Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Cringeworthy Mantra

I've wanted to post this for awhile, and being that I have been very busy I have not set aside the time. But since my post last night sort of gave me the bug for blogging again, I figured I might as well use the momentum to fire this sucker back up.


Let me explain what the cringeworthy mantra is. I call it a mantra because I've heard it over and over. You can all decide whether it's cringeworthy or not once I explain what I am talking about.

First of all, some background on a quintessential example of this phenomenon. I had a very long hiatus from writing anything about Rod Dreher or his so-called Benedict Option between my "Main Dilemma" post of October 24, 2016 and my short, almost-joking post on September 11 of this year. So almost two years went by without me saying anything, except in this "meme-style" post wherein I stated that I didn't have much to say about the Benedict Option. It is worthy to note that during those two years Keith threw up several posts about the Benedict Option and I did 30 or 40 posts which do not mention Rod Dreher or the Benedict Option at all.

So this was a comment made after my aforementioned post on Sep. 11, 2018:

Whatever Dreher's many faults, "uncalled-for Catholic bashing" is not one of them. Rather than criticize Dreher for reporting on sexual abuse, McKerrick, Francis' inadequate understanding and response, etc., how about you and others here in this little anti-Dreher echo-chamber face the issues head on?

It was not a new sentiment, but it hit home in a new way because of my light blogging in general over two years and in particular light blogging on Rod Dreher. This blog is not syndicated, advertised or even updated enough to merit it being any kind of destination in the top ten million English websites; you have to try pretty hard to read this blog, or hit it from a web-search or back-link. You might not realize this, but when you only post an average of once or twice a week for two years, your hits go down to almost nothing. You stop even getting advertiser spam in the comments.

So when Mr. Pseudonym shows up, he has found something to pique his interest. From EmitFlestiKY (which is Time Itself spelled backward followed by the abbreviation for this, or maybe this) we get a lecture about what we should and should not be doing alongside a sermonette on why we should be doing this and not doing that. The assertions in this sermonette are (1) Rod Dreher is not a Catholic basher, and (2) You are not facing issues head on.

I caught this on Facebook several weeks ago — Diane will remember. A person quipped that "[a] better use of Catholic time would be strengthening the witness and reasons to stay rather than snarling at those who have left when faced with the same repulsive rot." When I surmised that he was spending more time on the topic than I, he replied that he was sorry that I felt ruffled.

The exchange basically followed the same pattern:

  • Rod Dreher criticizes the Catholic church.
  • A Catholic or two take umbrage about it and make a remark.
  • A third party suggests that they should be doing something else, as if they have done something wrong.

The biggest problem I have with this mantra is that the ratio of our responses to something Dreher writes to his incessantly negative Catholic reporting is well below five percent. I challenge anyone to disprove this. The disparity is compounded when you include the fact that Dreher's megaphone at "The" "American" "Conservative" and his other media appearances dwarf anything that we do here or on our private social media platforms.

So now you know why I cringe. Please let me know if you find my reason valid. And stay tuned for a post entitled "How I Am Facing Issues Head On".

Friday, December 7, 2018

Catholic Priest to Rod Dreher: "Enough!"

It's a great word. "Enough!" A word of command, in my opinion. When I use it with my kids in a one word sentence I generally mean "too much, you guys are going overboard with [whatever], and I have been indulging you for [duration], but now you're done." Some examples might be "Enough of the Fortnight Dance demonstration", or "Enough of the collection of 'perfect snowballs' you stored in the kitchen freezer when it is 25 degrees outside."

So it is, I think, for Father Richard Munkelt in this open letter to Rod Dreher, regarding the latter's continuous, spiteful criticism of the Roman Catholic church twelve years after he left. I think from the tone and content of the article we may infer that Father Munkelt, like many of us at this humble blog, believe that when it comes to Mr. Dreher's coverage of everything bad going on in the Catholic Church, we have long since passed from abundance, to superabundance, and then on to super-duper-abundance....

...but ENOUGH! already of my commentary, and straight to the article. He begins:

Your recent articles in The American Conservative on "Catholic Triumphalism," constituting your latest broadside against the Catholic Church, were brought to my attention. After reading the articles, and in close connection with your remarks, I have some sobering thoughts concerning your departure from the Church and ongoing vilification not just of her abusive personnel (who are fair game) but of her very person. As such, I am not writing to you alone but also to those among your Catholic readers who may not be fully cognizant of your not-so-hidden campaign to turn souls away from and against the Bride of Christ. To them I say, there is nothing more unprofitable than to try to pick figs from thistles. It is my duty, therefore, to assist my fellow Catholics in not becoming unwitting purveyors of your Anti-Catholicism.

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that some of what Father says makes my criticism of Dreher seem tame, at least to me. Perhaps not to purveyors of what I'm calling the cringeworthy mantra, but more on that later.

If you care to read on, brace yourself, for charity sometimes carries a stick, as St. Augustine noted. And I shall not spare it, especially since you boast of being irreformable. I promise you, therefore, something in the spirit of St. Jerome.

Right; I think the "you asked for it" is warranted, especially considering how many times Dreher has assured us that he will never come back to the Catholic Church.

[He does it again — hilariously — at the end of his response to this article with the remark that if he ever came back it would be in spite of horrible "rad-trads" like Fr. Munkelt.]

1) Catholic Moral Teaching? In the two articles in question, possibly the most astonishing statement you make is this: "More importantly, though, where are the other churches who allow in their teaching for the sexual molestation of minors?" [My emphasis.] In all my years of study in theology and in the history of the Church, this putative Catholic teaching permitting the molestation of minors has completely escaped me. To be frank, without a citation from an authoritative doctrinal source, and of course none can be found, your statement is not only evidence of your brazen malice, it is sinister.

Dreher has insinuated that the teaching magisterium of the Catholic Church is "OK" with horrible sexual predation of children on the part of clergy many times, and he finally comes out and writes it. In his response, he claims this was taken out of context. No, dude... you're busted.

2) Emotion vs. Reason. From your own words, all indications are that you left the Catholic Church not because you had any theological argument against it but because you had an emotionally charged reaction to the clerical scandals and only afterwards adopted a new theology. As you put it: "I had never really considered Orthodoxy until my Roman Catholic faith had turned to dust." This suggests that an irrational response then went in search of cognitive validation, rather than rational reexamination. While your initial revulsion and anger at the revelations of clerical misconduct are quite understandable (who couldn't feel the same?), you lost all mental proportion and threw the Christ child out with the bath water. Failing at self-control, you failed to distinguish between (moral) teaching and (immoral) practice, and thus incredibly and pervertedly equated the two, as we just saw in paragraph #1. Therefore, when rightly attacking the faults of various members of the Catholic hierarchy you regrettably resort to hyperbole and the fallacy of tu quoque, a fallacy Our Lord was careful to avoid when criticizing the doctors of the Law. Then, with your mind shot, there was nothing left but to create a fantasy of a religious paradise in the green pastures of Orthodoxy. Except you found, or rather others like me would find for you, that you had one foot in a cow pie and the other about to step in a second. With that, let's discuss reality rather than fantasy.

Brutal, but just wait. All these punches land, and they are well documented in this blog. I'm too lazy to link them, but not to humble to list them: emotion over reason, lack of proportion, search for cognitive validation, throwing the baby out with the bath water, creation of a non-existing Edenic Russian orthodox church in your mind (and your backyard), etc. We've hit on all of these.

