Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Why I left

If you want to see an example of why I stopped commenting at The Village Gate (or at least one of the reasons), go read the first comment to this post.

The author, Edward Batchelor of NYC, offers his thoughts and observations regarding the anti-Bush protests in NYC:
    I live in NYC and attended the protest march on Sunday. It was quite peaceful, although the anger at this regime was very palpable. Although I have not had conversations with delegates, I have watched debates between protesters and delegates (most of whom are fundamentalist 'christians'). Unfortuntaly, this segment of the American population live in a false bubble reality. They are incapable of logical, reasoned debate. You can throw volumns of facts at them and they will disregard it completely. This is most evident in the platform that was ratified by the delegates yesterday. The media have predictably not reported on the platform. If they did, the republicans attempt to portray themselves are moderate and middle of the road would be destroyed. The current platform is virulently homophobic, anti-woman, and anti-family. It seeks to make permanent the tax cuts on the lower classes and would permanently encourage the laisez-faire capitalism of the big interest oil companies and exploitative employment practices of companies such as Walmart. All...all this is done in the name of "compassionate christian conservatism."

    The reality is should the Bush regime re-elected, we will be traveling further down the road of religious fascism supporting a multi-national corporate feudal culture. Any ideas on how we stop this? I fear it is too late...this began in the late 60's under Nixon and Kissinger, continued through the Reagan era when Reagan engaged the religious fascists as foot soldiers. It is my opinion that 9/11 was the opportunity and justifnation for corporate interests to use fear and the commodification of religion to silence dissent and justify their "war on terror."

    I would love to hear comments and critiques!
Where to begin?

First, we have the standard reference to "this regime". Oy veh.

He then describes the segment of the American population which lives "in a false bubble reality. They are incapable of logical, reasoned debate. You can throw volumns of facts at them and they will disregard it completely." I think he's referring to the delegates, but it really applies more aptly to the protesters. They are, after all, the ones who support solidarity with the Iraq resistance (see the post from yesterday). They are the ones whose style of argumentation is to walk up to a counterprotester, extend their middle finger, and stand there with a smirk on their face... what a display of "logical, reasoned debate" (see this).

Then, we get to the Republican party platform, of which the mainstream media has been silent.

Apparently, Mr. Batchelor doesn't read his city's own paper, the NYTimes, because they ran a story today on the platform, entitled, "Social Conservatives Wield Influence on Platform".

He then lists the standard ad hominem mantras against the platform: virulently homophobic, anti-woman, and anti-family. Mr. Batchelor apparently has no idea what these words mean. Either that, or he has no idea what the Republican views on them are. What we have here is standard, overheated, disconnected-from-reality rhetoric and polemics. Nothing else.

And, of course, when President Bush is reelected, we will be even further propelled down the road of "religious fascism supporting a multi-national corporate feudal culture."

Wow. Wow. (Once more....) Wow.

Does Mr. Batchelor have a clue as to the nature of fascism? Obviously not. If he did, he'd know that there is no way to say that we are anywhere near a "religious fascism" in this nation. Tell me, Mr. Batchelor, are you prevented from free exercise of your religion? Has any religious practice been outlawed under Bush? Are you being compelled to attend "fundamentalist Christian" religious services? What a buch of crap.

Oh, and then we close with, " I would love to hear comments and critiques!"

Sure you would, Mr. Batchelor. But only from those who already agree with you. Because we all know that any attempt to engage you from the other side will only be met with complaints of illogic and fascism.

Last night, John McCain (with whom I have little in common) said,
    My friends, we are again met on the field of political competition with our fellow countrymen. It is more than appropriate, it is necessary that even in times of crisis we have these contests, and engage in spirited disagreement over the shape and course of our government. We have nothing to fear from each other. We are arguing over the means to better secure our freedom, and promote the general welfare. But it should remain an argument among friends who share an unshaken belief in our great cause, and in the goodness of each other. We are Americans first, Americans last, Americans always. Let us argue our differences. But remember we are not enemies.
You hear that, Mr. Batchelor?

Oh, one more thing... those "peaceful" protests? They aren't the only ones: "When marchers approached the Garden, a police detective was knocked off his scooter. He was then repeatedly kicked and punched in the head by at least one male demonstrator." (See this, too.)

I welcome real discussion with anyone. But please... don't pretend to be open to an honest, civil discourse, when it's clear that you have no interest in doing so.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Those in Ascendancy (in one party)

So some of the guys at Redstate are in NY this week to cover the Republican National Convention.

Today, rather than listen to a series of one-minute speeches, Tacitus decided to check out one of the protests going on today. He took his digital camera along with him, and... well... go take a look. You'll find signs expressing "Solidarity with the Iraqi Resistance", among other things.


Sunday, August 29, 2004

James Carroll

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped commenting at liberal Christian blog, The Village Gate, for a number of reasons. However, I regularly stop by, just to see where things are moving there.

Recently, Dale blogged on James Carroll, the Boston Globe columnist and former priest. Dale is a fan of Carroll's, considering his book Constantine's Sword "a monumental work of history, theology, personal reflection and hope for what Christianity might become."

