Friday, February 26, 2016

Happy 23rd Anniversary to the world’s cutest wife

Thanks for being with me through all the years of crazy.  When I consider your amazing patience with me, I think of nothing so much as this commercial:

I'll be pretty much gone for the rest of the month.  Anniversary duties and whatnot.  Thanks for visiting, I've loved the feedback, emails and comments.  They make me smarter, and sometimes a bit more humble, for the insights.  I'll be back on Tuesday.  God bless, and TTFN.

Critiquing Pope Francis

Is being discussed over at the always interesting The American Catholic.  Donald McClarey points to Amy Welborn, one of the pioneers of the Catholic Blogosphere Apologetics World.  She was there before I ever stumbled by.  Since Mark Shea gave her more than a few thumbs up, and his was the first Catholic Blog (in fact, first Blog) I ever visited or commented on, that was enough for me.  I have always found her writings to be of a sincere kind, the approach one takes when trying to sort things out or open up for real dialogue.

Unfortunately, for reasons not altogether clear to me, the pontificate of Pope Francis seems to have been one big fistfight.  I do think part of it is his style.  But I can't blame all of it on that.  After all, people don't have to duke it out just because the pope communicates in a certain way.  But even though I've only been Catholic for 10 years, and have only been looking into the Church for about 16 or 17 years, this is about as divisive and partisan as I've witnessed.

I know, Jesus came to bring a sword as much as peace on earth.  But that's Jesus.  There's a certain hubris attached to the idea  that I can finally go to war against those Catholics over there who have always been wrong for wanting to go to war against those other Catholics over there.  Something just ain't right. 

So Amy Welborn brings a great sense of balance and honesty when looking at how to approach the issue of not always agreeing with the current pope.  It's more than worth the read.  Follow the links.  Sit back.  Know that if you have concerns you're not automatically a pathetic Catholic who doesn't love Jesus.  Know that there is a right way and a wrong way to approach disagreements, as well as disagreements with those who disagree.  On that note, kudos to Andrew Pardue for some excellent insights regarding why Pope Francis might be misunderstood more than just to blame.  Not only good insights, but presented in a way that reminds us we're all in this together.

It's Friday Politics!

It's Friday and I can't help but notice I've mostly focused on Politics as opposed to, well, anything else.  Oh well.  Politics is a big thing, and I'm too much of a team player to run to the hills and let the world blow itself up.  Not that avoiding belonging to parties is itself a problem.  It isn't.  There can be very noble and virtuous reasons to avoid party affiliation.  There can also be nasty ones.  Just like belonging to a party.  Like anything, it's what's in our minds and hearts that ultimately determines the right or wrong of belonging or not belonging.

So it's politics Friday.  Someday I might make Fridays movie review day.  I don't know.  But today, especially after last night's debate, I have to say goodbye to Kasich.  Don't get me wrong.  I adore Kasich.  I think he is a fine man, and a good politician, and he has been a good governor.  I've followed him ever since he came and spoke at our high school graduation when I was a freshman (I was in the concert band, so I attended every graduation).  That impressed me.  We were a small farming school with about 400 kids in the entire school. 

So I was proud to watch him grow over the years.  I was proud of him in the 90s.  I supported his early bid in 2000.  That is why I joined the Republican Party, to support him.  I never was a fan of Bush, and felt Bush was merely an establishment puppet plowing forward on the weight of his fame and fortune.  I liked Kasich on Fox, because he was a breath of fresh air in the growing rancor and childish scream-fests that came to define cable news.

And as a governor, he's done well.  Not everything I would have liked, but I'm from old school parents who don't think a candidate has to be all about me.  Things are better in Ohio.  Though I must admit, the health care reform he keeps mentioning has either not been put into motion yet (which means he can't say if it will succeed), or it has been put into effect and hasn't done a damn thing to help my family.  Either way, I don't feel the love when I hear him talk about how he will solve the problem. 

But his answer to the question of religious liberty last night simply cemented my biggest concern I've had for Kasich since I first heard the question posed.  In short, it was nothing other than 'liberalism is now the law of the land, deal with it.'  Well John, that's not what I want.  The Left has made it clear it doesn't have a shred of desire to tolerate non-conformity.  Even without total power and control, it is already making it nigh on impossible to function in our society without keeping any non-liberal views in the closet.  And that's without total power.  By your answer Mr. Kasich, there is no reason to believe you will thwart the juggernaut.  If liberals manage to make it a crime to be non-liberal, you'll merely throw up your hands and say 'it's the law of the land.'

If that's how you approach something as fundamental as the First Amendment, then how in the hell am I supposed to think you'll approach anything else that way?  How will you deal with ISIS? With Putin?  With China?  I love that fact that you are a wonderful person.  I love that you have turned your campaign into the Hug Crusade.  I really do.  I think seeing a major national figure concerning yourself with the day to day lives of people is a wonderful thing.  I admire you, and hope you continue your term as governor.  But I simply can't support a person who is willing to say, "Dave, I understand you're not a liberal and it's now illegal to not be liberal, but you're just going to have to accept it and move on."  Nope.  Not yet.  The battle doesn't have to be lost just yet.

Well done Knights of Columbus

It looks like there is growing pressure on, among other places, our State Department to recognize the deliberate slaughter of Christians as a genocide.  The Knights of Columbus is behind the push to get us to admit Genocide is not purely a European and American phenomenon.  It's about freaking time.

Rubio is right and the Washington Post is guilty

As is the rest of the media.  I've followed politics since 1980.  No single candidate has ever had this disproportionate level of coverage.  I don't have the numbers, but it wouldn't surprise me if he has received more press time than all of the other candidates in both parties combined.  CNN has been particularly egregious, making sure almost 30% or more of its daily programming is dedicated to giving Trump a platform.

