Monday, February 27, 2012

Yes You Will!

We know that the President is a formidable fundraiser, the best ever.  "President Obama says a campaign is like an investment." 

Solyndra honcho and Obama bundler, George Kaiser certainly wouldn't dispute that.  Neither could Warren Buffet, George Soros or Jeff Immelt.
[H]aving raked in $750 million in 2008 and potentially on track to surpass that amount in 2012. His campaign and the Democratic Party raised $224 million in 2011 alone, more than the Republican field combined.

In a flagging economy, it may be hard to fathom not only where that money is coming from but also what it could buy if it were diverted elsewhere.
Who says that the Republicans are the party of the big wigs, the 1%?  Somebody not in the know, evidently.

I've got a guess as to where all that unfathomable "money is coming from": beneficiaries of 2009's near-trillion dollar stimulus, and four-year recipients of big government largesse.

As I say, it's just a guess.  Given the general lack of media interest in the identities and interconnectedness of Democratic donors, not having gotten any of the loot myself, and having been saddled with higher debt and taxes to pay for the giveaways, I'm in no position to know. 

It occurred to me that if the President wanted to be both frugal and green friendly, he could recycle his 2008 campaign posters and use them again with slight modifications.  Let me suggest a modest change in slogans from "Yes We Can" to "Yes You Will!"

That would nicely fit his second term platform, which is to hang onto the legislative and regulatory impositions he foisted onto a howling and resistant public in his first two years in office.  It would be much more convenient to keep ramrodding away from a power position than it would be to fight a rear guard action with only the judicial branch of government and the media--the traditional Democratic Party bulwarks--to fend off the savages.

Insourcing at GE

Buried on page B7 of today's Wall Street Journal (but highlighted by different editors in the front page "What's News" section, is an item entitled "GE's Work Force Rose in 2011 First Time in Years."  The real story is that all of GE's employment growth was overseas.

That might be embarrassing for a company whose CEO serves as President Obama's cheerleader to the Fortune 500, and business-bona-fides fig leaf to the public.  The President hopes to draw attention to GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's outsourcing to save dying companies at Bain Capital.  

You may recall the President's recent jab at Romney--his announcement of an "insourcing" initiative to bring jobs home.  Perhaps Immelt wasn't in on the strategy loop, or is switching his allegiance to bird-of-a-capitalist-feather Romney.
The overall uptick marks the first job growth for GE in four years. The number of GE workers has been on the wane since 2007, when the Fairfield, Conn., company employed 327,000 people world-wide. At the time, GE employed 155,000 people in the U.S.
GE's U.S. work force is something of a sensitive issue for Chief Executive Jeff Immelt, who serves as chairman of President Barack Obama's jobs and competitiveness council and has urged business leaders to do more to spur domestic job growth. 
The company employed 131,000 people in the U.S. at the end of last year, down 1.5% from 133,000 at the end of 2010.
GE's overseas employment--outsourced jobs that aren't in the US because they are in other, less-costly, non-union countries--grew by 10%, or 17,000 jobs, to 170,000 employees.

The company explained that US employment shrunk due to GE's sale of NBC, which reduced its US workforce by 12,000 people.  It didn't comment on why it is beefing up operations in foreign countries rather than in the US.

Back on the political front:
Mr. Obama has tried to brand himself as a crusader for the middle class and touched on that theme Wednesday as he praised companies for bringing jobs back from abroad. 
He’s not spending much to advance the goal. Mr. Obama said his fiscal 2013 budget will include a request for $12 million in new resources to increase a federal program that promotes business investment in the U.S.
Twelve million here; twelve million there; pretty soon you're talking about real money.

On the public relations front, GE also announced that it is hiring 5,000 military veterans over the next five years.  Given that it will likely be angering domestic job watchers by hiring many more people in foreign countries, one might view GE's gesture as a novel use of the military to extend an olive branch.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fallen Creation

Man abused his creation in the beginning at the behest of the tempter.  Mankind lost out on a good deal, original justice, in which we had full reign over our bodies, innocence, complete satisfaction of our material needs, and life in the garden of eden.  The evil one was able to persuade us to turn our backs on it all.

Paradoxically, we were able to sin because we were created in the image and likeness of God: free.  Sin demonstrates our likeness to God as it demonstrates our freedom to choose good or evil.  Ironically, this likeness to God--free choice, but of evil rather than good--becomes our negation of God as the Creator.

Man wants not only freedom to choose good and evil, but to "be like god knowing good and evil," meaning to determine it.  That is neither our prerogative nor the basis of our relation to God.  Sin is thus a negation of our relationship with him.

What would happen if men lost the sense of sin, which many Popes and philosophers have warned of?  Frankly, we live in a society that doesn't know what a sin is.

Who can believe in it, we ask ourselves?  How can something be a sin if it doesn't hurt anyone?  How can anything between consenting adults be a sin?  How can anything I do in the privacy of my own home be a sin?

Fr. John wryly noted of California that the only mortal sin left there was smoking, but only of tobacco.  (BTW, he's having a good time at the expense of the once Golden State.)  Personally, I think there's another: downloading copyrighted material.

How can missing Sunday mass, for instance, be a mortal sin.  Many get nothing from it, find it boring and irrelevant.  The cost-benefit analysis they apply to it yields the conclusion to ignore it.

Not assisting at mass is easy to rationalize.  It can't be as grave as shooting someone we say to ourselves; they can't both be mortal sins.

Or, the weekly requirement is just an arbitrary rule made by people in power to control our lives.  Indeed, maybe that's true of all morality.

The only way out of this morass is to focus on relationships.  Imagine that I had a girlfriend who professed deep love for me, but because we were both so busy with work, hobbies, friends, activities or even sleeping in, she'd like to limit our time together to just once per month.

I would conclude that her deeds spoke louder than her sweet words, and that she did not love me as much as she loved those other things.  It would kill our relationship.  In other words, it would be mortal.

It's the same way with God.  We can kill our relationship with him by our indifference.  That's why the matter in question is rightly called a mortal sin.

With regard to sexual morality, society considers Catholic teaching--which promulgates the sinfulness of even impure thoughts and glances--neurotic, unhealthy.  But, consider them in the context of a young couple's relationship.

If every, or any, salacious looking woman turned his head when he was with her, she wouldn't like it.  His protests that he wasn't doing anything to hurt her would likely fall on deaf ears.

Every glance would say "You have competition.  And, right now, you're losing."

Our imagination says the same thing to God.  "You're losing the competition right now.  Something else beats you, hands down."  It's a mortal sin because it kills the relationship with God.

The pharisee and the publican are instructive in this regard.  "The Pharisee stood up and prayed, 'God, I thank you that I'm not like other people! I'm not a robber or a dishonest person. I haven't committed adultery. I'm not even like this tax collector."

"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

Some have identified the pharisee with ethics and the publican with grace.  That doesn't capture the story's significance.

Rather, the pharisee looks to himself, without relation.  He is self sufficient.  The publican on the other hand knows that he draws life from being in relation with God, the font of goodness, forgiveness, mercy and love.

Grace doesn't dispense with ethics.  It liberates it and sets in relation to God.

Conquering sin is not simply a matter of avoiding negatives.  Actually, the positive aspect is primary for relations.

Imagine that our hypothetical boyfriend doesn't look at the attractive woman passing by.  Rather, he turns instead to his beloved and looks her in the eyes.  The message will be clear: he loves me; he only has eyes for me.

God sees these things, too.  He knows how we handle temptation, and what it means to our relationships with them.

One can even learn to view temptation with anticipation, which makes it possible to show love for God with deeds.  Nobody, however, has to look for temptation, which will find us without our help.  But, one can seize it when it arises.

We know the remedy for sinfulness, confession, which we can take frequent and full advantage of.  Proportionality should be our guide.

