Archive for December, 2010

Orwell Warned Us — We Didn’t Listen


“Strange days indeed.” — Lyrics from the song “Nobody Told Me”

It’s appropriate that the above song by John Lennon was released in 1984, the year used as the title by George Orwell in his classic novel about a world where the individual was subordinate to the state, and where Big Brother oversaw a society where terms like “blackwhite,” “Newspeak” and “Memory Hole” represented conditions we could never have believed possible in the United States.

But recent events bring Orwell to mind in our country, seemingly turned upside down, where our mere appearance could lead to our neighbors reporting us as suspicious and in need of observation by authorities.

Strange days, indeed.

Instead of Orwell’s “Big Brother,” the U.S. has “Big Sis,” aka Janet Napolitano, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Big Sis — the woman who gave us intrusive airport pat downs — has co-opted several hundred Wal-Mart stores to telecast her recorded message telling shoppers to report to the government any “suspicious” behavior they witness.

Since no definition is given of what constitutes the type of behavior, Americans are being encouraged to profile one another.

One need not expand the imagination far to envision reports involving everything from unusual clothing, to personal mannerisms, to political statements on T-shirts.

The “Big Sis” effort is even gaining an ally in the private sector with the recent introduction of the latest iPhone application, one that carries the Orwellian moniker of PatriotApp.

A Florida software company — “Citizen Concepts” — founded by a group including a pair of people claiming past experience working with DHS, created the program that will allow the user to simply tap a screen to link with a government agency and report various activities.

The icon, which features an ominous looking eye, carries the title “Suspicious Activity” and will allow the user to report a neighbor directly to the FBI.

Another of the nine icons is titled “Pandemic” and allows the reporting of unspecified “exposure” to the Centers for Disease Control in case someone in your car sneezes on you.

Yet another option allows the reporting of “Government Waste,” a link to the General Accounting Office the next time we see Congressman John Conyers allowing a family member to use his taxpayer-funded, $1,200-a-month, premium Cadillac Escalade.

And of course there’s the obligatory link to the Environmental Protection Agency.

There’s nothing wrong with expecting Americans to look out for their own safety, but they already do.

There are countless neighborhood watches in our country where homeowners help each other protect property.

It’s difficult to imagine an American who doesn’t know that we dial 9-1-1 in the event of any emergency.

It’s difficult to imagine that the endless presence of “Big Sis” at Wal-Mart, or that eyeball icon at “PatriotApp,” is going to stop a single terrorist act.

And it’s not difficult to imagine that these programs will lead to the call for even more undertrained government employees to sift through the mountains of paperwork that will potentially be created, most of which will be destined for the “Memory Hole.”

More prudent than expanding a “blackwhite” world where “Big Sis” and her bosses won’t acknowledge the terror threat of radical Islamists, would be a government effort to explain the customs of Muslim religious worship that need not be feared, and the tell-tale behavioral signs of extremists who mean to do us harm.

These are strange days indeed, inviting comparisons to past events of Nazi Germany and the old USSR.

But we can never claim that nobody told us there’d be days like these — Orwell did.

From The Detroit News:—-we-didn’t-listen#ixzz18RWWiNZN

Was U.S. Shuffled Into Socialism by New Deal?

Last week, I explored the notion that perhaps — just perhaps — Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was part of a larger plan to detour the United States into socialism.

It seems absurd, of course. We all grew up admiring FDR for his wisdom and courage and were taught that he had saved the country from the Great Depression through his government-funded stimulus programs.

But nowadays, with the benefit of hindsight, and with our generation holding the bill for 75 years of “stimulus,” “welfare” and “entitlement” programs, it is appropriate to study President Roosevelt’s policies with the same intense scrutiny that we apply to President Obama’s. They are at root, after all, the very same policies.

Author John Franklin Carter, a friend and admirer of Roosevelt, wrote in his 1934 book “The New Dealers” that the New Deal “was caused by one very simple fact: that we can produce more than enough for everybody in this country.”

This is the myth of “permanent plenty” that Carter sets out as fact in his book, and it explains why he thinks the New Deal would have been necessary with or without a Great Depression. But, of course, the Depression made it so much easier.

In the words of President Obama’s first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Emanuel, of course, engineered the passage of the 2009 stimulus bill and the 2010 health-care bill by channeling the American public’s fear of the Great Recession into an opportunity to create a second New Deal.

So this is not just a history lesson. These are lessons that must be learned sooner or later by the American public if they don’t wish to be turned into a permanent underclass dependent on the “moral aristocracy” (educated at Yale, Harvard and Princeton) that John Franklin Carter proposed as the new overlords of America.

Carter laid the whole plan out in the first few pages of his book.

“[FDR] invented nothing in the New Deal. This is his greatest achievement. He combined … familiar elements so calmly and with so friendly a smile, that even after a year of the New Deal there are still people who do not realize that a revolution has taken place.”

I can trump that. Even 75 years after the New Deal, there are millions of people who do not realize that a revolution took place — silently, bloodlessly, and dangerously. But Carter went a step further. Just one year into the New Deal, he warned that it could not be stopped. Even if Roosevelt were assassinated or defeated in re-election, the revolution would continue.

“Whatever happens, the New Deal will go on — as either a peaceful revolution or a bloody one — for ten, twenty or fifty more years, until it has achieved its purpose.”

