Debt Ceiling/Shutdown, and real journalism

I was a serious journalist a long time ago, inspired by Woodstein, Geraldo’s Bellevue expose, and 60 Minutes.  So I HATED doing press-release news and he said/he said.  But that’s all we get from mainstream news these days, not just broadcast/cable but also newspapers.  I guess you can’t get paid to tell THE TRUTH anymore, like this piece of debunking Reaganite mythology that underlies Republican government shutdown threats, and even Democratic compliance.

Journalism used to be called “the rough draft of history” or “the first draft of history” (or more correctly, of historiography).  Today it’s not even that — at least I hope not!

Investigate Murdoch here too

UPDATE: As Hamlet said, “O my prophetic soul…”: 9/11 implications.

If Rupert Murdoch’s reporters are hacking voicemails in Britain, given that much of his media investment here in the States is of similar, erm, quality, doesn’t it stand to reason that Congress, the FCC, police, etc., should look into it?

“Don’t Forget Medicaid”

See the whole thing from Congressman Chris Murphy of Connecticut:

“As we wait for the white smoke to emerge from the ‘grand bargain’ negotiations at the White House, most Americans are already aware of the Republicans’ plan to dismantle and privatize Medicare and Social Security. But what many people may not realize is just how dangerous it would be to slash funding for a program that 60 million Americans rely on for their basic health care needs: Medicaid.

“While it seems that just about every major industry or interest group has teams of lobbyists in Washington looking out for them, some of our most vulnerable citizens simply don’t have a voice in a town where unfortunately, money still talks the loudest.

“Why? Medicaid covers only the impoverished and disabled, so it lacks a traditional advocacy base. This may be news to Republicans — but most poor people I know are spending all their time trying to find a job and put food on the table.”

PROVOKING a war on Christmas?!

Just wondering.  In Philly for the last few years City Hall hosted a German corporation’s “Christmas Village” gift-shopping platz… but only with time, ie, this year, did people start complaining about the word Christmas in the name and signage.

The Religious Right considered free-market businesses’ attempts to embrace/sell to as many of their customers as possible at this time of year — even their fave Walmart — “a war on Christmas,” when if anything it’s been an expansion of Christmas!  After all, IIUC Hanukkah used to be a relatively minor Jewish observance, until it got Christmased-up under “Gentiles'” cultural influence.  Kwanzaa?  Thanksgiving?  New Year’s?  Little Christmas/Epiphany/Los Tres Reyes? St. Nick’s Day (Dec. 6)?  Even, yes, neopagan Winter Solstice.

Taxpayer-funded public schools (of all kinds) and government real estate are a true problem… but I guess there’s only one time of year when they want gummint on our backs!!!

Just one more thing: The Establishment Clause has nothing to do with people “feeling left out” — the Framers left out many people: women, renters, slaves, Blacks, Indians, Halfbreeds, Mulattoes, Tories….  Catholics, Jews, and pacifists barely got in under the wire!  No, the Framers were no bleeding hearts.  The Clause is about barring government from the religion business, and barring religion as such from the government business.  That’s all.

So, what gives?  Well, I don’t know how typical certain self-appointed Orthodox spokespersons are of the U.S. Religious Right, but I’m afraid some of my co-religionists seem to almost be looking forward to an anticipated Roman-style persecution here, or perhaps Commie-style.  I just hope they remember what they tell Muslims: You’re only a martyr if you die, not if you kill, for your faith!  Also, I’m not sure it counts if you’re actually “persecuted” for Heretical politics or economics, and not for the real o/Orthodox Faith.  Real Catholic Orthodoxy teaches us not to go out of our way to seek martyrdom or persecution.  And think of those you’ll get “persecuted” by association, who might not actually share your personal “belief” … LIKE ME!

BTW the first “war on Christmas” on these shores was waged BY “CHRISTIANS,” namely the Puritans of Massachusetts, who opposed all manner of “merriment” on the day as not only immoral and irreverent, but …

wait for it …

CATHOLIC!!!  (Or as they’d’ve said, Popish.)

Anyway, how many Christmas Warriors / Martyrs do you think will be in church next Saturday?  No, not easy Friday night, but early Saturday morning!  Sure: PUT THE “MASS” BACK IN “CHRIST-MASS”!!!!!

Catholic Bishops attack Obama again

Let’s be clear: I deplore Embryonic Stem-Cell research or usage in any way at all except for a good-faith attempt to bring to those embryonic human beings to birth.  This is because, as an Eastern Orthodox Christian who aspires to be a member of Christ, ie, one of His body-parts, I don’t consider endorsing human destruction of unborn humans — even disabled ones (I am Disabled, perhaps from birth or before) — to be in keeping with Christ’s body-parts.*

However, the U.S. Catholic bishops go out of their way to attack the democratically- and Constitutionally-elected Obama Administration in recent news releases on the issue.  They’ve been indignant that we elected him and VP Joe Biden (himself a Catholic), as they made clear at their winter meetings days after the 2008 Elections, televised live on cable.  But as any Civics student could have told them, the Executive Branch of the US Government doesn’t lawfully appropriate money, Congress does.  The Executive Branch does nothing with money that Congress has not authorized.  This is the bishops’ national release; this is from one of their most “conservative” divisions, Pennsylvania.

Their Eminences and Excellencies could be forgiven (if I had the power!) their confusion, after their boy in the White House, George W. Bush, appropriated money without Congressional authorization several times, occasionally with active deceit on the part of the corrupt then-Republican leadership of both Chambers.  (And they wanna come back?!?!?!)  False or cowardly Federal judges or Congressmembers allowed this ACTUAL theft of taxpayers’ money to fly almost completely under the radar.

What do I want?  President Obama and Vice-President Biden are no more nor less a threat to advance abortion or its related horrors than a Congress that hasn’t brought to the floor a Constitutional Amendment to reiterate the protection of unborn Americans in 27 years in the Senate, and EVER in the House, NOT EVEN UNDER REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP!  Instead, Republican alleged “pro-lifers” spend their time and money (and yours) fighting [PDF] real Democratic proposals (and candidates) to eliminate nearly all abortions voluntarily by addressing their causes — showing that they view the lives of Unborn Americans less sacred than their own political power (witness their last-minute, repeated deceptions over [lack of] abortion funding in America’s Healthcare Reform).

What I want is for the bishops and other non-Democratic pro-lifers to understand that specific parties and candidates clearly aren’t how to prevail, but bona fide proposals on the floor of Congress.  Based on that, who’s the REAL pro-life party?  THE DEMOCRATS, AFTER ALL!!!

And what about the bishops’ dioceses’ tax exemptions for targeting Obama/Biden?  After all, a partisan church’s tax exemption is like spending YOUR TAX DOLLARS ON THEIR FAVORED PARTY OR CANDIDATE.  (There are Orthodox Church clergy who could be called on the carpet equally and worse than these. But Catholic bishops tend to have more resources on which to call, and lawyer friends advising them, so they should know better. Orthodox, not so much yet.)