It's unfortunate that Carroll's book has this much sway, over anyone. A number of reviewers have pointed out the serious errors and fallacies in Carroll's work. One such review is that by Robert Lockwood. Unfortunately, due to the fact that Mr. Lockwood would be described by some as a conservative Catholic, his review is often rejected out of hand by some.

Fortunately, we also have a review from America Magazine (no conservative journal, that) by Eugene Fischer (never identified as a "conservative Catholic"). If you want a solid review of Carroll's book which points out some of his most serious errors, and need one penned by a "non-conservative Catholic," this is it.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

I can't believe this

Did you hear about Kerry's recent comments in Florida regarding Castro?

According to this newspaper report, Kerry said he's pretty tough on the Cuban dictator, noting that eight years ago, "I voted for the Helms-Burton legislation to be tough on companies that deal with him.''

But as the journalist who wrote the story noted, there's a tiny little problem: Kerry voted against the legislation.

Let's pick up the reporter at this point:
    Asked Friday to explain the discrepancy, Kerry aides said the senator cast one of the 22 nays that day in 1996 because he disagreed with some of the final technical aspects. But, said spokesman David Wade, Kerry supported the legislation in its purer form -- and voted for it months earlier.
Ah! So he voted for it before he voted against it!

Sound familiar?

(Hat tip: Andrew Stuttaford)

Thursday, August 26, 2004


If politics is your thing, and conservative thought is it in particular, make sure you're reading Redstate regularly.

Sharp, sharp folks over there, with quality, substantive posts.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Where Was I Again?

Apparently, Senator Kerry has a hard time remembering where he was in 1968.

According to his campaign's website, he was deployed to the Western Pacific in February of that year, but didn't report for duty in Vietnam until November.

But when giving a speech on Martin Luther King Day last year (2003), he said,
    I remember well April, 1968 - I was serving in Vietnam -- a place of violence -- when the news reports brought home to me and my crewmates the violence back home - and the tragic news that one of the bullets flying that terrible spring took the life of [Dr. King].
You remember it well, Senator?
"Idiot Americans"

Canadian MP Carolyn Parrish today referred to Americans as "idiots."

You can send her a comment here, and her email can be found here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

First Draft

The first draft of the script of the 1987 film The Princess Bride was recently discovered. It's notable for some subtle yet significant changes in some of the dialogues.

For instance, during the "battle of wits" between the Sicilian Vizzini and the Dread Pirate Roberts/Westley, one of the more well-known exchanges is the following:

Vizzini: Let me put it this way: have you ever heard of Plato? Aristotle? Socrates?

Westley: Yes.

Vizzini: Morons.

Apparently, the original draft had three other morons listed: Deech, Bob, and Dan. But due to the fact that no one has any clue who these three morons are, the writers went with some more well-known folks.

Monday, August 23, 2004

No Instant Replay

Okay, this post is a bit off-topic from the other recent ones...

Paul Hamm won the gold medal in the all-around gymnastics event in Athens last week. Because of a judging error, it appears that a Korean should have won it. The error has been acknowledged, and the Koreans want at least a second gold awarded to their guy, or have Hamm's taken and awarded to the "real" winner.

No way.

First, it has been made (crystal) clear that you need to lodge a protest before the next event begins, which the Koreans failed to do. Hence, they cannot challenge the outcome, as has been reiterated numerous times.

But more importantly, if we're going to review the tape for the start value (the points in dispute), then the rest of the routine should also be reviewed. And what happens then? Well, we discover that the Korean committed four holds, one more than allowed, but the judges missed it. If that error is also taken into account, Hamm still wins the gold.

So there you go. Hamm won the gold, and he should keep it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Fiscal Discipline?

John Kerry promises to return fiscal discipline to the White House, where deficits will be a thing of the past.

Exactly how he plans to do so is a bit of a mystery, considering the price of all the programs he's promising in order to bribe win voters to his side.

Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute has analyzed Kerry's economic proposals, and summarizes his findings as follows:
    Our best estimate is that Kerry's proposals will add up to between $2 trillion and $2.1 trillion over the next ten years. Since the revenue from his tax proposals relative to the current baseline is actually negative, this implies that the Kerry proposal would increase the deficit by perhaps as much as $2.5 trillion over the next ten years. ...

    While making all of these promises, Kerry and his surrogates repeatedly have made the claim that they will restore fiscal discipline if elected. They have also promised to adopt a "pay as you go" rule that will guarantee deficit reductions. But they do this at the same time that they promise voters the moon and the stars. It is time for them to state exactly which of Senator Kerry's promises are no longer valid, or stop all of the warm and fuzzy embraces of deficit reduction. They cannot have it both ways.
Of course, Kerry supported deficits before he opposed them, but is willing to reconsider is supportive opposition, considering the complexities of the situation.

An Instapundit reader writes,
    Bush is bringing our troops home from Germany because he realizes American-style democracy will never succeed there. After freeing the German people from a brutal dictatorship and protecting them from Soviet tyranny for almost fifty years, Bush is finally willing to admit that Germans aren't capable of contributing to the security and prosperity of the world.
Now, I have to admit, I think that Germany is far less intransigent than France, and that were the leadership in the country different, the comment wouldn't apply.

