reading

17

But That Would Mean the End of Blogging!!!: Open Thread

Shakespeare as Blogger

 

 Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker’s game because they almost always turn out to be — or to be indistinguishable from — self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.

Neil Stephenson

We haven’ t had an open thread in a while, so here it is.  The usual rules apply:  be concise, be charitable and, above all, be amusing.

5

An instructive lesson: What makes a university “Catholic”…

 

Academic administrators at the University of San Diego (USD) have offered what they believe is an instructive lesson—actually the second act in the drama titled “Inclusion and Diversity in U.S. Catholic Higher Education”—for knuckle-headed and knuckle-dragging Catholic Neanderthals who just don’t get what it means to be a truly Catholic university.

USD

The instructive lesson is “PRIDE’s Celebration of Gender Expression: Supreme Drag Superstar2.”  The event, sponsored by USD PRIDE ( an organization of undergraduate students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning, and/or allies of the LGBTQ community) and approved by USD’s Office of Student Affairs, will take place on Thursday, April 25, at 7 p.m. in USD’s Shiley Theater.

According to the USD Vice President of Student Affairs:

Similar to last year’s event, this show will be a combination of informative dialogue, campus resource offerings at information tables, and playful lip-synch performances designed both to raise awareness and understanding of the complex issues surrounding gender identity and expression, and to underscore the importance of mutual respect and the dignity of each individual.

The show as scheduled violates neither the university’s mission nor any university policies. The Celebration of Gender Expression supports the Church’s teaching on the dignity of the human person and does not promote either behavior or lifestyle that is contrary to the teachings of the Church.

USD supports its students in their journey and defends their right to plan and carry out events that conform to the rules uniformly applied to all approved student activities at the university.

Last year, USD President Mary Lyons defended Supreme Drag Superstar1.  In a letter to USD’s Board of Trustees, President Lyons wrote that the event was “intended to foster students’ understanding of, and empathy for, the complexities of gender non-conformity.”  More importantly, President Lyons also cited California state law and the fact that other Catholic universities have hosted drag shows as reasons for USD to approve the show.

So, if President Lyons is to be believed, one of the identifying characteristics of a Catholic university is sponsoring a drag show to underscore the importance of mutual respect and the dignity of each individual as well as to celebrate gender expression, albeit “in a way that supports the Church teaching on the dignity of the human person.”

USD2

To pre-empt the anticipated negative response to Drag Superstar2, USD administrators have released a statement touting the event as “educational.”

Not true, at least according to a statement issued by the Concerned Catholic USD Students:

The drag show undermines the dignity of the human person by advancing an ideology that is contrary to the natural law, and ultimately perpetuates the deep wounds of gender confusion rather than bringing true healing.

What is it that USD administrators “get” about Catholic higher education that those knuckle-headed and knuckle-dragging Catholic Neanderthals who belong to Concerned Catholic USD Students “don’t get”?

 

 

14

A Matter of Seconds to Determine the Sanctity of Life

Three murder charges against Kermit Gosnell have been tossed out by the Judge.

After hearing impassioned arguments from attorneys on both sides of the Kermit Gosnell capital-murder trial Tuesday, a Philadelphia judge threw out three of the seven first-degree murder charges Gosnell faced for allegedly killing fetuses born alive at his abortion clinic.

Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart also tossed out all five counts against Gosnell accusing him of corpse abuse for storing the feet of aborted fetuses in plastic containers in his now closed Women’s Medical Society clinic.

Also dismissed by Minehart was one count of infanticide – the intentional killing of an infant. All other counts against Gosnell, 72, will be decided by the jury, the judge ruled.

One of the murder charges dropped was of the 28-week old “Baby B” who had been found in a freezer.

This doesn’t mean that Gosnell will escape conviction on the other counts, and in fact I would be shocked if he walked.

Still, I can’t help but be saddened that we live in a society that bases a murder charge on the technicality of whether an unborn baby had taken a breath at some point after being delivered from its mother. If we can’t take a look at this picture below and ALL conclude that the death of this child cries out for justice, then we are simply lost.

(EXTREMELY STRONG CONTENT WARNING)

Continue Reading

1

Happy Birthday to the Bard! Glad He Isn’t Here!

Today is the 449th birthday of William Shakespeare.  The above video is from the hilarious The Bard episode of The Twilight Zone broadcast in 1963.  William Shakespeare is brought by magic into modern times and works as a script writer for a television show.  Burt Reynolds gives an absolutely dead on impersonation of Marlon Brando.  Rod Serling poured into the script his own frustrations as a television writer and the episode can be taken as a searing, albeit humorous, critique of the level of literacy of what was being broadcast.  I have always found the episode a hoot, but now my enjoyment is tinged with sadness with the knowledge that most television programs from that era read like Shakespeare compared to the toxic dump that is most television fare these days.  I am glad that Shakespeare is not around to see it. Continue Reading

2

Fisker Automotive: Obama’s Bad Karma

 

 

Hattip to Mary Katherine Ham at Hot Air.  Back in 2008 Obama stated that if elected he would create five million green jobs over the next decade.  At this stage it becomes monotonous to bring up the fact that the promises of Obama bear as much relationship to reality as a lightning bug does to lightning, but the failure of Fisker Automotive can be taken as a symbol of the failed economic policy of the Obama administration.

In 2009 the Obama administration authorized a half a billion loan guarantee to Fisker, and about 193 million was spent.  When Fisker opened a plant in Delaware, Veep Biden was on hand.  The car company is now reeling to bankruptcy after spending 600K on each 100K Fisker Karma it sold:

Fisker Automotive Inc. spent more than six times as much U.S. taxpayer and investor money to produce each luxury plug-in car it sold than the company received from customers, according to a research report.

The Anaheim, California-based company made about 2,500 of its $103,000 Karmas before halting production last year, disrupting its plans to use a $529 million U.S. loan to restart a shuttered Delaware factory owned by the predecessor of General Motors Co. (GM) The Karma was assembled in Finland.

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

Fisker has spent $1.3 billion in taxpayer and venture capital money, or $660,000 for each car it sold, the report said.

Fisker stopped manufacturing cars late last year and fired three quarters of its remaining workers April 5. The company’s first repayment of $20.2 million on the Energy Department loan is due April 22, the report said.

Tony Knight of Sitrick & Co., an outside public relations agency representing Fisker, declined to comment.

A U.S. House panel is scheduled to hold a April 24 hearing on Fisker and its government financing. Invited witnesses include co-founder and namesake Henrik Fisker, who resigned last month; CEO Tony Posawatz and Chief Operating Officer Bernhard Koehler, who helped start the company whose customers include singer Justin Bieber and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Continue Reading

Quotes Suitable For Framing: George Washington

A contemplation of the compleat attainment (at a period earlier than could have been expected) of the object for which we contended against so formidable a power cannot but inspire us with astonishment and gratitude. The disadvantageous circumstances on our part, under which the war was undertaken, can never be forgotten. The singular interpositions of Providence in our feeble condition were such, as could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving; while the unparalleled perseverance of the Armies of the U States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing miracle.  

