9

Attorney General Lynch and Let’s Pretend

 

 

Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced yesterday that only redacted versions of Omar Mateen’s three 911 calls will be released to the public.

However, Mateen’s pledge of allegiance to ISIS and support for the Boston bombers will not be released as not to ‘re-victimize’ those who lived through the attack.

‘We’ll be releasing a partial transcript of the calls between the killer and the hostage negotiators so people can, in fact, see the type of interaction that was had there,’ Lynch told ABC News

I say partial because we’re not going to be, for example, broadcasting his pledges of allegiance. We are trying not to re-victimize those who went through that horror,’ she added.

FBI Director James Comey said the shooter was involved in precisely three calls to a 911 dispatcher at approximately 2.30am on June 12.

Go here to read the rest.  Come again?  The transcripts would re-victimize those who went through that horror?  Those poor souls are dead.  After that, it is hard to re-victimize them.  In any case, how can the transcripts that indicate that Mateen’s motivation was Jihad re-victimize anyone?

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12

“Climate Change” and the Pentagon

 

Just in case you didn’t think we are currently being governed by lunatics:

The Pentagon is ordering the top brass to incorporate climate change into virtually everything they do, from testing weapons to training troops to war planning to joint exercises with allies.

A new directive’s theme: The U.S. Armed Forces must show “resilience” and beat back the threat based on “actionable science.”

It says the military will not be able to maintain effectiveness unless the directive is followed. It orders the establishment of a new layer of bureaucracy — a wide array of “climate change boards, councils and working groups” to infuse climate change into “programs, plans and policies.”

The Pentagon defines resilience to climate change as: “Ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions.”

To four-star generals and admirals, among them the regional combatant commanders who plan and fight the nation’s wars, the directive tells them: “Incorporate climate change impacts into plans and operations and integrate DoD guidance and analysis in Combatant Command planning to address climate change-related risks and opportunities across the full range of military operations, including steady-state campaign planning and operations and contingency planning.”

The directive, “Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience,” is in line with President Obama’s view that global warming is the country’s foremost national security threat, or close to it. Mr. Obama says there is no debate on the existence of man-made global warming and its ensuing climate change. Supporters of this viewpoint label as “deniers” any scientists who disagree.

*************************

Dakota Wood, a retired Marine Corps officer and U.S. Central Command planner, said the Pentagon is introducing climate change, right down to military tactics level.

“By equating tactical actions of immediate or short-term utility with large-scale, strategic-level issues of profound importance, the issue of climate change and its potential impact on national security interests is undermined,” he said. “People tend to dismiss the whole, what might be truly important, because of all the little silly distractions that are included along the way.”

He said climate change is typically measured in long stretches of time.

“The climate does change over great periods of time, typically measured in millennia, though sometimes in centuries,” he said. “But the document mentions accounting for such down to the level of changes in ‘tactics, techniques and procedures’ as if reviewing how a squad conducts a patrol should be accorded the same level of importance and attention as determining whether the naval base at Norfolk, Virginia, might have to be relocated as sea levels rise over the next 100 years.”

Multipoint strategy

The directive originated in the office of Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. Final approval came from Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work.

The directive is loaded with orders to civilian leaders and officers on specifically how counter-climate change strategy is to permeate planning. Continue Reading

1

Religious Freedom: The First Freedom

Fortnight For Freedom 2015

 

 

As mankind become more liberal they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protection of civil government.  I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations in examples of justice and liberality.  And I presume that your fellow-citizens will not forget the patriotic part which you took in the accomplishment of their Revolution, and the establishment of their government; or the important assistance which they received from a nation in which the Roman Catholic faith is professed.

George Washington, March 15, 1790

 

Catholics in this country have long enjoyed complete religious liberty.  The experience of that freedom in this country was one one of the factors that caused Popes to embrace the concept of religious liberty as enshrined in the documents of Vatican II.  Maryland, the Catholic colony, was the first colony to proclaim religious freedom in the New World.

Now that precious liberty that so many Americans have fought and died for down through the centuries is under siege by local and state governments and the Obama administration.  The Bishops of Maryland have spoken out against this evil trend.  Go here to read their 16 page statement from 2011. Continue Reading

15

Netanyahu Wins and Obama Loses

Kathie Lee Gifford and Matt Lauer Share an Awkward Kiss for the Twizzler Challenge

With nearly all votes counted, Likud appeared to have earned 30 out of parliament’s 120 seats and was in a position to build with relative ease a coalition government with its nationalist, religious and ultra-Orthodox Jewish allies. Such a government would likely put Israel at odds with the international community over settlement construction and its opposition to Palestinian statehood, and continue clashing with the White House over hard-line policies.

The election was widely seen as a referendum on Netanyahu, who has governed the country for the past six years. Recent opinion polls indicated he was in trouble, giving chief rival Isaac Herzog of the opposition Zionist Union a slight lead. Exit polls Tuesday showed the two sides deadlocked but once the actual results came pouring in early Wednesday, Likud soared forward. Zionist Union wound up with just 24 seats.

Go here to read the rest.  This is a stinging defeat for Obama because his political operatives went all out to defeat Netanyahu:

Israel began this week abuzz with debate over whether or not the Obama Administration is trying to interfere in Israel’s upcoming elections, and if so, how deeply the White House is involved in seeking “regime change.”

It is by now no secret that President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu don’t get along, to put it mildly.

So when a new political organization going by the name of V15 (Victory in 2015) sprang up with the sole purpose of bringing Netanyahu’s premiership to an end, it didn’t take long before Israelis were pondering the level of Obama’s association.

Reports that V15 had brought on board Jeremy Bird, national field director for Obama’s 2012 campaign, as its “secret weapon” only fueled the fire.

The Senate is currently investigating Obama’s involvement in the Israeli elections: Continue Reading

25

The Obama Administration Knows Who The Real Terrorists Are

Terrorists

 

 

Since its inception, the Obama administration, the same administration unable to say the phrase, “Islamic Terrorism”, has desperately wanted to turn the focus onto domestic “right-wing” terrorism.  The problem of course is that as organized groups such terrorism is about as rare as unicorn sightings in this country.  Not a problem.  In a just released report, the Department of Homeland Security, and what a truly Orwellian waste of money that huge bureaucracy has become, raises the bogey-man sovereign citizen movement which basically consists of cranks on the internet who appeal to other cranks and losers off the internet, into an alleged country spanning terrorist organization:
Washington (CNN)They’re carrying out sporadic terror attacks on police, have threatened attacks on government buildings and reject government authority.

A new intelligence assessment, circulated by the Department of Homeland Security this month and reviewed by CNN, focuses on the domestic terror threat from right-wing sovereign citizen extremists and comes as the Obama administration holds a White House conference to focus efforts to fight violent extremism.

Some federal and local law enforcement groups view the domestic terror threat from sovereign citizen groups as equal to — and in some cases greater than — the threat from foreign Islamic terror groups, such as ISIS, that garner more public attention.​
The Homeland Security report, produced in coordination with the FBI, counts 24 violent sovereign citizen-related attacks across the U.S. since 2010.

Go here to read the rest at CNN.  JihadWatch gives this bilge the response it deserves:

In the middle of this story on the CNN page was a link to another CNN story that shows just how ridiculous this is: “ISIS burned up to 40 people alive in Iraq, official says.” Have “right-wing sovereign citizen extremists” burned anyone alive? Have these “right-wingers” kidnapped large numbers of left-wing women and pressed them into sex slavery? Boasted that they would conquer the United States and ultimately the world, and that they had sleeper cells in place in the U.K. ready to start killing? Have they actually killed anyone beyond the two officers mentioned in this report? Do “sovereign citizens” give children weapons training and severed heads to play with? Do they burn musical instruments, murder left-wingers for the sole crime of being left-wingers, crucify people as children watch, chop off women’s hands for using cell phones, and behead people for smoking cigarettes?

 

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8

Bigger Fish to Fry

 

No Fracking

 

 

The powers that be at the Vatican appear to have what they consider to be bigger issues than trifles like religious liberty or the slaying of the unborn:

The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency met Friday with Vatican officials who helped draft Pope Francis’ upcoming encyclical on ecology, evidence that the Obama administration is seeking to hitch its climate-change message onto that of the popular pope.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters that her aim in visiting was to show the Vatican how aligned President Barack Obama and Francis are on climate change. She said she wanted to stress that global warming isn’t just an environmental issue, but a public health threat, and yet also a chance for economic opportunity.

“I think the most important thing that we can do, working with the pope, is to try to remind ourselves that this is really about protecting natural resources that human beings rely on, and that those folks that are most vulnerable — that the church has always been focused on, those in poverty and low income — are the first that are going to be hit and impacted by a changing climate,” she said.

She added, however: “It’s certainly not my place to dictate to the pope what he should be doing in an encyclical.” Continue Reading

24

King Obama

 

 

In Federalist 69 Alexander Hamilton responded to the criticism that the Presidency under the proposed Constitution established an elective monarchy which would be a perpetual threat to American liberties:

 

Hence it appears that, except as to the concurrent authority of the President in the article of treaties, it would be difficult to determine whether that magistrate would, in the aggregate, possess more or less power than the Governor of New York. And it appears yet more unequivocally, that there is no pretense for the parallel which has been attempted between him and the king of Great Britain. But to render the contrast in this respect still more striking, it may be of use to throw the principal circumstances of dissimilitude into a closer group.

