Friday, June 30, 2006

Good Question

Stolen from The Catholic Caveman


Fr. Richard Neuhaus is one of the brighter lights on the East Coast, and he ruminates on the question:

In terms of what’s good for the American economy, I am impressed by the arguments of the Wall Street Journal and many economists that a more or less open immigration policy is, all in all, an economic plus. The Catholic bishops are also undoubtedly right in their insistence upon compassion for the twelve million or more illegal immigrants already here, and it does not detract from the moral integrity of their position that the great majority of immigrants from the South are Catholics, and therefore immigration is seen as benefiting the Church.

At the same time, as Mary Ann Glendon notes in the current First Things, there is in the bishops’ statements a conspicuous lack of concern for obedience to the law. Law and order does not guarantee justice, but there can be no justice without law and order. I expect that most Americans are not sure precisely what should be done about immigration but are appalled by the specter of lawlessness. What they perceive is a non-policy for immigration that is wildly out of control, and they have slight confidence that the people who framed the laws now so widely violated with impunity can be trusted to bring the situation under legal control.

...The snarled muddle of laws and regulations for getting into the country legally is manifestly not working, which gives people little confidence in the complexity of new procedures proposed by the White House and Senate. Meanwhile, there is the prospect of millions of more illegals pouring across the southern border.

The political elites seem to be indifferent to the disruption of communities resulting from unbounded illegal immigration. I expect that is in large part because they don’t live in those communities. ...

...I have been critically appreciative of the urgings of Samuel Huntington (Who Are We?) and others who contend that at stake is whether the United States will remain a sovereign nation in legal and cultural continuity with its history. Such arguments may be overblown, but they cannot be dismissed as nativist or lacking in moral seriousness. Anyone who thinks a devotion to nation and peoplehood is incompatible with Catholic social doctrine should spend some time with John Paul II’s last published book, Memory and Identity.

There is a local businessman who virtually froths at the mouth when he mentions Jim Sensenbrenner. This businessman claims adherence to Catholicism and advocates a virtually open-borders position, linking the two.

He's wrong on the substance--there is no incompatibility between Catholicism and Order on the Border. None whatsoever. Nor is there a xenophobia, nor racism, nor nativism in demanding that the United States be the final arbiter of "what's good for the county" in terms of immigration.

The Reality of 9/11

A priest-blogger journeys to Shanksville, PA.:

Then I found the site. Hastily paved parking suggested a steady stream, which I saw as I lingered there. A bus full of "plain folks"--Amish, or Mennonites, I mean--pulled up after me. I confess I spent part of my time studying them, too. "It is rude to stare," the voice of my mother echoed in my head; but it was no insult.

There is a large "wall" erected: a section of fence, really,where people have left personal articles and tributes. Plaques, notes, small rocks with messages painted, sat at the base; articles of clothing (!), especially golf hats, with messages written on them. Also, a good representation of rosaries, medals, images of Mary and the saints, and also angels. And, of course, many flags.

On the periphery were a number of stone plaques, which seemed to be sent in from folks--one was from Guatemala!

Most interesting was the graffiti! A section of guardrail stood to one side; and folks had covered it with the most reverent graffiti I've ever seen: prayers and good wishes from visitors, honoring those who died in Flight 93, their families, and our nation. Reading these messages, and examining all that people had left--seemingly everywhere!--was strangely compelling. This was the cumulative tribute of an untold, unregulated number of people, mostly Americans, who passed this way. It said so much about those people.

One thing it said was that we are a Christian people. Very little would have been left if all the tributes involving Christian symbols or belief were removed. A large, simple cross had been erected there.

After I had surveyed all this, I scanned the surrounding fields--where had these brave men and women met their end?About this time, the group of Mennonites sat down on benches inscribed with the names of the fallen, and, I guess I'd call her--stepped out front and gave a simple explanation of all we saw. She pointed out the location, in the fields in front of us, where the airplane slammed into the ground, at over 500 miles per hour, igniting a fire consuming many of the trees. The guide pointed out a grass-covered mound. The government had mulched the trees destroyed by the crash, placed that mound where the plane had crashed.

All the debris from the crash had been removed; no one was allowed to walk on the site but the family of those who died.

Perhaps the first graveyard-elegies ever left in graffiti...

Another Critique of the Liturgy

Nothing exactly new, but the speaker has authority:

The newly appointed Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship said this week that some liturgical reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council have not been true to the council's decrees. Archbishop Albert Patabendige Don accused a human-centred "spirit of total liberty ... without roots or depth", of too often usurping the divine mystery - which should be at the heart of the liturgy - in the post-conciliar liturgical reforms.

"The Vatican II decree Sacrosanctum Concilium ... was about making the liturgy the entry point to the faith, and liturgical changes were expected to emerge organically, by taking account of tradition, and not precipitately," said Archbishop Patabendige Don. But there had been drifts away from this spirit. "The direction of liturgical prayer in the post-conciliar reform has not always reflected the texts of Vatican II, and in this sense, we can speak of a necessary correction, of a reform of the reform. We must regain the liturgy in the spirit of the Council," he added.

Today, the problems concerning the liturgy turned upon language (vernacular or Latin), and the position of the priest, (facing the congregation or God), said the Archbishop in an interview with La Croix, a French Catholic daily newspaper, on 25 June. "Nowhere, in the conciliar decree, is it laid down that the priest must henceforth face the congregation, nor that the use of Latin is forbidden. If the use of modern languages is accepted, notably for the Liturgy of the Word, the decree clearly specifies that the use of Latin will be maintained in the Latin rite. On these subjects, we await the Pope's instructions," he added.

We think that the "music" problem is addressed in the first quote: "...spirit of liberty..without depth..."

More interesting, however, is his 'back-to-you, Benedict' remark highlighted in red above. I can't wait to see Bp. Traut-person (and his LitWonkPoofter followers) spin themselves right off planet Earth when Latin is brought back.

HT: Amy

Surgeon General & EPA: Liars, Again

One of the better science-oriented bloggers in Wisconsin is Random10. Thus, it's always interesting to get his/her take on the yappaflappa of the gooey Left--whose most prominent member in the last few days has been the Surgeon General.

(AlGore doesn't qualify as a member of the 'goody Left.' Like Michael Moore, Al's simply from another planet altogether.)

Our Surgeon General issued a report the other day claiming that 'the debate about second-hand smoke is OVER,' and immediately issued a 700+ page report pile of crap to support his position.

Random 10 takes it from there:

NO SAFE LEVEL. There are no qualifications, no mitigating factors, no dose levels or exposure durations without risk to safety. The laws of physics are proportionate but molecules dispersed in air possess an absolute. - I don't think so. - Passionate hatred has a way of purging reason from thought and anti-smoking zealots hate tobacco.

The corruption of science for political ends is one of the most disturbing trends in public discourse. Activists working to manipulate emotions shamelessly concoct horror stories that are a mix of objective numbers like “126 million nonsmoking Americans”, and subjective concepts like safety. The hodge podge intends to imply the conclusions are true so the recommendations should be followed.

Random also has a link to Fumento's column on the topic.

Moonbat With LARGE Money

While UW lecturers fantasize, the Big Money behind the DU and Lefty 529's demonstrates that he actually writes opinions for Justice Kennedy:

He [George Soros] goes on: “Our view of the world will never correspond to the world as it is because we are part of the world, and what we think automatically becomes part of our world too. The way we look at the world changes the world.”

You can buy his book. It's all in there:

“The Age of Fallibility: Consequence of the War on Terror,” financial speculator George Soros attempts to patiently explain to those of us who are not billionaires how the world works. As he points out, “America is an open society, but people are not well versed in philosophy and they do not fully understand the principles of open society.”

You see, George Soros understands philosophy. As he says in his chapter on Thinking and Reality, “The fact that our thinking forms part of what we think about, has far reaching implications both for our thinking and for our reality.”

So you see, you only think you think what you think but it is your thinking that makes you think that.

We think.

HT: Planet Moron

LOVE Photoshop!

Malkin relates that FreeRepublic among others, is organizing a protest for July 10th.


Does "Academic Freedom" Include Lies?

Jessica got the story to go Statewide; Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) has asked the UW-System to review the status of Kevin Barrett, Certified Moonbat and lecturer, UW-Madison and Edgewood College. (Of the two, it's a horse-race for moonbat-comfort-levels, but that's another story.)

Kudos to Jess for her success.

But there's more: today she picks apart the BS (a nasty job, eh?) in the JSOnline story--and there's a lot of it.


David Walsh, president of the UW System Board of Regents, said Barrett should be able to share his views in the classroom."Unless he's yelling fire in a crowded theater, we need to be careful to protect his academic freedom," Walsh said.

I suppose that Walsh is being careful--most likely he has no idea what's going on here (endemic to UW Regents.) On the other hand, President Walsh, let's ask the question: is "academic freedom" the freedom to postulate fantasy?

