Obamas Fly Me To The Crescent Moon

Saturday, July 10, AD 2010

Fellow TAC cohort Donald posted an excellent column on President Obama’s attempt at reimagining NASA as a political experiment in Muslim outreach.

My personal opinion is that President Obama could care less about NASA for political reasons.  The biggest one is that he is punishing Texas for voting Republican and many of his political contributors would love to increase their government budgets at the expense of those programs that doesn’t fit in their world view.

How ironic that Texas was the only state in the union that had a net increase in job creation.  Many red states are faring better than the blue states in this economic recession.  Though President Obama and his co-wealth distributionists continue to push for welfare-state programs that increases our national debt and fails to create any jobs in the private sector.

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45 Responses to Arizona: Doing the Job the Feds Will Not Do!

  • This is a failure by the federal government. I don’t know anybody who wants to send people back who are looking for work, but there has to be some kind of order. Why hasn’t the U.S and Mexican governments set up some kind of system where workers can come and go in a legal fashion. Instead of them risking their lives crossing the desert.

  • Nice touch on the “o” in “won’t”, lol

  • And, I’m a proud American with a long and rich Lebanese heritage, which means sometimes people think I have a long and rich Mexican heritage.

  • As I agree I disagree… this new law will only provide police to wrongfully detain or haggle legal Hispanics. I would rather they start fining Businesses $500,000 per illegal. If there is no work many illegals will not try why punish those who are trying to come to our country to make a life for themselves.. punish those who want slave labor!!

  • I have no problem whatsoever with legal immigration. But relatives in Arizona tell me illegal immigration is making life down there hell – kidnappings, drugs, fights between rival gangs.

    The French-born husband of a friend of mine tells me he waited 7 years before he was able to get a green card. Rather bitterly, he says the smart thing to do would have to been fly to Tijuana and head north; naively, he followed the rules…

  • Donna,

    It makes me sick when people who don’t, and never have, lived in AZ make long-winded proclamations about this law or the situation down there. They know nothing. They’re the real “know-nothings” of our time, intolerant fanatics or people who are so deluded and ignorant about the realities of the situation that they shouldn’t even have an opinion.

    I won’t stand for it. I’m not the racist. La Raza and MEChA, the Brown Berets, the radical Chicano professors and peddlers of hate speech against blacks and whites, are the racists.

    People who agree with them or apologize for them are the soft bigots. They should be confronted.

    They don’t care that we have a destabilizing failed state to the south that poses a security risk to the country. All they care about is moralizing and grandstanding.

  • Amen Tito and there are many others who feel the same way. I agree with the stiff fine for anyone or any employer who abets an illegal regardless of country. Our Imimgration Dpt is as laxed as can be. I have often wonder why Custons could not work with employers who use migrant labor and have a system for them to enter and be controlled together and then return after work is completed. No benefits other than shelter, meals and pay. It would less expensive than the walls and fences. Mexico’s President was wrong in his statements. Why hasn’t he built industry in the rural areas for his people and created jobs for them. Why does he not tell people that entering Mexico is regared as a felony and carries jail time. What if our law was the same and we jailed imimgrants for jail time and anyone who abets them.. would we then need walls and and fences.

  • La Raza and MEChA, the Brown Berets, the radical Chicano professors and peddlers of hate speech against blacks and whites, are the racists.

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    Alex V.,

    Amen to fining businesses for hiring illegals.

    That would have an immediate impact!

  • I have often wonder why Custons could not work with employers who use migrant labor and have a system for them to enter and be controlled together and then return after work is completed.

    Guest worker programs are socially corrupting. Employers who wish to hire ‘migrant labor’ should be told to hire citizens and lawful settlers willing to work for the wages offered.

  • Guest worker programs are socially corrupting. Employers who wish to hire ‘migrant labor’ should be told to hire citizens and lawful settlers willing to work for the wages offered.

    This recommendation runs contrary to statements of many of our bishops, I believe.

    Concerning an immigration enforcment raid on a North Portland, Oregon food processing plant (in 2007, I think):
    “Portland Archbishop John Vlazny quickly denounced the raid by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, calling it “an affront to a nation whose tradition has always welcomed the stranger.” Calling for a moratorium on raids until national immigration reform is complete, the archbishop said the arrests tear apart families.”
    http://www.catholicsentinel.com/node/8172

    And a more recent statement by Bishop Slattery of Tulsa contained this recommendation:
    “Some way must be found to give the 11-12 million undocumented workers presently in the country some form of legal status. This need not include citizenship and should exclude anyone convicted of a felony.”
    http://www.dioceseoftulsa.org/article.asp?nID=1458

  • Neither statement refers to guest worker programs.

    That aside, both statements as rendered require elaboration.

    Some way must be found to give the 11-12 million undocumented workers presently in the country some form of legal status.

    And why would that be, your eminence?

    Calling for a moratorium on raids until national immigration reform is complete

    Penal codes are flawed. Do we let the muggers have free rein in urban neighborhoods until they are comprehensively repaired?

  • Thank you Messrs. Edwards and Vargas.

    And both of you make your statements, unlike [email protected] bishops spambot quotes and hate-filled libs, without accusing anyone that disagrees of being “the face of evil.”

    Let’s review how many sins against the Ten Commandments are [email protected] bishops endorsing? I make it only four: four, seven, eight and ten.

    And, at their next riot for amnesty, I want Che-worshipping revolutionaries to trot out an American construction worker and his family: whose livelihood was taken by a 12,000,000 undocumented workers and now 25 of them rent the house he lost to foreclosure.

  • Not sure about the Old Testament, but from the New Testament, the bishops often quote Matthew 25:35,
    “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,” etc.

    http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/matthew/matthew25.htm#v35

    See, for example, here:
    http://www.usccb.org/mrs/stranger.shtml

  • Concerning Art Deco’s claim that the guest worker program is “socially corrupting”, the bishops have acknowledged there can be social costs associated with the use migrant guest workers. For instance, responding to reform legislation proposed in 2004, the USCCB expressed concern that some provisions would lead to wage erosion, and called for modifications.
    http://www.usccb.org/hispanicaffairs/immigration.shtml

    I have not found an instance where a bishop called for the elimination of guest worker programs.

  • Concerning whether the millions of undocumented workers receive “some form of legal status”, Bishop Wester of Salt Lake City called for legal protection of immigrants’ due-process rights, among other things.
    http://www.sltrib.com/utahpolitics/ci_14135073

    Bishop Hubbard of Albany notes that “Regardless of their legal status, migrants, like all persons, possess inherent human dignity and human rights that should be respected.”
    http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/documents/BishopHubbardArticle100226.pdf

    As I understand it, the bishops want immigrants to have a legal means of recourse if they are exploited or victimized.

  • As I understand it, the bishops want immigrants to have a legal means of recourse if they are exploited or victimized.

    The persons in question do not have ‘legal means of recourse’ becuase they came here on the q.t. That is a function of the calcuations they made at various junctures with reference to their personal situation. Giving them the benefits of legal status post hoc is not a ‘reform’ of immigration law; it is the abolition of immigration law.

    I have not found an instance where a bishop called for the elimination of guest worker programs.

    So what?

  • How can any honest person interpret “welcome the stranger” as “ignore all laws pertaining to immigration”? Because that’s what the bishops do when they speak out against the enforcement of immigration law.

    To me, “welcome the stranger” means just that – in your midst, you welcome any person who is a stranger. You welcome them with kindness and hospitality. But you don’t clamor for immigration anarchy, or make mealy-mouthed sermons that amount to that implicitly.

    I understand the human reasons often cited for illegal immigration. What I can’t tolerate is the political agitation, the visceral hatred and contempt, that so many seem to have or to at least go along with once they get here for this country and for Anglo Americans. You think its a minority. So did I, until I read about incidents like these. This is what they do in Mexico:

    http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/4236314/

    And this is what they do here, in this Snopes-verified incident:

    “On February 15, 1998, the U.S. and Mexican soccer teams met at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The crowd was overwhelmingly pro-Mexican even though most lived in this country. They booed during the National Anthem and U.S. flags were held upside down. As the match progressed, supporters of the U.S. team were insulted, pelted with projectiles, punched and spat upon. Beer and trash were thrown at the U.S. players before and after the match. The coach of the U.S. team, Steve Sampson said, “This was the most painful experience I have ever had in this profession.”

    These are the things that normal Americans see every day, that a lot of over-educated, over-socialized, affluenzaed liberals never do. The plain fact is that a significant portion of the illegal immigrants from Mexico believe that they have a RIGHT to be here. Maybe they’re told that in their own society. Maybe they are told when they get here by the Hispanic versions of the KKK or Neo-Nazis that no one on the left ever talks about.

    But they have a racial and national pride that any white person would be categorized as a Nazi themselves for holding. And they have a hatred for this country and its non-Hispanic inhabitants. This is what they do to the blacks:

    http://www.alternet.org/story/46855/

    “According to Stark, “There is no black gang that encroaches on the 204’s turf. The hate is so prevalent and obvious that activists and city officials can no longer avoid calling it by the name being used by everyone from prosecutors to opinion writers in the L.A. Times: ethnic cleansing.”

    http://thelastgringo.com/serendipity/index.php?/archives/16-LATINOS-ETHNIC-CLEANSING-IN-L.A..html

    When the victims are black, of course, expect at least one conflicted liberal to come down on their side. If they were white, radio silence at best, tacit approval at worst.

    Of course we don’t want to demonize Hispanics. But when I see tens of thousands of Hispanics show up at rallies with swastikas emblazoned on the US or various state flags, I have to wonder, are they saying we’re Nazis, or are they declaring their own race war? Maybe they think Hitler had the right ideas and the wrong race. Or maybe they hate Jews too. Who knows?

  • “For instance my opinion of Mexicans in Mexico has been slowly degraded away over the years. I used to have a whole different opinion of Mexico and its people, but after seeing this continued America bashing by everyday Mexicans over and over my opinion and sympathy for the Mexican’s plight has gone to nearly zero.”

    http://www.diggersrealm.com/mt/archives/002304.html

    Expect a lot more Americans to undergo this change as they learn the truth.

  • Well it is Catholic website, so the bishops’ opinions are generally relevant, and their statements urge immigration reform, not abolition of guest worker programs (such as H2-A and H2-B) that I can tell, so I thought I would just point out what I have found and what I have not found in that regard.

  • I’m still waiting for Cardinal Mahony and Archbishop Dolan to condemn Mexico’s brutally exclusive immigration laws as “mean spirited” and like “Nazi German” and “Russian communist” techniques.

    I’ll probably be considered someone’s ancestor before that happens.

  • Not one word from the bishops about this:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bA8Br3_FIRg&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

    Eradicate the gangs. Treat them like enemy combatants.

  • Well it is Catholic website, so the bishops’ opinions are generally relevant,

    I am sorry, what the bishops do not say about the technics of immigration enforcement, the designated hitter rule, trade winds, Mexican cuisine, and any number of other things is not of much interest to me. What they do say as a consequence of fulfilling their duties does interest me. And, of, course, faithful Catholics face the challenge of following the teachings of the Church when they are lost in a sandstorm of verbiage on ancillary matters from the staff of the bishops’ conference and diocesan chanceries.

  • “Standing before a small white coffin, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony said Wednesday that two small girls gunned down last week are martyrs of gang warfare and called on residents citywide to have the courage to rise up against gangs.

    “Mahony delivered the stern words to about 300 mourners attending funeral services for 3-year-old Denise Silva of Boyle Heights. He said each member of the community must take responsibility for escalating gang violence.”
    http://articles.latimes.com/1992-04-16/local/me-934_1_gang-members

    That condemnation of gang violence was from 1992, though the shootings in video was from 2008, so I do not know if that quote will satisfy you or you want something more recent.

  • What they do say as a consequence of fulfilling their duties does interest me.

    Great. I think we are the same page. Now if we only had a quote from a bishop that supports your position I think we can just about wrap this up.

  • Spam,

    So you opposed Health Care Reform because the bishops did?

  • I don’t know about S.pamb.ot, but I’m on the same page as the bishops on both health care and immigration. And I applaud Bishop Olmsted’s affirmation of the excommunication of Sister Margaret McBride as well as his opposition to SB 1070.

  • And I note yet again that the same tactic of opposition to Bishop Olmsted is used by both the Democratic and Republican loyalists.

    From the Democrats/pro-choicers, you hear that Bishop Olmsted just doesn’t understand the realities of the hard choices we must make about women’s health.

    And from the Republicans/conservatives, we hear that Bishop Olmsted just doesn’t understand the realities of how issues of immigration must be addressed.

  • The problem with your analysis is that abortion is an intrinsic evil and can never be justified. While immigraion is a right, it is not an absolute right – the state may limit immigration and enforce those laws including deportation.

    As such, immigration laws are properly the provence of the laity who are called to make such decisions. The bishops present the moral principles which the laity then prudently apply. If the bishops present a plan on immigration, a Catholic in good conscience can disagree.

    The particulars of the abortion case are not clear. But if an abortion was performed, no one may licitly disagree.

  • The bishops present the moral principles which the laity then prudently apply. If the bishops present a plan on immigration, a Catholic in good conscience can disagree.

    Fair enough.

    But it seems to be the case that most conservative Catholics disagree with the bishops whenever a bishop’s position is contradicted by the talking points of the conservative wing of the Republican party. And when the disagreement is voiced by these Catholics, it is usually with ridicule.

    I do wish more Catholics would step out from the boundaries of politics, especially when it comes to morality.

  • I will have to say that bishops’ opinions should be treated with respect. Though Cardinal Mahoney’s comments on the AZ law does deserve contempt.

  • JohnH, Phillip, Art Deco, Greg Mockeridge, Donna V., afl, T. Shaw, and S.pamb.ot,

    While you guys are engaged in good dialogue why don’t you all put up some icon pics for your ID/gravatar?

  • I don’t know how. I’m technologically challenged.

  • So you opposed Health Care Reform because the bishops did?

    Yes. I commented about this briefly at Zippy’s a while back.
    http://zippycatholic.blogspot.com/2010/03/more-funding-for-abortion-is-just.html?showComment=1269530687527#c4629179916212773003

    I’ll leave at that for now to avoid going off topic.

  • Great. I think we are the same page. Now if we only had a quote from a bishop that supports your position I think we can just about wrap this up.

    No, we are not. I am not inhibited from advocating a social policy because my bishop has not pronounced on that specific subject. You have not offered one citation to the effect that an immigration policy which permits settlers but not the issuance of visas to imported servant-laborers is in contradiction to a moral principle articulated by the Church.

    But it seems to be the case that most conservative Catholics disagree with the bishops whenever a bishop’s position is contradicted by the talking points of the conservative wing of the Republican party.

    There is no consensual position on immigration within the Republican Party, much less ‘talking points’.

    The bishops need to elaborate on how the moral and ethical obligations of the faithful are articulated in social policy and how the latter compels lax enforcement of immigration laws, amnesty, &c. If they can actually state things in those terms.

  • I will have to say that bishops’ opinions should be treated with respect.

    I think that is all I really wanted. Not necessarily from anyone one person in particular, but from Catholic sites in general when they examine the Arizona immigration law controversy.

    What do the bishops say and why do they say it? Are the various bishops’ statements generally consistent with each other? Should Catholics feel obligated to line up behind them if they are relatively uniform in their opinion?

    Those are some of the questions on my mind and tried to explore a little here.

  • While you guys are engaged in good dialogue why don’t you all put up some icon pics for your ID/gravatar?

    I am not sure I can get it to work.

  • How to set up a gravatar:

    http://en.gravatar.com/

  • Just want to draw attention to the seriousness of the abuse of migrants in Mexico that Greg refers to and acknowledge that I could not find statements from Catholic bishops on that specific situation.

