Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Points to Ponder:

If the 2nd Amendment does not cover semi automatics because (as the argument goes) "the Founders only had muskets and could not have foreseen semi-automatic guns", then how does the 1st Amendment (by that same logic) cover anything other than spoken public words, hand written letters, and newspapers? [Me (circa March 9, 2018)]

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

So The Democrats Have Decided To Run On Abolishing ICE

Donald Trump is not all that but his potential 2020 opponents really are a special brand of stupid if they think this is a winning presidential campaign issue!


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Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Man Who Knew Too Little

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Hillary On 2016: I Won The Places That Aren’t Looking Backwards

Gee, think #Hildabeast just helped write some GOP ads in swing states this fall?

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Thursday, March 08, 2018


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Friday, March 02, 2018


I believe that neither liberals nor conservatives as a rule{1} really believe in the full Bill of Rights.

The Amendments Liberals do not believe in:

Part of the 1st, the 2nd, the 5th (most of it anyway!), the 6th, 7th, 9th, and 10th amendments.

The Amendments Conservatives do not believe in:

The 1st (apart from Citizens United!), the 4th, about half of the 5th, the 6th, the 7th, and 8th amendments.

{1} Strangely, they both agree on the 3rd and the non-self incriminating part of the 5th.

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Thursday, March 01, 2018

CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH: Letter Placuit Deo To the Bishops of the Catholic Church On Certain Aspects of Christian Salvation

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018


I will not listen to any purported "solutions" to school shootings or kvetching about lost lives from anyone who blames objects rather than people because such people are too dim to be reasoned with.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Points to Ponder:

"I have come to recognize over time as I have aged (and hopefully done so with some measure of grace!) that divisions between family and friends should have a statute of limitations. Meaning, its normal to feel anger and resentment over some things but there should be some time reasonable time period you decide on that acts as a 'statute of limitations' whereby after said point, you force yourself to forgive and mend fences.

When you are younger, such a time period may be of longer duration by nature as young folks usually think or by default act as if they will more or less live forever. However, the older you get, the shorter the time frame should be. Why? Because carrying grudges only hurts the one who carries them and thus forgiveness can lead to needed healing.

I cannot recall anyone ever saying they regretted keeping a grudge but countless folks have regretted grudges when the time passes for amends to be made. So as you age (and hopefully with some degree of grace!), establish a uniform statute of limitations on any past grievances with others and shorten the time period as you grow older." [Me (circa February 27, 2017)]



If you whine about the Parkland 17 but support Planned Parenthood's slaughter of more than 17 x 50,000 annually, kindly do us all a favour and shut the f up!


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I’m Glad I Got Booed at CPAC

CPAC jumped the shark years ago Mona, that they booed you is nothing to get bothered about.

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

"Just the other day
I heard my friend say
Life was oh so bad
Love was all he had

You know all day long
I sing sad songs
Got the blues feel
Things no doctor can heal

You know thats ok
I never change my ways
Maybe I am wrong
But I'll soon be gone..."
[Ronnie Van Zant (circa 1970)]


Sunday, February 18, 2018

"One From the Vault" Dept.

This is a flashback to the archives of this weblog {1} from 2003...

"[B]y my own admission I am rather resolute about not being put in a box of any kind. The reason of course should be self-evident: that he who controls the vernacular controls the parameters of the debate. Instead, I prefer to control the vernacular myself. And if I cannot control the vernacular myself, at the very least I will not let others do so either.

For when we get down to brass tacks, all forms of engineering - be it social, philosophical, theological, political, medical, scientific, legal, or otherwise - is preceded by verbal engineering. This is why I refuse to cede to the extremists of any stripe their own choice of terminology. Instead, I refer to them as they are...

[W]hen we let counterfeit philosophies or outlooks coin their own noble terminology, we provide them with a shibboleth of their own to mindlessly parrot and/or cloak themselves in to with greater ease attempt to (and potentially succeed at) confusing the unwary. Allowing them to control the language and eventually they will control the terms of the battle...

I for my part want nothing to do with this scuffling nor will I allow others to label me - even if they attempt to do so as a kind of 'reference point' in a discussion. Again, I either control the vernacular or we relegate it to a stalemate. The moment I as a rule allow others to do so is the moment that I begin to give control of the arena to someone else. And that my friends is (i) not something I have ever done and (ii) it simply is not going to happen at any time in the future." [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa August 30, 2003)]


{1} In posting this thread as I have, it necessitates creating a new primary posting tag so with this posting, consider the primary posting tag Vault Flashback to be added to this weblog for the current and future postings where applicable. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa October 20, 2017)]

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Thursday, February 15, 2018


I am thinking at some point this year to address a couple of topics of controversy from past year in a completely different way than was previously done on this weblog or elsewhere. The only question I have is what sort of time I will have to work on them -one would be published in August if its done at all this year.

Anyway, I just wanted to note this thought I have had recently in brief here as I may refer back to it at a future point.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Points to Ponder:

"We cannot allow the emblem of irresponsibility to attach to the conservative banner." [Senator Barry Goldwater (circa 1962)]

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Buy Your Popcorn. BuzzFeed Sues The DNC Over The Trump Dossier

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Mitt Romney Will Announce His Run For Senate Thursday

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Elizabeth Warren doubles-down on claim to be Native American in speech to Native American group

Her Indian name: Sitting Bullshit!

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Miscellaneous Musings on Bubbles Political and Otherwise:

Though some of what I am about to say has been said on this humble weblog in the past; some of it is new information. Having noted that, I want to clarify that I enjoy being outside the various political bubbles and it seems few folks who seek to follow the news and world events are willing to do this.

Now in my case, it admittedly came in stages. I listened to talk radio close to around the clock from 1991-1996 but left the Republican Party after the 1996 elections. I started using Drudge to get my online news in 2000 while dialing back my talk radio consumption and watching more Fox News. I really cut back talk radio after I gave Limbaugh the heave after the 2006 elections along with Drudge who had begin courting conspiracy schmucks and featuring them. I changed my primary news source online to Real Clear Politics and its subsidiary pages around that time as well but I still consumed Fox and other cable news regularly until I cast Fox and other cable news aside when the bubble created by Fox propaganda around the 2012 election was burst on election night. I swore on that night that Fox and the others could go to hell and I have not regretted my decision one iota since.

Now if I listen to talk radio at all its local stuff or sports 90% of the time. I avoid all television and radio news and get my news in small doses online from various sources via the Real Clear aggregators. Though a longtime Independent voter, it took a while to completely free myself from the various bubbles of the right but I am glad to be and it pleases me when I see and hear of others freeing themselves as well...

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Points to Ponder:

"If you’re fine with the U.S. government using paid-for opposition research to justify spying on persons connected to presidential campaign staff, then nothing I can say will help you understand how worrisome this disclosure is. Except maybe this: switch the candidate’s name you hate with the one you like. That means President Trump surveilling staff from the Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign after a dossier commissioned by the Republican Party links them to China. You’d trust Trump, and every future president, with that, right?