 

The President of the United States would be an officer elected by the people for four years; the king of Great Britain is a perpetual and hereditary prince. The one would be amenable to personal punishment and disgrace; the person of the other is sacred and inviolable. The one would have a qualified negative upon the acts of the legislative body; the other has an absolute negative. The one would have a right to command the military and naval forces of the nation; the other, in addition to this right, possesses that of declaring war, and of raising and regulating fleets and armies by his own authority. The one would have a concurrent power with a branch of the legislature in the formation of treaties; the other is the sole possessor of the power of making treaties. The one would have a like concurrent authority in appointing to offices; the other is the sole author of all appointments. The one can confer no privileges whatever; the other can make denizens of aliens, noblemen of commoners; can erect corporations with all the rights incident to corporate bodies. The one can prescribe no rules concerning the commerce or currency of the nation; the other is in several respects the arbiter of commerce, and in this capacity can establish markets and fairs, can regulate weights and measures, can lay embargoes for a limited time, can coin money, can authorize or prohibit the circulation of foreign coin. The one has no particle of spiritual jurisdiction; the other is the supreme head and governor of the national church! What answer shall we give to those who would persuade us that things so unlike resemble each other? The same that ought to be given to those who tell us that a government, the whole power of which would be in the hands of the elective and periodical servants of the people, is an aristocracy, a monarchy, and a despotism.

 

One can only imagine what Mr. Hamilton and the other Founding Fathers would make of this:

According to a senior Democrat familiar with the plans, Obama will announce on Thursday that he is providing temporary protections to up to 5 million undocumented immigrants. His orders will make up to 4 million undocumented immigrants eligible for temporary protective status and provide relief to another 1 million through other means. Continue Reading

22

Department of Justice?

 

department-of-justice-metal-product-coin

 

If anyone doubts that we have gangsters at the helm of the federal government who have nothing but contempt for traditional American liberties, the Obama administration quite nicely continues to supply plenty of evidence to support their hostility to the Bill of Rights, as Mary Katharine Ham at Hot Air notes:

This is heinous— a betrayal so blatant of American values so fundamental I have trouble wrapping my mind around it:

The U.S. Department of Justice has joined the discussions over a controversial float in the Norfolk Independence Day parade.

The department sent a member of its Community Relations Service team, which gets involved in discrimination disputes, to a Thursday meeting about the issue. Also at the meeting were the NAACP, the Norfolk mayor and The Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

The float was created by a Nebraska veteran, Dale Emmerich, and featured a zombified mannequin figure standing in front of an outhouse bearing the sign, “Obama Presidential Library.” Emmerich said the mannequin represented him and other veterans, and the float was a comment on the horrors of the VA scandal. Which, given the level of broken trust, deceit, and death exposed at nearly every level of that corrupt system, I cannot begrudge the man his dissent. It used to be that we valued such things even when— especially when, dare I say— we disagreed personally with such speech or found it problematic.

I describe the content of the float to put us all on the same page but it’s irrelevant because making a parade float that offends people is not in any way against the law. Charles C.W. Cooke on the virtues of the formerly universally understood freedom to mock one’s leaders:

Now for the obvious question: Why? What, exactly, was the problem here? Nobody was killed. Nobody was injured. Nobody had their material or spiritual interests injured, nor were they stripped of their livelihoods. No federal or state laws were broken. Indeed, not even private rules were broken. More to the point, there was no “discrimination dispute” of the sort with which the DOJ likes to concern itself. Instead, a few free people were vexed because a politician that they like was depicted in an unflattering light. One might well ask, “So what?” Once, Americans tackled the Oregon Trail. Are they now in need of their political “discussions” being arbitrated by glorified social workers sent by Uncle Sam?

In a typically risible statement, Nebraska’s state Democratic party described the incident as one of the “worst shows of racism and disrespect for the office of the presidency that Nebraska has ever seen.” That this is almost certainly true demonstrates just how much progress the United States has made in the last 50 years — and, in consequence, how extraordinarily difficult the professionally aggrieved are finding it to fill their quotas. If a fairly standard old saw is among the worst things to have happened to the Cornhusker State in recent memory, the country is in rather good shape, n’est-ce pas?


“The float was political satire and an expression of political disgust.
There was no racism involved, no hate for anyone,” Remmich said.
Continue Reading

7

The Pefectly Partisan Media

 

 

 

If there is anyone who doubts that almost all the media functions today as unpaid press agents for the Democrat party, today’s presidential press conference should erase all doubts.  Allahpundit of Hot Air explains why:

It ran for one hour and six minutes, with 12 different reporters being called on — although, notably, not Ed Henry of Fox News — and between them they couldn’t muster one question about the catastrophe that is Healthcare.gov or the spectacle of National Park Rangers locking senior-citizen tourists out of war memorials and/or inside their hotels. I admit that, near the end of it, when Twitter was already starting to buzz about the oh-fer on this week’s two unhappy topics, I started rooting for the press corps to ignore them, not unlike how you might root for an opposing pitcher when he’s throwing a perfect game against your team in the ninth. On the one hand, it’s a disaster for your interests; on the other hand, you’re seeing something historic in process. Today, we all witnessed a perfecto — no runs, no hits, not the barest insinuation in front of a national television audience that the federal government’s behavior towards the public this week has alternated between almost literally unbelievable incompetence and vindictiveness. Amazing. Continue Reading

4

Gettysburg Closed

In the never ending effort of the Obama administration to see just how absurd they can be over the fake government shutdown, they have attempted to close down the Gettysburg battlefield.  I say attempted because a lot of tourists are engaging in civil disobedience and touring the battlefield, playing catch me if you can with National Park Service Rangers.  Go here to read all about it.

This of course is all part of a carefully orchestrated plot by the Obama administration:

A U.S. park ranger, who did not wish to be identified, told FoxNews.com that supervisors within the National Park Service overruled plans to deal with the budget cuts in a way that would have had minimal impact on the public. Instead, the source said, park staff were told to cancel special events and cut “interpretation services” — the talks, tours and other education services provided by local park rangers.

“Apparently, they want the public to feel the pain,” the ranger said.

 

Instead of feeling pain the public has had a glimpse into just how mean, petty and spiteful the gangsters currently in power in the White House can be.

 

 

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19

Gangsters, Plain and Simple

Obama Gangster

 

 

If there is anyone who does not think this country is currently run by a pack of gangsters, Father Z’s report on the below story will set you straight:

 

The U.S. military has furloughed as many as 50 Catholic chaplains due to the partial suspension of government services, banning them from celebrating weekend Mass. At least one chaplain was told that if he engaged in any ministry activity, he would be subjected to disciplinary action. [Let’s put this in the customary terms liberals always use when in a debate.  The First Gay President’s administration wants to HURT people. They are determined to increase pain for the sake of their political agenda. They are gang members in a town they have overrun.  They are mafia thugs who shakedown businesses and blackmail people.  There.  Now liberals will shout “FOUL!” and demand that we turn down the rhetoric and embrace civility, even as they incessantly use terms exactly like that for their opponents.]

“In very practical terms it means Sunday Mass won’t be offered,” Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services told me. “If someone has a baptism scheduled, it won’t be celebrated.”

Show support for chaplains and the Archdiocese for Military Services! Send a donation, even a small one.

The Archdiocese for the Military Services tells me the military installations impacted are served by non-active-duty priests who were hired as government contractors. As a result of a shortage of active duty Catholic chaplains, the government hires contract priests.

Broglio said some military bases have forbidden the contract priests from volunteering to celebrate Mass without pay. [They won’t let them even volunteer, which priests would want to do anyway. This is crazy. The Obama administration is trying to benefit from the pain people will have.  This time I am not kidding.  That’s what they are doing.  They want to make little children cry because they can’t visit the Smithsonian.  They want to disappoint elderly veterans.  They want to ruin the trips of US citizens who want to visit American military cemeteries overseas where their father is buried.   They want to ruin vacations – in a time when the economy is difficult – to national parks.  The list goes on.]

“They were told they cannot function because those are contracted services and since there’s no funding they can’t do it – even if they volunteer,” he said. [What if they said they would bring their own candles and not turn on the lights?  Is it a matter of the money it costs to open the chapel?]

John Schlageter, general counsel for the archdiocese, said any furloughed priests volunteering their services could face big trouble.

“During the shutdown, it is illegal[?!?] for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so,” he said in a written statement. [This president – according to his own whims – decides which laws he wants to enforce and which not, which interest groups receive his benefice and waivers, and which not. Through the president’s HHS MANDATE Catholics are to be forced to pay for immoral things and then be denied services. I wonder: Are any rabbis or imams being threatened? I’d like to know.]

A well-placed source told me that a furloughed Air Force chaplain was threatened after he offered to forgo pay. The chaplain was told he could not go on base or enter his chapel offices. He was also barred from engaging in any ministry activity.

The source told me the chaplain was told that if he violated those orders he and his supervisor would be subjected to disciplinary action – with the possibility of being fired.

Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, called those developments disturbing. Continue Reading

1

IRS Scandal: The Chicago Way

 

One of the interesting things about the IRS scandal is how obvious and ham-fisted the bias against conservative groups was:

 

In February 2010, the Champaign Tea Party in Illinois received approval of its tax-exempt status from the IRS in 90 days, no questions asked.

That was the month before the Internal Revenue Service started singling out Tea Party groups for special treatment. There wouldn’t be another Tea Party application approved for 27 months.

