Friday, April 29, 2011


"Wal-Mart's core shoppers are running out of money much faster than a year ago due to rising gasoline prices, and the retail giant is worried, CEO Mike Duke said Wednesday.

"We're seeing core consumers under a lot of pressure," Duke said at an event in New York. "There's no doubt that rising fuel prices are having an impact."

Wal-Mart shoppers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, typically shop in bulk at the beginning of the month when their paychecks come in.

Lately, they're "running out of money" at a faster clip, he said.

"Purchases are really dropping off by the end of the month even more than last year," Duke said. "This end-of-month [purchases] cycle is growing to be a concern."

If all you ever listen to is the government line on the economy you'd think that the recovery is nicely underway, job growth is healthy and inflation is nonexistent. Well, I suppose if you're a public employee then all these things may be true.

But out here in the world of blue collar people life isn't quite as rosy and the statement from Walmart above is probably the most accurate picture of reality I've heard in a while. And this new reality is starting to move into the white collar world pretty quickly, too.

Perversely, as gas and food prices continue to rise because the Fed continues to print money to support the banks and the stock market there's going to be less and less money to go around among the working class. And that money is going to be worth less wile the prices skyrocket.

Stagflation has returned.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


A couple weeks ago I made a statement that Hezbollah or Hamas was on our border with Mexico. My MOST FREQUENT commenter (the certificate of achievement and the secret decoder ring are in the mail), Salvage, essentially said that I was full of crap. While that may be true, I stand by my assertion that we have Middle Eastern terrorist organizations on our border and throughout Central and South America, too.

Below I've posted just a few excerpts from articles and even one scholarly document to prove my point.

Now, I think that one could logically ask what the intentions of these groups are? Are they setting up an eventual attack on the United States and Canada? Or, are they just running organized crime operations that would make the Mafia proud, looking to fatten their wallets to finance global terrorism? Personally, I think it's both.

Iran's connection to Venezuela and their shared hatred of the U.S. is
well documented and very much out in the open. Iran's ties to Hezbollah/ Hamas are documented as well.

Again, I think there is very little question as to the presence of Islamic terrorists on our border and in Central and South America. The only real question is their intent. Whatever their final objective I know it'll be bad for us.

From Adam Housley of Fox News:

"“Hezbollah are absolute masters at identifying existing smuggling infrastructures,” says former DEA Chief of Operations Mike Braun, adding that the group “is developing relations with those responsible for operating those smuggling operations and then forming close relations with them, so that they can move anything they have an interest into virtually anywhere in the world.” That comment comes from former DEA Chief of Operations Mike Braun. He goes on to tell me that the Middle East terror group is “rubbing shoulders” with drug cartels around the globe.

My military and Department of Homeland Security contacts are insistent…it’s not if Hezbollah operatives have been smuggled into the U.S….but how many? They note that drug tunnels are becoming much more sophisticated and striking similar as tunnels being used by terror organizations to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip. My contacts also say they have real concern that bombing techniques used in the Middle East to promote terror are now also being used inside Mexico, as the cartels war with each other and anyone in their way."

From Rep. Sue Myrick in the Washington Times:

"An indictment was handed down Aug. 30 by the Southern District Court of New York that shows a connection between Hezbollah - the proxy army of Iran and a designated terrorist organization - and the drug cartels that violently plague the U.S.-Mexico border.

In short, a well-known international arms dealer was trying to orchestrate an arms-for-drugs deal in which cocaine from FARC - the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which works with Mexican drug cartels to take cocaine into America - would be traded for thousands of weapons housed by a Hezbollah operative in Mexico.

This most recent case brings up several questions: Why would a member of Hezbollah be in Mexico? Why would Hezbollah need thousands of weapons in Mexico? Why are members of Hezbollah willing to work with FARC? Perhaps to exchange weapons for drugs? If Hezbollah has guns in Mexico and wants drugs, isn’t it logical to assume that it is trading with more accessible Mexican drug cartels?"

From the Washington Times:

"Hezbollah is using the same southern narcotics routes that Mexican drug kingpins do to smuggle drugs and people into the United States, reaping money to finance its operations and threatening U.S. national security, current and former U.S. law enforcement, defense and counterterrorism officials say.

The Iran-backed Lebanese group has long been involved in narcotics and human trafficking in South America’s tri-border region of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Increasingly, however, it is relying on Mexican narcotics syndicates that control access to transit routes into the U.S.

Hezbollah relies on “the same criminal weapons smugglers, document traffickers and transportation experts as the drug cartels,” said Michael Braun, who just retired as assistant administrator and chief of operations at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“They work together,” said Mr. Braun. “They rely on the same shadow facilitators. One way or another, they are all connected.

“They’ll leverage those relationships to their benefit, to smuggle contraband and humans into the U.S.; in fact, they already are [smuggling].”

His comments were confirmed by six U.S. officials, including law enforcement, defense and counterterrorism specialists. They spoke on the condition that they not be named because of the sensitivity of the topic.

While Hezbollah appears to view the U.S. primarily as a source of cash - and there have been no confirmed Hezbollah attacks within the U.S. - the group’s growing ties with Mexican drug cartels are particularly worrisome at a time when a war against and among Mexican narco-traffickers has killed 7,000 people in the past year and is destabilizing Mexico along the U.S. border."

From MSNBC (hardly a bastion of conservative sentiment):

"The Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia has taken root in South America, fostering a well-financed force of Islamist radicals boiling with hatred for the United States and ready to die to prove it, according to militia members, U.S. officials and police agencies across the continent.

From its Western base in a remote region divided by the borders of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina known as the Tri-border, or the Triple Frontier, Hezbollah has mined the frustrations of many Muslims among about 25,000 Arab residents whose families immigrated mainly from Lebanon in two waves, after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and after the 1985 Lebanese civil war.

An investigation by Telemundo and NBC News has uncovered details of an extensive smuggling network run by Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim group founded in Lebanon in 1982 that the United States has labeled an international terrorist organization. The operation funnels large sums of money to militia leaders in the Middle East and finances training camps, propaganda operations and bomb attacks in South America, according to U.S. and South American officials.

U.S. officials fear that poorly patrolled borders and rampant corruption in the Tri-border region could make it easy for Hezbollah terrorists to infiltrate the southern U.S. border. From the largely lawless region, it is easy for potential terrorists, without detection, to book passage to the United States through Brazil and then Mexico simply by posing as tourists."

From The Foreign Military Studies Office:

"Hugo Chavez’ strategy of embracing Iran in its quest to build an “anti-imperialist” and
anti-American coalition of nations has undoubtedly gained strength in recent years. Beyond the close ties between Venezuela and Iran due to the two countries’ shared anti-American priorities, there are also many similarities between the basic ideologies of Chavez’ Bolivarian revolution and Iranian revolutionary thought. The Lebanese group Hezbollah shares many of Iran’s priorities and principles, and it receives a sizeable amount of financial support from the Islamic Republic.

Although its armed activities are focused primarily within its traditional area of operations in the Middle East, Hezbollah has been implicated in terrorist activities around the globe. These activities range from financing and training to outright attacks and cooperation with criminal
elements. The recent establishment of direct airline flights between Caracas and Tehran, as well as the eagerness of both regimes to embrace the other, does not bode well for anti-terror prospects in Latin America, given the close collaboration of Iranian and Hezbollah operatives in the past. Hezbollah members and sympathizers have gained the ability to move with relative ease outside the Middle East to Latin America and such movements already appear to be taking place. This points to a particularly worrisome possibility: that Hezbollah will move beyond financing and support in Latin America to pursue operational objectives within the Western Hemisphere.

...Iran’s close ties to Hezbollah and its deepening embrace of Chavez’ regime should put the
United States on alert to the security of both friendly Latin American governments and its own
southern border. Groups like Hezbollah now possess the ability to use Venezuela as an entry
point to the Americas, to obtain official Venezuelan documentation, and to utilize well-known
smuggling networks in cooperation with established violent drug cartels.