(*–The only exception I can see is, in shorthand, to save the life of the mother: where the best available medical opinion[s] is that continuing the pregnancy will kill her in and of itself, not via suicide or threats thereat, or financial impoverishment [falling through our coarse Social Safety Net], her own mental illness or disability, etc.  Because I don’t believe we can require mothers by law to actually — not metaphorically — lay down their lives for their babies; that must be voluntary.)

PS: I’m not “an anticatholic;” I’m a convert from Catholicism with extensive graduate work in Catholic and other (Western) Christian theological ethics.  I don’t “hate Catholics;” some of my best relatives and old friends are still Catholic.  Just for the record.

Why single out Charlie Rangel?

Something’s fishy here, the timing and everything.  And I mean oily-fishy, if you get my meaning.  They all do these things.  What about all those Repugs who “disgraced Congress” for a dozen years in charge, and took corruption to whole new levels, and had no “trials” or “hearings,” basically got away with it?  They made what Rangel’s accused of look like child’s play!  And what ever happened to going after all the Bush White House lawbreakers, even W. himself, Cheney, Gonzales, Ashcroft, Powell, etc etc etc?!  (So much for their “Christian nation”!)  Some of us only voted for Obama/Biden because of that promise — not revenge, merely justice, The Rule of Law.  Rangel’s charges are little worse than Lewinskygate.  But the MSM will hype this to the hilt, 24/7, we’ll have a special prosecutor who’ll find some link to Obama-Girl, and “What will we tell the children!” 

What we’ll tell them is that there really are Two Americas, like de jure 47th Vice-President of the USA* John Edwards said.  But I’d describe them this way: One America of Law, “for the little people,” and Another America Free of Law, for BP and Verizon and Comcast and Corporate lobbyists and Republicans and Teabaggers and militiamen.

But a progressive senior Black Democrat in the leadership, selling out to Big Business?  As Andy Samberg’s Rahm Emmanuel would say, “You f*ing turncoat!”

(*–Lieberman was 46th, not Cheney.)

“That’s B.S.!”

Guns are not for self-defense.

They’re for revenge.

Think about it.

“We the Dollars, in order to form a more perfect Union…”

I’m DISGUSTED with all the money Democratic Party organizations and candidates and progressive groups now have to cravenly beg from me, to have a shot at making a showing in elections in this brave new Scalia/Citizens United world we’re forced to live in!  I guess Repugs like him think it’s a fair clawback for the personal government assistance some of us need … nevermind the Corporate Wealthfare you KNOW they’re now pouring through the floodgates.  That illegal, immoral ruling was “the mother of all Nuclear Options.”  Apparently “limited government” only applies when the GOP is out of power, and “originalism” and “judicial activism” and “legislating from the Bench” only when they’re IN power.

Naturally, we can’t hope to win the money race against our own Corporations, most rich people, and corrupt government officials/politicians, which is exactly how Scalia et al. timed this unprecedented procedural power-grab, a coup d’etat under color of law.

What can we do?

Actually, “conservative” support for Corporations attacks the culture, family,* tradition, family farms, small towns, etc., so they should be with us in trying to oppose this new trend by somehow MAKING CORPS.’ MONEY IRRELEVANT.

(*–As theologian Stanley Hauerwas pointed out a generation ago.)

Rural areas get plenty of Federal tax money

The point of the Commenter from Pennsylvania to this very informative post is well-taken.  The point of the rest is that rural Republican and tea-bag folks are hypocrites for denouncing others’ benefits “from the government teat.”  If they seceded, they’d collapse in just a few years.  The experience of the formerly-independent Dominion of Newfoundland is educational.

Atypical Native American perspectives

A corporation has no opinions or endorsements.

Only the people behind it do, especially the powerful and rich ones.  They have every right as individual “natural,” God-made “persons” that you and I have … even more since they are rich and powerful, if you know what I mean.  I struggle not to begrudge them that, after all, the Lord said, The rich you will always have with you … sort of.  It has ever been so; nothing new under the sun.

So why do they need to increase that influence of theirs exponentially by means of the money their customers entrust to them in good faith while making, in most cases, apolitical “consumer” purchases?  Why indeed?

And why, with extra privileges and “rights” that We The People have supposedly freely and graciously, Sovereignly bestowed upon them?  Why indeed?  What are they up to, and why should we “trust” them?

Why do they always want more, and more, and more?  Fool us once, shame on you.  Fool us twenty times … shame on us.

ADA doomed?

Will New Corporate America — The Second American Republic, if you will — chuck the Americans With Disabilities Act?

After all, look how expensive we are!  Do we spend enough to be worth it?

Hell, they could take away Disability assistance / benefits, and basically put us out on the street and/or kill us!

GOP health plan: Kill the sick.

Sure, that’ll save money … though only for the middle class and poor they’re taxing anyway!

As a Disabled person who, if God is patient with me, will be around to see the disaster (further) unfold … well, they’ll kill me.

I object.

Impeach Alito

…for pulling a lip-reader’s Joe Wilson during the State of the Union Address.  While the President added “with all due respect to the Separation of Powers,” “Justice” Alito, aka Scalito, did not.  That’s because Republicans like him don’t believe in the concept, at least politically.  Undisciplined immaturity is to be expected in a relative newby to the High Court; but some kids you just have to leave home with the 14-year-old sitter, can’t take ’em anywhere, like to a Joint Session of Congress on live global television — they might pick their nose, or mouth rude comments to the grownups.

Understand this: Federal judges are not supposed to be politicians; Presidents are.  Obama could rip you up one side and down the other, Your Dishonor; you just sit there still and quiet like a man.  Anyway, what do you care?: you just handed Congress back to your party till the end of time — and the White House in two more years — so Obama’s agenda (whatever that was) is basically dead in the water.  You won’t even have to steal them anymore, just buy them!

Alito’s behavior actually blows the cover right off the GOP partisanship of the Court majority.  If Congress and the Court itself don’t discipline or censure Alito, maybe we need to impeach all 5 Repugs on the Court.  Or really make Obama like FDR, and threaten to appoint a couple more real jurists to that Court, to counterbalance the Reagan-Bush-Bush unConstitutional partisans.

Sarah Palin, meet Jean Poutine!

UPDATE: Found a mostly-usable form of the video from 22 Minutes, not on their site but at YouTube.  I dunno, but did anyone hear what Palin actually said the same way I did?  In fairness, I didn’t hear “dismantle,” only that the government should share the market with the private sector, IOW a single (big) step backwards, not the giant leap.  No difference though.  “Commonsense conservatism”?  Sweetheart, it left the U.S. during/after the Revolution, and remained among Canada’s Red Tories until they lost their party in the Harper/Reform takeover a couple years ago.  And Sarah and Steve ain’t it!

The other thing I noticed is that, while the lovable “Marg Delahunty” (OK, I really can’t take the voice, but admire her “all lies” review of the book!!) was woman-handled out of the library, her camera crew was allowed to stay.  PURE PHOTO-OP!  No questions, just pictures.  I hope Muscle-Melon wasn’t on the public payroll facilitating that ‘un-campaign’ appearance for Palin.

