Mitt Romney: To Boldly Go Where . . . Oh, Wait, Nevermind.


I hate politics. That used to be a bit of a slogan for my blog here. I hate politics because it brings out the worst in people. The demagoguery of politics cons generally otherwise reasonable, respectable people into obsessing over trivialities and into adulating people whose primary skill is convincing people to idolize them. The result is that the ideas and the people that really matter, those that can actually benefit society the most, never see the limelight.

So I can’t help but cringe when a Big Political Event like Romney choosing his running mate saturates the news. Mercifully, I was away on a family camping trip in northern Michigan when this monumental occasion transpired, but an infrequent newspaper did cross my path and from the headlines it was obvious to me that Something Big had happened. Apparently.

But all the hype is just that: hype. The carefully calculated selection of a vice presidential candidate has no bearing on policy; its a contrived display meant to gin up maximum party support and cohesion. For anyone who already has a firm stance regarding Romney, whether he chooses Jesus, the devil, or anyone in-between as his running mate is really of little consequence. Except in extreme circumstance such as assassination of the president the VP is really little more than a glorified cheerleader. A powerful cheerleader with a national voice might mean something to the indifferent but to those who adore Romney (I have yet to meet anyone who does) or, conversely, those who will avoid voting for him as if their life depended on it (of whom I’ve met quite a few), it doesn’t matter.

According to The Detroit News Mitt Romney made a “bold” decision and he “ended the debate about whether he is a closet moderate and made clear that, if elected, he will govern as an economic and social conservative.” The article continues by likening Romney’s decision to Bush selecting a “Washington-wise” and “strong-willed” Dick Cheney in 2000. Bush, however, was a neocon who selected a fellow neocon for his running mate: any boldness was painstakingly calculated and superficial. Romney’s choice for running mate, Paul Ryan, is a pro-preemptive war, big government Republican who supported an expensive and strategically stupid war condemned as unjust by his own faith, supported both the auto bailout and the bank bailout, and supported the expansion of the already failing, impoverishing Medicare program. Neoconservative and corporate fascist Mitt Romney chose a neoconservative corporate fascist as his running mate. There’s nothing “bold” about that: he chose one of his own and, what’s more, he chose one of his own to play a highly visible but largely powerless role. Mitt Romney hasn’t ended any debates (as if the “if-by-whiskey” politician could ever actually convincingly “end” anything) – he’s just as much of a corporate collectivist as ever before except now the plastic android has a younger more attractive version of himself to excite Americans to his cause.

God help us if we swallow the lie that this is what true conservatism looks like or that these are the defenders of liberty or the Culture of Life. They are not.

Oh the Webs We Weave


The Republican party claims to be caught in a catch-22. The precipitating factor? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused Romney of going ten years without paying taxes.

Now, for the normal American I don’t think this would pose a problem. If you or I were running for public office and someone accused us of tax evasion the obvious thing to do would be to promptly and succinctly prove them wrong – and then move on. Unfortunately, however, Mitt Romney is not a “normal American” and, worse, the GOP seems to feel that it is their responsibility to “protect” him. In and of itself maybe there’s nothing wrong with Republican leaders coming together to defend their presumptive presidential nominee, but that largely depends on what it is that they are defending him against. In this case, its transparency and accountability. Harry Reid’s attack on Romney is a harsh one, however, to categorize it as a catch-22 situation seems an overreaction – unless Romney really is hiding something and, given his monumentally duplicitous history (and present), that’s certainly probable.

Doesn’t the GOP vet its candidates? Certainly, Romney has just as much of a right to refuse revealing his tax returns to the RNC as he does to withhold them from the public but then there’s no reason that the RNC needs to pamper and coddle him as their favorite until he submits to a full vetting process either. Perhaps, however, they do know something we don’t and that’s why Republicans are calling this a catch-22: ignore Reid’s claims and people will assume that they are true; address his claims and reveal Romney’s tax returns to the public and they’ll know that they are true.

Whatever the content of those controversial and elusive tax returns there’s no denying that this whole thing is a mess – a mess that could simply be avoided if the GOP would lose the demagoguery, practice transparency and hold its candidates accountable. What we have instead is the picture of oligarchy. The political right isn’t protecting their man from guys like Reid on the left; they are protecting a multi-millionaire capitalist from normal people like you and me. Certainly, being rich and powerful doesn’t mean that Romney has to release his tax returns but neither does he have to run for president. When a man runs for the most powerful position in the country and political and social demands seek transparency form him he had better oblige, because to refuse represents a betrayal to the American people. To deny the call to transparency is to say I don’t have to hold myself accountable to the very American people that my public office is meant to serve. Public servants don’t do that; but tyrants do.

This is just another reason why either a Romney or an Obama victory means disaster for Americans. Both have shown no interest in transparency or being held accountable – Obama’s just too cool to be caught up in in the same level of public controversy. However, in addition to a lack of transparency, both are self-serving and therefore serve the politically-connected special interest groups that fund them (like Goldman Sachs, for example, which is Romney’s #1 campaign contributer and Obama’s #2 (and Obama’s #1 in 2008)). Both are eager to give themselves more power at everyone else’s expense, as evidenced by both politicians’ support of the executive kill list. This isn’t left versus right; this is bipartisan oligarchy versus everyone else.

