Mission Accomplished

Al-Qaeda raises its black flag of rule in Iraq…

Meanwhile, here at home, the Ruling Class that sent our troops on this misbegotten war, a Ruling Class that features the odious Ayn Rand worshipper Paul Ryan–who did his best to get Catholics to fall down in adoration before that enemy of God and who divides the world into Makers and Takers–shows which group he belongs to by, once again, giving the shaft to the troops.  Working closely with my own Senator, Patty Murray, perhaps the single dumbest person in the Senate, Ryan has once again done his bit to demonstrate that the conservative Catholic anti-charism of discernment, that just a year ago was hailing him as Aquinas and Rand as Aristotle, has not lost its ability to throw itself body and soul into backing obviously bad people and ideas with a flabbergasting lack of prudence and common sense.

And now the leading thinkers of this fantastically imprudent and wrong-headed subculture are overwhelmingly dominated by thinkers and opinion makers who say that the greatest threat the Church faces is… the Pope and they alone can defend the True Faith.  I can think of no greater  endorsement for listening to him very closely than the fact that so many representatives of this amazingly discernment-free and self-satisfied faction are struggling to minimize, ignore, and shout him down.

The Manufacturers of Thought and Correct Opinion for the Thing that Used to be Conservatism are not your friends.  Their interest in people of faith is the wolf’s interest in the lamb.  Listen to your Shepherd, not these wolves.  They don’t care about you and, when the times comes, will eat you and yours.

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  • Chris

    “The deal cuts pension cost of living raises by 1% for military retirees who aren’t disabled and not yet 62 years old” = “giving the shaft to the troops”, Mark?

    I have plenty of complaints about mainstream conservatism, but I don’t think this budget deal was particularly egregious, even on this point.

    • chezami

      That they are getting cuts and not raises (there are military families on welfare) is a slap in the face. You can bet your ass that Murray and Ryan face no cuts, despite being parasitic ticks on the public tit. Takers indeed.

    • Stu

      It is the shaft.

      They are unilaterally changing the terms of an agreement they made with current retirees. This isn’t some handout. We earned those pensions by giving up over 20 years of our lives. wearing the cloth and answering the call for the this country. The least they could do is live up to their part of the agreement instead of simply shortchanging us.

      I look forward to being able to have a discussion with Paul Ryan, face-to-face, on this one.

      • Chris


        First, thanks for your service. Sincerely.

        I guess what I mildly take issue with in Mark’s post is his hyperbole, which you second, re: describing this change as giving/getting the shaft.

        I am fully aware of how much (sic) those in active service make, and of the fact that its unfair to change a pension for those who are retired. But…

        It’s a 1% cut in the COL increase. Yes, I know that that is a real decline in spending power, but 1. it’s still not a cut, and 2. We’re talking about less than a thousand dollars (again, less an increase).

        I want to be crystal clear here: I am NOT saying that you should be happy you’re getting anything, etc. etc. etc. But when I went to the article that Mark linked, I expected — given his verbage — that the hit would be much much worse.


        • Stu

          The amount is irrelevant as to whether it is right or wrong. There was an agreement. It should be honored. But since you bring up the amount, it’s much more than a thousand dollars. Given it will have an effect equivalent to compound interest over time, I can expect to lose about $120,000 in value to my pension.

          That’s a shaft.


          • Elmwood

            Please, cry me a river. You still get your 50% pension for life after only 20 years, nobody is taking that or the 100% subsidized health care plan, and groceries at cost on base and all the other benefits afforded to veterans, like flying for free anywhere on space available on base.

            I work two jobs to support my family, big deal. My pay inflation adjustments have been frozen since 2010. Last time I checked, inflation adjustments were never guaranteed by the government.

            • Stu

              You aren’t into justice too much are you?

              I entered into an agreement. I upheld my end of that agreement which included long deployments and engaging in combat at the behest of the National Command Authority. In return I expect our Nation to honor that, not dilute it as a means for questionable savings.

              If you want to cut the COLAs for everyone, so be it but don’t single out military retirees who earn their pension.

              As to your personal situation, I suppose I could say “cry me a river.”

            • Stu

              And BTW…
              There is move to eliminate all commissaries in the US and flying Space “A” isn’t exactly the easy/good deal that you think it is.

              Maybe like Paul Ryan, you should really get to know some real veterans.

  • Dan C

    Enjoy this trip down memory lane:


    And Al Quaeda!

    This outcome was predicted.

  • Dan C

    Another gem:

    the comments haven’t changed.