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/widespread-abuse-migrants-mexico-human-rights-crisis-2010-04-27

  • S.pamb.ot hits the nail on the head, so to speak.

    ” . . . Catholic website, so the bishops’ opinions are generally relevant”

    BINGO!!!!

    Opinion.

    I read books on my commute/RR. One book I read was The Republic. Plato said, “Opinion is not truth.”

    I don’t much care about bishops’ opinions unless they jive with the Scriptures and the Pope.

    Especially since the majority voted for Obama in opposition to Pope Benedict’s non-negotiables, I have no reason to blindly accept any bishop’s OPINION.

    FYI Bamspot BUDDY: Check out OT Tobit on not giving alms to evil people. “Better to put your bread on the grave of a just man than . . . ”

    The criminals (tearing at the guts of many communities) are not the least of Christ’s brothers. And, are breaking at least four of the Ten Commandments.

    But, if you must feed them, send them food in their homelands. And, use your money for your charitable acts.

    Those are my opinions and again opinion is not truth.

    I’m a superannuated accountant who has to look up much of the vocabulary you people use. Plus, what is this gravatar thing?

    BTW: Closed comments on the Second Amend. I am perennially banned at a certain so-called catholic website. Seems totalitarianism resides in socialist saints, as much as stalinists and nazis.

    That’s okay. I had completed my post-doctoral field work in proctology at the time they banned me.

  • Shaw,

    “Closed comments on the Second Amend.”

    I hope you aren’t referring to my post. Comments are closed here because I don’t want two discussions. On my personal blog, where you can read the rest of the piece, you can comment to your hearts content.

  • Thank you, T.Shaw. I’ll try to keep all of that in mind.

  • The USCCB on guest worker programs:
    In May [2006], the Senate passed S.2611, which includes the 200,000 new H2-C visas supported by President Bush as well as pathways to citizenship for illegal immigrants who have worked in the country five years or more.

    Earlier this year [2006], the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opposed the enforcement-only House bill and subsequently called the Senate bill [S.2611] “a good start.”

    Among the bishops’ principles for just immigration reform is a guest-worker program that helps unify migrant families and provides a path to earn citizenship.

    “The bishops are not opposed to border security or national sovereignty,” Torres told Our Sunday Visitor. “But they want to balance the right to migration and the dignity of all human beings.”
    http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=20754

    Bishop Wenski testifying before a House Subcommittee on Immigration Reform in 2007:
    While we appreciate the inclusion in Title IV of AgJOBS legislation [temporary workers provision of S.1348], we strongly oppose the Title’s adoption of a temporary worker program that does not provide workers with the option of pursuing a path to permanent residency. This could create an underclass of workers in our society who are easily exploitable and without full rights and privileges in the society. We also have misgivings about workers having to return home after two years and remain outside of the country for a year. We fear this may result in some workers choosing to stay illegally.
    Other problems we have in Title IV include its unrealistic requirements for health insurance and minimum income levels, and the reliance on the unrealistic triggers found in Title I of the legislation before the temporary worker program can begin to operate.
    http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/documents/meh-wenski-adopted-changes.pdf

    The USCCB (again) on the AgJOBS program:
    The U.S. Catholic Bishops support both permanent and, with appropriate protections, temporary visa programs for laborers. However, any such system must adequately protect the rights of workers. Visa costs must be affordable and wages should be sufficient to support a family in dignity. The program ought to provide for family unity and reunification and allow for worker mobility both within the United States and in making return trips to their home country. Labor-market tests should be employed to ensure that U.S. workers are protected. A segment of work visas should be designed to allow laborers to enter the country as legal permanent residents. In allocating such visas, two factors that should be considered are family ties and work history.
    http://www.nccbuscc.org/mrs/h2a.shtml

    The USCCB (again) on immigration and border security:
    The Catholic Catechism teaches that in the realm of immigration law all governments have two essential duties, both of which must be carried out and neither of which can be ignored.

    The first duty is to welcome the foreigner out of charity and respect for the dignity and rights of the human person.

    The second duty of government is to secure its border and enforce immigration law for the sake of the common good, including the safety and well-being of the nation’s inhabitants and the rule of law.

    The U.S. Catholic Bishops have outlined various elements of their proposal for comprehensive immigration reform.

    Future Worker Program: A worker program to permit foreign-born workers to enter the country safely and legally would help reduce illegal immigration and the loss of life in the American desert. Any program should include workplace protections, living wage levels, safeguards against the displacement of U.S. workers, and family unity.
    “http://www.nccbuscc.org/mrs/legal.shtml”

    ~~~~~~~
    From these and other resources, I believe it is fair to conclude that our bishops support issuance of visas to temporary workers as long as legal protections against exploitation and abuse of the workers are provided. This leads me to believe they oppose elimination of the temporary workers programs.

  • An article concerning the USCCB’s position on guest worker programs:
    In May [2006], the Senate passed S.2611, which includes the 200,000 new H2-C visas supported by President Bush as well as pathways to citizenship for illegal immigrants who have worked in the country five years or more.

    Earlier this year [2006], the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opposed the enforcement-only House bill and subsequently called the Senate bill [S.2611] “a good start.”

    Among the bishops’ principles for just immigration reform is a guest-worker program that helps unify migrant families and provides a path to earn citizenship.

    “The bishops are not opposed to border security or national sovereignty,” Torres told Our Sunday Visitor. “But they want to balance the right to migration and the dignity of all human beings.”
    http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=20754

    Bishop Wenski testifying before a House Subcommittee on Immigration Reform in 2007:
    “While we appreciate the inclusion in Title IV of AgJOBS legislation [temporary workers provision of S.1348], we strongly oppose the Title’s adoption of a temporary worker program that does not provide workers with the option of pursuing a path to permanent residency. This could create an underclass of workers in our society who are easily exploitable and without full rights and privileges in the society. We also have misgivings about workers having to return home after two years and remain outside of the country for a year. We fear this may result in some workers choosing to stay illegally.

    “Other problems we have in Title IV include its unrealistic requirements for health insurance and minimum income levels, and the reliance on the unrealistic triggers found in Title I of the legislation before the temporary worker program can begin to operate.”
    http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/documents/meh-wenski-adopted-changes.pdf

    ~~~(cont’d)

  • The USCCB (again) on the AgJOBS program:
    “The U.S. Catholic Bishops support both permanent and, with appropriate protections, temporary visa programs for laborers. However, any such system must adequately protect the rights of workers. Visa costs must be affordable and wages should be sufficient to support a family in dignity. The program ought to provide for family unity and reunification and allow for worker mobility both within the United States and in making return trips to their home country. Labor-market tests should be employed to ensure that U.S. workers are protected. A segment of work visas should be designed to allow laborers to enter the country as legal permanent residents. In allocating such visas, two factors that should be considered are family ties and work history.”
    http://www.nccbuscc.org/mrs/h2a.shtml

    The USCCB (again) on immigration and border security:
    “The Catholic Catechism teaches that in the realm of immigration law all governments have two essential duties, both of which must be carried out and neither of which can be ignored.”

    “The first duty is to welcome the foreigner out of charity and respect for the dignity and rights of the human person.”

    “The second duty of government is to secure its border and enforce immigration law for the sake of the common good, including the safety and well-being of the nation’s inhabitants and the rule of law.”

    “The U.S. Catholic Bishops have outlined various elements of their proposal for comprehensive immigration reform.”

    “Future Worker Program: A worker program to permit foreign-born workers to enter the country safely and legally would help reduce illegal immigration and the loss of life in the American desert. Any program should include workplace protections, living wage levels, safeguards against the displacement of U.S. workers, and family unity.”
    http://www.nccbuscc.org/mrs/legal.shtml

    ~~~~~~~
    From these and other resources, I believe it is fair to conclude that our bishops support issuance of visas to temporary workers as long as legal protections against exploitation and abuse of the workers are provided. This leads me to believe they oppose elimination of the temporary workers programs.

  • I have heard far more persons discussing that the law is Unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause. The Supremacy Clause forbids state and local laws that contradict federal laws in matters where the federal government has authority to act.
    Once again it only applies in situations where the law contradicts the current law. Arizona’s law requires that State/Local authorities hand over suspect illegals to the proper federal authorities. Maybe you have forgetten (since we haven’t enforced these laws) but it’s still a crime to enter our country illegally.
    But as long as we are talking about Constitutionality let’s talk about the Commerce Clause on the Constitution (Article I, Section 8). This clause prohibits states and localities from passing laws that burden interstate or foreign commerce by, among other things, creating “discriminations favorable or adverse to commerce with specific foreign nations.”
    Boycotting Arizona is UNCONSTITUTIONAL so knock it off already. Also to the Arizona government, how about we step up and actually file suit against these cities?

Where's Jesus?

Thursday, April 16, AD 2009

ihs

When Obama gave an economics speech at Georgetown, the monogram IHS in the background was covered over at the request of the White House.  I approve!  Whenever this President speaks at a Catholic college, anything related to Christ should be covered over!  I will leave to others to debate whether Georgetown is a Catholic college!

Update I: Father Z unleashes one of his unforgettable fiskings on this story here.

Udate II: Excellent commentary here.

Continue reading...

6 Responses to Where's Jesus?

  • I had to read this a few times before I got it,
    “I approve! Whenever this President speaks at a Catholic college, anything related to Christ should be covered over!”

    I still think we should be praying for him, even as we disagree with his polices and viewpoints. Work within the legal bounds to curtail, slow or block some of the actions his administration wish to implement, but we all ought to be begging the intersession of our Patroness, Mary of the Immaculate Conception, the intervention of the Holy Spirit and the compassion of Our Risen Lord.

  • Well said Sandra.

  • This is the university which removed crucifixes from the classrooms.

    It is also the university, like Fordham, which was first financed by the sale of slaves.

  • I agree. In fairness to Obama, it is possible that the Notre Dame controversy has sensitized his handlers such that they did not want to make it look like Obama’s speech had some type of Church imprimatur, or more specifically, give ammo to those who would accuse him of making it look so. For this pro-abort President to give a speech in front of explicitly Catholic symbols runs the risk of being inflammatory in a way that is not helpful to his presidency. It was a good political move, I think. In a way, the question is which is worse, Obama giving a speech in front of Catholic imagery or Obama asking that the imagery be removed before he gives his speech? I agree with Don that the first is worse, and I suspect that Obama’s handlers worried that enough Catholics would feel that way that they understood where the better part of valor rests

  • O think that the Catholic Church should withdraw the status of “Catholic” to Universities like Georgetown or Notre Dame

  • Mike- you are too clever by half. Please do not employ nuance where knuckleheadedness is more applicable. Of course, Georgetown is Catholic to the same extent that say Terrell Owens is a team player. Only when useful. Then the image comes down. As yet another DC Establishment Player, it was more than willing to cooperate with the White House’s wishes. Thus earning derisive scorn in this Obama To Notre Dame period. If Dear Leader was scheduled to address students virtually in this section of his backyard, yawn and double yawn. A few years back, took the dedicated K of C chapter on campus to put crucifixes back in classrooms. Mere covering of IHS is just more of the same. 30 pieces of silver and all.

Now He Tells Us

Thursday, April 9, AD 2009

blood-n-guts-obama1

Hattip to Instapundit.  “Speaking to GIs in one of Saddam Hussein’s old palaces, Mr. Obama ticked off America’s accomplishments in Iraq: “From getting rid of Saddam, to reducing violence, to stabilizing the country, to facilitating elections — you have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country. That is an extraordinary achievement.””

I will leave for others to explain just how Obama’s Iraq policy differs from what McCain would have done, or from the policy of Bush if he were still in office.

Continue reading...

14 Responses to Now He Tells Us

  • Democrats and Republicans: Two wings of the same bird of prey.

    Ron Paul 2012. Just sayin’. 🙂

  • Anthony, I can’t imagine ever voting for Ron Paul, but I would rather enjoy seeing him issue letters of marque and reprisal:

    http://www.house.gov/paul/press/press2001/pr101101.htm

  • No difference – in any category foreign or domestic (he just doesn’t give lip service support to conservative social policies like the Republicans do).

    Obama is just Bush in blackface with good teleprompter skills.

  • Reality bites. Dear Leader had been living in his secure Democratic lib bubble- American troops are rapists/babykillers/etc. Then interaction with our fine men and women in uniform. And firsthand looks at their achievements. Thus the glowing terms.

  • It is easy to see the context is important. He is talking to the soldiers themselves, whose culpability is much less than the leaders they are following. The leaders are the ones who must deal with the fact that it was an unjust war; and while one can (especially after Hitler) put some blame on the soldier who follows the orders of an unjust war, that does not mean one cannot also recognize the good done in that war. Let’s not get consequentialist here and use this as an argument to say the war itself was justified. It wasn’t. Even tyrants can be shown to have done some good, but it doesn’t make them any less a tyrant.

  • Let’s not get consequentialist here and use this as an argument to say the war itself was justified. It wasn’t.

    I don’t think Don wrote or implied anything of the sort.

  • Awakaman, no racial references in future please.

    Mr. Karlson, he was listing the good things accomplished by the war. If he still believes that it was an unjust war he has a very peculiar way to go about it. My guess is he is like many politicians: for a war when we are winning, against a war when the going is tough, and for a war after it is won. Of course, contrary to your position, I believe the war from the get-go was a just war. I would still believe that if our forces had been defeated. I doubt if Obama, in contradiction to many of his supporters, had really deep beliefs about the war one way or another. Since it has been won he is more than willing to share in the bows with the troops. At least when it comes to foreign policy Obama is entirely pragmatic.

  • Henry,
    …the fact it was an unjust war?…

    What you mean to say is that is is your opinion that it was an unjust war.

    The war was just. One man had the power to avert war and that man was Saddam Hussein. He did not comply with UN resolutions. All the blood is on his hands. In the wake of 9-11 it would be foolish for any American president to HOPE that Saddam would behave himself.

    0bama (and the rest of the world) should be thankful everyday that Saddam is gone and that democracy is taking root on the Euphrates.

  • Henry,

    It is easy to see the context is important. He is talking to the soldiers themselves

    That’s precisely the point, everything this president says is different depending on audience. In San Francisco he talks about gun and bible clinging hicks, in Ohio he would never say that. His stated policies are based on the audience, his real agenda is unknown, but it’s probably close to what he says at Democrat parties without a lot of press.

  • The difference is not Iraq, but Iran. McCain would have been only too willing to follow the lead of Netanyahu and Liberman. I hope and pray that Obama will stand up to the Israeli warmongers.

  • “will stand up to the Israeli warmongers.”

    Now why would Israel view Iran as a threat?

    Ahmadinejad Quotes:

    “Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation’s fury.”

    “Remove Israel before it is too late and save yourself from the fury of regional nations.”

    “The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land. As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map.”

    “If the West does not support Israel, this regime will be toppled. As it has lost its raison d’ tre, Israel will be annihilated.”

    “Israel is a tyrannical regime that will one day will be destroyed.”

    “Israel is a rotten, dried tree that will be annihilated in one storm.”

    Oh yeah.

  • McCain would have been only too willing to follow the lead of Netanyahu and Liberman.

    I have heard you claim this repeatedly, but as far as I can tell, the only justification for it is assertions made by people that don’t like John McCain. As evidence goes, that’s pretty weak.

  • Actually during the campaign McCain called for tougher sanctions against Iran but not for military action until both low level diplomacy and sanctions were attempted. Obama refused to take any options off the table.

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1004116.html

    http://digg.com/world_news/Obama_Iran_a_grave_threat_and_no_options_off_the_table

  • This is a single party state. One thing the “republicrats” have learned from the failures of other single party states is that the so-called masses need to be under the illusion that there is actually a choice. So we have two false choices each election: the donkey and the elephant.

