Friday, December 16, 2016

So, you might have detected a somewhat negative vibe recently.

As in, regarding Catholicism.

Indeed, you would be correct. 

It is difficult to see the current era as anything less than a "progressive" demolition of what was left of the pre-VatToo church and its replacement with a flabbier, preachier version of liberal mainline Protestantism. 

The latest trial balloon from the pontificate's point-man theologian is a call for "intercommunion." Because, as with divorce and remarriage (and contrary to the claims this is a "pastor" focused on the wider church), this is a "pressing" issue in the de-Christianized West. Plus, as a bonus, the Church's Catholic distinctives can once again be immolated on the altars of that most jealous of gods, Ecumenism. 

In reality, intercommunion is at most a small problem. In mature mixed marriages, the parties understand the restrictions and don't presume entitlement to the prerogatives of full membership in their spouse's community. Or, if they want to, they choose to convert to get access to the Catholic sacrament. 

So, the real motivation is not some vanishingly small number of immature people who carp about some imagined entitlement. The real goal is the erosion of Catholic identity. 

Think about it:

A Catholic who advocates for "intercommunion" is arguing against the Catholic faith. He is saying that one need not ever profess Catholicism to receive the Body and Blood--to be in actual full communion with the Church. One need not believe in all that crap to receive the so-called source and summit of the Catholic faith. Indeed, one of the Lutheran ministers who met with the Bishop of Rome said as much in an interview:

In the Catholic Church, if you receive the Eucharist in the wrong state, without for example consenting to the main dogmas of the Church, then you’re in fact bringing condemnation upon yourself. Do you agree this is a danger?

No, because it’s Jesus Christ who invites us to participate, it’s not the Catholic or Lutheran Church, and it’s not a question of Lutheran dogmas or Catholic dogmas. Jesus Christ himself invites us and gives us His blood and His body. 

So that trumps doctrine in a sense?

Yes, there’s no danger I think of receiving the Eucharist in the wrong way when a Lutheran participates in a Catholic Eucharist because they’re receiving Jesus Christ and not the teachings of the Catholic Church.

You have to admire his candor, if nothing else. 

But he is 100 percent correct. And he neatly states the reality of so-called "intercommunion": it's not a real profession of shared belief, it's just a ceremony that makes participants feel good.

Except, of course, that it doesn't. Leaving aside Paul's injunctions, what does "intercommunion" say to Catholics who have followed the Church's teaching and discipline on the sacrament?

Yep. It flips the bird to every convert and, indeed, every parent and youth who jumps through the "sacramental prep" hoops.

All that sacrifice and hard work and some carping Lutherans jump to the front of the line without having to believe all that shit? Too bad.

If one doubts Catholic teaching, one should graciously refrain from the altar and respect the discipline and--especially--the Catholics who hold to all the Catholic church teaches. It's what Catholic teaching asks and it's what I do. I can't understand the entitlement mentality of non-Catholics who think otherwise.

But, I suppose, these are unserious times, and we in the west have become an unserious people. Everyone is a victim, and victims expect redress. Even--maybe especially--when they haven't really been hurt at all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Enabling Chaplain and Cloak-holder for the Bourgeois West.

One of the many falsehoods told about this pontificate is that it is supposedly one of the "Third World," and is not focused on the obsessions of the West. 

This is, of course, utter bullshit. 

For starters, it ignores the cultural reach of the apostate West and the determination of Western clerics and those educated in a Western milieu to accommodate themselves to that culture.

And really--look at the Bishop of Rome's inner circle: men of northern and western Europe to the core (with the exception of Maradiaga who nevertheless regurgitates the same slogans). Then, of course, there is the soft, therapeutic rhetoric of the man at the top, oh-so-sensitive to the decadents who respond with rapturous applause. 

And why not? This pontificate is wholly concerned with bourgeois rhetoric and therapy, right down to the admiration of Western-born Marxism and class consciousness. The tenured pseudo-revolutionaries at your local public university sure aren't living in slums nor are their kids rubbing elbows with children from déclassé zip codes.

