Ted Cruz Names Carly Fiorina as Veep Running Mate

Wednesday, April 27, AD 2016


Taking a tip from Ronald Reagan’s playbook, Ted Cruz names Carly Fiorina as his running mate.  Back in 1976 Reagan was behind Ford.  Prior to the Republican convention he named Senator Richard Schweiker (R.Pa) as his running mate.  Schweiker was a moderate Republican, although a strong pro-lifer.  Reagan came close to taking the nomination away from Ford at the convention.  Interestingly, Schweiker’s voting record became much more conservative thereafter.  In 1981 President Reagan appointed him as Secretary of HHS.

So, will this work?  Quien sabe?  It will get Cruz a lot of publicity going into the crucial Indiana primary.  Fiorina is an articulate and tough campaigner, and she should be getting intensive coverage for the next few weeks.  Trump, in the truly classless manner that he normally displays, will probably go over the top in his attacks against Fiorina.  All in all, I like the move.  It is unusual, but when you are behind doing the usual is a recipe for slow defeat.   Better to be bold and do the unexpected.

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19 Responses to Ted Cruz Names Carly Fiorina as Veep Running Mate

  • I like the move to and for the reasons you give, but it’s still a hail mary pass.

  • Ted certainly has nothing to lose here. It looks about certain that DaDonald is gonna get the nomination. Perhaps Carly can bait Trump into a classless rant. But that hasn’t hurt DaDonald yet. I don’t know what worries me more, a Trump nomination or a Trump presidency.

  • One major network pointed out that Trump won in an affluent county of Maryland where Republican leaders live and in Bucks county PA which is affluent…meaning he won in areas that were not angry middleclass this week and he won at percents above those predicted by polls in many cases…and in a week wherein he reached 50% favorability for the first time. Strangest election ever. Convention leaders will have no leverage to deal with him if he goes above the 1237. ISIS staging an attack in September or October in Europe might put him in the white house easily. Pope Francis in the Vatican…Trump in the white house…Kim Jong-un in North Korea. The young have a shaky world before them…..but it all proves that God alone is one’s real security….so it is a very religious time in which to live.

  • I was pro Carly early, and thrilled at how pro life she was. I was also pro cruz. I’m thrilled that Cruz will have another engaging, pleasanr, smart person on his team able to genuinely articulate what’s wrong with Trump’s position on abortion, on trans identity in elementary school, tariffs, national security, etc.

    It may be a Hail Mary pass. But I’m saying a whole lot of prayers to Our Lady for our nation. Trump v Hillary is too terrible to contemplate.

  • Let us hope that Ted will be as gracious in defeat as he is tenacious in battle.

  • Carly was best candidate but was treated shabbily when it came to the debates. It may not work but it was a classy move.

  • Like the move. She is an articulate, smart woman who achieved her way to the top. She is an example of the American story. She is a classy, solid person who could fill the Office well. She has articulate answers to current problems. She seems prepared to meet the pressures, anger and violence of our day and lead in such times, as well as anyone.

  • Good ticket but it won’t help.

  • Well said Brian. You captured my thoughts exactly.

  • I like the ticket – 2 people with principles. People who can’t stand Cruz, like John Boehner, don’t have principles.

  • Brian likes Carly. Bad move Brian. Carly only makes Ted look desperate and weak. The classy thing for Ted to do now is pull out and try to heal all the wounds. Since he has no chance this would do the honorable thing to do.

  • The honorable thing Michael would be for Trump to realize he would be a disaster as President and for him to withdraw as an act of patriotism.

  • “The honorable thing Michael would be for Trump to realize he would be a disaster as President and for him to withdraw as an act of patriotism.”

    Good luck with that!

  • Trump might realize he shouldn’t have been so loose with his lips during this a campaign and he might have been able to have such a great running mate.

  • Donald’s right, Michael.

    What professional team do you know that walks off the court or the field with nine more games in the season left to play, and a chance to make the playoffs? This presidential delegate nomination system has been in existence for well over 150 years, with each state party having control over how they want it to occur. According to your “reasoning” in this 2016 Republican presidential nominee contest, if it were followed 156 years ago, as you suggest Cruz do, Abraham Lincoln would never have become President. He won a contested nomination contest because nobody won the minimum number of votes to necessary to win it outright. Lincoln, who was way behind the leader in 2nd or 3 place in delegate votes, won the nomination on the 3rd ballot in a contested election.

    Lets let the process work its way out, instead of caving into a spoiled brats demanding to be given the nomination even though he has not obtained the minimum number of votes required to win it outright.

  • Stillbelieve:

    If the choice is between two idiots pick the one that makes you laugh.

  • Michael, I don’t think a guy who has won 9 U.S. Supreme Court cases out of 9 is an “idiot.” However, I do think people who don’t recognize the seriousness of this election and are falling for Trump’s antics are idiots. If Hillary Clinton gets elected she will have 3 picks for the U.S. Supreme Court and that will destroy the Supreme Court, and our Constitution forever. Polls indicated Trump will lose 48 or more states if he is the Republican nominee. Trump’s “pattern” in his life is “buying influence.” He is the epitome of “inside Washington D.C. crony capitalism.” Furthermore, Trump has said “Hillary Clinton is a great Secretary of State” and has contributed to her campaigns. How will he ever be able challenge her effectively? And now, John Boehner’s saddling up to Trump as a “texting and golfing buddy” confirms Trump is the “establishment” in the flesh. And speaking of “flesh.” Boehner (the former GOP Speaker of the House run out of his job by conservatives the people elected) saying Cruz is “Lucifer in the flesh” and a “son of a bitch” is all Cruz has to run on TV ads as proof of who the real anti-establishment conservative is who will honestly fight for the peoples’ well being both in jobs and safety of the nation.

