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Monthly Archives: January 2015

El Gobierno No Tiene Forma De Evitar Que La Responsabilidad Recaiga Sobre El.

“Zumban las balas en la tarde última. Hay viento y hay cenizas en el viento, se dispersan el día y la batalla, deforme, y la victoria es de los otros. Vencen los bárbaros …” Jorge Luis Borges

La muerte de Alberto Nisman se ha transformado, como correspondía, en la peor tormenta política de la Argentina desde la voladura del arsenal de Río Tercero -amén de actualizar la propia investigación del atentado a la AMIA- y, obviamente, el enorme costo está cargado en la cuenta de Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. La opinión pública, que considera que fue asesinado (70%) y atribuye la autoría al Gobierno (57%), y descree absolutamente de los dichos oficiales, sólo se pregunta cuándo se la obligará a efectuar el pago.

Este asesinato recuerda, sin lugar a dudas pero con enorme preocupación, el de José Calvo Sotelo. En una sociedad tan brutalmente fracturada como la nuestra hoy, soportó el mismo acoso que el Fiscal y había dicho en las Cortes de los Diputados española, luego de las reiteradas amenazas contra su vida, “yo tengo anchas las espaldas”. Horas más tarde, el 13 de julio de 1936, apareció su cadáver y sólo cinco días después estalló la Guerra Civil, que costó un millón de muertos.

El servicio secreto iraní, uno de los más eficaces que se conocen, tuvo en la mira a Nisman durante años; sin embargo, nada le sucedió y continuó trabajando en la persecución a los autores materiales e intelectuales del atentado a la AMIA. Cuatro días después de imputar a la Presidente de la República la responsabilidad de organizar y encabezar una asociación ilícita para exculpar a los terroristas y altos funcionarios de Irán y de traición a la Patria, apareció muerto por un disparo en la cabeza.

El atroz asesinato del Fiscal está cumpliendo, en la memoria colectiva, un papel que, en parte, favorece al Gobierno; estamos olvidado lo principal, es decir, su monumental denuncia contra doña Cristina y su entorno, a quienes acusó de entregar la investigación del atentado a la AMIA a los terroristas iraníes responsables de su comisión; esto convierte en prioritaria esa causa e impone al Juez Lijo la obligación de acelerar su investigación y la total difusión de las grabaciones que la sustentan, hoy sólo parcialmente conocidas.

También ha conseguido esconder la denuncia formulada por Fiscal General ante la Cámara Federal en lo Criminal y Correccional contra la Presidente por dar encubrimiento y protección a Lázaro Báez en la causa por el lavado de dinero en los hoteles de Cristina y sus hijos.

Tal como sostuve en la nota que escribí tres horas después de conocer la pavorosa noticia, el Gobierno no tiene forma de evitar que la responsabilidad recaiga sobre él, sea por la directa autoría del crimen, sea por la ineficacia en su custodia. Porque, pese a sus enormes esfuerzos, el oficialismo no consiguió “vender”, siquiera artesanalmente, su hipótesis original del suicidio por la vergüenza que hubiera debido soportar ante lo endeble de sus acusaciones, ni tampoco la de la inducción al mismo por fuerzas irresistibles; el jueves, la Presidente debió girar en el aire -como lo hizo en el caso de SS Francisco- y confesar que se trató de un asesinato, que atribuyó a otro complot en su contra, pero sin cumplir su deber de denunciar el presunto ilícito ante la Justicia. Aún así, ningún funcionario, ella incluida, se privó de denostar a Nisman y de intentar cubrirlo con un manto de sospechas de todo tipo; se llegó al patético extremo de vincular la muerte con una tapa de Clarín que había reflejado las masivas manifestaciones en Francia por el atentado de Charlie Hebdo.

La prueba mayor del knock-out que sufrió el Gobierno fue la apresurada convocatoria a todos los monjes tibetanos que militan en el ¿Frente para la Qué? el mismo jueves a la sede del Partido Justicialista donde, compelidos por sus exhaustas cajas provinciales y sindicales, se vieron obligados a suscribir un patético documento para acusar de la gran conspiración a los medios no oficialistas y transformarse así, literalmente y en virtud de la proximidad de muchas elecciones locales, en bonzos; hicieron trizas la famosa máxima del peronismo que, hasta ahora, acompañaba hasta la puerta del cementerio pero no se enterraba con el antiguo líder. A partir de hoy, ninguno de esos actuales mandatarios podrá aspirar a una reelección, salvo quizás en los feudos del norte, que no “pesan” en votos para la gran contienda nacional.

Es que hay demasiados cabos sueltos, y demasiadas explicaciones oficiales y judiciales que no cierran. Hasta el domingo pasado, Nisman debió haber sido el ciudadano mejor protegido de la Argentina, toda vez que sus imputaciones a la Presidente y su anunciada presentación ante el Congreso, lo constituyeron en el principal blanco móvil. Sin embargo, los diez hombres asignados a su custodia no bastaron para evitar el desenlace final: ¿impotencia, complicidad o sólo torpeza?

Las preguntas, aún hoy, siguen siendo muchas, en especial después de las declaraciones de Parrilli, nuevo jefe de la SI, y Berni, el locuaz Secretario de Seguridad, transformadas en sólo veinticuatro horas en mentiras flagrantes por un espía, un piquetero y el cerrajero convocado. De todas maneras, ¿resultaba creíble que la madre se hubiera sentado durante más de una hora en una cama, ignorando si su hijo vivía o había muerto en el baño tan cercano?; si Nisman pensaba suicidarse en horas, ¿para qué habría de dejar una nota a su mucama con la lista de compras que debía efectuar al día siguiente?; ¿por qué habría utilizado una pistola de un calibre tan pequeño, cuyo disparo es más apto para causar ceguera o incapacidad que muerte?. Algo huele a demasiado podrido en Puerto Madero, y el Gobierno carece de desodorante de ambientes.

Tanta ha sido la repercusión del caso en todo el mundo, y tal el desprestigio de nuestras instituciones, que ya ha sido reclamado en varios parlamentos extranjeros la constitución de una comisión internacional para la investigación del magnicidio.

Un dato muy triste y relevante posterior a la muerte de Nisman es la nuevamente comprobada falta de reacción de nuestra sociedad; ni siquiera este magnicidio, cuya autoría más del 57% de los argentinos atribuye al Poder Ejecutivo, logró que las calles y plazas del país aparecieran abarrotadas por miles de ciudadanos, como sí había sucedido en las manifestaciones de 2013. ¿Desinterés, hartazgo o miedo?

La Argentina se encuentra en uno de esos raros momentos que se transforman en encrucijadas de la historia. En los próximos días sabremos si contamos con los estadistas que la hora requiere o si quienes se visten de opositores al kirchnerismo sólo son más de lo mismo. Porque la única forma de evitar un terrible desenlace es que, de una buena vez, se unan para ofrecer una alternativa republicana a la decadencia y al desmadre generalizados que hoy impera en esta republiqueta bananera en que pasivamente nos hemos convertido.

Si no lo hacen, si no están dispuestos a ceder sus personalismos para tomar conjuntamente el timón en medio del naufragio, la sociedad entera sentirá en carne propia los versos finales del poema de Borges: Ya el primer golpe, ya el duro hierro que me raja el pecho, el íntimo cuchillo en la garganta”. 

