If California Can’t Pass Single Payer, the Democrats Will Never Really Win

Most of the attention these days on Congress (the opposite of progress) has centred on the Senate’s inability to pass a replacement for the misnamed Affordable Care Act.  Let me make my first stipulation: the “repeal and replace” business is pure political theatre, has been from the start, and in a sense Donald Trump has called their bluff on it.  (That’s why I dropped the subject when the ACA was passed.)  If I were Trump, I’d let it go down the tube and figure out a “Plan B” to manoeuvre Congress into doing something really worthwhile.

But there’s another legislative drama going on about health care, and it’s in California:

Supporters of a stalled single-payer healthcare bill returned to the Capitol in Sacramento on Monday to express their anger that Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) shelved the measure more than a week ago.

Backers of the bill, SB 562, disrupted a separate hearing on the Assembly floor by unfurling a banner from the gallery before being escorted out. They also attended a hearing of the Assembly Rules Committee, the panel in which Rendon held back the bill, holding up signs on which they’d written personal healthcare stories. And a small contingent staged a “sit-in” near Rendon’s office, chanting “SB 562.”

Single-payer is the left’s “holy grail” from a political standpoint.  But they didn’t pass it when the ACA was enacted and the California Senate can’t bring it self to do it.  Jerry “Governor Moonbeam” Brown doesn’t like it either.  This doesn’t make sense, especially in the single-party state that California has become.

The goal of single-payer is to have mediocre health care for everyone at around 10% of GDP, and the ACA got us half of that.  (Guess which half?)  Under single-payer, people who want something better will have to sneak out of the country for it, hoping that they won’t be caught in a shame/honour reaction the way Charlie Gard did.

Some people say that single-payer is unaffordable. But that’s simply not true.  Once the single entity gets control of the checkbook, if that entity has the political will, they can spend as much or as little as they like to the extent they can stand the political blowback.  That is one of the big “ifs;” the current system allows for blame shifting to outside entities, which is one reason many on the left oppose single-payer, even though they’re loathe to admit it.

At this point in American history, it is my idea that the American people are so deeply into their entitlement mentality and tired of running around for all the “choices” they have in health care that single-payer is what we will, in the end, have.  Politically the left have a winner if they play their cards and pull themselves together long enough to pull it off.

If the Democrats, who are just about the only game in the state, can’t pass single-payer, the nirvana they’ve promised us is a mirage.  And that’s something to think about as we stumble through another election cycle.

The Campus Corporatists Run Scared on Free Speech

A editorial from the University of Maryland lays it out:

Colleges should “screen” speakers to ensure that they are not giving a platform to “intolerant perspectives,” a University of Maryland student argues in a recent op-ed.

“There is nothing inherently wrong with screening speakers, teachers and even students on the campus,” sophomore Moshe Klein declares in an op-ed for The Diamondback, arguing that “intolerant” points of view “prevent certain groups of people from participating in campus life safely.”

There’s a great deal of noise on this subject about the “snowflakes,” but I think the current campus inhabitants’ aversion to free speech (not universal, I might add) stems from two things.

The first is a decidedly corporatist mentality towards education and life itself.  We’ve sold college education–and inspired a generation to go deep into hock for it–as the road to a good-paying job, never mind that many of the majors these people take are dead-ends in that search.  If people come on campus to “rock the boat,” that puts the careerist enterprise in jeopardy.  The boat the students have been on all their lives is one that steers to port most of the time, so it’s no surprise right-wing speakers get attacked the most.

The second stems from the unstable underpinnings of millennial life.  Raised in families that disintegrate on a whim, living in a society that constantly hectors them to “reinvent themselves” while pulling the rug out from under the new reinvention, exhorted to “seek their dream” which may or may not make it possible for them to eat, watching technology blow away entire industries and sectors of the economy, it’s little wonder that stability is highly prized by these people.  My own students are attracted to government positions and, in civil engineering, that’s entirely sensible, and I encourage them to consider that.

I think that the Millennials are making a mistake wanting to suppress free speech, but until people are more secure in who they are and less inclined to seek validation in a corporatist world, that attitude isn’t going to change.

The Church of England Plays the Postmodern Card on Bias Training

Archbishop Cranmer relates the following rather odd exchange at the Church of England synod:

A few other Synod questions relate to the diversity obsession:

Miss Prudence Dailey (Oxford) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops: Q21 Is the House of Bishops aware of evidence that unconscious bias training is ineffective in increasing the representation or advancement of minority groups within organisations, and may even be counterproductive in that regard?

