Republicans, Please Note: Public Opinion is FINALLY Shifting to a Multi-task Approach on Immigration Reform

We have been a nation of “multi-taskers” even before the arrival of the cell phone.  That is why it was so perplexing to see a majority of U.S. citizens saying for so long that when it came to immigration reform, we must secure our borders before we attempted to solve the problem of what to do with the eleven million who are here illegally.  Polls revealed that public opinion had changed little on this issue over the last three years – until recently.1,2,3

Unfortunately, there are still significant members of Congress who are in favor of “borders first,” then work on the citizenship problem.  As Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah said in an interview yesterday with Martha MacCallum on Fox News:

“And the very first thing we need to do is secure the border.  And we also need to reform our antiquated, outdated visa system – our legal immigration processes… Then we’ll be in a better position to figure how best to treat the eleven million people who are here illegally with dignity and respect and respect for the rule of law. But these things can’t all be all wrapped together.  They can’t all happen at once.”

Securing  Our  Borders  Will  Take  a  Lot  of  Time…  And  Money

OK, so how much border are we dealing with?  The U.S. / Mexico border is 1,954 miles long and the U.S. border with Canada (not including Alaska) is 3,987 miles.Of course, this doesn’t include Florida’s coastline and the rest of our states on the Gulf of Mexico.

We’ve spent $75 billion on border control “without making a lasting difference” in the last ten years.  This is proven in that we have had operational control of just 44% of our borders according to the most recent figures from the Government Accountability Office.5  Consequently, we have a long way to go in terms of tax dollars, too.

Everyday life tells us that we can never be completely secure anyway.  Thus, waiting before addressing the second part of immigration reform is merely ill-advised procrastination.

Bad  Immigration  Policies  are  Hurting  the  U.S.  Economy

Besides unnecessarily increasing societal stress by having the eleven million to wait an extended time for a resolution of their status, it’s also wasteful.  In a forum on immigration last year, it was noted that a study by the Center for American Progress and the Immigration Policy Center estimated that an increase in $1.5 trillion GDP over ten years could be realized with the creation of a commonsense immigration process.In addition, forum host Carl Ruby reminded the gathering that “undocumenteds are sitting on money to invest.”  How often have we heard economists and financial advisors reprimand us that money “hidden in a mattress” is bad for both the owner and for the economy?

Another member of the panel illustrated an unappreciated drawback to our current system.  In some cases it would take 35 years for computer programmers to immigrate from India.  As a result, they stay home and the U.S. company outsources the work to India keeping their buying power and income taxes there.

It’s  Not  All  “Take”  for  “Illegals” 

While many believe that illegal/ undocumented aliens can be a drain our social justice system, it works in reverse, too.  For example, some obtain work by acquiring fake I.D.’s.  This turns out costing them.  By having to work in this manner, they pay into the Social System, but they’ll never be able to collect.  (All right, that may not make them any different from current young working citizens, but let’s overlook that for the moment.)  Estimates are that their employment sends $6-8 billion annually to the federal government which will not be returned to them.

A dangerous threat accompanies those who are seasonal workers following crops from six to nine months of the year.  Mr. Ruby noted that these are the conditions which lead to human trafficking.

Sister Maria Stacy, Director for Hispanic Catholic Ministries at St. Mary’s, talked about the disruption of families when the father is deported, but the wife and children stay behind.  She reminded us that we are still the same country which has said, “Give me your tired, your poor and your huddled masses.”  Therefore, “in the absence of possibilities to enter legally, we need to be compassionate.”

The  Time  is  Now  for  a  Two-Pronged  Strategy  to  Immigration  Reform

Dayton, Ohio Police Chief Richard Biehl cautioned that continuing to delay resolving citizenship issues “jeopardizes our public safety mission.”  Local officers are being asked to handle non-threatening problems like the presence of undocumenteds instead of concentrating on more serious situations.

Michael Hamilton, Executive Editor for the Ohio Conservative Review, reminded the audience that “the rule of law is indispensible… but some laws are not conducive to a more just society.”  Earlier, Carl Ruby said that the civil rights movement changed bad laws instead of insisting on enforcement.  He stressed that the same problem exists with our immigration laws today.

