Poll shows Democrats are beating a dead horse with their ‘torture report’

Poll shows Democrats are beating a dead horse with their 'torture report'

In a previous article, I explained how Rick Santorum’s position on torture of terrorists for the purpose of stopping terrorist acts that may result in mass murder is morally justified. Do the American people support that position? According to polls, both recent and old, the answer is yes.

The Daily Caller offers an overview of polling from 2004 up until a recent poll taken after the Senate Democrats’ release of the so-called “torture report.” The results of this polling indicate that Democrats are beating a dead horse.

48 percent of Americans believe that the use of torture against terrorists who might know about is always or sometimes justified. Another 18 percent believe that it is rarely justified, but only 24 percent of Americans believe it is never justified. (Another 11 percent weren’t sure).

Not only are Americans okay with it, their support for it is growing, not slipping.

A series of Pew polls likewise found that Americans’ views on torture have slowly shifted since President George W. Bush left office. Only 42 percent of Americans said torture was often or sometimes justified in 2004, compared to 53 percent in 2011.

In Rick Santorum’s position, we find that it is not only morally justified but that it also has the support of the American people.

Meanwhile, Islamists are beheading Christian children and stoning homosexuals.

It is important to take sides here. Let us not be confused about whose side we should be on.

ISIS announces judgment of "Allah’s command" for execution of homosexual

ISIS announces judgment of “Allah’s command” for execution of homosexual

America still has a moral conscience. May the Lord continue to guide us as we go forward in seeking His will in defense of life, peace and justice.


Rick Santorum cites Catholic theologian Rev. Brian W. Harrison on Torture

Rick Santorum cites Catholic theologian Rev. Brian W. Harrison on Torture

On Twitter, Rick Santorum has cited Catholic theologian Rev. Brian W. Harrison on torture.

Fr. Brian Harrison, O.S., is a professor at the Pontifical University of Puerto Rico.

rick_santorum_twitterYou may recall that Santorum recently stated opposition to the use of torture to extract confessions to crimes but says he supports interrogation of terrorists in order to gain information that saves lives . (See, interview with Tony Perkins.) This use of interrogation to gain information to save lives, as Fr. Harrison points out, is not intrinsically evil.

The entire article by Fr. Harrison is a good overview of Church evolution on this issue. He makes the case that we cannot logically call every form of torture “intrinsically evil” given that even the death penalty is not intrinsically evil.

If even capital punishment is not intrinsically evil — and that remains Catholic magisterial teaching to this day — then lesser punishments such as flogging can scarcely merit that description. 

Even though the death penalty is not intrinsically evil, Fr. Harrison says that the use of torture “as a means of controlling crime” cannot be justified per the catechism and the words of St. John Paul II.

Interrogation of terrorists to gain information to save lives falls into a completely different theological realm, however, and one that can be morally justified. No popes and nothing from the catechism have authoritatively condemned this form of torture.

There remains 4(c), torture by civil or military authorities for extracting information from detainees. This, of course, is precisely the kind of torture that lies at the center of the present debate in the context of terrorism. It seems notable that this particular reason for inflicting severe pain is conspicuous by its absence from the list of purposes or objectives that the Catechism says cannot justify torture. If (as I have argued from Scripture and Tradition) severe and intentional pain infliction is not intrinsically evil, this omission from the main contemporary magisterial statement on the subject could be taken to imply that the Church’s jury is still out over the legitimacy of torture in at least the extraordinary emergency of the “ticking bomb” scenario: a known terrorist has been captured who possesses essential information as to how to locate (or defuse) a bomb set to explode very shortly, killing hundreds, maybe thousands, of innocent civilians. John Paul’s words to the Red Cross “nothing could ever justify” torture — would weigh against its legitimacy even in such an extreme case. But then again, it could be urged that this papal statement is an isolated one, was made a decade before the Catechism was promulgated, and has less authority than the latter. (The Red Cross allocution is undoubtedly of very minor magisterial authority. It was never even published in the Church’s main official record, the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.)

Father Harrison advises Catholics to form their own opinion on this “probably most difficult” area of teaching.

I suggest that readers form their own opinion on this last and (probably most difficult) point. I also invite them to consult my much longer online article on torture (www.rtforum.org/lt/lt119.html) for my argument that, in spite of initial appearances, we should not read article 80 of John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor as being intended to settle the whole question with a condemnation of all severe and intentional infliction of pain as intrinsically evil.

In summary, while no one may morally hold the position that torture may always be used, in every circumstance, those who support interrogation of prisoners (even to the point of “torture”) in order to gain information to save lives have full freedom to hold such a position and are in no way departing from the teaching of the Catholic Church.

