Friday, February 29, 2008

A Publisher I Recently Discovered

I ordered a book recently on Marriage edited by Robert P. George from this publisher. I thought I would share the link with you so that you can browse.

Some other authors published by Spence include J. (can't spell it correctly), Michael S. Rose, and Jennifer Roback Morse. Spence publishes books that cover topics such as politics, sex, and philosophy. In other words, things that Civis wants to talk about on his blog.

Biotech Firm To Provide Ethical Alternatives to Aborted Fetal Vaccines

Press Release from the "Children of God for Life"

For Immediate Release: Feb 29, 2008

 (Seattle) In a victory for pro-life families around the world, AVM Biotechnology LLC (AVM Biotech) today announced their decision to provide ethical alternatives in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and vaccine development.

 Dr Theresa Deisher, AVM Biotech Research and Development Director and founder stated, "We will be working to bring commercially available, morally acceptable, vaccines to the US market and to use existing technology to produce new morally certified vaccines.  Revenues from the vaccine business will also further the research, development and commercialization of morally certified therapeutics in other areas of medicine as well."

The announcement was an answer to years of hard work and prayers for Children of God for Life, a pro-life organization that has battled to bring moral alternatives to aborted fetal vaccines to the US market for nearly a decade.
"There are no words sufficient to express our deepest gratitude to Dr Deisher and AVM Biotech", noted the group's Executive Director, Debi Vinnedge, who was also named to AVM Biotech's Advisory Board for vaccine development.

While most vaccines and medicines are produced in an ethical manner, several are manufactured using cell lines derived from aborted fetal tissue with no competing ethical products available. Vinnedge noted this has left concerned pro-life families in both a difficult and unjust position.

"For too long parents who want to protect their children without compromising their deeply held pro-life and religious beliefs have been coerced into an unnecessary and unjust moral dilemma," she stated. "No one should be forced to choose between these two fundamental human rights."

Both organizations hope that the news will spark members of Congress to move forward with their Fair Labeling and Informed Consent legislation, a bill that would require full disclosure from the pharmaceutical industry whenever aborted fetal or embryonic cell lines are used in medical products.
"Every consumer, whether pro-life in philosophy or not, has the right to know if human fetal cell contaminants are present in the drugs they receive", noted Dr Deisher. "Consumers should be informed and empowered to make the best health care choices for themselves and their families.  Surely, if we have the right to know what is in our fast food, we should also have the right to know what is in our medicine."

 AVM Biotech intends to further assist in this effort by certifying that its therapeutic products are not discovered, screened, evaluated, produced, or tainted in any way by the use of electively aborted human fetal material, human embryonic material, or any other unethically obtained materials.

U.S.: Not Just Morally Bankrupt

This video is lengthy (9 minutes) but watch it. It shows that we don’t have the money (and never will have enough) to pay for all the things the politicians have promised. We’re bequeathing to the following generations an enormous bill they’ll never be able to pay unless some drastic spending cuts happen. Where are we going to get money for universal healthcare, Obama and Hillary? How are we going to pay for endless war, Mr. McCain?

Social Sciences

Last night we were talking about “penetrating” the professions. Civis brought up the social sciences. Catholics want to go into the social sciences, so let’s give them some good formation to do it. The school’s focus, I believe, is for clinical psychology.

A friend of mine went to IPS’s summer study program at Oxford University. His professors included John Finnis, Roger Scruton, and Aidian Nichols.

Thank God for programs such as these that consider the whole human person when forming future social scientists such as psychologists.

Free Elections, My Ass

Title of post is a quote from Civis in a private email. Used by permission. Check these videos out if you find your spirits running unexpectedly high and need to find a way to bring them down.

Computer Programmer testifies under oath regarding election rigging in South Florida:

John McCain won New Hampshire, my ass:

Perhaps the scariest of all: when a young father of five, a cool-headed Ron Paul supporter, suggests that we may have nowhere else to go than to the gun cabinet, then Houston, we have a problem.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Is Civis Too Rigid?

