Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Postpone the Election?

The liberals want Obama to postpone the election, using as an excuse the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy in a part of the country that is dominated by liberals.  Can it be done?

Not legally.  Article II, § (Section) 1 of the U.S. Constitution spells out how the President is to be elected.  Clause 3 provides:
The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.
Congress' determination of this time and day is enshrined in the United States Code.  3 U.S.C. § 1 provides:
The electors of President and Vice President shall be appointed, in each State, on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, in every fourth year succeeding every election of a President and Vice President.
Article II, § 2 spells out the powers and duties of the President:  

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Notice that, pursuant to the foregoing, the President has nothing to say about when a presidential election takes place.  Obama has zero legal authority to change the date of the election.  That any number of Americans should want him to do something so entirely despotic and downright unconstitutional is rather disconcerting. 

We have a pretty huge anti-precedent for the suspension of a presidential election.  We are talking here about a thing that even Abraham Lincoln did not dare to do during the Civil War.  Consider: in 1864, casualties were astronomical; the Union suffered one military disaster after another; anti-war feeling in the North ran high;  and Lincoln's re-election seemed all but impossible.  When, in the whole history of the world, had a nation ever held an election during a civil war?  Yet the President who went as far as to suspend habeas corpus did not try to postpone, let alone cancel, the 1864 election, even though he believed the Union would not be restored if he lost.  Is it possible he thought about it?  Sure.  Lincoln was not squeamish about setting aside the Constitution when  he considered it necessary.  But it is certain that he did not try it.  If a Civil War upon which the survival of the nation depended was not an excuse to suspend a presidential election, how can a hurricane be, even one as terrible as Sandy?

Ah, but it will be argued, throughout his term, Obama has proven himself no slave to constitutional punctilio.  From Obamacare to bailouts to Benghazigate, this has been a lawless, mendacious administration from start to finish; why, it will be asked, should Obama suddenly start respecting the Constitution?  For that matter, the problem predates Obama: it has now been many decades since the federal government confined itself to its enumerated powers; an awful lot of what it now does on a daily basis is unconstitutional.

But if the administration should try to hold onto power by force -- and trying to suspend a presidential election would amount to that -- does it have the backing it would need?  Can anyone launch a coup without the support of the military?  Does this administration in fact have the support of the military?  Maybe it has the support of some big brass personalities who are more bureaucrats than soldiers; but what about the rank and file?  After the Fort Hood terrorist massacre; after the adding of insult to that injury by designating it "workplace violence"; after the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the raft of "sensitivity training" that came in its wake; after the Benghazi attack, when it became apparent that the rule of "no man left behind" is vacated under this administration: what must the rank and file soldiers think?  We saw that two former Navy SEALs in Benghazi disobeyed direct orders NOT to defend the consulate.  Is the willingness to disobey orders confined to those two men?  Soldiers are trained to follow orders, and face a court-martial for not doing so; yet there is still no obligation to obey illegal orders. 

Let the election go ahead, full steam.  Obama does not even have the power to be a speed bump.


Some things to remember on Election Day.

On September 11, 2012, a horde of terrorists assaulted the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, murdering our ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens; U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith; and two former Navy SEALs, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.       This attack coincided not only with the 11th anniversary of 9/11, but also with the storming of our embassy in Cairo.  Aided and abetted by the media, the administration portrayed these outrages as having been provoked by a purportedly anti-Islamic film uploaded to YouTube, the producer of which was rounded up and tossed into jail.   The Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, stated that no rescue operation was launched because it was too unclear exactly what was happening. 

This was on Thursday of last week, when we learned that, not only did the White House know the attack was premeditated, and who perpetrated it, but that they were receiving a live video feed of the attack from a drone.  The White House knew what was happening, while it was happening.    Then Friday, we learned that operatives at the CIA annex in Benghazi were not only thrice denied permission to go in and defend the consulate; they were specifically ordered to stand down, and were denied military assistance.   

Two former Navy SEALs, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, defied the order to stand down, along with at least two others.  Tyrone Woods singled out the source of mortar fire on the consulate, and painted it with his laser in the expectation that a missile would come in and take out the target.  "Expectation" is the key word here.  There would be no point in painting a target with a laser unless you were counting on a missile, especially since, by painting the target, you give away your position.  Tyrone Woods had reason to believe a missile would be forthcoming.  No missile came.  The mortars were not taken out.  Tyrone Woods was killed by mortar fire.

The Obama administration's response to this casus belli rises only from the mendacious to the buffoonish.  When the bodies of our slain embassy personnel were brought back to the United States, their families -- who did not plan to comment publicly until the White House's real-time knowledge became known -- were nonplussed at the apparent lack of concern on the part of the President and top members of his administration.  To the father of Tyrone Woods, the Vice President of the United States said: "Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?"