  • Stilbelieve:
    Excuse please. Just trying for a little humor to lighten things up what with all this ideological madness and all. No slur on Ted’s intelligence intended.

Carly Fiorina and Abortion

Sunday, January 24, AD 2016


When it comes to abortion, I am beginning to think that Carly Fiorina has the zeal of a convert:



Despite the blizzard warning, thousands of pro-life activists gathered at the March for Life in Washington on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, the only presidential candidate to attend the event, pledged to continue speaking out against abortion in the face of opposition from pro-choice activists.

“The establishment media and political class don’t want us to talk about what the abortion industry is doing. You saw what happened when I talked about the horrific truth of the Planned Parenthood videos during a Republican debate,” she said at the march. “Unlike the media, you’ve watched the videos. You’ve seen an aborted baby, it’s legs kicking, it’s heart beating while the technician describes how they would keep these babies alive to harvest their organs.”

In response to the videos, a Planned Parenthood representative said a woman might choose to donate tissue for scientific purposes.

“In healthcare, patients sometimes want to donate tissue to scientific research that can help lead to medical breakthroughs, such as treatments and cures for serious diseases,” said Eric Ferrero, vice president of communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Women at Planned Parenthood who have abortions are no different.”

Fiorina had a message for those who protest her pro-life stance at her campaign events.

“You can scream and throw condoms at me all day long. You won’t silence me. You don’t scare me,” she said at the march. “I have battled breast cancer. I have buried a child. I have read the Bible. I know the value of life.”

Fiorina pointed out that President Obama’s successor will have the “awesome responsibility” to pick up to three Supreme Court justices who will weigh in on religious liberty issues. She added that the next president is going to decide if a life is a life only after it leaves the hospital.

“That is the Democratic platform – that a life is not a life until it is born, and they call us extreme. It is the Democrats and the pro-abortion industry that are extreme,” she said.

Fiorina told the audience Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and “the left” use women as a “political weapon” to win elections.

“I know, having started out as a secretary, being empowered means having a voice, but ideological feminism now shuts down conversation on colleges campuses and in the media,” she said.

She vowed to defeat Clinton and defund Planned Parenthood as president.

“You can count on what I will do as president,” she said. “Together we will restore the character of our nation.”

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68 Responses to Carly Fiorina and Abortion

  • It is a pity that Carly Fiorina’s chances of winning the primary elections are so abysmally low. Feminist supporters of Livia Caesar would have an epileptic fit.

  • Agree, Luke. Fiorina would be a terrific president. She is a leader, not a poll-reader. Only wish she would come out against torture. Cruz is not my favorite candidate but he at least has that issue right.

  • She passes “my must have” values filter, unfortunately she won’t get to fight from the White House for life.

  • How do you come out against something you really can’t define?

  • Greg, it is not that unusual for the boundaries of various ethical definitions to be less than perfectly clear-cut, but we have GOP candidates who actually don’t even bother with the boundaries — taking the position that torture, however defined, is ok if necessary to save the lives of our troops. Me, I have a simple starting point: If I would consider it unacceptable for our enemy to do it to our troops, then we shouldn’t do it to their’s. McCain applied that test to water-boarding, and he was absolutely spot-on right.

  • It’s not just that it’s not “clear cut,” it’s that the definition is commonly used to mean everything from “no danger, some discomfort or annoyance” to “putting people on the rack.”
    It’s rather like some people are trying to re-define “pro life” to mean things as far out as “supports a cradle-to-grave government support program and no borders.”

  • What you say is true, Foxfier, but unless you are cool with the waterboarding of our troops. I don’t see how you can define torture to not include it.
    So where do you stand? Are you cool with the waterboarding of our troops or not?

  • I have always been against physical abuse Mike, but any foreseeable enemies that we fight will torture our troops, and worse, no matter what we do to theirs. In regard to our troops, they often are water-boarded to give them a taste of the least they can expect if they fall into the hands of adversaries.

  • Don, I agree that it is likely that foreseeable enemies will torture our troops, but I don’t see how that morally justifies our torture of their’s. Yes, we do water-board a small number of our combatants as part of training. I just don’t see how that logically changes anything. My point stands — the physical abuse of prisoners is wrong. While there can be honest disagreement as to what constitutes such abuse, we can only claim water-boarding is acceptable if we believe it is acceptable for the enemy to water-board US POWs. I do not see a logical away around this. Our response to Japanese inhumane treatment of our POWs was to try them for war crimes, not emulate them.

  • The point I was responding to Mike was that you seemed to me to be saying that if we water-board our enemies our troops will be water-boarded. I was pointing out that our behavior really does not impact what our current foes do. In regard to the Japanese, our troops did not take prisoners until rather late in the War. Few Japanese troops of course attempted to surrender but those who did tended to be killed out of hand by our troops, a product of hatred born out of Japanese atrocities and the habit of feigned surrender by the Japanese. Late in the War our troops were under strict orders to take prisoners and they, very reluctantly, complied. It is difficult to enforce moral treatment of enemy troops in War, when one side views such a concept as laughable.

  • Yes, Don, you misunderstood me. My practical moral litmus test was to test the morality of the treatment, not compare and copy. The inhumane treatment of our prisoners by the enemy does not justify the inhumane treatment of their prisoners by us. Whether the treatment crosses the line to inhumane can be revealed by our reaction to such treatment if applied to our prisoners. I think the water-boarding of our POWs is morally wrong and a war crime, and our use of water-boarding was a blemish on our great country. Yes, it was confined to a limited number of prisoners for sure, and those prisoners were presumably especially odious. And yes those facts certainly mitigate the gravity of this moral lapse, but a lapse it was nonetheless.

