19 December 2012

A Man for This Season, and All Seasons | Public Discourse

A Man for This Season, and All Seasons | Public Discourse

A Man for This Season, and All Seasons

There is only one Thomas More: A man of tender nobility, subtle intellect, and forceful conviction, all rooted in profound fidelity to the larger commonwealth of Christendom outside and above Tudor England.
A day after the 2012 Summer Olympics closed in London, Joseph Pearce wrote that he felt like his “body had been covered in slime. I also felt a great sense of gratitude that I had shaken the smut and dirt from my sandals and had left the sordid culture of which I was once a part.”
Given the grand sweep of British history, those are harsh words from a former Londoner. An English Catholic convert and author, Pearce is now a resident Fellow at Thomas More College in New Hampshire. But he merely said what many people thought: that the Olympic closing ceremony they watched on global television was one long liturgy of overripe vulgarity, a jamboree of cheesy and offensive pop culture. In effect, it showcased a nation grasping to reinvent itself by escaping back to adolescence while ignoring its own real past.
This shouldn’t surprise us. Europe’s work of reinvention, or self-delusion, has been going on for decades, not only in Britain but across the continent. One of the key obstacles to the process is the depth of Europe’s Christian roots. As recent popes and many others have pointed out, there really is no “Europe” without its historic Christian grounding. Anyone wanting a new Britain, or a new Europe, needs to get rid of the old one first. So diminishing Christianity and its influence becomes a priority. And that includes rewriting the narrative on many of Christianity’s achievements and heroes.
By way of evidence: Consider the case of Thomas More, lawyer, humanist, statesman and saint; martyred by England’s King Henry VIII in 1535; canonized in 1935; celebrated in Robert Bolt’s brilliant 1960 play A Man for All Seasons; and more recently trashed as proud, intolerant, and devious in Hilary Mantel’s best-selling 2009 novel, Wolf Hall, now set for release as a 2013 BBC2 miniseries.
Critics of More are not new. His detractors had a voice well before his beheading. As Henry VIII’s chancellor, he earned a reputation as a hammer of heretics and a fierce opponent of Martin Luther and William Tyndale. Yet Erasmus of Rotterdam revered More as a scholar and friend. Jonathan Swift, the great Anglo-Irish writer, described him as “a person of the greatest virtue this kingdom [of England] ever produced.” When Pope John Paul II named Thomas More as patron saint of statesmen in 2000, he cited More’s witness to the “primacy of truth over power” at the cost of his life. He noted that even outside the Church, More “is acknowledged as a source of inspiration for a political system which has as its supreme goal the service of the human person.”
Ten years later, speaking to leaders of British society in Westminster Hall, Pope Benedict XVI returned to the same theme. Benedict noted that More “is admired by believers and non-believers alike for the integrity with which he followed his conscience, even at the cost of displeasing the sovereign whose ‘good servant’ he was, because he chose to serve God first.”
So which is it: More the saint or More the sinner? Was he the ruthless, sexually repressed rage addict suggested by historians like G.R. Elton, fearful of change and driven by helpless fury? Or was he the humble and generous “man for all seasons” praised by his friend Robert Whittinton and so many others among his contemporaries? Were there really two Thomas Mores: the young, open-minded humanist, and the older royal courtier, gripped by religious fanaticism?
The moral integrity of More’s life has been argued with persuasive skill in the various works of Gerard Wegemer, among many others. And Peter Ackroyd’s fine biography, The Life of Thomas More, vividly captures the whole extraordinary man—his virtues, his flaws, and the decisive nature of his moment in history. Travis Curtright has now added to the luster of the real More’s legacy with his excellent new book The One Thomas More. 
As the title suggests, Curtright sees Thomas More’s life as a consistent, organic record of Christian witness, start to finish; a thoroughly logical integration of humanism, piety, politics and polemical theology. There is only “one” Thomas More—a man of tender nobility, subtle intellect, and forceful conviction, all rooted in profound fidelity to the larger commonwealth of Christendom outside and above Tudor England. For Curtright, More embodied “the Erasmian ideal of wedding learning with virtue,” lived through a vigorous engagement with temporal affairs. He treats More’s scholarly critics with proper respect while methodically dismantling their arguments; and he does it by carefully unpacking and applying three of More’s most important written works: The Life of Pico Mirandola, The History of Richard III, and Utopia.
Curtright correctly sees that More’s real source of annoyance for many modern revisionist critics is his faith. If revisionists like Elton implicitly define “humanism” as excluding religious faith, then a man like Thomas More and the whole vast Christian tradition of integrating faith and reason become serious irritants. As Curtright observes:
The entire structures of the two Mores and real More theories congeal around [critics’] notions of a "true" humanism that excludes the possibility of faith and reason working together, a position transparently stated by [G.R.] Elton and one that influences contemporary condemnations of More as a "fanatic."
Bickering over the “real” Thomas More has importance beyond the scholarly community. Why? Because just as the nutty premises of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code confused millions by reinventing the backstory of Christian belief, so too the novel Wolf Hall offers a revisionist Thomas More wrapped in popular melodrama. The author, Hilary Mantel, a lapsed Catholic whose disgust for the Church is a matter of public record, drew her portrait of More in part from the work of Elton. The “hero” of her novel is Thomas Cromwell—More’s tormentor, and in reality, a man widely loathed by his contemporaries as an administratively gifted but scheming and vindictive bully. Unlike the widespread European shock that greeted More’s judicial murder, few wept for Cromwell when he finally followed More to the scaffold.
The One Thomas More is not a book for beachside browsing. While it’s well-written, modest in size and rich in content, it is a scholarly effort. Some casual readers may find it heavier than they bargained for. But as a resource on Thomas More, it’s invaluable. Curtright’s final chapter, “Iconic Mores on Trial,” has special importance. It directly challenges Mantel’s loose treatment of facts, for which it deserves wide circulation.
Having said all this, Thomas More has been dead nearly 500 years. Why should his legacy matter today?
Barring relief from the courts, Christian entities, employers, and ministers in the coming year will face a range of unhappy choices. As the Affordable Care Act takes force and the HHS contraceptive mandate imposes itself on Christian life, Catholic and other Christian leaders can refuse to comply, either declining to pay the consequent fines in outright civil disobedience, or trying to pay them; they can divest themselves of their impacted Christian institutions; they can seek some unexplored compromise or way of circumventing the law; or they can simply give in and comply with the government coercion under protest.
Good people can obviously disagree on the strategy to deal with such serious matters. But the cost of choosing the last course—simply cooperating with the HHS mandate and its evil effects under protest—would be bitterly high and heavily damaging to the witness of the Church in the United States. Having fought loudly and hard for religious liberty over the past year, in part because of the HHS mandate, America’s Catholic bishops cannot simply grumble and shrug, and go along with the mandate now, without implicating themselves in cowardice. Their current resolve risks unraveling unless they reaffirm their opposition to the mandate forcefully and as a united body.  The past can be a useful teacher. One of its lessons is this: The passage of time can invite confusion and doubt—and both work against courage.
Again: Why does Thomas More still matter? Why does he matter right now? 
More’s final work, scribbled in the Tower of London and smuggled out before his death, was The Sadness of Christ. In it, he contrasts the focus and energy of Judas with the sleepiness of the Apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane. He then applies the parable to his own day and the abject surrender of England’s bishops to the will of Henry VIII: “Does not this contrast between the traitors and the Apostles present to us a clear and sharp mirror image . . . a sad and terrible view of what has happened through the ages from those times to our own? Why do not bishops contemplate in this scene their own somnolence?"
More urges the bishops not to fall asleep “while virtue and the faith are placed in jeopardy.” In the face of Tudor bullying, he begs them, “Do not be afraid”—this from a layman on the brink of his own execution.
Of course, that was then. This is now. America 2012 is a very long way, in so many different ways, from England 1535.
But readers might nonetheless profit in the coming months from some reflection on the life of Sir Thomas. We might also take a moment to remember More’s friend and fellow martyr, John Fisher, the only bishop who refused to bend to the king’s will; the man who shortly before his own arrest told his brother bishops: “. . . the fort has been betrayed even [by] them that should have defended it.”
Charles J. Chaput, a Capuchin Franciscan, is the archbishop of Philadelphia and the author of Render Unto Caesar.
Receive Public Discourse by email, become a fan of Public Discourse on Facebook, follow Public Discourse on Twitter, and sign up for the Public Discourse RSS feed.
Support the work of Public Discourse by making a secure donation to The Witherspoon Institute.
Copyright 2012 the Witherspoon Institute. All rights reserved.

