Saturday, July 22, 2017

Points to Ponder:

“Nations that went down fighting rose again, but those that surrendered were finished.” [Winston Churchill (circa May 24, 1940)]


Monday, July 17, 2017

On the Cruz Amendment to the Senate Obamacare Repeal Bill:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

I am no fan of Senator Ted Cruz for reasons I have noted in the past many times, albeit not on this humble weblog. However, a good idea deserves to be recognized whomever comes up with it and the Cruz Amendment to Majority Leader McConnell's bill is a good idea for many reasons. The first is that it actually targets the whole issue that Obamacare was supposed to be aimed at but never came close to achieving: lowering premiums. The second reason is a bit more subtle but this article notes it as well: acting as a hedge against future single payer.

For if folks have health care choices that lower their premiums as the Cruz Amendment allows for, then there would be no interest whatsoever in single payer later on which (as anyone with a normal intact functioning brain knows!) will never lower rates and will only jack them up higher while entrenching more government into the process. The Cruz Amendment operates as a hedge against this while leaving an option in place for those who for some odd reason actually like their Obamacare plan and giving everyone else actual options. And if people prefer non-Obamacare plans and choose them, then the market has decided on this matter and that is what is important, not what some dipshit bureaucrats decide arbitrarily to demand that someone obtain.

So again, as I know what some of you will say after reading much of this and accuse me of being some Cruzbot, I am not a Cruzbot or a Trumpbot. Nor have I carried water for the Republicans for more than two decades now unlike those of you who only recently thought it was cool to become an Independent voter. However, reason and ethics demand that a good idea be recognized and promoted wherever one finds it and on the issue of the Obamacare repeal, the Cruz Amendment is a welcome compromise to get to 50 votes provided (of course) that the repeal legislation also fully repeals the individual and employer mandates as well without any gimmickery attached to those elements. The end result of these three elements is a defacto repeal of Obamacare even if not a de jure repeal as well as a hedge against further movement in the direction of single payer. And considering how far we are from having the votes for a full statutory repeal, this is as good as it will get until we find 60 votes somewhere for a full statutory repeal.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Points to Ponder:

"[B]e very slow to characterize your fellow Americans. I know that when people have to run for office they have to say 'I’m smart and my opponent’s dumb,' or 'I’ve got better ideas than my opponent.' That’s politics there’s nothing wrong with that. But, I get very very concerned when I hear people start characterizing their opponents as stupid. I still understand that because politics is a little rough and tumble at times, but I don’t buy it and when they start calling each other either crazy or evil. You and I, we don’t compromise with crazy people or evil people. And so, I don’t think that’s helpful. Generally speaking, just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t make them crazy or evil.

By sitting down and talking with them, after having a good strong argument, going out and having a root beer with them, maybe showing up at the same church, maybe going to the hospital to see their kid when they’re having their appendix out, reminds you that they’re human beings too. There’s no reason to get all worked up as if someone is evil or crazy. For one thing, none of us are perfect and all-knowing, so this might be their right, and that’s why I don’t care for ideological people. It’s like those people just want to stop thinking. They know what they think, they don’t read anything but one newspaper that agrees with them or they watch only one television news show because it reinforces them, instead of listening to the ones that don’t agree with them. So, I think the way you get over it is, you take people one at a time and you give them the same credit you give yourself and your ideas." 
[James Mattis: Interview With A High School Student]

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

It’s Not Treason, but It’s Not Defensible, Either

Read more at:

The introduction says it about as well as I would have so I will simply quote it here as my comment on the rest of the article it is part of. Without further ado...

"One of the rules you should try to follow, if you talk or write about politics, is to apply the same basic standards and rules for longer than just whatever gets you through the current news cycle. That’s true of what you think is right and wrong and scandalous, and it’s doubly true of what’s legal and illegal. The rule of law exists so that we know what rules apply to our friends and political foes alike..."

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Q-and-A on the Vatican's recent instruction on bread, wine for Communion

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Points to Ponder:

Those who are gung ho about not vaccinating their kids and who refuse to should wear a scarlet V in public so if their choices result in others getting infected (or worse), said persons can be more readily identified for possible legal action (if applicable). [Me (circa July 8. 2017)]

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017


The Left's Breaking Point

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Points to Ponder:

With age may come wisdom but certainly with age usually comes jadedness. [Me (circa July 8, 2017)]


Hillary Clinton looks for her role in midterms

"Hillary should do what she does best...

- Help candidates set up unsanctioned email accounts

- Hand out drills for destroying your harddrives

- Hand out plastic red reset buttons

- Sell uranium to our enemies in order to help fund campaigns" ["Guomino"]

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Defense Secretary Mattis Grants Interview To High School Student (And It’s Pretty Good)

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Why Seahawks RB/WR C.J. Prosise can live up to the hype

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Thursday, July 06, 2017

Ultra Briefly on President Trump's Visit to Poland:

In my opinion, visiting Poland was a good choice for President Donald Trump. Why? Well, they are perhaps the most pro-American country in continental Europe for one and secondly, it is a good momentum builder going into his upcoming summit with Vladimir Putin.

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North Korea 'successfully tests' its first intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting Alaska: Kim Jong-un could now strike US territory with a nuclear weapon, analysts fear

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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Seahawks have hole to climb out of in order to get back on track on defense

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This is one reason why *some* of the slavish Trumpsters deserve to be laughed at!

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Local Mom Claims Vaccines Caused Her Son’s Calvinism

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

My latest contribution to the Jaded Politics project courtesy of the Musings From Exile weblog{1} can be read HERE.


{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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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

My latest contribution to the Jaded Politics project courtesy of the Musings From Exile weblog{1} can be read HERE. Its substantially the same as an earlier posting to this humble weblog{2}, just fleshed out a bit more and with some pictures and videos.


{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)] 

{2} A Solution For Dealing With Civil Asset Forfeiture Abuse (circa June 3, 2017)

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Request For Ethical and Rational Consistency To Various and Sundry Past Critics:

Whenever I would discuss my combox policy{1} in sundry times and in divers manners{2}at this humble weblog, I would get some critics who would take swipes at me claiming that by not having comments boxes here that for some reason, it denoted some kind of cowardice or fear of engaging in arguments with others. I have in mind particularly certain persons who engage in apologetics with this particular point: something I note briefly here so that the audience is not confusing to the reader.