George Washington

I love studying history, but one unfortunate feature of it is that one tends to learn of the flaws and mistakes of great men and women and that it lowers them in the esteem of the careful student of their careers.  I have not found that the case with Washington.  He certainly had flaws, a bad temper that he had to exert iron control over for example, and he made mistakes, as a study of his campaigns during the Revolution demonstrates.  However with Washington that is counterbalanced by what he accomplished in the teeth of immense odds, and his humility that made him relinquish power, something that inspired his adversary George III to hail him as the greatest man in the world.  God gave us a Washington when we most needed him and that, in the words of Washington, was, indeed, a standing miracle.

7

Google Worships Their God

Faithful readers will recall the post, here, where I noted that Google observed the birthday of Cesar Chavez on Easter.  Today Google is observing Earth Day.  I find Earth Day to be a banal, politicized event, redolent of the fuzziest thinking of the Sixties, but if Google wants to observe it, fine by me.  I would not have said the same back in 2011 when Earth Day fell on Good Friday and Google decided to observe Earth Day.  Google defenders usually state that Google has a policy of not observing religious events.  Indeed?  Anyone who has not noted that environmentalism has become a huge substitute religion over the past four decades simply hasn’t been paying attention.

12

John Gielgud as the Grand Inquisitor

The things you can find on the internet!  Here is the late John Gielgud giving a riveting performance in 1975 as The Grand Inquisitor from the fable in The Brothers Karamazov.  I have always thought of this story by Dostoevsky as a prediction of the godless socialist regimes that he so clearly saw were coming.  We see this clearly in this passage:

 

 

‘Receiving bread from us, they will see clearly that we take the bread made by their hands from them, to give it to them, without any miracle. They will see that we do not change the stones to bread, but in truth they will be more thankful for taking it from our hands than for the bread itself! For they will remember only too well that in old days, without our help, even the bread they made turned to stones in their hands, while since they have come back to us, the very stones have turned to bread in their hands. Too, too well will they know the value of complete submission! And until men know that, they will be unhappy. Who is most to blame for their not knowing it?-speak! Who scattered the flock and sent it astray on unknown paths? But the flock will come together again and will submit once more, and then it will be once for all. Then we shall give them the quiet humble happiness of weak creatures such as they are by nature. Oh, we shall persuade them at last not to be proud, for Thou didst lift them up and thereby taught them to be proud. We shall show them that they are weak, that they are only pitiful children, but that childlike happiness is the sweetest of all. They will become timid and will look to us and huddle close to us in fear, as chicks to the hen. They will marvel at us and will be awe-stricken before us, and will be proud at our being so powerful and clever that we have been able to subdue such a turbulent flock of thousands of millions. They will tremble impotently before our wrath, their minds will grow fearful, they will be quick to shed tears like women and children, but they will be just as ready at a sign from us to pass to laughter and rejoicing, to happy mirth and childish song. Yes, we shall set them to work, but in their leisure hours we shall make their life like a child’s game, with children’s songs and innocent dance. Oh, we shall allow them even sin, they are weak and helpless, and they will love us like children because we allow them to sin. We shall tell them that every sin will be expiated, if it is done with our permission, that we allow them to sin because we love them, and the punishment for these sins we take upon ourselves. And we shall take it upon ourselves, and they will adore us as their saviours who have taken on themselves their sins before God. And they will have no secrets from us. We shall allow or forbid them to live with their wives and mistresses, to have or not to have children according to whether they have been obedient or disobedient- and they will submit to us gladly and cheerfully. The most painful secrets of their conscience, all, all they will bring to us, and we shall have an answer for all. And they will be glad to believe our answer, for it will save them from the great anxiety and terrible agony they endure at present in making a free decision for themselves. Continue Reading

30

Hypocritical Prudes

Hypocrisy

 

Horace Walpole once famously observed that the world is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel.  The times in which we live certainly gives support to the sometime accuracy of that maxim.  My favorite living historian, Victor Davis Hanson, helps buttress the point:

What explains these contradictions in our wide-open but prudish society? Decades after the rise of feminism, popular culture still seems confused by it. If women should be able to approach sexuality like men, does it follow that commentary about sex should follow the same gender-neutral rules? Yet wearing provocative or inappropriate clothing is often considered less offensive than remarking upon it. Calling a near-nude Madonna onstage a “hussy” or “tart” would be considered crude in a way that her mock crucifixion and simulated sex acts are not.

Criminal sexual activity is sometimes not as professionally injurious as politically incorrect thoughts about sex and gender. Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer — found to have hired prostitutes on a number of occasions during his time in office — was given a CNN news show despite the scandal. But when former Miss California Carrie Prejean was asked in the Miss USA pageant whether she endorsed gay marriage, she said no — and thereby earned nearly as much popular condemnation for her candid defense of traditional marriage as Spitzer had for his purchased affairs.

Critics were outraged that talk-show host Rush Limbaugh grossly insulted birth-control activist Sandra Fluke. Amid the attention, Fluke was canonized for her position that federal health-care plans should pay for the contraceptive costs of all women. Yet in comparison to Fluke’s well-publicized victimhood, there has been a veritable news blackout for the trial of the macabre Dr. Kermit Gosnell, charged with killing and mutilating in gruesome fashion seven babies during a long career of conducting sometimes illegal late-term abortions. Had Gosnell’s aborted victims been canines instead of humans — compare the minimal coverage of the Gosnell trial with the widespread media condemnation of dog-killing quarterback Michael Vick — perhaps the doctor’s mayhem likewise would have been front-page news outside of Philadelphia.

Modern society also resorts to empty, symbolic moral action when it cannot deal with real problems. So-called assault weapons account for less than 1 percent of gun deaths in America. But the country whips itself into a frenzy to ban them, apparently to prove that at least it can do something, instead of wading into polarized racial and class controversies by going after illegal urban handguns, the real source of the nation’s high gun-related body count.

Not since the late-19th-century juxtaposition of the Wild West with the Victorian East has popular morality been so unbridled and yet so uptight. In short, we have become a nation of promiscuous prudes. Continue Reading

5

On Ricochet: Modern Media and Benedict the Humble

Our modern media, driven by image, loves outward signs of humility. The incongruity of a Pope riding the bus and moving out of the palace creates a spectacle that viewers can instantly digest as “good,” even though these are only external acts. Now, I don’t doubt that these acts are spurred by Francis’ genuine virtue, but they should mean less if humility, as Aquinas and Augustine insisted, is only a virtue as an inward movement of the soul.

In Benedict’s pre-papacy book, The Spirit of the Liturgy, he wrote that the Pope should be a “humble servant” to the “Tradition of the faith” — a deliberately inconspicuous goal that a headline cannot capture, and which those unfamiliar with that tradition cannot fully appreciate.

Again, I do not wish to criticize Pope Francis, but rather to suggest that we, as viewers, keep our idea of “humility” in proper perspective. Humility is not the greatest virtue proposed by Christianity — it is just a prerequisite, an interior attitude of other-worldliness, for receiving the rest of the Faith.

Rest of the article is here.

Thought y’all might enjoy it!

