Friday, October 31, 2008

491 years ago today

[From the First Book of Heinrich Heine's Zur Geschichte der Religion und Philosophie in Deutschland, translated by me]

But even more than the Devil's mind Martin Luther mistook the mind of the Pope and the Catholic Church. Because of my strict impartiality, I must now take up the cudgel for both, as I did for the devil, against the all too eager man.

Indeed, if one were to ask me in conscience, I would have to admit that the Pope, Leo X, was actually far more reasonable than Luther, and that the latter simply did not grasp the ultimate raison d'etre of the Catholic Church. For Luther did not understand that the idea of Christianity, the annihilation of sensuality, contradicts human nature so much that it could never be carried out in its entirety. He had not understood that Catholicism was like, as it were, a Concordat between God and the Devil, i.e. between Spiritualism and Materialism, in which the primacy of spiritualism was acknowledged in theory, but materialism was given a status in which it could in praxis exercise all its annulled rights. Whence came a clever system of concessions, which the Church concocted to the benefit of sensuality, but always in ways that denounced every act of sensuality and preserved the disdainful usurpation of spiritualism.

You may give a hearing to the delicate inclinations of your heart and embrace a beautiful girl, but you must confess that it was a scandalous sin, and for this sin you must do penance. That this penance could be effected by money was as beneficial for humanity as it was useful for the Church. The Church permitted the payment of, so to speak, resistance money for every fleshly pleasure, and soon there developed a tax for all sorts of sins. There were even holy peddlers, who, in the name of the Roman Church, hawked a letter of indulgence for any of the taxed sins.

One such peddler was that Tetzel against whom Luther first rose. Our historians are of the opinion that this protest against the indulgence trade was an insignificant event, and that it was only Roman pigheadedness that drove Luther, who at the outset railed only against an abuse of the Church, to attack the entire ecclesiastical authority at her highest pinnacle. But this is simply erroneous. The indulgence trade was no abuse, it was a consequence of the entire Church system. As Luther attacked the former, he attacked the Church Herself, and She had to condemn him as a heretic.

Leo X, the refined Florentine, the student of Poliziano, the friend of Raphael, the Greek philosopher with the threefold crown, which the conclave bestowed upon him perhaps because he suffered from an illness that in no way comes from Christian abstinence and was back then still very dangerous.... Leo von Medici, how he must have smiled at this poor, chaste simpleton of a monk, who believed the Gospel was the charter of Christianity, and this charter must be the Truth! Leo probably did not even notice what Luther wanted. He was at the time much too busy with the construction of St. Peter's Basilica, the cost of which was financed with the indulgence money, so that the sins did actually and truly give the money that built this church.

Hence, the Basilica became a monument, as it were, to sensual lust, as did those pyramids that were built by an Egyptian prostitute with money she earned from her trade. Perhaps one could better make the claim for this house of God than for the Cathedral at Cologne that it was built by the devil. This triumph of Spiritualism, namely that Materialism itself must build for its enemy its most beautiful temple, that for the heap of concessions one makes with the flesh one acquires the means to glorify the Spirit, this is not understood in the German North.

For here, far more than under the burning Italian Sky, it was possible to practice a Christianity which made the least concessions possible to sensuality. We Northerners have a colder blood, and we require not so many letters of indulgence for fleshly sins as our paternally concerned Leo had sent us. The climate makes it easier for us to practice the Christian virtues, and on October 31, 1516, as Luther nailed his theses against indulgences on the doors of the Augustine Church, the town moat of Wittenburg had probably already frozen over. One could go ice-skating, which is a cold amusement and, therefore, not a sin.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I have to vote for Barack Obama

Obama claims he is a Christian and an American. Well, that's a lie. He is a Muslim, and a very radical one, too, the very kind that provoked Bush into the Global War on Terror. After all, Obama's middle-name is Hussein, which we all know is Arabic for, "I will impose Sharia Law once elected." So, this means that if Obama is elected president, women will be forced to wear birkas, the federal age of consent will go down to at least 13, adulterers and practicing homosexuals will be publicly stoned, Osama bin Laden will be appointed Secretary of Jihad, and our foreign policy will be aimed at the establishment of a global Caliphate. And so, we will withdraw our troops from Iraq and use them to invade and conquer those Infidels in Europe, Russia, and, of course, Israel.

