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What Do We Owe Honduras?

 

I am a Catholic but not a theologian. I recently heard a sermon about my moral obligations regarding the wave of economic refugees increasingly heading our way. It reminded me that much of what I encounter in Catholic moral teaching seems to be infused with defective economics. For example, it is accurate to say that all Christian social teaching tells us that getting attached to material consumption to the exclusion of spirituality, human connections and the needs of others is wrong. But this truism is often followed by a non sequitur that poverty in the Third World is the result of First World overconsumption. 

A consistent defect that permeates this line of thinking is the medieval assumption that resources and material well-being are always a zero-sum game. Two centuries of incredible global growth in material well-being, lifespan, technology, and productivity should have forever dispelled zero-sum thinking but Marxists, peak oil enthusiasts, and the current pope manage to cling to static medieval perspectives.

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Arizona Rally: The Opening Act, Oh My!

 

The Arizona MAGA Rally was another great success, no thanks to the new Arizona Republican Party Chairman. The structure of these rallies is set and well known by now. President Trump is the headliner, and he will bring up a person who he wants to highlight during his speech. Before that, there are a series of opening acts, following the consistent opening ceremony, comprised of: the Pledge of Allegiance, public prayer invocation, and the National Anthem. Stunningly, the new guy in Arizona, Jonathan Lines, managed to mangle both the National Anthem and the opening acts.

Setting the Scene:

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No, It Wasn’t the Russians. Democrats Have Been Losing for Years.

 

Spoiler: Trump won the 2016 elections and it had nothing to do with the Russians.

President Trump won the election fair and square. In truth, the big reveal in all of this is that Democrats have been losing since President Obama took office.

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Scott Lincicome: In Defense of Free Trade

 

Scott Lincicome is a leading international trade attorney, adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and senior visiting lecturer at Duke University. In this Conversation, Lincicome explains the system of free trade agreements and alliances that the U.S. has built over many decades and how the system contributes to peace and prosperity for America. Lincicome also shares his perspective on the renegotiation of NAFTA, the decision not to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and other trade agreements. Finally, Kristol and Lincicome consider where Republicans and Democrats stand on trade today—and where the parties are likely to go in the future.

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Stuck

 

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Fly Me to the Moon is Made of American Cheese – For Now

 

“What Sort of All Hallows’ Eve Trollop Art Thou?” PIT Seventeen asks. I’m not sure. I’m fairly sure what sort of trollop I’m not — I’m not the sort to consider glitter and body paint an acceptably modest substitute for undies. At least not on me. Nonetheless, The Sun alleges the black, bespangled, and quite bare bat bum is this Halloween’s fashion trend (any “trend” involving bums, of course, being of great interest to The Sun).

I stumbled on this so-called trend while perusing The Sun‘s investigation into snake handling, the ritual wherein Christian oppressors manhandle (“personhandle” would be more gender-neutral, but “manhandle” properly names and shames the unjust kyriarchy) innocent serpents, possibly without the serpents’ consent, purportedly for God’s glory. These oppressors — typically poor Appalachian whites — are themselves oppressed, of course, themselves victims of the same kyriarchy which enables their cross-species molestation. As one of Ricochet’s resident reptilians (I only self-identify as human online), I ought to have been outraged by the speciesist presumption that conscripts nonhuman species into human worship without even asking permission. Instead, I got distracted by sparkly bums.

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‘To Bear Witness to Corruption in the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church Was a Painful Decision’

 

So begins the third “testimony” of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, on the ongoing sexual abuse/coverup scandal in the Church (h/t @9thdistrictneighbor). With this latest installment of “he said”/”he said,” Archbishop Viganò restates the key points of his original testimony and also answers the rebuke he received from Marc Cardinal Ouellet.

It was good to have the key points listed succinctly and to have an answer to Cardinal Ouellet’s letter, but what touched me most were the reasons Viganò gave for writing his testimonies. He strikes me as a man of great faith (which is in direct contrast to how I view those involved in this scandal).

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The New Democrat Strategy: Win Secretary of State Elections First

 

Democrats know their appeal sucks to average American voters now (IMHO). But what should they do? Here are my thoughts.

Who was the unsung hero in Florida in 2000? Does the name “Katherine Harris” ring a bell? It should. She was the SecState in Florida who stopped the endless recounts, and her actions were ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court.

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Loneliness and the End of Learning

 

As is my wont, my mind is connecting a bunch of things this morning: Paul Mirengoff of PowerLine blog is providing a critique of one of Sen. Ben Sasse’s theses in his book: that there is an epidemic of loneliness. Paul pulls a couple of quotes from Yuval Levin’s piece in the National Review, “All the Lonely People?” Here is the key quote:

[W]e talk about loneliness as we do because we lack the vocabulary to describe the kinds of problems that arise when institutions grow weak and communities unravel. Those problems are very real and they are near the heart of what is happening in America now, but maybe they are not the same thing as loneliness—and maybe seeing that can help us better understand them.

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Man on the Moon

 

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Quote of the Day: The Laconic Phrase

 

“If.” — The Spartans to Philip II of Macedon

Where ancient Athens loved beauty, Sparta loved austerity. They punished their bodies to prepare for war. They reviled opulence, figuring the poorer their city-state, the less likely it would be attacked. Their staple dish was black broth, a revolting concoction made of blood and boiled pigs’ legs. They even refused to build city walls for protection; defensive postures should be left to the effete Athenians.

