Edward Feser on Stupak, the USCCB and Subsidiarity

Wednesday, March 31, AD 2010

Pertinent to recent discussions of Stupak and the role of the USCCB in advancing the health care bill, Edward Feser offers his reflections on Bart Stupak, the USCCB and the Catholic principle of subsidiarity:

… before the health care bill vote, the USCCB urged Congress either to alter the bill to prevent federal funding of abortion or to vote the bill down. (The USCCB also objected to the bill’s failure to extend coverage to illegal immigrants.) But the letter in which this request was made also emphasized that “for decades, the United States Catholic bishops have supported universal health care,” that “the Catholic Church teaches that health care is a basic human right, essential for human life and dignity,” and that it is only “with deep regret” that the bishops must oppose passage of the bill “unless these fundamental flaws are remedied” (emphasis added).

Needless to say, the impression these words leave the reader with – whether the bishops intended this or not – is that, were abortion (and coverage of illegal immigrants) not at issue, the moral teaching of the Catholic Church would require the passage of the health care bill in question, or something like it. In fact the teaching of the Church requires no such thing. Indeed, I would argue (see below) that while the Church’s teaching does not rule out in principle a significant federal role in providing health care, a bill like the one that has just passed would be very hard to justify in light of Catholic doctrine, even aside from the abortion question. Nevertheless, as I say, the bishops’ language would surely leave the average reader with the opposite impression. And as the bishops themselves remind us, they have “supported universal health care” for “decades,” in statements that also would leave the unwary average reader with the impression that Catholic moral teaching strictly requires as a matter of justice the passage some sort of federal health care legislation. On the day Obama signed the bill into law, Cardinal Francis George, a bishop with a reputation for orthodoxy, urged vigilance on the matter of abortion while declaring that “we applaud the effort to expand health care to all.”

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9 Responses to Edward Feser on Stupak, the USCCB and Subsidiarity

  • I thought I was a voice in the wilderness. Very well written. Much better than I–a simpleton could have written.

    I often wonder, when I pray for my Bishop, Do I ask God to give me the strength to be obedient or do I pray, “Lord save me from my Bishop when he basically flaunts his own personal views as Catholic teaching.”

  • “The government must also see to the provision of insurance facilities, to obviate any likelihood of a citizen’s being unable to maintain a decent standard of living in the event of some misfortune, or greatly increased family responsibilities.” Pacem in Terris 64.

    Federal health care reform ensuring universal coverage was necessary. I too am disappointed with the implementation but I’m still not convinced it necessarily violates subsidiarity (though I personally believe it does in some relatively minor ways).

    The “overreach” may be justified as consumer protection measures which prevent anticipated problems. Few people would consider government health inspections a violation of subsidiarity. It would be possible to write a law that allows individuals to personally inspect sausage factories but that’s impractical. Likewise, some of the supposedly overreaching regulations of ObamaCare restrain individual choice but for a good reason: government is better positioned to make those choices.

    I think maybe a good test of whether something violates subsidiarity is whether it actually harms communities of a lower order. Like I said, I believe ObamaCare does though in relatively minor ways.

    A second question is whether minor infractions against subsidiarity render the entire bill immoral. For example, I think the cap on HSA contributions is too low. It actually harms those who use HSA’s. Would that alone warrant opposition to an otherwise good (for sake of argument) bill?

  • Likewise, some of the supposedly overreaching regulations of ObamaCare restrain individual choice but for a good reason: government is better positioned to make those choices.

    That *could* possibly be the case, but I would argue that a government that considers abortion to be health care, a right, and a HC cost savings measure is patently disqualified to make those choices. Ditto for considering the intentional killing of the disabled as a “family matter”.

  • I wouldn’t consider the government disqualified to make decisions on all matters just because it makes the wrong decision on one matter. Besides, except for when voters want to kill non-voters (abortion and euthanasia), government has a bias in favor of providing more, not less. I find it odd that those who claim the government loves spending too much money also believe the government would like to kill grandma to save money.

  • A wrong decision is one thing, a wrong decision(s) on fundamental matters are another. When most people talk about the government loving to spend money, I think they’re referring to spending as a means of acquiring power and building dependencies to maintain power, coupled with the typical inefficiency and bureaucracies that accompany it.

    As far as killing people or allowing people to be killed to save money. Why not? It gives them power over lives, and as you pointed out, we’re talking about non-voters. Pelosi said abortion coverage would be a cost savings to Obamacare, and I just saw this:

    http://www.creativeminorityreport.com/2010/03/krugman-death-panels-will-save-money.html

  • There’s nothing odd about it. Few claim that the government likes to spend money arbitrarily. It spends too much on things it shouldn’t and not enough on things it should, because of its distorted and often perverse hierarchy of values.

  • The thing is that Pelosi and Krugman and the rest of these guys are right. Like I brought up in my column, if you make healthcare the responsibility of the government, then you make a thousand other things the responsibility of the government as well.

  • Interesting that Cardinal George is applauding the expansion of health care to all but the unborn.

    But that’s what happens when you put your Democratic Party loyalties before your faith.

  • The precedent is very bad, very bad.

State of the Union Open Thread

Thursday, January 28, AD 2010

Although I tend to agree with my friend Paul Zummo, the Cranky Conservative, that the State of the Union address is our annual self inflicted ritual of boring torture, I did have the State of the Union on as background noise while I went about other tasks.  I was amazed at what a self-indulgent exercise in venting it mostly was.  Things haven’t gone Obama’s way, and last night he decided to engage in a little Presidential talk-therapy.  The tedious length, reminiscent of some of Bill Clinton’s efforts, indicated that this was an undisciplined opportunity for Obama to lash out at his opponents.  Three more years of this should be as much fun for the country as my last root canal was for me.

Two points struck me as particularly odd.  Obama telling Democrats in Congress that this was not a time to “head for the hills” in panic over the looming elections.  This is the type of statement that he might make to them behind closed doors, but certainly not in a State of the Union address so as to remind the nation that Democrats are in panic mode.  Doing so will not calm jittery Democrats in the slightest.  The second point was his reopening the issue of gays in the military.  I could just hear Blue Dogs from Republican areas thinking, “Well thanks Mr. President for driving another nail in my coffin in November!”  Obama has obviously decided that if he is going down, he will do so as a champion of Liberal orthodoxy.  I doubt if this will please the Democrat members of Congress more rooted in electoral reality.

Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

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19 Responses to State of the Union Open Thread

  • I think “gays in the military” actually helps the Dems in senate races, because it’s one thing that might actually increase the turnout for urban libs.

    I missed the last third of the speech, so I can’t comment on the whole thing. The one proposal that really bugged me was student loan relief for going into “public service.” As if some bureaucrat in the General Services Administration is doing a great service to the country that needs an additional reward beyond job security, great benefits, a good salary, and a defined benefit pension. WTF! Why should we borrow money from China for that?

  • Dissed banks at least four times, by my count; insurance companies at least once.

    Blamed Bush at least twice.

    Not much in the speech that isn’t stock in every other speech he’s given since he started campaigning. Maybe a couple of attempts to recast himself as a centrist.

    Nice dodge of responsibility for TARP.

    “I am ending the war…in about the same time frame as it probably would have ended anyway” I know that strategy; it gets attempted almost every time I give my kids housework.

    Not a remarkable piece of oratory, though it coulda been worse. I’m assuming the Presidential Fan Club in the media will hail it as the new Gettysburg Address; would that he had taken a page from Lincoln and gone for brevity.

    VA’s Gov did a respectable job (definitely better than last year’s response,) but might have come down a little harder on the transparency issue and the locking out of the opposing party in drafting legislation.

  • I thought that Bobby Flay’s ribs should have won the throwdown, but then I am more partial to spicy rather than sweet pork ribs. It boils down to a matter of taste.

    And it was about time Marque got axed from Worst Cooks.

    What … there was something else on TV better than the Food Network?

  • Amen, c matt! I’m glad I wasn’t the only one watching the Food Network instead of the SOTU! I agree, too, on spicy BBQ instead of sweet!

    By far the most offensive thing I’ve seen about the SOTU last night was the President’s unprecedented direct, frontal attack on the SCOTUS. It shows how petty and vindictive he thinks, and it shows an incredible lack of respect for the separation of powers created by the US Constitution. Some Constitutional legal scholar he is, eh?

  • It is amazing how regional BBQ is. I can’t believe these folks haven’t heard of the best smoking wood in the world – mesquite. They keep insisting on hickory or apple/maple.

    (To be precise, there are at least three different ways of cooking that people call BBQ – (1) using heavy sauces for basting while cooking, probably what most think of as BBQ; (2) grilling, where you use a hotter fire and open flame; and (3) smoking, where the fire is usually cooler (low to no flame) and the choice of wood is most important).

    Constitutional Scholar + Harvard = disaster in the making.

  • (Guest comment from Don’s wife Cathy): I let Don watch the State of the Union speech for me. I was at a financial aid workshop at the HS with my oldest, fetched home my youngest from CCD, and then listened to the President’s speech as “background noise” while retro-gaming on the computer via DOSBox. I did spot a link on Drudge that listed the longest & shortest State of the Union speeches for each President from Johnson on; Obama’s was right up there with LBJ’s & Clinton’s longest speeches.

  • Completely missed the State of the Union.

    I was attending a question and answer session with Cardinal DiNardo regarding the Anglican Ordinariate here in the U.S.

    Major points:

    1. Need to establish an Ecclesial Commission ASAP via the USCCB to begin the process of forming the U.S. Anglican Ordinariate.

    2. Then need a bishop appointed for said ordinariate.

    3. Many things that needs to be done would be made easier to accomplish if numbers 1 & 2 were done immediately, ie, begin the process and have a shepherd to guide that process.

    4. A bunch of other stuff that I will be reporting later on… lots of inside information that I need His Eminence to approve of before posting!

  • c matt — get Tito to ship you some pecan (that would be puh-cahn). It’s vastly underrated outside the Texas Gulf Coast.

  • It wouldn’t be very far to ship, since we live in the same city. Although I like mesquite better, pecan is good – and makes one heck of a pie!

    The O ran for over an hour I hear. I read the text of the speech so didn’t get the nonverbals, but I was shocked at the dig at the Supremes. I guess the O doesn’t like Marbury v Madison if it might mess with his agenda.

    Anchoress seemed to have a pretty good take on it. The speech itself was rather mid-level – not great, not a complete disaster in itself, but there were a lot of WTF? moments – he seemed to criticize the very things he himself has been doing for years as if he never did them. And that whole “Washington” thinks this, or does that and it has to change – as if HE isn’t the embodiment of DC. What was up with that? I’m beginning to wonder if he isn’t a bit schizophrenic.

  • On gays in the military, why is it [I know why. I’m just asking] that no one addresses the question in real life. Thus, what of master sergeants who might be gay given authority over new recruits?

  • I was at Mass.

    Re: BBQ… Mesquite is king when it comes to wood choice.

    The regionality of BBQ is a curious thing. In Texas, beef reigns supreme. In the deep south, it’s pork. I’ve spoken to Alabamans that don’t view beef as real BBQ. (He has been forgiven for his transgression.) Additionally, sauces tend to vary regionally as well. Give me a spicy, rather than sweet sauce. Although, I respect the joint that offers no sauce, i.e. the attitude that “Our meat can stand on its own.”

  • Nice Houston contingent on this blog. I’m from Pearland, and the barbecue in the area’s one of the big things I miss most.

    As for what I guess we’re supposed to be talking about: And that whole “Washington” thinks this, or does that and it has to change – as if HE isn’t the embodiment of DC. He just told an audience, I believe here in Florida, how great it is to be out of Washington. I agree that it’s a bit contrived and disingenuous.

  • Gabriel Austen,
    Because male master sergeants already have authority over female recruits in boot camp, do they not?

    The criticism of SCOTUS by a president is not unprecedented. Jackson routinely flouted SC decisions (and was reputed to have said something along the lines of “John Marshall has decided. Let him enforce it.”). I don’t think Obama’s response, as immature and incorrect as it was, is quite of the same level. When a pro-life president criticizes Roe, he’s not disturbing the separation of powers.

  • I didn’t see the SOTU. They are seldom worth listening to. But my understanding is that the criticism directed toward the POTUS is not because he criticized the Citizens United decision, but because he unfairly mischaracterized what it said. Given the inordinate efforts undertaken in crafting and vetting the speech, it is not plausible to suggest the mischaracterization was unintentional.

    Andy Jackson had his attributes, but he behaved like an ass. His 200 year old example is pretty weak precedent.

    Finally, gentlemen understand protocol. A president does not use the occasion of the SOTU to take a misleading cheap shot at those who voluntarily present themselves as a demonstration of respect for your office.

    In other forums, go ahead and criticize SCOTUS opinions. We all do. But try not to lie about them.

  • I’ve heard that mesquite imparts too strong a flavor.

    Besides the scolding of the SCOTUS, the bank tax, and possibly the education tax credit, I didn’t find anything objectionable. I noticed that when he spoke in favor of free trade agreements, only Biden and the Republicans applauded.

  • RestrainedRadical,

    Biden only clapped because he wanted more light in the room.

  • Biden would have applauded Obama if Obama had belched.

  • I was engrossed in a book and did not watch the SOTUS. However, I have very strong feelings about barbeque – I favor spicy ribs, and prefer beef to pork. There, I have weighed in on a very important issue. 🙂

Fiscal Health Care Reform: The Publics Option

Friday, December 11, AD 2009

Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama continue to spend, spend, spend away money we don’t have.  With the public option now firmly established in the current Senate version of the health care bill, Election 2010 comes to mind.

Kick the bums out.

I love democracy.

(Biretta Tip: Glenn Foden of NewsBusters)

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13 Responses to Fiscal Health Care Reform: The Publics Option

  • Give me an alternative to Republicans, and I’ll happily comply. Let’s not forget that the borrow-and-spend mantra was begun by Mr Reagan, and continued by both Bushes, especially the last one.

    Lucky thing for the GOP that in our political system, you might be in last place, but you’re never more than one election from ascendancy.

