Wednesday, April 30, AD 2014

I rarely read Hot Air much these days, though it is fortunate that I decided to take a look this afternoon or else I would have missed this insightful post from Ed Morrissey, as he absolutely nails it on two distinct issues.

First off, Morrissey calls out the Democrats for their attempt to amend the first amendment. Senator Tom Udall from New Mexico has introduced an amendment inspired by recent Supreme Court decisions that curtailed certain campaign finance restrictions. Morrissey notes that not only does this amendment not have a prayer of getting anywhere near the two-thirds vote required, it’s simply not something that very many Americans are clamoring for.

If Democrats think this will allow them to ride a wave of Occupy Wall Street populism, they’d better look again at the polling this week. Despite spending weeks on the Senate Floor ranting about the Koch Brothers, Harry Reid’s McCarthyite campaign of Kochsteria has resulted in … almost nothing. In the NBC/WSJ poll linked earlier, only 31% had an opinion about the Koch Brothers at all, and only 21% thought of them negatively in a poll where 43% of the respondents admit to voting for Obama in 2012. Michael Bloomberg, one of the left’s multibillionaire activists, got a 26% negative score, and the Democratic Party got a 37% negative score. (The GOP got 44%.) Nearly twice as many respondents think of Barack Obama negatively than they do the Koch Brothers, despite weeks of hard-sell demonization from top Democratic Party leaders.

Well, the Democrats are trying just about everything to prevent the electoral thumping that they will undoubtedly receive this Fall, and this is just one more act of desperation that will have absolutely no impact whatsoever. But at least it lets us know the truth about what they think of the first amendment.

But I’m even more impressed with Morrissey’s final paragraph, as he brings up a Supreme Court case that I’ve long contended was the impetus for all of the craziness that the federal government has spewed forth over the past seven decades.

If Democrats (and Republicans) want to act seriously to take billionaires out of the political game, they’re aiming at the wrong Supreme Court decision. They should pass an amendment repealing Wickard v Filburn‘s impact on the interstate commerce clause. That decision shifted massive political power from the states to Washington DC by defining practically everything as interstate commerce — including non-commerce. Killing Wickard would shift most regulatory power back to the states, and take the corruption out of Washington DC as the stakes would become too small for billionaire investment. Don’t expect Senate Democrats to do anything meaningful on crony capitalism, though … or anything meaningful at all, if this stunt is all they have.

Other than Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood, Wickard stands out as the absolute worst decision in the history of the Court. As Ed points out, it essentially allowed the federal government to intervene in every nook and cranny of our lives under the justification of “interstate commerce,” even where the action under consideration was neither interstate or commerce.

Ed’s also correct in noting that this expansion of the federal government is the prime reason that so much money is being pumped into federal elections, lobbying, and other activities. Last week I heard Russell Simmons spouting about how all of the evils of our world are due to the corrupting influence of money, and that’s why he supported Occupy Wall Street. Yet Simmons and his ilk are the very ones seeking to augment the powers of the federal government. They don’t see the inherent contradiction in this approach. As the federal government grows and grows and grows, it only increases the avenues for monied interests to wield their influence. It is the massive expansion of the federal government that has inspired this massive spending by outside groups. Of course interested stakeholders are going to want to influence the federal government in areas that affect them. The solution to diminishing their influence is not in curtailing the first amendment, but in restoring the balance of power between the states and the federal government. The Koch brothers (and George Soros for that matter) will immediately lose interest in spreading their wealth around to hammer away at the federal government if the federal government would simply get out of everyone’s business.

Like that will ever happen.

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2 Responses to Bingo!

  • Protesting against crony capitalism as the Occupy Wall Street flea baggers do while crying for more and more centralized government in Washington, DC to provide bread and circuses to the undeserving only increases moneyed interests while raping the middle class of its wealth producing ability. It is Democrats and their RINO cousins who benefit from such corporate socialism, as the peepul laud their godless, wicked messiah, Barack Hussein Obama, man of idolatry, perverted filth and murderous intent, no different in substance from his predecessor King Mannaseh of Judah.

  • Paul Zummo–I caught that post on HA. The notion of constitutionally limiting speech, particularly targeting political speech, is worrisome simply in its articulation. And, while it now seems remote, Congress has in the past and will continue to work toward limiting political speech as it serves comgress’ self interest. Remember–liberty is the constituent of no politician.

    Paul Primavera–I enjoy the passion manifest in your colorful language. It reminds me to not be so timid about God’s love and His gift of freedom to us all.

Bambi: Enemy of the State

Thursday, August 1, AD 2013




Hattip to Mary Katherine Ham at Hot Air.  One of the best arguments against big government is that inevitably its minions, not having enough real work to do, will engage in stupidity like this:


In Wisconsin, yet another example of the government’s overzealous attempts to punish citizens for good-faith interactions with wildlife, even if they’re saving said wildlife. This time, an armed raid to capture and euthanize a fawn at an animal shelter, which was on its way to a wildlife preserve. Government is just a word for things we do together, Bambi:

It was like a SWAT team,” shelter employee Ray Schulze said.

Two weeks ago, Schulze was working in the barn at the Society of St. Francis on the Kenosha-Illinois border when a swarm of squad cars arrived and officers unloaded with a search warrant.

“(There were) nine DNR agents and four deputy sheriffs, and they were all armed to the teeth,” Schulze said.

The focus of their search was a baby fawn brought there by an Illinois family worried she had been abandoned by her mother.

“When it made a little noise, it sounded like it was laughing,” Schulze said.

Schulze videotaped the fawn they named Giggles during the two weeks she was there. The Department of Natural Resources began investigating after two anonymous calls reporting a baby deer at the no-kill shelter.

The warden drafted an affidavit for the search warrant, complete with aerial photos in which he described getting himself into a position where he was able to see the fawn going in and out of the barn.

Agents told staff they came to seize the deer because Wisconsin law forbids the possession of wildlife.

So, they took the deer and killed it. Mercifully, I guess, the state has chosen not to press charges against this animal shelter for the horrible crime of trying to rehabilitate a deer abandoned by its mother in an animal shelter and transfer it to a wildlife preserve in Illinois, where wild deer are permitted by law. Apparently, if the shelter had had a state-issued permit for keeping a wild deer, everything would have been fine, which suggests keeping one is not inherently dangerous, despite that being the Department of Natural Resources’ justification for killing the fawn.

The representative of the animal shelter gave the government far too much credit:

“I was thinking in my mind they were going to take the deer and take it to a wildlife shelter, and here they come carrying the baby deer over their shoulder. She was in a body bag,” Schulze said. “I said, ‘Why did you do that?’ He said, ‘That’s our policy,’ and I said, ‘That’s one hell of a policy.’”

And a government spokesperson literally likened the raid to a drug bust:

“Could you have made a phone call before showing up, I mean, that’s a lot of resources,” WISN 12 News investigative reporter Colleen Henry asked.

“If a sheriff’s department is going in to do a search warrant on a drug bust, they don’t call them and ask them to voluntarily surrender their marijuana or whatever drug that they have before they show up,” Niemeyer said,

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17 Responses to Bambi: Enemy of the State

  • Yeah, selling drugs, helping baby animals, what’s the difference? And I love how they showed up ‘armed to the teeth,’ because you never know what that fawn might be packing.

    Incidentally, I have to wonder what kind of sick busybody calls the police because someone has a baby deer at their animal shelter? “Obviously I had to do something; their selfless compassion just couldn’t be allowed to continue!”

  • “And I love how they showed up ‘armed to the teeth,’ because you never know what that fawn might be packing.”


    I guess we should be thankful they didn’t napalm the place. The swat team mentality run amok and too much channeling of the spirit of Barney Fife.

  • “I guess we should be thankful they didn’t napalm the place.”

    Ummm. Roast deer.

  • Some more on this:

  • I used to think that it would be difficult for ‘Hope and Change’ to be jammed
    down our throats because the conservative ethos was strong amongst law
    enforcement and our military.

    Stories like this make me think that mine was just wishful thinking. Now, I’m
    starting to think they’ll mindlessly do whatever they’re told, no matter how
    absurd or unconstitutional– or evil.

  • Regarding deer and hunting in gemneral.

    If it’s brown it’s down.

    If it flies it dies.

    If it hops it drops.


    Bingo! You are 100% correct. They’re mercenary thugs.

    I saw a story where a SWAT attacked a young co-ed outside a liquor store b/c she may have been under-age.

    There have been cases where liberal terrorists (I nrepeat myself) made phony 911 calls that a house was invaded and the unlucky home-owner was shot as he tried to defend his family from SS, gestapo storm troopers.

  • For all you nay sayers and bitter clingers: I’m glad we were able to get aerial photographs of this obviously dangerous and wild animal. Just look at its evil beady eyes and it use of camouflage plainly shows it was trying to avoid detection so it could continue on its dangerous and wild path. The investigating DNR officer showed true dedication risking his life getting into position to take said photographs and watch this diseased infested creature spread its filth in the barn yard. In and out of the barn all day, how could one watch that! The horror . . . the horror! No telling what tragedies were averted by these heroic officers’ actions! And those shelter employees aiding and abetting this wild and dangerous animal. I am incredulous that they were going to send it to a WILD LIFE PERSERVE where it could continue in its dangerous and wild life! What were they thinking!!

    It is obvious that this fawn was unwanted by its mother so it is for the best that the officers aborted this unviable tissue mass post-uterus (it needed the shelter workers to feed it and care for it. It could not live on its own). Just think how the officers spared it a life of misery and pain knowing it was unwanted and unloved. These officers are true humanitarians – better dead than unwanted and unloved.

    I am sure glad that my tax dollars are so well spent.

  • Clinton, it is not difficult at all to imagine hope and change being jammed down the throats of conservatives. Most of the “conservatives” I know, whether in the police or military or not, may be for the 2nd Amendment, and against re-writing history in schools and things like that, but they are almost all to a tee in favor of abortion, and they don’t care about homosexual marriage or rights or whatever, as long as they don’t have to watch it in their bedrooms. Punishment for embracing a heinous evil like abortion can come in many forms, including watching your country go down the tubes.

  • I think it was Glenn Reynolds who recently had a brief piece on a mess of armed liquor authority agents who accosted an adolescent (one jumping on the roof of her car) who had purchased bottled water.

    It is simply unbelievable that this sort of thing is compelled by state statutes. The name of every person in the chain of command between the bureau chief and the flatfeet in question needs to be published, with their home address.

    Did you catch the bit about the anonymous caller. What sort of a person would do that?

    Some years ago, a shirt-tail relation of mine was threatened with legal action by an official of the homeowners association where he lived. It seems that some paint he had applied recently to repair a mar on the side of his house did not match the surrounding to the satisfaction of the official. He told her that he used the color specified in the deed and she wanted to have him served, just do it.

    That woman is the sort of person who calls the cops on people caring for deer.

  • Some people live to cause other people trouble Art.

  • Read the original article, with a critical eye.

    The “armed to the teeth” claim is from the guy who is probably a husband to the owner. Same guy who thought they shot the deer on site, when they tranquilized it.

    There was enough prior interaction that this same guy assumed the DNR was there to transport the deer.

    There’s no information on how many employees were at the shelter, what the actual arms were– I’m betting on the normal gun and radio squirrel cops pack, and the deputies with their 47 dozen non-lethal “options” required by prior lawsuits– or even how many vehicles there were. (I’m betting two cop cars, largely to keep an eye on the DNR, a car for the paper-pusher DNRs, a pickup for the guys who were bored and were brought to “help” in case there were more wild animals, and the animal transport car with the two guys for tranquilizing any deer they found– one to actually do it, and the other to verify he’s not selling the drugs, possibly plus one more to actually carry the animal. You should see the setup our vet has for their tranquilizers– it’s actually a big break-in risk. And the Forest Service, DNR, etc are always in groups of three or four. In the forest, I can justify it– you walk over a hill and find a pot operation, you WANT enough folks to outnumber the tenders or your widow will want to know why.)

    People “rescuing” wild animals, usually deer, actually is a problem– especially in an animal shelter that’s not set up to deal with wild animals. In the BEST case, they just get the fawn killed because they’re mistaking a bedded down fawn for an orphaned one– deer aren’t helicopter parents– and in less good cases, they’re able to “save” the animal because it’s very ill. Bonus, the deer may have been brought across the state line, and they were going to send it back across to an actual animal rehab center. You can look up deer diseases, including bTB (in which case you put down the animal to protect other deer) and other things that are much nastier looking.

    Too bad the supposedly great investigative reporter that wrote the article couldn’t be bothered to offer facts instead of quotes.

    It would be handy to know a lot of the details, like if the “aerial photography” was from the neighbor’s window– she has the details, alluded to how it was managed, but doesn’t bother to report it– what the warrant was for, other things.

    No, instead we get to hear about an idiot who thinks gunshots are silent, and his wife who is mourning the deer that she should have known would have to be put down because of her stupidity.

    If you’re going to get outraged about this stuff, look for solid articles like the outrages from the Endangered Species act, or the guy who planted lynx fur all over the state from the dead pelt at the headquarters and kept his job, or the way they imported a pack of wolves into the Methow Valley…and eventually sent a real SWAT team to take things not allowed in the warrant, when they knew the only person there was a retired lady smaller than I am, because her step-son is a poacher and her husband took pictures of the Methow pack.

  • I’m all for abolishing federal land management outside of their parks, and putting public land down to the county level– put animal disease control over to the public health folks, same as dumping raw sewage.

    But I can’t stand being manipulated by the same sort of folks who got these laws put into place in the first place. No matter how refreshing it is to see a fluff piece with the DNR as the bad guys.

  • Foxfier, not to awake your wrath but I am sure wild animals every day do not cross the state lines between Illinois and Wisconsin without being properly sanitized. I am sure in pre-historic times the animals knew where the state line would be and did not cross also. I know I try not to go into Illinois. Sorry Don. As to some of your other points – it’s the media and they have an agenda. I discount almost everything I read from the MSM.

    You seem very passionate about the subject. Is there a reason?

    I did read with a “critical eye” and found lots of information missing but found enough to make light of the situation. I also read your post with a “critical eye” and found that you assumed a lot of facts and did not provide evidence to support such claims. I like reading your posts here and, if you are the same person, on Ricochet. There are well thought out and insightful.

    Take care and may God watch out for you!

  • “They” not There, sorry for the poor English.

  • Foxfier, not to awake your wrath but I am sure wild animals every day do not cross the state lines between Illinois and Wisconsin without being properly sanitized.

    Which would be a great point, if we could be reasonably sure that folks dumb enough to pick up a fawn aren’t also dumb enough to move it into an entirely different pool of animals.

    . I am sure in pre-historic times the animals knew where the state line would be and did not cross also.

    You may have noticed that political lines are often drawn along natural ones– rivers, mountains, etc. The boundries that cause people to form different communities are often the same ones that cause animals to form different populations.

    Of course I’m passionate about it– both for the content of the last paragraph in my last post, drawn from first-hand observation, and because when our side falls for this kind of emotional manipulation it makes the guys who regularly abuse it harder to defend against.
    This type of article is very old hat to me, from the target side– part of my mom’s job on the ranch is making as sure as we can that such hatchet jobs don’t happen about our operation. It’s odd in that they have the DNR as bad guys, that’s about it.

    I really dislike seeing conservatives trigger as easily from unsupported claims of DNR SWAT-like teams in part because of the lesson from the story of the boy who cried wolf. Seriously bad things happen, as I listed examples of, and reacting very strongly to very little evidence of bad conduct makes us look bad and weakens response to serious, well supported outrages.

    Since you read my post with such a critical eye, I do hope you noticed that; I don’t attempt to hide where I’m coming from, and why I make assumptions about the situation. I drew my assumptions from first-hand interaction, and from the fact that the claims were from either someone who very foolishly broke the law and put the animals they supposedly care about at risk, and the reporter who rather skillfully wrote an article based on emotion.

    When someone feels the need to use slight of hand, it’s a pretty good bet that they don’t have enough to support their desired story openly. Double so when their by-line makes a big deal of how much of an investigator they are.

    I am the same person as on Rico– same icon, too, and I try to plug here, CatholicStand and According to Hoyt as often as possible.

Portents of Doom

Wednesday, January 2, AD 2013

Yes, Congress and the White House managed to punt on any real solutions to our ever-growing debt crisis, reaching a deal that raised a lot of taxes but cut no spending. Yet the real signal that we are truly doomed as a country  may have come from a bill that did not pass – not yet. The House of Representatives failed to pass a $60 billion relief bill for Hurricane Sandy, prompting Republican Governor Chris Christie to act like a petulant child who didn’t receive all that he wanted on Christmas morn.

“There is only one group to blame,” Christie said. “The House Majority and John Boehner.”

“Last night, the House Majority failed the basic test of leadership and they did so with callous disregard to the people of my state,” he said. “It was disappointing and disgusting to watch.”

“Shame on you, shame on Congress.”

Following his remarks, Christie doubled down on his criticism in a lengthy — and incredibly candid — press conference in which he laid into House Republicans for putting “palace intrigue” ahead of their actual jobs.

“Our people were played last night as a pawn…and that’s why people hate Washington, D.C.,” Christie said later. “They forget that we’re the ones who sent them there.”

Representative Peter King (“R” – NY) also blasted his party and even threatened quitting in anger – hours before throwing his support for Speaker John Boehner when others within the caucus attempted to oust him from leadership.

But King and Christie are just speaking out for their poor constituents who desperately need federal aid. Ummm, not exactly. Daniel Foster lists some of the items contained in this bill:

•$2 million to repair damage to the roofs of museums in Washington, D.C., while many in Hurricane Sandy’s path still have no roof over their own heads.

•$150 million for fisheries as far away from the storm’s path as Alaska.

•$125 million for the Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Watershed Protection program, which helps restore watersheds damaged by wildfires and drought.

•$20 million for a nationwide Water Resources Priorities Study.

•$15 million for NASA facilities, though NASA itself has called its damage from the hurricane ‘minimal.’

•$50 million in subsidies for tree planting on private properties.

•$336 million for taxpayer-supported AMTRAK without any detailed plan for how the money will be spent.

•$5.3 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers – more than the Corps’ annual budget – with no statement of priorities about how to spend the money.

•$12.9 billion for future disaster mitigation activities and studies, without identifying a single way to pay for it.

As Foster notes, money has already been appropriated to deal with the immediate situation. And as Katrina Trinko adds, only 15 percent of the money allocated in this bill would actually be spent this year. Some emergency funding, huh? But of course the esteemed Senators from Alaska will not tolerate any criticisms of their pork requests.

These are two very real and very serious disasters that Alaskans are facing. The first being the salmon disaster which was declared a disaster by the federal government this past September – Alaskans are still waiting for relief after the devastating impact on fisheries. After Japan’s generous gift of $5 million, the U.S. government needs to step up to the plate as tsunami debris poses serious navigational hazards and risks to coastal communities. Sandy remains the priority in this bill, but given that many of the dollars allocated for debris will go to charting and mapping it, this bill is a more than appropriate vehicle to bring up these disasters which have severely impacted Alaska’s communities.

This fiasco highlights some things you need to know about our government, and why things will never improve. As Senator Begich’s comments illustrate, there is not a dime of federal spending that will not be defended by someone. No matter how trivial, no matter how seemingly wasteful, there will always be someone out there to defend that dollar (or millions) of appropriation.

More importantly, Christie’s childish reaction shows that even s0-called fiscal conservatives cannot be relied upon to remain level-headed. Surely Christie must be aware that some $20 billion or so of this bill is completely unrelated to dealing with the immediate aftermath of the hurricane. Instead of criticizing those in Congress who decided to weigh down this bill with unnecessary measures, Christie decides to demagogue the issue and blame the people who are at least trying to behave responsibly. Surely Christie could have called upon Congress to mass House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers’s much more reasonable disaster relief bill. But that’s not the Blusterer’s style. This was a moment to get on the evening news, and he wouldn’t have done so had he criticized Democrats.