  • “My practical moral litmus test was to test the morality of the treatment, not compare and copy.”

    My response to that Mike is that there is always a practical component to morality as applied in war time. An example of this is Nazi Germany in World War II. Most German troops who surrendered were treated quite properly because our troops knew that the Germans in regard to British and American POWs followed the Geneva Convention. (As opposed to the treatment that the Germans and Soviets meted out to prisoners taken from each other.) An exception was made by our troops however in regard to the Waffen SS due to their well known penchant for murdering prisoners. Somehow they found it extremely difficult to surrender to our troops. One can decry this, but when it comes to moral treatment of prisoners in a War it has to be a two way street, or ordinary troops simply will not abide by rules that the enemy does not follow.

    In regard to John McCain his political positions tend to depend on whether he is running for office. For example in February 2008 he voted against a bill which would have banned waterboarding by the CIA. I am sure that his being engaged in a tough battle for the Republican nomination for President overrode his torture in Vietnam on that occasion. This was on a par with his brief metamorphosis to an anti-illegal immigrant hawk in 2010, facing a tough Republican primary for the Senate nomination, when he screeched: Build the dang fence!

  • Don, I realize that the behavior of our troops is necessarily informed by the behavior of their enemy. But that does not justify mistreatment as a matter of policy, even if it explains mistreatment by individual soldiers. Torturing prisoners in order to secure tactical military advantages is wrong, even if it can be understandable or even forgivable. While I have no interest in making villains of individual soldiers who commit moral errors in the heat of difficult moments, such lapses are not comparable to intentional policy decisions made in Washington. The hardest morality is always that which involves good ends being used to justify evil means. I don’t doubt the noble intentions of the Bush Administration for a moment, but nor do I doubt the immorality of torturing prisoners.

  • “But that does not justify mistreatment as a matter of policy,”

    Agreed. Humane treatment of prisoners of war was a long time developing in the Christian West, and was only imperfectly applied in the best of times. With Christianity being effectively driven from the public square in most of the West, I fear that we may look back upon the occasional waterboarding of a major terrorist as a virtual golden age of humanity.

  • The use of water boarding on captured terrorists to secure their compliance in providing lifesaving intelligence is not prisoner abuse nor does it cross any moral lines.

  • My mind keeps wondering why waterboarding is unacceptable to do to an enemy, but a bullet to his head is okay.

  • During the wars between Christianity (the Church) and the Barbary Moslems, slavery (like torture?) was a goal of the Moslems. Pope Nickolas V wrote that it was licit to keep Moslem slaves permanently.

  • Donald, have you noticed that Marco Rubio,is taking a page right out of McCain’s playbook with regards to immigration?

  • Greg,
    You are free to think so of course, which I assume must mean that you believe that it is morally acceptable for our servicemen to be water-boarded by their captors.


    To my knowledge no one is suggesting that it is morally acceptable to assassinate POWs, but certainly that was the position of the Waffen SS — a position with which the Allies took extreme exception and rightly so.

    And I find it amusing that a commentator on the same blog that regularly (and correctly) reminds us that not every papal utterance from our current Holy Father is binding or correct now invokes Nickolas V in support of slavery. The Church formally teaches that slavery and torture are grave evils, and the Church is correct on both counts.

  • Better question Don, is why is waterboarding unnacceptable but assassination from 20,000 ft (with the attendant collateral damage) isn’t.

  • Ernst,
    First, there is a critical difference between engaging in combat and assassinating combatants who are disarmed and in your custody. Second, the morality of bombing turns largely on whether the damage to which you refer (presumably the death of innocents) is the object of the bombing or collateral to that object, which is a key question of fact.

  • “Donald, have you noticed that Marco Rubio,is taking a page right out of McCain’s playbook with regards to immigration?”

    One of several reasons why I am supporting Cruz.

  • If our servicemen were terrorists who had knowledge of the inner workings of their terrorist network and that information was necessary to protect innocent lives and water boarding was the only way to secure their compliance in divulging that information, then yes. But since that is not the case, Mr. Petrik, your moral equivalence argument is a non-sequitur. I am actually surprised you made such an argument. I would expect better from you.

  • Greg, you seem to be under a misimpression. The intelligence we were seeking was directed to the end of preventing and mimimizing the deaths of allied combatants, not innocent non-combatants. In any case your argument is just classic consequentialism — a justification of evil means by reference to good ends. I took your earlier post to be a different argument, which is that the means were not evil because water-boarding is not torture. That is a more serious argument than your consequentialist one, but in order for it to be sincere its application must be reciprocal — and you retreated from that. You ought to examine your logic more carefully before criticizing mine.

  • No, Mr Petrik, the intelligence we gained from the compliance of KSM, Zubaydah, etc. prevented terrorist attacks on non-combatants here in the U.S. and Eurpoe. This has been well documented. Read Thessien’s book Courting Disaster and Jose Rodriguez’s Hard Measures for starters. I’m sorry, but the whole notion of water boarding being intrinsically evil is a false one. Torture itself is not intrinsically evil for sole reason that it cannot b objectively defined. Intrinsic evil is evil by its very object and if you cannot objectively define it, it cannot be intrinsically evil. Before you throw around the term “consequentialism”, take the time to,learn what it actually means.

  • “Are you cool with the waterboarding of our troops or not?”