1

April 21, 1863: Streight’s Mule Raid Begins

In reviewing the history of this ill-fated expedition, I am convinced that had we been furnished at Nashville with 800 good horses, instead of poor, young mules, we would have been successful, in spite of all other drawbacks; or if General Dodge had succeeded in detaining Forrest one day longer, we would have been successful, even with our poor outfit.

Colonel Abel Streight

Streight's_Raid_route

One of the more unsuccessful raids of the Civil War, Colonel Abel Streight’s Mule Raid was filled with high drama and low comedy.  Go here for a first rate video presentation of the raid.

A bookseller in Indianapolis at the beginning of the war, Streight was Colonel of the 51rst Indiana Infantry in 1863.  He hit upon the idea of a raid through Northern Alabama.  With Union loyalist Alabamians as guides, Streight planned to drive through Northern Alabama and on into Northern Georgia to destroy the rail hub of the Western & Atlantic Railroad, which would have cripple the ability of the Confederates to supply their forces in Tennessee.  The raid was not intended as a cavalry raid, most of Streight’s force to consist of mounted infantry, their mounts being used for transportation and not to be fought from.  Streight was given command for his raid of a brigade of 1700 men, consisting of  two companies of the First West Tennessee and First Alabama Cavalry regiments, and the Third Ohio, Fifty-First Indiana and Eightieth Illinois Infantry regiments.

Signs that the expedition was ill-fated began when most of the men were mounted on temperamental, is there any other type?, mules.  Riding a mule can be a trial even for a skilled rider, and most of Streight’s men were novices.  Confederates during the expedition had great fun laughing at the “Jackass Cavalry” as Streight’s men were deemed, and Union morale suffered as a result.  The constant braying of the mules made finding the raiders an easy task for the Confederates during the raid, as well as getting on the nerves of their unfortunate riders.  The slow pace of the mules made certain that any Confederate force mounted on horses was going to be much faster.  Streight recognized the problem with the mules from the outset, and objected to them prior to the raid, to no avail.  To make the fiasco complete, about 200 of Streight’s men had no mounts at all at the beginning of the raid. Continue Reading

19

Roe and Back Alley Abortions

 

 

The prosecution is ready to rest in the murder trial of the abortionist Kermit Gosnell.  Yesterday was the last day of testimony for the prosecution, and they ended with a tale that plumbs the absolute bottom of the sad chronicle of Man’s inhumanity to Man:

On the last day of testimony before the prosecution rests in  the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, a former worker at Gosnell’s clinic testified that she saw one late-term baby who survived an abortion “swimming” in a toilet and “trying to get out.”

Kareema Cross, a “medical assistant” who worked at Gosnell’s Women’s  Medical Society clinic for four-and-a-half years, testified in a  Philadelphia court today, telling of the horrors of babies who survived  abortions only to have their necks snipped with scissors.

“Did you ever see those babies move?” asked Prosecutor Joanne Pescatore.

“Yes, once in the toilet,” said Cross.

The baby “was like swimming,” she said.  “Basically, trying to get out.”

Adrienne Moton, an employee at the clinic, then took the baby and   snipped the back of its neck while the mother was still in the room.

Cross told the jury that when Shayquana Abrams came into the clinic in July 2008 she was pregnant, “and she was big.”

“That was the largest baby I ever saw,” Cross said. Continue Reading

9

Got Two!

 

 

 

From the Boston Globe:

WATERTOWN — One suspect in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings has been apprehended, according to an official with knowledge of the investigation. Another appears to remain on the loose in Watertown after a firefight with police. A 20-block perimeter was established as authorities searched for him.

The Middlesex District Attorney’s office said that the suspect taken into custody was pronounced dead at a hospital. The DA’s office did not independently confirm the connection to the marathon bombings.

A scene of chaos descended on Cambridge and Watertown late Thursday night and early Friday morning, as police confirmed an MIT police officer was shot and killed, and an armed carjacking led police on a frenetic chase into Watertown. Hundreds of police officer flooded Cambridge and Watertown.

A spokesman for the MBTA said that a transit officer had been shot and was in serious condition. Continue Reading

29

Galloping Historical Illiteracy

Remember Laura Curry, the Adjunct Professor, who went berserk at a pro-life display at the University of Buffalo?  Go here to read all about it.  Six of her colleagues, two professors of history, one associate professor of history, one assistant professor of history, one American studies assistant prof, and one assistant professor of “global gender studies”, decided to write in to the student newspaper, The Spectrum, to demonstrate that they too could make public asses of themselves.  Herewith is the letter and my fisk:

Dear Spectrum:

We are writing to condemn the message of the anti-abortion protest that took place outside the Commons this week.

Yes, we certainly wouldn’t want to give anyone the impression that a modern university is a place where opposing viewpoints are welcomed and debated.

In particular, we are disturbed by the equation of those who support women’s reproductive rights with those who lynched thousands of African American men and women in the 19th and 20th centuries.

It is an unfair comparison.  Between 1882-1968 approximately 3,446 blacks, along with 1,297 whites, were lynched in this country.  That is less than a morning’s work in the abortion clinics of this country.

We do not condemn the protest itself; in fact, we believe that the right to peaceably assemble is one of the foundational rights of American citizenship.

I am sure there is a “but” coming.

However, as historians, we feel it is imperative to speak out against this crass, uninformed and dangerous misuse of history.

Yep, I am certain it is the purity of History, and not voices raised against your right to slay your offspring, that has your knickers in a twirl.

From the end of the Civil War through the mid-20th century, white lynch mobs throughout the United States, although mostly in the South, deliberately and with extraordinary malice, terrorized and murdered African Americans under the pretense of “protecting” white womanhood from the supposed threat of rape by black men.

Actually, lynch mobs had various motivations.  In regard to blacks, one of the chief motivations immediately after the Civil War was to ensure that black Republicans did not vote, lynch mobs often acting as the terrorist arm of the Democrat Party, the party of abortion today.  The Republicans in Congress and in the White House made attempt after attempt to pass federal legislation against lynching, some 200 bills being introduced between 1882 to 1968.  Each time the legislation was blocked by Southern Democrats in the Senate.

 

Of course, this mock chivalry was just a ruse. Lynchers could not imagine a world in which a white woman might choose to love a black man, and no doubt some of those lynched were guilty only of crossing the South’s prohibition against consensual interracial sex.

Lynchings involving accusations of rape were almost always based upon a white woman making the charge of rape.  Of course that is an inconvenient fact for the professors, so they don’t mention that.

Others were simply guilty of owning their own land or trying to make a way for their families. Regardless, all of them paid the price for the white South’s brutal effort to control not only black bodies but white female ones, as well.

Oh give me a break.  The idea that white females making accusations of rape were merely pawns in the hands of male lynch mobs is feminist clap trap and has virtually no basis in the historical record.

The inability to see women as capable of making decisions about their own sexuality. The use of violent, inaccurate, and misleading imagery. The pretense of protection. Anti-abortion protesters appear to have a lot in common with those who supported lynching.

