I freaking made this. pic.twitter.com/Q6zFoZQh3A
— Dana Perino (@DanaPerino) December 8, 2013
From The Pirate’s Cove:
This is where the rationing and long waiting lines start
(Washington Examiner) An estimated seven out of every 10 physicians in deep-blue California are rebelling against the state’s Obamacare health insurance exchange and won’t participate, the head of the state’s largest medical association said.
“It doesn’t surprise me that there’s a high rate of nonparticipation,” said Dr. Richard Thorp, president of the California Medical Association.
Thorp has been a primary care doctor for 38 years in a small town 90 miles north of Sacramento. The CMA represents 38,000 of the roughly 104,000 doctors in California.
“We need some recognition that we’re doing a service to the community. But we can’t do it for free. And we can’t do it at a loss. No other business would do that,” he said.
Well, Obamacare supporters, Liberals, actually do expect doctors and medical centers to provide care for free/at a loss, since they believe profit (for other people) is evil, and that health care is a Right. Anyhow, why are the docs opting out?
California offers one of the lowest government reimbursement rates in the country — 30 percent lower than federal Medicare payments. And reimbursement rates for some procedures are even lower. (snip)
Only in September did insurance companies disclose that their rates would be pegged to California’s Medicaid plan, called Medi-Cal. That’s driven many doctors to just say no.
So California was already in trouble prior to Obamacare, and is now worse, especially with so many moved to Medicaid rather than regular insurance. There was already a shortage of doctors, now the available pool has shrunk even further, meaning many folks a) won’t be able to keep their doctor and b) they’ll have long waiting lines, and may have to travel farther to find visit a doctor. It also means that the specialist pool will be severely restricted.
More at the link.
Somehow, I doubt all of the plastic surgeons around Los Angeles are worried; they weren’t going to be part of the cockamamie scheme in the first place. But prices have to cover expenses, of businesses go out of business.
But, not to worry! It won’t be long before the Pyrite State passes a law making it illegal for physicians to discriminate against patients due to the type of health insurance that they have.
We blog members are sometimes critical of the blog owner, but sometimes gratitude is in order. In this case, it is to say “Thanks!” to Dana for following Ropelight’s advice and flushing the toilet, sending the two turds (Trolls) down the sewer where they belong. No more “Idiot”, “Liar”, “When’s your book deal coming?” or the ever-annoying “Citation please!”. This place is finally civil again.
Of course, it could be argued that having some liberals around to argue with would spice things up, and maybe drive up message traffic. But the lament has always been: “Where can we find liberals who will discuss issues without constantly launching off on personal attacks?” It could be none such exist, that left wingers are just too angry and puffed up with self-importance to ever engage conservatives in a civil manner. Or, to paraphrase an illustration from Kevin Smith’s movie Chasing Amy, imagine the following scenario:
You have four people standing in a room, and in the middle of them is a $100 bill. They are:
1. Santa Claus
2. The Easter Bunny
3. A nice, civil liberal eager to debate issues
4. A vicious left wing troll just looking for a fight.
So, who gets the $100 bill?
It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Megan Fox in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. This week: Women in the combat zone.
Phineas, writing on Sister Toldjah:
Posted by: Phineas on December 5, 2013 at 3:32 p
Because anger at your own difficulties and resentment of another’s success totally justifies punching people in the face:
Councilwoman-elect Laurie Cumbo, who was elected to represent Crown Heights starting in January, released an open letter Tuesday saying that many of her black constituents told her they feel threatened by the growth of the neighborhood’s Jewish community — and she fears the tension could be spiking the recent violence.
“Many African American/Caribbean residents expressed a genuine concern that as the Jewish community continues to grow, they would be pushed out by their Jewish landlords or by Jewish families looking to purchase homes,” Cumbo wrote in the 1,200-word letter, which was emailed to supporters and posted on her Facebook page.
“I respect and appreciate the Jewish community’s family values and unity that has led to strong political, economic and cultural gains. While I personally regard this level of tenacity, I also recognize that for others, the accomplishments of the Jewish community triggers feelings of resentment, and a sense that Jewish success is not also their success.”
She added that these sentiments among black Crown Heights residents “offer possible insight as to how young African American/Caribbean teens could conceivably commit a ‘hate crime’ against a community that they know very little about.”
Cumbo posted her letter a week after she was quoted making similar remarks to The Jewish Week.