Chris Christie is the golden child of “fiscal conservatives.” If even he is unwilling to patiently await passage of a reasonably considered bill that would focus on actual hurricane relief, but instead would prefer to scream about the need for IMMEDIATE PASSAGE NOW!!!!!!!!! – then what hope is there that we can ever achieve fiscal sanity in this country.

Ace has some sobering words to consider in light of this fiasco.

Watching “fiscal conservative” Chris Christie fail to say one word about those who demand that relief for his state be bought with unrelated spending for their own states, which weren’t hit by catastrophe — shouldn’t it be noted that Lisa Murkowski and Don Young of Alaska won’t vote for those left homeless by Sandy until some local businesses get their “cut”? — it occurs to me that he is accommodating himself to reality.

The reality is vox populi, vox dei — the voice of the people is the voice of God. And the voice of this particular shabby god has decreed that we shall be financially reckless and we should go through a national bankruptcy, and there’s no sense trying to avoid it, so we’ll just run up a huge tab buying multiple 65 inch 3D tvs before we crash.

Given that the people wish to spend money they do not have, and soon will not have (for all the same reasons that people with bad credit can’t rent a car — your ability to borrow is precisely related to your projected future ability to make good on your loans), and will not be diverted from this disastrous course, what can anyone do?

. . .

But for now, let’s go get a few of those sweet 3D TV’s and watch Pirates of the Caribbean IV.

You’ll think I’m a wonderful, well-providing father… for the next month or so.

After that, you may hold a different opinion of me. Major negative changes in circumstance tend to do that.

But for now– 3D TVs. Have you ever seen such a clear, sort of three dimensional picture? Aren’t I your hero? At this moment, I mean.

We deserve the government we have.


Oh, and before I hear from any wiseguys, two of my brothers had to abandon their flooded homes because of the storm.


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9 Responses to Portents of Doom

  • I agree.

    Sixty billion here, sixty billion there – pretty soon you’re talking REAL MONEY.

    The national debt is over 103% of GDP and will shortly hit 130% (then we become Greece) as Obama and Christie are each year spending trillions more than tax receipts. Neither NJ (high tax state) nor the US government can repay their debts.

    And, I live on Long Island. Our Nassau County village had over 140 large trees down and 35 houses severely damaged. We didn’t need to take money from taxpayers in Idaho or from my children and grandchildren to restore eletricity and gas and open our streets. Or, to fix our houses.

    They’re reporting that Bohner pulled the bill b/c Cantor voted “no” on the immense excrement sandwich they call the fiscal cliff deal.

    Anyhow, in a few years it will be all over for the USA.

  • I can think of few politicians who have fallen swifter in my estimation than Chris Christie. I think he is preparing the way for an eventual jump to the Democrats. Good riddance.

  • Despair not: “they can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you.”

    People want to do better. They want to be the people they dream of being.

    During this last snow event (i refuse to call 5 inches of snow a “storm”) i cleared the opening to a shared alley. A neighbor who was finishing his sidewalk headed into the house, only to return five minute later to help. 10 minutes later, another neighbor joined. Within an hour, there were six of us clearing the alley, and then the intersection, and then the road. By the time the plow came through, there was nothing for him to do.

    My point is that we can be Franciscan about this: preach the Gospel always, if necessary, use words.

  • “preach the Gospel always, if necessary, use words.”

    A good story G-Veg, but I wish to point out that Saint Francis never said that. That is a modern formulation from the 1990s.

  • I really don’t know what’s up with the US money-go-round. The largest economy and arguably the wealthiest nation in history is broke – with govt. debt 103% of GDP.
    While our little country – admittedly a little more socialised than I personally would like. but our debt is 41% of GDP – we have an adequate welfare system – some say too generous – unemployment is high at 6.9 % in a relatively small export led economy, and 4.5 million people. Maybe its our small size that makes things easier – but we , under the present govt – unlike the Helen Clark Labour govt -just don’t cave in to every bludger wanting a hand out ( except we are being over-generous to the Maori Greivance Gravy Train)
    And we’ll be back in surplus projected at 2015. Maybe you should get our guys to handle your purse strings 😉

  • St. Francis may not have sai it but I like the articulation so I think I’ll keep it as is.

    With regards to the US economy, the US spent an obscene amount on war and then threw away the stimulus mony. That is at least part of the difference you see.

  • “the US spent an obscene amount on war”

    Disagree vigorously G-Veg. Any money that is used to keep my family safer I do not regard in any way as “obscene”. I fear that we will soon get to see that perhaps we failed to allocate sufficient funds for defense considering the number of hot spots that are beginning to glow around the globe.

    “St. Francis may not have said it”

    No may about it, he did not say it. This popped up in the 1990s and you now see it repeated endlessly throughout Saint Blogs.

    Fake quotes are abhorrent to me since they lend authority to a phrase to which it is not entitled. With the advent of the internet fake quotes gain credence because so many people repeat them. Three examples: “We sleep safely in our beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf.” attributed to George Orwell is a fake quote that is repeated endlessly. “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” is a favorite George Washington quote that he never uttered. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” was never said by Edmund Burke.

  • Yeah, I’d say a “phenomenal” amount on defense, not “obscene”. The benefits we get from it include secure international trade, so it’s probably a net gain, but it’d sure be nice if someone else picked up the check every once in a while. (And that’s not even considering the moral consequences.)

    I think that Christie looked particularly good to Republicans back when their bench was weaker. As the years roll by, there’s a natural sorting process, and the new generation will be tested. Paul, Brown, McDonnell, Rubio, and Ayotte, and going back a little further, Palin, Ryan, and Jindal. There will be sex scandals, and words like “macaca”, and random bad luck, and a lot of rising stars will fall. Some will succeed. Two new ones to watch: Ted Cruz in the Senate and Tom Cotton in the House. Great early press.


    The New Year does not bode well for our amoral nation.
    America has become a godless imitation.
    How many more will lose life, liberty, and survival?
    The Constitution and rights must have serious revival.

    The religious freedom we once had is now being denied.
    Objections by religious leaders are being defied.
    The God of Abraham was once our nation’s guiding light.
    Immorality has almost become a legal right.

    Marriage of a man and woman is God’s moral demand.
    Will the Supreme Court now deny His eternal command?
    The American people are enemy number one.
    Our religious liberty and freedoms they have undone.

    Our nation has grown cold to God’s love – we are divided.
    The Ten Commandments are being openly derided.
    Those who do not trust God have misplaced their intended goal.
    They alone have the power to rescue their eternal soul.

    As light fades, what we so proudly hailed no one can now see.
    The ramparts were not watched – we are no longer free.
    The future of America has never seemed so bleak.
    Hope is possible only if the Son of God we seek.

    Bob Rowland

Government as Addiction

Thursday, December 13, AD 2012


One of my pet peeves has long been the fact that most people seem to have no idea how much they pay in taxes.  The reason for this is obvious:  many of the taxes we pay, by design, are hard to keep track of.  In this category are sales taxes, utility taxes, taxes on gas, etc.  (This does not include the taxes paid by corporations and other businesses (they do not pay taxes, they collect taxes) that are passed on in higher prices for the products and services that we purchase, or in the social security share of employees paid by employers that effectively reduce the wages that employers pay employees.)  In the Wall Street Journal we find that the average worker has a tax rate of approximately 40 percent:

But tax rates are already high—much higher than is commonly understood—and increasing them will likely further depress the economy, especially by affecting the number of hours Americans work.

Taking into account all taxes on earnings and consumer spending—including federal, state and local income taxes, Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, excise taxes, and state and local sales taxes—Edward Prescott has shown (especially in the Quarterly Review of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, 2004) that the U.S. average marginal effective tax rate is around 40%. This means that if the average worker earns $100 from additional output, he will be able to consume only an additional $60.

Research by others (including Lee Ohanian, Andrea Raffo and Richard Rogerson in the Journal of Monetary Economics, 2008, and Edward Prescott in the American Economic Review, 2002) indicates that raising tax rates further will significantly reduce U.S. economic activity and by implication will increase tax revenues only a little.

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7 Responses to Government as Addiction

  • Nor do I want to know. Such knowledge is beyond my ability to cope with it. Similarly, as my divorce progressed, to survive, I chose to ignore the costs. I

    As ignorant and, perhaps, selfish as it may sound, I believe, in extreme cases,
    ignorance can be bliss and the only way worse harm can be prevented.

    I will never again vote democratic, nor, should my wife die, would I even consider marrying, again.

  • Thank God Obama lets us keep so much: elections have consequences . . .

    Off topic: Today marks 150 years since the Confederate victory at Fredericksburg. It was worse (they fell faster) in front of Marye’s Hts. than depicted in the movie.

    The 2014 IRS 1040 will have two slots.

    1. How much you made (all loopholes rescinded):

    2. Send it in:

  • Yesterday: “Two absolutes, death & taxes.”
    Today: Death caused by taxes.

  • I remember reading an analysis that found that a single mother earning $32k got $57k take home pay, after government support (all numbers approximate, because I don’t have the article in front of me), and a single mother earning $70k got $57k take home pay after taxes. If you think about it, that’s an effective marginal tax rate of 100%. Would you work an extra who-knows-how-many hours, or more likely work at a higher-level job that required more schooling, if you were guaranteed to get nothing in return?

  • To the tax and spend left, taxes are not, nor have ever been, about revenue. It’s is and has always been about the seizure and power and control over the lives of others.

  • …the U.S. average marginal effective tax rate is around 40%.

    …compared to the average marginal effective tax rate on a U.S. means-tested handout of around 0%.

When the Believers Lose Their Faith In The Religion Of Big Government

Sunday, October 21, AD 2012

President Barack Obama’s debate performances could never equal the expectations of the secular faithful. Many on the far left envisioned an American society where religion was about as important to the populace and politically influential as it is in Sweden. The land of the midnight sun has been a great hope to liberals ever since religion began to erode there in the 1950s and abortion became commonplace in the 1960s. Governor Michael Dukakis famously poured over Sweden’s great Welfare state enterprise to see what he might learn, which of course led to his electoral demise in 1988.

With all of his rhetorical skills, President Obama could never make Americans have a come to Pierre Trudeau, Willy Brandt, Jose Luis Zapatero (pick your favorite Western Democratic Socialist) moment like many Americans have a Come to Jesus moment over failings in their lives. Instead of realizing that not everyone can be suckered into buying Big Government swampland, the Left has taken their frustrations out on the President. If only he were talking more about rising and falling oceans and making them believe we are the ones we have been waiting for; the Left attacks the messenger and not the message.

Frank Rich, the New York Times columnist laments about this in a long New York magazine  article. The writer for the Old Gray Lady states the Americans are somehow too dumb to become like Europeans and surrender their lives to government and not God. He sees little hope and concludes the Tea Party will always prevail in the American persona rather than government control. Talk about a brain trust, can you imagine the anti-religious nuggets thrown around the water cooler when Bill Keller, the former New York Times editor was present. You may recall Keller infamously dubbed himself a “Collapsed Catholic,” fortunately reported to us by former Newsweek Religion Editor Kenneth Woodward, who is not Catholic and hardly a friend of conservatives, but a principled man who couldn’t take any more of the Times’ hypocrisy directed at the Church. I would strongly suggest you read this The New York magazine article for if conservatives mouthed these same thoughts about minorities instead of suburbanites and rural residents, we would be blacklisted.

In my just released book, The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn, I note how the Left turned on Al Smith (the first Catholic standard bearer) after he formed the Liberty League in the mid and late 1930s and told Americans he could no longer support President Roosevelt. This startling development occurred after a number of questionable instances came to light including the Supreme Court Packing Case and the Roosevelt 1938 purge of Conservative Democrats. By 1940 unemployment was still at 14% and if had not been for World War II who knows how long unemployment would have remained in double digits.

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9 Responses to When the Believers Lose Their Faith In The Religion Of Big Government

  • 1. “President Barack Obama’s debate performances could never equal the expectations of the secular faithful. ”

    They could but only if the polls said he won. The content or reality is not important to the Leftist.

    2. “The writer for the Old Gray Lady states the Americans are somehow too dumb to become like Europeans and surrender their lives to government and not God. ”

    This is so Last Generation. Today’s Leftists have moved on to adoring Castro, Chavez and the Chinese Politburo with a longing look at Islamic jihadists.

    3. “Perhaps the President’s lackluster and uneven debate performance comes from a man who no longer believes in what he is selling.’

    He still believes it but he has always been a lazy goofoff expecting other people to translate his TOTUS talk into stirring deeds.

    4. “The Left has morphed into a powerful money machine.”

    The Leftists only hide beyond populist rhetoric, they always prefer the limousine. And they have always been part of the well to do class.

    5. “Socialist thinker Joseph Schumpter (Shortly after World War II) believed that Socialism could eventually win because Capitalism would give the people all of their material needs while weaning them off religion.”

    Sometimes academics top the Stupid list. He could have seen that Socialism would promptly take away all that Capitalism had provided.

    6. “Some on the Left see it all slipping away, they will never have the 2008 perfect storm opportunity at least within my lifetime.”

    Never underestimate the ability of termites.

  • Once again another informative post Rozin. As I have indicated in previous articles (and perhaps should have for this one,) I have always believed there are two sorts of leftists. The first being the utopians (small in number) they cling to the 1960s as their model. They are the ones I wrote of living at one time in cramped apartments and VW buses. However, the second group (and larger of the two) are the true radicals (often dressed as if they were indeed the man himself) those who adhere to the ideals of the French Revolution and the tactics of Saul Alinsky.

    An electoral loss for the radicals would be devestating, whereas the utopians would take it in stride. In some ways the Utopians still haven’t recovered from Bob Dylan going electric, the end of the Summer of Love, along with the demise of the Eugene McCarthy candidacy.

  • Pingback: Age of Unbelief | The American Catholic
  • I thank you for bringing the new god to the readers attention, I hope more are listing, because our Creator is watching this culture of greed and death spread. Do you think He is going to stand back and not get our attention about almost 4000 babies a day killed in the US out of greed ? Do you think if this continues and other things you have talked about He will allow, not make, something happen that will make 9-11 look like a spark, that will bring us back on our knee’s to Him ? JMJ

  • I get the feeling that if I sat down with Frank Rich for ten minutes I could explain politics to him. He understands that political movements adapt, and that predictions of impending ideological collapse are faulty. But he doesn’t apply that to his own thinking, that the moderate Republican is disappearing and that Republicans can’t win women or minorities.

    You don’t have to be a fortune-teller to see that in a two-party system, each party is always going to present itself as nearly in the middle but a bit over to one side. On a four-mile stretch of road, the best position for one gas station is at the two-mile marker. The best position for a rival gas station is at just about the two-mile marker, but a little up or down the road (to be the closest gas station for 50% of the market). Three or more gas stations, there are different strategies, but with two it’s inevitable. The same is true with politics.

  • Being a faithful Catholic means being neither Left nor Right. Sure, we are to reject the extreme statism of the Far Left, but we must also equally oppose Ayn Rand atheistic capitalism, which is nothing more than libertarian anarchy. Both ideologies challenge and contravene Catholic faith and morals.

    God bless for this terrific article!

  • One question as to the role of Big Government and consistent ideology. The author presumably opposes abortion in all forms and promotes the abolition of that sinister practice. I concur. How would the author go about achieving this goal? Would it be through the use of Government to interject itself in the medical field and forcibly ban abortion?

    So, if it is acceptable to prevent the deaths of the unborn through the use of Big Government, why is it also not acceptable to utilize the power of government to prevent deaths of living people outside of the womb, vis a vis health care reform?

  • Benjamin a very interesting question with regard to the role of government. The single most important role of government is to protect her citizens. We naturally think of a foreign invasion, or a terrorist attack (The War of 1812, or 9-11-01.) However, we don’t have to go to far into the realm of history to see an era when lawlessness had the nation living in fear. For example, because of Prohibition outlaws were roaming the countryside (John Dillinger, Ma Barker, Pretty Boy Floyd) because the cities were teaming with mobsters shooting it out over liquor territory. Law enforcement, much like their current compatriots in Mexico, were hopelessly outgunned. Something had to be done, which is why J Edgar Hoover established the FBI.

    In our modern era, though there are far fewer abortions (Thank God due to the relentless efforts of pro-life forces) somewhere between 1-2 million of our citizens are killed in abortion facilities. The Constitution established the courts to administer the laws and law enforcement to enforce the laws. Once Roe has properly run her course (it was wrongly argued and established in the first place) the courts and law enforcement will remedy the situation.

    As for Government Health Care, this is not promised by our forefathers, as was Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. If one says the government is responsible for you being happy one could argue health care could make you happy, or some illegal vice. Does that mean the government should provide you with that as well? This is a slipperly slope. The Catholic Church has always said health care is a right, but they never said it was a right to be provided for by the government. In the Renaissance era, the elite of the Church would provide hospital space for the poor and indigent. We should be our brothers keeper, not the state.

Question: If they trust women, why don’t they trust mothers?

Wednesday, May 30, AD 2012

SHOCKER: Teens need their mothers. Mothers can help their daughters. Even in crisis.

There’s an article forthcoming in the journal Economic Inquiry by Professors of Economics, Joseph Sabia and Daniel Rees, that shows parental notification or consent laws are associated with a 15 to 25 percent reduction in suicides committed by 15- through 17-year-old women. The researchers analyzed National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health data collected from 1987 to 2003 and found results that are consistent with the hypothesis that laws requiring parental involvement increase the “expected cost of having unprotected sex,” and, consequently, protect the well-being of young females. (Hey, they’re economists.)

Here’s the reasoning, taken from this paper by the same authors.

  • Researchers have already found, using state-level data from 1981 through 1998, that parental involvement laws reduced teen gonorrhea rates 12 to 20 percent among teen females. (Klick and Strattman, 2008)
  • Other recent studies provide evidence that female adolescents who become sexually active at an early age are more likely to suffer from the symptoms of depression. (Hallfors et al. 2004; Sabia and Rees 2008)
  • Research has shown that multiple sex partners increased the likelihood of substance abuse. (Howard et al. 2004)
  • It is also been found that adolescent females who had multiple sex partners were 10 times more likely to develop the symptoms of major depression than those who remained abstinent. (Hallfors et al. 2005)
  • There was no evidence of a similar relationship between male multiple partners and adolescent depression. (Hallfors et al. 2005)

So the hypothesis is: If parental involvement laws discourage minors from risky lifestyles that affect their physical health, then they would promote emotional health of teenage females as well. Analyzing suicide rates will give an indication since there have been many studies that link depression and suicide. The national suicide data was analyzed and that’s exactly what they found – a supporting correlation. Parental involvement laws correlate with fewer suicides. Further in support, there was no evidence of a similar relationship among male adolescents, and no correlation between parental involvement laws and suicide for older women because, well, neither group would be affected by those laws.

Makes sense, right? You’re probably thinking, “Did we need to pass those laws, wait and see what happened, and then count suicides?” No, we didn’t, and there’d be at least some justice if the people opposing those laws would take notice.

You’d think someone who really cares about women would be able to take an objective view of this data and consider it as an appeal to our collective conscience. You’d think someone who parrots, “Trust Women!” would be consistent enough to also trust mothers who are raising teens. When the state comes between teens and their parents, it just follows that the adolescents will not be as close to their parents as they ought to be.

This only affirms what we already know. Parents of teen girls can be trusted – should be trusted for the psychological benefit of a daughter in crisis. The abortion advocate community doesn’t seem as concerned about young women, though, as they are about politics and agendas. They instead say that people just want to make it harder for teens to have abortions, and that teens have a “fear of abuse” from unrelenting parents. Oh, and they’ll say something about how correlation doesn’t equal causation, revealing that they either are ignorant of analytical methods or, even worse, knowledgeable of them but dishonest when the results don’t fit their predetermined conclusions. Some will even say that teen women should be trusted to make their own decisions even when the decision for these desperate young women is to end their own lives. Of course, we all know why Planned Parenthood doesn’t want the parents involved. Ac$e$$ to abortion.