Hamdan: Another Triumph for Lilliput

Let's face it. As a military tactician, LBJ was a moron. He and Bobby ("I'm So Smart That I NEVER Have to Apologize") MacNamara did more to lose the Vietnam war than Ho Chi Minh did to win it. LBJ followed in the great tradition of Harry the Hatter Truman, whose singular asininity managed to lose not only mainland China but North Korea, as well.

George W Bush, to his credit, learned from the idiocy of these two predecessors (and from his Old Man--see: Gulf War I), and lets the military run wars. It's worked pretty well, too.

Not to worry.

Congress and SCOTUS, aided by the NYSlimes, several high-level CIA and Executive Branch traitors, and the ACLU, are doing their best to re-establish Combat Idiocy as the regnant mode.

Levin has the goods on SCOTUS and the Congress:

Congress and the Court are systematically stripping the presidency of war-making powers. Congress demands that the president get court approval before intercepting enemy communications (we call that intelligence gathering) and the Court demands that the president get statutory support from Congress before he can use military tribunals to try terrorists.

And yet, neither Congress nor the Supreme Court have any explicit constitutional authority to make these decisions. Congress can cut-off funding for the war or any aspect of it, which it has not; and the judiciary's only role in these matters is to defer to the president, who has explicit and broad authority under the Constitution as the commander-in-chief.

His column is worth the read.

Sin: A Camel and A Coke

Yah--if the American Medical (Weenie) Association has anything to say about it, you'll pay more for that Coke--or to do a Dew:

A large number of American Medical Association members want to raise money to fight obesity, and some think that adding a tax on soft drinks would be a dandy way to do it.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, which seems to believe that one of the deadly sins is the enjoyment of eating, believes a 1 cent per-can tax could raise $1.5 billion a year.

...governments are likely to become addicted to the soda tax just as they’ve become tobacco-tax revenue junkies. Will a shakedown much like the $246 billion tobacco settlement follow the first tax?

The AMA narrowly rejected the soda tax by a vote of 244 to 242 at its Chicago convention in mid-June. But that close vote doesn’t mean soda drinkers are safe from the tax. Lawmakers will likely get the idea that by forming a coalition of half the docs and all the nannies, they can grow the coffers.

Wonder if the Indian reservations will be selling un-taxed Coke?

Once Again--the Story's in the Last Paragraph.

"Freedom-loving ...bear"? I doubt it. But the author doesn't give the REAL story until much later.

A freedom-loving grizzly bear named Boo smashed a heavy steel door and barreled through two electric fences to escape a second time from a resort near this south-central British Columbia town.

It's unbelievable," Dalzell said. "We thought there was no way, it was absolutely impossible, but he found a way. It was basically like breaking out of Fort Knox."

He said the bear bashed a nearly 400-pound steel door off its four bolts, destroyed an electrical box while tearing through two electric fences and scrambled over a 12-foot fence anchored with 2 feet of steel below ground.

Resort staff had planned to neuter Boo, but he got away first. Once he's located, authorities will decide whether to try to recapture him again, Dalzell said.

Border? Insecure. Illegal Crossers? VERY Wary

The Bush administration has been unable to muster even half of the 2,500 National Guardsmen it planned to have on the Mexican border by the end of June.

President Bush's plan called for all 50 states to send troops. But only 10 states — including the four border states — have signed commitments.

Bush's plan for stemming illegal immigration by using National Guardsmen in a support role called for 2,500 troops to be on the border by June 30, and 6,000 by the end of July.

But National Guard officials said today that they probably won't reach the 2,500 target until early to mid-July and won't make the 6,000 deadline, either. Also, they said the number of troops will fluctuate from week to week over the course of the two-year mission.

Despite this, it is also true that in the first week of Guard deployment, when only 55 Guardsmen were at the border (repairing Jeeps and pushing papers--that's all GWB will let them do), captures of illegal crossers dropped 21%.

And the Open Borders Crowd told us that "nothing can stem the tide ..."--remember?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Lawyer Joke

Based on the maxim "You NEVER ask a question if you don't know the answer," here's one which will give you a grin or two:

Lawyers should never ask a Southern grandma a question if they aren'tprepared for the answer.
In a trial, a Southern small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman to the stand.

He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?"

She responded, "Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a young boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."

The lawyer was stunned!

Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?"

She again replied, "Why, yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. One of them was your wife. Yes, I know him."

The defense attorney almost died.

The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench and, in a very quiet voice, said, "If either of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I'll send you to the electric chair."

HT: The Digital Hairshirt

More Appropriate Lyrics

Some of the far more creative types have suggested lyrics for certain Haugen-Hass offerings. The lyrics are actually more in keeping with the music itself, and are suggestive of the music's better placement: OUTSIDE ANY CHURCH WORTHY OF THE NAME.

Have fun:

Gather Us In (to the IHOP)

Gather us in, the eggs and the pancakes.
Gather us in, the bacon and ham.
Make us to be a well balanced breakfast
Nourished with orange juice that came from a can

or, if you prefer:

Gather Us In (to the cookout)

Gather us in, the beef and the chicken.
Gather us in, the pork and the lamb.
Make us to be a barbecued banquet,
Washed down with beer from a keg or a can

Here's one that's a bit more "Socially Critical:"

Gather Us In

Here in this place, our comfortable parish,
All of the statues carried away,
See in each face a vacuous visage,
Brought here by guilt or by R.C.I.A.

Gather us in, by Bimmer or Hummer,
Gather us in, so we can feel good,
Come to us now in this barren Zen temple,
With only a shrub and an altar of wood.

We are the young, our morals a mystery,
We are the old, who couldn't care less,
We have been warned throughout all of history,
But we enjoy this liturgical mess.

Gather us in, our radical pastor,
Gather us in, our unveiled nun,
Call to us now, with guitars and bongos,
Hang up your cellphones and join in the fun!

Here we will take some wine and some water,
Whether it changes, we really don't care.
But when the Sign of Peace comes, our pastor,
Jumps from the altar and hugs like a bear.

Gather us in, the privileged and snobby,
Gather us in, the liberal elite,
Help us to form our personal Credo,
Give us a choice between white bread and wheat.

The sad part: in 20 years, old LitWonk litur-gettes will be drooling all over themselves, trying to remember the "good old days" when this crap was considered "music."

Hamdan Gone Wrong

SCOTUS screwed it up--predictably, Anthony Kennedy was the deciding vote:

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in creating military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees, a rebuke to the administration and its aggressive anti-terror policies.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the opinion, which said the proposed trials were illegal under U.S. law and the Geneva Convention.

The case, one of the most significant involving presidential war powers cases since World War II, was brought by Guantanamo prisoner Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who was a driver for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.

The vote was split 5-3, with moderate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joining the court's liberal members in ruling against the Bush administration. Chief Justice John Roberts, named to the court last September by Bush, was sidelined in the case because as an appeals court judge he had backed the government over Hamdan.

Thursday's ruling overturned that decision.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush established special war crimes tribunals for trying prisoners held at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Of about 450 prisoners at Guantanamo, only Hamdan and nine others face charges before a tribunal. Human rights groups have criticized the tribunals, formally called military commissions, for being fundamentally unfair.

Hamdan’s lawyers had challenged Bush’s power to create the tribunals and said he is covered by the Geneva Convention, and therefore rules governing U.S. courts-martial should be applied.

HT: Malkin

For Real Depth, See Jessica

While Jessica's techno-wizards at WTMJ try to figure out how her blogroll self-replicates, thus preventing additions, that minor problem has not prevented Jessica from exposing the nutball whom we mentioned a week or so ago.

By the way--Edgewood College is another "Catholic" institution that's wandered off the reservation of Catholicism. That they hired a fellow who is obviously missing a few feet of internal wiring is no surprise to trenchant observers.

But this guy is even crazier than his "9/11 is Cheney's Project" mumblings would indicate.

Used to be that folks like this went straight to the, ah, "rest" home. Now they teach in colleges.

Progress, eh?

Another Lawyer Example of "Common Sense"

The legal profession is taking public-relations hits from its own members. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch, right?

Somebody named Wassserman (a lawyer) wants to be the Milwaukee County DA and has allegedly taken a few positions:

Wasserman has quietly started circulating an e-mail with ideas such as amnesty for some traffic offenses, such as driving after a license has been revoked; no prosecution for minor drug possession, instead shifting assistants to homicide cases; and stationing assistant district attorneys “with a cop or two, at the entrance of every gun store” to check whether ammunition is being bought “for a prohibited person, or whether (buyers) themselves are prohibited.”

Do drugs, OK. Drive without a license, OK. Buy ammo? NOT OK.

I'm certain that Nan Haggerty and the other local cop-shops will be happy to assign coppers to stand around every gun store in Milwaukee County.