That is a bold statement — and a scary one for those who pledge their allegiance to the Constitution. But clearly, Carter felt that the New Deal was more important than the Constitution. Now here is a scary question: Has that revolution yet achieved its purpose? Or is it still under way? Is that the real explanation for the agenda of stimulus and bailouts of the last two years?

Each of you must judge for yourself, but after 75 years of life under the FDR progressive revolution, should we be surprised that Congress has declared health care to be a right? Should we be surprised that Congress and the president want to give away American citizenship to illegal immigrants? Should we be surprised that Obama signed into law the greatest overhaul of the banking industry since the New Deal?

Certainly not if you listen to John Franklin Carter: “Slow or fast, the New Deal is moving to establish a better distribution of American abundance, and Roosevelt is simply a symptom of that process and not its cause.”

There again, we have the language of socialism — “a better distribution of American abundance.” Or you can call it “redistribution of wealth” if you want. Or as President Obama said, “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

Or as Karl Marx, the father of communism, put it: “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”

Should we be surprised to see American presidents lining up with Karl Marx in their efforts to create a “welfare state” that will redistribute “American abundance” in an effort to create a more just society?

It was surprising to me — because I had never bothered to study the history of the New Deal before. It just seemed like one of those things that the government did because it had to do it. Desperate times, after all, call for desperate measures.

But what if Carter was right, and Franklin Roosevelt was just the “master-of-ceremonies” in the New Deal, and not the “manager” who was behind it. What if he was instituting a program of redistribution of wealth not because of exigent circumstances, but because that was the goal all along? What if the goal was really to expand the powers of the federal government in order to concentrate power in the hands of the few — the “moral aristocracy” who thought they knew better than the rest of us how to apply economic and social justice.

Carter assures us that FDR used the methods of his predecessors such as Grover Cleveland, Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and “the methods of the World War” to promulgate the New Deal reforms. In particular, he saw the usefulness of “spawning … emergency inter-Departmental Committees, Board and Administrations” and the “wholesale use of publicity and propaganda to win and hold popular support for a prolonged national effort.”

It is certainly apropos to note that the New Deal was essentially the start of the massive federal bureaucracy that we have today. The “committees, board and administrations” in their turn spawned endless regulations, rules and loopholes that turned the American citizenry into trained monkeys who learned to jump through hoops for their paltry rewards and a pat on the head.

Yep, with enough “publicity and propaganda” you can convince the majority of people that CO2, the gas that leaves your mouth when you exhale, is a dangerous pollutant, but that doesn’t make it so. And just who are those people? Who are the forces that envision their task as “moving to establish a better distribution of American abundance”?

We get some frightening clues in John Carter’s 1934 book.

“Roosevelt had the benefit of several other great national experiments as useful points of reference for the American New Deal,” Carter forthrightly opines. “He had before him the spectacle of the Soviet Union with its recent dramatization of economic reorganization through the Five-Year Plan. He had before him the example of Fascist Italy with its regimentation of business, labor and banking in the ‘Corporative State.’ He had before him the instances of Kemal, Mussolini and Hitler in restoring national pride and self-confidence to beaten or dispirited peoples.”

So there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth. John Franklin Carter, an ally and advocate of the New Deal, a close confidante of FDR — without the benefit of political correctness — told the unvarnished truth. The New Deal was modeled after the examples and policies of Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini — the poster boys for communism, national socialism and fascism.

Carter even goes so far as to compare the National Recovery Administration created by Roosevelt to the Soviet “GPU,” the State Political Directorate which was the precursor of the more infamous KGB and which created the infamous Gulag system for political prisoners in the Soviet Union.

Remember, these associations between the New Deal and fascism or communism are not my idea, or even Carter’s idea — it’s in the historical record, and the admiration society went both ways. Hitler told the American ambassador that the New Deal represented “the quintessence of the German state philosophy.” Mussolini said admiringly of FDR that “America has a dictator” and wrote in a review of Roosevelt’s book, “Looking Forward,” that FDR’s rhetoric and proposals were “reminiscent of the ways and means by which fascism awakened the Italian people.”

Looking backward, the question is what will awaken the American people out of the slumber into which they have fallen? After 75 years of “revolution” and “redistribution of American abundance,” we don’t need a New Deal any longer — we need a fresh deck.

When Are Twins Too Many?

Like so many other couples these days, the Toronto-area business executive and her husband put off having children for years as they built successful careers. Both parents were in their 40s — and their first son just over a year old — when this spring the woman became pregnant a second time. Seven weeks in, an ultrasound revealed the Burlington, Ont., resident was carrying twins. “It came as a complete shock,” said the mother, who asked not to be named. “We’re both career people. If we were going to have three children two years apart, someone else was going to be raising our kids. … All of a sudden our lives as we know them and as we like to lead them, are not going to happen.”

She soon discovered another option: Doctors could “reduce” the pregnancy from twins to a singleton through a little-known procedure that eliminates selected fetuses — and has become increasingly common in the past two decades amid a boom in the number of multiple pregnancies.

Selective reductions are typically carried out for women pregnant with triplets or greater, where the risk of harm or death climbs sharply with each additional fetus. The Ontario couple is part of what some experts say is a growing demand for reducing twins to one, fuelled more by socio-economic imperatives than medical need, and raising vexing new ethical questions.

Experts question whether parents should choose to terminate a fetus just because of the impact the child would have on their lives, and note that even more medically necessary reductions can trigger lifelong angst and even threaten marriages.

The mother said the Toronto doctor who eventually did her reduction performs several a month.

