Clinton v. Comey

 

This is devastating.  From Reason TV a video contrasting Clinton’s version with the truth as explained by FBI Director Comey.  Most politicians lie at one time or another.  Few politicians lie all the time about matters small and great.  Hillary Clinton is in the latter category.  Comey, and I think deliberately, in his presentation handed Donald Trump a weapon to bring out this aspect of Clinton that only her most die hard partisans can possibly dispute.

Gangster Government

 

Hillary-Clinton-Above-the-Law

Hillary-Clinton-Above-the-Law

 

Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal says it all:

From the United States Code, Title 18, section 793(f):

Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

There’s nothing in there about whether or not Hillary “intended” to break the law, Jimmy boy.

Today, the FBI sold out the Rule of Law in America. After describing clear evidence of extensive mishandling of classified national security information, FBI Director James Comey announced that the FBI will not recommend indicting former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. This is naked crony government, ugly and exposed. Comey’s decision will go down as one of the government’s worst assaults on truth in its War on Honesty.

Today’s press conference was, in many respects, an exercise in legal and cognitive dissonance. Comey acknowledged Clinton sent and received Top Secret emails that “any reasonable person” understands not to discuss on an unclassified system.

Red flags? Excuse me, sir—that’s a crime.

Comey also acknowledged her email system was housed on unclassified personal servers that lacked full time security systems. Indeed, nations and groups hostile to the U.S. could have hacked the system. Comey acknowledged “hostile actors” hacked individuals corresponding with Clinton on her unauthorized system. She also used her unsecured personal system outside of the U.S.—in places where sophisticated adversaries could hack her communications.

Comey called this careless. Sir, it is reprehensible. It is reckless disregard of American security.

Then he said he would not recommend indictment.

This is beyond outrage. Everyone who has carried a Top Secret clearance and had access to Top Secret information knows that Clinton has criminally violated the laws protecting classified information. These laws serve a purpose. Protecting security secrets is essential to protecting America.

I am certain [Comey] expects an angry reaction, and he should also expect sustained anger. Public trust in the federal government is near an all-time low, and Comey’s decision is a heavy blow. Elitists should prepare for sustained disrespect of laws they favor. A large slice of the American population, fed up with crony government and crony capitalism, will begin experimenting with civil disobedience. As a former community organizer, President Obama is no position to object.

You know that Hillary Clinton has taken a torpedo amidships when the KINDEST POSSIBLE spin anyone can put on this travesty of justice is that Hillary is too bonecrushingly stupid to even be allowed on a White House tour, never mind being elected to the presidency of the most powerful country in the world as even the Washington Post’s Chris Cilizza admits.

Here’s the good news for Hillary Clinton: The FBI has recommended that no charges be brought following its investigation of the former secretary of state’s private email server.

Here’s the bad news: Just about everything else.

FBI Director James B. Comey dismantled large portions of Clinton’s long-told story about her private server and what she sent or received on it during a stirring 15-minute news conference, after which he took no questions. While Comey exonerated Clinton, legally speaking, he provided huge amounts of fodder that could badly hamstring her in the court of public opinion.

Most importantly, Comey said the FBI found 110 emails on Clinton’s server that were classified at the time they were sent or received. That stands in direct contradiction to Clinton’s repeated insistence she never sent or received any classified emails. And it even stands in contrast to her amended statement that she never knowingly sent or received any classified information.

And while OJ Simpson was cleared of murdering his wife and Ronald Goldman, it did not ultimately matter much what a California court wrongly decided since from that moment, Simpson’s life was effectively over.

That said, campaigns aren’t governed by the ultimate legality of what Clinton did or didn’t do. So, while dodging an indictment is a good thing — she isn’t under criminal investigation and remains a candidate — it’s a far different thing from being cleared (or even close to it) in the court of public opinion.

For a candidate already badly struggling on questions of whether she is honest and trustworthy enough to hold the office to which she aspires, Comey’s comments are devastating. Watching them, I could close my eyes and imagine them spliced into a bevy of 30-second ads — all of which end with the FBI director rebuking Clinton as “extremely careless.”

