Pope Francis Meets With Kim Davis

Wednesday, September 30, AD 2015

Pope Francis and Kim Davis

Just when I think I have Pope Francis figured out, I am back at square one.  Inside Vatican is reporting that Pope Francis met secretly with Kim Davis:

On Thursday, September 24, in the afternoon after his historic address to Congress, just a few minutes before flying to New York City, Pope Francis received, spoke with, and embraced Kim Davis — the Kentucky County Clerk who was jailed in early September for refusing to sign the marriage licenses of homosexual couples who wished to have their civil marriages certified by the state of Kentucky.

Also present was Kim’s husband, Joe Davis.

Kim and her husband had come to Washington for another purpose — Kim was to receive a “Cost of Discipleship” award on Friday, September 25, from The Family Research Council at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

Pope Francis entered the room.

Kim greeted him, and the two embraced.

There is no recording of this conversation, or photographs, as far as I know. But “there is not any thing secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hidden, that shall not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17)

Kim Davis gave me this account of the meeting shortly after it took place.

“The Pope spoke in English,” she told me. “There was no interpreter. ‘Thank you for your courage,’ Pope Francis said to me. I said, ‘Thank you, Holy Father.’ I had asked a monsignor earlier what was the proper way to greet the Pope, and whether it would be appropriate for me to embrace him, and I had been told it would be okay to hug him. So I hugged him, and he hugged me back. It was an extraordinary moment. ‘Stay strong,’ he said to me. Then he gave me a rosary as a gift, and he gave one also to my husband, Joe. I broke into tears. I was deeply moved.

“Then he said to me, ‘Please pray for me.’ And I said to him, ‘Please pray for me also, Holy Father.’ And he assured me that he would pray for me.”

Joe told Kim that he would give his rosary to her mother, who is a Catholic. And Kim then said that she would give her rosary to her father, who is also a Catholic.

Vatican sources have confirmed to me that this meeting did occur; the occurrence of this meeting is not in doubt.

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54 Responses to Pope Francis Meets With Kim Davis

  • Good for Francis. I had a wish that he would join a march in front of a Planned parenthood aboritorium.
    Imagine the response from both sides as they pass each other shifting their evolving likes and dislikes.

  • I read about this yesterday. I hope it is true. If true, then it should be publicized far and wide..

  • Pope Francis seemingly defends marriage between a man and a woman. Very sad that this should shock us.

  • . On a similar note, he blasted the pro gay/ pro euthanasia Mayor of Rome as a pretend Catholic. Could he have been touched by the US meeting with Davis into “judging” the Mayor at some level…

    http://news.yahoo.com/pope-shows-no-mercy-blasts-rome-mayor-pretend-201914363.html

  • BTW, folks, the news articles published on Yahoo and elsewhere are getting the expected cursing from all the pelvic crazed baboons.

  • I hope this meeting with Kim Davis represents a shift in Vatican attitudes and policies toward the sodomites

  • On the papal flight back to Rome after the World Meeting of Families, Pope Francis was asked about Kim Davis and he didn’t know who she was.

    I’m digging around to try to confirm this story, if it’s true or not.

  • Tito,
    Some degree of non familiarity is shown in the gifts of rosaries to two Protestants who then gave them to Catholic parents. I suspect he was hurriedly briefed on the story and presumed they were Catholic.

  • The yahoo news article about the mayor of Rome described him as unpopular in the Italian press. If you’re wondering why the pope is publicly criticizing him, but not Pres Obama etc, their comparative popularity might be relevant info.

  • Bill Bannon,

    I agree.

    I’ve dug around and about 40 minutes ago, the mainstream media (secular and liberal press) just exploded on the news.

    The Vatican, Fr. Federioc Lombardi, has confirmed the meeting took place but won’t divulge any details.

    The lawyer for Kim Davis, Staver, also confirmed the story.

    Kim Davis as well has confirmed the story.

    The story looks genuine and true.

  • NBC on the 28th prior to knowing about Davis has the Pope saying to reporters on his return plane that conscientious objection in such situations is a human right..

    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/pope-francis-visits-america/pope-francis-i-understand-anger-catholic-church-sex-abuse-victims-n434681

    Good response by Francis on the matter of those intimately radicalized against God for the sex abuse by priests…” I understand that woman”.

  • “…pelvic crazed baboons”
    .
    Paul W. P. you are a genius of the keyboard.

  • Pingback: Pope Francis Met With Kim Davis - Big Pulpit
  • From Yahoo, I’m not surprised. The NHL blog I used to read there, Puck Daddy, was run by a big time gay marriage supporter. I presume he is not alone at Yahoo with that view.

  • If they were intellectually consistent, the papal positivists would treat this the same way they did, say, his phone call to Jaquelina Lisbona–i.e., it’s just her version of the story, she has an interest in it being spun this way, she misunderstood, etc.

    Now, I’m inclined to think this turned out the way the Davises said it did–but I also believe Mrs. Lisbona, too. Getting in contact with the Pope would be pretty well unforgettable.

  • How did ETWN coverage miss this?

  • Explains the sudden spinning of the Pope telling Islamic folks who don’t like being associated with terrorism that they should, y’know, CONDEMN IT as “pope calls Koran a book of peace.” (He did one of those “hey, if you are saying X, then you should do Y” rhetorical devices.)

  • This just confirms my belief that the Pope had his hands tied, to a certain degree, on the stage of Catholic political issues, coming to America. He can criticise an Italian mayor because frankly, he isn’t really anybody. Criticise an American congressman, and you’ll feel it. As someone previously said, congressman act like little gods.

    he isn’t rocking any boats publicly, because they’ll pressure him out like they did with Benedict. I’m no conspiracy theorist, but it all makes sense. He is treading his power very carefully, whilst staying true to the Gospel.

    And it also confirms my initial belief that his speech to congress was intentionally diplomatic, otherwise he would not have been invited.

    I Wouldn’t be harsh on him on this matter. We don’t see what really goes on behind those Vatican walls, nor the conversations or the decisions that are made.

    This is not excusing his lack of a “heavy hand”. This is understanding the logic behind his politics.

    PF is a good man doing a very tough job. I Pray for the Pope.

  • Bergolio’s “leaked” (Really? You believe that?) “secret” encounter with a Christian who refused to issue sodomite “marriage” licenses, in my opinion, was a media stunt, well organized by his buddies in the Vatican.

    Seriously now, are we THAT naive?

    “WOW, you see, Bergoglio is against sodomite marriage”… REALLY?

    The guy should be ashamed of himself pretending to be the Vicar of Christ and doesn’t have the COURAGE of a Protestant to declare and proclaim his faith and say to a nation that “what you did was wrong and either you correct yourself or you will go to Hell.” How many public speeches and homilies he gave in America? How many times he explicitly condemned the sodomite marriage law when he had the chance? Not one single time. Most, if not all of his gibberish was about his freaking mother earth and government’s redistribution of wealth.

    Do we have a Catholic Pope?

  • Will you please decide if the Vatican is great at setting things up, or horrible? And if they want to slap orthodox Catholics in the face, or make us like them?

    Also, how on earth a “well organized media stunt” manages to go past the Catholic media that would welcome it, mostly bypass the official media, and only sneak around the back with the far side of crazy that hate the Pope because he worships anything but their goals?

    I found out about it this morning from someone that assumed it was another “all dogs go to heaven” type rumor that went viral.
    ….
    I think the Pope has rather poor personal judgement on a lot of issues, and without a doubt holds some very questionable notions. That’s different from not being Catholic.
    You don’t think he’s strident enough, great. You don’t agree with his tactics. I don’t, either, but your choice of tactics is rather questionable when it drives someone who agrees that the Pope should be acting differently out of wanting any kind of association.
    He may be a milksop, but at least he doesn’t violently drive off everyone who isn’t perfectly in step.

  • Question: Is Bergoglio embarrassed to be Catholic?

    There is no doubt at all, if you watched his actions and words since he was put on Peter’s Chair, that when addressing non-Catholics, when addressing issues that are contrary to Catholicism when meeting the non-Catholics, he NEVER says anything defending the teachings of the Catholic Church and never says any objectionable word to these people.

    He wants to be nice to sinners. He wants to be popular and the media darling. He is from this world.

    Instead of correcting sinners, he welcomes them and even declares a year of “mercy”.. i.e. everything is allowed for a year because that’s what it’s really about… the “year of mercy” … starting with allowing and facilitating for Catholics to divorce.

    And don’t assume that after the year, everything will go back “Catholic”.. No Sir Ree Bob!!!

    Once he opened the door for “everything is allowed”, and the Synod will confirm it, it will be the new “normal” just like sodomite “marriage” is the new “normal.”

    Do we have a Catholic Pope?

  • “He may be a milksop, but at least he doesn’t violently drive off everyone who isn’t perfectly in step”

    Agree Foxfier.

    I wander sometimes, in the way some Carholics carry-on, what differentiates them from a fanatic Muslim Ayatollah. ?

  • While the pope’s meeting with Davis is, in itself, praiseworthy, I find it strange in the context of the entirety of Francis’ visit to the U.S. When the pope is speaking about the hoax of man made global warming errr Climate Change and the naked anti-death penalty activism, he is not only bold but in your face about it. But on stuff like this that actually has bearing on Catholic Christian morality, he is oh so secretive. Something doesn’t smell right here.

  • >>>Throughout his papacy, Francis has insisted that marriage is between a man and woman, but he didn’t emphasize this church teaching during his trip because he wanted to offer a “positive” message about families to America, Lombardi (Bergoglio’s “press secretary”) told reporters<<<

    I wonder what would Jesus say or do….

    Correcting sinners, leading them to Heaven or telling them everything you're doing is honky-dory, it's "mercy time"??? "I'm not going to offend you, I'm going to be nice to you because that's how you're going to believe in me…..I'll let you live and die sinners."

    Hmmmm

  • Ezabelle –
    bodycount?
    ***
    Greg- if we assume he really is trying to draw people into the faith, and that in the US the global warming and anti-death-penalty folks are most likely to be, ah, not in agreement with the important bits… he may be trying to get common ground, get them to like him, so they’ll listen to him enough to save their souls. That whole “find common ground” tactic.
    He didn’t make a secret of the visit to the Little Sisters, but it didn’t much hit the news outside of Catholic circles– and they’re nuns, people would EXPECT him to visit them!
    I heard folks talking about his speech to Congress and expected a lot of open borders junk…I go read it, and find that he did a good job of drawing a distinction between what HE supports, and what principles we need to apply.
    ( I sure as heck don’t think it’s very loving to be the pressure relief valve for Mexico, so that the folks who are most desperate can take the “steal a loaf of bread when starving” route with immigration laws rather than improving the country.)
    Of course, that goes back around to the question of his practical judgement… did he KNOW that his speech would be mined and treated as ammunition for exactly the opposite, to drive people away from the Church? If not, who the heck isn’t doing their job about briefing him? I know that they mentioned he doesn’t let anybody know everything he’s planning to do, but that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t get a blessed briefing about “ways the English language media is going to screw this up.”

  • What would Satan do?
    ———————————

    Satan would be nice to people, all people because he wants to have followers. So, he will not offend anybody. He will welcome everybody. He will be merciful to everybody. He will not correct anybody who offends God.
    .
    Instead, he will tell everybody that there are no sinners as fas he is concerned.
    .
    He will give people the impression that God is judgmental, not nice, bigot, discriminatory, and evil. But that he isn’t any of these.
    .
    He is merciful, loving, caring, welcoming, accepting, forgiving.
    .
    He will let you do anything you want and he will never judge you but instead he will encourage you and help you do what you like to do.
    .
    Satan would be the good guy and God the bad guy.
    .
    Satan will appoint a representative on earth. And who can represent him better than the pope himself, the Vicar of Christ, Satan’s sole enemy?

    Bergoglio is leading souls to Hell.

  • “Bergoglio is leading people straight to hell”. Ok. We’ll tally them up at the end of his papacy. If you believe some, the body count is going to be huge!

    It seems he won’t please anyone until he starts condemning the infidels to hell. Sounds like another religion to me.

    His name is Pope Francis, not Bergoglio.

  • Some, err, many so-called “Catholics” venerate to the point of almost worshiping humans instead of their creator. And I don’t care if this human is the pope or not. He was created just like the rest of us and unfortunately, Jesus is ignored even by the pope. If Jesus, with a BIG Halo, was walking in St. Peter’s Square while ANY pope is doing his round, people will still be cheering for the pope and ignore Jesus. I bet my life on it.

  • I rarely comment despite the growing hatred and vitriol so common on almost every online news outlet. I did not expect to find the same entrenched intolerance in reading a Catholic publication. Obviously I disagree with most of you. Kim Davis is breaking the law. If her principles and conscientious objection are more important than her $80,000+ a year salary, then she should quit. It is not her right or job to adjudicate who may love and who may marry.

    Like millions of others who claim rich faith in God, Davis is usurping His right to make judgement. Reading many of these comments, it seems you think God applauds intolerance, hatred, and judgement. That concept goes against everything I was taught as a Catholic, including that He loves all of his children. I simply cannot fathom why so many of those who profess abiding conviction in God’s plan and wisdom, do not trust his Judgement. It is, or should be, at the core of our faith.

  • Err…whatever JPIV…and in more important news, I received this letter from RTL this afternoon…

    Good morning all,
    I am speaking at RTLA Conference tomorrow.
    However at the last minute yesterday Peter Dutton cancelled the visa of the keynote speaker Troy Newman due to pressure from the far left pro- abortion lobby lead by opposition leader Penny Wong.
    Troy Newman is the President of Operation Rescue who have exposed Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted foetal tissue.
    Troy Newman landed at Melbourne Airport at 7am this morning and is currently being questioned in immigration. RTLA have sent a lawyer and many people are lobbying Peter Dutton to reverse his decision.
    Please pray that righteousness, truth and wisdom will prevail and no weapon formed against Troy and his wife Mellissa (and their family in the US) will prevail.
    Thank you so much.
    Kind regards,

    * Penny Wong is a left-leaning federal politician in opposition. She is also alesbian with two children conceived via IVF through a donor.

    Lois

  • Sorry to bombard Donald- but this is also happening currently in Australia – if anyone is interested.

    Perhaps the effort in micro-analysing PF could be put in fighting and defending our own Catholic communities.

    “As you may have heard, Archbishop Julian Porteous is being taken to the Anti-discrimination board in Tassie, (Tasmania, Australia), by the greens representative, for distributing the “Don’t Mess with Marriage” pastoral letter to parents at Catholic schools and also to Catholic parishes. Aside from the great power of prayer, this petition is another active way to support the Archbishop and to join your voice in support of marriage:

    http://standwithporteous.com

  • “to adjudicate who may love and who may marry.”

    Nan, do you realize just how ridiculous you sound? Throughout all of recorded history marriage has been between men and women, and that remains the teaching of the Catholic Church. You act shocked and outraged because many of us do not agree that same sex marriage is marriage. This is an innovation of the past quarter century, still opposed by most of the globe, and imposed upon most of the nation this year solely by judicial fiat, and you act as if gay marriage was handed down by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. How utterly bizarre.

  • “Is Bergoglio embarrassed to be Catholic?” Well yes, of course, when it comes to certain issues that all his well educated friends in high places are against. God bless him for the meeting, but the lack of openness about it sends the message loud and clear. I was instantly reminded of the scene from Blazing Saddles when out of gratitude an old woman brings the black sheriff a fresh baked pie and asks him if he has the decency not to mention it to anyone. After all, appearances you know.

  • Comment of the week F7. Take ‘er away Sam!

  • Congratulations to Pope Francis for his mysteriously stealth support of Kim Davis and against SSM. Let us hope he comes out again , openly and frequently, in support of Catholic doctrine. When he does this he is most impressive and worthy of attention.

  • “This is an innovation of the past quarter century, still opposed by most of the globe, and imposed upon most of the nation this year solely by judicial fiat, and you act as if gay marriage was handed down by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. How utterly bizarre”.

    Amen.

  • Nan –
    your trigger-word program needs work. When claiming to respond to comments, it helps if the topic you’re commenting on was actually MENTIONED in the comments; two dozen comments into a thread, they’re all about figuring out the Pope, and your “oh I OF COURSE am always here” comment is about…. a totally unrelated subject.
    Not just name-calling and lying, but doing a bad job of it. Dang.

  • “Big underground success”!
    Just maybe the last Our Father of the rosary said by the faithful for the intention of the pope and other prayers for him are being heard.

  • Foxfier:

    The anti-death penalty movement effectively exploiting the Church hierarchy and using it as a wedge between pro-lifers to advance their anti-life agenda (yes the anti-death penalty movement is anti-life at its core) has long proved the whole “find common ground tactic” a failure. It seems to me even St John Paul II started to realize that taking sides on capital punishment was a mistake. When Cardinal Ratzinger sent that letter to Cardinal McCarrick stating that Catholics enjoy a “legitimate diversity of opinion” with regard to capital punishment, he acting not merely on his own personal behalf, but in his official capacity as head of the CDF. To my knowledge, he said nothing publicly about the death penalty as Pope Benedict XVI. I searched in vain to find any statements to that effect. And now Pope Francis not only digs up the whole anti-death penalty nonsense, he ups the ante with his opposition to life sentences.

  • Greg-
    I don’t disagree on how effective it is, at least in the US, but it is still something a person can reasonably disagree on…especially when they are charismatic.
    ***
    Given that the Pope obviously doesn’t trust organizations to have power– even while he thinks they MUST have that power– supporting life in prison over death penalty makes sense. (Do YOU trust Iran’s use of the death penalty?!) Same way his view of capitalism makes sense if he thinks crony capitalism is normal.

  • Foxfier:

    First of all, Pope Francis opposes life sentences. He calls it a “hidden” death penalty. Do I trust Iran’s use of the death penalty? I don’t trust Iran. It has nothing to do with the death penalty per se. Our very judicious use of capital punishment is in no way comparable to the way it is used in totalitarian hell holes like Iran, China, North Korea etc. The pope surely knows that. If he doesn’t, his ignorance is scandalous. We don’t execute people for expressing political disagreement or engaging in homosexual acts, or the like. I think the fact of the matter is this pope is more concerned with advancing an ideological agenda than he is the mission of the Church.

  • It doesn’t matter if he knows it’s different in degree, if he’s bought into things like the Innocence Project’s stories that it’s not different in kind.

    GIGO.
    Same reason it’s not good for the Church to jump into scientific situations, it confuses folks about her authority; a simple and LOUD lay-out of the principles involved– without their preferred course of action even mentioned— would be nice, but… yeah, I’ll take a pony, too…..

  • I think the very low key, later leaked meetings with the Little Sisters of the Poor and Davis (well, in Davis’s case, as I understand it, the Vatican didn’t even leak it; an American made the claim and the Vatican didn’t deny it, was how the story first broke) show a distinct difference.

    America has probably more people who would be attracted to a guy who talks about conscience rights and freedom of religion than people who are attracted to a guy who talks about the evilsi of air conditioning.

    The only way making one message loud and clear, and the other muted and unadvertised, is so that he can emphasize one, and leave a bread crumb for orthodox Catholics who want to think that the pope identifies with them too.

    But the idea that this is a good evangelical strategy is not convincing. 1 because the Good News himself probably priorities life issues and the freedom to worship him above air conditioning, and 2 because, this guy has never made Jesus the focal point of his public life. Yeah, he talks about him, but proclamation of Jn3:16 sounding concepts is not a priority with this guy when we are honest with ourselves.

    Priorities. What are yours?

  • Autocorrect apparently wet crazy on the above, apple culpa.

  • I don’t care if he “identifies with” Snips on My Little Pony– and, frankly, that’s the kind of thing that does actually matter, immensely, to the sort of folks that he’d be trying to reach if my theory is correct.

  • “…if he bought I to the Innocence Project”

    Maybe the Church hierarchy will buy into common sense. I’m not holding out too much hope of that happening anytime soon.

  • Re local DC FOX news this a.m. – Kim Davis’ lawyers say she and her husband met with PF for 15 min in private. The Vatican says PF met with a group of people inclluding Davis at the Vatican embassy before leaving for NYC. That he did meet in private with someone, but it was not Kim.

    Well someone is lying. What a mess.

  • To CAM. I guess it was too good to last. Since they are getting flak from their gay constituents the Vatican is walking back, the now infamous (apparently to them), Kim Davis episode. What a bunch of mealy mouthed creeps. Disgusting. Let us hope the news report on this was incorrect.

  • I am disgusted again: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/vatican-publishes-clarification-on-pope-s-meeting-with-kim-davis
    .
    Maybe we should start paying attention to our local parish briest and our local diocesan bishop. And if we don’t have a good parish priest, then maybe we should change parishes until we find one. Maybe in the end it is best if we pay no heed to what comes out of the Vatican – it is just too darn depressing.

  • What in the world? The Vatican’s comment on the meeting with Davis…( Pope Francis: ” Stay strong”) now says the meeting should “not be considered as support for her position.” Apparently the Vatican sees Francis’ words …stay strong…as possibly an exhortation to do push ups and sit ups every day. The translation of English into further English continues.
    Seriously this could have one legitimate nuance if a moral theologian from a Rome university called the Vatican and said that in his opinion the cooperation of a County Clerk was remote material cooperation with a homosexual marriage …somewhat like a Catholic fuel truck driver delivering heating oil to an abortion clinic….bad looking but permissable. If that type of cooperation in sin technicality motivated the Vatican, they should have revealed that and given a lesson in moral theology according to the opinion they are favoring while other moral theologians might take a stricter view and see it as sinful cooperation. But by the Vatican not explaining their comment, it sends a signal to active gays like those at NCR combox that change…repealing Romans chapter one….is possible.
    Was this motivated by a moral theologian phone call or was this motivated by a gay sympathetic Vatican worker.

  • “Was this motivated by a moral theologian phone call or was this motivated by a gay sympathetic Vatican worker?”
    .
    I dunno probably the latter: lavender mafia. I have no familiarity with moral theologians. I imagine it’s very hard work making up stuff both about God and about morality. My reaction to the news that Pope Who had met with the brave woman was, “A stopped clock is correct twice each 24 hours.” And now they screwed up that.

  • Greg Mockeridge,.
    You like Pope Benedict probably for other reasons but he publicly as Pope called for the elimination of the death penalty unfortunately. What is bizarre is that all three of these last three Popes did not look at figures for those regions of the world which have millions of poor people which is where deterrence becomes obvious….China murder rate 1 per 100,000/ non death penalty Brazil and Mexico 24/20 respectively….per 100,000. Links to Benedict calling for its end follow:

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-benedict-end-the-death-penalty

    http://ccky.org/2011/11/pope-benedict-xvi-praises-efforts-to-ban-the-death-penalty/

  • Paul W Primavera-
    hold the disgust, and remember that’s from the guy who is careful with his words.
    Looking at what they’re careful to label the full statement, here:
    http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/10/02/_statement_on_popes_meeting_with_kim_davis/1176270
    it jumps that he’s dancing around something by being very, very specific… I would guess that the Pope didn’t give anybody a heads up about this.

The Left Has No Credibility on Abuse of Power Issues

Friday, November 21, AD 2014

Those of you who remember the space of time between January 20, 2001 and January 20, 2009 might recall that cries for George W. Bush’s impeachment rang out roughly every five seconds from some corner of the American left (and some libertarian circles as well). The Iraq War was a primary impetus for these calls, because I guess continuing a war that had been granted Congressional approval but was becoming increasingly unpopular ran afoul of some constitutional principle. Of course this was not the only motivating factor behind calls for Bush’s impeachment. At some point late in his second term his mere existence was viewed as grounds for impeachment. The most serious centered around supposed abuses of executive power, highlighted especially by his use of presidential signing statements. The anger over these relatively mundane statements revealed more about the bone-dry ignorance of those who sputtered the most outrage over them, because it was quite evident that these individuals didn’t even know what these signing statements were or what they were meant to accomplish.

George W. Bush was obviously not the first, and he certainly won’t be the last president to receive such treatment. Every president faces hostility from members of the opposing party, and every president will be the subject of frivolous and not-so frivolous impeachment talk. Perhaps this is just indicative of our polity’s reflexive desire to howl “IMPEACH HIM!” at every instance of executive overreach. After all, while Bush was not guilty (IMO[NS]HO) of any impeachable offense, arguments that he extended his executive powers to the breaking point are not exactly unreasonable. That Bush merely continued the long tradition of augmenting presidential powers beyond their constitutional breaking point is really no excuse. We can endlessly debate the merits and demerits of executive actions undertaken by our 41st president, but the point is that they are in fact at least debatable.

Which brings us to our 44th president. President Obama’s imperial edict issuance of amnesty by executive order is so breathtaking in its abuse of presidential authority that even advocates of comprehensive immigration reform such as the editors of the Wall Street Journal are left shrieking in horror. We’ll leave aside the Journal’s insistence on using the idiotic phrase “anti-immigration” Republicans and note that even they think he clearly went beyond the scope of his powers. There is no shortage of commentary explaining why President Obama lacks such authority, so I’ll leave that discussion aside right now (although here’s one for starters). I also won’t get into a detailed discussion of what the Republicans ought to do (although you can go here, here, here and here  if you’d like).

What I would like to note is the utter silence of the left on this issue. Actually, it’s not really silence – rather, the left is in full-throated support of this action. Okay, maybe that’s not true, as some on the left don’t think the president went far enough. But, by and large, the left is completely hunky dory with this decree. And they are not alone, as some of the geniuses at the USCCB had already signaled their contentment with Obama’s act of contempt for the constitution. We’re not even two years removed from the Bishops marching out in opposition to the HHS contraception mandate, and there they are providing a wink and a nod this round of executive overreach. I guess some violations of the constitution are okay so long as they accord with your policy preferences.

Which brings us to the nub of the issue. After years of bemoaning every real and imagined instance of George W. Bush overreach, the left in almost its entirety has either remained silent or actively applauded every instance of Obamian executive rule-making. This most recent example is just the latest in a long line of executive abuses of authority by this administration. Whether it be forcing Churches to cover contraception, or “recess” appointments when there wasn’t any Congressional recess to be speak of, or name your favorite example of some departmental rule-making beyond the scope of its Congressional authority, and there have been opportunities for honest citizens of the left to cry out in opposition. But their silence is deafening.

You see for progressives it’s all about the ends, not the means. If the ends are good, then the means don’t really matter. Now if the ends are bad, then well, any means is de facto illegitimate.

Jay Nordlinger talks about an example of this from his own personal experience.

In 2003, I was at a dinner party on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. All liberals, plus me. The Texas sodomy decision had just come down from the Supreme Court. My hostess asked me what I thought. I said that I agreed with Justice Thomas — who wrote essentially this: “The Texas law is dumb. If I were a member of the state legislature, I would vote to repeal it. But I find nothing in the Constitution that forbids a state to make such a law.”

My hostess looked at me as though I had come from Mars. She did not look at me with hostility. She looked at me with incomprehension. If you’ve got the power, you use it, for good ends. If you’ve got the black robe and the gavel — why, ram home what is right!

When I was in college, and figuring things out, I noticed that the Left had a disdain for process. They would use it, if the process was to their advantage. But they would jettison it the second the process was inconvenient. What mattered was the result, period.

Jonah Goldberg has written about all this in his excellent book, Liberal Fascism. For over a century the American left has steadily worked to undermine the constitutional process. It has done so via the Courts. It has done so through the presidency. It has even done so in subtle ways culturally. Why do you think there has been so much bellyaching about gridlock and Congress’ failure to “compromise?” The left wants to leave the impression that the failure to produce legislative action is a bug and not a feature of our constitutional process. This impatience with our peculiar republican form of government is what has spurred all of the actions that have degraded our constitutional system.

It is tempting to bemoan the hypocrisy of the left and its refusal to hold President Obama to the same standards it held President Bush. But the left is not being hypocritical, at least not now. No, the real hypocrisy occurred in the years between 2001 and 2009 when the left pretended to care about things like separation of powers, checks and balances, and limits on the Executive’s authority. In reality, they didn’t give a fig about any of these constitutional checks on the presidency except insofar as the wrong guy got to exercise said authority. So when Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, or some other individual with an -R next to his name next occupies the Oval Office, please lend all leftist cries about abuse of power all the credence they deserve.

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5 Responses to The Left Has No Credibility on Abuse of Power Issues

  • The left has no credibility.
    .

    Ed Driscoll: “Grubering also helps to define the relatively recent trend on the left not just to lie — that’s always been a component of the left — but to openly admit to lying as an unalloyed good to advance the Noble Cause.”
    .

    Sean Davis: “Gruber was an Obamacare architect who helped draft the law. This is a fact regardless of whether it’s currently convenient for the Left.” Things that are inconvenient for the left aren’t “facts.” They’re things “Republicans claim.”

  • Jonah Goldberg has written about all this in his excellent book, Liberal Fascism.

    He also wrote about it in today’s g-file.

    “As I’ve written many times before, the story of the progressive movement can best be understood as activists going wherever the field is open. If the people are on your side, expand democracy. If the people are against you, use the courts. If the courts are against you, run down the field with the bureaucrats, or the Congress, or the presidency. Procedural niceties — the filibuster, precedent, the law, custom, the Constitution, truth — only matter if they can be enlisted to advance the cause. If they can’t, they suddenly become outdated, irrelevant, vestigial organs of racism, elitism, sexism, whatever. Obstruction, or even inconvenience in the path of progressive ends is prima facie proof of illegitimacy. The river of history must carry forward. If History hits a rock, the rock must be swept up with the current or be circumvented. Nothing can hold back the Hegelian tide, no one may Stand Athwart History. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. This is the liberal gleichschaltung; get with the program or be flattened by it.”

  • 100% correct, Paul Zummo.

  • I think Raoul Berger may have been the last man of the left to be animated by a respect for rules and procedure, though I suppose a case could be made that Nat Hentoff, Alan Dershowitz, and Jerilyn Merritt have such respect in certain contexts. Prof. Berger was admitted to the bar around the time my grandparents were married, so it’s been a while.

    What we’re attempting to cope with (and we cannot) is that half the political spectrum (the half favored by the word-merchant sector) has at the apex and center of American political life decayed into a criminal organization. They are protected by elements of the legal profession who are criminal themselves. This is not going to end well (and may end with large swatches of the bar being dealt with rather crudely).

  • “Obstruction, or even inconvenience in the path of progressive ends is prima facie proof of illegitimacy. The river of history must carry forward.”
    .
    Don’t they know that the world is round and what goes around comes around and it picks up speed. Progressives in their mindless lust for power have not yet realized that the world is not flat, or if the world is flat they will eventually fall off.
    .
    The most hilarious situation would be if the progressives hurried up and found out that they have become Republicans. If Obama can be dethroned.

Various & Sundry, 9/4/13

Wednesday, September 4, AD 2013

The Priest’s Side of the Confessional

When Simcha Fisher wrote last week about reasons to go to Confession, someone protested that Priests would be feel burnt out from hearing too many Confessions.

Well scratch that excuse off the list because Priests actually get quite a lot out of administering the Sacrament.

Permits for Baptism

Elaine mentioned this in the comments of yesterday’s post.

A few weeks ago my office in Rolla received a phone call from church members who expressed concern about the Park Service requiring permits for Baptisms in the rivers of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Yes, you read that correctly, the Park Service was actually requiring churches and pastors to get a permit in order to perform Baptisms.

After learning of this ridiculous rule, I immediately contacted Bill Black, the Superintendent of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. In a letter, I expressed my serious concerns about the permit requirement and need for a 48-hour notice. I told Superintendent Black that the permit requirement would hurt church ceremonies that have happened in our region for generations and the condition also would infringe upon the religious liberties of the families living in the Eighth District.

The Superintendent reversed this silly rule, but this is just the beginning.

Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens to Promote Obamacare in Maryland

And just when the thug Ray Lewis was no longer a member of the team, now there’s another reason to despise the franchise located 35 miles to my north.

It’s the first official partnership formed with a sports franchise to encourage participation in President Obama’s signature healthcare law.

The White House had sought national partnerships on ObamaCare with the NBA and the NFL, but both leagues backed away under pressure from congressional Republicans.

Obama’s Last Intervention Has Really Worked Out Well

Hey, remember our last efforts at helping out that Arab Spring? The results aren’t so hot.

Yet now Libya has almost entirely stopped producing oil as the government loses control of much of the country to militia fighters.

Mutinying security men have taken over oil ports on the Mediterranean and are seeking to sell crude oil on the black market. Ali Zeidan, Libya’s Prime Minister, has threatened to “bomb from the air and the sea” any oil tanker trying to pick up the illicit oil from the oil terminal guards, who are mostly former rebels who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi and have been on strike over low pay and alleged government corruption since July.

As world attention focused on the coup in Egypt and the poison gas attack in Syria over the past two months, Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi two years ago. Government authority is disintegrating in all parts of the country putting in doubt claims by American, British and French politicians that Nato’s military action in Libya in 2011 was an outstanding example of a successful foreign military intervention which should be repeated in Syria.

The Buck Stops Way, Way Over There

Every now and then I reflect on what a cowardly, petulant individual we have in the White House, and I just weep.

Enough of Woody Allen Catholicism

Pat Archbold thinks it’s time we have a bit more John Wayne and little bit less Woody Allen.

Alert Jody Bottum

Even noted non-social conservative Ace of Spades is getting sickened by the bullying of Christian businesses.

But what we see here in Oregon — as we saw earlier in New Mexico, and as we will see everywhere, unless we do not pass a law sharply delimiting people’s right to sue people for unamerican, subversive crime of nonconformity with the current temporary government’s ephemeral cultural allegiances — is the attempt of a group of people who have long contended that they merely wish to be left alone to live their lives in peace suddenly feeling a little power and deciding that now that they have a short-term burst of political muscle, they may now indulge in the bullying and coercion they once thought was kind of a bad thing.

Northern California County Votes for Secession

Not gonna happen, but still amusing.

Jack Won’t Be Back

Nicholson is done with acting. While many will no doubt remember him most for scenes from The Shining and A Few Good Men, this is my favorite Nicholson role.

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17 Responses to Various & Sundry, 9/4/13

  • Paul Z. or Don,

    As an off-topic inquiry…what ever happened to the contributors section of TAC?

  • Re the “baptism permits” story: it’s not uncommon for parks or other facilities open to the public to require advance notice or permission to stage events like weddings, family reunions, etc. simply to prevent conflicts — what if two or more groups show up at exactly the same time wanting to use the same location or facility? Logically, one could apply the same system to church groups gathering for baptismal ceremonies and it would not be inherently wrong — as long as it was fairly and consistently enforced.

    That said, it does appear that the NPS was engaging in some selective enforcement of this policy, especially since these baptisms (as far as I can tell) are probably not much bigger than a typical swimming/float party on any given weekend, and don’t last nearly as long.

  • Pat Archbold thinks it’s time we have a bit more John Wayne and little bit less Woody Allen.
    Generally a good idea.

  • “Not gonna happen, but still amusing.”

    Such movements are beginning to spread in the country as red rural areas sicken of being governed by blue cities. I would keep my eye on this movement, especially as blue states continue down the path of bankruptcy in more ways than one.

  • My excuse is I don’t want to bore the priest with my sins. I have to admit that I am not that good at being that bad anymore.

  • Such movements are beginning to spread in the country as red rural areas sicken of being governed by blue cities. I would keep my eye on this movement, especially as blue states continue down the path of bankruptcy in more ways than one.

    The rigidities of the political order given the evolution of settlement patterns in this country have left a number of states in the following condition:

    1. They are demographic behemoths; and

    2. The are assemblages of incompatible components, and one portion of the state is functionally a tributary of the other.

    Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Arizona, Nevada, California, and Hawaii all have one or the other problem; Maryland suffers a variant of the latter problem and Minnesota, Utah, Colorado, Washington state, and Oregon may end up in that zone in the coming decades.

    A repartition of territory is very much in order, but it would require multiple constitutional amendments passed in series and a difficult deliberative process.

  • All that would be necessary would be Congressional approval and approval of the old state and the new state as the creation of West Virginia demonstrated. Difficult but not impossible, especially under crisis conditions and with the Republicans in control of Congress and the White House. I can think of a few states in the South where Democrats might be in favor of such a division.

  • The Priest’s side of the confessional:

    The Church forgives sins. The state prosecutes crime. This is the essence of the principle of separation of church and state. The men ordained to the Holy Priesthood still retain their citizenship as ordinary persons and members of the state. Ordinary persons who are citizens and who are not called to a vocation to serve the Catholic Church as priests remain ordinary citizens, members of the state and are called laity.
    It is a crime to allow a baby raping murderer to live and breathe his crime every moment of his despicable murderous life in prison. It is a crime to expose the warden, his family, the guards, the doctors and nurses and the contractors who serve in the prison to the murderous rages of the capital one murderer. The homicidal maniac must be taught that he is going to be put to death by the very power of attorney and the virtues, especially of JUSTICE that he rejected.
    These are the marks of a civilization and the reverse of: “Do unto others as you would be done unto.” It is not the job of the priest, or bishop or the Catholic Church to execute capital one punishment, which is the temporal punishment due to capital one homicide. It is the job of the state to prosecute and punish capital one homicide and execute the temporal punishment.
    A truly penitent murderer will have expired with grief at the thought of his crime against God and man. Therefore, the state must deny the murderer time to relive his crime. The state must enable the murderer to repent of his crime. The Catholic Church must forgive the crime and pray for the murderer’s soul.
    So, the USCCB has rightfully come out against capital one punishment. The laity and the state must do its job of prosecuting capital one homicide. Thomas More, now Saint Thomas More told his executioner to do his job well and not be afraid.

    P.S. Yesterday, I was excoriated in public for not being pro-life, perhaps because I have not done my job as well as I might, but because I know the catechism of the Catholic Church calls for the execution of capital one punishment, the death penalty, for the takers of innocent human life. For the state to allow homicidal maniacs to survive their victims is nothing less than human sacrifice. The killer has taken the life of his victim. Now, he must live it. The victim is dead.

  • The state can only ban capital punishment by banning homicide.

  • I was thinking of something more comprehensive and flexible. An alternative might be for states to reconstitute themselves as confederations. The state would remain as a data collection unit and as a unit for Congressional representation. There would be a common constitution and some portmanteau bodies to propose constitutional amendments, interpret that document, and administer elections which cross internal frontiers. Otherwise, the components of a confederated state would have separate law codes, separate governments, and lead separate lives. There might be a number of candidates for this institutional form, among them Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Illinois (!), Arizona, Nevada, California, Hawaii, &c.

    You could append to that an innovative use of the practice of interstate compacts. Two adjacent states are reconstituted as confederations and then one component of each is associated through an interstate compact which creates a municipal corporation; New York, Washington, and Philadelphia would be the obvious candidates for that. Alternatively, you might set up spare regional governments of small states in New England or the Plains, or the Mountain West. The regional governments could handle lumpy public works and the governance of the medical profession, the public universities, and some watersheds. Greater capacity at the periphery = less excuse for centralization.

  • Art, funny you should mention Illinois as a possible candidate for “confederated” statehood. The biggest problem I see with the Chicago/Downstate divide is NOT that city and rural people “can’t get along,” or that Chicagoans despise Downstaters or vice versa.

    The biggest problem is simply trying to apply one set of laws and rules to such divergent environments. I see this not only with the “big” laws like gun control, but with all sorts of “smaller” regulations governing significant details of daily life, business, etc. A law or rule drawn up with the needs of urban or suburban residents in mind simply may not work in a rural environment.

    Here’s just one example: A couple of years ago the state proposed new regulations for nursing homes that would require at least 20 percent of each resident’s hands-on care to come from licensed RNs. Hiring RNs is not a problem for Chicago area or suburban nursing homes; most of the “better” ones already meet or exceed that standard. Downstate, however, it’s a big problem because there just aren’t enough RNs to go around and most of them will choose to work in hospitals for better pay and benefits rather than in nursing homes. I talked to several nursing home administrators who said it was well nigh impossible to hire RNs for any position below administrator once you got south of Springfield or Champaign. The rule was proposed with good intentions, but it just would not have “worked” outside of the Chicago metro area, and was eventually dropped. And as I said, that’s just one of many examples. It got me to wondering if it wouldn’t just be easier to have separate statutes and administrative codes for each region… which is basically what you are suggesting here.

  • John Wayne at least in the movies, believed in Victory. We did not pray for peace at Lepanto but Victory. We celebrated Victory at the end of WWII. Appeasement is a measly peace.
    Constantine did not hear or see “In This Sign coexist ” It was in this sign Conquer- a word that is anathema to today’s thinking.
    Yes evil is happening but nor to us, not to us.
    If we think not “getting involved in the middle east will keep the peace we haven’t learned much.
    We can cry peace peace but there is no peace.
    St Francis went into the sultan’s tent for purposes of evangelization. He survived. The Franciscan protomartyrs however died at the hands of the religion of peace. That war continues today.
    I don’t think of bombings or air strikes but an action much more personal and directed (Special forces?) against the strong men, perhaps a deterrent to other strong men. Are we considering that?
    At one time President said out loud that we would get the perpetrators-find out who they are and get them– I think that should be our public aim- not threatening bombings over the heads of the populace, but let it be known that we aim to find the perpetrators and get them in as surgical an operation as we can.
    hand wringing and mumbling doesn’t deter anyone.–and first of all we have to get over the stateside partisanship and realize that we have enemies that want to put an end to our partisan ways permanently

  • I think Elaine has it right. Requiring a permit to make private use of public property is not a violation of religious freedom. If the permit was denied, it would be a different story.