Lynda Haddon, who counsels couples over fetal losses for the support group Multiple Births Canada, said she has heard from a number of people in the past several months who were seeking twin reductions to lessen their burden as parents, something she had never encountered before. Though she strives to help them in a nonjudgmental way, she admits the trend “saddens and scares” her. “Is this a healthy thing? We have to ask these questions: Where does it stop? When do children become a commodity?”

The Burlington woman, however, says she has no regrets, and believes the option should be openly available to all parents expecting twins.

“I’m absolutely sure I did the right thing,” she said. “I had read some online forums, people were speaking of grieving, feeling a sense of loss. I didn’t feel any of that. Not that I’m a cruel, bitter person … I just didn’t feel I would be able to care for (twins) in a way that I wanted to.”

A New York City obstetrician and leading specialist in the field confirmed that the demand for twin reductions has increased and likely will continue to do so, especially among 40-somethings. Twins make up about 5% to 7% of the total reductions, said Dr. Mark Evans, who sometimes performs the procedure on Canadians.

While he once believed reductions were ethically warranted only for triplets or higher-order multiple pregnancies, he said the evidence now suggests that reducing twins to a singleton leads, on average, to better outcomes.

The classic twin-reduction case, however, involves a couple on their second marriage who have children and want just one more addition — and might end the whole pregnancy otherwise, Dr. Evans said. “In North America, couples can choose to have an abortion for any reason,” he noted.

Fetal reductions are most commonly conducted by inserting an ultrasound-guided needle through the mother’s abdomen and into the uterus, injecting a potassium chloride solution into the chosen fetus or fetuses, stopping their hearts. They are typically performed between the ninth and 12th week, often with the most accessible or smallest fetuses marked for reduction, unless one is abnormal.

There seems to be little ethical debate around reduction for triplets or more, when the technique clearly curbs the chances of a pregnancy being lost entirely or the babies born with serious health problems. Some experts, however, call even those cases a largely hidden symptom of a fertility industry whose work has helped increase the number of multiple births by over 40% in the past 20 years.

Often, those multiples are conceived because clinics transfer a number of embryos into a woman undergoing in-vitro fertilization treatment, boosting the chances of pregnancy.

“It troubles me a lot because it’s avoidable,” Dr. Jon Barrett, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. “We are forcing people to make a terrible choice because we haven’t been sensible.”

Fertility clinics, propelled by new standards from their professional societies, are working aggressively to reduce the number of higher-order multiples — and the resulting need for reduction. In Vancouver, reductions have become “extremely rare,” said Dr. Al Yuzpe of the city’s Genesis Fertility. At The Fertility Clinic in London, Ont. no patient has conceived triplets this year, said Christopher Newton, a psychologist at the centre.

Medical professionals often do not recognize that fetal reduction can be traumatic, said Ms. Haddon. She knows of one mother who years after a reduction still watches her children in the playground, thinking “there should have been more.”

“These poor parents are caught between a rock and a hard place,” she said. “They tried so hard to get pregnant and probably spent a lot of time, energy, emotion, money and now they have to kill some of them, now they have to reduce. Even though the child was lost through reduction, it lives on, in mind and fantasy.”

Dr. Barrett, who specializes in multiple pregnancies, said he is sure some of his patients’ marriages have fallen apart because of disagreements about whether to reduce or not.

The very notion of a procedure that selectively eliminates fetuses, letting others live, is little known and almost never debated in the broader community, said Maxwell Smith, a University of Toronto doctoral student.

“While there is a lot of discussion in academic circles and lay circles about abortion, you don’t have these discussions happening so much around pregnancy reduction,” said Mr. Smith, who spoke about the issues at a major U.S. bio-ethics conference recently.

“That puts a lot of patients and health-care workers in a situation where there might be a lot of moral distress, because they’re not sure what the ethical considerations are.”

In the medical community, the morality of the procedure — at least in its most controversial context — still seems a touchy matter. When the Burlington woman decided she wanted to reduce from two fetuses to one, her family physician at first claimed the procedure was illegal in Canada, then tried to talk her out of it, saying “you don’t need to worry, you can stay home with the kids.”

Most obstetrician-gynecologists she and her husband contacted wanted no part of a twin reduction. They were about to use Dr. Evans’ New York clinic, where the procedure and related tests would have cost at least $8,000, when they discovered a physician at Sunnybrook would do the reduction, funded by medicare.

“I do believe people should have the choice, given the cost of raising children today,” she said. “You want to be able to provide for your children … to give them the things they need to become the best adults they can become.”

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Far Right Anarchy Versus Far Left “Anarchy”

“Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”—William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)   

You are probably familiar with the Far Left “anarchists”—they are fond of spray painting, or otherwise promulgating their logo of an “A” within a circle.  They are most visible at large gatherings of global “movers and shakers,” such as the G20 meetings.

With the recent focus on “cyber anarchists” due to the WikiLeaks brouhaha, it is more important than ever to define just what an anarchist is, and isn’t.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines anarchy as “an absence of government, or a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority.”  An anarchist, of course, is someone who supports the doctrine of anarchy—i.e. no government.

If we look at the ideological spectrum we’ll see that anarchy is technically a Far Right doctrine.  The spectrum moves from massive, bloated government on the Far Left, to no government (anarchy), on the Far Right. (Link)  (Link)

So how is it possible to have Far Left anarchists fighting against governments, if the Far Left and massive governments go hand in hand?  It isn’t possible, technically, and that is why I put the word anarchy inside quote marks when referring to Far Left “anarchists.”  (Link)

It’s a time-tested and popular ploy of the Far Left to mislabel things in order to obfuscate and misdirect.  The Far Left “anarchists” are often not truly anarchists at all, but simply “shock troops” for the Far Left’s attempts to bring down all capitalist governments (indeed, Western civilization itself).

