Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 26 years. Small town lawyer. President of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center.

PopeWatch: Appeasement

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Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa recognizes that the Catholic Church is in a war, something that the highest ranks of the Church utterly fail to comprehend:

 

 

 

 

ROME, November 21, 2014 – In a few days Pope Francis will go to Turkey, right into the thick of the new “piecemeal” global war that he sees overrunning the world.

The Islamic caliphate that has taken hold just beyond the Turkish border, between Syria and Iraq, pulverizing the old geographical boundaries, is global by nature. “The triumphant march of the mujahideen will reach all the way to Rome,” caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi proclaimed in the middle of November.

It has received declarations of obedience from patches of Islam in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Algeria, and Libya, opposite the coasts of Italy. In Nigeria and nearby Cameroon, Boko Haram has extended the caliphate to sub-Saharan Africa. New followers are streaming in from Europe and North America.

The black flag of the newly created Islamic State bears a Kufic inscription of its profession of faith: “There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.”

Christians are among the many victims of this puritanical Islam, which calls itself the only true form and also wants to make a desert of what it considers the greatest betrayals of original Islam: the Shiite heresy with its epicenter in Iran and the secularizing modernism of the Turkey of Kemal Atatürk, from whose mausoleum Pope Francis will begin his voyage.

In Ar-Raqqah, the de facto capital of the caliphate and the Syrian city from which the Jesuit Paolo Dall’Oglio disappeared, on the 15 out of 1500 Christian families that have survived the new Islamic State has imposed the jizya, a protection tax of an exorbitant 535 dollars a year, on pain of the confiscation of their homes and possessions.

In Mosul there is no longer any church where Mass is still celebrated, as also happened after the invasion of the Mongols.

It is impossible not to see in this the features of a “war of Islam” pushed to the extreme, fought in the name of Allah. It is illusory to deny the Islamic origin of this unbridled theological violence. This has been published even by the officially supervised “La Civiltà Cattolica,” only to be contradicted afterward by its fearsome director, Antonio Spadaro, the Jesuit who plays the role of Francis’s interpreter.

On Islam the Catholic Church stammers, the more so the higher up the ladder one goes.

The bishops of the dioceses of the Middle East are calling upon the world for effective armed protection, which never comes. In Rome, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran publishes the most detailed denunciation of the atrocities of the caliphate, and declares an end to all possibility of dialogue with those among the Muslims who do not stamp out violence at its roots.

But when the secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, speaks in New York from the tribunal of the UN, as he did on September 29, he carefully avoids the taboo words “Islam” and “Muslims,” and pays the obligatory tribute to the mantra that denies the existence of that conflict of civilization which is plain for all to see. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

November 24, 1864: Thanksgiving for the Troops

In 1864 the Union League decided to raise a fund to supply Thanksgiving dinner on November 24, 1864 for the Union soldiers and sailors fighting in the East.  The reaction of the Northern public to this plan was overwhelming.  over $56,000 in cash was raised, an enormous sum at the time, 250,000 pounds of fowl, and enormous contributions of foodstuffs of every type.  The Union soldiers and sailors loved their feast and the reminder that they had not been forgotten by the folks back home.  For Confederate soldiers, on starvation rations, there was of course no feast, a fact underlining the overwhelming tragedy of the Civil War.  Here is the Union League appeal which was printed in the New York Times on November 8, 1864.  Note that  Theodore Roosevelt, the father of the future president of the same name, is the Treasurer: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Ditto Patrick

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Pat Archbold calls a spade a spade:

 

How much longer we will have to endure this sort of disingenuous dreck of what amounts to little more than Catholic cover of democrat party initiatives?

In his statement on President Obama’s constitution-busting executive orders on immigration, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration twice references the extra-legality of the move by saying that any such actions must be “within its legitimate authority” that these “pastors” (yes, the scare quotes are appropriate) welcome ANY action “within these limits.”
 

WASHINGTON—Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration, welcomed the news today that the Obama administration will defer deportations for many undocumented immigrants and their families.