After all, they won't have to worry about drug- and traffic- offenses.

Daily Takes, Sykes--Minor Error

Fraley's Daily Takes fed Charlie some bad info.

The three "clowns" who damaged DoD property and were arrested last week were NOT FROM WISCONSIN.


The nuthouse "group" they belong to is based in this State, but the Bozos who were arrested were NOT STATE RESIDENTS.


C'mon, Fraley--all you have to do is actually follow the links from Drudge!

And another thing, Brian--get your stupid blog to take comments so other bloggers do not have to post corrections. Even Xoff takes comments!

DNR to Waukesha: Screw You

The City of Waukesha has a small problem.

Back a number of years ago, the EPA made a decision which was reckless and irresponsible even for EPA, declaring that Waukesha must reduce its drinking-water radium to 5 picocuries/liter--that greater amounts of radium "could cause cancer." Science from Wisconsin's leading research hospital/medical school (Froedtert) did not dissuade EPA, nor the Federal Courts--which have trampled the 9th/10th Amendments to the ground. I mean, what's another city or State or three?

But for EPA, that's par for the course. Reality has never really impinged on their plans for the planet.

Anyway, EPA passed the buck on enforcing the standards to DNR/Wisconsin--known in Wisconsin as the "Successor to the Stasi"--and DNR gave the City of Waukesha 5 years to fix it.

Time's up this fall.

Waukesha water folks complain that it takes a few years to 1) develop acceptable alternative plans; 2) acquire the necessary permits; 3) acquire the land; and 4) drill the wells/install the infrastructure piping, etc., etc., etc.

The Stasi's response: Screw You. Pay at OUR Window, here in Dzherzhinsky Square, $5,000.00/day.

In the meantime, thousands, if not TENS of thousands, of Waukesha water-drinkers are dying, with corpses littering the streets, and hospitals jamming oncology patients into lobbies and parking garages.

.....whaddya mean, you didn't notice?

See Bottom 'Graph for the REAL News

True to form, here's the REAL news, in the last three paragraphs of the story:

Jeffrey Sinkovec, the district's director of finance and accounting, reported that through the first five months of the year, operating revenue over expenses was running $612,243 ahead of last year at this time. Net income showed a loss of $2.6 million, compared with a loss of nearly $4 million at this time last year.

"We've had a very good five-month run," Sinkovec said.

Sinkovec said all three of the district's buildings reported higher revenue over expenses compared with last year at this time. However, Richard Geyer, president and CEO of the district, said the year would level off during the slower summer season.

Here's the top-graf stuff:

The Wisconsin Center District board has become the latest governmental body to raise questions about the accuracy of the tax collection efforts by the state Department of Revenue.

The district receives tax revenue from a 2% Milwaukee County hotel tax, a 7% city hotel tax, a 3% car-rental tax, and the 0.25% food and beverage tax. In 2005, the taxes totaled $15.7 million, Engan said.

So the Wisconsin Center Board got almost $16MM in taxes, complains that they were shorted, reports "only" a $2.6MM loss, and goes home.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Kofi & Pals, Mayor Bloomberg, and Tom Barrett

Oh, yes--they all have something in common:

They’ve gathered in New York City, the best and brightest minds in the global gun ban movement. Oh, they don’t want you to think for a second that they’re actually interested in your guns. Kofi Annan as much as said so yesterday, when he told the attendees of the Small Arms Review Conference, “This Review Conference is not negotiating a ‘global gun ban’, nor do we wish to deny law-abiding citizens their right to bear arms in accordance with their national laws.” Got it, gun owners? There’s nothing to fear from the UN when it comes to your guns.

It’s too bad for Kofi that many of the countries attending the summit didn’t get his memo.

Yesterday’s speeches were full of calls for expanding the current agenda to include the civilian possession of firearms. Hans Winkler, speaking on behalf of the European Union, called the current Program of Action “the key starting point for further action on small arms”. The ambassador from Australia, Robert Hill, spoke glowingly of his country’s gun laws that “require the registration and licensing of all firearms owners, prohibit a range of automatic and semi-automatic long arms and handguns, and mandate minimum firearms safety training and storage requirements.”

The statement from Indonesia’s representative was perhaps the clearest example of what these countries are aiming for.

“We believe that no armed group outside of the State should be allowed to bear weapons.
We also believe that regulating civilian possession of Small Arms/Light Weapons will enhance our efforts to prevent its misuse. In our view, the issue of ammunition should also be addressed in the context of the Program of Action because in the absence of ammunition, small arms and light weapons pose no danger.”

Not every country is as transparent as Indonesia. When looking at the statements of the various representatives, what isn’t said is just as important as the words we actually hear. Take, for example, the comments by Brazilian representative Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg. He told the summit, “this Review Conference should not limit ourselves to renewing our commitment to the full implementation of the Program of Action. It should rather be taken as an opportunity to address the Program’s shortcomings, by means of the adoption of substantive aimed at strengthening and complementing its mechanisms.” In other words, what we’ve got right now doesn’t go far enough. This comes from a country tried to ban civilian ownership of firearms outright (the referendum failed last fall).

The anti-gun summit continues for the next two weeks, and you can get daily updates from Executive Editor Ginny Simone every afternoon on “Cam and Company”, heard on the aforementioned and Sirius Satellite Radio. Coming up on Tuesday, the United States issues its opening statement.

The Trans-Nationalist "No Borders" crowd views the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution as a minor irritant. Coming soon to a town near you!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Brew City Brawler--Wrong on the Facts

"Brew City Brawler," a blogger who admits no arguments on his blog, is lying when he states that one 'cannot be Catholic and pro-death penalty.'

It's a cute play--thousands of bumper stickers proclaim that "You Cannot Be Catholic and Pro-Abortion."

But the difference is that the bumper sticker is true. Brew City's aphorism is--false. The official Church teaching remains that a State may impose the death penalty, although the teaching presents qualifications which are a high bar. At the same time, Church officials (including John Paul II) are opposed to using the death penalty, particularly in wealthy Western states where life-incarceration is an affordable option.

Want Catholicism? Try the Catechism, not al-Reuters--or Brew City Brawler.

Upcoming Change in Mexico

Right in the middle of the whole brouhaha regarding immigration, the Mexican elections loom:

The candidate for Fox's PRI party is a loser - there are two frontrunners and one will be the next President: Andres Obrador and Felipe Calderon. The OC Register has a good summary of the two in their newspaper today.

I want Felipe Calderon to win. His politcal slogan is : Para que vivamos mejor (So we can live better). He wants to focus on building Mexico's ecomony to stem migration of its labor force. He wants Mexico to also be a world player and seek trade agreements with other countries. He has also voiced open support for Israel. He stated to the Washington post, "In order to create jobs and get growth, it's necessary to [have] . . . national and foreign investment." This is important - allowing private companies and foreign ownership of Mexican land would help their economy and better the lifestyle, thus encouraging a Mexican to stay in his hometown rather than seek to traverse the Arizona desert.

Obrador, the former mayor of Mexico City, on the other hand, has as his slogan: Por el bien de todos, primero los pobres (For the well-being of all, poor people first). Likened by his opponent to Hugo Chavez, Obrador is a dyed-in-the-wool Marxist, portraying himself as the liberator of the poor - yet, he also wants to have free import of U.S. corn and beans, a move that would bankrupt Mexican farmers. That idea reminded me of life under Mussolini - the trains ran on time, people had a plate of pasta, and so no one noticed the denigration of human rights and democratic values around them, because they were fed and happy. Isolationsim, he says, is the key to Mexico's future.

Watch these elections, my friends - I daresay these will have as much an impact on the United States as our own upcoming elections in 2008 will have. The two men are very different and want to lead Mexico in different paths. It may get ugly - Obrador has already stated that law is relative and he would not uphold a law that he believes is unjust, and people close to him say that if he loses, he already has plans to lead his followers in riots.

Let's hope that GWB gets Calderon to deal with in the next few years. Otherwise, the question of immigration will get a lot more weighty.

Anglicans to Split?

We don't comment much on non-Catholic church affairs, but this news item is Big News:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has outlined proposals that are expected to lead to the exclusion of The Episcopal Church of the United States from the Anglican Church as a consequence of consecrating a gay bishop.

The US branch of Anglicanism faces losing its status of full membership of the Anglican Church in the wake of its consecration of the openly gay Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, an act which has propelled the worldwide church to the brink of schism.

The final straw came when The Episcopal Church failed to "repent" of its action at its General Convention in Columbus, Ohio earlier this month, and failed to vote through a moratorium on any more gay consecrations.

Dr Williams is proposing a two-track Anglican Communion, with orthodox churches being accorded full, "constituent" membership and the rebel, pro-gay liberals being consigned to "associate" membership.

