Saturday, October 31, 2009

Beheadings and Crucifixions

On the eve of the day for remembering the saints and martyrs, this from The Australian:
More than 3900 people have died in shootings, bomb blasts, beheadings and crucifixions since a separatist insurgency erupted in Thailand's southern provinces bordering Malaysia in January 2004.
And this is Robert Spencer's informed commentary on it:

This AFP story departs from ordinary mainstream media practice by actually identifying the Thai jihadists as "Islamic," and adds a final paragraph that is, well, killer: more than 3900 people (but apparently fewer than 4000), it says, have been killed "in shootings, bomb blasts, beheadings and crucifixions" since the jihad in Thailand began in 2004.

Beheadings? Crucifixions? Those who insist that this is simply a nationalist insurgency with an Islamic character that is only incidental should take note: no other group around the world besides Islamic jihadists is practicing "beheadings and crucifixions" with any regularity in 2009. And why are "beheadings and crucifixions," both of which one might be forgiven for thinking of as relics of a distant and barbaric past, happening in Thailand at all?

Why, because Islamic jihadists -- contrary to the prevailing wisdom of the learned analysts -- read and follow the Koran.

"The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter..." -- Koran 5:33

"Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks..." -- Koran 47:4

But of course this is the element of understanding the actions of the Islamic jihadists that we are forbidden to explore in the public square.
Spencer's post here.


The Price of a Paralyzed Political Class

The International Free Press Society interview with Lord Malcolm Pearson:

Source: Brussels Journal

Apropos an earlier post . . .

Here's Dr. David Stevens, MD, CEO of the 16,000 member Christians Medical Association:

“As polling has shown, an impressive 45 percent of physicians say they actually are ready to quit medicine if current healthcare legislation passes. Add to that data what a national survey of faith-based physicians found: That 95 percent are ready to leave medicine if a weakening of conscience protections would force them to violate their conscientiously held convictions. Protecting conscience rights and stopping abortion mandates are crucial to any healthcare reform passage. Lawmakers must realize that threatening or minimizing conscience protections holds the potential to create a catastrophic shortage of healthcare access, especially for poor patients.”

More here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Musical Stairs . . .

Why not?

Hat tip: My friends The Massketeers

Following up on an earlier post . . .

This from Shannon Love of the Chicago Boyz:
Via Instapundit comes a disturbing report that one-fifth of the British electorate would consider voting for the British Nationalist Party (BNP), which is considered by almost everyone left or right to be a genuine fascist party.

How did Britain come to this state?

Simple, the current liberal order has proven itself ineffective in addressing many of the major problems that Britain faces. As I wrote three years ago, liberal orders don’t slowly evolve into authoritarian ones. Instead, they become less and less effective until they suddenly collapse into an authoritarian order. People simply lose faith that the liberal order can function and they throw their support behind an authoritarian order just to survive.
Just as Melanie Phillips argued below.

Hat tip: my friend Jill Fallon.

Live Coverage . . .

Earlier this week, CNN carried a story about a gang rape that took place at a Richmond, California high school. The story began this way:
For more than two hours on a dark Saturday night, as many as 20 people watched or took part as a 15-year-old California girl was allegedly gang raped and beaten outside a high school homecoming dance, authorities said.

As hundreds of students gathered in the school gym, outside in a dimly lit alley where the victim was allegedly raped, police say witnesses took photos. Others laughed.
Meanwhile, Rick F. posted a comment on an earlier blog entry and included a link to this video:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Abortion is IN the Health Care Bill

Playing for Keeps

Ken Blackwell

Ken Blackwell, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. Here's what he has to say about the Obama Administration's Health Care proposal:
His opposition to federal funding of abortion effectively ended Gore's quest for the White House twenty-one years ago.

Obama would make no such mistakes in his triumphal march to the Presidency. Now, as we enter the crucial weeks of the nation's long and drawn-out health care debate, we get confirmation that abortion is in the health care takeover plan.

No less a source than the reliably left-wing National Public Radio (NPR) confirmed federal funding of abortion for us. Julie Rovner explained that the reason the abortion issue has loomed so large in this year's health care debate is that "this time they're playing for keeps." All other abortion funding restrictions are annual amendments, Rovner pointed out on "Weekend Edition," but the Obamacare plan will become "permanent law." Both sides of the abortion debate, she reported, know that "there's a lot at stake here."
Read the whole article here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

From the Denver Airport -- Snowbound . .

The Clash of Uncivilizations

Melanie Phillips, one of the most reliable journalists covering the demise of western civilization in Great Britain has written a piece for The (London) Spectator which is worthy of attention. In it she writes:
The frenzy over the participation of BNP leader Nick Griffin on Question Time this week has been a classic case of failing to identify the real elephant in the room.

By fixating on the ‘far right’ as the supremely evil force in British public life, the mainstream political class has failed to grasp that a half-baked neo-Nazi rabble is not the main issue. There is another more lethal type of fascism on the march in the form of Islamic supremacism. . . .

The left has a blind spot when it comes to defining ‘fascism’. In its Manichaean way, it views everything that is not ‘left’ as ‘right-wing’, everything that is ‘right-wing’ as evil and everything that is evil as ‘right-wing’.

Fascists, therefore, are inescapably ‘the far right’. The left rest their own claim to moral virtue on their imagined historic role in fighting fascism. So they jump at any chance to wrap themselves in that heroic mantle. . . .

Worse still, the label of the ‘far right’ toxifies everything it touches. There is now a real danger than anyone who opposes Islamic supremacism will find themselves vilified not only as ‘Islamophobes’ but also as BNP fellow-travellers. . . .

