Charlie's Blog: June 2016

6.28.2016

Make America Great Again


We need a great president.
DONALD TRUMP

At the outset, I want to say that I don't think Donald Trump will be a great president. I'm not even sure that he will even be president. But he is right about one thing. This country needs a great president. Hillary Clinton is definitely not that president. That leaves Trump. It is now my task to convince you to vote for this man.

Think back over the last disastrous eight years of Barack Obama as president. Now, do you want four more years of this? Do you want more Obamacare? Do you want more of this recession that Obama economists deny is a recession? Do you believe you are better off now than you were eight years ago? If you answered yes to these questions, you simply vote for Hillary Clinton. There is no way that woman is going to make things better after Obama. On the basis of Obama alone, you should not vote for Hillary Clinton and vote for Donald Trump instead.


Now, this first argument is based purely on the disaster of Obama. When you look at Hillary Clinton, this is a woman who is more crooked than Richard Nixon could ever imagine much less be. The FBI is in near revolt because they know the Obama administration is going to let her skate on felonious acts that should put her in prison for the rest of her life. Instead, she may actually become the first president of the United States to be elected under the shadow of a federal indictment. It would not be a surprise to me at all if Barack Obama's last official act in office was to issue her a presidential pardon. As for the Clinton Foundation, there is ample evidence to suggest that it is nothing more than a slush fund for the Clinton's soliciting and accepting donations from foreigners in exchange for political favors. The woman is slimy as they come.


Clinton's policies are also going to be disastrous. I expect her to balloon the federal deficit even further and advance the pro-choice and pro-gay agenda at every level. If Obama merely took his foot off the brake of these social issues, Hillary Clinton is certain to step on the gas. You can also count on Hillary to make the Supreme Court a permanent left wing tyranny for the foreseeable future with her appointments. As for reining in banksters, it is hard to believe she will do anything about Wall Street corruption when those slimeballs have been paying her millions in speaking fees and campaign donations. All the things Bernie Sanders said about her corruption are true. She is bought and paid for by the fat cats on Wall Street. The one guy they don't want to see in the White House is Donald Trump.


Hillary Clinton wants your vote, but if she can't get it, she will be glad to settle for you opting to not vote or to vote for some third party candidate no one ever heard about with no chance of winning. As such, Clinton will take any vote except a vote for Donald Trump. If you vote for anyone other than Donald Trump, you are voting for Hillary Clinton. If you doubt this, imagine the smile you will put on her face when you tell her you will be voting for Gary Johnson in November.

The only reason you should vote for Hillary Clinton directly or by default is that you believe that Trump would be worse than Clinton. I don't see how any sane person could believe that Trump would be worse than that woman. Granted, Trump has made life rough for Establishment Republicans, but they deserve it. Those guys haven't cared one bit about conservatives or the working class people of this country. Those in the Establishment want Hillary, so they can continue to ignore those people. That is sad.


What will Trump do for America? Can he really make America great again? I doubt it. What I know is that he is not likely to make it worse like Hillary Clinton will do. He will most likely appoint pro-life candidates to the Supreme Court. And he will have to appoint Republicans to his cabinet and seek their advice on matters. As crazy as Trump may seem, he has enough sense to surround himself with good people and the stones to fire those who do a bad job. He is also someone willing to make compromises which means compromising with a Republican controlled Congress.

I can understand why many Republicans are not enthusiastic about Trump. You don't have to love the guy or even like him. You just have to vote for him because he is way better than the alternative. Neither Romney nor McCain were good candidates, but you have to admit that things would be a lot better in this country had they won instead of Obama.

There is one thing I can say about Donald Trump. The man loves this country. He also loves the common people while he has no love for the elites that have put this country in the toilet. People in America are tired of feeling like they are working hard so that others can reap the benefits while they are left with nothing. This love for America and for Americans is what puts Trump in the same spirit as Ronald Reagan. Reagan restored pride to this country after many years of humiliation. Perhaps Trump can do the same.

In the end, why should you vote for Donald Trump? You should vote for Trump for the same reason that I am voting for Trump. I honestly believe that the country will be better because he is in the White House. I don't know if we can call it "greatness," but it will certainly be a move back from the disaster that has been Obama. With Hillary Clinton, it will be an extension of this disastrous eight years or even worse. This may be a lukewarm endorsement, but if you wish America was great again, that is reason enough to vote for Donald Trump. He may or may not deliver, but you can say that you tried. But if you let Hillary slide in uncontested, do the rest of us a favor and don't complain about what you get. And you will get it good and hard for at least four years.

6.27.2016

A Response to "Reflections on Pride"


Pope Francis is fond of using the word “accompaniment.” People in the church are more and more being encouraged to accompany you. So have hope in your church. 
FATHER JAMES MARTIN, SJ

At the outset, I have to say that the Society of Jesus is no longer the same one founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola. I cannot repeat the dreadful things I have heard about the order because they are too scandalous. What I can say is that parents should never allow their children to be around a Jesuit priest. They should also refuse to send their children to Jesuit schools and universities. I also feel for those good Jesuits who serve our Lord faithfully as Jesuits but who may be tarred with this brush. Please pray for your order.

I will begin with this tweet from Father James Martin:
Now, Father Martin loves Pope Francis. They are both Jesuits. But in his glee to praise his pontiff, he has confessed more than he realizes. Basically, he has called Pope Francis out for being a closet heretic needing discipline, censure, and silence. Father Martin recognizes what so many others deliberately refuse to see or acknowledge. He does the faithful a favor though it was not his intention.

The Church's teaching on homosexuality is clear. Here is the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the matter:
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. 
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
The teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are clear. Homosexual acts are sinful. They cannot be excused, tolerated, or supported. But they can be forgiven. And those with same sex attraction are called to live in chastity.

Do Jesuits like Pope Francis and Father Martin support homosexual license? The answer is obvious--not yet. But we will get there perhaps in the next decade. This is clearly the hope of Father Martin who never explicitly comes out in support of the wrong until the wrong has been declared right. This is that "Jesuitical" thing they have going on over in the SJ. They affirm church teaching while working to change what can't be changed. Here is the definition of Jesuitical from Dictionary.com:
adjective
1. of or relating to Jesuits or Jesuitism.
2. (often lowercase) practicing casuistry or equivocation; using subtle or oversubtle reasoning; crafty; sly; intriguing.
Now, imagine I were to use Jesuitical methods here. Imagine a religious order that has a majority of its members that were homosexual and practicing that lifestyle in an open way. Imagine an order that goes off to conferences that are merely covers for meeting with gay lovers and engaging in sodomy and orgies. Let that image sink in to your mind. Then, see this order covertly working to undermine the Church's teaching on sodomy to make it more "inclusive" and using words like "accompaniment" to smooth over the harsh truth that gay sex is sinful. But, hey, we're just imagining here. Right?

We can go on and imagine that the members of this order use their various teaching posts and positions in various universities and high schools to push this subtle agenda along with things like religious indifferentism, Marxism disguised as "social justice," and the undermining of national sovereignty under the guise of "climate justice." Saul Alinsky would find much to like in this religious order.

