41

Two Gold Star Parents and the Media

 

Patricia Smith spoke at the Republican Convention.  She was lied to face to face by Hillary Clinton as to why her son died during the Benghazi attack.  The media largely ignored her speech or mentioned it in passing during their coverage of the Convention.

 

 

Khizr Khan spoke at the Democrat Convention.  His son, an Army Captain, was killed in Iraq in 2004.  He has never met Donald Trump in his life.  He used his speech to attack Trump on the issue of Muslim immigration.  The media has been playing up his speech ever since he gave it.

The candidates and the issues may change, but the media will always have their ink stained thumbs on the scales for the Democrat in a Presidential election year.

 

13

Abortions for Men!

I don’t think leftists listen to themselves anymore:

The Atlantic and Refinery29 hosted a panel discussion entitled “Young Women Rising: America’s Next Top Voter?” during the Democratic National Convention, Tuesday evening.

Following a 30-minute conversation on “intersectionality” and millennial feminism, a reporter asked the panel for its thoughts on reproductive rights and women’s health issues for men who ascribe to a female gender identity.

Ayanna Pressley, a Boston city councilor at-large, said the issue of men who identify as women getting abortions is all about “elevated consciousness.”

I would say ultimately all advocacy begins with elevated consciousness and because of movements like Black Lives Matter where you have seen trans women at the fore of that, because of the public accommodations legislation, because of so many things that are happening at a policy level, our consciousness is being elevated,” Pressley said. “I do believe that as our consciousness is elevated we will be better informed, better educated, and we can mobilize around those issues.”

“And again, no single issue, any constituency group,” she added. “The concerns of the trans community go far beyond public accommodation. The concerns of the African-American community go far beyond police brutality.”

When asked if trans women are “being denied their reproductive rights” Pressley was stumped.

“You got me on that one.”

Tamblyn chimed in, arguing that the reproductive rights of trans women are at the forefront of the conversation at Planned Parenthood, where the Grudge 2 star sits on the board of directors.

“I wouldn’t know any statistics on that but I would say that goes again with the same notion of community, and fighting for everyone together,” Tamblyn said. “That for me as a heterosexual white woman to talk about reproductive rights and sit on the board of directors for Planned Parenthood, I have to not just talk about my people. I have to talk about everybody. And that’s a huge thing, and that’s a major part of the discussion.”

Tamblyn admitted she has a lot to learn about whether biological men are being denied abortions. Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: Game of Popes

 

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From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

There was some exciting news for Game of Thrones fans who also happen to love Jesus today after EWTN announced that they are set to premiere their brand new epic, Game of Papal Thrones.

“The launch of the new GoPT series will truly be a global Catholic television event,” said Jonathan Nunez, Associate Producer of the series based on the bestselling novel, A Gregorian Chant of Ice and Fire. “Game of Thrones is already a worldwide phenomenon and so is Jesus Christ. We’re hoping to baptize, so to speak, the series made famous by HBO.”

The series, which details the power struggle for the papal throne (Cathedra Romana,) tells the story of eight men and one woman fighting for control of the newly restored Papal States. Political and chaste intrigue is pervasive. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Prince of the Apostles, asks his old friend Cardinal Robert Sarah to serve as Hand of the Pope, the highest official. Secretly warned that the previous Hand was assassinated, Sarah accepts in order of business to investigate further. Meanwhile, “the mad sister” Marcia Allen and her religious family, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, may be hatching a plot to take power. Across the sea, the last members of the deposed family, the Burke’s, are scheming to take the throne. The friction between houses Sarah, LCWR, Bergoglio, and Burke and with the remaining great houses Chaput, Mahoney, Ratzinger, and the incompetent yet powerful and conniving Chaldean Patriarch Raphael “Littlefinger” Sako leads to full-scale war. All while a very ancient evil awakens in the farthest east. Amidst the war and pontifical confusion, a neglected order of monks, the Benedictines of Fontgombault, is all that stands between the realms of men and fiery horrors beyond.

 

The series is set to premier this September.

Continue Reading

4

633 Squadron

Squadron Leader Adams: Well, at least the rockets won’t happen.
Air Vice Marshal Davis: Of course they’ll happen. But they won’t start tomorrow, or this month or on D-Day, and that’s important.
Squadron Leader Adams: Then what’s it all add up to? All their sacrifice?
Air Vice Marshal Davis: A successful operation.
Squadron Leader Adams: But they’re probably all dead. All 633 Squadron.
Air Vice Marshal Davis: You can’t kill a squadron.

Ending, 633 Squadron (1964)


 

 

Something for the weekend.  The theme song from 633 Squadron.  In my misspent youth I spent endless hours watching old war movies on TV.  One of my favorites was the British flick 633 Squadron (1964) which recounted the fictional tale of a British Mosquito bomber squadron and their self sacrificial attempt to take out a well-defended Nazi V2 rocket fuel plant in occupied Norway.  The film won praise for its aerial sequences, cutting edge in 1964, and George Lucas has cited the squadron’s attack on the plant as influencing the trench run sequence attack on the Death Star in Star Wars. Continue Reading

21

Father John Hollowell Calls Out Head of Planned Parenthood

 

Hattip to Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report. 

Father John Hollowell of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis calls out Cecile Richards, head of Planned Parenthood Worse Than Murder, Inc.

The money quote:
“We have no doubt that in 20 or 50 or 100 years, other societies and other civilizations will look back and will lump your organization in with the slave traders, the Nazis, the communists, all those groups that have always sought to oppress people.”

Optimism for the future and a fighting spirit:  ever the authentic voice of the Church Militant.  Bravo Father Hollowell!

 

7

I Am Shocked, Shocked!: White Noise

Strong language advisory as to the above video.

Well, what do you know, the Hillary Clinton people at the just concluded Democrat Convention, were taking no chances regarding the Sanders delegates booing during Queen Hillary’s speech:

Where the Bernie people were crammed into was a pre-planned section by the DNC that happened to have a white noise generator behind them. That’s fancy talk for loudspeakers that are controlled by the convention sound board so that if there are any troublemakers booing or carrying on during Hillary’s speech, the speakers with canned crowd noise are instantly brought up to drown out the protesters.

Now when Hillary Clinton did mention having the need for having the strongest military in the world, you could hear the Bernie people starting to ramp up. But they instantly got drowned out. Now we know why.

Poor, delusional Bernie people. They never had a chance from start to finish. Never. Continue Reading

20

A Personal Favor

Charity

 

 

As faithful readers of this blog know, I have many times on this blog published posts written by Christopher Johnson of Midwest Conservative Journal.  A non-Catholic, he has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I long ago dubbed him Defender of the Faith.  Sadly, Christopher has fallen on hard economic times.  He lost his job as a librarian back in 2012 when his position was cut.  He is of my vintage, and in your late fifties it is not easy to find employment.  (I thank God almost every day that I have been self-employed since 1985.)  I think you could count on the fingers of one hand the times over the past eight years that I have asked the readers of this blog to contribute to anything.  I am doing so now, however.  If you can afford it, please go to his blog and make a donation to him through Paypal.  I would regard it as a personal favor.  I, of course, have already made a donation.  Let us demonstrate that we Catholics remember our friends in their hour of need.  Go here to make a donation.

4

PopeWatch: How Many Deaths?

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Roberto de Mattei says it all at Rorate Caeli:

 

 

 

“How many deaths are needed, how many heads decapitated, for the European governments to understand the situation the West finds itself in?” asked Cardinal Robert Sarah. 

What is it going to take, we add, for Cardinal Sarah’s confreres in the College of Cardinals, starting with the Supreme Head, the Pope himself, to understand the terrifying situation in which not only the West finds itself in, but the entire Universal Church? What makes this situation so terrible are the politics of do-goodism and false mercy with regard to Islam and all of the Church’s enemies.  Certainly, Catholics must pray for their enemies, but they also have to be aware that they have them, and they mustn’t limit themselves to praying for them, but have the duty to fight them. It is the Catechism of the Catholic Church which teaches this in n.2266, when it says that legitimate defence may also be a grave duty for those responsible for the lives of others: “Preserving the common good of society requires rendering the aggressor unable to inflict harm.”

