Friday, November 9, 2012

Quick Takes - Not Giving Up on Truth

  1., Snopes,, fact checker - claim to present facts but have been known to demonstrate some left-leaning, liberal bias.  And none have footnotes of the caliber you find on Wikipedia. I am really seeking an edited site that has facts cross-referenced and a credibilty score given to the reference source . . . e.g. if the source is an opinion or a claim vs. a fact. For example and used a candidate's campaign website as a source for proving or disproving a claim by an opponent. Sometimes the answer is for the site to just declare a claim and a counter-claim as noise since neither is based on record and only a detailed, defended plan passes a threshold of legitimacy versus an empty promise to satisfy a voting segment.

    Philippians 4:8 -

    Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
  2. Robert Feldman, author of The Liar in your Life, found in his research that two people, meeting for the first time, will lie to each other an average of three times in the first ten minutes of a conversation.

    Proverbs 12:22 -
    Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight.
  3. Forget the politicians, who distort the truth in small and large ways in order to maximize votes. What about our friends, family, or better yet - me . . . how often do we lie? Why do we lie? Sure there are lots of degrees of "Not True".

     Remember when Happy Days (and other shows) would have a whole show premise being the difference in how the same event was remembered, with each reteller reshaping the telling to vindicate or augment the positive for how they acted?

    My own reflection is that we lie out of fear and distrust. Politicians lie because they fear their opponents will use the truth against them or that the people they want to vote for them are too uninformed, unintelligent, uneducated, selfish to appreciate their position relative to the truth.

    Proverbs 6:16-19
    There are six things which the LORD hates, seven which are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and a man who sows discord among brothers.
  4. Had to admit to myself that I had been sucked in by the bias of some of the pundits on Fox News channel, particularly Dick Morris and Karl Rove, to believe that the polls were incorrect, and Romney had a chance to pull out victories in the battleground states and the election.  Gallup has earned my respect.  I thought I was too educated to fall for hope over facts and polling science.  Nope.  I believed Dick Morris.  I rationalized that Conservatives had to be underrepresented in the polls because they are not home by a landline to receive a survey call.  Wrong, wrong!  Some of the articles on lying that I was scanning said that we are more likely to accept deceit as truth when it matches what we want to hear.
  5. Remember when you first hit the internet and you found out bulletin boards, discussion groups, chat rooms were a source of unlimited information, but then discovered that much of it was not from primary, or secondary, or any source worth believing?  We were taught in high school and college to develop critical thinking skills and research skills and not to accept claims at face value.

    Whether your source of information is friends, family members, teachers, professors, lawyers, doctors, Fox News, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, Newsweek, Time, US News and World Reports, your husband, your child you will universally find that the truth is misrepresented, contradicted, distorted and transformed into a non-truth . . . ok a lie.

    Even when it is on your side that it occurs, it is still pretty disappointing.  As recently as today one of my pro-life sources of news was reporting that Abortion is the most common surgical procedure in the U.S.  It doesn't state in the news report the source of the quote, nor in a footnote after the news report.  After good 20 minutes of googling I found the source was a 1981 Chicago Tribune article.  But this is 2012 and that fact is now 31 years old.  Plus, there is trend toward "chemical" vs. surgical abortions now.  It is so hard to get at the facts.

    Planned Parenthood opted out of doing an annual report for 2011.  Why?  Well why provide facts that are good ammunition in an election year, right?  How about President Obama multiple times claiming Planned Parenthood provides mammograms?  Isn't that a convenient lie to tell in October, breast cancer awareness month, when even my son's tackle football organization has to wear pink socks, pink shoelaces, and pink ribbon sticker on their football helmets?  Yes it is.  Lots of positive heartfelt emotion to trigger in the desired female voting block that has some experience with a family, or friend that has battled breast cancer, and is now painfully aware of the importance of mammograms in catching the disease early.  I am going to look into what fact checking sites there are, and give them some kind of credibility score.  I am hoping we can find a source that's first priority isn't convincing, just accurately reflecting the truth with as little distortion, bias, belief filter as possible.  I would prefer being told this is what I know and why I am sure of it instead of, this is what I know, this is what probably follows from that, and this is why you should agree with me that this is the conclusion.  Wouldn't you?

