Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Apparently, labor unions are the source and summit of everything that is bad in this country.
In recognition of that, you're supposed to celebrate the resurrection of Twinkies -- which now will be produced in bakeries as free of labor unions as the little sponge cakes are of any nutritional value -- by waddling to your local grocer, purchasing a pack of empty calories and applying them directly to your ass.
After all, according to one learned commenter on ForAmerica's Facebook page, "unions are destroying this country, remember Jimmy Huffa and organized crime, the mob runs unions." (Sic -- a great big sic. -- R21)
If you ask me, what's destroying this country is us. Whacked-out, pissed-off, greedy-ass, political-nutjob us. We're pathological. Our angry zeal so consumes us that we've just f***ing politicized the Twinkie.
And . . . wait. Jimmy Huffa?
Do they have bourbon-filled Twinkies?
Saturday, January 19, 2013
There seems to be a revolutionary fringe in this country -- one most recently animated by President Obama's modest proposals on gun control -- that is so far beyond being capable of engaging with reason in a reasonable manner that these folks probably couldn't even engage with Uncle Earl, Louisiana's late Gov. Earl K. Long.
Still, futile as it might ultimately prove with folks who have effectively careened into being anarchists, you've got to try.
Gun nuts and nullificationists and armchair revolutionaries, this is for you, taken from the biography of the arch-segregationist, anti-federal government Plaquemines Parish president, Leander Perez: Boss of the Delta:
But, because conservative principles were more important to him than party loyalty, he opposed every Democratic presidential nominee from Harry Truman in 1948 to Hubert Humphrey in 1968. The Judge was further frustrated by finding the Republican party too liberal for his taste, although he reluctantly supported Eisenhower for president in 1952 and 1956 and somewhat more enthusiastically backed Barry Goldwater in 1964. His political dogma was simple, unchanging and almost entirely negative: he opposed racial equality, federal ownership of tidelands oil resources, national welfare and public works programs, socialism in any form, and the mere existence of labor unions. Because the United States government, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, to some extent endorsed all of these, Leander became an indomitable foe of federal power in any form. Although he concentrated authority entirely in his own hands in Plaquemines, he denounced every vestige of centralized power in the national government. His antipathy toward Washington became so notorious that Earl Long once asked, "Whatcha gonna do now, Leander? The feds have got the atom bomb."
Friday, January 18, 2013
"Men are blind and crazy, they think all the people of Ohio are trying to steal their slaves and incite them to rise up and kill their masters; I know this is a delusion—but when people believe a delusion they believe it harder than a real fact and these people in the South are going, for this delusion, to break up the government under which we live."-- William Tecumseh Sherman, 1860
You knew William Tecumseh Sherman was a great Union general. You know what he did when he marched through Georgia, and you might even know that in the process, he invented modern "total" warfare.
But did you know that the general was also a prophet? That months before Louisiana's P.G.T. Beauregard set his Confederate batteries upon federal Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, Sherman told his wife in Ohio and a secessionist Louisiana friend that there would be a war, why there would be a war, what would start the war and where it would start. Everything came to pass just as he said it would.
In December 1860, the founding superintendent of the fledgling Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy, known today as Louisiana State University, sat down to pen a note to his little daughter Minnie back home in Lancaster. It begins with a papa telling his little one about their new house in Louisiana. It ends as a very grown-up lecture on the cold, hard facts of life.
Sherman writes another note to Mrs. Sherman, telling her his letter to Minnie drifted into something more appropriate for her, adding that she should just read what she saw fit to their little girl. Then, he added this:
There is an evident purpose, a dark design, not to allow time for thought and reflection. These southern leaders understand the character of their people and want action before the spirit subsides. Robert Anderson commands at Charleston, and there I look for the first actual collision. Old Fort Moultrie, every brick of which is as plain now in my memory as the sidewalk in Lancaster, will become historical. It is weak and I can scale any of its bastions. If secession, dissolution and Civil War do come South Carolina will drop far astern and the battle will be fought on the Mississippi. The Western States never should consent to a hostile people holding the mouth of the Mississippi.But, oh, what he earlier wrote to Minnie!
Dec. 15, 1860
I have been intending to write you a good long letter, and now I wish I could send you all something for Christmas, but I thought all along that Mama and you and Lizzie, Willie, Tommy, and all would be here in our new house by New Year's day. The house is all done, only some little painting to be done. The stable is finished, but poor Clay has been sick. . . In the front yard are growing some small oak trees, to give shade in the hot summer days; now however it is raw and cold, the leaves are off and it looks like winter, though thus far we have had no snow. Maybe we will have some snow at Christmas. In the back yard I have prepared for a small garden, but the soil is poor and will not produce much, except early peas, lettuce and sweet potatoes. The house itself looks beautiful. Two front porches and one back, all the windows open to the floor, like doors, so that you can walk out on the porch either upstairs or downstairs. I know you would all like the house so much - but dear little Minnie, man proposes and God disposes - what I have been planning so long and patiently, and thought that we were all on the point of realizing, the dream and hope of my life, that we could all be together once more in a home of our own, with peace and quiet and plenty around us. All, I fear, is about to vanish, and again I fear I must be a wanderer, leaving you all to grow up at Lancaster without your Papa.