Hugo Chavez identifies with what he considers to be Hezbollah’s successful model of resistance to imperialism, and it appears he seeks to emulate elements of that success within his
sphere of influence. His demonstrated support for anti-American groups like FARC and his
consistent harsh rhetoric against neighboring Columbia must be viewed as an indication of his
willingness to embrace other radical elements sharing a common anti-American agenda. By
allowing Iranian and Hezbollah operatives ease of access to the Americas through Venezuela,
Chavez runs a substantial risk to the stability of his regime. If and when Hezbollah or Iran seek to exploit their ability to function in Venezuela by pursing specific operational goals, the probability of future confrontation with the United States will most certainly increase, thus inviting the only scenario in which Chavez is nearly guaranteed to lose."

Monday, April 25, 2011


All of these stories come from the Drudge Report:

"Weakness in the US dollar, which is causing everything to go up—including gas prices, food and stocks—is unlikely to go away soon as a selling frenzy hits the currency market.

The greenback is approaching pre-financial crisis lows and threatening to smash through its all-time low when measured against the world's predominant national currencies.

A combination of factors accounts for the weakness, with the Federal Reserve's easy-money policies, huge national debts and deficits and the consequential possibility of a debt downgrade because of the financial mess in Washington leading the way.

In short, as trader Dennis Gartman noted Thursday, "the rout of the US dollar" is in full effect.

"Panic dollar selling is setting in," Gartman, a hedge fund manager and author of "The Gartman Letter," wrote in his daily commentary. "This may carry farther than any of us dream of or, worse, have nightmares of.""

"China should reduce its excessive foreign exchange reserves and further diversify its holdings, Tang Shuangning, chairman of China Everbright Group, said on Saturday.

The amount of foreign exchange reserves should be restricted to between 800 billion to 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars, Tang told a forum in Beijing, saying that the current reserve amount is too high.

China's foreign exchange reserves increased by 197.4 billion U.S. dollars in the first three months of this year to 3.04 trillion U.S. dollars by the end of March.

Tang's remarks echoed the stance of Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China's central bank, who said on Monday that China's foreign exchange reserves "exceed our reasonable requirement" and that the government should upgrade and diversify its foreign exchange management using the excessive reserves."

"Gold hit a record high, while silver surged more than 5 per cent to within a whisker of its all-time peak, as the dollar continued its decline and inflation concerns drove haven flows.

Driven also by government debt concerns, gold rose 1 per cent to $1,518.20 a troy ounce, the seventh-consecutive trading session in which it has hit a record high. Silver surged 5.5 per cent to $49.17 an ounce, having hit a 30-year high of $49.80, within sight of the landmark $50 level."
Financial Times

"For the first time, the international organization has set a date for the moment when the “Age of America” will end and the U.S. economy will be overtaken by that of China.

And it’s a lot closer than you may think.

According to the latest IMF official forecasts, China’s economy will surpass that of America in real terms in 2016 — just five years from now.

Put that in your calendar."
Market Watch

It's going to be a really bumpy ride this year. If you think that your going to need it, buy it now. Things like food, clothing and medicine, because the prices are going to shoot up if nothing changes. Once the dollar ceases to be the world's reserve currency, as it looks more and more likely to with each passing week, our economy will most likely collapse. And even if it doesn't we're going to be in a world of hurt.

The other thing to think about is that out here in the Mid-West where so much of our food is grown we're looking at a spring of incredible rains and flooding which will impact, in a significant way, the yields from the fields. So on top of the dollar problems and the pressure it puts on food prices, supply and demand will be pushing the cost up, too. That, and the fact that we're growing so much corn for fuel which is about the dumbest thing I ever heard of. It takes more energy to produce ethanol than ethanol produces. But the farmers just love the welfare and the way the government edicts artificially inflate the value of their crops. Not to mention all the tax dollars that are flowing into the pockets of the corporations building the refineries.

So get ready. My guess is that an awful lot of the problems that we've kept hidden through "quantitative easing" over the last few years will start to become apparent to more and more people this year and panic will start to set in a bit. Just enough to drive some more irrational responses from the government which will only go to further the problem.

It ought'a be interesting.

But wait, there's more!

I just read a post at The Market Ticker that addresses this problem and it's well worth the read. Click on the link to read it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


The thing that really interests me in this video is how Van Susteren reacts to West's straight forward speaking. She's not as concerned about whether what he says is the true but rather how what he says may be offensive or impolitic.

Look, agree with someone or disagree, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that everyone in the conversation speak as clearly and directly as they can about what they understand to be the truth. How can we ever work together for the common good when we can't honestly address our differences?

I really like Allen West. I've read a lot about his background and the problems he ran into in the military that resulted in his retirement and I believe that he acted honestly, directly and with honor. His most glaring drawback, at least in my opinion, is his lack of oratorical polish and the flash that so many base their election decisions on. But, I think that he'd make a damned fine President some day.

How refreshing would it to have someone that speaks directly sitting in the Oval Office? I believe that Americans of all political agendas really just want to know the truth so we can get out of this mess.


H/T American Perspective

Friday, April 22, 2011


I saw this video at the Missouri Political News Service this morning and thought that it deserved further comment:

This billboard made a statement that the left didn't agree with. So, what was their response? TEAR IT DOWN! No conversation - no tolerance. Just destruction. Just raw, unbridled emotion.

This billboard was put up by
Missouri Right to Life and it claimed that 37% of Missouri's abortions are performed on African Americans, a group which comprises only 12% of the state population.

According to the numbers supplied by the
Missouri Dept. of Health the 37% number looks about right. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation the 12% of the population number looks pretty close, too. So, what's the problem?

Well, according to the lady in the video the problem is racism and that somehow this statistic was yanked from the middle of some weird conversation down at the local klavern.

In reality the real problem with the billboard is that it's factually correct and the groups on the left that support this murder of black babies would rather see the truth destroyed than face it. Here's some more statistics on blacks and abortions that are published on the
That's Abortion website, one of the links provided on the billboard:

More African American babies have been killed by abortions since 1973 than the total number of African American deaths from AIDS, violent crimes, accidents, cancer and heart disease combined.
Approximate number of African American deaths since 1973:

Abortion: 13+ Million
Heart Disease: 2.26 Million
Cancer: 1.64 Million
Accidents: 307,723 Violent Crimes: 306,313 AIDS: 203,649
Source: Based on cumulative statistics provided by the US center for Disease Control; accessed at:

An African American baby is three times more likely to be aborted
than a white baby.

Today, African Americans account for 12.8% of the American population, but African American women receive 35% of all abortions.
Source: 2010 US Census Data
CDC Abortion Surveillance Report 11/26/04

Of the approximately 4,000 abortions that are performed daily in the United States, 1,452 of them take the lives of African American children.
Source: Center for Disease Control (CDC)

Whether you support abortion or think it's murder shouldn't we at least agree that we need the facts to make a decision? Why are the abortion apologists so afraid of the truth and why are they so intent on hiding it? If abortion is a good thing don't you think that they'd be proud to show just how effective it's been in the black community at achieving the goals of Margaret Sanger, the eugenicist founder of Planned Parenthood?


Salvage, a frequent commenter on this blog, has sent me a link to YouTube videos (click here) purporting to show Tea Party racism, hate and any number of terrible other things. He sent these at my request as a rebuttal to videos I posted a few days ago showing the complete, at least in my opinion, insanity among some on the left.

I'll post one of then below because I've seen this one making the rounds lately anyway.

You be the judge.

A couple things come immediately to mind. Are there racists, haters and all sorts of other people involved in Tea Party activities? I would assume there are because they're everywhere. Have I seen any examples of them personally when attending Tea Party rallies? No. But then I've not seen any craziness from the left, either. Mostly I've seen a bunch of good natured bantering back and forth.

And really, a big part of the signs in the video above have nothing to do with racism or hate. They are legitimate expressions of political belief, protected by the First Amendment.

Of course, that doesn't mean that crazy stuff doesn't happen. The video below from here in St. Louis on 8-6-2009 when SEIU members attacked Kenneth Gladney at a Russ Carnahan health care bill event. Gladney is black, which I don't think had anything to do with the attack, even though one of the attackers can be heard using racial slurs. I don't think he even was there because of political affiliation. He was just selling some Gadsen flags, trying to make a buck. But that was enough to piss off the thugs on the left.

So does evidence of violence and racism on the left make the case none of the same exists on the right? No. That being said, the media has been looking for any way it can to smear the Tea Party with racism. Remember the staged perp walk that Pelosi and the Democrats did the day of the healthcare vote? And do you remember that charges were hurled at Tea Party members accusing them of spitting at the Congressmen and screaming racial insults and anti-gay slurs? It was plastered all over the papers.