To which the Bishop of Chelmsford replied:

The question unfortunately misunderstands the nature and purpose of Unconscious Bias training. There has never been any suggestion that this work is designed to increase representation of minority groups. The training addresses the fact that everyone, from whatever social group, is affected in their judgements about others by unconscious factors which can lead to bias. The objective is better and more conscious awareness of one’s self, and better and more conscious decision making which will benefit the Church, as it has demonstrably benefitted many other organisations.

But this begs the question: if Unconscious Bias training doesn’t have as one of its goals increasing representation of “minority” groups, then what’s it good for?  It’s the same sort of shell game we play when we say that we’re against quotas, but…diversity departments do this all the time.

What we’re seeing here is the same thing we saw in the Episcopal Church: the proponents of the LGBT+ agenda gumming their opponents to death with endless postmodern “dialogue” (they won’t shut up long enough to really have a dialogue) until their goal is achieved.  That will generally work in a weak Western organisation like the Church of England; the issue is always when.  The big difference between the two sides of the Atlantic is that the Brits are more patient; we’re always in a hurry to get nowhere fast, so we call in Anthony Kennedy or other lawyerly types to force a solution, with acrimony following.

And as Cranmer points out elsewhere, with all the maudlin pining about the persecution of “minorities” in the West, there’s little concern for the real persecution (with death following in many cases) of Christians in many parts of the world.  But that’s what happens when the people whose goal in life is to get laid, high or drunk get the upper hand: everyone else’s concerns get shoved off the agenda.

The Catholic Church Will Lose Again With the “Reverend Jesuit Fathers”

Yogi Berra used to talk about “déjà vu all over again,” and for those of us with any sense of history, we’re seeing it big time with the current Jesuit Pontiff Francis and his henchman, James Martin SJ.  That led me to tweet the “reverend père Jesuite” in this way:

I have no doubt that Fr. Martin got the message.  But why a “rondeau” in French?  The answer to that concerns his order (the Jesuits) and the goal of many prominent in that order, which hasn’t changed in four centuries (and who learned nothing from their own suppression in the interim.)

Without a doubt one of the masterpieces of French literature is Blaise Pascal’s Provincial Letters.  Written after his dramatic conversion experience, the now-Jansenist Pascal went to the mat against the Jesuits, who were for the most part advocating a moral system called casuistry.  The Jesuits’ idea was to “bend the rules” to make Catholic morality more palatable to a Catholic public that was drifting away from the Church.  He did this (in the first half) by having a Jesuit explain to Pascal (and the reader) all the innovations members of his order made to the practical implementation of the teaching of the church, such as that it was okay to kill your opponent in a duel to defend your honor, to simply fear God and not to love him, etc.  For anyone who is familiar with Catholic teaching, listening to the Jesuit is ROFL.

Many editions include the little “rondeau” shown above; it’s translation (I’d love to see better) goes something like this:

RONDEAU TO THE REVEREND JESUIT FATHERS ON THEIR EASY-GOING MORALITY

Go away, sins; the speech without equal
Of the famous troupe rich in Escobar’s evil,
Lets us have your pleasures without their deadly venom:
We taste them without crime; and this new release
Leads without effort to heaven in a profound peace.

Hell loses its rights; and if the devil may complain,
One only needs to say: Come, spirit unclean,
By Bauny, Sánchez, Castro, Gans, Tambourin,
Go away.

But oh, flattering Fathers, foolish on which you stand,
As the unknown Author who by letters remand,
Your politics have found the end,
Your probabilities are close to their end,
One comes back; look for a New World,
Go away.

That pretty much sums the Jesuits’ idea up: if we whittle down the demands of the Gospel by searching our “authorities” and finding the most “probable” opinion, we can get rid of these pesky sins and make it easy.

The French Revolution, in the following century, has been characterized as a “bourgeois” revolution.  But at the time of the Letters and this rondeau, the bourgeois had other preoccupations.  As Pierre Goubert points out in Louis XIV and Twenty Million Frenchmen: A New Approach, Exploring the Interrelationship Between the People of a Country and the Power of Its King:

When historians discover and examine the catalogues belonging to libraries of the period they are continually surprised at the amount of space allotted to the devotional and doctrinal works of the Jansenists.  Even Saint-Cyran and the Bible de Port-Royal might be found among a merchant’s books, alongside the Ordonnance du Commerce, and this not only in Paris and Rouen but everywhere from Orleans to Nantes, in Languedoc, Grenoble and all over the north of the realm…Jansenism, from a scholastic argument, had become one of the greatest currents of French thought.

