13

Troubling

 

 

 

 

I have not been among those who have had concerns about Pope Francis.  This, however, gives me pause:

The decree installs an apostolic commissioner – in the person of the Capuchin Fidenzio Volpi – at the head of all the communities of the congregation of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.

And this in itself is cause for astonishment. Because the Franciscans of the Immaculate are one of the most flourishing religious communities born in the Catholic Church in recent decades, with male and female branches, with many young vocations, spread over several continents and with a mission in Argentina as well.

They want to be faithful to tradition, in full respect for the magisterium of the Church. So much so that in their communities they celebrate Masses both in the ancient rite and in the modern rite, as moreover do hundreds of religious communities around the world – the Benedictines of Norcia, to give just one example – applying the spirit and the letter of the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” of Benedict XVI.

But precisely this was contested by a core group of internal dissidents, who appealed to the Vatican authorities complaining of the excessive propensity of their congregation to celebrate the Mass in the ancient rite, with the effect of creating exclusion and opposition within the communities, of undermining internal unity and, worse, of weakening the more general “sentire cum Ecclesia.”

The Vatican authorities responded by sending an apostolic visitor one year ago. And now comes the appointment of the commissioner.

But what is most astonishing are the last five lines of the decree of July 11:

“In addition to the above, the Holy Father Francis has directed that every religious of the congregation of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate is required to celebrate the liturgy according to the ordinary rite and that, if the occasion should arise, the use of the extraordinary form (Vetus Ordo) must be explicitly authorized by the competent authorities, for every religious and/or community that makes the request.”

The astonishment stems from the fact that what is decreed contradicts the dispositions given by Benedict XVI, which for the celebration of the Mass in the ancient rite “sine populo” demand no previous request for authorization whatsoever: Continue Reading

7

Today Detroit, Tomorrow Chicago?

 

 

 

 

I view Detroit and its bankruptcy as a harbinger of things to come.  The blue state social model of ever higher taxes, ever expanding benefits for members of public employee unions and one party rule by the Democrat party is coming to an end.  The ending will be painful for people luckless enough to live in blue states, as I do, but this parasitical form of government ultimately destroys the private economy host it feeds on.  Walter Mead at Via Meadia has been prescient in seeing this:

 

It looks like Detroit may yet have competition for the distinction of America’s most poorly run city. The unprecedented triple-drop in Chicago’s bond rating and the city’s shiny new long-term debt figure—$29 billion—should have pols quaking in their boots. The Chicago Sun-Times has published some distressing numbers from Chicago’s recent audits:

In addition to the pension, law enforcement, and emergency response concerns that remind us of a certain bankrupt city across the lake, the report notes that three of Chicago’s four largest private employers (JP Morgan, Accenture LLP, and Northern Trust) are in finance. It seems like blue cities have a codependent relationship with the one percenters progressives claim to hate.

It hasn’t all hit the fan quite yet, but Chicago seems perilously close to real trouble. The city is all out of money, and with an imploding public education system and harrowing levels of violence, it is losing residents fast. Illinois, which itself lost more than 800,000 people to out-migration in the past two decades, is essentially Chicago on a larger scale, with hundreds of billions in unfunded pension liabilities and complete political sclerosis. The state cannot bail out Chicago, and judging by the feds’ reluctance to even lift a finger for Detroit, Chicago shouldn’t expect much more. Continue Reading

4

July 31, 1943: Death of Private Petrarca

Hero

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13

It is a trite but true observation that war brings out the very worst and the very best in men.  In the category of very best, sacrificial courage has to be high on the list.  Such was displayed by Private Frank J. Petrarca on three occasions in the bitter fighting on New Georgia in the Solomon Islands.  One of ten children he had attended parochial school before following in his father’s footsteps and becoming a carpenter.  In October 1940 he enlisted in the Army.  On July 27, 1943 he began displaying a courage that was rare even in the Pacific theater where, as Admiral Nimitz stated, valor was a common virtue.  Here is his Medal of Honor Citation: Continue Reading

21

The Left and Morality

 

 

Dennis Prager has an intriguing post about the interaction among liberals of morality as a laundry list of public political positions combined with wretched personal behavior:

I first thought about this when I saw how the left-wing students at my graduate school, Columbia University, behaved. Aside from their closing down classes, taking over office buildings, and ransacking professors’ offices, I saw the way in which many of them conducted themselves in their personal lives. Most of them had little sense of personal decency, and lived lives of narcissistic hedonism. Women who were involved with leftist groups have told of how poorly they were treated. And one suspects that they would have been treated far better by conservative, let alone religious, men on campus.

My sense was that the radicals’ commitment to “humanity,” to “peace,” and to “love” gave them license to feel good about themselves without having to lead a good life. Their vocal opposition to war and to racism provided them with all the moral self-esteem they wanted.

Consider the example of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. He had been expelled from college for paying someone to take his exams. His role in the death of a woman with whom he spent an evening would have sent almost anyone without his family name to prison — or would have at least resulted in prosecution for negligent homicide. And he spent decades using so many women in so public a way that stories about his sex life were routinely told in Washington. Read the 9,000-word 1990 article in GQ by Michael Kelly, who a few years later became the editor of the New Republic.

When this unimpressive man started espousing liberal positions, speaking passionately about the downtrodden in society, it recalled the unimpressive students who marched on behalf of civil rights, peace and love.

It is quite likely that Ted Kennedy came to believe in the positions that he took. But I also suspect that he found espousing those positions invaluable to his self-image and to his public image: “Look at what a moral man I am after all.” And liberal positions were all that mattered to the left and to the liberal media that largely ignored such lecherous behavior as the “waitress sandwich” he made in a Washington, D.C. restaurant with another prominent liberal, former Senator Chris Dodd.

In addition to knowing that liberal positions provide moral cover for immoral personal behavior, liberals know that their immoral behavior will be given more of pass than exactly the same behavior would if done by a conservative. Continue Reading

47

He’d Rather Reign In Hell Than Serve In Heaven

The more “friendly” modern formulation of hell is that hell consists of eternal separation from God and that no one goes to hell except through his own choice: choosing to remain separate from God rather than embracing Him fully in the union of the beatific vision.

The objection I normally hear to this is: In that case, then obviously hell is empty, because no one would choose an eternity of isolation rather than union with God.

This always strikes me as showing a profound lack of understanding of human character. Within our temporal lives, we often choose unhappiness in order to get our own way, and it’s hard to see how this sort of pride would fail to play a part in people’s eternal decisions. Perhaps part of the problem is that people often think of the afterlife in cartoon terms: Would you rather spend eternity boiling in a lake of fire or reclining in a cloud with a harp?

But if heaven is full and complete union with God, then I think it’s pretty clear that for the person who would much rather define God for himself than mold himself to God’s will, heaven would seem like something worth rejecting. C. S. Lewis, I think, does a very good job of showing this in The Great Divorce.

‘You think that, because hitherto you have experienced truth only with the abstract intellect. I will bring you where you can taste it like honey and be embraced by it as by a bridegroom. Your thirst shall be quenched.’

‘Well, really, you know, I am not aware of a thirst for some ready-made truth which puts an end to intellectual activity in the way you seem to be describing. Will it leav me the free play of Mind, Dick? I must insist on that, you know.’ (from The Great Divorce, ch. 5)

In religious circles, this pride seems often played out in the desire to make a God after our own image. From the same chapter of The Great Divorce:

‘But you’ve never asked me about what my paper is about! I’m taking the text about growing up to the measure of Christ and working out an idea which I feel sure you’ll be interested in. I’m going to point out how people always forget that Jesus (here the Ghost bowed) was a comparatively young man when he died. he would have outgrown some of his earlier views, you know, if he’d lived. As he might have done, with a little more tact and patience. I am going to ask my audience to consider what his mature views would have been. A profoundly interesting question. What a different Christianity we might have had if only the Founder had reached his full stature! I shall end up by pointing out how this deepens the significance of the Crucifixion. One feels for the first time what a disaster it was: what a tragic waste… so much promise cut short. (from The Great Divorce, ch. 5)

A almost shockingly clear example of this made headlines last week, as Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu made headlines by saying that he’d rather go to hell than be in heaven with a God who considered gay sex to be sinful.

South Africa’s iconic retired archbishop, Desmond Tutu, said on Friday that if he had his pick, he’d go to hell before heading to a heaven that condemned homosexuality as sin.

“I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this,” he said, by way of denouncing religions that discriminate against gays, in Agence France-Presse..

He added, AFP reported: “I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place.”

Or as Milton’s Lucifer put it: Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.

If we must regret that Jesus died too young, before his views had had the chance to “evolve” enough to fit modern sensibilities, we may at least be happy that Desmond Tutu has lived long enough to provide us with a more enlightened savior.

20

Too American

 

Firemen Raising the Flag

Yonder are the Hessians. They were bought for seven pounds and tenpence a man.  Are you worth more? Prove it. Tonight the American flag floats from yonder hill  or Molly Stark sleeps a widow!
General John Stark prior to the battle of Bennington, August 16, 1777

The above photo epitomized the American spirit in the wake of the 9-11 attacks.  Who could object to it?

This iconic picture of firefighters raising the stars and stripes in the rubble of Ground Zero was nearly excluded from the 9/11 Memorial Museum — because it was “rah-rah” American, a new book says.

Michael Shulan, the museum’s creative director, was among staffers who considered the Tom Franklin photograph too kitschy and “rah-rah America,” according to “Battle for Ground Zero” (St. Martin’s Press) by Elizabeth Greenspan, out next month.

“I really believe that the way America will look best, the way we can really do best, is to not be Americans so vigilantly and so vehemently,” Shulan said. Continue Reading

6

George Zimmerman, the Media and the Search for the Great White Racist

Coverage of the George Zimmerman trial gives ample demonstration that most of our agenda driven media today makes the facts fit the story and not the other way around.  Cathy Young at Reason examines how the media has constantly attempted to falsely portray George Zimmerman as a white racist:

 

 

This narrative has transformed Zimmerman, a man of racially mixed heritage that included white, Hispanic and black roots (a grandmother who helped raise him had an Afro-Peruvian father), into an honorary white male steeped in white privilege. It has cast him as a virulent racist even though he once had a black business partner, mentored African-American kids, lived in a neighborhood about 20 percent black, and participated in complaints about a white police lieutenant’s son getting away with beating a homeless black man.

