Obama: Reason To Be Afraid.

Sunday, October 12, AD 2008

The [“Born Alive controversy”] does show him to be a down-the-line pro-choice legislator. In fact, the charge that Obama is the most pro-choice candidate in years may well be true (though the other Democrats were pretty pro-choice too). When I read through the legislative history, I came to believe that Obama’s general impulse was: when it doubt, side with NARAL. If you’re ardently pro-life, you are absolutely justified in being scared of Obama for that reason alone, without having cast him as a serial killer.

Beliefnet’s Stephen Waldman
by way of Marc Stricherz: “Obama’s Moral Fortitude is Questionable “
by way of Matthew Fish: “disingenuous”

Good posts, worth reading.

Anger and Politics

Sunday, October 12, AD 2008

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit says it all:

“NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE? So we’ve had nearly 8 years of lefty assassination fantasies about George W. Bush, and Bill Ayers’ bombing campaign is explained away as a consequence of him having just felt so strongly about social justice, but a few people yell things at McCain rallies and suddenly it’s a sign that anger is out of control in American politics? It’s nice of McCain to try to tamp that down, and James Taranto sounds a proper cautionary note — but, please, can we also note the staggering level of hypocrisy here? (And that’s before we get to the Obama campaign’s thuggish tactics aimed at silencing critics.)

41 Responses to Anger and Politics

  • It’s becoming a case of a candidate having to try to protect himself from the craziness (and ambition) of his loose supporters (and VP pick, along with her admirers):

    London Times

    “With his electoral prospects fading by the day, Senator John McCain has fallen out with his vice-presidential running mate about the direction of his White House campaign.

    McCain has become alarmed about the fury unleashed by Sarah Palin, the moose-hunting “pitbull in lipstick”, against Senator Barack Obama. Cries of “terrorist” and “kill him” have accompanied the tirades by the governor of Alaska against the Democratic nominee at Republican rallies.

    Mark Salter, McCain’s long-serving chief of staff, is understood to have told campaign insiders that he would prefer his boss, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, to suffer an “honourable defeat” rather than conduct a campaign that would be out of character – and likely to lose him the election. “

  • Speaking of crazed supporters of political candidates:


    Left wing sites are filled with this type of raw sewage.

  • Michelle Malkin has a good article on the rage on the Left in this campaign which the mainstream press sedulously ignores.


  • I know I am outraged by denial of habeas corpus; abuse of executive power (for which Palin apparently has some state level training); concocted intelligence to sell an unnecessary invasion; unjust war; Palin’s fear and hate mongering; cronyism and incompetence from the Justice Deparatment to Katrina to the economy; and my ex-party’s never delivering on a 5th SC judge to overturn R v. W).

  • “and my ex-party’s never delivering on a 5th SC judge to overturn R v. W).”

    Well Mr. DeFrancisis you can’t be very outraged on that score, since Obama, the man you are supporting for President, is pledged to appoint only judges who will support Roe. Admit it, the fight against abortion is of zero importance to you.

  • Donald,

    I will not be duped by the GOP again. In speaking to PUMA Clintonites, for example, McCain touted his votes to confirm the 2 Bill Clinton SC appointees.

    Additionally, Bush has created such an anti-Republican beacklash across the nation that you would have to be a fool to think that there would be enough Republicans in the Senate to stand by McCain, if he is courageous enough to insist on no one but a anti-Roe v. Wade judge. And he is too unpersuasive and uncommitted, IMO, to raise the sentiment for a culture of life, in preparation for such an endeavor.

    Reagan and Bush I caved in the end. I see McCain less as a man of principle, who would not bow to poltical expediency.

    To me, the abortion issue, as much as I am pro-life, is thus a complete wash judicially in this presidentail election.

    But unjust war (intrinsically evil, btw, if it’s unjust), torture and racism are at play, as McCain will most likely go into Iran in a very bad way, and has already waffled as to the latter two, other intrinsic evils.

    And in the light of my judgement that there will not be a 5th judge for uswith either candidate, I weigh which candidates economic politicies will actually most decreae the incidence of abortions procured; here I judge Obama as the better candidate.

    Lastly, with what Roberts has said about Roe v Wade as ‘settled law” and his judicial temperament, I am not sure he’d actually vote to overturn R v. W. And his and Alito’s pro-executive powes rulings have been very dangerous to the precious balance of powers in our country, imo.

  • Actually Obama’s judicial appointments might be irrelevant at that, at least on the abortion issue, since he is pledged to sign the Freedom of Choice Act which I discussed in a previous post. With a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, and a greatly enlarged Democrat majority in the House, I think a President Obama would probably get his wish to sign the Freedom of Choice Act. How anyone who is pro-life on the abortion issue could not view the prospect of an Obama administration with anything but horror is a mystery to me.

  • Perhaps if you could step out side of yourself for a moment and listen to your interlocutor, it would not be such a mystery.

    A fellow, locus61(?) already more of less rehearsed my argments in another thread below.

  • “Perhaps if you could step out side of yourself for a moment and listen to your interlocutor, it would not be such a mystery.”

    No, I understand what you are saying, but it simply doesn’t make sense for someone who cares about stopping abortion to vote for Obama. I think you care about other issues much more, and the fight against abortion simply isn’t high on your priority list.

  • Mark,

    I’m a Democrat and I — like you — don’t think the Republican Party gives abortion the primacy it deserves and it’s an issue that they use for the most part to win elections. I know and understand your position and I think it’s critical.


    George W. Bush has in fact signed a timetable on Iraq. We have an agreement with their government and the war is going to, in fact, end.

    In regard to abortion, it is NO small matter. It is the greatest issue of our time. Capital punishment in this country since our founding days is 4 days of abortion. The war in Iraq? At best 15 days of abortion. There has been nearly 7,500,000 abortions since the war in Iraq began. It’s not that I don’t care about any other issues. I do care about them, but the issue of abortion is so insurmountable that I cannot in good conscience get around it.

    If my reasoning is clear, I hope you may at least reconsider your support for Obama. Obama supports the “Freedom of Choice Act,” which in effect would wipe out every pro-life law since Roe v. Wade. That means doctors who are protected by conscience laws from performing abortions would lose that protection and the fight of forcing them to perform abortions would rise. There will be no parental notification or consent laws. No laws against cross state borders. No laws requiring women to wait and think it over 24 hours. No laws mandating that women be allowed to view an ultrasound or even be told scientific and medically accurate information about abortion and human life development. No law that whatsoever restrict abortion.

    Obama would solidify the pro-choice Supreme Court for another generation and he will undermine the Hyde Amendment and fund abortion via the medium of Title X and under the label of “healthcare” with his plan. We’ll be subsidizing it more directly with our tax dollars and women can receive free abortions. And if the Democrats reach 60 in the Senate and gain more seats in the House, there will be nothing to stop them.

    The entire fruits of 35 years of the pro-life movement will be eradicated in a single blow and that is a disqualifier. I don’t care how fed up with the Republican Party one might be. I’m very disenfranchised by the GOP and I would love nothing more than to cast my vote for my own party.

    But, the party is dominated by hyper-liberal special interests whose view of the human person is dominated by Enlightenment thinking, whose view of society is of the same mentality, and you combine this with moral relativism and you have a problem.

    Democrats support fighting AIDS in Africa, but they use contraception which does not at all solve the problem. In fact, AIDS is not declining. Moreover, the virus itself is smaller than the pores in a condom and can still readily pass through. As Catholics, we know that contraception does not help the problem whatsoever and creates more vice.

    Democrats want to expand embryonic stem cell research. McCain while he supports it, arguably would avoid doing it because of the pro-life GOP base. Arguably. But with Obama, there is no uncertainty.

    We could potentially face the legalization of euthanasia, or even find it in our healthcare system. Obama when asked what’s the one thing that he regretted as a Senator said he regretted voting to save Terry Schiavo. Thats abhorent. (Look here: http://www.lifenews.com/bio2347.html).

    This man opposed bills to save babies that survived abortions and these babies, in fact, were left to die in utility rooms for the few hours that they could survive without medical care.

    I don’t see how you can say all the other issues can help you get around this. If you’re pro-life, you are an abolitionist. Slavery abolitionists didn’t say let’s reduce the number of slaves. The pro-slavery bunch were not really in for the elimination of slavery. Neither are the pro-choice lobby. No one ever voted for Hitler saying “I don’t want to be a single-issue voter. Genocide is bad, but hey, he supports universal healthcare.” Certain issues are a disqualifier because no good society can be built on such thinking.

    The GOP is far from perfect. But a man who thinks babies who survive abortions have no basic right to medical care and no basic right to life has no business leading a nation. A man who was only a U.S. Senator 143 DAYS before he started running for president. He has no legislative accomplishments that qualify him for the highest office.

    If you simply must speak about peace and war and thus vote for Obama, then do so standing upon the right to life if you wish to be morally coherent. Call abortion what it is: an objective, aboherent evil. Admit that Obama’s position on it is terrible. But criticizing the other side only and not your candidate who has unspeakable positions make your claims look dubious and paper thin, when you as a pro-life Catholic are voting for the most pro-abortion candidate who will eliminate — if he has his way — any chance to end abortion for at least another two generations.

    The argument is not that McCain will succeed in ending abortion, it’s that Obama will succeed in expanding it.

  • I want to add something. (I know, I know — this kid isn’t done yet?)

    Abortion effects our foreign policy. The Clinton Administration withheld aid from third world countries to pressure them into allowing the creation of abortion facilities and we were funding those industries with tax payer dollars in other countries. We funded abortion in Mexico as well.

    George W. Bush, as terrible as a president he is, turned that money faucet off. If Obama is elected, he will turn it back on. Somewhere in the range of 46 million abortions occur worldwide in one year — 365 days. And this is the case from roughly since the 70s. It was higher in the 90s, but in recent years has declined about 4 million or so. But no one would say that 42 million is any more acceptable.

    Add up WWI, WWII, deaths from AIDS, from cancer, from the holocaust, from Iraq, from Afghanistan, from Darfur, from 9/11…and abortion still wins.

  • Eric

    Such numbers are a unrevealing game. I used to think that way too.

    How many abortions has the Republican judiciary-centered approach actually really prevented?

    As abortion on demand has been virtually the law of the land these past 30+ years, I’d venture that it’s close to 0.

    The Partial Birth Abortion Ban was a really only a moral victory, as other procedures are available, expediting pre-late month abortions.

  • I guess Mark Defrancisis is polluting these comboxes too with his lefty rhetoric.

  • Tony is a completely binary thinker.

    He is simply paralyzed by the fact that America does things which the Vatican and out Catholic faith oppose.

  • Eric,

    You downplay the atrocity that will be Iran and minimize the unnecessary loss of 100s of 1000s of human lives in Iraq.

    It’s like saying that we broke into a house, killed half of the family members, but now negotiated peace with the remnant relatives.

  • Mark,

    In all seriousness, do you think that the Freedom of Choice Act is irrelevent to the pro-life cause? If the Republicans are as you arguing playing with the pro-life movement what is to be made of a Democratic party that has no place for any legal restriction on an unlimited abortion license at all? This would be the equivilent of a Republican administration not only codifying all the administrative practices that produced torture (that includes the rendition protocals tht both Democratic and Republican administrations have employed) but then illegalizing any efforts to undermine or challenge these. Call the Republicans cynical on pro-life issues if you will, I find the honest determination of the Democrats, particularly Sen. Obama, to eliminate any and all efforts to protect the unborn in law to be terrifying in their sincerity and honesty. I am honestly curious as to how you can think that such a forceful, unambiguious affirmation of abortion as a good is compatible with any claim of concern for pro-life legislation at all.