Therefore, we must act expediently toward a just immigration reform.  A vast majority of those who have entered our country illegally did not do so with the intent of ruining our nation as some extremists who have entered legally.7, 8  In fact, many entered legally, but have simply overstayed their visas.

A blanket amnesty, however, shows disrespect to legal immigrants who worked within the system and it undermines our system of law.  It sends the wrong message and creates division.  We can remedy the problem with a fair qualification process for would-be U.S. citizens while protecting our borders at the same time.

Our nation has thrived, not because we are the fragile thoroughbreds of sameness, but because we have combined to form the best of many ethnic backgrounds.  To wait until “our borders are secure” will ensure turmoil and hasten our decline from within.

 

1 – “A Fox News poll released Friday asked American voters what should happen first: 59 percent think the government should secure the border first, while 30 percent think the priority should be new legislation.
Large numbers of Republicans (72 percent) and independents (65 percent) support securing the border first. Views are fairly evenly split among Democrats, with a slim plurality putting border security (44 percent) before Congressional action (41 percent).

The national telephone poll was conducted for Fox News by Opinion Dynamics Corp. among 900 registered voters from June 29 to June 30. For the total sample, the poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.” From “Fox News Poll: Secure the Border First, by Dana Blanton, posted 7/2/2010 on www.foxnews,com

2 – CNN Poll: 62% Say Border Security Needs to be First Priority in Immigration Policy Tuesday, June 18, 2013, posted on NumbersUSA

A new CNN/ORC International survey found that 62% of Americans say border security should be the main focus of U.S. immigration policy, while only 36% say a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens should be the top priority.
Across all income brackets and all education levels, more Americans overwhelmingly support increased border security over a pathway to citizenship.
For Americans 35 and older, increased border security as a top priority is supported by huge margins.
Sixty-five percent of Independents favor an increase in border security over a path to citizenship.  Americans in every region of the country overwhelmingly support border security as the top priority.”

3 – “On November 2-3, 2013, Basswood Research conducted a survey of likely general election voters in 20 congressional districts. These districts are widely viewed as the 20 most competitive ones currently held by Republican incumbents. The districts surveyed were: CA-10, CA-21, CO-6, FL-2, FL-10, IA-3, IL-13, IN-2, MI-1, MI-7, MI-11, MN-2, NE-2, NV-3, NY-11, NY-19, NY-23, OH-6, OH-14, PA-8.
The survey was conducted by live professional interviewers by telephone. The overall sample size was 1000, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1%, at a 95% confidence interval. Each district contributed 50 interviews to the sample; as such, data in individual districts is much less reliable.”

” When presented with three options regarding the interconnection between border security to prevent future illegal immigration and citizenship for those who are presently in the country and undocumented, the following responses were found:
17% oppose a pathway to citizenship under all circumstances;

26% favor a pathway to citizenship even without any increase in border security;

50% favor a pathway to citizenship if it also includes substantially increased border security.

76% favor a pathway to citizenship, with or without enhanced border security.

• The partisan composition of these 20 districts favors Republicans.

By party registration/affiliation, respondents in this survey were 39% Republican, 35% Democratic, and 23% Independent. The generic party preference for Congress was +6.7 points Republican.

from “RNC Reince Priebus Didn’t Get November 2013 Basswood Research Immigration Poll Memo,” posted by Somos Independents, 11/14/2013

4 – according to Wikipedia

5 from “It’s time to get serious about border security,” posted on www.chron.com (web site of the Houston Chronicle) by Michael McCaul, a Republican representing Texas’ 10th Congressional District, is chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Ted Poe, a Republican representing Texas’ 2nd Congressional District, is chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation and Trade and vice chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee, 8/15/2013 and updated two days later

6 – Roundtable Discussion on Immigration Reform held at St. Mary’s Church in Dayton, Ohio on 8/12/2013, hosted by Ohio Conservative Review featured contributor, Dr. Carl Ruby of the Evangelical Immigration Table and Bibles, Badges, and Business for Immigration Reform.