The Lesser of Two Evils: Don’t Give Power to the Lie


The ‘Lesser of Two Evils’ Con-Game:

“In reality, the leaderships of both fraudulent parties support essentially the same methodology, and that methodology could be summarized thus:  Centralize everything, globalize everything, control everything, grow government power, reduce the effectiveness of the citizenry, turn the public against each other, rob them while they’re distracted.  If an American does not understand this dynamic and how it is used to dominate the ebb and flow of our culture, then that American knows nothing.  He is lost…”

“there are two candidates for President of the United States, one is a cannibalistic serial killer who plans to murder 20 more people with his own hands while in office.  The other is a cannibalistic serial killer who only plans to kill 19 innocents personally.  Which candidate do you support?

The correct answer is NEITHER.”

“Such institutionalized misery can only be undone by uncompromising men and women who put principles and conscience before comfort, or even before their own lives.  All throughout history, this is how wrong is undone.  No society ever changed for the better by casting aside their beliefs and their individualism.  No society ever changed for the better by choosing the lesser of two evils. [emphasis added]  No society ever changed for the better by holding out the hand of friendship to despots, maniacs, and con-men in the hopes that they would be spared just a little less tragedy before their time on this Earth is over…”

The Repudiation of Romney the Repudiator:

“This is what I know with certainty:  Other than a few cosmetic touch-ups here and there — e.g., toying with making minor cuts in the budget — nothing of any consequence will change under a Mitt Romney presidency. Nothing.”

Vote third-party or write someone in but, whatever you do, don’t vote for either Romney or Obama.

Does Romney Live Up to the Culture of Life? Part 2


In part one, I discussed unjust war, assassination, torture and the death penalty and how Mitt Romney has failed to live up to the culture of life on every one of those issues. In this second part I will cover euthanasia, abortion, contraception and gay marriage:

Euthanasia

Unlike many of his fellow Republicans, Romney has been startlingly silent on the issues of euthanasia and assisted-suicide. However, while Romney has failed to make any categorical statement regarding his stance on euthanasia and assisted-suicide what is known is that Mitt Romney made a statement that the government should not have tried to stop Terri Schiavo’s euthanasia and that the courts should “make the family make a decision.”The “family” in this case that Romney was referring to was Terri Schiavo’s husband who, during her coma, had two children with another woman and demanded that the doctors let Terri die by slowly starving her of food and water.

The only other time at which Romney seems to have come out on this issue is in the case of Haleigh Poutre, in which Romney’s Department of Social Services petitioned the courts to pull the then-11-year-old girl off life support. Mitt Romney remained silent on the issue until after the Poutre case received national attention and the young girl began to respond, at which point Romney put together an independent panel to look into the matter. It suggested changes for how the state handles such cases including more closely investigating requests to remove life support.

In light of these two scenarios, it seems that Romney has no qualms about allowing euthanasia and assisted-suicide if its what family members want or the courts rule in favor of such action. If, however, there is sufficient political pressure as in the high-profile case of Haleigh Poutre who was already beginning to respond on her own, then we can expect Romney to oppose euthanasia.

Ultimately, if my life were in Romney’s hands my mind would not be put at ease.

Abortion

Abortion is possibly the most emotional and controversial issue facing our country today and, given Romney’s history of bending with the wind, doing whatever is most politically expedient and never taking a firm stance on anything (at least, not for longer an election cycle), we can expect Romney to do absolutely nothing in defense of the unborn.

During his 1994 Senate Run, Mitt Romney argued that he was more pro-choice than Ted Kennedy: “When Kennedy called him ‘multiple choice,’ Romney demanded an extra rebuttal. He revealed that a close relative died of an illegal abortion years ago and said, ‘Since that time, my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter, and you will not see me wavering on that.’” (Joan Vennochi, “Romney’s Revolving World,” The Boston Globe, 3/2/06). “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it.” (Joan Vennochi, “Romney’s Revolving World,” The Boston Globe, 3/2/06)

 When he went to conservative Utah, Romney refused to take a firm stance on the issue, “When I am asked if I am pro-choice or pro-life, I say I refuse to accept either label.” (Glen Warchol, “This Is The Place, But Politics May Lead Romneys Elsewhere,” The Salt Lake Tribune, 2/14/99).
But when he ran for office in Massachusetts again, he was pro-choice again, “I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose, and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard. I will not change any provisions of Massachusetts’ pro-choice laws.” (2002 Romney-O’Brien Gubernatorial Debate, Suffolk University, Boston, MA, 10/29/02). In 2002, Romney Offered His Completed NARAL Questionnaire, Filled Out With “Mostly Abortion-Rights Positions,” To The Media Even Before Returning It To NARAL. “Yesterday, Romney also aimed to head off confusion about his stance on abortion rights by answering a Mass National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League questionnaire with mostly abortion-rights positions. He offered the questionnaire to the press even before he returned it to MassNARAL…”