  • Borrow and spend began with Reagan Todd only if Reagan’s name is spelled Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Roosevelt’s Depression deficits, not including World War II, peaked at 5.4% of gdp. Obama’s deficit this year was 7.2% gdp. During Reagan and the first Bush the deficits averaged 4.3% gdp. Both parties have done a lousy job since the onset of the Great Depression of balancing tax receipts and spending, with the exception of Eisenhower and for a few of the Clinton years due to the dot.com bubble, and we are all going to be paying a high price for this for a very, very long time.

  • Running a deficit during a war of national mobilization, a banking crisis, or an economic depression is not unreasonable. During nearly all of Mr. Roosevelt’s tenure, the country was either producing below capacity (and had latent unemployment of such a level that public expenditure might actually be ‘stimulating’) or engaged in a war global in scope. Please note, the Roosevelt Administration did make a serious attempt to balance the federal budget in 1937.

    What has been troublesome has been the inability (since 1960) of the political class to balance the federal budget over the course of any one of the seven business cycles which have run their course since that time. We have had a few balanced budgets near business cycle peaks.

    It is not that difficult to manage. You have to fix your expenditure stream at where your revenue stream would be if the economy were producing at mean capacity. They do not do it because they just don’t feel like it.

  • Let’s not forget that the borrow-and-spend mantra was begun by Mr Reagan, and continued by both Bushes, especially the last one.

    Todd, you are of an age to recall that during a period of economic expansion lasting ten years and featuring improvements in real domestic product a mean of 4% per annum, the administration and Congress balanced the budget just once. Name the political party which had majorities in the upper and lower chamber of Congress during that entire period, and held the presidency for eight of those ten years.

  • When was the last time anyone heard of Congress raising our debt limit to aproximately 2 Trillion dollars. With our debt cost apprroaching 50% of our national income, and the new health bill
    and more stimulus spending to come..some thoughs..the
    government takes money from someone, it has none of its own, and giving money to others has to come from those who work for a living. When those who work for a living realize that if they didn’t and then the government would care for them, then what is their incentive to work and that is the begining of any nation to fail..the fact is that you can not mutiple wealth by spending it and dividing it.

  • I should have added that Medicare’s chief actuary states that Medicare under the proposed bill would spend 35.8 Trillion from 2010 to 2019. Wonder where the money is going to come from?

  • “Name the political party …”

    I would love to see national politics turned on its head, and some degree of sanity restored to foreign and economic policies.

    That either major party will effect that change is a vain hope. Given an alternative to an incompetent, lawless GOP, I’d prefer to hold my nose and take my chances with the current status quo. If nothing else, seeing the Republicans whine in defeat is more entertaining than the alternative.

    Seriously, I do think 2010 and 2012 will be an outlet for much anger if the job market doesn’t perk up. The feds borrowing money isn’t news; it’s been SOP for the last three decades. But unemployment is a crusher right now. The federal deficit? That’s just a useful tool for partisans. As of right now, it still means nothing, and either party is as much to blame as the other.

    Now let’s get back to Obama’s one-child policy.

  • I do not think it will be all that amusing if the U.S. Treasury suffers a failed bond sale. When the ratio of public debt to domestic product comes to exceed 0.9, the willingness of participants in the bond market to buy your scraps of paper diminishes considerably. And that won’t mean ‘nothing’.

    Quite a number of us have had occasion to assess what causes you to hold your nose.

    http://amywelborn.typepad.com/openbook/2005/11/settlement_in_s.html

  • Excellent research, Art. With the change in topic to Catholics behaving badly, I’ll accept your concession on my point that major party politics are bad news for economic good sense. I’m really curious about one point. Stocks are up forty-some percent and the Christmas bonuses for bankers are rolling through the economy. Just what is it that the GOP would have done differently? Mr Bush and the Fed starting the bailout to the tune of a third of a trillion last Fall. Would Mr McCain have ended all that?

    Now can we please get back to the secret Muslim/socialist takeover?

  • Stocks are up forty-some percent and the Christmas bonuses for bankers are rolling through the economy. Just what is it that the GOP would have done differently?

    I am not making any concessions, Todd.

    Counter-factual speculation is usually idle.

    Barney Frank was one of the obstacles to implementing debt-for-equity swaps to recapitalize the bulge bracket banks and in general casino bankers like Robert Rubin have more intimate relations with the elites of the Democratic Party; however, it is true that debt-for-equity swaps for these institutions and for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were also rejected for obscure reasons by Mr. Paulson and his camarilla.

    I have a suspicion a Republican Congress and Administration would have told the United Auto Workers to pound sand. They’d have had to accept a pre-packaged legislated re-organization or the corporations would have had to trudge through the standard proceedings of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, not to mention the ministrations of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. It would have been a good deal less sweet for General Motors’ legatees.

    As for the stimulus, by what accounts have appeared in the newspapers, it appears to have been an omnibus of programs Democratic members of Congress have had on their wish lists for some years. A Republican Congress and Administration would likely have preferred a legislated tax cut.

    There is quite a bit of dispute between economists as to the actual value of the multipliers associated with public expenditure in these circumstances, which is to say a dispute about the degree to which public spending crowds out private spending (one macroeconomist who has written on the subject has said recently that crowding out vitiates the effect of public spending so long as unemployment rates are below 12%). A suspension of payroll tax collections could have been implemented rapidly and would have dispensed a disproportionate share of its largesse to the segment of the population with the highest propensity to consumption, thus having the most impact toward the goal of maintaining aggregate demand. There was the anxiety that the demand for real balances was so intense last year that such would simply be added to people’s stock of cash reserves. The results of monetary policy innovation since then indicate that that concern was misplaced. I do not think the Republican caucus would have favored a payroll tax cut over an income tax cut.

    I think the Republicans, given a free hand, might have put the kibosh on scheduled increases in the minimum wage. The labor market would be in less parlous condition for a’ that.

    The Republicans likely would not have pissed away valuable time on a tar baby like Mr. Obama’s medical insurance proposal.

    I have no clue about what sort of mortgage modification plan might have been drawn up by a Republican Administration.

    So, we did not get debt-for-equity swaps, we got fleeced by the United Auto Workers, the Democratic Party got to do $787 bn in favors for their friends, we priced a good many low wage workers out of the market, we were saddled with a means-tested mortgage modification program that encouraged people to restrict their earnings, and we have had no action as yet on a revised architecture for the banking system or a general plan for working out underwater mortgages because Congress has wasted so much time debating a non-acute problem. It is possible that a Republican Congress and Administration could have done a worse job. It is also possible that I am Marie of Roumania.

  • “It is possible that a Republican Congress and Administration could have done a worse job. It is also possible that I am Marie of Roumania.”

    Ouch! Give it up Todd! You are batting way out of your league with Art. (When it comes to economics, so would I if I tangled with Art!)

  • No, president is can solve these problems. There is more going on behind the scene that we can’t see. Why don’t movie stars like Oprah and Jolie and many other people in the US try to help but stand and watch our country go down and stand before the camera with six kids from all around the world. Im sorry Oprah im black and I may just have to mail her. Why do people from out of the country get free education but not homeless vets? Or just homeless people?. And Obama is making it worse sending troops because he just gonna piss off those people and that’s the last thing we need here in America along with a race war. America is fake, why would anyone believe any presedent. Denmark, France are happy countries with healthcare but they pay a lot in taxes, not many people want to do that in America. America is not use to change. Change is easier for an eastern countries philosophy speaking.

  • “I am not making any concessions, Todd.”

    Then on the next thread we find ourselves conversing, I suggest you stick to your expertise, as Donald terms it, and set aside the desperate historical research.

Cardinal DiNardo Rebukes Critics on Health Care Involvement

Monday, November 30, AD 2009

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo defended the Church’s involvement in removing abortion from the House version of the health care bill after a storm of criticism was leveled against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) of “lobbying” concerning the last minute addition of the Stupak Amendment.

“We would say: If you call it lobbying, we’re lobbying on moral issues that relate to the public square and we feel we have, as religious leaders, a place in that debate with others,”

Cardinal DiNardo became chair of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities at the USCCB.  He is also the ordinary of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.  His Eminence represents a growing cadre of bishops that are leading their flocks out of the wilderness bravely in a fallen world.

All throughout 2009 many bishops have entered the national debate in regards to defending fundamental moral values and rectifying misinformation from wayward Catholics in political life.  This year seems to be the year the bishops found their voice.  Not since Francis Cardinal Spellman graced the New York Archdiocese have we seen the faithful being led with strong ecclesial leadership from all parts of the country.

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14 Responses to Cardinal DiNardo Rebukes Critics on Health Care Involvement

  • Yep, that’s my Cardinal. With Cornyn and Hutchinson as our senators, Texas should be on the prolife side of this debate (although I have my doubts about Hutchinson at times, but she’s thinking of a governor run, so she has to tow the line).

  • C Matt!

    That’s my Cardinal as well.

    What parish do you attend (send me an email if you can).

    Tito

  • My cardinal, my parish. . . you Texans are all the same. You still think the rest of the USA is the backyard of the Republic of Texas. 🙂

    Have some pitty on those of us stuck behind enemy lines will ya’?

    Part of the enemies and the Enemy’s strategy is to make religion irrelevent, personal, private, quite and indifferent, then neo-pagan Satan worship will rule by default.

    It is not only permitted and encouraged, it is mandatory and incumbent upon the Church (clerics, religious and layity) to form the moral conscience of society and government. Catholics cannot and will not be quite about protecting the pre-born, the aged and all those marginalized by secular, illicit authority and the powers of the present darkness.

    Thanks be to God for Cardinals and Bishops with faith, hope and charity and what you in Texas call ‘cajones’ too.

    St. Andrew ora pro nobis.

  • That is not quite, it is quiet. Sorry.

  • That’s my Cardinal. I even see Tito at Mass 🙂

  • I love those late, late Masses on campus 😀

  • Tito:

    Can’t seem to locate an email for you.

    I go t St. Vincent de Paul in Houston.

  • C Matt,

    tito[.]benedictus[@]gmail[.]com

    St. Vincent’s, Where all the doctors attend! They have the best young adult spiritual group in the entire archdiocese.

  • I attended Mass at St. Vincent De Paul when I was down in Houston about ten days ago. I was pleasantly surprised – I was expecting a somewhat schlocky, new agey kind of Mass but got a very orthodox service (if with some unfortunate guitar accompaniment). A very packed Church, as well. Also, I couldn’t help but notice that they did not take up a collection for the CCHD. Interesting.

  • I noticed that as well at my own parish. From my understanding, you have to physically go to the narthex and drop your donation off in a CCHD bag or box.

    I like that idea instead of passing the basket around during collection.

    Outside of some of the architecture, the priests and laity are pretty solid there. You’ll still find your cultural Catholics, but it isn’t your typical parish that you normally find.

    And yes, they can definitely do without the guitar. It’s amazing how many orthodox and practicing Catholics that actually still play the guitar during Mass think it’s appropriate.

  • Well, if the worst thing is that they have guitar accompaniment, then things can’t be too bad.

  • St. Vincent’s, where all the doctors attend

    And the lawyers that sue them!! 🙂

    The Teen Life Mass tends to make me cringe, but while the style is not my cup of tea, the substance is usually solid. I am a bit disappointed with the Resurrection statue in the back (looks way to cartoonish), but the original crucifix and statues up front are pretty amazing.

    The architecture is a bit boxy and utilitarian, but at least it’s not theatre in the round.

  • C Matt & Paul,

    The statue in the back? The surfing Jesus?

  • Surfing Jesus

    Yes! That is a perfect description!

Abortion, Capital Punishment and War, One of these things is not like the other

Friday, November 27, AD 2009

Ed Stoddard of Reuters’ religion blog Faithworld carries a roundup of the skirmish between Congressman Patrick Kennedy, the son of the late Senator Edward Kennedy, has claimed that Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin.

In conclusion, Stoddard asks:

This leads to a question about the consistency of views in the U.S. Catholic Church leadership. The Church opposes abortion and therefore liberal politicians who support abortion rights risk being refused communion. The Church supports a healthcare overhaul that would make the system more equitable. So does a conservative Catholic politician who opposes this reform risk being denied communion for ignoring the Catholic social teaching that justifies it?

How about support for capital punishment, which the Vatican says is unjustified in almost all possible cases, or for war? In the build-up to the Iraq war, Pope John Paul was so opposed to the plan that he sent a personal envoy to Washington to argue against it. Did bishops threaten any measures against Catholic politicians who energetically supported that war despite Vatican opposition?

The author’s questions reveal an elementary ignorance concerning the moral issues in question and their relationship to varying levels of Church teaching. While I am disappointed by his answer (Faithworld is generally one of the better and more educational “religion blogs” in the secular media), it is understandable — as even many Catholics find themselves confused on this matter.

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33 Responses to Abortion, Capital Punishment and War, One of these things is not like the other

  • Thanks for this excellent clarification, Chris.

    It’s going on my facebook 🙂

  • What about Justice Scalia who not only disagrees with the prudential judgment of our bishops on capital punishment but rejects Church teaching on the matter entirely?

    Also, as pro-choicers like to point out, there’s a difference between supporting abortion and supporting abortion rights. Can’t one accept Church teaching on abortion and still believe that criminalization is bad? Isn’t the legal status of abortion a matter of prudential judgment? I realize that this still doesn’t apply to Rep. Kennedy who not only supports keeping abortion legal but also supports promotion through subsidies.

    And can’t some prudential judgments concerning capital punishment or war be so obviously correct no reasonable person can oppose it without supporting the underlying evil? For example, suppose Obama stated that we’re waging war against Canada to raid their natural resources.

  • “Also, as pro-choicers like to point out, there’s a difference between supporting abortion and supporting abortion rights. Can’t one accept Church teaching on abortion and still believe that criminalization is bad? Isn’t the legal status of abortion a matter of prudential judgment?”