7 – “…48 foreign-born militant Islamic terrorists have been charged, or convicted, or have admitted their involvement in terrorism within the United States between 1993 and 2001… At the time they committed their crimes, 16 of the 48 terrorists considered in this analysis were on temporary visas (primarily tourist visas); another 17 were lawful permanent residents or naturalized U.S. citizens; 12 were illegal aliens; and 3 of the 48 had applications for asylum pending.”  from “How the Terrorists Get In” by Stephen A. Camarota, September 2002, Center for Immigration Studies

8 – “GAO found that 36 of the roughly 400 people convicted of terrorism-related charges since September 2001 had overstayed their visas.”  From the same source as listed in footnote #3

9 – “… (2011) report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed 40-45 percent of the estimated total population of illegal aliens — 4 to 5 million people – stayed past their visa expiration dates. But DHS’ U.S. VISIT program – which is supposed to identify people who overstay their visas by comparing entry and exit information – cannot keep up with the number of potential overstays it identifies by matching entry and exit records.
In fact, US-VISIT processes less than half of the potential overstays it identifies, and GAO found that the program has a backlog of 1.6 million potential overstay records.” From “Almost Half of Illegal Aliens Entered U.S. Legally, But Overstayed Visas: Senators Say,” by Jim Kouri CPP, www.aim.org, 5/2/0/2011

 

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Sad Similarities Between Under-Performance of “America’s Team” and of “America’s President”

One of the topics of this morning’s “First Take” show on ESPN had Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless discussing the Dallas Cowboys’ recent addition of an offensive coach who would be in charge of passing plays.  Both of them expressed incredulity at the never-ending parade of bad moves for one of the country’s seemingly most popular teams, even though it continues astonishing under-performance.  When Stephen A. had his turn, it was striking to this blogger how similar the Cowboys’ ownership and lack of accomplishments mirror the Obama presidency.

Cowboys  and  Obama  are  Primarily  Hype

Stephen A. on Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: “He’s a hype machine personified – nothing more.”  This is not the first time we’ve heard him say that about Jones.

Our president came to mind immediately.  His first claim to fame was his work as a “community organizer.”  There has always been a great disparity in the opinions of what he actually accomplished.  But we do know that Mr. Obama voted “present” 129 times in the Illinois state Senate1 and couldn’t even bring himself to vote against the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion.2

Of course, the Administration will tout the fact that the nation’s unemployment rate is down to 6.7%, but disregard the lowest employment participation rate in decades.3  They also ignore that  underemployment is still a serious problem.The nation’s economic “recovery” is greatly overrated – just ask the average guy on the street.5

Decisions  with  Multiple  Negative  Consequences

As Skip pointed out, the Cowboys made their most recent big mistake by:  1) hiring a non-descript college coach 2) putting him in a position which has been designed to infringe on the head coach’s authority, thus rightfully making him unhappy.

In the U.S. parallel, Obama made his own mistake with much larger and triple negative consequences.  He continues to push his (Un)Affordable Health Care Act and has put the IRS in charge of enforcing it.  The first consequence of this ill-advised move was a very dissatisfied populace because it was lied to by the President.  He promised that if we liked our current insurance, we could keep it.  It has since become apparent that he knew that this would not be the case. Consequence #2: it was made more painful in that he never warned us that premiums would increase substantially for so many.  Consequence #3: is that we have an untrustworthy organization (the IRS which likes to target political enemies) in charge of the health care industry which represents one-sixth of our economy!  Now, that’s reason to be unhappy.

Each  Has  Trouble  Spending  Money  Wisely

Last year, Jerry Jones gave his starting quarterback, Tony Romo, an amazingly lucrative contract.  It is “a six-year, $108 million contract extension with $55 million in guarantees and a $25 million signing bonus.”His 55-38 regular season record and 95.6 passer rating are all well and good.  However, there’s this little problem of his 1-3 record as a starter in the playoffs plus an 0-3 record when a playoff spot was on the line.8

Our form of government is supposed to have checks and balances which would prevent one branch from dominating the other two.  However, President Obama acts more like Quarterback Obama (that is, a quarterback who won’t listen to his offensive coordinator and ignores his head coach).  And while many are sure that he simply cares about the little guy, along with mom-and-pop companies like General Motors and the health insurance industry, there’s this little problem of a $17 trillion federal deficit to which he has contributed greatly.  But just like Mr. Jones’ supporters, many of Obama’s cheerleaders deny that our federal government has a spending problem.9

Perhaps, General Manager and would-be owner Obama is hoping these distractions will make us forget his deliberate lie about what instigated the Benghazi murders.  It was repeated by his office staff to protect his claim that Al-Qaeda was retreating in order to protect votes in his close re-election bid.10 This is not even addressing the increasing concern that, despite damage to their economies and infrastructure, Iran and Syria are not helping to form a less volatile Middle East region.

