5

Donald Trump and William Jennings Bryan

 

Attempting to draw historical parallels is usually perilous, especially when the person doing so clearly does not understand the period he is seeking to draw a parallel with.  Such is the case with Arthur Levine in the New York Daily News:

On Election Day, the United States voted for the past over the future. In 1896, at the height of the Industrial Revolution, there was a comparable election. It was a time of transition in which clashing visions of America — one agrarian and waning and the other industrial and rising — battled for the soul of the nation. It was a period of dramatic demographic, economic and technological change, producing deep political and social divisions, growing concentrations of wealth and gridlock in government.

William Jennings Bryan, the defender of agrarian America, and William McKinley, the champion of industrialization, contested for the presidency. McKinley won.

In the 2016, presidential election, the reverse happened. Donald Trump, the contemporary Bryan, won.

The context is similar. Once again, America is in the midst of an economic, demographic, technological and global transformation as the country transitions from a national, analog industrial economy to a global, digital information economy.

As in 1896, the country is divided, pained and angry. The poor are poorer and the rich are richer. The number of have-nots is expanding and the number of haves is shrinking. The manufacturing and Industrial Age jobs, demanding no more than a high school diploma, that promised salaries, dreams and hopes sufficient to support a family, are vanishing.

In their stead, there are now knowledge-economy jobs, requiring the highest levels of education in history. The college education required to get those jobs leaves our children with massive student-loan debt.

At the same time, as in the previous transformation, the nation’s social institutions — government, education, media and the rest — appear to be part of the problem rather than the solution. Having been created for an Industrial Age, they are outdated and seem to be dysfunctional. They need to be redesigned for a global, digital, information economy.

As in 1896, the 2016 election gave Americans a choice of restoring what had been lost or building on the changes. It gave them a choice of attempting to repair the existing institutions or replacing them. The nation chose to restore the past and replace our leadership, electing for the first time a candidate who had never held political or military office. Continue Reading

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Abraham Lincoln

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The very next day, somebody was discussing with him the difference between character and reputation, when he said,—with a look at me, as if to remind of what he had been talking about the day before,—perhaps a man’s character was like a tree, and his reputation like its shadow; the shadow is what we think of; the tree is the real thing.

Noah Brooks, newspaper correspondent and friend of Abraham Lincoln, recalling a statement by Lincoln

12

PopeWatch: Chaput

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Sandro Magister notes at his blog Chiesa that while Pope Francis is remaining mum in regard to the demand of the Four Cardinals for clarification on Amoris Laetitia, his ecclesiastical hounds are baying:

ROME, November 23, 2016 – Not one word has come from the mouth of Pope Francis after four cardinals publicly asked him to resolve five major “doubts” raised by the most controversial passages of “Amoris Laetitia”:

> “Seeking Clarity.” The Appeal of Four Cardinals To the Pope

Or better, the pope has given a non-answer, when in the interview with Stefania Falasca for the November 18 edition of “Avvenire” he said at a certain point, using the familiar “tu” form of address with the interviewer, a longstanding friend of his:

“Some – think of certain replies to ‘Amoris Laetitia’ – still fail to understand, it’s either black or white, even thought it is in the flux of life that one must discern.”

To make up for this, not a few churchmen of the pope’s circle have come forward to speak for him, falling over themselves to say that the post-synodal exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” is already perfectly clear in itself and cannot give rise to doubts, and therefore those who are raising them are in reality attacking the pope and disobeying his magisterium.

The standout of these garrulous sorties is Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, already repeatedly indicated by Pope Francis as his authorized interpreter and chief custodian of Church doctrine, with all due respect to Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller, whose role as prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith has by now been reduced to a mere honorary title.

But the most unrestrained has been another cardinal and a newbie to the scarlet, Kevin J. Farrell of the United States, who said in an interview with the “National Catholic Reporter”:

“‘Amoris Laetitia’ is the Holy Spirit speaking. I believe we should take it as it is. That will be the guiding document without a doubt for the years to come. I honestly don’t see what and why some bishops seem to think that they have to interpret this document.”

So they are in the wrong who want Francis to weigh in again. “I believe that the pope has spoken” enough, Farrell added, when on September 5 he gave his approval to the exegesis of “Amoris Laetitia’ made by the Argentine bishops of the region of Buenos Aires, according to whom it just so happens that there are civilly divorced and remarried persons who may receive communion even while continuing to live “more uxorio.”

Farrell was made a cardinal by Pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio in the consistory of last November 19. And since last August he has been prefect of the new Vatican dicastery for laity, family and life.

He is therefore one of the new faces of Pope Francis’s new curia. A curia that – as is continually repeated – should no longer suppress but rather foster the multiform “creativity” of each bishop in his respective diocese.

In reality the opposite has happened here. In another interview – this time with “Catholic News Service,” the agency of the episcopal conference of the United States – Farrell took it into his head to attack “ad personam” an illustrious bishop and fellow countryman, whose “offense” would be precisely that of having offered his diocese guidelines for the implementation of “Amoris Laetitia” that were evidently not to Farrell’s liking.

The target of the attack is not a nobody. He is Charles J. Chaput, archbishop of Philadelphia, the city that in 2015 hosted the world meeting of families that Pope Francis went to visit (see photo).

Chaput is a Franciscan and the first bishop of the United States born in a tribe of Native Americans. Pastoral care of the family is one of his recognized areas of expertise. He participated in the synod on the family and at the end of its second and final session he was elected by a landslide as one of the twelve members of the council of cardinals and bishops that acts as a bridge between one synod and another.

In Farrell’s judgment, however, he has the defect of having dictated to his priests and faithful guidelines that are “closed,” instead of “open” as Pope Francis wants.

“I don’t share the view of what Archbishop Chaput did, no,” said the new Vatican prefect of pastoral care of the family. “The Church cannot react by closing the doors before we even listen to the circumstances and the people. That’s not the way to go.”

Chaput reacted to the incredible attack with a concise counter-interview with “Catholic News Service,” presented in its entirety in Italian and English in this post of “Settimo Cielo”:

> Il papa tace, ma il neocardinale suo amico parla e accusa. Non c’è pace su “Amoris laetitia”

But what is more interesting to inspect up close is the matter of contention, meaning the guidelines offered by Chaput to his archdiocese of Philadelphia.

They are reproduced in their entirety below. These are indeed clear, without the shadow of a doubt.

Continue Reading

11

Burning the Flag, Trump and our Black Robed Masters

 

 

Trump is catching flack for tweeting that flag burning should be against the law and that those who do should suffer a penalty, for example a year in jail or loss of citizenship.  Of course the idea that those who burn the flag should be subject to severe criminal penalties would have been non-controversial throughout the vast majority of the history of the Republic.  It was not until Texas v. Johnson (1989), in a 5-4 decision that crossed ideological lines, that the Supreme Court found unconstitutional all anti-flag desecration laws.  The decision was a particularly silly example of a trend in the Court of confusing conduct and speech, and thus finding an action worthy of first amendment protection.  The lunacy of this, is that almost all conduct carries a speech component.  The Court picks and chooses the conduct it wishes to enshroud in constitutional protection.  Walking nude in public for example can be a form of protest.  Indeed, a group of Quaker women in colonial Boston engaged in a naked promenade to protest Puritan persecution of the Society of Friends.  Yet, the Supreme Court has declined to strike down laws that ban public nudity.  The Court thus designates itself the arbiter of what conduct should have legal protection.  I prefer that such a role be granted to legislatures.  Legislators can be voted out.  Supreme Court justices are frequently with us for generations as they grow old handing down the law to we lesser breeds.  Besides, it is easy to change the law, and hard to amend the Constitution, unless one happens to be one of our nine Platonic Guardians.  The Supreme Court, in effect, swiftly amends the Constitution each year by majority vote of the Court and the rest of us are left to deal with freedoms often infringed as a result, especially our most important freedom:  the right to rule ourselves.

 

 

 

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8

Justin Trudeau and Fidel Castro

One source of consolation for all Americans is that Justin Trudeau, that source of hope for airheads everywhere, who hearted Castro after he assumed room temperature, is Canada’s problem not ours.  John Fund at National Review Online gives us the details:

Then there was Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. The 46-year-old leader fondly recalled that his father, Pierre, when he was prime minister, had frequently visited with Castro. The younger Trudeau lauded Castro for supposed advances in health care, education, and literacy and described him as “a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century.” He confesses that he felt “deep sorrow” at Castro’s death, adding, “While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante.’”

Such willful blindness spurred other Twitter users to launch the tag #trudeaueulogies to mock the clueless Canadian leader. “While controversial, Darth Vader achieved great heights in space construction & played a formative role in his son’s life,” quipped Jason Markusoff, a correspondent for Canada’s Maclean’s magazine. Canadian sports commentator Mike Hogan added: “Today we mourn the loss of Norman Bates, a family man who was truly defined by his devotion to his mother.” Australian news columnist Rita Panahi wrote, “Although flawed, Hitler was a vegetarian who loved animals, was a contributor to the arts & proud advocate for Germany.”

Trudeau’s comments infuriated Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the former chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee. Ros-Lehtinen had to flee Cuba as a small child with her family after Castro’s takeover. Speaking on CNN, she directly addressed Trudeau: I’ve been reading his sickening love letter to dead Fidel Castro and I’m thinking, ‘Sure, you did not lose a loved one to an execution squad. You did not lose a loved one to the gulags in Cuba. . . . The only thing that Fidel has been successful in has not been health or education, or human rights or democracy, it’s been holding on to power — which is easy to do when you don’t have elections.