This narrative has perpetuated the lie that Zimmerman’s history of calls to the police indicates obsessive racial paranoia. Thus, discussing the verdict on the PBS NewsHour, University of Connecticut professor and New Yorker contributor Jelani Cobb asserted that “Zimmerman had called the police 46 times in previous six years, only for African-Americans, only for African-American men.” Actually, prior to the call about Martin, only four of Zimmerman’s calls had to do with African-American men or teenage boys (and two of them were about individuals who Zimmerman thought matched the specific description of burglary suspects). Five involved complaints about whites, and one about two Hispanics and a white male; others were about such issues as a fire alarm going off, a reckless driver of unknown race, or an aggressive dog.

In this narrative, even Zimmerman’s concern for a black child—a 2011 call to report a young African-American boy walking unsupervised on a busy street, on which the police record notes, “compl[ainant] concerned for well-being”—has been twisted into crazed racism. Writing on the website of The New Republic, Stanford University law professor Richard Thompson Ford describes Zimmerman as “an edgy basket case” who called 911 about “the suspicious activities of a seven year old black boy.” This slander turns up in other left-of-center sources, such as ThinkProgress.org. Continue Reading

8

The Real Message From Pope Francis During World Youth Day Rio

I suspect in the coming days, weeks, months and years much will be written about World Youth Day Rio and the message of Pope Francis. Perhaps, the crux of the message can be found streaming on the Vatican’s website late Saturday night, Bring the Gospel to the world. It hardly sounds radical and yet the Gospel message is radical; a message that rejected the decadent Roman Empire’s culture; and here we are nearly 2,000 years later and western culture is doing its best to emulate what was done in Rome circa the time of Caligula, Nero and Trajan.

In our hyperbolic media age many on the Christian right, the Christian left and the secular media in general has been spinning the message to tilt to their objective. The nature of the Secular Left is to make others think their views will inevitably conquer the world due to their intellect. The Right (both religious and non-religious) seems to think we are ever closer to completely buying into the Left’s ultimate goals. Both views are wrong. Salvation history is full of ebbs and flows.

Pope Francis in his address told the faithful, particularly sisters, priests and bishops to get out and preach the gospel. He lamented that too many of them are busy with things of the world. In a way the Holy Father was calling them out for being a bunch of “Marthas” when we really need a bunch of “Marys.”

This really resonated for me because I returned home late Saturday night after attending a Defending the Faith Conference at Franciscan University in Steubenville. The eminent Dr. Peter Kreeft gave a talk on how to lose and win “The Culture War.” In a nutshell, Dr Kreeft said too many orthodox minded faithful are putting their hopes in political movements and candidates when they should be confronting what the culture is doing to our faith and society at large. Continue Reading

14

Uncle Ralph, the Rosary and the Korean War

 

I love praying the Rosary.  It always has given me peace whenever I have recited it, and my family prays the Sorrowful Mysteries together each Lent.  However, the person who had the greatest devotion to the Rosary in my family was my Protestant Uncle Ralph.

When I was growing up my family lived next door to Uncle Ralph and his family.  Uncle Ralph was my favorite uncle.  He always had a sense of fun, loved to shoot the breeze with kids and did a hilarious Donald Duck imitation.  My Dad’s family were all Protestant;   my brother and I were Catholic because my Dad had married my Catholic Mom, so I was surprised one day during my teen years when Uncle Ralph pulled out his rosary and told me how he came to always carry it.

 

Ralph was a homesick 19 year old in 1951.  His Army National Guard unit had been called up for duty in the Korean War.  He was stationed in California waiting to be shipped out, when, one Sunday, he had dinner with a Catholic family under an Army sponsored program to give troops some home-cooked meals.  Ralph enjoyed himself immensely.  The family treated him like a long lost son and brother, and the meal was superb.  Ralph was relaxing after the meal when the father of the family, a WWI vet, handed him a Rosary.  “Here son, this got me safe back from France and I hope it does the same for you in Korea.”  Ralph wasn’t sure what a Rosary was, but he was touched by the gesture and he took the Rosary. Continue Reading

1

Patrick J. Byrne, Bishop and Martyr

Yesterday was the 60th anniversary of the armistice ending the Korean War.  That War produced many Christian martyrs as the Communist powers actively persecuted and murdered Christians luckless enough to fall into their hands.  One martyr that has never received the recognition that I believe he deserves is Bishop Patrick J. Byrne.

Born on October 26, 1888 in Washington DC, he was ordained in 1915 and joined the newly formed  The Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, better known today as Maryknoll.  In 1923 he was chosen to begin the mission in Korea.  Named Prefect Apostolic of Pyongyang.  By the time he returned to the States in 1929 the Catholic population of Korea had increased by 25,000 and there were numerous Korean priests and sisters.

In 1935 he was assigned to open a mission in Kyoto, Japan and in 1937 was named Prefect Apostolic of Kyoto.  Kept under house arrest during the War, he broadcast calming messages to the Japanese people, at the request of the Japanese government following the surrender of Japan.  During the occupation of Japan, Supreme Allied Commander General Douglas MacArthur praised Monsignor Byrne for his assistance in helping bring peace to Japan.

In 1947 he was named Apostolic Visitor to Korea.  Two years later he was named the first Apostolic Delegate to Korea and titular Bishop of Gazera.

On July 11, 1950 he was seized by the Communists after the fall of Seoul and put on trial.  Bishop Byrne refused to be docile at the show trial and a second trial was held with similar results in Pyongyang.  He was then marched to the Yalu, a journey that took four months in appalling weather with almost no food or water.  He became ill with pneumonia and died on November 25, 1950.  The night before he died he told his companions: Continue Reading

5

Ho Chi Minh, Obama and History

That President Obama praised dead Communist dictator Ho Chi Minh will come as a surprise only to Americans who haven’t been paying attention, which, alas, is a large segment of the population.  For the benefit of those people, historian Ronald Radosh in The Wall Street Journal gives some background to Ho:

 

During World War II, Vietnam—a French colony—was taken over by Japan, and toward the end of the conflict, with Japan in retreat, a power vacuum developed. Ho Chi Minh, leading the Viet Minh communist guerrilla group, saw a chance to seize power before the French could restore colonial rule. He needed allies and knew that the American president, Franklin Roosevelt, had a reputation for being anti-French and anti-colonial. Thus began Ho’s courtship of the U.S. by citing the Declaration of Independence and appealing to the American ideal of liberty.

His aim, according to Ho’s biographer, William Duiker, was to “induce the United States to support the legitimacy of his government, rather than a return of the French.”

In reality, Ho was a “disciplined Communist, who had “proved time and again his profound loyalty to Communism,” according to the ex-communist German revolutionary Ruth Fischer, writing in Foreign Affairs in 1954. She had known him in Moscow in the 1920s when he was receiving his training.

Ho didn’t get the U.S. support he sought, but he still succeeded in his national takeover, proclaiming himself president of a provisional government in what he called the Vietnam Democratic Republic. In October 1945, just how democratic the republic would be became clear: Ho ordered the slaughter of his political opponents, including 50,000 of the then-powerful Trotskyist communists. During a trip to Paris in late 1945, Ho told the French Socialist leader Daniel Guerin, “All those who do not follow the line which I have laid down will be broken.”

In his own writings during the war, Ho Chi Minh stressed that the revolutionaries had to have a “tactical, flexible attitude towards the national bourgeoisie,” but as for the Trotskyists, “there can be no compromise, no concession.”

Ho’s posturing as a Jefferson-inspired lover of independence failed to dupe the U.S. in the 1940s. Let’s be generous and assume that antiwar protesters in the 1960s and early 1970s didn’t know any better when they bought into his fiction. Let’s give President Obama the same benefit of the doubt. But let’s also retire the idea that Ho Chi Minh had the slightest interest in the Declaration of Independence except as a tool he once deployed hoping to achieve his communist goals. Continue Reading

1

What’s the Matter Stephen Foster?

Something for the weekend.  That’s What’s the Matter by Stephen Foster.  The Civil War probably killed Stephen Foster.  The most notable American composer of his time, in a day when copyright enforcement was nil, Foster always just managed to scratch out a precarious living.  As the beginning of the song indicates with the coming of the War many of the songs he had written in peace were no longer in demand.

Broke and suffering from a persistent fever, deserted by his wife who had taken their daughter to live in Pittsburgh in 1861, Foster fell in his hotel room in New York City on January 10, 1864 and gashed his head on a wash basin.  He was admitted to Bellevue and died three days later, at age 37.  Ironically his most successful song, Beautiful Dreamer, was published a few months after his death: Continue Reading

6

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Ronald Reagan

 

 

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

13

The Woman Beside Weiner

 

hillary_huma_abedin

 

As Anthony Weiner demonstrates that being a sociopath is not always an advantage in politics, Andrew McCarthy, who was the lead prosecutor in the successful prosecution of  Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, explains at National Review Online why Weiner’s wife is much more interesting than her “stand by her worthless man” routine indicates:

 

 

 

Charlotte’s revulsion over Huma Abedin’s calculated “stand by your man” routine is surely right. Still, it is amazing, as we speculate about Ms. Abedin’s political future, that the elephant in the room goes unnoticed, or at least studiously unmentioned.

Sorry to interrupt the Best Enabler of a Sociopath Award ceremony but, to recap, Ms. Abedin worked for many years at a journal that promotes Islamic-supremacist ideology that was founded by a top al-Qaeda financier, Abdullah Omar Naseef. Naseef ran the Rabita Trust, a formally designated foreign terrorist organization under American law. Ms. Abedin and Naseef overlapped at the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs (JMMA) for at least seven years. Throughout that time (1996–2003), Ms. Abdein worked for Hillary Clinton in various capacities.

Ms. Abedin’s late father, Dr. Zyed Abedin, was recruited by Naseef to run the JMMA in Saudi Arabia. The journal was operated under the management of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, a virulently anti-Semitic and sharia-supremacist organization. When Dr. Abedin died, editorial control of the journal passed to his wife, Dr. Saleha Mahmood Abedin — Huma’s mother.