The involvement of the intelligence community in the 2016 presidential campaign, clumsy and disorganized as it appears to have been, will be part of the next election, and the ones after that. If you’re in search of a constitutional crisis, here it is. After all, when we let George W. Bush create, and Barack Obama greatly expand, the surveillance state, didn’t we think it would eventually come to this?" [Peter Van Buren]

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Thursday, February 08, 2018

A contribution to the Jaded Politics project was posted to the Musings From Exile weblog{1} back on October 2, 2017 which can be read HERE. I did not mention it earlier because for a variety of reasons, the piece originally scheduled for that date was not actually published to Jaded Politics until December 3, 2017.

I was not aware of the publication being approved until about a week ago when going to the page to reference material for a column currently being drafted. Anyway, I apologize for not notifying readers of this humble weblog of it until now.


{1} "I link to the Musings From Exile weblog version so I do not trigger a trackback to it on the main page; thereby ensuring that I keep Rerum Novarum separate from that project." [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa April 8, 2017)]

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Wednesday, February 07, 2018

A contribution to the Jaded Politics project was posted to the Musings From Exile weblog{1} back on September 27, 2017 which can be read HERE. I did not mention it earlier because for a variety of reasons, the piece originally scheduled for that date was not actually published to Jaded Politics until December 3, 2017.

I was not aware of the publication being approved until about a week ago when going to the page to reference material for a column currently being drafted. Anyway, I apologize for not notifying readers of this humble weblog of it until now.


{1} "I link to the Musings From Exile weblog version so I do not trigger a trackback to it on the main page; thereby ensuring that I keep Rerum Novarum separate from that project." [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa April 8, 2017)]

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Points to Ponder:

"'REAL socialism hasn't been done yet' is in itself an argument against socialism. If your system is so susceptible to abuse that it happens literally every time you try it, what does that say about your system?" ["neontaster"]

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Tuesday, February 06, 2018

"One From the Vault" Dept.

This is a flashback to the archives of this weblog{1} from 2009. Without further ado...

Now certainly one problem the GOP has had in the past twenty years is the attempt to placate moderate voters at the expense of principles. It is one thing to reach out to others -indeed this is always well and good. However, one can also take any good thing too far and the GOP was showing an unwillingness oftentimes to take stands on principle against the Democrats. There was also a perverse sense of entitlement to the GOP elections at the presidential level since 1988 and even before that time. Part of the problem with that kind of political entitlement mentality was that people presumed in 1988 that George H. W. Bush would be a worthy successor to Ronald Reagan rather than Jack Kemp and Bush won the nomination that year (followed by a healthy election landslide) by giving indications that he would continue to follow in Reagan's footsteps. He then betrayed this trust and that was what started the ball rolling in the direction we saw in the past twenty years. Another problem in that interim was the message that the GOP received in the 1994 midterms after Bill Clinton's election triumph over President Bush and Ross Perot two years earlier.

I have heard some try to posit the excuse that the GOP "did not know how to govern while in the majority" and while this may have been true in 1994[...], it does not explain problems in subsequent years. It certainly does not explain what we saw when George H. W. Bush's son was elected and the GOP led congresses of the first six years of his presidency.[...] But there was also the sense of "entitlement" in the GOP where they viewed whoever came up short last time as "due" the next time. We saw this with Senator Bob Dole in 1996[...], we also saw this in 2008 with Senator John McCain.[...] However, there is also a problem of nostalgia that while I have seen it addressed recently has been the source of criticism by some from the more conservative persuasion.

If there is one thing that has become an annoyance as of late it is reading the words of those who present facile solutions to the GOP's problem. Yes there were problems with letting the so-called "RINOS" have too much control of the party apparatus. But there is also the problem of opposing extremes with extremes; namely, those who would respond to an overly wide tent mentality with one that is much too narrow... 

It is all find and well to raise the banner of Reagan as many do but you have to know what Reagan really stood for and how he operated politically or else you will not learn from the past so that it informs your future: learning from the past being a hallmark of proper conservative philosophy...

It is all find and well to raise the banner of Reagan as many do but you have to know what Reagan really stood for and how he operated politically or else you will not learn from the past so that it informs your future: learning from the past being a hallmark of proper conservative philosophy...[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa June 16, 2009)]

On the anniversary of President Reagan's birth, revisiting some material I wrote in years past about him seems apropo.

May he rest in peace.


{1} In posting this thread as I have, it necessitates creating a new primary posting tag so with this posting, consider the primary posting tag Vault Flashback to be added to this weblog for the current and future postings where applicable. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa October 20, 2017)]

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Security Cam Catches Brazen Package Thief Trying To Flee Porch Only To Fall And Break Her Leg

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Monday, February 05, 2018

‘Frasier’ star John Mahoney dead at 77


Sunday, February 04, 2018

Trumps hosting Super Bowl watch party at Palm Beach golf club
Think of the Trump supporters who "boycotted the NFL" and "boycotted the Superbowl" while President Trump hosted his own Superbowl viewing party in Palm Beach!
At least Mr. Trump got to see a pretty compelling game 

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

It is very rare that I can say that I have actually changed in any real substance a position I have previously taken over the past thirty years of my life. However, it bears noting in the interest of disclosure that my approach to the subject of amnesty which was once as hardened as stone against any movement whatsoever in this area as recently as a bit over ten years ago or more has undergone some change. This weblog was suspended in December of 2009 and not reactivated until April of 2017. As a fair amount of time had passed where this weblog was dormant and as I work very hard to be consistent in every position I have taken, it is only rational that I acknowledge what could appear to be a glaring contradiction in a position currently held versus one previously held.{1} And in researching past threads of this weblog for a piece I am currently writing on a different subject{2}, I was reminded of my previous position on amnesty as I had quite often publicly stated it. Therefore, I want to in the interest of proper ethics at the present time address this matter directly.

As for the precise moment when my position changed from what it was to what it currently is, I was able in other communications mediums to find an example of my previously set-in-stone position as recently as June 19, 2013 when I said the following:

[L]ets see, the two biggest issues on Capitol Hill right now are immigration reform and amnesty with the Senate trying to ram through an amnesty-laden bill before July 4th. Meanwhile, Tea Party folks are holding an "Abolish the IRS" rally in DC for today. Those who wonder why I have in the past year viewed the Tea Party as having jumped the shark, here is a crystal clear reason why!

However, I was also able to find a comment on another thread from June 13, 2013 where I stated the following:

Getting back to the immigration reform proposal on the table now, I do not see how S 744 is a net positive for Republicans. The best time to deal with immigration reform is after the 2016 election if the GOP can retain the House, gain the Senate, and win the presidency. At that point, they can address this issue with a far better bill than the crap being offered up here.

And then there is this posting of mine in another communications medium from April 18, 2014:

[I] heard that Nancy Pelosi sought to use the Holy Thursday footwashing ritual to play the role of Jesus and wash a couple of immigrant childrens feet to push amnesty for illegals and I am wondering: can we nail her to a cross for illegal immigrants on Good Friday?

It would appear that pinpointing in writing a precise eureka moment where my view changed is probably not possible to do. However, I can narrow down a range and it is over the past few years where I have taken more time to think with greater care on this particular matter in all of its particulars which caused my position to change. It has changed to one which is in my view more reasonable and humane than the position I had previously taken.{3} And while I may well in the coming weeks and months blog some materials written in the period of this weblog's suspension where I delve into this matter more precisely, it makes sense to me to first acknowledge in a forthright manner that any appearance of inconsistency between my past enunciations on this matter and any future ones on this humble weblog will not be imaginary ones.