Then he started thinking of national office as a Republican. That’s when he claims to have had his conversion. ”Romney said he had a change of heart on the issue after speaking with a stem-cell researcher, Dr. Douglas Melton. Romney claims Melton said  ‘Look, you don’t have to think about this stem cell research as a moral issue, because we kill the embryos after 14 days.’‘It hit me very hard that we had so cheapened the value of human life in a Roe v. Wade environment that it was important to stand for the dignity of human life,’ Romney says.” (Karen Tumulty, “What Romney Believes,” Time, 5/21/07)

Keep in mind, however, that after his pro-life conversion he appointed pro-abortion judges, stated that he will “maintain the status quo” regarding abortion laws, attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser in 2004 despite his claims to de-fund the organization, and invested in two different companies involved in embryonic stem cell research – all of this occurring after his publicly recognized the sanctity of life and personhood of every unborn child.

And less than a month ago lifesitenews.com reported the following:

MIAMI, FLORIDA, May 17, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney scheduled a $50,000-a-plate fundraiser at the home of Phil Frost, the executive of the company that makes the Morning After Pill, on Wednesday night. Plan B One-Step is produced by Teva Pharmaceuticals, Frost’s company.

Additionally, Romney has provided for tax-payer funded abortions in RomneyCare, including a mandate and tax payer funded abortion on demand. Romney enforced a law that required Catholic hospitals to perform abortions. Obama’s recent health care mandate that forces religious institutions to violate their conscience is trampling on America’s most sacred right, The Freedom of Religion. But before Obama discarded the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Mitt Romney had done it in Massachusetts, forcing Catholic hospitals to give out abortion causing pills.

Romney remains pro-abortion in the cases of incest, rape and in saving the life of the mother, stating, “I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother. I wish the people of America agreed, and that the laws of our nation could reflect that view.”

Contraception

On July 25th, 2005 Romney vetoed bill to ensure emergency contraception for rape victims, known as the morning after pill. Arguing that the hormone drugs “would also terminate life after conception.” However, on December 8th, 2005 Romney reversed that decision on the advise of his counsel and ordered all hospitals in the state to make the “morning after” pill available to rape victims, over the protests of Catholic hospitals, who argued that this went against their religious beliefs. A Boston Herald editorial said that Romney had “executed an Olympic-caliber double flip-flop with a gold medal-performance twist-and-a-half on the issue of emergency contraception.”

On October 5th, 2005 Boston Globe reports that Romney had signed a bill seeking federal waiver to expand the number of low-income people eligible for family planning services, including the morning-after pill, over protests of pro-life activists. “The guy’s not coming around,” said Joseph M. Scheidler, the national director of the Pro-Life Action League. The action appears to contradict Romney’s June 18, 2007 claim that “I came down on the side of life” in every decision he made as governor of Massachusetts. See video here.

Inadvertently or not, when asked if he supported the Blunt Amendment, a Republican bill that would exempt Catholic and other religious-backed hospitals and schools from a White House rule requiring them to provide free birth control insurance coverage, Mr Romney said he did not.

“I’m not for the bill,” Mr Romney told an interviewer while campaigning in the crucial swing state of Ohio. “The idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a women, husband and wife, I’m not going there.”

An hour later campaign officials said that Romney had “misunderstood” and was in favor of the amendment. In response to the HHS mandate that would require Catholic employers to provide insurance that covers, not just contraception, but sterilization and abortifacients as well, Romney stated, “This kind of assault on religion will end if I’m president of the United States,” Romney said, calling it “a real blow … to our friends in the Catholic faith.” However, Romney was largely silent about the Massachusetts law, which essentially mirrored Obama’s proposal and was signed by Romney’s predecessor in 2002, the year before he took office, that required virtually the same contraceptive coverage. Romney did not seek its repeal.

Gay Marriage

Romney favors “domestic relationships” for gay couples and states that it is a state issue and that he “did nothing to change it” as governor of Massachusetts. However, he has also chosen to nationalize the issue by calling for a constitutional ban on gay marriage. If the ban does not apply to civil unions, it will not stop states from allowing legal arrangements “identical to marriage” but for the name, which Romney says he opposes. But if the federal government tries to prevent those, states won’t really be free to “make decisions with regard to domestic partnership benefits,” the approach he says he favors.

Either way, Romney is against gay marriage. But when pressured to take a stand what can we expect from a Romney presidency? He seems to pride himself for sitting on his hands regarding Massachusetts’ gay marriage laws and Romney displays that same passivity regarding religious freedom and gay privileges:

In 2006 the Archdiocese of Boston stated that it would no longer place children with homosexual couples (as the Church considers homosexuality “gravely immoral”). A media storm quickly followed. Responding to charges that it was illegally discriminating against homosexuals, the Archdiocese then asked the state to grant a religious exemption to Catholic Charities, but the Legislature balked. Existing Massachusetts non-discrimination laws referencing “sexual orientation” plus “legal gay marriage” would not allow the Church to follow its moral precepts, it was claimed.

