pecunium: (Pixel Stained)
I just left a comment (awaiting moderation) at Pewsitter (a Catholic bloggy thing: sort of a Groupnews/HuffPo sort of deal, for the more conservative members of the US Church).

The author is praising the protest of Former Ambassador Glendon. She is refusing a Medal from Notre Dame University, because it offends her Catholic soul to see someone who isn't as opposed to abortion as she would like him to be to be graced with the chance to speak; as well as an honorary degree.

He made his point most forcefully: Catholics are no longer going to tolerate secular interpretations of our most sacred Catholic principles. Either you are Catholic in your beliefs, or you are not. There can be no middle ground.

So I asked if the author was as condematory about Boston College not rescinding the honorary degree they gave Condoleeza Rice, and the one Notre Dame gave to Michael Mukasey, as both of them support activities the Church is against.

CCC 2297: Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity. Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law. In times past, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the Pastors of the Church, who themselves adopted in their own tribunals the prescriptions of Roman law concerning torture. Regrettable as these facts are, the Church always taught the duty of clemency and mercy. She forbade clerics to shed blood. In recent times it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors.

(props to the Church, she admits to previous error; which leaves the door open to the possibility the present teachings on Birth Control and Abortion are also products of their age, and not of ineluctable Truth)

We shall see if it gets released.
pecunium: (Default)
[profile] libertango recently added to his info page.

His choice in quotations is always interesting, often amusing and leads those with wit (as do all strings of quotations) to moderate introspection.

"Produce! Produce! Were it but the pitifullest infinitesimal fraction of a Product, produce it, in God's name! 'Tis the utmost thou hast in thee: out with it, then. Up, up! Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy whole might. Work while it is called Today; for the night cometh, wherein no man can work."
-- Thomas Carlyle

That one struck me. It fits well with the blessed holdovers of my flirtation with Holy Orders (or perhaps those orders were flirting with me), because the Jesuits have a motto, Omnia ad majorem Dei gloriam (All for the greater glory of God). It is meant as a meditation, and a focus. A way to see the presence of the Divine in everything, from digging a ditch, to painting the Sistine Chapel. Each of us does things, we can do them mindfully, or not.

Ok.

Me, I fail in that. There are hours of the day when I merely do, without thinking. And I am, as are we all, heterodox. I tend to do most of my offering up when I am doing something which will go to someone else. The Quakerish part of me (six years living with one will affect how one sees the world) says I am offering it up to the spark of the Divine in everyone. The Catholic part of me says that's narrow minded, as the Divine suffuses more than just those aspects of The Creation which are quick.

One of the times I am most likely to be more than merely doing, by rote, is when I cook. The most mundane aspects of cooking are, to me, infused with awe.

So, todays lesson, a reading from the book of grace notes:

Carmelized onions

Take you some onions, cut them up to the size you want.

In a heavy skillet place some butter, to this add the onions, and set them on a low heat.

Be certain you have a lid, for if one just leave the onions in the skillet those on the top will merely wilt, and those below shall be singed; and burnt, of no good to any man but the gardener; who may use them in his compost.

Leave them be, attending them only with your nose, for the lid will gather up the water the fire drives out; which water will remove the sugars the heat has released and those sugars will blend with the softening onions, and the butter, to a browned and sweet mass. Every so often, when the smell reminds you they are cooking, look on them, and stir the paler ones to the bottom; where they too may go limp, and become brown.

This may then be used in such wise as needed, to line the bottom of a quiche, to dress a steak, to round out a casserole, to be eaten out hand; steaming from the stove, simmered into a reduction, or to such other use as the mind and palate may see fit; be they dominant note, or harmony, the secret is the cover.



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A friend of mine [profile] skeetermonkey posted a raillery against liberals. He made the usual tropes (all politicians lie, you only care about Bush because he’s across the aisle; Liberals don’t really support the troops; war sucks, get over it; what makes this war any more unjust than any other war; the press is a liberal shill; Bush can’t be both smart and stupid and you can’t stop him anyway; lots of silly screaming about things that aren’t going to happen is going on about things like women’s rights, civil rights, etc., etc., etc.).

You can go look at the original here. He’s not a bad writer, and could probably use more exposure to liberals who will stand up to him.

But it got me to thinking. I’ve said before what I believe in, what it is that makes me a “liberal”, but now I want to address the reasons I can’t support this president, nor the Party he belongs to.