  • Dan C

    And in these comments we get to find someone assure us that really Iraq is largely pacified, with trouble coming from only 20-25% of the countryside.


  • Dan C

    Here we see folks hedging that JP2 condemned the war.

    “He is of a different mindset.” I think Mr. Shea further down the comments note that certain conservatives did “get” what the pope was saying, and treating him as a wimpy old, European (foreign) man. When Novak is trying to convince the Pope to approve of the war, which he did try to do, doesn’t that suggest that the Pope disapproved of the war (we will get clearer views from Ratzinger on this)? Instead of actually saying yes or no, we see so so many conservatives hedge on this. No…he had a “different mindset.” Nope, I disagree he didn’t. He knew the war woud be horrible for the civilians and stood with them. As should have all of us. The war was a mistake, he said as clearly as possible at the time, and was proven correct.

    Thankfully those types of dismissals of the pope no longer occur in these matters.


  • Dave G.

    I couldn’t believe it when I read this either. I mean, really? Can’t they cut, you know, anything else? Being from a family of veterans, I can’t believe this is how compromise is achieved. And yet it’s not the first time the military has been hit by things proposed by the GOP. I remember my Dad fussing more than once about such measures long before Mr. Ryan made it out of high school.

    With that said. Ahem Mark. Rand worshipper? Really? As a Catholic sometimes accused of being a Mary/Pope worshipper, I’d think we would be a little slower with the XX-Worshipper label. Rip what he did all you like. But must we sink to the levels of those who use such things against Catholics? Or anyone for that matter?

    • Joe

      Um. He is a Rand worshipper and a shameless one at that. His Catholicism is clearly secondary (or even tertiary) to him.

      • Dave G.

        Can you prove this? Does he worship Rand? Do you have a quote? I mean, let’s lay down the evidence beyond ‘he is influenced by/inspired by/likes’. If that’s worship then I dare say there are many who worship many things. And are you saying that you are perfectly obedient to the Church above all things at all times as opposed to Ryan? Are you the standard he should strive for? If you can produce the evidence, then fine. Otherwise, I’d rethink the accusations.

        • Dan C

          I would suggest that Paul Ryan has his public policy highly influenced by Ayn Rand, provided Ayn Rand books as gifts and required reading for staff (until his nomination), and 9 months prior to his nomination gave a talk at the Heritage Foundation that was intellectually clearly a product of a mind that thinks with Rand.

          He worships at a Catholic Church, but is not one who has any indication on matters of peace and justice that he thinks with any pope over the past 50 years.

          He is also one of the individuals that, with Acton and folks like Joe Carter and Michael Novak are responsible for polluting Catholic conservative thought with Rand-like libertarianism. This effort has been much more difficult than the intense pollution political Evangelicalism eagerly embraced, but it has occurred nonetheless. Few social conservatives like Rod Dreher for example despite claims to the contrary are untouched by a philosophy that starts that charity and its instincts are bad.

          It’s a deep demon.

          • Dave G.

            I don’t disagree with the extremes in some areas of modern Conservative approaches to economics. Nor do I disagree with the critique of Ryan’s own emphasis on this extreme.

            But I draw the line at things like that. It doesn’t become a Catholic, and it doesn’t seem to be encouraged in the official Catholic handbook. No matter how bad the idea a person encourages, unless it is clearly an intrinsic evil openly and proudly supported, some willingness to be open to respect is called for. And even then, we should be slow to accuse or judge. Does Ryan really worship Rand? Is being influenced by or inspired by the same as worshipping? Does Mark worship Chesterton?

            No. That takes a valid point and clouds it. Whether it’s someone even embracing the worst of the right, or the worst of the left, there still needs to be a line we don’t cross.

      • Chris

        And yet, Joe, our God loves Paul Ryan intensely. Intensely. To the point of the Cross.

        Perhaps we might seek in our writing and comboxing to emulate Him.

  • Elmwood

    For me, the big problem here is that we are actually increasing defense spending beyond the “insane” cold-war levels. The church speaks out against this and nobody seems to want to talk about it. It’s a sacred cow in our culture to spend vast resources of human and material capital on weapons that could be better spent on impoverished developing nations.

    As far as I’m concerned, the military shouldn’t even begin to receive their pensions until they are 62 considering they can retire as early as 37.

    • Stu

      Then work to change the law for those coming into the military now, don’t change the agreement on them midstream.

      • Elmwood

        Maybe there would be money for inflation adjustments if they would close the 100’s of overseas bases and cut expensive weapons systems and stop the unjust wars.

        • Stu

          And I more or less agree with you.