Friday, January 18, 2019

Anti-Catholic bigotry is alive in the U.S. Senate

Those who want to understand how Democrats manage to scare the hell out of vast sections of the country need look no further than the story of Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and the Knights of Columbus.

In considering the confirmation of Brian Buescher to a federal judgeship last month, Harris and Hirono submitted written questions that raised alarms about his membership in “an all-male society comprised primarily of Catholic men.” “Were you aware,” Harris asked, “that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?” And: “Have you ever, in any way, assisted with or contributed to advocacy against women’s reproductive rights?” And: “Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed marriage equality when you joined the organization?”

For those who know the Knights of Columbus, this is a bit like accusing your Aunt Harriet’s knitting circle of being a Mexican drug cartel. In most of the country, the Knights of Columbus is a respected fraternal organization consisting of men who hand out coats to needy children, promote devotion to the Virgin Mary, support crisis pregnancy shelters and protest doggedly each year in the March for Life.

Hirono regards the traditional moral views of the Knights as “extreme positions.” The difficulty with this line of reasoning is that they are exactly the same positions of the Catholic Church itself. So why wouldn’t a judge’s membership in the Catholic Church — with its all-male clergy, opposition to abortion and belief in traditional marriage — be problematic as well?

The difficulty with a reductio ad absurdum comes when people no longer find it absurdum. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has made the argument bluntly. In raising concerns in 2017 about appeals court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s Catholic faith, Feinstein said, “When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you.”

So is it fair to say that Harris, Hirono and Feinstein would want judicial nominees to quit religious organizations that hold “extreme positions” or recuse themselves from all matters of morality that the senators regard as tainted by religious dogma? That sounds like an exaggeration. But here is a question that Hirono asked both Buescher and Paul Matey, another appeals court nominee: “If confirmed, will you recuse yourself from all cases in which the Knights of Columbus has taken a position?”

This is not just a liberal excess; it is a liberal argument. Religious liberty, in this view, reaches to the limits of your cranium. You can believe any retrograde thing you want. But you can’t act on that belief in the public square. And you can’t be a member of organizations that hold backward views and still be trusted with government jobs upholding the secular, liberal political order.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

RIP: Jack Bogle

The father of the low cost index fund and a man often called the conscience of Wall Street, Jack Bogle has passed at 89. Warren Buffet said that Jack did more for the ordinary investor than any man he knew. I think that about sums it up.

Memory eternal.

Some Good News From the Other Side of the Tiber

In a moment in history where good news from the Roman Catholic Church is not altogether common...

The US Military Academy has witnessed its first solemn High Mass according to the old rite in at least 57 years.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Worse than you thought: inside the secret Fitzgerald probe the Navy doesn’t want you to read

A scathing internal Navy probe into the 2017 collision that drowned seven sailors on the guided-missile destroyer Fitzgerald details a far longer list of problems plaguing the vessel, its crew and superior commands than the service has publicly admitted.

Obtained by Navy Times, the “dual-purpose investigation” was overseen by Rear Adm. Brian Fort and submitted 41 days after the June 17, 2017, tragedy.

It was kept secret from the public in part because it was designed to prep the Navy for potential lawsuits in the aftermath of the accident.

Unsparingly, Fort and his team of investigators outlined critical lapses by bridge watchstanders on the night of the collision with the Philippine-flagged container vessel ACX Crystal in a bustling maritime corridor off the coast of Japan.

Their report documents the routine, almost casual, violations of standing orders on a Fitz bridge that often lacked skippers and executive officers, even during potentially dangerous voyages at night through busy waterways.

The probe exposes how personal distrust led the officer of the deck, Lt. j.g. Sarah Coppock, to avoid communicating with the destroyer’s electronic nerve center — the combat information center, or CIC — while the Fitzgerald tried to cross a shipping superhighway.

When Fort walked into the trash-strewn CIC in the wake of the disaster, he was hit with the acrid smell of urine. He saw kettlebells on the floor and bottles filled with pee. Some radar controls didn’t work and he soon discovered crew members who didn’t know how to use them anyway.

Fort found a Voyage Management System that generated more “trouble calls” than any other key piece of electronic navigational equipment. Designed to help watchstanders navigate without paper charts, the VMS station in the skipper’s quarters was broken so sailors cannibalized it for parts to help keep the rickety system working.

Since 2015, the Fitz had lacked a quartermaster chief petty officer, a crucial leader who helps safely navigate a warship and trains its sailors — a shortcoming known to both the destroyer’s squadron and Navy officials in the United States, Fort wrote.

Fort determined that Fitz’s crew was plagued by low morale; overseen by a dysfunctional chiefs mess; and dogged by a bruising tempo of operations in the Japan-based 7th Fleet that left exhausted sailors with little time to train or complete critical certifications.

Read the rest here.

Full English Text of Tomos Granting Autocephaly to the Schismatic Church in Ukraine

For the record.

Brexit Deal Voted Down

Prime Minister Theresa May has just suffered the worst parliamentary defeat of any British government in modern political history. Her Brexit deal with the EU was voted down by a margin of 230 in the House of Commons. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn immediately tabled a motion of no confidence in the government.

I am not aware of any government that upon sustaining a loss on their signature policy legislation in the Commons did not immediately resign and call for a general election.