A packet of free information came in the mail from the Constitution Party (not to be confused with the Constitutionalist Party). I liked what I saw as far as their platform went, but only one was irksome: there were a few references to “returning our country to biblically based government” or words to that effect.

a) When did the U.S. have “biblically based government”? I’m not saying the USA defies the good book or anything, but a Biblically based government, in my mind, would indicate a theocracy or a monarchy. I have read about “the Kingdom of Heaven” but never the Republic of heaven.

b) Considering our historical roots and what I know of my fundamentalist friends, I fear that a return to “biblical government” would not be friendly to religious freedom.

c) [Yes, I’m making this argument] Is a rallying cry for “Biblical” government likely to turn the tide or win a national election? Maybe the “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” approach would be preferred to such a rallying cry. I think a lot of people would have second thoughts after hearing about “biblical” government—not that they are anti-Christian.

Is Civis too rigid? Crazy? Paranoid?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

"And What I Have Failed To Do..."

From Fr. Frank Pavone with a request to disseminate:

What's this I hear from some people that they might "sit out" the Presidential election because they aren't comfortable with the likely choice of candidates?

Since when are elections supposed to make us "comfortable?" Since when do we exercise that right to vote, for which people fought and died, only when it's easy and clear-cut, and our choices are just the way we want them to be?

At Mass we pray, "I confess to Almighty God...that I have my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do..."
What we fail to do can make us just as guilty as what we do. A sin is a wrong choice, and to decide not to do something is just as much of a choice as to decide to do something.

A sin of omission is still a sin - and we are still responsible for the results.
What, then, makes us think that we are more responsible for the results of voting than for the results of not voting?

A vote is not a philosophical statement. It is a transfer of power. It is a pragmatic act to preserve, as much as possible under the circumstances, the common good, and to limit the evils that threaten it.

And in the pragmatic matter of elections, what matters is not how closely a candidate measures up to my preferences and convictions. Instead, it's a question of who can and will actually get elected. It does little good if the person I felt most comfortable supporting doesn't get to actually govern and implement those positions I like so much.

The vote can be used just as much to keep someone out of office as to put someone in.
If we fail to use that tool, however, and as a result the person who gets elected is far worse and does far more damage than the other person we did not like, then we still share responsibility for the damage that will be done.

Elections have seasons. In the earliest phases, the field is wide open. We can recruit candidates, or decide to run ourselves. We build up the name recognition and base of support for the person or people who would make the best candidate. This takes years of work.

Then the season of primaries arrives, during which voters choose between the candidates who have been recruited and who have been building up their strength.

Then the general election season arrives, and we may find that we don't like any of the names on the ballot. At that point, we have to shift our thinking and focus on "better" rather than "best." The reality usually is that one of several unsatisfactory candidates will in fact be elected. So we use our vote to create the better outcome and to limit the damage. That’s the shift that some fail to make.

And we are still responsible for what we fail to do.


The next book on my list (okay, there are two or three I’m about to start, but that is beside the point) is Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800. While reading David McCullough’s description of the correspondence between Adams and Jefferson in John Adams , I got to thinking about how letter writing is a lost art. An old friend of mine—who pretty much worships Jefferson—and I are going to read Adams vs. Jefferson and discuss it by snail mail. As far as I know, this book is outside of the interest of the people who look at PSR&M, but thought I’d tell you in case you wanted to join the fun.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

National ID--Who Cares?

This, like my post on the term "Conservative" ("What's a Conservative Anyway?", below) is for discussion purposes and to gain information, so if I am stupid, dead wrong, or na├»ve, please don’t "hate" on me, just tell me why I should care and I’ll be happy to care.

Why are people so uptight about the idea of a National ID card? I suspect it has something to do with “The Mark of the Beast” and other bedtime-end-of-the-world horror stories. But anyway, I would be irked about it except for the fact that—don’t we all have Social Security Cards and Social Security numbers? If they put my picture on the card, what difference does it make? What great evil would be achieved by a National ID card that we don’t already have by virtue of the Social Security card?

Maybe some of you think having a Social Security card is a bad thing and think we ought to get rid of them. That’s a rational position.

