This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Planned Parenthood: The Videos & the Vote | National Catholic Reporter

Planned Parenthood: The Videos & the Vote | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: This vote is probably the beginning of the end of the 15 minutes of fame of the producers.  Ironically, what is done regarding aborted fetuses is similar to what is done regarding those who miscarried late in the pregnancy.  While their moral status is important, their legal status is the question.

Abortion is as much a rule of law question as a libertarian one - and the pro-life movement has no taste for answering it.   The Susan B. Anthony Fund, the USCCB Pro-Life Activities staff and the National Right to Life Committee sadly are not a moral force, they are an electoral one.  Like John Stewart said about FoxNews, its a design feature, not a flaw.

When the Bishops quit talking about pregnancies and force pro-lifers to start talking about supporting families all the way to maturity, we will know that they have turned the corner to the moral question.  They also have to start by having all Catholic employers pay a living wage of $1000 per month per additional child or I simply won't take anything the Church says seriously during its 40 days for life.

Do what I ask and the contraception issue goes away and abortion will become so rare that PPUSA will shutter its windows and door - not because we somehow become disgusted about the procedure. That is like being disgusted with sodomy. It has no ethical force. Solve the legal question and the economic question or the issue will be seen as part of a war on sexuality. Hint: want to make a profound statement this is not about women? Ordain some. This is why the Trads can't do anything on these issues.

Monday, August 03, 2015

The Koch Brothers and Justice | National Catholic Reporter

The Koch Brothers and Justice | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The Koch view of liberty, which is distinctly Austrian by nature, includes elements of corporate collusion to identify and not hire trouble makers, which would force them to compete against their former employer.  The problem is, this is easier said than done.  While schemes such as Georgism,  Catholic Distributism and a Basic Guaranteed Income mitigate against such power, they are also libertarian in nature and mitigate against solidarity.

Solidarity, of course, is not just unions, which the Church likes until pro-choice unions want to organize Catholic school teachers or advocates demand a living wage for Church workers.  Indeed, Subsidiarity is not enough in these cases – indeed, they could make things worse for Church employees.  They need some decent brand of libertarianism, where teachers can take a challenging view on the legality – but not the promotion- of abortion and are free of interference (Church Power) when picking health care options that may include abortion. Liberty is essential to those of us who think the Magisterium is a bad joke and the natural order a sophistry – that morality is to humanize mankind, not to diefy it.  The locus of those moral decisions is not just a well-formed conscience – it’s a free discussion by all Catholics – not just the priests and theologians.  While MSW’s union card is helpful, it does not bestow monopoly status in a natural law argument.

Solidarity has to include socialism – employees making decisions as owners of the enterprise.  Profit sharing alone is inadequate – the authoritarianism of both economic benefit and control must be smashed and union solidarity alone won’t do that.  Secretary Clinton won’t do that.  There are alternatives, however, that will.  These alternatives should not only be used to bring us back to FDR era concessions by the plutocrats, but implemented for their own value.  Solidarity is necessary for revolution, but not sufficient.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Chicago's Unserious Event | National Catholic Reporter

Chicago's Unserious Event | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: First of all, there are no Catholic Conservatives and Catholic Left – the term of art is Traditionalists and Modernists.  It is much more relevant to any discussion on sex than the political terms, starting with masturbation and the idea that sexual pleasure outside of the creative act is always wrong.  It’s not.  It may, if pursued too far, keep one out of relationship with others, but it is not inherently evil.  If you don’t start there, you are blinded by tradition and unable to view morality from a natural law viewpoint that goes beyond authority.

Second, was there a message of women priests? (Yes, there was, which should have been reviewed and would probably be harder for MSW to refute).  It seems to me that any real effort to make the pro-life message sing for Catholic women is best from a woman’s mouth – and one that has either said Mass or ordained other women who do.