    The distinction between supporting abortion and supporting abortion “rights” is completely fallacious. That is akin to attempting to argue a distinction between being pro-slavery and supporting the “right” to own a slave. As to criminalization of abortion Catholics are required by the Catechism to support that:

    “2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:
    ‘The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.'(79)

    ‘The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.’ (80)”

  • I understand what Restrainedradical means — sometimes it seems reasonable to concede the legal matter (abortion is legal) and work on the practical one (getting people to stop aborting, or to not get pregnant). But that’s where prudence comes in. That approach has not worked, any more than (per D. McClarey’s example) attempts to get slave owners to give up their slaves worked when slavery was legal. Concentrating on the practical matters only ensures (barring a widespread change in social mores) they will continue as they are.

    All those practical things should be done, of course, because that’s all that most people CAN do. But it is a fallacy to think that because a thing has been declared legal, it is therefore right. Unjust laws can and should be repealed. People who make and influence legislation have a different obligation than the rest of us when it comes to action. We can and should work on the practical matters that are in our power, but we should also demand the legislative action that is within the LEGISLATORS’ power, and they have a moral obligation to do something about it. If a law is unjust, and a legislator does nothing about it, then is that legislator not guilty of perpetuating injustice and, in the case of abortion, murder?

    If we were talking about apartheid, wouldn’t we agree that the legislators had an obligation to end it, even if it were difficult and unpopular?

  • Ditto and amen to Gail’s, Donald’s and Christopher’s points above. Much like the ridiculous, one-sided “debate” b/w Chris Matthews and Bishop Tobin, the entire specious argument of “should women who procure an abortion be put in jail?” betrays a logical fallacy in thought. Nobody who makes that argument would ever make a similar one against women’s right to vote, legalized slavery, etc. And the ones who don’t recognize the difference b/w an intrisic evil like abortion and Just War or even the judicious use of the death penalty would also never make such an argument “defending” those who make the decisions to apply the death penalty or to prosecute a Just War.

    For the amateur philosophers out there, what kind of logical fallacy is the one that such wishy-washy “pro-lifers” use, namely the one we’ve all mentioned here on this thread? I’m no logician, but even I recognize that such thinking must be the result of some logical fallacy!

  • I’d like to clarify that Justice Scalia doesn’t reject Church teaching on the death penalty, he rejects the recent stand– counter to, in his phrasing, the “2,000-year-old tradition of the church approving capital punishment”— where various members of the leadership claim that the death penalty isn’t needed to protect society.

    This is solidly inside of prudential judgment, although it has (of course) been very poorly reported. Ton o’info here, including a response from Justice Scalia and a defense of the Justice by Cardinal Avery Dulles. (who does not agree with him)

  • I’d like to clarify that Justice Scalia doesn’t reject Church teaching on the death penalty, he rejects the recent stand– counter to, in his phrasing, the “2,000-year-old tradition of the church approving capital punishment”– where various members of the leadership claim that the death penalty isn’t needed to protect society.

    Exactly. As Cardinal Dulles himself emphasized the prudential nature of the disagreement:

    As to the Pope’s assertion that the death penalty should today be rare, I would reaffirm, against Justice Scalia, that this is to be understood as an exercise of the Pope’s prudential judgment. “Prudential” has a technical theological meaning with which Justice Scalia seems not to be familiar. It refers to the application of Catholic doctrine to changing concrete circumstances. Since the Christian revelation tells us nothing about the particulars of contemporary society, the Pope and the bishops have to rely on their personal judgment as qualified spiritual leaders in making practical applications. Their prudential judgment, while it is to be respected, is not a matter of binding Catholic doctrine. To differ from such a judgment, therefore, is not to dissent from Church teaching.

    It is of course possible to hold, with Justice Scalia, that the Pope is imprudent. Catholics are not obliged by their faith to hold that their pastors are always prudent. I personally agree with the Pope that the death penalty should be very rarely, if ever, applied in the United States today. In saying this I do not rely only on “steady improvements in the organization of the penal system,” the motive mentioned by the Pope. I would add that limitations and deficiencies in the penal system create a danger of miscarriages of justice. In our society, moreover, the death penalty is often seen as an instrument of popular vindictiveness and retaliation rather than of divine justice, since the transcendent order of justice is not generally recognized. The practice of capital punishment also reinforces that disrespect for human life which is all too prevalent in our society. For these and other reasons, I would be reluctant to approve of the death penalty except in cases of rare and prudential judgment assisted by the wisdom of the duly appointed pastors of the Church.

    And agreed with Scalia, that John Paul II’s intention was not to overturn traditional Catholic teaching on the death penalty:

    Like Justice Scalia, I doubt that the older tradition is reversible, but even if it were, I contend any ecclesiastical authority reversing it would have to propose the new doctrine with great emphasis and show why the older position is no longer tenable. In fact, however, the Pope says nothing against the traditional doctrine.

  • In my view, the greatest penalties ought to be reserved for the abortionist himself and whatever propagandists or pushers he might have at his disposal.

    I also don’t think a woman should be punished for abortion until an investigation into the father of her child’s status is conducted, due to the high number of coerced abortions.

    Hysterical liberals like Chris Matthews and NARAL promote the fantasy that every abortion is some kind of feminist triumph over patriarchy. The reality is that many abortions are coerced – the father has threatened the mother with violence, or with abandonment. Or her own parents have done the same.

    In the end, someone must be held responsible. But I don’t believe it should always be the woman who gets the abortion. And this we must make absolutely clear. Too many women who end up in the abortion clinic are themselves victims.

  • Pingback: Abortion, capital punishment and war — One of these things is not like the other. » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog
  • Boo-Hoo for whomever is “responsible”, what we still have is A DEAD INNOCENT CHILD.

    With respect to the tradition of the Church on Capital punishment.

    There are serious fissures in the Catholic Church over traditions, that can be argued were “reversed” in Vatican II, so poo-poo on that Scalian argument, thus you have the discontinuity and continuity problems with many kinds of quasi-schismatic Catholics.

    Perhaps the Church needs a much more comprehensive revaluation than just what it is talking with the SSPX about. Perhaps Catholics in the United States need to see things in a BIGGER picture as well.

  • That is akin to attempting to argue a distinction between being pro-slavery and supporting the “right” to own a slave.

    Or being pro-war and supporting the right to wage war. There is a difference.

    As to criminalization of abortion Catholics are required by the Catechism to support that

    Thanks.

  • “Or being pro-war and supporting the right to wage war. There is a difference.”

    The analogy to war is telling restrainedradical. The Church acknowledges just war. The Church does not acknowledge a just abortion. It is also possible to support the right to wage war while being opposed to individual instances of war. Once someone is pro the “right” to have an abortion, the ability then to oppose instances of abortion goes out the window due to the support of a “right” to abortion.

  • Maybe a more fitting analogy would be “Or being pro-murder and supporting the right to murder. There is a difference.”

    Perhaps “Or being pro-rape and supporting the right to rape. There is a difference.”

  • This moral hierarchy you are discussing is imperceptible to most modern thinkers. One of the most unfortunate consequences of political liberalism and the democratic ethos is the overpowering influence of equality. Equality is the fundamental end of our moral thinking and our political life, even when it contradicts justice and charity.

  • Or being pro-obesity and supporting the right to be obese. Or being pro-smoking and supporting the right to smoke.

    A supporter of abortion rights wants abortion to be legal. A supporter of abortion wants to increase the number of abortions.

    Anyway, that’s the pro-choicer’s argument and it does make sense but I too use pro-abortion as shorthand for pro-abortion-rights just as I use pro-death-penalty to describe not only those who want to see more capital punishment but also those who think it should be allowed.

  • “A supporter of abortion rights wants abortion to be legal. A supporter of abortion wants to increase the number of abortions.”

    Not necessarily. Some pro-aborts do want to increase the number of abortions, usually for mercenary or ideological reasons. Others are merely content to have abortion remain legal. In both cases the key agreement is that neither would want any abortion to be prevented by the State, which is what makes them pro-aborts.

  • For this simile to work the thing substituted in has to be not just bad but immoral– war, the death penalty, being fat or being a smoker aren’t inherently immoral.

    Killing babies, committing murder or raping someone are inherently immoral.

  • Some war can potentially be inherently immoral – for example, Cheney’s 1% pre-emptive war doctrine. There may not be definitive pronouncement on it, but I would consider such a position to be very close to, if not actually, inherently immoral.

  • Pingback: Abortion, capital punishment and war — One of these things is not like the other. « the other side of silence
  • To clarify I am against abortion! But it seems to me the church in its teachings apriory sets a double standard in at least two ways:
    1) in cases of war and capital punishment the justification for respectful disagreement is in knowledge or presumed knowledge / interpretation of the facts
    In abortion this ” caveat” is denied since the beginning of human life if postulated without any further proof or facts proffered.
    could it be that the abortion is an individual decision and war and capital punishment is a system’s decision , made by the “king”
    according to your response …..“The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.”…..
    Hitler had the responsibility for the common good at least de facto therefor according to your thoughts the Germans really had no further responsibility but to say: The Fuehrer knows best…. ( Well most followed the churches advice? lead ? and said Sieg! Heil!)
    May be this is the foundation to Hochhuth’s novel The Deputy
    I think the Catholic Church should move away from its over reliance on legal maneuvers and learned logical reasoning and return to its roots which seem to me to require to make firm moral stands and demand firm moral comittments, especially where life and death questions are involved, regardless of the costs to itself or its members. Anything short of this, degrades it into a mere club
    Revelations come to mind: But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you… .(Rev3:16)

  • With regards to the determination of moral criteria, the Catechism maintains “The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.”

    to my knowledge throughout history there never was an unjust war in the eyes of those who started it and have been at the time “responsibility for the common good” as you call it.
    This makes the Just War Theory a practical sham , without any significance for the people. It also is insulting to our intelligence and smells of the discontinued practice of the “Index”

  • …You’re really not even trying to understand the arguments, are you?

    If you really are, please try to say what, exactly, you’re having trouble with– I’d be pleased to try to help you understand it.

  • I thought the argument is pretty clear.
    there seem to be two standards in taking a life. One is ( in the case of abortion) to be on the safe side and and postulate when life starts since it cannot start any earlier than with conception therefor that’s when its starts . We have no proof for it but rather err on the possibility that it might start there. Fair and good, i fully support this.
    In the other two cases – capital punishment, war a different standard is invoked. It seems to me this is clearly expressed in the phrase given earlier ( (paraphrased)….the Prosecuting attorney can respectfully disagree with the Church on individual case of capital punishment….
    In this case a life can be taken even if the judgment of the person involved turns out to be wrong.
    In case of war there are 2 points , to my humble opinion involved:
    1) again the parties involved respectfully agree to dis agree and this is morally justified … Well we are all humans and mistakes are made….
    since never in history the aggressor felt the war was not absolutely necessary the whole just war theory became a mute subject it est meaningless
    2) Your argument that the moral decision should be left to the proper authorities seems to me to patronize any believer who is not in power. this leads to my comments regarding Germany etc.
    what is important to the argument here however is the willingness to agree to respectfully disagree
    This in my opinion is a double standard and is probably based on political considerations as it can be demonstrated throughout much of history ( especially since Constantin)
    What I think the stand of the Church should and has to be is consistent. Since I think the stance of the church and beginning of life is the prudent decision the same principles should apply to the other two cases. Anything short of this smells of intellectual dishonesty.
    By the way, in arguing this case I don’t think the Catechism can be invoked since the argument is consistency in reasoning the cases and not what the cases actually say.
    I thank you for your interest in setting me straight.

  • Innocent life vs non-innocent life.

    There’s no justification for me walking into a mall and shooting someone; there is a justification for me shooting a guy who is trying to kill me.

    We have no proof for it but rather err on the possibility that it might start there.

    Scientifically speaking, conception is the start of life– an embryo is a unique organism from the mother, while an egg or sperm cell is not. We don’t know when that organism gets a soul— but then, we’re guessing that you or I have a soul, as well.

    since never in history the aggressor felt the war was not absolutely necessary the whole just war theory became a mute subject it est meaningless

    Highly improbable. Beyond that the just war theory doesn’t just say whoever starts it has to think it’s needful, even with my horrible history education I can think of wars that were started for advantage, not need. I seem to remember Bismarck was famous for them– he had a tactical goal, expansion/reuniting Germany, but that’s not absolute necessity.

    Your argument that the moral decision should be left to the proper authorities seems to me to patronize any believer who is not in power.

    1)”It’s patronizing” isn’t a refutation of an argument.
    2) Hitler did have a responsibility for the public good. He did not fulfill that responsibility, needless to say.

    In human interactions there will always be leaders and followers– that’s the only way there can be cooperation. If there are leaders, they have to be able to lead– especially in the case of large organizations, it’s not possible for everyone to have all the information and properly assimilate it, and get everything else done.

    Life is highly valuable. What, then, does your notion of consistency make of those lives who try to take lives?
    Should those who are innocent be slaughtered at will by those who are not, simply because we’re all valuable– or is killing, as a last resort of defense, acceptable?

    By the way, in arguing this case I don’t think the Catechism can be invoked since the argument is consistency in reasoning the cases and not what the cases actually say.

    I try not to quote the Catechism unless the topic is what the Church believes– even if what I end up saying is simply a rephrasing of what it says. If someone agrees, then there’s no argument– and if they don’t, why cite something they disagree with to try to change their mind?

  • You dodged the topic by starting your defense with innocent versus non innocent life this does not seem to me a serious attempt to set me straight. May be that is not your intent?
    patronizing is a remark that is used in my opinion to indicate that the argument lacks substance and is movind into areas of emotional domination not a good thing to do in an argument.
    The Hitler example does not focus on Hitler but on the obligation of the Germans as suggested by your argument.
    Actually the historic response by the Germans can by justified with your argument. And by extension the dire consequences

    Life is highly valuable. What, then, does your notion of consistency make of those lives who try to take lives?
    Should those who are innocent be slaughtered at will by those who are not, simply because we’re all valuable– or is killing, as a last resort of defense, acceptable?
    Again this is not the argument. The question is are we consistent in our moral judgement
    take the Iraq war; it was deemed and turned out to be an unjust war , however you claim a different mechanism for the individual , up to the pope himself, than for the decision of abortion or euthanasia. What i am arguing for is that the same methods and principles are applied. After that we can start to talk about innocent life versus not innocent life.
    This latter discussion might prove even thornier than the first, especially if one allows for biblical guidance.