[Aside: now my conspiracy theorist friends will say I’m a “Change Agent". ]

Monday, February 18, 2008

Rules of the Road Part I

I find that discussion on blogs generally progresses quite slowly due to the partipants avoiding the issue. If bloggers studied logic, their discussion would be far more productive. As it stands, most discussions are like one Sophist against another. This way of arguing is wonderful if you are wrong, but want to make your opponent look like a fool, but lousy if you seek truth. I think 90% of the problem falls under the non-linguist fallacy of avoiding the issue:

"Ignoring the issue" is evading the topic by, for example, disproving what your opponent never said or proving a point not under discussion. It is also know as the “Straw Man” or “House of cards.” Here is a list of prime examples (there are longer lists, but IMHO the longer list have duplicative items):
a)Argumentum ad hominem (“appeal to the man”)
-ignore the issue by attacking the person.
b) Argumentum ad populum (“appeal to the masses”)
-Appealing to the prejudices and\or biases.
-This is an appeal to mass psychology.
c) Argumentum ad baculum (“appeal to the stick”)
-Threats of violence.
-Shouting down your opponent or talking so much he can't talk.
d) Argumentum ad misericordiam (appeal to pity)
-used especially by lawyers to get their client off.
e) Argumentum ad verecundiam (appeal to reverence)
-invoke authority, uphold tradition.
f) Argumentum ad ignorantiam (appeal to ignorance)
-“Snow Job”
-Use of exaggerated statistics.

Friday, February 15, 2008

What is a Conservative Anyway?

I’m wondering if I need to come up with a new name for my political philosophy. Being a “Conservative” is amorphous. Paleoconservative is problematic too.

According to the ultimate authority on everything, Wikipedia, paleocons supposedly believe in classical Federalism. What is classical federalism? In the true sense of the word, it would describe what I believe in: power should be held at the lowest level, but in the U.S. “fdederalism usually means “strong central government.” I favor Reagan’s “New Federalism” which gives more power to the states. Is this “classical federalism”? As the ultimate authority goes on to say, even if you specific “paleo”, “Paleoconservativism is not expressed as an ideology and its adherents do not necessarily subscribe to any one party line.”

Here’s what I believe in (or what’s been in my mind lately):

People need to be involved in government if self-government is going to work. “There is no political solution to our trouble evolution”: Good men make a bad system work; opportunists, if not stopped by the citizens, will make a good system fail. That being said….

The rule of law. (I would specify that I believe strongly in the Bill of Rights, but “your rights end where my nose begins.” Thus the state needs to be kept under in its place, but “rights” are not moral absolutes).

Small Government: I have no problem with the government doing things that it can do best (which is a small list of things), but the government should not do things that, states, cities, neighborhoods, families or individuals can do for themselves.

Speak and walk softly but carry a big stick: If our interests are really at issue and we have to use force, use force quickly and decisively. Be willing to facilitate peace, but otherwise, stay out of other people’s business. War is morally, politically and economically hazardous and should be a last recourse.

What am I?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

....and Money

Have long had the intention of expanding the number of taboo topics to be discussed here (See new blog name). Here is my first post on the new topic:

From Pat Buchanan:

"Since it began to give credit ratings to nations in 1917, Moody's has rated the United States triple-A. U.S. Treasury bonds have been seen as the most secure investment on earth. When crises erupt, nervous money seeks out the world's great safe harbor, the United States. That reputation is now in peril.

Last week, Moody's warned that if the United States fails to rein in the soaring cost of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the nation's credit rating will be downgraded within a decade."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Yesterday, while reading In Conversation with God, I came accross a passage that said "The devil--and our angels--cannot penetrate our innermost thoughts if we do not want them to. [They] cannot know the nature of our thoughts, they can only conjecture at them from outwardly perceptible indications...what we have chosen not to externalize, so that it remains hidden within our souls, is totally inaccessible to them."

Very interesting, said I.

But then today I read "We only have to speak to our guardian angel in our minds for him to understand and even to deduce from out inward thoughts more than we ourselves are able to express."

Can anybody reconcile these two staments for me? Can anybody provide a basis for either assertion?

Jesus: "No Endorsement for Satan"

A humorous comment on the Baltimore Tribune's blog post "Ron Paul: No John McCain Endorsement"

The comments include a rather scary one by a computer programmer regarding optical scan voting machines. It's quite a ways down in the comments; you can just do a search on "vote results are produced by software".

Ron Paul's latest update seems to be curing the depression in the camp; big March on Washington being planned and judging from the YouTube comments, it'll be a success in terms of numbers. If an annual march develops from this initial one, that would be good; it would keep the movement's momentum going after the election.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bye, Bye, Miss Republican Pork

For better or for worse, Civis has invited me to participate in the Poligion blog and I've accepted. I thought I'd begin by announcing to the world that I have said "Goodbye" to the Republican Party and am registering as a member of the Constitution Party as a matter of conscience. The party's platform is a dream come true. A snippet from the platform on Education: "All teaching is related to basic assumptions about God and man. Education as a whole, therefore, cannot be separated from religious faith. The law of our Creator assigns the authority and responsibility of educating children to their parents."