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Identity Politics Goes to the Opera

 

This season, star soprano Anna Netrebko is singing the title role in Verdi’s Aida at the Metropolitan Opera. The opera tells the story of an Ethiopian princess (Aida) captured by the Egyptians who falls in love with their celebrated, conquering warrior. Netrebko is not Ethiopian, but Russian, and the fact that she is supposed to be portraying an Ethiopian princess is a point of contention in a few parts of the opera world.

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Make Me a Man After Your Own Heart

 

Pere Isaac Jogues came to the New World in 1636. He came to Quebec, by ship across the Atlantic, then by boat down the St. Lawrence to the small trading village, but his mission was to the Huron Indians far to the west, in what is today known as Georgian Bay on Lake Huron. He was a Jesuit priest who asked Jesus to make him a man after His own heart, and Jesus answered his prayer abundantly.

The Huron people were people of the longhouse. The women grew maize in their villages in the fertile land they controlled, and the men hunted and trapped. They traded furs with the French, and when a group of them arrived at Quebec for that purpose, they agreed to take Pere Isaac back with them to their villages. Travel to the land of the Huron was not easy for the Frenchman. He was unused to crouching in a birchbark canoe for hours and had no skill with the paddle. He found it difficult to make himself useful when they camped each night, but he was able to cut wood for the fire with his hatchet.

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Ending Poverty by ‘Ending Capitalism’ Is Absolute Nonsense

 

It’s hardly to Teen Vogue’s credit that its dreadful story “What ‘Capitalism’ Is and How It Affects People” isn’t nearly as wrongheaded and offensive as the viral tweet promoting it: “Can’t #endpoverty without ending capitalism!” But let’s start with the grotesque, clickbaity tweet. End poverty where, exactly? Is Teen Vogue referring to the United States, which it identifies as an example of a “modern capitalist” country along with Britain and Germany?

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In Defense of Elizabeth Warren (Sort of)

 

Edward Doty, born in 1599, sailed on the Mayflower and arrived on Plymouth Rock with the first settlers. He has the distinction of starting the first duel of the New World. Apparently he had quite the temper but he outlived fights, famine, and disease to own land and raise a family. His posterity now numbers nearly 100,000. I am among them. Edward Doty is my 9th great-grandfather.

Proving an ancestral link to the Mayflower brings with it certain privileges. I can apply to be a member of the Mayflower Society and there are even associations honoring Edward Doty himself. Also, every 4th grade American heritage project my kids had to do was a piece of cake! (The kids love to talk about their 10th great-grandfather who signed the Mayflower Compact).

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New Book by a Better Guerra

 

I’m going to take a moment to brag on my wife, Shannon Guerra. She just released her second book, Oh My Soul: Encountering God in Honest Unconventional (and Sometimes Messy) Prayer, and it’s doing much better than my book. Of course, she is a much better writer, and she’s been doing it longer. The title says it all, but let me also add that it’s ridiculously funny, while being deeply insightful. I’m incredibly proud of my girl.

An excerpt to prove I do show up in her writing once in a while:

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Illegal Immigration Hits Home Almost

 

MrsCheese (Miss Daisy) asked if I would drive her to the drugstore. Since I had cleared my calendar years earlier I agreed. We made our way the eight or so miles to a bridge that crosses 26 and we noticed that the road was backed up for miles going west. After crossing the bridge there was traffic everywhere trying to detour the backup. We were going to make a left turn several hundred yards ahead into a turning lane; on our right was a feeder road with a stop sign. As we approached, a bobtail tractor ignored the stop sign and bullied its way into the intersection just as I got into the turning lane, forcing me to slam on my brakes as it went in front of me illegally.

I looked in my mirror to make sure I wasn’t about to be rear-ended. There was a white truck van in the lane to the right. I stopped because traffic was coming towards me. As the tractor without a trailer pulled through the intersection, it was followed by a dark family van. It was t-boned by the white van, which had the right of way. We were just far enough away that the flying parts missed us, as did the van’s.

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To the Moon! 50th Anniversary Year Starts

 

This is the 50th anniversary of Americans reaching the Moon, fulfilling President Kennedy’s challenge, to reach the Moon and safely return, before the end of the 1960s. The first man set foot on the Moon, 20 July 1969. This week marks the beginning of the methodical series of Apollo missions that led up to Apollo 11.

On 11 October 1968, Apollo 7 lifted off from Kennedy Space Center, carrying a full crew, to simulate the crew going to the moon. The lunar module was not yet ready for live testing, so that component was not included. The three-man crew was Walter M. Schirra, Jr., commander, Donn F. Eisele, command module pilot, and Walter Cunningham, lunar module pilot.

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Benefits of Socialism That Are Often Overlooked

 

Socialism’s main benefit is supplying a huge number of jobs. Quite often, these jobs are done by people formerly considered unemployable.

Remember how in East Germany, before that nation crumbled away, 25 percent of all East Germans worked for the Stasi? This type of job allowed those East Germans to spend their time reporting on their neighbors and others. They could often work from home. And all the job required was the ability to patiently listen in to the neighbor’s conversation. Such were the wonders of East Germany’s electronic surveillance equipment. Later rather than sooner, the neighbor might tell a joke or two mocking some government official and then it was curtains for that neighbor.

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Hillary’s Two-Faced Lament

 

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