    Actually we do in SERE training. The same techniques that were applied in training were applied in interrogation.

    Now the problem begins…

  • Greg,
    Consequentialism is a method of moral reasoning that determines the morality of an act by examining its objective or end. It is useful unless the act is intrinsically evil. While I’m not aware of a comprehensive list of intrinsically evil acts, we can borrow a list from Pope John Paul II. Quoting Gaudium et Spes, he says that intrinsically evil acts are “any kind of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide; whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution and trafficking in women and children; degrading conditions of work which treat laborers as mere instruments of profit, and not as free responsible persons: all these and the like are a disgrace … and they are a negation of the honor due to the Creator” (Veritatis Splendor, 80). John Paul II was an accomplished moral theologian and he plainly did not regard your idiosyncratic definitional requirements as especially relevant, and nor do I.

  • A link to what I was referring to:


    I don’t necessarily agree with the conclusions. But part of the justification by the DOJ for waterboarding terrorists was that it was done in training.

  • Philip, please answer the question I was asking. Are you cool with Islamo-fascists water-boarding our troops or not?

  • Phillip, yes I am aware of the report and its conclusions. I know personally some of the report’s contributors and count them as friends. But the DOJ justification was widely regarded by objective parties as legally quite weak. But in any event its merits, if it had any at all, rested in legal analysis, not moral analysis. Not all evil things are illegal.

  • Mike,

    I will answer your question if you answer this. Was waterboarding in SERE training torture?

  • Phillip,
    Yes, this is old and irrelevant news. Consent matters. Rape is intrinsically evil even if sexual intercourse is not.
    Your turn.

  • Not old and irrelevant news. Just because one consents doesn’t make it moral. One may have consented to what was done in SERE, but its still not moral if all physical interrogation is torture.

  • Mike Petrik on Sunday, January 24, A.D. 2016 at 9:51pm (Edit)
    What you say is true, Foxfier, but unless you are cool with the waterboarding of our troops. I don’t see how you can define torture to not include it.

    Roughly half of my uncles have been waterboarded. By the US military.
    Secondly, “torture” does not mean “things I don’t want to happen to our soldiers.”
    I don’t want our guys to get shot, either, but that isn’t torture– that’s part of war.

  • Gee, Mike, why am I not surprised that you would bring up VS #80.? It doesn’t take a high level moral theologian to see that JPII doesn’t mean what you and people like Mark Shea think it means. It just takes common moral sense. To wit, listed alongside things like torture are deportation (so,we can’t deport any illegal aliens. The 20+ million here in the U.S. will be happy to hear that!) and substandard living conditions. Substandard living conditions doesn’t even constitute a human act. It may or may not be CAUSED by a human act, but it is not a human act in and of itself. It also begs the relevant question I brought up before, how do you even objectively define what substandard living conditions are? It is obviously subjective. If your interpretation of VS#80 is correct moral theology is meaningless.

  • Greg,
    You can leave Shea and his moral preening out of this. I agree that VS#80 cannot be interpreted literally but requires fair-minded exegesis. But no such exegesis can convince me that the torture of the defenseless is any more licit than the murder of the defenseless.

    Phillip, fairly understood the term torture, like battery for instance, presupposes a lack of consent.

    Foxfier, so I infer from your response that you think that the water-boarding by our troops by the enemy would be morally licit because such water-boarding, while unpleasant, is not torture. If so I congratulate you on your consistency even if not for your clarity.

  • Edited for readability:

    You can leave Shea and his moral preening out of this. I agree that VS#80 cannot be interpreted literally but requires fair-minded exegesis. But no such exegesis can convince me that the torture of the defenseless is any more licit than the murder of the defenseless.

    Fairly understood the term torture, like battery for instance, presupposes a lack of consent.

    So I infer from your response that you think that the water-boarding of our troops by the enemy would be morally licit because such water-boarding, while unpleasant, is not torture. If so I congratulate you on your consistency even if not for your clarity.

  • Mike,

    Perhaps you mean in a legal sense. But in a moral sense one cannot consent to an intrinsic evil.

    Or perhaps you are working towards a definition of torture.

  • I hate to say it Mike, but your moral reasoning I this thread was really no different than that of Mark Shea, sans the snark. You tossed the world “consequentialism” around the same way he does.

  • “All is fair in love and war. What a contemptible lie.” Robert Anson Heinlein
    People like Mark Shea who have not defended their country do not merit an opinion on war, torture or anything related thereto. And for all their whining about torture, let them see what happens to pre-born babies every day at Planned Parenthood. Let them fill up on the full measure of what torture really is.

  • Torture also does not mean “things it is not morally licit for the bad guys to do to our soldiers.” Choosing to fight for ISIS isn’t morally licit, either, so it’s got to go back further in the foundation of the argument.
    Stop trying to tell me what I think and figure out a definition of torture that you will support. Then the way that you are including a bunch of assumptions into your conclusion will actually make sense, because the assumptions and the conclusion are yours.

  • MP I hardly recall “regularly” pointing out that not every papal utterance is binding, nor was I pushing (one pope) Nicholas V position on slavery as either correct or not–merely adding info to the question of the issue of never doing an evil, when in fact that papal bull said slavery in certain cases was licit.
    I also have pointed out that Pope Pius XI has called violations of the principle of subsidiarity a grave wrong. That’s not my mere opinion, but a pope speaking on morality.
    Quoting two popes seems to have riled your sensitivities a wee bit.

  • Phillip,
    It is true that one cannot consent to an intrinsic evil, but the presence of consent can be relevant to the definition of that intrinsic evil. See rape for instance. In my a lack of consent is embedded in a proper understanding of torture, just like rape.