Bs.As., 25 Ene 15

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DICK DURBING US SENATOR FOR ILSenator Durbin’s eNewsletter

1/24/15  Newsletters

Dick Durbin US Senator for Illinois

Dick Durbin US Senator for Illinois

This week, President Obama delivered the State of the Union Address. In an optimistic and powerful speech, he spoke about the American economy and the progress we’ve made since the recession. The national unemployment rate is down, millions of jobs are being created and this past year was the best year for the labor market since 1999.Though the progress we’ve made is real, there is work left to do to lift up America’s middle-class. The President announced proposals that working families in Illinois care about and now it’s up to Congress to come together and take his initiatives seriously.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement after President Barack Obama gave is 6th State of the Union Address.Expand Access to Education: I believe the President’s proposal to make two years of community college free for responsible students is a moonshot of an idea. It would give motivated students a path to receiving a solid educational foundation without the debt. Community colleges have always provided a springboard for students who wish to continue their education and get the training they need to land a quality job. It’s time to look beyond K through 12, start thinking about K through 14 and bring our educational achievements to the 21st century. I applaud the president for this effort and support it wholeheartedly.Strengthen Our Infrastructure: During his address, the President made it clear how important it is for Congress to pass a long-term bill to fund our transportation and infrastructure projects by May. In Illinois, we know funding transportation projects support thousands of construction jobs, will lead to future economic activity and will make our communities better. Congress needs to work together and pass a federal transportation bill soon.Close Corporate Tax Loopholes: Something I’ve been a strong supporter of is fixing our broken tax system and the President noted he wants to do the same. Any tax reform proposal must address the many loopholes that allow corporations to avoid paying their fair share while middle-income families pick up the tab. Through a business practice known as corporate inversion, companies move their tax domicile overseas so they can pay lower corporate tax rates. We should eliminate the ability of companies to invert now and then work toward tax reform that closes the many loopholes that contributes to our growing income inequality.Invest in Cutting Edge Research: Lastly, President Obama told Congress he would like to see increased investments in biomedical research. One of my upcoming public health priorities will be the continued and increased funding for biomedical research. I plan to once again introduce legislation which builds on this goal and will look for more opportunities to increase funding in this vital area of our budget.
OBAMA STATE OF THE UNION 2015 ADDRESSU.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) met with retired Air Force Captain Anthony ‘Tony’ Simone and his wife, Andrea, who were his guests for President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Durbin first met Captain Simone and Andrea in 2013 at Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital in Maywood, IL.The President reminded us this week that we live in a great country and our economy is recovering. We have made extraordinary sacrifices abroad and have lifted ourselves up by the bootstraps back home. Let’s keep moving forward, help those families trying to make ends meet and invest in America and its future..Stay InformedStay informed on what I am doing for Illinois and what is happening in Congress by visiting mywebsite.  If you have a question, a comment, or are in need of assistance, please contact my office at one of the phone numbers below or send me an email.Office phone numbers:

Washington, DC: (202) 224-2152
Chicago: (312) 353-4952
Springfield: (217) 492-4062
Carbondale: (618) 351-1122
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I received this from a Texan friend.

After Charlie Hebdo I go along with Ms. Morgan’s stance re Muslims, although not about guns. At least Jan Morgan has the courage of her convictions…  the massacre in Paris and all that is going on around the world inclined me to read this through and to find myself  agreeing. One wants to be open and fair and avoid prejudice. However, we also need to face certain realities. Christians do not follow every command in the Bible; I suppose there are Muslims who do not follow all the commands in the Koran. However, there presently are more Muslims adhering to the bloodthirsty tenets of the Koran than Christians burning witches.

Moi et les trois chats joyeux == == ==

Owner declares shooting range a ‘MUSLIM FREE ZONE’; explains why she did…..

Jan Morgan is facing controversy after declaring her business a “Muslim free zone” Sunday. The owner of Gun Cave

MUSLIN FREE ZONE IN USA

MUSLIN FREE ZONE IN USA

Indoor Shooting Range in Hot Springs, Arkansas. has drawn a line in the sand, and while critics will get angry they should read her reasons why.

After the recent influx of violence perpetuated by self-proclaimed Islamists, Morgan began to study the religion and discovered “109 verses commanding hate, murder and terror against all human beings who refuse to submit or convert to Islam.”
On her website, Jan Morgan Media,

Morgan, an investigative journalist and certified NRA gun instructor, explained that her decision was made based on facts. Read her ten-point reasoning that has already provoked controversy:

I officially declare my business, The Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range, a MUSLIM FREE ZONE…..

1) The Koran, which I have read and studied thoroughly and (which all muslims align themselves with), contains 109 verses commanding hate, murder and terror against all human beings who refuse to submit or convert to Islam. Read those verses of violence here.

2) My life has been threatened repeatedly by Muslims who are angry that I have studied their koran and have, over the past two years, been exposing the vileness of the Koran and its murderous directives.

3) The barbaric act of beheading an innocent American in Oklahoma by a Muslim, · the Boston bombings(by Muslims),· the Fort Hood mass shooting (by a Muslim) that killed 13 people and injured over 30 people,· and the murder of 3000 innocent people (by Muslims) on 9/11. This is more than enough loss of life on my home soil at the hands of Muslims to substantiate my position that Muslims can and will follow the directives in their Koran and kill here at home.

4) Because the nature of my business involves firearms and shooting firearms in an enclosed environment, my patrons are not comfortable being around Muslims who align themselves with a religion that clearly commands hate, murder, and violence against all non-Muslims. Therefore many of my patrons are uncomfortable around Muslims with guns. (Can you blame them?)

5) My range rents and sells guns to my patrons. Why would I want to rent or sell a gun and hand ammunition to someone who aligns himself with a religion that commands him to kill me?

6) Muslims, who belong to and/or, support ISIS, are threatening to kill innocent Americans. · Muslims, who belong to or support AL Qaeda, are threatening to kill innocent Americans.· Muslims who belong to or support HAMAS are threatening to kill innocent Americans. See a common thread here?

7) I not only have the right to refuse service but a RESPONSIBILITY to provide a safe environment for people to shoot and train on firearms. I can and have turned people away if I sense they are under the influence of alcohol or mind altering drugs. I have a federal firearms license… The ATF informed us when we received the license that if we feel any reason for concern about selling someone a firearm, even sense that something is not right about an individual, or we are concerned about that persons mental state, even if they pass a background check, we do not have to sell that person a gun. In other words, a federal agency has given us this kind of discretion for service based on the nature of the business. I can and have turned people away if I sense an issue with their mental state. So… it’s difficult to imagine how the DOJ could have issues with this when ATF gave us this discretion.