In short, there has been a change in how I view this matter so consider this posting to be a public acknowledgement of the matter that may be referenced if needed from this point onward in future postings on the matter in question.


{1} Should such a phenomenon actually exist or be brought to my attention.

{2} It will be for Jaded Politics.

{3} "Last I checked, being in the country illegally is at least a misdemeanor. So as citizens with misdemeanors can satisfy their violations with paying fines and jail time, why should illegals not be able to do likewise? [Excerpt from a Communications Thread (circa June 14, 2014)]

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Woman denied emotional support peacock on United flight

Truth is at times stranger than fiction!


The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Points to Ponder:

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, 'If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.' Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" [Matthew 23:29-33]

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Miscellaneous Musings on the First 2018 Government Shutdown...

Having already explained last week how one can logically figure out how to ascribe blame for the shutdown, let us now consider what the deal struck to reopen the government means based on what the demands were that precipitated the shutdown to begin with. See my first comment for details...

Originally, the Republicans wanted a clean CR whereas the Dems wanted a six year extension of the CHIP program as well as a legislative solution for DACA. Republicans agreed to the former but balked at including the latter in an appropriations bill. The Democrats then withheld enough votes to shut down the government when they did not get DACA in the CR resolution. So Republicans wanted a CR without DACA in it and the Democrats insisted it be included.

The resolution to reopen the government does not have DACA in it. Therefore, the Republicans got what they wanted on the primary point of contention and the Democrats did not.

So insofar as one can rationally conclude that in terms of who "won" to the extent anyone actually "wins" in this stuff, the side that got what they wanted is logically the "winner" in this meaning the internal polling for the Democrats must have been pretty awful for them to have caved so quickly.

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‘Trump Was Merely Sharing The Gospel With That Porn Star,’ Explains Jim Bakker

I was literally making this same joke to people for a few days before I saw this!

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Miscellaneous Musings:

Whose fault is the shutdown?

Consider the House vote. A resolution was passed 230-197 in the House to fund the government. The yes votes were 224 Republicans and 6 Democrats. Meanwhile the no votes were 11 Republicans and 186 Democrats.

Consider the Senate vote. 60 votes were needed to break a filibuster and 45 Republicans voted yes along with 5 Democrats. Meanwhile 44 Democrats and 5 Republicans voted no. There was one Republican who did not vote. When you remove McConnells no vote which was a parliamentary trick to enable for a fast revote later on, 46-4-1 for Republicans and 5-44 for the Democrats. Furthermore, even if all 51 Republicans voted yes along with the 5 Democrats, they still would have been 4 votes short of the needed 60.

Consider that President Trump would have signed the bill upon it passing the Senate if it had done so.

There is no way this can logically be pinned on the Republicans so...


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Friday, January 19, 2018

On the Probable Government Shutdown:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

There are too many conservatives who are really #clownservatards and incapable of recognizing a political gift when its given.

Case in point, those responding to a probable government shutdown with #releasethememo. There are too many Captain Ahab's on the #clownservatard front who have spent literally years (and sometimes decades!) predicting Obama and/or Hillary would be exposed, arrested, etc. These same folks now are stupidly kvetching about a memo they think will be another smoking gun in their long list of predicted (and failed!) smoking guns. Meanwhile, a political gift is about to be made of the sort that rarely comes around and they are sabotaging it with their latest white whale obsession.

For you see, usually when there has been a government shutdown, the Republicans have caused it and gotten boned politically as a result. However, what we have now is the Democrats pushing for one who have picked a hill to die on in DACA which even among those who support it is not a high priority item as a rule. (If anything its higher priority for those who do not support it!) The same Democrats who pitched reams of apocalyptic talk in 2013 about how social security recipients, children's health care, and a whole host of other vulnerables would suffer as a result of the prior shutdown are themselves pushing for a shutdown now. So either they lied about the effects of the last shutdown or they told the truth but would inflict all the supposed suffering on the same vulnerable for what? Not something that benefits Ma and Pa America in Peoria but instead for illegal immigrants. Yes the same Democrats who decried a shutdown over something that would have helped Americans in 2013 now will push for one to help illegals. The optics of that are politically disastrous for the Democrats.

But what do clownservatard white whalers do? They distract with the whole memo thing rather than get out of the way of their political adversaries willingly cutting their own throats! Rather than table the silly memo thing and let their opponents cut their own throats and hang themselves by owning a shutdown over helping illegals (read: something they would NEVER do for American citizens!) they are getting in the way of their opponents committing political seppeku with another #MobyDickMoment of the sort they have foolishly wasted time and energy on for years to get nothing out of it.

A tip: if there is anything to this memo, table the damn thing right now. Let your opponent cut their own throat tonight (or reveal to the DACAites that they are merely a political pawn and they do not give a shit about them if they refuse to shut down the government over DACA as they are claiming they would do right now!) and let the political fallout over this stunt wreck your political foes for several days first. Then if you must, chase the memo thing. But do not get in the way of your opponent willingly cutting their own throat first. Unless you want to lose yet again as you so often have on these matters over the years in which case, as you were.

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

On Ethics, Principles, “Going Off the Deep End”, Etc.
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

The purpose of this note is to address something not a few folks have been saying to me in various and sundry ways as of late. My words will be in regular font. Without further ado...

Seriously...you're going off the deep end.

I realize the point I am raising is one that is uncomfortable for many of todays Trump supporters who yesterday criticized Obama (or Clinton) for the same sort of matters. But that is neither my problem nor am I going off the deep end unless seeking truth and consistency are now off the deep end. Are they?

I heard for twenty-three years from Republicans and conservatives that character was important, ethics mattered, and the Republicans go after past Democrat presidents on these matters. And even though I left the Republican Party more than twenty years ago, I still on some level respected Republicans for taking these stands and generally voted for them. Then one to two years ago, everything changed. Now ethical problems or problems in character are not beneath the president or to be frowned upon but indeed they are either to be ignored, have excuses made for them, or even (God forbid!) celebrated. What changed?

Ethics and principles either matter or they do not. Character and expecting a higher degree of ethics from presidents either matters or it does not. If it does not matter now, then those claiming it mattered when Obama and Clinton were president did not believe what they were pushing for so many years and they owe those men an apology.

That (to be blunt) means the Republicans and many Trump supporters lied through their teeth for more than twenty years on these matters only to abandon their long claimed positions when it was suddenly politically inconvenient for them to espouse them. So if they were a bunch of liars for so many years, why should I believe them now? Why should I believe or trust anything a Trump supporter says now which flatly contradicts what they were saying just a couple years ago? And once Trump is gone and the same folks who kicked long held conservative core principles to the curb recently suddenly start parroting them again, why should I or anyone believe them then?
Or to summarize all of this briefly:

Kindly explain to me how expecting ethical and principled consistency from folks is going off the deep end when it is what conservatives have done for DECADES until only very recently. Now when suddenly its inconvenient, these matters are (at best) ignored. 