Of course, in knowingly and purposely separating yourself from the Catholic fold, you are undeniably a formal schismatic. A situation aggravated, I should add, by your having made a career of assailing the Church, all the while absurdly preaching to Catholics how to live better lives as Catholics. Pertinent to this last point, you wrote a book called The Benedict Option and artfully curry favor with--and sales from--Catholics as well as Catholic communities and organizations, who in some cases have been foolish enough to throw you a party. Why didn't you call it The Orthodox Option?

The closest Catholic gift shop to me has a great stock of Catholic books. But they also carry The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher. I am guessing the nice ladies who run the store have no idea that Dreher is an anti-Catholic, God bless 'em. But it was pushed out to Catholic stores by a publishing company who would never get the cha-ching they want from a book with the word Orthodox in it.

In addition, you make a declaration of your personal failings and seem to admit the superficial nature of your faith and spirituality while you were a Catholic, and then effectively blame the Church for your shortcomings! Strikingly, it is as if you stepped right out of the pages of the Gospel: your faith failed to take root, troubles came along, and you fell away. And now you proudly announce yourself practically immunized against any possible scandals in Orthodoxy by the device of downplaying the institution qua institution. Then why don't you try that back in the Catholic Church? Or how 'bout the Eastern Catholic Church? There you've got nice liturgy and no schism. That is not an "impassioned plea" for your return to the Household of Faith, for which I make no pretense. I am merely writing to direct attention to your penchant for subterfuge.

Told you it got more brutal. Penchant for subterfuge — bingo. Recently I've had to characterize this for a number of people unfamiliar with Rod Dreher's history of alternatively getting scandalized by Catholic scandals and not getting scandalized by Orthodox scandals. It works something like this: "I, Rod Dreher, looked at scandals in my own Catholic faith, and my faith was ruined! So I had to get a new one. So lucky that the Orthodox faith was there. And I learned my lesson: never report on scandals in my own faith community again. Only in others... and one other in particular: the Catholic Church. So convenient...." I know that is not exactly what Father is claiming that he does, but there is no logic in either characterization. Plus there is the added fact that there are very few people who leave the Catholic Church, attack it constantly, and still can be said to have any respect for it. That there are Catholics that don't realize this is the main reason for my bafflement about Dreher and why his condemnation is an ongoing necessity.

7) The Theological Question. It is in this area where you are most vulnerable, and so you tend to avoid it, preferring to whine that you just couldn't take the scandals anymore but still "honor" those who stuck with the Church. As you know and recall, I for one did, and could, as a newly ordained priest, reasonably claim to have undergone a greater conflict and ordeal than you went through. And so I thank you for your honoring and self-depreciation. I must admit, therefore, that in the context of spiritual warfare you remind me of the soldier that General Patton slapped in World War II.

"Don't know much about theology" has been one of Dreher's silliest cop-out lines. The guy has made his living in the world of religion writing.

In the wake of this theological adventure of yours (Protestant saints etc.), and in relation to your preposterous claim that you were "raised within historical Christian orthodoxy," I finally realized that your religion is not Orthodoxy at all. It is instead Pluralism, with devotion to all her pallid issue and slogans flitting about the walls of your cave...diversity, relativism, indifferentism, inclusiveness and the like. Either that or you are just invincibly ignorant of the massive break with historical Christianity that the Reformation represented, including Anglicanism, Arminianism, and Methodism. You should know that the Lutherans, in the sixteenth century, made an overture to the Patriarch of Constantinople and he rebuffed them on the central questions of justification by faith alone and the sacraments. But if you were raised as you say, why the need to become Catholic or Orthodox? Or is there some arcane difference between orthodoxy and Orthodoxy?

Certainly there is plenty of evidence to support Father's point in the 2013 book Little Way of Ruthie Leming, for which I wrote an early review. The faith of his sister which he praises so much can be easily seen to be really the "Moral Therapeutic Deism" which is so often derided by Dreher as the fake, Americanized version of the Christian Faith. And of course the Benedict Option is open to ALL Christians, and Jews, and Muslims....

"A figure like Pope Francis is unthinkable within Orthodoxy." Well, unthinkable until one thinks of Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, who is open to the ordination of women and same-sex marriage on the basis of "consensus," not excluding heretical communions. Ironically, Orthodoxy's continuous flirtations with Anglicanism and the heretical potpourri known as the World Council of Churches surely has, and will make, inroads into Orthodox teaching, especially in the moral arena.

That was just too easy.

All right, I'm just going to laze out the whole way and pull the ol' blogger standby: read the whole thing. There; I included a link for your convenience, O dear reader. I have to admit to be wondering whether or not Father Munkelt will be hit with the cringeworthy mantra. "What is the cringeworthy mantra you keep mentioning, Pauli?" In time, my friends, in time. As Robert Plant sang in Kashmir, "All will be revealed."

I will say one more thing for now. I've waited for something to come along like this, a long-form criticism of Dreherism coming from a member of the Catholic clergy and pointing out the tendencies which I and others have noted for some time. I have been impatient, I confess. It has taken a while for this to take place because this is the wise Catholic way. Many people are impatient for the church to act in small matters and great. "How long, O Lord" right?

I think that a quote from Pope Gregory VII pertains here: "It is the custom of the Roman Church which I unworthily serve with the help of God, to tolerate some things, to turn a blind eye to some, following the spirit of discretion rather than the rigid letter of the law." In following the spirit of discretion, silent reflection is often the correct choice.

But St. Jerome tells is that, at some point, silence fails the virtue of justice. He sums up his reason for overcoming his reluctance and finally writing his letter against Helvidius, whom he considered an ignorant boor: "But all these motives for silence, though just, have more justly ceased to influence me, because of the scandal caused to the brethren who were disgusted at [Helvidius's] ravings." And we have been disgusted at Rod Dreher's ravings. So thank you, Father Munkelt, for your erudition in presenting the errors contained within the ravings. The friends and supporters of Rod Dreher have already begun to nit-pick at your work, but your words are just and true in defense of the Roman Catholic Church, and we welcome them.

Avengers Endgame Trailer

Monday, October 29, 2018

Fact Check: No, Donald Trump Did Not Mock a Disabled Reporter

Apparently, this video needs to be reviewed again. The narrator speaks slowly, so everyone should be able to understand this and get it through their heads. No matter what you think of Donald Trump, he never made fun of the disabled reporter named Serge Kovaleski as so many in the media still maintain. Including the Washington Post, who was the original perpetrator and discredited source for the fake news story.

Also worthy of noting from the video:
  • Kovaleski allegedly didn't remember details from a report he did about 9/11, yet expected Donald Trump to remember him personally from his exciting business articles from 22 years prior. That's like remembering a bank teller or a sales clerk from 20 years ago.
  • Donald Trump gave millions of dollars to charity for disabled people.
  • In 1988, Donald Trump flew an Orthodox Jewish boy named Andrew Ten on his private jet to receive treatment for his rare illness. The commercial airlines refused to fly Andrew from Los Angeles to New York as Trump agreed to because he had to fly while hooked up to expensive life-support equipment.
The conclusion is worth accentuating:

Folks, Donald Trump did not make fun of a reporter with a disability. He did something "worse"—he embarrassed the media. Especially the Washington Post, whose crummy fact-checkers failed to uncover the true story of Middle Easterners living in New Jersey celebrating the deaths of 3,000 Americans on 9/11, a story one of their own reporters covered. As someone who has been around disabled folks my whole life and as one whose wife worked with those who are deemed severe and profound, if I believe that Mr. Trump had truly mocked a man with a disability, I would be writing a very different article and recording a very different video. But the sad thing is, there are those who still perpetrate this lie even when confronted with the facts.

