I had to rub my eyes three times, and I still couldn’t quite believe I was reading this in the New York Times:
Hillary Clinton has emerged from the F.B.I. investigation into her email practices as secretary of state a wounded candidate with a large and growing majority of voters saying she cannot be trusted, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
As Mrs. Clinton prepares to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination at the convention in Philadelphia this month, she will confront an electorate in which 67 percent of voters say she is not honest and trustworthy. That number is up five percentage points from a CBS News poll conducted last month, before the F.B.I. released its findings.
Mrs. Clinton’s six-percentage-point lead over the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, in a CBS News poll last month has evaporated. The two candidates are now tied in a general election matchup, the new poll indicates, with each receiving the support of 40 percent of voters.
Mr. Trump is also distrusted by a large number of voters — 62 percent — but that number has stayed constant despite increased scrutiny on his business record and falsehoods in his public statements and Twitter messages.
But Mrs. Clinton’s shifting and inaccurate explanations of her email practices at the State Department appear to have resonated more deeply with the electorate. Continue reading
Thomas Jefferson remained enamored of the French Revolution long after most of the Founding Fathers, sickened by the atrocities of the Revolution, became critics of it. Jefferson was the American Minister to France at the start of the Revolution, and here is his account of the storming of the Bastille:
On the 14th, they send one of their members (Monsieur de Corny, whom we knew in America) to the Hotel des Invalides to ask arms for their Garde Bourgeoise. He was followed by, or he found there, a great mob. The Governor of the Invalids came out and represented the impossibility of his delivering arms without the orders of those from whom he received them.
De Corney advised the people then to retire, retired himself, and the people took possession of the arms. It was remarkable that not only the Invalids themselves made no opposition, but that a body of 5000 foreign troops, encamped within 400 yards, never stirred.
Monsieur de Corny and five others were then sent to ask arms of Monsieur de Launai, Governor of the Bastille. They found a great collection of people already before the place, and they immediately planted a flag of truce, which was answered by a like flag hoisted on the parapet. The deputation prevailed on the people to fall back a little, advanced themselves to make their demand of the Governor, and in that instant a discharge from the Bastille killed 4. people of those nearest to the deputies. The deputies retired, the people rushed against the place, and almost in an instant were in possession of a fortification, defended by 100 men, of infinite strength, which in other times had stood several regular sieges and had never been taken. How they got in, has as yet been impossible to discover. Those, who pretend to have been of the party tell so many different stories as to destroy the credit of them all.
They took all the arms, discharged the prisoners and such of the garrison as were not killed in the first moment of fury, carried the Governor and Lieutenant governor to the Greve (the place of public execution) cut off their heads, and set them through the city in triumph to the Palais royal. Continue reading
George Bush is being attacked on the left for swaying and smiling during the Battle Hymn of the Republic being played at the Dallas memorial for the murdered cops. The initial expression on Michelle Obama’s face is priceless, although Bush is able to coax a smile out of her which is a minor miracle. As law prof blogger Ann Althouse opined, the reason that Bush was swaying and smiling is because he actually believes in his religion.
People still obsessed by Bush eight years after he left office might do well to heed this sage advice from William Shatner: Continue reading
The Pope has moved quickly to quash Cardinal Sarah’s ad orientem:
When it comes to those he disagrees with, Pope Francis’s approach is to avoid direct confrontation preferring instead to ignore them and get on with his job. But in the case of Cardinal Robert Sarah he has made an exception.
Last week the 71-year-old Guinean prelate unilaterally announced that priests should start to turn their backs on the congregation and face east to say Mass – something which liturgical traditionalists often call for given it is how the priest celebrates the Old Rite Latin liturgy.
This is all part of an agenda described as a “reform of the reform” which would make the Mass ordinary Catholics attend on Sunday more like the one celebrated before the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. It means more latin, more chant and less participation from the congregation.
Soon after the cardinal made his remarks, however, the Vatican released a statement saying there will be no changes to this part of the liturgy and, crucially, that this had been “expressly agreed” during a recent audience between the cardinal and the Pope. It added that the phrase “reform of the reform” should be avoided.