——————————————

ORIGINAL: That’s right, the Canadians who ‘punked’ W. got last week what may be the only policy remarks Alaska’s disgraced, resigned, unqualified, eye-candy governor will allow herself to be drawn on involuntarily, unscripted, during her eternal, fluff book tour/photo-op … and her own country is not the subject (nor is Russia!): ‘Yup, yup,’ like most self-important Republican politicos, she’s now become an expert on Canada’s model single-payer healthcare system — and all she cares about is corporate profiteering instead, and RATIONING on the basis of wealth, Whiteness, suburban residence, non-Indigenous status, etc.

If that’s “going rogue,” then John McCain’s a maverick!  The free ride she’s been getting from the MSM ever since her (losing) nomination is a danger to America and the world, because the hard right wing will back her as their savior just to feel they get back in power, even if she doesn’t know what to do with it in any way that will benefit, apparently, anyone other than CEOs and wealthy stockholders … short-term, anyway….  TALK ABOUT “DEATH PANELS”!!!  ‘Whose plug would Jesus pull?’

SEIU next for ACORNuts?

OK, this time it’s personal.  The Service Employees International Union is one of my labor unions, and they came to my aid when I was being targeted by management on the job apparently because I wasn’t enthusiastic enough about … well, that’d go off-topic. 😉

As tonight’s Rachel jag continues(!), she’s revealed that, thinking prematurely that they’ve run ACORN into the ground [“Unless a seed falls to the ground…!”], the Right Wing Conspiracy — Big Business, Big Lobbyists, astroturf, AM radio, the Republican Party — may target SEIU (video) next for teaming up with ACORN to try to make poor people’s and workers’ lives a little less awful.  How does this hurt them?  Business has to pay slightly higher wages, sharing their massive profits (often already subsidized by one or more levels of government one way or another) with THOSE WHO ACTUALLY DO THE WORK THAT CEOs AND OWNERS GET THE CREDIT FOR.

And these guys attack US for “class warfare”?!! or “revenge”?!!

And if her guest’s idea that soon they’ll attack the National Council of Churches too, sounds exaggerated…  Conservative Evangelical leaders have long considered this Mainline Protestant ecumenical organization Communist.  (The Catholic bishops’ conference, too, though that group has swung Hard Right as they smell a Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade, and in reaction against same-sex marriage.)  Furthermore, they’ve been dancing on the grave of the Mainline for about a generation now, even though it’s not really going away (even though many of the Mainline think it is too), and recent research suggests that the relatively slight gains of Evangelicals vs. Mainline proportionately, are only because Evangelical women/couples are adopting artificial contraception more slowly than Mainline women/couples.  The Evangelical ‘bulge’ (no pun intended) is already slowing, but will continue growing for about another generation before ISTM the numbers start returning to their classical proportions.  (This is research sociologist Andrew Greeley has been involved in, but where I read it I can’t recall now.  [Many Years, Father!])

Two other things: What they’re now calling living wage has sometimes been called family wage.  So much for “family values”!

And another Greeley truism is that Democratic bigwigs, candidates, campaigns, either take their Catholic voters for granted, or don’t care about/are embarrassed about them … risking losing them to the Reagans and Bushes of this world.  Are workers and unions in the same fix?  Just like Official Dems, natural allies of/advocates for “bitter” small town and rural residents, don’t give them reason to switch their generation-long Republican voting habits?  Folks, I don’t see WASP “Limo Libs” reproducing fast enough anymore to warrant such a cavalier attitude towards our Party’s traditional coalition, the “Patchwork Quilt Majority”!!!  And many People of Color who get richer go Republican….

De-funding ACORN Unconstitutional

…as Rachel Maddow (video) documents.

BTW, re-fund ACORN via their website!

(Type carefully, or like I almost did, you might end up at the shiny new website of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese — force of habit!!)

“Czars”

An adviser is not a czar, at least not as the term was used when the nation’s first Secretary of Energy had grouped under his authority numerous formerly-independent executive agencies, or the first Secretary of Education similarly, or the first “Director of National Intelligence,” or “Secretary of Homeland Security” (didn’t they used to call that “defense”?!?!?!).

An adviser has no direct power; a “czar” has LOTS of power.  If you have LOTS of “czars,” that’s a contradiction, because their power is diluted.

Go back to the dictionary, fascists.  “Are advisers unamerican?”  Only if an “American” President is required to be an expert in every area of government or administration!  I used to think they were electing a National Pastor, but now it seems they want to elect a god!!!  Now that’s “godless”!

As for “dictatorial style,” look to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney; as for “secrecy,” look to Cheney’s secret energy policy meetings we’re still trying to get to the bottom of.

Spontaneous Joe Wilson

I doubt it.  Why was a camera trained on him at just the right moment to capture him pointing and yelling?  Members of Congress received advance copies of President Obama’s address to last week’s Joint Session.  Wilson probably tipped-off someone in the media about his planned “outburst.”  Such cynicism and manipulation rules us today….

Heckling in Congress

…is against parliamentary procedure.  As wild as even the UK House of Commons gets, outright accusing somebody of lying gets you censured and harangued.

Especially when you’re wrong in so saying!

Censure Joe Wilson.

Weekend Update: Obama-and-kids joke

President Obama gave a controversial speech to some children this week.

The day before that, he visited a high school in Virginia!

(NB: This has nothing to do with the Saturday Night Live sketch called “Weekend Update.”)

Why do ‘conservatives’ hate Kumbaya?

I’m just sayin’!

Sounds like somebody had his bed short-sheeted or something!

If memory serves, it’s even Christian!

When they attack Obama, they attack America.

That’s right.  One has the right to disagree with healthcare reform, though it seems irrational to me to do so.  But to fundamentally question Obama’s Presidency is to seek to overturn the 2008 Election just because they disagree with the outcome.  That’s sour grapes, breaking the rules of majoritarian democracy.  Has he succeeded in doing anything he didn’t “promise” to do in getting elected?  Arguably he has gone back on several promises already.  In any case, it’s too soon, 8 months into a new Administration, lacking High Crimes and Misdeeds (not that they ever get prosecuted anyway … only sex).  These attacks are driven by something less political than anti-constitutional, anti-democratic, racist, deceptive (fake “grassroots” incited, recruited, planned, and bankrolled by Big Business, Big Lobbyists, etc.), libelous (probably actionable), etc.  Unlike 2000 and 2004, there are no serious accusations that Barack Obama was not the choice of both a majority of the voters or intended voters last Election Day, and of the Electoral College.  Attacking his very being President, then, without grounds as I have said, is attacking America, democracy, the Constitution, the rule of law, the voting majorities of Nov. 4.

Just like they did with President Clinton.

That’s right: They now believe no Democratic Party member can ever ‘legitimately’ be President.  They persecuted Clinton, they kept out elected Presidents Gore and Kerry, and it seems they will persecute Obama.

Just so we’re clear what’s going on here.

And when they openly bring guns to political rallies and public meetings, they mean to threaten democracy itself.

THAT is Fascism.

Teabaggers invade DC, MSM, and make fools of selves

Yup, Yup, they really covered themselves with glory….  More fun photos and video here.

The kinds of minds we’re dealing with here are hinted at by the LA Times, as well as the conflicting accusations that our first democratically-elected President in 8 years is a socialist AND a fascist!  Unless he suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder?!?!?!