Having noted that, I came across recently the following from canonist Dr. Ed Peters on why he does not enable comments on his blog. I will him at some length here and where applicable to a certain extent to Rerum Novarum both past as well as present. Without further ado:

Why comments aren’t enabled here

I have thought about enabling comboxes on my blog for some time. My reasons for declining at present are:
First, open comboxes are notorious occasions for grave sin (calumny, detraction, falsehood, even blasphemy). I won’t have it here, of course. But that leaves only monitored comboxes, and monitoring comboxes takes time—more time than I have and certainly more time than I wish to devote to, well, monitoring comboxes. Of course, if someone comes up with a way for me to get paid for monitoring comments, I’m open to reconsidering—my children are always screaming for more caviar and diamonds.
Now the kind of education offered here can take place quite well, I think, without entertaining questions (questions that are often ill-formed and/or inappropriate for many others in my audience), and without entertaining comments (comments that, if right, would add little to what I already said, and if wrong, would often require considerable time for me correct). It seems better for all concerned if I just post what I think... and leave it at that. Time will tell whether my analysis of various issues is, in the main, right or wrong.
Third—and mind, this comes from someone who often posts in others’ comboxes!—I find that combox discussions never really resolve anything; they are effectively interminable in that, no matter how thoroughly one might have answered a question or addressed an issue, there will always be one more bloke out there able to reword the matter in such a way as to suggest that it has not yet been adequately aired. And that is not counting the people who post as breand-new questions things that were expressly dealt with just a few posts higher up! Sheesh!

Anyway these are some of the reasons why I haven’t enabled comboxes on this site...

I am posting the above to ask critics (present and past) who have made or intend to make light of my lack of comments boxes at this humble weblog to either lob similar snide crap at Dr. Ed Peters or have the guts to do what a real Christian should do in these sorts of situations.

That is all for now.


{1}Most recently reiterated anew HERE for those who are interested.

{2} This footnote will consist of a longer footnote from a previous post to this weblog in years gone by which encapsulates some of my references over the years to comments boxes and my policies with them. Without further ado...

In order from earliest to most recent on the matter and excluding any postings that did not to some extend extend or amplify previous comments on this subject:

Unlike major media outlets the contents of this blog are not a result of intense focus group testing nor Zogby-like polling data mind you; Rerum Novarum does not function that way. (So those who wrote about adding comments boxes, nada as I do not have the time to police them and besides: most of those who inquired about the comments boxes are not the sorts I would long tolerate posting in comments boxes at my blog.) The reason I have the occasional "guest editorial" policy is to bridge the gap if you will in that regard. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa September 30, 2002)]

I also blog and interact with emailers if (i) it is a subject I have not blogged on before (ii) it is a subject that interests me (iii) the emailer is polite and (iv) the emailer asks challenging questions. If the emailer is not polite, then their piece becomes fodder for potential fisking in accordance with my mood at the time.

I also interact with stuff on discussion lists, blogs, and the message boxes at other blogs and all of that is potentially bloggable as well. (And usually I email the link to the person so they can read and respond to it if they want to.) [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa August 24, 2003)]

On the Comments Box Subject Revisited (circa June 6, 2005)

Briefly on Comboxes Again With Jonathan Prejean (circa June 10, 2005)

The Comments Box Subject Revisited (circa January 26, 2007)


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The Video of Philo Castile's Fatal Shooting 

Those who wonder why I am not a rah rah cheerleader for law enforcement, I have my reasons. One is the widescale prevalence of civil asset forfeiture abuse. Another is situations like this where there is the kind of presumption of guilt a priori based on flimsy bs. In this case, a camera caught it but how often has there never been a camera there in these sorts of situations?

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Friday, June 23, 2017

My latest contribution to the Jaded Politics project courtesy of the Musings From Exile weblog{1} can be read HERE.


{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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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Finishing Most Expensive House Race Ever, Ossoff Calls For Campaign Finance Reform

 My comment: Its sorta like Jenna Jamison deciding to preach against porn.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Points to Ponder:

"'Buy American' is as silly a concept as buying anything else just because of where its supposedly from. How about this: Buy Quality. If at times that means buying American then great but do not buy low quality shit of any kind, period!" [Shawn McElhinney (circa yesterday)]

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Points to Ponder:

"Had Hillary won, everyone would have expected disappointed Trump voters to show a modicum of respect for the electoral results as well as for the historic ceremony of the inauguration, during which former combatants momentarily unite to pay homage to the peaceful transition of power in our democracy. But that was not the reaction of a vast cadre of Democrats shocked by Trump's win. In an abject failure of leadership that may be one of the most disgraceful episodes in the history of the modern Democratic party, Chuck Schumer, who had risen to become the Senate Democratic leader after the retirement of Harry Reid, asserted absolutely no moral authority as the party spun out of control in a nationwide orgy of rage and spite. Nor were there statesmanlike words of caution and restraint from two seasoned politicians whom I have admired for decades and believe should have run for president long ago—Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. How do Democrats imagine they can ever expand their electoral support if they go on and on in this self-destructive way, impugning half the nation as vile racists and homophobes?" [Camille Paglia]

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Trump To Republican Senators: The House Health-Care Bill Was “Mean”

In response to President Donald Trump at a meeting of Republican Senators throwing the Republicans in the House under the bus for provisions of their bill that he previously agreed to, Jay Cost produced a two thread Twitter rant that read as follows...

Jay Cost ✔ @JayCostTWS
This is one of Trump's greatest failures.
2:29 PM - 13 Jun 2017

Jay Cost ✔ @JayCostTWS
He has no firm and fixed opinions on public policy, nor is he well versed in the details. So he vacillates.
2:29 PM - 13 Jun 2017

Jay Cost ✔ @JayCostTWS
In so doing, he cannot provide guidance to his allies in Congress, nor can he be called upon to broker deals as need be.
5:30 PM - 13 Jun 2017

Jay Cost ✔ @JayCostTWS
Making comments like this are deeply counter-productive. If POTUS is blasting his own party's bill now, who's to say he won't later?
2:30 PM - 13 Jun 2017

Jay Cost ✔ @JayCostTWS
And what happens then to the vulnerable members who supported it, *AT HIS REQUEST*? They're left to twist in the wind, alone.
5:31 PM - 13 Jun 2017

Jay Cost ✔ @JayCostTWS
Why would you stick your neck out for Trump when you have a reasonable fear that he'll be the one to chop it off?
2:31 PM - 13 Jun 2017

Jay Cost ✔ @JayCostTWS
Gee whiz. If only people had warned about this last spring, when there were other Republicans available who knew the basics of governing.
5:32 PM - 13 Jun 2017

Jay Cost ✔ @JayCostTWS
But no no no. We had to have somebody to tear the whole system down. Blah blah blah. Little did they realize that this is impossible.
2:32 PM - 13 Jun 2017

Jay Cost ✔ @JayCostTWS
Our government is indestructible. So when you elect a wrecking ball, you're just going to knock yourself over.
2:33 PM - 13 Jun 2017

Jay Cost ✔ @JayCostTWS
But go on and keep complaining about the #NeverTrumpers. They're the real problem, not the dunce you people insisted on making president.
2:34 PM - 13 Jun 2017