8) I have no way of looking at Islam other than as a theocracy, not a religion. Islam is undoubtedly the union of political, legal, and religious ideologies. In other words law, religion and state are forged together to form what Muslims refer to as “The Nation of Islam.” Once again it is given the sovereign qualities of a nation with clerics in the governing body and Sharia law all in one. This is a Theocracy, not a religion. The US Constitution does not protect a theocracy.
The 1stAmendment is very specific about protecting the rights of individuals from the government, as it concerns the practice of religions, not theocracies. It clearly differentiates between government and religion. Again protecting the individual’s religious beliefs and practices from (the state) government. In Islam religion and state are one. We are a Nation governed by laws, or the law of the land the U.S. Constitution. We are not a Nation that is governed by religion, politicians, or clerics. How, then, can anyone say that the practice of Islam is protected by the U.S. Constitution?
The Muslim Brotherhood has a documented plan for the destruction of America from within, discovered by our own government during a raid of MB operatives in America. In addition, I am very cognizant of the civilization jihad underway in my country by American Muslims.
In a number of states Muslims, through our legal system, are trying to force us to accept Sharia Law over Constitutional law. I do not wish to do business with people who stand against the Constitution and are fighting to replace it.

9) Islam allows Muslims to kill their own children (honor killing) if the behavior of those children embarrasses or dishonors the family name. (Did you know that dating outside of the faith is justification for murdering their daughters and this has already occurred on American soil?) Why would I want people (who believe it’s okay to murder their own children), be in the presence of other children? My patrons often bring their kids to the range to teach them to shoot. I am responsible for providing a safe environment for those children to learn gun safety and shooting sports.

10) In the 14 hundred year history of Islam, Muslims have murdered over 270 millionpeople. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but almost all terrorists in the world right now are Muslim.

Since you can’t determine by visual assessment which ones will kill you and which ones will not, I am going to go with the line of thought that ANY HUMAN BEING who would either knowingly or unknowingly support a “religion” that commands the murder of all people who refuse to submit or convert to that religion, is not someone I want to know or do business with.
I hold adults accountable for the religion they align themselves with. In summary, I not only have the right, but a responsibility to provide a safe environment for my customers. I do not believe my decision is religious discrimination because I do not classify Islam as a religion. It is a theocracy/terrorist organization that hides behind the mask of religion in order to achieve its mission of world domination.
People who shoot at my range come from all religious backgrounds… some are atheists… I do not care about their religious beliefs. I care about the safety of my customers who come to shoot here. The government allows businesses to ban me from entering their business with my gun because the property owner feels uncomfortable or wants to provide a “safe” environment for their patrons which is in clear violation of my 2ndAmendment right to bear arms, so… I should be able to deny service to people on the same premise.

Can my government really force me to invite someone who had threatened to kill me into my home or business? I will do whatever is necessary to provide a safe environment for my customers, even at the cost of the increased threats and legal problems this decision will likely provoke. Jan Morgan- Owner / The Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range)

Mary and the Muslims

By Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Muslimism is the only great post-Christian religion of the world. Because it had its origin in the 7th century under Mohammed, it was possible to unite within it some elements of Christianity and of Judaism, along with particular customs of Arabia . Muslimism takes the doctrine of the unity of God, his majesty and his creative power, and uses it, in part, as a basis for the repudiation of Christ, the Son of God. Misunderstanding the notion of the Trinity, Mohammed made Christ a prophet announcing himself (Mohammed) just as to Christians, Isaiah and John the Baptist are prophets announcing Christ.

The Christian European West barely escaped destruction at the hands of the Muslims. At one point they were stopped near Tours and at another point, later on in time, outside the gates of Vienna . The Church throughout northern Africa was practically destroyed by Muslim power, and at the present hour, the Muslims are beginning to rise again.

If Muslimism is a heresy, as Hilaire Belloc believes it to be, it is the only heresy that has never declined.   Others have had a moment of vigor, then gone into doctrinal decay at the death of the leader, and finally evaporated in a vague social movement. Muslimism, on the contrary, has only had its first phase. There was never a time in which it declined, either in numbers, or in the devotion of its followers.

The missionary effort of the Church toward this group has been, at least on the surface, a failure. For the Muslims are so far almost unconvertible. The reason is that for a follower of Mohammed to become a Christian is much like a Christian becoming a Jew. The Muslims believe that they have the final and definitive revelation of God to the world and that Christ was only a prophet announcing Mohammed, the last of God’s real prophets.

At the present time, the hatred of the Muslim countries against the West is becoming a hatred against Christianity itself. Although the statesmen have not yet taken it into account, there is still grave danger that the temporal power of Islam may return, and with it, the menace that it may shake off a West which has ceased to be Christian, and affirm itself as a great anti-Christian world power. Muslim writers say, “When the locust swarms darken countries, they bear on their wings these Arabic words: We are God’s host, each of us has ninety-nine eggs, and if we had a hundred, we should lay waste the world, with all that is in it.”
The problem is, how shall we prevent the hatching of the hundredth egg? It is our firm belief that the fears some entertain concerning the Muslims are not to realized, but that Muslimism, instead, will eventually be converted to Christianity–and in a way that even some of our missionaries never suspect. It is our belief that this will happen not through the direct teachings of Christianity, but through a summoning of the Muslims to a veneration of the Mother of God. This is the line of argument:

MARY

LA PIETA - by MIGUELANGEL

LA PIETA – by MIGUELANGEL

The Qu’ran, which is the Bible for the Muslims, has many passages concerning the Blessed Virgin. First of all, the Qu’ran believes in her Immaculate Conception, and also in her Virgin Birth. The third chapter of the Qu’ran places the history of Mary’s family in a genealogy which goes back through Abraham, Noah, and Adam. When one compares the Qu’ran’s description of the birth of Mary with the apocryphal Gospel of the birth of Mary, one is tempted to believe that Mohammed very much depended upon the latter. Both books describe the old age and the definite sterility of the mother

of Mary. When, however, she conceives, the mother of Mary is made to say in the Qu’ran: “O Lord, I vow and I consecrate to you what is already within me. Accept it from me.”
When Mary is born, the mother says: And I consecrate her with all of her posterity under thy protection, O Lord, against Satan!”
The Qu’ran passes over Joseph in the life of Mary, but the Muslim tradition knows his name and has some familiarity with him. In this tradition, Joseph is made to speak to Mary, who is a virgin. As he inquired how she conceived Jesus without a father, Mary answered:
Do you not know that God, when he created the wheat had no need of seed, and that God by his power made the trees grow without the help of rain? All that God had to do was to say, ‘So be it, and it was done.’
The Qu’ran was also verses on the Annunciation, Visitation, and Nativity. Angels are pictured as accompanying the Blessed Mother and saying: “Oh, Mary, God has chosen you and purified you, and elected you above all the women of the earth.” In the nineteenth chapter of the Qu’ran there are 41 verses on Jesus and Mary. There is such a strong defense of the virginity of Mary here that the Qu’ran, in the fourth book, attributed the condemnation of the Jews to their monstrous calumny against the Virgin Mary. 

