There Is No Shire Party

Friday, October 1, AD 2010

If imitation is a form of flattery, it must be some sort of testament to a writer’s skill when partisans of both sides of an issue become intent upon placing each other as the villains of the same work of fiction. Some examples of this are, perhaps, unsurprising. The original Big Brother of George Orwell’s 1984 is such a wonderfully universal government baddie that it is little wonder that those on both the right and left see each other as being like it.

However, one of the odder (to me) manifestations of this trend is the tendency of those on both right and left who are of a certain SF/F geek stripe (and political and genre geekdom do seem to go together more often than one might imagine) to identify themselves with the Shire of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and to identify their opponent with the modernizing and destructive elements who take over the Shire under Lotho Sackville-Baggins and “Sharky” (Saruman) while Frodo and his friends are away, and who are driven out in the Scouring of the Shire.

For those less familiar with those aspects of the story that didn’t make the movie version: While Frodo and this three friends Sam, Merry and Pippin are off on the quest to destroy the One Ring, Frodo’s cousin Lotho uses the influence and affluence of belonging to one of the Shire’s leading families to run the Shire into a bit of a ditch. Most of the crops are exported, including nearly all the pipeweed, leaving Hobbits themselves with little left for themselves. Various “improvement” projects are undertaken, such as knocking down the picturesque old mill on the river in Hobbiton and putting up a large new brick structure which belches smoke and pollutes the river.

Continue reading...

13 Responses to There Is No Shire Party

  • To understand Tolkien and the Shire, you MUST read William Morris. There is no way around it for this. As I have pointed out in various places, Tolkien adapts Morris, and does not agree with Morris’ utopian perspective; however, once one gets beyond that, the connection becomes quite clear.

  • I’ve read a certain amount of Morris’s poetry and some of his translations, as well as of course being familiar with his PRB work. Frankly, I don’t see him as being remotely relevant to this post. And overall, I think you tend to massively overstate Tolkien’s reliance on Morris. Though there’s certainly some influence, Tolkien is very much an original and I think more infuenced by older primary sources than by Morris’ work.

  • While Tolkien’s influences may be helpful in understanding the shire, I doubt any author’s influences are essential to understanding the author. I can a read a book without knowing who the author is an understand it. It is true, that a far more in-depth and scholarly article that attempts to discern as much meaning as possible would be greatly aided by understanding Morris, but to say that one cannot comment on the Shire before reading Morris seems rather silly. Indeed, if one said they had not read Lewis, I would counsel them that reading Lewis would be helpful to their understanding, but even Lewis’s influence is not essential.

  • “Frankly, I don’t see him as being remotely relevant to this post.” Then you really do not understand Tolkien, nor the Shire, especially the Scouring of the Shire. That is, of course, not too surprising. So many American Tolkien readers really ARE that clueless to Tolkien.

    And to say one can read a work without understanding the context of the work and what is being reflected upon in the work is exactly the kind of hermeneutics Protestants encourage for exegetics, but is poor hermeneutics indeed.

  • “is exactly the kind of hermeneutics Protestants encourage for exegetics”

    http://www.paint-test-equipment.co.uk/index.php?id=37

  • “Frankly, I don’t see him as being remotely relevant to this post.” Then you really do not understand Tolkien, nor the Shire, especially the Scouring of the Shire….

    And to say one can read a work without understanding the context of the work and what is being reflected upon in the work is exactly the kind of hermeneutics Protestants encourage for exegetics, but is poor hermeneutics indeed.

    Or perhaps I think that Tolkien was writing his own work, which can be read as a work, rather than simply writing a gloss or commentary on Morris. It can often be helpful to know about an author’s influences, sometimes when an author is consciously commenting or referring to another work, it can be well nigh essential. (For example, one would miss a lot of what Powers is doing in Last Call if one had never read The Wasteland or knew nothing about the Tarot.) However, to insist that one simply cannot understand “Tolkien, nor the Shire, especially the Scouring of the Shire” unless one has read specific un-named works or William Morris (apparently not among the one’s I’ve read) is to treat LotR in a rather Gnostic fashion.

    I can appreciate that you think that Morris’ social vision is somehow relevant to Tolkien’s writing, but if you think it bears some specific relevance to what I’ve written here I would encourage to you write what you think that relevance is and actually explain that point. Otherwise, all you seem to be conveying is a rather dismissive “Ha, ha! I know the secret keys to Tolkien and you don’t so there” sort of statement. And even if this is in fact primarily what you do wish to convey, having pretty much grown up in the Mythopoeic Society I find myself fairly immune to feelings of inadequacy in response to this kind of vaunting.

  • Dale, you win.

    William Morris is that tobacco guy, right? So he does apply to this post in a way.

  • J.R.R. Tolkien re-translated and his son posthumously editted and published: The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun.

    I thought it was quite good. But, I am a moderately illiterate yahoo. And, I doubt it comports with the liberal world view, hell-laborers; gallowsfowl!

  • To understand Tolkien, you must read Thomas More. There is no way you can understand the Shire unless you understand ‘Utopia’.

    Just sayin’ 😉

  • Nope, Hucklebury Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court ~ and Christianity from the inside out.

    🙂

    I suspect that I must seem to come under the category of those who are “of a certain SF/F geek stripe”, but it’s really more one of a concern with good and evil, and the course of the future. Christianity gave me the “why”; Tolkien gave me the language and the metaphor.

  • That’s “Huckleberry”, of course.

    The Dark Lord made me misspell that.

    :\

  • “They see this as an indictment of ‘big business’ and an endorsement of environmentalism. Further, the very same intrusive rule making and enforcement which rightists see as symbolizing intrusive ”big government”, leftists see as the jack-booted police tactics of rightists.”

    This would dovetail nicely with Hillaire Belloc’s assertion that communism and pure capitalism are merely different roads to the same statist destination.

5 Responses to Why Health Care Reform Is Getting Conservative

  • Karlson is right. It is precisely that type of ineffective leftist agit-prop pushing a policy that the majority of Americans do not want that is causing the socialist aspects of ObamaCare to fall by the wayside. Dems who are not lucky enough to run in states or districts where Lenin or Stalin could win if they had a D after their names are beginning to realize they are facing electoral disaster next year. For example incumbent senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas is running behind all four of her prospective Republican challengers.

    http://www.hedgehogreport.com/

    ObamaCare is about fork ready. On behalf of my fellow Republicans everywhere, I do thank the Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress for pushing this ill-conceived plan that has managed to awake most Americans to the dangers of one party rule in Washington. I have often said that Jimmy Carter created more Republicans than Ronald Reagan ever did, and I do appreciate the efforts of Obama, Pelosi and Reid to outdo Carter’s heroic efforts for the GOP.

  • I’m happy to see the public option getting the treatment it deserves, but it would be nice if conservatives came up with a coherent, alternative plan that addresses the uninsured population (or, at least the segment of it deserving of subsidy/aid).

  • Here is what the Republicans have proposed:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124277551107536875.html

  • j. christian,

    Make sure you do NOT confuse uninsured with uninsurable.

    Uninsured are people who do not have but may access insurance. Some may not be able to afford it; however, that is very few judging by the fact that ‘poor’ in America own a TV, DVD, game console, car, live in a home better than 90% of the planet, etc. Others don’t want insurance becuase they don’t see the benefit, and some other reasons.

    Uninsurable are people with existing health problems that CANNOT get individual medical insurance. That is less than 5 million people. You cannot expect an insurance company to offer coverage for someone who they know WILL make a large claim. That would defy the defenition of insurance, medical or otherwise. Additionally, this is not fair to the insurable in those risk pools.

    I am confident that if we increase American aggregate wealth with lower taxes, less redundant regulation, rational tort reform and eliminate other illicit government intervention, we, as a country can more than afford to provide care for the uninsurable.

    Our responsibility to the less fortunte, in this case, people with health problems, is to choose to take care of them in Charity, Love. Government is force, it cannot be charitable it can only redistribute by force and distort the natural price system in the process, which creates a whole host of other evils.

    Access to health care has nothing to do with medical insurance. Medical insurance is a risk management tool like any other insurance. Health care is not a right either; however, since we have been blessed with a free market (sort of) that has advanced health care so dramatically, we should provide access to everyone — that is done through lower prices, more choices and increased wealth which can be used for charitable purposes. The free market is the best mechanism we know to do that.

    Those are all overwhelmingly genuine conservative values – note, coservative doesn’t mean Republican.

Debate on Armed Protesters at Townhall Meetings

Wednesday, September 2, AD 2009

[Updates at the bottom of this article]

Though long (my solution was to download the MP3 and listen to it in the background throughout the day) this BloggingHeads discussion between Megan McArdle of the The Atlantic (libertarian) and author Michelle Goldberg (left-ish) about protesters carrying guns at townhall meetings was very interesting. Michelle takes the position (which I imagine we’ve all heard somewhere) that these open carry protesters are trying to exert political intimidation through threat of violence and are indeed likely to commit violence. Megan explains why she thinks it much more likely that they’re simply gun nuts trying to make a point about 2nd Amendment rights. (In a way, incidentally, which neither McArdle nor I support, but still almost certainly not in fact a violent threat to the nation with whose brush the entire right side of the political spectrum can be tarred by association.)

Continue reading...

7 Responses to Debate on Armed Protesters at Townhall Meetings

  • Leave the guns at home folks! People who bring guns to these meetings, and they have been very few judging from media accounts, are playing right in to the hands of their adversaries.

  • I thought the fact Michelle said she would take the bet at 10 to 1 odds, then backed off when Megan said she’d give her those odds was interesting.

  • Agreed, Don. I hope I haven’t given the impression that it’s anything other than idiotic to bring a gun to a political protest, no matter how calmly you behave after you get there.

    I just think the claim that the right wing of the country is on the verge of breaking out into some sort of political violence is not only idiotic and irresponsible, but also probably by people who don’t really believe it.

    BA,

    Yeah, that was pretty impressive.

  • Agreed Darwin. I have been impressed at how orderly most of the townhalls have been, in spite of high passions.

  • I am a believer in the 2nd amendment, but it is idiotic and counterproductive for people to bring guns to townhall meetings.

    The townhalls are not about gun control, they’re about healthcare. Stay on topic, folks, or you look like confused scatterbrains! It reminds me of leftists who would turn up at anti-war protests with pro-abort signs, pro-gay marriage signs, pro-PETA signs, whatever their favorite pet cause was. The message I got was “Yeah, the war’s bad, but what I really, really want you to know is that I’m against fur coats!”

  • As an avid gun owner and shooter who is adamant about the 2nd amendment…. it is absolutely ridiculous to openly carry at a political event, or frankly, anywhere else that you are likely to cause alarm, and embarrassment to gun owners… This hurts our cause.

  • As a retired LEO, firearms instructor, and shooter for half a century now–I am a strong 2nd Amendment supporter for good reasons. But “open carry”, and particularly “in your face” open carry is just dumb. It’s about on the same level as shouting obscenities just because you can.

    Sometimes I think half the population suffered arrested development at about the third grade level. Probably some residual impressions left over from my old job.

Don't Negotiate, They're Crazy!

Monday, August 24, AD 2009

I made the mistake of following a link to a Frank Rich column this morning — an activity liable to cause lowed IQ, severe irritation, or in extreme cases, the gnawing off of one’s own arm. In an effort to channel possible side effects into a vaguely positive outlet, I hope that readers will forgive me if I revisit a topic that I already touched on once before: the increasing attempts by Democratic partisans to insist that the only people who could possibly oppose their agenda are evil, racist, gun-toting, potentially-violent freaks.

abc_rifle_protestor_090821_mnLike many of Rich’s pieces, this one is wandering and somewhat inarticulate. However, the basic thread is that the right as a whole is made up of violent extremists who should not be a part of the current health care debate in congress. In support of this, he points to the handful of 2nd Amendment activists who have been showing up at Townhall Meetings and other public venues in states that allows the open carry of firearms and exercising that selfsame right. This, he argues, proves that they are just like Timothy McVeigh (after all, one of them quoted Thomas Jefferson, who was also quoted by McVeigh), and to cap it all off some Republicans opposed counter-terrorism bills proposed in the wake of the OKC bombing. Got all that?

A couple things strike me about the unreasonableness of this line of thinking.

Continue reading...

13 Responses to Don't Negotiate, They're Crazy!

  • Darwin don’t be too hard on Mr. Rich. When Obama was elected with large Democrat majorities in Congress he, like much of the Left, thought that this was their final victory over conservatives. Instead, Obama is proving himself singularly unable to carry his agenda through Congress in the teeth of popular resistance. So what is Rich to do?

    He could write that Obama made a key mistake in attempting to shut out the GOP from his legislative initiatives, thereby ensuring that 40% of the country would be in automatic opposition. Another possible column might be that Democrats with such a large Blue Dog contingent have to learn how to compromise. Finally, Rich might tell his fellow Leftists that they should adopt an incremental approach and that bold schemes such as federalizing health care simply produce too much opposition to succeed.

    Of course, these type of columns would detract from the idea that Obama is a Leftist Messiah who will lead his followers to an unending political reign in an earthly socialist paradise. Thus we have Rich, rather than dealing with an unpleasant reality, writing another blame the Right column, which allows him and his faithful readers to vent emotionally, while doing absolutely nothing to address the fact that the Obama legislative agenda is taking on water faster than the Titanic.

  • I made the mistake of following a link to a Frank Rich column this morning

    I made the same mistake. I generally enjoy the give-and-take of partisan debate, but the last couple months have been depressing, and Rich’s column is just another salvo in the bitter recriminations following the health care debacle.

    Democrats think they’re on the side of the angels with health care reform. I think they’re right – at least as a matter of intention – but they’ve mismanaged it badly, and now are reduced to pretending as if it’s shocking – shocking! – that an amorphous and chaotic mess of a reform bill is being successfully mis-characterized by its opponents. It would be nice if they found a better outlet for their frustrations than writing shrill and incendiary op-eds, and it certainly would be better for the country. On the other hand, Republican partisans must enjoy seeing Democrats like Mr. Rich in such a state. The surest and fastest route to a Republican recovery is for the Democrats to convince themselves that it was evil Republican lies, rather than their own mishandling, that prevented health care reform.

  • On the other hand, Republican partisans must enjoy seeing Democrats like Mr. Rich in such a state. The surest and fastest route to a Republican recovery is for the Democrats to convince themselves that it was evil Republican lies, rather than their own mishandling, that prevented health care reform.