I feel compelled to post this "old news" at this juncture for a number of reasons. Mainly I think that everyone needs to remember how much the media is willing to stretch the truth in order to smear President Trump, and also how in general the Swift's quote still holds true:

Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect: like a man, who hath thought of a good repartee when the discourse is changed, or the company parted; or like a physician, who hath found out an infallible medicine, after the patient is dead.

A secondary reason is that I was one of the victims of this outright media lie fabricated about Donald Trump. It was the picture with the fake freeze-frame which prompted the visceral reaction at the time, and I was livid that Trump would put the GOP in such a predicament, viz., having to own a man with no regard for the disabled. I later realized that my viscera had been fooled by ca leverly manufactured tale as often happens. Then I became inflamed with the mainstream media who, like the mob they have become, all repeated the same false narrative and all presented the same false evidence. Thus it was that I began to appreciate something which I would later begin to share, especially with those who stil recoil at the mention of Trump's name: no matter how irritating President Trump can get, the left and the media is always worse.

Time after time, time and again.

One last thing to note. Several days after September 11, 2001 I was at Daily Mass in a nearby Cleveland suburb. The priest celebrating the Mass talked during the homily about how America needed to come together and so he was starting a Interfaith group with a nearby Muslim Imam. It was put on his heart to do this after he heard about Muslim students at Lakewood high-school applauding and cheering during a school assembly where a video showing the Twin Towers being crashed into coming down was played. So the idea that the only people who talked about this were bigots or crazy people was always offensive to me. The Truth is sometimes uncomfortable, yet it is always incontrovertible.

Unfortunately for the good Father—who is retired now and who shall remain anonymous—his Imam friend was deported in 2002 due to his involvement of funding terrorist group with American Muslim contributions. That was probably the end of the interfaith group, if it had even ever really started. I'm guessing that, er, not every participant had his heart completely in it.

Why don't people want to admit this kind of thing? That some Muslims are bad, and/or succumb to fundamentalist pressure. It's too easy to follow the mob, denounce Trump as an evil maniac and make up stories about him and his supporters.

(H/T Catholics for Trump.)

Friday, October 26, 2018

Democrat Campaign Ad

Hey, I saw you, Zuck!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The new White Supremacy could be set to explode

Just found a great writer, Samuel Sey, via this article about the Two kinds of White Supremacy. His blog is titled Slow to Speak with the tagline "let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger." So the man gets extra points in my book for quoting the Bible.

As always, I advise to "read the whole thing" — it's not long. But here are some excerpts:

Some of the biggest protesters against White supremacy are also some of the biggest protectors of White supremacy. They cover and carry themselves differently, being less sectarian and less severe, but they are just as White supremacists.

White supremacists do not all share the same covers, characters, or chants. In fact, some of them do not get along with each other. For instance, the Alt-right’s two biggest leaders and their followers, Richard Spencer and Patrick Casey dislike each other. Many White supremacists share different opinions on several issues. But they all fundamentally believe that White people are superior to other racial groups, particularly, Black people.

It is no wonder they are not in any way united since their sole common belief is something completely negative and demonstrably false, accent on the first two syllables of demonstrably. So that's a good thing.

Sey himself is black, so that gives his argument some more force, especially when he speaks from personal experience.

What White supremacists like Richard Spencer calls White power, they call White privilege. They are one-side of the same coin, which is why Richard Spencer thinks they are the easiest to flip to his brand of White Supremacy. They affirm much of the same things, though they do not hate Black people—but that is starting to change. White people are increasingly using racial slurs like “uncle tom” and “coon” to describe Black people who refuse to agree with them. My inbox is full of angry words from White people who use racial slurs against me because they supposedly love Black people.

I've been saying lately that it is only a matter of time until we start being called "uppity conservatives" just for having different opinions than the establishment.

Many of these type of White supremacists hate me because I am Black but think differently than they do. And like Richard Spencer, they practically believe Black people are inferior to White people, though they blame that on the government, not genetics. They believe that though Black people share the same rights as White people, Black people are unable to perform as well as White people without special provisions from the government.

I am thankful that this type of White supremacy doesn’t lead to genocide. However, it harms Black people. For instance, colleges and universities lower standards for admission for Black students. That isn’t only racist, it’s disastrous. This is actually one of the reasons why the dropout rate amongst Black college students is so high. When a student is admitted into a school they are unqualified for, they often drop out because they are unprepared to overcome challenges within their courses. It’s the soft bigotry of low expectations, which produces low performance.

Let me lay out the reason for my title, that I think that this form of white supremacy could be "set to explode". I think there is plenty of evidence that this liberal babying of black people as a permanent class of victims in the abstract is going to always, by its nature, ignore anything good that blacks have been able to achieve on their own or any changes in prevailing attitudes of whites toward blacks in recent times. For example, we hear whining recently about how Anita Hill's life was ruined when actually she became a rich, respected, tenured professor by her semars of Justice Clarence Thomas, someone who is routinely called an "uncle tom" by liberal white supremacists.

People my age (50+) roll our eyes, but the kids in school are being told that she is a down-trodden hero. They are being told a lot of things from the liberal point of view, especially in college. They will see blacks in their year, and not in any other year, and they will think "this is unfair; it is a form of white racism" when really it is, as Sey suggests, just another function of affirmative action. Also schools benefit from this monetarily, especially when a student quits mid-year.

Showing any progress for blacks in any category is bad for the business of race hustling. So as a white male, I will be shouted down as an ignoramus if I point out improvements in the condition of the lives of black people. Blacks on the other hand are viciously attacked for daring to support Donald Trump or saying anything conservative. They are called sellouts and "uncle toms". The latest poll about Trump's rise in black approval to over one third was met by disbelief and high dudgeon by the WaPo in an inadvertantly humorous article, "No, one-third of African-Americans don't support Trump. Not even close."

There is an interest of keeping black people down in the minds of Americans, keeping the story going that there is still widespread white racism, danger of violence directed toward blacks around every corner, and virtually no opportunity for advancement of black Americans. Race hustling may be an industry for the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, but the victim class designation is much bigger than that — it's an ideology. Any fact which seems to counter that is seen as a threat. And black messengers delivering the news? Ask Candace Owens who was attacked by Antifa, ask Diamond and Silk who had their Facebook account censored, ask Kanye West, who earns profanity-laced smears from fellow black performer, Snoop Dogg, for announcing support for Trump.

These people don't love, or even like, black people as individuals who speak their minds. They like black people as an amorphous group of victims who can be leveraged for a big government agenda and to assuage their own guilt. So the more people like Owens, West, Larry Elder and others like them who step forward speaking their minds, the more pushback there will be. The left is pretty horrible at self-examination and would never take a step back to say, "Well, maybe blacks have made progress and they've done it on their own as individuals with no help from the NAACP and big government programs." Instead it seems as if they would rather continue to paint more and more blacks who don't buy into the victimhood mantra as race-traitors and enablers of those nasty white racists.