Now, for Catholics for Choice.  Choice is not about promoting abortion.  It is support for the fact that there is no right to life for embryos (first trimester) under the plain language under the Constitution and creating one by whatever means would be bad for both women and society.  That abortion restrictions would not prevent abortion but would harm women and harm those children who could no longer get care in the first trimester because insurance companies would not cover such malpractice coverage.

The fact that the Church cannot tell the difference between advocating abortion, say for all pregnant teens and college kids and not prohibiting it are not the same thing morally.  Not at all.  Interestingly, on the survey numbers, it is true that two thirds of respondents are against abortion.  It is also true that a similar numbers is against doing anything legally to stop it.  The Mushy Middle strikes again.

Faux scandals like Planned Parenthood on harvesting tissue will not change that. Anyone who has had a miscarriage can find paperwork authorizing tissue harvesting for science and post-mortem analysis.  Same thing.

Finally, as to taking God out of the Gospel story, it is an interesting approach, provided you give Jesus full divine power at the Resurrection.  Until then, seeing Jesus as a man of pure faith, in both what his mother told him about his nativity and what he gleaned from the scriptures is a powerful example and it in no way diminishes that which was agreed to (democratically by democratically elected bishops) at Chalchedon.  Of course, humanizing Jesus this way allows him a wife and siblings, with a perpetually virgin mother and messiah less important features of the story – which then changes how we view sex in the modern era as not a lesser activity, whose misuse is painful to us rather than offensive to God, or some faux natural order that the Trads made up out of whole cloth.

Happy Birthday Medicare & Medicaid! | National Catholic Reporter

Happy Birthday Medicare & Medicaid! | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Sadly, Medicaid underpays providers, although less so after the ACA was enacted. What we need is either Single Payer so everyone gets the same reimbursement or an expansion of the US Uniformed Public Health Service - with PHS docs treating Medicaid, Medicare and uninsured patients first and expanding until all docs are PHS docs.

Boehner's Conundrum | National Catholic Reporter

Boehner's Conundrum | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Boehner should keep his seat, even to the extent of blowing up the GOP and forming a coalition with Leader Pelosi and those members of the Democratic Caucus that can be labeled “Centrist.”  That would throw a rock at the glass house that is the Republican Party and lead to a moderate party and a left wing party – and no right wing party except for a few fools in the Tea Party caucus who likely would not survive independently as a party.

Any discussion of the Hastert Rule must include the dance between Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich.  During the Clinton presidency, after he lost the House over increased taxes and health care (frankly, after the Clinton fans stayed home at mid-terms thinking they had won the day), a coalition of centrist Republicans would vote with Clinton and not Newt on financial issues – essentially voting for sanity on taxes and spending.  It’s what kept us on track to a balanced budget.  Newt’s side was against sanity, but he did let the votes that he knew he would lose happen anyway – which is why he is not entirely lying when he says he helped balance the budget – he did by taking a dive in the first round.  That type of finesse was impossible for Hastert (who allowed a bit of corruption back into the House) and is rare in Boehner, who at least supported the ATRA – which raised taxes on the rich and led to a more robust economy.  Create two parties, one pro-ATRA and one anti and governance is possible.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Links for 07/24/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 07/24/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Rest in piece to the Cardinal Emeritus who did more for ecumenicism than his successor in two roles, Cardinal Burke, tried to undo.  Hopefully the next Archbishop of Kansas-City will be in his mold, not Burke and his successor who I will not name.

Fr. Z commenting on poll results that he helped influence by talking trash to Trads on Francis may think he can gloat - but Francis is not studying up on American Catholics to make it easy for his benefactors.

Dreher has captured what I thought would be on a liberal site. It is more about Austrian sensibilities than American.  That the culturally conservative commentator thought that avarice was more important than lust makes sense, although there is consumption for the workers to have a better life (and be less likely to radicalize) and the conspicuous consumption of the rich, which is so insidious that those who consume this way do not know that they are sliding into sin - that they deserve what they are getting by what they do in society.  That extra time vacation is not so bad, after all.  Truth be told, it is not as long as everyone gets at least a week through their employer - but doing that will really mess up the American (Austrian) Creed.