Pope Francis was said to be “especially upset by this act of violence which took place in a church during the liturgy of the Mass and implored the peace of God for the world”, once again refusing to call the assassins by name. Pope Bergoglio’s silence is parallel to that of Muslims from all over the globe who don’t denounce forcefully and in an unanimous, collective manner, the crimes committed in Allah’s name by their co-religionists. Yet, even the President of the French Republic, Francois Hollande, in his discourse to the nation on Tuesday evening, spoke of France’s open war against ISIS.  Continue Reading

3

First Trailer for Mel Gibson’s Movie Hacksaw Ridge

The first trailer for the movie Hacksaw Ridge, Mel Gibson’s tribute to conscientious objector, and Medal of Honor awardee, Desmond Doss.  The film is out in November.  Go here to learn more about Doss.  In an election year it is easy to get cynical about humanity,  but when we contemplate a man like Doss we begin to understand why God bothered to make us in the first place.

6

Hillary Harangue Open Thread

 

Like her hubby, I decided that the time I would have devoted to watching her speech was best used by me for sleep.  I did joke with my son that if we ever had to inflict torture on  adversaries in some sort of Mad Max post apocalyptic society, we could probably do worse than tying them up, placing them in a room, put the video of this speech on a recurring loop, and come back after twenty-four hours.  In any event post your reactions in the comboxes.  I have heard that she attacked Trump which strikes me as necessary but probably the wrong strategy.  Attacking Trump will allow him to dominate the next news cycle with answers, and if there is one thing I have learned about Trump this year, he thrives on bad publicity that would devastate other politicians.

29

PopeWatch: Facts Are Stubborn Things

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More: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King’s command make it round? And if it is round, will the King’s command flatten it? No, I will not sign.

Robert Bolt, A Man for all Seasons

The Pope gave yet another interview in the air as he was traveling to Poland.  (When the history of this pontificate is written, these airline interviews will loom large.)  The choice bit:

 

Referring to recent acts of violence including the killing of a priest in France, Pope Francis said on Wednesday that the world is at war but stressed “it is not a war of religions but for power.

“There is one word I wish to say to clarify.” “When I speak about “war” I’m speaking about a war for real, not a “war of religions.” It is,” he continued, “a war about (economic) interests, money, natural resources and the domination of peoples.” All religions, he said, “desire peace. Other people want war.” Right!” The Pope was speaking to journalists accompanying him on the plane from Rome to Krakow in Poland.   Continue Reading

50

Neo-Neo Con Encapsulates Why I Am Not Supporting Trump

 

Here’s a comment I found at RedState:

Ted Cruz would have never had to explain why he didn’t explicitly endorse Trump in that speech the next day had the RNC/Trump campaign not orchestrated the booing and outrage from the convention crowd.

Imagine if instead they rallied the crowd to cheer Cruz, and Trump then walked out and shook Cruz’s hand, padded him on the back, embraced him, and thanked him for his kind and inspiring words. Imagine if then Trump addressing the audience said “Ted nailed it. If we stand together on those principles, then Hillary doesn’t have a chance. We will win and win big.”

Humility and kindness is all Trump needed to show, and everyone would have walked away thinking that the party was united and possibly Cruz just endorsed Trump in the same way Reagan endorsed Ford (without actually saying it).

Imagine if pigs could fly. Imagine all the people, living life in peace Continue Reading

31

Just a Reminder: The Democrats are the Party of Abortion

 

 

Jesus wept:

 

When talking about abortion, Democratic politicians and activists usually prefer to speak euphemistically: The dismemberment or lethal poisoning of a baby who hasn’t been born yet is almost always referred to as “reproductive health care” or “a woman’s choice.” The group NARAL, once known as the National Abortion Rights Action League, went so far as to change its name to NARAL Pro-Choice America so its supporters and allies could avoid saying the a-word.

But there’s been a growing push on the left to not only defend abortion as a necessary evil that should be “safe, legal, and rare” but to celebrate it as a positive good. (See the #ShoutYourAbortion Twitter campaign of 2015.) And so on Wednesday evening, Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, took the stage at the Democratic National Convention and told the story of the time she aborted her first child because it was an inconvenient time to become a parent.

“To succeed in life, all we need are the tools, the trust, and the chance to chart our own path,” Hogue said during her DNC speech. “I was fortunate enough to have these things when I found out I was pregnant years ago. I wanted a family, but it was the wrong time. I made the decision that was best for me—to have an abortion and get compassionate care at a clinic in my own community.” At this point, applause and cheers could be heard in the crowd. “Now years later, my husband and I are parents to two incredible children,” Hogue continued. Continue Reading

9

Saints (a C&C reprint)

There was a little discussion about when someone is called a saint, so I thought I’d dust off the article I did about this a while back– in honor of Father Jaques Hamel; please pray for us. -Foxfier

What is a saint?

Someone who is united with God; a holy one. English is actually a bit odd– we’ve got a lot of ways of saying things, and “saint” is a good example. Most languages, there’s no difference between how you say “holy one” and how you say “saint.” This can result in things that sound very strange to modern ears, like talking about “Saint Jesus.” Jimmy Akin has a great FAQ if you want to know more, but I’m going to steal from it shamelessly for a lot of this article so you might want to wait on that to avoid boredom. (Not that his writing is boring, but because reading more detail about something you’ve already read is more interesting than reading a little information about something you just absorbed a huge amount on.)

Continue Reading

9

Bear Growls: Shibboleths

 

 

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear has a great post on how terrorist attacks have become part of our contemporary scenery:

 

On The Latest Terrorist Attack (Print Out and Save)

 
Print Out and Save, You Will Need It Again Soon

You know the one.

That awful one that just happened.

It all went down like this.

One or more young Muslim males killed some people while shouting Allahu’ Akbar.

The authorities pretended to be puzzled at this, as if such a thing had never before happened. Police went “searching for motives.”  Oscar-worthy performances of utter cluelessness were delivered in a great production the Bear calls, “The West Rolls Over and Shows Its Belly.”

Every Social Justice Warrior from Archbishops on down to first year fine arts majors buffed their tolerance cred by making up excuses for the poor Jihad Joe, like he was “biopolar,” or abused by a Catholic priest as a lad, or something equally implausible.

And everyone lectured us on how great Islam is, and what a beautiful people Muslims are, and how, by, golly, they’re practically Catholics cuz OMG3greatabrahamicreligionssamegod, and how Islam is peaceful.

The word “backlash” was shrieked like an ululating Mahdist woman cutting choice parts from one of Kipling’s Tommies in the Sudan.

The young Muslim male did it for any reason except Islam (delicious to those of us with a sensitive palate for irony).

Other people saw it in their Facebook feed, or on the news, and were upset until shortly before bedtime. The next day there was some other damned thing and they forgot. They’re all named Mohammed, anyway,  so there’s no way to even keep score.  Neil Postman’s wonderful Amusing Ourselves to Death’s low information-action ratio is the iron law of our media age.

Or, to put it another way, everybody talks about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it. Terrorism has become a part of the cultural weather, and is treated just the same.

Continue Reading

1

PopeWatch: Social Media

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Pope Francis warns against excessive use of social media:

 

 

 

 

 

Pope Francis has urged nuns not to let social media distract them from their religious duties.

In the document entitled Vultum Dei Quaerere (Seeking the face of God), the head of the Catholic Church told nuns to be wary of the dangers of social media and be careful not to “waste time” or use it to escape the demands of religious life.

While the Pontiff acknowledged that smartphones, laptops and tablets provided “useful help for formation and communication”, he said they could be time consuming and distracting. 