Only if one views history as through a glass, darkly, combined with a bad case of feminist stigmatism.  Pro-lifers of course wish to stop the slaughter of black babies just as they wish to stop the slaughter of all babies.  No doubt the professors would view the main problem with Kermit Gosnell as being, not that he slaughtered hundreds, maybe thousands, of nearly full term black babies, but that his case threatens the sacred rite of abortion.

We applaud vigorous, thoughtful debate and protest.

Sure you do, so long as the debate and protest agrees with you.

 

It is the lifeblood of democracy. However, this kind of political action requires much deliberation, which unfortunately was missing from yesterday’s anti-abortion protest.

I would certainly hope that anyone undertaking political action engages in much more deliberation than you put into this letter.

If students wish to learn more about the history of racial and sexual violence, including lynching, we welcome them to take any of our classes.

Thanks for closing on a humorous note.

Sincerely,

Susan Cahn, Professor of History

Carole Emberton, Assistant Professor of History

Theresa Runstedtler, Assistant Professor of American Studies

Lakisha Simmons, Assistant Professor of Global Gender Studies

Victoria Wolcott, Professor of History

Jason Young, Associate Professor of History Continue Reading

11

Second Term Malaise

Bored Obama

Often times the worst thing that can happen to any President is winning a second term, since most presidential second terms in American history have tended to be dismal.  Ann Althouse enumerates the ways in which Obama’s second term is off to a miserable start:

1. It’s been so bad that the media dropped their erstwhile foible of talking about everything that happens in terms of what it means for Obama. And here it is, the first lap of his new term, when there’s more reason than usual to talk about how things are working out for the President.

2. Obama made gun control his big issue leading into the new term. He tried so hard to deploy his speaking skills to channel the nation’s emotion after the Sandy Hook massacre, and in the end he couldn’t even wrangle all of the Democrats in the Senate, and he was reduced yesterday to surrounding himself with human vessels of tragedy and “a scowling Vice President Biden” and pronounce it “all in all…  a pretty shameful day for Washington.” The media offered weak support by describing him as passionately angry, but I watched the video and found it surprising dull. I couldn’t motivate myself to go over to my computer to blog about it last night. Obama knew he was going to lose. The theater of sympathy and outrage had gone on far too long, the show was a flop, and the leading man was obliged to take his curtain call.

3. North Korea apparently has a nuclear weapon and the nerve to use it (or to pose as if it does), and the new Secretary of State, the exceedingly dreary John Kerry, is sojourning in the general area nattering about global warming —  “the Foreign Minister and I agreed to raise the initiative above the level that it is today” — and meanwhile, back in the United States, it’s really cold.

4. Obama’s efforts to get some lightweight good press over basketball failed. His bracket was busted, and a cutesy photo-op produced an embarrassing video in which he went 2 for 22. That he could play basketball was an element of his legend, and now it’s that video that comes to mind when we think of Obama and basketball. Does he even have another sport? Golf? Golf, unlike basketball, never worked as an element of the Obama legend.

5. He shut off White House tours, presumably on the theory that it would spark outrage at the sequester (and those terrible Republicans), but that gesture clashed with his own fun in the White House. Ordinary kids had their field trips canceled, while Obama’s daughters got Justin Timberlake to come to the White
House and perform right in front of them. It was another of the many parties. Wasn’t Beyonce just there? And then she and Jay-Z went to Cuba, and, when criticized, Jay-Z put out a pissy rap tune that (I
think) insulted Obama. Continue Reading

21

Bittter Clingers

 

 

Daniel Henninger writes what I believe will prove to be a very prescient column in The Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Obama’s remark about rural Pennsylvanians clinging to guns and religion is the coin of the realm in his crowd. But let’s put their shared consensus another way: Somehow it became a conventional view in contemporary American politics that it is non-urban conservatives who in every case have to accommodate their beliefs to a national culture created by people who live somewhere else. “They” must adjust on abortion, guns, school prayer, sexual mores and all the rest of it. Liberals, meanwhile, not only feel no need to concede anything but use the commanding heights of the press and academia to define anyone who dissents from their ever-evolving national culture as a political fringe obsessed with people, one might say, who aren’t like them.

The gun-control bill is collapsing in the Senate because its liberal sponsors, led by Barack Obama and California’s Dianne Feinstein, lost the support of Democratic senators from states with traditional hunting cultures, such as Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Mark Begich of Alaska or Max Baucus of Montana. Why so many people in these states and many others to this day still distrust public authorities on guns is a good, but untold, story. Kentuckians recently voted the right to hunt into their constitution. Instead, gun-control’s failure will be spun as a win for mindless Neanderthals “out there.”

But what about Kermit Gosnell? This story suggests something Neanderthal-like may have developed around the fringe of abortion practice in the 40 years since Roe v. Wade. But rather than re-examine and even reform those practices, the curtain will be pulled on the Gosnell case. They’ll cling to Roe, no matter how unseemly its status quo.

Political correctness—the silent code that decides whose side of the story gets elevated and whose side gets buried—has been a blunt but effective weapon, which the dominant liberal culture has used to achieve a lot of victories over “them” the past 40 years. But the wins have come at a price. That price is the return of an unmistakable, growing and potentially destabilizing bitterness in American politics.

A fairer-minded media would be the best way to level the playing field. Absent that, our politics will be leveled by other means. What the major media think then, if they’re still around, won’t matter. Continue Reading

3

Doolittle Raiders Hold Their Final Public Reunion

Inevitable, but still sad:

Wednesday’s event at the base is part of a weeklong series of activities planned by the military and community leaders to honor the men.

Thomas Casey, business manager for the Raiders and a longtime fan of the men, said the four survivors have decided they can no longer keep up with the demands of group public appearances.

“The mission ends here in Fort Walton Beach on Saturday night, but their legacy starts then,” he said.

Casey said he hopes everyone who has had a chance to interact with the men will keep their legacy alive. “I want them to tell the story to their children, their grandchildren, their neighbors and keep their story going because their story is worthwhile telling.”

At each reunion is a case containing 80 silver goblets with the name of each raider inscribed right-side up and upside down on a single goblet. The men toast their fallen comrades each year and turn their goblets upside down in their honor.

Continue Reading

4

Quotes Suitable For Framing: Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln

 

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide their children and their children’s children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began — so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built. Continue Reading

19

Relics of Barbarism

 

 

Opponents of homosexual marriage often point out that this will lead to the effective end of marriage, as the impetus will be to deem any relationship between adults to be marriage if the parties wish to call it marriage.  An article in Slate, that never failing font of what passes for thinking on the mainstream Left, proves the accuracy of that prediction.

It’s also hard to argue with the constitutional freedom of religious expression that legalized polygamy would preserve. Most polygamous families are motivated by religious faith, such as fundamentalist Mormonism or Islam, and as long as all parties involved are adults, legally able to sign marriage contracts, there is no constitutional reason why they shouldn’t be able to express that faith in their marriages. Legalized polygamous marriage would also be good for immigrant families, some of whom have legally polygamous marriages in their home countries that get ripped apart during the immigration process. (It’s impossible to estimate exactly how many polygamous families live here, since they live their religious and sexual identities in secret. Academics suggest there are 50,000 to 100,000 people engaged in Muslim polygamy in the U.S., and there are thousands of fundamentalist Mormon polygamist families as well.)