    The policies are the same regardless; and elephant or donkey, the entire Political Class are made up of jackasses.

Obama to Push Immigration Reform

Wednesday, April 8, AD 2009

This is good news, and probably smart politics:

While acknowledging that the recession makes the political battle more difficult, President Obama plans to begin addressing the country’s immigration system this year, including looking for a path for illegal immigrants to become legal, a senior administration official said on Wednesday.

Mr. Obama plans to speak publicly about the issue in May, administration officials said, and over the summer he will convene working groups, including lawmakers from both parties and a range of immigration groups, to begin discussing possible legislation for as early as this fall.

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52 Responses to Obama to Push Immigration Reform

  • Oh dear, I know you’re going to take a lot of heat for this one so let me be the first to say I completely agree with you!

    There is no conflict between welcoming the stranger and upholding the law. Let the punishment fit the “crime”, if risking one’s life to feed one’s family can ever really be considered a “crime” by anyone with an ounce of Christian mercy in them.

    I don’t hate or get angry with people who always bash the immigrants; I feel sorry for them, that they can’t see Christ in them and treat them accordingly.

  • I don’t hate or get angry with people who always bash the immigrants;

    If you equate wanting to uphold immigration laws with immigrant bashing, then the person to be pitied is you.

  • It is a difficult issue precisely because the remedy may be worse than the sickness. I assure you that a “political push” for mass legalization will do no more good for our country than the last two (IRCA in 1986 and the early 1990s with section 241[i]).

    More to the point, I have yet to see any valid statistics or even a statistical model that suggests that there are only 12 million or so persons unlawfully present in the US. Immigration practitioners suggest the number to be nearer to 15 million and immigration authorities put the number closer to 25 million.

    It matters because the agencies that would oversee the legalization of these persons has to be prepared and funded sufficiently to deal with the change without causing massive harm to those persons LAWFULLY present who are seeking or will seek status.

    So, before you jump on the “Justice for the People Without Status” bandwagon, wouldn’t it be smart to insist that Congress do some investigating?

    How can you advocate for a “sane” immigration system without first advocating for a public investigation of the subject?

  • Actually I rather think that Obama will largely solve the illegal alien, as the son of a legal alien I became familiar with the proper legal terms rather early in life, problem but not by immigration reform which I doubt will get through Congress since more than a few Blue Dog Democrats are getting increasingly nervous and won’t want to touch this. I think as the economy completely tanks under his ministrations the problem will largely resolve itself.

    The process appears to be underway.

    http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/12/10/20081210goinghome1210.html

  • Instead of pietistic phrases, I would like to see a reasoned argument why current immigration laws are unjust. Catholic social teaching shows that we must be open to immigrants and welcome them. But it also teaches that a country has a right to limit immigration for varied reasons and that immigrants must observe the laws of their home country (something implicitly violated in illegal immigration.) In addition it teaches that a country may return immigrants if they violate their adopted countries laws.

    They may already be such arguments out there. I just haven’t come across them.

  • I have yet to see any valid statistics or even a statistical model that suggests that there are only 12 million or so persons unlawfully present in the US. Immigration practitioners suggest the number to be nearer to 15 million and immigration authorities put the number closer to 25 million.

    What you’re describing is a range of estimates; I am not sure what type of model would be sufficient for you. By definition, it’s very difficult to count people who avoid showing up in official records.

    It matters because the agencies that would oversee the legalization of these persons has to be prepared and funded sufficiently to deal with the change without causing massive harm to those persons LAWFULLY present who are seeking or will seek status.

    I agree this is a serious problem. Adding 12-25 million to basic social service programs is bound to be expensive, and there is likely to be an influx of immigrants into the United States if an immigration policy is announced (the U.S. isn’t Europe, but it certainly has a better safety net than Mexico).

    Some of this cost may be offset because the immigrants will now be able to pay into the system, but they are likely to be part of the 40%-50% who don’t pay income taxes. This can be mitigated to a certain extent by how the program for naturalization is designed; waiting periods, work permits, work history requirements, criminal background checks etc., can help screen out the most problematic cases. In the long-term, I think it will be a benefit to the U.S., as having more citizens is generally a prerequisite to national prosperity.

    I’m not saying it’s an easy question, and I tried to acknowledge some of the concerns in the post. But currently illegal immigrants are vulnerable to all sorts of exploitation and abuse, they are a drain on hospitals and schools that they do not support with taxes, and their presence undermines the rule of law.

    I think allowing them to become legal participants in the economy in some manner, through temporary work permits that lead to citizenship over time or some other mechanism can help address these problems. Were I in their place I would have few scruples about coming to the United States to provide for my family. It’s often argued that these programs are unfair because they favor Mexicans who just happen to live next to the U.S. over other groups. I think that argument goes both ways – U.S. citizenship is determined by the exact same mechanism (physical presence in the country at the time of birth) that determines Mexican citizenship. Creating a path to citizenship won’t necessarily be inexpensive, but I think it would be a step towards a more reasonable immigration strategy.

  • But is there more to citizenship than just being born in a country? If so, are immigrants, especially illegal immigrants, living up to the nature of citizenship?

  • I don’t know whether it’s smart politics or not, but it would be a good move.

  • Phillip,

    You ask for an argument as to why the current laws are unjust. Catholic Social Teaching recognizes a right of people to immigrate in order to seek a better life for themselves and their families. True, like most rights recognized by CST, the right to immigrate can be restricted if restrictions serve the common good. Almost all economists, however, believe that immigration is a net benefit for the economy, and I fail to see any other compelling reason why the laws have to be as restrictive as they are.

  • If there is a range of 12 – 25 million illegal immigrants in the US and this is appropriate, how many more could be allowed in and not negatively affect the common good? Given that the world is filled with poverty, equal if not greater than that in Mexico, how many spots should be opened for people from Ghana and Zimbabwe?

  • Phillip,

    The question right now isn’t how many more to let in; it’s how to best address the fact that about 12 million are already here consonant with their human dignity and the common good. Regarding Ghana and Zimbabwe, as I said above, citizenship is determined by birth. U.S. citizenship v. Ghana citizenship is just as arbitrary as Mexican citizenship v. Ghana citizenship. By your logic, we should allow any citizen of any country to have U.S. citizenship. Furthermore, the fact that they are already present in the country is also a reasonable grounds for differentiating between those in the U.S. and those in Zimbabwe.

  • But the question is relevant to changing US Immigration law. How many more should we in justice allow the law to permit in.

    You don’t answer the question though. Isn’t there more to citizenship than birth?

  • You don’t answer the question though. Isn’t there more to citizenship than birth?

    I was granted citizenship just by virtue of being born here, as were my children. Generally the bar is a bit higher if you were not born here, and that’s necessary for a number of reasons. However, it doesn’t mean we can’t set up work licensing programs and paths to citizenship for illegal immigrants who often are trying to escape crushing poverty.

  • John Henry,

    I find the expression “path to citizenship” to be troubling in this context because it suggests that one is not in place already.

    There are numerous avenues for those who are lawfully present as non-immigrants to obtain immigrant status and, thereafter, citizenship. So too, there are several avenues for those unlawfully present to regularize their status and, thereafter, apply for citizenship.

    We aren’t really talking about how to get this unknown number of persons that are unlawfully present to the point where they are citizens but how to get them lawful status.

    There have been three broad-based attempts to legalize those unlawfully present in the US:

    I. Section 249 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for those who entered prior to January 01, 1972 to register as Lawfully Admitted Permanent Residents (LAPRs) so long as they are 1) persons of good moral character (GMC), 2) not ineligible for citizenship, 3) not deportable, and 4) have had continuous residence in the US since entry.

    II. A range of Legalization Acts in 1982-1986, providing for those who were physically present in the US for specific numbers of years, worked for specific industries, and demonstrated a future competency to become citizens.

    III. Section 245(i) of the INA, providing a waiver for fee of the requirement that one be in status as a non-immigrant in order to apply for immigrant status.

    Section 245(i) charged around $1000 to cure the “defect” of unlawful entry or presence. The up-side was that the costs of administering the program were off-set by the fee and it provided a remedy for those who were unlawfully present but otherwise eligible for Adjustment of Status to that of an LAPR. (245[i] left intact the other requirements of Adjustment like prohibitions against fraud, other criminality, etc.) The down-side was that the number of persons who had entered through fraud or previously sought LAPR status through fraud was extremely high. Since it was the only cure for the aforementioned defect, the amount of resources the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and, after the abolition of the INS, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) were forced to apply to address the fraud was greater than the income generated. These costs were bourn by the legal immigrants through increased fees across the board (hardly seemed fair to me). So too, the not-so-subtle message was that one could “buy one’s way into the US” – that the INA itself was invalid. It, in my opinion, undermined the rule of law by creating a remedy that was based upon money rather than an acknowledgement that it is fundamentally wrong to violate even regulatory laws. From an administrative point of view, it was a train-wreck. Application receipts jumped and dove month to month, making forecasting of resources all but impossible. The result was a “backlog” of all application types (legal and illegal applicants) that drove the processing times from an average of under six months to two years or more in some locations.

    Legalization in the 1980s was worse.

    Congress UTTERLY failed to fund or provide a workable system for administering the process of legalizing millions of unlawfully present aliens. The INS was inundated with fraudulent work letters, proof of residency, and the like that applicants submitted to meet the rigid residency and work requirements of the INA. INS Special Agents went from farm to factory all over the country, proving that the thousands of letters submitted from a particular location were fraudulent. However, since Congress stupidly put a prohibition in the law itself against the use of any finding for any purpose other than the adjudication of the application itself, all of that work (literally tens of thousands of man-hours) was wasted. Unwilling to approve what were proven to be fraudulent applications, thousands and thousands remained unadjudicated for nearly a decade since the US Attorney’s Office would not prosecute them and INS couldn’t, in good conscience, approve them. The result was a decision by the Clinton Administration to approve every single Legalization Application that was still open.

    Talk about undermining the rule of law, eh?

    My point is this, ONLY Section 249 has worked. It is simple and direct. Either you were here before January 1, 1972 or you were not. Everything else in the INA remains the same.

    Obviously, the world is a very different place now and merely updating the date would bring too many applications out of the woodwork to be workable. But, the key to successful regularizing of immigration status for masses of people must rest in a simple, direct approach and, therefore, on good numbers.

    It simply CANNOT be true that there are 12 million unlawfully present persons in the US in 2009 when Congress reported the same numbers in 1995. Until Congress does the kind of research and case-building that is required to know how many people there are, no one should be jumping on the band-wagon to come up with a “remedy.”

    Let them make the case. Force them to do the research and present it publicly. Otherwise, we will have another replay of Legalization with the newly attendant risk of being blown up by a terrorist that slipped through in the chaos.

  • John Henry,

    Not to quibble, but you and your children were not “granted citizenship just by virtue of being born here” any more than you were “granted” status as male or your ethnicity.

    “Citizenship” is a red-herring in this context since I am not aware of any proposal before Congress to grant citizenship to those now lawfully present. The distinction matters because, if you are talking about how to bring those without lawful status to the point that they have lawful status, the justice equation is different. It is not about whether or not the US ultimately grants them citizenship but whether they can remain in the US without fear of removal.

  • G-Veg,

    Thank you for the background on the dysfunctional administration of previous immigration reform legislation. I can only imagine how the next plan will look with architects like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, although I still believe it may be worth accepting the inevitable inefficiencies.

    It is not about whether or not the US ultimately grants them citizenship but whether they can remain in the US without fear of removal.

    Sorry, I should have been clearer about that. I mentioned temporary worker permits above, and you are right, of course, that there are many ways to be legally in a country even without citizenship. I’ve been in about 15-20 legally, but only a citizen of one.

  • John Henry,

    I should have asked this earlier.

    Assuming that the Census is not a fraud (a big IF with Rahm warming up to it), why now? Why not wait for immigration reform until after the census? Surely those would be numbers that Congress could, in good conscience, rely on?

    Why should we, as a matter of justice, hurredly carp something together rather than waiting until 2011 or 12? Is there some injustice that Catholics should resist that attaches to deliberate lawmaking?

  • If there is a range of 12 – 25 million illegal immigrants in the US and this is appropriate, how many more could be allowed in and not negatively affect the common good?

    I have no idea. All I know is that it’s more than we let in now.

  • I think its not.

  • Why should we, as a matter of justice, hurredly carp something together rather than waiting until 2011 or 12? Is there some injustice that Catholics should resist that attaches to deliberate lawmaking?

    Well, sure, I think the timing is opportunistic. Republicans will assume their time-honored role as xenophobic bigots to alienate hispanic voters shortly prior to the 2010 mid-terms, and the Democrats will hold on to some of their seats. But, as with any other political question, if something is worth doing, we should be happy that it’s being done. Waiting for the perfect timing and ideal administration is a recipe for preserving the status quo rather than improving it. Not to be unkind, but is your concern about administrative timing influenced by a belief that change is not really necessary?

  • But its not xenophobic bigotry to ask that people follow laws and assimilate into the culture.

  • Phillip – sorry to be unclear. I don’t think people who oppose immigration reform are xenophobic bigots; I was referring to a popular caricature of Republican positions, which democratic strategists will rely on to characterize immigration reform opponents. Certainly, there is some bigotry in the U.S., and bigots are likely to oppose immigration reform, but I think it’s entirely unfair to call anyone who opposes immigration reform xenophobic. There is room for good faith disagreement in this area, although I think CST and concern for the common good favor immigration reform.

  • John Henry,

    No, I am not particularly concerned about the timing from a political viewpoint.

    I am concerned about the process.

    Congress has a responsibility to use its powers to collect and interpret information before crafting law. What shareholders would accept less from a board or directors than that? Why should we accept less than that from Congress?

    So, I am not particularly impressed by the urgency to badly cure a 20-year old complaint immediately if it means damaging what IS working now.

  • Thanks. I thought that’s what you meant. But that’s my problem with these issues. People will pull out terms such and “bigotry” or “not following the teachings of Christ” to paint their opponents in a negative light. That’s why I ask such questions. Because if there’s not more than “that’s what I think” kind of answer then you’re open to being called a bigot or unfaithful. Or being able to call others bigots and unfaithful.

  • I think its not.

    Give a reason.

  • I’m the one asking. You give a reason the quotas aren’t high enough.

  • Excellent post!

    I know, however, that manyRepublicans think they smell blood in regards to this possible development.

    The xenophobia they worked up, even over Bush’s attempts, was simply disgraceful and downright ugly. They will now want to turn this into a first major loss for Obama.

    I already saw Pat Buchanan salivating at the mouth, this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

  • “The xenophobia they worked up, even over Bush’s attempts, was simply disgraceful and downright ugly. They will now want to turn this into a first major loss for Obama.”

    Point made.

  • I’m the one asking. You give a reason the quotas aren’t high enough.

    People have the right to immigrate. To overcome that, one has to posit some compelling reason why the restrictions are necessary for the common good. You are asking me to prove a negative.

  • Yes… The infamous “They.”

    WE, those of us who energetically opposed immigration reform under President Bush, opposed the reform for a host of reasons. Sure there were bigots and such. There always are. But there were also a host of principled persons who opposed that dreadful, bloated, hasty bill. Frankly, those who reflexively supported it have nothing to crow about since its passing would have been a disaster that made previous immigration reform look organized and reasonable.

    I appreciate the sentiment that those “in the shadows,” whose life-choices included violating our nation’s laws, deserve some sort of a second chance. When we add a human face to the problem, it is easy to see that most of the people in such a position are no great danger to our way of life.

    However, your characterization of those who disagree is itself disagreeable.