With that in mind, R.R. Reno offers this eviscerating insight into the Atlantic Canadian bishops' pro-euthanasia declaration and the pontiff who midwifed it:

These bishops are convinced that they can bring people the gospel of life in some mysterious, inner way, even as their words and actions tell the world that the choice of death should occasion “dialogue,” not a clear statement of moral truth.

Shame on the bishops of Canada’s Maritime Provinces. Shame on this pontificate. As I’ve written in the past, sidelining the objectivity of truth encourages the triumph of bourgeois religion, a generic do-good sentimentality characterized by only one stricture—which is that the conduct of the well-off, well-educated, and well-intentioned residents of the rich world of the West is not to be judged in any definitive way. People like us make mistakes, of course. But our issues are “highly complex” and “intensely emotional,” and we mean well. We can be complicit with “structures of injustice,” and even play roles in an “economy that kills.” 

But we never sin.

It’s ironic that this supposedly revolutionary pope should be such a reassuring champion of the therapeutic culture of the West. Though perhaps it’s not ironic. The rhetoric of revolution has long served wonderfully to transform sin, judgment, and redemption into injustice, consciousness-raising, and social change.

"For your penance, say two Hail Gaias and purchase a carbon credit."

Ecological formation of priestly candidates moves to the forefront, requiring a "conversion" on their part. 

Yep-per: paragraph 172.

The next generation of priests wouldn't dream of bringing up bedroom issues, but they'll be closely inspecting your recycling bin. 


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Communion with Rome--it's magic!

From Catholicism's Multiple Personality Disorder Files:

Euthanasia is a sin in Alberta but probably not in New Brunswick.

Why? Because Pope, of course.

In announcing it, the bishops rejected the approach of Alberta's bishops, who, while also stressing "pastoral accompaniment," insisted that in justice and mercy priests ought to be clear with euthanasia seekers that they would be committing a gravely sinful act.

The Atlantic bishops' November 27 guidelines are closer to the Quebec bishops’ pastoral response to euthanasia than the response of the Alberta bishops, according to Bishop Claude Champagne of Edmunston, New Brunswick, president of the Atlantic Episcopal Assembly.

The document, entitled A Pastoral Reflection on Medical Assistance in Dying and signed by 10 bishops, emphasizes pastoral care more than doctrine, Champagne told the Catholic Register.

“Our concern is pastoral accompaniment. Pope Francis is our model,” he said.

Champagne said the guidelines released by the Alberta and Northwest Territories bishops in September do not, in the words of the Catholic Register, “express the vision of all Canada’s bishops.”

Champagne also referred to the Holy Father’s Amoris Laetitia in explaining the Atlantic bishops’ vision of pastoral care for those contemplating or arranging for assisted suicide or euthanasia.

Amoris Laetitia
affirms Catholic teaching while recognizing “there are people who are not yet there,” Champagne said.

Thus when it comes to people who are suffering and contemplating, or are arranging for assisted suicide or euthanasia, “we will welcome them, try to understand and journey with them.”

Putting aside the problem with trying to journey with euthanasia, which is all about cutting the trip short, let us marvel at the insanity of pastoral accompaniment.

Namely, it never meets a sin it can't bless, accompanying you right to the doors of Hell, smiling indulgently all the way.

Note also how the New Magisterium of the current pontifical officeholder is employed for some rather interesting purposes. Conscience trumps all.

But the important thing is that these bishops are in communion with Rome, and that makes everything all right. 

You are most welcome to it.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

A little dose of Byzantium.

A Byzantine fresco of Joshua, the Hosias Loukas Monastery, Greece. Dated to the late 12th-early 13th Century. 

If you want an idea of what a contemporary Byzantine army officer looked like, right down to the lamellar armor and sword, there you go.

As always, give it a click for more detail.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

I like this icon.

Allegory of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Tree of Life by Father Andrew Tregubov.

