Monday, August 31, 2009

Digest of Today's Posts (31 August 2009)

  • Brooksback Mountain

  • Obama's Health Rationer-in-Chief: Hippocratic Oath Responsible for "Too Much" Medical Care

  • American Catholic: "Eschaton Si, Immanent No!"

  • The Catholic Report Has Been Retired

  • (Digest of Weekend's Posts (30 August 2009))


    Brooksback Mountain

    The New Republic on "conservative" David Brooks' love affair with President Obama:
    ... That first encounter is still vivid in Brooks’s mind. “I remember distinctly an image of--we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant,” Brooks says, “and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.” In the fall of 2006, two days after Obama’s The Audacity of Hope hit bookstores, Brooks published a glowing Times column. The headline was “Run, Barack, Run.” ...

    “I divide people into people who talk like us and who don’t talk like us,” he explains. “Of recent presidents, Clinton could sort of talk like us, but Obama is definitely–you could see him as a New Republic writer. He can do the jurisprudence, he can do the political philosophy, and he can do the politics. I think he’s more talented than anyone in my lifetime. I mean, he is pretty dazzling when he walks into a room. So, that’s why it’s important he doesn’t f*ck this up.”

    Brooks’s sympathetic columns help to validate the key myth of this White House: that it is fundamentally post-partisan. Plus, Brooks appeals to a major Obama constituency: the latte-sipping Baby Boomers who were the subject of his 2000 best-seller Bobos in Paradise. These were among Obama’s strongest supporters in the last election, but their loyalty could be tested by spiraling deficits, botched health care reform, or a flagging economy.

    As much as any columnist, Brooks speaks to these left-of-center suburbanites. After all, he is known for attracting liberal readers who normally can’t stand conservative pundits. “I get a lot of people who say, ‘I’m a liberal and you’re the only one I read,’” Brooks says. “Sometimes, it can be a little condescending. … But you take the readers where you can get them. I do wish more people walked up to me and said, ‘I’m a conservative and I love you.‘ But, mostly, they don’t read the Times.”

    [More (if you can hold your lunch)]
    My Comments:
    "I wish I knew how to ..."

    ... come up with headlines like "Brooksback Mountain" on my own. Unfortunately for me, credit for that one has to go to a commenter at HotAir.

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    Obama's Health Rationer-in-Chief: Hippocratic Oath Responsible for "Too Much" Medical Care

    "Death Panels", anyone?
    Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, health adviser to President Barack Obama, is under scrutiny. As a bioethicist, he has written extensively about who should get medical care, who should decide, and whose life is worth saving. Dr. Emanuel is part of a school of thought that redefines a physician’s duty, insisting that it includes working for the greater good of society instead of focusing only on a patient’s needs. Many physicians find that view dangerous, and most Americans are likely to agree.

    True reform, he argues, must include redefining doctors' ethical obligations. In the June 18, 2008, issue of JAMA, Dr. Emanuel blames the Hippocratic Oath for the "overuse" of medical care
    [ED.: Why should the Hippocratic Oath be an impediment to ObamaCare? It's not like it's an impediment to euthanasia and abortion, despite its clear language: "I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion."]: "Medical school education and post graduate education emphasize thoroughness," he writes. "This culture is further reinforced by a unique understanding of professional obligations, specifically the Hippocratic Oath's admonition to 'use my power to help the sick to the best of my ability and judgment' as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of cost or effect on others."

    In numerous writings, Dr. Emanuel chastises physicians for thinking only about their own patient's needs. He describes it as an intractable problem: "Patients were to receive whatever services they needed, regardless of its cost. Reasoning based on cost has been strenuously resisted; it violated the Hippocratic Oath, was associated with rationing, and derided as putting a price on life. . . . Indeed, many physicians were willing to lie to get patients what they needed from insurance companies that were trying to hold down costs." (JAMA, May 16, 2007).

    Of course, patients hope their doctors will have that single-minded devotion. But Dr. Emanuel believes doctors should serve two masters, the patient and society, and that medical students should be trained "to provide socially sustainable, cost-effective care." One sign of progress he sees: "the progression in end-of-life care mentality from 'do everything' to more palliative care shows that change in physician norms and practices is possible." (JAMA, June 18, 2008).

    "You can't avoid these questions," Dr. Emanuel said in an Aug. 16 Washington Post interview. "We had a big controversy in the United States when there was a limited number of dialysis machines. In Seattle, they appointed what they called a 'God committee'
    [ED.: Would that be anything like a "death panel"?] to choose who should get it [ED.: And, necessarily, who doesn't get it. Sure sounds like a death panel to me.], and that committee was eventually abandoned. Society ended up paying the whole bill for dialysis instead of having people make those decisions."

    Dr. Emanuel argues that to make such decisions, the focus cannot be only on the worth of the individual. [ED.: And, thus, ObamaCare as envisioned by Dr. Emanuel violates Catholic teaching.] He proposes adding the communitarian perspective to ensure that medical resources will be allocated in a way that keeps society going: "Substantively, it suggests services that promote the continuation of the polity—those that ensure healthy future generations [ED.: That sure sounds a lot like eugenics.], ensure development of practical reasoning skills, and ensure full and active participation by citizens in public deliberations [ED.: Sounds like they only want only the "best and brightest" in their new utopia; so let's go ahead and call it eugenics. And, besides, if liberal do "full and active participation in public deliberations" the same way they do "full and active participation in the Mass", count me as one even more opposed to ObamaCare.] — are to be socially guaranteed as basic. Covering services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic, and should not be guaranteed. [ED.: Yep. Eugenics.] An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia." (Hastings Center Report, November-December, 1996) [ED.: Hmmm. Might the same reasoning be applied to those with less severe mental limitations? Those with developmental disabilities ... say ... a child with Downs, for example, who might not, therefore, be "full and active participants" in public deliberations? Which was the exact point Gov. Palin was making.]
    (emphasis and editorial commentary added)

    My Comments:
    There's no 2 ways about it: Sarah Palin was 100% correct, and the words of Obama's own health care advisor prove it.

    And how about the concept of one's doctor having dual loyalties to the patient and the state? Recall Mark Steyn's comments in support of Sarah Palin's "death panel" description:
    ... But I'm also with Mrs. Palin on the substance. NR's editorial defines "death panel" too narrowly. What matters is the concept of a government "panel." Right now, if I want a hip replacement, it's between me and my doctor; the government does not have a seat at the table. The minute it does, my hip's needs are subordinate to national hip policy, which in turn is subordinate to macro budgetary considerations.

    You're accepting that the state has jurisdiction over your hip, and your knee, and your prostate and everything else. And once you accept that proposition the fellows who get to make the "ruling" are, ultimately, a death panel. Usually, they call it something nicer — literally, like Britain's National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).

    After my weekend column recounted the experience of a recent British visitor of mine, I received an e-mail from a gentleman in Glasgow who cannot get an x-ray for his back — because he has no sovereignty over his back. His back is merely part of the overall mass of Scottish backs, to which a government budget has been allocated, but alas one which does not run to x-rays.

    Government "panels" making "rulings" over your body: Acceptance of that concept is what counts.
    (emphasis added)

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Andy McCarthy and Mark Stein Slap the Handwringing Girly Boys in Charge Over at National Review: Palin Was Right On the "Death Panels" [UPDATED]

    Sarah Palin Right About Obama "Death Panels"

    Health-Care Rationing Violates Catholic Teaching

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    American Catholic: "Eschaton Si, Immanent No!"

    At The American Catholic, my friend Chris Blosser has a meticulously researched and excellently compiled post on "immanentizing the eschaton".