Saleha Abedin is closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and to supporters of violent jihad. Among other things, she directs an organization – the International Islamic Committee for Woman and Child. The IICWC, through its parent entity (the International Islamic Council for Dawa and Relief), is a component of the Union for Good (also known as the Union of Good), another formally designated terrorist organization. The Union for Good is led by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the notorious Muslim Brotherhood jurist who has issued fatwas calling for the killing of American military and support personnel in Iraq as well as suicide bombings in Israel. (As detailed here, the Obama White House recently hosted Qaradawi’s principal deputy, Sheikh Abdulla bin Bayyah, who also endorsed the fatwa calling for the killing of U.S. troops and personnel in Iraq.)

Like Sheikh Qaradawi, who helped write the charter for the IICWC, Saleha Abedin is an influential sharia activist who has, for example, published a book called Women in Islam that claims man-made laws enslave women. It reportedly provides sharia justifications for such practices as female-genital mutilation, the death penalty for apostates from Islam, the legal subordination of women, and the participation of women in violent jihad. Dr. Abedin has nevertheless been hailed in the progressive press as a “leading voice on women’s rights in the Muslim world” (to quote Foreign Policy). What they never quite get around to telling you is that this means “women’s rights” in the repressive sharia context.

Back to daughter Huma. In the late mid to late Nineties, while she was an intern at the Clinton White House and an assistant editor at JMMA, Ms. Abedin was a member of the executive board of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at George Washington University, heading its “Social Committee.” The MSA, which has a vast network of chapters at universities across North America, is the foundation of the Muslim Brotherhood’s infrastructure in the United States. Obviously, not every Muslim student who joins the MSA graduates to the Brotherhood — many join for the same social and networking reasons that cause college students in general to join campus organizations. But the MSA does have an indoctrination program, which Sam Tadros describes as a lengthy process of study and service that leads to Brotherhood membership — a process “designed to ensure with absolute certainty that there is conformity to the movement’s ideology and a clear adherence to its leadership’s authority.” The MSA gave birth to the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the largest Islamist organization in the U.S. Indeed the MSA and ISNA consider themselves the same organization. Because of its support for Hamas (a designated terrorist organization that is the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch), ISNA was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, in which several Hamas operatives were convicted of providing the terrorist organization with lavish financing. Continue Reading

7

Fourth Trimester Abortions?

You can never underestimate low, low information voters.  It is a funny bit, but I wonder on campuses how many students would be willing to sign a petition allowing a mother to commit infanticide up to the age of one for the victim?  I guess infanticide would first have to be defined for many of the individuals approached.  If infanticide is too “harsh” a term I bet “retroactive abortion” would do the trick! Continue Reading

16

National Public Radio’s “fair and balanced” coverage of the papal peregrinage…

 

It’s always fun to take a peek into how government funded radio (National Public Radio, or “NPR”) covers news concerning the Catholic Church.  With the papal peregrinage to Brazil underway, NPR doesn’t disappoint in it’s fair-and-balanced coverage of events…yet once again.

In its “Parallels…Many Stories, One World” blog for July 24, 2013, there’s not one story about the papal peregrinage.  But, there is a story about a radical Brazilian priest who was excommunicated.

Padre Beto

Padre Beto, aka Roberto Francisco Daniel

“Padre Beto”—aka Roberto Francisco Daniel—become a Catholic priest after going to college, working, and having sex.  Which, along with what he’s been told by penitents in the confessional, the Padre says, informs his “different way of looking at church doctrine.”

What’s that include?

Premarital sex, gay marriage, divorce, and open marriages where either party can have an extramarital affair as long as both spouses agree.

According to Padre Beto:

The Catholic Church has to change. We know now because of scientific discovery a great deal about human sexuality, for example.

After this, “Parallels” devotes one paragraph to the papal peregrinage and immediately returns to Padre Beto’s “surprise” excommunication after he was “repeatedly warned by the church to stop making his views public, to recant and repent.”  But, in April 2013, and without warning following an ecclesiastical hearing, Padre Beto was informed that he was excommunicated.

“It never even crossed my mind that they would excommunicate me,” Padre Beto says.

What’s next for Padre Beto?

He hopes soon to be able to preside over a so-called “homosexual marriage.”  He says:

I will do it with a great sense of peace because where there is love, God is present.

This is how government funded radio (National Public Radio, or “NPR”) covers news concerning the Catholic Church.  With all of the events surrounding the papal peregrinage, NPR first focuses upon the loss of the Catholics in Brazil to evangelical denominations and second excommunicated priests.

How’s that for “fair and balanced”?

 

 

To read the NPR “Parallel” blog, click on the following link:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/

To read about Padre Beto, click on the following link:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2013/07/24/205108378/the-radical-brazilian-priest-who-was-excommunicated

8

Fake Pope Francis Quote Takes Internet By Storm

If you move in Catholic circles on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the following quote, allegedly spoken by Pope Francis at World Youth Day this week, being passed around:

“We need saints without cassocks, without veils – we need saints with jeans and tennis shoes. We need saints that go to the movies that listen to music, that hang out with their friends. We need saints that place God in first place ahead of succeeding in any career. We need saints that look for time to pray every day and who know how to be in love with purity, chastity and all good things. We need saints – saints for the 21st century with a spirituality appropriate to our new time. We need saints that have a commitment to helping the poor and to make the needed social change.

We need saints to live in the world, to sanctify the world and to not be afraid of living in the world by their presence in it. We need saints that drink Coca-Cola, that eat hot dogs, that surf the internet and that listen to their iPods. We need saints that love the Eucharist, that are not afraid or embarrassed to eat a pizza or drink a beer with their friends. We need saints who love the movies, dance, sports, theater. We need saints that are open sociable normal happy companions. we need saints who are in this world and who know how to enjoy the best in this world without being callous or mundane. We need saints.”

– Pope Francis (World Youth Day 2013)

The thing is, it’s a totally fake quote. There’s no evidence that Pope Francis ever said it.

Google around a bit, and you’ll find versions (some written as verse, many with slight variations) dating back to 2010. Some are attributed to Pope John Paul II, some to Pope Benedict XVI, some say that it is Pope Francis quoting John Paul II or Benedict XVI. One thing you will absolutely not find, however, is any quote of the text on the Vatican website or a reputable Catholic news source, because none of these popes ever said this.

If one gives it an extra moment’s thought, it seems particularly unlikely that Pope Francis would choose World Youth Day to give a shout out to global brands such as Coca-Cola and Apple, in saying that we need saints who use their products.

Of course, one of the problems with a faux Francis getting so much attention is that it draws things away from the things that Pope Francis really has been saying at World Youth Day this week, such as:

“It is true that nowadays, to some extent, everyone, including our young people, feels attracted by the many idols which take the place of God and appear to offer hope: money, success, power, pleasure. Often a growing sense of loneliness and emptiness in the hearts of many people leads them to seek satisfaction in these ephemeral idols. Dear brothers and sisters, let us be lights of hope! Let us maintain a positive outlook on reality.” [source]

and

Jesus has shown us that the face of God is that of a loving Father. Sin and death have been defeated. Christians cannot be pessimists! They do not look like someone in constant mourning. If we are truly in love with Christ and if we sense how much he loves us, our heart will “light up” with a joy that spreads to everyone around us. As Benedict XVI said here, in this Shrine: “the disciple knows that without Christ, there is no light, no hope, no love, no future” [source]

You can access all of Pope Francis’s addresses from World Youth Day on the Vatican website.

1

Bush 41: A Class Act

bush41-shaves-head-group-hmed-435p_photoblog600

 

 

Hattitp to Dave at Ace of Spades.  Bush 41 was not conservative enough for my taste, but I never doubted that he was a good man.  This incident underlines that fact:

George HW Bush holding the son of one of the members of his Secret Service detail, 2 year old Patrick.  Patrick is being treated for leukemia, and has lost his hair.

 

Bush and Friend

Patrick is the son of a Secret Service agent, Jon, who is assigned to Bush’s security detail in Kennebunkport, Maine.  (Their last names were withheld at the family’s request.)Recently, other members of the security unit started to bare their domes in support of Patrick, and they started to raise money for his treatment.

 

There is also a website set up to help with Patrick’s medical bills.

 

 

 

1

Abraham Lincoln Comes to Dwight, Illinois

Would I might rouse the Lincoln in you all,
That which is gendered in the wilderness
From lonely prairies and God’s tenderness.
Imperial soul, star of a weedy stream,
Born where the ghosts of buffaloes still dream,
Whose spirit hoof-beats storm above his grave,
Above that breast of earth and prairie-fire—
Fire that freed the slave.
Vachel Lindsay

 

Well, I guess this was inevitable, at least I am sure that faithful readers of this blog will think that it was inevitable!  Every year my little town has a festival, Dwight Harvest Days.  We draw tens of thousands of visitors from all around for parades, a flea market, a craft show, rides, a 5k run, and many, many other events.

This year, I have arranged, well I should say the Dwight Rotary Club, of which I have been a member for 28 years, has arranged, for Michael Krebs and Debra Ann Miller to bring their presentations of Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln to the Dwight High School Auditorium on September 21, 2013 at 7:00 PM.  The presentation is free and I think we will have a huge turnout, especially among students.

I have long followed the career of Mr. Krebs and I believe he is the king of Lincoln presenters.  Some samples of his work: Continue Reading

5

The Left and Race

 

 

Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have designated him Defender of the Faith, explains at Midwest Conservative Journal why the Left is so obsessed with race and finding racists, if not under every bed, certainly within every white skin:

Never let it be said that Naughton’s joint serves no useful purpose because I found this there.  If you’re wondering why all the Episcopal Organization reactions to the George Zimmerman verdict read pretty much the same way, some chick named Mia McKenzie explains it all for you, illustrating why national “conversations” about race are worse than worthless because they’ll go somewhere only when white people admit that they’re wrong now, they’ve always been wrong and they always will be wrong:

Racism is, in reality, a huge, systemic, deeply-rooted plague that exists everywhere and affects everything, that degrades and starves and rapes and murders people without losing its breath. It is built on hundreds of years of oppression and genocide. It is in our government, in our entertainment, in our literature, in our corporations, in our language. This entire country was built on it. It is everywhere, and it is insidious and subtle just as often as it is open and obvious.