    Even noted non-social conservative Ace of Spades is getting sickened by the bullying of Christian businesses.

    A business refused to serve gays but when gays and their allies boycott the same business it is objectionable. Mayeb the compromise is that businesses that don’t want to serve the general public need put up signs in their window saying who they do not serve.

  • Mayeb the compromise is that businesses that don’t want to serve the general public need put up signs in their window saying who they do not serve.

    Most already do.

    They say “we reserve the right to refuse service.”

    Incidentally, it’s not that they “refused to serve gays.” It’s that they refused to take actions which could be interpreted as endorsement of homosexual activity.

  • Such signs would have no legal significance to help the owners of the business and would be taken as an admission of an intent to discriminate.
    In another victory for the glorious cause of forcing people to knuckle under to gay activists, a cake store is going out of business:

    “A follow-up to the story of the New Mexico photographer who lost her court battle after refusing to take a job at a gay wedding. Different state and a different trade this time but a similar result potentially: The business owners in this case said no when a lesbian couple came into the shop looking for a wedding cake. The latter filed a complaint with the state under the relevant antidiscrimination law and an investigation, which could have taken up to a year, was launched. The bakers, having already been targeted for a boycott by opponents and likely fearing the expense and aggravation of a long court battle themselves, decided to close the shop and move operations into their home, which presumably renders the business “distinctly private” and therefore beyond the reach of the state’s public accommodations law. (Does it?)

    Watch the extended interview with them about what they’ve gone through, paying special attention to the bit in the middle about “mafia tactics” by some gay-rights supporters. Two interesting wrinkles to this case vis-a-vis the New Mexico one. First, remember that Dale Carpenter and Eugene Volokh argued on the photographer’s behalf that, because photography is an art and inherently expressive, forcing her to cover an event to which she’s morally opposed necessarily violates her right of free expression. The same isn’t true, wrote Carpenter, of “more mundane and generic services (like cake-baking).” Presumably he’d agree with the gay couple, then, that the bakers have no right to refuse service. I’m not sure I grasp the distinction, though: In both cases, the business owners are being asked to celebrate an act to which they conscientiously object by producing a beautiful product in its honor. What’s more expressive, framing a shot of a married couple posing or crafting an elaborate cake to glorify the occasion? I’m not sure that there’s more artistry in photography in this case.

    Second, note what the guy says in the clip about how they’ve made cakes for this couple before. They don’t refuse to serve gay customers, they refuse to serve gay weddings specifically. The same is true, I assume, of the New Mexico photographer. That’s a potential line of attack for social-conservative pols as they start to push back against cases like this — this isn’t a categorical refusal to serve a minority group, it’s a religious objection to serving at one particular type of event in which that group participates. That may not help them legally but it’ll help in the court of public opinion, where the majority in support of religious exemptions in situations like this is already overwhelming. I’d be surprised if we don’t start seeing legislative hearings about it, whether in Congress or at the state level, sometime next year.”

    http://hotair.com/archives/2013/09/03/oregon-bakery-closes-doors-after-state-investigates-over-refusal-to-cater-same-sex-wedding/

    The only right, beyond abortion, that most liberals hold sacred is their right to compel you to agree with them.

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Various and Sundry, 8/15/13

Thursday, August 15, AD 2013

Biblical Roots of the Teaching of the Assumption

Msgr. Pope drops some knowledge on this Feast Day.

The actual event of the Assumption is not described in Scripture. However, there are “assumptions” recorded in the Scriptures and the concept is thus biblical.

  1. It happened to Enoch in the Old Testament The Book of Genesis records: Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away (Gen. 5:24). Hebrews 11: 5 elaborates: By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was attested as having pleased God.

  2. It also happened to Elijah as he walked with Elisha: And as they still went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven….And he was seen no more. (2 Kings 2:11 ).

  3. Some say Moses too was taken up since his grave is not known. As we read in yesterday’s first reading at Mass: He was buried in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is (Dt. 34:6). The text of course does not say his body was taken up and if it was, it occurred after death and burial. Jude 1:9 hints at the fact when is says, But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses….. (Jude 1:9) Some further credibility is lent to the view of him being assumed by the fact that he appears alongside Elijah in the Transfiguration account. Some of the Church Fathers held this view and there is also a Jewish work from the 6th Century AD entitled The Assumption of Moses that represents the tradition of his assumption. But in the end the Assumption of Moses only a view held by some and it not officially held by the Church.

More at the link.

Obama worse than Nixon? Well duh.

Presidential powers have been expanding almost exponentially for about a century. We have seemingly reached a point where the President can act without Congressional authority for any reason at all. George Will captures why Obama’s administration has been especially pernicious.

Explaining his decision to unilaterally rewrite the Affordable Care Act (ACA), he said: “I didn’t simply choose to” ignore the statutory requirement for beginning in 2014 the employer mandate to provide employees with health care. No, “this was in consultation with businesses.”

He continued: “In a normal political environment, it would have been easier for me to simply call up the speaker and say, you know what, this is a tweak that doesn’t go to the essence of the law. . . . It looks like there may be some better ways to do this, let’s make a technical change to the law. That would be the normal thing that I would prefer to do. But we’re not in a normal atmosphere around here when it comes to Obamacare. We did have the executive authority to do so, and we did so.”

Serving as props in the scripted charade of White House news conferences, journalists did not ask the pertinent question: “Wheredoes the Constitution confer upon presidents the ‘executive authority’ to ignore the separation of powers by revising laws?” The question could have elicited an Obama rarity: brevity. Because there is no such authority.

This inspires Will to compare Obama with Nixon.

In a 1977 interview with Richard Nixon, David Frost asked: “Would you say that there are certain situations . . . where the president can decide that it’s in the best interests of the nation . . . and do something illegal?”

Nixon: “Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal.”

Frost: “By definition.”

Nixon: “Exactly, exactly.”

Nixon’s claim, although constitutionally grotesque, was less so than the claim implicit in Obama’s actions regarding the ACA. Nixon’s claim was confined to matters of national security or (he said to Frost) “a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude.” Obama’s audacity is more spacious; it encompasses a right to disregard any portion of any law pertaining to any subject at any time when the political “environment” is difficult.

Wounded Warriors Unable to Eat at Dining Hall

You just sometimes have to wonder if people inside the government are capable of rational thought.

The Glories of the Arab Spring Continue Apace

Well at least the UN is on the case.

The UN Security Council is calling on both the Egyptian government and the Muslim Brotherhood to exercise “maximum restraint” and end the violence spreading across the country, which has claimed more than 600 lives.

Council members called for national reconciliation, expressed regret at the loss of life and sent sympathy to the victims.

Up next: a very strongly worded letter.

One Step Forward, One Step Back

Leave it to Major League Baseball to come to its senses regarding replay, and then ruin this moment of clarity by aping the NFL’s absurd challenge system.

Mmmmmm. Bacon.

I heartily endorse this recipe. Store bought bacon will just never suffice again.

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Government Tyranny? Where Would We Get That Idea

Wednesday, May 22, AD 2013

Drew M who blogs at Ace of Spades put together this video compilation.

Of course you have to be some kind of paranoid loon to think that the ever-expanding size of  our government poses some kind of threat to the liberty of American citizens. I mean it’s not like the government is tapping not only the phones of reporters who dare question the regime, but those reporters’ parents as well.  Ummmmm . . .

Well, you know how it is. When a reporter misbehaves, an administration sometimes has to call his parents…or, just seize their phone logs.

Bret Baier revealed Tuesday that, according to Department of Justice documents, one of the numbers listed in DOJ’s demands “also relate to James’ parents’ home in Staten Island.” I can’t yet find a Fox follow-up story on the revelation, but the Staten Island area code, 718, shows up twice in DOJ’s filing in the Stephen Jin-Woo Kim case. The documents are posted here by the New Yorker.

There’s more video at the link, where you can also find this post from Kirsten Powers.

Turns out it’s a fairly swift sojourn from a president pushing to “delegitimize” a news organization to threatening criminal prosecution for journalistic activity by a Fox News reporter, James Rosen, to spying on Associated Press reporters. In between, the Obama administration found time to relentlessly persecute government whistleblowers and publicly harass and condemn a private American citizen for expressing his constitutionally protected speech in the form of an anti-Islam YouTube video.

Where were the media when all this began happening? With a few exceptions, they were acting as quiet enablers.

As Powers goes on to elaborate, it’s not as though Obama and his team didn’t send out early warnings that media questioning of the One would not be  . . . appreciated.

“What I think is fair to say about Fox … is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party,” said Anita Dunn, White House communications director, on CNN. “[L]et’s not pretend they’re a news network the way CNN is.” On ABC’s “This Week” White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Fox is “not really a news station.” It wasn’t just that Fox News was “not a news organization,” White House chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel told CNN’s John King, but, “more [important], is [to] not have the CNNs and the others in the world basically be led in following Fox, as if what they’re trying to do is a legitimate news organization …”

These series of “warnings” to the Fourth Estate were what you might expect to hear from some third-rate dictator, not from the senior staff of Hope and Change, Inc

Yet only one mainstream media reporter—Jake Tapper, then of ABC News—ever raised a serious objection to the White House’s egregious and chilling behavior. Tapper asked future MSNBC commentator and then White House press secretary Robert Gibbs: “[W]hy is [it] appropriate for the White House to say” that “thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a ‘news organization’?” The spokesman for the president of the United States was unrepentant, saying: “That’s our opinion.

Trashing reporters comes easy in Obama-land. Behind the scenes, Obama-centric Democratic operatives brand any reporter who questions the administration as a closet conservative, because what other explanation could there be for a reporter critically reporting on the government?

Now if you listen to certain doyens of the left, there is only one man to blame for the administration’s slippery behavior. That’s right, it all starts at the top, and the man who really is to blame for all of this misconduct is”

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14 Responses to Government Tyranny? Where Would We Get That Idea

  • The use of the term “tyranny” is rather florid.

    Of course you have to be some kind of paranoid loon to think that the ever-expanding size of our government poses some kind of threat to the liberty of American citizens.

    Your concern is mis-directed.

    The ratio of public expenditure to domestic product was fairly stable between 1974 and 2009. The role of the public sector has tended toward step-wise expansions driven by external events – the Depression, the 2d World War, and the reconfiguration of international relations just after. The Democratic caucus attempting to replicate the period running from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s, when you did have a general upward trajectory. There are a portfolio of reasons why this is a bad idea and why a great many innovations in political economy over the last 80 years are best killed and buried. Abuse of the citizenry is seldom one of them.

    The real abuse of the citizenry arises from federal prosecutors, the complicit judiciary, and regulatory agencies, to which are conjoined the federal police and tax collectors. The thing is, they contribute relatively little to the “size” of the government. The largest civil regulatory agency is the Food and Drug Administration, which has a budget of about $3 bn. (The Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Communications Commission have larger budgets, but over 80% of their budgets are allocated to patronage and pork, not regulatory determination and enforcement). Conrad Black and Lewis Libby were tyrannized; the Obamaphone lady was not.

    Your real problem here is the culture of the Democratic Party and the associated social nexus – including and especially the legal profession. They simply do not recognize the legitimacy of political opposition anymore, nor that there is any sphere of human activity not properly the subject of second-guessing by claques of attorneys. Eliminating Social Security or the Federal Reserve Banks is perfectly non sequitur in addressing this problem.

  • Of course you have to be some kind of paranoid loon to think that the ever-expanding size of our government poses some kind of threat to the liberty of American citizens.

    Your concern is mis-directed.

    Well . . .

    The real abuse of the citizenry arises from federal prosecutors, the complicit judiciary, and regulatory agencies, to which are conjoined the federal police and tax collectors.

    I think you’re being a bit too narrow in how you define the growth of the size of government.

  • No, I’m not. There is a distinction between dimensions and scope of authority and also a distinction between scope of authority and the culture of people making use of that discretion. I do not think there were many structural changes to the operations of the federal judiciary between 1925 and 1975 other than the Administrative Procedure Act. What changed was the willingness of appellate judges to engage in acts of misfeasance (and the kudos they got from the elite bar for so doing). You need structural changes to address that problem (which may or may not mean spending more money).

    We have a problem with the I.R.S. One address to that would be to re-compose the tax laws to reduce the discretion exercised by I.R.S. agents. That is not going to make the government any ‘smaller’. It would also require that a bill be able to get through the legislative process without being festooned with special favors for pet clients of various members of Congress – which never happens. Part of the reason it never happens is a cumbersome set of institutions (which defenders of liberty tell us is a feature and not a bug).

  • The right is great at finding the sins of the left and pointing their hippocracy. Then what? Wake me when the ball is actually moving forward. The left moves the ball forward even when they lose. Example: Dodd-Frank. I wish the right and GOP were so adept.

  • “The right is great at finding the sins of the left and pointing their hypocrisy. Then what? Wake me when the ball is actually moving forward. The left moves the ball forward even when they lose. Example: Dodd-Frank. I wish the right and GOP were so adept.”

    Psalm 146:3-4

    Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help. When his breath departs he returns to his earth; on that very day his plans perish.

    John 18:36

    My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.

  • What’s the ball and who says it needs to move forward?

  • Sorry Paul. My post must have sounded too hopeful. I was trying to express my doubt conservatives or the GOP will get the job done.

    Your citations are true in the grand scheme of things, our life in enternity. But until that time, I would like to see some sincere and fruitful efforts to build God’s kindgom on earth to the best of our abilities.

    J. Christian,

    The ball is, but not limited to, the righteous principles upon which America was built, a respect for the unalienables rights. Moving the ball forward means returning to these ideals and rolling back the govermental and societal decay caused by the spread of liberalism, which stands antithetical to the aforementioned.

    Who says it needs to move forward? Other than me and like minded individuals, the U.S. Constitution, “in order to form a more perfect union.” It’s a pursuit, a journey. We’ve been marching in the opposite direction politically and culturally.

  • “The use of the term “tyranny” is rather florid.”

    yeah. I am wary of attempts to lump all Obama admin. policies into a unified “Big Government run amok” narrative. Liberals are not going to stop wanting universal healthcare, stimulus during economic slumps etc. because of this. they’re policy disagreements and they aren’t effectively rebutted by generic liberty rhetoric IMO.

    “They simply do not recognize the legitimacy of political opposition anymore”

    yeah. I dunno if it was always this way and I’ve just been naive, or if this increased in the ’00s.

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  • http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/irss-lerner-had-history-harassment-inappropriate-religious-inquiries-fec_725004.html?page=3

    Also, we have learned in the last day or so that the Commissioner of Internal Revenue visited the White House 118x over a two-year period. There is only one person in the Commissioner of Internal Revenue’s chain of command employed by the Executive Office of the President.

    The erstwhile Commissioner of Internal Revenue was evasive and condescending, his acting successor cannot recall who is responsible for anything, and this Lerner woman pleads the fifth. This is getting real smelly.

  • J. Christian,

    If you want to see an example of moving the ball forward, see how the left has done so by pressuring the Boy Scouts to allow homosexual scouts. Another victory.

  • the corrupt and unscrupulous have spent over two hundred years identifying and exploiting the weaknesses in the u.s. constitution. we are now facing the consequences of their success in doing this.

    we need a constitutional convention.

    one of the most egregious overreaches of government is its decision to control the education of future generations. this is de facto a direct and egregious violation of the first amendment. the government is favoring some systems of belief over other systems of belief.

  • I mean.

    Like.

    They haven’t started rounding up conservatives . . . yet.

    Quoted by Instapundit:

    “In December 2010 the FBI came to ask about a person who’d attended a King Street Patriots function. In January 2011 the FBI had more questions. The same month the IRS audited her business tax returns. In May 2011 the FBI called again for a general inquiry about King Street Patriots. In June 2011 Engelbrecht’s personal tax returns were audited and the FBI called again. In October 2011 a round of questions on True the Vote. In November 2011 another call from the FBI. The next month, more questions from the FBI. In February 2012 a third round of IRS questions on True the Vote. In February 2012 a first round of questions on King Street Patriots. The same month the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms did an unscheduled audit of her business. (It had a license to make firearms but didn’t make them.) In July 2012 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration did an unscheduled audit. In November 2012 more IRS questions on True the Vote. In March 2013, more questions. In April 2013 a second ATF audit.

    “All this because she requested tax-exempt status for a local conservative group and for one that registers voters and tries to get dead people off the rolls. Her attorney, Cleta Mitchell, who provided the timeline above, told me: ‘These people, they are just regular Americans. They try to get dead people off the voter rolls, you would think that they are serial killers’.”

Rand Paul Defends the Bill of Rights

Wednesday, March 6, AD 2013

“I have allowed the president to pick his political appointees…But I will not sit quietly and let him shred the Constitution.” — Senator Rand Paul (go here for more quotes)

Update: Senator Ted Cruz reads tweets supporting Rand Paul on the Senate floor.

Rand Paul has been filibustering the nomination of Obama’s pick to head the CIA, John Brennan. He is doing so because of a consistent refusal of Obama, Brennan, Holder and other administration higher-ups to clearly and unambiguously reject policies that violate the Constitutional rights of American citizens, including the right to due process prior to the deprivation of life, liberty or property.

I’ve been skeptical of Rand Paul for some time. I didn’t mind his endorsement of Romney, but I did mind his statements pledging unconditional defense of Israel in the event they are attacked. I don’t think this country should pledge unconditional defense of any country, least of all one with a nuclear arsenal of its own. His position on immigration isn’t quite what I would like either. I want it slowed to crawl and troop deployment on the border. He’s still playing the desperate “do anything to get Latino votes” game, a losing game for the GOP no matter what they propose. But I digress.

At this moment, there is no other prospective candidate for 2016 I would even consider supporting. Though there is still time for another acceptable candidate to emerge, today’s filibuster earns him major points in my book. It may be a largely symbolic gesture, but it is a necessary one. It lets the people of this country know that those of us who still value the Bill of Rights and view those rights as sacrosanct have an advocate at the higher levels of government. The value of this can’t be overstated.

I wish him all the best and my prayers are with him.

Oh, and read my latest post at Catholic Stand 🙂

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12 Responses to Rand Paul Defends the Bill of Rights

  • I like Rand. Am excited that he might have a strong shot at getting the nomination in 2016. And I love this filibuster. BUT … I was right there with Rand until he started talking about revisiting Lochner. What Libertarian claptrap!!!

    The notion that FEDERAL courts can strike down STATE economic legislation as “unconstitutional” based on some hidden gnostic constitutional right able to be divined only by the most freedomy free of the laissez faire Libertarian crowd is repugnant. Because “freedom of contract” certainly ain’t based on anything actually found in the text of the Constitution. The rationale that the Court used in Lochner is the same rationale that leftist judges would later use (and still use to this day) to strike down state laws on abortion (and probably, in the near future, marriage) that they don’t like based on “rights” nowhere found in the Constitution.

  • Jay,

    This issue isn’t as cut-and-dried as you’d like it to be. I might disagree with Rand and others on the use of Lochner, but I do think it is important to argue that without freedom of contract, private property rights are severely impaired. In fact a regime of private property without freedom of contract could easily be defined as fascism.

    With that said, I firmly believe in the 10th amendment. If an individual state wishes to adopt a fascist economy, as we arguably have in California, the Constitution protects this right. My hope is that the economic meltdown of California, as well as the economic meltdown of socialist stinkholes such as Venezuela, will demonstrate and even establish by default the superiority of economies that are more laissez-faire.

    We don’t need to revisit Lochner to do what Rand wants to do. The 5th amendment is more relevant to me than the 14th.

  • Agreed with Jay on Lochner as it birthed the notion of substantive due process, which would be used by later Courts to justify all sorts of federal nullification of state laws, the most notable being Roe and Griswold. Of course Lochner was a much more justifiable decision than either of those, though still wrong.

    All that being said, bravo to Senator Paul on several fronts. First and foremost for the substance of the issue, but also for the useful reminder that Congress should actually try to check Executive now and again.

  • The problem is how “freedom of contract” is to be defined in any constitutionally coherent sense. Besides the fact that the “right” doesn’t explicitly exist anywhere in the Constitution and can’t be bootstrapped onto any other provision outside of, arguably, due process property rights, what parameters are to exist on such a “right”?

    The Constitution guarantees due process of law for property rights – property owners have as much opportunity to engage in the process of lobbying their government on their own behalf as those who would restrict the laissez faire use of that property. That’s the right that’s constitutionally guaranteed, outside of some other constitutional right being infringed (such as an inappropriate use of eminent domain or a violation of the 1st Amendment in an HHS Mandate type of scenario – I know we’re talking about the states, but just using that as an example). Otherwise, there is no substantive constitutional protection of how one exercises their property rights – “substantive due process” is an oxymoron.

    But to get back to the nebulousness of the “right” of freedom of contract, it’s too dependent on the subjective opinions of unelected judges, just like the so-called “right to privacy”.

    I, too, am a strong believer in the 10th Amendment, and like you, I’m perfectly satisfied with each state deciding for itself whether it will provide a climate conducive to prosperity and freedom or whether it will be a socialist hell-hole.

  • But I will agree with Paul – apart from his reference to Lochner (which I HOPE doesn’t come back to bite him in 2016), KUDOS to Rand for this effort to reel in the executive and to bring some semblance of sanity to this never-ending “War on Terror”.

  • Mary Ann Glendon on freedom of contract:

    Consider first that when Holmes was a young lawyer in the 1870s, legislatures had begun producing a new type of statute—primitive regulatory legislation, much of it addressed to conditions in factories. Those whose interests were adversely affected by these laws took their complaints to the courts, with the result that the Supreme Court embarked on its first sustained adventure with the power of judicial review, a power that it had possessed for nearly a century, but which it had exercised sparingly. The behavior of the Supreme Court and other courts in that period (striking down much early social legislation as infringing on economic rights) is now frequently treated in law school classes as showing that the judiciary was in the service of the dominant classes. But there was another dimension to the story. When late-nineteenth-century judges entered the still relatively uncharted areas of statutory interpretation and constitutional review, they really did not know quite how to handle the new situation. It is helpful to keep in mind that as late as 1875, nearly half of the United States Supreme Court’s case load was still pure common law litigation. By 1925, however, statutes figured importantly in all but about 5 percent of the cases. Most judges during those years of transition tended to proceed in the way they knew best—by falling back on their habitual practice of construing enacted law (including the Constitution) in such a way as to blend in with, rather than displace, the common law background where, as it happened, freedom of contract was ensconced as a leading principle. In a series of famous dissents, Holmes, to his credit, tried to point out to his fellow judges that the rules of the game had changed in 1787. But that point seldom got across until the 1930s, and even then it was not fully absorbed.

  • Here, here, Bonchamps! Rand Paul is to be heartily commended, and I hope he emerges as the leader of the GOP in a few years’ time.

    Although I’m not sure I agree with what you’re getting at when you say courting Latino voters is a “losing game” for the GOP.

  • JL,

    I simply mean that there is little, if anything, the GOP can do to win Latinos away from the Democrats. Oh, they might increase their margins a bit, five, ten percentage point by promising open borders, amnesty, and unlimited benefits. But they’ll never out-social democrat the social democrats. If they try they will not only fail to get sufficient Latino votes, they will disgust much of their base in the process.

    Romney didn’t lose because not enough Hispanics voted for him. He lost because not enough whites voted for him. That is a cold, sober fact. I happen to think that second generation and onward Latino immigrants as well as the black middle class have common interests with the white working and middle classes, and so I don’t believe that a specific appeal to “white” interests needs to be made. But an appeal to the middle class that still believes in the rule of law, private property, states rights, most of which is white at the moment, is absolutely necessary for the GOP to survive as a national party.

    Rand, so far, is playing the “how can I out-Rubio Rubio” game. He should forge his own path and stand up for national sovereignty and national interests.

  • Wait… Am I hearing rightly that a Senator thinks Congress has authority to resist a President? What novel legal reasoning gets him to that conclusion? What would be point to electing Ceasar if he can’t do whatever he wants. No, Sen. Paul, that kind of novel, extra-constitutional reasoning won’t wash in this age of enlightenment.

    Hail Obama, King of the Americas! Hail, I say! Hail!

  • I think all he wants is for obama to state that he doesn’t have executive authority to assassinate US citizens on US soil. Due process.

    Why are not the other 99 useless political trash lined up to add their voices?

    That’ a rhetorical question, I think.

  • T. Shaw,
    Good question for we the people to ask of the legislative representatives.

    They spoke an oath of office to uphold the Constitution at least, then celebrated their worldly reward with others falling under the influence of the tempter’s power. The tempter has people fooled into liking being ignorant and trashy.

    Dignity and goodness – at least fairness and order – need more like Rand Paul to defend the Bill of Rights, even, if selfishly, for their own families if the legislators love them. Would be a good addition to their reading list or a work project.

    For the time being, it seems that the contagion needs a name.

  • The Lochner quote will be used against him, count on it, even though he wasn’t saying “restore it.”

    I think the main problem with Lochner is that it was a legal fiction: American employees rarely have actual contracts of employment (though collectively-bargained ones are).

    Instead, they have a status: at-will employment, which can be ended for any reason by the employer without notice. Of course, nowadays there are statutory and occasional common-law exceptions to at-will employment, but I’m going to bracket those for a moment.

    Such a status is that–a status, not a contract. Thus, the idea that state employment regulation interfered with contracts was risible. Not to mention it was invoked to protect some grisly employment practices.

Soon To Be Released Polls Show Religious & Midwest Voters Moving To Romney

Thursday, October 18, AD 2012

Just a quick update to my post of some two weeks ago; I exchanged e-mails with two prominent pollsters who told me that not only are religious voters moving toward Governor Romney in a big way (we expected that) but so are voters in the Midwest. One of the pollsters read my article on The Data and Demographics That Detail Why Romney Defeats Obama in Ohio.

He told me he was “amazed” at the shifting demographics in Ohio in areas of the state that would help Governor Romney and hurt President Obama. He indicated that many pollsters hadn’t taken this into account (lots of population shifts since the Economic Upheaval of 2008.) This particular pollster, who you probably have seen on TV and or read his highly respected polls, is currently working on polls in Ohio and other Midwest states.

The other pollster told me that the religious vote which strongly went for Senator McCain in 2008 will be easily surpassed by 2012 totals. Now anything can happen from here to election day, yet as Don explained in his post on the Fat Lady Warming Up these are not bounces but surges. As I indicated in my just released book, The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn, the religious faithful are persistent and though they certainly don’t hang out with the pop culture and media movers and shakers and because of this are often overlooked, that doesn’t mean they won’t be heard at the ballot box on Election Day.

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4 Responses to Soon To Be Released Polls Show Religious & Midwest Voters Moving To Romney

  • Well the U of Colorado model by Berry and Bickers predicted several months ago that most Midwest states would go for Romney including Ohio, PA, WI and MN. I still think Iowa will go for Romney although the model predicted it would stay for Obama. I believe Bush 43 came reasonably close in 2004 to sweeping the Midwest apart from IL. If the Repubs cannot lock up the Midwest for a generation after all that the national and local Dems have done to them over the years (eg flyover country, bitter clingers) it’s hopeless.

  • Rozin, keep in mind of the liberal history of Wisconsin and Minnesota and even Iowa to some extent. The Progressive Party (the 1924 LaFollette version) was very strong in Wisconsin and the Democratic Farm Labor Party was and still is very active in Minnesota. Some elements of these groups were very Left for their era. They live on in today and conservatism has a hard time breaking into some of these strongholds, even though some of these folks may be somewhat socially conservative. The last time Minnesota went GOP was 1972.

    While many on the coasts think the Midwest is all rural, though it is primarily the case in area, it is not the case in population centers (Off the top of my head I believe Pennsylvania has the highest rural population in America.) There are more people than you would think in certain midwest cities who live in urbane enclaves and wish they were in NYC or DC. As I indicated in my previous article on demographics, this is juxtaposed by a suburban populace that votes 2-1 against everything those in the urbane areas stand for. In the last three Ohio election cycles, it has been who can get the bigger turnout.

  • Mr Hartline,

    First thank you for a very detailed and careful exposition in your Ohio post. Yes I understand the history of these states. Also those state predictions were by the model not myself. I was just commenting personally about Iowa. I would be surprised if MN goes Repub too. However many of these states went for Reagan and even for Bush 41 in 1988. In addition Bush43 came somewhat close to sweeping them (except IL) in 2004. My point is simply that the Repubs need to make a more forceful effort to get these states. As we have seen with the Mountain states a few fleeing Californians can tip the balance in these lightly populated states to the Dems and FL and VA are no longer rock solid. If the Repubs don’t nail the Midwest down where do they go??

  • Rozin, excellent post. First of all let me say this about demographics. As much I like the research, they are only as valid as the current election. Case in point; in 1974 Democrats were ecstatic thinking that by 1976 they would have a foothold on the electorate for a generation. It didn’t turn out that way, had you told them that in 1980 America would vote in an old Hollywood actor and the youth would be his biggest fans, many would think they you were ingesting something that might be a felony.

    The Midwest is crucial to the GOP but President GW Bush won in 2004 without Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois. If Governor Romney would win and the youthful and athletic Paul Ryan and Senator Rubio continue to play a big roll in GOP politics, I could see a big upswing of young and Hispanic voters coming the GOP’s way. President Obama took advantage of a once in a lifetime perfect storm for the Democrats. However, it is doubtful that the sequence of events (economic meltdown, unpopular foreign policy and a charismatic candidate with a star studded entourage) will ever align themselves (at least in our lifetime, I am 48.) Time will tell.

Third Party Love & Hate

Tuesday, September 25, AD 2012

A couple of posts at Breitbart’s “Big Government” site have resulted in thousands of comments  and intense debate between libertarians and conservatives, and between libertarians themselves over the merits of supporting a third-party/independent alternative to Mitt Romney. Having been involved in third-party politics myself at one point in my life, I am sympathetic to the cause. But given the stakes this November, I’ve decided to hold my nose and vote for Romney, as I’ve already posted here at TAC.

I must say, however, in response Kurt Schlichter (the author of the aforelinked pieces) that I regard this as a highly personal choice, and not one that I am willing to guilt others into making. On many of the issues that matter to me and other Ron Paul supporters, Romney is absolutely abysmal and nearly indistinguishable from Obama, whether we are talking about civil liberties, constitutional protection of the lives of American citizens (even the bad ones), foreign policy, monetary policy, and a host of related issues. Those who prioritize such issues cannot be expected to give Romney their vote. There was also the disgraceful treatment of Ron Paul and his delegates by the GOP at the RNC this year. Schlichter would have us basically forget all about it.

With that said, however, when Ron Paul stopped actively campaigning for the GOP nomination, his candidacy in effect came to an end. There certainly is something bizarre about a pledge to vote for a man who by the looks of things would like to settle into a well-deserved, hard-earned retirement from public life. I always suspected that Paul didn’t really want to be president. Some see this as a positive trait, and it can be in certain contexts, but men also need leaders. If that makes me sound fascistic, so be it. Human nature is what it is.

So people who accept the reality that Paul is unable or unwilling to capture the nomination and the Presidency are then faced with other options. I’ve explained my choice, but many others are considering Gary Johnson, and Schlichter is addressing them as well (as well as Virgil Goode, the Constitution Party candidate’s supporters). Aside from the fact that Johnson is pro-choice and therefore unsupportable for Catholics, I don’t begrudge anyone the right to support either of these men as an alternative to Romney.

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18 Responses to Third Party Love & Hate

  • “. . . but men need [sic] also need leaders. If that makes me sound fascistic, so be it.”

    Not at all. Leaders take many forms. The biggest difference between what the Obammunist/Peoples’ Democratic Party and Libertarians would call “a leader” is that the O/PDC believes Leaders should be iconic, centralized power-structure figures, a` la Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Mussolini, Chavez, Castro, Kim, Kim, Kim. . .

    Libertarians, both “large-L” and “small-l,” believe leaders are those who lead their families, communities and nation best by serving them, in the example of the ultimate Servant Leader, Jesus Christ. Those who provide the skill, foresight and initiative to risk and grow business, to plan and execute charitable causes and to provide models of involvement and direction not from a lofty Ivory Tower but from the trenches where they serve are who we call “leaders” because they lead by example and not by dictate.

    Nothing fascistic about that.

  • To me, it comes down to winning battles, or winning the war. Winning the war is changing our culture of death to one of life. The coming election is just one battle in that war. Despite what some insist, I don’t believe the election of Romney will stop our sprint to Gomorrah. If we sell our vote to the Republican party to win this battle, we will have gained indefensible ground. Romney, despite his prolife platitudes, is pro-abortion at heart. His only difference with Obama on foreign policy would probably be Israel. Economically, he will at best only slow the ticking of our debt bomb. “Independent” voters will see the lack of change in 2016 and give us another lost battle.

  • I get where you’re coming from, but it is hard to win a war without winning any battles. I don’t really disagree with you that Romney is not going to do much (probably slow our sprint to a light jog, perhaps). But, as Bonchamps correctly points out, Romney is at least marginally better/less bad than the O.

  • WK,

    Thanks for highlighting my egregious late-night typo, lol. I think libertarians/constitutionalists/paleocons (the “alt-right”, as it were) need a leader who isn’t afraid to lead and who doesn’t approach politics as if it were a smelly diaper. We need a leader who is willing to, to continue the metaphor, get his hands dirty. Not too dirty, not “hop into bed with Wall Street” dirty, but at least more aggressive and organized than what we have seen from Ron Paul or before him Pat Buchanan.

    Tony H,

    I agree with you, more or less, though I believe Romney has no choice but to govern in a pro-life manner. I’m not convinced Romney will even slow the debt bomb, but I am convinced he won’t lift a finger to stop the implosion of the dollar. I believe he will continue the vast majority of Obama’s policies, which are themselves continuations of Bush’s policies. One thing I think he won’t do, though, is press Obama’s war against the Church and religious freedom in general. And that is important to me, and significant enough to warrant my vote.

  • We need a leader who is willing to, to continue the metaphor, get his hands dirty. Not too dirty, not “hop into bed with Wall Street” dirty, but at least more aggressive and organized than what we have seen from Ron Paul or before him Pat Buchanan.

    Dirty, not enjoying filth. Difference between dirt under the nails and someone who just never washes his hands.

  • I think libertarians/constitutionalists/paleocons (the “alt-right”, as it were) need a leader who isn’t afraid to lead and who doesn’t approach politics as if it were a smelly diaper.

    It might help if libertarians could ever acknowledge there were social problems other than ‘government failure’, constitutionalists could figure out that positive law should reflect conceptions of justice and notions of prudence and does not form the essence of them, and the rest of them to stop pushing projects of dubious utility and validity (Austrian economics, ‘race-realism’, and the various and sundry personal complaints, conceits, and emotional disorders of palaeo spokesmen).

  • I realize that a second Obama term is the worst thing that could happen.

  • Well, up until now, it’s been a tiny movement. It hasn’t been producing great leaders for the same reason that China gets more Olympic medals than Liechtenstein.

    The biggest thing to hit the libertarian cause hasn’t been a political party, but a movement. The tea partiers have given the libertarians a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The relative health of the Tea Party movement is going to be pretty easy to measure come Election Day; if it is still healthy, the libertarians would be smart to cement their bonds with it.

  • This is a good piece. Rhetorically caning those who are going to, or are likely to, vote 3d party does nothing on behalf of a major party candidate.

    I think libertarians/constitutionalists/paleocons (the “alt-right”, as it were) need a leader who isn’t afraid to lead and who doesn’t approach politics as if it were a smelly diaper.

    What Art said, and let me elaborate slightly:

    Libertarians need to acknowledge that individual liberty grew in America as part of an ecosystem with an indispensible buttress: a socially conservative/religious ethic which mandated delayed gratification, duties to others apart from the self, and an understanding of “rendering unto Caesar” that put Caesar firmly in his place. Reading contributors to “Reason” and viewing Libertarian candidacies in general, there isn’t the beginnings of a glimmer of a clue on this point. Somehow, Caesar marches on despite their atomistic arguments and defenses of license. Oddly enough.

    “Constitutionalism” does have a worrisome tendency to engage in debates that Talmud scholars or students of the Scholastics would find too impractical, abstract and technical. Reciting the Constitutional provision is the beginning of wisdom. But only the beginning.

    Paleos need to stop gnashing their teeth over Appomattox and busing.

  • Pinky,

    I hate to say it, but the “Tea Party” movement was co-opted a long time ago and is virtually indistinguishable from the mainstream GOP. When a committed foreign policy hawk like Allen West is the model “Tea Party” candidate, there will only be ruptures between that movement and the libertarian movement. There are many areas I think conservatives and libertarians can overlap, but on the question of liberty vs. safety, there is an unbridgeable chasm. I have a bit to say about this.

    We (the paleo side of ) will not sacrifice liberty for “safety”, and we do not view “Islamo-fascism”/threats to Israel as anywhere near what ought to be America’s priorities. We are a new generation that did not grow up during the post-war period, does not view America as a global actor as if it had a halo, wings, and the rosy red cheeks of the cherubim, firing little Cupid-arrows of freedom at mean old dictatorships, and do not wish to commit trillions more dollars to overseas adventurism.

    Like I said in a previous post, our message to the rest of the world is the same as one of the last Roman emperors to the far-flung imperial posts in places like Britain: look to your own defenses. American decline is real and inevitable, and it can be graceful with a chance for recovery and maintenance of great-power status like the United Kingdom, or it can be catastrophic like the Roman or Soviet collapse. But the view, common in the “Tea Party” I think, that America has a divine right to permanent superpower status is in our view a pathetic delusion. And this is what primarily divides, in my opinion, the “Tea Party” from the libertarian/constitutional/paleocon movement, the true “Alternative Right.” It is not, contrary to what some believe, “social issues.” Which brings me to…

    Dale Price,

    “Libertarians need to acknowledge…”

    Yes, and I think many of them do acknowledge those things. I think that was the significance of the Ron Paul campaign. Ron Paul is adamantly pro-life. Even if some social conservatives don’t agree with his emphasis on state’s rights, there is no doubt that he not only morally opposes abortion (with libertarian arguments, no less), but believes that the role of the state (at some level) is to protect innocent human life. He has also emphasized the role that churches played in providing medical care long before there was government involvement in these areas. A Ron Paul “alternative right” coalition has many seats at the table for principled pro-lifers and social conservatives in general, provided, I think, that we retain a local/state level emphasis instead of insisting that only the federal government can restore the social fabric.

    What libertarians REALLY need to understand is what Charles Murray brilliantly analyzed earlier this year – the role of the family in establishing economic and social security. The disintegration of the family only increases the justification for statist intervention. The stronger the family, the weaker the rationale for government involvement in our lives. So it is in the vital best interest of the libertarian to support conservative social values at least on SOME level.

  • Austrian economics a ‘project?’ Is gravity a ‘notion?’

  • Bon, I’m not sure that you can conflate libertarians and paleos. At least, not in a border state. For many of the people who would self-identify as either group, the whole lump of national issues (language, immigration, trade) are really important, but they hold exactly opposite views.

    Also, you may be too quick to write off the Tea Party, or more accurately the set of emotions which lie behind the many organizations that arose under that broad title.

  • Pinky,

    I don’t mean to conflate libertarians and paleocons. But if Murray Rothbard could support Pat Buchanan, I think there is some hope for a coalition. Ron Paul has pointed out, as well, that unrestricted immigration is a fiscal nightmare as long as the welfare state exists. A libertarian who supports unrestricted immigration in the current political climate is simply irrational and working against his own presumable goal of eliminating the welfare state.

    Of course, there will always be the dispute between economic nationalists and free traders, between a vocal and virulent anti-capitalist minority on the right and the Austrians, and so on.

    But I really think that there is more agreement than disagreement. Both want the state out of their lives. Both are opposed to foreign military adventurism. Both are opposed to the bailouts, to Fed’s unlimited money-printing scheme, to the toxic revolving door between corporate America and the regulatory bureaucracy. Because of Ron Paul, social conservatism can get a fair hearing from a growing number of libertarians. The importance of the family is not just moral or theological but also economic and social.

    I think what Ron Paul has started can grow into something more. I think he provides the first key link between the libertarians, the constitutionalists, and the paleocons. What is needed is clear thinking on the issues that divide these groups. Some of the differences are legitimate, and others are based upon sheer ignorance, on knee-jerk assumptions, and a horrid lack of imagination. I think these problems can be fixed.

  • Austrian economics a ‘project?’ Is gravity a ‘notion?’.

    1. Yes
    2. No

  • Sure, there’s a subset of pro-family libertarians, and they all attend church on Sunday.

    The problem is, I just might be familiar with all of them.

    And none of them are at the controls of the Johnson campaign, Reason, Cato, etc. Sure, Cato has had some nods to pro-family thinking, but mostly in the context of welfare reform.

    I grant that Paul was pro-life, and admirably so, but that was considered a non-disqualifying eccentricity by the non-religious Paul supporters I’ve interacted with. And he–and Rand–aren’t systematic thinkers or advocates for the family in the context of libertarianism. Despite being admirable family men, they are first and foremost economic and legal/constitutional libertarians. Libertarianism has a long ways to go in developing a workable understanding of subsidiarity, with the indispensible family at the center.