  • Isn’t it funny that there were less abortions under the Clinton administration than there were under past GOP admininstrations?

    And Bob Casey Jr spoke at the Dems’ convention.

  • Mark,

    Bob Casey Jr. had a scripted speech where abortion was never mentioned.

    And there were more abortions under Clinton than W’s eight years.

  • Mark,

    You miss my point. I’m a pro-life Democrat. Why? Because I’m suspicious of Republicans and their sincerity to help the unborn. But that does NOT immediately qualify a vote for the other side. It does not.

    America engaging war with Iran is not necessarily the future. It can go either way. McCain has repeatedly said that he would is Secretary of State and lower level officials engage in diplomacy and advocate the U.N. to impose economic sanctions on Iran. Barack Obama has said basically the same thing with the minor difference that he himself may sit down with someone and negotiate.

    Republicans may be half-hearted in fighting abortion. But there are Republicans who are sincere and advocates of the unborn. The list begins with Sam Brownback and these Republicans are of status in the party. There is only one proven 100% pro-life Democrat in the U.S. Senate and that’s Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

    Though you cite several instances of where the Bush Administration has gone wrong, you have to qualify a few things.

    Barack Obama claims that he is going to unite the country, but he has the most partisan record of anyone in the Senate. He votes partyline 97% of the time, when John McCain has gone against the GOP on taxes, on torture, on immigration, and on climate change. Have you ever seen Obama do that?

    Look up Obama’s legislative history. There is ONE bill that he introduced with a Republican and it’s a government transparency bill that no one opposed. Is that really, risky dangerous bipartisan legislativion that makes him anything more than a run of the mill Democrat who have 143 days in the national scene for whatever reason decided he should be our next president?

    You ignore the “number’s game” but 46,000,000 million abortions in one year in 365 days is no small matter. This is an overall decrease since 1995 which I think was the last peak. But if Obama turned the ‘money faucet’ back on, we would be subsidizing abortions overseas. There would be no pro-life law and abortions will be free in the U.S. as it would be subsidized by our tax dollars.

    Not only that, do give me a break that a Republican judiciary is the only reason abortions haven’t ended. Have you noticed that pro-choice Democrats have been fighting them — the sincere pro-lifers like Sam Brownback — tooth and nail? The Democratic Party won’t even link to the Democrats for Life of America on their national website. The Democratic Party rejected DFLA’s conscience clause on abortion from the platform and wrote the most pro-abortion platform ever, i.e. the Democratic party “unequivocally” supports a woman’s right to an abortion “regardless of ability to pay,” meaning we’ll subsidize it.

    Margaret Sanger, the lunatic racist who founded Planned Parenthood is still honored by the organization. Ever notice that Planned Parenthood pops up in the socio-economically disadvantaged areas where blacks and hispanics live? Abortion is an industry and they have targets so they can make money. Abortion has been declining and it’s no wonder that the Democrats — who receive millions in funds from pro-choice groups — are positioning themselves to make abortion at any point in pregnancy enshrined in federal law and protected by the Supreme Court for another two generations.

    It’s not just “bad Republican policies” or apathetic conservative judges, it’s the fact that the pro-abortion groups are expanding their services. Case in point, 1 in 2 African American pregnancies end in abortion. Nearly 2,000 of the 4,000 abortions in a day are unborn African American children. My city Houston is facing the establishment of the largest Planned Parenthood facility in the western hemisphere. This effects abortion directly — those who provide it.

    “The Partial Birth Abortion Ban was a really only a moral victory, as other procedures are available, expediting pre-late month abortions.”

    By the way, Mark, your candidate for president opposed that. And he will protect the “other procedures” and enshrine them into law as a fundamental right.

    If you can vote for a candidate that thinks that partial birth abortion is a legitimate procedure and even opposes protecting children that have been born, fine.

    But don’t pretend that it’s the more ‘pro-life’ thing to do.

    I don’t think that the immense problems we face are going to be solved by John McCain. But I do know that we will not find any justice under Barack Obama who will eradicate the pro-life movement, expand embryonic stem cell research, and perhaps even legalize Euthanasia, and with it, gay marriage — Connecticut just joined California and Massachusetts.

    Do these issues not matter? Or are they just a few issues among many?

  • -It’s not that I don’t care about any other issues. I do care about them, but the issue of abortion is so insurmountable that I cannot in good conscience get around it.-

    I feel the same way. I’m not a republican and never have been, but I can’t vote Democrat anymore becuase of this issue.

  • Organic fertilizer, Mark De Francisis.
    Please read this:

    Abortion rates skyrocketed during the 1970’s (Ford and Carter, only one of whom was GOP and certainly not a conservative) They peaked around the time of the first Reagan election, and subsequently began a steady decline. The decline became a fairly precipitous drop late in the George H.W. Bush admin and continued during the early Clinton years when it levelled off slightly. It nonetheless continued to drop through the Clinton and George W. Bush admins. Not only that, actual numbers of abortions dropped under W. Bush according to the factcheck page.

    It is intellectually dishonest to lionize Clinton for a trend that began over a decade before he ever had any control over it. The most that can be said for him is that he failed to implement policies that might have reversed the trend.

    Casey, Jr. may be pro-life up to a point but I doubt he got that convention spot without compromising his principles somewhat–the endorsement of the Senate’s most rabidly pro-abortion member, a man with a fairly scanty paper trail in almost every issue but abortion, being the prime example there. And surely you haven’t forgotten the shabby treatment his father got at the hands of the Democrats before him?

  • Mark,

    In re the “abortions declined under Clinton” meme: The abortion rate has declined in a straight linear progression with a 90%+ correlation to the number of years since 1980 for the last 28 years — with only the most minor of deviations. Now, I suppose that one could claim that the constant hammering of pro-life Republicans (and the small number of courageous pro-life Democrats) at the local level has not been any factor in this gradual reduction over time, but frankly I cannot as an analyst imagine any responsible way in which one could ground the claim that removing _all_ local restrictions on abortion plus providing funding would not increase the number of abortions.

    As for balancing that fear against that of a war with Iran: Count me with the group that finds it more likely we’ll end up in a war with Iran if Obama is elected than if McCain is. Iran will bet that they can be the Kruschev to Obama’s Kennedy and try to push him around in ways that would not be the case under a McCain administration.

  • Even George Will has said that a McCain victory guarantees war with Iran.

    With the way McCain acts with his enemies, it will end up being not just a war with Iran.

    Expect a conflict of WW4 proportions.

  • cminor,

    scatalogical headers for you?

  • Even George Will has said that a McCain victory guarantees war with Iran.

    Argument from authority?

    I think George Will is wrong.

  • From the mouth of the Maverick:

  • Try “scatological”, dear.

  • Thank you for the correction; you are more of an expert on the matter, I see…

  • Enough to know it when I see it, dear.;-)

  • Gentlemen, I enjoy a good combox tussle, but let’s make sure it doesn’t get personal. Thanks.

  • “Even George Will has said that a McCain victory guarantees war with Iran. With the way McCain acts with his enemies, it will end up being not just a war with Iran. Expect a conflict of WW4 proportions.”

    I have (many) doubts about McCain, but this isn’t really one of them. I thought it was interesting in the most recent debate that Obama kept saying that he would attack Bin Laden on Pakistani soil without the cooperation of their government, whereas McCain was arguing the need for diplomacy and caution. I think the whole exchange was nonsense on Obama’s part – bluster without substance (is killing Bin Laden himself such a big deal at this point?) – but it was interesting listening to Obama advocate a policy which would anger a country with nuclear capabilities, while the ‘war-monger’ McCain was advocating caution.

  • Cminor,

    My apologies for my snide retort.


    My interpretion on that exchange in the debate was that McCain essentially ageed with Obama, but was trying to score points about his contender’s purported amateurish, in “telegraphing” to the enemies of our possible actions.

  • Mark – I had a different take. I thought Obama was trying to score cheap points. “Bush hasn’t gotten Osama, isn’t that terrible!!!” Never mind that there’s no real evidence, other than Osama being alive, that he’s a serious threat for anything other than a razzie for worst home-made threatening video. I also thought Obama stating that he would carry out attacks within Pakistan’s borders without their approval needlessly provocative. McCain may have agreed in substance, but I think he had a legitimate point: it’s silly to antagonize other countries by talking about hypothetical attacks on their soil just to look tough in a debate.

    To be fair, I thought McCain was buffoonish when he said “I know how to get Bin Laden.” He’s said that before, and every time I think – “well then, why haven’t you passed that knowledge along to anyone over the last seven years?”

    In any case, to your original point, it’s highly unlikely that McCain would go to war in Iran – do you think any President will be able to lead the U.S. into war anytime soon with Iraq so fresh everyone’s minds? Perhaps you have a different read on the mood of the country, but I don’t think it at all likely that a President will be able to garner the support of the country for another war for at least 10-15 years. Frankly, I never understood how 2/3 of the country supported the war in Iraq.

  • FusO1,

    I can easily entertain your interpretation of the exchange as a legitimate one. I still am inclined yo mine, however.

    Believe me, as much as I defend the Catholic choice for Obama, it has been a difficult one for me.

    I wish there was a politician around like Bob Casey Sr.

    He was my governor and is my political hero.

  • No offense taken, Mark. Shall we both tone down the snark? Posting remarks made exclusively for the purpose of provocation really doesn’t advance reasoned discussion.

  • By the way, I have to agree with fus01. If Obama’s purpose is to portray himself as a diplomat par excellence, the noise he’s been making at Pakistan has been extremely unfortunate. Particularly with a new, potentially friendly president coming to power there.

  • why do people try to make it sound bad to be a one issue voter?

    abortion is the only issue, nothing else matters.

    obama rates 0% on the pro life meter.

    if mcain rates anything higher than that guess who I’m voting for?

    it really is just that simple.

  • What if only an anti-abortion Neo-Nazi ( I know, that would be a strange combo) were running against Obama?

    Or only a strict, Shiite Muslim, who is anti-abortion 100%, but wants to impose Islamic law on all Americans?

  • I think it’s implied when people say ‘abortion is the only issue,’ they mean that none of the other issues in this election are of equal significance. They do not mean to make a universal statement that a pro-slavery, pro-sharia, pro-whatever-evil-thing-may-be-worse would be better as long as they were pro-life.

  • Worse than a shiite muslim who wants to impose sharia law… I would vote a democrat who promises to tax everyone in excess of 75% and use it to plant baby seals in the everglades, if they promised to work day and night on a constitutional ammendment guaranteeing the right to life for the unborn.

  • That is the odd thing A.Rowe. I lean towards being a fiscal conservative, but would certainly vote for the Democratic party if (in a Sliders-like alternative universe) the Democrats were pro-life and the Republicans were pro-abortion, even if nothing else changed in the platforms of the respective parties. Abortion is not the only issue I vote on, but with the coming budget shortfalls I don’t think either party will be able to accomplish much over the next four years other than appointing Steven’s and Ginsberg’s replacements.

2 Responses to Rodger Charles' "Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching"

  • Thanks for mentioning these books.

    A rather unrelated question – do you know of any good early Church history books?

    I was looking to get the one by Eusebius but I couldn’t find a translation I could trust.