Why?  I can't really say.  Ulterior motives are always difficult since people typically don't admit to them.  But you could look more foolish than suggesting that the media is doing this on purpose because it believes Trump is their only hope to keep liberalism alive in the White House.  After all, despite the media's best efforts, most Americans know our country is in dire straights.  Most know that the international scene is looking bleak, and apart from diehard partisans, it isn't all Bush's fault.  Most non-liberals, even if they aren't conservative, are alarmed at the erosion of liberties and assaults on freedom from the federal level.  So despite the media's 'everything is awesome!' narrative, a Democrat is going to have an uphill battle against almost any credible candidate.  Especially when choice the Democrats have given is between a 74 year old culture-of-death Socialist Santa Clause and a corruption laden candidate with more baggage than a Disney Cruise liner. 

So yeah.  Just like the media elevated Romney in 2012, it looks a lot like it's doing its best for Trump.  The reasons might be different than I think, but I have a feeling I'm not too far off the mark. And neither is Rubio.  And those who invoke the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia defense and declare the media spot on neutral and perfect about everything except what they value, I'm afraid it's not likely to answer fact of the media's coverage improprieties any better.

Speaking of Donald Trump

My boys, in the usual awesome way, summed up the entire disaster: Trump is the candidate that the Facebook generation deserves.  Ouch.  They meant that if you visit Facebook - a page dedicated to issues - what do you see?   Trump.  Trump style debate that is.  Petty insults, slander, false accusations.  Often the substance isn't there.  Inconsistent stances on issues. Internet memes replace actual dialogue.  Statements are gleaned from partisan sources, and actual wrestling with the facts is mocked and derided.  So why the hell would we be shocked that Trump is where he is? 

I thought of that as I read this article over at Sardonic Ex Curia.  BTW, you should visit the website.  It has more weight in its pinky than my blog can muster in a month.  But don't stop coming to my blog. :)

The part about Trump as the fruit of our media and entertainment saturated culture hits the nail on the head.  Trump is a master manipulator of this most important driving force of American life called entertainment.  It should give us pause about how much time we spend wanting to be entertained, at least by an industry built on entertaining us on its terms.

Nonetheless, a great read.  There are several things to ponder in that article, not the least of which is the Christian element of Trump's base.  Even conservatives I can understand (to a point).   Not all conservatives care a lick about social or moral issues.  But Evangelical Christians? 

I had to chuckle at the opening suggestion about moving out into the woods.  My wife has frequently said she wishes she could just move away from it all.  And given the last few months, I've been inclined to agree. Goat farms and all. 

The sudden Conservative love affair with Bernie Sanders

I know we've pointed out that Mark Shea and other Catholic liberals support Bernie Sanders.  Oh, they might not vote for him.  The Internet gave a platform to a disproportion number of people who are proud of their former status of high school outcasts rolling their percentage dice in the hopes of nabbing that +5 Holy Avenger.  They just follow through as an adult: happy to heap opinions and condemnations on the team with no feeling of obligation to actually join the team.  A generation of arm chair quarterbacks to be sure.  And the perfect way to support something while at the same time proudly washing your hands of any responsibility for having supported it.

But over and over, I see a growing number of self-proclaimed conservatives not in that camp throwing their hat into the Bernie Sanders ring.  It's true, the GOP hasn't given them much.  Kasich has potential, but his nice-guy John persona, and his willingness to throw up his hands and say 'oh well, the Left won again, that's good enough for me!' doesn't bode well for those who think moral issues are actually important.  And after nine months of Mr. "Don't attack others", he let's fly on - who else? - Marco Rubio!

Rubio seems to be the hopeful, but there is still that feeling he's a lightweight.  In the end, a sharp, fast thinking and resolute lightweight, but a lightweight nonetheless.  Carson is out.  Cruz?  The guy just grates on everyone's nerves, and seems to mistake the fact that his manner and style are the reason some are off put by him.  Instead, he imagines it's because he's the only politician standing on principles.  No, it's because he comes off as a giant fingernail on the debate chalkboard. 

And then there is Trump.  The discount Mussolini of the election cycle.  He cares not what he says.  He lies.  He contradicts himself.  He will insist he didn't say something he said five minutes earlier. He's petty.  He's childish.  He's a five year old brat in a $5000.00 business suit.  He embodies almost everything conservatives and Christians have ever opposed.  And there is nothing in the universe to suggest he won't throw all his promises out the window if elected and jump into bed with the side he has consistently supported over the decades and up until recently. 

So I get that, for Conservatives, there isn't much hope.  But here's the thing.  Bernie represents everything Conservatives and orthodox Christians have stood against every bit as much as Trump.  His constant promise of everything free sounds nice, but when has that ever worked?  His moral stances are straight out of the pits of hell.  Not only does he give full carte blanche to the sex and drugs culture in the era of 30 million dead from AIDS, but he supports abortion as fully as you can support abortion.  From conception until you squeak out the birth canal, by Bernie's votes you are a marked person.  And that doesn't count his support for assisted suicide.  For the record, I have found nothing about his support for euthanasia as practiced in some European countries.  But apart from that, there is nothing about Sanders that isn't the living, breathing embodiment of the Culture of Death that Conservatives once decried.

In addition, there is the fact that he says he's a Socialist.  I know, I know.  Suddenly nobody seems to know what Socialism really is.  Nobody knows if it's ever been tried.  Nobody quite knows if there are any countries in Europe that are really Socialist.  And yet, strangely, we seem to have no end of examples people want to point to prove how awesome Socialism is.  Select examples to be sure, but examples nonetheless. 

But like I said the other day, when did Socialism become all hunky-dory anyway?  Sure, I don't see European examples rallying behind dictators and arming the next panzer divisions.  But was WWII such an overwhelming force of the last century that we've come to believe the only threat to goodness and life and the future is a European dictator building concentration camps and lining up panzer divisions?  Couldn't there be other dangers?  Other evils?  Other sins, many of which seem almost to walk hand in hand with the various Socialist ideals of Europe that Americans love to point to?  I'm not arguing cause and effect.  I merely point out that most Socialist countries trotted out at proof of Socialism's awesomeness seem to have an internal rot that isn't difficult to notice.  It's bad enough to point to a tree that looks outwardly healthy but is rotten inside.  It's worse when I can see the rot inside and we insist it's no big deal.