The debate over Castro will rage on, but arguments over him should take account of how unusual a dictator he was. My colleague Andrew Stuttaford has noted at NRO that during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, Castro wanted to start a nuclear war. He urged Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to launch a first strike against the United States. In a letter, Khrushchev felt compelled to talk his ally off the ledge thusly: Cuba would have burned in the fires of war. . . . We struggle against imperialism, not in order to die, but to draw on all of our potential, to lose as little as possible, and later to win more, so as to be a victor and make Communism triumph.

Lastly, for all of Castro’s ranting about the exploitive nature of capitalism, it takes a truly mercenary mind to come up with the schemes his regime employed to garner hard currency — from drug-running, to assassinations to, well, vampiric behavior. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported in 1966 that 166 Cuban prisoners were executed on a single day in May of that year. But before they were killed, they were forced to undergo the forced extraction of an average of seven pints of blood from their bodies. This blood was sold to Communist Vietnam at a rate of $50 per pint. Those who underwent the bloodletting suffered cerebral anemia and a state of unconsciousness and paralysis. But that didn’t stop the executions; the victims were carried on a stretcher to the killing field where they were then shot.

Continue Reading

7

PopeWatch: Fidel Castro

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The Pope, among most world leaders, has issued a statement on the death of Fidel Castro:

 

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rubio’s criticism of President Obama’s statement of condolence following the death of the former Cuban dictator was noted – he called it “pathetic” – but then interviewer Dana Bash pointed about that Pope Francis, too, had expressed sorrow.

“As a practicing Catholic, what’s your reaction to that?” Bash asked.

“Well, as a practicing Catholic, I believe in the theological authority of the Bishop of Rome – and that’s what Pope Francis is,” Rubio began. “On political matters, however, particularly on foreign policy issues, I don’t necessarily believe that that binds those of us in the faith in terms of issues of foreign policy. I still respect it, but this is a very different thing.”

Rubio questioned the validity of the comparison Bash had drawn.

“Pope Francis is the leader of a religious organization, the Roman Catholic Church,” he said. “Barack Obama is the president of the most powerful country in the world.”

The Pope’s response came in the form of a telegram to President Raul Castro acknowledging “the sad news of the death of your dear brother.”

“I express my sentiments of sorrow to Your Excellency and other family members of the deceased dignitary, as well as to the people of this beloved nation,” he wrote. “At the same time, I offer prayers to the Lord for his rest and I entrust the whole Cuban people to the maternal intercession of our Lady of the Charity of El Cobre, patroness of that country.” Continue Reading

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Messianic Prophecies: Isaiah 61: 1

Initiating our Advent look at Messianic prophecies for this year, a series which we began in Advent 2011 and continued in 2102, 2013, 2014 and 2015, the earlier posts of 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    and here, we come to Isaiah 61: 1:

[1] The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me: he hath sent me to preach to the meek, to heal the contrite of heart, and to preach a release to the captives, and deliverance to them that are shut up. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: The Devil

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The Pope recently in a sermon talked about Satan:

 

 

“He is a liar and what’s more is the father of lies, he generates lies and is a trickster. He makes you believe that if you eat this apple you will be like a God. He sells it to you like this and you buy it and in the end he tricks you, deceives you and ruins your life. ‘But father, what can we do to avoid being deceived by the devil?’ Jesus teaches us: never converse with the devil. One does not converse with him. What did Jesus do with the devil?  He chased him away, he asked his name but did not hold a dialogue with him.”

Pope Francis went on to explain how when Jesus was in the wilderness he defended himself when replying to the devil by using the Word of God and the Word of the Bible. Therefore, he said, we must never converse with this liar and trickster who seeks our ruin and who for this reason will be thrown into the abyss.

The Pope noted that the reading from Revelation describes how the Lord will judge the great and the lowly “according to their deeds” with the damned being thrown into the pool of fire and he said this is the “second death.”

“Eternal damnation is not a torture chamber. That’s a description of this second death: it is a death. And those who will not be received in the Kingdom of God, it’s because they have not drawn close to the Lord. These are the people who journeyed along their own path, distancing themselves from the Lord and passing in front of the Lord but then choosing to walk away from Him. Eternal damnation is continually distancing oneself from God. It is the worst pain, an unsatisfied heart, a heart that was created to find God but which, out of arrogance and self-confidence, distances itself from God.”

Pope Francis said distancing oneself from God who gives happiness and who loves us so much is the “fire” and the road to eternal damnation. Noting how the final image in the reading from Revelation ends with a vision of hope the Pope concluded his homily by saying if we open up our hearts with humility we too will have joy and salvation and will be forgiven by Jesus. Continue Reading

2

Advent Sermons of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux-Part I

 

 

This Advent we will look at Advent sermons of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.  They are concise in words and huge in thought, a model for priests to strive to emulate:

 

 

THE solemnity of our Lord’s Nativity is indeed a great and glorious day, but a short one, and a short day calls for a short sermon.
No wonder if we make a short speech, since God the Father has made an abbreviated Word – Verbum abbreviatum. Would you know how long and how short is the Word He has made? This Word says, “I fill heaven and earth,” (Jer. xxiii. 24.) yet, now that “the Word is made flesh,” He is placed in a narrow manger. The Psalmist exclaimed, “From eternity and to eternity thou art God,” (Ps. lxxxix. 2.) yet, behold! He is a Child of a day. And why this? What necessity was there that the Lord of Majesty should so annihilate Himself, should thus humble Himself, thus abbreviate Himself, except to show that we should do in like manner? He now proclaims by example what He will one day preach in words “Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart” and He does so that the Evangelist might be proved truthful when he said of this Word, “Jesus began to do and to teach.”

Continue Reading

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Fidel Castro Dies

 

Fidel Castro, who turned his island homeland into a vast prison of which he was the Warden, died yesterday at age 90.  My usual rule after someone dies is De mortuis nil nisi bonum, but I can think of nothing good about the life of Castro other than it now has ended.  Under his regime millions of his countrymen risked death at sea rather than submit to his rule, and I can think of no more damning indictment for any ruler.  A squalid dictator of the worst sort, Castro always received good press in some of the media in the West from leftists who were willing to forgive any sin if the proper Communist platitudes were spoken.  Castro leaves behind him a broken nation of slaves.  May they soon rise up and bring a new day to a free Cuba.

1

Less of Me

Something for the weekend.  Less of Me sung by the Statler Brothers.  I heard this song sung by the Statler Brothers endlessly back in the early seventies as my parents had the radio on in the kitchen tuned,  as always, to country western station WPRS in Paris, Illinois, as they prepared for work and my brother and I were still in our room before we got up to prepare for school.  Originally recorded by Glen Campbell in 1965, the song is a rendition in music of the poem A Creed by English-American poet Edgar Albert Guest which he wrote in 1909: Continue Reading

Thanksgiving Day Proclamation 1946

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By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation
At this season, when the year is drawing to a close, tradition suggests and our hearts require that we render humble devotion to Almighty God for the mercies bestowed upon us by His goodness.

Devoutly grateful to Divine Providence for the richness of our endowment and the many blessings received, may we continue to give a good account of our stewardship by utilizing our resources in the service of mankind. May we have the vision and courage to accept and discharge honorably the responsibilities inherent in our strength by consecrating ourselves to the attainment of a better world.

Now, Therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America, in consonance with the joint resolution of Congress approved December 26, 1941, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 28, 1946, as a day of national thanksgiving; and I call upon the people of this Nation to observe that day by offering thanks to God for the bounties vouchsafed us, and by rededicating ourselves to the preservation of the “Blessings of Liberty” envisaged by our forefathers in the preamble to the Constitution.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington this 28th day of October in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and forty-six and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and seventy-first.

 

10

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all the readers, commenters and contributors of TAC!  I have an endless amount to thank God for, but I will limit myself to my bride of 34 years and counting, my two kids home with us for Thanksgiving Break, the fact that we are all in good health and that we are free men and women in a free land.  Please leave what you are thankful for in the comboxes.

5

The Pilgrims and Socialism

From  Of Plymouth Plantation, by Governor William Bradford:

All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression. Continue Reading

1

Johnny Cash: Thanksgiving

A reminder from the late, great Johnny Cash that we all have so much to thank God for when we sit down with our families this Thursday.  Perhaps we should also recall these words from Theodore Roosevelt in his final Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1908:

 

For the very reason that in material well-being we have thus abounded, we owe it to the Almighty to show equal progress in moral and spiritual things. With a nation, as with the individuals who make up a nation, material well-being is an indispensable foundation. But the foundation avails nothing by itself. That life is wasted, and worse than wasted, which is spent in piling, heap upon heap, those things which minister merely to the pleasure of the body and to the power that rests only on wealth. Upon material well-being as a foundation must be raised the structure of the lofty life of the spirit, if this Nation is properly to fulfil its great mission and to accomplish all that we so ardently hope and desire. The things of the body are good; the things of the intellect better; the best of all are the things of the soul; for, in the nation as in the individual, in the long run it is character that counts. Let us, therefore, as a people set our faces resolutely against evil, and with broad charity, with kindliness and good-will toward all men, but with unflinching determination to smite down wrong, strive with all the strength that is given us for righteousness in public and in private life.

7

My Dad and the 2016 Elections

 

 

Like most people I guess, the two people in this world who had the largest impact on me were my parents.  Considering how large they loom in my memories and in my heart, it is hard for me to comprehend that my Mom has been gone from this Vale of Tears for almost a third of a century, and my Dad for just over a quarter of a century.  I look at myself now and I recognize that most of what I am is an amalgam of their qualities that I received, either through genetics or what they taught me when I was growing up.  Intellectually probably my debt to my mother is greater.  She was the reader of the family, and I received from her a love of verbal sparring, logic and an endless thirst for knowledge.  Politically I received more of my inheritance from my father.  My Mom was inclined to the liberal side of the ledger, although the Democrats lost her vote when abortion became an issue.