We will leave all of this at the level of imagination for the time being as we dig into Father Martin's latest piece for America entitled "Reflections on Pride." It is basically a Jesuitical pat on the back and an encouragement for active homosexuals that they are winning. Hang in there, homosexuals. We are winning in our battle to bring down the Magisterium. Let's begin with the first paragraph;
This weekend in New York City the LGBT community celebrates “Pride Weekend.” In the wake of the Orlando massacres, this event takes on great significance. Now, not every LGBT person will march in a parade this weekend or this month. Some people prefer to stand on the sidewalks and cheer. Some don’t much like parades at all. Sadly, some still have a hard time accepting who they are, and also struggle with their relationships with God.
 Let me decode this one for you, Gentle Reader. Basically, Father Martin is giving a shout out to active homosexuals who would like to be more open about their sinful lifestyles but can't because they are CATHOLIC. Let's go to the second paragraph:
So I’d like to offer some reflections for LGBT Catholics, and for LGBT youth in particular, who may be struggling with their relationships with God and with the church.
You thought I was kidding with that first decoding, but you can see it clearly in the second paragraph. He makes it clear that he is addressing those LGBT Catholics. And his "reflections" are merely encouragements to these people living in mortal sin that the Church will soon descend to the level of their sin and remain there. Here is the third paragraph:
First of all, remember that you were created by God. Psalm 139 says about God, “For it was you who formed my inward parts. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works.”
This is where Father Martin tells us all about the doctrine of the imago Dei. I concur with Father Martin. We are all made in God's image. All human beings possess an inherent dignity, and the way you treat your fellow men and women is the same as how you treat our Lord. We will be held to account for our words and actions to these people. Unfortunately, a Jesuit likes to twist the imago Dei to deny sin. He does this in the fourth paragraph:
Have you ever thought of it that way? God knit you together in the womb. God made you the way you are, and gave you to the world. You are God’s gift to the world. You are, as the psalmist says, “wonderfully made.”
Basically, Father Martin is telling gay people that God made them gay. If God made you this way, how can it be wrong? Besides, everybody's a sinner. Father Martin makes this point in the fifth paragraph:
Second, for those who feel excluded from the church, remember that you have as much place in the church as the pope does, or your local bishop does—or I do. How do I know this? Because you were baptized. With the sacrament of baptism, you were welcomed into the church. At First Communion, you were welcomed around the table of the Lord, and at Confirmation you were sealed with the Holy Spirit.
This is where I agree with Father Martin. The sacraments do make you a part of Christ's body. You can be forgiven. But that's the problem. To be forgiven, you have to be penitent. You have to admit that you are a sinner. If you can't admit that homosexual acts are sinful, then you are not allowed at the table. But Father Martin addresses that objection in the sixth paragraph:
Of course it doesn’t stop there. You need God’s grace, you need to confess your sins and you need to be open to continuing conversion. But so does everyone else. So you’re just as much a part of the church as anybody.
Father Martin doesn't say anything heterodox here, but his subtle message over these two paragraphs are clear. Those priests, prelates, and popes who are orthodox can't tell you to leave. And they are sinners, too. This is where Father Martin is wrong. They can tell you to leave. It's called excommunication, discipline, and the rest. Father Martin knows this as evidenced by his tweet above. But the tell-tell is the term "continuing conversion." Now, I know this as sanctification as we grow to become more holy. For Father Martin, you need to be "open" to continuing conversion. What's the difference? It is St. Augustine's prayer to "make me chaste but not yet." It is a subtle distinction sort of like being open to paying rent to the landlord. For the landlord, what matters is getting his check. He doesn't care about your "openness" on the matter. Good intentions are just the paving stones for the road to Hell.

Father Martin continues with the seventh paragraph:
Third, listen to what Pope Francis says in his apostolic exhortation "Amoris Laetitia," "The Joy of Love." “We would like before all else to reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, while ‘every sign of unjust discrimination’ is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression and violence.”
This is Father Martin catching the pass from his Jesuit buddy in the Petrine office. Now, I abhor violence done to homosexuals such as when ISIS tosses a few off of a building or one of their nutjobs shoots up a gay nightclub in Orlando. But should a Christian baker be fined six figures for refusing to bake these people a wedding cake? Should a New Yorker be fined a similar amount for the misuse of gender specific pronouns? I would be interested in some clarification on these issues. For some reason, I don't think I am going to get clarity from these vague Jesuits. On to the eighth paragraph:
You may feel that the church hasn’t always welcomed you but things are changing. Pope Francis is fond of using the word “accompaniment.” People in the church are more and more being encouraged to accompany you. So have hope in your church.
This is Father Martin's money shot here. This is that vague "accompaniment" we heard about during that dreadful Synod on the Family. What does this accompaniment mean? Let me bring some clarity to this vagueness. Basically, accompaniment means when a priest or prelate overlooks your sin and lets you take sacraments while being in an objective state of mortal sin in defiance of our Lord and the teachings of the Magisterium. It's like being a lawbreaker but knowing the judge will ignore the written law and let you skate. The reason this is tossed out there is to acknowledge that the Church's teachings can't change, but you can count on the corruption of clerics. On to the ninth paragraph:
Fourth, try to find a parish where you feel welcomed. I know that can be hard. Many big cities have parishes that welcome LGBT Catholics, but not all of them. In that case, try your best to find a parish where you can worship in peace with your brothers and sisters. Sometimes Sunday Masses run by campus chaplaincies at local Catholic colleges or universities may feel more welcoming.  Everyone should feel welcome in church, including you.
Father Martin is talking about those heretical parishes that host gay masses like this:


The New York Archdiocese is full of this garbage with many gay priests living in open sin. Notice that Father Martin says "big cities." This means you need to stay in the closet if you find yourself in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Father Martin points to the split in the Church between those who are faithful and those who are heterodox in their beliefs. Once the Church changes to their mindset, then it can be unchanging. This is evil worming its way diabolically into every bit of the Church using subtlety and craftiness and "accompaniment." Father Martin continues in the tenth paragraph:
Fifth, remember that Jesus loves you. Often LGBT people feel on the margins in the church. But in the Gospels, we see how Jesus consistently goes out to people on the margins, welcoming them into the community. Jesus always sought out those people who felt excluded and made them feel included.
Father Martin has to sandwich his heterodoxy between two slices of orthodoxy, so this slice of bread is the truth that Jesus loves sinners and forgives them. Yet, He somehow loves the sin of sodomy despite what His church teaches. This is the kind of garbage you will find in those heretical Protestant churches like the Episcopal Church. The love of Jesus is "inclusive" and "accompanies" and all the rest. Why do I feel like the Jesuit Jesus looks like this:


I have no use for such a touchy feely Messiah. This is because such a Messiah is unreal. Beware those who sell you a sugarcoated Christ. Jesus loves you, but He still condemns those who do not love Him to eternal damnation. Our love for Him should also be accompanied by the fear of offending Him. Yet, Father Martin continues and ends with the distortion:
So get to know Jesus—by reading the Gospels, spending time with him in prayer, encountering him in the Eucharist and finding him in your brothers and sisters. Jesus understands you. He gets you. So get to know him.
Overall, have pride in who you are: a beloved creation of God, a member of the church, and a brother and sister to Jesus, who loves you more than you can know.
Folks, the Jesus you encounter in the Gospels is not an LGBT agenda supporter. The gospel of Father Martin is that homosexual acts are not sins, and Jesus forgives you anyway. Father Martin is free to correct me on the matter at anytime by simply stating in plain language that homosexual acts are objectively disordered and sinful. For some reason, I don't think I will ever get that correction. What I will probably get will be a lot of warnings about homophobia and all the rest couched with a vague threat about making life difficult for me in the Church. Here is my response to Father Martin and to the Society of Jesus:
But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil. 
MATTHEW 5:37 DOUAY-RHEIMS
Christians should speak plainly and without being vague or deceitful. This means that Jesuits should stop being Jesuitical. That is one of the things I like about Martin Luther. He was not given to vagueness or abstraction in his thoughts or speech.