You can click to embiggen.

For the curious, it is cropped from the cover of this book. See also Rev. 22:1-2.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Magisterium of the Moment.

One of the staples of Catholic apologetics is that the Catholic magisterium safeguards the truth and ensures a unity and clarity that Protestantism lacks.

I would not be so sure of that. In fact, I would say (and have said before) that the current pontiff is demonstrating that the magisterium is little more than the mouthpiece of the reigning pope and only safeguards whatever iteration of whichever truth he wishes to utter. In short, the magisterium is sola papam currentis.

Why no, I am not a Latinist? How could you tell?

This thought was driven home by a recent piece at the estimable One Peter Five: Amoris Laetitia and John Paul II by Josh Kusch.

In short, Kusch spells out with undeniable clarity that Amoris Laetitia expressly contradicts the magisterial statements of Francis' predecessor, and does so in a particularly unsavory fashion--by either partial quoting or choosing to ignore prior statements altogether. For the latter, Kusch points out how the encyclical Veritatis Splendor flatly contradicts what Francis wants to say--so Francis ignored it. To wit:

The negative precepts of the natural law are universally valid.  They oblige each and every individual, always and in every circumstance. It is a matter of prohibitions which forbid a given action semper et pro semper, without exception.  (VS 52)

The negative moral precepts, those prohibiting certain concrete actions or kinds of behavior as intrinsically evil, do not allow for any legitimate exception. They do not leave room, in any morally acceptable way, for the “creativity” of any contrary determination whatsoever. (VS 67) 

When it is a matter of the moral norms prohibiting intrinsic evil, there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the “poorest of the poor” on the face of the earth.  (VS 96)

It would be a very serious error … to conclude that the Church’s teaching is essentially only an “ideal” which must then be adapted, proportioned, graduated to the so-called concrete possibilities of man. (VS 103)  

It is in the saving Cross of Jesus, in the gift of the Holy Spirit, in the Sacraments which flow forth from the pierced side of the Redeemer, that believers find the grace and the strength always to keep God’s holy law, even amid the gravest of hardships.  (VS 103)

As Kusch ably demonstrates, each contradicts certain central assumptions in the later text.

And yet, the Vatican's official newspaper is at pains to assert that the later text is, in fact, authoritative.

So Veritatis Splendor--with its forceful restatement of Catholic moral teaching--has been round-filed after less than a quarter of a century?

Anyone else see the problem here?

What I have not been able to suss out is precisely why I should salute Francis' newest flag when he burnt John Paul II's. His actions completely undercut his claimed "authority."

Rather than call Amoris Laetitia "authoritative," isn't the honest answer "wait at least a couple of popes and then see?" 

Of course, progs are brandishing it like new holy writ. To be expected, yes, but wholly dishonest if one is following McCormick's contemptuous course. But I don't see any honest reason why I should regard it similarly. 

If this is Catholicism, then I never really understood it. And if the magisterium is just the press office of the current officeholder, then cue Flannery O'Connor.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Speaking of electric Praetorians...

Recently, one of the pope's unpaid Yankee spin doctors issued his first statement on the pope's destructive "You probably aren't married--but that couple shacking up might be!") blurtations on marriage.

I won't link to him, but if you're curious, he blogs at Patheos and has a cringe-inducing long sword logo at the top of his page. 

As I said, he didn't discuss the original statement, nor does he acknowledge the pope's assertion that cohabitation can be real marriage.

In any event, this particular electric Praetorian asserts that the real problem is not the actual statements themselves. No, of course not. 

No, rather the really damaging thing is that Catholics don't accept the fact that it was supposedly just a misstatement, and one (at best partially) "corrected" by a post-hoc Orwellian transcript scrubbing.

Never mind that the no-doubt increasingly-retirement-yearning Fr. Lombardi only discussed the Minitrue treatment because journalists brought the bowdlerized transcript to his attention.

Nope. The Blurts Heard 'Round The World are shruggable, since such were (partially) altered without comment or explanation.