Unfortunately, this means that as a devout Catholic, I must vote for him. Because he will impose Sharia Law, that means abortion in this country will be outlawed. And for a devout Catholic like me, abortion is pretty much the only issue that I am allowed to consider when casting my vote. Yes, Obama will wage holy wars on behalf of radical Islam. So, what? War is not intrinsically evil. It is, as Bishops like Burke and Meyers and neo-con Catholics like Weigel have reminded us, purely a matter of prudence for state leaders to decide. Hoi polloi like you and me are not in a position to judge all the complicated factors that go into the decision to bomb the shit out of another country. Besides reasonable people can disagree over the justice of going to war for oil and Haliburton's stock portfolio. So, if reasonable people can disagree over that, it's fair to say that reasonable people can disagree over the merits of global Jihad. But reasonable people can't disagree over abortion at all. If you think it is right to legalize baby murder, then you are insane, of course, unless, that is, you are explaining away the bombing of hospitals as usual wartime collateral damage. Therefore, I have to vote for Obama and his imposition of Sharia Law.

But, I can hear people saying to me, "You're being very silly. Even if Obama is anti-abortion, and that is hard to believe, given his full-throated endorsement of Roe and outright infanticide, McCain is explicitly anti-abortion and he won't impose Sharia Law." Well, yes, McCain says he is anti-abortion and all, but all he'll do if elected is, perhaps, appoint judges to the bench who might vote to overturn Roe--if, that is, a state challenges it--, and even then abortion will not be outlawed. It will then be a choice for the states. Obama, radical Muslim that he certainly is, will not be satisfied to leave such a pressing issue to a maze of contingencies. Once in office he will have the infidels on the Court beheaded and use the Army to impose Sharia Law in every single state. He will be able to justify this extraordinary use of executive power by invoking Dick Cheney's groundbreaking interpretation of the Constitution. Abortion will be outlawed in a matter of days. So, if Obama truly is the closet radical Muslim that everyone thinks he is, then he is the true anti-abortion candidate, and McCain is really a pro-choice weenie. Therefore, Catholics must, if they are to avoid the pains of perpetual perdition, vote for Obama.

And, yes, Obama has styled himself to be an infanticidal whacko. But he's still in the closet, remember? He won't come out until his Inauguration, i.e. after he has had his transition team replace Blackwater mercs with ones from Al Qaeda. Until then he has to be an extremist on abortion to get the godless feminists on his side. That's part of his cover. Obama thought that if he pandered to all those secular femanazis, no one would ever mistake him for one of UBL's henchmen.

Well, he was wrong. I see through you, Mr. Obama, and so have many other people. I am terrified of a global jihad. I don't like women in birkas. And although I think adultery and sodomy are sins, punishing those sins by public stonings strikes me as way harsh. But, as we've seen, war is merely a prudential matter. Sartorial concerns are trivial, of course, and adulterers and practicing homosexuals are in fact vile sinners. Unborn babies are innocent, and the Muslim Barack Obama wants to protect them. Radical Islam has its defects, true, but on the one issue that my Church allows me to consider when I cast my vote, Radical Islam gets it right. Therefore, if I do not want to go to hell, if my Catholic Conscience will ever let me sleep at night, I have no choice but to vote for Barack Obama.

I must say, though, I kinda like the prospect of lowering the age of consent. But, of course, I mayn't let my perversions enter into my political calculations, either.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

an aphorism

The skeptic always ends up justifying the status quo simply because he says he cannot know anything else. Thus, the skeptic is the paradigmatic conservative.

Friday, October 17, 2008

W. und Selbstbefriedigung

Picking out the glaring idiocies in Bush's speeches is very easy. When he pounded the podium and defiantly announced that we would not let foreigners interfere with the internal affairs of Iraq, for instance. It's simple, but it is also as pointless as masturbation. The satisfaction vanishes as quickly at it, er, came, and then you feel as empty as before. That was, by the way, exactly how I felt after watching Oliver Stone's W., a film that told me what I already knew, namely that Our Dear Leader is a subliterate fratboy, whose grunting, banal cluelessness would insult the intellect of a Neanderthal. The film will spark no revolt, no armed rebellion, only, perhaps, a self-indulgent chuckle and a fleeting sense of superiority, which will vanish upon the sobering recognition that feeling superior to such a stupid stump is hardly meritorious and, worse, that we the American people elected such a vacuous fuckwit. One can buy hardcore porn for just four bucks more than the price of a movie ticket, and that would have provided more honest entertainment--relatively speaking, of course. Fortunately for me, someone paid for my viewing of Oliver Stone's atrociously cheap thrill.