Nevermind that if WE’D pulled stuff like this astroturf “Tea Party/Secession” movement during the previous 8 years, we’d have been labeled traitors!  (Oh, that’s right, we WERE.  “You collect the punishment but you can’t commit the sin….”)  Have they forgotten there’s 2 wars on?  Talk about “aid and comfort to the enemy”!!! 😉

I wonder if any of them brought their machine guns, like in Arizona?  If that ain’t a catastrophe waiting to happen … or an assassination … I don’t know what is.  It also reminded me of armed KKK or SS thugs trying to put down or intimidate public demonstrations.

One sign I saw noted 80-some percent of Americans are satisfied with their health coverage.  They’re deluding themselves, but anyway, healthcare reform isn’t about the 80 percent, but the 20, OK?  Somehow they missed that….

But when I saw that poster of Obama in whiteface with a big red smile drawn on way too big for his face and the word “Fascism,” just like the Abu Ghraib sex-torture photos, I realized the “Culture War” is now over and civilization has won.  It’s all over but the screaming.  I refuse to continue in a Culture War with an unarmed opponent!

Harper Catholic Communion: IT *IS* A SCANDAL!

Near as I can tell from the NY Times’ unusually dense syntax, self-righteous Canadian theocon minority Prime Minister Stephen Harper received, and an archbishop administered to him, Roman Catholic communion, a no-no since Harper’s Evangelical Protestant, specifically the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination.

The fact that it was at the funeral for former Governor General Romeo LeBlanc July 3 just magnifies the technical scandal — theologically speaking — of this joint action by Harper and the unnamed “archbishop,” identified by Canada’s Catholic Register (a weekly newspaper owned by the Archdiocese of Toronto) as Moncton, New Brunswick, Archbishop Andre Richard, who ISTM (they don’t say) may have been chief celebrant of the Mass, since it took place in his archdiocese.

I don’t know why they’re “covering the controversy” rather than the main story; maybe I just missed that.  ISTM that putting the consecrated host in his pocket might have been the least-worst thing Harper could’ve done, especially if afterward he or a flunkie returned it respectfully to the Church, which regards it as truly though mystically (and not symbolically) Jesus Christ’s Body and Blood.  After all, it’s not exactly a State secret that, with very few exceptions applying mostly to certain Eastern Christian Churches,* NON-CATHOLICS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO RECEIVE CATHOLIC COMMUNION!!!!!  In the U.S. an announcement to this effect is commonly made at mass vocally or in print, especially if a significant number of non-Catholics are known to be in attendance, such as would have been the case at His Excellency’s State funeral (presumably in Both Official Languages … and I don’t mean Latin!).

As the Register tells us:

During the Mass, Moncton Archbishop Andre Richard approached the front row where Harper and other VIPs were standing and distributed Communion to everyone, including the Protestant Harper. Though video shows Harper receiving Communion, it does not show him consuming it. Harper insists he did and told CCN in a July 11 interview he made a decision when entering public life not to seek Communion in Catholic churches but to accept it if offered.

Having served in my Catholic days as an altar boy or music minister at many “big Masses,” and also as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, I can easily imagine Abp. Richard being preoccupied with many things that day.  In addition, Latin Rite clergy aren’t commonly tasked with “guarding the chalice” in quite the same way Eastern clergy are (unless Democrats in the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania are concerned! [scroll down]); it’s just a different approach or attitude toward administering communion, though the fundamental principles are outwardly similar.  Nevertheless, IT’S THE FRIGGING PRIME MINISTER, NATIONAL TV, A “STATE” FUNERAL, WITH AN ARCHBISHOP, not some summer cottage chapel in the woods with some anonymous guests of uncertain affiliations wearing cutoffs and flipflops!  A deacon or “master of ceremonies” could have taken some of the worry out of the occasion for the Archbishop and helped guide him discreetly around ‘landmines’ such as prominent non-Catholics in the VIP pew.

Ironically, although many of today’s “conservative Catholics” attack the Latin Rite’s modern option of communion-in-the-hand, receiving it in his hand instead of right on his tongue left Harper with the option of saving the Archbishop’s face as I’ve suggested above, even voluntarily taking some temporary heat himself from attack-dog media and politicians, coming up roses in the end if he returned the host respectfully at an opportune moment, even a “teachable moment.”  IOW, Major Brownie Points with Catholic voters!

Of course, more points if Harper had been able to say not that he made himself a unilateral theological decision to receive forbidden Catholic communion if mistakenly (or improperly!) offered, but that he’d consulted his local Latin Rite bishop in Calgary “when entering public life,” and even gotten a second opinion when he became a national figure from, as the kosher hot dog ad used to say, “an even higher authority.”  Don’t they have Protocol people in Ottawa anymore?!!!  In any event, Catholic authorities would have kindly and gently explained the impropriety to him, ways to politely decline or step aside when approached by a priest or EM, even thanked him for his concern to inquire … and probably gossipped about it, increasing his “cred” in their midst!  (Not that I want to help the man politically or anything!)

Now, I’m not a Latin canon lawyer or approved theological ethicist, though I have plenty of background and training.  But ISTM holding the host for later respectful return would have been at worst a mild sacrilege in Catholic eyes, with good intentions.  Eating it is pure scandal, the worse because of how publicly it was done (even if not shown on TV, but hyped in the media for days afterward).  And there are really considered to be no other options: Even dissolving it in water would require disposing of the now-sacred water in a sacrarium, a special sink in a Latin church’s sacristy that empties directly into the ground by sacral arrangement, rather than the sewage system or septic tank.  (‘Can’t dump Jesus in the sewer, dawg!’)  While water may be more easily portable, as in an empty bottle, if it had to be returned in another city … bottles of water are too easily discarded or otherwise mishandled.  An undissolved host is unmistakable, and can be carried reverently in any suitable container. 

Of course, Catholic Church sanctions are useless against non-Catholics, unless they want to try to physically lock Steve-o out of their churches and ceremonies.  From his perspective, it should be about respect for Catholic faith, just like you take your shoes off when visiting a mosque and wear a yarmulke when visiting a synagogue, and if the Orthodox parish you’re visiting stands males on one side and females on the other, going along without protest.

This piece, seemingly drawing from wire copy, suggests there was indeed protocol confusion of an uninformed variety on the part of both the Prime Minister and the Archbishop, who I’m certain doesn’t have such high-level guests in his archdiocese every day!:

Richard said a protocol officer told him before the ceremony that anyone who wanted to take part in communion would signal their willingness to do so.  “I’m sure he (Harper) didn’t mean any desecration or nothing of the sort,” the Archbishop said. “Somehow, the gesture was misunderstood. I think he should have been briefed by the protocol of what has to be done in a Catholic ceremony.”

OK, I have a guess about what’s going on here now.  If there was a huge crowd — and it’s just a parish church, not a large cathedral — and VIPs were seated in the front pew, it was probably arranged, by government staffers, for the Archbishop to serve them in-place, while everybody else who wished and was able to receive, would leave their pews farther back, get in line, and receive from him and/or other ministers in the building.  Rather than have the GG, the PM, etc., standing in line when the missiles come over the North Pole (or the foreign navies intrude in Nunavut).  It’s not a question of special treatment, merely reasonable logistics given the 24/7 responsibilities of these specific attendees, halfway across the country from the National Capital.  Similar accommodations are often made with communicants with mobility challenges.