28 November 2012

Catholics Don't "Believe" Life Begins at Conception

Catholics Don't "Believe" Life Begins at Conception

Catholics Don't "Believe" Life Begins at Conception

I don't know how many times I have heard it. Well-meaning Catholics who say, "As a Catholic, I believe life begins at conception." I have decided that my mission in life is to correct this miscommunication because it is that very line that lets everyone who is not Catholic dismiss everything we have to say about stem cell research, cloning and reproductive technologies. 

We Catholics do not "believe" life begins at conception, also called fertilization. We instead know that it does because it is a cold hard fact of nature that a new, distinct, human organism, identifiable by his or her unique DNA, is created at the completion of fertilization. That is not a belief. That is a fact.

A fact bolstered by embryology:
"Although human life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed." (O'Rahilly, Ronan and Müller, Fabiola. Human Embryology and Teratology, 2nd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996, p. 8 )
Even a secular children's book on human reproduction from my local library is clear:
"But nine months before, when you first began, you were just one little cell, even smaller than the dot at the end of this sentence. Half of this cell came from your mother's body, and the other half came from your father's body."
I am not alone in my distaste for that common "I believe that life begins at conception" phrase. The late Dr. Bernard Nathanson also took umbrage with the word "believe" when discussing the facts of life. He wrote in his "Confessions of an Ex-Abortionist":
"Fetology makes it undeniably evident that life begins at conception and requires all the protection and safeguards that any of us enjoy....As a scientist I know, not believe, know that human life begins at conception." [emphasis mine]
[And for you sticklers for nomenclature, in recent years, practitioners of in vitro fertilization (IVF) have redefined conception as the implantation of an embryo in the uterus. This allows them to say that prior to implantation, an embryo has yet to be conceived. This implies that a new human organism begins at implantation instead of fertilization which is scientifically incorrect. The Catholic Church uses conception in its correct and traditional usage, meaning fertilization.]

So why do we debate the question of "when human life begins?"  I believe it is because the debate about when life begins is actually focused on the wrong question or rather questions.  It is not a matter biologically of when a new human organism begins.  That is an established fact. 

The real debate is about whether or not human life has value, whether or not an embryo or fetus has moral worth simply because he (or she) is human. And whether or not every human life, despite it's point of development, deserves respect and protection. 

When people say that life does not begin at conception what they are really saying is that they do not believe that embryonic life has value and that it does not deserve to be protected.

The Catholic Church teaches that the new human life that begins at conception has dignity and worth simply because it is human.  Catholics know that human life is present from the moment of fertilization.  We also hold that all human life is intrinsically valuable.

Even in a increasingly secular world, society understands that the taking of an innocent life is a moral trespass that cannot be allowed.  Hence the prohibition of homicide in secular law.  The basis of this understanding is the reality that human life does indeed have value simply because it is human. (Even France, where creating embryos for research is banned, has a law regulating research on embryos that lists the following core principles as guidelines, "Respect for the dignity of the human embryo" and "Respect for all stages of life.")

There are others who want to qualify and restrict which human lives are considered valuable because of a particular agenda. We know who they are. But the Catholic Church does not make any qualifications.  Irregardless of point of development, Catholics acknowledge the inherent dignity in every human organism. To assign value to human life at some developmental point after conception is simply arbitrary.

Lee M. Silver, professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University, wrote in his book Remaking Eden: How Genetic Engineering and Cloning Will Transform the American Family:
“Once fertilization is complete, there are no isolated moments along the way where you can point at an embryo or fetus and say that it is substantially different from the way it was a few minutes, or even hours earlier.” 
Everyone one of us is a continuous organism from the moment we are conceived to the day that we die. It is illogical that we be valued and protected under the law only for a part of that continuous process.

So the next time someone says to you, "Human life does not begin at conception," correct them and tell them that life indeed does begin at conception and what they really mean to say is "I don't believe the life that begins at conception has value." (And then explain to them why that stance is totally illogical.)

And if you must use the word "believe" when discussing the beginnings of life, please do not say, "I believe life begins at conception." Say instead, "I believe the life that begins at conception has moral worth simply because it is human."

Rebecca Taylor blogs at Mary Meets Dolly

15 November 2012

Quo Vadis – O, Bishops?

Quo Vadis – O, Bishops?: Robert Royal offers some suggestions to the bishops meeting in Baltimore: begin kindling some fires – an be prepared to suffer for the faith.

Monday, 12 November 2012
Quo Vadis – O, Bishops? Print E-mail
By Robert Royal   

I am not a big fan of taking the long view. It may sometimes be wise, even necessary, in human terms. But I’m far more attracted by what is probably the most neglected of Jesus’ sayings: “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Lk. 12:49)
The U. S. bishops are meeting in Baltimore this week for their annual get-together. The scuttlebutt is that they will be mostly discussing matters internal to the Church in America. If they were asking my advice – for some reason, they seem to have forgotten to call – I would strongly urge that they begin with a collective session of lectio divina about kindling fires.
I’d also suggest a few other things. To start with, forget about being nice. It doesn’t work. Be gentlemen. Be kind. But forget nice. As learned Latinists, you no doubt know that the word comes from nescius, which means ignorant. It came, early in modern languages, to mean foolish. Today, an idiomatic translation might be: clueless.
Kindness, of course, is a different matter entirely. Our Lord was kind – kind enough to tell people the truth. His combination of hard and soft is always what we need. Nietzsche, who was brought up among fussing women in a wishy-washy Protestant pastor’s home, emphasized the need to be hard. Like all heretics, he had a point, but rode it a bit too hard to the neglect of other truths.
Christianity, as Nietzsche noted, has been becoming overly feminized, as has the developed world. Mary is the model Christian and the people who have been pushing the Communio theology are right: our first orientation has to be passive, to receive what God is telling us as the Virgin received the Word into her womb.
Women are quite capable at times of some of the masculine virtues, of course. But forget the politically correct notion that there are no specifically male and female virtues. In the normal course of things, when the refrigerator needs to be moved, it’s father and son, not mother and daughter, who should do the heavy lifting.
And in the middle of the night, if there’s a noise downstairs that sounds like a burglar, you don’t nudge your wife and say, “Your turn. I went down to check last time.” Be men. Think big. Act big, too. Play big-league ball.
The LCWR, the media, and other softballers will continue to try to thwart you with talk of patriarchy and the old boys’ club. Be true gentlemen. Listen to all sincerely, but listen to God more.