So if you have loud, angry, frothing howls on one side and reasoned, compelling argumentation on the other, what happens? In high school debate, the reasoned side wins. In real-world politics? It's different, obviously, more of a toss-up. Our polarization as a country is still not at 1969 levels — in my very humble opinion — but as I ponder the things about which I have just written I continue to repeat to myself: Something's gotta give.

Thursday, September 13, 2018


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Monsignor Gänswein appears to be sold...

This may be my "just-when-I-thought-I-was-out-they-pull-me-back-in" blog post.

But I'm gonna let all y'all do the conversing in the comboxes. I'm verklempt.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Tom Piatak: "Be careful what you wish for."

Tom Piatak wisely cautions Catholics against putting confidence in the princes who run our state governments to help clean up the Catholic Church's abuse and corruption problems. Excerpt:

The Pennsylvania grand jury wanted the bishops to end their opposition to extending statutes of limitations for civil lawsuits. If this recommendation were accepted, the principal beneficiaries would include plaintiffs' lawyers and those hurt would be ordinary Catholics who harmed no one, but who would ultimately need to pay for the judgments and settlements and who would also see the infrastructure they built torn apart to enrich the plaintiffs' bar. Note that the Pennsylvania grand jury did not recommend any cap on damages to accompany a change in the statutes of limitations.

Other recommendations are likely to be bolder. The Royal Commission in Australia recommended an end to priestly celibacy and a removal of the seal of the confessional in certain cases. Some Australian jurisdictions have followed up with laws requiring priests to report certain confessions to the police.

How long before a grand jury investigating clerical sexual abuse recommends that the Church allow not just married priests, but gay married priests?

He ends with the admonition to "be careful what you wish for". I would add to this to be careful what you settle for in the way of secular justice. The state can regulate, tax, fine, imprison, etc. but it cannot change things. The people who want to dispose of Trump via an arduous impeachment process would get Pence as the "new boss" if they would miraculously find success. I would welcome punishment of Catholic clergy if their crimes would be uncovered, but I would not but too much stock in it.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Crazy Left

Larry Elder's Anthem Protest Article

This article about the NFL national anthem protests by conservative talk radio host Larry Elder is worth revisiting now that Colin Kaepernike ( is already taken   don't you hate it?) has been signed as a major endorser, symbol, icon, etc. Elder asks "Do facts matter?" Here are some of the facts he presents with the numbers; you can decide how to answer the rhetorical question best.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, since 1968 police killings of blacks have declined nearly 75 percent. According to The Washington Post, almost 500 whites were killed by cops in 2015, an average of more than one a day. Two hundred fifty-nine blacks were killed by the police. Most suspects killed by police had a weapon.

Yes; more whites are killed by the police than blacks.

Last year, The Washington Post put the number of unarmed black men killed by the police at 17, less than the number of blacks likely struck by lightning. Twenty-two unarmed whites were killed by the police. Any death that results from police misconduct is one death too many, but the point is that police killing of a suspect is rare, no matter the race of the suspect or the cop. And a police shooting of an unarmed black male is still more rare.

Even the frequency of interactions with police are greater or the same for whites than for blacks:

According to Philippe Lemoine, writing in National Review, a white person is, on average, more likely to have interactions with the police in any year than a black person, 20.7 percent vs. 17.5 percent. It is true that a black person is more likely to have multiple contacts with the police. But according to the data, multiple contacts with the police are rare, as well. Lemoine writes that 1.2 percent of white men have more than three contacts with the police in a year versus 1.5 percent of black men.

Read the whole thing. Burning sportswear might be a dumb thing to do, but continuing to believe the false narrative of widespread police brutality against blacks is even dumber. It amounts to sacrificing everything we have learned by looking at the evidence.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Please Read Bishop Morlino's Letter

Bishop Morlino's letter on the abuse scandal is very good. (H/T RedState) Here are several highlights:

If you’ll permit me, what the Church needs now is more hatred! As I have said previously, St. Thomas Aquinas said that hatred of wickedness actually belongs to the virtue of charity. As the Book of Proverbs says “My mouth shall meditate truth, and my lips shall hate wickedness (Prov. 8:7).” It is an act of love to hate sin and to call others to turn away from sin.

The summary is the aphorism "Hate the sin; love the sinner," but the people advocating the second often do it at the expense of the first. It is very difficult to say "It's ok to be gay," and condemn the gay lifestyle as gravely sinful and destructive. But it is, and it needs to be done more especially by those who are called as teachers in the Catholic Church.

There has been a great deal of effort to keep separate acts which fall under the category of now-culturally-acceptable acts of homosexuality from the publically-deplorable acts of pedophilia. That is to say, until recently the problems of the Church have been painted purely as problems of pedophilia — this despite clear evidence to the contrary. It is time to be honest that the problems are both and they are more. To fall into the trap of parsing problems according to what society might find acceptable or unacceptable is ignoring the fact that the Church has never held ANY of it to be acceptable — neither the abuse of children, nor any use of one’s sexuality outside of the marital relationship, nor the sin of sodomy, nor the entering of clerics into intimate sexual relationships at all, nor the abuse and coercion by those with authority.

We've known this, and we have constantly received reflexive disdain for pointing it out. From the Catholic League, 2010: "The conventional wisdom maintains there is a pedophilia crisis in the Catholic Church. Popular as this position is, it is empirically wrong: the data show it has been a homosexual crisis all along. The evidence is not ambiguous, though there is a reluctance to let the data drive the conclusion. But that is a function of politics, not scholarship." But so many others have pointed it out. We're called bigots; we've become used to it. We're realists.

It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord. The Church’s teaching is clear that the homosexual inclination is not in itself sinful, but it is intrinsically disordered in a way that renders any man stably afflicted by it unfit to be a priest. And the decision to act upon this disordered inclination is a sin so grave that it cries out to heaven for vengeance, especially when it involves preying upon the young or the vulnerable. Such wickedness should be hated with a perfect hatred. Christian charity itself demands that we should hate wickedness just as we love goodness. But while hating the sin, we must never hate the sinner, who is called to conversion, penance, and renewed communion with Christ and His Church, through His inexhaustible mercy. 

At the same time, however, the love and mercy which we are called to have even for the worst of sinners does not exclude holding them accountable for their actions through a punishment proportionate to the gravity of their offense. In fact, a just punishment is an important work of love and mercy, because, while it serves primarily as retribution for the offense committed, it also offers the guilty party an opportunity to make expiation for his sin in this life (if he willingly accepts his punishment), thus sparing him worse punishment in the life to come. Motivated, therefore, by love and concern for souls, I stand with those calling for justice to be done upon the guilty.

If you get away with sin in this world, there is more likelihood that you end up in Hell. That is common sense applied to spiritual reality.

Obviously I advise everyone to read the entire thing. And when I say everyone I am including myself; I haven't finished it yet.  I need to get back to work now.

