I have a post at the new Catholic webzine, Catholic Stand, on the difference between embracing the culture and working to change it. It’s a response to a post from Kurt Schlicter in which he suggests that social conservatives need to watch shows like Girls in order to adequately interact in today’s culture.
This is how Ron Paul greeted the news of the murder of Navy Seal, Chris Kyle.
Chris Kyle’s death seems to confirm that “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn’t make sense
— Ron Paul (@RonPaul) February 4, 2013
And here is Ron Paul attempting damage control:
As a veteran, I certainly recognize that this weekend’s violence and killing of Chris Kyle were a tragic and sad event. My condolences and prayers go out to Mr. Kyle’s family. Unconstitutional and unnecessary wars have endless unintended consequences. A policy of non-violence, as Christ preached, would have prevented this and similar tragedies. -REP
You know, at some point you just stop typing. Ron Paul should have done that at the words “Mr. Kyle’s family.” But he had to just double down in order to make a political point.
Perhaps Paul’s next step is to pay the man’s family a visit to pay his respects where he can tell Mr. Kyle’s widow and children that his dad had it coming to him.
Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul and faith
And I was round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
Undoubtedly most of you are aware that Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angles has stripped Roger Cardinal Mahony of all public duties. If not, here is the story.
Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez announced Thursday that Cardinal Roger Mahony would have a reduced role in the church and that Santa Barbara Bishop Thomas J. Curry has stepped down from that job amid recent revelations over their handling of the priest abuse scandal in the 1980s.
“Effective immediately, I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties. Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry has also publicly apologized for his decisions while serving as Vicar for Clergy. I have accepted his request to be relieved of his responsibility as the Regional Bishop of Santa Barbara,” Gomez wrote in a letter.
Cardinal Mahony published this private letter to Archbishop Gomez on his blog:
One can look at the blatant dishonesty displayed by gun control proponents one of two ways. These people are so dishonest and so loose with the facts that they destroy their credibility with each new fabrication. Alternatively, these individuals are so shameless and brazen that we can only stand aside in wonder as they run full steam ahead.
The latest display of such hubris is from the firestorm over the supposed heckling of Neil Heslin, father of one of the murdered children at Sandy Hook elementary, Jesse Lewis. The problem: he wasn’t heckled.
MSNBC is propping up its story with a blatantly edited video. In fact, Heslin was not heckled. Gun rights advocates in the audience indeed voiced their support for the Second Amendment — after he asked why anyone would need “assault-style weapons or high-capacity clips.” You’d never know based on the MSNBC version, which completely cut out the footage of Heslin’s question.
Fortunately, Twitchy has obtained the full, unedited video, which you can view for yourself below (relevant portion starts at the 15-minute mark):
You can go to the Twitchy link to view the video. Here is Ace’s summary:
At first you might think this is a rhetorical question; the audience in fact takes it as rhetorical, and doesn’t answer. Then he scans around the room, looking for someone to answer, and, as everyone’s silent, concludes, as he’d intended, that no one has a good answer.
At that point, people realize that their respectful silence is being taken for assent, and they begin chiming in “The second amendment.”
He asked a question and was legitimately looking for people to answer. People did, and they were shouted down for actually responding.
Obviously the man is still grieving, and should be afforded respect. At the same time, he is also willingly allowing himself to be placed in a public situation to make an appeal for legislative change to gun laws. No one shouted him down – just the opposite. People assumed he was making a rhetorical point, and when it was obvious that it was more than just a rhetorical question, they replied in kind.
Should people have remained silent even when pressed? Some will argue that a man in Heslin’s state should be given the utmost space to bare his soul. But it seems to me that the people who are disrespecting Heslin are the people who put him on that stand. They used him as a political prop. Well, that’s not entirely fair, because I am sure that Heslin was willing to make this public testimony. Yet those that are so indignant about people actually responding to Heslin when he asked them a question are simply enraged that their political theater was upstaged for a minute. How is it respectful of Heslin to use him as a political prop to bludgeon political opponents over the head with? If anyone is disrepecting Mr. Heslin’s dignity, it is folks like those at Media Matters, David Frum, and others who don’t really see him as a human being, but as a useful political tool. And those people frankly make me sick.
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey found himself engulfed in controversy for remarks he made about Obamacare:
Back in 2009, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal labeling President Obama’s Affordable Care Act a form of “socialism.” Today on NPR’s Morning Edition he changed his mind. Mackey now thinks Obamacare is “fascism.”
“Technically speaking, it’s more like fascism,” Mackey told NPR. “Socialism is where the government owns the means of production. In fascism, the government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it — and that’s what’s happening with our health care programs and these reforms.”
That’s an f-word that you just don’t use in polite conversation, so Mackey backtracked slightly.
On CNN this morning, host Carol Costello confronted Whole Foods CEO John Mackey over his recent comments that ObamaCare was tantamount to “fascism” because “the government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it.”“You initially labeled the Health Care Act a form of socialism, and then on NPR you called ObamaCare ‘fascism.’ Why did you decide to change the terminology?” Costello asked at the outset.
