Friday, December 8, 2006

Catholicism and American politics


Right now I'm reading Libertas (I've read it twice so far) and realized I have to re-read Immortale Dei. But no, while some can't conceive of American Catholics being anything except Democrat others can't conceive of American Catholics being anything except Republican.

That's because Republicans (and Social Conservatives) revere abortion as being foremost. While other look at freedom and lack of restriction, as well as charity, as being first. Neither is right, neither is wrong. That's because both are right and both are wrong.

Republicans, while the hold anti-abortion as being foremost, because its the body of a soul, look on charity as being voluntary and would rather give of their own free will rather than be compelled to give. I understand this. For a while I did my employers charity campaign, which was cool. Until I started to want to give to charities who weren't on their "list". Likewise, Democrats view charity and tolerance of others as being more important while anti-abortion is a voluntary thing (but should not be imposed on other against their free will).

That's not to say that Democrat Catholics have abortions, just that anti-abortionism can't be imposed on the three-fourths of America who is not Catholic. Likewise, Republican Catholics engage in charity. They just engage in charity in direction that the law does not dictate.

You see, neither is right, neither is wrong. And both are right and both are wrong.

take care,


Iraq Study Group

I was impressed. Yesterday W almost sounded apologetic - almost. About the Iraq war. There are a thousand things wrong and I can criticized W about it endlessly.

Clearly the insurgancy is tougher than was thought. Clearly the resistance is tougher than was thought - otherwise they would not have sent women into the combat zone.

W is only as good as his advisors. Unfortunately he has *no* idea on how to pick advisors.

My trouble witht the Iraq war was W calling the U.N. inspectors into Iraq (again) and then ordering them out because the U.S. and U.K. were going to invade.

The Bible speaks clearly on this - "Doesn't a king first consider whether he can, with 10,000 troops, defeat another king with 20,000 troops?" Apparently W never read that part of the Bible.

Now the easiest way to make peace in Iraq would be to divide Iraq into three little states - East Iraq / Basra, West Iraq / Anbar, and Kurdistan. Yes, East and West Iraq would be buffer states between Shia Iran and Sunni Arabia. But let whatever happens then happen. Don't keep the two countries together if they want to be apart.

Take care,


New Mexico fence

It was realeased yesterday that New Mexico Governor Richardson proposed increasing security along the U.S. Mexico border instead of building a fence. While the fence always seemed like a bad idea the increased security seems like an expensive idea.

What the fence would do is that once immigrants cut hole in the fence, future immigrants would use the same holes (in all likelihood) making it easier to catch them.

The one big problem is that we still have a giant revolving door on the U.S. / Mexico border. They come across, we send them back. They come across again, we send them back again. The idea of sending back illegal immigrants / undocumented workers really isn't a solution.

What needs to happen is the economy of Mexico has to be improved to provide jobs for all the "undocumented workers". Or that we have to expand NAFTA do allow workers from one of the three nations work in any other of the three nations - the way that the E.U. does.

Its not that I'm unsympathetic. My father's parents came from Sicily. My mother's parents came from Cuba. My parents met in New York City. My problem is that the people don't want to immigrate "the right way".

This is where imprisoning them on one of the Pacific Islands we captured during WW2 might be useful - although its a decidedly British tact. But there are people with much more to loose than I have.

take care,


Thursday, December 7, 2006


During WW2 Germany had taken over (militarily) most of Europe. Franco's Spain was an ally as was Italy. Northern France was an ally while the Vichy regime knew they couldn't vary too far; Poland was similar with Poland being divided into two portions - east and west. Likewise Austria, Benelux, and Denmark knew they could have too much independance. Western Europe was divided into three camps - states directly controlled by Germany, states allied with Germany, and Britain and Ireland. Eastern Europe wasn't that much different. The only real difference is how much the state was controlled by Germany.

The core of the Soviet Union was Russia and, partially, one of the function of the auxillary fifteen states was to protect and preserve Russia. In the same way the Soviet Union created the Warsaw Pact to defend itself from "the west".

Now Iran is spreading its influence throughout the middle east. Iran has its allies and foes in Afghanistan and Pakistan knows that it can't act overtly against Iran. Similarly the 60% of Iraq that is Shite is closely Iran-philic while the fourty percent that is either Sunni Arab or Kurd are fairly independant.

Syria (and Lebanon) seem to have strong Shite factions. While Jordan and Arabia are strongly independant Sunni (mostly Arab). Turkey is likewise pro-western Sunni.

One can easily see how Iran is spreading its influence through the middle east. I believe that Iraq is going to split into East Iraq (Basra) and West Iraq (Anbar). Kurdistan is going to for a third "country" or maybe a semi-autonomous region.

I was raised, strongly, believing in separation of church and state. Naturally I favor Sunni Islam for that reason. Except that, now, the Sunnis are more militant. Shia Islam favors not only lack of separation of church and state but also believing that church is state and, perhaps, state is church. The closest example we have in "the west" are Vatican City and the former Papal States, which fell around 1870. Shia Islam also has the Ayahtollah's which Sunni Islam does not.