There are plenty of potential candidates for president who support things that cannot be morally justified in any context. Those who launch into crusades to characterize Rick Santorum as departing from Catholic teaching on torture are wasting your time and mine. Depending on how far they take that claim, it can reach the level of calumny.

See paragraph 2477 of the catechism:

Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:

- of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

- of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;

- of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

Let me say that again, for good measure. Accusing Rick Santorum of immorality for supporting enhanced interrogation of terrorists to gain information to save lives is, by definition, calumny against him.

Though their consciences may tell them that this form of interrogation is wrong, we have full freedom in the Church to take the opposing position for the sake of saving the innocent from mass murder. Our choice is clear. We can take difficult but morally legitimate measures to stop mass murder, or we can sit by and watch mass murder happen. I cannot, in good conscience, sit by and watch mass murder happen without taking all morally licit means to stop it. Neither, I am sure, can Rick Santorum.

Conservatives rage; Wall St got its way; Romney open to presidential run?

Conservatives rage; Wall St got its way; Romney open to presidential run?

Three headlines at Politico this morning (screenshot below) seem to spell political doom for the Republican establishment, unless voters actually are as stupid as Democrats say they are.


Conservatives rage against the failure of John Boehner to even attempt to stop Obama’s immigration action:

A clearly put out Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) groused: “We call it the crummybus.”

“If the other team on the field – Barack Obama and the Democrats who promote illegal aliens over American citizens – stop us, then you punt,” Brooks said, using a football analogy. “But you punt on fourth down, not first down. And right now, the House leadership, for whatever reason, thinks it’s best to punt without running a play.”

Conservatives ticked at the bill almost got to see it go down. The massive bill barely squeaked through a procedural vote earlier Thursday and then the House went dark for hours before leaders were confident enough votes were in place.

Republican Reps. Steve King of Iowa and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota said they devised a plan and presented it to Boehner: a 60-day CR for all government agencies with language that would undo Obama’s immigration actions. They didn’t get their way.

“We almost brought the rule down,” Bachmann said Thursday. “We almost won. But then you heard the bones breaking, with the arms that were twisted. But we almost won.”

This is a crushing blow to the working poor, but certainly Big Corporate will be happy with all this new cheap labor. The problem of underemployment will now worsen exponentially…but at least the rich will get richer, right?

How Wall Street got its way is an article about the “bonanza for banks” included in this legislation. This gives Democratic populist Senator Elizabeth Warren a launching pad.

 “Who does Congress work for?” Warren (D-Mass.) said during a floor speech this week. “Does it work for the millionaires, the billionaires, the giant companies with their armies of lobbyists and lawyers? Or does it work for all of us.”

The opposition was as much about the policy in question as it was about preventing Wall Street from establishing a legislative blueprint for chipping away at Dodd-Frank one provision at a time.

The language weakening restrictions on certain risky derivatives trading was included in a massive spending bill needed to keep the government open. While Senate Democratic leaders and the White House opposed its inclusion, they were willing to swallow it to get the budget deal done. Liberal lawmakers and their outside allies were not.

Rarely do I agree with the socialist rag Mother Jones on anything but on this point, I must.

If this measure becomes law, these banks will be able to use FDIC-insured money to bet on nearly anything they want.

The legislation is bailout protection for big banks’ engagement in high-risk behavior.

I agree also with Tea Party groups who have many valid concerns, including this one, as noted at Breitbart.

One last minute rider in particular–a provision that would effectively raise the amount that high net-worth donors can contribute to political party committees from $97,250 to $777,600–raised the ire of Tea Party groups and conservative Super-PACs on the right and public interest groups and Super-PACS on the left alike. They correctly concluded the rider would give the Republican and Democrat Party establishments huge advantages in battles with primary challengers to incumbents.

Everything in America that contributes to plutocracy seems to have been included in this bill. While activists respond with rage, my heart is simply broken.

All of this is great news for Mitt Romney, though. If Republicans can gain power in Congress so easily for the benefit of Wall Street, on the backs of the working poor, that must mean he can win in 2016, right?

Backers: Romney more open to 2016 run

For most of the past year, even Republicans who admire Romney have believed the chatter about him possibly running for president has been mostly sparked by his former staffers or people involved with Solemere, seeing it as a boon for business.

Romney’s new tone in discussions with people behind closed doors came as Bush has seemed to move closer toward a run. A number of donors and operatives who had assumed Bush would take a pass now believe he is likely to enter the race.

People close to Romney stressed that he has deep respect for Bush.

I have only one more thing to say. #Facepalm