    Greg, I do try to avoid snark, insults too. I think I have a pretty good grasp of consequentialism, but am quite open to fraternal correction. But I don’t think that our disagreement is over the definition of consequentialism (you apparently just get all hot and bothered by the word). Our disagreement is very simple: I believe that torture is an intrinsic evil and you don’t. Accordingly I believe that one cannot justify torture by evaluating its ends (i.e., consequentialism), whereas you believe that this moral prohibition is inapplicable. I differ from Shea in two areas (aside from the snark). First, I think that defining the boundaries of torture is important and a perfectly fair discussion. I don’t pretend to offer an ontologically certain definition. I only apply the Golden Rule. Since I would regard such abuse of our soldiers to be torture, I would not similarly abuse their combatants. Mark regards the very entertainment of the definitional boundaries as somehow evidence of evil intent, which I regard as absurd. Mark also insisted on asserting that torture was and is ineffective as an interrogation tool, even though (i) this is irrelevant to his own moral claim that torture is intrinsically evil and (ii) he has zero competency to know such matters.

    I don’t like Shea either. He is an obnoxious blowhard, at least when hiding behind the Internet. But he has always been at least as vocal about the evils of abortion as he has been about torture.

    Your request is granted. I have no idea what you are saying so will no longer try to make sense out of it.

  • Phillip,

    So consent may be part of the definition. But per the link I gave, the individual did not consent to be waterboarded- at least not the last time it was done. He thought he had escaped and would be rewarded. So he was tortured?

  • DonL, I apologize for not writing more clearly. My papal utterance claim was in reference to this blog, not you. I am mystified as to your diagnosis of my sensitivities.

  • The other thing to state is that the act of waterboarding in and of itself is not intrinsically evil if one can consent to such a thing and it still be moral. So what other circumstances can it be licit?

  • Philip,

    I disagree that the linked article shows a lack of informed consent.

    Second, I agree that waterboarding in and of itself is not intrinsically evil if one can morally consent to it. That does not logically mean that it is not intrinsically evil if one does not consent to it. Sexual intercourse is not intrinsically evil, but is if proper consent is lacking. The fact that we have a word for that second evil act (rape is intercourse without consent) and not for the first (waterboarding without consent) is of no logical moment.

  • Mike-
    where’s your definition?
    Twice I answered you, even when it appeared you were making false and irrational accusations against me, personally; was that actually calumny to avoid having to defend your own views on their virtues?

  • Mike,

    There is where we will have problems. Per my link, clearly the individual did not know what his training, let alone waterboarding, involved. No clear idea, no clear consent.

    But he was clearly deceived the second time he was waterboarded. he thought he had escaped and that his trainers were acknowledging this. There was no consent to that incident.

  • Greg Mockeridge wrote, “Torture itself is not intrinsically evil for sole reason that it cannot b objectively defined.”

    That shows a deep misunderstanding of the nature of language.

    Take Wittgenstein’s example of the word, “game.” It is impossible to devise some definition of “game” that includes everything that we call games, but excludes everything that we do not. However, we are all familiar (i.e. socially) with enough things that are games and enough things that are not games that we can categorize new activities as either games or not.

    As Wittgenstein argued in the Philosophical Investigations, there is no reason to look, as we have done traditionally—and dogmatically—for one, essential core in which the meaning of a word is located and which is, therefore, common to all uses of that word. We should, instead, travel with the word’s uses through “a complicated network of similarities, overlapping and criss-crossing”

    He argues that definitions emerge from what he termed “forms of life” roughly the culture and society in which they are used. He stresses the social aspects of cognition; to see how language works, we have to see how it functions in a specific social situation. It is this emphasis on becoming attentive to the social backdrop against which language is rendered intelligible that explains Wittgenstein’s elliptical comment that “If a lion could talk, we could not understand him.”

  • Phillip, I will take your word for that. Perhaps in my haste (I have work to do) I missed some facts. If consent was not present then the waterboarding would be morally wrong in my view. I do not have time to analyze the consent issue properly, however, and have no set opinion on whether consent is implied by enlistment or application, etc.

    Foxfier, I have no idea what you are talking about. I am not avoiding your request for a definition and have not insulted you. Instead, I have expressed fairly plainly that I don’t have a definition, or at least one that is reliable. Instead I applied the Golden Rule in asserting that we should not render any abuse upon prisoners in our custody that we would find morally offensive if rendered upon American combatants in the custody of the enemy. When folks say that our water-boarding of enemy combatants in our custody is not morally problematic, I have asked whether they then agree that the same water-boarding of our imprisoned troops by the enemy would similarly not be morally problematic. For reasons that mystify me (or perhaps not), I’ve had a hard time getting a straight answer.

  • MPS That’s an interesting comment, which reminded this old codger of the old comment made regarding the definition of pornography (Was it a Supreme Court issue?)

    Someone said, “I can’t define it but I know it when I see it.”

    I wonder if the same could be applied to the definition of torture?

  • DonL,
    To varying degrees I suspect that such is always the case. Words, grammar and language are all imperfect social vehicles for imperfect human thoughts. This does not render definitions useless at all. It just reminds us of their limits, I think.

  • Mike,

    Thanks for the conversation. I think in large measure it is pointless (thus my comment at first “Now the problem begins…) for a number of reasons not the least of which is emotions which cause some to insult instead of reason. But then there are also legitimate questions about definition and then obscure questions of philosophy including moral object and intention come in that further complicate the issues if simple agreement on those terms cannot be reached.