Mass-on-Sunday Catholics should probably confess monthly for the sake of their relationships with God.  Daily mass goers will want to confess weekly or bi-weekly.

It's a matter of spiritual hygiene rather than of mortal sin.  We bathe and brush our teeth before offending anyone with our odor.  Why wait until the relationship with our Lord is damaged?  We don't want to repulse him.

We cannot be afraid to confront sin, as doing so is the way to our Lord.  By facing it, we overcome barriers and gain greater intimacy with him than we enjoyed before sinning.

We can ask our lady, refuge of sinners, to help us make a concise, concrete, clear and complete confession.  With contrition and reparation for our sins, and those of others, we can rekindle this most important relationship with Jesus Christ.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Retreat to Emmaus

I am on retreat this weekend, and will be sharing meditations and talks with you.  It is not a moment too soon to take this break from the daily grind, and I hope not many moments too late.

St Luke tells us about the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk. 24:13-35).  They were walking along, talking about everything that had happened concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus.  He walks with us, too and, like them, we don't always recognize him.

"What words are these that you are exchanging as you walk and are sad?"  He asks this of us, too, and desires that we talk with him about what troubles us.

Cleophas answered him, "Art thou the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?"  Of course Jesus knew about the events in which he was the protagonist, just as he knows what is troubling us.  But, he wanted them to express themselves from their hearts, like he wants us to.

"We were hoping that it was him who should redeem Israel." Perhaps they'd put their hope in politics, thinking that Jesus would free Israel from the yoke of a foreign oppressor.  Perhaps we, too, place our hope in politics, and his ability to redeem the country and free it from oppressors who attack people of faith.
"Moreover, certain women of our company, who were at the tomb before it was light, astounded us, and not finding his body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said that he is alive.  So some of our company went to the tomb, and found it even as the women had said, but him they did not see."
Like them, there are signs in our lives that we don't see.  What is Jesus's response?
"O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!... And beginning then with Moses and with all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things referring to himself." 
He spoke to them through scripture, just like he speaks to us.  Fr. John gave us a practical tip regarding how to read scripture.

Think of it as a collection of love letters.  If my wife sent me a love letter, I would drop everything as soon as possible, go to a private place, open and devour every word of it, absorb it, and then save it in a special place where only I could get at it.  I would take it out periodically to reread it, to experience it anew, maybe even years or decades after I received it.

A retreat is like a second honeymoon.  What with children, pressures, responsibilities, stress and the like, a couple can get so absorbed in their roles that they become like strangers living with each other.  It is good periodically to get reacquainted with one's spouse, to revisit the original vision of what life together in marriage would be.

We are on retreat to reacquaint ourselves with Our Lord, and his plans for our lives.  We are here for an encounter, just like the one that happened on the road to Emmaus.

I would be upset with my wife if she used our second honeymoon time on the beach together to network socially, or keep abreast of newsworthy events.  It wouldn't be a very good second honeymoon, nothing like the first one when our world was a unity.

Similarly, it's good to get away from the social and regular media periodically, and refocus on unity with Our Lord.

It is good to rekindle one's eucharistic amazement, which is analogous to Gary Smalley's "wow factor" in marriage.  I know the experience of seeing my wife and thinking "Wow! Here is someone who loves me despite all these years of living with me, despite knowing nearly everything about me."

I may experience the same amazement with my children.  "Wow! This is an incarnation of my wife's and my love."

Whether I say it aloud, or not, she and they can tell I think it.  They feel it; they see it on my face or in my eyes.

The same is true of the Eucharist.  "Wow! Here is Our Lord who is waiting for me, staying here so that I can spend time with him, who loves me despite my defects.

Jesus opened the disciples' eyes in the breaking of the bread.  "Was not our heart burning within us while he was speaking on the road and explaining to us the Scriptures?"

He did this to Karol Wojtyla in the first mass he celebrated as a priest on 11/2/46.  His eyes were opened to the sacrifice of the mass at his hands, and he saw it as the place where time and space merge into the drama of Golgotha.

Many if not most of us have experienced moments of closeness to Our Lord.   We all get caught up in things, and tend to forget.

It is important to get reacquainted periodically with the one who loves each and every one of us madly.  It is a good time to ask him about the goals he would like us to strive towards.

Mary can also tell us many things about him if we turn to her, just as she did to St. Luke whose gospel is filled with details about the birth of Jesus that only she would have known.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Climate Theft

Recent leaks about a think tank's attempt to combat global warming orthodoxy in science education were the result of skullduggery.  Peter Gleick, part of the man-made climate change establishment, has confessed to pretexting.
In his blog on the Huffington Post, Gleick publicly confessed to deceitful tactics that he described as a serious ethical slip.

My judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts ... to attack climate science and scientists.
You might be forgiven for thinking that the attacks mostly go in the opposite direction.  In 2009, leaked emails from East Anglia University revealed collusive efforts to hide and falsify data, and blacklist skeptical climate scientists.
“In a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else’s name,” Gleick wrote. “My judgment was blinded by my frustration ... I deeply regret my own actions in this case.”
A pretexting scandal in 2006 at tech giant HP resulted in the resignation of board member George Keyworth, non-executive chairwoman Patricia Dunne and general counsel Ann Baskins.  Today's revelations resulted in Gleick's resignation from the National Center for Science Education.

The admission may not be Gleick's final word on the subject, however, as there is some question as to the authorship of a crucial leaked document.  He may be guilty of forgery as well as deceit in his effort to champion the end of climate orthodoxy by any means.
The Heartland Institute calls [the memo entitled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy”] a forgery -- and [Heartland Institute president Joseph L.]Bast says he believes Gleick may have written it. 
"Gleick also claims he did not write the forged memo, but only stole the documents to confirm the content of the memo he received from an anonymous source,” Bast said. “This too is unbelievable. Many independent commentators already have concluded the memo was most likely written by Gleick.” 
"We hope Gleick will make a more complete confession in the next few days,” Bast wrote.
Even if the memo were legitimate, I'm at a loss as to what the Heartland Institute's effrontery is.  The memo "describes plans to create an anti-global warming science campaign for grade schools that will 'dissuad[e] teachers from teaching science.'"

The implication is that challenges to global warming orthodoxy are not science.  Scientists listed in a Wikipedia article about climate skeptics may beg to differ.

In response to criticism of their Wall Street Journal op-ed piece entitled "No Need to Panic About Global Warming," the original authors raise the salient point with regards to scientific inquiry:
[W]hat is being disputed is the size and nature of the human contribution to global warming. To claim, as the Trenberth letter apparently does, that disputing this constitutes "extreme views that are out of step with nearly every other climate expert" is peculiar indeed. 
One might infer from the Trenberth letter that scientific facts are determined by majority vote. Some postmodern philosophers have made such claims. But scientific facts come from observations, experiments and careful analysis, not from the near-unanimous vote of some group of people. 
The continued efforts of the climate establishment to eliminate "extreme views" can acquire a seriously threatening nature when efforts are directed at silencing scientific opposition. In our op-ed we mentioned the campaign circa 2003 to have Dr. Chris de Freitas removed not only from his position as editor of the journal Climate Research, but from his university job as well. Much of that campaign is documented in Climategate emails, where one of the signatories of the Trenberth et al. letter writes: "I believe that a boycott against publishing, reviewing for, or even citing articles from Climate Research [then edited by Dr. de Freitas] is certainly warranted, but perhaps the minimum action that should be taken."
If climate scientists are so certain of their position, why must they resort to fraud, deceit, intimidation and reprisals in order to make their case?

Rather conveniently--too conveniently--for those of a Leftist persuasion, climate science advocates solutions congenial to traditional Statist beliefs, e.g., control of the population and the economy.  It reminds me of what ecologists like Gleick have in common with watermelons: both are green on the outside and red on the inside.