So I have a little hypothesis of my own. I predict (but would love to be proven wrong) that not a single abortion advocate will come forward and honestly reassess parental consent laws even though there is no body of data to support their premise. Could they admit that maybe, just maybe, the default condition is not that most parents of teens are abusive. Imagine!

If they trust women, why can’t they trust mothers and fathers? Where does this automatic distrust of parents come from anyway? Perhaps there’s a cost associated with believing that a mother has the right to kill her own child in the womb, and that cost is faith in people to love their children unconditionally at any point in life, even during difficult times.

H/T:  Michael J. New at National Review

Image: Microsoft Powerpoint

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5 Responses to Question: If they trust women, why don’t they trust mothers?

  • Informed sexual consent, legal maturity, begins at emancipation, like voting, driving a car and signing any kind of contract. All persons’ unalienable, endowed civil rights are held in trust for them by God, by their parents and finally by the state, in this order. A minor person becomes a ward of the court if their parents neglect or abuse their civil, unalienable rights. The court acts “in loco parentis” in the best interest of the child. A minor child, without legal informed sexual consent to give becomes pregnant. Because of her pregnancy, the court declares that the legally minor, un-emancipated pregnant child to be emancipated by the very proof that the child is a minor and incapable of making legal decisions for herself, or of giving informed sexual consent, or valid consent to any surgical operation. The court overrides any parental notification by legally kidnapping a minor child by making the minor, pregnant child a ward of the court by declaring the child emancipated by the fact of her pregnancy without proper notification of the child’s parents, who have a naturally vested legal interest in the child. The court does this to a child who may be pregnant and does so to abort the child’s parents’ grandchild.
    Overriding naturally vested parental rights entrusted to parents innocent of any proved wrongdoing is contrary to American jurisprudence and constitutes legal kidnapping by the state, false imprisonment and restraint.

  • A great post.

    “Where does this automatic distrust of parents come from anyway?”

    I think maybe distrust of parents comes along with the strengthening of the “youth culture”. Maybe some of it comes from whole gnerations going to public schools and getting together with their peer posses. When they were educated at home things were a bit different and maybe mom and dad ‘s opinion had a stronger influence.

    Charles is in charge. Two year olds are in charge.
    The two First Children of the POTUS are in charge. What do you decide about gay marriage girls? Ok.

    Children are a target market; recognized at economic deciders in families. TV and movies are more and more juvenile because that is who the customers are.

  • To be fair, there are some appalling parents out there, and many girls who have abortions got into trouble in the first place because they didn’t have trustworthy parents. But.

    But for the pure and simple public health and safety of minors, parental consent needs to be secured for any kind of serious medical event, much less for abortion. If I were pro-choice, I’d want parents to at least have as much control over abortion as over teeth cleaning.

  • I think parents who prove that they can be trusted have children who trust them. I’ve seen people with open and loving relationships and it comes from parents willing to listen instead of lecturing. If you want that kind of relationship with your child that they will come to you, you need to be the kind of person that someone would want to go to for advice. Anyone, not just your child. If you have proven yourself to be judgmental, you cannot blame a child for not going to you for advice, or with their problems. after all, would YOU go to a friend with your problems if you knew rather than listen to you they were going to force their values on you rather than take yours into account?

Womb to the Tomb

Friday, May 4, AD 2012

In the early days of the Clinton presidency, Rush Limbaugh ran a song parody to the tune of “Whoot! There It Is!” called “Womb to the Tomb.”  It was a reaction to the proposed “Hillarycare” healthcare reform efforts.  The idea being that Democrats were hoping to create “womb to the tomb” government entitlement.  Well, Barack Obama evidently didn’t realize that the song was a parody, because his campaign has now created a little slideshow called “The Life of Julia.”  The slideshow presents the life of a fictionalized woman named Julia (perhaps the long lost lovechild of Barack and his fictional girlfriend Genevieve Cook) and contrasts how wonderful her life will be under the benevolent, loving care of life under Obama and contrasts it with the hollowed-out, wreck of a life that she will lead under Mitt Romney.

Here are some of the highlights:

Under President Obama: Julia is enrolled in a Head Start program to help get her ready for school. Because of steps President Obama has taken to improve programs like this one, Julia joins thousands of students across the country who will start kindergarten ready to learn and succeed.

Under Mitt Romney: The Romney/Ryan budget could cut programs like Head Start by 20%, meaning the program would offer 200,000 fewer slots per year.

At the risk of drawing Bob Beckel’s ire, Head Start isn’t quite the success liberals like to pretend it is, but this is just the beginning.  At every stage of her life, Julia is helped by some big government program.  According to team Obama, Julia would be a whimpering mess without the aid of big brother to help her.  Yes, this is the party that pretends conservatives are waging a war on women, yet they seem to be under the impression that women are fragile flowers completely incapable of caring for themselves without the beneficent aid of a bloated government guiding their every step.

As revealing as this little slide show is about how Obama and his minions view the role of government, I think this part, showing Julia at age 31, is most significant:

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24 Responses to Womb to the Tomb

  • We can laugh at this, but it’s a disturbing look at how Obama views the world.

    The dominant wing of the federal Democratic Party has been all about manufacturing patron-client relationships for about fifty years now, with the social work apparat coming in just after the educational apparat (and Democratic pols) as a designated patron class. No surprises. That’s what they do.

  • This moronic Julia piece of agit-prop demonstrates what complete contempt the Obama campaign has for the voters and especially female voters. They assume that the average voter, even after four years of realty check, are just like this gal in 2008:

  • I’m a graphic designer by day (and usually also by night…) and have to admit that this is a very well put together piece of marketing material, at least from a purely visual aesthetic point of view. (Notwithstanding that it is practically begging to be parodied…)

    I shared this with a group of designers I’m friends with, and there was consensus that it was stellar in regards to its design and technical achievements.

    Fortunately, there was also consensus that it was quite patronizing towards women who clearly need the kind and benevolent hand of the government to gently guide them through life.

  • So will there be no men? Did Julia have IVF? Who paid for that? Also I thought that was what all liberated women wanted was no benevolence of any kind, no help so that they could really roar! Proabably the reason this film is so technilogically brilliant is that there is unending tax dollars that pay for the best.

  • All lies, all the time.

    They’ve run out of other people’s money and they’re spending your kids’ lives away.

    Americans pay more in taxes than for food, clothing, and shelter combined. And, it ain’t enough! So, they print a bunch.

    The America consumer is tapped out. His income, if he has any, is falling, food/fuel costs are rising, and he cannot borrow. That game is up.

    No matter how hard the Fed prints (almost all goes to Wall Street, anyhow), there will be no in near-term recovery.

    Those hoping the economy would recover on stock speculation or Department of Labor Statistics lies or by borrowing/spending by the 95% will be tragically disappointed.

    Reality is overtaking hope and change.

    November likely is the last chance for a poitical solution.

    God help us.

  • What happens at Julia’s death?
    Solent Green, of course!
    (it’s probably all the Food Police would allow us by then)

  • This is just 200 proof.

  • I find that allowing people to labor under the illusion that the government is going to take care of thier everyday needs to be the epitome of a lack of compassion.

  • Does anyone think that Obama would even attempt this if he thought the republicans would put forth an effective response? In my view, the republicans need to hammer the point that Obama and the left are using the poor as political and ideological objects. BUt it seems they are just content to concede the compassion and care for the poor argument to the left… to our detriment.

  • The pushback on Julia is already beginning. The Obama campaign will rule the julia: Life-as-a-Government-Serf Campaign.

  • deja vu all over again– no really. Deut 30 all over again.

    30:19 I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live,

    all of these are well done– I hope they get a LOT of play–

  • Just out of curiosity, Paul, is it your contention that Genevieve Cook does not exist or that she had no particular association with B.O.?

  • The composite girlfriends described by Obama have a great many similarities to Diana Oughton, a girlfriend of terrorist Bill Ayers, who died manufacturing bombs for the Weather Underground:

    “As I have argued from textual analysis, and as Andersen has confirmed from his own reporting, Obama had help with the book. As Andersen tells it, after four futile years of trying to finish the contracted book, a “hopelessly blocked” Obama delivered his family’s “oral histories, along with his partial manuscript and a trunkload of notes” to “friend and neighbor” Ayers for a major overhaul.

    Any number of incidents in Dreams recall Homer’s Odyssey. In his quest, Obama encounters blind seers, lotus-eaters, the “ghosts” of the underworld, whirlpools, a half-dozen sundry “demons,” and even a menacing one-eyed bald man. These encounters likely run the full range of stylistic possibilities from verifiable fact to artful shaping to pure invention.

    The mystery woman recalls the temptress Circe. Like Obama’s unnamed girlfriend, Circe lives in a “splendid house” on “spacious grounds.” She too wants her lover, Odysseus, to stay forever. Like Obama, Odysseus has shared his bed with this alien seductress for one year. But her world can never be his.

    “You god-driven man,” Odysseus’s mates warn him, “now the time has come to think about your native land once more, if you are fated to be saved and reach your high-roofed home and your own country” (Ian Johnston translation).

    If Obama’s friend nicely fills the Circe role, then she is almost surely grounded in the real-life person of Diana Oughton, Ayers’ lover who was killed in a 1970 Greenwich Village bomb factory blast. Ayers was obsessed with Oughton. In Fugitive Days, he fixes on her in ways that had to discomfit the woman that he eventually married, their fellow traveler in the Weather Underground, Bernardine Dohrn.

    Physically, the woman of Obama’s memory, with her “dark hair, and specks of green in her eyes,” evokes images of Oughton. As her FBI files attest, Oughton had brown hair and green eyes. The two women share similar family backgrounds as well. In fact, they seem to have grown up on the very same estate.

    According to a Time Magazine article written soon after her death, Oughton “brought Bill Ayers and other radicals” to the family homestead in Dwight, Illinois. There, “she would talk politics with her father, defending the revolutionary’s approach to social ills.”

    The main house on the Oughton estate, a twenty-room Victorian mansion, was built by Oughton’s father’s grandfather. Formally known as the John R. Oughton House, it was placed on the national historic register in 1980. Despite forty years of encroaching development since Oughton’s death, aerial photos show the Oughton estate (103 South Street) with a small lake in the middle and a thick ring of trees around it, very much like the estate in Dreams.”

    It has long been theorized that Ayers ghost wrote the autobiographies of Obama. I knew Jim Oughton, the father of Diana Oughton, for two decades before his death. Jim was a conservative Republican, philanthropist and former state legislator. The death of his daughter was a tragedy I think he never got over comletely. The Oughton mansion is a stone’s throw from my law office, and I mean that statement literally.

  • I’m still wondering how Julia defends her life against Obamacare’s Death Panel at age 78, when her “worth to society” is deemed less than the $40,000 procedure she needs.

  • Pingback: Thanks for Julia! | The American Catholic

Hollow Victories

Wednesday, March 28, AD 2012

There is some excitement that oral arguments are going well for opponents of Obamacare.  Though oral arguments are not perfectly indicative of how the Supreme Court will vote in the end, there is some cause for guarded optimism.  That being said, even if the Court completely strikes down Obamacare, it will be something of a hollow victory.

Don’t get me wrong.  There is no other correct course of action for the Court to take than to strike down the individual mandate and thus effectively kill Obamacare.  It is one of those remarkable monstrosities that happens to be both bad policy and unconstitutional.  The problem is that something this monumental is essentially being decided on the whims of a single Justice.  How did we reach the point where our basic liberties come down to what Anthony Kennedy may have had for breakfast one day?

I don’t mean to be flip, but it feels like we’ve taken a very wrong turn somewhere along the line. 

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15 Responses to Hollow Victories

  • For those that support Romney, this election is about nothing other than putting an –R in the White House.

    Winning isn’t an end in itself. It is a means to an end. That’s precisely the point of the Supreme Court example.

    Reality is not always a pleasant thing to contemplate. But part of being conservative, I think, is a willingness to face up to reality even when it’s not pleasant. One may not like the prospect of having to choose between Romney and Obama in November, but that’s reality. Calvin Coolidge isn’t going to be on the ballot.

  • “How did we reach the point where our basic liberties come down to what Anthony Kennedy may have had for breakfast one day?”

    The weeping you hear is from the Founding Fathers in the next world.

  • Winning isn’t an end in itself. It is a means to an end. That’s precisely the point of the Supreme Court example.

    Thus demonstrating why you, and so many other Romney supporters, continue to miss the point.

  • “Calvin Coolidge isn’t going to be on the ballot.”

    Yeah, but the Mormon Richard Nixon probably will be. I’ll vote for him in preference to Obama, but other than Romney not being Obama, I’ll be hanged if I can think of anything else Romney has in his favor from a conservative point of view.

  • The Supremes don’t necessarily have the “last say.” If struck down, in part or in its entirety, Obamacare could still come back in another form as devised by Obama and a complaisant Congress. Also, given that hundreds of entities have been granted exemptions to the law, that language could be broadened to include certain individuals or small businesses, thus debunking the false notion that “everyone” must buy health care or face a stiff penalty. In short, the lawyers and politicians will find a way toward a “compromise” that will defuse the issue before November.

  • 3 points:

    (1) “… happens to be both bad policy and unconstitutional …”
    But you repeat yourself. If it’s unconstitutional, it is by definition, bad policy. 🙂

    (2) Whatever the faults of Anthony Kennedy (and you know my opinion on the man, and I am, to put it mildly, not a fan), he has throughout his career on the Court been fairly solid on 10th Amendment issues. Not that his swing-vote squishiness doesn’t give me some pause, but I’m not as worried about how he will vote on this issue as I will be when the Court is inevitably called upon to define same-sex “marriage” as a so-called “fundamental right”. I’m actually slightly more concerned how Roberts and Alito will vote.

    (3) And THIS is the REAL implication for the upcoming election. At this juncture, the judicial nomination argument is one of the key talking points Romney’s supporters are using to try to sway those like me who are going to be voting 3rd party this fall. Let’s suppose that it’s Roberts and/or Alito (in addition to or instead of Kennedy) that joins the 4 liberals to uphold ObamaCare. Suddenly, the “But we HAVE to vote for Romney to get conservative Justices” argument becomes moot. If either or both of the two most recent Supreme Court Justices that were appointed by a conservative GOP president with approval by big GOP majorities in the Senate can’t be counted on to vote against the constitutionality of ObamaCare, then the GOP will, and SHOULD, lose the judicial nomination argument in its favor for all eternity.

  • “then the GOP will, and SHOULD, lose the judicial nomination argument in its favor for all eternity.”

    Why Jay? Roberts and Alito from all intents appeared to be solid conservative nominees, and thus far they have voted that way. If they go rogue now we should hand over to the Democrats the Supreme Court for all eternity? That does not make any sense to me.

  • You make some very necessary points Mr. Zummo. I would simply add that the election of Barrack Obama is a reflection of us, our society, our governance, and our fondness for dependence (as opposed to liberty). The greater concern is whether we have reached the tip point. While many argue politics, to his credit Obama has advanced the statist agenda across the board.

  • Come on, “blackmail”? I haven’t heard anything like that. I mean, by those standards, someone could say that your raising doubt about Romney’s SCOTUS nominees is an attempt to blackmail Romney supporters into voting for Santorum. But that’d be nonsense, because you’re not blackmailing anyone; you’re trying to present your preferred candidate in the best possible light, which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Remember the time-honored truth that the Paulbots never seem to recall, that antagonism is rarely persuasive.

  • Pinky,

    I have the strike-through there and I thought that indicated that I used the word for humorous, exaggerated effect.

  • Yeah, I know, I’m just getting a bad taste in my mouth from all this. The article and some comments tended to lump all Romney supporters together as the enemy, a voting bloc composed entirely of RINO’s.

    Years back, volunteering for a campaign, I remember being told to never alienate anyone, because even if the voter wasn’t supporting your candidate, he could be on the fence about a half-dozen other races further down the ticket. It ticks me off to see assumptions of bad faith being made by supporters of all four candidates against supporters of their opponents. And to top it off, there’s near-complete agreement about the issues. Most Republican primary voters only disagree about which candidate would best promote a pro-life, low-tax, internationally secure agenda. They weight issues differently, and make different calculations about effectiveness, experience, and electability, but they agree on 90+% of the platform.

    Every party goes through this in the primaries, and by November I hope that heated words spoken in March will be forgotten. I’m just worried.

  • Don, the point I’m making is that if the GOP-nominated Justices can’t be counted on to strike down a monstrosity like ObamaCare, then the argument that we just HAVE to vote for Republicans because of the Supreme Court will no longer prove sufficient to justify voting for just any Republican, especially one like Mitt Romney.

    I mean, seriously. If even a majority of GOP nominees can’t be counted on when it comes to the REALLY BIG issues like abortion and ObamaCare, then there’s really not much left to justify conservative voters continuing to do what we’ve been doing.

  • I understand your argument Jay, but it still does not make any sense to me. We are going to have a Supreme Court and its rulings are going to have a vast impact on our lives. I see no reason to hand it over to the Democrats forever. Overall I have found the Republican justices appointed since Reagan far more congenial to my views than those appointed by the Democrats, to say the least. A Souter and a Kennedy are arguments for better screening of appointees, not an argument for having someone like Obama in the White House forever to keep making appointees like Breyer and Ginsburg until the rulings are always 9-0 in favor of treating the Constitution like toilet paper.

  • Don, I concede that a the GOP nominees are, on the whole, better than Democrat nominated judges. That’s not debateable. But, for the better part of 3 decades now, Supreme Court Justices have been trotted out as one of the, if not THE, main reasons to vote for the Republican nominee, regardless of whether that Republican nominee was one that was otherwise suitable.

    ALL I’m saying is that, yes, a Mitt Romney is likely, on the margins, to nominate better judges than Barack Obama. BUT if those judges are unlikely to do things like overrule Roe or strike down ObamaCare, then the argument holds MUCH LESS weight, and becomes not as strong an argument for voting for Mitt Romney.

    So, in the situation in which we find ourselves – a likely nominee for President that is wholly unacceptable to me, the argument that we just HAVE to vote for him because he will nominate judges who will … do what? Overturn Roe? Strike down ObamaCare? Again, it is a lot less compelling argument on behalf of the GOP nominee when the judges nominated, while better than what we might expect from the Dems, can’t be counted on when it comes to the BIG issues that are most important to me.

    Now, once again, my argument is only pertinent if there is a defection from, say, Roberts and/or Alito to uphold Obamacare; but if none of the GOP-nominated Justices (apart from the squish Kennedy) votes to uphold ObamaCare, then the issue of judges will actually strengthen Romney’s hand: “See, if we had more Justices like Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito, we could stop even MORE of this kind of big-government nonsense.”

  • I disagree with Paul’s assessment of the Commerce Clause. Words matter, and the words used to assign to Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce can easily be understood to be very broad in their application. Just because the Framers did not envision (or presumably favor) such broad application, does not mean they didn’t create the architecture that allowed for it (even if they didn’t mean to!). It is not ridiculous to maintain that Congress has the power to regulate the health care component of our national economy by creating a mandatory insurance system, which is not to say that I think that is the better argument — actually I don’t.

    I do favor a mandated insurance system, but only at the state level. It is necessary to prevent the free rider system we have today, where thousands of people choose to go without insurance knowing that the government (i.e, the taxpayers) will pay for their necessary care. That said, such a mandated system should cover only truly necessary care that is sufficiently expensive to warrant risk sharing (i.e., insurance). Optional care and routine care that is not so expensive that it cannot be budgeted should not be covered by mandated insurance.

