15,000 Pro-Family and Pro-Marriage March in Argentina

Thursday, June 24, AD 2010

Police estimated 15,000 peaceful marchers came out in defense of the family and marriage against militant gay activists in Argentina on June 19, 2010 rallying Argentinians to vote “in favor of matrimony between one man and one woman.”

Archbishop José Maria Arancibi marched along these peaceful protesters in defense of children.

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5 Responses to 15,000 Pro-Family and Pro-Marriage March in Argentina

Men Need to be Men

Tuesday, June 15, AD 2010

The King’s Men is an organization for Men to (re)discover what it means to be a man, a real man, a Catholic man as well as a manly Catholic.

As men we lead and protect the family.

We need to be active in the life of the Church.

We need to learn more about our Catholic faith and much, much more.

In today’s society and culture the role of men have been degraded, feminized, or ridiculed.  Our roles as men have been degraded to eliminate ‘gender bias’ by militant secularist humanists.  We have been feminized to the point of denying our natural gifts of being a leader, provider, and protector.  And we have been ridiculed by being attacked as misogynists.

This has taken such a toll on our role as men, we have forgotten what it means to be a husband, father, and a leader in the Church.

Mark Houck and Damian Wargo of The King’s Men apostolate explain this and much more in a 35 minute segment of EWTN‘s Life on the Rock.

Part 1 of 4:

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12 Responses to Men Need to be Men

  • Pingback: Whats That Purple Building, Daddy? « The American Catholic
  • I simply don’t get Donald’s obsession with “manliness” and the military. Ain’t those two obsessions signs of fascism? That’s what I learned in my history class.

  • Why look, it’s the Catholic Anarchist who has been banned from this site, adopting the guise of “Ricky the Teenager” to call me a fascist yet again. I do have to give the Catholic Anarchist a half point on this post. His understanding of both fascism and history certainly never got past the sophomore level.

  • In all fairness, if Michael, oh , excuse me, “Ricky” really was/is an American public school student, it’s no wonder his understanding of fascism would be so flawed.

  • Fascinating… “Ricky the Teenager” and “TurnAroundDude” both share the same IP address, which originates in West Virginia…

  • Not that Michael doesn’t often have interesting things to say, but if we did ban him from commenting, shouldn’t we remove these comments? If we’re wrong, ‘Ricky’ and ‘TurnAroundDude’ can e-mail us from a legitimate e-mail address (rather than the obviously fake ones used those comments) and we can apologize for mistaking the user of that IP Address with Michael.

  • I have put the ban on the Catholic Anarchist’s ip of the day. Tito the post author can decide what he wants to do with “little Ricky’s” comment.

  • John Henry:

    There is no way I want to lose “Ricky the Teenager” from the records. It’s too funny if it is Michael I. He once made fun of me from trying to use a pseudonym (granted it was Aragorn but still…) and I’d like evidence of Ricky the teenager for posterity’s sake.

  • Fair enough, Michael D. I noticed some of Michael I.’s more outlandish posts and threads had disappeared over at VN. I suppose there is something to be said for posterity; and Ricky the Teenager is a much more original handle than Aragorn….. 😉

  • Happy to help with your record keeping!

  • Thanks Donald.

    He’s staying (at least the IP address) in the banned column.

Debra Medina Fails To Disavow 9/11 Truthers, Rick Perry Gets My Vote

Thursday, February 11, AD 2010

[Updated]

It has been said that all politics is local.

And so it is.

I have had some issues with whom to vote for in the upcoming Texas gubernatorial elections.  Especially with the Republican primary coming up and Debra Medina gaining fast on current Governor Rick Perry.

Insurgent Republican candidate Debra Medina was a asked a question by Glenn Beck on his radio show if she would deny that there was any government role in 9/11 and she hedged.

Mr. Beck followed up with a direct question and she still hedged.

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103 Responses to Debra Medina Fails To Disavow 9/11 Truthers, Rick Perry Gets My Vote

  • I listened in this morning because I wanted to hear what she had to say. I saw this as a make it or break it moment for her campaign. The interview seemed to start off rocky. In reply to the question, “Who is Debra Medina?”, she briefly talked about herself and then went into critiques of Perry and Hutchison. Glenn was audibly annoyed, by that point.

    On the one hand, I wonder why the 9-11 Truther question was asked; it didn’t seem to pertain to the issues facing Texans today. But, as I sat listening, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. She was dancing around the issue! This little dance routine looks like a tacit admission of Trutherism. She never outright rejected the notion. The perception now, despite what she said, is that she’s a Truther. She’s finished. Finished.

  • I didn’t listen to the radio show, only to Medina’s comments on the show.

    Like you the question wasn’t really relevant in certain ways, but the way she answered it was awful.

  • It’s because of Beck’s target crowd.

  • I listened to one of the clips and he said he brought it up because he got a lot of mail accusing her of being a Truther. Based on her answer, there was probably a lot of legitimate concern out there and it turned out to be a fair question. I’m not a Beck fan, but I’m not sure what’s wrong with not having Truthers as a target audience.

  • I thought Truthers were liberal Democrats who despised Bush, the same way Birthers tend to be conservatives who despise Obama.

    If this woman is running as a Republican for governor of one of the reddest of the Red States, by what logic does she figure sympathy for the Truther movement helps her win votes? If she were running for, say, mayor of Berkeley or for Congress from some hard-left-leaning district I could see her logic; but this doesn’t make sense.

  • Texas isn’t very red. The TX House of Reps is 77 Republicans and 73 Democrats — a 4 vote majority. The TX Senate is 19 Republicans to 12 Democrats — a 7 vote majority.

    There’s been much talk in terms of changing demographics in Texas. In about 10 years, this state will arguably be purple, politically speaking.

  • When I was working in politics in Texas we had a term, Texicrat, for Texas Democrats. Think RINO, but in reverse.

  • Tito, I must say I’m sad that you will be voting for Governor 39%. We’d be better off being governed by cardboard for the next four years.

    I am totally opposed to Governor Perry and I am still entertaining the idea of voting for Debra Medina (who I oppose practically down the line on almost every issue) to vote against Governor Perry in the GOP primary (which will count me as a registered Republican until the next election — the horror!). It was a gaffe, sure. I’m more disturbed that Perry was unaware that the Advanced Care Directives Law that has seen the euthanasia of a six month old infant and several others had passed through the Texas Senate when he was the Lt. Governor and President of the Texas Senate.

    You’ll disagree, sure. Vote your conscience. I’m not rather concerned that someone’s gaffe in failing to deny that they believe in a conspiracy theory as more important than defeating Governor 39% who has been more than a horror. I’m not how sure one’s views over something that has no affect over the immediate points of Texas’ public policy absolutely disqualifies someone from your vote unless you think the other candidate is better on public policy. Mandatory vaccinations? An education budget that has been either frozen or cut in the last 16 years? — In the last 5 year in Houston alone, nearly 250 teachers were fired for criminal activity including criminal misconduct, child sexual abuse, and workplace intoxication — and I can’t seem to find one candidate talking about such issues other than lets-be-anti-Washington. Great. How are we going to solve our state’s problems?

    Of course, there’s that ever-annoying dilemma. With any of these candidates, I’m going to find their agenda sickening and their Democratic opponent is almost surely going to be pro-choice. I’m really divided over the question of whether it is legitimate not to vote for conscientious reasons.

  • Medina is a Truther and therefore unfit for any public office as far as I am concerned. It takes a special type of paranoid idiocy to believe that 9-11 was the work of agencies of the government.

  • “Medina is a Truther and therefore unfit for any public office”

    Well, that depends on how you define a Truther. It could mean :

    1) someone who believes the 9-11 attacks were actually plotted or staged by the Bush administration;
    2) one who believes the Bush administration knew the attacks were coming but chose to do nothing to prevent them;
    3) one who believes the Bush administration discounted or misinterpreted evidence that the attacks were imminent, and thereby failed to prevent them;
    4) one who believes the U.S. government has not revealed all that it knows about the origin and nature of the attacks.

    Conclusions #1 and #2, which assume that Bush was willing to let thousands of innocent American citizens die purely to provide himself with a pretext for launching the War or Terror, the PATRIOT Act, and other measures, are examples of “paranoid idiocy.”

    Conclusion #3 simply assumes that Bush and/or his advisers made mistakes, though not necessarily malicious ones. Conclusion #4 presumes that the government might be withholding certain information for security reasons, or to protect certain parties from embarrassment or exposure. While we may not agree with these conclusions (and I don’t), I think they can be held by reasonable people.

    If Medina says simply she doesn’t know the “whole truth” about 9/11, she may mean something similar to Conclusion #3 or #4, not necessarily #1 or #2. However it’s evident she handled the question very badly.

  • I have to wonder, if Sarah Palin handled this question badly — let’s say almost identically — would it change your view of her or your willingness to cast a vote in her favor?

  • I don’t understand the Governor 39% thing. What’s that about?

  • My views regarding Truthers Eric are independent of the person making the statement.

  • Well, since at this time I have no intention of voting for Sarah Palin — it wouldn’t change my view of her.

    I’m just baffled that Medina would attempt to run as a more-conservative-than-thou Republican if she was a genuine, hard-core Truther who really believed Bush was that evil. Is she trying to appeal to the libertarian, Ron Paul types who consider everything the Big Bad Feds do evil?

  • My guess Elaine is that like Ron Paul she is a paranoid conspiracy nut who normally has the good sense to not go full headcase before the sane. Beck caught her in an unguarded moment.

  • Tito,

    With all due respect, this is a really poor reason not to vote for Debra Medina.

    And while I remain highly skeptical of the logistical aspect of the 9/11 conspiracy, it is a documented historical fact that factions in this government (and it is far from the only government in history) have considered false-flag operations in the past.

    Operation Northwoods, for instance, is not a hallucination. It’s not tin-foil hat spectulation, it is real, verified, accepted history that absolutely no one denies.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Northwoods

    And this is only ONE example, ONE historically documented, scholarly approved, mainstream comfortable instance of the US government either considering, or actually perpetrating, harm on its own citizens (lets not forget the Tuskeege Experiments either).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_syphilis_experiment

    Unless Medina is actually coming out and saying that she believes the US government planned and executed 9/11, I think its incredibly closed-minded to write her off. Voters should look at policies, not implied personal opinions.

    That’s just my two cents, and I’m sure everyone will disagree. It’s cool 🙂

  • I’m also really just disturbed by this notion that an failure to immediately disavow an idea that isn’t popular (although I think this particular idea is more popular than you realize) is automatic grounds for disqualification, as if our minds must instantly shut down.

    Forgive me if I see this as an example of knee-jerk group-think and want nothing to do with it.

  • Perry won his 2006 re-election bid with 39% of the vote, which is humorously exactly where he’s polling right now in the GOP primary.

  • Perry won his 2006 re-election bid with 39% of the vote

    So what? 39% is a pretty respectable figure in a four person race, particularly when two of the other candidates are competing with you for votes on your half of the political spectrum.

  • Eric,

    you said, “I have to wonder, if Sarah Palin handled this question badly — let’s say almost identically — would it change your view of her or your willingness to cast a vote in her favor?”

    I am probably one of the Biggest fans for Sarah, but if she answered this way… I would have disowned her in a heartbeat!

    I’m sorry Joe, but you are wrong… we don’t need loons running the government.

  • This was a clear and definite set up. First of all, to not question what happened on 9/11 and to simply accept the government’s account is blissful and disgusting ignorance. Debra Medina did not say that 9/11 was an inside job or that she believed that government insiders allowed 9/11 to take place. It is a fact that some of the 9/11 commission members said that the investigation was doomed from the start. So what is the public supposed to make of such claims? Medina simply said that she was not satisfied with the official story. She is not alone. Many Americans feel this way and Mrs. Medina should not be expected to disavow a staff member simply because that staff member questions the government’s “official story”. Beck is a Hack and anyone who agrees with his sentiment on this issue will believe just about anything, I suppose. Any talk show host who labels an individual running for governor as a “9/11 truther” is only trying to do one thing and that is to distract the public from focusing on important issues like government taxation and an overreaching federal government. Make no mistake, this was a planned attack by the republican establishment of Texas to bring down Debra Medina. Sarah Palin just endorsed Rick Perry and Glenn Beck has been in Palin’s pocket from day 1. Medina’s following was getting to be just too large to be allowed to go on any further. Anyone who has followed her race closely can see through the blinders the neocons have put up for the public.

  • Debra Medina is like a non-press adored Barack Obama.

  • It is possible I suppose that she answered the question as she did because she assumed that Beck is a Truther. Surprise! Like a lot of Beck’s critics, and I say this as someone who thinks Beck is half a lunatic, she made assumptions about Beck rather than being aware about what his actual views are.

    Beck has long been a severe critic of the Truther movement as the nut cases in the movement themselves realize:

    http://www.infowars.com/beck-says-truth-activists-in-the-white-house-threaten-obamas-life/

    This might be an indication that Medina is not a Truther, but rather just another politician attempting to curry favor with whoever is interviewing her at the moment. That is somewhat pathetic, but it is not paranoid crazy.

  • I’m with Brett on this.

    I like Palin, but if she would say what Medina said, I would immediately drop any interest that I had for her.

    That simple.

    I don’t buy the conspiracy theory one iota.

    And with much respect to Joe, when it happens I’ll believe it.

    There would be a near-revolution if the government were actually implement anything like Northwoods.

    There are still people who believe that FDR allowed Pearl Harbor to be bombed, which I don’t believe one bit.

    🙂

  • Tito,

    The only reason government DIDN’T was because JFK was, in spite of his flaws, a man with a moral compass. This proposal was drafted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It went almost all the way up to the top – but the buck stopped with Kennedy.

    Forgive me if I think it is reasonable to believe that George W. Bush was not of the same caliber. Or Bill Clinton. And certainly not the current clown.

    Bottom line – our government has factions within it that are morally willing and able to plan the mass murder of US citizens to advance a foreign policy agenda. The hard evidence that it carried out 9/11 is somewhat lacking – I personally believe that it was gross negligence and incompetence this time around – but I certainly don’t believe that those who think government is CAPABLE of it on a moral level are insane.

    I think you’re naive if you think people in power are checked by some profound respect for human lives that even the average citizen finds difficult.

  • I love the defenses of Medina: “Don’t listen to what she *said*, listen to what her campaign wrote after the fact!”

    Who are you going to believe, her furiously-spinning flacks or your lying ears?

    Listen, it’s pretty clear that her “Truth”erism is, like it is for all “Truth”ers, a lazy exercise in mental masturbation. Anybody who really, truly believed that the government was complicit in 9/11 would do more than try to argue it’s a “Federal issue” (which ranks as one of the 10 dumbest political statements I have ever heard or read). They would actually be trying to *do* something, and not just sign web petitions, make internet videos harassing Danny Bonaduce (no, really) or try to burn chickenwire. Consistent with her statements and political bent, you’d think that Medina would at least organize a tax protest, for the love of Ron. “Everybody fill out new W-4s!” Legal. Easy. Noticeable. And it would crimp the evil regime, even if just a little bit. But no, she makes a jurisdictional argument, of all things, not to address the issue.

    None of them deserve to be taken seriously because, deep down, none of them seriously believe a word they emit on the subject. To use an analogy appropriate to a Catholic blog, “Truth”ers are a church made up entirely of the lapsed.

  • I’ll continue playing devil’s advocate here, because I think it needs to be done.

    Dale,

    You said,

    “Anybody who really, truly believed that the government was complicit in 9/11 would do more than try to argue it’s a “Federal issue””

    Actually, no, that doesn’t logically follow. Belief and action are not logically connected in that way. You can say that they ought to or they should – but not that they must.

    “They would actually be trying to *do* something”

    Again, no. That’s not an argument.

    This really isn’t about the substance of their claims, but the error in logic you are making here. The actions or lack thereof of 9/11 truth folks have absolutely nothing to with whether or not they ‘actually’ believe it. Belief implies nothing.

    We might say that anyone who really believed in Jesus Christ would devote their entire lives to Him, but then, we’d only have a tiny handful of Christians left. There’s what we ought to become, and what we are.

  • The fact that Operation Northwoods was developed and advocated is not evidence that our government conspired to produce 9/11. 9/11 truthers are nutters of the same ilk as flat-earthers. Joe, you are a good and smart guy, but one really can have a mind so open that all gray matter manages to escape.