That said, I can't resist pointing out the latest obvious idiocy of Our Dear Leader. I haven't been laid in sixteen years. Masturbation is a mortal sin. So, I admit it: I need cheap thrills. And besides, a certain Lutheran pastor loves to consign me to hell because I am dishonoring the powers that be. Whenever some loony Protestant heretic consigns me to hell, I know I am doing something right.

So, here is the latest feculence of the Leader of the Free World. He spewed this out this morning:
The government's involvement is limited in scope. The government will not exercise control over any private firm. Federal officers will not have a seat around your local bank's boardroom table. The shares owned by the government will have voting rights that can be used only to protect the taxpayers' investment, not to direct the firm's operations.
So, the government will let the firms do whatever the hell they want, like, say, I don't know, leveraging out the wazoo so they can invest in securities backed by mortgages on crackhouses, but the government will protect the taxpayers' investment anyway. That's like a father paying for his teenager's driver's insurance and telling the teenager that he can drive however he likes.

Europeans like to ridicule us as stupid. Do you wonder why?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ralph Nader makes an obvious Chomskyite point about the bogus Bill Ayers sideshow

Second, on the Bill Ayers thing, who is a lapsed small-time saboteur with the Weather Underground many years ago, what should have been said was the big-time terrorists, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, these are clinically verifiable mass terrorists who have killed innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere in their criminal wars of aggression. These are criminal wars of aggression. These are war crimes. These are war criminals. They have killed over a million Iraqi civilians as a result of that criminal invasion. That’s where the discussion should have focused on. The big-time terrorists, the state terrorists in the White House who have violated our Constitution, our statutes and our international treaties, and have been condemned even by the American Bar Association for a continual violence of our—violation of our Constitution.
--Ralph Nader on Democracy Now!, October 16, 2008


God, I would love to vote for Nader. Unfortunately, he supports legal abortion. Damn!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sarah Palin is a fascist

In response to jeering protesters at a campaign rally, Mrs. Palin scolded her loud detractors, saying that she hoped that they had enough honor to thank the soldiers in Iraq for having given them the right to protest. Last time I checked our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, it says that our Creator gives us our rights, not men with guns. If Palin is correct and Jefferson wrong and men with guns are indeed the source of one's rights, then does this mean that there was no right to protest in Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia? After all, men with guns in those regimes regarded what we see as rights as crimes of high treason. Do guns determine what is right and what is wrong? Mrs. Palin thinks so. Conclusion: Sarah Palin is a fascist.

(Why is this post getting so many hits all of a sudden?--4/14/2016)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Frankie Schaeffer weighs in on the matter of proportionality and backs Obama

[I usually do not post unoriginal stuff to my weblog, but this is important. Frankie Schaeffer, son of the indefatigable anti-abortion activist and well-known Evangelical Francis Schaeffer, is backing the infanticidal maniac Barack Obama. As you will, I hope, read, he did not come to this decision lightly. He still thinks legal abortion is evil but thinks that electing wingnuts horny for Armageddon is even more evil. Yeah, well I am glad to hear someone repeating what I have been barking about for some time now. That said, I cannot vote for Obama. Obama's stance on abortion truly disgusts me. I just can't understand why the Democratic Party, the party that is professedly for the "little guy", pledges to protect the "right" to treat the littlest of them all as disposable garbage. Mr. Schaeffer's pro-life stance has become obviously compromised. Just as pro-life supporters of Bush compromised their commitment to the sanctity of human life by making sophistic apologies for the murderous doctrine of preventive war, Mr. Schaeffer has shamefully compromised his credibility on life by now indulging what I call the "economic argument to salve the consciences of pro-choice Christian heretics". The argument goes like this: Make the economy more amenable for poor people so they can afford to have children instead of having to kill them. The argument gets the notion of economic justice precisely backasswards. One fights for economic justice because life is sacred, but the Christian supporters of Kerry were arguing that the latter depends on the former. In other words, human life is sacred only if it is affordable. This was the argument Catholic dissidents used to justify their votes for Kerry in 2004. It stunk then, it stinks now. Catholic dissidents are usually the type who will say "Capitalism sucks", and yet those were the very same people who were saying in effect that economics should determine human worth. The whole fucking point of saying "Capitalism sucks" is to resist the idea that money should determine human worth. Catholic dissidents are not only heretical; they are profoundly stupid. I will be damned if I vote for McCain. I will be damned if I vote for Obama. I want a viable third party. Oh, one more thing: Frankie Schaeffer is no longer an Evangelical. He converted to Eastern Orthodoxy some years ago and, as far as I know, still is Eastern Orthodox.--PSR]