In that time, the IRS approved perhaps dozens of applications from similar liberal and progressive groups, a USA TODAY review of IRS data shows.

As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with liberal-sounding names had their applications approved in as little as nine months. With names including words like “Progress” or “Progressive,” the liberal groups applied for the same tax status and were engaged in the same kinds of activities as the conservative groups. They included:

• Bus for Progress, a New Jersey non-profit that uses a red, white and blue bus to “drive the progressive change.” According to its website, its mission includes “support (for) progressive politicians with the courage to serve the people’s interests and make tough choices.” It got an IRS approval as a social welfare group in April 2011.

• Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment says it fights against corporate welfare and for increasing the minimum wage. “It would be fair to say we’re on the progressive end of the spectrum,” said executive director Jeff Ordower. He said the group got tax-exempt status in September 2011 in just nine months after “a pretty simple, straightforward process.”

 

• Progress Florida, granted tax-exempt status in January 2011, is lobbying the Florida Legislature to expand Medicaid under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, one of President Obama’s signature accomplishments. The group did not return phone calls. “We’re busy fighting to build a more progressive Florida and cannot take your call right now,” the group’s voice mail said.

Like the Tea Party groups, the liberal groups sought recognition as social welfare groups under Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, based on activities like “citizen participation” or “voter education and registration.” Continue Reading

7

A Public Service Announcement From The American Catholic

 

 

Attention, attention!  All IRS employees who gave “special” attention to conservative groups at the behest of your politicial masters.  You are being thrown under the bus!  I repeat, you are being thrown under the bus!

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday he had ordered the FBI to open a criminal probe in a growing scandal over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative political groups for extra tax scrutiny.

Holder’s announcement came about four hours before an inspector general’s report on the IRS portrayed the tax agency as plagued by disarray and “insufficient oversight” during its struggles to review the cases of hundreds of advocacy groups that claimed they should be tax exempt.

The audit, which drew some backlash from IRS officials, also underscored what the agency had acknowledged last Friday: that the IRS had used “inappropriate criteria” for evaluating tax-exempt groups, in part by singling out scores of conservative Tea Party and “Patriot” organizations for increased scrutiny Continue Reading

3

The IRS Scandal: The Hits Keep On Coming

 

It is hard to keep up on the IRS scandal as disclosure followed disclosure today, all damning to the IRS and the administration.  Here is the latest:

1.  Low Level Employees in Cincinnati Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved in the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, making clear that the effort reached well beyond the branch in Cincinnati that was initially blamed, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.

IRS officials at the agency’s Washington headquarters sent queries to conservative groups asking about their donors and other aspects of their operations, while officials in the El Monte and Laguna Niguel offices in California sent similar questionnaires to tea party-affiliated groups.

Go here to the Washington Post to read the rest.

2.  Confidentiality, What’s That?-The IRS released confidential applications of Tea Party groups to Pro Publica, a left wing thinktank.  How do we know this?  Pro Publica told us so today:

The same IRS office that deliberately targeted [1] conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year [2].

The IRS did not respond to requests Monday following up about that release, and whether it had determined how the applications were sent to ProPublica.

In response to a request for the applications for 67 different nonprofits last November, the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent ProPublica applications or documentation for 31 groups. Nine of those applications had not yet been approved—meaning they were not supposed to be made public. (We made six [2] of those [3] public, after redacting their financial information, deeming that they were newsworthy.)

Go here to Pro Publica to read the rest.

3.  Who Else Knew?-The current acting commissioner of the IRS knew in May of 2012 that Tea Party groups were being targeted.  How do we know this?  The IRS disclosed this today.  Gee, do you wonder why they didn’t disclose this last year?  Continue Reading

9

George Will: How Stupid Do They Think We Are?

1. He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be intitiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.

Article Two, Section One of the Impeachment Articles Against Richard M. Nixon

As Obama begins his process of “twisting slowly, slowly in the wind” news is getting out on the Inspector General of the IRS’s report on the targeting of Tea Party groups and other conservative groups:

At various points over the past two years, Internal Revenue Service officials targeted nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution, according to documents in an audit conducted by the agency’s inspector general.

The documents, obtained by The Washington Post  from a congressional aide with knowledge of the findings, show that on June 29, 2011, IRS staffers held a briefing with senior agency official Lois G. Lerner in which they described giving special attention to instances where “statements in the case file criticize how the country is being run.” Lerner, who  oversees tax-exempt groups for the agency, raised objections and the agency revised its criteria a week later.

But six months later, the IRS applied a new political test to groups that applied for tax-exempt status as “social welfare” groups, the document says. On Jan. 15, 2012 the agency decided to target “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform movement.,” according to the appendix in the IG report, which was requested by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has yet to be released. Continue Reading

28

Low Level Employees of the IRS…Sure

If there is any doubt that we are dealing with gangsters at the helm of the nation, this story should remove that doubt:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Internal Revenue Service apologized Friday for what it acknowledged was “inappropriate” targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.

IRS agents singled out dozens of organizations for additional reviews because they included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their exemption applications, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. In some cases, groups were asked for lists of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said. Continue Reading

5

J’accuse

 

 

Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom is always brilliant but he outdoes himself in a remarkable post where he explains just how ominous for the Republic the Benghazi scandal is:

I have very little I wish to say today, so sick to my stomach am I from hearing yesterday’s testimony on Benghazi, wherein career civil servants were very obviously, and oftentimes visibly, working to restrain their anger, outrage, and outright disbelief at what their own government had done (and hadn’t done) to secure the lives of Americans.

In short, the subtext of yesterday’s testimony was precisely this:  it does matter.  And those Democrats who have spent the last 24 hours trying to dismiss or diminish or deflect the testimony as a non-story — a tack that the mainstream press has aided them with, failing for the most part to even mention the hearings, much less provide any in-depth coverage of the revelations, save for the occasional story informing us that there were no revelations — are no better than any third-world goosestepping apparatchik whose job it is to provide cover for a Dear Leader.

They sicken me in a way I cannot even put into words — and that’s saying something, given my occasionally-documented facility with the language.  These people are monsters of a sort, but even that appellation can do their rank cynicism and their easy disregard for conscience no real justice.

And the media, without doubt co-conspirators in what is a major scandal — and an even more major cover-up — are so committed to progressive activism, and to their own self-styled righteousness and compassion (which, relying on a surreal tautology and the anti-foundationalism at the heart of their ideology, they presume to claim is a function of their progressivism: they are good, so therefore what they do is good; and what they do is good because it’s being done by good people), that they have found a way to convince themselves that their biases, be it by omission or by massaging of the facts to report that there’s nothing new to report, are somehow noble and are in the service of a Greater Good. Continue Reading

20

Army Values

Obama's Military

 

There is an old saying in the military:  once is an accident;  twice is carelessness;  third time is enemy action.  Faithful readers of this blog will recall this post here about an Army briefing which labeled Christians, including Catholics, as extremists.  Another incident has arisen this week.

An officer at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where my brother was stationed when he was an Armor officer in the Army, recently sent out a 14 page e-mail to subordinates which makes for interesting reading.  Here is the e-mail from Lieutenant Colonel Jack Rich:

Subject: Domestic “Hate Groups” (UNCLASSIFIED)
 
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
 
Caveats: FOUO
 
Leaders,
 
Many events have been taking place across the country – just want to ensure everyone is somewhat educated on some of the groups out there that do not share our Army Values.
 
When we see behaviors that are inconsistent with Army Values – don’t just walk by – do the right thing and address the concern before it becomes a problem.
 
We need to make sure that we maintain our standards – starting with reception and integration. Continue Reading

2

Fisker Automotive: Obama’s Bad Karma

 

 

Hattip to Mary Katherine Ham at Hot Air.  Back in 2008 Obama stated that if elected he would create five million green jobs over the next decade.  At this stage it becomes monotonous to bring up the fact that the promises of Obama bear as much relationship to reality as a lightning bug does to lightning, but the failure of Fisker Automotive can be taken as a symbol of the failed economic policy of the Obama administration.

In 2009 the Obama administration authorized a half a billion loan guarantee to Fisker, and about 193 million was spent.  When Fisker opened a plant in Delaware, Veep Biden was on hand.  The car company is now reeling to bankruptcy after spending 600K on each 100K Fisker Karma it sold:

Fisker Automotive Inc. spent more than six times as much U.S. taxpayer and investor money to produce each luxury plug-in car it sold than the company received from customers, according to a research report.

The Anaheim, California-based company made about 2,500 of its $103,000 Karmas before halting production last year, disrupting its plans to use a $529 million U.S. loan to restart a shuttered Delaware factory owned by the predecessor of General Motors Co. (GM) The Karma was assembled in Finland.

***********************************

Fisker has spent $1.3 billion in taxpayer and venture capital money, or $660,000 for each car it sold, the report said.

Fisker stopped manufacturing cars late last year and fired three quarters of its remaining workers April 5. The company’s first repayment of $20.2 million on the Energy Department loan is due April 22, the report said.

Tony Knight of Sitrick & Co., an outside public relations agency representing Fisker, declined to comment.

