Support This Website! Shop Here!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Simple Health Care Reform

Guest Post by Joseph Morris

The current debate over health care reform in the United States is centered around the question, “Who should pay, and how do we cover those who cannot pay?”

I believe the more directed question should be “How do we get health care to those who cannot pay?” As most of the country is covered by private health insurance and is happy with the cost and care they are receiving, let us only address that minority who are uncovered and leave the rest alone. What they need is free care.

A simple proposal:

Allow every health care professional; doctors, nurses, chiropractors, physical therapists, homeopaths, etc. to deduct from their personal federal income taxes, dollar for dollar, at their going rate, for every hour of free care that they give.

Allow every care facility; hospitals, clinics, etc, and manufacturer/distributor; pharmaceutical companies,. pharmacies, wheelchair companies, bandage mmanufacturers, etc. to deduct from their corporate income taxes, dollar for dollar, at their market rate, for every product or service that they give.

The Results:

Patients who cannot pay will be provided with private, local care unencumbered by federal or state government bureaucracy.

Medical providers can donate their services to whatever income level they seek to achieve. 50/50 to pay no taxes, 60/40 to pay some taxes, donate all their time in order to offset other income streams, etc. They can schedule their free hours within their offices, or spend time at free clinics.

Medicare/Medicaid will be rendered obsolete before they become insolvent.

Enforcement falls to the IRS which carries an established reputation and would only audit the hours given in service and would not be concerned with the care given.

This will be a new incentive for prospective medical professionals to enter the field. Watch the no tax days at the beginning of the school year to understand the inordinate joy that the public takes in sticking it to the government.

Accessibility to free care will be limited by provider choices and thus will serve as an incentive for those who can pay to stay insured.

Health care providers will advertise for uninsured patients as the fiscal year closes.

Even if every provider overstated his donations by 100% every year, it would still be cheaper than anything else being proposed.

Joe Morris, small business owner

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tin Foil Hats

In February, 1904, Scientific American provided a description of N-rays:
CHIMERICAL RAYS--"M. Aug Charpentier brings out the interesting point that the rays given out by living organisms differ from the N-rays discovered by M. Rene Prosper Blondlot, and the thinks they are formed of N-rays and another new form of radiation. This is especially true of the rays from the nerve centers or nerves, whose striking characteristic is that they are partially cut off by an aluminum screen. A sheet of 1/50th of an inch is sufficient to cut down considerably the rays emitted by a point of the brain..."
Well, it turns out that N-rays don't exist, but the "tin foil hat" subsequently took on a life of its own. It is now the mark of the conspiracy theorist. It is usually applied to anyone who opposes the worldview of "Main Stream Media" (MSM) journalists. But just how mainstream are those journalists?

We could shoot fish in a barrel by pointing to eminent MSM nutcases like Dan Rather. He not only insisted that George Bush's military service in the Air National Guard was bogus, he sued CBS for forcing him to drop the story:
"Rather alleges that he was forced to apologize for the Bush story as part of a conspiracy by top CBS management to ensure that no further damaging revelations about the president’s time in the Texas Air National Guard would become public."
Similarly, Hillary Clinton's tin-foil hat was showing when she started making rambling comments about the "vast right-wing conspiracy" that sought to destroy her family. That was right about the time Bill told us what the meaning of "is" is.

And during one of Joe Biden's more recent trips to his vacation retreat in the Land of Aluminum, he insisted Barack Hussein Obama would be seriously tested within six months of his swearing-in. The clock is ticking to a close on that six months, but no world-wide disaster-level test for Barry seems to be in the making. I guess the world just isn't that into him.

As I say, we could take the most obvious cases of MSM conspiracy theory, roll our eyes and call for the men in white suits. But the charge merits a deeper look. After all, when you think about it, the MSM is really a major tin-foil hat manufacturing industry.

Consider MSM insistence that there is no link between abortion and breast cancer. The tin-foil hats that head up the MSM and at least one American cancer institute refuse to engage the reality of dozens of scientific studies. Instead, Americans deny that there is any correlation, despite mountains of evidence that abortion does cause breast cancer.