With all due respect, folks who talk like this should take a long hard look in the mirror and consider what has been done.

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2011 Interview With Stormy Daniels: Trump Cheated On Melania With Me

I am sure the Moral Majority and Religious Right folks will find a way to say what was reported here was acceptable "because Trump" of course and presumably even though it happened before the #GreatMoralParadigmShiftOf2016, a dispensation has been retroactively granted to Trump by these folks nonetheless. And as the claim made by Stephanie Clifford (aka "Stormy Daniels") was corroborated by two named persons and the claimant herself took and passed a polygraph at the time of the interview six plus years ago, I trust that is enough probable evidence for those from the #EscalatedBurdenOfProof crowd which has really grown in number since January 20, 2017. But that is neither here nor there.

I do have one exit question though and it is this:

--Will the Moral Majority and the Religious Right folks ever apologize to Bill Clinton?

I mean the whole "but ethics and character matter" schtick: they obviously did not actually believe those things. (I base my claim on their subsequent actions and statements.) So they rightfully owe Bubba an apology if we take their current statements and actions as their real positions on these matters.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Where are you going I don't mind
I've killed my world and I've killed my time
So where do I go what do I see
I see many people coming after me

So where are you going to I don't mind
If I live too long I'm afraid I'll die
So I will follow you wherever you go
If your offered hand is still open to me
Strangers on this road we are on
We are not two we are one. [Dave Davies]


On the "Escalating Standard of Proof" Position Taken By Many Trump Supporters:

It is the considered opinion of your host that these folks are establishing a dangerous precedent implicit in much of what they are saying. I have seen claims of such-and-such was "never established in a court of law" or "there was no sworn statement" as if we cannot ascertain something or take as probable any claim not meeting said standards.

If we are going to now require sworn testimony on everything, then we have really moved the goalposts. (Heck, imagine if Woodward and Bernstein had needed sworn testimony from "Deep Throat" before they could do or say anything!)

I remind readers that the Supreme Court, in the case of Garcetti v. Ceballos ruled that government employees are not protected from retaliation by their employers under the First Amendment of the Constitution when speaking pursuant to their official job duties. So anyone from the WH who went on the record with claims with a sworn statement could easily lose their job!

This approach if institutionalized would ensure that there is no motivations to try and correct problems in government or elsewhere but instead would protect the status quo as well as abusers within the latter. I know many who make these claims never explicitly or consciously do that so I would simply recommend greater consideration of the implicit ramifications of this new standard that they few others have been advocating for as of late.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Inside the tense, profane White House meeting on immigration

Well well well...

"Three White House officials said Perdue and Cotton told the White House that they heard 'shithouse' rather than 'shithole' allowing them to deny the president’s comments on television over the weekend. The two men initially said publicly that they could not recall what the president said..."

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Monday, January 15, 2018


I have noticed that apologists for the Trump administration who are pushing the "lowest black unemployment numbers in decades" story as well as the 4.1% u3 unemployment figures now are many of the same ones who when Obama was in the WH were pushing things like "labour participation rate" (which has declined by .2% for blacks since Obama left the WH!) and the u6 unemployment figure (standing at 8.6%) which they once said were the *true unemployment figures.*

Gee, looks like some folks have been #MovingTheGoalPosts again to me!

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Points to Ponder:

For those who wonder why libertarianism cannot work in reality, spend twenty minutes arguing with libertarians and the reason becomes obvious! [Me (circa January 9, 2018)]

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

How The Free Market Spanked Seattle’s Government After It Tried To Dictate How Its Citizens Lived

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Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Stunned family reunited with their missing pet cat 15 YEARS after the moggie went missing


Monday, January 08, 2018

We Were Wrong about Stop-and-Frisk

When claims are made that later data does not support, you can either ignore the data and continue to spout talking points divorced from reality or recognize your prior claims were wrong and change your view accordingly!

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Sunday, January 07, 2018

Ten more “hottest” takes on the Iranian protests

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Saturday, January 06, 2018

Ten “hottest” takes on the Iranian protests

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Monday, January 01, 2018

"Auld Lang Syne" Dept.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint stoop
And surely I'll be mine
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes
And pou'd the gowans fine
But we've wander'd mony a weary foot
Sin' auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl'd i' the burn
Frae mornin' sun till dine
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And here's a hand, my trusty fiere
And gi'e's a hand o' thine
And we'll tak a right good willy waught
For auld lang syne. [Attr. Robert Burns]


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Points to Ponder:

"Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this…

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing The fifth would pay $1 The sixth would pay $3 The seventh would pay $7 The eighth would pay $12 The ninth would pay $18 The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59 So, that’s what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball.

'Since you are all such good customers,' he said, 'I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.' Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men ? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

The bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving). The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving). The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving). The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving). The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving). The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving). Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

'I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving,' declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, 'but he got $10!'

'Yeah, that’s right,' exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!'

'That’s true!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!'

'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison, 'we didn’t get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!'

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works. The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier." [Daniel J. Mitchell]

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Enemy Reaction 2017: Dallas Cowboys

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Miscellaneous Musings...

With a bit of tax reform done, President Trump wants to do "infrastructure" next. My predictions:

---The same folks who bellyached, bitched, and would not STFU about Obama and his infrastructure bill in 2009 will suddenly forget they are supposed to hate "big government boondoggles" and "adding to the debt" (like they did when Obama was in the WH) and instead laud, make excuses for, and generally support Trump planned big government boondoggles and debt additions. You know, because #TeamRed and all!

---The same folks who defended to the hilt Obama's stimulus and infrastructure bills as necessary, great, wonderful, etc will suddenly (now that Obama or Hillary are not in the WH) start bellyaching, bitching, and generally not STFU'ing about how what Trump wants to do is a bunch of "boondoggle projects" that "do not pay for themselves", and will "add to the debt" and all that jazz: stuff they did not care about for eight years when Obama was in power but now that they are not, #TeamBlue suddenly cares about this stuff you see!

Meanwhile, both tribes will be united in one way if nothing else: lashing out in butthurt fashion at those of us who were not born yesterday and who recognize fake principles and politically opportune #hypocrisy when we see it!

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Friday, December 22, 2017

Points to Ponder:

"The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue, but are the dupes of pretended patriots." [Elbridge Gerry (circa May 31, 1787)]

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Points to Ponder:

"[H]eartbreak is transient, but regret is eternal." [Donna Provencher]



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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Points to Ponder:

"Sport, properly directed, develops character, makes a man courageous, a generous loser, and a gracious victor; it refines the senses, gives intellectual penetration, and steels the will to endurance. It is not merely a physical development then. Sport, rightly understood, is an occupation of the whole man, and while perfecting the body as an instrument of the mind, it also makes the mind itself a more refined instrument for the search and communication of truth and helps man to achieve that end to which all others must be subservient, the service and praise of his Creator." [Pope Pius XII, Sport at the Service of the Spirit (circa July 29, 1945)]

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Points to Ponder:

"For those screaming 'WAPO hit job' you had a candidate:

Who when asked if he dated teenagers as a 30 yr old said 'not usually'

Warned of shariah courts being established in Michigan and Illinois

Had surrogates tell a pregnant host 'Doug Jones wants to abort your baby'

Said America was better during the era of slavery.... TO A BLACK MAN

Wanted to repeal the 13th and 14th amendments

Had his wife counter charges of insensitivity towards Jews with 'my lawyer is a Jew'

Spent the final day of the campaign arguing over whether people had to take the oath of office on a Christian bible, and if homosexuality should be criminalized.