    Actually, the exchange we have had has been the most polite I’ve ever had on this topic.

  • Mike
    I’ll buy that. Being a fisherman, I noticed my kind always has a gazillion definitions for the word “big” when pertaining to fish.

  • Thank you Phillip and DonL, on all counts.
    Dominus Vobiscum!

  • Mike Petrik on Monday, January 25, A.D. 2016 at 3:19pm

    Foxfier, I have no idea what you are talking about. I am not avoiding your request for a definition and have not insulted you.

    I said you falsely accused me, not “insulted” me. Specifically, calumny; at best detraction.
    unless you are cool with the waterboarding of our troops. I don’t see how you can define torture to not include it.
    So where do you stand? Are you cool with the waterboarding of our troops or not?

    and here:
    I infer from your response that you think that the water-boarding by our troops by the enemy would be morally licit because such water-boarding, while unpleasant, is not torture.
    You say that you cannot define torture in a functional way; you previously offered “If I would consider it unacceptable for our enemy to do it to our troops, then we shouldn’t do it to their’s.
    I refuted that here:
    because I do not believe it is “acceptable” for the bad guys to shoot our troops.
    Make up your mind; either you are not able to define torture, in which case you cannot object to others defining it to not include what you feel it should and you DEFINITELY cannot morally accuse others of supporting everything you FEEL should be grouped in the same undefined-outside-of-your-personal-feelings category.
    You can define torture, and you either need to fix your initial definition of things which are acceptable for the enemy to do to our troops or make another one.
    I suppose there is a third option; examine your own thoughts and figure out why you are unable to form a working definition of torture, before you use your beliefs as a foundation to try to understand others.
    Understand yourself, and then try to figure out everyone else.

  • Foxfier, with all due respect I do not think a continuing dialog with you would be productive or beneficial for either of us.

  • Foxfier,
    One last college try. I don’t think a precise definition of torture must be agreed upon in order to agree with Church teaching that it is wrong. You are correct that I think water-boarding qualifies and is therefore morally unacceptable, but I do respect (though disagree with) the opinion of those who think it is not torture and is therefore morally acceptable — as long as they agree that the water-boarding of our POWs must therefore be similarly morally acceptable. The notion that the boundaries of torture, however defined, are different for us than for our enemy strikes me as unsustainable.

  • I don’t think a precise definition of torture must be agreed upon in order to agree with Church teaching that it is wrong.
    That is correct.
    A definition is required, however, before you attempt to use Church teaching to argue that a thing is torture and thus wrong under that specific Church teaching.
    You are correct that I think water-boarding qualifies and is therefore morally unacceptable, but I do respect (though disagree with) the opinion of those who think it is not torture and is therefore morally acceptable — as long as they agree that the water-boarding of our POWs must therefore be similarly morally acceptable.
    That’s a problem, unless you are going to define torture to mean “that which it is OK for someone to do to our POWs.”
    There are a great many ways that something can be unacceptable, without being torture. “Torture” is not a synonym for “wrong.”
    The notion that the boundaries of torture, however defined, are different for us than for our enemy strikes me as unsustainable.
    You are the only one putting forward that theory.

  • First of all, there is no Church teaching that says torture is wrong. Secondly, if you are going to call something intrinsically evil, you do have to object ly define it. MPS, with all due respect, nothing you said is at all relevant to the discussion at hand.

  • You do have a point, Greg; here’s the specific part of the CCC where torture is mentioned:
    Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity.

    For contrast, here’s the section for indirect, intentional killing:
    The moral law prohibits exposing someone to mortal danger without grave reason, as well as refusing assistance to a person in danger.

  • You might notice that torture is mentioned as contrary to human dignity in a list of cases which does not include “to extracting information needed to stop an illicit act” or anything which can be construed to include it.

  • Remember Carly Fiorina? It’s good to see prominent women like Joni Ernst and Carly with pro-life and good social values attend the March. All news channel 8 on Fri night featured footage of both Fiorina and Ernst speaking at the March and interviews of out of town attendees. Bless them all. The weather was gray, damp and in the 20s.
    It won’t happen, but I would love to see Carly and Hillary debate. Carly would make mincemeat of her.

  • Foxfier wrote, “either you are not able to define torture, in which case you cannot object to others defining it to not include what you feel it should.”

    Not at all. Take the word “pain.”

    “If anyone said “I do not know if what I have got is a pain or something else,” we should think something like, he does not know what the English word “pain” means; and we should explain it to him.—How? Perhaps by means of gestures, or by pricking him with a pin and saying: “See, that’s what pain is!” This explanation, like any other, he might understand right, wrong, or not at all. And he will shew which he does by his use of the word, in this as in other cases.

    If he now said, for example: “Oh, I know what ‘pain’ means; what I don’t know is whether this, that I have now, is pain”—we should merely shake our heads and be forced to regard his words as a queer reaction which we have no idea what to do with. (It would be rather as if we heard someone say seriously: “I distinctly remember that some time before I was born I believed …..”.)” (PI 288)

  • Looks like Planned Parenthood in Texas is off the hook, and not the people who made the videos are to be hung. See https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-david-daleiden-faces-20-years-in-prison-for-offering-to-purchase-h

    Don, I bet you have a legal posting in the works for later today.

  • Not yet since I have insufficient information to do so. However, I have not yet seen a grand jury that was not a tool of the DA. The DA in Harris County is a Republican but this smells to high heaven.

  • MPS-
    That doesn’t have anything to do with the discussion, beyond being tangentially part of a philosophical discussion.