Something tells me that if this writer were verbally referred to as a "Cincinnati-area Scientology official" he would not be, shall we say, entirely mollified if he were to be handed a "transcript" that said "Cincinnati-area resident." 

It should not be hard to explain that such damaging blockbuster statements cannot be "recalled" that way, much less repaired.

As a Michigan jurist said in another context: that which is "announced with flourishes and fanfare at noonday should not be revoked by a pennywhistle trill at midnight."

But that's what the Vatican tried to do.

Apparently, however, in the Age of Francis, we all have to learn that the problem is not Francis's words and actions, but rather our reaction to his words and actions. And those reactions must account for the memory-holing of the historical record.

In other words, tighten your cilice and shut up.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

It's the end of marriage as we know it--and he feels fine.

Some additional thoughts on the pope's latest joy-buzzer pronouncement.

1. You'd think that the total failure of the Church's sanctifying mission with respect to the sacrament of marriage would not be brought up offhand in response to a question, but would be front and center, an all-hands-on-deck moment. And it would be delivered in a tone of horror, not with the offhand sadness of an American who just saw a CNN report about a typhoon hitting Bangladesh. 

2. In fact, you'd think that he might have hit us with this crucial supposed fact during, I don't of those Synod on the Family confabs we just suffered through twice during the past two years? 

"Oh, hai, guys--I think we might want to talk about the fact we're running nullity factories in every diocese in the world, and might want to do something about that. Sound good?"

Did he? Did anyone? Cardinal Kasper did, but it too was offhand, and not during the Synod. And he was sneered at by the pope's electric Praetorians...who again proved to be as reliable as a rain dance.

So, apart from that, was this Church-shaking fact broached? Nope. 

3. Another ideal spot to maybe enlighten everyone about this continuing disaster would have been in Amoris Laetitia, but... again, nada.

4. Finally, he's been a priest for nearly fifty years. He's part and parcel of this explosion of allegedly invalid marriages. But do you see the slightest glimmer of a mea culpa, of ownership here? Nope. Apparently, like typhoons, bad things just happen to good bishops.

So, if you're wondering about why I don't take the "great majority of marriages are null" blurtation seriously, there you go. Taken together, he's just engaged in the equivalent of dorm-room spitballing.

Monday, June 20, 2016

I have a new line to greet my Catholic buds with.

"So, how's married life treating you? 

Oh, that's right: I need to ask the shacked-up couple down the street!

So, how's probably-not-married life treating *you*?"

I know--yuck yuck. 
The progressive joy-buzzer papacy continues to inspire. I wonder which of his flock he'll express his abiding contempt for in July?

Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

What other words of Christ reflect an ideal?

You know--one of those things we might not have to give full assent to in order to be in full communion, and just sorta muddle along giving the best response we can according to our modern conscience.

I'm thinking Matthew 16:18-19--for starters. 

Just like the various Credos saying nothing about sex and marriage, they also don't talk about a pope. Can't be that essential. 

Not when conscience is king.

Why not? Once you've opened up that can of serpents, your defenses quickly boil down to varieties of special pleading.

Don't worry about it--go and get your wafer.

Welcome to the Unraveling.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

And so it begins.

Per the Pope's right-hand Jesuit and member of the inner circle

Father Antono Spadaro, the Italian Jesuit who was an influential figure in the meetings of the Synod on the Family, now writes that Pope Francis has removed all restrictions on the access of divorced and remarried Catholics to the sacraments.

Father Spadaro's controversial interpretation of Amoris Laetitia-- which appears to contradict the claims that the Pope made no major changes in Church teaching or discipline-- appears in Civilta Cattholica, the Jesuit journal that Father Spadaro edits. 