D'yer Mak'er


When I read the letter you sent me, it made me mad mad mad
When I read the news that it broke, it made me sad sad sad.
But I still love you so, and I can't let you go
LED ZEPPELIN, D'yer Mak'er

This is the most mispronounced title in Led Zeppelin's catalogue. It is pronounced "Jamaica." Basically, it was Led Zeppelin's attempt at reggae. The cross between rock and reggae didn't go off so well. The Police would perfect the rock/reggae mix. To me, this song influenced The Police to go for the reggae/rock thing as evidenced by the the Zep lyric, "Every breath I take oh oh oh oh oh
Every move I make oh oh oh oh oh." My wife disputes this, but I am good at divining influences. Creation does not happen in a vacuum.

The Zeppelin won a major court case over the Stairway to Heaven song being ripped off from Taurus by the band Spirit. There is only a slight similarity of a few notes, and that is it. Did Page rip them off? I don't think so. I write, and I really do mean it when I say that creation does not happen in a vacuum. This was never a problem in the past because Willie Shakespeare made the stuff he stole way better. But in the era of copyright and patent, everyone wants to believe that every idea is immaculately conceived. The reality is much different. Creativity is like sex where two parents make a child from their DNA. The child is unique but not dissimilar. It's like how Ronan Farrow looks exactly like his dad, Frank Sinatra:


And nothing like the father on his birth certificate:


That is about as much celebrity gossip as I care to share on this blog, but it highlights a point that needs to be made about creative endeavors. We are the products of our creative predecessors, and we are fooling ourselves if we deny this paternity. In the case of Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin, I think they shamelessly borrowed, stole, or were influenced by many artists before them. They also made them way better in the process.

I am against the concept of intellectual property. I think property can only apply to scarce resources like land, houses, cars, and the like. But ideas are non-material. I champion trademark protection because customers have a right to know that they are buying from the company they chose instead of someone bootleg vendor on the street selling counterfeit Rolexes. But if I want to make a watch every bit as good as a Rolex, why should I be stopped?

I have never plagiarizd anything I have written, but I would be a liar if I didn't acknowledge that my ideas have come from other writers and from movies. The difference is that I make the new thing very new while guys like Jimmy Page don't. I reassemble while Page will put in a new transmission and put on a fresh coat of paint.

Another creative mind in the same mode as Page is the director Quentin Tarantino who practically steals everything he makes. But it is a glorious theft. He takes elements from trashy B movies and makes awesome new movies from it all. George Lucas did much the same thing with Indiana Jones which was nothing more than an update on the old movies he watched as a kid.


Nothing is really new. What makes things new is the cultural amnesia of the public. This hit me when I noticed that House, M.D. was Sherlock Holmes as a doctor. The producers of the show didn't even hide the fact even having House live at the same address as Holmes--221B Baker Street. Beyond that, the two characters are very different.

Recently, I attended a mass at a parish not my own, and I was very impressed with how they did it there. The priest there obviously celebrates the Mass in the extraordinary form known to many as the Latin Mass or TLM. This mass was in the ordinary form or Novus Ordo that most Catholics attend these days except that the priest stood ad orientem with his back to the people in the pews. Here is what this looks like:


Now, traddies may make an argument for this being superior to the new form, but I don't really care to debate all of that. I also don't care about going to the mattresses over Latin or vernacular. The truth is that I love the extraordinary form, but it won't keep me from the ordinary form.

The thing I am willing to go to the mattresses for is the next thing the priest did which was unique to this parish. He had the old fashioned altar rail. We kneeled and took communion on the tongue from the hand of the priest. This is the way it should be done. It took about the same time as it takes at my parish to do communion with the horrible abuse of using "eucharistic ministers."


The lack of reverence in my mind is most directly tied to this innovation. For some reason, priests became lazy, and they delegated this task to laity who don't really care to do it. I know I don't, and I refuse to do it. The reality is that they are known as "extraordinary ministers of the holy eucharist" and are permitted only in times of necessity. For instance, when there is a large congregation and only one priest, I could see the extraordinary ministers used there. Obviously, they are needed for homebound parishioners. I get it. But the way they are used now amounts to being fast food workers at the Mass. It is so bad that I wonder if the next evolution will be to install a drive up window at the parish for the convenience of those who can't sit through the entire liturgy.


Recently, the priest at my parish decided to reduce the number of Sunday masses from three to two. Obviously, attendance drops off during the summer months as families leave for vacations and travel. But his reason for nixing one of the masses was the unavailability of enough "eucharistic ministers." Since there weren't enough people to hand out the body and blood of Christ, he was going to find a new way to take the load off by just cancelling a mass. I am not making this up. I have already let the padre know my thoughts on the matter, and he has chosen to ignore them. So, they are now fair game for the blog.

Not having sufficient extraordinary ministers is never--NEVER--a valid reason for cancelling a mass. Either the mass will be longer, or it won't matter since fewer parishioners are in attendance. In this case, the masses would be no longer due to less attendance. The reality is that this priest doesn't want to do his job.

I'm not happy about the matter, but I have done what I can. I am not inclined to "bishop" my priest especially when the abuse of extraordinary ministers is on a diocesan level. What I can say is that I have met a few truly holy priests in my time as a Catholic, and the difference is like night and day.

When it comes to holiness, the key is not so much what you do but the spirit in which you do it. It's like when you get service at a restaurant, and you can tell the servers who care versus those just trying to get to the end of their shift. I can cut servers a lot of slack because it is hard to be enthusiastic about your job when your boss treats you like a sack of crap. But the priesthood is different.

Some priests are holy, and it shows with how they celebrate the Mass. Others are just going through the motions. One of my favorite pictures of Padre Pio is this one:


The look in his eyes says it all. This man deeply loved the Lord in the eucharist. This is how priests should be. I doubt at the moment this photo was taken that St. Pio was thinking about the ball game he was going to be watching after Mass.

We need to get back to using those altar rails again and banish extraordinary ministers to the truly extraordinary. If I could make one change in the novus ordo, it would be the return of those altar rails and kneeling to take communion. Some things should not be fast, and the Mass is one of those things.

6.26.2016

A Response to PZ Myers

. . .I’m still unconvinced by these conversion stories. I guess in order to get a believable answer we’re going to have to strap a few of them to a gurney and wheel in the lasers and giant arcing electricity machines.
PZ MYERS

Recently, famed atheist PZ Myers posted on his Pharyngula blog a post entitled Why are atheist conversion stories by Christians so damned unconvincing?. I come across many atheist articles on Twitter, and I let them go. But this one was particularly interesting because PZ asked this question, "So I’m still left with the mystery of why — why do people convert to Catholicism?" That question intrigued me because I used to be an atheist, and I am now a Catholic. Should I answer the question? Here is my answer.

People convert to Catholicism for a variety of reasons. Some people convert to appease a spouse or relatives. Others convert to spit in the eyes of those relatives. Beyond those two reasons, I cannot think of any other illegitimate reasons to convert to Catholicism except that you were put up to it by the Freemasons to infiltrate the Church and destroy it from within. Such conversions are lacking in sincerity.