Men are blind and crazy, they think all the people of Ohio are trying to steal their slaves, and incite them to rise up and kill their masters. I know this is a delusion - but when people believe a delusion, they believe it harder than a real fact, and these people in the South are going, for this delusion, to break up the government under which we live. You cannot understand this but Mama will explain it to you. Our governor here has gone so far that he cannot change, and in a month maybe you will be living under one government and I another.
This cannot last long, and as I know it is best for you all to stay in Lancaster, I will not bring you down here at all, unless some very great change takes place. If this were only a plain college I could stay with propriety, but it is an arsenal with guns and powder and balls, and were I to stay here I might have to fight for Louisiana and against Ohio. That would hardly do; you would not like that I know, and yet I have been asked to do it. But I hope still this will yet pass away, and that our house and garden will yet see us all united here in Louisiana.
Your loving papa,W. T. SHERMAN.
That's a lesson we never learn, and everybody's always spoiling for a fight. Especially in the South. Especially now -- it's all over Facebook . . . if you dare go on Facebook anymore amid the latest existential conflict (gun control in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre) swirling about President Obama like leaves caught in an autumn whirlwind.
"Men are blind and crazy . . . when people believe a delusion, they believe it harder than a real fact." In other words, "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."
IT'S PROBABLY no historical accident that so much of This Present Nuttery has its genesis below the Mason-Dixon Line.
Having lived for a quarter century some 1,100 miles and a world away from the peculiar stew in which I was reared, I think I've gained a little perspective on my home state, Louisiana, and what we of a certain age were indoctrinated into as sons and daughters of the South. I have found that that perspective goes something like this: "Holy sh*t!"
In this angry day, during this troubled age, you could be forgiven for thinking nuttery has become the norm in America, and the vortex of the granola cyclone -- a perfect storm of nuts and flakes -- is moving slowly up the lower Mississippi River basin.
So, for all the secessionist, nullificationist, insurrectionist folks back home whose outrage has assaulted me at every cyber corner, I have just one more quote from LSU's founding father, W.T. Sherman. The then-superintendent of a little military academy delivered it, weeping, to his friend, Professor David F. Boyd:
You, you the people of the South, believe there can be such a thing as peaceable secession. You don't know what you are doing. I know there can be no such thing. . . . If you will have it, the North must fight you for its own preservation. Yes, South Carolina has by this act [its secession --R21] precipitated war. . . . This country will be drenched in blood. God only knows how it will end. Perhaps the liberties of the entire country, of every section and every man will be destroyed, and yet you know that within the Union no man's liberty or property in all the South is endangered. . . ."WITH A bad cause to start with." You could almost forget we're talking about an anguished warning on Dec. 24, 1860, and think the future general was trying to talk some sense into today's laptop revolutionaries, heat-toting gun nuts, and the seceders, nullifiers, Obama-impeachers and insurrection-seekers who love them.
Oh, it is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization. . . .
You people speak so lightly of war. You don't know what you are talking about. War is a terrible thing. I know you are a brave, fighting people, but for every day of actual fighting, there are months of marching, exposure and suffering. More men die in war of sickness than are killed in battle.At best war is a frightful loss of life and property, and worse still is the demoralization of the people. . . .
You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people, but an earnest people and will fight, too, and they are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it. . . .
The North can make a steam-engine, locomotive or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or a pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical and determined people on earth -- right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with.
In a lot of ways, America today is as much a powder keg as it was in 1860. And just like 1860, there is no shortage of people, with hotheaded Southerners in the forefront, pitching lit matches in the arsenal door.
Eventually, someone will light the right match in the wrong spot, and something's gonna blow. And there will be blood.
Because some people never learn.
Monday, January 14, 2013
If you needed confirmation beyond what we've witnessed the past four years, here it is: The American right has lost its freakin' mind.
Such as it was.
This comes from some Facebook page called "Government Sucks," and I've traced it back as far as Nov. 14 on followingjohngalt.org . . . which tells you about all you need to know about that particular whackadoodle website. Government may or may not suck, but what really sucks are people so far gone that they think the roundups and exterminations are about to begin -- and that we need assault weapons to stop it.
