Saturday, August 29, 2015

August 29, 2015 Pro Life Rally in Petoskey


Driving over here from Harbor Springs, Polly and I noticed just a little bit of fall color in some of the trees. Summer is almost over. Labor Day is coming. Soon enough, here in God’s country, we will be surrounded by the spectacular symphony of nature preparing to renew itself through the long sleep of Winter.

And we wondered how many people would be here at the Knights of Columbus Hall. How many folks would put aside their Saturday chores, their golf clubs, or fishing gear, or their gardening tools to gather in this place and listen to speeches?

It’s a fair question to ask: why are we here? Just what exactly are we doing?

I’ll tell you what we are doing.

We are making a statement. That is what we are doing. We are standing up for America. We are standing up for Michigan. We are standing up for Petoskey and Harbor Springs, and all the good people who pay the taxes and fight the wars and pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.

We came here to make a statement. We gathered here, because we believe that abortion is wrong. Because abortion stops a human heart. Because abortion is the deliberate killing of a human being. Because abortion is a death penalty carried out on an innocent human being. Without a trial. Without a jury. Without any due process of law.

We came here because Planned Parenthood of America is the symbol and the trademark of a poisonous public policy that is pushing our nation down the wrong road.

It’s a public policy approved by an arrogant, ego centric Supreme Court. It is a policy funded by a lobby-loving Congress; it is a suicidal public policy that has, in the last 42 years, witnessed, enabled, and has actually celebrated the annihilation of 60 million Americans.

The pro abortion Guttmacher Institute reports an actual count of 57 million, 762 thousand, 169 abortions and they brag about it.

Think about it. Sixty million Americans. That’s more than the combined population of California and New York. A little closer to home, my friends, for those of you who follow Big Ten sports, just think about this: sixty million people is more than the combined populations of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

We’re talking about sixty million human beings denied the basic human right to be born. Sixty million children who will never go to school or go to college, or learn a trade or get married or vote. Sixty million Americans who will never pay taxes or answer the call to defend our homeland from its enemies.

How could this have happened in America? How did we come to this insanity in the land of the free and the home of the brave?  How did a nation dedicated to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all of God’s children come to adopt a public policy of genocide?

Hitler killed six million Jews and took the gold from their teeth. Planned Parenthood and their ilk have exterminated ten times as many people and sold their livers and kidneys to the highest bidders.

We have come here today to tell the world that Margaret Sanger was wrong.

Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood. They still honor her as their hero. Margaret Sanger was a eugenicist. She wanted to improve the human race. She thought Americans were having too many babies. Not just too many babies. She thought Americans were having too many of the wrong kind of babies.

Believe me: Margaret Sanger didn’t think that black lives matter. She didn’t think that the poor people should have so many children. People who live in tenements. People who work two jobs to put food on the table. People who didn’t come from the right side of the tracks. The low class. The Underclass. The Uneducated.

Margaret Sanger had a vision of a nation that would be populated by people chosen for their blood line, just like horses and dogs. The good people. The best people. The Upper class.

Unfortunately, it’s pretty obvious that much of  Margaret Sanger’s vision has come to pass in America. We have witnessed the transition of our nation from a democratic republic to a bureaucratic oligarchy run, not by the people, but by a ruling political class who think they are the brightest and the best and who believe that they were born to tell the rest of us what kind of light bulbs to use and how much water to flush down the toilet.

And how many infants should be allowed to see the light of day.

My friends, we have come here today to tell the world that we reject the ideas of Margaret Sanger. We have come here today to protest the destructive activities of Planned Parenthood of America.

We have come here to join with thousands upon thousands of Americans all across this great land to send this message to the Congress of the United States:

STOP FUNDING ABORTIONS! STOP PAYING FOR GENOCIDE! STOP USING OUR TAX DOLLARS TO ELIMINATE BLACK PEOPLE OR POOR PEOPLE OR WORKING PEOPLE.

STOP SPENDING OUR MONEY TO KILL LITTLE BOYS AND GIRLS JUST BECAUSE THEIR MOTHERS DON’T LOVE THEM.

AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE, PLEASE STOP SENDING OUR MONEY TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF AMERICA.

IF OUR REPRESENTATIVES IN THE CONGRESS HAVE ANY SHRED OF DECENCY, ANY MODICUM OF RESPECT FOR THE DIGNITY AND THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE, THEY MUST NOT; THEY CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO FINANCE THE HARVESTING OF BODY PARTS FROM THE UNBORN.