I was chatting with a widow today in my office. Her husband died at age 48 in a car crash. She dreamed of him and asked him if there was anything he would have done differently in his life. He replied, “More cannons.”, which left her quite puzzled. I asked what religion her husband had followed. She replied that he had been Catholic, which she was not. I said that perhaps what he had said was “More canons.” I explained to her that the Canons of the Catholic Church were the laws of the Church. Suddenly her dream made perfect sense to her. “He wished he had been closer to the Church!’
In this Vale of Tears the life of eternity that surrounds this brief existence is kept from us, but faint echoes of the life beyond continually reach those who stop and listen for them.
A reader over at Powerline who identifies himself as a Federal agent who has been involved in hundreds of investigations over the years has some questions about the FBI investigation of the Clinton e-mails:
But to anyone who has been involved in these types of cases, this really raises more questions than it answers. Among other questions that have not been publicly addressed by Director Comey: what WAS her intent in setting up these computer networks in the first place? It obviously wasn’t “convenience,” as Clinton ludicrously claimed when this issue first arose. If your aim is “convenience,” the most convenient thing to do would be to simply use the classified and unclassified email accounts the Government provides at no cost to you to do your personal business, then just use a Hotmail or Gmail account or whatever for your personal business. Instead, she chose, at considerable effort and expense, to create her own computer network, complete with its own servers (multiple), even hiring an administrator onto the federal payroll to run it for her. Why?
I think it is fairly obvious to anyone with an IQ above room temperature that her intent in doing this was to evade the requirements of the Federal Records Act and Freedom of Information Act, thereby keeping her communications free from the prying eyes of the Inspector General, congressional oversight committees, the press and the public. Well, if her purpose was to avoid complying with federal statutes, doesn’t that, by definition, mean that she had the INTENT to break the law? And why does the FBI not care about this?
The other dog that didn’t bark: how did all this classified information get onto her server in the first place? It is important to understand that classified information up to the Secret level is handled on its own computer network; information at the Top Secret and above level is on another, even more exclusive network altogether. And the crucial fact is that there is NO connectivity between these classified networks and the internet. It would be literally impossible simply to email a classified document from these networks to an address on the internet.
That means that someone would have had either to laboriously transcribe classified documents from their source into an unclassified email or to download these materials onto some sort of removable media (CD, thumb drive, etc.), and then upload them to the internet. Not once or twice, mind you, but literally THOUSANDS of times. Doesn’t that level of effort to remove classified material from its proper place and put it on Hillary’s network demonstrate considerable, uh, what’s that word again? INTENT?
And what does the FBI think about that? Hmm, wouldn’t you like to know?
Having worked extensively with the FBI, I can’t imagine that these questions and others didn’t occur to the rank and file agents working the case, probably at a very early stage. The fact that they were not followed up on (at least not as has been publicly revealed) indicates that the FBI was deliberately instructed to maintain as narrow a focus as possible, either explicitly or implicitly. Who gave those orders? Comey? Lynch? The White House? Again, wouldn’t you like to know? Continue reading
In his latest post our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear reveal some of the puppet masters behind the USCCB:
The Catholic News Service is the house organ of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Yet as CNS’s hilarious “About CNS” page points out several times, it is doing real journalism, having some vague relationship with the USCCB, but definitely not involved in publicity.
CNS is not directly funded by the USCCB. “It must be financially self-sustaining.” In other words, the lefty foundations shovel money to keep it afloat, along with all the other trendy scams with which the USCCB is fascinated, in lieu of promoting the Catholic Faith.
The list of those serving on the USCCB’s committee on domestic policy that produced the USCCB gun-grab policy paper is quite fascinating. George Schmidt, Google ex-boss and massive supporter of President Obama, etc.; John Sweeney, head of Democrat Socialists of America, former SEIU, AFL-CIO boss and recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom; Sister Janet Mock, LCWR; Sister Miriam Mitchell, LCWR; Sister Carol Keehan, President of Catholic Health Association and vocal supporter of Obamacare while drawing a $962,467 salary from CHA; Ray Boshara, former Senior Fellow at New America Foundation, which has George Soro’s son Jonathan on the board, is anti-gun, pro-Obamacare, and funded by left-wing heavyweights such as George Soros, through his Open Society Foundation. Anthony Williams, vociferously anti-gun ex-mayor of Washington D.C.
Those are the people behind the Catholic gun grab in the U.S. There are different players in the Vatican.
