So, What Do These Polls of Presidential Candidates Mean in Real Life?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Peter Stevens https://www.flickr.com/photos/nordique/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Peter Stevens https://www.flickr.com/photos/nordique/

I haven’t written about the obsessive early polling of presidential candidates for one simple reason: I think it’s ridiculous.

Asking voters a year or more out from an election who they will vote for is like asking a 12-year-old girl to describe her future husband. What you will get in either case is a dream scenario that does not resemble what will actually happen when things get real.

I also think that debates this far out are, in a word, stupid. It’s showmanship, aimed at getting ratings. By the time the first vote is cast next spring, the voting public is already going to be sick of the spectacle.

However, I got a request to talk about the debates yesterday, and that led me to explain a bit of how these things work in real life in a post for CatholicVote. Here’s a bit of what I said:

Donald Trump is now neck and neck with Dr Ben Carson in polling data. Despite this, Mr Trump’s numbers have not fallen all that much.

How has this happened?

It’s simple, really. It’s also what usually happens in political races with lots of candidates. First, candidates drop out. That has been occurring in the Republican presidential marathon. As candidates drop out, voters who were backing them shift to other candidates. Over time, support begins to consolidate behind one candidate.

Donald Trump came out of the gate ahead of the pack. He led the field by a wide margin. But I noticed something interesting about his lead. The numbers held steady. What that meant is that he had a certain group of Republican voters behind him and they were solid in their support. But it looked as if that group was all he might get.

In short, he had a great starter set, but his ability to get over 50% seemed weak. I kind of expected that as candidates dropped out and the field began to consolidate, someone besides Mr Trump would pick up the gains. That is what has happened.

At the same time, Dr Carson’s success has fueled a drop in Mr Trump’s support. Dr Carson is not only managing to consolidate support that was previously going to candidate who have dropped out of the race, he is beginning to leach support away from Mr Trump.

Does that mean that Dr Carson is the likely nominee?

– See more at: http://www.catholicvote.org/so-how-exactly-does-the-polling-work/#sthash.3uJyB9KW.dpuf

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Studies Show Porn and Abortion are Allies

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Chris Lim https://www.flickr.com/photos/cats-eye-view/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Chris Lim https://www.flickr.com/photos/cats-eye-view/

I was there when most of the tracks that led us to where we are now were laid down. By “there” I mean I was often in the room when the discussion were had and the decisions were made. On those occasions when I wasn’t part of the initial discussion, I was usually one of the first to know what was coming down.

If hindsight really is 22, then I have a clear view of how we got here, or at least the beginnings of it.

I wrote a bit about that in a post for CatholicVote. The post discussed a new study which revealed the old truth that abortion and porn are, in fact, allies.

Here’s part of what I said.

Well, duh.

A new study by the Journal of Sex Research indicates that users of porn may also be “useful allies” of the abortion industry.

This is news?

I was an active part of the feminist movement back in the 1970s. I was also the Oklahoma Director for NARAL. I remember when we (meaning those who advocated for legal abortion) partnered with the Playboy Foundation. Prior to that, the feminist movement had been, rightfully, against pornography because of its penchant for reducing women and children to objects. Porn is degrading to those who are depicted in it. Oftentimes it is violently degrading.

Just type a series of xxxs in your search engine and sit back and watch the porn depicting violence against and degradation of women roll down your screen. Or, type “rape” or “rape victim” in your search engine and see how many hits you get for pornography depicting violent gang rapes and snuff films — all with women and children as the victims. This is not to say that pornography only victimizes women and children. Gay porn is just as degrading and often as violent as that aimed at women.

Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I realize that this compromise with the devil of pornography on behalf of the demon of abortion was, in many ways, the unraveling of the feminist movement.

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PP Says They Will Stop Taking Money for Aborted Baby Body Parts. Do You Believe Them?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Art4TheGlryofGod by  Sharon https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Art4TheGlryofGod by Sharon https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

Planned Parenthood president, Cecile Richards, published a letter yesterday stating that Big Pink won’t take direct monies for selling the body parts of babies it has killed during abortions. Do you believe them?

I talk about this, from the viewpoint of someone who once allied with Planned Parenthood as a pro choice advocate in a post I wrote for the National Catholic Register. 

Here’s part of what I said:

Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, posted a letter yesterday. She announced that Planned Parenthood would no longer accept money for supplying the body parts of aborted babies to researchers, research facilities and their middlemen.