My Dad, and go here to read about him, came from a long line of Republicans, probably dating back to the Civil War.  My branch of the McClareys never had much money, but we usually voted Republican.  My Dad had no great fondness for the Republican party, having a low opinion of almost all politicians whatever they called themselves, but he had certain beliefs and instincts that led him to vote for  Republicans.  Always something of a rebel, too much Irish blood in his veins not to be, he always thanked the Union steward in his plant who handed out voter guides because it was handy for him to know who his Union endorsed so he could vote the opposite way, he disliked most things big:  Big Business, Big Unions and, especially, Big Government.  It is from my father, back in the early sixties, that I first heard the Libertarian, “Their ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”  Dad taught me  that everything in this world has a price tag, and nothing is free but the grace of God.

While not being fond of the rich, he once succinctly defined feminism as “Games for rich women.”, he had nothing but scorn for those who sought to live off the government.  The salaries that Union bosses got used to drive him up the wall.  The dishonesty of television commercials would sometimes elicit a derisive snort from my laconic father.  Any sort of sham or pretense produced a strongly negative reaction from my father who was a naturally honest man.  The idea that government could solve problems, outside of perhaps winning wars, he regarded as a simple lie.  When Walter Cronkite used to say at the end of his news broadcast on CBS, “Well that’s the way it is.”, my father’s rolled eyes gave his assessment of how much he accepted that contention.

In regard to the 2016 elections, other than knowing that he would sooner have lost a right arm than vote for Hillary Clinton, I only know one thing for sure about Dad and his reaction to the elections:  he would have loved how the confident prediction of almost all pollsters that Hillary would win came tumbling down.  Dad hated polls.  He hated that anyone thought that they could predict an election before the votes were counted.  That seemed wrong to him.  When it comes to making predictions on elections, obviously I have not followed in my father’s footsteps, but in his belief that it is human hubris to pretend certainty when massive amounts of people are involved in making up their minds, I do agree with him.  So, here’s to you Dad!  I am sure you privately shook your head about your eldest son and how he seemed to pay little attention when you spoke, or argued with you, but I was actually paying close attention, and the older I get the more I appreciate the instruction I received from you and Mom.  May my kids say the same a quarter or a third of a century from now about me and their mother, especially when their thoughts, as mine are now, turn to family and absent loved ones at Thanksgiving.

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Not All Bad Things Are Hitler

….and 2016 USA isn’t 1932 Germany.

The only problem I have with the really interesting article DarwinCatholic wrote is that he had to point these two aspects out.

Here’s a tiny sampler, go read the rest— and share it, please.  DarwinCatholic hit that sweet spot in “pop history” where the writing is perfectly understandable to those who are horrible with history, without being insulting.

Historical analogy is a powerful tool, and seeing echoes of the present in the past is one of the illuminating things about studying history. However, it’s at least as important to understand the differences between the past and the present as it is to see the similarities, and I think that in this case the differences are so great as to make analogies invalid.

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Tad and the Turkey

Turkey Pardon

Stories cluster about Lincoln like barnacles on a great ship. Many of them cannot be sourced at all and have to be consigned to legend. One such story that is probably just a legend is that of Tad and the Turkey. The White House in 1863 received the gift of a live turkey that was to be fattened up for an eventual White House dinner. Tad grew fond of the bird, named him Jack and eventually begged his father for the Turkey’s life. Lincoln was reluctant at first, noting that the Turkey had been given as a gift for the table and not as a pet. Tad’s pleas however eventually caused Lincoln to give the Turkey a presidential pardon.

Like all good legends this story has the participants behaving in character: Tad always did have a menagerie of pets in the White House, and Lincoln was soft-hearted about animals and was a fairly indulgent father. A sequel to the story had Jack the Turkey stepping to the front of a line of soldiers waiting to vote at a polling place set up at a White House. Then Lincoln is supposed to have inquired of his son if Jack was going to vote. Tad solemnly responded that Jack could not vote due to his being too young. Continue Reading

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As God is My Witness, I Thought Turkeys Could Fly

 

Well actually some Turkeys can.  Wild Turkeys can fly, albeit clumsily and not more than about 100 yards at a time.  Domestic Turkeys, bred for the table, cannot fly, largely due to their overdeveloped chests, home to all that prized white breast meat.  I don’t know if the publicity stunt would have fared much better with terrified flying wild Turkeys landing near onlookers.  Some things man simply was not meant to meddle with, and that includes dropping Turkeys from great heights.

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If You Voted For Trump, Penzeys Spices Doesn’t Want Your Business

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My bride, among her other abilities, is a first rate cook.  She received this e-mail from Penzeys Spices:
And the results are in from Friday’s Racism Update Email. You may remember this email was us re-sending our previous day’s email. In it we kindly asked those who chose to cast their vote for an openly racist candidate for the President of the United States to take responsibility for their action. With the re-send we put the UNSUBSCRIBE BUTTON right up on top for those needing to use it. We also hoped they would one day come back. The final results are that 0.721% of those on our email list chose to opt-out. 99.27% of you are still here. As I said Tuesday, I love cooks. You are amazing people.
 
I also want to thank you for the tremendous support from all our customers across the country. The incredibly written emails to me, the support on our Facebook page, the defense of Penzeys in comment sections across the internet—all of it has meant so incredibly much to me. After so many of the far-right media world encouraged their supporters to send their anger at me, I have to admit that I really had never been so insulted in all my life, and I have a history of getting out there on the internet. Without your incredible outpouring of support, I am sure the results for me would have been very different. I am forever in your debt. Thank you.
My bride sent an e-mail in response:
I deleted both the Thursday and Friday emails from Penzeys Spices.  It is none of Penzeys’s business who any of its customers choose to vote for, or what the customers’ positions may be on any of the manifold social issues Penzeys’ owners seem to be so passionate about.  I currently am trying to use up my current stock of spices in the cupboard (both Penzeys and other brands), and therefore have not needed to order from Penzeys in a long time.  I would feel happier about ordering from Penzeys in the future, however, if Penzeys would keep it all about the spices and our shared love of cooking, and not insist on pushing the owners’ political and social views upon the customers.
Sincerely,
Mrs. Catherine A. McClarey

Continue Reading

9

Review of Hacksaw Ridge

 

Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard,
that the everlasting God, the Lord,
the Creator of the ends of the earth,
fainteth not, neither is weary?
There is no searching of his understanding.
He giveth power to the faint;
and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
and the young men shall utterly fall:
but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

 

I’ve been where you are now and I know just how you feel. It’s entirely natural that there should beat in the breast of every one of you a hope and desire that some day you can use the skill you have acquired here.
Suppress it! You don’t know the horrible aspects of war. I’ve been through two wars and I know. I’ve seen cities and homes in ashes. I’ve seen thousands of men lying on the ground, their dead faces looking up at the skies. I tell you, war is Hell!

William Tecumseh Sherman, address to the graduating class of the Michigan Military Academy (June 19, 1879)

 

 

 

My bride and I went to see Hacksaw Ridge last Saturday, Mel Gibson’s tribute to conscientious objector Desmond Doss who earned a Medal of Honor for heroism on Okinawa, and I was bowled over by it.  It wrenched more emotion from me than any film I have ever seen, except for Gibson’s Passion of the Christ.  My review is below the fold.  The usual caveat as to spoilers is in effect. Continue Reading

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We Have No King But Jesus

 

The feast of Christ the King is a very new one, although the image of Christ as King is as old as Christianity.  Pope Pius XI established the feast with his encyclical Quas Primas  in 1925 to remind the World after the horrors of World War I and its aftermath that God was in charge.

This kingdom is spiritual and is concerned with spiritual things. That this is so the above quotations from Scripture amply prove, and Christ by his own action confirms it. On many occasions, when the Jews and even the Apostles wrongly supposed that the Messiah would restore the liberties and the kingdom of Israel, he repelled and denied such a suggestion. When the populace thronged around him in admiration and would have acclaimed him King, he shrank from the honor and sought safety in flight. Before the Roman magistrate he declared that his kingdom was not of this world. The gospels present this kingdom as one which men prepare to enter by penance, and cannot actually enter except by faith and by baptism, which, though an external rite, signifies and produces an interior regeneration. This kingdom is opposed to none other than to that of Satan and to the power of darkness. It demands of its subjects a spirit of detachment from riches and earthly things, and a spirit of gentleness. They must hunger and thirst after justice, and more than this, they must deny themselves and carry the cross.

Prior to the American Revolution an English aristocrat related an incident in a letter.  He asked an American servant who his master was, and the man responded unhesitatingly:  My Lord Jesus Christ!  The aristocrat found this hilarious, but the servant was reflecting a very old Christian view.

Christ Pantocrator is one of the more popular images by which Christians pictured, after the edict of Milan, Christ, the Lord of all.  This representation ties in nicely with the traditional American cry of “We have no King but Jesus!” which became popular during the American Revolution.