 

“Nor should they prove harmful for your vocation or become an obstacle to your life wholly dedicated to contemplation,” he concluded. Continue Reading

4

David Daleiden Cleared of All Charges

Via Red State:

The man behind the undercover sting videos that exposed Planned Parenthood’s baby parts for profit scheme, David Daleiden, was indicted on sham charges of attempting to purchase baby parts from Planned Parenthood. These charges are viewed by many as a smoke screen to pull attention away from Planned Parenthood, and cast shade on Daleiden.

But now, Daleiden has been cleared of all charges by the Harris County DA. This after a Harris county judged completely dismissed the case against Daleiden.

This is a logical conclusion, seeing as how Daleiden and his associates followed the law when creating these videos. It should also be noted that the DA who filed these charges against Daleiden was working with Planned Parenthood to discredit and hopefully, end Daleiden’s career.

The damage has already been done, as intended. Purely political prosecutions such as this are not about actually getting convictions – though if you can get one, as in the case of Tom Delay, all the better. Daleiden has effectively been Rick Perry’d, as his work has been discredited in the eyes of an ignorant public who likely will not see stories about the charges being dropped.

32

Priest Beheaded in France

je suis charles martle

 

Past time for a crusade:

 

An 86-year-old priest has been ‘beheaded’ by two ‘ISIS’ knifemen who cut his throat after bursting into a French church and taking nuns and worshippers hostage before being shot dead by police.

Five people including the priest, two nuns and two parishioners were held by assailants who raided the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen in Normandy at 9am.

The clergyman, named as Jacques Hamel, is believed to have been beheaded during the attack while another hostage is ‘hovering between life and death’ in hospital.

The two attackers have been ‘neutralised’ by elite marksmen in a dramatic police operation while the building is being searched for possible explosives. French president Francois Hollande said the men claimed to be from’ ISIS. 

There were reports the attackers shouted ‘Daesh’ – an alternative name for ISIS often used by the French government – as they ran into the church. At least one of the men was dressed in Islamic clothing, according to French media reports, and an anti-terrorist unit has already taken up the investigation.

It comes as it emerged that the place of worship was one of a number of Catholic churches on a terrorist ‘hit list’ found on a suspected ISIS extremist last April.

Go here to read the rest.  In response to this latest act of naked barbarity, the Pope, once again, has denounced the violence as “absurd” and  Archbishop Lebrun of Rouen had the following statement:

“I cry out to God, with all men of good will. And I invite all non-believers to unite with this cry … The Catholic Church has no other arms besides prayer and fraternity between men.”

 

 

Continue Reading

4

Titles of Nobility Amendment

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Passed by Congress in 1810, the amendment came within two states of being approved between 1812 and 1816.  The text of the amendment:

If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain, any title of nobility or honour, or shall, without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them. Continue Reading

8

PopeWatch: Illusion and Reality

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Hattip to commenter Greg Mockeridge.  The Vatican doesn’t think much of some Polish politicians:

 

Vatican statement accuses Polish politicians of whipping up fear against Muslims,” by Christopher Lamb, La Stampa, July 23, 2016:

Just days before Pope Francis’ visit to Poland a Vatican statement has denounced an “artificially created fear of Muslims” which it says is being fed by some political parties in the country.

The press release, released by the Holy See but written by a spokesman for the Polish Bishops, describes Poland as “ethnically homogenous” and that immigration is a relatively new phenomenon seen as strange to the average Polish person.

“For this reason, even through the official statistics relating to foreign citizens legally resident in Poland show that they make up just 0.4 per cent of the population as a whole, great fears exist”, Fr Pawel Rytel-Andrianik writes in a statement issued just before the beginning of World Youth Day in Krakow and which he stressed was a summary of the media debate in Poland.

These fears, Fr Rytel-Andrianik explains, are due to a lack of public debate, complicated migration procedures and no public programme of teaching people in the country Polish about diversity of religion, race and culture.

But he writes: “Unfortunately these fears are fuelled by some political parties, and inappropriate statements made by politicians. There is an artificially created fear of Muslims understandable indeed in some ways (terrorist attacks). Poland borders Germany, which has a large Muslim population, and on the border they do not run some regular checks.” …

“Francis and Poland differ on migrants ahead of pope’s visit,” by Frances D’Emilio, AP, July 24, 2016:

VATICAN CITY — Support for migrants is so central to Pope Francis’ vision for the church that he has made welcoming them a potential test for those seeking entry to Heaven on Judgment Day.

The pontiff’s advocacy for refugee rights faces a diplomatic test Wednesday when he begins a five-day visit to Poland, where a populist government has slammed the door on most asylum-seekers.

Francis is scheduled to meet Polish President Andrzej Duda in Krakow’s millennium-old castle atop Wawel Hill where, in the neighboring cathedral, Polish national heroes for centuries have been laid to rest. He then will hold a question-and-answer session with Poland’s bishops behind closed doors.

Ahead of the pope’s arrival, Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak defended the ruling Law and Justice party’s opposition to immigration by citing the Bastille Day truck massacre of 84 people in Nice, France. Blaszczak argued that such violence was an inevitable consequence of multiculturalism.

The pope suggests that reluctance or refusal to shelter newcomers in need conflicts with the parable of the Good Samaritan, who offered aid to a robbed, wounded stranger.

Addressing the faithful earlier this month in St. Peter’s Square, Francis said that ultimately “we will be judged on the basis of works of mercy.”

“The Lord will be able to say to us: ‘Do you remember? That migrant, who so many wanted to kick out, was me.’”

Seeking to inspire by example, Francis in April brought 12 Syrians back with him to Rome after visiting a migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, where tens of thousands were stranded after perilous crossings from nearby Turkey in often overcrowded boats.

The Rev. David Hollenbach, a professor of ethics at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Affairs in Washington, said the pope’s championing of migrants is “politically important and socially important, but also religiously important to the identity of Christianity.” Hollenbach, who like Francis is a Jesuit, said in a telephone interview that the treatment of migrants and foreigners is “central in the Bible.”

It’s also intrinsic to the pope’s definition of a Christian.

Returning in February from a pilgrimage to Mexico, Francis told reporters aboard his plane: “I think that a person who thinks of building walls and not bridges isn’t Christian.” The pope was responding to a question about Donald Trump, the Republican U.S. presidential candidate, who says he wants to build a border wall to bar Mexicans from the United States.

A Polish commentator, Adam Szostkiewicz, said he expected the pope to raise Poland’s opposition to aiding refugees during this week’s visit because “this is the central theme of his pontificate in Europe. This is a European problem.”

Szostkiewicz said he expected the pope to argue against Poland’s policy, which he compared to Pontius Pilate’s attitude to the crucifixion of Jesus: “We wash our hands. This does not concern us.” But he forecast that any papal appeal would spark only a momentary stir, not any shift in government policy.

“It will be good if he says it, and it will be commented on, but it will soon be forgotten,” he said….

Continue Reading

1

Trump Rising

 

 

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Hmmm, I may have to pick this up, especially since it is free:

Battlegoat Studios announces Trump Rising, a new DLC pack to be released tomorrow for Supreme Ruler Ultimate, their Windows and OS X RTS game on Steam. As you may have inferred, this plays a trump card ripped from today’s headlines with the addition of The Donald to the game. Here’s word:
Within the United States, civil unrest fueled by racial tensions reaches even higher than in the 1960’s. To China and Russia, the new US President seems so unpredictable and reckless that it seems logical to make a pre-emptive strike rather than wait for him to have a ‘bad hair day’ and launch a strike against them. In Western Europe, leaders are shaken by their new reality and realize they may have to make concessions to Russia now that America can no longer be relied upon. The European Union itself is in disarray as the UK prepares to leave and forge its own relationships. In Mexico, and even in Canada, militaries are brought to an unprecedented level of readiness over concern of Trump’s ambitions.

How will this play out? Will you assume Trump’s role as the new US leader and guide America to renewed Greatness? Or will you instead lead another nation and take advantage of a potentially dysfunctional America to further your own ambition?