 

15

Reading the Grand Jury Report on the Gosnell Case

MrsDarwin has done the public service of reading through the entirety of the Grand Jury Report on the Gosnell case. The following is a reprint of her post.

In The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan proposes a thought experiment:

Tell me yourself, I challenge you — answer. Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature — that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance — and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth.

I was reminded of that passage this afternoon when I read the entire Grand Jury report on the Kermit Gosnell case:

pg. 101: After the baby was expelled, Cross noticed that he was breathing, though not for long. After about 10 to 20 seconds, while the mother was asleep, “the doctor just slit the neck,” said Cross. Gosnell put the boy’s body in a shoebox. Cross described the baby as so big that his feet and arms hung out over the sides of the container. Cross said that she saw the baby move after his neck was cut, and after the doctor placed it in the shoebox. Gosnell told her, “it’s the baby’s reflexes. It’s not really moving.” 

The neonatologist testified that what Gosnell told his people was absolutely false. If a baby moves, it is alive. Equally troubling, it feels a “tremendous amount of pain” when its spinal cord is severed. So, the fact that Baby Boy A. continued to move after his spinal cord was cut with scissors means that he did not die instantly. Maybe the cord was not completely severed. In any case, his few moments of life were spent in excruciating pain.

Gosnell was an eager butcher, one who was willing to torture babies for women under the desperate illusion that they could attain “peace and rest at last” through this “foundation of the unexpiated blood of a little victim”, as Ivan puts it. He had a psychopathic distain for the external nicetices of the abortion business: the sterile clinic, the efficient staff, the quiet, hidden murder and the quick disposal of the bodies. It was all in the open at 3801 N. Lancaster St., insanely blatant in the sheer horrific scale of murder, murders of babies born alive, infanticide, violations of the Controlled Substances Act, hindering, obstruction, and tampering, perjury, illegal late-term abortions, violations of the Abortion Control Act, violations of the Controlled Substances Act, abuse of corpse, theft by deception, conspiracy, corrupt organization, and corruption of minors.

Think I’m exaggerating? Those are the charges recommended against Gosnell and members of his staff by the appalled Grand Jury (pg. 219). Continue Reading

12

Tolerant Lib

Hattip to Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report.  Content advisory for the above video.  Ms. Curry is unable to express herself sans F-Bomb.  Is it too much to ask that colleges and universities not employ Professors, even adjunct Professors, who are complete morons?

 

A University of Buffalo (SUNY) professor was arrested for screaming obscenities at an administration approved graphic pro-life display. While cursing profusely, she accused the pro-lifers of being “profane.”
The video below shows the arrest along with the professor cursing and finally yelling out to surrounding students to tell her 1 p.m. class that she wouldn’t be able to teach that day because she was being taken away in handcuffs.
I contacted the media relations department at UB and they confirmed the arrest. John DellaContrada, Assistant Vice President for Media Relations at UB, told CMR that:

Laura Curry was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.  She is an adjunct instructor of media study.  She is entitled to due process under the law. 
This was a display by a student club, the UB Students for Life.  Student organizations are allowed to reserve space on campus for purposes of free expression.
The University at Buffalo strives to create an environment in which diverse opinions can be expressed and heard.  As a public university, it is a fundamental value of UB that all members of the campus community and their invited guests have a right to peacefully express their views and opinions, regardless of whether others may disagree with those expressions. This includes the right of protesters to oppose the views or opinions of others, but not in such a way as to limit or prevent the speaker’s freedom of expression or interfere with university operations. Continue Reading

20

Kermit Gosnell and the Nightmare of the Pro-Aborts

 

The murder trial of the abortionist Kermit Gosnell is a nightmare for pro-aborts.  In one case it combines the following elements:

1.  It displays the fact that the abortion industry is about money and little else.

2.  It demonstrates the grotesque conditions in which abortions are often carried out, giving the lie to “safe”, legal abortions.

3.  It shows that the practitioners of abortion tend to be quacks of marginal competence.

4.  The racism and classism of the abortion industry is on full display as poor black women are treated like cattle while white women with money receive much better treatment.

5.  The callous indifference of abortionists to their “patients”.  Kill unborn kids for a living and the callousness necessary to do that will usually not be limited to humans within a womb.

6.  The unwillingness of government to do anything to protect women undergoing abortions.

7.  The inhumanity of the radical pro-aborts is revealed as we see what their determination to have abortion legal for all nine months means in practice.

8.  The “glob of cells” mantra so beloved of the pro-aborts completely goes out the window as the gruesome aspects of the abortionist trade, and the humanity of the victims, are presented for the world to see.

9.  All the stats about partial birth abortion are revealed to be junk as people realize how common were Gosnell’s murders of late term babies.

10.  The humanity of the unborn is demonstrated as we read in horror of fully developed unborn kids  having their spinal columns severed with scissors while Gosnell makes jokes about their murders. Continue Reading

2

The Men That Fought At Minden

 

The twenty-third in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here and here.  In his poems Kipling was fond of the theme of education.  In several poems he tied in education with another great theme of his poetry, the British Army, Kipling being fascinated by the rough and ready process by which soldiers learned how to be soldiers.

One feature of the British Army that has helped make it such a formidable force over the centuries is the pride in regimental history taken by officers and men.  In the poem The Men That Fought at Minden a sergeant, or perhaps a corporal, is using the battle of Minden as an example to tell new recruits what to expect as they learn how to be soldiers.

On August 1, 1759 an Anglo-German army won a striking victory over a larger French army at the battle of Minden in Germany.  The victory was one of the numerous victories won by the British in 1759, the Annus Mirabilis, which included the taking of Quebec.  The following British regiments fought at Minden and are known as Minden regiments:   12th of Foot, 20th Foot, 23rd of Foot, 25th of Foot, 37th of Foot and  51st Foot.  Minden Day is still observed on August 1, when the men of these regiments wear roses in their caps.  Lord George Sackville was cashiered from the British Army due to cowardice that day.  As Lord George Germain he would serve as George III’s Secretary of State during the American Revolution, contributing greatly to the British loss in that War.  The Marquis de Lafayette’s father died at the battle, and sparked in Lafayette a strong desire for revenge on the British that he brought to fruition in the aid that he brought to the American cause in the Revolution. Continue Reading

10

Boston Marathon Bombings

Terrorism visted the Boston Marathon today:

The first explosion occurred at 2:50 PM ET, according to the Boston Police, when an unidentified device detonated on the north side of Boylston Street approximately fifty feet from the marathon’s finish line. A second explosion went off about ten seconds later less than 100 yards up the route. Police said two people had been killed and 28 others were injured in the blasts; the Boston Globe currently reports at least 107 injured.

Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis told reporters at an afternoon press conference that no additional bombs had been found along the race route, but more recent reports –including a CBS news story citing Massachusetts congressman and Homeland Security committee member Bill Keating as a source– continue to assert that two other bombs have been found undetonated along the marathon route, including one at a hotel on Copley Square.