Our wisest statesman have always remembered that behind the trappings of power of this World that God is ultimately the one who has charge of the fate of nations as well as individuals.  Abraham Lincoln was utterly convinced of this as he indicated in a letter to Eliza P. Gurney on September 4, 1864 as the Civil War teetered in the balance:

The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must  prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately perceive  them in advance. We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible  war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise. We  shall yet acknowledge His wisdom and our own error therein. Meanwhile  we must work earnestly in the best light He gives us, trusting that so  working still conduces to the great ends He ordains. Surely He intends  some great good to follow this mighty convulsion, which no mortal  could make, and no mortal could stay. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Instruction Manual

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

 

Telling the press today that instructions of Pope Francis’ IKEA gift to them had numerous inconsistencies, four cardinals wrote a letter to him asking that he “resolve the uncertainties and bring clarity to the instruction manual for the armchair.”

“We the undersigned, but also many bishops and priests, ask that you provide the correct interpretation to page three of the IKEA instructions for your AMÖRIS Armchair gift,” the cardinals wrote.

They went on to add that “both theologians and scholars have proposed interpretations” of how to put the armchair together, especially its third and fourth pages, “which contradict one another.”

“Compelled by our pastoral frustrations over this hastily written instruction pamphlet, and desiring to put this chair together once and for all, that faithful visitors may sit upon it, we, with profound respect, ask you, Holy Father, as Supreme Teacher of Construction, called to confirm his brothers in the build, to resolve the uncertainties and to bring clarity to these vague images of nuts, bolts, and other material that we cannot distinguish.”

A foreword to the letter states that the main issue regarding the instruction manual is that the legs of the armchair shown in the instructions in page five were not included in the box, giving the chair “no legs to stand on.” Continue Reading

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The Liberty Song

 

Something for the weekend.  The Liberty Song sung by Bobby Horton.

Written by Founding Father John Dickinson in 1768, the song was sung by patriots in America to the tune of Heart of OakThe video below is the most hilarious scene from the John Adams mini-series where a completely fish out of water John Adams gets donations for the American cause from French aristocrats as they sing the Liberty Song, led by Ben Franklin who is obviously immensely enjoying himself.  It is a good song for Americans to recall, and perhaps especially so in this year of grace, 2016.

Continue Reading

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To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King

Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.

Isaiah 40:15

To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King was  written in 1941, seventy-five years ago, by Father Martin B. Hellriegel, a German-American pastor in Saint Louis, as a direct response to the pretensions of the Third Reich and to remind people who actually reigns eternally.  We Americans have traditionally understood that God is in charge:  We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Abraham Lincoln ringingly set forth what this section of the Declaration means:  “These communities, by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows.”

Nothing could be further from the nightmarish ideas that fueled the Third Reich, and Father Martin B. Hellriegel in his magnificent hymn conveys this majestic conception of God and of humanity under God:

Continue Reading

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The Meltdown of the Left

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Large parts of the left in this country seem to be having a psychotic episode since the election of Trump.  John Sexton at Hot Air gives us a disturbing example:

 

In Georgia, Secretary of State Brian Kemp issued a statement today asking people to stop threatening his state’s electors:

Our office has received numerous reports of individuals hurling insults and threats at Georgia’s Electors because they are unsettled with America’s choice for President of the United States. This is absolutely unacceptable and those participating in or encouraging these efforts should stop. The electoral process in America has worked, and everyone – Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and others – should respect the will of Georgia’s voters and the Electors who represent them.

Idaho‘s Secretary of State made similar comments earlier in the week after reports that the state’s four electors were being barraged with harassing calls and messages. From the Spokesman-Review:

“A lot of ’em use bad, rough language,” said Layne Bangerter, one of the four electors. “Nothing I feel intimidated over. But we’re watching it very closely. They’ve got our home phone numbers, our cell numbers, our emails, our Facebook. We’re just getting an orchestrated barrage from the left.”…

Bangerter, who worked for U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo for more than a decade, said he’s received around 40 messages on Facebook alone. “They attack my religion, they attack my politics, they tell me that I must be a terrible father, I must be a terrible American, they use foul language – every swear word,” he said. “They’re just trying to steal this thing. They won’t be able to do it, but they’re trying.”

In Tennessee, electors told the Tennessean they were receiving 200 emails a day:

Several members of Tennessee’s Electoral College delegation told The Tennessean this week they’ve received as many as 200 emails per day and a handful of phone calls. Electors in other states told the Tennessean they too have received similar barrages of email.

“Certainly I would call it harassment,” said Pat Allen of Clarksville, Tennessee’s Electoral College representative for the 7th Congressional District.

In Arizona, electors say they are facing “total harassment” from mostly out-of-state emails. From the Arizona Republic:

Robert Graham, chairman of the state Republican Party and an elector, said the emails are mostly coming from out of state and appear to be part of a coordinated effort to try to deny Trump the presidency by swaying enough electors to back anyone but him…

“It is total harassment,” said Graham, who estimates he has received about 1,700 such emails and letters. “It started about a week ago. Now? Bam. It’s hardcore.”…

Sharon Geise, an elector from Mesa, said the emails have also flooded her inbox. She estimates she has received 8,000. Many of them are similar.

“Hillary’s got a great campaign going,” she said. “It’s the same thing, pretty much. Basically: Vote for Hillary Clinton. It’s bizarre. I don’t dare answer my phone.”

A similar flood of harassing emails was received by an elector in Iowa.

Meanwhile, in Michigan 22-year-old elector Michael Banerian has been receiving death threats. From the Detroit News:

“You have people saying ‘you’re a hateful bigot, I hope you die,’ ” he said. “I’ve had people talk about shoving a gun in my mouth and blowing my brains out. And I’ve received dozens and dozens of those emails. Even the non-threatening-my-life emails are very aggressive.”

The Detroit News verified one message containing a death wish and another containing a death threat, in which the person told Banerian he would “put a bullet” in his mouth. Banerian said he deleted the rest of the emails and messages “because as you can imagine they’re clogging up my email.”

This harassment of Republican electors is not going to change the outcome of the election. In sheer volume, this harassment of Republicans certainly outweighs the heavily-reported hate incidents being collected by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Will the national media pick up on these incidents of death threats and harassment as well, all of which explicitly stem from a left-wing campaign to alter the outcome of the election? Don’t count on it. Continue Reading

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Remarks of Stephen Bannon at a Conference at the Vatican

 

Buzzfeed has the remarks of Stephen Bannon, former CEO of Breitbart News, and currently appointed by President Elect Trump to be his chief advisor, at a conference at the Vatican in the summer of 2014:

 

Steve Bannon: Thank you very much Benjamin, and I appreciate you guys including us in this. We’re speaking from Los Angeles today, right across the street from our headquarters in Los Angeles. Um. I want to talk about wealth creation and what wealth creation really can achieve and maybe take it in a slightly different direction, because I believe the world, and particularly the Judeo-Christian west, is in a crisis. And it’s really the organizing principle of how we built Breitbart News to really be a platform to bring news and information to people throughout the world. Principally in the west, but we’re expanding internationally to let people understand the depths of this crisis, and it is a crisis both of capitalism but really of the underpinnings of the Judeo-Christian west in our beliefs.

It’s ironic, I think, that we’re talking today at exactly, tomorrow, 100 years ago, at the exact moment we’re talking, the assassination took place in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that led to the end of the Victorian era and the beginning of the bloodiest century in mankind’s history. Just to put it in perspective, with the assassination that took place 100 years ago tomorrow in Sarajevo, the world was at total peace. There was trade, there was globalization, there was technological transfer, the High Church of England and the Catholic Church and the Christian faith was predominant throughout Europe of practicing Christians. Seven weeks later, I think there were 5 million men in uniform and within 30 days there were over a million casualties.

That war triggered a century of barbaric — unparalleled in mankind’s history — virtually 180 to 200 million people were killed in the 20th century, and I believe that, you know, hundreds of years from now when they look back, we’re children of that: We’re children of that barbarity. This will be looked at almost as a new Dark Age.

But the thing that got us out of it, the organizing principle that met this, was not just the heroism of our people — whether it was French resistance fighters, whether it was the Polish resistance fighters, or it’s the young men from Kansas City or the Midwest who stormed the beaches of Normandy, commandos in England that fought with the Royal Air Force, that fought this great war, really the Judeo-Christian West versus atheists, right? The underlying principle is an enlightened form of capitalism, that capitalism really gave us the wherewithal. It kind of organized and built the materials needed to support, whether it’s the Soviet Union, England, the United States, and eventually to take back continental Europe and to beat back a barbaric empire in the Far East.

That capitalism really generated tremendous wealth. And that wealth was really distributed among a middle class, a rising middle class, people who come from really working-class environments and created what we really call a Pax Americana. It was many, many years and decades of peace. And I believe we’ve come partly offtrack in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union and we’re starting now in the 21st century, which I believe, strongly, is a crisis both of our church, a crisis of our faith, a crisis of the West, a crisis of capitalism.

And we’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict, of which if the people in this room, the people in the church, do not bind together and really form what I feel is an aspect of the church militant, to really be able to not just stand with our beliefs, but to fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity that’s starting, that will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years.

Now, what I mean by that specifically: I think that you’re seeing three kinds of converging tendencies: One is a form of capitalism that is taken away from the underlying spiritual and moral foundations of Christianity and, really, Judeo-Christian belief.

I see that every day. I’m a very practical, pragmatic capitalist. I was trained at Goldman Sachs, I went to Harvard Business School, I was as hard-nosed a capitalist as you get. I specialized in media, in investing in media companies, and it’s a very, very tough environment. And you’ve had a fairly good track record. So I don’t want this to kinda sound namby-pamby, “Let’s all hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya’ around capitalism.”

But there’s a strand of capitalism today — two strands of it, that are very disturbing.