A U.S. House panel is scheduled to hold a April 24 hearing on Fisker and its government financing. Invited witnesses include co-founder and namesake Henrik Fisker, who resigned last month; CEO Tony Posawatz and Chief Operating Officer Bernhard Koehler, who helped start the company whose customers include singer Justin Bieber and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Continue Reading

34

New Republic as State Organ

 

 

 

Martin Peretz had the dubious privilege of owning the money losing New Republic for 35 years.  Last year he sold it to Chris Hughes, Facebook Tycoon and Obama insider.  He is none too happy with the mag now.

 

Like many readers of the New Republic, I didn’t at first recognize the most recent issue of the magazine. The stark white cover was unlike anything the New Republic ran during my 35 years as the owner. Having read the cover story, I still don’t recognize the magazine that I sold in 2012 to the Facebook zillionaire Chris Hughes.

 

“Original Sin,” by Sam Tanenhaus, purported to explain “Why the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people.” The provocative theme would not have been unthinkable in the magazine’s 99-year history, but the essay’s reliance on insinuations of GOP racism (“the inimical ‘they’ were being targeted by a spurious campaign to pass voter-identification laws, a throwback to Jim Crow”) and gross oversimplifications hardly reflected the intellectual traditions of a journal of ideas. What made the “Original Sin” issue unrecognizable to this former owner is that it established as fact what had only been suggested by the magazine in the early days of its new administration: The New Republic has abandoned its liberal but heterodox tradition and embraced a leftist outlook as predictable as that of Mother Jones or the Nation. Continue Reading

45

Amazons Attack!

 

 

Back in my misspent youth in the Seventies I served some time in the Green Machine.  (I like to think that I greatly contributed to the defense of the nation by leaving the Army.)  While I was learning the mysteries of how to manuever squads, the other officer cadets and I would train with female officer cadets.  Most of them found the fairly arduous training very exhausting.  A few of them were as capable as the least physically in shape of the men.  (I would have been in that category.)  This was only basic training and not the type of training that would go on at an infantry branch school for the Lieutenants assigned to that branch.  Women of course back in those days could not be assigned to the Combat Arms branches of the Army, and I do not recall one woman complaining about that.

However, now Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, on his way out the door, has announced a policy to allow women to serve in the Combat Arms.  Since my service was a peace time comedy of errors, and I have an XY chromosome combination, I will defer to the observations of Captain Katie Petronio, USMC, made last year:

As a company grade 1302 combat engineer officer with 5 years of active service and two combat deployments, one to Iraq and the other to Afghanistan, I was able to participate in and lead numerous combat operations. In Iraq as the II MEF Director, Lioness Program, I served as a subject matter expert for II MEF, assisting regimental and battalion commanders on ways to integrate female Marines into combat operations. I primarily focused on expanding the mission of the Lioness Program from searching females to engaging local nationals and information gathering, broadening the ways females were being used in a wide variety of combat operations from census patrols to raids. In Afghanistan I deployed as a 1302 and led a combat engineer platoon in direct support of Regimental Combat Team 8, specifically operating out of the Upper Sangin Valley. My platoon operated for months at a time, constructing patrol bases (PBs) in support of 3d Battalion, 5th Marines; 1st Battalion, 5th Marines; 2d Reconnaissance Battalion; and 3d Battalion, 4th Marines. This combat experience, in particular, compelled me to raise concern over the direction and overall reasoning behind opening the 03XX field.

Who is driving this agenda? I am not personally hearing female Marines, enlisted or officer, pounding on the doors of Congress claiming that their inability to serve in the infantry violates their right to equality. Shockingly, this isn’t even a congressional agenda. This issue is being pushed by several groups, one of which is a small committee of civilians appointed by the Secretary of Defense called the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Service (DACOWITS). Their mission is to advise the Department of Defense (DoD) on recommendations, as well as matters of policy, pertaining to the well-being of women in the Armed Services from recruiting to employment. Members are selected based on their prior military experience or experience with women’s workforce issues. I certainly applaud and appreciate DACOWITS’ mission; however, as it pertains to the issue of women in the infantry, it’s very surprising to see that none of the committee members are on active duty or have any recent combat or relevant operational experience relating to the issue they are attempting to change. I say this because, at the end of the day, it’s the active duty servicemember who will ultimately deal with the results of their initiatives, not those on the outside looking in. As of now, the Marine Corps hasn’t been directed to integrate, but perhaps the Corps is anticipating the inevitable—DoD pressuring the Corps to comply with DACOWITS’ agenda as the Army has already “rogered up” to full integration. Regardless of what the Army decides to do, it’s critical to emphasize that we are not the Army; our operational speed and tempo, along with our overall mission as the Nation’s amphibious force-in-readiness, are fundamentally different than that of our sister Service. By no means is this distinction intended as disrespectful to our incredible Army. My main point is simply to state that the Marine Corps and the Army are different; even if the Army ultimately does fully integrate all military occupational fields, that doesn’t mean the Corps should follow suit.

I understand that there are female servicemembers who have proven themselves to be physically, mentally, and morally capable of leading and executing combat-type operations; as a result, some of these Marines may feel qualified for the chance of taking on the role of 0302. In the end, my main concern is not whether women are capable of conducting combat operations, as we have already proven that we can hold our own in some very difficult combat situations; instead, my main concern is a question of longevity. Can women endure the physical and physiological rigors of sustained combat operations, and are we willing to accept the attrition and medical issues that go along with integration?

As a young lieutenant, I fit the mold of a female who would have had a shot at completing IOC, and I am sure there was a time in my life where I would have volunteered to be an infantryman. I was a star ice hockey player at Bowdoin College, a small elite college in Maine, with a major in government and law. At 5 feet 3 inches I was squatting 200 pounds and benching 145 pounds when I graduated in 2007. I completed Officer Candidates School (OCS) ranked 4 of 52 candidates, graduated 48 of 261 from TBS, and finished second at MOS school. I also repeatedly scored far above average in all female-based physical fitness tests (for example, earning a 292 out of 300 on the Marine physical fitness test). Five years later, I am physically not the woman I once was and my views have greatly changed on the possibility of women having successful long careers while serving in the infantry. I can say from firsthand experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, and not just emotion, that we haven’t even begun to analyze and comprehend the gender-specific medical issues and overall physical toll continuous combat operations will have on females.

I was a motivated, resilient second lieutenant when I deployed to Iraq for 10 months, traveling across the Marine area of operations (AO) and participating in numerous combat operations. Yet, due to the excessive amount of time I spent in full combat load, I was diagnosed with a severe case of restless leg syndrome. My spine had compressed on nerves in my lower back causing neuropathy which compounded the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. While this injury has certainly not been enjoyable, Iraq was a pleasant experience compared to the experiences I endured during my deployment to Afghanistan. At the beginning of my tour in Helmand Province, I was physically capable of conducting combat operations for weeks at a time, remaining in my gear for days if necessary and averaging 16-hour days of engineering operations in the heart of Sangin, one of the most kinetic and challenging AOs in the country. There were numerous occasions where I was sent to a grid coordinate and told to build a PB from the ground up, serving not only as the mission commander but also the base commander until the occupants (infantry units) arrived 5 days later. In most of these situations, I had a sergeant as my assistant commander, and the remainder of my platoon consisted of young, motivated NCOs. I was the senior Marine making the final decisions on construction concerns, along with 24-hour base defense and leading 30 Marines at any given time. The physical strain of enduring combat operations and the stress of being responsible for the lives and well-being of such a young group in an extremely kinetic environment were compounded by lack of sleep, which ultimately took a physical toll on my body that I couldn’t have foreseen. Continue Reading

3

Live Not By Lies

 

 

Live Not by Lies is the last thing Alexander  Solzhenitsyn wrote before his exile to the West in 1974.  Solzhenitsyn was one of the giants of the last century.  Thrown into the Gulag while he was an artillery officer in the Red Army during World War II, he tirelessly, at the constant risk of his life, fought a lonely battle for freedom for three decades in the Soviet Union.  His courage and literary skill inspired people around the globe, including me as a teen-ager and a young man.  I never thought what he wrote would be applicable to the United States, the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Alas, in the Age of Obama Solzhenitsyn’s writings have an increasingly unpleasant contemporary ring to them.

 

So in our timidity, let each of us make a choice: Whether consciously, to remain a servant of falsehood–of course, it is not out of inclination, but to feed one’s family, that one raises his children in the spirit of lies–or to shrug off the lies and become an honest man worthy of respect both by one’s children and contemporaries.

And from that day onward he:

  • Will not henceforth write, sign, or print in any way a single phrase which in his opinion distorts the truth.
  • Will utter such a phrase neither in private conversation not in the presence of many people, neither on his own behalf not at the prompting of someone else, either in the role of agitator, teacher, educator, not in a theatrical role.
  • Will not depict, foster or broadcast a single idea which he can only see is false or a distortion of the truth whether it be in painting, sculpture, photography, technical science, or music.
  • Will not cite out of context, either orally or written, a single quotation so as to please someone, to feather his own nest, to achieve success in his work, if he does not share completely the idea which is quoted, or if it does not accurately reflect the matter at issue.
  • Will not allow himself to be compelled to attend demonstrations or meetings if they are contrary to his desire or will, will neither take into hand not raise into the air a poster or slogan which he does not completely accept.
  • Will not raise his hand to vote for a proposal with which he does not sincerely sympathize, will vote neither openly nor secretly for a person whom he considers unworthy or of doubtful abilities.
  • Will not allow himself to be dragged to a meeting where there can be expected a forced or distorted discussion of a question.
  • Will immediately walk out of a meeting, session, lecture, performance or film showing if he hears a speaker tell lies, or purvey ideological nonsense or shameless propaganda.
  • Will not subscribe to or buy a newspaper or magazine in which information is distorted and primary facts are concealed.