I am a sincere convert because I converted after becoming convinced that the Roman Catholic Church possessed the truth of God's love for me. This is the part where PZ turns apoplectic. He can't believe that anyone could buy into such nonsense, so he offers some psychobabble explanation for the real reason people like me convert:
I have my suspicions, but these true believers will never confess to them, and most likely are even unaware of their motivations. I think a clue is in Price’s comment above: the credibility of the “imposing wealth, power, tradition, even architecture, of the social-ecclesiastical world”. Catholicism in particular is very good at bombing you with the immense weight of its traditions. It’s a kind of tribalism where you choose your tribe not because of a careful assessment of its positions, but because it looks the most powerful.
I think if PZ visited my parish he would have to eat these words. My parish is a century old, and it looks every bit of those hundred years. The roof leaks. The bell barely works. Yet, it is on the historic register because it is old. I have been to many newer parishes that look like they were built yesterday and look nothing like the cathedrals you see in Europe. I have seen churches that make me proud to be Catholic, and I have seen others that could only be improved with a wrecking ball. We can move on to many of the battles and controversies over power and tradition. And I must mention that sex abuse scandal that taints us with the prominent signs posted on the bulletin boards for how to report sex abuse.

PZ presents conversion to Catholicism as a fetish of sorts for the smells and bells of the Catholic Church. This argument may have held some weight in 1950, but it is not so great in the "Spirit of Vatican II" era that has stripped the Church of much of its dignity, beauty, holiness, and truth. This argument amounts to liking Chinese food because you love the look of the plates and have a thing for chopsticks. Then, you see the person eating the food with a plastic fork from a styrofoam container.


I think aesthetics matter, but they are not the reason for my conversion to Catholicism. I suspect this argument may explain why some Westerners convert to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. Such religions seem exotic and new to those raised in dull Protestant churches. But I belong to a religion of mighty cathedrals and plastic rosary beads. When you see a guy take communion in cargo shorts and flip flops then dips out before the end of Mass, the romance of it is pretty much killed.

So, if I did not convert for the sake of my wife or because I dig incense and stained glass windows, why did I convert? PZ answers his own question about the need to strap people like me to a gurney and wheel in the lasers and giant arcing electricity machines. This is PZ trying to be humorous except he forgets that with Catholicism instruments of torture were actually used on those who believe in Christ. Torture and execution have a way of separating the sincere wheat from the insincere chaff. Lasers and electricity seem mild compared to this:


This is what was done to St. Simon the Zealot. They sawed his body in two starting from the crotch and working their way down. That is a heavy price to pray for being a zealot for Christ, but no one reported him recanting his faith. This is just one of thousands of excruciating deaths people have offered up for their Lord. You may say these are all myths and legends, but the recent murders of Christians by ISIS should help us to dismiss such nonsense.


I don't know if this answer is believable enough for PZ Myers. What I do know is that I doubt that PZ would willingly choose to suffer in the same way for his atheism as these Christians do for their faith. You don't get any prizes for dying for atheism. You just get dead.

Suffering and dying for Christ doesn't prove that Jesus lived, died, and rose from the dead. But it does dismiss the foolish notion that these people are insincere. The fact is that such tragic suffering seems to fuel conversion and make people want to become Christians and Catholics. Why? Why would anyone want to sign up for any of this if they didn't believe it was true?

I believe that Jesus Christ was truly God and truly man. I believe He died in atonement for my sins, and He rose again from the dead never to die again. He ascended into Heaven, and He will come again to judge the living and the dead. And He founded the Roman Catholic Church to let the world know these things and to bring everyone who believes in Him into the loving embrace of communion with Him. I believe that God loves me very much, and I choose to love Him back. And this is why I am Catholic. If none of this turns out to be true, then all my life and sacrifice has been in vain, and I am a fool. But as someone who was an atheist, I can tell you that I was an atheist because I didn't want to hate God but preferred to believe He just wasn't there. You can't hate what doesn't exist. Yet, God revealed to me in His way that He was still there, and He corrected my misunderstanding about suffering in the world. God exists, and He is good. And He loved us so much that He was willing to suffer and die for us. And there are people who love Him so much that they are willing to suffer and die for Him.

Suffering proves sincerity. It removes doubt concerning intentions. The cross of Christ is foolishness for people like PZ Myers. I know because it was foolishness for an atheist like me. People may die for their country or for their families or for an abstract principle like freedom. But to die for the human race? Is the human race even worth dying for? Would PZ be willing to die for a humanity that cursed him and spit on him? Yet, Jesus died for all the atheists who curse Him and spit on Him even now.

So, why does an atheist like me become a Catholic? Why did I change my mind about Jesus Christ? What great scientific fact or philosophical argument moved me to faith? None of those arguments swayed me. I was converted out of love. My wife loved me before I even knew her. She prayed for me to the Blessed Mother who prayed for me to her Beloved Son. And, in His love for me, He reached out to me after all the years I had spit on Him and cursed Him. He let me know that He still loved me, and He always would. And I chose to love Him back.

6.25.2016

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 17


If the predictions now are right, this will be a victory for real people, a victory for ordinary people, a victory for decent people.
NIGEL FARAGE

1. BREXIT!

It is a glorious day for the UK. Ignore those sore loser globalists who love technocracies like the EU. The British people have spoken, and they have told the EU to go to hell where it belongs.

I am very happy about the results of the referendum. This is the best news that I have heard perhaps in the last decade. This vote feels like a real win for people like me. I didn't think the Brits had it in them, so I am pleasantly surprised and glad. This is a win for national pride, a blow to globalism, and a victory for conservatism.

Those who are crying today over the Brexit are the left wing supporters of bureaucracy and tyranny. They are the evil ones. They are the ones responsible for unleashing a Muslim horde upon Europe and exposing citizens to daily doses of rape, assault, and murder. And the EU is a bloated micromanaging parasitical technocracy. How can anyone support such evil?

Many were taken by surprise by the outcome of the referendum. How do I explain this? SILENT MAJORITY. These people suffer in silence, but when they speak, it hits with the force of sledgehammer to the skull. I suspect the same thing will happen with Trump.


Mona Charen makes a scholarly explanation for the unemployment and high mortality rate of white men with a high school education. I will make the brief explanation for her. Men have been reduced to sperm donors in American society. As a consequence, they allow themselves to waste away to early deaths. Meanwhile, women are making strides in their jobs and wages. Why? Because they are left holding the bag of family responsibility.

Men were made to live, work, fight, and die for their women and their families. It is hardwired into their psyches. It is their God given role in life. Without this purpose in life, these men end up destroying themselves. They give over to drink, drugs, bad food, violent crime, or what have you.

The answer for these men would be a return to being husbands and fathers. Unfortunately, our society makes such a mockery of true manliness that few men care to participate anymore. They opt for slow motion suicide, and this suicide will swallow this entire society if it is not halted.

3. Q & A

Q: How did so many in the media, David Cameron, and numerous hedge funds not see the Brexit coming?

A: There is a reason the common people are called the "Silent Majority." People don't change their minds after you denigrate them and persecute them. They just shut their mouths and keep on believing and persevering in those beliefs.

4. QUOTABLE QUOTES

It has been discovered that with a dull urban population, all formed under a mechanical system of State education, a suggestion or command, however senseless and unreasoned, will be obeyed if it be sufficiently repeated.--Hilaire Belloc

The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.--G.K. Chesterton

When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.--Archbishop Fulton Sheen

5. ODDS AND ENDS

--Cardinal Marx is a disgraceful prelate demanding that the Roman Catholic Church apologize to homosexuals. For what? For calling sodomy a sin? For offering Christ's forgiveness?