It is not that crazy dude over there.

I see the appeal to white folks in thinking about racism this way. The “whack job” approach allows people to separate racist thinking and behavior from themselves. It’s that crazy screaming dude over there who’s racist. It’s your drunk uncles. It’s your he-was-so-quiet-and-seemed-so-normal-before-he-walked-into-the-mall-and-started-shooting-people neighbors. All of whom you can shake your heads at with furrowed brows while proclaiming that you’re “not like that.”

But you are.

White people, you need to get this: you are racist. The first step is admitting that you are part of the problem.

I am not going to tell you why or how you are racist. I’m not here for your education.

Whatever, kitten.

A question and a comment.  What is the difference between Miss McKenzie declaring and the Episcopal Organization tacitly agreeing the concept that every Caucasian becomes a “racist” the moment his or her umbilical cord is cut and some old National Socialist concentration camp guard somewhere claiming that we had to gas all those Jewish children because of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?  And before you mindlessly invoke Godwin’s Law, at least take a run at answering my question.

You and I both know certain facts about certain countries in the world and certain cities in the United States.  But I’m not going  to mention any of them right now for the same reason why, when I drove an orange Pinto several decades back, I refused, much to the consternation of a mentally-challenged friend of mine to put a Confederate flag on my car’s roof (my man was a huge Dukes of Hazard fan back in the day).  I saw no reason to needlessly offend anyone over something that eventually wouldn’t matter anyway.

But keep up this “guilty until proven innocent” line and I’ll stop caring about your feelings and mention these facts that everyone knows.  I own two Confederate flags, a Second and a Third National, that I bought from the Museum of the Confederacy.  I obviously have no pole to raise either of them on but I do have several walls.  If by some miracle, I ever let you in my place, you should happen to see one and wonder why it’s there, I’ll tell you it’s because of my pride in my Southron heritage. 

If you happen to get mad at me, I’ll happen to not give a crap.  Because the result of attitudes like Miss McKenzie’s and the Episocopal Organization’s can never be racial understanding and certainly won’t be increased racial hostility.  It’ll be something far worse for the liberals than either of those two outcmes.

Indifference.

Put simply, the left needs “racism” and needs it desperately.  Take that crutch away and large numbers of leftists are going to be forced to do pretty much the most difficult thing in the entire world.  Look in the mirror. Continue Reading

45

Sing a Bad Song

 

 

We have to do this every now and then just to clear out our eardrums.  What is the Catholic hymn you hate the most?  (I know, I know there are so many choices!)  For me it is hands down Sing a New Song by ex-Jesuit Dan Schutte, a founding member of the Saint Louis Jesuits, the group responsible for writing more truly wretched music than any other organization in the history of Man.  A miserable piece of doggerel that has been played to death at Masses since it fell from Schutte’s pen in 1972.  Ah the seventies!  One more crime for that kidney stone of a decade!

Why is Catholic music at Mass so bad when we have such a magnificent musical heritage?

 

Continue Reading

5

Family Rescued by Zimmerman Afraid They Will be Targets of Anti-Zimmerman Mobs

 

blackpanther

 

Sometimes in the past few years I have to shake my head and wonder:  “Is this still the United States of America?”

The family rescued by George Zimmerman after  a rollover crash in Florida are terrified they will become targets for hate mobs  who have made death threats to the neighborhood vigilante.

Mark and Dana Michelle Gerstle told friends  they do not want to talk publicly about Zimmerman for fear they will be accused  of portraying him as a hero – and face a backlash from those who consider he got  away with murder.

‘They are very grateful to Zimmerman for what  he did, but they do not want to get involved,’ said a friend, who asked not to  be named. Continue Reading

1

Edward Baker Lincoln

Eddielincoln

I had always said that the worst thing that could happen to any parent was to have a child die. Until it happened to me recently I really did not comprehend how true that statement was.  Abraham Lincoln would live to see two of his four sons die.  His wife would see three of their four sons die, as well as having her husband murdered before her eyes.  So much unbearable grief for one family.  At the Lincoln Museum that my family and I visited in our annual pilgrimage last week to the Lincoln sites in Springfield, there is an exhibit where Mary Todd Lincoln sits in a room by herself as rain beats on  a window.  This is a representation of her intense grief after the death of Willie, her second son to die.  I have always had a great deal of sympathy for Mrs. Lincoln, thinking that she has been treated unfairly in many historical accounts, but after experiencing myself the grief that she experienced three times, my sympathy for her is now boundless.

The first son of the Lincolns to die was Edward Baker Lincoln at three years on February 1, 1850 of tuberculosis.  Both the Lincolns were devastated by his death.   A poem which was published in the Illinois State Journal the next week reflected their grief.  Wrongly attributed to the Lincolns by some historians, the poem was actually written Ethel Grey in 1849 and was not meant to apply to Eddie Lincoln.  A friend of the Lincolns probably had it published in an attempt to comfort them. Continue Reading

30

Maybe World War One Generals Weren’t Idiots

I was interested to read this British opinion piece, making the case that British military leadership during the Great War was not the clutch of bumbling fools which has become the stereotype of the war.

In 1928, following the sudden death of Field Marshall Douglas Haig, more people took to streets to mourn his passing that had ever been seen previously or indeed since. The very public mourning as a result of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 was dwarfed in comparison to those that came out to pay respects to Earl Haig.

It took literature and some key individuals to change history. As one of my university lecturers once said to me, history does not happen, it is written, and that principle could not be applied more strongly to the case of First World War history.

With the publication of Alan Clark’s The Donkeys (1961) and the production of Joan Littlewood’s musical Oh! What a Lovely War (1963), a wave of popular history provided the foundation through which all subsequent knowledge of the First World War is filtered – precisely the problem with which we are now faced. Historians and thespians took the critical words of those men that had a grudge and an agenda to push, namely Lloyd George and Churchill, thus generating the idea that generals were both inept and callous.

But beyond the Blackadder episodes there is a raft of history that is desperate to break into the mainstream. No one doubts that there were a handful of poor officers at various stages of the command structure who made bad decisions that ultimately cost the lives of hundreds of men.
Continue Reading

4

Tomlinson Our Contemporary

But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.

Revelations 3:16

 

 

 

The twenty-sixth 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 , here, here , here and here.  For a man who was not conventionally religious, it is surprising how many of Kipling’s poems deal with religious themes.  Here he deals with the fate of the soul of Tomlinson who floated through life and did almost no good and almost no ill.  He fits to the full T.S. Eliot’s hollow men and CS Lewis’s chestless men.

CS Lewis in his essay Screwtape Proposes a Toast in 1959 tells us how common this type of individual is in the modern world:

Your dreaded Principal has included in a speech full of points something like an apology for the banquet which he has set before us. Well, gentledevils, no one blames him. But it would be in vain to deny that the human souls on whose anguish we have been feasting tonight were of pretty poor quality. Not all the most skillful cookery of our tormentors could make them better than insipid.

Oh, to get one’s teeth again into a Farinata, a Henry VIII, or even a Hitler! There was real crackling there; something to crunch; a rage, an egotism, a cruelty only just less robust than our own. It put up a delicious resistance to being devoured. It warmed your inwards when you’d got it down.

Instead of this, what have we had tonight? There was a municipal authority with Graft sauce. But personally I could not detect in him the flavour of a really passionate and brutal avarice such as delighted one in the great tycoons of the last century. Was he not unmistakably a Little Man — a creature of the petty rake-off pocketed with a petty joke in private and denied with the stalest platitudes in his public utterances — a grubby little nonentity who had drifted into corruption, only just realizing that he was corrupt, and chiefly because everyone else did it? Then there was the lukewarm Casserole of Adulterers. Could you find in it any trace of a fully inflamed, defiant, rebellious, insatiable lust? I couldn’t. They all tasted to me like undersexed morons who had blundered or trickled into the wrong beds in automatic response to sexy advertisements, or to make themselves feel modern and emancipated, or to reassure themselves about their virility or their “normalcy,” or even because they had nothing else to do. Frankly, to me who have tasted Messalina and Cassanova, they were nauseating. The Trade Unionist stuffed with sedition was perhaps a shade better. He had done some real harm. He had, not quite unknowingly, worked for bloodshed, famine, and the extinction of liberty. Yes, in a way. But what a way! He thought of those ultimate objectives so little. Toeing the party line, self-importance, and above all mere routine, were what really dominated his life.

But now comes the point. Gastronomically, all this is deplorable. But I hope none of us puts gastronomy first. Is it not, in another and far more serious way, full of hope and promise?

Consider, first, the mere quantity. The quality may be wretched; but we never had souls (of a sort) in more abundance.

And then the triumph. We are tempted to say that such souls — or such residual puddles of what once was soul — are hardly worth damning. Yes, but the Enemy (for whatever inscrutable and perverse reason) thought them worth trying to save. Believe me, He did. You youngsters who have not yet been on active duty have no idea with what labour, with what delicate skill, each of these miserable creatures was finally captured.

The difficulty lay in their very smallness and flabbiness. Here were vermin so muddled in mind, so passively responsive to environment, that it was very hard to raise them to that level of clarity and deliberateness at which mortal sin becomes possible. To raise them just enough; but not that fatal millimetre of “too much.” For then, of course, all would possibly have been lost. They might have seen; they might have repented. On the other hand, if they had been raised too little, they would very possibly have qualified for Limbo, as creatures suitable neither for Heaven nor for Hell; things that, having failed to make the grade, are allowed to sink into a more or less contented subhumanity forever.

Kipling wrote Tomlinson in 1891 and unfortunately his Tomlinson was a forerunner of a type all too common today.  God did not bring us into this world so we could spend our days in indifference and ennui, wasting both our time and our lives.  The poem has a comedic tone, but I have always regarded it as perhaps Kipling’s most damning indictment of his time and ours.