That's a joke about commies in the event you're too young to remember.  At bottom, as with the purveyors of communist utopia, the forfeiture of freedom advocated by the Climate lobby in the name of the greater good is too expensive a price to pay.

Give me liberty, or give me death.  I can say that breezily because, unlike when Patrick Henry originally made the pronouncement, the present danger--doomsday scenarios based on spurious models and falsified data--is imaginary. 

In "After America," Mark Steyn expresses incredulity at people who are precise about the year that climate armageddon will befall us but cannot predict this week's weather with accuracy.  The Gleick episode, like the East Anglia revelations before it, does nothing to relieve my incredulity.

Attempts by the status quo to maintain its prerogatives have not fared well in most fields over the past century.  This battle is a test of whether the 60's-70's counter culture, which has been so successful in overturning the received order, is subject to criticism now that it is the status quo in the climate science community, as elsewhere.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Always Your Fault, Never Mine

Presidential spokesman Jay Carney explains how the President's killing of the Keystone Pipeline was actually the Republican's fault.  They were playing politics, which the President doesn't do.
"In terms of Keystone, as you all know, the history here is pretty clear. And the fact is because Republicans decided to play political with Keystone, their action essentially forced the administration to deny the permit process because they insisted on a time frame in which it was impossible to completely approve the pipeline"... 
Alas, the President who is unbound by contrary public opinion, the Constitution, congressional opposition, press scrutiny, scruples or consideration for those he disagrees with--the enemy, to his mind--had his hands tied by John Boehner.  It makes me weep.

Is this the same president who proclaimed "I don't quit" when pushing ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, cap & trade (which, by the way, he is now pursuing surreptitiously through the executive branch) and an end to don't-ask-don't-tell?  You remember, the president who has been touting for months that "where Congress is not willing to act, we're going to go ahead and do it ourselves"?

Is this the same person who is considering "We Don't Quit" as his 2012 re-election campaign slogan?  Couldn't be.

President Obama's decision assuredly had nothing to do with his own environmentalist beliefs--which consider oil and gas to be poison rather than life giving blood to the economy--or with environmentalists' professed desires to raise the price of oil and gas in order to make costly green technology competitive.  You can take Jay Carney's word for it.

How apposite the White House spokesman's name is.  Carney: a carnival barker.  And the White House press corp plays the rube in order to sucker us into believing that President Obama's government is the greatest show on earth.

The President's motto is apparently semper culpa tua est, numquam mea: It is always your fault, never mine.  It's certainly his excuse for everything that afflicts the country from its poor economy, to international chaos, to the contentious political climate in DC and throughout the nation, to the skyrocketing price of oil and gas, and killing of the Keystone Pipeline.

Now that I think of it, his motto might be Verba mea sunt calidum aerum (my words are hot air), or perhaps Ego sum ​​mendax mus (I am a lying mouse).

Only Republican presidents are denied the excuse that it's not their fault.  Even Bill Clinton let his attorney general take heat for the Waco massacre rather than accept responsibility himself.  He could have blamed Ronald Reagan and gotten away with it.

Every malady under a Republican president is his fault, whether it be a hurricane in cities and states run by Democratic administrations, or the collapse of markets blown into grotesque proportions by Democrat's affordable housing policies.  It's still George Bush's fault.

Rather than face a rabid press corp eager to quarrel and rip his every answer along with his throat to shreds, Jay Carney addresses a body of fellow travelers who are eager to cover up and retard criticism. Even follow-up questions to mildly posed challenges are deferent.

"Always your fault, never mine."  Doesn't that fill you with hope about the country's direction, and future?

Fifty Percent Tax Bracket Failing to Boost Tax Revenues

The Telegraph reports that Britain's new higher taxes on the rich aren't producing any revenue for the government.  It appears that people are changing their behavior to avoid the levy.
Senior sources said that the first official figures indicated that there had been “manoeuvring” by well-off Britons to avoid the new higher rate. The figures will add to pressure on the Coalition to drop the levy amid fears it is forcing entrepreneurs to relocate abroad.
Not only did revenues to the UK Treasury not go up.  They went down by £509 million, or roughly 5%.

The dynamics of human aversion to punishment as it relates to tax policy are well explained and documented by Arthur Laffer, et al in "The End of Prosperity" (2008).  His ideas are summarized in my post "How to Fight Black Unemployment" (9/13/11).

There's a lesson here about tax policy and populist demagoguery, one that the White House and the national media will studiously avoid learning or disseminating.  That doesn't mean that We the people are obliged to bury our heads in the sand and follow their lead.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Holy Ritmo

Whoever desecrated the picture above by tastelessly printing "Pope Robot" across it was wrong as well as wicked, and worse, inelegant; "Pobot" would have been much better.  In any event, the Pope and his entourage were actually swaying to el son Cubano.

How can I tell?  Just look at that motion, the movement in the hips and back as well as head and hands!  The photo absolutely pulsates with ritmo.

In truth I guessed it from an article announcing Pope Benedict's desire to see Fidel Castro on his upcoming trip to the Pearl of the Antilles.  The meeting will depend on el dictador's fragile health.  The more fragile, the more urgent it would be for him to receive the Pope, one might think.
At present, the pope is only scheduled to meet Fidel Castro's younger brother, President Raul Castro, 80, whose formal title is president of the Council of State and president of the Council of Ministers.   
Raul Castro is due to welcome the pope at Santiago de Cuba on March 26, hold private talks with him in Havana on March 27, and see the pontiff off when he leaves Havana for Rome on March 28.  There is no mention of Fidel Castro on the official program.
Fidel Castro, 85, ruled Cuba for 49 years before his brother succeeded him in 2008.
How's that for lifetime employment?  And, he only had to redistribute his people's freedom away in order to secure it.

It was the mention of Santiago de Cuba (St. James the Apostle) that tipped me off to the Pope's predilection for Cuban rhythms.  Listen to this, take a look at the picture again, and tell me you don't see it.

The great Benny MoréEl Bárbaro del Ritmo (The Rhythm Barbarian) and his Banda Gigante (Big Band) ruled the Cuban roost between 1953 and 1959.  You know what happened that year!  If you need a hint, it begins with "R" and rhymes with "devolution."

What would have happened to Cuban, and the world's, music had Fidel's quest for justice  without mercy--cruelty, according to Thomas Aquinas--been thwarted?  Would the British invasion have happened?  Would "I Saw Her Standing There" have become "Look at that Mulata Dance"?

One interested observer had this to say about Cuban music after the revolution:
The oldest musicians in Santiago told me that, before the Cuban Revolution in 1959, there had been a lot of musical contact between Santiago and the rest of the Caribbean. For instance, calypso was very popular in Cuba in the 1940's and early 1950's and a lot of Cuban artists (including my friend, the late great Compay Segundo) had made calypso records. After the Revolution, Cuba had other priorities and the level of interaction reduced dramatically. As a result, Caribbean musical developments from 1959 onwards mostly didn't reach Cuba.
"After the Revolution, Cuba had other priorities."  That's cute: priorities like survival, staying out of Fidel's concentration camps, and getting your children to the safety of Florida even at the cost of your life, which, you may recall, Elian Gonzalez's mother paid.  (By the way, I'd have prayed that Cuban music would not evolve into Ska, which sounds like Reggae infused with Buggle-Gum!)

One thing that did happen to Cuban music is it moved to New York, fused with Puerto Rican rhythms, the Boogaloo and the Shingaling, and became Salsa.  Oh happy tyranny!

By the way, check out this movie clip if you'd like to know how shoulders and hips are meant to move.

As you can tell by now, this post has almost nothing to do with the holy father, and everything to do with pre-revolutionary Cuban music, which is no less compelling for the passage of time.  Fossilization is one of communism's specialties.  But even without it, this music would be timeless.