The bad part of the rondeau is that the Jesuits did indeed seek a New World, which explains much of the quality of Latin American Catholicism.  Now we have a product of both region and religious order as Pope, and the consequences aren’t pretty.  He and others been so inculcated with the Marxist idea that the top of society sets the rules to oppress those below that they are ready to move towards a more “liberal” idea not only for “social justice” purposes but also to keep their system full of people.  They do not understand that the austerity of Jansenism and like systems, with emphasis on clear rules and discipline, is in fact the real “way up” for the bourgeois in a Christian context, and that entangling morality in Jesuitical complexity only benefits those who pull the strings from the upper reaches of society.

As we all know, the triumph of the Jesuits (the Jansenists made something of a comeback, but it wasn’t enough) didn’t stop the advent of the Enlightenment, even with their “concessions” to the world around them.  The bourgeois turned elsewhere for inspiration and ultimately toppled the monarchy which had supposedly backed what was “best” for them, wrecking the Church in France in the process.

I said a long time ago that the Roman Catholic Church is only one bull away from disaster.  We now have the possibility that this bull may be in the wings (some people think it’s already been issued.)  Or perhaps we’re looking at a series of them.  But Francis and his ilk need to wake up to the fact that playing to the crowd–or to the powers that be–won’t save the Church but destroy it, just as it has its liberal Protestant counterparts.

No matter what you think of Roman Catholicism, this would be a catastrophe.  The only good thing is that other churches are more than happy to pick up the pieces.

Why I Think Michael Scanlan Went from Charismatic to #straightouttairondale

A little while back I posted How Did We Get from Scanlan to #straightouttairondale?, which posed the obvious (for me at least) question: how did Michael Scanlan, who (when I was going to the Steubenville conferences in the early 1980’s) was promoting a  Charismatic type of spirituality, end up at the conservative Catholic type which I characterise as #straightouttairondale?

One of the commenters on that post may have, IMHO, come up with the answer.  He commented as follows:

If necessity is the mother of invention, then desperation is the mother of re-invention.

In a speech from maybe 20 years ago on EWTN radio, Father Scanlon mentioned that two separate foundations who rate the viability of not for profit institutions both stated the school would close. Scanlon and the powers that be latched onto faithful and traditional Catholicism. That was a novel concept, what with most Catholic colleges being neither traditional nor faithful. Their relationship with EWTN has surely born fruit as well. EWTN was an instrument in my reconversion, and until finding this site, I was unaware of its Charismatic past.

What I am about to say is really the proposal of a theory.  It’s a theory that may not sit well with many people, not only because it characterises the participants in a less than perfect way, but also because so many people do not grasp the institutional dynamics that drive non-profit institutions such as churches, universities and governments.  Having worked in these, I can tell you that institutional survival drives many of their decisions and overrides the ideological or religious motivations that drive the faithful.

One of the things that “full-gospel” Christianity has dealt with from Azusa Street onwards is a deficiency of respectability.  That’s driven a great deal of the history of the movement.  Focusing on institutions of higher learning, if we look at a Pentecostal institution like, say, Lee University, we’re looking at a place which has experienced a long, hard road to get where it’s at today.  With respectability comes moneyed donors and students who can afford the tuition, both vital ingredients for the survival and prosperity of any private college.

In the case of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, the participants started further up the “food chain” than most of their Pentecostal counterparts did both in the beginning and really during the Renewal’s heyday.  But that doesn’t always translate into the donors and students that the Franciscan University of Steubenville needed to survive.  For all the conferences they hosted and the prominent place the University attained in the Renewal, they still experienced financial difficulties, to the point where the existence of the institution was in play.

Enter conservative, #straightouttairondale Catholicism.  There’s no denying that the Renewal and #straightouttairondale had touchpoints, as anyone who has read Ralph Martin’s Crisis of Truth is aware of.  (Some of you will also remember Mother Angelica’s famous rant after Christ was depicted as a women during a papal visit.)  But the means the two had to meet their common goals were highly divergent, and means is key here.  From their divergent musical tastes to their view on the working of the Holy Spirit, the differences between the two are profound.

#straightouttairondale Catholicism, however, was more respectable than the Charismatic Renewal, and that made it attractive for someone like Michael Scanlan, who was trying to make his institution viable.  Making the transition between the two was tricky enough on its face, but Scanlan had another problem: the existence of the Servants of Christ the King covenant community, which was under the direction of the Sword of the Spirit movement.  Guitars and folk music were anathema enough to the #straightouttairondale people, but a group connected to Sword of the Spirit, with its dicey connections to the Catholic Church and autocephalous authority structure, wouldn’t do at all.