The knee-jerk reaction to "third parties" is "Don't waste your vote" or something similar; well, folks, I've been an active Republican since I was six years old, proudly wearing my "I Like Ike" button and stumping for the Eisenhower-Nixon ticket among my first grade classmates. I can truly say that the only real value returned for my work and financial support was Ronald Reagan. The rest has been a catalog of betrayals. So, if I must "waste" my time, effort, and vote, I will do so for a party in whose platform I believe, and I'll work for that party either until its platform and candidates become as corrupt as the Big Two or until I'm declared incompetent and institutionalized.

Most Americans believe that competition is good; it promotes efficiency, good service, and affordability. But when it comes to politics, the very idea of a "third party" is virtually anathema? If a third party can't win, then why can't it? Why can there be no equivalent to Apple Computer or Google in the political corporation world? These are not rhetorical questions; the answer to both lies in the difficulty of ballot access, supported by the Big Two; get rid of the stranglehold on ballots and watch the competition arise and flourish.

Recommended Reading:

The Ballot Access Hurdle
Ballot Access News
And of COURSE: Platform of the Constitution Party

On another, but related matter - thanks, Jared, for your letter to Right to Life regarding John McCain, who has not only betrayed the pro-life community (repeatedly) but whose military hero myth is being "Swiftboated" (in the conservative sense of the word) by Viet Nam Vets. Talk about wasting a vote! I'm not sure he's the lesser of any two evils after seeing this:


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Excerpt from Jared's Letter to National Right to Life RE McCain

In 1999 he held that Roe shouldn’t be reversed. Now that’s changed like everything else this “maverick” has previously espoused. I thought that you were for a reversal of Roe. The only way that is going to happen is by nominating Scalia-type judges to the federal bench, especially the Supreme Court. Yet, McCain was one of the famous “gang of fourteen”, the group that prevented Bush’s Scalia-type judges from getting on the bench. (Bush’s judicial nominees have been one of the few things he has done well as president.) McCain has aligned himself with the most liberal of Democrats. With McCain we’ll just have another Souter or Ginsburg.

And shame on the NRL for not mentioning Ron Paul, who was even endorsed by “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade, as being pro-life. He is as pro-life as anyone else running for president. You even praised Thompson, who was even behind Paul in most primaries before he dropped out. Please feel free to let me know why you praise Thompson and totally disregard Paul. The candidate that most resembles John Paul II on life issues is unquestionably Ron Paul. He’s against abortion; against the death penalty; against the preemptive, unnecessary war with Iraq (which, by the way, has killed thousands of innocent civilians, an unforeseen consequences of that ill-advised war); against the destruction of (or at least the taxpayer financing of the destruction of) human embryos.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

A Controversial Death

In William Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, it is said that the "evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft inturred with their bones." So should it be with Fr. Maciel?

The founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Father Marcial Maciel, died January 30, 2008. His life was dedicated to Christ. Since he past away I have read several articles about his life. Most have concentrated upon the allegations against him of misconduct.

My questions are:

1. What will Fr. Maciel's legacy be? Will he be remembered for his tremendous work in spreading the Gospel of Christ or for the serious allegations made against him?

2. Is it fair to bring up the allegations since they were never proven? Should Fr. Maciel be considered innocent until proven guilty?

3. If the fruits of a person's life are 95% good and 5% bad, how should we remember them? Should we honor them for the good they have done or abstain from praise so as to not cause scandal?


A friend of mine had an axe to grind with a certain “lay movement.” One of his problems was that they did aggressive recruiting, but they “never did anything.” That was Regnum Christi. Another friend, had no axe to grind, but told me the reason he did not join a certain “lay movement” was that he saw that when a certain country’s government was being taken over by Marxists, the movement’s members would gather in knots and whisper, but never took action. That was Opus Dei.

What if the purpose of a “movement” is to make its members better people and not “conquer kingdoms, administer justice…. escape the edge of the sword…and route foreign enemies”? Is this a worthy end or does there need to be more? Should individual improvement be combined with group action? Is it better to have both or better to have only one?