Time is one thing that stands still in Cuba--economic development is another, which remains arrested in a state of 1950's development.  That's only fitting.  Fidel's Russian masters were frozen in the feudal era for centuries, well into the 20th.

Cuban friends in law school told me that I'd love Miami, where I'd be considered a Lefty in comparison to Cuban Americans, the most conservative people on the planet.  That reminds me of the old joke about Fidel's converting Cuba into the largest country in the world, with its land in the Caribbean, its capitol in Russia, and its population in the US.

It's been a long time since I viewed "The Buena Vista Social Club,"  which was sad to me then, especially when the old-timers travelled to NYC and didn't even know who JFK was.  I think I'll enjoy it more now.

Long live Benny Moré and the rhythm that flows in Cuban blood.  May the Pope's mission be successful, so that the land of Guajira Guantanamera can rejoin the Western Hemisphere and commune with all of its cultures, not just the ones dominated by Leftist strongmen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Audacity of Power

Charles Kadlec writes in Forbes Magazine about last week's governmental overreach into Americans' lives and liberties.  If you don't know by now that the State has ordered the Church to violate its principles, and religious believers to violate their consciences by complying with an ObamaCare diktat to actively cooperate with evil, you are asleep on watch at the wall of separation.

To be fair, the President has only overreached into traditional Americans' lives and liberties, on behalf of Left-wing, revolutionary Americans and their radical feminist ideology.  It's not as if he's acting the tyrant without someone's support and encouragement.

Revolutionary Lefties don't worry about there being nobody around to speak for them when their time comes--Martin Niemöller, and all that--because they don't see themselves as aggressors, and they intend to force everyone into compliance with their monist obsessions.  They don't suspect that anyone will come for them because they don't expect to leave anyone with a different mind hanging around.

They're like a cross between Don Ciccio and Sauron.  That's my view, incidentally, not necessarily Kadlec's.

Kadlec ends his fine piece, thus:
[T]he Catholic Church can [make] a humble statement of principal that in the matters of religious practices and conscience, there is a higher authority than government Who it chooses to obey. If President Obama prevails and unleashes the full force of the federal government against the Church, the cost will be the closing of Catholic schools, hospitals and the loss of social services that play a vital part in communities across the nation. Such a stand would make clear to the American people that the alternative to religious freedom would be a mortal wound to our civil liberties and a complete disruption of civil society. 
I am not a Catholic, nor do I believe in the Church’s opposition to contraception. But I pray that the leadership of the Catholic Church will have the faith and courage to stand for its core beliefs and use all of its moral power and political influence to defeat the President’s edict. I pray they will reach out across the political spectrum to people of all faiths, agnostics and atheists in the name of religious freedom and individual liberty. By so doing, they, and the institution of the Catholic Church, will have my love and respect for the rest of my life.
With respect to the first paragraph, if the Church vacates the helping space in civil society, it will abandon its divinely conferred mission.  That is less likely to happen than its paying the fines, or Bishops going to jail for non-compliance.

It would also be contrary to what America needs especially at this perilous moment.  Civil society, of which the Church is a crucial element, must increase; the government and its totalistic impulses, not to mention its outrageous cost, must decrease.  Leaving the field would perversely accomplish just the opposite.

The preferable outcome is for the various groups mentioned in the second paragraph to join forces with the Catholic Church to raise such a ruckus that even emperor Obama hiding behind his Praetorian Press doesn't feel politically safe.

If "President Obama unleashes the full force of the federal government against the Church," then he should be removed from power by impeachment even before the election.  He's already unleashed enough of it to warrant his defeat in November.

Conceptually, this firestorm has been provoked on behalf of a shibboleth and a fraud. The former is that women's healthcare mandates contraception coverage (paid for by somebody else, yet); that contraception is "[health]care she needs" rather than a service she requires by choosing to subject her natural, healthy physiology to her actions, rather than conform her actions to her physiology.

The fraudulent premise is that healthcare needs to be paid for by one's employer. Why?  Why not by oneself, which would turn competitive market forces loose on escalating costs?

The most beneficial result from this social ordeal would be the public's conscious identification of what passes for women's rights in feminist circles as "a mortal wound to our civil liberties and complete disruption of civil society."  Feminists of either sex are totalitarians and cannot be trusted with power.

Satism + Feminism = Culture of Death!

The strident march of tolerance--for sexual rights, but not for those who consider them sinful--has left a shambles of American governance from the Supreme Court to the White House, not sparing the Capitol.  Can we stop thinking with our pelvises now?

I am heartened that a non-catholic proponent of contraception can see that the Catholic Church stands on moral and American ground, while the government that deigns to impose sexual beliefs more congenial to him on resistant religious adherents is neither moral, nor American.  As Mike Huckabee said the other day, we are all Catholics now.

Some of us were proud to be Catholic before being singled out to carry this cross for American liberty.  Personally, I have not experienced this kind of solicitude from unlikely quarters since receiving condolences from around the world on 9/11.

I am encouraged by the Bishops stalwart defense of the Church's, and religious citizens' rights guaranteed under the US Constitution, and by the mobilization of resources in the lay Catholic world to fight the government's abuse, e.g., Ave Maria Radio's "STOP HHS MANDATE" Facebook page.  I'd feel better for America's chances if the ACLU and other civil liberties lefties raised their voices in defense of real liberty, rather than license for a change.

President Obama is deaf in the right ear.  Maybe he would relent if the organs of Leftist piety spoke up.  Now that I think of it, that's probably why they haven't.

This is a perilous, but transcendent moment for American culture.  Evangelicals are casting suspicions aside to unite behind a Catholic contender for the Republican presidential nomination.  "People of all faiths, agnostics and atheists" are reaching out to find common ground and join hands with faithful Catholics, not with people they have been heretofore content to let beat on the Church.

They're speaking out for us, even though they aren't Catholics and may not even like the Catholic Church, before Moloch comes for them.  We'll be there to speak out for them then, as they are for us now.

These are historic shifts in posture and alliance.  We have nothing to fear from cooperation but fear itself.

God bless America by preserving its freedoms for believers of all stripes, and non-believers alike.  Ad arguendo, if there is no God, we can still wish for peace on earth to men of goodwill.

The only people turned away--by their own choice to rest faith in power rather than peaceable co-existence--are the monist obsessives.  President Obama, Kathleen Sibelius, and the Democratic Congress that imposed ObamaCare on an unwilling populace have shown us which direction their banner in America flies: Leftwards, always Leftwards.

Kadlec begins, and I end, with the words of the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice, Louis D. Brandeis:

“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent.” 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Unduly Provocative

I know that President Obama is cool, and everybody just loves him personally.  But, does it ever seem as if he's going out of his way to poke his finger in your eye?  Not that you'd mind, of course.

Well, it turns out you're most probably right.  Rule for Radicals #10 (no, I'm not joking) is "The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition."

The dark lord of discord, Saul Alinsky, explains:
It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.  It should be remembered not only that the action is in the reaction but that action is itself the consequence of reaction and of reaction to the reaction, ad inifinitum. the pressure produces the reaction, and constant pressure sustains action. (Ch. 7, p. 129).
He expounds on this theme in different variations, and summarizes shortly thereafter in three bullet points (p. 136):
  • The real action is in the enemy's reaction.
  • The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength
  • Tactics, like organization, like life require that you move with the action.
Aren't you happy to know that your President is schooled in this stuff, and that he's on more than one campaign: a political one to retain power, and an ideological one, Antonio Gramsci's final long march through the institutions of Ronald Reagan's last, best hope of man on earth?  I thought so.

So, how are we to react?  Let me suggest by voting him and his Party out of office in November before this whole thing blows from excessive pressure.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

One Year Old

What would a birthday be without some commemoration?  Noman Says is one year old today.