Margaret Sanger’s blueprint for racial cleansing written in the 1920’s was echoed by Adolph Hitler in the 1930’s. It has nothing to do with women’s health care; it has everything to do with the politics of elitism and racism and class warfare.

The American people fought a bloody civil war in the nineteenth century to establish the sacred truth that no person can own another human being. The infant entrusted by the laws of nature to the care and protection of a mother’s body is not hers to destroy or to cut up and market by the piece.

She has no right to do it; and she has no right to authorize Planned Parenthood do it. Chopping up little babies to sell their body parts is wrong. It is just plain wrong.

And that brings me to a final point. Supporters of Planned Parenthood love to snicker that everyone who opposes them is just trying to impose religious beliefs on them. They love to identify protesters such as you and I, as Catholics or evangelical Christians.

The fact is that the prohibition of abortion is older than Christianity. It comes from the Hippocratic Oath written in Greek five centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ to define the ethics of the medical profession.

What the Greeks discovered from logic and human experience is still wise public policy for us today. Even if we forget religion; even if we ignore the moral  question of right and wrong; does anyone dispute the fact that America would be bigger and better, and stronger, and more prosperous, more powerful and more secure if we had those 60 million Americans living among us in 2015?

I don’t know about you people. But I am waiting for one of those 20 or 30 candidates who want to be the President of he United States to stand up and say that abortion ranks with slavery as the greatest curse and shame of America, and that its abolition is not only morally right, it is economically sound public policy and common sense. 

The United States of America is our country. We are the people; the ordinary folks; the common every day men and women who make this country good and make our nation the greatest place on the face of the earth.

What we say here today, my friends, won’t be reported in the New York Times. We may not go viral on the Internet or catch the attention of the talking heads on television. But I can tell you this and you can take it to the bank:

We are the people; and in the United States of America, the the people really matter. We all matter. black, white, born and unborn. Old folks matter. Babies matter.

You and I didn’t come here today just to make a little local fuss. We are part of a growing chorus of national protest against the criminal abortion culture which is dehumanizing its victims and snuffing out whole generations of our posterity.

It is already autumn in America. The political landscape is changing. We are already engaged in the long and difficult battle for the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens. And we will not back off. We will not back down. We will not compromise with Margaret Sanger.

In a little while you and I will go home. But we will not forget why we came here. And we will not rest until the scourge of genocide has been torn from the pages of American history.



Saturday, August 22, 2015

DEAR CANDIDATE


         Literally hundreds of people have registered with the Federal Election Commission as candidates for President in 2016. At this writing only 22 of them are being touted as serious contenders.

         Two days ago, I sent each of those 22 candidates a letter by certified mail, asking them to answer these twenty-three questions:

CANDIDATE SURVEY ON CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES

1.    Do you favor the calling of a convention to propose constitutional amendments as provided in Article V of the United States Constitution?  YES   NO
2.    Do you favor repeal of the 23rd Amendment and restoration of Maryland and Virginia citizenship to residents of the District of Columbia?  YES    NO
3.    Do you favor an amendment to require non partisan nomination of Supreme Court
Justices?  YES   NO                                                                
4.    Would you favor term limits for Supreme Court Justices? YES    NO
5.    Would you favor an amendment prohibiting the Supreme Court from rendering any
opinion expanding or diminishing the powers of the government or the rights of
the people?  YES  NO                                                                                          
6.    Would you favor establishing a constitutional ratio of constituents to members of the House of Representatives? YES     NO  
7.    Do you favor a constitutional requirement that House of Representative districts be drawn along contiguous county or municipal boundaries? YES     NO
8.    Would you favor an amendment prohibiting voting for more than one member of the House of representatives?  YES     NO
9.    Would you favor an amendment requiring members of the House of Representatives to reside in their districts?  YES     NO
10. Do you favor an amendment limiting all Bills in the Congress to a single subject, clearly stated in the title?  YES  NO
11. Do you favor the repeal of the 17th Amendment and a requirement that voting in the Senate be by States? YES     NO
12.  Do you favor term limits for members of Congress?  YES   NO                                                                                          
13.  Do you favor the “Jefferson Amendment” prohibiting Congress from borrowing on the credit of the United States and requiring monetizing the national debt? YES     NO
14. Do you favor setting a constitutional limit on the power of the Congress to coin money?                                                                                                                                                                          YES     NO
15. Would you favor an amendment authorizing the Congress to levy a single, one time ad valorem tax on assets in case of an emergency? YES     NO
16. Do you favor an amendment that would credit all payments of State and local taxes against 50% of federal taxes?  YES     NO
17. Do you favor an amendment prohibiting the Congress from mandating any action by State or local governments? YES     NO
18. Would you favor an amendment prohibiting the Congress from appropriating any money to be paid to the States or to local units of government? YES     NO
19. Do you favor the transfer of all unsold federal lands, except those dedicated and maintained as parks or otherwise authorized in the Constitution, to the States in which they are located?
YES     NO
20. Do you favor an amendment prohibiting the deployment of the National Guard or State Militias outside the United States except in the conduct of a war formally declared by the Congress?
YES     NO
21. Would you favor an amendment forbidding the President from ordering the killing of any person except an enemy defined in a formal Congressional declaration of war? YES     NO
22. Do you favor an amendment that would authorize Congress to prohibit the desecration of the American flag during a war formally declared by the Congress?  YES     NO
23. Do you favor an amendment defining the word ‘person’ as used in the Constitution as an identifiable human being?  YES     NO