Romney erroneously blamed the Church’s predicament on non-existent law and could have rescinded the administrative regulations that would not let Catholic Charities deny placement of children with homosexual couples. Romney also failed to point out that religious freedom was already protected in both the state and federal constitutions. The Archdiocese could have fought this in court but did not — perhaps out of fear of losing major donors with liberal views (who were well represented on Catholic Charities’ board). In the end, the homosexual activists and their allies got their way, and it was another public whipping for the Catholic Church — all of which Romney could have prevented.

According to C. J. Doyle, head of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts:

The opponents of religious freedom never start by assaulting the right to worship, frontally, to assault the right to worship on Sunday morning. They start by trying to marginalize the charitable, restrict the charitable and the educational and the social service activities of churches, and try to narrow the parameters of religious liberty. This is what we’re seeing here in Massachusetts

Apparently, though, Romney didn’t think that the restriction of Catholic charities and the violation of religious freedom that it represented was worth getting involved over.

Romney’s response to all of this? I’m consistent on gay marriage “since running for office”. But with the increasing number of cases of the gay movement and government bullying people to not simply tolerate, but embrace, the homosexual lifestyle at the expense of their freedom of conscience Romney cannot simply stand by and do nothing as he has in the past.

Conclusion

 Mitt Romney continues his poor performance upholding the culture of life in this second part, remaining largely silent on the issue of euthanasia and opposing it only in the case of significant political pressure; he is uncommitted on the issue of abortion, frequently undermining the cause for life and favoring abortion in special cases; he also continued to expand funding and availability of the morning-after-pill after his pro-life conversion, even forcing Catholic hospitals to provide the abortifacient against their consciences; finally, while Romney opposes the re-definition of marriage he does not consider the issue worth sticking his neck out over even when religious liberties are on the line.

To compare and contrast Romney with Obama on all eight issues, on the death penalty, torture and on euthanasia I rate him just as bad as Obama while on the issue of assassination, gay marriage, contraception and abortion I rate him only slightly better. On the issue of unjust war Romney has made it clear that he endorses a foreign policy even more aggressive than Obama’s own and therefore actually rates worse than Obama.

Ultimately, Mitt Romney’s agenda has been on the side of the culture of death on every single issue at one point or another in his political career and he has yet to make an unqualified switch to the culture of life on even one of these issues. Therefore, overall I rate a Romney presidency practically as destructive as Obama’s regarding life-issues. Its incredibly sad that the Susan B. Anthony List and other pro-life groups have endorsed Romney and promised millions to his campaign despite his extensive record of cooperating with the culture of death and his refusal to sign the Susan B. Anthony List’s pledge promising to defend life and promote the pro-life cause. With the percentage of pro-life Americans at an historic high, with 23% of Americans opposing abortion under all circumstances and 51% self-identifying as pro-life, there is absolutely no reason why such a massive demographic should settle for a presidential candidate predominantly in cooperation with the culture of death over one that almost categorically does. Whether Romney or Obama secures power in November, the life movement loses. But by simply voting our consciences and holding out for true pro-life candidates, while we may lose the battle, we will be in a better position for the future to win this war.

Does Romney Live Up to the Culture of Life? Part 1


Obama and Romney are nearly identical on most issues but the one exception may be on life-issues and the Catholic church. Obama has proven himself to be the most pro-abortion President in our country’s history and has opposed the Catholic church at every turn. How does Romney, on the other hand, live up to the Culture of Life?

Unjust War

Iraq

The Vatican strongly opposed the Iraq war as it represented a direct violation of just war doctrine . However, Romney supported the invasion and the troop surge. Per The New York Times, moderator Tim Russert asked Romney during a 2008 presidential debate if the Iraq war was “a good idea worth the cost in blood and treasure we have spent.” Romney answered, “It was the right decision to go into Iraq. I supported it at the time; I support it now.” As New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait explains, Romney’s debate answer came at a time when it was already clear that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction.

Now, with no new information available, Romney states that in hindsight he would not have invaded Iraq knowing that there were no weapons of mass destruction. Romney’s latest comments come only a few days after the U.S. marked the end of the nearly nine year conflict. The Republican contender has not been shy in his criticism of President Obama’s handling of the troop withdrawal. This past Sunday, BBC News reported that Romney said, “I think we’re going to find that this president, by not putting in place a status-of-forces agreement with the Iraqi leadership, has pulled our troops out in a precipitous way and we should have left 10-, 20-, 30,000 personnel there to help transition to the Iraqis’ own military capabilities.”

The pro-life movement is well aware of the horrors of abortion but most are not aware of the staggering cost of this unnecessary and unjust war. Opinion Business Research, estimated that the death toll of Iraqi citizens between March 2003 and August 2007 was 1,033,000. Furthermore, over 4 million people were displaced in one of the largest refugee crises in history and over 140,000 new cancer cases have been reported (depleted uranium being the suspected cause). Finally, the Iraq war has resulted in 4,484 American military casualties and 33,186 wounded. Additionally, the economic hardships and continued adverse health effects inflicted upon the Iraqi populace can be expected to continue for decades to come.

