Thursday, April 26, 2018

Alfie Evans: Two Catholic responses

John C. Wright takes up the Alfie Evans case.  No wondering where Mr. Wright stands.  He attacks those preventing the parents from seeking treatment.  He mentions Pope Francis stepping in and pleading for the sake of the child.  He also uses this issue to suggest this is indicative of the type of Socialism that so many today seem to want.  He then offers a requested prayer on behalf of the child in this situation.

Mark Shea, well, doesn't really speak of the issue.  He says he knows nothing about it and doesn't want to comment out of ignorance.  He then gives us his take on a conversation he had with someone he says represents prolife individuals.  There is no link, so we have to take Mark's word that it went down exactly as he reports.  Given how Mark misrepresented what I wrote over the years, that's a tough one. 

Mark then goes on to use the conversation to attack prolifers, explain why he rejects prolifers, and went further by insisting that they don't really care about Alfie Evans at all, but merely exploit him as a club to beat up people like Mark.  No further comment on the actual Alfie Evans case. 

That is an interesting contrast, at least IMHO.  If I were actually a person who considers myself prolife, which of these would I fall behind?  Or is there another angle worth looking at.

Update: On a second reading, it's unlikely that Mark's appraisal of the conversation can be taken at face value.  After all, do we really believe anyone would actually write:
"Reader: But don't you think the doctors are all evil?
Perhaps the reader said just that, but I find it difficult to believe.  As I said, I've seen how Mark framed my statements in the past, and that tends to make me skeptical at best.

Plus, Mark suddenly leans on the Pope's lack of expertise in a particular area in order to justify not merely following the Pope's lead, as opposed to his usual feelings relative to subjects like the economy.  That's an interesting turn of events, and one that suggests inconsistency in applied standards to say the least.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Rod Dreher updates us on the Alfie Evans case

Here.  As I said here, this is a case that happened sooner than I thought it would, though I knew it would happen again.  I don't begrudge those making the decisions, but I'm heartened that this time the shuffling of feat and tugging of collars isn't as prevalent as it was with Charlie Gard. 

With young Charlie Gard, only old time pro-lifer types stepped in to say that a parent shouldn't be forced to let a child die.  Most others debated, discussed or wavered in their appraisal of the issue.  Many back at my Patheos stomping grounds were, not surprisingly, behind the State's right to step in and tell the parents they must let the child die. 

The New Prolife Movement was, likewise, unclear, seeming to fear taking too strong a stand for the parents, while understanding that based on everything we think of when we think pro-life, there is a problem with letting the State demand that a person - a child - be let to die. 

But so far, those commenting, including Pope Francis, are in agreement that this trend of the State demanding the death of a child needs to come to an end.

RIP Bob Dorough

Who?  This is who:


and



Among others.  Those two, of course, are the most famous of his creations.  Yes, he was the talent behind those snappy tunes that were as educational as anything the American education system has produced.  

Let's face it, how many of us learned more about how our government works from that bill on the steps of Capital Hill than anything from civics class?  And in a pinch trying to remember conjunctions?  I dare anyone to keep that tune out of their minds for long. 

Naturally Schoolhouse Rock, like all things, has fallen under scrutiny over the years, especially the category dealing with American history, which I've seen called racist propaganda, raw nationalistic preaching and simplistic sentimentality devoid of the harsh truths about our history (read: focusing exclusively on the negatives).  

But for those who get it and feel it's the height of foolishness not to learn about the greatness of our country, along with grammar, math and science, there were few better instructional paths into our living rooms than the Rock.  And Mr. Dorough was one of the creative geniuses behind it all. 

We thank him for a generation taught the basics, taught that learning can be enjoyable, and taught that there is a way to learn outside of the confines of a classroom.  He and the talents he possessed will be missed, even if his creations live on. 

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Why we must homeschool

Because we don't want our third grader being a year older than kids being taught what sex and lesbians and transgenders and all that jazz are all about.


And if that isn't enough, it also helps them avoid being told that, because of their skin color, they don't deserve what they accomplish.  Apparently, however, if they have problems it's more than they deserve - due to their skin color.


There are several things on here, BTW, that no longer apply.  Watching the morning news shows, I can't help but notice there are only two white men among multiple women and men of various ethnic backgrounds. The same goes for books, toys and other items.  We won't mention the talk we have with our boys about why most professional athletes in the sports we like don't look like them.  Of course we have the phenomenon of not being told they are a credit to their race, but whatever my boys have is only because of their race.

But then, I've noticed facts and reality aren't high on the priority list in our modern culture, in or outside of our education system.

Yep.  The reeducation zoos are in full force, dumbing down our kids down, pushing narcissism, hedonism and the belief that the world exists to worship them as the gods they are.