FATIMA

Mary, then, is for the Muslims the true Sayyida, or Lady. The only possible serious rival to her in their creed would be Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed himself. But after the death of Fatima, Mohammed wrote: “Thou shalt be the most blessed of all women in Paradise , after Mary.” In a variation of the text, Fatima is made to say, “I surpass all the women, except Mary.”
This brings us to our second point: namely, why the Blessed Mother, in the 20th century, should have revealed herself in the significant little village of Fatima , so that to all future generations she would be known as “Our Lady of Fatima.” Since nothing ever happens out of Heaven except with a finesse of all details, I believe that the blessed Virgin chose to be known as “Our Lady of Fatima” as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Muslim people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her divine Son too.
Evidence to support these views is found in the historical fact that the Muslims occupied Portugal for centuries. At the time when they were finally driven out, the last Muslim chief had a beautiful daughter by the name of Fatima . A Catholic boy fell in love with her, and for him she not only stayed behind when the Muslims left, but even embraced the faith. The young husband was so much in love with her that he changed the name of the town where he lived to Fatima . Thus, the very place where our lady appeared in 1917 bears a historical connection to Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed.
The final evidence of the relationship of Fatima to the Muslims is the enthusiastic reception which the Muslims in Africa, India , and elsewhere gave to the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Muslims attended the church services in honor of our Lady, they allowed religious processions and even prayers before their mosques; and in Mozambique, the Muslims who were unconverted, began to be Christian as soon as the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was erected.

MISSIONARIES

Missionaries in the future will, more and more, see that their apostolate among the Muslims will be successful in the measure that they preach Our Lady of Fatima. Mary is the advent of Christ, bringing Christ to the people before Christ himself is born. In an apologetic endeavor, it is always best to start with that which people already accept. Because the Muslims have a devotion to Mary, our missionaries should be satisfied merely to expand and to develop that devotion, with the full realization that Our Blessed Lady will carry the Muslims the rest of the way to her divine Son. She is forever a “traitor,” in the sense that she will not accept any devotion for herself, but will always bring anyone who is devoted to her to her divine Son. As those who lose devotion to her lose belief in the divinity of Christ, so those who intensify devotion to her gradually acquire that belief.
Many of our great missionaries in Africa have already broken down the bitter hatred and prejudices of the Muslims against the Christians through their acts of charity, their schools and hospitals. It now remains to use another approach, namely, that of taking the 41st chapter of the Quran and showing them that it was taken out of the Gospel of Luke, that Mary could not be, even in their own eyes, the most blessed of all the women of Heaven if she had not also borne One who was the Savior of the world. If Judith and Esther of the Old Testament were pre-figures of Mary, then it may very well be that Fatima herself was a post-figure of Mary! The Muslims should be prepared to acknowledge that, if Fatima must give way in honor to the Blessed Mother, it is because she is different from all the other mothers of the world and that without Christ she would be nothing.
[Excerpt from The World’s First Love, by Fulton Sheen

Read more:

http://www.catholicfidelity.com/apologetics-topics/mary/mary-and-the-muslims-by-archbishop-fulton-j-sheen/

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The Charlie Hebdo Murders: The Real Atrocity Is Religious Persecution, Not Free Expression

Posted: 12 Jan 2015 05:35 AM PST  by Doug Bandow

The slaughter at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo brought hundreds of thousands of marchers and scores of world leaders onto the streets of Paris.  The killings demonstrate how the destructive phenomenon of religious persecution is spreading from Third World dictatorships to First World democracies.

Religious minorities long have faced murder and prison around the world.  Now the freedom not to believe by majorities in Western democracies is under attack.

As I write in Forbes online:  “Free expression goes to the very essence of the human person.  While good judgment tells us not to express every thought we have, as moral agents responsible for our actions we must be free to assess the world and express ourselves in vibrant public debate.  For religion there is no greater affront than to inhibit people’s search for the transcendent and liberty to respond, yay or nay, to God’s call.”

Western governments must protect the liberties of their peoples.  Members of no group, Muslim or other, should be treated as enemies.  However, the problem of violent religious intolerance is almost uniquely Muslim.

2014  -  MUSULMANES QUEMAN VIVOS A CRISTIANOS

2014 – MUSULMANES QUEMAN VIVOS A CRISTIANOS

Christians finally learned to stop killing over spiritual differences.  Today in most countries in which Muslims constitute a majority religious minorities suffer discrimination and persecution.

There is no disguising reality.  If you are a Baha’i, Jew, Ahmadi, Christian, Yazidi, Hindu, wrong kind of Muslim, or atheist you likely will find life always difficult and often threatening in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Sudan, Yemen, Maldives, Syria, and others.

Some Muslims point to blowback from promiscuous U.S. intervention.  Washington has supported dictators, harmed innocents, and wrecked societies throughout the Islamic world.  However, these are acts of a nation state, not a religious faith.  And while that behavior might explain (though not justify, since nothing warrants the murder of civilians) attacks on U.S. targets, it does not illuminate why, say, Pakistani mobs burn to death Pakistani Christians.

The thugs who cut down a dozen Charlie Hebdo are the international cousins of those who murder alleged blasphemers and apostates in Muslim nations.  Earlier this year the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom reported that victims of the ongoing attack on free expression include people from Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Turkey.  Nowhere are blasphemy laws more used and abused than in Pakistan.

In its study on the issue USCIRF explained how the law encourages abuse:

2014 MUSULMANES TORTENTOS Y TORTURAS PUBLICAS EN SIRIA - INTOLERANCIA RELIGIOSA

2014 MUSULMANES TORTENTOS Y TORTURAS PUBLICAS EN SIRIA – INTOLERANCIA RELIGIOSA

“The so-called crime carries the death penalty or life in prison, does not require proof of intent or evidence to be presented after allegations are made, and does not include penalties for false allegations.”  Judges prefer not to hear evidence, since doing so could be construed as blasphemy.  A claim usually is sufficient to send someone to prison, making the law a common weapon in personal and business disputes.

Non-Muslims are peculiarly vulnerable.  Many people do not reach trial:  mobs have killed more than 50 people charged with the offense.  And thugs like those who gunned down the Charlie Hebdo staffers have murdered judges who acquitted defendants, attorneys who represented those accused, and politicians who proposed reforming the laws.

There isn’t much Washington can do to protect liberty in other countries, but the U.S. government must insist that the liberties of Americans are non-negotiable and will be defended.  More broadly, the Charlie Hebdo murders should remind policymakers that religious liberty is not an afterthought.

A government which refuses to protect individuals in exploring the transcendent is more likely to leave other essential liberties unprotected.  People in Muslim-majority nations, where religious persecution today is at its worst, must come to peacefully accept those who believe differently both at home and abroad.

INTERVIEW TO CARDINAL BERGOGLIO, BEFORE HE BECAME S.S. POPE FRANCIS

https://apologia21.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/impactante-entrevista-de-chris-matthews-al-cardenal-bergoglio-verdad-o-mentira/

The following is a transcript of an interview between CHRIS MATHEWS, MSNBC American journalist and then-Cardinal Bergolio. It is clear why the interview was never broadcast. This Pope is a breath of fresh air; a very enlightening, clear understanding of social justice. It is clear that Matthews never understood or learned a thing.

CAMERA ON / BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

MATHEWS: Welcome Cardinal.

BERGOGLIO: Thank you. Happy to speak with you.

MATHEWS: Well, let me get into it directly. Last conclave, you were almost elected Pope. Can this happen again?

BERGOGLIO: What? That I will almost be the Pope, again?

MATHEWS: No. Will you be the next Pope?

BERGOGLIO: Friend, I’m only jesting with you. I understand the question. I will not be the next Pope

MATHEWS: Why not?

