Miscellaneous Meanderings on the signs of the times (Vol. 7, No. 83)
Dr. Mark S. Latkovic
December 1, 2016
~America’s editorial “Unjust Discrimination,” http://www.americamagazine.org/issue/unjust-discrimination is further proof that the editors of that Jesuit publication have no idea what real justice or real discrimination is.
~We have too many laws and lawsuits, but not enough of the Rule of Law.
~We have always had corrupt politicians, as Hillary Clinton surely is, even if she’s in a class all by herself. As for Donald Trump, we have always had flawed and morally imperfect pols, as he surely is, even if he’s truly a singular figure in his own right on the American stage. Now that he’s our next president, he has to show us that he cannot simply talk, but also govern. And that begins now in the transition period as he assembles his government. So far, e.g., in his Cabinet picks, there is much that looks promising.
~Well, here’s more proof that America magazine is off its rocker: http://www.americamagazine.org/content/all-things/its-not-complement. For critics looking for things to critique, it is the gift that keeps on giving.
~After reading Tom Wolfe’s book on the origin of language, The Kingdom of Speech, where he critiques Darwin/Darwinism, we may have to rethink the origins of The Origins of Species, along with the evolutionary theory it proposes. Wolfe also gives it good to left-wing linguist Noam Chomsky. That alone is worth the price of the book.
~As our products become more technologically advanced, the commercials for those same products have become more and more sentimental and more and more “removed” from the actual products being advertised.
~I kept hearing how “educated women voters” were voting overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton. But how truly educated could they (or others) be if they voted for her?
~Trump’s campaign slogan was “Make America Great Again.” Hillary Clinton’s was “Donald Trump’s a Bigoted, Greedy Groper.”
~I hear many of the media pundits blaming the polls (“It’s technology’s fault!”). How about blaming the pollsters who administer the polls?
~My first question after the Election was over was whether the mainstream media was going to (continue to) ask President-elect Trump if he was willing to accept the presidential election results.
~It’s become such a truism: Republicans are the pro-life party and the Democrats are the social justice party. The latter is true only to the degree you believe that support for government programs proves you care about the poor.
~The “little guy” matters to liberals only when he follows their liberal ideological script.
~The only “high” Democrats will get from this year’s election returns is from the four states that voted to legalize recreational marihuana and the four other states that voted to legalize medicinal marihuana (See http://www.forbes.com/sites/datadesign/2016/11/11/legal-marijuana-and-a-higher-minimum-wage-states-that-passed-key-ballot-measures-in-2016/#230f17227cb9).
~It might be fun to start compiling a list of celebrities who are actually going to make good on their promise to leave America if Trump was elected President (My guess: None). And by the way, is there a more arrogant and self-important statement than that? If so, I haven’t seen it.
~Key to Trump’s victory was his overwhelming identification as the candidate of “change.” Now, change is not high on the list of conservative principles – the conservative wants to know: what kind of change are we talking about? But in this presidential election year, it proved to be the difference-maker for those who voted for Trump. They had almost 8 years of Obama’s progressive “hope and change” rhetoric and policies, and they weren’t pleased with the outcome.
~If we ignored both the popular vote and the Electoral College, and based the election simply on land mass, Republicans would probably win every presidential election from now until eternity.
~Trump won the Catholic vote by 7% (http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/what-was-the-breakdown-of-the-catholic-vote-tuesday-62065/). I hope that fact is a sign of hope that Catholics are becoming better voters.
~Melinda Selmys writes (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/catholicauthenticity/2016/11/the-dumb-white-scapegoat/): “For the left, it’s crucial to avoid punitive strategies. The right is not hypocritical when it talks tough, metes out harsh justice, or shows contempt for the plight of people who are suffering. A right-winger who behaves this way may be odious, but he is at least odious in a way that is consistent with his beliefs. When the left adopts a contemptuous or snarky attitude, justifies punitive forms of rage against those who are perceived to be oppressors, and shows contempt towards white folks who are actually, in many cases, living in conditions of grinding poverty in the Red states, it is hypocritical. It undermines any claim to moral authority: a politics of reconciliation, compassion, peace, listening, caring, and universal respect for human diversity cannot succeed if it excludes the people whose hearts most need to change.” Did you catch that? What absolute garbage. Her presupposition is that the “right-winger” is by definition someone who is one mean sonofabitch, while the left-winger is kind and caring. Just another fine example of a Catholic blogger who’s been drinking the Kool-Aid. And one more thing: I believe it was the Left (Jon Stewart, anyone?) that invented snark.