 

 

Now Tomlinson gave up the ghost in his house in Berkeley Square,
And a Spirit came to his bedside and gripped him by the hair —
A Spirit gripped him by the hair and carried him far away,
Till he heard as the roar of a rain-fed ford the roar of the Milky Way:
Till he heard the roar of the Milky Way die down and drone and cease,
And they came to the Gate within the Wall where Peter holds the keys. Continue Reading

5

Grunt Padre Honored in Vietnam

Bishop_Joseph_Tri-255x269

 

 

As faithful readers of this blog know, I have many times had posts about heroic Catholic Chaplains serving in our military.  A man whose courage beggared description is Servant of God and Medal of Honor recipient Vincent J. Capodanno, known as the Grunt Padre.  I am not ready yet to do a full post on him, wishing to do him justice, but a recent news story in The National Catholic Register caught my eye:

 

DA NANG, Vietnam — Bishop Joseph Chau Ngoc Tri of Da Nang recently said Mass  in honor of Father Vincent Capodanno, a U.S. chaplain killed during the Vietnam  War, and he encouraged his people to ask the priest’s intercession.

Ted Bronson, a retired Navy Captain, told Catholic News Agency June 26 that  Bishop Tri “is a brave bishop, fostering Capodanno under the umbrella” of  Vietnamese communism.

The Mass, said on June 14, marked the 55th anniversary of Father Capodanno’s  priestly ordination. Father  Capodanno was ordained for the Maryknoll Missionary order, and he later  became a chaplain for the U.S. Navy.

While with Maryknoll, Father Capodanno served in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and  then he requested to be reassigned as a chaplain with the Marines. He was sent  to Vietnam in 1966 and requested an extension to his tour of duty when it was  up.

On Sept. 4, 1967, his unit was in the Que Son Valley near Da Nang, and they  became outnumbered by North Vietnamese forces. As American soldiers were being  gunned down, Father Capodanno went about giving viaticum and anointing  to the dying, as well as medical aid to the wounded.

Shortly after reassuring a wounded Marine, Father Capodanno went to another  soldier who had called out for help. Both he and the solider were shot and died.  He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1969.

His citation for the Medal of Honor says he “left the relative safety of the  company command post and ran through an open area raked with fire. …  Disregarding the intense enemy small arms, automatic weapons and mortar fire, he  moved about the battlefield administering last rites to the dying and giving  medical aid to the wounded. Continue Reading

11

Rotten Parenting

 

 

Most of our problems as a society come down to rotten parenting or no parenting.  Matt Walsh at his blog provides a prime example courtesy of “Nick”:

 

Matt, I heard your horrible conversation today about parenting. A few comments in response:

1) Based on your remarks, I have to say I feel bad for your kids. You sound like the sort of person who never should have been a parent. You said you plain to teach your kids “how to think.” I guess this is common in right wing religious fundamentalist households. Personally, I let my child form his own conclusions about things. To impose your views on a child is tantamount to child abuse. Do them a favor, let them think FREELY.

2) You greatly exaggerate the importance of “chores.” Also, the idea that a kid should be forced to “get a job” is abhorrent. My son was very gifted so we  gave him all the tools to succeed academically. This meant we didn’t turn him into slave labor and we certainly didn’t tell him he needed to go work behind a cash register. He concentrated on his school work, and we did our job as parents and financially supported him.

3) It’s easy to mock a “30 year old who lives with is parents.” My son is almost 29 and he’s been home with us since he graduated. Unfortunately the job market isn’t the greatest (maybe you hadn’t heard) and I’m not going to let him starve on the street. He has a college education, it’s pointless for him to be out working in a retail store or some other menial job. I will be here for him until he is able to get the job he deserves.

You need to grow up, get some life experiences and then maybe you’ll have the right to sermonize about parenting.

-Nick”

Yeah I really loved the comment about “menial job”.  The type of job I suppose that my factory worker parents had which put clothes on my back, a roof over my head and food in my belly, for which I am eternally grateful to them.  Somehow they also had the energy after an exhausting day at work to make certain that my brother and I grew up with an appreciation both for learning and hard work.  My brother and I did plenty of “menial jobs” along the way, including baling hay, detasseling  corn, working in cafeterias, working in factories, tarring roofs, washing dishes, scrubbing floors, cleaning out sewers, serving in the Green Machine, etc, and I think we probably learned more from those jobs than anything we learned in college.  Anyone who sneers at  “menial jobs” or the people who perform them has an instant enemy in me.  Here is Matt’s response: Continue Reading

10

Obama as Race Hustler

“There is nothing more painful for me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start to think about robbery and then look around and see it’s somebody white and feel relieved.”

Jesse Jackson, 1998

Obama continued his attempt to pour gasoline on the Zimmerman verdict with his impromptu musings on the case before the White House press corps yesterday.  The cynicism of this attempt to use the Zimmerman verdict as both a decoy from his manifest failings in regard to the economy, Obamacare and other issues, and to whip up the black vote in 2014 is breathtaking.  This country does need an honest discussion about race, something that I have never witnessed in my 56 years on this planet, but Obama’s deeply poisonous playing of the race card throughout this case for crass political gain makes it likely that I will not see such a discussion while I inhabit this vale of tears. Continue Reading

4

A Song for Hot Weather

Something for the weekend.  The theme song from The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957).  A combination of the Colonel Bogey March and the River Kwai March, performed by Mitch Miller.

Yesterday, taking a mini-vacation with the family, we were stuck in traffic for forty-five minutes due to bridge repairs south of Joliet on I-55.  Temperatures topped 100 and my faithful Transit Connect Wagon decided this would be a splendid time to give me my first mechanical difficulties in three years by overheating.  It was touch and go but we managed to get off the interstate and stopped at a convenience store.  I let the engine cool down and then put coolant in with the able assistance of the store manager, an Indian immigrant who turned down my offer to pay him for his time.  I gave him my card and asked him to call on me if he ever needed legal assistance gratis.  I try to never forget a favor.  We drove home without further incident and I will have the vehicle checked by my mechanic.  I suspect it is a blown fuse on one of the electrical fans cooling the radiator, but we shall see.

In any event this heat drenched adventure convinced me to post a song where the setting is quite hot and the theme song from the Kwai film fit the bill.  For anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, it is magnificent.  Alec Guinness plays Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson, absolutely indomitable in the face of the most savage treatment from his captors.  Ultimately he wins his war of nerves with his captor, Colonel Saito, over the issue of whether British officers must work in other than an administrative captivity, but fails to understand that by building the bridge he is collaborating with the enemy.  Nicholson is a man of rules and discipline and in many ways he is a heroic figure, willing to die to uphold what he perceives as civilized standards, and is beloved of his men who he also loves.  However, he is a tragic hero in that he fails to see that following what he thinks are the rules in this circumstance will benefit the enemy by building them a strategic rail bridge.   He rectifies his mistake at the cost of his life.  The film is an absolutely riveting character study of both Nicholson and Saito, stunningly portrayed by  Sessue Hayakawa, a Japanese immigrant to the United States, who fought with the French Resistance during World War II, helping downed Allied fliers. Continue Reading

29

If you’re really interested in tax reform, the USCCB and Catholic Charities USA may not be…

 

A Wall Street Journal op-ed calling into question whether tax “reform” should disallow the deduction for charitable donations offers a nugget of data that Catholics interested in tax reform should carefully consider.

The “nugget” is the total amount of money the federal government is pouring into charitable programs sponsored by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Charities USA (CC-USA).  The op-ed notes:

Religious organizations also receive large infusions of federal funds. Catholic Charities USA receives more than half of its funding each year ($554 million in 2010) from federal grants. In 2012, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops received $63 million…in federal grants.

It’s difficult to unpack the exact numbers because the recipients oftentimes use multiple names.  That said, the USCCB directly received $34,767,249 in the form of three awards in 2012.  That’s 17.3% of its 2012 annual budget.  CC-USA directly received $5,546,607 in 2012 for 21 contracts with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The President of the William Simon Foundation, James Piereson, who wrote the op-ed, stated:

These are reputable institutions, and many of the programs they sponsor are important. Nevertheless, in view of their dependence upon government funds, no one can seriously maintain that these groups are “independent.” Instead, they form one of the more powerful lobbying forces in Washington for increasing government spending, especially spending on tax-exempt groups.

Forget all of that “lobbying” to garner more federal largess which, in turn, only increases the federal tax burden on the less than 50% of U.S. citizens who pay income tax.

Bad as that is, all of that lobbying represents these organizations’ ever-increasing dependency upon the federal government to subsidize their “charitable” work.  And that’s the problem: The government knows just how to pull those strings when it’s to the government’s advantage to do so.

If the government threatens not to increase funding, leaders of charitable organizations cry “Wolf!”, insisting their organizations will no longer be able to provide the quality of goods and services all of those people who are dependent upon those organizations have come to expect. Why?  Those leaders define “no increase” in funding as a “cut” in funding.

Then, too, if the government was to cut funding to those organizations, those leaders will also cry “Wolf!”, insisting that the cuts will hurt those who are already dependent upon those organizations as well as all of those additional clients who also need the goods and services provided by those organizations.

In the end, the government uses the power of the purse to control those organizations, exerting appropriate pressure to get them to knuckle under to the government’s diktats. Never forget: The government wants those charitable organization to do its bidding and to promote its policies.  Look at what Obamacare has attempted to do to Catholic higher education and the nation’s Catholic hospitals.

So, where is the lion’s share of all that federal largess to the USCCB and Catholic Charities USA going?  “Immigration services.”  Hmm…why ever would the federal government so willingly fund Catholic organizations to provide those “services” and not “educational” services, like parochial schools?

Charity is an individual’s love of God and neighbor that is demonstrated in that individual’s freely-given acts of love. Churches—funded by their members—do that.  Government can never do that.

It might very well be time to eliminate the tax deduction for charitable donations as part of a much larger tax reform package.  This should include eliminating the IRS and introducing the flat tax (with appropriate thresholds for the poor, destitute, and those in need).  Then, let’s see if “charity” is really charity or if much of it is just a tax deduction.