BERGOGLIO: I chose not to. God has someone else in mind I’m certain.

MATHEWS: But you would take the job if it were offered.

BERGOGLIO: I think not.

MATHEWS: Why not.

BERGOGLIO: I believe I’m too embroiled in the secular fiasco. It is a spiritual job, and I’m a soldier. Look at the nature of power. In Europe first and now in America , elected men have taken it upon themselves to indebt their people to create an atmosphere of dependency. And why? For their own selfish need to increase their own personal power. I’ve been a keen observer of the effect this has on the people, especially the poor. They are very good at creating poverty where there is no reason to explain it. My job is try to alleviate poverty and if that means to oppose the cause then I will not be Pope.

MATHEWS: But you are worried you would be a spend thrift pope?

BERGOGLIO: Friend. Where did you go to school?

MATHEWS: La Salle College High School in Pennsylvania and.

BERGOGLIO: And after that?

MATHEWS: College of the Holy Cross.

BERGOGLIO: They told me you were Catholic. Once elected, the Pope is by virtue of the promise of Jesus to Peter, the Pope is preserved from the possibility of error. God would change any spend thrift politician into a responsible Pope. I’m just saying I’m not that man.

MATHEWS: So what is your job?

BERGOGLIO: My job is to ask you? Why are men creating poverty?

MATHEWS: What do you mean?

BERGOGLIO: I mean that poverty is part of the natural condition and that is bad enough. But my task is to prevent the aggravation of this condition. The ideology that adds to the poverty must be denounced. I have and this is the reason I will not be Pope. I have a saying for myself, no more poverty than God originally intended in the fall from Grace?

MATHEWS: Oh.

BERGOGLIO: It is a spiritual choice, and I’m a political person. I’m sorry. I know you will make more money from this interview if I’m Pope. Or want to be Pope. But I’m sorry. I can’t help you. God has already chosen someone anyway. Right? You learned this in school?

MATHEWS: Yes. Well? Where are you on the issues that matter most, issues about contraception, women priests?

BERGOGLIO: This might be a surprise to you, but I am Catholic. We are Catholic. It isn’t an issue and for you to pretend that it is being debated goes against God.

MATHEWS: If you were Pope, then you would not change anything.

BERGOGLIO: Certainly God would direct the new Pope to have more compassion for these newly created poor. And if there is any social justice in the Church, the new Pope would have a stern word for the creators of the new situation.

MATHEWS: But you are staunchly orthodox on the issues of abortion, contraception, and same-sex marriage.

BERGOGLIO: I am Catholic.

MATHEWS: You were punished for opposed same-sex marriage in Argentina . You opposed free contraception and the government exiled you. What do you have to say about that?

BERGOGLIO: I am Catholic.

MATHEWS: In the secular world, as you say, you follow the conservative line. You oppose, uh, same-sex marriages, very popular with young people. You are conservative on birth control. Won’t that be the doom of the Church, alienating young people who support reality based faith?

BERGOGLIO: Since God created the world, he also created reality. You seem to be arguing that a man can’t be Catholic in reality. Son, you are a Catholic?

MATHEWS: Yes, of course. I meant no disrespect

BERGOGLIO: You don’t have to worry about offending me.

MATHEWS: Okay, good. Can a, uh, Pope even be elected if he is pro-choice or pro-love? I mean isn’t the election sort of fixed in favor of anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage?

BERGOGLIO: Yes, the election is fixed by God.

MATHEWS: Very witty.

BERGOGLIO: Well, you did ask.

MATHEWS: It is being reported in America that you are against marriage equality. Is that why you feel that you can’t be Pope?

BERGOGLIO: God chooses the Pope, and God also made men and women different.

MATHEWS: But you are… a conservative and oppose abortion!

BERGOGLIO: Friend the expression on your face gives you away.

MATHEWS: I’m sorry, I’m just trying to do my job.

BERGOGLIO: And what job is that?

MATHEWS: I’ve been sent to interview eight men in line for the papacy.

BERGOGLIO: And I guarantee you that they all oppose abortion. So?

MATHEWS: But?

BERGOGLIO: So, you feel like you need to alienate the eight from the flock?

MATHEWS: That isn’t it. How can the church attract young people when it is opposed to abortion and contraception?

BERGOGLIO: Young people are just as attracted to the truth as they are convenience and expediency. So we will call it a draw.

MATHEWS: Doesn’t the church need to modernize?

BERGOGLIO: Finally, I’ve met someone who will advocate publicly painting over the Sistine Chapel with one of the contemporary street artists. Are you sure you support this and in public?

MATHEWS: What?

BERGOGLIO: Forgive me, I was rude.

MATHEWS: Won’t the new pope, don’t these cardinals realize what they’ve gotta do if they want to attract young people to the church?

BERGOGLIO: I am a cardinal.

MATHEWS: Won’t the new pope, don’t you and the other cardinals realize what they must do if they want to attract young people to the church?

BERGOGLIO: I’ve explained the mysteries of the atom to rural young people and also I’ve explained the Grace of God. And you know what? They can understand both perfectly well. Frankly, I have more trouble with adults understanding both.

MATHEWS: But they have done focus groups; if you want to spread your message you can’t have this position that’s anti-gay marriage and anti-contraception.

BERGOGLIO: And you treat the church as a political institution.

MATHEWS: So we were not gonna see any kind of change when it comes to things that matter like abortion or gay marriage?

BERGOGLIO: All eight of the men you will be talking to are Catholic.

MATHEWS: Okay, I understand. Let’s talk about your controversial stand on poverty.

BERGOGLIO: You want it to be controversial?

MATHEWS: But don’t you blame various governments around the world for poverty?

BERGOGLIO: Some. Yes.

MATHEWS: But you refuse to blame corporations for their role.

BERGOGLIO: Okay, they also told me you have a degree in economics. No buyer, or seller either, enters into any exchange against his will. It is the nature of the economy. Man is frail, and he makes mistakes and sometimes is greedy and they enter into exchanges that don’t help them. Sometimes they become poor, but they made choices. There is nothing the Church can do except try to educate people to become good consumers. Chiefly, for me, it is an education solution on that side. And the Church has more schools around the globe than any other faith. I say teach the people to save their souls, and also teach them how not to become poor. And now not to allow the government to trick them into poverty.

MATHEWS: And you blame government.

BERGOGLIO: No, I blame the self-serving politicians.

MATHEWS: So your solution to poverty is to change the nature of politics?

MANIFESTACION  by BERNINI

MANIFESTACION by BERNINI

BERGOGLIO: Please feel free to broadcast this; I don’t want to be pope. Friend, you are a socialist and your friends are socialists. And you are the reason for 70 years of misery in Russia and Europe now is seizing in pain from your policies. You believe in the redistribution of wealth and it makes entire populations poor. You want to nationalize everything and bring every human endeavor under your control. You destroy a man’s incentive to take care of his very own family, a crime against nature and nature’s God. You want social control over populations and incrementally you are making everything against the law. Together this ideology creates more poverty today than all the corporations you vilify have in the history of man.

MATHEWS: I’ve never heard such from a Cardinal. I’m not sure if you are here to help yourself or disqualify yourself.