Monday, April 23, 2018

This might come as a shock

But Jordan Peterson is being accused of racism.  I can't believe it took this long.  Accusations of racism and sexism are the right and left bower of liberalism.  Faster than the speed of light is the speed with which liberals will accuse a non-conformer of being a racist or sexist.

That's because, in a brilliant sleight of hand, liberalism has made its doctrines the sole basis of righteousness and salvation.  What you do is irrelevant.  Love Jesus, hate Jesus, piss on Jesus, it matters not.  What you say you believe is irrelevant.  What you do is pointless.  If you don't conform to liberal ideals and policies, you are guilty ... of something.

Mark Shea demonstrates how this can be used for a host of issues.  In Mark's case, notice that he bases the bulk of his post, not on unpacking the details and numbers in order to explain why his opinions are right, but upon judging and accusing.  In fact, he spends little time saying anything about what he thinks should happen, other than you should follow the Church's teachings about helping the poor.  And so you should.

Mark doesn't argue for any particular policies or philosophies except to say which ones are wrong.  And those are wrong, not because of a particular set of stats that show they are ineffective, but because of the guilt of those who believe in them.  It doesn't matter if they actually think their ideas could help the poor.  It doesn't even matter if they, themselves, work for charity and actually help the poor.  They are wrong, per Mark, because they actually hate the poor and want them to starve and die.

How does he know this?  Easy.  Because they don't follow a particular political approach to economics.  That's all that's needed.   No real debate about the substance, or unpacking details, or any such thing.  Nope.  It's enough to know that, despite what they might say or do, their guilt is obvious due to their refusal to conform with only one particular set of political policies.

Same with racism and sexism.  Trying to discuss, debate, or unpack the facts and data about various issues pertaining to race or ethnicity or gender is pointless.  It's enough that you aren't liberal.  If not, then ears are closed, and charges of racism, sexism, or wanting poor people to starve will proceed directly.

When you're dealing with a movement that doesn't bother debating, but moves straight to the inquisition, bypassing evidence, and proclaiming guilt based on the temerity of disagreeing with one political philosophy, it's tough to debate.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Police shootings and crime

By the numbers.  Because of the big Starbucks kerfuffle that's dominating the news, and the underlying assumption that terror and oppression are the daily dose of events that Black Americans must endure, I thought I'd look at the issue that seems to have caused this sudden backlash against, well, everything American. That is the thing that started it, which was police shootings of unarmed blacks.  Here's where I looked (not including a few I didn't bother citing):
  1. From 2017, the number of Americans shot and killed by police, courtesy of The Washington Post.
  2. From 2016, the most recent take on race and homicides, courtesy of US News and World Report.
  3. Also from US News and World Report, a review of the drop in police killed in the line of duty. 
Here's what jumped out at me.  We hear all about cops killing unarmed blacks.  It's everywhere.  It's every day.  Commercials, PSAs, political messages, videos, and protests all insist this is a nightmare Black Americans live with everyday, knowing that around every corner and down every street is a cadre of cops just itching to drag them out of a car and put a round of bullets in them. It has come do justify the sensitivity that is quickly painting everything and all things in America's past as equal to Nazi.  It's helped make an issue at a local Starbucks become the biggest scandal since yesterday's Trump scandal.

And yet, according to the stats, a total of 68 unarmed people were shot and, sadly, killed in 2017. I must admit, that's quite a different story than the rather sensational headline suggests: "Nationwide, police shot and killed nearly 1000 people in 2017."  Wow.  That's a lot.  But that's everyone, including armed people, white and black, and anyone else who wasn't unarmed.

Now, for the record, that's 68 too many, though we don't know why they were shot or details of the cases.  Just because they are unarmed doesn't mean they didn't act armed, or threaten, or in some way indicate they were armed.  It's just 68 out of around 3000 shot, and 957 killed, who were unarmed.  The number of unarmed black men was 19 total.  So in 2017, out of a nation of 320 million, with 750,000 police with arresting powers, and out of around 20 million African American males, 19 were shot who were unarmed (without, again, knowing the details).

Forgive me, but I was under the impression it was a daily thing.  It was something that was happening by the hundreds, heck even the thousands.  I mean, 19 shot who are unarmed is, again, 19 too many, even if some of them provoked the police in other ways.  But it's 19.  Out of almost 20 million black men.

I do get the point about living in an oppressive society or one in which you are an oppressed minority.  I understand that just being an oppressed minority is enough, even if every day doesn't have millions of people being dragged off to gulags.  I get all that. But the numbers vs. the narrative just, to me at least, having said goodbye to our first black president and all, seemed out of wack.