One is state-sponsored capitalism. And that’s the capitalism you see in China and Russia. I believe it’s what Holy Father [Pope Francis] has seen for most of his life in places like Argentina, where you have this kind of crony capitalism of people that are involved with these military powers-that-be in the government, and it forms a brutal form of capitalism that is really about creating wealth and creating value for a very small subset of people. And it doesn’t spread the tremendous value creation throughout broader distribution patterns that were seen really in the 20th century.

The second form of capitalism that I feel is almost as disturbing, is what I call the Ayn Rand or the Objectivist School of libertarian capitalism. And, look, I’m a big believer in a lot of libertarianism. I have many many friends that’s a very big part of the conservative movement — whether it’s the UKIP movement in England, it’s many of the underpinnings of the populist movement in Europe, and particularly in the United States.

However, that form of capitalism is quite different when you really look at it to what I call the “enlightened capitalism” of the Judeo-Christian West. It is a capitalism that really looks to make people commodities, and to objectify people, and to use them almost — as many of the precepts of Marx — and that is a form of capitalism, particularly to a younger generation [that] they’re really finding quite attractive. And if they don’t see another alternative, it’s going to be an alternative that they gravitate to under this kind of rubric of “personal freedom.”

The other tendency is an immense secularization of the West. And I know we’ve talked about secularization for a long time, but if you look at younger people, especially millennials under 30, the overwhelming drive of popular culture is to absolutely secularize this rising iteration.

Now that call converges with something we have to face, and it’s a very unpleasant topic, but we are in an outright war against jihadist Islamic fascism. And this war is, I think, metastasizing far quicker than governments can handle it.

If you look at what’s happening in ISIS, which is the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant, that is now currently forming the caliphate that is having a military drive on Baghdad, if you look at the sophistication of which they’ve taken the tools of capitalism. If you look at what they’ve done with Twitter and Facebook and modern ways to fundraise, and to use crowdsourcing to fund, besides all the access to weapons, over the last couple days they have had a radical program of taking kids and trying to turn them into bombers. They have driven 50,000 Christians out of a town near the Kurdish border. We have video that we’re putting up later today on Breitbart where they’ve took 50 hostages and thrown them off a cliff in Iraq.

That war is expanding and it’s metastasizing to sub-Saharan Africa. We have Boko Haram and other groups that will eventually partner with ISIS in this global war, and it is, unfortunately, something that we’re going to have to face, and we’re going to have to face very quickly.

 

So I think the discussion of, should we put a cap on wealth creation and distribution? It’s something that should be at the heart of every Christian that is a capitalist — “What is the purpose of whatever I’m doing with this wealth? What is the purpose of what I’m doing with the ability that God has given us, that divine providence has given us to actually be a creator of jobs and a creator of wealth?”

I think it really behooves all of us to really take a hard look and make sure that we are reinvesting that back into positive things. But also to make sure that we understand that we’re at the very beginning stages of a global conflict, and if we do not bind together as partners with others in other countries that this conflict is only going to metastasize.

They have a Twitter account up today, ISIS does, about turning the United States into a “river of blood” if it comes in and tries to defend the city of Baghdad. And trust me, that is going to come to Europe. That is going to come to Central Europe, it’s going to come to Western Europe, it’s going to come to the United Kingdom. And so I think we are in a crisis of the underpinnings of capitalism, and on top of that we’re now, I believe, at the beginning stages of a global war against Islamic fascism. Continue Reading

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November 14-18, 1965: Battle of the Ia Drang

The first major battle between the United States Army and the Peoples’ Army of North Vietnam, the battle of the Ia (River) Drang in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam, involved approximately 2500 North Vietnamese troops, the 66th and 33rd regiments, opposing 1,000 troopers of the 1rst Cavalry division.  The American attack on these two regiments was part of the Pleiku campaign from October 26, 1965-November 25, 1965 which ended with the destruction of the three regiment North Vietnamese force occupying the Chu Pong-Ia Drang complex. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Correction of the Roman Pontiff

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In a very interesting interview by Edward Pentin of Cardinal Burke the following was said:

 

What happens if the Holy Father does not respond to your act of justice and charity and fails to give the clarification of the Church’s teaching that you hope to achieve?

Then we would have to address that situation. There is, in the Tradition of the Church, the practice of correction of the Roman Pontiff. It is something that is clearly quite rare. But if there is no response to these questions, then I would say that it would be a question of taking a formal act of correction of a serious error.

 

In a conflict between ecclesial authority and the Sacred Tradition of the Church, which one is binding on the believer and who has the authority to determine this?

What’s binding is the Tradition. Ecclesial authority exists only in service of the Tradition. I think of that passage of St. Paul in the [Letter to the] Galatians (1:8), that if “even an angel should preach unto you any Gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.”

 

If the Pope were to teach grave error or heresy, which lawful authority can declare this and what would be the consequences?

It is the duty in such cases, and historically it has happened, of cardinals and bishops to make clear that the Pope is teaching error and to ask him to correct it.

 

Continue Reading

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Demographics and Democrats

 

 

I am always amused by theories that, on the American political scene, a party has an electoral lock on the White House or that one party will be in control of Congress forever.  Such theories tend to be plentiful just before they are punctured.  The latest popular theory on the left is that the Democrats, due to illegal immigration from Mexico, will soon have total political dominance.  This has been bruited about since the 2000 election, so “soon” is not a precise term.  Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics takes a look at it:

The black vote: Neither of Barack Obama’s wins in 2008 or 2012 were dependent upon African-American turnout.  But it certainly helped.  Had the Republican nominee in 2008 received George W. Bush’s share of the black vote, and had African-American turnout resembled 2004, President Obama’s 2008 lead would have been halved.  In 2012 it would have been reduced to a single point.

The possibility of a reversion-to-mean among African-American voting patterns in 2016 was always a very real one.  If you look at turnout rates as reported by the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey dating back to 2002, African-American rates have always lagged Republican rates by around five points, give or take (though if you control for socioeconomic status, African-Americans are more likely to vote than whites).  This was true in 2010 as well as 2014.  The exceptions were 2008 and 2012, when African-American turnout rates exceeded white rates. 

Now, it was possible that we had entered a period with a “presidential” electorate and a “midterm” electorate, but it was foolish to dismiss the possibility of a mean reversion once a charismatic history-making candidate such as Barack Obama didn’t top the ticket.  With the African-American share of the electorate declining to 12 percent in 2016, I think it’s pretty clear that something along these lines occurred. 

Likewise, with Donald Trump winning a larger share of the black vote than Mitt Romney or John McCain did, and with the midterm electorates looking more like the electorates of 2002 to 2006, we have to take seriously the possibility of a mean reversion there as well.

Hispanics: Analysis focuses on the “fast-growing” Hispanic vote, but the Hispanic share of the electorate has actually increased glacially.  It was 8 percent of the electorate in 2004, 9 percent in 2008, 10 percent in 2012, and 11 percent in 2016. If we rely on the census data for the electorate, it has been even smaller.  The fact that Hispanics are increasingly adopting a “white” identity (what Reihan Salam calls “racial attrition”) may blunt this growth in the future.

Moreover, I’ve long believed that analysis of what motivates Hispanic voters misses the mark.  White and liberal analysts are far too reductionist when it comes to these voters, and for some reason have decided that immigration reform is a make-or-break issue for them.  This ignores an awful lot of contrary evidence, such as the fact that a majority of Hispanic voters told exit pollsters in 2008 that immigration reform wasn’t important to them, or voted Republican anyway.  It ignores the fact that sizeable minorities of Hispanics voted for anti-illegal immigration candidates such as Jan Brewer and Sharron Angle.  It ignores the fact that a large number of Hispanic voters backed Propositions 187 and 209 in California, and so forth.

I was always skeptical (though not entirely dismissive) of the idea that Hispanic voters were on their way to voting like African-American voters. Given that Donald Trump has likely out-performed Mitt Romney among Hispanics, I think it is safe to say that 27 percent represents something of a floor for Republicans.  It could be the case that Republicans will suffer further erosion here over time, but given that, over the long term, the Hispanic vote has gradually become more Republican (Bill Clinton, Michael Dukakis, Jimmy Carter and George McGovern all won larger shares of the Hispanic vote than Obama did in 2012), and that Hispanics become more Republican as they move from the border to the burbs, and that Hispanic immigration has for now leveled off, it may also be the case that the Republican share of this vote will grow.

Whites: I have written extensively about the Republican voting trend among white voters, especially among working-class whites. That is obviously an incredibly salient point in the wake of this election, where whites without college degrees voted like Hispanics, but with the impact Hispanics would have if they constituted 40 percent of the electorate. It is true that there weren’t enough working-class whites to win the election for Trump, as many asserted during the campaign.  But it was closer than a lot of people think.

I’m not going to rehash everything here; it is pretty well covered in the links.  I will just make two points.  First, mocking the GOP as the Party of White Voters was, from an electoral perspective, extremely short-sighted.  White voters are still 70 percent of the electorate (probably more). Winning around 60 percent of those voters will win a party an awful lot of elections.  If Trump were to bring college-educated whites back into the fold, that share will grow.

Second, this chart should have really scared Democrats a lot more than it apparently did.

Women: Here, I can be brief.  Analysts are right to examine the gender gap – the distance between the male share of the vote and the female share of the vote – but they are wrong to make predictions based upon it.  As I wrote earlier this year, the gender gap giveth, but it also taketh away. We see this on full display in 2016.  The 24-point spread in 2016 was actually the largest on record.  But like the year with the second-largest spread (2000) and the third-largest spread (1980), it ended in Republican victory.  In fact, looking at the years with the four smallest gender gaps in history (1976, 1972, 1992, 2008) we may reasonably ask ourselves if perhaps large gender gaps tend to hurt Democrats.

