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.

Back Again



The family and I are back safe from Gen Con.  It was fun as always.  As usual, Dad was the spendthrift of the family, spending too much on books and games.  Surprisingly, two of my best game purchases I made not at the convention but at one of the two Half Price Books in Indy that we visited.  I picked up Friedrich, a game on the Seven Years War, and its companion game Maria, on the War of the Austrian Succession.  These games will be keepers in my collection.  Both games are in mint condition, and I am fascinated by the period and the game mechanics used by the game designer.  Friedrich I got for ten bucks off the Amazon price and Maria for a stunning seventy-five off the Amazon price.


Some of the games I purchase I do so intending to resell them on eBay, my bride being in charge of the monthly eBay sales we have been doing since 2002.  The star in this category this year was one of the American Heritage Command Series games put out by Milton Bradley in the early sixties.  For $16.00 I purchased a copy of Hit the Beach, a game on the island hopping campaigns in the Pacific during World War II.   These were very much games rather than historical simulations, although usually some rudimentary strategy lessons were taught.  Most veteran war gaming grognards of today started their love affair with war games as a boy with one of these mass market games.   These are fairly rare in good condition and I think it will probably do well once put up on e-bay.

My bride participated in the craft section of Gen Con, crocheting a colorful Dragon’s Egg.


dinosaur egg FO

My daughter, the baby of our family, had fun as a bard in True Dungeon:



Our baby will be a senior in college this year!  Where do the years go? Continue reading

Resquiescat in Pace: Brian Bergkamp




A successful vocation:


Police in Kansas have announced that a body found last week in the Arkansas River near one of the city’s park is the body of Brian Bergkamp, a seminarian from the Diocese of Wichita.

The Wichita Eagle Daily newspaper reported that a fisherman had spotted a piece of life vest floating in the water with a rosary attached to it. That discovery led to finding the body of the missing seminarian. The coroner confirmed it was Bergkamp and his family was given the news first.

Bergkamp, who was studying for the Kansas diocese at a Maryland seminary, had been missing since he saved the life of a woman who fell into the Arkansas River on 9 July. Three days later, he remained missing and was presumed to be dead.

Bergkamp, 24, was among five people travelling in separate kayaks when all got caught in turbulent waters. According to The Wichita Eagle, Bergkamp jumped from his kayak to save the woman before getting pulled under himself. He was not wearing a life jacket. The other kayakers made it to shore.

His family said his funeral and burial would be private. “Our prayers continue to be lifted up for the consolation of Brian’s family as they take the next step to honour the memory of their son and brother,” the Wichita Diocese said in a statement this week.

The diocese expressed “gratitude to God for his abundant graces offered to strengthen all impacted by Brian’s death, to the members of the recovery team and personnel of the Wichita Fire and Police departments, and to those others who have helped in any way throughout this tragedy”.

“Brian’s diocesan family is also thankful that his mortal remains will be able to be laid to rest and have a place at which continued prayers may be offered for his eternal well-being,” the statement said. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Pokemon





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


Local priest Father John Ross is being accused of delaying Mass for up to an hour Sunday morning after pausing during the middle of The Presentation of the Gifts to catch a Pikachu, several parishioners have reported.

Ross admitted to the diocesan officials that he was playing the newly released Pokemon Go app while saying the Mass.

“Fr. Ross has admitted to simultaneously saying Mass while trying to catch a Kipachu or Pikachu or whatever,” one official told EOTT early this morning. “It appears as though Fr. Ross located a Pikachu on top of a parishioner’s head, which he was able to retrieve during the Entrance. During the Penitential Act, Fr. Ross made his way down the main aisle and beneath several pews where he is said to have successfully hunted down a Charmander.”

Ross told EOTT that, although he was sorry for his actions, he wished people would understand that he can do two things at one.

“Listen, I’ve been saying Mass a long time. I can say it in my sleep. In my opinion, if I’m just sitting there during the first or second readings and happen to spot a Kadabra or a Dragonite, you better bet your bottom tithing dollar that I’m gonna try and catch it.”

Ross went on to say that his motto for playing Pokemon during Mass was “Catch them all, save them all.”

“There’s absolutely no reason I can’t save souls while catching and training Pokemon to battle for sport. I do admit that at one point after Mass I kinda sorta mixed it up and told a Pikachu that he ought to trust in God more then proceeded to accidentally capture an 80-year-old usher. That was my fault, I am sorry for that. In my defense, he kinda looks like a Groudon.” Continue reading

Good-bye Old Glory



Something for the weekend.  Good-bye Old Glory.  Published on September 29, 1865 with music by the most prolific song writers of the Civil War era, George Frederick Root and lyrics by L.J. Bates.  This song was popular at Union Army reunions and at meeting halls of the Grand Army of the Republic.  This rendition is performed by Bobby Horton who has waged a one man crusade to bring Civil War era music to contemporary audiences.