Ah, but then they get to the point:
Black males accounted for 22 percent of all people shot and killed in 2017, yet they are 6 percent of the total population. White males accounted for 44 percent of all fatal police shootings, and Hispanic males accounted for 18 percent.
The point is, it might look like a small number, but it's the proportion that makes the difference.  Fair enough.  If it's all about the proportion, then let's look at another stat from the US News story on the subject: 
Among the roughly 6,000 cases in which the race of the victim and the offender were known, the number of blacks killed by blacks rose to 2,380 last year, an increase of about 8 percent from 2014.
and
The number of white people killed by other whites rose 3.5 percent to 2,574 victims in 2015.
So there are 6000 of the 13,455 homicide cases in which we have racial data on the victims and killers.  Out of those, 2,380 were blacks killed by blacks.  2,574 were whites killed by whites.

But let's apply the proportion rule.  When the number of black on black murders is brought  up, it's always - and I mean always - dismissed as merely the logical result of murders happening between people who know each other.  We kill who we love I guess.  But look at those numbers.  40% were homicides between blacks and blacks out of the 6000 total we know.  43% were white on white.  That means, blacks killing blacks were almost as many as whites killing whites, despite the much vaunted point that blacks make up - what was it? - a paltry 12% of the population.  

Am I the only one that looks at that and begins to think the big problem Black Americans have isn't cops killing unarmed blacks? 

Furthermore, we look at the 'myth' of blacks killing whites.  We hear all the time that this is a fear that has no basis in fact.  You might be shocked to find out that there were 500 cases in which a white victim was killed by a black assailant.  On the flip side, there were 229 blacks killed by whites.  According to the story, both of these marked a sizable leap in the numbers. 

But look again.  There were over twice as many whites killed by blacks as blacks killed by whites.  I have no clue what percentage of Americans are white, and George Zimmerman taught us that white can be as fluid as gender, but I'll bet it's more than 12%.  And yet, whites didn't even kill half as many blacks as blacks killed whites.  Again, think that all important proportion that has allowed 19 unarmed black men shot by cops to be elevated to the level of slavery, the Interment of Japanese Americans, and Jim Crow laws.  It's been so bad that the resulting avalanche has seen an almost overhauling of everything we've come to think about racial progress in America, if not America in general. 

It might also be worth noting that the amount of police killed in the line of duty dropped significantly last year after a disastrous year in 2016.  The number of police not only killed on duty, but purposefully targeted for assassination and murder, was staggering in that last year of the Obama administration.  Of course I've been told that more garbage collectors die on the job than cops are killed.  I'm sure the numbers can be crunched accordingly.

But it's worth noting that doing so relies on such things as proportions and keeping things in perspective.  That is, garbage collectors are far more likely to die on the job than cops, so don't get all upset about cops getting killed as if it's some big, constant thing.  And yet, far more cops are killed compared to blacks killed by cops.  In fact, assuming everyone in law enforcement, desk job or otherwise (1.1 million), they're still dying at a far greater percentage than blacks killed by cops, and that includes those killed by cops who were not unarmed but armed to the teeth. 

Now, math is not my strong suit, and stats even less so.  I'm sure a pro from Dover like Michael Flynn could crunch the numbers and make sense out of them.  And maybe I'm missing something that would help it all make sense, and validate the press's overwhelming focus on what would suggest is less of a danger than how many blacks likely die in the bathroom every year.  If I've missed something or made a mistake in the numbers, I'm willing to concede the point. 

But based on the numbers, if I correctly understand them, I see it this way.  If 100 people carried 200 sacks of potatoes up a hill within five minutes, and then 20 people carried 200 sacks of potatoes up the same hill in the same amount of time, we'd all be more than impressed with those 20 people.  That's quite an accomplishment.  Well, that seems to be the case in terms of violence within the black community.  A population barely 12% of America's total population is racking up homicide numbers that are on par with a demographic many times larger.  And the biggest group of victims of black violence are black.  And the biggest threat to blacks seem to be blacks.  Not whites.  Not cops.  In fact, in terms of just sheer numbers, you're twice as likely to be killed by a black if you're white than killed by a white if you're black.  

For me, given everything that is happening in terms of 'end white racist America' and 'we must do anything to save black America', it looks like the numbers just aren't adding up, at least with the issue that is supposed to be at the heart of the problem.  I mean, if it's really all about the proportions and percentages, it looks to me like black America does have a major problem in terms of violence and homicide, and virtually none of it has to do with anyone who is white or in law enforcement.   But I could be wrong. 

BTW, none of this is to say I know anything about the Starbucks issue.  If the Starbucks employee violated policy and the gentlemen involved did nothing wrong, then something should happen, though I don't know that shutting down 8000 stores is the answer.  But given the fact that everyone seems to be pointing to this canvas of terror that all blacks seem to live under, and that police shooting unarmed black men is the linchpin behind it all, I thought it was worth a second look. 

On the anniversary of Columbine

I have one question: Would gun control activists explain to me why guns are the problem when access to guns has always been there, but schools shootings haven't?

Simple stuff.  I get that the sudden preference for these nuclear machine guns that the press talks about is something worth looking at.  I'm willing to look at anything other than using gun violence to destroy my political opponents and abolishing the 2nd Amendment. Those are off the table.  Anything else, and I'm all ears. 