    Don’s hypothesis is the most reassuring, even if it does take considerable speculative liberties.

    Finally, I admit that it is technically possible that the truthers are right, just as it is technically possible that the flat earthers are right. But folks who vote and live their lives respectfully mindful of these bizarre technical possiblities are missing the boat big time.

  • Mike,

    “The fact that Operation Northwoods was developed and advocated is not evidence that our government conspired to produce 9/11.”

    I NEVER argued that it was. That is NOT my point.

    I said, very clearly – and against all hope that I would be properly understood – that it simply means that people who suspect that the government is morally capable of such a thing are not crazy. They have a precedent.

    So please understand, two entirely distinct claims. The precedent of Northwoods:

    1) Does show that it is not crazy to believe government is capable of harming its own citizens (and we have JFK alone to thank for putting a stop to what the CIA and Joint Chiefs of Staff wanted to do)

    2) Does NOT prove a single thing about 9/11, obviously.

    So while I question 9/11 truthers on the logistics of the whole conspiracy, I DO NOT question their sanity for believing that the government could contemplate such a horrific act. And Northwoods is only ONE example.

  • Joe:

    Well, no right back! 🙂

    The lack of action–deeds–suggests quite a bit about the putative believer. It is a strong indicator that the belief in question is a matter of mere minor habit, or a dilettantish (word coining time!) dabbling done because it’s what a subgroup expects.

    Let’s try it this way. Consider the following hypothetical (none of which is true, amusingly enough): I say I’m a fervent Democrat and I believe the Republicans need to be stopped at all costs because their policies are uniformly destructive and threaten our nation.

    Subsequently, you find out that (1) I’ve never donated to a Democratic candidate, (2) never had a yard sign for a Dem on my property, (3) I’ve never done volunteer work for Democrats and (4) it turns out that I vote about 20% of the time.

    On the other hand, I’ve renewed my Detroit Lions season tickets at the first opportunity for the past 22 years, price increases or no, and despite the fact I know the feckless owner of the Lions bankrolls GOP candidates and causes.

    Thus, while you would not be in a position to call me a liar with respect to my claim to be a dogged Democrat, you could draw some conclusions about the nature of my claim and its importance in my life.

  • against all hope that I would be properly understood

    LOL 😀

  • We need to remember what this was all about:

    “Operation Northwoods, which had the written approval of the Chairman and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving Lemnitzer and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war.” — Body of Secrets, James Bamford, 2001

  • Dale,

    Yes, one could do all of those things – but one would have to make an awful lot of unwarranted assumptions to do so. All could be explained in ways other than laziness.

    1 – you have no money
    2 – you don’t have a yard
    3 – you’re too busy
    4 – you’re threatened with job loss if you leave work to vote

    Or, alternatively, one could do one or more of these things but just isn’t comfortable for whatever psychological reason.

    All of these things happen to people on a regular basis. The bottom line is that you can’t make judgments about a person’s sincerity without knowing something more about their circumstances.

    As for Medina, she’s running for office. Presumably she’s spending her own money toward that end. Perhaps she thinks that will be more effective than convincing a handful of people not to pay their taxes this year. Again, I think you’re making unwarranted assumptions about her. She might – might – embrace an unpopular position so its easy to just pile on the assumptions; she’s so unpopular, who will care?

  • I don’t think Operation Northwoods shows the government was capable of orchestrating 9/11. It’s one thing to talk about doing something like this, quite another to actually carry it out. Further, the scale of what was proposed was not comparable to what happened on 9/11. The proposals generally involved either fake incidents or attacks on a small number of non-citizens. That’s shocking enough, but it’s nowhere close to plotting to kill tens of thousands of Americans.

  • Eric, et al,

    I to have the very same concerns about Perry. I was quietly seeing and maybe even hoping that Medina would creep up the polls as she had recently overtaken Hutchison for number 2.

    Believe me, I’m going to hold my nose when I cast a vote for Perry.

    Like McCain, I’m not that enthusiastic as it is.

    Unlike McCain, I have seen Perry work closely with the pro-life movement in the legislature and he has been “our man” in Austin getting things done, or at least going to bat for us and our legislative bills.

    He’s learned his lesson, believe me, I’ve inquired.

    Perry has got my vote after Medina’s unfortunate comments.

  • Words just don’t matter any more, do they?

    I might as well type asjdkhbsjkfhbjskgbfjkdgbjk the next time I want to make a point. It would be just as effective.

    “I don’t think Operation Northwoods shows the government was capable of orchestrating 9/11.”

    It shows that government is morally capable of it – that is what I said. The logistics are a different story. I made that distinction several times. I should have typed djbfdsjkgbskjgdb instead.

    “It’s one thing to talk about doing something like this, quite another to actually carry it out.”

    Is it another thing when the Joint Chiefs of Staff propose it? The only reason it wasn’t carried out Kennedy’s personal opposition.

    The talk only does one thing – it obliterates the ceaseless and stupid claim that anyone who believes government could or would kill its own citizens is “crazy.” That’s the only claim I am making.

    Or, AJgjisfgbjfgbjshfgbsf.

    “Further, the scale of what was proposed was not comparable to what happened on 9/11.”

    The scale isn’t relevant. What was proposed was bad enough. And no one said anything about “tens of thousands” – only 3000 or so died on 9/11. A terrorist campaign “in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington” – could have ended up killing or wounding just as many. Not to mention all of the innocent people who would have died fighting the phony war.

    Or, ritoyritoyuitory.

  • Joe H.,

    Ewrtjvjrum gweercfviop weporijwoiu qwefijkfj qjkfaslkuj kljlkj eiruqtcb adfga? qpwoeiru alf, aslfkj to what asfkl.

    Eric,

    zvxbvbm tyru f asjg, afas ja asw.

    Dale,

    The city of Detroit reminds me of Kabul, just as pretty but not so much.

    BA,

    As mfnf, asdfklj “paokj” dhakh sdfho.

  • I mean, have you listened to the emotional-hysterical reasons why people won’t even CONSIDER the possibility? It’s just that they can’t bear to think for one second that American soldiers are being sent to fight and die for a lie. Well, that’s not an argument. It’s an emotional response.

    If someone wants to completely and totally reject 9/11 conspiracies on the facts, I respect that. In fact, that’s what I do myself.

    But to reject it on the assumption that government would never do or contemplate doing such a thing, or on the grounds that we MUST NOT THINK lest we denigrate the service of the men and women overseas are just forms of self-imposed idiocy. To then turn on people who share a different interpretation of the facts, given what government is historically capable of, and call them cooks, crazies, even traitors who ought to be shot, is just crazed mob mentality. It isn’t sane, it isn’t rational.

  • “I don’t think Operation Northwoods shows the government was capable of orchestrating 9/11.”

    It shows that government is morally capable of it – that is what I said. The logistics are a different story. I made that distinction several times.

    My comments were directed towards morals, not logistics.

    The scale isn’t relevant. What was proposed was bad enough. And no one said anything about “tens of thousands” – only 3000 or so died on 9/11.

    The expected death toll was in the tens of thousands. The only reason it wasn’t actually that high was that people ignored official statements that it was safe to stay in the Towers. Anyone who thinks the government was behind 9/11 has to think they were planning on killing far more people than actually ended up dead.

    A terrorist campaign “in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington” – could have ended up killing or wounding just as many.

    Allow me to quote from the Wiki page on Operation Northwoods that you linked to earlier:

    The terror campaign could be pointed at refugees seeking haven in the United States. We could sink a boatload of Cubans en route to Florida (real or simulated). We could foster attempts on lives of Cuban refugees in the United States even to the extent of wounding in instances to be widely publicized.

    I don’t think attacks on Cuban refugees in the states “even to the extent of wounding” were likely to kill thousands of American citizens. Again, even trying to wound a non-citizen is really bad (and sinking a boat load of refugees would be horrendous), but it’s not on the same level as deliberately killing thousands if not tens of thousands of your own citizens.

  • Joe:

    You are a game interlocutor, I concede that! 🙂

    But…I don’t know that my carefully-stacked deck allows you to play all of the cards you want to play–e.g., the self-declared diehard Dem has plenty of money to spend on Lions–Lions!–tickets. Granted, that may also be a symptom of a delusional personality in and of itself, but I’ll put that aside for now.

    More to the point, my hypothetical shows the belief holder to be knowingly acting against the holder’s alleged firm belief by actually funding that which he asserts is anathema.

    Which is what the “Truth”ers are doing by living out the status quo under the most illegitimate regime in American history.

    It seems that you have met a better grade of “Truth”er than I have. I envy you. In *every* case where I have stumbled across one, it is either a case of lazy paranoia alloyed with dogged ignorance, or worse (and thankfully rare) is closely-associated with hatred of Jews.

    I have no problem with a distrust of government–even where it is reflexive, so long as there are limits. I think it’s wired into our national character and usually serves us well. But when it lapses into a habit of paranoia, it becomes corrosive. The “Truth”er mentality is deeply corrosive, and is of a piece with other anti-reason/hyper-individualist memes floating about in American life right now, which is why I react so badly to it.

  • “My comments were directed towards morals, not logistics.”

    That wasn’t clear. It is now. And I completely disagree.

    “Anyone who thinks the government was behind 9/11 has to think they were planning on killing far more people than actually ended up dead.”

    If the ends justify the means, then the difference of thousands isn’t really a difference at all.

    And again, you leave out all of the people who would have died in the phony war, a war against a country under the direct protection of a nuclear superpower. I’m sure the Soviets would have sat on their thumbs while all of this unfolded.

  • If the ends justify the means, then the difference of thousands isn’t really a difference at all.

    If numbers don’t matter, why did the report suggest that people would only be wounded in the attacks rather than killed, or that the various attacks would or could be faked rather than real. Why the focus on non-citizens? I don’t think it is realistic to human psychology to say these things don’t matter.

    And again, you leave out all of the people who would have died in the phony war

    Soldiers dying at the hands of the enemy in a war you started (for what you believe to be justified reasons) is not the same as you killing your own citizens.

  • Dale,

    “The “Truth”er mentality is deeply corrosive, and is of a piece with other anti-reason/hyper-individualist memes floating about in American life right now, which is why I react so badly to it”

    I’m not concerned with various “mentalities”, to be honest with you Dale. All that matters to me are facts and logic, both of which are independent from one or another kind of “mentality.” A crumpled up napkin in the gutter that has the expression “2+2=4” on it is telling me a truth regardless of its grimy and smelly presentation.

    On many of the facts, I think 9/11 truthers come up short. But the premise that government would carry out such an operation is not delusional, since there are plenty of historical precedents for it here and in every other country.

    The precedent, obviously, proves nothing. It does something else. It makes it reasonable to question and investigate the official narrative of 9/11. It provides a good reason to search for proof. It makes the people (or some of them at any rate) who do search for it “not crazy”, not traitors, but reasonable people with a legitimate concern.

    Now, let me address this:

    “More to the point, my hypothetical shows the belief holder to be knowingly acting against the holder’s alleged firm belief by actually funding that which he asserts is anathema.”

    By this logic, though, no one who pays taxes in this country really believes in anything. Both left and right disagree with where a lot of the tax money goes – to what the left believes are unjustified wars, to what the right believes are unjustified welfare programs, to what Christians believe are immoral, sacrilegious purposes, and so on and so forth. People pay taxes because they don’t want to risk jail, not because they don’t care.

    That’s just being pragmatic. There is a time and place for self-sacrifice in the name of a cause, and my guess is that most people do not feel that this is the time. Or, they are cowards.

  • “If numbers don’t matter, why did the report suggest that people would only be wounded in the attacks rather than killed”

    Different people and different governments have different approaches to these matters. The Project for a New American Century reports stated quite clearly that the entire foreign policy agenda they wanted to see implemented would require a “Pearl Harbor” type of event.

    A larger scale war may require a larger scale incident. It could be that simple.

    Of course, their saying it, and their being guilty for arranging it, are indeed two different things. It isn’t a distortion of the truth at all, however, to say that this think tank, whose members went on to occupy key positions in the Bush administration, greatly benefited from the 9/11 attacks. It’s the plain, unvarnished, indisputable, documented truth.

    “I don’t think it is realistic to human psychology to say these things don’t matter.”

    Then I believe you are being naive about man’s capacity to do evil.

    What you’re really saying here, in making these distinctions between citizens and non-citizens, terrorist attacks and wars, is that the same people who are willing to go to war on the basis of outright fabrications, drop bombs on civilians, and cause thousands of deaths – in the name of a cause they believe is justified – would be completely unwilling because of some magic barrier in their minds to do anything remotely similar to their own citizens.

    Forgive me if I don’t think that particular approach to human psychology is realistic. Operation Northwoods, is, as I said, only one example of the government’s willingness to commit crimes against its own people (or lets say, innocent people).

    There were Operations Ajax and Gladio, in which innocent civilians – albeit non-Americans again – were murdered by the CIA in collaboration with other intelligence agencies in foreign countries. There is MK Ultra, there is the Tuskegee Experiment, which WERE done on American citizens. There is the reckless use of depleted uranium which has caused untold misery to a number of US combat veterans, these are only a few.

    Personally, I don’t think the numbers mattered at all. IF the government did 9/11 – IF – then it was clearly aimed at simply bringing down the Twin Towers as a symbolic landmark, whether there was 1 person or 10,000 inside.

    “Soldiers dying at the hands of the enemy in a war you started (for what you believe to be justified reasons) is not the same as you killing your own citizens.”

    If you send soldiers off to die for a lie, and especially back then when the draft was being used, then I don’t think there is a relevant difference. How many people do you think would volunteer to fight and die for what was an obvious, open lie, or a reason so immoral and stupid that it would have to be covered up by a lie?

  • Plus, the wiki entry doesn’t have everything.

    “The Joint Chiefs even proposed using the potential death of astronaut John Glenn during the first attempt to put an American into orbit as a false pretext for war with Cuba, the documents show.

    Should the rocket explode and kill Glenn, they wrote, “the objective is to provide irrevocable proof … that the fault lies with the Communists et all Cuba [sic].”

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=92662&page=2

    Can we trust the crackpots at ABC news?

    We have a clear pattern of deception and reckless disregard for the sanctity of human life.

    Given that, the only thing I say follows is that we take claims seriously. It’s a lesson as simple as the one we learn from “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

  • “I’m not concerned with various “mentalities”, to be honest with you Dale.”

    You should be. The way people think–or, in this case, won’t–is exceptionally important, especially in the context of a society that aspires to be self-governing. To the extent lazy paranoid un-thought becomes widespread, all of us will suffer. The hardening of destructive intellectual patterns and the championing thereof by the strident is always a precursor to civil conflict. It was in America from the 1840s to Sumter and it was the same with the run up to the Spanish conflagration in 1936. I’m not saying we’re anywhere near such a horror here, but the initial signs are worrisome.

    More to the point, your tax analogy dodges the monstrous nature of what “Truth”erism says about our current republic–namely, that it is dead.

    Not reformable, not fixable at the ballot box, not subject to redress in the courts, but *dead.* It posits that an illegitimate regime has enthroned itself on the corpse of the American republic, having committed the mass murder of American citizens before our eyes for various sordid and squalid ends. That the murderous puppetmasters who perpetrated this atrocity are so slippery and clever that they cannot be rooted out despite the “obvious” “evidence.” With the war in Iraq or on abortion, the various political factions at least have the honest hope that the ballot box might move policy in their favor, however incrementally. Not so the “Truth”er.

    Whether honestly held or as is currently practiced, “Truth”erism is the political equivalent of the sin of despair. It is another toxin in the body politic. I pray to God that it remains in the inert form we see in adherents like Medina.

  • As a former resident of Texas I feel it is a shame that Medina fumbled the question and that so many are so sensitive to the ‘truther’ question they would actually fall into the arms of Rick Perry.

    Rick Perry has had more than enough time as governor of Texas. He should be retired from public service and forced to work the private sector.

    Medina has handled herself extremely well in the debate footage I have seen, and technically her answer was not wrong, just horribly answered. I would be willing to give her the benefit of the doubt that she was shaken by the question which— lets be honest, has nothing to do with Texas politics. And shame on Glenn Beck for an atrocious interview. He just lost a viewer.