PopeWatch: Pope Francis Catholics




Veep Candidate Tim Kaine, Catholic pro-abort, is seeking the votes of “Pope Francis Catholics”:


Kaine’s distinction between a Pope Francis Catholic and a Catholic is puzzling, but part of a greater strategy by the Clinton campaign to appeal to more liberal Catholic Democrats.

He has emphasized his qualifications as a Catholic since taking the stage as Hillary Clinton’s running mate, speaking openly about his Jesuit education and missionary work in Honduras.

“Soy Catolico, Soy Catolico,” he repeated in Spanish during a campaign rally after he was announced as Vice President. “I am a Catholic, and Hillary is a Methodist, but, I tell you, her creed is the same as mine, ‘Do all the good that you can,’” he said, quoting the Methodist motto.

To bolster his Catholic credentials, Kaine reminded the Democratic audience on a Saturday that he would be in his home parish at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Richmond the following morning.

“Hey, St. E.’s folks, I hope you’re watching,” he said. “We will be there at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.”

They were, and so was the media, who dutifully reported Kaine’s participation in the Mass and and “sang and clapped along to the choir.”

“During communion, Kaine joined the choir and took the lead singing a solo. He sang the solo parts of a song called ‘Taste and See,’” ABC News reported.

Parishioners stood and applauded Kaine after he entered the Church after accepting the nomination for Vice President on the Clinton ticket.

By citing his more liberal Jesuit education, Kaine sends a signal that he will not stand for the lives of unborn children as victims of abortion.

“I’m a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade and women being able to make these decisions,” he said when asked a question about abortion during a CNN interview in July.

His voting record to defend abortion rights has earned him the support of abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.

“He has been a champion for Planned Parenthood,” Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards said after he was nominated. Continue reading

July 17, 1980: Ronald Reagan Acceptance Speech




Hands down the most effective acceptance speech I have witnessed in my life.  Reagan had been aiming for this since 1968.  For his conservative followers this was the culmination of a struggle dating back to the Eisenhower-Taft sruggle in 1852.  Here is the text of the speech:

Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice President to be, this convention, my fellow citizens of this great nation:

With a deep awareness of the responsibility conferred by your trust, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States. I do so with deep gratitude, and I think also I might interject on behalf of all of us, our thanks to Detroit and the people of Michigan and to this city for the warm hospitality they have shown. And I thank you for your wholehearted response to my recommendation in regard to George Bush as a candidate for vice president.

I am very proud of our party tonight. This convention has shown to all America a party united, with positive programs for solving the nation’s problems; a party ready to build a new consensus with all those across the land who share a community of values embodied in these words: family, work, neighborhood, peace and freedom.

I know we have had a quarrel or two, but only as to the method of attaining a goal. There was no argument about the goal. As president, I will establish a liaison with the 50 governors to encourage them to eliminate, where it exists, discrimination against women. I will monitor federal laws to insure their implementation and to add statutes if they are needed.

More than anything else, I want my candidacy to unify our country; to renew the American spirit and sense of purpose. I want to carry our message to every American, regardless of party affiliation, who is a member of this community of shared values. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Remarkable





Father Raymond de Souza in the Catholic Herald has some pointed commentary regarding the Pope’s recent remarks on terrorism:



Yet something had to be said when even the French president declared that this attack on the Catholic Church was an attack on France as a whole. Pope Francis spoke on the plane to Kraków about how Fr Hamel was one of many Christians to be killed in this “piecemeal world war”. Immediately advised by Fr Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica and the Holy Father’s de facto spokesman, that that could be interpreted as if Islam was waging war on Christianity, the Holy Father circled back to the journalists to take another crack at it, insisting that wars are never caused by religion.

That seemed to do the trick for the plane, but on the ground in Kraków the pilgrims were talking about it, the journalists were still asking about it, the bishops from around the world were incorporating the martyrdom of Fr Hamel into their catechetical talks. Why did the Holy Father not say something, given that two of the patrons held up as models for WYD were the martyrs St Maximilian Kolbe and Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko?