But I would like that first question to be answered.  Knowing that most school shootings involve guns that likely wouldn't be impacted by the legislation being focused on today, and most wouldn't have been stopped by the laws we always talk about (most, in fact, merely broke the existing laws as they are), it's worth getting to the core of the problem.  And the core suggests the problem is something other than guns.

If gun control activists insist by word or deed (and by deed, I mean the fact that we never seem to get around to talking about the other non-gun parts of the problems) that the problem is guns, then answer how guns are the problem when access to them has always been there, but school shootings have not.

Especially if our schools are going to keep  letting kids skip in order to advance one particular political narrative about the problem.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Starbucks indicts an entire race of people

So says this fellow (the video will not upload on blogger, so follow the link).

Again, I don't know the details.  I feel like someone defending the use of butter churns by saying I think we need to follow due process and make sure people have the chance to defend themselves, and that we should have evidence and proof, before we move to destroy someone's life.  That's just me.  But it seems like, almost overnight, I'm saying some strange and bizarre thing in a language nobody else has studied.

Perhaps the Starbucks employee is a racist, or at least has racist tendencies.  As a Christian, I don't subscribe to the notion that racism is the unforgivable sin.  Likewise, I don't see it as a blanket sin that is the same in every circumstance and defines the totality of an individual's identity.  It's a sin to be sure.  Racism is rank sin to the core, but like all things, there are mitigating factors.  At least from a Christian POV.  Naturally outside of the Christian fold there is no demand to forgive or forget, and vengeance and resentment are fine in some circumstances.

Be that as it may, Starbucks, the press, various groups and protesters all immediately moved from video to execution, bypassing any need to wait for evidence or another side of the story.  It looks like the fellows who were arrested were calm and polite enough.  I have no idea how the manager acted.  I don't know anything really.  I just know the result.  The result was a tidal wave of reaction predicated on the notion that white people are obviously, and black people must obviously be ... well, you know.

HT: John C. Wright.

Darn Global Warming

So yesterday, heading into late April, we woke up to this:


According to a local weatherman, that would be because of - you guessed it - Global Warming.  The fact that we've been pummeled by winter storm after winter storm throughout April, with record cold temperatures and endless snow and ice, mixed with spring storms and even summer temperatures is because of Global Warming.

Why does this remind me of the 90s when we were going after smoking?  Remember that?  Back then it seemed every day research found that smoking was the cause of - everything.  Every other day the news reported that smoking caused lung problems, heart problems, cognitive problems, emotional problems, losing your car keys, the fall of the Roman Empire, bad TV sitcoms.  Smoking caused everything!

That's what I think about now.  I haven't heard news about smoking causing tensions in the Korean Peninsula in years, but suddenly all the latest research shows that everything is the result of Global Warming.  Apparently that includes record freezes.  That is, of course, when weather proves something.  Sometimes what is going on outside of my window is merely weather and proves nothing.  Sometimes apparently it's proof of something to do with climate and proves everything.  But in all things, the important point is that everything proves Global Warming.

Since science is never wrong, and the majority consensus is always right, it must be true!

BTW, it's worth noting that in Central Ohio, the latest measurable snowfall was well into May.  And that was back in the early 1920s.  Apparently that would also prove Global Warming.  It would have to, if you think on it. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Humor, Chik Fil A and the Starbucks scandal

First, the humor.  Yep.  As I said, the national press and late night comedians are dutifully not reporting this as a sideline bit of humor.  Their job is to prop up, not critique, anything to the left of center that could make liberalism look bad.  And the sheer dumb of the editorial would make anything look bad. 

Instead, we're hearing daily and multiple stories about the Starbucks kerfuffle that, as of the latest, will result in 8000 Starbucks stores shutting down for a day to require mandatory diversity training.  I'll assume the racist store manager in question, who has long been let go, did it solely because the gentlemen were black.  I hope so.  The CEO said on CBS, when asked by Gayle King, that he was sure the reason the manager took the actions she did was because they were black.  I'll assume the manager had confessed.

Was the manager wrong?  Did she violate company policy?  Has that never happened to white people?  I have no idea.  I know there are restaurants that won't let you use the restroom if you're not a paying customer despite your race, but don't know if that's Starbuck's policy.  It's as if the press has felt no compunction to actually look at all sides of this story, or bother to present them.  As soon as the video went viral, guilt was assumed and, more importantly, acted upon.  Those stories I've found that look to the manger are simply going back through the manager's life and finding possible examples of racist thinking.