A fire which occurred at the JFK Library in South Boston about an hour after the attacks appears to be unrelated to the bombings, though the Boston Police says it is still investigating. Continue Reading

13

Social Justice, Francis, Benedict, and Other Things Tragically Misrepresented

Overheard upon the election of Pope Francis: “Finally ‘social justice’ won’t be a bad word anymore.”  It is astounding how many misconceptions can be packed into nine short words.

First, there is this constant misperception that Francis, because of some stylistic differences, is somehow light years apart from Pope Benedict XVI in substance.  Actually, a comment like the one above somehow suggests that Francis is radically different from most, if not all, of his modern predecessors.  Here’s the rub: when people are asked to present evidence that Pope Francis is somehow “different,” they simply fall flat.  They fall flat because there is no evidence.  Even if one were to reach back into his days as Cardinal Bergoglio, the evidence of continuity piles up left and right (pun intended).  I will resist the urge the quote extensively from Benedict, John Paul II, and others to demonstrate the continuity, mostly because I am getting weary of the task.  The more I talk with people who adhere to a sudden jolt of discontinuity brought about by the Bergoglio pontificate, the more I think that the onus of proof is on them.  Those who see Francis as “different” or a “breath of fresh air” or as someone who will finally “bring the Church into the modern liberal world” owe us some evidence of the fact.  They owe us a rational argument and examples of such a claim.

However, the opening quotation is about more than a perceived discontinuity.  It is also about a mistaken understanding of “social justice” in the Church, on two accounts.  The first account is that “social justice” is somehow limited to poverty, immigration, the environment, and universal health care.  “Social justice” is much broader than just these issues.  If we break down the two terms, “social” refers to man living with his neighbor, and “justice” refers to the classical virtue.  Therefore, anything involving the dignity of the human person would fall under this category.  “Social justice” would then also include the right to life from conception to natural death, upholding the traditional definition of marriage, and issues of cloning and fetal stem cell research.  Quite frankly, in its broader sense it would also include basic issues of morality such as the Church’s teaching on contraception.  On that note, I return to the point in the previous paragraph.  One who claims that Francis is or will be different from his predecessor on any of these issues should be required to demonstrate an argument complete with examples.  I have dedicated most of my spare reading time to the writings of John Paul II, when he was pope, and Benedict XVI.  I can tell you that both men tirelessly stood up for the poor, called Catholics to personal action in this regard, defending the dignity of life at all stages, spoke about the challenges and abuses regarding immigration, taught us that basic health care is important for all of mankind, vehemently resisted efforts to change the definition of traditional and sacramental marriage, encouraged us to protect the environment, and spoke out against human cloning and fetal stem cell research.  They also reaffirmed the Church’s teaching on difficult issues of morality such as contraception.  They did so because they were Catholic.  They did so because they were relentlessly dedicated to the truth.  Pope Francis has shown in his time as Cardinal Bergolgio and his opening month as Holy Roman Pontiff complete continuity with regards to the Church’s teaching in all of these areas.

The second account of how the opening quotation misconstrues “social justice” is how it collapses the difference between principle and implementation to the latter.  When it comes to moral principles, theologians distinguish between what the concept is (principle) and how best to achieve it (implementation).  For instance, an individual cannot in good conscience be a practicing Catholic and not adhere to the principle that we are responsible for taking care of the least among us.  Christ clearly calls every individual to be concerned with the poor.  That is the principle.  The implementation is something altogether different, and people of good will can disagree on the best way to bring about the call to help those in need.  Is it through major government programs, is it through private charitable giving, or is it through some mix between the two?

There are, however, some moral teachings in which the principle is the same as the implementation: abortion, for instance.  There is no other way to implement the moral principle of the right to life except to protect it at all stages.  Any law that does not seek full protection is unjust insofar as it fails in this regard.

Here is where we return to the crux of the issue.  “Finally ‘social justice’ won’t be a bad word anymore.”  Social justice was never a bad word, or a bad pair of words to be precise, within the Church.  Those who get frustrated when the term “social justice” is thrown around carelessly do so not because of the term itself, nor because of their own personal commitment to the Church’s teaching, but rather because of its misuse, because of how it is pigeonholed into a platform for the political left.

We are all called to seek justice in every area of Catholic moral teaching, just as we always have been.  There is nothing that has changed in the transition of Pope Benedict to Pope Francis in this call.  In order to understand this properly, however, we must be able to distinguish principle from implementation.  The Church calls all of us as individuals to do what we can to help the world’s poor.  However, this is something altogether different that looking to government to solve the problem for us, to take the onus off the individual.  This has always been the crux of the issue.  I would have severe words for the “Catholic” who says, “The poor are not my problem, and my time and money will not be wasted trying to solve this issue.”  Yet I would have equally severe words for the person who thinks that government programs are the solution to the nation’s poverty.

If the Church has learned anything from the centuries-long bad press she received regarding the Galileo debacle, it is that she should tread very lightly in speaking outside of her area of expertise.  The Church should and will point out instances of economic injustice, but providing specific economic solutions is something that she leaves to those governing the nations.  Instead, the Church stays at the level of the human heart.  She calls every believer to serve the poor, but she does not call believers to support specific government solutions.  Pope Francis is an outstanding example of this.  He states the principle, and then he does it.  But he most emphatically does not say that we can pass off our personal responsibility to government programs.  Rather than calling up the Italian government to dictate how they can best take care of and rehabilitate the imprisoned youth of the country, he – he himself – washed their feet.  The call of the Gospel is a call to the human heart.  It is not a call for any one government program.

This is where some issues of social justice are different than others.  Some allow for disagreement among people of good will when it comes to the implementation.  Others do not because the principle is the same as the implementation.  We saw this play out in the last Vice Presidential debate between two Catholics.  On the one hand there was the Republican Paul Ryan who, when criticized for his economic plan, stated clearly, the the plan did not violate Catholic principles, but rather it is because of Catholic principles than he supports the plan.  Congressman Ryan was interviewed on EWTN and allowed to explain this in more detail.  He said in no uncertain terms that he has a deep compassion for the poor, one that is formed by his Catholic upbringing, and then he outlined precisely why he thinks that fiscal conservatism is the best way to help the poor.  One is free to disagree with the Congressman on the level of economics.  For my own part, I readily recognize that I am not an economist, and so I have little to add on whether or not Ryan’s plan will work.  I can say that the entitlement programs of the left seem to not have produced near the results that they promised since their inception.  What I do know is that Ryan is well within Catholic social teaching in his explanation of his fiscal policies.  He might be dead wrong on an economic level, but he is clearly approaching this as a well-formed Catholic.  On the other hand we had Vice President Joe Biden who, when questioned about his stance on abortion, stated,

My religion defines who I am, and I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life.  And has particularly informed my social doctrine. The Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who – who can’t take care of themselves, people who need help. With regard to – with regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a – what we call a de fide doctrine. Life begins at conception in the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life.  But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the – the congressman. I – I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that – women they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor. In my view and the Supreme Court, I’m not going to interfere with that.