It will be interesting to see if any of the candidates who say they want to fix the mess in Washington are in favor of really doing something about it.

Or is their only solution to a dysfunctional government summarized in two words: “Elect me”?



Saturday, August 8, 2015

TRUMPED UP

Golf is a wonderful sport. Particularly so because it always was a gentlemen’s game, built around civil values such as sportsmanship, integrity, perseverance, fellowship, respect and fair play.

My personal golf hero is Jack Nicholas. His achievements as a professional golfer are unequaled. His records are of historic proportions. But most of all, from my perspective, Jack is a real gentleman. A class act.

I have been privileged to visit Jack a couple of times. He has always been gracious and hospitable. We have chatted on the phone as well. On one such occasion, Jack shared a personal opinion that has stuck in my memory for many years.

He told me that he likes people. In fact, he said, he could think of only one person he had ever met that he didn’t like. That conversation came back to me as I watched the Fox News Presidential debate the other night.

It was obvious from the git go that front runner Donald Trump was going to be the center of attention. The Donald and Doctor Ben Carson were the only two men on stage who had never held public office. Trump stood out for another reason: he is blunt, outspoken, unapologetic, and forceful in describing his frustrations with and criticisms of the government of the United States. All of it. Both parties. All politicians.

His solution to all the problems in America; financial, political, social, economic; the entire panoply of challenges facing the nation is simple. “Put me in charge,” says he without hesitation. “I can fix everything.”

Are the Chinese, the Japanese, the Mexicans getting the better of us in the world’s markets? Trump can fix it. How? He will negotiate with them. He always wins negotiations. He always gets his way. He is, after all, THE DONALD.

His notion of the power of the Presidency has little resemblance to the office of the Chief Executive envisioned by the Founders and written in our national constitution. As Trump sees it, a President can do whatever he wants to do. Just like he does with his money. Some pundits, searching for an explanation for Trump’s success in the opinion polls, have opined that he strikes a chord of popular frustration with big government, that he articulates the almost universal dissatisfaction of the American people with our post-constitutional oligarchy.

Perhaps that is true. But there is something else. Trump is the poster boy for the Howard Beale syndrome. Here’s what Beale, the fictional, demented, TV newscaster, famously said in the 1976 film “Network:”

I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!'   

Getting people mad as hell is an age old political strategy. Hitler did it in Mein Kampf. American politics have always been combative. Election to public office is all about deciding who gets to impose decisions on people at the point of a gun. It is serious business.

We will all be losers, as will our children and grandchildren, if we allow our political process to descend from discussion, to debate, to argument, to quarreling, to name calling and inveighing against anyone who disagrees. There is enough honest disagreement in America. We don’t need to get Trumped up.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

IN HOC SIGNO VINCES

Seventeen centuries ago, the Roman Emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity. It is recorded that he saw a vision of a cross above the sun bearing the Latin message, In Hoc Signo Vinces meaning “in this sign, you shall conquer.”

And conquer, he did. Not only militarily, but religiously. It was during his reign that Christianity went from being a despised and persecuted sect meeting in catacombs to avoid being fed to the lions or crucified, to become the official state religion of the world wide Roman Empire.

For all practical purposes, it was Constantine who launched the civilization which came to be known as Christendom. Joseph Pearce, the writer in residence at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee, defines ‘Christendom” thusly,

Christendom is best and most succinctly defined in traditional ecclesiological terms as the Church Militant…Her war is with the world and its worldliness. Her war is not fought with soldiers but with saints and also with those sinners who are trying to become saints. Her weapons are not those that bring death but life to her enemies. The culture of life that she brings with her is animated by the goodness of virtue, the truth of reason, and the beauty of God’s image in His creatures. She is the wellspring of civilization.