All provinces will be offered the chance to sign up to a "covenant" which will set out the traditional, biblical standards on which all full members of the Anglican church can agree.
But it is highly unlikely that churches such as The Episcopal Church in the US, the Anglican churches in Canada and New Zealand and even the Scottish Episcopal Church would be able to commit themselves fully to such a document.

These churches and any others that refused to sign up could opt to cut ties to Canterbury altogether, or could choose to remain in associate status.

HT: Dreher

How To Increase Insurance Premiums

More a disappointment than a surprise:

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered the disbarment of a Philadelphia attorney who served time in prison after pleading guilty to charges he defrauded a slew of insurers on behalf of personal injury plaintiffs who in reality had not needed medical attention.

During a disciplinary hearing Michael Radbill suggested that the practice of representing clients who are "not really injured" is endemic across the state, according to the report from the Supreme Court's Disciplinary Board.

He also indicated that over the course of a 30-year career, 80 percent of his practice had been centered on the representation of uninjured personal injury clients. ...

The federal investigation also produced evidence that Radbill had employed people to recruit personal injury clients, help stage slip-and-falls for his clients and oversee his clients' treatment by medical providers willing to falsify records and insurance claims, according to the report....

According to the report, Radbill said at a disciplinary hearing that "I got into personal injury cases and ... when I was a young lawyer, [people told me], 'You're going to get accident cases of people that aren't really hurt, you say they're hurt and you send them to the doctor.'

"That's not right, OK?" Radbill continued, according to the report. "And I did it for 30 years and there's a thousand more here in this state that do it, and I told [the investigators] that, and they said, 'Yeah, but you got caught,' [for] which I served my time, I didn't make excuses, so that's true."

Meaning there's about 1,000 more disbarments to go...

Not exactly a Milberg, Weiss Moment, but we're getting there...

My father, who was an attorney, would rather have spit on my mother than utter the words "Personal Injury Lawyer." That was 40 years ago--nothing seems to have changed, eh?

Georgia Thompson's Lawyer SHOULDA Known

Maybe her attorney doesn't keep up with the studies:

What Professor Leipold found is that federal judges used to be somewhat more likely than juries to convict defendants--but starting in the very late 1980s, this reversed--and now, juries convict in 84% of jury trials, while judges convict in only 55% of bench trials.

Across the board, for all categories of crimes, federal judges are less likely to convict than juries. The smallest difference (87% jury conviction; 80% bench conviction) is in immigration-related offenses; the large difference is the public order offenses (83% jury conviction; 47% bench conviction), but the category that I thought would be the biggest gap--drug cases--turned out to be right in the middle (87% jury conviction; 62% bench conviction).

(Study of Federal courts.)

HT: Volokh via Clayton Cramer

NYSlimes: Treason?

Nothing would be more fun than watching the Slimes and its lead-traitors, Keller and Lichtblau, spend a few bucks defending treason charges.

From Treasury Secretary John Snow to Principal Traitor Keller:

Dear Mr. Keller:

The New York Times' decision to disclose the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, a robust and classified effort to map terrorist networks through the use of financial data, was irresponsible and harmful to the security of Americans and freedom-loving people worldwide. In choosing to expose this program, despite repeated pleas from high-level officials on both sides of the aisle, including myself, the Times undermined a highly successful counter-terrorism program and alerted terrorists to the methods and sources used to track their money trails.

Your charge that our efforts to convince The New York Times not to publish were "half-hearted" is incorrect and offensive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over the past two months, Treasury has engaged in a vigorous dialogue with the Times - from the reporters writing the story to the D.C. Bureau Chief and all the way up to you. It should also be noted that the co-chairmen of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton, met in person or placed calls to the very highest levels of the Times urging the paper not to publish the story. Members of Congress, senior U.S. Government officials and well-respected legal authorities from both sides of the aisle also asked the paper not to publish or supported the legality and validity of the program.

Indeed, I invited you to my office for the explicit purpose of talking you out of publishing this story. And there was nothing "half-hearted" about that effort. I told you about the true value of the program in defeating terrorism and sought to impress upon you the harm that would occur from its disclosure. I stressed that the program is grounded on solid legal footing, had many built-in safeguards, and has been extremely valuable in the war against terror. Additionally, Treasury Under Secretary Stuart Levey met with the reporters and your senior editors to answer countless questions, laying out the legal framework and diligently outlining the multiple safeguards and protections that are in place.

You have defended your decision to compromise this program by asserting that "terror financiers know" our methods for tracking their funds and have already moved to other methods to send money. The fact that your editors believe themselves to be qualified to assess how terrorists are moving money betrays a breathtaking arrogance and a deep misunderstanding of this program and how it works. While terrorists are relying more heavily than before on cumbersome methods to move money, such as cash couriers, we have continued to see them using the formal financial system, which has made this particular program incredibly valuable.

Lastly, justifying this disclosure by citing the "public interest" in knowing information about this program means the paper has given itself free license to expose any covert activity that it happens to learn of - even those that are legally grounded, responsibly administered, independently overseen, and highly effective. Indeed, you have done so here.

What you've seemed to overlook is that it is also a matter of public interest that we use all means available - lawfully and responsibly - to help protect the American people from the deadly threats of terrorists. I am deeply disappointed in the New York Times.

John W. Snow, Secretary

Sulzberger, Keller, & co. will NEVER get over the fact(s) that Joe McCarthy exposed Alger Hiss, that Joe Stalin was NOT a benevolent old fart, and that Dick Nixon was elected President--or that Congress is Republican.

And they don't really care how many American troops or civilians are killed, either here or abroad, because of their institutional arrogance and petty-revenge motives.

HT: American Spectator blog

Pig Spenders' Next Attack

Thought that some spending restraint was occuring on Capitol Hill? You're right.

But the Pig Party's already working on next year, led by the utterly shameless Sen. Stevens (Pig-Alaska) and his cohort, "Scotty" Specter (Pig-Pa.)

Sen. Ted Stevens (R.-Alaska), chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, broadcast his intention to strip up to $9 billion out of the 2007 Pentagon budget and redirect it to dozens of social programs. If this appears outlandish during wartime, bear in mind that this is not the first time Stevens and his sidekick, Sen. Arlen Specter (R.-Penn.), have resorted to this shameful strategy to evade spending limits. First, they ignore veto threats and shift billions in Pentagon funding to already sated social programs. Then, desperate Pentagon officials submit "emergency" budget requests, asking Congress to make good on the manufactured shortfall. Bloated social welfare programs benefit at the expense of the troops, who suffer from the uncertainty and disruption that result.

Neat trick, eh? Screw the Pentagon, piss away the money, and then force "emergency" appropriations downtrack. Since most voters don't pay attention, it usually works very well. And as an added bonus, when the "emergency" spending request comes up--it's the Pentagon's fault!!

Of course, anyone pulling this crap at a publicly-held corporate entity would eventually go to jail, instead of retiring on a fat Government pension, with benefits.

...Buried in the Story...

Most bloggers know that the first few paragraphs are informative--but the stuff WAY IN THERE is even moreso:

Elmbrook School District electors on Monday approved a 4.5% increase in the property tax levy for the 2006-'07 school year, the largest levy increase in four years.

The district's tax collections rose 3.5% for the 2005-'06 school year, 4.1% for 2004-'05, 3.7% for 2003-'04, and 4.5% for 2002-'03, according to state Department of Public Instruction data.
However, because of Elmbrook's healthy tax base growth, the equalized tax rates continued to decline.

Under tentative budget figures presented at Elmbrook's annual meeting, the School District's estimated tax rate for December 2006 property tax bills would be $9.57 per $1,000 of equalized value, down four cents, or less than half a percent, from $9.61 per $1,000.

Yah, well. Elmbrook taxpayers expect that the value of their properties will increase forever, we suppose.

But that's not the fun part. HERE'S the red-flag-with-fireworks:

[Pre-paying some debt] is intended to lessen the blow to taxpayers in future years if they approve a referendum to upgrade the district's two high schools. If a referendum is approved, annual debt service costs would rise sharply, raising property taxes

Last time we looked, those "upgrades" could run $120 MILLION or so.

It's the fourth-last paragraph in the story.

Another Criminal Trial on Blanchard's Calendar?

S'pose Brian Blanchard's going to prosecute this guy--and try to put him in jail IMMEDIATELY if a conviction is won?

A state regulatory attorney is under investigation for violating work rules by asking hundreds of co-workers in an e-mail to oppose a death penalty referendum this fall.

Arthur Thexton, a lawyer for the Department of Regulation & Licensing, is under investigation for a June 15 e-mail that called on fellow employees to oppose the advisory referendum, which will be on the Nov. 7 ballot, said Steven Gloe, the agency's general counsel

Using state resources to campaign is illegal.