    You assume that only a cold-hearted xenophobe or bigot could remain unmoved by the image of the desperate family that comes to the US in search of opportunity. You assume that we who oppose poorly crafted legislation that will encourage unlawful immigration and do little to restore the rule of law to our border policies oppose such legislation because we are more anxious to see President Obama fail than to see our Country succeed.

    You do us a great disservice and betray your own prejudices and irrationality in the argument.

    It was true before and it is true now that opposition to the party in power and its policies is NOT traitorous. Principled disagreements MUST have a place in our public discourse and your tarring everyone who disagrees with you with the brush of hatred, prejudice, and bigotry reveals more about you than it does about us.

  • The right is not absolute. A nation has the right to limit immigration for the common good. There are at least 12 million illegal immigrants in the country in addition to 10 million who legally came in the 90’s. Given that now approximately 10% of Americans are foreign born, there is potentially a significant problem in assimilating such numbers. Especially those who are illegal immigrants.

    You must have some reason why more is for the common good.

  • The difficulty with immigration reform is that while nearly all experts can agree that the current immigration quotas are very low, any move to legalize the illegal immigrants already here simply incents more people to come in illegally on the theory it will eventually work out for them too. So if you include legalization as part of any refrom bill, you incent people to ignore all of the actual restrictions you put in — and yet there’s really no practical and human way to remove all the illegal immigrants even if that was a good idea in the first place.

    Personally, I’d be in favor of returning to a 19th century style immigration policy and basically letting in anyone without a criminal record or epidemic disease. However, I don’t think that most immigration proponents are actually wanting to deal with the sort of laisse faire would which would result from truly free immigration. When you let people who back home make $2/day into the country, you probably do both them and your own country’s economy a lot of good, but you can hardly be surprised if they consider working for $5/hr for twelve hours a day a very good deal.

  • Depending on who you want to believe the total number of immigrants, legal and illegal may be as high as 16% of the population.

  • Darwin Catholic,

    Forgive me for drawing from your comment a new thread.

    We are assuming that the immigration “problem” is one that can be “solved.”

    As you astutely noted, there may be more persons here than CAN be removed and I would suggest that it may also be true that there are more persons here unlawfully than can be legalized through any efficient system. What harm then is there in leaving the system the way it is?

    Perhaps the only reasonable course is to worry only about those lawfully present. Make THAT system incredibly efficient, thereby creating an incentive to legal immigration. Those who placed themselves in a disfavored position would then reap the consequences of their choices the same as any other regulatory violator.

    To analogize, many townships don’t aggressively enforce building codes. Lots of people play light and loose with the code – expanding and screening in porches, moving interior walls, moving fences, even building out-buildings. Violators have no just cause for complaint if the township abruptly chooses to enforce the law, pulls the plats, and either fines or orders removal of any construction in violation of the code.

    Doesn’t the same reasoning apply to immigration? Shouldn’t the same principles of justice apply?

  • The amount of good that the US is capable of doing for it’s citizens and the rest of the world is directly proportional to the state of it’s economy. A healthy economy is one that is good for both business profitability and worker quality of life. If you increase the number of workers you will necessarily drive down the pay rates and/or other quality of life factors for workers, ultimately that will damage the economy, reducing the good we do in the world through private charity and public aid.

    Immigration has to have limits.

  • If you increase the number of workers you will necessarily drive down the pay rates and/or other quality of life factors for workers

    This isn’t true. The number of workers in the U.S., for example, is several times what it was a hundred or even 50 years ago, yet both pay and quality of life are much higher now than they were back then.

  • blackadderiv,

    This isn’t true. The number of workers in the U.S., for example, is several times what it was a hundred or even 50 years ago, yet both pay and quality of life are much higher now than they were back then.

    I should clarify, that this would be the case if the new workers are brought in too quickly, and especially if they are predominantly unskilled.

  • I guess the operative question is: how quickly is “too quickly” for an economy to adjust.

    If the result was that instead of US companies building factories (or contracting with other companies) in the third world which payed $0.5/hr, we instead let third world immigrants in and let the companies build better, more productive factories here that payed those immigrants $4/hr — everyone would be better off in the long run.

    The question is: would it work that way, or would we let lots of unskilled people in, but then pass labor regulations that made it almost impossible for them to get legal work?

  • DC,

    I guess the operative question is: how quickly is “too quickly” for an economy to adjust.

    Absolutely. Thus unregulated immigration is a serious problem. This is not like the prior centuries where the immigrants could take a piece of unused arable and start farming on it. Even some of the immigration surges from Europe caused much disorder in the US, and those were mostly skilled workers.

    If the result was that instead of US companies building factories (or contracting with other companies) in the third world which payed $0.5/hr, we instead let third world immigrants in and let the companies build better, more productive factories here that payed those immigrants $4/hr — everyone would be better off in the long run.

    Not necessarily, while $.50/hr may give someone a reasonable living in Bangladesh, it certainly doesn’t provide that in the US unless you factor in all of the government aid that such a low-income worker would depend on. Who pays for that aid? Big drain on the economy. Not to mention it will drive down the wages of those making more money now.

  • “A nation has the right to limit immigration for the common good.”

    The common good includes everyone.

    Here are some basic facts from the US Immigration Support website:

    “The average Mexican wage is about $4.15 an hour and those in the agricultural industry make even less. While an individual may be able to survive on that wage alone, it becomes more difficult for those with families. Currently about 40% of the Mexican population is below the poverty line. Unemployment is about 4% but it is estimated that nearly 25% of those working are classified as underemployed.

    Even when jobs are created, in many instances they are not sufficient to meet the growing demand of the Mexican people. Their pay may be so low that they cannot afford to cover even the most basic necessities. Thus, many Mexicans from both small and big cities find the neighboring United States to be extremely attractive.”

    Extremely attractive, to say the least. The journey north is not a pleasure cruise, its a life or death decision. Any “law” that cannot or will not take that into account is not a just law at all.

    No matter what difficulties we here face, our duty as Christians is clear – to welcome the stranger and especially the hungry stranger. Our society does not have to collapse because we do this. At most it might mean that we don’t get to live like a nation of aristocrats while the rest of the world trudges onward. On this point, John Paul II was quite clear:

    ” This is the culture which is hoped for, one which fosters trust in the human potential of the poor, and consequently in their ability to improve their condition through work or to make a positive contribution to economic prosperity. But to accomplish this, the poor — be they individuals or nations — need to be provided with realistic opportunities. Creating such conditions calls for a concerted worldwide effort to promote development, an effort which also involves sacrificing the positions of income and of power enjoyed by the more developed economies.

    This may mean making important changes in established life-styles, in order to limit the waste of environmental and human resources, thus enabling every individual and all the peoples of the earth to have a sufficient share of those resources. In addition, the new material and spiritual resources must be utilized which are the result of the work and culture of peoples who today are on the margins of the international community, so as to obtain an overall human enrichment of the family of nations.”

    I guarantee you that it wasn’t the lifestyles of the people in Mexico he had in mind.

  • Joe,

    do you honestly believe that if we opened the borders up and just allow in everybody who wants to everything would be hunky-dory? There is something different about the US that allows it to be successful. It is not it’s geographic location, or some magic air that makes anybody that comes here productive.

    If every Mexican moved to the US next week it would be utter chaos, the problems would be innumerable. Ultimately the US would no longer be the US, it would be North-Mexico, with ALL of the problems that Mexico has. The only way for us to help those poor Mexicans is to let them come here at a rate which allows them to assimilate into the society so that they can be productive, the rate is not infinite, it’s limited.

    Furthermore, why do we give huge preference to the Mexicans because they can walk here? What about Africans? Eastern Europeans? I guess not only do we open up the borders we’ll have to send planes and ships to the 4 corners to bring ALL of the poor oppressed people here…

    We do much more good by exporting good than importing people.

  • do you honestly believe that if we opened the borders up and just allow in everybody who wants to everything would be hunky-dory?

    So those are the only options? Keep immigration at its current level or have open borders? What about allowing more immigration than we have currently, but keeping some restrictions?

  • Yes the common good includes everyone. Everyone in the world. Including the people in a given country. And Catholic social teaching shows that there are rights. And it also teaches that there are responsibilities. America is called to respect the rights of immigrants. Immigrants are also called to be responsibele in that they obey the laws of their new country and seek to integrate themselves in the culture of the new country.

    America also has rights. One is to ensure that immigration does not cause compromise to its common good. One thing I fear is that if 16% of the country are foreign born, that 1 million new immigrants are coming into the country legally every year and that 500k to 1 million illegal immigrants may come into the country every year, that the common good may be compromised. Thus an argument, in very basic form at this time and from Catholic Social Teaching, that we are at reasonable immigration rates at this time.

  • “do you honestly believe that if we opened the borders up and just allow in everybody who wants to everything would be hunky-dory?”

    That alone, no. That, combined with restructuring our lifestyles as Pope John Paul II suggested – making better use of fewer resources, instead of living like pagans and rushing to the vomitorium sick from our excess consumption – I do think would make things better, if not “hunky-dory”.

    We see immigration as a threat to a way of life that has no justification, that is based on the labor of slaves and near-slaves in other countries and the threat of military, political or economic reprisal against countries that fail to play along by our rules, to our advantage.

    If all business in America, and between American and other countries were conducted on perfectly ethical grounds, then we wouldn’t have as much wealth, fewer people would want to come here, and we would all still be living relatively comfortable lives. As it is, when your country sucks up the worlds wealth as if it were sucking up dirt with a vacuum cleaner, that is where the people will go to.

    If they don’t have a right to come here, why do we have a right to live the way we do, with practically the whole world producing for our benefit?

  • Joe,

    I think it’s unhelpful to phrase arguments conditioned on assuming away central aspects of the human condition. Sure, if people were no longer selfish, stupid and inclined towards evil, everything would be great; communism would work, socialism would work, capitalism would work, any system would work. The question here, as always, is how to do the best we can given the realities of the human condition.

    Arguments for policies that begin with “if all business…were conducted on perfectly ethical grounds,” or the idea that Americans en masse will recognize some ideal of non-selfishness, assume away the most difficult and intractable part of the problem: people.

  • Joe,

    “do you honestly believe that if we opened the borders up and just allow in everybody who wants to everything would be hunky-dory?”

    That alone, no. That, combined with restructuring our lifestyles as Pope John Paul II suggested – making better use of fewer resources, instead of living like pagans and rushing to the vomitorium sick from our excess consumption – I do think would make things better, if not “hunky-dory”.

    If that were true then the chaos would be here and we’d be fleeing to Mexico. I’m sorry, your proposal is Utopian. You’re talking about 300 Million people suddenly becoming authentically Catholic and embracing your own interpretation of the social teachings, then all the 200 Million immigrants doing the same thing in perfect harmony.

  • I don’t actually think that if people were no longer selfish communism and socialism would work (nor do I think that the reason the U.S. is wealthy is because it “sucks up the worlds wealth as if it were sucking up dirt with a vacuum cleaner”). But these are arguments perhaps best left for another day.

  • I’d agree it’s best for another day, if at all. That type of discussion could only be based on competing ideologies, no? You would say even sinless people wouldn’t have sufficient information to make decisions which would result in a just society; I would say, yes, sinless people would be able to exchange and rely on information in a way that could result in a just society. And there we’d stay, I think…but if you think there’s more to discuss there maybe it would be interesting at some point.

  • I agree with you BA. Finally.

  • Matt,

    Perhaps there is some confusion here.

    No one is suggesting that the entire population of Mexico could or should be transplanted to the US. If that’s what you make of my arguments or anyone else’s, that’s just crazy and wrong.

    John Henry,

    “I think it’s unhelpful to phrase arguments conditioned on assuming away central aspects of the human condition. ”

    Then why have ethics and morals at all? Why not just adapt a purely pragmatic philosophy? The Church doesn’t do this.

    In any case, I don’t really “assume them away”; the real point here is to highlight that the unethical foundations, not to mention goals, of our economy hardly give us a right to then turn around and condemn people as criminals who are simply trying to survive.

    IF we were doing all of the right things, THEN would we have serious grounds to be upset with what others are doing. But as it is, we believe we have a divine right to a lifestyle far above subsistence level while, right next door, people can barely earn enough to survive. Nothing in the Catholic social teaching even remotely suggests that we have this right while our neighbor goes hungry.

    An unethical world, a fallen nature – maybe so. But we are Christians! If we don’t strive to become better, even as Christ commanded, “perfect” then we are wasting our time. We may as well become atheists. Invoking our fallen nature is never a way to escape the demands of justice and charity made upon us. What the Church teaches about society is valid for all people, and she teaches with authority on these matters.

  • Joe,

    Well, we’re going to transition into Triduum blogging soon, I think we’re talking past each other, and this is a large subject, so I’ll just offer a few brief comments that we could develop further in the future:

    1) Observing that people are sinful presupposes rather than ignores ethics;

    2) This observation has important policy implications; it is imprudent to develop policies based on the premise that people aren’t sinful;

    3) This is not in any way the same as saying our fallen nature allows us to escape the demands of justice;

    4) I am unclear on what specific policy you are claiming the Church has taught with authority. Certainly I think trying to explore legal options to improve the lives of illegal immigrants is the best application of CST here, but you seem to be pushing for a lot more than that. But there will probably be plenty of opportunities to go over those other policies in future posts.

  • “2) This observation has important policy implications; it is imprudent to develop policies based on the premise that people aren’t sinful;”

    I wasn’t saying we should; what I am saying is that we are sinful in ways that ought to make us think twice before shutting the doors to undocumented workers. I believe that immigration wouldn’t be perceived as the problem that it is if we were willing to make the sort of adjustments, as individuals and a nation, that JP II mentioned, and that really the whole Christian tradition implores us to.

    As it is, I think we see immigrants as threat to a lifestyle that has no inherent right to exist. That’s all for now, I’m sure, like you say, we can discuss it more in the future.

Biden Was Right-Take II

Tuesday, April 7, AD 2009

biden

Well, somewhat to my chagrin I have to use the phrase “Biden was right” again.   With North Korea launching a missle that traveled 1900 miles before it crashed into the Pacific, Biden’s prediction of an international crisis early in the Obama administration is coming true again, and this time I doubt if doing nothing will probably work either short term or long term.

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One Response to Biden Was Right-Take II

  • The situation will escalate in the coming months and years, to be sure. The potential for World War III is drastically increasing, what with Russia, Iran, N. Korea supporting each other and thumbing their collective noses at any other governments or governing bodies. Throw the Israeli/Palestinian conflict into the mix (with Iran and maybe Russia as possible allies of Palestine) and the situation is becoming volatile.

    The UN and the US continue to do nothing, of course. Remember the last time we tried appeasement? That went well.

    As far as Japan going nuclear, I’m doubtful. I’m living in J-land at the moment, and anti-nuclear sentiment is pretty strong among the general populace, from what I’ve seen anyway. There are some who think Japan should have its own military, but even that is pretty controversial…

Obama's "Ban on Cloning"

Tuesday, March 24, AD 2009

As arguments raged over Obama’s executive order to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research a few weeks ago, the administration’s pro-life defenders emphasized that this was only a small incremental step beyond the Bush administration policy and that the Obama administration would be very careful in examining the ethical issues and most especially would not allow the production of cloned embryos.

The problem is that, as shown by an extended debate between Doug Kmiec and Robert P. George on the US News “God & Country” blog, current policy far from banning cloning, will encourage it. (HT: Mary Meets Dolly, one of the best resources for serious Catholics on genetics related ethical and scientific issues.)

Obama’s statement was:

And we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society.