So where are we?

(1) None of this should shock or surprise anyone since The Single Most Lawless Presidential Administration In The History Of This Country, The Nixon Administration Included corrupts everything it touches and everyone connected with it.  But the Federal Bureau of Investigation has taken a hit from which it may take a generation to recover.  And that hit was entirely self-inflicted.

(2) Remember when people asked, “Do you really want someone like Donald Trump anywhere near this country’s nuclear launch codes?”  Considering everything that’s transpired, any country that would allow Hillary Clinton near those codes has a national death wish.

(3) Hillary Clinton might be the stupidest person who has ever lived.  Or she might the most arrogant (but there’s no reason why she can’t be both).  Either way, electing her to the most powerful office in this land would signal open season on her and on rest of the left’s political enemies.  And probably the downfall of the republic.

(4) Because if the American people are mentally challenged enough to elect the Va-Jay-Jay, it’s not too hard to imagine many state legislatures suddenly taking a, for lack of a better term, “Jacksonian” view of the “rule of law.”

Let’s say that the State of Missouri elects a conservative Republican governor this fall and keeps its Republican-dominated General Assembly.  Let’s also say that the legislature passes and the new governor signs a measure which not only forbids “gay marriage” and legally invalidates all that have been performed in the state but allows anyone in a public or private capacity to opt out of direct or even indirect participation in a “gay marriage” without any possible legal sanction of any kind.

YOU CAN’T DO THAT, shrieks the left.  THE SUPREME COURT SAYS YOU CAN’T!!

Maybe so, replies Missouri.  But the Supreme Court has made its decision.  Now let the Supreme Court enforce it.  Because “the rule of law” either applies to everyone or it applies to no one at all. Continue reading

Cui Bono?

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Most commentators are assuming that the decision of the FBI not to recommend prosecution of Clinton is good news for her and bad news for Trump.  I don’t think the political calculus is so  simple.  Looking at this purely from the standpoint of Donald Trump, this might have been the best possible result for him.

 

If the FBI had announced today a recommendation to prosecute Clinton, the Democrat convention might well have decided to nominate Sanders instead.  Sanders does better than Clinton in polls against Trump.  This is the year of the outsider, and the socialist Sanders has successfully portrayed himself as an outsider.  If Clinton did prevail at the convention, it is by no means a given that her indictment would be political death.  Satan could be running for President on the Democrat ticket and he would probably get 45% of the vote.  News of the indictment would quickly become old hat, especially as the extensive and confusing legal maneuvering that goes on in a high profile federal prosecution.  Clinton would not come to trial until after the election and I would not wager that an indictment would prove a decisive issue in November. Continue reading

Laws Are For Little People

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That is the only conclusion one can draw from the presentation by the FBI Director today.  The mishandling of the e-mails was a strict liability offense, no mens rea required.  In other words no criminal intent need be shown in regard to Hillary Clinton which would make the prosecution much simpler.  Former Federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy at National Review Online explains how Director Comey in effect rewrote the applicable criminal statute to get Hillary off the hook:

There is no way of getting around this: According to Director James Comey (disclosure: a former colleague and longtime friend of mine), Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18): With lawful access to highly classified information she acted with gross negligence in removing and causing it to be removed it from its proper place of custody, and she transmitted it and caused it to be transmitted to others not authorized to have it, in patent violation of her trust. Director Comey even conceded that former Secretary Clinton was “extremely careless” and strongly suggested that her recklessness very likely led to communications (her own and those she corresponded with) being intercepted by foreign intelligence services. Yet, Director Comey recommended against prosecution of the law violations he clearly found on the ground that there was no intent to harm the United States.

In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence. I would point out, moreover, that there are other statutes that criminalize unlawfully removing and transmitting highly classified information with intent to harm the United States. Being not guilty (and, indeed, not even accused) of Offense B does not absolve a person of guilt on Offense A, which she has committed.