The tactic, for both the jihadis and the BNP, is clear. The Islamists have an incentive to provoke a violent reaction by white groups calling themselves names like English Defence League — simply in order to produce yet more demonisation of the anti-Islamists.

In this way, the jihadis can establish control of an area as they become untouchable — and the fortunes of Nick Griffin and the Muslims he despises become inextricably intertwined. When these groups are left alone to fight each other, they both win.

This poses a grave challenge to liberals. If they absent themselves from this fray, the battle lines over the survival of Western freedoms will be drawn between the neo-fascists and the Islamofascists. . . .

There is already a huge fissure among anti-Islamists over whether or not to ally with European neo-fascists. Since liberals are either silent, or even aligning with the jihadis on the grounds that ‘we are all Hezbollah now’ and turning instead upon the pivotal victim in this civilisational war, Israel, some anti-Islamists say that allying with neo-fascist groups is a no-brainer, because ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’. . . .

Freedom can only be protected if its defenders are united. But with Britain’s collective brain turned to multicultural jelly, liberals are refusing to acknowledge the civilisational battle now under way and gathering pace. . . .
Read the whole piece here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Slave Trade

From a recent piece on the website of the American Thinker:
Islamists have harnessed these radicals' anti-Western black nationalism for their own purpose: establishing an indigenous Islamist movement in the United States that can advocate their political agenda in the foreign and domestic policy spheres. The Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) and the As-Sabiqun movement are proof that their efforts have not been in vain.

Imam Siraj Wahhaj, the founder of the primarily African-American MANA, is a product of the volatile intersection of black nationalism and politicized Islam. A former member of the NOI, Wahhaj often has been portrayed as a "moderate" by the mainstream media. However, his words speak for themselves: "In time, this so-called democracy will crumble, and there will be nothing, and the only thing that will remain will be Islam," Wahhaj has predicted.

Imam Abdul Alim Musa of the As-Sabiqun movement is even more overt about his Islamist worldview. As-Sabiqun, founded in the early 1990s, advocates the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in place of America's democratic system. Though officially a Sunni Muslim, Musa's views echo those of the NOI.

"Who ran the slave trade?" Musa asks rhetorically. "You'll study and you will find out: the Jews." His words suggest the influence of the NOI's The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, which first outlined this conspiratorial distortion of history.
Which is what makes this worth watching:

Friday, October 23, 2009

More on the Crew of the Trojan Horse

Meet Ron Blum, Obama Administration Manufacturing Czar

HT: Breitbart TV

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Human Rights: A Pawn not a Principle

This from Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal:
It also takes a remarkable degree of cynicism—or perhaps cowardice—to treat human rights as something that "interferes" with America's purposes in the world, rather than as the very thing that ought to define them. Yet that is exactly the record of Mr. Obama's time thus far in office.

In Massachusetts not long ago, I found myself driving behind a car with "Free Tibet," "Save Darfur," and "Obama 08" bumper stickers. I wonder if it will ever dawn on the owner of that car that at least one of those stickers doesn't belong.
Read the entire WSJ piece is here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dalrymple's secret . . .

Those of us who treasure Theodore Dalrymple's essays and commentary now know his secret:
Newspapers perform more or less the same function for me. There is always something in them to irritate me profoundly, and there is nothing quite like irritation to get the juices circulating and the mind working. Oddly enough, only the print version of a newspaper, not the online one, has this tonic effect upon me; perhaps this is a conditioned response. I am like one of Pavlov’s dogs, who salivated at the sound of a bell. I have only to hold a newspaper in my hand to feel a pleasant frisson of outrage coming on. — Theodore Dalrymple
Hat tip to Carl Olson at Ignatius Insight. This is only one of Carl's juicy quotes, here.

Once a beacon of freedom

Please give Lord Christopher Monckton four minutes and 13 seconds of your time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Opening the Doors to Anglicans and Episcopalians

Pope Benedict has stunned almost everyone by announcing that the Catholic Church will welcome those traditional members of the Anglican/Episcopal Church who might choose to enter into full communion with Rome, and that they will be able to enter into that communion as parishes or dioceses. Happily, it was announced that those who choose to accept this invitation will be allowed to maintain to a high degree their own traditions. I say "happily" because in my experience traditional Anglicans and Episcopalians have often retained liturgical traditions which in many Roman Catholic dioceses and parishes have succumbed to the spirit of the age. When an Episcopalian or Anglican friend expresses an interest in "swimming the Tiber," my reply has often been: "Don't forget to bring your liturgies with you when you come."

"Weapons" wink, wink ... of Moral Values and Equality

Religious Freedom and the Tolerance Vigilantes

This is Chai R. Feldblum, President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Not quite the Glenn Beck of the Left, but close. See what you think.

As for what war the weapons of moral values and equality will be waging, here is what Feldblum argued in a recent paper:
[W]e gain something as a society if we acknowledge that a law requiring individuals to act in a certain way might burden some individuals’ belief liberty. Such an acknowledgement is necessary if we wish to be respectful of the whole person. Protecting one group’s identity liberty may, at times, require that we burden others’ belief liberty. ... I believe it is essential that we not privilege moral beliefs that are religiously based over other sincerely held core, moral beliefs. Laws passed pursuant to public policies may burden the belief liberty of those who adhere to either religious or secular beliefs.
Writes Deal Hudson:
In 2006, Feldblum signed a document titled "Beyond Same Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families & Relationships." This petition offers a "new vision" for securing governmental and institutional recognition of "diverse kinds of partnerships."