But please, please tell me how he lost due to a media hit job." [Kevin M. Tierney]

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Last night answered one question and it was this:

--Are we going to get a slew of articles on how the GOP is beyond redemption or on how the GOP is finished?

With Jones' win, it is/will be the latter.


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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Points to Ponder:

“I'd just like to thank Steve Bannon for showing us how to lose the reddest state in the union and Governor Ivey for the opportunity to make this national embarrassment a reality.” [Josh Holmes]

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One of the Trump loving radio folks apparently admitted saying in a tweet (in a tip to one of their advertisers) that she cut her twat while shaving last night and should have used a Harry's razor!

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A good summary of the Roy Moore situation can be read here:

No Moore Pretense

It would be so much easier if Moore supporters just admitted the guy was scum but to paraphrase FDR on Somoza "he is our scum." For those who play the "he's innocent" and "theres no evidence" cards, you are beneath contempt and would fit in well at the Institute of Historical Review!


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Monday, December 11, 2017

Quin Hillyer: Roy Moore's own words prove his falsehood

Quin Hillyer summarizes a core problem with the Republican Senate candidate from Alabama well in this article (I will quote the first few paragraphs here):

"Even if we don’t know for certain whether Roy Moore had sexual contact (of a sort) with 14-year-old Leigh Corfman, we now know that Moore has made a conscious decision to lie about his onetime relationships with teenage girls.

We know this from a combination of his own words and of new evidence that would be accepted as probative in any American court of law. (More on the evidence, shortly.)

The odd thing is that Moore’s initial reaction was to tell at least a simulacrum of the truth, only later to change to a flat-out lie. Often, a liar works in the other direction, at first denying everything and then admitting little dribs and drabs as new evidence warrants. Who knows: Maybe this strange evolution from partial truth to full prevarication gives an indication that, somehow, Moore’s conscience is warring with itself.

Either way, his willingness to move to full-fledged dishonesty helps undermine his onetime semi-believable denials of the worst of the charges against him. One fib does not prove that his other statements are lies, of course, but it does establish that he is not entirely trustworthy..."

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Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Points to Ponder:

"Where is the politician who has not promised to fight to the death for lower taxes- and who has not proceeded to vote for the very spending projects that make tax cuts impossible?" [Senator Barry Goldwater]

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Briefly on a Past Controversy...

It was brought to my attention recently that some parties with whom there were some some heated contentions with on some topics{1} has sought for reasons known only to themselves to try and goad persons such as your humble servant into a recurrence of those prior disputations. It is not my intention to mention any names on this, only to remark briefly that (i) I am aware of what they are trying to do and (ii) considering how it has been my practice for nearly ten years now to only discuss the issue in question at the time of year when it can properly be considered a live issue{2}, their attempting to raise it outside of that very limited time frame seems to indicate a hope on their part that they could get away with slipping their latest text dump by without comment to thereby proclaim that said latest text dump was "unanswerable" by persons such as myself.

I will only note briefly at this time that if the party in question had bothered to actually read what was written at this humble weblog and elsewhere many years ago, they would have learned that nothing they are offering now makes a dent in what was said here and elsewhere on the subject in question and their presumptive "smoking gun" in recent days is far from what they think it is.

I will however leave it at that and note that maybe if said parties want a real dialogue on the issue, they can act in a fashion more fitting of a dialogue{3} and approach this issue directly and during a relevant time for such discussions{4} if that is what they really want. I suspect it is not but I note these things briefly at this time nonetheless and with that will say nary a word on these matters prior to the relevant time to do so{5} if even then. It is too bad that others do not do likewise and while I suspect there are monetary reasons behind such reticence on their part, that is all I will say about these matters at the present time.


{1} Particularly one of a rather incendiary nature.

{2} Namely, the month of August.

{3} For a change.

{4} See footnote two.

{5} See footnote two.

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'Holy crap': Experts find tax plan riddled with glitches

I do not remember Politico being so concerned about "glitches" back when the "Affordable Care Act" was being rolled out...

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Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Tax reform should reduce payroll taxes, cut corporate levy

This is what Congress should be doing with tax policy!

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Monday, December 04, 2017

Right on schedule, the Seahawks shock the league

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Sunday, December 03, 2017

Points to Ponder:

Where is the politician who has not promised to fight to the death for lower taxes- and who has not proceeded to vote for the very spending projects that make tax cuts impossible? [Barry Goldwater]

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Saturday, December 02, 2017


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The growing list of "moves" struck from the old "playbook" in recent months include...

--The mall troll
--The strip-to-ones underwear (with or without robe)
--The ass smack
--The backrub into a six inch hand slide (up or down)
--The boob grab (from the front or the reacharound)
--The innocent kiss into a tongue probe
--The winkie presentation

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Points to Ponder:

“Constitutional protections for due process apply when the state is attempting to deprive a person of ‘life, liberty, or property.’ That’s why we have trials before we render civil or criminal judgments. That’s why due process is mandatory before state-mandated punishment in campus sexual assault tribunals. As a general rule, when the state is attempting to deprive you of rights you’d otherwise enjoy, due process attaches. Here, there is no state action. Roy Moore will not lose his life, liberty, or property if voters reject his bid for high office. 

Due process protections, absolutely, positively do not prevent voters from evaluating the veracity of news reports and judging whether a politician is fit for public office. It was entirely fair for voters to analyze the available facts about Hillary Clinton’s email scandal or the available facts about the financial dealings of the Clinton Foundation without waiting for the outcome of a civil or criminal proceeding. It is entirely fair for members of the public to evaluate Juanita Broaddrick’s claims against Bill Clinton without a trial. Similarly, it’s entirely fair for the public to analyze the available facts about Roy Moore before deciding how to vote.” [David French]

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Points to Ponder:

"One of the advantages of getting old is that what the Byzantine liturgy refers to as the 'dread tribunal of Christ' that you're going to stand before puts the fear of God into you, and so you move to pray more. That already has had an influence on my spiritual life." [Fr. Robert Taft SJ]

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Free Campaign Strategy Advice For Republicans:

If you want to keep Jeff Sessions' old seat, you need to recognize the gift you have been given in Nancy Pelosi. When the leader of congressional Democrats has a colleague who has serious charges of sexual impropriety against him two of which he has been sued and also settled out of court on respectively and she refuses to call for their resignation for political reasons, you need to point this out. You need to hammer on the example of Conyers as well as Leader Pelosi's blatant assertion that Rep Conyers is too important politically to be sacrificed and say "see, it is obvious they do not give a damn about women and accusations of abuse, its all politics with them." Dare them to force Conyers to resign and publicly say they have no credibility on these matters until they force him out.

Yeah its a huge distraction but when you have been given such a juicy club with which to beat your opponent senseless with, you need to use it. If you do this enough, you will likely retain enough Republican and Independent voters to win Jeff Sessions' seat in two weeks time.

