Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Can A Catholic In Good Conscience Vote For Trump?

The titular question has been posed oft of late, most recently by the Catholic News Agency in their coverage of “An Appeal to Our Fellow Catholics” made by the big cheeses in American Catholic life. These were the real gorgonzola guys, not like us processed-cheese-food bloggers.

Anyway, regular readers know that I possess no great love of (popular) presidential elections, but the skew in the coverage of The Donald by (dare I say) establishment Catholics is of some interest. These folks aren’t happy, and they’re spending a lot of time telling the world of their distress. Now if all their pleas were solely meant to (say) tout Cruz over Trump, then that’s a terrific idea, dandy fine politics-as-usual, actions really not worth commenting on.

But there seems more to it than that.

Did you notice none of these prominent individuals or organizations have written similar cri de coeur warning an unsuspecting populace against Hillary? There are even hints some leaders would prefer or advocate Hillary over Trump, which is very odd indeed.

Here are the main complaints against Trump. (See the others here.)

[T]here is nothing in his campaign or his previous record that gives us grounds for confidence that he genuinely shares our commitments to the right to life, to religious freedom and the rights of conscience, to rebuilding the marriage culture, or to subsidiarity and the principle of limited constitutional government.

On the assumption Trump is the Republican nominee, it is of interest to compare Trump and Hillary on these and other charges.

Trump says he’s anti-abortion, yet he may be lying and his support for anti-abortion legislation might be weak. Hillary is for government-subsidized abortion on demand for any who asks for any reason. Winner: at the worst there is no difference between the pair; but there is at least some chance Trump will act on his words.

Trump is vulgar, abusive, and overreacts to criticism with petulance. Hillary dismisses criticism or habitually and outrageously lies in response; she also barks like a dog and accuses her enemies of engaging in vast conspiracies. The comparison is slightly in Trump’s favor.

Trump promises to use torture (waterboarding or worse) on the nation’s enemies; there is some small chance, as with many of Trump’s campaign rantings, that this is bluster. Hillary hasn’t been asked, but there is very little doubt she would do the same as Trump, only she wouldn’t boast about it. Winner: dismal records for both; the comparison is a wash.

Trump has consistently and for many years said he is against gmarriage (four years ago, when it was important, he gave an interview with Bill O’Reilly stating his opposition), though lately he softened his stance; one of his casinos had a strip club. Hillary is solidly for gmarriage, and for everything else in the great sexual rebellion. Winner: Trump.

Trump at least claims to be for religious liberty, but all we have is his word for it. Hillary is manifestly against traditional Christianity (as above); indeed, she has chosen government over religious liberty every time. Which of the two will be for “doctor”-assisted “suicide”? Winner: Trump by a length.

It’s unclear how much Trump would cause government to increase, but he has at least pledged to shrink part of it. Hillary promised the opposite: with her, look for accelerated growth of government with increasing intrusions into every aspect of our lives. Trump’s slightly ahead on this one.

Trump has given several indications he is less empire-driven than recent presidents. Hillary advocated the botched war with Libya while Secretary of State and she supported Iraq war while Senator; she would be highly interventionist; with her, there will be war. Winner: Trump at a canter.

Countries like China publicize their concerns that Trump is serious about, for instance, Chinese currency manipulation. Hillary announced several world leaders wanted to endorse her, but she asked them to keep it hush-hush. Winner: Trump easily.

Trump would eject illegal immigrants, build a border wall, and restrict immigration of Muslims; and there is good reason to think he means it; he has been called a “racist”. Hillary would, for discreditable reasons, grant amnesty to the millions who broke the law to make their way here; in future, she might even disfavor Christians over non-Christians; she panders to all grievance groups. Winner: It’s distressing to have to point out Muslims aren’t a race, neither Latinos; also, the term “racist” is asinine; also many Catholic organizations rake in piles of cash for “servicing” illegal aliens and are anxious the money not stop flowing: Trump rises to the top here.