Civilta Cattholica is regarded as a semi-authoritative source because its contents are approved in advance by the Vatican Secretariat of State. Father Spadaro has worked closely with Pope Francis as adviser and translator, and reportedly helped to draft the apostolic exhortation.
In Asia's largest Catholic nation:
After collective discernment, your bishops will come up with more concrete guidelines on the implementation of the Apostolic Exhortation. But mercy cannot wait. Mercy should not wait. Even now, bishops and priests must open welcoming arms to those who have kept themselves out of the Church because of a sense of guilt and of shame. The laity must do no less. When our brothers and sisters who, because of broken relations, broken families and broken lives, stand timidly at the doors of our churches – and of our lives – unsure whether they are welcome or not, let us go out to meet them, as the Pope urges us to, and assure them that at the table of sinners at which the All-Holy Lord offers himself as food for the wretched, there is always room. O res mirabilis manducat Dominum pauper, servus et humilis…O wonderful reality that the poor, the slave and the lowly should partake of the Lord. This is a disposition of mercy, an openness of heart and of spirit that needs no law, awaits no guideline, nor bides on prompting. It can and should happen immediately.

Just in case you'd like to try to bullshit me and tell me that the Philippine Bishops aren't talking about the Eucharist...the Latin quote is from the Panis Angelicus of St. Thomas Aquinas himself. You know--the hymn the Angelic Doctor wrote for the Feast of Corpus Christi?

And right next door in Chicago:
Asked in what specific situations he would allow a divorced and remarried person to receive Communion, Cupich refused to rule anyone out.

“I wouldn’t exclude anyone,” he said. “I would like our pastors to have discussion in [sic] all of those folks who are in these kinds of situations. … I know in my experience as a pastor, if you’ve seen a marriage then you’ve seen one marriage. There is no instance that can be replicated. Every situation has its variables that are part of it.”
Now what? That's easy.

That which I was told in no uncertain terms was impossible must now be defended tooth and nail against faithless objectors. Papal Positivism requires no less.

We have always been at war with Eastasia.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought."

Just a slight edit.

'You are a slow learner, Winston,' said O'Brien gently.

'How can I help it?' he blubbered. 'How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.'

'Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become pastoral.'

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Time to ban a word: "Confusing."

Not entirely, of course--but its misuse. 

Frequently, people will describe something as "confusing" when it is really something else.

The word they are actually looking for is "discordant."

Let the wordsmiths at the Oxford Dictionary help us out:
1 Disagreeing or incongruous:
          the principle of meritocracy is discordant with claims of inherited worth

          1.1 Characterized by quarreling and conflict:
a study of children in discordant homes
2 (Of sounds) harsh and jarring because of a lack of harmony:
bombs, guns, and engines mingled in discordant sound
strike a discordant note
Appear strange and out of place:
         the chair’s modernity struck a discordant note in a room full of eighteenth-century           furniture

Put another way: when someone insists on inserting surprise heavy-metal guitar solos into Mozart concerts or extended vuvuzela blats into stagings of kabuki theatre, it is not "confusing," it is discordant

Claiming to such is "confusing"--especially when it happens over and over again and loses any element of surprise--is suggestive of a closed-head injury.

A handy song on my Shuffle.


Clive Staples is certainly looking more prescient after yesterday's bomb-laden logorrhea.

"The real reason I cannot be in communion with you [Catholics] is not a disagreement with this or that Roman doctrine, but that to accept your Church means, not to accept a given body of doctrine, but to accept in advance any doctrine your Church hereafter produces. It is like being asked to agree not only to what a man has said but also to what he is going to say."

Now, of course, those who told me that the pope could do no such thing will now attempt to convince me that it's fine since the pope did it.

Reducing Catholicism to nothing more than the cult of the current chairwarmer.

Put another way: wait 35 years for a more congenial cleric, and the pillar and ground of the truth will tilt in a different direction.

What's the point again?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The politics of personal destruction, redux.

This is just...loathsome, repellent, disgusting--you name it.

And it's not just the fact a young mother of two is being put through the ringer of false accusations and scurrilous, giggling insults, bad though that is.

It's the fact self-declared Christians like Sarah Huckabee (daughter of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee) won't disassociate themselves from it.