DPI Regs Cost Money

The Milwaukee Public School System, while not an exemplar of budget efficiency, does NOT need this kind of help from Wisconsin's Department of Public Instruction:

State officials have given Milwaukee Public Schools 14 months to ensure that every school library is overseen by a licensed librarian - something that has not been happening at about three dozen MPS schools.

The Department of Public Instruction on Monday released results of its investigation of a 2-year-old complaint from the Milwaukee teachers union that many schools were violating rules calling for schools to use certified librarians.

"DPI learned that not only were many schools without services of certified library media specialists, but that several schools had library facilities that were not open and freely accessible to students during the school day," the report says.

MPS Superintendent William Andrekopoulos said the number of librarians has gone down as individual schools decide how to use the money they are allocated.

"Schools have to prioritize," he said, and the choices are often between classroom teachers and specialists such as art teachers, music teachers, social workers - and librarians.

It's long been known that "certifications" and "licenses" for certain occupations are merely restraint-of-trade under color of law and regulation. Teachers' unions have learned to play that game, too, and that has jacked up the associated costs-of-compensation.

Problem is, the money's not there anymore.

White House WhiteWash

It's clear that the Bush/McCain/Kennedy version of immigration-reform is a dead duck, and it is becoming clear that the House version will not become law, either. Some compromise will be reached, but it will be AFTER the elections. Since the vast majority of the American public prefers the House version of reform, the delay can only mean that any "reform" will be watered down.

After all, with the elections in the past, voters will not have the opportunity to punish Representatives and Senators who go soft.

What's going on in the meantime?

Our President is dis-simulating on a number of points:


Bush made reference to "doubling the size of the Border Patrol during my administration."

There's just one problem. Not only has the Border Patrol not been doubled during his administration, the White House has fought against significant increases in its budget every year since 2001. Actually, the Border Patrol was growing faster during the Clinton administration – before Sept. 11, 2001 – than it has since 9-11. The Clinton administration increased the Border Patrol from 4,026 in 1993 to 9,078 when they left office in 2001, an increase of 5,052 agents or 125 percent. Bush has increased the manpower from 9,078 to the 11,800 we have today, an increase of 2,722 agents or 30 percent.

Bush has called for an increase in agents (to 18,000 by 2008); it's not likely to happen:

Agents are trained in groups of approximately 50 people in Artesia, N.M., the nation's only facility for training Border Patrol agents. Before the President's request, Martinez said the Border Patrol had set a goal of hiring 1,500 agents this year. "Now that we are going to try to do 6,000 in two years," he said. "That will be a big step up, but we are confident we can do it."

That's 3,000 agents every year. Since only 1 in 3 candidates makes the grade, BP will be attempting to train 9,000 agents/year in groups of 50 (!!!) meaning that BP will begin a training cycle every two days for the next two years.

Yah, right.


Of 473 job categories studied by the Center for Immigration Studies for the year 2004, only four – plasters and stucco masons, dressmakers and sewers, agricultural graders and sorters, and miscellaneous personal appearance workers – had a majority of immigrant workers, and only 23 out of 473 job categories (less than 5 percent) had 33 percent or more. More to the point, every single kind of work done by illegal aliens in this country is also performed by Americans.

When a construction worker loses a $15 an hour job to an illegal worker who will do it for $8.50, that is not an example of a poor work ethic by Americans.

Have you looked carefully at the busboys in your restaurants lately? They're no longer the 14-15 year-old kids working for pin money or saving for college. They're immigrants--not bad in itself, but are they legal, or just cheap? Restaurants avoid hiring American kids.


Bush also recently told Americans: "Since 2001, we have apprehended and sent back 6 million people trying to get in the country."

There's just one problem. Since 2001, the U.S. government apprehended 6 million people out of at least 18 million who tried to get into our country, but those 6 million were not sent home. Mexican nationals apprehended are merely put back through the gate to try again the next night or the next week.

Again, last month, Bush claimed: "We have ended the policy of catch-and-release."
There's just one problem. Six months after announcing this policy change, thousands of non-Mexicans are still being released for lack of detention space. Worse yet, some of them are from Middle Eastern countries


Again, just last month, Bush claimed about his amnesty program: "Every worker who applies for the [guest worker] program would be required to pass a criminal background check."
There's just one problem. The U.S. government does not have the capability of doing this.
The U.S. can only check criminal records within the U.S, not crimes illegal aliens may have committed in their home countries. Mexico does not even have a centralized database of criminal warrants.


Bush has also stated that under his plan "temporary workers" will go home when their employment term is up: "We've got to have a comprehensive approach that includes a temporary worker plan that says you can come and do a job … and then once you finish that time, you go home."

There's just one problem. There is no requirement in Bush's plan or the Senate bill that "temporary" guest workers actually go home after three or six years when their temporary work permit ends. They can then apply for permanent resident alien status (a "green card") at any time and gain eventual citizenship.

Recently it has been stated that the US only allows 10,000 unskilled Mexicans per year into the US (legally.) That's a shockingly low number, and it is obvious that a larger number would be appropriate.

But Our President should start telling the truth BEFORE decisions on "numbers allowed" are made.

Monday, June 26, 2006

B-16 Sounds the Trumpet

Well, sort of. His preference is for un-accompanied music:

Genuine renewal in Catholic music 'cannot be achieved except by following the great traditions of the past, of Gregorian chants and sacred polyphony,' said the Holy Father, speaking after a June 25 concert at the Vatican. This musical tradition, he said, is 'a priceless spiritual, artistic, and cultural heritage.'

The Pope spoke at the conclusion a concert that emphasized 16th- and 17th-century sacred music, held in the Sistine Chapel and presented by the Domenico Bartolucci Foundation, directed by Msgr. Domenico Bartolucci. The Pope saluted that foundation, especially for its commitment to promoting the 'Roman School' of polyphony-- which, the Pontiff noted, 'has always been characterized by its focus on the pure voice, without instrumental accompaniment.' Msgr. Domenico Bartolucci was named director of the Sistine Chapel choir by Pope Pius XII in 1956, and served in that role until his retirement in 1997. Although he was over 80 years old at the time of his replacement, the appointment of a new choir director (Msgr. Giuseppe Liberto) by Pope John Paul II (bio - news) was widely interpreted as a sign of the Pope's decision to de-emphasize the music of the 'Roman School' at papal ceremonies. At the time, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was openly saddened by Msgr. Bartolucci's departure."

Mgr Bartolucci was canned by Mgr. Marini. That's why Mgr. Marini has been wearing rear-view mirrors recently.

It Is NOT Bigotry...

From Jeff Jacoby, via Patriot Post:

"It is not bigotry to insist that there is a good reason why marriage has existed in every known human society, and why it has always involved the uniting of men and women. It is not bigotry to acknowledge what reams of scholarship confirm: Family structure matters, and children are more likely to suffer problems when they are not raised by their married mothers and fathers. It is not bigotry to resist the dishonest comparison of same-sex marriage to interracial marriage—skin color has nothing to do with wedlock, while sex is fundamental to it. And it is not bigotry to fear that a social change as radical as same-sex marriage could lead to grave and unintended consequences, from the persecution of religious institutions to a growing clamor for legalizing polygamy."

So let's get that over with, shall we?

Clinton--Yes, He Was Worse Than We Know

To recite Bill Clinton's record of mis-deeds, mal-deeds, and deals with the Devil would fill more than one good-sized book. Louis Freeh now adds to the pile, and the Able Danger allegations resonate in the background.

The aftermath of the Khobar bombing is just one example of how successive U.S. governments have mishandled Iran. On June 25, 1996, President Clinton declared that "no stone would be left unturned" to find the bombers and bring them to "justice."

...It soon became clear that Mr. Clinton and his national security adviser, Sandy Berger, had no interest in confronting the fact that Iran had blown up the towers. This is astounding, considering that the Saudi Security Service had arrested six of the bombers after the attack. As FBI agents sifted through the remains of Building 131 in 115-degree heat, the bombers admitted they had been trained by the Iranian external security service (IRGC) in Lebanon's Beka Valley and received their passports at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Syria, along with $250,000 cash for the operation from IRGC Gen. Ahmad Sharifi.

So for 30 months, I wrote and rewrote the same set of simple talking points for the president, Mr. Berger, and others to press the FBI's request to go inside a Saudi prison and interview the Khobar bombers. And for 30 months nothing happened. The Saudis reported back to us that the president and Mr. Berger would either fail to raise the matter with the crown prince or raise it without making any request. On one such occasion, our commander in chief instead hit up Prince Abdullah for a contribution to his library. Mr. Berger never once, in the course of the five-year investigation which coincided with his tenure, even asked how the investigation was going.

Meanwhile, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Mr. Clinton ordered the FBI to stop photographing and fingerprinting Iranian wrestlers and cultural delegations entering the U.S. because the Iranians were complaining about the identification procedure. Of course they were complaining. It made it more difficult for their intelligence agents and terrorist coordinators to infiltrate into America. I was overruled by an "angry" president and Mr. Berger who said the FBI was interfering with their rapprochement with Iran.