         Christ Cleansing the Temple by El Greco, c. 1570
Beware of the two great distortions, bordering on heresies, in our time:
–      “Judge not.” Yes, that’s in the Bible, but Christ had no difficulty also stating the difference between right and wrong. In fact, you may have noticed that there’s more than a little holy anger in the Gospels and dire prophetic warnings to individuals and whole groups. Christ is the model. Are you going to follow Him or take the easy way, the one that only seems compassionate? (See “nice” above.)
–      “But Jesus welcomed everyone.” Yes, he did, but on His terms, not theirs. If Christianity means just accepting everybody as they already are, indeed as they demand to be accepted – evil capitalists and mean orthodox Christians excepted, of course – why have a Church at all? The politicians are already quite prepared to tell everyone (with the same exceptions just noted) how wonderful, unless it’s “amazing,” they all are. Leave that sort of thing to the snake-oil salesmen.
Be clear about this. The person who invented the phrase, “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness,” was no real Christian. Jesus does both, and Catholics are practitioners of the both/and, not the either/or.
Do you think Mother Teresa would have thought she’d done enough if she had just picked up beggars in Calcutta and not also talked about the callousness of heart and self-indulgence of the wealthy nations who were – safely, legally, and far from rarely – doing away with their own children in the womb?
Be prepared to suffer for the Faith. The world will always play the role it must when it hears the truth. Welcome fair criticism, but accept it in the right spirit. When John Paul II called for a “purification of memory” as we approached the beginning of the new Christian millennium, he was utterly frank about the Church’s past sins. But he never let humility and truth turn into a kind of “Kick Me” sign on the Church’s back.
Know that many Catholics, and non-Catholics, are with you. Seek them out. And the best way to do so is to lead from the front. The apostles knew it was a bad idea, in a sense, for Jesus to go into Jerusalem at the end. But they saw who He was, what He was willing to risk, and they were willing to risk much themselves so that at least they could die with Him.
I know several of you, and know that some of you know all this. But we need you to inspire even more of your fellow bishops.
You have lifetime tenure and jobs that make a real difference. Most people are stuck in humdrum tasks that don’t seem to mean very much. This is an exciting moment in Catholic history that offers opportunities for all the imagination, intelligence, and daring that you can bring to the many challenges at hand.
So make the most of it. Cherish it. Blessed are you.

Robert Royal
is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is
The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, now available in paperback from Encounter Books.
© 2012 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to:
The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

22 October 2012

Are You Better Off

La Fleur de Lys too: Not the least amongst the Saints

La Fleur de Lys too: Not the least amongst the Saints

Not the least amongst the Saints

Kateri Tekakwitha was born in today’s New York state in 1656 to a Mohawk father and a Christian Algonquin mother who gave to her a sense of the living God. She was baptized at twenty years of age and, to escape persecution, she took refuge in Saint Francis Xavier Mission near Montreal. There she worked, faithful to the traditions of her people, although renouncing their religious convictions until her death at the age of twenty-four. Leading a simple life, Kateri remained faithful to her love for Jesus, to prayer and to daily Mass. Her greatest wish was to know and to do what pleased God. She lived a life radiant with faith and purity.
Kateri impresses us by the action of grace in her life in spite of the absence of external help and by the courage of her vocation, so unusual in her culture. In her, faith and culture enrich each other! May her example help us to live where we are, loving Jesus without denying who we are. Saint Kateri, Protectress of Canada and the first native American saint, we entrust to you the renewal of the faith in the first nations and in all of North America! May God bless the first nations!

Jhesu+Marie Brantigny St Kateri Tekawitha portraits barrowed from the Catholic Illustrators Guild

La Fleur de Lys too: Saint Michel Archange

La Fleur de Lys too: Saint Michel Archange

Saint Michel Archange

Seigneur, daigne te souvenir que dans les circonstances douloureuses de notre histoire, tu as fait de l'Archange saint Michel l'instrument de ta miséricorde à notre égard. Nous ne saurions l'oublier ; c'est pourquoi nous te conjurons de conserver à notre patrie la protection dont tu l'as jadis entourée par le ministère de cet Archange vainqueur.

Et toi, ô saint Michel, Prince des Milices célestes, viens à nous ; nous t'appelons.

Tu es l'Ange gardien de l'Eglise et de la France ; c'est toi qui as inspiré et soutenu Jeanne d'Arc dans sa mission libératrice. Viens encore à notre secours et sauve-nous ! Nous mettons nos personnes, nos familles, nos paroisses, la France entière, sous ta protection toute spéciale. Nous en avons la ferme espérance, tu ne laisseras pas mourir le peuple qui t'a é...té confié.

Que Dieu suscite parmi nous des saints ! Par eux, ô saint Archange, fais triompher l'Eglise dans la lutte qu'elle soutient contre l'enfer déchaîné et, par la Vertu du Saint-Esprit, établis le règne du Christ sur la France et dans le monde, afin que la paix du ciel y demeure à jamais.

Ainsi soit-il.

Saint Michel Archange, prie pour nous, pour l'Eglise et pour la France. Saint Aubert, prie pour nous. Saint Louis, roi de France, prie pour nous. Sainte Jeanne d'Arc, prie pour nous. Sainte Thérèse de l'Enfant-Jésus, prie pour nous. Saints et Saintes de France, priez pour nous.See More

Lord, deign to remember that in the painful circumstances of our history, you made the Archangel Michael the instrument of your mercy towards us. We must not forget it; This is why we urge you to keep our homeland protections you have once surrounded it by the Ministry of this winner Archangel.

And you, o saint Michael, Prince of the celestial militia, come to us; We call you.

You are the guardian of the Church and the Angel of France ; It is you who have inspired and supported Joan of Arc in its liberating mission. Still come to our rescue and save us! We put our people, our families, our parishes, the entire France, under your very special protection. We hope farm, you will not let die the people entrusted to you.

That God is with us the saints! By them, o saint Archangel, do triumph the Church in combating it supports against the raging hell, and by the virtue of the Holy Spirit, established the reign of Christ on the France and in the world, so that the peace of heaven remains there forever.

So be.

St. Michael the Archangel, prays for US, for the Church and for the France. Saint Aubert, pray for us. Saint Louis, King of France, pray for us. Sainte Jeanne d'Arc, pray for us. Saint Thérèse of the child Jesus, pray for us. Saints and Holy of France, pray for us.  

The Obama Plan

04 October 2012

26 August 2012

V for Victory!: The Party of Civil Rights...?

V for Victory!: The Party of Civil Rights...?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Party of Civil Rights...?

Gov. George Wallace, Democrat, tries to prevent desegregation at the University of Alabama in 1963.
In the age of slavery, the Democrat Party was the home of those who supported, or were willing to tolerate, slavery.

After the Civil War, the Democrat Party was the home of white supremacists, paramilitary groups dedicated to the disenfranchisement of blacks, and politicians who enacted black codes and Jim Crow laws.

The Democrat Party was the home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who, in 1942, ordered the forced internment of more than 100,000 Japanese and Americans of Japanese ancestry.  (It was Republican President Ronald Reagan who apologized for this action in 1988.)

The Democrat Party was the home of all but one of a bloc of 18 Senators who fought hard to kill the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Some of these Senators -- especially former Ku Klux Klansman Robert Byrd of West Virginia -- continued for decades as respected and prestigious members of the Party.