I'm not saying she wasn't guilty, didn't do everything wrong, didn't do it because they were black, or that Starbucks shouldn't have responded.  Again, there has been little coverage of the other side of the story to go on.  But 8000 stores closing for mandatory training? There is something behind, or under, it all that is ... creepy.  It puts me in mind of this:


Not that the themes are exactly the same.  But I feel there is something similar between what is going on in our society today, as shown in these tales of two restaurant chains and what Serling was warning us about in that episode (one of his most heavy handed episodes to be sure).   Perhaps it's because in a discussion about the Starbucks issue I heard someone use the term 'reeducation.'  Child of the Cold War that I am, that's bound to evoke a mental image on my part.

Remember Charlie Gard?

He was the young infant with a horrible set of health problems that all but guaranteed he was going to die, no matter what the treatment.  The parents, however, were willing to try almost anything, including appealing to experimental procedures that might help him.  The British hospital said no.  It decided the child would simply suffer for no go reason if they kept trying to save him, and refused to allow the boy to be taken.  Therefore, the parents lost their rights and were forced to watch their baby die.  The government and European Union, IIRC, also sided with the hospital.

New Prolife Catholics were split, not necessarily endorsing the hospital's decision, but also giving tremendous amounts of understanding and love for the hospital and the State in such a difficult situation.  Much scorn was heaped upon pro-lifers merely taking a stand for the baby.  Much debate ensued across the spectrum on just when parents have and don't have rights when it comes to the life of their kids.

Well, it didn't take long, but the new name to ponder is Alfie Evans.  A similar case where the baby is suffering from a horrible neurological disorder that is likely terminal.  Same situation, different players. This time it looks like Pope Francis has stepped in and stated his support for the parents.  With Charlie Gard, much was made about Pope Francis's initial response which some felt almost sided with the hospital, until it was later clarified.

We'll see.  I don't begrudge anyone in a situation like this, neither the parents nor the caretakers and those forced to wrestle with such decisions.  Nonetheless, knowing the tendency of human history to follow along trajectories, this one does not bode well if it keeps going where it seems heading.

It will be interesting to see if the New Prolife Christians bother to mention this, and if so, where they stand, since it's been so little time since the last unfortunate and unique case of parents being told they must watch their child die.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

You have to give women credit

They can say anything about women as first over and against men and we must accept it.  Even now, women are bypassing men in a growing list of categories in our modern society and there doesn't seem to be any concern at all.  It's like it's the way it is going to be.  Period.

Here, we're told why the first person on Mars should be a woman.  Think if a man said the first person on Mars should be a man.  Imagine the hell that would break loose.  But a woman says it and, well, it's just swell.

Thus says the BBC at least.


More fun laughing at the New Yorker's Chik Fil A hysterics meltdown

I've seen multiple jabs at this joke of a piece over the last few days.  None from the national press or late night comedians of course.  Perhaps they've joked about it, but I haven't heard.  My guess is, I won't hear.  Anything this stupid on the progressive side of the tracks is usually ignored by these various organs of liberal propaganda.  After all, how can we enforce the narrative that liberals are good and smart, while conservatives are evil and stupid, if something like this becomes known.

So it's been up to folks who recognize stupid when they see it to jump on the bandwagon, however small it is, and have fun at the author's expense. 

The latest is from John Sweeney over at The Federalist.  Not sure I agree with his 'conclusion', but it was another fun read.  It's sad that late night comedians are so slavishly enthralled by the political Left, or they wouldn't miss the chance to make a week's worth of jokes out of this editorial contribution to modern dumb.

Wading into ignorance

Willful or otherwise.

So Mark Shea posted the response from the Antiochian Orthodox Church to Trump's (and, it's worth noting, other countries') actions in Syria.  I wasn't going to bother, except I notice one of the commenters threw a barb at the Orthodox leaders.  Since I have been banned from Mark's sites, this is the best I can do to set the record somewhat straight, at least as far as I understand things.

I won't go into whether or not we should have launched these attacks.  Today it's almost impossible to know what is happening and who is right or wrong.  Nations appeared to be convinced that Syria had launched a chemical attack against its civilians.  Russia, the great threat to our nation since 2016, disagrees.  Or not.  I don't know.  But the countries that concluded Assad had used chemical weapons did what they felt they needed to do, and attacked Syria's capability for using chemical weapons on civilians.

Nonetheless, there is more to it than what Mark has posted.

Before the attack, the Antiochian Orthodox Church sent a form letter around to churches to be signed and sent to President Trump, asking him not to launch the attack.  Since my wife and kiddos go to an Antiochian Orthodox church, they received a copy of the letter.  Here it is:
Dear Mr. President:​​In this Easter season, I greet you with the words "Christ is risen!" 
As an Orthodox Christian, I stand united with my fellow parishioners, many of whom are Syrian and Arab Christians. As you assuredly know, any debilitating action against the Syrian Arab Republic will only enable the enemies of the United States and its allies to prevail amidst the chaos that has been slowly ending. Extremists and terrorists would undoubtedly step in as they did in Iraq, Egypt and Libya, and make a bad situation much worse. The small Christian community in Syria would suffer irreparable damage and death, much the way it did in Iraq. 
I also urge your Administration to fully investigate any claims of attacks within Syria and to properly identify their perpetrators so that the U.S. can avoid a wrong, unjust response. Therefore, I implore you not to bomb Syria, but rather to insist the Syrian government and U.S. allies bring lasting peace and healing to war-weary civilians.  
Yours in the Risen Christ,(Person's name, church, city)
Note the respect that is so lacking in Shea's treatment.