“We have a long history of welcoming and aiding the poor, the outcast, the immigrant, and the disadvantaged. Each day, the Catholic Church in the United States, in her social service agencies, hospitals, schools, and parishes, witnesses the human consequences of the separation of families, when parents are deported from their children or spouses from each other. We’ve been on record asking the Administration to do everything within its legitimate authority to bring relief and justice to our immigrant brothers and sisters. As pastors, we welcome any efforts within these limits that protect individuals and protect and reunite families and vulnerable children,” said Bishop Elizondo.

By welcoming this action, an action for which the President himself publicly claimed no less than 25 times that  lacked legitimate authority, the USCCB adopts a “by any means necessary” approach to its public policy preferences.  That smacks of consequentialism, don’tcha know.

That the action lacks legitimacy and authority is implicitly acknowledged and dismissively side-stepped in the double “doth protest too much” reference of the statement to legitimacy and limits. The apparatchiks at the USCCB know full well that the President lacks the authority to conduct this action, they just don’t care. In this way, they are just like the progressives whom they unflaggingly support. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Christ, not Man, is King

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I have always liked that our liturgical year now ends with the feast of Christ the King.  It reminds us not only of the Last Day when Christ will reign in Judgment over all men who have ever lived, but also that beneath the showy pomp of human history, the Captains and the Kings who march through its pages are of infinitely of less account than, as the atheist historian HG Welles put it, the penniless preacher from Galilee who is the center of History.   Just after the beginning of World War II the hero pope Pius XII wrote the encyclical  Summi Pontificatus in which he reminded all of humanity that in the final analysis Christ, not Man, is King.

 

To consider the State as something ultimate to which everything else should be subordinated and directed, cannot fail to harm the true and lasting prosperity of nations. This can happen either when unrestricted dominion comes to be conferred on the State as having a mandate from the nation, people, or even a social order, or when the State arrogates such dominion to itself as absolute master, despotically, without any mandate whatsoever. If, in fact, the State lays claim to and directs private enterprises, these, ruled as they are by delicate and complicated internal principles which guarantee and assure the realization of their special aims, may be damaged to the detriment of the public good, by being wrenched from their natural surroundings, that is, from responsible private action. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

An Invitation to the Pope

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When the Pope visits the US next year, I hope he can find time to come to Livingston County Illinois.  I would be happy to be his tour guide and host.  There is a lot to see in the County, but like most of our foreign visitors I think he would be captivated by our farms.  Central Illinois has some of the most fertile soil on Earth, and our endless seas of corn and soybeans are a sight to see in the growing season.  I could take him to visit some of the farms, and he would meet the farmers who produce an agricultural miracle of productivity year after year.  Most of them are members of families who have been tilling the soil here year after year since the Civil War.  He could hear from them how much toil and capital it takes each year to make a crop.  The Pope could see their high tech combines and tractors, etc, and talk to the men and women who routinely put in 16 hour days, six days a week during harvest time.  He could learn just how risky a business farming can be, dependent on weather, and prices around the globe.  No doubt the Pope would be served food wherever he went because that is how our farm wives treat guests, so he should leave plenty of room for pies, cakes, fried chicken, watermelons, etc.

After the tour, I think I would hold a meeting where the Pope could address the farmers, and I would also invite to the meeting all those dependent upon the agriculture industry in the county, and that would include seasonal laborers, grain bin owners, truckers, bankers, etc.  It would be a very respectful and civil meeting and the Pope could say whatever he wished.

However, I would also ask the Pope about this statement he made this week at a UN conference on nutrition held in Rome.

Nowadays there is much talk of rights, frequently neglecting duties; perhaps we have paid too little heed to those who are hungry. It is also painful to see that the struggle against hunger and malnutrition is hindered by “market priorities”, the “primacy of profit”, which have reduced foodstuffs to a commodity like any other, subject to speculation, also of a financial nature. And while we speak of new rights, the hungry remain, at the street corner, and ask to be recognised as citizens, to receive a healthy diet. We ask for dignity, not for charity.

I would ask His Holiness what system in the world has fed more people than the free market system.  I would further ask the Pope if free market economies have a better record feeding the poor than command economies.  I would finally  ask the Pope what system, if that is what his frequent criticisms of market economies is leading to, he would wish to substitute.  In regard to farmers, no free market tends to mean that farmers become the serfs of the State, and the land of the farmers is stolen nationalized.  I think the farmers I know would have quite a few questions at that point.