How appropriate that the Obama flag logo has as much class as the Vice President, and looks like blood smears.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Leave Gates the Way You Found Them

Concrete bunker decorated by two-by-fours: Christ the Light Cathedral in Oakland, California.
In his memoirs of the Second World War, in the chapter about the destruction of the House of Commons in the Blitz, Winston Churchill discusses the reasons for the original design and layout of the House chamber, and why he chose not to change it in its rebuilding.  He sums it up with the following remark: we shape our buildings, and then our buildings shape us.

Catholic churches are no different.  From floor to ceiling, a Catholic church is catechesis in stone, wood and glass.  It is not only the stained-glass windows and the statuary that contain lessons about the faith, but the very architecture.  Have you ever thought about the significance of the three distinct spaces within a Catholic church: the vestibule, the nave, and the sanctuary?  The vestibule symbolizes the underworld; the nave symbolizes the earth; the sanctuary symbolizes heaven.  Different standards of behavior apply in each.

Of course, badly designed churches -- all too common in our time -- are also catechetical.  What lessons do we learn about the Faith in a church with ugly stained-glass windows, or no distinct boundary between the nave and the sanctuary?  Is what we are learning true?  Is an ugly church with twisted architecture worthy of the God Whose house it is?  Can we have anything but a disordered relationship with God when we fail to give Him His due?

Here is a terrific homily, delivered 10 years ago, that treats these very issues, and gives us some important insights on why we need to leave gates the way we find them.

I can't help fearing that there are an awful lot of priests and bishops who will be in Purgatory until their architectural monstrosities are either razed or repaired, or the end of the world, whichever comes first.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Homily on Brain Death

A bracing homily from a website full of bracing homilies reminds us sharply of the atheism and materialism that pervade the medical profession.  Is "brain death" consistent with the Catholic understanding of death?  If not, how should that influence our thinking on the subject of unpaired vital organ transplants?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I Am in the Wrong Line of Work



...just sold at auction for $34 million.  This is the highest price ever paid for a...work?...by a living artist.  The creator of this alleged masterpiece, Gerhard Richter, is the same who is responsible for defacing Cologne Cathedral with a dreadful pixel-window, an unworthy replacement for a stained glass window destroyed during the Second World War.

But back to the $34 million junk pictured above.  Who are the biggest suckers in this scenario?  The critics who praise this delerium tremens to the skies?  The anonymous party who forked over a king's ransom to get it?  Or the rest of us working slobs who bust our butts for peanuts, when we could be covering ourselves in paint, rolling around on a piece of canvas, and selling the product for eight figures?

I know I'm in the wrong line of work.      

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Miracle of the Sun

Took place 95 years ago today.

A second world war, a Cold War, a war on terror, a bloodless coup in the United States and tens of millions of abortions later, we still haven't gotten the message.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

And Then That Was It

The wife of the accused in a local murder trial has taken the stand.  Her husband is accused of killing her boss.  The wife testified that she and the boss, a married man with several small children, had been having an affair for several months, and -- the detail that haunts -- had had sex right before going to the parking lot where he met his death.

So, almost the very last thing this man ever did on this earth was to commit adultery.  

And then that was it.  

His life was over.  Done.  Finished.  No time for regrets. No time for apologies.  No time to turn over a new leaf.  No time to see the error of his ways.  No time to beg forgiveness.  No time to make it up to the family he betrayed.  No time for deathbed repentance.  No time to wish he had more time.  

No time whatsoever.  Only death, and judgment.  What lay beyond that, only God knows.

We know not the day nor the hour.

O time despised during life! you will be ardently desired by worldlings at the hour of death.  They will then wish for another year, another month, another day; but they will not obtain it: they will then be told that time shall be no longer.  How much would they then pay for another week, or another day, to settle the accounts of their conscience?  To obtain a single hour, they would, says St. Laurence Justinian, give all their wealth and worldly possessions.  But this hour shall not be given.

St. Alphonsus Liguori, Preparation for Death

Monday, October 01, 2012

October 1st: St. Therese of Lisieux

St. Therese has been a patroness of mine since childhood.  I did not take nearly as much notice of her as she did of me.  She, in fact, chose me.  My earliest memories of her are staring at a big picture of her that hung on the wall of my mother's old bedroom at my grandparents' house.  It seems to me that I spent a lot of time contemplating that picture, whose eyes seemed to follow me around the room.

After my grandmother died, and my grandfather disposed of the old house, the picture was lost.  Then, more than 20 years later -- how, I can't say -- the picture came back into my hands, but with the frame broken.  I put it into one of those "frameless" frames.  The more I think about it, the more I think it deserves something better.

Here it is, seen for the first time online -- best quality I could manage considering the lighting.

St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us.