Well, guess what? It turns out that there was no proof of any of this happening, even in this day of massive news coverage of the event itself and all the camcorders that were there. Andrew Breitbart over at Big Government even went so far as to offer $10,000 to anyone that could bring evidence of the assault. No one has collected yet.

With all that being said, I look at the video above and videos like it with a somewhat jaundiced eye. We know from the Pelosi incident that some on the left are more than willing to lie when it comes to charges of racism and other slurs to tarnish the Tea Party and we also know that the main stream media will gladly publish those charges as fact without doing their due diligence. Now, if the photos in the video above were real, and verifiable, doesn't it seem fairly likely that we'd see them trumpeted across the front page of the New York Times and being presented as the lead story on NBC Nightly News?

There's also the issue of Tea Party opponents acting like racists and infiltrating Tea Party events. How many of the photos in the video above are reflective of that?

So I guess this is where I come down on the issue of Tea Party racism. There are racists in the Tea Party but the Tea Party is not a racist organization, if it can even be called an organization. While some pretend to speak for it there really is no central controlling authority.

I know that pictures exist purporting to show racist sentiment at Tea Party rallies. I've never seen it personally and I know that when someone has shown up at rallies in St. Louis with any sort of hateful message they've been asked to leave by others in attendance:

My personal experience in talking with people on the left tends to support as relatively normal the reaction of the protesters in Portland that I posted the other day. I've been yelled at, called names and been threatened many times by people that disagree with me on political issues. The debate from the left seems to be more emotionally driven than intellectually driven for most so emotions come to the fore rather quickly. Do I know this is a fact? No, but my experience leads me to that conclusion.

Again, I think that if the various photos of Tea Party racist signs were real and verifiable we'd be seeing them all over the news; but, we don't. So while they could be true I don't believe they are. There is ample evidence of lying on the part of the left that leads me to suspect that these photos are just another example of it. If they're real and if they truly represent the majority, or even more than a minuscule minority opinion of the average Tea Party supporters then I'll admit I'm wrong.

But I'm from Missouri and you'll have to show me.


Regardless of what you think of Beck it's worth the time to watch this video, especially if you really can't quite make sense of what's happening with the dollar and the markets and why so many of us believe that it's absolutely vital to prepare for what's coming.

Just to buttress Beck's position I saw this at Business Insider today:

"With Congress and the White House under severe political pressure to come up with some meaningful cuts in the budget deficit, the expiration of QE2 has important negative consequences. You may recall that the stock market soared with the implementation of QE1 and the economy started to recover. However, when QE1 was wound down at the end of March 2010 the economy faltered and the stocks dropped 17%. To prevent the economy from dipping into another recession Chairman Bernanke, in mid-August announced the probable implementation of so-called QE2, a program to purchase $600 billion of Treasury bonds by the end of June with the stated purpose of driving up asset values in the hopes that it would spur additional spending.

Although QE2 has helped some segments of the economy and jump-started the stock market, it has had important negative implications as well. Since that time commodity prices have soared while long-term interest rates have climbed and the dollar has weakened. The rise in food and energy prices has caused top-line inflation to increase faster than wages, resulting in declining real income. In addition it has resulted in higher inflation in developing nations as well as the EU, causing them to raise interest rates at the risk of slowing down global growth. Some nations have also instituted capital controls to prevent too many dollars from entering. It is also likely that rapidly rising food and energy prices played an important role in engendering unrest in the Mid-East.

The coming end to QE2 is potentially negative for both the market and the economy. By the time it ends on June 30th the Fed will have bought an average of $3.8 billion of Treasury bonds every working day of the week. That amounts to about 70% of all the Treasury bond issuance since Mid-November. The proceeds, which went to the banks that sold them, were then used to buy up assets, mainly stocks and commodities. Without the Fed in the picture it is difficult to envision anyone else willing or able to step in and purchase the bonds without a really big increase in rates. With no help from the fiscal side the likely outcome is a major decline in asset values including stocks and commodities along with another round of weakening growth in an already fragile economy. It may well be that somewhere down the road there is another round of quantitative easing, but not before some severe economic and financial problems in the interim."

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Sunday, April 17, 2011



H/T The Blaze


This interview perfectly encapsulates the arguments from both sides. Cavuto represents my side and the Congresswoman the side of big government Progressives in both parties. It seems so patently obvious to so many of us that we must stop borrowing yet to the Progressives there seems to be no link between debt and...well...anything. Their solution to our problems is spending, regardless of whether we can ever pay it back.

The Progressives are fond of bringing up seniors, children and healthcare every time we bring up spending cuts and they always wrap themselves up in the blanket of "social justice", which in their mind is the idea that no one should ever go without for any reason.

I think that it's time that the Conservatives take social justice away from the Progressives by learning what it is, why it's vital and how to properly define and explain it. Some conservative commentators, most notably Glenn Beck, have so thoroughly explained and belittled the Progressive theories of "social justice" that they've left no room for discussion of true social justice and the impact it has on the proper ordering of society. The fact is that as acolytes of Randian Objectivism they probably don't understand the need for true social justice themselves and thus can't explain it.

I think that conservatives should be making an argument something like this: while it's true that government has a responsibility to its citizens to help them in time of need, is it just to burden future generations with debt to bail out individuals and corporations that are suffering the effects of past poor judgement? Make those that constantly push for more borrowing justify, using justice as the measuring rod, binding people yet unborn with the chains of debt. In this video you'll note that the Congresswoman has no answer for this.

Further, we need to question the insistence of the Progressives that all governmental help should flow from Washington first. Sidestepping the issue, at least momentarily, of whether the federal government even has the authority under the Constitution to involve itself in these matters, we should be making the argument for subsidiarity and pushing responsibility for our neighbors back into our neighborhoods. Charity begins at home and it should stay close to home. I'll help my neighbors and they'll help me. Even if we're all broke it isn't always money that can make the difference.

The argument needs to be changed from welfare justice to true social justice, and along with that social responsibility, which flows in both directions.

"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." President John F. Kennedy (Read the entire speech here.)

We need to change the hearts and minds of Americans. We need to go back to those ideas of self sacrifice and service that marked all those generations that went before us, the idea that we look to ourselves and our families for support, not the government.

It might take a hundred years to undo the changes that started at the beginning of the Progressive era but undo them we must. And we have to begin by controlling the argument and setting the parameters. We should do exactly what Cavuto does in the clip above, just keep asking, "Where's the money coming from?" Make the big spenders, in both parties, answer that with real answers, not some mathematical flim-flammery of shifting spending from one hand to the next. And don't stop asking, over and over, until we get an answer.

Because stealing is never just and theft is what we're doing when we borrow against future generations.

Friday, April 15, 2011



I got a comment from another blogger that I follow, Yahoobuckaroo, yesterday on another post about abuses in the Church and a video posted by Real Catholic TV. Apparently Michael Voris from RCTV has been denied the use of diocesan facilities in Scranton PA. The comment came with a link to a statement issued by the Diocese of Scranton regarding Voris. Here's the statement:

"The Diocese of Scranton has determined that Mr. Voris will not be allowed to speak in a Diocesan or parish facility. After these engagements were scheduled, the Diocese became aware of concerns about this individual’s views regarding other religious groups. In videos posted on the Internet, Mr. Voris makes comments that certainly can be interpreted as being insensitive to people of other faiths. The Catholic Church teaches us to respect all people, regardless of their faith tradition.

Although the Diocese shares Mr. Voris’ support of efforts to protect human life, his extreme positions on other faiths are not appropriate and therefore the Diocese cannot host him."
Diocese of Scranton

There's a few things about this statement that cause me to pause and wonder about the motivation behind it.

First of all, it's very vague, mentioning some amorphous staements about other faiths and offending people. Where are the specifics? If Voris has lied or made a mistake then be specific - call him out on it.

Secondly, what is the relationship between respect and offense? Can one not respect another while at the same time pointing out areas of disagreement? Further, if one believes that there exists not just simple disagreement but outright distortion of the truth with the intent to cause harm to others shouldn't one, repectfully if possible, point out those distortions to help others find the truth and divorce themselves from error?