The paradox of a pro-life church without paid parental leave | National Catholic Reporter

The paradox of a pro-life church without paid parental leave | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB :....and without a living wage for parents in their employ (1000 per month per child with pay, but separate from it so that wage scales for non-parents are lower). Also, the Church should do second and third trimester abortions - induction only - no skull crushing - with baptism included and adoptive custody for children who survive more than a few minutes.

Problems for Team Hillary | National Catholic Reporter

Problems for Team Hillary | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: There is absolutely nothing to indicate that Hillary did anything but shop (or get ready for Hillary) on her personal account.  Its what they are for.  The provisions to use such an account, whether you are the secretary or a lowly contracts specialist are clear - she can, she did.  There is no Benghazi moment in the works. I am sure the other two Senators mentioned and their staffs have separate goverment and shopping and campaign e-mails and devices.

Likewise, the right wing tape of a PPUSA abortionist has no legs except among those who will never be ready for Hillary.  It is a last ditch effort to prove the pro-life movement is not a Republican electoral scam.  I am sure Elizabeth Warren is as pro-choice as Hillary or Bernie and that people who want to be loyal Catholics on abortion are not ready for the reality that the Church is part of a continuing, probably criminal, enterprise on this issue involving fraud on its members.

That said, Bernie is a Democratic Socialist (like Ted Kennedy and Obama).  Hillary does not strike me as one and her workers rights credentials are lame.  Bernie's are not lame and Elizabeth is not running - nor would either of these three get a break from Republican or Republican leaning swing voters.  I am ready to Feel the Bern!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Links for 07/23/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 07/23/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The heart of the deal is the west backing out of sanctions that were abusive anyway, letting us save face by turning over old equipment and letting Israel know that we can read a map and know where the fall out would go for any weapon launched from Iran.

There are no buttons for Little Sisters of the poor.  None of the Sisters will us birth control and what their non-consecrated employees do is their own business, not the Sisters or the Becket fund.  The key differentiation, which is the undercurrent in all these cases is religious freedom v. religious power.  Religious freedom is solely for the employees and religious power is a violation of the first amendment and of Griswold v. Connecticut.  The unconscionable option is what Becket has argued for, not the government.  Of course, the Church, being under the myth that life happens before gastrulation may not see it that way.  Being wrong, however, is not a first amendment right.

Democrats for Life should be disbanded, if anyone.  Its part of the right to life movement farce.  What the medical director caught on camera said is as true for miscarriage as it is for abortions performed if tissue is being preserved for either analysis or research.  How dentists learn anatomy is equally hard for the squeemish.  Get over it.

Joining sympathies to his excellency on the death of his mother.  I hope he takes a nice retreat soon to cope with it.  Burying my mom was the hardest thing I ever did and left the deepest scar.

Catholics for Choice is actually honest about what i wrote above about the NRLC being a GOP scam.  It does not mean endorsing abortion - it is endorsing the proposition that relgious power in this instance is not wise, especially not when it is mostly a partisan association for the financial and political interests of the GOP and NRLC and not the unborn.  I am not sure why the web page having its own staff report on its survey is somehow out of line.  If you have the in house talent, use it.  They are advocacy, not press, and never said otherwise.

Walk with Francis | National Catholic Reporter

Walk with Francis | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: At the risk of confessing my own righteousness, I have been walking the talk for a while, both in terms of Ignatian spirituality and writing to produce change.  You can read further as you like in my notes and on my blog.

I've got the defending the environment thing going on with my association with 1000 Planets.  We are working on habitats for orbit, Mars and the surface of Earth with no footprint at all, save taking up space.  Closed loop means few if any inputs.  Of course, it is appropriate for the state to help.