    Clearly Medina falls into the category of ‘truthers’ that do not necessarily accuse the government of being ‘behind’ the 9/11 attacks, but nevertheless suspects that all that can be revealed about that day has not seen sunlight. While I personally do not think the U.S. government had anything to do with the attacks I think it is fairly naive to portray the U.S. government as being completely in the dark regarding a rising and ongoing threat. Also it is naive to not believe that some in our political class privately wait for just such disasters in order to advance their own ideological agenda. ‘Never let a crisis go to waste’ indeed.

    One question I would have for those (among the Right) who immediately are now going to vote for frat-boy extraordinaire Rick Perry: if it is so easy to imagine a ‘conspiracy’ amongst bankers and politicians to extract money from the taxpayer through the bailouts, why is it impossible to imagine a ‘conspiracy’ among political elites to further entrench their foreign policy agenda?

    The 9/11 highjackers ‘conspired’ to murder thousands of American citizens. Enron executives ‘conspired’ to coverup their pattern of fraud and theft. The CIA conspires EVERYDAY to destabilize governments not to their liking. Environmentalists conspired to gain economic and political control in order to mold society as they see fit. A few thousand years ago, political and religious authorities ‘conspired’ to murder Jesus Christ.

    Again, do I believe the U.S. government, in twirling-mustache fashion engineered the fall of the WTC and Pentagon? No. Mostly, because they’ve proven themselves to be so grossly incompetent in all lesser ambitions. BUT if you think for one second that the most powerful and influential people in the United States do not have interests contrary to the safety and well being of the ‘common good’, and that they work (ie, CONSPIRE) in the advance of that agenda: you’re living in la-la land.

    People don’t suddenly become angels and saints when they work in higher office. When I entered the professional world at an ad agency, one of the biggest surprises was the open pettiness, back-stabbing, egomania and over-the-top theatrics of ADULTS. It wasn’t until several years after being on projects ranging from film productions to simple busy work that I realized it wasn’t much different in the upper-levels of society: just the stakes were much higher.

    I fully admit I’m not cutout for such an office. I would not want to be a part of a culture where my all too common weakness can result in lives being ruined or snuffed out.

    Bully for Medina for giving an honest, if not well-articulated answer, despite the known backlash that would come. Thats more than can be said for either Rick Perry or Sarah Palin.

  • The Project for a New American Century reports stated quite clearly that the entire foreign policy agenda they wanted to see implemented would require a “Pearl Harbor” type of event.

    I assume you are referring to the PNAC report Rebuilding America’s Defenses, which includes the following quote:

    Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.

    If you read the section of the report in which this quote appears for context, you’ll find that the “transformation” and “revolutionary change” referred to in the quote consists of things like adopting information technologies, reforming the military procurement process, and generally streamlining the military to make it smaller and more effective. So, in context, the quote 1) doesn’t say that a new Pearl Harbor is desirable; and 2) is talking about an area of military policy that a) doesn’t have anything to do with Iraq, and b) hasn’t actually happened yet. To say that this quote somehow gives any credence to 9/11 conspiracy theories is, in my opinion, pretty thing gruel.

    It isn’t a distortion of the truth at all, however, to say that this think tank, whose members went on to occupy key positions in the Bush administration, greatly benefited from the 9/11 attacks.

    It’s true that some people associated with PNAC held positions in the Bush administration. On the other hand, some of the people associated with PNAC who held positions in the Bush administration were against the Iraq War. So perhaps they needed to be a bit more discerning about who they let into their cabal.

    Personally, I don’t think the numbers mattered at all. IF the government did 9/11 – IF – then it was clearly aimed at simply bringing down the Twin Towers as a symbolic landmark, whether there was 1 person or 10,000 inside.

    The question isn’t whether you consider the cases to be morally different. The question is whether the fact someone is willing to attack, wound, or possibly even kill a small number of non-citizens means they would have no compunction about killing large numbers of their own citizens. I don’t find that remotely plausible.

    How many people do you think would volunteer to fight and die for what was an obvious, open lie, or a reason so immoral and stupid that it would have to be covered up by a lie?

    The assumption here is that if you have to lie to get people to support a war, then the reasons for going to war must not be compelling. I don’t think the folks who proposed Operation Northwoods saw things that way. They appear to have believed that a Communist Cuba was a severe threat to American national security, and that popular reluctance to take action wasn’t justified.

  • Dale,

    “Not reformable, not fixable at the ballot box, not subject to redress in the courts, but *dead.* It posits that an illegitimate regime has enthroned itself on the corpse of the American republic, having committed the mass murder of American citizens before our eyes for various sordid and squalid ends. ”

    If that’s what’s true, it’s what’s true. In my view it is never intellectually sound to reject a theory because of its implications – yet that is what most people seem to be willing to do. There are perhaps other good reasons to reject the 9/11 conspiracy, but the implications for the American republic is absolutely not one of them. One can believe that this country is finished without believing that 9/11 was an inside job. Personally I think we are hovering on the edge. And I don’t see how that is despair – that is just history.

    Countries, empires, they come and go, they rise and fall. You speak of the sin of despair – there is also the sin of presumption, in this case, that America is a divine institution that cannot fail, like the Church. I’m not saying YOU believe that, but it could follow from what you’ve said.

  • Plus, the wiki entry doesn’t have everything.

    “The Joint Chiefs even proposed using the potential death of astronaut John Glenn during the first attempt to put an American into orbit as a false pretext for war with Cuba, the documents show.

    Should the rocket explode and kill Glenn, they wrote, “the objective is to provide irrevocable proof … that the fault lies with the Communists et all Cuba [sic].”

    Actually, this is mentioned in the Wikipedia article, and the proposal wasn’t to kill John Glenn, but to blame the Cubans for it if he died.

  • For the record, the Project for a New American Century was not a ‘think tank’, but an advocacy group. I believe it employed four people.

  • I had a response typed up, but the internet connection here is so terrible that it failed to load it… and I don’t feel like doing it again.

    Needless to say, I disagree, BA. Briefly, by paragraph.

    1. PNAC also advocated regime change against Iraq, and the Afghan war was planned in advance of 9/11.

    2. Association is not membership.

    3. The thousands if not millions of people who die on both sides of a war also count – anyone willing to go to war under false pretenses at the potential cost of that many lives is certainly capable of carrying out acts of terrorism against citizens.

    4. Obviously, the reasons were not compelling to the American people, or to Congress, that democratically elected and accountable body that alone is supposed to have the authority to declare war.

    Instigating terrorist attacks to spread a level of fear and panic that will lead to a war that will cost thousands of lives is a criminal conspiracy, an act of evil on the scale of 9/11.

    That’s all I’ll say on it.

  • 1. PNAC also advocated regime change against Iraq, and the Afghan war was planned in advance of 9/11.

    Lots of people advocated regime chance in Iraq. What does that have to do with 9/11?

    You cited a PNAC quote about the need for a new Pearl Harbor. As I showed, the PNAC quote doesn’t actually say what you claimed. Do you not care about that?

    I don’t know what you mean when you say the Afghan war was planned in advance of 9/11. Nor do I see what that has to do with PNAC.

    2. Association is not membership.

    I don’t think PNAC even has members. If you’re going by employees of the organization, then it’s not true that they went on to hold high positions in the Bush administration. If you want to include people who were signatories on PNAC statements, then you’ll get people who opposed the Iraq war, as well as those who supported it.

    3. The thousands if not millions of people who die on both sides of a war also count – anyone willing to go to war under false pretenses at the potential cost of that many lives is certainly capable of carrying out acts of terrorism against citizens.

    I don’t say they don’t count. They do, however, count differently, at least to most people (if you don’t think it made a difference to the creators of Operation Northwoods, then why were their proposals so focused on non-citizens and/or plans involving minimal casualties?)

    4. Obviously, the reasons were not compelling to the American people, or to Congress, that democratically elected and accountable body that alone is supposed to have the authority to declare war.

    Sure.

  • Joe,
    You can *perhaps* make a plausible case for the federal government being willing to have the appetite for a horrible false flag operation on this scale (personally I think that is a real stretch when considered in context), but the case for the proposition that it could and did pull it off is simply not plausible. The very idea that thousands of co-conspiritors have successfully remained silent is just plain laughable, and that is why we are all laughing at the 9/11 truthers. The fact that you don’t think it is laughable is frankly kind of disturbing. The willingness to be a contrarian can sometimes be an emblem of courage and intelligence, but only sometimes.

  • BA,

    “Do you not care about that?”

    I do. Obviously that quote has been misused, so I care about that. But there’s still the fact that its foreign policy prognosis required a 9/11 to go into effect. That doesn’t prove anything, as I said.

    The only reason I brought it up was to answer one of your questions – why the Northwoods proposals weren’t as drastic as a 9/11. I said a bigger war, a longer war, a more expensive war on multiple fronts, would probably require a bigger justification. Just such a war was being dreamed up before 9/11. Again, it proves nothing.

    On Afghanistan:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1550366.stm

    “why were their proposals so focused on non-citizens and/or plans involving minimal casualties?”

    See above. The scale of deception and the loss of life that would have resulted make it just as bad. We can only speculate on the reasons why the plan wasn’t more drastic – but when you fit it in with a PATTERN of willingness on the part of the CIA, factions of the military, and others to murder civilians to advance political goals, It ISN’T crazy. The other two operations I mentioned, Gladio and Ajax, involved exactly that. There was also Operation Condor in Latin America which the CIA had a hand in as well.

    People can justify these covert opts and the assassination of innocent civilians however they like. Frankly I would rather debate whether or not such things are justified rather than whether or not they happened, or could happen again.

    I’ll also remind you that I DON’T think the US government pulled off 9/11 – only that I believe that FACTIONS within it are CAPABLE of that level of evil, and that isn’t crazy to say so. That’s all. That’s the argument – that the supposed benevolence of the government, or some supposed barrier in their minds that says “murdering innocent civilians all over the globe is fine, but never ever domestically” is not the reason they wouldn’t do it. And that’s the reason I most frequently hear for dismissing 9/11 truth claims out of hand, without even looking at the evidence.

    If that doesn’t apply to you, then we have no quarrel. If you reject it for other reasons, then we probably agree.

  • Mike,

    “The very idea that thousands of co-conspiritors have successfully remained silent is just plain laughable”

    I don’t think you need “thousands of co-conspirators” – no one argues that. If their premise is that you need thousands of people to orchestrate this, then obviously that is laughable, but I don’t think they accept that premise and there’s no logical reason for them to.

    “The fact that you don’t think it is laughable is frankly kind of disturbing.”

    Again, I do – but I don’t think they would accept being boxed into that corner. So I’m not going to laugh at people for a position they don’t hold.

  • Joe,

    I was going to write out a response, but frankly the disagreement between us is minor enough that it’s probably not worth arguing over. I apologize if I came across as rude or overly hostile/nitpicky.

  • It’s all good. I get too defensive at times myself, so I apologize if I overreacted.

  • I’ll add one more thing for general consumption.

    It wasn’t that long ago that anyone who questioned anthropogenic global warming was considered a kook and a nut. Defenders would ask, “what, are you saying the whole scientific establishment is lying?”

    It turns out that the willful collaboration of thousands of people in a big lie wasn’t really necessary – it took one research team and its accomplices in the UN to trickle down false information to scientists all over the world. Before climategate, glaicergate, amazongate, et. al., the IPCC was consider “the gold standard.” Now it is about as valuable as dirt.

    Climategate and the surrounding “gates” are evidence of a conspiracy among a handful of people in positions of authority to distort and falsify information. They got millions of people to believe them unquestioningly, and thousands of scientists to use their data as a basis for their own research.

    For those who still don’t understand the extent to which the IPCC’s theory has imploded,

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/the-great-global-warming-collapse/article1458206/

    Again, none of this makes a case for 9/11. I reiterate that I don’t think Bush administration planned and executed 9/11. But it shows that conspiracies can begin with a few people “in the know” and spread down through compartmentalization – no one beneath those who know has all or most of the information, only enough to fulfill their part.

  • Hey Joe,

    in one of your beginning responses you said…”The only reason government DIDN’T was because JFK was, in spite of his flaws, a man with a moral compass.”

    I will disagree with you and so does President Diem, he had him murdered.

  • Oh sheesh Bret, I’ve heard plenty of JFK conspiracy theories but that’s the first I heard that President Diem of South Vietnam did it. Actually, if he really did do it (and that’s a big if), more than likely it was his sister-in-law Madame Nhu’s idea. As I posted some weeks ago, Madame Nhu seems to have been the closest thing to a bona fide female dictator in modern history.

    Between “Castro did it,” “the Mob did it,” “the CIA/FBI did it,” “LBJ did it,” and “Woody Harrelson’s father did it,” and now “the South Vietnamese did it,” have we missed anybody?

  • Pingback: The Adventures of Debra “Kadabra” Medina « docweaselblog
  • Elaine,

    “W” and Dick Cheney.

  • Elaine,
    I’m afraid that Bret’s imprecise use of pronouns confused you. I’m sure he was referring to JFK’s alleged involvement in Diem’s murder. The allegation that JFK had Diem murdered is also a bit imprecise. Most historians agree that (i) the US was indeed increasingly uncomfortable with Diem due largely to his contemptable oppression of Viet Nam’s Bhuddist community, (ii) Viet Nam’s military decided that Diem needed to go and plotted a coup, (ii) these military leaders sought and received assurances that the US would not intervene in the event of such a coup, and (iv) the military offered Diem safety if he surrendered, Diem declined and was killed later after being captured.

  • The reason to Vote for Medina is to get the entrenched political classes out of power. Perry is a corporate Republican as far as I have heard. I think the solution is to vote out every incumbant except proven – as in initiators of legislation and spenders of political capital such as Chris Smith of NJ pro-lifers. Perry is part of the problem with his mandatory guardicil vaccinations.

  • Elaine,

    Sorry for my imprecise use of pronouns. Diem was dead before Kennedy was assassinated.

    Mike what you said is true; however, to overthrow one of the Biggest Anticommunist during the middle of the Vietnam war because the press thought that the Buddhist community was being suppressed (which it wasn’t) was lunacy.

    He was a solid Catholic who knew the evils of communism.

    In reality, it was Roger Hilsman, Averell Harriman’s plan with Henry Cabot Lodge doing the ground work. Secretary of State George Ball approved the overthrow and Kennedy agreed (but to Kennedy’s defense he thought it had been cleared with Sec. of Def. McNamara and General Maxwell Taylor which it had not).

    He did not surrender to the Americans because he did not trust Lodge (with good reason). But he did surrender after he went to Holy Mass. He and his brother was gunned down afterwards.

  • Oh by the way Elaine, you have Madame Nhu all wrong. That is another female who was assassinated by the press.

  • How to destroy a 9/11 truther:

  • BREAKING: Sarah Palin 9/11 truther controversy makes hypocrite of Glenn Beck

    http://www.infowars.com/sarah-palin-911-truther-controversy-makes-hypocrite-of-glenn-beck/

  • If you can find a mainstream news organization reporting this it would be appreciated.

  • Glenn Beck is a truther himself. To all of you closed minded hate filled war mongers……

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBn-VIW7ivE&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1]

  • Not a hypocrite,

    I’ve wasted 7 minutes and 31 seconds of my life viewing and searching the video you posted of Glenn Beck accusing the U.S. government and “W” of orchestrating the 9/11 attacks.

    He never said anything remotely close to your claim.

    He did say we have a right to question our government and then quickly pointed out he doesn’t when it comes to 9/11.

    He made a reference to Sandy Berger and questioning if both Slick Willy and “W” were in cahoots in regard to him, but not to 9/11.

    You failed.

    Again.

    To prove that Glenn Beck is a truther.

    I will delete anymore posts that you put up if it includes calumny again.

  • Countries, empires, they come and go, they rise and fall. You speak of the sin of despair – there is also the sin of presumption, in this case, that America is a divine institution that cannot fail, like the Church. I’m not saying YOU believe that, but it could follow from what you’ve said.

    It’s late, but I don’t want to leave a misimpression. No, I don’t believe the U.S. is a divine institution, nor particularly one guided by providence.