--Rescinding the military ban on trannies is the ultimate degradation of our armed forces in the laboratory of progressive social experiments.

--Sinead O'Connor is always committing suicide.

--Good riddance to George F. Will who left the GOP over Trump.

6. LINKS OF INTEREST








6.24.2016

The Biggest Mouth


We're more popular than Jesus now.
JOHN LENNON

When John Lennon uttered those controversial words, he unleashed a firestorm upon himself and the Beatles. There was a lot of negative reaction, yet the Beatles survived and even thrived in the aftermath of the controversy. Some would argue that the controversy helped propel them to a new level of popularity. There is one thing we can say. Saying it got them lots of free press and fans along the way.

Someone once said, "There is no such thing as bad publicity." The meaning of it was simple. It is better to be hated than ignored. Of course, it would be better to be loved, but you can't count on love. You have to do things to inspire people and make them feel better about themselves or the world. This is a difficult thing. It is hit or miss with mostly miss. But you can always make someone mad.

We live in a world awash in information and media and short attention spans. That is a lot of noise to cut through to reach an audience with a message. The easiest way to be heard above this noise is to be the loudest person in the room. Basically, it helps to have the biggest mouth. But that mouth must also say something to be noticed, and the best way is to be controversial. Controversy provokes anger, and this anger is met with more anger which stokes more controversy. This is not sharing information. This is battle.

The internet breeds a new creature, and this creature has a very large mouth. In various avenues of discussion and evangelization for ideas, we have angry bloggers and vloggers who present messages in the shrillest way possible. Every other word is an F-bomb. Anyone who disagrees is excoriated mercilessly. And the provocateur is paid back in increased readership and viewership as people tune in to witness the ensuing drama. It could be politics, religion, or even veganism. These apostles of anger use the same methods. This begs a question. Is this wise?

I used to be one of those provocateurs for atheism and libertarianism, so I know the drill. I am skilled at playing that game. Now, I am a Catholic and a conservative, and I can't use the tools from that toolbox anymore. It amounts to fornicating for chastity. The method undermines the message. In my case, the message is one of repentance, kindness, civility, decorum, and devotion to Jesus Christ. Now, I continue to make controversial statements, but this is not a deliberate thing. I am controversial now because the things I believe in are not politically correct. But I don't aim to be a jerk.

I write this as I watch a prominent vegan vlogger run to the endgame of this provocateur strategy. First, he merely defended himself from haters. Then, he unleashed hate on those who disagreed with him. Then, he stirred up hate when the original haters tired of his game and let him be. Then, he called for someone to be physically attacked and some teenagers to commit suicide. Then, he turned on his friends. He is now in a Fukushima level meltdown of epic proportions. I don't know where he goes from here except oblivion or jail.

Now, folks, this guy's self destruction is over food. FOOD. Who knew what you put in your mouth could be such a big deal? Somewhere, there are bigger bananas to pop in the Vitamix. If you're going to go to the mattresses, make sure it is something that really matters.

The genesis of all this anger and evil is simple desperation. This desperation becomes most acute when your livelihood is dependent upon views on YouTube. The real fear of the provocateur is that he will go back to being a nobody. He will be forgotten and ignored perhaps to turn up again in some bad reality TV show. The problem with the angry strategy is that it turns provocateurs into trainwrecks. It takes a toll on their lives and their souls.

I tuned out this particular vegan vlogger a long time ago because I noticed that he had very little to say about veganism. Instead, he talked about everything else such as his scantily clad girlfriend to his vasectomy to his aversion to ever becoming a parent and his stint in prison. He inspired a youthful imitator who can't seem to utter a word without it being sandwiched between two F-bombs. Both of them tired me out, so I tuned them out.

As much fun as it is to pick the speck from their eyes, I must work on the log in my own eye. I have eschewed the anger strategy as a blogger, but the impulse to hit back remains with me. It plagues me most acutely on Twitter when I leave comments on other tweets. But I also have that same impulse in the real world. I know two guys who are extremely chill in their response to mean remarks and deliberate provocation. I know because I used to be the one provoking them. Now, I envy them and pray to be like them. Those guys show me that it can be done.

It is harder to take the high road of gentleness, and the results are not immediate. But that high road will take you to a better destination. The low road is quick and easy, but it leads to oblivion in this life and Hell in the next. The biggest mouth comes attached to the largest ego. It is the deadly sin of pride. We must eschew pride and learn to be ignored.

I have been in the school of humility on this for some time. Once upon a time, I knew I could get some blog traffic by picking a fight with a particular group of people. I don't do this now. I try to write thoughtful posts, and I leave out the names if I can like I have done in this piece. My target is not the people but the ideas and the messages. We need to learn to speak the truth but without malice. We also need to learn to endure wrongs patiently. And it helps to just close our mouths sometimes and let the silence speak for us instead.

6.20.2016

The Crunge


Ain't gonna call me Mr. pitiful, no! 
I don't need no respect from nobody...
LED ZEPPELIN, The Crunge

One of the things I like about Led Zeppelin is that virtually every one of their songs is a winner. Any band can come out with a couple of good songs, but the Zep guys made musical excellence a habitual thing. The one exception is "The Crunge." This was Zep's attempt to rip off James Brown, but they should have let Brown keep his funk. I am sure there are some fans of this song out there who will take me to task, but I have never been a fan of this one. This was Zep trying to expand their repertoire, and they reached their creative limit.

I have a hundred things on my mind as I write this on a Friday night sipping Pabst Blue Ribbon and trying to overcome the disgust I feel for my employer. This potent disgust only flows into the larger river of angst and despair I feel for this economy and this country. I feel like I am treading water in a fetid cesspool and a little just splashed in my mouth. I am torn between my inability to get out of the cesspool and the temptation to just give up and sink to the bottom. I was very close to buying a piece of real estate that would be the foundation of my homestead dreams and my escape to a better life of labor and freedom. Unfortunately, this piece of property is in the hands of a crazy woman who thinks we should buy her property but allow her to live in it indefinitely. Basically, she wants us to be her landlords while she pays no rent and takes her sweet time finding another piece of property. My life is dogged by perpetual frustration.

My employer likes to do this trick where the business hires more people than they need. They respond by cutting down everyone's hours which leads to massive anger and low morale. Since most people live paycheck to paycheck, they immediately look for another job to pay the bills. The new hires are not much better off, so they do the same thing. So, they hire three people and lose six people. This creates a yo-yo effect as some weeks can see 60+ hours followed by weeks of not even getting to 40. This stupidity has gone on for years, and they never learn. The result is that turnover is identical to what you see at a fast food restaurant. This results in added training expenses and a decrease in productivity as every employee becomes a new employee. Somehow, this madness produces a profit.

My escape from the company's madness is held up by the madness of a lady who won't sell her property because she can't accept that she will actually have to leave the thing that she has sold. Why does God allow me to go through this? How much longer can I endure this?