    There’s a sense in which it is perversely satisfying to see many Democrats consistently unable to understand that some people of good will actually oppose their program, but from such cheap victories come lazy habits.

  • Finally, Rich might tell his fellow Leftists that they should adopt an incremental approach and that bold schemes such as federalizing health care simply produce too much opposition to succeed.

    Yes, but what we are seeing is the incremental approach to federalizing health care. When Hillary the co-president failed, she said that they would have to take incremental steps. That’s what the idea behind expanding SCHIP to upper middle class adults was about. This is about that too. Remember the Barney Frank clip from a week ago, he’s all for federalized medicine but prefers this plan be pushed through as an incremental step.

    I don’t think anybody, left or right, sincrely believes this is actually a good or workable plan. Most on the left still want it as a step toward government control of HC, the less workable this plan is, the better for their objectives. Some on the left oppose it because they have no patience for the incremental approach, they want it all, and now. The rest of us oppose it because it’s not only a bad plan but we know where it’s leading.

  • but from such cheap victories come lazy habits.

    I admit I’m enjoying watching both parties flounder to some extent. My hope is that the end result will involve better access to health care for the chronically under-insured – and little else.

  • To be fair, I think Clinton Derangement Syndrome played some role in the coarsening of public discourse as well.

  • Fair point. And indeed, though it was a bit on my early end, there seemed to be a pretty clear Reagan Derangement Syndrome as well. I’m not really clear if Carter managed to inspire that kind of craziness. Nixon did — but then managed in many ways to deserve it as well.

    Come to that, I’m not sure there’s a real beginning to the trend. It may just be that after a certain point that kind of pop culture phenomenon fades into the background of historical awareness.

  • Jefferson was a crazed atheist, Adams a dangerous monarchist. Just ask the partisans that opposed them. I think every president since Washington has attracted extreme opposition, and by the middle of his second term even he was not immune.

    The advance of mass communications, especially the internet, makes it seem like we’re in an intensely partisan age, but this sort of bitterness has always been there. That said, I think Peter Wood makes a good case that perhaps anger is more intense now than ever before.

  • Come to that, I’m not sure there’s a real beginning to the trend.

    Robert Bork has said that there was a change in the culture of official Washington around about 1981. Larry Sabato identified 1966 and 1973 as salient punctuation marks in the evolution of the national press corps.

  • I don’t remember ’66. ’73 was pure anti-Nixon. ’81 pure anti-Reagan. I suspect if the MSM were more objective in their reporting on Obama there might be less aggressive displays by conservatives.

  • I became eligible to vote in ’81. Reagan Derangement Syndrome was very much extant, but I think things have gotten worse since. Reagan’s personal charisma, like Clinton’s after him, may have had the effect of toning things down a bit.

  • That in part is probably true. Obama’s charisma seems part real and part manufactured. That plus the “messianism” of his movement probably also contributes to the extremes of response.

  • Sabato referred to the period running from 1966 to 1973 as a sweet interlude. By his account, from about 1941 to about 1966, the national press corps had little critical distance from the politicians and government they covered. (Critics who read Katherine Graham’s memoir said one of the disconcerting elements was unselfconscious description of the incestuous relationship between the Kennedy Administration on the one hand and Philip Graham & Ben Bradlee on the other). In his view, from about 1973, the press was overtaken with unprofessional behavior. Nicholas von Hoffman has been critical of what he called “media Monovox”, but has also said that there was a lowering of standards of journalistic proof that began around 1973 and that the behavior of major newspapers during Richard Nixon’s last years in office was embarrassing.

    Bork has said that political life in the capital was adversarial but not vicious prior to 1981, and that was what changed.

Obama Demonizes Pro-Lifers With Reckless Rhetoric

Monday, June 1, AD 2009

Obama Speak

The White House issued a statement that bordered on the polemic from President Obama that ratcheted up the rhetoric surrounding the tragic death of abortionist George Tiller [emphasis mine]:

I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services this morning. However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion [notice how Obama ‘assumed’ that the issue was related to abortion without any of the facts present, implicitly connecting the suspect to the pro-life movement and instantaneously demonizing us], they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.

Such partisan rhetoric is unbecoming of the office of the President.  Especially when preliminary reports show that the suspect has no connections with any pro-life groups.  In fact, Scott Roeder, the alleged suspect, is connected to various anti-government groups.  This only shows President Obama’s speech at the University of Notre Dame of ‘not demonizing the opponent‘ as nothing more than empty rhetoric.

This type of rhetoric has only emboldened anti-life groups to capitalize on the tragic death of abortionist George Tiller.  The pro-abortion National Organization for Women (NOW) has already deemed it a “terrorist” act and wants stalinist tactics used on Pro-Life groups by the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security to:

Continue reading...

43 Responses to Obama Demonizes Pro-Lifers With Reckless Rhetoric

  • Commenting will temporarily close for the evening until we return in the morning so we can continue monitoring comments.

  • Pingback: President Obama Did Not Demonize The Pro-Life Movement. « Vox Nova
  • Comments are now reopened on this thread. Good post Tito. Here is more from the Attorney General:

    “Federal law enforcement is coordinating with local law enforcement officials in Kansas on the investigation of this crime, and I have directed the United States Marshals Service to offer protection to other appropriate people and facilities around the nation. The Department of Justice will work to bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice. As a precautionary measure, we will also take appropriate steps to help prevent any related acts of violence from occurring.”

    That last sentence is intriguing. I wonder just what these “appropriate steps” will be.

  • No President Obama, whatever “moral” standing you have will quickly diminish if you go down this road of demonizing an entire sector of Americans by what in preliminary accounts looks like the lonely act of an anti-government anarchist.

    What about your demonization of “anarchists” in this sentence?

  • When there is violence, appropriate steps is to see what caused it, and what one can do to fix the problems which caused it. President Obama’s words were not against the pro-life movement, but against a group of people who claim to be pro-life, but show no understanding of the sacredness of life, that they are willing to do the unthinkable and take a life themselves. The two acts are linked. And one of the causes is the rhetoric within the pro-life movement which focuses only on abortion, and ignores the real pro-life stand which honors all life, even of those people we find to be monstrous. And nothing in this, nor what the Department of Justice said, indicates all pro-lifers will be profiled. But if you keep doing posts like this, you might just get what you want.

  • Thanks for the warning Karlson. If the Obama administration ever would be foolish enough to attempt to strong arm the pro-life movement, something I think is close to nil in probability, I have no doubt you would be using your best efforts to assist them.

  • This is Obama’s Oklahoma City bombing.

  • Steve

    Save it appears this has been a concern and worked out long before Obama was in office, as one can see with what he posted on the Operation Rescue website two years ago. In other words, it should be a wake up call for the pro-life movement, instead of being used as another reason to make Obama into the bogeyman.

  • Tiller’s murderer is pro-choice. That he is only a recent convert to the culture of death in no way invalidates the proper attribution of his worldview. Like any pro-abort, he made that “heart-wrenching” decision to reduce a human life to a problem to be solved by killing. He should face the full force of the criminal justice system.

    This incident is instructive, however, as the President’s speech at Notre Dame calling for the two sides not to “demonize” each other is quickly shown to be empty rhetoric, as he and all his supporters leap to the demonization of Christians and pro-lifers. Gone is the language of “human-caused tragedy”, gone the urgings not to “tar the whole group with the actions of one,” gone the calls to “understand the root causes of this crime”.

    For those who have so long hated the pro-life movement, the martyrdom of George Tiller is an occasion of great rejoicing.

  • To suggest that Obama’s response is not an attack on the pro-life movement is absurd. This is ONE murder of a particularly controversial individual who is clearly outside of the mainstream abortionist. There has been a grand total 4 abortionists murdered in the US. A federal response of any sort in this kind of isolated case is with no indications of an ongoing threat is unprecedented and only being done because it is an “opportunity” (remember Rules for Radicals and Rahm Emmanuel’s reference to using a crisis as an opportunity).

  • Mr. Karlson,

    How is this a wake-up call to the pro-life movement? I lead a small, humble local pro-life organization with nearly 1,000 members. If this is a wake-up call, what should my response be? To scour the internet looking for individuals with no affiliation with me or my group and ensure they aren’t planning any vigilante activities?

    Your response is akin to those who demanded ALL Muslims take responsibility for 9/11.

  • Just listened to NPR’s report (the left’s equivalent of Fox News.) No effort to investigate whether the shooter was tied to the pro-life movement or not. Lots of pro-abortion voices making Tiller out to be a martyr for compassion and women. Yes this will be used for more left-hate disguised as “protection” for the right to choose.

  • Your response is akin to those who demanded ALL Muslims take responsibility for 9/11.

    A perfect response to those who would use this incident as an occasion for bigotry.

  • Wrote my comment before farandaddy’s hate speech. Perhaps its that he can’t read the comments on other posts decrying the murder as contrary to the Faith.

  • Steve

    If nothing else, it should strive people to purify their language, to make sure they are not giving way to words which would encourage a violent response. The rhetoric over the last year has been the kind which does end up with “holy war” ideals. That’s the thing. It should wake us up, to remind us how we are to consider ALL life as sacred. ALL. When we find ways to get around that, we begin to move away from a pro-life stand.

  • farandaday,

    An opportunity to read as well as listen. Here from American Life League opposing the killing of Tiller:

    http://www.all.org/article.php?id=11966

    Also many other such statements from pro-life organizations. Perhaps if you wish not to be blind and read such statements. Perhaps. Perhaps…

  • I try to get along with everyone and none of us like to dictate to others. I am very pro-life and some people come up with the choice argument. And then, I’m pro-marriage between a man and a woman. These are my views but in the real world, it’s like our foes would accuse us of “ordering people around” which I don’t like to do.

    The struggle for the life rights of all has really come to the forefront and the “pro-life” issue takes precedent over anything with me.

  • The diarist wrote: notice how Obama ‘assumed’ that the issue was related to abortion without any of the facts present, implicitly connecting the suspect to the pro-life movement and instantaneously demonizing us.

    Hmmm. Roeder had been shot in both arms by an anti-abortion activist, his clinic had been bombed – repeatedy, he had received more death threats than he could count, his clinic had been blockaded by activists, vandals had cut wires to security cameras and made holes in his roof, and his home was constantly picketed. The “alleged” gunman was a well-known anti-abortion protestor and had posted on Operation Rescue’s “Tillman Watch” website.

    This is just stuff I gleaned from 10 minutes of newspaper reader. I imagine the President knows a little more.

    But, really, why would anyone just “assume” the killer was an anti-abortionist?!

  • I hope the guy isn’t a Catholic. Let’s hope no one that has not fallen away from the Holy Mother Church would do such. Of course, I would hope no one would do such in the first place. As said, though, this is against a tyrannical stance of the US government and one of the more radical abortion stances in the world.

  • I’m sorry, Tom, are you condoning this killer’s actions?

    “As said, though, this is against a tyrannical stance of the US government and one of the more radical abortion stances in the world.”

  • If nothing else, it should strive people to purify their language, to make sure they are not giving way to words which would encourage a violent response. The rhetoric over the last year has been the kind which does end up with “holy war” ideals.

    Describing something one believes to be evil is always going to involve a certain amount of strength of language.

    Peace advocates use _very_ strong language in denouncing the actions of the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan, but seldom worry that they are encouraging violent militants to kill US soldiers.

    Anti-globalization efforts use strong language to denounce business and global poverty, yet seldom worry much about the violence that springs up at G8 meetings and other similar protest events, much less more widescale violence in developing countries.

    I certainly do not endorse bringing self-consciously violent rhetoric into a debate needlessly, but it would be absolutely wrong for pro-lifers not to state clearly that they believe abortion to be the murder of an innocent human being. To elide that would be to ignore the injustice going on.

    What would be next? Should lynchings be timidly denounced as “mildly impolite” lest someone be encouraged to kill white supremacists?

  • Viona,

    it’s apparent that you read comments on this blog with about as much skill as you read the newspapers… which is really none at all.

    The “alleged” gunman was a well-known anti-abortion protestor

    this not in fact true nor has it really been reported. He is a well known anti-government activist, no substantial involvement in the pro-life movement has been uncovered.

    and had posted on Operation Rescue’s “Tillman Watch” website.

    By your standards of evidence, you are a pro-life Catholic since you’re posting on this blog.

  • Viona Walsch: Of course not.

    Such things as the Mexico City policy which would fund abortions in foreign countries is of the utmost repugnant nature. That is carrying this evil into other countries, maybe paying for it with our tax dollars. That is evil. That is tyrannical.

    Abortions is big business at operations at $5000 dollar a pop and Tiller conducted over 4000 of these. Doesn’t exactly put him in the poor house.

  • Viona,

    To say that Roeder is reflective (or even part of) the pro-life movement is the same as saying this is reflective of the anti-war movement:

    http://www.katv.com/news/stories/0609/627959.html

  • Viona Walsch, are you saying we are not free to call unjust acts that??? Just as the killing of Tiller is unjust and may be the tyranny of one man’s mind as other assassinations have been, what about acts our government might do that we disagree with? I know plenty of anti-war people, even some elderly ladies that would go to our Adoration Chapel.

    But this is from the Jerusalem Post:

    “Obama’s position essentially boils down to this: a woman who contracts for an abortion is entitled, one way or another, to a dead baby. A dead baby must result, even if that baby had already been a distinct living being. The killing of some live babies is just part of the price we must pay in order to keep the sacred right to an abortion supreme and absolute, beyond any shadow of a doubt.

    What kind of principle is this? What core value is Obama expressing? What extremist doctrine or interest is he defending? And how doctrinaire must one be to defend actual infanticide? This goes well beyond any reasonable advocacy of a woman’s “right to choose;” it attacks a living baby’s right to life. His position is not simply “pro-choice;” it is radically anti-life. It is, in fact, pro-death. Whatever one may make of the doctrines of his America-bashing, anti-Israel, Farrakhan-honoring pastor (or why a “uniter” would belong to his church for over 20 years), Obama professes to be a practicing Christian; so, what in the life-affirming Judeo-Christian value system could possibly give license to kill live babies? ”

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?apage=1&cid=1207159750412&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    This is silly to say, just because one says someone’s stance is wrong, that they support the alternative. Are we suppose to agree with the government in such wrongs?? Clearly, even most abortion supporters see the line should be drawn at the birth of a child.