The USCCB heavily pushed its anti-gun policy through it’s official party organ, Catholic News Service, in an article by Carol Glatz in 2011. The point is, it is somewhere between a joke and a lie to claim that CNS is some sort of legitimate, independent news outlet. The Bear also wanted to show who has the ear of the U.S. Bishops: billionaire lefties and curious private / government entities like the New American Foundation. (Top contributors include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the U.S. State Department.) Continue reading
Jeb Bush is still smarting from his total route in the primaries:
Donald Trump got an assist from a higher authority to win the Republican nomination, according to one-time rival Jeb Bush.
“The pope intervening in American politics didn’t help,” Bush said in an interview Monday with MSNBC, referring to the Mass the pontiff said at the US-Mexico border just before the South Carolina primary — highlighting a hot-button issue for Trump, who has vowed to build a wall there.
“The news cycle was dominated by that. Trump, to his credit, was very smart at exploiting these kind of opportunities,” Bush griped.
“You’re a Catholic blaming the pope?” interviewer and former Bush staffer Nicolle Wallace wondered.
“No, no, I’m not blaming,” Bush said with a laugh. “I mean, [I had] been talking about basically open borders at a time when the whole Trump phenomena was to build a wall and let, make Mexico pay for where he goes — literally goes to the border for a massive Mass.”
Bush added, “And he had every right to preach the gospel there. But I don’t think he should be intervening. I don’t know if he understood that he was intervening in our political affairs.”
After placing fourth in the South Carolina primary, with 7.8 percent of the votes, Bush threw in the towel. Continue reading
When it comes for seeing the forest through the trees, you can always rely on Brit Hume:
In Dallas, Tuesday, President Obama will be trying to calm racial tensions that his own behavior has done much to aggravate. From his denunciation of the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police as acting, quote, stupidly in the arrest of law professor Henry Louis Gates, to his assertion that the motives of the Dallas cop killer are unclear, they aren’t.
The president has consistently chosen to see things through the eyes of an aggrieved black activist rather than of a president of all the people. He’s not failed to speak out whenever a black is killed by a white police officer, but has said next to nothing about the continued slaughters of blacks by other blacks in the streets of Chicago, Baltimore, and other cities.
He has made his sympathy for the Black Lives Matter movement obvious and never mind that the whole premise of the movement seems to be fallacious. No case has given the movement more impetus than the false claim that Michael Brown was shot down in cold blood while trying to surrender to a cop in Ferguson, Missouri two years ago.
And now a study led by a black Harvard law professor has examined 15 years of crime data from 5 major cities and 2 counties. The study found that while police were more often likely to get physical with black suspects than with white ones, when it came to police shootings, there was no racial bias. Did you hear that, Mr. President? No racial bias. Continue reading
Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal makes the best argument I have seen yet on behalf of Donald Trump: to see the look on Justice Ginsburg’s face as President Trump nominates her successor:
Elderly, senile woman publicly humiliates herself:
Unless they have a book to sell, Supreme Court justices rarely give interviews. Even then, they diligently avoid political topics. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg takes a different approach.
These days, she is making no secret of what she thinks of a certain presidential candidate.
“I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president,” she said. “For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.”
It reminded her of something her husband, Martin D. Ginsburg, a prominent tax lawyer who died in 2010, would have said.
“‘Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand,’” Justice Ginsburg said, smiling ruefully.
Even some of Ginsburg’s friends can’t believe that anyone would be that stupid.
“I find it baffling actually that she says these things,” said Arthur Hellman, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. “She must know that she shouldn’t be. However tempted she might be, she shouldn’t be doing it.”
Similarly, Howard Wolfson, a former top aide to Hillary Clinton and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, said Ginsburg shouldn’t have said it.
And that’s really a key reason justices don’t talk like Ginsburg did. Sometimes they have to hear cases involving political issues and people. Having offered their unprompted opinions about such things can lead to questions about prejudice and potential recusal from future cases.
As [Jeff] Greenfield notes, Ginsburg was a part of the court that decided who the president was when the 2000 election was thrown to the Supreme Court, so this isn’t uncharted territory. Had she said something similar about either Bush or Al Gore, would she have been able to hear the case?