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5 Responses to Obama's "Ban on Cloning"

  • Here is the thing; even without ESCR you will have issues of cloning involved with non-ESCR. I think most people neglect that. Indeed, I still find normal stem cell (non-embryonic) to be morally questionable, and we are going too far too quick without reasoning it out.

    Moreover, since both Obama and McCain supported ESCR, it is clear this is a cultural issue, and not just partisan. I think we need to fix the culture, and maybe the candidates will change because of it, don’t you?

  • Here is the thing; even without ESCR you will have issues of cloning involved with non-ESCR. I think most people neglect that. Indeed, I still find normal stem cell (non-embryonic) to be morally questionable, and we are going too far too quick without reasoning it out.

    Actually, to my knowledge, non-embryonic stem cell research does not involve cloning. Cloning is specifically the creation of a new embryo (a new human being) with DNA matching that of another human being by transfering the DNA of the “parent” human being into a fertilized egg cell. The non-embryonic stem cell methodologies out there involve taking stem cells extracting from a living person and culturing those stem cells so that they grow on their own. No egg is used, and no embryo is created.

    Moreover, since both Obama and McCain supported ESCR, it is clear this is a cultural issue, and not just partisan. I think we need to fix the culture, and maybe the candidates will change because of it, don’t you?

    They did both support ESCR to an extent, and that was a very grave problem with both candidates. However, to my knowledge, McCain did not support embryo creation via cloning/SCNT, while Obama supports it. Since the use of cloning allows the creation of large numbers of human embryos with the express purpose of destroying them through use, I think it’s fair to consider Obama’s position on this worse even though McCain’s was bad.

    I do strongly agree that we need to change the culture on this issue, which is why I think it’s important that knowledgeable voices make it clear that SCNT/”theraputic cloning” is in fact cloning, and that we should at a purely humanistic level find the production of human beings for research and “spare parts” to be an offense against human dignity. That is why this should be an important teaching moment, and why I think Robert P. George’s contribution in the linked exchange on a major secular news site was of great help, while Kmiec’s dissembling was clearly not.

  • Obama on Embryonic Stem Cell Research & Cloning (from Mirror of Justice):

    1. Was an original sponsor of the bill to overturn President Bush’s funding policy (http://obama.senate.gov/press/070411-obama_renews_su/).

    2. Was a co-sponsor of the misleadingly named “Human Cloning Ban Act of 2005,” which, if passed, would have protected cloning-for-biomedical research, and would have required the destruction of all human embryos created by cloning, on pain of federal criminal law (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:S.1520:).

    3. As a member of the Illinois General Assemby, he voted against a ban on all forms of human cloning (http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/votehistory/srollcalls92/920SB0493_03292001_041000T.PDF ).

    4. Most shocking, he voted against a bill in the United States Senate that would have authorized increased funding for recently developed forms of stem cell research that do not require the use and destruction of human embryos, despite the fact that such research has captured the imagination of the scientific community both for its efficacy and moral neutrality, and despite the fact that the bill in no way precluded funding for embryo destructive research (http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=110&session=1&vote=00128 ).

  • The 2005 movie, The Island is about this very thing, creating human clones for spare parts. Scary stuff, but a great movie.

  • Henry K.,

    normal stem cell (non-embryonic) to be morally questionable

    how so? The Church seems to be supportive of this adult stem cell therapies.

To Further Divide Us

Monday, March 9, AD 2009

President Obama has signed an executive order lifting restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, as he promised in his campaign speeches.  For anyone who doesn’t see this as yet one more blow in a long string of anti-life policies, consider the chilling words at the end of the article that people are using to justify the research:

“This was already life that was going to be destroyed… The choice is throw them away or use them for research.”

I wonder how long it would take before we use such arguments on, say, criminals sentenced to life in prison (or who are on death row, even). Or the elderly. Or the sick. Or the mentally deficient. Or…

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27 Responses to To Further Divide Us

  • What you’ll get is everything that FOCA contained but chopped up and passed separately. That way those who voted for him can still claim FOCA didn’t happen.

  • The legacy of Bush, who opened the doors to ESCR…

  • Mark D.,

    No that’s the line over at Vox Nova. Here is my comment from there:

    Henry,
    I believe the funding under President Bush was for stem cell lines already established. The rationale for this is that such line continue to divide and grow and new embryos are not destroyed in their production. From your link:
    “Because stem cell lines divide continuously in culture, these lines can be used by hundreds of individual researchers.? One line alone has already resulted in 136 shipments to researchers.”
    That is significantly different than what Obama has done today.

  • It’s painful to see him undoing everything that was done by the previous administration. I am not keen on this stem cell research….

    http://kellenebishop.wordpress.com

  • Well, Bush is not the president. Barack Obama is and contrary to much of what he said on the campaign trail, he is not really playing any sort of “new” politics.

  • Mark D.,

    Mark DeFrancisis Says:
    Monday, March 9, 2009 A.D. at 3:19 pm

    The legacy of Bush, who opened the doors to ESCR…

    Back at it again? A little more of your partisan and empty rhetoric?

    The NIH could have funded ESCR until he banned it for any new lines, thus, perhaps funding immoral research on already dead embryos, he banned any funding which new research, thus discouraging the destruction of new embryos even more than if he had banned any funding at all.

    Bush did not open any doors, even if he failed to close all of the doors that we might have wanted.

  • My statement stands. Bush’s legacy is ESCR funding.

  • Mark,

    explain your logic?

    oops… I forgot, partisanship and empty rhetoric needs no logic.

  • Bush was the one who closed the door on ESCR funding. Without him and his vetoes we would have had full blown funding long ago. Blaming him for this is Orwellian.

  • Orwellian. Vox Nova. What’s the difference?

  • Okay, trying to score rhetorical points. But it was fun.

    Anyway. Morally I believe the Vatican has pronounced that using STEM CELL LINES is not per se immoral as it does not involve the ONGOING destruction of embryos. From the National Catholic Bioethics Center:

    “What support is there in Church teaching for this position?

    A statement from the Pontifical Academy for Life issued in 2005 holds that one may use these products, despite their distant association with abortion, at least until such time as new vaccines become available”

    Here’s the link to the Vatican document:

    http://www.ncbcenter.org/vaticanresponse.pdf

  • Phillip,

    That is incorrect, the use of vaccine carries a different level of cooperation with evil than the development of same:

    As regards the preparation, distribution and marketing of vaccines produced as a result of the use of biological material whose origin is connected with cells coming from foetuses voluntarily aborted, such a process is stated, as a matter of principle, morally illicit, because it could contribute in encouraging the performance of other voluntary abortions, with the purpose of the production of such vaccines. Nevertheless, it should be recognized that, within the chain of production-distribution-marketing, the various cooperating agents can have different moral responsibilities

    This would be doubly illicit because the embryos are not voluntarily aborted, but typically created for the purpose of destruction. If this research were restricted to “discarded” embryos (which it is not) then it would still be illicit as noted above.

  • The question of Bush’s funding of ESCR I suppose depends on where you’re looking. I don’t like the fact that he permitted any research at all, for the scandal it causes, but at the same time he did put some limitations on the research. I suppose this goes back to the problem of whether or not the perfect is the enemy of the good. In order to claim that ESCR is Bush’s legacy, one must show that his policies increased in the amount of ESCR, which I don’t believe it did (though I’m open to references to the contrary).

    Nevertheless, regardless of scandal, one’s actions are still one’s own. It was Obama who made an executive order lifting restrictions on ESCR, another in a list of nearly daily events that cater to the culture of death and snubs the pro-life crowd.

  • Ryan,

    by way of clarification, Bush did not ban any sort of research, he only banned Federal funding of such.

  • Pingback: Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-10-2009 « The American Catholic
  • Matt,

    Thanks. I need to work on being more precise in my posts and comments. The gist of my argument still stands, though, in terms of the effect. Private funding tends to be slightly more discriminating than federal funding, with the effect of the latter providing opportunities for ventures that would not receive private funding. ESCR is one of those areas, especially as it has led to little success and many gruesome results. Cutting the public funding was effectively a ban, but not technically one.

  • Matt,

    I think what Bush allowed funding of was research on already established cell lines and not on continued production of embryos for subsequent destruction to produce new cell lines. Therefore the analogy with vaccines derived from cell lines. I would agree with the potential for scandal even with this policy as Ryan notes. As I asked on Vox Nova, does anyone have a link to what the Vatican said about Bush’s 2001 policy?

  • Phillip,

    I see the connection you’re making, but I think it needs to be recognized that the Vatican response makes a distinction between consuming of the vaccines and producing them, the latter being immoral which would apply to experimenting on the pre-existing lines.

    I don’t believe the Vatican made comment on the Bush 2001 policy, but I think the Church’s position would be that all ESCR should be banned (not just the funding of them).

  • Ryan,

    especially as it has led to little success and many gruesome results. Cutting the public funding was effectively a ban, but not technically one.

    precisely why we need to vastly shrink the size of the federal government… it has had the double effect of crowding out private investment, and wasting taxpayer dollars on boondoggles that no private person would consider investing.

    That the ban was effective, and not technical is not really an issue.

  • Matt,

    I think I cover your point under the sin of scandal. Scandal being defined ccording to St. Thomas (II-II, Q. liii, a. 1) as:

    “a word or action evil in itself, which occasions another’s spiritual ruin. It is a word or action, that is either an external act—for an internal act can have no influence on the conduct of another—or the omission of an external act, because to omit what one should do is equivalent to doing what is forbidden; it must be evil in itself, or in appearance; this is the interpretation of the words of St. Thomas: minus rectum.”

    The Vatican document seems to see this as the sin involved in the production of cell lines in vaccine production. I continue to wonder what the Vatican take on the Bush policy was.

  • Phillip,

    I wasn’t talking about scandal, I was talking about the moral licitness of ESCR even with existing stem cell lines, it’s pretty clear to me, from the Vatican letter that it is immoral, period.

    That said, Bush’s action was not to allow such, but to ban the most offensive forms (which involve the destruction of human life presently, as opposed to in the past). Such an action is morally good. Whether one is culpable for not taking more action, such as an outright ban, or eliminating all funding is a more involved question, especially since Bush is not Catholic.

    Either way, none of this a defense of Obama’s formally evil action.

  • Actually though, that’s the specific sin that the Vatican is addressing in the question of immunizations. Scandal is a specific sin.

  • It seems Obama may have also cut funding for adult stem cell research:

    http://www.lifenews.com/bio2786.html

  • If the debate about ESCR was really about curing diseases like Parkinson’s and diabetes and the like, then the tremendous and overwhelming success that adult stem cells, especially skin cells have had in pursuing goals like these would be widely celebrated. Federal research money for the use of adult stem cells would be poured into research facilities with the kind of reckless abandon.

    Instead, Obama rescinded an executive order President Bush put into place funding adult stem cells and new research with iPS cells. The order was intended to ultimately fund research into alternatives” to destructive embryonic stem cell research such as altered nuclear transfer (ANT), “regression” (reverting differentiated cells into stem cells), and other methods. Bush could be said to have been ahead of his time since regression, also known as direct reprogramming, has taken off and the new induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are the talk of the scientific world. Last November saw that huge advance in stem cell research when scientists announced they had found a way to produce the biological equivalent of embryonic stem cells without creating, using, or destroying any human embryos.

    So given we are able to completely sidestep all of the moral and ethical concerns about destroying human embryos and still have all that “scientific promise” of breakthrough cures, why do people chose to keep on destroying embryos?

  • At least Obama admits it’s life (and surely he knows it is human)…I don’t know if he has admitted this before…when asked by a reporter when life begins, he said he didn’t know…so I guess he knows now.

Data Ownership

Friday, February 13, AD 2009

As an analyst, one of the things that fascinates me about the latest Obama cabinet snafu is that it centers around data ownership.  GOP Senator Judd Gregg had been nominated to head the Commerce Department, but withdrew his nomination yesterday over “irresolvable conflicts“, large among which was disagreement over management of the US Census.  Although the Census has traditionally been run by the Commerce Department, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had indicated after Gregg’s nomination that the Census Bureau would be moved to report directly to senior White House officials.

Effectively, this would have created for Emanuel the largest political polling organization in the world — funded at government expense. Having influence into census methodologies, questions asked, and the priorities of census data analysts would not only give political operatives in the White House an incredible data edge of their opponents, it would also give them an inside edge on redrawing congressional districts as the result of the 2010 census.

For those with a great deal of faith in the chances of putting together a truly “bipartisan” cabinet, Gregg’s withdrawal is a setback. However, the fact that other members of the administration were seeking to take from Gregg’s control any politically potent processes, the commitment to real bipartisanship seems to have been shallow anyway. And one hopes that with a new nominee the Census Bureau will stay in the Commerce Department and remain less politicized than it would have if reporting to Rahm Emanuel.

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18 Responses to Data Ownership

  • I am not sure how much of an issue this was. Gregg would have been reporting to Rahm Emmanuel and Obama either way on the census, and he knew that when he accepted the position. Ambinder claims it’s not a real issue, but it’s hard to know who to believe here.

  • JH makes good point to note the difficulty of believing anybody in this mess. But the very notion that the President wanted bipartisan representation in his cabinet was dashed this week by the Porkapalooza Bill. Wherein Senate and Congressional Republicans were handed sneak previews of the bill and told sign off on this now. The House GOP handed it back unsigned en masse. The only Pub Senators who went with the program were the Three RINOs- Specter, Collins, Snowe. It is pleasing to see that the George W. Bush style of collegiality- perhaps his fatal flaw as President- is as irrelevant as refrains about Hope and Change. Sen. Gregg concluded he was not up to those standards. Or down to them. Thank you Senator for your attack of sanity.

  • Maybe I’m projecting some corporate power struggles I’m dealing with myself this week onto another situation, but the desire to have census report directly to the White House rather than through Commerce struck me as a very clear “you’re a figurhead and you won’t be allowed to act independantly” message. But as I may, perhaps I’m just projecting.

  • Agreed Darwin (not with the bit about projection). It struck me as a kind of slap in the face, and it certainly was reported that way or worse in the conservative blogosphere. The problem, of course, is that in the blogosphere information tends to lag opinion formation. When well-connected and generally fair people like Ambinder say it’s a non-issue, it’s hard to know what to think.

  • JH,

    if that were the case then they wouldn’t have made the change to the census bureau. Obviously, they could have manipulated the census under Gregg, but they could not have done so without it coming out in public, he would have been able to blow the whistle if they tried.

  • Sen. Gregg withdrew because (1) Obama’s chutzpah crossed the line and (2) Obama CANNOT put away his “birth certificate” issue.

    1. Here’s the chutzpah: The Republicans didn’t get their act together enough to challenge Obama for not being constitutionally qualified to be President as an Article 2 “natural born citizen” so Obama’s White House steals the census from the Commerce Department against the specific instructions of the constitution itself — “actual enumeration” under Article 1.

    2. Here’s the “birth certificate” issue: Since Obama’s earnest drive to convince the nation to weaken its economic strength through redistribution as well as weaken its national defense, COUPLED WITH HIS UNPRECEDENTED WHITE HOUSE TAKEOVER OF DECENNIAL CENSUS TAKING FROM THE COMMERCE DEPARTMENT, has confirmed the very threats to our Republic’s survival that the Constitution was designed to avert, it no longer is sustainable for the United States Supreme Court to refrain from exercising WHAT IS ITS ABSOLUTE CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY TO DEFEND THE NATION FROM UNLAWFUL USURPATION. The questions of Obama’s Kenyan birth and his father’s Kenyan/British citizenship (admitted on his own website) have been conflated by his sustained unwillingnes to supply his long form birth certificate now under seal, and compounded by his internet posting of a discredited ‘after-the-fact’ short form ‘certificate’. In the absence of these issues being acknowledged and addressed, IT IS MANIFEST THAT OBAMA REMAINS INELIGIBLE TO BE PRESIDENT UNDER ARTICLE 2 OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION. Being a 14th Amendment ‘citizen’ is not sufficient. A ‘President’ MUST BE an Article 2 ‘natural born citizen’ AS DEFINED BY THE FRAMERS’ INTENT.