This DLC adds the following to Supreme Ruler Ultimate:
⦁ New Sandbox starting on US Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017
⦁ Updated “Modern World” relationships, leaders, and regional economies
⦁ Take control as President Donald Trump, or try to minimize the damage as another World Leader
⦁ Build the Trump Wall – although you may have to pay for it yourself
⦁ Encourage regional growth with the Trump Tower economic development zones

6

The Cranky Con Returns

Having spent some time away from blogging or even looking at news stories for a couple of months has refreshed my batteries, so to speak. So, renewed by re-reading the Federalist Papers and biographies of the founding fathers, I have begun blogging again at the Cranky Conservative. Long time readers will undoubtedly be familiar with my former nom de plume.

Don’t worry, it’s not going to be just “Trump/Hillary are awful posts.” I’m hoping to criticially re-examine what it means to be a conservative and I will hopefully present a cogent defense of conservatism, especially as a response to increased authoritarianism present in both parties.

3

Trump Bounce

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We are beginning to see a bounce for Trump post the Republican Convention.  CNN shows Trump with a ten point swing with Trump now leading 48-45.  That 48 could be ominous for Clinton since that is probably a sign of solidifying Republican support for Trump.  Morning Consult shows Trump leading by four, 44-40.  In the CNN poll if the Greens and the Libertarians are included, Trump is ahead by five.   Nate Silver at 538 now is predicting a Trump win at 56.7%.

 

Presumably Clinton will have a convention bounce, but this has to be disheartening for her.  Many pundits were predicting no bounce for Trump from his convention, and Hillary has outspent Trump something like fifteen to one, only to find herself going into her convention behind.

6

The Other Clinton E-Mail Scandal

 

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz being booed at the Democrat Convention this morning.  WikiLeaks released a horde of e-mails that revealed that the Democrat National Committee, run by Wasserman-Schultz, was completely in the tank for Clinton during her primary battle with Sanders.  Wasserman-Schultz resigned as head of the DNC in exchange for being able to speak at the Convention which struck me as bizarre.  Hillary Clinton should have sent her on a mission during the Convention to round up Democrat votes in Antarctica.  The reaction she received this morning was completely predictable.  Of course this underlines Trump’s contention that the system is rigged and also supports his argument that Hillary is the establishment incarnate.  Yesterday some pro-Hillary Democrat flack said they are expecting the release from WikiLeaks of more e-mails.  I wonder if they have the e-mails from Hillary’s private server?  No doubt the Russian’s do, and I can imagine them funneling those e-mails to WikiLeaks.  Pass the popcorn, this is going to be fun!

7

PopeWatch: Protestant Pope

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Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa gives us details on the Pope’s ongoing celebration of the Reformation by gearing up for Reformation II:

 

 

ROME, July 22, 2016 – In the alarmed letter that thirteen cardinals from five continents were preparing to deliver to Pope Francis at the beginning of the last synod, they were warning him against leading the Catholic Church as well to “the collapse of liberal Protestant churches in the modern era, accelerated by their abandonment of key elements of Christian belief and practice in the name of pastoral adaptation:”

> Thirteen Cardinals Have Written to the Pope. Here’s the Letter (12.10.2015)

Then at the last moment the thirteen deleted these two lines from the letter that was actually put into the hands of the pope. But today they would put them back in word for word, seeing the ever more pronounced idyll that is developing between Francis and the followers of Luther.

On October 31, Jorge Mario Bergoglio will fly to Lund, Sweden, where he will be met by the local female bishop, to celebrate together with the Lutheran World Federation the five hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. And the closer that date gets, the more sympathy the pope manifests for the great heretic.

At the last of his in-flight press conferences, on the way back from Armenia, he sang the praises of Luther. He said that he was moved by the best of intentions, and that his reform was “medicine for the Church,” skimming over the essential dogmatic divergences that for five centuries have pitted Protestants and Catholics against each other, because – these are again his words, this time spoken in the Lutheran temple of Rome – “life is greater than explanations and interpretations”:

> In-Flight Press Conference…

The ecumenism of Francis is made like this. The primacy goes to the gestures, the embraces, some charitable act done together. He leaves doctrinal disagreements, even the most profound, to the discussions of theologians, whom he would gladly confine “to a desert island,” as he loves to say only half-jokingly.

The hitherto unsurpassed proof of this approach of his was, last November 15 during his visit to the Lutherans of Rome, the response that he gave to a Protestant woman who asked him if she could receive communion at Mass together with her Catholic husband.

The response from Francis was a phantasmagorical whirlygig of yes, no, I don’t know, you figure it out. But not because the pope didn’t know what to say. His expressive “fluidity” was intentional. It was his way of bringing everything back into discussion, making everything thinkable and therefore practicable:

> Responses of the Holy Father…

Right on cue, in fact, came “La Civiltà Cattolica,” the magazine of the Rome Jesuits that has now become the grapevine of the Casa Santa Marta, to confirm that yes, Francis had wanted to convey precisely this: that even Protestants can receive communion at a Catholic Mass:

> Communion For All, Even For Protestants (1.7.2016)

It is laying it on a bit thick when Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, says that “we Catholics do not have any reason to celebrate October 31, 1517, the beginning of the Reformation that led to the rupture of Western Christendom.”

Pope Francis isn’t even listening to him and is joining the party, indifferent that Müller – who was in fact one of the thirteen cardinals of the memorable letter – sees it as another step toward the “Protestantization” of the Catholic Church:

> How Cardinal Müller Is Rereading the Pope (29.3.2016)

A pope like Bergoglio, in reality, would not be distasteful to a modern Luther. No more indulgences or purgatory, which five centuries ago were the spark of the rupture. And instead a superlative exaltation of divine mercy, which washes away gratis the sins of all:

Continue Reading

2

July 24, 1959: The Kitchen Debate

 

 

Hard to believe that it is 57 years since the Kitchen Debate between Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschchev.  The US scored one of the biggest propaganda coups of the Cold War by building a typical American house, cut in half for easy viewing, at the American National Exhibit at Sokolniki Park in Moscow in 1959.  This was part of an agreement where the Soviets staged an exhibit in New York the same year.  Ordinary Soviets flocked to see it and were awed at the technology in the house featuring the latest labor saving and recreational devices in 1959.  They were floored at the contention of the Americans that this was a typical house that an average American could afford.  The impromptu debate between Khruschchev redounded greatly to the benefit of Nixon who came across to American audiences as an able champion of their cause.  Khruschchev was also impressed by Nixon, so much so that he later claimed that he did everything in his power to defeat Nixon when Nixon ran for President in 1960. Continue Reading

1

Clinton Cash

 

Breitbart is running a free showing of the documentary Clinton Cash at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM Eastern time today.  Go here to watch it.  You can also find it other places, Youtube that is your cue, on the internet.  I have watched it.  It is an absolutely damning indictment of how the Clintons have sold out American interests in exchange for massive donations to the Clinton Foundation slush fund and in speaking fees, up to $750,000 for one speech, to Bill Clinton.  As I have noted before, the Clintons are completely transparent crooks.

Go here to read a review by a left of center writer regarding the book Clinton Cash on which the film is based.  It is not merely conservatives who are troubled by the ethics of the woman who is being nominated for President by the Democrat party this week.

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Why Trump? : An Ongoing Series

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The Washington Post had a lengthy editorial yesterday proclaiming how Donald Trump is a threat to American democracy.  Go here to read it.  Of course the Washington Post never ran anything like this until Trump was safely the standard bearer of the Republican Party, a party the Washington Post opposes.  Leaving aside the nauseating and blatant partisanship, some of the criticisms in the editorial are valid and they echo some of the critiques of Trump that I have made.  They never, however, in their condemnation stop to ask themselves a simple question:  Why Trump?  How has Trump become the Republican nominee for President and why does he stand a good chance of becoming President?  If they asked themselves the question a truthful answer would be an uncomfortable one.  The reason for the rise of Trump is because so many leaders in the West, in all walks of life, have acted like fools, lunatics and worse,  manifestly pushing policies that cannot succeed and failing to take reality into account, which has become a hallmark of Western leadership and thought over the past quarter century.