My brain is a battleground between Distributism and the Acton Institute. Acton is basically Austrian economics wedded with the morality of Christianity. I am very familiar with their thought because of my extensive reading of Hayek, Mises, and Rothbard from my libertarian days. My problem with these free market thinkers is that they overlook the problem of concentration of capital in fewer and fewer hands or "natural monopolies." Austrians deny that natural monopolies exist. Basically, monopolies are the creation of government laws and regulations. Yet, here we read about the latifundium of ancient Rome which were the precursors to our modern day agribusinesses. Here is a favorite quotation of mine from Wikipedia:
The latifundia quickly started economic consolidation as larger estates achieved greater economies of scale and senators did not pay land taxes. Owners re-invested their profits by purchasing smaller neighbouring farms, since smaller farms had a lower productivity and could not compete, in an ancient precursor of agribusiness. By the 2nd century AD, latifundia had in fact displaced small farms as the agricultural foundation of the Roman Empire. This effect contributed to the destabilizing of Roman society as well. As the small farms of the Roman peasantry were bought up by the wealthy and with their vast supply of slaves, the landless peasantry were forced to idle and squat around the city of Rome, relying greatly on handouts.
Austrians will be at pains to point to the presence of government and tax incentives for the wealthy landowners against the smaller landowners. But one of the problems you begin to see with the Austrians' argument is that it is unfalsifiable. It's like having an elf in a box that disappears as soon as the box is opened. Since you have to open the box to see if the elf is in there, there is no way to know if there really is an elf in there. The same thing applies with natural monopolies since we would have to possess a society where no government exists to see if a natural monopoly would emerge in the absolute vacuum of government interference.

I always point to Google as the most potent evidence of a natural monopoly. They own the search engine market, and Bing is virtually a non-factor. I do not know of any government favors for Google in this regard. Another example would be Microsoft's dominance of the PC market with their Windows OS. The government has actually gone on to beat Microsoft down with antitrust moves, yet Microsoft still owns the lion's share of the PC market. Granted, Google has lost to Facebook, and Microsoft has lost to both Apple and Google's Android in the smartphone market. But you can see where both Facebook and Google are duplicating the move towards monopolization.

My belief is that the concentration of capital precedes the government favors and not vice versa. The process is very simple. A capital owner experiences a bit of good fortune and leverages that good fortune into a competitive advantage that leads to more good fortune. When the stack of money is large, they buy off the only threat left which is the government. Government does not create monopoly. Monopoly controls government.

This process is most obvious in the creation of the Federal Reserve. The Fed is a favorite target of Austrians, but they fail to highlight where the Fed came from. The Federal Reserve was the creation of a cabal of private bank interests. A central bank had been created and destroyed twice before by the US Government. Yet, the Federal Reserve is actually a private bank. Granted, the Fed has been given the power of money creation by the government, but this was secondary to the process.

If you had a separation of state and market much like we have a separation of church and state, you would still see these monopolies emerge. This consolidation happens across many industries. A new market may emerge like the internet or craft beer. But winners emerge, and winning becomes its own advantage. The losers sell out to the winners. Concentration of capital is the result.

Another example of this process happens in the black market. If natural monopolies need government help to emerge, then there should be no natural monopolies in markets that the government tries to destroy. Yet, we see the country of Mexico dominated by a few drug cartels who compete fiercely with each other until one emerges as the final winner. The power of these cartels is greater than the government itself. They are a law unto themselves.

The Acton Institute does not adequately address this issue, but the Distributists do. In addition, the work of economist Thomas Piketty and his extensive research into wealth concentration has been a real sore spot for free market economists. Most of the arguments for free markets comes from the benefits of competitive markets. But free markets do not remain competitive over the long haul. Their propensity is towards monopoly and stagnation.

Most of the essays I write come from a place of certainty. When I write them, I know what I know. These stream of consciousness essays are different because I am writing about what I don't know. When it comes to this economic thinking, I don't know. I have lived long enough to see rich people use free market thinking to get richer while the rest of the country has gotten poorer. I think Acton and the Austrians get a lot of things right, but they don't get everything right. Capitalism is always better than socialism, but capitalism produces disparities that should not exist. One of those is a town where 90% of the economic activity is at the Walmart while the rest of the town looks like it was hit with a neutron bomb.

I think Catholic social/economic thinking is at a crossroads similar to the one Aquinas encountered when Aristotle came back to Europe. Aristotle didn't have all the answers, but the Plato/Augustine thinking of Catholicism didn't have all the answers either. Aquinas took Aristotle and took thinking to a higher plane. The Catholic Church needs an Aquinas of economics. Neither the Distributists nor the Austrian Actonites have the answer. A new thinking must emerge that promotes justice but not at the expense of economic reality. I suppose I will have to try and do it myself.

I see an economy as a game like football or baseball. Obviously, the laws of physics are the bedrock of these games and can't be changed. The motions of balls and bodies are governed by those laws, and that is what it is. Above that are the rules of the game that players adhere to but circumvent at times in what is known as cheating. Those rules of the game are dictated and enforced by officials and referees. Now, every so often, those officials get bought off and throw a game which ruins people's faith in that game. But we must not think the game would be better off without those officials or the rulebook to be governed purely by the laws of physics and whoever is most adept at cheating. This takes it from a game to a brawl.

There is no such thing as a free market. The free market ceases to exist the moment you decide that theft and fraud cannot be permitted.  Once you have those rules in place, why can't there be others? For instance, why not have rules saying that you can't pollute or endanger the safety of employees. And why not also have rules that set tax rates and rules of incorporation and the like. And what about borders? Should states and countries have something to say about corporations that want to operate in their space?

This game model of economics makes more sense to me. Games can be ruined by bad rules, corrupt officials, and cheaters. A laissez faire game is akin to the ones we played on the playground back in school. Inevitably, the game would cease midway as we debated and ended up fighting over a rule infraction. With basketball, the rule was "no blood no foul." These games were more like brawling than playing. But it didn't matter because we would forget the score somewhere along the way because we had no scorekeeper. This is the essence of the libertarian way.

The reason libertarianism does not work in practice is because it is little more than anarchy. Libertarianism comes in two flavors--minarchy and anarcho-capitalism. Minarchy is basically conservatism. Conservatives believe in small government. Minarchist libertarians believe in even smaller government. This is why you see these minarchists and conservatives hanging out together. Cato and Heritage Foundation people routinely speak and post on each other's sites. The only difference is that the conservatives enjoy scotch after an event while the minarchist libertarians slip out to the parking lot to smoke a jay.

The anarcho-capitalists of the Mises Institute are a different story. In terms of personal morality, they are like Baptists and Presbyterians dressed in gray suits and bow ties. Yet, they advocate no government in favor of private contract arrangements that look suspiciously like government. Does it matter if the man with a badge is a police officer or a private security guard? The simple fact is that the vacuum of anarchy leads to government. The problem isn't government but the excess of government.


The first great threat was fascism followed by communism. Today, the real threat to limited government and freedom is technocracy. The purest form of this movement is the European Union which is literally a government comprised entirely of bureaucrats or, more precisely, technocrats. These technocrats govern virtually every square inch of life for Europeans. There is a parliament, but it is largely ceremonial since this parliament has no power at all. The Brits are now voting this week for their Brexit, and the polls indicate the UK will leave. If the results render a "remain" conclusion, you can bet your sweet life the vote was rigged.

In the USA, technocracy is found in the ever swelling federal government and the departments of the executive branch. My personal belief is that all such things fascism, communism, and the crony capitalism we see today are variations of technocracy. These governments differ in philosophy, but they are all governed by technocrats. The belief is that there is a "science" to government, and government is best left to the rule of an educated elite. Citizens are reduced to mere children. The elected officials are there merely to placate the citizenry. You can see this in the way that Congress has ceded most of the war declaration and treaty making powers to the executive branch.