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Free Campaign Strategy Advice For Democrats:

If you want to win Jeff Sessions' old seat, you need to present the appearance of moral high ground. The eight or nine accusations against Roy Moore are for the most part serious and credible. However, those against John Conyers are even more so insofar as one accused him, one filed a lawsuit against him, and he agreed to settle with a third. If your leader Nancy Pelosi cannot even admit that Rep. Conyers should resign over his indiscretions (to say nothing of his seeming senility!), do not expect Alabama Republicans to take any calls you make for Roy Moore to step aside or any claims you make about Moore's unfitness for office seriously.

In short, if you want the moral high ground to castigate Moore and his supporters, you need to call for Conyers to resign and if you do not: brace yourself for Senator Roy Moore!

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"Because Trump SoHo is doing so well financially that its tough to keep up with it all, I have decided I need to remove my name from the project!" [Donald Trump]

Final Nights at the Trump SoHo Before Trump Checks Out

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

"One From the Vault" Dept.

This is a flashback to the archives of this weblog{1} from November 26, 2005...

Last night, I did not sleep more than an hour (if even that) due to a phone message I received about my friend Chris. We were five months apart in age and back in the days when titles such as "best friend" were used, he was my best friend. And the phone call was to say that Chris died the day before Thanksgiving in a hospital in Arizona. Pardon me if what I am about to write is disjointed...I am working off of virtually no sleep and because of the news from last night, my mind may not be clear. (Certainly my emotions are not stable as I write this.)...


I have had in mind for a while to see several people I have not spent much time with in recent years in the coming year (2006). And while I still intend to do that; nonetheless, I am hardly saying something original in noting that we all have those people whom we are close to who for a variety of circumstances we do not see much of over what can be a long stretch of years. Of course when this thought comes to our minds, many of us defend ourselves by saying that we will get back in touch with them "someday." Well, one of the first people on that list (if not the first) was to be my oldest friend Chris. But he died before I could do that and I will be asking myself for a long time when I think of him what I could have done differently...is there anything I could have set aside as truly less important to focus on what truly was more important.

One would think after all the family deaths in recent years that I would have gotten over putting friends and family aside as I did with my oldest friend. I told myself that I would see Chris "next year" aka "someday" and just because it was supposed to be next year does not remove the beam from my eye... [Excerpts from the Rerum Novarum Posting Remembering Chris (circa November 26, 2005)]

I do not have many things in my life I truly wish I had a reset button on but this is one of them. I miss you amigo and pray for you and the repose of your soul often.


{1} In posting this thread as I have, it necessitates creating a new primary posting tag so with this posting, consider the primary posting tag Vault Flashback to be added to this weblog for the current and future postings where applicable. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa October 20, 2017)]

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Points to Ponder:
(For Thanksgiving)

“I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.” [Psalms 7:17]


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Miscellaneous Musings on Political Squabblings About Sex Abuse Accusers in General:

The following is a Rosetta Stone to all the above political wrangling:

--All claimants are liars and all accused are innocent and we need an impossibly strict burden of proof unless the claimants are against someone we do not like. If the latter is the case, then we pull a 180 whereas claimants are truthful and all accused are guilty and we need not even a reasonable burden of proof but instead, anything on any fringe site however badly sourced is adequate to indict them.

--All news sources we do not like are dismissed as Ferrk Nerrz unless the same source has something we like. If the latter happens, we will pull a 180 and cite the once-reviled source as suddenly reliable and above suspicion while forgetting our previous dismissal wholesale of said source.

--In all things #OurTribeRight and #YourTribeWrong.

Am I missing anything?

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

This Just In: Mike Pence’s Rule Against Having Private Dinners With Random Women Is Not Christian
"...In public relations you learn, very early, that P = R, that is, Perception = Reality. What you actually do is less important that what you are perceived to be doing.

In this point, both Catholic theology and Federal ethics regulations come into sync. Catholics are told it isn’t sufficient to avoid sin, you must avoid the occasion, i.e. exposure to the possibility, of sin. So if you are an alcoholic it is not sufficient to avoid drink, you need to avoid places where alcohol is served. As 'scandal,' that is behavior that could cause other to do evil, a person in a leadership position has the obligation to avoid situations that could lead to rumors being spread. Federal ethics regs say it isn’t enough to avoid impropriety, you must avoid the appearance of impropriety..."

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Obama Concealed Strength of al-Qaeda Before 2012 Election

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Public Service Announcement:

For those who do not like President Trump and talk about impeachment, even if somehow it is successful remember: impeachment does not actually remove a president from office. Instead, it is basically an indictment and as I said already, would have to be based on "high crimes and misdemeanors."

To prosecute said indictment against the president, it would involve a trial before the whole Senate which would be presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Then after the trial, if the charges were somehow proven, it would still involve a 2/3rds vote of the Senate to remove the president. That would mean all Democrat and Independent senators as well at least 19 Republican senators would have to vote for removal. And even then, you would simply get Vice President Pence as your new president.

Again, simply hating President Trump or not liking his policies is not sufficient.

This has been another public service announcement...

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Thursday, November 16, 2017


"Leah Corfman is not credible because she has been divorced multiple times."
So has Donald Trump
"Leah Corfman is not credible because she accused multiple pastors of hitting on her."

What is less credible, multiple accusations of minor improprieties or multiple acts of adultery? Corfman is said to have done the former, Trump is known to have done the latter.
"Leah Corfman is not credible because she filed for bankruptcy three times."
Donald Trump filed for bankruptcy FOUR times.
Do you still want to keep playing the "not credible game"?

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Briefly on the Virginia and New Jersey Elections:

The results of those election can be subject to mistakes on both sides meaning they can be over thought or under thought.

To over think would be to see it as an inevitable harbinger of either 2020 or 2018. Case in point: 2009 did not mean Obama was toast in 2012 and the resistance folks in 2017 should remember that the tea party of 2009 was a lot less robust in 2012. As for the 2010 comparison to 2018, its way too early and folks forget: the backlash of 2010 was because of political overreach by the Dems. The GOP has not overreached yet, heck it debatable if they have even reached at all yet. Either way, the whiter and hotter the populism of a moment, the shorter its political shelf life tends to be.

As far as under thinking, to dismiss these results as just the results of blue states and thus presume it has no bearing whatsoever on 2018 (or does not reflect on a lack of coattails thus far for Trump) would be a mistake that could lead to a political complacency that results in a correction midterm election rather than an election where GOP can build on their advantages nationwide.

In short, its possible to overthink as well as underthink last night's results for the GOP as well as for the Dems.

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Points to Ponder:

Politics in a nutshell today:
My side's purported indiscretions: all lies and conspiracies by evil forces to destroy good noble people - innocent until proven guilty far beyond any reasonable doubt.
Your side's purported indiscretions: ipso facto true because your side is evil incarnate and thus irredeemable - guilty until proven innocent far beyond any reasonable doubt.
Any questions?

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100 Years of Communism: Death and Deprivation

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John Hillerman, Higgins on 'Magnum, P.I.,' dies at 84

Rest In Peace Higgins!


