Yet the boycott doesn’t ring true to me. Beyond the obvious involvement of groups like Single Payer Action, an advocacy group that is pushing for a nationalisation of health care period, well beyond President Obama’s call for a government option, there is the insincere morality of those Whole Food shoppers who say they won’t frequent the store in the future.
The reasoning for the boycott is that John Mackey has political opinions that are right-wing, anti-union and obviously against true health care reform. Yet if shopping were all about lining up your own politics with the politics of a company CEO, then I would see many more men with ponytails and goatees cycling their way to Costco to pick up milk and organic, shade-grown, fair trade coffee beans (yes, they do sell them). A number of Costco stores in California and the American northwest are unionised and employees at non-union stores get the same wages and benefits as the unionised shops, including salaries of $40,000 or more, a large sum in retailing. It sounds like the type of employer those boycotting Whole Foods would want.
Costco co-founders Jeffrey Brotman and Jim Sinegal are not only donors to the Democratic Party, but have been linked to left-wing advocacy groups like MoveOn.org and America Coming Together. Yet I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that Costco’s customer base includes a large number of Republicans and very few of the die-hard liberals calling for an end to Whole Foods over the politics of their CEO.
Of course the amazing support that some Republicans have recently shown for Whole Foods strikes me as similarly disingenuous. After all, Whole Foods supposedly supports Planned Parenthood (according to Life Decisions International) and there is no doubt what segment of the political spectrum Whole Foods typically panders to.
Mecatornet finishes up with
This incident is not only another example of the politicisation of food but of the growing partisan divide in America (and other countries); the divide Barack Obama was supposed to heal. How much longer can democracy survive if we cannot even have civil disagreements over how a political question should be solved?
Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.
I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned
through my own fault,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and in what I have failed to do;
and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord, our God.
I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done
and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.
about health care from an executive branch web site I cannot help but wonder why people think it is a good thing that Big Brother Is Advertising.
Furthermore, how is this any different than Bush calling together prominent bloggers to deliver talking points to the masses about Iraq? It's not. A new administration doesn't immediately become unblemished or even credible because they operate in contrast on certain points to a previous untrustworthy administration. This is especially true in the face of what little has actually changed in Washington. Seriously, who is really in control here, the people or the ones we elected?
Sometimes I wish we had a king so we can all be united in praise of his benevolence or united in opposition to his tyranny. As it is, we are divided as to which form of tyranny we prefer.
Since your role in teaching your children the faith is so vital
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Hence, parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it. ... The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, since it is connected with the transmission of human life; it is original and primary with regard to the educational role of others, on account of the uniqueness of the loving relationship between parents and children; and it is irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others. -- Familiaris Consortio
What about this is not a clanging gong as to why CCD -- even good CCD -- fails?
I mean, if the parents are not backing up at home what is being taught in the classroom then THEIR values are what is going to take root in the children. The Church rightly stresses this importance.
So shouldn't the parents thoroughly understand that simply dropping their kids off a few weeks a year is not going to turn them into devout Catholics without role models? Are there any parishes in this country that have come up with creative ways of getting the parents to understand this reality?
The current national debate about health care reform should concern all of us. There is much at stake in this political struggle, and also much confusion and inaccurate information being thrown around. My brother bishops have described some clear “goal-posts” to mark out what is acceptable reform, and what must be rejected. First and most important, the Church will not accept any legislation that mandates coverage, public or private, for abortion, euthanasia, or embryonic stem-cell research. We refuse to be made complicit in these evils, which frankly contradict what “health care” should mean. We refuse to allow our own parish, school, and diocesan health insurance plans to be forced to include these evils. As a corollary of this, we insist equally on adequate protection of individual rights of conscience for patients and health care providers not to be made complicit in these evils. A so-called reform that imposes these evils on us would be far worse than keeping the health care system we now have.
Second, the Catholic Church does not teach that “health care” as such, without distinction, is a natural right. The “natural right” of health care is the divine bounty of food, water, and air without which all of us quickly die. This bounty comes from God directly. None of us own it, and none of us can morally withhold it from others. The remainder of health care is a political, not a natural, right, because it comes from our human efforts, creativity, and compassion. As a political right, health care should be apportioned according to need, not ability to pay or to benefit from the care. We reject the rationing of care. Those who are sickest should get the most care, regardless of age, status, or wealth. But how to do this is not self-evident. The decisions that we must collectively make about how to administer health care therefore fall under “prudential judgment.”