Translation: Instead of working to better themselves and be successful in their own right, these misguided youths are embracing antisemitism and acting like a junior Sturmabteilung prepping for another Kristallnacht. Don’t forget that this area was the site of the infamous (and fatal) Crown Heights Riots, egged on by MSNBC host and noted demagogue Al Sharpton. They’re sitting on a potential powder keg there, and what’s needed is straight talk about bigotry and the punishment of the attackers.
But, instead of condemning the attitudes as well as the attacks, Ms. Cumbo mouths pieties about “no excuse for violence” while giving justification to antisemitism by claiming to understand their feelings.
More at the link.
Am I the only one elderly enough here to remember the practice of block busting? The parallels are not exact, but basically you have an elected official trying to justify the “knock out game” by comparing it to whites resisting block busting.
From The Pirate’s Cove:
German Scientists Warn Of Coming Cool Period – Eh, It’s Probably “Climate Change”
By William Teach December 6, 2013 – 8:49 am
As always, I’ll stay skeptical, and say that I will believe it when I see it.
(Daily Caller) Better start investing in some warm clothes because German scientists are predicting that the Earth will cool over the next century.
German scientists found that two naturally occurring cycles will combine to lower global temperatures during the 21st century, eventually dropping to levels corresponding with the “little ice age” of 1870.
“Due to the de Vries cycle, the global temperature will drop until 2100 to a value corresponding to the ‘little ice age’ of 1870,”write German scientists Horst-Joachim Luedecke and Carl-Otto Weiss of the European Institute for Climate and Energy.
Researchers used historical temperature data and data from cave stalagmites to show a 200-year solar cycle, called the de Vries cycle.
They also factored into their work a well-established 65-year Atlantic and Pacific Ocean oscillation cycle. Global warming that has occurred since 1870 can be attributed almost entirely to both these factors, the scientists argue.
According to the scientists, the oft-cited “stagnation” in rising global temperatures over the last 15 years is due to the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean oscillation cycle, which lasts about 65 years. Ocean oscillation is past its “maximum,” leading to small decreases in global temperature.
Fortunately, if they’re talking 1870, the earth was rebounding from the Little Ice Age at that time, so it won’t be like the true depth of the Little Ice Age, or previous cool periods during the Holocene. But, as The Lonely Conservative writes:
In other words, global temperature is controlled by things far outside the realm of human control. What we can control is how we deal with it. So get ready to bundle up!
The mechanisms for Earth’s climate are primarily natural, with a small smattering of anthropogenic causation, mostly from agriculture, landfills, land use, and the Urban Heat Island Effect. But, you know, cold and snow are caused by climate change.
More at the link.
Karen, the Lonely Conservative, noted that New York City is going after people with shotguns and rifles who registered their firearms. The potential victims of this are people who obeyed the law, by registering their weapons, and excludes from consideration those who disobeyed the law, by keeping unregistered firearms. That’s the way the liberals work: go after the law-abiding citizens, and ignore the criminals.
From Robert Stacey Stacy McCain:
Remember the infamous business plan from the South Park episode?
- Collect Underpants
Say hello to the president’s economic theory:
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 4, 2013
It would be an insult to readers to explain why this won’t work, but I will say that in my adult lifetime, every increase in the minimum wage has been followed within a year or two by a recession. Drew M. at AOSHQ endeavors to address the flaws in Obama’s idea, but it’s depressing to think that any adult can’t figure out why raising the minimum wage inevitably causes an increase in unemployment.
And speaking of depressing things to think about, we’ve got 9 million people on disability, 15% of them for mood disorders!
Mood disorders! More than a million Americans are currently collecting a check every month because they feel sad.
It that’s not enough to make you fly into a manic rage . . .
Follow the link to see more of Mr McCain’s manic rage. And Ruthie Thompson of The Victory Girls wrote on the same subject:
Fast food workers and labor organizers protesting today, just don’t seem to get it. Fast food chains hire many low skilled workers at minimum wage in order to keep their costs of their food at a minimum. The typical fast food customer wants a fast and inexpensive meal and most likely will not pay a premium price for burgers and fries. If fast food workers get their way, they will be paid $15 an hour for taking your order. Experts have warned that a $15 / hr minimum wage could not only pass higher food costs to the consumer, but has the potential of costing our teenagers, those summer jobs as well. There has also been some talk of replacing that friendly cashier who takes your order, with touch screen style machines like the ones that McDonald’s tested in Europe in 2011. In fact, the burger flipper could also be in danger as a new robot that has been designed is able to produce up to 400 burgers an hour.