BERGOGLIO: Please air this interview. People being dominated by socialists need to know we don’t all have to be poor. Some poverty is part of our being cast out of the Garden of Eden. But look at the empire of dependency created by Hugo Chavez. Promising them, tricking them into worship of government and his very own person. Giving them fish but not allowing them to fish. If a fisherman does develop a talent today in Latin America ; he is castigated and his catch stolen by the socialists. He stops?

MATHEWS: You would be the first pope from the Americas .

BERGOGLIO: He stops fishing. I will not be pope, but yes I am from Argentina .

MATHEWS: And you didn’t want to be pope?

BERGOGLIO: God didn’t want me to be pope.

MATHEWS: Perhaps he changed his mind.

BERGOGLIO: Ludicrous.

MATHEWS: Okay, I’m sorry. I feel like we are getting off on the wrong path. I’m sorry.

BERGOGLIO: Yes, let’s be productive.

MATHEWS: You are a classic conservative Catholic theologian?

BERGOGLIO: Of course there’s politics clearly in the Curia throughout the Vatican , but in terms of church teaching, it’s not a political institution. It’s religious.

MATHEWS: I heard people, in fact, media people, “Is this cardinal, is he a liberal? Is he a conservative?”

BERGOGLIO: Tell them please, He’s a Catholic. It’s no more complicated than that. Catholicism is what it is. You don’t have to believe it; you may not. You don’t have to follow it; you may not go to Mass. But it’s not up to you to modernize us.

MATHEWS: You see no room for reform?

BERGOGLIO: It’s not up to any religion, although some do this, ’cause they want the money. They want the membership. But the Catholic Church doesn’t do it. It’s not up to them to bend and shape and mold itself to accommodate the shrinking depravity of a worldwide culture. It’s to provide the exact opposite. It’s to provide a beacon out of depravity, socialism and sin, among other things.

MATHEWS: If pope you would be bad news for the left.

BERGOGLIO: I won’t be pope. But I am opposed to abortion. I’m opposed to euthanasia. The pro-choice movement is a culture of death. I oppose the demonic same-sex marriage. I oppose gay adoption on the grounds that it is discriminatory to the child. I was exiled by the Cristina Kirchner government, but I hold no grudge. How is this bad news?

MATHEWS: John Paul II rescued you?

BERGOGLIO: He made me the archbishop of Buenos Aires . Yes.

MATHEWS: And so you feel like you owe the Right some sort of repayment?

BERGOGLIO: There are many values and many types of people. Perhaps it is my interest in mathematics, but I’m the type of human who is interested most in the truth. God gave me a healthy love for the truth. Loyalty is only a virtue if in support of the truth or another important value.

MATHEWS: Cristina Kirchner said you held a grudge.

BERGOGLIO: Funny I’ve never spoken her name. Not once. And it is a battle of ideas not a battle of two or more people. I’m only concerned with ideas.

MATHEWS: She said you refused to speak up for civil rights violations.

BERGOGLIO: As a spiritual leader, I opposed cultural modernization, and so I became a political enemy. I understand politics as well as I do mathematics.

MATHEWS: And the Jesuits, they were eager to cast you out, which they did.

BERGOGLIO: So you are implying that I’m a vengeful priest?

MATHEWS: Do you feel that you need to erase the progress recently made in Latin America ?

BERGOGLIO: I say poverty. You say progress.

MATHEWS: Let’s talk about poverty.

BERGOGLIO: Sure, there is voluntary poverty that is virtuous. Many understood the nobility of making themselves independent of the fleeting things of earth. They are distractions from our pursuit of the truth. I have no problem with this. I only oppose involuntary poverty.

MATHEWS: That is what I thought you would say.

BERGOGLIO: Why?

MATHEWS: Because you are a capitalist right?

BERGOGLIO: Yes, I think capital is needed to build a factory, a parochial school, or a church or hospital, all. Do you oppose factories or churches or hospitals?

MATHEWS: Of course not, but don’t you think the capital is sucked out of peoples hands by greedy business types to pay for these factories?

BERGOGLIO: No, I think people agree, through their economic choices, that some of their money goes to build these. Capital building should be voluntary. Only when the politician confiscates their wealth to build government factories, government schools, government hospitals; only then do the people not agree. Money given voluntarily is legitimate to build with. Money coerced from the people is not legitimate to build with, because it isn’t given voluntarily.

MATHEWS: You are opposed to all government?

BERGOGLIO: No of course not. But it isn’t the seat of wisdom in any society I’ve seen in my life. The best government was created by the Americans, in which they admitted that people are endowed by their creator and most of the administration of society was left to the relationship between God and man. However, slowly that has been eroded by the atheists on the left who would replace man’s relationship with God with a new relationship with an opportunist like Hugo Chavez.

MATHEWS: I just found it fascinating that you were willing to stand up to an entire government in Argentina . You where cast aside. Didn’t you care about your career?

BERGOGLIO: Yes, there are people who cave to worldly authority. Even priests.

MATHEWS: But you didn’t?

BERGOGLIO: No, I changed nothing. How did I have the power to change anything in church teaching? My opinion? The democrats, seeking votes, only wanted me to change my opinion and legitimize their decadence. I did not, as evidenced by the fact that I was teaching high school math in small isolated town.

MATHEWS: I’m sorry that happened to you.

BERGOGLIO: Why don’t you feel for others oppressed for their interest in freedom.

MATHEWS: Freedom isn’t punished anywhere, is it?

BERGOGLIO: Certainly it is.

MATHEWS: In Latin America ?

BERGOGLIO: I’m afraid Latin America is lost. The people of the entire area are controlled by a bloc of militant socialist regimes in the region, most prominently Venezuela , Ecuador , Bolivia and Nicaragua . They have a gun pointed at their head. So their heart is now captured. Who will save them at this point?

MATHEWS: So the game is over. Checkmate?

BERGOGLIO: Friend, I’ve been studying America this month before the Pope chose to resign. You must not have fear at speaking the truth. It is for the salvation of souls and the recovery of Thomas Jefferson’s people. America must not fall to the new painted communism. Even the low information voters don’t want America to be sold into slavery. I pray they cast out the money changers in their government! What manner of government is there that condones sin? Abomination upon abomination–giving monies for the murder of children, giving monies for the murder of the elderly! You are an American. Your government, My child, has been infiltrated by men of sin.

MATHEWS: These are pretty radical ideas.

BERGOGLIO: No. Perhaps reactionary. Radical means something different. But a very long time ago, Khrushchev warned that we cannot expect Americans to fly from capitalism to communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving Americans small injections of socialism until they suddenly awake to find out they have Communism. This is what is happening now in an ancient bastion of freedom. How can America save Latin America when they are slaves to the government themselves?

MATHEWS: I’m having a hard time digesting most of this.

BERGOGLIO: The truth can be painful. You look angry; do you want to stop or ask a question? But you have created a new type of state, the so-called welfare state. This has happened in order to respond to the needs of the politically created poor. However, intervening directly is depriving the original society of its responsibility. Families escape responsibility in the welfare state. And churches even escape responsibility. People stop giving to charity, and see every poor person as the government’s problem. I am a Catholic priest, and there are no poor for me to take care of, they are made permanently poor and the property of the politicians.