Continue reading

FBI Director News Conference: No Indictment of Clinton

 

I am in the law mines right now.  I will have two reactions to this later:  one legal and one political.

 

Remarks prepared for delivery at press briefing.

Good morning. I’m here to give you an update on the FBI’s investigation of Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail system during her time as Secretary of State.

After a tremendous amount of work over the last year, the FBI is completing its investigation and referring the case to the Department of Justice for a prosecutive decision. What I would like to do today is tell you three things: what we did; what we found; and what we are recommending to the Department of Justice.

This will be an unusual statement in at least a couple ways. First, I am going to include more detail about our process than I ordinarily would, because I think the American people deserve those details in a case of intense public interest. Second, I have not coordinated or reviewed this statement in any way with the Department of Justice or any other part of the government. They do not know what I am about to say.

I want to start by thanking the FBI employees who did remarkable work in this case. Once you have a better sense of how much we have done, you will understand why I am so grateful and proud of their efforts. Continue reading

No Law

In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

Judges 21:25

 

 

The “secret” meeting between Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch underlines something that most Americans believe:  there is one law for the connected and another law for the rest of us.  That is a brief way of saying that there is no law if by law we mean rules that all of us are required to live by.  Attorney Kurt Schlichter at Townhall explains what all this means:

The law mattered. It applied equally to everyone. We demanded that it did, all of us – politicians, the media, and regular citizens. Oh, there were mistakes and miscarriages of justice but they weren’t common and they weren’t celebrated – they were universally reviled. And, more importantly, they weren’t part and parcel of the ideology of one particular party. There was once a time where you could imagine a Democrat scandal where the media actually called for the head of the Democrat instead of deploying to cover it up.

People assumed that the law mattered, that the same rules applied to everyone. That duly enacted laws would be enforced equally until repealed. That the Constitution set the foundation and that its guarantees would be honored even if we disliked the result in a particular case. But that’s not our country today.

The idea of the rule of law today is a lie. There is no law. There is no justice. There are only lies.

Hillary Clinton is manifestly guilty of multiple felonies. Her fans deny it half-heartedly, but mostly out of habit – in the end, it’s fine with them if she’s a felon. They don’t care. It’s just some law. What’s the big deal? It doesn’t matter that anyone else would be in jail right now for doing a fraction of what she did. But the law is not important. Justice is not important.

The attorney general secretly canoodles with the husband of the subject of criminal investigation by her own department and the president, the enforcer of our laws, shrugs. The media, the challenger of the powerful, smirks. They rub our noses in their contempt for the law. And by doing so, demonstrate their contempt for us.

Only power matters, and Hillary stands ready to accumulate more power on their behalf so their oaths, their alleged principles, their duty to the country – all of it goes out the window. But it’s much worse than just one scandal that seems not to scandalize anyone in the elite. Just read the Declaration of Independence – it’s almost like those dead white Christian male proto-NRA members foresaw and cataloged the myriad oppressions of liberalism’s current junior varsity tyranny.

There is one law for them, and another for us. Sanctuary cities? Obama’s immigration orders? If you conservatives can play by the rules and pass your laws, then we liberals will just not enforce them. You don’t get the benefit of the laws you like. We get the benefit of the ones we do, though. Not you. Too bad, rubes.

So if you are still obeying the law when you don’t absolutely have to, when there isn’t some government enforcer with a gun lurking right there to make you, aren’t you kind of a sucker? Continue reading

National Service: A Perennial Bad Idea

 

 

Well, the Washington Post has run a piece that brings up yet again an idea that is completely against what this country stands for, but is raised again year after year:  National Service:

On a clear summer evening, we squinted into the sun setting over the softball field on our U.S. Army base in Germany. One of my friends, who hailed from a small Pennsylvania town, said: “Look out there, Will, and tell me that isn’t cool. There’s a good ole boy from West Virginia pitching; in center field, we have a black power-lifter from Florida; in right field, there’s a Puerto Rican; at first base, an Irish-American from South Boston. I went to West Point, and you went to Princeton. If we were back home, what would be the chances that all of our paths would ever cross?”

