Wise words from Pope Francis. The gist of it is this: All Christians are brothers and sisters in Him, and we need to get over the things that separate us and stand together.
We have a nation of children who feel orphaned because their fathers are not in their lives.
Fatherhood requires something that a lot of people in our society have grown up thinking is immoral: It requires self-sacrifice and putting someone else ahead of yourself.
What it gives is something a lot of people in our society have been taught to think is worthless: Love and the incredible blessing of shielding and shepherding new life.
Now this makes sense.
A publication in France published a cartoon that at least some Muslims find offensive. So, 300 Muslims in Pakistan attack a Christian boys’ school, injuring a bunch of unarmed Christian students.
Shouting idiotic slogans such as “We martyr for the prophet’s sanctity,” the mob attacked Panel High School in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
This attacks follows another, more deadly one in Niger, where Muslim mobs, also “protesting” Charlie Hebdo, burned down a number of churches and Christian pastor’s homes, killing at least 10 people.
I don’t know if the leaders of these attacks are aware that Charlie Hebdo mocks Christians, the Catholic Church in particular, far more than it does Muslims. I also don’t know if they are aware that the Christian response has been to argue back. I doubt it.
There is a pervasive air of ignorance hanging over behavior like this; ignorance, cowardice and sadism.
From The Christian Post:
Close to 300 Muslim students armed with iron bars and sticks attacked a Christian boys’ school in northern Pakistan, reportedly in retaliation to French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s controversial drawings of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. The attack left four Christians injured.
“It is very sad that Islamic radicals attack Pakistani Christians because of Charlie Hebdo. Christians condemn the blasphemous cartoons. It is a shame that even after 67 years since the birth of Pakistan, Christians have not yet been considered Pakistani citizens, but are seen as ‘Western allies,'” Nasir Saeed, director of the NGO Center for Legal Aid Assistance & Settlement, told Fides News Agency.
The attack occurred on Panel High School in the city of Bannu, in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Muslim students apparently were able to jump over the outer walls of the school and open the gates before attacking the Christians.
The school has been closed down at least for two days, with additional security measures being considered to protect the students.
Last weekend, Muslim mobs burned down a number of churches and pastors’ homes in Niger, also in protest of Charlie Hebdo’s drawings. At least 10 people were killed in the clashes, with pastors in the capital Niamey revealing that almost anyone associated with churches was targeted.
Kurdish fighters have defeated ISIS in a battle for the Syrian city of Khobani.
Seizure of Khobani, which is near the Turkish border, would have been a significant tactical victory for ISIS.
Kurdish defenders of the city have succeeded in stopping the ISIS advance after an intense and protracted battle. The Kurdish ground forces were heavily supported by US – led airstrikes.
According to interviews that ISIS fighters give to Amak, which is a news agency within Syria that has aligned itself with them, the airstrikes were decisive in ISIS’ defeat in this battle.
Given the enormous power that air superiority gives to any ground force, I would be surprised is that was not true. Also, effective air support of Kurdish forces on the ground is certainly a better option than American “boots on the ground.”
After withdrawing from Khobani, ISIS has opened a new line of attack in Kirkuk. ISIS has taken control of the oil filed in Kirkuk.
And according to the interviews given to ISIS-aligned Amak news agency in Syria, it was those airstrikes that won the battle for Kobani, referred to by the fighters as Ayn Al-Islam.
“Recently, we have withdrawn from Ayn Al-Islam bit by bit, because of the airstrikes and deaths of a number of our brothers,” said one of the two fighters, his face covered apart from his eyes.
He points to a scene of destruction behind him but vows that ISIS will persist, “and this is the message we send to Obama.”
The second fighter interviewed by Amak stood near a road sign reading Ayn Al-Islam. He said ISIS forces had raided 360 villages around Kobani, from which the people “ran away like rats.”
But the reason behind their withdrawal from the city, he said, “is that we no longer had places to hold there. We were inside Ayn Al-Islam and we occupied more than 70%, but the airstrikes did not leave any building standing, they destroyed everything.”
His horror of the airstrikes was apparent.
“I swear by God, their planes did not leave the air, day and night; they did airstrikes all day and night. They targeted everything. They even attacked motorcycles; they have not left a building standing. But by God willing we will return and we will have our revenge multiplied.”
Mitt Romney announced today that he will not run for President of the United States in 2016.