Thank you, Bishop Morlino.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Msgr. Ronald Knox's The Creed in Slow Motion

There are a lot of great public domain books out there about the Catholic faith. One that I'd been meaning to read for some time but just got around to it is The Creed in Slow Motion by Monsignor Ronald Knox, the famous English priest and Catholic convert. The book is a collection of addresses delivered during World War II; here is an excerpt from the first chapter:

Well, we are starting off this afternoon with “I believe in God”; that ought to last us for the length of a whole sermon, even if we cut it down as much as we can. Let me direct your attention first of all to the use of the word “I”. Surely that's curious, if you come to think of it? Surely saying the Credo ought to be a tremendous congregational act, uniting us in a common profession of faith, and surely at that rate it ought to start “ WE believe”? But it doesn’t, you see, ever take that form. Go out to Lourdes, and watch from the top of the slope tens of thousands of candles flickering there below, in the torch-light procession. So many of them, they don’t look like separate candles; it is just a vast haze of light. And the people who carry them are singing Credo; Credo, not Credimus. And so it is at Mass. If you watch the Gloria, it is we all through, Laudamus te, Benedicimus te, Adoramus te, Glorificamus te, and so on; we lose ourselves in a crowd when we are singing the Gloria. But when we sing the Credo, we are not meant to lose ourselves in a crowd. Every clause of it is the expression of my opinion, for which I am personally responsible. Just so with the Confiteor; it is always Confiteor we say, not Confitemur, even when we are saying it together. Why? Because my sins are my sins, and your sins are your sins; each of us is individually responsible. So it is with the Credo; each of us, in lonely isolation, makes himself or herself responsible for that tremendous statement,” I believe in God”.

Interesting to read since the liturgists had changed the English translation to "We believe" back in the post-Vatican II reforms and it was recently returned to "I believe" in the changes of seven or eight years ago. I like how Father points out that the first person plural is used extensively in the Gloria and also the imagery of how the combination of candles make a brighter light; the "I"s combine form a large "we". The collective is comprised of individual parts, of individuals, in fact.

I will continue to post on this highly enjoyable work. It possesses the clarity of thought, precision and focus which is often lacking in much of today's religious writing discussion.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Starting the political prisoner clock for Mark Shea

Last night, Catholic writer Mark Shea predicted that the cult of President Donald Trump would love it if the President began taking political prisoners. "I wonder how long till Trump starts taking political prisoners? His cult would love it," were his actual words.

It's an interesting question. That is why I am starting a count up clock to see how long it will take for Donald Trump to begin holding people in prisons for their political beliefs. It only made sense to start this clock at President Trump's inauguration on January 20 of the year 2017 to make it fair on him. So far we are up to 579 days, 12 hours and some odd minutes.

With regard to his "cult", I'm not sure who is circumscribed by this description. Possibly he means Republicans in general who he claims are racists, and therefore being cult members is just a hop, skip and jump from that. I am not the member of any cults, though, even though I am a Republican. However I am not aware of being a racist, and subconscious racism is supposedly a thing, so it is possible that I am a cult member without realizing it.

Hmmmmm.... I wonder if you can have a mental disorder without realizing it.

UPDATE: (9/11/2018) Well, I decided in the spirit of Catholic fraternity I would remove the clock from the side-bar and just leave it here. In these days of turmoil I don't want to tout the asininity of fellow Catholics overly much.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

I'm not alone in my Trump v. Democrats take

I get irritated with some of the actions of my choice for President, Donald Trump. But I get irritated with the media and the Democrats even more, as I have said. I'm not alone in this take on things. In this WSJ opinion piece, Ted Van Dyk advises the Dems to "get a grip". Excerpt:

National security and the economy are the two principal issues in any presidential campaign. The Trump record in both those realms should be critiqued by Democrats. They should, in turn, offer credible alternative policies. If they do, and their presidential candidate seems reasonable, Democrats can reclaim the White House in 2020 not through a constitutional crisis but through a free election and with a popular mandate.

My own guess: By 2020, Mr. Trump will have fatigued the public. Voters will be turned off by him, just as they were in turn by the Johnson, Nixon and Carter presidencies. They will want to see another face on their TV sets. The danger is that Democrats by then may have fatigued the public even more.

Fatigue is right. I have some diehard Trump fans for friends who I argue with regularly when politics comes up about how the man could dial it back a little and have an even higher approval record than his current 46%. They argue that he needs to be tough to "drain the swamp" whenever he goes all-caps on Twitter or when he insults political opponents. I just don't see him losing these people if he took a Twitter hiatus, and I think he could pick up a few supporters if he moderated his style while keeping the substance which most conservatives other than the die-hard never-Trumpers support.

But Trump is moderate compared to the Democrats. Whether it's Cory Booker going full-Biblical on the Kavanaugh pick, John Brennan accusing Trump of high-crimes and misdemeanors for his perceived easy treatment of Putin or a gallery window depicting the beheading of the President, the Democrats currently own crazy, and they seem to be attempting to turn mob-fueled, unhinged, violent insanity into a monopoly.

One Grand Gallery, 1000 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214.
Phone number is 
(971) 266-4919

Friday, July 20, 2018

#Walkaway Campaign is real

The number of Walkaway Campaign members is now almost 150,000. The new smear is to call them the work of "Russian bots".

I don't agree with this assessment, but I will also point out that not all these people just left the Democratic Party. Some left quite some time ago; one woman whose last name is Holder claims that she is Eric Holder's cousin and she left back when Reagan was running. Others are people like me and some of my online friends who were never Democrats.

But there are others who are the real deal. Click on the #walkAway tag at the bottom of this page to see some Youtube vids of the main type of member, people who have just been red-pilled like Candace Owens.

What does it mean to be Pro-Life?

What does it mean to be Pro-Life? Let's see what Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York thinks. From his letter:

As soon as Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, pro-abortion groups began lobbying the U.S. Senate to reject any nominee who does not promise to endorse Roe v. Wade. While the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops does not support or oppose the confirmation of any presidential nominee, we can and should raise grave concerns about a confirmation process which is being grossly distorted by efforts to subject judicial nominees to a litmus test of support for Roe v. Wade. And we must pray.

Each Friday, from August 3 – September 28, 2018, I urge all people of good will to join me in prayer that this change in the U.S. Supreme Court will move our nation closer to the day when every human being is protected in law and welcomed in life. The USCCB Call to Prayer network will share prayers and educational resources and an invitation to fast on Fridays for this intention.

May Our Lady of Guadalupe intercede for the healing of our nation and our people from decades of abortion on demand.

That clears it up for me, especially the last paragraph. Thanks for your words of teaching, Cardinal Dolan.

Another #WalkAway testimonial

She is right. Most Trump supporters are really, really nice, and the other side uses name-calling in the place of arguments.

"I will never watch the mainstream media again." Beautiful.

Maybe Patheos needs better editors

Mark Shea writes a very early post today in which he accuses "Christianists" of being a number of things: enemies of God, enemies of America and ... 36 comments? Have a look:

The core sin of American conservatives–and above all American conservative, “prolife” Christianists–is Pride. They cannot accept the fact that they were simply flat-out wrong. They have told themselves for twenty years that they are the *Real* Christians, the *Real* Americans, the *Real* Heroes. They are better than all their neighbors, better than the Pope, better, above all, than the Most Horrible Human Being in America, Hillary Clinton. And in their blindness, they have become everything they hate: enemies of America, 36 Comments, and enemies of God in their sadistic cruelty to children at the border. They began with delusional fears of persecution over coffee cups and Target employees not wishing them “Merry Christmas”. They have ended as sadistic persecutors jailing babies, causing abortionscelebrating the murder by thirst... 

