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.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Links for 07/27/16 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 07/27/16 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Obama got into the Senate because Jack Ryan's campaign imploded.  These things happen.  They should run his wife.



Kaine has got Obama smarts.  He can use half his brain and outthink the big brain of Donald Trump.



Interestinng speculation on Kaine and Laudato Si'.  Of course, when it really comes down to reality, dealing with global warming is a huge public works project - largely benefiting the South.  When the money starts flow (maybe from a carbon tax?) the Republican South will have its hands out first.

The second night of the Democratic convention: Meet the Northern Methodist church lady | National Catholic Reporter

The second night of the Democratic convention: Meet the Northern Methodist church lady | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: This was a very good program, which was preceded by the Roll Call Vote and Bernie Sanders and the Vermont Delegation moving Clinton's nomination by acclamation.  It was the touch that was essentail to unifty most of the delegates (although some walked out).



Many of the speakers made me cry.  I missed Goveror Richards' little girl (I had not known of the connection) - but I think she did not mention abortion because she no longer needs to.  Roe is going nowhere - the only one who feels likewise, Justice Thomas, is  leaving the Court after the Spring Term - although Alito my hold that chair - he certainly didn't during the partial birth abortion case.  The people have mostly accepted the inevitability of first trimester abortion and the GOP won't compromise on the second (and the rare third) because then everyone would say that the issue is done. Hopefully Obama addresses it now as promised.



I loved Clinton's speech.  We saw her through his eyes - and anyone who knows her history knows she was a bookish chick in law school and has never been glamorous.  His speech put us right there and that is very humanizing.  You have to be a fan of the Clintons as people to be moved by it.  He also listed her accomplishments at State - something she was loathe to do because the ethics of a cabinet secretary are to give all praise to the President and not take credit for anything.  That is true is city and state government, as I experienced first hand.  I am interested in what Obama is saying, which is going to be on within the hour of my writing this.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Links for 07/26/16 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 07/26/16 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I would hope that Tim Kaine does what Pelosi did badly and Biden failed to do - explain why abortion legalization in America is not a parliamentary issue like it is in Europe (where abortion is less permissive and the Churches are empty) but is a constitutional issue and how that works - and why it is essential.  He gets bonus points for continuing the rather successful meme that the pro-life movement - with the assistance of the bishops - has become a fundraising racket and GOP GOTV machine - something we started (meaning I called my old colleagues at NARAL and they put into play) in 2008.  If he explains that Roberts and Kennedy are in the Roe camp and Alito might be as well, then with Thomas retiring, the prospects for overturning Roe are slim and none.  Then he can segue into the need for higher child tax credits - and explain why the GOP does not like them - because the GOP sees them as a reward for not sinning, with controlling female sexuality the real reason for their pro-life stance.  It would be killer and would help end this caustic debate, both in the public square and in the Church.



Trump is definitely the poster child for privilege, white and otherwise, and for using minorities for jobs white people would rather not do - while hating them for coming and doing them.  That, and his Islamophobia and his association with David Duke and other Klan figures is, in a word, damning.



Assange is the only person who actually knows that Russia did not provide the source for his latest leak that knocked out Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  Bravo to him for not revealing his sources - its how he gets his data.  As for other accusations, you expect such crap from authority when pricked.



My ex and I got married in a parish dedicated to St. Ann, also Romanesque.  Of course, that meant the light was bad too. The sunlight through the windows mas magical, however.

First night at the Democratic convention in Philly | National Catholic Reporter

First night at the Democratic convention in Philly | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: A lot of the Bernie people are new at this.  The convention is, to a large measure, about bringing them around.  I recall Hillary's people having sour grapes until the last possible moment - until she personally cast her super-delegate vote for Barack Obama - putting him over the top.  It was a class move that I hope is repeated today.



Hearing from people helped by Clinton and Obama is a great way to begin any convention Monday.  If MSW was looking for poster children for the ACA and the Dream Executive Order, there it is.  I did not see Sarah Silverman's piece, but there is no one like a comedian to deliver it straight when necessary.  I don't have cable, so I missed Senator Booker was well.