    Don't be daunted by the subject matter. There's some really good stuff there.

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    The Catholic Report Has Been Retired

    Dave Hartline has announced that the 4-year run of The Catholic Report has come to an end.

    Dave and his wife have just received a new arrival named Thomas Patrick - a much more important time commitment that cuts into the hours and hours of research necessary to put together a daily Catholic news report. However, Dave will still be doing some periodic blogging at The American Catholic and Per Christum, and will continue to write columns for The Catholic Times and occasional articles for Rome's Zenit News,

    Best wishes to Dave and his growing family. He and The Catholic Report will definitely be missed.

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    Sunday, August 30, 2009

    Digest of Weekend's Posts (30 August 2009)

    Sunday, 30 August
  • A Political Realignment Among Catholics?

  • Modern-Day Richard Rich Glosses Over Abortion in Eulogizing Sen. Kennedy and Sucking Up to Pres. Obama

  • Canon Lawyer on Kennedy Funeral: "It Could've Been Worse ... I Suppose" [UPDATED]

  • No Plea for Forgiveness, Only Grandstanding, in Pro-Abort Catholic's Letter to the Pope

  • (Digest of Friday's Posts (28 August 2009))


    A Political Realignment Among Catholics?

    Deal Hudson writes at InsideCatholic:
    Daniel McCarthy at the American Conservative web site makes some insightful comments about the political impact of Ted Kennedy's death on the Catholic alignment with the Democratic Party. Citing the loyalty many Catholic voters felt toward the Kennedy family, McCarthy thinks it might enable more Catholics to move toward the GOP.

    McCarthy adds that Republicans have a "better chance of cultivating the next high-profile political Catholic." Well, yes and no.

    Yes, because McCarthy notes most of the GOP Catholics stand in good stead with the Church. But, no, because most GOP leadership is clueless as to how and why such cultivation would be advantageous. Democrats work hard at building those relationships with the Church -- Republicans do it in fits and starts, mostly fits.

    There are a number of promising, new Catholic faces in the Congress. As McCarthy says, if the GOP "can get its act together," their potential for national leadership among Catholic voters will be tapped.

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    Modern-Day Richard Rich Glosses Over Abortion in Eulogizing Sen. Kennedy and Sucking Up to Pres. Obama

    Red Cardigan fisks Doug Kmiec's latest boot-licking of his new pro-abort overlords so that I don't have to.

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    Canon Lawyer on Kennedy Funeral: "It Could've Been Worse ... I Suppose" [UPDATED]

    Ed Peters offers his take.

    The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts had this to say:
    The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts today decried the scandal which occurred this morning at Boston's most historic Catholic shrine --- the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, known as Mission Church --- where a Mass of Christian Burial was used to “celebrate the life” of one of America's most notorious opponents of Catholic morality, the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Senator Kennedy fought for more than three decades to keep the killing of pre-born children legal and unrestricted in the United States.

    President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy, in which he alluded to Kennedy's support for gay rights. One of the Prayers of the Faithful was a petition to end divisions “between gays and straights”.

    Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle stated: “Senator Kennedy supported legal abortion, partial-birth abortion, the public funding of Medicaid abortions, embryonic stem cell research, birth control, federal family planning programs, and so-called emergency contraception. He defended Roe v. Wade, endorsed the proposed Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), and opposed both the Human Life Amendment and the Hyde Amendment. Kennedy maintained a 100% rating from both NARAL and Planned Parenthood. In 1993, he received the Kenneth Edelin Award from Planned Parenthood, and in 2000 received the Champions of Choice Award from NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts at the hands of the same Dr. Kenneth Edelin, the infamous abortionist.

    "During his 1994 reelection campaign, Kennedy said ‘I wear as a badge of honor my opposition to the anti-choicers.’ His successful obstruction of the nomination of Judge Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987 effectively prevented the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Beyond his specific positions on human life issues, Senator Kennedy, along with the late Congressman Robert Drinan, provided the cover and the example for two generations of Catholic politicians to defect from Church teaching on the sanctity of innocent human life.

    "No rational person can reasonably be expected to take seriously Catholic opposition to abortion when a champion of the Culture of Death, who repeatedly betrayed the Faith of his baptism, is lauded and extolled by priests and prelates in a Marian basilica. This morning's spectacle is evidence of the corruption which pervades the Catholic Church in the United States. The right to life will never be recognized by secular society if it is not first vindicated and consistently upheld within the institutions of the Church itself."
    (Hat tip: The Curt Jester)

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    No Plea for Forgiveness, Only Grandstanding, in Pro-Abort Catholic's Letter to the Pope

    Chris Blosser has the details at The American Catholic.

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    Friday, August 28, 2009

    Digest of Today's Posts (28 August 2009)

  • Was Kennedy “More Right Than Wrong”?

  • Catholic Dads Has Moved

  • Perhaps I'm a "Boor" for Pointing This Out, But This Makes Bush's Disgusting "Joke" at the Expense of Karla Faye Tucker Seem Tame by Comparison

  • (Digest of Yesterday's Posts (27 August 2009))


    Was Kennedy “More Right Than Wrong”?

    Read Darwin's excellent post at The American Catholic: Was Kennedy “More Right Than Wrong”?
    ... Honestly, what does it mean to say that Kennedy “got many more things right than he got wrong”? I cannot tell that it means anything other than, “Kennedy is one of my political tribe, and so I find it easy to forgive his faults.” What, surely Winters does not propose something so trivializing as a weighted check list: “Kennedy was in favor of expanding welfare, and we’ll weight that at an 8. He was in favor of increased immigration, and we’ll give that a 10. Unfortunately, he was in favor of abortion, we’ll weight that at a 4. So far a +14 total, what next?”

    Political and moral issues are not trading cards with varying numbers of hit points which can be stacked, compared and rated. Some certainly are more grave than others (and indeed, I think that any reasonable analysis would find Kennedy to have generally been on the wrong side of the most important moral issues with the most far-reaching effects) but really I can see little point in counting and weighing issues. At best, which issues a Catholic politician seems to be in union with the Church’s thinking on, and on which he chooses to defy Church teaching, is doubtless indicative of his worldview.

    From a Catholic perspective on the public square, the concerning thing about Winters’ assertion is that it is based on a highly tribal and dualistic approach to politics. According to this, Kennedy is lauded for his positions on topics ranging from education and minimum wage to immigration and health care, because the author believes that the progressive policies supported by Kennedy are likely to contribute positively to the common good — and because support for these policies marks Kennedy as belonging to the “good guys”. However, Kennedy’s often forceful opposition to Church teaching on topics such as abortion, cloning, embryonic stem cell research and gay marriage is considered “minor” or “incidental to his record”, primarily because opposition to Church teaching on these topics is considered an acceptable (and indeed, expected) failing within the tribe of progressive politics. Since actually following the Church on issues such as abortion, marriage and euthenasia is generally seen as an attribute of the “bad guys” by the progressive political tribe, even those members of the tribe who consider themselves in tune with the Church on these issues (which on abortion, I believe Winters does) are urged by the sense of political tribalism to see dissent from the Church on those issues as emminently forgivable...