Alex Jones can be a bit nutty in some of the things he says and in his beliefs, but he does get one thing right. He is always ranting about the globalists. Globalists are simply proponents of technocracy. The ultimate aim of technocracy is a one world government. Such a government would regulate all trade and end all wars because wars are fought across borders. Things like the Bilberg Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Trilateral Commission provide the "brain" for technocracy. As such, they represent a sort of shadow government. Add in the UN, the World Bank, the IMF, and on and on. This complex byzantine structure is a defining element to technocracy.

The main elements of technocracy are these:

1.)Strong centralized control

2.) Universal scope and reach

3.) Rule by elites

4.) No democratic or deliberative body with any power.

5.) Secrecy.

Basically, technocracy is the rule of conspiracy. This is why conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones go ga-ga over this stuff. Now, simple logic will tell you certain things. People don't like technocracy. They resist it and will abolish it if they can. They may even turn to violent revolution. Naturally, to preserve itself, technocracies will resort to elimination of enemies on either the individual level, the group level, and even on a national level. The tools technocrats use are mass surveillance, lists of people restricted in various ways, character assassination, incarceration, and actual assassination and mass slaughter. This is when things sound nutty, and critics of technocracy end up sounding like paranoid loony birds. The problem is that we already know that some of this stuff has been going on courtesy of Edward Snowden. We live in a country that has done mass surveillance on citizens and broken the laws and defied the Constitution. Yet, we still have a terrorism problem. Think about that. As bad as the police state was in the Soviet Union, it did have the advantage of keeping crime at a very low level. Yet, terrorism flourishes in this quasi-police state.

My belief is that the technocrats allow this thing because it produces crises that can be used to greater advantage. In the case of domestic terrorism, it has been the erosion of civil liberties with the ultimate goal the forfeiture of people's second amendment rights to keep and bear arms. The reason the second amendment was ever included in the Bill of Rights was to make sure the American people would have the arms needed for another revolution. This is why that second amendment is a prime target for technocrats and why the NRA is always to blame for Islamic terrorism, lone shooters, and the like. The American people are too well armed to simply go along with the technocracy.

Donald Trump is a direct threat to this technocratic elite. He isn't in the club. He never belonged. They were happy to take his money as long as he keep his mouth shut and stayed out of the game. But Trump is that guy that is too hard headed to get the message. Like Alex Jones, Trump subscribes to conspiracy theories. Trump also believes in the value and dignity and intellect of the little guy which is why he has so much love among the working class people of America. The guy may be rich, but his mind and words indicate that he is with them.

The opponents of Trump will assail his intellect. This man is not made of the stuff needed to be a leader. Basically, he is not a technocrat. And he and all of his supporters are vilified as racists, Islamophobes, and homophobes. Trump is not a sophisticated man. He is a form of what Taleb calls "Fat Tony." Basically, Fat Tony is the unsophisticated rube who knows in his gut the right answer. He just can't express it in mathematical formulas and academic speech.

In other things, I have reflected further upon email, and the fact that no one checks their email. I will still use email for communication with people, but I no longer care to use it for non-essential sharing of information. The world is simply awash with information as I declared before. The problem of our time is that we have no effective means of separating the important from the trivial. That filtering problem is one I still grapple with. I basically have four avenues of online information input:

1.) Email

2.) Google News

3.) Feedly

4.) Twitter

A typical day has me checking email until the inbox is clear. Then, I read Google News to get the overview of news. Then, my deeper reading is done through Feedly. Twitter is my mobile pipeline when I am away from my computer. I will check in on Twitter when I am waiting in the checkout line of the grocery store. I rarely read it when I am at home.

On the flipside, I have information output avenues:

1.) Email

2.) C-blog

3.) Twitter

I use my blog mostly for my writings. I use Twitter mostly for the writings of others I encounter in my reading. Now, I don't know the strategies others use, but I suspect that few use Feedly while many use Facebook. I don't use Facebook. I was once a Facebooker, and I did not do well on that platform because of "oversharing." Facebook is not a platform for cerebral conversations about deeper things. There is a reason academics and journalists and the like love Twitter. It best fits their brains. It is the least social of social media platforms.

When I check the mail in my snail mail box, I have a collection of bills, magazines, sales circulars, and junk. It is a daily chore to separate this big pile into smaller piles. Email is similar. You have your spam folder which you have to check to make sure a real email didn't go there. Then, you have the collection of vital and personal emails to process. I do my email just like my snail mail. The problem with sending links to people is that it takes a personal email and turns into something else. Consequently, my email becomes like Facebook in your inbox. Then, when something vital is sent, it ends up in the magazine rack unread.

My new rule on email is never send any email unless it is a vital need to know thing. Of course, it doesn't change the fact that my emails may still be ignored in much the same way that a utility bill may end up in the shredder along with a credit card offer. People suffer from attention fatigue. They cannot sustain attention to one thing for very long.

Email is the same thing. Most people have become so accustomed to ignoring their email that when they do get to email to check it they are left with the embarrassment of having left it unchecked and responses dropped. So, they go on pretending that they never read the email. When I run into the person and ask if they got the email, their faces become red. and they stammer a bit before they lie and say no. It is easier to lie than to admit they ignored it. I should be hurt by that, but I am not. I care less about myself than the business of the email.

The least that I can do is to restrict myself to my blog and Twitter when it comes to sharing information. I've been blogging for over a decade now, and I have watched my readership decline in direct proportion to the growth of Facebook. When I was on Facebook, I noticed my audience on the platform was larger than on the blog. There was even a temptation for a time to end the blog and just post straight to Facebook. I'm glad I resisted that temptation.

I know how to promote myself as a writer and a blogger, but I just don't care to do it. Self-promotion seems antithetical to humility and letting the work speak for itself. I find that most of the products I love spend virtually nothing on television commercials. Even the word "hype" has come to be synonymous with the lack of substance. I have taken the opposite tack of cramming a lot of substance into my writing. This is how you get long essays like this one on deep subjects and/or crap.

I have made the deliberate choice to confine myself to the deep end of the pool. It has actually been liberating. Basically, I dump my thoughts into my blog, my Twitter feed, and my personal journal where they can be safely ignored by the world. I only email someone when necessary and usually in reply to something they sent. Finally, the response can only be one sentence to accommodate the short attention span of the reader. Well, I am being a smart aleck on that last bit, but I am confining myself to an economy of words in all correspondence.

Enough ramble for this one.


6.19.2016

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 16


I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're going and hook up with them later.
MITCH HEDBERG

1. ORLANDO MASSACRE

A radical Islamist with same sex attraction issues shot up a gay nightclub in Orlando making it the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11 and ranking as the worse mass shooting in US history. 50 died including the gunman. Somehow, this tragedy is the fault of Christians, Republicans, and the NRA. As Rahm Emanuel put it so well, "Never let a crisis go to waste." The Left has not let this crisis go to waste as they try vainly to score whatever political points the murder of 49 people can gain them.

If it weren't for the tragedy, I would be amused at the leaps of logic and imbecility the Left has performed to not blame the Muslim religion for any of this. Apparently, Christian bakers are the homophobes while Muslims that toss gay people off of buildings are not.



This country is divided between those who love God, their country, and common sense. The Left is simply evil. But more than that, they are stupid. Islam is the worst religion ever, yet it has the benefit of not being Christian. Therefore, Leftwingers love it along with atheism, socialism, witchcraft, sodomy, and anything else that is antichristian. They are antichrist. They hate Jesus Christ and all who bear His name.