So if you are one of the fast food workers who is participating in today’s protest, I have a little warning for you. Be careful what you wish for. If you manage to claim victory and get that $15 minimum wage raise, you may just find yourself out of a job. Robots and touchscreens are not required to have Obamacare either. Just a thought.
The touch screen that replaces the order-taker already exists here; my darling bride and I saw and used on at a Red Robin restaurant in Allentown several months ago.
As usual, the advocates of increasing the minimum wage have the economic acumen of a six year old.
Let’s say that we did increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15.00 per hour, a $7.75 per hour increase, or a 106.7% raise. Now, what about the guy who is already making $10.00 per hour? Would he get a $7.75 per hour raise, to $17.75, or the minimum $5.00 raise to $15.00? If it’s the latter, you’ve just made a guy who was above the minimum wage a minimum wage worker! And even if he got the $7.75 raise, to $17.75, he’d be making just 18.33% over minimum, rather than the 37.93% over minimum he was making previously. We would be moving millions of people who were earning above the minimum wage level closer to the minimum wage!
That $10.00 worker would need a raise to $20.67 per hour, just to stay even; the $20.00 worker would need a raise to $41.34 per hour, just to stay even.
Of course, throwing such a substantial raise, not just to people currently making the minimum, but everybody making less than $15.00, has to trigger inflation. Businesses have to charge enough for their products to pay for the labor, materials and overhead which goes into production; when you increase labor costs by such a large amount, the prices charged have to increase by a significant amount as well, or the businesses go out of business, and instead of making $15.00 an hour, the employees wind up making $0.00 per hour, unemployed, fired, laid off, gone.
That isn’t PhD stuff; that’s Economics 101, basic enough that even a liberal could understand it . . . if only he tried.
Really. Is there a dopier move that could be made by the city council? I mean, look at this:
Councilman Robert A. Williams, a former city police lieutenant, said the city must take “any means necessary” to solve the problem, including “reaching out to any entity – federal, state or local.” “We need any answers we can get our hands on,” he said.Councilwoman Maria D. Cabrera – also resolution co-sponsor – said she, too, hopes the CDC will study the city’s violence, which she called “an embarrassment” to the home state of the vice president of the United States.
Councilwoman Hanifa G.N. Shabazz’s resolution called it “imperative that national attention be given to the violence,’’ urging the agency that is “charged to protect Americans from health and safety threats … [to] examine and respond to the current surge in gun violence and help mitigate the effects it has on our children and youth.”
Shabazz also mentioned that “While some Delaware government officials might view city lawmakers proposing solutions as ‘squawking council members,’’ if the CDC conducted such a study, they might pay more attention to findings and possible solutions.”
Actually, those “some Delaware government officials” would be spot-on. This is nothing but squawking. Think about Occam’s Razor, Ms. Shabazz. You can study this problem until Ragnarok, but the solution will always be the same: Stable, two-parent families. The article goes on to note the conclusions of a previous CDC study of 50 metro areas:
That report suggested several possible strategies to reduce gun violence, such as early education, school-based programs, parent- and family-based initiatives, and efforts to improve school, neighborhood and community environments.
In essence then, the government should supplant the role of the parent. Which, if that is truly what you wish, fine. But then finding the means (i.e. money) by which to implement the solution will be exceedingly difficult. Why? Well, for one, times are tough. But two, why should people who actually live their lives as, y’know, they’re supposed to — only have kids they can actually care for, live within their means, don’t demand others do “stuff” for them, etc. – have to ante up for those who don’t?
More at the link.
Cassandra_m of one of Hube’s favorite sites, the Delaware Liberal, tried to address that same thing in Wilmington Breaks Its Shootings Record. I pointed out that the theme of her article, getting better policing, is exactly the wrong approach, because the police don’t stop crime, they just clean up after a crime has occurred.
When I moved out of New Castle County in May of 2002, there were some nicer, gentrifying areas of Wilmington, some places on streets close to downtown where people were investing their money to fix up older houses. Occasionally I’d stop at the Cathedral, because they offered Confession at 11:30 daily, and that was more convenient than at my home parish, and I was never afraid to walk in that (small) neighborhood.