Where They Stand: Senate

Thursday, October 28, AD 2010

With five days until election day, I decided to take a close look at each of the Senate races, and to offer some prognostications about how I think each will end up.

First, the lock-solid holds for each party:

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19 Responses to Where They Stand: Senate

  • Paul,
    I have been following the Senate races fairly carefully, and I agree 100% with your predictions and caveats.

  • Good analysis Paul. I differ from you in regard to California and Washington. I think the huge anti-Democrat tide will carry Fiorina to victory in the formerly Golden State, and Rossi to victory beyond the margin of fraud often used by Washington Democrats to steal state wide elections in that state. I recall in 2006 that the Democrats won all the close Senate races and I expect the Republicans to do the same this year. However, I suspect that even I underestimate the true power of the anti-Democrat tide running in this country right now, which is something unprecedented in living memory.

  • I hope you’re right Don, but my gut says Boxer hangs on. The problem is Fiorina doesn’t seem to be getting any help from the top of the ticket. And even in wave elections like this one, there are always a few races that the surging party leaves on the table, and I have a feeling this will be one. As for Rossi, he’s starting to seem like one of those perpetual candidates who always just loses. (Well, the first time around he arguably didn’t really lose, but that’s a topic for another time.)

  • An interesting look at the polls in the Rossi-Murray race.


    I think most pollsters are understating Republican strength at the polls by around 3% this year, because they are dealing with an unprecedented situation as to the anti-Democrat wave, the enthusiasm gap between the parties and the fact that independents around the country are breaking hard for the Republicans. We will soon find out, and the accuracy of the polls will be a subject I will be intensely interested in post-election. Watch many polls this weekend showing a mini-surge to the Republicans in the Senate races as pollsters hedge their bets.

  • Great analysis and predictions Paul!

    There may even be a surprise in Delaware ( I realize it is unlikely though) – http://weaselzippers.us/2010/10/27/dnc-at-defcon-1-is-christine-o%E2%80%99donnell-now-leading-in-dem-internal-polls/

  • “… there are always a few races that the surging party leaves on the table …”

    Not in 2006. Every close Senate race broke to the Dems(see, e.g, Missouri, Montana, Rhode Island, Virginia).

  • On the ground here in WA… Murray holding on to her seat is the likely scenario from my perspective. First and foremost, we are a blue state. King, Snohomish and Pierce counties make it so. The corruption in King County (think Seattle) elections makes it even more so (as you alluded to the gubernatorial race of 2004).

    What’s more, there are two different feelings among tea party folks around here. One, which is more aligned to the GOP is that we must defeat Murray at all costs. You heard this all over local talk radio after the primary when Clint Didier withheld his endorsement of Rossi (based on a lack of support for some key GOP platform issues).

    The second element in the tea party is the more libertarian leaning group, one that strongly identifies with the ideas put forth by Ron Paul (and strongly behind Didier). They feel rather disgruntled about the primary, where Rossi was a late comer, and ran something of a non-campaign saving his war chest for the general.

    We’ll see… will the third time (for a state-wide election) be the charm for Rossi? If he loses, blame will be placed squarely on the Didier die-hards for with holding their vote. One thing is for sure, if Rossi loses, it will be one more tick mark in a long string of losses by moderate Republicans in state-wide elections. This begs the question… should the WSRP court more conservative candidates?

  • I’d love to see Her Royal Senator Highness overthrown, but CA is one of those states where getting rid of an incumbent liberal is akin to Hell freezing over.

    If you wish to disagree with that assessment, fine, but don’t call me sir or RL. Call me Beloved General Field Marshall of the L homestead; I worked hard for that.

  • The just released Rasmussen poll on the Washington Senate race has Rossi up by one 48-47. Murray still being under 50% this close to election day is trouble for her.


  • A sign of the public mood:

    “According to pollster Doug Schoen, whose new poll shows vast support for the Tea Party movement among voters, the president is still liked by about half the nation. In fact, more like him personally than like his policies. Some 48 percent think he’s a nice guy, while just 42 percent approve of his job performance.
    But that personal favorability doesn’t translate into re-election support when voters are asked if Obama deserves a second term. Says Schoen: “Despite voters feelings toward Obama personally, 56 percent say he does not deserve to be re-elected, while 38 percent say he does deserve to be re-elected president.” Worse, Schoen adds, “43 percent say that Barack Obama has been a better president than George W. Bush, while 48 percent say Bush was a better president than Obama has been.”


  • In Wisconsin, I wouldn’t count Feingold out. While Johnson has been ahead in most polls, the gap’s been closing in recent weeks and Johnson hasn’t fared well in the debates. Feingold, with three terms under his belt and being a smooth debater, is still pretty popular in a purple state. Johnson may still win, but his lead is shrinking.

  • New York is a sad case. Less than a year old it looked like both Gillibrand’s seat and the governorship would easily go to Republicans. Unfortunately for Republicans, Paterson decided not to run and the GOP basically conceded the senate seat without a fight.

  • Joe, you probably have a better sense of what’s going on in Wisconsin than I do, but the polls seem to have flattened out over the past week. Feingold certainly can make it interesting, but with Johnson now consistently polling in the low 50s, I’d be surprised if he lost.

    As for 2006, there was one race the Dems lost that was considered something of a toss-up. It was the TN Senate race that Harold Ford (call me) lost to Corker by about 3 points. That said, I can’t really think of any other close race over the past 2 cycles that the Dems have lost.

  • RR –

    New York is just an embarrassment for the GOP. Rudy Giuliani could certainly have won any of the statewide races had he decided to run, but evidently he is under the delusion that he could still be President one day. And as bad as Pataki is, he certainly could have been competitive with Gillebrand. The same is true for Lazio if he had set his sights on the Senate instead of the Governor’s Mansion.