The Democrat Party was the home of Lyndon Johnson who signed the Civil Rights Act into law with one hand, and with the other hand created the Great Society, and with it the burgeoning modern welfare state, which has destroyed the black family and trapped many blacks in moral and economic servitude for decades.

The Democrat Party is the home of Barack Hussein Obama, fanatical opponent of the right to life of unborn babies, and launcher of perhaps the most blatant and explicit assault on religious freedom in our time.

Yes, indeed...the party of civil rights.

04 August 2012

Chick-fil-A still ruffling Proco Joe Moreno's feathers

Chick-fil-A still ruffling Proco Joe Moreno's feathers

Going after Chick-fil-A is one thing. Insulting a Catholic Cardinal in Chicago is just stupid. Photo: Chick-fil-A
1st Ward Alderman Proco Joe Moreno proved that by trying to argue, through the media of course, with Cardinal George of Chicago’s Catholic Archdiocese. Proco Joe definitively proved any simpleton could and does get elected to office in Chicago.
Recent comments by those who administer our city seem to assume that the city government can decide for everyone what are the ‘values’ that must be held by citizens of Chicago,” Cardinal George wrote on the Archdiocese of Chicago’s blog Sunday.
“I was born and raised here, and my understanding of being a Chicagoan never included submitting my value system to the government for approval. Must those whose personal values do not conform to those of the government of the day move from the city?
To which Moreno responded:
“It’s unfortunate that the cardinal, as often happens, picks parts of the Bible and not other parts,” said Chicago Alderman Proco Joe Moreno in response to Cardinal George/Chicago Tribune, who added that he was raised Catholic in western Illinois, attended a Catholic grade school and was an altar boy. Moreno said he now occasionally attends church. 
“The Bible says many things,” Moreno said. “For the cardinal to say that Jesus believes in this, and therefore we all must believe in this, I think is just ingenuous and irresponsible. The God I believe in is one about equal rights, and to not give equal rights to those that want to marry, is in my opinion un-Christian.” 
All you need is the “blessing of the boys”, an ancient sacrament of the Holy Democratic Crime Family better known as the Democratic Machine. A mind is not necessary in the mindless machine.
It is evident Proco Joe never read the Bible, let alone paid attention in whatever parochial school he claims to have attended. It is apparent that Proco Joe picks and chooses what he believes in, except for the one true faith, the one religion, the one gospel - the Chicago Democratic Machine.
It is the theology of “money power”.
So Proco Joe sold his soul to Beelzebub and converted to the Democratic Chicago Way, the only true religion in Chicago. Their bible preaches vileness, avarice, greed, corruption, and criminality. Those are and always have been the values of Chicago politicians.
Money is power, power is money. That is the Chicago Way. The more money politicians amass they can run for reelection, they can also contribute to each help each other, and they amass more power.
If Chick-fil-A wrote a big check people would be stunned how fast Proco Joe could shove tasty chicken sandwiches down his gullet.
For free, of course. Aldermen do not pay for stuff.  A hungry and broke alderman is considered a stupid alderman.
Maybe Cardinal George is right in thinking Alderman Moreno is considering a Council Committee on Un-Chicagoan Activities. People and businesses that do not share amoral Chicago values will be investigated, forced to testify, forced to name others, suffer economic torture, and be blacklisted if they fail to do so.
Of course if they slide a campaign donation the Alderman's way they will be absolved. Money salves all sins.
That’s the Chicago Way. You can be a victim of the Inquisition or you can purchase benediction. It does not matter what you say, think, or believe. It does matter how much you contribute.
Chicago values are not American, Judeo-Christian, or moral values. They are truly unique, rare, and idiosyncratic. Sometimes they are idiotic like the politicians.
Alderman Moreno also never learned one of the first rules of Chicago politics and bureaucracy. Never argue or insult the clergy, especially the powerful clergy, even if it is done obliquely.
Never, ever, ever, forever. You always look dumb and never win.
There is nothing Alderman Moreno will not do in the name of dirty politics, even stooping so low as to insult a Cardinal. Let’s cut to the chase. Moreno wants what he wants, money and the right to pick and choose his family and friends to work at Chick-fil-A. He will get his way or there will be no Chick-fil-A.
Moreno could care less about gays, straights, equality, or civil rights. He only cares about kachingos and taking care of family and friends.
Proco Joe is amassing a campaign war chest and political army so he can go from being a freshman alderman to a sophomore. He will have the aldermanic right and privilege to spout sophomoric platitudes. From there he can pass to junior class alderman. That will give him the aldermanic right and privilege to act like a juvenile.
Last, he will join the graduating class of senior aldermen. He will be granted the aldermanic right and privilege to fall asleep during city council meetings, spout senile silliness between snores, and retire from his part time job with a full pension and Rolls Royce health care benefits.
The position of Chicago aldermen is legally a part time job. They receive an escalating six figure executive salary, premiere health care benefits, generous expense accounts, and a pension. They are allowed to own businesses, operate professional practices, such as law firms, insurance companies, real estate offices, or earn a full time living anyway they can.
Chicago aldermen also have unlimited power.  
What part time job in America is so lucrative?  Is it no wonder aspiring people of low breeding and minimum intelligence aspire to be a Chicago Alderman instead of President of the United States or any other worthwhile career of accomplishment or achievement?
What’s astounding is the people of Chicago put up with this. They keep voting the dullards in. It proves the stupidity of the voter should never be underestimated.
Maybe Proco Joe Moreno better leave town, keep his mouth shut, and let the storm blow over. He can claim exhaustion and go into hiding to rest ala Jesse Jackson Jr. A high paid part time job can run down even the hardiest greediest people.
When the fiasco he created fizzles out he can return, slinking back into City Hall, refreshed and ready to do something else stupid.
If Proco Joe keeps saying dumb things, insulting the clergy, and showing how simple-minded all Chicago politicians really are he will suffer the punishment of the Democratic Machine. The boys will find someone else to bless and take his place.  
Proco will have to actually go out and get a real job at way less pay to earn his living. Maybe Chick-fil-A will hire him to work in one of their restaurants. They do not discriminate against anyone, including intellectually challenged politicians.
Anyone, even a Chicago alderman could learn how to make chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. The hard part will be training him to be nice.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance journalist and photojournalist, cook, and raconteur.  He likes to be the irreverent sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys.  His opinions are his and his alone. Mr. Bella is a member of the National Press Photographers Association and the Society for Professional Journalists.