    Insurance has its place in health care, but its current role is not rational. It is a by-product of a tax system that encourages employers to compete for employees by providing unnecessarily rich coverage, which leads to serious inefficiencies. The user is two steps (employer and provider) removed from the payor. Accordingly, most people use health care services more aggressively because they do not bear the lion’s share of the cost of such services in any perceptible way. If we removed the tax favored status of health insurance, it would de-couple from employment thereby allowing a more robust and mature market to develop for individuals (just like property, casualty, and life insurance); families would then purchase insurance that rationally meets their needs, which in most cases would be affordable high deductible policies that cover any necessary catastrophic care.

    A federal (not state) insurance mandate may well be unconstitional, but it is not necessarily bad policy if (i) designed to prevent free riders and (i) limited in coverage appropriate to insurance. Obamacare is not remotely so limited. It goes in exactly the wrong direction by expanding the role of insurance rather than tailoring that role to its purpose.

Weakness and The Truth

Friday, March 2, AD 2012

“Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil.  For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Therefore, take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day and to stand in all things perfect”  Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesian 6: 11-13


Mr. Voris is exactly right.  The American bishops are asking for a fight after having failed to feed, train and arm their military.  There is no way a single letter, as well intentioned and necessary as it is, read from the pulpit on a single Sunday, urging us to call our elected representatives, is going to save our freedoms and protect our right to practice the faith that Christ handed to us.  It will not help catechize the silly young woman mentioned in the Real Catholic video, nor will it educate the nation as to why the Church teaches abortion, artificial contraception and sterilization are evils.

I hate to say this but in many ways the bishops almost deserve to be ignored. Truth be told, they have lost an immense amount of respect among the devout laity (the non-devout obviously having no respect for them). This is not a loss of respect for the position,  but for the men and the way they hold it; weak and timidly.  The result is a wasteland of liberalism and heresy that is to be found in so many parishes across our nation.  Now, after having the President of the US attempt to force them into committing mortal sin, they want the help of those few who actually believe, practice and uphold the faith to come to the rescue.

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16 Responses to Weakness and The Truth

  • Very well said, Walter! Ezekiel 34:1-10 comes to mind.

  • I am writing the following comment because at some point the responsibility to find the TRUTH is squarely on our shoulders and no one elses. Hopefully for her someone confronts her with love at CUA regarding these truths.

    You know what?! I am a weak Catholic and at times more than I care to count or think about I am a c-o-w-a-r-d. That’s right I am a coward. Does it make it right for me to be one to retreat into my cowardice? Do I take up a political lobby and make people embrace my cowardice? No I have no recourse but to beg God and the Saints to pray for the grace for me to do better. I need to the courage to explain WITH LOVE the wrongness of homosexuality, contraception, abortion, et al to my wife. I need the courage to tell my kids that they need to go to mass and say prayers with Daddy. I need the courage to pray on my own and go to adoration because without that I cannot and will not survive this world and in some way lead them safely to the next. In some ways it would be easy to go to the other side. But how can I pervert truth to fit what I want to believe to make it easier for myself? I have already told God once I will be right back, once. Now I have people that are (whether they know it or not) depending on me to get them to heaven. I just need men (faithful priests/other men) and God & Heaven to get me there.

  • Required: courage and humility.

    I think of Veronica who had the courage to express her love for Our Lord in the midst of a hate-filled crowd. The Sixth Station of the Cross: “Veronica wipes the Face of Jesus.”

    Pray for courage to step up and profess our loyalty to Christ.

    I was thinking of hateful Pelosi’s garbage gab about how the bishops did not enforce Church Teachings and her rat-reasoning that they ought to continue the error.

    One needs the humility to admit you were wrong.

    I have experience in this. Infrequently, in my line, I need to correct a “loose interpretation” or “inconsistent application” (heh) of a principle(s) that our people had missed. The complaint is, “You didn’t ‘ding’ us for this last year.” My answer is, “To err is human. That doesn’t make the discrepancy less wrong or mean that we can allow it to persist.” And, from then on we do it right. It is embarrassing, but they get over it and you restore your authority.

  • Michael – I hope that no one posts a comment that criticizes you for what you’ve just said.

    The first thing you need to do is return to prayer. Get comfortable with it again. If you’ve been away from the Church, go to Confession. And don’t worry about having to bulldoze your wife and kids into the understanding and practice of the faith. As it becomes more a part of your life, you’ll find yourself communicating it more through your example (and the words will start to come natural enough too).

    I don’t know if you really are a coward; it’s not cowardice that keeps me from throwing a 40-yard perfect spiral, it’s the fact that I’m out of shape. That makes it embarrasing to go out onto the practice field and work on my throwing.

    I’ve known converts and reverts over the years. I’m more of a revert myself than I’d like to admit, due to a particularly lazy stretch in college. It takes determination to get back, but more often than not it just takes a start. Don’t psych yourself out. Just do it. And please be willing to hang around this site and keep us informed. There are plenty of sites that can give you the encouragement that you’re looking for.

  • Pinky — If someone does criticize me then I will take the good from it and move on. Prayer yes I am with you. I need prayer and when I miss a day or two day I can tell that I have missed it.

    Bulldozing them with my faith…I don’t expose them to my faith, it seems to me, at all. I feel that I hide it from them for fear of the criticism…hence cowardice. I dont expect my wife to practice her faith and do pray for her and offer up all that I have for her to see more clearly (make sense?). As far as my kids they are 5 and 3. I have a duty as a father to take them to mass and pray with them but again the coward in me is a problem, and my wife is sometimes hostile to the faith.

    I am a revert and ask for the grace of perseverance to keep going and even get more couragous especially these days of “apathy to religious freedom” which breathes down my neck just a little bit more every day.

    I am determined but need other men/dads and God to give me the courage to ACT OUT/DO what is right and just. Thank you for your words of encouragement. I do like this site and have been checking it on a regular basis.

  • Michael P,

    I think you are quite courageous. As for exposing your family to the faith, shine your light before men. Sometimes the only exposure you can give is your behavior. My ex-wife is an atheist and my children are in her custody. When I returned to the faith and began to pray the Rosary every night, she fell away from me till the point of divorce came. There was and is nothing I can say, and indeed to say anything to my ex-wife only arouses great ire. And since I do not have custodianship of my children, I have very limited influence outside of my daily phone calls (because of my job, we live 800 plus miles apart, so frequent visits are not possible). The only sermon we can sometimes give is how we live our lives, which I admit I often fail at. I do what I can, and I pray the Rosary for her and for my cihildren every day. Thank God for the Confessional where I can confess my faults! I can’t make this situation right, but I can do whatever little penance might help.

  • This is not a loss of respect for the position, but for the men and the way they hold it; weak and timidly

    You nailed it, thank you for putting into words how I was trying to reconcile this whole situation. Respecting the office while still being disappointed with how our leadership has dropped the ball.

    I would also like to add all the “Catholic” governers recently approving gay marriage in various states. Very, very disappointing…… very, very sad……..

  • Michael Voris is filling the gaping hole that the bishops abandoned in the public square and the pulpit.


  • I think Voris is mostly right. The bishops and priests do have a responsibility to catechize, and they can speak with a voice of authority. But, the learned laity also have a responsibility to catechize our fellow Catholics. Sounds easy, but it can be very difficult for many Catholics are hard of heart. “What the Church teaches is my Sunday life. The rest of the week is mine.”

    I teach 8th grade faith formation (CCD). I know I teach the evils of contraception during the morality and sexuality series. But, I can’t make them accept the words. You can fill their heads but their hearts aren’t there. They may get older and publish an article for CNN saying how wonderful contraception is. I sow the seed, but it might be falling on rocks.

    So it is with the bishops and priests. They sow the seeds, but where are they falling? Reading assignment: Mark Chapter 4.

    I do agree with him that we need to hear more of the “why” does the Church take the positions it does. Most homilies in my parish fall in the park of “Jesus loves us.”, “Live right for God.”, and “Love your neighbor.” So much more to discuss.

  • By “bulldozing”, I mean that the first time the subject comes up it can feel confrontational, but as time goes on it will be less so. At some point, it starts to feel weird to *not* talk about one’s faith. Any time a person in a marriage is going through a major change in emotion or mindset, it’s natural to be hesitant to talk about it with the spouse, but it’s important to do so.

    While I clearly don’t know much about your situation, I can tell you that there are stories like Paul’s, but there are also stories of couples who’ve discovered or rediscovered their faith together. And plenty of stories where one spouse thinks the other one is weird, but learns to live with it. There are a lot worse sites a wife could find on her husband’s internet history than The American Catholic.

  • “I dont expect my wife to practice her faith and do pray for her and offer up all that I have for her to see more clearly (make sense?).’

    Ask her to say one prayer with you each night before you turn in. Husband and wife joint prayer can work wonders.

  • I did not hear a letter at our parish about contraception, but we attend a Byz Rite and have been absent from it off and on for about a month due to colds, or Scouting activities at another Church, etc and what not. What finally prompted me to call my Senators was a plea from a homeschooling group (a national legal group), not the bishops. Alas, my senators voted as I expected. They are all for contraception for the little people as a freebie.

  • there is hope: Holy families inspire holy priests and holy priests inspire holy families.

  • Pingback: Sow & Reap « The Catholic Eye
  • Michael P-

    With apologies to all lady participants here at TAC, understanding your wife’s mind is a challenge at best and sometimes downright impossible. Over 20 years of marriage, I have determined that I cannot understand “what” my wife thinks, or mostly even “how” she thinks.

    That said, though, I can tell you this. Women of character and fortitude will respect a man who lives his faith. If you confidently and matter-of-factly say “Honey, I’m taking the kids to church. Would you like to go?” and accept her answer no matter what it is, she will see your constancy of intent in a relatively short time. Then, if you offer the traditional.,quick Catholic blessing before dinner, not expecting anybody else to participate, but just doing it like asking for the peas, this will also become less-than-weird very quickly.

    It may take some quid-pro-quo, as in “And when I get back we can go to the park together.” It may take some initial mutual-benefit explanation: “And you can have the house to yourself for the next 90 minutes.”

    But, simply doing it and not making anything more out of it than if you were going down to the corner store for a gallon of milk will communicate more than all the explanations and apologias in the world. As well, the heart of a wife and mother who sees her husband expressly doing good things for her children will soften considerably. Some of the women in my wife’s social circles say that seeing their husbands happily playing with, working with or taking the kids on errands actually gets them a little “romantic,” if you catch my drift.

    Don’t worry about any of the rest. Once you have become a person who lives his faith, loves his kids (who, at 3 and 5 will go anyplace with Dad just because Dad says “Hey, kids! Let’s go!”) and respects his wife’s decisions will find in her a willing listener when you do eventually explain your viewpoints with love and kindness.

    That is, the love and kindness that comes from doing all the previously-mentioned stuff first. Don’t worry – it may take weeks if not months, but it will happen. Trust in Jesus, pray for His words to enlighten, and for the wisdom and grace of The Holy Spirit to give you the courage to simply start. One step. The rest will follow in God’s time.

HHS Mandate Hastens The Demise Of Liberal Catholicism & Ensures The Growth of Catholic Orthodoxy

Tuesday, February 14, AD 2012

In a bizarre way President Barack Obama, through his Health and Human Services Mandate (HHS) has united religious orthodoxy across the spectrum as never before. In its wake liberal religiosity is going the way of striped pants, bell bottoms and lava lamps; something that is only seen on rare occasions usually when too much alcohol is flowing. At the precipice stands liberal Catholicism, for soon there will be no need for them to retain any religious presence. Liberal Catholic mouthpieces like the National Catholic Reporter are destined to go the way of so many other products whose users outgrew the usefulness of what they read and believed.  Mainline liberal churches have imploded all the while the numbers of Catholics and Evangelicals continue to grow. Apparently the liberal religious elite are so smart, they have disappeared into the mists of history.  Even if the current baby boomers remain religious, their liberal minded children have by and large abandoned the faith to the whims of Hallmark and Deepak Chopra styled spirituality.

In my last book The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, I noted that having worked in the Church with a good deal of liberals I cannot think of a single instance in which their children retained their liberal views and also practiced their Catholic faith. I have met their children and while some have become Evangelicals and others have seen the light and come over to orthodox minded Catholicism; those who have remained liberal would only darken a church door if a close relative passed away. Sadly not only have they left their faith but many can’t find a single good thing to say about it. Their compliments are reserved for Big Government and Libertinism.

I am not writing this to sound clever or flippant or negative, simply to relate what I see. In many ways, the tide is turning like never before, and we can’t say that Jesus didn’t tell us that wheat would be separated from the chaff. Indeed we can’t serve two masters and the liberals by and large have thrown their lot in with the Herod’s of the world. While the liberal elite pretend to live oh so sophisticated lives; they in reality are nothing more than a fallen character in a 1980s hair band ballad video, succumbing to the vices on Sunset Boulevard that the liberal elite relegated to some degenerative red state tourist. As angry as we may be at the religious left’s venom and their apostasy, they most certainly need our prayers and we should never forget that supposedly wise people can be fooled as much as anyone by the dark side.

In my previous article, I noted the striking metaphor of the pall of smoke hanging over the Acropolis in Athens caused by rioting Greeks who could no longer pay for their extravagant lifestyle. They are merely the first example of a culture that has aborted and contracepted itself into oblivion, prophetically predicted by Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Humanae Vitae. For the Greeks, Big Government had the answers and their Epicurean ancestors had the lifestyle that seemed oh so appealing. However in reality they couldn’t pay the bills because charged with the simple mission of reproducing they felt it too complicated of a task.

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9 Responses to HHS Mandate Hastens The Demise Of Liberal Catholicism & Ensures The Growth of Catholic Orthodoxy

  • when they get rid of the carol keehans and all the clowns running our
    institutions their own way i’ll believe the tide is turning.

  • The Holy Spirit is truly at work here to rejuvenate our One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church by separating wheat from the chaff just as Jesus Christ Himself promised us, oh so, so long time ago. + Laudetur Iesus Christus +

  • Good essay, Doug. But Donald’s essay on “The Catholic Left Falls into Line” is sadly depressing because the regime in charge will listen only to the Catholic Left. The Bishops have to start public excommunications. 1st Corinthians chapter 5 comes to mind.

  • How will this affect our Catholic universities?
    Wouldn’t it be great if a Catholic college taught Catholic faith, doctrine and morals. Girls living in an all girls dorm. No overnight visitors. Religion classes, including Catholic philosophy and Church history be taught for 4 years. Wouldn’t it be great to have Catholic universities that teach science AND morals.
    And I agree with Paul P above, the Church REALLY needs to address the Liberal Left, anti-Church Catholics who work against the Church Monday-Friday, but go to communion on Sunday and publicly call themselves good, devout Catholics. This would be HUGE for us folks in the pews – I find it hard to talk to my children about the faith when Catholics in public life (politics) promote ideas opposite of the Church teachings but call themselves good Catholics (“I will punch you in the face with my rosary”)

  • too many gifted and talented individuals are not even attempting to dip their toe in the waters of entrepreneurialism because it may be too much work.

    And: too much financial punishment — high taxes, in other words — for those who do dip their toe in that water.

  • Amen. Amen. Amen. I can sense the shift in the air… a slow grinding shift building momentum… the teeth gnashing from the enemy is sentient also.

  • Mr. Hartline, I would love to read your books. Have you considered formatting them for kindle?

  • Vicki I hope that when my new book tentatively titled; “The Tide Continues to Turn Toward Catholicism” comes out, we should have a kindle option available for my books. Thank you for your interest. Honestly all of you out there who fight the good fight in your special way are all part of that turning tide.

Government Health Care Mandate Awakens The Faithful From Their Slumber

Sunday, February 5, AD 2012

Occasionally the haughty and arrogant become so full of themselves, they are deluded into thinking that by their sheer will and intellect they will convince a sizeable part of the populace to give up their beliefs. The current administration illustrated this very point when they announced last month that every group will be forced to abide by the dictates of the governmental health care plan. All employers must provide birth control coverage in their health care plans as well as the morning after abortion pill. (Churches were given an exemption but churches are a small part of church related institutions, such as hospitals, schools, universities etc.)

The prairie fire started by President Barack Obama’s Administration wasn’t immediately reported by the mainstream media. Surely some in the mainstream media must have thought few Catholics would care if a bunch of old bishops read a letter from the pulpit that would go in one ear and out the other. Well of course,  at least the “enlightened Catholic populace” who voted for President Obama would surely come to this conclusion. Those who would care wouldn’t vote for the President anyway, the liberal talking heads surmised. This shows how ill informed many in the mainstream media have become; for since the last 20 years or so increasing numbers of newly appointed bishops and cardinals have been far more orthodox in their beliefs and far less willing to appeal to the whims of the political world.

When I first heard the news, I thought there must be some sort of mistake; surely any freshman majoring in Political Science would realize that rankling the feathers of any major swing state voting bloc especially that of Catholics would make little sense. Yet even after some in the mainstream media awoke from their militant secular slumber, the White House insisted that this dictate would remain because of the “deeply held beliefs of the President.”

This created an opening for the Republican Primary candidates who pounced on the issue, none more than former Speaker Newt Gingrich who called it, “President Obama’s War on The Catholic Church.” Traditional and conservative minded people of all faiths immediately expressed shock at the decision of the White House. Even liberal columnist EJ Dionne wrote a scathing column saying, “The President had thrown him and his fellow Progressive Catholic allies under the bus.” Naturally the liberal media and the likes of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi rushed to the President’s defense. MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, seemingly unaware of the White House decision, wondered what on earth Newt Gingrich was talking about with “Obama’s War on the  Catholic Church,” which Gingrich stated in his concession speech following the Florida primary. Former Speaker Pelosi did her best Richard Rich imitation saying she “stood firmly with the Obama Administration.”

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7 Responses to Government Health Care Mandate Awakens The Faithful From Their Slumber

  • I am reminded of Jacob Marley’s Ghost – “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

    The trouble with activism is that it is the occupation a narrow spectrum of people – most of which enjoy more leisure than the common man. The rest are engrossed in their lives.

    I am one of them.

    It is difficult to rise from a political slumber when catching an early train, working all day, coming home to dinner, homework review, reading with the children, and spending time with a spouse. “Life” fills each nook and cranny of the day and carving out time to do even routine chores, that don’t require immediate attention, is difficult.

    I am therefore skeptical that even so direct an assault will change much.

    It isn’t that our fellow Catholics are uninterested or unconcerned it is that they are engrossed in the day-to-day.

  • G-Veg, true we all lead busy lives but for too long, too many people have filled their lives with junk and thus you can’t digest the good stuff when it comes. If you have ever eaten too many doritos and cheese puffs before a friend suddenly invites you to a nice dinner, you can’t help but think that what have I done? Believe me I am a big sports and music fan, so I know how to enjoy many things. However, at the end of the day, I hope I know where my priorities lie. Sadly too many people live reality show lives, which lends them to being told what to do and how to think. For them pleasing the “In Crowd” and the “Political whims of the moment” are of the utmost importance.

    Once in a while, we are all awoken from our slumber. In a strange sort of way, the Obama administration unwittingly did the Church a favor by waking the faithful up to see the reality of their second term agenda, which lies far beyond this mandate. It is only a taste of things to come. I will leave you with the words of Patrick Henry who said, “When people forget God, tyrants forge their chains.”

  • The Supreme Court will hear the Obamacare case on March 26-28. Can we Catholics make a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at the Catholic University in Washington, DC?

    I agree with G-Veg–most people are too harried–can we block these three days and come together as a Church to worship, fast and pray for our nation? Perhaps a million Catholics praying for the Supreme Court Justices (6 of whom are Catholic) will make a positive difference in this nation!

  • People are not that busy that they can’t change their voter registration if they wanted to.

    You want to be heard? Catholic Democrats who are offended by Obama’s intentional act against the Catholic Church in violation of our Constitutional First Amendment Rights need only register out of the Democrat Party and become Independents or Declined to State registered voters. When the Democrat Party starts seeing their voter registration numbers declining, they will start paying attention to what is happening and start giving the Church the respect we deserve.