What is the stance of the Chruch regarding truth? Are comfort, conformity or political correctness considered higher virtues? Again, if Voris is lying, call him out on the specifics.

How is this deliberate silencing of dissent any different than Planned Parenthood demanding that protestors be barred from their clinics? You see, this is the slippery slope that intolerance of free speech creates.

If Voris, or anyone else for that matter is lying, or mistaken, isn't it better to confont the argument straight on instead of refusing to allow it? There are plenty of people that are offended by things that the Church teaches. Should they be allowed to silence the Church?

I found this article related to the statement at
The Times Tribune website:

"A conservative Catholic speaker whose events were canceled by Marywood University and the Diocese of Scranton last week will give his talk at a secular site on Saturday.

Michael Voris is scheduled to speak at the Best Western Genetti Hotel and Conference Center in Wilkes-Barre at 6:30 p.m.

His talk, "Living Catholicism Radically," was canceled after the university and diocese determined that he had expressed views at odds with their values in Internet television shows he produces about Catholic issues.

In a letter to the talk's organizers, Paul and Kristen Ciaccia of Harveys Lake, the diocese further explained that it learned from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Mr. Voris' home Archdiocese of Detroit that Mr. Voris' presentations have caused "a number of controversies" and that his programs are not endorsed by his home archdiocese.

The Ciaccias said in a news release that they chose to reschedule Mr. Voris at a secular site and invited Bishop Joseph Bambera to attend the event "to evaluate Mr. Voris' knowledge of the faith, free from opinions formed by others."

The Ciaccias called the banning of Mr. Voris from diocesan property "insensitive" and said it "belies deeper inconsistencies in diocesan policy."

Addressing the "inconsistencies" in one of his daily "The Vortex" video segments at, Mr. Voris criticized the diocese for allowing Sara Bendoraitis, the director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally Resource Center at American University, to speak at the University of Scranton last spring."

Notice in the statement above that the diocese claims that Voris has made statements at odds with their "values". Again, all shadowy and vague, not a specific to be found. Digging a bit deeper I found this at Politics Daily in an article published August 31, 2009:

"The Roman Catholic bishop of Scranton is not normally known as a kingmaker -- or kingbreaker -- in electoral politics. But during last year's presidential campaign, with pro-choice Catholic and Scranton native Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket, and the working-class voters of northeast Pennsylvania seen as keys to the keystone state and the Electoral College, Scranton suddenly moved to the spotlight.

And the local bishop, Joseph F. Martino, took full advantage of that platform. Martino became for many the angry face of the anti-Obama wing of the Catholic hierarchy thanks to his intemperate blasts about pro-choice politicians and an overweening administrative style that irritated the flock and even his brother bishops.

Now, in a stunning turn that has taken even veteran church-watchers by surprise, Martino on Monday resigned his post under highly unusual circumstances -- citing the stress of the job and saying he could not continue in a post that should have been his for another dozen years, at least.

But church insiders say Martino had also worn out his welcome with his brother bishops and the Vatican. So his resignation may be further evidence that the U.S. hierarchy is divided between moderate voices and a more strident conservative minority that is struggling in the wake of Obama's success with Catholic voters.

...Many in Scranton, and beyond, would agree. In fact there are strong indications that Martino was pushed before he jumped.

From the start of his six-year tenure in Scranton, Martino alienated many with his abrasive style. He clashed frequently with the local Catholic universities -- including the Jesuit-run University of Scranton -- and was dismissive of their ruling bodies, arguing that as bishop he would not heed their advice.

Last February, Martino blasted another local college, Misericordia University, for inviting Keith Boykin, an openly-gay author, Clinton administration staffer and Harvard Law classmate of Obama, to speak on campus. The university, run by the Sisters of Mercy, was "seriously failing in maintaining its Catholic identity," Martino charged.

Also in February, Martino warned Irish-American groups that he would close the city's cathedral on St. Patrick's Day if any of them honored a politician who Martino said would be considered "pro-abortion." That was seen as a shot across the bow against inviting Joe Biden; in past years, the Scranton Irish-Americans had honored both Obama and then-Senator Hillary Clinton.

...But it was an event in late October last year, on the eve of the presidential vote, as religious rhetoric was growing white-hot, that may have pushed Martino over the line in the eyes of many.

A parish was holding a regular voter-education forum on the election, featuring discussion of a document, "Faithful Citizenship," the election guide endorsed almost unanimously by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, or USCCB. Martino showed up at the parish hall unannounced, causing a stir. Then he took the microphone and proceeded to critique the organizers for not using his own letter on abortion as the basis of the discussion.

When a nun at the forum reminded Martino about the document of the enitre bishops conference Martino responded, "No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese. The USCCB doesn't speak for me," Martino declared. "The only relevant document ... is my letter. There is one teacher in this diocese, and these points are not debatable.""

So let's see - the Diocese of Scranton is the home diocese of Joe Biden, the pro-abortion Catholic VP of the United States. It seems, at least based on the story above, that political inclinations in the Scranton area run to the Progressive. The previous bishop, Joseph Martino, seems to have been unabashedly conservative and caused such an uproar that he was ousted. In the process he mocked the USCCB, the same group that is supplying information used by the diocese in its banning of Voris. And let's not forget that the USCCB and the corruption that surrounds it has been a major focus of Real Catholic TV over the last couple of years.

Now, I don't know this for sure but I'm going to make a guess and say that the banning of Voris has more to do with politics than it does the truth. My guess is that the new bishop would rather not get involved in starting up old problems regardless of his own inclinations. Or perhaps he agrees with the USCCB and their Progressive agenda. I don't know.

Bottom line - I wouldn't put too much weight in the statement issued by the Diocese of Scranton. It has nothing to do with the truth and everything to do with quashing dissent. And that's a dangerous path to take.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Most today don't pay much attention to history. It's just so...old? With i-phones and big screens and all our other modern accouterments why should we ever look back? Go forward young man!

We do this at our own peril. Just as we neglect and belittle the wisdom of the old among us we think that there's nothing those long dead can tell us.

I'll bet the Japanese are singing a different tune now.

"Modern sea walls failed to protect coastal towns from Japan's destructive tsunami last month. But in the hamlet of Aneyoshi, a single centuries-old tablet saved the day.

"High dwellings are the peace and harmony of our descendants," the stone slab reads. "Remember the calamity of the great tsunamis. Do not build any homes below this point."

It was advice the dozen or so households of Aneyoshi heeded, and their homes emerged unscathed from a disaster that flattened low-lying communities elsewhere and killed thousands along Japan's northeastern shore.

Hundreds of such markers dot the coastline, some more than 600 years old. Collectively they form a crude warning system for Japan, whose long coasts along major fault lines have made it a repeated target of earthquakes and tsunamis over the centuries.

The markers don't all indicate where it's safe to build. Some simply stand — or stood, until they were washed away by the tsunami — as daily reminders of the risk. "If an earthquake comes, beware of tsunamis," reads one. In the bustle of modern life, many forgot."
Associated Press


I saw this over on The Blaze and it's really cool and all, kind'a Buck Rogers meets Capt. Ahab. It's great than we've got laser weapons and that they can catch an idling boat on fire.

But this is the thing that really impressed me. To make that boat idle they've got $40,000 worth of outboard engines hanging off the back of it. Why not grab an old '65 Evinrude or something? And who knows how much the boat itself is worth. Again, don't they have some old piece of crap laying around the boatyard they could'a strapped the Evinrude to?

And yet, the
Path To Prosperity presented by the Republicans last week takes a gentle approach when it comes to the military. Is it any wonder that a bunch of us out here think that the GOP is a bit less than serious about reducing the size of government? We agree that all entitlements have to be addressed. We know that all of us will feel considerable pain.

And we'd be more likely to keep a stiff upper lip about it if we didn't have to watch the navy burn up well in excess of $60,000 worth of boat when they could've proved the same point with a $1,000 junker.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


This is an excerpt from a New York Times op-ed written by Gail Collins:

"Donald Trump has run faux campaigns for president before, flirting with the Democrats and independents. This time, he’s playing a conservative Republican. By 2016, he’ll probably be talking about his affinity for the Alaskan Independence Party or the Whigs.