  • This is utter stupidity. There were 300,000 pro-life marchers in Washington DC this year. If this man was reflective of the pro-life movement there would be NO ABORTION DOCTORS OR CLINICS LEFT. Period.

    In reality, the pro-life movement is the most peaceful movement in HISTORY. Far more were killed by anti-slavery, and civil rights actions than the stunning total of 4 abortion doctors killed.

  • Viona,
    Your question to Tom immediately after a rather plain English post is really quite breathtaking. It is plain as day that Tom was saying that both the US legal treatment of abortion and the murder of Tiller are evil. Do you somehow see those two things as incompatable? Honestly, I am confused by your question. Am I wrong to take it as a serious one?

  • I believe in freedom of speech and freedom of expression. It is perfectly okay to express your repugnance with abortion in all forms. That is your absolute constitutional right. I do find some of the ugly comments by people (a woman named Rhonda on this site said she was relieved when she heard Dr. Tillman was killed)sad and not becoming of our faith. However these comments are still legal.

    I didn’t say that Roeder’s actions were reflective of the anti-abortion movement. On the contrary. I think there is a radical fringe element who will blockade clinics, harass workers and their families. Obviously far fewer will take it to the ultimate extreme. But in any “movement” you will find all degrees of commitment and extremes.

    Denying that Roeder was part of the larger movement is disingenuous.

  • Just to slap all the cards on the table, you are much more a part of the “larger movement” which supports this practice, Ms. Walsch:

    As described by Dr. Carhart, the D&E procedure requires the abortionist to use instruments to grasp a portion (such as a foot or hand) of a developed and living fetus and drag the grasped portion out of the uterus into the vagina. Id., at 61. Dr. Carhart uses the traction created by the opening between the uterus and vagina to dismember the fetus, tearing the grasped portion away from the remainder of the body. Ibid. The traction between the uterus and vagina is essential to the procedure because attempting to abort a fetus without using that traction is described by Dr. Carhart as “pulling the cat’s tail” or “drag[ging] a string across the floor, you’ll just keep dragging it. It’s not until something grabs the other end that you are going to develop traction.” Id., at 62. The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn from limb from limb. Id., at 63. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off. Dr. Carhart agreed that “[w]hen you pull out a piece of the fetus, let’s say, an arm or a leg and remove that, at the time just prior to removal of the portion of the fetus, … the fetus [is] alive.” Id., at 62. Dr. Carhart has observed fetal heartbeat via ultrasound with “extensive parts of the fetus removed,” id., at 64, and testified that mere dismemberment of a limb does not always cause death because he knows of a physician who removed the arm of a fetus only to have the fetus go on to be born “as a living child with one arm.” Id., at 63. At the conclusion of a D&E abortion no intact fetus remains. In Dr. Carhart’s words, the abortionist is left with “a tray full of pieces.” Id., at 125.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/99-830.ZD2.html

  • Viona,

    sad and not becoming of our faith. However these comments are still legal.

    advocating the legal murder of the unborn regardless of “disabilities” is even more unbecoming of our Faith. Though they are immoral, the comments are legal.

  • Mr. Karlson,

    I guess it depends. If you’re arguing that pro-lifer activists shouldn’t incite violence toward abortionists, then you’re constructing a straw man since no credible group (certainly not the movement as a whole as you alleged in your first post) has done so.

    If you’re saying that we need to apologize for our stance by not saying that abortion is murder, then you are suggesting we deny the truth for the sake of political expediency and getting along.

    Christ did no such thing. He used sharp words when nececessary, even if he did it lovingly. The pro-life movement does the same thing. If we aren’t willing to call abortion murder, we have no grounds for opposing it. Arguing that abortion hurts women, that it’s lucrative, that it’s exploitative are all good and important. But unless we condemn it as murder, we have no leg to stand on.

    Let’s be clear here about pro-life activism: Any tactic that is licit is valid. But there must also be no small amount of prayer and discernment, particularly with a spiritual director. There is a rightful place for soft language, hard language, graphic images, silent prayer, and the whole range of licit responses. I pray that we might be given the gift of discernment to know when each response is appropriate.

  • Viona,

    Let’s get one thing straight here. If blockading clinic entrances is an unjust, illicit act, then so were civil rights sit ins in the 1960s. Putting one’s body in between a murderer and his intended victim is an act of love and bravery.

    The rest of your allegations are purposely vague. Anytime the words intimidating, threatening, harrassing are used, I get suspicious. Our pro-life Rosaries have been called all of those things. If we really were intimidating, threatening, or harrassing people, they would come out and say what our crimes really were. or something to that effect. Instead, whenever they don’t like our presence, they attach a vague, unfalsifiable and dishonest adjective.

  • Violence may beget violence. Has anyone heard this story coming out of Arkansas.

    So this is early in the story, but do we assume this is an anti-war act and so all other anti-war protesters are of this terrorist extremist type?

    “Gunman Shoots 2 at Arkansas Military Recruitment Center
    Monday, June 01, 2009

    A gunman opened fire Monday at an army recruitment center in Little Rock, Ark., killing one army recruiter and seriously wounding another, FOX16.com reported.

    A man in a black SUV drove to the recruitment office and began shooting at around 10:19 a.m., a spokesman with the Little Rock police department told FOX News.

    The suspect, who immediately fled the scene, was later apprehended approximately four miles from the center with an assault rifle in his vehicle.”

  • Oh, again, I pray for the poor soul and their friends and family who have lost life in this needless act. May God have mercy on us all and forgive us our trespasses.

    I hope we aren’t getting into an eye for eye as might happen.

  • Gunman Shoots 2 at Arkansas Military Recruitment Center

    are all soldiers now going to get security provided by the US Marshal service??? Or just the recruiters?

  • Placing U.S. Marshals is an overreaction to say the least. President Obama, like Rahm Emmanuel says, will not miss an opportunity to take advantage of a crisis.

  • Matt,

    I just realized you wrote a similar thing.

    Catholic Anarchist,

    Since when do “anarchists” have a positive connotation?

  • Tito on the mark. This White House will take advantage of a crisis, such as it is. Been wondering for years if Powers That Be, now in charge at White House, will finally, once and for all, attempt to drive the pro-life movement off the map. In turn, a serious persecution of its most prominent bloc, our own One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. Scratch many hardcore libs and you will find serious anti-Catholic bias. As for the Arkansas murder case, MSM may flip and go Eye For An Eye. Then twist its logic in returning to coverage of Tiller’s murder. (Not that I am the least bit concerned about respectability in their eyes. We tried as much since 2nd Vatican Council. No go.) Meanwhile, be prepared for rough times. Some may suffer for the sake of the Gospel. We may be at that point.

  • Gerard E.,

    I agree.

    We need to pray for Tiller and those that demonize us that they may see the light and understand the undue harm their stance does.

  • Pingback: Anthony
  • I find this article to be demonizing President Obama. He made remarks condeming a murder, and you have taken offense and twisted it to where your group becomes the victim? On some level, you are showing support for this murder by minimizing it and trying to seek political gain for your own cause. We as Christians will never be taken seriously until we respect all life, not just the ones we like or agree with!

  • Rubbish. It is rather Obama who has who has sought political advantage from acts of horrific violence perpretrated against children in the womb. Here is a fund raising letter sent out in which his wife trumpeted his opposition to partial birth abortion.

    http://www.jillstanek.com/Slide%201%20michelle%20obama%20pba%20letter.jpg

    Pro-lifers condemned the murder of Tiller. If only Obama would also condemn the slaying of the unborn, instead of upholding abortion as a right.

  • Pingback: Divider-in-Chief Obama Complains of “Tearing Each Other Down,” While Disparagingly Calling Opponents “Teabaggers,” Amid 2009 Obama Site Calling Opponents “Right Wing Domestic Terrorists…Suberting the American Democratic

Colbert On Obama's Tortured Reasoning

Friday, April 24, AD 2009

The Pandora’s box that President Obama has opened with the release of the torture memo’s has caused quite a stir in the Catholic blogosphere.  Nonetheless the stealth Catholic, comedian Stephen Colbert, has geniusely made a humorous rendition of the logic floating around Washington on the torture controversy.  Biretta tip to Mark Shea.

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.2419680&w=425&h=350&fv=autoPlay%3Dfalse]

more about “Colbert: The Word – Stressed Position“, posted with vodpod
Continue reading...

One Response to Colbert On Obama's Tortured Reasoning

Catholic Democrats of Ohio vs. the Catholic Bishops

Friday, April 24, AD 2009

Rich Leonardi (Ten Reasons) posts some particularly damning evidence as to where the Catholic Democrats of Ohio’s loyalties reside on the matter of Notre Dame’s honoring Barack Obama with a law degree:

In the event you are unsure which word in the group name “Catholic Democrats” is more important, this release should provide some clarity

Continue reading...

7 Responses to Catholic Democrats of Ohio vs. the Catholic Bishops

Right To Thrive

Saturday, March 28, AD 2009

The issue of Abortion was not the compelling concern for a majority of Americans in the last elections, but it is still a powerfully divisive legal/moral contest that pits Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice, in a heated competition for hearts and minds. It is tough to find common ground or fresh areas for public debate, but as a pro-life Democrat I am accustomed to thinking outside the pack.

Most Pro-Choice political leaders are quick to say that they are not pro-Abortion, they are interested in abortion reduction without outlawing the procedures. Many pro-life leaders similarly claim that they are also committed to reducing the numbers of abortion even as they seek a final legal solution of defining the right to life. There are a couple of bills coming back for consideration in Congress that will test the truthfulness of these politicians’ claims.

Continue reading...

11 Responses to Right To Thrive

  • The “Pregnant Women Support Act” is being promoted by the Democrats for Life organization as a means of reducing abortions by 95% over the next 10 years.

    I have no doubt that you approach this issue with great sincerity, but there’s just no getting around the fact that is an absolute pipe dream. The persistent myth is that practically all of the women who procure abortions are down and outers stuck on their last nickel, but nothing could be further from the truth. This bill does nothing for the arrogant yuppies who abort because the little one will interfere with their lifestyle of weekending in the Hamptons, and if you think that this constituent represents only a small minority of the women who procure abortions, then you are incredibly naive.

    It is absolute tripe like this that puts the pro-life movement back. Increased federal aid is the mirage that Catholic Democrats put out there as the excuse to keep voting Democrat.

  • Well- the actual research shows that apparently a high percentage of young women are indicating that the top reason for their choice of abortion is their fear of not being able to continue on with their education or related financial fears- I don’t know what studies you are basing your opinion on that say that most women seeking abortions are arrogant yuppies. I am simply taking women at their word and trying to address the root causes of women who would choose a legal or perhaps an illegal abortion.

    Personally I ran for public office as a pro-life Democrat who opposes legal abortions- using the 5th and 14th Amendments after making the case that medical research has made strides to prove that human life truly begins at fertlization/conception. And additionally, I promised to put forth legislation to regulate fertility clinics to forbid the practice of creating surplus embryos- which has created the supply to meet the demand of those who wish to pursue embryonic stem cell research.

    I plan on writing an article soon entitled “Pro-life movement: Democrats need not apply” to address the fact that many in the pro-life movement do not seem interested in developing an effective two-major party pro-life strategy- it would seem that serving the more narrow interests of the Republican party has become a central corruption for the major players who are ostensibly fighting for the unborn’s right to life. Personally I don’t find the normative Republican state’s rights approach to Life issues very pro-life- and I found that a Democrat such as myself is not even afforded the chance to compete in pro-life circles- not sure what happened to the meritocracy on that one. I will provide more specific details on a later post. But I will conclude by saying that I can see nothing wrong with working both the legal front and the reducing abortion demand front- combining that with the cultural interventions- so hold off on lumping me in with all your preconceived notions of what pro-life Democratic politics is all about.

  • There certainly are arrogant yuppies who abort — but the studies that I’ve seen do show that the majority are young, poor, and/or “repeat customers”. Of course, with over a million abortions a year, even a 10-20% minority adds up to a staggering number, so that data would certainly not make one expect not to know of lots of cases of either sort.

    I do rather share, however, Paul’s skepticism on the likely ability of the Pregnant Women Support Act to reduce abortions 95% over ten years. The number of abortions has been decreasing for the last 30 years and I think these sorts of programs might be able to increase the rate of decline by 2-4%. However, despite the frequency with which financial, educational and career reasons are given for abortions, I kind of suspect that the sorts of financing and services the bill offers would not actually make the personal cost of either setting up an adoption or being a (quite possibly single) mother seem that much less. No amount of subsidized childcare will make it easy to pursue what a 22 year old would think of as a normal dating life with a six month old. Nor will food stamps make it easier to scrape spilled food off the floor and get up at two in the morning with a toddler who can’t sleep.

    So while I think there is value to be found in making it more feasible for those brave women who choose life in difficult circumstances to continue with their educations and careers, I tend to think that there is actually very little distance to successfully go in the “reducing the need for abortion” direction.

    The “need” itself is pretty obvious. The trick is vastly increasing the social tendency against either getting yourself into the situation of needing one, or against acting upon the need itself. In other words: either make abortion socially (and/or legally) unacceptable or make pre-marital sex much less socially acceptable.

    That said, I think it’s a genuine problem when truly anti-abortion Democrats are being made to feel like they need not apply. Not only is that contrary to any sense of pro-life unity, it’s also a terrible way to run a movement. (Given that it strikes me that the NRA is pretty much the quintessential example of how to get your way legally — you don’t exactly see them turning away pro-gun Democrats now do you.)

  • And on a side note, I’m very glad to hear, Tim, that you’re working on getting legislation moving restricting the production of “extra” embryos in IVF clinics. That is something that we as pro-lifers should without question object to, and not enough has been done about it despite ample legal precedents in significantly less religious nations. I’m sure that presented right, that kind of regulation could successfully gain support.

  • The 95% figure is one that the national Dems for Life org puts out- I am an advisor for Florida Dems for Life- I don’t have a handle on how they arrived at that percentage- I’ll look into that more closely.