I was reminded of that moment the other night as my wife and I watched the final scene of “Band of Brothers,” in which the soldiers play softball as the narrator explains what became of them after the war. After a few moments sitting in stunned silence as the credits rolled, in awe of the almost unimaginable self-sacrifice of Dick Winters and the men of Easy Company, “Band of Brothers” gave way to a cable news show and its cacophony of pundits shouting party-issued talking points at each other, without a trace of original thought. It was hard to avoid a sense of melancholy at the abrupt transition from Easy Company’s selfless service to today’s toxic political discourse, and to a social fabric that appears to be unraveling along partisan and socioeconomic lines.

How has the country for which our grandparents sacrificed so much come to this?

Yes, we have serious issues, but we are not confronted with an imminent existential threat. We are not experiencing anything as ruinous as the Civil War or either of our world wars. So why this sense that the ties that bind our country together are fraying while we furiously pull in opposite directions?

One powerful step that could begin moving us toward a sense of shared destiny would be a period of national service, either military or civil. The question over whether it should be mandatory, or merely incentivized and encouraged, as the bipartisan Franklin Project is working toward, can be debated. However, as Gen. Stanley McChrystal writes, the “need to create a culture of service where we are all invested in our nation’s future and feel a shared sense of responsibility to our nation and to each other” should not require extensive deliberation. Continue reading

Dunlap Broadsides

 

On July 5, 1776 John Dunlap delivered to the Continental Congress 200 copies of the text of the Declaration of Independence. Twenty-five of these documents survive, historians calling them the Dunlap broadsides. In the American Revolution, one of the battlegrounds was for public opinion, and the broadsides were immediately sent off throughout the 13 new states, to spread the news of the Declaration. Readings of the Declaration were major events, and local papers eagerly reprinted the text of the Declaration. News of the Declaration reached far off Georgia on August 10, 1776, the same day on which newspaper accounts were published in Britain mentioning the Declaration. Continue reading

Bring Back the Draft? A Look at the American Experience With Conscription.

 

 

 I have misused the king’s press damnably. I have got, in exchange of a hundred and fifty soldiers, three hundred and odd pounds. I press me none but good house-holders, yeoman’s sons; inquire me out contracted bachelors, such as had been asked twice on the banns; such a commodity of warm slaves, as had as lieve hear the devil as a drum; such as fear the report of a caliver worse than a struck fowl or a hurt wild-duck.

Falstaff, Henry IV, Part I

(This post originally ran in 2012.  The idea of National Service is being mooted again, so I am running this again.  Some bad ideas never seem to go away.)

Former Washington Post Reporter Thomas Ricks, who now works for the liberal Center for a New American Security, a think tank focusing on defense issues and which has provided several top personnel in Defense slots for the Obama administration, thinks that it is now time to bring back the Draft.  He proposes it not because he believes that the Draft would improve the military, but because he believes that it would make the nation less likely to go to war.

The drawbacks of the all-volunteer force are not military, but political and ethical. One percent of the nation has carried almost all the burden of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while the rest of us essentially went shopping. When the wars turned sour, we could turn our backs.

A nation that disregards the consequences of its gravest decisions is operating in morally hazardous territory. We invaded Iraq recklessly. If we had a draft, a retired general said to me recently, we probably would not have invaded at all.

If there had been a draft in 2001, I think we still would have gone to war in Afghanistan, which was the right thing to do. But I don’t think we would have stayed there much past the middle of 2002 or handled the war so negligently for years after that.

We had a draft in the 1960s, of course, and it did not stop President Lyndon Johnson from getting into a ground war in Vietnam. But the draft sure did encourage people to pay attention to the war and decide whether they were willing to support it.

I believe that Mr. Ricks is completely wrong-headed, and to understand why it is necessary to review the Draft and American history.  Continue reading

Trump to Meet With Hog Castrator

 

Last week I suggested that Joni Ernst, Senator  and hog castrator from Iowa, would make a good Veep for Trump, and yesterday he met with her:

 

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee spent Sunday with Republican Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, a former congressman with years of political experience.