  • Libertarians need to acknowledge that individual liberty grew in America as part of an ecosystem with an indispensible buttress: a socially conservative/religious ethic which mandated delayed gratification, duties to others apart from the self, and an understanding of “rendering unto Caesar” that put Caesar firmly in his place. Reading contributors to “Reason” and viewing Libertarian candidacies in general, there isn’t the beginnings of a glimmer of a clue on this point. Somehow, Caesar marches on despite their atomistic arguments and defenses of license. Oddly enough.

    Yep.

    And that “Reason” sort of libertarian screwed up when they supported GOProud trying to for the TEA party— did not win any friends with that “TEA partiers don’t care about social issues” BS, or similar attempts to lay claim on the entire movement. (Anybody else tired of the sort of Libertarian who tries to tell everyone that they’re “really” a Libertarian? Or claim random historical figures?)

  • (Anybody else tired of the sort of Libertarian who tries to tell everyone that they’re “really” a Libertarian? Or claim random historical figures?)

    Never encountered such. Have encountered folk who chuffer endlessley about who is a ‘real’ conservative or are in the habit of dismissing anyone not on the payroll or subscriber list of the von Mises Institute, Chronicles, or The American Conservative as a dolt.

  • Lucky you, Art.

    And there is a massive difference between going “you are not a conservative” and saying “See? See? You really agree with ME!” (Possibly one of the most annoying college liberal debate tactics. I’d gladly harm the guy who taught it to my cousin.)

Life is Life: Akin & Obama on Rape Pregnancy

Monday, August 20, AD 2012

CORDES

By now, most of you have heard about the monumental blunder made by Todd Akin, a GOP representative and Senate nominee from Missouri, with regards to rape and pregnancy. Here are his comments, in all of their cringe-worthy glory:

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

Frankly I have never heard of any doctors who claim that the female body has ways of “shutting that whole thing down”, by which I assume he means implantation or conception, and no doctors appear to have come forward to substantiate this notion. Who knows where Akin got it from. Much is being made of his use of the word “legitimate” as well, which was a clumsy attempt to distinguish forcible from non-forcible rape, a “legitimate” distinction used by law-enforcement in the classification of crimes. What Akin says next is something most pro-life advocates agree with: rapists, not the children of rape, deserve to be punished for the crime .

His comments were certainly poorly worded and bizarre. He may well deserve to lose the political race he is engaged in and perhaps even his office for a gaffe of this magnitude. So this is not a “Save Rep. Akin’s Career” type of post.

But this is one of those moments at which we must firmly reassert our opposition to abortion, regardless of the circumstances. Our opponents are seizing upon this incident to remind everyone of how utterly heartless and anti-woman the GOP supposedly is. Obama is leading the charge on this as well. He had this to say:

“Rape is rape,” Mr. Obama told reporters at the daily White House briefing Monday. “And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me.”

Mr. Obama added that Akin’s remarks underscore “why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.”

Leaving aside the ridiculous idea that the author of Obamacare, which forces everyone to purchase health insurance, doesn’t want to “make health care decisions” on behalf of women or anyone else, let us look at the statement “rape is rape.” Yes, indeed, rape is rape: it is always wrong, and can never be condoned. Mr. Akin had it in his head, apparently, that certain types of rape make it less likely for conception to occur. If that were actually true, it would make sense to distinguish between types of rape, though it wouldn’t necessarily be a statement on the morality of rape as such, and any honest person knows this. Since it isn’t true, of course it comes of rather badly. Akin’s profuse apologizing will not change this.

So “rape is rape.” But life is also life. That’s something Obama and the pro-abortion industry cannot and will not admit. The core principle of the pro-life position is this: it is never morally acceptable to kill an innocent human being. There are no circumstances, no matter how horrific or traumatizing, that justify the murder of an innocent human being. And frankly we don’t need the sort of half-baked theories that Akin was peddling to reinforce this point. It is a self-evident truth that we can and ought to proudly defend on its own merits.

We have nothing to run from, nothing to apologize for, and nothing to hide. I hope the Romney campaign is able to deal with this issue in a way that does not compromise in the least degree on the inviolable sanctity of human life, or which does not display fear or doubt regarding the absolute immorality of the left’s position on it.

Update: Given some of the information my co-bloggers and readers have left, I’m inclined to take back my remarks about Akin’s theories being bizarre or untrue. I will say, however, that if one is not prepared to articulate in a clear and sensitive way these finer points of medical fact, one should not speak at all. And in this case, I maintain that it is not necessary to bring up any of this, since it has no bearing at all on the morality of abortion, which is all that really matters.

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29 Responses to Life is Life: Akin & Obama on Rape Pregnancy

  • Statistics aren’t conclusive, but about 1%-.6% of victims of violent rape become pregnant, according to the only place I found that didn’t assume same-as-unprotected sex conception rates. Here’s a second source that also cites Guttmacher, since I don’t feel like digging around their site right now.

    (All the sources I could find that claimed rape has the same conception rate as nonviolent sex sourced this page, which states that it is ASSUMING a 5% conception rate. A few other sites that mentioned “studies” that were over 1% also mention they were counting domestic rapes child abuse where the girls were old enough to become pregnant, so I would guess they also included date-rape while removing rape that cannot cause conception.)

    Yes, the guy said something really dumb, clumsy, etc. I think you’re right that it was differentiating between violent rape and “I don’t remember if I said yes/I said yes but I regret it/we were drunk/I can’t remember” rape, and one should have all of one’s ducks in a row when touching that topic.

    That said, claims like: Since it isn’t true, of course it comes of rather badly really don’t help the situation. As for where he got it from, I can remember it being taught in flippin’ SEX ED when I was in high school. No, I don’t have the citation, because that was over a decade ago– but it was mentioned a couple of times, in the official course materials.
    Maybe someone can find it with that information, but it doesn’t matter– the facts don’t matter, sadly, just folks’ emotional reaction to a safe target.
    (argh, forgot to close HTML)

  • Well, perhaps what I ought to have said is that since it doesn’t appear to be true.

    I mean, I can’t say for certain that he is wrong, but I couldn’t find any information to substantiate his claims. And if you’re going to go around saying things like that, you’d better have a legitimate source lined-up for support.

  • There is violent rape and then there is statutory rape. The violent rapist is a murderer. The statutory rapist is a grossed out ignoramus of unmitigated proportions. Here is the difference Akin was struggling to define. The criminal rapist ought to go to jail for the rest of his unnatural life. The statutory rapist is over eighteen years of age and ought to know better and an underage girl who has not reached the age of informed consent have sexual relations, with or without the child becoming pregnant, the parents of both the male and the girl, or the girl alone, may choose to support and encourage the relationship and ‘adopt” any child as their own, even though it be a grandchild. Statutory rape carried a two year federal prison sentence, no questions asked, in my day, and I felt very protected. With abortion, pornography, indecency at every turn, with the removal of all protection of the young uninformed, innocent virgins, informed sexual consent is counted legally at fourteen years of age in some states and without the voters voting on it. The protections were removed to enhance the abortion rate and increase Planned Parenthood’s profit. Our daughters are being mutilated.
    The woman’s body may shut down during the violence, but conception takes place hours later.
    Life is Life. Government does not give LIFE and government cannot take innocent life, not Liberty, nor the pursuit of Happiness. Government does not give sovereign personhood and government cannot deny sovereign personhood, not even to the one-celled human being, coming into existence at the will of “their Creator”, with his newly begotten immortal soul.
    My definition of just punishment to the rapist is to give the victim’s parents twenty minutes alone with him on the open seas, or a public pillory with several bats and let the public have at him, or jail for the rest of his unnatural life. Once a rapist, always a rapist, the public is not safe anymore, and for all the money taken for taxes. Abort the innocent life, harbor the evil doers and compliment the cowards. Where is Judge Roy Bean when you need him.
    My dad’s family is the result of Tartar rape and the girl’s father adopted the little boy born of the rape. Adoption consisted in taking the child upon his knee. And I would not be here if not for the generosity and common sense of my father’s ancestor. It was my mother’s family who was raped in 1595.
    And as far as Obama not knowing anything, what else is new?

  • In the Old Testament, the Bible, if a woman was being raped in the city and she did not call out, she was to be stoned along with the rapist to keep evil out of their midst. If the woman was raped in the field where her cries would not be heard she was not to be put to death. In not calling out, the victim in the city, became an accomplice to her own rape.

  • It has been known and acknowledged for some time that stress-whether physical or psychological-can cause delayed ovulation, and therefore a delayed period. This was a fairly common complaint in my college days actually–the girls (the ones who weren’t on the Pill) would complain about their period not coming on the day expectetd and guess what? They had had a bad month working on a paper or some history project or something. Or they got sick, or went on some new ridiculous diet and exercise program. No they weren’t pregnant, and yes, the period came a few days late.

    I don’t see why a rape, if it occurred in an early part of the cycle, say Day 5 or 6, wouldn’t cause a delayed ovulation. Now if a woman were on Day 14, which is mid-cycle for the average women (not on the pill) and about the time they ovulate (I think Day 16 is the text book date), that I don’t know. And if she had ovulated within 24 hours before the rape occured, I don’t know of any reason why the egg might not get fertilized (and then implant some days later.) If the rape occurred several days after the woman has ovulated, fertilization is most unlikely. An unfertilized egg only lives roughly 24 hours.

    This is my understanding from what I’ve picked up along the way. I would verify with an Creighon Modle NFP practioner.

  • Here below is a link to Physicians For Life who contend that pregnancies from “assault rape” are rare:

    http://www.physiciansforlife.org/content/view/492/26/

  • Another article on stress and infertility:

    It’s not that it’s all in your mind,’’ Dr. Domar said. “If you’re really stressed out and depressed, the body seems to sense that’s not a good time to get pregnant. There’s something about practicing relaxation techniques or being with other women who understand what you’re going through, probably a combination of everything, that makes a difference. It isn’t just about relaxing.”

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/10/lowering-stress-improves-fertility-treatment/

  • “But as unwelcome as the advice may be, it may be right. New evidence suggests that stress does affect fertility. A recent study found that women with high levels of alpha-amylase, an enzyme that correlates with stress, have a harder time getting pregnant. Saliva samples taken from 274 women over six menstrual cycles (or until they got pregnant) revealed that those with the highest enzyme concentrations during the first cycle were 12 percent less likely to conceive than were women with the lowest levels.

    What’s more, women involved in the study, published earlier this month in the journal Fertility and Sterility, had no prior record of infertility. Participants were either planning to get pregnant or had been trying for less than three months.

    Researchers do not yet understand the role stress plays, since women can and often do get pregnant even under the intense stress, for example, that follows the death of a spouse. “I suspect that some women are more reproductively sensitive to stress than other women,” says Alice Domar, who directs the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health in Boston. And the effect can feed on itself. “If you are stressed and you don’t get pregnant quickly, then you get more stressed,” says Domar, citing evidence from a study in Taiwan in which 40 percent of participants seeking infertility treatment were diagnosed with depression or anxiety. The treatment itself can be stressful, she adds, adding even more uncertainty.”

    http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/womens-health/articles/2010/08/27/cant-get-pregnant-how-stress-may-be-causing-your-infertility

  • This all seems legit to me.

    But if one isn’t prepared to clearly articulate with the necessary sensitivity these medical points, one should simply not speak at all. And it isn’t really necessary to make these points either.

  • True. When it comes to rape and pregnancy the proper response was given in the movie Rob Roy:

    Mary MacGregor: Robert, there is more. I am carrying a child and I do not know who is the father.”
    Robert Roy MacGregor: Ach, Mary…
    Mary MacGregor: I could not kill it, husband.
    Robert Roy MacGregor: It’s not the child that needs killing.

  • Akin getting out:

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/08/akin-advisers-ready-for-candidate-to-withdraw-from-race-tuesday/

    He is an object lesson for Christians in politics: innocent as doves is necessary, but so is wily as serpents. The man has been in Congress for 10 years. He should have been able to field the question effortlessly (example of how to do it) “Rape is a terrible crime and I wish we had the death penalty for convicted rapists. However, when a woman becomes pregnant as a result of rape another innocent victim is then present. We should treat both the mother and child with infinite compassion and care. The rapist deserves death and not the innocent child brought into the world by his crime.” You show through this answer both abhorrence of the crime and compassion for the two innocent victims.

  • i hope all of you get raped and then you can feel what it is like, bunch of hypocrites

  • I’ll leave comments such as “what”s as an example of the sort of insanity we are dealing with from the left.

  • Thank you for showing the true colors of the psycho lefty, Jeff S out in San Francisco.

    As for the matter ahead, ditto what Chris Johnson said.

  • According to his facebook page, he’s staying in. He just updated about 8 minutes ago (8 pm Central Time).

  • I get what the candidate said, but wish too, that he had taken a deep breath before answering. McCaskill wants him to stay in the race, she thinks he is a wounded bird now and that is the only way she could win. Typical O/alinsky tactic to eliminate your opponent. Too bad. Hope there is someone to fill his shoes who is a little more willey.

    LOVE Rob Roy. It’s the Scottish in me.

  • Yes women get pregnant from rapes. No your body doesn’t shut that down. If a man ejaculates semen into a woman, she can get pregnant whether it’s consensual or it’s rape. I knew a woman who did indeed get pregnant after being gang raped. It happens. Apparently you folks think rape is a joke. Hardy har.

  • Apparently you think accurately representing what other people say is a joke.

    No one claimed that a woman cannot get pregnant from rapes. Some people are arguing that serious stress and emotional trauma can decrease the chances of conception. That doesn’t sound unreasonable to me.

    But it is really irrelevant. I don’t care if it happens 1 in a million rapes, or 1 in 100. The principle remains: it is never morally acceptable to take an innocent human life.

    Neither rape nor child murder is a joke. But your ridiculous post is. Har har.

  • As bad as the remarks are, it doesn’t seem completely irrational to think some physiological factors can affect the likelihood of pregnancy – stress, fear, etc. release different hormones and compounds into the body, so it could be possible it would affect conception.

    Still, pretty cringeworthy. But not as bad as that Texas Gubernatorial candidate (Clayton Williams?) that made a huge rape gaffe that cost him the election to Anne Richards.

  • The law may have been changed, but last I remember, if a child was brought into a family, through rape, adultery, or whatever, the child was legally the father’s/husband’s child and a legal member of the family. The law did not exact death to the unbon child.

  • “I’ll leave comments such as “what”s as an example of the sort of insanity we are dealing with from the left.”
    “what” does not know that she is a “WHO”

  • So what you are basically saying is that you are fine if a woman is raped since you really know there isn’t a chance of pregnancy. Consequently, any woman that claims rape and is pregnant wasn’t raped at all.

    Somehow, I think women from the Virgin Mary to Sister Theresa would have a problem with your theory. I suggest heading to the confessional and I pray God takes pity on your soul.

  • “So what you are basically saying is that you are fine if a woman is raped since you really know there isn’t a chance of pregnancy.”

    Reading comprehension really isn’t your strong point is it Mr. Lambert?

  • Mr. McClarey,

    I read and comprehend quite well. I do well at reading between lines. If you favor HB 3 which I assume you do…..then this would be your exact view. Would it not?

  • Once again, reading comprehension is clearly not your strong point. I trust you are receiving a fair amount of money from the Obama campaign to troll a Catholic website since you are doing a very poor job of it. We expect inventiveness and wit from our trolls and you are merely boring, so into moderation you go.

  • I do well at reading between lines.

    Ah. You mean you assume we’re saying something monumentally stupid, and when you can’t find any evidence of it, you lie and claim we did.

    You are disgusting.

    When faced with mention of scientifically supported evidence that women who are violently raped take such physical damage that their fertility is about 1/5 of that in the case of normal intercourse, you try to claim that it means NO chance, and then extrapolate to something so evil and moronic that it boggles the mind….

    Some of us have friends that were born of rape.
    Some of us respect the truth enough mention it, even when facts aren’t up your alley.
    Some of us can deal with those we dislike without lying about them– and frankly, I must disagree with Mr. McClarey. There is simply no way a rational being could read what has been written here and, by innocent lack of reading comprehension, conclude what you have claimed.

    Slanderous lies are even more disgusting that plain old supports-a-view lies.

  • Another problem with irresponsible government overspending is no accountability for grievous, intentional, and wasteful error. The piece of cake mentality going in, and the garbage produced coming out.

  • I just looked up ten indictments for rape in this year’s Books of Sederunt, more or less at random. Six of them contained averments to the following, or similar effect, “while she was under the influence of alcohol and drugs or of one or other of them and bereft of the power of resistance” or “while she was asleep under the influence of alcohol and incapable of giving or withholding consent” Another averred the woman was a defective, within the meaning of the Mental Health Acts and incapable &c

    In no sense is this a scientific survey, but it suggests that rape may well be as often clandestine as forcible. After all, the essence of the offence, the factum probandum, is absence of consent; force or violence are merely evidence that the panel knew the woman was not consenting, or was reckless as to whether she was consenting or not.

NOBama 2012: A Catholic Case for Romney

Wednesday, August 15, AD 2012

Fellow Catholics,

We are approaching the most important U.S. Presidential election for us – by “us” I mean theologically orthodox, politically conservative Catholics – possibly since 1960, when the election of the first Catholic president seemed so possible and actually occurred. I’m grateful to be a contributing member of The American Catholic during this election season, which is one of the most widely-read Catholic blogs in the country. This certainly won’t be the last thing I have to say about the presidential race, but rather the first.

When the GOP primary was getting underway, I was a firm Ron Paul supporter. I knew he would not and could not win, but I supported him anyway because I agree with him on most issues, particularly on the role of our government both domestically and abroad. To support Ron Paul was to support the drastic reduction of the federal government, to reject the arrogant assumptions of technocratic management of economic and social issues from the top-down, and to place a vote of confidence in individuals, families, and local governments to solve social and moral problems. I also believe that this is the fundamental political truth of our time: a state governed by militant secularists cannot possibly effect the common good as it is understood by Christians, people of other faiths, or even those secularists who recognize the value of the natural law tradition that has informed the politics of Western civilization since the time of Plato and Aristotle. And yet if we are destined to have secularists in power, we can at least work to limit their power by limiting government as much as possible.

The corollary of the political truth stated above is that one cannot simply discuss “the role of government” in the abstract, without considering who will actually run the state and what values and assumptions they take with them as they create and execute policies with coercive force. Who exactly will be deciding issues that affect your life and mine? Who will have coercive power over you and yours?

More important than what happens to me or my family, though, is how the Church will be affected by those who rule. Even in her most humiliated and rejected state, which the sex scandals have arguably wrought, the Church is still the light of civilization. If her light is extinguished, driven underground, or forced to hide in the shadows, then it is not simply we Catholics who will suffer (though there is certainly nothing wrong with suffering for the faith), but all of society. The Church can and has survived hideous persecution, but it is not clear that society can survive what it will inevitably become without the Church, as well as all of the other religious organizations that will be affected by federal policies, actively involved in public life. Finally, whether society recognizes its debt to the Church or not is irrelevant.

It may be that God has ordained this as a time of cleansing, a time during which the Church must be forced underground and reduced to a smaller size so that she can be tempered and purified. But we cannot know such things with any certainty. What we can know with at least a little more clarity, on the other hand, is what our duties are as Catholic citizens. It is my view that our first priority is to protect the right of the Church to publicly exist. Usually this doesn’t come up because usually the U.S. government does not enact policies that threaten this public existence. But the status quo has changed, and we now face the prospect of an open, vicious anti-Catholic regime in a lame duck Obama presidency. For this reason, I feel obliged as a Catholic to work for the defeat of Obama-Biden in 2012. In practical terms, this means supporting Romeny-Ryan for the Presidency.

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111 Responses to NOBama 2012: A Catholic Case for Romney

  • ….one cannot simply discuss “the role of government” in the abstract, without considering who will actually run the state and what values and assumptions they take with them as they create and execute policies with coercive force.

    Exactly, well said.

    This post says it all. However, I have to admit I threw up in my mouth a little when I read you were a Ron Paul Supporter….

    Every time I ran into a Ron Paul supporter downtown (usually they were standing at a crosswalk holding a sign trying to get everyone to sign some sort of petition) something always seemed a little “off”.

  • Well, there are “only Ron Paul is acceptable” Ron Paul supporters, and there are people like me, who agree with Paul’s ideals and support Paul as much as they do, but are willing to acknowledge the reality that he can’t win, that he won’t win, that he doesn’t even seem to want to win that badly, and so will eventually have to settle on someone else to support in a concrete, practical sense.

  • The crux of the matter is that “winning matters;” it isn’t everything but it matters.

    We are down by 2, it is a 46 yard attempt, and there are 15 seconds on the clock. Ryan had better be the guy.

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  • “We are down by 2, it is a 46 yard attempt, and there are 15 seconds on the clock. Ryan had better be the guy.”

    Ryan is just the holder, and I’m sure he’ll get the snap down and the laces out. But Romney has to be the one to kick it through and I am not sure I trust his leg.

  • If God, in his wisdom, decides to punish us with four more years of Obama, I will see the good in it.

    One good being he should not be able to run again (consecutively), should the US survive him.

    Anything can happen in two months and change, but I am a little encouraged hearing from a few past O supporters that they are going Romney this time around. Not that it matters much in the Lone Star State, but its something.

    As for Ron Paul’s failure to win not mattering, I don’t know. I doubt Texas would have Ted Cruz on the GOP ticket if not for Paul’s influence.

  • c matt says:
    If God, in his wisdom, decides to punish us with four more years of Obama, I will see the good in it.

    One good being he should not be able to run again (consecutively), should the US survive him.

    If Obama wins a second term people will not have to vote any more as Obama’s HOPE AND CHANGE will make Obama Emperor. Obama has instructed the Department of Justice to enforce his 923 new Executive Orders. The Department of Justice has been constituted to judge Executive Orders and not to enforce them at the whim of the Executive. The Affordable Healthcare Act is, in reality, an Executive Order, without informed consent for the people. Chief Justice Roberts found that it is OK to ignore the people who pay for it and make them pay for it, giving Obama access to every senior citizen’s social security. Make Obama say: FREEDOM to the people.

  • Amen! I do not think there is any doubt about the candidate faithful Catholics must support this year. We must support Romney, because Obama clearly is an enemy of the Church.

    If Obama is reelected, he will have gotten away with an unprecedented attack on the Church. Thus emboldened, he will begin new attacks on the Church. And large numbers of Democratic voters and donors, who despise traditional Christianity, will cheer him on, as will the anti-Catholic major media.

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  • Romney won me at his Ryan selection. Quoting Jimmy Akin here :the solution to the global poverty problem–to the extent we can achieve it–involves a mixture of providing work as the foremost solution, providing handouts as the backup solution – Romney/Ryan’splan does that exactly!!! Then there is that little bit of the pro-life factor. The R7R ticket is significanlty more pro-life than the O&B ticket, for sure. R&R for the win!!!

  • I am glad that people are familiar with natural law and the scope of such arguments for Catholics on politics. However, it is important to remember that the Church has long argued that there are several principles for assessing candidates. This writer has provided one: freedom of conscience. Another is supplementarity for the purpose of the Common Good. According to this principle the State helps local organizations to provide for the poor.

    Your main argument against Obama is the violation of individual conscience on the HHS mandate. Putting aside the arguments on contraception, the mandate would allow for individuals who are or are not Catholic working at a Catholic institution to make their own decisions on contraception. They would then go to their insurance companies to get “free” access to contraception. This means that Catholic institutions will not be providing contraception. And, you the individual are not paying for contraception for anyone else. Because the government does not provide contraception for people. It is provided through insurance plans. In fact, the attempt to stop this is the one violating conscience since it is telling individuals what to think about contraception. And, there is an added bonus to doing this. It will help with curbing the number of abortions. We are not utilitarians in the Church. But under Natural Law we do have to be informed by the consequences of our actions. And, limiting abortions through a policy that does not violate life is a good.

    However, there is an added reason to vote for Obama. Currently the Paul Ryan budget would change the health care insurance for the elderly to a capped system that does not keep up with the health care inflation rate. This would put the elderly in more jeopardy. And, it would put harder burdens on middle class families who would have to spend more on health care as their wages are decreasing. This violates the Natural Law principle of supplementarity. So, under Natural Law, there are actually much clearer reasons to vote for Obama.

  • “This means that Catholic institutions will not be providing contraception.”

    Except that most Catholic institutions are self-funded and so they are paying for it.

    “Currently the Paul Ryan budget would change the health care insurance for the elderly to a capped system that does not keep up with the health care inflation rate.”

    Though in order to pay for ACA the Obama administration has cut 700 billion from Medicare effective now. That impacts seniors much more than any Ryan plan. Especially since the Ryan plan exempts from cuts anyone 55 or over today and the caps won’t take place for ten years.

  • James Zucker: “[individuals] not Catholic working at a Catholic institution to make their own decisions on contraception.”

    When all is said and done: Put it on the ballot so that all citizens might have a choice and get to choose what their taxes are going to buy. If you are going to impose Obama’s freedom on me, I do not want it. The Affordable Healthcare Act is an Executive Order which gives Obama access to all social security. The premiums are to rise to $240 for Medicare by 2014, leaving most citizens with only one half of their grant. The free contraception is only the bait.

  • Z: Why are wages declining under the Obama-essiah?

    Why is median family income nose-diving?

    Why are there 23,000,000 people either unemployed or under-employed? […]

    The regime is at war with the Church.

    The casus belli isn’t artificial contraception or gay marriage. They merely are the latest ambushes.

    The Church must be defeated because its teachings on faith, moral and Objective Truth compete for the minds of the serfs against Obama and the collectivists.

    That is the reason, as Mr. Bonchamps stated in a comment elsewhere, the regime is out “to criminalize religious institutions.”

  • Philip and Mary:

    Good points that need a response.

    So, lets start with Philip’s points. It is true that some Catholic institutions, not all, are self funded and so would have to provide these plans. However, two points on this. First, the Obama administration did show some signs so compromise with these institutions so that they would not have to comply. Second, these institutions would be purchasing these plans with such options. This means that the individuals would chose to use these plans. The Catholic institutions would not be purchasing the contraception. They would be purchasing plans that allow for non Catholics and Catholics who use contraception to make that choice. Third, this already exists in 28 states and 8 of these states have no exceptions. Catholic institutions have already found ways to do this.

    Second, as to the points on the executive order. I don’t know where you are getting this from. It is true that Obama is allowed to have the HHS to do certain mandates. However, the ACA is not an executive order. Most of its elements were part of the overall law that was passed by Congress.

    Third, Mary argued that these elements should be placed up to a general vote. Why? Are all rights and actions done by the country put up to a vote. And, since there is no referendum at the national level, this would be impossible.

    Fourth, Philip argued that the Ryan bill is similar to Obama in that Obama cut 700 billion from Medicare. This is just not true. Actually, Conservatives have manipulated what actually happened under the ACA. The actual thing that ACA does is reduce the growth rates of Medicare. The overall growth continues throughout the next 10 years. However, the Ryan plan intentionally caps the amount of money sent to the elderly. So, it cannot keep up with the inflation rate for health care.

    So, what are the reasons why you ought to vote for Obama as a Catholic. First, his plans, as supported by the American bishops, help the poor and fulfill the preferential option for the poor under Catholic Social teaching. His plans do reform Medicare without endangering the elderly. He provides access to contraception for those who individually choose to want it by bypassing the employer and purchasing plans from their insurance. And, this has a track record of reducing the number of abortions in the country. And, Obama is following the need of the state to supplement the works of local organizations. Paul Ryan, a Conservative Catholic, advocates the moral philosophy of Ayn Rand who promotes that individuals should follow their own ego in order to satisfy their individual self interest first. This is not an attack on Ryan as an individual. I am sure that he is a good Catholic. But his overriding social philosophy is not in line with Catholic social teachings.

  • Mr. Zucker, The President is violating the Constitution of the United States in aggressive and singular ways. His violation of the 1st Amendment through the HHS Mandate is the one closes to the hearts of Catholics and as well it should be. His amnesty program for unlawfully present aliens is another. His divisive and dismissive tone is significant to many of us who “cling to our guns and religion.” His support for same sex marriage shouldn’t be ignored. But most of all… most of all… His unmitigated support for abortion.

    Perhaps you need some of the more Christian Left objections though:

    Guantanamo Bay – Closed? Nope. Specific promise broken, that.
    Afghanistan Pull Back – Accomplished? Even Started? Nope. Specific promise broken, that.
    Immigration Overhaul – Accomplished? Started? Nope. Specific promise broken, that.

    Maybe you are a pragmatist though:

    Job Growth – Not even close… Well, in India, but not here.
    Deficit Reduction – Quite the opposite.
    Foreign Relations Improved – Quite the opposite, things are no better with the Russians, the Chinese, the Venezuelans, or the Iranians. Europe is in the midst of a downhill slide and believe that the US is not relevant to their prosperity. Eastern Europe figures they are on their own, Georgia knows they are, Turkey has moved from ally to marginal opponent, and Mexico continues to favor unlawful immigration into the US while fighting a stalemate conflict with narco terrorists.

    Where, pray tell, has this administration succeeded?

    If you are going to explain why we are wrong to oppose President Obama, you had better come armed with more than sophistry.

  • “First, the Obama administration did show some signs so compromise with these institutions so that they would not have to comply.”

    “So, what are the reasons why you ought to vote for Obama as a Catholic. First, his plans, as supported by the American bishops…”

    Though the Bishops have rejected the compromise you refer to. Thus according to other statement you should agree with the Bishops and reject Obama and his false compromise.

    “The actual thing that ACA does is reduce the growth rates of Medicare. The overall growth continues throughout the next 10 years. However, the Ryan plan intentionally caps the amount of money sent to the elderly. So, it cannot keep up with the inflation rate for health care.”

    Not true. Read the link I provided.

  • Obamacare raises insurance costs across the board hurting those most in need, does nothing to address the reason for escalating medical price increases and spends not one page to enact tort reform in 2700 pages of the largest piece of federal legislation in history. It has already forced Catholic schools to drop health insurance for students because of its lack of a conscience clause.

    Now you are either ignorant of these things or are a willing accomplice with evil. Which is it?

  • “Third, this already exists in 28 states and 8 of these states have no exceptions. Catholic institutions have already found ways to do this.”

    Note in this article that the way to get out is closed by Federal rules:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/different-states-contraceptive-rules-leave-employers-room-to-maneuver/2012/02/15/gIQAN3tsNR_story.html

  • Okay, so lots of issues to respond to from both posts.

    Lets start with G Veg:

    The first major point you have made is that the President is violating the Constitution. You provided two major examples. The HHS mandate assumes that the President’s compromise violates either individual freedom to worship or establishes his own religion as national. Neither is the case. In fact, under the compromise, individuals who are either Catholic or not get to make their own choice on contraception and go directly to their insurance company. As for establishing his own national faith, there is of course no basis for this. So, there is no violation of the First Amendment.

    Your second example is on immigration. Actually, the president is fully within his executive office to instruct the justice department to not go after these immigrants. And, he has provided a path for children who did not choose to come here but have shown a desire to become good citizens to remain here. What is the alternative. Would you want to deport 20-30 year olds who did not come here under their own will but now are showing an effort to become responsible citizens? If you say no, then you are suggesting they should simply live in the shadows.

    As for most of the other promises that you claim Obama broke, there are issues there with Republicans who have used the filibuster in the Senate more than all Congresses since the 1960s combined. I am happy to go further but this would take some time to explain. Just tell me if you want to get into that debate.

    But the Ryan issue is central. And, this gets to Phillip. Phillip, you are correct that the link points out that cutting the growth rate will have an impact on future spending for providers. The spending that was cut was from Medicare Advantage. This was passed under Bush. Most medical experts argued that the benefits under this program were largely luxury and could be cut without affecting seniors’ health. This is where the cuts in growth were targeted.

    However, under the Ryan plan, real cuts would take place. This is due to the desire to change the structure of the plan into a voucher based system in which seniors would get a fixed amount of money. This amount does not keep up with health care inflation. So, the damage is much greater.

    The point is that Ryan’s plan does not fulfill the principle of subsidiary. This is why the Catholic Bishops in America came out against the plan.

  • In addition to the inaccuracies in his account of the HHS Mandate and Medicare cuts, Mr. Zucker repeats a line often repeated by many proponents of the HHS mandate, specifically, that it “provides access to contraception.” All one has to do is walk through one’s local CVS and it becomes readily apparent that access to contraception is something no mobile person in the United States lacks. It is a mystery as to why there is any urgency to providing free contraception to people when these products cost just a little bit more per month than a Netflix subscription. Furthermore,

    And, this has a track record of reducing the number of abortions in the country.

    Is an assertion made without evidence (a growing trend). Also, the Church’s opposition to contraception is as absolute as its opposition to abortion, so it peculiar that someone writing under the Catholic banner would be using this as a point in Obama’s favor.

    Paul Ryan, a Conservative Catholic, advocates the moral philosophy of Ayn Rand

    I would suggest reading a few of the other posts and comments written here recently and learn why this statement is nonsense. Then again, if you are one who likes assertions made without evidence, that is perhaps the wrong advice.

    But his overriding social philosophy is not in line with Catholic social teachings.

    His Bishop begs to differ.

  • Sorry to post so soon again. But there were a couple more responses as I was making my arguments.

    First on the self insurance issue. The Obama administration did express a willingness to discuss this issue with Catholics and others who also looked for this exception. The problem has been an unwillingness on Catholic leaders to work through these problems with the administration. However, either way, the individual would have the option to make this choice on purchasing the option.

    Second, on the issue of the ACA itself. The argument has been made that there are no provisions for controlling costs. This is simply not true. The ACA creates regional cross state exchange markets to increase competition. It also forces all people to purchase some form of insurance. This gets rid of the free rider problem, a solution that conservatives like Newt Gingrich advocated until 2008. And, it also spreads out the costs by including more healthy and young people in the risk pool nationally. This means that there is more money in the pool and less sick people. But the sick gain more coverage.

    Plus remember the plan covers all people including especially adults and children with pre-existing conditions. This fulfills the Catholic principles of both subsidiarity and the Common Good.

  • “Phillip, you are correct that the link points out that cutting the growth rate will have an impact on future spending for providers. The spending that was cut was from Medicare Advantage.”

    Actually per the article, both Obama and Ryan limit growth in Medicare. Ryan through market mechanisms and Obama through planning commissions. But I suspect we will provide our competing studies to show this.

    “The point is that Ryan’s plan does not fulfill the principle of subsidiary. This is why the Catholic Bishops in America came out against the plan.”

    I suspect you mean in the interest of solidarity one working group of the USCCB came out against the Ryan plan.

  • The HHS mandate assumes that the President’s compromise violates either individual freedom to worship or establishes his own religion as national. Neither is the case. I

    The HHS mandate forces Catholic institutions to provide coverage for contraception, thereby violating their freedom to practice religion as they choose. So yes, it is a violation of the first amendment.

    ctually, the president is fully within his executive office to instruct the justice department to not go after these immigrants. And, he has provided a path for children who did not choose to come here but have shown a desire to become good citizens to remain here.

    There’s this pesky little document called the U.S. Constitution. It provides for, among other things, checks and balances and separation of powers. Presidents cannot simply make laws on their own authority without consent of Congress. Whether you agree with the executive order is moot.

    As for most of the other promises that you claim Obama broke, there are issues there with Republicans who have used the filibuster in the Senate more than all Congresses since the 1960s combined.

    From April 2009-January 2010 there were 60 Democrats (including Joe Liberman) in the U.S. Senate, a filibuster-proof total. During that same time Democrats had a solid majority in the House. Among the Republicans in the U.S. Senate during the first two years of Obama’s presidency were John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and later Scott Brown. To cry about Republican obstructionism is simply risible.

  • he Obama administration did express a willingness to discuss this issue with Catholics and others who also looked for this exception. The problem has been an unwillingness on Catholic leaders to work through these problems with the administration.

    Yes, it’s truly a pity that Catholic leaders aren’t interested in negotiating away some of their basic freedoms.

  • More about the USCCB not being formally against the Ryan plan:

    http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=14639

  • August 14, 2012, Washington Post: “Romney’s right: Obamacare cuts Medicare by $716 billion.”

    Second, overall law . . . including the death panels . . .

    Third, you should say “the regime” not “the country.” Not only is there no national referendum in the Constit., there is no rule by executive whim, either.

    And fourth, over the next ten years the medicare beneficiaries’ payments will rise because the numbers of citizens over 65 y.o. will rise. That is not inflation. Obama cut those dollars.

    And, if ACA isn’t repealed, medicine will go the same way as colleges and the housing market. Government interference in higher education funding results in college tuition inflation rates two- to four-times higher than the overall inflation rate. Similarly, FHA, FRB, FNMA, FHLMC, HUD, etc. provideed massive infusions of dollars which caused the housing bubble and worsened the devestating great recession.

    Anyhow, I have been paying Medicare contributions for 40+ years. Obama is taking it away. Also, for nearly 50 years, I paid for medicaid with my taxes. I will never see a penny of it; but every arsonist, dope pusher, fornicator, hater, murderer, prostitute, rapist, thief, illegal invader will get health care and will suck dry the health care system.

    There is no justice. Jon Corzine will not be charged. Yet, Bernie Madoff is in jail for four lifetimes? Apparently, Bernie wasn’t a large cash bundler.

  • As to the HHS Mandate, even IF the follow-up compromises reached a point that WAS constitutional, doesn’t it bother you that he began with a policy that was unconstitutional? Surely the recognition that he was comfortable violating the 1st Amendment matters.

    As to Deferred Action, the President does, indeed, have the authority to bar the Executive Branch from removing classes of aliens. However, the President does not have the authority to grant affirmative benefits outside of law. He has granted employment authorization and permission to reenter the US and those areas are governed by statute. These acts are unconstitutional.

    Please get into the other areas… I would LOVE to hear how Senate filibusters and GOP refusal to cooperate is responsible for the President’s failures.

    As best I can tell, the decision to close Guantanamo was entirely within the President’s authority. So too, the decision to continue to war in Afghanistan. But maybe you mean that he “couldn’t” in the sense that it wasn’t politically expedient to keep his promises. That would be a rich definition of moral governance.

    The foreign policy mistakes are legion and I’m guessing you won’t be trying to blame that on the GOP. That leaves us with legislative failures as the point at which GOP meanness is to blame, not the President’s inability to “reach across the aisle” as he said so often before he was elected. The thing is though that the President had control – overwhelming control – of both houses of Congress. That he elected to expend all of his political capital on healthcare reform rather than keeping his promises to immigrants isn’t the GOP’s fault, it is a cold, calculated act of a Chicago politician.

    Again, you had better come to this fight armed with better than vague generalities and soft logic. I’m one of the least qualified people to wage this fight. God help you if you bring some of The American Catholic’s heavy hitters up to bat.

  • Paul:

    Okay, good arguments. Lets go through them.

    It is true that CVS and others provide basic contraception at a cheap price for women. However, many of these forms of birth control do not work for a percentage of the population. This means that many women are not able to use this form of contraception.

    Second, you argued that I have provided no evidence about the link of contraception and fewer abortions. Fair enough. The Guttmacher Institute has done a study showing that out of all the births in America, about 3 million are unwanted. And, out of these 1.5 end in abortions. What happend to the other 1.5 million. The people who did not opt for abortion tended to show a higher rate of using contraception.

    You also argued that the Church would not consider this because of its strict policy against contraception. i would agree that we ought not be utilitarian in this discussion. And, this does get us into a contraception, natural law, and proprotionality debate. i will say that contraception is not dogma. It is doctrine. And, it does have the potential for change. In fact, the advisers to the Pope in the 1960s did call for a change in this doctrine. Either way, the point is that there is an advantage to natural law to provide for people to choose to access contraception and lower the abortion rate.

    Lastly, as to Ryan’s acceptance of Rand’s philosophy, he gave an interview in which he claimed she was the most important contemporary philosopher on politics. And, he requires his staffers to read her regularly.

    The point is that her philosophy stresses moral egoism. And, this shows in his revision of Medicare. He focuses on market mechanisms that would cap the ability of seniors to afford care and service.

  • However, many of these forms of birth control do not work for a percentage of the population. This means that many women are not able to use this form of contraception.

    So that means we ought to violate the U.S. Constitution in order to serve this tiny percentage of the population? Also, what unusual medical conditions preclude condom usage?

    The Guttmacher Institute has done a study

    Okay I stopped reading the paragraph there.

    i would agree that we ought not be utilitarian in this discussion.

    I just finished reading (for the fourth time) C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength. The plot revolves around the sinister agency, the National Institute for Co-Ordinated Experiments, the N.I.C.E. The Deputy Director of the N.I.C.E. is a man named Wither. Wither speaks in an incredibly vague and passive manner, often as a means of avoiding having to directly address objections to his plans.

    That sentence right there just made me flash back to Wither.

    Lastly, as to Ryan’s acceptance of Rand’s philosophy, he gave an interview in which he claimed she was the most important contemporary philosopher on politics. And, he requires his staffers to read her regularly.

    Again, that is at best an exaggeration. Ryan has praised Rand, but he has absolutely denied that she is that important. Seriously, read the other links on this site.

  • Sure, I am happy to debate anyone on the merits of these cases. I hope that you don’t consider all my arguments as vague generalities. So, lets look at the issues.