Trump says he would eliminate the inheritance tax, and reduce the tax and regulatory burden on all native companies; yet his enemy here is the bureaucracy and those who oppose new tariffs. Hillary would advocate greater taxes and regulation; cronyism would surely soar to unprecedented levels under her. Winner: It’s not even close, though Trump would not be allowed to keep many promises; government would grow under him.

Trump has used crass language to describe some women; but it’s forgotten he’s also crass describing men. Hillary facilitated her rapist-husband by calling his victims “bimbos”, etc. etc., etc. Winner: Any answer besides Trump is “sexist” (another asinine word).

Trump would not nominate for SCOTUS a grievance or activist judge. Hillary would. Winner: Do you have to ask?

Trump’s grasp of Christianity is weak. Hillary’s also. Winner: A tie.

Trump lies. Hillary lies on steroids (if that’s the metaphor I want). Winner: Trump by any ε > 0.

Given that Trump is in the New York real estate business, he’s probably broken many laws; his business practices are not infrequently questionable. Hillary: Whitewater, travelgate, cattle futures, FBI Filegate, Chinese funding scam, Clinton Pardons March Rich et al., Benghazi, secret emails, and on and on and on and on some more. Winner: Trump, but he can’t be proud of the victory.



Washington’s despotic lawlessness

We’ve had a “try and stop me” president. Now we need one who will invalidate those actions

Paul Driessen

Washington is out of control. Legislators, judges and unelected bureaucrats want to control our lives, livelihoods and living standards, with no accountability even for major errors, calculated deception, or deliberate, often illegal assaults on our liberties and on citizens who resist the advancing Leviathan.

These themes animate Republican and conservative politics because they are happening – regularly.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute is renowned for its annual Ten Thousand Commandments reports on federal rules. A scary but mesmerizing new analysis now maps how the Washington bureaucracy lawlessly imposes agendas that all too frequently contravene or disregard what We the People support, what is best for the nation, and even what Congress has enacted or refused to encode in legislation.

The studies’ author, CEI policy vice president Clyde Wayne Crews, analogizes the situation to the “dark matter” and “dark energy” that astrophysicists say makes up some 95% of the universe: the portion that we cannot observe directly, as opposed to the sun, moon, planets, stars, galaxies and gas clouds we can see.

“Regulatory dark matter,” he concludes, forms an equal proportion of all the rules and edicts that govern our lives. But it is “hard to detect, much less measure.” Indeed, his “map” is akin to early explorers’ depictions of North America – incomplete, but the best cartography possible with information currently available.

No one even knows how many Executive Branch agencies there are – estimates range from 60 to 438 – much less how many new rules they implement and impose each year. Officially, Crews says, they issued a staggering 3,554 new rules in 2014, while President Obama signed “only” 226 new laws enacted by Congress. Worse, of the 53,838 (!) formal final regulations included in the Federal Register from 2001 through 2014, only 160 (0.3%) received a “cost-benefit” analysis; we have no idea how the rest affect us.

Infinitely worse, this tip of the iceberg does not include tens of thousands of decrees issued in the form of:

* notices, bulletins, proclamations, circulars, guidance memos, and new or revised interpretations, policy statements and procedures;

* investigations, inquiries, warning letters, negotiated settlements to legal actions (often involving collusion between agencies and activist groups), explicit or veiled threats of legal action, armed agents raiding homes and businesses, or adverse publicity, coordinated with activists and the media; as well as

* blog posts, news releases, and emails or telephone calls to citizens or company employees.

All these actions have the force and effect of law. But few or none are covered by Administrative Procedures Act “public notice and comment” requirements, so they often escape scrutiny by courts, watchdogs and Congress. Many are supported only by “homogenized,” manipulated data; elaborate, imaginative or imaginary regulatory benefits; cavalier dismissal of costs; and no mention of benefits from the activity, chemical, energy source, industry or jobs being regulated, sometimes into oblivion.