So, Romney was for the Iraq war that violated Christian just war doctrine, even after it became clear that there were no weapons of mass destruction, and he was in favor of continued occupation of up to 30,000 personnel 9 years after the initial invasion. When he did finally change his position it was after the war ended and not based on the grounds that the war was immoral but because there were no weapons of mass destruction – an irrelevant point regarding the war’s legitimacy as far as Christian just war doctrine is concerned.

Afghanistan

Romney is opposed to talking to the Taliban despite the fact that the Afghan war began well over a decade ago. This speaks of a fight first, diplomacy last mentality that is the polar opposite of what just war doctrine dictates is necessary for a war to be considered just, stating that a declaration of war or continued hostilities must always be the option of last resort, with diplomacy being the first – not the other way around. Additionally, Romney is opposed to Obama’s timetable to end military involvement in Afghanistan by 2014 despite the facts that Afghanistan wants us out even sooner, such a timetable has the support of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and NATO, and such a timetable would still leave us with a war that lasted 13 years – more than half of my entire life. Contrast that with World War II which lasted only six years, of which the United States was only involved in for four.

Iran

Romney refuses to rule out the use of nuclear weapons against Iran in a preemptive strike to prevent them from developing their own nuclear arsenal. In a June 2007 New Hampshire Republican debate, Romney was asked if he agreed “that the use of tactical nuclear weapons, potentially, would be possible if that were the only way to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb?” Governor Romney responded that “You don’t take options off the table, but what you do is stand back and say, ‘What’s going on here?’ You see what’s happening in Sudan and Afghanistan, in Iraq and Iran. All over the world, we’re seeing the same thing happening, and that is people are testing the United States of America.” In 2011, Romney advocated both overt and covert means to get Iran to stop its nuclear weapons development program. He said that “Ultimately, regime change is what’s going to be necessary.” Keep in mind that preemptive nuclear strikes against Iran’s nuclear reactors would result in an estimated 3 million civilian deaths and compromise the well-being of another 71 million people. Even Obama’s own aggressive foreign policy, while still subpar, is more conservative, showing more restraint than Romney’s.

Our own intelligence agencies admit that they have zero evidence that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons but as far as just war doctrine is concerned the point is irrelevant. The use of nuclear weapons, because of their indiscriminate destruction, are never morally permissible. Additionally, the US Catholic Bishops point out that any military action against Iran at this point would be immoral:

“In Catholic teaching, the use of force must always be a last resort. Iran’s bellicose statements, its failure to be transparent about its nuclear program and its possible acquisition of nuclear weapons are serious matters, but in themselves they do not justify military action.”

“Discussing or promoting military options at this time is unwise and may be counterproductive. Actual or threatened military strikes are likely to strengthen the regime in power in Iran and would further marginalize those in Iran who want to abide by international norms. And, as the experience in Iraq teaches, the use of force can have many unintended consequences.”

Assassination

Romney is surprisingly silent on this topic but what we do know is that he supports drone strikes in Pakistan. Obama has eagerly expanded the CIA drone campaign: the program has targeted rescuers, funerals and weddings and has killed an estimated 385 – 775 civilians – but the drone campaign has attempted to lower that number by defining all males of military age within a drone strike as “combatants” unless categorically proven otherwise post-mortem. The “kill list” is decided unilaterally by Obama-appointed assassination czar John Brennan and, ultimately, Obama himself. The legal rationale for what can only be referred to as an executive death panel is a secret memo drafted by the office of legal counsel and unavailable for the public to read. Considering that Romney supports drone strikes, supports an interventionist foreign policy more aggressive than Obama’s own, and has in no way condemned the CIA drone campaign, the appointment of an assassination czar, or Obama’s own involvement in the program it seems unlikely that Romney would do much, if anything, to dismantle the CIA drone campaign. In fact, its possible that he may simply replace Obama as the solitary man who says who lives and who dies.

Torture

Romney opposes torture but supports “enhanced interrogation” including waterboarding. The Catholic church and the culture of life are categorically opposed to the use of torture under any circumstance and, unfortunately, “enhanced interrogation” is just a euphemism for torture; such is the case with waterboarding.

Some conservative Catholics argue that because the church does not have a specific stance on a specific torture technique then it cannot be torture, and if it is not torture than it cannot constitute inhumane treatment of prisoners, and therefore if it is not inhumane treatment then it is perfectly compatible with Catholic moral teaching.

However, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity.” Furthermore, the exact rubric for defining torture is listed below:

The Church defines torture formally (i.e., what makes an action torture):

1. violation of human dignity in the form of
2. intentional mental and/or physical harm in order to
3. use a human person as a means (or instrument) for some producible end
4. against that person’s will.