    [Read the whole thing]
    (emphasis added)

    UPDATE (2 September)
    John Henry follows up on Darwin's post with "Which Comes First, the Church or the Party?":
    ... Notice, Mr. Winters, has already said he thinks Senator Kennedy was wrong about abortion. But he then finds it necessary to uncharitably caricature those he agrees with as ‘ranting’ in order to defend Senator Kennedy’s legacy. And again, he suggests that remedying their (alleged) ignorance would somehow help the pro-life movement, and mitigate the criticisms of Senator Kennedy’s record on abortion. This is all very puzzling. Mr. Winters has asserted that 1) Senator Kennedy was wrong; 2) That those who criticize Senator Kennedy for being wrong are wrong to do so; and 3) That they would not criticize Senator Kennedy if they were better informed about why Senator Kennedy was wrong, but that exculpatory reason (known to Mr. Winters) is not shared with the reader. It seems clear that something else is going on here, and I think Mr. Winters’ conclusion makes clear what it is:
    Besides, Ted Kennedy got many more things right than he got wrong.
    Translation: Ted Kennedy was a Democrat. And Democrats, in Mr. Winters judgment, are more right than wrong. Therefore, to criticize them when they are wrong, is to invite dismissive remarks about ignorance and ‘ranting’ pro-life leaders.

    ...I think this passage highlights one of the chief problems with the Catholic Church in the United States: in the political realm, we sometimes present the Gospel as partisans of a particular party first, and Catholics second. It begins innocently enough: we decide one party is more in line with the Church’s vision of the human person. Then we begin to defend the party on those grounds, and on some other issues where there is room for prudential judgment. And then, as we support the party for a longer period of time – and it captures more of our sympathies – occasionally we find ourselves defending our favorite politicians and parties against the Church’s position.
    (emphasis in original)

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Fr. Z Defends Well-Known Catholic Apologist Patrick Madrid ... [UPDATED]

    What Might Have Been ... [UPDATED]

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    Catholic Dads Has Moved

    I have been remiss in only now directing readers of this blog to the new location of the Catholic Dads blog. Check out the fantastic new digs.

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    Perhaps I'm a "Boor" for Pointing This Out, But This Makes Bush's Disgusting "Joke" at the Expense of Karla Faye Tucker Seem Tame by Comparison

    Details here and here.

    And, just so you know, this story is not something manufactured by a detractor bent on speaking ill of the dead, but was related by a FRIEND of the late Senator - former editor of Newsweek and New York Times Magazine and author of the book Ted Kennedy: The Dream That Never Died, Ed Klein.


    UPDATE #2
    What's not to laugh at? The horrifying details.

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    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    Digest of Today's Posts (27 August 2009)

  • Fr. Z Defends Well-Known Catholic Apologist Patrick Madrid ... [UPDATED]

  • Howard Dean Admits: No Tort Reform Because Dems Don't Want to Alienate Trial Lawyers in Addition to Everyone Else ObamaCare Alienates

  • Speaking of Propaganda ...

  • National Endowment for the Arts Recruiting Artists to Create Propaganda on Behalf of Obama Administration? [UPDATED]

  • What Might Have Been ... [UPDATED]

  • (Digest of Yesterday's Posts (26 August 2009))


    Fr. Z Defends Well-Known Catholic Apologist Patrick Madrid ... [UPDATED]

    ... from an unhinged diatribe at America Magazine by someone named Michael Sean Winters.

    UPDATE (28 August)
    Don McClarey has more at The American Catholic: Ted Kennedy and the “A Word”.

    Be sure to read the comments, which ought to get interesting. My contribution, in response to this and this, is here:
    Yes, if I recall correctly, on the day of his death, Mr. Buckley – who by any objective measure was arguably the equal in stature on the American right as Sen. Kennedy was on the American left – was deemed to be “not a great man” and “just another cafeteria Catholic who simply refused to put the Church ahead of his secular ideological leanings”.

    And what, praytell, was the reason Mr. Buckley was dressed down, while his body was still warm, as not great and insufficiently Catholic? Because he allegedly coined a phrase that he never actually coined (”Mater si, magister no”) as a cover story that was never actually a cover story, and was a proponent of free markets. For that, on the day of his death, Mr. Buckley was held up as an example of a “cafeteria Catholic” unworthy of being honored.

    Meanwhile, we are told that we are “boors” if we don’t gloss over Sen. Kennedy’s despicable record as one of the most vocal advocates for unrestricted abortion on Capitol Hill, who used his position on the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose any effort at resticting abortion via legislative means (yes, even the PBA ban) and to oppose (even resorting to slander and innuendo) any federal judge who might even think about overturning Roe v. Wade. And that’s not even covering his record on issues such as ESCR, same-sex “marriage”, etc.

    No, we simply MUST NOT consider Sen. Kennedy to be, like Mr. Buckley, “just another cafeteria Catholic who simply refused to put the Church ahead of his secular ideological leanings”; rather, we are to agree with Sr. Fiedler that Sen. Kennedy was the very model of a modern Catholic in the public square (despite the clear problems Sen. Kennedy’s stance on abortion – a lead that was soon followed by a great many other Catholic politicans – has caused the Bishops), lest we be deemed “callous”, “inhumane”, and “indecent” by some blogger at America with his own partisan axe to grind.

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    Howard Dean Admits: No Tort Reform Because Dems Don't Want to Alienate Trial Lawyers in Addition to Everyone Else ObamaCare Alienates

    “Here is why tort reform is not in the bill. When you go to pass a really enormous bill like that the more stuff you put in, the more enemies you make, right? And the reason why tort reform is not in the bill is because the people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers in addition to everybody else they were taking on, and that is the plain and simple truth."

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    Speaking of Propaganda ...

    "... It indicts Mapes and by extension Rather (who apparently couldn’t be bothered to check on the documents or story on his own) in a plot to deliberately conduct a character assassination from a broadcast booth, in an explicit attempt to manipulate an election. It should be the final nail in the coffins of their credibility, and it will be interesting to see if anyone other than Goldberg reports it."

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    National Endowment for the Arts Recruiting Artists to Create Propaganda on Behalf of Obama Administration? [UPDATED]

    Big Hollywood reports:
    ... I was invited by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to take part in a conference call that invited a group of rising artist and art community luminaries “to help lay a new foundation for growth, focusing on core areas of the recovery agenda - health care, energy and environment, safety and security, education, community renewal.”

    Backed by the full weight of President Barack Obama’s call to service and the institutional weight of the NEA, the conference call was billed as an opportunity for those in the art community to inspire service in four key categories, and at the top of the list were “health care” and “energy and environment.” The service was to be attached to the President’s United We Serve campaign, a nationwide federal initiative to make service a way of life for all Americans.

    It sounded, how should I phrase it…unusual, that the NEA would invite the art community to a meeting to discuss issues currently under vehement national debate. I decided to call in, and what I heard concerned me.

    Discussed throughout the conference call was a hope that this group would be one that would carry on past the United We Serve campaign to support the President’s initiatives and those issues for which the group was passionate. The making of a machine appeared to be in its infancy, initiated by the NEA, to corral artists to address specific issues. This function was not the original intention for creating the National Endowment for the Arts.

    A machine that the NEA helped to create could potentially be wielded by the state to push policy. Through providing guidelines to the art community on what topics to discuss and providing them a step-by-step instruction to apply their art form to these issues, the “nation’s largest annual funder of the arts” is attempting to direct imagery, songs, films, and literature that could create the illusion of a national consensus. This is what Noam Chomsky calls “manufacturing consent.”

    Your tax dollars at work ... building a propaganda machine for Obama. The GOP will probably soon come to regret that they didn't kill the NEA - as they promised they would do back in 1994 in the Contract With America - when they had the chance.