~Princeton University’s Robert P. George would be an excellent choice for the U.S. Supreme Court. His prolific and probing writings against abortion and gay marriage would of course be used by the Democrats as evidence of his “wickedness.” But because he is so intelligent and so respected – even by liberals, including Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan – they’d have to resort to made-up personal attacks (You know, the ones that go something like this: “Yeah, one day I saw him with his zipper open; of course he was using the restroom. But who knows what else he was up to; maybe something sinister?”).
~The Archbishop of Indianapolis and Cardinal-designate Joseph Tobin has promised to engage in “dialogue” and “discernment,” and, it seems, the “listening sessions” that are so popular today, especially with churchmen (see http://www.americamagazine.org/content/dispatches/cardinal-designate-tobin-will-focus-dialogue-discernment). On the issue of dealing with openly gay church employees, Tobin says: “If I have someone who is a teacher, I think that’s a little different than someone who is a [chief financial officer]. I would want to speak with the person about it, and ask, ‘Do you find any sort of dissonance within yourself teaching faithfully what the church teaches and the choices you make in your life?’” First, I must ask Archbishop Tobin, what if he or she answers “No”? Second, I have always thought responses such as his, which make a distinction between a “teaching” and a “non-teaching” position (in a Catholic school), are a bit disrespectful – even condescending: do we not hold the financial officer to the same high moral standards that we hold the teacher?
~I heard Whoopi Goldberg on The View the other day say that on the issue of abortion, the woman has a right to do what she wants with her own body. Still, after all these years, she repeats this bogus argument which ignores the other body in play: the unborn child. Although the Supreme Court enshrined abortion as a constitutional right in Roe v. Wade, its decision remains at heart a form of Gnosticism.
~Ah the Democrats – The party of science when it comes to everything from climate change to embryonic stem cell research to transgenderism. But their science is more ideological than scientific. They use it as a political club to beat those who disagree with them about how to interpret – and scientific data always needs interpreting – the scientific data.
~Many will point to Trump’s overwhelming success with older, white male voters. But what should not be underestimated is Trump’s success as an Entertainer. Put that fact beside Hillary’s awful qualities as a candidate, campaigner, and entertainer and you have another advantage for Trump. In other words, Trump’s interesting, she’s not.
~The media will also downplay – because it does not fit into their “narrative” of Trump’s win as a victory for racism, sexism, and every other –ism – the fact that he received more of the Black and Hispanic vote than moderate Republican Mitt Romney did in 2012. Could it be that they care about (and reject) an “open borders” policy too?
~I’ve lost count of the number of times that Trump’s critics have accused him of being against Mexicans or immigrants. James Martin, S.J. is a perfect example of this (see http://www.americamagazine.org/issue/pro-unity-and-pro-voice?). Martin says, among other questionable things, that Trump “wants to erect a wall to keep out Mexicans, forcibly deport undocumented immigrants…” As I see it, the wall is to keep illegal immigrants out – whether Mexican or other. Shouldn’t legal immigrants here largely agree? As for the term “undocumented,” it only confuses matters. It makes it sound like there’s no criminal aspect to their “undocumented” status. Maybe there’s a reason you’re undocumented: you aren’t supposed to be here in the first place.
~Hillary Clinton’s policies – such as they were – were about as fresh as velour shirts. It’s just another reason for her epic fail.
~When liberals say we must engage in a “national conversation” about something – usually race – it simply means they want you to agree with them.
~When I see a Catholic candidate who favors “abortion rights,” and who went to Catholic schools, winning an election, I have to ask: Your parents spent all that money on a Catholic education and you favor “abortion rights”?
~Sometimes it’s so quiet that your thoughts can hear themselves thinking.
~There was a news story shortly after Trump’s election about “White” and “Colored” signs placed over drinking fountains at some school. Given the state of our educational system these days, this was most likely a hoax: Students today don’t know enough about history – in this case Jim Crow laws – to pull of such a disgusting stunt.
~The Detroit Free Press’ post-election editorial (see http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/editorials/2016/11/12/trump-promises-to-forget/93584172/) has this to say: “If Donald Trump’s presidency is to be more than a war of attrition between his political allies and the majority of American voters who rejected his candidacy, the president-elect and his political opponents are going to have to strike a mutual amnesia agreement:
Trump will have to put aside the most irresponsible (and, in some cases, extra-legal) threats he made in the heat of his scorched-earth presidential campaign.