But as it is, it does.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Can You Deceipher This?

I forgot about this... in a debate last September among those seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, John Kerry said,
    'If we hadn't voted the way we voted, we would not have been able to have a chance of going to the United Nations and stopping the president, in effect, who already had the votes and who was obviously asking serious questions about whether or not the Congress was going to be there to enforce the effort to create a threat.
Huh? As Christopher Hitchens said in a recent article, "And all smart people know how to laugh at President Bush for having problems with articulation."

Hitchens also made the following observation:
    Actually, when Kerry sneered at ''the coalition of the willing'' as ''a coalition of the coerced and the bribed,'' at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, no less, he was much more direct and intelligible. Yet I somehow doubt that he would repeat those clear, unmistakable words if confronted by the prime ministers of Britain, Poland or Australia. And how such an expression is likely to help restore America's standing is beyond this reviewer.
This all comes from a Redstate post by Pejman Yousefzadeh, who posits that "John Kerry didn't so much woo voters as he became the lucky beneficiary of Howard Dean's implosion, and Dick Gephardt's lack of popularity with the Democratic base. Kerry caused Democratic primary voters to settle for him."

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

More bad news...

    We now have a Vatican hierarchy who prays with pagans, promotes voodooism, and encourages the world's religions to pray to their false gods for world peace; who gives cushy jobs to known pedophile protectors; who fails to rid the seminaries, chanceries and universities of homosexuals; who fails to discipline heretical and immoral prelates; who allows communion to be given to pro-abort politicians; who teach that the Jews have their own covenant with God and need not convert to Christianity for salvation; who teach that most, if not everyone, will be saved; who sign joint statements with Protestants that say "justification is by faith alone"; who allow production of Catholic bibles (NAB) and commentaries (NJBC) that question or deny major tenets of the Catholic faith; who teach that Scripture is rife with historical errors; who has consistently refused to consecrate Russia as Our Lady requested in 1929 and has never completely released the Third Secret of Fatima; who has watered-down the Mass to conform to Protestant sensibilities; who has weakened the wording of certain sacraments; who says that the consecration formula is not necessary to confect the Eucharist; who allow women to act like priests and hold positions of high authority in dioceses and universities; who teach our children that they descended from apes; who excommunicate and chastise those who want to remain faithful to the Church's traditions; who say that the United Nations (which promotes abortion, population control, contraception, euthanasia, and many other moral atrocities) is "the best hope of mankind"; who, instead of recognizing its own voluminous faults, makes profuse apologies for the actions of past popes and saints. The list goes on and on.
From Bob Sungenis.

After documenting these evidences of the collapse of the Catholic Church [sic], Bob recites the now-standard list of the decrease in vocations to religious and priestly life since Vatican II and the mass exodus from both as well.

Once again, coincidence does not prove causation... that these things occurred after Vatican II is not proof that Vatican II was the cause of them.

The reality of the other things in Mr. Sungenis' litany is also not quite what he portrays them to be. But I'll leave it to others to undertake that demonstration... I just wanted to present where he's going/gone (sadly).

Pray for Bob and those others who seem on the verge of despair... pray that their hope (and ours) is strengthened.

Monday, August 09, 2004


Hi all.

Baby Burgy is keeping me busy, as you might expect, and thus posts have been very few and far between.

For the moment, a few things.

First, I invite you all to read a recent letter by the bishop of Sioux Falls, SD (my bishop and my boss), Robert Carlson, on Catholicism, abortion, and voting. You can find it here. Relatedly, Bishop Carlson will be giving this fall's first Sioux Falls Theology on Tap presentation on August 27th, and appropriately, the topic is faith and politics. Within a couple of weeks after that date, his presentation and responses to questions will be available at the diocesan website, here.

On another note, there's a new conservative website/blog that I encourage you all to read, and if you so desire, join. It's called Redstate.

Recently, I've been discussing the question of Bush lies [sic] at The Village Gate, and haven't really gotten anywhere, at least with my primary interlocutor. Go to these comments and scroll down to the comment titled, "an opportunity" by yours truly. The next comment which addresses the lies question is down a bit farther, so scroll down to the comment, "Bush lied," and go from there.

Today, John Kerry said that he would have authorized the use of force against Iraq, even if he'd known that there were no WMDs. He said, Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it is the right authority for a president to have but I would have used that authority effectively, which means that he would have gotten more countries involved in the war. Relatedly, Kerry recently said that he'd seek to internationalize the force in Iraq, with the goal of bringing our troops home by next August. But as tacitus of Redstate notes, The purported allies are balking. France, Germany, and Russia all now explicitly deny that they would send any troops to Iraq as a favor to President John Kerry. The British quietly demur. The Saudis can't put a force together. And the Iraqis themselves don't want a different foreign force package than the one they've got right now. One wonders how Kerry plans to magically persuade these nations to send troops, when they've made it abundantly clear that they will do no such thing. (I'd also recommend this story by JayReding and this one by John Cole.)

Okay, that's it for now. More when I'm able :-)