Michelle Obama had the best Trump take-downs.  She has been a good First Mother, relying on Hillary, Laura Bush and the Bush girls (and presumably Chelsea) to help them survive in the White House bubble (being studiously bored when used as props too much - oh, teenagers).  Her going from the micro to the macro needs of parents was killer.  Michelle 2024?



Elizabeth Warren was an effective curtain raiser for Bernie and party unity, bringing to the fore what we, as Democrats, believe in.  Even more than Michelle, she made Trump the issue.



Bernie did not give the speech of his life, but he gave the speech he promised, beginning to move his supporters to Hillary by claiming mission accomplished - but only if Democrats win the Congress and the White House.   While I would have liked one of the Clintons to have joined Bernie on the dais, that would be more appropriate had he been the VP nominee.  Kaine will get that privilege.  If Bernie casts the deciding vote for Hillary tonight, that is the time for the unity moment with Hillary and Bernie (and their wives and the Kaines).



Will last night make the difference between 1980, where Kennedy people obviously took a pass, and 2008, where Hillary people signed on to Obama?  Let us hope so - and let us hope that the Congress comes with her.  Now that will be a political revolution.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Links for 07/25/16 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 07/25/16 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: There are no important points on abortion.  It is settled law, with one, maybe two, Justices who might think otherwise - one of whom is retiring soon.  Any legislative compromise on the subject will essentially codify the status quo - no abortion after week 26 - and all terminations after that are by induction. Everything else is hype and fundraising.



538 is showing bounce. However, even the governor of Ohio does not think Trump will win there.  I doubt Florida or Pennsylvania either.  Or Iowa.  This map will look bluer after this next convention and will stay that way.



Our Catholic Man only finds effeminent priests (his real concern) because many of  the heterosexual ones had already left and the gay ones had no reason to.  Now they can pursue legal marriage as well, so watch their exodus or the Church may finally geek on gay marriage and married priests (and let some of those released come back, wives and maybe husbands, in tow).  The author seems like he is an authoritarian, which is why he is not alarmed by an authoritarian Trump presidency.

Four questions for the Democrats | National Catholic Reporter

Four questions for the Democrats | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: First, the Republicans offered the safety of authoritarianism (much like Chaput does).  Immigration reform is good - but repealing right to work laws is better (companies won't hire Mexican union members).  More importantly, go after the guns and ecourage police to forego them as well.



Second, Clinton needs an assist for registering Latino voters - have the justice department take a microscope to Texas and other places and seek out where there must be voter suppression.



Third, Kaine should explain why overturning Roe is a dead issue and giving more money to families - preferably a higher child tax credit and higher TANF for parents of both genders to become literate. Also, explain how being pro-life is a politicized view - that Trump and Palin called themselves that without knowing much about what it means - and that Trump was and probably is pro-choice.  Highlight that the pro-life movement has done more for Republican fundraisers and poll workers than it has for the unborn.



Fourth, get real on Hyde.  If we get to single-payer, Hyde is dead. Period.  And we need single payer.  Speaking out against the Quixotic ACLU lawsuit is fine, but not at the convention, which is about party unity.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Links for 07/22/16 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 07/22/16 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Knock was an apparition with no message except that God was standing with the people of Ireland.  Guadalupe was a similar message for Mexican peasants.  It is fitting that the Cardinal go after Trump's proposals there.



The Levittown story shows why Sanders would not have been a problem as President - because the House is surely changing hands.  Hopefully Mrs. Clinton will take a few pages from Sanders' playbook once elected.



I am your voice is a generic enough term to use without fear of plagiarism.  Of course, those of on the left look at his supporters and agree - he is their voice - and the message is one we thought had been silenced in earlier years.

America in peril, but not the way Trump thinks | National Catholic Reporter

America in peril, but not the way Trump thinks | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Thanks to MSW for watching the speech so we did not have to.  I had expected it to be the kind of stream of consciousness ramble we have come to expect of Trump.  He may have not been that bad, although dropping and repeating themes seems to be his modus opporandi - something common to people who are not all there mentally - which makes it easier, not harder, to run like Trump is - a two bit fascist.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Links for 07/21/16 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 07/21/16 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I had hoped that Vigano would have been more, not less, of an enforcer after his time cleaning up finances in Rome.  He was a sever disappointment who took the wrong lesson from his reassignment.