Personally, I’m not convinced. The reason I’m not convinced is my personal experience with Planned Parenthood and the impressions I formed of them during the time I was their political ally run counter to this action.

The truth is, Planned Parenthood cares about money. Planned Parenthood really cares about money.

I was a naive, true-believing 22-year-old from the wrong side of the river when I first encountered Planned Parenthood’s leadership. My piece of the situation was an ardent belief that (and I’m explaining this beyond what I would have said at that time) the sexual double standard and misogyny were such that abortion was absolutely necessary to save women’s lives and allow them to function as full human beings. I had a friend who almost died from an illegal abortion. I well remember the terror of this situation and how hard it was to get medical care to save her life.

That was a watershed event for me. The horror of it trumped every other consideration in my thinking about abortion for a long, long time. That’s how I came to advocate for legal abortion, how I came to be the Oklahoma Director for NARAL, and how I came to sit across the table with Planned Parenthood muckety-mucks from around the country at various banquets, seminars and such. Without exception, the first thing a member of Planned Parenthood’s governing boards would ask me was “How are you funded?” Meaning, how was Oklahoma NARAL funded.

This wasn’t something that came up casually, later in the conversation, and it didn’t happen once in a while. Every single conversation I ever remember having with them began with an introduction, followed by the question “How are you funded?”

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/planned-parenthood-really-really-cares-about-its-money/#ixzz3oZHaRcDB

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Synod Leaders are “Log Rolling” Say Cardinals

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Aft4TheGlryOfGod https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Aft4TheGlryOfGod https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

A group of Synod Fathers, including Cardinal Dolan, have written a letter to Pope Francis expressing concern about the way the Synod is progressing.

I wrote about that for National Catholic Register today.

Here is part of what I said:

“You cannot serve God and Mammon.”
—Jesus Christ

The German Catholic Church has a long and ignoble history of playing fool for its government. During the murderous reign of the Third Reich, there were isolated bishops who stood against Hitler. But many of them joined their Lutheran brothers in allowing themselves to be coopted by the pagan cult we call the Nazis.

The Nazis created an economic system in which the government and the economic powers coalesce into one unit working for their mutual benefit. We call that fascism. They also created a mythology or a quasi-religion to go along with it. This quasi-religion was mostly a deliberate return to Germany’s pagan past with a mix of astrology and other whatnots.

At the same time that they were privately voicing contempt for Christianity and implementing plans to destroy it, the Nazi leaders pandered to the churches in their public statements. They sought — and were able — to silence the prophetic and moral voice of the churches by means of coopting them.

Christian churches in much of the world, and certainly in Germany, were already following the false god of nationalism long before Hitler and the Nazis were born. They had given moral gravitas to the abuses of colonialism and the insanity of World War I.

This made them easy prey for the claims of extreme nationalism that came from the Nazis. However, I believe that the thing that pushed German churches down the rat hole to acquiescence with (and even support of) the Nazis was not primarily nationalism. I think they were following another master. It was the “master” that Jesus specifically singled out as one that Christians could not follow if they would follow Him. It was money.

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/synod-leaders-are-log-rolling-say-cardinals/#ixzz3oNaAnR30

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History Repeats in USA, But Evil Will Never Triumph

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain

What happens when evil appears to triumph?

I wrote about that for CatholicVote. Here’s part of what I said:

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. King Solomon

“Today’s families face challenges that previous generations did not face.”

We recite that cliché in somber tones, as if we were saying something profound. But King Solomon was right. There is nothing new under the sun.

A society run amok with sexual depravity? Look no further than Sodom and Gomorrah, or most of the ancient pagan world, for that matter.

Killing our children to free us to achieve for the corporate empires that rule our world? Change “career” to “good harvest” and “abortion” to “putting your children through the fires,” and you are right back in the pagan world, standing before Moloch.

Poison our elderly, disabled, sick, weak and frail in an act of “mercy?” Go back 70 years to the “useless eaters” of the Third Reich, being driven around in trucks with hoses piping the exhaust in on them. If that seems too pertinent, look at pagan societies that left their helpless members out, where the animals could kill them.

Sex selected abortion? Think of exposing baby girls by throwing them in the dump and leaving them to die.

What about drugs and the reign of terror exacted on families today by the drug addicts in their midst? What about incest? Or polygamy or Christian persecution?

There’s nothing new, not under the star we call Sol. It’s all been done before.