After the meeting all of us would sit down and eat, and perhaps I could then mention to the Pope the food banks run throughout the County by churches and private charities and groups, the food directly contributed to the poor by ordinary people like my family, especially at this time of the year, and how many of the farmers do mission work to help teach people overseas new farming techniques.  In a small county, in population but not in size, like ours the poor are not an abstraction but people we often know, who frequently have family roots that go back far in the history of the County.  The Pope, I hope, would leave Livingston County with fond memories, a bellyful of food to digest and maybe a few things to think about.

 

Tad and the Turkey

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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. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: Did I Just Say What?

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

 

VATICAN–Speaking to pilgrims during his weekly Wednesday audience yesterday, Pope Francis admitted that he was kind of having a hard time making any kind of sense whatsoever of what he just said.

The Pontiff, who has been known to make off the cuff remarks in the past, told those gathered in St. Peter’s Square that what he just said was “admittedly kind of weird.”

“I said what?” Francis asked those gathered. “There’s no way I just said that. OK, that’s just weird. Seriously, what the heck is it with me? Am I trying to change doctrine or something? How am I gonna explain this to my secular friends? Oh boy, I can see their faces now. I bet they’re just itching to ask when I’m gonna start allowing divorced gay Catholics to receive communion. This is great…just great. I’m so freaking pissed right now I think I’m gonna go blog about it.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Johnny Cash: Thanksgiving

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Something for the weekend.  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 next 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.

Napoleon on Christ?

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I have been reading, and enjoying, Andrew Roberts’ new biography of Napoleon.  Although I am not a fan of the Little Corporal, and Roberts clearly is, I appreciate the freshness he brings to a man who has been studied endlessly since his emergence from the maelstrom of the French Revolution.  I am taking this opportunity to repost a post I wrote in 2008 on purported comments made by Napoleon about Christ:

 

 

Napoleon purportedly made some remarkable statements about Christ while he was imprisoned on Saint Helena.  This one was supposedly made to General Bertrand:

” Such is the fate of great men ! So it was with Caesar and Alexander.   And I, too, am forgotten.   And the name of a conqueror and an emperor is a college theme!   Our exploits are tasks given to pupils by their tutor, who sit in judgment upon us, awarding censure or praise.   And mark what is soon to become of me!   Assassinated by the English oligarchy, I die before my time ; and my dead body, too, must return to the earth, to become food for worms.   Behold the destiny, near at hand, of him who has been called the great Napoleon!   What an abyss between my deep misery and the eternal reign of Christ, which is proclaimed, loved, adored, and which is extending over all the earth!   Is this to die?   Is it not rather to live?   The death of Christ!   It is the death of God.”

For a moment the Emperor was silent. As General Bertrand made no reply, he solemnly added, ” If you do not perceive that Jesus Christ is God, very well, then I did wrong to make you a general.”

And this statement, also to General Bertrand:

“The conversation at St. Helena very frequently turned upon the subject of religion. One day Napoleon was speaking of the divinity of Christ. General Bertrand said,

” I can not conceive, sire, how a great man like you can believe that the Supreme Being ever exhibited himself to men under a human form, with a body, a face, mouth, and eyes. Let Jesus be whatever you please—the highest intelligence, the purest heart, the most profound legislator, and, in all respects, the most singular being who has ever existed—I grant it. Still he was simply a man, who taught his disciples, and deluded credulous people, as did Orpheus, Confucius, Brama. Jesus caused himself to be adored because his predecessors Isis and Osiris, Jupiter and Juno, had proudly made themselves objects of worship. The ascendancy of Jesus over his time was like the ascendancy of the gods and the heroes of fable. If Jesus has impassioned and attached to his chariot the multitude, if he has revolutionized the world, I see in that only the power of genius and the action of a commanding spirit, which vanquishes the world as so many conquerors have done— Alexander, Caesar, you, sire, and Mohammed—with a sword.”

Napoleon promptly replied,

” I know men, and I tell you that Jesus Christ is not a man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires, and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and whatever other religion the distance of infinity.”

 I say these statements were purportedly made by Napoleon because controversy surrounds these and similar statements allegedly made by Napoleon about Christ on Saint Helena.  Go here for some background on the difficulty of confirming these quotes. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: Pope Emeritus

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Well, this is interesting:

In Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s complete works, an article from 1972 by the young theologian Father Ratzinger, has been published minus a passage referring to the possibility of Communion for the divorced and remarried.