Besides being more numerous, organized, and violence-prone than the Far Right anarchists, the Far Left “anarchists” are often not against governments per se, but only those governments that they deem to be in opposition to the totalitarian forms that they espouse (Marxist, Communist, Fascist, etc.).  In short, they only want to tear down what they consider to be non-collectivist forms of government, in order to replace them with the massive collectivist government of their choice.

Mixed in with this batch of “collectivist anarchists” are indoctrinated idealists, and others who have mistaken chaos for freedom—a mixed bag of fanatical ideologues, dangerous malcontents, asocial misfits, and aficionados of chaos—all serving as “useful idiots” for Far Left  Elites of various persuasions. (Link)

No doubt many “anarchists” believe that they are rugged individualists, but their puppet-masters know better.  The Far Left  “anarchists” are merely disposable pawns in a high-stakes game of global, even cosmic, significance.

Laus Deo.

The Military-Industrial Complex

A few months ago, Grant Moos was closing his boathouse, near Hackensack, Minnesota, as he does every summer, tying up loose ends, sweeping up debris. This year, though, his sister Kathy insisted that it was finally time to do something about six cardboard boxes that for decades had been stacked in a corner next to a 7.5-horsepower Evinrude engine.

The boxes belonged to their father, Malcolm Moos, a journalist and academic who was a speechwriter for President Dwight Eisenhower. When Moos left the White House, in 1961, he donated some of his papers to the Eisenhower Presidential Library, in Abilene, Kansas, but he kept some, too.

The boxes were full of pine needles, acorns, and mouse droppings, and smelled of campfires. As Moos looked through the contents, he came across a batch of folders marked “Farewell Address.” He looked up the Eisenhower Library, and sent the boxes off to Abilene.

At first, the library did not know what it had. As archivists began to go through the papers, however, they discovered a trove of drafts, memos, and research materials that had long been missing from the record of one of the twentieth century’s most important speeches. For fifty years, Americans have regarded Eisenhower’s Farewell Address with a mixture of awe and bewilderment. Speaking three nights before the end of his Presidency, in 1961, Eisenhower warned of a “scientific-technological élite” that would dominate public policy, and of a “military-industrial complex” that would claim “our toil, resources, and livelihood.”

In the decades since, Eisenhower’s warning has seemed prescient. The convergence of American military might and a powerful arms industry has characterized wars from Vietnam to Iraq, and the web of power that he described seems present in American society today. Still, generations have wondered what prompted the most celebrated general of the Second World War to leave the White House with a warning about the military. Eisenhower’s grandson David writes in a new memoir that Ike “developed a kind of split personality about the most controversial speech of his life,” downplaying its significance to old military and business friends while professing pride in it to others.

Some historians have regarded the Farewell Address as an afterthought, hastily composed at the end of 1960 as an adjunct to the 1961 State of the Union. Others have regarded it as the soulful expression of an aging President who was determined to warn the American people of dangers ahead. But the Moos papers make clear that the address, far from being an afterthought, was among the most deliberate speeches of Eisenhower’s Presidency. Regarded in his day as inarticulate and detached, Eisenhower in these papers is fully engaged, grappling with the language of the text and the radical questions that it raised.

Contrary to what some historians have speculated, it was not Moos or his assistant, Ralph Williams, who suggested a farewell address. On May 20, 1959, Moos was meeting with the President, when Eisenhower proposed an idea for “one speech he would like very much to make.” It was to be, Moos recorded, “a ten-minute farewell address to the Congress and the American people.” Moos deemed the idea “brilliant” and began making notes.

Eisenhower was a rigorous editor. Major speeches such as the State of the Union might be refined ten or twelve times. Even by those standards, however, the Farewell Address was special. Eisenhower personally rewrote the opening passages, and his brother Milton overhauled the entire speech. It was batted back and forth for months; in the end, it underwent twenty-nine drafts (twenty-one previously unknown drafts were found in the boathouse papers).

The papers also debunk a myth. Some historians have credited Norman Cousins, the editor of The Saturday Review, with helping to shape the speech, in December of 1960. It’s true that Cousins called the President on December 14th, but “the idea of trying to get anyone like Norman Cousins working on it would be dreadful,” Eisenhower’s secretary wrote to Moos. “How in the world do we diplomatically thank him, but say No?”

One core idea dominates every version: the first draft described “the conjunction of a large and permanent military establishment and a large and permanent arms industry.” Policing it would require “all the organizing genius we possess” to insure “that liberty and security are both well served.” It added, “We must be especially careful to avoid measures which would enable any segment of this vast military-industrial complex to sharpen the focus of its power.” Through scores of revisions, that idea persisted. As delivered, the speech memorably read, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

At the library, the staff is ecstatic about the find. Karl Weissenbach, the director, predicted that the new documents will “change the history and interpretation of the most famous farewell address in American history.”

It’s also a reminder of the contingency of historical research. Had Moos vacationed in Florida rather than in Minnesota, the documents might have disintegrated. Instead, the memos and drafts survived, snug in a boathouse corner, rejoining history just in time for the fiftieth anniversary of Eisenhower’s address. …”A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.”

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What We Have Lost…and The Road to Restoration

A documentary on the Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council.