Third, in that category of prudential judgment, the Catholic Church does not teach that government should directly provide health care. Unlike a prudential concern like national defense, for which government monopolization is objectively good – it both limits violence overall and prevents the obvious abuses to which private armies are susceptible – health care should not be subject to federal monopolization. Preserving patient choice (through a flourishing private sector) is the only way to prevent a health care monopoly from denying care arbitrarily, as we learned from HMOs in the recent past. While a government monopoly would not be motivated by profit, it would be motivated by such bureaucratic standards as quotas and defined “best procedures,” which are equally beyond the influence of most citizens. The proper role of the government is to regulate the private sector, in order to foster healthy competition and to curtail abuses. Therefore any legislation that undermines the viability of the private sector is suspect. Private, religious hospitals and nursing homes, in particular, should be protected, because these are the ones most vigorously offering actual health care to the poorest of the poor.
The best way in practice to approach this balance of public and private roles is to spread the risks and costs of health care over the largest number of people. This is the principle underlying Medicaid and Medicare taxes, for example. But this principle assumes that the pool of taxable workers is sufficiently large, compared to those who draw the benefits, to be reasonably inexpensive and just. This assumption is at root a pro-life assumption! Indeed, we were a culture of life when such programs began. Only if we again foster a culture of life can we perpetuate the economic justice of taxing workers to pay health care for the poor. Without a growing population of youth, our growing population of retirees is outstripping our distribution systems. In a culture of death such as we have now, taxation to redistribute costs of medical care becomes both unjust and unsustainable.
Fourth, preventative care is a moral obligation of the individual to God and to his or her family and loved ones, not a right to be demanded from society. The gift of life comes only from God; to spurn that gift by seriously mistreating our own health is morally wrong. The most effective preventative care for most people is essentially free – good diet, moderate exercise, and sufficient sleep. But pre-natal and neo-natal care are examples of preventative care requiring medical expertise, and therefore cost; and this sort of care should be made available to all as far as possible.
Within these limits, the Church has been advocating for decades that health care be made more accessible to all, especially to the poor. Will the current health care reform proposals achieve these goals?
The current House reform bill, HR 3200, does not meet the first or the fourth standard. As Cardinal Justin Rigali has written for the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-life Activities, this bill circumvents the Hyde amendment (which prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for abortions) by drawing funding from new sources not covered by the Hyde amendment, and by creatively manipulating how federal funds covered by the Hyde amendment are accounted. It also provides a “public insurance option” without adequate limits, so that smaller employers especially will have a financial incentive to push all their employees into this public insurance. This will effectively prevent those employees from choosing any private insurance plans. This will saddle the working classes with additional taxes for inefficient and immoral entitlements. The Senate bill, HELP, is better than the House bill, as I understand it. It subsidizes care for the poor, rather than tending to monopolize care. But, it designates the limit of four times federal poverty level for the public insurance option, which still includes more than half of all workers. This would impinge on the vitality of the private sector. It also does not meet the first standard of explicitly excluding mandatory abortion coverage.
I encourage all of you to make you voice heard to our representatives in Congress. Tell them what they need to hear from us: no health care reform is better than the wrong sort of health care reform. Insist that they not permit themselves to be railroaded into the current too-costly and pro-abortion health care proposals. Insist on their support for proposals that respect the life and dignity of every human person, especially the unborn. And above all, pray for them, and for our country. (Please see the website for the Iowa Catholic Conference at www.iowacatholicconference.org and www.usccb.org/healthcare for more information)
Populist Right Rising .... or Obama's problem, part II
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
This plays into my earlier post about Obama's problem. Pat Buchananan points out even further evidence that Americans have all of the sudden become a little more conservative ....
But what are we to make of these "evil-mongers" of Harry Reid's depiction, these "mobs" of "thugs" organized by K Street lobbyists and "right-wing extremists" who engage in "un-American" activity at town hall meetings? Surely, all Americans must detest them.