Of course we have not listed all of the possible and necessary deviations from falsehood. But a person who purifies himself will easily distinguish other instances with his purified outlook.

No, it will not be the same for everybody at first. Some, at first, will lose their jobs. For young people who want to live with truth, this will, in the beginning, complicate their young lives very much, because the required recitations are stuffed with lies, and it is necessary to make a choice.

But there are no loopholes for anybody who wants to be honest. On any given day any one of us will be confronted with at least one of the above-mentioned choices even in the most secure of the technical sciences. Either truth or falsehood: Toward spiritual independence or toward spiritual servitude.

And he who is not sufficiently courageous even to defend his soul- don’t let him be proud of his “progressive” views, and don’t let him boast that he is an academician or a people’s artist, a merited figure, or a general–let him say to himself: I am in the herd, and a coward. It’s all the same to me as long as I’m fed and warm.

Even this path, which is the most modest of all paths of resistance, will not be easy for us. But it is much easier than self-immolation or a hunger strike: The flames will not envelope your body, your eyeballs, will not burst from the heat, and brown bread and clean water will always be available to your family. Continue Reading

15

We Will Outlast Them

Obama Joke

“That on you is fallen the shadow,
And not upon the Name;
That though we
scatter and though we fly,
And you hang over us like the sky,
You are more
tired of victory,
Than we are tired of shame.

“That though you hunt
the Christian man
Like a hare on the hill-side,
The hare has still more
heart to run
Than you have heart to ride.

“That though all lances
split on you,
All swords be heaved in vain,
We have more lust again to
lose
Than you to win again.

G.K. Chesterton, Ballad of the White Horse Continue Reading

23

You Are the Threat!

Right Wing Extremists

 

You may never have considered yourself a terrorist, but if you are a conservative a new government study indicates that you might well be:

The report’s author is Arie Perliger, who directs the Center’s terrorism studies and teaches social sciences at West Point. I can only imagine what his classes are like as his report manages to lump together every known liberal stereotype about conservatives between its covers.

As Rowan Scarborough of the Washington Times, who broke news of the report on Thursday, recounts:

[The Center’s report] says anti-federalists “espouse strong convictions regarding the federal government, believing it to be corrupt and tyrannical, with a natural tendency to intrude on individuals’ civil and constitutional rights. Finally, they support civil activism, individual freedoms, and self government. Extremists in the anti-federalist movement direct most their violence against the federal government and its proxies in law enforcement.”

The report also draws a link between the mainstream conservative movement and the violent “far right,” and describes liberals as “future oriented” and conservatives as living in the past.

“While liberal worldviews are future- or progressive -oriented, conservative perspectives are more past-oriented, and in general, are interested in preserving the status quo,” the report says. “The far right represents a more extreme version of conservatism, as its political vision is usually justified by the aspiration to restore or preserve values and practices that are part of the idealized historical heritage of the nation or ethnic community.”

The report adds: “While far-right groups’ ideology is designed to exclude minorities and foreigners, the liberal-democratic system is designed to emphasize civil rights, minority rights and the balance of power.”

The Times quotes a congressional staffer who has served in the military calling the report a “junk study.” The staffer then asked: “The $64,000 dollar question is when will the Combating Terrorism Center publish their study on real left-wing terrorists like the Animal Liberation Front, Earth Liberation Front, and the Weather Underground?”

This is not the first time elements of the federal government have tried to smear conservatives with sloppy work and a broadbrush analysis. Continue Reading

13

A Guide to the 23 Edicts for the Perplexed

 

We at The American Catholic, among our many other missions, aim to translate Governmentese into English with color commentary.  Herewith is an example of our service in regard to President Obama’s 23 executive orders on gun control, better termed edicts:

1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

Do what the agencies have been supposed to be doing all along.
2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

The maze of laws and regulations belched out by Congress and the Executive branch each year, and which I have overwhelmingly supported, have a deleterious impact on background checks, as they do with accomplishing anything in these United States.  Shazam!
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

Fall in line States or we will deprive you of Federal money.  Federalism, what’s that? Continue Reading

21

Laws Are For Our Enemies, Not Our Friends

The District of Columbia, one of the worst governed jurisdictions in the United States, has a law on the books, placed there for political purposes by the uber liberals who run it, banning “high-capacity” ammo clips, of the type waved around by NBC unpaid Obama press flack reporter David Gregory in the above clip.  He did it in DC.  No intent is needed for the criminal prosecution.  It is a strict liability offense.  For the past few weeks the question has been whether Gregory would be prosecuted.  Not a chance I thought, and I was proved correct when Irvin Nathan, the attorney general for DC, released a pompous letter yesterday explaining why Gregory would not be prosecuted  The letter runs to three turgid pages, but I won’t inflict all of that on you.  Instead, here is the money quote: Continue Reading

9

Molon Labe

 

 

“While Leonidas was preparing to make his stand, a Persian envoy arrived. The envoy explained to Leonidas the futility of trying to resist the advance of the Great King’s army and demanded that the Greeks lay down their arms and submit to the might of Persia. Leonidas laconically told Xerxes, “Come and get them.(Molon labe).”

                              Plutarch, Leonidas

Vice President Joe Biden revealed that President Barack Obama might use an executive order to deal with guns.

“The president is going to act,” said Biden, giving some comments to the press before a meeting with victims of gun violence. “There are executives orders, there’s executive action that can be taken. We haven’t decided what that is yet. But we’re compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and the rest of the cabinet members as well as legislative action that we believe is required.”

Biden said that this is a moral issue and that “it’s critically important that we act.”

You know, if we have domestic unrest during the second term of this administration, I wouldn’t be surprised if it starts from Joe Biden shooting off his mouth and giving us glaring insight into how Obama would proceed if he thought he could get away with it.  Obama has nothing but contempt for American liberties and Biden merely idiotically repeats what he has heard. Continue Reading

21

Klavan: Gloom Begone!

 

 

Andrew Klavan writes a column and notes reasons for optimism in our winter of discontent:

1. Fracking. As I’ve said before, Obama and the EPA will ultimately be splatter on the windshield of this progress. There’s energy in them thar hills and eventually we’re going to get at it, whether these luddite environmental knuckleheads like it or not. That means wealth, energy independence, jobs, power and a reboot of Dallas. Obama may be choosing decline, but the rest of the country may well choose prosperity and growth in spite of him.

2. Federalism. Around the country, conservative governors are taking action that could galvanize reform nationwide. Right-to-work laws, state budget cuts, reduced property taxes and creative approaches to education. As prosperity follows these practices — and abandons California and Illinois and other lagging states — they will gain credence with the general population and make political stars of the governors who supported them.

3. Reality is on our side. When I call Obama a reactionary, what I mean is that he adheres to a grievance-based socialist ideology he learned in college from professors who were probably old even then. As these academics die and go to hell for all eternity, up-and-comers may begin to notice that the poor suffer under left-wing programs and rise under the free market, that education improves under conservative guidance and gets worse under liberals, and that big business actually gets more entrenched and powerful under the left while the right helps the little guy thrive. That, after all, will be the off-beat, radical position, and academics love to be off-beat and radical as long as everyone around them is being off-beat and radical too. A new generation is already on the rise that understands entitlements are unsustainable and that freedom works. It won’t be long at all before we begin to hear their voices in the mainstream. I hope. Continue Reading

7

A Lazier America

 

 

I think that the re-election of Obama will come to be viewed by most Americans as an umitigated disaster in the years to come.  He has been a curse upon this country in so many ways, but perhaps especially in regard to the American character.

 

The London-based Think Tank Legatum Institute recently offered empirical evidence of what many Americans have been thinking lately. Our national well-being is slipping.

Over the past four years, prosperity has increased around the globe, while it has remained stagnant in the United States, the Legatum Institute reports. As a result, the Institute ranked the United States 12th out of 142 countries on its 2012 Prosperity Index, putting the country outside the top ten for the first time.

Go here to read the rest.  The summary of the report in regard to the US makes for depressing reading: Continue Reading

26

Why We’re Not Going Anywhere

Archdiocese launches Campaign for Religious Liberty

Let me explain, in as clear and precise terms as I can, why social conservatives are not going anywhere, nor should they go anywhere, but should remain right at the heart of the conservative movement and gain acceptance among libertarians as well, and should reject as the foolish garbage that it is all suggestions to the contrary.

First, our principles are not electoral losers. Leftists believe they are on “the right side of history”, comparing the campaign for “marriage equality” with every civil rights struggle of past eras. They believe that this fact is reflected in the way the youth vote splits and the purported reasons why. At the same time, they gloat and brag about the size of the Democratic share of the minority vote.

The merits of the “marriage equality” campaign don’t need to be discussed here. I’ve discussed them to death on this blog in previous posts. The fact remains that minorities are opposed to “marriage equality.” If Hispanics can be won over to the GOP on the immigration issue, it will put a stop to this “wrong side of history” nonsense for a generation. The uncomfortable alliance between racial minorities who hold socially conservative views and white liberals will finally be blown apart. Unlike them, when racial minorities finally do side with the GOP en masse, we won’t attribute white liberal hatred for them to “racism” (even though it sure looks like it sometimes). This is a battle of values, not skin colors, and a failure to see that is one of the reasons why the white liberal left will never win the future they mistakenly believe to be theirs.

Continue Reading

29

Benghazi: Drip, Drip, Drip

The truth about the Benghazi debacle keeps coming out drip by drip:

1.  Paula Knows-At the beginning of the post we see the alleged mistress of David Petraeus telling an audience at a symposium in late October this bombshell:

 “A group of Delta Force operators are very…the most talented guys we have in the military. They could have come and reinforced the consulate and CIA annex that were under attack,” said Ms. Broadwell. “Now I don’t know if a lot of you have heard this, but the CIA annex had actually had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to get these prisoners back. It’s still being vetted.”

This is the first I have heard about this.  Was Petraeus sharing highly classified information with his paramour?

2.  Video Schmideo-The above detail from the mouth of Broadwell makes nonsense of the administration claim that the Mohammed video caused this.  That was a lie and the Administration knew it was a lie.

3.  Libyan Prisoners-Libyan prisoners?  What sort of involvement is the administration getting us into in Libya?  The CIA has denied this, but right now I will take the word of the alleged mistress of the former CIA Director over that of the CIA flack who issued the denial. Continue Reading

23

An Admiral and Two Generals

 

 

Well, I have to hand it to the Obama administration.  Obama reelected on Tuesday, they are already getting a start on the scandals that tend to plague most second term Presidents.  The resignation of CIA Director, retired General David Petraeus, over an alleged affair, a week before he was to testify before a Senate committee on Benghazi, brings to three the number of high-ranking officers connected with Benghazi, or its aftermath, who have seen their careers abruptly cut short.

Rear Admiral Charles M. Gaouette was relieved of his command of the Stennis strike group in the Mediterranean in late October.  Such a removal is unprecedented.  The Navy denies that the removal was in regard to Benghazi, and indeed the Stennis was in the Pacific on 9/11/12.   However the Navy has issued a fairly cryptic statement that the removal was for “inappropriate leadership judgment” during the deployment of the Stennis to the Middle East and has stressed that this does not involve any improper personal conduct by the Admiral.  All very mysterious.

The Combatant Commander of Africa Command  on 9/11/12, General Carter F. Ham abruptly retired on October 18.  Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz reported that in an interview he had with General Ham in Libya that the General told him that in regard to the Benghazi attach he had never been asked to provide military assistance.  The internet is ablaze with rumors that General Ham attempted to send assistance to Benghazi during the attack and was told to stand down.  Thus far the General has remained mum.

In regard to General Petraeus there are many questions.  Allegedly the  affair came to light months ago when the FBI caught his alleged paramour attempting to access his e-mails.  One might be curious as to why the FBI was involved in this and the answer is quite simple.  The FBI and the CIA have been at war with each other since the creation of the CIA’s predecessor the OSS in World War II and routinely keep track of the higher-ups in each organization.  (Yeah, I know:  our tax dollars at work.)  Apparently the affair has been known for at least several months, and I find it hard to believe that both the CIA and the FBI did not know of the affair before Petraeus was onfirmed as CIA Director, the background checks for such a position being extremely comprehensive.  This all raises the question as to why the affair triggers a resignation now.  His wife Holly works for the White House and unless she was in the dark on the affair, and considering how gossipy the military community tends to be I find that hard to believe, presumably the affair was known at the White House.

Petraeus is up to his arm pits in Benghazi, having denied that it was the CIA that failed to provide military assistance to the two brave Seals, Ty Woods and Greg Doherty, who died heroically leading the defense at Benghazi.  Now that he is retired, his deputy Mike Morell will testify next week.  Eventually I assume Petraeus will also testify, he has indicated post resignation that he is eager to testify, but now the story in much of the Mainstream Media will be pertaining to his affair rather than to his testimony. Continue Reading

21

Who Left American Heroes Tyrone Woods and Greg Doherty to Die?

Tyrone Woods and Greg Doherty were authentic American heroes.  Both former Navy Seals, they fought to the last in defense of the Benghazi consulate, manning a machine gun at the CIA annex.  Despite three separate orders telling them not to do so, Woods and Doherty went to the consulate after the attack began, and saved the lives of 20 embassy personnel, bringing them to the CIA annex.  They  defended the CIA annex, holding it while the 20 people they rescued were evacuated.   They were in constant contact with higher-ups at the CIA, requesting military aid.  They fought heroically for six hours and twenty minutes against an estimated 200 heavily armed attackers from the time of the beginning of the attack on the consulate, killing an estimated sixty of their foes.

They were both killed by a mortar round at the six-hour and twenty-minute mark.  General David Petraeus, head of the CIA, has denied that it was the CIA that vetoed an attempted military rescue of Woods and Doherty.

 

CIA spokesperson Jennifer Youngblood said, “We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi. Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. In fact, it is important to remember how many lives were saved by courageous Americans who put their own safety at risk that night-and that some of those selfless Americans gave their lives in the effort to rescue their comrades.”

Investors Business Daily, in a blistering editorial asks the question:  who was responsible?

More than six hours after terrorists attacked our consulate, former Navy  SEALs manned a blood-soaked machine gun to defend U.S. territory. Meanwhile  Apache helicopters sat on the ground in Italy.

At 4 a.m. local time on Sept. 11 — six hours and 20 minutes after the initial  attack began — former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed at  the CIA annex not far from the consulate by a mortar shell. The machine gun they  were firing was encrusted with blood, an indication they continued to fight  after being wounded.

During that eternity, Woods and Doherty might have wondered between gunfire  and explosions where the military, with bases strewn across Europe, was. U.S.  forces were indeed being moved like chess pieces as the attack unfolded, but  none came to their aid because no one gave the order.

President Obama, perhaps preoccupied with his upcoming Las Vegas fundraiser,  met with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval  Office at 5 p.m. ET, a little more than an hour after the onset of the  attack.

He could have given the order but did not, even after an email, in which the  al-Qaida-tied group Ansar al-Sharia claimed responsibility, arrived at 6:07 p.m.  ET to a distribution list that included the White House Situation Room.

A Special Operations force went from central Europe to Naval Air Station  Sigonella in southern Italy, just 480 miles from Benghazi. F-16s and Apache  helicopters remained parked and unused at Aviano Air Base in northern Italy. Two  Navy destroyers already in the Mediterranean Sea were moved off the coast of  Libya on the day of the attack but were never used.

The question is: Why not? Continue Reading

3

Age of Unbelief

 

 

 

Tying in with my co-blogger Dave Hartline’s post, which may be read here, my favorite living historian Victor Davis Hanson has a brilliant column today on the cynicism towards government that has justifiably grrown like Topsy during the period of Obama’s presidency:

Do you believe any more that some of our Secret Service agents — once the most esteemed of all professionals — on presidential assignment will not get drunk and womanize in their evening spare time? Do you believe that the grandees at the GSA — once the stern penny-pinchers that frowned when bureaucrats wanted a new bookcase — won’t flaunt the waste that they incur? Do you believe that the government will never sell assault rifles to drug lords? Or do you believe what the president, the secretary of state, and the director of national intelligence will say to us when the next embassy is hit? And do you believe that there were “shovel-ready jobs” and “millions of green jobs” that arose from the “stimulus”? And what is a “stimulus” anyway, but borrowed money, in the manner likewise of “investments”? Did any of you believe that Solyndra was the wave of the future?

We don’t even believe that a commission on presidential debates will ensure us unbiased moderators, or that the candidates will have equal time in speaking, or that the supposedly quiet crowd won’t boo or clap to affect the tempo of the exchange.  From now on, will debate moderators bring preselected transcripts to the forum, wait for a key moment, interrupt one of the speakers, and then wave a piece of paper to proffer authority to contradict him — eliciting applause from the supposedly neutral and silent audience, and affirmation from the president? Do you believe First Lady Michelle Obama — of “never been proud/downright mean country” infamy — when she accuses Republicans on talking down the country?

Do you believe that the Department of Labor always assesses its data and offers disinterested conclusions? I don’t.  I suspect partisan grandees, perhaps in California, will massage the data on the principle of the ends justifying the means. The same is true of Libya: the noble idea of a reset Middle East, appreciative of the unique heritage and ideology of Barack Obama and his bold attempt to reformulate America, was simply too precious to be imperiled by al-Qaedist thugs who hate us as much as ever and will kill until stopped.

********************************************************************************

I also never believed in a “war on the women” simply because mostly upper-class, liberal, highly educated white women seemed to be angry that Catholic institutions d0 not wish to include free abortion and contraceptive pills among their generous benefits packages. Did I miss something? Who were supposed to be oppressed, and how and why? Could Ms. Fluke — who addressed an audience of ten in Nevada this weekend — and her partner not split the cost of a pack of ten-dollar prophylactics? Are not more women graduating with BAs than are men? To the degree there is a gender crisis, I think it may be more young working-class men without college degrees who simply cannot find jobs in the muscular industries and for whom society apparently has little need. Is the “war on women” what the long road from suffrage to equal pay has come down to — a psychodrama of the most privileged generation in civilization’s history?  So I simply do not believe that there is a war on anyone, much less women. To the degree there is a war, it is on fiscal responsibility, a war on paying bills and keeping solvent — something lost last week in more of binders, Big Bird, the war “in Iran,” Joe Biden’s continued gesticulations, and “Romnesia.” Continue Reading

2

Work Place Violence. Sure.

 

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  Outraged victims and the families of the slain of the murderous rampage of Major Nidal Hassan at Fort Hood in 2009 have created the above video attacking the Obama’s administration’s denial that this was a blatant act of terrorism and labeling it work place violence.

 

A coalition of 160 victims and family members released a video Thursday detailing what happened at the Texas military base on Nov. 5, 2009, and why they believe it was a terror attack.

In “The Truth About Fort Hood,” victims give testimonials about their experience and express their frustration at the government calling the incident “workplace violence.”

They point out that the accused shooter, Maj. Nidal Hasan, consulted by email with top al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki about whether an attack against American soldiers was justified to “protect our brothers.” Until his death in an airstrike in 2011, Yemen-based Awlaki was considered one of the United States’ top enemies.

The shooting for Hasan “was his jihad,” Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, who was shot five times that day, said in the video. Continue Reading

3

Obama Chamberlain

 

 

 

The latest in appeasing the Jihadists.  No doubt this was to be revealed in 2013 if the American people were stupid enough to re-elect Obama:

The U.S. State Department is actively considering negotiations with the Egyptian government for the transfer of custody of Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as “the Blind Sheikh,” for humanitarian and health reasons, a source close to the Obama administration told  The Blaze.

The Department of Justice, however, told The Blaze that Rahman is serving a life sentence and is not considered for possible “release.”  Previous calls to the State Department were referred to the Department of Justice and so far, the State Department has neither confirmed nor denied the report.

Glenn Beck revealed the controversial news on his show Monday.

The Blind Sheikh is currently serving a life sentence in American prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, but the newly-elected Islamist government in Egypt has been actively petitioning his release.  Many have pinpointed a cause of last week‘s unrest in the country to be protests over the Blind Sheikh’s release — not an anti-Muslim YouTube video. Continue Reading

13

Libyan Questions

 

If we had a mainstream media that consisted of journalists instead of consisting largely of unpaid Obama press agents, reporters would be asking the following questions to the Obama administration about the Benghazi disaster:

1.  Why were there no Marine guards at the Benghazi consulate?

2.  Why was security dependent upon Libyan mercenaries at the Benghazi consulate?

3.  Is it true that the attackers had assistance from some of the Libyan mercenaries at the Benghazi consulate?

4.  Did the State Department receive credible evidence that embassies would be attacked in the Middle East 48 hours prior to the attack and failed to give any warning?

5.  Since Libya in general, and Benghazi in particular, has been chaotic since the civil war, why were no precautions taken to give special protection to American diplomatic staff? Continue Reading

26

Spitting in the Face of Uncle Sam: Part II

 

Yesterday I wrote a post, which may be read here, detailing how an Egyptian mob, inflamed by allegations about a movie attacking Mohammed, stormed our embassy.  The embassy issued a truly craven statement apologizing for the fact that Americans in this country still enjoy freedom of speech:

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

When it became obvious that many Americans found this cowardly in the extreme, the embassy initially stood behind its statement with these tweets:

This morning’s condemnation (issued before protest began) still stands. As does our condemnation of unjustified breach of the Embassy.

We condemn the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims— US Embassy Cairo (@USEmbassyCairo) September 11, 2012

The embassy has since deleted these tweets, not realizing what a futile action this is in the age of the internet.

Mitt Romney has responded:

 “I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi.  It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

After remaining silent throughout the day, the Obama administration finally responded….to Mitt Romney: Continue Reading

56

Obama’s Gay Military

 

 

Opponents of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” , a policy to keep out of the closet homosexuals from serving in the military, predicted that such a repeal would be merely a first step, and they have proved prophetic:

 

Last summer, gays in the military dared not acknowledge their sexual orientation. This summer, the Pentagon will salute them, marking June as gay pride month just as it has marked other celebrations honoring racial or ethnic groups.

In the latest remarkable sign of change since the military repealed the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the Defense Department will soon hold its first event to recognize gay and lesbian troops. It comes nine months after repeal of the policy that had prohibited gay troops from serving openly and forced more than 13,500 service members out of the armed forces.

Details are still being worked out, but officials say Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wants to honor the contributions of gay service members.

“Now that we’ve repealed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ he feels it’s important to find a way this month to recognize the service and professionalism of gay and lesbian troops,” said Navy Capt. John Kirby, a spokesman.

This month’s event will follow a long tradition at the Pentagon of recognizing diversity in America’s armed forces. Hallway displays and activities, for example, have marked Black History Month and Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. Continue Reading

5

Shocking News for Those Who Haven’t Been Paying Attention

 

I am shocked, shocked to learn that the Obama administration cares as little about religious freedom abroad as it does religious freedom at home:

 

 

 

The U.S. State Department removed the sections covering religious freedom from the Country Reports on Human Rights that it released on  May 24, three months past the statutory deadline Congress set for the release of these reports.

The new human rights reports–purged of the sections that discuss the status of religious freedom in each of the countries covered–are also the human rights reports that include the period that covered the Arab Spring and its aftermath.

Thus, the reports do not provide in-depth coverage of what has happened to Christians and other religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East that saw the rise of revolutionary movements in 2011 in which Islamist forces played an instrumental role.

For the first time ever, the State Department simply eliminated the section of religious freedom in its reports covering 2011 and instead referred  the public to the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report – a full  two years behind the times – or to the annual report of the U.S.  Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which was released last September and covers events in 2010 but not 2011. Continue Reading

13

See You In Court Mr. Obama

 

 

 

 

By this time I rather suspect that at least some of his campaign strategists, if not President Obama, are beginning to wonder if it was such a bright idea to pick a fight with the Catholic Church in an election year.  Ed Morrissey at Hot Air gives us the details on 43 lawsuits filed simultaneously around the country today attacking the HHS mandate as blatantly unconstitutional:

Today’s Roman Catholic calendar lists May 21st as the feast day of St. Christopher Magallanes, a martyr killed for celebrating Mass during the Cristero War in Mexico. Perhaps Catholics today may want to recall St. Thomas More — the patron saint of lawyers, who was executed for refusing to agree to a mandate that gave Henry VIII the prerogative of defining religious expression in England.  Dozens of Catholic institutions filed lawsuits today against the Department of Health and Human Services over its mandate and its narrow definition of religious practice:

Catholic archdioceses and institutions filed suit in federal district courts across the country Monday against the so-called contraception mandate, claiming their “fundamental rights hang in the balance.”

The plaintiffs include a host of schools and organizations, including the University of Notre Dame and the Archdiocese of New York. The lawsuits, though related, were filed individually.

The schools are objecting to the requirement from the federal health care overhaul that employers provide access to contraceptive care. The Obama administration several months back softened its position on the mandate, but some religious organizations complained the administration did not go far enough to ensure the rule would not compel them to violate their religious beliefs.

Kathryn Jean Lopez posts a brief statement from Timothy Cardinal Dolan, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and one of the chief critics of the HHS mandate:

We have tried negotiation with the Administration and legislation with the Congress – and we’ll keep at it – but there’s still no fix. Time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now. Though the Conference is not a party to the lawsuits, we applaud this courageous action by so many individual dioceses, charities, hospitals and schools across the nation, in coordination with the law firm of Jones Day. It is also a compelling display of the unity of the Church in defense of religious liberty. It’s also a great show of the diversity of the Church’s ministries that serve the common good and that are jeopardized by the mandate – ministries to the poor, the sick, and the uneducated, to people of any faith or no faith at all. Continue Reading

22

Surprise: Anti-Catholic Bigot Heads Pro-Abort Organization

Anti-Catholic bigot, homosexual activist and Episcopalian minister Harry Knox is back in the news.  Long time readers of this blog will recall that President Obama appointed Knox to his Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships back in 2009.  Go here to read a post on that appointment.

Knox has recently become the head of  the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.  He has a post on the Huffington Post explaining why religious people should support the slaying of children in the womb, a post which proves, once again the truth of Socrates’ adage that an unexamined life is a tragedy.  Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic  former Episcopalian, and a man who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have designated him Defender of the Faith, gives one of the arguments of Mr. Knox a proper response:

A homosexual Episcopal minister named Harry Knox is set to become Führer und Reichskanzler of the national organization of Einsatzgruppen America the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and while explaining why “religious” people should be celebrating abortion rather than mourning it, wrote one of the five or six stupidest statements I’ve read this year:

The harsh and condemning judgments of some religious leaders are troubling. They suggest that abortion is morally wrong, while ignoring the fact that miscarriages and unwanted pregnancies are common.  They deny that God is present in these times

Let’s take that one out for a spin, shall we?

(1) The harsh and condemning judgments about dropping a nuclear bomb on Tehran are troubling.  They suggest that the complete annihilation of Iran’s largest city and every single man, woman and child in it is morally wrong while ignoring the fact that hurricanes and tsunamis regularly destroy cities and kill innocent people.  They deny that God is present in these times

(2) The harsh and condemning judgments about setting off that bomb in a crowded city are troubling.  They suggest that terrorism is morally wrong while ignoring the fact that volcanoes regularly explode, killing thousands of people all over the world.  They deny that God is present in these times.

(3) Your harsh and condemning judgments about me boinking your wife are troubling.  They suggest that adultery is morally wrong while ignoring the fact that more men and women have sex outside of so-called “wedlock” than in it.  They deny that God is present in these times. Continue Reading

64

Anti-Bullying Tzar Bullies Christians During Anti-Bullying Speech

Advisory to the video above due to strong language and high idiocy content.  Hattip to Jazz Shaw at Hot Air.  Dan Savage, anti-Christian bigot, homosexual activist and all around jerk, is the de facto anti-Bullying tzar of the Obama administration.  He was the featured speaker at a High School Journalism Convention where he was supposed to talk on anti-bullying initiatives in schools.  Instead, he decided to vent his extreme hatred of Christianity and Christians:

Barack Obama and Joe Biden may be having second thoughts about assigning Dan Savage as their de facto “Anti-Bullying Czar” this year. According to Fox News, the sex advice columnist – Savage Love – and gay rights activist who founded It Gets Better seems to either have a hard time understanding the definition of bullying or has some serious issues with irony.

Really? So you picked a raunchy sex advice columnist who publishes a column called “Savage Love” as your ambassador to help out at risk children. What could possibly go wrong? Well, here’s what can possibly go wrong.

As many as 100 high school students walked out of a national journalism conference after an anti-bullying speaker began cursing, attacked the Bible and reportedly called those who refused to listen to his rant “pansy asses.” …

Savage was supposed to be delivering a speech about anti-bullying at the National High School Journalism Conference sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association. But it turned into an episode of Christian-bashing.

Rick Tuttle, the journalism advisor for Sutter Union High School in California, was among several thousand people in the audience. He said they thought the speech was one thing – but it turned into something else.

“I thought this would be about anti-bullying,” Tuttle told Fox news. “It turned into a pointed attack on Christian beliefs.”

Tuttle said a number of his students were offended by Savage’s remarks – and some decided to leave the auditorium.

“It became hostile,” he said. “It felt hostile as we were sitting in the audience – especially towards Christians who espouse beliefs that he was literally taking on.”

The speaker, in a supposed attempt to encourage young people to behave in a civil fashion toward each other, immediately launches into a diatribe against Christian values. When some of the students – particularly a few of the young ladies – become offended, he berates them and engages in hostile name calling. This is the keystone of the anti-bullying campaign? Continue Reading

6

It Is An Ill Wind

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Hattip to Instapundit.   As faithful readers of this blog know, I am, for my sins no doubt, an attorney.  My bankruptcy practice has grown 20-25% each year of the Obama administration:

 

Tax refunds being used to pay for bankruptcy filings. “More than 200,000 money-strapped households will use their tax refunds this year to pay for bankruptcy filing and legal fees, says a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.” Continue Reading

10

Obama’s Justice Department Agrees to Pay $120,000.00 To Pro-Life Protestor Over Frivolous Prosecution

 

 

Hattip to Tina Korbe at Hot Air.  The complete contempt that the Obama administration has for the civil liberties of Americans was exemplified in its prosecution of pro-life protestor Mary Pine.

 

The Justice Department has dropped an appeal in Holder v. Pine against pro-life sidewalk counselor Mary “Susan” Pine, who is represented by the civil rights firm Liberty Counsel. The DOJ has agreed to pay $120,000 for this frivolous lawsuit which, as the evidence indicated, was intended to intimidate Ms. Pine and send a shot over the bow of pro-lifers around the country.

Mr. Holder unsuccessfully sought thousands of dollars in fines against Ms. Pine, as well as a permanent injunction banning her from counseling women on the public sidewalk outside the Presidential Women’s Center (PWC) abortion mill (or any other “reproductive services” clinic).

After 18 months of litigation, the DOJ’s case was thrown out of federal court, and the department was chastised in a scathing ruling by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp for filing a case with no evidence.

Judge Ryskamp wrote that Holder’s complete failure to present any evidence of wrongdoing, coupled with the DOJ’s cozy relationship with PWC and their apparent joint decision to destroy video surveillance footage of the alleged “obstruction,” caused the court to suspect a conspiracy at the highest levels of the Obama administration. “The Court is at a loss as to why the Government chose to prosecute this particular case in the first place,” wrote Judge Ryskamp. “The Court can only wonder whether this action was the product of a concerted effort between the Government and PWC, which began well before the date of the incident at issue, to quell Ms. Pine’s activities rather than to vindicate the rights of those allegedly aggrieved by Ms. Pine’s conduct.” Continue Reading

9

Bishops? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Bishops!

 

In the spirit of the Obama Worship Day at Notre Dame in 2009, Notre Dame Professor of Philosophy Gary Cutting has a recent article in the New York Times, the high worship rag for all liberal apostate Catholics, in which he explains why Catholics should not pay attention to the Bishops and the silly fuss they are making over the HHS Mandate, which, among other things, rips to shreds freedom of religion enshrined in the First Amendment.  I was going to give the article a fisking to remember, but Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, has beaten me to it:

Roman Catholics will be interested to learn that Gary Gutting, a philosophy professor at Notre Dame and someone who claims to be a Catholic, recently discovered that the Reformation is finally over and that the Protestants won:

What interests me as a philosopher — and a Catholic — is that virtually all parties to this often acrimonious debate have assumed that the bishops are right about this, that birth control is contrary to “the teachings of the Catholic Church.” The only issue is how, if at all, the government should “respect” this teaching.

Good question since Gutting thinks that Catholics have pretty much plowed it under and sowed the furrows with nuclear waste.

As critics repeatedly point out, 98 percent of sexually active American Catholic women practice birth control, and 78 percent of Catholics think a “good Catholic” can reject the bishops’ teaching on birth control.  The response from the church, however, has been that, regardless of what the majority of Catholics do and think, the church’s teaching is that birth control is morally wrong.  The church, in the inevitable phrase, “is not a democracy.”   What the church teaches is what the bishops (and, ultimately, the pope, as head of the bishops) say it does.

The bishops aren’t the boss of us!!

But is this true?  The answer requires some thought about the nature and basis of religious authority.  Ultimately the claim is that this authority derives from God.  But since we live in a human world in which God does not directly speak to us, we need to ask, Who decides that God has given, say, the Catholic bishops his authority?

Who died and made the bishops religious leaders?

It makes no sense to say that the bishops themselves can decide this, that we should accept their religious authority because they say God has given it to them.  If this were so, anyone proclaiming himself a religious authority would have to be recognized as one.  From where, then, in our democratic, secular society does such recognition properly come?  It could, in principle, come from some other authority, like the secular government.  But we have long given up the idea (“cujus regio, ejus religio”) that our government can legitimately designate the religious authority in its domain.  But if the government cannot determine religious authority, surely no lesser secular power could.  Theological experts could tell us what the bishops have taught over the centuries, but this does not tell us whether these teachings have divine authority.

Out: cujus regio, ejus religio.  In: vox populi vox dei.

In our democratic society the ultimate arbiter of religious authority is the conscience of the individual believer. It follows that there is no alternative to accepting the members of a religious group as themselves the only legitimate source of the decision to accept their leaders as authorized by God.  They may be wrong, but their judgment is answerable to no one but God.  In this sense, even the Catholic Church is a democracy.

You know that joke I like to make about how in the future, everybody, to paraphrase Andy Warhol, will be an Episcopal bishop for fifteen minutes?  As far as Gutting is concerned, every single Roman Catholic is a bishop right now. Continue Reading

16

Weakness and The Truth

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

 

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

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

24

Peter Shrugged

 

Year in and year out, the Catholic Church in this country, as well as around the globe, is the largest single private provider of charitable services to the poor.  However, what if a government makes it impossible for the Church to carry out her mission? The Church in America with the HHS Mandate is facing just such a dilemma, and Francis Cardinal George of the Chicago Archdiocese tells us what to expect:

The Lenten rules about fasting from food and abstaining from meat have been considerably reduced in the last forty years, but reminders of them remain in the fast days on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and in the abstinence from meat on all the Fridays of Lent. Beyond these common sacrifices that unite us spiritually to the passion of Christ, Catholics were and are encouraged to “give up” something voluntarily for the sake of others. Often this is money that could have been used for personal purposes and instead is given to help others, especially the poor.   This year, the Catholic Church in the United States is being told she must “give up” her health care institutions, her universities and many of her social service organizations. This is not a voluntary sacrifice. It is the consequence of the already much discussed Department of Health and Human Services regulations now filed and promulgated for implementation beginning Aug. 1 of this year.

 Why does a governmental administrative decision now mean the end of institutions that have been built up over several generations from small donations, often from immigrants, and through the services of religious women and men and others who wanted to be part of the church’s mission in healing and education? Catholic hospitals, universities and social services have an institutional conscience, a conscience shaped by Catholic moral and social teaching. The HHS regulations now before our society will make it impossible for Catholic institutions to follow their conscience.

 So far in American history, our government has respected the freedom of individual conscience and of institutional integrity for all the many religious groups that shape our society. The government has not compelled them to perform or pay for what their faith tells them is immoral. That’s what we’ve meant by freedom of religion. That’s what we had believed was protected by the U.S. Constitution. Maybe we were foolish to believe so.

 What will happen if the HHS regulations are not rescinded? A Catholic institution, so far as I can see right now, will have one of four choices: 1) secularize itself, breaking its connection to the church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop. This is a form of theft. It means the church will not be permitted to have an institutional voice in public life. 2) Pay exorbitant annual fines to avoid paying for insurance policies that cover abortifacient drugs, artificial contraception and sterilization. This is not economically sustainable. 3) Sell the institution to a non-Catholic group or to a local government. 4) Close down. Continue Reading