By signing this petition, Feldblum also expressed her support for polygamy: Among the stated "partnerships" the petition seeks to protect are "households in which there is more than one conjugal partner."
Sources: Mirror of Justice and InsideCatholic

Monday, October 19, 2009

More on the Crew of the Trojan Horse

Roger Kimball of The New Criterion is not Glenn Beck, but neither is he blind to the things that Beck -- alone among the cable commentariat -- brought to the attention of the American people. Kimball writes:
Jeremiah Wright. William Ayers. Van Jones. Where does the rogues’ gallery of Barack Obama’s radical friends end? These people are not liberals. They are not “progressives.” They are radicals who hate America and in many cases have advocated or even perpetrated violence in an effort to destroy it.
So wrote Kimball in his reaction to Anita Dunn's tribute to Mao as her favorite political philosopher, something she proudly proclaimed to an assembly of high school students. The White House spin doctors were no more able to allay Kimball's consternation than they were mine. Kimball again:
What the left-wing excuse factory wants is for the American people to overlook the radicalism of the people populating Obama’s inner circle, of which Anita Dunn is a prominent member.
Kimball's subsequent piece on this subject concludes as follows:
This is the point: last November, the American people thought they were electing a “post-partisan,” “post-racial” President who would work to restore unity and self-confidence to the country. They woke up on November 5, however, to find that they had elected someone who was deeply ambivalent about America, who distrusted its founding principles of limited government, individual liberty, and local responsibility. Like his radical friends — Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Van Jones, Anita Dunn — Barack Obama wishes to transform the United States according to a model whose basic shape was supplied by the utopian schemes of the 1960s. That’s why Anita Dunn said that Mao was one of the thinkers she most often turned to for wisdom about big-think political problems. It’s not that she admires his penchant for industrial strength homicide: rather, she admires his success at fomenting an egalitarian revolution. It’s not what we bargained for when we elected Barack Obama. But that’s what we’ve got. The question is how much worse will things have to get before the penny drops, before the scales fall from the collective eyes of the electorate? When will voters begin that long countermarch through the institutions in order to take back the country? If not now, when?
Read it all here.

Gorilla crucifixion 'not meant to offend'

The courageous cutting-edge artists are still at work bravely mocking and/or demeaning the one religion that can still be mocked and demeaned with impunity, putting the "artist" at risk of neither social repugnance nor physical harm. The story in the Australian paper of record The Age begins this way:
An artist has defended his installation of a lifesize gorilla on a crucifix in a former London church, saying it is designed to highlight a threatened African species.
What can one say? If you are looking for "signs of the times," here's one:
The former Holy Trinity Church in Marylebone, west London, has been deconsecrated and is now used as a gallery space for any number of different events.
Here's another, full of irony of which the artist, Paul Fryer, seems blissfully unaware. He told the reporter working on the story:
"It would be a pity if it came to represent what we failed to protect and the things we have lost forever as a result of that failure."
Indeed, it would be a pity.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

One of the moons circling Planet Obama

I'm wearier of this sort of thing than those who are reading this, but as long as those who drank the Hope&Change Kool-Aid continue to ignore the mounting evidence of ideologically blinkered moral incompetence inside the White House I feel an obligation to pass along at least a few of the pertinent items.

And so, following up on the White House director of communication's favorite political philosopher, this from the inimitable Mark Steyn:
Here is a tale of two soundbites. First:

“Slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.”


“The third lesson and tip actually comes from two of my favorite political philosophers, Mao Tse-Tung and Mother Teresa. Not often coupled with each other, but the two people that I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point, which is: You’re going to make choices. . . . But here’s the deal: These are your choices; they are no one else’s. In 1947, when Mao Tse-Tung was being challenged within his own party on his own plan to basically take China over, Chiang Kai-Shek and the nationalist Chinese held the cities, they had the army. . . . They had everything on their side. And people said ‘How can you win . . . ? How can you do this against all of the odds against you?’ And Mao Tse-Tung says, ‘You fight your war and I’ll fight mine . . . ’ You don’t have to accept the definition of how to do things. . . . You fight your war, you let them fight theirs. Everybody has their own path.”

The first quotation was attributed to Rush Limbaugh. He never said it. There is no tape of him saying it. There is no transcript of him saying it. After all, if he had done so at any point in the last 20 years, someone would surely have mentioned it at the time.

Yet CNN, MSNBC, ABC, other networks, and newspapers all around the country cheerfully repeated the pro-slavery quotation and attributed it, falsely, to Rush Limbaugh. And planting a flat-out lie in his mouth wound up getting Rush bounced from a consortium hoping to buy the St. Louis Rams. The NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, said the talkshow host was a “divisive” figure, and famously non-divisive figures like the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson expressed the hope that, with Mister Divisive out of the picture, the NFL could now “unify.”

The second quotation — hailing Mao — was uttered back in June to an audience of high-school students by Anita Dunn, the White House communications director. I know she uttered it because I watched the words issuing from her mouth on The Glenn Beck Show on Fox News. But don’t worry. Nobody else played it.

So if I understand correctly:

Rush Limbaugh is so “divisive” that to get him fired leftie agitators have to invent racist soundbites to put in his mouth.

But the White House communications director is so un-divisive that she can be invited along to recommend Chairman Mao as a role model for America’s young. . . .
Here, from Jonathan Fenby’s book Modern China, is the great man in a nutshell:

“Mao’s responsibility for the extinction of anywhere from 40 to 70 million lives brands him as a mass killer greater than Hitler or Stalin.”. . .