    Here's the horrified reaction of a former deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities:
    ... Basically, the Obama appointees were trying to enlist the arts community as an army to promote the administration’s domestic agenda, starting with the health-care wars. They’d been “selected for a reason,” the arts types were told: in part, because they know how to “make a stink.” Perhaps these are the folks Obama hopes will defend his health-care plan from the attacks regular Americans have been launching against it at town halls. You sort of have to shake off how pathetic this is in order to see how appalling it is.

    ... the horrible lack of ethics: in implying in any way to potential applicants for taxpayer-funded grants that they must promote the president’s agenda ...

    What these appointees have done is over the top. During my tenure as deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities — the NEA’s sister agency — during the George W. Bush administration, any action resembling this call would have triggered immediate dismissal. But saying things like the following was simply unfathomable: “This is just the beginning. This is the first telephone call of a brand new conversation. We are just now learning how to really bring this community together to speak with the government. What that looks like legally? . . . Bear with us as we learn the language so that we can speak to each other safely . . .” Yet this is precisely what an Obama NEA appointee told the arts leaders on this call.

    Courrielche asks: “Is the hair on your arms standing up yet?” Mine’s up.
    (emphasis added)

    This reaction is muted compared to the indignant outrage and hysteria that such an effort by the Bush Aministration ... say, in favor of the War on Terror ... would have (rightly) engendered among not only those on the left and their media sycophants, but a significant number of conservatives and libertarians as well.

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    What Might Have Been ... [UPDATED]

    My opinion of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy is well known to anyone who has read this blog for a number of years.

    But I do feel very sad at the man's passing. Not for who and what he was, but for who and what he might have been. Ted Kennedy was the only man in the Senate who could have assured that history turned out differently with regard to abortion. Just imagine if he had followed the example of his sister Eunice and, in addition to being a tireless defender of the poor, the elderly, the disabled, and the downtrodden, he had also remained true to his previously held pro-life stance and been a tireless defender of the least of the least of these - the unborn.

    He is the only person who could have single-handedly stopped in its tracks the Democratic Party's slide to pro-abort-party-of-death status. He could have been an old-time Catholic liberal - liberal on economic and civil rights issues, but conservative (or at least "traditional") on social and cultural issues. Kennedy was the only person on the left with the stature to make being a pro-life liberal a viable, if not the outright majority, position in the Democratic Party.

    Instead, he chose to take the easy route and go with the liberal pro-abort flow, becoming one of the most vocal advocates for unrestricted abortion on Capitol Hill. He could have changed history for the better, instead of changing it for the worse (Roe v. Wade would be history today but for Kennedy's diabolical and demogogic slander of "Judge Bork's America", which set the tone for the confirmation hearings that would defeat Robert Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court and lead, ultimately, to the appointment of Justice Anthony Kennedy (no relation), whose last-minute vote switch in the Casey decision preserved Roe for at least another generation).

    What a travesty for Sen. Kennedy, for the Democratic Party, for America, for the Catholic Church, and, of course, for the unborn.

    I mourn for the man - and the America - that might have been.

    Fr. Raymond de Souza has similar thoughts today at National Catholic Register:
    In death Sen. Edward M. Kennedy hardly needs his biography recalled. His life could hardly have been more chronicled. What is more interesting to ask, especially in light of the Catholic faith to which he was so devoted — a family priest was at his bedside when he died — is what life he might have led and how American politics might have been different.

    What Might Have Been
    A broader question is what might have become of American politics if Kennedy has chosen a different path.

    By the early ’70s, Richard Nixon had won two presidential elections — the second one the greatest landslide in history — by fashioning a coalition that included cultural conservatives in large numbers. The lifestyle libertinism of the 1960s’ movements which coalesced behind George McGovern’s candidacy in 1972 proved culturally influential but a political liability. After McGovern’s loss and, a few months later, the Roe v. Wade abortion decision, it was still an open question about which direction the Democratic Party would go. Throughout the 1970s, many of the key Democratic leaders were pro-life, as was Kennedy himself up until the Roe decision. Had Kennedy resisted the culturally liberal trends in the Democratic Party, what might have been?

    Kennedy’s family legacy, his impregnable position in Massachusetts (he won more than 60% of the vote the year after Chappaquiddick) and his national prominence rendered him immune from the pressures other politicians had to face. He could always choose his own path. Had he chosen to remain economically liberal but culturally conservative, he would have prevented the Democratic Party from embracing the orthodoxy of the unlimited abortion license. Had he remained pro-life the Democratic Party would have had to make place for other pro-life politicians. Had he remained pro-life many others — Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson — would not have abandoned their pro-life positions as the price to be paid for national ambition.

    In the 1970s, it was not clear that the Republican Party would become largely pro-life. Party leaders, including Nixon, Gerald Ford, Nelson Rockefeller, George Bush and even Ronald Reagan, favored liberalizing abortion laws. The GOP moved toward a pro-life position in response to the Democratic Party moving in the opposite direction. It was politically advantageous, and it was Kennedy who permitted that advantage to be conceded. By the 1980s what are now called “values voters” were a critical part of Reagan’s coalition. Many of the Reagan Democrats were those who were with Kennedy on economics but could not follow him on abortion and related cultural issues.

    The Supreme Court decision on abortion made judicial appointments more politically salient, but confirmations remained largely pro forma affairs — Reagan’s first two appointments were confirmed without a single dissenting vote. But in 1987 Kennedy led the opposition to the nomination of Robert Bork, turning the confirmation process into a brutal, partisan battle. The verb “borking” entered the political lexicon to describe this ugly new version of cultural politics. Democrats would later bitterly complain about Republican tactics on “values,” but it was Kennedy’s prestige that made such politics acceptable.

    The ‘Ted Kennedy Problem’
    It was two of Kennedy’s fellow Massachusetts politicians who would reap most directly what Kennedy had sown. Both Michael Dukakis in 1988 and John Kerry in 2004 were defeated in campaigns in which values — not economics, not competence, not even war — were the dominant issues. Religious observance had become the most important predictor of voting behavior. Culture had become a partisan issue. Kennedy’s embrace of moral libertinism facilitated all that. Had he chosen differently he could have stopped the culture wars before they started. Few other politicians ever have the influence to make such a consequential decision.

    Indeed, had Kennedy remained pro-life — along with his positions on immigration, health care, poverty, war and peace — he would have entered his senior years as the great Catholic legislator in terms of the welfare state, health care, big government, the peace agenda and the right to life. Remember the famous pastoral letters of the U.S. bishops on defense policy and the economy in the 1980s? They were both well to the left politically, easily in Ted Kennedy territory. If only he had remained pro-life, he would have been the poster boy of the American bishops for a generation.

    He didn’t, and so the final five years of his life were marked by an intense and painful debate about how the American bishops should deal with what could suitably be called their “Ted Kennedy problem” — what to do about Catholic politicians who promote abortion rights? Where Kennedy went 30 years ago, many followed. The old lion will be laid to rest as one of the most consequential public figures of his time. Those consequences have been difficult for the Church. That is well known. They have been also difficult for his party, even if the Democrats send him off with a full-throated roar.

    (emphasis added)

    UPDATE #2 (28 August)
    Kevin J. Jones relates a story indicative of the deleterious effects Sen. Kennedy's abortion stance has had on the pro-life movement within his own party:
    I recently talked to a pro-life Democratic veteran of my city’s politics. He told me how much his political career has been hamstrung because he won’t go over to the pro-choice side.

    The conversation made me realize that Democrats who became pro-choice did not simply undergo a change of opinion. They became part of the political network which would otherwise suppress them. And they then aided in the suppression of their former comrades.

    Who was the last Massachusetts pro-life Democrat Sen. Kennedy threw his weight behind? Since his change of view, when has he supported a pro-life Democrat in a primary race against a pro-choice Democrat?