To  Sum  it  Up

As Stephen A. Smith said this morning, “The Dallas Cowboys are a joke!  Your record says you stink, but you get a billion dollar playpen.”  Plug in “Obama Administration” for “Dallas Cowboys” and “trillion” in place of “billion” and you have the true state of the union as we head into tonight’s address… If only Obama‘s decisions would result in as good a record as Dallas’ mediocre and perennial 8-8, we’d be much better off.

 

1 – while “just” 3% of the approximate 4,000 votes he cast while in office, from “The New York Times (Dec. 20, 2007): Sometimes the “present” votes were in line with instructions from Democratic leaders or because he objected to provisions in bills that he might otherwise support. At other times, Mr. Obama voted present on questions that had overwhelming bipartisan support. In at least a few cases, the issue was politically sensitive.”  And from the same article, “If you are worried about your next election, the present vote gives you political cover,” said Kent D. Redfield, a professor of political studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield. “This is an option that does not exist [in] every state and reflects Illinois political culture.” Taken from www.factcheck.org, 9/25/2008

2 – “According to a lobbyist for Illinois NOW, Susan Bramlet Lavin, the Planned Parenthood strategy in Illinois was for its politicians to vote “present” because it provided political cover, yet acted as a “no” vote. Obama twice voted present (no) on Partial Birth Abortion Ban Acts. He also voted present twice against Parental Notification of Abortion Acts, twice against laws to protect live-born children of abortions, and he even voted against a bill defining “born-alive infant” to include infants “born alive at any stage of development.”
Obama liked this strategy, and the Illinois branch of Planned Parenthood gave him a “100 percent” pro-choice voting rating for good reason.  From “The Planned Parenthood President: Obama’s obsession with abortion,” by Paul E. Rondeau, www.communities.washingtonpost.com, 10/15/2012

3 – “Some economists question the falling unemployment rate from the beginning of the year, explaining that the work force participation rate, the portion of adults who are working or actively looking for work, has fallen to its lowest level since 1978… The participation rate for workers aged 16 to 54 dropped drastically during the recession and not yet recovered, indicating that retirements don’t entirely explain the situation, according to The Post.” from “Joel Naroff: Why This Economic Recovery Is So Slow” (quoted sections were not made by Joel Naroff), by Michael Kling, www.moneynews.com, 11/19/2013

4 – from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (through the 3rd quarter 2013, next update will be on January 31, 2014):  “In addition to the marginally attached, who are included in U-5, involuntary part-time workers are included in U-6. The larger the difference between the U-5 and U-6 measures, the higher the incidence of this form of “underemployment.” California and Oregon posted the largest gaps between their U-5 and U-6 rates, +7.0 percentage points each. North Dakota registered the smallest difference between its U-5 and U-6 rates, +2.3 percentage points, indicating a comparatively low degree of involuntary part-time employment.”
However, this data does not include full-time workers who are making much less than their qualifications suggest probably because such a measure, while illustrative of the poor recovery, would be considered prone to subjective error.

5 – Despite long-trusted official indicators to the contrary, the number of those who approve the way the President is handling the economy is below 40%.  Perhaps these indicators no longer reflect accurately the real overall condition of the economy in the same way “unemployment rate” is failing to account for enough.  Only the statistic was taken from “Obama’s Puzzle: Economy Rarely Better, Approval Rarely Worse,” by Jackie Calmes, The New York Times, 1/27/2014

6 – “Obama admin. Knew millions could not keep their health insurance,” by Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye, www.investigations.nbcnews.com, 10/28/2013

7 – from “Tony Romo signs $108M contract with Dallas Cowboys,” by Marc Sessler, www.nfl.com, 3/29/2013

8 – from “Jason Garrett defends Tony Romo’s playoff record with Cowboys,” (who was downplaying these individual stats by saying that “”I think teams win ‘win or go home’ games,” I think teams win playoff games. I think teams win championships.”) article by Vinnie Iyer, www.sportingnews.com, 8/12/2013

9 – “So, it is almost a false wrong to say we have a spending problem. We have a deficit problem that we have to address. Right now, we have low interest on the national debt and it’s a good time for us to act to lower the deficit.” Quote from Nancy Pelosi in an interview with Chris Wallace, 2/10/2013, www.nation.foxnews.com.