    First, the major complaint here has been that Obama violated the constitution through these mandates and executive orders. But you have not provided evidence that this is the case. Obama has ordered through the HHS that individuals can go to their insurance companies to purchase contraception out of their own free choice. There was a problem in implementation so he was willing to work with Catholic institutions to provide compromises in implementation. In both cases, he has not violated the first amendment. He has actually fulfilled its mandate by allowing the individual to make their own choice.

    Also, you have argued that the executive order on the immigrant issue is a violation of the constitution because they allow for affirmative steps. Obama has ordered the Justice Department not to go after certain illegal aliens for 2 years. And, he established clear criteria for this. The reason for doing so has to do with the filibuster issue. The Republicans clearly supported the Dream Act up until 2008. Once Obama did so, they filibustered the issue in the Congress. And, they would not support any reforms to immigration. So, after 3 years, Obama has passed an executive order using the same Republican ideas that forestalls deporting 30 year olds who came here through no choice of their own. And, they have to show that they are in school or have served. This is not granting amnesty. So, this order is fully within his purview.

    Second, the argument that Obama was not stifled by the filibuster is simply inaccurate. Yes, it is true that Obama had a 60 Democrat majority. However, some like Lieberman and Nelson did not agree with him on most issues. So, the Republicans were able to use this. Even Mitch McConnell admitted that his first priority was to stop Obama from winning a second term. This led to their uniting and voting as a block each time to stop discussion on issues. When Ted Kennedy left the Senate due to illness, this allowed the filibuster to have more power. And, then Scott Brown became Senator. Throughout this time, the Republicans have used the filibuster more than all of the Congresses since the 1960s combined. This has made making legislation incredibly difficult.

    The foreign policy mistakes need to be better laid out. You cannot simply make a claim that he has made failures and then stop there. He has been able to establish policy that led to the capture and kill of Osama bin Laden. He has led a NATO effort that ousted Qaddafi. And, in the effort, we lost not one person and spent only 1 billion unlike previous ventures under George Bush that lost 1 -3 trillion and 10,000 troops. He has found a way to get us out of Iraq. He has worked with the Russians and Chinese to put more pressure on Syria. His policies are hardly the failure that you point out.

    Finally, you are welcome to argue against my positions. But, I don’t see how they are simply vague and lacking in evidence given the evidence that I have provided.

  • Paul:

    First, you ask for evidence. Then, when I provide it, you dismiss it without argument. I am sure there is some bias that you would want to point out from the Guttmacher Institute. But this does not prove their logic as wrong.

    Second, you accuse of vague generalities. Then, you quote CS Lewis and his metaphorical arguments about the state as if you have made a direct connection with Obama’s administration. Again, you are assuming what you have not proven. You claim Obama violated the first amendment. Lets agree to a rule here. We have to show what has been violated under the Constitution. You argue it is the first amendment. Obama’s HHS mandate allows individuals to purchase plans for contraception. This does not violate an individual’s beliefs. It allows for them to make free choices.

    Paul Ryan has outrightly praised Ayn Rand and has his staffers read her. That is fine. In fact, I am not against considering Rand’s philosophy. But it is important to note that she does not believe in the Common Good. And, this is a primary principle of Catholic Social Teaching.

  • I’m taking the kids to the park – far more important than this argument I assure you. I’ll take a swing by your soap box later. If you are still up on it, I’ll give you as fair an ear as I can.

  • I raised the issue of addressing medical costs which you conflated with insurance costs. Insurance premiums are not a driver of medical costs.

    Mr.Zucker the problem is you are not a serious man. These are serious issues which impact millions of people’s lives. Politics ought not be the sandbox for frivolous ideas to be tested on people like guinea pigs for social experiments.

    The only thing more morally disgusting than your utter disregard for serious economic and political discourse is your blithe disregard for real world consequences your imprudence would have on your fellow man.

  • Paul:

    First, let me address your serious and fair argument. You are right that I was not addressing the issue of medical costs. I was addressing premium costs. At this point, this is the primary issue that everyone is addressing including both Democrats and Republicans. Medical costs are going up due to increasing life spans, new technologies and a growth in the rate of seniors. This is a non unique problem for either the Ryan or the Obama plans. However, both due to try to manage those costs through differing competing visions of how to spread out the overall costs. I would be happy to argue the merits of Obama’s vision. However, let it be said that nothing in his plan leads to immoral actions or to the high costs that you are claiming.

    Second, I am sorry to hear that you think of me in such a poor manner. Throughout these posts, I have never been uncivil or used ad hominems to attack you or the other people whom I am answering. I have had to respond to several different people since I am the only “liberal” here on the site. I made this choice. So, I am not whining. However, my arguments have been backed up and supported by reasons and evidence. You are welcome to disagree with my points. But, I would challenge you to point out where I was uncivil, lacked support, did not explain myself through multiple reasons, or provided crazed conspiracy type arguments. Please point these out specifically. Otherwise, I have to assume you are attacking me instead of the arguments because you are lacking reasons to defend your positions.

    I do enjoy debating. So, I hope we continue this in a serious and fair manner.

  • Philip, If you mainstream abortion, thus making drastic cuts to healthcare for infants through early childhood, and you then make elder-care over age 70 at the behest of your own appointed 15 person panel, you have made dramatic savings in health insurance on the backs of those who presently require the costliest care. If you see that as an ideal to strive for then, yes, Obama is your man.

  • Eileen,

    I don’t think I was making that argument.

  • James,

    You write:

    “it is important to remember that the Church has long argued that there are several principles for assessing candidates.”

    No one has forgotten it.

    “This writer has provided one: freedom of conscience.”

    That is one aspect of what I wrote about. But I am also clear that I am speaking about the rights of the Church as an institution. I suppose you could call it collective freedom of conscience, or institutional freedom of conscience, but we ought to be clear that it is not a question of this or that individual, but rather an entire organization comprised of millions of members. The Church itself has rights, at all times and in all places.

    “Another is supplementarity for the purpose of the Common Good. According to this principle the State helps local organizations to provide for the poor.”

    To provide what, exactly, is the question. Sometimes the best solution is for the state to do nothing, especially when it can be empirically demonstrated that its involvement has hurt the people it alleges to want to help.

    “Your main argument against Obama is the violation of individual conscience on the HHS mandate.”

    A violation of the Church’s right to exist. You want to put me in a box of “individual conscience.” I do consider that important but I also consider the Church’s rights to be more important than those of any one individual. I want to be clear on that.

    “Putting aside the arguments on contraception, the mandate would allow for individuals who are or are not Catholic working at a Catholic institution to make their own decisions on contraception.”

    They already can and do. Any claim that they currently do not or have not would be a bald-faced lie.

    “They would then go to their insurance companies to get “free” access to contraception. This means that Catholic institutions will not be providing contraception.”

    Being forced to pay for something is the equivalent of being forced to provide it. This is a distinction without a meaningful difference. There would be no need for a “mandate” if the government wasn’t trying to force religious institutions to do that which they would not do without the mandate.

    “And, you the individual are not paying for contraception for anyone else. Because the government does not provide contraception for people. It is provided through insurance plans.”

    All employers with over 50 employees will be forced to buy health insurance plans by 2014 or face penalties that could put them out of business entirely. Plans that do not cover abortion/contraception/sterilization will not be legally available. So all of the individuals who own such businesses, many of which may be companies with thousands or millions of shareholders, will be participating in this wickedness unless they break the law.

    “In fact, the attempt to stop this is the one violating conscience since it is telling individuals what to think about contraception.”

    Well, this is a demented statement, completely at odds with reality. There is no HHS mandate now, and individuals are free to think whatever they want about contraception and to purchase it with their own money. If you define this situation as somehow unjust, then you are simply out of your mind. We cannot have a rational discussion.

    I’m not even saying that you can’t have a rational argument for state-mandated contraception coverage. I can see the argument that the Church is an outdated, obscurantist institution whose rights ought to be curtailed and suppressed for the glory of progressive ideals. That is at least a consistent argument, a logical and clear argument. But this insanity, where you try to present the status quo as one in which the Church is actually preventing people from accessing contraception when this is manifestly not the case, earns you nothing but my derision, contempt, and unrelenting resistance. You cannot lie your way into victory, not here, not with me. So just give it up.

    “And, there is an added bonus to doing this. It will help with curbing the number of abortions.”

    Irrelevant. The ends do not justify the means. This is Catholicism 101. If you fail this test, you have no credibility to speak about Catholic teaching on any other subject.

    “We are not utilitarians in the Church. But under Natural Law we do have to be informed by the consequences of our actions. And, limiting abortions through a policy that does not violate life is a good.”

    I can’t believe you missed the part about never doing evil, even if good will come of it, in your catechesis.

    “However, there is an added reason to vote for Obama. Currently the Paul Ryan budget would change the health care insurance for the elderly to a capped system that does not keep up with the health care inflation rate. This would put the elderly in more jeopardy. And, it would put harder burdens on middle class families who would have to spend more on health care as their wages are decreasing. This violates the Natural Law principle of supplementarity. So, under Natural Law, there are actually much clearer reasons to vote for Obama.”

    Well, it isn’t clear to me that you have an accurate or honest view of reality, so I’m going to reserve judgment on the Ryan health plan until I read the details for myself.

  • Correction: there IS an HHS mandate now, and it is being challenged in court. So we’ll see how it turns out. The point stands, though. The situation without the mandate is NOT one in which people are not free to think and act on their preference for contraception, and any suggestion that it is, is a lie unworthy of serious consideration.

  • i will say that contraception is not dogma. It is doctrine. And, it does have the potential for change.

    Sorry, cannot let that stand. Completely and totally wrong, and you should retract that statement for the good of your soul. I sincerely mean that. Contraception is intrinsically evil, period.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)

    CCC 2399 Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).

    CCC 2370 “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil.

    Humanae Vitae

    Encyclical Letter of His Holiness Paul VI condemned artificial contraception

    John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio

    Only natural family planning provides the only moral basis for a planned family depending on the married couple’s individual circumstances and with guidance from a spiritual adviser. NFP enables husband and wife to always be open to the gift of life.

    No wiggle room on this.

  • Okay, so there are two entirely separate arguments being made here. One is about the rights of religious organizations, in this case the Catholic Church. And, second, there is the theological debate on the status of contraception. I will take Bonchamps argument here. And, I will post again on the theology of contraception in just a minute.

    I do want to make one rule that hopefully we, and I do include myself, can follow. Can we all agree that we have differing versions of what we believe to be true? This is not to make a relativist argument. I firmly believe that we ought to show why our view is correct or incorrect and be evaluated based upon the support we provide. But, can we at least agree that we should not rule out valid forms of arguments on either side simply because we obviously disagree. And, I would ask that there be a level of civility on both sides even though we disagree. Based upon this, I promise to remain within the boundaries of the arguments provided.

    It seems to me that Bonchamps has clarified his argument by arguing the following points:

    1. Obama is attacking the right of the Catholic church and the integrity of its positions to exist violating the constitution and the institution’s liberty of conscience.
    2. Without the mandate, people still have the right to make whatever choice they want and the church is not stopping them so there is no violation of individual conscience.
    3. We cannot evaluate these issues using other types of philosophies like utilitarianism since Catholic natural law thinking is separate from such frameworks.

    Now let me be clear. I put these in this order because they depend upon one another. If the Church’s integrity and freedoms are being violated, then #3 really does not matter. The Church’s protection as an institution and its integrity of beliefs in paramount. This is true both Constitutionally and as a matter of our faith. Also, #2 is important since the Church cannot violate an individual’s conscience in their choices. However, the Church does not have to participate materially in the evil of a choice by any individual.

    Okay, having set that up, lets look at the issues. In order for Obama to have violated the Church’s integrity, he would either have to be #1 forcing them to purchase contraception directly. Or #2 forcing them to give contraception to all of its employees including Catholics. Or #3 forcing to purchase plans with contraception against their will. Obama is not doing #1. He has allowing for Catholics and non-Catholics to bypass the employer and go straight to the employer to purchase plans that include or do not include the option of contraception. He is not doing #2 because he has made an exemption that only institutions with a majority of workers who are not the faith of the institution must have these options in the plans. The only one that he comes close to violating is #3 due to self insurance by certain Catholic institutions. But he has already expressed a willingness to work with Catholic institutions on this issue to make sure that they will not have to violate their conscience on this issue. So, there is no violation of the Constitutionality of the protection of freedom of religion. And, the Catholic Church as an institution is not being attacked. Rather, Obama is attempting to establish a policy that will help to serve people in general who wish on an individual level, both Catholic and non-Catholic, to use contraception.

    This gets us to the second issue that you raised. It is true that the Church is not attempting to stop individuals from accessing contraception. And, legally, even if the Church wins on the mandate issue, they do not have the power nor the will to stop individuals from accessing contraception at 7 eleven or any other convenience store. However, that is not my argument. My argument is that the individual’s conscience must be protected. Under this plan, the individual would be able to make a choice to get and use contraception. While the Church may disagree with this, it cannot stop the individual from doing so. And, the Church is doing that to its employees if it says that they will not even provide insurance plans that open up that option. My point is that your argument about the violation of the Church’s conscience works both ways. In this case, the Church is removing the ability of the individual to go to their insurer and make their own decision.

    This then leads to your last point on the issue of utilitarianism. You are right to argue that consequences do not determine our moral decision making. That is strict utilitarianism. But basic Catholic Natural Law teaching tells us to assess every moral decision based upon the intention, the act, and the consequences. In this case, the intent is to provide people with the free choice on how to manage and prepare for their families while also maintaining strong sexual intimacy within their committed relationships. The act itself is not to provide contraception. But, rather it is to provide people with the choice on that issue. And, the positive consequences is that it helps to limit the number of abortions.

    My point was never that the limitation of abortions should determine our moral reasoning. My point is that this is a part of the overall reason why many Catholics do support Obama’s position because it aims for the Common Good without violating basic rights.

    This then brings me to my point on Ryan’s plan. You are welcome to ignore it. However, it raises my initial point that you agreed to in your response. We both agree that Catholic social teaching includes multiple principles: protection of individual conscience, susidiarity, the Common Good, solidarity and preferential option for the poor. My point is that Obama’s overall plans and actions have fulfilled much more of these principles than what Republicans have offered.

    You pointed out that the government is not always needed and this is the point of subsidiarity. True. But that does not mean that the government is not needed in this circumstance. We are currently living in an era of increasing inequality. The richest 20% currently hold 80% of the wealth. Median family income for the middle class has falled by $4000 since 2000. And, 2% of the richest people in America received 97% of the share of income in the country last year.

    This is not an argument for socialism or communism. This is a criticism of the concentration of wealth and income that even Pope John Paul II pointed out in his encyclicals. The point is that local churches and community service groups cannot provide for all of the help needed by the middle class and the poor. Costs are going up while salaries are going down or remaining stagnant. In this environment, Obama’s policies have provided for basic unemployment services for the unemployed, increased food stamps for those in poverty, provided for health care coverage for people who cannot get it through no fault of their own, and has provided for basic coverage for the elderly. In contrast, Ryan’s plan would cap the amount to seniors below the inflation rate for health care and lower taxes on the richest amongst us. We can definitely disagree on the merits of these plans. But, your argument ignoring the points on Ryan’s plans does not show why most of the Catholic principles are not being upheld by Republican ideas.

    Of course, I respectfully look forward to your reply.

  • Chris:

    I was worried about getting into this debate. It is not that I am not prepared for it. I just did not want to get away from the scope of the political issues. And, I know that my response to you has the possibility of creating a firestorm. But, since you did make this argument, I don’t want it to appear that I have no basis to my argument.

    Dogma does not work the way that you are describing. Yes, it is Church doctrine and teaching that contraception is immoral and evil. However, the Pope could have raised Huamane Vitae to the level of dogma. He chose not to. And, he did this because there is considerable debate on whether or not the basis to Huamane Vitae is correct.

    I read Humane Vitae a long time ago. So, I apologize if I miss some of its main points.

    It argued against contraception based upon :

    1. The general definition of sex as procreative, unitive and a sacrament.
    2. Sex must be open to life at all times.
    3. The fear that procreation would lead to a culture of abortion, death and the utilization of women as tools for male pleasure.

    Okay, lets take a look at these issues.

    Lets group 1 and 2 together. Biologically, most times during a woman’s cycle, she cannot conceive a child. Yet, a couple can have sexual intercourse during any of these times of the month. If life were meant by nature to always be connected to sex, one would expect the opposite. And, it is not the case. However, lets even assume that it was. This is a physicalist case against contraception in which we are determined by nature because God created it. However, in so many cases, we don’t argue that nature should determine our destiny (flying, diseases, space exploration, etc). So why in this case? The main argument in favor of why is because we are producing a life, that is Good. But we allow for natural family planning in order to prevent and frustrate life from being produced. So, the real difference here is artificial versus natural means in preventing life to enter in at all times. What is the real problem with this?

    Well there are two possibilities. Humane Vitae first points to the nature of sex itself as procreative and unitive. However, as we just showed, not all sex acts are procreative in nature. So, this could not be the case.

    The second possibility is #3. And, that is due to the negative impacts on women. And, lets be clear, it is obvious that our culture has devolved to this level. We see constant attacks on women sexually through magazines, increased rates of abortion, rape, date rape, etc. However, the problem with this reasoning is a full scale generalization to all people under this. There are plenty of religious Protestants, Catholics, and secularists who use contraception to plan out their families without resorting to any of these negative impacts.

    In fact, 97% of Catholic women use contraception. Why? This is not to justify their actions. But most women do because the stress on the body of having multiple children under a quick period of time is hurtful to health, both physical and mental. Some use of contraception, whether natural family planning or artificial, is used by families in order to provide for the financial means necessary to raise a family, provide for emotional connections, provide for an intimate relationship between husband and wife, and to protect women from multiple different health stresses including ovarine cancer.

    It is true in the end that the current Catholic doctrine under Humane Vitae argues that contraception is evil and not allowed. And, I would agree that the Church has not changed this position nor is it attempting to change this position. But historically it is not dogma. And, the reasoning behind the decision is, in my opinion, not sound.

    But, I could be wrong. Please point out where I am.

  • None of these points are serious arguments from Mr.Zucker. They do amount to mental masturbation however.

    Take for example his thesis that prices are rising in medicine due to increasing age and technology. Life spans and technology have been increasing for 100 years yet is only in the last 30-40 that we have seen costs rise dramatically. The correlation is not just tenuous but is the text book example of “post hoc ergo propter hoc” or the fallacy of correlation not causation.

    This is symptomatic of a larger disease and it is one for which no medicine on earth can cure.

  • Paul:

    True enough except for two significant differences.

    1. The life expectancies of individuals have gone up much more in the recent past due to the increased technologies of the last 30-40 years. Also, the medical profession has since post WWII received a much higher status due to new medicines like pencillin and the move away from fluid theory to germ theory in medicine. So, the medical field has become professionalized in a way that it was not a century ago.
    2. And, far more important, the baby boom created a massive older population for today that is looming in the next 10 years. That group which will live longer, a goal that all Catholics want to see due to our commitment to life, will demand higher costs.

    Again, can we actually deal with the arguments and stay away from personal attacks?

  • “So, the real difference here is artificial versus natural means in preventing life to enter in at all times. What is the real problem with this?”

    The distinction would be in what is a normally infertile period – part of human biology vs. an artificially imposed, non-natural process. The first can be ordered to the Human good as part of God’s ordering of the Human person, the latter not.

    “Well there are two possibilities. Humane Vitae first points to the nature of sex itself as procreative and unitive. However, as we just showed, not all sex acts are procreative in nature. So, this could not be the case.”

    Clearly there are plenty of cases where nature is not fulfilled, this does not deny the nature of the thing. So the fact that most sex acts do not result in procreation does not deny the fact that this is part of the nature of the sexual act.

    “The second possibility is #3. And, that is due to the negative impacts on women. And, lets be clear, it is obvious that our culture has devolved to this level. We see constant attacks on women sexually through magazines, increased rates of abortion, rape, date rape, etc. However, the problem with this reasoning is a full scale generalization to all people under this. There are plenty of religious Protestants, Catholics, and secularists who use contraception to plan out their families without resorting to any of these negative impacts.”

    Though it is becoming more and more clear that while some may use contraception without problems, society as a whole is being negatively impacted. Just as some families deal well with divorce, but in general society is suffering from its effects.

    Though I might ask at this point, why are you so concerned with Catholic social teaching and adherance to it, while you disregard established teaching on contraception. One can equally argue according to standards that the preferential option for the poor ( a phrase which is actually not in magisterial texts) and other aspects of CST are equally subject to change. And since most social programs are now unsustainable, it is fine to cut them.

  • Zookster, buddy:

    What has any of that got to do with giving Obama four more years for massive failures and to complete the devastation?

  • Paul:

    Great points. So, lets go through them.

    The biggest problem with your argument is that you argue that certain things may not be so. But you don’t provide reasons why they ought to be so.

    Let me demonstrate. It is true that just because conception is not possible in every sex act, that this does not rule out procreation as important. But your argument does not show that procreation is essential in all sex acts. And, this is my point on the nature argument. In order for this part of the theological premise to hold, it would have to show that conception is essential to the nature of sex. The Church tried to do this through a physicalist approach. However, sex does not lead to conception in most cases. So, there is no essential nature to the case.

    However, you could argue that the reasoning is more about the good of producing life. Therefore all sex acts should contain conception as possible since it leads to fulfilling this good. But now this would mean that we should not use natural family planning either since we would be frustrating life. You could argue that natural family planning follows the nature God gave us. But this runs us right back into the problems of the first issue that I raised.

    So, we now get to the overall argument about the goods of contraception and sex. Yes, society takes good things and makes them into bad things. This does not make the original thing bad. For example, we have cures for diseases. Some evil people have used this and the scientific process to create biological weapons. So, we create a moral rule excluding the mal practice of science and biological elements, not science itself.

    The reason why I support social teachings of the church is because I believe the rationales are sound. For example, from intuition, do you agree that the good should be pursued and the evil avoided. Well, of course. Is poverty a negative and possibly evil condition that some people live under? Well, I think we would both agree on this as well. And, do you agree on an intuitive level, that we ought to help our neighbor to avoid extreme suffering? Again, we probably both agree. And, for good reason. It is intuitive and morally common sense. And, it is the teaching of the Church.

    Now, we just need to determine which agent is best: communities, individuals, churches, the State, or a combination. This is an argument of sociology, economics, and political science. But I agree with Church teachings on social teachings because we can easily determine its truth.

    In the case of contraception, I don’t see the authorities being sound in their reasoning.

  • “In this case, the Church is removing the ability of the individual to go to their insurer and make their own decision.”

    Except as pointed out above, the Church is the one funding the insurance so it is the Church, and those of link-minded conscience, who are forced to pay for what is readily and inexpensively available.

    Again, which is why the bishops continue to resist the efforts of the Obama mandate.

  • Paul:

    Again, that depends.

    The church would not be providing the insurance in the case of businesses who purchase an insurance plan for their employees. The employees than buy the plans. So, the Church is providing the overall insurance. But the employee chooses and buys the plans and the services.

    You are correct in the case of church institutions that self insure. And, the Obama administration has made it clear that they are open for compromise on that one.

    Either way, there is no clear violation of the freedom of worship. This is opening up choices for employees of Catholic Church institutions. And, by the way, many Catholic Church institutions already allow for this due to that choice like Georgetown.

  • I think you are referring to me.

    “The Church tried to do this through a physicalist approach. However, sex does not lead to conception in most cases. So, there is no essential nature to the case.”

    No, it is not a physicalist approach. It never has been considered so. In fact Martin Rhonheimer, who vigorously argues against any physicalist arguments points out that Humanae Vitae is quite non-physicalist in its argument. That is, natural law, in all that means in reason, sees the value of every sexual act being open to, if not resulting in, conception.

    “The reason why I support social teachings of the church is because I believe the rationales are sound. For example, from intuition, do you agree that the good should be pursued and the evil avoided. Well, of course. Is poverty a negative and possibly evil condition that some people live under? Well, I think we would both agree on this as well. And, do you agree on an intuitive level, that we ought to help our neighbor to avoid extreme suffering?”

    Of course those “rationales” are the same basis for arguing against contraception. Again from the first principle of natural law, the good is to be pursued and evil avoided. The good of sexula intimacy is the gift of self in marriage. This gift logically (rationally) includes the gift of new life. This of course can be modified to include the resort to naturally infertile periods in expressing the unitive aspect which are not violations of the good. But that includes the gift of self-restraint to those periods which further logically (rationally) includes a deepening of virtue of the person and respect for one’s spouse. Such is logically (rationally) not present in artificial contraception which reduces the other to an object of pleasure for the self instead of self-giving open to life.

    Of course we also seek to restrain extreme poverty and meet basic human needs. Of course CST includes the concepts that such programs logically (rationally) must be sustainable and must actually help those it seeks to help without fostering dependency on the govt. The actual implementation of policies and legitimate differences as to these policies actually helping and being sustainable are logically (rationally) subject to debate among Catholics of good conscience. This is also part of the rationale of CST – that Catholics may licitly disagree among policies.

  • James,

    You wrote,

    “He [Obama] has allowing for Catholics and non-Catholics to bypass the employer and go straight to the employer [I assume you meant insurance company] to purchase plans that include or do not include the option of contraception.”

    Again, this is a distinction without a difference:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203646004577215150068215494.html

    One way or another, religious institutions will be forced to pay for contraception under the mandate.

    “But he has already expressed a willingness to work with Catholic institutions on this issue to make sure that they will not have to violate their conscience on this issue.”

    The law is what it is, and no one must or should take such a condescending “willingness” to toss their opponents a few crumbs from the table as anything other than the gesture of contempt that it is.

    “Obama is attempting to establish a policy that will help to serve people in general who wish on an individual level, both Catholic and non-Catholic, to use contraception.”

    I don’t care. He doesn’t have the legitimate authority to do what he is doing. He is abusing his authority and pursuing a tyrannical course. People who wish “on an individual level” to use contraception can individually pay for it with their own money.

    “It is true that the Church is not attempting to stop individuals from accessing contraception. And, legally, even if the Church wins on the mandate issue, they do not have the power nor the will to stop individuals from accessing contraception at 7 eleven or any other convenience store. However, that is not my argument. ”

    But it is the only truth that matters in this debate.

    “Under this plan, the individual would be able to make a choice to get and use contraception.”

    They already have the choice. They just can’t get it for FREE, i.e., force someone else to pay for it.

    “While the Church may disagree with this, it cannot stop the individual from doing so. And, the Church is doing that to its employees if it says that they will not even provide insurance plans that open up that option. ”

    Well, this is simply false. If you know it is false, it is a lie. If you don’t know it is false, it is an error. Now you know. If you keep repeating it, you’re a liar. The Church cannot stop, and does not wish to stop, any individual from buying contraception. The Church does not go around with press gangs and force people off the street to work in its institutions. No one has to work for a Catholic institution. It is a choice. The fact that some people may have to choose between working for a Catholic college or hospital and having their contraceptives/abortions/sterilization procedures covered is not a violation of conscience, it is evidence that religious institutions still get to have theirs.

    ” My point is that your argument about the violation of the Church’s conscience works both ways. In this case, the Church is removing the ability of the individual to go to their insurer and make their own decision.”

    The Church has set conditions for employment at its institutions that anyone is free to review and reject in favor of employment somewhere else. “The individual” can work wherever he is qualified to work. No ability has been removed. If an individual at a Catholic institution can’t get contraception coverage, it is because he voluntarily agreed to that condition, having considered that this good is of a lower priority than employment at a Catholic institution.

    The argument does not “work both ways”, because when it works the way you want it to, the Church’s conscience is violated. When it works the way I want it to EVERYONE IS STILL FREE TO DO WHAT THEY WANT – with their OWN money.

    ” In this case, the intent is to provide people with the free choice on how to manage and prepare for their families while also maintaining strong sexual intimacy within their committed relationships. The act itself is not to provide contraception. But, rather it is to provide people with the choice on that issue. And, the positive consequences is that it helps to limit the number of abortions.”

    Even if I believed that were the intent (and I don’t), it wouldn’t matter. I am not arguing that the Obama regime is trying to force people to buy contraception, that it is trying to force-provide people with these things. Rather, it is forcing institutions to cover the costs of these things, which is a violation of their inherent right to exist.

    And it is still premised on the lie that people don’t have “the choice on that issue.” As long as you believe that people who have nearly unlimited access to birth control without the mandate need the mandate to have “choice on that issue”, you inhabit a fundamentally different reality than I do and we cannot rationally communicate.

    “My point was never that the limitation of abortions should determine our moral reasoning. My point is that this is a part of the overall reason why many Catholics do support Obama’s position because it aims for the Common Good without violating basic rights.”

    Fine. My point stands that basic rights are violated, as well as basic logic and rational thought.

    ” We are currently living in an era of increasing inequality. The richest 20% currently hold 80% of the wealth.”

    I don’t care. Inequality is not injustice when those on the bottom are wealthier than at least half of the planet, if not far more. The American “poor” have a higher standard of living than the middle classes of most of the nations that have ever existed or exist today. We are not talking about Biblical poverty in the United States. If you want to talk global inequalities, then you may have a stronger case for some level of redistribution. But not on a national scale.

    Inequality is only a problem, in this context, for the envious who believe they are entitled to a level of comfort that others have to work hard for.

    “The point is that local churches and community service groups cannot provide for all of the help needed by the middle class and the poor. ”

    Well, I disagree, and there’s no way you can demonstrate such a thing. It is arguable that the primary thing that people need are jobs and business opportunities. I reject the automatic assumption that “help” necessarily = bureaucratic welfare state financed through confiscation and redistribution of private wealth.

    Finally, I’m not “ignoring” Ryan’s plan. I haven’t studied it yet, so I don’t want to comment on it yet. It’s that simple.

  • James Zucker: The Catholic Church needs to hire only Catholic workers to be eligible for an exemption? The Court in Hosanna-Tabor said that 9-0 the state did not have the right to determine who the religious organizations hired but now the Catholic Church will be forced to hire only Catholic people to be eligible for an exemption. The First Amendment says that Obama may not “prohibit the free exercise thereof.” You have spent much ink telling us how much you are giving us freedom, defining conscience and redefining the human being and eternal truths and I tell you that freedom is granted by God, “their Creator”.

    James. Please explain why the HHS mandate was added by Obama after the ACA was passed by Congress? Obama violated the contract, by usurping and using an unauthorized Congressional power.

    And please explain why Obama has given an unauthorized power to Sebelius to write anything Obama tells her to, whenever Obama tells Sebelius to, into the ACA. Obama removed the Mexico City Policy the first day in office as POTUS. A contract with the people and the Catholic church that only one side can change is no contract at all, it is simply bondage. Contraception is the bait. The real game is to overturn the Catholic Church and absorb all that the Catholic Church holds in trust for our posterity, all generations to come.

  • “You are correct in the case of church institutions that self insure. And, the Obama administration has made it clear that they are open for compromise on that one.

    Except the it is actually the majority of Church institutions that are self-funded. It is so problematic that even the Catholic Hospital Association, which supported the Health Care Law, finds there is no room for compromise:

    “The Catholic Health Association was a key ally in Obama’s health care overhaul, defying opposition from church bishops to help the president win approval in Congress. But the group said Friday it does not believe church-affiliated employers should have to provide birth control as a free preventive service, as the law now requires.

    The hospital group’s decision calls into question a compromise offered by the president himself only months ago, under which the cost of providing birth control would be covered by insurance companies and not religious employers. While churches and other places of worship are exempt from the birth control mandate, nonprofits affiliated with a religion, such as hospitals, are not.

    In a letter to the federal Health and Human Services department, the hospital group said the compromise initially seemed to be “a good first step” but that examination of the details proved disappointing. The plan would be “unduly cumbersome” to carry out and “unlikely to adequately meet.”

    “Either way, there is no clear violation of the freedom of worship. This is opening up choices for employees of Catholic Church institutions. And, by the way, many Catholic Church institutions already allow for this due to that choice like Georgetown.”

    Again, it does not follow given that the majority in the Church (even those that supported the law) find it untenable as noted above. There may be some institutions that do not have a problem with contraception (and perhaps abortifacients as these are also mandated.) But this does not deny the reality that the Bishops and many other organizations find it oppressive. As such, it is not only a restriction on freedom of worship, it is a immoral restriction on freedom of religion.

  • Paul:

    Okay, two separate points on this one.

    1. Contraception falls under the same basic Catholic intuition that I expressed in support of CST.
    2. We can disagree over the implementation of CST.

    First, on contraception. I don’t think the Church has ever explicitly argued that natural law is dependent on nature. However, the reasoning in Humane Vitae fell into that problem. The reason is expressed in your own argument. You argued that sex can occur throughout the month during periods of natural infertility. But we cannot use artificial means to stop conception because life is a good that should never be frustrated. However, under Catholic teaching, we do frustrate the possibility of life by planning through natural means to stop having sex at points when life would be created. Why would we do this if life is a good that we do not avoid wanting to create. The reason is because we understand families must be able to have some planning abilities on having children. But, then why not artificial means. Because artificial means would frustrate the natural process. But if physicalist arguments are not what we are aiming at then there is no basis to claim that sex always has a procreative element to it.

    Your other argument is that by abstaining, we create a virtue of self restraint and a lack of selfishness. This may be true. But if the act itself is not immoral, then these side effects are simply possible benefits from abstaining, not necessary elements of determining if the act is moral.

    In fact, couples who use artificial contraception often talk about the ability to create more loving and intimate relationship to the partner whom they are committed. And, that their intimacy expresses a lack of selfishness and a communication of love through this intimacy.

    The problem with your argument again is that you are expressing why something may not be the case. You are not providing for reasons why it is.

    My reasons are the following:

    1. Sex does not have a physicalist or a spiritual reason for tying procreation to all acts of sex.
    2. Artificial birth control is the same as natural family planning unless you are trying to argue that all of God’s natural means are the basis to morality.
    3. Artificial birth control allows for families to plan out their care for children while remaining loving and committed to one another.

  • “First, on contraception. I don’t think the Church has ever explicitly argued that natural law is dependent on nature. However, the reasoning in Humane Vitae fell into that problem.”

    True, but I am not arguing that either. And neither did Humane Vitae. Read Rhonheimer.

    “The reason is expressed in your own argument. You argued that sex can occur throughout the month during periods of natural infertility.”

    That’s only if one thinks I am arguing from physical nature rather that the totality of what is invovled in natural law – the ultimate discernment of which comes through reason. This reason includes taking into account the physical nature of the act, its nature and ends, and the intention in acting.

    “But we cannot use artificial means to stop conception because life is a good that should never be frustrated. However, under Catholic teaching, we do frustrate the possibility of life by planning through natural means to stop having sex at points when life would be created.”

    But only because reason discerns these infertile periods as part of nature and, through reason, we use these naturally infertile periods for legitimate ends (ie the health of the mother, financial resources etc.) Through restraint founded in reason, we reaffirm the meaning of sexuality even if new life is not created. This as opposed to chosing to have sex at any time based upon our control of fertility through artificial contraception.

    “You are not providing for reasons why it is.”

    But I have. Perhaps an assertion without evidence on your part.

  • Okay there are a lot of issues to address here since there are three people giving me different arguments. Don’t get me wrong. I am not whining about this. I am happy to answer the points in all of the arguments. But I am trying to do this in a timely manner. So, I hope that I don’t miss any of the major points.

    All three of you seem to be arguing the following in common points.

    1. Obama violated rights by forcing all institutions including Catholic ones to provide for contraception to their employees.
    2. Individuals have a right to work wherever they want so there really is no right to them to be able to force insurers into providing this “free” care.
    3. Bonchamps made the point that the extreme inequalities don’t matter and this is really just the point of envious people.

    Okay, so first off, in order for Obama to have violated religious liberties, we have all agreed that he had to have forced Catholic institutions to materially support an evil action. But in order to do this, these institutions would have to be either paying for or passing out contraception. They are doing neither. The individual worker is going straight to their insurance provider. So, the employer is by passed. And, the church is not paying for the service or the good. The continuous argument that you or anyone else is paying for this is simply incorrect. The insurance company provides the plan that provides the coverage.

    You are correct that this would be a problem for self insured institutions. However, the Obama administration has argued that it would be open to negotiations on this. Paul argues that most Catholic institutions are self insured. This may be correct. But, please remember that many Catholic institutions don’t agree with the bishops on this one. And, many institutions of Catholic leadership also have such diverse communities that they are willing to provide insurance companies not self insurance. So, the issue is an implementation one.

    The point is that there is no violation of the First Amendment and Bonchamps argument that this is tyranny exaggerates the issue. It is an implementation problem that is being worked out through compromise. And, as I argued before, there are greater side effects that come along with this since it can lead to the good of reducing abortions.

    However, on to the point that I made about the violation of individual rights. Bonchamps missed the point of my argument. In today’s environment of high unemployment, it is extremely difficult to make the argument that an individual could simply up and move to a new job. And, while it is true that contraception can be received at convenience stores, the product is often not good for all women due to health reasons. So, if a Catholic employer tells his or her employee that she cannot choose a certain insurance plan, then this is a violation of that individual’s ability to make choices. And, referring that individual to the rigors of the market place right now would simply be forcing the individual into a difficult circumstance of unemployment.

    However, this gets to the bigger problem with Bonchamps argument. This is not personal. But to claim that extreme inequalities are not important to CST is not consistent with papal teachings. I am not arguing from authority. You are clearly in your rights to tell me I am wrong. But the Popes of recent years have clearly pointed out that capitalism, while better than socialism and communism, has the negative problem of a concentration of wealth and the use of wealth for individual selfishness. The current numbers I gave you were not just regular inequality. They show extreme inequality driven by the greed of the top 10% of our society. These cannot be passed off especially when CST argues for economics to provide for the common good.

    And, your argument missed the greater point that I was making off of this. My point was that under our current circumstances the party that is violating most of CST teachings are the Republicans. While Obama’s implementation may be imperfect, it is the Republican plans that violate the needs of the weakest by curtailing spending on medical expenses for those with special needs, curtailing spending on heating oil for the poor, curtailing spending on education, curtailing spending for the elderly on health care, and trying to veto a health care bill that finally covers all people including those previously excluded due to no fault of their own.

    You can definitely disagree with me on this. Even though the Catholic bishops and the Jesuits at Georgetown feel the same way. However, to argue that Obama is tyrannical is simply not accurate to the facts.

  • Paul:

    I did provide reasons. Let me argue this again.

    First, let me point out that you argued that we ought to use reason informed by faith to point out the totality of the act. Agreed.

    Your argument, if I am correct is that sex should be open to life but we can use natural family planning to plan when we ought to have sex to have children and when we ought to abstain from having sex.

    But, this still does not address why sex should always be tied to procreation. True, it is one of its ends. However, sexual union between partners does not always lead to procreation. So, on what basis do you argue that sex and procreation are always linked? If your argument is that this is one of the great purposes of sex, I agree. But this does not mean that sex only has one purpose. Just as a hand does not have one purpose. Now, you could argue that we ought never frustrate any of the purposes. But we do with natural family planning. We just do it naturally. So, why cannot we do this through artificial means?

    You asked for my reasons then why artificial means can be used. Here they are again:

    1. There is no real difference between artificial and natural family planning unless you use a physicalist approach.
    2. Artificial means do not violate life because married couples use it to plan out when they will conceive.
    3. Artificial means allow for a husband and wife to create a committed and loving relationship without the fear of unwanted pregnancies when the cannot afford them.
    4. Sex has multiple purposes. Procreation is not essential to all acts of sex.

  • JZ- For the sake of clarity and your Catholic bona-fides, can you please confirm or deny the following:

    Do you believe that the use of artificial contraception is morally licit as a means of birth control?

  • Paul:

    So, I am unclear on the ends of this question.

    I thought I made myself clear in the last few emails. Here is a clear and unequivocal statement.

    I believe that artificial birth control is moral as long as it is within a committed relationship of marriage and used for the dual purposes of managing family size and creating a loving and intimate relationship between the spouses.

    I hope this makes it clear.

    Also, I reread your last post. I do agree with you on the method of Catholic reasoning. But, I cannot find in your argument why procreation is an essential part to all sexual acts of intimacy between spouses.

  • James Zucker,

    Barack Hussein Obama is a godless, evil, wicked man of sin and depravity promoting the filth of homosexual sodomy, the murder of unborn children and the redistribution of wealth from those who earn to those who refuse to work. He lies. He cheats. He steals. He murders.

    Everyone has a right to choose – and that choice ends at sexual intercourse. You don’t want a baby? Then don’t wallow in filth like a mindless irresponsible baboon, which is exactly and precisely the style of life that that narcissistic son of a snake promotes and deifies. No abortion! No contraception! You don’t get to choose when life begins. You don’t get to partake of the Fruit of the Tree of Life. If you have sex, then you made your choice.

    And no, it is NOT the responsibility of the Federal govt to provide for the sick, the homeless, the poor, etc. That is your responsibility and mine if we call ourselves members of the Body of Christ. Everytime we abdicate our God-given responsibility to help our fellow man, we sacrifice on the altar of political expediency our citizenship in the Kingdom of God for a pale and worthless imitation that at root is satanic.