  • Ted,

    Let’s avoid the conspiracy theorizing.

    Discussion of usurpationg of the country in ALL CAPS on the internet always makes me feel like a black helicopter is going to land.

  • The birth certificate issue is a complete non-starter. Even if Obama had been born in Kenya, he would still be an American citizen because of his mother, just as John McCain is an American citizen even though he was born in the Panama Canal zone. This issue is fun to debate on the internet, but as a matter of law it is quite clear that Obama is an American citizen no matter where he was born.

  • AS DEFINED BY THE FRAMERS’ INTENT

    Article II states:
    No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

    The framer’s intent? “Naturalization Act of 1790” signed by George Washington himself:
    And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens.

    In any event, I concur with DC.

  • Of course none of this would be an issue had Sen. Gregg not first accepted before withdrawing. Further evidence that our Party is a mess and we should all probably realize the Obama always seems to be right on every issue.

    [Ed.- I just caught this. Obama-Can is spoofing DarwinCatholic, I changed the name from DarwinCatholic to Obama-Can. If this happens a third time Obama-Can will be put on moderation and possibly banned]

  • I have to agree with Darwin—Sen Gregg made a mess of this whole situation. Go Obama!

    [Ed.- I just caught this. Obama-Can is spoofing Matt McDonald, I changed the name from Matt McDonald to Obama-Can. If this happens a third time Obama-Can will be put on moderation and possibly banned]

  • [Ed.- I just caught this. Obama-Can is spoofing Matt McDonald, I changed the name from Matt McDonald to Obama-Can. If this happens a third time Obama-Can will be put on moderation and possibly banned]

    An Obama supporter behaving so badly? Hard to believe… maybe they can get him confirmed for a cabinet level position…

  • Obama-Can, using foolish “false flag” tactics is hardly the way to engender support for Obama.

  • You would think the troll would notice that there’s a unique identifying avatar next to each person’s name. But, then again, assuming intelligence amongst trolls is folly.

  • Mr. Zummo-
    I think I’d be able to spoof the icons, actually…. My guess is that our host checked the IP address. ^.^

    Side note about the Obama birth thing: most of the reasonable folks I know point out that at the time, a parent had to have lived in the country for, I think, 4 years after age 18, which his mother hadn’t been alive long enough to do. Also, that he might get citizenship from his birth father, and may have claimed it at some point, all of which would make a huge mess in the courts that still should be straightened out.

    Myself, I want to know what embarrassing thing is on the certificate– only reason I can think not to offer a basic, certified original copy.

  • Foxfier,

    Side note about the Obama birth thing: most of the reasonable folks I know point out that at the time, a parent had to have lived in the country for, I think, 4 years after age 18, which his mother hadn’t been alive long enough to do.

    Yes, but the congress changed this law and made the change retroactive to cover that theoretical situation. There are only two types of citizenship one is by birth – natural born, the other is naturalized, he was by virtue of his birth a citizen, not by naturalization.

    Also, that he might get citizenship from his birth father, and may have claimed it at some point, all of which would make a huge mess in the courts that still should be straightened out.

    Not at all, even if he did have dual citizenship it is not a abandonment of his US citizenship.

    Myself, I want to know what embarrassing thing is on the certificate– only reason I can think not to offer a basic, certified original copy.

    I agree.

  • Mr. McDonald-
    Claiming the citizenship of another country usually does involve abandoning US citizenship, though– since most countries aren’t as casual about the whole dual-citizenship thing, and there’s some stuff about Obama having traveled on non-US passports.
    I think I’m dragging this off topic, though. ^.^

    I can’t help but look at McCain, who responded to the challenge to his citizenship pretty dang quickly, and compare it to the piss-poor response from Obama’s team.

    Take a step back, though, and it’s very good kabuki– Obama’s team gets to show how horribly prosecuted they are by those nutters and any valid objections can be shouted down.
    “See, we offered a certificate of birth!” “See, we offered him a position!”
    ignoring
    “But that version just says you were born to or adopted by a resident of the state!” “But you first stripped the position of power!”

    I have to fall back on my wish that a young Mr. Obama had gone to Hollywood instead of Chicago. -.-

Questions about President Obama's executive orders on the incarceration and interrogation of detainees

Sunday, January 25, AD 2009

The big news of this week: Obama’s first executive orders were not the reversal of the Mexico City Policy (as every major media source and not a few bloggers had predicted, and for which Obama waited until Friday) but the reversal of notable Bush administration’s policies on the incarceration and interrogation of detainees:

President Obama signed executive orders Thursday directing the Central Intelligence Agency to shut what remains of its network of secret prisons and ordering the closing of the Guantánamo detention camp within a year, government officials said.The orders, which are the first steps in undoing detention policies of former President George W. Bush, rewrite American rules for the detention of terrorism suspects. They require an immediate review of the 245 detainees still held at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to determine if they should be transferred, released or prosecuted.

And the orders bring to an end a Central Intelligence Agency program that kept terrorism suspects in secret custody for months or years, a practice that has brought fierce criticism from foreign governments and human rights activists. They will also prohibit the C.I.A. from using coercive interrogation methods, requiring the agency to follow the same rules used by the military in interrogating terrorism suspects, government officials said.

However, while some cheerleaders for Obama are already hailing an end to the gestapo-inspired “enhanced interrogration techniques”, a review of critical responses — from the political “right” AND “left” — suggests that the President’s gesture is more symbolic and an exercise in moral posturing. It appears that serious questions remain about what is actually accomplished by President Obama’s recent executive orders.

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5 Responses to Questions about President Obama's executive orders on the incarceration and interrogation of detainees

  • Thanks for the post and for gathering the relevant links. Obama is a very shrewd politician; his strategy of making marginal changes with maximum fanfare is perfect press management in the post-election afterglow. Time will tell how effective this is long-term. For all of his talk about our nation’s collective emergence into adulthood under his administration, he has yet to make any difficult decisions.

    But symbolism is important, and even the relatively minor symbolism of an announcement that Guantanamo will be closed…at some point….in the future…is a step forward.

  • I agree with John Henry that the symbolism here is important, and I’m thankful for it. Symbols can actually accomplish a great deal. Of course, I’ll be miffed if President Obama stops at the level of the symbolic.

  • Kyle/John Henry,

    but he has expressly stopped at the level of symbolic. He still allows “enhanced interrogation” of unlawful combatants, and reserves also the right to go beyond even the US Army field manual in extraordinary circumstances, he has not suspended the extraordinary renditions, or the predator missile launches into Pakistani villages. There are no changes to the warrantless wiretapping of international calls to suspected terrorists either.

    The only thing that changes is that the rhetoric is suggesting a change, this is dishonest whether you agree with these policies, or not.

    Matt
    ps. Obama may move the site of the these detainees in a year or so, but so what? He can not, and will not make them generally entitled to the rights of US citizens/residents.

  • I suspect the opinions coming from The Obama Administration’s Office of Legal Counsel will differ from those crafted under the Bush Administration. We’ll see.

  • If I recall, the 2006 Field Manual allows one technique, Fear Up/Fear down, that some may consider torture.

Obama's New Politics and Abortion

Friday, January 23, AD 2009

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling by the Supreme Court, and also the day of the annual March For Life. It was also the anniversary of the day on which President Clinton had reversed Reagan’s Mexico City Policy, which denies US funds slated for international family planning services to any organization which provides or refers people to abortions. And the anniversary of the day on which President Bush reinstated the policy.

Given that President Obama had promised to move quickly to rescind the policy again as Clinton had, news organizations ranging from Lifesite News to NPR reported that he would probably follow his predescessor’s lead by issuing an executive order on abortion on January 22nd as well. It was thus mildly surprising when the Christian Broadcasting Network broke the story that Obama would not rescind the policy on the day of the March for Life. A few Catholic progressives got carried away and scolded their anti-Obama bretheren for jumping the gun, and it was more widely suggested this was a sign of the sort of approach Obama would take to moral issues more widely: treading slowly and granting respect to his opponents views.

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11 Responses to Obama's New Politics and Abortion

  • Another interesting note is that Obama was invited to speak or send a message to the march but declined to do so (in his defense, Republican presidents have always sent messages, but never appeared). It seems like he isn’t interested in talking to let alone listening to the voices he claims to respect, 200,000 of them…

    Matt

  • Informative essay by Dick Morris in The Hill- quoted extensively by Prof. Dr. Limbaugh on Thursday broadcast. Speculating on likely modus operendi of Obama Administration in association with Dem allies on Capitol Hill. Burying messy controversial stuff- Fairness Doctrine, etc.- on page 474 of Bank Bailout Aid To Kumquat Growers And Other Stuff Bill. Maybe how FOCA will be sent forth, buried under language even the most dedicated legislator will not read in advance. Or as Roberta Flack sang in 70s- killing me softly with his song. Beware soft singers with big authority.

  • but I suspect this is pretty much the compromise that we will get from President Obama on the abortion issue throughout his presidency: He will consent to avoid humiliating us in the most obvious ways, but will not actually change his agenda in the process.

    Exactly. We’ll get token nods that he “respects” our views, will not go out of his way to poke his finger in our eyes, and then he will go ahead with policies that our anathema to us.

    In this way, Obama may prove to be the polar opposite of GWB. Whereas Bush’s rhetoric left pro-lifers looking for more, the actual policies related to abortion were what we wanted.

    I really hope no one is naive enough to be taken in by Obama waiting an extra day to implement pernicious policies.

  • I’m pleased that President Obama recognizes that we can defend ourselves and respect the dignity of those who mean us harm, but I wish and hope that one day he recognizes that we can defend women’s rights and respect the dignity of those not yet born.

  • Kyle,

    You should write a letter to the President making that very point. Excellent observation.

  • For a while, I was skeptical, but somewhat optimistic that I had judged Obama too harshly and maybe he was capable of being bipartisan and pragmatic. Then again, I realized why I have a tendency to be skeptical. This is horrid; expected, but still very very terrible. This is not “common ground.”

    And yes, Kyle — I’m a paying member of FFL (Feminists for Life of America) and that’s one of the mottos: to be pro-woman is to be pro-life.

  • I’m not sure why it seems to be expected that pro-lifers should be grateful to have their noses rubbed in the President’s hard-core pro-abortion policies on the day after the Roe v. Wade anniversary instead of on it. The implication is that abortion is really no big deal and not “humiliating” pro-lifers (as if not being humiliated were what the movement was about) is a more-than-acceptable “compromise”–so now won’t you irritating Bible thumpers please acknowledge our new President’s magnanimity, then go away quietly?

    Not too long ago I came across an article by Jill Stanek in which she described some of her exchanges with the President regarding the Illinois BAIPA. As she told it, after her testimony about infants being left to die after late abortions, Christ Hospital sought to avoid embarrassment by outfitting a “comfort room” where that parents of those infants could, if desired, sit comfortably and hold their aborted babies until death. When she mentioned the room disparagingly during subsequent testimony, she was scolded by Obama for not really caring about the comfort of these dying children.

    I don’t know what the facts of that story are, but judging from the evident attitude that “We will do what we will, and you must thank us for any scrap we may toss your way, however cosmetic” I have to conclude that it at least has the ring of plausibility.

    Killing third-world babies and imposing forced abortion on powerless women is no big deal, and we accomplished it while being nice to the pro-lifers, too. What a prince of a guy.

    –Yet another FFLer

  • Further proof that there is a God and that clear minds prevail. How scary it must be to the religious radicals on the right that Obama actually puts serious thought into how a policy actually impacts women’s health and their right to make their own reproductive decisions.
    Strengthening pro-choice positions—check
    Next up; stem cell research and true separation of you [censured] from government!

    [Ed. Keep the comments civil, keep the name-calling to zero. This isn’t the Daily Kos]

  • Obama-Can,

    As a male why is it that I have no rights whatsoever as a father to my unborn child that I co-created with my wife? What if men took a similar attitude to challenge child support? What right does anyone decide how my money is spent that i work for. Is my paycheck protected by the right of privacy? OK, I see now. First I loose any chance to protect my unborn child and now I can expect a true seperation from me and government. I should just keep paying my taxes and shut up. Now this is change and the dawn of a new kind of politics.

  • Hello, I want to apologize for not recognizing the Moloch post was satire. There are some pro-aborts that admit abortion is a religion to them, but now I see that you and I are on the side of life. Please accept my apology.

Obama to Coal States: Drop Dead!

Sunday, November 2, AD 2008

Obama doesn’t believe we should use coal to generate power.

“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

I guess under an Obama administration coal miners, bitterly clinging to their God and their guns, can go on welfare.

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14 Responses to Obama to Coal States: Drop Dead!

  • Many of us from coal states agree that our coal addiction needs to die. In fact, many pro-coal (in the sense that it brings jobs) folks in WV have been resentful of the U.S.’s coal addiction for decades. Here again, folks like you, Donald, think you’re speaking for everyday people, but you contribute nothing when it comes to justice for the people who provide you with energy. Your backwards, dying politics is literally killing people in Appalachia. Green Appalachian energy jobs now!

  • It’s amazing the arrogance of Senator Obama to think he will openly admit this thinking his position is secure in the polls.

    He probably realizes he isn’t going to win West Virginia, but Pennsylvania is far from a lock. If McCain wins PA, this comment could be the decisive turning point of the election.

  • Senator Clinton destroyed (understatement) Senator Obama in West Virginia. And the polls showed Senator Obama leading.

    Senator McCain is leading in West Virginia, I predict 75% vote for McCain in WV. Unless a couple of million dead West Virginians come out in vote, it aint gonna happen.

  • Michael, I spent a few years in the Ohio Valley, and I didn’t see much effort to move beyond the steel industry… kind of sad, actually. For a variety of reasons, it doesn’t seem that the area wants to face reality and move ahead.

  • I’d rather incentivize industries that we want to grow and promote than “disentivize” ones that we want to leave behind… in some ways, this seems typical of the difference between liberals and conservatives… my intuition is that the latter are quicker to “disentivize” while the latter are quicker to incentivize.

  • A WV official no less responding to Senator Obama’s remarks. It’s going to be a slaughter in WV… and possibly Pennsylvania?!

  • Michael, I spent a few years in the Ohio Valley, and I didn’t see much effort to move beyond the steel industry… kind of sad, actually. For a variety of reasons, it doesn’t seem that the area wants to face reality and move ahead.

    I suspect a good part of it has to do with steel and coal jobs remaining some of the best paying jobs for those without college degrees. At the call center I worked at for nine months or so in Wellsburg, WV landing a steel mill job was seen as something akin to winning the lottery since it payed 3x what most of those guys could make anywhere else. (And the jobs were about as scarce as winning lottery numbers two, since the mills were only a gradual slope of constant downsizing.)

    I’d be very, very surprised if Obama took WV, though. I was working there for the 2000 election, and everyone was pulling very hard for Bush over Gore — at least up in that region.

  • Good thing Obama didn’t spout this stuff round these parts. For all his incongruities, PA Gov Fast Eddie Rendell is gung-ho coal. Talks up useful and clean ways to dig it/process it/use it. Helpful as no other area of the planet boasts it in such large quantities. Only demonstrates the Empty Suit Tendencies of Demo standard bearer. No doubt Fast Eddie will downplay pro-coal remarks in any future interview for say HHS Secretary job.