And his critics will have to forget, or at least dismiss as so much calculated hyperbole, the fevered rhetorical flights in which candidate Trump pledged to jail his Democratic rival or impose a religious test for visitors and would-be immigrants.” In other words, Trump’s political opponents give up nothing and Trump and his allies give up everything. What a great deal, eh? What a compromise! Without commenting on the merits of Trump’s policies, I have to ask: Whatever happened to “elections have consequences”?
~The always-feisty syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin notes (http://townhall.com/columnists/michellemalkin/2016/11/16/the-slacker-mandate-and-the-safety-pin-generation-n2246311) that “roughly 5 percent of people younger than 26 dropped out of the workforce after the provision was implemented.” She’s speaking of the requirement in the Affordable Care Act – Malkin calls it the “slacker mandate” – that employer-based health plans cover employees’ children until they turn 26 years old. No wonder why these young social-justice warriors have so much time on their hands to protest Donald Trump’s victory.
~“There’s no free lunch,” as the saying goes…unless of course you go to Grace Church on Pelham Rd. in Allen Park, MI on Wednesdays from 12:00pm to 2:00pm. There you can have a free lunch.
~The best way to stop “blowing your own horn,” is not to have a horn around to blow in the first place.
~Sometimes I want to be so insignificant that I don’t think even about myself.
~Let’s do my little Trump thought-experiment: If Trump ran as a Democrat – which he very easily could have done, having shared many liberal views/policies in the past – do you think we would have seen the #NeverTrump campaign among Democrats as we did among many Republicans? I don’t think so.
~Pope Francis spoke at the consistory on November 19, 2016 of a “virus of polarization” and he cautioned somberly against those who “raise walls, build barriers and label people.” (See http://www.cbsnews.com/news/pope-francis-warns-virus-polarization-race-faith/). But to speak this way is to inevitably be a person of the type who “label[s] people.”
~“Facebook Fixing Fake News Problem With CEO at Trade Summit” (http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/facebook-talks-connectivity-summit-fighting-fake-news-43657016), read the headline. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg “said in a post late Friday that his company was taking measures to curb what he said was a ‘relatively small’ percentage of deliberately false stories. The measures include developing new tools to detect and classify ‘misinformation’ and to make it easier for users to report the material. He said the company also is looking into the possibility of working with established fact-checking organizations to evaluate content and into the feasibility of warning labels for stories flagged as false.” Just what we need: more “fact checkers.” In any event, one man’s misinformation is another man’s truth and vice versa.
~The secular equivalent of the Christian notion of the General Judgment will be when hackers reveal publically every web site that you and everyone else have ever visited.
~American may be the land of second chances, but Christianity is the religion of endless chances.
~America is also, they say, a country of “reinvention”; but Christianity is all about reinventing yourself too: only we call it “conversion.”
~Almost every obit, story, or newscast I have seen of Fidel Castro (1926—2016) has pointed to Cuba’s free health care and education. Could we ever imagine an obit of Hitler that said while he killed millions, he also improved Germany’s economy and national self-confidence? (See also: http://www.crisismagazine.com/2016/vatican-ostpolitik-reconsidered-upon-death-fidel-castro). If only Cuban dissident Armando Vallardares could have wrote that Fidel headline (see http://www.nationalreview.com/article/442515/fidel-castro-brutal-dictatorship-armando-valladeres-cuban-dissidents-tortured).
~The Synod 16 that took place in the Archdiocese of Detroit last month (see http://www.themichigancatholic.org/synod16/)may) may well be something that other dioceses need to emulate.
~Conversion is ongoing (daily) and thus implies that we are never where we need to be. Thus, conversion is a process (a gradual sanctification) which implies that there is a goal (holiness in this life, heaven in the next) toward which we are continually striving for.
~Scarecrows truly are scary.
~As I was completing my daughter’s FAFSA, I wondered if time in Purgatory could be subtracted.
~Why do professional athletes think that their athletic skill gives them some kind of infused knowledge on all things social and political?
~The car-and-knife attack at Ohio State University, carried out by one of its students in late November (see http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/30/us/ohio-state-university-attack-abdul-razak-ali-artan.html), is yet another stark reminder that the problem of fundamentalist Islam is not one of lack of jobs or education, but of the ideology itself.
~Thanksgiving has become in some ways in our culture the holiday that simply provides a “breather” of sorts before the really important one (after Halloween): Christmas (if we can still call it that).
~Advent too has become marginalized, if not steamrolled over by the avarice of the “Holiday Season.”
~In any event, may your Advent and Christmas be blessed!