Well, so what? . . .What’s the big deal? If you say, “Chairman Mao? Wasn’t he the wacko who offed 70 million Chinks?”, you’ll be hounded from public life for saying the word “Chinks.” But, if you commend the murderer of those 70 million as a role model in almost any school room in the country from kindergarten to the Ivy League, it’s so entirely routine that only a crazy like Glenn Beck would be boorish enough to point it out.
The whole piece is here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

In the name of freedom . . .

John Senior, in a book published in the tumultuous but, by comparison to 2009, halcyon days of the late 1970s:
The Constitution does not establish atheism. . . . there is no question here at all of a religious establishment but, quite the reverse, of an inquisitorial Liberalism ruthlessly exterminating everything that disagrees with it -- in the name of freedom.
Inquisitorial Liberalism. Hold that thought. It is a precursor to Pope Benedict XVI’s “dictatorship of relativism," and what I call the tyranny of tolerance or the tolerance vigilantes.

Friday, October 16, 2009

It's hard to keep up with the pace of the ideological madness.

I'm attending a Catholic radio conference, and taking a break from the sessions. My inbox is cluttered with more evidence of the West's moral and cultural exhaustion. Here's something from the multicultural set, entitled "Schoolhouse Shariah."

Multiculturalism: California's educrats have put out new rules for teaching Islamic studies to seventh-graders in public schools, and they are as biased as ever. They'll also likely spread eastward.

The lesson guidelines adopted by the bellwether state whitewash the violence and oppression of women codified in Islamic law, or Shariah. And they're loaded with revisionist history about the faith.

For example, the suggested framework glorifies Shariah as a liberal reform movement that "rejected" the mistreatment of women that existed in Arabia before Muhammad and his successors conquered the region, according to Accuracy in Academia. The guidelines claim that Islamic law established for the first time that men and women were entitled to equal "respect."

Not so, says Islamic scholar and author Nonie Darwish, who grew up Muslim in Egypt.

"I am shocked that that is what they teach," she said. "Women had more rights in Arabia before Shariah."

In fact, "wife beating is allowed under Shariah" today, she added. "It allows a woman seen without a headdress to be flogged, punishes rape victims, and calls for beheading for adultery."

California's course on world religions also omits Islam's long history of jihadist violence, while portraying Christianity as an intolerant and bloodthirsty faith.

Christianity isn't given equal time, either. It's covered in just two days — as opposed to up to two weeks for Islam — and doesn't involve kids in any role-playing activities like the Islam unit.

Students do get a healthy dose of skepticism about the Christian faith, including a biting history of its persecution of other people.

Islam, in contrast, gets a pass from critical review. Even jihad is presented as an "internal personal struggle to do one's best to resist temptation," not waging holy war.

"California schools are pushing an unbalanced religious agenda that favors Islam and minimizes Christianity and Judaism," Accuracy in Academia warns in its latest Campus Report.

Who helped build the California Education Department's framework for Islamic studies? Islamist "scholars" with the Council on Islamic Education, or CIE, a Saudi-tied activist group.

The consultancy changed its name after former IBD Washington bureau chief Paul Sperry, author of "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington," exposed that its chief researcher and textbook consultant for years taught social studies at a Saudi madrassa just outside Washington.

The Islamic Saudi Academy is a breeding ground for terrorists, including the valedictorian-turned-al-Qaida agent recently sentenced to life for plotting to assassinate President Bush.

Someone please tell me it isn't true. Source here.

My sentiments exactly . . .

Following up on the earlier posts raising serious questions about the radical ideology and historical and moral obtuseness of those by whom our president has chosen to surround himself, this from Peter Wehner at Commentary Magazine, with whom I agree, both about Glenn Beck and the director of communications in the Obama administration:

I have written before why I think Glenn Beck is harmful to the conservative movement But this video that he played on his program of Anita Dunn, communications director for the White House, explaining earlier this year why Mao Zedong is one of her two favorite political philosophers, is a public service. The praise for Mao isn’t a throwaway line by Miss Dunn; she actually explains why he is one of the two people (along with Mother Teresa!) she turns to most when it comes to “fighting your own war.” Everybody has his or her own path, you see; you don’t have to accept the definition of how to do things. It’s about your choices and your path. You figure out what’s right for you. Mao did it his way, and you should do it your way. So sayeth Anita Dunn, philosopher.

In his October 2005 essay in COMMENTARY, Arthur Waldron describes the architect of China’s Cultural Revolution this way: “Mao was the greatest mass murderer of the 20th century. Much of the killing was direct, as in the torture and purges at Yan’an. After the Communist seizure of power in 1949, the practice became countrywide. Mao set his numerical targets openly, and stressed the ‘revolutionary’ importance of killing.” It is said of Mao — who was responsible for the death of some 70 million Chinese — that he derived a “sadistic pleasure” from seeing people put to death in horrible ways.

All this goes uncommented upon by Miss Dunn. Her praise for Mao — unqualified and without caveats, based on the excerpts of her speech — is quite extraordinary. For a senior member of the White House to hold these views is more extraordinary still. Perhaps Pol Pot will be the subject of Dunn’s next favorable meditation.

You might assume that the White House press corps would think this is a matter worth exploring — but you would (so far) be wrong. I won’t speculate as to why that’s the case; I will only say that its lack of curiosity and interest on this matter is, well, worth noting.

Here it is:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Standing at the Gate Waiting . . .