10 – … instead of protecting U.S. citizens. “Obama Says The War on Terror Is Over and Al Qaeda Says…” by Larry Kelley, www.dcclotheslines.com, 6/7/2013

Should Live News Coverage of Mass Shootings Be Limited?

Learning of these senseless acts brings much sadness.  Today, two retail employees were shot dead by an assailant in a Columbia, MD mall before he was killed, possibly by his own hand.1  Details concerning this incident dominated many forms of information media, especially television.  This caused my analytical girlfriend to make an insightful suggestion which may not be well-received by the ratings-conscious media enterprises, but deserves thoughtful consideration.

The suggestion is to minimize news coverage of such events.  Local information streams for those in the area immediately affected by the crimes should still have access to critical updates of people they know or if the situation is on-going and could impact a greater area.  However, by restricting news coverage, the opportunities for achieving notoriety by other deranged potential criminals would be greatly reduced.

Granted, some individuals are so incapable of discerning right from wrong that this will not prevent them from committing heinous deeds.  And, while psychiatrists may not be able to prove empirically how many crimes this would prevent, this suggestion has some basis in human nature.

Misguided  Desire  for  Notoriety  can  be  a  Motivator

This parallel is not to trivialize the tragedies which kill some and devastate the survivors.  Nevertheless, it may be of a similar cause and effect.  A few decades ago, major league baseball was experiencing a significant increase in the number of fans deliberately interrupting a game by accosting a player or enjoying the spotlight by running around trying to avoid being caught, and not always while clothed, unfortunately.  MLB increased its security measures at stadiums, but it also prohibited visual coverage of the disruption for televised games.  These misdemeanors have become fewer since.

What  is  Gained  by  Saturating  Coverage  of  Non-National  Security  Tragedies?

For tragedies of a local nature, people deserve to know in “real time” with constant information of what is happening to their families and fellow citizens as well as whether the situation has become contained.  Those in a position to provide assistance also need to be kept informed of the latest developments.  However, they usually have specialized and more direct means than television for their updates.

For everyone else, constant news coverage is truly ”immaterial, irrelevant and incompetent” to borrow in-court words of objection from the Perry Mason series.  All that is necessary for outsiders to know is that the events have happened.  This can be accomplished simply by text on the television moving news flash on the bottom of the screen.  At this point, those who may have relatives or close friends in the affected area can take steps to learn of their situation.  The rest of us “believers” can turn to prayer.

Any more coverage than that is simply “immaterial and irrelevant.”  It will not increase the aid to those who need it at that moment.  It can also have a negative effect by creating a sense of despair and helplessness in some people or possibly desensitizing others who have a perverse interest in calamities.  If it instigates those at risk to carryout similar crimes, then that would make the reporting “incompetent”.

In  Summary

Motivations to commit felonious crimes originate from many sources.  Unfortunately, creating a 100% safe environment in a free society is not possible.  However, we must continue to look for new, civilized ways to discourage these tragedies from occurring.  One way could be as simple as the restriction of on-going news coverage of unfolding crimes.   It has real possibilities in creating a healthier society.