Raymond Ibrahim has a fine example of this at PJ Media in regard to Islam:

When it comes to the connection between Islam and violence against non-Muslims, one fact must be understood: the majority of those in positions of leadership and authority in the West are either liars or fools, or both.

No other alternative exists.

The reason for this uncharitable assertion is simple: If Islam was once a faraway, exotic religion, today we hear calls for, and see acts of, violence committed in its name every day. And many of us still have “ears that hear and eyes that see,” so it’s no secret: Muslims from all around the world and from all walks of life — not just “terrorists” or “ISIS” — unequivocally and unapologetically proclaim that Islam commands them to hate, subjugate, and kill all who resist it, including all non-Muslims.

This is the official position of several Muslim governments, including America’s closest “friends and allies” like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Is the official position of Islamic institutions of lower and higher learning: from Bangladeshi high schools to Egypt’s Al Azhar, the world’s most prestigious Islamic university.

It’s the official position broadcast in numerous languages on Islamic satellite stations that air in Muslim homes around the world.

In short, there’s no excuse today for anyone to still be ignorant about Islam, and especially for those in positions of leadership or authority. Yet it is precisely this group that most vehemently denies any connection between Islam and violence.

Why?

On July 18 in Germany, an axe-waving Muslim refugee attacked a number of train passengers and critically injured three. Although an ISIS flag was found in his room, although he called for the slaughter of any Muslim who dares leave Islam, although he yelled “Allahu Akbar” — Islam’s unequivocal war cry — authorities claimed “it was too early to speculate about the motives of the attacker.”

Catholic Bishop Friedhelm Hofmann of Wuerzburg, where the axe attack took place, was bewildered: “One is speechless at such a moment. This fact can not be understood.”

Instead of being vigilant around Muslim migrants, he said: “Maybe we need to help the unaccompanied young refugees even more and help them to overcome their own traumas.”

About a month earlier in Germany, this same scene played out. While screaming “Allahu Akbar” and “infidels must die,” another Muslim man in another train station stabbed to death one man and injured three others. Still, German authorities “found no evidence of Islamist motive.”

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

Turning to the United States, one finds the same pattern. Most recently, a Muslim man entered a gay nightclub in Orlando and killed 49. Despite the fact that ISIS regularly kills homosexuals and that the killer — who “recited prayers to Allah during the attack” — pledged his allegiance to ISIS, “Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that the investigation is still ongoing, and a motive has yet to be established,” while “the FBI was confused about [his] motive.” Continue Reading

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The Best Part of the Republican Convention

 

Marlana Vanhoose is 20 years old.  She was not expected to live past her first birthday.  She was born afflicted with congenital Cytomegalovirus.  Blind, her optic nerve never formed.  At the age of two she was diagnosed with a mild form of cerebral palsy.  God gifted her with musical ability and she has made a career for herself as a singer.  A Christian, she does not let her lack of sight slow her down in this Vale of Tears.  She has said that in Heaven she knows she will have sight and that the first thing she will see will be the face of Jesus.  In the presence of such faith all the terrible evils and ills of this world are so much dross and dust.

1

PopeWatch: Plagiarism

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From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

 

A number of paragraphs from Pope Francis’ Wednesday General Audience speech appear to have been lifted from Melania Trump’s Republican National Convention speech.

Francis aide Monsignor Guido Marini said late this afternoon that Francis wrote the speech largely on his own, telling EOTT that, “I read it once over, and that’s all. His Holiness wrote it…with as little help as possible.”

During the address, a journalist pointed out the striking similarities to Melania Trump’s speech from the night before, and a plagiarism controversy exploded. A two-paragraph section of Francis’ speech about family values bears nearly identical phrasing to Trump’s RNC address.

“My parents impressed on me the values that you pray hard for what you want in life. That your rosary is your bond, and you do what you pray and keep your promise to God. That you treat you flock with respect,” Francis told those gathered about halfway through his speech.

Compare that to Trump’s, which said, “My parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life. That your word is your bond, and you do what you say and keep your promise. That you treat people with respect.”

Francis went on to stress the need to “pass along the faith to the many generations to follow, because we want the children of God in this Church to know that the only limit to your sanctity is the strength of your novenas and the willingness to remember not to skip a day.”

 

It’s a near mirror of a line from Trump’s speech: “pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow, because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and the willingness to work for them.”

Marini soon after responded to the controversy, saying “there is no cribbing of Melania Trump’s speech.”

“These were common words and values, and he cares about his Church,” Marini said. “To think that he would do something like that, knowing how scrutinized his speech was going to be this afternoon, is just really absurd.”

The Francis team released a statement moments go, saying part, “In writing his beautiful speech, Pope Francis’ team of writers took notes on his life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected his own thinking. His Holiness’ immigrant experience and love for Rome shone through in his speech, which made it such a success.”

Other questionable parts of Pope Francis’ speech were quotes such as “Ask not what your Church can do for you; ask what you can do for your Church,” “Be not scared,” and “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your seven storey mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” Continue Reading

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Tim Kaine For Veep

 

Hillary has picked Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia for Veep.  In today’s far left Democrat party Kaine passes for a moderate.

 

He is a “personally opposed” Catholic pro-abort.  He in theory supports a partial birth  abortion ban, but only with a broad health of the mother exception which would render it meaningless.  Democrats for Life stripped him of their endorsement in 2012 when he came out as one hundred percent behind Roe.  As a Senator he has a 100 percent rating from Worse Than Murder, Inc. Planned Parenthood and a zero percent rating from National Right to Life.  Unsurprisingly, he served in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps for a year in Honduras. This year when his name began to be mentioned as a possible Veep, he signed on to the proposed Women’s Health Protection Act, which if past, would nullify almost all pro-life laws passed in the states or by the federal government.

 

An interesting defensive pick by Hillary.  As a former Governor of Virginia he likely was picked to help put the Old Dominion state in the Democrat column which will probably be a tight fight as it was in 2012.   This is an indication that Clinton feels she has done enough to soothe the leftist Sanders supporters.

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Trump Speech: Meh

 

At seventy-six minutes it was too long by at least a third and basically consisted of a meandering laundry list of promises to fix perceived ills in the country.  As expected, he hit law and order, and terrorism hard.  The most moving part of the speech when was when he talked about his meetings with parents who have had kids murdered by illegal aliens.  I had my bride, who is an informed voter but does not follow politics with the microscopic analysis that I do, watch it, since she is neither pro-Trump nor anti-Trump.  Throughout the speech she made comments:  “how are you going to do that?”, “specifics!”, “well he just gave some specifics”, etc.  At the end she thought it was a success and that Trump came across as honest.   With a voter who doesn’t follow politics closely, and who has been fed a diet by the media that Trump is some sort of combination of Satan and the anti-Christ, Trump probably did do himself some good.  Heaven knows it wasn’t great oratory, but it was workmanlike and delivered with a fair amount of intensity.  Compared to most of Trump’s efforts, it was a good speech.

My personal reaction was rather meh.  I have a great love of grand political oratory, Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, FDR, William Jennings Bryan, and Trump will never be in that category or come even close.  However, I, and other political junkies, were not his target audience, and I think Trump last night did what he had to do to make himself appear an acceptable alternative to Hillary Clinton.

For myself, I kept waiting for the Republican response speech after Trump’s speech.  What Trump is selling has little connection to conservatism or Republicanism since Reagan.  At best Trump might be compared with an old style liberal Republican in the Richard Nixon mode, although his isolationism and America First populism seems straight out of the thirties of the last century.  I think he will defeat Clinton and then after he becomes President we will find out where he really stands, although I will be shocked if he has any interest in reducing the size and power of government, or doing anything that a conservative president would attempt to do.