If the Trump delegates are not in it for economic reasons, then there has to be something else involved - like protecting white privilege.



Hopefully, Georgetown will add some perspective rather than going down the dark hole that Beckett and the Bishops are hiding in - confusing religious freedom for desires for religious power (other than the power of the truth - which is diminished if one seeks to back it up with force),



The GOP cannot help but be negative on Clinton, even if they base their opposition on ignorance and lies.  I am sure there are many in the leadership who know that their cause is lost again - and they are keeping the Republican attack machine warm for the next eight years - even if they are destined to be back in the minority.

Night three at the GOP convention | National Catholic Reporter

Night three at the GOP convention | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I guess MSW missed Laura Ingraham too.  Probably wise of anyone.  Cruz was good fun in the first speech of the 2020 election cycle - which indicates that he does not think Trump can win.  He can read polls.  Gingrich and Pence recycled the same lies, but Pence did give the best speech of the night.  I am sure the Trumps are thanking Heaven it is not tonight, because it is probably a better speech than Trump will give in prime time (if he can wait that long).



Eric Trump's speech was interesting - he should run for office - but recounting why his father is running - that things are bad and the Donald is the only one who can fix it shows a bit of psychosis.  Of course, the thing about psychosis (and with the Trumps it is shared psychosis) is that when you are psychotic, the fact that you are escapes you.  Hopefully it will not escape us tonight - assuming we want to torture ourselves by listening to what will be a tortured speech.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The second night at the GOP convention | National Catholic Reporter

The second night at the GOP convention | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Most of the remarks were either ignorant or lies (see especially McConnell and Ryan who blamed what was wrong with the nation on liberalism rather than their own obstructionism).  When Christie turned on, I tuned out because it was more of the same (lies and ignorance).  What was worst, however, were the piped in remarks of Trump, which he either did live or in one take and with very little rehearsal (or no teleprompter - or a badly used one).  The emperor truly has not clothes,

Review: 'American Jesuits and the World' Part 2 | National Catholic Reporter

Review: 'American Jesuits and the World' Part 2 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Sadly, the Jesuits get on board with the American project just when it gets to its darkest hours - the persecution of Filipino nationalists and our later 20th Century cold warrior stage.  Bergolio was friendly to the fascism of the day when he was provincial, but luckily he grew out of it and joined his brothers in, shall we say, a more liberated version of the gospel and theology.



One note on yesterday, the Protestants, when talking about religious liberty, also meant religious power.  The Bishops have joined with them as well in what is not their finest hour.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The first night at the GOP convention | National Catholic Reporter

The first night at the GOP convention | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The theme makes me wonder what time Trump wants us to go back to.  George Bush, Sr.?  George W. Bush?  Maybe the golden years of Bill Clinton? (oops!).  Even though there was no chance that I would be lured by their rhetoric, I took a pass on watching the convention last night - although while grabbing a bite to eat, I did see the immediate aftermath of the rules fight.  I wonder why the convention leaders were afraid of what would happen if there were a roll call vote on the rules?  This is the second time in a row this has happened.  At some point people will realize that the GOP leadership lacks a certain legitimacy and that may be why no one wants to vote for them.  Of course, there is one word that describes the shoddy due process and hate for racial and religious minorities.  Fascism.

Review: 'American Jesuits and the World' | National Catholic Reporter

Review: 'American Jesuits and the World' | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: There is always an "on the other hand."  The Jesuits were considered the shock troops for the Pope (a designation that no longer applied until, perhaps, Francis).  As the Pope had pretensions as leader of Italy, as well as Catholicism, some of the fears were justified.  Perhaps if the Popes had not damned Protestants for not being Catholic, the situation might have been different.  Indeed, calling them sects of western Christianity rather than Churches in their own right is still offensive.  As for the Bible, it had not been much earlier that the Anglicans had burned people at the stake for translating the Bible - but in the end the Protestants were right, the people have a right to the scriptures in their own venacular - even as the language evolves.  Granted, there is no excuse for persecution and bad behavior, but that bad behavior goes both ways - although more from the Pope's than the Jesuits themselves.  As presented here, its seems that this book does a good job of taking the Jesuit side, but not so much taking the side of history.