The market at work on the fringes:

Karl Marx invented the word "capitalism" as a pejorative, but it is simply what happens when people enter into exchange with one another. Does it need controls? Yes, but only those controls that insure or restore its health and its fairness, not those which are secretly or open hostile to it. Every attempt to crush the market has resulted in tyranny at the top and a black market at the bottom, the black market being simply the market system eking out an existence as best it can.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Honesty at least . . .

Thanks to Newsbusters.

Righteous Indignation: Christian Anger

Don't miss this article by Leon Podles, courtesy of Touchstone Magazine and the California Catholic Daily. It reminds me of what I told Bill May at the conclusion of the recent Fellowship of Catholic Scholars in Providence, Rhode Island. Even in his advancing years and his physical challenges notwithstanding, Dr. May continues to represent the heart and soul of the FCS. His contribution to the conference was marvelous. On departure, I told him that perhaps more than anyone I knew he represented the perfect combination of pugnacity and holiness.

Apropos of that rare combination, this article by Leon Podles.

More on the Crew of the Trojan Horse

Cass Sunstein
This courtesy of WorldNetDaily:
President Obama's newly confirmed regulatory czar defended the possibility of removing organs from terminally ill patients without their permission.

Cass Sunstein also has strongly pushed for the removal of organs from deceased individuals who did not explicitly consent to becoming organ donors.

In his 2008 book, "Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness," Sunstein and co-author Richard Thaler discussed multiple legal scenarios regarding organ donation. One possibility presented in the book, termed by Sunstein as "routine removal," posits that "the state owns the rights to body parts of people who are dead or in certain hopeless conditions, and it can remove their organs without asking anyone's permission."

"Though it may sound grotesque, routine removal is not impossible to defend," wrote Sunstein. "In theory, it would save lives, and it would do so without intruding on anyone who has any prospect for life."

30 years later . . .

Apropos of the Nobel Appease Prize, this from John Senior, written in 1978:
". . . a terrified, fat Christianity toadies to the enemy in think tanks and university symposia, shakes hands with sentimental assassins, gives the reechy kiss of peace to Communists and movie stars at revolutionary rallies publicized in magazines and television shows -- like a rat running onto a sinking ship, it joins the dying modern world."
How appropriate to recent events; how characteristic of the depth of Senior's cultural and historical understanding.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Crew Inside the Trojan Horse

It isn't just the Jeremiah Wright foreign policy and the Margaret Sanger vision of human life that are troubling. The operatives just behind the stage sets and just out of reach of congressional oversight committees betray the real nature of the current administration's hope and change.

Mac Fuller has done the research. Is Mr. Fuller politically neutral? Obviously not. Do you know anyone who is? For that matter, what exactly is to be said for political neutrality in the face of abortion on demand, the slippery slope of euthanasia, and the other troubling matters Mr. Fuller details?

You may think, as I did, that Mr. Fuller occasionally lets his consternation get the best of him, but as someone who knows painfully well what that's like, I tend to read on, convinced by his documentation that there is much to the case he builds. But if only 50% of it is true -- and, as I see it, he's well above that -- it is still a shocking indictment.

His piece, entitled, "Ship of Fools: Obama's Intimates and Advisors" here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Scapegoating, Moral Clarity, Anthropological Commonsense

Notwithstanding the naive pieties of the relativists, no sane society has ever tried to live without moral and social norms, that is: a socially sanctioned recognition of what that society regards as normal and therefore morally licit. However subject to criticism those norms might be, any society that allows itself to think that norms as such can be set aside as insufferable constraints on individual liberty is a society that will soon plunge into social chaos, brutality, and violence.

SO . . . the question about norms is which norms are valid, and by valid I mean which conduce to human flourishing understood in its fullest sense -- that is, not as momentary satisfaction of some desire, impulse, or compulsion, but as something that truly conforms to who we are, how we are made, and why we exist. If that seems highfalutin, it is at the heart of each and every assertion of normality. We can and no doubt will argue over these questions forever, but there can hardly be any argument over the inevitability of norms of one kind or another.

When the academics most steeped in political correctness begin to regard with alarm the social construction of what they call "heteronormativity," they are simply arguing for new normless norms, which would rule out of order in our social and political life such things as heteronormativity. Those who have retained enough commonsense to regard such things as laughable should not underestimate the capacity of those who have lost that sense to regard it with dead-seriousness.

Now, as I said, norms presuppose that one thing is normal and its alternative abnormal. Any attempt to wish this dualism away by declaring that all the mutually incompatible norms are equally valid is philosophically vacuous and socially nonsensical. It would simply mean that normless relativism has become the new norm, and that any and all other norms are forthwith declared abnormal and therefore odious. Which is more or less what is now being taught -- implicitly at least and explicitly in many cases -- in our government schools today. Again, it is a recipe for cultural disaster, or rather it is a symptom of the early-to-middle stages of such a disaster.

So the question of what is normal and what perforce is abnormal is unavoidable. But, as those who tar me with the brush of scapegoating every time I champion the moral norms that our civilization has regarded as incontestable for millennia seem to think, any invocation of norms is, per se, a scapegoating act. Well, perhaps not just any, for my critics casually and easily invoke politically correct norms precisely to accuse me of scapegoating, in other words of behaving outside the legitimate bounds of the prevailing social and moral norm as they see it.

Those who argue, as I do, that heterosexuality is normal do not thereby scapegoat homosexuals any more than we scapegoat quadriplegics by observing that healthy arms and legs are the normal condition for human beings. That quadriplegics and homosexuals deserve both our respect as brothers and sisters as well as our compassion for the very real difficulties that they face should go without question. To quote for the umpteenth time paragraph 2358 of the Catholic Catechism:
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.
But neither our respect for the human dignity of quadriplegics or homosexuals, nor our sympathy regarding the burden of their condition, is enhanced by the pretense that their condition is normal.