The Sadness of Hindsight 45 Years Ago

45 Years Ago Today

It was the most important event in the history of Christianity since the Reformation and the Council of Trent.

Forty-five years ago today, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Paul VI closed the Second Vatican Council in St. Peter’s Basilica along with 2,300 bishops gathered from the entire world.

They had approved and signed Gaudium et Spes, the last of the major conciliar documents, the day before. The same day, the Pope had signed a decree making the year 1966 a special jubilee year, and he had joined the Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras I in formally expressing together for the first time their regret for the mutual excommunications pronounced by their predecessors, Pope Leo IX and Patriarch Cerularius, in 1054.

But the Council Fathers saved December 8, the day on which they wanted to place everything in Mary’s hands, for something even more special.

And so Paul VI, together with all the bishops assembled, solemnly invoked Mary under a new title: Mother of the Church. That had been one of the most surprising features of Lumen Gentium’s teaching on the Church: the concluding chapter discussed Mary as “Mother of God in the Mystery of Christ and the Church.” It had always seemed a little out of place theologically. Until now.

As he concluded his homily, the Pope drew out a little bit of the meaning of that:

While we close the ecumenical council, we are honoring Mary Most Holy, the mother of Christ, and consequently, as we declared on another occasion, the mother of God and our spiritual mother. We are honoring Mary Most Holy, the Immaculate One, therefore innocent, stupendous, perfect. She is the woman, the true woman who is both ideal and real, the creature in whom the image of God is reflected with absolute clarity, without any disturbance, as happens in every other human creature.

Is it not perhaps in directing our gaze on this woman who is our humble sister and at the same time our heavenly mother and queen, the spotless and sacred mirror of infinite beauty, that we can terminate the spiritual ascent of the council and our final greeting? Is it not here that our post-conciliar work can begin? Does not the beauty of Mary Immaculate become for us an inspiring model, a comforting hope?

Pope John Paul II had this icon of Mary, Mother of the Church, installed overlooking St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
Just as Mary’s Immaculate Conception marked a new beginning for humanity, Paul and the assembled bishops hoped that the Council would be a new beginning for the Church’s engagement of culture.

Everyone knew that the story of the council’s work was really only beginning. To get a bit of  the flavor of the time  and its expectations, read this fascinating contemporary take on the Council’s closing from Life in 1965.

How prescient were the historians quoted who “ask 30 or 50 years before Vatican II can be evaluated, since its chief product was words. The effect of these words on mankind will depend largely on post-council decisions, especially by the Pope.”

And so Pope Benedict is now in a position to look back at all that has transpired and all that has been accomplished, and see the work of Mary’s hand:

“Presiding at a solemn Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica this morning, I wanted to give thanks to God for the gift of the Second Vatican Council. Furthermore, I wished to pay homage to Mary Most Holy for having accompanied these 40 years of the Church’s richly eventful life. In a special maternal way, Mary has kept watch over the Pontificates of my venerable Predecessors, each one of whom, with great pastoral wisdom, steered the boat of Peter on the course of authentic conciliar renewal, ceaselessly working for the faithful interpretation and implementation of Vatican Council II.” — December 8, 2005 (before reciting the Angelus)

Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!

The Communist Infiltration of the Catholic Church

In these difficult days, our faith is being attacked at every level inasmuch as Satan wants to lead the Church into a loss of faith. I believe that this article is most important for every Catholic to be aware of as we soberly reflect on the state of the Church in our day.

With much love,
Fr. Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv.

In his great encyclical ON ATHEISTIC COMMINUSM, Pope Pius XI pointed out that “the most persistent enemies of the Church who from Moscow are directing the struggle against Christian civilization, themselves bear witness … that the Papacy … has called public attention to the perils of Communism more frequently and more effectively than any other public authority on earth.” (par.6) If then the Catholic Church is such an effective opponent of Communism, it is obvious that the annihilation of the opposition would be top priority for the Marxist-Leninists. It must be destroyed, if not by direct destruction, then by infiltration and subversion.

For years there have been rumors and reports of infiltration of the Church by Communists who would enter seminaries and be ordained priests for the purpose of destroying the Church from within. We present here strong and undeniable confirmation of these rumors. The following are quotes and paraphrases from ex-communists themselves who admit that Moscow had ordered, directed and implemented a terrifyingly successful strategy for the infiltration of the Church.
Albert Vassert, a former member of the French Communist Party revealed in 1955 that Moscow had issued a 1936 order that carefully selected members of the Communist youth enter seminaries, and after training, receive ordination as priests. Some of these were to infiltrate religious orders, particularly the Dominicans. (In his essay “Satan at Work”, Deitrich Von Hildebrand reported that the French Dominicans had become so Communistic in their ‘evangelization’ that in 1953, the Order barely escaped dissolution by the order of Pope Pius XII).

Kremlin Orders Infiltration of Catholic Clergy

Mr. Manning Johnson, a former official of the Communist Party in America gave the following testimony in 1953 to the House Unamerican Activities Committee: “Once the tactic of infiltration of religious organizations was set by the Kremlin … the Communists discovered that the destruction of religion could proceed much faster through infiltration of the Church by Communists operating within the Church itself. The Communist leadership in the United States realized that the infiltration tactic in this country would have to adapt itself to American conditions and religious make-up peculiar to this country. In the earliest stages it was determined that with only small forces available to them, it would be necessary to concentrate Communist agents in the seminaries. The practical conclusion drawn by the Red leaders was that these institutions would make it possible for a small Communist minority to influence the ideology of future clergymen in the paths conducive to Communist purposes.”