28 June 2012

Seven Reasons to Return to Confession | The Gregorian Blog | The Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College

Seven Reasons to Return to Confession | The Gregorian Blog | The Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College

Seven Reasons to Return to Confession

Confession is available before all Benedictine College Masses, even Baccalaureate.
Confession is available before all Benedictine College Masses, even Baccalaureate.
Fortnight for Freedom, Day 3.
During the Fortnight for Freedom, the Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College is offering resources for promoting Catholic identity in public life in the simplest, most high-impact ways possible.
Today's suggestion: Promote confession.
But don’t take our word for it.
“The renewal of the Church in America depends on the renewal of the practice of penance,” Pope Benedict told us at Nationals Stadium in Washington.
Pope John Paul II spent his last years on earth pleading with Catholics to return to confession, including in an urgent motu proprio document about confession and in his encyclical on the Eucharist.
He called the crisis in the Church the crisis of confession and wrote to priests: “I feel a pressing need to urge you, as I did last year, to rediscover for yourselves and help others to rediscover the beauty of the sacrament of reconciliation.”
Why all of this angst over confession? Because when we skip confession, we lose the sense of sin. The loss of the sense of sin is at the root of so many evils in our time, from child abuse to financial dishonesty, from abortion to atheism.
So, how to promote confession? Here are some talking points. Seven reasons to return to confession, both natural and supernatural.
  1. Sin aggravates you.
A therapist tells the story about a patient who had been in a terrible cycle of depression and self-disgust ever since high school. Nothing seemed to help. One day, the therapist met the patient in front of a Catholic church. They ducked inside when it began raining, and witnessed people going to confession.
“Should I go too?” asked the patient, who had received the sacrament as a child. “No!” said the counselor. The patient went anyway, and emerged from the confessional with her first smile in years, and kept improving in the weeks to come. The therapist studied more about confession, eventually became Catholic and now counsels regular confession for all her Catholic patients.
Sin leads to depression because it isn’t just an arbitrary violation of rules: It’s a violation of the purpose built into our being by God. Confession lifts the guilt and anxiety caused by sin and heals you.
  1. Sin makes you aggravating.
In the movie 3:10 to Yuma, the villain Ben Wade says, “I don’t mess around with doing anything good, Dan. Do one good deed for somebody – I imagine it’s habit forming.” He is right. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” As the Catechism puts it: “Sin creates a proclivity to sin.” People don’t just lie; they become liars. We don’t just steal; we become thieves. Making a clean break from sin redefines you, allows you to start new habits of virtue.
“God is determined to deliver his children from slavery to lead them to freedom,” said Pope Benedict XVI. “And the worst and most profound slavery is that of sin.”
  1. We need to say it.
If you break a favorite item belonging to a friend, you would never be satisfied just feeling regret. You would feel compelled to explain what you did, express your sorrow, and do whatever is necessary set things right.
It is the same when we break something in our relationship with God. We need to say we’re sorry, and try to fix it.
Pope Benedict XVI points out that we should feel the need to confess even if we aren’t guilty of serious sin. “We clean our homes, our rooms, at least once a week, even if the dirt is always the same; in order to live in cleanliness, in order to start again,” he said.  “Something similar can be said about the soul.”
  1. Confessing helps you know yourself.
We get ourselves all wrong. Our self-opinion is like a series of funhouse mirrors. Sometimes we see a strong and wonderful awe-inspiring version of ourselves. Sometimes we see a grotesque and twisted hateful version of ourselves.
Confession forces us to look at our lives objectively, separate the real sins from the bad feelings and see ourselves as we really are.
As Pope Benedict XVI put it: “Confession helps us to make our consciences more alert, more open and hence, it also helps us to mature spiritually and as human persons.”
  1. Confession helps children.
Children need to go to confession, too. Some writers have stressed the negative aspects of childhood confession — being lined up in their Catholic schools and “forced to think of things to feel guilty about.”
It needn’t be like that.
Catholic Digest editor Danielle Bean once explained about how her brothers and sisters would tear up their confession lists after confession and drop them down the gutter by the church. “What a liberation!” she wrote “Returning my sins to the dark underworld from whence they had come felt wholly appropriate. ‘Hit my sister six times’ and ‘talked back to my mother four times’ were no longer my burden to bear.”
Confession can give children a place to unburden themselves without fear, and a place to get kindly adult advice when they are worried about speaking to their parents. A good examination of conscience (like this one) can guide children toward appropriate things to confess. Many families make confession an outing, followed up with ice cream.
  1. Confessing mortal sin is required.
As the Catechism puts it, mortal sin, unconfessed “causes exclusion from Christ’s Kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices forever, with no turning back.”
Over and over again in the 21st century, the Church has reminded us that Catholics guilty of commiting a mortal sin can’t go to communion without confession.
“One commits a mortal sin when there are simultaneously present: grave matter, full knowledge and deliberate consent,” says the Catechism.
The U.S. bishops reminded Catholics about common sins that constitute grave matter in the 2006 document “Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper.” Those sins include: missing Mass on a Sunday or holy day of obligation, abortion and euthanasia, any extramarital sexual activity, theft, pornography, slander, hatred and envy.
  1. Confession is a personal encounter with Christ.
In confession, it’s Christ who heals and forgives us, through the ministry of the priest. We have a personal encounter with Christ in the confessional. Just like the shepherds and Magi at the crèche, we find awe and humility. And just like the saints at the crucifixion, we find gratitude, repentance and peace.
There is no greater accomplishment in life than helping another person return to confession.
We should be willing to talk about confession like we talk about every other significant event in our lives. The offhand comment, “I won’t be able to make it until later, because I need to get to confession,” can be more convicting than a theological discourse. And since confession is a significant event in our lives, it’s an appropriate answer to the question “What are you doing this weekend?” Many of us also have funny or interesting confession stories — tell them.
Help make confession normal again. Let as many people as possible discover the beauty of this freeing sacrament.

21 June 2012

Reverend Know-it-all: We are starting over....

Reverend Know-it-all: We are starting over....

We are starting over....