Jay Cost ✔ @JayCostTWS
There is nothing to deal with. Trump is who he is. He doesn't learn lessons. He's not going to change. So we just await the blowback.
2:39 PM - 13 Jun 2017

Jay Cost ✔ @JayCostTWS
I disagree. There's catharsis in a Festivus-style airing of grievances. Also, certain people need to be rebuked so they can't do this again.
2:42 PM - 13 Jun 2017

Jay Cost ✔ @JayCostTWS
Hannity Limbaugh Scarborough Switzerland Sessions Palin Murdoch ... all need to be called out continuously and aggressively.
2:43 PM - 13 Jun 2017

Jay Cost ✔ @JayCostTWS
Hewitt, aka Switzerland, adopted a stance of neutrality during the primaries that was as outwardly pious as it was deeply disingenuous.
2:46 PM - 13 Jun 2017

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195 Congressional Democrats file Emoluments Lawsuit against Trump
The odds of this actually succeeding? Maybe 10% at the most!

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

BREAKING: Bernie Sanders ADMITS Scalise Shooter Worked For His Campaign

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Texas Animal Abusers May Face up to a Decade in Prison Thanks to New Law


Points to Ponder:

"But mom, Billy did it too!" [Nearly every political argument these days]

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Monday, June 12, 2017

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin' 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
He'd say "I'm gonna be like you dad
You know I'm gonna be like you"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home dad?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then son
You know we'll have a good time then

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, "Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let's play
Can you teach me to throw", I said "Not today
I got a lot to do", he said, "That's ok"
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah
You know I'm gonna be like him"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home son?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then son
You know we'll have a good time then

Well, he came home from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
"Son, I'm proud of you, can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head and said with a smile
"What I'd really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please?"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home son?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then son
You know we'll have a good time then

I've long since retired, my son's moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind"
He said, "I'd love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job's a hassle and kids have the flu
But it's sure nice talking to you, Dad
It's been sure nice talking to you"

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home son?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then son
You know we'll have a good time then.

[Harry Chapin Carpenter]

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Blackballing Nat Hentoff

Its a couple years old{1}, but from time to time, its worth revisiting from time to time certain fundamental principles. One of those is simple: the left who claims to be so tolerant and wanting everyone to CoExist and all that crap really is not so tolerant at all. Witness their treatment of the late great Nat Hentoff, a fellow liberal who they went from lionizing to treating like a leper. Why? Because Nat Hentoff was one of my favourite men of the left: a man of principle. Furthermore, he followed where the evidence took him, even if he did not feel comfortable where said evidences took him. For more, read the link above.

And remember: the left is not the tolerant sorts they claim to be but instead are every bit as totalitarian as any of their most feverish imaginations of what folks on the right{2}are like.


{1} And Rerum Novarum was suspended when this first came out.

{2} For those who have forgotten (or who never knew): I am not a fan of the left-right categories as a rule and not just because I do not fit comfortably in either one.

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As if I needed more reasons to loathe big government and bureaucracies!

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Friday, June 09, 2017

To Briefly Address Both American Political Extremes:

Note to the #BlueKoolAidBrigade:

Attempting to prove President Trump lacks competence, lies, or is an asshole does not rise to the level of obstruction of justice or any other crime.

Note to the #RedKoolAidBrigade:

Attempting to prove President Trump did not engage in obstruction of justice or any other crime does not disprove claims that Mr. Trump lacks competence, is a proven liar, or is an asshole. (Nor does it prove such things either.)

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Theresa May must go - and go now

Theresa May's idea for holding an election unnecessarily right before major talks on one of the biggest issues in Britain today (Brexit) is in the words of Blackadder "[the] worst idea since someone said ‘yeah let’s take this suspiciously large wooden horse into Troy, statues are all the rage this season’.”

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Thursday, June 08, 2017

Points to Ponder:

"Few things annoy me more in the economic sphere than giant businesses which seek to use the law to crush their smaller competitors. The law is supposed to provide justice for all and that does not happen when you have larger groups connected in various ways with government agencies which use the law as an instrument of their perverse plunder.

My general philosophy with buying anything is to go with smaller business over larger business whenever its reasonably feasible to do so and folks who want to do that should have the freedom to do so if they choose." [Shawn McElhinney (circa June 6, 2013)]

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Headdesk: GA-06 Candidate Says She “Does Not Support A Livable Wage”

When you fight an enemy on their own chosen turf, this is what happens!

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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

"One From The Vault" Dept.

 I am re-posting at this time the link to an expository musing from eight years ago. Without further ado:

On D-Day and Writing Photographs (circa June 6, 2009)

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Norm Macdonald on Why He’s Tired of Trump Satire and the Joke He’ll Never Tell Again

I am not sure if its good or bad but I relate a lot to what Norm Macdonald says in this interview on the political stuff.

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Imams refuse to give Islamic burials for London attackers in 'unprecedented move'

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Saturday, June 03, 2017

Trump takes travel ban appeal to Supreme Court

The cat was let out of the bag when some of the judges who implemented injunctions against the travel ban more or less said that while its unconstitutional if President Trump does it that if Resident Obama or a President Hillary Clinton had done it, it would be constitutional. Nice try folks but constitutionality is not a matter of feelings nor is it that subjective.

I look forward to SCOTUS striking the ban on the travel ban down soon!

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ESPN FPI Rankings 2017: Seahawks slated with 76% chance to win division, 23% to get number one seed

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Firm involved in DNC lawsuit got ‘voice changer’ call from Debbie Wasserman Schultz’ office

Seriously, right when you want to talk about another area where the Trump Administration is incompetent, these folks have to basically say "hold my beer" and limbo the bar! LOL

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A Solution For Dealing With Civil Asset Forfeiture Abuse:
(Musings of your humble servant circa May 6, 2015)

I believe this is a good subject for the 3 or 4 serious presidential candidates to focus on that could resonate well with a public that is justifiably suspicious (at best) of the meddling nature of the federal leviathan; namely, civil asset forfeiture reform.

I suggest not only stricter rules are needed in this area but the importance of removing any temptation to harrass citizens without just cause for doing so. For that reason, the only persons who should ever be targets for civil asset forfeiture at a minimum should be folks who are formally charged with a crime. If the government is not willing to do that, then they have no business meddling in the affairs of private citizens. To dissuade the government and its agents from violating this principle, there should be an appropriate penalty so here is what I suggest:

If someone not formally charged with a crime has assets seized, the government should reimburse them 300% and whomever screwed up either gets fired or (at a minimum) a 50% pay cut!

