Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Quote of the Day

"‘A good Catholic doesn’t meddle in politics.’ That’s not true. That is not a good path. A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern. But what is the best that we can offer to those who govern? Prayer! That’s what Paul says: ‘Pray for all people, and for the king and for all in authority.’ ‘But Father, that person is wicked, he should go to hell. . . .’ Pray for him, pray for her, that they can govern well, that they can love their people, that they can serve their people, that they can be humble. A Christian who does not pray for those who govern is not a good Christian! ‘But Father, how will I pray for that person, a person who has problems. . . .’ ‘Pray that that person might convert!’”

--Pope Francis

Monday, October 27, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: Us v. Them

We're just eight days away from Election Day. On November 4, 2014, tens of millions of American citizens will head to the polls to elect their governors, senators, and representatives--those who will govern and represent them in public office. This occasion presents a responsibility on the part of the electors to know who they are voting for and to cast an informed vote, in accord with their religious and moral values, based on the candidates' positions on important issues. It also presents a responsibility on the part of those running for public office to be clear and honest about their stances on the issues and to respect the fundamental religious and moral values on which America was built and without which a free society cannot endure. In a republic and a democratic society such as ours, we the people have both the right and the responsibility to participate freely in political life, including casting our vote in state and national elections, for the sake of the common good.

Unfortunately, this key hallmark of our democratic society--free and fair elections--is somewhat compromised by the lack of a genuine sense of civic responsibility among many voters and is now under tremendous assault from an increasingly corrupt Washington political establishment. While some of the voters fully grasp the seriousness of their responsibility and choose their candidates rationally based on fundamental issue positions, a large percentage do not really appreciate the responsibility involved and choose who to vote for based on superficial factors such as likeability or oratorical skills or TV advertisements. These swing voters, the ones who generally decide elections, are being subjected to a barrage of campaign ads by candidates from both the major parties.

Most of the Republican candidates, especially Tea Party contenders, are taking their responsibility seriously and doing a fairly good job of candidly explaining their positions on the issues while respecting our nation's traditional religious and moral foundations. The behavior of our corrupt and dishonest Democratic establishment politicians, on the other hand, is downright embarrassing and morally despicable. They are pouring millions upon millions of dollars into negative, slanderous and libelous campaign ads designed to smear and destroy their Tea Party opponents so they can retain their grip on power. These desperate career politicians can't run positive campaigns and play by the rules because they have nothing positive to stand for and know that the voters are turning against them, so their strategy of last resort is to outspend their opponents and cover them with mud. What they are doing is not only dishonest but unjust. They are taking an election that should be a landslide for our movement--the Tea Party movement--and turning it into a toss-up. Using big money, big lies, big media, and voter fraud, they are gradually transforming our national election process into a meaningless charade to keep their beloved establishment firmly in place to the fullest extent still possible.

This national election campaign has become a classic battle of "us v. them": David versus Goliath, the people against the establishment, America's traditional religious and moral values against the encroachment of a radically secularist ideology, inalienable human rights and freedom against tyranny and oppression, corruption against honesty, character and integrity against greed and lust for power, career politicians against statesmen and public servants. The mighty Washington political establishment is beholden to the large abortion, biotechnology, junk food, pharmaceutical, and insurance corporations that have kept it entrenched for many years now. By contrast, most of the little Tea Party and Republican candidates actually share our values and represent our interests. They are the ones who should be running this country. And the good news is that they are on track to do just that despite all the efforts of the establishment to keep them shut out.

Consider that most of the Democratic incumbents are outspending their Republican rivals two to one, three to one, four to one, in some cases even five to one, yet their challengers are still very close to them in the polls, dead even with them, or even slightly ahead of them! This is very telling. If both sides were spending the same amount on their campaigns, the Democrats would already be soundly defeated in this election. Good candidates can run strong campaigns on their own merits and don't need barrels of money to prop them up--and they're proving it. Considering the unfair disadvantages they're facing, our Tea Party candidates are doing splendidly well, and American public opinion is clearly on their side.

Obviously, because of the Washington establishment's dirty tricks, not all of the Republican and Tea Party candidates are going to win in this particular election, but at least some of them will--and that will be good progress for our movement. By all accounts, this is going to be a very close election, with many races undecided for at least a day or two after Election Day, and probably several runoff elections and a couple dozen recounts. At least two or three Senate races will be nearly tied, and control of that house of Congress may well come down to just one very close and bitterly contested race, with the most probable final result being a 50-50 split.