I regard this announcement as something of a gift to the Republican party. Governor Romney’s run in 2012 highlighted his weaknesses as a presidential candidate. He evidently draws enthusiastic support from the business side of the Republican party, but does not generate corresponding enthusiasm from the party’s rank and file. A different candidate, who could have united the party and who was more attractive to working class Americans, might have won in 2012.
It will be interesting to see how the field of candidates in both parties shapes up in the coming months. One thing is certain: There is no interest in Washington in governing this country now. Everyone is in their usual don’t-do-anything-to-mess-up-our-chances-in-the-next-election cowardly Congressman posture.
I, for one, wonder when, if ever, any of these people are going to stop running for office and do the job they were elected to do.
But I digress.
The news of the moment is that Governor Romney will not be a candidate for president in 2016. Now, we’ll see what that decision does to the horserace.
Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern has withdrawn HB 1597 from consideration. According to news reports, Representative Kern indicated that the measure did not accomplish her desired purpose. To read a summary of HB 1597, go here.
JimmyZ brings the truth: Following Jesus means putting aside everything else and making Him Lord of your life for real.
All he wanted was “money and power.”
In exchange, he agreed to build 40 nuclear weapons for Venezuela, including a bomb that would target New York.
Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni didn’t know it, but he was talking to an FBI agent with a tape recorder when he made this deal. The agent posed as a Venezuelan official.
“I’m gong to be the boss with money and power. I’m not an American anymore. This is it,” Mr Mascheroni said to his wife, who was present during the conversation. Mascheroni is a naturalized American citizen. He is a former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist.
Mr Mascheroni went on to say that exploding a nuclear bomb in New York City would not kill anyone, but would merely disable the city’s power grid. That statement, coupled with the fact that he is 79 years old, makes me wonder if he’s playing with a full deck.
Whether he was or not, he was sentenced to five years in prison with another 3 years of supervised release. His wife was sentenced to a year and a day in prison.
The FBI emphasized that there is no evidence the Venezuela was involved in such a plot.
From Yahoo News:
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A disgruntled, former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist promised to build 40 nuclear weapons for Venezuela in 10 years and design a bomb targeted for New York City in exchange for “money and power,” according to secret FBI recordings released Wednesday.
In the recordings, Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni tells an agent posing as a Venezuelan official that the bombs would prevent the United States from invading the oil-rich nation and brags to his wife that the passing of secrets would make him wealthy.
“I’m going to be the boss with money and power,” the naturalized U.S. citizen from Argentina is heard saying. “I’m not an American anymore. This is it.”
Oklahoma legislators have introduced 4 bills concerning gay marriage and civil rights for homosexuals and transsexuals.
Representative Sally Kern has introduced 3 bills:
HB 1599, which is designated the Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act, is a broad piece of legislation that seeks to dictate future findings by the courts, activities by state employees and expenditures of state monies in regards to same-sex marriage.
HB 1597 is another far-reaching bill. It does not address same-sex marriage, but instead says that no business can be forced to offer service to “any lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender person, group or association.”
HB 1598 allows mental health providers to engage in conversion therapy. As I understand it, conversion therapy seeks to change homosexual orientation to heterosexual by means of talk therapy.
I doubt that any of these bills will get a hearing in committee. If they should happen to make it out of committee, their chances of coming to a vote on the House Floor are even more dim. If, by a combination of legislative pressures, they do come to a vote of the full House, they are almost certainly DOA in the Senate. A lot of times, whether or not these things come to a vote depends on the determination and skill of the individual legislator and the amount of support he or she has in the body.
Having said that, I can tell you that the legislation as drafted oversteps all sorts of legal bounds. They would not stand, even if they managed to become law.
HB 1599 overreaches in a lot of ways, but the obvious ones are that it seeks to tell judges ahead of time what they may rule. This is outside the province of a legislative body. The legislature certainly does have the power to determine how state monies are spent, so the part of the bill that would limit state appropriations for activities concerning same-sex marriage would have a good chance of withstanding a court challenge, at least in principle.
The fact that it is not an appropriations bill and does not address appropriations per se might lead to its being overturned because of vagueness. However, by putting these two unrelated matters together in one bill, Representative Kern has created a piece of legislation with two topics in two areas of law. This is called log-rolling, and is in violation of the Oklahoma Constitution.
HB 1597 is clearly a violation of the civil rights of homosexuals and transsexuals. The law seeks to set up a system of discrimination in service regarding a specific class or group of people. It does not address legitimate First Amendment concerns regarding religious beliefs. It allows service providers to refuse service to a group of people because they are members of that group and for no other reason.