The benefit of the doubt should always lay with private citizens along with the presumption of innocence, not with the government and its agents "erect[ing]a multitude of New Offices, and send[ing] hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance."{2} And as the only way meddling bureaucrats will learn is to be given sufficient penalties to dissuade them from abusing their functions, the aforementioned ones should suffice -though I would also be willing to consider seizing the assets of any federal agent who seizes the assets of any person not formally charged with a crime.


{1} Yes, most of the candidates running who ran are were clowns!

{2} Cf. Declaration of Independence.

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Friday, June 02, 2017

Points to Ponder:

"People as a rule (no matter whom they are) have a tendency to adhere to or endorse outlooks that serve for the most part to reaffirm what they want to believe whether they realize it or not. And this goes double for virtually anyone who would have the temerity to deny this in their own case by the way. Indeed, those who would claim they have no vested self-interest whatsoever in a position or outlook that they endorse should have their views taken with at least a shaker full of salt if not more." [Shawn McElhinney (circa November 21, 2012)]

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Thursday, June 01, 2017

Repudiating The Paris Agreement Is Just The Latest In Trump’s War On Environmental Extremism

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Jack Nicklaus says Tiger Woods 'needs our help'


Bluntly on Lay Ecclesial Hypocrisy...
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

One positive about the pontificate of Pope Francis is he is exposing many conservatives as Pharisees. One problem is Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI inadvertently gave not a few conservatives the false idea that conservatism is the Catholic Faith and that is not true at all.

We also saw from so many of these same folks a papal worship in the prior two pontificates that treated every word from the pope as some all-hallowed requirement of belief which the same folks do the exact opposite in denigrating and ignoring Pope Francis in areas not only of faith and morals but church discipline and government. Too many hypocrites about on the conservative side. It was long time to trim the boat a bit but lest I forget, those liberals who denigrated and ignored Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI but worship and exalt Pope Francis' every hiccup are just as big a hypocrites.

Folks need to remember that the Faith is not one and the same with conservatism or liberalism.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

General Questions For the Seth Rich Conspiracy Promoters:

Are you really all that concerned about Seth Rich homicide or are you just trying to find a political club to beat Hillary and the Democrats with that you will grab at anything?

Washington DC has long been a murder capital as conservatives love to claim in their pro gun propaganda in counter to the Democrats anti-gun propaganda. A person who walks home alone at 4am in a dangerous town (or a dangerous part of any town!) is asking for trouble.

There were over 140 homicides in DC in 2016. In fact, here is a list of unsolved homicides in DC from 2016.

Prior to me posting this, could you have named even one other DC homicide victim in 2016 other than Seth Rich?

If you could not, you should seriously take stock of what your motivations are here my friend because they would appear to be politically self-serving and not genuinely interested in justice.

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Points to Ponder:
(From the Archives)

Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent. [Napoleon Bonaparte]

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Briefly on Grieving:

When it comes to grieving, it is difficult no matter which side you are on. When you are the one who has gone through loss, oftentimes those who reach out are very awkward in how they do it and can at times unintentionally offend in how they do it. It helps those who are hurting to remember that.

For those on the other side of the fence who are reaching out to someone grieving, remember that no two people grieve in the same way. As much as possible do not take rebuffs personally (if they happen) and patiently try to find different ways to reach out until something works.

Greater patience and love on all sides is something we all should strive for.

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

My latest contribution to the Jaded Politics project courtesy of the Musings From Exile weblog{1} can be read HERE.


{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:

"Contributing to polarization via argumentation fallacies is no laughing matter." [Shawn McElhinney]

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Points to Ponder:
(From the Archives)

Politics is the art of the possible not the art of the perfect. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa June 16, 2009)]

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

My latest contribution{1} to the Jaded Politics project courtesy of the Musings From Exile weblog{2} can be read HERE.


{1} It is substantially the same as an article I posted to this humble weblog yesterday.

{2} "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, May 17, 2017

"Meanwhile In Dumbfuckistan" Dept.

A bit of backstory is needed on this one so here goes:

About a month ago, the recently elected chair of the Democratic National Committee proclaimed that pro life people were not welcome in the Democratic Party. Here were his words:

"Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health...That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state."

Since that time, the Democrats have dumped a ton of money into one special election that they lost{1} and there are four more special elections coming up: one in May{2} and three in June.{3} Other than CA-4 in which the Democrats will hold serve, they could very well lose the other three elections which are in Republican favourable districts. Recent polling has the Republicans leading in MT-AL,{4} favoured over the Democrat in SC-5{5}, and its a dead heat in GA-6.

So, as the Democrats are literally sweating to produce a notable victory since the November election that they can hang their hats on, DNC Chairman Mao Tom Perez is now walking back his self-inflicted wound from a month ago. But what is he going to do about this? Well, funny you should ask:

Perez plans to meet with Democrats for Life of America and its executive director Kristen Day, but … the date has not yet been set. The meeting will take place at DNC headquarters in DC too, which makes this less an outreach than a grant of a schedule slot. That’s the only meeting set up for the purpose of engaging a “big tent,” which seems to indicate that Perez doesn’t plan to get out much in other areas to engage pro-life Democrats and independents. In fact, it doesn’t look like he’s getting out at all.

I do not see how this will accomplish anything in terms of placating a faction of the Democratic Party that has been marginalized in recent decades and then told to STFU and GTFO just last month by the reigning DNC Chair. Considering how vulnerable the Republicans are due to the self-inflicted wounds of President Donald Trump in recent months, this barrel-swallowing by Chairman Mao Perez makes no sense and only seems to confirm what many of us have suspected about the leaders of Dumbfuckistan the Democratic Party; namely, that they have no idea why they lost and therefore do not know what they need to do to put out a winning political coalition in the Trump era.


{1} I refer here to KA-4.

{2} I refer here to the Montana At Large seat election on May 25, 2017.

{3} I refer here to CA-4 on June 6, 2017 as well as GA-6 and SC-5 on June 20, 2017

{4} The poll here is a Democratic Super PAC's poll.

{5} The runoff election there is currently too close to call.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

"One From The Vault" Dept.

I found this in the archives of the draft folder when doing a search for something. Apparently it was a bit being worked on for a while and finished on August 5, 2008 but for some reason, I never posted it. Since so many of these same kinds of arguments could be tweaked and directed towards Donald Trump or any Republican in the White House, I have decided for fun to lightly tweak and publish the material at the present time since the principles outlined in the text below are just as valid now as they were then even if every little detail may not be. Without further ado...
Oh brother...
Environmetally unfriendly read Kyoto,

Kyoto would cost a ton of money and do nothing whatsoever to change things.

no sane person doubts global warming. 