Pray for our country and make sure you go to vote on November 4 if you're physically able to do so. Continued prayer and action before, during, and after this election are essential if our movement is to keep advancing. We can't stop now--we are winning! Any losses in this election must not discourage us. We should count our victories, not our losses. The Tea Party revolution has only just begun. We must keep the big picture in mind, and keep looking toward the future. If God is with us, who can be against us? Together, with the help of Divine Providence and the assistance of Mary Immaculate, our national Patroness, we the people will reclaim our country and restore its greatness for the benefit of future generations.

In God we trust!

P.S. Stay tuned for coverage of the actual election results, coming next month.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Quote of the Day

"When we look to this great Pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle, we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thanks! Thank you, our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI! Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church!"

--Pope Francis

Friday, October 17, 2014

Quote of the Day

"There is one Physician, who is both flesh and spirit, born and not born, who is God in man, true life in death, both from Mary and from God, first able to suffer and then unable to suffer, Jesus Christ our Lord."

--St. Ignatius of Antioch

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Will the Tea Party Lose Again?

With growing disapproval of the Obama administration’s leadership and the increasing popularity of the Tea Party movement within Republican ranks, many observers—myself included—are hopeful and even quite confident that the underdog GOP may make a strong comeback in the upcoming November elections, regaining control of the Senate, further expanding its strength in the House, and picking up a few more state governorships. This may yet happen, and we won’t be surprised if it does. However, we may not be as accurate and objective predictors of the upcoming election results as we like to think we are. We may be allowing excessive optimism and wishful thinking to obscure the full reality of the electoral situation America is currently facing. Specifically, we may be deliberately ignoring and failing to take into account (or at least underestimating) the two most influential and decisive factors in the upcoming elections, particularly in the Senate: 1) the relentless determination of the corrupt and well-funded Washington political establishment to retain its grip on power by any and all means necessary, and 2) the regrettable failure of Tea Party Republican candidates to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy for winning elections that is at least as reliable and effective as that of their establishment counterparts.

The plain fact is that the integrity of our national election system is now seriously compromised by the increasingly widespread and pervasive corruption of the Washington political establishment, which includes not only President Barack Obama and his Democratic cronies in the Senate and House, but also fat-cat Republican politicians in Congress who are content to tolerate his radical agenda for the sake of prolonging their careers. This immoral and unscrupulous establishment has been, is, and will continue to use big money, big lies, big media, and voter fraud to maximize its advantage over upstart Tea Party challengers, thus dishonestly and illegally manipulating America’s election system in order to retain control of our national politics.

Meanwhile, Tea Party Republicans, who have emerged as the prime alternative to the corrupt establishment in D.C., have the right principles and sound issue positions but lack a well thought out and coherent strategy for winning elections. Part of the problem is that, instead of clearly and consistently distinguishing themselves from the establishment, they frequently compromise with and surrender to it for the sake of short-term political gain. By employing such “go-along-to-get-along” tactics, they turn off the very voters that they set out to attract in the first place. For example, in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, the Tea Party settled for an establishment Republican presidential nominee, hoping that its own more conservative vice-presidential nominee would convince Republican and independent voters to go for both of them. This tactic failed miserably in 2008 and contributed to the Tea Party failure of 2012.

Another part of the problem is that most Tea Party candidates are still using the old Republican campaign formula of focusing mainly on their middle-aged and older white voter base, whose overall percentage of the U.S. electorate is gradually shrinking. The Tea Party as a whole has not yet adapted to the changing demographic realities of the twenty-first century American electorate, nor is it adequately tapping the vast and steadily growing reserve of conservative black, Hispanic, and Asian voters in the nation’s larger cities who will play an increasing role in deciding national elections over the next few decades. Instead of aggressively campaigning to win minority votes as the Democrats constantly do, the Tea Party is simply writing off most urban black and Hispanic voters as committed Democrats. This is a big mistake, because despite their voting habits, most of them are in reality potential Tea Party Republican voters because of their solidly traditional values. According to recent Gallup polling, a majority of all minority voters identify themselves as pro-life, and a Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute poll revealed that 83 percent of Hispanics are pro-life. Furthermore, 70 percent of blacks and 53 percent of Hispanics supported California’s Proposition 8 which defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The main reason why so many African, Hispanic, and Asian Americans routinely vote Democratic despite their values is because Democratic politicians have them convinced that Republicans are racist. Unfortunately, many Tea Party leaders reinforce this notion by neglecting to nominate minority candidates or reach out to minority voters.