MATHEWS: I’m not sure this interview is going to work.

BERGOGLIO: You asked, and now you will listen, my son. The social assistance state leads to a loss of human energies, and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic thinking than by real concern for helping people. Needs are best understood and satisfied by people who are closest to them who act as neighbors and parish members to those in need. It should be added that certain kinds of demands often call for a response which is not simply material but which is capable of perceiving the deeper human need. This is not to mention the welfare states excesses and abuses.

MATHEWS: I think we are done.

BERGOGLIO: Wait. If I speak on the ordination of women, on celibacy, on divorce, will you air this interview and my message?

MATHEWS: No, we are done.

BERGOGLIO: Partially what irritates me to the core is the media’s inability to look at anything without looking into the cause of the various problems. People are made poor so they will vote for the very candidates that made them poor.

MATHEWS: Have a nice day and thanks for your time.

CAMERA OFF / END TRANSCRIPT

 

I Am Not Charlie Hebdo

The Opinion Pages | OP-ED COLUMNIST | The New York Times

David BROOKS - New York Times

David BROOKS – New York Times

JAN. 8, 2015  –  David Brooks

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/09/opinion/david-brooks-i-am-not-charlie-hebdo.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

The journalists at Charlie Hebdo are now rightly being celebrated as martyrs on behalf of freedom of expression, but let’s face it: If they had tried to publish their satirical newspaper on any American university campus over the last two decades it wouldn’t have lasted 30 seconds. Student and faculty groups would have accused them of hate speech. The administration would have cut financing and shut them down.

Public reaction to the attack in Paris has revealed that there are a lot of people who are quick to lionize those who offend the views of Islamist terrorists in France but who are a lot less tolerant toward those who offend their own views at home.

Just look at all the people who have overreacted to campus micro-aggressions. The University of Illinois fired a professor who taught the Roman Catholic view on homosexuality. The University of Kansas suspended a professor for writing a harsh tweet against the N.R.A. Vanderbilt University derecognized a Christian group that insisted that it be led by Christians.

Americans may laud Charlie Hebdo for being brave enough to publish cartoons ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad, but, if Ayaan Hirsi Ali is invited to campus, there are often calls to deny her a podium.

So this might be a teachable moment. As we are mortified by the slaughter of those writers and editors in Paris, it’s a good time to come up with a less hypocritical approach to our own controversial figures, provocateurs and satirists.

The first thing to say, I suppose, is that whatever you might have put on your Facebook page yesterday, it is inaccurate for most of us to claim, Je Suis Charlie Hebdo, or I Am Charlie Hebdo. Most of us don’t actually engage in the sort of deliberately offensive humor that that newspaper specializes in.

We might have started out that way. When you are 13, it seems daring and provocative to “épater la bourgeoisie,” to stick a finger in the eye of authority, to ridicule other people’s religious beliefs.

But after a while that seems puerile. Most of us move toward more complicated views of reality and more forgiving views of others. (Ridicule becomes less fun as you become more aware of your own frequent ridiculousness.) Most of us do try to show a modicum of respect for people of different creeds and faiths. We do try to open conversations with listening rather than insult.

Yet, at the same time, most of us know that provocateurs and other outlandish figures serve useful public roles. Satirists and ridiculers expose our weakness and vanity when we are feeling proud. They puncture the self-puffery of the successful. They level social inequality by bringing the mighty low. When they are effective they help us address our foibles communally, since laughter is one of the ultimate bonding experiences.

Moreover, provocateurs and ridiculers expose the stupidity of the fundamentalists. Fundamentalists are people who take everything literally. They are incapable of multiple viewpoints. They are incapable of seeing that while their religion may be worthy of the deepest reverence, it is also true that most religions are kind of weird. Satirists expose those who are incapable of laughing at themselves and teach the rest of us that we probably should.

In short, in thinking about provocateurs and insulters, we want to maintain standards of civility and respect while at the same time allowing room for those creative and challenging folks who are uninhibited by good manners and taste.

If you try to pull off this delicate balance with law, speech codes and banned speakers, you’ll end up with crude censorship and a strangled conversation. It’s almost always wrong to try to suppress speech, erect speech codes and disinvite speakers.

Fortunately, social manners are more malleable and supple than laws and codes. Most societies have successfully maintained standards of civility and respect while keeping open avenues for those who are funny, uncivil and offensive.

In most societies, there’s the adults’ table and there’s the kids’ table. The people who read Le Monde or the establishment organs are at the adults’ table. The jesters, the holy fools and people like Ann Coulter and Bill Maher are at the kids’ table. They’re not granted complete respectability, but they are heard because in their unguided missile manner, they sometimes say necessary things that no one else is saying.

Healthy societies, in other words, don’t suppress speech, but they do grant different standing to different sorts of people. Wise and considerate scholars are heard with high respect. Satirists are heard with bemused semirespect. Racists and anti-Semites are heard through a filter of opprobrium and disrespect. People who want to be heard attentively have to earn it through their conduct.

The massacre at Charlie Hebdo should be an occasion to end speech codes. And it should remind us to be legally tolerant toward offensive voices, even as we are socially discriminating.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/09/opinion/david-brooks-i-am-not-charlie-hebdo.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

______________________________

MORRIS DEES Founder SPLC (SOUTHERN  POVERTY LAW CENTER

MORRIS DEES Founder SPLC (SOUTHERN POVERY LAW CENTER

Hundreds of thousands of people each year are victimized by hate crimes. Sometimes, it’s a swastika spray-painted on a synagogue. Other times, it’s the burning of a mosque. Too often, the crime is bloody, like the beating of a gay man in the streets or the murder of someone like Mr. Anderson.

So, as we approach the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery march that led to historic civil rights legislation, let’s remember that, while we’ve made undeniable progress, the march for justice isn’t over.

Morris Dees. Founder of SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center)

SEE ALL COMMENTS

 

CATO at LIBERTY:   ¿IRRATIONALITY @ HARVARD?

 – By Michael F. Cannon

Is the Faculty of Harvard University Irrational?

Walk into a BMW dealership and announce, “I want a 7-series at Hyundai prices!”, and the dealer will laugh at you. When Medicare enrollees do the same thing Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare!– the people who run Medicare praise and court them.

As an irony junkie, this New York Times article on the outrage among Harvard’s faculty that they should face greater cost-sharing in their health benefits – and the incredulity of Harvard’s health economists at their colleagues’ reactions – is one of the most wonderful things I have read in the course of my career. And it reminded me of another Ivy League health economist: Princeton health economist Uwe Reinhardt.

It has long been one of Reinhardt’s hobby horses that “the American public’s idea of ‘common sense’ in health care” is fundamentally irrational:

To be responsive, then, to the “simple common sense” of the American people, any proposed health reform must not reduce the revenue of hospitals, lest some neighborhood hospital may have to close; or of doctors, lest some doctors might refuse to see patients; or of the manufacturers of health products, lest they are unable to innovate; or of anyone on the supply side of the health sector, lest they go out of business and have to lay off employees.

At the same time, the “simple common sense” of the American people dictates that any health reform that fails to bend down the growth curve of future health spending — the current jargon for controlling health spending better — is unacceptable, too.