Echoing his statement yesterday that he regrets using the word “fascism,” Mackey explained, “That was a bad choice of words, but traditionally socialism means that the means of production are run by the government and in fascism the means of production are still owned by private individuals but they’re controlled by the government. And what’s happening. Our health care system is moving away from free enterprise capitalism towards greater governmental control. That was a poor choice of words due to the baggage and associations that go along with it. So now I’m just calling it ‘government-controlled health care.’”
An unsatisfied Costello then challenged Mackey, saying, “You realize when you say ‘fascism,’ it brings up Nazi Germany and all sorts of things. And we really want that kind language out of our public forum at the moment, don’t we?”
“Apparently you can’t use that word in America any longer, it’s taboo,” Mackey fired back.
I find this all rather amazing. For the past four years leftists – and a fair number of conservatives, as well – have decried any use of the word socialist to describe the Obama administration. You see Obama wasn’t really a socialist, and anyone who dared use that term to describe Obama was a crazy kook who needed to be shunned from society. So Mackey attempted to use more accurate terminology in describing Obamacare, only to discover that it has become verboten. Well, it’s only verboten when applied to politicians on the left. Ed Driscoll quotes from Jonah Goldberg’s G-File (available via email only):
None of this surprises me. But it’s still quite amazing. The simple fact is that fascism is a uniquely radioactive political term and the Left has an exclusive license to use it. Liberals are allowed to be as glib and cavalier as they want about the use of the word. But if conservatives use it — entirely accurately — it is an outrage and a sign of ignorance. Yes, technically, it would have been more accurate, and certainly less controversial, if Mackey had said Obamacare is corporatist — the economic structure of fascism — but very few people know what “corporatist” means.
And so you have this carve out for liberals. They get to use the word fascist — incorrectly — all of the time. But if a conservative (or in this case a libertarian) uses it accurately, and not particularly pejoratively either, it’s offensive or stupid.
This is why Goldberg’s book, Liberal Fascism, was such a delightful and enlightening read. Fascism is such a loaded word that it has become almost impossible to talk seriously about it. The left has done a masterful job of twisting the word around and have managed to turn fascism into some kind of right-wing ideology in the minds of most Americans. Anyone with more than a cursory understanding of political thought would understand why that is completely laughable, but sadly most people do not possess even a cursory understanding of political thought. So either the term is applied – mistakenly and inappropriately – to conservatives, or else anyone who uses it to describe – fairly accurately – the policies of the Obama administration is to be mocked and ridiculed.
Mackey may have been right, but that’s of no use to him now. Clearly both “socialist” and “fascist” are completely off the table when it comes to discussions of President Obama and his signature policy achievement. Well then, we’ll just have to stick with “counterproductive,” “wrongheaded,” “bankruptcy-inducing,” and other adjectives.
Socially Liberal Fiscal Conservatives – like albino monk assassins sent out by Opus Dei, orthodox Catholics on the staff of the National Catholic Reporter, people who like the movie Gigli, and Lennay Kekua - have contributed much to society. But it looks like Jonah Goldberg has grown a bit tired of their act. So he has written an open letter to them, addressed to “Bob.” Continue reading
New York’s Trespass Act of 1783 offered relief for Patriots who had fled New York City during the time of the Revolutionary “by permitting them to recover damages from persons who had occupied or used their premises during the war.” Common law had typically required ”that actions for trespass must be tried where the property was located, but the act allowed Patriots to sue in any court where the defendant could be found.” It also denied the laws of war by prohibiting the accused of arguing that they had been acting “under orders of the occupying British army, and the act also prohibited the defendants from appealing to a higher court.” (Citations from Forrest McDonald, Novus Ordo Seclorum.)
The New York Trespass Act was but one of many factors that led to the creation of the written United States Constitution. Under the Articles of Confederation government, the states had almost unlimited authority to pass any laws they pleased. The only check on the state governments were the citizens of the several states. Unfortunately, the people themselves were often the impetus behind the enactment of unjust laws.
My friend Jay Anderson linked to this excellent piece from a Fox affiliate in Cincinnati addressing crime statistics in Great Britain and the United States.
As Jay remarked, it’s sad that it takes a small affiliate news station to do the sort of fact checking that major news networks are incapable of, 0r, more likely, unwilling to do.
As for Piers Morgan, watch what happens when he is forced to interview someone actually tethered to reality.
I think “your little book” is going to be an instant classic.
Yes, Congress and the White House managed to punt on any real solutions to our ever-growing debt crisis, reaching a deal that raised a lot of taxes but cut no spending. Yet the real signal that we are truly doomed as a country may have come from a bill that did not pass – not yet. The House of Representatives failed to pass a $60 billion relief bill for Hurricane Sandy, prompting Republican Governor Chris Christie to act like a petulant child who didn’t receive all that he wanted on Christmas morn.
“There is only one group to blame,” Christie said. “The House Majority and John Boehner.”
“Last night, the House Majority failed the basic test of leadership and they did so with callous disregard to the people of my state,” he said. “It was disappointing and disgusting to watch.”