An added issue would be the presence of M. LeBlanc’s coffin near the front of the church, probably where communion is often administered to people standing in line on normal Sundays and weekdays, etc. … as well as the unfamiliarity of many if not most of the attendees with how to receive communion in this particular building with its architecture, internal furnishings, etc., since it’s not their own parish.

For their part, the VIPs were probably briefed generically by a government (not Church) staffer, without regard for their denominations or (if Catholic) specific communion intentions (which ISTM Canadians more than even Yanks would consider intensely private matters, perhaps not to be “signaled” in advance through a flunkie: a cultural thing).  I could see this adding to the confusion of a ‘principled’ Evangelical Protestant Canadian like the PM who at least once in his life considered just such a scenario … hence his perceived hesitation, a kind of sacramental “decisijig” owing to miscommunication, or what tabloids might style a “miscue.”

This doesn’t appear to have been the only such, if my friends at the Monarchist League of Canada are right.

Last word: While it’s common for Protestants to use the verb take in connection with communion, for Catholics it’s receive — though the actions commonly involved are outwardly the same.  The would-be communicant approaches or in special cases like this is approached by the minister, and the minister gives him or her the communion.  (Unless your denomination does the trays and little cups served from pew to pew like on an airline — no disrespect meant.  Also, sometimes there’s more ‘self-help,’ like the bread and/or wine left on the altar for folks to administer to themselves as invited by the minister.)  If you find yourself about to be given communion when you believe you should not, for whatever reasons, you are permitted, hoped, and/or expected to “signal” your intention not to receive without making a big fuss, yelling, gesticulating grandly, turning your back, running away, or anything of the sort.  Like they say in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, DON’T PANIC.  Remain calm.  “No thanks,” a small but clear hand gesture, fingers over the lips, something like that.  Remember that when you’re in that situation, it’s just you and him (or her), two fallible human beings, face to face.  Most Latin Rite clergy these days are less anal about the flow of the almighty ritual than in former days perhaps, and will be understanding; the Vatican II Mass / in English (I can’t say for sure about French! 😉 ) is less pompous than its Tridentine / Latin predecessor — relatively more laid-back, as its critics will tell you(!).  I received in an Episcopalian cathedral once (while Protestant, on a normal Sunday, even with a “priestess” presiding — a cute one too!), and I’d guess the same there.  Most other situations, even more so. 

Even a State funeral on national TV.

This extended meditation on the pitfalls and pratfalls of public life has been sponsored by the letter Q, the number 69, and the word Sniglet!

(*–Without having consulted Eastern Christian bishops or councils!  Orthodoxy, my Church, forbids receiving non-Orthodox Mysteries [“sacraments”], and administering them to non-Orthodox, for reasons familiar to most Catholics my age or older.)

PS: For the record, Catholicism excludes non-Catholics from communion because they believe the sacrament properly reflects the “communion” of the main participants in the church service itself, to wit, Catholics.  It’s not a question of hospitality or inhospitality, “ecumenism,” “liberalism” or “conservatism,” “niceness” or “meanness.”  Catholics consider themselves the Body of Christ “mystically,” and communion as I said, also, though in a different way.  And non-Catholics, in varying degrees of “communion” or out of communion with them, especially with the Pope of Rome at their head.  This is all Catholic theology, not church politics per se.  They take the same attitude towards us Orthodox — as we do them and all non-Orthodox — although Rome permits us in extremis, as well as permitting their own people to receive our Mysteries in extremis, though they did that unilaterally.

PPS: Then again, given that LeBlanc was formerly a Liberal MP and Senator, and/or that Maritime Tories — even Catholics? — are likely to be Red Tories vs. Harper’s Blues (aka “American [GOP] Republicans”), maybe it WAS a conspiracy against Harper!!!  😉  (Just kidding; I know nothing.)

PPPS: Communion-in-the-hand is not an option in Orthodoxy, for the simple reason that Communion is served thusly: The priest has previously sunk a large piece of the Bread into the chalice and poured the Wine and water over it, filling the chalice.  As each communicant approaches, they tip their head back (or their baby’s head!) and open their mouth.  Father takes a long-handled spoon with a tiny bowl at the end, obtains a tiny piece of this mixed Bread and Wine, and tips the spoon’s contents into the person’s mouth.  So if Harper was at LeBlanc predecessor Ray Hnatyshyn‘s funeral in ’02 … well, it wouldn’t have been an issue, because Orthodox funerals don’t include Communion!  I’ve seen Orthodox priests serve communicants in wheelchairs by approaching them, but most of the time we line-up for Communion, so you can’t get in line by accident, so it’s no problem either. 

So … Go Orthodox, sir!

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Who’s bankrolling healthcare terrorism?

I haven’t made it to one of these infamous “town hall” sessions yet, but I hear the anti mobs are carrying professional-looking signs.  Is Big Insurance stealthily backing these uncivil crowds?  Big Pharma?  corporate talk radio?  (I know, that’s redundant!)

If it’s bought and paid for, is it really “free speech”?!!  As someone opined at another time, is it real grassroots, or AstroTurf?!!!

Anyway, they claim “socialism” like that’s a BAD thing!!!  😉

While we’re talking about it, I really have hated these last 25 years like ONE PARTY owns MY PUBLIC AIRWAVES!

And why do the MSM keep paying attention to a ten-week losing Vice-Presidential candidate?  Just because she’s hot?  MILF appeal?!!  Palin obviously can’t take the hint!

Palin has no future

…politically, despite every national-media stunt in the world, even a tell-all book about her ten weeks in the dimming Arctic sun(?), unless she gets some of what the kids call “game.”  Have we already forgotten that her relative inexperience is why so many McCain backers and other Republicans (and others, even racists and disappointed Hilary-backers) couldn’t bring themselves to vote for that ticket in the end?  Resigning early from her one term as governor of one of the least-populous and remotest states in the Union [Federation, actually], even so long before she could run for Congress next November, is a major miscalculation if she still wants “in” with national politics in the near or mid-term future.  Especially going out under a cloud of more than a dozen-and-a-half ethics charges.  It’s chutzpah, really.  Leaving office shouldn’t absolve her of any impropriety she might be responsible for anyway … unless Alaska is more lawless or politically inbred than I realized.

BTW, after she shamelessly subjected her eldest daughter to national exposure for her “youthful indiscretion” as a political stunt, she’s one to upbraid Dave Letterman for, yes, a tasteless joke, as it turned out unknowingly against her middle daughter.  But blood is thicker than water, and I don’t know that Willow, an innocent minor, is truly what we journalists call a public figure, so Dave stepped on a rake and got whacked in the face.  Shrug.