Here's the point as best as I can tell.  The reason they fear an assault on Assad is likely because, at the end of the day, they fear the toppling of the Assad regime.  Why would they fear that? Do they deny that Assad is a brutal dictator? No.  But it seems they would prefer a brutal dictator that brutalizes the people across the board, to a Muslim tyranny that singles out Christians in the same way that happens around the Islamic world.  We'll get to why in a minute.

From East to West, almost every Muslim majority nation treats religious minorities poorly.  In some cases minorities are mildly intimidated and harassed.  In others they are treated as second class citizens. In a few it can spiral into outright persecution and death. As a friend of mine from Nigeria said years ago, those who don't fear Islam don't live in the shadow of Islam.

The reason we don't hear this when the issue is discussed is that it flies in the face of American liberalism's take on the issue.  First, you'll note that almost no oppression or persecution of Christians in the world is brought up by America's progressive outlets unless they can somehow point the finger back at the US.  The fact is, Christians live in oppression and persecution around the world, in many places that have nothing to do with US policy.  There's almost something creepily wrong with people who only focus on human suffering that benefits a particular agenda.  But then, as Black Lives Matter and other recent Leftist movements have shown, we've become particularly adept at ending our concern for the sanctity of life when it no longer benefits the cause.

The other reason this is important, however, is that it destroys the 'Islam is the Religion of Peace' narrative.  This isn't to say all Muslims are murderers who are out to destroy the Church.  They're not.  Far from it.  Most Muslims are like most anyone.  Most are just trying to pay bills, raise kids, find the car keys and choose the best cable package.  But that's been the case throughout history.

What so often happens, however, is that those gentle 'most' people will be drawn into the currents of history that are going on outside their window.  Inevitably, 'most' become the foot soldiers for whatever power that rises and oppresses.  And for now, in the Islamic world, the best of Muslim majorities would barely pass the fundamentalist label here at home. That is the current of history going on outside their windows.

I think that is why most of the Syrians at my wife's church support - Assad.  The reason was given to me by a fellow I'll call Ned.  Ned explained that most of their friends back home are Muslim.  They get along well enough. But they know that, if the situation changes, those same friends could turn on them in a heartbeat.  They've already seen it with ISIS.  Not all ISIS fighters were born that way.  Many were just like the little Nazis in Germany.  Remember how I've pointed out the underlying theme of Universal's The Wolf Man (see here)? Remember how the point was that those murderous Nazis slaughtering Jews had, in many cases, grown up playing with those same Jews or going to movies with them or working next to them?  Same with ISIS.  Same with other Islamic terrorist organizations.  Many of those fellows were playmates with the same people they've spent the last few years slaughtering.

And I believe that's what they fear will happen if Assad is removed.  Just as it has happened in other parts of the Middle East.  They may not like a brutal dictator who will attack his own population, but they'll take that over an Islamic one that will zero in on them like a laser and move to terrorize them in the same way Christians are, to various levels, terrorized around the Islamic world.

Why?  Because they can't help but notice that, here at home, we don't seem to care about Christians oppressed or marginalized by Muslims unless we can score points against our own government.  At least with Assad there might be a push to step in and peacefully get him to behave himself.  With Assad, there could be hope that outside nations will pressure him or in some way get him to stop without turning the reigns over to an Islamic government.  Since it's not a Muslim majority causing us to focus on Muslim things, we can all be outraged and demand the world do something.

Let Muslims take over and begin oppressing Christians on their own?  Their guess seems to be that too many Americans and Europeans will turn a blind eye.  After all, that would destroy the 'Peaceful Muslims who are victims of evil Islamaphobic Christians' narrative that is so crucial to the modern Left.  If it becomes a case of calling out a Muslim majority, any hope of intervention to improve their situation might just fade away like wisps of PC narratives in the face of inconvenient truths. As one of them told me at a fellowship meal a year or so ago, for being so sensitive to things like America's past sins, we seem awfully tolerant of the world's current sins.

The fact that Christians in the Middle East might be willing to accept life under a brutal dictator, because they feel life under a brutal Islamic regime would be ignored by their brothers in Christ in America due to the lack of political capital that comes from calling out Islamic oppression, is quite damning if you think on it.  But it looks like that's the reputation we've help build over the years.  Well done us. Anyway, that's the part that Mark and his commenter failed to point out.  I might not have everything understood as accurately as those I've talked to might say, but I don't think I'm too far off the point.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Did Comey say what I think he said?