Public Service Announcement:

For those who do not like President Trump and talk about impeachment, remember: impeachment requires "high crimes and misdemeanors" to be viable. Simply hating the president or not liking their policies is not sufficient.

This has been a public service announcement...

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If You Refuse to Condemn Predators because of Politics, You’re Disgusting


"...The deflections are too predictable. There’s the 'Why are these women just coming out now? Seems suspicious!' comeback and, of course, the 'They’re just doing it for the fame! These women just want attention!' angle. Now, these comments actually are very important — just not for the reasons that the people making them think that they are. They’re important not as defenses, but because they’re perfect examples of an exact reason why these women may have been too afraid to come forward sooner: because they were afraid that they’d be ridiculed and doubted, and that no one would believe them..."

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Thursday, November 02, 2017

Holy Souls Prayer Register:

It has been a number of years since I made a posting such as this. In the interest of brevity, I want to renew the substance of my last weblog posting on this matter and include since that time many folks who have passed who are related to me either by blood, marriage, friendship, or other esteem as well as a number of folks among the living{1}. I cannot recall everyone I would want to have remembered in prayer but God knows their names and as a reader of hearts, I trust Him to know everyone I would mention if I could think of them all.

The link to the Purgatory Project can be found HERE and I encourage my readers to check it out and register the names of family and friends.{2}

For those who have passed on:

Eternal rest grant unto their souls O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and all the souls of the faithfully departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen

The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found [me]. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord on that day (2 Tim i,18).

For those still alive whose names I have included in the current name submission{3}, they have been entered for perpetual masses to be offered for their spiritual benefit as well.


{1} As far as the new additions, I am not going to post their names here. Suffice to say, some have been mentioned before while others are new and many new ones are still among the living and are close to me by either blood, marriage, friendship, or other esteem.

{2} One should not presume that my recommendation of the above site constitutes a blanket approval of all or even many (or even most) of the other threads they have posted there. Nonetheless, they do have a good thread on explaining purgatory which can be read HERE and that I do highly recommend.

{3} See footnote one.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Seattle’s homeless crisis demands accountability
What has happened to Seattle in my time away from there?


NYC Terror Attacks -Live Feed

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Friday, October 27, 2017

On Revisiting the Death Penalty Question:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

As a result of the significance of some recent news items on this matter, it apparently is necessary to revisit this subject anew. To quote myself from many years ago on this matter:

The pope's personal opinion is not required for grasping... What is required though are the doctrinal principles behind a limited usage of the death penalty -if its usage is advocated at all. The pope's opinion on the frequency of the usage are no more binding than his opinion that the Didache is "the oldest non-Scriptural Christian writing." (Something he mentions in the same encyclical earlier on if memory serves.) Whether it is or not is a matter of scholarly debate...

With regards to personal opinions, they are not the deciding factor as the pope himself noted after stating his opinion then following it up with a qualifying term such as "nonetheless." The principle being bound is what follows that word or its equivalent within the text. As this is so often misunderstood, I will reiterate it with emphasis:

All that requires submission is the principle enunciated in the Catechism about bloodless means being the required recourse whenever it suffices to remove the individual in question from being a continued menace to society.

Obviously this is a principle which will have a different application depending on the nation and the circumstances...

As I noted earlier, the pope's teaching has forced me to do an about-face on the matter...[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa December 16, 2003)]


I can think of a few categories of people who could legitimately circumvent the rubric of mandatory non-bloodless means. Those people are the ones convicted of (i) treason or (ii) sedition. I also feel that (iii) serial murderers, (iv) drug dealers who target children, and (v) pornographers who target children. In my opinion, all of these deserve the death penalty. And at the same time, with these five categories, you would still have the 'rare if ever' situation present that should govern the application of the pope's teaching on restricting the use of the death penalty in society. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa December 16, 2003)]

As for the question of whether the use of the death penalty saves innocent lives, I have dealt with this matter before too and will cite from the pertinent posting at this time to avoid reinventing the wheel:

Readers of some time to this humble weblog are aware of your host's position on the death penalty. In doing a quick scan of the archives though, it does not appear that we have said anything in depth on the matter for a long time[...] so new readers may not be so familiar with it. To state it bluntly: I support it in some circumstances...

As a societal issue of contemporary relevance, the disputes over whether or not the death penalty should be used have a predictable pattern to them. While not indicative of an absolute on either side, generally speaking those who favour it tend to make arguments based on reason and logic and those opposed tend to do so on an emotional basis to which they add unconvincing arguments and manifest a kind of "faith" that their position is correct...

In the last five odd years there have now been documented about twelve different studies all of which reach the same core verdict: the death penalty saves lives. Anyway, as CBS News the other day published an article on the subject, it seems opportune to revisit this subject anew so here goes:

Death Penalty Deters Murders, Studies Say (CBS News circa June 11, 2007)

Of particular interest to me is this part of the text:

"Science does really draw a conclusion. It did. There is no question about it," said Naci Mocan, an economics professor at the University of Colorado at Denver. "The conclusion is there is a deterrent effect."

A 2003 study he co-authored, and a 2006 study that re-examined the data, found that each execution results in five fewer homicides, and commuting a death sentence means five more homicides. "The results are robust, they don't really go away," he said. "I oppose the death penalty. But my results show that the death penalty (deters) — what am I going to do, hide them?"

Statistical studies like his are among a dozen papers since 2001 that capital punishment has deterrent effects. They all explore the same basic theory — if the cost of something (be it the purchase of an apple or the act of killing someone) becomes too high, people will change their behavior (forego apples or shy away from murder).

To explore the question, they look at executions and homicides, by year and by state or county, trying to tease out the impact of the death penalty on homicides by accounting for other factors, such as unemployment data and per capita income, the probabilities of arrest and conviction, and more.

Among the conclusions:

Each execution deters an average of 18 murders, according to a 2003 nationwide study by professors at Emory University. (Other studies have estimated the deterred murders per execution at three, five and 14). The Illinois moratorium on executions in 2000 led to 150 additional homicides over four years following, according to a 2006 study by professors at the University of Houston.

Speeding up executions would strengthen the deterrent effect. For every 2.75 years cut from time spent on death row, one murder would be prevented, according to a 2004 study by an Emory University professor.

This should be common sense frankly but with too many people, they are deaf to this either because they do not possess common sense or because they place faith in certain authorities[...] who themselves are misinformed. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa June 14, 2007)]

As for my previous categories of exceptions to the rubric of mandatory non-bloodless means, I would revise the list a bit now. If recast in a new form it would read as follows:

I can think of a few categories of people who could legitimately circumvent the rubric of mandatory non-bloodless means. Those people are (i) convicted multiple or serial murders, (ii) drug dealers convicted on multiple charges who targeted children, (iii) sexual pedophiles convicted of multiple crimes of pedophilia, (iv) pornographers convicted on multiple charges who targeted children, (v) anyone who engages in or directs violations in the aforementioned areas who is already in prison. 

The above paragraph encapsulates my position as it has evolved since it was first publicly enunciated in a systematic form nearly fourteen years ago. My rationale for the changes above are as follows:

--In third world or totalitarian countries, it would be far too easy to kangaroo the court system and accuse folks of treason or sedition. For that reason, logic would mean to take that sword from their hands would mean to have to take it from every country's government's hands. As the desire to protect the innocent is my motivating criteria on all matters death penalty related, that is why I have come to see that those two categories I previously listed need to be omitted from the list of extraordinary circumstances.