October 13, 2008
Schaefferweb
Former McCain Supporter Accuses the Senator of “Deliberately Feeding the Most Unhinged Elements of Our Society the Red Meat of Hate”


Frank Schaeffer, bestselling author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back. He is the son of the late evangelist Francis Schaeffer and considered himself a lifelong Republican. He voted for John McCain in 2000, and McCain even endorsed one of Schaeffer’s earlier books on military service. On Friday, Schaeffer published ‘An Open Letter to John McCain’ in the Baltimore Sun.


AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to the McCain campaign’s strategy of repeatedly invoking Senator Obama’s connection to former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers, now a professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago. It seems to very clearly have a serious effect of riling up crowds of McCain and Palin supporters, to a point that Senator McCain was booed at his own rally Friday when he attempted to defend his rival against character attacks.

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: I want to be president of the United States, and obviously I do not want Senator Obama to be, but I have to tell you, I have to tell you, he is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared as president of the United States.

AUDIENCE: [booing]

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: Now, I just—now, I just—now, look, I—if I didn’t think I wouldn’t be one heck of a lot better president, I wouldn’t be running, OK? And that’s the point.


AMY GOODMAN: The Republican presidential nominee was speaking to a crowd near Minneapolis Friday. His attempt to defend Senator Obama was met with jeers.

At a Palin rally earlier in the week, Governor Palin referred to Senator Obama as a man connected to “a former domestic terrorist.” She said she was “fearful” of his vision of America.

GOV. SARAH PALIN: I am just so fearful that this is not a man who sees America the way that you and I see America, as the greatest source for good in this world. I’m afraid this is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country.


AMY GOODMAN: While Governor Palin was speaking about Obama, an audience member, it’s believed, yelled out, “Kill him!” It’s unclear if Palin heard the remark, but she didn’t respond.

Obama was eight years old when, forty years ago, Bill Ayers was a member of the militant antiwar group, the Weather Underground. Today, Bill Ayers is a tenured professor and leading expert on education reform at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

At another moment last week during the presidential debate, McCain referred to Obama as “that one.”

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: It was an energy bill on the floor of the Senate loaded down with goodies, billions for the oil companies, and it was sponsored by Bush and Cheney. You know who voted for it? You might never know. That one. You know who voted against it? Me.


AMY GOODMAN: Our next guest, joining us from Boston, is Frank Schaeffer, the bestselling author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back. He’s the son of the late evangelist Francis Schaeffer, considered himself a lifelong Republican. He voted for John McCain in 2000. McCain even endorsed one of Schaeffer’s earlier books on military service. But on Friday, Frank Schaeffer published an op-ed piece in the Baltimore Sun excoriating McCain for “feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate.” The op-ed is entitled "An Open Letter to John McCain.” Frank Schaeffer joins us now from Boston.

Welcome to Democracy Now!

FRANK SCHAEFFER: Thank you, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s very good to have you with us. Can you—do you, by chance, have the letter in front of you?

FRANK SCHAEFFER: Yes, I do. I have it right here. What would you like to hear?

AMY GOODMAN: Could you read it to us?

FRANK SCHAEFFER: Sure. This is the op-ed.

“John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as ‘not one of us,’ I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.

“At a Sarah Palin rally, someone called out, ‘Kill him!’ At one of your rallies, someone called out, ‘Terrorist!’ Neither was answered or denounced by you or your running mate, as the crowd laughed and cheered. At your campaign event Wednesday in Bethlehem, Pa., the crowd was seething with hatred for the Democratic nominee—an attitude encouraged in speeches there by you, your running mate, your wife and the local Republican chairman.