A hasty solution was adopted, with Pope Francis adding an unscheduled visit to venerate the relics of two recently beatified Polish missionaries, Franciscan friars killed by the Marxist Shining Path guerillas in 1991 in Peru. There the Holy Father offered a prayer for deliverance from the “devastating wave of terrorism” without further specification. There was though a hint of where the Holy Father was heading in the part of the prayer for the “families of the victims of terrorism”, asking that they might find the “courage to continue to be brothers and sisters for others, above all for immigrants.” The pivot from terror to immigration indicated the Holy Father’s frustration that the summer of Islamist terror is dampening popular enthusiasm for greater settlement of Muslim refugees in Europe.

Finally, on the flight home, Pope Francis made clear his current thinking, that there is no such phenomenon as Islamist violence, any more than domestic violence in Italy constitutes “Catholic violence”. Going further still, he acknowledged that “there are violent persons of [Islam]… this is true: I believe that in pretty much every religion there is always a small group of fundamentalists. Fundamentalists. We have them.”

It was not clear whether Pope Francis was speaking historically or contemporaneously, but if the latter, there is no evidence of violent Catholic fundamentalists at work anywhere in the world. That the head of the Catholic Church would suggest such is simply remarkable.

Remarkable too, though, was that the airborne remarks, while covered in the Catholic press, were relegated to very secondary coverage in the secular press. Perhaps the novelty of the Holy Father’s airborne press conferences is wearing off.

Which may be for the best. Better not to leave the final word from Kraków, a millennium-old city of hundreds of martyrs, by ignoring their contemporary companions. Continue reading

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Robert Goodloe Harper

“Millions for defense, but not a cent for tribute!”

Robert Goodloe Harper

June 18, 1798

Robert Goodloe Harper was only 15 years old when he volunteered to fight in the American Revolution in 1780 in a cavalry unit raised to combat the British in the Southern Campaign.  After the War he studied law and went into politics in South Carolina where he was elected a Congressman for several terms in the 1790s.  Becoming Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee he uttered his famous statement during the XYZ affair.

To resolve disputes with France that had developed over attempts by the French to interdict American trade with Britain, President John Adams sent negotiators to France in 1797 under Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Revolutionary War veteran and signer of the US Constitution.  Pinckney was a hard core American patriot.  During the Revolutionary War after the siege of Charleston in 1780 he was taken prisoner by the British along with 5,000 other American troops,  and kept up the spirits of his fellow prisoners.  He never wavered in his faith in ultimate American victory, uttering this phrase which reflected his entire life:  “If I had a vein that did not beat with the love of my Country, I myself would open it. If I had a drop of blood that could flow dishonorable, I myself would let it out.” 

In France for the negotiations he encountered the French foreign minister, Charles Maurice de Tallyrand, an apostate Bishop, who Napoleon once aptly described as, freely translated, “Dung in a silk stocking.”  Talleyrand demanded bribes for himself and other French officials.  An outraged Pinckney responded, “No, no, not a sixpence!” Continue reading

PopeWatch: The Real Terrorists




The Pope on his flight back to the Vatican from Poland indicated that he knew the true cause of terrorism:


Questioned about what is fueling terrorist acts, the pope pointed the finger at the global economy, saying that “terrorism grows when there is no other option, and to the extent the world economy has at its center the god of money and not the person.” The love and adoration of money is a “basic terrorism against all of humanity” he said, and has replaced love between humans. Continue reading

Off to Gen Con



My family is off today to Gen Con.  My wife and I began going to this gaming convention in 1986 (My, how the years fly by.)  That year about 5,000 people attended the Convention that was then held in Milwaukee.  The Convention switched to Indianapolis in 2003.  Last year attendance was 61, 423.  As usual I will be hanging out at the game auction along with the other grizzled grognards as we remember historical boardgames of long ago and talk about the latest games.  My bride will be crocheting in the craft section.  My daughter will be participating in True Dungeon, live action D&D.  My son, who is about to begin his final year in law school, will be prowling the exhibit hall looking for bargains.  Hopefully I will not be tossed into the Klingon gaol and if I do, I trust I will not end up in Rura Penthe.


Just Who Is Unfit?


I have long thought that God has a deep and abiding love of irony.  On the same day that Obama proclaims that Trump is unfit to be President, we learn that  he paid a $400 million dollar ranson for four captive Americans held by the Iranian regime:


WASHINGTON—The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran, according to U.S. and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the operation afterward.

Wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies were flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane, according to these officials. The U.S. procured the money from the central banks of the Netherlands and Switzerland, they said.