To the contrary. According to a Pew poll, by 61 percent to 34 percent, Americans think the protesters are behaving properly. Gallup found that by 34 percent to 21 percent Americans identify with them. ... What President Obama is losing is not the far right but the center of the country.
You know the middle he moderated towards during the election. The middle that decides the outcome of midterms and future presidential elections. Or as I said in a comment of an earlier post
Taking an election that was not a landslide as a mandate is a mistake both parties have been prone to. You cannot just seize power and push your agenda. The most effective presidents in recent memory didn't drive the wedge. They worked with what they had and they tried to make small efforts to do the right thing rather than pushing rash legislation through against the concerns of large percentages of the American public (source)
So then, anyone who loves history knows that what is happening today in these two huge countries (FC: India and China), which together constitute almost one third of the world population, has always happened in the past, including in old Europe or in the New World. Up until the coming of Christianity.
One of the ideas that recur most in the writings of the first Christians is in fact their desire to frequently repeat one concept: we Christians are different from the pagans, in part because we do not kill our children, neither within our women's wombs or outside of them.
Which then goes on to produce some choice citations from the early church on the topic of abortion.
Which of course extends to contraception. Culture travels through those who have children. The surest way to win the battle against a world that hates children it to allow God to bless us.
Psalm 127:3 Children too are a gift from the LORD, the fruit of the womb, a reward
since I hammered the gnashing of teeth by Republicans on side show items I figured I would give Democrats their own hammering ....
A short while back Mark Shea linked to a Tom Tomorrow comic lamenting the lack of action on certain promises that Obama ran on. See Can this marriage be saved?
This post prompted me to note a trend in recent weeks. There was much to be said of claims by partisan Republicans that Obama was inexperienced. This health care plan, for all of its possible merit, has driven that point home quite nicely. The problem is that most Americans do not deal in vague generalizations. They want to know details because, unlike congress, they have to balance a budget and keep food on the table. "Change" with vague promises is nice rhetoric. It sounds good and it tingles the soul. Details, however, are boring. How to pay for things and how to implement them within the legal system we have in the country are of paramount consideration when making campaign promises. From recent appearances Obama simply didn't do that. So what I want to point out is that people are starting to feel snookered.
Obama's aggressive endorsement of a healthcare plan that does not even exist yet, except in five competing, fluctuating drafts, makes Washington seem like Cloud Cuckoo Land. The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities.
The greatest peril for Obama, I think, lies in the question of whether he can produce the new, post-partisan, surmounting-special-interests politics that he envisioned during the campaign. In a month of raucous town hall meetings and stalled legislation, that hardly seems likely. The secret deal with Tauzin can only deepen the skepticism. Which leads to the core question facing the still-young administration: What happens when people start to wonder whether they can really believe in this change?
An important factor is undoubtedly the extraordinary influence of special interests at several points in the political system."Interests" - in this case health insurance, pharmaceuticals and private hospitals on one side, and trial lawyers and trade unionson the other - are able to exert three kinds of pressure (see JoeKlein, "Will Special Interests Stymie Health-Care Reform?", Time, 3 August 2009).
First, they target politicians directly with massive campaigns of televised political advertising of a kind that would not be permitted by law (on account that it skews public debate) in most other developed countries.
Second, they lean on politicians by contributing large sums to their re-election campaigns, or to those of their opponents. The fact that elections for the House of Representatives are held every two years increases the temptation and vulnerability of congressmen.
Third, the interests can support a vast network of advocacy-groups, foundations, lobbies and public-relations operations which all strive to frame the debate. This includes the often explicit aim of influencing media reporting. The success here is most blatant in the resulting distortion of Americans' perception of how healthcare works in other countries (for example, the canard that people in Britain or Canada are notallowed to choose their own doctor).
How is Obama going to change the culture in Washington when it is so clear that this health care plan intends very much to work within ideological support for certain special interest groups? This is what happens when you make a promise and leave the details to a very unpopular and highly partisan congress. You pick your lobbies when you vote for Washington politicians and you are not necessarily going to like either set. So much for change eh?