    Personally, I am trying to get things going on mulitiple fronts like I mentioned before- one thing I am just getting ready to do is start up a “Dads with Daughters” facebook group- this will have a religious focus to address the culture in which our girls are being brought up into. We need to take on the Playboy mentality big time- now that I am a father myself with girls, I finally really and truly get it. I can’t believe that so many American men who became fathers of girls didn’t get the memo and act on it before- we have done a lousy job on the chivalry front- the strip club on every corner thing – that has to go. I tried to get my Knights of Columbus council to get out in the streets in front of these clubs and hold up signs reminding men of the dignity of women- to try a little shame combined with some rosary praying in a very public in your face action. But I had no takers.

    I see abortion related to all kinds of things- a lot of cultural rot- there are a lot of Christians out there, but we just aren’t taking to the streets- not even to stand up for our daughters who are going to be treated like meat in a few years. I take the politics of all this deadly serious- but too many Christian/Catholic men seem so sheepish- maybe they are secretly addicted to porn like one of my female friends suggested- maybe. I understand being a weak male, but now I understand how to be a strong male, and I am hoping to help others get more proactive- let the incredible love we feel for our girls inspire us to make sure we are the ones who are determining the laws and marketplace appropriateness of things that encourage promiscuity and lax sexual morality. I’ll update you when I get this launched at facebook and hopefully beyond. God Bless- Save the children- save our children!

  • I have to say, as much as I like the idea of the PWSA, it isn’t going to stop 95% of abortions in 10 years or 100. Such an outlandish claim only opens the bill to ridicule and lessens the chances that it will succeed. I would support it if it stopped 1% of abortions, the quantity is a secondary concern, the principle and the intent are right. That does matter.

    After all, nearly 4 decades of trying to overturn Roe hasn’t reduced abortions at all. If quantity is what matters here, if we are going to be pragmatists or utilitarians, then it is this strategy that should finally be thrown out the window, especially now.

    I would rather see money spent on crisis pregnancy centers, community outreach groups, sidewalk counseling, shelters for homeless and abused women, etc. But most of those things will never be funded by our government.

  • Thanks for noting that Joe. I’m supportive of these types of initiatives. I really am. But Democrats for Life seriously undermines their credibility imo when they claim any policy will reduce abortion by 95% in 10 years. Down that road lies the Doug Kmiec Obama-is-really-the-pro-life candidate shilling, or so it appears to many right-leaning conservatives. Not even overturning Roe would result in that sharp a reduction.

  • The 95% figure is sheer flim-flam and is mooted about to give electoral cover to pro-abort democrats. I have no problem helping pregnant women in crisis pregnancies as the 10 years I have spent on the board of the local crisis pregnancy center in my county indicates, but helping pregnant women should not diminish one iota the fight against the obscenity of legalized abortion.

  • I don’t know what studies you are basing your opinion on that say that most women seeking abortions are arrogant yuppies.

    I actually never said a “majority,” but rather bristled at the implicit suggestion that all but a very tiny percentage of women who procure abortions are poor or uneducated. I don’t dispute that a majority are, but let’s stop pretending this is solely or even mainly about economics.

    As others have said, there is nothing wrong with assisting crisis pregnancy centers and like, as my KoC council is doing. Certainly there are both political and societal ways to attack to the problem of abortion outside of fighting for its abolition; however, as long as Democrats continued to be aided and abetted by pro-life Democrats such as yourself, we will continue fighting an uphill battle regarding the evil of abortion and the pursuit of its ultimate demise.

    You can put as much lipstick as you want on this pig, but it’s still a pig.

  • Paul- are you saying that even being a pro-life Democrat is contributing negatively to the abortion situation? Be careful not to lump all pro-life Dems in with those who publicly endorse pro-choice candidates- I don’t. I think it is a mistake to focus so heavily on recruiting Catholic Democrats to just become Republicans. Before 1980 there were more pro-lifers in the Democratic Party establishment than in the Republican one- the parties change like the wind on many issues- look how Clinton sold out the FDR economic tradition for Dems- and I would say that Ron Paul is right to stay Republican and fight for the party to drastically change the imperial approach to foreign relations and excessive military presence and expenditures. I would never say that Dr. Paul should simply quit the Repubs and become a Democrat because he is enabling imperialism- he didn’t endorse McCain as far as I am aware and I never endorsed Obama- I am being true on every issue regardless of where the Democratic platform of groupthink is. I say that as a Catholic- pick a party and be consistent with the Catholic social doctrine as best you know- every party is in need of major reforms from this perspective- no party is clean- there is no party of God- only the social doctrine of Christ’s Church- and that is a blueprint of moral principles, not an exact step-by-step ideology

  • I’m a huge advocate for the Pregnant Women Support Act.

    Now granted, the goals of the bill are quite lofty. However, I don’t think we should ever settle for less.

    In fact, the legislation is not merely some pro-life Democratic measure to strengthen the social safety net and reduce the “need” for abortion. Rather, it is a pro-life jewel in that it would in one federal legislative action win the wars that pro-life Americans have been fighting at the state level for years.

    – For over a decade, the pro-life movement has been fighting to get unborn children and pregnant covered in the S-CHIP program. This would occur definitely under this bill and get health care for pregnant women.

    – The PWSA would establish parental notification laws in all 50 states. A study from the University of Alabama estimates that parental-involvement laws in states that have enacted them, have effected the abortion rate by 13 – 31%. Several states do not have such laws and this would be a magnificent way of doing it all in the stroke of one legislative pen.

    – There is legislation entitled “A Woman’s Right to Know” that requires that women be asked if they would like to see an ultrasound before having an abortion, be offered literature on human life development, and be informed about fetal experience of pain from an abortion. Sometimes this also includes a 24 hour waiting period. This approach has about the same success as parental notification laws. This is another aspect of the bill that could be enacted in all 50 states that could have quite an impact on the abortion rate, acting in concert with all the other measures.

    – There is an aspect of this legislation that deals directly with parents who have a prenatal diagnosis, particularly with Down Syndrome. In regard to Down Syndrome, 90% of such diagnoses end in an abortion.

    – It would protect and expand federal funding of pro-life pregnancy crisis centers and provide ultrasound equipment and free screenings.

    – On this last point, I’m not certain, but I could have sworn there is a provision in the bill that is covered in CIANA laws, which deals with teens crossing state-borders to go obtain abortions. This may be dealt with under the parental-involvement aspect of the bill, but again, this is another pro-life measure that could find its way into federal law.

    I’m sure, if we all had to vote for it, most of us would vote in favor of it. My only point is: I don’t think we should be so quick to say this is ‘already being done’ and won’t have much of an effect.

    I think we should consider the amount of resources that would be put at the disposal of groups trying to help pregnant women. This could increase efforts and enable them to expand. I’m sure many non-profit organizations often stretch thin on resources.

    Another area of interest is how many pro-life measures — parental notification, CIANA laws, women’s right to know — would be enacted in all 50 states. This is currently not the case and it would be phenomenal to reap the effect of such widespread measures, together with increased efforts and financial resources of groups seeking to help support pregnant women.

    95% in 10 years? Maybe not. But, right now, it is hard to say that there has been a significant difference in the abortion rate between pro-life and pro-choice Administrations, aside from the only agreed fact that the number of abortions itself is declining. I think this would be a profound step in the right direction.

Obama Finds His 9/11

Friday, February 27, AD 2009

Critics of the Bush Administration often complained (especially during his first term) that Bush used 9/11 as a justification for nearly everything he did. Given that the country was widely supportive of the administration in the years right after the attack, this was (the complaint went) a way for Bush to do things he’d wanted to do anyway under the guise of responding to an emergency. While I think this complaint was overstated, there is an element of truth to it. For instance, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of question that many within the administration (rightly or wrongly) wanted to get rid of the Baathist regime in Iraq even prior to taking office.

In this respect, Obama seems to have found his 9/11, his excuse for doing all the things he and his party want to do while assuring everyone it would be a Very Bad Idea it not Downright Unpatriotic for them to disagree. Obama’s 9/11 is the recession, or as the media seems to have named it “The Worst Economic Downturn Since the Great Depression”. (This is, to my mind, a rather unwieldy name. Perhaps we could just call it the “Big Recession” or the “Little Depression”?)

Thus, in his presentation of a new budget which is heavy on partisan measures (big tax increases on “the rich” and preparation for major changes in social service structure and spending) and racks up the largest deficit (as percentage of GDP) since 1942, Obama assured people that this was necessary in order to restore the economy:

Continue reading...

20 Responses to Obama Finds His 9/11

  • Interesting. Bush used 9/11 to spread imperialism; lead a series of unjust military actions that resulted in 100s of 1000s of unnecessary deaths; torture, suspend habeas corpus etc,

    So far, Obama has used the recession to extend healthcare for children, invest in our infrastructure and attempt to put a modicum of order to the shambles of an economy that Bush and his Republican majority bestowed on us.

  • Bush used 9/11 to spread imperialism;

    Really? It’s certainly one of the more interesting imperialistic regimes of all times, one in which the supposed imperial power has not exactly displayed a penchant for flexing its will on the supposed colonial powers.

    lead a series of unjust military actions that resulted in 100s of 1000s of unnecessary deaths;

    A series? There have been exactly two military actions taken, the first of which was largely supported. So we have exactly one supposedly unjust military action that resulted in the creation of the only Arabic democracy in the world.

    suspend habeas corpus

    This allegation would be true were it the United States circa 1861, but last I check habeas corpus remained well in tact unless you were a non-citizen who was considered a terrorist.

    Obama has used the recession to extend healthcare for children, invest in our infrastructure and attempt to put a modicum of order to the shambles of an economy that Bush and his Republican majority bestowed on us.

    Yeah, keep drinking that kool-aid Mark. So far Obama has used the “crisis” to drastically increase the size and reach of the federal government. The “infrastructure” developments largely extend to helping union construction workers here in DC in order to make the federal government buildings look prettier. But hey, billions of dollars for ACORN and trains between Disney and Las Vegas will surely restore the economy.

    BTW, you do realize that the Democrats have been in the majority for well over two years?

  • Paul

    It is well documented, even by Paul Wolfowitz himself, that our primary reason for going into Iraq was oil.
    —-

    I am sorry I do not minimize the deaths of Middle Easterners in the manner that you apparently do.

    When localized governments,human service organizations, and the private sector fail to deliver what the common good demands, CST allows– even calls for– actions by government on the higher-level.

    Stop reading your Rand, Acton, or Limbaugh propaganda.

  • It is well documented, even by Paul Wolfowitz himself, that our primary reason for going into Iraq was oil.

    That claim doesn’t pass the sniff test. If we were going there to take their oil, isn’t it odd that we haven’t taken it?

    I am sorry I do not minimize the deaths of Middle Easterners in the manner that you apparently do.

    And yet you wish so very much that the Iraqi people were still being crushed under the Baathist’s boots, rather than running their own country democratically? I’m afraid I don’t despise them so much.

    However, I do think that the attempt to use 9/11 as a shortcut to gain support for the Iraq War (a worthy cause in its own right) has resulted in a great deal of trouble in the long run. The Iraq War should have been sold on its own merits.

    And I strongly suspect that as people wake up to realize that Obama is mortgaging (if not destroying) the US economy in order to achieve his dream of a euro-style technocratic state, they will similarly turn on him for having sold them a bill of goods under false pretenses.

    When localized governments,human service organizations, and the private sector fail to deliver what the common good demands, CST allows– even calls for– actions by government on the higher-level.

    Which is exactly why Obama should not be frittering away money on silly pet projects and political games in the middle of a recession.

  • Darwin,

    Nice post. There’s nothing like a crisis to justify a power grab by politicians.

    And to Obama’s claim that this is not a normal turn of the business cycle, I’d suggest checking out some of the nice charts that the Minnesota Fed has put out comparing this recession to previous postwar recessions. It’s not obvious that this is the worst (or even the 3rd or 4th worst) in the past half century or so.

  • It is well documented, even by Paul Wolfowitz himself, that our primary reason for going into Iraq was oil.

    If it is well documented, then you can easily provide the documentation. I await with baited breath.

    I am sorry I do not minimize the deaths of Middle Easterners in the manner that you apparently do.

    What Darwin said in response is basically what I would have said.

    Stop reading your Rand, Acton, or Limbaugh propaganda.

    Never read Rand or Acton, but some people named Madison, Adams, and Hamilton who all predicted that this would come to pass if we destroyed the breaks on plebiscatary democracy.

  • that this would come to pass if we destroyed the breaks on plebiscatary democracy”

    O O O O…
    It’s so elegant,
    So intellligent.

    And try Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas and Maratain.

  • O O O O…
    It’s so elegant,
    So intellligent.

    And try Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas and Maratain.

    Mark, seriously, if you have something intelligent to contribute, do so.

    For instance, you speak of Plato. Clearly you know nothing of Plato if you believe that he was a proponent of mass democracy. In The Politics he described the degeneration of regimes from timocracy, to oligarchy, to democracy, to tyranny. The democratic form of government is actually castigated by Plato. Aristotle also lists democracy among the bad forms of government – “polity” was the good form of rule by the masses, one in which the people governed indirectly.

    The Framers established a Republic, one which was designed to limit the harm done by mass democracy. The Framers feared that demagogues could use crises to devise hasty legislation that would be designed to do good, but instead would do more harm. As Madison said in Federalist 63:

    “As the cool and deliberate sense of the community ought, in all governments, and actually will, in all free governments, ultimately prevail over the views of its rulers; so there are particular moments in public affairs when the people, stimulated by some irregular passion, or some illicit advantage, or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men, may call for measures which they themselves will afterwards be the most ready to lament and condemn. In these critical moments, how salutary will be the interference of some temperate and respectable body of citizens, in order to check the misguided career, and to suspend the blow meditated by the people against themselves, until reason, justice, and truth can regain their authority over the public mind? What bitter anguish would not the people of Athens have often escaped if their government had contained so provident a safeguard against the tyranny of their own passions? Popular liberty might then have escaped the indelible reproach of decreeing to the same citizens the hemlock on one day and statues on the next.”

    Seems like he was on to something.

  • It is well documented, even by Paul Wolfowitz himself, that our primary reason for going into Iraq was oil.

    It depends on what you mean. Here are some options:

    1) The Middle East wouldn’t play such an important role in international politics if it did not have oil, and that this was a sine qua non of U.S. military involvement in the region in both of the Gulf Wars. In other words, the strategic importance of the region’s resources creates the necessary background conditions for military involvement.

    2) The U.S. went into Iraq because they wanted to take Iraqi oil.

    If you mean the former I agree; if you mean the latter, I expect next you’ll confess you have some suspicions about the ‘official story’ for 9/11. I’m kidding…mostly, but I think both are fevered conspiracy theories.