(The Rev. Know-it-all is away at
Mt. Flatten Monastery attending  a seminar on the creative pastoral uses of the thumbscrew and lash. As filler, we have a letter from a local pastor.)
You may have noticed that recently, at Mass, I asked the young people who attend our religious education program to stand up. Of the 250, give or take, who attend the program, I counted about 50 or 60 at all the Masses.  Our teachers have done wonderful work. They have made great sacrifices for the sake of the religious education of our children. They have not failed. The 50-year-old system that they inherited has failed. We are using a model that was created before cell phones, soccer practice, twitter, facebook and video games. The model we are using is older than the Beatles. It’s as old as I am.
We inherited a system from the good old days of flourishing Catholic schools another failure which was lovingly remembered in the book, “The Last Catholic in America,” a charming reminiscence about Catholicism during the 1950's in which young Eddy Ryan loses his faith.  Religious education was called C.C.D. or the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.  In this usage it refers to a form of classroom style religious education for children in public schools. It was, at least in my youth, the threadbare cousin of Catholic schools.  
Catholic schools, by and large, have become failures themselves. There are some splendid Catholic schools, but in my experience of 40 years in ministry, increasingly, especially in large urban areas, Catholic schools have become inexpensive private schools for middle class people who have little or no interest in the Catholic faith, maintained at great expense by Catholic parishes. Catholic schools are, for the most part, over. 
We may have a few parish schools still plugging along, but are they Catholic? It seems that all we have left to us is the threadbare cousin. All our resources and energies go to maintaining the private school in the building next to the church. While the world is starving for Christ, we are giving them bingo and bratwurst, raffles and dinner dances, all to keep the school going.  
“But,” I can hear you say, “this is our major form of evangelism!” Aren’t you paying attention? The few kids from our schools who go to church don’t go because the school has converted them. They go because they have parents dedicated enough to bring them every Sunday, even in summer. Even in soccer season. Those kids may end up Catholic, not because they went to our schools and religious education programs, but because their parents were the first and best of teachers. In a recent conversation with a local pastor who runs a school of 250, give or take, I asked how many of his students and their families attend Mass during the summer months. He said, “about thirty of them.”   
In order to commit a mortal sin, a sin that severs one’s relationship to God, one must have sufficient knowledge that what they are doing is mortally sinful. Our kids come to Catholic schools and religious education where, presumably, they learn that it is a mortal sin to skip Sunday Mass without a serious reason, such as illness or inability to travel. That means that by allowing children to come to religious education or to enroll in Catholic schools when their parents don’t come to Mass, we are enabling them to commit a mortal sin by giving them the sufficient knowledge to damn their eternal souls.That’s a plan.
We have tied our religious education to the public school system of kindergarten and eight grades. The sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation have become graduation rituals, rites of passage, instead of the beginnings of a life of faith and commitment. We have turned sacrament into sacrilege.  When you “get your sacraments” you’re “outta” there.  (“Out of there” for those who don’t speak Chicagoan.) The Sacraments are an ending instead of a beginning. I can’t do this anymore. I believe it is morally wrong. The last time I brought this problem up, angry parents called the bishop. I remember one agitated parent who railed at me for questioning his Catholicism. He said that he was perfectly good Catholic. He went to Mass every single Easter and every single Christmas without fail.
When I realized that Eastern Rite Catholics from the Middle East don’t have Communion and Confirmation classes, a light went on in my head. They receive first Communion and Confirmation when they are Baptized, even if they are infants. They have religious education for the rest of their lives and, consequently, they have a spiritual life. They are prepared for the Sacrament of Penance, but not for Communion and Confirmation. The result is that they have a vibrant spiritual like that they have maintained in the face of 1,300 years of unremitting persecution. In this country, we can’t manage a religious life because we are up against team sports.
I intend to drop the classroom model and go to a discipleship model that is called Youthchurch. It will involve Bibles, catechisms and water balloons.  And maybe doughnuts. I will know the program is a success when I find that the kids are mad at their parents for missing Mass on Sunday.
I  no longer intend to prepare children for First Communion and Confirmation. There will no longer be First Communion and Confirmation classes. How and when will the children receive Communion and Confirmation? They will receive when they are ready.  When are they ready? They are ready when they want the Sacrament. How do we know they want the Sacrament? When they understand it, can tell the pastor what it is and why they want it. If they are not in ongoing religious education and they are not coming to Mass on regular basis, they don’t want the Sacrament.
I am tired to distraction of having to chase young people down the aisles in church to retrieve the Blessed Sacrament because they have no clue what it is. A year or so back, I was offering a funeral Mass and a teenaged girl came up for Communion, took the host, looked at it, turned it over and began to walk away holding it in her palm. I followed her and asked, “Have you made your First Communion?” She said simply, “I’m Jewish.” I smiled and said, “Perhaps I should take that from you.” Quite a few of the mourners were furious with me for my discourtesy.
At another funeral not long ago I saw a passel of tattooed and pierced adolescents coming down the aisle at a funeral. It was a large funeral so a number of priests were helping with Communion. I had finished my line so I stood about ten paces from the celebrant, a visiting priest. The first of the young Goths received the host, looked at it curiously and as she passed me I asked, are you Catholic? She said, “no.” I said “Perhaps I should take that.” So there began a curious ritual, of clueless youths. One priest would say “Body of Christ and the second priest would say “I’ll just take that.”
I’ve had it. My efforts will be directed to preparing people for the Sacrament of Conversion (Maybe you call it Penance or Reconciliation. Whatever.) Then maybe the little dears will understand that Communion is more than an edible poker chip. Registration will take place over the summer. I will be doing it personally. If you are registered in the parish and using envelopes, that will be the first step to getting your child in Youthchurch. How else can I tell if you are coming to Mass? As I’ve said before I don’t care that money’s in the envelope, I care that you are in the pew.
Fr. Simon
PS. How much will it cost? Books will cost something, but there will be no tuition. If you are coming to Mass every Sunday, I presume you are throwing in the basket already. I don’t want your money. I want your souls. On the other hand, I have nothing against your money. The west wall is still falling down.