HB 1598 is the only one of the three bills that has legal merit. The question of whether or not therapists may use a particular therapy has become loaded when it concerns “conversion therapy” as it is used with homosexuals. A few states have made “conversion therapy” illegal. However, the real question is whether or not legislative bodies should be passing laws dictating which therapeutic approach is the correct one for health care providers to use. Dictating medical procedures and therapies is outside the province of legislative bodies, or it should be.
The whole discussion revolves around political correctness, with both sides slinging statistics and accusations, but the real issue is legislative bodies overstepping their bounds.
Senator Corey Brooks has authored SB 478. This is a good bill, which I hope will pass. It protects people from prosecution and civil liability if their religious beliefs require them to abstain from participation in a same-sex marriage ceremony.
In truth, I do not expect Senator Brooks’ bill to get very far, either. The reason is simple: I expect that the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce will oppose it, and the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce controls both the legislative and executive branches of Oklahoma’s government.
Their control is close to being dictatorial, and, as I said in another post, they are not all that nice about how they use it. Threats, which are not idle threats, are their standard way of dealing with legislators who do not do what they are told. Most Republican legislators are afraid of them, and with good reason.
Does anybody remember President Obama’s State of the Union address?
I promised I would talk about the politics of the thing, and I’ve been remiss in that promise. In truth, there was a lot of politics in it, too much to handle in a single post. I will limit my discussion today to one area that galls me more than most: The Democratic Party’s abandonment of working people for elitist claptrap such as gay marriage and abortion.
There was a time when working people knew they had a champion in the Democratic Party. That was back in the day before American politics went nuts and devolved into two warring camps, pushing for power and more power, the people be damned.
Back then, there was a real difference in the way the two parties governed. The Rs were actual conservatives and the Ds were actual liberals. Actual liberals gave us such things as social security, Medicare, victory in World War II, the Marshall Plan, and a steady-on determined fight in the cold war. I consider myself an actual liberal.
Actual liberals were allies of organized labor. Organized labor gave the American people a living wage so that it was possible to hold one job and support a family, the 8 hour work day, a 40-hour work week, paid vacations, paid sick leave, retirements, and job security.
President Obama made a passing reference to supporting organized labor in his State of the Union address, but I don’t think he meant it. We have not had a Democratic president who was truly supportive of working people in a long time; not since the Marxists in the 1960s’ anti-war movement succeeded in destroying liberalism. What we have now is faux support of working people from Democrats who are basically bargain-basement corporatists.
The Democratic Party is not the wholly-owned subsidiary of multi-national corporations the way the Republican Party is. The difference — and I have witnessed this in person — is that the corporatists tell the Rs what to do and they do it. It’s not even all that nicely done. In fact, any R who dares to think for themselves gets the whole hammer of the party apparatus and a mountain of corporate attack money brought down on them. The party treats them like a defective part in an engine. It pulls and replaces them with someone who will do what they’re told.
The Ds, on the other hand, play at corporatism while promising working people that they are really for them.
Meanwhile, America has witnessed the steady destruction of our industrial base by the shipping of our manufacturing base overseas — to a Communist nation, no less — while wages, our standard of living, and the security of working people have dropped year by year.
We are developing into a two-class country composed of the hyper rich and the struggling everybody else. Every promise that is made to ordinary Americans gets broken, and every promise that is made to corporatists gets fulfilled.
I didn’t take President Obama’s passing allusion to support for organized labor seriously because I don’t think he meant it seriously. It was what the Democratic Party has been giving working people for quite some time now: A sop.
When did the Democratic Party stop being the party of working people? It happened in the 1960s, when true liberalism died and was replaced by radicalism and nihilism.
Both parties need to be reformed and converted. It’s time we the people stopped allowing ourselves to be lied to and manipulated. We don’t need to change the puppet people we keep tossing out every few years. We need to change the puppet masters.
Planned Parenthood High School Sex Ed Teachers Revealed to be Sex Toy ‘Instructor’ and ‘Pleasure Activist.’
Is it sex education, or sex indoctrination?
Parents whose children attend Acalanes Union High School in Layfatette California are outraged to discover that it’s the latter. The school’s sex education program is operated — as many of sex ed programs around the country are — by Planned Parenthood.
That’s right. The nation’s number one abortion provider is in charge of educating our kids about sex in many of our public schools. They are paid to do this with huge amounts of our tax money.