Not so for the unborn. They cannot be defended until recognized by Congress - lawsuits won't do it and frankly, the USCCB and the National Right to Life Committee don't want it done - as the debate will show that first trimester embryos cannot be recognized in abortion unless you recognize them in miscarriage - and that should never happen.  Anything else is an argument about services to Downs Children being enough to prevent their slaughter and the rules to end a toxic pregnancy early (as early as possible).  Yes, that means playing God where necessary.  Grow up and put on your big boy pants.

Of course, the statist solution to abortion is much more money for families with children.  Right now, they get $1000 per child per year, plus any home mortgage interest deductibility, etc.  The latter should be struck down and the former increased by that much per month - paid with wages or education stipends/disability, with health through the employer, education provider or disability services provider employee insurance. Justice means the one justly helped does not want for anythig. What I describe is what justice requires.

As for what I want to hear, I want to have him ask what we want to say.  Whether it be the above or something about families wanting their gay daughter to have a Church wedding - in Latin.  I also want the Committee on Pro-Life Activities disbanded as a farce serving Republican electoral interests rather than the unborn.  Any other interretation of what they do is absurd and is, like the seamless garment, trying to be liberal and faithfully Catholic when that statement cannot apply to the movement's hijinks.

What Jesus wants is followers who do what He did, speak out!  Lets do that!.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Links for 07/22/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 07/22/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Francis is a radical.  So was Jesus.  Neither was a Trad either, although I am not sure either could be called Modernist, which is more a lay academic thing, not a clerical viewpoint.  Liberal is about pluralism - not justice.  Radicalism is about justice.

Kirsten Powers is scoring cheap points and it is equally cheap to agree with her. Want to crush PPUSA? Make sure families have enough money to raise and college educate themselves and their kids - justice will stop abortion - the economic, not the criminal, kind.  Give up on the criminalization dream and get with the Radicalism of Francis economically and PPUSA will close all clinics because no one will need them - and they will do it happily!  Of course, to get the economic justice, we may have to crush the Pro-Life organization at USCCB.

I like the Churches where Francis said Mass in Latin America. Note the irony.  Maybe Francis is more modernist than I give him credit for, as he would not build the new Cathedrals of either century.

Racism on Both Sides of the Mason-Dixon Line | National Catholic Reporter

Racism on Both Sides of the Mason-Dixon Line | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Confederate sympathizers are often Scotch-Irish, while the cops on the beat still are a largely Irish force - both by family tradition.  Civilization is about abandoning family loyalties and doing the right thing because it is the right thing.  Like taking down the bloody flag or putting cops under a microscope for how they deal with Blacks.

Democrats have been moving from Jefferson-Jackson to Kennedies-King for a long time, starting in DC.  Jump in, the water is fine!  Its also a bad idea to offend your donors, which is why DC changed as the black and white in Wards 3 and 4 love the Kennedies and Dr. King, not Jeffereson or Jackson.

Serra is different, its not political to canonize someone. A Devil's Advocate would have been good.  Serra used the sword like Charlemagne and Clovis, but neither king is sainted.

Cities are racist in the north.  First the WASPs moved out when the well-to-do Irish moved in, then the Irish moved out because of the Jews, then the African Americans then the Latinos.  The law is supposed to stop this, but I suspect that socialist cooperatives taking over home building and selling to members is the only thing that stops ethnic patterning, as it is just not done to move out of the neighborhood when your boss or employees move in.  Even if you don't want your daughter dating their son (which is what happens now in Ward 3 of DC).  On funding improvements, socialist cooperatives will take care of that too - no more giving neighborhoods improvements based on their property tax payments.  It goes without saying that suing Gov.Walker for doing just this would be a bonus.  Sadly, people think in terms of supply and demand in housing, not in terms of equity.  Equity would give us a land value tax and citizens dividend.  On this topic, you can do economic efficiency or equity. Hard to do both - but we probably should not do both (again, the solidarity answer is smart growth by employee-owned socialist cooperatives).