But the biggest flaw of all in the Tea Party campaign strategy is its inversion of the proper hierarchy of values. The critically fundamental and non-negotiable moral and cultural issues such as the right to life, traditional marriage, religious liberty, freedom of conscience, and America’s Christian identity are of the greatest importance and should be given top priority; our other constitutional rights (such as the right to keep and bear arms and privacy rights) should come next in line; and all the important negotiable issues such as the economy and jobs, our national debt, education, energy, food safety, health care, poverty, prison reform, taxes, immigration, national defense, and foreign policy should follow. Yet most Tea Party candidates have the whole thing backwards: they place the most emphasis on jobs and economic growth, followed by selected negotiable issues and constitutional rights, and then at the end, almost as an afterthought, they mention that they are pro-life and will defend marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Many Tea Party candidates believe that focusing mainly on jobs and the economy is the best strategy to win votes in a prolonged recession. But the fact is that, even in troubled economic times, focusing primarily on the absolute moral values that form the very basis of our society and nation is what resonates most with voters across party lines and enables conservative candidates to win elections. It was an unswerving focus on these key moral issues that helped propel that Tea Party to victory in 2010 and powered Rick Santorum’s remarkable insurgency against Mitt Romney in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries. When candidates speak of abortion as a grave moral evil that must be outlawed, when they pledge to protect our First Amendment rights from unjust federal encroachment, and when they defend marriage as it has been understood by all cultures throughout human history, these truths of the natural law resonate deeply within the core of potential voters in a way that job growth and securing our borders simply cannot. Furthermore, by courageously speaking the truth and sticking to their guns on these fundamental moral issues, candidates win the respect and support of many more voters than they otherwise would.

A related flaw in the Tea Party campaign strategy to unseat the Washington establishment is its failure to take full advantage of all the issues, and neglecting to make certain important topics campaign issues when they would certainly qualify as such. For example, most Tea Party candidates have little or nothing to say about the gradual loss of America’s traditional identity as a Christian nation due to the increasing influence of radical secularism on our national culture, nor do they discuss how to address this monumental problem. Furthermore, they prefer to avoid the thorny questions of whether “In God We Trust” should remain on our currency, whether prayer should be allowed in public schools, and whether the Ten Commandments should be displayed on public property. Their silence on these matters implies consent to the negative answers already being imposed on America by radically secularist lobby groups through the courts, the major media, and corrupt establishment politicians. In other words, by neglecting to make America’s traditional Christian identity one of their foremost campaign issues, which it certainly should be, most Tea Party candidates are allowing their opponents—America’s radically secularist enemies within—to control, dominate, and dictate the terms of the debate on this subject. They are surrendering when they should be on the offensive. They are victims when they should be leaders.

If the Tea Party is to present itself credibly as the future of America, it must develop and implement a comprehensive, aggressive, and forward-looking strategy for winning elections adapted to the realities of the twenty-first-century electorate. This strategy must include a proper order of emphasis on the issues and reaching out to the silent majority of black, Hispanic, and Asian voters who share its values. Only if it develops and implements such a strategy for victory at the polls will the Tea Party have a fighting chance on an electoral playing field artificially skewed in favor of the corrupt, and predominantly Democratic, Washington establishment by big money, big lies, big media, and voter fraud. These four dirty tricks often go together now in elections, and their combined results are most effective when used by establishment Democrats against establishment Republicans, or against Tea Party candidates who look and act like establishment Republicans. The close presidential election of 2012 offers a painful lesson in this regard.

In 2013, the American Civil Rights Union, an independent legal organization, uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2012 presidential election. In Ohio, for example (that key swing state in nearly all U.S. presidential elections), the ACRU found that Barack Obama received more than 99 percent of the vote in more than 100 precincts in Cuyahoga County alone. In Ohio and Pennsylvania, the organization discovered a large number of precincts in which Mitt Romney received no votes at all. (Both results are statistically impossible.) In Pennsylvania, a poll watcher found that electronic voting machines were switching about five to ten percent of the votes from Romney to Obama. In one of Virginia’s largest cities, another poll watcher reported that thousands of voters for Obama who could not speak English were apparently being bussed in, and many were voting more than once at the same polling location throughout the day. And in more than 200 counties across two dozen mostly eastern and central states, the number of registered voters exceeded the number of eligible voters. The total number of fraudulent votes cast in the 2012 presidential election was around four million. As a result of all this, Barack Obama was declared the victor by one and a half million votes, becoming the first president in American history to successfully pull off re-election through massive organized voter fraud—while keeping his dirty trick well concealed from most of the voters. Mitt Romney should have won the election by two and a half million votes.