We are at each others throats slinging only carefully packaged bombs of partisan talking points delivered to us by whatever party we hold dear at any particular point in time (this was the reason for Obama wanting supporters to "turn-in" their friend's arguments). Never-mind that the Democrats have a good point on X and the Republicans have a good point on Y. We may never know what a good health care system is like because special interests are determined to screw up whatever the Democrats pass by controlling the debate and focusing it on short rhetoric and not basing it on facts, logic and legitimate REASONED and ad-hominem free discussion.
Giving a real statistic to what many of us have known for a long time
“We’ve heard anecdotally that the youngest people coming to religious life are distinctive, and they really are,” said Sister Mary Bendyna, executive director of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. “They’re more attracted to a traditional style of religious life, where there is community living, common prayer, having Mass together, praying the Liturgy of the Hours together. They are much more likely to say fidelity to the church is important to them. And they really are looking for communities where members wear habits.”
I am not exactly a visionary but I have seen how industries collapse. Anyone who followed the glory days of the CD to the MP3, then to Napster and the legal wrangling surrounding that has got to see the writing on the wall for television as we know it.
I own a Blu-Ray player. I bought it for watching movies I BUY. But it came with a bunch of features I didn't expect. My player lets me watch YouTube. It also lets me watch CinemaNow and Netflix movies. Right now I pay a small fee and I can watch some *enh* stuff on Netflix. I can send in discs and get better stuff. I am OK with this ....
With Cinemanow apparently I can get lots of the normal TV fare you see on network/cable for $2 a show (or less). I can also get better movies for essentially rental cost. For a low volume TV guy like me, that is perfectly fine.
Movies Many cable series
All I need is local news, sports and weather. My point here is this. I can ALMOST piece together the things I want to watch. If I add in local over the air digital TV I can. I can do this for the cost of Netflix plus the cost of each show and I come out under $30 per month. Given that I could be paying $50/month for cable/satellite and I am asking myself how in the world these folks are going to stay in business once the channels themselves realize they can skip the middleman and come directly at high quality to me on a per show basis or at a lower quality and ad supported through YouTube.
I give television as we know it ten years before MOST of us have moved on.
The inverse relationship between a party in control and sanity
Thursday, August 6, 2009
or I am part of the conspiracy - Part II / keeping Obama Derangement Syndrome at bay
In the United States I think there is an inverse relationship between being in power and maintaining some level of dignity when it comes to sanity.
For example, when Clinton was in office a list of people he had knocked off surfaced Results 1 - 10 of about 6,770,000 for clinton deaths
When Bush was in office, claims arose that he orchestrated 9/11 Results 1 - 10 of about 7,280,000 for bush 911
With Obama in office we have the "birthers" and the collecting information about opponents via email amongst other absuridites ... Results 1 - 10 of about 41,700,000 for obama birth Results 1 - 10 of about 2,310,000 for obama disinformation turn in
Ann Coulter has fun at the expense of Democrats on these theories and rightly points out that challenges to Obama's birth started with Democrats running against him the primaries.
Just because it seems useful doesn't mean it should escape scrutiny. Don't take the bait. These things are the freak show on the side. They ignore issues and waste time in understanding what our differences are and in trying to enumerate what changes we as Americans would really like to see, for example, with health care reform. Worse, they serve to discredit you as a critical thinker whether it is justified or not.
Finally I want to offer a very brief comment on the "turning in your friends" to the Obama administration via email forwarding. Emails are notoriously unreliable. It is why your spam box is filled with people you know sending you things you could care less about. Its also why spammers can continue to get away with it. If Obama is using forwarded emails to keep track of his enemies then you can safely assume his biggest threat is as a great incompetent.
1. Emails cannot be traced back to IP addresses. 2. They can be spoofed with very little difficulty. 3. Some smart but misguided hacker is likely already out there filling this box with disinformation "forwards" from known Obama supporters.
In other words, they would never be able to sort this out for useful information to keep tabs on the simple folk who happen to disagree with Obama. So you can breathe a sign of relief. Seriously ... you can.
I want to propose a sane solution. Obama wants to know the arguments against his plan so he can try to debunk them.