And, of course, he’s suddenly a birther. “This guy either has a birth certificate or he doesn’t,” he said of President Obama. “I didn’t think this was such a big deal, but, I will tell you, it’s turning out to be a very big deal because people now are calling me from all over saying: please don’t give up on this issue.”

It was a perfect vocalization of the New York Street: People are calling me up! Don’t believe everything you hear, unless it comes over the phone.

In a potential Republican field that includes Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, it’s hard to come up with a line of attack loopy enough to stand out from the pack. But darned if Trump didn’t manage to find one.

“If he wasn’t born in this country, it’s one of the greatest scams of all time,” Trump told Bill O’Reilly, who demurred: “I don’t think that’s the case.”

Vote for Donald Trump, the man who can make Bill O’Reilly look like the most sensible guy in the room."

And this is Trump's reply in the Times:

"Even before Gail Collins was with the New York Times, she has written nasty and derogatory articles about me. Actually, I have great respect for Ms. Collins in that she has survived so long with so little talent. Her storytelling ability and word usage (coming from me, who has written many bestsellers), is not at a very high level. More importantly, her facts are wrong!

As far as her comments on the so-called “birther” issue, I don't need Ms. Collins's advice. There is a very large segment of our society who believe that Barack Obama, indeed, was not born in the United States. His grandmother from Kenya stated, on tape, that he was born in Kenya and she was there to watch the birth. His family in Honolulu is fighting over which hospital in Hawaii he was born in-they just don't know.

He has not been able to produce a “birth certificate” but merely a totally unsigned “certificate of live birth”-which is totally different and of very little significance. Unlike a birth certificate, a certificate of live birth is very easy to obtain. Equally of importance, there are no records in Hawaii that a Barack Hussein Obama was born there-no bills, no doctors names, no nurses names, no registrations, no payments, etc. As far as the two notices placed in newspapers, many things could have happened, but some feel the grandparents put an ad in order to show that he was a citizen of the U.S. with all of the benefits thereto. Everybody, after all, and especially then, wanted to be a United States citizen.

The term used by Ms. Collins-“birther”-is very derogatory and is meant in a derogatory way. Had this been George Bush or almost any other President or Presidential aspirant, they would never have been allowed to attain office, or would have been thrown out of office very quickly.

For some reason, the press protects President Obama beyond anything or anyone I have ever seen. What they don't realize is that if he was not born in the United States, they would have uncovered the greatest "scam" in the history of our country. In other words, they would become the hottest writer since Watergate, or beyond.

Open your eyes, Gail, there's at least a good chance that Barack Hussein Obama has made mincemeat out of our great and cherished Constitution!"

Now, you gotta understand that I don't think it really matters in the end who wins the Presidential election because the country has gone past the point of no return. There's just too much corruption cooked into the system at this point. The only real solution is to shut it all down and start over.

But, since we're going to go through the motions anyway, why not have a little fun. Trump won't take anything lying down. If most candidates were attacked like he was by Ms. Collins they'd wring their hands in a grand theatrical gesture and begin to pontificate about the politics of hate or the flatulence of fear or some such thing. Trump'll just take off his jacket and get down in the pit and mix it up. MMA meets Pennsylvania Avenue.

Trump's reply reminded me of another famous reply from Missouri's own President Harry Truman, a guy more than willing to swing back. His daughter Margaret was an aspiring singer. One of her shows was reviewed by a Mr. Paul Hume, Washington Post music critic. While he was quite complimentary about Miss Truman's appearance he was less enthusiastic about her singing.

When President Truman saw the review in his morning paper he wrote this little note:

"Mr Hume:

I've just read your lousy review of Margaret's concert. I've come to the conclusion that you are an "eight ulcer man on four ulcer pay."

It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful. When you write such poppy-cock as was in the back section of the paper you work for it shows conclusively that you're off the beam and at least four of your ulcers are at work.

Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!

Pegler, a gutter snipe, is a gentleman alongside you. I hope you'll accept that statement as a worse insult than a reflection on your ancestry.


So I say run Mr. Trump, run! We need to see a fighter in the race, not a politician.

Friday, April 8, 2011


As much as I piss and moan about the bishops in America we still do have a bunch of them that aren't afraid to speak the truth, regardless of how counter-cultural it is. Archbishop Michael Sheehan is one of them. I've reprinted in full his pastoral letter about co-habitating couples...screw it, people shacking up... and the mortal danger that they are placing themselves in.

I was young once and if I'd had the opportunity I probably would have lived with my wife before we got married. People were doing it all the time but it still wasn't something that was readily accepted, not like it is today, just another lifestyle choice. But I knew that I was supposed to get married and Kathy felt the same. I wasn't very concerned about religion at the time but somehow that stuck with me. I'm glad it did.

Even taking the religious aspect away, I still don't quite understand why anyone would want to open themselves up to another in the way that marriage does without the vows. It's important to me to know that we're in this together, good times and bad. This isn't some passing thing, a quick roll in the hay and goodbye. Marriage is a partnership that has to last 'til death do us part. If you can't make that commitment then don't get married. And if you can't marry a person then don't live with them. Because vows or not, between the sex and all else that goes with living together, a bond will form, for good or bad, and it will be a bond for life, regardless of future separation. That's how we're built. It's our nature.

So I thank the good bishop for his wise words. I wish more of our leaders in the Church would speak up as forcefully.

April 3, 2011

Pastoral Care of Couples Who are Cohabitating

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are all painfully aware that there are many Catholics today who are living in cohabitation.
The Church must make it clear to the faithful that these unions are not in accord with the Gospel, and to help Catholics who find themselves in these situations to do whatever they must do to make their lives pleasing to God.

First of all, we ourselves must be firmly rooted in the Gospel teaching that, when it comes to
sexual union, there are only two lifestyles acceptable to Jesus Christ for His disciples: a single life of chastity, or the union of man and woman in the Sacrament of Matrimony. There is no “third way” possible for a Christian. The Bible and the Church teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman and opposes same sex unions.

We have three groups of people who are living contrary to the Gospel teaching on marriage:
those who cohabit; those who have a merely civil union with no previous marriage; and those
who have a civil union who were married before. These people are objectively living in a state of mortal sin and may not receive Holy Communion. They are in great spiritual danger. At the best - and this is, sadly, often the case - they are ignorant of God’s plan for man and woman. At the worst, they are contemptuous of God’s commandments and His sacraments.

Of these three groups, the first two have no real excuse. They should marry in the Church or
separate. Often their plea is that they “cannot afford a church wedding” i.e. the external
trappings, or that “what difference does a piece of paper make?” - as if a sacramental covenant is nothing more than a piece of paper! Such statements show religious ignorance, or a lack of faith and awareness of the evil of sin.

The third group, those who were married before and married again outside the Church, can seek
a marriage annulment and have their marriage blest in the Church. Please remember that divorce
still is no reason to refrain from Holy Communion as long as they have not entered into another
marriage or sinful relationship. Many Catholics are confused on this point.

Christ our Lord loves all these people and wishes to save them - not by ignoring their sin, or
calling evil good, but by repentance and helping them to change their lives in accordance with
His teaching. We, as His Church, must do the same. In accord with this, I would remind you of
the following:

1. People in the above three situations cannot receive the Sacraments, with the important exception of those who agree to live chastely (“as brother and sister”) until their situation is regularized. Of course, those in danger of death are presumed to be repentant.

2. These people may not be commissioned as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, not only because of scandal, but even more because one commits the sin of sacrilege by administering a Sacrament in the state of mortal sin.

3. Nor are such people to be admitted to the role of sponsor for Baptism or Confirmation, as
is clearly stated on the Archdiocesan Affidavit for a Sponsor. It is critical for the sponsor
to be a practicing Catholic - and can anyone be seriously called a practicing Catholic who
is not able to receive the sacraments because they are living in sin?

4. When it comes to other parish ministries and organizations, I feel it best to leave these
situations to the judgment of the pastor. Prudence is needed, avoiding all occasions of
scandal. We must see their involvement in the parish as an opportunity to work urgently
to bring such people to repentance and the regularization of their lifestyle.

5. Many of these sins are committed out of ignorance. I ask that our pastors preach on the
gravity of sin and its evil consequences, the 6th and 9th Commandments of God, and the
sacramental nature and meaning of Christian marriage. Our catechetical programs in our
parishes - children, youth, and adult – must clearly and repeatedly teach these truths.