And that was just one presidential election. Who knows how many other fraudulent elections we have unknowingly witnessed in recent years? There’s good reason to believe that voter fraud may have resulted in the narrow Colorado Senate race of 2010 being stolen from Tea Party challenger Ken Buck by Democratic establishment incumbent Michael Bennett. Probably several Senate races were stolen from Tea Party and Republican candidates by establishment Democrats in 2012. And just a few months ago in the Mississippi Republican primary, establishment Republican Thad Cochran claimed victory over Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel thanks to outright voter fraud. (McDaniel has been challenging this result ever since, and his case is currently being reviewed by the Mississippi Supreme Court.)

In addition to declining public approval of the reigning Washington political establishment, accurate and objective predictions for the return of the GOP in the rapidly approaching 2014 midterm elections will take into account the tenacity of that establishment as well as the strategy problem of the Tea Party that aspires to take its place. Putting all these most influential factors together, I predict that Republicans will pick up three to five seats in the Senate, not enough to retake control of that house of Congress. They will hold their own in the House of Representatives and maybe lose a state governorship or two. This will happen as a result of some of the upcoming elections again being stolen by establishment Democrats. Some may consider this forecast a bit pessimistic, but it is better to be realistic than to indulge in wishful thinking. On the whole, the 2014 elections will be another blow to the Tea Party movement, but hopefully this defeat will serve as a clear wake-up call to the realities of its own shortcomings and the staying power of the corrupt D.C. establishment. As a populist movement committed to returning America to her founding principles, the Tea Party has grown remarkably in national power and influence in recent years. It is here to stay, and there is no question that it carries within itself the potential to take command of our national future for decades to come. The question is whether it will make full use of that potential—and thus become strong enough to actually take over Washington and put its own agenda fully into practice.

Copyright © 2014 Justin D. Soutar. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility....The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good and a sense of responsibility toward the less fortunate. It also demands the courage to engage in civic life and to bring one's deepest beliefs and values to reasoned public debate. In a word, freedom is ever new."

--Benedict XVI, Address to the American People, April 16, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: What's Going On?

With the Congressional general elections just a few weeks away, the battle for control of the U.S. Senate has become a real horse race. Although establishment Democratic senators are outspending their Republican Tea Party challengers by millions of dollars to try to win re-election in multiple key races, those challengers are staying very close to them in the polls--either neck-and-neck, slightly behind, or slightly ahead. This reflects the fact that the corrupt Washington establishment is slowly losing control of the federal government despite all its efforts to hang on to power. This trend is a hopeful sign for our country's future, even if Republicans fail to win a majority of seats in the Senate this time around, and even if Tea Party control of Washington politics is still some years away.

If polls indicate that American voters in general are turning toward the Tea Party, they also reveal a significant level of dissatisfaction with our nation's corrupt and deeply entrenched two-party system. At the moment, incumbent Democratic politicians can claim the support of 40 to 48 percent of likely voters in most of the key races, but in those very same races, their challengers are in the same boat, unable to gain the support of a majority of likely voters. Doing the math, this indicates that anywhere from four to twenty percent of the voters are not lining up behind either candidate. Of course, some of these voters are undecided at present and will throw their support behind one of the two leading candidates closer to Election Day. Others, however, are simply rejecting the two leading candidates and siding instead with third party or independent candidates. Both of these smaller groups of voters can be considered "swing voters" because they are the ones who will determine the outcome of these close races, whoever they end up voting for. These swing voters, along with many other "mainstream" voters who are already committed to one leading candidate or another, are increasingly disenchanted with the reigning two-party system as they realize that it has come to represent large corporate interests rather than the interests of the American people.

As a grassroots populist movement, the Tea Party offers an attractive alternative to this corrupt establishment, although its mass appeal may be somewhat limited by the fact that it operates within the structure of the Republican Party. I think the Tea Party movement carries within itself the potential to lead America gradually away from the two-party system and back to the non-partisan political system favored by George Washington. This could happen once the Tea Party becomes the unchallenged majority party of America. This won't happen overnight, but it's the direction in which our country is moving. Once that happens, with a general return to smaller, more honest, and more representative constitutional government, the stage will be set for the demise of the two-party system.

Getting back to the present situation, as its own candidates are being consistently outspent by incumbent Democratic politicians, unfortunately the Tea Party leadership cannot resist the temptation to curry favor with corrupt Republican establishment heavyweights in order to give its fundraising efforts a boost. This is detrimental to the movement, both in the short term and in the long term. In my opinion, the Tea Party is shooting itself in the foot by getting cozy with super-wealthy career politicians and business moguls like Mitt Romney and Dick Cheney. Its use of such big names to raise money for a grassroots movement with very different principles and values is blatantly dishonest. It is equally dishonest for such career politicians to represent themselves as friends of the Tea Party movement when their own track records tell a completely different story. The Tea Party must maintain its integrity by clearly and consistently distinguishing itself from the corrupt Republican establishment; otherwise, it will simply melt into that establishment and fail to bring to Washington the significant change and lasting reform it promises.