    I fear Kennedy helped strangle the careers of many pro-life Democrats in his state and his national party. Am I wrong?

    UPDATE #3 (31 August)
    Ross Douthat: "A Different Kind of Liberal"
    Only 13 days separated the passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of the Special Olympics, from the death of her brother Ted last week. But amid the wall-to-wall coverage and the stream of retrospectives for the senior senator from Massachusetts, it was easy to forget that he wasn’t the only famous Kennedy sibling to enter eternity this month.

    What the siblings shared — in addition to the grace, rare among Kennedys, of a ripe old age and a peaceful death — was a passionate liberalism and an abiding Roman Catholic faith. These two commitments were intertwined: Ted Kennedy’s tireless efforts on issues like health care, education and immigration were explicitly rooted in Catholic social teaching, and so was his sister’s lifelong labor on behalf of the physically and mentally impaired.

    What separated them was abortion.

    Along with her husband, Sargent Shriver, Eunice belonged to America’s dwindling population of outspoken pro-life liberals. Like her church, she saw a continuity, rather than a contradiction, between championing the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed and protecting unborn human life.

    Her brother took a different path. Not at first: In 1971, in a letter to a voter that abortion opponents would have many opportunities to quote, he declared that “wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized — the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old.” But like many other Catholic liberals, from Joseph Biden to Dennis Kucinich, he moved leftward with his party, becoming a down-the-line supporter of abortion rights, with a voting record that brooked no compromise on the issue.

    For abortion opponents, cruel ironies abounded in this sibling disagreement. Because of Eunice Shriver’s work with the developmentally disabled, a group of Americans who had once been marginalized and hidden away — or lobotomized, like her sister Rosemary — was ushered closer to full participation in ordinary human life. But because of laws that her brother unstintingly supported, that same group was ushered out again: the abortion rate for fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome, for instance, is estimated to be as high as 90 percent.

    In 1992, Eunice participated in the last significant effort to push the Democratic Party away from abortion on demand, petitioning her party’s convention to consider “a new understanding” of the issue, “one that does not pit mother against child,” but instead seeks “policies that responsibly protect and advance the interest of mothers and their children, both before and after birth.” That same summer, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court upheld a near-absolute right to terminate a pregnancy — a decision made possible by her brother’s demagogic assault on Robert Bork five years earlier, which helped doom Bork’s nomination to the court.

    At times, Ted Kennedy’s fervor on abortion felt like an extended apology to his party’s feminists for the way the men of his dynasty behaved in private. Eunice, by contrast, had nothing to apologize for. She knew what patriarchy meant: she was born into a household out of “Mad Men,” where the father paraded his mistress around his family, the sons were groomed for high office, and the daughters were expected to marry well, rear children and suffer silently. And she transcended that stifling milieu, doing more than most men to change the world, and earning the right to disagree with her fellow liberals about what true feminism required.

    It’s worth pondering how the politics of abortion might have been different had Ted shared even some of his sister’s qualms about the practice. One could imagine a world in which America’s leading liberal Catholic had found a way to make liberalism less absolutist on the issue, and a world where a man who became famous for reaching across the aisle had reached across, even occasionally, in search of compromise on the country’s most divisive issue...
    (Hat tip: The Cranky Conservative)

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (1932-2009)

    Eunice Shriver - One of the Last Pro-Life Kennedys and Founder of Special Olympics - Passes Away [UPDATED]

    National Catholic Register: "Hope and the Politics of Abortion"

    Ted Kennedy On Abortion: 34 Years Ago

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    Wednesday, August 26, 2009

    Digest of Today's Posts (26 August 2009)

  • Good Enough for Government Work

  • New York Archbishop: Mistake to Release Lockerbie Bomber

  • Chris Matthews: Barack Is The Last Kennedy Brother [UPDATED]

  • It's Already Started: The Party of Wellstone Uses Kennedy's Death for Political Opportunism [UPDATED]

  • Did Texas Execute an Innocent Man?

  • Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (1932-2009)
  • Labels:

    Good Enough for Government Work

    The National Health Service in action:
    After weeks of excruciating pain, Mark Wattson was understandably relieved to have his appendix taken out.

    Doctors told him the operation was a success and he was sent home.

    But only a month later the 35-year-old collapsed in agony and had to be taken back to Great Western Hospital in Swindon by ambulance.

    To his shock, surgeons from the same team told him that not only was his appendix still inside him, but it had ruptured - a potentially fatal complication.

    In a second operation it was finally removed, leaving Mr Wattson fearing another organ might have been taken out during the first procedure.

    The blunder has left Mr Wattson jobless, as bosses at the shop where he worked did not believe his story and sacked him.

    Following the second operation his incision became infected and he was admitted to hospital for a third time for treatment.

    My Comments:
    "We're from the Government, and we're here to help."

    Just ... damn.

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    New York Archbishop: Mistake to Release Lockerbie Bomber

    Archbishop Dolan reveals that he is a dualist Americanist Calvinist with a "dodgy theology" that doesn't encompass the fullness of Christ's compassion as it is embraced by our European betters:
    Echoing sentiments expressed by other local religious leaders, Archbishop Timothy Dolan called the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi “a sad and perplexing mistake.” The terrorist, who received a hero’s welcome in his native Libya, had been released because he is suffering from terminal cancer.

    Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

    NYC clergy condemns Scotland freeing bomber (AP)
    (emphasis added)

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    Chris Matthews: Barack Is The Last Kennedy Brother [UPDATED]


    Ed Morrissey comments on how Matthews is going about "not politicizing Kennedy’s death".

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    It's Already Started: The Party of Wellstone Uses Kennedy's Death for Political Opportunism [UPDATED]

    The body's not even cold yet, and the Wellstoning has already begun:
    ABC makes pitch for ObamaCare in Kennedy obituary

    Kennedy’s Death Spurs Calls to Pass Health Legislation

    Byrd wants health bill renamed for Kennedy

    Kennedy health reform 'dream' will be real this year: Pelosi

    Dems’ new rallying cry: Let’s pass this trillion-dollar travesty for Teddy

    Michael at For the Greater Glory notes the irony of Kennedy's own political machinations making the prospects for passing ObamaCare less likely:
    ... The Democrats have been counting on having the 60 votes necessary in the Senate to block a GOp filibuster. With Kennedy's death and his replacement a while off from what I understand of Massachusetts procedure, that means if they go strictly by party, they don't pass the filibuster...

    Of course, this special election was b/c of Kennedy's desire to prevent a republican governor from picking his successor. The irony of it all that by this move and Kennedy's death, Kennedy himself may have doomed the health care reform he desired so much.

    UPDATE #2
    Opinionated Catholic makes a fair point: in many (if not most) parts of the country, a health care reform bill named after Sen. Kennedy would be an even tougher sell. The folks who are having a hard time swallowing the pill of ObamaCare aren't going to suddenly find the pill less bitter and easier to swallow because it is redubbed "KennedyCare".

    UPDATE #3 (27 August)
    Brian Williams: In Lieu of Flowers for Ted, Pass Health Care Reform

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (1932-2009)

    Ted Kennedy is Fortunate the Government Isn't Deciding for Him What He Wants It to Decide for Us

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    Did Texas Execute an Innocent Man?

    Brian Saint-Paul recounts the disturbing details at Inside Catholic.

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    Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (1932-2009)

    Just weeks after the passing of his sister Eunice Shriver, Sen. Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy has passed away from brain cancer.