Louis Virelli is a Stetson University law professor who just wrote a book on Supreme Court recusals, titled “Disqualifying the High Court.” He said that “public comments like the ones that Justice Ginsburg made could be seen as grounds for her to recuse herself from cases involving a future Trump administration. I don’t necessarily think she would be required to do that, and I certainly don’t believe that she would in every instance, but it could invite challenges to her impartiality based on her public comments.”
Hellman said Ginsburg’s comments could muddy the waters when it comes to decisions not just involving Trump but also his policies — something that could come up regularly should he win the presidency.
“It would cast doubt on her impartiality in those decisions,” Hellman said. “If she has expressed herself as opposing the election of Donald Trump, her vote to strike down a Trump policy would be under a cloud.”
And did I happen to mention that the loopy old broad is a eugenics fan?
“Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” Continue reading
Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts points at one of the remarkable trends of the past few years: muslim conversions to Christianity:
The fields are white already to harvest
Pope Francis has appointed Greg Burke to to take over from Father Lombardi as Vatican press spokesman:
By choosing the 56-year-old Burke, Francis managed to accomplish three things at once.
First, he’s helped lay to rest perceptions that he’s anti-American. It’s well known that Francis had never traveled to the United States before his papal voyage in September 2015, that much of the most strident criticism he’s drawn since his election has come from American circles, and that his comfort zone is mostly defined by Spanish and Italian-speakers.
Up to this point, Francis had not turned to an American for a single truly significant Vatican post, and the longer that drought went on, the more pronounced impressions would have become that the pontiff had imposed a “no American need apply” policy.
A native of St. Louis (and a lifetime Cardinals fan), Burke is as American as they come. Granted, he’s spent much of his adult life in Rome, he speaks multiple languages, he’s traveled widely and is a citizen of the world, but his personality and outlook are still quintessentially American.
By naming Burke to one of the most visible Vatican positions of all, Francis effectively has inoculated himself against impressions that Americans don’t have a significant place in his Church.
Second, Francis has also demonstrated that subject-matter competence is important in making important Vatican personnel choices.
Burke came to Rome as a journalist working for Catholic news outlets, which gave him a deep understanding of the story. Because he was exceptionally talented, however, he quickly transitioned to the big leagues, first to Time magazine and then to Fox News.
That background means Burke has an insider’s understanding of the dynamics of the news business, and he speaks the language of professional journalists.
Burke was hired by the Secretariat of State in 2012, and took over as the number two official as the Vatican Press Office in February. At the senior levels of the Vatican today, there’s simply no one better positioned to engage the media.
A similar observation could be made about Garcia, by the way, a veteran journalist who’s well-liked and well-respected in the Vatican press corps, and who brings enormous good will to the post.
In that sense, Francis will get credit for naming the right people to the jobs.
Third, Burke is a member of Opus Dei – in their parlance, a “numerary,” meaning a lay person who nevertheless is celibate – which is a Catholic group typically seen as fairly conservative. By conventional standards, Burke’s personal politics (which, by the way, have never interfered with his job) could probably best be described as center-right.
At a time when some see Pope Francis as a liberal stacking the deck with like-minded progressives, this appointment runs counter to the stereotypes and invites observers to consider whether for Francis, it’s ultimately more the quality of the individual than their ideology that actually matters. Continue reading
I was watching Orson Welles’ 1948 version of Macbeth. It is a version of the play steeped in darkness, with the drama taking place on a landscape that looks like a dark and evil lunar surface. Interestingly Welles adds a character, the Holy Man, a Catholic priest. At the beginning of the film he chases away the “three weird sisters”, waving the Celtic Cross he carries. After King Duncan arrives the Priest leads the court, anachronistically, in the rendition of the Saint Michael Prayer, go here to read about it, that would be written by Pope Leo XIII some nine centuries after the events depicted in Macbeth:
Saint Michael, the arch angel, be our safeguard
against the viles and wickedness of the devil.
Do thou, oh prince of the heavenly host,
by the divine power
thrust into hell satan and the other evil spirits,
who wander through the world,
seeking the ruin of souls.
Thus thou renounce Satan?
I renounce him.
And all his works?
I renounce them.
And all his pomps?
I renounce them.