And so, again, it ultimately comes down to the question of whether what is regarded as normal actually conforms to how we are made, to anthropological reality, or not.

I'm perfectly aware that I will not convince my friends who vehemently disagree with me on this issue. I simply post this entry as a matter of clarification. I welcome your comments, whether you agree with me or not. I may occasionally become just as exasperated by those who disagree with me on this and other issues as they are with me, but we are, after all, children of the same God, and in due course we will all come face-to-face with the Truth, which we now see through a glass darkly, but which some of us feel we see a little bit clearer because we peer through the lens polished by centuries of careful reflection by those greater and wiser than ourselves.

Obama Safe School "Czar" . . .

The link to LifeSiteNews seems not to be working today, so below is James Tillman's piece on Kevin Jennings, the president's "safe schools czar."
Obama School Appointee Admired Ardent Promoter of Child Molestation

by James Tillman

WASHINGTON, DC, October 9, 2009 ( - Kevin Jennings, the Obama administration's "safe schools czar," is a professed admirer of Harry Hay, radical homosexual rights activist and ardent promoter of pedophilia.

In remarks given October 25, 1997 at the Grace Church School in New York City, Kevin Jennings said that one "of the people that's always inspired me is Harry Hay, who started the first ongoing gay rights groups in America."

He continued: "Everybody thought Harry Hay was crazy in 1948, and they knew something about him which he apparently did not-they were right, he was crazy. You are all crazy. We are all crazy. All of us who are thinking this way are crazy, because you know what? Sane people keep the world the same [sh*tty] old way it is now."

The reasons people thought Harry Hay to be crazy may be gleaned from some of Harry Hay's remarks at events associated with or run by NAMBLA, the North American Man/Body Love Association. The professed end of NAMBLA is, according to their website, "to end the extreme oppression of men and boys in mutually consensual relationships." They oppose age-of-consent laws so that pedophilia would become accepted and legal.

In his remarks on February 22, 1983, at New York University, Harry Hay accounts his statutory rape, at fourteen years of age, by a homosexual man twenty-five years old. He thanks this man for the experience, saying that the boy he was at fourteen "needed to know best of all what only another gay man could show him and tell him."

Furthermore, this is apparently an experience he recommends for many children, as his remarks make very clear: "Because if the parents and friends of gays are truly friends of gays, they would know from their gay kids that the relationship with an older man is precisely what thirteen-, fourteen-, and fifteen-year-old kids need more than anything else in the world. And they would be welcoming this, and welcoming the opportunity for young gay kids to have the kind of experience that they would need."

Harry Hay made similar comments in San Francisco, October 7, 1984, during a public forum on the topic "Man/Boy Love and Sexual Liberation." Among his comments is this remark: "I think that the twelve-year-old, thirteen-year-old boy approaching puberty knows very well that there are things about himself that he needs to find out, that he needs to discover, and he wants very much to reach out and find someone who will give this to him."

Nor did Kevin Jenning's hero think that the accusation of child molestation often hurled at NAMBLA carried much weight. As he remarked on June 24, 1994, in the former Stonewall Inn on Sheridan Square in New York, insofar "as child molestation is concerned, the most common form is the sexual coercion by which gay and lesbian children are bedeviled into hetero identities and behaviors. And this is practiced daily by the whole national and international hetero community - parents, family, teachers, preachers, doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs, not to overlook U.S. senators and pooh-bah media."

Harry Hay was a radical among "gay rights" activists, opposing those homosexuals who acted like heterosexuals as "assimilationists" who did not fully live out what it is to be homosexual. "We pulled ugly green frog skin of heterosexual conformity over us, and that's how we got through school with a full set of teeth," Hay once explained. "We know how to live through their eyes. We can always play their games, but are we denying ourselves by doing this. If you're going to carry the skin of conformity over you, you are going to suppress the beautiful prince or princess within you."

In his remarks at Grace School Church, Kevin Jennings closed his speech by invoking the memory of Harry Hay. He asked his audience to "think how much can change in one lifetime if in Harry Hay's one very short life, he saw change from not even one person willing to join him to a million people willing to travel to Washington to join him. You can see the same change happen in your lifetime if you believe you can."

When the White House press secretary was asked if Obama was unconcerned about Jennings' praise for Harry Hay, he said that he had nothing to say at the moment.

Kevin Jennings, an openly homosexual, past high-school teacher, has been at the center of other controversies. He was the founder of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN). GLSEN, according to their website, "envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression." In the notorious "Fistgate" scandal, GLSEN held an event in which young teens were told how to perform dangerous homosexual activities. Many have accused GLSEN of attempting to saturate schools with homosexual propaganda.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Protecting Children from Heterosexuality

Safe Schools . . . safe for what? . . .

Protecting our children from the conspiracy to promote heterosexuality. One simply cannot parody things that are this self-parodying. As was once said of Richard Nixon, there are two questions: how stupid does he think we are? and how stupid our we?

Obama’s ‘Safe Schools Czar’ Criticizes Schools for Promoting Heterosexuality

Meet Kevin Jennings, the man now in charge of safety for America’s government-run schools.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Augustine on Conscience Protection

"As for this mortal life," wrote St. Augustine in the City of God, "what does it matter under whose rule a man lives, being so soon to die, provided that the rulers do not force him to impious and wicked acts?"