“Spent time with Indiana Governor Mike Pence and family yesterday,” Trump said Monday morning. “Very impressed, great people!”

Later Trump revealed he’d be spending some time Monday — July 4 — with Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a rising party star. Continue reading

The Ongoing American Revolution

But the continuing success of American democracy depends on the degree to which each new generation, native-born and immigrant, makes its own the moral truths on which the Founding Fathers staked the future of your Republic. Their commitment to build a free society with liberty and justice for all must be constantly renewed if the United States is to fulfill the destiny to which the Founders pledged their “lives . . . fortunes . . . and sacred honor.

Saint John Paul II, December 16, 1997

 

 

A good way to observe the Fourth of July is to read aloud the Declaration of Independence.  My family has done that for years.  The Declaration is not an historical artifact to be mentioned in passing in forgettable speeches once a year.  It is the most radical document ever to issue from the pen of Man:

  1.  Rights derive from God and are unalienable.
  2. That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men.
  3. Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.
  4. All men are created equal.
  5. That the people have a right to overthrow a government that is becoming a despotism.

These words, as a cursory glance around the world reveals, remain just as revolutionary and controversial today as when Mr. Jefferson wrote them two hundred and forty years ago.  His words are not meant to be worshiped, but rather to be argued about and debated.  It is common to date the end of the American Revolution to 1783.  Not so, not so.  That is when Britain recognized the independence of the United States.  However, the Revolution itself, as articulated in the Declaration of Independence, is an ongoing proposition, and each day it has defeats and victories, and the outcome of that Revolution is still very much in doubt.  It is up to each of us, by our actions today, to determine whether the vision of the Founding Fathers is a true one or not. Continue reading

Catholics in the American Revolution

 

 

Nor, perchance did the fact which We now recall take place without some design of divine Providence. Precisely at the epoch when the American colonies, having, with Catholic aid, achieved liberty and independence, coalesced into a constitutional Republic the ecclesiastical hierarchy was happily established amongst you; and at the very time when the popular suffrage placed the great Washington at the helm of the Republic, the first bishop was set by apostolic authority over the American Church. The well-known friendship and familiar intercourse which subsisted between these two men seems to be an evidence that the United States ought to be conjoined in concord and amity with the Catholic Church. And not without cause; for without morality the State cannot endure-a truth which that illustrious citizen of yours, whom We have just mentioned, with a keenness of insight worthy of his genius and statesmanship perceived and proclaimed. But the best and strongest support of morality is religion.

Pope Leo XIII

American Catholics, a very small percentage of the population of the 13 colonies, 1.6 percent, were overwhelmingly patriots and played a role in the American Revolution out of all proportion to the small fragment of the American people they represented.  Among the Catholics who assumed leadership roles in the fight for our liberty were:

General Stephen Moylan  a noted cavalry commander and the first Muster Master-General of the Continental Army.

Captains Joshua Barney and John Barry,  two of the most successful naval commanders in the American Revolution.

Colonel John Fitzgerald was a trusted aide and private secretary to General George Washington.

Father Pierre Gibault, Vicar General of Illinois, whose aid was instrumental in the conquest of the Northwest for America by George Rogers Clark.

Hercules Mulligan-Ran a haberdashery in New York City during the War which catered to British officers, and all during the occupation of that community by the British was a spy for George Washington.  Washington cleared him of suspicion of Loyalism by having breakfast with him the day after the evacuation by the British of New York in 1783.

Father Eustache Lotbiniere who served as chaplain to one of two Continental regiments, known as Congress’ Own, of French Canadiens.

Nurse Mary Waters’, an Irish immigrant, work in the Continental Army hospitals was praised by Surgeon General Benjamin Rush.

Thomas Fitzsimons served as a Pennsylvania militia company commander during the Trenton campaign.  Later in the War he helped found the Pennsylvania state navy.  After the War he was one of the two Catholic signers of the U.S. Constitution in 1787

Colonel Thomas Moore led a Philadelphia regiment in the War.