 

 

To view the USCCB data, click on the following link:
http://www.usaspending.gov/search?form_fields=%7B%22search_term%22%3A%22united+states+catholic+conference+of+bishops%22%2C%22fyear%22%3A%5B%222012%22%5D%7D&sort_by=dollars&per_page=25

To view the Catholic Charities USA data, click on the following:
http://www.usaspending.gov/search?form_fields=%7B%22search_term%22%3A%22catholic+charities+usa%22%2C%22fyear%22%3A%5B%222012%22%5D%7D&sort_by=dollars&per_page=25

To view the USCCB 2012 budget news, click on the following link:
http://www.usccb.org/about/leadership/usccb-general-assembly/2012-november-meeting/cns-stories.cfm#budget

12

Detroit: Canary in the Mine for Blue States

 

 

 

Detroit has been de facto bankrupt for a very long time and yesterday it became de jure bankrupt with a Chapter 9 bankruptcy for the former Motor City.  Hard to believe that during World War II Detroit was the heart of the American industrial machine that produced more military equipment than the rest of the world combined.  How did the city that helped this nation win a world war end up looking like one of the bombed out cities of Europe circa 1945?  There are many culprits involved but W.R. Mead at his blog Via Meadia knows who the chief villians are:

Detroit has been spending on average $100 million more than it has taken in for each of the past five years. The city’s $11 billion in unsecured debt includes $6 billion in health and other retirement benefits and $3 billion in retiree pensions for its 20,000 city pensioners, who are slated to receive less than 10 percent of what they were promised. Between 2007 and 2011, an astounding 36 percent of residents lived below the poverty line. Last year, the FBI cited Detroit as having the highest violent crime rate for any major American city. In the first 12 years of the new century, Detroit lost more than 26 percent of its population.

And now Detroit’s desperate request for a bailout has been turned down by the Obama White House.

Progressive politicians, wonks, and activists can only blame big corporations and other liberal bogeymen for so long. The truth is that corrupt machine politics in a one-party system devoted to the blue social model wrecked an entire city and thousands of lives beyond repair. The sooner blues come to terms with this reality, the greater chance other cities will have of avoiding Detroit’s fate. Continue Reading

July 18, 1863: Assault on Fort Wagner

We would not have his body removed from where it lies surrounded by his brave and devoted soldiers….We can imagine no holier place than that in which he lies, among his brave and devoted followers, nor wish for him better company – what a body-guard he has!

Response of the parents of Colonel Robert Shaw as to whether they wished to have his body exhumed and brought back to Boston.

The 150th anniversary of the second assault on Fort Wagner, the Confederate fort on Morris Island, guarding entry into Charleston Harbor, made immortal by the film Glory (1989) depicting the attack of the 54th Massachusetts.  The 54th sustained the following casualties out of 600 men:  29 killed, including the commander of the regiment, 25 year old Colonel Robert Shaw, 15 captured, 52 missing in action and 149 wounded.  The white regiments that participated in the attack also sustained heavy losses.  A total of 1515 Union casualties against approximately 174 Confederate casualties.   Ironically Fort Wagner would be abandoned by the Confederates in September, it being too difficult to keep the Fort supplied in the teeth of a continual Union bombardment, and the water supply in the Fort being contaminated by the number of corpses in the soil surrounding the fort from the two unsuccessful assaults.

The courage shown by the men of the 54th put the lie to the fairly common belief, completely at variance with history, that black men could not make good soldiers.  The 54th would go on to fight in several more battles during the course of the war.

Sergeant William Carney of the 54th earned a Medal of Honor in the assault.  Despite being wounded several times he placed the national flag on the parapet of Fort Wagner, and when the 54th retreated he brought back the flag in spite of being wounded twice more.  He told the men he gave the flag to:  “Boys, I only did my duty; the old flag never touched the ground!”

A correspondent for the Tribune was present for the assault: Continue Reading

1

Memoriae Positum

(Reposted from 2012.)

 He leads for aye the advance,

 Hope’s forlorn-hopes that plant the desperate good

For nobler Earths and days of manlier mood;

James Russell Lowell

Memoriae Positum, memory laid down.  The Latin phrase is a good short hand description of  what History accomplishes.  In 1864 the poet James Russell Lowell wrote a poem entitled Memoriae Positum in tribute to Colonel Robert Gould Shaw who died heroically at age 25  leading the unsuccessful assault of the 54th Massachusetts, one of the first black Union regiments, on the Confederate stronghold of Fort Wagner at Charleston, South Carolina on July 18th, 1863.  The poem predicts that Shaw’s memory will live forever and feels sorrow only for those, unlike Shaw, who are unwilling or unable to risk all for their beliefs.  It is a poem completely out of step with the predominant sentiments of our day which seem to value physical survival and enjoyment above everything else.  Here is the text of the poem: Continue Reading

3

Saint Thomas More on the Zimmerman Case

Sir Thomas More: You threaten like a dockside bully.

Cromwell: How should I threaten?

Sir Thomas More: Like a minister of state. With justice.

Cromwell: Oh, justice is what you’re threatened with.

Sir Thomas More: Then I am not threatened.

Robert Bolt, A Man for all Seasons

 

 

Roger Kimball has a good piece of commentary at Pajamas Media citing Saint Thomas More in reference to the Zimmerman case:

That’s not stopping the race mongers, of course. For them, the death of Trayvon Martin is an allegory of how America is a racist society. If only they could take a break from their race baiting histrionics to watch an improving film, The Man for All Seasons (1966), for example.  A friend, pondering the spectacle of race hatred on view in the aftermath of the Zimmerman trial, sent me these exchanges from the movie:

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

And this:

Margaret More: Father, that man’s bad.

Sir Thomas More: There’s no law against that.

William Roper: There is: God’s law.

Sir Thomas More: Then God can arrest him. Continue Reading

12

Two Minute Hate

The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.

George Orwell, 1984

 

 

 

Ah, if only George Orwell were still around to give us commentary on the collective meltdown, with certain honorable exceptions, Saletan I am looking at you, on most left wing blogs, I guess he wouldn’t be surprised at all.  Orwell, a man of the Left, noted that in his time Leftists tended to be on the look out for heretics to transform into objects of hate.  In our day the objects of Leftist wrath do not even need to be heretics.  Thus George Zimmerman, one-quarter black Hispanic, an Obama voter, a man who an FBI investigation cleared of any racial motivation, has became an object of Leftist hate because he touched, accidentally, one of the great Leftist totems in this country:  race.

Thomas Sowell, who recently noted that he is old enough to remember when most racial hatred came from whites, explains how a low level investigation of a fairly routine self defense shooting was transformed into a national morality play for the Left:

Legally speaking, Zimmerman has won his freedom. But he can still be sued in a civil case, and he will probably never be safe to live his life in peace, as he could have before this case made him the focus of national attention and orchestrated hate.

More important than the fate of George Zimmerman, however, is the fate of the American justice system and of the public’s faith in that system and in their country. People who have increasingly asked, during the lawlessness of the Obama administration, “Is this still America?” may feel some measure of relief.

But the very fact that this case was brought in the first place, in an absence of serious evidence — which became ever more painfully obvious as the prosecution strained to try to come up with anything worthy of a murder trial — will be of limited encouragement as to how long this will remain America.

The political perversion of the criminal-justice system began early and at the top, with the president of the United States. Unlike other public officials who decline to comment on criminal cases that have not yet been tried in court, Barack Obama chose to say, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

It was a clever way to play the race card, as he had done before, when professor Henry Louis Gates of Harvard was arrested.

But it did not stop there. After the local police in Florida found insufficient evidence to ask for Zimmerman to be prosecuted, the Obama administration sent Justice Department investigators to Sanford, Fla., and also used the taxpayers’ money to finance local activists who agitated for Zimmerman to be arrested.

Political intervention did not end with the federal government. The city manager in Sanford intervened to prevent the usual police procedures from being followed. Continue Reading

2

General John Reynolds and his Catholic Fiancee

Hattip to Matthew Schmitz at First Things.  I have been studying the Civil War since 1964.  It is an immense subject and I still find things about it I never knew.  Major General John Reynolds, commander of the I Corps, helped save the Union by his heroic leadership of his Corps in support of Buford’s cavalry division on the First Day, buying time with blood for other corps of the Army of the Potomac to deploy.  He was a Protestant but Matthew Schmitz tells us why he died with  Catholic religious medals around his neck:

One-hundred and fifty years ago today, Gen. John F. Reynolds made the crucial tactical decisions that would start the Battle of Gettysburg, then became one of its first fatalities.

Reynolds was widely admired for his personal qualities and military skill—we have found no recorded negative comments by his contemporaries—and scholars today generally share the assessment. (Shelby Foote called him perhaps the best general the Army of the Potomac had.) Yet as Edwin C. Bearss records in Fields of Honor, Reynolds’ death revealed that the well-liked man had a secret:

As his aides loosen his collar, they find two Catholic medallions hanging around his neck. This is surprising because he is not Catholic, and none of them knows that he is seriously interested in any woman.

They carry Reynolds’ body to the rear, with instructions to send it to his home in Lancaster after it is laid out in Philadelphia. And as they’re laying him out on July 4, with his sisters there, a lady comes in. She is Katherine “Kate” May Hewitt. Kate has his West Point ring and tells his sisters that they met on a boat from California to New York and that they’re engaged.

Reynolds was a Protestant, she a Catholic. That is why he had not told his family. The two agreed that if he was killed and they couldn’t marry, she would join a convent. After he’s buried, she will travel to Emmitsburg and join the St. Joseph Central House of the Order of the Daughters of Charity.

Reynolds’ last words—meant martially but also capable of being read spiritually—were, “Forward men! For God’s sake forward!” Continue Reading

27

A Warning From History

We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.

CS Lewis, The Abolition of Man

 

 

Too late for Bastille Day, but this reflection by Steven Hayward at Powerline on a book written by French historian Marc Bloch draws my attention.  Bloch was not only a historian but in World War I he had been an infantry combat officer, rising to the rank of Captain and earning a Legion of Honor.  In the wake of the defeat of France in 1940 he asked a simple question:  Why?

Bloch was one of the pre-war founders of the Annales school of historical analysis, which was neither exactly Marxist nor purely “social” history as we know it today, but was an early version of bottom-up meta-history.  (Think of it an the anti-Carlyle/great man school, or history without any dominant figures.  Fernand Braudel is the best-known figure of this school of thought.)