Despite it all, the rush to Sanders is increasing.  Some of it appears to be that libertarian branch of Conservatism that has always flirted with isolationism as the only proper course of action.  I realize that there isn't a libertarian out there who seems to admit to isolationism.  But when you look at what they're saying - deal with people economically until things get blown halfway to hell, then pull back and wait for the storm to pass - that's isolationism.  Not only was that approach once condemned by both liberal and conservative Christians, we have to admit that if it didn't work in the era of Orphan Annie and Glenn Miller, it probably won't work in the era of Lady Gaga and Modern Family.

Apart from that, I don't know. What is going on here?  Why are so many "Conservatives" either implicitly supporting Bernie in all but votes, or actually diving head first and supporting him?  The question is not rhetorical.  I don't have an answer.  Without diving into the world of judgmentalism, I can't really account for it.  I know that our country is in dire straights, despite what the Propaganda Ministry says.  I understand that the world is changing, and much of it doesn't appear to be for the better.  I know that we're watching a worldview we once assumed to be true crumble before our eyes.  I got it.  But to suddenly take all of those things that were the non-negotiables, the difference between Heaven and Hell, the very essence of Life and Death, and throw them out the window?  Act as if it no longer matters?  If so, then what have we to say to all of those in the past who, when faced with difficult times, followed the worst solutions based on the most evil premises simply because, in the end, at least they got the trains to run on time?

Thursday, February 25, 2016


An isolated incident

Which means little and says even less about Islam.

An incident that might be based on bigotry and hate which is all too common in America. Which goes to show why it's important for us to combat racism and Islamaphobia in America.

And that, kiddies, is how we do it.  No matter how many stories across the Islamic world of beheadings, imprisonments, executions, oppression - it matters not.  Those are never linked to Islam.  You ever notice that?  Nobody writing such a story goes onto say 'Gee, seems there are stories like that every day from all over the world.  Maybe there's a link.'  Nope.  When they are reported - and they are - they get the one-off treatment.  Here's a story.  Here's what happened.  Perhaps there will be follow up.

But let a single incident that might or might not be Islamaphobia happen in America, and you can bet several days of discussion over how racism and bigotry impact Muslims in America.  If there is actual violence against a Muslim, expect a full week.  Expect religious leaders to denounce it.  Expect our political leaders, such as President Obama, to come out and condemn the tide of racism in America.  Expect specials reminding us of slavery, racism, the Trail of Tears.

That's how it's done.  That's why I wrote what I wrote here.  If we value anything about America, and aren't prepared to grovel before the Islamic state, then we had best start getting our perspectives in order.  Not that we should ignore anti-Islamic bigotry.  Nor should we make stories around the world bigger than they are.  But at least some similarity in how they are covered would go nicely toward convincing people that we're not being fed a lie, or worse, an excuse to surrender and submit to the religion based upon submission.

Who says our education system is broken

It actually works like a charm.  John C. Wright linked to this wonderful post by Patrick Deneen at Notre Dame.  I won't comment, as my comments would get in the way.  I will say I was able to answer, or answer yes, to all but a couple of his questions.  In fairness to Mr. Wright, it was Federalist 10 that did me in. 

The American Conservative hearts Bernie Sanders

Yep.  At least in terms of Foreign Policy. Apparently Bernie's approach to foreign policy is quite the solution to our problems.  Thus says The American Conservative.  The overall report card has one underlying theme: Isolation and work with the status quo.  Given that things are blowing themselves halfway to hell in the world, I'm willing to concede that our past approaches haven't worked, but don't see just hoping that everything in the world solves itself is the way to go.  If Isolationism didn't work in the 1930s, my bet is it won't work in the 2010s.  Though it's worth noting that for The American Conservative, there seems to be few politicians today more worthy of respect and possibly outright adoration than pro-Culture of Death Liberal Socialist Bernie Sanders (who apparently isn't a socialist despite what he thinks).  So go figure.


Financially capitalizing on the legacy of  Communism.  The story is OK, but the headline is worth its weight in gold.

When did Socialism become the Good News?

The Federalist takes a stab.  I don't know how accurate the article is.  But it can't be missed that in only a few years, Socialism went from something decried by the Catholic Church and shunned by most Americans to the hippest trend for millennials and the approach to social and economic problems that the Church endorses in all but official seal. 

Why?  Not sure.  Part of it is seeing things as black and white.  America is a Capitalist society.  Conservatives are Capitalists.  Bush was a Republican.  That must mean Capitalism was running the show when the economy tanked.  Therefore Socialism must be OK.  Or something like it. That's about the level of debate one sees in the modern era of Social Media.

Plus, liberals have long painted Europe as the society that even God can't beat in its awesomeness.  And since Europe is to some degree or another socialist, at least in desire if not in actual practice, it stands to reason that Socialism must be awesome as well.

In addition, we have to admit that the old Free Market has seen its share of abuse.  Out of the anti-liberal conservative movement arose a group of voices who embrace what can only be described as Darwinian Capitalism.  That is, survival of the richest.  If you don't like your lot in life, then go out and get tons of money.  If you don't, you deserve what you get.  And as a growing number of Americans fill the category of 'have nots', expect them to cool toward such an explanation of what Capitalism is all about.

And, of course, Socialism has been beloved of the Left for generations, and after decades of schools, colleges, movies, television, news, books, articles, and sermons touting the glories of Socialism and pointing out that the early Church was basically a Socialist wonderland, it's not hard to see why it's become the latest, hippest thing.

The Church's 180 on this is based on the idea that modern Democratic Socialism is no problem, it's only those mean old Socialist countries of the 20th century who gave birth to all those gulags and gas chambers that were bad.  Apparently, gas chambers, gulags and panzer divisions are the only things that can compromise the moral uprightness of Socialism.  Countries that seem overwhelmingly dedicated to abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, gay sex, the dissolution of marriage, dugs and debauchery in the era of 30 million dead from AIDS and assaults on religious liberty are no big deal.  In fact, Conservatives with their notions of salvation through Christ, the exclusivity of the Gospel, and the belief in personal responsibility and a call for the freedom to find our own paths in life are now the ones who are suspect.