Last Thursday’s vote in the United States House of Representatives, banning the use of federal money to pay for abortions did not touch this. It did not even address it. It wasn’t meant to. Everybody knows how to shut this down, but nobody does it because of the political cost. The Rs in our Congress are just as complicit in this as the Ds.
Here’s how you do it, boys and girls: You take all federal money away from any organization that provides, refers for, or promotes abortions. The House of Reps voted on last Thursday only stopped federal monies for direct funding of an actual abortion procedure. It even specifically exempted federal monies that will go to help pay for insurance programs under Obamacare that pay for abortions.
This is the Republican Congress, playing ball with Obamacare, specifically the provisions in Obamacare that indirectly pay for abortions. We thought we were going to get a vote on a ban of abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. What we got instead was a hose-down.
Now, let’s talk about the school in California and what they learned about their sex ed teachers. It turns out that the people Planned Parenthood has sent to “educate” these high school students about sex moonlight at other jobs. One of the instructors also teaches a “pleasure workshop” at a sex toy store called Good Vibrations. The other instructor lists herself as a “pleasure activist.”
Parents are calling for a change in the curriculum and the school is defending the curriculum and we the people continue to pay for all this because our do-nothing Congress does nothing while our abortion-loving Imperial President reigns unimpeded.
From the Daily Mail:
‘Planned Parenthood is a business. It’s a business that sells sex. It’s a way to get clientele and to sexualize young people and turn them into lifelong clients,’ parent Camille Giglio told CBS San Francisco in November.
The unhappy parents then partnered with conservative legal group the Pacific Justice Institute to petition for a new sex-ed curriculum.
In the course of their fight with the school, the career histories of the Planned Parenthood instructors were revealed and two of the teachers raised even more concerns to parents.
One of the instructors teaches a ‘pleasure’ workshop at a store called Good Vibrations in nearby Berkeley, which sells sex toys.
Meanwhile, one of the other instructors had described herself as a ‘pleasure activist’ on Twitter, and mentioned attending CatalystCon, a sexuality conference.
‘These are two representatives (who) happen to have a truly questionable background,’ Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute, which made the initial inquiry with concerned parents, told FoxNews.com. ‘There has been outcry from the parents. This school district doesn’t seem to get it when it comes to the proper protection for the students.’
Presidential candidate Rick Perry’s motion to dismiss charges against him was tossed out by a Texas judge. The charges stem from Governor Perry’s veto of state financing of a Texas District Attorney’s office. Governor Perry said at the time that he was signing the veto because District Atorney Rosemary Lemberg refused to resign from her office. Lemberg had been arrested on drunk driving charges.
Oklahoma recently had a somewhat similar situation when a member of our governor’s cabinet was arrested for drunk driving. The cabinet member apologized to the governor, who accepted his apology and left him in his position.
This whole thing sounds like partisan misbehavior to me, both in Texas and in Oklahoma. When the person who gets caught driving drunk is in the official’s own party, then it’s a forgivable lapse. When they are in the opposite party, it’s an outrage.
Ditto for the abuse of power charges which have been filed against Governor Perry. I don’t doubt that his decision to veto that funding was partisan, and to be honest, I have a pretty low opinion of trying to use state funding to force a duly elected official to resign from office. On the other hand, I also think that the charges against him are payback for the veto, and I have an equally low opinion of using felony charges as political punishment.
To read more about Governor Perry’s travails, KVUE.COM.
President Obama has an ambitious new plan to overhaul Medicare. Specifically, he wants to start paying doctors based on the health of their patients, rather than the number of patients they see and the treatments they give.
One rather obvious problem with this plan is that it would pay doctors to avoid treating really sick people. Since Medicare provides care for the elderly, this is questionable, at best.
Another question that comes to mind is the simple fact that this sounds like it is moving Medicare toward a managed care model. Will that lead to refusal of expensive care for elderly people? I see this as a real pro life concern.
It is important to note that the President is doing this by agency regulations and without even consulting Congress. Congress has abdicated its Constitutional authority in order to constantly jockey for position in the next election cycle. Meanwhile, the President reigns as an unelected dictator.
To read more, go here:
President Obama made some tough comments in a speech he gave during his visit to India. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had previous pulled out all the stops by greeting President Obama with a hug when he first arrived, and then issuing gushy statements about the “chemistry” between himself and our president.
President Obama has promised 4 billion in investment and aid to India. But along with that came a speech in which he stated that India needs religious freedom and that an Indian woman should “be able to go about her day — to walk the street or ride a bus — and be safe and treated with the respect and dignity she deserves.”