Apparently, disturbed people acquiring military-grade home arsenals and slaughtering innocents in movie theaters or first-grade classrooms are just regrettable collateral damage in the quest of "right-thinking Americans" to protect themselves from
I DON'T KNOW what you can say to people who believe this . . . or who will post this sort of offensive nuttery on sites like Facebook, which used to be a nice place to hang out online with your pals. And this is offensive. If I were Jewish, I would be beyond apoplectic.
Hell, as a Catholic, I am bordering on being the other side of apoplectic.
The thing is, you can't pull these folks back from the edge. Hardline "conservatives" are hellbent on getting further and further out there, and they cannot be reasoned with. "Get a hold of yourself, man!" will have no effect, and indeed will brand the exhorter as one of "you people." As an appeaser. As less than patriotic. As a "socialist."
As an enemy.
No, you can't argue with crazy. This sh*t is crazy. And presumably, the people who have given themselves over to the paranoid spirit of crazy are heavily armed -- or want to be. This will not end well.
UPDATE: Speaking of crazy, this from Politico:
Freshman Republican Rep. Steve Stockman (Texas) on Monday said he would "seek to thwart" executive action by President Obama in regard to gun laws by any means necessary, even if it means "filing articles of impeachment."LORD, have mercy. Not that we have even a scintilla coming.
"The White House’s recent announcement they will use executive orders and executive actions to infringe on our constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms is an unconstitutional and unconscionable attack on the very founding principles of this republic," Stockman said in a statement. "I will seek to thwart this action by any means necessary, including but not limited to eliminating funding for implementation, defunding the White House, and even filing articles of impeachment."
At a press conference in the East Room on Monday, Obama said he would consider executive actions on gun control, but said such actions would be limited in scope.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
There is a dangerous new threat to America out there, and Rick Santorum has picked up his lance and mounted his white horse.
A terrible dragon be afoot, and Our Hero must join the GOP crusade to slay it. Its name? Chuck Hagel. Former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska.
Chuck, the Hagel Dragon is insufficiently zealous for the cause of endless war to be secretary of defense, and his nomination by Barack Obama is proof of the president's traitorous intent, no doubt.
That's Santorum's -- and many Republicans' -- fractured fairy tale, by God, and they're sticking by it.
BEFORE venturing onward, the Christian soldier outlined this particular "Grimm" tale to the all-things-politics website, Politico:
In an interview with POLITICO, Santorum outlined his opposition to the choice of Hagel, a decorated Vietnam veteran who has come under fire from conservative and Jewish groups that say he has opposed sanctions on Iran, not supported Israel, and supported engagement with Hamas and Hezbollah. If Hagel is confirmed, he would be "very dangerous" to the security of our country, Santorum said.ONE COULD be forgiven for thinking contemporary Republican politicians constantly spoil for a fight with some woebegone country or another for the same reason poorly socialized, uneducated inner-city youth are eager to "cap yo' ass." They are so insecure and ill-equipped to face the modern world that agitating for deeply stupid wars against countries they figure we can beat (and sooner or later, that assumption will be catastrophically proven erroneous) that this is the only means they have of asserting their "manhood."
"I don't take lightly opposing a nominee of the president. If you go back and look at my history in the Senate, even before and after, I give great deference to the president to choose the people that conform with his point of view. He won the election, so he should have the right to put in the place the people that go forth with his plan," Santorum said. But, Santorum said, if Hagel were confirmed, he would be "a voice in the administration that is to the left of the president."
"I do not agree with the Obama administration's policy on Israel or Iran, and the threat of radical Islam. The problem is that Chuck Hagel's positions in the past are worse than the president's," he said.
Alternatively, it just could be how powerful men with massive egos deal with their lost youth and the ever-nearing approach of the Grim Reaper. In that case, couldn't they get a sports car and a much-younger girlfriend instead? Find themselves a bevy of appropriately bourgeois baby mamas?
Strike that. These guys are the ones for whom the above will never be enough to scratch their pathological itch. Only more and ever more senseless deaths of young American military personnel and a potential massive hit to the American economy -- or worse -- can do the trick for today's GOP warmongers.
We Nebraskans elected Chuck Hagel to the U.S. Senate twice, and he was a better senator than most of us were citizens -- he ended up being a lot more right about war with Iraq than we were at the time, for which he endured endless insults to his character and courage like "Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-France."
HAGEL PROVED his manhood the hard way -- in the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam, and he has a couple of Purple Hearts to prove it. One of them he earned pulling his younger brother out of a burning armored-personnel carrier and carrying him to relative safety through hostile fire.
Certain Republican politicians and other assorted Washington leeches remind me more of thug-rapper Lil' Boosie stylin' to a John Phillip Sousa march.
Color me disgusted. Yet again.
P.S.: America's Jewish soldiers aren't any better than the Christian ones of the Santorum stripe.
Hagel was absolutely right when he once said "I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States senator." Some people seem to be really worried that he'll carry over that same approach to being secretary of defense.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
This is crazy.