More like no sane person buys into this garbage and that is why Gore and his ilk are being sued by a few parties including the founder of the Weather Channel who has accused Gore of being the lying fraud that he is. The earth was warmer in the 1940's than it is now, it was warmer during the Renaissance than it is now, it was warmer in the eleventh century than it is now: with the latter that is why Greenland was named "Greenland" because it was green not the icebox it has subsequently become. However, the earth is also warmer now than it was in the 1970's when they were claiming "global cooling" and predicting a coming ice age.

These things are and always have been cyclical and the overwhelming majority of the factors involved are outside of man's control. Meanwhile, the ones that are in our control it is debatable to what extent they even matter except in the most localized of incidents.

The problem with people today is they have no sense of perspective on these matters and will believe whatever fits their inclinations. Furthermore, you have historians and scientists today who let their politics or personal views cloud their professional judgment much as you do judges and other people in positions of authority. The idol of "creativity" in jobs where "creativity" is not part of the description and only leads to confusion as a result.

Katrina totally mishandled due to cronies appointed to positions that should been held by bureaucrats. 

As if bureaucrats are to be trusted with anything...I am not defending the appointment of cronies by any stretch but the idea that somehow bureaucrats are to be trusted as competent is a comment that can only be made by someone naive as to the inefficiencies of bureaucracies. Katrina happened in large part because of weaknesses in the state system of Louisiana going back decades -decades I might add of mismanagement by democratic governors and legislators. Furthermore, it is not the role of the federal government to be handing out money for disaster relief anyway: something else that many folks apparently are unaware of.

Osama - still on the loose, fumbled at Tora Tora.

Yes, Bush was on the ground over there personally overseeing could we not know this. Phuleeze ;-)

Iraq - billions wasted, 4000 dead, no weapons of mass destruction.

The level of casualties in Iraq is ridiculously low by historical standards and still people whine. I trust most people believe the Civil War was fought for just causes and General Grant in winning that war lost on average 1700 soldiers a DAY in the final year. Both sides combined lost 625,000. There were whole battles in WWII where we lost significantly more than 4000 - Okinawa and Iwo Jima come to mind, so does the Battle of the Bulge and D-Day. Other examples could be noted but this suffices to illustrate my point.

I do not say these things to deprecate those who lost their lives in Iraq but instead to point out the ridiculous lack of historical perspective people today have as well as their overall weakness.
As far as weapons of mass destruction, it is interesting how many people think that was the only reason for the war -the belief by all the major intelligence agencies in the world that Saddam had them notwithstanding.

At any point since 1991 we could have lawfully gone back into Iraq because Hussein never abided by the terms of the ceasefire. And however this was dealt with in that interim, it was becoming evident that something was going to be done about Saddam at some point: that is why President Clinton reoriented the approach towards Iraq to be one of "regime change" in the late 1990's. And after 9/11, it was decided that certain things could not be tolerated anymore and one of them was the situation in Iraq after 1991.

But the media as is their wont never presented the full picture on this matter, focusing only on the WMD subject. As far as whether or not there ever were any -and a variety of sources (including former Iraqi generals) telling us they were moved to Syria in 2002 notwithstanding- it nonetheless was not the sole justifying reason.

I remind you also that even the UN voted on resolution 1441 15-0 but when it came time to vote for the actual use of force (rather than merely another toothless scolding from the UN) there were three nations voting against (Russia, France, and Germany) all of which were found to be receiving kickbacks from Hussein. Or have you forgotten about Oil-For -Food and that whole racket?
If determining the justness or lack thereof depended on a unanimous vote of the UN Security Council (itself a dubious proposition) and the parties voting "nay" did so because they were in Hussein's back pocket, that makes appealing to that UN vote to justify the assertion of "unjust war" a most pathetic and embarrassing stance to be taking.

Tax laws favoring the wealthy

The wealthiest 5% pay roughly 75% of all income taxes. How does this "favour" them?

while borrowing to run a war our children will pay for.

The problem with borrowing money is a problem this is true but is it a problem in principle or simply because the money is being used for something you do not approve of? If you say the latter then you are without principle, if the former than at least there is hope.

Stopping alternative sources of energy with his oil cronies,

And who is going to develop these supposed "alternative sources of energy"? It is not the role of the federal government to do this and even if it was, the federal government's history of incompetence on these kinds of matters gives us a good read of how successful they would be with this one.
The problem with economically ignorant liberals is they are all in favour of taxing the "rich" who often own the sorts of large businesses with the capital to fund research into these matters. (Not to mention business owners in general most of which are small business owners: they are often lumped in with the "rich" also.) Then they complain when alternative sources either are not available or are too expensive for average people when they are.

These things do not just grow on trees but require research, planning, and the risk of capital in speculative enterprises. But continue to whine about "the rich not paying enough" and levying more and more taxes on them so that they do not invest their capital in development in these areas. That is what happens when you have so many economically ignorant people -and a good chunk of the latter tend to vote democratic.

laws disregarded,

Yet I will wager that you have no problem with the idiotic notion of an "evolving constitution" which (if I am correct about this presumption) makes your complaint here have no merit whatsoever.

civil liberties violated.

This is a broadbrush term that you do not bother to explain further; ergo it is worthless until you do.

Firing of DA's for political reasons.

Where you this mad when Clinton fired all 93 federal attorneys upon taking office or is it just with this president firing 8 of them that makes you so mad? Or was Clinton's firing of all the attorneys altrustic and not political in nature?

My stance on what both presidents did is that as chief executives they have complete authority over that department so they can do what they want on it -and I say this despite believing that Clinton's firing of all the attorneys at once was wrong from the standpoint of having no continuity in this area where historically there always had been. But despite that, he was president and had the right to do what he did. That right did not cease when W became president.

Failed immigration policies.

I do not disagree with you on this one but the problems go back prior to this administration.

Disregard for separation of powers.

More useless talking points. Specific examples would be helpful here.

Politicizing the Supreme Court,

Are you nuts? The ones politicizing the Supreme Court are and have been the democrats. The idea that they would ask any justice how they would vote on hypothetical issues and use that as up or down criteria is abominable. But with the democrats, that is why they sandbagged Bork, sought to sandbag Thomas, and the like. Show me where the republicans did this with Clinton's nominees and his nominees are among the worst in history if you care a whit about the actual Constitution and the interpretation thereof as opposed to inventing things out of whole cloth.

alienating all our allies and many other countries in the world.

You realize I presume that a universal negative like "all" can be disproved by one contrary example. And when many of those who are "alienated" were on the take from Hussein, I frankly do not give a damn if they are "alienated" though in the case of France and Germany I am willing in light of the presidencies of Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel to consider the possibility that they have changed courses and are no longer collaborationists.

His financial policies have had a hand leading us into a recession.