At low intensity, waterboarding intentionally inflicts mental harm against the prisoner’s will in order to extract information or as punishment, and at even moderate intensities can be lethal. Thus, waterboarding constitutes torture and is an intrinsic evil in violation of Catholic doctrine. For anyone not convinced or who believes that waterboarding is just “splashing prisoners with water – and besides its effective and they deserve it anyway” I recommend that you read this article on waterboarding written by Malcolm W. Nance, a counter-terrorism and terrorism intelligence consultant for the U.S. government’s Special Operations, Homeland Security and Intelligence agencies and a 20-year veteran. Here’s an excerpt describing the same waterboarding used by the CIA and supported by Romney:

Waterboarding is a controlled drowning that, in the American model, occurs under the watch of a doctor, a psychologist, an interrogator and a trained strap-in/strap-out team. It does not simulate drowning, as the lungs are actually filling with water. There is no way to simulate that. The victim is drowning. How much the victim is to drown depends on the desired result (in the form of answers to questions shouted into the victim’s face) and the obstinacy of the subject. A team doctor watches the quantity of water that is ingested and for the physiological signs which show when the drowning effect goes from painful psychological experience, to horrific suffocating punishment to the final death spiral.

Waterboarding is slow motion suffocation with enough time to contemplate the inevitability of black out and expiration –usually the person goes into hysterics on the board. For the uninitiated, it is horrifying to watch and if it goes wrong, it can lead straight to terminal hypoxia. When done right it is controlled death. Its lack of physical scarring allows the victim to recover and be threaten with its use again and again.

Death Penalty

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states the following in regards to the death penalty:

Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”

As the most powerful nation on Earth with one of the most secure prison systems I believe that it is safe to say that cases in which execution is absolutely necessary are nonexistent and therefore use of the death penalty in this country cannot be justified. In 1994 Romney supported the death penalty. In 2005 Romney brought forward a death penalty bill in an attempt to bring the death penalty back to Massachusetts. When testifying, “Romney asserted that, rather than serving to put terrible criminals to death, the major benefit of the legislation would be to pressure the accused into accepting guilty pleas for life sentences, rather than risk execution. As then-District Attorney, now-Congressman Bill Keating explained, that is precisely an argument that had recently been made by the state’s top court for the possible unconstitutionality of the death penalty — that the accused, innocent and guilty alike, could be pressured to plead to anything just to avoid it. An unconcerned Romney testified optimistically that the state might end up saving money by avoiding actual trials.”

As with drone strikes and other issues like the NDAA not addressed here Romney seems more concerned with streamlining serious life-and-death issues by “avoiding actual trials” to save time and money at the expense of due process, the constitution and, most horrifying of all, innocent human lives. Mitt Romney still supports the death penalty today.

Conclusion:

Up to this point, presidential candidate Mitt Romney has failed to live up to the culture of life in his public capacity as a politician on every single issue. On the death penalty and torture I rate him just as bad as Obama while on the issue of assassination I rate him slightly better – but only for a lack of a firm stance. On the issue of unjust war Romney has made it clear that he endorses a foreign policy even more aggressive than Obama’s own and therefore actually rates worse than Obama.

There will be a second part to this article published within the next couple days which will cover euthanasia, abortion, contraception and gay marriage.

Read part 2 here

I Will Not Unite Under a Banner of Fascism


“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Abraham Lincoln

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.” Thomas Jefferson

In the face of the upcoming presidential election the rallying cry of the GOP has been to “beat Obama at all costs.” However, while the Republican establishment is poised to crown Mitt Romney their champion we must ask ourselves, what, exactly, is the cost of beating Obama if it means a Romney presidency? Obama has accomplished much since 2008: he has expanded the power and breadth of central government and most notably that of the executive branch, he has continued the failed foreign policy of the Bush administration, broken countless promises, given us socialized healthcare, given himself the power to detain without evidence or trial any American citizen if he suspects them of terrorism, and he has gone to war against the Catholic Church in a battle that may see every Catholic hospital and charity shut down and re-opened under the state. That’s just a sampling. But, is Romney’s agenda really all that distinguishable from Obama’s? And if so is it really better enough to justify unifying under him so as to beat Obama “at all costs”?

Obama’s socialist agenda threatens to destroy this country from the inside but Romney’s political policy should be just as abhorrent to the American citizenry. Under Romney we will have corporate fascism in which a powerful, centralized government and giant, politically connected corporations in the private sector cooperate and work hand-in-hand in their own self-interest at the expense of every-day working Americans. Below is an analysis on Romney regarding certain key issues and how a Romney presidency would affect America.

Consistency:

Mitt Romney will say anything to get elected. That is not a matter of personal opinion but a fact: he has, at one time or another, publicly endorsed opposing stances on virtually every major issue. It seems that Romney will say or do anything as long as it is politically expedient and will serve to advance his political career. If you don’t believe me just watch him, in his own words, repeatedly flip-flop, contradict himself and lie:

More on Romney’s history as a flip-flopper here.