It occurred to me just yesterday that somebody out there might be invoking me as an authority in an argument, or mentioning me in a conversation: "Noman says..."  That's my hope, especially for readers overseas.

It's been a good year, though I'm amazed I stayed with it.  If the President had been less forceful shoving his defective ideas about state power down the country's throat, I might not have.

Then, there was the economy--always a lively topic.  May it once again become safe in America to earn money and better one's lot in life without running to the government for permission or a handout.

Movies were fun to write about.  But I never did get around to singing the praises of some great films I saw with my family, e.g., The Sound of Music (1965), Rear Window (1954), Key Largo (1948), The Quiet Man (1952) and Roman Holiday (1953).  Your family will love them, and so will you.

It was also fun sharing my passions in music.  Cuban soneros--e.g., Papaito, Monguito, Joseito Fernandez and Abelardo Barroso--are wafting through my soul these days.

Try Joseito's "Tu Tierra y tu Libertad."  "Cuidate mi hermano tu tierra y tu libertad": take care my brother for your land and your liberty.  It makes me weep for America.

I really enjoy looking for just the right picture, or video.  It takes time, but I hope it adds to the reader's pleasure.  It does to mine, and I marvel at the wealth of graphic art available at a click.

I recently dropped the trope of writing in the third person.  Some people liked it.  A few really didn't like it, including my wife.  It reminded her of Bob Dole.  So, that settled that.

Richard John Neuhaus once wrote that the most important thing is for a writer to find his voice.  I'm still searching.  But, my natural sarcasm is starting to flow more freely.

I'd hoped to bring an intellectual tone to the topics I discussed.  I haven't yet given up hope, but the times are testing me sorely.

In a sane world, celebrity flame throwers like Ann Coulter and Michael Savage (both very intelligent people) would not be necessary.  Draw your own conclusion from the fact that they are valuable reference points in the struggle to maintain one's sanity in a metaphysically deficient culture.

I don't want to be a flame thrower.  But, being Hispanic, my blood runs hot to begin with.  And, it doesn't take much to get me going.

Fr. C. John McCloskey once told me that you write when you can no longer not write.  I hit that point last year after having some health problems.  I didn't want to die without saying my piece.  And, I wanted my children to have a record of what their dad thought about things.

I'd spent the past twenty years of my life trying not to leave a trail of what I thought in order to protect a career in academe.  So far, so good.  Of course, all it takes is one Liberal nazi of a student to derail an entire class and make one's life, and institution, miserable.  Pray that if I'm ever confronted with my decidedly non-PC views in class, I'll be able to mow the little sucker down and leave them laughing--him too--at the pile of grass in his seat.

My favorite post of the year was entitled "The Entitlement Mentality."  I wrote about dependency, President Obama's Auntie Zeituni Onyango, and the problem of people thinking they are owed a living.  No society can afford that, whether or not it's true as a transcendent matter, not even a Christian one that wants to lend everyone a hand.

The President has bitterly disappointed me from day one when he began pushing through a trillion dollar giveaway when the last thing the country could afford was more debt.  Six trillion dollars of it later, we are a transformed economy.  We will either inflate, default or tax ourselves into permanent recession.  I think he knew that.

As I mentioned sometime during the year, I knew him in Law School.  He impressed me then.  Something bad happened to him in the Saul Alinsky finishing school for radical revolutionaries, aka community organizers.  He depresses me now.

But, something really snapped when he came back from his summer vacation with political handlers and money men in Martha's Vineyard, and delivered his American Jobs Act speech to a joint session of Congress.  It was clear that he had nothing but smoke and mirrors, name calling and eye poking.

He even staged a fake terror alert to divert attention from his stink bomb.  Unlike Lebron, he had no game; no real game anyways.  In sum, he wasted everyone's time and picked a needless, divisive and inflammatory class-warfare fight that he has waged everyday since. 

It is evident that he has one plan, one single-minded purpose: to expand the scope of government, increase its size, divert the nation's resources to its upkeep, and control the people's every activity (except sexual, as long as it's deviant) through it.  All his rhetoric and head-swiveling are for show.

My tone has darkened since then.  We're in worse trouble than I thought possible.  Now, he wants to send Afghan terrorists back to the unraveling Middle East in order to placate the Taliban, and our country hovers on the brink of a second S&P downgrade.  His team is gearing up to protect ObamaCare at any cost so that--as we've all learned recently if somehow, somebody didn't see it coming--enemies of the sexual revolution (feminist version) can be crushed under jackboot.

Themes of importance to me in no particular order are pointing out the natural link between Statism and the culture of death, and the corresponding one between classical liberal political economy and the culture of life; the social necessity of inculcating an individual ethos of independence and self-determination (full well knowing that we depend on many others, most of all God) rather than one of entitlement and dependency; the importance of children and family to a human life, heart, soul, country and economy; the centrality of the Church and Jesus Christ to authentic American culture; the importance of classical, philosophical realism to personal and social harmony; and the crucial necessity for the Church to develop a more constructive relationship with modernity, especially economic liberalism.

My bio says a lot about me, though not all.  I'm a family man of faith who seeks the truth, and thinks he knows where to find it: in a person, Jesus Christ, and the Roman Catholic Church that he left behind in order to accompany us in our search.

I love God above all (or strive to within the confines of my failings and imperfections) and thank him for my life, love, faith, and reason.  I adore him in his ineffable unity, truthfulness, goodness and beauty.

I hope to convey that commitment in my life, and writing, and ask him to make an instrument of me for his purposes, giving me the grace not to impede him.  I pray for him to deliver me from the forces of evil that prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls, and beg him to protect my family, and country.

If he gives me another year of life, I pray for him to give me a voice, and to help me engage this culture for his greater glory.  Thank you for reading.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

More Leftist than Catholic

Phil Lawler of offers an in-depth analysis of President Obama's accommodation of the religious Left in the flap over his administration's coercion of religious institutions, most obviously Catholic ones.  

Catholic Leftists like Sr. Carol Keehan, D.C., President of the Catholic Health Association--known as Obama's nun; the presumptive Bishop of the American Church recognized by secularists and self-hating Catholics--approve of the State intruding upon the Church's internal governance.  They won't object about that until Catholic governance reflects their beliefs, at which time enough will be enough, the lamb will lay down with the lion, and Church-State relations will achieve heights of cooperative tranquility unknown to mankind since the Warsaw Pact.

Rather, the President's offense was that the State had been too overt, too clumsy, too flippant, too obviously tyrannical in pushing its beliefs on those who think differently about sexuality than the President and his fellow travelers.  Surprisingly, the Catholic Left chaffed: a group he can ill afford to lose in his continuing quest to reshape America in his image and likeness.
In a perceptive analysis of the political debate, reporter Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times said that in its decision to amend the original HHS mandate, the Obama administration was “never really driven by a desire to mollify Roman Catholic bishops, who were strongly opposed to the plan.” She explained:
Rather, the fight was for Sister Carol Keehan--head of an influential Catholic hospital group, who had supported President Obama’s health care law--and Catholic allies of the White House seen as the religious left. Sister Keehan had told the White House that the new rule, part of the health care law, went too far.
Now that Sister Keehan has endorsed the Obama “compromise” (along with Father Larry Snyder of Catholic Charities USA), the Obama administration can claim that many Catholics, including some who had originally opposed the plan, now see the wisdom of his ways. President Obama does not intend to persuade the American bishops to support his proposal; he intends to siphon off support for the bishops among American Catholic voters, driving a political wedge further into the country’s Catholic community.

The Catholic Left will happily comply with President Obama's intentions; their intentions are one and the same.  The Catholic Left shares more with his Statist beliefs than it does with the magisterium of the Church.