  • On the other hand, many of us from coal states look at coal as the future of our nation’s energy. If mining is becoming too hazardous in West Virginia, by all means, quit mining coal there. It means more of a market share for Wyoming. Our coal is cleaner, anyway.

    I find it astounding that people are so irate against coal. Our technology has advanced to a point where we scrub out all the deleterious materials (down to maybe a few parts per billion), and if you’re worried about carbon dioxide, don’t. CO2 isn’t a problem, no matter what the hysteria says. CO2 makes us less than 5% of all greenhouse gases, and anthropogenic sources are only a tiny portion of that, anyway.

    Coal is necessary for electricity until or unless we make a wholesale switch to nuclear. It has to be one of the two (given our lack of producing energy from cold fusion). Why? Because in order to power a city, you have to have a stable base load. Wind, solar, and other renewable sources just can’t foot the bill. They’re too unstable, too inconsistent. You can’t simply have the city shut down when a cloud passes overhead (yes, I know, the reality is a little more complicated than that, but hyperbole has its uses).

    Moreover, unlike all the renewable sources the left touts as being the “cure” for our oil addiction, coal can actually cover that, too. Using coal-to-liquids technology, from Wyoming coal alone we can provide all the gasoline, diesel, and kerosene our nation needs for the next 250 years. We would have to fix the price at about $75 a barrel, but I’d be willing to accept that if it means $700 billion/year stays in the states and we don’t have to worry about foreign powers creating huge fluctuations in the market.

    The coal/energy issues are important for my wife and myself, mainly because my wife is a Chemical Engineer, and her focus is on coal technology. If you want to know anything about coal, e-mail me, and I’ll ask her, and relay the answer.

  • Yes, it probably hurts Obama to have said this — such is electoral politics — but I’m all in favor of getting our electricity from a clean source like nuclear plants rather than coal (dirty and dangerous). More people die from coal mining every year than have ever died from nuclear power in the West.

  • Ryan is right. Coal is the future for the time being. For one thing, there are still tons and tons of it in the Earth. Just the stuff we have located could last centuries even with our increased usage. We already have “clean-coal” technology that will only get better.

  • SB,

    You are right, coal miners die from mining coal. But that is in underground mines. Again, as my husband said earlier, feel free to let those underground eastern mines fail. Wyoming will pick up the market share and my salary will go up. Ok, so I’m joking about the salary. Wyoming strip mines it’s coal. We have had one coal mining death this year. Someone backed one shovel into another and crushed the cab, as well as the driver. It made major news in this state. We don’t have the dangers underground mining faces. Also with the laws requiring 3-6 inches of topsoil in every area mined, the earth is put in a better state than what is available in Wyoming. Only in reclaimed land do we have that kind of topsoil.

    As for dirty, well, coal can be dirty if you are using an old plant. However, any new plants that would be built are required to meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations. Wyoming coal, in small quantities is clean enough not to require cleaning for most regulations, and we still clean it very strictly for any new plant designs. The “dirty coal” idea is an incorrect advertisement, at least out here

    However, I will agree that nuclear is “cleaner” if no carbon capture is used and if we used nuclear for power, coal could be used in place of our petroleum products. Don’t count coal out just because it’s “dirty.”

Civilian National Security Force?

Saturday, November 1, AD 2008

Senator Obama has called for a Civilian National Security Force.

Hmmm.  Considering we already have the US military, the state National Guards, and police to protect us, just what would be the role of the C.N.S.F.?

At any rate I am confident that it would not have the same role as the civilian army in another country that used to march while singing this tune.

Why am I confident of this?

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4 Responses to Civilian National Security Force?

  • The next thing Senator Obama will announce once in office is to dissolve the judicial and legislative branches and create the Committee of Public Safety.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy has a good analysis of Obama’s proposals:

    In Barack Obama’s July 2, 2008 speech calling America to national service, Obama proposed “a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as our military.

    This has prompted some in the blogosphere to raise the specter of a huge new domestic paramilitary organization. Others suggest that he may have been talking about our “current non-military security agencies – FBI, CIA, NSA, DEA, DHS, etc.”

    I think that both interpretations are probably wrong. If you listen to the whole speech –- or even the couple minutes before his security force proposal — I think that it’s reasonably clear that Obama is talking about expanding a range of domestic and international agencies such as AmeriCorps, the Foreign Service, and the Peace Corps — and adding some new ones. … read more

  • Not to say it’s any less troubling, if Obama means what he says:

    … his civilian national security corps would cost at least another $100 billion a year, and perhaps as much as $500 billion a year. With total federal income taxes of $935 billion in 2005, Obama’s proposal would mean using up to half of all federal income tax revenues just to fund his promise “to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as the military….

    But given Obama’s penchant for hyperbole and obfuscation, let’s hope this is more of the same.

On These Slippery Slopes

Wednesday, October 29, AD 2008

We seem to be teetering on the edge, and there is fear that a President Obama will push us over into the long descent into the night. Those of us who value life and cling (bitterly or not) to our religion are, if not terrified, at least horrified at what Obama intends to do in office. Pass the Freedom of Choice Act, an attempt to legitimize abortion across the board. Make a national health insurance fund that is more appropriately labeled as health care. Raise taxes on the rich and give tax credits and refunds to the poor (definitions of “rich” and “poor” still pending) in order to “spread the wealth around.” Focus on Afghanistan to the detriment of Iraq and, in general, the War on Terror.

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9 Responses to On These Slippery Slopes

  • Spot on. People forget that we live in a republican (turning more democratic) nation where the representatives are obsessed with catering to the popular will. Sure, our elected leaders have mucked things up, but they have been aided and abetted by the people who have put them into power. It’s not enough to elect the right people – that will happen, but we have to make sure the people voting understand why they are the right people.

    It’s a hard road, but especially for those of us who are Burkean in political bent, we have to appreciate that there’s a broader culture that has to be transformed, and we can’t expect certain ballot box results to make everything better.

  • I largely agree.

    Our cultural cesspool is a product of the people who have embraced abortion, the gay agenda, contraception, divorce, etc. However, a great deal of this has been imposed on the people by the judiciary. The culture of death has won most of its important victories through the courts, and public opinion changes to reflect the courts–which function as an oligarchy in this country.

    Personally, I doubt that 50% of the country would actually favor FOCA. For example, recent polls show 90+% of the population wanting some restriction on abortion. More than 80% wanted significant restrictions on abortion.

    A majority of Americans are conservative on social issues, but they’ve been tricked by sound bites (“Right to choose,” “Roe v. Wade”, Separation of Church and State”) that they are willing to accept things like FOCA even though they don’t agree.

  • Very good. It’s been our own inaction, complacent attitudes and desire to “go along to get along” that have gotten us to where we’re at.

    I recently read a post that claimed Catholicism is always counter cultural. Kinda makes sense if it’s realized that the culture will be secular and oriented towards the material world. We can’t all be Mother Teresa but can strive to be more than we are.

  • Blaming ourselves and working on ourselves is part of the battle. We certainly need to practice our faith, pass it on to our children, and evangelize those around us through example and dialogue.

    The other part of it will be more difficult. The courts have played a significant role in changing attitudes in this great nation of ours. We are one or two more justices away from possibly turning over Roe v. Wade. With Obama as president we certainly will lose that opportunity.

    That is why we need to hit prayer really hard from here until November 4. Throw in some fasting to purify our souls and we may possibly change hearts and minds through the grace of God.

    We lose then this is what Ryan was saying about God chastizing us. We will reap what we have sown as a nation as a President Obama further embeds the culture of death upon American society.

    Ora pro nobis.

  • “Make a national health insurance fund that is more appropriately labeled as health care. Raise taxes on the rich and give tax credits and refunds to the poor (definitions of “rich” and “poor” still pending) in order to “spread the wealth around.” Focus on Afghanistan to the detriment of Iraq and, in general, the War on Terror.”

    Sounds good and Catholic to me!

    BTW, Ryan, just what is Bush’s so-called “War on Terror” and how does it square with the Culture of Life?

  • I’m always confused when government social programs are cast as advancing Catholic social teachings. Jesus instructed us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc. He didn’t instruct us to lay all responsibility at the feet of the government.

  • With a population of 98% meat eaters and 10 billion slaughtered each year, it sure is a culture of death. Our vote choice is like arsenic or cyanide.

  • Mark,

    1) The Devil is in the details. I don’t have a problem with the government providing health care for the needy, per se, but I do have a problem when the government wants to offer blanket protection to everyone. We can’t pay for this financially, so we’ll pay in other ways, such as time, as in long waiting lists for scarce resources. It isn’t the intent that I disagree with as far as health care goes; the implementation, however, is lacking. Same with the raising the taxes to give handouts to the poor. When historically, doing such a thing has only left more people poor and unemployed, is that really helping the poor? Again, it isn’t intent, but implementation.

    2) Bush’s so-called “War on Terror” is really a global police effort attempting to crack down on trans-national, violent radicals who set bombs and kill civilians in order to try to topple nations and governments. Whether his War on Terror squares with the Culture of Life depends on a number of issues. Does the US have the right to punish criminals that have committed crimes against the US when the criminals themselves are on foreign soil? If so, does the US have the right to send military units into foreign nations for the purpose of detaining these criminals? If so, does the US have the right to exercise lethal force against these criminals, which are wholly unrepentant and use lethal force themselves?

    The War on Terror squares with the culture of life, I believe, when falling within the Just War Doctrine. Do I think that it has remained within those constraints? We know that it was just to go after Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The threat posed by those groups is grave, severe, and lasting. The other conditions, though? We seem to have a reasonable chance for success, provided that we fight seriously, and not just in our spare time with our spare change. We know that no other means works–we’ve tried for years to negotiate with these people, and that has brought us nothing but grief. We can’t just ignore them because they won’t ignore us. So when the options essentially boil down to: be placid and allow them to continue to suicide bomb us, or take action and destroy these radical groups, the choice seems clear to me. A government has a duty to protect its citizens (when those citizens aren’t themselves violating law), and the intent to destroy Al Qaeda and end its radical terrorism is justified. Now, are we causing greater harm than if we had let the situation lie? From what I’ve read and seen in the news, the answer appears, to me at least, to be negative.

    What about the war in Iraq? After long consideration, I eventually concluded that we were not justified in going into Iraq. We had the option of letting Hussein rot, and from what I could tell, that would not have left us in a position of grave and lasting harm. But that point is moot. What we have to focus on now is what we do now that we’re in Iraq. We can’t go back in time and unmake the decision to go into Iraq, so need to figure out how to leave without making matters worse. We seem to have weathered the storm fairly well, and Iraq seems to be headed towards stability. Not perfect peace by any means, but stability. But here I would use the Just War Doctrine again: the damage of us leaving before Iraq has reached a stable point far outweighs the damage of staying. It is a certainty that an unstable Iraq will send the whole area up in flames. A region-wide conflict would inflict severe and lasting damage, perhaps even embroil us in a much greater war.

    So, a long answer to a short question, I know. But let me sum up my thoughts: Bush’s War on Terror sometimes squares with the culture of life, sometimes doesn’t. We know that his implementation of this global effort is far, far, far from perfect. Catholic voices definitely need to speak out against those parts–unnecessary warfare, torture, etc–that are squarely contrary to the culture of life. But because the whole plan has flaws doesn’t mean we toss it for a worse one. And I personally believe that Obama’s plan is a worse one.

    That doesn’t mean that I agree with what McCain will do, but as I should have mentioned in my post, McCain himself is a compromise. The choice is between voting for someone who is 0% pro-life, and 55% pro-life (numbers made up, so don’t fact check me on them). We want a 100% pro-life candidate, but we find ourselves forced to compromise to the 55% (assuming we wish to vote for one of the two main candidates). So even with McCain, we will reap what we sow.

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A President Obama Will Silence Catholics

Friday, October 10, AD 2008

Senator Obama has stated that he wants the Internet to be regulated. CNET had this exchange of a MoveOn.org member asking Senator Obama this very question:

He asked Obama: “Would you make it a priority in your first year of office to reinstate Net neutrality as the law of the land? And would you pledge to only appoint FCC commissioners that support open Internet principles like Net neutrality?”

The answer is yes,” Obama replied. “I am a strong supporter of Net neutrality.”

This “Net Neutrality” law would be something along the lines of the Fairness Doctrine. Conservapedia states that the Fairness Doctrine required broadcasters who aired material on controversial issues to provide “equal time” for the expression of opposing views.  The end result was censorship, broadcasters simply refrained from airing public affairs programing.

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17 Responses to A President Obama Will Silence Catholics

  • Tito,

    I think you (or perhaps the author you’re citing) is misunderstanding what “net neutrality” means here — it is largely a technical term in favor of free speech and no restrictions on content:

    Put simply, Net Neutrality means no discrimination. Net Neutrality prevents Internet providers from blocking, speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination.

    Net Neutrality is the reason why the Internet has driven economic innovation, democratic participation, and free speech online. It protects the consumer’s right to use any equipment, content, application or service on a non-discriminatory basis without interference from the network provider. With Net Neutrality, the network’s only job is to move data — not choose which data to privilege with higher quality service.

    The counter-position is also chiefly economic — to quote from your own ‘Conservapedia’ source:

    Broadband providers want to manage more actively — and thus profitably — those information bits. They’d like to offer, for instance, new superfast delivery for sites or users willing to pay more (not unlike how FedEx speeds delivery of packages for a fee), or other new services such as online video or telephony.

    Network neutrality would render all that illegal. But why, then, should broadband investors keep building the Web infrastructure needed to keep pace with surging use? Where’s their financial incentive?

    It could be argued that if “net neutrality” were not enforced, internet content providers could effectively slow down or impede access to religious and public-service websites because they were not deemed commercially profitable.

    This is why the USCCB currently situates itself in favor of this principle:

    Bishop Kicanas urged that such protections, termed “net neutrality requirements,” be included in the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act (“COPE Act”). As approved by the House Subcommittee, the COPE bill lacks net neutrality protections.

    “Those protections have particular importance for religious organizations which must rely on the Internet to convey information on matters of faith and on the services they provide to the public,” Bishop Kicanas said. “The Internet is an indispensable medium for distributing USCCB’s views on matters of public concern and on its religious teachings. The Internet was constructed as a unique medium without the editorial control functions of broadcast television, radio or cable television. The Internet is open to any speaker, commercial or noncommercial, whether or not the speech is connected financially to the company providing Internet access, whether it is popular or prophetic,” he said. “Those characteristics make the Internet critical to noncommercial religious speakers,” Bishop Kicanas said. …

    “That open environment, however, is threatened by a lack of response by Congress to the recent decision by the FCC to end the decades-old regulatory regime which fostered the unique freedom and openness of the Internet,” he continued. “When the FCC classified cable broadband service (and later telephone broadband) as an ‘information’ service, it ended more than thirty years of regulation which prohibited the companies which control the infrastructure connecting people to the Internet from interfering with the content distributed on the Internet. Unless Congress requires telephone and cable companies to act as neutral providers of Internet access, as they had been required to do since the birth and through the spectacular growth of the Internet, those companies will use their control over internet access to speed up or down connections to Web sites to benefit themselves financially.”

    At the present time, radio, broadcast television and cable television are largely closed to religious messages, Bishop Kicanas noted. “Years of deregulation and growing consolidation of the media industry have inevitably led to a hostile environment for noncommercial religious voices in broadcasting, whether in the form of short Public Service Announcements, programs on religious themes, news coverage of religious events, or local public affairs programs featuring representatives of local religious organizations. If the Internet becomes, as it inevitably will without strong protections for net neutrality, a medium where speakers must pay to deliver their messages, religious speech will be effectively barred from the Internet,” Bishop Kicanas said.