After extraordinary channels were used to secure permission to interview prisoners in a Saudi prison:

Upon being advised that our investigation now had proof that Iran blew up Khobar Towers, Mr. Berger's astounding response was: "Who knows about this?" His next, and wrong, comment was: "That's just hearsay." When I explained that under the Rules of Federal Evidence the detainees' comments were indeed more than "hearsay," for the first time ever he became interested--and alarmed--about the case. But this interest translated into nothing more than Washington "damage control" meetings held out of the fear that Congress, and ordinary Americans, would find out that Iran murdered our soldiers. After those meetings, neither the president, nor anyone else in the administration, was heard from again about Khobar.

Freeh makes the point that Clinton was hardly the first President to play patty-cake with Iran, instead of getting their attention with a 2x4 across the nose. Reagan's failure to engage after the Beirut barracks bombing was another example Freeh cites.

But Mr. Clinton, "Burglar" Berger, and Ms. Albright will remain, along with James Earl "Bunny" Carter, as icons of selfish idiocy---at the expense of the National Interest.

Moral War

One of the maxims in war-fighting is to minimize collateral damage--that is, to kill or disable only the enemy's troops while NOT killing or disabling innocent civilians.

Here's how the US is doing that:

For some nations, the age of massive firepower has come to an end. One of the less noticed revolutions in warfare has been the American development of small scale, precision firepower, which has replaced the large scale, massive firepower tactics that dominated the 20th century. For most people, American smart bombs, like JDAM and laser guided bombs, represent "precision firepower." But the concept goes much farther than that. American infantry carry automatic weapons, but most of the time they fire one precise shot at a time. In Afghanistan and Iraq, the locals quickly get to know when American troops are fighting in the area. They are the ones firing single shots. The other guys, be they Taliban or Sunni Arabs, fire their AK-47s on full auto. But it's the sparser American firepower that dominates. Better training, and high tech sights, make the U.S. troops very accurate. Snipers are much more in evidence, with up to ten percent of American troops qualified for this kind of shooting.

U.S. artillery units have been using a GPS guided MLRS rocket for over a year. This 227mm weapon delivers a 200 pound warhead as accurately as a 500 pound JDAM. When it comes to bombs, smaller and more accurate is what the infantry prefer. That's because, once the bomb goes off, the grunts want to get in there and capture or kill the survivors before the shell shock wears off. American cannon (155mm) artillery units are eagerly awaiting the arrival of GPS equipped "Excalibur" smart shells later this year. Infantry commanders are particularly keen to have this hundred pound shell available, as it allows troops to be as close as "across the street" from the target.

This produces another unique battlefield sound portrait. You know American troops are at work when one shell goes off, followed by a few shots. No shouting, American troops use individual radios, hand signals and night vision equipment. They move fast, using minimal firepower. Less risk of friendly fire, or collateral damage (civilian casualties or property damage.) Battlefields have never sounded like this.

Less fire power also means a quieter battlefield. That enables better trained troops, who know what to listen for, more opportunities to use their ears to sort out what is going on. Silence can be a weapon. Precision weapons also reduce supply problems, especially closer to the battle zone. Less wear and tear on the weapons as well.

Other aerial weapons, in addition to their smart bombs, have become more effective. New fire control systems enable fighters to use their 20mm cannot with greater accuracy. Ground troops can now call in jets to use their automatic cannon to take out a few snipers on a roof, or in a particular window in a building. Warplanes rarely use unguided bombs any more. It's all smart bombs and missiles.

On the ground, even machine-guns are used less. In the future, machine-gun use will decline still further as computerized "enemy fire location" systems become more common. Widely used now for locating snipers, the troops (although not the brass back in the Pentagon) are eager to link the sniper finding systems with armed robots. With this kind of a system, the sniper gets return fire seconds after getting a shot off. This forces the sniper to move, and that makes a sniper more vulnerable.

AlQuaeda and the Talibanistas know that US troops are far more efficient at killing only the enemy, which is why you've heard more and more about them using civilians as shields. One thing American weapons do not do, yet, is shoot around hostages.

HT: John Lott

Dennis York's Tour de Force

York's always been funny--but this one is far and away one of his best, and likely to ring familiar bells to most of you of the male persuasion.


During the entire night, hospital staff is running in and checking your wife’s progress. There are doctors, nurses, interns, and other staff that have an all access pass to her womb. It won’t surprise you a bit to find out that some guy examining your wife’s cervix is the Pepsi machine mechanic just coming in to see if everything was alright.

Finally, it’s time for an epidural, which will numb her from mid chest down and completely change the trajectory of the evening. For one, you will find out that your relationship may not be as strong as you thought after she proposes on the spot to the anesthesiologist. She will treat this guy like he’s George Clooney handing her an Ann Taylor credit card with no limit. You instantly become the fifth most important person in the room (behind the doctor, your wife, the baby, and the soft drink mechanic, who won’t leave for some reason).

Let's hope that Blogger doesn't lose York's posts...

Those People are SERIOUS About "No Borders"

Some of these guys are serious about erasing borders.

Robert Pastor of American University, the vice chairman of the CFR [Council on Foreign Relations] task force report, provided much of the intellectual justification for the formation of the North American Union. He has repeatedly argued for the creation of a North American Union “Permanent Tribunal on Trade and Investment.” Pastor understands that a “permanent court would permit the accumulation of precedent and lay the groundwork for North American business law.” Notice, Pastor says nothing about U.S. business law or the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the view of the globalists pushing toward the formation of the North American Union, the U.S. is a partisan nation-state whose limitations of economic protectionism and provincial self-interest are outdated and as such must be transcended, even if the price involves sacrificing U.S. national sovereignty. When it comes to the question of illegal immigrants, Pastor’s solution is to erase our borders with Mexico and Canada so we can issue North American Union passports to all citizens. In his testimony to the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 9, 2005, Pastor made this exact argument: “Instead of stopping North Americans on the borders, we ought to provide them with a secure, biometric Border Pass that would ease transit across the border like an E-Z pass permits our cars to speed though toll booths.”

To guys like Pastor (and to certain Milwaukee folks,) those of us who think that the United States is a sovereign entity--OUR country--are merely "nativist" yahoos, akin to the Hatfields or McCoys. I thought the Milwaukee guy who uses this language was just a buzzing fly. Could be my judgment was hasty, eh?

But it gets worse, because Pastor, an egghead Intellectualoid, is merely the Party's Theoretician.

The Bush Administration is pushing to create a North American Union out of the work on-going in the Department of Commerce under the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America in the NAFTA office headed by Geri Word. A key part of the plan is to expand the NAFTA tribunals into a North American Union court system that would have supremacy over all U.S. law, even over the U.S. Supreme Court, in any matter related to the trilateral political and economic integration of the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The executive branch under the Bush Administration is quietly putting in place a behind-the-scenes trilateral regulatory scheme, evidently without any direct congressional input, that should provide the rules by which any NAFTA or NAU court would examine when adjudicating NAU trade disputes.

Well, all you musicians can begin disposing of that Irving Berlin standard "This Is My Country."

HT: AmSpecBlog

Sunday, June 25, 2006

"Whopper" Dan Maguire, Examined, and John Paul II on Natural Law and Morality

As noted below, Dan Maguire, a teacher at Marquette University, has authored a pamphlet which was distributed to Congress on the question of Homosex "Marriage."

There are a number of ways in which Dan lies in this pamphlet--so many, in fact, that we now refer to Maguire as "Whopper" Dan. As an example of lies-by-Ommission, lies-by-Commission, lies-by-Insinuation, and lies-by-Arrogation of authority, this document is above average.

As an example of undergraduate writing skills, the document is just average, if that.

As an example of Catholic thinking, it gets an "F."

Let's start at the beginning, shall we? Whopper entitles his fantasy "A Catholic Defense of Same-Sex Marriage." That's Whopper # 1, and it's a biggie. Dan Maguire has no authority to refer to his work as "Catholic," not the least because the adjective "Catholic" may ONLY be applied if a Bishop says so. Then it is demarcated by a duly-granted imprimatur (it may be printed). For those of you who are not Catholic (or have forgotten,) BISHOPS (not theologians) are, by virtue of their office, teachers of the Faith. Others may teach the Faith, but this is with the implied or explicit approval of the Bishop. However, no one may use the adjective "Catholic" to describe their writings or activities without the express approval of a Bishop.

Maguire next describes himself as "..a Catholic Theologian..." which is most likely Whopper #2. While I am not personally acquainted with Maguire's Canonical status in the Church, (e.g., whether he was dispensed from his priestly vows before his first marriage; whether his first marriage was annulled prior to his second), the Archbishop of Milwaukee has issued an email to all pastors in the Archdiocese which declared Whopper Dan a persona non grata in all Parishes--he is not allowed to present speeches in any of them. That fact should tell you something.