“Shame!

“John McCain: In 2000, as a lifelong Republican, I worked to get you elected instead of George W. Bush. In return, you wrote an endorsement of one of my books about military service. You seemed to be a man who put principle ahead of mere political gain.

“You have changed. You have a choice: Go down in history as a decent senator and an honorable military man with many successes, or go down in history as the latest abettor of right-wing extremist hate.

“John McCain, you are no fool, and you understand the depths of hatred that [surround] the issue of race in this country. You also know that, post-9/11, to call someone a friend of a terrorist is a very serious matter. You also know we are [a bitterly divided country] on many other issues. You know that, sadly, in America, violence is always just a moment away. You know that there are plenty of crazy people out there.

“Stop! Think! Your rallies are beginning to look, sound, feel and smell like lynch mobs.

“John McCain, you’re walking a perilous line. If you do not stand up for all that is good in America and declare that Senator Obama is a patriot, fit for office, and denounce your hate-filled supporters when they scream out ‘Terrorist’ or ‘Kill him,’ history will hold you responsible for all that follows.

“John McCain and Sarah Palin, you are playing with fire, and you know it. You are unleashing the monster of American hatred and prejudice, to the peril of all of us. You are doing this in wartime. You are doing this as our economy collapses. You are doing this in a country with a history of assassinations.

“Change the atmosphere of your campaign. Talk about the issues at hand. Make your case. But stop stirring up the lunatic fringe of haters, or risk suffering the judgment of history and the loathing of the American people—forever.

“We will hold you responsible.”

So that was the piece, and it got quite a response, actually. I’ve been swamped with email, and encouragingly, most of it—most of it favorable.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, Frank Schaeffer, you supported John McCain in 2000, as you write.

FRANK SCHAEFFER: Yeah. I mean, you mentioned my book Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back. And really, people who have read that book will know that I come from an evangelical family that was really evangelical royalty in the ’70s and ’80s. My father was a frequent guest in the Reagan, Bush and also even the Ford White House—Bush, first, that is. And my background, therefore, was very unthinkingly Republican. We were always just associated with these folks. And so, in 2000, I was actually on a number of evangelical and right-wing stations, like with Ollie North, for instance, on his radio station, pleading the cause of John McCain, who I thought would be a much better candidate than George W. Bush.

But really, over the years, distancing myself from that evangelical background, as I talk about in the book, I’ve come to a place where I really see what Max Blumenthal was talking about in the earlier part of your show, and that is, you know, speaking of the secessionists in Alaska, the evangelical right-wing subculture in this country, particularly the Assemblies of God, by the way, that Sarah Palin comes from, have really already ceded from our union, in the sense of the fact that they have, you know, between home schooling and their own schools, their own publishing, their own radio, their own TV, many times very fundamentally anti-American, waiting for the Apocalypse, waiting for Jesus to take everybody away in the Rapture, weirdly Christian Zionist and at the same time assuming that the Jews will all be killed in Armageddon, when Jesus comes back, as part of their Rapture enterprise.

You know, just to put it frankly, the evangelical movement that I grew up in as a child used to be a fairly respectable and respectable—respectful group of people. They regarded themselves as Americans and part of the system. And now, I really think it’s been taken over by a group of people that have to be described fairly as just wing nuts. And if you read Crazy for God, you’re going to find, through my own journey, coming out of the ’50s and ’60s, that I watched all this change. I mean, you know, I preached from Jerry Falwell’s pulpit. He sent a jet up to get me once. You know, I know Pat Robertson and Dr. Dobson and all these people personally. And the fact of the matter is, the movement has gone off the rails.

And the dangerous thing about Sarah Palin is, is that there’s a very direct line from her to the kind of extremism that would literally destroy this country. So, you know, when you look at what eight years of George Bush has done to our economy, on one side, when you look at the war we’re in in Iraq—and, by the way, my son was in the Marine Corps and fought twice in Afghanistan, took one mission to Iraq, one to the Horn of Africa, so I speak as someone whose son actually was out there getting shot at because of these policies. When you look at all this, as I talk about in the book, what you see is that we really are at a crossroads here.