Even though her dad is quite visible and audible about the persecution of Christians when it suits his political purposes.

If nothing else, this primary season has been very instructive, revealing a dazzling, if oily, spectrum of true colors. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

God rest her stout soul.

When the Almighty made Rita Rizzo, He vaporized the mold

Starting a Catholic TV network from scratch in northern Alabama? 

Why not?

So Mother Angelica did--and it took flight and became a powerhouse.

Rest well, good and faithful servant. And pray for us.

I'd get more irritated with this silliness if it had any traction.

Don McClarey notes the daffy attempt to link arms manufacturers with the suicide bombers in Brussels. "Merchants of death" are a thing with the Bishop of Rome, and he thumps that tub a lot.

Of course, it's not like the weapons makers are marketing suicide bombs larded with nails and glass (all the better to maim you with, infidel), but no matter.

Nevertheless, I'm not put off by this one. Why? Because the usual ultramontane suspects haven't really taken up the same mantra. Its self-evident fatuity is apparently a bridge too far--thanks be to God.

Happy Easter to you and yours!

El Greco, The Resurrection, circa 1608-1610.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

I'm cool with this.

Draft projection has Lions taking an OT.

It's certainly a need, and keeping the Franchise upright is absolutely essential. 

The problem with the Lions is that they have so many service-engine-light needs that they're almost certainly not going to contend for a playoff spot this year. 

But I guess we'll see if Bob Quinn managed to pack some Patriot magic with him before he left Belichick's Thronehall.

On the bright side.

Behold the latest Pricemobile!

It's a 2004 Buick Rendesvous, back from the long-vanished era when Tiger Woods was still a viable commercial pitchman.  

So now we have two motor vehicles that fall within the lifespans of our beloved children. My next new car will be my first...I'm thinking sometime after I retire, maybe.

But this is a nice replacement for the 2000 Regal, which was always a mechanical warrior, doing everything a powertrain should do. That strongly influenced me toward another Buick.

That, and of course, my middle-agedness.

It had 115,900 miles, but was well-cared for by one owner. It seems immensely practical (a third row seat means I can tote seven, including myself, or fold that row down for a trip to Costco) and has a peppy 185 hp V6. It's also a CXL version, which means it has a lot of bells and whistles to make me happy--moonroof, premium sound, heated front seats, premium wheels. Heather's all right with it, but cars don't thrill her much, one way or the other. She develops an appreciation for them over time, but that's it.

Yes, it's basically the bastard child of an SUV and a station wagon, and I'm fine with that.

I can do better than that.

I can remember a time when the focus of Holy Thursday was the Mass of the Lord's Supper and not the latest staged political gesture involving the latest select group members' tootsies.

Instead of turtles, it's politics all the way down these days. 


Friday, March 18, 2016

Ever have one of those weeks?

Where everything you touch turns to...nothing pleasant?

It can end any minute now.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy Saint Patrick's Day to You People!

As I think I've pointed out before, my wife and children have the blood of Erin flowing through their veins, but my folk all came from the Right Bank of the Irish Sea. 

But that doesn't mean I can't join in the festivities and share with you this classic Irish anthology.

Broadway to the rescue!

It appears that a smash musical hit will ensure that our currency continues to honor Alexander Hamilton.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton,” said on Wednesday that he had received assurances from Jacob J. Lew, secretary of the Treasury, that admirers of Alexander Hamilton would not be disappointed by a forthcoming redesign of the $10 bill. Mr. Lew has said that he wanted to add a woman’s image to that bill, which now features Hamilton’s portrait. That plan has won support from many, but there have also been complaints from those who don’t want to see Hamilton, the country’s first Treasury secretary, replaced.
 If we're going to remove someone from our paper bills, might I suggest replacing the fellow on the $20?

Husband, wife, concubine--it's all good!