    So I’m having some difficulty seeing how an advocacy of ‘net neutrality’ actually translates into “a fairness doctrine” which mandates government censorship of all content the Obama administration presumably wouldn’t like. In fact, you couldn’t have that happen without violating the very principle under which people are supporting net neutrality as a concept.

  • Obama’s campaign has demonstrated on several occasions that they like attempting to silence and intimidate critics. If he is elected, I expect a full court press against all groups who stand in his way.

  • What would be stopping people from using servers abroad? Unless US regulations suddenly are enforced all over the planet, this wouldn’t be the end of free speech on the Internet — just on American servers.

  • Which is not to say that any such regulation doesn’t totally suck, but that it wouldn’t be as universal as is presented in the above post.

  • Donald:

    Obama’s campaign has demonstrated on several occasions that they like attempting to silence and intimidate critics. If he is elected, I expect a full court press against all groups who stand in his way.

    This would be true and is already happening (pressure from the Obama campaign to silence criticism they don’t particularly like) — but this isn’t the same thing and shouldn’t be identified with the principle of “net neutrality” — I think there’s some degree of confusion or misrepresentation of what we’re talking about here.

  • Christopher my comment was directed in general in regard to Obama and freedom of expression and not directed towards the net neutrality issue itself. A good overview of the issue is here at the Popular Mechanics Webite.

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/industry/4286547.html

  • Honestly, I’m not overly concerned about blogs being shut down; while I accept Jonah Goldberg’s thesis regarding liberal fascism, I think we’re a long way from that in this country, even under an Obama presidency.

  • That’s a great presentation of the issue — thanks, Don.

  • Christopher Blosser,

    Like the Internet, this legislative/regulatory concept is new and difficult to grasp. I can see where confusion can reign, especially in our day and age where technology is moving at such a fast pace, congressional reaction/oversight may seem confusing and misinterpreted to say the least.

    I’ll take a wait-and-see attitude while the dust settles down on this. I hope you’re right on the misconception of Net Neutrality.

  • Irrespective of the legal nuances & technicalites, the reality is that Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., & his goose stepping minions has shown both in the US and abroad (see Kenya & Corsi being kicked out) a predeliction for silencing and attempting to legally destroy their opponents.

    See Missouri, see Chicago, etc.

  • I may be overly optimistic, but I think any kind of serious regulation of TV, radio, print publications or blogs would never get passed — because it would so clearly be a double-edged sword and because it’s the sort of thing that would unite the civil libertarian wing of the left with nearly the entirity of the right.

  • Carlos,

    While I think that the Obama campaign has shown a mildly disturbing tendency to try to have criticism shut down (based, I think, on a worldview that holds that those opposing them are necessarily morally and intellectually bankrupt, and a conviction that Democrats have lost in the past through not being “tough” enough) — as an editor here I need to ask you to avoid throwing around Senator Obama’s middle name (Hussein) as a pejorative and that you avoid loaded terms like “goose stepping minions”.

    It’s hard to keep a site focused on politics civil, and in order to do so we believe it will be necessary to avoid this kind of inflammatory terminology. Believe me, I don’t want to see Obama elected president at all — but we can express that without getting enflammatory.

  • Christopher’s first comment is right: “net neutrality” has absolutely nothing to do with forcing content providers (e.g., bloggers, newspapers) to be neutral. All it means is that the internet service providers (such as AT&T or Comcast) shouldn’t block or slow down certain types of traffic. Net neutrality would mean, for example, that Comcast couldn’t block an independent VOIP (voice over internet) service like Vonage from letting people make phone calls over their internet connection. Instead, Comcast should be “neutral” towards however people are using their internet connection. That’s the basic idea.

  • Just post outrageous claims, in non-inflamatory language….

    Example: this post.

  • I think Christopher Blosser is a 100% correct on this matter. Sen. Obama has expressed support for Net Netruality for many of the same reasons that the American Bishops have. Net Netruality would have little effect on the internet as it currently is. In fact, opposition to net neutrality would change the internet as we know it.

    Who is advocating Net Neutrality? “The nation’s largest telephone and cable companies — including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner — want to be Internet gatekeepers, deciding which Web sites go fast or slow and which won’t load at all. They want to tax content providers to guarantee speedy delivery of their data. They want to discriminate in favor of their own search engines, Internet phone services, and streaming video — while slowing down or blocking their competitors.”

    Essentially big corporations advocate net neutrality, not most people. It affects us. So in this regard, I think you’re mistaken on what you believe that a potential President Obama would do.

  • To be a computer scientist and not know much about net neutrality is somewhat shaming, but then I’m a theorist. We only like to touch the real world with a long stick, and then only justify the existence of a new complexity class with a natural example.

    That aside, having spoken a little with our Systems Administrator here at the University of Wyoming Department of Computer Science, it would seem that the issue of net neutrality is almost of reverse nature to the issue of the Fairness Doctrine. Fairness is involved in both cases, but in terms of the Fairness Doctrine, we’re speaking essentially of being forced to provide products, whereas with net neutrality, we’re speaking of being forced to avoid throttling products.

    The concern is that ISP’s will grant easier access to big companies, like Google or Microsoft, and make other companies lower priority. Or perhaps that ISP’s will block certain sites, certain blocks of IP addresses. Net neutrality wants to pose limitations on how ISPs can limit customers to accessing certain sites.

    The analogy our SysAdmin used is the following: suppose we have Wal Mart, K Mart, and Target right next to each other along a strip, but the designer of the parking lot makes K Mart readily accessible, but Wal Mart and Target nearly impossible to access. That will funnel customers to K Mart and choke off business to Wal Mart and Target. Net neutrality wants to make the parking lot have equal access to Target, K Mart, and Wal Mart.

    The concerns about net neutrality are more along the following lines:

    1) Without careful crafting of law, net neutrality would make it impossible for ISP’s to block sites with illegal material, like child porn

    2) Smaller ISP’s would face a financial burden of giving equal access to low traffic sites and high traffic sites. With concerns about bandwidth and the huge amount of online games and media streaming, ISP’s would prefer to throttle access to those sites so that customers who are frequenting low-bandwidth sites don’t have to wait forever to connect.

    3) Conversely, ISP’s can get a financial edge by giving preference to certain groups, like Google, Microsoft, and other corporations. While this means slower download times on competitors like Yahoo! and Apple, it also means the ISP’s are able to provide services for less money to the customers.

    4) ISP’s would not be able to make prudent calls by throttling IP’s known to make DoS attacks, carry viruses, or contain objectionable material. This is especially true in terms of pornography in general.

    So from what I understand–and granted, there are a huge number of legal details that have been discussed, and it would probably take a year of study to understand them all–we potentially stand more to lose without net neutrality, because ISP’s could decide that, for example, it would be better business to throttle or block all IP’s associated with Catholic sites.

    On the other hand, things seem to be working fine as is, and I read that net neutrality is a “solution looking for a problem”. But remember the government motto: If it ain’t broke, fix it ’til it is.

  • If obama, when asked a direct question, gives a straight answer… I immediatly must begin to investigate WHY he is for it, cause it can’t be a good thing.

    it deservs to be scrutinized to the fullest extent.

12 Responses to Obama and the Freedom Of Choice Act

  • This would federalize every abortion in the sense that any state prohibition or regulation would be superseded…plus Obama’s healthcare plan pays for these procedures.

    Any pseudo Catholic that votes for this infanticide loving scumbag is in direct contravention with the Bishop of Rome…

  • I understand the democrat party platform removed the “safe,legal and rare” smokescreen and defined abortion as a “need”. In N.J., my old party pushed thru the “clone to kill” bill at a mid-nite session without any news report from the local papers. Assaults against life have sprung up thru-out history. Keep on praying for sanity,work for life and know that we win no matter how hopeless it seems to us.

  • Carlos, as much as you might not like to admit it, Catholics can licitly vote for Barack Obama if they do not vote for him because of his pro-abortion, pro-ESCR stance. For whatever reason, some people’s consciences weigh the current circumstances differently and decide that there are proportionate reasons to vote for Obama.

    I say this as someone who does not think such proportionate reasons exist and will not and could not ever vote for Obama.

  • What follows is a release from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) in Washington, D.C., issued on Tuesday, October 7, 2008. For further information, call 202-626-8820 or send e-mail to [email protected]. NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson and other NRLC staff persons are available for interviews on the subject of Mr. Johnson’s new article on National Review Online, “Unholy Messaging,” including radio debates with advocates for Barack Obama.

    Barack Obama’s sweeping agenda for pro-abortion policy changes examined by NRLC’s Douglas Johnson in National Review Online

    WASHINGTON (October 7, 2008) — The Obama campaign and its allies have adopted an extensive “messaging strategy” that seeks to persuade religiously committed Americans that Obama has a middle-of-the-road position on abortion policy and will promote “abortion reduction.”

    Douglas Johnson, longtime legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) and author of an article published today on National Review Online, titled “Unholy Messaging,” calls the Obama effort “a brazen scam.”

    “The scam depends on the Obama campaign, with cooperation from the mainstream news media, deflecting attention away from Obama’s actual record, and from his extensive commitments to pro-abortion interest groups,” Johnson said. “Barack Obama is firmly committed to an agenda of sweeping pro-abortion policy changes that, if implemented, will surely greatly increase the number of abortions performed.”

    Johnson noted that a few short months ago, during his primary contest, Obama and his advocates were boasting about his record of leadership in opposition to legislation to ban partial-birth abortions, to protect infants born alive during abortions, and to require parental notification for minors seeking abortions, among other pro-life bills. “Those boasts were well-founded, and the current effort to re-package Obama as a moderate is a brazen scam,” Johnson said.

    The Obama “messaging” campaign includes a recently launched “Faith, Family & Values Tour” that will visit Colorado, Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Florida, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wisconsin. In addition, various independent groups are disseminating advertising and literature that advances the same strategy.

    Among the specific Obama positions documented in Johnson’s article (which contains extensive hyperlinks to documentation):

    — Obama is a cosponsor of the so-called “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA, S. 1173), which Johnson calls “the most sweeping piece of pro-abortion legislation ever proposed in Congress.” The FOCA is a bill that would make partial-birth abortion legal again, strike down restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion, and nullify virtually every state and federal law or policy that would in any way “interfere with” access to abortion, including parental notification laws. In a letter sent to every member of Congress by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on September 19, Cardinal Justin Rigali wrote, “No one who sponsors or supports legislation like FOCA can credibly claim to be part of a good-faith discussion on how to reduce abortions.” In a speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund on July 17, 2007, Obama said, “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing that I’d do.”

    — Obama advocates the nullification of state laws requiring parental notification or consent for a minor daughter’s abortion, which would be one of the effects of the FOCA. Moreover, since entering the U.S. Senate, Obama has had two opportunities to vote directly on the question of parental notification for interstate abortions on minors, and he voted “no” on both occasions.

    — Obama advocates repeal of the Hyde Amendment, the law that since 1976 has blocked almost all federal funding of abortion, even though both pro-life and pro-abortion analysts agree that this law has prevented many abortions. By even the most conservative estimate, there are more than one million Americans alive today because of the Hyde Amendment. “Because the Hyde Amendment must be renewed annually, a new president hostile to the Hyde Amendment could quickly place it in jeopardy,” Johnson observed. The FOCA would also nullify all state laws restricting state funding of elective abortion.

    — In a written response to a pro-abortion advocacy group, the Obama campaign said that Obama is opposed to continuing current federal funding for “crisis pregnancy centers,” which provide needed assistance to many thousands of pregnant women.

    — NRLC has thoroughly documented that in the Illinois state Senate, Obama led the opposition to legislation to protect babies who are born alive during abortions, and persisted in his opposition even after Congress had enacted a virtually identical federal bill without a single dissenting vote. Obama has in numerous ways actively misrepresented the content of this legislation, and his actions on it, but even when such misrepresentations were proved by NRLC and others, the major media simply let Obama abandon them and fall back to a different set of equally misleading claims.

    In his article, Johnson criticizes recent coverage in the “mainstream news media,” which, he writes, “have, with few exceptions, been very compliant with Obama’s recent efforts to downplay his hard-line pro-abortion history and policy commitments, for the purpose of winning the general election.” Typically, journalists simply describe Obama’s position as “supports abortion rights,” without giving details regarding his advocacy of federal funding of abortion, invalidation of parental notification laws, and the rest.

    ****

    NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson and other NRLC staff persons are available for interviews on the subject of the Obama agenda on abortion, including radio debates with advocates for Barack Obama. Call 202-626-8820.

    Mr. Johnson’s article has been cross-posted on the NRLC website under the title “Efforts to Sell Obama to Pro-Life Americans Collide With His Support for Sweeping Pro-abortion Policy Changes.”

  • Zach, you seem to be misinformed. Catholics, considering the stands or platforms of the current nominees, can not vote for Obama ‘licitly’. Simply stated, intrinsic evils (like abortion) can not ever be ignored and take priority over other issues in weighing factors that contribute to your decision.

    Secondly, any Catholic who feels his or conscience allows for proportionate reasoning that ignores the life issues, is not judging with a clear, informed conscience but rather has had their conscience cluttered by societal peer pressure. When in doubt, turn to the Magisterium of the Church and vote on the side of what the Church teaches.

  • In this particular election, a Roman Catholic MAY NOT vote for Obama, even if they are not voting specifically because he is pro abortion. They would be able to vote for Obama ONLY if Mc Cain would kill over 45 million babies…in the womb or alive….or their mothers…there has to be, according to Rome and our Bishops, a ‘proportionate’ reason…since already over 45 million human babies have been killed in the womb, Mc Cain would have to pledge to kill more than that amount, or kill their mothers or….SOMETHING FAR WORSE! Since that is not the case, a Catholic may not vote for Obama…it’s not simply a matter of conscience…but of an INFORMED conscience…informed by the authorities in the Church and by the teaching of Christ in Scripture and through the teaching authority and tradition of our Church….Sam

  • I can see the argument that certain policies reduce the abortion rate, therefore, one for other reasons and lowering the number of abortions. But given the circumstances, I find that the arguments for proportionate reasons very thin. If the Democrats take greater majorities in Congress (and they will) and Obama signs in FOCA — eliminating every pro-life law, and he replaces the 88 year old pro-choice Supreme Court Justice that’s expected to retire in the next presidency with another pro-choice Justice instead of a pro-life Justice giving us enough to overturn Roe v. Wade, and he funds abortion via the medium of universal healthcare, making it free and accessible at all nine of months of pregnancy, the question is how can one argue that the abortion rate will go down?

    Inevitably, I don’t see how a good Catholic can vote for Obama and I think I can fairly say, of Catholics loyal to the magisterium, I’m pretty liberal and even I cannot see this.

  • Correction: “one for other reasons and lowering the number of abortions” votes for a pro-choice candidate.

  • I deeply question the judgment of any “pro-choice” politician and find it extremely unlikely that I could ever vote for one, but Zach is correct: the Church does hold that it *can* be permissible for a Catholic to vote for a “pro-choice” politician, if there are — as he notes — proportionate reasons. Like Zach, I cannot see any reasons justifying a vote for Obama, but we cannot overstate the Church’s teaching to mean that a vote for him would be *necessarily* wrong for a particular voter.

  • In a joint letter with Archbishop Joseph Naumann in Kansas City, Kansas, and Bishop Robert Finn wrote:

    “If we are inclined to vote for someone despite their pro-abortion stance, it seems we are morally obliged to establish a proportionate reason sufficient to justify the destruction of 45 million human persons through abortion.

    “If we learn that our ‘candidate of choice’ further pledges – through an instrument such as FOCA – to eliminate all existing limitations against abortion, it is that much more doubtful whether voting for him or her can ever be morally justified under any circumstance.” (CNA)

    http://www.cbcpnews.com/?q=node/5000

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