Gun Appreciation Day?
Designed to "send a message" to Washington?
By going to your local gun store and firing range?
The day before President Obama is sworn in for his second term of office and two days before the public Inauguration Day ceremonies?
SAYS the NPR blog item on The Two-Way:
Saying they're following the example of last year's Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, a coalition of "gun rights" activists announced today that they're calling on like-minded Americans to visit gun stores, gun ranges and gun shows on Jan. 19 in a show of unity they're calling "Gun Appreciation Day."PRAY TELL, what exactly is the message right-wing gun nuts want to send here? "Screw with us, Obama, and we'll kill you"?
It's no coincidence that the 19th is Saturday of the weekend when President Obama will be sworn into office for a second time. Organizers say the date was chosen "to send a message to Washington two days before Obama's second inauguration." They're worried about what they see as the "Obama administration's post-Sandy Hook assault on gun rights."
On Dec. 14, a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., before taking his own life.
Among the groups that are on board with Gun Appreciation Day: the Second Amendment Foundation and the Conservative Action Fund, a so-called SuperPAC.
"We don't like how the election turned out, so we're thinking about implementing Plan B, which rhymes with "P," and that stands for 'putsch'"?
That's certainly what it sounds like. That's certainly what the splenetic context of the four-year conservative freak-out, as well as the timing of the event, suggests.
What this stuff also suggests is that the United States has gone as mad as it's been since the darkest days of the late 1960s. The difference today is that we operate on depleted social and civic capital and thus have little room for error.
It wouldn't take much for a whole bunch to go seriously south in a big hurry. Paranoid, angry people and guns are a match made in hell.
In other words, this is crazy.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Today's helpful tip for getting along in America: Don't say what you really think, if what you really think is what people really don't want to hear.
Conservative writer John Derbyshire was arrogant enough to think the power of his own intellect and the conviction with which he holds to his prejudices could save him from that simple postmodern fact of life. And mere days after he published the white man's version of "The Talk" on the Taki's Magazine website, Derbyshire has become a former National Review contributor.
"The Talk," of course, is the "cold, hard facts of life" discussion black parents have with their sons as soon as boys get within striking distance of becoming men. It concerns how white folks see black males, and how one stays alive given that unfortunate reality.
Well, as Derbyshire correctly pointed out, white parents have a version of that talk, too. And, as Derbyshire, correctly noted, it goes something like this:
(6) As you go through life, however, you will experience an ever larger number of encounters with black Americans. Assuming your encounters are random—for example, not restricted only to black convicted murderers or to black investment bankers—the Law of Large Numbers will inevitably kick in. You will observe that the means—the averages—of many traits are very different for black and white Americans, as has been confirmed by methodical inquiries in the human sciences.I GREW UP in the Deep South. As bad as Derbyshire's version is -- and this wasn't the bad part -- the one I and countless other young Southerners got nearly 40 years ago was a lot worse.
(7) Of most importance to your personal safety are the very different means for antisocial behavior, which you will see reflected in, for instance, school disciplinary measures, political corruption, and criminal convictions.
(8) These differences are magnified by the hostility many blacks feel toward whites. Thus, while black-on-black behavior is more antisocial in the average than is white-on-white behavior, average black-on-white behavior is a degree more antisocial yet.
(9) A small cohort of blacks—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us. A much larger cohort of blacks—around half—will go along passively if the five percent take leadership in some event. They will do this out of racial solidarity, the natural willingness of most human beings to be led, and a vague feeling that whites have it coming.
(10) Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:
(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.
(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.
(10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).
(10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.
(10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.
(10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.
When Derbyshire isn't veering off into the eugenic fever swamps -- studies apparently show the average African-American IQ is some 19 points lower than the average white IQ (Which we're supposed to address . . . how?) -- or referencing data from a reputedly racist website about blacks' propensity for violence, he occasionally veers into common sense.
In other words, don't go to rap concerts. Stay the hell out of the 'hood, particularly in the middle of the night. If a situation starts to look like trouble, it probably is. No matter how soulful you think you might be, a certain percentage of African-Americans will see it -- and you -- differently, white boy.
All of this is unfortunate. It's also the cold, hard fact of racially divided American life.
Or maybe the cold, hard insanity of eliminating the divide by exterminating white people, as broadcast on C-SPAN in 2007 via "Kamau Kambon´s most excellent speach."
SLAVERY was America's original sin. Its awful effects persist to this day. No, in too many cases, we can't just get along. And despite all the king's horses and all the king's diversity trainers, we have no clue how to put Humpty Dumpty together again.
Particularly since he was never in one piece to begin with.