So yesterday Robert Gates was approved by the U.S. Senate as Secretary of Defense by a vote of 95-2. I wonder if Gates's speedy questioning and vast approval was the Senator approving of Gates or disapproving of Rumsfeld.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Immortale Dei (1885)

In Immortale Dei Leo-13 wrote, "33. To wish the Church to be subject to the civil power in the exercise of her duty is a great folly and a sheer injustice. Whenever this is the case, order is disturbed, for things natural are put above things supernatural; the many benefits which the Church, if free to act, would on society are either prevented or at least lessened in number; and a way is prepared for the enmities and contentions between the two powers, and ho evil result to both the issue of events has taught us ony too frequently.

OK, let's look into what Leo said. The "two powers" are civil and religious government. But recently there have been several problems in the Church with China forcing bishops to make other "bishops". For which the Vatican is then forced to expel both the canonizing bishop and the newly canonized "bishop".

I do not have no problem with what was done, it was all in accordance with Church rules.

But this problem has occured several times. Even back to the emperor Justinian, who imprisoned and killed several popes who tried to express authority over the emperor. Hence, Justinian brought in his own candidate for the cardinals to name as Holy Father.

A similar case arose during the era of "two popes" when the Italian people demanded that an Italian be named as Pope, so the cardinals named an Italian pope and then, on returning to France, said the prior naming was under duress and named a second, a Frenchman, as pope. On one hand the Italians did not have the right to demand who was to be named pope. On the other hand, the Cardinals had a responsibility to name an Italian as Bishop of Rome. I, first, believe that both sides were wrong. But I do believe that the Cardinals were more wrong because after over eighty years the Italians deserve to have an Italian Bishop of Rome.

The big difference is that in the sixth century the Italians may have just been glad to get a Bishop who lived (outside of the dungeon) for longer than two or three years.

Perhaps it would be beneficial if the Vatican made efforts to improve diplomatic communication with Beijing / Peking. Because this is a case of where, after, people after having been Catholic fourty or sixty years and, not only Catholics, but priests as well - only to be excommincated. It is the right of Rome to do this, but it is the responsibility of both Beijing and Rome to come to some understanding.

take care,


Rumsfeld and Bolton

Recently, after the November 7 election, Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld resigned / was fired. First, I think that if W had done this a week, a month, or half a year earlier that Republican losses would have been much less. This means that the Republicans could have potentially maintained control of the Senate. But for W, its a day late and a dollar short.

Then it was leaked / release that Rumsfeld allegedly wrote a memo to W saying that the U.S. should change strategy in Iraq. Whatever.

First, I consider it very likely that Rumsfeld did write the memo. But that he pre-dated it to before the election - to make it look like he was considering change when, in fact, I doubt he was. Second, the memo shows how he may have disagreed with W. If that were the case, then it looks like W fired him (DR) for disagreeing with himself (W).

It goes back to W's old adage - he likes his friends and he like "yes-men". Supposedly Rumsfeld, before 2000, was an industrial efficiency expert. Who was hired because, supposedly, the military was getting too large, too bloated, and too inefficient. My disagreement with him is not that the military didn't need to be made more efficient, its that the military didn't need Rumsfeld for six years. They could have use Rumsfeld. But outside of either a "short stint" (as Secretary) or as a consultant and contractor the military didn't need him. Much more than a year or two or Rumsfeld was waste.

And yesterday John Bolton gave his resignation to W. I think that W pressured both Rumsfeld and Bolton to resign following the November 7 election. I'm glad he resigned - because he never had senate confirmation of his nomination. I'm disappointed he resigned because he didn't impress me as half the "bully" that his reputation said that he was.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Sean Hannity


Last week, Sean Hannity on his show on "Fox 'News' Channel" (I put the "News" in quotes just because most of what the channel does seems to be is commentary and opinion), but was saying and implying that when Benedict-16 quoted Emperor Manual 2 that he knew entirely what he was doing. The Holy Father apperently didn't think that he would be misquoted by the mullahs. (I've commented on this before if you want to get an earlier post.)

The riots happened because the mullahs misquoted Benedict and the riots happened because it seems that Muslims enjoy rioting. I fail to see how either is the Pope's fault. Benedict was commenting on an intellectual conversation that occured in history. Its pointless to say that most Muslims and that most mullahs are neither historian nor intellectuals.

None-the-less, I'm very pleased with how the Pope's visit went to Turkey. Perhaps now there will be more Muslims who try to think before generating an emotional reaction; somehow I really doubt it.

Never-the-less, I think that Benedict is probably the best successor to John-Paul the Great. It isn't possible to have a "good" successor to JPtG or any other "Great" pope. That he is a "nerd" and not more socially affinite is choosing the least of many potential evils.

I just object with Sean Hannity saying that "it was the Pope's fault" - saying that he knew better and that he should have known better.

take care,


Sexual Abuse

I'm sorry that the two posts I left last Friday were about the Church reconciling itself to others. I simultaneously feel, "Isn't this enough?" yes, at the same time, the answer is obviously "no".

As is four or five diocese have declared bankruptcy - Spokane, Portland (Or), Tuscon, and Davenport. I though that Boston had also declared bankruptcy but apparently not.

Former Congressman Foley said that he was abused. When the priest was confroted with it, the Father said something to the effect of "huh".

take care,