Supporters:

Romney’s top six donors are banks – and every single one of them has received millions if not billions of the taxpayer’s money in bailouts. Washington, in its corruption, perpetually props up these failed, but politically connected, corporations – they are not too big to fail, just too greedy to succeed. Those same failed banks who cooperate with government to bleed honest-working Americans of their wealth support Romney because they know that he will support them. A Romney presidency guarentees another TARP bailout not if, but when, the next giant corporation with political connections fails. The money trail speaks for itself:

Top contributors to Romney, 2012:

FIRST number: Top donors to Romney 2012.
SECOND number: How much bailout money those companies received in 2008:

Goldman Sachs $574 K $13 Billion
Bank of America $399 K $15 Billion
JP Morgan Chase $394 K $25 Billion
Morgan Stanley $374 K $107 Billion
Credit Suisse $318 K $500 Million
Citigroup $302 K $25 Billion

Kirkland & Ellis $249 K
(Lobbying firm whos clients include Big Pharma, Big Energy, Big Medical, and yes, you guessed it: Morgan Stanley, UBS, etc.)

Barclays $229 K $48 Billion

Pricewaterhouse/
Coopers $209 K
(Accounting firm darling of Wall Street)

Wells Fargo $205 K $25 Billion

HIG Capital $191K

UBS AG $191 K $75 Billion

Blackstone Group $183 K
Bain Capital $149 K
Marriot International $133 K
EMC Corp $129 K

Citadel Investment
Group $128 K $1 Billion

Elliot Management $118 K
Deloitte LLP $125 K
(Accounting firm with clients such as Morgan Stanley and Monsanto)

Bain & Co $123 K

These numbers should come as no surprise since Romney considered the 2010 700 billion Wall Street bailout “the right thing to do.”

Freedom:

Romney supports the NDAA which allows the executive branch to indefinitely detain any American citizen without trial or evidence based entirely on “suspicion of terrorism” effectively stripping all Americans of their right to Habeas Corpus. He also supports the drone strikes that, to date, have killed hundreds of innocent bystanders and claims that Pakistan is “comfortable” with the United States using drone strikes against their people. Additionally, Romney supports the Patriot Act and “enhanced interrogation.” In no way does Romney’s agenda regarding these issues of freedom vary from Obama’s own.

Foreign Policy:

“Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney chose Veterans Day to proclaim to the American people his conviction that the world is a dangerous place, and the United States must remain its most formidable military power.” – Reuters

Romney is in favor of the same kind of military interventionism that led us into two unnecessary and expensive decade-long wars in the Middle East that have crippled Afghanistan and Iraq, made the Middle East even more volatile, made the world less safe, resulted in the deaths of thousands of Americans and cost billions in national treasure. The Congressional Budget Office projects ObamaCare’s cost to be about $1.76 trillion. Most conservatives rightly recognize we can’t afford this. President Obama’s current military spending is about $1.2 trillion. Mitt Romney’s proposed plan calls for $2.1 trillion in military spending. Romney’s military budget alone dwarfs ObamaCare. The only ones to have benefited from the kind of foreign policy endorsed by Romney is the military-industrial complex. Meanwhile, Romney gives Obama an “F” on foreign policy – yet how Romney’s policy abroad significantly differs from Obama’s own, other than throwing more money at the problem, remains a mystery.

National Debt:

According to the U.S. National Debt Clock our nation’s total liability per taxpayer is $1,039,057. That’s right, over one million dollars per individual. Our national debt accrues an annual interest of $11,971 per citizen. That’s how much you’d have to pay every year just to cover our debt’s interest. Foreigners own 32% of America’s total debt. Even more alarming is that all of this out-of-control spending is not being invested in long-term ventures that will benefit present and future generations but it is spent almost entirely on maintaining the massive welfare-warfare state that provides only short-term benefits to present taxpayers while our children will be left to foot the bill and nothing to show for it. We are experiencing an unprecedented debt crisis. Romney’s solution is to reduce our debt without raising taxes, eliminating any cabinet departments, reducing military spending, or cutting Social Security, Medicare, or any other popular program. How he intends to pull off this miracle, however, remains a mystery because he refuses to share the specifics of his plan until after he is elected. The one intervention that he has declared to implement is to  bolster “free enterprise.” However, keep in mind that “free enterprise” coming from Romney means getting rid of all of those federal regulations that are smothering small businesses like Goldman Sachs.

We’ve accrued this debt and its our responsibility to start paying it off. Today. Otherwise we pass this yoke on to our children, and their children, and on and on. What short-term benefits our out-of-control spending habits may yield to us now is nothing in comparison to the blow to future Americans’ very livelihoods when they must pay off their parents’ reckless use of the “federal credit card”. Under a Romney presidency our debt will continue to rise and with nothing to show for it.

Healthcare:

Romney has promised to repeal Obamacare – just like every other GOP candidate. Yet, Romney was the mastermind behind the universal healthcare mandate in Massachusetts that made Obamacare even possible in the first place. He is quite literally the least qualified person in all of politics to criticize a universal healthcare plan so how he intends to sell this to the American people is unclear.

Economy:

With years of experience in business in the private sector Romney says he “understands economics.” However, his history speaks for itself:

If Romney’s strategy utterly failed at the state level then we can only expect the same should he implement his savvy “understanding” of economics at the national level. Perhaps he should take a word of advice from the late economist Friedrich Hayek who said, “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

Abortion:

One notable difference between Romney and Obama is on abortion. Obama is easily the most pro-abortion president in the history of our country, but can we really expect Romney to reverse this trend or just sit on his hands making empty promises? Abortion is possibly the most emotional and controversial issue facing our country today and, given Romney’s history of bending with the wind, doing whatever is most politically expedient and never taking a firm stance on anything (at least, not for longer an election cycle), we can expect Romney to do absolutely nothing in defense of the unborn.