The money represented the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to resolve a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 fall of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Continue reading

Black Lives Matter Demands




The groups that make up Black Lives Matter have released a list of demands:


  1. Reparations for the systemic denial of access to high quality educational opportunities in the form of full and free access for all Black people (including undocumented and currently and formerly incarcerated people) to lifetime education including: free access and open admissions to public community colleges and universities, technical education (technology, trade and agricultural), educational support programs, retroactive forgiveness of student loans, and support for lifetime learning programs.
  2. Reparations for the continued divestment from, discrimination toward and exploitation of our communities in the form of a guaranteed minimum livable income for all Black people, with clearly articulated corporate regulations.
  3. Reparations for the wealth extracted from our communities through environmental racism, slavery, food apartheid, housing discrimination and racialized capitalism in the form of corporate and government reparations focused on healing ongoing physical and mental trauma, and ensuring our access and control of food sources, housing and land.
  4. Reparations for the cultural and educational exploitation, erasure, and extraction of our communities in the form of mandated public school curriculums that critically examine the political, economic, and social impacts of colonialism and slavery, and funding to support, build, preserve, and restore cultural assets and sacred sites to ensure the recognition and honoring of our collective struggles and triumphs.
  5. Legislation at the federal and state level that requires the United States to acknowledge the lasting impacts of slavery, establish and execute a plan to address those impacts. This includes the immediate passage of H.R.40, the “Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act” or subsequent versions which call for reparations remedies.

Go here to read the rest.  Trump should ask Clinton repeatedly if she agrees with these demands.  One thing I will miss with the end of the Obama administration is all the racial healing.  The Democrats for decades have used racial appeals to black voters to increase black turnout at the polls.  They have sown the wind and they are beginning to reap the whirlwind.

Confessions of a Republican-Democrat Ad 1964



As faithful readers of this blog know, I am not supporting Donald Trump and I am sitting out this election.  However, it should be noted that the tactics being deployed by the Democrats and their media auxilliaries against Trump, that he is a Nazi and crazy, are precisely the same sort of tactics that the Democrats have used against every Republican nominee since Eisenhower.  If Jeb Bush had been the nominee he would now be painted as a theocratic Hitler wannabe.   I have good reasons for thinking that Trump would make a bad president, but as for Democrat strategists he is just another Republican to be subject to their usual campaign strategies.

Grief and Politics

Having observed the political scene for the past half century I sometimes think I have seen it all, but the disparate treatment given to Patricia Smith and the Khan family truly nauseates me.  Note how the CNN talking head in the video above attempts to turn Patricia Smith into a weapon against Trump.  For my entire life most of the media has been in the tank for the Democrat party and each year it gets a bit worse.  Now we have an example of how some parental grief simply does not matter if it cannot be turned against the GOP.  Jim Geraghty at National Review Online gives us the disgusting details:
Hey, remember when the first night of the Republican convention featured Patricia Smith, mother of Sean Smith, one of the Americans slain in Benghazi? Remember how her speech was called a “cynical exploitation of grief”? Or the “unabashed exploitation of private people’s grief” or “the weaponization of grief”? Remember how she “ruined the evening”? How it was, “a spectacle so offensive, it was hard to even comprehend”? How some liberal commentators said, “Mrs. Smith was really most interested in drinking blood rather than healing”? How her speech represented an “early dip into the gutter”? Remember how a GQ writer publicly expressed a desire to beat her to death?

In every interaction about the Khan family, Donald Trump reveals what most observers already knew: He’s a narcissistic ass who can’t even be bothered to fake empathy. But the Democratic convention organizers’ decision to showcase the Khans as the spokespeople for the message that Trump is morally unacceptable to be the leader of the country is the mirror image of the Republican convention organizers’ choice to showcase Smith. And we see that most people’s reaction to each grieving parent aligns precisely with their partisan perspective.

Continue reading

The Last Photo


What is that?

[surprised] “What is that?”

Yes, what is it?

God, I’m with the heathen. [shows medallion, with a key on the chain] That is my call box key, and that is St. Jude.

Santo Jude. He’s the patron saint of the lost causes.

And policemen.

Patron saint of policemen?

Everybody needs a friend.

Untouchables, 1987





One Peter 5 has an extremely powerful post by the wife of a cop, a Catholic homeschooling mother of four, and the dread that families of cops learn to live with:


He doesn’t know that I call this photo, “the last photo.” He doesn’t know that I have a collection, spanning nearly a decade, of “last photos” just in case… There is only a small percentage of spouses out there that seriously have to say goodbye with their whole heart when their partner leaves for work. Do you know how it feels to discuss increasing his life insurance because the climate of the world is anti-police right now and I can’t afford to raise four kids on my own with our measly savings. The brutal truth is that I take this last photo so that I have an up-to-date photo in case the media needs it, in case he dies. This last time, I didn’t have the chance to get the kids out of their dinner stained pajamas so I edited it to be black and white so you don’t see the tomato sauce and peanut butter. He doesn’t know that my heart trembles while I take the photo, he looks so happy with his kids in his arms and they look so safe wrapped under him and all I can think about is “what if this is the last photo”… Grim? Macabre? Maybe…  but I don’t care. What if it is the last photo? I would be so thankful that I took it. I would be so thankful that he spent those twenty minutes before leaving, on his knees, in prayer with his family.