1 – Information as of 6:30PM today, the day of the shootings

Governor Cuomo is Following his Dad’s Beliefs Instead of the Church’s Wisdom

New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo is undoubtedly making his father, former New York governor Mario, proud by continuing in his dad’s very un-Catholic rationalizations on major social issues.1,2 

Caustic  Cuomo

In The Capitol Pressroom radio show last Friday, Andrew Cuomo said that Conservative Republicans with their right-wing views have no place in New York because “that’s not what New Yorkers are.”  The New York Post reported that he answered his own “Who are they ?” question with “Right-to-life, pro-assault weapons, anti-gay — if that’s who they are, they have no place in the state of New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”  He tried to appear conciliatory by adding that moderate Republicans, like those in his state’s senate have a place in their state.3

Cuomo’s officials said that the governor’s remarks were not aimed at the general population, but only against “extremist” candidates.  It’s “fine” if Republicans oppose abortion, gun control and gay marriage.  It’s just that 70% of New Yorkers believe otherwise.3

Severe  Exaggeration  of  Those  Protecting  Gun  Rights

First, let’s start with the most secular issue at hand — gun control.  Cuomo tried to suggest that defenders of the Second Amendment are those who believe civilians should be able to own assault weapons as they would a basketball or tennis racket.  He won’t acknowledge the logical reluctance of people to bet their lives on a police force which cannot possibly respond instantaneously to every mortal threat from a would-be criminal.  In addition, those who refuse to surrender the inalienable right to protect themselves do not also believe that just because the Army has assault weapons, tanks and missiles, then the citizens should be able to own them, too.

Popularity  Never  Justifies  a  Change  in the  Morality  of  Intrinsic  Evils

Even if it were true that 70% of New Yorkers believe it’s OK to kill an unborn human, that doesn’t authorize anyone to put White-Out on Moses’ tablets.  A mutation in public opinion doesn’t change the fact that humans in pre-Commandment days knew that murder is wrong.  Contrary to another un-Catholic’s  (Nancy Pelosi) claim a few years ago, the Church is certain when human life begins.4,5  No one in the public eye can promote laws which allow any form of murder and still call himself a Catholic.

Not  Condoning  Disordered  Behavior  Does  not  Make  an  Individual  “Anti-Gay”

There are some conservatives who would deny members of the LGBT community fairness in housing, jobs, etc. on the basis of what they think is right.  They often proclaim themselves to be Christian, but if that is so, then they are not being true to genuine Christianity. For example, an excerpt from Paragraph 2358 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states this regarding those with homosexual tendencies:  “…They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.  Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided…”6

Nevertheless, Natural Law and the earliest teachings of Christianity going back to its Jewish roots in the Old Testament also prohibit anyone from changing the definition of marriage which states that it is a union between one man and one woman.  That some Christians misused Scripture to deny racial equality, including interracial marriage, does not automatically disqualify all uses of Scripture with regard to any other social issue.

Marriage originated from religious institutions.  Civil law became involved in order to address the physical aspects of marriage including break-ups (tax status, alimony, child support and separation of property).  It can deal with the effects of marriage, but it cannot make up its own definition of what constitutes a marriage.

Message  to  Governor  Andrew  Cuomo

Political Conservatives, including many independents, normally do not advocate assault weapons for civilians as part of their defense of the Second Amendment.  Lumping everyone together only damages your credibility.

The use of “anti-gay” is much more inflammatory than fact.  Most adherents of Natural Law and those truly respectful of Judeo-Christian values do not hate those of LGBT persuasion.  They merely acknowledge that marriage is not a secular invention which can be modified by public opinion.

Finally, you should be commended for your using “right-to-life” instead of the implied negative “anti-abortion.”  However, if you really considered the complete form of “right-to-life”, you would realize that it also includes the abolishment of capital punishment —  something you support.  Perhaps you could better appreciate these “conservative issues” if you would listen to the wisdom of the Church you claim to belong to instead of the rationalizations of many other un-Catholics in the Democratic Party.

 

1 – Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo changed his position on abortion.  Advocates for abortion said it was due to his recognition that “the political significance of abortion had grown dramatically in the wake of a recent United States Supreme Court decision allowing states to limit access to abortion.”  He further employed a Pilate-like washing of his hands with, “’I feel absurd,’ he said. ‘Like I don’t know why the judgment is mine. Or an all-male court, except for one woman, or a mostly male Congress.’” from “Cuomo Takes Abortion Stance Favoring Women’s Right to Choose,” by Elizabeth Kolbert,  www.nytimes.com, 9/11/1989