    And that is exactly and precisely what you liberals want: Caesar Obama to be god. Never. Never ever. This was a Christian Constitutional Republic, NOT a national socialist democracy which is nothing other than two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner, which in this case is the bloody corpses of over 50 million unborn babies. Death to Democracy! Death to Liberalism! Down with Obama on Novermber 6th! Down with every single liberal progressive Democrat! Viva Cristo Rey!

  • There is a Philip in this thread and a couple different Pauls.Somewhere along the way my name got hijacked when you were addressing Philip, I believe.

    Since the Catholic Church teaches that contraception is intrinsically evil (CCC 2370) then my rule of thumb is: if you don’t respect the teaching authority of the Church instituted by Christ then you sure as hell won’t respect anything I have to say.

    You are an honest about what you apostate, but an apostate nonetheless. Of what point is discussion when you are your own vicar?

  • Paul:

    Okay, so its hard for me to respond to your argument given it is entirely based upon invective and name calling. So, let me try with some personal points first.

    My wife and I have two beautiful girls. We are thrilled to have them and we are completely enthralled to watch them grow up and become the total gifts that God gave to us.

    I also had a son. He was diagnosed with a genetic disorder while in my wife’s womb. The doctors told us that he was likely not to live. However after some great pains in decision making over this, my wife and I believed that he had every right to live and that we had an obligation to love him and give him every blessing possible. He was born. He lived for two months. And, he died in my arms. I am not using this to brag or to praise myself. I went through some extremely dark days back then with many emotions that I am not proud of. And, I just hope that God was as close to me as I believed and felt in His presence during those days. i tell you this because your invective against me as a dark individual who supports a dark leader is simply not fair and not legitimate as an argument.

    I simply asked you for your logical reason based upon reason informed from faith as to why birth control was evil. You have not provided this. You did provide a method of natural law reasoning. It is too bad that you could not follow through on that reasoning and provide a logical explanation of why sex and procreation are always tied together.

    Finally, yes, actually the state does have a role in helping the sick and the weak. This is not because I assert it to be the case. This is the basic teachings of CST. CST preaches the principle of subsidiarity. Yes, we should attempt to take care of the poor locally and without government assistance. And, there are good reasons to do so. However, when local organizations cannot do this alone, the government is an instrument for helping with this. This is the teaching of CST from the popes of the late 1800s to Pope John Paul II. And, John Paul very specifically wrote that while socialism and communism were far worse than capitalism, capitalism tends towards a selfish inequality that does not promote the common good. He called for all citizens of capitalist societies to reorient their values to allow for individualism and competition but to be balanced by compassion.

    Lastly, Paul, I respect you and your beliefs. But honestly, if you believe that persuading someone of the opposite belief system through invective and generalization is a good idea, I can only caution you that it is not. It ends up simply reinforcing the worst stereotypes of Conservatives. I wish you the best. And, I hope we can argue in a more rational way another time. God Bless.

  • Paul:

    Sorry, I just saw that this is another individual. So, let me address your points now more specifically.

    I am now an apostate. Fair enough. Although I am not sure how you can come to that conclusion given that there has always been a dissenting in the church tradition.

    You can definitely argue that I don’t follow the Pope’s every doctrinal command. But there is no rule that this must be the case. This follows a top down mode of the Church that was rejected in Vatican II.

    And, protection of individual conscience is a main stay of the church. Nowhere is it taught that people who disagree on individual teachings are therefore outside of the church.

    Even if I was, that does not mean that you can ignore my arguments. You actually have to provide some backing for your arguments even if they are based upon differences over faith.

    Your only argument is by quoting an authority and its arguments under doctrine. However, doctrine has evolved and changed based upon differences.

    So, you need to show why this doctrine is correct and why your interpretation has to be followed.

  • James,

    “The individual worker is going straight to their insurance provider. So, the employer is by passed.”

    Someone still has to pay for it. That’s what you don’t seem to understand. The individual worker is not paying for it. It isn’t being donated to them. The costs get absorbed into the premiums that these institutions have to pay, so again, either way, they are still paying for contraception coverage. A distinction without a difference.

    “You are correct that this would be a problem for self insured institutions. However, the Obama administration has argued that it would be open to negotiations on this.”

    Talk is cheap. This does not support your position in the least.

    “Paul argues that most Catholic institutions are self insured. This may be correct. But, please remember that many Catholic institutions don’t agree with the bishops on this one. ”

    Also completely irrelevant. We are obviously only talking about those institutions who do care – it is because they exist that this is a controversy to begin with.

    You really think you can obscure the fundamental issues at stake with a flurry of irrelevancies – or you don’t know how to distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant.

    “The point is that there is no violation of the First Amendment and Bonchamps argument that this is tyranny exaggerates the issue.”

    It does no such thing. Read the HHS memo asking a Colorado judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against it by a Catholic-owned corporation.

    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2012/08/obama-looks-to-strip-entrepreneurs-of-religious-liberty

    The Obama regime is certainly attempting to foist its view of “reproductive freedom” on an unwilling public. I know I expressed that my primary concern was for the Church as institution, but let me state clearly for the record that I believe forcing ANY company to purchase health plans that, by law, cannot exclude contraception, abortion and sterilization, is an act of anti-religious tyranny.

    “However, on to the point that I made about the violation of individual rights. Bonchamps missed the point of my argument. ”

    How can I miss a point you never made?

    ” In today’s environment of high unemployment, it is extremely difficult to make the argument that an individual could simply up and move to a new job.”

    It is irrelevant. The point is that no one is preventing them from doing so, and thus no one is seeking to or actually “limiting their options.” A bad economy is not a person to be morally accountable for their actions. You may as well complain about seasonal hurricanes depriving people of their right to live wherever they choose without any potential risks.

    This is why I use words like “insane” to describe such thinking and the policies that such thinking lead to. The charge is that Catholic institutions are somehow limiting people’s liberty. But it turns out that it is really the bad economy that is to blame. Well Catholic institutions didn’t create the bad economy and they don’t have a moral obligation to violate their own consciences because the bad economy doesn’t allow someone else to buy something that their own conscience approves of. That’s what living in a free society means.

    “And, while it is true that contraception can be received at convenience stores, the product is often not good for all women due to health reasons. ”

    Buyer beware. The pro-abortion crowd makes the same argument about abortion. If it isn’t made “safe and legal”, then they get an inferior product from back-alley scam artists or something like this. And yet this argument is completely irrelevant, as we all know. The fact that some people might harm themselves obtaining a good or service is not a moral argument for the legalization of that good or service. But this contraception argument isn’t even that extreme. Contraception is legal and no one challenges it – all you’ve got is some contention that over-the-counter birth control may not be as good for some women as that which an insurance plan might cover. And this flimsy appeal is what you would sacrifice the religious liberty of tens of millions of Americans for. Well this is garbage and I am not obliged to agree.

    “So, if a Catholic employer tells his or her employee that she cannot choose a certain insurance plan, then this is a violation of that individual’s ability to make choices.”

    This is a lie. That individual can still make choices. She doesn’t have to work for that employer.

    “And, referring that individual to the rigors of the market place right now would simply be forcing the individual into a difficult circumstance of unemployment.”

    And that isn’t immoral. That’s called life. That’s called respect for private property rights, which is also a pillar of Catholic social teaching in case you’ve forgotten.

    “But to claim that extreme inequalities are not important to CST is not consistent with papal teachings.”

    Papal teachings almost always address global inequalities, and they do not rule out the possibility of the very real sociological concept of relative poverty. Like I said, global inequalities may present a stronger case for some kind of redistribution of wealth, but national inequalities in the United States do not. The American poor are wealthy by comparison to the African poor. This is simply a fact.

    Inequality in and of itself is not injustice. CST has never taught this. In fact, to portray inequality as bad in and of itself is nothing but an expression of deep-seated envy, one of the seven deadly sins.

    “The current numbers I gave you were not just regular inequality. They show extreme inequality driven by the greed of the top 10% of our society. ”

    The numbers you provide do not demonstrate that anyone is being made destitute.

    “And, your argument missed the greater point that I was making off of this. My point was that under our current circumstances the party that is violating most of CST teachings are the Republicans. ”

    Yeah, I tend to miss points when they aren’t clearly made.

    And this claim is absolutely false. The Democrats officially support the butchering of tens of millions of innocent children in the womb, they officially support the moral and social abomination of “gay marriage”, and their welfare policies create a condition of servility and dependency for the vast majority of poor people. They undermine family, local communities, and churches as providers of social support and seek to replace them all with the federal government. The Democratic vision is not one of solidarity, but rather an atomized nightmare in which millions of individuals fight over the scraps from the government table, scraps which only exist because the middle classes have been plundered, swiping their EBT cards in perpetuity without ever finding gainful employment. It is also a vision in which the Church has no meaningful role to play in society as an independent institution.

    “While Obama’s implementation may be imperfect, it is the Republican plans that violate the needs of the weakest by curtailing spending on medical expenses for those with special needs, curtailing spending on heating oil for the poor,”

    That’s a good one! It’s not like Obama and the Dems are relentlessly pursuing green energy policies, its not like Obama threatened to bankrupt the coal industry, its not like this entire policy orientation will drive prices for energy for the poorest Americans through the roof. No, not at all. All you have to do, in your book, to be a champion for the poor is SAY that you’re a champion for the poor. If your policies end up completely screwing them over, it doesn’t matter. You had good intentions.

    The bishops are sadly mistaken on many economic points. The root of the problem is the assumption that the market cannot provide many of these things that people need. The market can provide them. Competition keeps costs down for the average consumer, many of whom are of average means or are poor. Policies that reduce or eliminate economic competition, on the other hand, end up making many goods and services more expensive and more difficult for people of average means to afford.

    But you never think of the consequences of these policies, even as you say that you believe consequences can and should be morally considered. If you really believe in a better economy for the poor, then support policies that increase competition, that incentivize job creation, and that increase the value of the dollar by fighting inflation.

  • I don’t argue, debate or have dialogue with liberals, James Zucker. I pray to God and work for your utter, total and complete defeat. Period. It frankly enrages me to see any self-described Catholic support that godless reprobate of sin and depravity. Death to Democracy! Viva Cristo Rey! I shall now be silent since I am unable to contribute anything to “dialogue.” It’s like dialoguing with the demonic, because that is what Obama and his supporters are.

  • James Zucker: The Catholic Church needs to hire only Catholic workers to be eligible for an exemption? The First Amendment says that Obama may not “prohibit the free exercise thereof.” You have spent much ink telling us how much you are giving us freedom, defining conscience and redefining the human being and eternal truths and I tell you that freedom is granted by God, “their Creator”.

    James. Please explain why the HHS mandate was added by Obama after the ACA was passed by Congress? Obama violated the contract, by usurping and using an unauthorized Congressional power.

    And please explain why Obama has given an unauthorized power to Sebelius to write anything Obama tells her to, whenever Obama tells Sebelius to, into the ACA. Obama removed the Mexico City Policy the first day in office as POTUS. A contract with the people and the Catholic church that only one side can change is no contract at all, it is simply bondage. Contraception is the bait. The real game is to overturn the Catholic Church and absorb all that the Catholic Church holds in trust for our posterity, all generations to come.

  • Bonchamps: Since your posting provides multiple arguments, I will respond to you first. Then, Mary I can respond to you in a separate post. This way, we can keep our points concise.

    Bonchamps:

    Your argument relies upon two essential elements. First, you are arguing that the Obama administration is violating the freedoms of the Church to practice its free beliefs as employers in America. Then, you are arguing that the policies of the Democrats cause massive problems to the society and the poor. These arguments are not really dependent upon one another. But, I would agree we ought to prioritize the first since it deals with values that are sacred both to the Constitution and to the religious faith of Catholics and other Christians.

    You are arguing for the right of the Church to practice its faith. But there is no violation of the faith. And, here is why:

    1. The employees who purchase contraception do so through the insurance company not the employer.
    2. The employer purchases the insurance plans but the individual makes the choice of purchasing the services provided in the plan.
    Your argument that AHA mandates purchasing plans with abortion services is simply incorrect. There is nothing in the AHA that does this. In fact, the AHA allows for people and companies to seek out different insurance plans in exchange markets. The AHA does mandate that one of the choices of insurance companies must have an abortion option. But this is not the same as forcing companies to buy an insurance company that has abortion options.
    3. The closest you come to showing that there is a violation of Church freedoms is in the case of self insured institutions. However, as I argued, the Obama administration has been willing to work with institutions on this issue. You responded by saying this does not matter because there is a violation to freedoms. But this assumes your original point. And, you have not shown that the mandate itself is unfair to institutions. You have shown that there is a possible disadvantage in the implementation that needs to be compromised upon. And, the administration has shown a willingness to do this-not the quality of a tyrannical organization.

    However, by the Church not being willing to compromise on this issue, there is a violation of the individual conscience of its employees. I argued you missed the point on this. You simply replied that I had not made a point. So, let me make it very clear. Employers have rights but employees also have rights. Employees have the right to bargain with their employers for decent health care benefits. For women, contraception is not only often expensive. It can also be important for their health. Your response to my points on convenience stores is that the consequences are not relevant. But, remember my point on Catholic natural law thinking, consequences are important to our overall evaluation of the decision. In this case, the reason why the administration wanted to open free access through insurance companies was to make sure that women’s health issues were covered. If there is an essential violation of rights or morality, then this concern would be relativized or non essential. But you have not shown that such a violation has occurred. So, by not allowing individuals to access their own choices in what plans they can get through insurance plans, the Church is enforcing its own beliefs on their employees.

    You then went further to argue that the economic effects of these decisions were not important due to morality and the difference between relative and absolute poverty. However, the difference between these two issues are not the basis to the papal decisions. Pope John Paul II and other popes argued that the problem with capitalism was not that it produced relative poverty and absolute poverty in different countries. Rather, he argued that the problem with capitalism was its tendency to concentrate wealth at the expense of the Common Good.

    In this framework, my numbers become essentially important. Of course, in Capitalism and in traditional morality, inequalities are natural and a central part of life and capitalism. But extreme inequalities are immoral and harmful to society. 20% of people owning 80% of the wealth, 2% of people getting 97% of the share of the nation’s income, an increasing rate of poverty in the country, and a decline in family income by $4000 over 10 years are example of extreme inequality and concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. This is why the Catholic Church, the pope, and the American bishops have all condemned Republican policies that are contributing to this.

    You have argued that the Democrats are to blame on these issues. On the abortion and gay marriage issue, these are social issues that are more relevant to another discussion on social morality. But on the economic issues, the Democrats are not the ones who have controlled the economic policies for the last 30 years. Since Reagan, top marginal taxes have been reduced to 28%. Under Clinton, they were raised to 39%. Also, since Reagan, we have seen deregulation of the banking and real estate sector. And, under President Bush the marginal taxes were lowered again. These changes led to the concentration of wealth that we see, an increase in poverty, companies moving overseas, an increasing debt and deficit. These issues are important for our assessing of the economy and the moral decisions we make about managing the economy.

    You are welcome to argue if I have the right causes for these consequences. But here is my argument about Republican policies. They have supported tax and regulation policies that have led to the concentration of wealth, the lowered ability for the middle class to support their families, and an increase in poverty. These violate the CST teachings and allow for the richest to benefit from extreme inequalities.

    All of these outweigh an implementation problem in trying to provide employees with the chance to choose their own insurance plans with or without contraception. And, this is hardly tyranny

  • Mary:

    Okay so time for your argument.

    I am having a hard time answering your points because I am unclear on your overall point. You seem to be arguing that the overall point is to destroy the Catholic Church and establish the State as the authority on all issues. However, none of your evidence points to this conclusion.

    First, you point to the issue of the exemption. But you missed the point of the mandate. The mandate is not telling the Church who it can or cannot hire. The point is that all institutions need to provide employees with choices whether or not these employees agree with the religious beliefs of their employers. Also, if Obama’s main intent was to destroy the Church, you would think that the mandate would be targeted at Catholic institutions. It is not. It is for all employers. The problem is in the implementation due to the Church’s beliefs.

    Second, you argued that Obama gave Sebelius complete powers. he did not. He gave Sebelius the power to make a national mandate on contraception to provide for preventative care. I don’t know why he did not go for this during the AHA debate. But I would guess that they assumed this was not a problem. The reason why is because moderate Republicans had been promoting the idea since 2000. And, this was already done in 28 states.

    Thirdly you argued that Obama overthrew the Mexico policy. This is true. He did. The Mexico policy or the gag rule was established by President Bush. What it did was to prevent any family planning institution receiving American federal government money from telling people in foreign country about options including abortion. Liberals, not myself, disagreed with this. This can definitely be argued as immoral under natural law. However, this was not tyranny. The Mexico policy was established by executive order under Bush. So, it can be removed through executive order.

    Lastly, I agree that our freedoms come from God. I just don’t know how this is relevant to our arguments. Freedom of conscience ensures that we have the choice to make decisions unless we know of a direct moral evil that threatens others. In the case of contraception, none of this exists.

    But most importantly you have not shown that Obama is trying to overturn the Church. This is a difference over policy decisions.

  • James,

    “Your argument relies upon two essential elements. First, you are arguing that the Obama administration is violating the freedoms of the Church to practice its free beliefs as employers in America. Then, you are arguing that the policies of the Democrats cause massive problems to the society and the poor. These arguments are not really dependent upon one another.”

    What I said about the policies of the Democrats was solely in response to you. I never made the argument that these points were dependent upon one another. You started bringing up different topics and I replied to some of those points.

    “The employees who purchase contraception do so through the insurance company not the employer.”

    But the employer is still paying for the insurance plan. The cost is still being passed on to the employer. This is nothing but a street hustler game of three-card monte.

    “The employer purchases the insurance plans but the individual makes the choice of purchasing the services provided in the plan.”

    This is irrelevant. The employer still ends up covering contraception.

    “Your argument that AHA mandates purchasing plans with abortion services is simply incorrect. There is nothing in the AHA that does this.”

    Right – which is why the HHS mandate exists. Nice try, though.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obamacare-mandates-coverage-abortion-drug_581969.html?nopager=1

    ” However, as I argued, the Obama administration has been willing to work with institutions on this issue.”

    This is still meaningless. Show me some evidence of this. All you have now are assertions.

    I’ll reply to the rest later.

  • Bonchamps:

    So your rebuttal at this point is that:

    1. The employer still pays at some point.
    2. The employer is purchasing abortion services through the mandate.

    Actually, no the employer does not pay. Yes, the employer has to put some purchase into the insurance itself. But the plans and the services and goods are paid for by the employee through their own choice. And, this has been my argument from the start. This decision provides for the employee to make their own choice.

    Yes, it is true that the mandate does cover some controversial contraception that is argued to be abortificient. However, this is not the same as the argument that this is a wholesale funding of abortion services. The argument is over certain pills that are considered to be abortificients due to the timing of the contraception around conception. This is very different from arguing that the mandate or the AHA is allowing for people to be funded by the federal government to receive abortion services when they are typically done at about the 8th week or after.

    Finally, I think you are incorrect on the other issues that I brought up. They are connected to the larger argument that I was making. My point is that Catholics who vote Democratic are doing so based upon the weighing of much bigger issues than this. We note that the mandate, while problematic, is hardly a sign of tyranny. And, then we look to the overall policies of the Republican party and how, as we believe, they violate the other major principles of CST. So, we make a decision to vote Democratic because we believe that Republican values and policies actually lead to violations of subsidiarity, the Common Good and the preferential option for the poor.

    Considering your original post argued that a true Catholic ought to vote Republican to stop the tyranny of Obama’s policies, all of these arguments are well within the scope of the debate.

    You provided a number of claims against Democratic policies. But you provided no evidence to support your arguments. You are welcome to do this in future posts. But, I would argue that these issues do outweigh the implementation problems that you cited on the mandate. And, you have shown no signs of tyranny or violation of freedom of religious conscience.

  • I probably wouldn’t agree 100% with any of you, but I thought I would throw in my 2 cents…

    James Z says:

    However, as I argued, the Obama administration has been willing to work with institutions on this issue.

    To me this is a, “put up or shut up”, kind of thing. What really happened is Obama said, “We’re willing to deal, but everything you want is off the table.” It wasn’t a sincere offer. It isn’t a real argument. If it isn’t in the Federal Register, it didn’t happen.

    There has been an attempt to redefine the Constitution’s, “free exercise of religion”, as, “freedom of worship”, but that is bogus. Free exercise of religion means that you can’t force people to take an action which violates their religious tenets.

    In the end I think what’s going to happen is that this will be struck down by the Supreme Court. It’s pretty clear that it fails the RFRA law test. I don’t think the actual threat is as large as people make it out to be. SCOTUS will kill it.

    Mary De Voe said:

    Please explain why the HHS mandate was added by Obama after the ACA was passed by Congress?

    I’ll explain it to you. It’s because most of the folks in Congress are cowards, so they write things into laws that say things like, “The specific details will be worked out later by the applicable executive branch agency so we won’t get blamed for it.” They punted, as usual.

    James Z says:

    However, by the Church not being willing to compromise on this issue, there is a violation of the individual conscience of its employees. I argued you missed the point on this. You simply replied that I had not made a point. So, let me make it very clear. Employers have rights but employees also have rights. Employees have the right to bargain with their employers for decent health care benefits.

    Yes, the church is not willing to compromise on the issue that forcing Catholics to pay for birth control for people is a violation of their tenets and the consciences of Catholics and Obama is not willing to compromise on allowing people who object to opt-out based on their conscience. The only legal rights issue here though is whether the government has the right to force people to take actions that violate the tenets of their religion. Nowhere in the Constitution does anyone have the right to employer provided health care or contraception. It does say you have the right to freely exercise your religion though.

    Bonchamps said:

    In fact, to portray inequality as bad in and of itself is nothing but an expression of deep-seated envy, one of the seven deadly sins.

    I wouldn’t argue that it is intrinsically bad, but I think it’s quite clear to anyone who is paying attention that a lot of inequality is caused by rich folks and corporations successfully lobbying the government to stack the deck in their favor. It’s a fairness issue, not an envy issue. Romney pays a lower tax rate than I pay but makes a lot more money. Doesn’t seem fair. Multibillion dollar businesses with thousands of employees are treated as, “small business”, by the tax code because they have a small number of family owners and get tax breaks that the local dry cleaner (an actual small business) can’t get. This is a redistribution of wealth when these folks don’t pay their fair share and the rest of us do. Same thing with these huge companies that pay billions in taxes to other countries but get tax refunds here and companies like WalMart which force their employees into government health insurance for the poor. They are the freeloaders.

    These vulture capitalist guys like Romney and the multitude of CEOs who send jobs overseas and lay off thousands are just as dangerous to this country as Obama IMHO. I can’t say I like either.

    Oh yeah, and most of these CEOs didn’t build these huge multinationals from the ground up using their own money and taking all the risk themselves. They are hired just like the rest of us. Go read Andy Grove’s book where he talks about why CEOs are paid too much and Alan Greenspan’s about how CEOs purposely wreck companies by trading long term viability for short term numbers that will boost the stock price because that’s what gets them bonuses. Then when it goes south they take their golden parachutes and go wreck some other company. The incentives are all wrong…

    It’s unfortunate that according to studies, there are several countries that beat us now in the percentage of people who are able to attain, “the American dream”, of rising above their socioeconomic class. Concentration of wealth here seems the most likely reason. It’s counterproductive for the country.

  • James,

    “Actually, no the employer does not pay. Yes, the employer has to put some purchase into the insurance itself. But the plans and the services and goods are paid for by the employee through their own choice. And, this has been my argument from the start. This decision provides for the employee to make their own choice.”

    So the employer doesn’t pay, and then he does. At the end of the day, the employer is still paying for insurance that covers morally objectionable goods and services. You and Obama can invite me to play three-card montie, but that doesn’t mean I will.

    You’re still lying about employees not being able to make choices too, I see.

    “Yes, it is true that the mandate does cover some controversial contraception that is argued to be abortificient. However, this is not the same as the argument that this is a wholesale funding of abortion services. ”

    It doesn’t have to be “the same argument”, no ever said it was. More irrelevancy, more smoke and mirrors.

    ” The argument is over certain pills that are considered to be abortificients due to the timing of the contraception around conception. This is very different from arguing that the mandate or the AHA is allowing for people to be funded by the federal government to receive abortion services when they are typically done at about the 8th week or after.”

    Another attempted slight-of-hand. The argument is quite simply that the HHS mandate does not allow people to participate in health insurance plans that do not cover morally objectionable goods and services. Citizens are being dragooned into paying for other people’s birth control.

    “My point is that Catholics who vote Democratic are doing so based upon the weighing of much bigger issues than this.”

    Fine. When did I ever say otherwise? I acknowledge that you have your reasons for voting as you do. I disagree with them. I never made the claim that only my reasons are valid.

    “We note that the mandate, while problematic, is hardly a sign of tyranny. ”

    Yes, I know that is what you think. You are unable and/or unwilling to see the implications of the mandate, which are more serious than the mandate itself. I am not basing everything on the details of the mandate. I am arguing that the mandate is a sign of an overall and deep hostility to the Church emanating from this regime and from the left in general.

    “Considering your original post argued that a true Catholic ought to vote Republican to stop the tyranny of Obama’s policies, all of these arguments are well within the scope of the debate.”

    I made no such argument. Again you have serious issues and problems with the truth, or serious reading comprehension deficiencies. I offered my point of view about what I believed my duty as a Catholic citizen was, and made it clear at the outset that I was speaking to other theologically orthodox and politically conservative Catholics. I’m more concerned with people who basically share my views but are allowing their contempt for Romney to keep them out of the campaign.

    At no point did I ever say, or suggest, that a true Catholic had to vote GOP. This borders on slander.

    “You provided a number of claims against Democratic policies. But you provided no evidence to support your arguments.”

    Oh please. What a ridiculous accusation! We’re having a combox discussion and I offered my opinion, in response to things you had said. You never provided any evidence to support your claims about the greatness of those same policies either. How childish!

    “And, you have shown no signs of tyranny or violation of freedom of religious conscience.”

    I can’t convince people to whom these concepts mean nothing, or are radically different than my own, that they are in play. But by my standard of tyranny and religious conscience violation, I have shown it. You’ve chosen to ignore it or define terms differently.

  • From your previous post:

    “Employers have rights but employees also have rights. Employees have the right to bargain with their employers for decent health care benefits.”

    They have the right to bargain, and the employer has the right to say NO. Employees do not have the right to force their employer to pay for their condoms. This is an egregious abuse not only of private property rights, but of the bargaining rights originally defined and defended by the Church in encyclicals such as Rerum Novarum, which absolutely condemned irreligious labor unions.

    “For women, contraception is not only often expensive. It can also be important for their health. Your response to my points on convenience stores is that the consequences are not relevant.”

    The most liberal estimate is 600 dollars per year. Most people make that in a week or less. Cry me a river.

    “In this case, the reason why the administration wanted to open free access through insurance companies was to make sure that women’s health issues were covered. ”

    I don’t give a damn what the reason was. It is totally irrelevant. So please stop talking about it as if it matters, or as if I should care. I don’t.

    “But you have not shown that such a violation has occurred.”

    You not accepting it is not the same as me not showing it. You don’t seem to understand that right now the federal government is being sued precisely because such a violation HAS occurred. Like I said, but I guess you don’t respond to whatever harms your case, a judge in Colorado has already delivered a temporary injunction against the HHS, suspending the mandate until the case can be heard in higher courts. So at least one judge does agree with me and does believe that a violation has a occurred.

    So you can stop uttering this lie now.

    “So, by not allowing individuals to access their own choices in what plans they can get through insurance plans, the Church is enforcing its own beliefs on their employees.”

    Employees who work there voluntarily. Yes, I agree, the Church is “enforcing its own beliefs on its employees”, employees who work under free contract and not under compulsion of any kind. There isn’t a company in existence that doesn’t “enforce its own beliefs on its employees” – its called private property.

    The argument that the Church is “enforcing its own beliefs on their employees” only has relevance if those employees are being forced to work for the Church. They aren’t. So your point is completely meaningless.

    “Pope John Paul II and other popes argued that the problem with capitalism was not that it produced relative poverty and absolute poverty in different countries. Rather, he argued that the problem with capitalism was its tendency to concentrate wealth at the expense of the Common Good.”

    Well, first of all, you’re completely wrong on the first point. Popes have been talking about global inequalities and global poverty for decades now, and have seen it as one of the primary problems of our time. I don’t disagree with them.

    Secondly, capitalism doesn’t concentrate wealth. It diffuses wealth. The state concentrates wealth. The wealthiest man alive is Bill Gates. It is arguable that he does not owe all of his wealth to market forces either. Lets be generous and say half of his fortune, somewhere around 15-20 billion dollars.

    How much wealth does the federal government rake in through taxation, borrowing, and printing cash in a year? In a month? Let me give you a hint: its a little more than 15-20 billion dollars.

    I don’t think JP II ever made the concrete argument that the free market concentrates wealth. Pius XI made that argument, and I flat out disagree with him. But this brings us to the difference between scientific and moral statements. Popes can and have erred on purely technical matters. And this is a technical matter. If the capitalist economy really did what Pius XI claimed it did, then it would be right to condemn it, but it doesn’t. I agree with Pius XI that the situation at that time was evil and should be remedied, but his proposed solution was based on an incorrect assessment of fact and theory, likely because he was surrounded by economists who were fascists.

    “20% of people owning 80% of the wealth, 2% of people getting 97% of the share of the nation’s income, an increasing rate of poverty in the country, and a decline in family income by $4000 over 10 years are example of extreme inequality and concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. This is why the Catholic Church, the pope, and the American bishops have all condemned Republican policies that are contributing to this.”

    This is so simplistic. First of all, I have no idea where you get the 2%-97% figure. But I don’t have a problem with 20% of the people owning 80% of the wealth. I don’t see why that matters, or why I should care. It isn’t making people destitute. Americans still have some of the highest living standards in the entire world. If you really care about people and their conditions, then you need to look at all of the factors affecting their quality of life. Some people having a lot of money doesn’t mean that the quality of life is bad for people who don’t. Only envious people think this way.

    An increasing rate of government-defined poverty is not a serious problem either. One person in one bureaucracy can tinker with one document and the number of people considered “poor” by the state could shrink or grow by millions overnight. These are almost meaningless numbers.

    “But here is my argument about Republican policies. They have supported tax and regulation policies that have led to the concentration of wealth, the lowered ability for the middle class to support their families, and an increase in poverty. These violate the CST teachings and allow for the richest to benefit from extreme inequalities.”

    The reasons for these things are far, far more complex than the policies supported by presidents, and are the product of policies favored by both parties. But that is a different discussion. In any case, the fact remains that very few Americans meet a definition of poverty that I believe justifies voting for a man who is enthuastically pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, anti-religious liberty and anti-private property rights. If you want to vote for him, go ahead. Like I said, my conscience is at peace.

  • RRJP,

    When concentration of wealth is due to policies enacted by the state, I am opposed to it. I think it is the perfect argument for limited government. A government that stays out of economic matters and allows competition to thrive ensures that “big business” is big solely because it met the most real needs in society – and that at any time it could become small or non-existent if it failed to do so.

    But of course, most of the people who complain about the concentration of wealth are leftists who favor a large, intrusive state. They believe the competitive process has concentrated wealth, and this is the worst economic fallacy in existence, the premise of Marxism and every other leftist economic theory.

    If you’re for fairness, then you’re necessarily in favor of free competition, which is the fairest social process imaginable. But if you’re just for egalitarianism, for leveling, for making sure that no one can really excel beyond anyone else lest those who don’t excel have low-self esteem or something (this is how leftists really feel), then I say that you don’t have a valid moral argument that I am obliged to consider.

  • “But, this still does not address why sex should always be tied to procreation.”

    Jim,

    Because sex is always tied to procreation. And if I (Phillip) were using a merely physicalist approach as you repeat, that would be the end of it. Because whether we want to accept it or not, sex is ordered towards procreation.

    But as with many things the Catholic reason (and the reasoning in Humanae Vitae) is that there is more than this. The marital act (as opposed to sex itself) is ordered towards the good of the man in woman in their cooperation with God in bringing new life into the world. This cooperation is a reflection of the life-giving relationship of the Trinity. Thus why the unitive aspect also enters in as an expression of life-giving unity that is the Trinity.

    Of course as an act of the human person, it must be a voluntary cooperation of responsible parenthood – a responsible cooperation with God. So if a spouse is ill or if financially one cannot in reason responsibly bring new life into the world, then one can abstain. This abstainance in turn is a cooperation in reason with God’s reason – acting in a humanly responsible way. Using human reason in the given circumstances to cooperate with God responsibly instead of merely procreating.

    But as merely acting on the sexual act without taking into consideration a responsible reason for doing so, using artificial contraception is also, in reason, a violation of the marital act. This because, as in the former, we discard reason in our act, in the latter we eliminate the author of that reason in that cooperation. We set aside our his will and make ours absolute. By casting aside the ability to procreate artificially, we take away our cooperation in that life-giving marital act and make our will absolute.

    At the same time, by taking away the ability to abstain periodically, it is the one who artificially contracepts who reduces the marital act as one of life-giving love into merely a physical act unrestrained by reason.

  • All of that, PLUS . . .

    If Romney gets elected, “ya’ll will be in chains, again.”

  • Paul:

    Great points on why sex and procreation are linked. Here are my answers.

    First, I would accept that your argument is not a physicalist one. Rather, it is one based upon the purpose of creation that is a reflection of God and the Trinity.

    However, here are the problems.

    1. Remember that I have argued and you have agreed that most of the time sex does not lead to any possibility of procreation. I know this is a physicalist argument that you would disagree with. But this becomes important and you will see why in a minute.
    2. Sex has multiple purposes including both procreation and unitive qualities.
    3. We have already admitted that couples have a moral right to manage their pregnancies for a variety of reasons. You have just argued that couples ought to do this by not violating the purpose of sex which is essential to it-procreation.

    Okay, so if these three premises are acceptable, here is my point.

    Every act and thing was created with purposes. The question is whether or not a purpose is essential to the act or one of multiple purposes. Procreation is a purpose to sex and reflects the God given ability in the Trinity to create life out of love. However, if we observe that sex does not always lead to life and, in fact, most of the time does not lead to life, then its essential purpose cannot be for procreation. Rather, that is one of its purposes.

    We have also already admitted that the couple has a moral capability or right to manage these pregnancies. By doing so, they are not frustrating God’s will. They are simply acting in a way to manage their financial and emotional needs. By arguing this, we are showing that the human will and intellect can be used to manage the times and places when having children will be appropriate for their families. So, most of the consequences you claim about the human will distorting God’s desires are really based upon the initial belief that procreation must be tied to all sex acts due to the essential nature of procreation.

    Because of this, we are left again with the question of why artificial is different from natural contraception. Your argument does not admit of a physicalist basis. Rather, it argues from a purpose driven basis as a metaphor or reflection of the trinity. Fair enough. However, you do not show how sex always has this purpose because there is no foundation in your argument to suggest that this is the case. The only resort you really have is to look back at the physical qualities of sex. But to do so would undermine your argument that we are not looking at this from a physicalist perspective.

    Thanks and look forward to hearing your reply.

  • “Paul”

    I actually am beginning to wonder about your reading abilities (as well as reasoning abilities as a result) due to your inability to discern Phillip from Paul.

    Either you are not reading (as is evidenced by this and your earlier errors on the Bishops’ stance on the mandage which they clearly oppose) or are not able to assimilate the argument as to why artificial is distinct from natural family planning.

    Read again. It is there.

  • I’m with Paul W. Primavera.

    This whole debate is pointless. You cannot argue with someone who has turned his back on Church teaching and seeks to rationalize his own rebellion, albeit by faulty logic as well as patent misunderstanding (whether willful or not) of the issues at hand.

    And so I leave you all with this:

    2 Timothy:

    [23] And avoid foolish and unlearned questions, knowing that they beget strifes. [24] But the servant of the Lord must not wrangle: but be mild towards all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] With modesty admonishing them that resist the truth: if peradventure God may give them repentance to know the truth, [26] And they may recover themselves from the snares of the devil, by whom they are held captive at his will.

    God bless,

    Lisa

    P.S. James, I hope that God will open up your eyes and see that you are defending sin and error. It is a mortal sin to support a person who supports abortion and who has put himself at war with the Church. Period. The end. I pray you will come to repentance.

  • James – As to your last comment, it seems like you’re arguing a position that’s contrary to the Catechism. Given the amount of space devoted in this thread to contraception, I’m going to assume that this is an important part of your thinking on the overall question of Obama’s candidacy. So you can’t be making a Catholic case for Obama, or arguing against a Catholic case for Romney, if you’re making non-Catholic assumptions. I’m glad that this long, long thread has focused the argument to its core (a rarity online). The core seems to be that you can surmount the obstacles created by the HHS mandate by framing the issue in a non-Catholic way. You’re welcome to do so, but you can’t call it a Catholic case for Obama.

  • The First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden.

    Desire True Repentence for Sins.

    Think of Our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemani suffering bitter agaony for our sins.

  • Something very wonderful has come out of this blog. The fact that Obama added the HHS Mandate to the Affordable Healthcare Act AFTER Congress had passed it, nullifies informed consent and nullifies congressional consent and nullifies the will of the people. There is no valid ACA because of this unwarranted, unauthorized usurpation of the prerogative of Obama’s constituency to participation in democracy. Obama cannot break faith with congress and his constituents and call it a contract. An Executive Order maybe but not a legal contract. C Justice Roberts ought to have picked that up. more on doctrines and dogmas and Humanae Vitae

  • Thank you, Lisa!

    All of the arguments that James Zucker uses to support his position devolves into these: (1) I can have sex whenever I want to titillate my genitals without responsibility for causing a pregnancy, and I will call that “unitive” because I am uniting with my partner, and (2) I support Obama because government is the dispenser of social justice and human rights.

    None of his arguments invoke holiness and righteousness before the Lord God Almighty, without which no man shall see God, nor do they recognize that our Creator in whose image and likeness we are made is the only granter of human rights. There is no support for chastity and abstinence, no admonition for being righteous and holy. There is every support for placing Caesar in God’s position.

    Now Mr. Zucker, you attend to this very closely:

    “…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2nd Chronicles 7:14

    “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” Matthew 6:33

    There is no health, wealth or prosperity without repentance and conversion. Righteousness and holiness must always and everywhere precede social justice and the common good. Jesus said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Obama is evil because he murders unborn babies and sanctifies the filth of homosexual sodomy. He is a godless, wicked, evil man of sin and depravity. You are in league with him. What does that make you? And yes, 1st Corinthians 6:3 says, “Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, matters pertaining to this life!” You call yourself a Catholic Christian and you make excuses to justify that man’s candidacy. How dare you!

    Death to Democracy, Liberalism and Progressivism! Death to the false gospel of social justice, the common good and peace at any price. Jesus is Lawgiver, King and Judge, NOT that perverse and perverted narcissistic excuse of a man sitting in the Oval Office. God our Creator (as I wrote above) is the dispenser of human rights, NOT that godless government in Washington, DC, and we as a nation deserve nothing but destruction as long as we tolerate such evil. It happened to Israel when King Sennecharib deported them. It happened to Judah when King Nebuchadnezzer deported them. Why do we think that we are exempt from the God who never ever changes?

    I hate and despise and loathe liberalism with every fiber of my being, but I love Jesus the Christ and His Blessed Mother with all my heart.

    Down with Obama, one of the little anti-christs that St. John talked about in his first epistle. Viva Cristo Rey!

  • And by the way, Mr. Zucker, you don’t get to choose when life starts. You unzip your pants – you made the choice. Otherwise, keep it zipped, and I don’t care how many excuses you use that you’re monogamous and your doing it with only your spouse. You and I have no right to partake of the Fruit of the Tree of Life. That’s why God cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden.

    Liberal! Progressive! Democract! Three of the dirtiest words in the English language.

  • Thank you Paul W. Primavera, and Lisa and all: Herewith as I promised:
    On the violation of the will of the people, Obama’s constituency and their freedom to constitute government.

    Obama does not have the authorized or sovereign power to add or subtract anything from a contract with the people of the United States, without voiding the contract, with or against the will of the people, after the contract was passed by Congress, which Obama did, by adding the HHS Mandate to the ACA after the ACA was passed by Congress for the people, violating the will of the people without their informed consent.

    The penalties must fit the crime: Hidden in the ACA are penalties that are the DEATH to all Catholics. The penalty must be commensurate with the crime. And for the same reason that the Catholic Church, and all churches and religious like the Amish and Mennonites, are not taxed, because their tax exempt status is maintained by the taxes paid by their parishioners as citizens. To tax non-profits and churches would be taxation without representation, two taxes, one vote, for the citizens as parishioners. All physical property is held in trust for all generations, our constitutional posterity. The custody of church property is held in trust and cannot be seized by government, nor disposed of, except by the bishop who is responsible for the souls of all his people.

    The punishment must fit the crime. If not accepting the ACA and its hidden agenda, the HHS mandate, is a crime, and it is not, and this is not martial law, the penalty for not taking the ACA, cannot exceed the suffering of not having insurance. How can there be “a money fine” for not having any money? Are we talking about debtors’ prison? (Hillary Clinton had written a two year Federal prison sentence into Hillarycare. Clinton owns 10 healthcare corporations.) The ACA is not a sealed contract, as the addition of the HHS mandate indicates, and therefore prison sentences may be added as the punishment for acts that are not criminal. The ACA is an Executive Order being foisted upon all people as martial law, without the informed consent of the people and without the necessary will of the people. The ACA needs to be put on the ballot after informed consent, to let the people express their will, and freedom.