  • Paul,

    Plato wrote the Republic. Aristotle wrote the Politics. Plato said what you summarize in the Republic.

  • Paul

    And read, say, Maratain’s beautiful Universal Declaration on Human Rights, written for the U.N.

    BTW, in the words of some rock persona whose name I cannot seem to remember, “I am a lover, not a fighter.” So I advise that you save your spiritedness for your Rush fix on Monday. But I pray for your co-workers and relatives who think differently than you and may happen to be in your proximity. 😉

  • Sorry for the typo. But do you care to actually argue about what was said? And while you’re at it, you still have not shown any documentation that the Iraq war was about oil – something easy to do since it is so well documented.

  • And I much prefer another French philosopher, linked to today by Zach at Civics Geek. Again, it fits the occasion:
    http://civicsgeeks.blogspot.com/2009/02/tocqueville-saw-this-coming.html

  • John Henry,

    not to mention it’s unlikely that Hussein could have remained in power without oil revenues, nor could he have been as great a threat to US interests without it.

  • Very nice link, Paul. I particularly liked this passage:

    “[The despotism that arises from a democracy] does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which government is the shepherd. .??.??.”

    O-baaaaaaaaa-ma.

  • Hit the nail right on it’s head.

    A fine post.

    Obama and the liberal Democrats will seize as much power as possible to push their Marxist agenda.

    Can’t wait for the congressional elections in two years.

  • It is amazing that these Obama nuts still do not seem to realize that they voted for a total idiot that has no idea what he is doing. He is without a doubt a socialist, but this one cannot add, does not know history, and certainly hates the USA.

  • Gramps,

    Just a friendly reminder to address the issues and not to demean people.

    Thanks.

  • I certainly agree with many (though not all) of the President’s goals, but his statist impulses vary in no way from the standard Democrat line for the last sixties, and as numerous scholars have argued, such an approach only furthers the atomization of our culture and the withering away of intermediary associations, tending toward a future in which the State is involved in every aspect of our life and the exclusion of other entities… in other words, totalitarianism.

  • “in other words, totalitarianism.”

    Chris.

    You surprised me here. I take you as much more intellectually temperate.

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.

Continue reading...

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. -.-

Viewing the Stimulus Package, Part A

Friday, February 6, AD 2009

I decided to find out for myself what is in the Stimulus Package being debated. The version I’ve looked at is the version the House passed, and I can’t image the Senate version looks much better. Here is the results of Division A (the first 250 pages or so).

Things this package will not be used for: casinos and other gambling establishments, aquariums, zoos, golf courses, or swimming pools; any public work (airports, bridges, canals, dams, dikes, pipelines, railroads, mass transit, roads, etc) that does not purchase all iron and steel from within the U.S. (unless there simply isn’t enough iron available, or buying locally increases cost by 25% or more, or it is “in the best interest of the public” to buy abroad).

Continue reading...

7 Responses to Viewing the Stimulus Package, Part A

  • I love this last note:

    none of this assistance is to be used to fund students going to private elementary or secondary schools.

    Why should the government help lower income students to succeed by going to private schools, let them pay for it all out of pocket like the rich do!

  • I find it simultaneously hilarious and deeply saddening that the government is spending $650 million dollars on analog-to-digital converters for televisions.

  • Zach: The $650 million is much less than the proceeds that the govt is getting for selling the analog spectrum that is being freed up.

  • Jeremy correct, I’m still not sure it means that it should send it to people as it is. Anyway, it is most certainly not “stimulus”.

  • $14 billion for school modernization and repair – – Not sure if you are aware, but this $14 billion comes with the caveat that any school using these funds are PROHIBITED from allowing religious/pray gatherings at any of their school facilities. i.e. Bible studies and Christian Clubs would most likely be dissolved at those schools.

    ACLU couldnt resist getting their two cents in

  • Dallas,

    Just viewed your blog and I’m impressed.

    I grew up on Kauai and I’m a 1984 graduate of St. Theresa School in Kekaha (http://custosfidei.blogspot.com/2007/08/st-theresa-church-in-kekaha-hawaii.html).

    I noticed you and your group went on a retreat to our rival parish, Holy Cross in Kalaheo. They used to have a school there. I pray someday that they will start up the school again. It’s pretty lonely on the westside being the only Catholic school.

    Keep up your great apostolate!

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • Pingback: Obama and the Stimulus Package « The American Catholic

And They Accuse Us of Brainless Sloganisms

Thursday, January 29, AD 2009

So there’s a new You-Tube video  spreading around meant to be the final word in exposing the hypocrisy of anti-abortion advocates. In what many seem to believe is highly telling, an interviewer asks a group of demonstrating pro-lifers that, should abortion be declared illegal, if they would punish women who had abortions. Apparently the confused looks, murmured “I don’t know, I don’t think they should be punished,” and the otherwise general indication that they hadn’t thought much on the issue, somehow shows that pro-lifers do not believe that abortion is murder, or even the taking of human life. There is a huge amount of self-congratulatory straining of shoulders, clapping themselves on the back for having discovered this one-shot knockdown argument.

Continue reading...

33 Responses to And They Accuse Us of Brainless Sloganisms

  • Ryan,

    a good discussion.

    Third, to some extent this heinous act, while there is plenty of evidence that it does harm society in general, is a matter between the person who has procured an abortion and God.

    No less than a private murder of an innocent person in their home or anywhere else that they ought to be safe.

    I think in justice, one must give abortion the weight in law that it is due, and under the conditions that apply to homicide in general. The justice system has a means of considering the degree of free will attached to the killing of another human being under particular circumstances, and provides manslaughter when it is diminished. To specifically define in the law that for a mother to kill her unborn child as less serious a crime than a man killing a guard while robbing a bank is not just.

    Obviously, there would need to be intermediate measures to eliminate access to abortion and educate the populace before it could be charged criminally.

  • I’d be interested in reading anything the Church might officially say about this (???). Absent that, I’m sure there are some articles out there by Catholic thinkers on what just abortion laws would look like (???).

    (My wife and I were just talking about this last night, how Margaret Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale” has deluded people into believing that the pro-life cause wants a world in which every miscarriage is investigated by secret police or some such nonsense.)

  • No less than a private murder of an innocent person in their home or anywhere else that they ought to be safe.

    Of course, I realized that the statement I made sounds very soft, and I tried to qualify exactly what I meant. Let me try again to explain what I meant there.

    With abortion between a person and God, I don’t mean exclusively, because obviously abortion has severe societal impact. I mean that ultimately, all justice will be meted out, and everyone will receive their due. Some people who have abortion will sincerely repent, spend their time in purgatory, and eventually come out cleansed of their sins. Others will not repent, but due to ignorance of important details, they will spend their time in purgatory and come out cleansed. Others may persist in placing their lifestyle above God, reject God, and be lost forever. In the end, we will all reap what we have sown. To that extent, worrying much over the worldly punishments we would exact on people who have abortions is secondary to trying to outlaw abortion. Furthermore, the problem has legal ramifications that would be better served by a team of legal (and hopefully faithful Catholic) advisers who can try to make the system as a just as possible in light of the crime. Finally, trying to state on the spot what punishments should be exacted runs the risk of being vindictive and retributive in nature, rather than corrective and just. Thus, given the complications, the nuances, and everything else, it is simpler at the moment to say, “I know eventually everything will be squared away at the final judgment, and then it will be between a person and God, regardless of what happens legally.” It may seem like a cop-out, but I personally take it as an acknowledgment that the answers are neither simple nor adequately addressed by a lay person on the streets.

    I do believe a discussion of what abortions laws should look like is important, and that maybe we could take some time to look at them here. My view is in my post, but what do others think? Do you agree that a doctor giving the abortion is more culpable (or at least deserves a harsher sentence) than the woman receiving the abortion? Do we need to worry about the claims that every miscarriage would be investigated?

  • Ryan,

    I don’t think I misunderstood you, I just disagree. I would propose that, ultimately, abortion should be defined as homicide, the justice system would sort out whether the subject’s actions and state of mind merit charge and conviction under manslaughter or murder. Obviously, if I was involved in a case I would orient towards the former for mothers, and the latter for the purveyors, but not necessarily in every case.

    I would agree that in the general case the doctors deserve a harsher sentence.

    I don’t think we need to worry all that much about miscarriage’s being investigated, any more than they already are. Doctors or others who discover evidence of intentional miscarriage would have the same obligation to report such to the authorities as I would assume they do for any other case of wrongful death. It certainly would not be the place of police to seek out these cases without any sort of complaint. This will certainly happen though, and law enforcement should probably focus efforts on the sources of the drugs rather than the recipients.

  • I don’t think I misunderstood you, I just disagree.

    Well, obviously (tongue-in-cheek) if you disagree with me, you misunderstood what I said! Heh…

    How exactly, then, do you disagree? We seem to be in lockstep with that abortion should be defined as homicide, with some statutes that pay attention to the state of mind of the woman getting an abortion. My statements in regard to abortion being between the woman and God were not to exclude any legal ramifications, but to explain why some people haven’t given the punishment issue much thought, and why some are justified in not concentrating on the issue. It was also an attempt to show why this pro-abortionists aren’t justified in using the lack of a definite answer as indication that pro-lifers don’t really believe abortion is murder.

  • Ryan,

    some statutes that pay attention to the state of mind of the woman getting an abortion

    I believe the current statutes which make the distinction between manslaughter and murder #2, or #1, should suffice without a specific reference to abortion and the mother. It’s perhaps reasonable that this case could be addressed provided that it does not preclude the conclusion that mother is guilty of a greater crime should circumstances dictate.

  • I believe the current statutes which make the distinction between manslaughter and murder #2, or #1, should suffice without a specific reference to abortion and the mother. It’s perhaps reasonable that this case could be addressed provided that it does not preclude the conclusion that mother is guilty of a greater crime should circumstances dictate.

    Not knowing the exact statues, I might hesitate, but in general, yes, I’m lockstep with you here, as well.

  • Ryan,

    I’m lockstep with you here, as well.</i<

    I must have misstated my position then… heheh

  • Now if I can only convince American Catholic blogger Ryan Harkins to put up a pic for his ID. Maybe the flag of Wyoming?

  • Concerning the Video, a couple of points you did not make. First, when I am out on the lines with my sign, and someone approaches me, I get slightly nerved up, or stressed – not a lot, just a bit. There is always the possibility that person is going to start ranting at me or something. That stress response is increased for most people when someone is holding a camera on them. The stress is increased even more when they ask you a tough question, and they are obviously trying to get you to say something they can use. Second, most people, even those on the lines, are not practiced speakers adept at articulating ‘hot button’ topics on the fly. You can tell clearly several of the interviewees are just hoping the camera people will go away.

    It is more of a cheap shot that you make it out to be.

    Beyond that nit picking, great post. It is true we need to talk more in the pro-life community about what criminalizing abortion would really look like.

    Also, if abortion were criminalized, imagine what would happen. How would the opposition react? Not just politically. Statutes and penalties should also include dealing with people who run conspiracies (organized crime) to provide abortions.

    Thanks for a great post.

    Paul @GNW_Paul

  • Thanks for the input, Paul! I admit, I did gloss over the majority of the impact of being confronted by someone with a camera just looking to get a few snippits of dialogue that they can use. Thanks for pointing that out!

  • Ryan,

    University of Wyoming Cowboys!

    Nice pic.

  • Tito,

    Thanks. As per request, I have delivered. Of course, while the bucking bronco is one of UW’s great symbols, it was also on the back of the Wyoming state quarter. (And NOTHING else!!!! We could have put in Devil’s Tower behind it, but noooooo….) So I figured it would symbolize well both my Wyomingness and my University of Wyomingness, the former being important because I might just graduate one of these semesters… (Thinking December…)

  • Ryan,

    I love the Avatar also. Big Sky territory is my land, but Wyoming is just fine with me.

    @GNW_Paul

  • Paul in the GNW,

    Your next to get an avatar.

    Maybe some rain drops or Mark Shea in purple?

  • I tried, lets see if it shows up know?

  • Paul,

    If it doesn’t show up, it’s not a big deal.

    Email me if you have any questions and I’d be happy to guide you through the process.

  • Paul,

    Forgive me if you have done this already.

    Go to this link: http://wordpress.com/signup/

    Sign up and follow the directions there. You don’t need to create a blog to create a username. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and you’ll see what I mean.

    Good luck!

  • Ryan,
    Historically in the U. S. women who underwent illegal abortions were not punished. Prior to the 19th century incomplete understanding of human embryology combined with the difficulty of proving intent in an early abortion meant that there was little effort made to prosecute anyone connected.

    The first generation of feminists–the suffragists of the 19th century–opposed abortion to a woman. This was only partly because of the risks the procedure held for women; they–perhaps more than most men outside the medical profession–quickly realized the implications of the scientific advances in human development. The Revolution, the feminist paper launched by Susan Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, often decried abortion in the strongest terms and refused to sell advertising to purveyors of “patent medicines” (many of which were abortifacients.)

    Anthony, Stanton, and their sisters-in-arms called for punishment for those who performed abortions, but not for women. Their reasoning was simple. They recognized that, while there were women who aborted out of selfishness, most did so out of desperation and for reasons that stemmed from the inherent inequality of women in the society of the day. Women were, in a sense, co-victims with their murdered babies even when they survived the abortion.

    I think there is a case for continuing this policy were abortion to be outlawed again:

    1. While legalizing something does not make it right, it does create the public perception that it is. Likewise, outlawing something creates the perception that it is wrong. Thus there are good reasons for outlawing heinous acts apart from the opportunity for prosecution of the perpetrators.
    2. Our legal system allows for compassion in the case of crimes committed under duress. (Moreover, the ethics upon which the system is founded call for compassion in such cases.)
    3. Even today, women who resort to abortion frequently do so because they feel they have “no other choice.” Abandonment or compulsion by the baby’s father or other family members is still not unusual, and societal pressures still lead many women against their consciences. Abortionists are not as a rule coerced into the trade.
    4. Women procuring an abortion may or may not have full understanding that they are taking a human life; abortionists do, or should as they are usually medical professionals.
    5. Women who have abortions do not profit financially from them (there are nonlethal alternatives to the costs of birth and childrearing) and may suffer physical or emotional harm; abortionists generally profit handsomely.