  • Zach,

    Well, question one is if you’re looking for a history written during the early Church, in which case Eusebius is probably your man, or a modern history of the early Church — which might be more accurate in some historical respects.

    If you’re looking for a modern history of the early Church, I don’t have any recommendations for you — not saying there’s nothing out there, but it’s not my field and I haven’t run across one.

    If you’re pretty sure you want to read Eusebius, I’d recommend Kirsopp Lake’s translation in the Loeb Classical Library. The downside is: it’s a bit pricey as the Loebs generally are. (Two volumes at $20 each. Though any decent college library should have it for you.) However, it’s a solid scholarly translation with Greek and English facing pages.

13 Responses to Palin On Abortion In Johnstown, Pennsylvania-October 11

  • One of my favorite quotes from Governor Palin:

    “as defenders of the culture of life”.

    One of the most despicable quotes I’ve heard from Senator Obama:

    “punished with a baby”

    This is the far left position that Senator holds that can be summed up nicely by the late “Senator Moynihan, a Democrat, described partial-birth abortion as “too close to infanticide.” Barack Obama thinks it’s a constitutional right, but he is wrong.”

    For a full disclosure, I’m voting for the McCain/Palin ticket.

    With that, I believe this rally today is the turning point of the election right now for the Pro-Life ticket to pull ahead of the Pro-Abortion ticket for the POTUS.

  • If McCain wins, and in the teeth of adverse polls I believe he still has a decent chance, it will be because he was dragged across the finish line by Sarah Palin.

  • Donald,

    I have no delusions of the predicament that the McCain/Palin ticket find themselves in. I agree, if McCain wins, it’s because Palin dragged him across the finish line.

    Regardless of the outcome, we need to remember not to make the mistake of nominating McCain (of course if we can nominate the Democrat, we would try, but it isn’t happening because of the party’s embrace of the culture of death). We should definitely follow up with Palin as a nominee. And ram it through the primaries in 2012.

  • I’m really glad to see some solid words out of Palin on this topic. Goodness knows, if there is someone who has the standing to say them, it is she. And I hope they win — though if the stock market doesn’t stabilize fast I don’t see how it’ll happen.

    But I’ve got to admit that I’m not clear yet how Palin would be as presidential material. We’ll have to see how she develops on the national stage over the next four or eight years — win or lose.

    Certainly, we’re desperately short of solid conservative talent on the national scene right now, but right now she strikes me more as a potentially solid number two than top of ticket material.

  • What if…..Palin were Catholic? Would she have been in this? And if still chosen, how roasted would she have been? A pro-life Catholic candidate would not be allowed…..? As far as ever being #1, who’s in support would be the deal maker or breaker.

  • -What if…..Palin were Catholic? Would she have been in this?-

    That is an interesting question. I think the answer is absolutely not. There is no way any candidate would have picked a pro-life Catholic to run with him. Palin’s selection was surprising enough, but a pro-life Catholic would suggest the “bowing to Rome”, which would drive away liberals as well as conservatives.

  • Actually two pro-life Catholics were seriously considered for Veep: Governor Jindal of Louisiana and Senator Brownback of Kansas. Jindal is quite impressive, only 37, and I think he will ultimately be not only the GOP
    nominee for President, but will one day hold that office. A Palin-Jindal or Jindal-Palin ticket would be my idea of political heaven!

  • Criticism of Senator Obama’s record on abortion is needed, but we also need pro-life leaders who can effectively negotiate the twists and turns of politics in their representation of the unborn and who will make building a culture of life a top priority. We need pro-life leaders who will give the life issues the kind of attention that President Bush has given to terrorism and the Iraq War. How precisely would a McCain/Palin administration defend the unborn when faced with a Democratic controlled congress and a culture that largely celebrates choice? What priority would they give to ending abortion?

  • Donald,

    That would be the strongest ticket ever! I pray for that day!

  • This is one of the many reason this woman rocks!!!!!!!!!


2 Responses to American Catholic 2008

  • I love that video…

    there only 2 change would I would make

    1) is the last line…

    instead of “vote your conscience”, I would have said

    “inform your conscience”

    “and VOTE”

    2) I dislike the word “values” … I wish people would say “virtue” instead

  • Bret,

    I had the same issues with “vote your conscience” as well. First thing that popped in my head was have a well-formed conscience and vote.

10 Responses to The Foggy Dew

  • Did your link to Little Green Footballs fail you for the weekend?

  • No Mr. DeFrancisis my internet connection is working fine. I was just reading an article on Liberal Catholic Bigotry Against Sarah Palin. Here is the link.


    No doubt you and the other folks over at Vox Nova can have a merry time this weekend being enraged over that article. Enjoy!

  • Donald,


    Anti-Americanism and heterodoxy, they go hand in hand over “there”.

  • Tito, I certainly disagree with the perspective of several of the contributors at VN, but I don’t think that their views merit the term heterodoxy, unless you’ve seen something I haven’t.

  • Chris,

    I was thinking heteropraxis/heteropraxy when typing.

    It should say heteropraxis.

  • Given that one of the things that rubs me the wrong way about some of their contributors is a tendency to draw the lines of orthodoxy very narrowly (claiming that people are ignoring Catholic teaching when they’re really not) I’d be in favor of being very careful about casting any aspersions accidentally ourselves.

  • Darwin, I think you are correct.

    Actually, though, I stopped by the comments to thank Donald McClarey for the post–it’s a very moving song. I’m used to hearing it with a different melody and tempo–this version is quite militant!

  • I agree with Darwin.

    Thank you crimnor. This version by the Wolf Tones is my favorite version of The Foggy Dew. I also like the video because of the skillful use of pictures to relate the history behind the song. I think it is masterfully done.

  • I hadn’t realized till I was reading up on the start of the Great War recently how close things had gotten to the Brits allowing Irish independence before the war broke out in 1914. And with that, there had been serious fears that there would be a civil war because the British army and navy were so heavily populated by Ulster men who were prepared to mutiny if the South were set free.

    And then not only was the whole thing put on hold when the was started in 1914, but they were conscripting Irishmen into the British army and sending them out into the trenches. No wonder they ended up with a rebellion on their hands…

  • Pingback: The Easter Rising 1916 « The American Catholic

12 Responses to Tom Cruise, First-Rate Philosopher

  • Excellent post!

  • Thanks!

  • Unfortunately consistency is not one of the things that the American people (or indeed any people) is good at. On life issues in particular, we select for politicians with totally incoherant views on abortion — because people feel uncomfortable actually saying that abortion is right, and yet also uncomfortable saying it should be fully banned. The problem is, the middle ground is the one position which absolutely cannot be true.

  • Agreed, DC… critical thinking skills in general are somewhat lacking these days.

  • We tend to hold fast to premises, but shy away from the conclusions where those premises lead.

  • “For good or evil, Europe since the Reformation, and most especially England since the Reformation, has been in a peculiar sense the home of paradox…The most familiar is the English boasting that they are practical because they are not logical. To an ancient Greek or a Chinamen this would seem exactly like saying that London clerks excel in adding up their ledgers, because they are not accurate in their arithmetic…Since the modern world began in the sixteenth century, nobody’s system of philosophy has really corresponded to everybody’s sense of reality.”

    Chesterton, Biography of St. Thomas Aquinas.

    I’m not sure if it’s entirely fair to trace the divorce of philosophy from lived experience to the Reformation, but Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is probably the greatest of the modern heresies.

  • Europe is the canary in the mine and you can see that bird losing consciousness. With moral relativism running rampant, they are incapable of dealing with disasters. From the collapse of Yugoslavia to the institution of Sharia law. They don’t believe in God, hence they don’t believe in anything except themselves.

  • That was a great post.

    But I would like to add two things.

    1) I think it is easier to be consistent when you have no rules to follow. We Catholics get accused of being hypocritical when we do live by Jesus’ standards. But is it fair when those who accuse you do not have a standard? Who is truly being hypocritical. I believe Chesterton said something to this effect. “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”

    2) I also understand that a lot of us in America do separate our personal faith from our public life. And I think there are a lot of reasons for that but I just name a few…. our false understanding of separation of church and state (not allowing God in schools as an example … everson v. board of education…) the idea that our personal life does not affect our public life (aka the Clinton affair)… the brainwashing of our media who repeats the drum beat of this idea… through shows, movies, music… and finally, lack of courage… being afraid to preach the Gospel in season or out of season.

  • Alasdair MacIntyre has a pithy line to describe the religious belief of the British: “God does not exist, and it is good to pray to Him on occasion.” 🙂

  • Chris,

    I love the quote…

    I would also like to add that in my second point that this division goes much deeper…. you can see it the development of the modern mind and how it divorces faith and reason.

  • I concur regarding the deeper origins of this division, Bret… I agree with those scholars who see its origins predating even the Reformation, going back to Ockham and even to Scotus before him.

    When in doubt, stick with the Dominicans. 🙂

  • “Smith — himself an evangelical — led an exhaustive study of the religious & spiritual lives of American teenagers, and his findings…found that whatever the religious beliefs professed by American teens (and, I’d argue, by adults as well), the vast majority of them ‘practiced’ what he terms ‘Moralistic Therapuetic Deism’, a worldview in which God acts as divine butler or cosmic therapist: there when I need Him, but out of the way otherwise and most of the time.”

    Oh, boy, is this a familiar scenario…

Tribalism and Politics

Friday, October 10, AD 2008

[This is a very slightly modified reprint of a post from my personal blog from several months ago, but one which I thought relevant to build upon as we seek to lay the foundation for a principled and polite discussion of politics from a Catholic perspective.]

Two and half years ago, when the situation in Iraq was pretty much at its worst Bush’s popularity was already headed steeply down (though not yet as low as it is now), I was talking to one of my very liberal friends, and he commented: “You Republicans enjoy it now.  We’ll take back congress at the next election, and there is no Republican on earth who could win the presidency after eight years of Bush.  He’s destroyed your party for a generation.”

“What if we nominate McCain?” I asked.

7 Responses to Tribalism and Politics

  • This coming from the guy who pushes the Palinite/ McCarthyite Other-ing of Obama as legitimate maneuvering in the arena of public discourse…

    Try again…

  • This tribalism is indeed a powerful driving force in politics, and it is very easy to sink into. As a Republican myself, I fall into this trap from time to time. We get into the habit of seeing people not as people, but as mindless drones of a particular institution. Thus a Democrat has to be bad because he’s a Democrat. Because of the label, he must be a pot-smoking, baby-killing, soldier-reviling, tree-hugging socialist. But this is far from the truth. The Democratic party contains a huge number of disparate interest groups, many of which are in conflict with each other, whether they realize it or not. The abortion lobby is one aspect; the environmental lobby another. There is still plenty of good to say about liberal values, especially in terms of trying to look out for the little man, quenching the last vestiges of racism, and ensuring that people in general are treated as people. Similarly, in general Republicans aren’t the corporate-loving, environment-destroying, science-belittling, backward hicks Democrats make them out to be. But because we see prominent members on each side as fitting these molds, it becomes imperative to have “your guy” win just so that the “other guy” doesn’t swing the balance of power back in favor of the “wrong” party.

    For example, back in 2006, fearing that Republicans would lose their majority in the House, I supported Barbara Cubin, despite the fact that she has been a poor representative of Wyoming, and her opponent (whose name I can’t even remember now) would have made a great replacement. Keep in mind, in Wyoming even our Democrats are pretty conservative, so it isn’t like conservatives would suffer greatly from having a “liberal” represent us. Yet the tribalism machine said that Cubin had to win, if only so that Republicans could maintain power.