    It is no secret that Sen. Kennedy was one of my least favorite public figures. But the time for political assessments will come later. As my friend Don so graciously put it:
    The purpose of this ... is neither praise nor condemnation. It is for poor sinners to ask the mercy of God upon another poor sinner. I strongly condemned Edward Kennedy during his life. I will strongly condemn his record in the future. Now I ask that his soul may receive the mercy of God.
    Amen. Requeiscat in pace.

    See also:
    The Anchoress:
    Ted Kennedy, Healthcare & Purgatory

    National Catholic Register:
    Edward Kennedy, 1932-2009

    Ed Morrissey:
    Ted Kennedy, 1932-2009
    Statement on Passing of Sen. Edward Kennedy

    Mark Shea:
    So Long, Ted Kennedy

    Bill Bennett:
    Their Lion, Our Bane

    John Fund:
    Novak and Kennedy, Allies at the End

    Joe Carter at First Thoughts:
    Ted Kennedy, 1932-2009

    The American Catholic has a comprehensive roundup:
    Reaction To The Passing Away Of Ted Kennedy Around The Catholic World

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    Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    Created Equal

    Another excellent post by Matthew Archbold at Creative Minority Report:
    ... The opening of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, states as follows:
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
    A thought about that. If the Declaration is one of the foundational document on which this country stands, it would seem to me this country, if it is to be based on principles rather than fads and whims of elitists in matching robes, there could not be legal abortion.

    If all men are created equal that tells us that when we are created we are equal to all others and assume the same rights as others - even those fortunate enough to make it outside the womb.

    It doesn't say that when we are born we assume those rights. It says that we are created equal.

    I don't think anyone could argue that creation itself occurs anytime other than the moment of conception...


    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    "Separate But Equal" Redux - Pro-Life Edition

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    Monday, August 24, 2009

    Catholics Against ObamaCare

    A new blog with some familiar friends - such as Jean of Catholic Fire, Jeff of The Curt Jester, Leticia of causa nostrae laetitiae, and Adrienne of Adrienne's Catholic Corner, among others - contributing to the effort.

    As an introduction, the blog has a comprehensive post on "Why Catholics Should Oppose Obama Care".

    Definitely check it out, and let them know if you want to be listed on their blogroll as a Catholic against ObamaCare.

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    Archbishop Chaput Again: Health Care Reform That Funds Abortion Is Not Common Ground

    Archbishop Chaput agrees with me again:
    Denver, Colo., Aug 24, 2009 / 02:08 pm (CNA).- "Common ground" is a phrase the President Obama and some of his supporters have been using to describe their efforts to work for health care reform. But Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver is taking them to task for abusing the Catholic concept, calling any labeling of the current reform proposals as common ground "a lie."

    In his weekly column for the Denver Catholic Register—to be published online this afternoon—Archbishop Chaput tackles the health care debate by recalling an editorial in the British Catholic newspaper The Tablet that insisted the U.S. bishops must back Obama's reform effort.

    The editorial also claims that America’s bishops "have so far concentrated on a specifically Catholic issue – making sure state-funded health care does not include abortion – rather than the more general principle of the common good."

    This diatribe against the bishops raises some interesting observations, says Chaput.

    "First, it proves once again that people don’t need to actually live in the United States to have unhelpful and badly informed opinions about our domestic issues. Second, some of the same pious voices that once criticized U.S. Catholics for supporting a previous president now sound very much like acolytes of a new president. Third, abortion is not, and has never been, a 'specifically Catholic issue,' and the editors know it. And fourth, the growing misuse of Catholic 'common ground' and 'common good' language in the current health-care debate can only stem from one of two sources: ignorance or cynicism."

    "No system that allows or helps fund – no matter how subtly or indirectly -- the killing of unborn children, or discrimination against the elderly and persons with special needs, can bill itself as 'common ground,' Archbishop Chaput insists, adding that, "Doing so is a lie."

    Archbishop Chaput's full column can be read at:
    (emphasis added)

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    U.K. Catholic Rag Admonishes U.S. Bishops: Back Barack on Health Care, Stop Getting "Distracted" by Abortion

    Archbishop Chaput: ‘Common Ground’ Claim Will Be Tested by Details of Health Care Reform

    "Common Ground" on Abortion

    No Common Ground to be Found

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    The "Cardiac" Catholicism of The Duke

    Don McClarey has an excellent post on one of my favorite actors of all time, John Wayne.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Rio Bravo: The anti-High Noon

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    Sunday, August 23, 2009

    Digest of Weekend's Posts (23 August 2009)

    Sunday, 23 August
  • Fr. Euteneuer's Response to Cecile Richards' Attack On Catholic Bishops

  • Tax Money WILL Pay for Abortions Under ObamaCare

  • (Digest of Friday's Posts (21 August 2009))


    Fr. Euteneuer's Response to Cecile Richards' Attack On Catholic Bishops

    Pro-Life Leader Blasts Planned Parenthood President for Dishonest Attack on US Bishops:
    FRONT ROYAL, VA — Father Thomas J. Euteneuer, President of Human Life International (HLI), today blasted Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, for her scathing and error-filled attack on the U.S. Catholic Bishops who have called for abortion to be excluded from all proposed national health care legislation.

    “Ms. Richards has done a favor to all pro-lifers and people of good faith in her hate-filled rant against the shepherds of our beloved Church,” said Fr. Euteneuer. “First, she has reminded everyone that, despite President Obama’s recent statements to the contrary, abortion is absolutely going to be covered in any health care reform legislation that crosses his desk. He and his cronies in Congress are much too beholden to the abortion lobby for any different outcome.

    “Second, she again highlights the extreme position of the organization she leads, and their hostility to the Catholic Church. No Catholic Organization should be comfortable finding themselves on the same side of the table as this hateful anti-woman outfit,” said Fr. Euteneuer.

    “Finally, among her many factual errors Ms. Richards claims that, despite the findings of virtually every study on the subject, expanded access to contraception will somehow reduce the number of abortions,” said Fr. Euteneuer. “What does she recommend, force-feeding young women contraception? How much more access can be granted to this environment-destroying, blood-clot causing, biology-altering chemical that, as the Catholic Church predicted, has resulted in more, not less, abortions?”

    “God bless our bishops who courageously and repeatedly stand up to such lies, even as they support the ideal of health care availability for all ...

    Read the entire post here.
    (emphasis added)

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    In Face of Planned Parenthood Attack, USCCB Official Insists Abortion is Not Health Care

    Cecile Richards and Planned Parenthood Attack U.S. Catholic Bishops for Defending Life

    Labels: , , , , , Tax Money WILL Pay for Abortions Under ObamaCare

    Michele McGinty has the details:
    So now that said it, will you believe it?

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    Friday, August 21, 2009

    Digest of Today's Posts (21 August 2009)

  • ObamaCare's Contradictions

  • Obama Dons Tinfoil Hat: "Republican Conspiracy" is Stalling Health Care Reform [UPDATED]

  • Trojan Donkey

  • In Face of Planned Parenthood Attack, USCCB Official Insists Abortion is Not Health Care

  • Mainstream Media Spreads Untruths on Behalf of Obama: Newsday Claims Bishop Murphy Supports ObamaCare; Lies About Plan's Coverage of Abortion

  • (Digest of Yesterday's Posts (20 August 2009))


    ObamaCare's Contradictions

    "The true reason ObamaCare is in trouble isn't because 'folks aren't listening,' but because they are."

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    Obama Dons Tinfoil Hat: "Republican Conspiracy" is Stalling Health Care Reform [UPDATED]

    What a crybaby.