Can it be long before Frances Kissling shakes her pompoms at an ObamaScare rally?

Meanwhile, thoughtful citizens of good will concerned about the government's violation of consciences, and evisceration of constitutional protections, can ponder the following:
Perhaps fearful of being caught up in partisan politics, the bishops shrink from drawing the obvious conclusion from this revealing episode: that the Obama administration is contemptuous of religious freedom and determined to undermine the authority of the Catholic hierarchy. 
President Obama, on the other hand, is not averse to a political battle with the bishops. And if he is willing to risk a direct confrontation with the bishops in this, an election year, one can only imagine how blithely he would ride roughshod over Catholic protests during a second presidential term, when he would not need to worry about re-election!
Thankfully, citizens recognize that when the State presumes to define the religious identity and ministry of the Church, it's boot menaces many more throats than the one it steps on.  It shouldn't be long before Elie Wiesel chimes in.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Solomon Obama Splits the Baby

Eager to achieve universal insurance coverage for health issues caused by illicit sexual behavior, and put an election-season gaffe caused by his disregard for others' consciences behind him, President Obama has proposed to liberate religious institutions from his Administration's demand that they cover sinful behavior.

His Solomonic compromise: make the insurance carriers rather than the religious institutions pay for it.  One still might wonder what business it is of the State to dictate to religious institutions what activity they may meaningfully regard (by not subsidizing it) as sinful, which is the real point of the dispute.

Everyone knows that feminists view contraception, abortion and sterilizations as women's rights and positive goods, not as sins.  Why can the power of the State be used to champion their beliefs and trample on contrary ones, however, when the opposite imposition is viewed as an impermissible breach of the Wall of Separation between Church and State?

Justice Holmes famously wrote in his Lochner dissent, “The Fourteenth Amendment does not enact Mr. Herbert Spencer's Social Statics.”  I wonder what he would say about it's enactment of Simon de Beauvior's Second Sex?

Religious employers will still have to offer sin-care to employees, but somebody else will have to pay for it.  Evidently, the President and his allies think this brouhaha is about the money, not the moral and constitutional principles threatened by the ObamaCare directive.

True, it is repugnant for a person to be made to subsidize behavior he considers objectionable.  Leftists understand this when the behavior is related to national defense and other necessary and legitimate expenditures of public money that oblige the offense.  They're only blind to State overreach when the expenditures in question are about matters truly beyond the State's province, like who should pay for a woman's sex life, and involve expenditures of private money.

I'm not sure which unorthodox imposition thrills Leftists most: the State-mandated inversion of traditional morality--which upholds marriage and family, not sexual activity and baby prevention--or the State's determination of private expenditures.  Both are striking inversions of nature, offenses against justice, and blows against the liberty of many for the supposed rights of women, meaning feminists.

Note also the President's inflexible insistence on this one point: that somebody is going to pay for the woman's sexual activity, and it isn't going to be her.

She has Leftist rights; the responsibilities, even financial, are somebody else's "fair share."  It's important to the President that everyone pay for them so that nobody specifically notices the burden, and everyone's hands are covered in the blood.

Of course, the insurance companies will pass the cost of this additional expense onto policy holders.  So, Catholic institutions, for instance, will still pay more for policies, and their money will still be used to pay for morally illicit practices, just not directly.

President Obama believes that the American people are that stupid.  Maybe we are; this scam of fungible money entering one pocket rather than another has worked for Planned Parenthood for decades.

Not everyone is fooled, however.  Former US ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon, Princeton professor Robert George, Notre Dame law professor Carter Snead, Catholic University President John Garvey, and Yuval Levin of the Ethics & Public Policy Center explained their objection in an open letter:
This so-called “accommodation” changes nothing of moral substance and fails to remove the assault on religious liberty and the rights of conscience which gave rise to the controversy. It is certainly no compromise. The reason for the original bipartisan uproar was the administration’s insistence that religious employers, be they institutions or individuals, provide insurance that covered services they regard as gravely immoral and unjust. Under the new rule, the government still coerces religious institutions and individuals to purchase insurance policies that include the very same services.
Had the two women in the bible brought their baby to Solomon Obama's court, how would he have responded?  Perhaps he would have split the baby in half even after determining who the real mother was because, after all, feminists' rights always require that some baby be denied life, or existence.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Arguing with Intelligent Imbeciles

Social networking has its advantages and disadvantages.  Among the latter are the occasional dispute one gets dragged into with someone you think is an imbecile; perhaps an intelligent imbecile, but an imbecile nonetheless.

That's a harsh judgment, and I'm sure I'm wrong about the person I disputed with, who I don't even know.  But, uses of government power inspire passions for and against, and those who meet the outrage of those imposed upon with "tut-tut-you've-got-it-all-wrong" protestations are apt to provoke a reaction.  

I fell into the trap the other night on a facebook friend's post--another person I don't know--and want to unburden myself of the exchange.  It angered and frustrated me, and left a bitter taste in my mouth.  Ptooey.

Undoubtedly, it's not the last argument I'll get into this election year, given that President Obama keeps pushing, pushing, pushing.  The names have been changed to protect innocent and guilty alike.  The exchange started, thus:  
Mr. Bennet: Why is it that liberals insist that atheists be protected from any sign of religion, say a kid voluntarily invoking Jesus's name in commencement speech or a Nativity scene on public property, but believe that Christians should be forced to subsidize, not merely tolerate, things they find to be immoral?
I was shutting down the computer, anxious to see a movie with my family when I saw it.  I was already in a bad mood over the Obama Administration's most recent outrage against people he considers to be bitter clingers to the their guns and religion.

That would be the ObamaCare directive mandating that everyone cooperate with evil--according to their own lights, which they are entitled to under our system of government--by funding it.
Me/Mr. Darcy: Because they are bigots. If it weren't religion they hated, it would be something else. 
I picked up Democracy in America last night, and de Tocqueville underscores a rich and applicable irony in his 12th (and last) introduction. The Church, which has been a prime mover in the epochal movement towards equal conditions found itself at odds with the means and movement that swept democracy into France. Meanwhile, citizens for liberty found themselves attacking the Church and religion against their own principles because they identified the Church as an enemy of democracy. The Church realized long ago that it can live with any democracy that leaves it space to be itself. Citizens for liberty have yet to learn that just because the Church teaches things they don't like, that doesn't give them the right under our Constitution to shut it down or harass it.
That's when my night got darker.  Someone reminding me too much of Gary Wills began pontificating in response to the original question-framed lament.

Enter Mr. Collins:
Because you're simultaneously exaggerating this "atheist" sensitivity and failing to understand the separation between church and state embedded in the Constitution. There are certainly watchdog groups who complain about things that don't really bother anyone, but it has been in REACTION to the attempt at overreaching since the so called "moral majority" took control under Pat Robertson's political machine. Their agenda was more than to allow "In God We Trust" to stay minted on our coins or to keep "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, they affirmatively attempted to merge their form of Christian teaching into public classrooms where teachers should lead the entire class in Christian prayer. So you see a push back to such radicalism.
On the issue of health care, you're free to disagree with the principle of an individual mandate, but you'd be wrong on the fundamentals of the economics behind health care. I'm sorry if you don't want your church members to be covered for birth control but the good news is that they certainly don't have to take any. Moreover, your church can self insure if they so choose. But they can't ask to opt out of the mandate to purchase private health insurance if they also want to participate in a society that would pass the costs of the uninsured on to the rest of us. I have no doubt the Christian Scientists are really having a difficult time with this considering they think almost every form of modern medicine is a sin against God.
I forgot to add -- you already do subsidize birth control in so many ways it makes the rationale silly. You're using false outrage over money as a guise for the fact you don't want any women to have access to birth control and you also seemingly don't trust the members of your own church to follow church teachings.