    Just as important to Catholics is our professed belief that God is the giver of life (“I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life….) and our praying for God’s “will be done on earth;” so to the Democrat Party is their belief that they are in the right which is verified by the numbers of people registered in the Democrat Party. The fact is that after 39 years of Roe v Wade and 52,000,000 murdered babies, Catholics still represent the single, largest voting block for the Democrat Party. In addition, 55% of Catholic voters voted in 2008 to elect Obama – the first pro-abortion, pro-infanticide President ever. Finally, Obamacare provides, supposedly, health insurance for illegal aliens, something very important to the Catholic Bishops and Hispanics. The combination of those facts convinces Obama that the majority of Catholics will support his mandating the Church include birth control, etc., in their employees’ health insurance or face millions of dollars in fines every year.

    We’ll see who is right… the Church who thinks Catholics really do believe what they say they believe in their “Profession of Faith” on Sundays and in what they pray for in the Lord’s Prayer; or, Obama, who, based on historical, electoral statistics, believes the majority of Catholics will continue to remain Democrats glad to have free birth control paid for by the Church even if Obama’s order is in violation of the Constitution.

  • Somewhere someone commented, “It’s not so much about birth control. It’s all about control.”

    The remnant of the Holy Catholic Church that is not in the tank for Obama is spiritually safe.

    Wait until they individual mandate you to buy Government Motors Volts.

  • I have to agree with Dave that the Obama regime badly miscalculated this one, which very well should make its re-election chances go up in the smoke of Satan.

But Sometimes We Do Need a Nanny

Wednesday, December 14, AD 2011

William Teach is none too happy about the NSTB’s desire to ban cellphones from the roads:

(Washington Post) The National Transportation Safety Board recommended Tuesday that all states and the District ban cellphone use behind the wheel, becoming the first federal agency to call for an outright prohibition on telephone conversations while driving.

Distracted driving, some of it due to cellphone use, contributed to an estimated 3,092 deaths in highway crashes last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

So, only some of the deaths can be attributed to distracted driving. We should ban looking at scenery, since that is dangerous. And passengers. Listening to the radio. Drinking coffee. Eating. Brushing hair. Putting on makeup. Those mirrors that allow parents to look in the back. Kids. Oh, and CAFE standards, which increase the risk of death on the road.

I’m usually sympathetic to concerns about government intrusion, but this is one of those areas where government does have same rationale for interference.  The libertarian argument against government interference in our personal affairs usually comes down to opposing efforts to regulate actions that do not harm others.  But in the case of distracted driving one’s actions do in fact affect others.  People generally don’t have accidents only with themselves.  Oh, sure, people run off the road and slam into trees, but more often they slam into other, innocent drivers.  So actions which do put other people’s lives at risk merit some kind of regulation, right?

There are a couple of practical objections to the ban.  First of all, is this really worthy of federal oversight?  One can perhaps argue that interstates are subject to the commerce clause, but this ban would apply to non-interstate driving.  Allowing the federal government to impose a mandate on the states through the threat of withholding highway funds is a pretty nasty trick and I think a clear example of overreach.

Even looking at it as a state issue this proposal poses concerns.  Last night I heard some commentators actually suggest that cell phones be disabled as soon as the car starts.  Aside from the technological issues surrounding the idea, it’s a pretty absurd idea considering that in the age of smart phones cellphones are multi-functional and are used for a variety of purposes.  Even if the NTSB isn’t as ambitious in its proposal, there are still problems with a cellphone talking ban.  It isn’t quite unenforceable – after all, we can pretty clearly tell whether a driver is talking on his phone or not.  But it does require cops to take on an additional monitoring function that could be a waste of resources.

Now, opponents of cellphone bans often bring up other types of distracted driving.  I’ve often dismissed these as red herrings.  Talking on the phone does distract our focus away from driving that I don’t think these other activities do.  That being said, it points to the basic flaw in a cellphone ban.  It’s an attempt to regulate an obnoxious behavior.  Look, I’ve been stuck in endless traffic that was a result of rubbernecking.  I once was stuck in traffic in Atlanta on the way to the airport for half an hour because there was an accident on an overpass.  At these times I wish there were television monitors capturing the prime offenders on tape, resulting in said drivers being banned from driving for life. Similarly, anytime I get behind a slow driver or someone weaving I just know that they’re yapping on a phone, and most times I’m proved right.  But does our annoyance with obnoxious driving behavior merit regulation?

As stated above, this particular obnoxious behavior can be life threatening.  I don’t think wanting to regulate this particular action crosses the threshold into an overbearing nanny state.  But if we’re truly honest, it’s probably ultimately nothing more than an effort to make us feel like we’re doing something to stop something that, in reality, we can’t do anything about.  As we all know, every other driver on the road is a moron, and we haven’t banned idiocy.


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19 Responses to But Sometimes We Do Need a Nanny

  • I take issue with the inclusion of bluetooth hands free devices, especially since voice recognition software comes with it. I really don’t see the difference between that and chatting with passengers.

  • A total ban, including the use of hand free devices, strikes me as fairly wrong headed. Talking on the phone doesn’t strike me as more distracting than a lot of other activities which are unlikely to be banned. Heck, occasionally when I have to be driving really late at night and I’m sleepy I’ll call someone on the West Coast and talk while I drive just to keep myself awake — kind of like having your passenger talk to you to keep you alert.

    It seems like the big dangers probably center around holding a hand set to your head (which some people are pretty bad at, though others have no problem) and even more so with dialing/looking up numbers. (Not to mention the bozos who try to text or email and drive.)

    Probably the most dangerous thing I’ve been known to do with an electronic device while driving is also the most useful: looking at the map on the iPad or iPhone. Though even that is probably less dangerous than what I used to do: have a paper map set on the passenger seat where I could look over at it.

  • William Teach takes a bright line rule approach which some hard libertarians take. According to them we should allow everything and award monetary damages for when things go wrong. According to them, the risk of a lawsuit should prevent rational people from taking irrational risks. Of course, in reality people don’t always act rationally. And more practically, people can cause damage beyond their net worth. So I think a more reasonable approach is to debate where we should draw the line. If the average citizen is rational, the democratic process should be able to sort this out.

  • I assume, without much statistical evidence, that the kind of people who get into wrecks due to cell phone use are also the ones who would tend to lose focus due to: passenger discussions, food, the radio, random zoning etc.

    Despite greater numbers of vehicles on the road in the past 10 years

    1999 209,509,161
    2000 213,299,313
    2001 216,682,936
    2002 221,027,121
    2003 225,882,103
    2004 232,167,136
    2005 239,384,168
    2006 244,642,610
    2007 248,700,997
    2008 249,812,723
    2009 248,418,02

    (Source: NADA)

    the fatal accident rate has been dropping, see here:

    and accidents overall, I would argue (though without time to do the research), has also been dropping.

    The problem is, of course, that there is no way to know whether cell phone talkers would otherwise have crashed if not for the cell phones.

    Several jurisdictions have enacted similar bans, but the data appears to be questionable as to whether they reduce crashes:

  • The National Transportation Safety Board is a standing commission of inquiry, not a regulatory agency. They can ban nothing. The relevant agency is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    I do not see that such a regulation would be any more or less difficult to enforce than any other traffic regulation (think of seat-belt laws), or that a ban on long-haul interstate highways or U.S. Routes would constitute jurisdictional imperialism. The trouble is that there is no federal highway patrol and no body of federal hearing examiners to hear traffice cases. You would have to erect the latter and deputize state highway patrols to issue federal citations (a task with which state police may or may not wish to co-operate).

  • I agree with you here.

    As far as cell phones being covered under other inattentive driving laws, there is another, easier argument. If cell phones shouldn’t be banned explicitly because their conduct is governed under existing law, then there should be no stop lights or stop signs, because conduct at intersections is already governed.

  • Jonathan, I suspect the fall in fatal accidents is due primarily to safer cars, more air travel, tougher traffic laws, and an aging population (a larger percentage of drivers are probably of peak driving skill age than in the past).

  • RR,

    Perhaps so! That data is susceptible to multiple interpretations. However, aging drivers (depending on how you define it) can be as dangerous as younger –

    “Fatality rates for drivers begin to climb after age 65, according to a recent study by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, based on data from 1999-2004. From ages 75 to 84, the rate of about three deaths per 100 million miles driven is equal to the death rate of teenage drivers. For drivers 85 and older, the fatality rate skyrockets to nearly four times higher than that for teens.

    The numbers are particularly daunting at a time when the U.S. Census Bureau projects there will be 9.6 million people 85 and older by 2030, up 73% from today. Road safety analysts predict that by 2030, when all baby boomers are at least 65, they will be responsible for 25% of all fatal crashes. In 2005, 11% of fatal crashes involved drivers that old.” Source –

    I think, however, the most problematic statistics for those in favor of laws are those I cited at the end, where at least one study has shown that bans in various types have no real effect on crashes.

  • Isn’t distracted driving against the law already? Like Paul’s example of seeing the driver weaving: if the guy is on the phone, that explains the bad driving, but even if he’s not, he should be pulled over for crossing the yellow line.

    One other comment. I’ve seen people reprogram their GPS’s to, I don’t know, track incoming missiles or something, by the amount of time it took them. What are we going to do, outlaw GPS use while driving?

  • Side note at the beginning: Donald or Paul Z., I wish one of you guys would do a blog entry about NRC Chairman Jackzo. You’ll see why. Please read on.

    There is a place for intelligent government regulation based on sound science. For example, when the uncontrolled use of a technology can adversely impact large populations over inter-state regions, then the Federal government does have an obligation to enact those measures needed to ensure public health and safety. Technologies such as coal-fired electrical generating stations that emit pollutants into the atmosphere, or nuclear power plants where an accident can have devastating consequences come to mind. These kinds of technologies have effects that cross state lines, and when uncontrolled (or unregulated) they can threatent public health and safety.

    Now whether or not this line of thinking applies to cell phone use in autmobiles can be debated. Unlike a coal-fired power plant whose pollution wafting across state lines, or a nuclear power plant undergoing a hypothetical (but improbable) uncontrolled release of radioactivity into the environment, a single automobile driver using a cell phone is unlikely to have a large adverse impact. After all, except in unusual circumstances, the crash is localized. On the other hand, because both cars and cell phones are so ubiquitous, and because their use does cross state lines, then maybe intelligent regulation is required at the Federal level to standardize requirements. I however never trust politicians or political appointees to make intelligent regulation.

    A case in point is the current Chairman of the US NRC, Gregory Jackzo, who is anti-nuclear power in sentiment and who used to work for Senator Harry Reid against the Yucca Mountain spent fuel repository, and for Representative Ed Markey against the Pilgrim and Vermont Yankee nuclear power stations. Read this:

    I call your attention to pages 4 through 7. Four US NRC Commissioners – two Democrats and two Republicans – have written to the White House Chief of Staff about the abusive and bullying behavior of the Chairman whom Obama appointed. Indeed, The Hill news outlet reports that Commissioner Magwood described Jackzo’s behavior as follows:

    “One woman told me that she felt the chairman was actually irritated with someone else, but took it out on her…Another said she was angry at herself for being brought to tears in front of male colleagues. A third described how she couldn’t stop shaking after her experience. She sat, talking with her supervisor until she could calm down sufficiently to drive home.”

    The White House said Jackzo apologized, but if you or I had behaved this way, the companies we each work for would have bounced our buttocks so hard on the pavement outside our mutual facilities that our respective pelvic bones would have been broken. Yet this bullying, abusive behavior has happened again and again and again during the past few years after Jackzo’s appointment. He has treated scientists, engineers, technologists, etc., all equally – demeaning and nasty. And he is actually representative of the kinds of people in the current Administration who will make rules and regulations about cell phone use in cars.

    Yes, we need intelligent regulation based on sound science. But what we will get from the current Adminstration is bullies like Jackzo, and the only way to get rid of the little bullies like Jackzo is to get rid of the big bully, Obama.

  • “On the other hand, because both cars and cell phones are so ubiquitous, and because their use does cross state lines, then maybe intelligent regulation is required at the Federal level to standardize requirements.”

    Why would be want to force standardization? I’m a big fan of model codes for voluntary standardization though. The federal government could regulate the interstate sale of cars and cell phones. E.g., require built-in hands free devices. Their use would be purely intrastate though.

  • RR,

    I am not opposed to non-standard equipment that may require non-standard regulation. However, we did that in the nuclear industry (2, 3 and 4 loop Westinghouse PWRs, 2 loop CE and 2 loop B&W PWRs, GE BWR/1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 with Mark I, II or III containments, etc., ad nauseam) and frankly, the regulation is a mess. France standarized on a single PWR design and they are 70+% nuclear with the lowest electricity rates in Europe.

    There are values to standardization and yes, disadvantages, too, such as common mode failures. Again, it takes intelligent regulation based on sound science, and that includes cell phones and cars as well as nuclear power plants. My “beef” is that you won’t find “intelligent regulation based on sound science” in the Obama Administration, Chairman Jackzo being a case in point.

  • Oh, sure, people run off the road and slam into trees, but more often they slam into other, innocent drivers. So actions which do put other people’s lives at risk merit some kind of regulation, right?

    we already have regulation on it – it’s called “lawsuits”. Adding another difficult to enforce regulation to the books that will be only sporadically enforced at best won’t make much more difference if the possibility of a $50,000 lawsuit doesn’t.

  • If they can’t be bothered to enforce existing laws, why on earth would they enforce a new one? The same cop who’s passing me on the right while typing on his laptop is supposed to notice cellphone using drivers ahead of, oh, the guy on my left that’s turned around talking to his passenger? Or the moron smoking a doobie ahead of me?

    If cell phones shouldn’t be banned explicitly because their conduct is governed under existing law, then there should be no stop lights or stop signs, because conduct at intersections is already governed.

    That isn’t even close to the same situation– for starters, stop signs are government activity, not private.

  • Paul P, like I said, I’m a fan of model codes for voluntary adoption but I think more is lost by mandatory standardization than is gained. Not in every case but it’s a slippery slope I’d like to avoid. The exception is laws protecting human rights since nobody should be allowed to opt-out of them.

    There are times it seems like standardization would be obviously beneficial but I find that often it’s hampered by intellectual property laws. I’m a computer geek so to use a computer example, Intel was prevented from implementing its Thunderbolt technology using USB ports because the USB Implementers Forum refused to license it for a competing technology. I don’t know anything about the nuclear industry but I suspect something similar hampers standardization there as well. I think we’re generally overprotective of IP but even if we scale it back, some of these barriers to standardization are unavoidable.

  • That isn’t even close to the same situation– for starters, stop signs are government activity, not private.

    And your point? Or are you just trying to be cute?

  • Twice recently, I have noticed young women driving while playing with their phones. One almost hit the bus I was riding, and another was clearly not paying attention while driving.

    I loathe text messaging like I loathe Communism, atheism and the mentality of their followers. How in the world did I survive growing up without one of those damned phones?
    What is so important to talk about that it cannot wait until the driver gets to his or her destination?

    I am no fan of those who quote movie lines as if it is some badge of esteemed knowledge, but (okay, call me a hypocrite) Arnold Schwarzenegger had a line in Terminator 2 when talking to the young John Connor: “It is in your nature to destroy yourselves.” This is what we do to ourselves when we dive into addictions – porn, overeating, alcohol, illegal drugs, selfishness, and included in the selfishness are those overbearing phones.

    I recently found a website that documented the history of the Bell System. My late grandfather was a lineman for Bell of Pennsylvania for several decades. Try mentioning the Bell System to anyone under 30 and imagine the look you would get.

  • And your point? Or are you just trying to be cute?

    You SERIOUSLY can not see the difference between multiple laws on individual behavior and a government putting up signs to clarify the rules of the road? How on earth are they even close to the same? One is an additional law on general behavior whose express justification is redundant, the other is a sign that publicizes an existing law– they’re not even the same category.

  • Determining whether people are obeying traffic signals or signs is very easy and makes for relatively fair enforcement.

    It’s comparatively hard to see whether someone in a car is using a phone — especially if they’re using a hands free device. So it would lead to comparatively spotty enforcement. (Expect a lot of complaints that it amounts to ticketing for “driving while black”, etc.)

    Also, it arguably would cause an awful lot of road chaos if most people did not obey traffic signs and lights, because it would totally screw up traffic flow. The vast majority of the time using a cell phone while driving doesn’t cause problems. But, that small percentage of the time when it does can be pretty bad.

    People tend to be a lot more unanimous on punishing behaviors that almost always cause problems as compared to problems that sometimes cause problems.

There’s A Law About That?

Thursday, July 21, AD 2011

The FCC is coming under fire from Congress for lax oversight of kids’ programming.  So what’s the problem?  Is Joe from Blue’s Clues working a little too blue, if you catch my drift?  Are the explicit drug scenes from Yo Gabba Gabba getting a little too out of control?  Is the lack of parental oversight of Max and Ruby sending a bad message?

No, none of that.  Evidently there are too many commercials.

I am not making this up.

TV watchdog groups say the Federal Communications Commission needs to better target kids’ programs that have too many commercials, and they want the commission and Congress to strengthen oversight of the Children’s Television Act.

Fueling the drive is a Government Accountability Office report issued last week that highlights FCC shortcomings in enforcing the landmark 1990 law intended to raise the quality and educational value of children’s programming while also limiting advertising. The report said the FCC has been lax in ensuring compliance from cable and satellite providers and questioned the commission’s guidelines for determining the educational value of children’s shows.

You mean to tell me there is a law out there that dictates the amount of commercials that can be shown during children’s programming?  Surely you jest.

Congress crafted the law in response to a decrease in educational shows during the 1980s that corresponded with an uptick in commercial blitzes during children’s programming. To shield youngsters from excessive commercials, the law restricts advertising during children’s programs to 10.5 minutes per hour on weekends and 12 minutes per hour on weekdays.

I repeat: there is a law, passed by Congress, signed by a President, that actually dictates the amount of commercials that are to be shown during kids’ shows.  The government of the United States deemed this an issue worthy enough of oversight.

Moreover, there are people who think the government isn’t doing enough.

During the Clinton administration, the FCC was “paying attention to children’s education, and the quality of children’s programming improved,” said Dale Kunkel, a child media expert and a communications professor at the University of Arizona.

“We slowly moved to a posture in the 2000s where they completely ignored the issue and the broadcasters offered whatever they want,” he said.

Wait a second.  Broadcasters can offer programs that viewers have the option to watch, or not watch?  What is this, a free country or something?

Look, I’m all for making sure that the airwaves are generally clean for kids.  While parents have the ultimate responsibility for watching their children and making sure that the content of what they’re viewing is appropriate, it’s helpful to be assured that they’re not going to watch all the animals from Franklin get a little too friendly (and at least they’ve finally had the decency to put some clothes on little bear).  But do we really need the government to dictate the quality of educational programming available, or the precise amount of commercial time airing on television?  Is there anything that busybodies won’t ask the government to oversee?

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16 Responses to There’s A Law About That?

  • A nation that has no sense of God and no morality is ever in need of more and more laws and regulation. The fantastic and ridiculous because the ordinary. George Orwell would probably not like to see this fulfillment of his prophecy, as it were.

  • Actually, yes. Marketers are all about money. And kids (unlike adults) can’t reason that something isn’t true when an advertiser tells them it’s true. There are children who actually believe that Shrek mac n’ cheese tastes better than regular mac n’ cheese because the advertiser told them not because they’ve tasted them both.

    So while it may seem a bit ridiculous to you, it’s a relief to me. The less commercials telling kids essentially lies (and for that matter to adults too), the better.

    I don’t want my child to be a walking billboard either. Even from birth children are marketed everything from Winnie-the-Pooh to Leapfrog. The idea is that children will remain brand loyal.

    Yes, I could not watch television ever (not just my child, but myself), but you can’t avoid it. There are billboards, dolls, diapers, shirts, shoes, backpacks, lunchboxes, etc all branded. And no I don’t buy that stuff either if it can be avoided. Other parents, however, do and unless I want my child to grow up in a shoe box isolated from his peers I have to face branding.