Judged strictly by oratory, the wrong Trump may be running.  I was curious as to whether Ivanka Trump would live up to her hype.  She did: Continue Reading

1

PopeWatch: Consistency

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Nick Bottom at The Catholic World Report imagines a press conference given by Pope Francis if he decided to use the same reasoning he deployed in Amoris Laetitia to other sins:

 

 

 

Pope Francis: Good morning, everyone.  Thank you for coming.

I have invited you today because I have had a change of heart that I must make public. In a homily recently, I spoke rather forcefully about employers who refuse to pay their workers a just wage.

I have had a chance to reflect on that homily in the light of the principles I set forth in my Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.  I brought a copy so I can refer to it as I take your questions.  Please be patient with me as I find the appropriate passages, eh?

I believe I was too harsh in describing exploitative employers as “slave drivers” and “true bloodsuckers.”  I too must remember that the name of God is Mercy!  Amoris Laetitia rightly criticizes those who “hid[e] behind the Church’s teachings, sitting on the chair of Moses and judging at times with superiority and superficiality.”  For “it is not enough simply to apply moral laws . . . as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives” (AL 305).  As paragraph 308 of AL reminds us, “the Gospel itself tells us not to judge or condemn” (AL 308).

I also regret another remark I made in that homily.  The pope must be humble, he must be honest, no?  Somewhat precipitously, I said that cheating workers is “a mortal sin! This is a mortal sin!”  I must now express that in a more nuanced way.

In Amoris Laetitia I made it clear that I was “speaking not only of the divorced and remarried, but of everyone, in whatever situation they find themselves” (AL 297).  That of course includes employers who find themselves in the situation of slave-driving their workers.

For them too, we must keep in mind the distinction between objective sin and subjective guilt.  Since there can be in employers’ lives many “mitigating factors . . . it can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregularsituation” – such as exploiting their employees – “are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace” (AL 301).

Now for your questions.

A reporter: Your Holiness, I’m a bit puzzled about who has been saying the things that you say should no longer be said.  But leaving that aside, are you not concerned that making the well-known distinction about sin and guilt here might have the effect of watering down the Church’s teaching on the rights of workers?

Pope Francis: No, no, no.  The Church’s teaching about fair wages remains.  The Catechism is still the Catechism! However, while it is certainly true that exploiting workers does not “correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel” (AL 303), “it is reductive simply to consider whether or not an individual’s actions correspond to a general law or rule” (AL 304).  We must always look at the person rather than the rule.

Indeed, we may even say that sometimes it is impossible for an unjust employer to avoid doing wrong. Continue Reading

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Eighty Years Ago the Spanish Civil War Begins

Conceptionist Martyrs of Madrid

 

 

Eighty years ago the Spanish Civil War began on July 17, 1936 with elements of the Spanish military rising against the leftist government.  Rorate Caeli has been running a series on the murderous persecution of the Church in the Spanish Republic.  Go here to read it.  Here is the victory message of the Pope at the conclusion of the Spanish Civil War that Rorate Caeli published:

RADIOMESSAGE
«CON INMENSO GOZO»
OF HIS HOLINESS
PIUS XII
TO THE SPANISH FAITHFUL

(April 14, 1939)


 
With great joy We address you, most dear children of Catholic Spain, to express to you our fatherly congratulations for the gift of peace and of victory, with which God has deemed worthy to crown the Christian heroism of your faith and charity, tried in so many and so generous sufferings. Our Predecessor, of venerable memory, expected, with longing and trust, this Providential peace, which is undoubtedly the fruit of that copious blessing which he sent, in the very beginning of the struggle, “to all those who had devoted themselves to the difficult and dangerous task of defending and restoring the rights and the honor of God and Religion” [1]; and We do not doubt that this peace shall be the one that he himself foretold since then, “the sign of a future of tranquility in order, and of honor in prosperity” .
The designs of Providence, most beloved children, have once again dawned over heroic Spain. The Nation chosen by God as the main instrument of the evangelization of the New World and as an impregnable fortress of the Catholic faith has just shown to the apostles of materialistic Atheism of our century the greatest evidence that the eternal values of religion and of the spirit stand above all things.

The tenacious propaganda and the constant efforts of the enemies of Jesus Christ seemed to have desired to try in Spain a supreme experiment of the dissolving forces which they have at their disposal throughout the world; and even though it is true that the Almighty has for now not allowed them to achieve their goal, He has at least tolerated some of their terrible effects, so that the world could see how religious persecution, undermining the very bases of justice and charity, which are love for God and respect for His holy law, may drag modern society to unthinkable abysses of evil destruction and passionate discord.

Convinced of this truth, the sane Spanish people, with the two marks characteristic of their most noble spirit, which are generosity and frankness, rose up determinedly in defense of the ideals of Christian faith and civilization, deeply rooted in the Spanish soil, and, aided by God, “who does not abandon those who hope in Him” (Judith 13, 17), could resist the push from those who, deceived by what they believed to be a humanitarian ideal of the exaltation of the meek, truly fought only for Atheism.

This primordial meaning of your victory makes us dwell in the most promising hopes, that God in His mercy will deign lead Spain through the safe path of its traditional and Catholic grandeur; which will be the point that will guide all Spaniards, who love their Religion and their Fatherland, in the effort to organize the life of the Nation in perfect harmony with its most noble history of Catholic faith, piety, and civilization.

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Transparent Indoctrination

Further evidence that tolerance has never been the goal of the left in this country:

Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that the California State Board of Education voted unanimously to include study of the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans in history and social-science classes. This LGBT-focused content will be taught in elementary, middle, and high-school grades. Teachers will give students, beginning in second grade, information about diverse family structures, including families with LGBT parents, to help students “locate themselves and their own families in history and learn about the lives and historical struggles of their peers,” according to the text of the framework.

In grade four, as students study the history of California, they will consider the history of LGBT individuals in their state and learn about the emergence of the nation’s first gay-rights organizations in the Fifties. The framework provides the following example of LGBT history:

In the 1970s, California gay rights groups fought for the right of gay men and women to teach, and, in the 2000s, for their right to get married, culminating in the 2013 and 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decisions Hollingsworth v. Perry and Obergefell v. Hodges.

Fourth-grade students will also learn about Harvey Milk — “a New Yorker who was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977 as California’s first openly gay public official” — in the context of immigrants who come to California from across the country and the world.

Eighth-graders will learn about the role of gender in history, including the role it played in “constructing the enslaved as in need of civilization and thereby rationalizing slavery.” Additionally, eighth-grade students will study the way in which movement toward the Western frontier allowed for significant alterations in gender norms. Southwestern women, the framework says, “felt trapped or limited by their gender in a place and time so dominated by men.” Students will also learn that boarding schools removed Native American children from their families and imposed “Christianity, U.S. gender binaries, and social roles.”

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A Pro at Work

 

My favorite speech last night was by Newt Gingrich.  I have never seen Gingrich give a bad speech and he was at the top of his game last night.  Note how he deftly attempted at the beginning of his speech to turn the non-endorsement of Cruz into an implicit endorsement of Trump by Cruz.  He then went on to make a devastating speech against Hillary Clinton. The smartest man in American politics, it is a tragedy for the nation that his inability to not engage in tawdry infidelities earlier in his life cut short his political career after he had masterminded the Republican winning of the House for the first time in almost a half century.  If Trump wins in the fall, and I abide by my prediction that he will, I hope that Gingrich is his chief of staff.

2

Of Veep Speeches and What Might Have Been

 

Mike Pence never has been known as an orator, but he rose to the occasion last night and gave the best speech of his career.  He will give the Trump campaign some much needed stability and dignity, and, surprisingly, some good humor.  Trump made a good choice.