2 – Mario Cuomo tried to discard our entire human history and the meaning of marriage which elevates our male/female relationships above those of animals.  In the interview, Cuomo said, “What does “marriage” mean? Well, to a lot of people, it means only heterosexuals joining in a permanent union. Fine. And if your religion, like Catholicism, says that it has to involve just heterosexuals and can’t involve people of the same sex, great! Then they won’t be married in the Catholic Church. And if your religion does allow it — whatever your religion is — fine!” from an “Interview with Mario Cuomo” by Religion & Ethics Newsweekly correspondent Lucky Severson on 4/23/2004 and posted 4/30/2004 on http://www.pbs.org

3 – from  “Cuomo: Pro-Lifers ‘Have No Place’ in New York,” by Sandy Fitzgerald, www.newsmax.com, 1/18/2014

4 – Pelosi in an August 24, 2008 interview: “I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition. And … St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know. The point is, is that it shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose.” Posted on www.ewtn.com.  There is more to a discussion of what St. Augustine actually wrote, but that is not the purpose of this article.

5 — In addition, every pope in Andrew Cuomo’s lifetime has reaffirmed the belief that life begins at conception.  Pope Paul VI in his Humanae Vitae item #13, referred to Pope John XXIII’s statement, “Human life is sacred, from its very inception reveals the creating hand of God.”
In item #14, Paul VI wrote, “In conformity with these landmarks in the human and Christian vision of marriage, we must once again declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun, and, above all, directly willed and procured abortion, even if for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as licit means of regulating birth.” This paragraph carried a footnote relating it to the writings of Pope Pius XI in 1930, Pius XII in 1944 and 1951 and John XXIII in 1963.

6 – The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Liguori Publications, Liguori, MO, 1994.

Anti-Second Amendment Proponents Simulate Tactics From Minority Voter Discrimination Days

Protecting constitutional rights has been a banner carried by political progressives.  Voting rights for women took center stage in the early part of the 20th century.  It was to be followed several decades later by finally securing voting rights for minorities.  It had actually been the law of the land since five years after the Civil War, but unethical practices had kept it from being universal.

But now the children of these civil rights champions have made a 180-degree turn against the civil right to bear arms as protected by the 2nd Amendment.1  During the January 14 edition of the O’Reilly Factor (Fox News), John Stossel reported his experience attempting to purchase a gun in New York City. The deliberately restrictive process was strikingly reminiscent of some of the tactics used to prevent black Americans from exercising their right to vote.

Parallel  Methods  for  Disenfranchising  Law-Abiding  Voters  and  for  Disarming  Law-Abiding  Citizens

Final guarantee of the right to vote for all U.S. citizens was a painfully slow process.  It took another ninety-four years after the 15th Amendment was adopted in 1870 before the 24th Amendment was ratified making poll taxes and similar discriminating taxes unconstitutional.

The second amendment concerning the right to bear arms was passed 222 years ago along with its fellow amendments in the Bill of Rights.  This amendment is seeing increased attempts to curtail its practice.

Following are descriptions of the unethical methods used to prevent blacks from voting in the South (taken from www.civilrights.uslegal.com).  After each is the hurdle John Stossel ran into in his attempt to purchase a gun (in italics).

1)  Literary tests- where “some jurisdictions adopted a ‘reasonable interpretation’ clause’ which effectively ensured that whites passed and blacks failed.”  The 50-page procedure required Stossel to answer questions which included obscure weapons terms which had no relevance to the application (e.g.”dirk,”stiletto,” and “gravity knife”).

2)   Poll tax- “a flat fee required before voting; it was often levied as high as $200 per person.”  This amount would be equivalent to $1000 today.  It effectively wiped out a black person’s chance of voting.  Stossel on the required fee: “I can afford the $430 application fee, but there are poor people who can’t afford that and can’t afford to take the time off from work to apply.”

 

3)   “Grandfather clause”- this was an arbitrary law which by its definition made it impossible for blacks to qualify.  The civil rights web site said:  “that those who had enjoyed the right to vote prior to 1866 or 1867 or their lineal descendants would be exempt from educational, property, or tax requirements for voting. Because former slaves had not been granted the right to vote until the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified in 1870, these clauses effectively excluded blacks from the vote.”   While not a legal parallel, it was similar in its impudence.  Stossel was denied a gun because he could not present a “special need” for having one.  He produced copies of death threats against him, but they were discounted because he had not reported them to the police. 