    Having less commercials for him to see on television helps alleviate the branding problem. I want my child to learn that having the latest silly bandz does not make a person better than another. Integrity is more important.

    BTW my father has a degree in marketing and he taught me how bad the business is especially when it comes to children.

  • I want my kids to watch only commercials so they get desensitized.

  • In case you were unaware, Nickelodeon’s programming isn’t regulated by the FCC.

    The government allows the use of the public airwaves by private companies in order to enrich the life of its people. Those people do include children.

  • I agree with Mr. Zummo. This is just nanny state nonsense. My kids are now grown, but they certainly were inundated with targeted advertising and marketing. Yet, they didn’t have much money to buy stuff without our approval, and my wife and I never found it all that difficult to say no.

    That said, I do want the FCC to make sure that they don’t encounter filth when kids turn on the TV, something most can do without parental approval and monitoring.

  • “The government allows the use of the public airwaves by private companies in order to enrich the life of its people.”

    A nice injection of humor into the thread MZ! Whatever would the nation do without the government sponsored anti-Catholic bigotry of NPR?

  • I wouldn’t go full libertarian and say there should be no FCC — as Mike says I think that the basic obscenity rules which are enforced on broadcast TV are a good thing. But the idea that congress is passing legislation on the number of minutes per hour of advertising that can be run is very, very silly.

    (And also, the idea that use of the airwaves is a “public service” is deeply silly. It’s a commodity which has to be apportioned by some authority to keep people from broadcasting over one another. As a valuable commercial commodity, it should be auctioned rather than distributed.)

  • “I think that the basic obscenity rules which are enforced on broadcast TV are a good thing.”

    What obscenity rules? One can watch a TV show like “Bones” and get the full brunt of the today’s sexually promiscuous life style where hedonism and homosexuality are promoted as normal. One can watch any number of TV shows that depict women in all manner of undress, and hear cursing without end. It seems that the only word forbidden in main stream media is the “n” word.

  • I am the parent of a four-year-old and an eighteen-month-old. As such, I am responsible for what they do and do not consume. Therefore, I have solved this problem by doing two thing:

    (1) I limit how much and what type of television my kids can watch. Believe it or not, you can exist without having the TV on all day. And if you really need the background noise, put on a cd. As far as what type of programming, we mainly use Netflix (no commercials!) and occasionally watch PBS Sprout (on cable, so we do pay for it). I also DVR any programs we adults would like to watch so that we can put them on after the kids are asleep.

    (2) The effects of what little. In the way of commercials they do see are mitigated by the fact that Mommy (that’s me) has told them that we only buy things we need and that we do not need anything we see on TV. I’ve explicitly taught my oldest that commercials are there to try and sell you things you don’t need and that we don’t want to be wasteful with our money. So, whenever my kids are exposed to commercials my oldest always says, “Mommy, we don’t need that. I wish they’d stop the commercials.” Success! No whining, no fussing, no ‘gotta-have-it’. Nada.

    It really is all about how parents approach the issue. As is just about everything to do with kids.

  • I agree with an earlier comment: Laws are put into place when they are needed. (The law exists for the lawless.) The less lawful people are, the more laws will be needed. The more lawful people are, the less they will require official laws.

  • And according to this morning’s paper, the AMA and the American Academy of Pediatrics are demanding that the Motion Picture Association rate all films that have smoking in them “R.” I kid you not.

  • The nanny state regulations have all but destroyed the classic kid shows that many of us grew up with. The regulators told the producers no more cartoons, no more silly comedy bits, and put more educational stuff in the programing. The kids tuned out in mass. They didn’t want to be “educated”, they wanted to be entertained, dang it!

  • Yeah, I find a lot of these kids shows to be almost condescending, not educational. I didn’t grow up with the characters on these shows turning towards the camera and asking me to help them. Don’t break the fourth wall!

    My kids a little younger than Mandy’s, but we’ve tried to do the same thing. Movies and Nick Jr, so little temptation from the advertisers to begin with.

  • I have a five (almost 6) year old, a three year old and a one year old. What Mandy said in spades. I explicitly tell my children that the commercials are there to make them want to buy stuff they don’t need and we don’t take orders from commercials. I tell them the same thing about store displays.

    I also have to agree with Paul. Most of the kid shows today are so mind-numbingly condescending, I wouldn’t let my kids watch them with zero commercials. We have a very limited diet of shows my children watch. The basic criteria is if I can’t watch it without wanting to jump off the roof, my kids don’t need to watch it either. So no Dora, no Diego, no Barney, no Elmo, no Disney Channel…My children have a very mean mommy. 😀

  • I am collecting old Three Stooges DVDs, so that when I have grandchildren they will be thrilled to come see grampa!

Save Us From the saVE Act

Thursday, May 5, AD 2011

You might think that the following snippet is from The Onion.  Oh, that it were.

A new law proposed in the Senate would require universities to have stricter policies against sexual harassment and have mandatory relationship training–and some free speech groups say there are problems with the law.

Earlier this month, Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., introduced the Campus Sexual Violence Act (The Campus saVE Act) which would require universities to enforce new disciplinary guidelines against crimes of sexual violence. The law would amend the existing Clery Act, passed in 1990, which requires universities to report all crimes committed on campus.

While the law attempts to define and combat all manners of sexual harassment, it would also require all incoming freshman and university employees to attend mandatory classes on dating and healthy relationships.

There’s really one reaction appropriate for something like this.

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4 Responses to Save Us From the saVE Act

  • In fairness to FIRE, the most salient of their activities is legal representation of students in the cross-hairs of college administrations. They would tend to view the problem through a prism ground according to what they do all day. (One suspects that the reporter may have truncated the gentlemen’s remarks as well, adhering to a journalists’ template which sees all social phenomena in terms of conflicts over individual rights and entitlements).

    Heather MacDonald has treated the likely source of this legislation here:

    These people have a durable grift.

    You have to wonder about the mentality of Casey and Murray. Between them, they have been in electoral politics for 40 years. You think that would suffice to persuade them not to take what a lobbyist tells them at face value.

  • My guess is that the law ties the requirements to federal funding for universities, which would avoid the constitutional issue.

  • Reason enough to end state patronage of philanthropies.

  • UVA was one of the first to sell-out in ordler to stay in sugar daddy’s good graces:

Government and Economic Health

Tuesday, February 15, AD 2011

Another fine econ 101 video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity.  The day after we learned that the Federal debt now equals the annual size of the US economy seems like an appropriate time to watch the above video.  We have attained a size and cost of government in this country which threatens to severely damage the economy which pays our bills, public and private.  This cannot go on and will not go on, either by our elected representatives finally taking steps necessary to curb the size and cost of government or through de facto national bankruptcy.

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30 Responses to Government and Economic Health

  • The US general government has been broke since 1933. The government is broke because of fiat money, but the country, these United States are very, very wealthy. We needn’t worry, we just need to jettison the central bank, the debt owed to that bank and all the government ‘regulations’ that hamper our wealth.

    We have a few choices:

    1) Constitutional restoration
    2) Revolution
    3) Civil War
    4) become obsolete

  • 1) We can only go bankrupt if we voluntarily declare it.
    2) Big government doesn’t necessarily require big taxes nor excessive debt. The ill effects of spending without financing or raising revenue are inflation and exchange rate depreciation. Inflation is very low right now and is following a similar trend as the Japanese experienced in their ‘lost decade.’
    3) Politicians may decide that there is too much government and that is all fine and good, but if they cut spending, then they must cut taxes too. Drops in the deficit will only reinforce the recession.
    4) You must not have taken economics, or you would understand that GDP=C+I+G+Net EX. G only crowds out I and C if it raises interest rates. That doesn’t seem to be a problem at the moment does it?
    5) What does this post have to do with being Catholic? If you are promoting Catholicism in politics, then show me where in Catholic Social Teaching encyclicals it says all of this. What does the teaching of Christ, the Apostles, and their successors say on the proper role of government?

  • 1. You can be in de facto bankruptcy without declaring it, and we are headed in that direction. Bankrupts are individuals who can’t pay their debts and cannot be legally compelled to do so. That is a pretty good summary of the situation facing the federal government in the very near future.

    2. Not necessarily, but usually, and that is our situation currently.

    3. Not necessarily depending upon what is cut.

    4. I have read a fair amount of the dismal science, enough to know that most economists are very good at predicting the past.

    5. Every post on this blog does not pretend to be Catholic Holy Writ. Catholicism over the past 20 centuries has said almost everything under the sun regarding government and its role, as one would expect from an institution that dates from the reign of Tiberius Caesar. In answer to your last sentence, Christ says very little, the Apostle Paul preached a fairly submissive attitude to the Roman Empire, except in matters of religion, and the Popes have been imperialists, feudalists, theocrats, monarchists, republicans, and every shade in between. Currently Catholicism is fairly comfortable with social democracy of a European sort. Lord knows, literally, what the views of the incumbent of the seat of Saint Peter will be regarding government a century hence. An example of just how shifting this can be in relatively short time periods in the life of the Church, imagine a debate on the subject between Pius IX and John Paul II.

  • Alex:

    I note Donald used the term “de facto” bankruptcy. One needn’t make a formal declaration that one isn’t going to pay one’s debts, to be in a situation where one cannot in fact do so without incurring intolerable difficulties.

    When you ask where in Catholic teaching it “says all of this”: All of what, specifically? Are there particular elements in either the video clip, or Donald’s note, which you hold either to be in opposition to Catholic teaching, or simply not mentioned in Catholic teaching?

    For of course a thing need not be mentioned to be true! “All truth is God’s truth.” I don’t know that the formula for GDP is found anywhere in an encyclical, for example; but it needn’t be.

    And of course it is a moral obligation that we not damage the economy through foolish policies, especially since poor folk are most harmed by such mistakes. (Foundational preferential option for the poor: Don’t destroy the jobs market! Corollary: Don’t make rich people too poor to hire. I myself have never been given a job by a poor man, and I don’t suppose many other folk have, either.)

    On the statement that government spending only crowds out private spending if the government raises interest rates: I don’t see how that addresses the argument.

    There is necessary spending; there is wise but not necessary spending, and there is unwise and not necessary spending. If (to use round easy numbers purely as an example) half of my tax bill were going towards spending of the unwise and unnecessary variety, and if half of every government dollar spent was borrowed but the other half was derived from taxation, then a quarter of my tax bill would represent unwise and unnecessary spending, and a comparable amount of our national debt would represent unwise and unnecessary borrowing.

    Had my taxes instead been reduced by the same amount, then 10% of that amount would have gone to the church (and thus indirectly to the poor), another segment (the percentage would change in proportion to my income that year) would have gone directly to the needy; some additional portion would have gone towards savings. The remainder would have been spent that year, becoming part of either “C” (Consumer spending) or “I” (business Investment in expansion or maintenance of operations). Let’s say — again for easy numbers — that this “C or I” spending ended up being half of the amount in question (which was itself a quarter of my tax bill, using the easy numbers from before). In that case unwise and unnecessary government spending would have replaced “C or I” in 12.5% of my tax bill.

    The real numbers are very different of course; it might boil down to only 1% of some people’s bills, 5% of other people’s bills. But multiply that by the hundred million or so people who actually pay income taxes, and as they say in D.C., “a billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”

    One could of course argue that the unwise and unnecessary spending was wholly funded by borrowing, and that taxes paid for all the prudent or necessary spending…assuming the numbers matched up in each category. In that case one could say that no “C or I” spending was unnecessarily crowded out. But that’s not a realistic way to look at money: It’s fungible; whether debt-based or tax-based, dollars are dollars. Seeing the debt vs. taxation balance as a percentage of each dollar is more realistic.

    Or, one could say, “Hey, all we care about is keeping GDP going; who cares whether it’s through government spending or private spending?” But that’s shoddy thinking: Our goal is not to win a game where the score is based on GDP, but to have a decent society with a functioning economy where folk can find jobs. Government spending is therefore not equivalent to private spending: The latter creates wealth through voluntary exchange and transmits helpful price-signals (required for economic health), whereas the former only transfers wealth through involuntary mechanisms and often obscures price signals (which detracts from economic health). This is why, even when all government spending is tax-based, if a given spending item is not necessary or its wisdom is “iffy,” it’s better, as a general rule, to leave it in the hands of consumers and businesses.

  • I was in college when today’s U profs were running through the streets screaming, “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh: NLF is sure to win!”

    My question re the gross domestic product formula: Doesn’t G squander do-re-me that could have been better used in C and I: the wealth creation arena?

    The money could be invested in plant and equipment instead of buying dem votes and Bud Light.

  • As always, I think the real trick is to maintain a proper balance between government and private spending. Obviously we cannot have a 100 percent socialist/communist nanny state in which the government becomes responsible for meeting every single need and everyone is taxed to death to support it. Government cannot solve every problem.

    However, a society in which absolutely everything other than law enforcement, the courts and the military were privatized — no public schools, libraries, parks, roads, or other types of infrastructure, no public universities, no public regulatory bodies of any kind, etc. — wouldn’t necessarily be an economic paradise either. (What if, for example, ALL roads were toll roads and people who lived in small towns or rural areas had to pay for their daily drive to work?) To some extent, private business depends on the existence of an infrastructure that it cannot or would not be able to create on its own; and this is where a responsible government would get involved. It also makes a difference what level of government you are talking about — some things are more appropriately done at the local or state level than at the federal level, and vice versa.

  • 1) I agree, but what makes you think we can’t pay our debts?
    2) I agree, but it still isn’t necessary.
    3) What do you propose we cut? I think there is a lot of wasteful spending and it annoys me to no end, but the free market hasn’t indicated it will provide for those born in less favorable situations and neither have our people as whole.
    4) You are right most economists are very good at predicting the past and terrible at predicting the future, but that sidesteps the accounting identity known by everyone who has taken basic macroeconomics. Are you arguing that because economists are terrible at predicting the future then we should disregard all of what they say?
    5) I agree, but shouldn’t we as Catholics defend and promote the teachings of the Church rather than promote our own opinions about politics and life?

    R.C. –

    Im not sure what you mean by intolerable difficulties. Other debt ratings agencies may make it more difficult for us to pay our debts by lowering their ratings on our debt. Inflation and exchange rate depreciation may get out of control, but where in our current situation has that happened? You can’t compare us to the EU because we are sovereign in our own currency. I agree that the pace we are on currently is unsustainable, but I do not believe this is an immediate concern because these intolerable difficulties don’t appear to be anywhere near our current situation. A much more immediate concern is joblessness. If government spending declines and nothing takes its place then joblessness surely will not get better and none of the data I have seen has convinced me that the private sector has, is, or will take up the slack. Decreasing taxes doesn’t help the deficit situation either.

    I agree with the rest of your comment whole-heartedly; you make very excellent points with well though out arguments and thought-experiments. I don’t believe that the size of government must be big in order to sustain spending. I too believe that there is much waste in government spending that would be better spent by the private sector through tax cuts. The one big problem is that the private market isn’t efficient at distribution. It distributes to those who command the most economic power. I believe the saying goes “the rich get richer while the poor get poorer.” This isn’t always the case and I do believe in rewarding hard work and risk taking, but many people start with a huge disadvantage and get more piled on top of them as life goes by simply because they were born in that state. Justice owes that we do something to give them a boost from their situation. This, in my opinion, is best met through private charity and job creation, but it seems that this just doesn’t happen. There isn’t enough charity and stability of jobs isnt there when left up to private individuals. In this way I think the government must step in because individuals are either unwilling or unable to do it themselves. “How much government?” is a tough question.

    All should be ordered towards getting to heaven. I see both the government and individuals as obstacles to this and any emphasis toward materiality leads us away from this goal. The poor need to be shown charity in more than just material goods. They need their dignity upheld and opportunities to be educated, provide for themselves and their families, and support the common good. Free markets ignore the human person. We need individuals to transcend the market with charity and justice. I wish this was done without government transfers, but it isn’t. People seem to want handouts from whoever they can get it from, but you know and I know that what they really want is to be loved, to find happiness and fulfillment. The government really CANT do this. So if we as individuals would take up our responsibility and our calling the government wouldn’t have to and wouldn’t feel a need to.

  • If anyone thins our government is not bankrupt then I suspect they have no idea what bankruptcy means. The debt and unfunded liabilities our government is carrying CANNOT be retired by all of the wealth in the entire world, let alone what America can generate. It is not just that our government shouldn’t have this much debt, or that we don’t have the desire to settle it, it simply CANNOT be paid off. The borrower is the slave of the lender. Our government is the slave of the money power and that makes us defacto slaves. We need to jettison the debt, the central bank and the wealth hampering regulations that favor the politically connected business and group interests at the expense of everyone else.


    You stated, “However, a society in which absolutely everything other than law enforcement, the courts and the military were privatized — no public schools, libraries, parks, roads, or other types of infrastructure, no public universities, no public regulatory bodies of any kind, etc. — wouldn’t necessarily be an economic paradise either.”

    Some of us would rather not have public (which means government run) schools, etc. Of course, if your local government was pressured by the citizens to have such a monstrosity, they could provide it and those of us who don’t want it would move to the place that doesn’t have it – of course, we’d also take our wealth and our money with us. When people have choices, the market decides. Compare the cost and benefit of most Catholic schools as compared to government schools, there is no question which works better.

    Most of the things you think would not exist without the force and threat of government would probably exist and in a better way. Enoch Pratt and Andrew Carnegie have provided more and better libraries than just about any municipality. Businesses would pay for infrastructure because their customers would demand it. Ford can’t be in business without roads and gas stations, yet we NEED government roads and we HAVE private gas stations – which seems to always provide better service?

    As for so-called regulation, which merely means control and should mean to make regular, usually fails. Enron and Madhoff were protected by the regulators, it was the independent forces of the free market that brought them down. Regulations are usually used to favor one company or group over all others. Over-regulation is unjust and leads to economic disruption, which always does the most damage to the poorest people. Government ‘regulation’ caused the moral hazards that led to the most recent financial crisis and then Wall Street banks were bailed-out, regulations were increased and the banks are doing great – how’s everyone else doing?

    As for an economic paradise, that would be one in which the principle law of economics does not apply – the law of scarcity. We will never achieve that this side of heaven, but we have to try and come as close as we can.

  • American Knight-

    I suggest you read Quadragesimo Anno pp. 103-109. The free market isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

  • 1) “I agree, but what makes you think we can’t pay our debts?”

    Basic math. Unless we are willing to implement economy killing tax increases there is simply no way to pay off the accumulated debt while also meeting entitlement expenditures. The only reason we have stumbled along thus far is through the greatest borrowing spree in the history of the planet, and I think our ability to do this is nearing its end.

    2) “I agree, but it still isn’t necessary.”

    It may not be necessary, but it is what is happening.

    3. “What would you cut?”

    I would start with Rand Paul’s 500 billion cut proposal and move on from there. In regard to the less fortunate, it is only the free market that provides the wherewithal to do anything for the less fortunate. All the social programs in the world are worthless without an economy to pay the bills.

    4. “Are you arguing that because economists are terrible at predicting the future then we should disregard all of what they say?”

    Take anything any economist says with a boulder of salt, and look closely at their track record in regard to predictions and economic advice.

    5) “I agree, but shouldn’t we as Catholics defend and promote the teachings of the Church rather than promote our own opinions about politics and life?”

    Depends. The teaching against abortion has been changeless since the Apostles. Catholic teaching on economics has been all over the lot as has Catholic teaching regarding government. In those areas I suspect that because of the variety of teaching we see through history we are not dealing with the eternal truths of Christ, but rather fairly ad hoc stances arising often from secular developments. That explains why the Church could embrace feudalism in one era, and the welfare state in another. Some portions of the teaching on economics of course are always true. The admonition to remember the poor for example. However when someone tells me that because of this admonition I must agree that the government should do x, y or z, or the economy must be structured in a particular manner, I get skeptical.