And for saying she wants to campaign for “conservative” Democrats, ie, against rational Republicans [if there are any left in America], the GOP that made her such a sensation so recently should break her, just like we ditched Joe Lieberman for the same reason.  Freedom of speech and expression are one thing, but if you take the Party’s coin (or wardrobe!!) you have to sing its tune at least a little while.  It’s not like the Repugs have gotten reason yet after their big blowout, if Rush ‘I Hope America Fails’ Limbaugh and Co. are any indication … so that Sarah would feel betrayed by them.  Near as I can tell they’re still in goose-step together, the Party of Racism, Recession, Corruption, Illegal Spying, Arab Oil, Global-Warming Devastation, Nuking Iran, “Liberal”-Conspiracy Theories, Stolen Elections, Government-Supported “Conservative” Religion, and Anti-Latina.

Cui bono, guys and girl?  Certainly not your voters!

Hypocrisy on Sotomayor

One thing Judge Sotomayor’s defenders won’t say is that it’s OK with her critics for a Rich White Conservative Republican Man to bring his life experience and its insights to his job, in fact it’s expected.  But not a Latina Democrat from The Projects, even if Poppy Bush himself (not Papi!) nominated her to the Bench!  That’s because we all know who’s really in charge in this country and who isn’t, “that damned piece of paper” to the contrary notwithstanding!

Thank goodness Minnesota’s Republicans let Senator Sixty — er, Franken! — finally go to Washington, and just in time!

BUSH-SPY-GATE

Bush crimes have continued under the nose of America and Obama?  Everyone responsible, in both Administrations, should be locked up for life, no parole, for threatening the country, our safety, and the rule of law.

It’s not “revenge,” it’s criminal justice.

Republican Treason on Iran

Whenever most of us questioned de facto GW Bush’s foreign policy abortions, partisan Republicans accused of us “undermining the Commander-in-Chief [of the Armed Forces],” treason, appeasement, “hating America,” blah blah blah.  But now it’s OK for them to do the same with President Obama?*  Excuse me, but someone who lived in the Muslim World some years — as a civilian — and even has Muslim relatives, might have a little more insight into the matter than Red State farmboys on The Hill … or even Blue State politically-correct cosmopolitans for that matter.  (Awful stereotypes, both, of course…)  Even someone driven out of the church of his choice by the GOP!  (So much for “No Religious Test for holding any office under this Constitution”!)  This from the folks who seriously talked about nuking Iran … or having Israel do it?!  So much for the Myth of Republican Foreign Policy Expertise….

(*–Some MSM still feel the need to call him “President Barack Obama,” like he’s some foreign leader we’ve never heard of or something!!)

Cuomo for Supreme Court?

With Justice David Souter retiring, we could use a real “liberal” in his place.  Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo may be one of the greatest unsung legal and moral-philosophical minds alive in America — and God Himself knows we could use more morality on that High Court these days, nevermind law-abiding!

As if somebody knew something was coming, we have this piece on Cuomo’s visit to the Court last month.  I actually didn’t know Clinton almost nominated him in ’93, maybe because I was otherwise occupied.  But it seems Gov. Cuomo still considers a need for him in other fora:

“You have 100 cases a year at the Court, and five or six of them are really significant, maybe.”  When the Clinton offer came, Cuomo says, the deciding factor in saying no was the prospect of “never being able to speak out again” on issues like the death penalty or poverty.  “Even now, nobody is talking about poor people,” Cuomo laments.  After serving as New York governor for three terms, he said that virtual vow of silence seemed impossible.*  He’s been happy doing other things that help people in recent years, Cuomo says.  “One does what one can.”  He counts his mediation in the asbestos case as one of his endeavors that has benefited those who need help.  Through the mediation, a new $500 million fund was created to compensate thousands more victims of asbestos-related disease who could not have received anything from the depleted Johns-Manville fund.

Talking about giving up the Court to help people puts me in mind of the line about the college professor: “He’s a doctor, but not the kind that helps people”!!  At 76 though, Cuomo is a few years older than Souter, and we may need rather to pull a Clarence Thomas and nominate a 30-something radical prophet who’ll stand up for law and justice and democracy for the next two generations on the Court.  Damned shame.  If it wasn’t for anti-Italian/anti-Catholic bigotry, he would’ve been President as early as ’88 instead of George I … or certainly ’92, when America could’ve done a whole lot better than William Jefferson Clinton.

I just saw a quote of Mario’s I’d never heard before, but which speaks of my own marveling at how decent, respectable, thoughtful moderate Republican politicians of the ’70s and ’80s have become monsters since:

There are few things more amusing in the world of politics than watching moderate Republicans charging to the right in pursuit of greater glory.

God grant you Many Years, Governor — Ad Multos Annos!

(*–Tell Scalia, Governor!!)

Anti-abortion, but Pro-Obama at Notre Dame

As per tradition, the University of Notre Dame has slated America’s President (of the Federal Executive Branch, anyway…) to speak at graduation.  Right-wingers, conservative/Republican Catholics, and some self-appointed anti-abortion spokespeople are piling-on this great school and American tradition, and even trying to get the local Catholic bishop to apply the (thumb)screws.

The U. is clear they don’t agree with Obama on everything … as I’m sure they haven’t agreed with ANY speaker on EVERYTHING.  Sign a semi-official online petition in support of the school, academic freedom, and civil dialogue.

As a great(?) man once said, I ain’t never heard of anything so dangerous it couldn’t be talked about!

Fox News Biden libel on economy

I have a journalism background (as opposed to what Fox News Channel serves up), and this fake edit just might be actionable, making VP Biden seem to claim last week that “the fundamentals of the economy are sound,” when the footage is actually from the campaign where he was quoting McCain and vigorously disagreeing with that assessment (as most of us then and now.  You’d think nobody would even use that particular expression after this past Election Day!).

Of course, nobody sues for libel or slander anymore, and so public discourse goes down the toilet where Reagan, the Repugs, and the Fundies sent it starting in the ’70s.

Global Warming satellite sabotaged?

New Repug boss wants to be “Hip-Hop” Mussolini

I swear!  “Make the trains run on time“?!!!  “One-armed midgets”?!!  “Off the hook”: Does that mean he won’t answer his phone?  We can only hope….

Of course, the Republican Party isn’t “in the crapper.”  They just feel like they are because they don’t have (obvious) absolute power for the moment, like they have for most of the last 28 years.  But that’s true not because of “PR” or a dearth of young, Hispanic, or Black “messengers” in Virginia and North Carolina, but because they put THIS COUNTRY, INDEED, THE WORLD, IN THE CRAPPER, INCLUDING YOUNG PEOPLE, HISPANICS, BLACKS, NATIVE AMERICANS, WOMEN, AND EVERYBODY ELSE, INCLUDING THEMSELVES!!!  (Ever hear of cutting off your nose to spite your face?)

To think it’s PR, that substance doesn’t matter, is the ultimate in self-serving cynicism.  It’s kind of like Big Tobacco getting us hooked all those years they knew they were killing us.  Or Big Energy “putting lipstick on a pig,” pretending to be “green” — Please, “Clean Coal”?!!!  Hitler* had Goebbels and Riefenstahl, PR geniuses, “hip” messages and state of the art, and even held on for a while; but win or lose, they were equally wrong.