    After the savaging the media did on Rick Santorum in the death of their newborn infant, and the support you, James Zucker, give to the INFANT BUTCHER in the White House, I must confess, I could not believe that you had any human compassion for another person, including the child you say you have lost to death. Not until this morning. It is incomprehensible to me that anyone could support another individual or policy which would try to curtail the existence of another human being who comes into existence through the will of “their Creator”. Only through God’s will, for until God creates the rational, immortal human soul, with its sovereign personhood and human life, there can be no other person.

    ON DOGMAS Dogmas are discerned truths derived by reason and held by the teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church as necessary to believe in order to have the fullness of Faith and salvation. The dogma of the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION is the truth of the preservation of the Mother of God from original sin and every sin as the Angel Gabriel proclaimed: “Hail Mary, FULL OF GRACE”, the dogma of the ASSUMPTION OF MARY INTO HEAVEN comes by reason of Mary being the Mother of God, Jesus Christ.

    ON DOCTRINES Doctrines are TRUTHS revealed by the Revelation of God, Jesus Christ, in His salvivic mission on earth, held and taught by the teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church, as Jesus Christ spoke: “Our Father, in heaven” The Triune God, “I, and the Father are ONE”, “This is my Body, This is the Chalice of My Blood” “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church” “Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. “Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them”

    BOTH DOGMAS AND DOCTRINES ARE GIFTS OF FAITH AND MUST BE BELIEVED TO RECEIVE THE FULLNESS OF FAITH. Otherwise our faith will dry up like the seeds that fell on the path.

    ON THE INVALID HEALTHCARE ACT. Something very wonderful has come out of this blog. The fact that Obama added the HHS Mandate to the Affordable Healthcare Act AFTER Congress had passed it, nullifies informed consent and nullifies congressional consent and nullifies the will of the people. There is no valid ACA because of this unwarranted, unauthorized usurpation of the prerogative of Obama’s constituency to participation in democracy.

    ACA is an Executive Order. The Supreme Court must judge Executive Orders, and not as Obama has ordered the Court to enforce Executive Orders of the last fifteen years. Papa Obama would murder his own grandchildren instead of suffering the little children.

    ON HUMANAE VITAE The Catholic Church teaches that when a man approaches a woman to quell his sexual desire it is the duty of the wife to do so. When the woman needs a man, it is the duty of the husband to satisfy, appease and fulfill his wife’s sexual desire, that neither husband nor wife burn. Humanae Vitae speaks to the spiritual in the loving embrace of a husband and wife in exercising the graces poured out upon them by the Sacrament of Matrimony, the prayers of the church and God Himself, in expressing and fulfilling God’s command to be fruitful, increase and multiply. Abortion defiles the fruit of the womb and the will of God in creating the life of the immortal soul and sovereign personhood in the fruit of the womb. Contraception denies the will of God in the creation of the Divine in mankind, Lord of Life, God Himself is thwarted in contraception. It is incumbent upon each and every person, having been given Divine Life in the Holy Spirit to cherish and respect the Gift of Divine Life. Contraception disrespects God, man, and man’s procreative powers but most of all contraception, denies the spiritual motherhood and fatherhood of the human person, the husband’s vocation to sanctify his wife and the wife’s vocation to sanctify her husband. The transcendent nature of the Sacrament of human love is lost. Natural Family planning is always open to the divine gift of human life, because, as, in the words of my doctor, sometimes you pop and extra egg or two after menopause. A child so conceived would be extra special in God’s plan for mankind. This, of course, would explain on a physical level St. Elizabeth’s conception of St. John the Baptist, and Sarah’s of Isaac, St. Camillis de Lellis, patron saint of the Knights of Saint John, Hospitalers, whose mother conceived him at the age of 68, and St.Ann’s conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but not wholly, because it is the work of the Holy Spirit, and none of this would have ever happened without God willing it. So, it is with every sovereign human being brought into existence.

    How wonderful it is to know that someone loves you so much that they want there to be more of you.

  • I don’t know why Humane Vitae is talked about as if it is the only Church document with something to say about contraception.

    Casti Connubii, anyone?

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_31121930_casti-connubii_en.html

  • Bon – Some people tend to think that anything before the Council doesn’t count.

  • Most liberals, Pinky, don’t give a hoot what the Church or Sacred Scripture or Sacred Tradition have to say unless it supports their own personal bias of social justice, the common good and peace at any price. Casti Connubii or Humanae Vitae notwithstanding, they want license and approval to decide on their own when life begins so that they can titillate their genitals with complete abandon. They even want public acclaim for this. Their sin is NO different than what the serpent said to Eve in the Garden of Eden: “You will be like gods!” And using contraception is exactly and precisely that. It is unmitigated hubris for it says: “I am God and I have the wisdom to determine when life begins regardless that I rut in heat like a mindless baboon.”

  • Okay so lots to comment upon since my last entry.

    First, I do want to apologize to Bonchamps. And, I am sincere about this. I had read too quickly through your first entry and thought you were saying what a “true” Catholic ought to do with his/her vote. After a more serious reading of your blog, I would agree that you did not specifically argue for this. I apologize and retract my arguments on this.

    One other thing, though, that I do want to point out. Is there anyway that we can avoid calling our differences “lies”. A lie as far as I understand it is when an individual knowingly provides false information in order to deceive his audience. I don’t know where I have done this. Please point this out. I may have provided incorrect information. And, you are welcome to state that I have made errors. However, a lie carries with it a moral connotation on my morals that makes all my arguments suspect. I would ask that you stop doing this.

    Second, It is really too bad where most of this conversation has devolved. I received several comments from many of you that were simply not based upon a rational attack on my arguments. One of the responses actually stated that my position on contraception was based upon my desire to “unzip my pants” any time in order to satisfy my sexual urges. This was not my position. And, I would have to ask where the author saw me stating that. Also, I was attacked by one of the people here for not truly having compassion for my son who died because I took a different position on the issue of contraception. I am not sure how the author knows this about me or can make these types of accusations about a period in my life that was about extremely sad and filled with hope at the same time. My wife and I experienced great love and we believe God’s support during that time. And, we were incredibly inspired by the life of my son. It is strange to me that any Christian of any denomination would choose to step on such sensitive grounds with the belief that they can morally evaluate my intentions at that time.

    However, the really issue here is that we should be arguing over the reasons for our beliefs. And, those arguments need to be fair or reciprocal in nature. Yes, dogmas and faith do require that we believe on certain statements without question. However, dogmas, doctrines, and faith are also different in degrees of absolute faith. Otherwise everything would be dogma. Also, faith is clearly spelled out in the Bible as requiring defense and evidence. Faith is not simply an emotional acceptance of teachings. This is why various doctors of the Church including Augustine, Aquinas, and Rahner have challenged Church teachings while also upholding them at the same time. So, in our debates, proof texting the Bible and Church teachings while appealing to the authority of the Bishops and Pope is simply not adequate for claiming authority on these issues.

    Rather, arguments must be provided in order demonstrate your defense of these positions. And, attack on my person, motivations, or faith, while they may be correct, are not proofs for the positions that you hold.

    So, let me first deal with Bonchamps arguments from I believe last night:

    You seem to be arguing two major points again:

    1. It is morally objectionable to force Churches and you to pay for others’ contraceptions (your words were for someone’s ability to use a condom).
    2. CST does not criticize the concentration of wealth in capitalism and is irrelevant to our discussion.

    Okay, so on #1. No one is forcing you to pay for someone’s condom. The federal government is mandating that employers provide plans to their employees that open up choices. This means that an employee, Catholic or non-Catholic, can go to their insurance and purchase a plan that includes contraceptive care for whatever reason they believe is necessary including for women’s health issues involving cancer. You are not paying for the person’s contraception. True, premiums might slightly rise. Although this is actually an area that probably is not true. The reason is because the use of contraception lowers the rate of unwanted pregnancies lowering the cost on insurance and therefore dropping premiums. But, even if premiums did go up, you could offer this same argument about anything that insurance companies do with their plans since your money would eventually mingle with the overall money being spent.

    Now, I will admit that self insurance organizations are a problem of implementation. And, you have repeatedly said that you will only believe it when you see the administration actually work with the Church. However, as long as the Church is suing the Obama administration on this issue, there is no room for compromise. This is not because the Church has not right to sue. It is because they are not accepting the invitation to work with Obama on this issue. You might say that they are doing so because the initial action is unconstitutional. However, you have not proven this given my answer above. So, there is no action of tyranny in this case. If you argue that I have not provided evidence for this, please look to these last 2 paragraphs for the warrants that I have provided. These will need to be answered.

    Mary argues that this is still unconstitutional since they were done after HCA passed and through executive order. This is simply a misunderstanding of how the government works. Every president uses executive orders to pass rulings and mandates that are within the executive privilege. Reagan did it far more than Obama. And, President Bush also did this far more than Obama has done. You can argue this is a bad practice. But if the practice is non-unique you cannot claim that this is an act of tyranny while not blaming Reagan and Bush for also being tyrants.

    Now you can argue that there was no precedent that he was basing this on and that this was an act to spread a pro-abortion agenda. However, this is simply not accurate. This policy is already in 28 states. And, 8 of those states did not have the exemptions that Obama offered in even the first mandate. True, there are differences between a state and federal mandate. But the point that this is an attempt to destroy the Catholic Church when it has been used by multiple governors and spread out over different denominations and secular organizations questions that belief. Also, keep in mind that moderate Republicans like Olympia Snowe and about 12 others had promoted this idea since about 2001. Again, this is not to say that she is right. It is to point out that there is no hidden agenda. And, before Bonchamps says that all of this is irrelevant to the moral argument, keep in mind that your argument and Mary’s argument is that Obama is doing this out of a mindset of dictatorship or in the fashion of the communist apparatchik. So, that is why these issues fall in the scope of the argument.

    So, my overall point is that there is no violation of our religious freedoms here. There is a problem with implementation. And, before arguing that I provide no evidence for this statement, keep in mind that this is the conclusion of the previous paragraphs that include the evidence. So, that evidence must be answered.

    But this leads to the issue of private conscience. This is important because it establishes why the government has the right to act on the side of labor on this issue. Bonchamps argues that the government cannot do this due to the violation of private property. However, he provides no definition of private property in his argument. Private property exists when an individual works or invests or risks in such a way to make his/her own property. To remove this from him or her would be a violation since the property is an extension of that individual and his/her creativity. The problem with the employer/employee relationship is that no such “private property” exists. Rather, property is invested by the employer and created by the employee. This is why the private property is thus jointly owned by the two and opens up a space for negotiations. The issue then is that employers and employees have agreed that part of the benefits coming from this is to have health care insurance. This is not really under question. The problem in this case is whether the employee has choices in the plans that such an insurer provides. So, the problem with Bonchamps argument is that he assumes that a part of the negotiations between the employer and employee was over the contraception issue. This is not the case. It is an agreement on whether or not insurance will be part of the employee’s benefits. The particulars of what is in the insurance should be up to the individual consumer not imposed by the employers of any faith.

    But this then enters us into the larger social political argument that I made on wealth concentration and inequality. Bonchamps clearly argued that this is not really his concern due to the differentiation between relative and absolute poverty. But this is not my argument. My argument is that the Catholic Church through CST has clearly argued that capitalism, while better than socialism and communism, tends to have the problem of selfish individualism in which profits are seen as for the good of the individual not that of the community. And, I pointed out statistics that demonstrate how this has been happening over the last 30 years. Bonchamps rightly argued that I did not point out why this is a problem in society. Fair enough. Here are two reasons. First, it is immoral since it does not reward the employee for his/her increased labor. Second, it is bad for the economy and the Common Good because it dampens demand and slows down economic growth. This then makes it hard for individuals and families to provide for the development of the ones given to them by God to care for. And, for those who questioned why I rely upon the Church’s CST but not on their teachings on contraception, please note that it is because I have shown that the Church has valid and sound reasons for these beliefs. In the case of contraception, I do not think this is the case and I provided the reasons to demonstrate this.

    I then finished by arguing that Romney and the Republicans do not offer policies that uphold the majority of Catholic positions on CST. I said that Bonchamps did not provide evidence for his positions on the positive points of Republican policies. He said I was “childish” for demanding this due to the limited space on website boxes. I am unclear on this point. How is asking for evidence on a position given on a theological/political blog “childish”? Evidence is the only way that we can evaluate between the soundness of the two positions. Bonchamps also argued that I did not provide such evidence. Fair enough-here goes:

    1. Since the lowering of taxes under President Reagan and President Bush, we have seen a concentration of wealth while there has also been a rise in poverty.
    2. Families have seen a fall in median income after the Bush tax cuts by $4000 and this has affected their ability to save money, purchase a home, provide for education, and provide for health care.
    3. Before Obama’s ACA, 40,000 people died each year due to a lack of health care insurance coverage.
    4. During the era before Obama’s HCA, insurance companies regularly dropped adults and children with pre-existing conditions due to the lack of regulations on insurance companies.
    5. Companies are not hiring right now even though they are sitting on huge profits because as they say there is not enough demand. This has increased unemployment to a level only seen around the Great Depression. And, the Popes have said that such unemployment, lack of work and poverty is an immoral situation.

    The point of all of these is to point out that there are overwhelming reasons for a Catholic to consider voting for Obama in this election. I realize that Bonchamps and others will disagree and state that this is simply my opinion and right to it. True. But one must also provide reasons why my warrants are wrong. Or why my point on how Republican policies don’t uphold CST is wrong.

    Again, I am very welcome to a rational and civil debate between us. And, you are welcome to try to proselytize. You are also welcome to believe that I am an apostate or a wayward Catholic. However, an argument cannot be based upon overgeneralizations and name calling. I will wait for your decision on how everyone would like to respond.

  • Do you have these comments ready/canned or do you type that fast? Do you get it from DNC talking points?

    Anyhow, it would take me all bloody night to address all the counter-factuals you pose.

    So, I will comment in two Latin words: spucatum tauri.

  • James Zucker said: “Also, I was attacked by one of the people here for not truly having compassion for my son who died because I took a different position on the issue of contraception. I am not sure how the author knows this about me or can make these types of accusations about a period in my life that was about extremely sad and filled with hope at the same time. My wife and I experienced great love and we believe God’s support during that time. And, we were incredibly inspired by the life of my son. It is strange to me that any Christian of any denomination would choose to step on such sensitive grounds with the belief that they can morally evaluate my intentions at that time.”
    Mary De Voe said: “After the savaging the media did on Rick Santorum in the death of their newborn infant, and the support you, James Zucker, give to the INFANT BUTCHER in the White House, I must confess, I could not believe that you had any human compassion for another person, including the child you say you have lost to death. Not until this morning. It is incomprehensible to me that anyone could support another individual or policy which would try to curtail the existence of another human being who comes into existence through the will of “their Creator”. Only through God’s will, for until God creates the rational, immortal human soul, with its sovereign personhood and human life, there can be no other person. ”

    Mary De Voe said: ” I must confess, I could not believe that you had any human compassion for another person, including the child you say you have lost to death. Not until this morning.” Mr Zucker: You do not get to slander me for how I respond to you. Should you learn how to read and comprehend what you read, you will see that I found it impossible to believe you in any given situation, especally because of you supporting the INFANT BUTCHER, OBAMA. The rest has been removed by the author, except SLANDERER

  • “3. Before Obama’s ACA, 40,000 people died each year due to a lack of health care insurance coverage.”

    It is getting late and I have to catch a plane tomorrow, but let’s get rid of this myth:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/03/myth-diagnosis/307905/

  • “1. Since the lowering of taxes under President Reagan and President Bush, we have seen a concentration of wealth while there has also been a rise in poverty.”

    Or the continued break-up of the family, which likely is a much stronger contributor:

    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2011/12/29/stuck-in-the-33-percent/

  • Ha! What T. Shaw wrote! Love it! Spucatum tauri! That sums up James Zucker and his arguments all in one neat nut shell. But he won’t stop. He’s got to prove himself smarter and more tolerant than any of the rest of us. He’s got to prove that he has a right to contracept at whim and to prove he is correct to vote for a godless man of sin. He has to prove this most of all to himself because he knows deep in his heart that he is wrong. That’s why he goes on and on and on. Meanwhile, in his hubris he defies God Himself by all his useless sophistry and wind-baggage.

    A very long time ago I had a sponsor in a 12 step program who used to tell me, “Paul, ultimately the only person you can spucatum tauri is yourself.” Of course, he didn’t know Latin, but being a Puerto Rican, he did speak Spanish especially when exasperated by defiant, stubborn new comers who couldn’t (or wouldn’t, like our James Zucker) understand the phrase, “Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth because you don’t know anything.” I needed no translation at that point to hear the truth. 😉

  • “5. Companies are not hiring right now even though they are sitting on huge profits because as they say there is not enough demand. This has increased unemployment to a level only seen around the Great Depression.”

    Or other, more plausable reasons. From CNN no less:

    http://articles.cnn.com/2011-08-08/opinion/frum.economy.hiring_1_strong-firms-job-creation-economic-activity?_s=PM:OPINION

    Good night all.

  • So I lied. Just wanted to put up the money quote from CNN on why no hiring:

    “Then there’s public policy. Employers must fear that the future probably holds heavier taxes, more regulation and higher employee health care costs. The outlook might be worse under a President Obama than a President Romney, but it looks sufficiently ugly either way.”

  • So, I wanted to address the economic arguments first since they are little less emotionally controversial

    Phillip makes a number of important significant arguments. However, I would argue that I have the empirical evidence to show that the points that I am making are stronger. First, it is true that single families are a significant problem for the country. However during the 1990s as wages and economy grew, poverty decreased. This was during a period when single parents were still a significant problem. During a comparative period of lower taxes, the Bush era, poverty went back up. This suggests that single parent families while an issue is not the main problem.

    Second, as for the argument on uncertainty. There was a survey done by the Federal of Businesses. It included both small and large businesses. 68% pointed to the lack of demand as the main contributor to uncertainty, not increases in taxes or regulations. And, I understand that Phillip is talking about long term uncertainty. But, keep in mind that we are currently still operating under the Bush tax rates. So, why aren’t we seeing larger job growth. Even during the Bush administration, 3 million new jobs were created. During the Clinton era of higher taxes, 22 million new jobs were created. And, 11 million of these came before the Republicans took office in the Congress.

    On the 40,000 deaths, I do want to thank Phillip. I was not aware of these problems in the studies. However, there have been more recent studies including a Harvard study that was peer reviewed, recent and controlled for all of the social behaviors that the criticism levied. And, this study showed a much greater number of deaths from lacking insurance care.

    But, I want to address Mary’s points since she continues to attack my character and intentions. I realize that Mary was putting her arguments in context. However, your points on my character as being lacking in compassion especially in the case of my son is extremely questionable.

    So, here is my response to your arguments on the nature of sex and the use of contraception.

    You argued that sex is primarily used for the husband and wife as an obligation to stop or quell the desire for physical pleasure within a committed relationship. You are partially correct. It is true that husband and wife are obligated to one another so that we do not fall to the temptations of adultery or divorce. However, this is not sufficient to the actual definition of the nature or ontology of sex. Your view of sex turns it into a necessary evil that must be satisfied for other purposes. This is not the purpose of sex. The Church herself teaches that sex within a committed relationship leads to a unitive function that helps couples to both satisfy their physical needs and grow in an emotionally compatible and joyful relationship. This is why I can make the argument that a responsible couple using contraception in a committed relationship can do so without turning into the selfish individuals that so many are arguing will happen.

    As for your point that this stops God from producing saints and heroes, this is a highly problematic argument. For one, it is utilitarian in the use of the couples. Second, it would eliminate the justification for Natural Family Planning since the same risk could happen. Third, it would lead to the absurd argumentation that we ought to use abortions. What if Hitler’s mom, Stalin’s mom, or Mao’s mom had had an abortion? We would not have had these terrors. But this is absurd because it leaves out the evaluation of the intent and the act itself.

    My argument is that the couple can have sex with the use of contraception within a committed relationship that is open to life but manages family size for financial and emotional reasons. This is because unity is essential to sex. But procreation, while a significant purpose to sex, is not essential to all sex acts.

    Again, you are all welcome to attack my character, throw out Latin phrases about my blindness and attack me. But none of these arguments are actually dealing with my argumentation. I am happy to leave the website if this is what people want. But please keep in mind that this simply reinforces the view that there is a lack of an openness amongst some to discuss and provide argumentation. Either way. I am fine with the conclusions.

  • ” … However, your points on my character as being lacking in compassion especially in the case of my son is extremely questionable. … ” – as is your using him here to argue against the will of God.

    ” But procreation, while a significant purpose to sex, is not essential to all sex acts. ” – Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the sick, remember the Sabbath to keep it Holy, and have faith that NFP will fulfill your marriage.

    8/16 @ 9:39 pm to Mary: “Lastly, I agree that our freedoms come from God. I just don’t know how this is relevant to our arguments. Freedom of conscience ensures that we have the choice to make decisions unless we know of a direct moral evil that threatens others. In the case of contraception, none of this exists.”
    – The “unless” clause undoes your argument, almost as well as removing God from it.

  • James,

    “Is there anyway that we can avoid calling our differences “lies”.”

    I don’t know what else to call your insistence that the Church is seeking to prevent people from accessing birth control. It is a false statement, and you know it is a false statement. What should I call it?

    “No one is forcing you to pay for someone’s condom.”

    If I have a business that employs more than 50 people by the year 2014, that is exactly what will be happening.

    “The federal government is mandating that employers provide plans to their employees that open up choices.”

    Let me say it one more time: there will be no legally available plan excluding contraception for employers to purchase. It is the simplest of logic:

    *Employers MUST buy health insurance for their employees
    *Employers CANNOT choose health plans that DO NOT include morally objectionable goods and services
    *Ergo, employers are being FORCED to buy health plans for their employees that include morally objectionable goods and services that they otherwise would not have bought for reasons of conscience

    Laws that force people to act against their consciences are unjust, and unjustifiable. Our duty is to disobey them.

    The rest of your points are therefore irrelevant. We have a fundamentally different understanding of what this mandate entails, and you are unable or unwilling to admit that the employer has no choice in the matter. At a certain point, I don’t know what else to call it but dishonest.

    In the case of religious institutions that are not self-insured, again, the institution still has to buy the plan from the insurance provider. So they are still paying for the morally objectionable goods, they just aren’t providing them “directly.” This, as I have said repeatedly, is a distinction without a difference. That is why the bishops have largely rejected the so-called “accommodation.”

    “But the point that this is an attempt to destroy the Catholic Church when it has been used by multiple governors and spread out over different denominations and secular organizations questions that belief. ”

    There isn’t a single state-level plan that does not offer exemptions (morally acceptable exemptions that aren’t clearly a smoke and mirrors distraction like Obama’s “accommodation”) that are acceptable to the Church. So this argument doesn’t hold.

    “Bonchamps argues that the government cannot do this due to the violation of private property. However, he provides no definition of private property in his argument.”

    I think we all generally understand the concept of private ownership. Do I need to define light and heat every time I talk about them too?

    If you want to say we need to explore private ownership more, fine. But this snide little remark about how I provide no definition, as if I should have, is just petty.

    “Rather, property is invested by the employer and created by the employee. This is why the private property is thus jointly owned by the two and opens up a space for negotiations.”

    No. You are completely wrong. Unless there is an employee stock ownership program, or unless it is stipulated in the labor contract somehow, the employee is not a joint owner.

    “The problem in this case is whether the employee has choices in the plans that such an insurer provides. So, the problem with Bonchamps argument is that he assumes that a part of the negotiations between the employer and employee was over the contraception issue. This is not the case. It is an agreement on whether or not insurance will be part of the employee’s benefits. The particulars of what is in the insurance should be up to the individual consumer not imposed by the employers of any faith.”

    This is false from top to bottom, and the liberties you take in assuming what other people have assumed are really astounding.

    When an individual seeks employment from an employer, that employer makes known to the potential employee what the conditions of employment are. In the case of Catholic institutions and businesses owned by Catholics, they make it clear at the outset that they will not in any way contribute to the procurement of morally objectionable goods and services. The employee is free to accept this condition of employment, or, deciding that they would like their employer to cover such goods and services, free to look for employment elsewhere. That situation is perfectly just and perfectly consistent with the principles of a free society.

    No one is entitled to a job that offers health care at all, let alone health care that provides contraception in spite of the moral objections of the employer. To insist that one is entitled to such things is NOT consistent with a free society, but with a tyrannical society in which employers have to spend their money in the service of an ideological agenda, and not in accordance with the dictates of their conscience.

    Businesses are private entities. They are separate from the state. Business owners are not public servants and are not obliged to submit to the ideological agenda of the Obama regime. If you can’t accept this, then you don’t accept freedom at all. You can say you aren’t talking about tyranny, but your words will ring hollow.

    Regarding inequalities:

    “First, it is immoral since it does not reward the employee for his/her increased labor.”

    You have absolutely no way of determining what level of labor is worthy of what level of wages. This is something determined by market forces, by the balance of supply and demand.

    “Second, it is bad for the economy and the Common Good because it dampens demand and slows down economic growth.”

    Keyensian dogmas are not Catholic dogmas.

    “He said I was “childish” for demanding this due to the limited space on website boxes.”

    That’s not what I said at all. This is why I think you are dishonest. I never said anything about limited space in website boxes. I said that I was simply replying to your points, and that is childish you to expect academic “evidence” for every point made in a com-box discussion.

    As for your five points:

    I have a huge, huge problem with the use of statistics to make economic arguments. It takes a great deal of work to establish a mere correlation between two variables, and it is virtually impossible to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between them. I guarantee you that for every correlation you attempt to draw upon to support your policy arguments, I or someone else can find one to counter it. I have had so many debates like this that I don’t even bother anymore.

    The relationship between competitive markets, economic opportunity, and lower consumer prices is well-established. But the relationship is difficult to observe for one major reason: inflation. Both major parties are committed to monetary and financial policies that severely obscure and obstruct the operation of the free market.

    But to think you can take one isolated policy, like the Bush tax cuts, and cite them as the actual cause of a rise in poverty, is simply absurd. There are thousands of different relationships between thousands of different variables that have to be examined in order to determine exactly what causes what. So I reject your argument out of hand.

    Since we are unable to really understand anything by making these facile attempts to correlate variables, I, like the Austrians, would rather pursue principled economic policies. And quite frankly this means that neither party is acceptable to me on economic issues, unless Ron Paul were the GOP nominee.

    With that said, however, I believe taxes should be cut, for all people at all levels, on the principle that private citizens and business will spend the money in ways that will better serve the common good than government will. And it is their money. They earned it through their labor, and the government is only justified in taxing at a level that is required for it to fulfill its legitimate functions.

    It is not the job of the government to eradicate poverty – and poverty in a historical sense has been drastically reduced by the operation of the free market and capitalist investment. If you compare the living conditions of an American living at the bureaucratically-determined “poverty line” now with the conditions of 90% of the world’s population around 200 years ago, for instance, the former would be far wealthier.

    As for these points:

    “3. Before Obama’s ACA, 40,000 people died each year due to a lack of health care insurance coverage.”

    This is unfortunate, but that doesn’t mean that I have to buy ACA or the Obama regime as the best or only solution.

    “5. Companies are not hiring right now even though they are sitting on huge profits because as they say there is not enough demand.”

    Arbitrarily forcing companies to hire people they don’t need isn’t going to help the economy, the poor, or the common good.

  • “This suggests that single parent families while an issue is not the main problem.”

    It is one issue among others. Of which the economic policies of Republicans are a minor feature.

    “But, keep in mind that we are currently still operating under the Bush tax rates.”

    Until Jan 2012. At which point no one knows what is going to happen. Include the 1.2 – 2.7 trillion dollars in taxes which the ACA will impose over the next 10 years. And the taxes that the Obama administration has already imposed. No, these are actual concerns.

    “However, there have been more recent studies including a Harvard study that was peer reviewed, recent and controlled for all of the social behaviors that the criticism levied. And, this study showed a much greater number of deaths from lacking insurance care.”

    Except that studied is specifically premised on patients receiving the most up-to-date medications. Something that will definitely not be provided under the ACA. That means that the ACA causes deaths.

  • Zooks: Unadulterated male bovine excrement.

  • Bonchamps:

    Great points. I am happy to respond to each of your points from my perspective. As usual, you are welcome to disagree with me on any of these issues.

    I want to start with some basic definitional and valued based points on this debate. You argued that private property does not need a definition and it is rather objectionable for me to ask for this given that no one would ask for definitions of other terms like light. The difference is that private property is not as simple to define and is not as clear to anyone given that property is produced in an environment of relationships between employers and employees. Even in CST, there is a recognition of this problem. Popes have always defended the right to private property but they have always cautioned employers to look out for the interests of their employees. Why? Because employees have the dignity of work from God and therefore should be treated fairly in negotiations over property and wages. In this context, health care takes on a new meaning as a right.

    Here are my reasons for arguing this:

    1. Modern health care is absolutely necessary for both quality and quantity of life.
    2. Modern health care while a product and service for sale upholds the dignity of life by looking out for individual’s health.
    3. Part of a society’s obligation is to look out for the common good and provide opportunities for individuals to compete. Without health care due to problems of affording this care, some individuals would be left far behind while others would be promoted due to their wealth.

    As I am sure you know, businesses agreed after WWII to provide for health care plans in their wage structures in order to avoid a single payer system that President Truman and others were pursuing back in the 1940s. So, while I agree with you that until the ACA, there was no forced health care on businesses, there has been a general consent in society for businesses to include this for employees for some time.

    The ACA has changed this environment. Now businesses must provide some health care plan for their employees and there are requirements of what must go into these health care plans. I never argued that this was not the case. What I did argue was that employers are not being required to purchase plans with contraception. Rather they are contracting companies to come into their business and offer options for the individual to purchase. If an individual chooses to purchase a plan without contraception that will be fine. If an individual chooses to purchase a plan with contraception that will be the individual’s choice. The point of my argument is that when the Church says that the individual should not have the choice, the Church is violating the individual’s ability to make that decision within and between the plans being offered. The employer is not involved in this choice because he is not purchasing the plans or the contraception. And, none of his money is going directly to the plans or contraception. You can disagree with my reasoning. But this is not a lie.

    But this leads us to your overall claim that Obama is enacting a form of tyranny. This is where my objection about the states comes into play. Again, you can disagree with the states proposals. But, there was never a cry of tryanny when the states did this. And, there is an obvious reason why. This policy is one of difficult tensions over public health versus religious freedoms of conscience and personal choice. So, there were attempts to accommodate as many people as possible. And, the same is now happening at the federal level. If your argument is that any law passed by the federal government is viewed as an act of tyranny, then most of the regulatory structure of the federal government would lead to such an indictment. Rather, you must show that there is an attempt to violate individual’s conscience and religious beliefs. And, due to many of the arguments here, you must also show a committed attempt by the Obama administration to go directly after Catholics and Christians in general to do this.

    I have provided arguments above why individual employers are not being violated due to the choice of the employee. And, because this idea has already existed in 28 states and was promoted by moderate Republicans like Olympia Snowe, this idea, while objectionable, cannot be claimed to be a new idea based upon a conspiracy against religious groups.

    So, this gets us to the connected issues of CST thinking and the overall reasons for supporting the Democratic platform that would aid the poor.

    You are right that I am using and relying upon Keynesian thinking. However, I am doing so in order to elaborate upon the general principles of CST.

    CST generally teaches that:

    1. Capitalism is better than the alternatives of socialism and communism.
    2. However capitalism can lead to the selfish acquisition of wealth at the expense of the weakest members of society.
    3. Employers and governments in capitalist societies should both protect individual rights and look out for the common good.

    If you disagree with my summary of CST please tell me where I got it wrong.

    Having started from that basis, I would argue that the Republican policies have exacerbated the difference between the groups in society creating excessive inequalities that are unfair to workers and endanger the Common Good of the economy. Yes, our poor live at a higher level than poor in other countries. But this does not demonstrate that the actions of the rich here are moral if they are not rewarding their employees at a fair level.

    You are right to argue that there is no way for me to determine an exact measurement of what is a fair wage. However, we can show that employers are acting in a way that is not looking for the common good. When the richest are earning 300% increases in their wages as the middle class has only gained 30% increases in wages, when the rich earn 97% of the income in the country, and when the richest 20% have 80% of the wealth, this suggests that the rich are not looking out for the common good but are focused on their own individual interests. And, while Keynesian thought is the basis of my point on dampening demand, this is an issue with the Common Good since the economy cannot grow for the good of all.

    You also correctly pointed out that we cannot draw an exact cause and effect relationship between statistics. So, every argument and stat that I use can be questioned. However, questioning is very different from dismissing. My argument is that the Austrian belief that increased taxes always leads to a drag on the economy does not explain why the Bush 1 and Clinton raise in taxes was followed by an economic boom that helped all classes and made a lot of money for the rich while the Bush 2 tax decreases led to a very weak economy, weak employment creation, and an eventual economic crash in 2008. True this does not prove anything for certain. But it opens the point of criticizing Austrian economic philosophy.

    Lastly, you argued that the deaths of 40,000 people due to a lack of health care is tragic but irrelevant. I would argue that this is the exact problem with our two worldviews. The Austrian world view believes that society is an atomized group of individuals who are only responsible for their own self-interest through competition. However, CST teaches that we are ultimately responsible to one another. So, the deaths of 40,000 people calls us to seek out solutions to solve this for the Common Good. Now, this does not mean that government is the solution. It may be solved through churches, volunteer organizations, or church risk pools. But dismissing the issue is not something that would be allowed. So, my criticism of the Republican policies using this example is definitely within the scope of this debate.

    In the end, the point is that the Obama mandate is not an act of tyranny. It does show a tension of how policy in a diverse society requires accommodations. And, while we will still disagree on voting for Obama v. Romney, I have provided an argument that the Democratic platform does a better job comparably of working on the issues that CST calls for in any society.

  • One correction. I reread the section on the 40,000 deaths. I was incorrect on my reading. You did not argue that we ought to dismiss this issue as irrelevant. You did argue that this does not lead to an acceptance of the Obama ACA. I would agree with you on this point. But, I do think that there is a responsibility under CST to look for what is the best possible solution. And, the principle of CST for subsidiarity opens up the possibility for a government action.

  • James,

    “The difference is that private property is not as simple to define”

    No, it is simple to define. The Church defined it in Rerum Novarum. The fruits of your labor are your property. Whatever you exchange them for is your property. The state can only infringe upon your property to fulfill its legitimate functions, and there is certainly no mandate in CST for a national welfare regime.

    “Because employees have the dignity of work from God and therefore should be treated fairly in negotiations over property and wages. In this context, health care takes on a new meaning as a right.”

    Absolutely false. You can’t leap from a duty to treat people fairly in negotiations to a right to health care! There’s no logical continuity between these concepts.

    “1. Modern health care is absolutely necessary for both quality and quantity of life.”

    Modern health care is still a scarce resource that can’t be produced and distributed to everyone for free by fiat. There are still costs to be paid, and to ignore those costs is criminally irrational. Costs don’t disappear when you deem something a “right.”

    Humanity survived dozens of generations without modern health care. It obviously isn’t necessary to live. The real problem is that some people are irritated beyond belief that some people (the vast majority of people, actually) are able to afford health care and others aren’t. The fact that almost no one had what we would call “quality health care” 100 or 200 years ago never even enters into the equation, and that is why such short-sighted moralizers would hamper and destroy the very historical process that enabled so many people to be able to access affordable and quality care in the first place.

    “3. Part of a society’s obligation is to look out for the common good and provide opportunities for individuals to compete. Without health care due to problems of affording this care, some individuals would be left far behind while others would be promoted due to their wealth.”

    No. Society is not obliged to establish equality of conditions, which is what you are really talking about here. Yes, some individuals do start out with more advantages than others. That, again, is called life. It is not the job of a federal bureaucracy to see to it that this or that group gets an advantage. It is up to family, friends, neighbors, fellow Christians, etc. to help people in their midst, voluntarily, with the resources they have to spare.

    “So, while I agree with you that until the ACA, there was no forced health care on businesses, there has been a general consent in society for businesses to include this for employees for some time.”

    So what? Why does this matter?

    ” What I did argue was that employers are not being required to purchase plans with contraception. Rather they are contracting companies to come into their business and offer options for the individual to purchase. If an individual chooses to purchase a plan without contraception that will be fine. If an individual chooses to purchase a plan with contraception that will be the individual’s choice. ”

    This is really a sickness you seem to have. Who is paying? The “individual”, i.e. the individual employee, is not paying. The EMPLOYER is paying. The EMPLOYER is purchasing the plan. Obamacare mandates that all employers with over 50 employees purchase health plans for their employees by 2014. The HHS mandate establishes that there will be NO PLAN AVAILABLE that DOES NOT INCLUDE morally objectionable goods and services. I’m gong to keep repeating it because it is the truth. If you don’t understand or believe that this is what the mandate does, then we have absolutely nothing more to say to one another.

    “The point of my argument is that when the Church says that the individual should not have the choice, the Church is violating the individual’s ability to make that decision within and between the plans being offered. The employer is not involved in this choice because he is not purchasing the plans or the contraception. And, none of his money is going directly to the plans or contraception. You can disagree with my reasoning. But this is not a lie.”

    In the case of private businesses owned by Catholics, the employer IS purchasing the plans. That is beyond dispute. In the case of religious institutions not exempted by the mandate, again, there is a shell game being played in which the COSTS of the morally objectionable goods and services will be passed on to the employer in the form of higher premiums. You can use the word “directly” all you like, but it is irrelevant. At the end of the day these institutions are still contributing “directly” to the distribution of morally objectionable goods and services.

    The lie I accuse you of, though, is your repeated claims that the Church wants to prevent people form accessing birth control. This IS a lie. The Church is neither able nor willing to stop people from buying birth control on their own, nor does it force anyone to work for them. People who choose to work for Catholic institutions are limiting THEIR OWN access to birth control by voluntarily agreeing to the terms of employment offered by these institutions. THAT is the truth.

    “But, there was never a cry of tryanny when the states did this. And, there is an obvious reason why. ”

    The reason what is what I already said: because there is no state plan that fails to offer acceptable exemptions for Catholic employers.

    And I don’t care in the least about “moderate Republicans like Olympia Snowe.” Stop mentioning her. What she approves of couldn’t mean less to me.

    ” Yes, our poor live at a higher level than poor in other countries. But this does not demonstrate that the actions of the rich here are moral if they are not rewarding their employees at a fair level.”

    You cannot determine what is “fair.” A government bureaucrat cannot determine what is “fair.” This is worked out between employers and employees based on prevailing market conditions.

    “When the richest are earning 300% increases in their wages as the middle class has only gained 30% increases in wages, when the rich earn 97% of the income in the country, and when the richest 20% have 80% of the wealth, this suggests that the rich are not looking out for the common good but are focused on their own individual interests.”

    Even if I were to accept the argument that the income of the wealthiest Americans – who pay most of the taxes and give the most to charity, by the way – was solely the product of “greed”, this would be a problem of their individual souls. I see no demonstrable harm caused to one man by the mere existence of another man’s wealth.

    ” My argument is that the Austrian belief that increased taxes always leads to a drag on the economy does not explain why the Bush 1 and Clinton raise in taxes was followed by an economic boom that helped all classes and made a lot of money for the rich while the Bush 2 tax decreases led to a very weak economy, weak employment creation, and an eventual economic crash in 2008. True this does not prove anything for certain. But it opens the point of criticizing Austrian economic philosophy.”

    First of all, I never said that it was an “Austrian belief that increased taxes always lead to a drag on the economy.” I’m not sure the school holds that exact position or formulates it in exactly that way, and so I would not describe it in such a way.

    It is the morality of taxation that the Austrian school is more concerned with, and myself as well. What gives anyone the right to point guns in your direction and say “work X hours for me out of the year or go to prison?” I accept that we need a limited government to do certain things that private industry can’t do. But beyond these limited, legitimate functions, the state has no right to shake people down in the service of an ideological agenda. The state exists to serve us, not we to serve the state.

    Finally, much of the economic “booms” of recent years have been based upon false, unsustainable premises – such as the expansion of debt and the money supply. So I am not terribly impressed with the tech boom of the 90s, and we know how the housing boom went. Both parties ignore the fundamentals of sound economics.

    “The Austrian world view believes that society is an atomized group of individuals who are only responsible for their own self-interest through competition.”

    Well, this is false. It’s one of those things that, if you keep saying it after you know it is false, becomes a lie. So I’ll leave that to you to think about.

    The Austrian view is simply that the state does not have the moral legitimacy or the technical competency to manage society. But it does not say that society is “an atomized group of individuals”, nor does it say that they are only responsible “for their own self-interest.” This is simply not true. In defending free markets and opposing statism, Austrian economics does not imply or insist that individuals must be rugged individualists, or that there are no organic institutions that make up what we call “society” such as families, churches, and other associations. It is quite obvious that you’ve never read a single thing by the Austrian school and are only using the word because I used it, and you think this is what I believe.

    “However, CST teaches that we are ultimately responsible to one another.”

    There’s no incompatibility between what I believe and what CST teaches. I reject that “responsible to one another” means “morally obliged to support a confiscatory welfare state.”