And yet when France succumbed easily to the Nazi invasion in 1940 despite superior forces on paper, a dumbfounded Bloch found he could only explain it by returning to the old fashioned style of thinking about and writing history.  The result was his classic, Strange Defeat: A Statement of Evidence Written in 1940.  His main conclusion is one that no academic historian today would dare to put to paper: France suffered an ignominious moral collapse.  The entire book—it is only 176 pages—is a thrilling read, but I’ll confine myself to just a few selections from the final chapter, “A Frenchman Examines His Conscience,” which, with due adjustments, can serve as a warning for our own intellectual flabbiness in the Age of Terror, as well as a reproach to the dessicated academic history of today:

This timidity of the nation at large was, no doubt, in many cases but the sum of the timidity of individuals. . .  Whatever the reasons, there can be no doubt that our governors, both individually and as a class, did lack something of that ruthless heroism which becomes so necessary when the country is in danger. . .

Bloch is especially hard on the pacifists (and the news media) of the interwar period:

Since the gospel they preached was one of seeming convenience, their sermons found an easy echo in those lazy, selfish instincts which exist in all men’s hearts side by side with nobler potentialities.  These enthusiasts, many of whom were not, as individuals, lacking in courage, worked unconsciously to produce a race of cowards.

And in words that ought perhaps to be emblazoned above the door to every history department in every American university (especially the third sentence), Bloch says:

I do not say that the past entirely governs the present, but I do maintain that we shall never satisfactorily understand the present unless we take the past into account.  But there is still worse to come.  Because our system of historical teaching deliberately cuts itself off from a wide field of vision and comparison, it can no longer impart to those whose minds it claims to form anything like a true sense of difference and change.

Finally (for now), Bloch warns that the consequences of an essentially nihilist culture and education will be the destruction of democracy:

A democracy becomes hopelessly weak, and the general good suffers accordingly, if its higher officials, bred up to despise it, and drawn from those very classes the dominance of which it is pledged to destroy, serve it only half-heartedly.

This is historical reflection when it really counted.  Can it be made to count again?  Not as currently “constructed” (to use the trendy terms against them) in academia today.

Bloch joined the French Resistance in 1942.  The Germans executed him in 1944. Continue Reading

1

July 15, 1863: A Proclamation

President Lincoln throughout the Civil War issued several proclamations calling for prayers, fasting and thanksgiving.  The famous proclamation in October 1863 creating Thanksgiving was just one of a them.  Here is a proclamation he issued on July 15 in the wake of the Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg.  Note how he calls for repentance and submission to the Divine will.  He recognizes the hand of God in both the national triumphs and sorrows.  Such language would sound strange to most Americans today if uttered by a President of the United States.  More is the pity.  Here is the text of the proclamation: Continue Reading

6

Lincoln and the Jesuits!

 

Lincoln Shocked!

I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty-to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy .

Abraham Lincoln, letter to Joshua Speed, August 24, 1855

 

 

Presidential assassinations attract nut cases like bribes attract politicians.  The original presidential assassination conspiracy theorist was Charles P.T. Chiniquy, a Catholic priest from Quebec, who came to Kankakee County in Illinois circa 1850 to serve a colony of French Canadians who had settled there.  In 1860 he left the Church with some of his parishioners, having run afoul of his Bishop.  Eventually he became a Presbyterian Minister and made a living from publishing anti-Catholic books and tracts and giving anti-Catholic lectures

Chiniquy had used Lincoln’s services as a lawyer in a slander case in 1856.  From this slight association, after Lincoln’s assassination he created a fable of the Jesuits having been behind Lincoln’s death and putting anti-Catholic sentiments in the mouth of a man who knew no religious bigotry.  Chiniquy’s lies have been exposed for well over a century by historians.  One of the best eviscerations of Chiniquy was undertaken by Professor Joseph George, Jr. in an article which appeared in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society in 1976:

In 1891 John G. Nicolay, Lincoln’s former secretary, received a note  from Benedict Guldner, a Jesuit priest in New York, asking for information about a “libellous pamphlet” printed in Germany.   The pamphlet, according to Guldner, was a translation of a work “originally written in this country … in which the author maintains that the assassination of President Lincoln was the work of Jesuits.” Nicolay and John Hay, another former secretary to the President, had not mentioned the allegation in their biography of        Lincoln, and Guldner wished to know if they had heard the charge and if they considered it false. [1]         Nicolay consulted Hay, and then replied:        

          To [y]our first question whether in our studies on the life of Lincoln we came upon the charge that “the assasination of President Lincoln was the work of Jesuits”, we answer that we have read such a charge in a lengthy newspaper publication.  To your second question, viz: “If you did come across it, did the          accusation seem to you to be entirely groundless?”, we answer Yes. It seemed to us so entirely groundless as not to merit any attention on our part.  [2]        

        

        Perhaps the decision of Nicolay and Hay to ignore the charge of a Jesuit conspiracy against Lincoln was unwise. A prompt and firm denial might have prevented further publication of the story.  [3]        

        The originator of the conspiracy theory was Charles P.T. Chiniquy, a former Catholic priest who claimed to be a close friend and confidant of Abraham Lincoln’s.   According to Chiniquy, “emissaries of the        Pope” were plotting to murder Lincoln for his defense of Chiniquy in an 1856 trial.   Chiniquy’s autobiography, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, published in 1885,  attributes remarks to the President on a variety of subjects, particularly religion. [4]  Most of Chinquy’s stories are so foreign to what is known about the Sixteenth President that scholars  have ignored them. Nevertheless, many of the less sensational portions of Chiniquy’s reminiscences have been used by serious students of Lincoln’s life, and the most sensational passages have been widely quoted and disseminated by writers engaged in anti-Catholic polemics. Continue Reading

20

Texas, Satan and Gosnell

 

 

Well, after  all the sturm und drang of the Wendy Davis filibuster, Davis of course being the pro-abort Democrat Texas State Senator elected into office with the help of Ralph McCloud, director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, pro-aborts saluting their dishonorary leader, Satan, and pro-abort thugs having confiscated from them bricks, feces and urine that they intended to throw at Texas state legislators, the bill banning almost all abortions after 20 weeks has passed:

 

After a day filled with pro-abortion threats, pro-life people hiding in secure areas of the capitol fearing for their safety, jars of feces and urine and protestors disrupting the Senate proceedings, democracy finally prevailed.

Members of the state Senate approved the bill to ban late-term abortions on a 19-11 margin on second reading. The chamber then approved the bill in third reading by the same 19-11 vote.

The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks and hold abortion clinics accountable by making them meet basic health and safety standards that have closed facilities in other states that are unable to comply. The bill also requires all abortion clinics to meet the same health and safety regulations as an ambulatory surgical center, requires a doctor providing abortions to secure admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and lastly, requires a doctor to personally administer the abortion-inducing drugs to the patient.

Go here to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air to read the rest.  Ed makes an interesting prediction: Continue Reading

Ghost of Bras d’ Or

Something for the weekend.  The things you find on Youtube!  I loved this album and this song,  Ghost of Bras d’ Or, when I was a kid.  Part of my Mom’s Newfoundland record collection.  I always thought that Dick Nolan sounded like Johnny Cash, and I see that he was called the Johnny Cash of Newfoundland.  I am sad to also see that he passed away in 2005, but his music endures. Continue Reading

10

Sharknado a Ratings Flop

Apparently it is possible to underestimate the taste of the American people:

The SyFy movie about flying sharks and bad weather was seen by just over 1 million people. It had a 0.4  rating in the 18-49 demographic in early Nielsen numbers. That’s not just a bust by cable standards. It’s a bust by SyFy original movie standards. “Most Syfy originals have an average viewership of 1.5 million people, with some getting twice  that,” Claire Suddath reports.

The peculiar thing about this bust was that it was a social media blockbuster. There were more than 600,000 tweets sent about the movie between 8pm and 3am last night (fewer if you go by Nielsen’s numbers), which is two tweets for every three people in America watching Sharknado. That’s particularly strange since Syfy original movies have an average viewer age of 52, and fiftysomething guys are a bit off the key demo for Twitter. Continue Reading

3

She Rode in the Back of the Bus

Mary Custis Lee

 

 

Hattip to my friend Jay Anderson for advising me of this tidbit of history.  Today is the 178th birthday of Mary Custis Lee, the eldest daughter of Robert E. Lee.  She could be a pill.  Described by her siblings as “bossy” and “stern”, she asked only one thing out of life:  her own way.  She did not suffer those she considered fools gladly, and she was never shy about reminding people that she was the eldest daughter of Robert E. Lee.

On June 13, 1902 she and her black maid had sat down on an Alexandria street car, laden with packages.  Miss Lee was now in her 67th year, so no doubt she was tired.  She and her maid sat in the back of the street car.  A “Jim Crow” ordinance had recently been passed in Alexandria , and among other odious provisions it mandated racial segregation on street cars, with blacks relegated to the back.

The conductor Thomas Chauncey explained the law to her and asked her to move.  She did not.  When a black man boarded the street car, Chauncey advised her that she was occupying a seat to which he was entitled, and Chauncey threatened her with arrest.  She still refused to move.  When she got off the streetcar a few blocks later she was met by two police officers who put her under arrest.  Word spread of her arrest.  Men protested at the police station against their holding Miss Lee, some of the men doubtless having served under her father.  She was released.

She did not bother showing up for her trial on June 14.  The bond of $5.00 that a friend had posted for her was forfeited.

Was Mary just being Mary, a fairly contrary lady who wasn’t going to be pushed around by an officious conductor, or was this a protest against the new ordinance?  No one knows for sure.  However when she was asked to move perhaps this incident from the life of her great father came into her mind: Continue Reading

1

The Party of Abortion Fanatics

Official-Seal-of-the-Democrat-Party

Allah Pundit at Hot Air hits the nail on the head when it comes to the Democrat Party and abortion:

It takes integrity to conduct and then feature a poll that confirms your own readership is wildly out of the American mainstream. It takes less integrity to try to discredit your own results, as HuffPo kinda sorta does, by citing a Democratic pollster who suggests that abortion polling is always unreliable because people’s feelings change when you start talking about exceptions for rape, incest, the life of the mother, and so on.