That last excuse used by Big Brother typifies the growing lack of respect for the individual.  It should serve as a warning to us:  Be wary of any government which demands proof of a “special need” for a constitutional right to be in force. 

 

1 – Amendment II reads: “”A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Recently, “The Court continued to strengthen the Second Amendment through the 2010 decision in McDonald v. City of Chicago (08-1521).  The plaintiff in McDonald challenged the constitutionally of the Chicago handgun ban, which prohibited handgun possession by almost all private citizens.  In a 5-4 decisions, the Court, citing the intentions of the framers and ratifiers of the Fourteenth Amendment, held that the Second Amendment applies to the states through the incorporation doctrine.”  From www.law.cornell.edu

2 – Amendment XV,ratified Feb. 3, 1870, Section 1: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude—“ and Amendment XXIV, ratified 1/23/1964, Section 1: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.” from www.archives.gov

Fr. Gerald Reinersman: Jesus’ Baptism Teaches Us That the “Christian is to Live in Community”

Today, the Sunday after the Epiphany, is the annual commemoration of The Baptism of Our Lord in the Catholic Church.  Fr. Gerald Reinersman, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Cold Spring, KY gave his usual insightful homily to explain this Sunday’s Gospel and its implications for our lives.

First, he resolved obvious question: “Why would Jesus insist that He be baptized?” (Scripture tells us that John the Baptist was quite reluctant to do so.) Baptism is the first sacrament of initiation to the Body of Christ.  It washes sin, including original sin, from one’s soul.  But Jesus, after all, IS the head of this Body.  Not only that, but He has neither original nor committed sin.

The reason is this: When Christ took on human form He wished to be fully joined to us in our human condition (that is, in all things except sin).  One of the ways He did this was by being baptized.  Thus, He instituted the sacrament of Baptism and taught us to do likewise.

Fr. Reinersman reminded us that while we are to have a personal relationship with our Lord, it is not private.  “The Christian must live in community,” he said.  When we come to Mass, “we are not consumers of religion, where we pick and choose as we might in a store.”  Rather, we come to build communion with one another.  This strengthens our relationships within the Body of Christ.

Fr. Reinersman’s points need to be heard by those on Capitol Hill who are trying to confine freedom of religion to church buildings.1  They are subjecting us to a barrage of federal mandates and executive orders whose goals include making religious beliefs subordinate to the State while labeling those who resist as being “intolerant,” opposing “equality,” etc.  We can endure, but only if we pull together under Christ’s leadership.

1 – “The change in language was barely noticeable to the average citizen but political observers are raising red flags at the use of a new term ‘freedom of worship’ by President Obama and Secretary Clinton as a replacement for the term freedom of religion. This shift happened between the President’s speech in Cairo where he showcased America’s freedom of religion and his appearance in November at a memorial for the victims of Fort Hood, where he specifically used the term ‘freedom of worship. From that point on, it has become the term of choice for the president and Clinton.”

“In her article for ‘First Things’ magazine, Ashley Samelson, International Programs Director for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, stated, ‘To anyone who closely follows prominent discussion of religious freedom in the diplomatic and political arena, this linguistic shift is troubling: The reason is simple. Any person of faith knows that religious exercise is about a lot more than freedom of worship. It’s about the right to dress according to one’s religious dictates, to preach openly, to evangelize, to engage in the public square.”

“Everyone knows that religious Jews keep kosher, religious Quakers don’t go to war, and religious Muslim women wear headscarves-yet ‘freedom of worship’ would protect none of these acts of faith.” From Randy Sly’s article, “Obama Moves Away From ‘Freedom of Religion” Toward ‘Freedom of Worship’” posted 7/23/2010 on www.foxnews.com

Cincinnati Water Works, Is -27 Degrees Wind Chill Dangerous?

As of 10:30AM EST, Cincinnati’s official temperature was -3 degrees F.  The wind was making it feel like -27 degrees and the Cincinnati area is under a “Wind Chill Warning.”  At this temperature, frostbite can occur is less than 30 minutes of exposure.  The current weather blast will be around through tomorrow morning.

So, with these conditions, why is the Cincinnati Water Works department working outside today?  Electricity is essential just as water is.  Do we see power company employees working on lines during a hurricane?