    There. Now when somebody sticks a camera in your face, you have some ammunition.

  • Cminor,

    while it’s likely that a transitory period could be considered, it would be unjust to treat abortion so much less serious a crime than murder. What about women that kill born infants because of stress and pressure? Do they not largely meet those conditions? Now, every case is different and there is a degree of lattitude permitted to prosecutors, judges, and juries with regard to charges being laid, and sentencing, and that is the place to determine any mitigating circumstances, no differently than any other murder.

  • Now I’ll try that Avatar again.

    Cminor, I agree that the abortionists should be treated more severely under the law than the women, but women who seek out abortions should be judge in court – their circumstances can be considered then.

    Paul

  • NO, one more time

  • For lack of time to write more extensively: I agree with CMinor.

  • Matt and Paul,
    I’ll concur and dissent, but with the caveat that if you embark on this discussion with the guy with the camcorder, anything you say will be used against you. 😉

    Matt, you point out that abortion isn’t really different from killing a born infant, and I agree. Nonetheless, if the objective is to obtain legal protection for unborn children, I would caution against impeding that end in the name of justice. I don’t think we’d have a chance of overturning Roe v. Wade if we made prosecuting aborted women part of the deal.

    It will be a great day when aborting a preborn baby is regarded by society at large with the abhorrence normally reserved for infanticide, but I don’t think we’re going to accomplish that overnight. Our society may well evolve to that point eventually.

    In the meantime, we have to work with the society we have. Were an HLA to be passed tomorrow, we would still have to contend with a sizeable segment of the population that had become accustomed to thinking of abortion as a “right” and of the preborn baby at whatever stage as a “blob of tissue.” We can make it harder for them to act on that viewpoint, but we will not be able to change every heart and mind. (I live in former Jim Crow country. Trust me, it may take a few generations.)

    I’d predict that if we prosecuted aborted women, many would end up getting clemency because of duress anyhow–few women decide to have abortions independently of the decisions of others. There’s the impregnator’s part in the act to consider, for example, and often that of family members or employers. I don’t think it’s at all just to single out the woman for special punishment just because she’s the one who carried the baby. Besides, we could end up with some awfully crowded courtrooms. But this could turn into a very long discussion, so I’ll leave it at that.


  • I’ll concur and dissent, but with the caveat that if you embark on this discussion with the guy with the camcorder, anything you say will be used against you. 😉

    Agreed. Wrong time and place for sucha discussion.

    Matt, you point out that abortion isn’t really different from killing a born infant, and I agree. Nonetheless, if the objective is to obtain legal protection for unborn children, I would caution against impeding that end in the name of justice. I don’t think we’d have a chance of overturning Roe v. Wade if we made prosecuting aborted women part of the deal.

    It will be a great day when aborting a preborn baby is regarded by society at large with the abhorrence normally reserved for infanticide, but I don’t think we’re going to accomplish that overnight. Our society may well evolve to that point eventually.

    Absolutely, I am all for incremental approaches that make slow and steady progress. Even a law which bans abortion except in the case rape/incest/life of mother would be a massive step forward and would also serve to help develop the culture of life.

    In the meantime, we have to work with the society we have. Were an HLA to be passed tomorrow, we would still have to contend with a sizeable segment of the population that had become accustomed to thinking of abortion as a “right” and of the preborn baby at whatever stage as a “blob of tissue.” We can make it harder for them to act on that viewpoint, but we will not be able to change every heart and mind. (I live in former Jim Crow country. Trust me, it may take a few generations.)

    Very true, as I acknowledged earlier, a transitory period would be necessary.

    I’d predict that if we prosecuted aborted women, many would end up getting clemency because of duress anyhow–few women decide to have abortions independently of the decisions of others. There’s the impregnator’s part in the act to consider, for example, and often that of family members or employers. I don’t think it’s at all just to single out the woman for special punishment just because she’s the one who carried the baby.

    Here is where we depart company. I agree we shouldn’t single out the woman, and I’ve never said we should. Only that all the pertinent parties should charges to the extent of their participation, and degree of culpability. Let the legal system figure out the details on any particular case.

    Besides, we could end up with some awfully crowded courtrooms. But this could turn into a very long discussion, so I’ll leave it at that.

    What does the severity of the charge have to do with the degree of overcrowding? Or are you suggesting no charges at all?

  • Oh, I’m all for going after abortionists. Beyond that, no, I’m not for going after women; my intent was to suggest that if we did, it would be only fair to go after anyone who by action or inaction led the defendant to abort. Hence my remark about the “crowded courtrooms.” Somewhere in there was intended to be the suggestion that I think making a case stick at this point would be difficult given cultural factors. Sorry, it was late.

    At some point in the future, there may well be a case for prosecuting aborters. But I think society would have to have reached a point at which there was no compulsion to abort.

  • I’m not for going after women

    Could we apply this exemption to early infanticide? Or is it only for women who kill their babies in the womb that no criminal penalty applies? We must apply the law evenly, that is why justice wears a blindfold.

    action or inaction led the defendant to abort.

    Wow, that’s a giant leap of jurisprudence. There is no legal system in the world which would consider that standard to make a person an accomplice to a crime. If I don’t give money to a beggar, do I go to jail with him when he robs me, or someone else? Good grief.

    At some point in the future, there may well be a case for prosecuting aborters. But I think society would have to have reached a point at which there was no compulsion to abort.

    If a person is coerced into commiting a crime then there is either a diminished or eliminated culpability, the law provides for that and is within the power of prosecutors, judges and juries to respond accordingly. Why should there be a special case for women who murder their unborn children?

    My whole point is related to the ultimate situation in which abortion is not readily available on the open market. Where any abortions which take place will be obvious to the participants to be murder, if they proceed then they ought to be charged. Obviously, as long as abortion is legal, or appears legal it isn’t just to target those who reasonably believe they are not comitting a crime.

Under the Bus-A Continuing Series

Tuesday, January 6, AD 2009

obama-campaign-bus

This is the initial post in what I expect to be a long running series here at American Catholic:  members of the Obama administration who resign in disgrace.  First up:  Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico, nominee for Commerce Secretary, who announced on Sunday that he was withdrawing his name from nomination.

Why was he doing this?  Because he is enmeshed in a pay to play scandal.  Did this suddenly blow up?  Naah, this scandal has been brewing since 2004.  Why was he nominated?  Simple incompetence on the part of Team Obama, or did they not think it would matter until the Blagojevich indictment in Illinois?  Probably mostly the latter.  Expect more of this.  More than a few of Obama’s nominees, most notably Senator Clinton, have plenty of skeletons hanging in their closets.

Continue reading...

5 Responses to Under the Bus-A Continuing Series

  • Change? No. Business as usual? Yes.

  • Under The Bus indeed. Joining Rev. Wright, Fr. Pfleger, other undesirables. I sense the fine hand of our Secretary of State Designate in this affair. Icing somebody who threw her under the bus early in favor of the now President Elect. Speaks not only to the unwillingness of Obama’s aides to examine these dealings- just like the SEC to Madoff- but also the MSM’s refusal to report anything icky or nasty about a prominent Dem. Until it’s too late. Until John Edwards’ honey sings to the National Enquirer. Until Princess Caroline clutters interviews with ‘you knows’ and puffery. Of course we await the fun and frolic- a few hours from this writing- of the appointed successor to the Apostle of Hope and Change- another man of color- denied his Senate seat by Dingy Harry Reid. Would not have had this much fun if Johnny Mac squeaked out a win. Let the show roll on.

  • You have placed your finger on a weakness of the Democrats now that they are in power Gerard. Negative press coverage is painful for the party on the receiving end, but it can expose weaknesses and problem areas to be addressed. The slavish coverage that Obama in particular, and the Democrat party in general, receives from most of the media does not give them an early warning system for something that could long term be a major problem for them. If the puff coverage wanes it probably would be good news for the Democrats, but I expect the media to be carrying water for Obama unless and until some disaster of Biblical proportions ensues.

  • I heard Richardson was only nominated with the expectation he’d turn it down, thus making it look like they were reaching out to him and Hispanics, without having to have him in the Administration.

  • it’s interesting how Blagojevich seems so unaffected by all the chaos swirling around him; it’s as if he feels right at home…

Proposal: The Fair Fight Initiative

Thursday, December 4, AD 2008

As is observed every time we discuss Supreme Court appointments, there is very little pro-life progress possible under the Roe v. Wade regime, because anything which is seen as unduly obstructing a woman’s access to terminate her pregnancy (and thus use her constitutional right to “privacy”) is struck down by the courts. And yet, while abortion on demand is decidedly not popular according to the polls, Roe v. Wade mysteriously is. A solid majority of people way they want to keep Roe v. Wade, despite the fact that a solid majority would also be in favor of legal restrictions on abortion well in excess of what Roe allows.

It seems to me that one of the most difficult tasks for the pro-life movement is thus not to convince the population that abortion should be seriously restricted and reduced (banning would right now be a very hard sell, but it would seem that a great deal of progress in that direction would be possible) but rather to convince citizens that Roe is actually an obstacle to this. Thus, “the fair fight initiative”. The purpose would be (and the lawyers on here can inform me if this is indeed a legal possibility) for Congress to pass a law which would officially remove from the federal government (legislature and courts) any ability to restrict or allow abortion.

Continue reading...

7 Responses to Proposal: The Fair Fight Initiative

  • The Supreme Court reviews acts of Congress for constitutionality, and this legislation would be struck down under Roe and Casey, which both maintain that a right to abortion is present in the Constitution. Roe and Casey are an abuse of the text of the Constitution, but they are the law as long as Kennedy is the fifth vote.

    As to the questions posed:
    1) I think federalism arguments are useful to pro-lifers, but it is often noted that one’s position on federalism is often strongly governed by the underlying issue. E.g. – (the 1964 Civil Rights Act was a violation of federalist principles which I support).

    2) I do not think there would be much chance of persuading Democrats to support such an initiative because they would say it is right-wing abortion extremism clothed in federalism;

    3) I am not sure whether it would help or hurt the pro-life movement – it would serve an educational purpose for people who don’t realize that overturning Roe would not make abortion illegal, but it is also very unlikely to happen. I am inclined to think it would not be very helpful.

  • Justice Scalia was right when he said that the “sweet mystery of life” passage from PP v Casey “ate the rule of law.” With so many precedent land mines like those scattered about (Lawrence v Texas, Griswold v Connecticut, etc.), I don’t see how this could work. It’s not a bad idea, because you’ve correctly identified the misperceptions about Roe, but as a practical matter I think we (the citizenry in general) are too far along that line of reasoning.

    If, according to the Court, I get to define my meaning of existence, then I doubt I’ll be amenable to a states’ rights argument that could potentially chip away at my existential-defining rights…

  • “Roe would effectively be overturned by this in that it would be stated that the federal courts had no authority to deal with issues surrounding abortion.”

    It has long been a hotly contested question among lawyers and judges as to how far Congress can go in stripping the Supreme Court, and the lower federal courts, of jurisdiction in particular cases. Even if the Supreme Court ruled that such jurisdiction stripping legislation was constitutional, something I doubt they would do, Roe would still remain the law of the land. The state courts would almost certainly still rule that Roe established a right, under the US Constitution, to an abortion. Now if the highest court in a state ruled otherwise, than that would effectively overrule Roe in that state, since no appeal would then be available to the US Supreme Court if that tribunal had previously ruled constitutional the jurisdiction stripping legislation.

  • It’s an interesting idea. If it did, in fact, allow the states to pass restrictions on abortions, I would call it a big improvement for the pro-life side. Abortion would no longer be a “right”.

    And therefore, I think the chances are slim to none that Democrats would support it.

  • Donald,

    I think that many state courts would be fine with legislative restrictions on abortion if it was established that the Supreme Court did not have jurisdiction in this area. It would be analogous to same-sex marriage; different courts in different states would have different interpretations.

    At the same time, the Court could not uphold Congressional legislation depriving the Court of authority in this area without overturning Roe, Casey, Carhart, etc. which all assumed that abortion was a constitutional right. The federalism/legislative deference arguments were rejected in Roe and Casey; the Carhart majority must have believed the Court had jurisdiction in this area over Congress because the Partial-Birth Abortion ban it reviewed was passed by Congress. I think the proposed legislation would require Roe/Casey/Carhart to be overturned.

  • Update – Carhart would not need to be overturned, but the position of at least one Justice (either one of the dissenters or Kennedy) would need to change to uphold jurisdiction stripping.

  • The problem John Henry is that any legislative action could not be retrospective in nature. The US Supreme Court clearly did not have its jurisidction restricted when it decided Roe and, effectively, amended the constitution to add abortion as a right. That such an action was merely “a raw exercise in judicial power” as noted by Justice White, and not justified by the text of the Constitution, does not help the fact that the decision was made. I am afraid that almost all State Supreme Courts would still adhere to Roe on the basis that it was the last word on whether abortion restrictions are constitutional , as modified by the progeny of Roe such as Casey, by the US Supreme Court while the US Supreme Court had jurisdiction.

14 Responses to Rovian Roadmap

  • Thus the dilemma neatly summarized by Prof. Rove. Churchfolk- that is of the Caucasian variety- sat this one out. Got the vibe that McCain wasn’t up to their standards. Particularly on Life Issue Number One, trampled on by Obama campaign. Seeing a nice bubbling of this issue. Accurate and funnier summary circulated this weekend by Jonah Goldberg, one of our syndicated faves. No more mooshy moderates. No more Christie Todd Whitmans. Strong on life issues, free-market economy, support for the guys and gals in the armed forces. All else is far below in rankings. This effort will make the 2010 midterms more pleasant for many of us.

  • Mr. DeFrancisis I deleted your comment. This isn’t Daily Kos. Feel free to propound your ideas but I will not tolerate in my threads mere insult.

  • Mr. McClarey,

    That is in fact Bush’s nickname for him. It is not my doing.

  • John Henry: Did Mr. De Francisis refer to Mr. Rove as “word removed by Donald R. McClarey”.

    Yes he did John Henry and in my threads I am going to draw the line at such terms no matter who bestows them as nicknames. I expect that during the next four years debate will become quite heated politically and I am going to do my best in my threads to deal with ideas and not allow partisan passion to start an insult war that accomplishes nothing.

  • Shucks, you mean we don’t get to re-use Nixon’s nicknames for people?