Not one of us knows how to undo slavery. Not one of us knows how to undo the horrific lingering effects of Jim Crow. Or the tragedy born of the disintegration of the black family and how that has influenced poverty, violence and -- since Derbyshire brought it up -- the "IQ gap," for whatever that data might be worth.
For that matter, we don't know how to undo the unfolding catastrophe that is the disintegration of the white family, either. In another 10 years, a large chunk of white America will be right where the black underclass resides.
Of course, many of "the right sort" of white folks are making a killing off of the toxic hip-hop culture that has turned into a loutish glorification of everything that -- if properly adhered to -- likely will leave one f***ed up, knocked up, locked up, dumbed down . . . or dead. But that's not important now, right?
No, just consider what a bad, bad racist John Derbyshire is. You know you want to.
Harp on all the cynical, nasty and bigoted things he has to say. Mostly, you would be correct.
But the most offensive thing in play here doesn't involve any of the truths Derbyshire stumbled upon, nor any of his "lies, damned lies and statistics." It's not even in his moral lacuna, which swallowed that place where Christian charity ought to reside.
The most offensive thing in play here is that he got a shiv in the back for being an open book while more than a few of his vocal detractors, I would wager, are living what Derbyshire merely had the temerity to write.
They are avoiding the 'hood.
They stay the hell away from large groups of black youth with pants on the ground and hoodies over their heads.
They don't go to rap concerts.
They do not settle in municipalities run by black politicians, unless they're really loaded Washingtonians and can afford Georgetown. And a hella home-alarm system.
And they're just fine.
THEY PROBABLY even adhere to the supremely cynical Paragraphs 13, 14 and 15 of Derbyshire's "nonblack version" of The Talk:
(13) In that pool of forty million, there are nonetheless many intelligent and well-socialized blacks. (I’ll use IWSB as an ad hoc abbreviation.) You should consciously seek opportunities to make friends with IWSBs. In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice.BECAUSE IT'S always easier to indignantly scream "racist" than actually not be one. Take the test Derbyshire mentioned Monday in this Gawker Q and A.
(14) Be aware, however, that there is an issue of supply and demand here. Demand comes from organizations and businesses keen to display racial propriety by employing IWSBs, especially in positions at the interface with the general public—corporate sales reps, TV news presenters, press officers for government agencies, etc.—with corresponding depletion in less visible positions. There is also strong private demand from middle- and upper-class whites for personal bonds with IWSBs, for reasons given in the previous paragraph and also (next paragraph) as status markers.
(15) Unfortunately the demand is greater than the supply, so IWSBs are something of a luxury good, like antique furniture or corporate jets: boasted of by upper-class whites and wealthy organizations, coveted by the less prosperous. To be an IWSB in present-day US society is a height of felicity rarely before attained by any group of human beings in history. Try to curb your envy: it will be taken as prejudice (see paragraph 13).
I didn't do so well on the African American-European American Implicit Association Test. The first time I took it today, I scored just like Derbyshire did -- a "strong automatic preference for European American compared to African American."
The second time I took the test, after getting the hang of it, I displayed a "moderate automatic preference" for white like me. Maybe that's just how we're all wired. Or maybe -- as I continue this lifelong mortal struggle against the profoundly racist culture into which I was born, raised and indoctrinated -- the evil within my crooked, hard heart yet exceeds that which, with God's help, I have purged in my 51 years on earth.
That national conversation about race is the last thing we want to have. Not even after 400 years, and almost 150 years after slavery's end.
We want the truth? We want the truth??? We can't handle the truth.
John Derbyshire -- in his wonkish, tone deaf, elitist, racist kind of way -- almost stumbled right into that dreaded conversation. Maybe his unfortunate spasm of honesty could have dragged the rest of us into an honest airing of what divides us . . . and how we might start fixing what ails us.
That's why all the rest of us racists, the ones not nearly so honest about our multicultural hearts of darkness, had to put a bullet in the man's literary brain.
Now we return you to your previously scheduled TV news coverage of murderous black youth, mau-mauing race baiters and crackers with firearms, pickup trucks and a bad attitude about "f***ing n*****s."
Film at 11.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
There is nothing Barack Obama can do to the Catholic Church that comes close to the kind of treachery righteously perpetrated by Catholics proclaiming the false gospel of the Most High Santorum.
The followers of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum worry that the liberal devil they see will kill the church by diminishing freedom of conscience in the name of contraception. In their ardor for a more morally perfect union, these "orthodox" Catholics hold high the banner of the conservative devil they refuse to see.
And who might that devil be? The one whispering into the election-year ear of Rick Santorum: Good Catholic Man.
Some proclaim the Pennsylvania politician as a "traditional" Catholic, while others prefer "orthodox." I prefer other terminology.