– See more at: http://www.catholicvote.org/history-repeats-in-usa-but-evil-will-never-triumph/#sthash.NhluMqGh.dpuf

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Here’s Why Euthanasia is Wrong: You Do Not Kill Innocent People.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by martin https://www.flickr.com/photos/x1klima/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by martin https://www.flickr.com/photos/x1klima/

The post I wrote for the National Catholic Register about California’s new euthanasia law attracted a few “death with dignity” trolls. As these people always do, they quickly descended to the non-argument of attacking me personally.

Frankly,  I have no big problem with that. It’s an honor to be drubbed for standing against the murder of innocents. They can bring it on.

However, it seemed that other readers were having trouble finding a response to these bullies. That happens a lot. Christians are overawed by the sheer emotional violence of those who want to legalize killing. There’s no surprise in that. People who support these things are often crazy mean, and dealing with them, even on the internet, can be a bit of a shock.

So, I wrote a second post. I wrote it for the specific purpose of sharpening the abilities of my Catholic Register readers to respond to these trolls. It’s important that we do not allow them to stun us into silence in our own houses, and the National Catholic Register is definitely an internet home for those who believe in the sanctity of human life.

The specific combox snipe I chose to respond to was one that sniped at me over my misspent and sinful past. I chose it because it struck at the heart of what it means to be a Christian, which is to say that it struck at the heart of the meaning of the cross.

Here’s part of what I said:

Here is the reason why euthanasia is wrong:

You do not kill innocent people.

Notice what I put at the end of that statement? I put a period, as in complete thought, finished, over and through.

You. Do. Not. Kill. Innocent. People.

If you are a lawmaker, you do not pass or sign laws that kill innocent people. Because if you do, that makes you a murderer. I know all about this, up close and personal. As one commenter on my post concerning Governor Jerry Brown and his mighty death-dealing gubernatorial pen somewhat inaccurately noted, I am the former director of the Oklahoma chapter of NARAL.

Not only that, but I helped open the first abortion clinic in Oklahoma, and I referred women for abortions. Then, during my first years in elected office, I used my abilities and the powers granted to me by the people of my district to kill pro life legislation. I also set up the system whereby pro life bills continued to be killed long after I left office.

So. Does that disqualify me to take the gubernator to task? If you think it does, then you should stop reading this post right now, because that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Again.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/euthanasia-is-always-wrong-you-do-not-kill-innocent-people/#ixzz3o55AHLIq

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Deep-Sixing the Ten Commandments. The Oklahoma Story.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by wikimedia commons Museum Catharijneconvent  http://www.catharijneconvent.nl/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by wikimedia commons Museum Catharijneconvent http://www.catharijneconvent.nl/

I know more about the Oklahoma Ten Commandments Monument story than my sense of responsibility to the people I worked with will allow me to say.

I’ve put off writing about it because, to be honest, I get angry every time I think about it.

But I finally chased myself around my house a few times and wrestled myself into my chair and wrote a post for Catholic Vote. I didn’t tell all. Not even close. But I think I told more than you’ll find elsewhere.

I. Am. So. Glad. I’m. Not. In. Office.

Here, from Catholic Vote, is part of what I said:

Ten Commandments monuments stand outside courthouses and statehouses all across the USA. They go back to the beginning of our country. This is fitting, since the legal structure of the Western world is built on those ten commandments.

For the first two hundred years of our republic, the only controversy was an occasional argument about whether the monument would be made of marble or granite. But for the past 30 years pressure groups have been working to drive religious expression from the public sphere.

The United States Supreme Court stopped them from acting as an American Taliban, blowing up historic monuments and statues because they had religious meaning attached to them. Otherwise, I suppose they would have kept going until they demanded that we burn the Declaration of Independence for its allusion to “Our Creator.”

Federal courts have upheld the placement of Ten Commandments monuments in states such as Texas. Oklahoma State Representative Mike Ritze assumed that a Ten Commandments monument that was identical to one that passed court muster in Texas would be allowed in Oklahoma.

Rep Ritz is the primary author of the legislation authorizing the monument. Rep Ritz was passionate about this bill. He was so committed to it that he even paid for the monument with his own money and donated it to the state as a gift.

I was a member of the Oklahoma House when we voted on it. Rep Ryan Kiesel, who is now the executive director of the Oklahoma ACLU, led the debate against the bill.

Without Rep Kiesel, I don’t think there would have been any debate at all. But he successfully convinced a number of my colleagues in the Democratic caucus that this bill was unconstitutional under the Constitution of the United States of America. They followed him in opposing the monument, and several of them were defeated because of it in the next election. Rep Kiesel did not run for re-election.