The problem is that one cannot hold this position and be a Catholic in good conscience.  This is because when it comes to abortion, the principle is the same as the implementation.  One cannot hold in principle that every life has a dignity and should be afforded protection from the first moment of conception and then claim the best way to implement this is to not protect it.

“Social justice” is not a bad word, but these two principles must be kept in mind when properly discerning the Church’s teaching in matters of social justice.  First, “social justice” is bigger than the “left” and on the “right.”  It includes a whole range of issues.  Second, many of the issues are stated as principles, but details of implementation are left up to the prudential judgement of national leaders.  The Church will only speak out of issues of national implementation when a specific system has demonstrated utter incompatibility with Church teaching, as when she condemned socialism.

It seems to me that Pope Francis understands social justice quite well, just as did his predecessor and his predecessor’s predecessor.  There will not be a change in Church teaching with the new Pope, no matter how much the left wants to co-opt Pope Francis for their own political agendas.

7

The honeymoon may be over…

 

With the publication of one paragraph by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, it appears that the Catholic left’s honeymoon with Pope Francis may have hit a dead end.  The paragraph reads:

…Archbishop Müller informed the Presidency that he had recently discussed the Doctrinal Assessment with Pope Francis, who reaffirmed the findings of the Assessment and the program of reform for this Conference of Major Superiors.

What’s this?  Pope Francis is going to continue the process initiated by Pope Benedict XVI that is intended to curtail the doctrinal and liturgical errors propounded by the leadership of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)?  Wasn’t this new pope—the pope of the people and the poor—supposed to be on the side of those who are oppressed and marginalized by all of those unjust social, political, and yes, religious structures that benefit the few?

According to a communique by the Holy See, there was a meeting earlier today including the Superiors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Presidency of the LCWR, and the Most Reverend J. Peter Sartain, Archbishop of Seattle and the Holy See’s Delegate for the Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR.  According to the communique, the CDF Prefect, the Most Rev. Gerhard Ludwig Müller, first expressed “his gratitude for the great contribution of women Religious to the Church in the United States as seen particularly in the many schools, hospitals, and institutions of support for the poor which have been founded and staffed by Religious over the years.”  Cardinal Müller then

…highlighted the teaching of the Second Vatican Council regarding the important mission of Religious to promote a vision of ecclesial communion founded on faith in Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church as faithfully taught through the ages under the guidance of the Magisterium (Cf. Lumen gentium, nn. 43-47). He also emphasized that a Conference of Major Superiors, such as the LCWR, exists in order to promote common efforts among its member Institutes as well as cooperation with the local Conference of Bishops and with individual Bishops. For this reason, such Conferences are constituted by and remain under the direction of the Holy See (Cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 708-709).

It was after this little lecture that Cardinal Müller shot the missle across the LCWR’s port bow.

The Catholic left will not be happy and their minions in the mainstream media will surely fire back.  In fact, it’s already happening.  Hard questions are being raised  about Pope Francis’ record in Argentina. According to John Allen, these questions include:

  • Bergoglio’s response to two priests accused of sexual abuse, where critics have suggested he dropped the ball;
  • why Argentina’s conference of Catholic bishops did not finish a set of sex abuse guidelines while he served as president;
  • his relationship with Argentina’s military dictatorship as a Jesuit provincial during the 1970s;
  • Bergoglio’s attitude toward liberation theology; and
  • confusion over where he stood on the question of civil unions during a contentious national debate on gay marriage in 2009 and 2010.

Read Allen’s findings here.

Just a few short weeks ago upon his election as Pope, the LCWR issued the following statement:

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) offers its congratulations and heartfelt prayer to Pope Francis as he assumes the papacy at this critical time for the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio demonstrated great dedication to the mission of the Church during his leadership in Argentina. As he serves in the papacy, we trust that his many gifts will continue to be spent on behalf of the universal church, and most especially for people who live in poverty in all parts of the world.

As a conference of leaders of orders of Catholic sisters in the United States, we welcome Pope Francis’s spiritual leadership and look forward to working with him in carrying forward the Gospel message.

The honeymoon isn’t over…it’s likely hit a dead end.  Will the Catholic left characterize Pope Francis—who told the clergy of Rome on Holy Thursday to be with their sheep and to smell like their sheep—as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”?

 

 

To read the communique, click on the following link:
http://www.news.va/en/news/121436

To read John Allen’s article in NCROnline, click on the following link:
http://ncronline.org/blogs/all-things-catholic/hard-questions-about-francis-argentina-and-lesson-chile

To read the LCWR statement, click on the following link:
https://lcwr.org/media/news/prayers-pope-francis

 

Current Tax Payment Act of 1943

The above 1943 Donald Duck cartoon, The  Spirit of ’43,  was funded by the Department of the Treasury in 1943.  It highlighted a major problem for the Federal government.  Prior to World War II very few Americans paid any income tax and there was no withholding.  With the increased taxes to pay for World War II, most full time non-agricultural American workers were going to be paying income tax and few were saving to pay the tax bill when it came due. Continue Reading

22

Gosnell Grand Jury Report: A Mirror For Our Times

Miracles do happen.  The uproar over the non-coverage of the abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial is forcing the mainstream media to cover it.  A good starting point for media coverage is the Gosnell grand-jury report.  Here are some selections from some of the most harrowing reading I have ever done.

It begins bluntly:

This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy – and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors. The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels – and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths. Over the years, many people came to know that something was going on here. But no one put a stop to it.

The report notes that the actions of Gosnell and his accessories are not the only issues raised by the investigation:

The callous killing of babies outside the womb, the routinely performed third trimester abortions, the deaths of at least two patients, and the grievous health risks inflicted on countless other women by Gosnell and his unlicensed staff are not the only shocking things that this Grand Jury investigation uncovered. What surprised the jurors even more is the official neglect that allowed these crimes and conditions to persist for years in a Philadelphia medical facility.

What the initial raid on Gosnell’s “clinic” revealed could add a canto to Dante’s Inferno:

The search team waited outside until Gosnell finally arrived at the clinic, at about 8:30 p.m. When the team members entered the clinic, they were appalled, describing it to the Grand Jury as “filthy,” “deplorable,” “disgusting,” “very unsanitary, very outdated, horrendous,” and “by far, the worst” that these experienced investigators had ever encountered.

There was blood on the floor. A stench of urine filled the air. A flea-infested cat was wandering through the facility, and there were cat feces on the stairs. Semi-conscious women scheduled for abortions were moaning in the waiting room or the recovery room, where they sat on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets.

All the women had been sedated by unlicensed staff – long before Gosnell arrived at the clinic – and staff members could not accurately state what medications or dosages they had administered to the waiting patients. Many of the medications in inventory were past their expiration dates.

Investigators found the clinic grossly unsuitable as a surgical facility. The two surgical procedure rooms were filthy and unsanitary – Agent Dougherty described them as resembling “a bad gas station restroom.” Instruments were not sterile. Equipment was rusty and outdated. Oxygen equipment was covered with dust, and had not been inspected. The same corroded suction tubing used for abortions was the only tubing available for oral airways if assistance for breathing was needed. There was no functioning resuscitation or even monitoring equipment, except for a single blood pressure cuff in the recovery room.

