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.

Liberals for States’ Rights!

Yes, it’s true!

MY reason is I’m tired of the W. abuses of power and neutered or compromised Congresses’ lax oversight, and compromised Republican courts.

The dirty little secret is that usually the party out of power Federally favors States’ Rights where they ARE in power, or hope to use to regain power, and opposed by the party IN power Federally that wants to impose its will nationally, and finds it easier to do so through one government than 50, 51, or 52!  They don’t always use the language of States’ Rights, though.  Because the phrase has been tainted by racists, slaveholders, and Confederates, I prefer State Sovereignty — an absolute value under the current Constitution.

I’ve admired the late Marc Chaitlin, but he underestimated the need for State Sovereignty.  Suffice to say he passed away during W.’s first 100 days.  It’s possible to see our States today as Chaitlin’s mere “state-like provinces,” and as theologian Stanley Hauerwas might say, there’s no denying the descriptive power of that statement.  But we need to restore States’ dignity as a hedge against Federal dictatorship like we’ve experienced now, or worse in the future.  Certainly not to roll back true progressive improvements in America, or give greater power to reactionary elements among State and local politicians … indeed, to protect or restore those improvements, and make them even better!  Actually I think most Americans today think of States as little more than provinces, pointless holdovers from somewhere around the Middle Ages, with non-understood differences in drinking or driving laws, court systems, governmental structures, tax structures, practices — Patriots’ Day?  Freeholders?  I&R?  California Emission?  But all this proves is the need to fix Civics classes, and educate pundits and journalists also.  (While we’re at it, let’s teach about the legal status of Native American Tribes, and their rights and Reservations / Villages also.)

Successful national political parties upset balance of power

Think about it: Technically the Democratic and Republican parties aren’t national parties, but State parties.  The U.S. has no nationally-elected officials; even Presidential Electors are elected State-by-State (which is why the national popular vote total doesn’t matter under the current constitution).  However, because all the State Democratic parties act like a national party, as do all the State Republican parties, the President of the Executive Branch becomes their national leader, subordinating his fellow-partisans in Congress and even, as we’ve seen in recent years, in the Federal Courts and “independent” Federal agencies.

Supposedly it wasn’t supposed to be this way.  The Federalist Papers claim to be incapable of envisioning such a nationwide, multi-region, multi-State “cabal” as a national political party (“faction” was another word they called it; “party” only came into use later), because of the presumed clashes of local and regional interests.  But long ago our elections of Presidential Electors were “nationalized,” relegating “sectional” interests to Congress.  This therefore also subordinates the States, which are supposed to be co-sovereign with the Federal government, and a check on Federal overreaching like we’ve seen so much of in the last 7+ years.

It all goes toward making the President of the Executive Branch the virtual dictator he is today … or can be if he’s allowed to be by those who are supposed to stop him.

What’s the solution?  Bar State parties from jointly endorsing candidates?  Even within States with a semblance of a multi-party system — such as New York, with its Democratic, Republican, Liberal, Conservative, and Right-to-Life parties — you often have cross-endorsement, and sometimes it makes the difference in the outcome — typically Republicans courting also the C and RTL ballot lines, and Democrats the L (though Liberal there means Classical Liberal, not liberal like you’re thinking).

What about going back to actually electing Electors, real persons of weight whom we entrust to pick the best person for the job?  Make the Electoral College a real collegium and not just a party-hack rubber-stamp for one or the other major declared and nominated candidate?

Like the U.S. Senate elected not by the voters but by State legislators — and for many of the same reasons — could it be that the “Framers” were sometimes smarter than I thought?!!!