Again, just why the Church has jumped on this bandwagon I don't know.  I can get why millennials are into it.  It's what they've heard.  It's almost all they've heard.  It's like being surprised that kids growing up in the 40s thought Japan was a bad country. That's all they heard.  Same here.  But why the Church has decided that those who support free market Capitalism in a free country dedicated to the ancient belief of God and His moral commandments are the baddies, and those committed to destroying the Gospel in a frenzy of decadence, debauchery, tyranny and even genocide are OK because they're Socialists, I have not one clue.


And amen.  I understand the difficulty of living in a fish bowl.  That's what pastors do.  Even on a microscopic scale like I did in my smallish congregations.  I can't imagine what it is like for the pope.  So I know it takes nothing at all for someone to be bothered by something.  Someone to hear something wrong.  Someone to take offense at an imagined slight.  I understand.

Nonetheless, there are times when you also have to evaluate your approach to things.  If what you are doing causes no end of problems, then it is time to stop.  So having these inflight, off the cuff interviews that Pope Francis seems to love needs to come to an end.

Amen.  If you think about it, probably half of the uproar and misunderstandings have arisen from these.  Assuming that they have been interpreted incorrectly, these are where people have gotten the idea that sin is no longer an issue unless you are a Capitalist or a Conservative.  Otherwise, indulge in all the sex and paganism and hedonism you ever wanted, and God just loves. 

Not that Pope Francis actually said it, or even came close to meaing it.  But his shoot from the hip style, seen most clearly in his impromptu interviews during flights, leaves so much room for vagueness and unclarity that you literaelly have people quoating these more than anything else to buttress the idea that Pope Francis says Catholic is passé.

Of course there is the greater point of Pope Francis weighing in on anything and everything under the sun.  I'll leave that to folks with more experience studying just what popes do and don't do when it comes to commenting.  I just know if he wants to comment on everything from the proper color of cocker spaniels to the plight of Tibet, he needs to be more cautious, and he certainly needs to do it in a setting more controlled than the chaos and turmoil of a media packed airline cabin.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

It should be noted

That according to this article at least, not one time did Pope Francis link practicing what you preach to what political or economic philosophies you support or subscribe to.  In fact, just the opposite.  He seems to be saying our pathway to holiness depends largely on what we do, as opposed to, say, how we vote or what economic theory we prefer.  Oh, you can prefer them, don't get me wrong.  If you think Democratic Socialism is all that and a bag of chips, have at it.  Wade into the discussion.  Let's talk! 

But there has been a sudden leap forward, over a few vital steps, suggesting that if you don't follow a Socialist model, or at least one centered on raising taxes to fund government programs, then you hate the poor and are likely not a good Christian - if one at all.  So unless there is a big part of his message missing, please cease and desist using the pope as a Francis shaped cudgel with which to bludgeon those who don't vote the way you vote.  Salvation is about the cup of cold water, or, dare I say, the bake sale.  The political positions we hold come next, after the charity and good works we've actually done. 

Over at The American Catholic

Paul Zummo reflects on a Rubio nomination.  I must confess that he makes some good points.  I like Rubio, and I think he is a good man.  Though the lure of playing politics is ever the temptation in Washington.  Nonetheless, a good man and a decent candidate.  But I just don't think this is his time.  Four or eight years from now, all things equal?  Sure.  But I'm not convinced that 2016 is the time.  Just like 1976 wasn't the time of Reagan.  The country needed to bake under the heat of Carter's dismal presidency for four years to prepare the Reagan Era's success.  Maybe I'm wrong, but that's my take on Rubio.

The Daily Caller takes on Pope Francis

And actually makes a few decent points.  We'll gloss over the notion that when Jesus said 'nations' in the Great Commission, He had in mind the concept of nations as we understand the term today.  Obviously not.  But the greater point is this growing notion that our eternal destinies seem tied only to Matthew 25 and nothing else.  Not only that, but increasingly its seems as though they are tied to the idea that Matthew 25 can only be interpreted a single way, primarily through the prism of Western Liberal Socialism and the political policies of the Secular Left. 

The article points out that the countries these immigrants are fleeing are Catholic and almost entirely of the same socialist model that Pope Francis seems to prefer.  I mean, could it be that as nice as the Socialist utopia looks on paper, it doesn't really work?  I know, I know.  There are some European countries that have embraced varying levels of a Socialist model, and they are doing quite nicely.  Assuming you don't think secularized nations of unlimited sexual immorality and culture of death that is aborting their nations out of existence to be a bad thing.  But perhaps those traits aren't linked.  Nonetheless, you must admit that the track record of socialism, especially in Central and South America, leaves a lot to be desired.

But another problem touched on, somewhat loosely in the article, is this notion that Christianity depends on building bridges, not walls.  As I said earlier, Pope Francis seemed to give the go ahead for fighting ISIS by military means.  He certainly didn't seem to be building bridges to ISIS.  Is that OK?  If so, then when exactly does not building a bridge jeopardize your eternal soul (assuming that not being a Christian today has any bearing on your eternal soul)? And when is it OK?  If my soul and my relationship to God depend on it, I want some blueprints or at least few details.

The problems with Pope Francis' answer to the question are legion, for they are many.  The more you begin to unpack the answer, even if trying to give the benefit of several doubts to Pope Francis, you begin running into problems.  And as Pope, the purpose is to lead, not confuse.  As for the old argument that Jesus spoke in parables, so the Pope can as well?  Yeah.  Jesus was Jesus.  He had a little more insight into things.  Assuming we don't want to live up to the stereotype that Catholics think Popes are God, it would do us well not to excuse the Pope's occasional blunders by appealing to the notion that the Pope might be equal to God, so that gets him off the hook.