Further on in his testimony, Mr. Johnson pointed out the grim fact that: “THIS POLICY OF INFILTRATING SEMINARIES WAS SUCCESSFUL BEYOND EVEN OUR GREATEST EXPECTATIONS”.

“It is the axiom of Communist organization’s strategy that if a body has 1% Communist Party and 9% Party sympathizers, this 10% can effectively control the remaining 90% who act and think on an individual basis.”

Mr. Johnson further testified that the goals of this infiltration were twofold:

1. To make the Catholic Church no longer effective against Communism.
2. To direct clerical thinking away from the spiritual and toward the temporal and political … hence, the preaching of the “social gospel”.

In U.S.A. 1100 Young Radicals Entered Clergy in 1930’s

Mrs. Bella Dodd spent most of her life in the Communist Party in America and was Attorney General designate had the Party won the White House. After her defection, she revealed that one of her jobs as a Communist agent was to encourage young radicals (not always card-carrying Communists) to enter Catholic seminaries. She said that before she had left the Party in the United States, she herself had encouraged almost 1,000 young radicals to infiltrate the seminaries and religious orders … and she was only one Communist.

Brother Joseph Natale, Superior of Most Holy Family Monastery, was present at one of Bella Dodd’s lectures in the early 1950’s. He relates, “I listened to that woman for four hours and she had my hair standing on end. Everything she said has been fulfilled to the letter. You would think she was the world’s greatest prophet, but she was no prophet. She was merely exposing the step-by-step battle plan of Communist subversion against the Catholic Church.”

A Number Now Are Bishops

He explains: “She said that of all the world’s religions, the Catholic Church was the only one feared by the Communists, for it was its only effective opponent. Speaking as an ex-Communist, she said ‘In the 1930’s, we put eleven hundred men into the priesthood in order to destroy the Church from within.’ The idea was for these men to be ordained, and then climb the ladder of influence and authority — to come to be monsignors and bishops. Back then she said ‘RIGHT NOW THEY ARE IN THE HIGHEST PLACES, and they are working to bring about change in order that the Catholic Church will no longer be effective against Communism.’ She also said that the changes would be so drastic that ‘you will not recognize the Catholic Church’. (Note, this was about 10 to 12 years before the Second Vatican Council.)

The Plot to Destroy Our Faith

Once these men had become bishops, their influence could be widely spread because ‘Bishops beget bishops,’ and these agents would use their influence to elevate and promote clergymen who were not necessarily dedicated Communists, but who were of a progressive and liberal mentality, and whose influence could be counted on to foster a new philosophy and theology within the ranks of the clergy. Once the clergy were infected, they would pass on this infection to the laity. The whole idea was to destroy, not the institution of the Church, but rather the FAITH of the people; and even use the institution, if possible, to destroy the Faith through the promotion of a pseudo-religion, something that resembled Catholicism, but was not quite the real thing. Once the Faith was destroyed, then the dismantling of the institution would take place.

“She explained that there would be a guilt-complex introduced into the Church … to label the ‘Church of the past’ as being oppressive, authoritarian, full of prejudices, arrogant in claiming to be the sole possessor of truth, and responsible for the divisions of religious bodies throughout the centuries. This would be necessary in order to shame the Church leaders into an ‘openness to the world’, and to a more flexible attitude toward all other religions and philosophies. The Communists would then exploit this openness in order to undermine the Church. Mrs. Dodd in effect was describing the ‘ecumenism’ that was to come. And now, Our Lady of Fatima’s grave warnings have come to pass. Russia has spread her errors, even into the very bosom of the Church.”

This Was No Accident

The present worldwide devastation and crises of faith within the Church, therefore, is by no means an unexplainable phenomenon. It is far too complete to be an accident. Nothing was left to chance. Nothing was left untouched. There is not a single aspect of Catholicism whether it be liturgy, catechisms, seminaries, sacraments or anything else whatsoever that has not in some way been changed, watered-down, subverted or removed since the so-called Vatican II “renewal”. It is obvious that “An enemy has done this” … the enemies are the demons unleashed from hell referred to by Our Lady of La Salette operating through the organism of Communism warned of by Our Lady of Fatima. Since we have willfully turned our back on God, He is now allowing us to be scourged by the very demons of hell whose evil and immorality we so willingly embrace in our modern age. Our Lady of Fatima gave us the answer, if only we are willing to listen. She said, “Russia will be the instrument chosen by God to punish the world for its crimes … man must cease offending God.” Therefore, it is only by man giving up sin, turning back to God, learning God’s revelation, living his faith and fulfilling the requests of Our Lady of Fatima that peace, sanity, order and holiness will ever return to our Church and our world. Let us commit ourselves to reciting the Rosary daily in reparation to the Immaculate heart of Mary as requested at Fatima, keeping our hope alive through the promise: “In the end, my Immaculate heart will triumph…”. Just as our Redeemer came to us through the Blessed Virgin Mary, so will the end of our present crisis. Let us not complain about the state of our Church leaders if we ourselves are not doing our part.

Pentagon, U.S. Military Prepare for Economic Collapse ‘Civil Unrest’

Skeptics who continue to assert that the economic plight of the United States has been overstated need not look further than the Pentagon to find out just how wrong they are. CNBC has learned that the Pentagon is currently playing out “war games” pertinent to an American economic meltdown.