    So I’m guilty as charged.

    And sometimes we forget about general charity, especially in regards to the eighth commandment: thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. We have a tendency to decry the dirty tactics of the “other” side, while whitewashing the dirty tactics of our own. And yet we must remember: smears, regardless of who makes them, are a violation of the eighth commandment. Misrepresenting someone’s voting history, inflating statistics, and yes, crying guilt by association are all deplorable.

    McCain has said some things that I find inexcusable. But that doesn’t whitewash Obama in the slightest. Obama has made misrepresentations, made accusations that bear no weight whatsoever, and has not been innocent in the realm of smear tactics. But that doesn’t excuse McCain or make his dirty politics commendable.

    I would not say, though, that questioning a candidate’s history or association is beyond the discourse of political debate. History matters. Thus it is valid to investigate Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers. But as unrepentant as Bill Ayers is, Obama is not guilty for having associated with him. You can associate with all kinds of scum. I know the comparisons to Jesus are really wearing on Catholics, but Jesus associated with all manner of sinners. Thus it is completely outrageous and wrong to suggest that Obama supports terrorism or is a friend to terrorists because of his association with Ayers. There is a second part to this, though. We cannot point to guilty by association, but we can point to guilt by collaboration. If there is any substance to the charge that Obama’s educational policies are lockstep with Ayer’s radical notions, if there is any substance to the charge that the two have been collaborating for years, that’s a different story.

  • What, Mark?

  • He is not a principled conservative, or indeed an adherent to any intellectually defined political or economic philosophy.

    This is definitely something that frustrates me about McCain… I was telling a friend the other day that I don’t even know what his agenda is. Her comment was along the lines of what you followed the quote above with, DC… “he is clearly a firm believer in honesty, honor, and service to the Civitas.” But to me, that equates with a reactive presidency, i.e. someone who is — probably ably — responding to things as they come up instead of actively promoting something. In other words, a defensive stance rather than offensive with regard to public policy.

    Not my preference.

  • Chris,

    Read the posts below…Particularly, Mr. McClarey’s Ayers post and Darwin’s sliy response therein.

    To be quite honest,I am surprised you are here.

    Hopefully, you pull the discourse up…

  • Ryan,

    Very good points.

    Your discussion of the state rep race in your area brings to mind one of the elements feeding tribalism especially at our present time: because there are so many heavily loaded moral issues at play these days, we often are tempted to attribute them even to those who do not hold the views offense to us. For instance, I suspect that pro-life Democrats sometimes suffer from a tribal assumption that all Democrats are “anti-life” — and similarly pro-choice Republicans sometimes get more of a pass than they should.


    I recognize that you and I differ as to whether Ayers is a sufficiently unsavory (perhaps I may even say “despicable”?) personality to suggest that Obama had very questionable judgement in associating himself with him. But I’m unclear how that bears on whether my assessment that politics is often tribal in tone is accurate?

    Indeed, if anything, our differences might underline both of our tribal tendencies.

  • DC,

    About your post here. Perhaps if Mr. McCain did not backtrack on everything that made him so mavericky…

    About Palin-McCain-Ayeyrs, I side with my old hero, George Will:

    “This, McCain and his female Sancho Panza say, is demonstrated by bad associations Obama had in Chicago, such as with William Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist. But the McCain-Palin charges have come just as the Obama campaign is benefiting from a mass mailing it is not paying for. Many millions of American households are gingerly opening envelopes containing reports of the third-quarter losses in their 401(k) and other retirement accounts — telling each household its portion of the nearly $2 trillion that Americans’ accounts have recently shed.

    ….In this context, the McCain-Palin campaign’s attempt to get Americans to focus on Obama’s Chicago associations seem surreal — or, as a British politician once said about criticism he was receiving, “like being savaged by a dead sheep.”

31 Responses to Palin on Obama and Abortion

  • Mr. Echevarria, I deleted your comment in this thread. Although you and I agree about about abortion and further agree in supporting McCain-Palin, the vehemence with which you expressed your sentiments are not acceptable.

  • Of course, Palin’s ugly anti-intellectualism warms the most rabid in the “pro-life” base.

    But, most likely, her Father Coughlin-ism–if allowed to run its full course– would set back tremendously the effort at really advancing politically a true “culture of life” in America– repelling the middle like never before done since ’73…

  • Mark, Gov. Palin certainly isn’t an intellectual, but it seems that “not being an intellectual” is being conflated with “being anti-intellectual”. If this isn’t so in your case, can you explain why you think she’s actually anti-intellectual?

  • Witness her rallies….

  • “Of course, Palin’s ugly anti-intellectualism warms the most rabid in the “pro-life” base.”

    Completely untrue Mr. DeFrancisis. Since you have no evidence to back up your claim I will not ask you to cite any.

    “her Father Coughlin-ism–”

    Hurling epithets is not an argument. Palin has as much in common with Father Coughlin as you do with Bugs Bunny.

  • “Witness her rallies….”

    A good response to this mantra of the Left was made by John Leo:


  • Donald,

    About comment 1 :I do not need evidence on this thread. It’s provided.

    About comment 2: “He does sot see America like you and I do, so much so that he palls ’round with terrorists.” I call a spade is a spade.

    And who is the real Donald McClarey? I would not wish that you be subject to such ridiculousness…..

  • Mark,

    Your are being a little ridiculous.

    Obama does pall ’round with terrorist’…

    Ayers and Odinga are two that come to mind…

    so to say that she is hurling epithets would be incorrect.

    Palin has facts to back her statement up.

  • I am so out of here….

    No need to ban me Tito…

    You poor fellows are willing slaves to the fallen human desire to scapegoat…

    I bet that’s why a large majorityof you chanted with Bush in ’02-’03 during his unjust invasion of Iraq and still do not admit fault in your judgement…

  • Mark,

    What are you talking about? Scapegoat?

    You make these accusations….. you don’t back them up… and you get mad?

  • I suppose it’s frustrating for Mark to post in a forum that is unreceptive to his opinions, but I am surprised by his reaction. One can debate how relevant it is that Obama had fairly lengthy relationships with people like Ayers and Wright, but it’s certainly true that he did. I do not know why Mark finds it surprising that Obama’s political opponents would use these relationships to question his judgment.

    Obama has a very liberal background and record; Columbia, Harvard Law, Chicago. He has presented himself as a moderate, which is both essential for a candidate running for President and in tension with some of his prior positions and associations. Making voters aware of these associations is part of politics. Obama certainly has showed no reluctance to return the favor with his comments about Keating, or his (deplorable, race-baiting) spanish-language ad disingenuously linking McCain to Limbaugh.

  • Listen, I think that taking the Ayers association tack is poor strategy on McCain’s campaign’s part… I agree with Ross Douthat that McCain should be focusing on addressing the needs, concerns and fears of the middle-class, for whom Ayers and earmarks don’t mean a heck of a lot right now, right or wrong.

    Having said that, it’s also true that Ayers is unrepentant about his actions and views as a Weatherman, and Obama exercised extremely poor judgment in associating with him. To point this out may be poor strategy, but it isn’t inaccurate.

  • Agree completely Chris. Terrible political strategy, but not unfair or inaccurate.

  • Chris,

    I think you can lump Ayers with Obama’s poor judgement of men… and show also that poor judgement in this Financial Mess… with his support of Fannie Mae and their support of him, Franklin Raines being on his campaign staff, and how the Democrats let Fannie Mae get away with it….

    He needs to show that De-regulation wasn’t the problem… it was the lack of oversight by the Democrats.

    But If I was McCain….

    I would attack him on the following (not in this order):

    1) Ayers
    2) Odinga
    3) Fannie Mae
    4) Acorn
    5) Rev. Wright
    6) Franklin Raines
    7) His Economic Policy of Taxation

    He must repeat this… over and over and over… he should do what his ads do, and not what he does in debates.

  • Chris & FUS01,

    Indeed. And (not to overuse my own terminology) I think that’s where the tribalism in politics becomes apparent. I don’t think we need to doubt that if a Republican presidential candidate had launched his political career in the living room of a member of the John Birch Society, much less someone along the lines of Timothy McVeigh (which is perhaps a more exact analogy) where would be a perception that the association was “fair game” — even if said Republican candidate had never showed any interest in political violence himself. (And clearly, if someone suggests that Obama actually approves of political violence, that would seem to be complete slander. The problem is, he doesn’t seem to see it necessary to distance himself from those who do.)

    That said, I agree that the McCain Campaign’s choice to focus on Ayers rather than the economy right now is deeply foolish and in danger of loosing them the election. (Which is unfortunate, because if Obama keeps his campaign promises promptly he’s in serious danger of making the economy even worse.)

  • I also wish he would talk about a Culture of Life, but I think that is Palin stick…. not McLame’s

  • I am so out of here….

    No need to ban me Tito…

    You poor fellows are willing slaves to the fallen human desire to scapegoat…

    I bet that’s why a large majorityof you chanted with Bush in ‘02-’03 during his unjust invasion of Iraq and still do not admit fault in your judgement…

    Who needs The Cafeteria Is Closed? Looks like all of Gerald’s former readers have found a new home for their orgy of hate.

    This blog had interesting original goals, if eyebrow-raising. Seems it’s already gone down the tubes.

  • Thank you for your opinion of the blog Catholic Anarchist. We shall carry on nonetheless.

    Being against Obama because he is pro-abortion is an orgy of hate? We shall have to agree to differ on that point as on all other points.

  • Michael,

    Let’s see, the post starting this thread pointed out that Palin is anti-abortion while Obama is pro-choice — that’s not exactly a surprising contention given that Obama has one of the most pro-abortion records of any politician and Palin proved via her actions that she accepted life in a situation where 90% of parents choose abortion.

    Donald delete a comment in which a commenter accused Obama of being a Muslim.

    And then several of us differed with Mark DeFrancis’ claim that Palin is anti-intellectual and a quasi fascist.

    Based on this you conclude that we are hosting an “orgy of hate”.

    I can understand that you resent our opposing Obama, but “orgy of hate” I’m not seeing.

  • Darwin,

    If you look at his links at his blog, you would understand why he came to that conclusion.

    Vive le Vende!

    That’s for you Tito

  • Oh, I know…

    Michael and I have gone the rounds over the years. But, you know, this Dante-loving Classicist is such an “americanist” that he can’t quite follow Michael’s thinking. 🙂

  • ‘Orgy of hate’? Is that a joke? It seemed like rather mild criticism to me.

  • Mark & Michael,

    You do your perspective a disservice by refusing to see through a discussion with those you disagree with and leaving in the manner you did.

    I urge you both to reconsider and rejoin the conversation. Have confidence in the power of reason to persuade, whatever the odds seem to tell you. 🙂

  • -orgy of hate-

    I’m getting real tired of this accusation from people who support a child murderer.

  • Obama is not a child murderer, and Catholics in good conscience can support him. I can’t, but it’s not fair to write somebody off simply because of their conclusions on the difficult issue of selecting a candidate to vote for.

  • Fus,

    Would it be better to say that Obama supports child murderers?

    I can’t imagine anyone with a good conscience voting for Obama… now I can understand voting Third Party who doesn’t support abortion (because of Mclame’s support of e. stem cells), but let us be real…

    good conscience should never be used in the same sentence with voting for Obama.

    I will definitely argue that their conscience is misinformed… BIG TIME!