They’re gonna do “beyond cutting edge”?  That worries me, after a decade of stolen elections, stolen airwaves, stolen bookstore shelves, stolen bandwidth, stolen cable TV space, stolen newspapers, hijacked websites and campaigns, lies, racism, sexism, pseudo-religious bigotry, lock-step churches, wedge pseudo-issues, government funding of “conservative” religion, corruption we haven’t even begun to investigate and prosecute and fine and jail, one or maybe even two fake wars with real casualties, etc etc etc.  If we thought we could rest a little after 12:01pm EST Jan. 20, we may have been sorely mistaken.  Like the man said, I guess democracy and justice really do demand eternal vigilance.

Maybe the GOP picked this loon because his last name sounds like steal….

This new ad campaign is gonna look like that tokenist national convention they had in 2004, where just about the only People of Color were on-stage in front of the cameras.  “Hip-hop” Repugs, can you imagine?!  They won’t touch us.  Now, if they cared about more than just the votes of youth, Blacks, and Hispanics, etc., we might be seriously worried.  But all they really want to do is make their next big stolen election look credible where folks don’t typically vote GOP — that’s what really concerns me.

(*–Don’t blame me, he started it by quoting Mussolini!)

“If only outlaws have guns….”

…it’ll be pretty easy to identify them before they commit crimes.  Kind of like an Outlaw I.D. card, right?!!*  “Conservatives” like that, don’t they?!!!

(*–Only more dangerous….)

Remember Next November

… in 2010 … who the Republicans voted to bail-out, and who they told ‘Drop Dead.’  They were OK with letting crooked bankers rob us blind, but when it came to union auto workers and the rest of America, they thumbed their noses, except Senators Specter, Snowe (an Orthodox Christian!), and Collins.

Yes, the GOP is as amenable to “bipartisanship” in opposition as they were in so-called leadership.  Why should WE?!!  They march in goose-step, hoping with Rush Limbaugh that America goes down like the Titanic … apparently even McCain, Mr. Conciliatory, is celebrating the Depression.  (‘Why do “conservatives” hate America?’)  Not hurting THEM too much, is it!  I’ll take a “Limousine Liberal” over a hypocritical, self-declared “Compassionate Conservative” any day!!!

In the interest of Full Disclosure, apparently I’m going to get a few more dollars in Food Stamps, and that one-time $250 lump-sum in my SSI/Disability (which will probably claw-back the Food Stamps!  Talk about taking from Peter to pay … well … Peter!).  Again, frankly, most individual beneficiaries of Bailout 2.0 are gonna sock it away in the bank and not “Go shopping” like us pobres who have NEEDS, so really, it would’ve done more good going more to us.  But then, apparently not even Specter, Snowe, and Collins, as Repugs, could stomach that.  And Specter comes from Philly….  With friends like him….  But hey, where else are we gonna get the money to pay your “Eat the poor,” upward-transfer taxes, eh?!!!  Wages?  Lotto?  Dean Graziosi?!

Further Evidence/Analysis: Global Warming to last 1000 years or more

Report from America’s NOAA, ‘liberated’ on January 20(!).  I’ve been saying up to 2,000 years more at least; worse if we continue doing very little about it.  This report says the problem is that while some carbon dioxide precipitates out of the upper atmosphere after a shorter amount of time naturally, other CO2 takes much longer: it’s a mixed picture, a complex system.  They don’t mean “irreversible,” as a read of the article indicates, so they shouldn’t say that; they mean very long term — way beyond the next Electoral Cycle!  The thing is, we have to get cracking, because everything we can do now will make a difference down the road, even if not for us or our children or grandchildren.  It’s way past late for political games with China and India and the Third World, Bushies!  As Red Green says, we’re all in this together.  As we started learning about trash in the ’80s, There’s no more “away”!

Will life on Earth survive such a prolonged assault, is the question.

Repugs to filibuster Al Franken?

Go ahead.  Let’s put them on TV round the clock.  With MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow providing fact-checks and analysis.  See how fast Americans and the world tire of Republican legal tricks and technicalities … especially the next time they accuse us of the same.

Remember that this is the party that started seating losing, rejected House members a couple years ago, because you can’t filibuster in the House.  Maybe House Dems should change that rule….

Second thought, Senate filibusters are the reason we have an unconstitutional, undemocratic de facto supermajority requirement to pass any legislation there, the magical 60 votes instead of 51, or even just a majority of Senators present at the time of the vote.  I say let bills pass or fail on a simple, (small-D) democratic majority … might rile-up more people to vote out the arrogant GOP if they showed their true colors in the Senate more often, which would be better for the country … and the world.

The phrase “one-world government” is ungrammatical.

Unless it’s preferring to limit government to a single world, say Earth, so it doesn’t also cover, I dunno, Mars, the Moon, Europa, Venus….

Why do they use the hyphen, making “one world” a single adjective instead of part of a phrase, as in, “I support (or oppose) one world government” or even just “a world government”?

My first encounter with the expression was I think on the back of a Keith Green album (along with anti-Catholicism) when I was spinning Christian Contemporary music on my college radio station in the early ’80s (I also spun Adult Contemp, Classic Rock, Classical, and read and wrote news), and it sounded as conspiracy-theorist then as it does now … even with some religious tilt I don’t quite comprehend, even after spending most of the ’90s among Protestants.

Inquiring minds wanna know!

“Elective dictatorship”

That’s the pejorative critique of parliamentary government (ie, Westminster-style).  Part of the problem is that AFAIK, political parties under that system are themselves elective dictatorships, whether their “Leaders” are voted on by MPs, or more widely by party members nationwide.  The model is Party as Political Machine.  They could use more of a committee-style leadership or shared authority within the party like our Democratic and Republican Parties with their national committees, or House and Senate party caucus leadership teams.  This doesn’t rule out “strong leadership” when needed, as U.S. State and local party machines prove.  Today I can’t see a U.S. party chairman picking-and-choosing primary contestants like parliamentary Leaders do, even in Canada (Stephen Harper, Paul Martin, etc.).  We do sometimes have “party-endorsed” or “committee-endorsed” primary candidates, but that doesn’t prevent challengers from running, or even winning the primary.  But abroad, combine “elective dictatorship” within the party, and strong “party discipline” within Parliament, and you have your little dictators.  Especially if it’s thought the Monarch or President isn’t allowed to decline their “advice.”

Bill Richardson for Secretary of State

He has the personality, the skills, the experience, and respect from friend and foe alike.

Hillary Clinton?  I’m not sure she can work for someone else, especially Obama who beat her for the nomination; I’d trust Bill C. better in this regard.  Furthermore, does Hillary have the personality? skills?  She DOESN’T have the experience.  America’s friends abroad like her, but you don’t make peace with your friends: Do our foes like or respect her?  I don’t know that they do, whereas I do know they like or at least respect Richardson.

Besides, we need our Senate Democrats.  New York’s current Governor is a Dem, but there’s no guarantee NY voters would elect a Democrat to succeed Hillary eventually.  Remember Al D’Amato?  With GOP/corporate hackers stealing elections, and how stung they feel after last week’s losses, let’s not give them the chance.

In this day and age, State is too important a job to treat as a mere political plum, or even an intra-Party olive branch.  And the Senate is also too important to risk: Realistically, we have a year and a half to turn this country around, or get it well on the way.  We can’t expose ourselves – or the nation – or the world – to Republican political games in Congress.