But, let’s face facts: when y’all are talking about the crime problems, you aren’t talking about Pandora’s neighborhood near Salesianum, or wherever AGovernor, who had enough money to send his son to Sallie, lived; you are talking about West Second Street (assuming that hasn’t changed in the last 11 years), and the mostly black and Hispanic poor neighborhoods.
What Wilmington needs is more people living in it – which is starting to happen. And if you haven’t hung out in LOMA, you’re missing out. I love the art students. They’re young, hip, friendly and everywhere!
Yup, sure are . . . and what you are talking about, without referring to race at all, is expanding gentrification which means, as bluntly as I can put it, moving more well-to-do, mostly white people back into the city. You won’t like that characterization of it, but it’s true.
But even if you could do that, it isn’t the solution to the problems. The real solutions to the problems, you won’t like, and you will call them racist and sexist, but they are still true:
- Recognize that the first contributor to the problem is that way too many young black and Hispanic males drop out of school. You have to combat that culture, which pushes the sad notion that working hard and doing well in school is “acting white.” You need to flood, and I mean really flood, the schools, every day, with educated and successful black and Hispanic men (and yes, I mean mostly men, because your targets are the black and Hispanic male youth far more than the females), to not only push the notion that the smart thing to do is to stay in school, but to be living examples of that. They need to be there to demonstrate to young males that they really can succeed, really can avoid prison, and that they all have the ability to do it.
- Recognize that a large part of the problem is what leads to status and rewards among black and Hispanic males in the depressed area. You need to strongly push the notion to black and Hispanic females in the schools that copulating with the thugs is a form of rewarding thug behavior. There’s little that teenaged males want more than sex, and if you can ever get to the point where teenaged females are not giving them sex because they are bad guys, you will have put a major disincentive in the way of becoming a thug. You need successful women, married to successful men, to push the notion that sex is something that carries huge responsibilities, and that sex with irresponsible men not only creates larger burdens on the women, but enables irresponsibility among males.
- Recognize that drugs are a large part of the problem, and treat drug crimes, even just possession, as major crimes, crimes which get you locked up for as long as the law allows. You have to get the drug dealers off the streets, and the only way to do that is to attack the demand side; make drug use too big a risk.
Those are not quick fixes, and would probably take at least a decade; you have already lost so many of the current generation of high schoolers; and the area on which to concentrate is the middle schools, where you still have a chance.
And, of course, I was absolutely right: the Delaware Liberals preferred to scream raaaaacism than actually look at the answers. The answers are just too uncomfortable for them.
That’s it for this week. For some reason, Elaine wants me to do some work around the house.
As I type this, it is now 13 degrees below zero. And it’s still early December, several weeks away from the “Official” start of winter! We don’t normally get these temperatures until mid-January.
Yeah, Global Warming is real (snort!)
We have said, several times, that the best thing that the federal government could do with regard to the economy is nothing at all. President Obama, who got his way with the eleventy-first Congress, completely controlled by the Democrats, to the point of having a filibuster-proof majority for a while, did pretty much what the President wanted. The voters were not pleased, and the 2010 elections gave control of the House of Representatives to the Republicans, who put a stop to most of the President’s programs. Now, Mr Obama is complaining. From NBC News:
Obama: GOP should be ‘embarrassed’ by low productivity on Hill
By Michael O’Brien, Political Reporter, NBC News
Republicans ought to be “embarrassed” of their record low productivity during their time in charge of the House of Representatives, President Barack Obama said Thursday.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, the president said Republicans shouldered most of the blame for gridlock in Washington, especially as GOP lawmakers tend to the ideological concerns of their party’s conservative flank.
“They’ve got to be embarrassed,” the president said on a special edition of “Hardball” that aired Thursday evening. “Because the truth of the matter is they’ve now been in charge of the House of Representatives – one branch or one chamber in one branch of government – for a couple of years now. They just don’t have a lot to show for it.”
As the White House works to move past a rocky few weeks in which Republicans seized upon the troubled launch of key portions of Obama’s signature health reform law, the president has pivoted to highlight inaction on Capitol Hill.
Obama has spent much of this week hammering Republicans in Congress for failing to take action on his agenda – or worse, even proposing a viable alternative.