This deletion is interesting since that passage has been quoted frequently by Cardinal Walter Kasper, who, as was noted at the Synod, is a an enthusiastic advocate of the divorced and remarried being admitted to the Eucharist.

According to the Irish Times, Father Vincent Twomey (a theologian, who studied under Professor Ratzinger) is of the opinion that the editorial modification is important; the theologian suggests that Pope Emeritus does not want his ideas as a young theologian, never repeated as Prefect for the Congregation of Faith nor as Pope, being manipulated. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

November 21, 1864: Letter to Mrs. Bixby

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Executive Mansion, Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,

 

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.

 

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

 

A. LINCOLN.

 

It is a magnificent letter and repeats themes from the Gettysburg address and looks forward to the Second Inaugural.  Alas, the letter demonstrates how frequently ill advised it is to rely on government records.  Two of Mrs. Bixby’s sons died fighting for the Union, another died as either a deserter or a prisoner of war and another deserted and survived the war.  The final son was honorably discharged from the Army.  (This is not that unusual.  One of my friends, when it came time for him to retire from the Marines, had quite a time convincing the Pentagon that he had not died fighting in Hue during the Tet Offensive in 1968.) Mrs. Bixby did not find the letter of comfort apparently.  According to a granddaughter, Mrs. Bixby was secretly in sympathy with the Confederacy and had little good to say of Mr. Lincoln.  She probably destroyed the letter soon after it was delivered to her on November 24, 1864, as the original letter, which was published at the time, promptly vanished from history.

 

Lincoln, although he signed the letter, may not have written it.  Theodore Roosevelt had a copy of it in his office and greatly admired it.  A witness indicated that at one point his Secretary of State John Hay, who had been one of Lincoln’s private secretaries, stated that he had written the letter, which would not have been an unusual procedure, although Lincoln wrote quite a bit of his own correspondence as President.  The question remains open, although on balance I think the authorship of the letter by Hay, mimicking Lincoln’s thoughts and style, probably has the stronger case than Lincoln’s own authorship. Having said all of that, I assume that Lincoln’s heart did go out to Mrs.  Bixby.  He had seen two of his own sons die, and friends and relatives of his had fallen in the War.  He was a frequent visitor to Union hospitals around Washington to visit the Union wounded and knew well the immense human cost of the War that now, mercifully, was drawing to a close. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The Old Issue

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“Here is nothing new nor aught unproven,” say the Trumpets,
“Many feet have worn it and the road is old indeed.
“It is the King—the King we schooled aforetime !”
(Trumpets in the marshes—in the eyot at Runnymede!)

“Here is neither haste, nor hate, nor anger,” peal the Trumpets,
“Pardon for his penitence or pity for his fall.
“It is the King!”—inexorable Trumpets—
(Trumpets round the scaffold at the dawning by Whitehall!)

.     .     .     .     .

“He hath veiled the Crown and hid the Sceptre,” warn the Trumpets,
“He hath changed the fashion of the lies that cloak his will.
“Hard die the Kings—ah hard—dooms hard!” declare the Trumpets,
Trumpets at the gang-plank where the brawling troop-decks fill!

Ancient and Unteachable, abide—abide the Trumpets!
Once again the Trumpets, for the shuddering ground-swell brings
Clamour over ocean of the harsh, pursuing Trumpets—
Trumpets of the Vanguard that have sworn no truce with Kings!

All we have of freedom, all we use or know—
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.

Ancient Right unnoticed as the breath we draw—
Leave to live by no man’s leave, underneath the Law.

Lance and torch and tumult, steel and grey-goose wing
Wrenched it, inch and ell and all, slowly from the King.

Till our fathers ‘stablished, after bloody years,
How our King is one with us, first among his peers.

So they bought us freedom—not at little cost
Wherefore must we watch the King, lest our gain be lost,

Over all things certain, this is sure indeed,
Suffer not the old King: for we know the breed. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

PopeWatch: Why?