Why the state of denial? Because these "mainstream" tin foil hats fear that admitting the truth would allow the camel's nose into the tent. Religious types would take over science or the United States or their bedroom or... whatever. So they deny any aspect of reality that comports too closely with what religion teaches to be true.

As a result, we keep being told that condoms are a solution the the AIDS crisis, that abortion is essentially harmless (in their world, it never causes subsequent pre-term birth, increased incidence of cerebral palsy, or post-traumatic stress disorder), and that promoting abstinence or monogamy is a bad idea.

In all of these cases, various elements of the "mainstream" refuse to engage the reality and instead insists that these facts are not actually facts, rather, these facts are really part of a larger conspiracy, a nefarious attempt by Rome or the Southern Baptists or the Mormons to go on the rampage and enslave people. Religious patriarchy and all that.

The liberal tin foil hats even have a Council of Elders now, I suppose to combat the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It's hard to say really, especially considering that at least one of the members the new Council (a former American President) once swore he was visited by a UFO.

So, why do "mainstream liberals" (a contradiction in terms if ever there was one) take hold in the public psyche? Because they shout their conspiracy theory loudly. Because MSM'ers believe a conspiracy of powerful religious interests want to take over everyone's lives.

Whether it's Dan Rather, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Whoopi Goldberg, or Barack Obama, they are all various degrees of nuts.

So, what can we conclude?

1) The "main-stream media" is already conspiracy-theory driven.
2) The "main-stream media" is essentially becoming a minority fringe group,
3) It really is appropriate to describe people who follow MSM positions as tin-foil hat groupies.

Why mention all of this?
Well, today, we face another MSM tin-foil hat conspiracy theory.

The MSMer's insist that anyone who questions Barack Obama's eligibility to be President is part of a vast, right-wing (is there any other kind?) racist conspiracy intended to turn America away from its marvelous upward course towards enlightened atheistic secular humanism. MSM'ers are terrified that such questions about Barack Hussein Obama's person will instantly turn the good old US of A back instead towards the Dark Ages of Religious Intolerance (tm).

Uhhh.... yeah.
I'm sure.

Let's try to be rationale, shall we?

My brother-in-law is a cop. If he were to pull me over, he would ask for my driver's license. He expects to get it.

Now, he knows I have a driver's license. But if he knows I have one, why does he ask for it? Indeed, why ask anyone for it? Isn't the fact that someone has a car proof enough that they must have a driver's license? What possible reason would anyone have to give a car to someone without a license?

Someone must have vetted the driver! It would be crazy to let anyone have a car without vetting the driver. There are laws against that sort of thing! So, asking for a driver's license... it's crazy talk, I tell ya'! That cop is a right-wing conspiracy theory NUT! And I can prove it! After all, he actually asked for my driver's license!

Keep in mind that the person behind the wheel almost always does have a license. My brother-in-law still asks because... well... because that's the law. He has to ask for it, I have to produce it.

So, which is more bizarre? To ask a man to release his medical records, his college transcripts, his writings, his birth certificate, if he decides he wants to run for or be sworn in as President? Or to insist that even allowing the human mind to form such questions is the sign of incipient insanity?

Now, the Constitution itself stipulates that you need only be a "citizen" to be a Senator or Representative, but you must be a "natural born citizen" to be president. So, which is more bizarre? To insist that the Law of Nations, the US Constitution, and continuing American legal precedent has already defined the phrase "natural-born citizen" to mean a man who is BOTH born on US soil AND whose parents are BOTH US citizens, or to ignore all of this history and legal precedent and instead insist there is no difference between being a "citizen" and being a "natural-born citizen"?

What is this "natural born citizen" law?