I will offer prayers for the souls of the deceased. May God have mercy on them, and may He have mercy on us all.

2. WORDLESS FACEBOOK

Facebook sees the future, and the future is video. Words take too many brains to string together, so videos with people mumbling and fronting will be the new thing. Do we need any more evidence that Facebook rots the brain? Folks, do yourself a favor and quit this thing.

3. Q & A

Q: Can a Catholic vote for Donald Trump with a clear conscience?

A: Yes.

This question comes via the superb Bethune Catholic blog that I follow on the regular. I highly recommend it as it gives me hope that a person can live as a faithful Catholic homesteader. My dream is his reality. But Mr. Curley disagrees with my answer, and I understand his thinking because it was identical to my own when I refused to vote for Mitt Romney. I was a fresh Catholic then, and my conscience bothered me about voting for a guy I found so insufficient. Now, Romney would be a dream compared to Trump. I also regret that Romney did not win giving us four more years of the worst president in my living memory.

The reason Mr. Trump troubles the conscience is the blatant fact that he is not a good man, and he is certainly not the best the Republican Party has to offer. My own vote in the primaries went to Ted Cruz, but I would have preferred anyone else in that field to Donald Trump. But that is all water under the bridge as Trump is now the de facto nominee for the GOP. My personal belief is that Trump is a form of chastisement upon the Republican Party. The GOP needs a good whipping.

With Trump vs. Clinton, you are left with the inevitable "lesser of two evils" argument with the lesser evil still being evil. I think it is better to think of it not as a vote for the lesser of two evils as a vote to lessen evil. Since every human being is a sinner, you are voting for an imperfect candidate every time. But not everyone is bad as the other. In the case of Trump, he is not as bad as Hillary Clinton.

Are we allowed to vote to lessen evil? Absolutely. Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say on the matter:
2239 It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. The love and service of one's country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community.
2240 Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country [Rom 13:7]:
Pay to all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. [Christians] reside in their own nations, but as resident aliens. They participate in all things as citizens and endure all things as foreigners.... They obey the established laws and their way of life surpasses the laws.... So noble is the position to which God has assigned them that they are not allowed to desert it. [Ad Diognetum 5: 5, 10]
The Apostle exhorts us to offer prayers and thanksgiving for kings and all who exercise authority, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way." [1 Tim 2:2]
Catholics have a moral duty to participate in civic life. This means paying taxes, defending the country, and voting. You are shirking your duty as a Catholic and as a citizen by sitting it out in an election. I would add that by running for public office, supporting candidates beyond voting, and engaging in journalism and public debates are all good things as well. Patriotism and civic duty are not incompatible with being Catholic.

As for distinguishing between two really bad candidates in a race, here is what Pope St. John Paul II had to say on the matter in Evangelium Vitae:
Voters are rightly concerned about the degree to which their vote represents cooperation in the evil which a candidate embraces. Obviously, voting for a candidate whose principles exactly coincide with Catholic teaching would eliminate that worry. However, that is a rare, if not non-existent, situation. Even those who embrace Catholic principles may not always apply them correctly. The fact is that most candidates will imperfectly embrace Catholic principles and voting for ANY candidate contains many unknowns about what that candidate believes and will do. 
The moral distinction between formal and material cooperation allows Catholics to choose imperfect candidates as the means of limiting evil or preventing the election of a worse candidate. The justification of doing that is described above. Formal cooperation is that degree of cooperation in which my will embraces the evil object of another's will. Thus, to vote for a candidate because he favors abortion is formal cooperation in his evil political acts. However, to vote for someone in order to limit a greater evil, that is, to restrict in so far as possible the evil that another candidate might do if elected, is to have a good purpose in voting. The voter's will has as its object this limitation of evil and not the evil which the imperfect politician might do in his less than perfect adherence to Catholic moral principles. Such cooperation is called material, and is permitted for a serious reason, such as preventing the election of a worse candidate.
That last part is why you can vote for Donald Trump with a clear conscience. Hillary Clinton is worse than Trump. Hillary will appoint at least one if not two justices to the Supreme Court and will certainly litmus test them to make sure they are pro-death on abortion, euthanasia, and the rest. Her policies will be a continuation of the Obama travesty. The woman also belongs in jail for criminal acts. Trump is merely a scoundrel with a big mouth and will have to work with an entire GOP that will certainly make up the rest of his cabinet. A vote for Trump is a vote against Hillary Clinton.

Now, if we must vote, why not vote for a third party candidate? Certainly, there are better candidates like those running on the ticket of the Constitution Party. Certainly, they are better candidates than Trump. But this becomes a matter of prudence. You may as well vote for yourself as a write-in candidate and call it a day. Prudence demands that we vote for the best candidate with a reasonable chance of winning. Voting a third party anything is like firing a gun in the air and calling it an act of defense against a potent enemy when it is merely a token act of defiance. In the choice between the symbolic and the potent, prudence says to go with the potent.

For many conservatives, they want to distance themselves from Trump because they don't want to be tainted by his stank. Having Hillary win allows them to regroup for the next four years and hope people have forgotten Donald Trump. But this is to put the purely personal against the good of the country. For myself, I will pinch my nose with one hand and cast my ballot with the other hand for Donald Trump. You have to vote for the guy, but you don't have to do it with enthusiasm.

4. QUOTABLE QUOTES

The world is violent and mercurial — it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love — love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.--Tennessee Williams

The Barbarian hopes — and that is the mark of him, that he can have his cake and eat it too.He will consume what civilization has slowly produced after generations of selection and effort, but he will not be at pains to replace such goods, nor indeed has he a comprehension of the virtue that has brought them into being. Discipline seems to him irrational, on which account he is ever marvelling that civilization, should have offended him with priests and soldiers.... In a word, the Barbarian is discoverable everywhere in this, that he cannot make: that he can befog and destroy but that he cannot sustain; and of every Barbarian in the decline or peril of every civilization exactly that has been true.

We sit by and watch the barbarian. We tolerate him in the long stretches of peace, we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence; his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creed refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond, and on these faces there are no smiles.--Hilaire Belloc

If you don't behave as you believe, you will end by believing as you behave.--Archbishop Fulton Sheen

The most total opposite of pleasure is not pain but boredom, for we are willing to risk pain to make a boring life interesting.--Peter Kreeft

I don’t deserve any credit for turning the other cheek as my tongue is always in it.--Flannery O'Connor

5. ODDS AND ENDS

--Someone needs to take Pope Francis aside and tell him to just shut up. The man would do well to never grant another interview for the remainder of his pontificate. Only Trump has a bigger and more careless mouth than the Holy Father.

--Father James Martin, SJ lives down to the reputation of Jesuit priests today. Sodomy is sinful, and his winking eye and double talk on the issue are evil. A wolf in a sheep suit.

--I love America, but if I had to leave the USA, I would choose Switzerland as a new home.

--The "pan" has left the Pan-Orthodox Synod.

6. LINKS OF INTEREST

Brexit: The Movie

Why Pantheism Stifles Science (and Christianity Does Not)

The Index

Answering Pope Francis On Invalid Marriages

Flannery O'Connor at Lourdes

Pearce on Belloc

FOR SALE: Baby Parts

The Conjuring 2

Why Was Christ Crucified Between Two Thieves?

Pearce on Multiculturalism