This election is not just an election. This election is a mirror that is being held up to the United States, saying you can choose what sort of country you want to be. Do you want to be with the Sarah Palin wing nuts who are bearing high-powered rifles in their gardens for the time when the United Nations sends Black Hawk helicopter-type missions against America? You know, do you want to assume that Jesus will be coming back to rapture everybody, so you hope there’s an atheist co-pilot in every plane? I know this sounds laughable, but there are tens of millions of Americans who are buying into this crap. Or do you want to be a member of the United States of America—Republican, Democrat, left, right, center, but part of the American family? Or have you already ceded from our union?

So, basically, I think what this election is about and what my book is certainly about is, besides the politics, besides whether we have Barack Obama or John McCain as our president, is also another kind of a choice, and that is, are we going to give the right-wing evangelical/fundamentalist wing nuts of all stripes, of the Sarah Palin types, a voice in literally destroying this democracy? Do you want another eight years like the eight years that have passed, double, triple, and go from there?

So, you know, my problem with McCain now is that by nominating Sarah Palin and, as I talked about in this editorial, by opening the floodgates of hate because of his ambition to win, basically doing whatever it takes to do that, he’s clearly choosing to try to empower the America that will destroy the real America. When I say “the real America,” I mean people who are proud of their country. So we’ve come to a very weird place. We have Sarah Palin, who talks about Barack Obama not liking his country enough. Her husband and her are associated with secessionists, so we have someone who wants to run for vice president who doesn’t even want the union to hang together, who would have fought on the other side in the Civil War, as it were, when it comes to the States, you know, going up against Barack Obama, who I personally think would make a terrific president. And—

AMY GOODMAN: Franks Schaeffer, I want to just—

FRANK SCHAEFFER: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: —come in here on that—

FRANK SCHAEFFER: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: —because it’s very significant, your endorsement of Barack Obama, considering where you come from and your own beliefs.

FRANK SCHAEFFER: Right.

AMY GOODMAN: I mean, your father was a famous evangelical preacher—

FRANK SCHAEFFER: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: —a person who gave sermons around the world. Really, you convinced him to take up the anti-abortion line—

FRANK SCHAEFFER: Absolutely.

AMY GOODMAN: —to make it central to his philosophy and your own.

FRANK SCHAEFFER: Right.

AMY GOODMAN: So, here you are, anti-choice, pro-life, and pro-Obama, Senator Obama, who is fiercely pro-choice.

FRANK SCHAEFFER: Right, right. And you know what? It’s an imperfect world, but I would rather have a president that I disagree with on the issue of choice who’s fit to be president than an old man who has just shown such a lack of judgment as to literally connect himself to the lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe. It isn’t just someone you disagree with politically. That’s one point.

And I’d say something else about the choice issue. I am pro-life. I haven’t changed in that regard. If people read my book, Crazy for God, they’ll see that I’ve gone left, if you want to put it that way, in many, many areas, but not that one. But I actually believe that if your interest is not ideology and ideological purity, but rather abortion itself, i.e. you want more or less abortions, that the medical and social programs that Barack Obama is talking about for our country, in terms of care of women and children and families, improvement in education and possibilities for all Americans, actually will result in less abortions. So my interest in the abortion issue is that I think abortion is a tragedy. My interest is not the politics of it, as in always appearing to vote for the person who has the correct ideology.

And so, I think there’s a choice for Americans interested in this issue who are like me, pro-life, and that is, do you want to choose ideological purity attached to a party that will so destroy our economy and all the social programs that there will be more abortions, i.e. as there have been through the Republican-controlled years, when they’ve been talking about this issue for thirty years and done nothing about it for actually helping women and children, or would you rather have a president like Barack Obama, who you disagree with on this one ideological point, in terms of what you might call the theology of the issue, but whose program would practically result in a more conducive environment for families to prosper, for people to have children, for kids to go to school, for women to be taken care of? And I would rather vote for a person who’s going to do the job rather than just have the correct ideology.

AMY GOODMAN: Frank Schaeffer, also on this point of terror and terrorists, you make a very interesting point. I read your—was reading your book throughout yesterday and last night, and about—

FRANK SCHAEFFER: Thank you. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: —about your dad and about being invited to the White House by President Reagan—

FRANK SCHAEFFER: Right.