--As for the broadening of two other categories, it is difficult to know where a murderer becomes a serial murderer so that means widening that category slightly to include all multiple incidents of murder. It is not that the murderer of a single person is deserving of being spared as much as seeking to make the use of the death penalty as rare as reasonably possible to ensure that we retain extraordinary circumstances here.

--Those who are convicted of drug dealing who have multiple charges of targeting children and convicted sexual pedophiles of multiple crimes of pedophilia are along the lines of my overriding principle of protecting the innocent. Children are the most innocent among us and those who would do this sort of damage to them in their most formative and vulnerable of years deserve the harshest punishment possible for their crimes as Our Lord made clear (Matt 18:6; Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2).

--As for the final category, those who push the death penalty abolition and advocate for life in prison, if someone who is already in prison is still committing crimes and directing either drug cartels, gang activity, the murder of others, killing prison or security guards in prison, etc., then they obviously are not removed as a danger to society even behind bars and therefore must be removed from society definitively and permanently for the maintenance of just public order and the common good of society.

Even accounting for everything I noted above, it would still make the use of the death penalty very rare because I emphasize the word "conviction" in every example either explicitly or (as in the fifth example) by implication.

Now I can anticipate where this will go with some readers so lets address that elephant in the room right now:

When it comes to the question of interventions in the prudential order, it could happen that some Magisterial documents might not be free from all deficiencies. Bishops and their advisors have not always taken into immediate consideration every aspect or the entire complexity of a question...

Even when collaboration takes place under the best conditions, the possibility cannot be excluded that tensions may arise between the theologian and the Magisterium. The meaning attributed to such tensions and the spirit with which they are faced are not matters of indifference. If tensions do not spring from hostile and contrary feelings, they can become a dynamic factor, a stimulus to both the Magisterium and theologians to fulfill their respective roles while practicing dialogue.

In the dialogue, a two-fold rule should prevail. When there is a question of the communion of faith, the principle of the "unity of truth" (unitas veritatis) applies. When it is a question of differences which do not jeopardize this communion, the "unity of charity" (unitas caritatis) should be safeguarded.

Even if the doctrine of the faith is not in question, the theologian will not present his own opinions or divergent hypotheses as though they were non-arguable conclusions. Respect for the truth as well as for the People of God requires this discretion (cf. Rom 14:1-15; 1 Cor 8; 10: 23-33 ) . For the same reasons, the theologian will refrain from giving untimely public expression to them.{1}

I reference the above magisterial text because as I said previously, I anticipate the sorts of accusations that will come from some quarters. With all due respect to such folks, they are wrong in being critical of me for raising honest arguments and issues with regards to this kind of intervention in the prudential order. The principles outlined in footnote one above apply to magisterial documents and therefore it is even more applicable to statements from popes or other church leaders which are not themselves of a magisterial nature.

To be clear, I assent to the fundamental principle set down by Pope John Paul II in his encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae on the issue of the death penalty.{2} Where there is a difference between myself and Pope Francis is in the application of the underlying principle. But to clarify further if anything I have already said in the body of this text or the footnotes is not sufficiently perspicuous:

  • I do not believe in a ruthless or bloodthirsty approach to the death penalty. 
  • I do not believe it is necessary for the sake of justice to have recourse to the death penalty.
  • I do hold to the principle that the death penalty should be legal but rare. 

However, even with those qualifications, I have some serious questions on whether or not Pope Francis or any of his recent predecessors has/had "taken into immediate consideration every aspect or the entire complexity of [this] question" (cf. Donum Veritatis 24) and with all due respect, until that is squarely faced and dealt with, their absolutist position on the matter is internally contradictory and I cannot pretend it is otherwise.

In accordance with magisterial teaching{3}, I do not present my own "opinions or divergent hypotheses as though they were non-arguable conclusions" (cf. Donum Veritatis 27). Nor do I go about "giving untimely public expression to them" (cf. Donum Veritatis 27). I strive indeed to be both respectful as well as discreet when publicly saying anything about these matters at all -that is part of the reason why I waited a few weeks for this issue to move out of the headlines before posting this material.

I cannot speak for others but I can say that the tensions between my view and that of Pope Francis "do not spring from hostile and contrary feelings" (cf. Donum Veritatis 27) and I am conscious of a right "to make known to the Magisterial authorities the problems raised by the teaching in itself, in the arguments proposed to justify it, or even in the manner in which it is presented" (Donum Veritatis 30). As my prior writings on this matter spanning fifteen odd years should more than adequately demonstrate, I have sought on these as with all pertinent matters "serious study, undertaken with the desire to heed the Magisterium's teaching without hesitation" (Donum Veritatis 31). However, for reasons outlined above, on the issue of the practical stance of recent popes on the death penalty, "[my] difficulty remains because the arguments to the contrary seem more persuasive" (cf. Donum Veritatis 31).

I await such time as Pope Francis or anyone else in the church hierarchy, church theologians, church apologists, etc are willing to deal with the actual sociological and scientific realities on this subject and take them seriously. Until they do, their absolutist position is one which I cannot in conscience give my intellectual assent. I recognize however "the duty to remain open to a deeper examination of the question" (cf. Donum Veritatis 31) and ask of those who espouse the more absolutist position to likewise engage in an "intense and patient reflection on [their] part and a readiness, if need be, to revise [their] own opinions and examine the objections which [their] colleagues might offer [them]" (cf. Donum Veritatis 29).


{1} Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Instruction Donum Veritatis on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian, Sections 24-27 (circa May 24, 1990)

{2}I explained it years ago in the following way:

[I]f the Church recognizes the licity of judicious use of the death penalty (which by its very implication means rare) and states that the end of this is preservation of life, then if the end can be achieved in other ways that do not involve the taking of life, that is the route we must tend to. In short, Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Evangelium vitae, points to the fact that we have many ways to protect society from offenders. Because of this, he states forcefully that the traditional Catholic principle that bloodless means whenever possible are to be utilized is to be retained. Whatever arguments we want to make about the application of this teaching, they must proceed from the principle of what is necessary to achieve the end that the death penalty historically has been used for: preservation of life.

"All things are lawful but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful, but not all things edify" sayeth the Apostle (i Cor. x,22-23). The same is the case with the death penalty in the vast majority of cases where it may apply from a theoretical standpoint. And while the pope has not set any strict schedule in stone on how this principle is to be carried out, there is a moral duty to inform oneself and to act accordingly. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa October 3, 2002)]

And again:

[W]hile the pope may personally think that the criteria for just use of the death penalty is "rare if not non-existent", he prefaces the next part of his encyclical with a key phrase "in any event". This is significant as I see it. Here is the text:

"In any event, the principle set forth in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church remains valid: "If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person."

I do not see how the Church can come any closer to banning the death penalty then this...[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa October 28, 2002)]

{3} See the material excerpted in the source referenced in footnote one.

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

House Panels Probe Obama Administration Decision on Uranium Sale

Yet another Obama Administration scandal that comes out after the Resident left office!

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