Would you even try to frame an argument that eliminates subsidizing every road to a pharmacy, Bennet??
I took offense at his answer for many reasons, including his dismissal of the grievance as an exaggeration; pedantic ascription of any misconception to Bennet's ignorance; tendentious and specious rendering of history; smug air of superiority; flippant disregard for my Church and its teachings; mischaracterization of a conscience issue as a money issue supposedly cloaking a misogyny issue; and his snarky insult, again, of my Church.

God forgive me, I took the bait.
Collins, you're wrong on your history. Christian prayer in public schools was the norm until the Court read it your way in 1963. The secular humanist attack on religion in the public square long antedates the moral majority, which is merely reaction. 1925's Pierce case indicates that anti-Catholic bigotry was already a social force, though not a successful one in that instance. 
1947's Everson case--Roosevelt's lefty court--marks the foray into anti-Catholic bigotry that has resulted in what Bennet decries: an understanding of the Wall of Separation that always works against the Catholic Church, and never the State that beats on it incessantly.

Your blithe dismissal of the tyranny inherent in narrowing the exception for a violated conscience makes me assume that you don't mind a little tyranny, as long as it doesn't gore your ox. 
There are simultaneously too many suppositions and restrictions loaded into your conclusion about the economics of health care to make it worth while trying to unpack it all for you. Suffice it to say that a market approach to health care would be the best way to achieve what we all say we want: cheap, affordable and good health-care for everyone. 
Most conservatives suspect that when liberals strive for government control of healthcare, its really control they're after, not health care.  The HHS mandate proves the point.
Unfortunately, I had entered a futile discourse with that species of person second in obnoxiousness only to the guest that wouldn't leave (reference to John Belushi's skit on SNL): the heavily indoctrinated, semi-automatic retorting machine with too narrow a mind, too prejudiced a view, and too much time on his hands.  Collins responded:
Darcy, we can go back to Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Dansbury Baptist's who were begging him for clarification because they were seeking safe haven from the congregationalists.

You can review any and all of our founding documents and you won't find one single reference to the divinity of Jesus. This simply is not a Christian nation, it is a secular nation; where the government is to pay equal respect to every religion or lack thereof.

The long and windy history of the issue doesn't change that and it doesn't change the fundamental meaning of the Constitution. I live in the buckle of the Bible belt and from my view I can assure you that religion is live and well. You have your tax breaks. You have your privacy. You have your freedom. You even have many of your values embedded into law. Congratulations. You should rejoice.

You're wise not to try to unpack my statement of economics on the individual mandate. You're not so wise to fling the word "tyranny"around so loosely. I suppose under your line of thinking, any form of taxation is a form of tyranny. In that spirit, we have been such tyrants to senior citizens who rely on social security and Medicare -- a tax payer funded health delivery system with a 1% overhead that still runs massive deficits because of the soaring cost of private care.

It's also interesting how the conservative position evolved on this from the Newt and Dole proposals for an individual mandate to their new position that agrees with your claim of tyranny. *Head Scratch*
The challenge regarding explicit references to Jesus in the founding documents tipped me to the man's problem: Christophobia.  Like too many secularists, he opposes the Catholic Church because it teaches in the name of the person with whom his real fight lies, Jesus Christ.

Note the non sequitur: if there is no specific mention of Jesus, this is not a Christian nation.  Ergo, if someone at the time of your birth didn't specifically mention your mother, the woman you think of as mom isn't your mother.

Fallacious reasoning aside, intellectual integrity would require that he consult constitutional history beyond just the secularist rendering of it he's comfortable with.  A perusal of Zorach v. Clausen (1952), for instance--which maintained that "We are a religious people whose institutions presume a supreme being"--would be enlightening.  He undoubtedly knows the quote from Bowers v. Hardwick.

Moreover, the point isn't that Christianity deserves special treatment under its founding documents.  It's that it doesn't deserve special maltreatment because it teaches a different doctrine than that favored by the Leftists in power.  

Non-mentions of Jesus are inapposite to the issue, as are non-mentions of Moses, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed or Zarathustra.  No group deserves to be singled out by using law to coerce it to cooperate with evil.

It is one thing to be a secular nation, which doesn't need to treat Christianity as an enemy.  Secularism is another concoction entirely, one the founding fathers didn't imbibe.

The difference is analogous to the one between science and scientism, utility and utilitarianism, etc.  The narrowing of an insight to a single, obsessive interpretive focus is ideology, and nobody does that better to worse affect than secularists, feminists and other anti-Catholics.

Note his idea of a secular nation: one where government pays equal respect to religion, irreligion, and anti-religion.  That interpretation hasn't worked too well for religion, which always gets the slight end of a double standard.

On the other hand, it's been a great scam for atheists, and those who fear Jesus Christ.  The government treats all religions with equal disregard and, in the age of Obama, contempt.  The burden falls disproportionately on Christians, because we constitute a vast majority of the country.

By now, I was losing what little patience I had.
Collins, your interpretation of Jefferson's letter is the official secular version. My point was that the Supreme Court rejected that interpretation, and that the Constitution was not utilized to extirpate religion from the public square in conformity with secular lights until 1947.  Justice Black is your man. Unfortunately for the rest of us, Roosevelt's first pick for the Court was a Catholic-hating Ku Klux Klanner.

The US has always been a religious nation. The federal constitution respected that fact by staying neutral as to a national Church, which most European nations had experience with. It was understood that the States could establish Churches--9 of them had an established church at the time of ratification. The limited federal government was to stay above the fray, not jump into it to squash every religious expression that rubs up against public money. It is only after the civil war amendments and the doctrine of incorporation that the federal government assumed its gargantuan proportions and deigned to run roughshod over the religious sentiments of people, ironically and unhistorically in the name of Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists.
Darcy, there's no other interpretation of the letter's content. The only question is regarding it's significance. But I don't even need the letter. Our founding fathers were deliberately trying to flee a society where religion was imposed by the government. Many of the members were atheists and/or Deists. If you can find me ANY reference to Jesus in ANY of our founding documents, please cite it for me. In fact, when the motion was raised to offer the opening of each day's session with a morning prayer (I believe by Ben Franklin), it was soundly defeated.
It was downhill from there.

Collins, it's not wisdom that prevents me from teaching you economics. It's boredom. For the record, I do not equate taxation with tyranny. I equate the squelching of consciences that will not conform to the zeitgeist with tyranny. All that the federal government gains by forcing Catholic hospitals to cover contraception and abortifacients is the rush one gets from exercising raw, coercive power on perceived enemies. The economic benefits from capturing the 5%-or-so of health plans that don't already cover lust sins is negligible. The point is to make the church bend to the Leftist State's libidinous will. Everyone should be able to see through their own prejudices to understand that. 
You're simply wrong on the history. Most of the members were believers living in states with established churches. Think about that for a moment before blurting cant from the secularist handbook.

If you'd like, I'll be happy to send you something I wrote about the practice of Thanksgiving initiated by George Washington to commemorate passage of the constitution you say is so protective against religion. 
There have always been anti-religiouys grumps in America. They've (you've?) only had the upper hand for the past 50 years. Is recognition of the historical tenuousness of your claims what makes you so reluctant to see tyrannical bigotry against Catholics when your government practices it?

BTW, this conservative has never been for socialized medicine or anything resembling it. Neither is Newt Gingrich my man now, nor Bob Dole then.
America's roots are so secular, in fact, that the Pilgrims gave thanks to "God" in 1621; President George Washington gave thanks to "Almighty God" in 1789; President John Adams gave thanks to "Almighty God," the "Redeemer," and the "Holy Spirit" in 1798; President Thomas Jefferson gave thanks to "that Being in whose hands we are" in 1805: President James Madison gave thanks to the "Great Parent and Sovereign of the Universe" in 1813; and President Abraham Lincoln gave thanks to the "Almighty Father" and "Divine Majesty" in 1863.  Presumably, all of this was done in public to flee government imposition of religion.