In 1991 a group which spent a lot of time talking about visitations from God got a visitation from on high in the form of Steubenville’s Bishop, Albert Ottenweller.  He basically broke the group up.  That breaking up–a major point in the University’s history–was hardly acknowledged by Scanlan in later communications, as indeed was the Charismatic Renewal at the University.

I think it boils down to the respectability issue.  I’ve noted a broad reluctance to discuss the Renewal from many of its participants.  If we consider the practices current in the Renewal vs. those in #straightouttairondale, it’s not hard to see why.  On a deeper level, the Charismatic Renewal attempted to import the free exercise of the spiritual gifts into a church which had absorbed them into its sacramental and hierarchical system centuries before, and that was an uphill battle from the start, one only made easier by the state of Roman Catholicism in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Based on these considerations, I believe that we can make the following assertions about Scanlan and the break-up of the community:

  1. I think that Scanlan had advance knowledge of Ottenweller’s visitation and the result that it would have.  I think it’s a stretch at this point to say that Scanlan actually induced Ottenweller to come to the University, but it’s possible.  Even at that, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Scanlan threw the Servants of Christ the King under the bus.
  2. I think that he used the results of that visitation to further the transition of the University from a Charismatic institution to a #straightouttairondale one.  The University has, frankly, prospered from that transition.  Whether Roman Catholicism is better for it, or the state of the souls of those involved in all of this improved, is a trickier proposition.

Some of this monograph was drawn from John Flaherty’s compilation on the subject; I would especially draw your attention to the National Catholic Reporter’s article on the University, which was especially informative.

The Advocates

Dovetail DOVE 1 (1973)

Inaugural album on the UK’s premier Christian music label of the 1970’s.  As Ken Scott observes, by the time it was released the music is a little behind the times; it’s more of a 1960’s “British Invasion” kind of record in an era when the country was putting out albums that inspired this kind of thing.

This album has two strong points.  First, it’s a fun album, especially now that the “behind times” problem is pretty much moot.  People who want that 1960’s UK sound, with organ, are going to love this album.  The group members were associate evangelists with Youth for Christ, and I’m sure they put on a much livelier performance than their Maranatha counterparts in the U.S. (and I went to a couple of those.)  And it’s an album that expresses the simple joy of loving Jesus and meeting him for the first time that much Christian music that has come after it has sadly lost.

The songs:

  1. Take A Good Look At Yourself
  2. Rise Shine
  3. His Name Is Jesus
  4. No-Man’s Land
  5. Just Jesus And Me
  6. Jumping Jeremiah
  7. Emmanuel
  8. Revolution
  9. Miracle
  10. Alive
  11. Blind Eyes
  12. Rebels Song

The musicians: Dave Kitchen, Stuart Bell, John Hindmarsh and Keith Howard.

DL

For more music click here

Senovia

Emmanuel L.P. 3000  (1975)

Most rock groups were pretty compact: four or five members, but they put out the defining sound of the era.  Large groups with choral leanings were exceptional, even among Christian groups.  We’ve featured large groups like Cloud, with their ethereal sound and very Anglican harmonies.

At the opposite end of the spectrum in every sense of the word is this group, from East Los Angeles and almost entirely Hispanic.  This album moves and rocks in a way that’s a sheer delight to listen to.  From their hard-driving cover of “I Am the Resurrection” onward, the vocals and instrumentation work very well.  For those of us who spent much of the 1970’s wishing that someone would “cut loose” it’s too bad it took this long to find a group that did just that, but Senovia does.  The closest thing to this album posted is God Unlimited, but although their work is excellent their result is restrained by comparison.  This is an album that has been forgotten, but it shouldn’t have been and shouldn’t be now.

The Songs:

  • I Am The Resurrection
  • Follow Me
  • Salvation Song
  • Christian Man
  • Glory Land
  • New Creation
  • United By Love
  • Children
  • The Lord
  • My Name Is Peace

The Musicians:

  • Ken Brokamp, Director, Guitar
  • Ron Rios, Bass Guitar
  • Esther Puente
  • Jesse Galenos, Guitar
  • Vic Valverde, Harmonica
  • Cenovia Madero, Maracas
  • Gloria Guzman
  • Rudy Pacheco
  • Gil Fierro, Congas
  • Dave Hidalgo, Drums
  • Olga Castelianos
  • Ofelia Balt-Liovera
  • Rosa Colorado
  • Maron Valadez, Guitar
  • Ricardo Yanez Electric Guitar

DL

More music pages

Likening Donald Trump to Julius Caesar May Not Send the Message People are Looking For

It really won’t:

Brutus is a commanding figure in the Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park production of “Julius Caesar.” The wily Mark Antony also looms large. But the most fearsome character in the show isn’t standing on stage — not even in the person of a Donald Trump-like Caesar — but instead storming the bleachers and shouting in the aisles. It’s the mindless Roman mob, or, as director Oskar Eustis’s politically slanted production slyly insinuates, it’s the ecstatic mobs at a Trump rally. Although the show whipped up controversy when funders pulled out over right-wing objections, the furor isn’t warranted: Anyone who reads the plays knows Shakespeare’s main message is that no matter how much you want to get rid of your current political leader, don’t kill him.