  • Fair enough. Apologies for violating the rule. In any case, thanks for posting the article. I am glad to see that Republican party strategists recognize the importance of the pro-life movement.

  • No apologies necessary John Henry. I have seen quite a few political combox threads get too heated and degenerate into useless back and forth and I therefore am going to be proactive in eliminating items in my threads that I think could start a flame war.

    “Shucks, you mean we don’t get to re-use Nixon’s nicknames for people?”

    I am afraid Darwin that I would then have to make heavy use of “expletive deleted” editing!

  • I saw Karl Rove debating Comes (of “Hannity of’) on ESCR and the Mexico City policy last week. I believe Rove’s concern — counter the liberal caricatures of him — was genuine rather than manipulative.

  • Christopher,

    I have to ask because I cannot make your little avatar.

    What is it?

  • Karl Rove was interviewed in Newsweek recently — best line:

    Do you like Joe Biden?

    “I think he has an odd combination of longevity and long-windedness that passes for wisdom in Washington.”

  • I have to ask because I cannot make your little avatar. What is it?

    Tito — the painting is “crucifix 46”, by William Congdon.

    You can read about him here.

  • “I think he has an odd combination of longevity and long-windedness that passes for wisdom in Washington.”

    Heh.

    Strikes me that one of the interesting things about the Obama presidency is that Biden is not a remotely credible successor. He’d be 74 in 2016, and he was really more there to assure people that there would be an adult around if they weren’t sure about Obama’s experience.

    So if Obama is seen has having had a successful presidency, he won’t have a direct successor but rather an open field to vie to replace him. Unless he dumps Biden in 2012 and runs with a different VP then.

  • As for 2012, if Obama encounters the problems I expect him to encounter I wouldn’t rule out a challenge by Clinton. One way to forestall that would be to dump Biden and put Clinton on the ticket. Whether she would accept would depend upon how much trouble she believes Obama is in. In any case Biden is a completely dispensable figure with no independent following in the party who could be given the heave ho without a second’s hesitation. I think that is one reason why Obama picked him.

Political Intimidation and Persecution

Monday, October 27, AD 2008

The recent personal attacks and invasive investigation of Joe the Plumbers personal life is a scary thing.  Joe the plumber represents the everyday American, striving to better his lot in society.  By sheer coincidence Joe the Plumber was able to ask an innocent question to the Democratic candidate for president that seemed to put Senator Obama on the spot.  Then all hell broke loose.

I can understand if the far left goes far in their vitriol when their candidate was put in an unsavory position, but when the mainstream media began to jump all over Joe the Plumber I actually got a bit concerned.  I’m all for the vetting of candidates and hard-nose journalism, but the vitriol and aggressive journalism being exerted upon the McCain campaign and their supporters is practically non-existent on the Obama camp.

Continue reading...

56 Responses to Political Intimidation and Persecution

  • “I can understand if the Daily Kos, Vox Nova, and the nutroots community going ballistic that their candidate was put in an unsavory position…”

    “Brothers of Cain…”

    “With these thuggish Daley machine tactics being applied on a national scale are priests going to be investigated and prosecuted for preaching the sacrament of marriage is only between a man and a woman?’

    Tito,

    How long before your worthy contibrutors run away, with this type of stuff coming from their site’s founder?

    If you keep it up, I imagine a mass exodus soon….

  • Mark,

    Thanks for your prognostications.

    Where did I type, “Brothers of Cain…”?

  • Just a side note,

    Another TV station has been banned by Obama/ Biden

    http://www.breitbart.tv/html/206633.html

  • I agree that Sen. Obama’s campaign has not exactly been tolerant of dissent, and the treatment of Joe the Plumber by the media, more than the netroots, was disgraceful.

    That said, I think we need stronger evidence before we hit the panic button about Obama and our rights to free expression. The media and many of his supporters would quickly fall out of love with him if he began a ‘persecution of Christians.’

  • Mark,

    Thanks for the fraternal correction. Two out of three isn’t to bad for you.

  • “I call these folks crypto-Cain’s.”

    Sorry for my lack of precision in quoting. But did you cahange your original post? I seem to remember “brothers”…

  • Mark,

    That was from the “Catholics Switching to McCain” post I believe.

    Nope no brothers.

    But the other two were updated.

    Good eye.

  • I do think we are headed for a strong poersecution of Christians, most especially faithful Catholics who follow the teachings of the Church. Its the small things like the media’s unfiltered adoration of him, the attacks on Joe the plumber, the words of Biden about how we “won’t like what Obama does” after a crisis but that his supporters must stand by him, the folks who influenced his political thought, the messianic love by his followers, all little things that I think add up to something dark in our future.

  • Unbelievable that Tito would compare the “intimidation” of Joe the Plumber with the persecution of Christians. He is obviously clueless about real contemporary Christian persecution. Especially the kind actively promoted by the Republican party, especially Ronald Reagan and Bush I, throughout Latin America. His absolutely stupid comparison simply laughs in the face of the of the victims of REAL Christian persecution. Oscar Romero, pray for us.

  • Michael,

    Your one of the “Useful Idiots” that Lenin described.

    Are you talking about the “christian jesuits” that supported the Liberation Theology and the violent Sandistas Government? Which the current Holy Father condemned and his Great predecessor shook his figure at… aka Father Ernesto Cardinal.

  • Michael,

    Thank you for your charitable and constructive criticism.

    Especially asking for a non-canonized saint Osar Romero to pray for you.

    St. Maximillian Kolbe, pray for us.

  • Well, I disagree with Walter that something worthy of the term “persecution” will be officially inflicted on Christians by the US government at any point in the near future. I understand why people worry about it, but I think that the national belief in freedom of expression and religion is stronger than it is sometimes given credit for. (That, and I remember the unfulfilled prophesies of persecution under the Clinton administration.)

    However, Michael, you should get your facts straight. There’s no way that Romero could in any way have been killed with the support, tacit or otherwise of the Reagan administration, because he was assassinated in March 1980, eight months before Reagan was elected.

    So it would seem that his killing was the result of the REAL persecution of Christians supported by Carter — if that’s the argument you want to make.

  • Bret – No, I am primarily talking about the millions of innocent civilians, peasants, etc. who were killed by U.S.-backed governments. But I would include the many priests and religious who were killed by the same U.S.-backed policies, sure.

    If you think for one moment that these people deserved to die, whatever their political opinions were, you are no Christian. You can go to hell.

  • There’s no way that Romero could in any way have been killed with the support, tacit or otherwise of the Reagan administration, because he was assassinated in March 1980, eight months before Reagan was elected.

    I stated no such thing about Romero and Reagan. But if you want to sanitize the record of the Reagan and Bush presidencies with regard to Central America, good f–king luck.

  • Carter did support the same policies in Latin America. You are absolutely right about that. Romero was in touch with Carter repeatedly and Carter ignored him. Reagan and Bush continued and intensified those policies.

  • I don’t have any particular interest in sanitizing the Latin American policies of Bush, Reagan, Carter, Nixon, LBJ or JFK — but unlike you I don’t have an interest in overly demonizing them either. Much of the last fifty years of Latin American history is a succession of fascist thugs fighting communist thugs — with each side being thoroughly nasty people.

    US policy throughout the entire period was generally been one of trying to keep communists from gaining power (and thus supporting whoever opposed them) because of the way in which the USSR was using communist Cuba and communist militias in other countries to destablize the region.

    I’m not necessarily pleased with the people that US chose to support, but I see why it was judged to be the best of a bad lot at the time.

    Calling it religious persecution rather than a series of civil wars between fascists and communists is a real stretch, though. Generally attempted by those for whom passion serves as a substitute for thought. Speaking of which — I assure you that I can swear just as well as you can, but it adds little to conversation and if you can’t find more normal ways to express yourself I suspect that Tito will (quite rightly) delete your offending comments.

  • Calling it religious persecution rather than a series of civil wars between fascists and communists is a real stretch, though.

    Only if you ignore the fact that the U.S. gov’t explicitly targeted Catholic church leaders and liberation theology. Flyers in the streets of El Salvador reading “Be a patriot, kill a priest.” Romero, the N. American church women and the Jesuit martyrs were not mere “collateral damage” in a civil war. It was directly religious persecution.

    I could care less about whatever puritan language hangups you have.

  • I highly doubt that the U.S. government targeted Catholics to exterminate Catholics. Central America is 99% Catholic (give or take a couple of percentage points). So to claim that Catholics were targeted is a gross error in analysis.

    Your hyperbole to justify leftist positions painted in the blood of ancient martyrs does a disservice to their memory. It is unbelievably hebephrenic of you to do such a thing. No practicing Catholic would blaspheme the names of our ancient martyrs to promote your socialistic positions.

    Shame on you Michael I.

  • Pope John Paul II had a very clear idea of who he supported in Nicaragua.

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9906E4D61439F93BA35751C0A960958260

    As for language, of course you are foul mouthed Catholic Anarchist. That goes with your whole anarchist shtick right?

  • puritan language hangups????

    I suppose I could swear with the best of them… did once upon a time.

    Just don’t find it to be a very credible mode of discourse or argumentation anymore.

    I.e. it has nothing to do with puritanism, but rather with charity, Michael.

  • -I could care less about whatever puritan language hangups you have.-

    Nice. Multiple times contributors made attempts to speak rationally with you and you responded with profanity and disregard for their input. I think an apology is in order.

  • Michael,

    That someone in El Salvador (at least according to you) thought it to the benefit of his cause to kill priests does not mean that the US was actively supporting persecution. And frankly, those liberation theology exponents who deliberately aligned themselves with communist militias bear some blame in what happened as well.

    Surely your worldview can handle the “nuance” of real world cause and effect?

    As for my “puritan language hangups”, I don’t think that David Mamet fans can generally be accused of having a puritanical approach to language. But the fact is that God gave us the power of language for a reason. Why misuse it? Unless your points are so weak that you cannot make them with ordinary language.

  • So Michael,

    “I am primarily talking about the millions of innocent civilians, peasants, etc. who were killed by U.S.-backed governments.”

    You must be refering to the abortion policy of the Democratic Party and the one proposed by Obama where millions die each year.

    I never said priests who supported Liberation Theology deserved to die, but they worshipped a false religion and need to be corrected. Even the movie “Romero” pointed that out; and our Holy Fathers did do that.

    Just because I don’t argue with the revolutionary methods, does not make Christian… it is not I who ignore the cry of the innocent when they are butchered and it is called choice.

    By the way, I surprise you believe in Hell; I thought it was empty or did not exist?

  • I.e. it has nothing to do with puritanism, but rather with charity, Michael.

    Good point, Chris. And one that gives me a needed twinge of conscience since I frequently use words which are not profane in the plain sense, but are uncharitable in that they are intentionally derisive.

    Which isn’t very good either…

  • I highly doubt that the U.S. government targeted Catholics to exterminate Catholics. Central America is 99% Catholic (give or take a couple of percentage points). So to claim that Catholics were targeted is a gross error in analysis.

    […]

    That someone in El Salvador (at least according to you) thought it to the benefit of his cause to kill priests does not mean that the US was actively supporting persecution.

    You simply don’t know the history. U.S. involvement in supporting the killing of Catholic clergy, religious and laity is documented. Many of the killers involved were trained in the United States at Ft. Benning. It’s undeniable.

    Tito, it has nothing to do with justifying “leftist” ideology. It’s a matter of being honest about history. Even mainstream Catholics own up to the fact that the U.S. government was behind the killing of countless Latin American clergy, religious, and laity. You are are you one who is blinded by ideology such that you refuse to come to grips with the history of your political party and your government.

    And frankly, those liberation theology exponents who deliberately aligned themselves with communist militias bear some blame in what happened as well.

    Liberation theologians did not align with any militias.

    it is not I who ignore the cry of the innocent when they are butchered and it is called choice.

    Nor is it I. I am not pro-choice. Been to the “March for Life” twice.

    By the way, I surprise you believe in Hell; I thought it was empty or did not exist?

    Hell clearly exists. You are living proof.

    I.e. it has nothing to do with puritanism, but rather with charity, Michael.

    The real profanity is all of you making excuses for the slaughter of millions of Latin American people by your own government. Shame on you.

  • -Hell clearly exists. You are living proof.-

    Hail and well met, good fellow! The day is yours!

  • “The real profanity is all of you making excuses for the slaughter of millions of Latin American people by your own government. Shame on you.”

    What you are really ticked about Catholic Anarchist is that your side lost. Politics in Central America has been a deadly business since the nineteenth century. In the 20 the century the internecine warfare took on the coloration of the great struggle between Communism and the West. Blaming the US primarily for political violence in Central America is to betray an astonishing ignorance of the history of the various nations. Without the intervention of the US there would still have been great violence within El Salavador, Nicaragua and Guatemala, with the additional atrocity of the establishment of tyrannical communist regimes modeled on Cuba. I think it is a very good thing that the US prevented that.

  • Dear Michael,

    It is you who are making the excuses… not realizing that the U.S. was at war with one the major threats to Christianity… Communism. And to sit there and say, that American Foreign Policy under the Reagan and Bush Administration was evil is ridiculous. It was under Reagan and Bush that the U.S. defeated one of the greatest evils of man.

    There are many calamities in war… and many innocent people die, and I am not excusing the killing of the innocent, but you are ignoring what was at stake. World domination by the Communist party. Our goal was to stop the evil of Communism; you could see it in the Soviet Union under Stalin; you could see it in China under Mao; you could see in Vietnam under Ho; you could see it in Cambodia under Pol Pot; you could see in Cuba under Castro; you could see it in Nicaragua under Noreiga…

    We were fighting a war for the very survivial of Western Civilization, and you want to play these games of moral equivalence or worse… we were evil…

    There were many mistakes in our foreign policies dealing with Communist, but most of those were under Democratic Administrations… aka Kennedy the execution of Diem; Johnson letting the Media run the Vietnam war; Nixon (Republican) who went to China and his silly policy of Detente; Carter who was just a plain disgrace.

    You can say what you want, but the plain fact is the Liberation Theologian aligned themselves with the Marxist… and there have been records of Jesuits stashing machine guns for the “People” aka Communists.

    As a side note, am I hell or in hell or both – I am going to go with neither. 🙂

  • Bret – Stop making excuses for U.S.-backed slaughter of Latin American Catholics.

    Blaming the US primarily for political violence in Central America is to betray an astonishing ignorance of the history of the various nations.