Monday, January 14, 2019

A Moment in Time

It's a cold wet November day in Colchester Connecticut and three buddies are settling into a booth in Art's Sportsman's Tavern for a beer, a smoke and some friendly conversation. Maybe about the weather, the fishing or FDR's chances of winning a third term on election day.

And somebody snapped a picture.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

NY Governor Cuomo vows no budget unless abortion is made legal up to birth

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is refusing to sign the state’s budget unless the legislature passes a bill that makes abortion up until birth for any reason legal in the state. He is also calling on the legislature to enshrine abortion as a right guaranteed in the state constitution.

While delivering a pro-abortion speech at Barnard College in Manhattan with former first lady Hillary Clinton at his side, the 61-year-old Democrat vowed not to support the 2019-2020 state budget legislation until the state legislature approves the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Christ is born!

Reports: Vatican may be trying to rehabilitate McCarrick

This is deeply disturbing.


Merry Christmas from Ireland

The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA), the Republic of Ireland’s version of Planned Parenthood, will begin aborting babies January 7, reported the Irish Examiner. The legalization of the murderous procedure in the predominantly Catholic nation came after Ireland’s president signed legislation passed in December by Ireland’s parliament — which was responding to a referendum earlier in 2018 by which Ireland’s citizens voted by a two-to-one margin to repeal their constitution’s Eighth Amendment protecting the right to life of unborn children.


The People vs. Donald J. Trump: The case for impeachment

The presidential oath of office contains 35 words and one core promise: to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Since virtually the moment Donald J. Trump took that oath two years ago, he has been violating it.

He has repeatedly put his own interests above those of the country. He has used the presidency to promote his businesses. He has accepted financial gifts from foreign countries. He has lied to the American people about his relationship with a hostile foreign government. He has tolerated cabinet officials who use their position to enrich themselves.

To shield himself from accountability for all of this — and for his unscrupulous presidential campaign — he has set out to undermine the American system of checks and balances. He has called for the prosecution of his political enemies and the protection of his allies. He has attempted to obstruct justice. He has tried to shake the public’s confidence in one democratic institution after another, including the press, federal law enforcement and the federal judiciary.

The unrelenting chaos that Trump creates can sometimes obscure the big picture. But the big picture is simple: The United States has never had a president as demonstrably unfit for the office as Trump. And it’s becoming clear that 2019 is likely to be dominated by a single question: What are we going to do about it?

The easy answer is to wait — to allow the various investigations of Trump to run their course and ask voters to deliver a verdict in 2020. That answer has one great advantage. It would avoid the national trauma of overturning an election result. Ultimately, however, waiting is too dangerous. The cost of removing a president from office is smaller than the cost of allowing this president to remain.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

For the record

The Ecumenical Patriarch has signed the tomos recognizing the schismatic Ukrainian church. I will be interested to see what's in the fine print. Beyond which, unless the local churches can be moved to take a stand, I see no end to this schism in the foreseeable future.

New Ukrainian Church and Greek Rite Catholics Pledge Cooperation

According to information published by the Ukrainian website RISU, “the primate of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the Patriarch of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (Uniate) have already met and agreed to work out a roadmap, in order to deepen the relationships between the two Churches”.

In an interview with the Ukrainian TV channel Pryamyy, Metropolitan Epifaniy declared...

 “We have outlined a definite path for our future cooperation, and from now on, we will seek for points of convergence that will unite us, in the field of spiritual education and other areas of our lives. Ad hoc commissions will be created by our Orthodox Church and by the Greek Catholic Church, and we are developing the roadmap for our cooperation”.

He stressed that the Greek Catholic Church of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) have always had a common goal, namely to work for the development of the Ukrainian State. This is a permanent goal.

As reported, Patriarch Svyatoslav (Shevchuk), the head of the Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Church contacted Metropolitan Epifaniy, the Primate of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine. He wrote that, in the name of his Church, he was reaching out to Epifaniy and all the Orthodox brethren, offering them to journey together towards unity.



Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Happy New Year

Louis Armstrong & Jimmy Durante sing Old Man Time

Sweden Isn't Socialist (mostly)

For years, I've heard American leftists say Sweden is proof that socialism works, that it doesn't have to turn out as badly as the Soviet Union or Cuba or Venezuela did.

But that's not what Swedish historian Johan Norberg says in a new documentary and Stossel TV video.

"Sweden is not socialist -- because the government doesn't own the means of production. To see that, you have to go to Venezuela or Cuba or North Korea," says Norberg.

"We did have a period in the 1970s and 1980s when we had something that resembled socialism: a big government that taxed and spent heavily. And that's the period in Swedish history when our economy was going south."

Per capita GDP fell. Sweden's growth fell behind other countries. Inflation increased.

Even socialistic Swedes complained about the high taxes.

Astrid Lindgren, author of the popular Pippi Longstocking children's books, discovered that she was losing money by being popular. She had to pay a tax of 102 percent on any new book she sold.

"She wrote this angry essay about a witch who was mean and vicious -- but not as vicious as the Swedish tax authorities," says Norberg.

Yet even those high taxes did not bring in enough money to fund Sweden's big welfare state.

"People couldn't get the pension that they thought they depended on for the future," recounts Norberg. "At that point the Swedish population just said, enough, we can't do this."

Sweden then reduced government's role.

They cut public spending, privatized the national rail network, abolished certain government monopolies, eliminated inheritance taxes and sold state-owned businesses like the maker of Absolut vodka.

Read the rest here.