A Church wedding does not require some lavish spectacle and entertainment costing vast
sums of money (Indeed, how often we have seen the most costly weddings end in divorce
in but a few months or years!). While beauty and joy should surround a Christian
wedding, we must remind everyone that it is a sacrament, not a show.

6. Those who are married outside the Church because of a previous union are urged to seek
an annulment through our Marriage Tribunal. If it can be found that the first marriage
lacked some essential quality for a valid marriage, the Tribunal can grant an annulment.
Your pastor can help someone start a marriage case for this purpose. It is important for
such couples to continue to pray and get to Mass even though they may not receive
Communion, until their marriage can be blest in the Church.

Our popular American culture is often in conflict with the teachings of Jesus and His Church. I
urge especially young people to not cohabitate which is sinful, but to marry in the Church and
prepare well for it.

I congratulate and thank those thousands of Catholic married couples who role model the
Sacrament of Marriage according to the teachings of Jesus and his Church.

Sincerely yours in the Risen Lord,

Most Rev. Michael J. Sheehan
Archbishop of Santa Fe


For all that might think I'm rather extreme in my belief that the Church is splitting in America I give you this most current offering from Catholic TV. THIS IS NOT CATHOLICISM!! It's paganism and Protestantism and New Age craziness and it's a lie. Yet, many Catholics are turning to this with open arms.

We don't see much of this here in the middle of the country - yet. However, I talk to people on the coasts and they tell me that they run into stuff like this all the time. This is blasphemous, especially in the cavalier attitude towards the Eucharist.

In America we have the freedom to worship as we please and that's a good thing. But we don't have the freedom to lie. In calling this nightmare Catholicism the people that promote it are misleading others and sending them on the path to damnation.

This is a Church problem and the Church needs to deal with it. So, once again I'm forced to ask, WHERE THE HELL IS ROME?!!!! Souls are being lost and the Vatican is silent.

Let the excommunications begin. And while we're at it, when was the last time we had a good old fashioned heretic burning?

Just saying.


Jeff Beck is one of the greatest guitar players ever and he seems to have found a musical soul mate in Imelda May. She's a rockabilly singer from Ireland and her husband, Darrel Higham, is the guitar player in their band. He's a damned good guitarist himself.

Beck brought Imelda May and her band on the Leno show last night to play "Remeber (Walkin' in the Sand)", the 1964 hit for the Shangri-Las and they tore it down. There's some longer versions of them preforming this song on YouTube that are better but this was just fine.

Beck has always been deeply involved in jazz and earlier forms of rock. Of late he's been doing a lot of Les Paul music and Imelda May has been singing the Mary Ford vocal arrangements, even using the same multi tracking that Paul and Ford used to such great effect. I've posted the video from Beck's tribute on PBS to Les Paul, the great Les Paul/Mary Ford hit "How High the Moon", below. It's good to see that someone is carrying on these older songs, keeping them alive, because I just don't hear much anymore that compares. I don't know why that is except that most rock seems to have moved away from its blues, jazz and country roots. It's become way too dark and, dare I say it, Satanic.

Anyway, it's Friday and time for a little good music to wash away the cares of the world. My internet connection is barely functioning so this may be the only thing I post today.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


"House Republicans advanced legislation Thursday to avoid a government shutdown for one more week, cut spending and fully fund the Pentagon, but the White House labeled the measure a distraction and said President Barack Obama would veto it.

Obama said in a statement he believes "we need to put politics aside and work out our differences" on a spending plan that covers the government through September, when the current budget year ends.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, quickly countered with a statement saying he was "confident that those Democrats who believe it is important to fund our troops and make real spending cuts will prevail upon Senator Reid and our commander in chief to keep the government from shutting down.""
Yahoo News

"The government would be forced to shut down if President Barack Obama follows through on a promise to veto a Republican-backed stopgap spending bill, House of Representatives Republican Leader Eric Cantor said on Thursday.

"I've just been informed that President Obama has threatened to veto the only bill before us to keep the government functioning ahead of tomorrow's deadline," Cantor said in a prepared statement. "If the President vetoes this bill and shuts the government down, our men and women in uniform serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world will not be paid. ... I urge the President revisit his decision and work with us.""
Yahoo News

Kind'a makes you wonder just what they consider essential, doesn't it?

This is the game that government's always play and it's right out of the union playbook. When money is short and they want more of ours the first thing that gets cut is the most important and vital service the government supplies. They always cut the police, fire and school budgets first but leave their own pay and perqs in place. They feed the fish in the zoo and starve the soldier in the field. I've got to find a list somewhere of just what will be funded when they shut the government down. I'll bet that there's plenty of stuff on it that is a whole lot less important than the military. But those things wouldn't put the pressure on the employers as effectively as not paying the military.

I don't know how long this strike is going to go on. The one thing that I'm going to be real interested to see is how long it takes all the retired people I saw at the TEA Party rallies to start screaming about not getting their checks from Social Security and Medicare. It's time to put up or shut up. We all want smaller government but its not going to be painless.

There's something else that I've been wondering about. Right after the last election there was all kinds of resistance from the old guard in the GOP to the TEA Party and it demands to cut spending. Suddenly we had this huge turn around and the GOP leadership seems to have embraced the whole concept of spending cuts and smaller government. Do you think, and maybe I'm just too cynical, but do you think that somebody, somewhere in the GOP said let's give 'em what they want and before you know it they'll be back, screaming for benefits and leaving the TEA Party in droves. Is this shutdown being driven by Progressive interests in the GOP as well as the same interests in the Democrat Party?

I don't trust any of 'em.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011



"Democrats and Republicans tried yesterday to reach a spending compromise that would keep the government running after President Barack Obama said it would be “inexcusable” for Congress to fail to avert a shutdown looming at week’s end.

House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told Democrats at a private White House meeting that he wanted to slice $40 billion from current spending, according to an administration official who sought anonymity. That is $7 billion higher than the $33 billion plan lawmakers had been working to assemble."
Business Week

With a community organizer as President and union bosses visiting the White house on a very regular basis I have to wonder if the impending government shutdown isn't a strike.

If I think about it all the classic labor relations problems are there. We have an employer (the people) that is tired of losing money, basically insolvent and needs to make cuts. We have an entrenched union (all the various special interests) that demand we continue to pay them an exorbitant salary regardless of profitability. The line has been drawn in the sand by the recent budget proposal submitted by Congressman Ryan.

The union won't accept our offer and we can't afford anything else and stay in business so a strike (government shutdown) has been threatened. The union believes that the service they provide is so special that they can't be replaced. They're banking on other unions supporting their play. They think that if they cause enough pain we'll roll on their demands.

Now, if this were my business I would have plans in place to replace these workers with new ones as soon as they walked off. And yes, I know that may be illegal based on contractual obligations but too bad. If we don't make serious changes and do it right now we're going under. I'd begin slashing programs and any other extraneous costs as soon as the strike begins.

All this would take planning and leadership. Fortunately the budgetary problems aren't something that came up over night so I've had plenty of time to get my act together.

Unfortunately, the government isn't a privately run business and we have no leadership that's worth talking about on the conservative side. And because of this the unions hold all the cards. And they know it. That's why they're (the Democrats) forcing this to happen. They know the strike will be successful and the business owners will cave.

If we had leadership it would have set the stage to weather the strike that's heading our way. This could have been done by getting out ahead of the union last year when the Democrats never submitted or approved a budget. Hell, the handwriting was on the wall at that point. Republicans should have taken the facts to the people and explained what we're up against. Of course, this would have pissed off their own special interest groups but real leaders wouldn't care.

If someone would just speak the truth and tell the people exactly why we're broke and what it will take to fix it we'd get on board. Look at the TEA Party turn outs last year! We'd be ready and willing to fight the unions and their strike and win.

So how would the people circumvent the unions? By hiring new workers and crossing the line. Now, it would be damned near impossible to do this at the federal level. The way around it is to put systems in place to begin handling essential government functions at the local level to the greatest extent possible.

To do that we'd need money. So we'll kill two birds with one stone; starve the beast. A real leader would have begun helping state and local governments to begin to stop sending money to Washington and keep it locally if a strike is called. Roads, schools, health and whatever else is extorted from the people and then redistributed to them by the extortionist would just stay with them from the beginning.