That last message is lost on people on both sides of the political spectrum, as we’ve seen with Kathy Griffin’s grisly photo and all the other nasty stuff the left is dredging up these days.  Shakespeare’s message needs to be taken to heart, because Brutus’ assassination didn’t restore the Republic, but ultimately led the way for Octavian to set up the Principiate (usually called the Empire) as Augustus.

As far as the dreaded mob is concerned, the Roman mob was an urban mob on the dole.  As long as most people worked, they didn’t have time to be an irresponsible mob.  But the social dislocations of the late Republic and the patronage driven nature of Rome led to that mob, which not only survived the Empire’s establishment and remained a potent force as long as the city of Rome was important, but transferred itself to Constantinople and made waves there.

The crisis of the Republic that led to Julius Caesar’s brief rule was, in a real sense, the product of its success.  Having conquered large areas around the Mediterranean, its political system, formed in a city-state, was no longer able to work properly.  The real question for us is this: is our form of government, formed in agrarian colonies, suitable for a country that essentially rules the world?  People on neither side are really asking this question.  The right wants to run the clock back, and the left wants to keep the form of the system while fundamentally altering its result.  Comparing Donald Trump to Julius Caesar dooms the left because the transition that Rome underwent was done by a relative.

If we are reaching the tipping point that Rome reached, we need to stop asking the question, “How do we restore this country to its ideal state?” and ask “Who is best positioned to take advantage of this mess and come out ahead?”  Answering that question, and finding the leader to make it happen, will decide how this Republic makes its transition to the next stage.

Kathy Kanewske: These Days

Mayim MM 1001 (1976)

Texas Catholicism made some magnificent contributions to the “Jesus Music” era, including this, this and thisThese Days is yet another contribution to that roster.  From the Community Of The Well in Austin, this delight is a well produced, well instrumented production with excellent vocals and a variety of styles, from the country style of “Jesus was a Carpenter” to the Jewish overtones of the “Song of Joel.”   Unlike most other Catholic productions, it does not have a particularly long section devoted to strictly liturgical music.  I suspect that the obstacle to wider acceptance of this music for liturgical use was that most parishes didn’t (and don’t) have the musicians up to performing it, but that’s a reason a great deal of great liturgical music written during this time ended up on the shelf.

Kathy Kanewske is still active producing Catholic music.  Albums like this, however, are a reminder that the Lord’s Prayer really says “on earth as it is in Texas.” 😉

The songs:

  1. Jesus Was A Carpenter
  2. Song Of Joel
  3. Do You Know What It’s Like
  4. They That Sow In Tears
  5. Jesus Riding Into Jerusalem
  6. Lamb Of God
  7. We Have Seen A Great Light
  8. Blessed Is The Man
  9. Eternal God
  10. Caring
  11. When Thou Passest
  12. Christopher Stephen

DL

For other music click here

 

The Undemocratic, Procrustean Experiment Strikes Again

As Nick Park points out in his letter to Ireland’s Foreign Minister about the EU’s actions about Christian refugees from Eritrea:

We are alarmed at report recently from contacts in Brussels that the EU is in the process of signing Compact Agreements with third countries which will mean that members states can send back asylum seekers without difficulty.  Our understanding is that this whole process is being carried out in such a manner as to bypass the European Parliament and avoid democratic scrutiny.  We are informed that all member states must be in agreement before a compact agreement is signed.

The problem of undemocratic action is at the core of the problem of the EU itself.  Not only are the ways to evade democratic action multiple, but the EU has taken a “one size fits all” and “my way or the highway” attitude on many issues.  The biggest result of this was Brexit.  In the lead-up to the vote, I noted that the EU was an “undemocratic, Procrustean experiment.”  Many cried at the result but few stopped to think that, had the EU taken a more flexible and open approach to the UK’s concerns, it would have never happened.

The EU has always been sold that it is “the best.”  The best for what? For whom?  Intent to solve Europe’s propensity to plunge itself into conflict is one thing, but just because there’s a cure doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for improvement.

Sailing the Last Voyage with Newton and Pascal

%d bloggers like this: