The Obama Administration and Freedom of Speech

Wednesday, October 7, AD 2009

George Washington-Freedom of Speech

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Founding Fathers left no doubt which freedoms they held most important.  They inserted them into the First Amendment to the Constitution.  Freedom of speech and of the press come right after freedom of religion.  These freedoms, and all the others set forth in the Constitution, are the birthright of all Americans and a precious example to the rest of the world.  That is why I am bemused by the manner in which the Obama administration appears to be indifferent to attempts to undermine freedom of speech and of the press at the UN.

Hattip to Instapundit.  In an article here at the The Weekly Standard, Anne Bayefsky, writes about the Obama administration signing on to a freedom of expression resolution.

“The new resolution, championed by the Obama administration, has a number of disturbing elements. It emphasizes that “the exercise of the right to freedom of expression carries with it special duties and responsibilities . . .” which include taking action against anything meeting the description of “negative racial and religious stereotyping.” It also purports to “recognize . . . the moral and social responsibilities of the media” and supports “the media’s elaboration of voluntary codes of professional ethical conduct” in relation to “combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”

Continue reading...

One Response to The Obama Administration and Freedom of Speech

  • Two thoughts

    1. I find it interesting that the same resolution that contains “Stresses that condemning and addressing,. . . any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, . . . .” also contains ” Recognizes that the open public debate of ideas can be among the best protections against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, and can play a positive role in combating national, racial, or religious hatred”

    2. Given our national heritage and values, how many of us shout “there oughta be a law!” when the “Piss-Christ” is displayed? I do not include in that group people who simply point out the tasteless, offensive, sacrilegious and intolerant nature of the “work of art.”

One Response to Live and Let Die

Obama Administration to Severely Wounded Vets: Suicide is Painless!

Friday, August 21, AD 2009

As the Wall Street Journal reports here, the Veteran’s Administration is providing seriously wounded veterans with a pamphlet entitled “Your Life, Your Choices“, which encourages veterans to refuse treatment and die.

Continue reading...

14 Responses to Obama Administration to Severely Wounded Vets: Suicide is Painless!

  • Pingback: Obama Administration to Severely Wounded Vets: Suicide is Painless! - Christian Forums
  • Is it a co-incidence that neither Mr. Clinton nor Mr. Obama served in the armed forces?

  • What makes the Clintons and Obamas think their contribution to society is better than a helpless person who needs care? Their culture of death brings a sorrow to society greater than the unselfish loving care for others making a suffering life as good as possible, Some day they will value life when they find themselves useless ,or will they choose suicide? Would they talk their own parents or children into suicide if they thought their life not worth living? Their actions are not compassion. They are coldly eliminating undesirables.

  • Did you read this pamphlet? It is not about committing suicide. Where is “Compassion and Choices” listed as a resource? The resource mentions Choice in Dying which is a link to a website about advance directives. Here is the link to the actual pamphlet.
    http://www.rihlp.org/pubs/Your_life_your_choices.pdf

  • Holly, please. The whole thing is an advertisement for embracing the Grim Reaper. Page 21 is a riot. The smart people who put this together knew what they were doing, and it was to encourage Vets in tough health situations to give serious consideration to ending it all. As to Choice in Dying, I do not know why the Wall Street Journal article referred to Compassion and Choices although I think the author may have been referring to an earlier version of the pamphlet. Heaven knows that Choice in Dying is little improvement. Read more about the organization here.

    http://usspecialinterestgroups.com/choice-dying-cid

    “The most controversial right-to-die issue with which the CID has been involved recently is physician-assisted suicide. According to CID, physician-assisted suicide refers to a situation where a physician provides medications or other interventions to a patient with the knowledge that the patient will use the medications to end their life. This differs from withholding care or otherwise allowing a sick patient to die, because the physician is acting to help end the patient’s life, rather than ceasing treatment that might prolong it.”

    “The legality and morality of physician-assisted suicide has been hotly debated. CID has advocated for an open discussion of the issue, rather than supporting or opposing the practice.”

  • “V.A. Bureaucrats in Retreat? [Jack Fowler]

    Jim Towey’s powerful Wall Street Journal article — “The Death Book for Veterans” — was published Tuesday and revealed how the Obama administration has resuscitated a once-kiboshed end-of-life primer, Your Life, Your Choices: Planning for Future Medical Decision, which Towey says steers “vulnerable individuals to conclude for themselves that life is not worth living.”

    Sarah Palin picked up on it yesterday and put out an APB via Facebook. Then Fox announced that Chris Wallace was going to have Towey on FNS to discuss the V.A. program. And I’m told Rush Limbaugh went to town on it.

    Surprise, surprise: The PDF file for Your Life is now carrying a front-page warning that wasn’t there this morning:

    The following is a 1997 publication that was produced under VA IIR Grant No. 94-050, “Development of an Advance Care Planning Workbook,” 4/01/95 – 3/31/97. The document is currently undergoing revision for release in VA. The revised version will be available soon.

    Curious: Since this disclaimer is now on the cover page, does that mean the V.A. isn’t covering up?”

    From National Review today:

    http://corner.nationalreview.com/

  • I wonder if Holly read the pamphlet. The case studies were pieces of work. Note how in several the “unknown” wish of the patient is for non-treatment–how convenient!

    I’m horrified that wounded kids and elderly veterans are being issued this disaster of a handbook. It’s tough enough to deal with the life changes that a serious injury or illness can present without having people with no personal stake in your survival trying to steer your thinking in the directions it promotes.

    Even if the brochure were a completely innocuous education campaign, when soldiers (sailors, airmen) are sick and hurting is the worst possible time to bring up the advanced directive question. If the VA thinks having an advanced directive is that critical, they should be promoting it to active duty members of the military, not wounded warriors.

  • Pingback: Live and Let Die « The American Catholic
  • Donald, I think the money quote in the CID description you cite is about 5 paragraphs down in the History section:

    “Choice in Dying officially became an organization in 1991 with the merger of Concern for Dying and the Society for the Right to Die.”

    If I recall correctly, Concern for Dying used to be known as the Hemlock Society.

    What is really disturbing about the VA booklet is the fact that many troops disabled in Iraq/Afghanistan suffer from traumatic brain injuries. Depression is a known side effect And the VA is handing them booklets in which they’re encouraged to reflect on whether “not being able to shake the blues” may constitute a “life not worth living.” They need treatment, not a push off the cliff.

  • Can’t find in the article where the obama admin said “Suicide is Painless!”, can someone help me out?

  • The title of my post Dominic is my editorial comment on what I think the pamphlet amounts to.

  • From the words to the theme song of MASH:

    Through early morning fog I see
    visions of the things to be
    the pains that are withheld for me
    I realize and I can see…

    [chorus]:

    That suicide is painless
    It brings on many changes
    and I can take or leave it if I please.

    I try to find a way to make
    all our little joys relate
    without that ever-present hate
    but now I know that it’s too late, and…

    [Chorus]

    The game of life is hard to play
    I’m gonna lose it anyway
    The losing card I’ll someday lay
    so this is all I have to say.

    [Chorus]

    The only way to win is cheat
    And lay it down before I’m beat
    and to another give my seat
    for that’s the only painless feat.

    [Chorus]

    The sword of time will pierce our skins
    It doesn’t hurt when it begins
    But as it works its way on in
    The pain grows stronger…watch it grin, but…

    [Chorus]

    A brave man once requested me
    to answer questions that are key
    ‘is it to be or not to be’
    and I replied ‘oh why ask me?’

    ‘Cause suicide is painless
    it brings on many changes
    and I can take or leave it if I please.
    …and you can do the same thing if you choose.

  • Just what I would expect from Obama & Liberals.

Witches, Essays, Agriculture and More

Wednesday, August 12, AD 2009

I was thinking of writing a lengthy piece over lunch, when I wrote up my task list and realized that “lunch” needed to be no more than twenty minutes long. So instead, I present a number of pieces that struck me as interesting lately, but which I don’t have a whole post worth of things to say about.

InsideCatholic just reprinted a lengthy piece by medievalist Sandra Miesel discussing the realities of witch burning in the Middle Ages through “Age of Reason”. It’s an article well worth the time to read, avoiding both the slanders of anti-Catholics and the overly rosy rebuttals used by some apologists.

Entrepreneur Paul Graham has an interesting essay on what an essay should be, why people ought to write them, and how high school English classes do a pretty poor job of teaching people this skill.

Continue reading...

6 Responses to Witches, Essays, Agriculture and More

  • Cross-post of the same comment I left at Darwin’s site.
    ——–
    Instathoughts provided without the benefit of actually reading linked-to articles.

    Re: essays. I don’t think I could tell you what an essay is or what it should be. I’m not sure what is distinctive about an “essay” compared to lengthy article in the New Yorker or First Things. And I went to a college with good core curriculum. Looking forward to reading the piece.

    Re: “agri-intellectuals”. Really looking forward to this one. I remember explaining this concept to my mother once. She replied simply by saying that her (now long deceased) grandparents who lived in rural Louisiana believed that, and I quote, “farming is a cursed life.” I’m not even sure I believe that “one should eat real food most of the time” given that such a view usually connotates, 1) a rejection of the benefit of pesticides and genetic engineering; and 2) a rejection of the great good that industrialized farming has had on improving worldwide life span by making things like famine far less of a threat.

    Re: vegan and vegetarian school lunches. This brought to mind something I have often thought to myself. Conservatives are at a real disadvantage politically on some issues b/c the real conservative response is that “we can’t help you.” But you can’t say that. So when we look at failing schools we have to talk about “free market” solutions like charter schools and vouchers. I believe these do make a difference, at least in the margins. But what we really should say, indeed what our principles should lead us to conclude, is, “There isn’t any structural change we can make – better curriculum, merit pay, competition – that can change the fact that these kids are coming to school each day from homes where the parent can’t even be bothered to pack a peanut butter sandwich and some carrot sticks. And until that changes, little can be done to improve educational outcomes.”

  • Entrepreneur Paul Graham has an interesting essay on what an essay should be, why people ought to write them, and how high school English classes do a pretty poor job of teaching people this skill. I’m hoping I get the chance to write about some of them later.

    So Darwin is going to write an essay about an essay that itself is essentially an essay in how to write an essay?

    Remarkable. Really.

  • I can’t wait to write an essay about whatever Darwin writes.

  • Well, here, I can’t wait to write an essay about an essay written by S.B. that’s about an essay written by Darwin about an essay written by Graham which subject was about how to write an essay!

  • Thanks for posting some very thought-provoking links, Darwin.

    I’ve just skimmed quickly through the Graham essay on essays and found it pretty compelling, and as a side benefit, it gives lots of historical details about the development of the modern university and legal systems!

    Also read through the entire post by Hurst responding to agri-intellectuals. I own and have read both Pollan’s and Scully’s books, and I found them quite compelling. But the laws of physics also seem to work in literature, and there is an equally valid and opposite “reaction”, provided by Hurst, to the interesting original “actions” of Scully, Pollan and Dreher. It really boggles the mind when we learn about the incredibly intricate and complex systems behind mass-scale farming in the modern world.

    So my concern then turns to something even vastly more complex than large-scale farming: health care reform in one of the largest developed countries in the world! I don’t even want to consider how badly Uncle Sam’s bureaucratic armies could botch up that system in the future–YIKES!

  • *grin* The one from the farmer sounds exactly like my parents. (Dad’s been ranching and farming for roughly 40 years and has an AA; mom has been doing family-sized farming and ranching for about 30, and has a BS in animal husbandry with a minor in education. I sent her the article in hopes that she’ll write something I can blog. ^.^)

The Anchoress On Fire

Saturday, August 8, AD 2009

government

The Anchoress is on fire here about the ham-fisted efforts of the Obama administration to stifle dissent.  Eventually someone in Obama’s administration is going to have a “Yamamoto moment” and turn to him and say words to the effect of:    I fear all we have done is to rouse a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.

Continue reading...

6 Responses to The Anchoress On Fire

  • The Anchoress is one of those bloggers that continues to be an inspiration to me. There is a duty for Christians to speak out and champion those individuals that are simply asking questions and voicing their opinions about systems that they think are inhuman and/or unfair. I think our President and Congressmen, in order to disguise their greed and lust for glorification of power, are attempting to befuddle us and chaos has resulted and will intensify. But we all share responsibility for the state of the world today. Why haven’t there been such intense town meetings and outrage over the sacrifice of our most defenseless? We angonize over the possibility of the executioner’s axe hanging over our heads, but where is our zeal about speaking out over the millions of children we have murdered? Those seniors who might face the death panel at least have had the chance to love and be loved. Is it not poetic justice that the very generation that sacrificed millions of children might ultimately be sacrificed themselves? Worship of the State will not save us, but perhaps we will be saved by the prayers and sacrifices of devoted souls. I think Christianity still has the capability of producing martyrs.

  • “Why haven’t there been such intense town meetings and outrage over the sacrifice of our most defenseless?”–Moe

    Why? Because pro-abort legislators are too cowardly to call a so-called town meeting to sell constituents on the “benefits” of their government-sponsored abortion programs, that’s why.

    Had Obama’s acolytes in the legislature suspected that their great munificent gift of government-approved “health insurance” would be opposed, the cowards wouldn’t have dared to open their meetings to the public.

  • death panel?
    please. you need better info than Sarah Palin.

  • Do you think I could get better info from Ezekial Emmanuel?

  • Just as society is undaunted by a physician performing a “surgical procedure” to terminate a pregnancy, likewise we will become inured by euthanasia. Murder of our most defenseless is merely a “surgical procedure,” and murder of our elderly and mentally handicapped will be described as a “socially sustainable and cost effective” act. A panel deciding care based on these criteria sounds quite benign and less likely to offend our sensitivities than “death panel”. I rather like Sarah Palin’s jargon better than Zeke’s.

One Response to Obama sends Bush's Council on Bioethics packing; what does the future hold?

You Mean Running Up Trillions in New Debt May Not Be Good Politics?

Tuesday, June 16, AD 2009

Obama Broke

The Washington Post reported Sunday here, hattip to Instapundit, that the White House is getting nervous about the political fallout from the unprecedented spend-and-borrow binge upon which  Obama has placed the country.

“Results from a Gallup survey released last week show that although more than six in 10 Americans approve of Obama’s overall job performance, fewer than half say they approve of how he is handling the deficit and controlling federal spending. The poll also shows a decline from the previous month in the percentage of Americans who approve of Obama’s handling of the economy, although a majority still does.”

Continue reading...

15 Responses to You Mean Running Up Trillions in New Debt May Not Be Good Politics?

  • There you go again. Donald, do you understand the difference between a cyclical and a structural deficit? Are you aware that the vast majority of the increase in the deficit right now is cyclical?

    Let me ask you: how much of the fiscal turnarond since the last surplus is due to Obama’s discretionary spending? I’m talking from 2001 to 2012, so it captures the medium-term fiscal plans of the Obama administration. Well, 37 percent is the business cycle. 33 percent is discretionary policy under Bush – chiefly tax cuts and war spending. 11 percent comes from the continuing cost of Bush era programs that Obama has kept up (there’s your war again). Obama’s stimulus bill accounts for only 7 percent, and his proposed spending health, education, and energy account for a another 3 percent. [http://vox-nova.com/2009/06/10/blame-bush-and-the-recession/]

    As fiscal expert (and hawk) Alan Auerbach notes, the worst charge you can levy against Obama is that he is not making a concerted effort to fix the sustainability problems left by the Bush administration.

    And these numbers may actually over-estimate the impact of Obama on the budget. As TNR’s Jonathan Chait points out, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities crunched the numbers, and found that Obama’s budget would reduce the budget by $900 billion over ten years compared with keeping current policies in place [http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/archive/2009/06/11/the-truth-about-obama-and-the-deficit.aspx]

    But you are right about one thing, Donald– Obama is getting blamed for this because people like you (and I include most political pundits here) simply do not understand the basic fiscal math.

  • Tony, your frantic efforts to provide cover for the completely insane spending policies of the Obama administration indicates to me that the Left in this country will soon be in full melt-down mode by the Fall as the country fully awakens to the disaster of the course on which Obama has embarked the nation. As Robert Samuelson has noted:

    “Let’s see. From 2010 to 2019, Obama projects annual deficits totaling $7.1 trillion; that’s atop the $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009. By 2019, the ratio of publicly held federal debt to gross domestic product (GDP, or the economy) would reach 70 percent, up from 41 percent in 2008. That would be the highest since 1950 (80 percent). The Congressional Budget Office, using less optimistic economic forecasts, raises these estimates. The 2010-19 deficits would total $9.3 trillion; the debt-to-GDP ratio in 2019 would be 82 percent.

    But wait: Even these totals may be understated. By various estimates, Obama’s health plan might cost $1.2 trillion over a decade; Obama has budgeted only $635 billion. Next, the huge deficits occur despite a pronounced squeeze of defense spending. From 2008 to 2019, total federal spending would rise 75 percent, but defense spending would increase only 17 percent. Unless foreign threats recede, military spending and deficits might both grow.

    Except from crabby Republicans, these astonishing numbers have received little attention — a tribute to Obama’s Zen-like capacity to discourage serious criticism. Everyone’s fixated on the present economic crisis, which explains and justifies big deficits (lost revenue, anti-recession spending) for a few years. Hardly anyone notes that huge deficits continue indefinitely.”

    http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2009/05/barack_obamas_risky_deficit_sp.html

    Contrary to your final statement, people are beginning to understand the basic fiscal math. That is Obama’s problem and yours.

  • the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities crunched the numbers

    That is a small advocacy group which is an auxilliary of the Democratic Congressional Caucus. Their number should not be cited as authoritative.

  • Donald,

    Answer this question: how much of the increase in the deficit over these years is caused by (i) the economy; (ii) the inherited legacy of the Bush years (tax cuts, war, medicare part D); (iii) new policies of the Obama administration? Tell me.

    There’s something else. One reason why the deficit look so high going out is that Obama has gotten rid of all the fiscal gimmicry that made the deficit look artificially low under Bush.

    Here’s Chait: “In recent years, Congress and the president have relied on a series of budget gimmicks to mask the size of the deficit. For instance, they would assume that certain tax breaks would expire starting a year in the future, but routinely extend them a year at a time. According to the Congressional Budget Office’s numbers, Obama’s budget–compared to continuing current policies–would make the deficit $900 billion lower over the next decade.”

    Another issue — you do understand that high deficits does not mean unsustainable deficits, right?

  • Tony, the matterhorn of new debt is all a deliberate policy choice of Obama and all completely unnecessary. He could still attempt to change course. A good start would be to repeal the stimulus package.

  • According to the Congressional Budget Office’s numbers, Obama’s budget–compared to continuing current policies–would make the deficit $900 billion lower over the next decade.”

    So the gimmick-ditching explains $90bn per year. And the rest?

    The stimulus wouldn’t have been remotely as bad had more than 20% of it actually been devoted to infrastructure improvements. Instead, it was an election lottery splurge.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/2009/02/01/GR2009020100154.html

  • IT is a scandal. THe real scandal is that both Republicans democrats did not heed Bush’s call to so something about Social Security. I think it is the height of folly not to take care of that first.

    What is driving the future deficts is not really Bush Spending that in many ways were a samll structural deficit. And it is not Medicare D. It is going to to be the other parts of medicare and such.

    Heck balming anyone for that is ort of silly unless we want to blame Johnson.

  • Not to fear, Obama’s soon to be on Rushmore. (Okay, at least near there.) So all is well.

    http://www.blackhillsportal.com/npps/story.cfm?ID=3078

  • Answer this question: how much of the increase in the deficit over these years is caused by (i) the economy; (ii) the inherited legacy of the Bush years (tax cuts, war, medicare part D); (iii) new policies of the Obama administration? Tell me.

    You may be correct on the factual point. The trouble with your discussion is that the numbers your citing are derived from projections for which the methodology employed is very much a black box. Jonathan Chait is an opinion journalist making use of the product of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities appears to have bulked up considerably in the last 25 years (I believe they once employed about 15 people) and unlike other such agencies (e.g. The Century Foundation) does generally employ properly credentialed individuals. Have a look at their site. I think you will look in vain for a refereed academic paper or for a working paper composed in a similar format and idiom. It is a cottage manufactory of press releases and Congressional testimony. Most of their fellows have been recruited from the Democratic legislative staff either of the U.S. Congress or of one or another state legislature. Others were hired off the research staffs of public employee unions. Asking these characters who is responsible for what is very much like asking Democratic members of Congress. That does not mean that they are wrong; however, consulting this source is not an optimal use of your time (or Mr. McClarey’s).

    One problem he only alludes to tangentially and you do not allude to has been the determination of Mr. Geithner (and Mr. Paulson, and various other rogues) to socialize as much as possible the cost of righting the banking system and to effect industrial restructurings so as to serve the interests of Democratic constituency groups. The higher the ratio of public debt to domestic product the more we are in danger of a currency crisis. Given that the propensity to public expenditure tends to explode during banking crises, it is simply awful timing to be attempting to effect what will without a doubt be a notable increase in the baseline of economic activity accounted for by the government’s purchase of goods and services. However, in Washington, in Albany, and in Sacramento, our politicians seem incapable of putting aside for even eighteen months their rancid ambitions and crappy little games to address a national crisis. Joseph Nocera is right, “worst political class, ever”.

  • THe real scandal is that both Republicans democrats did not heed Bush’s call to so something about Social Security.

    Adjusting tax rates, benefit levels, and the retirement age will right Social Security. It is not that difficult; it is that they are too irresponsible and poltroonish to do it.

    More salient, given our current circumstances, is the failure of Congress to heed the recommendations of Gregory Mankiw (the Chairman of Mr. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors) to address the dodgy accounting practices and undercapitalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The individual most responsible for this resistance was Barney Frank.

  • A number of points:

    * There is indeed a long-term fiscal sustainbility problem, but it has nothing to do with social secuity. The beltway talking heads just don’t get this — social security is fine, nearly all of the sustainablity comes from medicare.

    * Medicare is unsustainable because of escalating costs. See Peter Orczag’s editorical in today’s Financial Times. But here’s the rub: medicare costs are out of control because healthcare costs in general are out of control. In fact, medicare does a better than of keeping costs down than its private alternatives, but it’s still not enough. A great fallacy here is that because it’s on the government balance sheet, the sky is falling, but when it’s on the household balance sheet, we don’t have to worry about it. Much of the reason for stagnating median wages is the huge rise in healthcare costs – workers are sacrificing wages for this. So this has nothing to do with Johnson and medicare specifically, it has to do with costs.

    * Yes, the governance problems that led to the undercapitalization of the GSEs was a problem, but it had nothing to do with the financial crisis, which erupted in the private securitization markets. That’s where the vast majority of the credit losses lie, and for a very good reason — subprime loans (those things that triggered the crisis) were nearly all in the private sector.

    * I actually don’t know much about the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, but their analysis certainly raises no red flags. And if you don’t believe them, then you are at the baase-case scenario whereby Obama contributyed about 10 percent of the deficit, instead of actually reducing it on net. Jon Chait tried to delve into the differing methodologies – it’s all rather technical– one big issue is whetther the tax credits that get renewed pretty much every year, long before Obama, should get pinned on Obama.

  • Yes, the governance problems that led to the undercapitalization of the GSEs was a problem, but it had nothing to do with the financial crisis, which erupted in the private securitization markets. That’s where the vast majority of the credit losses lie, and for a very good reason — subprime loans (those things that triggered the crisis) were nearly all in the private sector.

    Rubbish. The mortgage portfolios of Fannie and Freddie constituted half of the secondary mortgage market and their bond issues constituted about two-thirds of all securitized receivables. The threat to the solvency of institutions comes not merely from subprime and alt-A loans (16% of the total) but from the prime loans of borrowers under water and out of work. It was not until August of 2008 that the national economy began to contract and a disagreeable condition in credit markets turned into a crisis precisely at the time a conservatorship had to be imposed on Fannie and Freddie. A trillion dollars worth of illiquid Fannie and Freddie issues are on the books of depository institutions in this country, and a trillion dollars worth of Fannie and Freddie issues were sold abroad, much of it ending up in the portfolios of sovereign wealth funds in the Far East. It is Fannie and Freddie issues that will (alas) be added to the national debt. It is Fannie and Freddie’s deficits that are being financed to the tune of tens of billions of dollars every quarter.

    Once more with feeling: it is a suboptimal use of your time to consult the work product of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, whether you believe them or not. There is so much literature out there from more credible venues, though it might not be sufficiently topical for your purposes. I cannot figure how Jonathan Chait is supposed to produce a ‘rather technical’ discussion when his source is not producing much in the way of technical discussions.

  • Much of the reason for stagnating median wages is the huge rise in healthcare costs – workers are sacrificing wages for this. So this has nothing to do with Johnson and medicare specifically, it has to do with costs.

    You mean the escalation of costs has nothing to do with the socialization of costs. Okey doke.

  • Art Deco — I’m sorry, but your analysis of the subprime crisis could not be more off. The GSEs had a major balance sheet expansion in the 1990s, but this had largely stopped during the “subprime years” of 2004-07. If you look at data from the Fed:

    More than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006 were issued by private lending institutions.

    Private firms made nearly 83 percent of the subprime loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers that year.

    Only one of the top 25 subprime lenders in 2006 was directly subject to the housing law that’s being lambasted by conservative critics.

    (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/251/story/53802.html)

    During those years, it was the private investment banks gobbling up securitzied subprime loans, not the GSEs — the GSEs held only a quarter of subprime loans sold on the secondary market.

    Another way to look at it is to see where the bodies are buried – the GSEs account for a tiny proportion (certainly less than 10 percent) of estimated credit losses out there.

    Today, of course, it’s a different story — the private securization market is dead, and the GSEs basically are the market.

  • Subprime loans constituted about 8% of all outstanding mortgage debt as of 2007. It has been a modest part of the overall problem.

Miguel H. Diaz Is A Latino, Yeah!

Thursday, May 28, AD 2009

Miguel H. Diaz has been chosen by President Obama, peace be upon him, as the new ambassador to the Holy See.  The Miguel H. Diazsecular media and Catholic Left has been hailing Mr. Diaz as a Rahner scholar and “pro-life” Democrat.  Jesuit Father James Martin of America magazine, who recently claimed that Obama is not pro-abortion, has praised Mr. Diaz for being a Latino, in addition to being a “faithful” Catholic and for receiving a degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Abbot John Klassen of St. John’s Abbey had this to say about Mr. Diaz’s Latino and theological credentials [emphasis mine]:

“He is a strong proponent of the necessity of the Church to become deeply and broadly multi-cultural [I guess we need priestesses to be more multi-cultural], to recognize and appreciate the role that culture plays in a living faith [sounds too much like a living, breathing constitution]. Born in Havana, Cuba [Being born in Havana, Cuba is a good start in creating his Latino credentials.], he is a leading Hispanic theologian in United States.”

Continue reading...

22 Responses to Miguel H. Diaz Is A Latino, Yeah!

  • Michael I.,

    What part of “satire” don’t you understand?

    I asked the question if Mr. Diaz holds fidelity to the teachings of the Church not because he doesn’t, but because I want to know if he does. It was a question.

    Your comments will not be approved if you continue to insult people.

  • 1. Bad sign- he wears a t-shirt under his sport jacket. Sorta like the flipside of the aging dissident priest- badly mismatched sport jacket and tie. The Diaz Look- so 2003.

    2. “Born in Havana, Cuba-” on to Abbot Klassen’s glowing review. Only means that Mama and/or Papa had the good sense to raise their offspring outside of a Marxist dictatorship.

    3. “A leading Hispanic theologian-” the good Abbot sets both himself and Prof. Dr. Diaz as butts of jokes here so we will proceed further.

    4.”The need for the Church to become deeply and broadly multi-cultural…..” There’s a ringing endorsement. I would think Prof. Dr. Diaz would understand the need to preach Christ Crucified, in season and out, as both a personal and professional priority. Perhaps I am too insensitive.

    5. So is he pro-life? Or is he the best that Dear Leader can find in an increasingly limited pool of likely candidates- Dear Mother of God, he might have actually considered Caroline Kennedy? Hope Prof. Dr. Diaz- married? Ex-priest? Metrosexual?- doesn’t do the t-shirt and jacket number in official meetings. Might be a little too multi-cultural for the Vatican.

  • Let’s see he worked actively to have the most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history elected. He signs on to a letter supporting the fanatically pro–abortion Sebelius, the friend of Tiller the Killer, to be Secretary of HHS. With “pro-lifers” like Mr. Diaz, who needs pro-aborts?

  • TO be honest the least of our concenrs should be his Theology.

    Is he competent!! I am relieved that it is not Kmiec. Kmiec showed in his actions the last couple of monthys he had no business beingan Enoy to the Island Nation of Naru or the Artic for that matter with his temperment

    What sort of strikes me about this pick is that it is much much lower profile name than usual compared to Envoys that we have sent in the past.

    As

  • Question: why would it be that important to Obama for the Vatican ambassador to be a pro-choice or even pro-Obama person? Or a dissident Catholic?

    If he’s really a uniter, why can’t he just take his lumps on this particular position and install a practicing/ faithful Catholic to the job? Is it really that unacceptable?

  • Perhaps, contra some who think otherwise, it is to develop a liberal Catholic and Hispanic voting bloc for the Dems. for the forseeable future.

  • Exactly, Phillip.

    I’ll assume that the Hispanic vote was lacking in his first campaign–as a politician (and nothing more) he always looks to the future; his own.

  • If the Catholic left is hailing him, his ‘Catholicism’ is immediately questionable, and more likely than not, contrived.

  • Is it not somewhat racist to applaud the nomination of Mr. Diaz [as also that of Judge Sotomayor] because they are Hispanic?

  • Is it not somewhat racist to applaud the nomination of Mr. Diaz [as also that of Judge Sotomayor] because they are Hispanic?

    No, of course not. What an impoverished (or ideologically tainted) definition of “racism” you must have. Stop listening to Rush Limbaugh.

  • Stop listening to Rush Limbaugh.

    The hard left has found its new bogeyman in the post-Bush era.

  • No, they still use Bush. But even they know they need a new object for division.

  • Tito:

    “Miguel H. Diaz has been chosen by President Obama, peace be upon him…”

    You gettin’ all Mohammedan on us now?

    (On another note, why in heavens name do I yet remain a 2nd class citizen on this here blog?)

  • Be glad for that, I’m a third class. 🙂

  • I haven’t even been assigned a class; my wife says it’s because I have none…

  • Well, it seems even the Ever Infamous Iafrate, in spite of his seemingly horrid presence, retains a much higher standing than we few, we happy few, we Catholic band of brothers so grievously persecuted by The Guardians of this Realm simply because we are, at bottom, classless… oh well.

  • No e., the Catholic Anarchist is continually in moderation.

  • Is it not somewhat racist to applaud the nomination of Mr. Diaz [as also that of Judge Sotomayor] because they are Hispanic?

    No, of course not. What an impoverished (or ideologically tainted) definition of “racism” you must have.

    I thought we moved beyond race. Didn’t Martin Luther King say we should judge someone based on the content of their character and not of there skin? Oh, that only applies to conservatives, while liberals get to be racists.

    Mark DeFrancisis,

    Nonconstructive comments will not be approved.

  • I thought we moved beyond race.

    Who is “we”? How the heck do we “move beyond” race? “Colorblindness” is a false “solution” to racism. We should see and appreciate racial diversity, not “move beyond” it.

  • We should see and appreciate racial diversity, not “move beyond” it

    I’m glad you feel that way. Since Sotomayer believes that Latino’s are superior to everyone else, I hope you recognize my intellectual superiority to you and your race.

  • Michael I.,

    Personal insults will not be tolerated. Keep up your unChristian behavior.

  • Since Sotomayer believes that Latino’s are superior to everyone else…

    She did not say this.

This Is Not One To Fight

Wednesday, May 27, AD 2009

The protests around Obama’s honorary degree from Notre Dame University had many of the more politically progressive Catholic voices complaining that pro-life advocates had moved into a practice of loudly protesting absolutely everything that seemed vaguely positive for Obama without regard for whether it was an important issue.  As someone who cares about the integrity of Catholic education, I think they were wrong in regards to Notre Dame’s decision to give Obama an honorary law degree — it was a big deal and it was appropriate to decry the choice.

However, I think that Jay Anderson and Feddie are right in making the case that the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is not something that pro-life groups should be knocking themselves out to contest.

Given how early it is in his presidency and how high his political approval ratings are, Obama could have decided to spend political capital and put a top notch, liberal intellectual ideologue on the court who could work to shift the balance strongly to the left. Instead, he made the fairly bland, identify politics “first” pick which had been conventional wisdom in Democratic circles for some time, despite the doubts of those who wanted to see a more intellectual and ideological pick. As pro-lifers, we certainly don’t need to praise this pick. She is doubtless pro-choice and will work to support Roe and other Culture of Death decisions. But we also don’t need to pick this to raise a stink over. She will be confirmed regardless, given the composition of the senate, and if we can both conserve our political energy and provide Obama with some positive reinforcement that sticking to bland conventional wisdom candidates will be rewarded with a lack of partisan rancor, so much the better.

Again, I’m not saying that pro-lifers need to praise or support Sotomayor, but Obama could have stuck it to us a lot worse — and since kicking a fuss will achieve nothing other than encouraging the administration to play only to their base next time with a strictly ideological pick (and win the pro-life movement more of a reputation for constant shrillness) this would be a good time for us to hold our fire and concentrate on other things, like the next crop of pro-life candidates.

Continue reading...

12 Responses to This Is Not One To Fight

  • Agreed. There doesn’t seem to be much point to fighting this one… and besides, he will likely have 1-2 more opportunities to change the court. Maybe even 3 if Obama wins a second term.

    On the other hand, Sotomayor is just one more list in a long line if judges, both conservative and liberal that typically rule in favor of the state, but that is a larger philosophical debate that has long been forgotten.

  • She needs to be fully vetted. I oppose any attempt to rush this through. From a conservative viewpoint we need to use this as an opportunity for Public Education

    Plus there are large areas where she has been silent on. Such as National Secuirity concerns etc

    Also this points out the talking point that Demcorats and Republicans are all the same is sort of silly.

    Election has hve consuqunces

    However I agree there is not need to go out on this. Especially since we need to be looking to the future and preserving or forming a new bipartisan gang of 14 if the Republicans get back the WHite House in 2012

  • “… encourage the administration to play only to their base … with a strictly ideological prick …”

    Never was a typo filled with so much truth.

    😉

  • You have pointed out one of my primary concerns when you discuss the shrillness of pro-life groups on this pick.

    There is a real risk of “Boy Who Cried Wolf” Syndrome. If pro-lifers cry “WOLF!” over this fairly conventional (albeit liberal) pick, despite the fact that there is nothing in her record to paint her as some sort of radical ideologue on abortion, then no one will take us seriously when a REAL radical ideologue with the intellectual heft to shape the Court – say, Diane Wood – comes along as Obama’s next pick.

  • “Also this points out the talking point that Demcorats and Republicans are all the same is sort of silly.

    Election has hve consuqunces”

    They do have consequences… except that the consequences are all too often exactly the same with both political wings.

  • ANthony

    As to the Court I am not sure how the Consequences are the same

    There is world of difference between lets say an Alito and the current nominee. Heck while many people pile on Kennedy he is no Ginsburg

  • She needs to be fully vetted. I oppose any attempt to rush this through. From a conservative viewpoint we need to use this as an opportunity for Public Education

    I agree 100%, the efforts should be focused demonstrating on the error of the liberal approach to jurisprudence which is very unpopular (activism), and the inherent racism of the liberal worldview.

    They should question her in ways to bring out all of the beliefs about the Constitution that separate liberals from mainstream Americans including the right to abortion, but avoid any sort of reaction, and especially avoid anything resembling a personal attack.

    I don’t think that the Republicans should support her nomination at all though, they should vote against her but no extraordinary or obstructive measures. As you said, focus on a teachable moment.

  • I suspect politicians make bad teachers, especially in public disputes. Their reported comments will be reduced to soundbites not of their choosing. And how much can you teach in a soundbite?

    Movement pro-lifers often wait for political or cultural events to do their thing.

    I don’t think political events teach well. Some Colorado pro-lifers thought a Personhood Amendment would be a great way to educate about the embryo. But politics’ adversarial nature makes lots of people wary and unreceptive.

    Roe can’t be overturned without major public figures prepping the country for a post-Roe world. But are politicians those public figures?

  • Unfortunately I think Kevin’s right. Add to that the fact that the media will distort whatever pro-life message is being taught. All at the same time presenting Sotomayor as a persecuted woman with a “compelling story.” No way to win. But that’s the way it generally is.

  • The one big problem with Sotomayor is that she may not be competent to be on the court:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/05/sotomayor_overturned_60_of_the.html

  • Phillip,

    I think if the confirmation questions are carefully written without any negativity, just asking her to explain her beliefs and judicial philosophy it should not backfire.

    As to her “competence” clearly all of the liberal sitting justices lack any proper understanding of the separation of powers, so whatever her shortcomings she is in good company.

  • I don’t know. The well written questions won’t be reported by the media or distorted. But perhaps with blogs they can be reported.

    How about we bet a beer on it?

How Long in the Wilderness?

Thursday, May 14, AD 2009

Reflecting on Nancy Pelosi and the torture controversies, E.D. Kain makes the following prediction:

To me, Pelosi’s denial (and accusation against the CIA) lays bare a deeper truth about the Democrats.  Without Obama they’d be nearly as big a mess as the Republicans.  Most of them are complicit in the Bush torture program and the wars.  The party is almost headless without Obama – led by the fickle and hardly inspiring Reid/Pelosi duo.  After Obama, if conservatives learn anything over the next eight years – yes, I’m predicting it will be eight – unless the Democrats get some sort of order and discipline and more importantly, some grander vision, then I think the GOP should have no trouble at all coming in and cleaning up.

I have thought for a while that the Republicans will be out of power for a significant period of time, both because of the Bush administration’s failures, and because the current Republican attempts to rebuild (e.g. constant infighting, unconvincing narratives about the role of fiscal excesses in Bush’s unpopularity, rallying around Rush, and Michael Steele’s various embarrassments) seem woefully ill-suited to the current political environment. I still think E.D. overstates things considerably when he says that Republicans “should have no trouble at all coming in and cleaning up,” but the idea that Obama is a sui generis figure  is worth entertaining. The gap in charisma between Obama and Nancy Pelosi or Henry Reid, for instance, is substantial, and Obama is significantly more popular than many of his policies. Will the Democrats still look as relatively desirable once Obama is no longer the spokesperson of the party? And will Obama’s popularity wane significantly as his Presidency progresses?

Continue reading...

26 Responses to How Long in the Wilderness?

  • John Henry,

    Frankly, I wouldn’t mind seeing the party that brought us torture, Iraq, opposition to immigration reform, and a significant share of the financial crisis stay in the political wilderness a while longer. Incompetence should have consequences.

    You’d prefer the party that brings us infanticide and federal funding of abortion and experimentation on tiny humans?

    Good grief.

  • Matt,

    My political opinions (which are still a work in progress) do not track well with either party, and, to the extent you think the post says I prefer Democrats, either I have been unclear or you misread the post. If I am more critical of Republicans, it is most likely because I voted Republican and was subsequently disappointed (to put it mildly) by Republican leadership.

  • JH,

    I recognize that, but you do know that we have a 2 party system, and expressing a preference for one party to remain out of power necessarily means the other will be in power.

    I’m sure most of us would chose a 3rd more Catholic option if one were presented, that’s just not reality. Given the circumstances, whatever it’s faults, one party is clearly superior to other.

  • The problem with the Republicans is that they couldn’t control their spending. It turns out that the Democrats are suffering from the same problem too. I guess, we are all suffering from the consumerist binge.

  • “How Long in the Wilderness?”

    2010. The failure of Obama both economically and in foreign policy is going to be on an epic scale.

  • The dynamic has changed too much to retain conventional wisdom on the parties’ political fortunes. The welfare state has expanded past the point of no return. Issues like marriage, abortion, family, etc. have brought us to the brink of having two civilizations that cannot coexist in the same territory. And now we’ve got a terrible recession.

    I don’t think there’s any way to analyze what happens in 2012 or later because there is too much social upheaval.

  • That’s an interesting point Steve; I agree that we are in uncharted territory simply because of the size of the debt we’ve taken on and the severe recession. As far as ‘culture war’ issues, I think they generally yield to economic concerns for a significant portion of the electorate(as they did this past November). I agree there is a lot of uncertainty, even a higher degree than usual because of the economy, but I also think the ‘social upheaval’ is fairly mild compared to, for instance, the mid-60’s through the mid-70’s.

  • How long the GOP or any party remains in the “wilderness” depends to some extent on where you are. If you live in a “red” state like Texas, the GOP never went into the wilderness. If you live in a “blue” state like Illinois or Massachusetts, the GOP may be in the wilderness at least as long as the Israelites were (40 years).

  • Elaine is right of course to some extent. On the state level it probably depends on how much the Federal taxpayer kicks in to save them. If the “progressive” states don’t continue to get bailouts they will be in collapse and see big gains for the opposition.

    On the federal level, 2010 will almost certainly see a surge by the Republicans, not necessarily to the majority, but hopefully enough to allow a block on the worst of Obama’s policies and nominees.

  • That’s a good point, Elaine/Matt. The South is the GOP’s base, and it is a fairly valuable electoral stronghold. I probably should have been clearer in the post, but I was referring to national politics, where the Democratic party is clearly in the ascendancy.

  • John Henry,

    Democratic party is clearly in the ascendancy.

    They have nowhere to go but down at this point, and they will, fall significantly in congress. National polls have already swung in the Republican’s favor or very close. Presidentially, a lot will have to happen to take Obama down in 2012 (and a lot may happen), so far he seems immune to paying the price for his errors and bad policies.

  • On the other hand, if Obama continues moving toward “Bushism”, he’s going to lose his base:

    Obama to Revamp Military Panels for Detainees

    This cracks me up. The looney left is going to be in a tizzy.

  • ps. more news about harsh crackdown on peace protesters. Worse yet the 2 protesters have a substance abuse problem (they carry around gasoline-filled bottles with rags stuffed in them, strictly for inhaling purposes).

    http://wcco.com/rnc/mckay.crowder.molotov.2.811139.html

  • And of course, there are smaller Dem or GOP strongholds at the regional, county and local levels. County-by-county electoral maps of the 2004 and 2008 elections show this pattern. On these maps, most states are varying shades of purple rather than solidly red or blue.

  • Matt and Elaine are on to something. The GOP’s national fortunes rely on its ability to do a better job on the local level. Even if you take a place like Maryland where I live, especially in Montgomery county, there’s no reason the GOP should have absolutely no voice here. It comes down to local recruitment and just hitting the pavements, making small waves that reverberate at a national level.

    The national focus of the party is really a problem, both philosophically and practically. The absurdity of the Florida situation is just such an example. You have a popular sitting governor deciding that he has to make his splash in DC and run for the Senate, a move that has completely upset the applecart in one of the few states with a successful state Republican party. The NRSC of course had to throw fuel on the fire. It’s like the national GOP can’t get out of its own way (with moves like trying to brand the Democrats as the Democratic Socialist Party at RNC meetings just another example).

  • As far as ‘culture war’ issues, I think they generally yield to economic concerns for a significant portion of the electorate(as they did this past November). I agree there is a lot of uncertainty, even a higher degree than usual because of the economy, but I also think the ’social upheaval’ is fairly mild compared to, for instance, the mid-60’s through the mid-70’s.

    I agree that this is true. The reason I bring them up in this situation is threefold:

    1. The direction our country is heading with respect to the culture war issues (abortion, marriage, fornication, adultery, pornography, etc.) indicates a societal addiction to sex. Even if it’s not reflected in exit polls, this will drive election results.
    2. Are we on the brink of massive divine retribution for our culture of abortion, fornication, adultery, pornography, etc. as Father Corapi believes? I really don’t know, but this would drive circumstances that would affect future elections in ways we can’t anticipate.
    3. Even if we do not experience a direct divine chastisement, there is no question we will suffer the consequences of dismissing natural law. This will absolutely drive entitlement spending. Something has to give here, and nobody knows what it will be.

    <<<<<<>>>>>>

    [ed. Steve – I inserted in italics the comment you were responding to for clarification. Hope that helps. JH]

  • Tip O’Neill, Democratic House Speaker during the Reagan years, said that “all politics is local.” Both parties forget this at their peril.

    Democrats have made significant gains in suburban areas (I’m thinking of suburban Chicago though I’m sure there are other examples) by concentrating on local races. Republicans need to do the same. If the GOP can win back city councils, county boards, state legislative seats, etc. — particularly in the suburbs — then maybe, eventually, the governor’s mansions, Congress and White House will take care of themselves.

  • One way to alleviate the problem Paul refers to (too much party focus on the national level to the detriment of state and local races) would be to allot presidential electoral votes by congressional district rather than on a statewide winner-take-all basis.

    If this were done in states like Illinois or New York that are dominated by highly populated and predominantly Democratic metropolitan areas, it would allow the downstate/upstate/rural residents (who include many GOP voters) to have some effect on the outcome of a presidential election, whereas now they have none.

    Combine that with a move toward computerized Congressional redistricting (now being done in Iowa) in place of blatant gerrymandering to protect incumbents, and national races would become a heck of a lot more competitive.

  • Elaine,

    proportionality is a terrible idea and is not consistent with the intent of the constitution (electoral reps chosen by the state, not by the district).

    It’s a bad idea because it concentrates electoral power in the largest centers principally in NY and LA. You see, in each state there are districts which always go one way or the other, and districts which swing. The current system requires candidates to show interest in small and large states, and all districts in those states. If proportionality (by district or by % of state) was in place, the smaller states with dispersed population would be ignored because the difference between a win and a draw in those states would only swing 1 or 2 electoral votes, whereas a strong win in NYC and California swings many more electoral votes.

  • As for Steve-O’s idea that “massive divine retribution” would affect the outcome of future elections… perhaps we can glimpse a small-scale example of how such change would look in post-Katrina Louisiana. (Of course, I am not saying that Katrina was necessarily massive divine retribution for anything, but you get the drift).

    One of the reasons strong, pro-life, reformist GOP figures like Bobby Jindal and the GOP successor to scandal-ridden Congressman William Jefferson (sorry I can’t recall his name right now) were able to get elected in Louisiana is because hundreds of thousands of New Orleans residents left the state and never came back after Katrina — and they took hundreds of thousands of usually reliable Democratic votes with them.

  • Ah, Matt, but the Constitution leaves it up to states to decide HOW they will allot their electoral votes. (The district system was used in many states prior to the Civil War, by the way.) And the current system doesn’t encourage interest in “small and large states”; it encourages interest only in perceived “swing” states while states that are solidly red or blue are ignored.

    It also means that if, say, a Democratic presidential candidate won NY, CA, FL, IL, and a few other large states by a fraction of a percentage point, while losing many other smaller states by a landslide, and even losing the overall popular vote, he or she would still win the election.

    And furthermore, it disenfranchises people like me (a downstate Illinois resident who votes GOP most of the time). Yes, I voted, and I voted for McCain (with some reservations) out of a sense of duty and aversion to Obama’s anti-life views. However, I knew darn well it wasn’t going to make any difference since Obama had Chicago in the bag, and with it, all of Illinois’ electoral votes. With a congressional district system, however, my vote might have actually meant something since I live (just barely) in a Republican district (now represented by Cong. Aaron Schock.)

  • Elaine,

    yes, of course and each state should have the right to apportion it’s electoral college if it’s foolish enough to do so.

    Granted that your vote in the election doesn’t influence the result, but then again if you’re in a strongly Red or Blue district, it still doesn’t count so you’re in the same boat there. Obama is unlikely to spend a lot of time in your district anyway, because he can hit all the Chicago districts in 1 day, and send a few hundred million there in pork to secure it, vs. campaigning all over the state, and spreading is pork money thin.

    The true landslides you’re talking about, where one party would not win any of the districts in a number of states are incredibly rare and even more rarely would that party be able to win a substantial majority in enough states to win the election. The reality is we are just not that disproportionately divided by party in any region.

  • I wouldn’t call a proportional electoral vote “foolish”, just different.

    No matter how we slice the electoral vote system, we are going to at least occasionally end up with presidents that win the electoral vote while losing the popular vote, and who ignore smaller states — unless we go to the proposed electoral compact system that guarantees an electoral victory to the winner of the national popular vote. However, that too has its problems and would only aggravate the problem you refer to (elections being decided in big states with big metro areas.)

    For the proportional electoral vote system to really work in terms of making elections more competitive would require a drastic change in how congressional districts are drawn, and of course, an end to gerrymandering districts so they are dominated by one party or the other.

    Otherwise, the only way for pro-lifers or conservative Republicans to make a difference at the national level would be for them all to move to red states and boost their electoral vote count.

    As distressed as I am by the current state of affairs in Illinois, I don’t plan on moving, partly because I’m not really into hurricanes, kudzu, fire ants, tumbleweeds, wildfires, decade-long droughts, or year-round air conditioning. I’ll wait for global warming to bring them to me instead 🙂

    In the meantime I’ll put up with the tornadoes and blizzards and continue to work and pray for the reform of our state, which as I’ve said before, is a long-term project on par with praying for the conversion of Russia.

  • Elaine Krewer,
    I wouldn’t call a proportional electoral vote “foolish”, just different.

    What I mean is, that it would be completely foolhardy for any state to diminish their importance in the electoral process by being proportional while all or the majority of states are “all or nothing”.

    No matter how we slice the electoral vote system, we are going to at least occasionally end up with presidents that win the electoral vote while losing the popular vote, and who ignore smaller states — unless we go to the proposed electoral compact system that guarantees an electoral victory to the winner of the national popular vote. However, that too has its problems and would only aggravate the problem you refer to (elections being decided in big states with big metro areas.)

    Which is precisely why the founders did not chose direct election. There is no issue having popular vote losers being selected, it’s perfectly acceptable in a republican democracy.

    Otherwise, the only way for pro-lifers or conservative Republicans to make a difference at the national level would be for them all to move to red states and boost their electoral vote count.

    I don’t understand what you’re talking about. Republicans have made a difference at the national level over the course of the last 40 years. The battle has shifted back and forth, but it is not helpless even under the current system. No need to move to a red state though. Even in the blue states, conservatives out reproduce liberals, and the red states all grow while the blue states shrink due to fertility levels and taxes.

    If you want to talk about effective reform… look at restoring the proper balance between state and federal powers… eliminate the direct election of senators.

  • I probably should have specified that my support of a proportional electoral vote system is based on it being implemented nationwide for all states at the same time (so that no states are unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged).

    I’m all for promoting a proper balance between state and federal power, but I’m not so sure eliminating direct election of Senators would do that. Do we really want to go back to having state legislatures pick Senators?

    That system is what allowed Stephen Douglas (pro-choice on slavery) to beat out Abe Lincoln for the Illinois Senate seat they were competing for when they held their famous 1858 debates. It led to dozens of accusations of bribery or other corruption against prospective Senators believed to have “bought” their seats. Legislative deadlocks also left many states without Senators for long periods in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • The part of the 17th Amendment that really needs to be scrapped is the provision that allows governors to fill Senate vacancies by appointment — the provision that gave us Roland “Tombstone” Burris. I wouldn’t have a problem with legislatures choosing interim or temporary Senators, particularly in cases where 2 years or less are left in a departed Senator’s term.

Obama Wants Living Constitution Theory For SCOTUS Nominee

Saturday, May 2, AD 2009

With the announced retirement of Supreme Court Justice David Souter President Obama wasted no time in addressing the issue of what he’s looking for to fill this vacancy.  In so many words he clearly stated his desire for an activist judge with an eye towards reengineering America [emphasis and comments mine].

“It is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives [meaning he wants a Justice who holds fast to the Living Constitution Theory,ie, an activist judge finding invisible law where none existed], whether they can make a living and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation.”

The following excerpt clearly reveals President Obama’s contempt for legislative history in effect eliminating a potential nominee that adheres to the theory of original intent.

“I will seek someone who understands that justice is not about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook.”

One thing is for sure, it will be an extremist liberal and pro-abortion nominee.

Continue reading...

13 Responses to Obama Wants Living Constitution Theory For SCOTUS Nominee

  • Obama’s nominee is unlikely to be an originalist, and they will certainly uphold Roe. This does not mean, however, that Obama has contempt for legislative history or the judicial record. For starters, it’s justices like Scalia who dislike legislative history (because it’s easy to find support for almost any position in the congressional record). As to the judicial record, upholding Roe at this point is respecting the principal of stare decisis. Originalists care about the original understanding of the Constitution, and less about legislative history and the judicial record.

  • John,

    I’ll take your word on it since you’ll be barristering soon enough!

  • John,

    I forgot to mention that they do use legislative history, but not in all cases.

  • Just to be clear, ‘legislative history’ is a tool of statutory interpretation which involves looking at the Congressional record and statements from bill sponsors, etc. Scalia, as a ‘textualist’, thinks only the text of the statute should matter. Obama’s nominee is more likely to favor ‘legislative history’ than a Scalia-type nominee.

    ‘Original intent’ or originalism has to do with Constitutional interpretation; and the theory of the living constitution (which, imo, all justices adhere to in practice to one degree or another) is another theory of Constitutional interpretation.

  • Stare decisis-“To stand by that which is decided”-when we feel like it.

    Stare Decisis tends to be invoked by judges who like a prior decision and ignored by judges who believe the prior decision was a piece of judicial idiocy. Of course when a court is dealing with constitutional issues stare decisis plays less of a role because the constitution, and the correct interpretation of it, is more important than prior decisions of any court. As Roe amply demonstrates however, too often the tool of Constitutional interpretation used by the Supreme Court and many other courts might rightly be called “making it up as they go along”.

  • The doctrine of stare decisis is of limited value in constitutional matters, since erroneous court decisions cannot be rectified by subsequent legislation. While this judicial doctrine has value, the weight it merits should be inversely proportional to the degree of wrongness and degree of importance of the prior decision to which it would be applied. From the standpoint of actual legal reasoning all that Roe has in its favor is stare decisis, given that its rationale is ridiculously deficient, and that is not much. But for the reasons Don suggests, that will be enough for any Obama appointee who favors abortion rights on policy grounds. He will find the scoundrel’s refuge in stare decisis for sure.

  • As Donald and Mike describe, stare decisis tends to be arbitrarily invoked and ignored depending on the judge and the issue. The post originally read ‘Obama’s contempt for legislative history and the judicial record‘. In response, I was pointing out that Obama’s nominees would be unlikely to show contempt for the judicial record (i.e. stare decisis) with regard to Roe, rather than expressing a more general opinion about the importance of stare decisis.

  • I had never been to this blog until now. Why does this blog look so shamelessly like Vox Nova? Couldn’t you guys find another theme? Come on… 🙂

  • Katerina,

    You guys have a beautiful set up and have the best theme. We couldn’t’ find another one that was better. You guys chose the best template out there!

    Imitation is a form of flattery you know!

    😉

  • Cannot fault anyone for having good taste.

  • Yeah, the reference to “legislative history” doesn’t make sense here. “Legislative history” is a term referring to how Congress enacted a statute — committee reports, House reports, and the like. It’s not a term that refers to the Constitution. And moreover, Scalia (who is at least a “fainthearted originalist,” as he describes himself) is a huge opponent of looking to legislative history . . . his opinion is that Congress enacted whatever is actually in the law, and that it’s dangerous for judges to go beyond the law to look at what some Senate committee might have said that’s different.

  • Obama’s judges will be interested in stare decisis ONLY until they run into a case … such as what happened in Lawrence v. Texas … in which they suddenly decide to overturn precedent.

    This Weekly Standard piece from a while back explains the left’s new-found affinity for stare decisis:

    THE HEARINGS on John Roberts’s and Sam Alito’s nominations to the Supreme Court featured a Latin phrase most people hear only in connection with Supreme Court confirmations: stare decisis. Stare decisis is the legal doctrine holding that in general, an issue once decided should stay decided, and not be revisited.

    ***
    Nowadays, it is liberals, not conservatives, who talk about stare decisis in committee hearings, generally in the context of abortion. Oddly, though, it’s also liberals who want nominees to agree that the Constitution is a “living document.”

    ***
    How is it that liberals have become, simultaneously, the champions of both fidelity to precedent and an ever-changing Constitution?

    Part of the answer, of course, is that the left’s commitment to stare decisis is selective. Many of the Supreme Court’s iconic liberal decisions overruled prior case law. Brown v. Board of Education (1954), overturned Plessy v. Ferguson (1896); Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), which established the constitutional right to a free public defender in felony cases, overruled Betts v. Brady (1942); Mapp v. Ohio (1961), which applied the exclusionary rule to state court prosecutions, overruled Wolf v. Colorado (1949); and so on. Nor need we reach far back into history for such instances. Just two years ago, in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), the Court found a constitutional right to perform acts of homosexual sodomy, thereby overturning Bowers v. Hardwick, which itself was no historical relic, having been decided in 1986. Yet none of the liberals who now wax eloquent about stare decisis criticized Lawrence’s violation of that principle.

    ***
    When liberals talk about a “living Constitution,” what they really mean is a leftward-marching Constitution. Liberals – especially those of an age to be senators – have spent most of their lives secure in the conviction that history was moving their way. History meant progress, and progress meant progressive politics. In judicial terms, that implied a one-way ratchet: “conservative” precedents can and should be overturned, while decisions that embody liberal principles are sacrosanct. To liberals, that probably seemed more like inevitability than inconsistency.

  • Why does this blog look so shamelessly like Vox Nova? Couldn’t you guys find another theme? Come on… 🙂

    We had the ‘Kubrick’ theme for the first five months, but Kubrick doesn’t have the sidebar on individual posts. This made navigation less convenient and, as it turns out, meant the sitemeter was only catching about 40% of the visits. This format was the easiest to transition to from Kubrick. Plus, as Tito said, it looks good and there’s nothing wrong with flattery through imitation from time to time.

4 Responses to Sorry Doug!

  • Yeah, so sad for Doug’s being snubbed for a regifted Laetare Medal.

    But there’s always a Supreme Court vacancy to which he can hold out some delusional remote hope of being nominated.

  • My guess for SCOTUS is Kagan. I’d be willing to bet Kmiec isn’t even in Obama’s top 50.

  • Kmiec’s not even a remote consideration. Not even on Obama’s radar screen. I’d be shocked if Obama views Kmiec with anything other than the the same disdainful contempt with which the British viewed Benedict Arnold.

    I agree with Feddie that it’s likely to be Diane Wood. Although Kagan is a good guess, as well.

  • It would be interesting to have Mr. Noonan’s analysis of the actual working of the contraceptive methods. Condoms are contraceptive – preventing the union of sperm and egg. Pills, IUDs, and other methods are abortifacient – preventing a created fetus from installing itself in the uterus.

13 Responses to Dawn Johnsen

  • I hestitate to use the expression becuase I think Harry Potter wasn’t all that great but these people really are deatheaters.

  • How about deathspawners?

  • How does this fit into Doug Kmiec’s opinion that Obama is pro-life?

  • Obama is pro-life in that he is pro-choice and non-pro-abortion. In this he seeks to affirm priciples stated in Catholic social teaching. The statements from CST definitively teach that increases in taxation, social programs and family health/sexual education necessarily increase the prosperity of all and thus necessarily reduce abortion.

    Being pro-choice Obama is also definitely in accord with recognzing the freedom of the person and subsidiarity in society. This is also consistent with CST which definitively teaches that laws against abortion do not reduce abortion and violate the dignity of the person in the right to freedom of conscience.

    Make sense?

  • Thanks, Phillip. All clear now. 😉

  • “Make sense?”

    Uh, nope.

  • bill,
    I think that is Phillip’s precise point.

  • And did you hear he will have an honorary doctor of laws degree from Notre Dame? So of course he’s pro-life. 😉

  • “Obama is pro-life in that he is pro-choice and non-pro-abortion. In this he seeks to affirm priciples stated in Catholic social teaching. … Being pro-choice Obama is also definitely in accord with recognzing the freedom of the person and subsidiarity in society.”

    I’d say Phillip’s been taking notes from Gerald Campbell. 😉

  • I wonder if Obama isn’t making all these appointments of hard-core pro-aborts to his administration as a way to placate his hard-core pro-abort supporters (like Planned Parenthood and NARAL) for his failure to push the Freedom of Choice Act and for breaking his promise to make signing FOCA the “first thing” he would do as President?

  • Partially I think you are right Elaine. However it has been noted that his appointees in second tier positions in his administration, as in the case of Ms. Johnsen, are much more to the left than his cabinet level nominees. That is not an uncommon strategy for most administrations: present a moderate face to the public, and have the “true believers” below set and implement policy.

  • Pingback: Obama Renominates Anti-Catholic Lawyer « Under Her Mantle
  • Pingback: Pro-life Victory: Dawn Johnsen Withdraws « The American Catholic

13 Responses to Maybe I should turn myself in?

  • Very predictable. Overreaching. Smearing righteous God-fearing Americans as potential troublemakers. Probably had the imprimatur of Dear Leader. But leaked to WashTimes, Roger Hedgecock, El Rushbo. Somebody who knows somebody e-mailed the document to the wrong people and bammo. White House disavows it conveniently. Ms. Napolitano- one of the Administration’s pet pro-abort Catholics- has egg all over face. And so convenient before the Tea Parties. Better, funnier signs will be ignored by MSM teevee outlets on Wednesday. Another Administration experiment went poof. Like Fairness Doctrine. Or FOCA. Or other potential threats to health, freedom, bank account, sanity, religious rights. Might limit the octopus-like reach over life in this great country. More inflammatory documents please, Ms. Napolitano.

  • To be fair, Alex Jones has been documenting this sort of thing for a long time now, under administrations both Republican and Democrat.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Jones is a little nutty most of the time but on his website I’ve seen links to official “anti-terrorism” guides distributed to police that identify both right-wing “patriot” groups and left-wing “subversive” groups.

  • Jeff, the same card has been played against groups on the left in the past, and it was just as despicable. There is a world of difference, for example, between a group which opposes the war in Iraq by peaceful protest and a group seeking to carry out terrorist attacks against targets here in the US. These types of fliers from Homeland Security are also a waste of time. There is nothing in this one that would be of any use to law enforcement from my experience of dealing with various law enforcement agencies over the years as an attorney. They want precise information as to local threats, not vague speculations.

  • At the risk of generalizing, it strikes me that Democratic administrations like to worry about domestic right wing threats, while Republican administrations like to worry about foreign threats. In both cases, these threats best fit their worldviews.

    As I recall, there was all sorts of worrying about “right wing militias” under the Clinton administration well before the OKC bombing. Indeed, in a sense, the paranoia about them was one of the things which led to the Branch Davidian snafu, which was McVeigh’s putative cause in the OKC bombing.

  • Yeah, I remember the same type of stuff during the Clinton years. I wasn’t sure which was more irritating at the time; the Clinton administration’s paranoia or the paranoia of people on the right in response to the Clinton’s paranoia.

  • Hush. When you talk I can’t hear the black helicopters…

  • heh. I will say it doesn’t take a cynic to notice there is strategic value in associating one’s ideological opponents with fanatics prone to violence.

  • Americans by and large have always historically been suspicious of government. We would not have a nation now but for the extreme suspicion by the colonists of the actions of the British government after the French and Indian war. Some suspicion is a good thing; too much suspicion and you stay up all night listening to Art Bell and trying to scratch itches under your tin foil hat. This document will definitely increase the suspicion level as to the Obama administration among conservatives, hopefully not to absurd levels.

  • An FBI member who infiltrated the Weather Underground tells of how the WU planned to purge the country of their enemies if they were successful in overthrowing the government. Bluster no doubt, but it goes to show where their thinking was. Our president chose the leader of the WU as a friend. I cannot get around this, and I cannot ever trust 0bama. He is a bad person. A bad person cannot be a good president.

  • Pingback: The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » A very special thank you note…
  • Pingback: Have you now, or have you ever been, an Extremist? « The American Catholic
  • Pingback: Outside Agitators « The American Catholic
  • Thanks for the well-written article, bookmarked and rss subscribed…

Obama Appoints Anti-Catholic Bigot to Advisory Council

Wednesday, April 8, AD 2009

harry-knox

Hattip to Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia.  With a sense of irony I would admire under other circumstances, President Obama has appointed anti-Catholic bigot Harry Knox to the Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  Mr. Knox is a gay-rights activist and detests the Catholic Church.  These stories here, here, here, and here have some interesting quotes from Mr.  Knox.

Continue reading...

115 Responses to Obama Appoints Anti-Catholic Bigot to Advisory Council

  • It is incredible that you tag anyone who disagrees with the Catholic Church’s teachings on a given subject “anti-Catholic.” There is nothing “anti-Catholic” in Knox’s statements that you have cited. As you seem to be a disciple of Donohue in this little tendency of yours, I hope you understand why it is becoming more and more difficult to take any word you write seriously.

  • Mr McClarey,

    None of the quotes you provide succeeds in revealing the man as a bigot. He may disagree with the Church’s teachings on homosexuality,marriage and condoms, but that hardly puts him in the category of anti-Catholic bigot. Under your logic, half of the mainline Protestant clergyman and laity would bt anti-Catholic bigots.

    While these posts may make you momentarily relieve your desire to express yourself as being generally offended or outraged, they offer all heat and no light. And I surmise, based on the frequency of such posts, that the satisfaction they offer is only fleeing.

  • Couldn’t disagree with you more Mr. DeFrancisis. The man is a bigot. A man who calls an attempt to enforce Roman Catholic doctrine within the Roman Catholic Church “mind control” deserves no other title.

  • Mr. DeFrancis–

    “”The Knights of Columbus do a great deal of good in the name of Jesus Christ, but in this particular case, they were foot soldiers of a discredited army of oppression,” Knox told the B.A.R. , referring to its role in the Prop 8 campaign.”

    According to Mr. Knox, the Catholic Church is “a discredited army of oppression.” Apparently our standards of what constitute bigotry differ, because that sure sounds like a pretty bigoted statement to me. Especially from one whom our President wants on his Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

  • “President Barack Obama has named to the federal government’s faith-based initiative a gay-rights activist who, last month, described Pope Benedict XVI and certain Catholic bishops as “discredited leaders” because of their opposition to same-sex marriage.

    Harry Knox, who is a newly appointed member of Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, is the director of the religion and faith program at the Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual activist group.

    In addition to his remarks about the Pope, Knox also criticized the Catholic Knights of Columbus as being “foot soldiers of a discredited army of oppression” because of the Knights’ support of Proposition 8. The latter was a ballot initiative that amended California’s state constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman, and passed in November 2008.

    Knox told CNSNews.com that he “absolutely” stands by his criticism of the pope.”

    It may not be bigotry, but it is certainly offensive.

  • Knox’s statement about the Knights of Columbus is 100% correct.

    Donald, is there some reason my comment has not been approved? I stayed on topic and I did not insult anyone.

  • Knox’s statement about the Knights of Columbus is 100% correct.

    Michael, I find your endorsement to be even more absurd than the comment itself. Do you care to explain how the Knights of Columbus are the are the foot soldiers of a discredited army? As a complete statement it seems to say a lot (and I would disagree with it), but once you start to unpack it by elements it’s clearly a thought based on emotion and imagination rather than anything remotely resembling reality or truth.

  • I should add, to me, it’s clearly a statement of hostility and an attempt to demonize the “other”. I would say it is indeed bigoted.

  • That statement is correct independent of Knox’s views on Proposition 8. The K of C (in the u.s. at least – the Canadian version has a different flavour) are indeed the foot soldiers of right-wing americanist Catholicism.

    Don – My thus far unapproved comment is no different than Mark’s. What are you afraid of?

  • I should add, to me, it’s clearly a statement of hostility and an attempt to demonize the “other”.

    I don’t see any evidence of “demonizing,” but sure, it’s “hostile.” The question is whether or not the hostility is justified. Something tells me you can get awfully hostile when the issue of abortion comes up…

  • Not just foot soldiers of a discredited army, but an “army of oppression.” The army of opression seems not to be the K of C, as they are merely foot soldiers, but rather the Church itself. Indeed it does seem that one can take it as a bigoted statement rather than a “100% correct” statement.

  • Love the first link: “obscure Catholic group.” The KofC as albino political assassins. Oooh. Scary. Never mind they usually have signs up announcing their presence when you drive into town, right next to the Rotary and Moose.

    All the better to dupe you with, my dear.

    I agree with Mr. Knox 100% percent about the KofC, too–at least here: “The Knights do a great deal of good in the name of Jesus Christ.”

    And anybody who can’t see the anti-Catholicism in the tired “mind control” trope is squeezing his eyes shut.

    I’m not going to say the man is a completely closed-minded bigot–his praise of the Knights argues against that–but he certainly is willing to traffic in the same terminology.

  • Catholic Anarchist, on weekdays I normally work between 10 to 12 hours at my “real” job. I try to check in now and then to comment and approve or delete comments, but how frequently I do this depends upon my day to day schedule.

  • That statement is correct independent of Knox’s views on Proposition 8. The K of C (in the u.s. at least – the Canadian version has a different flavour) are indeed the foot soldiers of right-wing americanist Catholicism.

    Like Phillip, it seems to me that he is considering the KofC as foot soldiers of the Catholic Church, not right-wing Americanist Catholicism. The arguments against this thing called homosexual marriage are grounded in Church teaching. To the degree that American Catholics accept or reject that, left-wing or right is of no consequence.

    If you have a problem with the KofC running an insurance company, collecting money for special needs children, building memorials for aborted children, voicing and lobbying politically for moral societal policies, it seems your real problem is with the Church, for it is She who informs us that these are all good things to do.

  • Michael I,

    what specific activity of K of C do you find objectionable? Your accusation seems awful vague.

  • There could be no clearer signal from Michael I. that leftist political beliefs take priority over anything that the Church teaches.

  • S.B.:

    Well, let the man answer first before pulling the trigger. I doubt you or I (as DGK at my parish’s council) will be particularly pleased with the response, but I think we should know where he’s coming from.

  • Catholic Anarchist, I deleted your last comment as it was off-topic. For future reference I will delete any comment from you in the future that has the phrase “What are you afraid of?” directed towards me. I have you in moderation because of your well-established habit of personal insult and off-topic wanderings that I will not allow in my threads, and schoolyard taunts will not alter my opinion. In response to your query I have approved all of your comments except the last one that you have made in reference to this thread. If an earlier comment on this thread was deleted, it wasn’t by me.

  • Catholic Anarchist, I approved a comment that I think may have been the earlier one you referred to. I assume it must have gotten caught in the spam filter as I didn’t notice it earlier.

    I stand by my contention that the man is a bigot for the reasons that I and others in this thread have pointed out.

    As for not taking the words that I write seriously, well obviously you do take them seriously since you make such strenuous efforts to refute them.

  • Let the man answer first? He already made his position clear: it’s “100% correct” to accuse the Knights of being “foot soldiers of a discredited army of oppression” merely because they opposed gay marriage in California. It couldn’t be clearer that Michael thinks the Church’s position is oppressive.

  • Actually, I suspect his objection may be directed to the patriotic aspects of the Knights. His comment at 11:28am distinguishes the Prop 8 activity.

  • There could be no clearer signal from Michael I. that leftist political beliefs take priority over anything that the Church teaches.

    I’m not sure how. My dislike of the K of C is precisely because of what the Church teaches.

    or future reference I will delete any comment from you in the future that has the phrase “What are you afraid of?” directed towards me.

    Why? Are you a man who fears nothing?

    Actually, I suspect his objection may be directed to the patriotic aspects of the Knights. His comment at 11:28am distinguishes the Prop 8 activity.

    Right. S.B. obviously missed that part of my comments.

    I oppose the patriotic activity of the Knights, their divinization of the american nation-state, and their tendency to buy into general american cultural conservatism and assuming that this is equivalent with the Catholic faith. The Knights demonstrate and encourage americanist Catholicism. As I said above, the Knights are indeed the foot soldiers of right-wing americanist Catholicism. I am encouraged that the Knights, at least in my part of the u.s., are struggling to survive as an institution. When I was a campus minister I received countless messages from them virtually begging me to help them recruit among college students. Perhaps this means that, although some young Catholics are drawn toward a “nostalgia” for a “traditional” Catholicism that they never experienced, they are decidedly not attracted to the americanist version of Catholicism (which is hardly “traditional”) peddled by the likes of the Knights, and by this blog for that matter. Some young Catholics may enjoy the aesthetics of “traditional” liturgical forms, for example, but they have a consciousness of “World Catholicism,” unlike the narrow, bigoted, patriotic (i.e. sectarian) Catholicism of the Knights.

  • Ah, I had missed that. Still, saying they’re an “army of oppression” is a bit rich.

  • Dale,

    Actually he said “right-wing americanist Catholicism.” That’s a little different than patriotism.

  • I approved your “I really despise the Knights of Columbus” comment Catholic Anarchist, an organization I am happy to say which is thriving in my parish.

    I deleted your other comment as off-topic and replete with personal insults, a twofer for you.

  • In regard to the Knights of Columbus Catholic Anarchist, the Holy Father disagrees with you apparently:

    http://www.kofc-ca.org/newsletters/supreme/20081023_KnightLine.pdf

    Color me shocked!

  • I concur with S.B., Michael I. clearly lets his politics overtake his Catholicism. No doubt about it. Slandering the KofC of all organizations is over the top.

  • Could someone explain the importance of yet another pro-abortion homosexual activist to the Obama administration?

    Surely it is preferable that M.r Obama nail his colors to the mast, rather than playing footsie with such as Lawyer Kmiec and the other Catholics for Obama who have spent much energy attempting to explain that Mr. Obama “isn’t that bad”.

  • I oppose the patriotic activity of the Knights, their divinization of the american nation-state,

    This is utter calumny. We do not “divinize” the American nation-state. Are we patriotic? Guilty as charged.

    and their tendency to buy into general american cultural conservatism and assuming that this is equivalent with the Catholic faith.

    Oh you mean things like supporting a culture of life fund in which we fight against those forces engaged in a ceaseless assault on the unborn? Creating programs designed to help and encourage fathers? Helping to beat back gay marriage in California? Yes, clearly only right-wing American Catholics are concerned with these issues.

    The Knights demonstrate and encourage americanist Catholicism.

    Yawn. Morning’s Minion says the same thing more creatively.

    As I said above, the Knights are indeed the foot soldiers of right-wing americanist Catholicism.

    Yes, you’ve said that twice in four sentences. Your professors must be amazed at your incredible ability to pad your arguments through repetition.

    I am encouraged that the Knights, at least in my part of the u.s., are struggling to survive as an institution.

    That’s funny. My experience is just the opposite. College councils are absolutely thriving. Also, I must say that I find it disturbing that you would revel in the (albeit non-existent) troubles of an organization comprised of Catholic men. In a culture that celebrates pornography, the assault of our traditional family values, and countless other evils, it’s curious that an organization that fights these trends would draw your ire. Unless of course you’re not much interested in fighting these cultural trends.

    Nah, that couldn’t possibly be the case.

    blah blah americanist blah blah blah right-wing blah blah blah amaricanist

    If your desire to side with an anti-Catholic bigot against an organization that will accomplish more than you ever will to advance a culture of life in this country weren’t so disgusting, it would almost be funny.

  • I don’t think Michael I. will care what the pope thinks here.

  • It’s interesting that the Knights are all about “defending the Pope” — except of course when his views come into conflict with the foreign policy of the united states of america. The K of C unapologetically supported the war in Iraq and completely ignored the Popes’ condemnation of that war. (I have copies of their magazine in which they do this.) Some respect they have for the Pope, eh?

    I don’t think Michael I. will care what the pope thinks here.

    I always care what the Pope thinks. But I disagree with him in this case. That should not be a problem for you, considering many of you disagree with the Pope when it comes to the defense of human life, such as in the case of war. In that case, you’re perfectly content disagreeing with him. Interesting that many of you are more interested in defending an all-male club of beer-guzzling, flag waving patriots than you are in defending the victims of the u.s.’s wars, supported by that same little club.

  • The K of C unapologetically supported the war in Iraq and completely ignored the Popes’ condemnation of that war. (I have copies of their magazine in which they do this.) Some respect they have for the Pope, eh?

    I always care what the Pope thinks. But I disagree with him in this case.

    Do as I scream about, not as I do.

  • Paul – 1) Surely you don’t believe that Catholics must agree with the Pope on everything that comes out of his mouth? 2) What kind of bizarre ecclesiology do you have that allows you to ignore the Popes’ teaching on the deliberate destruction of human life, and yet insists that I agree with him on his opinion on the merits of a Catholic organization that could very well die out in the next 10-20 years? Do I have to agree with him on his favorite beers as well?

  • The K of C unapologetically supported the war in Iraq and completely ignored the Popes’ condemnation of that war.

    And your evidence of that is?

  • S.B. – As I stated in the same comment that you snipped, I have the issue of their magazine (The Light of the Majestic Knightly Ones or whatever it’s called) that announces their support of then-President Bush and his war.

  • The Pope’s favorite piece of music, I hear, is Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet.

    We are thus all obliged to assent, as a matter of faith and morals, to its superiority over all other musical works.

    Burke is trying to push through a directive that all Americans are to buy a special Vatican edition of the work.

    And if certain bishops then decide to allow communion to those who intentionally fail to make such a purchase,or vote for Catholic political candidates who do not, he wants them immediately stripped of their posts.

  • Any place where we could see this magazine?

  • I don’t recognize the K of C in those gloating, caricature-studded screeds, Mr. Iafrate. Much less the self-satisfied dismissal of the undeniable good work done by flawed but good-hearted Catholic men trying to support their parishes and communities.

    Our council has an 83 year old member who can’t drive but attends every meeting and pitches in on fundraising for mentally impaired kids every year, standing out in the cold soliciting donations for the Boy Scout troop for special needs kids, the elementary school for MI/EI students and the charity providing for brain-injured infants and toddlers.

    If you want to sit at your keyboard and mock what he and others like him do every year because the Columbia and the leadership made a stupid statement on the war in Iraq, that’s fine. But understand the entirety of what you are trashing and hope dies in the 10-20 years.

    And then–this is essential–tell us what you are going to do to help pick up the slack if the K of C does wither away.

  • Any place where we could see this magazine?

    Yes. It’s in my apartment in my file of periodicals. I don’t plan on having the Catholic American cohort over anytime soon, though, so maybe you could use Google.

    I don’t recognize the K of C in those gloating, caricature-studded screeds, Mr. Iafrate. Much less the self-satisfied dismissal of the undeniable good work done by flawed but good-hearted Catholic men trying to support their parishes and communities.

    I don’t mock the good things that they do. But I think we might disagree on which things they do are “good” and which ones are “bad.” Whatever good they do is also being done by ordinary Catholics who don’t feel the need to be a part of a gender exclusive, flag waving, fish frying, Pledge-of-Allegiance-saving, let’s-play-dress-up, band of merry men. I don’t see them doing anything particularly special that the Church can’t do without such absurdities, and most especially without such uncritical, irrational support for american war-making.

  • Watch out Michael. You might get the 4th degrees after you…

  • What kind of bizarre ecclesiology do you have that allows you to ignore the Popes’ teaching on the deliberate destruction of human life,

    First of all, I doubt tremendously that the KoC had an official position regarding the war. Certain writers in Columbia may have expressed pro-Iraq war opinions, but I tend to doubt that there was an organizational mandate, other than general support for the troops. Also, we’ve been down this road many times, but you are beign incredibly deceptive when it comes to Church “teaching” and the Iraq War, but there’s really no point in going down that road once again. I do find your selectivity when it comes to heeding the words of the Bishops and the Pope sad, but amusing in a sort of way.

    Yes. It’s in my apartment in my file of periodicals. I don’t plan on having the Catholic American cohort over anytime soon, though, so maybe you could use Google.

    Generally speaking it is the duty of the person making the argument to provide the proof. This must be yet another quality that endears you to your committee.

    Dale has already spoken about how your distortions of what the Knights do and who they are to be wide of the mark. They are more revealing about what kind of Catholic you are than what the Knights are as a group. Again, you take the side of anti-Catholic bigot. More’s the pity for you.

  • I don’t mock the good things that they do. But I think we might disagree on which things they do are “good” and which ones are “bad.” Whatever good they do is also being done by ordinary Catholics who don’t feel the need to be a part of a gender exclusive, flag waving, fish frying, Pledge-of-Allegiance-saving, let’s-play-dress-up, band of merry men. I don’t see them doing anything particularly special that the Church can’t do without such absurdities, and most especially without such uncritical, irrational support for american war-making.

    As I recall one of the good things that the Knights do is that they are by the largest single donor in the world to the pope’s personal charity fund, which the pontiff uses to dispense help throughout the world. So regardless of one’s theory that others might do whatever good they do, it is apparently the case at this point in time that they don’t.

    I’m curious whether Michael is actually aware of the reason for being of the knights, which actually has little to do with flag waving, dress up, fish fries or even (though one should not overlook the importance of malt and hops in life) beer. The Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney founded the knights as a fraternal organization for Catholic men in order to bring men (and specifically heads of households) together in solidarity to care for each others’ dependents when members died or became disabled. In the immigrant slums of the 1880s this was an incredibly important task, as the loss of husband/father could plunge a whole extended family into total poverty.

    Fraternal care for members and other people in the parish who are in need remains one of the primary purposes of the Knights, with a call going out in every meeting as to whether anyone knows of any brother knight who is in need. So although the original pooling of resources to care for widows and orphans of members has morphed over the years into a set of life insurance tools, the Knights also continue to do huge amounts of work in their local communities and around the world.

    In the 2007 fraternal year the Order gave US$ 144,911,781 directly to charity (1.1 Billion in charitable contributions in the last 10 years) and performed over 68,695,768 man hours of voluntary service.

  • It’s in my apartment in my file of periodicals. I don’t plan on having the Catholic American cohort over anytime soon, though, so maybe you could use Google.

    There’s no evidence for your assertion, then. Outside of your own word, that is, which isn’t worth very much (you habitually exaggerate the positions supposedly taken by people that you despite).

  • Mark,

    Mark DeFrancisis Says:
    Thursday, April 9, 2009 A.D. at 10:14 am

    The Pope’s favorite piece of music, I hear, is Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet.

    We are thus all obliged to assent, as a matter of faith and morals, to its superiority over all other musical works.

    Burke is trying to push through a directive that all Americans are to buy a special Vatican edition of the work.

    And if certain bishops then decide to allow communion to those who intentionally fail to make such a purchase,or vote for Catholic political candidates who do not, he wants them immediately stripped of their posts.

    It would seem you’re inferring that the cause of musical perfection is at the same level as the cause of eliminating the wholesale slaughter of unborn children. If I miss your meaning here please clarify.

  • There’s no evidence for your assertion, then. Outside of your own word, that is, which isn’t worth very much (you habitually exaggerate the positions supposedly taken by people that you despite).

    I’m not sweating it! A quick Google search will generate documentation for anyone who is not stuck in a state of denial.

  • I did a quick search–couldn’t find anything other than the support by the KCs of the troops, fundraising for Catholics in Iraq, financial support for families of soldiers killed in action, etc., including a special exhibit they put together in 2003 called “Pope John Paul II: A Passion for Peace” at their museum, highlighting John Paul II’s peace messages and including objects such as “a commemorative peace lamp the pope gave to Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo in 1997, during the height of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina; a rosary made by Polish political prisoners out of iron nails; and a Nativity set given to the pope by Yassir Arafat.” Sounds pretty war-mongery.

    Maybe I’ll try again later. Perhaps he who whistles far and wee with his capitalization skills when it comes to his native country can help?

  • I suspect that the disconnect is that the evidence available via google doesn’t look like chearleading the war to anyone here except Michael. Many would consider writing about the work of Catholic chaplains, helping the families of soldiers who are on deployment or have been killed, etc. as simply being the sort of things that Catholics ought to do.

  • No, it won’t. A google search for “Knights of Columbus” and “Iraq” turns up a bunch of stories about how they’re helping families of soldiers killed in action, or sending Christmas care packages . . . . that kind of thing. To be sure, someone of your sympathies would sneer at helping families of soldiers too, but even so it’s not the same as “napologetically supported the war in Iraq and completely ignored the Popes’ condemnation of that war.”

    So you have yet to prove that point. (If it’s as easy to prove as you say, what’s taking you so long?)

  • As far as I know the Knights have taken no stand on the Iraq war. My guess is that if the Knights had been polled individually they might have been more supportive of the war than the general American population but not much more. Most Knights I know, I’m one although to my discredit not very active other than paying my membership dues, tend to be socially conservative, but after that their political views are all over the lot. The Knights have always been strong against abortion and, recently, against gay marriage, but other than that their political stances have been very few.

  • Our council has an 83 year old member who can’t drive but attends every meeting and pitches in on fundraising for mentally impaired kids every year, standing out in the cold soliciting donations for the Boy Scout troop for special needs kids

    Now you’ve done it, Dale.

    If there’s anything that provokes the ire of the Catholic Anarchist more than the all-male club of beer-guzzling, flag waving patriots known as the KoC, it’s the all-male club of soda-guzzling, flag waving, America-divinizing patriots known as the Boy Scouts.

  • Since it is generally impossible to prove a negative, once again the onus to prove one’s case is on the person making the charge. So, either mr. iafrate is lying about, or, to put it perhaps more charitably, distorting the contents of these articles, or as the above commenters have noted, mr. iafrate has a different understanding as to what such “unapologetic support” really entails.

  • I guess Michael’s claim wasn’t quite so easy to prove after all . . . that’s the danger of overstating your case.

  • I’m a Sir Knight and I have not supported the war in Iraq or the management of the war in Afghanistan in any shape or form.

    My council does community service and goes to an Episcopal church on Fridays to feed the homeless. We are active in helping with the liturgy and a host of other things. We tend to stay out of the political arena, unless it is a fundamental issue of life and/or marriage, i.e. issues Catholics cannot disagree on and legitimately remain Catholic.

    I think such an attack on the Knights of Columbus is a very vague generalization because it represents nothing about my experience with the Knights or myself, as a Knight. Matter of fact, I am very suspicious of suggestions that any recourse of action or sentiment that goes against current positions of the Democratic Party platform is a political attack. Perhaps, some do seek the opportunity, but I think to read that much into it, is just silly.

  • While Michael’s slanderous attack inexcusable, it raises the point that Catholic organizations should be extra cautious and not endorse causes which are not unquestionably morally correct.

  • While Michael’s slanderous attack inexcusable, it raises the point that Catholic organizations should be extra cautious and not endorse causes which are not unquestionably morally correct.

    There is nothing “slanderous” about pointing out the FACT that the Knights of Columbus expressed views, as an organization, that were completely at odds with orthodox Catholicism when it came to the Iraq War.

  • Of course, putting “FACT” in all-caps does nothing to rectify the unfortunate situation that Michael has done nothing whatsoever to demonstrate that his accusations are true. His contemptuous attitude has gotten way ahead of his truth-telling capacities, as is so often the case.

  • S.B. – [Shrug] So you’re an incompetent user of Google. Not my problem. I ain’t sweating it. You people made a career out of defending the Iraq War and yet you oppose the thought that the K of C would support the Iraq War, in the face of the obvious, more than you would oppose the suggestion that your grandma had a same-sex lover. Forgive me if I’m not interested in playing games with you.

  • Michael I,

    instead of just shouting louder, don’t you think you’d convince more people of the correctness of your statement by simply supporting it with a reference?

    Also, your assertion that the K of C as an organization supported the Iraq invasion is dubious to be honest, but when you claim:

    hat were completely at odds with orthodox Catholicism when it came to the Iraq War

    This goes even further, to avoid being guilty of slander, you’d have to demonstrate that the K of C position (if in fact it were true that it was a position) was not just in error on prudential questions, but in fact explicitly based on an error of doctrine. Considering that the Church at no time asserted herself that one could not in good conscience support the war a tall order indeed.

  • So you’re an incompetent user of Google.

    Man, I wish I could just sit in on that dissertation defense in 10-15 years.

    Professor: Mr. Iafrate, you didn’t provide any proof in your assertion in chapter five that medieval Catholics were made up of a lot of “queeros.” Can you explain why you came to that conclusion.

    michael: You can look it up. You have google.

    Professor: Errr, yes, but you should try to substantiate your claims more clearly, like when you claim that the Knights Templar used to perform rain dances in the middle of the Sahara. I have never heard that. What source are you using.

    michael: I read it in some book I have on my bedroom floor.

    Professor: And what book would that be . . .

    michael: I dunno. I ain’t inviting you over to read it.

    Professor: Well, yes, but I wasn’t about to make that request. I just suggest you provide more than one footnote per chapter, especially when they all say, “Look it up yourself. Idiot.”

    michael: I can’t help it if people are too stupid to use google.

    Professor: Rrrriiiiiight.

  • Zummer – I appreciate your concern, but thankfully my committee and I both know the difference between a dissertation and a blog that I could care less about. I’d be happy to email you an invitation to my dissertation defense, though, whenever it takes place.

  • Catholic Anarchist, all you have to do is to post a link to whatever you contend proves your contention that the Knights of Columbus as an organization endorsed the Iraq war. You made the assertion, you have the burden of proof to establish the validity of the assertion.

  • blog that I could care less about.

    Hmmm. And yet you post an awful lot of comments here. Strange behavior if this blog doesn’t mean that much to you.

    Anyway, as Donald said, and I’ve said before, the burden of proof is on you. If you can’t back up the point you’ve made with actual proof, then it becomes readily apparent that you have made a great distortion with your original charge. Perhaps the reason that people’s google searches have come up empty is because the silver bullet, so to speak, simply doesn’t exist.

  • I could find nothing about the K of C supporting the Iraq War via Google or Yahoo. However, Yahoo results do confirm that the K of C are indeed the foot soldiers of right-wing americanist Catholicism.

    http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A0oGkkRbPeNJTUUBqc1XNyoA?p=%22foot+soldiers+of+right-wing+americanist+catholicism%22&y=Search&fr=my-myy&fr2=sb-top

    If it’s on the Internet it has to be true.

  • Michael — several people, besides me, have “googled” your assertion and come up completely empty . . . the only results are stories about the Knights donating money to help wounded soldiers, and the like. None of us have the obligation to spend hours tracking down a story that, so far, exists only in your imagination. If you want to be seen as anything but a serial exaggerator, you have the responsibility to prove your own claims. And if you don’t have time to prove your claims, then you should try to show a little more prudence about sticking yourself out on a limb.

  • If it’s on the Internet it has to be true.

    As I indicated above, my reference for this claim is the K of C’s own publication, hard-copy, not internet. I have it somewhere in my files, from back when I was working in a parish and had to deal with these people and their supporters constantly. I’d be surprised if the same article were not available online.

    Of course, the online references you cite, on the K of C “supporting the troops” can indeed be seen as supporting the war. As you know “supporting the troops” is often just a cover for supporting the war, and actions taken to “support the troops” are indeed ambiguous.

  • Michael I,

    so what you’re referring to is a local situation then, not anything at the national level? In that case your original assertion is perhaps false, or, at the very least culpably imprecise.

    So you would define “supporting the troops” as in, providing aid and comfort, and hoping for their safe return to be opposed to Catholic doctrine? Which doctrine exactly would that be?

  • so what you’re referring to is a local situation then, not anything at the national level?

    No, I am referring to the statements of the K of C in the united states, as a whole. As I recall, the issue also included comments from the superemo Knight (whatever his name is) when Bush spoke and did his little war dance for them. The Supreme Knight Rider expressed the K of C’s support for Bush and his policies.

    As for “supporting the troops,” as I said, that phrase is profoundly ambiguous. It can mean a variety of things. It can mean what you said above, it can mean supporting the war (but cloaking it in “supporting he troops” rhetoric), or it can mean what I mean when I say I “support the troops”: I support bringing them home, and I support them leaving the military. Often it means “shut up about the war, if you criticize it you don’t ‘support the troops.'”

  • You keep saying, “as I recall,” and continue to provide no proof of your assertions. So until you can actually provide substantive proof beyond, “I think I kind of remember some person wearing this hat that said something that was definitely supportive of the Iraq War but I don’t know because it’s in a magazine that’s on the floor in my car trapped underneath an umbrella and my de-icer but you can go look it up even though no google search actually comes up with any existence of said article,” then we’ll pretty much all assume you’re full of bull droppings.

    It can mean a variety of things.

    In other words, it means what I say it means. Gotcha.

    By the way, how many comments do you intend on making on a five-day old thread on a blog you couldn’t care less about?

  • …then we’ll pretty much all assume you’re full of bull droppings.

    As I said a few times already – I ain’t sweating it!

  • In other words, it means what I say it means.

    Well, yes. It means whatever the person saying it means by it. Exactly right.

    I have been told by some people, for example, that if I protest the war, then I don’t “support the troops.” To them, “supporting the troops” means supporting the war.

    I could go on, but I think you know what I’m talking about and simply get off on arguing with me.

  • Michael I,

    I have been told by some people, for example, that if I protest the war, then I don’t “support the troops.” To them, “supporting the troops” means supporting the war.

    This is a non-sequitor.
    a then not b
    does not follow that
    b then not a

    I highly doubt that they anybody says that supporting the troops is supporting the war, but that “protesting the war” was not being supportive of the troops, there being a substantial difference between that and opposing the war but not not taking action to undermine the troops once they are committed. In either case I don’t believe protesting the war necessarily means you are undermining the troops, but many of the actions of war opponents that I’ve witnessed would, such as expressing a desire that they be defeated.

    I also don’t believe that it’s supportive of the troops to consider the men who are killing them to be “patriots” when in fact they are engaging in unlawful actions as the legitimate government of Iraq has requested the continued presence of US troops. This position would be hypocritical if one applauded the provision of US troops in similar situations such as Somolia, Bosnia, or Sudan.

  • …such as expressing a desire that they be defeated.

    Riiiiiight. So many anti-war protesters express a desire that u.s. soldiers be defeated. Straw man.

  • Michael I,

    So many anti-war protesters express a desire that u.s. soldiers be defeated. Straw man.

    How so? I indicated that I have witnessed such a desire expressed at various protests, but did not apply it to all cases of protest. Do you say there are NO anti-war protesters who express a desire for the defeat of US troops and/or express sympathy for the opposing force? This is nothing new and was well documented during the Vietnam War. Have you heard of “Hanoi Jane”?

    To be clear, I don’t say it’s unreasonable to argue that any anti-war protest once US troops are committed is not supporting the troops, I just don’t find it compelling (although they all at least accidentally undermine the troops). My argument is that there are particular types of anti-war protests which essentially undermine the troops.

    Why did you choose to pull one part of my statement out of context?

  • Do you say there are NO anti-war protesters who express a desire for the defeat of US troops and/or express sympathy for the opposing force?

    These are two entirely different things.

    My argument is that there are particular types of anti-war protests which essentially undermine the troops.

    Such as?

    Why did you choose to pull one part of my statement out of context?

    I chose to comment only on one part of your statement, not to take part of it “out of context.” If in doing so I distorted your position somehow, then feel free to show me how.

  • If it’s fair and correct to not assume that someone who is against any given war doesn’t “support the troops”, then I suppose it would be equally fair and correct to not assume that someone who “supports the troops” favors any given war.

    Or doesn’t that apply to groups who partake in other evils like frying fish, drinking beer, and wearing old fashioned clothes?

  • Michael I,
    Matt:
    Do you say there are NO anti-war protesters who express a desire for the defeat of US troops and/or express sympathy for the opposing force?

    Michael:
    These are two entirely different things.

    Yes, and both serve to undermine the troops by rendering aid and comfort to the enemy. Obviously I am sympathetic to all human suffering, but that’s entirely different from calling the enemy “freedom fighters” and wishing them to be successful in their goals.

    My argument is that there are particular types of anti-war protests which essentially undermine the troops.

    Such as?

    Posing for photographs wearing the enemy’s uniform and simulating the operation of their anti-aircraft weapons typically used to shoot down American bombers. Calling American soldiers “baby-killers”, denying them a right to presumption of innocence, criticizing them for defending themselves against enemy actions, blaming them for killing civilians which the enemy is using as shields.

    I chose to comment only on one part of your statement, not to take part of it “out of context.” If in doing so I distorted your position somehow, then feel free to show me how.

    You pulled 1/2 of one sentence, then used it to support a false accusation of strawman. That’s out of context.

  • Now, I’ve seen everything.

    A charitable organization such as the Knights of Columbus being maliciously denounced as an discredited army of oppression — merely because they subscribe to and stand up for the Teachings of the Church — not only by anti-catholic bigots, mind you, but those supposedly Catholic!

    Perhaps if the Knights of Columbus advocated the murderous butchering of unborn babies from their mothers’ wombs and proclaimed homosexuality as part of a sacred institution, ‘virtuous’ Catholics such as these would declare the Knights of Columbus an army of saints!

    Shame on You!

    Shame on You All!

    Now, Catholicism has become so perverted by individuals such as these that they bear merely a monstrosity of the genuine Faith!

  • If it’s fair and correct to not assume that someone who is against any given war doesn’t “support the troops”, then I suppose it would be equally fair and correct to not assume that someone who “supports the troops” favors any given war.

    Exactly. Which is why, in order to evaluate the position of the K of C, one would have to consult a range of statements, such as their official publication which includes pieces by the grand supremeo knight talking about how the Knights support Bush and his policies.

    Perhaps if the Knights of Columbus advocated the murderous butchering of unborn babies from their mothers’ wombs and proclaimed homosexuality as part of a sacred institution, ‘virtuous’ Catholics such as these would declare the Knights of Columbus an army of saints!

    Interesting that you assume that I am pro-choice, e.

  • their official publication which includes pieces by the grand supremeo knight talking about how the Knights support Bush and his policies.

    I suggest it may be time for posts like this of Michael’s to be censored as he continues refusal to back them with any evidence. This last one is particularly heinous because it makes a specific accusation which should be very easy to demonstrate by an exact quote and reference to on or offline content.

    I think that we can all agree if this were an accurate characterization it would be a serious error on the part of the Supreme Knight, as it is completely outside the proper mission of the Knights and would be an impediment to that mission.

  • Interesting, too, that you should side with anti-catholic bigotry rather than recognizing the Obama administration for what it truly is and how several of its own policies actually stand remarkably opposed to Church Teaching.

    Instead, you continue to harp on the failures of the Bush administration merely to deflect any acknowledgement of such truths concerning this world’s alleged messiah.

    Rather, you would engage in calumny concerning a charitable organization and, in fact, rabidly attack it to even the detriment of the incredible work it does not only on behalf of the Church but many of the helpless and needy.

    I suppose such betrayal of genuine Catholic values would have one do that.

  • Michael I. gives the game away with his jeer about fish fries, beer drinking and dress up, doesn’t he? At bottom, it’s about the middle class leftist intellectual’s well-documented disdain for those uncool, embarrassing lower middle and blue collar Catholics and their irksome patriotism. Many leftist eggheads who claim to revere The People actually don’t like people all that much, particularly if said people don’t acknowledge the superior wisdom of leftist eggheads.

  • Interesting, too, that you should side with anti-catholic bigotry rather than recognizing the Obama administration for what it truly is and how several of its own policies actually stand remarkably opposed to Church Teaching.

    I have blogged plenty about Obama’s obvious opposition to Church teaching. I do not side with “anti-Catholic bigotry,” but I am not quick to point fingers at it where it does not really exist, unlike yourself and many of the writers on this blog. You make Catholics look foolish when you point to any disagreement with Catholic teaching and call it “anti-Catholic.”

    Instead, you continue to harp on the failures of the Bush administration merely to deflect any acknowledgement of such truths concerning this world’s alleged messiah.

    I’m not attempting to “deflect” anything. Obama has more in common with Bush than he does in opposition.

    Rather, you would engage in calumny concerning a charitable organization and, in fact, rabidly attack it to even the detriment of the incredible work it does not only on behalf of the Church but many of the helpless and needy.

    Of course the K of C does some good charitable work. I said so above. But that does not mean we should not be critical of their ideological support for american war making. We must oppose that aspect of what the K of C does.

    At bottom, it’s about the middle class leftist intellectual’s well-documented disdain for those uncool, embarrassing lower middle and blue collar Catholics and their irksome patriotism. Many leftist eggheads who claim to revere The People actually don’t like people all that much, particularly if said people don’t acknowledge the superior wisdom of leftist eggheads.

    I see. You divide the world into a leftist middle-class vs. patriotic lower class/blue collar binary. How convenient. As if middle and upper class people are never nationalists. As if blue collar people cannot have progressive and/or radical politics. Most of the K of C people I have come into contact with are not blue collar folks. How does Jeb Bush fit into your binary, Donna?

  • …the FACT that the Knights of Columbus expressed views, as an organization, that were completely at odds with orthodox Catholicism when it came to the Iraq War.

    There are a couple things wrong with Michael’s whole line of argument here.

    First off, while I think it would be inappropriate for a Catholic organization such as the Knights of Columbus to have an official position for or against a war, I think Michael errs significantly in saying that supporting the Iraq war is completely at odds with orthodox Catholocism.

    The KofC should not have an official position in favor of the war because it is not its function to hold positions on that kind of issue — but while individual Catholics should give serious consideration to the stated opinions of John Paul II, Benedict XVI and many members of the USCCB on the justice of the US war in Iraq, I don’t think it would be accurate to say that considering the war to be just would be contrary to orthodox Catholicism.

    That said, it’s odd that Michael has time to post a dozen or more comments on this threat on the topic, yet doesn’t have time to cite a specific article title or publication date for the issue of Columbia which he claims stated support for the Iraq war.

    Plus having dealt with Michael on the issue for some years, I strongly suspect that his definition of “supporting” may be something rather more expansive than “officially stating that the war is just”. For instance, when the previous bishop of the US military chaplaincy retired, Michael loudly expressed hope that the Church would cease supporting the US “war machine” by refusing to appoint another bishop to that see. However, the pope promptly did so.

    If providing opportunity for US soldiers in theater to receive the sacraments is “supporting the US war machine” in Michael’s book, then clearly he has a pretty expansive definition of the term. And I don’t think we can find it shocking if the work which the KofC does falls afoul of his standards.

  • If providing opportunity for US soldiers in theater to receive the sacraments is “supporting the US war machine” in Michael’s book, then clearly he has a pretty expansive definition of the term. And I don’t think we can find it shocking if the work which the KofC does falls afoul of his standards.

    I have no doubt that I have a “more expansive” view of what it means to support u.s. war making than many of the folks here.

  • “I do not side with anti-catholic bigotry…”

    That’s an awfully strange remark especially coming from someone who expressly concured with the very remarks of an anti-catholic bigot who uttered as much concerning a charitable organization who happened to stand for and defend Church Teaching, for which it specifically happened to be despised and even denounced for so doing.

    Or did you not say at the very top of this thread that: “Knox statement about the Knights of Columbus is 100% correct”?

    At any rate, why don’t you cease with all this disingenuous dribble already since your comments throughout the thread betray your actual position & true intentions.

  • Michael I: I’m still waiting to see exactly some evidence of the K of C’s “ideological support for American warmaking.” John H. did a Google search and came up with nothing nefarious. Of course, we must remember that to someone with a vehemently anti-American viewpoint such deeds as donating money to the families of killed and wounded U.S. soldiers may indeed qualify as nefarious activities. As I recall, Michael I. slammed Blessed Fr. Cappodanno, a candidate for sainthood, for ministering to wounded and dying soldiers on the battlefields of Vietnam.

    No, I don’t “divide the world into leftist middle-class/blue collar binary.” I was referring to leftist middle class intellectuals, a much smaller sub-section of the universe. You are the one who made the snobbish comment about about fish fries and beer drinking. I have no doubt that there are more middle class and even wealthy people in the K of C than there were when my old man was a member, since there are more middle class Catholics as a whole. (Although I was always under the impression the Knights of Malta were, in my father’s words, “your upper crust Catholics.” Maybe he was wrong.)

    I attended grad school myself, at GWU in DC, and came across more than a few middle class leftwing intellectuals who combined love of The People with the utmost disdain of the white trash Wonder Bread eaters out in PG County. I’m not the only one who has noticed, though. Christopher Lasch (no conservative) wrote a book about how progressive disdain for the blue collar and lower middle classes helped turn them into “Reagan Democrats.” (I used to own it; I believe it’s called “Progress and Its Dicontents.”) The scorn and contempt many academics clearly had for the people I had been born and raised among certainly led me to reconsider my political leanings.

  • My mistake: the book by Lasch is entitled “The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its’ Critics.”

  • Or did you not say at the very top of this thread that: “Knox statement about the Knights of Columbus is 100% correct”?

    You are a confused person. Disagreement with the Catholic Church’s position on a particular issue does NOT make one “anti-Catholic.”

    The scorn and contempt many academics clearly had for the people I had been born and raised among certainly led me to reconsider my political leanings.

    I am critical of some academics’ contempt for “blue collar” people as well. It’s actually an issue that is becoming central to my work. My comment about “fish fries and beer drinking” should not be understood as a snobbish or class-related statement. As I said, I do not consider the K of C to be solidly “blue collar” at all, not even in West Virginia where I am from. I do no have contempt for a certain class of people. I have contempt for death dealing politics wherever it can be found, in whatever class.

    Are you saying that the fact that some academics have a contempt for blue collar people turned you into a republican? That’s an interesting conversion story. I wish, though, that you’d be a little more thoughtful about your political option and less reactionary.

  • Michael, believe me, I thought long and hard about my political beliefs as I moved from left to right. It was a process that took about 4 years and the snobbery of left wing intellectuals was a pretty minor part of my conversion, actually. Much more important in my eyes was the gradual realization that the Left had gotten it wrong on, well, just about everything. Another example of the arrogance of the Left: only they think deeply about politics, everyone on the right simply “reacts.” They can’t believe that intelligent, thoughtful people can ponder the evidence and come up with conclusions that *gasp* differ from theirs.

  • Actually, I wrote a little bit about my “conversion” – I passed from left/liberalism through libertarianism on the way to conservativism – if you or anybody else is at all interested:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/02/13/the-death-of-liberaltarianism/#comments

  • Michael’s beliefs are totally reactionary: He sees something he doesn’t like (Knights, capitalism, etc.), and has a kneejerk reaction.

  • Actually, I wrote a little bit about my “conversion” – I passed from left/liberalism through libertarianism on the way to conservativism – if you or anybody else is at all interested

    I did the exact opposite.

    Except I would never make the ridiculous claim, for example, that the Right has “gotten it wrong on, well, just about everything.”

    Michael’s beliefs are totally reactionary: He sees something he doesn’t like (Knights, capitalism, etc.), and has a kneejerk reaction.

    I suppose you recognize that sort of behavior because you react that way anytime abortion comes up.

  • Now how did we get from “Obama appoints anti-Catholic bigot” to a rant about the alleged militarism of the Knights of Columbus?

    I don’t recall ever having heard the K of C express an official position for or against the Iraq war. It’s entirely possible that whoever was Supreme Knight at the time the war began in 2003 wrote a personal opinion column in “Columbia” magazine expressing support for President Bush’s actions, or that the editor or assistant editor of the magazine did so. That is NOT, however, the same as the organization itself taking a pro- or anti-war position.

    Perhaps the notion of the K of C’s as “militaristic” stems from the ceremonial swords, hats, and capes worn by Fourth Degree Knights at official functions. However, Fourth Degrees are not necessarily representative of the organization’s membership at large. My father, brother and father-in-law are or were all K of C’s; my dad has been a Knight for more than 60 years, served as grand knight of his council and gave countless hours to its events, facilities, etc. However, he never had ANY interest in becoming Fourth Degree, and neither did my brother or my father-in-law. It was just not their style.

  • Now how did we get from “Obama appoints anti-Catholic bigot” to a rant about the alleged militarism of the Knights of Columbus?

    I’m pointing to the right wing reactionaries here.

  • No Catholic Anarchist you are merely attempting to divert attention from the fact that the man you voted for appointed an anti-Catholic bigot. I think this will be a very long four years for the entire nation, but perhaps longest for you Obama supporters.

  • Micheal, perhaps you can let us know what points you think conservatives have gotten right.

    That is, after you give us that link to any articles showing the K of C endorsed the Iraq War. We’re still waiting for you to prove your accusation and our Google skills are apparently just not up to yours.

  • No Catholic Anarchist you are merely attempting to divert attention from the fact that the man you voted for appointed an anti-Catholic bigot.

    By this “logic” you would have to condemn “the man you voted for” this past election too, because he chose an “anti-Catholic” as a running mate. George W. Bush surely chose “anti-Catholic bigots” to serve in his administration as well.

    I think this will be a very long four years for the entire nation, but perhaps longest for you Obama supporters.

    How lazy of you to dismiss me as an “Obama supporter” when you know my politics and you know my specific position on Obama. But intellectual laziness is what we have come to expect from you.

    Micheal (sic), perhaps you can let us know what points you think conservatives have gotten right.

    For one, their belief in small government. Sadly, though, they are not radical enough on this point, and woefully inconsistent as, if they are really interested in freedom, they should then oppose other forms of unfreedom and totalitarianism such as capitalism. Two, many conservatives (surely not all) are anti-abortion. I won’t say “pro-life” because that’s obviously not true, from a Catholic perspective.

  • The old “tu quoque” argument . . . my four year old is already a master of that one. Hopefully he’ll grow out of it.

  • Catholic Anarchist, I realize Dick Cheney is a demon figure for the inhabitants of the fever swamps of the far left, but he is not an anti-Catholic bigot. Perhaps you would like to support your contention with the quaint concept known as evidence.

    As for Bush appointing anti-Catholic bigots, names and evidence please.

    Once again of course this is merely an attempt on your part to avoid criticizing the man you supported for appointing a person who obviously detests the Church. Good fortune attempting to keep this up as a defense of Obama over the next four years.

  • Here is a link to remarks by Cheney to Pope Benedict during his visit last year.

    http://www.catholicdigest.com/article/cheney-remarks-departure-of-pope

    “Your Holiness, on your first apostolic visit to the United States, you’ve encountered a nation facing many challenges, but with more blessings than any of us could number. You have met a people of resonating faith who affirm that our nation was founded under God, who seek his purposes and bow to his will. You have seen a country where the torch of freedom, equality and tolerance will always be held high, a country where you, a herald of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, will always be welcome.

    To our diverse country, you have brought a universal message of hope and salvation. You have spoken to Americans with eloquence and feeling, and for so many, these have been days of reflection and personal renewal.

    Whether in your presence or listening across great distances, millions have found in your words hope against despair, certainty amid confusion and strength for journeys of their own.”

    Really Catholic Anarchist, “anti-Catholics” need to be made of sterner stuff!

  • Heh, Cheney seems to be far more respectful and appreciative of the Holy Father than a number of Catholics I’ve encountered lately. Go figure…

  • Michael I.,

    It seems you’re the one that’s confused.

    The fact that you ‘100%’ agreed with Cox’s anti-catholic comment concerning the Knights of Columbus due to their unwavering stand on the sanctity of marriage pursuant to Church Teaching (and really had nothing to do whatever with the war) is proof of how you would be more than willing to side with anti-catholic bigotry of any sort and in any form even if it should mean betraying Church Teaching just to advance your leftist agenda.

  • Michael,

    Whatever the ills of capitalism, how is it ‘totalitarian’? You’re free to not participate if you wish.

  • Actually, michael never clarified exactly what he meant by this:

    That statement is correct independent of Knox’s views on Proposition 8. The K of C (in the u.s. at least – the Canadian version has a different flavour) are indeed the foot soldiers of right-wing americanist Catholicism.

    “Independent” is an odd word choice here, if michael really disagrees with Knox that declining to recognize gay marriage is oppressive. “Independent” is usually used to indicate that one reason for believing something IS valid, but there are other “independent” reasons to believe it as well. So here, michael seems to be implying that the Knights are indeed a “discredited army of oppression” for opposing gay marriage, but that the Knights are also a “discredited army of oppression” for other “independent” reasons as well.

  • Catholic Anarchist, I realize Dick Cheney is a demon figure for the inhabitants of the fever swamps of the far left, but he is not an anti-Catholic bigot. Perhaps you would like to support your contention with the quaint concept known as evidence.

    Are you losing your mind? Did you forget about the 2008 election already? I was refering to Sarah Palin.

    As for Bush appointing anti-Catholic bigots, names and evidence please.

    Bush himself opposes Catholic just war teaching, refused to meet with Vatican representatives, and believes that abortion is just fine in cases of rape and incest. By your logic, he must be anti-Catholic.

    Once again of course this is merely an attempt on your part to avoid criticizing the man you supported for appointing a person who obviously detests the Church.

    I don’t avoid criticizing Obama. I am very critical of Obama.

    You’re free to not participate if you wish.

    Um, really?

  • Palin, an anti-Catholic bigot Catholic Anarchist? I thought you had mistyped because that struck me as so ludicrous that I could not believe you were making that argument. As in the case of Cheney Catholic Anarchist, I request that you give me evidence to support your contention.

    As to President Bush and abortion I will bow to the opinion of John Paul II:

    “I also continue to follow with great appreciation your commitment to the promotion of moral values in American society, particularly with regard to respect for life and the family.”

    http://www.medaloffreedom.com/PopeJohnPaulIIMedalPresentation.htm

    If Bush had my view regarding abortion there would be no exceptions. That his view is light years better than the current law was plain to the Pope as it is to every person fighting against abortion. As to the President you voted for, well the next abortion he is opposed to will be his first.

    As to the war, the President differed with the Holy Father on whether Iraq was a just war. However Cardinal Ratzinger explained in another context that this was not the same as opposing the Pope on abortion:
    “3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

    http://priestsforlife.org/magisterium/bishops/04-07ratzingerommunion.htm

  • As in the case of Cheney Catholic Anarchist, I request that you give me evidence to support your contention.

    For the second time, I didn’t mention Cheney. You did.

  • Palin is “anti-Catholic”? What a silly claim.

  • Palin is “anti-Catholic”? What a silly claim.

    I said according to Donald’s logic Can’t any of you people read?

  • Of course we can Catholic Anarchist, and what we have read from you in this thread are endless obfuscations to avoid your dealing with the simple fact that you voted for a man who appointed an anti-Catholic bigot. You refuse to criticize either the bigot or the man who appointed him. All your outrage is directed at those of us who point out this, for you, very inconvenient fact.

  • When did Palin say that an orthodox Catholic group was a “discredited army of oppression”? Or anything remotely resembling that sort of talk? That’s what it would take for Palin to be “anti-Catholic” according to Donald’s logic.

    Not that I expect you to be able to come up with any evidence.

  • When did Palin say that an orthodox Catholic group was a “discredited army of oppression”? Or anything remotely resembling that sort of talk? That’s what it would take for Palin to be “anti-Catholic” according to Donald’s logic.

    Not that I expect you to be able to come up with any evidence.

    Perhaps you could consult with MM at Vox Nova about this.

  • Like you, MM doesn’t care about the facts when it seems more pleasurable and useful to demonize a political opponent. In any event, do you have a specific post in mind? Stop hiding the ball.

  • I get that you like jerking people around, i.e., making up accusations, and then mocking people for not being able to prove a negative.

Vatican Rejected Three Obama Candidates For Ambassador

Tuesday, April 7, AD 2009

Today the Washington Times is reporting that the Vatican has rejected at least three candidates for ambassador.  Could one of those candidates been Doug Kmiec?  Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago?  Caroline Kennedy? 

The Headline Bistro is reporting that Senator John Kerry is pushing for Caroline Kennedy for the position.  A left-leaning Italian daily, Panorama, is speculating of the ‘glamorous’ benefits of having Miss Kennedy as the Holy See’s ambassador.

Caroline Kennedy?  You’ve got to be kidding me!  What is interesting to note is the sheer lack of understanding on behalf President Obama of what the Catholic Church stands for.  It is not a political entity, but Christ’s church on earth.  Abortion is not one of a myriad of policy differences that can be pushed under the rug when it comes to appointing a U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.

The U.S. has a right to appoint whomever they want, but the Pope has the right to reject any ambassador that will not “improve relations” with the Vatican.  If President Obama appoints a pro-choice (pro-abortion) candidate, one who promotes the death of innocent children, how can this candidate  improve relations with the Holy See that defends the rights the most vulnerable among us?  Logic and reasoning seem to be lacking in finding a candidate from the Obama administration.

Continue reading...

17 Responses to Vatican Rejected Three Obama Candidates For Ambassador

  • So now we have 3 articles with the same source. The Wash Times didn’t report anything.

    If I’m not mistaken, the US didn’t have a Vatican ambassador prior to 1980, so I’m not sure how “embarassing” it would be.

  • M.Z.,

    The U.S. did not have formal (diplomatic) relations until President Reagan recognized this need in 1984 to help in the battle with communism (which Pope John Paul II help to bring down).

    The Washington Times and Headline Bistro offered different sides to the news of the Obama administration’s folly in finding an ambassador to the Vatican using different sources.

    Your accusation is a non-sequitur.

  • Maybe the nominees were like this:

    http://lifenews.com/nat4973.html

  • Phillip,

    If President Obama is offering such type candidates, it says a lot about his lack of depth and intellect. His failure to see other perspectives and thinking that abortion is just a part of a myriad of other policies that two people can disagree upon.

    When President Obama arrogantly and disrespectfully told Pope Benedict that we have to agree to disagree on abortion, he ended any possibility of further dialogue and discussion. It’s his way or the highway and he will only fail in the end in everything that he does if he continues down this road.

  • Tito,

    Didn’t you watch the debates between him & McCain?

    I believe it was in the last one where he had stated to the effect that abortion was not actually a moral issue and is entirely (and quite legitimately — at least, in his opinion) up to the individual.

  • e.,

    He told Pope Benedict we must agree to disagree on what abortion is. He was opposed from budging from his position that a woman has a right to choose to kill her child. What part of ‘dialogue’ am I missing here?

  • What I was alluding to is the fact that this incident should not strike you at all surprising given the bold-faced response Obama gave during his last debate with McCain where Obama basically said that abortion was not a moral issue and that it is up to the individual decide accordingly.

  • e.,

    My apologies.

    Misread your response.

    I blame Matt for distracting me.

  • Just a bit more about one of Obama’s recent appointees:

    http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=46192

  • Much of this has sounded like jumping on the Obama-as-unpopular-with-Catholics bandwagon.

    And now John Thavis at CNS has a pretty definitive debunking:

    “No proposals about the new ambassador of the United States to the Holy See have reached the Vatican, and therefore it is not true that they have been rejected. The rumors circulating about this topic are not reliable,” the spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, told Catholic News Service April 9.The spokesman’s comments echoed off-the-record remarks by informed diplomatic and Vatican sources in Rome, who said the reports appeared to be unfounded.

    “It’s possible names have been circulated inside the U.S. administration, and perhaps rejected for some reason or other, but not because of any Vatican veto. It’s also quite possible that the whole thing is conjecture,” said one source.

  • Mark

    Exactly the point of one of my post this week.

  • Coming from a Jesuit, I wouldn’t put any credence at all.

  • I did not realize that you sprung from a Jesuit.

  • Mark D.,

    That was funny!

    Have a great Easter to you and your family!

  • Tito – You can delete my comments, but you can’t run from the truth. You have to stop running sometime! Maybe not this Easter, but soon!

  • Michael I.,

    I didn’t delete any comments. It must have been someone else. Unless of course, you are ‘m’?

    By the way, I am on permanent moderation over at VN. What’s up with that? I don’t really care, but I don’t understand how you continue to complain to everyone how your comments are being moderated, yet you get off moderation after a day or two, while I’ve been on moderation for about two years now.

    Just comparing the discrepancy between your rhetoric and mine, which is as wide and deep as the Grand Canyon.

  • Pingback: The Rejected Ambassadors: The Plot Thickens « The American Catholic