What exactly are you referring to here? First of all, there is no definite proof that we are in a recession yet -even if it is looking more and more that we may be. There are certain measurements that all must align for that determination and thus far, they are mixed. Secondly, what exactly has Bush done personally that affects the economy negatively? If you want to claim that he did not wield his veto pen to discipline the Republican congresses of the first six years of his presidency, then that is a viable criticism. (Though the current congress appears to be more money-hungry and wasteful still but at least Bush found his long-lost veto pen to use on them.)

Have I left anything out.

Most of what you list is a bunch of either ignorant gibberish or terms which require further examination to see if the criticisms are even viable ones.

Bush is a disaster.

Bush has not been a great president this is true. He also has been disappointing in a number of areas. Nonetheless, your attempts to "prove" he is a "disaster" are seriously wanting.

Only blindly ignorant conservatives could rally to Dubya.

Considering the degree of ignorance of reality in your comments, I would not be so quick to call other people blindly ignorant if I were you.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Briefly on the Problem With An Emeritus Pope Benedict Statement on "Torture":

[Disclaimer: This is something that was prepped in draft form back on September 9, 2009 but for reasons I cannot recall at the moment was never published. While I do not remember at the moment what the statement made was, the basic criticism made on this subject remains intact and extends to Pope Francis as well. For that reason, I am dusting off this prior blurb from the drafts folder, tweaking it slightly (including revising the title), and publishing it at this time. -SM]

This is a small bit posted in a combox thread a couple weeks some time ago. I will likely may follow it with a more detailed exposition on the problem so noted below at some point in the coming days or weeks.

We are in need of a definition here. Not a definition as in dogma but instead in the meaning of the term and how it is to be applied. I have gone over these matters before and at times at length{1} but that is the bottom line really: definitions are the tools of thought and it bothers me that this pope and his predecessor{2} on some subjects do not bother clarifying their use of words.

As far as whom I am with, I do not make the mistake of confusing the role of the church with that of the state. I am with whomever stands up for the three fundamental rights of man and one of those rights is life and thus survival. And I will not align myself with any pundit, politician, philosopher, pope, president, or anyone else whose positions by logical extension endanger my survival or that of my loved ones. And that is the bottom line really.


{1} On Torture and General Norms of Interpretation--Parts I-III (circa October 13, 2006)

{2} Who were/are not lacking in the intelligence department.

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Friday, May 05, 2017

Perusing archives
Past post drafts considered for
Finishing to post


My latest contribution to the Jaded Politics project courtesy of the Musings From Exile weblog{1} can be read HERE.


{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, May 03, 2017

Miscellaneous Dyspeptic Mutterings on the Budget:

I have seen in more than one place some attempted apologetics by supporters of the Trump Administration for the budget deal that was passed and will be signed by the president. The rationale they use if summarized in a bullet point is as follows:

  • Give them everything so there is no shutdown 

Seriously, the excuses need to end.

The Republicans passed a reconciliation bill in 2015 that Resident Obama vetoed. If they do not serve up that same bill for President Trump to sign, then we know they were engaging in a stunt before because they knew Obama would veto what they sent to his desk. There is no excuse now to not pass the exact same bill gutting Obamacare...unless...they were not serious before. And if that is the case, then why take them seriously now?

It is inexcusable to serve up a budget that could have been proposed by a Pelosi-Schumer-Clinton government and which Trump supporters would gripe about if they had. At some point a stand needs to be taken and with Republican control of government, what's the excuse now?

If capitulating across the board is supposed to show that Republicans can govern, then why bother turning out in 2018 or 2020? Seriously.

What will the excuse be when the GOP fails again to repeal Obamacare this week?

What will be the excuse when tax reform just nibbles the edges and does nothing of substance to really reform the system?

What will the excuse be in September when there is no shutdown and the GOP funds everything once again?

Why should voters in 2018 believe these folks when they make all the same promises again next year after failing to keep 2016's promises in 2017?

Inquiring minds want to know!

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

On Objective Principles and Subjective Circumstances Where Citing Sources Are Concerned...

[Prefatory Note: This was originally published to Facebook on June 12, 2012. -ISM]

This material is taken from a status posted by a friend of mine circa June 10, 2012. Here is said status for the sake of contextualizing what is said below -all names removed to eliminate the possibility of anyone taking this personally as my concern here is the principles involved, not the parties themselves. Without further ado...

‎"In some critical respects abortion is of the same character as the decision to use contraception. For two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail." ---The U.S. Supreme Court, in "Planned Parenthood v Casey" [1992]

And here are the words of my original comment on the thread:

I am presuming that you got that quote from someone and did not get it from the case itself. Because that quote above appears nowhere in the case texts. Here are the actual quotes:

"The Roe rule's limitation on state power could not be repudiated without serious inequity to people who, for two decades of economic and social developments, have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail. The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives. The Constitution serves human values, and while the effect of reliance on Roe cannot be exactly measured, neither can the certain costs of overruling Roe for people who have ordered their thinking and living around that case be dismissed. Pp. 855-856.


It should be recognized, moreover, that in some critical respects, the abortion decision is of the same character as the decision to use contraception, to which Griswold v. Connecticut, Eisenstadt v. Baird, and Carey v. Population Services International afford constitutional protection. We have no doubt as to the correctness of those decisions.

I should add here that the two parts above which were prooftexted for the manufactured quote in this status were from the members of the court that UPHELD Roe vs. Wade in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey!

The above words on my part got the following response on the thread which will be in bolded font. My response to them will be in regular font.

Shawn, the manufactured quote above takes a bit from the second paragraph you cite and the rest from the first. I don't think that is so bad.

I have a serious problem with playing fast and loose with citations.

The court did say both things.

That is an egregious butchering of what the Court said both in terms of ripping the statements from context as well as how they are presented. 

And I am quite sure XXXXXXX is aware that what he cites is from the rationale for upholding Roe v. Wade.

It is quite possible XXXXXXX got the citation from a pro-life website without checking it. I have learned over the years that pro-life websites are roughly as prone to miscite sources as anti-life sources are. That is why I said what I did where XXXXXXX is concerned: I cannot believe he would knowingly cite a quote in the manner above -it is highly unscholarly and blatantly disingenuous. XXXXXXX is from everything I know about him both scholarly as well as ethical. 

He isn't quoting it to approve of it, but rather to lay bare the way these folks think, and what they think is of more value than human life.

And how does this help matters when someone goes back to find the citation and discovers the unscholarly hack job that the above quote represents viz. what the Court actually said? This is not even a case of citing two things in sequence with an ellipse between the different parts -that would be ok. This is reformulating what was said and making it say something that the Court did not say for the sake of political agenda. 

Which is, to be explicit, the right to have sex without having to be prepared to raise children. Which they think is good and we think is bad.

By way of example, what would you say if someone did this with your last comment?:

"Which is, to be explicit, the right to have sex without having to be prepared to raise children. Which we think is good." 