“Shame on you, shame on Congress.”
Following his remarks, Christie doubled down on his criticism in a lengthy — and incredibly candid — press conference in which he laid into House Republicans for putting “palace intrigue” ahead of their actual jobs.
“Our people were played last night as a pawn…and that’s why people hate Washington, D.C.,” Christie said later. “They forget that we’re the ones who sent them there.”
Representative Peter King (“R” – NY) also blasted his party and even threatened quitting in anger – hours before throwing his support for Speaker John Boehner when others within the caucus attempted to oust him from leadership.
But King and Christie are just speaking out for their poor constituents who desperately need federal aid. Ummm, not exactly. Daniel Foster lists some of the items contained in this bill:
•$2 million to repair damage to the roofs of museums in Washington, D.C., while many in Hurricane Sandy’s path still have no roof over their own heads.
•$150 million for fisheries as far away from the storm’s path as Alaska.
•$125 million for the Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Watershed Protection program, which helps restore watersheds damaged by wildfires and drought.
•$20 million for a nationwide Water Resources Priorities Study.
•$15 million for NASA facilities, though NASA itself has called its damage from the hurricane ‘minimal.’
•$50 million in subsidies for tree planting on private properties.
•$336 million for taxpayer-supported AMTRAK without any detailed plan for how the money will be spent.
•$5.3 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers – more than the Corps’ annual budget – with no statement of priorities about how to spend the money.
•$12.9 billion for future disaster mitigation activities and studies, without identifying a single way to pay for it.
As Foster notes, money has already been appropriated to deal with the immediate situation. And as Katrina Trinko adds, only 15 percent of the money allocated in this bill would actually be spent this year. Some emergency funding, huh? But of course the esteemed Senators from Alaska will not tolerate any criticisms of their pork requests.
These are two very real and very serious disasters that Alaskans are facing. The first being the salmon disaster which was declared a disaster by the federal government this past September – Alaskans are still waiting for relief after the devastating impact on fisheries. After Japan’s generous gift of $5 million, the U.S. government needs to step up to the plate as tsunami debris poses serious navigational hazards and risks to coastal communities. Sandy remains the priority in this bill, but given that many of the dollars allocated for debris will go to charting and mapping it, this bill is a more than appropriate vehicle to bring up these disasters which have severely impacted Alaska’s communities.
This fiasco highlights some things you need to know about our government, and why things will never improve. As Senator Begich’s comments illustrate, there is not a dime of federal spending that will not be defended by someone. No matter how trivial, no matter how seemingly wasteful, there will always be someone out there to defend that dollar (or millions) of appropriation.
More importantly, Christie’s childish reaction shows that even s0-called fiscal conservatives cannot be relied upon to remain level-headed. Surely Christie must be aware that some $20 billion or so of this bill is completely unrelated to dealing with the immediate aftermath of the hurricane. Instead of criticizing those in Congress who decided to weigh down this bill with unnecessary measures, Christie decides to demagogue the issue and blame the people who are at least trying to behave responsibly. Surely Christie could have called upon Congress to mass House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers’s much more reasonable disaster relief bill. But that’s not the Blusterer’s style. This was a moment to get on the evening news, and he wouldn’t have done so had he criticized Democrats.
Chris Christie is the golden child of “fiscal conservatives.” If even he is unwilling to patiently await passage of a reasonably considered bill that would focus on actual hurricane relief, but instead would prefer to scream about the need for IMMEDIATE PASSAGE NOW!!!!!!!!! – then what hope is there that we can ever achieve fiscal sanity in this country.
Ace has some sobering words to consider in light of this fiasco.
Watching “fiscal conservative” Chris Christie fail to say one word about those who demand that relief for his state be bought with unrelated spending for their own states, which weren’t hit by catastrophe — shouldn’t it be noted that Lisa Murkowski and Don Young of Alaska won’t vote for those left homeless by Sandy until some local businesses get their “cut”? — it occurs to me that he is accommodating himself to reality.
The reality is vox populi, vox dei — the voice of the people is the voice of God. And the voice of this particular shabby god has decreed that we shall be financially reckless and we should go through a national bankruptcy, and there’s no sense trying to avoid it, so we’ll just run up a huge tab buying multiple 65 inch 3D tvs before we crash.
Given that the people wish to spend money they do not have, and soon will not have (for all the same reasons that people with bad credit can’t rent a car — your ability to borrow is precisely related to your projected future ability to make good on your loans), and will not be diverted from this disastrous course, what can anyone do?
. . .
But for now, let’s go get a few of those sweet 3D TV’s and watch Pirates of the Caribbean IV.
You’ll think I’m a wonderful, well-providing father… for the next month or so.
After that, you may hold a different opinion of me. Major negative changes in circumstance tend to do that.
But for now– 3D TVs. Have you ever seen such a clear, sort of three dimensional picture? Aren’t I your hero? At this moment, I mean.
We deserve the government we have.
Oh, and before I hear from any wiseguys, two of my brothers had to abandon their flooded homes because of the storm.