The "36 comments" link takes anyone who clicks on it to a comment page for another post. This was obviously a mistake, and I can understand how it can be made. He is on the west coast and the article is dated today, so this was done before 6am. He was obviously checking the comments from the other page and accidentally copied that link, or something like that. Then he pasted this in and never read it over. Or maybe he did read it and missed it. This is why, I've been told, editors are needed. You often don't see your own mistakes.

I don't have an editor, so I have to make do with my own proofreading. But I also take pride (my "core sin", I am told) in taking my time at my work and self-editing. Is it possible that Mark Shea rushes into his blogging with armfuls of invectives he needs to hurl at these straw men he calls Christianists and does very little in the way of thinking until he has finished spewing everything which comes to mind? Is it possible that people like me might find him compelling if he toned his writing down from a constant screech? Can a person really be this caustic before 6:00 in the morning?

Mark Shea was banned from Facebook for
three days for being sarcastic.
The answer is yes, of course. Not just caustic, but also sarcastic. When he writes things like "the Most Horrible Human Being in America, Hillary Clinton" it turns out that the robots working for Facebook shut that stuff down. This is why Mark was banned for three days, according to him, during which he made 7,500 words worth of progress on a book he's writing about the Nicene Creed. So that might get chalked up to God using something as imperfect as Facebook algorithms to accomplish His good purpose in the same way he uses something as imperfect as Donald Trump to lower the unemployment rate for working class people.

I know several people who have unfollowed Mark Shea on Facebook in recent times due to his constant table pounding about Christianists, which roughly translates to Christians who voted for Trump. His description of people with whom he disagrees vehemently on politics has become such a caricature that many of the traits are not even recognizable to those of us at which the moniker is obviously aimed. For example, no one I know ever became upset over people not wishing them a Merry Christmas. Many of us were concerned that employers were forbidding the saying of Merry Christmas (can't remember if Target was one—people in Ohio, we say what we feel like saying), but no one considered this to be "persecution". We do not bang our chests and chant "We are real heroes! We are real Americans!" We are not people who generally think ourselves as "better than our neighbors" or "better than the Pope", whatever that even might mean. Accusations that we are sadistic baby-jailers who "celebrate murder by thirst" only make us shake our heads and roll our eyes at this point.

Yes, "murder by thirst". That's what we "celebrate".

Note to people who didn't vote for Trump: when we Trump voters give each other that look and say or think those five words, we do not consider that a celebration. A celebration is when we sit down with family and friends, have food, fun, drinks and laughs and do not even think or talk about politics for the next three hours. We know how to do that. And by the way, we know how to shut up the loud mouth fan-boys on the right in these instances, and we do it instinctively, all. The. Time.

I titled this piece Maybe Patheos needs better editors. It is highly likely; they definitely need some better bloggers. This stuff is so tiresome.

Oh, yeah. What are "those five words", you were wondering?

"This is why Trump won."

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Borat gets made

"In the gun business, we pay attention to people."

I was in a gun shop once, talking to a salesman. Suddenly he stopped, stepped back and put his hand on his hip. He shot a glance at me as if to say "one moment". Then I noticed a dude with a long t-shirt had just walked in. He wandered around for a minute, looked at the salesman and then walked out. "That must have been the guy," he said to me shrugging. Then he explained that a co-worker had mentioned someone fitting the description who looked like he'd been casing the joint. His senses were almost instinctive, and everyone in the place was carrying a compact 45 concealed so that's what you need.

Obviously most of Sacha Baron Cohen's marks aren't nearly as alert. Check out this story about his interaction with the owner of Warrior One Guns and Ammo:

This happened in February 2017. "I just kept looking at the guy and I was like 'You're Borat' and as soon as I said that... he turned right out the door." It's sort of awesome if the Warrior One guys are really in talks with Showtime for a reality show and the owner says "Showtime is fake!"

Here's a longer interview with the owner:

You know these guys are media savvy. Think about this: I am not claiming this is the case, but what if this whole thing is actually fake? What if they had a guy dress up like Baron Cohen and just claimed to have been pranked by him after seeing the episode making fun of gun ownership? It would still be awesome, and great for publicity if you are launching your own show. Maybe we should all make a video with someone dressed up with a fake beard, skinny jeans and a "dumb-looking hat" and then claim "Hey, man! Borat was trying to prank us!" Genius... sometimes I impress myself.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

At Trump's most horrible moments, the left is always worse

David Griffey, a new friend of this blog, more or less echoes my thoughts on Trump's Helsinki performance by referencing this tweet.

Hasson's remark is in response to the comparison of the Helsinki Summit to Kristallnacht and the Pearl Harbor attacks by former Watergate Prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks.

The sound of Trump's voice is often to me about as pleasant as the sound of a glass breaking. And often his rhetoric is damaging; I agree with Pikkumatti that Trump could do more to unite the country. But to inflate Trump's unpleasantness or even his damage to Kristallnacht is to violate the rule no one talks about anymore because everyone on the left breaks it everyday. Hitler analogies, Kristallnacht comparisons and labeling everyone a fascist are doled out with absolutely straight faces by people accounted serious.

This is just one example of the media overreaction to the Helsinki Summit. Don Lemon gives us the standard brain-dead "not my president" guitar solo after turning the amp up a notch. Beale also takes a shot at Michael Moore's fake righteous anger reminding the left of their conveniently forgetting that Moore accused the entire American intelligence apparatus of deception in order to warmonger in Iraq. By making a documentary! Oh, weren't those the days... But in 2018, even during Trump's most horrible moments, the left and their media is always worse.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Real thought and discussion versus their counterfeits

I'm a Jordan Peterson fan although I don't always agree with him. He has won praise from many people I admire such as Bishop Robert Barron, although with reservations, and the guy makes you think.

This video shows the contrast between the short-term rush of scoring rhetorical points and the long-term satisfaction of explaining and understanding of something. One requires quick-wittedness and rewards in the short-term. The other requires patience and rewards in the long-term.

[Warning: Bad Language.]

I have never really liked the style of Milo Yiannopoulos and I think this video illustrates why. Arrogance and dismissiveness... check.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Good Advice from Mark Shea

Commenter Nate thinks the quote he references is funny, and it is, considering the source is Mark Shea. But I think he would agree that it is very sound advice. Here is the pull quote from an article Me. Shea wrote in 2010:

"If somebody questions whether you know what you are talking about, you don’t deal with the question of whether you know what you are talking about. You simply say, “So! You want to make excuses for the murder of innocent people by religious bigots!” in the same tone you use to say, “You left your soiled underwear on my coffee table.” For, of course, at the end of the day, it will remain the case that some number of people (46 million? Several thousand?) were put to death… well, not by the Inquisition exactly but certainly by the secular authorities working with the Inquisition. So the story is close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades and that’s all that matters. The idea is not so much accuracy as truthiness: the sense that you have righteously scored off bad guys. And if they are bad guys, then they don’t really deserve to be spoken of accurately, do they? They should have thought about that before they started killing off their millions, or however many it was. The point is: I am righteously angry and when I have righteousness on my side, I don’t need to know what I’m talking about so long as I land some good hard punches on the jaw of Evil.”