From Quartz India:
“Nowhere is it going to be more necessary to uphold religious faith than in India. India will succeed so long as it is not splintered on religious lines,” Obama said.
“Your Article 25 (of the Constitution) says that all people are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion. Every person has the right to practice their religion and beliefs and not practice it if they choose so without any persecution,” he added.In his 2010 town hall address, the US president had spoken of religion mainly in reply to a question on jihad and the distortion of Islam by extremists.
Obama was also much more vocal on women’s issues, unlike last time.
“A measure of a country’s success depends on how it treats its women. Nations are more successful when their women are successful. Every woman should be able to go about her day—to walk the street or ride the bus—and be safe and be treated with the respect and dignity that she deserves,” Obama said on Jan. 27.
The allusion to the brutal Dec. 2012 gang rape of a 23-year-old girl in New Delhi was clear.
“Our nations are strongest when we uphold the equality of all our people and that includes our women,” he added.
Is your Congressperson trying to lie their way out of the decision to pull the vote on the bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks?
Public Catholic readers have contacted the offices of their various Congresspeople, and it sounds like they are getting a pack of lies and obfuscations in reply to their questions. These Congresspeople are relying on the fact that law-making is an arcane art to most people. They know that you don’t know how to wend your way through the procedural morass.
After all, big-time special interests pay lobbyists astronomical sums to do that for them. It’s a specialist’s work, and the “school” to learn it has a high entrance fee. That’s why lobbying firms are so laden with former elected officials. Elective office is the school that teaches how law is made.
Political science classrooms are all taffy and sugar pills. They won’t teach you how to do the real deal. In fact, the things you learn there will make it harder to do the real deal if you ever get elected, because you’ve got to unlearn everything you thought you knew.
If I wanted to make the most money I could, I would take my considerable knowledge of the legislative process and put myself out as a hired gun, which is a lobbyist who works for the doh-re-me. But I’m the sort who can only work for what I believe, and when I believe it, money doesn’t matter.
Guess I’m doomed to be poor.
In the meantime, I try to teach Public Catholic readers a bit of what I know. I do this so you won’t be bamboozled so easily, so that you can get tough with your elected officials and insist that they do what they told you they would do when they asked for your vote.
This makes partisan true believers antsy because the reality is that political parties are nothing like the way they present themselves to their rank and file followers. They’re selling you a lie.
Repeat after me: Political parties are about getting power and keeping power. Everything else they say is up for grabs in the interests of getting power and keeping power.
Fortunately, the power they crave resides in your hands. They need your vote. That’s why they take the trouble to lie to you. So they’ll get their vote.
It appears that at least a few Congressional staffers are doing the old political doo-dah with their pro life constituents about the decision to pull the bill banning abortions after 20 weeks from the calendar last Thursday.
Will the bill come up again? Will we actually pass a law and send it to the president? That, my friends, depends on you. You need to make it clear to these folks you elected that they will pass this bill and send it to the president, or, next time they come asking for your vote, things may not be so pretty.
Here, for your delectation, is last Thursday’s floor activity in the House of Representatives of the United States of America. Notice, they passed a bill that would stop the use of federal monies for abortion, which is what the news reports said they did. A bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks was not heard or voted on.
Here are links to news stories about the bill and the missed vote.
Why does nothing get done in Washington?
Because they’re all running for the next election.
This was a while back.
And this was a couple of days ago.
Candidates and political parties alike never stop campaigning long enough to govern.
It appears that there’s a budding bromance between India’s Prime Minister and President Barack Obama.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted our president at the airport with a big bear hug and then went on to describe the “chemistry” and “strong friendship” between himself and President Obama.
Prime Minister Modi is leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is described as the Hindu nationalist party. His election raised fears that he would undermine religious freedom in India.
He was banned from entry to the United States for several years because of his connection to religious-based, sectarian violence, in particular the Gujarat riots of 2002. He was also the subject of a Congressional resolution asking the president to continue the ban on his entry into the United States.
As always with politics, it’s wise to look at these displays of affection between two people who do not know one another and who carry the power of heads of state with a critical eye. How does Prime Minister Modi stand to benefit from his bromance with our president?
I’m not in any way criticizing President Obama for making this trip to India. World leaders need to talk, and for better or worse, Narendra Modi is now a world leader.
But I want Public Catholic readers to think past the superficial headlines to the real political reasons underneath them.
Update: President Obama ended his visit to India by pledging 4 billion dollars in investments and loans to help “tap” India’s “potential.”