This would force an instant reduction in the size and power of the federal government and undercut the bargaining power of the union. It would also force the people to look honestly at the cost of services supplied by government and then to decide which are truly essential. The fed would still keep receiving our payroll taxes so they should have enough to keep the military functioning, especially if we immediately disengage overseas.

But, since we don't have any real leaders, when the union shuts down the government they'll hold all the cards. The strike will work when things start to shut down because there won't be any way to quickly replace the essential needs with local alternatives because the ground work hasn't been laid. The strike will work because the people will cave because no one has made the case to them so they'd have the strength to resist union tyranny. The media will make it sound as though we can't get along without the union, playing up any problems they can find, exaggerating the real affects of a government shutdown and backing their buddies in the union. And of course the union will make sure that the truly essential services go off line first for maximum effect.

So get ready for a week or so of theater and hand wringing before everything goes back to normal and the death spiral resumes anew. The lack of leadership on the conservative side means the unions will win the strike. And the people will lose.


The more I've thought about this during the day the more I've started to wonder about the timing with all the union unrest at the state level. I know that most of it has been in response to budget cutting by Republican governors but still, isn't it just a bit...convenient, that just when we may need to shift services to the state or local governments we have all the union state and local workers all twisted in knots and ready to rumble?

If we try to sidestep the federal government how hard would it be for the unions to direct their members at the state and local levels to not do the work or actually go on strike?

Just wondering.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Mr. Voris is onto something here. What he describes is exactly what I see happening in my own Catholic community. We're all starting to realize that staying loyal to Rome and to the faith may mean divorcing ourselves from the American Church establishment. It's walking a fine line but I think as long as we stay focused on Christ and Peter we'll do OK.

The danger is that it would be all too easy to stray away. But the reality is that to do nothing, to blindly follow the apostate teachings of many of the bishops in America would be equally, if not more, dangerous.


"The president of the Pakistani bishops' conference has called for the arrest of a U.S. Protestant pastor whose decision to burn the Islamic sacred book has caused fury in the Muslim world and the deaths of more than 20 people.

Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore, conference president, said the U.S. government should seek to diffuse mounting tensions by detaining the Rev. Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center Church in Gainesville, Fla., who oversaw the burning of the Quran by the Rev. Wayne Sapp, his assistant.

"The U.S. government should detain the pastor for some time," Archbishop Saldanha told the British branch of Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity for persecuted Christians around the world."
Catholic News Agency

I'm curious. What exactly does the good bishop think that Rev. Jones should be arrested for? Burning the Koran may be provocative, it might be stupid and it was probably simply an act of self promotion. But illegal? Hardly. The act itself harmed no one and didn't damage another's property. It didn't offend the natural law rights of another; in fact it was an exercise of the natural law right to freedom of expression and religion that the pastor possesses as a part of his humanity.

It's frightening how quickly a bishop is willing to excuse the truly horrendous, immoral and illegal behavior of the Muslim rioters and to then turn around and place the blame on an innocent man.

I have some questions that I'd love to hear the bishop answer. When Christian missionaries are arrested and executed for the crime of preaching the Gospel, are they guilty of causing their own deaths? If a person hands out Bibles in a Muslim country and is killed because of that, who should be arrested? The killers or the church leader that sent the person in the first place? If the bishop sends someone to preach the gospel and riots erupt because of it, should the bishop be arrested? Or, in the bishops way of thinking, is the preservation of peace and ecumenism so important that he wouldn't send the missionary or preach the Gospel in the first place?

Just wondering.


Liquor Guns amp Ammo Sign
Myspace Graphics

Why is this even a question here in the land of the free?

"Cynthia Willis calls up and down the firing range to be sure everyone knows she is shooting, squares up in a two-handed stance with her Walther P-22 automatic pistol and fires off a clip in rapid succession.

Willis is not only packing a concealed handgun permit in her wallet, she also has a medical marijuana card. That combination has led the local sheriff to try to take her gun permit away.

She is part of what is considered the first major court case in the country to consider whether guns and marijuana can legally mix. The sheriffs of Washington and Jackson counties say no. But Willis and three co-plaintiffs have won in state court twice, with the state’s rights to regulate concealed weapons trumping federal gun control law in each decision.

With briefs filed and arguments made, they are now waiting for the Oregon Supreme Court to rule.

When it’s over, the diminutive 54-year-old plans to still be eating marijuana cookies to deal with her arthritis pain and muscle spasms, and carrying her pistol."
The Blaze

As someone that's spent more time in duck blinds with guys that are stoned than I care to think about the answer to this question is an unequivocal YES! And as a guy that's spent a whole bunch of Sunday afternoons drinking beer and shooting clay birds my answer is still YES!

The truth is that people that are responsible can have a few beers or blow a couple one bangers and still be responsible. At the same time, I've been around a whole bunch of stone sober idiots with firearms that I wouldn't trust no matter what. I've had to go as far as to remove the weapons from them on occasion.

This isn't about inebriation. It's about a political agenda. And it's about stupid federal firearms laws that should have never been enacted, especially because they violate the clear intent of the framers of the Constitution. Firearm laws should be left up to local officials and legislators. If Chicago wants to outlaw guns because its citizens demand it, fine. But it shouldn't speak for Mascoutah. And Washington, D.C. shouldn't have any say on this subject anywhere.

So, unless this lady in the article above is shown to be irresponsible with her weapons irrespective of her use of marijuana leave her be.

This is, or at least should be, a state issue. Keep the fed out of it.

Monday, April 4, 2011


A first time author named John Eklund contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if I would like to read and review his book “The Third Testament”. Having never done a book review before, and having not done a book report since my days in grade school so long ago, I agreed, with a certain amount of fear and trembling (sorry, St. Paul), to go ahead and try my hand at reviewing someone else’s work. So, here goes:

I’ve never read a book quite like
“The Third Testament” before. It’s not wholly a work of fiction and yet it’s fictional. But it’s also filled with historical information. But it’s not historical fiction because the fictional story runs parallel to the historical. And they interact and intertwine to create a third story of redemption and faith. But even this story is not confined to a character or a particular group, though it applies to both, but to all of humanity.

The book, at least the fictional part, reminded me in many ways of reading something written by Wendell Berry. Not in style or subject but in that it has a certain gentleness to it. It follows the ebb and flow of a normal life that has been interrupted by a series of life altering problems. It’s the response to the problems, a response grounded in faith, that strike me as honest and true. No explosions, gunfire or incredible acts of heroism, just human suffering and confusion, all wrapped up in a daily life that must go on, punctuated by moments of grace that allow a person of faith to endure.

The central character, Fred Sankt, a professor at a Catholic college and a widower, is confronted with the very real possibility that his only daughter will be killed by the same type of cancer that killed his wife years earlier along with a legal threat to his financial security from an unjust accuser. He experiences a series of dreams that lead him to believe that he has been chosen to write a book of salvation history, picking up where the New Testament leaves off, a Third Testament. In writing this book he finds solace from the pressures in his life, and hope.

From the author’s point of view this is an effective device because it allows him to switch back and forth from the story of Mr. Sankt to the book that Mr. Sankt is writing. This lets the reader journey along with him as he chronicles the triumphs and failures of the Church throughout the last 2000 years, painting a picture of struggle and redemption that one can hardly help but to begin to see mirrored in the personal struggles of Mr. Sankt and, by extension, all of us.

I don’t read much fiction because, for the most part, I have a limited amount of time to read and I like to try to make it count. I don’t read much fiction because I don’t learn much from it, at least the fiction that is produced today. I find myself drawn to the classic works of fiction when I read any fiction at all. I just reread “To Kill a Mockingbird” and a short story by Faulkner, “The Barn Burner”. Both had messages worth hearing. Not long ago I read “On the Road”, Jack Kerouac’s classic. Not exactly uplifting and holy but well worth reading because of the use of language and how the rythym of the words evoke a jazz/bop riff. Also, as a person of faith, it’s a really good book to show just how little hope there is in a life driven by hedonism. The characters lives were pointless, but not the book. Again, great stuff.

On the other hand, I also just read a Brad Thor novel, “The Last Patriot”. It’s a complete waste of time. It just seemed so pointless. What could I learn from it? Nothing. Sure the story moved along and there was plenty of action but it was empty of any sort of moral sense, good or bad. It was just an aimless exercise in reading; junk food for the mind.