More at the link. And now, from The Wall Street Journal
U.S. Employers Add 203,000 Jobs; Unemployment Rate Falls to Five-Year Low
By Jeffrey Sparshott and Sarah Portlock | Updated Dec. 6, 2013 9:09 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON—U.S. employers continued to add jobs at a steady pace and the unemployment rate fell in November, a sign of stronger economic growth that may intensify debate within the Federal Reserve about reducing central bank bond purchases as early as this month.
U.S. payrolls rose by 203,000 last month, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate dropped three-tenths of a percentage point to 7.0%, the lowest level in five years. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast nonfarm payrolls would rise by 180,000 and the unemployment rate would tick down to 7.2%. September and October payroll numbers were revised up by a combined 8,000.
Friday’s report may reinforce expectations that the Fed will soon slow the pace of its $85 billion a month in bond purchases. At their October meeting, officials were looking to end the program “in coming months.” The Fed’s program, started in September 2012, is designed to keep long-term interest rates low, boost investment and spur hiring.
Fed officials next meet Dec. 17-18.
“December is certainly a meeting where the issue can be addressed, but I want to be quite confident” the economic recovery is on track before cutting Fed bond buys, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said Thursday.
Perhaps we are the only ones who have noticed, but since the voters installed that “do-nothing Congress,” and the President’s programs have been effectively stymied, the economy has been getting better. Yes, it’s improving more slowly than we would like to see, and the deficit, which has been coming down due to the sequester, is still too large, and we would like to see more rapid improvement, but our argument that the government should do nothing about the economy, that the economy will adjust by itself, has been borne out by the results.
Margaret Thatcher famously said, “Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money.” Yet socialism is what our re-energized Democrats/ Progressives/ Populists want to run on. From The Wall Street Journal:
Economic Populism Is a Dead End for Democrats
The de Blasio-Warren agenda won’t travel. Colorado is the real political harbinger.
By Jon Cowan and Jim Kessler | Dec. 2, 2013 6:57 p.m. ET
If you talk to leading progressives these days, you’ll be sure to hear this message: The Democratic Party should embrace the economic populism of New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Such economic populism, they argue, should be the guiding star for Democrats heading into 2016. Nothing would be more disastrous for Democrats.
While New Yorkers think of their city as the center of the universe, the last time its mayor won a race for governor or senator—let alone president—was 1869. For the past 144 years, what has happened in the Big Apple stayed in the Big Apple. Some liberals believe Sen. Warren would be the Democratic Party’s strongest presidential candidate in 2016. But what works in midnight-blue Massachusetts—a state that has had a Republican senator for a total of 152 weeks since 1979—hasn’t sold on a national level since 1960.
The political problems of liberal populism are bad enough. Worse are the actual policies proposed by left-wing populists. The movement relies on a potent “we can have it all” fantasy that goes something like this: If we force the wealthy to pay higher taxes (there are 300,000 tax filers who earn more than $1 million), close a few corporate tax loopholes, and break up some big banks then —presto!— we can pay for, and even expand, existing entitlements. Meanwhile, we can invest more deeply in K-12 education, infrastructure, health research, clean energy and more.
A lot more at the link.
The authors continue to note the economic silliness of Senator Warren’s proposals. Social Security, they noted, has been paying out more in retirement benefits than it receives in payroll taxes since 2010,1 and that the benefits calculation formula increases benefits at a faster rate than inflation, but Mrs Warren is calling for an expansion of Social Security and its benefits, and increasing taxes on working people and businesses2 to pay for it. Some of the Democrats absolutely love that!
Activists reach out to ‘the Elizabeth Warren wing’
By Ned Resnikoff | 11/17/13 11:30 AM—Updated 11/17/13 11:48 AM
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has not expressed any interest in running for president. Yet that hasn’t stopped members of the Democratic Party’s left flank from using her name to put pressure on other 2016 hopefuls.
Case in point: When rumored presidential candidate and current Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley visited the key primary state of New Hampshire on Saturday, members of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) were waiting with a sheaf of pro-Warren bumper stickers. The group distributed the stickers at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, a Democratic fundraiser in Manchester, N.H., where O’Malley was the keynote speaker.
— Ruby Cramer (@rubycramer) November 17, 2013
Warren is a popular figure on the left wing of the Democratic Party due to her aggressive focus on inequality and financial reform. Last week, The New Republic’s Noam Schieber floated her as a potential candidate in the 2016 Democratic Party, where should could serve as a foil to the more Wall Street-friendly Hillary Clinton.