The race is on for control of the U.S. Senate. Our nation's future is hanging in the balance. Let's keep praying for our country and supporting pro-life Republican and Tea Party candidates. This is the best we can do for now. Stay tuned for further updates.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Father Benedict Groeschel, R.I.P.

Praise the Lord!

Father Benedict Joseph Groeschel of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (1933--2014) went to his heavenly reward a few days ago on Friday, October 3, the eve of the feast of his holy patron Saint Francis of Assisi and the very same day on which Saint Francis himself died. I fondly recall my own personal encounter with Father Groeschel as a boy of eleven when he came to speak at Saint Joseph's High School in my hometown of Santa Maria, California, in July of 1997. My mom and sister and I had the opportunity to meet him in the outdoor bookselling area after his talk. I remember how I was impressed with what a humble, quiet, kind and gracious man he was--very Christlike in every way. He wanted to sign a copy of one of his books and give it to us but for some reason wasn't able to, so he just wrote his small signature on a copy of the Grayfriar News, his religious order newsletter, and gave us that.

Like millions of others, I watched Fr. Groeschel's television programs on EWTN for many years and benefited tremendously from his preaching, teaching and spiritual wisdom, which he also poured into dozens of books. His personal warmth and sense of humor made him an engaging speaker and author for people of all ages and backgrounds. He never boasted of his great learning as a priest-psychologist but always used it to serve the Church and human needs. His record of faithful service to the Church included working on the causes of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Servant of God Cardinal Terence Cooke; he also rigorously screened potential seminary candidates, helping to keep men with spiritual and psychological problems out of the priesthood. His decades of untiring humble service to the poor, the sick, and the outcast were truly inspirational. Furthermore, his Christian witness and ecumenical outreach drew millions of non-Catholics closer to the Church and led to many conversions to Catholicism (including Marcus Grodi, host of The Journey Home program on EWTN).

In his later life, Fr. Benedict's courage and patience in suffering were remarkably edifying to see, reminding us of the similar example of Saint John Paul II. If a "tree is known by its fruit", as Our Lord tells us (Matt. 12:33; Luke 6:43-44), then Father Groeschel was "a good tree" that produced abundant fruit in the Lord's vineyard. He was a true hero of the Catholic Church in America, undoubtedly one of the greatest priests and friars our country has ever produced. His shining example of personal holiness and radical fidelity to the Gospel of Christ will continue to inspire the Church here in America and around the world. Let us pray that his cause for sainthood will be opened in the near future. May he rest in peace.

Click here for a ZENIT news article with a detailed obituary written by Father's fellow friars.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Quote of the Day

"And this is the mystery of the Church: when the Church asks the Lord to console His people, the Lord humbly consoles, even hidden. He consoles in the depths of the heart and consoles with strength...Woe to us if we look for consolation elsewhere! Woe to the priests, the religious, the nuns, the novices, the consecrated when they look for consolation far from the Lord! I do not want to 'hit you over the head', eh? I do not want to become the executioner here, but know this well, eh? If you look for consolation somewhere else, you will not be happy! Even more so: no one will be able to console you, because your heart was not opened to the consolation of the Lord. And you will end, as the great Elijah says to the people of Israel, "limping with both legs". Praise be God the Father, God of every consolation, who consoles us in all our tribulations, so that we may also console those who find themselves in any form of affliction, with the consolation with which we ourselves have been consoled, by God."

--Pope Francis

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: Chris McDaniel Has His Day

Today the Mississippi Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments presented by the Conservative Action Fund, a citizens' organization, on behalf of Tea Party Republican Senate candidate Chris McDaniel, officially challenging the outcome of the June 24 primary runoff election which was tainted by massive organized voter fraud.

Establishment politician and incumbent Republican Senator Thad Cochran managed to steal victory in that election by convincing thousands of registered Democratic voters to illegally cast votes for him. But, despite some setbacks--their case has been dismissed by lower courts--McDaniel and his loyal Tea Party supporters are determined not to let Senator Cochran get away with this sham "victory." They are continuing to fight back, and are determined to win this battle.

Three cheers for them! As American citizens, we should all support this worthy legal effort to overturn this fraudulent Senate primary election and give Chris McDaniel the nomination that rightfully belongs to him. Let's wish him the best and pray that justice will be done.