However, the best Vice Presidential acceptance speech I have ever heard, indeed the best speech I have ever heard at any political convention made by anyone not named Ronald Reagan, was that of Sarah Palin in 2008:

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Exit Ted Cruz: For Now

 

Only Trump knows why he decided to give a prime time slot to Ted Cruz when he knew, based upon an advance copy of his speech, that Cruz would not endorse him.  It might well be a final sign of contempt for a defeated adversary who Trump believes is now harmless.  “Let him say what he wants”, Trump might have thought, “what do I care?”

As for Cruz after the personal attacks that Trump had made against his wife and father, he could not endorse Trump. He plans to run in 2020.  He knows that there are two possible outcomes in the fall.  If Trump loses he will not be associated with what most Republicans will then regard as a mad episode in the history of their party.  If Trump wins, Cruz likely assumes that his Presidency would be a train wreck of epic proportion and that if Trump runs again he will be vulnerable in the 2020 primaries. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Emeritus?

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The personal secretary of the Pope Emeritus is speaking out again.

 

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s long-time personal secretary, has given a sweeping interview in which he accuses his fellow German bishops of downplaying Catholic dogma, and insists that popes cannot change the Church’s with “half sentences or somewhat ambiguous footnotes.”

Gänswein, who also serves as Prefect for the Papal Household for Pope Francis, made his remarks in an interview published Monday in the Ravensburg newspaper Schwäbischen Zeitung.

“Considering the baselines of their theological convictions, there is definitely a continuity” between Benedict and Francis, Gänswein said, according to a Catholic News Agency translation.

“Obviously, I am also aware that occasionally doubt might be cast on this, given the differences in representation and expression” between the two men, he added.

“But when a pope wants to change an aspect of the doctrine, then he has to do so clearly, so as to make it binding,” noted the 59-year-old archbishop, a canon lawyer who formerly worked in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“Important magisterial tenets cannot be changed by half sentences or somewhat ambiguous footnotes,” he said, in an apparent reference to the controversy over Amoris Laetitia. Continue Reading

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The Clinton Foundation Made Millions off Destitute Haitians

Dinesh D’Souza’ s movie Hillary’s America:  The Secret History of the Democratic Party is being released this weekend and I am seeing it with my bride and my son.  Full review to follow.  In the meantime D’Souza explains at National Review Online how the Clinton Foundation made a fortune off destitute Haitians:

In January 2015 a group of Haitians surrounded the New York offices of the Clinton Foundation. They chanted slogans, accusing Bill and Hillary Clinton of having robbed them of “billions of dollars.” Two months later, the Haitians were at it again, accusing the Clintons of duplicity, malfeasance, and theft. And in May 2015, they were back, this time outside New York’s Cipriani, where Bill Clinton received an award and collected a $500,000 check for his foundation. “Clinton, where’s the money?” the Haitian signs read. “In whose pockets?” Said Dhoud Andre of the Commission Against Dictatorship, “We are telling the world of the crimes that Bill and Hillary Clinton are responsible for in Haiti.”
Haitians like Andre may sound a bit strident, but he and the protesters had good reason to be disgruntled. They had suffered a heavy blow from Mother Nature, and now it appeared that they were being battered again — this time by the Clintons. Their story goes back to 2010, when a massive 7.0 earthquake devastated the island, killing more than 200,000 people, leveling 100,000 homes, and leaving 1.5 million people destitute.
The devastating effect of the earthquake on a very poor nation provoked worldwide concern and inspired an outpouring of aid money intended to rebuild Haiti. Countries around the world, as well as private and philanthropic groups such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, provided some $10.5 billion in aid, with $3.9 billion of it coming from the United States.
Haitians such as Andre, however, noticed that very little of this aid money actually got to poor people in Haiti. Some projects championed by the Clintons, such as the building of industrial parks and posh hotels, cost a great deal of money and offered scarce benefits to the truly needy. Port-au-Prince was supposed to be rebuilt; it was never rebuilt. Projects aimed at creating jobs proved to be bitter disappointments. Haitian unemployment remained high, largely undented by the funds that were supposed to pour into the country. Famine and illness continued to devastate the island nation.
The Haitians were initially sympathetic to the Clintons. One may say they believed in the message of “hope and change.” With his customary overstatement, Bill told the media, “Wouldn’t it be great if they become the first wireless nation in the world? They could, I’m telling you, they really could.”
I don’t blame the Haitians for falling for it; Bill is one of the world’s greatest story-tellers. He has fooled people far more sophisticated than the poor Haitians. Over time, however, the Haitians wised up. Whatever their initial expectations, many saw that much of the aid money seems never to have reached its destination; rather, it disappeared along the way.

Where did it go? It did not escape the attention of the Haitians that Bill Clinton was the designated UN representative for aid to Haiti. Following the earthquake, Bill Clinton had with media fanfare established the Haiti Reconstruction Fund. Meanwhile, his wife Hillary was the United States secretary of state. She was in charge of U.S. aid allocated to Haiti. Together the Clintons were the two most powerful people who controlled the flow of funds to Haiti from around the world.

 

The Haitian protesters noticed an interesting pattern involving the Clintons and the designation of how aid funds were used.  They observed that a number of companies that received contracts in Haiti happened to be entities that made large donations to the Clinton Foundation. The Haitian contracts appeared less tailored to the needs of Haiti than to the needs of the companies that were performing the services. In sum, Haitian deals appeared to be a quid pro quo for filling the coffers of the Clintons.
For example, the Clinton Foundation selected Clayton Homes, a construction company owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, to build temporary shelters in Haiti. Buffett is an active member of the Clinton Global Initiative who has donated generously to the Clintons as well as the Clinton Foundation. The contract was supposed to be given through the normal United Nations bidding process, with the deal going to the lowest bidder who met the project’s standards. UN officials said, however, that the contract was never competitively bid for.
Clayton offered to build “hurricane-proof trailers” but what they actually delivered turned out to be a disaster. The trailers were structurally unsafe, with high levels of formaldehyde and insulation coming out of the walls. There were problems with mold and fumes. The stifling heat inside made Haitians sick and many of them abandoned the trailers because they were ill-constructed and unusable.
The Clintons also funneled $10 million in federal loans to a firm called InnoVida, headed by Clinton donor Claudio Osorio. Osorio had loaded its board with Clinton cronies, including longtime Clinton ally General Wesley Clark; Hillary’s 2008 finance director Jonathan Mantz; and Democratic fundraiser Chris Korge who has helped raise millions for the Clintons.
Normally the loan approval process takes months or even years. But in this case, a government official wrote, “Former President Bill Clinton is personally in contact with the company to organize its logistical and support needs. And as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has made available State Department resources to assist with logistical arrangements.”
InnoVida had not even provided an independently audited financial report that is normally a requirement for such applications. This requirement, however, was waived. On the basis of the Clinton connection, InnoVida’s application was fast-tracked and approved in two weeks.
The company, however, defaulted on the loan and never built any houses. An investigation revealed that Osorio had diverted company funds to pay for his Miami Beach mansion, his Maserati, and his Colorado ski chalet. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering in 2013, and is currently serving a twelve-year prison term on fraud charges related to the loan.
Several Clinton cronies showed up with Bill to a 2011 Housing Expo that cost more than $2 million to stage. Bill Clinton said it would be a model for the construction of thousands of homes in Haiti. In reality, no homes have been built. A few dozen model units were constructed but even they have not been sold. Rather, they are now abandoned and have been taken over by squatters.

Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Contradictions

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Father Brian Harrison at One Peter Five examines the problems that arise when a pope contradicts an earlier pope:

 

 

Last week saw the release of an important interview (PDF link) given by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna and one of Pope Francis’ most trusted theological advisers and spokesmen, to the Roman Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica. The topic was the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL):

This interview has already made waves round the world, mainly because of His Eminence’s insistence on three points: first, that an apostolic exhortation such as AL is indeed an authoritative magisterial document, containing teaching that Catholics must assent to; secondly, that all previous teachings on marriage and the family must now be interpreted in the light of AL; and finally, that AL is indeed to be understood as allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist in some cases, even without a commitment to live ‘as brother and sister’.