It would be funny

If it wasn't true. 
If you think about it, each one of these cases has happened at least once.  Or at least there has been a ruling against each one of these.  That shows just how far those who would value traditions have come in their losses to the progressive juggernaut. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A forgotten anniversary

From a forgotten time

Thanks fellows.  We hope we don't let you down.

When bombing civilians and lying became no big deal

As Democratic Socialism and the political policies of the Left assume the place of True Gospel, it shouldn't be surprising that we're seeing a shift in priorities over just what constitutes the difference between life and good and death and evil. 

So we have Richard Nixon, long reviled as one of our worst presidents. Especially by liberals and Democrats.  Despised for his bombing campaign.  Derided for his corruption and lies.   But now, a pretty awesome president!  Ah, the good old days.  And why?  Because it turns out he was liberal, and what's more, he endorsed economic policies more in line with the modern Democratic yearning for Socialism.  Read the always reliable Internet Meme here.

Apparently that'll do it.  Bomb citizens?  Lie?  No biggie.  As long as you accept the policies of the Left, which alone will taketh away the sins of the world.  I guess.

The question soon has to be asked.

Dear Bishop McElroy

Please stop it.  Please stop joining with this incessant pounding, hashing, trashing and smashing of America as this increasingly Islamaphobic nation.  Try asking why there is an uptick in Islamaphobia.  Why does Donald Trump have the support he has?  Because there are Americans who are tired of being told that one extreme case of violence against Muslims defines our entire country, while tens of thousands of cases of violence by Muslims proves nothing about this religion of Peace. 

They're sick of being told that 300 million Americans exercising restraint in the face of attacks and killings and terrorist strikes means nothing at all, while a single Muslim can do a wonderful thing and it just goes to show how awesome 1.6 billion Muslims are. 

They're sick of being told, whenever scrutiny does come to the Islamic world's actual treatment of Christians through the ages, that America nuked Hiroshima, the Crusades, the Inquisition, Salem, and Japanese (but not Italian or German) internment camps. 

Why are Americans becoming more anti-Muslim?  Because there is a growing segment of America that no longer believes any amount of restraint and tolerance will change the narrative that America alone is the source of evil and suffering in the world because it's an evil, bigoted nation.  And furthermore, no amount of oppression, terror, killings or apathy toward the plight of the West by Muslims will convince people that Islam is anything other than our loving brother coequal with the Gospel.

You want to put an end to Islamaphobia, start by challenging the narrative, not by endorsing it. 


I can sympathize. Not so much with the truck driver, who had no reason to try to beat the train.  But with the engineer.  As I said, my Dad was an engineer.  First the Erie Railroad, then the Erie Lackawanna, and finally Conrail.  He started in the days of steam locomotives.  Unlike most, however, he was not nostalgic for the glory days of steam.  They were noisy, hot, and dangerous.  He was a fireman back when that meant shoveling tons of coal every day, straddling the engine and the tender, and looking down at the rails passing 70 mph underneath.  Exposed to cold, rain, snow and heat, he was happy to see diesels appear.

One thing that he never got over, though, was the constant stream of people who would try to beat him as he came down the tracks.  Gasoline trucks were what he, and the family, feared most.  Most other vehicles weren't much of a problem, though a shard of metal wedged just right between the wheels and rail could cause a derailment.  That's why sometimes a train can hit a car and still derail, and another times it can hit a tank and barely get a scratch.

Most who raced the trains, of course, made it.  But some didn't.  One time he made two trips in one week and hit four different people.  One was a suicide.  Two others were cars.  There were no other fatalities.  And one was just down the street from our house.  That day, on the way back to Buckeye Yard in Columbus, Dad hit a tractor-trailer that was carrying plate glass windows.  Messy, messy, messy.  The same policeman who arrived there had also been to one of the other accidents.  He asked my Dad what he had against the people around here.  But apart from the suicide, it was something we could chuckle about since nobody else was hurt.

It didn't always happen that way.  One time a car filled with women out on the town tried to beat him and didn't make it.  They were all killed.  He took some weeks to get over that one.  But overall it was a good job for him.  It took care of him and us, and after he passed, the Railroad's stellar pension plan has taken care of my Mom, though Obamacare has, in all honesty, compromised the Health Benefits they had.  Otherwise, a good living and good memories. 

On this, his birthday, I thought I'd do some reminiscing.  Those were happy times, at least for us.  It was pretty fun having a Dad who drove trains for a living.  Even better when I was able to ride in the engines with him.  Thanks for taking care of us Dad.  Happy birthday.  Wish you were here for even just one more hug.  God bless and keep you and let the perpetual light shine upon you.

I miss you Dad

Doing dumb in the age of Social Media stupidity

The level of Internet era dumb has just hit another low point.  Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the Internet, we have this.  Outrage! Shock! Scandal!  Kasich apologizes for saying 2+2=4, that gravity exists, and that the earth orbits the sun.

Why?  Because John Kasich, at a campaign stop, said that he won his state senate seat in 1978 partly because 'women left the kitchen' to campaign for him.  He went onto point out that nowadays, if you call home nobody is there.  That's because of the strides that women have made in our society.   That's what he said.  Factually true.  Historically accurate. 

And of course, the reaction can be nothing other than Scandal!  The Huffpost stokes the fires of stupidity.  In fairness, not all on the Left are running for their pitchforks and torches.  MSNBC on Morning Joe actually pointed out the level of dumb needed to be offended at such a factual and accurate statement of a historical reality that existed decades ago.

But not to be hindered by facts and truth, many on the Left are seizing upon this to remind us that modern liberalism is all about stupidity, denial of reality, and willful ignorance of facts.  Of course Neanderthals would understand what he meant.  Spartans would get it.  Carolingians would see the accuracy of it.  Colonial Americans would have little problem discerning the meaning of his full statement.

But it takes college educated Americans with access to Twitter to see this, crap their pants, and run into the night screaming offense and trying to make political hay: 

Social Media is the best inoculation against education and intelligence yet discovered.  I would be embarrassed to be associated with these reactions that make those old religious fundamentalists playing records backward for Satanic messages seem balanced and thoughtful by comparison.