Up until a few years ago, colleges and universities in America offered a course called Western Civilization. It was the secularized version of the study of Christendom. Mostly, it was a chronicle of wars and battles, conquests and defeats.

Evangelism always has the smell of warfare. We talk about battling for the hearts and minds of people. Almost in the same breath, we mention boots on the ground.

Constantine went from ruthless persecution of Christians to ruthless promotion of Christianity. It took a long time and lot of bloodshed for Christendom to become the wellspring of civilization.

In our day, the most truculently militant religion is Islam. Mohammedanism brooks no dissent. The mass murder of non believers, the beheadings of Christians, the slaughter of those branded as ‘infidels’ brazenly portrayed in videos on the Internet, sends the chilling message that the days of religious warfare are not yet relegated to the history books.

I came to ruminate about these things as the result of an email from a very good friend in Florida. It was one of those chain letter initiatives that are so often inspired by good intentions and so often based on ‘facts’ that are not factual.

The message claimed that the President of the United States has abolished the National Day of Prayer created by Congress; that he celebrated a Muslim Day of Prayer instead; that he has said that America is no longer a Christian nation.

A visit to Snopes was enough to persuade me that the chain letter is based on a hoax. Among other things, it claimed that the President was authorizing elective courses in the Quran for American school children. That claim, Snopes points out originated on a satirical web site called the National Report.

It is not the first time that well meaning, but naïve, conservatives have fallen for National Report satire. Among their other offerings: outrageous fictional stories such as "IRS Plans to Target Leprechauns Next," "Boy Scouts Announce Boobs Merit Badge," and "New CDC Study Indicates Pets of Gay Couples Worse at Sports, Better at Fashion Than Pets of Straight Couples."

In the ‘Quran in the schools’ bit of political tongue-in-cheek, National Report gave an actual telephone number for the National Muslim Outreach Hotline. The number was that of the Republican National Committee.

I felt sorry for my Florida friend, who sent me the chain letter. It called for recruiting a virtual army of 100 million vocal Christians who would stand together against the Islamizing of America.

I sure would like to see 100 million American Christians standing up for their faith. That’s why I answered him by suggesting that he ask his friends to sign the Manhattan Declaration. It’s a clarion call to Christians to sign up and be counted. 551,274 have already signed. I invite you to do so as well.


www.manhattandeclaration.org

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

LIKE A WOMAN

It is a curious fact that the human brain has both the capacity to remember and the capacity to forget. Having confessed my putting woes publicly and received  a number of sympathetic notes of encouragement and advice, I awoke this morning in the arms of an epiphany.

Now I remember what it was that I forgot. I have been spouting sage advice about putting and putters for years and years. Anyone who has shared a foursome with me has heard my tale, doubtlessly more than once, since repetition is the talisman of old age.

So at six A.M. I was in the garage rescuing an old brass-headed putter with the trade name “Sharpro” on the grip. Thirty minutes of practice on the carpet was enough to convince me – again – of what I have always known.

A putter is like a woman.

You look around until you find one you like, then you stick with her. She will give you a lifetime of irritation and a few moments of ecstasy.

When you see those fellows putting left hand low, or using one of those monster weapons with a shaft as long as a broom, you’re looking at a guy who probably isn’t happy at home either.

And the fellow with a garage full of assorted putters has obviously been looking for happiness in all the wrong places.

Loyalty matters. It is the bond that gives us security and confidence. She was there yesterday. She is there today. She will be there tomorrow. There will be good days and bad days. Together the good days will be great and the bad days not so bad.

There is one thing you can always count on. She will do exactly what she is supposed to do. Like a woman, a putter never makes a mistake. If the ball doesn’t go into the hole, it is not her fault. It’s yours.

There is nothing sadder than to see an angry golfer throwing his putter into the pond or bashing it against a tree. The beauty of the game is that it is all about personal responsibility. She may miss some short putts. But she will make a man of you, and that’s a blessing no trophy can equal.
Like a woman, a putter demands that you give her lots of time. You can’t expect success without practice. Lots and lots of practice. Lots and lots of time spent together, just the two of you. No big agenda. No deadlines. Nobody keeping score.

Sometimes what you do with your putter will make you laugh. Sometimes what you do with your putter will make you want to cry. Laughing and crying are all about being truly alive. It’s how you learn to take the good with the bad, and vice versa.

At the Greenbrier Classic a few weeks ago, PGA professional Robert Streb missed a putt on the ninth green and dejectedly tossed his putter toward his caddy. It took an odd bounce off the bag and the shaft broke just above the head.