I'm not a lawyer, though my second oldest wants to be one.  So I guess that, plus episodes of Matlock I caught in a bar one night with the volume off, make me somewhat qualified. 

But did Comey say this:
“It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls.”
To my amateur Matlock ears, that sounds as if he was saying his decision making was based, not entirely on the law, but also on helping Hillary's inevitable presidency look good.  I mean, if it looks illegitimate because of some legal snafu, so be it.  It sure didn't hold people back when George W. Bush finally got the nomination in 2001.  No concerns about it making him look legitimate or not.  You did what you needed to do, looks be damned. 

I'm sorry, but apart from the fact that his book appears to show that Trump's childish, bratty and boorish ways are not confined to Trump, some of what he has said sounds like he was making decisions based on how it might or might not make Hillary look.

Forgive my legal ignorance, but isn't that wrong?  Is the FBI supposed to be about propping up or tearing down any president or presidential candidate?  I thought it was just about enforcing the law.  Silly old me.

RIP

Wow, two figures from my youth, that were seemingly everywhere back in the day, have passed. 

Harry Anderson, the magician who spent more than a few years acting, passed away at the age of 65.
R. Lee Ermey, old gunny and possibly the most famous on screen drill sergeant in movie history, also passed away.  Donald McClarey has a fine tribute here.

Both were iconic images for my generation.  Ermey, a marine vet in real life, came to embody that gruff, grizzly soldier wading into whatever problem he encountered with a club in hand and a sparkle in his eye.

Anderson was everyone's cool conman.  A magician by trade (and, some suggest, a conman to boot), he stumbled into acting and soon came to demonstrate that level of slick, sleight of hand with a warm heart that anyone might envy.

The funny thing about them both?  Nether were actors by first profession.  They had excelled in other arenas first.  They were not necessarily actors even when they were acting, but were other types who simply played variations of themselves, to a point.

They both stepped out of those confines.  For instance, Anderson played in the TV miniseries based on Stephen King's IT, and Ermey had a wonderful turn in the movie Dead Man Walking.

But usually they were variations of themselves.  In the hit and critically acclaimed series Night Court (a strange brew of a show to be sure), Anderson basically was Anderson, including his magic and his love of Mel Torme.

Because of that, you can't help but feel you got to know them more than most actors who play a variety of parts.  You feel you knew them.  And because they both made such a big impact on the pop culture of the day, it's like losing a couple of old friends.

Rest in peace friends, and my the perpetual light shine upon you both.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Kevin Williamson and the Thought Police

Courtesy of Jonah Goldberg.  Like Goldberg, I think the problem with this isn't what Williamson said or didn't say.  Obviously he was making a point about the legality of abortion.  If the man otherwise tends to disapprove of the death penalty, there's a large chance he was making a  broader point than merely advocating for hanging women who had abortions. 

But this is today.  Now.  The only point of discourse is to plant a flag on your side and destroy the other.  Anything the other says, by definition of being the other, means we already have Nazi/Hitler.  And we all know Nazi/Hitler must be destroyed.

And so it is, but in typical form, it is done inconsistently.  Those advocating for the Left can say, well, anything.  At least you can say anything that doesn't challenge the dictates of political correctness, which is just a pithy way of saying liberal values.  Otherwise, it's blank check.  Call Sarah Palin a c[whoops]t and it's fine and dandy, if not worthy of polite disagreement.  Rush Limbaugh makes an off color dig at Sandra Fluke, and it's weeks of outrage, with journalists calling for his show to be removed.

I think the best observation in the entire piece comes here:

The left plays by new rules. The right still plays by the old rules. The left laughs at us for it — but also demands that we keep to that rulebook. They don’t even bother to cheat. They proclaim outright that “these rules don’t apply to our side.”
Yep.  I've said the Left cheats.  But I was wrong.  It passed the point of cheating years - decades - ago.  It hasn't needed to cheat for some time.  It now can say it has no need to cheat, since rules simply don't apply.  Rules only matter when it benefits the Left. 

True, inconsistency in itself is not necessarily unique to the Left, or any particular side.  But because of the monopoly of ideals that the Left has in popular culture, education and journalism, it can play this way without challenge.  In fact, those same institutions are more than happy to use their craft to support the Left's claim that rules only apply to everyone else. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Chik Fil A phobia sweeps America

At least New York City.  At least among the ever close minded and zealous Left.  Fr. Longenecker enjoys a good laugh at this screed against those who fail to conform to that New York state of mind.

The problem is, the joke is on us and our posterity as it is this radical leftism that is seizing the heart and soul of our nation.  Really.  With almost pride, more and more on the Left are convincing Americans that we'd be a better nation without all this free speech and liberty rubbish.