When did this happen

When did it happen that how we live is irrelevant, and only if we support funneling our taxes through government programs can we really are about the poor?   One of the great victories of liberalism has been to convince a growing number of people, Catholics included, that how you actually live your life is more or less irrelevant. In the new world of the Internet age, it appears that our enteral destinies and moral character are increasingly keyed to what economic and political theories and social issues we happen to subscribe to rather than how we actually live.  After years of insisting that our faith should never be linked to the latest national political ideologies, it has come full circle and is once again linked to the latest, liberal national political ideologies. 

Monday, February 22, 2016


It's not just the Pope who doesn't give hope to Women in the wake of the Zika virus.  Now it's that rascally abstinence only education.  So far, I'm aware of one case in the US where Zika came by way of sex.  There could be more.  There probably are.  But as of now, the overwhelming cause is by mosquito.  As reader Nate so eloquently puts it, does that mean it's time to bring back DDT?  Don't hold your breath.

At this point, we should be clever enough to tell that this has nothing at all to do with Zika, disease, human suffering, or anything else.  It is about advancing the decadence and debauchery that is the Left's primary selling card.  This is simply a convenient issue that has popped up. 

Trump as Pope

And Pope as Trump.  Ross Douthat explains as only Mr. Douthat can. A novel, and a valid, take on the whole Trump vs. Francis conflict that was the talk of the town last week. 

What happened to Jesus?

So everyone was abuzz last week about Pope Francis and Donald Trump.  True, people have parsed the Pope's statement just about every way you can parse a statement.  Whether or not he was saying 'Donald is not a Christian' is up for grabs.  And to be honest, it depends on how charitably you are willing to interrupt the Pope's statements.

For the sake of charity, I'll give you that he didn't specifically say Donald Trump is not a Christian.  He did, however, say that anyone who builds walls instead of bridges is not a Christian. And that is worth pondering, since it's so vague and so shallow (sorry, it's a shallow statement more at home on Positive Attitude Posters than a theological treatise) it doesn't really mean anything.  Is the Pope, by saying Isis can be dealt with through violence, not building a bridge?  Does that even count?  What does he mean?  Does he mean anything?  Or is it like so much in modern Catholic unspeak, that the words are vague enough that Catholics - and anyone else - can run with them in whatever direction they want?  I don't know.

Nevertheless, as the firestorm spread and everyone either jumped on Pope Francis or defended him, I noticed something.  Much of the criticism of the Pope was centered around the fact that this is the first time he really came out and, focusing on the context of a single individual, linked our eternal destiny to what that individual advocated.  Like this article notices.  The criticism is that he has met with political leaders and world leaders who have pushed gay marriage, abortion, assisted suicide, the assault on religious liberty, and even the torture and murder of their own people, and silence.  If he had anything negative to say, it was behind closed doors.  There were no public pronouncements that you can't advocate for abortion rights and be a Christian.  Or you can't support gay marriage and be a Christian.  Or you can't enact policies that attack Christ's Church and be a Christian.  Or you can't torture and murder your own citizens and be a Christian.  Again, if theses things were said, we didn't hear about them.  Or at least I didn't hear about them.

But he picks this.  This one subject to throw down the fence between the sheep and goats.  So people fired back that there are other issues he should have picked, like those above.  But what I wondered in all this is just where is Jesus?  I mean, heaven and hell seems to be based on a variety of social and political policies or agendas, not on a relationship with Jesus.  I know that in Catholic and Orthodox circles, the phrase 'relationship with my personal lord and savior' is not used, but only because of the connotations of the phrase.  It's not like they don't believe it.  They actually do believe you must have a relationship with Christ.  They actually do say that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. 

So where was He in these conversations?  I mean, Pope Francis has even said that atheists and non-Christians all are heaven bound if they follow their consciences or the path to God in their traditions.  Jesus, in an actual relationship, seems to have no bearing at all.  Especially when the first time the idea of an individual not going to heaven is floated it has nothing to do with a relationship to Jesus at all, but simply a political policy issue. 

I know that the Church allows for salvation outside of the Church and outside full knowledge of the Gospel.  I get that Jesus is the judge through which we can have salvation; the advocate for humanity.  I get that God so loved the world.  I understand that our pilgrimage is more than just claiming relationship to Christ via the Sinner's Prayer. 

But in all the kerfuffle from last week, by the Pope's defenders, detractors, and apparently the Pope himself, the issue of what one thinks about Jesus or not, or whether one believes in or rejects the Gospel of Christ or not, never came up in the discussions.  It's also worth noting that when  the Pope said this, there was great cheering and dancing in the streets by Catholics who once condemned traditional Catholics for wanting the Pope to call out different people over various sins.  There was not, as far as I saw, a single call to pray for Trump's soul among them.   If we have come to the point where Jesus is no longer more than a figurehead to which we can appeal for ideological validation, I guess I can see why.

The Left in a nutshell

If that past 50 years haven't demonstrated the truth of this, then you haven't been paying attention.

The Pope has called for the universal ban of the death penalty

Of course.  This change to Church teaching has been a short time coming.  And it isn't only the Catholic Church.  The Orthodox Church, on the whole, tends to oppose the death penalty.  Which makes sense.  After all, for most the last 500 years Orthodox Christians have been on the receiving end of oppressive, totalitarian regimes of evil and murder.  So it never surprised me that they opposed capital punishment.

Liberal denominations have rejected it as well.  Just like most liberal societies.  But here's the rub.  Most liberal cultures that abandon the death penalty do not do so for the Sanctity of Life.  In fact, some of those societies are pushing the culture of death into areas not seen since ancient days of pagan barbarism.  They simply oppose the death penalty for the same reason they oppose torture or war.  Because it hurts the physical person and it's something bigger than the individual that is capable of hurting the individual.  I had an ethics professor who was near pacifist regarding war and the death penalty, but who railed against this antiquated notion of the sanctity of life.  It was not a life issue.  It was a primacy of the individual issue. 