    But I won’t back off the analogy of “truth”erism to despair: to the extent the phenomenon breeds a genuine cynicism and paranoia, it is a mental/quasi-spiritual cancer on the republic. I agree that America is in considerable trouble at the moment, but for the sake of my children (the first among many reasons) I don’t want to see it die on my watch. A determined, hard-working, clear-eyed and clear-thinking citizenry is a must at this hour. “Truth”ers present none of those virtues, and in fact prevent the cultivation of the same. Ditto the paranoia of birtherism, albeit on a much smaller scale.

    Put another way: the death of America would be a calamity that would make the fall of Western Rome in the fifth century look like a recession. Imagine Constantinople, Athens and Alexandria being obliterated at the same time, and you have a measure of what would happen.

  • Not a hypocrite:

    1. Tito is right. I’m no fan of Beck, but he is not a “truther.” You are mistaken or worse.

    2. There is only one way to avoid being a hypocrite: Conform you conscience to your actions. For those of us who struggle unsuccessfully to conform our actions to our conscience, we live with the knowledge of imperfections and therefore our hypocricy every day.

    3. Given your statement re Beck, I must assume defamation is not a sin in your book — you not being a hyprocrite and all.

  • Beck might not be a truther, but I think the rather rudely and aggressively stated point was this:

    Beck said the same thing Medina said.
    Medina said we have a right to question.
    Medina was called a “truther”.
    Ergo, Beck is a truther.

    All you have to do is disavow premise 3 for this thing to go away. Debra Medina is not a “truther”, and I hope she wins in TX.

    For Dale,

    “A determined, hard-working, clear-eyed and clear-thinking citizenry is a must at this hour. “Truth”ers present none of those virtues”

    That simply isn’t true, Dale, especially among the educated engineers and political activists in their ranks. Disagreeing with them is one thing; degrading their character is another.

    “the death of America would be a calamity that would make the fall of Western Rome in the fifth century look like a recession.”

    I think you overstate the problem a bit.

  • Joe,
    I don’t know whether Medina is a truther, but her handling of Beck’s question leads one to believe that she falls into one of the following categories:

    1. She is a truther.

    2. She is not a truther but is willing to pander to them.

    3. She is not sure and has no developed opinion either way.

    4. She thinks truthers are wrong but also thinks their opinion is a reasonable one.

    I realize that you are comfortable that a person can hold 3 or 4 and still be fit for office. I’m not.

  • Fair enough, Mike, but do you think that Beck and Palin, who have made similar statements, fall into the same category?

  • “educated engineers and political activists in their ranks”

    They’re the worst of the bunch, and are causing the most damage. A degree is no indicator of character, much less clear thinking. Likewise a career in political activism.

    “I think you overstate the problem a bit.”

    The mightiest nation in history, the lynchpin of the western political system, the strongest economic power ever to exist, going down in flames? Actually, I understate the potential horror. Western Rome didn’t have nukes, for starters. Nor did Rome provide massive amounts of aid to nations struggling with disease and poverty. The cascade effects are incalculable, and would take a great deal of work to overstate. Great empires–and, yes, America is in many ways an empire–do not die peacefully in their beds, unless there happens to be a reasonably like-minded heir to hand off the scepter to. That’s happened once in history–Great Britain passing the baton to America.

    Now, there’s no one to pass the baton to.

  • Joe,
    Yes, if they did in fact make similar statements. That said, I think it is disingenuous to say that Beck and Medina are comparable because both said that people have the *right* to question the government (something no American would disagree with), when Beck then explictly emphasizes his disagreement with truthers to the point of ridicule whereas Medina carefully and obviously deliberately chooses to not do so. And I’m not aware of Palin behaving similary to Medina. If I’m wrong on the facts, I’m all ears.

  • And Joe, I do not think Beck is fit for public office, but for other reasons. Palin is clearly fit for public office, though quite possibly an ill-fit for the presidency, at least at this point in time.

  • Mike,

    Palin, according to the video I saw on youtube, was willing to say publicly that she supported another 9/11 investigation. Though I think her intent was simply to tell the people who asked her what they wanted to hear, Medina supporters might understandably, if illogically, want to play the same game with Palin and say that supporting another 9/11 investigation is tantamount to not believing the official story, which could therefore mean that she gives credence to truther claims.

    Medina, moreover, HAS expressed her disagreement with truthers, unless we are of the mind that she did too little, too late after having been put on the spot. Her statement to the press afterward is good enough for me, and I think it would be more important to get back to the issues. To me its absurd to hold this against a person if you think they’re right on the issues.

    It would be one thing if she persisted and started campaigning on a truther platform, but she hasn’t done that. One moment of hesitation shouldn’t undo a campaign, and the fact that it can is precisely what is wrong with this country. It’s like the Dean scream. It’s media sensationalism and I reject Beck, Fox News, and Rick Perry’s attempt to manipulate the electorate with this irrelevant distraction.

  • Thanks, Joe. I admit that I have not followed this very closely, and it may be that Medina’s later statement is more than adequate — I don’t recall reading it. But I would emphasize that if the statement is basically akin to my option 4 above, it would not be adquate in my view. And it would not be comparable to Beck.

    As for Palin, it depends on context. If all she honestly meant was that thge 9/11 report was deficient and glossed over failures and errors that the public had the right to know about, fair enough. If she was playing with ambiguity to pander to the truthers, then bad on her and I see no difference with Medina at all.

  • To any truthers who might be reading this thread, please go to Popular Mechanics at the link below and learn why you are truly wasting your time.

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military_law/1227842.html

  • In regard to Sarah Palin and 9-11, the question was asked her by someone calling himself Anthony the Activist during a rope line that she was proceeding down. Here is the video he made.

    Unlike Medina, Palin did not have the following question asked to her:

    “Do you believe the government was in any way involved in the bringing down of the World Trade Centers on 9/11?”

    Nor did Palin give this type of answer:

    “I think some very good questions have been raised in that regard,” Medina replied. “There are some very good arguments, and I think the American people have not seen all of the evidence there, so I have not taken a position on that.”

    Comparing what Palin said to what Medina said is like comparing swans and swine.

  • Don,

    It really isn’t like that at all.

    If one voices support for the idea of a new 9/11 investigation, then one can reasonably assume that they believe the old one wasn’t good enough, that there are still problems with the “official story”, etc. That’s what 6 of the 10 people on the panel said anyway.

    That isn’t THAT different from what Medina said – using a little common sense. And it certainly isn’t different than the clarification she made afterward.

    So its probably time to move on and concentrate on the issues. I certainly don’t believe that Medina spends her waking hours in fits of paranoia about government conspiracies.

  • Mike,

    I think BOTH Medina and Palin were doing what politicians do.

    Medina, I think, probably assumed that a lot of her grassroots supporters were sympathetic to, or actually were, 9/11 truthers. And this might be the case, because a lot of them are anti-establishment types, and Medina is an anti-establishment candidate. That’s not her fault. It’s not her fault that polls show 86% of Americans question the official story and that the “truther” position, in one form or another, is a hell of a lot more popular than its opponents understand. And I think THAT ALONE was the real reason for her hesitation.

    Palin was being Palin – telling people what they want to hear. She’s an amazingly gifted politician.

  • Disagree Joe. Medina was specifically answering a question as to whether she believed that the government was involved in bringing down the World Trade Center. Her answer indicated that she believed that the truthers had asked some very good questions and made some very good arguments. She is either a truther, lying or was simply bone ignorant and pandering to Beck since she wrongly assumed that Beck is a truther.

  • As for Palin, she was indicating that she would support a new 9-11 investigation in order to assure that 9-11 didn’t happen again. Presumably she was referring to the miserable intelligence failure prior to the 9-11 attack and a new investigation could highlight steps that could be taken to correct such an intelligence failure in the future.

  • Joe,
    It may be that both Palin and Medina were saying what they thought their audiences wanted to hear, but the more important fact is that they did not say the same thing as Don amply demonstrates. To suggest that they were similar requires taking profoundly unfair and unwarranted inferential liberties with Palin’s statements.
    It may be that there are more truthers out there than I realize, but if so I’m glad I don’t get around more.
    I’m perfectly willing to believe that the 9/11 report failed to disclose certain intelligence failures, perhaps even deliberately failed to do so; but in my view anyone who takes seriously the view that the government was actually involved in some conspiratorial way with the attacks is seriously and sadly out of touch with reality.

  • “To suggest that they were similar requires taking profoundly unfair and unwarranted inferential liberties with Palin’s statements.”

    I think it’s also pretty unfair to not allow Medina to clarify her remarks, or apologize for them if that is what’s called for. This “one strike and you’re out” rule of politics is absurd, especially when the issues are so high. It’s like a shutting off of the mind. I can’t do that.

    The number of genuine truthers who believe that it is a proven fact that 9/11 was an inside job is probably small, but the number of people who think that the government is covering something up is a substantial majority, according to the polls I’ve seen.

  • Joe, I agree completely with your last post. If Medina has issued or will issue a statement that makes it clear that she is not only not a truther (something that I assume she already has done) but also understands that the truther position is irresponsible and nutty, then she is fine by me. In other words, thus far her conduct has led me to believe that she is in one of the last three categories I listed earlier. If she makes it clear that she is not, then we are good to go.

    There is a HUGE difference between believing that our government covered up or might have covered up some things not disclosed in the 9/11 report versus believing our government was actually involved or might have been actually involved in a conspiratorial fashion in arranging and executing the incidents. There are many plausible reasons one might speculate as to why the report could have been less than complete, including some that almost everyone might agree are legitimate. And might the report have glossed over some shortcomings and misteps in order to avoid embarrassing certain powerful parties or interests? Sure, that is possible. But I believe (and hope) that the number of Americans who actually take the inside job possiblity seriously (let alone think it is an established fact) is very small, but I don’t know. My point remains that it is this — the truther — position that is nuts. A candidate who leads me to believe that they don’t think it is nuts is simply not fit in my view.

  • “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” — Arthur Schopenhauer

    “1,000 Architects & Engineers Call for New 9/11 Investigation ”

    More than 1,000 worldwide architects and engineers now support the call for a new investigation into the destruction of the Twin Towers and Building 7 at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. After careful examination of the official explanation, along with the forensic data omitted from official reports, these professionals have concluded that a new independent investigation into these mysterious collapses is needed.

    http://thetruthnews.info/census.html#911

  • Why would a call for an independent investigation into 9/11 throw such abject fear into people?

    And when did “truth” become a dirty word, and someone who wants to know the truth become someone to be despised, and a subject of suspicion?

    If the officially approved version of 9/11 is accurate and true, wouldn’t an independent investigation by “we, the people” just prove that fact?

    We all know that our government would NEVER, EVER lie to us. So what could they, or anyone else, possibly have to fear from some independent fact checking by the citizens?

  • It’s a shame that a Catholic website would attack the 9/11 truth movement. What is wrong with not believing the official story? It is not wrong to question authority. I am a Christian and I don’t believe the official story of 9/11. I am a responsible American, husband, and father. I am not a nutjob or Glenn Beck drone. I make my own decisions.

    Glenn Beck attacked Medina, threw her the question out of left field, to purposely cause her bad press, within 30 min. after hanging up with Glenn, Perry’s campaign had audio excerpts via cold calls sent to Texans trashing Medina.

    Glenn Beck is controlled opposition. His job is to subvert the Tea Party movement, water it down, and lead the masses back to the NEOCONS.

    There is nothing ‘Christian’ about Endless War.
    http://www.wtc7.net/

  • Joey,

    There is absolutely no evidence of government involvement.

    Do you also believe that FDR ordered the attack on Pearl Harbor?

    Do you also believe that the moon landing was staged?

  • Here is a video of Sarah Palin–saying she would like another 911 investigation and another video of Glenn Beck saying he has questions about 911 and its our right and DUTY to question government:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcngiD6Sq6Q&feature=youtu.be, Palin supports new 911 investigation.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FSwztg8Xvk Glenn Beck video, says it’s our DUTY to question government

    It’s noteworthy that both Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin receive their checks from Fox.

    Debra Medina isn’t a 911 truther any more than I am.
    I knew the mud-slinging would start and it has.

    There is a difference between a “Truther”–one who believes the government is responsible for the attack on 9/11, and those who think the government may have known something and failed to stop it–as with the attack at Ft. Hood, Texas.

    Beck has lost a lot of Texas viewers; over 17% of his television audience over this–NOT INCLUDING those who have quit listening to his radio broadcast. One article I read said it was close to 1,000,000,000 viewers–probably a combined figure.

    Oh, and while I’m at it, here a link to an old speech by Governor Perry, in which he admits that he shares Vicente Fox’s dream of an open border with Mexico.

    http://governor.state.tx.us/news/speech/10688/

    Think about THAT before you cast your vote.

  • Beck EVERYDAY questions the validity of this present administration. I listened to him for years and can say that it seemed to me that he definitely had an agenda. Medina is the best for TX and for this country. Perry and Hutchinson are of the establishment and I would rather risk Medina then go with the same old same old making things worse. Take a look at who pays Beck his millions, who his publicist is and then maybe you will understand why he probably obeyed some directive from somewhere. Mr Beck is NOT WELCOMED in my home anymore on radio or TV.

  • Was Perry or Hutchinson ever asked if they were 9/11 truthers? And since when is it wrong to question the government? The greatest country in the world the USA is capable of evil…take a look at abortions…so I am not saying either way I am just saying that the evil perpetrated on our most helpless and who is to say the government never had any false flag operations!?!

  • It’s a free country.

    You have every right to question the government.

    With it comes consequences.

    For example my opinion is that Truther’s are nuts.

    I have a right to that opinion.

    Unfortunately for you and Medina, 99% of the rest of the country thinks Truthers are nuts as well.

  • I did not and do not like the way that Glenn Beck handled the interview with Debra Medina and at the time I accepted her later explanation and seeming clarification, as having been made in good faith. But this is my problem with Debra Medina. Debra Medina should either explain what is going on in the Debra Medina Facebook page or say why she does not accept the basic principles and ethos of the US Constitution ( if that is her position ) or shut up. Frankly, I am sick of Debra Medina rabbiting on, appearing to be a conservative constitutionalist nationalist republican, whilst on the Debra Medina Facebook page if one expresses views in the ethos of Ronald Reagan or Senator Barry Goldwater, one will likely be hounded remorselessly up to and including death threats and yet at the same time, the Debra Medina Facebook page is a comfortable place to express admiration for somebody like the British MP Mr George Galloway.

  • ” John Says:
    Sunday, February 21, 2010 A.D. at 1:13 pm
    “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” — Arthur Schopenhauer

    “1,000 Architects & Engineers Call for New 9/11 Investigation ”

    More than 1,000 worldwide architects and engineers now support the call for a new investigation into the destruction of the Twin Towers and Building 7 at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. After careful examination of the official explanation, along with the forensic data omitted from official reports, these professionals have concluded that a new independent investigation into these mysterious collapses is needed.

    http://thetruthnews.info/census.html#911

    I have tried to engage 9/11 truthers in reasonable debate about the events surrounding the World Trade Center on 9/11 and these folks are simply not willing to do that, what they will most usually do is spew Youtubes and cut and paste at one. In one of the rare instances, that one of these characters was willing to get in to a debate with me, in which in that particular instance they were making an argument that sprinkler fire suppression systems, should have been able to fight and extinguish the fire, having effectively lost the argument on that point, ( re the capabilities of the sprinkler systems ), they then went on to claim that no aircraft had hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. What is also interesting, is that when in a popular internet forum, I advanced the possibility that 9/11 might have been a false flag operation but conducted by Aliens from outerspace, this idea attracted little interest, despite the fact it is a more legitimately plausible concept than many of the arguments advanced by the truthers, which fits well with my view that the 9/11 truther movement has very serious ideological and political objectives and its not just a bunch of folks who prefer convoluted conspiracy theories to simple explanations well grounded in facts.

Tim Tebow Pro-life Superbowl Ad

Sunday, February 7, AD 2010

Hattip to commenter restrainedradical.  One of the two Tebow pro-life Superbowl ads has leaked.  I can see why the pro-aborts fought tooth and nail to keep it off the air.  In tandem with the other Tebow pro-life SuperBowl ad,  it is devastating to them.  For background to the ads go here.  For the rest of the pro-life Tebow story, go to Focus on the Family here.

And here is the second ad:

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.  The pro-aborts by their hysterical reaction made sure the Tebow story of how his Mom refused to abort him got broadcast over America for free.  Now these two anodyne ads featuring a loving Mom and son make the pro-aborts look like the intolerant bigots they truly are!