I am glad for your parents.  May they continue to be an example through your writings.  Amazing what occurred in so called liberal Connecticut!  I am always amazed when there are disconnects between political agendas and personal beliefs.  The term is limosene liberal (my liberal sister and brother-in-law can be very Ozzie and Harriet, especially on the issue of who in the marriage should work, buy my sister supports Sanders, as do I).

Solidarity, to work, has to start with economic change.  No one objects to someone different in the neighborhood if they are the CEO, very rich or famous.  Real equality will stop anyone from objecting to anyone.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Links for 07/21/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 07/21/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: There has been no mileage on the Planned Parenthood video because tissue gathering for any kind of late term termination, living or dead, has to protect tissues for research or post-mortem analysis, not for sale.  If the Catholic bishops want more humane later term abortion, they should offer the service (induction only) or shut up.  Hoping a 20 week ban will pull enough mushy middle Catholics into the embrace of the pro-life movement, if only for one bill, is self serving by Schneck and his DFLA.  The truth is that the seemless garment and DFLA are for morally squeamish Catholics to use to vote Democratic, in hopes that the GOP will go along on issues to make things marginally better for the unborn - like the 20 week ban.  That 20 weeks shows a pain stimulus response is interesting, but not proof of either intelligence or viability - indeed, unless you wish to birth permanently disabled kids, stick to 28 weeks as the milestone and get everyone to agree.  The last to get on board would be the GOP, because such a compromise (even at 20 weeks - a number designed to keep Democrats from saying yes) would end both National to Right Life and DFLA as organizational entities.  DFLA would love that, not so much the GOP and NRLC.  If you want progress on abortion, either lean on NRLC to agree to some number between 20 and 30 weeks or sever ties between the bishops, all of them, and NLRC.  Without their profit motive and the Church's participation in their scam, they won't last long and neither will the issue.

I love that Think Progress found the letter from JEB and his brother's campaign to the Swifties thanking them for their attack on now-Secretary Kerry.  Of course, I suspect that in both the tweet and the letter, things are being done in JEBs name, though not necessarily without his consent.  Aides do this kind of thing for candidates and their main staff.  What this may show is that the W. Campaign may not have been wholly independent of the Swift Vote Veterans for Bellicose Slander.  That is where there should be consequences.

I wonder if it is too late to walk back Robert Barron's elevation to Auxiliary Bishop after his screed last week.  Of course, the answer to Fr. Robert's question is yes, Francis is Marxist Prophet - thank God and finally!  I don't think one column is enough to cancel his consecration and it should not.  Still, I think he knows he is now on a leash, starting with his Archbishop.  He may find that having is not so good a thing as wanting, to quote Spock of Vulcan.

The GOP's Real Problem | National Catholic Reporter

The GOP's Real Problem | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I read the column after lunch and the topic of the Donald so sickens me I may yet make a mess on the Watha Daniels Library computers (7th Street, DC).  Donald Trump is Herman Cain and when he leaves, he is not going to a spoiler.  Of course, the Clown many not leave - most people drop out because someone has the money conversation with them.  Unless Trump is secretly broke, no one will do that.  His main problem, by the way, is the lack of a good staff member who won't defer to him who can tell him to shut up, that he messed up and he must stop.  Political staff are not like corporate staff - we are for ideas, not leaders - while corporate staff are about profit and worshiping those who generate it.  Oddly, the 20% who would vote for a third party Donald probably believe in a prosperity gospel and all its ignominy.  For them, Trump being rich means he is favored by God.  The only way he can shake them is to propose socialism.  As for that survey, one wonders what happens when you take out Clinton and put in Sanders, or do a straight up between Trump and Sanders.  Trump, by the way, has a chance.  He will get voters in the NY area, the south and especially the west.  He will strong arm any super delegates he needs and make it an interesting convention.  The Chinese have cursed us again!  (interesting times).