Colonel Morgan Connor served as Adjutant General of the Continental Army in 1777.

Major John Doyle led a group of elite riflemen during the War. Continue reading

Fortnight For Freedom: Declaration of Independence

 

fortnight for freedom 2016

 

 

 

 

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.—Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Continue reading

A Story Made for the Fourth of July

eagle

A bald eagle was freed from a tree by a patriotic Army veteran, who spent 90 minutes firing 150 shots into three branches ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.

Jason Galvin, who did two tours in Afghanistan, was on a bait run on Thursday when he spotted the eagle dangling upside down from a rope it got tangled in, according to KARE 11

Galvin estimated the bird was hanging from the tree about 75 feet off the ground. It had been there for more than two days. Continue reading

Of Mark Shea and Elderly Poodles

 

 

I have described being banned from a site on the internet as being akin to being gummed by an elderly poodle:  it does you no real harm, but it does tell you that it is time to move on.  Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts has been banned by Mark Shea:

 

 

 

UPDATE: Apparently Mark has banned me from his Facebook page for good. We’ll see if there is more to say about that later.  For now, the link might not work.  Which is fine.  It wasn’t pleasant reading.  Anyway Happy July 4th.

UPDATE 2: Mark has now banned me from everything at this point.  My wife too.  Towards the end of the Facebook debate, Mark called upon his readers to join him.  No, he didn’t say he wanted them to join and gang up on me.  But I was pretty sure that was where he was going.  During the course of the development, his readers made it clear that they supported Mark’s approach to discourse over mine.  They were also aghast that I would post a link to his page and beg my readers to go over there.  Personally I wouldn’t have minded if a few readers came over and helped me out against the onslaught.

Now Mark has done that very thing more times than I can count.  I was shocked to find out it was a big deal.  Heck, back in the day I would follow links Mark posted about debates he was in on other sites and rush to defend him when he was being attacked.  I imagined that it was fine to do.  But Mark clearly had issues with it, and Mark is an honourable man.

Likewise, Mark made it clear he was outraged at the posts where I have criticized him, his styles, or that part of the Catholic blogosphere with which he associates.  Usually, those posts came after heated debates with Mark in which Mark either said something about others I felt crossed the line, or said something about me which I thought crossed the line, and either threatened to ban me or ordered me off of his page.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being accused of wanting to increase human slaughter or not really caring about Jesus.  Especially when, in the course of debating, I’m forbidden from defending myself under threat of being banned.

Nonetheless, despite the fact that Mark has made his living by posting the writings and statements of others and criticizing them and calling on his readers to do the same, he was upset at the fact that I had done the same to him.  I didn’t see it as some hate thing, I’m sincerely worried about Mark’s spiritual pilgrimage.  Yet Mark was offended.  And Mark is an honourable man.

So from now on, if Mark stops taking the words of others and using them to attack those individuals or encouraging others to do the same, then I will refrain from further posts or criticisms of Mark or his tactics.  Quite frankly, if Mark stops doing that, I’ll have little to complain about.  When Mark actually writes about Church teaching or unpacking the Bible or day to day Christian living, there are few better.  What could I complain about?  So that is my pledge.  I will no longer criticize Mark or post references to him, unless it is to give a thumbs up regarding something he has written, if Mark also ceases the same approach that he criticized me of using.  After all, if he does that, then I could honestly say that Mark is an honourable man. Continue reading

Hacksaw Ridge

“From a human standpoint, I shouldn’t be here to tell the story.  All the glory should go to God. No telling how many times the Lord has spared my life.”