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12 Responses to Tim Tebow Pro-life Superbowl Ad

  • Why exactly is this prolife? This ad in isolation says nothing and probably will only confuse people. Is there another ad?

  • There is NOTHING particularly pro-life about these ads. We were scammed. They were NOT what they were represented by Focus on the Family to be. They were about promoting Tim Tebow and Focus on the Family and that was it. Nothing about choosing not to abort, nothing about choosing life.

    We were had.

  • The message is in the Focus on the Family tag: “Celebrate Family. Celebrate Life.”

    No wonder the pro-aborts want to censor this ad.

  • Zach and Bender the “ads” weren’t the message, they were just teasers to get you to go to the web site where the real message was conveyed in an interview. The link is at the end of the first paragraph above.

  • So what was demonstrated by this event in contemporary culture is that it takes precious little to send pro-aborts over the top in preserving abortion on demand. That their extreme views and actions can work against them in unforeseen ways. That Focus on the Family must have some serious monetary resources!

  • You’re right, the ads weren’t the message — Focus on the Family’s misrepresentation about the content of the ads was the message, and FF’s manipulation of the pro-life community for it’s own purposes has now become the issue.

    I defended the ad because they said it was a pro-life ad. It wasn’t. It was a Tebow and FF ad. And I don’t particularly like being used to end up promoting Tebow and FF, rather than defending life as we all thought we were doing.

    Fraud and dishonesty are not the way to promote anything, especially the pro-life cause.

  • NOW is now condemning the ad for advocating violence against women. No, I’m not making this up:

    NOW president Terry O’Neill said it glorified violence against women. “I am blown away at the celebration of the violence against women in it,” she said.

    Source.

  • Let’s not overrect–as far as I know minimal information about the ad was given out beforehand by FF and much of the expected content was inferred by the opposition based on what was already known about the principals. While I wouln’t put it past Focus on the Family to engage in a little pro-abort leg-pulling, I’m hard pressed to discern a concerted effort to exploit pro-lifers. I believe most defenders of the ad acted spontaneously out of respect for the Tebows’ right to tell their stoy and weren’t goaded to it by FF. Anyway, FF succeeded magnificently. Weeks before the ad was aired, large numbers of people who had never before heard the story were suddenly aware of Tebow’s birth story. The ad itself was the most innocuous of teasers, exposing those pro-aborts who objected the loudest as the bigots they are. And the weblink at the end of the ad enabled anybody who hadn’t yet heard the Tebow family’s story to do so, if they wished. FF got its money’s worth several times over out of that thirty-second spot, and they did it in such a way that no reasonable opponent of their viewpoint could have protested.

  • Excuse me, that would be “overreact.”

  • “Violence against women?” Someone needs to tell that pro-abortion pseudofeminist that abortion is violence against women.

  • I’m just sayin’, there was nothing pro-life about these ads. Superbowl viewers were exposed to nothing pro-life. I don’t care about getting scammed (which I don’t think we did), I’m simply disappointed that nothing pro-life was said.

  • Preccisely, Zach. At the end of the day, there didn’t have to be anything pro-life about the ads. The pro-life part of the ads was all off-camera.

Save Your Marriage!

Wednesday, November 11, AD 2009

Emotionally riveting song and video for me- I have been blessed to discover the value of my own family- and I vow everyday not to screw it up and make the little ones pay the price for my mistakes. Hang tough little families out there- prayer is like a rock that anchors me to what is good and holy in my life. My wife and kids are the highlight of my day, my nightmare is to think of my life right now without them.

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4 Responses to Save Your Marriage!

Following the 2009 Election Results which way is the tide turning toward truth or relativism?

Wednesday, November 4, AD 2009

Under the surface, and largely unbeknownst to the mainstream media, the tide has been turning to Catholicism for some time. The pontificates of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI along with events such as an increase in orthodox minded seminarians, young priests and young women religious, a return to devotions and a reform of the reform of liturgy have shown us that indeed the tide is turning. However, for some time now western culture has been moving in the opposite direction, where any, whim or opinion that holds that orthodox minded religious thought is antiquated and even harmful is held in high regard. How could this jibe with the turning tide within the Church? Who would win? Didn’t Jesus promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church after He gave Peter the keys (and the 265 subsequent popes) to lead it? The answer is the same answer that has always been, the Church eventually always wins and it will this time as well.

Following the Election of 2008 when liberalism was on the ascendancy, many in the mainstream media joyfully proclaimed a new era, where one could read between the lines and see that traditional views of society, family and religion were on their way out and big government was in. However, a funny thing happened on the way to the revolution, many Americans refused to go to the Bastille with pitchfork in hand. Americans view of revolution was almost always in line with George Washington’s view of limited government and not Maximilien Robespierre’s view of war against society, family and religion. Perhaps the Election of 2008 was a pox on both their big spending houses that was wrongly construed as a vote for Big Government.

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7 Responses to Following the 2009 Election Results which way is the tide turning toward truth or relativism?

  • Thank You Dave for constantly reminding us of our faith and our needed prayers and continued efforts to overcome those who pick and choose in the Church whether laity or heirarchy. These young priests and current seminarians are a godsend for the Church and we are fornunate to have one sheparding our parish by hs example, homilies, and teaching.

  • Bravo Dave. History is not a straight line progression to a progressive paradise no matter how many of our friends on the Left believe it to be.

  • I’m still going to thumb my nose at the elites.

  • Thanks again Dave! I wish you the best on your journey. God Bless you and your family…

    Robert from Michigan

  • Indeed the elections, as Catholic League’s Bill Donohue put it, made for a “big night for Catholic values.” The gay marriage proponents must be seething that our Tortoise of Truth passed by their Hare of Relativism in Maine like it did in my state of California last year!

  • I don’t know how much we can say the election results foreshadow a turning of the tide. The two new republican governors both ran campaigns that did not stress their stance on moral issues – they won by not splitting the social conservatives from the moderates. Let’s be honest, the people who vote solely on morals (at least until a race with two moral candidates comes along) are in the minority. I worry that the lesson the Republican party will learn from this election is to shy away from moral issues. Of course, if the Democrats learn the same lesson and stop shoving abortion down everyone’s throats, maybe we’ll actually see more social conservatives in both parties.

  • Thanks again, Dave!

Dad and Daughter and Baseball

Wednesday, September 16, AD 2009

MLB lawyers were able to track down and depublish the YouTube video in order to protect the interests of their corporate masters.

No worries, I found another video link which shows the little dad and daughter moment.  Click here.

Saw this late last night and I wanted to share this with our American Catholic readers.

A very touching moment when the little girl throws away the baseball and gets startled by the gasp of the fans.  She quickly turns to daddy and he’s there to give his little girl a big hug of support that it’s alright.

Hope you all can view this before Major League Baseball lawyers take down the YouTube video.

Very nice.

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4 Responses to Dad and Daughter and Baseball

Staying Rooted in Parish Life

Friday, June 26, AD 2009

I suspect that my family was hardly unique among serious Catholics in the 80s in that my parents often found working around our parish to be key to bringing their children up with a strong appreciation of the Catholic faith. When I was in 2nd and 3rd grade my mother helped teach CCD for a while, until the point where a fiat was handed down from the DRE on lent: There will be no discussion of Christ’s suffering and death and crucifixes should not be on display in any classrooms for the younger kids — that would be too scary. (I believe this was the same DRE who gave an inspirational talk about how one of her deepest spiritual experiences was cutting shapes out of construction paper. Nice lady, but not what you’d call a deep thinker in matters of religion.)

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5 Responses to Staying Rooted in Parish Life

  • Good post. One of the things I’ve done in the past few years is to reset my filters, so to speak, so I do not end up finding the heretical where it just might not be. Our parish is solid but not ideal. However, the liturgy is not jimmied with and religious education is unmistakably Catholic. I agree that getting involved can make a big difference–more than I think a lot of the “burnt” realize.

  • Yes, very good post. This is something we struggle with constantly. When we moved nine years ago, we chose a house first, and a parish second, i.e., we did what most people do and joined the parish near our new home. I didn’t think enough about the importance of a healthy parish for the ongoing formation of my family. The “problem” now is that we have so many connections with the parish — friends, school, etc. — that it would be disruptive to uproot my family for a faithful place. (There is no reasonable prospect that things will improve for the foreseeable future.) So we stay connected with friends at the parish, send our kids to the parish school, and catechize them at home, but almost always worship elsewhere. Were I to do it over again, I’d choose the parish first and then find a house nearby.

  • One more thing. Getting involved with official functions of the parish will not help. There is a deeply entrenched culture of dissent at work there (as there is throughout the Archdiocese of Cincinnati), and the powers-that-be have spent several decades honing skills to marginalize committed Catholics.

  • One thing that I remember a Jesuit (not my parish priest) saying was “We all believe in slightly different ways.” I have no problem “parish shopping” rather than taking a strictly geographic approach. I have found that a number of the leading lay people at my parish don’t live anywhere close to the church property. They’ve tried other parishes and ended up with us. On the other hand, a friend who is very conservative goes to a very traditional parish across town.
    I went to a different parish for 25 years, until a new pastor made some changes in mass times that messed up my schedule. I went looking elsewhere and found a parish that had a better physical layout (basic fact: if you are short, don’t sit in the back) and, I found, had warm, friendly people, at least in my opinion.
    Coming from the other direction, as someone who does something at Mass most Sundays, I have recently been reminded that we need to include everyone, not just the familiar faces. A friend and his wife started coming to our parish recently, dissatisfied with the pastor at their former church. He and his wife were astonished when I asked them to bring up the gifts one Sunday. “That never would have happened at [his previous parish.] They only asked the inner circle.”

  • I certainly have no objection to choosing a parish which one is not geographically in. In fact, I’m not 100% sure if we’re geographically in our parish or not — we’re on the border. It just strikes me that if at all possible, one must after choose a parish “live in it” in the sense of participating in it as a Catholic community to the greatest extent reasonable. (Obviously, if the RE program or some such in your parish really is likely to damage your kids, then not, but one needs to think seriously whether you’re looking at “damage” or “be less than perfect”.

On Vacation

Thursday, June 18, AD 2009

On Vacation

I’m on vacation this week with my family.  Yesterday my wife and I took the kids to Brookfield Zoo, something we have been doing since 1998 when the kids were quite young .  I hope that my three sophisticated teenagers still enjoy it and are not just humoring dear old Dad.  My wife and I certainly still love going to the zoo.  A few observations:

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5 Responses to On Vacation

  • I grew up in Berwyn, IL and frequently visited the zoo throughout my childhood. It is indeed an “only in America!” type of place. I’ll have to go back and visit one of these days!

  • Is the pic of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza?

    Good posting.

  • Yep and thanks Tito.

  • I’m not generally a fan of Picasso’s work, but his Don Quixote is one of my favorite pieces of art (I like his bullfighting scenes as well).

    When my wife and I were dating a decade ago, she and her mother and sister went to Spain for a week. She asked me if I wanted her to bring me back anything. I printed out a picture of the above work of art and told her that I wanted a t-shirt with that on it and the word “Espana” beneath it.

    She actually found exactly what I wanted and brought it back to me.

  • Don Quixote sums up nicely both the glory of Spain, seeking to accomplish the seemingly impossible and stunningly doing so more than once, and also the difficulty that Spaniards have often had throughout their history in dealing with this frame of reality.

Tortured Credibility

Friday, May 22, AD 2009

It has become an oft repeated trope of Catholics who are on the left or the self-consciously-unclassifiable portions of the American political spectrum that the pro-life movement has suffered a catastrophic loss of credibility because of its association with the Republican Party, and thence with the Iraq War and the use of torture on Al Qaeda detainees. Until the pro-life movement distances itself from the Republican Party and all of the pro-life leadership who have defended the Iraq War and/or the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on detainees, the argument goes, the pro-life movement will have no moral authority and will be the laughing stock of enlightened Catholics everywhere.

Regardless of what one thinks about the Iraq War and torture (myself, I continue to support the former but oppose the latter) I’m not sure that this claim works very well. Further, I think that those who make it often fail to recognize the extent to which it cuts both ways.

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42 Responses to Tortured Credibility

  • I don’t think being “pro-life” will lose credibility because the position is True, but “pro-lifers” who associate with other violations against human dignity might.

    Personally, I do not understand how a thoughtful Catholic can support the Iraq War. I’ve yet to really hear air tight moral justifications for it, and if memory serves the entire run up to the invasion reeked of jumping the gun while post 9/11 emotions still ran high. Not exactly conditions for sober decision-making.

    The decision was not only an act of aggression, it was unconstitutional and a strategic blunder. It put us on the road to bankruptcy and rather than secure our safety I believe it to be contributing to an environment for further violent conflict. The truth is, almost a decade out from 9/11 and we were given Saddam Hussein on a platter instead of Osama bin Laden.

    The fact of this occurring under a Republican administration is rather irrelevant. If party actually mattered the war funds would have been taken away by the Democratic congress at any time after 2006. Now, half a year into Obama’s tenure and the line on withdraw is “give us three years”.

    The fact that this messy war has tainted other Republican “values” is not surprising. Look at everyone suddenly crying out that capitalism has failed!

    I would expect that if Obama does not end the war in a satisfactory way by the next election, or if there is a new conflict in Pakistan or Africa… leftist values too will begin to be dragged down. Voters will become sick of everything he says, just like Bush. The anti-war left would likely be as deflated and the pro-life right.

    If you ask me its the insanity of tribalism at work. If you take the “us vs. them” two party system and combine it with the general ignorance… well what do you expect? And besides, its not as if people on the genuine left and the genuine right really make it into power, is it?

    The war was never about securing the American people. It was however, about securing the American federal government; it dominance and control. Thats something both center-left and center-right can agree on. Ironically, they are losing both bit by bit, British-style.

    To this day I believe that the path to regain power is within Republican hands: all they have to do is repudiate the war. Maybe change their name, too. 🙂

    As far as the pro-Life movement is concerned… I do indeed think it is in their best interest to grow beyond the party. I think they have to if they are looking to build majorities that can withstand the back-and-forth of American politics.

    Most libertarians seem to be pro-choice, which is mind-boggling. There’s room there to grow a little bit.

    Pro-lifers do not need a majority of Democrats on their side. Just enough to make the larger party think twice when it comes to abortion legislation. They have to consider which piper they are going to pay. If abortion were more often argued in terms of the civil rights movement, perhaps left-leaning politicians could be persuaded.

    I guess, Darwin, my broader point is – none of it matters. Its tit-for-tat politics and none of the influential players are interested in moral consistency, just majority-building. By defending the Republican alignment of values or that the pro-life movement is perfectly at home where it is, you’re playing into the hands of pollsters and politicians.

    Or, perhaps I made no sense, even to myself.

  • Personally, I do not understand how a thoughtful Catholic can support the Iraq War. I’ve yet to really hear air tight moral justifications for it, and if memory serves the entire run up to the invasion reeked of jumping the gun while post 9/11 emotions still ran high. Not exactly conditions for sober decision-making.

    Well, I think I can at least claim to have been sober, in that I’d supported forcibly removing Hussein from power ever since 1991. I considered it profoundly immoral for Bush Sr. to have called on the people of Iraq to rise up against their dictator, with the implicit promise that the US would support them, and then leave them to die in the hundreds of thousands instead. I would have supported an invasion at any time since then, and I considered it to be justified, given that Iraq had never satisfactorily obeyed the 1991 cease fire anyway. If Clinton had been willing to get rid of Hussein at any point during his term, I would have supported that.

    I do think that the WMD justification was poor at best. Yes, there was a general belief (even among Iraq’s military) that they had chemical weapons. But they were not a great threat to us. However, given that I’d been in support of deposing Hussein for over ten years already, I didn’t consider the punitive justification a major obstacle to what seemed long overdue already.

    But, I can certainly understand why other Catholics would believe differently.

    By defending the Republican alignment of values or that the pro-life movement is perfectly at home where it is, you’re playing into the hands of pollsters and politicians.