  • I agree with Archbishop Chaput:

    “8. So can a Catholic in good conscience support a “pro-choice” candidate? The answer is: I can’t and I won’t. But I do know some serious Catholics — people whom I admire — who will. I think their reasoning is mistaken. But at the very least they do sincerely struggle with the abortion issue, and it causes them real pain. And even more importantly: They don’t keep quiet about it; they don’t give up their efforts to end permissive abortion; they keep lobbying their party and their elected representatives to change their pro-abortion views and protect the unborn. Catholics can support “pro-choice” candidates if they support them despite — not because of — their “pro-choice” views. But they also need a compelling proportionate reason to justify it.

    9. What is a “proportionate” reason when it comes to the abortion issue? It’s the kind of reason we will be able to explain, with a clean heart, to the victims of abortion when we meet them face to face in the next life — which we most certainly will. If we’re confident that these victims will accept our motives as something more than an alibi, then we can proceed.”

    I also agree with Archbishop Nauman and Bishop Finn:

    “Could a Catholic in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports legalized abortion when there is a choice of another candidate who does not support abortion or any other intrinsically evil policy? Could a voter’s preference for the candidate’s positions on the pursuit of peace, economic policies benefiting the poor, support for universal health care, a more just immigration policy, etc. overcome a candidate’s support for legalized abortion? In such a case, the Catholic voter must ask and answer the question: What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years? Personally, we cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason. ”


  • You can’t go wrong with Chaput.

  • Well, I couldn’t vote for Obama, and I don’t want to create a strawman, but I could see some combination of the following assumptions leading one to the conclusion that a Catholic could vote for Obama in good conscience:

    1) McCain has never shown great affection for social-issues voters; there’s little evidence it’s a top priority for him personally.
    2) McCain would be able to do little to impact the legality of abortion with a Democrat Senate majority voting on his SCOTUS appointments.
    3) McCain and Obama both support ESCR.
    4) As there is little chance of change in the current abortion regime, and even the FOCA would only have marginal effects (arguendo), the other issues become more salient.
    5) Obama’s proposals to expand health care coverage, his initial opposition to Iraq, his willingness to expand programs that care for the poor etc. are more in line with many parts of Catholic Social Teaching than Obama’s.
    6) Obama shows the type of temperament and intelligence that we should look for in a President.
    7) As many conservatives have noted (e.g. Will, Noonan, etc.), McCain appears to react instinctively, finding ‘bad guys’ rather than reflectively. Given the challenges the next President will face, it would be best to have a President more adept at analytically addressing problems.

    I don’t agree with many of these assumptions, but I think someone reasonably could hold them (or others) which make Obama the lesser of two evils.

  • I think (and I could be wrong) that what we are discussing when we argue whether a good Catholic could vote for Obama is really about interpersonal relations. What I mean is how do we rationalize a dear relative or a good friend supporting and voting for a candidate that we find personally abhorrent? For example, my aunt & god-mother is a wonderful Catholic woman, she raised 12 children, she is active in her parish, volunteers at the local hospital, etc, etc. However, she grew up in the 20’s and 30’s when most Catholics leaned to Democrats politically because of the sense that they “cared.” Whether they cared or not didn’t matter they conveyed a sense of caring which was well received. Even past 80 years of age she still votes the party ticket. There is no doubt in my mind that she does not support the evil that that party now defends. When we rationalize some people voting Dem despite the evidence of their complete support of abortion on demand it is to acknowledge some don’t fully make the connection between the vote and the result.

    Bottom line: I could never understand a Catholic voting for Obama or others of his ilk. However, I can’t reconcile that with my love for my aunt. That is what makes this issue more confusing than it ought to be.

A Poem For Our Times

Friday, October 10, AD 2008

The Gods of the Copybook Headings



As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.


2 Responses to A Poem For Our Times

A President Obama Will Silence Catholics

Friday, October 10, AD 2008

Senator Obama has stated that he wants the Internet to be regulated. CNET had this exchange of a MoveOn.org member asking Senator Obama this very question:

He asked Obama: “Would you make it a priority in your first year of office to reinstate Net neutrality as the law of the land? And would you pledge to only appoint FCC commissioners that support open Internet principles like Net neutrality?”

The answer is yes,” Obama replied. “I am a strong supporter of Net neutrality.”

This “Net Neutrality” law would be something along the lines of the Fairness Doctrine. Conservapedia states that the Fairness Doctrine required broadcasters who aired material on controversial issues to provide “equal time” for the expression of opposing views.  The end result was censorship, broadcasters simply refrained from airing public affairs programing.

17 Responses to A President Obama Will Silence Catholics

  • Tito,

    I think you (or perhaps the author you’re citing) is misunderstanding what “net neutrality” means here — it is largely a technical term in favor of free speech and no restrictions on content:

    Put simply, Net Neutrality means no discrimination. Net Neutrality prevents Internet providers from blocking, speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination.

    Net Neutrality is the reason why the Internet has driven economic innovation, democratic participation, and free speech online. It protects the consumer’s right to use any equipment, content, application or service on a non-discriminatory basis without interference from the network provider. With Net Neutrality, the network’s only job is to move data — not choose which data to privilege with higher quality service.

    The counter-position is also chiefly economic — to quote from your own ‘Conservapedia’ source:

    Broadband providers want to manage more actively — and thus profitably — those information bits. They’d like to offer, for instance, new superfast delivery for sites or users willing to pay more (not unlike how FedEx speeds delivery of packages for a fee), or other new services such as online video or telephony.

    Network neutrality would render all that illegal. But why, then, should broadband investors keep building the Web infrastructure needed to keep pace with surging use? Where’s their financial incentive?

    It could be argued that if “net neutrality” were not enforced, internet content providers could effectively slow down or impede access to religious and public-service websites because they were not deemed commercially profitable.

    This is why the USCCB currently situates itself in favor of this principle:

    Bishop Kicanas urged that such protections, termed “net neutrality requirements,” be included in the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act (“COPE Act”). As approved by the House Subcommittee, the COPE bill lacks net neutrality protections.

    “Those protections have particular importance for religious organizations which must rely on the Internet to convey information on matters of faith and on the services they provide to the public,” Bishop Kicanas said. “The Internet is an indispensable medium for distributing USCCB’s views on matters of public concern and on its religious teachings. The Internet was constructed as a unique medium without the editorial control functions of broadcast television, radio or cable television. The Internet is open to any speaker, commercial or noncommercial, whether or not the speech is connected financially to the company providing Internet access, whether it is popular or prophetic,” he said. “Those characteristics make the Internet critical to noncommercial religious speakers,” Bishop Kicanas said. …

    “That open environment, however, is threatened by a lack of response by Congress to the recent decision by the FCC to end the decades-old regulatory regime which fostered the unique freedom and openness of the Internet,” he continued. “When the FCC classified cable broadband service (and later telephone broadband) as an ‘information’ service, it ended more than thirty years of regulation which prohibited the companies which control the infrastructure connecting people to the Internet from interfering with the content distributed on the Internet. Unless Congress requires telephone and cable companies to act as neutral providers of Internet access, as they had been required to do since the birth and through the spectacular growth of the Internet, those companies will use their control over internet access to speed up or down connections to Web sites to benefit themselves financially.”

    At the present time, radio, broadcast television and cable television are largely closed to religious messages, Bishop Kicanas noted. “Years of deregulation and growing consolidation of the media industry have inevitably led to a hostile environment for noncommercial religious voices in broadcasting, whether in the form of short Public Service Announcements, programs on religious themes, news coverage of religious events, or local public affairs programs featuring representatives of local religious organizations. If the Internet becomes, as it inevitably will without strong protections for net neutrality, a medium where speakers must pay to deliver their messages, religious speech will be effectively barred from the Internet,” Bishop Kicanas said.

    So I’m having some difficulty seeing how an advocacy of ‘net neutrality’ actually translates into “a fairness doctrine” which mandates government censorship of all content the Obama administration presumably wouldn’t like. In fact, you couldn’t have that happen without violating the very principle under which people are supporting net neutrality as a concept.

  • Obama’s campaign has demonstrated on several occasions that they like attempting to silence and intimidate critics. If he is elected, I expect a full court press against all groups who stand in his way.

  • What would be stopping people from using servers abroad? Unless US regulations suddenly are enforced all over the planet, this wouldn’t be the end of free speech on the Internet — just on American servers.

  • Which is not to say that any such regulation doesn’t totally suck, but that it wouldn’t be as universal as is presented in the above post.

  • Donald:

    Obama’s campaign has demonstrated on several occasions that they like attempting to silence and intimidate critics. If he is elected, I expect a full court press against all groups who stand in his way.

    This would be true and is already happening (pressure from the Obama campaign to silence criticism they don’t particularly like) — but this isn’t the same thing and shouldn’t be identified with the principle of “net neutrality” — I think there’s some degree of confusion or misrepresentation of what we’re talking about here.

  • Christopher my comment was directed in general in regard to Obama and freedom of expression and not directed towards the net neutrality issue itself. A good overview of the issue is here at the Popular Mechanics Webite.


  • Honestly, I’m not overly concerned about blogs being shut down; while I accept Jonah Goldberg’s thesis regarding liberal fascism, I think we’re a long way from that in this country, even under an Obama presidency.

  • That’s a great presentation of the issue — thanks, Don.

  • Christopher Blosser,

    Like the Internet, this legislative/regulatory concept is new and difficult to grasp. I can see where confusion can reign, especially in our day and age where technology is moving at such a fast pace, congressional reaction/oversight may seem confusing and misinterpreted to say the least.

    I’ll take a wait-and-see attitude while the dust settles down on this. I hope you’re right on the misconception of Net Neutrality.

  • Irrespective of the legal nuances & technicalites, the reality is that Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., & his goose stepping minions has shown both in the US and abroad (see Kenya & Corsi being kicked out) a predeliction for silencing and attempting to legally destroy their opponents.

    See Missouri, see Chicago, etc.

  • I may be overly optimistic, but I think any kind of serious regulation of TV, radio, print publications or blogs would never get passed — because it would so clearly be a double-edged sword and because it’s the sort of thing that would unite the civil libertarian wing of the left with nearly the entirity of the right.

  • Carlos,

    While I think that the Obama campaign has shown a mildly disturbing tendency to try to have criticism shut down (based, I think, on a worldview that holds that those opposing them are necessarily morally and intellectually bankrupt, and a conviction that Democrats have lost in the past through not being “tough” enough) — as an editor here I need to ask you to avoid throwing around Senator Obama’s middle name (Hussein) as a pejorative and that you avoid loaded terms like “goose stepping minions”.

    It’s hard to keep a site focused on politics civil, and in order to do so we believe it will be necessary to avoid this kind of inflammatory terminology. Believe me, I don’t want to see Obama elected president at all — but we can express that without getting enflammatory.

  • Christopher’s first comment is right: “net neutrality” has absolutely nothing to do with forcing content providers (e.g., bloggers, newspapers) to be neutral. All it means is that the internet service providers (such as AT&T or Comcast) shouldn’t block or slow down certain types of traffic. Net neutrality would mean, for example, that Comcast couldn’t block an independent VOIP (voice over internet) service like Vonage from letting people make phone calls over their internet connection. Instead, Comcast should be “neutral” towards however people are using their internet connection. That’s the basic idea.

  • Just post outrageous claims, in non-inflamatory language….

    Example: this post.