Wow. Well, the economics behind health care certainly is not boring to me, but alright. I'm glad you don't think general taxation is tyranny. You're using colorful language to say precisely what I said above -- you're using the false outrage of money (as you say, the negligible economic benefits) as a guise to push your religous agenda into the forum of medicine. You don't think God likes birth control. So, if it's really not about the money, then just tell your women not to take the pill !! Or you have the option to self-insure. But private health insurers are going to offer coverage for contraceptives.

And I'm sorry you're simply wrong on Newt. Not only did he support an individual mandate to purchase health insurance, he hosted seminars you can watch on Youtube going into great detail about the economics behind his reasoning.

The economics is an absolute no-brainer. And even he knew that until he pretended to forget when he decided to run for President.

Please. Grumps? Please look at who it is that's complaining.

The Constitution does reflect society. It isn't a dead, static document like textualists would like.
Gadzooks! This man really can't see that it is the principle regarding the limits of State power over individual consciences and the Church, not the money, that is at issue.  He knows nothing about the protective Wall of Separation that preserves the Church from State intrusion, which is how Roger Williams and other pre-revolutionary leaders used the metaphor.

There is none so blind as he who will not see.  Secularist indoctrination has so truncated my interlocutor's understanding that he imputes coercive intent to people he is content to have government coerce.

To his mind, the State does not push a secularist agenda onto medicine and private institutions by mandating that people opposed to contraceptives, abortions and sterilization cooperate with evil by subsidizing them.  On the other hand, a private institution that won't subsidize activity it believes to be intrinsically evil, even though it hires people who engage in it, is guilty of pushing a religious agenda.

Even if that contorted way of viewing reality were correct, is there some reason why a religious institution shouldn't be able to make reasonable rules in its own house?  When the government makes it illegal to act in accordance with one's principles, or when it presumes to tell people whose arguments have a much longer and more illustrious pedigree than its own that their beliefs are neither reasonable nor permissible, it has badly (dangerously, tyrannically, unconstitutionally) overstepped its bounds.

Nobody has to work for a Catholic institution.  Is it too much to ask people who do to pay for their own sex lives, or if they need someone else to pay for them, to choose another employer?  To answer in the affirmative would be the height of folly, and illustrate an overblown entitlement mentality in full blown metastasis.

Barring a miracle conversion on his part--on the part of those who think like him--there is no way these disagreements will be resolved without great turmoil and strife.  The usual price of peace--that religious believers accept whatever abuse, indignity and maltreatment is thrown their way--has become too expensive in President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Kathleen Sibelius, Janet Napolitano, Van Jones, and Kevin Jenning's America.

At the end of the day, President Obama's State must cede so that Liberty for people who aren't Statists, deviants, feminists or revolutionaries (in a word, normal people) may once again breathe freely.  Yet, Collins thinks it is the Constitution that must live and breathe--in Justice Brennan's felicitous and self-serving turn of phrase--so that more liberty may be taken away from religious people and redistributed to sexual libertines and assorted anti-Catholic bigots.

I'd had enough:
Collins, you're not understanding me. And, it's Saturday night and I'm going to watch a video with my children rather than explain why an individual mandate may be the best way to spread an ever escalating cost onto to an overburdened and underserved populace, but it directly impedes development of a system that produces cheap, affordable, available and good health care for everyone.
I know that Newt was for that. I said that I wasn't for Newt.
Finally, there is absolutely nothing false about my outrage. And, you and your's had better understand that before you push any further. The Catholic-hating left is so far out of American bounds as to be a menace to liberty.

Good night, Collins. We can pick it up some other time. I can't help making a final remark on Justice Brennan's living, breathing constitution, though, which remarkably only breathes with its Left lung.
I forgot to mention that even were Statist healthcare a great idea, we can't afford another entitlement program. We can't even afford the ones we had before ObamaCare.

I'm not suggesting your moral outrage is false, I'm saying your financial outrage is -- and you've admitted that much. Bennet's original post complains not that birth control is available, but that you are subsidizing it. That's a financial objection. And as I said, there's no more of a subsidy of birth control under health care then there is of public roads that lead to pharmacies. 
I don't know or associate with anyone who hates anyone including Catholics. So I take exception with that tone.

Good night, Darcy. We can end at an agreement on the left lung. I guess the only question remains whether it should breathe or not.

One approach to contitutional interpretation I've found insightful is the observation that general principles aren't just necessary to actually give meaning to the content of the words in the document, but it's actually required to give the document it's legitimacy.

The original Articles of Confederation required that every state agree to overrule it. But the constitutional congress only required 9 out of 13 states to ratify in order to make the document binding. Only if you apply a broader principle of popular sovereignty can one argue for the Constitution to even possess the supremacy we all agree it has.
Who has the time or energy to dialog with someone whose every thought is controvertible?  I certainly don't.  It is especially distasteful when the other person is a clodpoll, and pedantic bore.

He took my reference to the paltry financial contribution Catholic plans would make to funds available for sin-care--which indicates that lowering the per/capita cost of it cannot be the motivation behind the ObamaCare directive--to be an admission that my outrage was financial in basis.  What an imbecile, intelligence notwithstanding!

I overlooked the tendentious remarks regarding what I had supposedly admitted to; the gravamen of my objection; his taking exception to my tone (which reminded me of George Stephanopoulos's complaint to Cokie Roberts about pro-lifers: "It's the tone, Cokie, it's the tone."); his sleight-of-hand appropriation of the Constitution's legitimacy without an examination of whose meaning, what content, and which principles are the legitimating ones; etc.

I was briefly tempted to answer with a quip about Madison's "Memorial and Remonstrance," which secularists have invoked since the 1940's to justify their finding of a freedom from religion in the 1st Amendment that explicitly protects freedom of religion.  The gravamen of Madison's jeremiad was financial: that it's none of his State's business to force people to pay for something religious (or, by extension, anti-religious) that they might object to--in that instance, proportionally distributed tax revenues to Virginia churches for sustenance of clergy.

I thought better of it, and happily watched a movie with my children.  I think it was Roman Holiday, a superb film.

A recent Facebook exchange between the same two people, which I stumbled onto while digging for the one quoted above, involved the same principle: government's invidious discrimination against Christians.

I wonder why Christians are supposed to fund abortion and birth control and support same sex marriage but atheists and liberals don't have to put up with Nativity Scenes on public property?
Is Rockefeller Square private property ?? There's a MASSIVE Christmas Tree right on that public park.

And you're not required to support gay marriage. You can just support convicted murderers and rapists get married for the fourth or fifth time. That's how fundamental the right is.

Nobody has ever asked your Church to perform a gay marriage.
Note the same response as before: what you think just isn't real.  You're imagining things.

Despite the ACLU's annual assault on public creches, and the Supreme Court's opinion in Allegheny County v. ACLU (1989) (holding that a creche on Pittsburgh's Allegheny County grand staircase violated the U.S. Constitution, but that an 18 ft. Hanukkah Menorah placed just outside of the building next to a 45 ft. Christmas tree didn't), there is apparently no discrimination against Christians in federal law or constitutional jurisprudence.

Just because every sinew of Statist muscle is perpetually flexed towards coercing the Church to bend to its will, Catholics have not been forced, yet, to perform gay marriages. Alleluia.  That alone is an indirect proof of the existence of God.

Nevertheless, the secular bigots don't get it.  They never will.  I'd just as soon spend my time reasoning with a baboon as I would with a Liberal.  The baboon's mind is more open, and consequently more capable.

It's time for another tea party in America, one that makes 2009-2010 look like a mild remonstrance by comparison.  Freedom-loving Americans will understand that it's not just about the money.