The Constitution’s Article 1, Section 8, Clause 10 states that a power of Congress is to “define and punish… offenses against the law of nations.The Law of Nations has been international law, which as documented by Emmerich de Vatel (1758) states, in Chapter XIX, paragraph 212, “The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens. As the society cannot exist and perpetuate itself otherwise than by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights.”Vatel follows with paragraph 215, in which he asserts, “It is asked whether the children born of citizens in a foreign country are citizens? The laws have decided this question in several countries, and their regulations must be followed.(59) By the law of nature alone, children follow the condition of their fathers, and enter into all their rights (§ 212); the place of birth produces no change in this particular, and cannot, of itself, furnish any reason for taking from a child what nature has given him; I say ‘of itself,’ for, civil or political laws may, for particular reasons, ordain otherwise.” The chief framer of the related 14th Amendment of the Constitution, John A. Bingham corroborated this dual criteria stating, “every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen.”

In the 1st Congress, second session, Chapter 3, the issue of who might be a natural born citizen, as opposed to just a citizen, was again defined:
And the children of such persons so naturalized, dwelling within the United States, being under the age of twenty-one years at the time of such naturalization, shall also be considered as citizens of the United States. And the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States... (emphasis added) Approved, March 26, 1790.
The Constitutional Framers clearly understood and distinguished the differences between what it means to be a "citizen" and what it means to be a "natural born citizen." Obama's father never applied to become a US citizen. He was always a citizen of Kenya and always owed allegiance to Kenya or Great Britain, when Kenya was a colony of Great Britain.

In Elk v. Wilkins, 83 US 36 (1872) the Supreme Court denied Elk, a Native American, the right to vote as a US citizen even though he was born on US soil, because he was born on an Indian reservation. Elk was not born subject to the jurisdiction of the US, because he “owed immediate allegiance to” his tribe, a vassal or quasi-nation, and not to the United States. The Court held Elk was not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States at birth.

Barack Obama's father was British, Barack was a dual citizen at birth.

In Minor v. Happersett (1874), the court pointed out that
"The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be... had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first."

In other words, both parents have to be citizens and the child has to be born on US soil in order to be a "natural born citizen," as distinguished from a regular citizen.
Barack's father was not a US citizen.

In Perkins v. ELG, U.S. 325 (1939) the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that Marie Elizabeth Elg, who was born in the United States of Swedish parents naturalized in the United States prior to her birth, had not lost her birthright US citizenship because of her removal during minority to Sweden and was entitled to all the rights and privileges of that U.S. citizenship. In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the decree that declared Elg "to be a natural born citizen of the United States."

Elg was "natural born" because she born of two American parents on American soil. Barack Obama's father was Kenyan. It sure seems unlikely that Barack matches a definition which is so heavily weighted against him.

So, why would anyone insist that it is crazy to ask for simple bona fides to be produced? Why would anyone insist it is crazy to look to previous legal precedent to determine the meaning of a Constitutional phrase? When even the liberal pro-abortion lesbian Camille Paglia sees a birth certificate problem, why is it unreasonable to ask for the problem to be addressed?

People who oppose the "Birther" request and arguments do so on the basis that Birthers are really just a conspiracy of ultra-right wing freaks who mean to overthrow the democratic government of the United States and replace it with a religious oligarchy.

The MSM, a veritable zoo of tin foil hat conspiracists, are terrified by their imaginary conspiracy of religious freaks.

The people who oppose these reasonable requests for information don't have anything to support their opposition. Instead, like the motorist who refuses to produce a license, they simply keep insisting that the cop is nuts to ask for it.

No matter how much evidence is brought forward to show the MSM types that their blind support of Obama's eligibility is based more in religious fervor than in law, the MSM'ers refuse to accept it. There's no way to demonstrate the logic or the law to a tin-foil hat type. Whether it be abortion, sodomy, contraception, history or Obama eligibility, they won't pay attention to the facts.

Instead, they continue to insist that the conspiracy is out there, in the dark, and it will eat them all up if they give even an inch to the request for documentation or concede even one jot or tittle to the legal arguments brought forward.

Nothing can convince these people.
They're just nuts.

The facts, on the other hand, are easy to ascertain.

Barack Obama is an inveterate liar, thief and murderer.

Even now, as National Review testifies, he lies to the American people about what is in his health plan.