Lies

I am not a moral relativist, more of a pragmatist. I know absolutes don’t work. Some lies matter and some don’t. I don’t think Clinton’s lies about Monica Lewinsky mattered because they didn’t affect the nation (well, not as a result of the purpose of the lie, as it fell out there was great affect, and not to the good, but not as the intended result of the lie. I digress). Nor do I think his being sworn mattered much. Perjury requires that the lies told be relevant to case at hand. U.S. Code 18 Part I Chap. 79 Sec. 1621 says,
Whoever—
(1) having taken an oath before a competent tribunal, officer, or person, in any case in which a law of the United States authorizes an oath to be administered, that he will testify, declare, depose, or certify truly, or that any written testimony, declaration, deposition, or certificate by him subscribed, is true, willfully and contrary to such oath states or subscribes any material matter which he does not believe to be true; or
(2) in any declaration, certificate, verification, or statement under penalty of perjury as permitted under section 1746 of title 28, United States Code, willfully subscribes as true any material matter which he does not believe to be true;
is guilty of perjury


Since the statement of Clinton’s wasn’t material, he didn’t commit perjury.

I can't really accept the view of Matt, and many others, defending Bush, for his lies, because, “all politicians lie” Either they are admitting they have no moral ground for the impeachment (which they still defend, in part by using it as a stick to beat those who protest Bush’s lies) or they have no moral ground to support Bush in this. Consistency is a simple thing to expect.

I further take issue because Bush told his lies in a material matter, which had the intent of making grave changes in U.S. policy, in a forum where he had taken an oath. His Oath of Office requires him to uphold and defend the Constitution. He told lies (and I believe knowingly, because in my little corner of the Intel world we knew it was a load of steaming snake shit; foul, caustic and rank) to the American people in his State of the Union Address, which address is one of the few duties the Constitution demands of the President, "he shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient,"which means that address is something he is required to do as president, and so is covered by his oath. To lie in the furtherance of a policy which will cost greatly, in blood and treasure, and which has proven not provide the gains promised; in that we are no safer (probably less safe) and have lost the goodwill of our allies, and increased the number and fervor of our enemies means I can’t equate the lies of the two men, for they as different in effect as they were in nature. The one was to save some personal face, lest he suffer shame, and the other was to engage in a war we didn’t need, on premises which were false.

So that does for the lies.

Now to the personal.

I can’t support him as a Catholic because he has engaged in an unjust war (per the Doctrines of the Church and the statements of the Pope) as well as for his support of capital punishment, which the Church decries. This in no way affects my loyalty to the Nation, nor the Army, because I can render unto Caesar. It does mean, however, neither he, nor those of his mind can earn my vote.

I can’t support him as a Fiscal Conservative because he has elected to cut taxes and increase spending, not as a mistake, when he thought there was a surplus, but as a continued matter of policy, when he knows the expenses are going to increase he still demands tax cuts. Further he has engaged in misrepresenting the true state of the nation’s finances by continuing to carry the costs of the war off the books. For that violation of his fiduciary responsibilities he, nor those of his mind cannot keep my vote.

I can’t support him as a Libertarian, because he has appointed those to office, in the role of oversight of law enforcement who say the Treaties we have signed are irrelevant, and have argued; without repudiation, that the President is the law; because it is inherent in his office to set aside those laws with which he does not agree. For that neither he, nor those of his mind can earn my vote.

I can’t support him as a Progressive, because he has shifted the burden of paying for the great expenses he has incurred to those least able to bear them. His reduction of the top rates, and maintenance of the Alternative Minimum Tax, means those at the bottom (esp. those who are married and have children) will have to pay the greater share of the burden. For that neither he, nor those of his mind can keep my vote.

I can’t support him as a person of conscience, because he encourages, both passively, and actively a style of politics which divides the nation. His insistence, and his party’s habit, of demanding that anyone who makes statements which might be seen as detracting, or extreme be denounced; even when the charges are factual, while refusing to denounce; and pleading inability to dissuade, those who practice lies and calumnies against his opponents, for that neither he, nor those of his mind can keep my vote.

As a believer in the Constitution, I can’t support him, because of his practice of preventing those who disagree with him from having the chance speak their minds, much less to petition for redress of grievance, at functions he is spending taxpayer money to make possible. Functions where he is trying to use the bully pulpit of his office, and the kind treatment of the press, to make it seem his policies are supported far and wide, even when they are not. For that neither he, nor those of his mind can earn my vote.

For these reasons, and so many others, alluded to here and in the wider world, I am opposed to this man’s ideology, his practice of politics. For his moral vacuity, if not actual turpitude and his lack of any real piety, despite the outward show of faith, I am disgusted with not merely him, but those who have looked on his works and decided, for whatever reasons, they can be accepted, without demurrer, and more without seeing any reason why men of good will might be so opposed.




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