    I don’t know that I’m so much defending the status who as pointing out that it’s hardly surprising to anyone. There are parts of the GOP platform that I absolutely disagree with (I’d support open borders) but I don’t think anyone does himself any favor by getting all worked up over where the current alignments are. It’s ludicrous to claim that the pro-life movement has lost credibility as a result of being associated with the GOP in a way that immigration reform and opposition to the death penalty haven’t as a result of being associated with the Democrats. All are known to be highly partisan agendas with established bases of support, and pretending that’s news to anyone does not strike me as doing one credit. Even if one would appreciate realignment.

  • “It’s ludicrous to claim that the pro-life movement has lost credibility as a result of being associated with the GOP in a way that immigration reform and opposition to the death penalty haven’t as a result of being associated with the Democrats. ”

    I suppose it would depend on how you see credibility. The movement is philosophically credible by being moral and constitutionally correct. But politically I can see how some would say they’ve lost credibility in terms of their ability to win elections, win court cases and influence legislation. If a movement is going to cast its lot with one party, then its goals are inevitably tied to the success or failure of unrelated issues. Only the thick-headed would exclusively equate political success to intellectual legitimacy.

  • Anthony,

    If a movement is going to cast its lot with one party, then its goals are inevitably tied to the success or failure of unrelated issues

    the movement has no choice but to cast it’s lot with one party since the other party is diametrically opposed to it’s principles and has rejected it outright.

    You’re not proposing some ridiculous third-party option, are you?

    The suggestion that some sort of post facto repudiation of the Iraq war will make even the slightest difference in the next election is living in the past, open your eyes and look forward. Whatever the key issue of 2010 and 2012, it will not be Iraq 2003-2008.

  • The suggestion that some sort of post facto repudiation of the Iraq war will make even the slightest difference in the next election is living in the past, open your eyes and look forward. Whatever the key issue of 2010 and 2012, it will not be Iraq 2003-2008.

    This is due to american historical amnesia, of course.

  • Rather a reaction to the coming Obama Crash. Unless there is a major terrorist attack, and I wouldn’t rule that out, the economy will be the overriding issue in 2010 and 2012 and the signs are not good currently for Obamanomics.

  • Michael I,

    what Donald said. But also, the American people realize that right or wrong the Iraq invasion was a bipartisan decision that most of the people agreed with as well. Their disatisfaction was almost entirely due to the poor state of affairs until it was rectified by the surge which President Bush (R) ordered at the recommendation of General Petreus (R?), and the urging of Senator McCain (R), and the majority of the Republican party. The main thing people will think about with regard to Iraq will be that it was won by the Republicans before Obama took over, or that Obama snapped defeat from the jaws of victory, very unlikely since he kept on the Robert Gates(R) to ensure that it wouldn’t happen.

    Donald is exactly right, the issue of 2010 and 2012 will not be Iraq 2003-2008. If I had to predict, sadly, it will be economic malaise, inflation, crushing federal deficits, massive tax increases, and quite possibly devastating terrorist attacks or other security issues (Russia, Iran, North Korea, take your pick).

  • “the movement has no choice but to cast it’s lot with one party since the other party is diametrically opposed to it’s principles and has rejected it outright.”

    I think the point is not whether or not the choices, in the short-term, of what seemed best for the survival of the movement is correct. After Roe v. Wade, the Democrats became increasingly dominated by pro-choice politicians, supported by the abortion-minded groups, etc. The GOP was very welcoming.

    I think the point of the criticism (right or wrong) is that possibly unforeseen affects are what we’re experiencing now.

    I think he is saying that the pro-life movement by making itself dependent solely on the success of a single party has made its own success contingent on that party. If positions predominantly accepted by that party are, largely down-the-list, against one’s best judgments of what better achieves justice then despite their pro-life convictions, some will feel disenfranchised and/or uncomfortable or even alienated by the rest of pro-lifers, some, not all, of which give a blind stamp of approval to the platform because of the party’s stance on life issues.

    And because this issue has divided itself across party lines, it appears to be a partisan issue when it really should not be.

    I posted a link from a story in the Human Life Review a while back talking about trouble pro-life Democratic candidates had in receiving funds, despite their records, from pro-life groups; other problems included Republican candidates being endorsed over pro-life Democrats with untainted abortion records — though, as far as I know, this hasn’t happened so much on the federal, rather than, state level. It’s why people — rightly or wrongly — say that some pro-life groups might as well be Republican PACs.

    Another problematic case is the fact that pro-life Democrats are so “diaspora” and not collectively organized at the local levels that it makes it rather difficult, even for principled, pro-life Democrats to actually launch a campaign. They don’t have the resources, even for those who are unequivocally pro-life. Some settle and work in the trenches for pro-life groups or other justice causes. Others simply — and I imagine this happened during the Reagan years — became Republicans.

    As a result, it is very very difficult for the pro-life movement to enter the realm of the Left because fellow pro-lifers are suspicious, perhaps with valid reason, to suspect “double talk” or false pro-life credentials.

    However, this very reality, I think makes the pro-life movement a house divided against itself while the pro-choice movements is moving in lock-step and that’s the source of their temporal victories.

    Now, I’m sure no one is saying that a one-party pro-life party is the way to go to. Some are hesitant, I’m sure for valid reasons, that it is difficult, or even counter-productive, to support self-described “pro-life Democrats.” Perhaps they’re right.

    However, here are my criticisms — some valid, perhaps some not. Everyone will have to judge for themselves.

    When Reagan was the president, the pro-life movement gained quite a bit of ground. Yet, the Clinton Administration quickly turned the direction of abortion and bioethical policies the other way. The Bush Administration was eight years of undoing the damage done by the Clinton Administration and restoring and adding new pro-life policies. Now we’re in another reversal.

    This tit-for-tat can keep going, or the other party can be infiltrated from within. There has not been much ground on this made, necessarily, but the organization Republicans for Choice (http://www.republicansforchoice.com/) are all but invisible. After the election, I’ve read a many articles and seen many people claiming that it was the “values-sector” of the party driving out moderates with their alleged extremism and litmus tests. I’m not making their argument; I am simply stating their assertions. The GOP, as seen, has no problem recruiting pro-choice Republicans to run for office (more than likely in liberal districts) to win office. I suppose the thinking is that it’s better to have someone with you 90% of the time then 0%.

    This reality tried to manifest itself in the 2008 GOP presidential primaries. The pro-life movement responded forcefully — not for the best candidate in my view — but responded nonetheless. Yet, I cannot help but wonder: what if?

    What would happen if the GOP with its new RNC Chair, Mr. Steele, so committed to “inclusion” and diversity and non-application of litmus tests went in a different direction? What if, God forbid, at some point, the pro-life movement split between viable candidates and all pro-choice and socially moderate Republicans concerned with fiscal conservatism, not cultural values, line up behind a single, less-than-pro-life candidate?

    I think that’s the bind. What is a pro-life person to do in this situation? Surely, a hypothetical, cynical GOP strategist might ask: would they really go to the other party? If this did occur: what would you do? Some I imagine would put a protest vote and not vote at all. Others would vote for the GOP, take what they can, and work to change the case next time. But it would surely be a source of division and debate: a house divided against itself. It seems that if voting is a moral obligation, then, one can’t simply sit at home and let good pro-life Republicans lose their seats and more pro-choice seats be taken in Congress by the Democratic party. What about pro-life Governors? What about the Presidency? The latter of two who appoint judges (depending on the State) and can realistically set a judicial seat in the pro-choice camp for perhaps a generation. Right now, that’s the scare with Obama’s SC nominee coming. Surely it would be better — and on this no one disagrees — that power can exchange between the parties and there would be little concern over nominee’s abortion positions.

    It seems that the success of the pro-life movement rises and falls with the GOP. I think it’s problematic.

    I don’t think it’s nonsense per se to envision Republican strategists, pure pragmatists, to realize that abortion is a potent electoral tool and not so much a human rights issue. This isn’t to say that there are several candid and sincere pro-life Republicans serving in public office.

    In the last 40 years, there have been only 2 Democratic appointments to the Supreme Court. Reagan chose two nominees that ended up being pro-choice and so did Bush I. Seven of the nine Justices since Roe have been made by Republicans and the pro-life movement has not garnered the votes needed by the court in order to get a 5-4 majority.

    This goes back to the question of pro-life Democrats. I think many Democrats who are pro-life cannot garner the resources or support to make it to office. The Democratic party won’t fund pro-life candidates, but rather would search for pro-choice candidates — anyone — to run in opposition to such candidates in primaries. That’s the key. A pro-life Democrat might do fine in a general elections against a Republican. In recent decades, they usually win. But rather it is the Democratic primary is an incredible challenge because of a lack of resources to compete against their fellow party-members who are singling them out surely over abortion. The GOP doesn’t hesitate to fund it’s pro-choice candidates: primaries are fair game. Let the voters decide.

    The list of pro-life Democrats who had high political ambitions who realized this reality is growing. Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Dennis Kucinich, and many more were all at one point pro-life.

    Now certainly there change of conviction is morally incorrect and a reflection of poor character and courage. Many of such candidates do so for political expediency; others remain “pro-life,” but compromise their position and “moderate themselves” to win some base votes that they otherwise cannot win office without. Some later become explicitly pro-choice; others try to uphold the pro-life facade. Surely, the cooperation in evil doesn’t justify such actions. However, I think the fact that this occurs reflects a support that is not there, not just for cowards who will compromise, but for those who genuinely will seek office and never win it because they aren’t willing to sell out their principles.

    Yet, it just makes me wonder, if a pro-life Democrat launched an exploratory committee to seek the presidency and actually made it onto the ballot for the Democratic primary, how many pro-life groups or pro-life Americans, might actually extend help in resources for such a candidate to survive the assaults of NARAL, Emily’s List, and Planned Parenthood which is without a doubt the most organized, financed political movement in the U.S.? I’m skeptical of the number of people who would cross over from the GOP and cast their vote to ensure the pro-life candidate wins. I’m sure they have their reasons for it as well.

    I’m not sure anything I’ve said is valid or just my jumbled, ramblings.

    Perhaps, my most controversial thought is this…

    I won’t say it is a double standard.

    I just will say I dislike the reality. It seems that to be authentically a pro-life Democrat you must support Republican candidates, even with the most strident conviction that these candidates will not work fervently, or even with passion, to curtail the horror of abortion — but are rather giving you lip service. Right or wrong, I believe this to be the case. Yet, if you vote for or support pro-life Democratic candidates, some, again, not all, will see this as a moral compromise and support for “pseudo-pro-life” candidates. To such candidates, much scrutiny is given; but this same critical eye is not extended to the pro-life politicians in the GOP; it seems to me, perhaps, I’m wrong, they get quite a bypass. Nor do such individuals see any sort of necessity in helping such candidates win and defeat pro-choice candidates in a party direly in need of pro-life presence.

    Pro-life Democrats can never achieve leaders seats on committees and roles of leadership if they aren’t greater in number to be a force not to be thrown around.

    So, at the end of the day, pro-life Democrats seem to have a responsibility to ensure that Republican candidates beat pro-choice Democrats; yet, the issue of pushing their party in a more pro-life direction, seems to be an issue that is sort of “their problem” — and I cannot see how this current reality doesn’t lend itself to helping the Republican party politically. It maintains its hold on a crucial voting bloc.

    So, not so surprisingly, I agree, at least, in part with critics that the pro-life movement in some respects behaves like a Republican PAC.

    As it so happens, two parties that are pro-life forces competition, competition produces results. It seems then that pro-life Democrats are a potent tool for pro-life success. Even from 2000 to 2006, not a piece of pro-life legislation could pass through Congress without the remaining pro-life Democrats to neutralize and overcome pro-choice Republican votes.

  • But also, the American people realize that right or wrong the Iraq invasion was a bipartisan decision that most of the people agreed with as well.

    Not true, and also irrelevant.

  • “the movement has no choice but to cast it’s lot with one party since the other party is diametrically opposed to it’s principles and has rejected it outright.

    You’re not proposing some ridiculous third-party option, are you?”

    No, I’m proposing that we patiently persuade… a lost art in the United States.

    There has to also be a way that makes the pro-life cause and Democratic political interests better partners. Recall that after 2004, some Democrats began to wonder aloud (perhaps not seriously, but still) of becoming more friendly to the pro-life side of things. I had hoped the “Blue Dog” Democrats might be a moderating force, but not so it seems..

    Though, a third party would always be welcome in my view, however unlikely. It will never happen until enough disillusioned but still caring individuals decided to organize and work to breakdown election rules.

    “The main thing people will think about with regard to Iraq will be that it was won by the Republicans before Obama took over”

    I don’t agree. I think people will see it as an expensive mess (fiscally and morally) by Republicans that had to be cleaned up with more expenses by Republicans.

    And in the not-to-distant future they will see that Obama is carrying on that proud tradition, just in a lefty, Oprah-y way with nice posters and logos. Whether they have the courage to see past it remains to be seen.

    “The suggestion that some sort of post facto repudiation of the Iraq war will make even the slightest difference in the next election is living in the past, open your eyes and look forward. Whatever the key issue of 2010 and 2012, it will not be Iraq 2003-2008.”

    You’re joking right? If they don’t repudiate it then why would those of us who can remember past last week believe them ever again? I used to be fairly Republican 8 years ago. I’ll never vote for either major party again unless there is fundamental changes in attitude. I don’t care how naive or idealistic it is. We’re Catholic, for pete’s sake. We’re supposed to be better than this.

    The Republicans either lied, were incompetent or made bad judgement. All are good reasons to be kept from power as long as possible. “The Surge” no matter how militarily successful is irrelevant to the underlying issues that got us into the situation in the first place. If “winning” in Iraq looks the same as our perpetual “victories” in Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Germany, etc. then… no thanks.

    Don’t get me wrong… the Democrats are guilty of all that too!

    “Donald is exactly right, the issue of 2010 and 2012 will not be Iraq 2003-2008. If I had to predict, sadly, it will be economic malaise, inflation, crushing federal deficits, massive tax increases, and quite possibly devastating terrorist attacks or other security issues (Russia, Iran, North Korea, take your pick).”

    The Iraq war is not over, so it is not “2003-2008”, its “2003-present”. Its Obama’s War now, just like Afghanistan and his little games in Pakistan.

    I agree that economic issues are going to be the issue. But gee, I wonder what contributed to this mess… perhaps our ludicrously expensive foreign policy based on principled values like bribery or blowing things up.

    Will inflation be the issue? Of course, thanks to the billions spent, borrowed or created at the start of Bush’s term and exponentially increased under Obama.

    If a “security issue” (real, imagined or just for fun) does come up, you can bet that they’ll sell it as beneficial to our economic woes. Which is like saying WWII ended the Great Depression (it didn’t). Or perhaps they’ll say that this war (presuming its Iran) will be cheaper because the troops are already there! The cannons can be adjusted just a few degrees further east!

    I must say… if there is another “devastating” terrorist attack and the U.S. goes into another post-9/11 funk of spending and shooting…I’m not certain the “Republic” can survive in anyway thats worth describing as free.

  • Anthony, I agree. Despite my own previous assumptions, I’m not so sure I’ll be crossing over and helping the GOP in 2010; maybe not in 2012.

    I might have a straight down the line Pope Benedict XVI ballot.

  • “I might have a straight down the line Pope Benedict XVI ballot.”

    My mind is being tragically torn into a million pieces that the very thought of Pope Benedict XVI, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome… and POTUS!

    Thomas Jefferson would be very, VERY disappointed!

  • If you say you won’t support pro-life Republicans in 2010 or 2012 for office against pro-abortion Democrats… what’s the logical conclusion?

    If you say you don’t want the Republicans back in power any time soon, and you’re not insane enough to think that somehow a magical third party will take sweep the congress in 2010 and the presidency in 2012, then the only conclusion is you prefer the RADICALLY pro-abortion Democrats.

    If you don’t see the strategy of supporting the Republican party straight ticket, then vote your conscience on each legitimate candidate on his own merits. That’s the ONLY moral option.

  • I said I’d write in candidates.

  • Michael J. Iafrate,

    Not true, and also irrelevant.

    Of course it’s true, 70% of the population supported the invasion, and both parties with a very few exceptions.

    Relevence? It’s relevent to the point of what will happen in 2010/2012.

    Anthony,

    No, I’m proposing that we patiently persuade… a lost art in the United States.

    I agree, we should patiently pursuade the luke-warm to be on fire for pro-life, and for the pro-abortion to be pro-life or at least luke-warm. THis applies to either party of course. Franly though, you can have a much greater influence on Republican platforms that you like or don’t like than you will on dropping abortion from the Democrat platform. THere is just a lot more tolerence for dissenting views in the Republican party.