  • “whatever the party breakdown is after Tuesday is the way it will remain for the 112th Congress”

    Maybe, maybe not. If the Republicans get to 50, they’ll be throwing every deal they can think of at the most nervous-looking Democratic senator they can find. If Sestak loses badly, that could be Bob Casey.

  • New York is just an embarrassment for the GOP

    The candidate for Comptroller and the candidate for Attorney-General have both shivved the Gubernatorial candidate, refusing to endorse him and (in the latter case) even to appear at public events with him. The Onondaga County executive endorsed Andrew Cuomo. The state party chairman (Richard Nixon’s corporate lawyer son-in-law) has been a pillar of Jell-O. I keep telling you: these people lose and lose and lose because of their irredeemable inadequacies.

  • Re Kirk vs. Giannoulias in IL: I voted early a couple of weeks ago. If either candidate had been ahead by a comfortable margin (meaning my vote would probably not make any difference), or if either party were pretty much assured of taking (or keeping) control of the Senate, I would have skipped this race and not voted for either candidate.

    Kirk is about as RINO as one can be — pro-abort, pro-ESCR, voted for cap and trade before he was against it, etc. However, I went ahead and voted for him, very reluctantly, ONLY because the race is so close AND because control of the Senate may hinge on the outcome. I am not going to sit back and allow a liberal Democrat to win under those circumstances.

  • On a side note: there are some prognosticators who believe that if Harry Reid loses his seat but the Dems hold on to the Senate, the next Majority Leader will be none other than Illinois’ other (ahem) esteemed Senator, Dick Durbin, who comes up for reelection in 2014. Now THAT is a race I am looking forward to. Hopefully the GOP will come up with a much better candidate than they have had the last three Senate election cycles. Lord knows they can’t do much worse.

  • Paul, I wouldn’t disagree that Johnson looks like the winner by a nose. Interestingly, more TV spots have been run in Wisconsin than any other state. Spending at $10.8 million in the Badger state, according to the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks federal races.

Political Miscellania 6/24/10

Thursday, June 24, AD 2010

A roundup of recent political news.

1.  Nikki Haley, see the above video, crushed her opponent in the runoff 65-35.  She survived bizzare accusations of infidelity, attacks on whether she is a Christian, her parents are Sikh immigrants, and outright racism.  She is only 38 years old, her youth being something she has in common with the new generation of conservatives running and winning this year.  She has a 20 point lead on her opponent in the general election and is the odds on favorite to win in the fall and be the next governor of South Carolina.

2.  Tim Scott handily won his runoff against Paul Thurmond for the Republican nomination for Congress from South Carolina 1.  This is a heavily Republican district, so Mr. Scott, who many consider to be the most conservative member of the South Carolina legislature, will now almost certainly be the first black Republican congressman from South Carolina since Reconstruction.

3.  The bad news for the Democrats for November just will not stop.  Gallup released a poll this week which shows a huge enthusiasm gap in favor of the GOP.

The current average is based on four measures of this enthusiasm question since February, including the recent June 11-13 USA Today/Gallup poll. In that poll, 53% of Republicans said they were more enthusiastic than usual about voting and 39% were less enthusiastic, while 35% of Democrats said they were more enthusiastic about voting and 56% were less enthusiastic.

Republicans’ net score of +14 more enthusiastic in the latest poll compared with the Democrats’ net score of -21 represents the largest relative party advantage Gallup has measured in a single midterm election-year poll. More generally, Republicans have shown a decided relative advantage in enthusiasm throughout 2010, averaging a net score of +28, compared with Democrats’ net score of 0.

(Gallup instituted a separate enthusiasm question in March on its Daily tracking survey, which asks voters to say how enthusiastic they are about voting this year as opposed to comparing their current enthusiasm to their enthusiasm in prior elections. This new enthusiasm question lacks a historical trend but has also shown a consistent Republican advantage throughout the year.)

The 28 percentage-point party difference in net scores on the “more enthusiastic than usual” question in 2010 is the highest Gallup has measured in a midterm election year, with 1994’s 17-point Republican advantage the only other midterm election-year gap coming close. (See the table at the end of the article for full data by party.)

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One Response to Political Miscellania 6/24/10

  • Re: Patty Murray’s challengers… Akers is solid, but he just doesn’t have much of a following among folks here in WA. He’s a businessman from Bellingham, who intends to streamline or LEAN out the bureaucracy.

    Rossi is (in my mind) a Johnny-come-lately to the race, and is the supposed establishment choice. He has name recognition, but he has yet to win a statewide race. In my time here, he’s the guy that lost to Christine Gregoire (governor) twice.

    Clint Didier is the man who has won my support. He’s a former tight end for the Redskins, and even caught a TD pass in the Superbowl. He’s a farmer, and a football coach back in Easter WA. By no means is he a polished politician, he admits quite frankly that he is not a polished politician.

    The Washington State Republican Party recently held their convention. Terra Mork, a local activist and pro-life conservative gives her take on the convention here and here. Additionally, Michelle at “Life of the Party”, another local local activist and pro-life conservative gives her endorsement to Didier as well.

    Anecdotally, the signs you see around town for Senate candidates are primarily for Didier. I have not seen one for Rossi. I’ve only seen one for Akers and one for Murray. WA is typically a blue state, but the enthusiasm seems to be falling mostly behind Didier, as Terra’s report of the straw poll seems to indicate. It should be interesting to see how the top two primary plays out to see who really will be on the ballot in the general.