Why imagine what future tolerance will be like
when we have the present?
Nonetheless, an argument can be made that we should abandon the death penalty. Certainly an argument on practical levels, as the rising Left has made it clear that tolerance for traditional religious beliefs is not in its plans.  Allowing a tool that could be used against believers in the future might not be the best idea.

But arguments from a Christian viewpoint can also be made.  And those can be made without adopting the post-modern arrogance of 'we're abandoning it because we're so much more awesomely holy and righteous than those scum who lived the last 2000 years.'  Arguments can actually be made in such a way that acknowledge what the Church, and what most societies, taught in the day, while recognizing the need to move forward.

My beef with the Church's shift in its teaching was the reason given in the Catechism: 
"Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."   CCC 2267

The idea that the State is close to effectively prevent crime.  The State is no more close to preventing crime than it was a hundred or a thousand years ago.  If that is your reason, please try again.  Reasons like that suggest the change is less to do with solid theological reflection and more to do with a desire to fit in with all the latest, hippest kids who get to play on the Nobel Prize playground. 

But nothing innately wrong with a call to eliminate the Death Penalty.  There are Christian arguments for the death penalty.  Just like there are Christian arguments against it.  Both can be made in good faith by people of good will.  But if we forget that, even for the sake of banishing the death penalty, and begin hurtling insults and accusations at people still struggling with this recent change in Church teaching,  we might run the risk of heading down a path toward self-righteousness and arrogance that may not kill the body, but can wreck havoc on the soul.
"You have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER ' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'Raca,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell."  Matthew 5.21-23 

Why caution must be exercised when dealing with liberalism

Exhibit A.  So the news has been abuzz about Pope Francis' statement regarding condoms and the Zika virus.  To be fair, technically, when examined sympathetically and with the belief that Pope Francis has no intention of changing Church teaching, there wasn't a difference between what he said and what Pope Benedict XVI said before him.  Technically.

But that's not enough.  The fact is, much of liberalism is about loftier goals than learning the Truth and solving problems.  It's about forever fighting to increase debauchery and decadence, drunkenness and drug use.  So how long did we think it would take for pundits to jump on what Pope Francis said and push it to the next level?  If Zika, why not AIDS?  And if Zika and AIDS, why not pregnancy for a poverty stricken single woman?  Etc. 

Just like those groups who push for medicinal marijuana.  Sure, I'm willing to talk about drugs used for medical reasons and those reasons alone.  But how many of us are stupid enough to believe that's really what they are worried about?  Like the filth that is at the heart of so much modern progressive ideals, it's merely exploiting the sick and dying in order to get high.  And in keeping with that trend, this is seizing on the fears and struggles of young mothers and the plight of pregnant women in order to kick down a pesky barrier to the world of sex and drugs that liberalism craves so much.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

One of the most disastrous campaigns in primary campaign history has ended

Jeb Bush has suspended his campaign.  I've never seen a person who seemed less interested in running for president who was actually running for president.  I have no idea what motivated him.  My suspicion is a large group of major zillionaires who are happy to keep the GOP nominally effective in anything other than watching out for the well being of millionaires and billionaires.

I know that sounds harsh, but there is a legitimate reason to be upset with the Republicans.  Election after election, conservatives, Christian and otherwise, have sent politicians to Washington to fight for all that they hold dear.  And year after year they have watched many, if not most, of those same politicians sell out, compromise, surrender, or even gleefully join with the causes of liberals, moderates and even those who seem to hate everything conservatism is about.

I think that's one reason for Trump.  Is he vulgar?  Is he offensive?  Is he a blight on modern discourse?  Yep.  But he's a middle finger to that same establishment that many Conservatives feel has betrayed them so many times, and a threat to the rest of the political establishment who has made it clear social Conservatives no longer matter. 

Just who will rise to the top remains to be seen.  It's looking like it will be a boxing match between Rubio and either Cruz or Kasich.  I'm fond of Kasich, but I have my doubts about him on the national, executive stage.  Not that he doesn't have the experience. Quite the contrary.  Nobody in the primaries on either side has the resume and credentials of Kasich.  But he has adopted this persona of 'Mr. Nice Guy cubed', so that it almost seems as though he won't do anything until all 300 million Americans are happy.  And sadly, that just can't be. I know from living in Ohio he won't, but this isn't the same Kasich who campaigned for governor all those years ago.  This is a newer, kinder, gentler Kasich in a world of Isis, Putin, and a rising American Socialism.

Rubio is likely the best bet, though he still seems a little wet behind the ears.  And he had better be without blemish, because the media will come after him with everything they have.  You'll see things said about him that would make a KKK rally blush.  And if he were to do something like pick Nikki Haley as a VP (and she agreed), the gloves would come off.  After all, the media lives in terror at the thought that this:

Could become the norm of the GOP.  Most liberals would rather cut off an arm than see something like this come to define the Republican party.  So we'll see.  A lot can happen, and Trump is the wild card of the century.  But tonight, at least, the merciful thing has happened and Bush has finally put to sleep one of the worst primary campaigns I ever witnessed.  Too bad he didn't do it before he dragged his Mom around in a last desperate bid for votes.  But at least it's over.

I almost never do this.

The email below is from a long time reader and good friend Ron.  He lives in Hungary, and his wife is Hungarian.  She is the one who explained that for many Hungarians, Ronald Reagan is the only president they admire.  He alone did something about Eastern Europe rather than make promises and then hand them over to the Soviets.  They also give some great insights about life in the often misunderstood Eastern European world; insights that match wahat I've heard from other immigratns from that region.  I make no promise that everything below is spot on accurate or without bias. But Ron is a good, thoughtful individual.  Not only does he know and speak Gallic, which is its own level of awesome, but he has a deep, thoughtful way of looking at issues in the Church as well as in the world.  Having lived in Europe, Ireland and now Hungary, he comes at things from an angle I can't always see. 

So I have copied the entire email below.  If nothing else, it counters the narrative that apparently the Church and its leaders have adopted that everything is awesome, Obama is awesome, Democratic Socialist countries in Europe are awesome, and except for a few evil Capitalists and racist Conservatives, the world could pretty much come together and live in happy peace.  At least this is an alternative viewpoint to that.  Enjoy

"There is about the current international situation the atmosphere of fiasco."