The full article is available here for context. But if the pull quote is a little too long for you, I shortened it even more in a nice meme/quote image, suitable for sharing. I suggest people posting it in your office, or maybe on the bulletin board at your parish for reasons which should be entirely obvious.

Pseudoknowledge is a good technical name for what Mark Shea is describing here back in 2010. However it never seemed to get a lot of traction as a descriptive word. Fortunately we have the perfect word to describe it in 2018:

Fake News.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Right Brothers on the #WalkAway Movement

Worth checking out, not too long.

Favorite quote: "The #WalkAway movement is a repudiation of overt groupthink."

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Editorial Opinion With Spittle Flecks

NYT Editorialist Michelle Cottle's breathless over-reaction to the Kavanaugh appointment really piles on the BS in this excerpt:

Monday was the kind of day that the president lives for. As the clock ticked down to the announcement of his new Supreme Court nominee, the entire political world hovered in a state of suspended animation and frenzied speculation. Had the president made his decision yet? Who had he chosen? Would his pick get leaked ahead of time? Had any of the top finalists been seen anywhere near the White House?

With all of the build up to the 9 p.m. announcement, it’s a miracle none of the political commentators’ heads exploded from the suspense. The entire production was, in short, classic Trump — an overhyped, self-aggrandizing display aimed at focusing the spotlight on himself for reasons of both personal gratification and political expedience.

The "entire political world hovered in a state of suspended animation and frenzied speculation"? Uh, no they didn't.

A pre-written — and poorly edited — statement from the Women’s March on President Trump’s Supreme Court nomination became the subject of mockery on Twitter on Monday night, including from Mr. Trump’s former press secretary.

The feminist group blasted out a statement shortly after Mr. Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh, saying him confirmation would “further erode protections for almost every marginalized group in America.”

The introduction to the statement read “In response to Donald Trump’s nomination of XX to the Supreme Court of the United States.

So I'm not objecting to the characterization of people being frenzied, but they really weren't fussed about who it was going to be. The frenzy was that of bulls at a rodeo gate, raring to go, not speculating about whether they'd have Barrett or Kavanaugh to gore. Although "XX" is the gender chromosome for females. It's also the Roman Numeral twenty, as in they will probably be screaming about Kavanaugh for the next 20 years.

Cottle also hits at least three Trump Derangement Syndrome Bingo spaces in the piece. You have some bathroom lingo ("leakier than a busted toilet"), reference to his crisply knotted tie (nota bene: all modern Presidents wear ties for these occasions) and of course the overarching sprinkling throughout with the reminder that all President Trump really amounts to is a reality TV star.

Do you think she seems to dislike this President?

Monday, July 9, 2018

Mark Shea Attributes Inner City Violence to Trump and the Ku Klux Klan

In a recent public post on Facebook, Catholic commentator Mark Shea used the euphemistic spelling of America as AmeriKKKa — indicative of the Ku Klux Klan — to make point about anti-immigrant, racial violence. To this remark, a commenter points out that the man of Mexican heritage was attacked by a black person.

"AmeriKKKa? The attackers were black."

I checked out the claim and discovered that the commenter was correct. This seems to be a good illustration of posting before you have fully thought through the implications of your assertions. I can type the words Trump's AmeriKKKa in about 2 seconds, Whereas watching the full video took me several minutes. It is possible that Mark Shea did not even watch the video which would explain why he imagined white Southerners committing the crime.

Furthermore we are informed that this is happening in the context of "Trump's America", (sorry, I got tired of misspelling my country) so we are asked to dutifully accept the assertion that this is one of the 4% of black females who voted for Trump. In the Willowbrook section of Los Angeles.

We have to buy that Brooklyn Bridge.

Once again, everything goes back to white racism for Mark Shea, and Republican white racism even when in the inner city a Mexican is beaten by blacks.

Donald Trump received a paltry 24% of the vote in Los Angeles.

Exposing your own thought process in this way would seem to indicate that you are unaware of your own prejudices to a degree which would make the man with the "beam" in his own eye blush.

This is Facebook activism, not sound reason or sensible commentary. Mark Shea is not a reliable guide on moral matters nor on Catholic matters. Period.

The definition of prejudice

Prejudice. Judging someone or something before you know anything about it. Born of ignorance, and rightly ridiculed.

The one girl actually claims she "just saw the pick". False memory. It happens.

Students hate Trump's SCOTUS pick. The first two words are all you need to know: "Students hate."

Hey, Democrats: Thank You and Keep It Up!

So why are Democrats leaving their party? Maybe it is because they are not sure what their party stands for anymore. Or, maybe what their party stands for is being revealed now and the membership does not like it so much. In a good article with lots of links to back up its claims, Christopher Roach asks the question "What does the Democratic party stand for?" I have no idea, but here is a little bit of what it is accomplishing (from the article):

The Democratic Party’s embrace of its left wing has done Donald Trump and the Republican Party a great service. Obama, after all, won in 2008 and 2012 by pretending to be a moderate, deploying unifying rhetoric, and providing social services, including affordable healthcare, to the middle class. Only after his 2012 win did he revert to his Hyde Park socialist background, taking sides on contentious issues like the Trayvon Martin shooting and the anti-police riots in Ferguson. In his second term, he finally decided to push for gun control and the normalization of transgenders in schools and the military. Most importantly, he made it clear that he would do nothing to stop the demographic re-engineering of America and its electorate by stopping immigration, instead, he de facto legalized the-so-called Dreamers through executive order.

As the continuity candidate, Clinton lost. The voters found a voice and a choice in Trump. Instead of going back to the drawing board—as Democrats did with Bill Clinton and his Democratic Leadership Council candidacy in 1992—they have instead shown they think the party simply needs to shout their message more loudly and with greater purity.

My snarky thought as I read through the article was "thanks, Democrats." Then I saw that the author had a similar viewpoint and added the word "thanks" at the end. I would like to see the Democrat Party return to more sane policy positions. But if they are truly moving into the realm of liberal fascism and all this new unhinged fervor is merely a tearing off of their masks, I hope they keep it up.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Democrats are Walking Away from the party

Really interesting new group of people disgusted with liberalism and the democrat party called the #WalkAway Movement or alternatively, the Unsilent Majority. The de facto leader is Brandon Straka, a gay dude from Nebraska who is sick enough of the intersectional groupthink lunacy of the left that he has formally left and is leading a movement out. Naturally he is good friends with Candace Owens, and therefore you are going to hear about taking the "red pill" if you hang around their pages.

The #WalkAway movement has a Facebook page. I don't think they have a regular site yet.

Oh yeah: they also have a Twitter page. I like to listen to them because they're bold, fresh and unfiltered. Their movement is really new and so they have all kinds of equipment failures during their live feeds. I guess Straka's phone actually overheated once and blew up his presentation. But watching the recording actually inspired me to do my own show. It's just raw conviction. They will someday be laughing about this stuff on CRTV or Fox — wherever they end up.