Overreach: The major theme of my book is that all party coalitions fall apart because, well, governing is hard and it inevitably forces parties to choose among members of their coalition.  More importantly – and this is where I think realignment theory isn’t just wrong but also counterproductive – parties see their wins as a sign that they’ve finally “won” at politics.  But this hubristic take is always wrong, and usually destructive. Such hubris destroyed the Republican coalition in 1910 when they thought they had won a mandate to pass the self-serving Payne-Aldrich tariff. It weakened the Democratic coalition in 1937 when FDR believed he had a mandate to pack the Supreme Court and pass the Third New Deal.  It destroyed the Republican coalition in 2005 when George W. Bush famously quipped that he had earned political capital and intended to spend it.

I have little doubt that a belief that demographics would save them at the presidential level led Democrats to take a number of steps that they will soon regret, from going nuclear on the filibuster to aggressive uses of executive authority.  But one thing deserves special attention.  A good deal of e-ink has been spilled describing the ways in which the culturally superior attitudes of the left drove Trumpism.  This too, I think, derived from a belief that history had a side and that progressives were on it, combined with a lack of appreciation of just how many culturally traditionalist voters there are in this country. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Four Cardinals

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The letter of the four cardinals to the Pope:

 

1. A Necessary Foreword

 

The sending of the letter to His Holiness Pope Francis by four cardinals derives from a deep pastoral concern.

We have noted a grave disorientation and great confusion of many faithful regarding extremely important matters for the life of the Church. We have noted that even within the episcopal college there are contrasting interpretations of Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia.

The great Tradition of the Church teaches us that the way out of situations like this is recourse to the Holy Father, asking the Apostolic See to resolve those doubts, which are the cause of disorientation and confusion.

Ours is, therefore, an act of justice and charity.

Of justice: With our initiative, we profess that the Petrine ministry is the ministry of unity, and that to Peter, to the Pope, belongs the service of confirming in the faith.

Of charity: We want to help the Pope to prevent divisions and conflicts in the Church, asking him to dispel all ambiguity.

We have also carried out a specific duty. According to the Code of Canon Law (349) the cardinals, even taken individually, are entrusted with the task of helping the Pope to care for the universal Church.

The Holy Father has decided not to respond. We have interpreted his sovereign decision as an invitation to continue the reflection and the discussion, calmly and with respect.

And so we are informing the entire people of God about our initiative, offering all of the documentation.

We hope that no one will choose to interpret the matter according to a “progressive/conservative” paradigm. That would be completely off the mark. We are deeply concerned about the true good of souls, the supreme law of the Church, and not about promoting any form of politics in the Church.

We hope that no one will judge us unjustly, as adversaries of the Holy Father and people devoid of mercy. What we have done and are doing derives from the deep collegial affection that unites us to the Pope, and from an impassioned concern for the good of the faithful.

 

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller

Cardinal Raymond L. Burke

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra

Cardinal Joachim Meisner

 

2. The Letter of the Four Cardinals to the Pope

 

To His Holiness Pope Francis

and for the attention of His Eminence Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller

 

Most Holy Father,

Following the publication of your apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, theologians and scholars have proposed interpretations that are not only divergent, but also conflicting, above all in regard to Chapter VIII. Moreover, the media have emphasized this dispute, thereby provoking uncertainty, confusion and disorientation among many of the faithful.

Because of this, we the undersigned, but also many bishops and priests, have received numerous requests from the faithful of various social strata on the correct interpretation to give to Chapter VIII of the exhortation.

Now, compelled in conscience by our pastoral responsibility and desiring to implement ever more that synodality to which Your Holiness urges us, with profound respect, we permit ourselves to ask you, Holy Father, as supreme teacher of the faith, called by the Risen One to confirm his brothers in the faith, to resolve the uncertainties and bring clarity, benevolently giving a response to the dubia that we attach the present letter.

May Your Holiness wish to bless us, as we promise constantly to remember you in prayer.

 

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller

Cardinal Raymond L. Burke

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra

Cardinal Joachim Meisner

 

Rome, September 19, 2016

 

3. The Dubia

  1. It is asked whether, following the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to admit to holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio, 84, and subsequently reaffirmed by Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34, and Sacramentum Caritatis, 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in Note 351 (305) of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio?
     
  2. After the publication of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 79, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?
     
  3. After Amoris Laetitia (301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (Matthew 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, “Declaration,” June 24, 2000)?
     
  4. After the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 81, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?
     
  5. After Amoris Laetitia (303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 56, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?

Continue Reading

20

Breitbart on Abortion

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Mark Shea, fresh from his losing crusade to make pro-abort Hillary Clinton President of the United States, is now attacking pro-lifers who have no problem with President Elect Trump naming former Breitbart CEO Stephen Bannon as his Chief Advisor.  Go here to read Shea’s attack.  Leaving aside the fact that there is no evidence that Bannon is a racist or an anti-Semite, Breitbart has always been firmly pro-life.  Go here and take a look at the Breitbart articles on abortion.  I can understand of course why Mark ignores this.  As his support for Clinton indicates, the fight against abortion is now low on his priority list.

4

We Can Handle the Truth

 

 

Pat Archbold at Creative Minority Report gives us this bit of pure genius:

 

Pope Francis: I’ll answer the question. You want answers?

 

Caffara: I think I’m entitled!

 

Pope Francis: You want answers?!

 

Caffara: I want the truth!

 

Pope Francis: You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls, rigid walls, and those walls have to be knocked down for mankind to progress. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Cardinal Burke? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Tradition and you curse Vatican II. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know, that Vatican II was merely a baby step, but an important first step.

And my magisterium, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, continues on the path! You don’t want the truth, because deep down in places you don’t talk about at during your Chartres pilgrimage, you want me knocking down those walls. You need me to knock down those walls. We use words like “dialogue”, “gradualism”, “mercy”. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent tearing down the things that hold mankind back. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very liberation that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said “thank you”, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you count your rosaries, and retire to a monastery. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to!

 

Caffara: Did you intend the heresy?

 

Pope Francis: I did the job that—-

 

Caffara: Did you intend the heresy?!!

 

Pope Francis: YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT I DID!! Continue Reading

8

Not One Thin Dime

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(This is a repost from 2014.  Nothing has changed in regard to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and no faithful Catholic should contribute to it.  Go here to read a letter to the Bishops from the Lepanto Institute in regard to the CCHD.)

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas my bride and I usually send Christmas donations to groups we support.  This is the time when we also make a substitute donation to Catholic groups we endorse in lieu of contributing anything to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.  Despite window dressing efforts at reform, the CCHD is still in the business of handing out money, given by good-hearted Catholics who think they are contributing money to help people down on their luck, to left-wing pressure groups, many of whom espouse causes directly contrary to the teachings of the Church.

The Lepanto Institute gives us some details on just what a corrupt organization the CCHD is:

The newly launched Lepanto Institute published a report today, which shows a conflict of interest for Ralph McCloud, the Director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

McCloud, who approves grants distributed to community organizing groups on behalf of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, is a member of the board of directors of Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ).  Two affiliates of Interfaith Worker Justice received CCHD grants for fiscal year 2014-2015.

The IWJ philosophy is another issue of scandal for an organization that is part of the Catholic Church.

“Ralph McCloud was provided with the facts in 2012, with our showing that the leadership of Interfaith Worker Justice is filled with self-professed pro-abortion, pro-homosexual Marxists,” said Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute.  “By joining the board of directors of IWJ, McCloud has created for himself the very definition of a conflict of interest, and accepted the role of overseeing distribution of funds to an organization in conflict with the Catholic Church’s teaching.”

A report on the leadership of Interfaith Worker Justice is available here.

“In 2012, my colleagues and I published a report on one of the two IWJ affiliates that are currently receiving grants from the CCHD which are in violation of CCHD guidelines,” Hichborn said.

For Fiscal Year 2014-2015, two affiliates of Interfaith Worker Justice received grants from the CCHD totaling $85,000: Northwest Arkansas Workers Justice Center and The Micah Center.

“How can an individual serve the Church while sitting on the board of IWJ, and in fact approve grants for affiliates of this organization?  It seems impossible,” Hichborn concluded.  “Our Blessed Lord said that man cannot serve two masters, but in the case of IWJ and the CCHD, that is precisely what McCloud is trying to do.”

And this:

The Lepanto Institute issued a report exposing the activities of an organization which received a $35,000 grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).  According to the report, the Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC) launched its own gay straight alliance in 2014, participated in a homosexuality activism coordination event in 2013, and its director of operations signed a letter supporting same-sex marriage.

“CCHD grant guidelines are very clear.  CCHD says it will not fund organizations which are taking actions in violation of Catholic moral teaching,” said Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute.  “This is just one more in the long list of failures in the CCHD’s self-proclaimed rigorous screening process.”

The CCHD’s grant guidelines state, “Organizations that receive CCHD funds must not participate in or promote activities that contradict the moral and social teachings of the Catholic Church.”  The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2357 specifically states, regarding homosexual acts, “under no circumstances can they be approved.”

“What’s perplexing is that in 2012, The Reform CCHD Now coalition sent a profile on the problems with NWBCCC to the Archdiocese of New York, and the response we received was that they decided not to fund that organization before we even sent them the letter,” said Hichborn.  “So, why are they funding them this year, now that it’s clear that things have gotten worse?” Continue Reading

1

PopeWatch: Saint Thomas More

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Steve Skojec at One Peter Five invokes Saint Thomas More in reference to the Four Cardinals who have the courage to ask the Pope for an explanation in regard to the doctrinally dubious Amoris Laetitia:

 

 

 

This is not the first time Francis has chosen to show his hand by refusing to offer clarity where the only alternative is heresy.