    I try not to quote the Catechism unless the topic is what the Church believes– even if what I end up saying is simply a rephrasing of what it says. If someone agrees, then there’s no argument– and if they don’t, why cite something they disagree with to try to change their mind?
    It might be that I see inconsistencies in the catechism and I said I might not that I necessarily did.
    In that case it would be good to grapple with the passage instead quoting it as gospel which it is not.
    I guess I subscribe to the motto Schiller coined in his poem “Die Glocke” what you have inherited from your fathers earn it in order to own it.
    this – I suppose – means grapple intellectually with it in order to understand it. It does not have much value intellectual or moral if one just accepts it without an earnest attempt towards understanding to ones capabilities. I think this would be demeaning to the human dignity.
    I still hope you will take the time and effort in truly showing me the light, since despite of what I wrote I feel the topic is much deeper and important than we both touch upon this far.
    thank you in advance for your effort.

  • You dodged the topic by starting your defense with innocent versus non innocent life this does not seem to me a serious attempt to set me straight.

    You seem to be dodging the topic by not seeing a difference between killing without cause and killing in defense.

    That’s what just war and the death penalty boils down to– it’s a nation-sized case of self defense.

    If you support self defense by individuals, but not by leaders on behalf of those they have responsibilities towards– or, more so, if you support defense on behalf of one’s children, but not on behalf of one’s citizens– then the lack of consistency lies with you.

    Actually the historic response by the Germans can by justified with your argument.

    A bold claim; so justify it, using my arguments.

    In that case it would be good to grapple with the passage instead quoting it as gospel which it is not.

    You’re getting off topic, reindl. You stated that I should not “invoke” the CCC because you disagree with it, and I did not quote the CCC.

    ((On the side– you can make it easier to read what you’re replying to by using < brackets around I and /I to trigger italics.))

  • Thank you for the suggestion I will try to use it, but I do not quite understand your hints Do you mean:
    I will try this!

    We are arguing two different things
    I am NOT touching the subject Killing versus not Killing.
    the subject – as I see it – is the way killing is justified in principle.
    in abortion case it is easy to argue not to kill no problem!!
    In case of war there might be the justification to as you call it self defense etc. the problem arises to determine when it is Justified.
    You seem to say in this case it depends on all sorts of things completely beyond the capabilities of the lay person , because he or she is incompetent.
    (that is where the patronizing comes in by the way)
    if that is the case however it is the Church’s responsibility to educate and support the “flock of sheep” so they can make the right moral choice. If the church is incapable of doing so it should say so.
    That it is possible for lay persons to make the right choice can be seen in the case of Franz Jaegerstaetter who resisted serving Hitler and was beheaded for his pains. he did this against his bishops advice ( Bishop of Linz Austria)who used precisely the argument you are using and urged him to serve in Hitler’s army.
    I am certain you are aware that the Church has beatified F.Jaegerstaetter proving him justified or right and his bishop or your argument wrong.

    I also would like to remind you that you intended to explain things to me. I am only raising questions and from me perceived inconsistencies


    You misunderstood me, I did not mean to imply that you cannot use the ccc as you call it, what I meant was that you would have , or should argue the points from first principles. I apologize for the mis-understanding.

    I am still looking forward to your responses to my original arguments. The ” stuff” in between as far as I am concerned was an attempt on my part to clarify my side of the argument and to give you enough info to refute correct … it as you please and can.
    Let me point out that I am trying to argue a Moral/ethical point that could be perceived as being “to the right” of your position as I perceive it now (if it would be a political debate of course)
    As always thank you for your interest

  • I tried to quote a passage of yours but it did not work I am too ignorant in these and of course also other matters If you could give me some more detailed instructions I would appreciate it. Thank you.

  • Use I to start, and /i to end.

    In case of war there might be the justification to as you call it self defense etc. the problem arises to determine when it is Justified.

    If you agree that it is ever justified, then your complaint that allowing the death penalty is inconsistent, due to allowing killing, is invalid. It becomes a matter of you not agreeing where the line is drawn, rather than if the line should be drawn at all.

  • You are avoiding the argument. I like you to comment on the Jaegerstaetter example I gave , as it is pertinent to this discussion. The argument was not whether killing might be allowed or not the argument IS to determine within a morally consistent framework when killing is allowed and it expanded – the argument that is – to who is allowed or has to make these choices.
    Please use the Iraq example I gave the pope determined that the just war theorem indicate that the looming – at that time- war would be unjust. Yet after the war started there was no further comment that participating in a unjust war – according to the just war theorem – is tantamount to murder.
    It is at that point that moral inconsistencies arise
    because murder is murder if nothing else killing a conscious being adds torture to the act of murder which – if one has to /wants to categorize these things-. The torture part comes with the fear and realization that you have to die I presume , never had to do it myself-.
    I think the abortion/ war/ capital punishment/… debate goes much deeper since there are corollaries to all this. And it are these corollaries that , in a practical sense might be even less palatable to us as a society than the results of the Killing argument.
    In any event I think any relativism in arguing the case should be avoided otherwise anything goes and the result is strictly utilitarian devoid of any claim to
    morality. one has to be able to argue the case consistently and continuously starting with abortion if you like and ending with war if you like.
    I am sure you understand what I mean.
    You asked in the beginning whether I am serious. I think this is and has been the defining challenge for the Church in the last and undoubtedly this century.
    The Church seemed to have failed its test during WW1 and WW2 (as well as many other conflicts thereafter. (see Jaegerstaetter example consider it a case study)
    But this does not mean we cannot remedy our transgressions in the future.
    Splitting up the argument of killing or shall I say murder – which would be unjustified killing and which would equally apply to abortion and war – certain wars etc into separately compartments to my mind is a moral dodge and with it makes our whole stand immoral one acts morally or does not.
    A murderer does not always have to kill in order to create immense suffering. it enough if he does it only in one case and not the other.
    thanks for the info on writing . the following is just a test so please ignore it.
    i test test test /i

  • Your original argument was that by differentiating between murder and abortion on one hand, and war and capital punishment on the other, there is a “double standard” in place.

    You futher claimed that, due to war and capital punishment being decided by the “system” or a “king,” Hitler was somehow justified.

    If you cannot manage to hold to your own argument and feel the need to accuse those who do of dodging the topic, I have no further time for you.

  • Sorry you feel that way

    I do have to respond to your interpretation – insinuation that:

    You futher claimed that, due to war and capital punishment being decided by the “system” or a “king,” Hitler was somehow justified.

    I never claimed that . What i did say is:
    IF your interpretation that responsibility for moral decision is vested in those of proper authority THEN
    The Germans where justified to line up behind their Fuehrer I think quite a bit different from your interpretation
    Unfortunately as in many of these discussions it often turns out that folks are not really interested in finding out or letting others find out the “Truth” or their truth and try to explain it in logical and dispassionate ways.
    It seems they are more interested in formulas than arguments and convictions ( I don’t mean just adopted beliefs) they can be passionate enough to defend.
    It was not me who offered to set me straight remember.
    the task obvious became too difficult
    Thank you for your time

  • a bit different from your interpretation

    No, it isn’t. Your argument against there being a difference between war and abortion was exactly as I stated.

    Unfortunately as in many of these discussions it often turns out that folks are not really interested in finding out or letting others find out the “Truth” or their truth and try to explain it in logical and dispassionate ways.

    Exactly why I am not going to waste any further time, barring some sign of actual interest in information– as opposed to dancing from claim to claim, then accusing those responding to you of “avoiding the argument.”

    If you admit any instance where self defense, unto death, is admissible– then you commit the same “inconsistency” you accuse the Church of committing. You may draw the line in a different spot, but still admit the difference exists.

    It seems they are more interested in formulas than arguments and convictions ( I don’t mean just adopted beliefs) they can be passionate enough to defend.

    A logical argument is a formula.
    And there is no inherent exclusion of conviction in an adopted belief, let alone an exclusion of passion in adopted beliefs.

    It was not me who offered to set me straight remember.

    Amazingly, it was not I who offered to set you straight, either; I offered, if you were truly trying to understand, to attempt to aid you in understanding. The latter has happened, but the prior is in doubt.

Cardinal Rigali: Catholic Politicians Cannot Support Senate Health Care Bill with Abortion

Thursday, November 26, AD 2009

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.4019473&w=425&h=350&fv=]

Justin Cardinal Rigali of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia emphatically stated that no Catholic can vote for a health care bill that carries abortion.  He did say that the American bishops have been working diligently in getting health care for all individuals here in America and that the Catholic bishops do support a health care bill that does not provide or pay for abortions in anyway possible.

Cardinal Rigali’s comments came at the press conference announcing an unprecedented coalition of Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant leaders uniting behind a call to Christian conscious, the Manhattan Declaration.

Senator Bob Casey, Jr., I hope you’re listening, your soul is on the line.

_._

To read about the Manhattan Declaration click here.

(Biretta Tip: CNSNEWS.COM)

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2 Responses to Cardinal Rigali: Catholic Politicians Cannot Support Senate Health Care Bill with Abortion

  • Unfortunately the lack of moral values and ethics of most of our elected officials today don’t allow them to be able to determine right from wrong. Even many Republicans have lost sight of reality. It is up to the new conservative movement to filter out the bad seeds in the upcoming election to get our country back on track to what our forefathers intended it to be. We have to learn from the community organizing powers of Acorn and connect with our people to get things right. God bless America!

  • Good video. I think I see our Fr. Chad Hatfield behind the Cardinal.

Church and Health Care

Sunday, October 25, AD 2009

I have been on the sidelines in the huge health care debate, I find so many good and bad effects in all the proposals I have seen up to now. The first thing to note is that I am swamped by health care bills- one-third of my gross income goes straight to United Health, and then add in co-pays, and some recent Mayo Clinic extra’s, and you get the idea- “Help!”.  I can see how many good people with fulltime jobs and HMO health insurance coverage, are still at risk of bankruptcy if they or their kids get struck down with anything approaching serious or chronic medically.

The problem is compounded by the very real situation of how almost all of us are in some or a lot of danger when it comes to being laid-off from that full-time work- and many Catholics like myself- have wives that are home by choice to better nurture our kids. Ugh! Lose your job, lose your insurance or pay for COBRA which you can’t afford because you don’t have a job- Double Ugh!

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9 Responses to Church and Health Care

  • That is a really interesting idea.

    The K of C has developed a remarkable life insurance program that strikes me as a reasonable model for your idea. Add to your idea the existence of so many hospitals, hospices, facilities for the aged, and counseling centers and you have a significant start already.

    Hmmm…

  • I would favor insurance being totally divorced from employment. With that in place, there could be other ideas at work. It could be a part of severence if laid off. It could be included in unemployment insurance by the government so that you wouldn’t lose it between jobs.

  • You miss an important point. The bishops want greater government involvement in health care so they can back out of it and spend less money and resources on it themselves – and if the names and identity of “Catholic” is still attached, all the better. They don’t *want* to be more involved. It’s expensive and bothersome and a liability.

    Bishops are not go-getters and innovators. They are protecters and retreaters.

  • Surely much confusion would be cleared away were one to refer to the proposals as “insurance for health care”.

    It is about money, not about health care.

    Where are the provisions for new hospitals, new medical schools,more doctors, more nurses. Nowhere.

    And the efforts to control liability suits have gone nowhere. The trial lawyers are among the biggest donors to the Democratic Party.

    I am uncertain that our bishops should be involved. They can barely control “their” own efforts. Consider the years of donating to such outfits as ACORN. And Catholic Charities is [rightfully] spurned by parishes throughout the country.

  • Mark,

    You have a good point about the bishops — but why should the bishops be the ones behind it? Why not a lay initiative? Why not expand the KoC program to be open (for only slightly higher fees) to non-Knights? Or why not start an entirely new program on our own?

    The trick is to get a handful of laypeople with the capital and the know-how to get it done. Any takers?

  • P.S. I know the Christian Brothers run an insurance-type thing for a number of religious congregations. Maybe we should look at them, too, to see what the possibilities are.

  • “Big gov” vs “Big HMO’s” is a HUGE misunderstanding. The HMO was forced on America BY the US Congress.

    I think focusing on “ObamaCare” is not only foolish, but hands the victory over without contest. All argument about it has focused on public funding of abortion and euthanasia.

    The reality is that any kind of a government run system will make not only health insurance worse, but health care overall worse. America’s health care system is the envy of the world.

    The focus on abortion funding amounts to arguing over whether we should gut the best health care system in the world WITH abortion funding or WITHOUT it.

    That said, yes, health insurance SHOULD be divorced from employment, which is yet another reason government should be forced to stay out of it entirely.

    Government regulation is the entire reason that health insurance is employer based, and the reason that it is nearly impossible for people to find & get decent health insurance on their own.

    The root of the problems we see today are based in the fact that health care costs are ever increasing, while the “cure” is always new ways to try and hide the cost. There are a few alternative health plans out there (like that would actually start addressing some of the core problems that drive up the cost of health care, such as H.R. 3400.

    That’s not the only alternative bill out there, either. There have been more than 2 DOZEN health care proposals made in Congress & the Senate, all of which have been repeatedly buried because they have been Republican proposals that would not ruin the health care system in America by nationalizing it.

    Here are just a few:
    H.R. 77, H.R. 270, H.R. 502, H.R. 1086, H.R. 1118, H.R. 1441, H.R. 1468, H.R. 1658, H.R. 1891, H.R. 2520, H.R. 2607, H.R. 2785, H.R. 2786, H.R. 2787, H.R. 3356, H.R. 3372, H.R. 3400, H.R. 3454, …….