Candles are distributed during the prayer, are lit and are raised by all at the end, Macbeth slower than the rest. Continue reading
The Vatican trial involving Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui has come to an end:
A nine-month trial against three former Vatican officials and two journalists for the leaking of confidential financial information came to an end on Thursday, with only one of the five accused going to prison, Monsignor Angel Lucio Vallejo Balda, who was sentenced to 18 months.
However, it is possible that Vallejo Balda’s sentence could be reduced to time served because he confessed his offense during the trial. A Vatican spokesman said Thursday he believes, but couldn’t confirm, the time he’s already served will be considered as part of the sentence.
Public relations consultant Francesca Chaouqui, the woman at the heart of the trial, was sentenced to 10 months. The tribunal declared that there was not enough evidence to prove that she had leaked confidential documents, but there was enough to accuse her of conspiring to do so.
However, her sentence was suspended for five years, meaning that if she doesn’t commit another crime under Vatican law, she gets a get-out-of-jail free card.
The other three who were on trial were Italian layman Nicola Maio, who together with Vallejo Balda and Chaouqui were members of a dismantled Vatican commission, and reporters Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi.
Maio was declared innocent, and according to the tribunal, the two journalists fall outside of Vatican jurisdiction, because they’re not residents nor were they ever employees.
We seem to be in danger of replaying the long, hot summers of the late 1960s and early 1970s when the radical left declared open warfare on cops. The above billboard was put up by the Minneapolis police department in 1971 showing an officer giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to a boy. The poster went “viral” across the nation.
In the wake of the murder of five cops in Dallas by sniper Micah Xavier Johnson, intent on killing as many white cops as he could, my memory was jogged about that billboard. Cops are not above criticism, and over the years I have done a fair amount of that. However, cops have a very tough job. Most of them do that job as best as they are capable, fairly and with a quiet heroism when they are called upon to go towards danger while the rest of us run from it as fast as we can. Let’s let Jack Webb as Detective Joe Friday have the last word:
That you may long continue to be the blessing of your country, is the wish of all its friends: and that you may not only live to enlighten and better mankind, but continue to do so, with freedom from sickness and pain, is the earnest prayer of, Honoured and Dear Sir Your most devoted and obliged servant, John Carroll
Letter from John Carroll to Benjamin Franklin, April 2, 1787
Rome had a problem. Prior to the American Revolution the Catholic priests in the thirteen colonies, approximately two dozen in number had been under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Bishop Richard Challoner, Apostolic Vicar of London. Challoner died on January 12, 1781, at the age of 89. His successor, Bishop James Talbot, interestingly enough the last priest in England to be tried, twice, for saying Mass (each time he was acquitted due to lack of evidence), disclaimed any jurisdiction of the Church in the new United States. Something had to be done to set up an organizational structure for the Church in America, although knowledge about the situation of the Church there was rare in Rome. Fortunately in nearby France there resided an American whose advice might be helpful.
Benjamin Franklin, American Minister to France, by 1783 had reached a pinnacle of international fame that no American before him, and few since, have attained. It was therefore not surprising that when the Vatican was mulling the establishment of an American episcopate, that the idea was hit upon to ask the advice of Dr. Franklin. Thus is was that the Papal Nuncio to France, Archbishop Giuseppe Doria Pamphili addressed a short note to Franklin:
The 23. July 1783.
Before the revolution which has taken place in N. America, the Catholics and missionaries of those provinces depended in spirituals on the apostolic vicar residing at London. It is well known that this arrangement can no longer take place; but as it is essential that the catholic subjects of the united States should have an ecclesiastic to govern them in what concerns religion. The congregation de propaganda fides, for the establishment and preservation of missions, has come to a determination, to propose to Congress to establish in some city of the und. States of North America, one of their catholic Subjects, with the powers of Apostolic Vicar and with the character of Bishop, or simply in character of Apostolic Prefect. The establishment of a Bishop or apostolic vicar appear’d most convenient, in as much as the catholic subjects of the united States would have it in their power to receive confirmation and orders in their own country, without being obliged for this purpose to betake themselves to a Country under foreign domination and as it might as some times happen, that among the subjects of the united States, there might none be found to take on himself spiritual government, whether as a Bishop or apostolic Prefect, it would be necessary in such a Case that Congress should consent to the person they should chuse to it among the subjects of a foreign nation, most friendly to the und. States.
Giuseppe Doria Pamphili