But the editors of a right-wing website by the grandiosely presumptuous name of CatholicVote.org were "proud" to endorse the man:
Catholic voters are looking for a candidate who can successfully combine the principles of the dignity of life and the dignity of work. Senator Santorum understands better than any other candidate the profound link between the moral, cultural and economic principles foundational to the success of America. We are convinced that Rick Santorum is the candidate best equipped to win not only the political arguments, but also the hearts of American voters as he did in Iowa on Tuesday. . . .I SUPPOSE we are to compare the clothes-filled baggage of the former U.S. senator to the Obama-, contraception- and abortion-filled baggage of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, former speaker of the House and Everybody's Favorite Bad, Bad, REALLY Bad Catholic.
Finally, Senator Santorum is a man of honor, integrity, and authenticity. What you see is what you get. He has faithfully served the cause of life and marriage as an elected official and as a husband and father. And while no political candidate, or human being for that matter, is perfect, Rick Santorum’s baggage contains his clothes.
“Republicans hoping to win back the White House in November must unite behind the candidate most dedicated to the foundational issues of faith, family and freedom. If the GOP hopes to defeat President Obama, it takes a Rick Santorum to get it done.
People like Pelosi are "cafeteria Catholics," don't you know? They give scandal to Jesus Christ and His church by keeping those of His -- and its -- teachings they like and denouncing the rest as the rantings of a bunch of out-of-touch, celibate men. Who probably are just a bunch of pedophiles, anyway.
This is true, so far as it goes. "Bad" public Catholics like Pelosi, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Vice President Joe Biden, can tolerate anything but the authoritative teaching of Catholicism on social issues like abortion.
Unlike Rick Santorum.
Another of the CatholicVote.org people, "American Papist" blogger Thomas Peters cannot say enough good things about the good things Santorum brings to the presidential election. Then again, that just might have been the "man crush" talking last year:
Catholics, we need to stick together behind good guys like Rick. This includes offering constructive criticism at times, but it also means not missing opportunities to say good things when that’s what’s needed.INDEED, it is good when Catholics can stop the incessant left-right squabbling and stick together on something. On the other hand, it would be nice if the something -- or someone -- we stuck together for represented something better than the same degree (just different) of cafeteria Catholicism exemplified by Democrat pols Pelosi, Sebelius and Biden.
As I bring up often when I talk about Catholic identity in politics and the public square, the number one attack those who hate the Church or disagree with her teachings have is the attack of disunity. Those who oppose the Church know the Church is at her weakest when she is internally divided, which means what they are most scared of is a united Church.
Catholics of America, ecce Santorum:
SANTORUM'S eagerness for war with Iran, absent any present or imminent Iranian attack on the United States, may be many things -- moronic, reckless, foolish and catastrophic come to mind -- but it isn't Catholic. The church embraces something called the "just war theory," which it thought enough of to make authoritative . . . and binding on Catholics. It's in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which says:
2308 All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.WHERE IS the "certain" damage addressed by a preventive war? I'll wait while Santorum's Catholic enthusiasts search in vain for a rationalization to neuter the clear teaching of their own faith.
However, "as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed."
2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:
- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
- there must be serious prospects of success;
- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.
These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the "just war" doctrine.
The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.
For instance, where is the "orthodox" Catholicism oozing out of this statement by the "traditional" Catholic for whom we're supposed to "stick together"?
SORRY, but when I think of "orthodox Catholics for unprovoked, pre-emptive missile strikes and bombing runs," my minds keeps drifting off to the faithful witness of "Catholics for Free Choice." As in the "free choice" to kill your unborn child in the holy name of Personal Autonomy.
On the other hand, you don't want to know what I think of when I hear pious drivel like "the number one attack those who hate the Church or disagree with her teachings have is the attack of disunity" while watching Mr. Real Catholic Guy here:
AND THERE'S this, of course, from a radio interview last year on The Hugh Hewitt Show:
HH: Now did the bin Laden killing cause you to hope that the enhanced interrogation debate returns center stage about whether or not, and when such techniques ought to be used?
RS: Well, not only that, but the first thing that should happen, Hugh, was that the President of the United States should have stepped forward and said we are going to stop this, well, potential prosecution of those within the intelligence community who were involved in the enhanced interrogation program. That should have been step one, going to Eric Holder and saying enough is enough, we’re not doing this anymore. We need to give these guys medals, not prosecute them.
Number two, he should have stepped forward and said look, I was wrong, the enhanced interrogation program did work, it did produce my greatest foreign policy success. And I’m going to admit when I was wrong, and we’re going to look at how we’re going to redeploy this under obviously different rules and regulations, since of course the Obama administration told the enemy what we were doing in the previous enhanced interrogation programs.
HH: Now your former colleague, John McCain, said look, there’s no record, there’s no evidence here that these methods actually led to the capture or the killing of bin Laden. Do you disagree with that? Or do you think he’s got an argument?WOW. Just wow.