  • Bonchamps:

    Once again, an excellent debate showing the clarity and differentiation in our opinions. Here are my responses to your points:

    I think the primary part for us to look at is our difference on the role of the state and private property. You are right that Rerum Navarum called for a protection of the labor that we produce and that the state cannot infringe upon this. But there was a also a call under this document to be careful of selfish pursuit of private property without regard to the Common Good. Why would this be the case if an individual is simply protecting his or her own creation. Because a business is not entirely the creation of the owners. Yes, the owners do put in the risk, investment and overall vision. However, the workers also participate in the creation of the products and services. So they are entitled under morality to a fair share in the eventual rewards. You are correct that I cannot establish an exact number of the fair share. However, we can point to when the economy has tilted in an unfair way towards a concentration of wealth in fewer hands. And, we can evaluate that as hurting the common good. I have provided the statistics to demonstrate that this happened in the country for the last 30 years. And, I have provided evidence of how this hurt our society through increased costs to the poor and middle class. This is not supporting of the Common Good. You are right that the solution is not automatically through the state. But CST does teach the principle of subsidiarity in which the State does have a role in reducing the problems in society in order to help local organizations when they cannot do so.

    This gets us to health care. You are correct that showing negotiations between workers and employers does not lead to a direct right for health care. But this was not my argument. My argument was that workers should have a right to health care for the following reasons:

    1. Modern health care is necessary to quality and quantity of life.
    2. Workers cannot afford health care on their own due to rising costs.
    3. Severe inequalities have hurt the ability of workers to access health care in a way that allows them to fully participate in society.

    You answered in two parts. First, you pointed out that we have done without health care for several centuries. True, but there is a reason why we moved away from this. In previous centuries, the rates of deaths and diseases were also much higher. And, life expectancy was much lower. And, this was largely due to the lack of a professionalized health care system. Catholic teaching would praise our current improvements in health care because it allows for better quality and quantity of life and it protects the sanctity of life.

    This leads to your second criticism. You argued that inequalities are simply a part of life. I agree. And, in fact, most people would agree with you. But this is not the argument. The argument is not that anyone wants to get rid of all inequalities. I have repeatedly argued that CST teaches that capitalism is far superior to socialism and communism. However, there is a difference between general inequalities due to differences in birth, talent, skill and choices and excessive inequalities in which the market is not adequately distributing wealth and income as rewards for work. In fact, your own argument admits of this. You at one point in a previous posting said that capitalism diffuses wealth. But when I gave evidence of the concentration of wealth, you then argued this does not concern you. This was a tacit agreement that concentration of wealth is happening. And, the stats that provided demonstrate an extreme concentration of wealth. When the market does this, another agent, the government, is necessary to break this concentration in order to spread out the rewards. This is not necessary in a socialist or communist manner. But as we have done for the last century, it can be used to make sure the market spreads out the rewards in a more fair manner that is not excessive as the stats that I have provided.

    But this leads us to the HHS mandate. Again, I have to disagree with you. This is not a “sickness” or a “lie” on my part. It is a disagreement on how this system works. You are welcome to disagree with me. But using terms like sickness and lie are not arguments. They are simply personal characterizations. My point is simple. Yes, the ACA does force all employers with 50 or more employees to provide insurance. And, there are some basic requirements for these plans. The HHS mandate adds to this. However, you are wrong that the HHS mandate has employers purchase contraception. Rather, it has employers contract with insurance companies that provide that option to employees. So, what is the difference here between my point and yours. My point is that:

    1. The employer contracts the insurance companies not pays for the plans.
    2. The employee makes the choice to purchase contraception from the company. The employer does not pay for this.
    3. The employee pays for the premium, not the employer.

    In order for your argument to be correct, you need to show:

    1. The employer purchases the actual plan with contraception.
    2. The employer purchases contraception for his or her employees.
    3. The employer contributes directly to the premiums for the contraception.

    I am arguing that none of these conditions are true.

    Furthermore, I realize that you don’t care about the Olympia Snowe example. And, I realize that you believe the 28 states are also acting in a tyrannical way. But, your response missed my point. My point was that this was not an attack by the Obama administration on the Catholic Church or any other religious institution. Buy using Snowe and the 28 states, my point was to show that this idea was developed over a long time by different constituencies, was already used in half of the states, and covered all employers not just Catholic ones. So, there is no evidence of a conspiracy to attack or take down the Catholic Church. You can say you don’t care about these issues when it comes to morality. And, you would be right. But this is not my argument. My argument is that these points of evidence show that there is no evidence for a conspiratorial attack on faith.

    This brings me back again to the overall argument on my end for why a Catholic can vote for Obama based upon CST thinking. I realize that you believe Austrian thinking is solely a moral argument about the state. However, they also have an economic argument on their side as well.

    As for the economic argument, Austrian thinkers influenced thinkers like Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of economics. Their overall view on society is an atomized view in which individuals pursue their own self interest and in the process benefit all people. They advocate policies like lowering taxes believing this will help the suppliers to provide more supplies and therefore more jobs to produce those supplies. I think this is a fair way of understanding their argument. I have provided evidence in the past that suggests that they are wrong. I am happy to repeat that argument if you wish.

    But as for the moral argument, yes, they believe that the state is an institution that can perform basic functions like security but has no moral obligation to do anything further. This belief about the state violates the CST teaching on subsidiarity. CST clearly teaches that as many actions as possible should be left to local institutions. However, in the cases where that cannot take place, the state does have a role to help in order to achieve the common good.

    My argument is that, especially on health care, there is a need for the government to do this. The private sector has not shown an ability to lower the costs on health care and provide for all people including those with pre-existing conditions. And, local churches and voluntary organizations do not have the money to cover these costs especially with the increased inequalities of wealth and income. So, the state has a role to regulate and create the conditions where people can access such a basic need for quality and quantity of life.

    You argued that to do this would be immoral due to not having people pay for the costs. But the ACA does not make health care free or entirely based upon taxes from one or multiple groups of people. The ACA provides for regional markets in which businesses and individuals do purchase health care. They do have “skin in the game”. However, what the ACA does is provide subsidies to the poor who cannot afford the health care entirely on their own. And, the ACA mandates everyone purchase some health care policy in order to spread out costs and hold people responsible for using health care in order to solve for the free rider problem-a conservative position until 2008 when Obama advocated for it. Again, I know you will argue that you don’t care because you don’t support all Republicans but a libertarian position. This is fine. But, my point is that this is not a radical left wing policy searching for absolute equality by a tyrannical government position. It is a mainstream position to hold people responsible to pay for a system that they will eventually use.

    So, once again, I would argue:

    1. There is a right to health care because it has evolved into a system necessary to maintain the quality and quantity of life in today’s society.
    2. The state has a role in protecting the Common Good under CST and in today’s environment of extreme inequalities the state needs to step in to solve this problem (not strict equality).
    3. The HHS mandate allows for employees to make choices on the goods and services that they want-not to force employers to pay for contraception.

    As usual I look forward to your response. And, can we please admit that we have a difference of viewpoint not a sickness…

  • “But we allow for natural family planning in order to prevent and frustrate life from being produced.”

    That’s only part of the picture. Natural family planning can be used just as easily for a couple to GET pregnant as to avoid pregnancy. At its root, NFP is simply a series of observations that a couple uses to be aware of the woman’s likely fertility, or lack thereof, at any given time. This knowledge has many other uses besides just avoiding pregnancy — for example, it can help a woman know when to expect her menstrual cycle and can also provide her early warning when she may be approaching menopause or experiencing other hormonal disruptions. In fact there are secular teachers of NFP (usually they refer to it as “fertility awareness”) who embrace the method not for any moral or religious reason but simply because it works WITH nature and not against it — for much the same reason that they embrace organic foods or alternative medicine.

  • James,

    I’ve said all I want to say, and have no desire to repeat myself yet again. I believe you have fundamentally misrepresented the HHS mandate, as well as CST and free market economics. Take care.

  • Z’s problem isn’t what he doesn’t know. It’s that what he knows just ain’t so.

  • Bonchamps:

    Thank you for debating through these issues with me.

    I do have to say that I did find something that I believe I made an error about. I was mistaken in my understanding on how the plan and contraception is paid for. I had thought that companies only contract for the insurance. After doing some reading last night, I now know this is wrong. Employers and employees do both contribute to the policy. Obama’s compromise will have the insurance company pay for the contraception in order to try to separate out the spending. However, if premiums go up, you have a valid point that you are contributing to something you find morally objectionable. I do apologize for this mistake and I thank you for making me aware of this misunderstanding on my part.

    Thank you for your time in this debate. It was informative and enjoyable.

Obama’s Psychotic Statements on the HHS Mandate

Friday, August 10, AD 2012

The Catholic News Agency published some remarks made by President Obama in Denver yesterday (Aug. 9) regarding the HHS contraception mandate that are so deluded and irrational that it becomes difficult to imagine how this country can possibly continue forward. We are dealing now with a level of dishonesty that is so open and aggressive that reasonable discourse, upon which social peace ultimately rests, is fast becoming impossible.

This is what Obama said about Mitt Romney’s opposition to the mandate:

“It would be up to the employer to decide. Your boss, telling you what’s best for your health, your safety,” the president said.

“I don’t think your boss should get to control the health care that you get. I don’t think that insurance companies should control the care that you get. I don’t think politicians should control the care that you get.”

This is Barack Obama speaking. The man whose healthcare vision is about to be foisted on the American people, in which they will be forced to buy health insurance (by politicians, from insurance companies) or face official penalties, just said that he doesn’t think politicians and insurance companies should control the care that we get.

Some statements are so at odds with reality – in this case, a reality established by Obama himself – that they can only be described as psychotic. The psychosis continues with the idea that without the HHS mandate, employers would, and indeed, have been, deciding what is best for their employee’s health. It never entered Obama’s psychotic mind that a desire not to cover what HHS mandates could, and almost always does, revolve around the employer’s desire to avoid something he finds morally objectionable, in which case it has absolutely nothing to do with dictating employee’s health. No, when a man in a position of relative power, the employer, decides what he will and will not pay for his employees to have, it is necessarily an aggressive and unjust exercise of power by the master over the subordinate in the psychotic mind of the president.

It doesn’t matter that on every corner of every major street of every town and city in the United States is a CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid or local drug store that is brimming with contraceptives that are legal for anyone to purchase. It doesn’t matter that there are clinics that provide abortions and sterilizations for those who want them. It doesn’t matter that there isn’t a single employer in the nation that can legally force people to work for them and thus deny them the opportunity to work for someone who is willing to offer a plan that covers such things. All of these conditions, which collectively taken together, any sane man would recognize as a condition of freedom (at least relatively) as far as health and reproductive choices are concerned, mean nothing to Obama. They mean nothing to the hordes of bleating drones who have dutifully towed the party line on this issue either.

The layers of insanity go even deeper. Obama himself has created the conditions under which businesses with 50 or more employees must eventually provide health insurance (by 2014). He has forced this responsibility onto the employers of America. He then proceeds not only to insult them with his “you didn’t build that” remarks (some potential business owners won’t be building anything thanks to Obamacare), but to prohibit them from exercising their preferences, moral or otherwise, in how they go about doing it. And yet to hear Obama speak, one might think that employers themselves demanded Obamacare just so they could have power over their employees that they didn’t have before, and that the HHS mandate had to exist for this reason. This isn’t just a false picture of reality, but a deranged one.

Finally, Obama speaks as if employers making decisions about what they will cover or not cover in their health plans is something new, as opposed to the way it has been since health plans came into existence. All this time, apparently, bosses have been dictating to workers what is best for their health by not paying for their condoms and vasectomies. Obama has now freed us from the tyranny of having to pay for certain things we want with our own money. People who view reality this way can’t be reasoned with by people who don’t.

Looking at Obama’s recent rhetoric, a phrase keeps emerging. He keeps referring to America as “one American family”, especially when there is a tragedy in the news. Some commentators are even beginning to see him as a father figure (try not to wretch if you watch the clip). There is no doubt in my mind that he seems himself as the father of the nation, laying down rules for some of his more stubborn children, insisting that they share their toys with one another. That is how he sees the businessmen of America. And as for the religious conservatives, they are the cranky old uncle who is grudgingly tolerated but also increasingly despised by the more content members of Barack’s family. In neither case is there respect for what they do or what they represent. There is no respect for them as autonomous, rational beings with their own convictions. They’re just stubborn children or senile geriatrics, they aren’t mature and rational like Obama and his friends. He isn’t even a politician, not in his own psychotic mind. He is self-excluded from that list of people who want to “control what healthcare we get.” He isn’t controlling us; knowing us better than we know ourselves, he is guiding us, in spite of ourselves. He is our father.

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25 Responses to Obama’s Psychotic Statements on the HHS Mandate

  • “hordes of bleating drones”

    Win.

  • “you didn’t build that”. If one of my tax dollars built that, I built that… road, bridge, public school. Obama is taking away from the sovereign person his identity: “I AM”. I built, I have. I am in reality a human being, who is created by “their Creator”, not by Obama’s fiat, acknowledgement or recognition, but by the existence and name given to me by God; “I AM”.

  • This is posted anywhere and everywhere any one will read it, because it is what it is. One very important clarification: The Affordable Health Care Act is written so that Sebelius has complete power to rewrite any portion or clause. If President Obama were to give the whole Catholic population an accommodation, for conscience, for freedom of religion, for any value system, the accommodation can be withdrawn or redrawn the day after election. That is the way the contract for the Affordable Healthcare Act was written. No informed consent from any citizen. No ballot, no will of the people. Only dictatorship from Obama.

    The day after his inauguration in 2009, Obama did this with the Mexico City policy which had prevented American tax dollars to be used to abort Mexican people.

  • “The layers of insanity go even deeper. ….. Obama himself has created the conditions under which businesses with 50 or more employees must eventually provide health insurance (by 2014). He has forced this responsibility onto the employers of America. … He then proceeds not only to insult them with his “you didn’t build that” remarks (some potential business owners won’t be building anything thanks to Obamacare), but … to prohibit them from exercising their preferences, moral or otherwise, in how they go about doing it. … And yet to hear Obama speak, one might think that employers themselves demanded Obamacare just so they could have power over their employees that they didn’t have before, … and that the HHS mandate had to exist for this reason. ….. This isn’t just a false picture of reality, but a deranged one.”

    From bookkeeping experience, thankfully past, I saw that the first priority of an operating budget with integrity was payroll which included health insurance and federal/state taxes.

    Where will the HHS braintrust be when Affordable Care reveals its nature to those who will begin to be denied coverage for this or that, when copays etc. are raised and changed? Affordable to the government, the employer, or the employee?

    Just looking at the national debt ticker tape in the light of bailouts and money blown on privileges already, that the government can’t afford this is plain to see.

    Employers have access to state and federal programs which benefit them to employ those already receiving free medical from government social programs.

    Employees have choices from employers which ACA will end.

    And the nitpicking enforcement of the whole reproductive issue is laughable because the offerings are already in place and have been. No issue.

    The filling of a tooth cavity may not be so. I know a caring elderly dentist who has special prices for this necessity for patients denied coverage by Medi…. .

    Speaking of these symptoms of psychosis, which appears to be contagious, a growing contagion, the empty talk about helping the poor is pretty empty.

    A food pantry/soup kitchen is looking for funding from churches, businesses, and organizations this year. Because –
    Federal Government: 10/08 to 9/09 gave $22,200
    10/09 to 9/10 gave $12, 000
    10/10 to 9/11 had No Offer to help with 2012

    Catholic Charities: from $17,000 to $15,000 for 2012.

    Where does admin get off talking about helping the poor while slamming the Catholic Church?

    (Many of the people fed were misusers of food stamps but that money went into the economy intensive care unit – so good.)

  • Here I paraphrase Alabama Football Coach Bear Bryant. It ain’t psychotic if it’s a lie.

    Each day It becomes more apparent. Liberals are stupid.

  • I like a good generalization, T. Shaw, but ‘liberals are stupid’ doesn’t work for me. How about, liberals are tree-hugging morons? How about, liberals are a stupid-spreading virus that’s turning America into a retard-state? Put some punch and exaggeration into your generalization, and it’ll work a lot better. Trust me, I have experience.

    I guess I could be serious for a moment, and recall that both democrats and republicans are (generally) liberals, in the Pre-Vatican II Catholic lexicon. And Liberalism, at heart, is the religion of the Age of so-called Reason, by which God became either non-existent or non-important. Liberals are, unfortunately, quite clever and thoughtful, and wise in a worldly sense. It has allowed them to make TVs and rocket ships, as well as condoms and nukes. We poor Catholic who are born into this Liberal Utopia-project are mesmerized by its technological idols. We even rant against it with their most faithless creation — the computer.

    And yet our rants reveal the problem: we aren’t thinking anymore. We are venting, and mostly to (or against) one another. We play their game nicely by pretending that one side or the other is wrong, when in fact the game is rigged: both ‘sides’ are liberal.

    Traditional Catholicism (which includes the Catholic Worker movement), offers a powerful critique of the doomed modern project. The summary is simple but astounding: we are all on the Titanic, folks. This ship is going down, regardless of who captains it.

    Whether Obama or Romney is elected matters less than whether we maintain our faith to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, and to Christ its King. ‘Flee to the Fields’ has been the Traditional Catholic teaching since Chesterton and Pius and Dorothy Day. Spend your angry energy not on painting up Obama as the psychotic problem, but on the psychotic iceberg called Liberalism: an iceberg that has already ripped an unfixable hole in Western Civilization. All we can hope for is to get enough people to the lifeboats, and to teach people why it all went down.

    I recommend Spe Salvi and Peter Maurin’s Easy Essays.

  • Nate,

    Thanks!

    All generalizations are wrong including this one.

    Only two corrections for your post:

    One, I am thinking. I am wracking my weak brains to come up with means for my children and grandchildren to survive the impending economic and societal cllapse.

    Two, I ain’t smart enough to understand all that essay stuff.

    Here’s a generalized (remember: all gener . . . ) statement for how we got where we are: “The general causes of the great recession (I don’t tink it’s so great!) are depraved US government fiscal/monetary policies and similar profligacy in the private sector.”

  • I like a good generalization,

    Clearly you do, because you then write:

    I guess I could be serious for a moment, and recall that both democrats and republicans are (generally) liberals, in the Pre-Vatican II Catholic lexicon. And Liberalism, at heart, is the religion of the Age of so-called Reason, by which God became either non-existent or non-important.

    This is manifestly false, or at least it is false if you are referring to the classical liberals of a certain stripe. This is certainly not true of the classical liberals from the British Enlightenment camp, and for the majority of the classical liberals that made up America’s founding fathers. It is true of the French school and those that followed them, including Jefferson. (Sorry, David Barton, whose book is no longer even being published, by the way).

    We are venting, and mostly to (or against) one another. We play their game nicely by pretending that one side or the other is wrong, when in fact the game is rigged: both ‘sides’ are liberal.

    I think you spent a bit too much time co-blogging with Morning’s Minion. Anyway, this is another generalization that doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny.

    Whether Obama or Romney is elected matters less than whether we maintain our faith to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, and to Christ its King.

    This is certainly true. That being said, to ignore the realities of electoral politics is naive at best, potentially poisonous at worst. I’ll have a bit more on the “a pox on both their houses” mentality when I return to blogging next week.

  • I’ll vote for the man who doesn’t mock the builder of the lifeboats.

  • “Whether Obama or Romney is elected matters less than whether we maintain our faith to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, and to Christ its King.”

    The religious liberty of Catholics in this country I think has a great deal riding on the outcome of this election. Catholics ignore secular politics at their peril.

  • “Catholics ignore secular politics at their peril.” American citizens ought not have to fight to have the Affordable Heathcare Act, same sex marriage and prayer in public school on the referendum. They ought not have to fight to have crosses in cemeteries and American flags in public places, school and construction sites. The builders of the bridge they were building over Rt. 1 in North Brunswick, N. J. had beautiful American Flags hanging from their cranes. They were ordered to take the American flags down…then 9/11 happened and they were left alone to have our flag. WHO makes the call to atrophy our liberty if all men are created equal?

  • “Spend your angry energy not on painting up Obama as the psychotic problem, but on the psychotic iceberg called Liberalism: an iceberg that has already ripped an unfixable hole in Western Civilization.”

    Another facile generalization. Liberalism has many aspects some of which are positive. For example, John Paul II (not entralled with philosophical liberalism) in Memory and Identity discussed the positive aspects of Liberalism particularly in its recognition of individual rights. He went on to note the positive effects of this aspect of Liberalism on Church thinking in regards to the legitimate place of individual rights.

  • We are dealing now with a level of dishonesty that is so open and aggressive that reasonable discourse, upon which social peace ultimately rests, is fast becoming impossible.

    You nailed it, and it’s really quite frightening thinking of where all this is leading.

  • vThe dishonesty and hypocrisy are all the procince of American Catholic and its right wing crazies. I hardly recognize the church of social justice and democracy I grew up in. Frightening? Yes, but not because Barack Obama and other moral leaders are still able to stand up for the poor and the powerless against religious hypocrites like you and yours.

  • I concur with the post whole heartedly. We really are a nation divided against itself at this point. There is only one way to resolve this…. When in the course of human events….

  • Other political discourse developments: Obama’s favorite journalist suspended for plagiarism. Forward!

    Factchecker reports a first: pro-Obama ads’ so totally dishonest, they don’t know where to start.

    And, Obama zombie-women promise to send the GOP National Convention snapshots of their private parts. Yes We Can!

    You may forgive the stupidity, not the evil.

  • 3 . . . 2. . . 1 . . . Paul Ryan is worse than Hitler!!!!!!

  • What dishonesty? What hypocrisy?

    I don’t want to engage in either. Help me grow by pointing out exactly what I said that was dishonest and/or hypocritical.

    Otherwise, you’re just hurling nonsense.

  • Nate,

    “I guess I could be serious for a moment, and recall that both democrats and republicans are (generally) liberals, in the Pre-Vatican II Catholic lexicon.”

    We’re all liberals to some extent. We live in a world shaped by liberalism.

    “And Liberalism, at heart, is the religion of the Age of so-called Reason, by which God became either non-existent or non-important.”

    Some aspects of liberalism are continuations of the Christian natural law tradition. Liberalism often ends up at the negation of God, but certain liberal insights are worth acknowledging.

    “Liberals are, unfortunately, quite clever and thoughtful, and wise in a worldly sense. It has allowed them to make TVs and rocket ships, as well as condoms and nukes.”

    Technological innovation predates modern liberalism and is not synonymous with it. The Church certainly does not oppose technological development.

    “We poor Catholic who are born into this Liberal Utopia-project are mesmerized by its technological idols. We even rant against it with their most faithless creation — the computer.”

    Unless you are proposing that we do away with electronic communication, what’s the point of this?

    “And yet our rants reveal the problem: we aren’t thinking anymore. We are venting, and mostly to (or against) one another. We play their game nicely by pretending that one side or the other is wrong, when in fact the game is rigged: both ‘sides’ are liberal.”

    I didn’t even mention the word liberalism, or condemn Obama on the grounds that I believe he is a liberal, or make this a partisan issue. So I hope this doesn’t apply to my post. I certainly don’t think that liberalism necessarily entails the psychotic delusions Obama has indulged in. Those are a product of his ego and myopia.

    “Traditional Catholicism (which includes the Catholic Worker movement), offers a powerful critique of the doomed modern project.”

    When the Catholic Worker movement is truly anarchist, it does. When it is just a cover for radical left-wing politics, which are technocratic and coercive, then it is nothing but a department of the “modern project.”

    “The summary is simple but astounding: we are all on the Titanic, folks. This ship is going down, regardless of who captains it.”

    Maybe so. But the people on the Titanic went down with relative dignity. Had they been the sort of people who blindly support Obama, they would have killed each other before the icy water did them in.

    “Whether Obama or Romney is elected matters less than whether we maintain our faith to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, and to Christ its King.”

    Yes. A platitude, but true enough.

    “‘Flee to the Fields’ has been the Traditional Catholic teaching since Chesterton and Pius and Dorothy Day.”

    You and Chesterton can flee to the fields. Christianity grew in the crucible of urban civilization, in the streets of the Greek city-states, in the catacombs of imperial Rome. Where do you think one finds the poorest people, in terms of material and spiritual goods? A Christian who “flees to the fields” is like a doctor who flees to a sterile environment. The sinners are in the cities.

    “Spend your angry energy not on painting up Obama as the psychotic problem, but on the psychotic iceberg called Liberalism: an iceberg that has already ripped an unfixable hole in Western Civilization. All we can hope for is to get enough people to the lifeboats, and to teach people why it all went down.”

    Obama’s actions affect us all. We need to be clear on what they are and the extent to which they are detached from a rational view of reality.

    Whether or not it is all doomed to collapse is known only to God. I can only address the problems I can assess.

  • “Otherwise, you’re just hurling nonsense.”

    “vThe dishonesty and hypocrisy are all the procince of American Catholic…”

    It starts with this first phrase. r eastburg, what are your trying to say there?

  • Eastburg: more proof that liberals are stupid.

    That would be “porcine”, genius.

    If your point is that everybody that isn’t a idiotic, liberal loser is a hypocrite, a liar, or a pig . . .

    You’ve got nothing!

    Again, more proof that using the words “idiot” and “liberal” in the same sentence is repetitive.

  • r eastburg says:
    Friday, August 10, 2012 A.D. at 8:34pm
    vThe dishonesty and hypocrisy are all the procince of American Catholic and its right wing crazies. I hardly recognize the church of social justice and democracy I grew up in. Frightening? Yes, but not because Barack Obama and other moral leaders are still able to stand up for the poor and the powerless against religious hypocrites like you and yours.

    There is no such thing as “the church of democracy” In fact, there is no such thing as “the church of social Justice” without the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, which are the virtue of charity, a free will offering to God, the free exercise of free will, conscience and the response to the gift of Faith from God. Now tell me, your eastburg, where is the Supreme Sovereign Being and the sovereignty of each and every citizen in the Affordable Healtcare Act, same sex marriage, abortion, prayer ban. Where is the Person of God? When the Person of God may be ostracized, who is the next peson to be persecuted? all free men.

  • r eastburg
    You mean the ‘moral leaders’ who are
    the ones who point fingers to harass and intimidate and insult?
    the ones who can’t get the facts straight?
    the ones who tell people want they ‘want to hear’?
    the ones whom the truth hurts ?
    the ones who bailout their big business campaign donaters with money they don’t have?
    the ones who are so into legalizing infanticide and indiscriminate sex acts?
    the ones who fly in the face of the US Constitution?
    the ones who make sure they are protected from the ‘poor and powerless’?
    the ones who mock the Catholic religion relentlessly?
    the ones who won’t have dinner with the ‘poor and powerless’?
    the ones who can’t check or prepare budgets to see whether they can keep promises to the ‘poor and powerless’?
    the ones who end up making fools of their ‘poor and powerless’?
    the ones who have lavishly partied without inviting the ‘poor and powerless’?
    the ones who can’t explain their personal wealth – but want that of others?
    the ones who don’t qualify for what they aren’t doing?
    the ones who cheapen and degrade their Catholic identity?

    ” vThe dishonesty and hypocrisy are all the procince of American Catholic and its right wing crazies. I hardly recognize the church of social justice and democracy I grew up in. Frightening? Yes, but not because Barack Obama and other moral leaders are still able to stand up for the poor and the powerless against religious hypocrites like you and yours. ” – r eastburg

    You have to stop, look, and listen. In and out of church.
    Romney and Ryan do care about the USA and all its people. They will make sense.

  • I think r.eastburg means to say…

    “….the PROVINCE of American Catholic”

    Anyway, he’s wrong.

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The Congress Party Needs to Step Up

Saturday, July 14, AD 2012

The frequency with which the Obama administration has gone rogue and completely ignored Congress’ will seems to increasing at an exponential rate. I fear that by the end of the campaign Obama will be issuing executive fiats on a daily basis. The latest: gutting welfare reform.

The landmark welfare reform law President Bill Clinton signed in 1996 helped move nearly 3 million families off the government dole — the result of federal work requirements that promoted greater self-reliance.

Yesterday the Obama administration gutted those federal work rules, ignoring the will of Congress by issuing a policy directive that allows the Department of Health and Human Services to waive the work requirements for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. “The result is the end of welfare reform,” wrote Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley of The Heritage Foundation.

Surely there was a provision in the legislation that permitted the president to grant such waivers, right? Yes. And no.

Today the Obama administration issued a dramatic new directive stating that the traditional TANF work requirements will be waived or overridden by a legal device called a section 1115 waiver authority under the Social Security law (42 U.S.C. 1315).

Section 1115 allows HHS to “waive compliance” with specified parts of various laws. But this is not an open-ended authority: All provisions of law that can be overridden under section 1115 must be listed in section 1115 itself.

The work provisions of the TANF program are contained in section 407 (entitled, appropriately, “mandatory work requirements”). Critically, this section, as well as most other TANF requirements, is deliberately not listed in section 1115; its provisions cannot be waived. Obviously, if the Congress had wanted HHS to be able to waive the TANF work requirements laid out in section 407, it would have listed that section as waivable under section 1115. It did not do that.

Remember all those crocodile tears during the Bush years about the unitary executive? Leaving aside the fact that critics completely misrepresented the doctrine and its application, it seems the left has no problem with a president truly implementing the unitary executive doctrine. Only this time instead of the President being supreme within the Executive branch, he is evidently supreme over the entire federal government.

There will of course be no repercussions from this action. While it might be cathartic to pound the keyboard about the spineless Republicans, no amount of caterwauling can change the fact that the overwhelming majority of Democrats will ensure that no corrective action is taken. It was hard enough to get a contempt vote in the House against Eric Holder. Do you think the Democrats will really allow a serious investigation, or even more?

And that’s a true pity. There used to be a time when partisan identification was almost secondary to institutional concerns. Congressmen valued the independence and authority of their own branch of government, and simply sharing party affiliation with the president didn’t prevent Congressmen from jealously guarding their prerogatives. Inter-branch rivalries were an essential element in safeguarding our republic. Today that is gone. The same committee (Oversight) that has been commendably fastidious in investigating Fast and Furious will lay down like neutered dogs should Mitt Romney win the presidency. The committee was sure loath to investigate President Obama when controlled by Democrats two years ago.

This is truly a bi-partisan issue. Congress has completely abandoned its role as an independent, co-equal branch of government. The very fact that we are so consumed by the presidential campaign is a sad reflection of how pre-eminent the presidency has become.

Congressional Democrats should be just as furious as Congressional Republicans over Obama’s actions, regardless of how they feel about the policy. Wouldn’t it be nice if Congress as a whole regained a sense of institutional pride and reasserted their place in the federal framework? Sadly that’s as realistic an expectation as hoping that John Boehner will become John Rambo.

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21 Responses to The Congress Party Needs to Step Up

  • Thomas Jefferson, “The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution.”

  • But, he’ll put you on a morphine drip when he decides you’re to old for spend for your health care because dead people don’t vote.

  • An interesting campaign tactic by Team Obama. This ties in nicely with advertising food stamp availability on novella commercials on Spanish language stations. The Obama campaign is running explicitly on a platform of ever increasing government dependence. Well, since Obama has made a complete hash of the economy, I guess life as a perpetual dependent and guest of the US taxpayer is the best he has to offer in order to attract voters.

  • I would not look forward to the prospect of agricultural policy being dictated by some latter-day Jamie Whitten. I think your post is misconceived. Congress has ample regard for its institutional prerogatives, it is just that they are jealous of privileges that are discretely beneficial to each as individual actors, not of powers which aid in the execution of constitutional function. Congress could do a great deal, and has done flat nothing, to contain the misfeasance of the appellate judiciary. This last has been ongoing for nearly 60 years.

    I will offer an alternative hypothesis: we suffer from an almost comprehensive loss of a sense of common spaces and common rules. This loss is not at all symmetrical and a great deal of our political contention can be understood as a struggle between those who recognize common spaces and common rules and those who have a reflexively proprietary attitude toward all elements public life and understand law as a tool to be used in power games.

    You can see how this plays out practically. Consider the try-every-door process by which occupational guilds are harnessed for the culture wars. The American Bar Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics are two organization which can for this reason no longer be taken seriously. Earlier this year, we saw it taken to its witless extreme when a conference of high school yearbook and student newspaper staffs was treated to a ‘key-note’ speech by an obnoxious professional pooftar. We have standard-issue Democratic pundits (e.g. Prof. KC Johnson) arguing that appellate courts have a moral responsibility to manufacture and impose on the rest of us ‘gay’ ‘marriage’. We have a professor at the University of Texas who conducted a perfectly ordinary piece of longitudinal research being subject to an investigation for misconduct because of a letter of complaint from a fag blogger. The courts are ours, the news rooms are ours, the arts and sciences faculties are ours, the public schools are ours, the professional guilds are ours.

    And the legislative bodies. Remember Peter Jennings referring to the 1994 federal election as a voter’s temper tantrum? Does that make any sense at all? You have competitive elections, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, right? To the Democratic cognoscenti, evidently not. The laws passed by that Congress are not binding because control of that body had been stolen from its rightful owners. Hence this asinine order.

    The order is also an indication of the degree to which the Democratic Party is a vehicle for the helping professions. Actually resolving, containing, and ameliorating social problems is of no account. Erecting public bureaucracies of helping and caring is the real show, all staffed with salaried employees who are relieved of the necessity of working for supervisors in commercial enterprises (which produce goods and services people will voluntarily purchase).

  • George Will’s take years ago on the lodestar of the Democratic Party:

    Leave no Social Worker Behind.

  • This is a clarion call to the men and women of the United States of America: make a stand NOW. You must make a peaceful and civil stand now! When you stand you shall stand upon the Constitution. We The People must say enough is enough! We have had enough of the Executive branch going around the Legislative Branch.

    President Obama’s motivations matter not. The results of his actions matter not. The methods that Obama has used to impose his will are unacceptable. We have a Law and limits on Executive power for a reason. Look at the DOMA Law, the Immigration issue, and not this welfare issue. The more people there are on welfare, the less money there is for everyone on the welfare rolls. By allowing the States to ignore the searching-for-work requirement yes more people will jump on the welfare rolls. This will mean less money available for them and the people already on the welfare rolls.

    The Law excluded the Search-for-Work requirement from being waived for a reason. Now, without
    Congressional action, President Obama and his administration has rewritten the law. In doing so he and his admin. have violated the checks and balances. They have made law without the consent of the Legislature.

    He may have the purest motives. His motives don’t change the fact that he is acting more like a Ruler than a Leader. Who do YOU, the People, want running the USA? A ruler or a leader:

    http://lifelightandliberty.blogspot.com/2012/07/shall-we-have-rulers-or-leaders.html

  • These people don’t care about the poor. They care about control.

    Their goals are not so much socio-economic reform. They are intent on replacing the ruling elites, of course, with themselves.

  • This is a huge deal. A lot of things that get coverage in an election year aren’t, but the legal and practical impact of this unilateral decision is huge.

    The problem is, during what’s called the “silly season” of a political campaign, everybody denounces everything equally loudly. The president says that the private sector is doing just fine, and the conservative politicians and bloggers make an outcry. Every jobs report, an outcry. Something like this that really matters, the same people are going to gripe about it, but will anyone else notice? Every time one side makes a fuss, the other side denounces them as just making a fuss – and they’re often right. To this day I can’t figure out if Fast and Furious or Holder’s contempt charge really mean anything. I wish there were a way to underline the things that really matter.

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  • Art Deco: “I would not look forward to the prospect of agricultural policy being dictated by some latter-day Jamie Whitten. I think your post is misconceived. Congress has ample regard for its institutional prerogatives, it is just that they are jealous of privileges that are discretely beneficial to each as individual actors, not of powers which aid in the execution of constitutional function. Congress could do a great deal, and has done flat nothing, to contain the misfeasance of the appellate judiciary. This last has been ongoing for nearly 60 years.”
    Start with Executive Order Rural Councils 13575 Which arrogates to the Executive Branch the power to come onto private farms (without permission or invitation or notice) and dictate and/or confiscates, unless it approves of the way the farm land is utuilized. In the Jubilee Year the land was to rest. The land was to lay fallow and the people were to eat of the aftergrowth. Rural Councils will confiscate every piece of private property in America.
    In other Executive Orders, Obama has ordered the Judicial Department to enforce all Executive Orders fifteen years old. Clinton placed all free lands and waterways under the exclusive control of the Executive Branch of Government.
    All free lands and waterways, all public property is owned in joint and common tenancy by each and every citizen in whole and in part.

    “I will offer an alternative hypothesis: we suffer from an almost comprehensive loss of a sense of common spaces and common rules.”
    And rightly so,…because the sense of common spaces and common rules have been wrenched from our freedom, leaving every American citizen with words without meaning or substance and not protected by law . What good is a feel good law that requires no response from our elected officials or a law that has already been abrogated by an Executive Order?

  • Phoenix Matthias:
    I read your website and there is a well balanced exposition of the truth. http://lifelightandliberty.blogspot.com/2012/07/shall-we-have-rulers-or-leaders.html

  • Rousseau warned of this long ago

    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall. When it is necessary to march out to war, they pay troops and stay at home: when it is necessary to meet in council, they name deputies and stay at home. By reason of idleness and money, they end by having soldiers to enslave their country and representatives to sell it…

    The better the constitution of a State is, the more do public affairs encroach on private in the minds of the citizens. Private affairs are even of much less importance, because the aggregate of the common happiness furnishes a greater proportion of that of each individual, so that there is less for him to seek in particular cares. In a well-ordered city every man flies to the assemblies: under a bad government no one cares to stir a step to get to them, because no one is interested in what happens there, because it is foreseen that the general will will not prevail, and lastly because domestic cares are all-absorbing. Good laws lead to the making of better ones; bad ones bring about worse. As soon as any man says of the affairs of the State, “What does it matter to me?” the State may be given up for lost.”

  • Pretty soon, people will decide to stop working & just go on welfare but, of course, many of us wouldn’t choose that option. There’s nothing wrong to be on welfare if it is necessary but to give a waiver to job requirements is pandering to those people, encouraging them to vote for him. Every week, he panders to groups by giving away taxpayers money. There’s no stopping this guy unless he is defeated in November.

  • Michael,

    Military conscription was only the norm in this country from 1940 to 1973. We had a great deal of history before and after that and have so had since. It would be impractical to attempt to run any but the smallest municipalities through town meetings, which is why it is not done.

  • I’ll just add that nothing that has happened in this country over the past century or so is due to not following Rousseau closely enough. Quite the contrary.

    Art,
    I would certainly never suggest that Congress needs to oversee the policies it votes for. That’s what the Executive Branch is for. All I ask is for Congress to take heed of its own institutional independence. It’s a fool’s hope, I know.

  • This post has a tag called Checks and Balances.
    I loved learning that checks and balances were part of this government. I had confidence that our government could not go far off from logic and reason, went about the things of life, until I started hearing the words ‘deficit’, ‘deficit spending’, and most lately 2008 ‘bail outs’, ‘national debt’, numbers in trillions, not to mention social engineering and legislation of same.
    Looking forward to ‘cut back’ and ‘balancing budget’ especially by means of checks and balances because currently there is no apparent scale, order, logic or reason that has any virtue.

  • All I ask is for Congress to take heed of its own institutional independence. It’s a fool’s hope, I know.

    But they do take heed of their institutional independence, just not in the service of the integrity of the law or political process. Their taking heed is Jamie Whitten dictating who can use the washroom at the Agriculture Department, dozens of appointments held up on the whim of Richard Shelby, Daniel Rostenkowski and Barney Frank writing favors for their clientele into federal tax law and banking law, federal district courts and prosecutors’ offices reduced to dumping grounds for patronage, Ted Stevens being Ted Stevens, and watersheds being mauled in the service of press releases and brochures.

  • On the way home from Mass this morning I read the bumpers stickers: “Praise Dog”, “Obama 08”. Begging for our civil, constitutional, unalienable rights, is not working. The only strategy is IMPEACH, IMPEACH, IMPEACH. IMPEACH Brennan and Blackmun posthumously, for violating the Supreme Court’s constitutional commission to uphold the inviolable right to Life in Roe v. Wade. Stupid does not get compensation. IMPEACH Obama before Obama gets another turn at being the INFANT BUTCHER. IMPEACH Obama before Obama arrogates to himself the power to annihilate the human person in body and soul, eradicate the U.S. Constitution and replace it with the Marxist Manifesto and impose a one world government under the world bank. IMPEACH Obama for taking the oath of office to uphold the Constitution and delivering it into the hands of unelected individuals and himself to destroy the sovereignty of the American citizen, the sovereignty of the American Nation, the Sovereignty of the Supreme Sovereign Being and the Holy Catholic Church. When God is attacked, every human being, as the creation of God, is attacked. When the Catholic Church is attacked, all human beings are attacked.
    People cannot defend themselves against such unjust laws as Obamacare, Prayer ban, and infanticide because there is no law in these impositions of lies and crime. Legalizing crime is not possible. Decriminalizing crime is not possible. Crime against God and man are criminalized in our founding principles. Obama must be IMPEACHED, so that those demons praising dog wrongfully and refusing to praise God rightfully cannot rule in America.

  • Oh, Did I say IMPEACH? Power is the only language Obama understands. IMPEACH NOW BEFORE BLOODSHED.