Before you object, you did say all of that yourself in your last comment on the thread prior to mine. Heck, there is not a word in that sentence that you did not say. So by your rationale, you would have no right to take offense at someone misrepresenting your words like that. But you would take offense at it because that is not what you actually said as anyone who checks the comment you made can readily see. How is that any different than the quote above objectively speaking?

Look, I have blistered my adversaries over the years when I have caught them doing such things with sources they cite. For that reason, I cannot in the interest of both ethics and rational consistency turn a blind eye to my allies when they do the very same thing. It is a matter of objective truth insofar as such things are not right or okay when "the good guys" do it and wrong, deplorable or to be condemned when "the bad guys" do it. The subjective nobility of the cause is not the determining factor of the objective rightness or wrongness of the conduct undertaken but instead, said conduct is objectively wrong, period.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Points to Ponder:

It would seem that in the vacuum of our modern lives has morphed what we construe to be mistakes and “failures.” When we are able to live life without the atrocities and sacrifices of war, we somehow feel as though that our comfort should be juxtaposed onto war itself. Yet, Mr. Hanson paints a vivid landscape of what would be these same expectations during World War II. It is quite illuminating to see such a historian critique an era from the perspective of modern eyes and expectations foisting upon the “Greatest Generation” our ideas of mistakes and “failures.” ["Publius" (circa late May 2006)]

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Chelsea Clinton: America Was ‘Too Sexist’ To Elect My Mom

In brief...

The drawer's dullest knife
Desperate for relevance
Poor homely Chelsea

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Points to Ponder:

“I read to experience other places, other people. I write to describe a moment in my ordinary life. Sometimes there are scents, sometimes there are sounds. And I often wonder, is that enough? Maybe not if I wanted to make a living writing. Maybe not if I wanted to write the next great American novel, or publish a short story in the The New Yorker. But to write for my personal blog? Sometimes scent, sound, and a sense of ‘in this moment’ are enough. The poem about cooking an eggplant, that was enough for Natalie Goldberg; Williams’ poem written on a prescription pad, that is enough for me. Details are meaning enough. Being present in a moment is meaning enough. “ [Angela Badgley]


Thursday, April 20, 2017

My latest contribution to the Jaded Politics project courtesy of the Musings From Exile weblog{1} can be read HERE.


{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, April 19, 2017

Points to Ponder:

“A great nation is like a great man:
When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.
Having realized it, he admits it.
Having admitted it, he corrects it.
He considers those who point out his faults
as his most benevolent teachers.
He thinks of his enemy
as the shadow that he himself casts.”
[Lao Tzu]

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Briefly on War Atrocities, History, Selective Outrage, Etc. 

I must admit I am rather surprised at the moralizing outrage positions taken against ISIS{1} by certain sorts who every year or so bemoan the ending of WWII in the Pacific theater while glossing over what occurred at that time and place. I want to note at the present time that this thread is not an invitation to debate the issues surrounding the end of the war in the Pacific Theater -an issue that experience in past years showed was best limited only to the time of year where those events are anniversaried if they are addressed at all.{2} 

Having clarified that, I simply want to remind folks who had forgotten or who did not know that the war crimes committed by Imperial Japan dwarfed anything we have seen so far from ISIS. I point this out not to exonerate ISIS by any stretch mind you{3}, only to point to the amazing double standard folks take when figuratively or in reality{4} it is their ox being gored versus someone else's rather than being rationally and ethically consistent on the matter. But I digress.


{1} Including the claim that they are "monsters" or some other dehumanizing tag being attached to them.

{2} For those who are interested, here is what was published on this weblog on that subject in years past:

Weblog Threads on the Atomic Bomb Subject and Various Factors Involved in Objectively Assessing the Moral and Ethical Ramifications Thereof--A Rerum Novarum Recapitulation Thread (circa August 6, 2009)

I do not plan to say anything new on those matters anytime soon.

{3} I have zero sympathy for them whatsoever to be quite frank about it.

{4} This includes those who play the sob sister card for the purported “innocents” in the days of Imperial Japan but do not do this for the folks connected with ISIS.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

My latest contribution to the Jaded Politics project courtesy of the Musings From Exile weblog{1} can be read HERE.

As there is no shortage of folks across the political spectrum who are drinking various flavours of Kool Aid where the Trump Administration is concerned, it seems appropriate to remind folks of what my standard disclaimer on that subject entails:

I am one of the very few no BS commentators on the actions of the Trump Administration; meaning: you will get no BS from me on what they do. I call fair balls and strikes. I am no administration slappie unlike a lot of folks now who unfortunately were reactionary critics of Obama for eight years. Nor am I a reactionary critic either unlike a lot of folks who are now but were Obama slappies for eight years previously. If you are looking for either (i) uncritical and mindless fanbot worship of the Trump Administration or (ii) constant unrelenting criticism of everything the Trump Administration does, this page is not for you. If however, you are looking for someone who will call a fair strike zone and give credit to President Trump and his Administration where warranted and also criticize them when warranted, then you are at the right place!{2}

This same disclaimer applies to virtually every subject out there. To frame it another way, and since this weblog only recently became active again, for those who do not know or may have forgotten: I call fair balls and strikes on all subjects I write on. I do not believe in spin nor do I believe in being a slappie for any person or cause{3} -even those causes I happen to generally agree with.

And as the weblog archives of Rerum Novarum more than adequately substantiates this claim; ergo, no more needs to be said on that at the present time.


{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)]

{2} Excerpt from the Musings From Exile Article Introduction and Page Disclaimer (circa April 5, 2017)

{3} Though I write from a predominantly conservative point of view politically and socially, I am a longtime Independent voter. I am therefore not wedded to conservatism and when I view it as wrong or lacking on an issue, I will where applicable say so. On moral and ethical matters, my position is within Catholic thought and this also applies to theological matters. However, with Catholic positions that fall outside the realm of doctrine, if I view a given position taken as wrong or lacking, said positions will hardly be blindly accepted by me no matter now predominant they may be.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Points to Ponder:

"A willingness to apologize is part of the willingness to shoulder responsibility, which is an important part of growing up. A mature person is supposed to feel regret when he or she has offended or upset some other person...Someone who rarely apologizes will seem unsympathetic and uninterested in coming to terms with others. He or she will seem overly proud. It may seem to a more dispassionate observer that that person is more insecure than arrogant, and unwilling to admit to a mistake for that reason." [Fredric Neuman M.D.]

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

My latest contribution to the Jaded Politics project courtesy of the Musings From Exile weblog{1} can be read HERE.

It was actually was originally handled in a much shorter blurb to this humble weblog yesterday. After the project editor in a conference asked if anyone wanted this story for Jaded Politics, I figured since I already had a blurb done on it here at Rerum Novarum that I would take it and rework it a bit for that endeavour. The above link encapsulates the essence of yesterday's blurb but goes into greater detail on the subject with pictures and video.