RS: I don’t, everything I’ve read shows that we would not have gotten this information as to who this man was if it had not been gotten information from people who were subject to enhanced interrogation. And so this idea that we didn’t ask that question while Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was being waterboarded, he doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works.
I mean, you break somebody, and after they’re broken, they become cooperative. And that’s when we got this information. And one thing led to another, and led to another, and that’s how we ended up with bin Laden. That seems to be clear from all the information I read. Maybe McCain has better information than I do, but from what I’ve seen, it seems pretty clear that but for these cooperative witnesses who were cooperative as a result of enhanced interrogations, we would not have gotten bin Laden.
John McCain doesn't understand torture? Maybe this "orthodox" Catholic man who would be leader of The World Formerly Known as Free thinks the "Hanoi Hilton" really was a Hilton. And that the now-senator from Arizona and all the other prisoners of war there really did spend all day playing volleyball, just like in the North Vietnamese propaganda films.
But I digress.
It would seem Santorum -- and those who unconditionally love his candidacy -- may be unfamiliar with the authoritative teaching of not only the catechism, but also of Gaudium et Spes -- one of the core documents of the Second Vatican Council:
27. Coming down to practical and particularly urgent consequences, this council lays stress on reverence for man; everyone must consider his every neighbor without exception as another self, taking into account first of all His life and the means necessary to living it with dignity, so as not to imitate the rich man who had no concern for the poor man Lazarus.AS I SAID at the beginning of this post, President Obama can do what he likes to the Catholic Church regarding the "contraceptive mandate," but he can't really hurt it. Catholicism has survived 2,000 years of tyrants and maniacs in high places. It survived the Borgia popes. It survived the Reformation. And it will survive whatever cute, demagogic tricks Obama has in store to help shore up the Democratic base before the election.
In our times a special obligation binds us to make ourselves the neighbor of every person without exception and of actively helping him when he comes across our path, whether he be an old person abandoned by all, a foreign laborer unjustly looked down upon, a refugee, a child born of an unlawful union and wrongly suffering for a sin he did not commit, or a hungry person who disturbs our conscience by recalling the voice of the Lord, "As long as you did it for one of these the least of my brethren, you did it for me" (Matt. 25:40).
Furthermore, whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or willful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are supreme dishonor to the Creator.
What really can hurt the church is us. People like Santorum who tout their "orthodox Catholic" bona fides while standing in the cafeteria line, picking up this doctrine and passing on that one.
Political persecution can make us martyrs, but clowns like you, me, the former senator from Pennsylvania and the "real Catholics" who back him . . . we can make Christ's church look foolish or, worse, evil. All we have to do is put ourselves out there as proclaimers of the Truth while telling a little lie here and another there.
In other words, where is the apostle Paul when we need him? Let us turn to Acts 16:
16AS THEY SAY, the devil is in the details.
As we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl with an oracular spirit, who used to bring a large profit to her owners through her fortune-telling.
She began to follow Paul and us, shouting, "These people are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation."
She did this for many days. Paul became annoyed, turned, and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." Then it came out at that moment.
When her owners saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to the public square before the local authorities.
They brought them before the magistrates 7 and said, "These people are Jews and are disturbing our city
and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us Romans to adopt or practice."
The crowd joined in the attack on them, and the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
After inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison and instructed the jailer to guard them securely.
When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and secured their feet to a stake.
About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened,
there was suddenly such a severe earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose.
When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew (his) sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped.
But Paul shouted out in a loud voice, "Do no harm to yourself; we are all here."
He asked for a light and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas.
Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved."
So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house.
Just as the demon-possessed oracle told everyone that Paul and his company were slaves (not children) of the Most High God and proclaimed a way (not the way) of salvation, Santorum conflates his ham-handed -- yet basically correct -- pronouncements on abortion, birth control and sexuality with Satan's social teaching on torture and war. The effect -- once we Catholics and the secular media have finished making Santorum into the exemplar of the true church -- is to make the true church look like a damned lie.
Good job -- not.
Now at the risk of being horribly presumptuous (but tired of waiting for someone more qualified to do it), I feel it somehow necessary to trade my inner Jeremiah for my inner Paul in the case of Rick Santorum and His True Catholics for Chaos.
So, with apologies in advance to St. Paul . . . "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of them."
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
October 2010: Conservative nerds air their dirty romantic laundry during a panel discussion on C-SPAN.
JANUARY 2011: Science nerds from The Big Bang Theory air their dirty romantic laundry during a panel discussion on CBS.
Sorry about the tardiness of this observation. The real-life nerds, I remembered from a year ago; The Big Bang Theory, I've only recently gotten into.
Let's just say that when I saw this episode, it was a true Bazinga! moment for me.