  • I think Christopher Blosser is a 100% correct on this matter. Sen. Obama has expressed support for Net Netruality for many of the same reasons that the American Bishops have. Net Netruality would have little effect on the internet as it currently is. In fact, opposition to net neutrality would change the internet as we know it.

    Who is advocating Net Neutrality? “The nation’s largest telephone and cable companies — including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner — want to be Internet gatekeepers, deciding which Web sites go fast or slow and which won’t load at all. They want to tax content providers to guarantee speedy delivery of their data. They want to discriminate in favor of their own search engines, Internet phone services, and streaming video — while slowing down or blocking their competitors.”

    Essentially big corporations advocate net neutrality, not most people. It affects us. So in this regard, I think you’re mistaken on what you believe that a potential President Obama would do.

  • To be a computer scientist and not know much about net neutrality is somewhat shaming, but then I’m a theorist. We only like to touch the real world with a long stick, and then only justify the existence of a new complexity class with a natural example.

    That aside, having spoken a little with our Systems Administrator here at the University of Wyoming Department of Computer Science, it would seem that the issue of net neutrality is almost of reverse nature to the issue of the Fairness Doctrine. Fairness is involved in both cases, but in terms of the Fairness Doctrine, we’re speaking essentially of being forced to provide products, whereas with net neutrality, we’re speaking of being forced to avoid throttling products.

    The concern is that ISP’s will grant easier access to big companies, like Google or Microsoft, and make other companies lower priority. Or perhaps that ISP’s will block certain sites, certain blocks of IP addresses. Net neutrality wants to pose limitations on how ISPs can limit customers to accessing certain sites.

    The analogy our SysAdmin used is the following: suppose we have Wal Mart, K Mart, and Target right next to each other along a strip, but the designer of the parking lot makes K Mart readily accessible, but Wal Mart and Target nearly impossible to access. That will funnel customers to K Mart and choke off business to Wal Mart and Target. Net neutrality wants to make the parking lot have equal access to Target, K Mart, and Wal Mart.

    The concerns about net neutrality are more along the following lines:

    1) Without careful crafting of law, net neutrality would make it impossible for ISP’s to block sites with illegal material, like child porn

    2) Smaller ISP’s would face a financial burden of giving equal access to low traffic sites and high traffic sites. With concerns about bandwidth and the huge amount of online games and media streaming, ISP’s would prefer to throttle access to those sites so that customers who are frequenting low-bandwidth sites don’t have to wait forever to connect.

    3) Conversely, ISP’s can get a financial edge by giving preference to certain groups, like Google, Microsoft, and other corporations. While this means slower download times on competitors like Yahoo! and Apple, it also means the ISP’s are able to provide services for less money to the customers.

    4) ISP’s would not be able to make prudent calls by throttling IP’s known to make DoS attacks, carry viruses, or contain objectionable material. This is especially true in terms of pornography in general.

    So from what I understand–and granted, there are a huge number of legal details that have been discussed, and it would probably take a year of study to understand them all–we potentially stand more to lose without net neutrality, because ISP’s could decide that, for example, it would be better business to throttle or block all IP’s associated with Catholic sites.

    On the other hand, things seem to be working fine as is, and I read that net neutrality is a “solution looking for a problem”. But remember the government motto: If it ain’t broke, fix it ’til it is.

  • If obama, when asked a direct question, gives a straight answer… I immediatly must begin to investigate WHY he is for it, cause it can’t be a good thing.

    it deservs to be scrutinized to the fullest extent.

Obama, ACORN and the US Bishops' Conference*

Thursday, October 9, AD 2008

Deal Hudson (InsideCatholic.com) reports that the U.S. Bishop’s Conference Gave ACORN Over $1,000,000 in 2007:

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development gave $1.1 million to ACORN in 2007. You can find this fact on the CCHD website. If you add up all the groups called ACORN or Association Of Community Organization For Reform Now, you get a total of $1,111,000 in 2007.

Now, this wouldn’t be the same ACORN repeatedly making the news for its bullying “direct action” tactics and subject of repeated investigations for voter fraud, would it?

6 Responses to Obama, ACORN and the US Bishops' Conference*

  • I am proud that I have never given a cent to the Campaign For Human Development. There are plenty of worthy Catholic charities to contribute to directly, without sending money to an intervening agency which might send money down an evil rat hole.

  • There are plenty of worthy Catholic charities to contribute to directly

    The obvious choice being, for a start, the nearest St. Vincent de Paul group. As I’ve seen the growing number of families which our parish’s St. Vincent de Paul group is providing with rent/mortgage and utility money, I’ve tried to give them first priority over more national appeals. In part because, like the dishonest steward, if the recession hits close to home I want to know that I’ve done all I can to support those who were in trouble before me.

  • Given their penchant for funding sketchy organizations in the past which promote causes in direct conflict with Church teaching on abortion, contraception and homosexuality) I’ve never donated anything to them either. (Human Life Review has done some good reporting on the CCHD in the past).

    Thanks for the recommendation, Darwin — I’ll keep that in mind.

  • As a Catholic, knowing for years Acorn was leftie as heck, its Boycott time against the CCHD solicited in our parishes. I haven’t given for years. As pointed out in some comments, there are so many “kosher” Catholic organizations that need financial help — and many that help the poor — that boycotting the USCCB’s CCHD certainly leaves no guilt as far as supporting the Faith is concerned.

  • I remember the cold war, how Moscow sent it dissidents to Siberia to die a cold and miserable death. Serving off the coast of North Vietnam also reminded me of the reason I fought against Marxism. Saul Alinski, a horrid creature who weaseled his way into the Catholic Church in Chicago with his communist organization called Campaign For Human Development. This evil man turned Chicago and this element of the Catholic church into an arm of Marxist Workers International. I have never given to this organization, because it was the Matt family newspaper The Wanderer, who told me what Alinski had accomplished. All that is now forgotten however, Acorn now a child of the Alinski movement is doing significant damage to our voting system. I seriously beg people to go to you voting booth on November 4th and get permission to watch what is going on to observe any irregularity during this presidential election.

  • Pingback: USCCB investigates $1 million church funding to ACORN « The American Catholic: Politics and Culture from a Catholic perspective

Abortion Will Not Go Away

Thursday, October 9, AD 2008

One is often told by pro-choice advocates that even a complete legal ban would not succeed in eliminating abortions — just in driving them under ground.  I think that’s true.

However, I see no reason why our inability to eliminate all abortions through a legal ban should prevent us from having a legal ban.

Consider, for a moment, what we as Catholics say abortion is: the destruction of an innocent human life. Now there are other forms of destruction or assault upon innocent human life in our society, and we have legally banned many of them. Yet we have never yet seen those bans result in a the complete elimination of those crimes.

17 Responses to Abortion Will Not Go Away

  • Thanks for the post Darwin. I think the child abuse/abortion parallel is very helpful in illuminating the types of legal frameworks that pro-lifers really would support.

    One of the other arguments made by abortion advocates is that forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term is an unparalleled imposition of an affirmative duty to care for someone else upon the mother. This argument overlooks, of course, the many child neglect and/or child abuse statutes that impose affirmative duties on parents. Perhaps it would be useful for pro-lifers to incorporate discussions of the current laws that protect children into our arguments more frequently.

  • I’m not sure I agree completely with this very well-presented argument.

    You make a good point in the comparison of the enforcement regime for child abuse; and yet, the enforcement of child abuse statutes more than nothing.

    I would agree that today, after almost two generations of pretending that abortion is a right, it would be unfair to suddenly being punishing women for what they have been wrongly raised to believe as a right.

    But doctors know better. They know what abortion is, and their only legitimate motivation for providing abortions is profit. I would argue that jailing doctors for providing abortions would be appropriate and effective.

    And perhaps, two or three decades down the road, jail time for woman who obtain abortions would seem appropriate as well.

  • Good article, especially the point that many things are not legal–such as murder, rape, incest, physical abuse–and making them illegal does not eliminate them, nor does any realistic person expect the laws to eliminate them.

    The crazy scare tactics in that piece, by pro-abortion/pro-choice activists, inserted in this article lists laws far more likely to be written and enforced by pro-abortion people than by those who simply want this form of murder to join other forms of murder in being banned by law.

  • I have always thought that was the lamest excuse for not having a ban on abortion… “people will still get them” what?! people still kill each other in cold blood every day and thats still illegal. I don’t hear the pro aborts arguing that we should do away with murder laws just because some people decide to do it anyway.

    what a completely stupid idea, do away with a law because someone breaks it or might break it… if that were the case we would have anarchy. but I guess that’s what’s inside the liberal head, the “if it feels good, it must be the right thing to do” mentality.

  • Here in the State of Victoria, Parliament just passed the Abortion Law Reform bill (chilling similarity to the name of NARAL — National Asso. for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, no?). There was significant opposition from the Church and other Christian groups, but it went through both houses of Parliament anyway. And I think the problem is deeper than any particular government, or set of politicians. I think the battle was lost one or two generations ago when catechism was relaxed, ethics were made relativistic, and, well, parents neglected their duties as educators. And now that abortion has been made legal in this state, effectively up through the third trimester to full term, well.. there’s only one recourse: go back to catechism. It may be legal, but it remains illicit, our generation doesn’t have to have it, nor do our daughters. We’ve lived under unjust laws before.

  • BTW I do agree that laws should continue to legislate against what is unjust and wrong. But with our backs against the wall here in Victoria, we have to go to Plan B. If we do it well, and if we remain in this State, we’ll win the battle in the end, God willing.

  • I imagine that you would agree that we should not create provisions in the law that permitted abortion for women who had been raped or who had become pregnant by their father, brother, uncle, etc. Such provisions would merely be a loophole pro-abortion advocates could use against the anti-abortion measures. Women who become pregnant by rape should be enthused by the opportunity to bring another human life into this world!

    Also, we could also seek a law that prohibits the use of contraceptive devices. Since these devices would prevent human life and the prevention of pregnancy is a destruction of human life, then contraceptive devices should be outlawed too.

    Finally, much of medical science should fund projects to prevent the onset of menopause since it too prevents women from becoming pregnant. Is this not where government funds should be going? Cancer research ought not to be funded any further — for the reasons you cite above — because it somehow prevents the onset of natural death. Anything unnatural, such as prolonging one’s life, is morally reprehensible.

    Now I’m totally confused by the implications of your argument.

  • Joe,

    I think you’re missing the most important policy implication of my argument: we should abolish the economy (or what remains of it) and require that everyone spend all their time having sex — since sex is required in order to become pregnant.

    Okay, all joking aside: I think you’re failing to understand what motivates those of us who are against abortion. It’s not that we think that it’s morally reprehensible to do things that are “unnatural” and it’s not that we think that women ought to be pregnant all the time or that people must have the absolute maximum number of children possible.

    The reason we are against abortion is because we believe that human life begins at conception, and thus abortion consists of the killing an innocent human life.

    With that in mind, hopefully the following responses will make sense:

    I imagine that you would agree that we should not create provisions in the law that permitted abortion for women who had been raped or who had become pregnant by their father, brother, uncle, etc. Such provisions would merely be a loophole pro-abortion advocates could use against the anti-abortion measures. Women who become pregnant by rape should be enthused by the opportunity to bring another human life into this world!

    Rape or incest is an inconceivably evil crime against a woman — and if a child results from such a crime, the child is every much as much an innocent victim as the woman. Personally, I would not expect a woman who has been the victim of such a crime to be “enthused” about anything related to it, but if it felt necessary to kill someone to make up for the crime I think the obvious candidate is the man who raped her — not the child who resulted from the rape.