Update: Rod Dreher has fun with this laughable thing as well.  He does, however, see the dark side of it, and states it in no uncertain terms:
this Piepenbring piece is not only an example of laughable cosmopolitan hickishness, it is rank anti-Christian bigotry.
FWIW, I had no idea that Mayor de Blasio proposed boycotting Chik Fil A.  I guess that dream liberals have of making it illegal to not be liberal is still on the march.  Liberal tolerance.  That's like saying Kosher Ham.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Where is the Francis effect?

One of the great promises of the Pope Francis era was that his pardon of liberalism's sins, his open condemnation of more conservative and traditional expressions of Catholic and Christian faith, and his general dismissal of the Church's trappings would endear him to new converts and revitalize those Catholics long isolated by the American Conservative Catholic Church.  Like the promise that Gene Robinson would usher in a floodgate of new Episcopalians, so Francis would see endless busloads of eager disciples clambering to reignite their Catholic faith walk.

Except, just like Robinson's case, it hasn't.  In fact, after a period in which the Church's long decline in America seemed to be leveling out, it looks like the number of Catholics attending Mass has once again started the long trail downward, at least since 2014.  Rod Dreher has the scuttlebutt, including not only what it might mean, but what it likely doesn't mean.

I'm in no way suggesting Francis is the reason for such a decline one way or another.  And it isn't as if Catholics alone aware watching their numbers drop within this civilization that is itself on the road to oblivion.  It is to say that the boasts of Pope Francis's most fanatical devotees, that his Twitter era demeanor and manner and progressive sympathies were bringing a grand, new reformation and revitalizing among the Faithful, seems to have been fanciful dreaming.  They will have to find other arguments to defend the manners of Pope Francis than simply 'look at the numbers for proof!'.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Mark Shea is back and running

After a brief Easter hiatus, Mark is back advocating for the Democratic Party by calling for the extermination of the GOP.

Remember this freak show of a party in November and destroy it at the polls.  Keep destroying it every two years until nothing of this monstrous pack of lying predators remains.

That's fine.  He's hardly a Catholic apologist at this point, but a full blown political activist for the Democrats.  I personally have no love for the Republican party, and didn't vote for Trump. Hence the low number of posts defending them. Nevertheless, it would be a cold day in Hell before I'd turn and become a shill for the party that has made the Culture of Death a major policy platform, and has joined with forces that have put the Christian faithful in the cross-hairs.

I've been tough on Mark for his obvious partisanship, but in fairness, he's hardly alone. Under Pope Francis, the sins of the Left have become occasions for mercy, forgiveness, and fuggedaboutit.  Pope Francis is not the only one.  As I said yesterday, Russ Moore has been taking the SBC to that level of denouncing the traditional Christian experience of the West and the heritage of the United States, while embracing the priorities and values of the political Left as essential for the practicing Christian.

Those sins of the Left?  Technically sins, they nonetheless hardly matter.  You shouldn't have abortions or indulge in gay sex, but those are nothing that should come between the pagan, the heathen, the heretic and the new emergent Christian.

The sins of the Right?  Things such as the free market, leaning on traditional values, practicing the old values of Christianity once understood?  Ah, there the wrath of God and the fires of Hell do yawn.  Whether because racists, or greedy, or pharisees, fundamentalists, rigidly intolerant, or whatever, that is where the real sin is.  That is where the evil and the cause of our modern woes can be traced.  That is where the condemnation deserves to be.  The traditionalist and the conservative, they are the ones keeping evil alive and threatening the new world order with their religious charades and bigoted leanings. I suppose that's one way to stay on the right side of the barbed wire should it come to that.

For the record, I don't know anything Kevin Williamson.  I heard on the news there was some kerfuffle because The Atlantic hired some non-liberal for one of its departments.  You can't have that.  Given that in the whole interview he says he's squeamish about capital punishment in general, my guess is he's making some broader point.  But this is now, today.  Discussion exists to be censored or used to destroy the non-conformer.  We have no room for non-conformers who try to appeal to various rhetorical tricks or nuance for unpacking complex issues.

I certainly don't support hanging women who've had abortions.  I don't support hanging anyone. But I subscribe to the old notion, once advocated rather broadly by 'pro-life' Christians, that the laws of a nation point to the heart of a nation.  As long as abortion is legal, it says something about our nation's heart and soul.  And despite the growing notion that we're past nations anyway, and are moving toward some giant global government utopia, as of now we're still confined to national identities.  Somehow, making abortion illegal still means something because the heart and soul of our nation means something.  And if it's illegal, then it should mean something for those who break laws, since laws and right and wrong should mean something, too.  But that's just me.

UPDATE: Wow.  I mean, wow.  Mark's blog has become a haven for all who would advocate for the manifold sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance that are embraced and advocated by the modern Left.  Even his old friend Zippy Catholic didn't stand a chance, being trashed and hashed as Mark stood back and allowed it to happen, rather than dare to call out his multiple pro-feminist, abortion, gay marriage, anti-Catholic/Christian faithful.