It turned out that Rep Kiesel was wrong. The monument was not unconstitutional under the Constitution of the United States of America.

That’s why the same Rep Kiesel chose another line of attack in his new position as Executive Director of the Oklahoma ACLU.

Read the rest here.

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Gov Jerry Brown Forgot the First Rule: Don’t Kill Innocent People!

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Phil Konstantin https://www.flickr.com/photos/36205567@N07/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Phil Konstantin https://www.flickr.com/photos/36205567@N07/

Governor Jerry Brown jumped off the cliff and into the volcano of mass murder today.

He signed a law that opens the door for euthanasia in California. The harm he has done will live long after him. That’s the way it is with bad laws, and this law is a warrant to kill.

I wrote about this for the National Catholic Register.

Here’s part of what I said:

The Los Angeles Times story is so over-the-top supportive that it was downright soppy.

It paints a word picture of a politician on the rack, a “former Jesuit seminary student” who was riven by a heart-wrenching moral conundrum. I could almost hear the violins playing and see the sunset … except for the raw truth of what this politician/martyr had done.

“I have considered the theological and religious perspectives that any deliberate shortening of one’s life is sinful,” he said.

Nice phrase that; “deliberate shortening of a life.” Not only did this politician ply all his political arts to evoke sympathy for himself as he did the unthinkable, he created a new euphemism for the doing of it while he was at it.

“Deliberate shortening of life” is Governor Jerry Brown’s lovely little phrase for murdering people to put them out of our misery, otherwise known as euthanasia, also known as death with dignity, also known as cold-blooded killing. Governor Jerry Brown, that “former Jesuit seminarian,” has joined the pantheon of politicians who, with a stroke of his pen, has killed untold numbers of people with a law that will allow the killing to go on for generations.

Long after Governor Brown has finally retired for the last time and ridden off into the political sunset, people will continue to die because of what he did today. If past is prelude, this law, as bad as it is, will become the opening volley in the war on life by use of euthanasia in California. As bad as it is, future politicians will line up to the death wagon and amend it to make it worse.

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/california-gov.-jerry-brown-forgot-the-first-rule-dont-kill-innocent-people/#ixzz3njjgMpXz

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We Already Have a Statement on Gay Marriage from the Pope

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Kasia https://www.flickr.com/photos/simczuk/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Kasia https://www.flickr.com/photos/simczuk/

I was like everyone else. I thought at first that the Holy Father’s visit with Kim Davis was exactly what the Vatican has now said that it wasn’t: A form of support. Deacon Greg has the full story. All I care about is the bottom line: The pope’s visit to Kim Davis was evidently meaningless.

That means that we’re back at square zero. Pope Francis has not given us the clarity we crave concerning the family. And the almighty Synod is looming ahead like a bad dream.

Last year’s synod was such a mess that I began to feel the same way about it that I feel about the United States Congress. I was relieved when they went home without doing any real damage. Now, I’ve been reading that serious money is being used to lobby the Synod Fathers on behalf of getting them to support gay marriage.  The African bishops have announced that they will present a united front on behalf of marriage and the family. May God go with them.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided in an absolute sort of way that I’m all through reading the tea leaves of Pope Francis’ various actions concerning marriage. I love Pope Francis. But I don’t — none of us do — need him to give me my marching orders on this issue. Saint John Paul II already did that for us.

The papacy is not a political office. When we inaugurate a new president, that often means that we are also beginning a change of direction for our government. But popes do not come into office with a mandate to overturn the teachings that went before them. In fact, they come into office with a clear mandate to continue the teachings of those who went before them. Pope Francis, has, for instance, reaffirmed Saint John Paul’s teaching that the priesthood is reserved to men so many times I’ve lost count.

He has not reaffirmed Saint John Paul’s teaching on marriage, or at least not as specifically and clearly. But that does not mean that those teachings are no longer valid. Pope Francis is Peter. He is the inheritor of the apostolic succession that goes all the way back to day that the risen Lord told the Apostle to “feed my lambs.” He is, in many ways, the protector of the Church’s teachings and the depository of faith which has been handed to him.

The teachings of Saint John Paul II are just as valid now as when he published them. And, since they were written down and published in explicit form, they have real weight. We could spend all day, trying to interpret off the cuff remarks and random actions by Pope Francis, but none of those things have the teaching authority of Saint John Paul’s official teachings.