In the first graf, Maguire states "The Catholic Church is beginning to rediscover what it once knew; that not all persons are heterosexual..." This is clearly Whopper #3. The Catholic Church has known from earliest times that there are homosexuals--one only has to read Paul's letter condemning "sexual perverts" (i.e., practicing homosexuals) to know that.

STILL in the first graf, Maguire claims that "...[the Church] even had liturgies to celebrate same-sex unions." Whopper #4. His "evidence" is based on a book by someone named Boswell, and the short-story refutation of that work is referenced here. There were, and still are, same-sex friendships which are NOT sexual--the Church blessed those.

First graf again: "...this is the way God made us and we have no right to criticize God." Whopper #5. Maguire would have us believe that criticism of homosexual activity is identical to criticizing homosexuals and that THAT is identical to criticizing God. It's an argument that even Whopper Dan should not accept in an undergraduate's paper.

In the second graf, Dan compares human activity to that of animals by telling us that animals act out homosexual conduct. I'll leave it to Dan to tell us which animal family he belongs to, but Church teaching, based on the Jewish scripture, tells us that men were created "in the image and likeness of God," separately from animals. Whopper #6. In the same graf, Dan-o tries to screw with logic again by declaring that same-sex "attraction" is a "fact" of God's creation, and then cites Acts to propose that we cannot call this "unclean." Whopper #7. In fact, no one calls same-sex attraction "unclean." It is, however, a grave disorder.

He then attempts to conflate "racism" with "heterosexism," and "sexism." Yah, he has a point; it is immoral to judge an individual based on their color, sex, or orientation. But it is NOT immoral to judge one's acts. Big dif.

But he can't write a graf without a Whopper, so here's Whopper #8: "If homosexual persons live out their reality and enter into...relationships full of love and fidelity, we condemn them." Wrong. If they are acting out--committing the grave sin of homosexual activity--then we judge those acts and form an opinion of the individuals accordingly.

Next graf, another one: citing Guindon's approval of 'Christians accepting homosexuals as...brothers and sisters...(a good thing) " he then moves on to cite Mary Hunt (a notorious dissenter) who asks "What could be wrong with...sexual relationships between...male or female partners?" Whopper #9. Again, Maguire conflates persons and actions. Even a 5-year-old knows the difference.

Next Maguire re-defines marriage the way the homosexual lobby wants: "Marriage can be defined as the unique and special form of committed friendship between sexually attrracted persons." Whopper #10 with reservations. Yes, it COULD be defined that way, but has not been in recorded human history. By the way, under Whopper Dan's "definition," something longer than a 2-night stand could also be "marriage."

In the same graf, Maguire asserts the usual red herring--that heterosexual marriages are not necessarily Happily Ever After stories. The best response to that is: So What? Heterosexual marriage does not involve acts which are contra naturam. And as was pointed out in a European study, homosexual "marriage" over there is even less 'permanent' and 'monogamous' than hetero.

Still citing Hunt (which is like citing Luther about fine points of musical theory,) Maguire endorses her absolutely vapid objection that "...homosexuals would have only six sacraments, while all other Catholics have seven." Heh. A two-fer Whopper (11 & 12), and telling. Hunt happens to be a "Wimmin's ordination" fantacist. In reality, female Catholics are NOT eligible for 7 sacraments--it is impossible for them to be (validly) ordained. By the way, no one has a right to ANY sacrament, which is how she manages to hand Dan-o two whoppers.

Maguire then proposes to dismantle opposing arguments, calling them "Objections."

Objection #1: The Bible says all homosexual activity is evil and sinful.

Response: "First of all, this is true." (Good; but all the rest is poppycock, to be polite.) Maguire cites Biblical verses which condone slavery and proscribe eating shellfish, and from these examples wants us to believe that all Biblical injunctions are, ah, time-conditional. Whopper #13. "When we come to the biblical texts on homosexuality we see right away that we could never treat them as rules for our day." (My emphasis.) Don't take MY word for it--recall that Maguire presents this as a "Catholic" response, then read John Paul II:

This reduction misunderstands the moral meaning of the body and of kinds of behaviour involving it (cf. 1 Cor 6:19). Saint Paul declares that "the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers" are excluded from the Kingdom of God (cf. 1 Cor 6:9). Note well: John Paul II did NOT object to Paul's teaching on "sexual perverts (homosexuals.) This tells us that John Paul II, who WAS vested with the highest Teaching Authority of the Church, agrees with Paul's statement. (Veritatis Splendor 49)

In the same "response" Maguire deliberately mis-interprets the Pauline injunction that 'wives should submit themselves to their husbands,' which constitutes Whopper #14, and goes on to FURTHER state that the Church constructed the "submit" text as some sort of bondage/slavery thing, and that only by correctly interpreting Paul's Galatians text stating that "all...are one in Christ Jesus," did the Church save women from fates worse than death.

Good grief.

Whopper #15 arrives when Maguire falsely claims that "The Church today condemns the death penalty." Not true. The Church vigorously objects to imposing the death penalty, but does not condemn it.

Whopper #16 follows closely on the heels of that one, when Maguire states that "...there are many moral questions that are not answered in the Bible. Homosexuality is one of them." Maguire kind of hopes that the reader will confuse "homosexuality" with "homosexual activity."

Whopper #17: "...Catholic and other Christian and Jewish theologians defend same-sex marriages today." A few, perhaps--one can count the "Catholic" defenders of SSM on both hands, and it is risky to use the term "Catholic" when citing these folks.

Objection #2: The Catholic hierarchy condemns all homosexual sex.

Response: That is true.

Dan-o even goes on to cite Cdl. Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI): "Respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions."

Were Whopper Dan to leave it there, he might crawl back into the good graces of Abp. Dolan. But NOOOOOO!

Whopper #18: "In Catholicism there are three sources of truth (or magisteria)...the Hierarchy, the theologians, and the wisdom and experience of the laity..." Wrong, Whopper. The Magisterium is based on two sources: Scripture, and Tradition. "The Magisterium, or teaching authority, is vested in the Bishops, as successors of the Apostles, under the Roman Pontiff...also vested in the Pope, as Vicar of Christ and visible head of the Roman Catholic Church." (Pocket Catholic Dictionary, Hardon, S.J., Image Books) Theologians, Dan-o, are nice, but not really necessary--only the Bishops are teachers, and the Magisterium's sources of truth are Scripture and Tradtion. Period. Finis.

Whopper #19: Maguire speaks of the current controversy over using rubbers to prevent AIDS in married couples, and says "Catholic theology...does not hold that view [which condemns the practice.] As a matter of fact, Whopper, the issue was settled with no changes despite the best efforts of Cdl. Martini, who recently "retired."

Whopper #20: "In and old Catholic teaching called Probabilism we find... [that] ...when there is debate on a moral issue...where there are good reasons and good authorities on both sides of the debate, Catholics are free to make up their own minds."

Except in the cases of sins (like homosexual activity) which are intrinsically evil. There's no debate about those sins, Dan-o, except in a few fevered minds.

Probabilism is the moral system which holds that, when there is question solely of the lawfulness or unlawfulness of an action, it is permissible to follow a solidly probable opinion in favour of liberty even though the opposing view is more probable.

When a prohibiting law is certain, [as in the case of homosexual acts] the subjects of the law are bound to abstain from performing the action which the law forbids, unless they are excused by one of the ordinary exempting causes.
(Catholic Encyclopedia)

We've only covered about 2/3rds of Whopper Dan's text, and have not covered that very thoroughly. Others, far more erudite, may cover this Pack of Lies more thoroughly.

But let's see what John Paul II had to say on the real issue here, which is the Natural Law and its relationship to truth, moral actions and judgments. As I have argued before, the question of Homosexual "Marriage" is intrinsically tied to natural law, and much of what JPII wrote on that topic is germane to the "arguments" of Whopper Dan and his cohort--however many that may actually be.