Obama’s campaign money

No small bit was made of what seemed like gillions of dollars the Obama Presidential Campaign had raised and spent on staffing, advertising, etc., especially opting out of federal campaign financing and limits — all as if a Democrat had displaced the Republicans awash in money from their wealthy and large individual and business donors.  But according to Obama’s people, McCain/Palin and the national GOP had 20 million more than Obama/Biden and the Democratic National Committee as of October 15.  Just to set the record straight.

Let Democrats be Democrats

After all, they didn’t elect us because we’re Republicans, but because we’re Democrats, right?  If they wanted Republicans, they would’ve elected Republicans, right?  Even the Republicans were calling for “change” from the way things have been going; so logically, it was a question of whose “change” the voters wanted, right?  And it was ours, not the Republicans’.

By all means, let’s try to bring as many Republican lawmakers on-board as reasonably possible — that could only be better.  But if we ourselves end up changing into Republicans, then haven’t we betrayed those who voted us in?

How many Republican members of Congress have become Democrats, literally or figuratively, since they came to power in ’94, huh?  Only two or three, right?  They didn’t betray their voters, so how can we betray ours?

In any case, hasn’t President-elect Obama shown us we don’t need those rich and corporate campaign donors and lobbyists???

Voter Fraud

…is not at all a serious problem in this country on a national scale, and never has been.  Hype about it is a mere Republican and/or racist / bigoted scare tactic, ‘red meat,’ or worse: a way to take away our rights and freedoms, suppress votes, not to mention waste taxpayer dollars “investigating” it and setting up complicated systems to “prevent” it, which work like polar bear repellant: “Haven’t seen one around here in years.  It must be working!”

Why would a good Catholic vote Democratic?

(Aside from the candidates’ personal qualifications to do their jobs, that is.)

Abortion shocks the well-formed conscience, especially when it’s not necessary to literally save the woman’s life.  Also, I never knowingly met a Gay person until I left the Catholic Church in the early ’90s.  And I’m a virgin, but I still feel a little weird about birth control, and sex ed in public schools.  And yes, I’m concerned about Islam’s progress in Europe and North America, when they don’t seem able to rein-in their radicals enough to prevent something as heinous as 9/11, the East Africa embassy bombings, the Cole bombing, 7/7, or Madrid.

Catholic radio is telling you to vote Republican for one, more, or all of the above reasons, or more, though they’re really not allowed to endorse candidates or parties.  Some or all U.S. Catholic Bishops are pronouncing abortion a transcendent issue.  Now, I’m a Catholic-trained ethicist.  I studied 5 years for the priesthood and religious life.  I attended 11 years of parochial school (Balto. Catechism questions and answers!), 4 of Catholic high school, 4 of Catholic college, and 2 of Catholic graduate school.  I don’t have a Ph.D., but I respectfully disagree with the idea of abortion as transcendent political issue.  Fr. Frank Pavone’s (of Priests for Life) logic that without “life” no other issue matters, is an emotional slogan, not a philosophical or theological or moral argument.  As such, it does a disservice to the Catholic tradition of moral theological reasoning.

I submit that the Global Warming Cataclysm and the restoration of (small-D) democratic, constitutional, law-respecting, internationally-cooperative government to the United States, are the two most important issues in this campaign, not only for Americans but literally the entire world, more than 6 billion people, exponentially more than are affected by the “conservative Catholic” issues.

Global Warming is expected to create at least a billion refugees by mid-century, and many will die of GW-related disease, hunger, thirst, war, and instability.  Some scientists believe it may transform much of the surface of the Earth, in bad ways.  And if my cumulative analysis is correct, by 2200 we will lose one-third to two-thirds of humanity because of the Global Warming Cataclysm and other parts of the coming “Perfect Storm”: Peak Oil, Third-World ‘dirty’ industrialization, the spread of unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles and asthma and allergies, and the (temporarily) declining planetary magnetic field with rising cancer rates from reduced solar shielding.  To be honest, neither major party is positively addressing these latter issues yet.  And the Republicans have been at the beck and call of Big Oil for 8 years — Bush and Cheney are oilmen, talk about the fox in charge of the henhouse — and have dropped the ball even on the Global Warming Cataclysm, whereas the Democrats say they’ll start trying to work to lessen and counteract its effects, the most compassionate, realistic plan available.

Linked to this is the restoration of respect for law and international aid and cooperation to the U.S. government.  What Washington does or fails to do – politically, economically, militarily, culturally – affects the entire world like no other single country.  We are today’s Rome, for good or for ill … the world’s sole hyperpower.

In the U.S. about a million abortions take place each year.  Even if each involves a father, mother, doctor, nurse, etc., that’s still a few million, against 6 billion plus, and tens of millions of lives if not more; plus, the Global Warming Cataclysm’s effects have been building since the dawn of industrialization in 1750, and will continue building even after we start doing something about them, so the longer we wait, the worse it will be, especially for the world’s weakest and poorest.

OTOH, what have the Republicans really done about abortion anyway, besides use it to raise funds and votes – “red meat for the base”?  There appears little to gain even on the abortion front by voting Republican, whereas Democrats for Life is gaining traction within their party by proposing to prevent most abortions performed in this country by working to remove their social causes: The 95-10 Initiative.

So I conclude that morally a Catholic should vote Democratic, and support Democrats for Life.

Not to mention the Democratic stands on all the other Catholic Social Teachings of the last century or more!

Welfare accountability

Why do Republicans think there’s no accountability on Welfare, Assistance, etc.?  How many of them have ever been on it??  Since 2000 I’ve been on General Assistance, Food Stamps, Medicaid, and SSI/Disability (not all at the same time), and been turned down for Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability.  I’d also worked for a couple years helping other people try to get help from various governments and other agencies, so I knew what I was doing.  The questions they ask, the re-asking every few months to a year, the unreasonable rejections, the unhearing appeals….  Haven’t they even heard of the Intrusive Social Worker? — it’s so common it’s a stereotype!!!  There are few secrets, and little dignity left when you’re done.

I think this may be an example of something Ronald Reagan kicked into high gear, Government-by-Anecdote.  Sure, a few people game the system, and DA’s like to trot out the accused Welfare Queens with three Rolls Royces and such.  But probably government loses more money each year from rich folks and businesses gaming the system than people on various forms of Assistance!  Welfare Cheats vs. Tax Cheats?  You do the math!

When politicians or their surrogates trot out negative examples, suspect that there’s an agenda, and deception, going on.  Ask for total numbers, credible statistics, before collectively punishing all of us for the relatively-insignificant sins of the few.

Nader ad

Yes, I heard a Ralph Nader presidential campaign ad on the radio in the middle of the night the other night.  First one I ever heard in all his years of running.  How deluded must he be to still be saying, after the last eight years, that there’s no difference between Republicans and Democrats in Washington???  What does Nader really stand for when all’s said and done?  Certainly not the environment or consumer protection, not workplace safety or civil rights, not even the automotive safety he cut his teeth on all those years ago, because all these have backslid since W. stole the 2000 election with Nader’s help.

Yup, yup, America’s done just swell under Bush/Nader these last 8 years!

Ralph, you belong with us liberal Democrats.  Please!