He stole General Motors from its own executives.

He actively spoke out in favor of murdering born children on the floor of the Illinois Senate when he opposed the Infant Born Alive Protection Act.

The facts show Barack Hussein Obama cannot be trusted.
Consequently, if he told me the sky was blue, I would look up to check.

Now, we must concede that even a stopped clock is right twice a day. It is always (barely) possible that the tin foil hat MSM'ers are right about the birth certificate or the law. Perhaps Barack is, indeed, eligible to be POTUS.

But, the law has so far demonstrated Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen within the meaning of the Constitution.

Barack Obama's birth certificate has not been produced, nor has his college records, his medical records or, in fact, any other record concerning his past. To a degree unmatched in presidential politics, Barack Obama is a cipher, his history known only through his own two autobiographies.

The only thing we know about him is what he told us.
Comforting, eh?

As soon as Barack Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate is released to the general public, I'll stop supporting the request to see the birth certificate.

As soon as the Supreme Court rules on the meaning of "natural born citizen," I'll stop questioning his eligibility to be President due to his father's, and his own, British-Kenyan citizenship at birth.

But until these questions get resolved, I refuse to back down from a bunch of MSM tin-foil hats conspiracy nuts, even if they are the anchors of major television news programs, even if they do claim to be expert political commentators, even if they are elected officials.

Sorry Dan, Hillary, Joe.

There just isn't much evidence any of you are sane.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The End of the Obama Presidency

In just six short months, Barack Obama's effective presidency is drawing to a close.

The stimulus package he insisted would save the economy instead produced unemployment rates much higher than even his worst forecasts.

The health care package that HAD to pass if the nation was going to survive has been delayed until the fall. Given how quickly the tide of public opinion has turned against it as the details become clear, it will arguably never see the light of day.

The questions about his legitimacy are finally hitting the main-stream media (MSM), even if only to be ridiculed. There are now more news stories running about Obama's Constitutional eligibility than there were at any time during his candidacy.

But the real end of his presidency came when he asserted, without bothering to learn all the facts, that the Cambridge police "acted stupidly" in arresting a screaming man in his own front yard. Normally, arrests of individuals who appear publicly deranged attract little notice, but this particular candidate for psychiatric examination happened to be a black Harvard professor.

Now, being an Ivy League professor does not make one immune from suffering psychological problems, as any number of examples demonstrate, but since Henry Louis Gates Jr. had the good fortune to be a Friend of Barack, the President put the highest office in the land in the service of his own friends by publicly accusing the Cambridge police of racism.

Normally, anyone accused of racism rolls over and apologizes. But this time, the black police chief of Cambridge is championing the actions of his white officer. The wonderful irony of the situation is lost on the MSM: in Cambridge, the races have come together to oppose two common, obnoxious and ignorant foes: a Harvard professor and the President of the United States.

The Cambridge police are now demanding an apology from the President of the United States.

And herein lies the rub.
What is POTUS to do?

He can't apologize to a lowly municipal police department. If he does, he will have admitted to having mis-used his office. The Great Orator will have lost his voice.

Worse, every dictator in the world is watching. If POTUS can be forced to back down by a beat cop and his boss, what could Hugo Chavez and his oil, Iran and its budding nuclear weapons, or China and its growing navy be able to make him do? Barack Obama will be publicly unmasked as a pushover who can be rolled for loose change any time you need a cup of coffee.

On the other hand, if he DOESN'T apologize, he will clearly torpedo the support of a significant number of the people who put him in office. Even now, his popularity is rapidly tanking below 50% among likely voters. Given his inability to back down from his flawed economic plans or apologize for his ludicrous remarks, this number isn't going to go higher anytime soon.

And here's the danger.

If Barack Hussein Obama is truly suffering from narcissistic personality disorder, as has been alleged, we are entering a most dangerous period.

Narcissists are least problematic when they receive the adulation and support they believe they richly deserve. They become the most dangerous as this adulation and support evaporates. When this support evaporates, when the population "turns" on a lunatic, he will lash out at them, he will punish them for daring to disrespect him, he will punish them because they failed to give him his proper due.