  6. John 18:38a - Pilate said to him (Jesus), "What is truth?"

    Why did Planned Parenthood spend $12 MILLION DOLLARS to re-elect President Obama and defeat pro-life candidates, and why did the PP President focus her daily efforts on campaigning rather than the business of Planned Parenthood?  These following answers that campaigning to protect government funding are mission critical to Planned Parenthood.
    • According to its latest report, in 2010 Planned Parenthood Federation of America performed 329,445 abortions. In 2009, the number of abortions was 332,278 and in 2008 the number was 324,008. The Guttmacher Institute (originally founded to be the research arm of Planned Parenthood but later becoming an independent body) reports that the total number of abortions in the United States in 2008 was 1,210,000.16 Therefore in 2008, PPFA provided approximately 27 percent of abortions in the United States.
    • Since the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, over 54,000,000 children have died from abortion in the United States. To put this number in context, this is more than twice the population of Texas in 2011, and is approximately 87 times the population of the District of Columbia in 2011. Almost every year has seen an increase in the number of abortions performed by Planned Parenthood, even as the nation’s abortion rate is decreasing.
    • According to estimates, a first trimester non-subsidized abortion costs approximately $550. As reported in their 2010 annual report, Planned Parenthood performed 329,445 abortions, yielding approximately $181,000,000 in revenue—solely from abortions performed that year. In contrast, Planned Parenthood made 841 adoption referrals in 2010.
    • While PPFA holds non-profit status, it continues to pull in a sizeable profit each year. In the annual report for fiscal year 2010, the organization claimed an excess of revenue over expenses of 18.5 million dollars.  In fiscal year 2009, the organization claimed an excess of revenue over expenses of $63 million; in fiscal year 2008, PPFA’s excess of revenue over expenses was $85 million. 
    • In addition to the financially profitable practice of performing abortions, PPFA’s 2010 annual report indicates that it received approximately 46 percent of its income from federal, state and local government grants and contracts. In other words, taxpayer dollars fund nearly half of PPFA’s budget. In 2010, $487,400,000 was paid to PPFA by the government.
    • While the federal government does not pay directly for elective abortions performed by PPFA, it appears to subsidize PPFA’s least lucrative component, family planning. By funding non-abortion services, the federal government essentially allows Planned Parenthood to cover overhead and other expenses, as it pursues a more lucrative and lethal business—abortions.
    • Planned Parenthood increasingly has benefited from state and government funding. In 1994, the group received approximately $163 million in state and federal tax dollars. By 2010, government funding for PPFA had almost tripled to $487 million. During this same period of time the number of abortions performed annually by the group increased from 133,289 in 1994 to 329,445 in 2010.
    • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by far, black Americans are the ethnic group having the greatest number of abortions. They composed only 12.6 percent of the population in the 2010 census, but a staggering 42% of total abortions in the U.S. for 2008, the latest year in which CDC abortion data were available.

      This last fact is the ultimate irony to me.  Our country was dead wrong when it legislated in our Constitution the evil of treating African slaves as 3/5ths of a person.  Our country is dead wrong in treating the infant in the womb as 0/5ths of a person.  The irony is our President is half African and his race is most impacted as a result of legalized abortion.  I used to hold hope that his wanting to be a historical figure like Lincoln would actually motivate him to realize this and correct the injustice.
  7. I am not giving up on the truth.

    Revelation 22:12-15
    "Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.  Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and every one who loves and practices falsehood."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

You learn more from a defeat than a win

This is something I have especially realized from coaching.  I always enjoyed winning more as a player, a coach, or a parent of a player.  The tougher the contest, the more passionately I was involved in the game, the sweeter the victory, and alternatively the more emotionally wrenching the defeat.

After a win, just happiness, joy, congratulations.  Not much reflection.

After a loss, especially as a coach, I analyze, and research, and try to understand how it happened, what weaknesses we had in our game plan relative to the opponent's; what could be improved in our practices to turn the weaknesses realized in the loss into strengths.

I wasn't the coach or the player or the parent in this election.  My only job was to represent my faith, explain my positions and who I was supporting because of my beliefs, and then to pray fervently for the will of God to be done, that his favored candidates would be elected at local, state, and federal levels.

I didn't feel last night that this is what happened.  It was more wrenching this defeat, because I was so passionate and so hopeful and had done what was in my power to do.  What good is analyzing it going to do?

What I did learn again was how recuperative sleep can be.  I didn't drink last night.  I wanted to go to a movie but there wasn't anything worth watching.  I just went to bed after finishing Story of A Soul.  I had to force myself to read that.  I was so completely fed up with drudge, foxnews . . . . my little crutches during this election season.

I am glad I did.  The last thing I read was about St. Thérèse's dream where she has her head held in the hands of a deceased superior in her Carmelite order, and she is told that Jesus is very pleased with her, and with her little acts done with great love.  What a saint!

Last week I was a little disappointed that the new pastor for our local Catholic parish confused St. Teresa of Avila with St. Thérèse of Lisieux.  I love them both. We gave my younger daughter the middle name Therese in honor of both of these great saints, as well as Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

What did I learn from this defeat?  I learned that my passions continue to get the better of me instead of God getting the better of me.  I was praying after Mass this morning and realized that the magnitude of sorrow and irritability I had last night as the election went the way I had hoped it wouldn't, showed me how far I am from who I might be and hope to be . . . someone like St. Thérèse whose passion for Our Lord was so well channeled into actually loving him in her small acts.  She wrote toward the end of her autobiography of how her soul was in peace and calm.

How different from my soul last night.  Here I am in my middle years and still my only solace from the personal defeats of my obsessiveness over polls, candidates, issues, and election results is that the Holy Spirit continues to find ways to show me what my weakness and failings are.