17 June 2012

‘Scrubbed’ Writings Show Kimberlin Associate Neal Rauhauser’s Obsessions

‘Scrubbed’ Writings Show Kimberlin Associate Neal Rauhauser’s Obsessions

‘Scrubbed’ Writings Show Kimberlin Associate Neal Rauhauser’s Obsessions

Posted on | June 17, 2012 | 2 Comments and 0 Reactions
Earlier this year, Neal Rauhauser “scrubbed” from the Internet several of his online writings in an apparent attempt to conceal evidence that he has been cyberstalking and harassing his enemies, including the late Andrew Breitbart, Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe and the group of Tea Party activists who exposed Rauhauser’s role in the 2010 “TwitterGate” scandal.
Cached versions of Rauhauser’s deleted posts were preserved by some of the conservatives he targeted, and show Rauhauser’s fetish for secrecy and his obsession with his various enemies. For example, on March 14, Rauhauser published a post on his blog ( entitled “Playing Detective,” in which he described his attempt to find the real identity of a Tea Party activist who uses the Twitter handle @ZapEm. She produced on online video documenting evidence that Rauhauser organized the “beandogs” who harassed conservative Twitter users in 2010.
“Someone with some paid services I don’t have gave me the name of a couple in New Jersey,” Rauhauser wrote, describing his attempts to locate @ZapEm (see complete post below). “I wrote a nice note to the Morristown [i.e., New Jersey] Tea Party leadership, hoping that they may have had their fill of her antics. . . . Then I called the chief of police in Morristown and we spent a few minutes on the phone.”
In follow-up posts the next day, Rauhauser wrote that ZapEm is “mentally ill” from schizophrenia and has a “behavior disorder,” even as he described his own clearly obsessive search for the woman’s real identity. He described being contacted by a New Jersey Democrat with information potentially identifying the targeted woman, announced plans to hire a private detective to find her in New Jersey, and wrote that he had ”started reaching out to Muslim attorneys in the area.”
Rauhauser, who previously worked as a consultant for Democratic politicians, has in the past year joined forces with Brett Kimberlin’s tax-exempt 501(c) activist group Velvet Revolution, and also has ties to the “Occupy” movement and the “Anonymous” computer hacking conspiracy. Kimberlin made headlines in the past month for his harassment of bloggers who have written about his criminal past as Indiana’s notorious “Speedway Bomber.” Last month, blogger Aaron Walker was arrested after a Maryland hearing about Kimberlin’s complaint against Walker’s writings.
Several of the posts deleted from Rauhauser’s blog (but preserved in cache form) relate to his penchant for maintaining secrecy in his online activities. In a March post entitled, “Hiding in Plain Sight,” Rauhauser described how to “truly, deeply hide” ownership of Web sites “from a server you control without revealing its location to others.” In other March postings, Rauhauser claimed to have been targeted by a “a violent, Islamophobic nativist hate group” and wrote about “various stuff I’ve done to confuse those intent on finding and harming me.”
One undated article by Rauhauser (uploaded at and later deleted) is entitled “Geolocation Lulz” and describes methods by which Rauhauser masks his IP address and location while posting comments on Web sites to “goad” enemies. Another article by Rauhauser dealt with “persona management,” i.e., protecting secret online aliases, and he also wrote about offering three classes to teach his Internet strategies: “Security & Anonymity,” “Grassroots Intel Analyst,” and “Counter Intel/Counter Troll.”
Recently published e-mails show Rauhauser soliciting a California attorney, Jay Leiderman, to assist New Jersey conservative activist Mike Stack in filing a nuisance lawsuit against Los Angeles County deputy district attorney Patrick Frey. Both Stack and Frey were victims of so-called “SWATting,” a dangerous hoax in which calls to 911 emergency numbers are used to dispatch police to the target’s home with the false accusation that the target has committed a violent crime.
At his Patterico site, Frey published an account of his SWATting, and has mentioned that one anonymous Twitter account (“LulzShack”) exhibited inside knowledge of that 2011 incident. Stack was SWATted after he helped expose Rep. Anthony Weiner’s cybersex scandal. Patterico wrote on May 25:
As Andrew Breitbart noted, this happened to two people within the course of a single week: a man in New Jersey and myself. Both of us had had contact with Andrew Breitbart. Both of us were writing about the same story. And both of us received email threats days before we were swatted. The threat to me said, in part: “Please think about your family. This story is not worth it. I can assure you that.” . . .
Writing at Daily Kos, Rauhauser suggests I should be harassed online.
Three days after I was swatted, Rauhauser wrote a post titled “Patterico’s Penalization” that made bizarre accusations about me, and accused me of working with a “cyberstalker” named Seth Allen — a blogger who had criticized Brett Kimberlin so tenaciously that Kimberlin (frivolously) sued Allen for defamation.
In multiple postings at Daily Kos under his “Stranded Wind” alias, Rauhauser wrote obsessively about his theories that the so-called WeinerGate scandal was a hoax, which Rauhauser implied had been orchestrated by Frey.
Another obsessive interest of Rauhauser’s was O’Keefe, whose undercover video “sting” of the community organizing group ACORN launched Breitbart’s “Big Government” site in 2009. In posts that Rauhauser scrubbed from his blog, he describes his communications with Nadia Naffe, who admits having stolen O’Keefe’s e-mails, and who made headlines earlier this year by falsely accusing O’Keefe of sexual assault. Earlier this week, in an e-mail sent to blogger Paul Lemmen, Rauhauser claimed that he was working with the New Hampshire attorney general’s office in an effort to prosecute O’Keefe for a video “sting” operation about voter fraud in that state. Rauhauser said he had “hand carried a letter from [a New Hampshire associate attorney general] into an injunction hearing in New Jersey” involving Naffe and O’Keefe.
A September 2011 e-mail from Rauhauser to leaders of the “Occupy Boston” protests shows that Rauhauser was representing himself as an agent of Kimberlin’s Velvet Revolution group, and that Rauhauser was acquainted with “Anonymous” hacker Gregg Housh. Last year, Housh’s colleague Barrett Brown announced that they had signed a book deal (reportedly for a “six figure” advance payment) to write about the activities of ”Anonymous.” Brown had become a public spokesman for the computer hacking group, and was reportedly raided by the FBI earlier this year when charges were filed against the so-called “LulzSec” cell of Anonymous.
In a comment posted at a progressive blog in October 2011, Rauhauser described being contacted by a “very big dog from the Anonymous pen” who agreed to assist Velvet Revolution in an apparent plan to attack enemies of Rauhauser and Kimberlin.
Rauhauser’s tendency to boast — he frequently writes about his contacts with law enforcement and congressional staffers — and his demonstrable habits of deception make it difficult to take any of his claims at face value. In the sampling of Rauhauser’s writings that I have appended below, he makes a number of accusations of criminal wrongdoing against various individuals, attributing to these persons malicious intent. Readers are cautioned that many of Rauhauser’s claims about his chosen “enemies” are probably false, and may constitute libel. In republishing them here, I disavow any intent to endorse the claims made by Rauhauser and furthermore note that Rauhauser is a public figure who, by attempting to hide his potentially libelous writings by deleting them from his site, has waived whatever copyright claims might otherwise have prevented their republication under “fair use” doctrine.
Robert Stacy McCain, Whereabouts Unknown

* * * * * * *

Playing Detective

March 14, 2012
I have a bit of quite time the next few weeks as some other stuff gets sorted out, so I am free to set aside my poor Google intelligence collection skills and actually do some genuine detective work.
First, for background, we’re talking about An Inconvenient Kook, a woman I’ve tentatively identified as Michelle Lessick aka ZAPEM. All I had to start was:
  • The Twitter username @ZAPEM (now @Repository1) and a now defunct WordPress blog
  • Records of various streams of tweets and writings, which are a fairly distinct personality showing delusions of persecution
  • An email from Patrick Read aka @SwiftRead naming her as Michelle
  • A tip that her last name was Reilly, perhaps Nagy-Riley, which I believe to be incorrect
  • A tip that her name might be Lessick
  • Assertions that she was a police dispatcher and her husband a police officer
  • Many indications she lived in northern New Jersey
I did quite a lot of digging with Google and finally did locate the connection to the name Lessick, which can be seen in the link containing her name. I chased various permutations of this name and the Jascawow alias using a variety of search tools and came up empty.
Someone with some paid services I don’t have gave me the name of a couple in New Jersey with the last name of Lessick, Republicans in their mid fifties. For various subtle reasons I was fairly sure the wife was not the woman I was seeking, but I thought that perhaps Michelle was a daughter in her late twenties to early thirties who had developed schizophrenia, or another relative in the area who is on disability and not visible to typical search methods. I spent a few minutes on the phone with her last night and I’m sure that she is not the one, nor does she seem to be covering for someone she knows.
I wrote a nice note to the Morristown Tea Party leadership, hoping that they may have had their fill of her antics. My source for much of the information I do have is someone on the right who feels her conduct is weird, dangerous, and embarrassing to the rest of them. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find someone local who holds similar views of her.
I went through the Morristown Democrats I could find online, sending email and making calls. I signed up for Topix and posted a request there looking for an activist in the area who can help me make connections. Then I called the chief of police in Morristown and we spent a few minutes on the phone. They don’t have their own dispatchers and he gave me the number to call at the county dispatch center.
Due to Donald Payne’s death I’ve felt it was inappropriate to bother the folks on Capitol Hill, but I will probably go down and make a few inquiries next week.I’ve got fifteen more days to do such things until Aaron Walker’s assault trial. Maybe I will get a break on this, maybe I am going to have to grind through a civil suit, we’ll just have to wait and see how it goes.

Geolocation Lulz

When kooks follow you around mouthing off about “getting your IP” it’s game on. Check your IP every time you sit down in a coffee shop. Get a lulzy one, like you’re in Vienna, Virginia, but the address resolves to Staten Island? That’s a perfect time to post a comment on some dipshit’s WordPress. Goad them later, but give it a few weeks.
Happen to be visiting the U.S. Capitol? And the person who is going to “get your IP” suffers from delusions of persecution, believing the government is after her? There’s no better time than to visit the House cafeteria in the Longworth building, and post a comment to aforementioned dipshit’s WordPress, knowing your delusional kook will be brought in to investigate.
Keep that host name in mind, some weeks later set up a new Cisco router at home, and capture the mysterious looking ip nat translation table when two of your machines are running torrent. Replace your home IP with, and post the pastebin link to Twitter with some cryptic comments. Hours of fun ensue as kooks go through the torrent peers, looking for ‘clues’.
Kooks once determined I lived in Bethesda, Maryland. Google “Bethesda IP address Comcast”, and in the first page you find a lovely map that leads to a house just north of the NIH complex. Take the IP, get the ‘show ip address’ and ‘show arp’ from your shiny new Cisco home router, edit in the IP from the map in place of your own, then fiddle the MAC address table so any pro will know it’s a game. Put this up on yfrog, then go away for twelve hours. Be sure to get a trollish friend to point it out, laughing at your rookie mistake, so that kooks will know it’s an important ‘clue’.
And then harden the perception that this is an actual address by using Foursquare to check in to a location at the NIH complex itself.
Tweet that you’ve finished receiving the backup torrent from Encyclopedia Dramatica (ie you’re a 100% peer) and that you’ve served up 101G to other EDiots. Promptly drop torrent 30 seconds later, lulz for hours as kooks waste the afternoon trying to dox the completed peers.
A competent adult, reading this, would say “LOL, internetz”. A troll would say “Hey, I gotta try some of this myself.” Here is how a delusional kook might interpret it. ••••Mention of Virginia address confirms the subject is stalking a Virginia resident –and that must be ME! I must seek a protection order at once. Posting from the Longworth building cafeteria is a lie, he works for a Congressman; we need a call/write in campaign to find out which office. There is a MAP. The map shows a HOUSE. That is where he lives, or it’s his girlfriend, or maybe it’s a safehouse for George Soros when he is in D.C. Mention of Encyclopedia Dramatica. This man is either Garrett, or Zaiger, or maybe he’s Joseph Evers. Look, there’s a cell phone number for him …
So that’s that. Maybe two or three hours of effort total, mostly the run to the Medical Center red line stop when I was in the area anyway, and kooks have been chasing their tails for weeks and weeks.
So, kooks … you guys want me to leak additional IP addresses for you to investigate?