I would be so thankful for those stolen glances at his perfect profile speaking the words, “…deliver us from evil…”

I was talking with a friend about this “last photo” this morning and she asked me to write this. She suggested that I ask all police spouses to share their own version of “the last photo,” to create a movement, to see the person behind the badge. Can you share this and ask those you know who are married to police officers if they are “ok”? Can you see if they need help when they are alone for the seventh evening in a row, putting kids to sleep? Can you send them a message when the media reports another horrific police death because let me tell you, we all bleed blue and cry for those who have fallen because they are one of our own. I see my tears on their wives faces and my children standing beside the casket.

I wish that I never had to write this but I am so thankful that I have this opportunity to open up about my deepest fear because the family waiting at home often keeps these things locked up at home because we have heard it all before and have learned to grow a thick skin. I don’t want to become a jaded police wife. We aren’t those people. My heart cries out for justice for ALL the victims and fatherless families. My heart aches for all of the mothers who are tucking their kids into bed alone tonight. This isn’t us versus them. This isn’t my pain versus yours. I just wanted to let you know that when you see a photo of my husband and kids on one of my social media accounts, what you didn’t know is that while I was taking it, I was hoping and praying that this photo would not become the last photo Continue reading

July 16, 1964: Extremism and Moderation



The Republican candidate was frequently called a Nazi and his supporters extremist nuts.  Sound familiar?  For many American liberals Barry Goldwater was the new Hitler and his followers brownshirts.  This seems humorous now, especially as Goldwater, in his later years turning on social conservatives, became the favorite conservative of liberals.  It was all deadly serious in 1964.  Goldwater had worked a revolution in his party, making the conservative wing dominant.  This had led to an acrimonious convention which was televised to the nation.  In most ways it was a mirror image to the McGovern Democratic Convention of 1972.  In each case the candidate went down to landslide defeat, but won a long term victory for his ideology within his party.

Goldwater’s speech was a cut above intellectually from most political speeches.  It was written by historian Harry Jaffa, who died at 96 in 2015.  The most quoted line from the speech is, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is not a virtue”.  When the line was criticized Goldwater would claim that it was from Cicero.  He probably thought this because novelist Taylor Caldwell gave Goldwater a note which contained a quote from A Pillar of Iron, her then forthcoming historical fiction novel on Cicero which would be published in 1965.  Caldwell had Cicero say in defense of his execution of Senators involved in the Conspiracy of Catiline:

“I must remind you, Lords, Senators, that extreme patriotism in the defense of freedom is no crime, and let me respectfully remind you that pusillanimity in the pursuit of justice is no virtue in a Roman.”

Here is the text of Goldwater’s speech:

To my good friend and great Republican, Dick Nixon, and your charming wife, Pat; my running mate and that wonderful Republican who has served us well for so long, Bill Miller and his wife, Stephanie; to Thurston Morton who has done such a commendable job in chairmaning this Convention; to Mr. Herbert Hoover, who I hope is watching; and to that great American and his wife, General and Mrs. Eisenhower; to my own wife, my family, and to all of my fellow Republicans here assembled, and Americans across this great Nation.

From this moment, united and determined, we will go forward together, dedicated to the ultimate and undeniable greatness of the whole man. Together we will win. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Fundamentalists




In yet another inflight interview, this one as he flew back from World Youth Day in Poland, Pope Francis summoned up one of his strawmen in order to avoid giving an honest answer in regard to Islam:

On a flight back to the Vatican after a five-day visit to Poland, Francis was asked by a reporter about remarks he made following last week’s attack on a church in northern France in which an elderly priest was brutally murdered. The reporter asked the pope why he refers to terrorists but never to Islam when talking about such violent incidents.

Francis responded that the characterization of Islam as violent is untrue and that violence committed by extremist groups such as the Islamic State should not be attributed to the religion as a whole.

“If I speak of Islamic violence, I should speak of Catholic violence,” the pope said.

“I believe that in pretty much every religion there is always a small group of fundamentalists,” he said, adding, “When fundamentalism comes to kill, it can kill with the language — the Apostle James says this, not me — and even with a knife, no?” Continue reading

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