That is all.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Two years ago, the tea-party meme was "Barack Hussein Obama is a socialist." And a "Muslin."
Protesters walked around with handguns on their hips and assault rifles slung over their shoulders. Amid the "Don't Tread on Me" flags was an occasional "It is time to water the tree of liberty" sign. Right-thinking Americans were to "water the tree," as it were, "with the blood of patriots and tyrants," according to the original Thomas Jefferson quote.
A year and a half ago, the tea-party meme was "Barack Hussein Obama is a socialist, Marxist Nazi who, with his liberal henchmen, wants to fundamentally subvert constitutional rule."
And "ObamaCare" was as Marxist as it got. Or as Nazi as it gets, what with all the "death panels." Even though it was modeled on a Massachusetts plan championed by a Republican governor.
SINCE, we've had Republicans in the U.S. House hold the government hostage with the threat of default. We've had Republican presidential candidates hyperventilating about "government injections." We've had another GOP presidential candidate speculatively accusing the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of "almost treason" and suggesting Ben Bernanke's reception in Texas, were he so unwise as to venture there, would get "ugly."
The United States has lived through other eras as divided, rancorous and nasty as the present one. A century and a half ago, one such era ended with the deaths of between 600,000 and 700,000 Americans. A third of the country lay in ruins.
Having been to the abyss once and fallen in, Americans since have been gun shy when it comes to civil war. No more, not in this present Era of Bat-S*** Crazy.
Today, it's a death match between right-thinking, right-wing Americans of the tea-party persuasion and the evil liberals, whose communist plot has succeeded in subverting our culture. That's what conservative Internet mogul Andrew Breitbart told a Boston-area tea-party gathering Friday, adding that in his less-clear moments he thinks "Fire the first shot. Bring it on."
"We outnumber them, and we have the guns."
JUST IN CASE you think you heard him wrong, Breitbart makes it perfectly clear.
"I'm talking about if they want to take it to the point of a civil war and it goes to the streets, we're the guys that have the guns," he said. "The people in the military, who are not supposed to be political -- when push comes to shove, they're going to be on our side. That's what I'm talking about."
What was just a nasty political undercurrent (and ill-tempered words on misspelled protest signs) now has come out into the open. A conservative media entrepreneur and provocateur now has named That Which Must Not Be Named, and he did so in the context of:
* "Bring it on."
* "We outnumber them, and we have the guns."
* "The people in the military who are not supposed to be political -- when push comes to shove, they're going to be on our side."
CONSIDER, TOO, what is obvious but unsaid by Breitbart. Who is the present-day leader of the "liberal subversion" of all that was right and good about America? Who is at the top of the "subversive" food chain?
It can be none other than Barack Hussein Obama -- President Obama.
What Breitbart rhapsodizes about is a civil war that, given who now sits as its chief executive, would result in the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. And he suggests that it would occur with the backing of the military -- a coup. (See Title 18, United States Code, Section 2385.)
Tea-party "patriots" and those who egg them on, like Breitbart, think it's cute to wink and nod at the violent end of the United States as we've known it since the last attempt at bringing about the violent end of the United States. They think they're being conservative and culturally responsible by seeing the evil of the "subversives" (and in some specific cases, they're correct about cultural trends) . . . and then raising it.
Likewise, they think they're being "constitutional" -- law-abiding -- by walking to the edge of what could earn them up to 20 years in federal prison, toeing at that legal line in the sand and then running off to hide behind the First Amendment.
They do all this so cavalierly, so glibly. So enthusiastically.
THIS IS HOW most people condemn themselves to hell, thinking the whole time that God is on their side. This is how a small cadre of nuts, louts and fools can cast entire peoples into hell on earth. Gavrilo Princip, after all, was just trying to free Bosnia from the shackles of Austro-Hungarian tyranny, right?
He was a patriot. And as a result of his patriotic -- and successful -- double-assassination attempt, "trees of liberty" all over the world got watered with the blood of some 17 million dead and 20 million wounded.
Self-styled "patriots" usually cast us all into an earthly "lake of fire" with years of murderous rhetoric that culminate with a single stupid individual doing a single stupid -- and deadly -- thing. Then comes a harsh reaction. And an even more violent counterreaction.
Then a yet harsher counter-counterreaction . . . a whole self-perpetuating vortex of hate and violence sucking whole societies down into the netherworld.
WE LIVE, in our tenderbox society, during what the Chinese curse would refer to as "interesting times." It is here that tea-party "patriots" strike their matches and wantonly discard lit cigarettes. And it is here that "conservative" radicals such as Andrew Breitbart throw bombs at "the enemy within."
If sanity does not reassert itself -- and soon -- the bombs Americans throw won't be rhetorical ones. And the "tree of liberty" just might drown amid a crimson tide.