    “The main thing people will think about with regard to Iraq will be that it was won by the Republicans before Obama took over”

    I don’t agree. I think people will see it as an expensive mess (fiscally and morally) by Republicans that had to be cleaned up with more expenses by Republicans.

    I don’t think most people really have as short a memory as you do about the invasion (bipartisan and popular support), if their memory is short they’ll probably only remember that we won (unless Obama snatches defeat from the jaws of victory, and that they’ll REALLY remember. Expensive? In 2003-2008 terms perhaps, but it is so small compared to Obama’s spending sprees it will not really factor on the decision.

    You’re joking right? If they don’t repudiate it then why would those of us who can remember past last week believe them ever again? I used to be fairly Republican 8 years ago. I’ll never vote for either major party again unless there is fundamental changes in attitude. I don’t care how naive or idealistic it is. We’re Catholic, for pete’s sake. We’re supposed to be better than this.

    Actually you may not be aware but there are bigger things at stake than a popularly supported invasion in 2003, the Church is pretty clear on this, abortion is a much more serious issue. 40 million murdered innocents and counting… no comparison.

    The Republicans either lied, were incompetent or made bad judgement. All are good reasons to be kept from power as long as possible. “The Surge” no matter how militarily successful is irrelevant to the underlying issues that got us into the situation in the first place. If “winning” in Iraq looks the same as our perpetual “victories” in Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Germany, etc. then… no thanks.

    Shame on you.

    The Iraq war is not over, so it is not “2003-2008?, its “2003-present”. Its Obama’s War now, just like Afghanistan and his little games in Pakistan.

    That’s my point, Iraq war, initiated under popular support, waged by the Republicans (poorly at times, but later brilliantly and successfully) from 2003-2008. The wrap-up is Obama’s to screw-up, it will not help him if he lets the job be finished properly, but it will devastate him if he screws it up.

    I agree that economic issues are going to be the issue. But gee, I wonder what contributed to this mess… perhaps our ludicrously expensive foreign policy based on principled values like bribery or blowing things up.

    Have you actually looked at military spending as % of federal spending or GDP? It’s tiny. Other “foreign policy” spending is money that’s been wasted for decades, nothing new here, I’d drop most of it immediately.

    If a “security issue” (real, imagined or just for fun) does come up, you can bet that they’ll sell it as beneficial to our economic woes. Which is like saying WWII ended the Great Depression (it didn’t). Or perhaps they’ll say that this war (presuming its Iran) will be cheaper because the troops are already there! The cannons can be adjusted just a few degrees further east!

    I must say… if there is another “devastating” terrorist attack and the U.S. goes into another post-9/11 funk of spending and shooting…I’m not certain the “Republic” can survive in anyway thats worth describing as free.

    are you a pacifist? I’m wondering, because you seem to make no distinction between just and unjust wars, ie. real = just, imagined, or just for fun = unjust.

  • Eric Brown,

    I said I’d write in candidates.

    let me get this straight. You consider your objections to the Republican platform to be on such a morally equal level to abortion, even when balanced against the alternative’s incredibly immoral policies… that you would vote AGAINST a viable and authentically pro-life candidate in your congressional district, or for president?

    Think about your position here, it’s untennable. If there is a viable and authentically pro-life candidate you have a moral obligation to support him. In the case of two less than authentically pro-life candidates the Church leaves your conscience to measure the best course, but not when one of them is authentically pro-life.

  • Well, I voted for quite a few Republicans in 2008 and not without a lot of hesitation.

    However, the problem is, that I don’t take at face value that the GOP and Republicans are “authentically” pro-life. Better on abortion than Democrats by far, but not per se…

    And I am not sure if it is a Catholic moral obligation to vote straight ticket Republican.

    I might have reservations to cooperate in the scheme, but I’m not opposed to doing it.

    Read my earlier post.

  • “Actually you may not be aware but there are bigger things at stake than a popularly supported invasion in 2003, the Church is pretty clear on this, abortion is a much more serious issue.”

    Killing is killing. Maybe you’re capable of making value distinctions between innocent, unborn children and innocent Iraqi lives (unless you’re convinced none are innocent), but I’m not.

    The “bigger picture” you refer to is only a numbers game. But the result is the same: death, unintended consequences and damage to human dignity.

    “Shame on you.”

    I’m going to explain myself rather than take that personally. This is the internet after all.

    Our intervention in Japan and Germany is not over. We’re still there, in one capacity or another. And we shouldn’t be, regardless of whether the Germans or the Japanese wish us to be. Here it is 60 years after a terrible and bloody war and American treasure is still being sent abroad to places in which the native peoples are more than capable of taking responsibility for themselves.

    Oh yeah, and dropping two atomic bombs? Morally reprehensible. Nothing to be proud of about that. I can’t imagine Christ doing anything other than weeping.

    So sorry, I’m not going to take The History Channel view of American “victory”.

    “Have you actually looked at military spending as % of federal spending or GDP? It’s tiny. Other “foreign policy” spending is money that’s been wasted for decades, nothing new here, I’d drop most of it immediately.”

    Its a trillion dollar war now, Matt. Plus untold losses on the Iraqi side and an incalculable amount lost in terms of productivity. Who cares about percentages at that point?

    If that money had to be spent, it would have been better but towards meeting our burdensome domestic obligations. The bills are adding up…

    By other “foreign policy” spending… do you mean wasted things like… diplomats?! Linguists?! Negotiators?! You know, the guys that try to resolve problems without killing someone. 🙂

    I’ll give you one thing, if you’d get us out of the U.N. I’d back you up. Thats some prime property here in Manhattan I’d love to see sold off.

    “are you a pacifist? I’m wondering, because you seem to make no distinction between just and unjust wars, ie. real = just, imagined, or just for fun = unjust.”

    I don’t consider myself a pacifist. I do however, believe that the threshold for a just war is extremely high and rarely reached. Additionally, in cases where it is justly reached rarely is it justly executed. I have the same attitude towards the death penalty.

    The American Revolution and The Southern War for Independence to my mind were justified. (I also want to include The Texas Revolution, but my memory is a bit faded on it) Our involvement in WWII was justified, but I think we should have no delusions about the politics that lead up to our entering the war. I also believe portions of how WWII was executed were unjust.

    The Spanish-American War, WWI (a special shout-out here), the Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf War I and II etc. are unjust wars in my view.

    The current war in Afghanistan should have been formally declared after 9-11, with victory clearly defined. My opinion has been that it should have been declared specifically against Al-Qaeda, since they did the same to us in the late 90s. War against the state of Afghanistan should only have been declared if they chose to continue material support to Al-Qaeda.

  • I think the issue is less guilt by association than it is the fact that association can draw you into defending things that really shouldn’t be defended. Over the past month, for example, folks at EWTN, First Things, Inside Catholic and the American Life League have defended the use of torture (or enhanced interrogation, or whatever they’re calling it these days). They didn’t have to do that, and I suspect that if the sides had been reversed (with Dems largely supporting these methods and Repubs opposed) that they wouldn’t have done so. But there’s something about politics that makes people feel that they need to “defend their team” regardless of the system.

    To some extent this may be inherent in the nature of politics (if it weren’t for this political ‘team spirit’ I doubt you could get very many people to participate in the political process or even vote). And it certainly applies on the left as well as on the right. But the danger is real.

  • Blackadder is correct.

  • In the last 40 years, there have been only 2 Democratic appointments to the Supreme Court. Reagan chose two nominees that ended up being pro-choice and so did Bush I. Seven of the nine Justices since Roe have been made by Republicans and the pro-life movement has not garnered the votes needed by the court in order to get a 5-4 majority.

    In the interests of precision it should be that George Bush – pere made just two appointments to the Court, one of which worked out badly. Please also note that Republican presidents have had to maneuver eight of their last 12 court appointments past a legislature controlled by the political opposition. This reality has been salient with regard to the tenure of Anthony Kennedy and David Souter. One might also note the list of registered Democrats who have sat on the Court since 1969 (one of which was nominated by Gen. Eisenhower):

    1. William O. Douglas
    2. William J. Brennan, Jr.
    3. Byron White
    4. Thurgood Marshall
    5. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    6. Steven Breyer

    Not one of them had to run an obstacle course erected by a Republican Senate. Only one of these (White) ever showed much resistance to enactment by judicial ukase of whatever the prevailing ethos was in Georgetown (and it is doubtful that Mr. Justice White’s most controversial acts of refusal would have been regarded as remarkable either in the legal professoriate or among politicians at the time he was appointed in 1962). Seven of the twelve Republican appointments have been failures, in part because of negligence (Gerald Ford’s and George Bush-pere’s), incompetence (that of Richard Nixon, John Mitchell, and John Dean), and in part because (it is reasonable to surmise) of successful deception by the candidate in question (Sandra Day O’Connor).

    What is a more interesting question is why Mr. Brown would have more than a laconic interest in the competition between the two parties with regard to any other nexus of issues. Both parties are promoters of some version of the mixed economy. The Democratic Party is a reliable ally (the Republicans merely acquiescent) in the promotion of the designs of the social work industry, the organized appetite of academia, the teacher’s colleges, and the public employee unions. Certain subcultures within the population appear to be tribal Democrats). Why should these distinctions excite Mr. Brown’s loyalty?

  • Anthony, I think a lot of it depends on whose ox is being gored. Being partly of Cuban ancestry, I would take issue with your statement that the Spanish American war was unjustified–or at least, that element within it that consisted of Cuban citizens fighting to rout their foreign rulers. And while my Southern creds are impeccable, I confess that I remain deeply divided about the legitimacy of the Wah of Nawthun Agression–particularly the nasty little bit of Confederate adventuring in Charleston Harbor that set off the whole powder keg.

    I am glad to see, however, that you have no false illusions about WWII. Though there is no doubt in my mind that it was justified, I have often reflected recently that the brutality inflicted by all sides–Allies included–in that conflict, makes the sturm und drang about the Iraq War seem doubly ridiculous.

  • Art,

    Then it seems then that more careful vetting would be something GOP presidents should work on and pro-life advocates should strongly affirm that they desire anti-Roe judges and won’t settle for compromises.

    Even in the 1980s, the Democratic party was markedly pro-choice, but there were still a few pro-life Democratic votes in the Senate and I don’t think it was filibuster proof. I’d have to look into that; I’m not so sure if compromise and “moderate” candidates was so necessary.

    Agreed, however, that O’Connor was successful. I must say that I’ve been disappointed with the most recent women firsts — Supreme Court Justice, Secretary of State, Speaker of the House, to be particular. They were all pro-choice…so sad.

    On another note —

    I am a Democrat because I agree predominantly with the party’s platform. And I feel that I simply wouldn’t fit in with the GOP. I practically diverge away on every issue.

    In regard to competition, my only point was that if the Democratic Party had a pro-life plank, the GOP couldn’t half-ass deliver on its promises or fail to give abortion the priority it deserves because pro-life advocates could find a home and place in the Democratic Party. Therefore, competition would increase and the party’s would try to out do each other — but the effect of that is real progress in stopping abortion.

    In other words, the tit-for-tat of pro-choice vs. pro-life means one Administration puts in place pro-abortion policies, another Administration rolls it back, then again, and again. Progress is very slow; if this were not the case, then progress would quicken.

    My feeling on this is that the pro-life movement because of the grave evil of legalized murder doesn’t have the luxury to make up strategy as it goes. I happen to think our current strategy is too tied up in one party. People can disagree; but I think my reasons are valid. Thanks.

  • cminor – Wars for political independence usually to my mind are justified. Or perhaps I just have soft spot for people who wish to be left alone and chart their own course. As I’ve argued over in the past – I believe there is great value behind the principle of secession.

    What I object to in my list of unjust wars is the element of military intervention. Its one thing to philosophically support foreigners, or offer them peaceful-oriented material support (food, medical aide, etc. – mostly for civilians). Violent intervention is a bridge too far. I’m one of those guys who think neutrality is a legitimate and respectable response to foreign wars, especially ones at great geographical distance.

    Eric –

    I’m of the personal view that if the Democrats did have a pro-life bench they would be wildly successful and almost impossible to defeat.

    Granted I’m not a Democrat and never will be. The concerns that their platform addresses I might have heart for, but their solutions more often than not have unintended or misunderstood consequences. LBJ’s Great Society, for example, was anything but. FDR’s social security has contributed ironically to making us less financially secure. These policies, sold to the American public as being in line with liberty, over time make the population dependent – and I would even say pawns or slaves – to the state.

    The Democrats are in essence the party of social and economic intervention. The Republicans are a party of moral intervention and militarism. When politically convenient or necessary, both parties will swap philosophies.

  • Wars for political independence usually to my mind are justified. Or perhaps I just have soft spot for people who wish to be left alone and chart their own course. As I’ve argued over in the past – I believe there is great value behind the principle of secession.

    Interesting. In most ways, I think I would tend to say the exact opposite.

    Indeed, one of the American wars I have more difficulty justifying is the Revolution. And my sympathies in the Civil War are definitely with the North.

  • The Republicans are a party of moral intervention and militarism.

    that’s the talking points anyway. In reality, the Republicans as a policy advocate for intervention in the cause of justice, to protect the lives and rights of the citizens. As to militarism, look again, far more military interventions under Clinton than under Bush or Reagan. Regime change in Iraq was a Democrat policy also.

    Eric,

    I am a Democrat because I agree predominantly with the party’s platform.

    Wow. That’s quite a statement since many of their platform items are contrary to Catholic teaching.

    – abortion
    – contraception
    – secularism
    – limiting the rights of parents to educate their children

  • Matt,

    Last time I checked, party platforms are quite long lists.

    National security policies (which covers an array of issues), foreign policy (again an array of issues), health care, public funding of education, energy, taxes, fighting poverty through private and public sector solutions, and the list goes on.

    If you consider the whole of the platform, I agree with the vast majority of the points.

    Lastly, I don’t think anywhere in the party platform does it state we support “secularism.”

    I’m not saying that many Democrats have a wonderful understanding of the idea of separation of Church and State, but that’s flat out not in the platform.

    I didn’t say I agree with every point of the platform.

    If we had a point list and went down the party platform of each party and I had to respond ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ — the Democrats would win. Ask me to vote between candidates and probably not.

    Matt, could you really work on not being so overly aggressive and condescending as a commenter? Seriously. It’s not really in this post, but there are more charitable and engaging ways to address people.

    You could have said quoted my comment and asked:

    “Eric, could you clarify what you mean here? A few tenets of the Democratic platform contradict Catholic teaching.”

    That’s very charitable and not so assuming.

    I’m sure we’re all guilty, but we argue on this blog so much about “good” Catholics and “bad” Catholics, let’s strive to actually imitate Jesus.

  • Darwin –

    Perhaps living in Texas will influence your outlook. Certainly myself having been born and raised in Houston I experienced a subculture in America that took pride in its republican sovereignty as a historical footnote. However, Texas by and large is mostly just ‘bark and no bite’ when it comes to independence. Post-Civil War they’ve been properly beaten into submission and made to feel guilty (like the rest of the South) for ever daring to give Washington the screw.

    In the case of both The American Revolution and The Civil War the ultimate goal was not destruction of the enemy but merely her expulsion. If the South succeeded in gaining independence, perhaps the war would have been known as ‘The Southern Revolution’ or ‘The Second American Revolution’. Had both the above conflicts been genuine ‘civil wars’ I would think the endgame would involve usurping power in London and Washington D.C.

    Thats all I’ll say… I’m already too far off topic.

  • The American Revolution and The Civil War the ultimate goal was not destruction of the enemy

    The ‘enemy’ in the first case was the legitimate central government.

    As for the second, I think one can argue that secession was permissible as a matter of positive law. The thing is, both the continued subjection of the slaves and the effort necessary to discontinue that involved the use of force.

  • ****
    that’s the talking points anyway. In reality, the Republicans as a policy advocate for intervention in the cause of justice, to protect the lives and rights of the citizens. As to militarism, look again, far more military interventions under Clinton than under Bush or Reagan. Regime change in Iraq was a Democrat policy also.
    ****

    Matt,

    Maybe I’m being dimwitted, but I think you just responded to my ‘talking points’ with your own set.