{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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Monday, April 10, 2017

Woman Banned From Uber for Life After Threatening to Falsely Accuse Driver of Rape

This sort of story is a good reason to assert the following: any woman who falsely accuses a man of rape and has him charged should be imprisoned for the equivalent amount of time he would serve if convicted of such a charge.

By the way, the same principle goes for false claims in any other area as well (i.e. domestic violence). No one who engages in false accusations should be allowed to walk away unscathed from their lies. And this same principle should apply to cops who lie, prosecutors who during a trial who withhold evidence, etc. Furthermore, any and all false accusations should be treated as a felony.

Maybe if this kind of hard approach was taken, there would be a deterrent from such stuff.

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More on the Controversial Dubia Subject:

I finished this material some time ago and have been debating with myself as to the best time to post it. I suppose there is no better time than the start of Holy Week, so I have decided to post it today. For those who have not seen the previous note on this subject, I recommend they read it first as it provides both some context as well as material for what is to follow.

To start with, I want to make it clear for any who object to the stance taken in the previous note that its not a requirement of the pope to respond to the four cardinals on their terms and whose “Dubia” is arguably worded in a somewhat disingenuous fashion. The reason I say this is simple: the answers are more complex than simple black and white yes and no answers. To illustrate that point in greater detail, I will touch on each question after posting them in their entirety first. Without further ado, let us get to it!

1. It is asked whether, following the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to admit to holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio, 84, and subsequently reaffirmed by Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34, and Sacramentum Caritatis, 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in Note 351 (305) of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio?

My response to Question #1:

Question #1 as phrased above involves certain presuppositions and drastically over-simplifies the situations of the divorced and remarried.{1} It cannot for those reasons be answered in a one word yes or no format; therefore, to ask for an answer in that form as the four cardinals do comes off to these eyes as rather questionable viz their motives for reasons I specified in the previous note{2}.

2. After the publication of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 79, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?

My response to Question #2: 

Question #2 suffers from the same kind of presuppositional flaws as Question #1 does above. The Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL) acknowledges that objective mortal sin is not always in individual circumstances actual mortal sin. How is that a denial of Veritatis Splendor's teaching on the existence of intrinsically grave sins? Simple, its not. But again, that cannot be explained with a simple yes or no answer and the cardinals who issued this “Dubia” should know this as its a pretty fundamental Catholic moral theology issue.

3. After Amoris Laetitia (301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (Matthew 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, “Declaration,” June 24, 2000)?

My response to Question #3: 

Question #3 is asking if the prohibition against adultery is still in force. Obviously it is. The assumption behind the question from all appearances is that any “objective situation of grave habitual sin” (“Dubia”) must ipso facto involve actual mortal sin. I touched on this in my prior note{3} but again, the attempt with the question to try and force a one word answer is at the very least suspicious.{4}

4. After the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 81, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?

My response to Question #4: 

Question #4 proposes a false dichotomy in the form of an argument which strives to make "circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility” incompatible with a condemnation of acts which are objectively intrinsically evil. This is a false dichotomy disingenuously masquerading as a question. Furthermore, it cannot be answered accurately with a single word yes or no so again, the cardinals who pushed this publicly contrary to the manner in which the Magisterium has said such issues should be handled{5} are for that reason at least deserving of a rebuke. I for one consider Pope Francis’ refusal to even acknowledge them on this to be an adequate rebuke but that is neither here nor there. Onto the final question.

5. After Amoris Laetitia (303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 56, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?

My response to Question #5: 

Question #5 is essentially a form of Neo-Feeneyism as it by logical extension treats every objectively grave act as automatically an actual mortal sin. In that sense, it is more or less a rehashing of Question #4. Like its predecessor question, this question involves presuppositions that fly in the face of Magisterial teaching (pre-Francis), the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC){6}, and Doctors of the Church such as St Alphonsis Ligouri and St Thomas Aquinas. And like the prior questions, it cannot be accurately responded to in a one word answer which again, the drafters of the “Dubia” have to have known. We are not talking about ordinary Catholics in the pew here as for them this might not be so evident. No, these are Cardinals of the Roman Church so what is their excuse for either not knowing this or (if they did) disingenuously pretending they did not in issuing this purported “Dubia” to Pope Francis?

In summary, while I have my own issues with some of what Pope Francis has said and done -and even in some minor ways with this Apostolic Exhortation{7}; nonetheless, the Pope’s choosing to leave these four Cardinals hanging by not responding to their "Dubia" is hardly one of them.


{1} In essence, the divorced and remarried can go to Confession and then receive Communion if they are striving to live chastely but nonetheless fall into sin of a grave nature. And as often as they continue to strive to live chastely and yet fail, as long as their repentance is sincere, God will forgive them in Confession and they can receive Communion. This is why discretion and the aid of a Confessor on these matters is of no small importance and is emphasized a number of times in AL.

{2} "[I]t is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders servite to the truth" (CDF: Instruction Donum Veritatis). By any objective observation, these Cardinals ran afoul of this Joseph Ratzinger penned and John Paul II approved Instruction by taking their issue public as they did.” [Excerpt from the Facebook Note Very Briefly On the Dubia (circa March 13, 2017) as posted to Rerum Novarum (circa April 9, 2017)]

{3} “The bottom line is this: the principle that every objectively grave act or situation is not automatically mortally sinful is not new.”  [Excerpt from the Facebook Note Very Briefly On the Dubia (circa March 13, 2017) as posted to Rerum Novarum (circa April 9, 2017)]

{4} See footnote two.

{5} "[I]t is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders servite to the truth" (CDF: Instruction Donum Veritatis as cited in the Facebook Note Very Briefly On the Dubia as posted to Rerum Novarum (circa April 9, 2017)]

{6} “The circumstances, including the consequences, are secondary elements of a moral act. They contribute to increasing or diminishing the moral goodness or evil of human acts (for example, the amount of a theft). They can also diminish or increase the agent's responsibility (such as acting out of a fear of death). Circumstances of themselves cannot change the moral quality of acts themselves; they can make neither good nor right an action that is in itself evil.” [Excerpt from the Catechism of the Catholic Church Part III, Section I, Chapter I, Article IV The Morality of Human Acts Section 1754 (circa October 11, 1992)]

{7} Sticking only to ecclesial matters here, I do believe that a greater emphasis on repentance and the Sacrament of Reconciliation as well as the importance of regularly receiving it for those who intend to receive Communion at mass would have been a worthwhile inclusion in AL. Also worth including could have been a recommended timeline of reception for folks who intend to continue receiving Communion on at least a weekly basis. (Say once every 3 months at least!) But that’s a subject for another time perhaps.

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