    His party has a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and a large majority in the House. They could pass any bill they want and the Republicans could do absolutely nothing about it.

    But instead of doing the work necessary to corral the erstwhile members of his own party into backing his boondoggle, he'd rather cry wolf and pass the blame to a totally discredited, ineffectual opposition party who is too busy engaging in infighting over its future direction to be able to mount any serious coordinated opposition.

    This must be all that post-partisan hope and change we kept hearing about during the election.

    Dr. Krauthammer highlights the Presidents REAL problems:
    ... Look, this is disingenuous, and it's dishonest. He knows that the reason his proposals are in trouble is because of two things: Democrats in Congress, and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

    In Congress, he's got the Blue Dogs in the House and he's got the moderates in the Senate. And the reason that he's in trouble is because, for example, as we just heard on the public option, it's liberals who are going to hold it up in the House unless you have a public option, and moderates in the Senate who are going to stop it unless it doesn't have it [a public option]. And those are Democrats, not Republicans…

    Democrats have a super-majority in the Senate and a huge majority in the House. So that's number one.

    And the second thing is the CBO. The president's ideas and proposals are in trouble because he said he did this because health care costs are threatening our economy, and the CBO has said it's [Obamacare] going to cost a fortune...

    And that's what is hurting him. It's not Republicans. This is all a strawman...

    It's just too bad that Dr. Krauthammer had to also demonstrate, once again, that Sarah Palin has more testicular fortitude than the entire inside-the-beltway girly-boy punditocracy combined.

    Hey, Dr. K, death panels are last week's news and, in case you haven't noticed, the provision you object to was removed from the bill specifically because it was Sarah Palin who made it an issue. Besides, if you weren't so busy trying to sound so above it all, you'd have heard that the topic for discussion this week is tort reform.

    GOP Chairman Steele to Obama:
    "Don't come up in my face talking about I'm an obstacle... You got the votes, Mr. President, pass the bill... Up or down, baby! ... You got the votes ... and it's all about who got the votes... But they know it's poisonous, and they know the American people will not tolerate it."

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    Trojan Donkey

    (Hat tip: Ed Morrissey)


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    In Face of Planned Parenthood Attack, USCCB Official Insists Abortion is Not Health Care

    Yesterday, I blogged about the full-frontal assault on the Church and Bishops by the President's pro-abortion allies at Planned Parenthood.

    An official at the USCCB has responded to the attack:
    ... Speaking to CNA on Wednesday morning, Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the USSCB’s Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, addressed Cecile Richard's claims.

    Doerflinger said Richards erred in claiming most Americans favored “comprehensive reproductive health care.”

    “This is not supported by majority of Americans. The majority of Americans describe themselves as pro-life.

    “We don’t see the taking of human life, at any stage, as health care at all. Most Americans do not want to pay for abortions,” he remarked.

    “We mean by universal coverage what everybody but Planned Parenthood means. That is, we need to cover all the people. We know that people need health care throughout life from conception to natural death. That is why fetology is a branch of human medicine, which Richards seem unaware of,” Doerflinger said.

    Asked to respond to Richards’ criticisms of U.S. bishops’ actions on condoms and the AIDS pandemic, he replied:

    “The Catholic Church has done more to fight AIDS in Africa than Planned Parenthood has. Planned Parenthood doesn’t want people to know that hormonal contraception has actually been associated with an increased risk of contracting AIDS. It has nothing to do with preventing AIDS, something to do with making it worse.

    “Our major arguments on this have not been about contraception,” he clarified. “She likes to change the subject.

    “But it is the case that there is a great deal of evidence that contraceptive programs fail to reduce abortions. We cite the primary sources for that on our website so that people can read them for themselves.”

    He said it was necessary to stop “running away from the facts” and “citing contraception as the cure for everything” when the evidence is otherwise.

    Doerflinger said the bishops’ materials about health care reform have been centered on supporting universal coverage, but opposing mandated abortion coverage.

    “She keeps talking about how we’re trying to diminish a right,” he said of Richards. “A mandate is not consistent with a personal choice. If what she’s talking about is people’s personal ability to choose whether or not to buy abortion coverage, we’re not going to oppose legislation that allows that.

    “We’re talking about the government mandating that people purchase abortion coverage against their will. Why would she be against that if she favors ‘choice’?

    “To get into the government-run health plan you must buy abortion coverage. That’s contrary to personal choice. Maybe she should be joining us in our effort.”

    “We think the abortion issue is paramount, because we see it as really the taking of a life in existence.”

    Doerflinger then summed up his objections to Planned Parenthood’s position:

    “I think what Planned Parenthood is saying is that millions of people must continue to go without basic health care unless they can get their wish list of making everyone pay for abortions. I think that the charge of being ‘single issue’ falls squarely back on Planned Parenthood’s side, because this is not the kind of health care that most Americans want to purchase or have to pay for.

    “This issue could bring down health care reform. We hope that that does not happen, but an insistence on this one issue on their part might do so.”


    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Cecile Richards and Planned Parenthood Attack U.S. Catholic Bishops for Defending Life

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    Mainstream Media Spreads Untruths on Behalf of Obama: Newsday Claims Bishop Murphy Supports ObamaCare; Lies About Plan's Coverage of Abortion

    Matthew Archbold of Creative Minority Report has the details:
    Newsday is claiming that Bishop William Murphy supports ObamaCare based a letter he penned for the USCCB. Oddly, when Inside Catholic covered Murphy's letter they entitled it: Bishops Blast Obama Health Care Plan.

    Newsday wrote:
    A variety of Long Island religious leaders expressed support for President Barack Obama's national health care reform efforts Wednesday...

    Bishop William Murphy, the head of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, could not be reached for comment. But in a letter he sent to all of Congress last month on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Murphy said the bishops support "comprehensive health care reform that leads to health care for all, including the weakest and most vulnerable."

    Murphy's letter also opposed not treating immigrants or using public funds for abortions. Murphy says abortion goes against church teachings.

    Obama's preferences for a health care bill don't include public funding for abortions or health care for illegal immigrants.
    This claim by Newsday of Bishop Murphy's support is nothing short of a lie.

    [Read the whole thing]

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Bishops Speak Out on ObamaCare

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    Thursday, August 20, 2009

    Digest of Today's Posts (20 August 2009)

  • Such Brazen Hypocrisy ...

  • Cecile Richards and Planned Parenthood Attack U.S. Catholic Bishops for Defending Life

  • Words Can't Describe

  • Obama: "We are God's Partners in Matters of Life and Death" [UPDATED]

  • Obama Health-Care Session With Religious Reps Dodges Abortion Question
  • Labels:

    Such Brazen Hypocrisy ...

    ... but then, brazen hypocrisy is hardly anything new when it comes to the "Lion of the Senate":
    During the time Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, Senator John Kerry ran for President and looked at times that he might win. The state legislature, egged on by Kerry’s Senate partner Ted Kennedy, changed the law regarding the selection of a replacement Senator to require a state election, keeping Romney from the possibility of appointing — quelle horreur! — a Republican in Kerry’s place. Now that Ted Kennedy is perhaps too ill to continue, Kennedy now wants the law changed back, since there’s a Democrat in the governor’s chair.



    More here on the efforts of a man who has held on to this Senate seat for so long that he feels it is his right to control it even from beyond the grave.