Ambulances were summoned to pick up the waiting patients, but (just as on the night Mrs. Mongar died three months earlier), no one, not even Gosnell, knew there the keys were to open the emergency exit. Emergency personnel had to use bolt cutters to remove the lock. They discovered they could not maneuver stretchers through the building’s narrow hallways to reach the patients (just as emergency personnel had been obstructed from reaching Mrs. Mongar).

The search team discovered fetal remains haphazardly stored throughout the clinic – in bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons, and even in cat-food containers. Some fetal remains were in a refrigerator, others were frozen. Gosnell admitted to Detective Wood that at least 10 to 20 percent of the fetuses were probably older than 24 weeks in gestation – even though Pennsylvania law prohibits abortions after 24 weeks. In some instances, surgical incisions had been made at the base of the fetal skulls. Continue Reading

2

Pow Servant of God Receives Medal of Honor

The POW Servant of God Father Emil Kapaun received the Medal of Honor on April 11, 2012.  Here is what he did to earn it.

Serving as a chaplain at Fort Bliss, Father Kapaun was ordered to Japan in 1950.  Upon the outbreak of the Korean War, he was assigned to a front line combat unit, the 3rd battalion, 8th cavalry regiment, 1rst Cavalry Division.

With his unit Father Kapaun participated during June-September 1950 in the desperate defense of the Pusan Perimeter and then in the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, which, combined with the Inchon landings in Operation Chromite, the brilliant stroke by General Douglas MacArthur,  led to the eviction of the invading North Korean armies from South Korea and the capture of the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on October 19, 1950.  During all of this Father Kapaun was a whirlwind of activity:  tending the wounded, administering the Last Sacrament to the dying, keeping up the morale of the troops.  He said mass as close as he could get to the battle lines from an improvised platform on a jeep.

jeep-mass

On November 1, 1950 Chaplain Kapaun’s unit ran headlong into advancing Chinese Communist forces at Unsan, North Korea, about 50 miles south of the Chinese border with North Korea.   The official citation of the award of the Distinguish Service Cross to Chaplain Kapaun tells of his role in the battle:

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Emil Joseph Kapaun(O-0558217), Captain (Chaplain), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection withmilitary operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Chaplain with Headquarters Company, 8th Cavalry Regiment (Infantry), 1st Cavalry Division. Captain (Chaplain) Kapaun distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces in the vicinity of Unsan, Korea, on 1 and 2 November 1950.

On the afternoon of 1 November 1950, and continuing through the following 36 hours, the regiment was subjected to a relentless, fanatical attack by hostile troops attempting to break through the perimeter defense. In the early morning hours, the enemy succeeded in breaking through the defenses, and hand-to-hand combat ensued in the immediate vicinity of the command post where the aid station had been set up. Chaplain Kapaun, with complete disregard for his personal safety, calmly moved among the wounded men, giving them medical aid and easing their fears. His courageous manner inspired all those present and many men who might otherwise have fled in panic were encouraged by his presence and remained to fight the enemy.

As the battle progressed, the number of wounded increased greatly and it became apparent that many of the men would not be able to escape the enemy encirclement. Finally, at dusk on November 2, 1950, the remaining able- bodied men were ordered to attempt to break through the surrounding enemy. At this time, although fully aware of the great danger, Chaplain Kapaun voluntarily remained behind, and when last seen was administering medical treatment and rendering religious rites wherever needed.

Along with the other Americans captured Father Kapaun was marched north in bitterly cold winter weather approximately 100 miles.  One of his fellow prisoners, Herbert Miller, was wounded and had a broken ankle.  Mr. Miller survived the war and here is a recent statement by him on what happened next.  “I was wounded with a broken ankle and the North Koreans were going to shoot me. He brushed them aside, reached down and picked me up and carried me. How he found the strength, I’ll never know. He was the bravest man I ever saw.”

Father Kapaun and his fellow POWs were taken, after their two week march, to a temporary camp which they called The Valley located 10 miles south of Pyoktong, NorthKorea, the first in a series of camps in the area where Father Kapuan and the men from his unit were held.  Of the approximately 1000 Americans who were taken here 500-700 died.  I was astonished in researching this article to learn that during their first year of operation the Chinese POW camps had a death rate of 40%, which makes them worse than the Japanese POW camps during World War II in which approximately one-third of the Allied prisoners perished.

Then the events began which made Father Kapaun unforgettable to the men who survived this Gehenna on Earth.  First, the men needed food.  On the miserable rations they had from the Chinese they were starving to death.  Father Kapaun staged daring daylight raids into surrounding fields to scavenge for hidden potatoes and sacks of corn.  If he had been discovered it is quite likely that he would have been shot on the spot.  He always shared his food with the other men, and his example shamed his fellow prisoners who also scavenged for food outside of the camp to do the same and share their food. Continue Reading

4

Grant and Vicksburg

 By the swollen flood
Of the Mississippi, stumpy Grant is a mole
Gnawing at Vicksburg.  He has been blocked four times
But he will carry that beaver-dam at last.
There is no brilliant lamp in that dogged mind
And no conceit of brilliance to shake the hand,
But hand and mind can use the tools that they get.
This long way out of Galena.

Stephen Vincent Benet, John Brown’s Body

Something for the weekend.  The song I Left my Love from the movie The Horse Soldiers (1959) a fictionalized account of Grierson’s Raid.

Perhaps the most daring and successful Union cavalry raid of the war, Brigadier General Benjamin Grierson, a former music teacher who, after being bitten by a horse at a young age, hated horses, led 1700 Illinois and Iowa troopers through 600 miles of Confederate territory from southern Tennessee to the Union held Baton Rouge.  Grierson and his men ripped up railroads, burned Confederate supplies and tied down many times their number of Confederate troops and succeeded in giving Grant a valuable diversion as he began his movement against Vicksburg.  The one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the raid will occur on April 17th.

With his victories at Fort Henry, Fort Donelson and Shiloh, for a time it seemed in 1862 that Grant was spearheading a Union drive that would lead to an unraveling of the Confederacy in the West and a rapid end to the War.  Instead Grant was stymied since December by Vicksburg, which was earning its nickname of the Gibraltar of the West.  Located on high bluffs overlooking the Mississippi at a horseshoe bend, the heavily fortified city prevented Union control of the Mississippi, vital for the Union war effort in cutting away from the main Confederacy, Arkansas, Texas and most  of Louisiana, while restoring the Father of the Waters to the Union for commerce.

The heavily fortified city, garrisoned by a Confederate army, seemed impregnable.  Union fleets trying to run the batteries of the City faced potentially ruinous losses.  The Mississippi Delta north and east of the city, 200 miles of largely trackless swamp, made it impossible to march an army from the north and take Vicksburg by land assault.  Somehow Grant needed to get his fleet south of Vicksburg so he and his army could cross the Mississippi.  To accomplish this Grant made five efforts prior to mid-April of 1863, all of which ended in frustration: Continue Reading