This seems … fairly straightforward:

20

This result is right in line with a recent poll of Texans, which found 62 percent support for banning abortions after 20 weeks. Turns out, when it comes to late-term abortion, America is a red state. (So is Europe, for that matter. Really red.) It’s certainly true that Americans are conflicted on abortion regs more broadly — 63 percent in HuffPo’s poll, for instance, say that abortion decisions generally should be left to a woman and her doctor, and lots of national polls show support for abortion rights during the first trimester — but no one outside of the most hardcore abortion warriors supports the practice at every stage of pregnancy. In fact, 49 percent in HuffPo’s poll said they personally consider abortion morally wrong versus 12 percent who said it’s morally acceptable and 24 percent who said it’s, er, not a moral issue.

Anyway, note the number of strong opponents in the table above relative to the other categories, just for easy reference the next time a liberal claims that it’s the GOP that’s been captured by the fanatics in its base. And speaking of fanatics, here’s the latest example of a prominent pro-choice advocate, crowned by the Democratic mainstream with official truth-to-power hero status, pointedly refusing to oppose abortion at any point during gestation:

THE WEEKLY STANDARD: [Supporters of late-term abortion bans] say there’s not much of a difference between what Kermit Gosnell did outside the womb to a baby at 23 weeks and a legal late-term abortion [performed] at 23 weeks on that same baby. What is the difference between those two?

    CECILE RICHARDS [President of Planned Parenthood]: I mean he was a criminal. And he’s now going to jail. As I think you heard Senator Franken say and many women who have written about their own personal stories, it is very rare for a woman to need to terminate a pregnancy after 20 weeks. And quite often it’s stories like one we heard today where there is the decision of the doctor that this is the best way, the best for a woman. And the problem is when you have politicians begin to play doctor and make decisions about women’s medical care. They aren’t in that woman’s situation.

    TWS: But there has been research out of, I think, University of California-San Francisco about non-medical late-term abortions. These things do happen, even if they’re a small number. I’m talking about that specific area. I mean if there were broader exceptions, would you–

AIDE TO CECILE RICHARDS: I know you’re in a rush, so I can follow up to get you some more information.

    TWS: Are there any legal limits you do support on abortion, Ms. Richards?

She wouldn’t answer. That’s from John McCormack of the Standard, by the way, who’s well-practiced in asking national Democrats questions simple yes-or-no questions on whether there should be any limits whatsoever on killing babies in the womb and getting either semi-coherent evasions or stony silence in response. It’s the surest thing in journalism. The party’s run by abortion fanatics, so much so that they’d rather cop to their fanaticism through tacit acknowledgment than lie about it to look “mainstream.” He’ll be asking this question of other Dems for years to come. I’d bet cash money that he’ll never get a straight answer. Continue Reading

3

Bizarre

I have been practicing law for three decades in Illinois and I have never seen anything like the above video when a defendant in a criminal case is represented by counsel.  I will defer to any Florida attorney who can indicate if the above video reflects common legal procedure in Florida, but in Illinois whether a defendant in a criminal case is going to testify is not something the defense counsel is going to indicate.  The ability to keep the prosecution guessing as to whether the defendant is going to testify is a key advantage of the defense.  When a defendant is represented by counsel in Illinois it is assumed that in a criminal case counsel has advised the defendant of his right to testify or keep silent at trial.  If a plea bargain is entered into in Illinois in a criminal case then the judge will advise the defendant of all of his rights prior to accepting the plea bargain.  Other than that, the time for such admonishments is at arraignment prior to a plea being entered, and certainly not during the trial.

Any input from any Florida criminal defense attorneys among our readers would be appreciated.

16

War Novel Recommendations

I’d like to turn to our TAC readership and ask for book suggestions. Specifically, what would you recommend as some of the best historical novels dealing with war?

Some of the best that I’ve read have been:

War and Peace which although some of Tolstoy’s historical/philosophical digressions drove me nuts does certainly give a sweeping sense of Russia during the war with Napoleon.

The Cypresses Believe in God and One Million Dead — Donald recommended these to me, and although they are very long (not quite War & Peace long, but pretty astoundingly long nonetheless) I found them utterly gripping and they similarly give you a sense not just of individual characters but of the whole nation of Spain at war with itself.

Killer Angels is a much more modest book in scope, but is a compelling and clear account of a single battle more detailed than many history books.

Alan Furst’s espionage novels aren’t, perhaps, technically war novels, but they give a very strong sense of what war and rumors of war do to society.

The Sharpe novels and Aubrey/Maturin are also great historical novels dealing with the Napoleonic era.

What other novels would you recommend and why?

57

Racism, State Power and the Zimmerman Prosecution

 

 

 

After more than three decades at the bar, little shocks me about courts and how they operate.  I confess, however, that I am shocked by the George Zimmerman prosecution.  First, that it was brought at all with virtually no evidence that could lead to a guilty verdict by any honest jury and, second, the way in which it has been conducted.  However, what shocks me as a lawyer does not shock me when I view it as an example of current racial politics in this country.  Cornell Law Professor William Jacobson who has been covering the trial at his blog Legal Insurrection, explains:

 

 

We also knew that Eric Holder had the DOJ investigate the case, and that the FBI found no evidence that Zimmerman was racist or motivated by racism.

What we didn’t know until today was that the DOJ supported some of the anti-Zimmerman rallies, as disclosed by Judicial Watch (which also is helping me with my lawsuit to obtain David Gregory non-prosecution records from D.C.): Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained documents in response to local, state, and federal records requests revealing that a little-known unit of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Community Relations Service (CRS), was deployed to Sanford, FL, following the Trayvon Martin shooting to help organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman.

The way the trial has been conducted is an equal travesty. The prosecution is throwing everything against the wall, including conflicting and inconsistent theories that Trayvon was on the bottom of the fight screaming and alternatively that Trayvon was on top pulling back. Similarly the prosecution creates obsessive distractions such as whether Zimmerman “followed” Martin, even though that is legally irrelevant. We have had the strange spectacle of the prosecution attacking its own police witnesses who had the temerity to believe George Zimmerman’s story and find it consistent and credible. The law enforcement world has been turned on its head in this prosecution, because it had to be turned on its head to justify the prosecution.

If you want to understand just how dirty this prosecution case has been, consider one bit of evidence which probably slipped by most viewers. The prosecution elicited testimony from defense gun shot wound forensic expert Vincent DiMaio that he participated in studies of gunshot wounds on live animals (under a federally regulated and sanctioned program in which the animals were under anesthesia). What’s the relevance of that? Nothing. Except that the prosecution knew that there were animal owners on the jury, and this was an attempt to poison the jury on something having nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman.

It’s all coming together in this case.

Racial politics supported by State power. Continue Reading

July 11, 1863: First Assault on Fort Wagner

The longest siege in the Civil War was that of Charleston, South Carolina. 567 days the city was besieged by Union naval and land forces, only being taken by Sherman’s troops after the evacuation of the city on February 15, 1865 by the Confederate Army.

The siege began in July of 1863.  Union troops landed on Morris, Island at the mouth of Charleston Harbor, their goal to take Fort Wagner.

Fort Wagner

Brigadier General George C. Strong, portrayed in the video clip at the beginning of this post, was in command of the Union brigade of troops that landed on Morris, Island.  He attempted to take Fort Wagner on July 11, 1863, only to have his attack bloodily repulsed, sustaining 339 casualties to only 12 for the Confederates.  He would try again on July 18, an attack made famous due to the participation of the 54th Massachusetts.

12

A Tale of Three Choices

Pro-choice

 

On July 7 the New York Times had what is doubtless their 666th pro-abort piece this year, an op ed by a woman celebrating her mother’s abortion.  (So long as it wasn’t you being tossed out like so much garbage, right honey?)  If you enjoy irony, go here to read it.

Katy French, an epidimeologist  has written a grand response:

Merfish writes that her mom was 20, engaged to her dad, 21, both co-eds at  Texas’ “public Ivy,” the University of Texas at Austin. My mother, Terry Cavnar  French, was 18. She couldn’t afford to go to an elite college, and instead,  lived at home and worked her way through the local commuter college, the  University of Houston. She didn’t have a fiancé to lean on (the father was not  in the picture), and was barely acknowledged by her dysfunctional parents. Her  ninth month was spent at a home run by Catholic Charities.

Merfish writes that her parents, though about to graduate from college and  marry, were simply not ready to be parents. They drove across states lines for  an abortion. My mother wasn’t ready to be a parent either. She could have driven  to another state, too. Instead, she drove to college, sitting in traffic every  morning with the windows rolled down to try to beat the Houston heat in those  pre-air conditioning days. Merfish writes that her parents were made to “feel  like criminals” by the abortionist they visited. My mom was made to feel morning  sickness-induced nausea from traffic fumes during her commute, often pulling to  the side of the road to throw up and then back on the road to class.

Merfish writes with pride about her mom’s choice to kill her brother or  sister because he or she was a few years early for her parents’ taste. Today,  I’m writing with pride about my mom’s choice to save my brother’s life and give  him a loving, intact family that could provide him the life he deserved.  Merfish’s mom had to endure the judgmental attitudes of the abortionist. My mom  had to endure months of morning sickness and ten hours of labor and delivery.  Then she endured the pain of letting another woman, a woman who was ready to be  a mom, take her baby boy home.

Merfish writes of the solidarity she felt with her mom while the two of them  shouted down a Texas bill that would protect unborn babies who are old enough to  recognize their mother’s voice, and would require unregulated Gosnell factories  to meet the same hygiene standards as medical facilities in the state. Today,  I’m writing of the solidarity I felt when my mom and I recently prayed at the  hospital bedside of my sister’s baby. He had just been diagnosed with a genetic  disease that would cripple and kill him in a few years. If the diagnosis had  come a few months earlier, when he was still in the womb, many physicians would  have handed my sister an abortion referral along with the test result. We later  found out that the diagnosis was wrong. Luckily for him, he has a family that  celebrates his life instead of a family that celebrates the killing of children  on the altar of Almighty Convenience.

Merfish’s mom married her dad shortly after her abortion. They finished  college and went on to have better-timed children and, presumably, successful  lives. My mom later met a dashing grad student at that commuter college. They  married, graduated, had two daughters, successful careers, and are now  approaching a secure retirement. Choosing life, no matter how inconvenient,  doesn’t have to end anyone’s chance at the American Dream. Continue Reading