I actually have no quarrel in principle with Cardinal Schönborn’s first point, about the status of apostolic exhortations. Though relatively recent in origin, they are fairly high in the ‘pecking order’ of magisterial documents – probably just a tad beneath encyclicals. To a large extent they are indeed hortatory and pastoral in tone and content, rather than strictly doctrinal. But Schönborn is correct in  pointing out that when certain passages are worded in such a way as to manifest the Pontiff’s intention to inculcate some doctrinal truth, that certainly counts as magisterial teaching. I also agree with the principle of theological method that underlies Cardinal Schönborn’s second controversial statement – that all previous magisterial statements on marriage and the family must now be interpreted in the light of AL. However, what His Eminence says is not the whole truth.

Let me explain. It has often happened in the historical development of Catholic doctrine that certain teachings which at an earlier stage were not fully explicated were subsequently clarified by new interventions of the magisterium. For instance, the ancient faith of the Church that the Blessed Virgin was without sin did not make entirely clear whether her perfect sinlessness began at the very moment of her conception. Hence, as is well known, some distinguished theologians over the centuries disputed her Immaculate Conception until Bl. Pius IX finally settled the question dogmatically in 1854. So when a later magisterial teaching adds precision or clarity to an earlier one, or draws out its logical implications, then of course we’re going to interpret the earlier statement(s) in the light of the later one.

But what happens when the reverse is the case – when a more recent magisterial statement is less clearly expressed than an earlier one? This has been a problem with certain documents of Vatican Council II. Since the sometimes deep theological cracks between ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ Fathers had to be papered over so as to get a consensus vote, the final texts on some topics – e.g., religious freedom, biblical inerrancy, ecumenism, the definition of Christ’s Church, his social kingship, and whether those dying as non-believers can be saved – are less clear than earlier relevant statements of the magisterium. In this new situation, correct theological methodology requires us to interpret the new teaching in the light of the old one. Unfortunately, Cardinal Schönborn’s one-sided presentation says nothing about this complementary norm.

In both situations, the basic interpretative principle is the same:  we should interpret less clear magisterial statements in the light of those that are expressed more clearly, regardless of which happened to come first. That common-sense norm derives from a still more basic principle, namely, the revealed promise of Jesus that his Holy Spirit will always be present in the Church to guide and keep her in the path of truth (cf. John 14: 16-17, 26). So when two apparently contrasting magisterial statements can reasonably be harmonized, they should be.

However, that raises another question: What if it seems impossible to reconcile two papal affirmations dealing with faith and morals?  This brings us to the third and most contentious of the controversial positions now espoused by Cardinal Schönborn. Some have sought to reconcile with previous papal teaching Pope Francis’ statements in AL #305 and its notorious footnote 351, which says that “in certain cases” Catholics living “in an objective situation of sin” (notably the divorced and civilly remarried) can receive “the help of the sacraments” – sacraments which the same footnote identifies as Penance and Eucharist. According to would-be reconcilers, the Holy Father should here be understood as implicitly restricting this sacramental “help” to those who commit to live ‘as brother and sister’.

Given the context, this bland reading of note 351 never struck me as very plausible. In any case, it has now been rejected decisively – almost scornfully! – by the learned prelate whom Francis himself has repeatedly designated as the most trustworthy commentator on the new apostolic exhortation. Moreover, this occurs in an interview that the Pope would almost certainly have read beforehand. (Every issue of this top-drawer Jesuit journal is vetted by the Vatican Secretariat of State prior to publication.) When editor Spadaro asks Schönborn if he agrees that it’s “obvious” Pope Francis is not limiting this sacramental “help” to couples living as brother and sister, His Eminence immediately responds, “Yes, certainly!” He then spells it right out: the present Holy Father “does not stop short at the kinds of cases that are specified [by John Paul II]in no. 84 of Familiaris consortio.” (That is, those cases where the couple abstain from sexual intimacy.)

Hopefully Schönborn’s authority will at least settle the debate as to what Pope Francis means and intends on this point. But let’s look again at this key article of Pope St. John Paul II’s 1981 apostolic exhortation on the family. In the troubled wake of AL, most appeals to the authority of FC #84 have cited its exclusion of (sexually active) remarried divorcees from the Eucharist. But still more basic is what this article says about the sacrament of Penance. For if you can’t be absolved, you can’t go to Communion anywhere – not even in a church where this would cause no scandal.  And John Paul affirms, “Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance, which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, . . . take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.”

Now, this is where the rubber hits the road, folks. Pope John Paul, in continuity with all his predecessors from time immemorial, has reaffirmed that only those divorced and civilly remarried Catholics who commit to live in complete continence may be given sacramental absolution. But Pope Francis now says that those who make that commitment are not the only such Catholics who can be absolved.

“Only” vs. “Not only”.  No ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ can mask that stark contradiction. But that hasn’t stopped some from trying. We have seen two principal attempts to square the circle. Continue Reading

4

Civil War Book Haul

 

While in Wisconsin, my family and I visited the Civil War museum in Kenosha.  It has quite a few fascinating exhibits, including period battle flags, uniforms, films, a toy soldier exhibit showing the stand of the Iron Brigade on the first day of Gettysburg, etc.  One of my favorite features of the museum is their gift shop which has a huge collection of used Civil War books for sale.  I never fail to find often rare books on the Civil War.  Here is a list of my purchases for 43 dollars earlier in the week:

  1. Jefferson Davis:   American Patriot 1808-1861, Hudson Strode (1955)-Poor Jefferson Davis, portrayed as the Devil incarnate by the North during the War, he was often used as a scapegoat by Southerners after the War.  The simple truth is that Davis was a gifted man who brought the Confederacy close to independence against all the odds.  Hudson Strode was the first historian to have access to many of the personal papers of Jefferson Davis and launched a vigorous counterattack to the image of Davis as a bloodless pedant, revealing him instead as a passionate and complex man.
  2. The Hidden Face of the Civil War, Otto Eisenschiml (1961)-The Austrian born Eisenschiml was an oil company executive, and a tireless Civil War historian.  He is perhaps best known for his 1937 look at the Lincoln assassination which posited that Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton was behind the assassination.  I regard this theory as completely loony.  However, Eisenschiml was never afraid of controversy and is always entertaining to read.    In this volume he savages both the North and the South for incompetence in the waging of the Civil War.
  3. The Celebrated Case of Fitz John Porter:  An American Dreyfus Affair, Otto Eisenschiml (1950)-Eisenschiml takes on the case of General Porter who was court-martialed and removed from the Army for his actions at Second Bull Run, and who fought for 25 years to clear his name, a fight he ultimately won.
  4. Lincoln’s Scapegoat General: A Life of General Benjamin Butler, 1818-1893, Richard S. West, Jr. (1965)-A book in defense of “Beast” Butler.  I like seeing arguments made for impossible cases, and attempting to convince me that Butler was not the most incompetent Union general is close to an impossible task.
  5. General Sherman’s Son:  The Life of Thomas Ewing Sherman, SJ, Joseph T. Durkin, SJ (1959)  A biography of the Jesuit son of General Sherman written by a Jesuit.  Go here to read about Father Sherman.
  6. Grant Wins the War, James R. Arnold (1997)-A good one volume look at the Vicksburg campaign, the most decisive campaign of the War.

Continue Reading

21

Plagiarizing a Plagiarist

 

 

The internet is all afire with the claim that Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican Convention  yesterday lifted a section from Michelle Obama’s Convention speech in 2008.  Likely the plagiarism did occur and Trump should fire his wife’s speechwriter.  However, it is also likely that Michele Obama’s speech writer plagiarized that section of her speech from a 1992 book, Business Success in South Africa.  Per the Zero Hedge blog:

However, in a curious development, the IOTWReport website finds some curious analogues between Michelle’s own 2008 speech, and a book written in 1992 by African author Rob Marsh titled, “Business success in South Africa.” Spot the similarities. Continue Reading