Desmond Doss, 1998

 

 

 

 

This is interesting.  Mel Gibson is directing the film Hacksaw Ridge that is due to be released on November 4, 2016.  The movie tells the story of Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist conscientious objector,  who earned a Medal of Honor on Okinawa while serving as a medic with the Army 77th Division.  Here is his citation:

 

He was a company aid man when the 1st Battalion assaulted a jagged escarpment 400 feet high As our troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machinegun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. Pfc. Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying them 1 by 1 to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands. On 2 May, he exposed himself to heavy rifle and mortar fire in rescuing a wounded man 200 yards forward of the lines on the same escarpment; and 2 days later he treated 4 men who had been cut down while assaulting a strongly defended cave, advancing through a shower of grenades to within 8 yards of enemy forces in a cave’s mouth, where he dressed his comrades’ wounds before making 4 separate trips under fire to evacuate them to safety. On 5 May, he unhesitatingly braved enemy shelling and small arms fire to assist an artillery officer. He applied bandages, moved his patient to a spot that offered protection from small arms fire and, while artillery and mortar shells fell close by, painstakingly administered plasma. Later that day, when an American was severely wounded by fire from a cave, Pfc. Doss crawled to him where he had fallen 25 feet from the enemy position, rendered aid, and carried him 100 yards to safety while continually exposed to enemy fire. On 21 May, in a night attack on high ground near Shuri, he remained in exposed territory while the rest of his company took cover, fearlessly risking the chance that he would be mistaken for an infiltrating Japanese and giving aid to the injured until he was himself seriously wounded in the legs by the explosion of a grenade. Rather than call another aid man from cover, he cared for his own injuries and waited 5 hours before litter bearers reached him and started carrying him to cover. The trio was caught in an enemy tank attack and Pfc. Doss, seeing a more critically wounded man nearby, crawled off the litter; and directed the bearers to give their first attention to the other man. Awaiting the litter bearers’ return, he was again struck, this time suffering a compound fracture of 1 arm. With magnificent fortitude he bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint and then crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station. Through his outstanding bravery and unflinching determination in the face of desperately dangerous conditions Pfc. Doss saved the lives of many soldiers. His name became a symbol throughout the 77th Infantry Division for outstanding gallantry far above and beyond the call of duty.

Doss survived the War and passed away on March 23, 2006.  Continue reading

Fortnight For Freedom: The Catholic Signer

 

fortnight for freedom 2016

 

 

Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime & pure, [and] which denounces against the wicked eternal misery, and [which] insured to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton, letter to James McHenry, November 4, 1800.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton, as he signed his name when he added his signature to the Declaration of Independence, was the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence.  When he died at the age of 95, he was the last of the Signers to depart this vale of tears.

The scion of perhaps the richest family in the colonies, Charles Carroll was initially uninterested in politics and, in any case, was debarred by his religion from participating in politics in his native Maryland by his religions.  However, in his thirties he became a passionate advocate of American independence from Great Britain and quickly became one of the chief leaders of the Patriot cause in his home colony.  It was only natural as a result that he was sent to Congress, in spite of his religion, where he was one of the chief spokesmen for independence and happily placed his signature on the Declaration even though by doing so he risked not only his fortune but his life if the British had prevailed.  By the end of 1776 the revolutionary government of Maryland had issued an act of religious freedom, and Carroll and his fellow Catholics in Maryland enjoyed the same civil rights as Protestants.

In 1778 he returned to Maryland and helped draft the state constitution and in setting up the new state government, serving in the State Senate until 1800, and briefly in the United States Senate.

A slaveholder, throughout his career Carroll spoke and wrote of slavery as an evil that must come to an end as soon as possible.  He attempted, but failed, to have Maryland implement a plan of gradual emancipation.  At the age of 91 he took on the task of being president of the Auxiliary State Colonization Society of Maryland, part of  a national movement to have free blacks voluntarily colonize what would become Liberia in Africa.

Something of a Renaissance man, he had a strong interest in science and in his nineties helped set up the B&O Railroad, lending his prestige to this new technology in his native Maryland.

Throughout his life his two main passions were the American Revolution and his Faith.   Like most of the Founding Fathers he regarded the idea of political liberty divorced from sound morality, derived from religion, as an absurdity.  He set forth his ideas on this subject in a letter to Secretary of War James McHenry in 1800 in which he lamented the then current American political scene: Continue reading

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