Hitler famously tried to burn Paris, he famously advocated a scorched earth retreat policy, and he famously succeeded in destroying Berlin. Why such massive destruction? Because he intended to punish his supporters for having grown cold in their support of him. It's only reasonable. After all, why else would a man of his stature lose, except his old supporters refused to recognize the reality of his greatness? He had to punish them, force them to face the truth of his greatness. If he punished them enough, they would realize their error, return to him, and he would lead them to victory. Paris had to burn. It was the only way to win.

To accomplish this massive destruction, he demanded unswerving loyalty and fanatical action from the dwindling numbers in the Tinfoil Hat Brigades who still followed their Beloved Leader.

If Barack is really on the borderline between sanity and chaos, the events of the next few months may well tip him over the line. Before his support completely collapses, he will be forced to order his dwindling faithful to act in increasingly illegal and violent ways. It will be the only way to prevent the total destruction of his illusory world.

Do you think it won't happen?
There is recent precedent.

At the order of Congress and in accord with its Constitution, Honduras recently used its military forces to oust a sitting president for precisely this breach. Barack Obama, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, the three most narcissistic leaders of the Western Hemisphere, strenuously objected to the ouster. If it is allowed to stand, they know what it portends.

As he watches his healthcare initiative go down in flames, he has begun calling names: doctors are now thieving liars, cops are stupid. Anyone who opposes him has a serious defect. This is not how a sane man talks.

So, could the United States find itself facing a similar situation?

Why not?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Truth in Charity

Some highlights from Pope Benedict XVI's "Truth in Charity" encyclical, released today:

#4 A Christianity of charity without truth would be more or less interchangeable with a pool of good sentiments, helpful for social cohesion, but of little relevance. In other words, there would no longer be any real place for God in the world. [Preach it, brother]
#19 As society becomes ever more globalized, it makes us neighbours but does not make us brothers. [What a GREAT quote...] Reason, by itself, is capable of grasping the equality between men and of giving stability to their civic coexistence, but it cannot establish fraternity. This originates in a transcendent vocation from God the Father, who loved us first, teaching us through the Son what fraternal charity is. Paul VI, presenting the various levels in the process of human development, placed at the summit, after mentioning faith, “unity in the charity of Christ who calls us all to share as sons in the life of the living God, the Father of all”
#26 Let it not be forgotten that the increased commercialization of cultural exchange today leads to a twofold danger. First, one may observe a cultural eclecticism that is often assumed uncritically: cultures are simply placed alongside one another and viewed as substantially equivalent and interchangeable. [Benedict hits this theme frequently: all cultures are not created equal]
#27 The right to food, like the right to water, has an important place within the pursuit of other rights, beginning with the fundamental right to life. It is therefore necessary to cultivate a public conscience that considers food and access to water as universal rights of all human beings, without distinction or discrimination [Echoes of John Paul II's statement that the terminally ill cannot be denied food and water. Sustenance is neither a medical treatment nor a commodity. It is a right.]
#28 Not only does the situation of poverty still provoke high rates of infant mortality in many regions, but some parts of the world still experience practices of demographic control, on the part of governments that often promote contraception and even go so far as to impose abortion. [This section got me to thinking... in developing countries, plague causes high infant mortality. In our country, we kill one-third of our children. We are our own plague. Is there really any difference in child mortality rates between Sweden, the US and, say, Zimbabwe or Haiti? ]
#29 If man were merely the fruit of either chance or necessity, or if he had to lower his aspirations to the limited horizon of the world in which he lives, if all reality were merely history and culture, and man did not possess a nature destined to transcend itself in a supernatural life, then one could speak of growth, or evolution, but not development. ["Development" is not a biological term, it is a spiritual term. That gives rather a different light to the phrase "economic development," especially when we realize that the Church habitually uses the phrase "sacramental economy" in regards to the seven sacraments and the graces they endow.]
#30 Charity is not an added extra, like an appendix to work already concluded in each of the various disciplines: it engages them in dialogue from the very beginning. The demands of love do not contradict those of reason. Human knowledge is insufficient and the conclusions of science cannot indicate by themselves the path towards integral human development. [Science, whether biological or economic, does not love. It is a technique, not a person.]
#35 It is in the interests of the market to promote emancipation, but in order to do so effectively, it cannot rely only on itself, because it is not able to produce by itself something that lies outside its competence. It must draw its moral energies from other subjects that are capable of generating them. [See? He spends the intervening articles building to the conclusion he already telegraphed in #30]
#36 The Church has always held that economic action is not to be regarded as something opposed to society. In and of itself, the market is not, and must not become, the place where the strong subdue the weak. Society does not have to protect itself from the market, as if the development of the latter were ipso facto to entail the death of authentically human relations. Admittedly, the market can be a negative force, not because it is so by nature, but because a certain ideology can make it so. [This is key. He begins to build a discussion which creates the idea of interlocking ecologies. The financial economy can be looked on as a social ecology, as much deserving of protection as the rainforest or the wetlands. In fact, by the end, you can see a vision of Nature, society and economics all acting as interacting ecologies worthy of respect and protection, with man at the center of all three, stewarding all three. God creates Nature, man creates finance, God and man create society. Each ecology has its own grammar, but the terms in each are analogous to those in the other two.]
#38 What is needed, therefore, is a market that permits the free operation, in conditions of equal opportunity, of enterprises in pursuit of different institutional ends. Alongside profit-oriented private enterprise and the various types of public enterprise, there must be room for commercial entities based on mutualist principles and pursuing social ends to take root and express themselves. It is from their reciprocal encounter in the marketplace that one may expect hybrid forms of commercial behaviour to emerge, and hence an attentiveness to ways of civilizing the economy. [In short, subsidiarity HAS to apply to the economy. This is a rather resounding support for a lot of capitalists. But watch where he takes it.] Charity in truth, in this case, requires that shape and structure be given to those types of economic initiative which, without rejecting profit, aim at a higher goal than the mere logic of the exchange of equivalents, of profit as an end in itself. [(emphasis added) There is nothing unjust about taking a profit.]
#40 business management cannot concern itself only with the interests of the proprietors, but must also assume responsibility for all the other stakeholders who contribute to the life of the business: the workers, the clients, the suppliers of various elements of production, the community of reference. [Emphasis in the original. We aren't just responsible to shareholders, no matter what the by-laws say.] ... There is no reason to deny that a certain amount of capital can do good, if invested abroad rather than at home. Yet the requirements of justice must be safeguarded, with due consideration for the way in which the capital was generated and the harm to individuals that will result if it is not used where it was produced. [Capital is in some way tied to the geographical region that created it. This makes sense, as this principle is also invoked in other documents in reference to immigration/emigration. Countries cannot just skim the intellectual cream from someone else's population, taking all their doctors and physicists, for example, while forbidding entry to the rest.]
#44 Suffice it to consider, on the one hand, the significant reduction in infant mortality and the rise in average life expectancy found in economically developed countries, and on the other hand, the signs of crisis observable in societies that are registering an alarming decline in their birth rate. [Is there a reduction in infant mortality in America? Is there REALLY?]... In either case materialistic ideas and policies are at work, and individuals are ultimately subjected to various forms of violence. [A link between contraception and violence] ...smaller and at times miniscule families run the risk of impoverishing social relations, and failing to ensure effective forms of solidarity. These situations are symptomatic of scant confidence in the future and moral weariness. [Amen.]
#48 When nature, including the human being, is viewed as the result of mere chance or evolutionary determinism, our sense of responsibility wanes. ... human salvation cannot come from nature alone, understood in a purely naturalistic sense. [Nor from economics alone.] This having been said, it is also necessary to reject the opposite position, which aims at total technical dominion over nature, because the natural environment is more than raw material to be manipulated at our pleasure; it is a wondrous work of the Creator containing a “grammar” which sets forth ends and criteria for its wise use, not its reckless exploitation. [He seems to be saying that we fail to appreciate our roles as sub-creators. We create the natural ecology of the economy. Barack Obama's attitude, and the attitude of all communists, towards the ecology of the economy is identical to that of many capitalists towards the natural environment - it doesn't matter what I do to this ecology as long as I get what I want from the other ecology. Benedict implies that the financial economy has its own "grammar" that must also be respected.] Reducing nature merely to a collection of contingent data ends up doing violence to the environment and even encouraging activity that fails to respect human nature itself.[See?]
49 Questions linked to the care and preservation of the environment today need to give due consideration to the energy problem. [Or, for the Fed, the money problem. At this point, you begin to realize that whether he's talking about finances, physical resources or human beings, it's all of a piece. He's treating each as an example of a larger set of principles. This is the theological equivalent of Newton's calculus.]
#52 Truth, and the love which it reveals, cannot be produced: they can only be received as a gift. [Persons don't reproduce, they procreate. They participate in the gift of creation.]
#53 A metaphysical understanding of the relations between persons is therefore of great benefit for their development. In this regard, reason finds inspiration and direction in Christian revelation, according to which the human community does not absorb the individual, annihilating his autonomy, as happens in the various forms of totalitarianism, but rather values him all the more because the relation between individual and community is a relation between one totality and another [It should be noted that the point of both Hinduism and Buddhism is the annihilation of the self, the absorption of self into a greater being or into a great no-thing-ness. Both are forms of spiritual totalitarianism.]
#54 This perspective is illuminated in a striking way by the relationship between the Persons of the Trinity within the one divine Substance. The Trinity is absolute unity insofar as the three divine Persons are pure relationality. [He gives a wonderful little exposition on the Trinity in the middle of this encyclical on finance. The word "economy" comes from a Greek word referring to the way a household is run. There is a Trinitarian economy as well as a sacramental economy.]
#55 Some religious and cultural attitudes, however, do not fully embrace the principle of love and truth and therefore end up retarding or even obstructing authentic human development. There are certain religious cultures in the world today that do not oblige men and women to live in communion but rather cut them off from one other in a search for individual well-being, limited to the gratification of psychological desires. [Both Islam and Orthodox Judaism forbid men and women from praying together - Islam is especially harsh about segregating the sexes in all things through purdah]... At the same time, some religious and cultural traditions persist which ossify society in rigid social groupings, in magical beliefs that fail to respect the dignity of the person, and in attitudes of subjugation to occult powers. ["Rigid social groupings"... hmmm... Hindu caste system, anyone?]... Religious freedom does not mean religious indifferentism, nor does it imply that all religions are equal
#56 Reason always stands in need of being purified by faith: this also holds true for political reason, which must not consider itself omnipotent. For its part, religion always needs to be purified by reason in order to show its authentically human face. Any breach in this dialogue comes only at an enormous price to human development. [Remember, "development" is a spiritual term. This is a commentary on both Protestantism and Islam, both of which have historically rejected the role of reason in faith.]
#57 Hence the principle of subsidiarity is particularly well-suited to managing globalization and directing it towards authentic human development. In order not to produce a dangerous universal power of a tyrannical nature, the governance of globalization must be marked by subsidiarity, articulated into several layers and involving different levels that can work together. [Sounds like he expects the state to continue to exist. No world government fan is he.]
#58 Economic aid, in order to be true to its purpose, must not pursue secondary objectives. It must be distributed with the involvement not only of the governments of receiving countries, but also local economic agents and the bearers of culture within civil society, including local Churches. ["Churches" capitalized in the original. Hmmm... no mention of ecclesial communities... hmm...] ... It should also be remembered that, in the economic sphere, the principal form of assistance needed by developing countries is that of allowing and encouraging the gradual penetration of their products into international markets, thus making it possible for these countries to participate fully in international economic life.[We should help other countries become competitors! The pure capitalists aren't going to have it all their way... "As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens a man..." Proverbs 27:17. Talk about Be Not Afraid!]
#60 One possible approach to development aid would be to apply effectively what is known as fiscal subsidiarity, allowing citizens to decide how to allocate a portion of the taxes they pay to the State. [Mr. Obama, are you LISTENING?]