Mr. Eklund’s book
“The Third Testament” is worth reading because it expresses a truth that too many have forgotten. As Christians we are part of one body and whatever happens to one of us happens to all of us. We all suffer, sometimes as individuals and sometimes corporately through the suffering of the Church, our one, shared body. Also, there is no new suffering. It’s all happened before. And it seems that there is a reason for it because, if one reads their history, they know that few if any saints became holy without it. The history of the church is a history of patient endurance.

“What is it that hath been? The same thing that shall be. What is it that hath been done? The same that shall be done. Nothing under the sun is new, neither is any man able to say: Behold this is new: for it hath already gone before in the ages that were before us.” Ecclesiastes 1:9-10

As Christians we need to understand our shared family history so that we can place our own lives in their proper context. Religion devoid of history is dead (sorry, St. James). Conversely, history devoid of God is a lie. Without the examples of our fathers in the faith how can we see that our lives have meaning, that we are much larger than what we see in the mirror, that our lives are part of a greater life, the life of the Church and through it the life of Jesus and through Him the life of God the Father? And if we read history without seeing the guiding hand of grace we miss so much of the underlying truth and the conclusions we draw will be twisted and confused.

“And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the
gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18

In this book we come to see, along with Mr. Sankt, that the Church stands as a beacon, a reason for hope. We see that it’s very endurance, the fact that it still survives today, after 2,000 years of attacks and brutal betrayals, just as Jesus promised it would, is as sure a reason for faith in Christ as anything else. Only a miracle, or more rightly, one whole never ending series of miracles and heavenly protections could have kept our Holy Mother Church on this earth. The Roman Catholic Church is the oldest form of government on the earth today, outlasting everything before or since. That is a miracle, maybe the greatest of all since the beginning of the Church itself.

The following can be found on page 248 of "The Third Testament":

"One day a humble servant of the Lord lost a very dear friend to the scourge cancer. The humble servant felt great sorrow and prayed that he would someday see his friend again. After much time in prayer, the humble servant was confronted by a demon. The demon said to him, "Why do you waste your time in prayer? There is no proof that God exists."

The humble servant answered him, "I have faith and that is why I pray."

The demon then said to him with disdain, "Faith is no more than superstition. On what do you base this 'faith?'"

The humble servant answered, "I base this faith on trust."

"Trust in whom?" the demon retorted. "In whom do you have such trust that you would ignore the laws of probability and the laws of science?"

"I trust in Christ," the humble servant replied.

"In Christ!" the demon exclaimed. "In Christ! Name one thing Christ has done to earn your trust. Tell me please, what has He ever done to earn your prayers? I dare you to name one miracle He has ever performed that has been proven by science to be true. Name it! Name it!" he taunted with glee.

The humble servant stood with patience, and then answered with three simple words: "The Church exists."

"What?" the demon declared in confusion. "What!" he said again with vexation. "What do you mean 'the Church exists?' Please tell me how this relates to trust. Please tell me how this justifies your wasted time in prayer?"

The humble servant calmly explained his answer. "Jesus Christ made a promise--the simple promise 'Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.' And now after 2000 years the Church still endures. It endures despite a history of heresies and persecutions. It endures despite the tyranny of despots. It endures despite the laws of probability and the laws of science. What greater miracle is there than this—that the son of a simple carpenter, who lived a life of poverty, and dwelled with the lowly, who never ventured more than a hundred miles from the town of his birth, and who died a criminal's death on a cross, would establish a great and holy Church, and that the teachings of this Church would be spread throughout the world by twelve simple men--men who hid in fear after the crucifixion? Yet in a mere three days after this lowly criminal's death, these twelve sprang forth and proclaimed His word and gave up their lives so that His promise would ring true. And over the centuries thousands of others gave their lives also, so that the Church would go on. The most powerful kings and most menacing armies stood against her, but the Church did not falter. For 2000 years this Church has withstood the test of time, overcoming the greatest of odds again and again. It surmounted the insurmountable. It beat the unbeatable foe. It prevailed through the harshest of storms. I say to you, this Church has shattered the very laws that you exalt. It defied that laws of probability, and it humbled the laws of science."

The humble servant continued on, "The existence of this Church is not a myth. The existence of this Church is not a legend. That this Church exists is an undeniable fact. That Christ's promise was kept is an undeniable fact. And if He kept this promise, then how can there be any doubt that He will keep His greatest promise—the promise that was central to His ministry, the promise that said 'If you believe in me, and eat of this bread, and drink of this cup, you shall live forever.' So when you ask 'why do I have faith,' I tell you, it is because I have trust, and nothing that your fair science can offer can break that trust. This is why I pray, so that someday I will enjoy that most sacred covenant of all"--the humble servant paused briefly and then added with solemnity and conviction--"together with my friend!" He then looked the demon right in the eye. "What good can your science and probability offer that is greater than this?"

With those words, the demon turned away, never to bother the humble servant again."

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32

Fear of the truth (and isn’t that really fear of God?) has led many Christians to completely dismiss history. Many in the Catholic Church are as guilty of this as many in the other Christian faiths. It’s far past the time that this should be remedied.

Mr. Eklund’s book,
“The Third Testament” is a really fine place to start.

Friday, April 1, 2011


"Thousands of people in Missouri who have been unemployed for more than a year soon will lose their jobless benefits, marking a significant victory for Republican fiscal hawks who are crusading against government spending.

When eligibility ends Saturday, Missouri will become the only state to voluntarily quit a federal stimulus program that offers extended benefits. Michigan, Arkansas and Florida also recently took steps to cut back on money going to the unemployed, although they targeted state benefits instead.

"We have to take a stand and say, `When is enough enough?' and send a message to the federal government, and hopefully shame them into doing the right thing and quit spending money that they don't have," said state Sen. Jim Lembke, a Republican from St. Louis.

...At issue is a provision in the 2009 federal stimulus act that allowed residents in states with high unemployment rates to receive up to 20 additional weeks of federally funded jobless benefits after exhausting the 79 weeks authorized under other federal laws. At least three dozen states, including Missouri, enacted laws to participate.

Although their unemployment rates were high enough to qualify, seven other states – Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma and Utah – never passed laws to join in, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Maryland is now pursuing participation, but many of the other states seem content to remain out of the program. Much like his Missouri counterparts, Utah Senate President Michael Waddoups said the states need to set an example of self-sufficiency.

...That federal backlash is particularly strong in Missouri, where voters were the first in the nation to pass a measure challenging the new federal health care mandate and where Republican senators also are holding up federal stimulus money for education.

...The National Employment Law Project says its supporters sent 15,000 emails in a roughly 24-hour period from Tuesday to Wednesday urging Missouri senators to allow a vote on the legislation reauthorizing the extended jobless benefits.

But Sen. Brian Nieves, a Republican from Washington, Mo., who is popular among tea party activists, said he has no intention of compromising his position. "The people have been crystal clear for about the last two years in saying that they expect us to at least start the process of weaning ourselves off of the federal government," Nieves said."
Huffington Post

Way to go, Senators Nieves and Lembke! This sucks for the people that can't find work here in Missouri but reality has a way of sucking most of the time anyway.

The reality is that the money that the federal government wants to send to us to pay for additional unemployment benefits doesn't exist! They're I take that back. The Federal Reserve is creating it out of thin air and lending it to the government which is giving it to the states. In other words, this is no different than asking your parents to borrow money to pay your bills and then expecting your grandkids to pay the debt.

Yep, reality sucks alright but it is what it is. America is broke and it seems that a good deal of the people are, too. Going deeper and deeper into debt won't change that. It'll just make the eventual day of reckoning that much worse.

Now, I know that the usual suspects on the left - the unions, celebrities, politicians, community organizers and the USCCB will scream and rend their garments, demanding their perverted version of "social justice" be enforced. They'll demand that Missouri repent of its conservative ways and return to the Progressive fold.

There is nothing JUST about stealing money from future generations and hanging the albatross of debt around their necks to remedy our problems today. In fact, it's the opposite of justice; it's theft.

So I'm glad that my Senator, from my state, has the cajones to stand up for what's right regardless of the political fallout. I'm proud to say that I voted for Brian Nieves and I'll do it again.

Thanks, Senator and keep up the good work!