According to CNBC, “The Pentagon is planning for real economic threats to America.”

CNBC’s Business News analyst Eamon Javers explains:

Ever since the crash of 2008, the Defense Intelligence establishment has really been paying a lot of attention to global markets and how they could serve as a threat to U.S. National security interests. At one upcoming seminar that we’re going to see here next month, they’re going to be taking a look at a lot of the issues … [including] the use of sovereign wealth funds to manipulate markets, currencies; nation state economic collapse, sovereign default, nation state instability; U.S. Allies’ budgets, deficits, national security infrastructures.

Similarly, the Army has launched an operation called “Unified Quest 2011” in which it studies the “implications of ‘large scale economic breakdown’ inside the United States that would force the Army to keep ‘domestic order amid civil unrest.’” The Quest also trains the Army in how to “deal with fragmented global power and drastically lower budgets.”

In October, the United States Marine Corps visited J.P. Morgan to “study markets and the economy.”

Javers concludes:

All different parts of the Pentagon and Defense Intelligence establishment are looking at markets and looking at ways they can present a new kind of threat to the United States. These are the guys whose job it is to think of the worst possible things that could happen.

According to, the Army hosts a Unified Quest every year, which entails “the Army’s chief of staff [instructing] talented mid-career and senior officers and senior enlisted (wo)men to evaluate where the service is falling short — and propose remedies.”

However, the 2011 Unified Quest lends truth to assertions that the United States is indeed not witnessing an upward economic recovery, as so many in our federal government have asserted. Soldiers are being trained in evacuation and detainment as a response to rioting, revealing the possibility that the United States military may resort to martial law in order to maintain order.

Unified Quest 2011 also prepares soldiers to act as diplomats in the event that there is a limited availability of diplomats at combat outposts, or on the streets contending with hungry and angry Americans. writes, “There’s a strong consensus that negotiations ought to be part of the Army’s toolkit — something backed by a ream of recent doctrinal manuals and various short courses in negotiation at the Army’s many schools.”

Blacklisted News explains that the Pentagon’s war games are just one of many examples that show the direction in which the world is headed. Others include the decentralization of FEMA from a single distribution facility in Washington to 15 regional facilities across the nation. Blacklisted News also claims, “Anecdotal evidence indicates that the U.S. government has been the leading buyer of freeze dried foods for the last couple of years, and private emergency shelter contractors have reported a shortage in equipment and supplies for building personal-sized bunkers.”

Other global powers are apparently preparing for “Doomsday” scenarios. Russia has reportedly been preparing for the development of 5,000 new underground bunkers for the city of Moscow, while the European Union commissioned the building of a “Doomsday Seed Vault” in a mountainside several hundred feet above sea level in 2006.

Additionally, FEMA’s website recommends that American families have emergency preparedness supplies readily available, including food and water, for at least several weeks.

The Tyranny of S510

If you thought of one thing that the government was doing or attempting to do, what would you consider the most serious threat to your well-being? You could point to health care and say that government usurpation of your right to choose insurance companies and doctors is the most egregious abuse of government authority, but at this time, I would have to say S510 is the main thing that is pushing our country down the slippery slope of tyranny with as great or more dire consequences than health care reform.

You can survive your doctors or lack of them.  S510 hits us where we’re most vulnerable—the ability to feed and provide for ourselves.

The Senate voted cloture on S510 and they now have 60 days to vote on it. Titled the “Food Safety Modernization Act”, this bill is a blank check that allows some sort of nebulous “Administrator” in the FDA to determine food safety, food production, and within a year, put together some kind of list of regulations (whatever he wants them to be) and make the rest of us toe the line in compliance. Well everyone wants food safety, right?

What many people don’t realize is that the FDA has a list it calls “sources of seed contamination”. To better protect us from ourselves, the FDA has now defined “seed” as a “food”, so now our seeds can be controlled through “food safety”.

Legislators like to use words like “contaminate” to instill fear in the public. Using that technique is valuable.  Scare the public and it’s easy to get “food safety standards” set. Add in thirty-nine progressives who hop on the wagon, and presto! We are then saved from ourselves!

They’re either lemmings who are just following the party line and don’t understand, or they do understand the consequences and eagerly embrace the arm of government that seeks even greater control through the use of code words like “food safety”  when food safety is not even the issue to begin with.

The big agriculture giants want to make you dependent on them for any seed, even if it’s heirloom seed. They know that they need the regulatory heft of Big Brother in order to accomplish this. First they need to eliminate seed cleaning equipment. They get the FDA to set minimum “food safety” standards for seed cleaning so that any farmer would need at least a million dollars in structure and equipment to meet the new requirements.

And that’s per line of seed.

Let’s not worry about the fact that there are no instances of anyone ever having gotten sick from seed cleaning equipment. No, we must satisfy the government regulatory beast that knows no logic and insists on being voraciously gratified in its quest for “food” safety standards, no matter what the economic or civil liberty fallout happens to be.

We are after all, too stupid to tend to ourselves. (I actually think this argument is an excellent nail in the coffin of evolutionary theory… how in the world could we have evolved this far and this long without the beneficial arm of government? By their reasoning, we should never have been able to make it out of the primordial soup.)

Farmers, gardeners, seed exchanges, heirloom seed companies, and seed banks have all been working to protect heirloom seeds, those self-propagating seeds that are rapidly disappearing specifically because of genetic engineering. But now the effort to take over the whole shebang by defining seeds as food is criminal and excessive government overreach. All the affordable means for harvesting, sorting and storing suddenly become too dirty for these “food safety” regulations.