  • Alex,

    I suggest you read the seventh commandment.

    A free market is not an anarchic market, it is the natural market that is created by numerous and unrelated individuals being useful to each other, primarily for the sake of sanctity and also for the material benefit of others. Government has a very important function in a free market; however, that function is to protect the market and not necessarily to provide so-called ‘services’.

    As for the Church’s position vis. economics and politics, I like what our resident barrister stated above. The Church has no charism in political economy other than to state principles of charity and justice, how those are applied is our work. Using the intellect God gave me I can see no other economic system that provides the material benefits of a free market and allows people to exercise charity and justice toward their brothers and sisters. I know some subscriber to Distributism is going to attack me; however, a truly free market, and not the corporate capitalism we call a free market, is more-or-less Distributist.

    Once again, I’ll point to the quality (being what it is) of Catholic education against government schooling. Much better quality, abysmal as it is, for considerably less cost, offering much more choice, flexibility and opportunities for the poor. I currently have no children in school, yet through my parish I support our school. Of course, I also have large sums confiscated from me so I cannot direct them toward a Catholic school so that I can subsidize the indoctrination of some poor soul at the government school. As a Catholic and an American I find that abhorrent.

  • Knight: I realize that Catholic education is better, but special needs students like my own autistic daughter are NOT accepted into most Catholic schools and often have no choice but to attend public schools. Where are they going to go if public schools are abolished? Homeschooling, maybe, but not everyone can do that full time (particularly single parents, or couples that both have to work). And if public universities are abolished, most of the middle class will lose ANY hope of being able to advance beyond high school.

  • Alex,

    Some additions from Centessimus Annus regarding Marxism and Socialism:

    24. The second factor in the crisis was certainly the inefficiency of the economic system, which is not to be considered simply as a technical problem, but rather a consequence of the violation of the human rights to private initiative, to ownership of property and to freedom in the economic sector. To this must be added the cultural and national dimension: it is not possible to understand man on the basis of economics alone, nor to define him simply on the basis of class membership. Man is understood in a more complete way when he is situated within the sphere of culture through his language, history, and the position he takes towards the fundamental events of life, such as birth, love, work and death. At the heart of every culture lies the attitude man takes to the greatest mystery: the mystery of God.

    On “State Capitalism and needs for the market with proper controls:

    “In this sense, it is right to speak of a struggle against an economic system, if the latter is understood as a method of upholding the absolute predominance of capital, the possession of the means of production and of the land, in contrast to the free and personal nature of human work.73 In the struggle against such a system, what is being proposed as an alternative is not the socialist system, which in fact turns out to be State capitalism, but rather a society of free work, of enterprise and of participation. Such a society is not directed against the market, but demands that the market be appropriately controlled by the forces of society and by the State, so as to guarantee that the basic needs of the whole of society are satisfied.”

    Given proper constraints, the market is seen by the Church as a positive:

    “42. Returning now to the initial question: can it perhaps be said that, after the failure of Communism, capitalism is the victorious social system, and that capitalism should be the goal of the countries now making efforts to rebuild their economy and society? Is this the model which ought to be proposed to the countries of the Third World which are searching for the path to true economic and civil progress?

    The answer is obviously complex. If by “capitalism” is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a “business economy”, “market economy” or simply “free economy”. But if by “capitalism” is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative.”

    This all goes with the Church teaching that the Church herself offers no specific solutions to the problems of the world, but merely the principles to guide laymen in making those solutions. The Church also teaches that people, using historical, economic, sociological etc. knowledge, may come to distinctly different solutions. This is what people are doing here on the blog.

  • This in addition to the authoritative teaching of the Church (contrary to some of our co-religionists misinterpretation of CST) the Catholic Social teaching is not utopian. That we cannot perfect this world through our efforts. In fact, the current President of the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice notes that CST is about seeking the “best possible world.” Not the ideal world, but what is possible given numerous constraints. This includes avoiding excessive govt. debt etc.

  • Elaine, I think here in Upstate New York there are about 840,000 people (give or take) between the ages of 18 and 25. Enrollment in private institutions of higher education stands somewhere around 110,000. That would be 13% of those demographic cohorts. The patriciate is not that large. I work in an office of about 70 people. It is not hard to find multiple examples of people from wage earning families or the common-and-garden bourgeoisie who garnered degrees from private colleges or sent their children there.

    As for primary and secondary education, if we re-chartered all public schools as philanthropies to be financed by vouchers, donations, and endowment income (not tuition and fees) and then allowed extant private institutions and new foundations to participate in the voucher program, I would wager institutions serving niche clientele such as yourself would be able to find a school that worked for you.

  • (Guest comment by Don’s wife Cathy:) Art Deco, one of our sons is part of that “niche clientele” of autistic kids like Elaine’s child. Don tells me that Livingston County is the geographically the fourth largest county in Illinois — but it’s overwhelmingly rural/small town (county seat pop. 12,000; next largest town (ours) pop. 4,200); countywide pop. under 50,000). Finding enough special-ed students to make a privately-funded special-ed program viable in a low-population area like ours would mean transporting students long distances — longer than would be desirable for many of the students. Don & I are very thankful that there is a special-ed program which can accomodate our son through the local public school system. We were offered the opportunity to enroll our son in special ed a year early, but chose to wait a year so we wouldn’t have to send him out of town to special ed.

  • Phillip –

    I know well what CST says about capitalism and socialism. I am planning on doing my dissertation on it. I am not arguing for socialism, but if you are going to argue for a free market then you should know what you are arguing for. Unfortunately, a free market is characterized by monopolistic competition, corporations, and large businesses with much incentives and resources to persuade government policy in their favor. If there were ample competition (the check on the self interest of the free market) then this wouldn’t be such a problem. Free markets tend to lend power toward the greedy and ruthless, not the hardworking.

    I wish the free market were more virtuous. The popes are clear that this takes virtuous actors within the market. So my desire is to increase the virtue of myself and others so that whatever economic system we live in will perform better. I don’t think government is the answer in many ways, but they also have the power to set rules and maintain competition and give the less fortunate a better chance to compete, whereas individuals do not. Fortunately, as the author points out, we can be Catholic in any form of government. In our current form of government, the Popes make clear in their teaching how this must be done. They do not suggest policies but remind us of our priorities. If we order all our actions and policies toward these priorities, then we will achieve the ‘best possible world’ in this life.

    So if you argue for the free market, then understand that it tends toward big business/corporations/monopolistic competition (as well as inequality of living and less opportunity of advancement) and then be willing to make economic decisions for others and not solely out of self-interest. If we all did this, there would be no need for any intervention, let alone government intervention, but we find that many cry out for it because they find themselves in need because of the free market.

  • Alex,

    Free markets are morally neutral, it is the actors in the market that set the morality of the market and I know you understand this; however, your assertion that free markets tend to monopoly and rewarding the ruthless is not accurate. It may happen, it sure has here in the USA, which is why we don’t have what can reasonably be called a free market. We have a managed market that is relatively free as compared to others.

    Monopoly and what is called state capitalism or corporatism occurs because of the government. Not necessarily the intent of the structure of government but the use of the threat and force, of which government has sanctioned use, by those who are in the market and don’t want it to be free. They just want to be free to extract as much from the market as possible.

    Our government was set up as a protector of the North American free trade zone between sovereign states and commonwealths and it worked. It worked so well that some men became so wealthy, elevating many others with them, that they began to think they were gods of the market and wanted to secure their god-like status. How’d they do that? They took over the government and twisted it from a Federal government, protecting a free market and restrained by law and checks and balances and fashioned it into a National government that is directly involved in every aspect of our lives so we can be better consumers and borrowers for the market gods.

    The solution is to restore the Constitution in practice and not in words only, elect moral men of honor to office and work to sanctify the world as moral actors in the market. It won’t be perfect, but it will be much better than Airstrip One.

  • Elaine,

    Subsidiarty dictates that some level of government or community effort should try to satisfy genuine needs when private institutions or individuals or families CANNOT. We don’t know if that is the case because the private schools have to compete with the government schools, which have an unfair advantage. I know at least one Catholic High School in my county offers and excellent special needs program. Would there be more if Catholics who owned real estate weren’t forced to pay for government indoctrination. Perhaps, probably, I don’t know because it hasn’t been tried. We should try it and see if it works, I suspect we’ll be very surprised by the results. If the market doesn’t respond, then the community, the county, or the state would have to. But, when the state insinuates itself first, it crushes the market and then becomes self-funding with an unending appetite to the detriment of all, except those being compensated by the state.

  • Mrs. McClarey,

    You are making an implicit reference to several questions – the size and distribution of the autistic population, curriculum for the autistic population, per-pupil cost of teaching the autistic population, and the feasibility of cross-training the general set of special education teachers to teach autistic students – the answers to which I do not know.

    Implicit also in your remarks is that instruction of the autistic requires a cross-subsidy drawn from the general school budget (either inherently or because economies of scale are not to be had) and that the costs of such would not be borne by a school absent compulsion. That may be the case, but there are ways around the problem that do not involve erecting and permanently maintaining public agencies to produce services which can be readily contracted for by private parties. One would be cross-subsidies financed by philanthropic donations (If I understand correctly, the core of the autistic student population in rural and small town Illinois would be about 450, with a periphery of about 2,500). If worst comes to worse, the State of Illinois could incorporate a private foundation whose interest and divident income could finance the cross subsidy through grants to schools, and provide the initial endowment.

  • “Unfortunately, a free market is characterized by monopolistic competition, corporations, and large businesses with much incentives and resources to persuade government policy in their favor. If there were ample competition (the check on the self interest of the free market) then this wouldn’t be such a problem. Free markets tend to lend power toward the greedy and ruthless, not the hardworking.”

    Actually I believe American Knights comment about markets being neutral is more corect though that dovetails with your comments about individuals being morally upright converting society. That is consistent with Catholic teaching. Your comment above seems more of an ideological position and not one that has been pronounced upon by the Church’s social teaching.

    ” I don’t think government is the answer in many ways, but they also have the power to set rules and maintain competition and give the less fortunate a better chance to compete, whereas individuals do not. ”

    As noted, I do not deny that the state has the power to establish limits to the Free Market. Though, from a Catholic perspective, that government is also composed of fallen individuals who can, as within the Free Market, predispose the state towards self-interest, preservation of special interest groups including corporations and unions (see Wisconsin teachers) and not necessarily the common good.

  • (Don’s wife Cathy again:) Art, I’ll take your word for it on how special ed programs could be privately financed. My concern is more over keeping such programs as locally-based as possible, so that as little of the students’ potential instructional time is wasted on transportation to and from a central-but-distant location in thinly-populated areas. If locally-based special ed programs could still be done via private funding, I wouldn’t have a problem with that.

    American Knight, it’s great that your county has a Catholic high school with a great special-needs program. My county, however, has no Catholic high schools at all, and just 2 Catholic grade schools (the nearest one being 9 miles away, with some students from our parish). There are some special ed services available to the parochial school students (f.ex. speech therapy); however, the Catholic grade school our parish has access to does not have the resources for a self-contained special ed classroom, which is the level of support our autistic son would have needed in grade school and still needs in high school. (As far as I know, I don’t believe the other parochial school in our county (in the county seat, hence a larger school) has a self-contained special ed classroom, either.)

  • “5) I agree, but shouldn’t we as Catholics defend and promote the teachings of the Church rather than promote our own opinions about politics and life?”

    “They do not suggest policies but remind us of our priorities. If we order all our actions and policies toward these priorities, then we will achieve the ‘best possible world’ in this life.”


    In general people here are applying their Catholic principles towards a just society. They just don’t happen to coincide with your positions. For example your own position on the natural trend of markets which is not a position the Church has defined.

  • Cathy,

    According to the principle of subsidiarity your community, county, or state should step in and fill the need that has not been met, but only until a lower order body can step up and meet the need.

    Of course, the principle problem you are facing is the problem of the whole world, Catholics are poor evangelists. If we were keeping our commandment from Our Lord to baptize all nations in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, then you’d have a vibrant Catholic community and probably one that is wealthy enough to meet the needs of the minority of special-needs children and the minority of the individual person in need, you can’t get more minor that that.

    My chief concern, probably articulate poorly, is that we have allowed government, at all levels, to enter space it is not meant to serve and even create needs and codify them as rights that only it has the monopoly to fill. By doing this government distorts the natural market of matching people’s needs with those who can satisfy them. When government schools command education and offer it ‘free’ (actually by debt, taxes and confiscatory redistribution of wealth) then they enjoy a virtual monopoly over the need of education and how to define and satisfy that need. This crowds out the true innovators in the realm of education and the sole arbiters of what that education should be – the children’s parents.

    I use Catholic schools as an example; however, other private secular institutions may be able to fill the need just as well. For example a company that specializes in educating special-needs children could contract with schools, parents and acquire philanthropic or charitable funding combined with direct billing. This is unlikely when the government schools provide this service ‘free’ – this may or may not be a benefit to the child, but it certainly is a benefit to the budget for the school because no politician is going to cut the budget for children with special-needs (well, except may be Crusading Christie of NJ). That does not mean the child is getting the best service, nor that anyone is getting the most cost-efficient benefit; usually the services provided by monopoly government with hidden costs are more expensive and of lower quality.

    All that being said, it is still incumbent on government to step in when the market is NOT satisfying these genuine needs, but, we have to have measures to get the government out as soon as possible so a lower order can do it instead.

  • In regard to our autistic son, Cathy and I had to fight like the dickens to get him included in CCD. Our local director of religious education, supported by our parish priest, had zero interest in having our son participate due to his autism. Cathy was willing to instruct our son separately from his class while CCD was in session, with Larry joining for group activities under Cathy’s close supervision. That is what we were fighting for and it was a fight to get that. To be quite blunt, few people other than their parents are really interested in the education of mentally handicapped kids, and that includes some of the special ed teachers we have encountered over the years. I would prefer a voucher system for all kids so that reliance would not have to made on the state, since education, especially education for special ed kids, is something the state does poorly. The main concern for Cathy and me of course is that our son receive an education, however it is accomplished. Most of his education however, we have done ourselves. My heart goes out to parents confronted by this challenge who are less prepared for it than we were.

  • Don,

    That is a sad reception. It is not lost on me that teaching about the virtue of Charity is part of CCD and what an opportunity was missed. We are called to love and what could state that more to children than teaching the faith. Furthermore, if we really believe that we are a catholic (universal) covenant family of God, then all the children and their education is our responsibility. It is sad when convenience trumps obedience and I know I have been guilty of that far too often.

    I am confident that your example provides hope to many parents.

  • Phillip and American Knight –

    I really agree with what you say. The government is made up of fallen individuals just as markets are full of them.

    “Our government was set up as a protector of the North American free trade zone between sovereign states and commonwealths and it worked. It worked so well that some men became so wealthy, elevating many others with them, that they began to think they were gods of the market and wanted to secure their god-like status. How’d they do that? They took over the government and twisted it from a Federal government, protecting a free market and restrained by law and checks and balances and fashioned it into a National government that is directly involved in every aspect of our lives so we can be better consumers and borrowers for the market gods.”

    I agree with this statement as well. If we had morally sound politicians and wealthy individuals then they would not use government to their own advantage…big if right? That’s why John Paul II said this in response to the question “Is capitalism the best system?”:

    The answer is obviously complex. If by “capitalism” is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a “business economy”, “market economy” or simply “free economy”. But if by “capitalism” is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative.

    We need both moral politicians and players in the market. (We need moral people!). Government policy doesn’t make people more moral, but outlining rules and guidelines can help them stay the course. Transferring wealth that wealthy people won’t through personal charity is also beneficial to the society and the common good if done for the right reasons. It is ideal of me to think this is possible. I hope for such a world and hope I am doing my part to evangelize and make disciples of all nations. I think part of that is educating others that free markets make some rich who don’t always use it for the common good, and by its nature encourages selfishness. I think part of that is educating others that government distorts the beneficial processes of the free market and is often controlled by “economic dictators” (as we read from CST) who use it to maintain their wealth and status. I don’t think that free markets are the answer and I don’t think that the answer lies in more government control or spending. I think the Popes have taught the same thing. I think it’s clear that at the bottom of it all is that all of us need to act in solidarity for each other and the common good. I think you realize this, too, and I thank you for contributing toward this mission!

  • “To be quite blunt, few people other than their parents are really interested in the education of mentally handicapped kids, and that includes some of the special ed teachers we have encountered over the years. I would prefer a voucher system for all kids so that reliance would not have to be made on the state, since education, especially education for special ed kids, is something the state does poorly.”

    I agree there, Don. Public school special ed is far from ideal, but most of the time it’s the only game in town if you have a special needs child. (And in many areas, it took the force of the federal Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, or IDEA, to make that possible.) It’s possible, I suppose, that if public schooling were abolished the amount of money families save on taxes could then be sunk into private education; but I wouldn’t bet on it ever happening.

    In the end I have to agree also with Alex, that both business and government are made up of fallen human beings and neither side has all the solutions.

  • Alex,

    I think in general we are in agreement. Glad you recognize we too are applying CST. One addition I would add is that we need moral poor. There is nothing inheritly moral about the poor. They too are fallen and can be corrupted by Govt. programs. Thus the need to be careful about social programs that can promote dependency and deter the poor from seeking to improve their life.

    “Transferring wealth that wealthy people won’t through personal charity is also beneficial to the society and the common good if done for the right reasons. It is ideal of me to think this is possible. I hope for such a world and hope I am doing my part to evangelize and make disciples of all nations.”

    One has to be careful here also. CST does not deny that there be classes. To seek to absolutely level the playing field is not in accord with CST. And while it does note the universal destination of goods, it does also teach that people are entitled to their property and to provide for their families. This includes, in the long-term. retirement. Wealth, which given current life-spans and costs, may be quite a bit for a couple seeking not, in accord with CST, to be dependent on the Govt. Also CST teaches that taxes should not discourage productivity. These are legitimate concerns for placing limits on the taking of wealth.

    Thanks for helping me evangelize about CST.

  • Alex,

    You, Philip and myself are in general agreement because we are all trying to apply the Truth practically and being Catholic we have the benefit of the teaching of the Church. We differ, as we should, in detailed application and on this the Church is silent. This is good because if the Church did all the work, what would be left for us to do?

    One thing to note is that the ‘wealthy’ and the ‘poor’ are not static classes in our country. I know people who were very wealthy one year, after years of being poor due to losses and some of the wealthy weren’t all that wealthy in following years. What we consider poor in this country would be considered very wealthy in most other places in the world and don’t fall for Marxist garbage about relative wealth within a society. Additionally, when we refer to the poor it is not always, exclusive or necessarily to the materially poor. One can be ‘poor’ and still carry envy and covetousness in one’s heart, which renders one no longer poor in spirit. When Christ stated that the wealthy will have a tough time getting into heaven, he wasn’t referring to the materially wealthy. After all some of his closest friends and disciples were wealthy. Levi (Matthew), who left his wealth to follow Christ and also Joseph of Arimathea, who remained wealthy – he even gave Christ his lavish garden tomb to rest in for three days – of course, Joseph didn’t know that Christ’s body was only going to reside in the tomb for a short while.

    While those who have wealth ought to give to the less fortunate, we have no right to demand that they do it through confiscation. The wealthy man is deprived of freely offering his material wealth in Charity and Truth if we force him to give it away. The recipient of the wealth is also deprived of accepting and offering his current poverty to God if we tempt him with ‘free’ stuff. Also, how is the poor man supposed to be grateful to God and the benefactor if he thinks that it is the government that provided him the benefits? As Phillip stated, making the poor dependent on government programs robs them of their dignity, which sadly, is the overarching purpose of government programs, to increase clients, and acquire a voting block and keep feeding the machine.

    Notice the good Samaritan. He helped the man on the road, he did not demand that Roman Centurions do it and he didn’t use threat of force to make someone else help the man. He did it himself, from his own Charity.