I can resolve anew to seek first the Lord's Kingdom (Matthew 6:33) within me . . . not in a detached way as advocating a philosophy or an engraving on the back of my iPad (and it is), but as the way I live each day of my life.

I have so little self-discipline.  That is a personal defeat.  Knowing that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit seems to tell me that I am in dire need for a greater out-pouring of the Holy Spirit, or I am making the wrong choices with my free will that is impeding his action in my life, in transforming my heart, or it is a thorn that God permits for me to realize how much more I need his grace.

"My strength is made perfect in weakness," is what he told Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Just hoping Lord that you will give me the strength to follow where your Spirit leads and to please you.  I do place all my trust in you.

Monday, November 5, 2012

God please help the voters seek your will

I hope this malaise type feeling is passed by tomorrow night.  Just finished watching the documentary Bloodmoney.

Last Saturday we were attempting to do sidewalk counseling outside of an abortion clinic in Chicago's downtown.  There were very few women going in while we were there from 9-11 a.m., and the NARAL affiliated volunteer escorts did masterful job keeping them within the Bubble Law area (50 feet from the entrance of the clinic) so we could not attempt to offer the women love, non-judgmental hope and help.

I did see one couple who left the clinic, where the woman, girl really, probably late teens, was sobbing.  Really upset.  She would not let the guy with her put his arm around her.  I made the mistake of trying to pass him the brochure on Project Rachel, that has a picture of Jesus and, "Neither do I condemn you" on the front, and he pushed it away.  Essentially telling me, leave us, her alone.  I say it was a mistake because if the girl would have pushed me away i would have thought at least I tried to reach her instead of trying to reach her through the guy she already didn't want trying to console her.  Felt afterward like i had a lack of courage there.

I want a miracle.  I want that clinic to fall down like the walls of Jericho.  We didn't have any shofars with us, and I prefer if God would have the building demolished by his holy power when there is no one inside to be hurt or killed, but I just want it demolished.  It was strange because the Security guy that organizes these trips for my daughter's high school, for which I am a regular driver, chaperone, said he had the same thought.

He then told me how there was a Catholic group that did the exorcism prayers outside of a clinic that was subsequently shut down.  (I still think he doesn't realize that I am one of those Catholics.)  I used the google on my phone to find these prayers and began praying them alone.  No crumbled building to tell you about, but I hope that it was very unpleasant for the evil spirits milling about inside and outside that clinic while I was praying, and I hope a few of them were bound and cast into the abyss as a result of my prayers.

That brings us to the eve before this election.  I started today with Mass praying for tomorrow.  I would say I'm a bit depressed.  I have hope and faith, but the polls are so close.  I think I'll get out tonight to pray at our local Adoration Chapel too.

I was disappointed yesterday that our brave priests repeated some non-naming logic on how to vote, but stopped short of saying, "Let's be real people.  Obama is the most pro-abortion president in the history of this country.  If you want to defund Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion mill in the country, if you want to stop having federal funds overseas used for abortion, if you want to stop the administration that doesn't care about your Church's teachings or your rights of conscience, then DO NOT VOTE FOR OBAMA."

Our church had so few actually in attendance at our Divine Liturgy yesterday.  I think that bothered me too.  It should be packed.

Enough about shoulds.  Reminds me of that quote of Jesus's (NOT that I am righteous, but that my Lord is righteous and I get his quote), "O unbelieving and perverse generation . . . how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?" (Matthew 17:17)

I know many of you are just as concerned tonight as I am.  We are told to not worry.

St. Padre Pio:
“Pray, hope, and don’t worry! Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer. Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God’s heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips but with your heart. In fact, on certain occasions, you should speak to Him only with your heart.”

"Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:6-7

Sorry about my anxiety, Lord.  Thank you that we live in a country that has elections.  Please keep them fair and honest.  Please grant that the candidates you want to win, that humble themselves before you and seek to govern according to your will, win the elections tomorrow.  Please grant that those who vote will have the grace and integrity to vote according to the consciences you gave them, according to the natural law you have written upon their hearts.  Please, if it is your will, let Obama and every other pro-abortion, pro-Planned Parenthood candidate up for election tomorrow be defeated.  In Jesus Name, Amen

In case you are a Catholic that takes exception to Romney making exception for abortion in the cases of rape, incest, life of the mother please consider the following.  I agree with you that abortion is not a solution for rape, that it actually compounds the trauma, and makes it even a deeper wound to heal. I also think, based on the testimony of a converted abortionist, that doctors have the skills and creativity to avoid ever needing to make that choice between the baby's life and the life of the mother.

I do think it is morally sound to vote for Romney, but I think the author of this article makes that case clearer than I could.

"Even the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which was previously the research arm of Planned Parenthood, reports that only .3% of all U.S. abortions are done for reasons of rape, .03% because of incest, .1% because of a threat to the mother’s life, and 98% for mostly reasons of preference. So, the Romney-Obama election is between a man who favors that fewer than .5% of the 1.2 million abortions in the U.S. each year should be legal and one who favors that 100% of them should be."