#61 The term “education” refers not only to classroom teaching and vocational training — both of which are important factors in development — but to the complete formation of the person. In this regard, there is a problem that should be highlighted: in order to educate, it is necessary to know the nature of the human person, to know who he or she is. [In short, they need to be Catholic or this isn't going to work.]
#62 Obviously, these labourers cannot be considered as a commodity or a mere workforce. They must not, therefore, be treated like any other factor of production. Every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance. [Too many Catholics forget this.]
#64 The global context in which work takes place also demands that national labour unions, which tend to limit themselves to defending the interests of their registered members, should turn their attention to those outside their membership, and in particular to workers in developing countries where social rights are often violated. [Labor unions are still useful.]
#65 Furthermore, the experience of micro-finance, which has its roots in the thinking and activity of the civil humanists — I am thinking especially of the birth of pawnbroking — should be strengthened and fine-tuned. [Pawnbrokers should be happy with this article!]
#66 It is good for people to realize that purchasing is always a moral — and not simply economic — act. Hence the consumer has a specific social responsibility... forms of cooperative purchasing like the consumer cooperatives that have been in operation since the nineteenth century, partly through the initiative of Catholics. [Benedict mollifies the social justice types.]
#67 One also senses the urgent need to find innovative ways of implementing the principle of the responsibility to protect and of giving poorer nations an effective voice in shared decision-making. [Subsidiarity again.]
#68 Technology — it is worth emphasizing — is a profoundly human reality, linked to the autonomy and freedom of man. In technology we express and confirm the hegemony of the spirit over matter. “The human spirit, ‘increasingly free of its bondage to creatures, can be more easily drawn to the worship and contemplation of the Creator'” [See? He is emphasizing our roles as sub-Creators here.]
#69 [the price of over-reliance on technology ...] Were that to happen, we would all know, evaluate and make decisions about our life situations from within a technocratic cultural perspective to which we would belong structurally, without ever being able to discover a meaning that is not of our own making.
#75 While the poor of the world continue knocking on the doors of the rich, the world of affluence runs the risk of no longer hearing those knocks, on account of a conscience that can no longer distinguish what is human. [Ain't that the heart of the problem?]
Hope you all found this little precis useful!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Bizarre Virtue