The PCCC has not said that it is trying to draft Warren into the race. Instead, the group appears to be trying to demonstrate the popularity of her anti-austerity, pro-financial reform message in the hopes that other Democratic politicians will begin to emulate it.
Emphasis mine; more at the link.
This goes back to the quote from Lady Margaret Thatcher: the socialists/ progressives/ populists seem to believe that there is just plenty of money, plenty of money, for everybody to have a nice income, if everybody would just share and share alike, and if people won’t share voluntarily — those greedy capitalist pigs!3 — why, then, it’s up to the government to make them share. The idea that reducing the rewards for the producers of wealth might do something really radical like lead to a reduction in wealth produced doesn’t seem to occur to them.
And we can see the results of trying to extend more and more benefits to people who have not earned them, from Greece and the other just-slightly-less-sick countries of Europe, with their bloated government benefits programs for which they could not pay, to Detroit, which is going into Chapter 9 bankruptcy. The Democrats might not like the austerity measures, but the responsible leaders in Europe have already seen that those are the only things which might save them from the folly of past profligacy.
Messrs Cowan and Kessler did not seem to think that the victories of Dr Warren in 2012 and Bill de Blasio this year really meant that much in a national sense:
On the same day that Bill de Blasio won in New York City, a referendum to raise taxes on high-income Coloradans to fund public education and universal pre-K failed in a landslide. This is the type of state that Democrats captured in 2008 to realign the national electoral map, and they did so through offering a vision of pragmatic progressive government, not fantasy-based blue-state populism. Before Democrats follow Sen. Warren and Mayor-elect de Blasio over the populist cliff, they should consider Colorado as the true 2013 Election Day harbinger of American liberalism.
The trouble with that logic is that those same Coloradans voted to re-elect President Obama, which meant, inter alia, that they were voting for higher taxes on themselves, and they knew it. Mitt Romney campaigned on running government more efficiently and less expensively, with lower rather than higher tax rates, and he won only 46.13% of their votes, compared to the 51.49% carried by Mr Obama. Given a good enough Democratic candidate,4 and a perhaps not-so-good Republican opponent, a progressive populist actually could win the 2016 election. It would wind up an absolute disaster for our country if such were to happen, and said candidate was able to put his policies into practice, but we have clearly seen, in 2012, that just because a candidate’s policies just flat didn’t work does not mean he couldn’t be elected.
- Note that, in 2011 and 2012, the employee’s portion of Social Security taxes was reduced from 6.2% to 4.2% of gross wages; the 6.2% rate was restored for 2013. ↩
- Messrs Cowan and Kessler put the tab as $750 billion on workers and another $750 billion on employers. ↩
- I’d note here that Senator Warren, that great crusader for the middle class and supporter of the occupy movement, is herself one of the 1%ers, with a $5 million home and a stock and mutual funds portfolio of $8 million. Dr Warren, who had been outspoken that the wealthy need to pay more in taxes, had the option of paying the higher 5.85% Massachusetts state tax — it’s voluntary — rather than the lower, mandatory rate of 5.30%, and chose to pay the lower rate, on an income of $716,000. At The First Street Journal, our word for that is Democrisy. ↩
- Even though it is the position of The First Street Journal that Barack Hussein Obama is the worst President in decades, it is your Editor’s opinion that he was one of the best presidential candidates ever. ↩
From The Victory Girls:
Pope Francis: Is He Misunderstood By Progressives?
by KATIE LITTLE on DECEMBER 3, 2013
Pope Francis has become a hot topic as of late. One will see headlines such as “A Progressive Pope is Driving the Wingnuts Batty” or “Is Pope Francis Secretly Pro Gay Marriage” or one will see, if they are avid Facebook users, Leftist/Progressive pages posting images similar to the following:
Is this Pope really a Progressive? Is he really better than his predecessors? Does Pope Francis care more for the general public and the overall immortality of the souls of those in this world than anyone else in the past?
More at the link.