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    Cecile Richards and Planned Parenthood Attack U.S. Catholic Bishops for Defending Life

    Deacon Keith Fournier writes about a full-frontal assault on the U.S. Bishops and the Church's pro-life teachings by one of President Obama's good friends and key pro-abort allies, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards:
    WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - An article entitled “Bishops' Health Care Far From Universal” recently appeared in the Huffington Post and was widely distributed in the Anti-Life blogosphere. Written by Cecile Richards, the President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, it wrongfully and disrespectfully attacked the Catholic Bishops of the United States as somehow “anti-woman”.

    However, it also revealed the truth that she and her colleagues insist is some sort of a “Myth” manufactured by the Pro-Life community; Abortion is a part of the current Health Care Reform Plan proposals. Ms. Richards and her cohorts are feeling the heat. The lie behind the denial of this fact is being revealed and the majority of Americans do not want tax dollars used for abortion, in spite of her claims to the contrary.

    In her first paragraph, after an initial diatribe against the leaders of the Catholic Church, she asks the following question: “Since when does universal health care mean denying comprehensive reproductive health care supported by the majority of Americans?” She continues a few lines down “…Seems that, if the U.S. Conference (of catholic Bishops) had its way, the national health care system would make American women second-class citizens and deny them access to benefits they currently have.…The danger, of course, is not simply that the bishops are pushing to erode decades of legal access to contraception and abortion in America. Their hard-line opposition to women's rights also endangers millions of women around the globe -- where women also need universal health care access. The effort to criminalize access to safe abortion endangers most women in the developing world -- the very women that you would think the bishops would be concerned about.”

    At the end of her recent attack on the U.S. Bishops Ms. Richards concluded with these words “…We call upon Congress and the White House to continue to stand firmly on the side of women in health care reform. Women are needed to pass health care reform - and we are not going backwards and we are not going away”. I believe there are millions of women who find her presumptuous claim to be empowered to speak for them deeply offensive. That does not even include the millions of girl children in the womb who cannot be heard. It is time for all of those women to raise their voice in opposition to her anti-life message and her organization. It is also why we must oppose any effort to include the taking of the lives of children in the womb under any “Health Care Reform.”

    [Read the whole thing]
    Here's more about Richards and her close ties to the President: "Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards in cozy with Obama".

    More from The Catholic League: "Planned Parenthood Rips Bishops":
    ... Cecile Richards is now accusing the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops of seeking to make “American women second-class citizens.” And that’s just the danger they are doing at home. Abroad, “their hard-line opposition to women’s rights also endangers millions of women around the globe.” Why they haven’t been locked up, she does not say.

    Richards was recently summoned to the White House to discuss health care reform. Is this the kind of advice she was given—to lash out at Catholic bishops? If not, then someone needs to rein her in before the whole health care package blows up in their face.

    Richards is either ignorant or lying when she says “comprehensive reproductive health care [is] supported by the majority of Americans.” In fact, nearly two in three Americans (63 percent) favor laws preventing the use of taxpayer funds for abortions. But no matter, data never convince ideologues.

    This is great. The American people are called fascists by U.S. Congressmen because they oppose the health care bills now on the table, and Catholic bishops are told by one of the leading proponents of health care reform that they are a threat to human rights. This is the politics of self-destruction on steroids.
    (emphasis added)

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    Words Can't Describe

    The Cranky Conservative refers to Mark McKinnon as a "vile piece of human waste" for writing this ad hominem attack in reference to Rick Santorum's possibly having presidential aspirations:
    I’m a pretty tolerant guy, but beyond his ideology, some of Santorum’s behavior is just a little bizarre. For example, Santorum has six children. In 1996, he had son born prematurely who lived for only two hours. He and wife brought the child home and introduced the dead infant to the rest of their children as “your brother Gabriel” and slept with the body overnight.
    Cranky's description, however, is an insult to vile pieces of human waste everywhere. There are not words strong enough to describe just how much worse that a disgusting piece of shite Mark McKinnon is.

    To his credit, McKinnon - who obviously tarnished his "raise the level of dialogue" image with such a screed - has issued an apology to Santorum.

    I still don't like him. He can apologize all he wants (and he should), but the fact that he wrote what he wrote reveals an ugliness in the thinking of Mark McKinnon. That excerpt was just the worst bit. The whole piece was an attack on Santorum's family values.

    UPDATE #2
    By the way, the fact that McKinnon is a Bush guy makes me think just that much less of GWB. The fact that he was also a McCain guy? Well, I'm not sure I could possibly think less of McCain than I already do.

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    Obama: "We are God's Partners in Matters of Life and Death" [UPDATED]

    Is that the royal "We"?

    Matthew Archbold has the details at Creative Minority Report.

    UPDATE (24 August)
    "... during the campaign, questions of life were above his paygrade!"

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    Obama Health-Care Session With Religious Reps Dodges Abortion Question

    Tom McFeely reports at National Catholic Register:
    During the just completed health-care reform discussion with religious representatives on BlogTalkRadio, a direct and clear question was asked about whether the president’s reform package would mandate taxpayer funding of abortion.

    Unfortunately an equally clear response wasn’t forthcoming, even though President Barack Obama declared later in the discussion that it’s “not true” that his plan involves funding of abortion.

    Instead, in response to the direct question posed about abortion funding, Melody Barnes, director of Obama’s Domestic Policy Council, provided what appeared to be a deliberately misleading response.

    There’s a way for Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress to put the matter to rest, of course. That could be done by including wording similar to the Hyde Amendment in the health-care reform bill, specifically prohibiting any federal funding of abortion services or of health benefit packages that include coverage of abortion.


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    Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    Can Opposition to ObamaCare Be "Treason"?

    According to one Democrat Congressman, the answer is "yes".

    Now, imagine if you will, that during the run-up to the Iraq War, someone within the Bush Administration or among its allies on Capitol Hill had actually used the word "treason" to describe a fairly innocuous statement in opposition to the Administration's national security policy.

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    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Digest of Today's Posts (18 August 2009)

  • Robert Novak Has Passed Away [UPDATED]

  • Andy McCarthy and Mark Stein Slap the Handwringing Girly Boys in Charge Over at National Review: Palin Was Right On the "Death Panels" [UPDATED]

  • Peter Wehner and Michael Gerson Offer Their Recipe for "Republican Revival"

  • On the Corrupting Influence of Power

  • Some Recommendations Based On Recent Travels

  • (Digest of Yesterday's Posts (17 August 2009))


    Robert Novak Has Passed Away [UPDATED]

    (Hat tip: Ed Morrissey)

    Conservative columnist Robert Novak, a Catholic convert, has passed away.

    He was one of the few media pundits whose views earned my unequivocal respect; I didn't always agree with Novak, but I always paid respectful attention to what he had to say.

    And although this might not be the time or the place for political recriminations, let me opine for the record that Novak had far greater claim to the mantle of conservatism (not to mention turning out to have been RIGHT) than do some of his two-bit detractors.

    Requiescat in pace.

    UPDATE (19 August)
    Chris Blosser has more at Catholics in the Public Square.

    UPDATE #2 (19 August)
    Don McClarey offers his thoughts on Novak's passing at The American Catholic.

    UPDATE #3 (19 August)
    Rich Leonardi pays his respects: "The prince of darkness rests".

    UPDATE #4 (19 August)
    R.S. McCain: "Bob Novak: One of My Favorite 'Unpatriotic Conservatives'".

    UPDATE #5 (19 August)
    EWTN's Raymond Arroyo: "My Boss, Bob Novak"

    UPDATE #6 (20 August)
    Deal Hudson: "A Prince of Darkness Heads toward the Light"

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Robert Novak: "My Brain Tumor"

    Deal Hudson: "A Conversation with Bob Novak"

    Columnist Robert Novak Hospitalized; Diagnosed With Brain Tumor

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