    A free market, that is kept free by government, is the environment that allows the most free choice and therefore the most good. Of course, it also allows for ill, but that is a result of our Fallen state and not the free market. Coercion, force, fraud, deceit and all other ills employed by fallen man in a free market should be checked by government without interfering or adding a burdensome compliance cost to all other actors. Of course, the government needs to be checked also. it is a balance and the pendulum will not stop swinging from one end to the other until the Judge returns to balance the scales. Nevertheless, we can keep a modest balance and when we err, we should always err on the side of freedom. Compulsion breeds resistance and resistance agitates and aggravates. Freedom allows for the Peace of the Holy Spirit.

    Another important point to note is that the Church, even in temporal matters, is chiefly concerned with the salvation of souls and not their material economic benefit. It is far better to be a poor Holy nation than a wealthy nation of perdition. Wealth is good, all material is good, when God created the world He said it was good, when He created our first parents He said they were very good. The garden was good, the tree in the middle of the garden was good in and of itself, it was not good for man to eat of it, but the tree was good. Since that disobedience we tend to use wealth, a good, poorly. It is us who taint it. Redistributing wealth through force is not good, even if a material benefit is facilitated. We cannot use evil means to do good, we are only permitted to use good means to do good.

    Violating private property, in order to bring about a good result, still results in breaking the seventh commandment. One could argue that killing an abortionist prevents him from killing others, yet since we have the power, at this time, to make his actions illegal, we have no right to employ murder, an evil, to bring about a good. We cannot rob one man to benefit another, just because we feel one man has too much and the other hasn’t enough. We create an occasion of sin for both men while we are sinning ourselves. Wealth maybe evenly distributed, but three souls may be lost to hell.

    Thanks for this discussion, it is very enjoyable and moves my mind to want to do my part in bringing about Catholic Social Justice by helping people understand what we ought to do, voluntarily; rather than through political force.

Midterm Election Results Show The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholic Orthodoxy

Wednesday, November 3, AD 2010

While most political pundits mull over the stunning defeat the Democrats suffered in the 2010 midterm election (some 60 seats in the House and at least seven in the Senate,) most pundits, including Catholic pundits will not have noticed a striking phenomena.  Though practicing Catholics easily went for McCain-Palin in 2008, the entire Catholic vote went for the Obama-Biden ticket somewhere between five to eight percent. Yet, in 2010 we are told that Catholics voted over 60+% against candidates who supported the Obama agenda. I have yet to see a statistic for practicing Catholics, but we can assume it is much higher than 60%. This turnaround is unprecedented in the history of political polling. Though, I do believe the majority of this is the result of economics, we are seeing a fundamental shift among Catholics. Some Catholics have abandoned the Church (and their conscience) to secularism and to entertainment based mega churches, but many Catholics now see the wisdom of Catholic orthodoxy. After the momentous mid-term election results, what a relief it is to see an open practicing Catholic as the new Speaker of the House (John Boehner,) compared to the outgoing Speaker (Nancy Pelosi) who openly defied the Teachings of the Church and her archbishop.

However, the good news doesn’t just end with the incoming new speaker. There were some great Catholic victories and I will highlight two of them. Those Catholics who aren’t ashamed about the 2,000 year old teachings of the Church were rewarded with unabashedly Catholic politicians like Senator elect Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Congressman elect Sean Duffy in Wisconsin, both reliable blue states. Toomey has been a trooper for pro-life causes while Duffy and his wife Rachel Campos Duffy have been big advocates for traditional parenting. They have a growing family and have not been ashamed of standing out in a world that is often hostile to traditional religion. Both were MTV Real World partipants and Rachel was the last one cut from being on the View. One can only imagine her going toe to toe with the likes of Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar (probably why she wasn’t picked.)

After the liberal perfect storm victory of 2008, I found myself on the receiving end of those who said Catholic orthodoxy, and or the conservative Catholic lifestyle was going the way of the horse and buggy. However, the hangover of liberal Big Government and the moral decay that goes along with those who think every lifestyle, feeling, whim, or urge needs to be embraced has aided many Catholics to see the wisdom of the two thousand year old teachings of the Catholic Church. In addition, I am sure hearing the latest rants of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, along with reading the latest screeds against Catholic orthodoxy from the likes of Catholics like outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and columnists Maureen Dowd and E J Dionne has helped many see the light.

The plummeting poll numbers of liberals coupled with a few announcements from the Holy See must have made for an eternity for the left, primarily the Catholic left. In those days leading up to election day, Pope Benedict XVI gave an address on the plight of migrants and illegal aliens. The Holy Father spoke of the compassion one must have for those on the run, but he clearly stated that nations have the right to defend their borders and accept the integrity of their nation state. This was certainly a blow to those on the Catholic left, including some clergy and even a few prelates who seemed to favor unlimited immigration.

The finishing blow for the Catholic Left occurred when it was announced that Archbishop Raymond Burke formerly of St Louis and now head of the Vatican Court was going to be made a Cardinal. If that wasn’t bad enough, Cardinal Elect Burke made one of his patented unflinching addresses on the grave sin of those Catholics who vote for politicians that support abortion and same sex marriage. It was also announced that Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington DC was also to be named a Cardinal. Though friends with Cardinal Elect Burke, the two have sparred over whether Catholic politicians should be banned from receiving Holy Communion, something Cardinal Elect Wuerl is against. Cardinal Elect Burke has stated that the arguments used by his brother Cardinal Elect Wuerl and others, that state banning pro abortion politicians from receiving the Eucharist would politicize the sacrament and there is still much teaching to be done on the subject, are “nonsense.”  

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28 Responses to Midterm Election Results Show The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholic Orthodoxy

  • Yes, because nothing is so close to our Holy Mother Church as the platform of the Republican party in America.

  • Glad you finally recognize that. 😉

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  • I wouldn’t conflate electoral trends with trends in the Church more generally, still less (shudder) the Republican Party. Did the 2008 elections show the tide was turning away from Catholicism?

  • Do you have an example of Cdl-Des. Wuerl’s past chiming in about considering the greater good and one’s conscience?

  • John Henry, every political wave has an impact on religion and vice versa. I am sure I am not the only one who has heard anecdotal evidence of some saying after 2008 that they didn’t need religion and or specifically the Catholic Church. This is not unusual. For example, not everyone who went out to San Francisco during the Summer of Love in 1967 was a budding liberal. Some were conservative kids who went on a moral bender (so to speak) and came home and once again embraced the truths they were taught growing up.

    However, what I believe to be of greater significance are those liberals who thought after the Election of 2008, that they truly were the “ones we have been waiting for” (remember that speech?) However, world peace and economic nirvana didn’t come to fruition, actually far from it. Because of it, some realized what Big Government could never do and resumed their quest for the truth. In those quests, a 2,000 year old institution (the Church) becomes an interesting option. Now I am not asserting that it is anything but a tide. I hope some day to talk about a tsunami. However, a tide sure beats stagnant water.

  • There are very few Catholic Bishops and Prelates that support unlimited immigration. Theere are many that support comprensive immigration reform

    Conservative Catholic job will also include pointing out the extreme no amnesty crowd that there is a differnce especilly in this COngress

  • Dave:

    I’ve read those links. In fact, I double checked them before posting my question to you.

    Neither of them quote Cdl-Des. Wuerl talking about considering the greater good and one’s conscience.

    Do you have an example where he does what you say he “usually” does?

  • Tom K, in the interest of clarity I have reworded the paragraph to state that both men have a disagreement over denying Holy Communion to pro abortion politicians. Cardinal Wuerl doesn’t agree with it, while Cardinal Elect Burke says there is no other choice.

  • It’s helpful to remember that being a Cardinal or being a Pope makes one neither prudent nor wise.

    I have come to believe that there are two Magisteriums: that of the bishops, and that of the saints. While the bishops generally do a very good job articulating the dogmas of faith, they generally do a poor job of living those dogmas out. They generally an even worse job of articulating the prudential application of those dogmas. In other words, they can tell you that the Golden Rule is right, but they generally don’t live it, and hence, they usually don’t know how to explain it.

    The saints, however, live the truth in love. Their living Magisterium teaches us what all those encyclicals and councils mean. I speak, of course, not simply of the saints officially recognized by the bishops, but of all the saints.

    When it comes to Cardinal-to-be Burke, then, I remember the words of Christ: “do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.”

  • Dave:


    I remain fascinated by this statement: “It appears Pope Benedict XVI’s elevation of Cardinal Burke to such a senior position in the Vatican caused the establishmentarian spiritual leader of the nation’s capital (as well as its various legislative bodies) to hold his tongue.”

    Cdl-Des Burke, of course, held his current position in the Vatican when Cdl-Des Wuerl gave the interview in the link you suggested to me, and as you indicate they will both be made cardinals at the same time. To me, that makes it appear that Pope Benedict’s elevation of Cdl-Des Burke is demonstrably not the reason Cdl-Des Wuerl held back a comment on Cdl-Des Burke’s statement. But then it’s not even apparent to me that he had a comment to hold back.

  • Dowd is Catholic? Really?

  • Yes! Cardinal Burke and I seem to agree. You probably will not be getting into Heaven if you vote dem.

    Nate: OUCH. I know you have good intent. The real Church counsels charity and truth in all things.

    Teachable Moment: Calumny is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary (1992) as a “false statement maliciously made to injure another’s reputation.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) places calumny as a serious sin under the Eighth Commandment, “Thou shall not bear false witness against your neihbor.” The Catechism states, “He becomes guilty of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them” (2447). The Catechism notes that calumny offends “against the virtues of justice and charity” (2479).

    Please don’t emulate them vile, kool-aid drinking marxists.

  • Maureen Dowd’s uncle was Tommy (“the Cork”) Corcoran. He paid her way when she was an undergrad at Catholic University.

  • Dave is very clear that the connection between the Faith and yesterday’s voting pattern is based on the tendency of many individual Republicans at this time to believe in the holiness of life and the dignity of the individual. I understand that several generations ago those who identified themselves as Republicans were less protective of the unborn than those who then identified themselves as Democrats. The stability and the consistency are in the Faith, not in shifting party labels.

  • “Cardinal Burke and I seem to agree. You probably will not be getting into Heaven if you vote dem.”

    Well, in that case I’m doomed because I did actually vote for ONE Democrat this time… a candidate for a local office. I did so because the incumbent Republican has demonstrated what I consider to be egregious mismangement of his department to the point of threatening public safety (too long to explain here) and I felt he needed to go. (Didn’t do any good; he won anyway).

    At the local level sometimes you get people who run as Democrats, Independents, or Greens or Libertarians simply in order to provide opposition to the incumbent and not out of any affinity toward the Democratic party platform. Plus, their jobs cannot impact abortion, same-sex marriage or any of the non-negotiable Catholic issues anyway.

  • Yes Mack, I specifically avoided using party labels for the very reasons you chronicled. There was a time (in the early 1970s) when there were probably more pro-abortion Rockefeller Republicans than pro-abortion Democrats in the South & Midwest.

    The article was about the faithful removing their faith in Big Government liberalism and putting it back into the core teachings of the Church.

    There was a time (decades and centuries ago) when the faithful and not so faithful came to the Church for aid, and not the government. Sadly for some today, Big Government is their belief system.

  • T Shaw, really??? I don’t vote, but I am really tired of hearing people damn others for voting Democratic.

    Give me a break. You really think people deserve an eternity of torture for supporting political candidates you don’t like? First, at an individual level voting does not change political outcomes. So, who you vote for is only of symbolic importance, making the notion that one’s electoral preferences constitute grave matter suspect. Second, people might sincerely believe in alternatives to criminalization as a means to combat abortion. Those arguments may or may not stand up to scrutiny, but being incorrect doesn’t mean a person deserves hell. Finally, who qualified you to decide who is probably not getting into heaven?

  • “I noted that even though the Diocese of Rochester had more Catholics than the dioceses of Lincoln and Omaha combined, Rochester had 6 men studying for the priesthood while Lincoln and Omaha had 64.”

    This is the ‘proof’ in EVERYTHING you write…

  • I can’t really agree that voting Democrat ipso facto is a sin, etc. There are some decent local Democrats who are good candidates. It is the individual candidate’s qualifications/position on issues that need to be judged. Particularly in the South, there are a lot of pro-life Democrats.

  • T. Shaw, I should clarify that it is not simply the bishops who generally fail to follow Christ, but all of us who are not yet holy. It isn’t, I think, an act of calumny to remind ourselves that we are indeed sinners, even our bishops and popes.

    Now, a bishop or pope who is not only an authoritative teacher, but a holy teacher, is a rare and precious gift from God! John Paul the Great comes to mind.

  • I think the Supreme Court has 5 Catholics, but wouldn’t count on them as a solid block when it comes to voting. As encouraging as GOP gains in legislative races has been, social issues are generally decided by the Supremes and the addition of Sotomayor and Kagan, along with their Lib colleagues, makes any reversal of abortion policy highly dubious.

  • Yes Mark DeFrancisis, I will continue to regularly mention those statistics which highlight the demise of once proud places like Rochester, where leadership has simply given short shrift to orthodoxy. In addition, I will continue to highlight places where vocations are growing like Lincoln and Denver. There are blogs dedicated to the subject in places like Rochester where vocations are sparse. I would hope as a Catholic you would want to know why places like Denver and Lincoln are thriving, while the reverse is happening in locations like Rochester. Wouldn’t you want to know why Lincoln and Omaha combined had nearly 10x the vocations as did Rochester, even though Rochester is bigger than both Lincoln and Omaha combined? In locations such as Lincoln and Denver the Church’s teachings are embraced and dissidents are not welcomed. In addition in places like Denver and Lincoln, Marian Devotions and Eucharistic Adoration are widely practiced.

  • I wonder, Mr. Hartline, if the link between vocations and orthodoxy isn’t rather a link between vocations and traditionalism?

    Orthodoxy and traditionalism aren’t always the same thing. The Amish are quite traditional, and have been growing well for quite some time. They have a strong sense of identity rooted in a counter-cultural lifestyle. But obviously they aren’t orthodox.

    I’ve noticed that vocations do blossom where traditional practices are practiced, where young Catholics can feel part of a strong counter-cultural social body. But traditional practices do not always translate into orthodoxy.

    Orthodoxy, and orthopraxis, are right belief and right action. Many traditional doctrines have undergone development within the Church–especially (and most importantly) the social doctrines. I have noticed that many of the younger priests are very pro-life (thank God!), but do not seem to understand that peace and justice constitute (in the words of the Church) an integral and essential aspect of evangelization–of the Gospel. Many do not even seem to understand what justice is.

    The danger, then, is that in promoting traditional practices and thoughts, though we may gain many vocations, but we may also end up with many priests who are deaf to the ‘Church in the Modern World’.

    My best, Nate.

  • Francisco,

    Take a nap. That comment is hyperbole and a wild-eyed generalization. I do not dislike dem candidates. I hate innumerable evils they impose on America.

    Nate, You wrote up bishops. If you wrote thusly about me, it would be appropriate.

    Mark D: How’z it been, you Obamacatholic?. Are you okay after Tuesday nite?

    I was about to commit detraction. I am likely the vilest person any of you ever imagined.

  • Nate, on the surface your point seems to have much merit. However when you dig deeper, you can see that it really doesn’t hold water. For example, the Amish completely ignore the modern world, and while they seem to be growing, they are not. There is much consternation over some young Amish leaving the fold and living outside the community during the day (working and partying), only to come back late at night. I have even heard there is a theological battle over cell phones, since many believe that because they use battery power they aren’t techincally electrical-modern devices.

    As for Catholicism, I have spoken to a number of seminary rectors and they point out an interesting finding. Often, the young men coming their way are those young men from smaller cities outside the wealthy urban and suburban areas. These young men are often well adjusted and quite liked and successful. They come to understand their vocation, sometimes in college and sometimes in their late 20s. They fit in well with the world around them and often have successful jobs, many friends and a girlfriend. However, they come to find that they have the greatest love for the Church and feel she is the only hope in a world that has embraced pleasure and possessions at a break neck level.

    In addition, they feel truth has become hostage to what Pope Benedict XVI calls, “The Dictatorship of Relativism.” Incidentally, the same dynamic holds for young woman who are embracing a more traditional view of the religious life, complete with embracing the habit and or veil. I am not saying every seminarian is going to make a stellar priest, but the days are long gone when the seminary would take some young man who didn’t fit in and hoped he could as a priest. As one rector told me, the results of that practice were disastrous. The rectors, who have been rectors for quite some time, have told me that they can’t remember a time when they have seen such a period where class after class has such stellar seminarians. Nate, I hope this explanation helps. Take care!

  • Unfortunately the tsunami, or should I say Tea-nami, failed to make a dent in the liberal stronghold that is my home state of California. Saints preserve us from those who got this state in the mess we’re in and those who had the audacity to keep them in office.

E. J. Dionne & Maureen Dowd Are Playing With A Dangerous Fire

Tuesday, September 28, AD 2010

In a recent column Washington Post columnist, E J Dionne noted that the Tea Party movement is a great scam. Quite an indictment coming from the self described progressive Catholic who still thinks government can never be big enough and the Church should tell the faithful more about the teachings of the agnostic Saul Alinsky than that of 2,000 year old teachings of the Catholic Church. Dionne has made it his business to comment on all matter of politics and religion for quite some time. His partner in left wing chicanery is New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd who never hesitates to go for the jugular.  Though she says he she comes from humble Washington DC roots, you would never know it by how she mocks those who really came from humble surrounding and never forgot it. She probably grew up with many Sarah Palin’s and Christine O’Donnell’s around her. Yet, I doubt she mocked many to their face as she gleefully does now to the backs of Palin and O’Donnell.

Dionne and Dowd seem to have it backwards, they don’t think citizens should voice their views about the fallacies of liberal Big Government, but they do believe everyone knows better than the divine about religion. This is quite common for liberals who often seem to think they are divine. Dionne and Dowd are part of a movement who thinks they should control government and religion, and those who disagree with them are often labeled as unintelligent; the worst sin as far as liberals are concerned. However, who is the unintelligent one? Big Government has never worked. It has only brought huge debt which has to be repaid by future generations. Individuals who go into debt face a series of tough measures. Yet Dionne and Dowd seem oblivious to this and advocate the same disastrous path for the government, the end result being tough measures for everyone.  In other words Big Government is a disaster that doesn’t work.

However, Big Government isn’t the only disaster Dionne and Dowd advocate. They want the Catholic Church to turn her back on its 2,000 year old teachings and embrace the Dictatorship of Relativism, so named by Pope Benedict XVI. Dionne and Dowd are happy to embrace dissident Catholics who espouse this sort of thinking. It seems Dionne and Dowd are more comfortable with the views of Marx, Alinsky and Freud than they are with Christ, St Paul, St Thomas Aquinas, St Joan of Arc and Pope Benedict XVI.

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2 Responses to E. J. Dionne & Maureen Dowd Are Playing With A Dangerous Fire

  • Apologies in advance: Top ten reasons to vote dem:

    10. I vote Democrat because I believe oil companies’ profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn’t.

    9. I vote Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

    8. I vote Democrat because Freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

    7. I vote Democrat because I’m way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves.

    6. I vote Democrat because I believe that people who can’t tell us if it will rain on Friday can tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don’t start driving a Prius.

    5. I vote Democrat because I’m not concerned about the slaughter of millions of babies through abortion so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

    4. I vote Democrat because I think illegal aliens have a right to free health care, education, and Social Security benefits.

    3. I vote Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as the democrats see fit.

    2. I vote Democrat because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would never get their agendas past the voters.

    1. I vote Democrat because my head is so firmly planted up my @$$ that it is unlikely that I’ll ever have another point of view.

  • T Shaw did you come up with this? If you did something tells me that this might show up across the internet. Who knows old EJ and Maureen might heartily approve, not realizing your satire (well at 2-10.)