  • The idea of an organizational (Catholic Church) based insurance entity is very appealing to me as it could answer both the availability and affordability problems with health care today. Additionally, It could be a model of non-profit status and could lower administrative costs significantly if it were really treated as a new way of doing health care insurance.

    The availability solution could be built into the plan’s charter with no pre-existing exclusion and open enrollment.

    How it charges for coverage could also improve availability and level the playing field for individual buyers with group buyers. For example, right now groups are usually priced by the major health care companies on the basis of an employee census as to age. Then the health care company may apply certain actuarial credits to reflect wellness programs, etc. or in some cases just to be competitive. The rate then is averaged and the 25 year old pays the same as the 62 year old in terms of what comes out of their pay. If the same 25 year old got individual coverage they would pay probably 10% of what the 64 year old pays. The new group could work the same way as a large group plan works now and eliminate or ameliorate the built in old age “tax” of individual coverage. Just as an aside, this may seem unfair to the 25 year old, but they will reap the benefits as they age much like social security.

    More importantly non-profit status would allow cost savings and with a new entity costs could be cut significantly with real simplification of contracts and no or little paperwork. As it grows in size it would be able to really negotiate with providers to lower costs which are currently sacred cows to government (because of lobbying) and major health companies because of kickbacks and deals (sorry if it sounds paranoid, but it is real life). An example would be prescription drug costs – if Canada can do it the new group should be able to also if it can stay independent.
    THE OTHER SIDE
    Unfortunately, there is a lot working against the idea. Some of the problems have been mentioned above as cultural within the church but there are some other things that could hurt on a macro basis.

    To be really effective and wring costs out of the system the current employer based system would have to be replaced largely with an individual based system. This creates some substantial problems as a large portion of the workforce is not going to take kindly to losing these benefits. Longer term this may become more viable as more and more employers are dropping or reducing benefits but the last holdouts may be the government sponsored autoworker unions.

    The current health insurance companies may not be overjoyed at this prospect either. At first the new group would probably have to use the current markets unless they are capitalized in some different form and can work out their own discounts with healthcare providers. Eventually, though, they will know that they are going to be removed from the equation. I suspect they will put up many roadblocks.

    The government could also be a major hurdle as there could be some definite constraints based on the “not invented here” concept. We’ve seen how this works when government forms an insurance carrier and does not allow competition such as Workers Compensation Insurance in several states such as Ohio.

    To be really effective there would also have to be a few other things that may only be able to come from government such as mandatory coverage and Tort Reform (assuming this can be done without being overturned by the Supreme Court). Additionally, regulations would have to be changed to allow for interstate operations and possibly establishment of specialized insurance entities.

    Overall, I like the idea and it is something that I have suggested before although not in the context of a faith based group. It is a major alternative to government plans and could eliminate much of the inflated medical costs that are overburdening us now. Real life, though, is that it has some significant hurdles and few real advocates.

  • Thanks Paul for the detailed consideration- I am hoping against hope that instead of having our church and the bishops taking a position of negativity toward the inevitable government “reform” of health care coverage, we should take the bull by the horns and provide an alternative that doesn’t require government takeovers or bow to the powerful private for-profit interests – you overcome evil with good, not mere rhetorical complaint.

The Flames of Dissent and Discord

Saturday, October 24, AD 2009

Patrick Kennedy

Politicians make asinine statements all the time, but sometimes there is one that stands out from the crowd for its sheer cluelessness, duplicity and perversity.  Patrick Kennedy, yep, one of Teddy Kennedy’s sons, a Democrat member of Congress from Rhode Island, lambasted the Church for not falling into line behind ObamaCare. Here is a statement that he made  to CNSNews.

“I can’t understand for the life of me how the Catholic Church could be against the biggest social justice issue of our time, where the very dignity of the human person is being respected by the fact that we’re caring and giving health care to the human person–that right now we have 50 million people who are uninsured,” Kennedy told CNSNews.com when asked about a letter the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) had sent to members of Congress stating the bishops’ position on abortion funding in the health-care bill.

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9 Responses to The Flames of Dissent and Discord

Radio Personality: Members of the Opposing Party Should be Denied Health Care

Friday, October 2, AD 2009

Garrison KeillorYesterday Rush Limbaugh said that Democrats should be denied health care.  No, no, wrong radio personality!   If Rush had said anything that stupid, rest assured that you wouldn’t have had to wait to read about it on this blog to learn of it.  The networks would have been shouting the news and condemnatory editorials would have been thundering from newspapers coast to coast.  Instead it was just Garrison Keillor, National Public Radio’s Mark Twain wannabe, who decided that there are just too darn many Republicans and by gosh something should be done about it.  (As they would doubtless phrase a call for gopcide in Lake Wobegon.)  Writing in the Chicago Tribune,  Keillor has this charming sentiment:

When an entire major party has excused itself from meaningful debate and a thoughtful U.S. senator like Orrin Hatch no longer finds it important to make sense and an up-and-comer like Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty attacks the president for giving a speech telling schoolchildren to work hard in school and get good grades, one starts to wonder if the country wouldn’t be better off without them and if Republicans should be cut out of the health-care system entirely and simply provided with aspirin and hand sanitizer. Thirty-two percent of the population identifies with the GOP, and if we cut off health care to them, we could probably pay off the deficit in short order.

Denying health care on the basis of political ideology.  Nice guy.  Of course Keillor was merely joking.  He has a long history of hating Republicans,   but I am sure he merely jokes, and perhaps fantasizes, about the deaths of those who have the temerity of disagreeing with him politically and in reality he would never harm a fly.  At least a Democrat fly.

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38 Responses to Radio Personality: Members of the Opposing Party Should be Denied Health Care

  • Keillor is a typical “progressive” idiot. He has a platform and a reputation bought with out tax dollars and he acts as thought that gives him the right to do our thinking for us. God save us from such fools.

    By the way, where did he acquire the reputation for being a humorist? I have tried on several occasions to listen to his radio show and found only low grade witticism no better than what fellow workers produce freely in the course of the workday. And if I’m driving, I am constantly in danger of being put to sleep and driving off the road.

  • I confess Jim that my wife and I in the mid to late eighties listened to Prairie Home Companion. We stopped, partially due to the politics that began seeping in, but mostly because Keillor simply was recycling the same gags and skits in the show with minor variations. It got boring to us, a cardinal sin when your goal is entertainment.

  • I remember coming across the show quite by accident in the mid-80’s. Keillor was talking about being raised in the austere sect of the Plymouth Brethren and his secret boyhood wish to be Catholic (specifically an Italian Catholic – red wine, spaghetti, paintings of nekkid ladies, and “Let’s do the motorola!”) I laughed so hard I cried.

    I think the politics began seeping in because there is only so much material you can squeeze out of Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery and a small handful of characters. How many Norwegian farmer jokes can you do?

  • Oh, and it’s one thing to bring politics into the show, but Keillor has gotten increasingly bitter and spiteful about it. For a guy who places such a high value on “being nice to each other” – well, apparently conservatives are barely human (we’re all rich and greedy too), so there’s no need to be nice to them.

  • I recall that one Donna! Keillor definitely had his moments.

  • Keillor used to be pretty funny — mostly back before he started retiring with a big farewell episode every year and then coming back again. (Which was, what, 15-20 years ago?) Though even then there was a certain amount of off-key political ranting about Reagan.

    Well I remember the NPR lineup of Prairie Home Companion, following by the BBC imports My Word and then My Music. Ah, youth…

    But this editorial piece of his is just moronic. And then, of course, we have the Democratic congressman from Florida calling saying we need to pass the Obama bill now in order to stop the holocaust.

  • I peg the date that Keillor stopped being even remotely funny and started being a partisan hack at roughly November 1994. He completely went off the deep end and became unbearable to listen to right about 1998.

  • I think some folks here are being lead around on their nose by their ideology. Feigning may be a skill in court, but it is tiresome in writing. I also find it interesting that you don’t just have to disagree with Keillor’s column, but you also can’t find him funny, entertaining, or even like him.

  • I think some folks here are being lead around on their nose by their ideology.

    Unlike you, of course, who is the world’s last independent thinker. Never mind your recent penchant for defending any piece of left-wing agitprop, no matter how silly or offensive. Oh, if only the world had as many courageous, independent minds like Mz Discalced Yooper Forrest.

  • That one should be left up to show how the intelligentsia thinks.

  • “Old men shouldn’t be allowed to doze off at the switch and muck up the works for the young who will have to repair the damage. Get over yourselves. Your replacements have arrived, and you should think about them now and then.” Keillor

    Though given M.Z.’s last comment perhaps its the middle aged that should take over.

  • I deleted MZ’s use of the colloquial term for fornication and e’s quotation of the same. I trust that people can express their thoughts adequately without using some of the language prized by the felons I defend in criminal matters.

  • Donald (?):

    Thanks for cleaning up M.Z.’s mess.

    M.Z.:

    You’re fortunate that the TAC moderators were kind enough to wipe that little expletive of yours off the record. You might want to exercise a little more retraint. To resort to such profanity can only worsen your case, not to mention, reveals certain aspects of your character, too.

    God bless.

  • Donald: So it was you! Just wanted to bring to the attention of the TAC moderators that little expletive of M.Z..

    I appreciate greatly how promptly you attended to it. Needless to say, such profanity is undeserving a place here at TAC.

    I find it ironic that just a little while ago, Vox Nova, of which M.Z. & Michael Iafrate are part, looked down on such comments as these and even devoted an entry to address the matter with such supposedly noble intention that they would hitherto not allow that kind of foul commentary on their blogs.

    I guess that doesn’t apply to the Vox Novans themselves as far as their own participation goes on other blogs.

  • I knew your intentions were honorable e.

  • If you’re going to go to the trouble of taking down my comment, take them all down, and at least remove my name from Paul’s comment.

  • Nothin’ like some good ad hominems

  • I have no idea of what has transpired in the past 90 minutes, but if MZ would no longer have his full name associated with his comments, then it’s fine by me if you delete that portion of my comment.

  • MZ I have no problem with Paul’s comment or a rejoinder from you so long as no language better left to lock ups is used.

  • Uhhhh… Paul, I believe that little expletive of M.Z., which subsequently followed your comments, was meant for you.

    I can’t be sure, but perhaps it was something you said that enraged him so?

  • e:

    I have no idea what MZ said in response to my comment. I went out for lunch and came back and saw only the aftermath of the controversy.

  • If I see either of you in real life, you’ll regret it.

  • M.Z.

    Was that a threat?

    Hopefully, Paul hasn’t divulged his personal information or the results could prove disastrous.

  • Now my comments make less sense. But they’re still billiant!

  • Yes, e, the *natural* reading of “If I ever see either of you in real life, you’ll regret it” is a physical–albeit conditional and not immediate–threat.

    Having been repeatedly accused of issuing a threat myself (since graciously retracted by the accuser), I hold out hope for another explanation.

  • e.,

    Please stop provoking M.Z. You can say the same thing without having to use certain adjectives and adverbs.

  • Hold on, now —

    Before M.Z. sics his mafia hitmen on me, let me just say that it was Paul who provoked M.Z.’s ire; not me.

    I only entered into the scene because I deplored M.Z.’s subsequent comment to him which contained uncalled-for profanity.

  • e.,

    I know what you’re saying, just being your friendly taco tracker and making sure this doesn’t escalate anymore.

  • Before M.Z. sics his mafia hitmen on me, let me just say that it was Paul who provoked M.Z.’s ire; not me.

    Oh come on e, that’s just not fair. I now have to spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder, hoping against hope that some crazed albino assassin doesn’t whack me while I’m out for a stroll along the Potomac. For the love of humanity, one of his co-bloggers knows exactly where I am every Sunday morning. What chance do I have?

    Time to write that will.

  • Back to GK’s statement. I get the humor and don’t mind it at all. I just don’t get the math. He seems to forget that the 32% self-identified GOPers pretty much pay for their own health care insurance and are almost certainly aggregate net contributors to the care of the other 68%. No money to be saved there unless one expects the GOPers to pay for nothing, which as I think about is probably just shorthand for the public option.

  • Thank you Mike for bringing this back to the post. All further comments on this thread, please focus them upon the post.

  • There’s nothing more spiteful and mean then a Liberal that’s been disagreed with!

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  • Reading this blog entry has made me choose to abandon this blog altogether. There are so many things in this world to complain about – why don’t you choose one of the real ones?

  • Suit yourself LTN. This is a fairly eclectic blog when it comes to what we write about, and part of our blog brief is to write about American culture and politics.

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A Public Option: the Left's Waterloo?

Wednesday, August 19, AD 2009

Blackadder has had a couple very interesting posts lately arguing that a public health insurance program wouldn’t sound the death-knell to private insurance companies (and hence competition for the consumer) which many have been arguing it would.

What I find interesting is the vehemence of the left regarding a public option… consider this quote from a WaPo story today:

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12 Responses to A Public Option: the Left's Waterloo?

  • One wonders how many of the people now loudly insisting that a public option is essential to health care reform had even heard of the idea a year ago.

  • Chris,

    At the same time, we find in the same article indications that the GOP’s strategy is yet again merely to try to take down ObamaCare without proposing a real alternative… Sen. Kyl from Arizona and Rep. Price from Georgia both offer comments critical of the co-op proposal, but offer nothing as an alternative strategy. Perhaps this is just the WaPo reporter leaving them out, but I have my doubts.

    You’re simply repeating the left’s talking point that the Republican’s don’t offer alternative reforms. The Republicans have offered numerous times reforms which have been defeated by Democrats at every turn.

    – tort reform!
    – allowing individuals to deduct their private health care premiums
    – allowing small businesses to pool across state lines to purchase health insurance for their employees

    John McCain’s health care proposal included eliminating the employer deduction in favor of an individual tax credit, this would eliminate the majority of “previous condition” issues because people would not lose their coverage if they lose their job.

    At the current time, due to Democrat majorities in both houses the Republicans can not bring any of these proposals to the floor, and the media is not cooperating in getting them out to the public.