  • You could have also mentioned the Chief Justice who in his Obamacare decision made it clear that John Marshall was overstepping his bounds when declaring that the SCOTUS had the duty to review the Constitutionality of Executive and Legislative Branch actions.

    This is what happens when local and state politics are marginalized. In the past pols had to answer to their state parties. When their Federal service ended they almost always returned to their State. This gave a certain practical and psychological independence to Congress people serving at the Federal level. Now they are all creatures of a national media and fundraising system that can either lift them or hound them wherever they go. So blue dog Dems willingly walked the plank since they would at least get to be bundlers and lobbyists or media types in the future.

  • When a president signs a bill or passes a law that is not constitutional he commits perjury upon the oath that he took to uphold the TRUTH, the whole TRUTH and nothing but the Truth and the Constitution for the United States of America, “so help me God”. When any representative or senator votes for a bill or passes a bill or law that is unconstitutional, he too, commits perjury against his oath of office. In both cases, because these elected officials represent their entire constituency, especially the president of the United States of America, these people commit treason against the nation, our founding principles, their constituency and their oath of office. IMPEACH

The Left Suddenly Uncomfortable with Concept of Judicial Review

Wednesday, April 4, AD 2012

Don has covered President Obama’s not too subtle threat to the Court that it not dare strike down all or even part of Obamacare.  Yesterday he somewhat toned down his remarks, but still managed to step in it.

At an appearance this afternoon, a reporter asked Obama a question following up on yesterday’s comments: “Mr. President, you said yesterday that it would be ‘unprecedented’ for a Supreme Court to overturn laws passed by an elected Congress. But that is exactly what the court’s done during its entire existence. If the court were to overturn the individual mandate, what would you do, or propose to do, for the 30 million people who wouldn’t have health care after that ruling?”

Obama’s answer to the question was that he expects to win in court, and “as a consequence, we’re not spending a whole bunch of time planning for contingencies.” He went on to talk at some length about the “human element”–that is, people who would supposedly suffer in the absence of ObamaCare. Message: Obama cares, though not enough to spend “a whole bunch of time planning for contingencies.”

But the most interesting part of his answer was the beginning, in which he tried to walk back, or at least clarify, his statement from yesterday. He spoke slowly, with long pauses, giving the sense that he was speaking with great thought and precision: “Well, first of all, let me be very specific. Um [pause], we have not seen a court overturn [pause] a [pause] law that was passed [pause] by Congress on [pause] a [pause] economic issue, like health care, that I think most people would clearly consider commerce. A law like that has not been overturned [pause] at least since Lochner,right? So we’re going back to the ’30s, pre-New Deal.”

As James Taranto points out, this response is wrong on multiple levels.  The case that Obama cites in fact pre-dates the New Deal by a good thirty year.  Second, the full title of the case – Lochner vs. New York – tells us that this was a case involving state law, not federal legislation.  As Taranto further explains, there have been plenty of Supreme Court cases in which the high court struck down state laws, some dealing with economic matters.  And there of course have been plenty of cases where the Court has in fact declared federal statutes unconstitutional.  In fact two cases in the late 90s – US v. Lopez and US v. Morrison – directly implicated the commerce clause, and in both cases the Court rendered a 5-4 decision overturning acts of Congress which relied upon the commerce clause for their justification.

But other than that, I guess Obama was spot on.

The broader issue, other than Obama’s seeming ignorance of constitutional law, is that the left has suddenly decided that they don’t much care for this concept of judicial review.

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36 Responses to The Left Suddenly Uncomfortable with Concept of Judicial Review

  • Much of the Left is going through a collective melt down that is a pure joy to behold. They really did buy into the malarkey that Obama was going to be FDR II. Now that he has turned out to be, on his good days, Jimmy Carter II, they are left to rant against the Supreme Court to attempt to save the miserable ObamaCare, the sole accomplishment of the Obama administration, unless they consider an accomplishment the amassing in three years of the amount of debt it took the Bush administration eight years to run up.

  • I rarely disagree with Don (or Paul for that matter), but my take on Obama’s commentary differs. I don’t think he is registering any discomfort with the concept of judicial review. He is simply claiming that the Court should be deferential to the legislature rather than activist in its own understanding of its role. And he is pointing out that this is a conservative principle that should be embraced by a conservative Court, implying that to do otherwise would be hypocrisy. Of course, the real hypocrisy rests with Obama et al who normally have no problem with judicial activism trumping state or federal legislation that they find disagreeable.

    I think the claims that the administration is somehow suggesting that an adverse ruling by the Court would be invalid or illegitimate are over the top and largely just grandstanding attempts to score rhetorical points. When he suggests that the Court would be over-stepping its powers to strike down the mandate Obama is saying exactly the same thing that we conservative said, and quite correctly, with respect to the Court’s decision in Lawrence. We were making a claim on the merits, as is he. No one is suggesting that the Court is without the legal power to render a decision with which many will disagree and honestly believe is wrong and therefore an inappropriate exercise of authority.

    With respect to judicial activism, this case presents a clash of two conservative principles. First, courts should be uphold laws even if they disagree with them, as long as they are constitutional. In other words, courts should not confuse their policy preferences with constitutional boundaries. Second, courts should respect the fact that the Constitution allocates only limited powers to the federal government, with those unallocated (including general police powers) resting with the states, subject to the Bill of Rights. Opponents of Obamacare are relying on the second principle to trump the first. Obama and other proponents are citing the first principle as a tactic to convince the Court and the American public that the mandate is constitutional, even from a conservative perspective — nothing out of bounds about that really.

    Finally, I don’t think that Obama’s inference of hypocrisy misses the mark completely. The mandate issue is not an easy one. On the one hand, plainly it is an attempt to regulate interstate commerce. But doing so by requiring people to purchase a product whether they want to or not was almost certainly beyond the comprehension of the Framers and also without precedent. But nor is their precedent to the contrary. As odious as this legislation is to me, I do not consider its constitutionality an easy question. just because the Framers may not have envisioned an expansive federal government does not mean they didn’t give us the architecture to allow for it.

    Obama is a terrible President for a host of reasons. We hardly need to manufacture any phony ones — and I think this one really is phony.

  • Perhaps it’s not a direct refutation of the concept of judicial review (though in the case of Dowd, she is certainly implying as much). What Obama is doing is casting doubt on the legitimacy of the Court’s decision, and I suspect we’ll see a lot more of this in various corners on the left over the coming months. I do honestly think that his original comments were made in attempt to sway the Court. Plan B is to convince the public that the Court is usurping its legitimate authority.

    Do I put it beyond Obama to try and make an end-run around the Court? No. At least, there is greater than zero chance that he would try and pull an Andrew Jackson. I’m not saying it’s likely, but sadly there is a chance.

    As odious as this legislation is to me, I do not consider its constitutionality an easy question.

    I do, but we’ll have to agree to disagree on that question.

    We hardly need to manufacture any phony ones — and I think this one really is phony.

    I’m not sure it’s phony to point out that Obama is attempting – as usual – to demagogue an issue in order to cover his ass.

  • Obama’s minions are taking up the cudgels in support of his bullying of the Court. David R. Dow, Cullen Professor at the University of Houston Law Center, calls for the impeachment of Justices who vote against ObamaCare if they strike down ObamaCare.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/03/impeach-the-supreme-court-justices-if-they-overturn-health-care-law.html

    What makes this hilarious is that Dow wrote a book called America’s Prophets: How Judicial Activism Makes America Great.

    http://www.amazon.com/Americas-Prophets-Judicial-Activism-America/dp/0313377081/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_4

    Mike, I have a huge amount of respect for you, as you know, but there is nothing phony about this issue. Obama knew precisely what he was doing when he picked this fight with the Court. This may well become the major issue this year, after the economy.

  • In 2008, it was “Hope and Change!”

    In 2012, it’s “Obey me!”

    They don’t know how to think. They only know what to think.

    Don,

    Plus, clueless Prof. Dow ain’t too smart. He apparently confused which SCOTUS impeachee he was ranting over.

    From an Instapundit commenter.

    “He’s not even writing about the right justice.

    “Samuel Chase is the justice who was impeached in 1805. Salmon Chase was the chief justice appointed by Abraham Lincoln in 1864.”

  • If they can make you buy health insurance, what else can they make you buy or make you do, or . . . ?

    The New York Sun: “Ex Parte Obama”

    “It’s been a long time since we’ve heard a presidential demarche as outrageous as President Obama’s warning to the Supreme Court not to overturn Obamacare. T he president made the remarks at a press conference with the leaders of Mexico and Canada. It was an attack on the court’s standing and even its integrity in a backhanded way that is typically Obamanian. For starters the president expressed confidence that the Court would “not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.” . . .

    “It is outrageous enough that the president’s protest was inaccurate. What in the world is he talking about when he asserts the law was passed by “a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress”? T he Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act barely squeaked through the Congress. In the Senate it escaped a filibuster by but a hair. T he vote was so tight in the house — 219 to 212 — that the leadership went through byzantine maneuvers to get the measure to the president’s desk. No Republicans voted for it when it came up in the House, and the drive to repeal the measure began the day after Mr. Obama signed the measure.

    “It is the aspersions the President cast on the Supreme Court, though, that take the cake. We speak of the libel about the court being an “unelected group of people” who might “somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.” This libel was dealt with more than two centuries ago in the newspaper column known as 78 Federalist and written by Alexander Hamilton.”

  • For the record, Dowd is an idiot shill. Who cares what she thinks. Dow is also a shill, if not an idiot. He, like many college profs, doesn’t have a bone of academic integrity in him. It may be that these fools are doing Obama’s bidding, but I don’t think one can fairly tease that from the words that Obama has actually spoken. Obama is not attacking judicial review — he is asserting that his legislation is constitutional if considered under a conservative lens. It is not a silly argument, even if hypocritical. Moreover, while Obama failed to mention Lopez and Morrison those cases really don’t help opponents of Obamacare aside from the fact that they stand for the proposition that the commerce clause is not a blank check.

    Finally, regarding impeachment of judges for rendering disagreeable decisions, Dow’s position is silly beyond measure. The mandate question is unprecedented and the commerce clauses reach in that context cannot be easily discerned from the words. Unlike Paul, I can see merit in both arguments. Roe and progeny, however, not so. The Court just fabricated law to suit its policy preferences and in so doing truly did act outside the scope of its power. But even the most conservative jurists did not call for impeachment or governmental disobedience of the decision, although the case for such would at least be tenable. Professors like Dow are whores.

  • “Professors like Dow are whores.”

    Now that we agree on Mike! 🙂

  • Was the DOMA subject to “executive” judicial review when the DOJ, I believe, as ordered/requested by Mr. Obama publicly announced that it would no longer defend that piece of legislation passed by both houses of congress or was that merely an act in contempt of congress, which is ok when the executive branch has “issues” with legislation but is not ok when the, constituionally mandated, judicial branch has problems of its own with legislation it is required to review?

    Why has this man not been removed from office? Oops, I forgot, he is demagogue
    and they control the senate.

  • Speaking of lousy law professors, how bad must Obama have been?

  • Pinky, I can only imagine. The guy thinks Lochner was a commerce clause case involving the scope of Congress’s commerce clause powers. Yikes. What a dope.

  • Well, I certainly didn’t mean any disrespect. And I’m sure he’s an excellent law professor, when he’s in his comfort zone. But apparently making precise public statements about the most basic elements of Constitutional law is outside that zone. See, I’m not a lawyer, so I would’ve thought that ability was important. That shows how little us non-lawyers really understand.

  • Gee, where was Maureen Dowd after Roe V. Wade?

    AMDG,
    Janet

  • Rush suspects that Obama is playing dumb, to some extent, and is playing to the lowest common denominator. I suspect there is something to that. That said, yeesh, I pity any future lawyers trapped in a classroom with him.

  • Late in commenting. Just my typical hell fire and brimstone. I don’t expect there to be any justice on this earth.

    Every single one of us mortal human beings are going to be subject to Judicial Review. We will on that Great and Terrible Day be judged by the Supreme Justice Himself, and that judgment will be based on our deeds. Those who today call the murder of the unborn the right to choose, and the filth of homosexual sodomy civil rights will stand before the Great White Throne with no excuse, facing eye ball to eye ball the Almighty Himself. May God have mercy on their souls, and on ours for no one is exempt. God, being perfect Love, is absolute Justice, and He will NOT let the murder of the unborn or the filth of homosexual sodomy go unavenged.

    Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14

  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act. It’s name is tenuous. The words “protection” and “affordable” are vague and subject to changes over time, meaning to say that coverage of what for whom is not set in stone. Since the government has no money to pay for anything, the administrators of the insurance can change and eventually deny coverage. There’s an issue in Massachusetts with limiting the dental procedures of MassHealth. And, he’s talking about the people, ‘human element’, that would suffer without this – call it an etch a sketch act because, I think, it applies more to the 2700 pgs. of HHS Admin (and not Gov. Romney). Considering the way this administration cannot budget after years on the job, I doubt that it would happen with health insurance.

  • From what I understand, Obama was not a Law professor, just a lecturer.

    “Obama is attempting – as usual – to demagogue an issue in order to cover his ass.”

    Yes, that’s his M.O., but although Barry is certainly a gifted demagogue, how do you get people angry because a law they never liked or approved of in the first place has been struck down? Two years ago, when this monstrosity was forced through Congress, I recall libs pooh-poohing the polls which showed Obamacare was despised by a majority of Americans. The conventional wisdom among leftists was that although the dumb American public (so inferior to those progressive Europeans) would initially resist the change, Old Silver Tongue would explain the goodness and necessity of the law so eloquently that our hard hearts would melt and we’d all be foursquare behind Obamacare by the time 2012 rolled around. Well, here it is, election year, and most Americans still think Obamacare stinks on ice. That wasn’t in the Dem script.

    Demagoging the issue will certainly motivate the Dem base. But the rest of us, who didn’t like the law then and don’t like it now? It’ll be a very tough sell, she said with a smile on her face.

  • Does anyone else think it’s ridiculously funny when Leftists whine about priests in ages past getting paid 10% tax which actually went to feeding people whereas now people have to pay something like 50% tax to the government and you don’t know what the hell most of it is funding. As far as health insurance goes if we had a monastary near every town and city the poor man could get free health care from monks. As far as I can tell Obama is a sneaky bastard who can’t be trusted as president, he is inconsiderate of the supreme court simply because of his acutely obvious overconfidence in his statements.

  • Someone compiled a list of why Obama can’t run on his record. Any other “firsts”?

    • First President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner.

    • First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in.

    • First President to preside over a cut to the credit-rating of the United States

    • First President to violate the War Powers Act. .

    • First President to be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico .

    • First President to defy a Federal Judge’s court order to cease implementing the Health Care Reform Law.

    • First President to require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party.

    • First President to spend a trillion dollars on ‘shovel-ready’ jobs when there was no such thing as ‘shovel-ready’ jobs.

    • First President to abrogate bankruptcy law to turn over control of companies to his union supporters.

    • First President to by-pass Congress and implement the Dream Act through executive fiat. .

    • First President to order a secret amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the U.S. , including those with criminal convictions.

    • First President to demand a company hand over $20 billion to one of his political appointees.

    • First President to terminate America ’s ability to put a man in space.

    • First President to have a law signed by an auto-pen without being present.

    • First President to arbitrarily declare an existing law unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it.

    • First President to threaten insurance companies if they publicly spoke out on the reasons for their rate increases.

    • First President to tell a major manufacturing company in which state it is allowed to locate a factory.

    • First President to file lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN).

    • First President to withdraw an existing coal permit that had been properly issued years ago.

    • First President to fire an inspector general of Ameri-corps for catching one of his friends in a corruption case.

    • First President to appoint 45 czars to replace elected officials in his office. .

    • First President to golf 73 separate times in his first two and a half years in office, 90 to date.

    • First President to hide his medical, educational and travel records.

    • First President to win a Nobel Peace Prize for doing NOTHING to earn it.

    • First President to go on multiple global ‘apology tours’.

    • First President to go on 17 lavish vacations, including date nights and Wednesday evening White House parties for his friends; paid for by the taxpayer.

    • First President to have 22 personal servants (taxpayer funded) for his wife.

    • First President to keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year at taxpayer expense.

    • First President to assets the Azan (Islamic call to worship) is the most beautiful sound on earth.

    • First President to take a 17 day vacation.

  • Dow, Dowd, Holder, Obama, et al are children of Satan. They do their father’s bidding.

    They were never on the side of truth.

    There is no truth in them.

    They do what is natural to them. They lie.

    Their father is the father of all lies.

  • I’m confused. So what’s the big deal? Obama says that Lochner was the last time that the court struck down a legislative measure. But conservatives are saying “Ha! That was only state legislation, not federal legislation!!”. What’s the point? Obama is not wrong about it – and you’re all agreeing with him: Lochner was struck down regardless if it’s state or federal.

  • What’s the point? Obama is not wrong about it – and you’re all agreeing with him: Lochner was struck down regardless if it’s state or federal.

    Let’s see:

    He was wrong about it being federal legislation.
    He was wrong about the time period.
    He was wrong about the Court not having struck down major federal legislation since the New Deal era.

    So he was wrong about every single element, but somehow he was right?

    And the state/federal difference is not some minor distinction.

  • Has anyone put together a list of decisions that the average liberal supports where the Court struck down federal law? Roe, Griswold, and that Texas sodomy law were all cases where the Court overturned state law, yielding results that liberals wanted. I can’t think of any federal examples though.

  • Pinky,

    Off the top of my head, I would guess New York v. Clinton, which struck down the line item veto.

  • Pinky raises a very important point. Libs favor an expansive understanding of various “rights” hidden deep inside the creases of the constitution. Because these rights almost always serve to limit police powers and because police powers generally rest with the states, Libs tend to favor activist judges vis-a-vis state legislation. Because libs disfavor economic liberty and instead favor sweeping regulation of commerce, they support an expansive understanding of federal power via the commerce clause.

  • Wrong about the time period? The New Deal was from 1933 to 1936.
    Lochner v New York was from 1905.
    Obama said that it was pre-New Deal.

  • I just found a .pdf from the Government Printing Office listing Congressional acts that the Supreme Court overturned. Pretty interesting stuff. Congress keeps violating the commerce clause, and keeps getting called out for it. I also noticed that the Supreme Court really likes protecting obscenity and anything that can loosely be called free speech (such as flag burning).

  • Student – He said ’30’s, pre-New Deal.

  • What law cannot Congress pass that would not be legit by the lib interpretations of the “commerce clause”?

    Plus, Student’s right.

    Obama is never in error.

    Whatever he says is correct because it supports the agenda.

    For all such sons of Satan, the truth is that which serves their purposes.

    Obama is never wrong. He is ever lying.

  • Hey, I’m not saying that Obama’s never wrong.
    I was just about to comment that Zummo proved me wrong.

  • Has anyone put together a list of decisions that the average liberal supports where the Court struck down federal law?

    There was also United States v. Eichman where the Supreme Court struck down a federal statute against desecration of the US flag.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Eichman

    Just to agree with Mike Petrik: when liberals fund expansive federal programs with tax dollars, it is difficult to show standing as a plantiff to bring suit.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_(law)#Taxpayer_standing

  • Thanks Joe Green for listing many of Obama’s presidental actions to date. The list gives me pause on this Holy Saturday. The impulse to drop to my knees and implore God’s Mercy upon this nation whose leadership is so corrupt and the hearts of the citizens so ignorant and apathetic is great. Many are like sheep without a Shepherd; unable to recognize His Voice which beckons them to follow Truth and to receive life in abundance. Pontificating about the interior motives of the Presidents’ heart is speculation and generally a useless waste of energy.

  • I’m not law savvy…. but what is the big deal with the Commerce Clause and why do people feel that the courts should not strike down legislation when it pertains to the commerce clause? I get what commerce is, but what is it that makes it such a big deal for courts to strike down laws that fall under that banner of Commerce Clause.

    I’m liberal, but if Obamacare is wrong then it’s wrong. I’ve spoke to friends who are also liberal and I’ll ask “why is it wrong for the courts to strike down Obamacare?” and I just get the response “because it falls under the Commerce Clause”. Then I will ask “what about the Commerce Clause prevents legislation related to that clause from being stuck down by a court” and the response will be “Courts just shouldn’t do that.”

    It makes no flippin’ sense to me. Please help

  • Student,
    Our constitution grants Congress only limited powers, and each law Congress enacts must come within the ambit of those powers. The constitution grants Congress to power to regulate commerce among the states. The question is whether Obamacare (particularly the mandate) comes within the ambit of that power or is outside it. If the former, then the legislation is within Congress’s power to enact and the Court should uphold it; if the latter, then the legislation is outside of Congress’s power and the Court should strike it down.

  • Thank you for that answer, Mike.

    So then if it would be the former the courts do indeed have no right to strike down that type of legislation.

  • Yes, exactly. What the Court must do is discern whether the power to regulate commerce among the states inludes the power to require citizens to purchase health insurance. If it concludes that it does, then it should uphold the law. The question is not an easy one in my view. While the constitution does not generally limit *state* legislative powers outside the Bill of Rights (which is why the Massachusetts insurance mandate is almost certainly constititional), there must be a warrant for Congressional legislation. Congress’s commerce clause power has been construed broadly by federal courts, but it is not without limit. The idea that this power can be used to require each citizen to purchase a product he may not want would be almost certainly regarded as unthinkable by the Framers; yet, the language employed in the commerce clause seems broad on its face, and just because the Framers may not have intended to grant Congress such sweeping power does not mean that it did not do so nonetheless. Words can have meaning, and therefore effect, outside their intent. Nonetheless, critics have a powerful point in noting that such a power to compel an affirmative act dramatically alters our historic understanding between the relationship between our supposedly limited federal government and its individual citizens. While it is that alteration that supplies the disturbing subtext, the precise legal question many be more mundane, such as does the power to regulate interstate commerce include the power to require a person to engage in commerce who wishes not to. This is interesting stuff and reasonable people can come out differently in my view, though I realize that most of my fellow conservative commentators disagree with me on that.

They Said If I Voted for John McCain the U.S. Would Engage in Endless Middle East Conflict with No Concern for Congressional Approval

Thursday, March 8, AD 2012

And they were right.

For those who didn’t watch the video, skip to about the 3:35 mark where Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta responds to a question about creating a no-fly zone over Syria.  He states that the administration would seek international approval and then inform Congress about its actions.

That’s right – international sanction for military action would take precedence over Congressional authority.  And that makes complete sense, because in the United States Constitution it clearly states right there in Article I, Section 8 that international bodies shall have the power to declare war and therefore bring the United States into armed conflict.

Oh.  Wait.  It’s Congress that has the power to declare war.  Silly me.  But we live in an international age, and if the Supreme Court can rely on international law in order to decide cases, then by golly the President of the United States should be able to commit American troops to armed conflict with a nice note from the U.N. or some other international body.

And at least he’ll be nice enough to let Congress know.  Maybe he’ll text Speaker Boehner about it, but only after he gets off the phone with Sandra Fluke.  Priorities.

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5 Responses to They Said If I Voted for John McCain the U.S. Would Engage in Endless Middle East Conflict with No Concern for Congressional Approval

  • I think this might become a major issue:

    “WASHINGTON — The US offered to give Israel advanced weaponry — including bunker-busting bombs and refueling planes — in exchange for Israel’s agreement not to attack Iranian nuclear sites, Israeli newspaper Maariv reported Thursday.

    President Obama reportedly made the offer during Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington this week.

    Under the proposed deal, Israel would not attack Iran until 2013, after US elections in November this year. The newspaper cited unnamed Western diplomatic and intelligence sources.

    Netanyahu said Monday that sanctions against Iran had not worked, adding that “none of us can afford to wait much longer” in taking action against Iran’s controversial nuclear program.”

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/attack_offered_israel_advanced_weaponry_vJzadL8Qw5XoQ7akSRO9yK

  • Paul and Donald, et. al.,

    If the attacks on Libya without congressional approval did not become a major issue, and Solyndra did not become a major issue, I would not hold my breath.

    –Jonathan

  • No one cared about Libya Jonathan because it was a no casualty war, and most members of Congress thought that it was a good idea to take out Khaddafi. I think that this story is quite a bit different. It is all over the conservative blogosphere already and Fox is running with it. Let us see what happens.

  • Ahh, Donald. That’s just my “Federalism and separation of powers” idealist showing up again.

  • Well, as a side note to all of this. I think it’s an awful idea to insert ourselves into Syria.

    From all the reporting I have seen Christians generally support Assad only because what comes after him would be much worse. I think the Christians on the ground understand as bad as Assad and the Alawites have been they can only look forward to an even worse oppressive Islamic government taking hold. They see what is happening in Egypt and the Coptic Christians.

    Syria: bishop says government must crush uprising
    http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=18424

    Maronite Patriarch: Violence turning Arab Spring into winter
    http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/03/04/198548.html

The Oft-Repeated Lie About Warren Buffet’s Secretary’s Tax Rate

Wednesday, January 25, AD 2012

For last night’s State of the Union Address, President Obama invited Warren Buffet’s secretary, Debbie Bosanek, to sit in the First Lady’s box during the speech and specifically promised in that speech to support tax changes in order to mend the injustice Buffet claims occurs allowing him to pay the lowest tax rate of anyone in his office, including his secretary. This line of attack is doubtless partly designed to pave the way millionaire Barrack Obama to make populist attacks on multi-millionaire Mitt Romney during the upcoming presidential campaign. Romney is, after all, very, very rich, and his income comes primarily from investments.

David Leonhardt at the NY Times asks both right-leaning economist Greg Mankiw and the left leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to comment on this alleged tax injustice. Mankiw makes a fairly reasonable case that the reason capital gains are lower is that investment income is based on corporate profits and corporate profits have already been taxed. Companies would have more profits to pass on to investors (either as dividends or in the form of being worth more) if they didn’t pay corporate taxes, and so the tax on investment income is set lower to avoid this “double taxation”. Chuck Marr of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities must know the facts aren’t on his side, because instead of answering the question he provides a canned response about income inequality and how tax rates are lower than in the ’70s. The column is worth a read.

However, there’s another issue here which I think is worth pointing out. Progressives writing on this issue usually act as if billionaire investors such as Warren Buffet are all paying right around 15% (the capital gains rate) in taxes — Buffet claims that he pays 17.4% — and that “middle class Americans” are paying the top marginal income tax rate of 35%.

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40 Responses to The Oft-Repeated Lie About Warren Buffet’s Secretary’s Tax Rate

  • I am tired of hearing about the rich paying “their fair share” when almost 50% of the country pays nothing in income taxes. I am all in favor of everyone doing their fair share and, in my mind, that obviously means setting a minimum tax. Even if it is just $100 a year, everyone should throw something in the pot. We should also stop administering welfare through the income tax system. It encourages people to accept benefits they would never dream of going to the welfare office to get.

  • Darwin,
    As a tax lawyer I must say your post is spot on correct. And I would add a few more points.

    * Capital gain rates should be lower in order to accomodate the fact that some gain is illusory inflation gain. A person buying shares of Company X in 1980 for $10,000 may well be able to sell those shares for $20,000 today, but much of the nominal $10,000 gain is just inflation and does not represent income in a true economic sense.

    * Capital gains are only taxed when they are recognized as a consequence of a sale. Selling investments is usually a matter of choice, and capital gains taxes act as a toll charge on a a voluntary sale. Accordingly high rates serve to encourage investors to stay “locked in” rather than liquidate their investments. In fact all tax scholars agree that high rates will result in reduced tax revenue for this very reason, but what they do not agree on is the tipping point. Personally, I think that there is some room to raise the rate without revenue loss, but I do not believe that one can remotely raise the rate to match with current ordinary rates without actually losing revenue. It would be a lose/lose — investors would be locked into unwanted investments while the government would get less tax revenue — all in the name of fairness.

    Buffett is a hypocrite. He can and should pay himself a high salary taxed at ordinary rates, but instead deliberately keeps his gains in his investments in order to benefit from lower capital gain rates.

  • Jenny,

    For a very long time I agreed with the point you make about everyone paying at least some taxes, but I think I’ve been gradually modifying my views on it.

    Part of my reason for change there is that (as the CBO numbers I linked to point out) basically everyone has some degree of federal tax liability, if they work at all, it’s just that they may have a negative income tax liability (a subsidy) which reimburses them for some of the payroll taxes that they pay for social security and medicare. Even for the bottom 20% of earners, they end up paying some positive amount of federal taxes. One could “solve” this weird appearance by scaling the payroll taxes instead of having them be a flat rate, but that’s comparatively hard to do, so instead we end up with this weird thing of charging some people payroll taxes while “giving back” money on their income taxes.

    Another element is that it seems to me that one of the things which conservatives have (rightly) won a lot of support for is lowering people’s taxes — and it seems to run totally counter to that to turn around and say that we should raise taxes on the half of people who pay no income taxes currently.

    Finally, and this is the thing I feel most mixed about, giving people subsidies through tax credits is a very “clean” way of trying to help out those who earn less. On the face of it, it seems like we shouldn’t throw money at people who don’t ask for it, and I find that argument persuasive in some ways. But on the flip side, the various forms of subsidy that people go down and apply for often end up reinforcing bad behavior and penalizing the hard working poor who don’t ask for help. They also lend themselves to all sorts of nanny state interference where bureaucrats say, “We’ll help you buy food, but only if you buy these things,” etc. In this sense, if we’re going to help people through financial subsidies, it seems to me that doing so through something like the earned income tax credit or the child tax credit in some expanded and more frequent form would actually be more conservative and less prone to government abuse than most of the other modes of assistance which are pushed.

  • I have heard that the idea behind the earned income tax credit was to reimburse lower income workers for their payroll tax contributions. It is a reasonable goal, but I do not believe we should completely erase a citizen’s entire tax obligation. I think it changes the relationship between the citizen and the government in an undesirable way.

    I also question if it is really true that most everyone actually has a tax liability. I know that my anecdote is not data, but for tax year 2010 I paid $0 income tax, ~$2900 payroll tax, and received ~$6200 in a “tax refund.” Now we have three children and one income, so that might change the math, but I do not consider us low income. We do not have a lot of budget leeway, but we are definitely not poor. If I make as much as I make and still get that kind of money from the government, how much more are other people getting?

    We also qualify for reduced lunch at school, but I do not take that government money. I can afford to feed my daughter lunch! The difference is to receive that benefit, I would have to fill out a form that basically declares I need the government’s help to feed my children. That declaration would be a falsehood so I do not fill out the form and no one requires me to do it. However I am required to file taxes, so, even though I do not *need* the money, I take all the deductions and credits I am allowed and get a fat check. It definitely feels like dirty money, and yet I take it anyway. I’m not sure what that says for my moral fortitude.

    I agree it is politically untenable. I hear folks calling the talk shows complaining about those ‘no-goods’ that don’t pay taxes and I wonder how many of the complainers actually pay income taxes themselves. Odds are that 50% do not.

    I understand your thought that the earned income tax credit helps the people who would not ask for help. I am a prime example of that logic. I would be more sympathetic to it if the country were not driving off the debt cliff. It is a moral hazard to set up government assistance through programs–be it from manipulative citizens or nanny state bureaucrats–but we cannot afford to allow 50% of the country to free ride anymore.

  • I hear what you say, Darwin, but don’t think I fully agree. Social security is basically a pay as you go defined benefit retirement plan. Folks receive retirement benefits imperfectly based on what they contributed to the pot during their working life. In truth the plan is a hybrid — part retirement plan and welfare plan since those who pay in the maximum get a bad deal while those who pay in smaller amounts (i.e., low and moderate income earners) get a good deal. I don’t think these taxes can fairly be characterized as contributions to the common good, which is a different pot altogether, except perhaps in part the taxes paid by those who consistently contribute the maximum since they are subsidizing others.

  • Mike,

    Fair point. I guess I tend to look on Social Security as being more of a welfare program conveniently masquerading as a defined benefit retirement plan — but I readily admit this is in part a result of my own crank-iness.

    In all honestly, I’m not sure I fully buy the “tax credit as reimbursement for payroll tax” argument, especially as there’s not a fixed relationship between the two. Few people end up getting more subsidy via income tax then they pay in payroll tax, but I’m sure that some do, and my support for the idea of using refundable tax credits in place of other forms of subsidy isn’t necessarily related to the amount of subsidy being less than one has paid in payroll taxes. On the other hand, I think one of the problems with this approach, though it appeals to me in other ways, is that offends people’s common sense. And that’s not something to be taken as lightly as many policy wonks seem to think.

    Jenny,

    Fair points. I don’t remember comparing how much I got back via income taxes to my payroll taxes, but I do definitely recall that 7-8 years ago when we had two kids and our family income was under 50k we got back about a thousand dollars on our tax return more than we’d paid in. And I think the child tax credits are higher now than they were then. Things were tight (given we lived in California and paid the sort of rents one can expect there) but I certainly didn’t consider us “poor” and would never have applied for government aid.

    This, actually, is my main source of self questioning as I’ve come to see the refundable tax credit as a better way of applying government subsidies than traditional welfare programs: it’s simple and fair, sure, but back when I actually qualified for that kind of thing it drove me up the wall and I was firmly in the camp of thinking that everyone should pay at least some taxes. I’m not really comfortable with the fact that this is something I’ve only come to like the idea of as my income has increased, though I’m not sure if this is the result of cause and effect or just that I’ve got into reading a lot of economic policy analysis over the last decade.

  • I agree it is politically untenable. I hear folks calling the talk shows complaining about those ‘no-goods’ that don’t pay taxes and I wonder how many of the complainers actually pay income taxes themselves. Odds are that 50% do not.

    Some numbers here. 47% of households have no “liability”– they can claim deductions sufficient to only be paying SS and Medicare tax; those who hit the black when you include their side of the payroll taxes is half that. (still depressing, but not as much)

    Things to keep in mind is that this is a matter of HOUSEHOLDS– from memory, being married and being a bit older are both things are associated with being conservative, and one of the major causes of poverty in children is being a single mother; it’s very believable that those calling in are paying taxes, contributing, etc, even if the “50%” statistic would imply otherwise.
    Oh, that reminds me– some of those “households” might be college kids of the sort that I went to high school with– they’re on every program possible, are supported by their parents and get part-time jobs while they’re in college basically so they can game the system. (I didn’t really realize this until one mentioned the free birth control program for Washington State was being “threatened.” Guess I should’ve known, almost everyone at the school was on reduced lunch, even though my family was one of the lower income ones!)

  • I will attribute your changing opinions to reading economic policy rather than the pity you have for us down the income chain. 😛

    If our goal is to help those who would not normally ask for help, we could keep the credits if we dramatically cut the income requirements to get the credits. For tax year 2011 you can still get a credit with an AGI of $50,270. That’s adjusted income higher than the country’s gross median. This is pure insanity.

    I do not mind government subsidies helping the poor and even those teetering on the edge, but that is not our current policy. We are throwing money at solidly middle class people who would never ask for the money on their own. We cannot afford to do it anymore.

  • I will attribute your changing opinions to reading economic policy rather than the pity you have for us down the income chain.

    Thanks. 😉 I guess what makes me mildly suspicious of myself is that I’m pretty sure that my 25-year-old self would have thought my 33-year-old self is just out of touch. And while having five kids and large old house adds a lot of responsibility, compared to two kids and a tiny new house, I can’t help wondering if my 25-year-old self was right at a gut level.

    I do not mind government subsidies helping the poor and even those teetering on the edge, but that is not our current policy. We are throwing money at solidly middle class people who would never ask for the money on their own. We cannot afford to do it anymore.

    There I think you get at the heart of the matter. Middle class voters turn out much more reliably, so I think both parties have been a party to buying off the middle class by cutting taxes very, very low for many of them, without actually helping those desperately in need all that much. To the extent this has resulted in virtually putting the middle class on welfare, that’s a big problem. That kind of help should be reserved for those who desperately need it. (Perhaps part of the problem is that a lot of these beltway types imagine that making 50k is “poor” when it fact it’s the median income out here in real America.)

  • Excellent comments, Darwin and Jenny.
    It seems to me that one persistent theme, even if perhaps somewhat subtextual, is the unwillingness of our elected officials to be truthful about the *character* of government benefits. It is true that social security is in part a welfare program. As long as its dominant characteristic, however, is that of a defined benefit retirement program, the welfare component remains disguised. Many Americans are comfortable with this, including those who don’t want to admit that they are receiving welfare (i.e., those whose payouts compare favorably to their contributions) as well as those who view welfare as social *justice* rather than taxpayer *charity* — the latter frankly bristle at the word.

    When we employ tax credits, especially refundable tax credits, all too often they are not properly understood as welfare when they may well be exactly that . This is particularly true of refundable credits to compensate for social security contributions that are conceptually and financially necessary to fund future retirement benefits. This is no accident. Politicians do not want to wound the pride of their voting base. Truth is the victim.

  • St. Warren’s secretary’s tax rate is huge but not because we evil rich S.O.B.’s don’t pay a high enough taxes.

    St. Warren’s virtuous, long-suffering secretary’s taxes are about to become even more onerous. And, he will not raise her salary to cover the harsh increases in food and fuel prices he (profiting for the keystone denial) and Obama (raising fuel costs to get green votes) are laying on working class Americans.

    At least he hasn’t laid her off, yet.

  • In my view, the “everyone should pay some taxes” idea leads inevitably to bigger government for two reasons:

    1) If everyone had to pay something in taxes, the poor would have to rely more on welfare programs like food stamps, Medicaid, etc.

    2) To be politically viable, marginal rate cuts have had to be coupled with rate cuts across the board. But if you aren’t allowed to cut anyone’s taxes to zero, then you very quickly end up with a situation where you can’t cut taxes for a large segment of the American population. So no more tax cuts.

  • Thank you Darwin Catholic!!

  • BA,

    I think it is wrong to tax away anyone’s necessities or ability to pay for necessities. To the extent what we call the “poor” includes this group then I think we should not tax them. If we accomplish this by taxing and then paying rebates, that is fine with me — such an approach arguably has the virtue of greater transparency — i.e., truthfulness.

    The idea that almost one-half of American households should not contribute to the common good is untenable. Aside from those whose necessities are at stake, all should contribute to the common good, even if in varying amounts computed at graduated rates.

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  • Annual income = $27K
    Taxes (state + local) = 29%
    Single tax rate

  • St. Warren is correct! Among Obama aides, 36 owe $833,000 in back taxes.

    Taxes are for the little people.

    Salary of St. Warren’s secretary: $200,000 to $500,000.
    Her second home with pool in AZ: $144,000.
    Playing prop for Obama lies: Priceless!

  • Why not ditch the income tax all and all? One of the things I like about the flat tax is that it removes the gov’ts power to tinker on income, and– in theory– would cut down on the amount of work needed to keep track of all that information.

    Total pie-in-the-sky, since the entire setup is built around federal knowledge of exactly how much and where your money comes from, but I can dream….

  • Foxfier,

    I accept your point about the audience make up of conservative talk shows, but it is likely that many getting welfare tax refunds do not realize it is happening. It is easy with tax prep software and companies do think that your refund is just a refund. Unless you are knowledgeable about the tax code or do the math by your own hand, you may not realize you are getting back more than you paid, and I wonder how many of those are complaining.

    Darwin,

    Here is the spot that your 33-year-old self has forgotten about your 25-year-old self:

    When you realize you are getting welfare from the government, it makes you feel poor. When you know you are not poor, but either someone else thinks you are poor or is trying to buy your vote, you get angry. When your finances are such that, even though you don’t really need it, it would be very foolish to turn down the money, you feel worthless.

    So you are now far enough away to see the wisdom in the overall policy without feeling the sting of having bribe money waved in your face.

    BA,

    You are probably right that making everyone pay taxes would make more people dependent on government programs. Perhaps the real problem is the qualifications for these programs. The income requirements need to be severely cut back. The argument made by the current administration that nearly 50% of the country is poor and in need of assistance is laughable on its face.

  • Dulce taxatio inexpertis.

  • Worse yet. Consider Buffett’s motives for promoting a new tax on high income earners. He owns a significant stake in life insurance companies, which offer tax sheltering and avoidance strategies for the rich. The end result of his proposal? More clients, more revenue, more profits. And he’s since structured his assets that he wouldn’t even be effected. Just call him what he is: a corrupt crony capitalist lobbying for a law that he will substantially benefit from

  • Jenny-
    Maybe if you have a company where you just drop off your paperwork and they do it, but I just filled out our taxes this morning (With H&R Block! /advertisement) and blocks 2, 4 and 6 are really obvious– “Tax withheld.” When you look at the return before filing it, it lays it out: Federal withholding, EIC, additional child credit. The first one, natch, matches the “tax withheld” total.

    I’d be really, really hesitant to suggest that someone did not notice that they’re getting more back than they paid in; folks respond poorly to implications that they’re stupid.

    The argument made by the current administration that nearly 50% of the country is poor and in need of assistance is laughable on its face.

    Not half of the country– half of the households that file taxes. If I’m reading this right, the average individual income is $45,559. (I know, average, not median– yell at them!)
    I know I keep beating that same drum, but given how many more single-adult households there are these days, it’s important….

  • Foxfier,
    I don’t know about stupid, but certainly ignorant and lazy. Many people, including the college educated, are completely flummoxed about income taxes. This is exactly why outfits like H&R Block are in business. The vast majority of the returns the prepare as so simple a cave man could do