Catholic heads of state in irregular unions are now being treated just the same as those in actual marriages
Catholic heads of state who are in an irregular marital situation may now take part in an official visit to the Pope as a couple, accompanied by their irregular spouse.
The Pope made the change in February. By chance, the first to benefit from the new protocol was Argentina’s President Mauricio Macrì. He made an official visit to Pope Francis Feb. 27, accompanied by his third wife, Juliana Awada.
Third wife, eh? Saint Thomas More, call your office!

Message from the Pope: Whatevs--Mercy™.

On an unrelated note, the Pope's Favorite Theologian is promising big things with the forthcoming Exhortation:
The cardinal, whose theology Pope Francis has often lauded, went on to say that in the document the Holy Father will “definitively express himself on family issues addressed during the last Synod, and in particular on the participation of the divorced and remarried faithful in the active life of the Catholic community.”
He added that the apostolic exhortation will represent “the first step in a reform” that will mark the “turning of a page” in the Church’s history “after 1,700 years."
"We must not repeat past formulas and barricade ourselves behind the wall of exclusivism and clericalism,” Cardinal Kasper told a packed aula in Lucca’s Real Collegio, adding that the Church must live in the current times and “know how to interpret them.”
Jesus Christ remains available for comment.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Pellucidar or Bust.

Which President green-lit an expedition to the center of the Earth--because he believed it was hollow?

Read on to find out!

And people wonder why I'm a history obsessive. 

The nastiest thing I've read in some time.

And it's from a writer whose work I've uniformly enjoyed, Kevin Williamson. 

It's one thing to regard Trump as a fraud spouting whatever it is he'll think will get him elected--that's my view, and of course I'm not wrong. :)

No, really--Trump is a salesman, and he's signaling that someone is going to get screwed if he gets elected. Given the rapturous and unswerving support he's getting from his voters, it's safe to say that he thinks he can screw them without serious blowback. And he's probably right. 

But even if you don't agree with my diagnosis, I think we can agree that it's another thing to want entire segments of his voters to die off

That there are self-inflicted pathologies within the white working and middle classes is beyond dispute. The nation is aswarm with numerous such problems affecting different groups in different ways. 

But to say that the challenges and struggles of these communities are entirely self-inflicted is no more than a Randian lullaby, an objectivist parable. It's a moralistic fable--substituting Ayn for Aesop--which serves to deflect from an honest examination of the hollowing-out of what were once prosperous, healthy communities. 

The fact is, the invisible hand has been a fist in the solar plexi of millions, and the response of starry-eyed free marketeers has been to offer up another pot of message.

I can't imagine a more effective bit of pro-Trump propaganda than Williamson's horrific essay.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The danger is that you might have a disabled child.

John Allen strains mightily to argue that Zikaquiddick is the same as the (rumored and unproven) birth control for rape permission and Pope Benedict's condom for AIDS comment.

Here's what he says:

In both cases, the moral analysis shifts because birth control is being used not to block the transmission of life, but to prevent the infliction of a harm — either unwanted pregnancy as the result of violence, or infection by a deadly disease.

Except, of course, that the Zika permission involves neither, and Lombardi's confirmation states no such conditions.

Here, the envisioned danger is that one may conceive a microencephalic child. The use of condoms and other contraceptives in this scenario is entirely intended to prevent conception.

Zika is not--not even remotely--a "deadly disease." Not one death has been attributed to it since its discovery in 1954. It sounds unpleasant, and I would not care to contract it: there's a rash, fever and body pains. But it is not *deadly*.

The fear is that there might be a link to microencephaly in in utero infants. That's it.

So what contraception does here is what it is intended to do: avoid the conception and birth of such infants, hypothetical as the linkage may be. It is the intended effect of the Pope's permission.

This isn't some development of doctrine--it is the flat contradiction of it. And from it, much follows. You have a genetic history of X? Here are your Trojans. Contra Buck v. Bell, one generation of your condition is enough, thank you very much.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The GOP Garbage Squad.

Nine awful human beings whose views are unworthy of the slightest respect. Especially after caterwauling about spending money on Ukraine, no...