We saw this in his refusal to respond to the 19 theological censures against Amoris Laetitia authored by 45 theologians and Catholic scholars around the world.

We saw it when he chose to ignore the Filial Appeal signed by over 800,000 Catholics, asking him to uphold Church teaching on marriage and the family.

And if what has been reported to us is true, we know how angry such efforts make him. How he is alleged to have lashed out at the 13 cardinals who confronted him with yet another letter before the second synod — and how he scolded them in public when the synod was done.

It is of vital importance that these four cardinals, having released this document to the public, do not back down. Three of the four are already retired; Cardinal Burke is the lone exception, and he already lives in political exile for his efforts.

St. Thomas More allowed his life to be taken rather than accept a distortion of the Church’s teaching on marriage and the papal authority bound by God to uphold it. No consequence should deter these prelates — or any others — from standing their ground. The faithful are desperate for leadership from their shepherds. Career implications are a pittance in comparison to an executioner’s axe.

We have a pope who has given every indication that he welcomes and embraces material heresy; it is long past time that he be tested for the obduracy of his adherence to it.

The cardinal authors of the letter take pains to make their allegiance clear:

We hope that no one will judge us unjustly, as adversaries of the Holy Father and people devoid of mercy. What we have done and are doing derives from the deep collegial affection that unites us to the Pope, and from an impassioned concern for the good of the faithful.

Indeed. We are loyal papists all, and we ask the man currently occupying the throne of St. Peter to show similar docility to the majesty of his august office.

After all, we are the pope’s good servants, but God’s first. Continue Reading

18

Ten Simple Ways to Lose a Presidential Election

 

I always thought that Bill Clinton had preternatural political skills.  During Hillary’s campaign this year his appearances tended to be lackluster and he gave off an air of frustration.  Perhaps this is why:

 

 

In the waning days of the presidential campaign, Bill and Hillary Clinton had a knock-down, drag-out fight about her effort to blame FBI Director James Comey for her slump in the polls and looming danger of defeat.

‘I was with Bill in Little Rock when he had this shouting match with Hillary on the phone and she accused Comey for reviving the investigation into her use of a private email server and reversing her campaign’s momentum,’ said one of Bill Clinton’s closest advisers.

‘Bill didn’t buy the excuse that Comey would cost Hillary the election,’ said the source. ‘As far as he was concerned, all the blame belonged to [campaign manager Robby] Mook, [campaign chairman John] Podesta and Hillary because they displayed a tone-deaf attitude about the feeble economy and its impact on millions and millions of working-class voters.

‘Bill was so red in the face during his conversation with Hillary that I worried he was going to have a heart attack. He got so angry that he threw his phone off the roof of his penthouse apartment and toward the Arkansas River.’

Bill has a luxurious penthouse apartment with an outdoor garden at the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock.

During the campaign, Bill Clinton felt that he was ignored by Hillary’s top advisers when he urged them to make the economy the centerpiece of her campaign.

He repeatedly urged them to connect with the people who had been left behind by the revolutions in technology and globalization.

‘Bill said that constantly attacking Trump for his defects made Hillary’s staff and the media happy, but that it wasn’t a message that resonated with voters, especially in the rust belt,’ the source explained.

‘Bill always campaigned as a guy who felt your pain, but Hillary came across as someone who was pissed off at her enemy [Trump], not someone who was reaching out and trying to make life better for the white working class.’

According to the source, Bill was severely critical of Hillary’s decision to reject an invitation to address a St. Patrick’s Day event at the University of Notre Dame.

Hillary’s campaign advisers nixed the idea on the grounds that white Catholics were not the audience she needed to reach.

Go here to read the rest.  The Hillary Clinton campaign was a monument to political malpractice.  Here are ten simple ways to lose a presidential election.  The Clinton campaign was guilty of each one of them.

  1. Campaign theme-Don’t have one.  Clinton’s theme was the vapid Stronger Together.  She might as well have been running on Apple Pie.  Trump’s campaign theme of Make America Great Again, tied in with his constant assertion that nothing works in America anymore.  That most people believe that something is deeply wrong with the country is borne out by the polls that constantly show most Americans believing that the country is on the wrong track.
  2. Ignore the Election Calendar-Americans routinely toss out the party in power after eight years.  Any member of the same party running after a two term president is going to have an uphill climb and should plan accordingly.
  3. Despise your Adversary-Ignore his strengths and concentrate on what a loathsome character he is in your eyes.
  4. Campaign Lackadaisically-Clinton, perhaps due to her health, often had one or two campaign events a day.  Trump would usually have four to five massive rallies all about the country.
  5. Identity Politics-Split the American people up into warring factions and cater to some of them.  Forget that other factions will almost always deeply resent this favoritism.
  6. Believe the Polls-If the polls show you ahead, relax and attempt to coast to victory.
  7. Enthusiasm-Ignore that your adversary has lots of it on his side and you have nil.  Assume that a good ground game can compensate for the fact that most of your voters view you, at best, as a typical pol.
  8. Economy-Pretending that the economy is good at a time when millions of workers have abandoned job searches as futile is a sure path to popularity on election day.
  9. Rely upon the Media-If the media is on your side relax, even if most voters view the media as unreliable.  The voters were probably just joking when they began repeating the old Soviet joke:  There is no truth in Pravda (Truth) and there is no news in Izvestia (News).
  10. Believe your own Hype-The handouts you give to the media should be accepted as Gospel Truth in campaign headquarters.  Yell good news to the rafters and ignore bad news.

 

 

 

 

6

Politically Correct Eat Their Own

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Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.
Thomas Jefferson in a letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787

 

This is too hilarious:

 

Several professors on Grounds collaborated to write a letter to University President Teresa Sullivan against the inclusion of a Thomas Jefferson quote in her post-election email Nov. 9.

In the email, Sullivan encouraged students to unite in the wake of contentious results, arguing that University students have the responsibility of creating the future they want for themselves.

“Thomas Jefferson wrote to a friend that University of Virginia students ‘are not of ordinary significance only: they are exactly the persons who are to succeed to the government of our country, and to rule its future enmities, its friendships and fortunes,’” Sullivan said in the email. “I encourage today’s U.Va. students to embrace that responsibility.”

Some professors from the Psychology Department — and other academic departments — did not agree with the use of this quote. Their letter to Sullivan argued that in light of Jefferson’s owning of slaves and other racist beliefs, she should refrain from quoting Jefferson in email communications.

“We would like for our administration to understand that although some members of this community may have come to this university because of Thomas Jefferson’s legacy, others of us came here in spite of it,” the letter read. “For many of us, the inclusion of Jefferson quotations in these e-mails undermines the message of unity, equality and civility that you are attempting to convey.”

The letter garnered 469 signatures — from both students and professors — before being sent out via email Nov. 11. Signees included Politics Prof. Nicholas Winter, Psychology Prof. Chad Dodson, Women, Gender and Sexuality Prof. Corinne Field, College Assistant Dean Shilpa Davé, Politics Prof. Lynn Sanders and many more. Asst. Psychology Prof. Noelle Hurd drafted the letter. Continue Reading

4

PopeWatch: Four Cardinals

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Four Cardinals wrote a letter to the Pope on September 19, 2016 asking for clarification in regard to portions of Amoris Laetitia.  Having received no response, the four Cardinals have gone public.  Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa gives us the details:

ROME, November 14, 2016 – The letter and the five questions presented in their entirety further below have no need of much explanation. It is enough to read them. What is new is that the four cardinals who had them delivered to Francis last September 19, without receiving a reply, have decided to make them public with the encouragement of this very silence on the part of the pope, in order to “continue the reflection and the discussion” with “the whole people of God.”

They explain this in the foreword to the publication of the complete text. And one thinks right away of Matthew 18:16-17: “If your brother will not listen to you, take with you two or three witnesses. If then he will not listen even to them, tell it to the assembly.”

The “witness” in this case was Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith. Because he too, in addition to the pope, had been a recipient of the letter and the questions.

The five questions are in fact formulated as in the classic submissions to the congregation for the doctrine of the faith. Formulated, that is, in such a way that they can be responded to with a simple yes or no.

As a rule, the responses given by the congregation explicitly mention the approval of the pope. And in the routine audiences that Francis gave to the cardinal prefect after the delivery of the letter and the questions, it is a sure bet that the two talked about them.

But in point of fact the appeal from the four cardinals received no reply, neither from Cardinal Müller nor from the pope, evidently at the behest of the latter.

*

The four cardinals who signed this letter and are now making it public are not among those who a year ago, at the beginning of the second session of the synod on the family, delivered to Francis the famous letter “of the thirteen cardinals”:

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

The thirteen were all members of the synod and in full service in their respective dioceses. Or they held important positions in the curia, like cardinals Robert Sarah, George Pell, and Müller himself.

These four, however, while all are recognized for their authoritativeness, have no operational roles, either for reasons of age or because they have been dismissed.

And that makes them more free. It is no mystery, in fact, that their appeal has been and is shared by not a few other cardinals who are still fully active, as well as high-ranking bishops and archbishops of West and East, who however precisely because of this have decided to remain in the shadows.

In a few days, on November 19 and 20, the whole college of cardinals will meet in Rome, for the consistory convoked by Pope Francis. And inevitably the appeal of the four cardinals will become the subject of animated discussion among them.