    The Republican record is atrocious, especially when it comes to the litmus test of a strict reading of the Constitution and following what I can only presume are Jeffersonian principles. On matters of free speech, spending, declarations of war, states rights and social/government programs they have not lived up to their speeches. They pick and choose which rights and which liberties and which kind of justice just as much as Democrats.

    Our politicians are ‘Cafeteria Constitutionalists’ if I can paraphrase.

    Clinton might indeed have more military interventions (Somalia, Kosovo, Iraq immediately spring to mind), but the cost was no where near that of Bush II. My ‘militarism’ reference is more geared toward the current state of the party and the cultural attitudes attracted to it.

    Like I said above, those described philosophies are also quickly swapped depending on the political weather. Right now, for instance, the Republicans have become much better on a variety of issues. The problem is they have zero credibility.

  • *****
    The ‘enemy’ in the first case was the legitimate central government.

    As for the second, I think one can argue that secession was permissible as a matter of positive law. The thing is, both the continued subjection of the slaves and the effort necessary to discontinue that involved the use of force.
    *****

    I’d love to debate all these points, but it is another topic thread. Unless we have permission to go free-for-all. 🙂

  • Anthony,

    Following the self-indulgent principle of “it’s my thread so I’ll take if off topic if I feel like it”, because this strikes me as an interesting topic:

    I guess the hang-up for me is that as a conservative (and also looking at Church just war teaching) that regional independence (or national self determination, or call it what you will) is not an absolute good. In the case of the American Revolution, it strikes me that the injustices being imposed by the British were arguably very small compared to the evils of a drawn out war. Though the political philosophy of the American founding fathers strikes me as sufficiently far superior to that of the British empire that I an strongly tempted to say it was worth it anyway.

    In the case of the Civil War, I’m mildly sympathetic to states rights, but the stand was only being taken over states rights in order to insist on slavery. In that regard, I would happily have carried a rifle for the Union.

    Still, interesting conversation. I hope you’ll be around next week when I post my review (possibly multi part) of Empires of Trust. That should generate some interesting conversation.

    Blackadder,

    I think you’re right on tribalism. The temptation seems to have been too strong for some pro-life advocates to defend what they should not. Though at the same time — I don’t necessarily see the mistakes of those people as discrediting the movement as a whole. Or at least, it should not do so in the eyes of people who have long been used to swallowing the bitter pill of abortion support in the leaders they look up to on various “social justice” issues.

  • *****
    The ‘enemy’ in the first case was the legitimate central government.
    *****

    I don’t think I’ve heard anyone argue that the British crown was illegitimate, just tyrannical. The grievance, as I remember, was basically that a.) the crown’s actions were unjust and economically destructive, and b.) there was not sufficient representation in Parliament for the American colonies to voluntarily submit if they wanted to.

    Had those matters been better negotiated I would not have seen much cause for political separation. But they weren’t, so in my view it was justifiable to expel the threat to life, liberty and property and replace it with a better suited form of governance. It was time, as they say, to ‘appeal to heaven’.

    With regard to the war between the states its messier and more complicated, but similar to the situation with Britain.

    Let me first say that slavery is as reprehensible as abortion, contrary to any conception of liberty and should be rejected at all times and by all peoples. Were I living in America circa the 1850s, 1860s I would have been anti-slavery, but at peace with Southern secession.

    I often wonder if perhaps by allowing the South to secede, in time slavery could still have been done away with; particularly if Southern states sought to rejoin the Union at a later date. That way we could avoid the half million American deaths and a century of racial and and cultural resentment that is the Civil War’s sad legacy.

    I do not believe that slavery was the exclusive issue at stake in the Civil War. Not every individual fought for the same reason. If truly the war was one of liberation and not one of radically changing our Union’s understanding simultaneously, then permitting secession followed by an invasive mission to free slaves would have made more sense. Abolishing slavery in those states that did not secede would also have been more consistent on the part of the Union. Buying slaves and freeing them would also have made more sense. But both sides dug in… there had to be more to it than the lone moral debate over slavery.

    The South, in my view had a natural and popular desire to dissolve a political arrangement; no matter how imperfect or disgusting their own house could be. (Slavery, if I recall rightly, was enshrined in the CSA Constitution).

    Also I believe there to be legitimate historical and philosophical arguments over Lincoln’s goals at the war’s outset and the role tariffs and taxation played in further aggravating the conflict. Pro-Union historians who concede certain points about Lincoln usually argue that the president grew into being ‘The Great Emancipator’ over the course of the war thus legitimizing the “it was all about slavery” view. But if that is to be allowed then it could also be allowed that for the South what began as a wrong-headed defense of slavery grew into a larger and legitimate cause for political liberty.

    Its a real historical shame that the principle of ‘state’s rights’ – or rather a deference to local government – is tainted by the stench of slavery. Perhaps its only fitting that large, federal government is duly being connected to the stink of abortion, euthanasia, war and economic foolishness.

    *****
    I guess the hang-up for me is that as a conservative (and also looking at Church just war teaching) that regional independence (or national self determination, or call it what you will) is not an absolute good.
    *****

    I’m not certain there is much to say from the Church’s perspective and I only have a few, sketchy thoughts here.

    For one, after life, liberty is a natural and necessary condition in order for mankind to pursue good. I tend to think that if liberty is abridged (either by a state or individual) it further complicates pursuing a moral good via moral means. An individual or a people placed in a desperate situation they’re likely going to react desperately I’d imagine. The slave is legitimate in his revolt against the master, just as the South had legitimacy in its desire to no longer be under Washington’s growing power.

    Second, and perhaps more telling, concerns the general attitude towards ‘the State’. Where as I see the Church as a ‘higher’ form of institution that teaches and loves (however imperfectly some times), the State is considerably lower or lowest in my estimation. Indeed, I find it positively parasitical and unproductive.

    I would note that this does not mean I am not patriotic. I love my country. I love its peoples, my family, my friends, its lands, its culture and even its intellectual traditions. I cannot transfer that love to the State, indeed I find love of state to be dangerous and inescapably competitive with the things I ought to love (my neighbor, my God, etc.).

    Were I to run for office, my platform would likely be to tie the federal government’s hands as much as possible and follow the Constitution to the letter – even when inconvenient.

  • As has been remarked, parliamentary representation in Britain prior to 1832 was quite haphazard – – rotten boroughs, pocket boroughs, dominacy of Lords over Commons, &c. The lack of assignment of representation to the colonies was an aspect of that. (To this day, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, and the residuum of overseas colonies do not have such representation). Why a series of excise taxes should spark a territorial revolt is an interesting question, from a sociological standpoint. Excises on paint and paper and tea may be good or bad policy. Such does not ‘tyranny’ make.

    Lincoln’s original motivations are an historical question. My purpose was to make a rough and ready statement as to why I would conceive of the use of force in that circumstance as legitimate.

    Personally, I think the U.S. Constitution is manifestly defective and should be scrapped.

  • I did not know about the sketchy representation in Parliament. Huh… the more you know!

  • Anthony

    As to Lincoln and the Civil War

    As a Southern one hears that often the Victors write hisotry. However as to the Civil War I often find the losers(we southerners) have often wrote it or “rewrote it” with amazing success. This was whiched one of its climaxes when Woodrow Wilson was elected and suddenly that horrid film he screened became the offical line

    First there is no evidence that Slavery would have gone away. It seemed to be growing by leaps and bounds in Texas. That was once a Catholic NO SLAVE STATE. It is without a doubt that SOuthern Leadership wanted a slave empire. Their constant designs on Cuba and Central America a prime example. In fact a slave Manifest Destiny with desgins on California. I suspect if things had gone differently if DC had been captured and even Philly I am not so sure that areas like New Mexico and Arizona to say the least would have been given back. There was consideravle Confederate action in New Mexico for example and the COnfederate recognized a Arizona Seccesionist Govt

    As to the “growing Federal Power” if you look at the Seccession Declarations of the States SLAVERY was the issue. While a few threw in talk of light houses and the occasional tariff this was the prime concern

    Southerners had used Federal Power quite a bit. They imposed a gag rule on Slavery in Congress, the mails could be censured of anti slavery things. Also what they wanted in the end was a Federal Slave Code. That would have been the largest exapnsion of Federal Power ever. In fact it was largely on this that the SOutherners broke with the Democrat party on that fateful day in Charleston at the Democrat Convention

  • First there is no evidence that Slavery would have gone away.

    Counter-factual speculation is somewhat idle. However, it ought be noted that the abolition of slavery in the United States was appended to the abolition of hereditary subjection all over Europe and Russia over the period running from 1789 through 1864. (Admittedly, serfdom is a qualitatively different institution). Also, I believe that the abolition of slavery in Brazil was enacted just a few years after the close of the American Civil War.

  • Well, the boll weevil would have done in the cotton industry one way or another, so retaining large quantities of slave labor would have become considerably less profitable for one major export at least. Importing new slave labor would also have become increasingly difficult and unprofitable, considering that standard practice on the big plantations in immediately antebellum Georgia and the deep South was to work slaves more or less to death over several years and then replace them. Slave escapes would likely have largely emptied border states (maybe we’d have a wall down the middle of the continent!) There might still be slavery, but not to the same extent as before; likely the system would have gotten extremely draconian before finally starting to fizzle, however.

    Currently I live in a South that, all things considered, is in pretty good shape. If a war (that we started) is what it took to bring the abomination that was slavery to an earlier close and my Confederate forefathers had to lose it so that this corner of the country wouldn’t degenerate into a demagogue-ridden third world state, though they haunt me for saying it, it’s just as well.

    For the record, I got the full Southern version of history in grade school. The victors didn’t write it all.

  • BTW Anthony, what other issues governed the decision to secede to anywhere near the degree of slavery? Please.

  • My favorite history of the Civil War was written by Shelby Foote, and the best study of command in the Civil War, Lee’s Lieutenants, was written by Douglas Southall Freeman. When it comes to the Civil War, the Southern viewpoint has produced myriad first class histories.

  • “BTW Anthony, what other issues governed the decision to secede to anywhere near the degree of slavery? Please.”

    I never said slavery was not part of it. My view has always been that the debate over slavery poured into a lager crisis over the meaning of the Union.

    I merely reject the argument that the Civil War was exclusively over that acute issue. The question of both liberty for slaves, political liberty for the Southern States and the Union’s meaning under the Constitution.

    You can’t disconnect the slave issue from its Constitutional aspects, its economic aspects any more than you can its moral ones. I’d also add that as one who leans rather libertarian the lens through which I’m viewing things is liberty itself. Questions of authority are antithetical. Why can’t one believe that slaves should be free and Southern states free? It seems rather “American” to me.

Defend Marriage. Defend Life. Protect the Future.

Monday, November 3, AD 2008

Readers in California, please don’t forget that as you attempt to chose a pro-Life candidate for President of the US you are also being called to defend marriage by voting Yes on Proposition 8. Whether they are beloved friends, co-workers or relatives, we all probably all know gays and lesbians that we love and care deeply about; many of them may be in long-term loving relationships. But let’s not fool ourselves, a “marriage” between two people of the same sex is not a marriage in Christ. It is not love in the way Christ called us to love one another and the more we head down this path of destroying the institution of marriage, the further we move down the road to our own destruction as a society.

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11 Responses to Defend Marriage. Defend Life. Protect the Future.

  • The only problem I foresee with an affirmative vote on Proposition 8 is that it warrants the marriage of a transgender male and a transgender female. Under Prop 8, such a “marriage” would be “valid” and “recognized” in California.

    We must be wary of accepting transgender marriages because transgender people are disgusting and morally reprehensible. Voting “Yes” on Prop 8 will promote transgender marriages and a disgusting and messy alternative lifestyle. So, an affirmative vote on Prop 8 will encourage transgender marriages.

  • Made recent trip to Southern California. Turned on local teevee news soon as the bags were dumped in hotel room closet. Assaulted by blasts of Prop 6 this and Prop 10 that and stuff from Mexico will poison children. Turned off tube, went to dinner. But glad to see the Prop 8 forces spending oodles of coin on those commercials. Did I see rumor that His Eminence Cardinal Mahony wrote check for 1 million for Pro-Prop 8 effort. A stopped clock is right 2x daily.

  • Actually, no, I’m not a “troll” (and I’m not a plumber or Joe “six-pack” either) but I am very concerned with recent Catholic support for fringe legislation, such as Prop 8 in CA and Amend 48 in CO. It seems fewer and fewer Catholics — especially bishops and cardinals — are thinking about the obvious implications of legislating morality.

    But if “Joe is a troll” has something more useful and substantive to say than just toss slanders toward fellow Catholics concerned with highly questionable legislation, then I’d be happy to hear it! The problem is that you’ve not thought about such implications; have you? Let me pose the question again: What should be done about marriage between two people who are transgender?

    Since you probably won’t be able to fill out the argument, let me. You might think that Prop 8 should be replaced with stronger language: marriage should be between a natural man and a natural woman. Of course the problem is in defining “natural,” because so many people engage in cosmetic surgery over the course of their lifetime. It would be hard to say that a person who has “whitened” their teeth is natural, because natural seems to imply something about not having engaged in some form of cosmetic enhancement. We all have done something to improve ourselves, so it seems like we cannot conceive of natural in this way.

    One might think that natural implies something about being able to bear children. Of course we’d have to extend legislation to legitimize those couples who can no longer bear children, i.e., the elderly. Also, we’d have to accommodate those couples where one or more of the spouses have health problems preventing them from bearing children. Given the way that the Catholic Church has been going recently, you may think that these folks shouldn’t marry _because_ they cannot bear children. Basically, the gist of the Catholic Church’s message has been if you can’t procreate, don’t marry. So, the view that natural implies something about being able to bear children might have greater merit among Catholics.

    The problem I tried to raise in my original post had nothing to do with accepting, endorsing, or condoning same-sex marriage (read it again if you think it does). In fact, I don’t think the state should legislate marriage. I suspect, however, that is how “Joe is a troll” took it.

    I do think there are significant problems with the Prop 8 legislation when we set aside our views of same-sex marriage. Anyone who can think for themselves (rather than relying on what they read in propaganda flyers and the liberal media) would be able to comprehend this with some careful thought.

    I’d like to hear some alternatives to Prop 8 before permitting the state to dictate what is morally acceptable and morally unacceptable.

  • Joe,

    Don’t you think the state overturning the people’s will and declaring what is moral and immoral not imposing their will on the people?

  • Tito,

    I was going to say the same thing. Isn’t the judiciary legislating morality in this instance by forcing us to accept gay marriage as a right? And besides: of course the state can legislate morality! What do you think it’s doing with all those laws against murder?

    Prop. 8 is actually pretty modest in that it makes no claim on the morality of homosexual unions or relationships. It just reinforces the definition of marriage that we already understood and didn’t need redefined by the judiciary.

    In that sense, I agree wholeheartedly with Joe — we shouldn’t even have to be voting on this kind of thing! It’s only because we’ve been put in this position by a rights-inventing judiciary that we have to do it.

  • Tito, did I rule that out somewhere along the line? I don’t think I did. I grant that activist judges brought on the current situation. But the situation has arisen and we have contend with it. To not contend with it is to give in to those commie liberal yellow-bellies.

    j. christian, I don’t think that “reinforcing a definition of marriage” has nothing to do with morality. Also, what’s the definition of marriage? I think people have a hard time accepting the definition as it is outlined in Prop. 8. Polygamists certainly will have a hard time with it, though they seem to be upholding a form of marriage consistent with Prop. 8 (you just have to add a few more women to the mix). Defining marriage in any way is legislating morality.

    And, of course you’re right that we shouldn’t be voting on this kind of measure. It doesn’t belong in a state or country’s constitution at all.

  • One can argue that the state should not be in the business of defining marriage, but since the state deals with marriages already (property rights, divorces, tax implications, etc.) and the courts in CA have not imposed a definition of marriage which is patently false, I can only see it as making it better to pass an initiative defining it more in keeping with what marriage actually is.

  • “the courts in CA have not imposed a definition of marriage which is patently false,”

    Not to nitpick, but did you mean ‘now’ rather than ‘not’.

  • Joe & J. Christian,

    I understand and appreciate your responses.

    I still think that the judicial branch, being forced by liberal activists, brought this upon themselves by trying to impose their (im)morality on the state.