Mrs Little cited several examples by which she concluded that no, His Holiness is not a “progressive.” Part of the problem, I would posit, is that American writers are looking at our new Pope through a decidedly ethnocentric — and egocentric — lens. Mrs Little cites an article in uCatholic, The Pope and Rush Limbaugh, which tries to nuance its way out of the very serious criticisms His Holiness had of capitalism, in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. In it, Fr. John Trugilio Jr.1 notes the difference between “unfettered capitalism,” which the progressives — and Mr Limbaugh — thought the Holy Father condemned, and “unfettered consumerism,” citing one sentence, “Welfare projects, which meet certain urgent needs, should be considered merely temporary responses,” from §202, while seeming to ignore that which followed immediately thereafter.
The economy and the distribution of income
202. The need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed, not only for the pragmatic reason of its urgency for the good order of society, but because society needs to be cured of a sickness which is weakening and frustrating it, and which can only lead to new crises. Welfare projects, which meet certain urgent needs, should be considered merely temporary responses. As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality is the root of social ills.
203. The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies. At times, however, they seem to be a mere addendum imported from without in order to fill out a political discourse lacking in perspectives or plans for true and integral development. How many words prove irksome to this system! It is irksome when the question of ethics is raised, when global solidarity is invoked, when the distribution of goods is mentioned, when reference in made to protecting labour and defending the dignity of the powerless, when allusion is made to a God who demands a commitment to justice. At other times these issues are exploited by a rhetoric which cheapens them. Casual indifference in the face of such questions empties our lives and our words of all meaning. Business is a vocation, and a noble vocation, provided that those engaged in it see themselves challenged by a greater meaning in life; this will enable them truly to serve the common good by striving to increase the goods of this world and to make them more accessible to all.
204. We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market. Growth in justice requires more than economic growth, while presupposing such growth: it requires decisions, programmes, mechanisms and processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income, the creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality. I am far from proposing an irresponsible populism, but the economy can no longer turn to remedies that are a new poison, such as attempting to increase profits by reducing the work force and thereby adding to the ranks of the excluded.
American conservatives should not deceive themselves: Pope Francis, very much like his two immediate predecessors, recognizes that a capitalistic system is necessary for economic progress,2 but none of the last three Popes has had anything kind to say about the harshness of the capitalist system.
But, if the American progressives saw some great ally in Pope Francis, they are deceiving themselves. While American progressivism is certainly in line with what His Holiness said about economics and “social justice,” they are inseparably wedded to feminism, to pushing artificial contraception, to abortion on demand, and to normalizing homosexuality in society. Mrs Little noted that, while the Holy Father made statements about it not being the business of mortals to condemn homosexuals,3 he also excommunicated Fr. Greg Reynolds of Melbourne, Australia, for his advocacy of the ordination of women and same-sex “marriage.” And the Pope has been quite clear that abortion cannot ever be accepted.
To try to somehow pigeonhole Pope Francis in terms of American political discourse is really an exercise in futility. On one hand, he looks very much like a friend of American liberals, but, on the other, he is their greatest enemy. For American conservatives, he seems to be a strong ally on the very important social issues of our day,4 but his views on the economy and social justice leave them scratching their heads.
Simply put, Pope Francis is not an American. He comes from an entirely different culture, and attempting to classify him as politically liberal or conservative, in American terms, is doomed to failure. And with the way liberals around the world have accepted and supported abortion and the normalization of homosexuality, it seems unlikely to me that he could be politically pigeonholed in any particular culture.
The answer to Mrs Little’s title question, is Pope Francis misunderstood by progressives, is yes. But the answer to the obvious next question, is Pope Francis misunderstood by conservatives, is also yes.
- Fr. John Trugilio Jr, PhD, ThD is a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg and President of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. His blog can be viewed at http://blackbiretta.blogspot.com/ ↩
- I would note here that His Holiness Pope John Paul II grew up in Poland under the domination of the Soviet Union, and saw, first hand, the economic stagnation and ruin that Communism/Socialism wrought. ↩
- This is not a new thing; the Catechism of the Catholic Church has long taught that homosexuals, as people, must be accepted and not discriminated against, but that homosexual activity is gravely sinful, and that homosexuals must remain celibate. §2357-2359. ↩
- I’d point out here that the pope is very much pro-life, but by pro-life he means from conception to natural death; the Church is strongly opposed to capital punishment. ↩
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
My darling bride and I went back to Kentucky, to visit my family for Thanksgiving. On Saturday, we visited a flea market, and, among other things, I saw these two tables. Makes me proud to be an American!