EPA’s Clean Power Plan assumes that shutting down America’s coal-fired power plants – a tiny fraction of such facilities worldwide – can somehow stop climate change that is actually governed by numerous powerful natural forces over which humans have absolutely no control. The plan also assumes any global warming will be dangerous and ignores the many thousands who will be rendered jobless.

A “social cost of carbon” scheme concocted by a multitude of federal agencies makes the same faulty assumptions. It then hypothesizes every imaginable and illusory “cost” of carbon dioxide emissions – to forests, agriculture, water resources, “forced migration” of people and wildlife, human health and disease, coastal cities, ecosystems and wetlands. But it completely ignores every one of the obvious and enormous benefits of using fossil fuels … and of CO2’s immense fertilizing effects on forest and crop growth.

President Obama imposed both of these programs because Congress refused to enact almost 700 different cap-tax-and-trade and other climate bills. Rather than working with Congress to achieve at least some of what he wanted, Mr. Obama simply had his agencies issue decrees, as another way to “skin a cat.”

Where Congress has enacted legislation that the president dislikes – on illegal immigration or the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, for example – he simply tells his agencies not to enforce the “offensive” provisions. Meanwhile, Endangered Species Act rules are enforced with an iron fist against ranching, oil and mining operations, but ignored in the case of wind turbines and solar installations.

Under collusive sue-and-settle lawsuits, parties impacted by decisions never have an opportunity to speak or present evidence, or even be notified that a suit has been filed or adjudicated, until it is too late.

The entire system allows unelected, unaccountable government officials to decide winners and losers, and reward cronies and allies with taxpayer-funded grants and subsidies, while punishing critics and enemies.  “Progressive” judges defer to “agency discretion” and give bureaucrats free rein to do as they please, even when the rules, decisions and decrees do not comply with legal, constitutional or scientific requirements.

No citizen, small business or even large corporation can possibly even know all these edicts exist, much less understand or comply with them. Moreover, at least 4,500 carry criminal penalties, many regardless of any intent to violate a rule or commit a crime – and “ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

Astrophysics explains the consequences. A black hole in the cosmos has squeezed so much matter into a small space that the unfathomable pull of gravity prevents even light from getting out.

The Washington, DC regulatory black hole exerts such centralized gravitational force that federalism, states’ rights, state and local laws and customs, and personal liberties increasingly cease to matter.

The federal Goliath now costs US families, businesses, hospitals and organizations over $1.9 trillion a year! That is twice the entire federal budget in 1981. It’s equal to the entire budget in 1986, nearly half the incomprehensible Obama budget for FY-2017, more than the budgets of all other countries except China.

“The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they [resist] every kind of improvement,” economist and political analyst Ludwig von Mises observed 72 years ago. “They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent.”

America’s “soft despotism” is light years from the atrocities and gulags of its infamous predecessors. But it is highly effective nonetheless. The same agencies write, impose, enforce and adjudicate the rules, and impose punishment for infractions. They work tirelessly and imperiously to “fundamentally transform” our nation’s legal, energy, economic and social systems – and keep our fossil fuels “in the ground.”

They impose edicts that would never be supported by the People or enacted by Congress, and that they rarely if ever apply to themselves. They lavish billions on allies, while denying funding and legitimacy to critics, siccing IRS dogs on opposition groups, and threatening civil and criminal “racketeering” actions against anyone who “denies” the alleged “reality” of dangerous manmade climate change.

They seek to ban fossil fuels, biotech crops and insecticides – even from Third World families suffering from abject poverty, rampant malnutrition and disease, and a near total absence of electricity. They do all they can to silence and punish alternative views, and even the notion that there can be alternative views.

For seven years, our “Try and stop me” president and administration have used and abused their powers to impose their agenda. What we need now is a “Try and make me” president, who will refuse to enforce their edicts. Who will use his pen, phone and power to review them, root out any fraud and abuse behind them, and defund and bury them. Who will work with Congress to restore the rule of law and our Constitution, economic growth, and the role of personal liberties, opportunities and responsibilities.

Via email


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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