Keep that qualification in mind, as you glance over the following excerpt from a letter from former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum:
In his address at the University of Notre Dame, Obama talked a good game about respecting conscience on abortion rights. He did the same thing when he met the Pope. But that was all it was -- talk.

The Obama Administration’s attack on Belmont Abbey College proves that.

Belmont Abbey College is a small, private, Catholic college located in North Carolina. For 130 years, it and the Benedictine monks who run it have been dedicated to handing on the Catholic faith.

But the Obama Administration is now trying to force them to abandon that faith or go out of business.

You see, the Administration at Belmont Abbey College removed contraception, abortion, and voluntary sterilization from its faculty's health care policy after discovering it had accidentally been a part of existing plans.

Employees of the school who objected to this change in policy brought a complaint against the school accusing them of “gender discrimination.”

This accusation against Belmont Abbey College couldn’t be further from the truth.

Belmont Abbey College was not discriminating against women. Unlike many “believers in name only” the college was adhering to the principles of its faith.

At first, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found no evidence of gender discrimination by Belmont Abbey College…..

After a few weeks, the EEOC mysteriously reversed course and announced, in effect, that the college had better toe the Administration’s line, or else.
They are now demanding the school go against the very principles it exists to serve.
As the old-timers in East Tennessee used to say, if we're not careful we'll end up where we're headed.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The New Nobel Prize Winner . . .

This makes the selection of Al Gore seem almost Solomonic by comparison.

What must the survivors of those killed by -- and the surviving political prisoners of -- the Iranian, Venezuelan, Saudi Arabian, and Sudanese regimes -- to list but a few -- be thinking this morning? -- their plight having been conveniently ignored so as not to detract from the glow of our president's international reputation, based as it is exclusively on words and broad, largely empty, gestures. So what, after all, if a few more bodies of nobodies are thrown under that now famous bus in comparison to such universal acclaim?

The Nobel committee has sealed its fate as yet another weather vane of political correctness.

Thomas Sowell on our Nobel Prize Winner

"Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, Moammar Qaddafi, and Vladimir Putin have all praised Barack Obama. When enemies of freedom and democracy praise your president, what are you to think? When you add to this Barack Obama’s many previous years of associations and alliances with people who hate America — Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Father Pfleger, and so on — at what point do you stop denying the obvious and start to connect the dots?"
Suspicions such as this raised by Sowell are hardly put to rest by stories of the Obama administration cutting off funding to the highly respected Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, an act of almost unimaginable callousness, given the Iranian regime's brutal crushing of the pro-democracy demonstrators over the last few months. Here's what Michael Rubin said about it on National Review Online:

"The Clinton State Department has decided to cut off all funding for the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC), which was compiling lists of protestors imprisoned in this summer's unrest, as well as those who were killed in the crackdown.

"IHRDC is what human-rights advocates should be: methodical, precise, and apolitical in their work. And yet, the Obama administration has, without explanation, cut off all federal funding to the group which has consistently fulfilled its mandate.

"Anyone, across the political spectrum who has any interest in human rights in Iran keeps the IHRDC reports on their desks."

Obama Czar and the Man-Boy Love Association

By the time the ideologues and the sexual revolutionaries get finished, public schools will have become "government" schools with all the odium associated with that term, not the least being the specter -- which has already become a reality -- of schools as centers of government-approved moral and political orthodoxy, where children are taught to regard the moral views of their parents as repugnant.

Of course it is all done under the banner of protecting students from being shunned and shamed in middle school and high school. (Can you imagine a more impossible fools errand than that?) Those shunned under the new regime are those whose religious and moral principles are officially scorned and openly mocked by their teachers and school administrators.

This is what those who whine endless about "rights" think of the rights of parents. This is what they mean when they say the word "progress." These are the waxen wings they are fashioning for the children they are coaxing into a feral, lifeless and loveless vision of conjugal love. This is the lifestyle they are encouraging, one which a mountain of undeniable social science has shown to lead to high rates depression, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, self-destructive behavior and suicide -- all of which is blithely ignored or explained away by its promoters, the president's new "safe-schools" czar among them. Welcome to the brave new world of our "government" schools.

Scott Baker provides background on the man president Obama chose to oversee school safety.

"Harry was appalled by the hypocrisy of a self-appointed gay establishment that would declare a section of the gay community [The Man-Boy Love Association] unrespectable. He could not contain his outrage."

Source here.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Talks and Texts

As we have mentioned in earlier email newsletters, we are slowly experimenting with a number of internet-related technologies which we feel will eventually enhance our mission and make it more fruitful. YouTube is one of these technologies, and the video below is a modest beginning, for which I ask you indulgence.

Click on these images and the links below them.

Streaming Media

The Cornerstone Forum Store

Supporting the Cornerstone Forum

Thanks again for your many kindnesses, your support and your prayers.

"Stop Hyding" . . .

This from an email newsletter from Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List:
Take a look at these misleading quotes:

“It is black letter law that not one dime of federal tax money can be used to fund any abortion... . I'm just telling you factually right now that the Hyde amendment is the law of the land." - Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

“There are no federal tax dollars that will fund abortion under the bill. The Hyde Amendment…..already bars federal funding for abortion. It still exists. It will not change. There is nothing in the bill that will change that." - Rep. Ron Klein (D-FL)

"I do not believe there will be a change in the Hyde amendment." - Sen. Arlin Specter (D-PA)

The truth: the Capps language explicitly permits the two things forbidden in the Hyde Amendment -- federal government funding for abortion and funding for plans that cover abortion.

So much for continuing longstanding federal policy on federal funding of abortions!
Here's the Susan B. Anthony video:

Monday, October 05, 2009

Genius and its moral privileges . . .