At the time Reinhardt penned this particular expression of his exasperation (July 2009), I noted that the irrationality he decries is a direct result of policies he and other left-leaning health reformers have enacted into law:

The

is actually pretty simple: government has given us a health sector where everyone is spending someone else’s money.  In such an economy, individuals can make irrational demands (cut spending — but don’t reduce my access to care!) because they don’t bear the cost of their irrationality.

Emphasis added. People who pay for their own consumption don’t have the luxury of being able to pretend that tradeoffs don’t exist. Walk into a BMW dealership and announce, “I want a 7-series at Hyundai prices!”, and the dealer will laugh at you. When Medicare enrollees do the same thing – Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare! – the people who run Medicare praise and court them.

The seeds of such irrationality can also be seen in the case of Harvard University or any other employer-sponsored health plan, where the federal government imposes stiff tax penalties on anyone who does not (1) surrender $5,000 or $11,000 of their income to their employer and (2) let their employer use that money to select their health plan. Since this goverment policy means that workers don’t control that portion of their compensation, and don’t perceive the direct and negative relationship that employer-provided health insurance has on their wages (partly because they can’t get that money back by declining health benefits), workers end up demanding mutually incompatible things: comprehensive health-insurance coverage that doesn’t cost them anything. If that seems irrational, it is because, as I put it in that 2009 blog post, “Socialized Medicine Socializes the Cost of Irrationality, Too.”

Now that the Smartest People In The Universe – the faculty at Harvard University, naturally – are displaying the same behavior as the supposedly irrational American public, would Reinhardt still describe that behavior as irrational? Or is it Reinhardt and like-minded health economists who are irrational for expecting the lab mice to behave some other way?

Those in the American government who ordered and conducted this program of torture by the CIA since the autumn of 2001 should be arrested, tried for self-evident common crimes, and if convicted, hanged.
That would convince government officials for years to come that international legal prohibitions of torture and other readily recognized crimes against humanity, which have been ratified by the United States Executive Branch and Congress, shall be obeyed, and illegal orders to the contrary be disobeyed and denounced to the international public if necessary.

America Didn’t Just Prosecute Torturers, We Executed Them

Posted on Dec 16, 2014
By William Pfaff

The wartime Western allies, their judges sitting in judgment on war crimes in the city of Nuremberg, ordered hanged until dead eleven major World War II criminals at Spandau Prison in Germany on October 6, 1946. Those judged were not hanged because their crime was that they were themselves torturers; they were too highly placed for that. They were people who had ordered that the gloves be taken off. It was the people under their orders who took the gloves off and tortured and murdered.
For many years preceding the Second World War torture of a human being was widely accepted as being a heinous crime. It was not formalized in international law as such, because it was taken as part of the General Law of Humanity, which is to say law that was taken to be obvious to humans in Western Civilization.

11 Nazi Judges Hanged at Spandau, Nuremberg, October 6, 1946

11 Nazi Judges Hanged at Spandau, Nuremberg, October 6, 1946

Since World War II and the Nuremberg Trials, and other war crimes trials held in the months and years that followed, torture has been formally identified as an international crime in a number of conventions and treaties, and by such bodies as the International Red Cross, and of course the United Nations.
It has widely become adopted into national as well as international legal codes. It is part of the Laws of War as recognized by the United States Armed Forces.
The United States has also incorporated it into the Code which binds all men and women serving in the forces. It has added the rule that no soldier may obey an illegal order, such as an order to torture a prisoner.
This obviously places such a soldier in a paradoxical situation since the superior giving the order is assumed to issue only legal orders. The soldier would rarely be in a position to appeal over his head to a higher officer. In general it must be assumed that the soldier is in a position in which his own conscience must decide his act. It is exactly this which, with rare exceptions, is absent from the story we have read in the Senate CIA Report.
In the CIA case there is little record of employees of the agency refusing an order to torture. There is a record of people in this position denouncing the order to the press or to some civilian political authority, Congress, or the public. This typically has resulted in the legal prosecution and conviction of the truth-tellers, or—especially under the Obama administration (to the dismay of Mr. Obama’s admirers) to strenuous efforts to capture and prosecute these people for revealing the truth about what may be crime or malfeasance, as in the cases of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, and of course that of the self-confessed conscientious objector, Bradley (Chelsea) Manning—as well as a few others.
It has for years been known in police and intelligence circles that torture rarely produces useful and timely information from a captive. It typically produces lies meant to stop the torture, untrue information supplied to please the torturer’s apparent wishes, or murder of the victim by the torturer or the torturing institution, as at Guantanamo, and apparently at one or more of the Black Sites.
The most disturbing and basic question is why Americans officials seemed to want so badly to torture when to do so was known – even to the Agency – to be so unprofitable. Dick Cheney in an interview (on “Meet the Press”) stubbornly insisted that the torture had produced rich results, was not properly torture anyway, and that the CIA report published by the Senate was a deliberately concocted and politically motivated compendium of falsehoods by Democratic politicians and the liberal press—even though no doubt can exist that it was prepared from information inside the CIA by members of the Senate staff.
Within the Agency a pathology clearly has existed and prevailed, but it was initiated and promoted by Agency leaders and prominent members of the Bush administration. It was sustained inside the Obama administration by other such persons in official positions and in the Congress despite Mr. Obama’s forbidding of torture and his unfulfilled promise to close Guantanamo prison, where torture apparently continues even now in the form of forced feeding, which serves no defensible military or intelligence purpose at all, other than to debase prisoners (and obviously their jailers, as well as those officials who ordered it). These people have simply wanted, and still want, to torture people.
Apparently nothing is going to be done to change anything as a result of this episode, just as nothing effective was done about torture and assassination in Vietnam. In Vietnam we had the Phoenix program of assassinations of suspected enemy collaborators among the peasantry. I emphasize ‘suspected,’ having gone along, in a semi-official analytic capacity, on one such interview of a terrified family whose father was not at home.
The American civilian I accompanied was followed by a montagnard tribal executioner so that the job, if necessary, could be done on the spot. The American seemed to like his work. I mention this—which for me followed several years of work with a CIA-owned international political warfare organization—so as to disabuse the reader who might think that what I am about to say is the fancy of an unsophisticated journalist.
In my view those in the American government who ordered and conducted this program of torture by the CIA since the autumn of 2001 should be arrested, tried for self-evident common crimes, and if convicted, hanged.
That would convince government officials for years to come that international legal prohibitions of torture and other readily recognized crimes against humanity, which have been ratified by the United States Executive Branch and Congress, shall be obeyed, and illegal orders to the contrary be disobeyed and denounced to the international public if necessary.
Regrettably, in this case in the United States, criminals are no longer hanged, nor is the death penalty widely applied to other than the poor. Thus I would assure that the sentence be served in a common prison in the company of ordinary criminals, sharing the ordeal which is the common experience of that vast number of Americans condemned to penal servitude. In no case should it be served in the comfortable federal prisons reserved by our government for white-collar criminals. They should be made to think of Nuremberg.

Visit William Pfaff’s website for more on his latest book, “The Irony of Manifest Destiny: The Tragedy of America’s Foreign Policy” (Walker & Co., $25), at http://www.williampfaff.com.
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