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Francis Cardinal George in an interview gets to the heart of the questions that arise about Pope Francis among orthodox Catholics:
Let’s talk about Pope Francis. Recently veteran Italian writer Sandro Magister said many American bishops seem “uncomfortable” with Francis, and hinted that the American bishops may have to become the defenders of tradition rather than the Vatican under this pope. What do you make of that?
I hope he’s wrong! It’s not because I don’t trust the American bishops, I do, but that’s a very broad statement about the pope and the Vatican.
Are you concerned that there’s a wholesale abandonment of tradition?
I don’t think there’s a wholesale abandonment of tradition. The pope has said he wants every question to be raised and it has been, so he’s gotten what he wants, and now he has to sort it out. He himself has said that the pope has the charism of unity, and he knows very well that it’s unity around Christ, not around him. Therefore, the tradition that unites us to Christ has to be the norm. How he interprets that, and how somebody else might interpret that, is where you get into conversations that shape a government.
I can see why some people might be anxious. If you don’t push it, he does seem to bring into question well-received doctrinal teaching. But when you look at it again, especially when you listen to his homilies in particular, you see that’s not it. Very often when he says those things, he’s putting it into a pastoral context of someone who’s caught in a kind of trap. Maybe the sympathy is expressed in a way that leaves people wondering if he still holds the doctrine. I have no reason to believe that he doesn’t.
Until the Synod of Bishops in October, most mainstream folks in what we might loosely call the ‘conservative’ camp seemed inclined to give Francis the benefit of the doubt. Afterwards that seems less the case, with some people now seeing the pope in a more critical light. Is that your sense as well?
I think that’s probably true. The question is raised, why doesn’t he himself clarify these things? Why is it necessary that apologists have to bear that burden of trying to put the best possible face on it? Does he not realize the consequences of some of his statements, or even some of his actions? Does he not realize the repercussions? Perhaps he doesn’t. I don’t know whether he’s conscious of all the consequences of some of the things he’s said and done that raise these doubts in people’s minds.

→']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

King Obama

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In Federalist 69 Alexander Hamilton responded to the criticism that the Presidency under the proposed Constitution established an elective monarchy which would be a perpetual threat to American liberties:

 

Hence it appears that, except as to the concurrent authority of the President in the article of treaties, it would be difficult to determine whether that magistrate would, in the aggregate, possess more or less power than the Governor of New York. And it appears yet more unequivocally, that there is no pretense for the parallel which has been attempted between him and the king of Great Britain. But to render the contrast in this respect still more striking, it may be of use to throw the principal circumstances of dissimilitude into a closer group.

 

The President of the United States would be an officer elected by the people for four years; the king of Great Britain is a perpetual and hereditary prince. The one would be amenable to personal punishment and disgrace; the person of the other is sacred and inviolable. The one would have a qualified negative upon the acts of the legislative body; the other has an absolute negative. The one would have a right to command the military and naval forces of the nation; the other, in addition to this right, possesses that of declaring war, and of raising and regulating fleets and armies by his own authority. The one would have a concurrent power with a branch of the legislature in the formation of treaties; the other is the sole possessor of the power of making treaties. The one would have a like concurrent authority in appointing to offices; the other is the sole author of all appointments. The one can confer no privileges whatever; the other can make denizens of aliens, noblemen of commoners; can erect corporations with all the rights incident to corporate bodies. The one can prescribe no rules concerning the commerce or currency of the nation; the other is in several respects the arbiter of commerce, and in this capacity can establish markets and fairs, can regulate weights and measures, can lay embargoes for a limited time, can coin money, can authorize or prohibit the circulation of foreign coin. The one has no particle of spiritual jurisdiction; the other is the supreme head and governor of the national church! What answer shall we give to those who would persuade us that things so unlike resemble each other? The same that ought to be given to those who tell us that a government, the whole power of which would be in the hands of the elective and periodical servants of the people, is an aristocracy, a monarchy, and a despotism.