    I am aware of the various histories and the u.s.’s relationship to them. The u.s. sided with right wing military governments throughout Latin America in order to stamp out “communism.” The u.s.’s targets explicitly included Catholics throughout Latin America who took sides with the poor.

    To the rest of you who do not believe that the u.s. would deliberately encourage the slaughter of Latin American Catholics, look up the “Santa Fe document.” See also Penny Lernoux’s book Cry of the People.

  • You simply don’t know the history. U.S. involvement in supporting the killing of Catholic clergy, religious and laity is documented. Many of the killers involved were trained in the United States at Ft. Benning. It’s undeniable.

    Some members of right wing militias who committed horrible atrocities were trained, earlier in their careers, in the United States, but that hardly means that it was actively the policy of the US to kill Catholics for being Catholic. The US policy was pretty clearly one of opposing the Latin American communists, and I don’t think it’s any more accurate to say that the US aim was persecution of Latin American Catholics than it would be to say that FDR’s aim in allying with Russia during WWII was the persecution of Cossacks and Poles.

    You of all people should understand that one can consider a particular party to be the best one to win control of a party without endorsing some of the immoral actions of that party — after all, you say that you prefer Obama to be the next president of the US despite his support for the mass killing of the unborn.

    Liberation theologians did not align with any militias.

    I actually chose my words rather carefully when I said “those liberation theology exponents who deliberately aligned themselves” because although the people you consider to be legitimate liberation theologians may not have aligned themselves with political violence, there were certainly those priests who claimed to preach liberation who did align themselves with violent parties. Going from what I can recall off the top of my head: several priests were involved in the Sandanista government, despite express disapproval from the Vatican; Haitian Fr. Aristide (eventually defrocked) repeatedly celebrated the “necklacing” of his opponents: tying their arms, putting a gas-soaked tire around their necks, and lighting them on fire.

    In short, as Donald pointed out: Latin American politics have been soaked in blood for a long time. I in no way defend the actions taken by the anti-communist forces in the various countries down there, nor do I think that the US government’s choice to support some of the more extreme right wing militias was wise or right, but to claim that the US was engaged in persecuting or supporting the persecution of Catholics for religious reasons is hyperbolic, and to claim that the communist forces were in any way deserving of admiration (or support) would be equally if not more wrong.

  • Incidentally, for an added level of irony, one of the positions of the much despised “neo-conservatives” which I found and continue to find myself much in sympathy with is that it is not an acceptable position for the US to simply support the existing local faction most in keeping with US interests, even if that faction has a bad habit of imprisoning and torturing its opponents, but that the US should instead seek to promote liberal democracy throughout the world.

  • “By the way, I surprise you believe in Hell; I thought it was empty or did not exist?”

    So American Catholic officially condemns those who dare to hope that all human beings be saved….?

    Is Von Balthasar a scapegoat around here?

    Unbelievable.

  • So American Catholic officially condemns those who dare to hope that all human beings be saved….?

    Bret is not one of our writers, and to be honest I couldn’t tell what he was getting at with that sentence anyway — I think there might be a typo in it.

    But though I’m in no position to condemn anyone, nor do I seek to be, I do think that Dante had a much more accurate appraisal of hell than Von Balthasar — for what it’s worth.

    Looking around the world, it is incomprehensible to me that hell should be empty — my great aim is simply to assure that I don’t myself make it any more full.

  • Our friends on the left are so devoid of hope and joy, it is no wonder the seminaries are full of conservatives and bereft of liberals. The only liberals in the Church are some aging radical priests who have no following. In reading some of the liberal’s posts here, I can’t tell if it is your own words or Bill Ayres’ talking points. Your rants about Latin America are truly troubling. Some of the most conservative people I know are Latinos along with Africans and Asians. They don’t own anything. However, they would like to, but you guys know better than them. Talk about elitist. They want to succeed and achieve but you guys are so caught up on Marx & Engels, you aren’t allowing these folks to live their dreams. I would also refer you to the many statements of Eduardo Versategui. Talk about being poles apart and that guy came from real poverty. My friends on the left, the McCain-Palin ticket is hardly that conservative. Senator McCain is frequently under attack from talk radio for not being conservative enough. I will leave you with a couple of thoughts how would the mainstream media react if John McCain said, “the poor you will always have among you.” (Mark 14:7) What would the mainstream media say if John McCain or Sarah Palin retold the Parable of the Talents and told the one who wasn’t producing that he would be thrown in hell for not measuring up? (Matthew 25:14-30) What about Saint Paul’s words concerning one must work before one can eat? (2 Thessalonians 3:10.) I am curious as to your thoughts.

  • Mark,

    So I disagree with Von Balthasar on one issue, and all of sudden “he is a scapegoat around here.” Goodness gracious.

    Darwin,

    Michael told me to go to hell, so I was trying to be funny. I guess I was not successful. 🙂

  • Michael told me to go to hell, so I was trying to be funny. I guess I was not successful.

    That was my basic impression — but some people take everything in the world so seriously that you have to address them on their own humorless terms at times. 😉

  • Bret,

    Who is it that you deem so incapable of (accepting) forgiveness?

    Your mother-in-law? 😉

  • I wonder how we can deny that persecution is coming when it’s already arrived in Europe and Canada. And we always seem to be just a few years behind those post-Christian nations in our rejection of God.

  • Michael,

    Thanks for your articulate response, it’s greatly appreciated.

    What Donald McClarey, Bret Ramsey, & Darwin said.

    🙂

    Mark,

    What Darwin said.

    🙂

  • Dave “Catholic Report” Hartline is rarely worth a reply, but here are a few points:

    Our friends on the left are so devoid of hope and joy, it is no wonder the seminaries are full of conservatives and bereft of liberals.

    1) Oh, I have as much hope and joy as I do hatred for the anti-Kingdom of death that you are pushing.

    2) I go to school with tons of seminarians. You characterization is wrong.

    The only liberals in the Church are some aging radical priests who have no following.

    Our of touch, obviously. Do you go to Mass? Are you a fallen away Catholic or something?

    Some of the most conservative people I know are Latinos along with Africans and Asians. They don’t own anything. However, they would like to, but you guys know better than them. Talk about elitist.

    Depends what you mean by “conservative.” If you mean “traditional,” sure. If you mean politically conservative, you’re quite wrong. Are you seriously saying that all Latinos, Asians, and Africans “don’t own anything”? It’s certainly elitist to lump them all together like that. Look, I live in one of the most diverse cities in the world. My colleagues here are from all over the world. I don’t need an education from you on how ‘they” feel or act.

    They want to succeed and achieve but you guys are so caught up on Marx & Engels, you aren’t allowing these folks to live their dreams.

    It’s funny that you think I sit around reading Marx all day. Truly funny.

  • Michael thank you for stating the true liberal agenda of keeping the poor down, that’s where the liberal elites would like to keep them, always have always will. I see you didn’t respond to Eduardo Verastegui’s comments did you? You should check out my interview with him. You guys are poles apart. Even Senator Obama hadnie things to say about President Reagan and yet you trash him. Talk about lbeing far left wing. Is it that funny to think you read Marx & Engels a lot? You state their ideals so often, I would have thought you read their works quite often. I need to get out in the world more, you say? My friend I have been to Latin America and Europe, I have relatives there. I am quite familiar with their views. As for my ecomonic status, I am the first to go to college in my family, actually only one of my four grandparents went past the 8th grade. My father is from Appalachia and I was a principal in a Catholic school there. I would love to see you spout your Socialist views to those folks, they would give you an earful and then some. My friend you need to get out of your latte liberal elite environment and see the real world, it might do you a world of good.

  • Michael thank you for stating the true liberal agenda of keeping the poor down, that’s where the liberal elites would like to keep them, always have always will.

    I agree with you about liberal elites. The key word, though, is ELITES.

    Is it that funny to think you read Marx & Engels a lot? You state their ideals so often, I would have thought you read their works quite often.

    Could you name some of them for me?

    I need to get out in the world more, you say?

    No, actually I didn’t say that at all.

    My friend I have been to Latin America and Europe, I have relatives there. I am quite familiar with their views.

    “Their” views? As if all people from Latin America or Europe think the same?

    My father is from Appalachia and I was a principal in a Catholic school there. I would love to see you spout your Socialist views to those folks, they would give you an earful and then some.

    Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the radical political history of Appalachia. Believe it or not — GASP! — there are socialists in Appalachia! Even in West Virginia, where I am from!

    My friend you need to get out of your latte liberal elite environment and see the real world, it might do you a world of good.

    Uhhh hhuhh.

  • Michael, I hope we can keep this civil. As for Socialists in West Virginia? Maybe a passing college lecturer who overstayed his welcome in Morgantown. Michael, the most liberal Democrat in West Virginia would fit into the mainstream of the Massachusetts GOP. As for the labor history of these radicals you mentioned, you left out the part about the folks from Appalachia throwing out the “Godless” radicals as they called them. As for the works of Marx & Engels, I did not take any Economics courses in Graduate School, but we did touch on Das Kapital in my Political Science courses. I understand the rudimentary parts of their thesis, but I am not an expert. I really don’t think you need to be to understand their theories and beliefs on human history, the acuumulation of wealth and the redistribution of wealth. I do not agree with their views that religion was devised to make us feel good. I also do not agree with their views that the poor need the elites to help them because they can’t do it for themselves. I am an optimist by nature and faith and I believe God gave everyone certain talents and abilities.

  • As for Socialists in West Virginia? Maybe a passing college lecturer who overstayed his welcome in Morgantown.

    Um, no, they’re everywhere in WV. Also remember that until the first (s)election of George W. Bush, WV was firmly a democrat state. There are even socialists in Super-republican Wheeling.

    I really don’t think you need to be to understand their theories and beliefs on human history, the acuumulation of wealth and the redistribution of wealth.

    If you don’t need to be an expert, then you should be able to talk about their view of human history and their theories regarding capitalist accumulation. I’m all ears.

    I do not agree with their views that religion was devised to make us feel good.

    That’s not quite what Marx said about religion. Try again.

    I also do not agree with their views that the poor need the elites to help them because they can’t do it for themselves.

    You got that right, at least. And that’s great. I don’t agree with them on that either. Nor do any of the so-called “Marxist” liberation theologians you love to hate. This is why I am an anarchist, not a marxist.

  • Michael I.,

    Watch that pride of yours buddy. Be kind and charitable.

    Your brother in Christ.

    🙂

  • Michael, you seem to be questioning me on my comments that Karl Marx didn’t say religion was made up to make us feel good. Are you saying that Marx didn’t say, “Religion is the opiate of the people?” Now I am much better in basic conversational German than I am at reading academic texts, but I can dig that quote out to see if it is the right translation. Something tells me it is.

  • “Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.”
    Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

  • My point is that Marx did not simply believe religion was invented to make us “feel good.” His critique of religion is that it often functions as an ideological cover for and justification of injustice and that it is used in order to help people cope with their own oppression. And his critique is absolutely right. Religion often IS used that way. I’d have to look it up, but I believe he also talks about the revolutionary potential of religion to expose injustice.

  • Marx of course was absolutely blind to anything beyond the material world. One of the many fatal flaws in his philosophy is that true human happiness and contentment really has little to do with material possessions. That of course is the great truth that Jesus taught in his lillies of the field sermon. That is also why high priced shrinks catering to the wealthy do so well. Marx was a good stylist but his philosophy is a dead end.

  • One of the many fatal flaws in his philosophy is that true human happiness and contentment really has little to do with material possessions.

    If you think that Marx’s philosophy includes something about material possessions being the key to human happiness, then you have seriously misread Marx.

    There are obvious problems with Marx’s philosophy, and obvious ways that it is incompatible with the Christian worldview. But as a critique of capitalism, it is dead on. It’s important, I think, to understand what he is saying and what he is not saying before writing him off completely.

  • This reminds me of something a Mr. Ilyich Ulyanov delivered in a speech to advocates of the MORCPB on December 6, 1920.

    I can’t remember whom Mr. Ulyanov was referring to but it is apropos here.

  • “If you think that Marx’s philosophy includes something about material possessions being the key to human happiness, then you have seriously misread Marx. ”

    Marx was a complete materialist Catholic Anarchist. He believed there was simply nothing beyond the material. As his right hand Engels put it:
    ” The materialist conception of history starts from the proposition that the production of the means to support human life and, next to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of all social structure; that in every society that has appeared in history, the manner in which wealth is distributed and society divided into classes or orders is dependent upon what is produced, how it is produced, and how the products are exchanged. From this point of view, the final causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought, not in men’s brains, not in men’s better insights into eternal truth and justice, but in changes in the modes of production and exchange.”

    Once the working class had the means of production in their hands to satisfy their material needs, the dictatorship of the proletariat would reign and the classless society would result. That Marx was wrong about this, as he was wrong about most of his predictions regarding capitalism, history amply demostrates. I enjoy reading Marx for much the same reason I enjoy reading Freud: both men could write with style and verve, but as world views both philosophies have less to do with reality than a Bugs Bunny marathon.

  • But marxist materialism does not mean the same thing as the word materialism as we use it in conversation. It does not mean valuing possessions as the key to human happiness. That is, in fact, to get his economics completely backwards. His materialism has to do with his denial of the transcendent, not how he views possessions.

  • M.I.

    Correct

    Marx more or less posited a natural human telos, in which the human being is to become himself, in which his activity would beyond the enslavement in servile labour, hitherto historically necessary in order to subdue and tame external and internal nature, and virtually invariably exploited by the powerful or ‘haves’.

    This end, however, is not just to take pleasure in a crass ‘materialism’ as we commonly call it, but to actualize himself in the liberal–albeit immanent, not transcendent–employment of his creative energies in a world made (as much as practically possible) free of scarcity and serviilty.

  • I actually agree that there’s *some* validity to Marx’s critique of capitalism, but we shouldn’t be surprised that he’s own proposal was a failure… apart from its obvious faults as described (in part) here, it shares the same lineage with capitalism (Enlightenment liberalism/humanism). (Cf., e.g., Benedict Ashley, _Choosing a Worldview and Value-System, ch. 2)

  • …it shares the same lineage with capitalism (Enlightenment liberalism/humanism)

    Yes Marx’s own thought does.

    It’s important, though, to recognize the revisions and rethinking that marxism, neo-marxism, etc. has gone through. There is no one “marxism,” and marxists disagree about all sorts of things.