Links for 07/20/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 07/20/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Sadly, Ed Whalen must have slept through those parts in both Ethics and Special Ethics (or did not ready Fagothy for the class) when responsibility was discussed (does the concession worker at an adult theater bear responsibility for the program? - the answer is no - and likewise, is a taxpayer responsible for paying taxes to a regime that permits abortion? - the answer is yes). Material cooperation simply does not exist for distributing funds for mandated services, which may or may not be used by any of the nuns or their non-consecrated staff.

It sounds like Msgr. Karcher is a good friend as well as a good Master of Ceremonies.

Kasich is, of course, the sane one and the less partisan one. Of course, having E.J. say it won't win him any friends in the GOP

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Lord hears the cry of the bourgeoisie | National Catholic Reporter

The Lord hears the cry of the bourgeoisie | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: MSW is correct in talking about the working class, the middle class and the upper middle as separate entities - and hopefully the Pope will talk about that.  I hope he doesn't scold the middle class about consumerism, because the working class needs its consumption or all that is left to them is violence.  Indeed, wew need to get the workes MORE money for more consumption.  

Consumer stuff largely comes from Asia, where people do fine work with hazardous materials and little safety.  As bad as that is, the problem here is food.  Undocumented migrants pick it (and some prisoners) and process it, usually without union rights.  Buying locally is not an option for most and may still use exploitation, especially in the DC area, but really anywhere. I am sure some scolding is appropriate for even the middle class sans working class that feels so put upon.

Austerity should be talked about and condemned.  The sequester is delaying a really robust recovery and forgiving housing debt should be on the agenda too.  Higher taxes on the wealthy, especially heirs, need a mention or five.  Most importantly, a large refundable child tax credit - paid with wages - of $1000 per month per child should be a demand and Church should pay that to its employees starting now.  

As important, the pro-life movement must be examined to see whether it actually has any prospect of success other than electing Republicans - and equally for their opposition to measures that would alleviate poverty (because personal economic responsibility and sexual control seem to be more important than economic justice for families).  Now THAT would make news!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Links for 07/17/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 07/17/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: His Grace is entirely on target. The Commonwealth needs a way to untangle its credit (although s special master might be as appropriate - but would still need to be authorized), because modern governments get taxes and spend money at different times of the year (for example, property taxes come in twice, mostly from banks).  We also need to get rid of the state and local income tax exemptions for Americans in Puerto Rico - if only because Puerto Rican Americans pay such taxes when they live on the mainland.  I suggest they stop filing until this is done - or send in a note with their return saying they are paying under protest and why.

Pope Francis may or may not be familiar with the honorable trade of pathology, even at PPUSA. Or he may not.  After my wife's second miscarriage, we needed an answer on why (and whether we could be doing something to make another pregnancy go better - sadly no).  I am sure similar tissue preservation procedures were practiced.  The issue is the reaction and the desire for a reaction and it is shameful and offensive.  It cannot be defended as part of the movement.  It is pure emotionalism and is why the best thing Francis could say about abortion is to shut down the USCCB Pro-Life directorate.  I am not even joking.

The Bishop Hughes and Pope Francis article shows that were you stand on capitalism (and most economic issues) depends on where you sit. If you sit in an Irish parish during the famine or as Ordinary of a South American country in deep need of liberation theology, people will call you a socialist too.  If His Holiness wishes to be the Chaplian of our effort to elect Sen. Sanders as President, I would welcome him to the campaign with the kiss of peace and a DSA button.  Sen. Warren, by the way, is not running.

The best studies showed that the culture change (its only a war if you resist) started in 1959 (see the book of the same name).  While science changed earlier, culture did not.  When the the Fundies realized that no one cared that they did keep to themselves, they built TV ministries and colleges from the profits - and the Catholics funded Ave Maria to keep up.  There is no going back on that, althogh they have lost their own youth and will die out.  When the time comes, may they rest in peace.  May they repent of their angry hatred before they are called to account, especially on gay marriage.