On the religious freedom angle - in democracies the the Church seeks religious freedom if it must, religious power if it can (see the 1950s) - in other countries it seeks religious power - and that is not something that should be defended.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Four questions in Cleveland | National Catholic Reporter

Four questions in Cleveland | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: First, to be fair to Trump, the GOP has not been inviting ex-Presidents for years because their presidencies both ended on a sour note.  Of course, had JEB been the nominee, they would have been in attendance.  Of course,the never Trumpers have themselves to blame for not organizing behind him in the first place (or having Mitt run again).



Second, it won't be Buchanan giving the nativist racist speech, it will likely be Trump.  Look for Pence to hit the conservative themes that Trump chokes on.  Of course, the Trump true believers may be saying all kinds of things.  Watch for them to get plenty of air time.



Third, if Pence is looking for a church he is sleeping in on Sunday.  Those of us who watch C-SPAN know who he is, someone who runs on right-wing economic policies, which means he knows nothing about economics.  Trump found a bigger idiot than himself. As far as his dog whistle conservatism, his function will be to make the 700 Club set comfortable voting for Trump.



Fourth, there are not enough angry white men to win the election - or even to get the convention broadcast gavel-to-gavel live.  Of course, FoxNews will broadcast it and will add their own spin.  The GOP is trying to Billionaire solution a second time.  They are insane, like their candidate.  Trying the same thing a second time and expecting a different result is the very definition of insanity.  Trump needs all the swing states to win - Hillary needs two at most.  The likelihood is that she will get them all and some of the pink states too, like Utah and Georgia.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Links for 07/15/16 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 07/15/16 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: EPA enforcement happens through state and territorial departments of environmental quality.  If there are sites not being enforced, its because of lack of funding and possibly corruption.  Hopefully the control board will deal with this.  It has nothing to do with either Clinton or Trump.



Silk reports that it is the Catholics who have left the White Evangelicals at the altar.  I would love to see the cross tabs and see how many of those who have changed are women - and what there attitudes truly are about birth control and abortion.  That Catholics practice birth control with no regard for Church teaching is hardly a secret.  That they are no longer listening to the authoritarian swan song of Trump is good news.  Call it the Francis effect.  Most won't even hear about the dropping of support for the Hyde Amendment from the Democratic platform.  While I am sure some authoritarian clergy will bring this to their attention, most will consider it a small issue and are wondering why we are still talking about abortion - since nothing can really be done about it in the legal sphere.  NARAL and the Obama campaign convinced many Democratic Catholics that the Pro-Life movement was a GOP scam (we were not lying).  That credibility is gone forever.



I am still amazed that when people speak about "Christian America" they exclude Catholics as a separate camp.



Private to MSW: Forward Together sounds like an interesting poster with Stronger Together.  Feel free to make buttons - but before you do drop the meme that Mrs. Clinton is covered in mud - it is only that which has been dug up and thrown by the right-wing extremists as part of their big lie campaign.  Please do not abet it by giving it mention.

Terror, Trump and the polls | National Catholic Reporter

Terror, Trump and the polls | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: It is very easy to manipulate poll results if you want to make it look like your guy is leading. Don't trust FoxNews or Rasmussen numbers. Indeed, no network wants to report that Clinton is winning in a landslide - it's bad for ratings. Trump will either have a bump from the convention - or if his acceptance speech is the same ignorant drivel he has been giving us - a dive. Clinton will get a bump from her convention as she proves she can play like one of the big boys. As for Trump being the law and order candidate, I ask, what are his credentials? The Trumpster has no clothes in this regard. Some voters still remember what a hash Rumsfeld and Cheney made of the Iraq war - and security is not what brought the GOP back in 2010 (redistricting and lying about abortion in the ACA did). That part of the electorate is fairly mapped out and I don't see it coming out and working for a fool.