  • Fair enough, Matt. I guess I’d like to see a more coordinated communications strategy on the part of the GOP, then, to get their word out. If the media isn’t cooperating… go around them. It’s not impossible.

  • Chris,

    Fair enough, Matt. I guess I’d like to see a more coordinated communications strategy on the part of the GOP, then, to get their word out. If the media isn’t cooperating… go around them. It’s not impossible.

    I agree, if we don’t figure out how to do this, we will fail, regardless of unfairness.

  • Obama appears to be stuck. He wants to jettison the public option portion of his health care plan out of (legitimate) concern that it could bring down the entire bill. It appears, however, that the more left-wing Democrats won’t vote for a bill without a public option.

    I’m not really in the business of helping Obama out. However, it might be interesting to see what sort of concessions he would be willing to make in order to garner Republican support for a public plan. Suppose, for example, that the health care bill kept a public option but was altered to include some or all of the reform items Matt mentioned above. Wouldn’t such a bill be preferable to the status quo?

  • BA,

    Wouldn’t such a bill be preferable to the status quo?

    I’d still be concerned by a lot of the other interventions in the existing bill. Also, it seems like the trade-off from a “public” option would be a “co-op” option, which is funded by the government and controlled by the government as a sort of trojan horse government option.

  • As a tangent. The “Death Panels” were supposed to be a figment of the right’s imagination. I wonder how that plays given this:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204683204574358590107981718.html

  • It’s certainly interesting to see how firmly the left has latched on to the fairly anemic public option in the current plan.

    I wonder if some of this is that the second half of the 20th century wasn’t exactly kind to collectivist-minded idealogues. The ideas of Smith turned out to be a lot better at creating liveable societies than those of Marx. But health care has, to many, remained the one area in which people can convince themselves “market bad, centralized planning good”. As such, having the government provide health care has an appeal to partisan Democrats out of proportion to the amount of good that a particular program is likely to do.

  • One thing that bothers me is that all the fuss over the public option has allowed the abortion provision in the bill to go unchallenged. As Catholics are we really more concerned about the economic implications of the bill vs its deadly intent to fund infanticide?

  • Fr. Charlie,

    I thunk you’re mistaken, the outrage over the government No private or blocked number calls please takeover is multifaceted and it include opposition to taxpayer funding of abortion, and coercive euthanasia. I don’t think there’s a shortage of vocal opposition to any of these aspects.

    All of these elements are a natural extension of the government takeover. Even if hey weren’t mentioned in the law they would become enshrined in practice. That’s part of the reason Catholics should oppose any government takeover.

  • er.. think.

  • I would like to think you are right Matt, but I don’t know. While the Ins. companies need some serious regulation, I am totally opposed to a govt. run health care system. But at the end of the day, I can live with almost anything except publically-funded abortion and euthanasia. The “death-panel” campaign may have protected us on the latter, but besides the US Bishops Conf, I hear almost nothing in the public debate about abortion. What I am saying is that some of the energy needs to go into exposing what this bill will do to the unborn.

Freak Show

Tuesday, August 18, AD 2009

Megan McArdle links to a Financial Times piece by Clive Cook which includes the following quote:

The gap between the right of the Republican party, which is providing the angriest critics of the reforms, and the left of the Democratic party, which thinks the proposals too timid, is unbridgeable. These groups do not merely disagree. They despise each other. Their differences are only secondarily about policy. They hold each other’s values in contempt.

These snarling extremes are nonetheless somewhat alike. They have an equal and opposite penchant for conspiracy theories. Almost a third of Republicans, according to a recent poll, believe the unsupported story that Mr Obama was not born in the US (in which case he would be disqualified from serving as president). But remember that more than a third of Democrats subscribe to the even more outlandish theory that the Bush administration knew about the attacks of September 2001 in advance.

One of the annoying qualities of national debate over the last several months (which seems to increase as Democrats become more desperate about their flagship legislation) is the attempt to find the very looniest possible elements of the right and portray them as being mainstream.

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5 Responses to Freak Show

  • Attempts to compare 9/11 “Truthers” to “Birthers” overlook an important point. The question “Is Barack Obama a natural born U.S. citizen?” can only be interpreted one way, and has only two possible answers — yes or no. Either he was or he wasn’t; there’s no in between.

    However, the question “Did Bush know about the 9/11 attacks in advance?” admits of several possible interpretations, listed in order from most to least plausible:

    1. Bush had access to intelligence information indicating the POSSIBILITY of a major terrorist attack being planned, but did not believe the threat serious enough to warrant immediate action.

    2. Bush was given credible but inconclusive information indicating that a terrorist attack was likely to occur in the late summer-early fall of 2001, but again, did not believe the information warranted any significant action.

    3. Bush had good, solid information indicating that Al Qaeda was planning a terrorist attack on the U.S. on or about 9/11/01, and deliberately chose not to take action, since he wanted to use the attack as a pretext for increased security measures and for waging war against countries he didn’t like.

    4. The Bush administration planned and staged the attacks from the outset and merely made them appear to have come from an outside enemy.

    Now, quite a few people (Republicans as well as Democrats) subscribe to theories #1 and #2, whereas only hardcore “Truthers” subscribe to #3 or #4.
    The first two theories mean that Bush simply made an honest mistake in not taking indications of a terrorist attack more seriously, or at worst, that he may have shown poor judgement. However, to embrace #3 or #4 is the real “conspiracy theory” equivalent in irrationality to “Birther” conspiracy theories.

  • The question “Is B. Obama a natural born citizen” can very easily be interpreted in several ways– and most of them are perfectly sane; here’s some ways that the answer could be “no”:
    1) His father, as an official rep of a national party in his home land, counts as a diplomat– thus, the child would be a citizen of Obama Sr’s homeland, as Obama’s mother didn’t fulfill the requirements for her children to automatically be nat-born cits.
    2) Obama renounced his citizenship by taking, as an adult, an Indonesian passport.
    3) Obama was adopted by his mother’s second husband and became a citizen of that country. (2 and 3 is why folks want his college records, BTW)
    4) Obama was born outside the US.

    This is off the top of my head, with a topic I’m not even really interested in.

    “Truther,” on the other hand, is applied to those who think that “9/11 was an inside job.” This would include some of the folks who think Bush “knew about it ahead of time,” but not all of them would be Truthers.

    Now, all that done… the quote is horribly inaccurate or misleading; there was a survey that said one-third of folks surveyed in Utah did not believe or weren’t sure if Obama was born in the US.

    Anne Coulter, of all folks, had a pretty decent point on this whole stupid “Oooh, there’s boogie men! You’re idiots!” argument.

  • Good point, Foxfier.

    Recall that before the election someone had fun going around asking rank-and-file Obama voters if they supported his pro-life stance and his selection of Palin as VP — and many said yes.

    In this case, it wouldn’t surprise me if many of the polled “birthers” don’t even know that you aren’t allowed to be president if you weren’t born in the US (which is, these days, a rather odd rule) and their responses don’t amount to much more than “Yeah, he’s got an odd name and I think I saw on TV he has relatives in Kenya — maybe he was born over there.”

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We Are Americans, Not Europeans

Friday, August 14, AD 2009

Isn’t it obvious that most of our American ancestors came over from Europe because they wanted life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?  They fled totalitarian regimes, socialist governments, and anti-Christian repression for the freedom that is afforded all Americans.

We have the best health care in the world precisely because it is not operated by the government.  Private industry drives innovation, government regulation or government-run health care eliminates innovation, awards bureaucrats, and ultimately leads to marginal health care in the long run.

We are Americans, not Europeans.  Yet President Obama, Congressional Democrats, and well-meaning liberals and progressives want to emulate European health care programs.  What Europeans have is not necessarily right nor good.

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42 Responses to We Are Americans, Not Europeans

  • My ancestors from Norway came here because they wanted to farm, and the soil where they lived was rocky, and the seasons short. My ancestors from Germany came, we think, because they were younger sons who were cut out from owning the family farm in the Rhineland. My Quaker ancestors from England and Wales were indeed escaping religious persecution, although if they had landed in the wrong colony in America (anywhere but Pennsylvania or Rhode Island), they would have encountered it again.

    None were escaping government-run healthcare. Most were not escaping any form of statism. It could be argued they were pursuing prosperity in the freedom of America, but it should be noted that most immigrants to the U.S. supported the state-led reforms of the progressives and Democrats in the first half of the twentieth century (although that was less true of the Scandinavian and German farmers of the Great Plains, who tended not to care about urban issues like that, although they did support populist initiatives like North Dakota’s central bank). In other words, your narrative of American history is certainly uncomplicated, and not unrelatedly, quite inaccurate.

    Why does it matter whether public health spending increases as a percentage of GDP if overall spending as a percentage of GDP is decreased? Why consolidate vastly different government healthcare programs – what does Medicare have to do with NIH?

    When you win an election for economic reasons, generally it’s because people think your policies will help address the economic situation. When part of that economic situation is healthcare (concerns about its costs, and about losing your coverage), presumably it’s not absurd to think there’s a connection. For years a greater percentage of people have trusted Democrats more than Republicans on healthcare. That suggests that maybe the “We’re Americans, so don’t try to learn from other countries” argument doesn’t hold as much sway as you think.

  • Zak,

    Excellent points.

    But if I were to jump into the details for every European ethnic group that moved to the US it would have ended up being a novel.

  • Ha! In and out of moderation. Hope you are having fun, policeman!

  • Not *all* of us come from European stock. 😉

  • Tito – Interesting that you deleted all of my comments here EXCEPT for that one. What is the point of that?

  • Michael,

    Your less than charitable comments are being deleted. And not only by me.

    Unlike Vox Nova, where I have been banned due to my comment that I am an American first and Mexican second thus destroying the myth of the American left that minorities need to be self-empowered by adding a “hyphenated” prefix attached to “American”, we have charity at this website, so many of your comments do get approved.

  • You know you were not banned for that comment.

  • My comments were moderated before, but that was the first one that got deleted, while the others were in moderation and then approved.

    So apparently that was the final straw that destroyed the delicate liberal world view that all minorities need to be pampered and told how to talk, think, and vote.

  • We have the best health care in the world if you are at a certain income bracket…

  • Proud to be an A-mer-i-can…

  • Eric,

    When I ‘had’ health care insurance, I got the cheapest plan available and ended up having the best orthopedic surgeon in the country repair my damaged knee.

    And I made less than 6 figures.

    Mark D.,

    Me to brother.

  • “Nationalized” and “socialized” health care programs (they are the same thing, which anyone opposed to the “nation-state” should recognize) “work” much better in small, homogeneous places with high average healthy behaviors and human capital – like say, the Scandinavian places many (rightfully, often) praise.

    Will it work here? Not according to the CBO, and that is just on the estimations of financial side.

    Why don’t we do this instead?

    PROMOTE HEALTH. Cut carbs – go against the destructive status quo (which the government has done a lot of damage on – remember that food pyramid?) Do something like this
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-primal-blueprint/

    TORT REFORM. Add high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts. Equalize the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. PORTABILITY. Let people view plans across state lines. Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. Enact Medicare reform…NOW. And REVISE tax laws to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or SCHIP.

  • Tito – Believe what you want. Make things up if it turns you on.

  • “We are Americans, not Europeans. Yet President Obama, Congressional Democrats, and well-meaning liberals and progressives want to emulate European health care programs.”

    I’ve seen it suggested that “blue state” America, especially college campuses, looks so much like Europe because American academics helped rebuild the continent after the war and made themselves and the like-minded into the uncontested establishment. Is there anything to this?

  • Tito,

    Would you forego governmental assistance in the form of medical care and martyr yourself, if need be, for the principles of your America?

  • Nationalized” and “socialized” health care programs (they are the same thing, which anyone opposed to the “nation-state” should recognize) “work” much better in small, homogeneous places with high average healthy behaviors and human capital – like say, the Scandinavian places many (rightfully, often) praise.

    Will it work here? Not according to the CBO, and that is just on the estimations of financial side.

    Why don’t we do this instead?

    PROMOTE HEALTH. Cut carbs – go against the destructive status quo (which the government has done a lot of damage on – remember that food pyramid?) Do something like this
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-primal-blueprint/

    TORT REFORM. Add high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts. Equalize the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. PORTABILITY. Let people view plans across state lines. Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. Enact Medicare reform…NOW. And REVISE tax laws to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or SCHIP.

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  • Kevin,

    It happens sadly in red states as well.

    Mark D.,

    There is the emergency clinic.

  • Touche

  • Nationalized” and “socialized” health care programs (they are the same thing, which anyone opposed to the “nation-state” should recognize)…

    They’re not the same thing if there are no nation-states. Socialized health care could also operate on the state (in the u.s.) or provincial level (as in Canada) as well.

    …“work” much better in small, homogeneous places with high average healthy behaviors and human capital – like say, the Scandinavian places many (rightfully, often) praise.

    There you go with your “homogeneous places” stuff again. “If only we could keep all the races separate, everything would work great!”

  • Mark D.,

    I just want to be clear that I want Health Care reform as well. Just not as drastic in some portions of the bills that are floating around in the House with possibly an addition to including tort reform.

    We need health care reform, but together as Americans, not as a strictly Democratic bill.

  • To all you people who care so much about the uninsured, I have two words for you: PROVE IT! Spend your own money, not someone else’s. Last time I checked, when the Good Samaritan helped the man on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, he did not spend another person’s money. He spent his own.

  • Just because an idea or system is not American, does not make it automatically bad (or good). After all, most of us on this blog really like the social and moral ideas promulgated in the last 100 years or so by certain Italian, Polish, and German guys who wear funny hats 😉

  • To all you people who care so much about the uninsured, I have two words for you: PROVE IT! Spend your own money, not someone else’s. Last time I checked, when the Good Samaritan helped the man on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, he did not spend another person’s money. He spent his own.

    Presumably those who are in favor of universal health care are willing to have their taxes raised in order to pay for it. So, um, they would be spending “their own money.”

    Your me, mine, all mine attitude is sub-Christian.