    Also, we could also seek a law that prohibits the use of contraceptive devices. Since these devices would prevent human life and the prevention of pregnancy is a destruction of human life, then contraceptive devices should be outlawed too.

    Prevention of pregnancy is _not_ a destruction of human life — because there is no human life to destroy until their is a pregnancy.

    Finally, much of medical science should fund projects to prevent the onset of menopause since it too prevents women from becoming pregnant. Is this not where government funds should be going?

    No. I have positted no active moral duty to become pregnant.

    Cancer research ought not to be funded any further — for the reasons you cite above — because it somehow prevents the onset of natural death. Anything unnatural, such as prolonging one’s life, is morally reprehensible.

    What reasons I cited above? I didn’t discuss cancer at all. Nor did a say that the “onset of natural death” should necessarily be avoided. Saying we should not actively seek to kill people does not imply a duty not to seek to preserve people’s health. Indeed, I think most people would assume the opposite.

  • I always find this to be an amusing argument. Perhaps, slavery should have been left legal (in which, I would be a slave) and I could be comforted — as all other abolitionists — that making slavery illegal would never solve the problem. Therefore, slaves should use contraceptives to reduce the number of slaves and hopefully, we can work to change the culture first.

    Actually, in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King who isn’t very short of being a saint in my view, wrote that people who claimed to agree with him — that blacks being discriminated against is abhorent — but felt that his nonviolent protesting and causing societal discomfort and backlashes from racists was not the way. To this King responds that men who think that racism and discrimination are evil, but would leave it as the legal status quo are profoundly mistaken. Why? Tell that to the African American man who has to explain to his daughter why the white men hate them, why they can’t go certain places, why she can’t enroll in a university; let alone, explain why any man has to live never at peace, not certain what will become of him or anyone he loves at any moment — a person is never fully free.

    In the same way, I’d love to see someone, if it were possible, to explain to an unborn baby who’s life may be saved by illegalizing abortion why overturning Roe v. Wade is a bad idea and why we should wait until no one wants it anymore (which is hard to believe if the pro-choice movement has its way). There is nothing one can say to a baby that will never see the beauty of creation, laugh so hard they cry, know what love is, curiously ask their mother tons of questions, or know any of the basic joys of life why they should wait one more day than they should have to.

  • I feel like your argument isn’t very logical. You are right by saying abortions will never be zero, and even if it was illegal people what still have abortions. Therefore since no matter what, people will always have abortions, it is important they be kept legal for health reasons. Otherwise many women will try to have abortions by unskilled doctors, and many will die. Keeping abortion legal is important for safety of women, which as a Christian you should care about. Whether its illegal or legal, the same amount of babies will probably die every year, and there is nothing we can do about that, BUT we can strive to protect women’s health by keeping it legal.

    Either way, abortion will never be illegal.

  • To sum it up, laws shouldn’t cause more harm than they’re intended to prevent, and making abortion legal would cause more harm than it would prevent.

  • Making abortion illegal is what I meant.

  • “Making abortion illegal is what I meant.”

    You got it right the first time Melanie.

  • Melanie,

    I didn’t argue at all that outlawing abortion would not drastically decrease the number of abortions. It most certainly would. Even in Europe, where abortion is legal in most countries but far more restricted than here, there are far fewer abortions than in the US.

    What I argued is that outlawing abortion would never take the abortion rate to zero — just as outlawing drunk driving has not taken the drunk driving rate to zero, and outlawing rape has not taken the rape rate to zero.

    On your other point, I must confess that I do not understand that argument that abortion should be legal so that people won’t injure themselves in breaking the law. If, as I hold, abortion is the taking of a human life, and if it was outlawed for that reason, then worrying that abortion might not be “safe” enough makes about as much sense as worrying that home robbers may be injured while breaking a window.

    Indeed, one of the key reasons to outlaw something is to underline that there are extreme risks to doing it and one thus should not do it.

  • Your Idea that making it Illegal will make things better is foolish at best.

    How do you plan on paying for this ? Registration , criminal investigation , trial , And what if a woman does not register ? Now we are invading her medical privacy And that is only part of it.
    Now we are increasing our population by 1,000,000 per year. No family to pay for food, education, homes, medical because lack of insurance . The government will flip the bill. Okay , Lets just say a happy number per month is 5,000 per month Im going on the low side. We are looking at 5 billion dollar increase in spending per month . Now this comes to 60 billion per year after one year of your woman cannot have an abortion. Now we go to 5 years down the road birth rate has stayed the same oh look now we are up to 300 billion per year. Well the government cannot afford this so what do they do ?

    Everyone who is pro-life should have to pay for this. Everyone who is pro-choice should not. Because there will be a massive increase in taxes . And maybe you can afford it .

  • openmind57,

    Among other things, your assertions don’t hold up historically. If you look at the data, US births did not drop by a million a year with the legalization of abortion. Rather, births remained fairly constant with previous trends while the number of conceptions went up. In other words: the ready availability of abortion made people be less “careful” about their sexual activities — resulting in more conceptions which they then “solved” with abortion.

    Further, your reasoning takes people in some rather disturbing directions. If killing a million children before birth is good for the budget, why not kill more? Why not kill the old, who are the most expensive segment of society? Why not kill off the poor and minorities?

    I certainly would find such suggestions horrifying, and I imagine that you would as well. The problem is: there’s no difference between those suggestions and your purely fiscal defense of abortion.

  • To continue what DC had to say, openmind57,

    I find that there’s a number of assumptions behind what you’ve said that need examining. Now, I found your post a little confusing to follow, so I’ll try first to lay out your argument. If I’m mistaken in what you’re saying, just let me know if I’m wrong.

    1) Your first assumption seems to be that population increase is a bad thing (maybe not overall, but perhaps at the point we’re at now).

    2) The increased population is incapable of providing for itself. I don’t know what you mean by no family to pay for food, so you’ll need to clarify that. But it seems you’re arguing overall that the increased population is only and can only be portion wholly dependent on welfare.

    3) Only the government then is capable of providing welfare, and that will only continue to expand. That expansion will result in increased taxes to subsidize the poor and needy, and thus harm our nation even more, perhaps even resulting in a downward spiral.

    Is this correct?

    Now, I’m going to refute the points as I see them. First, if we’re only increasing our population by 1 million a year, we’re lucky. We have immigrants flooding into our nation at faster pace than that, and we’ve gone from 200,000,000 people in the U.S. in 1967 to 300,000,000 in 2006. That’s roughly 2.5 million a year. Second, population growth is not a bad thing. Population stagnation, or population decline, wrecks an economy. Why? No growth means no need for new jobs. No new jobs means more unemployment, and starts the economy on the whole downward spiral I mentioned before. This kind of thing happened in a number of European countries, especially France. France would be in dire straights if not for a huge amount of immigration.

    For the next point, I fail to see how our net increase of 2.5 million a year means exactly 2.5 million a year automatically put into poverty with no means but to plead for welfare. Except for the recent economic crisis, job growth has been very health, and our unemployment has been exceptionally low. In fact, even with it hovering around 6.5%, it is still far below the worst rates in recent history (like the 14% in the late 70’s), and is nowhere near problematic. This means that only a tiny portion of that 2.5 million yearly ends up unemployed. Assuming that the unemployment holds steady for this group (which is a bad assumption, since the young suffer from higher unemployment than the middle-aged, but they rarely remain unemployed for long, and don’t draw near as much welfare), that’s only 163,000 unemployed. (There’s also the assumption that 2.5 million enter the workforce, which isn’t at all accurate, but it’s an overestimate, so it works for my purposes.) That’s a small, small number in comparison. Now, using your $5000 monthly welfare payments, that’s only about $10 billion annually. (Only!) We spend by far more on social security, and we spend almost as much treating various things like: STDs, cervical cancer, depression. That doesn’t even figure in GDP lost from time off, and all three have been shown to decline when abortion is off the table (and more so when abstinence-only is the primary sex-ed message).

    For the third point, you must feel really cynical to suppose that no one adding to our national population has anyone but the government to care for him. Think that through for a minute. Why would you even assume that even 1,000,000 of the people added each year are completely without any form of aid whatsoever? If you accept even some of the higher poverty percentages (like 20%), then only 500,000 of those 2.5 million (or 200,000 of your 1,000,000) would come into the nation below the poverty line. That means a lot of them have families to care for them, or can care for themselves. Moreover, even that half-a-million living below the poverty line has plenty of recourse other than direct government aid–friends, family, community, churches, soup kitchens, etc.

    I would suggest doing a little research, a little math, and even some quick and dirty statistics before you start blaming anyone for an increase in taxes. Your assumptions simply don’t hold any weight, and that makes your arguments from them flawed.

    Also, in regards to your first statement, about registration and whatnot, I know (or at least hope) that’s just an argument to absurdity (taking a position and trying to follow it to its most overblown potential outcome), but even that doesn’t hold any weight when you consider how it works with any other crime. Most crimes are reported. They don’t come from keeping tabs on everyone Big Brother-like. So it would be same with abortion.

    Abortion would be illegal, so anyone reported performing an abortion would be investigated. Doctors would lost their right to practice medicine. The higher chance of being reported, the more likely the punishment, and thus the less inclined even pro-choice doctors would be to perform abortions. With fewer safe means of procuring abortions, people would naturally tend to stop having them. As the post pointed out, this won’t stop all abortions, any more than laws against murder stop people from murdering others. There’s plenty of ways for the law to be very effective without being intrusive.

Religion in the Political Realm

Thursday, October 9, AD 2008

The question of the role of religion and faith in politics should not be as controversial as it is today, and yet it comes up time and again. Will a Catholic president bow to the Pope? Will a Mormon president bow to the Prophet in Utah? Will a candidate be willing to honor the “separation of church and state”, not allowing his faith to interfere with his politics? Will an evangelical vote to remove science from the classroom, since “science conflicts with religion”? Some of these concerns are legitimate; others are formed by prejudices, propaganda, and general misunderstanding, and thus easily dealt with.

5 Responses to Religion in the Political Realm

  • Senator Biden is a schizophrenic by his mere statement of “personally” believing in the sanctity of life, but “pubically” against it.

    Regardless, good article Ryan.

  • Thanks, Tito. I suppose to be fair, though, I should try to think of other excuses for Biden than just deceit or schizophrenia. Maybe he really does hold a relativistic mindset in which the only truth is personal truth, and the freedom of personal truth trumps rights to life. Or maybe he fundamentally believes that true Catholics will avoid abortion regardless of what the government permits, and thus he can support legislation contrary to the Catholic viewpoint for the sake of those who are not Catholic and will try to procure abortions with or without government support. However, I think those are rather weak arguments. If you believe you know the truth, you want to spread the truth, especially when error is dangerous. Correcting an English student from “through Mama from the train a kiss” to “throw a kiss to Mama from the train” is not horribly vital, though it helps the student learn how to better communicate. Correcting an engineering student on his statics homework is much more vital, because if you crunch the numbers incorrectly, bridges collapse and buildings fall down. Moral truth is especially important, because of the damage to the soul. Thus if I believed life begins at conception, I cannot but warn people against abortion.

  • …or he could be holding those two conflicting ideas for political expendiency.

    But truthfully, we won’t know unless he is asked these questions directly as to ‘how’ his moral compass operates.

    My best guess is he trully believes it is possible to “personally” against something while “publically” for it.