A lot of secular political types in Washington claim to be bemused by Sarah Palin's resignation. Perhaps they really are bemused by it. But Christians understand what she is doing.

Every believing Christian is concerned about offending against the Ten Commandments. We are not supposed to steal or to lie. Sarah Palin is aware of this.

One of the numerous complaints made about Barack Obama was precisely that he was a thief. Although elected as the junior senator from Illinois, Obama famously failed to show up for work most days of the week. Instead of doing his job, he went travelling around the country on the taxpayer's dime, triple-dipping his salary, his book sales and his election fundraising.

And he had it easy. After all, he was based out of the heartland. Sarah Palin is not. Just flying from Alaska to New York can take ten to fifteen hours - a whole day of travel.

If she wanted to take her place on the national stage, as she deserves to, she would be spending literally days in travel time down and back. Literal weeks could easily pass in which she was not in the governor's mansion in Alaska.

That's not only inefficient use of time, it's stealing.

People inside the Beltway have stolen from the taxpayer for so long that Palin's resignation looks like stupidity to them. Why not keep gathering taxpayer money while drumming up more for your own purposes elsewhere? What's the problem with this woman?

Just as none of the Democrats could understand why she didn't kill that little Trig baby when she had the chance, they can't understand why she doesn't steal paychecks now that she has the chance.

From the perspective of Democrats, Sarah Palin is bizarre, twisted, unstable, untrustworthy.
From the perspective of decent people, she's honest, smart, and trying hard not to sin.

That's the thing about Sarah Palin and her liberal opponents.
Sarah just isn't their type.