  • When does society begin to look at itself to curb the healthcare problems? Obesity, smoking, drinking, STD’s, unwanted pregnancy, abortions, elicit drug use all put demand on the system in overdrive. Seems easy to say let the government take care of it so all share in the cost, but we are not eager to curb our own appetite for vices. There can be no true social justice that is not rooted in virtue and our Government does not respect the dignity of life so it is really a farce to think they care about the quality of life. If we as a country do not respect God as our creator, no government program is going to save us.

  • Ray – Sadly, not all health problems are connected to “virtue.” Aside from the fact that accidents happen in real life, your comment is the same old blame the victim nonsense.

  • Michael,

    While forcing the rest of us to pay for something we already do through charity.

    Dufus.

  • While forcing the rest of us to pay for something we already do through charity.

    This doesn’t make any sense.

  • Tito, you had a good health insurance plan. That does not mean the entire system is not deeply flawed.

  • Mikael,

    Cost is a product of demand; the demand is greatly increased by health care administered to people who made a choice to engage in risky behavior. US Policy Makers have done nothing to slow the erosion of this immoral behavior, but now have a plan to reduce cost. All hollow without morals in the driver’s seat. You will not contain a fire by putting a fire hose in the front door and a gasoline hose in the back.

    And don’t take this to mean I am not compassionate. I am not in favor of a GOVERNMENT run plan. Private and faith based working together with the government will provide greater success. What is the purpose of keeping their body alive if you are not trying to save the soul?

  • Michael, a portion of health care costs are the result of affluenza, the indulgence of appetites in ways that previous generations could ill-afford. That is just a social fact.

  • Today’s reading and Gospel summed up my thoughts better then I did.

    “But when the judge died,
    they would relapse and do worse than their ancestors,
    following other gods in service and worship,
    relinquishing none of their evil practices or stubborn conduct.”

    We are quick as a nation to anoint blame and seek fixes for our problems and concerns, but we are slow to admit there is a divine plan at work here. This country does have a lot of Greed, Does have a lot of Lust, Does Kill it’s unborn, and we are trashing the Mother/Father family structure. Now as you listen to our elected policy makers we “must” do something about the broken health care system; Some what being sold as a moral obligation to the poor and a “must have” to prove we “love your neighbor”. Poppycock if we do not relinquish our evil and stubborn conduct.

    The way we are asked to help the poor is Charity given from the heart, not policy given by our babbling law makers.

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Hey thanks for reminding the Sloth in our country has too.

  • Another difference with Europenas is their lifestyle – they tend to be healthier in diet and exercise (lots more walking). Of course that has an impact on health care costs. Not to mention their defense budgets are a heck of a lot less than ours.

    But we are Americans, dang it. If we want that custard filled donut with bacon and eggs for breakfast to help us sit at our cubicle for the next nine hours before we go home and plop down in front of the tube for 3 hours while we wait for the pizza delivery guy, then by golly, we’re gonna get it.

    On the other hand, why the rush to pass this particular bill? Why so hurried – if health care reform is worth doing, isn’t it worth doing right?

  • “Presumably those who are in favor of universal health care are willing to have their taxes raised in order to pay for it. So, um, they would be spending ‘their own money.'”

    Actually, the Administration proposes that very few people pay for it.

  • C Matt,

    It’s our choice to eat what we want.

    Granted it is excessive, but God gave us free will.

    (For the record, I agree with you that Americans don’t eat very well).

    As far as defense budgets are concerned, the US pretty much is NATO. If they were ever to be attacked by Russian or the Arab states, you can be well assured that the Americans will rush quickly to their defense.

    It’s how NATO works.

  • Michael,

    To your reference to “dufus”, I apologize about that.

    I should have been more careful.

    In my defense, I thought it was a silly word appropriate for you, but when I looked it up in the dictionary, it went to far where you didn’t deserve to be called that.

  • 1960 Flemming v. Nestor the Supreme Court ruled “The noncontractual interest of an employee covered by the Act cannot be soundly analogized to that of the holder of an annuity, whose right to benefits are based on his contractual premium payments”. The decision means that since no one has any legal right to Social Security benefits, Congress can cut or eliminate benefits at any time.

    Keep this in mind as Baby Boomers retire. Early on SS was a trust fund that was eventually raided in 1965 to offset the deficit. When the retirees payments exceeds the collections taxes will skyrocket, benefits will get cut, or they print money and inflation runs rampant.

    Flemming v. Nestor will have the same impact on a public option healthcare, it is not a contractual right and they can cut or eliminate benefits at any time. With a private option you have a contract and legal rights. Private payments that are deductible for the poor is a much better solution.

    As far as who is paying? It does not pass the squint test that this can be paid for with only a handful of wealthy people footing the bill. Hence the panic that the “end of life” counseling session will turn into nothing more then trying to talk the elderly into NOT accepting advanced and costly treatment. So why reinvent the Living Will? Promote everyone to write a Living Will; don’t replace it with another system which will open decades of new legal questions already established by Living Wills.

  • Michael,

    That’s between you and Donald.

    While we’re on the subject, look up the word charity and read the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 5, verse 39.

Sleeping Giant Awakes and Democrats Blink

Thursday, August 13, AD 2009

Today Senator Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said that senators are excluding a provision on end-of-life care from the House bill.  This is a major victory for ordinary Americans.

As senior citizens voice their displeasure with “death-panels” and other provisions in the House bill, the Democrat leaders are grudgingly realizing that maybe, just maybe, some provisions in their House bill will not pass with the American public.

The most recent polls show that the demonizing tactics of President Obama and Speaker Pelosi have failed to cover the growing grassroots activism that is rising among ordinary Americans.

Continue reading...

28 Responses to Sleeping Giant Awakes and Democrats Blink

  • Taco Man,

    Kindly correct “Nazi’s” as “Nazis”.

    I’m not entirely sure why you happen to have employed the possessive in this context.

  • Ill see your 2010 and raise ya a 2012.
    Nice echo in here. Im Catholic, Im an Obama supporter.
    Again, tell me why the vocal majority here wants to penalize the sick?

  • Master C,

    What penalty?

    You mean why are Americans tired of being over taxed and regulated? Why having to pay for such great government-run success stories like “Cash for Clunkers” and “FEMA” have inspired lack of confidence?

    Geeee, I don’t know what you mean?

  • I guess you have never been sick.denied coverage, or been out of a job and had to pay like crazy for COBRA.
    This country, the richest in the world, cant seem
    to help the least of us [THAT penalty]

  • I have been deathly ill, been denied coverage, and I am out of a job as I type this. And I refuse to pay COBRA (kind of helps when you have no money to pay for it).

    So I guess I will be demonized as well since I’m not being payed nor have I been contacted by any Vast Right Wing Conspiracy™ machine.

  • Demonized?
    I asked why the vocal majority here wants to penalize the sick.
    ….and I still havent heard the reason.

  • I asked why the vocal majority here wants to penalize the sick.

    See, this is what’s known as a strawman argument. The reason no one has answered your question is because your premise is logistically flawed. Please prove you’re not some 17-year old troll and actually attempt to argue in good faith, otherwise the rest of us will continue to ignore your moronic assertions.

    Hope that clears that up.

  • Since you have a taste for demagoguery, mc, why do you support government-funded abortion?

    http://asia.news.yahoo.com/ap/20090805/twl-us-health-care-overhaul-abortion-ef375f8.html

    [For the record, I support universal health coverage. But not this monstrosity.]

  • Nobody here wants to “penalize the sick.” However, we would like to find a way of helping the sick that DOESN’T involve running up vast amounts of debt for future generations to pay with crushing taxation, or the government paying to kill unborn children, or a gigantic bureaucracy deciding what kind of treatment we can and cannot have.

    .

  • So interesting,
    I am asking why we would penalize the sick, and if that is moronic, so be it. I have had 12 years of Catholic school education and have attended church all my life and consider myself well versed in what Jesus chose to spend his time talking about. The status quo protects INSURANCE companies not people. I am asking why you all would want to keep that in place. I know change is scary, but I believe that taking care of our people is important.

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  • master c has decided to don troll garb. Do not feed the energy creature.

  • psst.. The ‘evil’ insurance companies are made up of people. Like me. And my Mom. Evil healthcare companies are made up of people, too. Like my Dad and many of my cousins.

    Personally, I always viewed insurance as a sort of capitalist socialism..

  • master c:

    I find it curious that even with a seemingly extensive education, you still suffer from what apparently are cognitive deficiencies you are unable to remedy in spite of your professed years at academia.

    To make the remarkably bold, outright assertion that anybody opposed to the Obamacare death squads as actually the ones penalizing the sick; I take it when such a hideous plan as in its original conception were actually implemented, you would have been amongst the first to dance for joy when the lives of your loved ones are truncated simply to promote system efficiency and cost savings.

    So, if anybody is doing any sort of penalizing, it is your much favored fiercely Pro-Abort administration seeking to extend the tentacles of its Culture of Death principles upon the general populace.

    Extra credit points, though, for your (albeit futile) attempts at making the proponents of evil as actually the advocates of good.

  • Master C: Read chapters 2 and 3 of B16’s Jesus of Nazareth and then come back for some big boy discussion of social justice issues.

  • How about reading the Caritas in Veritate encyclical?
    Does that qualify as big boy enough for you?

    I’m Catholic, Im American, yet Im a troll.
    Nice.

  • “I’m Catholic, I’m American, yet Im a troll.”

    So, you mean to argue that since you’re Catholic, you’re American; therefore, you cannot be a troll?

    Don’t get it. at all.

    “How about reading the Caritas in Veritate encyclical? Does that qualify as big boy enough for you?”

    It only qualifies as “big boy” enough if you read it thoroughly and with sufficient comprehension so as to discern exactly that what the fiercely Pro-Abort administration seeks to advance in such policies stands completely opposite to the very Christian principles essentially enshrined in such encyclicals.

  • what about the fiercely pro social justice part?

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/essays-theology/popes-social-encyclical

    a little something for all us!

  • So since it contains a pro-social justice part; therefore, adopting and, even further, implementing policies that would most certainly advance the Culture of Death must somehow be alright then.

    After all your comments, I seem to have gleaned an insight into just what you’re master of.

  • OK gentlemen,

    Enough with the “troll” comments.

    Just argue the substance, not the person.

  • Can we argue the source of master c’s understanding of the Church’s teaching:

    The pope’s social encyclical
    by Richard McBrien on Aug. 10, 2009

  • A guy who repeatedly asks “why the vocal majority here wants to penalize the sick” and dodges questions about his support for abortion doesn’t offer much substance to address.

    But, OK:

    mc–Caritas in Veritate condemns abortion three times. How does the Obama “health care” plan that pays for abortions [see the link to the Associated Press analysis I provided above] square with Catholic social teaching as set forth in the encyclical?

    I await your next change of subject.

  • Respectfully, here is the link from the lead post:

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Conservative#US_Voters

    That list of what conservatives seek or support doesnt entirely square with my Catholic beliefs, that’s all. That’s what Im here to say, not dodge, demagogue or demonize. I know your one issue that trumps all is abortion. I know lots of Catholics who let that determine how they vote.

    Dont know if it matters, but I am a woman.

  • “I know your one issue that trumps all is abortion.”

    I’m sorry–have we met? I have no idea who you are, so I doubt I’ve informed you as to my political beliefs. If it’s one thing people here will gladly testify to, it’s that I resent to high Heaven people who label me and assign opinions to me that I do not hold.

    So, speaking of demonizing, you’ve done it and not apologized for it, stating authoritatively that I (and others) want “to penalize the sick.” That was uncalled for, and still unapologized for, and now you make more assumptions. For the record, I have voted for pro-choice candidates in the past (regretfully, but there was no other options). Thus, your second assumption about me is false. I respectfully request that you cease and desist.

    And, yes, you’re dodging and changing the subject again, pointing to the Wikipedia link this time.

    Back to the question: how can a Catholic square support health care that funds elective (i.e., not for medical reasons) with authentic (as opposed to purely secular) social justice principles?

    The basic problem is this: we don’t help the hungry by knowingly giving them loaves of spoiled bread that won’t kill most of them outright (even though we know some will die from food poisoning). “But they’re hungry and we have a duty to feed the hungry” doesn’t cut it. Likewise, we don’t help the sick by giving them “health” care we know–KNOW–will result in the deliberate killing of human life. It is really as simple as that.

  • The link was from the original post [see the top], and prompted me to reply in the first place. Im not sure if you actually read it, it is not from wikipedia. It was provided as support that this is a conservatively plural nation. As it was a set forth as a basis for this discussion, Im not sure how it is “dodging and changing the discussion” I apologize for all the demonizing. I respectfully cease and desist.
    Not sure what qualifies as on topic around here.

  • Since “conservipedia,” like Wikipedia, can be freely edited by anybody who logs in, it’s a Wikipedia for conservatives, mc. It even rips off the template. Nice try.

    At least it was better than your canned apology for slandering everyone here as a “penalizer of the sick.” And much, much better than your third evasion of the abortion/health care question.

    I have no interest in talking with you further.

  • Dude, the link came from THIS post by the author of THIS BLOG!
    get a clue.
    I am glad ypu wont be talking to me anymore

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Anger and Astroturf

Wednesday, August 12, AD 2009

democrats_republicans_head_to_head_hg_wht

There are two observations I have noticed during this health care debate that President Obama and Congressional Democrats have been pushing.

One, there is anger from the American people concerning the direction and the destination of health care ‘reform’.  Genuine anger.  The unfortunate problem is that a small minority have chosen to shout down congressional leaders in Town Hall meetings that have proven to be a distraction at best and a public relations disaster at worst.  Those that oppose any health care ‘reform’, especially the socialist laden package that is currently being drafted, should respect the opposition and engage in constructive dialogue.  Showing anger and disrespect to your elected officials is simply wrong and uncalled for and should be stopped now.