The ebb and flow of history. It was at the consistory of February 2014 that Francis gave the go-ahead for the long trek that resulted in the exhortation “Amoris Laetitia,” when he entrusted to Cardinal Walter Kasper the opening talk, in support of communion for the divorced and remarried.

Right away at that consistory the controversy broke out with the greatest intensity. And it is the same one that divides the Church even more today, including at the highest levels, seeing how the unclear suggestions of “Amoris Laetitia” are being contradictorily interpreted and applied.

Kasper is German and, curiously, two of the cardinals who – on the side opposite his – have published the present appeal are also German, not to mention Cardinal Müller, who signed the letter “of the thirteen” and now has received this other no less explosive letter.

The division in the Church is there. And it conspicuously runs through precisely that Church of Germany which represents for many the most advanced point of change.

And Pope Francis remains silent.  Perhaps because he thinks that “oppositions help,” as he explained to his Jesuit confrere Antonio Spadaro in giving over for publication the anthology of his discourses as archbishop of Buenos Aires, which have been in bookstores for a few days.

Adding:

“Human life is structured in oppositional form. And that is also what is happening now in the Church. Tensions need not necessarily be resolved and regulated. They are not like contradictions.”

But that’s just the point. Here it is a matter of contradictions. Yes or no. These and no others are the fitting answers to the five questions of the four cardinals, on the crucial points of Church doctrine and life brought into question by “Amoris Laetitia.”

Now it’s their turn.

In addition to Italian, English, French, and Spanish, the whole document is also available in Portuguese and German translations:

> Criar clareza. Alguns nós por resolver em “Amoris laetitia” – Um apelo

> Klarheit schaffen. Ungelöste Knoten von “Amoris laetitia” – Ein Appell

Continue Reading

3

A Hard Fought Presidential Election

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One hundred years ago the United States went through a presidential election that was hard fought and narrowly decided.  Woodrow Wilson, the only Democrat elected President since the Civil War, except for the two terms of Grover Cleveland, largely owed his election in 1912 to the Republican schism that caused Theodore Roosevelt to run as the candidate  of the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party, winning more votes than the Republican candidate President William Howard Taft, and ensuring victory for the Democrats.

The Republican Party standard bearer, Charles Evans Hughes, resigned from the Supreme Court to run.  A moderate, Hughes mollified and unified the Republican Party conservative and progressive factions.  This was underlined when Theodore Roosevelt declined the nomination of the Progressive Party, announcing his support for Hughes.  Wilson now faced a united Republican party.

The Democrats, ironically in light of subsequent developments centered their campaign around the slogan, “He kept us out of war.”  Hughes barnstormed the nation, as did Theodore Roosevelt who tirelessly campaigned for Hughes.  Hughes attacked increasing business regulation by the Wilson administration as an infringement on traditional American freedom.

Ultimately Wilson won on November 7, 1916, with a popular vote margin of 600,000 out of 17 and a half million votes cast, and an electoral vote count of 277-254. 266 electoral college votes were needed to win and the election was decided by California’s 13 electoral votes, which took several days to count, keeping the nation in suspense.  Less than four thousand votes, out of almost a million cast, constituted Wilson’s victory margin over Hughes. Continue Reading

27

PopeWatch: Red Pope

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One Peter Five brings us the latest dropping from our Red Pope:

 

In yet another interview with Eugenio Scalfari (see our standard rebuttal to “you can’t trust Scalfari!” here), this exchange was reported to have taken place:

You told me some time ago that the precept, “Love your neighbour as thyself” had to change, given the dark times that we are going through, and become “more than thyself.” So you yearn for a society where equality dominates. This, as you know, is the programme of Marxist socialism and then of communism. Are you therefore thinking of a Marxist type of society?

It it has been said many times and my response has always been that, if anything, it is the communists who think like Christians. Christ spoke of a society where the poor, the weak and the marginalized have the right to decide. Not demagogues, not Barabbas, but the people, the poor, whether they have faith in a transcendent God or not. It is they who must help to achieve equality and freedom”. [emphasis added]

One of the most hotly contested criticism of Pope Francis is that he is ideologically aligned with Marxists. We’ve covered some of the connections before, so I won’t rehash them here. What seems fair to say is that this is the most direct admission yet that Francis identifies his program of social justice as something compatible with Communism – itself an intrinsic evil. Continue Reading

17

Schadenfreude: Doctor Feser Illustrates When it is Permissible

Language advisory as to the above video due to foul mouthed liberals.

Philosopher Edward Feser takes a look at schadenfreude:

 

Bill Vallicella asks: Is there a righteous form of schadenfreude?  The Angelic Doctor appears to answer in the affirmative.  Speaking of the knowledge that the blessed in heaven have of the damned, Aquinas famously says:

It is written (Psalm 57:11): “The just shall rejoice when he shall see the revenge”…

Therefore the blessed will rejoice in the punishment of the wicked…

A thing may be a matter of rejoicing in two ways.  First directly, when one rejoices in a thing as such: and thus the saints will not rejoice in the punishment of the wicked.  Secondly, indirectly, by reason namely of something annexed to it: and in this way the saints will rejoice in the punishment of the wicked, by considering therein the order of Divine justice and their own deliverance, which will fill them with joy.  And thus the Divine justice and their own deliverance will be the direct cause of the joy of the blessed: while the punishment of the damned will cause it indirectly.

End quote.  So, the idea is this: On the one hand, the suffering of a person is not as such something to rejoice in, for suffering, considered just by itself, is an evil and, as Aquinas goes on to say, “to rejoice in another’s evil as such belongs to hatred.”  However, there can be something “annexed” to the suffering which is a cause for rejoicing.  For example, if we are able to develop a virtue like patience by way of suffering, that is something to rejoice in, and thus in an indirect way the suffering can in that case legitimately be a cause of rejoicing.  But another sort of thing which can be annexed to a person’s suffering is justice, as when a person suffers some harm as a deserved punishment.  And someone’s getting his just deserts is in Aquinas’s view something to rejoice in.  Hence, Aquinas concludes, in an indirect way the suffering of the wicked can be something to rejoice in.

This is in Aquinas’s view true even when the suffering is eternal, if that is what is deserved.  Indeed, he judges that the joy of the blessed would be incomplete without knowledge of the infliction of these just deserts:

Wherefore in order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned.

Now, that’s schadenfreude, big league.

Putting the question of hell to one side, though, we can note that if schadenfreude can be legitimate even in that case, then a fortiori it can be legitimate in the case of lesser instances of someone getting his just deserts, in this life rather than the afterlife.  For example – and to take the case Bill has in mind — suppose someone’s suffering is a consequence of anti-Catholic bigotry, brazen corruption, unbearable smugness, a sense of entitlement, groupthink, and in general from hubris virtually begging nemesis to pay a visit.  When you’re really asking for it, you can’t blame others for enjoying seeing you get it.  Continue Reading

17

Prediction of Trump Victory Made on March 2, 2016

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(If faithful readers of the blog will permit me the indulgence of resurrecting this post from March 2 of this year.)

I’m not sold on the idea that Clinton is unbeatable, least of all by Trump who, when it comes to the Clintons’ variety of thermo-nuclear scorched earth politics, is the equivalent of a cockroach.

Ernst Schreiber

Hattip to commenter Ernst Schreiber for the idea behind this post.

As faithful readers of this blog know, I am a strong opponent of Donald Trump.  I view him as an ignorant blowhard, a Democrat in a skimpy Republican disguise, and a disaster in the making of epic proportions if he should be elected President.  I will not vote for him if he is the Republican nominee, an easy call for me since if Illinois is in play Trump is heading for a landslide win in any case.  However, unlike many Trump critics my opposition to him does not have anything to do with his electability in the fall.  If Clinton is the Democrat nominee I think it likely that Trump will win.  Here is why.

1. Clinton Smear Machine-Unlike most candidates I think Trump is largely immune to smears.  Throughout his career he has been subject to a largely bad press.  Except for cannibalism and incest Trump has been charged with every crime imaginable and with some that truly do tax the imagination.  I doubt if there is much more that could be revealed to harm him.  Like Huey Long, the Kingfish of the Depression Era, he thrives on bad press and attacks.

2.  Colorful Career-As loathe as I am to admit it, there are elements in Trump’s career that will probably play well with the voters, including this incident, go here to read it, where Trump intervened to stop a violent mugging in progress.

3.  Wrong Clinton-I always said that Clinton had preternatural political skills, however that was Bill Clinton, who could probably have won an election after being discovered in bed with either a live boy or a dead girl.  His spouse on the other hand is a miserable politician who got beaten like a drum by Obama in 2008 and who has struggled to beat an elderly socialist this year.

4.  Empty Promises-Democrats have thrived over the years on making empty promises to voters with a straight face.  No one can out empty promise Donald The-Mexicans-Are-Going -To-Pay-For-The-Wall Trump!

5.  Outsider-This is clearly a year when the voters want an outsider.  Trump, the croniest capitalist, would seem to be the consummate insider, except when compared to Hillary Clinton.  In the primaries Trump has been able to paint himself as an outsider, and compared to Clinton it is not quite so laughable a claim.

6.  Scandals-Beltway pundits clearly underestimate public anger over Benghazi.  Tie that in with the e-mail crime scandal, and doubtless a lot of juicy tidbits being excavated by Trump’s opposition research, and Clinton will be on the receiving end of endless negative attack ads that would have bounced off her husband but likely will do damage to her.

7.  Jugular-Republicans frustrated by a too gentlemanly form of campaigning by their candidates will have nothing to complain about from Trump.  He will begin with throwing the kitchen sink against Clinton and proceed on from there. Continue Reading