 

One can only imagine what Mr. Hamilton and the other Founding Fathers would make of this:

According to a senior Democrat familiar with the plans, Obama will announce on Thursday that he is providing temporary protections to up to 5 million undocumented immigrants. His orders will make up to 4 million undocumented immigrants eligible for temporary protective status and provide relief to another 1 million through other means. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Roosevelt’s Rebel Uncles

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During the Civil War, Theodore Roosevelt’s home was literally a house divided.  His father was whole heartedly for the Union, while his mother backed the Confederacy with the same passion.  Our of respect for his wife, Theodore Roosevelt, Sr, put aside his strong desire to enlist in the Union army and served in a civilian non-combatant capacity.  Many of his mother’s relations fought for the Confederacy, and Roosevelt, Jr, was especially fond of two of his uncles who had served in the Confederate Navy:

“My mother’s two brothers, James Dunwoody Bulloch and Irvine Bulloch, came to visit us shortly after the close of the war. Both came under assumed names, as they were among the Confederates who were at that time exempted from the amnesty. “Uncle Jimmy” Bulloch was a dear old retired sea-captain, utterly unable to “get on” in the worldly sense of that phrase, as valiant and simple and upright a soul as ever lived, a veritable Colonel Newcome. He was a commander in the Confederate navy, and was the builder of the famous Confederate war vessel Alabama. My uncle Irvine Bulloch was a midshipman on the Alabama, and fired the last gun discharged from her batteries in the fight with the Kearsarge. Both of these uncles lived in Liverpool after the war. “

My uncle Jimmy Bulloch was forgiving and just in reference to the Union forces, and could discuss all phases of the Civil War with entire fairness and generosity. But in English politics he promptly became a Tory of the most ultra-conservative school. Lincoln and Grant he could admire, but he would not listen to anything in favor of Mr. Gladstone. The only occasions on which I ever shook his faith in me were when I would venture meekly to suggest that some of the manifestly preposterous falsehoods about Mr. Gladstone could not be true. My uncle was one of the best men I have ever known, and when I have sometimes been tempted to wonder how good people can believe of me the unjust and impossible things they do believe, I have consoled myself by thinking of Uncle Jimmy Bulloch’s perfectly sincere conviction that Gladstone was a man of quite exceptional and nameless infamy in both public and private life.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Climate Cult

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Princeton Professor of Physics William Happer has long been skeptical of the climate change movement, viewing it as largely a religious, I would say substitute religious, cult.  He set forth a summary of his views in an article in First Things in 2011:

There are many honest, hardworking climate scientists who are trying to understand the effects of CO2 on climate, but their work has fallen under suspicion because of the hockey-stick scandal and many other exaggerations about the dangers of increasing CO2. What has transformed climate science from a normal intellectual discipline to a matter of so much controversy?

A major problem has been the co-opting of climate science by politics, ambition, greed, and what seems to be a hereditary human need for a righteous cause. What better cause than saving the planet? Especially if one can get ample, secure funding at the same time? Huge amounts of money are available from governments and wealthy foundations for climate institutes and for climate-related research.

Funding for climate studies is second only to funding for biological sciences. Large academic empires, prizes, elections to honorary societies, fellowships, and other perquisites go to those researchers whose results may help “save the planet.” Every day we read about some real or contrived environmental or ecological effect “proven” to arise from global warming. The total of such claimed effects now runs in the hundreds, all the alleged result of an unexceptional century-long warming of less than 1 degree Celsius. Government subsidies, loan guarantees, and captive customers go to green companies. Carbon-tax revenues flow to governments. As the great Russian poet Pushkin said in his novella Dubrovsky , “If there happens to be a trough, there will be pigs.” Any doubt about apocalyptic climate scenarios could remove many troughs.

What about those who doubt the scientific basis of these claims, or who simply don’t like what is being done to the scientific method they were taught to apply and uphold? Publications of contrary research results in mainstream journals are rare. The occasional heretical article is the result of an inevitable, protracted battle with those who support the dogma and who have their hands on the scales of peer review. As mentioned above, we know from the Climategate emails that the team conspired to prevent contrary publications from seeing the light of day and even discussed getting rid of an editor who seemed to be inclined to admit such contentious material.

Skeptics’ motives are publicly impugned; denigrating names are used routinely in media reports and the blogosphere; and we now see attempts to use the same tactics that Big Brother applied to the skeptical hero, Winston Smith, in Orwell’s 1984 . In 2009 a conference of “ecopsychologists” was held at the University of West England to discuss the obvious psychological problems resident in those who do not adhere to the global warming dogma. The premise of these psychologists was that scientists and members of the general population who express objective doubt about the propagated view of global warming are suffering from a kind of mental illness. We know from the Soviet experience that a society can find it easy to consider dissidents to be mentally deranged and act accordingly. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

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