AMY GOODMAN: —by President Bush, Sr., by President Ford, and you talked about him calling for the violent overthrow of the United States, yet still being invited to the White House.

FRANK SCHAEFFER: Yeah. I mean, the hypocrisy is total. Again, it goes back to what Max Blumenthal was saying. And, by the way, I totally commend him. I hope everybody goes to his website and looks at this. This is a huge and underreported story he was talking about, and he is getting to the nub of it. So, well done, Max Blumenthal.

But people who read Crazy for God will come to see that what I decided was happening was that the people who were talking from the right were actually—about patriotism and wrapping themselves in the flag were actually, in a weird way, profoundly anti-American. They wanted disaster. The worse the country got, the closer it was to Christ coming back, the more you needed Christians to tell you to accept Jesus as your savior. You know, they needed—they needed an apocalyptic frame of mind.

AMY GOODMAN: We have eight seconds.

FRANK SCHAEFFER: Yeah. So, essentially, yeah, I would just say, you know, my point is, there was a hypocrisy, because the anti-Americanism was very much in the right while the right was talking about and pointing the finger at the left.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Frank Schaeffer, I want to thank you very much for being with us, a film director, former evangelical Christian. Latest book, Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back. He has written "An Open Letter to John McCain".

Nuns on the Run

Homeland Security has declared two Catholic nuns to be terrorists. Now I can sleep at night knowing that my knuckles are a little bit safer from those hags' rulers. It's about time someone did something about those vicious viragoes! I can't even write my name without having agonizing flashbacks to my grade school days when those sadistic scolds gave me premature arthritis because my "s" looked too risqué. Oh, the horrors!! Thank you, Homeland Security, for protecting me from those pure incarnations of ruthless evil! You are making the world safe for bad penmanship!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Francis Fukuyama, call your office

The Oracle, Ayn Rand's Talmudist, Alan Greenspan hath spoken:
The crisis will mean a return to the ideological struggle between socialism and capitalism. Many of us thought that struggle was over with the collapse of the command economies, but this is not the case.
So, history has resumed, Frank. Bummer, now you have to write another afterword.

Then again, I may be crowing too soon. After all, Bush now has the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team at the ready to quell any resurgence of the, er, Hegelian Dialectic and thereby make sure that the End of History remains so.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A quick note on the politics of Abortion

The anti-choice argument against Obama is crystal clear, of course. Obama would, if elected, appoint Supreme Court justices who would uphold Roe, and that's the exact opposite of what the anti-choice crowd wants. Okay, so one who wants abortion outlawed should vote for McCain, right? Well, er, not so fast...

As I have written before in this space, the Republicans do not want Roe overturned. Once Roe is no longer on the table, then abortion becomes a state issue, and the Republicans will no longer be able to keep the Conservative Christian Voting Bloc hostage. To be sure, the current Republican Regime has obtained an important victory for the anti-choice cause, the upholding of the partial birth abortion ban. But look at the decision that upheld it. Who wrote it? None other than the guy who wrote the majority opinion in Casey, the decision that allowed restrictions on abortion while upholding the "central holding" of Roe. None of the other justices of the majority wrote concurring opinions, not Alito, not Roberts, not Thomas, not even Scalia. Those pro-life justices let the pro-Roe Anthony Kennedy speak for them. The message of the court was clear: we will go this far restricting abortion but no further.

But let's say McCain is not a cynic on abortion, as even some Christian Conservatives think he is. He gets elected, Justice Stevens or Ginsburg finally drops, McCain sends in an anti-choice replacement, and the court finally has an anti-Roe majority. Roe still will not be overturned. A state has to challenge it first. An individual can't because he has no standing. Roe affects the laws of the states, and so only states have standing to challenge it. So, what state will do so? It looked like South Dakota would, but then it chickened out. Well, if not even South Dakota is brave enough to challenge Roe , it looks like Roe will be safe even if a McCain presidency tries to get an anti-Roe majority on the court. And that is a huge "if". Sad, but true.

Of course, there is always this possibility: McCain gets elected, Stevens drops, McCain appoints a judge who hates Roe with a livid vengeance, and Louisiana decides that it is Catholic and challenges Roe. But before her lawyers can even file motions, McCain triggers thermonuclear war with Russia, Sarah Palin is raptured, and the rest of us, Louisiana's lawyers included, are blown to oblivion.