That sentence pretty much sums up the world situation. What follows is a small collection of examples.

 They hope to buy off Turkey, kinda like they did the Barbary Pirates, I guess:

So much for that. And there's a lot more Mid-East "refugees" who will be coming along, too.

Here's an article on Saudi Arabia's coming demise:

Saudi Arabia is no state at all. It's an unstable business so corrupt to resemble a criminal organization and the U.S. should get ready for the day after.
Preview by Yahoo
It was never a real country anyway, just a mafia-type family operation using Allah as an excuse to "make its bones".

Nigeria is about to blow up, too:

Even if the government calms the Biafra storm, its standard refusal to consider demands for regional autonomy all but guarantees that another insurrection will emerge somewhere else in the country. Making matters worse is the demographic time bomb that ticks faster each day in Nigeria. A dramatic “youth bulge” has turned grievances of the type felt by young Igbos into a national security risk in marginalized communities across the country. Every few years, young people from one of these communities rise up and shake the country’s unity. Ethno-regional separatist groups such as the OPC in the southwest, Boko Haram in the north, and the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta in the oil-rich deep south are notable examples.

Yet the government has no viable plan for dealing with uprisings like these beyond sending in the army. Two years ago, the former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, revealed that Nigeria’s military was deployed in 28 out of the country’s 36 states —  a fact that suggests it has become more of an internal occupation force than a defender against external aggression.

And Poland will "be dead by 2020"...

An Excerpt: 

The direction that Poland is going toward? A crippling brain drain, Sowa says, with one-third of a population, including two-thirds of university graduates, emigrating, leaving an aging society where the vast majority work in “precarious job positions,” earning barely enough to make ends meet, and pensions are 200 euros. “If this is not a social disaster, then what is?” Sowa asks rhetorically. The son of noted academic Kazimierz Sowa, he delivers these broadsides from the vantage point not of one of the unlucky who are leaving but of the “lucky” who can stay. And watch the masses leave.

“Look at me,” Sowa says. He cites his publications: four books and more than 100 articles. He cites his full-time university position. “And I make … 800 euros net,” he says. “I once told that to a German colleague and he thought I got the English numbers wrong and meant 1,800, not 800.”

At least (for now) Hungary has some good economic news:

Hungary has some good economic news to report:

Growth probably remained strong in the first quarter, slowing only to 3 percent, Economy Minister Mihaly Varga told state television channel M1 on Friday. The pace of expansion probably helped push the budget deficit to below 2 percent of output, the Economy Ministry said in an e-mailed statement.

Though my wife tells me only about 20 percent of younger Hungarians are religious. Without the moral underpinning, no society can survive.

As for the US, forget it. Putin is running rings around us: Anthony Codevilla

Vladimir Putin will soon be the unchallenged masterof the Fertile Crescent, while the United States will have become irrelevant there.
Preview by Yahoo
Richard Fernandez

The current administration turned American hegemony into a "cash for clunkers" scrappage program and rued the consequences.  John Kerry told European allies in Munich:  "It’s pretty obvious that probably never in history have we been dealing with as many hotspots, as many failed or failing states all at one time, not to mention a Kim Jong-un and a nuclear program and other challenges all at the same time. So everybody here understands that. You wouldn’t be here otherwise."

They were at Munich hoping to hear that America would save them.  Imagine their disappointment.  What is interesting about the game is that not just America but all the players have been steadily losing since 2008.  America's loss was not Europe's gain.

There is about the current international situation the atmosphere of fiasco.

It may also suggest an implicit consensus that it would be best to avoid risky undertakings for the remainder of the Obama administration and prepare instead for the serious threats that the administration's mistakes have unleashed. Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev warned of a new "world war" at the recently concluded Munich security conference. Foreign Policy writes, it's "crunch time for Washington and Beijing in the South China Sea" as satellite photos showed China fortifying its new island bastions with missiles.

"Is there anything Washington can do to slow China’s land grab?" it rhetorically asks? The answer is: probably not with the current leadership of the free world. Nobody really wants to follow president Obama into a crisis. The Russia/Iran buildup continues, fueled as the Free Beacon notes by cash the Obama administration gave Tehran itself.  Russia is now increasingly in command of the Syrian Army fighting beside an Iranian "foreign legion", eliciting nothing more than a squeak from the president.   There are warnings it is now time to start preparing for the collapse of Saudi Arabia without the expectation of being able to prevent it.

No solutions appear possible for the present.   Plans appear to focus on the world after Obama. Resigned to the fact that migrant inflow cannot be stopped, European security forces are preparing to fight ISIS sleeper cells in the cities of the old continent. 

The Bamster won't even go to Scalia's funeral: 

In none of those other cases was there such a personal animus on the part of the president toward a justice. Scalia's scathing dissents on Obamacare cases no doubt angered the president. And just recently, Scalia was part of the majority that struck down the president's climate change plans. It's no wonder that the president will find something else to do this weekend than go to Scalia's funeral -- probably play golf.

Stay classy, Bam.

Meanwhile, all that "good-old-American-knowhow" has fled. Our defense contractors apparently are hopeless parasites.

You-all heard what an utter fiasco the F-35 fighter plan program is. (Only an idiot would try to build one plane that had to do just about every warplane role imaginable. Only the king of idiots would even consider buying such a plane.) I've been reading about the LCS ship program for the Navy. Utter fiasco. 

Naval analyst Raymond Pritchett has pithily described the current compromise as:

“…3000 ton speedboat chasers with the endurance of a Swedish corvette, the weapon payload of a German logistics ship, and the cargo hold of a small North Korean arms smuggler.”

This above is a serious article indeed, with massive facts reported.

You know, all this ought to convince anyone who's not room temperature that government is staffed, populated, crawling with idiots. What other conclusion can one draw?

No wonder Donlad Trump is roaring through the primaries with huge chunks of the vote. Whatever.