Stupid is a strong term but in general I am not a fan of conspiracy theories because its like getting struck by lightning 1000 times in 10 seconds liklihood that the absolute five cleverest criminals can pull this off ... much less the numbers of people usually involved in any given theory. So in that sense, I have exactly the same take as Mark Shea on conspiracy theories. He just covered it all here. :) FWIW, I will delete your conspiracy theories too but I *AM* part of the conspiracy.
Read Rerum Novarum - I have questions for the gallery
Saturday, July 4, 2009
I recently read Rerum Novarum. From that I have a few questions that I would like some input on.
The Church condemns, in capitalism, an agreement between employer and worker where the employee takes a job because that is all the employer, who is in an advantaged position, will offer. It supports what is now called a living wage.
Let the working man and the employer make free agreements, and in particular let them agree freely as to the wages; nevertheless, there underlies a dictate of natural justice more imperious and ancient than any bargain between man and man, namely, that wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner. If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accept harder conditions because an employer or contractor will afford him no better, he is made the victim of force and injustice.
So my question is "Who deserves a living wage"? What about teenagers who are supported primarily by their parents? Are minimum wage jobs supposed to be for those in our society who are living as dependents of someone else? If so, isn't it unjust for someone who has a family to support to be working under those conditions?
Second the encyclical implies condemnation of a problem that exists in America today. It is what Chesterton quipped succinctly: "Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists." This is implied by the right to property for as many as possible. As my wife and I have been looking at large tracts of land recently it has become very obvious to me that small farms are going by the wayside in favor of large farms owned by the few. It is very difficult for the average Joe to obtain and pass on "productive property". This is a problem.
The Church also condemns multiple propositions of socialism. First, the usurpation of the family unit by the state.
The contention, then, that the civil government should at its option intrude into and exercise intimate control over the family and the household is a great and pernicious error.
Second, is the concept of "community of goods".
Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal.
Third is class warfare.
The great mistake made in regard to the matter now under consideration is to take up with the notion that class is naturally hostile to class, and that the wealthy and the working men are intended by nature to live in mutual conflict. So irrational and so false is this view that the direct contrary is the truth. Just as the symmetry of the human frame is the result of the suitable arrangement of the different parts of the body, so in a State is it ordained by nature that these two classes should dwell in harmony and agreement, so as to maintain the balance of the body politic. Each needs the other: capital cannot do without labor, nor labor without capital.
Finally the encyclical STRONGLY supports the concept of private property.
The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property.
Now I turn my questions to the current administration and the charge that they are ushering in socialism. What aspects of socialism condemned here are supported by the Obama administration?
Mark Shea skewers dogmatic 'Movement Conservatism'
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Mark Shea is my favorite blogger and posts like this are a reason why. As a former follower of the magisterium of Republican dogma it has come of great comfort to me that I can with glee skewer the inconsistency of American politics in favor of trying to find out just how my faith is supposed to inform my politics. One of these elections I suspect I am going to cast a vote for someone I know is going to lose by 40% percentage points because the major party choices are that bad.
Christians need to return to proclaiming the Faith, not to using it as a convenience for the building up of their favorite party. The same, of course, is true of liberals who routinely do the Kerry/Pelosi thing of wearing the ashes, citing Augustine in favor of their abortion politics, or prattling on ignorantly about Pius XXIII and "the Vatican II". But one doesn't expect jackasses to speak to Baalam. One expects self-described "committed orthodox Christians" to have some clue about what "seek first the Kingdom" means. Catholic Christians who claim to be pro-life while heaping contempt on inconvenient Church teaching about war crimes and torture or who use abortion as a sort of lead-in to their *real* agenda of a fight over tax laws or squabbles about the bailout should heed the warning of our Lord that those to whom much is given, much will be required. It's fine to have strong views about all these secular and temporal issues. But turning the Faith into a mere feeder system to steer people into being good little Movement Conservatives is just another kind of idolatry--and arguably a more culpable sin.
And that goes hard for party politics of any stripe. I could care less if Republicans regain power. I am not all that convinced they will return an improvement on my "values voter" investment.
This is a "fresh" blogroll. It tends to list blogs most frequently updated at the top. It will also drop blogs not updated for a few days. Never fear though, if you post, it will show back up. If you are interested in how I did it see this post.