A Woman’s Place…

March 24, 2012
Lately I have been chatting a bit online with @NadiaNaffe, the latest in a string of woman @JamesOKeefeIIIhas attempted to victimize by drugging them and then taking advantage of them. There are civil and criminal things afoot here, so I won’t say much more, but this is a trend for the American right … and it’s not working in their favor.
Nadia is the third case where I’ve seen a woman who was working with some right wing oppo thing end up facing sexual harassment/sexual assault. Each time the operation has been blown to bits by the inability of a male leader to respectfully handle the women around him.
As for the other two, one was brassy, aggressive, and after an initial period of shock she has heaped punishment on the ones who offended her, and that included giving me all sorts of things they really didn’t want the world to know. A similar event happened over a year ago, I happened to get into a conversation with the victim of that one, and now a packet of information goes to anyone new the ringleader recruits. He seems puzzled as to all the trouble he is having …
This failure to recruit and retain women, which is far different from having men running female sock puppets, is a deadly peril to the right. They’re already behind the eight ball demographically and at a top level the puzzling anti-contraception debacle is comical, yet painful to watch. I can’t tell what they were thinking –attack contraception, accept an end to abortion as a compromise? Instead a generation of women who enjoy active sex lives are feeling like they’ve had their privates groped by some dirty old man.
I’ve spent the last couple of years researching, teaching, and building capacity –opposition stuff, policy stuff, and if I couldn’t get along with women I wouldn’t have 10% of what I do now. Some examples of a woman’s place include …
I get several complex bits of intel daily –summaries of what is happening in various areas that interest me. Some are lone gun operations, others are teams, but the glue that holds them together are women who have picked a specific issue to stand guard over day in/day out.
I sometimes make new things that need testing –there are a quartet of women between thirty and fifty in my chat client who I can give something partially finished and they’ll grind on it to see if it’s any good. These three classes I’m working on, Security & Anonymity, Grassroots Intel Analyst, and Counter Intel/Counter Troll? My progress would be limited and one dimensional if I weren’t sharing the work with my relentless reviewers.
I get texts pretty much every day, invariably starting with “You need to look at” followed by a link. There are a couple of women who took off with my Analyst’s Shoebox method of handling Google Alerts over a year ago and not much gets by them. Friends, enemies, the issues of the moment, they all have alerts and I generally hear about stuff without having to spend a lot of time digging on my own.
If I want to know what’s happening with the Occupiers in New York, Washington D.C, Denver, Chicago, Oakland, or any of the other hot spots my sources are almost invariably women. This group is a mixed bag –most of my contacts have passed the age of thirty, but there are a few in their mid twenties out on the road who are intent on growing their influence networks, and they’re treasure.
You might start getting the idea that I’ve got some weird problem working with men, but that’s not the case. There are half a dozen toolsmiths in my close circle, men from their early twenties to early sixties, and the more aggressive personalities online, with two notable exceptions, are all male. This just seems to be a natural break point in duties –women will favor relationships, and words, and regular schedules, while men will favor tasks, math, and projects.
So that’s that. The right is old, white, male dominated, racist, misogynist, and they’re chewing up their record keepers, their peace keepers, sometimes with disastrous results.

In Which James O’Keefe Obstructs Justice

March 22, 2012
I recently wrote Deleting (Almost) All Your Email, where I talked about my scanty inbox, with just 68 messages as of this afternoon, and how reading the HBGary emails as I wrote this reportchanged my views. I just don’t keep email any more –I get up to 500 messages and it’s time to clean house. I do memorialize important discussions by printing to PDF, but I never want to face what Aaron Barr of HBGary did.
And I will never face what James O’Keefe is going to, because I couldn’t be as foolish, sloppy, and criminal as he is even as an act. I’ll explain …
James probably made his final error by getting into conflict with @NadiaNaffe. This is the third time he’s had some weird sex/refusal/attempt to video tape someone in the context of his ‘journalism’ and this young lady has a unique advantage over the other two, in that O’Keefe made one disastrous error.
Nadia was involved in a sting operation aimed at journalist Charles Seife. The roots of the failed “To Catch A Journalist” effort were simple –Seife knew something was up with O’Keefe’s Project Veritasand he was asking to see the IRS documentation. He isn’t the only one and that isn’t the only problem charity he is involved in –others have questioned the nature of the Muslim Education Action Center, a sock puppet O’Keefe rigged up to smear National Public Radio.
While Naffe was in the field O’Keefe gave her his iPhone and he remained nearby in a car, using her Android phone and laptop to conduct other business. He failed to delete his accounts when they switched phones.
So understand what happened –O’Keefe walked away leaving Naffe with his email going back to 2004. Shehas had this information since October of 2011 and he’s been jacking with her the whole time. She has already released details of Izzy Santa’s settlement with O’Keefe and Project Veritas.
So far the matters are civil in nature, revealing a troubled young man who is either unable to respect, or completely unaware of the boundaries a woman his age would have. But what is not being said here is even more interesting to me.
O’Keefe was caught attempting to wire tap Senator Mary Landrieu’s phones in the company of the son of one of the two U.S. Attorneys for Louisiana, which got him federal probation. His taping of ACORN workers in Maryland was a clear violation of state wire tap laws, and he recently found similar trouble in New Hampshire.
Despite the questions about IRS filing status for two non-profits and multiple wire tap events some mysterious force keeps the New Jersey federal probation office responsible for O’Keefe from having him picked up for probation violations and referring him for further prosecution.
The contents of Ms. Naffe’s phone are likely the tool needed to break loose that log jam and put an end to O’Keefe reckless endangerment of any young woman who makes the mistake of associating with him, as well as the hazard his smear operation represents to our democracy.
O’Keefe is scrambling to put a lid on this –suing Naffe for the return of these emails. If there is evidence of crimes committed in those messages, which seems certain given what is already known about O’Keefe’s activities, this is obstruction of justice.
The solution to this problem is quite simple –Naffe can provide the content to those who have already subpoenaed her, then turn the content into the FBIsomewhere outside of New Jersey. The combination of other O’Keefe victims, who have resources and no entanglement, coupled with the FBI receiving the email outside the reach of whatever is happening in New Jersey, will be an unstoppable combination.