And then the government has you.

Set the standard for “food safety” and certification high enough that no one can afford it and punish anyone who tries to save seed in ways that have worked fine for thousands of years, and just like that, you have criminalized seed banking.

The penalties are tremendous, with a million dollar a day fine and/or ten years in prison. The goal is to make monopoly over seeds absolute.  The USDA will be in control of small gardeners, there will be an end to seed exchanges, organic seed companies, and an end to the freedom to pursue happiness in America as we see fit, reducing us to a sole dependence on corporations for our very means of survival.

Between the bankers, the corporations, and the thieving politicians, I’m beginning to wonder if we have a chance in hell of retaining this great experiment in freedom and liberty.

Babel in Our Time

The story of the Tower of Babel can be found in the Bible  in the Old Testament  in Genesis 11.

1 ¶ And the earth was of one tongue, and of the same speech.
2 And when they removed from the east, they found a plain in the land of Sennaar, and dwelt in it.
3 And each one said to his neighbour: Come let us make brick, and bake them with fire. And they had brick instead of stones, and slime instead of mortar:
4 And they said: Come, let us make a city and a tower, the top whereof may reach to heaven; and let us make our name famous before we be scattered abroad into all lands.
5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of Adam were building.
6 And he said: Behold, it is one people, and all have one tongue: and they have begun to do this, neither will they leave off from their designs, till they accomplish them in deed.
7 Come ye, therefore, let us go down, and there confound their tongue, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
8 And so the Lord scattered them from that place into all lands, and they ceased to build the city.
9 And therefore the name thereof was called Babel, because there the language of the whole earth was confounded: and from thence the Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of all countries.

My first impression of the story is that the people got together to build a tower to take themselves to heaven and God was mad at them for trying to do something so arrogant- so God mixed up their language and scattered the people.

Well, that is the story sort of, but like most stories in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, there is a great deal of symbolism associated with the story.

According to Bible scholars the city of Babel and the Tower of Babel were built by a man named Nimrod. Nimrod’s idea was to build a city and a tower. Before he built the tower, however, he had the people make bricks. (By the way, Babel refers to Babylon which, in the Bible, is symbolic for the wickedness of the world.)

Ex: 20
22 ¶ And the Lord said to Moses: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: You have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven.
23 You shall not make gods of silver, nor shall you make to yourselves gods of gold.
24 You shall make an altar of earth unto me, and you shall offer upon it your holocausts and peace offerings, your sheep and oxen, in every place where the memory of my name shall be: I will come to thee, and will bless thee.
25 And if thou make an altar of stone unto me, thou shalt not build it of hewn stones; for if thou lift up a tool upon it, it shall be defiled.
26 Thou shalt not go up by steps unto my altar, lest thy nakedness be discovered.

When Moses was commanded to make an alter to offer sacrifice to God, he was told to make the alter with stone that had not been cut or shaped in any way by a tool. Why? God wanted the Children of Israel to understand that uncut stone was made by God while brick or cut stone was crafted by man- all stones are  unique while bricks are uniform. It is clear that we should not worship men or what men can accomplish but should always remember and worship only God. We should always understand the uniqueness of God greatest creation which is MAN. Man is a stone, not a brick. No two men are exactly the same. It is a good thing we are different and something that should be appreciated not condemned.

The word for mortar in Hebrew, I am told, means materialism. Mortar is the cement that holds bricks together. Materialism or the worship of temporal things of the world is the act of turning our attention from God and replacing God with the things of this world. So the symbolism of a tower, built with man made bricks that are held together by man made mortar is, a tower that attempts to replace God and what only God can do. This is a tower that is constructed by men and held together by the corruptible things of this world.

So why did God condemn the tower, confound the language and scatter the people? First, the tower was an attempt by Nimrod to replace God in the eyes of his people. Second, the tower was to be built with bricks that were all the same rather than with stones. The symbolism of bricks instead of stones is that people didn’t matter. They were not unique, they were all the same and the importance of the individual was lost. To God, the single lost sheep is unique and important; to leaders like Nimrod, people are interchangeable. Finally, the mortar of our society should be a faith in God. Nimrod wanted to replace that faith with a faith in man and what man could produce; he aspired to a secular society rather than one based on allegiance to God.

It is interesting that the more things change, the more they stay the same. In our time, Secular- progressives  or Marxists, Fascists, Liberals  or Socialists if you prefer those labels, are trying to destroy the foundation of God and faith in our society. They want us to be bound together by our economic ties rather than our ties of faith. They want us to look to Washington (or worse, a one world government) instead of to God when we are faced with problems. Moreover, to the secular- progressive, people are not as important as the society or the state.

We are supposed to all get on board the state social health care bandwagon. We are supposed to use mass transit rather than drive a car that harms the planet. It is okay to destroy an unborn infant, but wrong to leave a carbon footprint. We are supposed to live cookie cutter lives with their morality of rules and regulations. As a matter of fairness, we will punish the rich, productive and talented and reward those who are not, so that no one stands above the crowd. We are supposed to be interchangeable manmade bricks rather than unique stones that were created by God.

Secular-progressivism is nothing new. It is the opposite of God’s plan of freedom and choice and individualism. It is the works of Satan. This is not just a matter of political differences of opinion; this is a case of good vs. evil.

Men of faith, stand up and defeat the evil of the modern day Tower of Babel. We can never allow evil to overcome righteousness.