Which leads to my second observation and the accusations that this grass roots opposition to health care ‘reform’ is being labeled as astroturf.  Due to the cooperation of the mainstream media in failing to provide unbiased programming of the health care debate in addition to leading Democrats from President Obama to House Speak Nancy Pelosi having mislabeled genuine American concern of government intrusion via health care ‘reform’ as artificial.  If leading Democrats continue to mischaracterize the opposition as such, they will do this to their own detriment.  Meaning a possible loss of one or both chambers of congress in the 2010 Congressional Elections and possibly the executive branch in 2012.  They need to take the American people seriously, not ignore the problem.

Just my two cents worth.

Continue reading...

27 Responses to Anger and Astroturf

  • Tito,

    The unfortunate problem is that a small minority have chosen to shout down congressional leaders in Town Hall meetings that have proven to be a distraction at best and a public relations disaster at worst. Those that oppose any health care ‘reform’, especially the socialist laden package that is currently being drafted, should respect the opposition and engage in constructive dialogue. Showing anger and disrespect to your elected officials is simply wrong and uncalled for and should be stopped now

    I think there’s 2 misperceptions here. One is that there is a general shouting down of the politicians. If you watch the whole presentation in context, I suggest that what happens is the politicians refuse to allow alternate points of view to be presented, refuse to answer, obfuscate and/or outright lie about the bill. Sometimes it is necessary to get loud to be heard. Granted it doesn’t always make good press when it’s cut by the liberal media to try and discredit the protesters. Caution is necessary to be sure, and there may have been excesses at times.

    Secondly, there is not many people who oppose reform of the health care funding system we have. Most support tort reform, and leveling the playing field between employer and privately purchased plans, as well as freedom of choice as to levels of coverage.

  • I don’t subscribe to bizarro news network, so I don’t know which town halls you are referring to.

  • I don’t subscribe to bizarro news network, so I don’t know which town halls you are referring to.

    It’s interesting that you (rightly) castigate the media for not fully reporting what’s going on, and yet you’re mocking Matt because he has a more accurate understanding of the complete picture behind the town halls. What you see on the nightly news or are hearing reports of are small snippets. People are asking thoughtful questions, and people are being respectful. However, people begin to get agitated once their representative begins to hem and haw, and then simply lie.

    I agree that there’s no use in yelling for the sake of yelling, and we should allow our opponents time to speak – after all, in many cases, they do a fine job of defeating their own cause. But it’s simply wrong to say that the protesters are not allowing Congressmen the opportunity to speak at all before the shouting begins.

  • Paul,

    Only a small minority is needed to make our arguments look bad.

    The mainstream media, as I wrote in my posting, is doing a terrible job covering what is actually happening.

    We all know that the MSM tilts heavily towards the left, don’t you think it would be wise to be a bit more careful when articulating our arguments.

    The MSM will give liberal protesters a pass when they portray Bush as Hitler, but will play up Pelosi’s “swastika” comments. And she was lieing!

  • Paul,

    thanks. Taco Tito has already apologized deeply and profusely for his error, he’s just too ashamed to do so publicly.

  • Matt’s been drinking kool-ade again.

  • Could somebody kindly explain Tito’s rather sarcastic dismissal of Matt’s previous comments?

    I thought the whole point of Tito Taco’s post was concerning the poor depiction of what is actually transpiring in these Town Hall meetings, which I thought Matt’s own comments attempted to provide a more accurate portrayal thereof.

    Was there some sort of rhetorical irony I might have missed in Matt’s comments that I may have missed which seemingly sought to make a mockery out of Taco’s post?

  • Never mind.

    I see Matt & Tito are simply flirting with one another.

    Still getting used to this “modern” world.

  • If leading Democrats continue to mischaracterize the opposition as such, they will do this to their own detriment. Meaning a possible loss of one or both chambers of congress in the 2010 Congressional Elections and possibly the executive branch in 2012. They need to take the American people seriously, not ignore the problem.

    These nutjobs are all hardcore Republicans. The Dems lose nothing. Still, it’s generally wise for a politician to at least pretend like the wackos are saying something worth listening to.

  • e.,

    This is to much fun, but since you may not be aware, Matt and I work together. In fact our offices are right next to each other.

    So we rib each other from time to time.

    Hopefully that will calm you down and relieve some of the anxiety you have.

  • unrestrainedradical,

    like the typical leftist elite you completely misunderstand the American people, the majority who are opposed to ObamaCare.

  • The nutjobs are all hardcore Republicans.

    I’m afraid the only nutjob here happens to be the commenter making this comment.

    Still, it’s generally wise for a politician to at least pretend like the wackos are saying something worth listening to.

    Wackos being the Demo-n-Caths and all wackjobs of fellow adherents of that sordid political party that merely pretends to usher in change on behalf of the general populace all the while under this veneer of healthcare for the common man lies a most devious atrocity which can only be conceivably advanced by the democrat death squads.

  • Yeah, it’s just the Republicans who are opposed to a single-payer system and are generally fearful of a government take-over.

    You guys keep telling yourselves that. Complete denial of public disapproval worked so well for the GOP in 2005-06.

  • Highly recommend the attached article by Camille Paglia. She, of course, is in favor of health care reform, but she correctly places the blame for the heated discourse where it belongs on the Democrats and Obama for attempting to hastily push through poorly explained and thought out legislation.

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/paglia/2009/08/12/town_halls/index.html

    She states:

    “But who would have thought that the sober, deliberative Barack Obama would have nothing to propose but vague and slippery promises — or that he would so easily cede the leadership clout of the executive branch to a chaotic, rapacious, solipsistic Congress? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom I used to admire for her smooth aplomb under pressure, has clearly gone off the deep end with her bizarre rants about legitimate town-hall protests by American citizens. She is doing grievous damage to the party and should immediately step down.

    There is plenty of blame to go around. Obama’s aggressive endorsement of a healthcare plan that does not even exist yet, except in five competing, fluctuating drafts, makes Washington seem like Cloud Cuckoo Land. The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities.

    You can keep your doctor; you can keep your insurance, if you’re happy with it, Obama keeps assuring us in soothing, lullaby tones. Oh, really? And what if my doctor is not the one appointed by the new government medical boards for ruling on my access to tests and specialists? And what if my insurance company goes belly up because of undercutting by its government-bankrolled competitor? Face it: Virtually all nationalized health systems, neither nourished nor updated by profit-driven private investment, eventually lead to rationing.

    I just don’t get it. Why the insane rush to pass a bill, any bill, in three weeks? And why such an abject failure by the Obama administration to present the issues to the public in a rational, detailed, informational way? The U.S. is gigantic; many of our states are bigger than whole European nations. The bureaucracy required to institute and manage a nationalized health system here would be Byzantine beyond belief and would vampirically absorb whatever savings Obama thinks could be made. And the transition period would be a nightmare of red tape and mammoth screw-ups, which we can ill afford with a faltering economy.”

    She even has sympathy for Sarah Palin’s recent statements about Death Panels:

    “As a libertarian and refugee from the authoritarian Roman Catholic church of my youth, I simply do not understand the drift of my party toward a soulless collectivism. This is in fact what Sarah Palin hit on in her shocking image of a “death panel” under Obamacare that would make irrevocable decisions about the disabled and elderly. When I first saw that phrase, headlined on the Drudge Report, I burst out laughing. It seemed so over the top! But on reflection, I realized that Palin’s shrewdly timed metaphor spoke directly to the electorate’s unease with the prospect of shadowy, unelected government figures controlling our lives. A death panel not only has the power of life and death but is itself a symptom of a Kafkaesque brave new world where authority has become remote, arbitrary and spectral. And as in the Spanish Inquisition, dissidence is heresy, persecuted and punished.”

  • Awakeman,

    You and I enjoy reading the same articles.

    You beat me to the punch, I was going to post this article later today, but this is just as good.

    Good job!

  • “If leading Democrats continue to mischaracterize the opposition as such, they will do this to their own detriment. Meaning a possible loss of one or both chambers of congress in the 2010 Congressional Elections and possibly the executive branch in 2012. They need to take the American people seriously, not ignore the problem.

    These nutjobs are all hardcore Republicans. The Dems lose nothing. Still, it’s generally wise for a politician to at least pretend like the wackos are saying something worth listening to.”

    Do you actually believe this? I talked to a friend of mine that is a Senate staffer in the most least populated area of the State ,In the most obscure areas it is standing room only and trust me these are not RUSH LIMBAUGH Republican Ditto heads

    I am always amazed on the left or right how some see some plot. I have been through this enough times to see that is a purely bipartisian affair.

    It is slighlty amusing, though with a bit of sadness, that SOcial Justice Catholics that proclaim themselves above such petty things as party fall into the same ole tiresome thing they rant against. No these people have legitimate concerns. They want answers. To call them “nutjobs” right off the bat shows a particular disconnect. Like I said I have seen this on both sides. Right now it is just you.

  • Oh, please, gents–

    Surely by now you’ve all seen the SEIU squad beat up a conservative activist (posted below, if I recall), the bullhorn-toting Obamacare supporters trying to intimidate the opposition at Pelosi’s visit of a Denver clinic:
    http://www.lookingattheleft.com/2009/08/pelosi-astroturf-healthcare/
    and the guy with the Obama with Hitler mustache poster (evidently obtained from Lyndon LaRouche’s organization) who was later spotted handing out literature for Rep. Dingell:
    http://theblogprof.blogspot.com/2009/08/busted-obama-as-hitler-poster-was.html

    There’s poor footing to argue that the vocal nutjobs are all on the right, especially when some of those rightists turn out to be plants. Be wary of opening your mouth precipitously; you may find later you have inserted your foot!

    For the record, I went to a town hall earlier this week and the one attendee there who distinguished herself by attempting to interrupt the speaker and trying to rumble with the police security was an Obamacare supporter.

  • I do believe the “death panel” portion of the current bill has been blown way out of proportion — and I have actually read it, by the way.

    It states simply that the healthcare plan will pay for senior citizens to have consultations with their doctors regarding advance directives (such as living wills or healthcare powers of attorney) at least every 5 years. Such consultations would be paid for on a more frequent basis if the person becomes seriously ill — not necessarily because anyone is trying to hasten their death, but because the person themselves may want to make changes or adjustments in their advance directive as their condition changes or worsens. Bringing the doctor into the discussion makes sense because many times, advance directives are drawn up by and filed with lawyers and the doctor may be the last person to know that a patient even has an advance directive.

    Federal law already requires hospitals to ask patients whether they have advance directives and inform them of their right to have one — but it doesn’t REQUIRE anyone to actually have a directive if they don’t want one. Mandating that insurance pay for a service is NOT the same as mandating that the policy holder actually take advantage of the service. Most if not all of us probably have health insurance that by state or federal law has to cover things we never personally take advantage of.

    Now, it is true that National Right to Life and other pro-life groups would like to see stronger language in this bill to protect seniors and the handicapped from being pressured by their doctors, family, or others into signing away their right to life-saving or life-sustaining treatment. That is a legitimate concern which must be addressed, but it is a far cry from asserting that the bill creates an all-powerful “death panel.”

    I know it is very easy for conservatives, and particularly pro-lifers, to assume the worst about the Obama administration given his record so far. However, that does not excuse intentional distortion or hasty misinterpretation of the healthcare bill for purely political reasons.

    Now, all that being said — there are still very, very many serious questions to be raised about this bill and attempting to rush it through Congress without giving Congresscritters themselves — let alone the public — time to understand what it really does, and instruct them to stick to canned talking points, is the WORST possible strategy the Democrats could take. The more they attempt to dismiss and discredit criticism of the bill, the more they come off looking like dictators and playing right into the fears of those who are opposed to the plan. It’s enough to make me think they WANT to lose control of Congress next year… maybe they’ve discovered that being the party in power isn’t as much fun as they thought!

  • It is confusing to have any discussion, when the elected officials can’t refer to any facts. There are so many versions and variations of health initiatives crafted by staff and lobbyists, we can’t keep track. How can there be a discussion on smoke and mirrors! They are blowing the smoke, by confirming “my version doesn’t say that!”
    The media choose to ignore this mutliple layers and versions as adding to anger and confusion. It’s like buying a car with 3 different contracts in front of you.

  • Elaine,

    I’m sorry, with this bill the bureaucrats have the power to require such consultations and possibly to sign directives that the patients don’t agree with. There’s nothing in the bill which enforces the voluntary nature, it’s in the hands of government, we just have to trust them.

  • I’m not talking about mere opponents of Obamacare when I say “nutjobs.” I’m not a supporter of Obamacare. Those who support or oppose the plan on its merits are a small intelligent minority. I’m talking about the Glenn Beck groupies that show up at the town hall meetings with their birth certificates in zip-lock bags yelling about how the big black socialist is going to kill their grandmas. Dems can mock them with political impunity.

  • elitistunrestrainedadical,

    Matt McDonald Says:
    Wednesday, August 12, 2009 A.D. at 1:06 pm

    unrestrainedradical,

    like the typical leftist elite you completely misunderstand the American people, the majority who are opposed to ObamaCare.

  • Saying that the end of life consultation provision could be open to abuse in the future is accurate — just about ANY provision of any law is open to abuse, and the potential abuses have to be considered when the law is written. However, saying this bill actually creates “death panels” is NOT accurate. In fact it may be even less accurate now that the Dems are seriously talking about removing that whole provision from the bill, which is fine with me.

  • RestrainedRadical,

    I’m talking about the Glenn Beck groupies that show up at the town hall meetings with their birth certificates in zip-lock bags yelling about how the big black socialist is going to kill their grandmas.

    You have to admit that that is a leap of logic of connecting genuine grassroots opposition to socialized medicine to racist birthers.

    Elaine,

    It has been removed, but don’t you think they removed it because perception is reality? Meaning that it could be used to implement Aktion T4 like directives?

    Aktion T4: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_T4

  • During this whole debate, nobody consulted Michael Moore on his documented health care in Cuba. If we opened relations with Cuba,and sent cruiser ships with seniors for health care to Cuba, then we could find a happy solution.
    Grandpa could retire there with a bottle of viagra, lots of cigars, and plenty of rum! That’s what I call a great way to end your days!
    If I had to choose between Canada and Cuba, there’s no question I want Cuba!