It has happened therefore that reason, rather than voicing the human orientation towards truth, has wilted under the weight of so much knowledge and little by little has lost the capacity to lift its gaze to the heights, not daring to rise to the truth of being. (Fides et Ratio 5)

Sacred Scripture indicates with remarkably clear cues how deeply related are the knowledge conferred by faith and the knowledge conferred by reason; F&R 16

What is distinctive in the biblical text is the conviction that there is a profound and indissoluble unity between the knowledge of reason and the knowledge of faith. The world and all that happens within it, including history and the fate of peoples, are realities to be observed, analysed and assessed with all the resources of reason, but without faith ever being foreign to the process. (Ibid)

At the same time, however, within the context of the theological debates which followed the Council, there have developed certain interpretations of Christian morality which are not consistent with "sound teaching" (2 Tm 4:3). (Veritatis Splendor 29)

Certain currents of modern thought have gone so far as to exalt freedom to such an extent that it becomes an absolute, which would then be the source of values. VS 32

To the affirmation that one has a duty to follow one's conscience is unduly added the affirmation that one's moral judgment is true merely by the fact that it has its origin in the conscience. But in this way the inescapable claims of truth disappear, yielding their place to a criterion of sincerity, authenticity and "being at peace with oneself", so much so that some have come to adopt a radically subjectivistic conception of moral judgment. Ibid

Certain tendencies in contemporary moral theology, under the influence of the currents of subjectivism and individualism just mentioned, involve novel interpretations of the relationship of freedom to the moral law, human nature and conscience, and propose novel criteria for the moral evaluation of acts. Despite their variety, these tendencies are at one in lessening or even denying the dependence of freedom on truth. VS 34

...some present-day cultural tendencies have given rise to several currents of thought in ethics which centre upon an alleged conflict between freedom and law. These doctrines would grant to individuals or social groups the right to determine what is good or evil. Human freedom would thus be able to "create values" and would enjoy a primacy over truth, to the point that truth itself would be considered a creation of freedom. Freedom would thus lay claim to a moral autonomy which would actually amount to an absolute sovereignty. VS 35 [This is the principal philosophical objection to the attempt to make "positive law" abrogate or derogate Natural Law.]

Indeed, as we have seen, the natural law "is nothing other than the light of understanding infused in us by God, whereby we understand what must be done and what must be avoided. God gave this light and this law to man at creation".71 The rightful autonomy of the practical reason means that man possesses in himself his own law, received from the Creator.

Nevertheless, the autonomy of reason cannot mean that reason itself creates values and moral norms.72 Were this autonomy to imply a denial of the participation of the practical reason in the wisdom of the divine Creator and Lawgiver, or were it to suggest a freedom which creates moral norms, on the basis of historical contingencies or the diversity of societies and cultures, this sort of alleged autonomy would contradict the Church's teaching on the truth about man.73 It would be the death of true freedom: "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die" (Gen 2:17). VS 40 [This is the response to Whopper's "today it's different" line...]

The natural law enters here as the human expression of God's eternal law. Saint Thomas writes: "Among all others, the rational creature is subject to divine providence in the most excellent way, insofar as it partakes of a share of providence, being provident both for itself and for others. Thus it has a share of the Eternal Reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end. This participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called natural law" VS 43

In this context, objections of physicalism and naturalism have been leveled against the traditional conception of the natural law, which is accused of presenting as moral laws what are in themselves mere biological laws. Consequently, in too superficial a way, a permanent and unchanging character would be attributed to certain kinds of human behaviour, and, on the basis of this, an attempt would be made to formulate universally valid moral norms.

According to certain theologians, this kind of "biologistic or naturalistic argumentation" would even be present in certain documents of the Church's Magisterium, particularly those dealing with the area of sexual and conjugal ethics. It was, they maintain, on the basis of a naturalistic understanding of the sexual act that contraception, direct sterilization, autoeroticism, pre-marital sexual relations, homosexual relations and artificial insemination were condemned as morally unacceptable. In the opinion of these same theologians, a morally negative evaluation of such acts fails to take into adequate consideration both man's character as a rational and free being and the cultural conditioning of all moral norms. In their view, man, as a rational being, not only can but actually must freely determine the meaning of his behaviour. This process of "determining the meaning" would obviously have to take into account the many limitations of the human being, as existing in a body and in history. Furthermore, it would have to take into consideration the behavioural models and the meanings which the latter acquire in any given culture. Above all, it would have to respect the fundamental commandment of love of God and neighbour. Still, they continue, God made man as a rationally free being; he left him "in the power of his own counsel" and he expects him to shape his life in a personal and rational way. Love of neighbour would mean above all and even exclusively respect for his freedom to make his own decisions. The workings of typically human behaviour, as well as the so-called "natural inclinations", would establish at the most so they say--a general orientation towards correct behaviour, but they cannot determine the moral assessment of individual human acts, so complex from the viewpoint of situations. VS 47

A freedom which claims to be absolute ends up treating the human body as a raw datum, devoid of any meaning and moral values until freedom has shaped it in accordance with its design. Consequently, human nature and the body appear as presuppositions or preambles, materially necessary for freedom to make its choice, yet extrinsic to the person, the subject and the human act. Their functions would not be able to constitute reference points for moral decisions, because the finalities of these inclinations would be merely physical goods, called by some "pre-moral". [In the instant case, the obvious "functions' of genitalia--insemination and reception--generation and nurturing--fatherhood and motherhood--are replaced by actions which cannot be described here and which are obviously NOT 'what the tools are for." Like using a violin to pound nails--it's unnatural.]

This moral theory does not correspond to the truth about man and his freedom. VS 48

A doctrine which dissociates the moral act from the bodily dimensions of its exercise is contrary to the teaching of Scripture and Tradition. Such a doctrine revives, in new forms, certain ancient errors which have always been opposed by the Church, inasmuch as they reduce the human person to a "spiritual" and purely formal freedom. This reduction misunderstands the moral meaning of the body and of kinds of behaviour involving it (cf. 1 Cor 6:19). Saint Paul declares that "the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers" are excluded from the Kingdom of God (cf. 1 Cor 6:9). VS 49

The natural law thus understood does not allow for any division between freedom and nature. Indeed, these two realities are harmoniously bound together, and each is intimately linked to the other. VS 50

...some authors have proposed a kind of double status of moral truth. Beyond the doctrinal and abstract level, one would have to acknowledge the priority of a certain more concrete existential consideration. The latter, by taking account of circumstances and the situation, could legitimately be the basis of certain exceptions to the general rule and thus permit one to do in practice and in good conscience what is qualified as intrinsically evil by the moral law. A separation, or even an opposition, is thus established in some cases between the teaching of the precept, which is valid in general, and the norm of the individual conscience, which would in fact make the final decision about what is good and what is evil. On this basis, an attempt is made to legitimize so-called "pastoral" solutions contrary to the teaching of the Magisterium, and to justify a "creative" hermeneutic according to which the moral conscience is in no way obliged, in every case, by a particular negative precept. VS 56

In any event, it is always from the truth that the dignity of conscience derives. In the case of the correct conscience, it is a question of the objective truth received by man; in the case of the erroneous conscience, it is a question of what man, mistakenly, subjectively considers to be true. It is never acceptable to confuse a "subjective" error about moral good with the "objective" truth rationally proposed to man in virtue of his end, or to make the moral value of an act performed with a true and correct conscience equivalent to the moral value of an act performed by following the judgment of an erroneous conscience.108 It is possible that the evil done as the result of invincible ignorance or a non-culpable error of judgment may not be imputable to the agent; but even in this case it does not cease to be an evil, a disorder in relation to the truth about the good. VS 63

The teleological ethical theories (proportionalism, consequentialism), while acknowledging that moral values are indicated by reason and by Revelation, maintain that it is never possible to formulate an absolute prohibition of particular kinds of behaviour which would be in conflict, in every circumstance and in every culture, with those values. ...The moral specificity of acts, that is their goodness or evil, would be determined exclusively by the faithfulness of the person to the highest values of charity and prudence, without this faithfulness necessarily being incompatible with choices contrary to certain particular moral precepts. Even when grave matter is concerned, these precepts should be considered as operative norms which are always relative and open to exceptions.

...In this view, deliberate consent to certain kinds of behaviour
declared illicit by traditional moral theology would not imply an objective moral evil. VS 75

These theories cannot claim to be grounded in the Catholic moral tradition. [Sorry, WhopperDan] Although the latter did witness the development of a casuistry which tried to assess the best ways to achieve the good in certain concrete situations, it is nonetheless true that this casuistry concerned only cases in which the law was uncertain, and thus the absolute validity of negative moral precepts, which oblige without exception, was not called into question. [So much for adducing "Probabilism" to THIS question.] The faithful are obliged to acknowledge and respect the specific moral precepts declared and taught by the Church in the name of God, the Creator and Lord. VS 76

Christian ethics, which pays particular attention to the moral object, does not refuse to consider the inner "teleology" of acting, inasmuch as it is directed to promoting the true good of the person; but it recognizes that it is really pursued only when the essential elements of human nature are respected. VS 78

In teaching the existence of intrinsically evil acts, the Church accepts the teaching of Sacred Scripture. The Apostle Paul emphatically states: "Do not be deceived: neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the Kingdom of God" VS 81

But acts whose object is "not capable of being ordered" to God and "unworthy of the human person" are always and in every case in conflict with that good. Consequently, respect for norms which prohibit such acts and oblige semper et pro semper, that is, without any exception, not only does not inhibit a good intention, but actually represents its basic expression. VS

Return to the truth, Dan. Accept the teaching of the Pope. Then you may claim to be a "Catholic" theologian.