Evil and the reality the New Testament calls "the Evil One" would make no headway if it presented itself as vile and loathsome. Rather it presents itself -- especially in our day, but perhaps always -- as a manifestation of the consummate sophisticate, no longer to be distracted by the petty moral scrupulosity of the masses, for whose ethical criteria it looks down its Pinocchio nose.

I had not bothered with the story of Roman Polanski, but today I happened upon Mark Steyn's take-down of the pompous sanctimony of those worldly sophisticates who have played off Polanski's crime against Polanski's reputed genius and found that latter to be an excuse for the former. Steyn is, as usual, matchless in his combination of mordant wit and social commentary.

Here's a taste:
As the feminists used to say in simpler times, “What part of ‘No’ don’t you understand?”

Quite a lot, if the reaction to Roman Polanski’s arrest is anything to go by. I didn’t know, for one thing, that, if you decide to plough on regardless, the world’s artists will rise as one to nail their colors to your mast.

Whoopi Goldberg offered a practical defense — that what Polanski did was not “rape-rape,” a distinction she left imprecisely delineated. Which may leave you with the vague impression that this was one of those deals where you’re in a bar and the gal says to you she’s in tenth grade and you find out afterwards she’s only in seventh. Hey, we’ve all been there, right? But in this particular instance Roman Polanski knew she was 13 years old and, when she declined his entreaties, drugged her with champagne and a Quaalude and then sodomized her. Twice. Which, even on the Whoopi scale, sounds less like rape, or even rape-rape, and more like rape-rape-rape-rape.
The whole piece is here.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

St. Francis and Loving Nature . . .

St. Francis has become the unofficial patron of the environmental movement, and I suppose that a good thing, but it continues to be odd that much of the environmental movement (and the feminist movement of course) is either dogmatically in favor of or, at best, shruggingly uninterested in, the most shockingly violation of nature (and the feminine), namely, the legal right of parent(s) to hire a professional to kill the child in whose conception they voluntarily participated, but for whose existence and welfare they feel no overriding responsibilities. And so, with apologies for the length and awkwardness of that last sentence . . . my contribution to today's Feast of St. Francis is this little cogent reminder from Archbishop Raymund Burke:
When those who profess to be Christian, at the same time, favor and promote policies and laws which permit the destruction of innocent and defenseless human life, and which violate the integrity of marriage and the family, then citizens, in general, are confused and led into error about the basic tenets of the moral law. In our time, there is a great hesitation to speak about scandal, as if, in some way, it is only a phenomenon among persons of small or unenlightened mind, and, therefore, a tool of such persons to condemn others rashly and wrongly.

Certainly, there is such a thing as pharisaical scandal, that is, a malicious interpretation of the morally good or, at least, morally indifferent actions of another. The term comes from the supposed scandal which Our Lord Jesus caused to the Pharisees by, for instance, healing the man born blind on the Sabbath (cf. Jn 9:13-34).

But there is also true scandal, that is, the leading of others, by our words, actions and failures to act, into confusion and error, and, therefore, into sin. Our Lord was unequivocal in his condemnation of those who would confuse or lead others into sin by their actions. In teaching His disciples about temptations, He declared:

Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin (Lk 17:1-2).

It is clear that Our Lord taught as a primary responsibility, with the gravest of consequences, the avoidance of scandal, namely, of any act or failure to act which could lead another into sin. Our Lord's words are nothing less than vehement.

To ignore the fact that Catholics in public life, for example, who persistently violate the moral law regarding the inviolability of innocent human life or the integrity of the marital union, lead many into confusion or even error regarding the most fundamental teachings of the moral law, in fact, contributes to the confusion and error, redounding to the gravest harm to our brothers and sisters, and, therefore, to the whole nation. The perennial discipline of the Church, for that reason among other reasons, has prohibited the giving of Holy Communion and the granting of a Church funeral to those who persist, after admonition, in the grave violation of the moral law (Code of Canon Law, cann. 915; and 1184, § 1, 3º).

It is said that these disciplines which the Church has consistently observed down the centuries presume to pass a judgment on the eternal salvation of a soul, which belongs to God alone, and, therefore, should be abandoned. On the contrary, these disciplines are not a judgment on the eternal salvation of the soul in question. They are simply the acknowledgment of an objective truth, namely, that the public actions of the soul are in violation of the moral law, to his own grave harm and to the grave harm of all who are confused or led into error by his actions. The Church confides every soul to the mercy of God, which is great beyond all our imagining, but that does not excuse her from proclaiming the truth of the moral law, also by applying her age-old disciplines, for the sake of the salvation of all.

When a person has publicly espoused and cooperated in gravely sinful acts, leading many into confusion and error about fundamental questions of respect for human life and the integrity of marriage and the family, his repentance of such actions must also be public. The person in question bears a heavy responsibility for the grave scandal which he has caused. The responsibility is especially heavy for political leaders. The repair of such scandal begins with the public acknowledgment of his own error and the public declaration of his adherence to the moral law.
A well-reasoned reflection, I would say. Saint Francis, who -- the last time I checked was a Catholic -- would surely say, Amen to it.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


As I have said many times from the podium, however determined the "world" might be to expel Christianity it can never succeed, for every attempt to expel it reenacts the drama (of Christ's expulsion) which reveals it.

As a result, as Hans Urs von Balthasar puts it:
Christianity has received from on high so much power to endure and to be renewed constantly that it cannot cease to remain a continuous thorn in the flesh even of a humanity that has sunk totally into what is earthly.