During his 1994 Senate Run, Mitt Romney argued that he was more pro-choice than Ted Kennedy: “When Kennedy called him ‘multiple choice,’ Romney demanded an extra rebuttal. He revealed that a close relative died of an illegal abortion years ago and said, ‘Since that time, my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter, and you will not see me wavering on that.’” (Joan Vennochi, “Romney’s Revolving World,” The Boston Globe, 3/2/06). “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it.” (Joan Vennochi, “Romney’s Revolving World,” The Boston Globe, 3/2/06)

 When he went to conservative Utah, he changed his stance, “When I am asked if I am pro-choice or pro-life, I say I refuse to accept either label.” (Glen Warchol, “This Is The Place, But Politics May Lead Romneys Elsewhere,” The Salt Lake Tribune, 2/14/99).
But when he ran for office in Massachusetts again, he was pro-choice again, “I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose, and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard. I will not change any provisions of Massachusetts’ pro-choice laws.” (2002 Romney-O’Brien Gubernatorial Debate, Suffolk University, Boston, MA, 10/29/02). In 2002, Romney Offered His Completed NARAL Questionnaire, Filled Out With “Mostly Abortion-Rights Positions,” To The Media Even Before Returning It To NARAL. “Yesterday, Romney also aimed to head off confusion about his stance on abortion rights by answering a Mass National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League questionnaire with mostly abortion-rights positions. He offered the questionnaire to the press even before he returned it to MassNARAL…”

Then he started thinking of national office as a Republican. That’s when he claims to have had his conversion. “Romney said he had a change of heart on the issue after speaking with a stem-cell researcher, Dr. Douglas Melton. Romney claims Melton said  ‘Look, you don’t have to think about this stem cell research as a moral issue, because we kill the embryos after 14 days.’‘It hit me very hard that we had so cheapened the value of human life in a Roe v. Wade environment that it was important to stand for the dignity of human life,’ Romney says.” (Karen Tumulty, “What Romney Believes,” Time, 5/21/07)

Keep in mind, however, that after his pro-life conversation he appointed pro-abortion judges, stated that he will “maintain the status quo” regarding abortion laws (see the above video under consistency), attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser in 2004 despite his claims to de-fund the organization, and invested in two different companies involved in embryonic stem cell research – all of this occurring after his publicly recognized the sanctity of life and personhood of every unborn child.

And less than a month ago lifesitenews.com reported the following:

MIAMI, FLORIDA, May 17, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney scheduled a $50,000-a-plate fundraiser at the home of Phil Frost, the executive of the company that makes the Morning After Pill, on Wednesday night. Plan B One-Step is produced by Teva Pharmaceuticals, Frost’s company.

Pro-lifers, is this our champion? Are we really going to step into line for such scraps? If we are so easily manipulated into rallying behind such a lukewarm candidate, making every concession along the way then we can only expect the same complacency from the GOP, as well as the continued degradation of our liberty and our spiritual and material prosperity, for years to come. Meanwhile, over three thousand unborn children are killed every day in the US by government-endorsed abortion. Roe v. Wade took place nearly four decades ago; if we continue to settle for candidates like Romney who cater to the pro-life crowd based on political expedience then we are guaranteed another four decades before we see it overturned.

Conclusion:

Throughout his political career Romney has stood for everything – and therefore nothing – and in his capacity as a public servant the one that he has sought to serve has been himself, and the special interest groups that buy him off. Romney has a long history of increasing the power of government and then using that power to benefit his financial backers at the expense of the American public. Crooked banks like Goldman Sachs donate millions to Romney and in return he pushes an agenda of giving hundreds of billions of dollars to his friends in Wall Street, lifting regulations that prevent giant corporations from taking advantage of people and creating corporate-run bureaucracies. That is the classic definition of corporate fascism. Additionally, under a Romney presidency we can expect more unnecessary and expensive warfare abroad that only benefits the military-industrial complex, more national debt, a larger welfare-warfare state, a faltering economy, the continued stripping away of our constitutional rights and little to no progress on the issues of healthcare and abortion. Obama’s election was a direct reaction of the failed Bush presidency; I would hate to see what kind of man the American people would be desperate enough to elect in response to four years under the debacle of a Romney presidency.

The GOP’s siren song has been to “beat Obama at all costs” but the price that the GOP demands for the promise of such a “success” is monumental. To vote for Romney in an attempt to get Obama out of the White House is to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. I, for one, will dig in my heels and vote third-party rather than grant my support to either a corporate fascist on the right or a socialist on the left – because the very integrity of our nation truly is too great a cost to pay. With that in mind, I leave you with the words of Carrol Quigley from Tragedy and Hope that so aptly sums up the current state of politics in America and, especially, this election cycle:

“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can “throw the rascals out” at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy.”