One thing that characterizes all of them is a sort of joie de vivre that you don't see with former-conservatives—especially the anti-Trump Evangelicals—who have become staunch liberals. Usually those people are really anger driven, grew up in a fundamentalist home, etc. Both groups are rebelling against a certain type of self-righteousness, but whereas the #WalkAway people are stressing free-thinking and reason the Christian Leftists are mostly advocating for a more different, ideologically strict self-righteousness based on their newly found leftism. I just had a combox convo with some of them... hoo-boy.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Donald Trump is the President of the United States

I have been complemplating writing this post for a long time and keep putting it off. I feel like I need to write this before I post anything else about politics or President Trump, which are somewhat conflated subjects at this present moment. But the first 100 days came and went, then there was the inaugural anniversary. And I think recently there was the first 500 day mark. Missed them all. I could spin this and say "Hey, I wanted to make sure Trump is OK. You know, doesn't flip out or turn out to be actually a fascist dictator, you know...." But that's not it. I can't help it that I'm an optimist who knows a little about actual history involving fascist dictators.

You can find tons of negative stuff on this blog about Trump if you wish, dated two or so years ago. Some of it I still agree with. Other stuff I would agree with except it would make me look even stupider than I was then.

The main reason I feel obliged to write this is that I was very critical of Trump during the primaries, voted for Kasich, and was displeased that Trump got the nomination. I was sure he was going to lose. I even had a friend who saw him as a conspirator placed in the ring to throw the fight to Hillary. I'm not into conspiracy theories, but this one was enticing due to my Trump-disdain.

In hindsight I missed a lot of signs of Trump's impending upset over Clinton even though I saw the same signs in rural Ohio that Salena Zito saw in rural PA. I want to comment on Trump and his administration on this blog more, and the reason is that I have been spending way too much time on social media. I need to go back to the "good old days" of blogs which are much harder to use, seemingly. (More on that in another post....)

Anyway, back to the election. My problems with Trump and my anxiety about the election did not improve much during the run up to the 2016 Election. The polls were so bad and I was so turned off by some Trump supporters that I wasn't paying attention to anyone pulling for Trump and predicting his victory even if they were making some sense.

I was reading Nate Silver's polling site incessantly until mid-September of '16 when I started a very long, on-site project in Detroit for an automotive finance company with a very diverse employment demographic. I voted early in Downtown Cleveland as soon as the polls for early voting opened. For President I voted dutifully for the Trump-Pence ticket. I was never a #NeverTrump person; I'm a process-voter and I always believe there is a calculus which can be used to determine the best or least bad candidate.

I was staying at an Air-BNB in Southfield, Michigan and listening to the election night coverage on a Salem radio station. I realized at the moment that Trump was declared the winner that my biggest objection to his candidacy was always that he was going to lose. So, there went that. I had a bunch of other objections to him that still bug me: the relentless tweeting, the trade-war silliness, the unwillingness to let others fight small battles, the braggadocio, etc. However these are minimal now compared to the cold war declared on conservatives at this time and the attempt to smear us all as racially bigoted, harass people in public, etc.

The day after the big win, I was seated with a bunch of middle-aged white colleagues at the cafeteria of said automotive finance company with very diverse employment demographic. We were all kind of quiet and looking at each other trying not to grin, seemingly. I said, "Well, I can't believe it but Trump won." Everyone sort of loosened up and cracked wide smiles and nodded. "Yep," "Pretty amazing," were some of the replies. "I mean," I said, "Trump frickin' won Michigan!" More replies of "Yeah, pretty amazing." No one wanted to talk much about it in case the security cameras were pointed at us.

In the weeks that followed I really couldn't believe what was going on in the media and in the liberal minds. Anger, frustration, temper tantrums.... Van Jones's famous "whitelash" comments were an example of some of the more mild reactions. Women left in the middle of dates if they found out the dude voted for Trump. Remember that? Some crazy nut advised women to "get your abortions now" just to show where the mind was going, if there was a mind involved in that verbal exchange.

But during those weeks and months I was really consoled by the fact that Trump had really moderated, and his actions deviated from his earlier rhetoric. The case in point is the travel ban. As written, the travel ban does not mention religion, hence the Supreme Court Justices who upheld it did not even need to consider the fact that he referred to a Muslim travel ban in campaign speeches.

I started having interesting juxtaposed arguments with people on both sides. One day I argued with a relative who hates Trump. I pointed out that he really isn't doing anything different than other Republican Presidents would be doing, so you either dislike the Republican agenda in general or you have something personal against Trump. There was probably truth in both these possibilities, but he would not accept either. To summarize his reason for hating Trump: Trump is evil and we must oppose evil. The next day I was at a picnic for a Catholic group arguing with Trump fanatics ("Trump-train" people) that Trump needs to tone it down with the tweets and trash-talking private citizens. They jumped on me reflexively with "What, would you rather Hillary be President? What about Antifa? Huh?" and "He has to do this to drain the swamp," a phrase that is getting stale and shouldn't be used as a blanket excuse for everything Trump does. These guys were Buchanan-ites so I said, "Hey, I think Trump is doing a lot of good things. Bombing Assad and Syria? I'll take that any day...." That shut them up.

Obviously I have been very much enjoying my new role as "the sensible person" even if I am not always recognized as such. In the past I was always looked at as the hyper-conservative. Now I'm properly cynical like the other guys I'd meet in the barber shop if I wasn't a bald cheapskate. I have tried to be very sensitive to the fact that certain people felt like they really couldn't vote for Trump because of what disgusting behavior he has indulged in. I was sitting in a bar in Pennsylvania with five of my friends whom I've known since grade-school. They are all religious conservatives. I was the only one who voted for Trump. Some of them were fine with the fact that I did that, but others were disgusted with me, two in particular. I think it's possible that they might have since changed their mind after Gorsuch, but they are both college professors and I think Trump's pedestrian manner come across as grating to them.

This post has turned into sort of a ramble fest, but maybe that is the best way to introduce my transformation into someone who appreciates what Trump does for the most part if I don't always admire the way he does it. Around the time of the convention, I had been going to send an acquaintance of mine who was an early "Trump Train" passenger a scathing email in response to an email touting his undying Trump support. I'm very glad I did not. If there is one thing to learn from the Trump Presidency so far it is that to lose one's temper is to lose totally, and to control oneself is always the best long-term strategy.

One of Trump's strategies from the get-go has been to troll people until they lose it, or at least show their true colors. That's how he took out Marco Rubio with the Little Marco remarks. Rubio should never had made the "small hands" remark, it was a complete limp-wristed softball for Trump. I admit that watching him do it now earns my reluctant admiration. It reminds me of my favorite exchange in the original 1957 12 Angry Men when Lee Cobb rips Henry Fonda in conversation with E.G. Marshall.

"I'm a pretty excitable person. I mean, where does he come off calling me a public avenger, sadist and everything? Anyone in his right mind would blow his stack. He was just trying to bait me." says Cobb.
"He did an excellent job," replies Marshall.

I have told my kids many times that I like generally the direction in which Trump is taking our country, and that I'm glad he is president rather than Crooked Hillary, but I have also stressed to them that they shouldn't emulate his intemperance and name-calling. (You see what I did there, right?) I think that objectivity is always to be striven for in the matters of the policies which govern our nation and that is why I find it silly for people to insist that Trump is "not my President! Not my President!" I've never said anyone was either my President or not my President, like I refer to my mother or my wife or my car.

Donald Trump is the President of the United States. That is an objective, unbiased fact. And every night we say the exact same thing during our family prayers. We used to say "God Bless President Obama," and now we say "God Bless President Trump."