Streb finished the round putting with his 56-degree wedge in masterful fashion, shooting a four under par 32 on the back nine. He rolled in five birdies including one from 26 feet on number 13 and a tense six footer on the 72nd hole of the tournament to earn a berth in a four man playoff for the trophy.

He was allowed to replace the broken putter for the playoff. Perhaps he should have stuck with the wedge. He was eliminated on the first extra hole.

So, yes, you can putt with a wedge, or a driver, or a seven iron. It’s possible, and sometimes – just sometimes – it works pretty well.

But wedges aren’t made for putting. Putters are made for putting. That’s what they do. That’s what you are supposed to do with them. A golfer with no putter in his bag is an oddity. Strange. Unusual. Not in the mainstream.

I suppose there will be some young golfers who will try putting with their wedges after reading about Robert Streb. Maybe some day there will be enough of them so that putters won’t be very special or important.

Then perhaps the Supreme Court will tell us that it doesn’t matter what you putt with and the White House will be lit up like a Christmas tree.

Won’t that be just dandy?


Monday, July 27, 2015

SHORT PUTTS

The Head Golf Professional at Birchwood Farms Golf and Country Club, Mr. Cris Cavitt, listens well. Personable, friendly, and outgoing, he probably knows more about the folks around here than Father Joe does. And like the good Padre, he keeps his knowledge to himself.

Also like Father Joe, he listens with sympathy and compassion. It’s all very warm and fuzzy. But doggone it, I don’t need sympathy. I need help. On a nine hole practice round today, I missed five putts from under three feet. Two of them were less than 16 inches.

So I asked Cris to watch me and see what I am doing wrong. He watched and I promptly drained four short putts. With his usual broad smile, Cris shook his head and said, “I can’t help you.”

I have been playing golf for more than three quarters of a century, beginning in 1939 at the Ridgetown Golf and Country Club in Ridgetown, Ontario. It was a flat, hard baked nine holes. At every tee there was a bucket of sand and a bucket of water. You made a little pyramid with wet sand on which to tee up your ball.

You can learn a lot on the links. About competition. About integrity. About fellowship. And disappointment. Indeed, I have learned a great deal about disappointment.

It was, I believe, Saint Augustine who mused, “What I would, I do not, what I would not, I do.” Sounds like golf. It’s a left brain, right brain thing. Tell yourself, “Don’t hit it into the water,” and chances are very good you will hit it into the water. It’s the left brain that thinks in pictures. Mention water, and the picture appears, directing your subconscious to pull the ball into the pond.

I stand over a short putt and hear my brain saying “This is easy. Anybody can knock the ball into the hole from here. I can’t miss it. I won’t miss it.” Then, sure enough, I miss it.

A friend of mine in Florida likes to encourage his team mates on short putts. In a voice both cheerful and positive, he says, “Knock it in the hole.” On one such occasion, I stopped and asked him how many times we had played together. He said, ‘Maybe fifty or sixty.” I said, “Did you know that I never made a putt when you told me to knock it in the hole?”

For those of us who aspire to be golfers, there is only one rule. Persevere. Never give up. Keep on trying. You have never really failed if you are still making the effort.

Cris Cavitt tells me he reads my blogs. He asked me today how many people see them. I honestly don’t know. The people at Constant Contact, who do the mailing, tell me that they send out about 700 notices, only 93% of which actual get delivered. Five hundred don’t bother to look at it, 200 do look at the email, but only about 100 click through to see the blog. How many of those actually read the blog, nobody knows.

I have grandchildren who have a larger audience on Facebook looking at pictures of the pork chops they are eating.

Why do I do it? Just because. Just because I listen to the News. Just because I browse the Internet. Just because I have lived a long time and I think people should know some things I have seen, and done and learned.

I have lived in the most exciting, changing, interesting, perhaps important years in the recorded history of mankind. It should be no surprise that I want to tell what I have seen, share what I have learned.

There is almost nothing in the fabric of society that is not up for grabs in 2015. Indeed, for many people society has no fabric; the do’s and don’ts of the 20th century, if remembered at all, are seen as merely quaint anachronisms that simply don’t fit the electronic age.

Even the meaning of words evolves with every Google search. Frank Sinatra (remember him?) used to sing that love and marriage went together like a horse and carriage. They don’t sing songs like that any more, maybe because nothing rhymes with match dot com.

It is said that those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. Perhaps that’s the way the world is supposed to work. Keep doing it over and over until we get it right. Sort of like learning to make a short putt. Anyway, don’t say I didn’t try to warn you.