I wrote about what this means to our concerns as Catholics and how we should approach the gay marriage issue for Catholic Vote.

Here’s part of what I said:

The pope has spoken about what we should do if our government legalizes gay marriage. Saint Pope John Paul II published a document in 2003 titled Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons. 

I am familiar with this document because I was a Catholic lawmaker, serving in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, at the time it was issued. To be honest, I found it troubling because of the onus it put on me as a lawmaker to do things that I knew would affront my gay friends.

I loved these people, love them still, and it was tough, going against them. It cost me dearly on a personal level.

But there is nothing unequivocal about Saint John Paul II’s teaching in this matter. I prayed and blew off steam to my pastor, but there really was never a question that I would obey. The pope was quoting Scripture and talking Jesus. I had no choice.

Today’s Catholics, me included, are hungry for a repeat from Pope Francis. We want something concrete like the document Saint John Paul issued. However, it’s entirely possible that Pope Francis thinks that Saint John Paul has already said all that needs to be said and that all he has to do is make it clear that the pope’s opposition to gay marriage continues.

If that’s true, then, my fellow Catholics, we already have our marching orders.

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Is Speaker Boehner Going Home, or Is He Going to be a Millionaire?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Gage Skidmore https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Gage Skidmore https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

Is John Boehner going home, or is he going to be a millionaire?

Speaker Boehner stands on the edge of a new beginning in his life. He can turn the page, leave Washington and begin a different life than the one he has known. Or, he can accept one of the mega-lucrative opportunities lying there in front of him, just waiting for him to pick up and make his own.

He possesses high dollar skills that can only be acquired one way: By suiting up and playing the game of full-speed, contact politics. What Speaker Boehner knows can’t be taught in a classroom. The only way to learn it is to get elected and then spend time slugging it out in the political trenches; winning and getting beat, strategizing and knocking heads.

Speaker Boehner will be a millionaire if he wants it. All he has to do is sign on as a hired gun for one of the many special interests that are strangling our government. He could, if he’s feeling called to it, offer his services to a low-dollar, people-oriented enterprise, such as the Catholic bishops, or the movement to end violence against women. Those lobbying jobs are far more challenging than pushing the plans of big-money power brokers, and the work has intrinsic benefits that are priceless.

But if he wants the doh-reg-meh, he will have to sell his skills to a higher bidder. There are intrinsics to that choice to. But they are costs, not benefits. If Speaker Boehner takes a position as a hired gun, he will be told.

His moral reservations about the issues he lobbies for will be entirely non-sequitur.  Hired guns do what they’re told. He  will earn his millions by using the skills he acquired through long years in public office to accomplish what those who pay him want accomplished.

If that’s an unfair advantage over competitors, if that’s the use of American troops to support a private company’s bid for power in another country, if that’s raising taxes on wage earners while lowering them on the rich, then so be it. Hired guns do what they’re told.

This isn’t such a large jump for many politicians. They’ve been dancing to the tune of party discipline and those who used campaign donations to buy them since they first filed for their first office. They already do what they’re told.

They may have spent their careers speaking piously about following God’s will. Human nature being what it is, they may even have convinced themselves that this is what they actually are doing God’s will. But in practice and in fact, God’s will as they choose to see it has coincided in an almost perfect one-to-one correlation with the will of their political party and the puppet masters who pull their strings.

John Boehner has spent many years of his life as one of the two most powerful legislators in the world. As Speaker of the House, he actually has had a greater latitude than the Senate Majority leader, who is hemmed in by Senate rules and the reality of the Vice President as the Constitutional head of the Senate. The Senate wields power that the House does not in a number of areas, and each Senator represents an entire state rather than a district within a state. But the House is the more independent body. That gives the Speaker greater freedom of action, with the power that goes with it.

If he wants to be an independent person who can continue to exercise personal latitude in what he does, Speaker Boehner will have to say no to the vast wealth that is his for the taking. He is staring at a future carpeted by the realization of all the dreams of avarice. But nothing in life is free except a mother’s love and salvation before God. Everything else has a price. Hiring on as a hired gun in Washington DC exacts a sobering moral cost.

Speaker Boehner has a future of great wealth and little independence, working as a hired gun for one of the many special interests who have bought our government. It’s his, if he wants it. He will, if he takes such a position, forfeit the opportunity to use what he knows for the common good. But he will also become a wealthy man.

What do you think he’s going to do?

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