    Mario Cuomo’s infamous Notre Dame speech helped to pave the way for this. Where he stated pretty much the same thing.

  • Excellent post, Ryan… everyone has a religious belief, insofar as “religious belief” is a synonym for worldview. Regardless of what worldview a public official claims to hold, their “real” worldview is better determined by their actions & policies than by their public proclamations.

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12 Responses to Obama and the Freedom Of Choice Act

  • This would federalize every abortion in the sense that any state prohibition or regulation would be superseded…plus Obama’s healthcare plan pays for these procedures.

    Any pseudo Catholic that votes for this infanticide loving scumbag is in direct contravention with the Bishop of Rome…

  • I understand the democrat party platform removed the “safe,legal and rare” smokescreen and defined abortion as a “need”. In N.J., my old party pushed thru the “clone to kill” bill at a mid-nite session without any news report from the local papers. Assaults against life have sprung up thru-out history. Keep on praying for sanity,work for life and know that we win no matter how hopeless it seems to us.

  • Carlos, as much as you might not like to admit it, Catholics can licitly vote for Barack Obama if they do not vote for him because of his pro-abortion, pro-ESCR stance. For whatever reason, some people’s consciences weigh the current circumstances differently and decide that there are proportionate reasons to vote for Obama.

    I say this as someone who does not think such proportionate reasons exist and will not and could not ever vote for Obama.

  • What follows is a release from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) in Washington, D.C., issued on Tuesday, October 7, 2008. For further information, call 202-626-8820 or send e-mail to [email protected]. NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson and other NRLC staff persons are available for interviews on the subject of Mr. Johnson’s new article on National Review Online, “Unholy Messaging,” including radio debates with advocates for Barack Obama.

    Barack Obama’s sweeping agenda for pro-abortion policy changes examined by NRLC’s Douglas Johnson in National Review Online

    WASHINGTON (October 7, 2008) — The Obama campaign and its allies have adopted an extensive “messaging strategy” that seeks to persuade religiously committed Americans that Obama has a middle-of-the-road position on abortion policy and will promote “abortion reduction.”

    Douglas Johnson, longtime legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) and author of an article published today on National Review Online, titled “Unholy Messaging,” calls the Obama effort “a brazen scam.”

    “The scam depends on the Obama campaign, with cooperation from the mainstream news media, deflecting attention away from Obama’s actual record, and from his extensive commitments to pro-abortion interest groups,” Johnson said. “Barack Obama is firmly committed to an agenda of sweeping pro-abortion policy changes that, if implemented, will surely greatly increase the number of abortions performed.”

    Johnson noted that a few short months ago, during his primary contest, Obama and his advocates were boasting about his record of leadership in opposition to legislation to ban partial-birth abortions, to protect infants born alive during abortions, and to require parental notification for minors seeking abortions, among other pro-life bills. “Those boasts were well-founded, and the current effort to re-package Obama as a moderate is a brazen scam,” Johnson said.

    The Obama “messaging” campaign includes a recently launched “Faith, Family & Values Tour” that will visit Colorado, Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Florida, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wisconsin. In addition, various independent groups are disseminating advertising and literature that advances the same strategy.

    Among the specific Obama positions documented in Johnson’s article (which contains extensive hyperlinks to documentation):

    — Obama is a cosponsor of the so-called “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA, S. 1173), which Johnson calls “the most sweeping piece of pro-abortion legislation ever proposed in Congress.” The FOCA is a bill that would make partial-birth abortion legal again, strike down restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion, and nullify virtually every state and federal law or policy that would in any way “interfere with” access to abortion, including parental notification laws. In a letter sent to every member of Congress by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on September 19, Cardinal Justin Rigali wrote, “No one who sponsors or supports legislation like FOCA can credibly claim to be part of a good-faith discussion on how to reduce abortions.” In a speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund on July 17, 2007, Obama said, “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing that I’d do.”

    — Obama advocates the nullification of state laws requiring parental notification or consent for a minor daughter’s abortion, which would be one of the effects of the FOCA. Moreover, since entering the U.S. Senate, Obama has had two opportunities to vote directly on the question of parental notification for interstate abortions on minors, and he voted “no” on both occasions.

    — Obama advocates repeal of the Hyde Amendment, the law that since 1976 has blocked almost all federal funding of abortion, even though both pro-life and pro-abortion analysts agree that this law has prevented many abortions. By even the most conservative estimate, there are more than one million Americans alive today because of the Hyde Amendment. “Because the Hyde Amendment must be renewed annually, a new president hostile to the Hyde Amendment could quickly place it in jeopardy,” Johnson observed. The FOCA would also nullify all state laws restricting state funding of elective abortion.

    — In a written response to a pro-abortion advocacy group, the Obama campaign said that Obama is opposed to continuing current federal funding for “crisis pregnancy centers,” which provide needed assistance to many thousands of pregnant women.

    — NRLC has thoroughly documented that in the Illinois state Senate, Obama led the opposition to legislation to protect babies who are born alive during abortions, and persisted in his opposition even after Congress had enacted a virtually identical federal bill without a single dissenting vote. Obama has in numerous ways actively misrepresented the content of this legislation, and his actions on it, but even when such misrepresentations were proved by NRLC and others, the major media simply let Obama abandon them and fall back to a different set of equally misleading claims.

    In his article, Johnson criticizes recent coverage in the “mainstream news media,” which, he writes, “have, with few exceptions, been very compliant with Obama’s recent efforts to downplay his hard-line pro-abortion history and policy commitments, for the purpose of winning the general election.” Typically, journalists simply describe Obama’s position as “supports abortion rights,” without giving details regarding his advocacy of federal funding of abortion, invalidation of parental notification laws, and the rest.


    NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson and other NRLC staff persons are available for interviews on the subject of the Obama agenda on abortion, including radio debates with advocates for Barack Obama. Call 202-626-8820.

    Mr. Johnson’s article has been cross-posted on the NRLC website under the title “Efforts to Sell Obama to Pro-Life Americans Collide With His Support for Sweeping Pro-abortion Policy Changes.”

  • Zach, you seem to be misinformed. Catholics, considering the stands or platforms of the current nominees, can not vote for Obama ‘licitly’. Simply stated, intrinsic evils (like abortion) can not ever be ignored and take priority over other issues in weighing factors that contribute to your decision.

    Secondly, any Catholic who feels his or conscience allows for proportionate reasoning that ignores the life issues, is not judging with a clear, informed conscience but rather has had their conscience cluttered by societal peer pressure. When in doubt, turn to the Magisterium of the Church and vote on the side of what the Church teaches.

  • In this particular election, a Roman Catholic MAY NOT vote for Obama, even if they are not voting specifically because he is pro abortion. They would be able to vote for Obama ONLY if Mc Cain would kill over 45 million babies…in the womb or alive….or their mothers…there has to be, according to Rome and our Bishops, a ‘proportionate’ reason…since already over 45 million human babies have been killed in the womb, Mc Cain would have to pledge to kill more than that amount, or kill their mothers or….SOMETHING FAR WORSE! Since that is not the case, a Catholic may not vote for Obama…it’s not simply a matter of conscience…but of an INFORMED conscience…informed by the authorities in the Church and by the teaching of Christ in Scripture and through the teaching authority and tradition of our Church….Sam

  • I can see the argument that certain policies reduce the abortion rate, therefore, one for other reasons and lowering the number of abortions. But given the circumstances, I find that the arguments for proportionate reasons very thin. If the Democrats take greater majorities in Congress (and they will) and Obama signs in FOCA — eliminating every pro-life law, and he replaces the 88 year old pro-choice Supreme Court Justice that’s expected to retire in the next presidency with another pro-choice Justice instead of a pro-life Justice giving us enough to overturn Roe v. Wade, and he funds abortion via the medium of universal healthcare, making it free and accessible at all nine of months of pregnancy, the question is how can one argue that the abortion rate will go down?

    Inevitably, I don’t see how a good Catholic can vote for Obama and I think I can fairly say, of Catholics loyal to the magisterium, I’m pretty liberal and even I cannot see this.

  • Correction: “one for other reasons and lowering the number of abortions” votes for a pro-choice candidate.

  • I deeply question the judgment of any “pro-choice” politician and find it extremely unlikely that I could ever vote for one, but Zach is correct: the Church does hold that it *can* be permissible for a Catholic to vote for a “pro-choice” politician, if there are — as he notes — proportionate reasons. Like Zach, I cannot see any reasons justifying a vote for Obama, but we cannot overstate the Church’s teaching to mean that a vote for him would be *necessarily* wrong for a particular voter.

  • In a joint letter with Archbishop Joseph Naumann in Kansas City, Kansas, and Bishop Robert Finn wrote:

    “If we are inclined to vote for someone despite their pro-abortion stance, it seems we are morally obliged to establish a proportionate reason sufficient to justify the destruction of 45 million human persons through abortion.

    “If we learn that our ‘candidate of choice’ further pledges – through an instrument such as FOCA – to eliminate all existing limitations against abortion, it is that much more doubtful whether voting for him or her can ever be morally justified under any circumstance.” (CNA)


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Father Emery

Thursday, October 9, AD 2008

Destiny attended Emmeran Bliemel at his birth on the feast day of Saint Michael the Archangel, patron saint of soldiers, in 1831 in Bavaria.  From his early boyhood his burning desire was to be a missionary to German Catholics in far off America.  Joining a Benedictine Abbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 1851, he was ordained a priest in 1856.

One Response to Father Emery

The Only Sure Foundation …

Wednesday, October 8, AD 2008

Even more, the Word of God is the foundation of everything, it is the true reality. And to be realistic, we must rely upon this reality. We must change our notion that matter, solid things, things we can touch, is the most solid, the most certain reality. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord speaks to us about the two possible foundations for building the house of one’s life: sand and rock. He who builds on sand only builds on visible and tangible things, on success, on career, on money. Apparently these are the true realities. But all this one day will vanish. We can see this now with the fall of two large banks: this money disappears, it is nothing. And thus all things, which seem to be the true realities we can count on, are only realities of a secondary order. Who builds his life on these realities, on matter, on success, on appearances, builds upon sand. Only the Word of God is the foundation of all reality, it is as stable as the heavens and more than the heavens, it is reality. Therefore, we must change our concept of realism. The realist is he who recognizes the Word of God, in this apparently weak reality, as the foundation of all things. Realist is he who builds his life on this foundation, which is permanent. Thus the first verses of the Psalm invites us to discover what reality is and how to find the foundation of our life, how to build life.

Pope Benedict XVI

First general congregation of the world Synod of Bishops
on “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.”
Rome – October 7, 2008.
(Via Wheat & Weeds)

2 Responses to The Only Sure Foundation …

  • AMEN!!!

  • Especially in our highly affluent society, it’s easy to see physical loss as an “end of the world” of sorts. As I’ve taken part in discussions at work the last few days about how the economic situation will affect our sales in the coming months — and thus implicitly whether there will be layoffs at our company — it’s easy to see the recession in apocalyptic terms. And so it’s important to be reminded that what is most precious and most real in our existence is not in a paycheck, a house, a car, or whatever other possessions give us a sense of status and well being. The most real thing that we experience is the mass; the realities of sin, virtue and love; and the “real world” beyond these shadow lands.

    Which, incidentally, is why I find Donald’s series of battlefield chaplains particularly moving. The bravery of priests bringing the sacraments to men in the shadow of immediate death is a reminder of where our real priorities should be.