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October 2005 Archives

October 10, 2005

A Tale of Three Gulfs: Exploiting the Gulf Coast to pay for the Gulf War by expanding the gulf between rich and poor

The Catholic Democrats have joined forces with religious leaders across the country in calling on Congress to turn back from pending legislation meant to punish the poor in America for the costs of the pending Gulf Coast reconstruction. Rep. Roy Blunt and nearly 200 of his Republican colleagues in the House have indicated their willingness to gut Medicare (health care for the elderly and disabled) and Medicaid (care for the poor), food stamps, and student loan programs in order to pay for more than $100 billion of new tax cuts and the ongoing budgetary black hole of the war in Iraq. The House leadership sought to bypass the normal deliberative process and to rush through these devastating and immoral budget cuts, but were forced to postpone voting due to universal Democratic opposition.

Religious leaders across the country have reacted with outrage. Presiding Episcopal Bishop Frank Griswold issued a statement: "Congress and the President must come together and focus on poverty that exists across the nation, and not exacerbate poverty…Nothing could be clearer in the Gospel than Jesus' identification with the poor. 'When I was hungry you gave me food. When I was naked you clothed me, sick you cared for me, truly I tell you, what you did for the least of these, you did (it) for me.' And so for a nation to declare itself under God and neglect the poor in its midst is tantamount in my mind to blasphemy." At its recent meeting, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church in America passed a resolution calling on Congress "to pass a budget that does not pit one group in need against another and calls for more money overall to care for the country's most vulnerable residents."

The National Council of Churches, representing Baptists, Friends, Evangelical Lutherans, Greek Orthodox, and Presbyterians among others, issued a statement: "As leaders of America's major faith communities, we write to you at a moment of great moral urgency for our nation when hundreds of thousands of our most vulnerable citizens are at risk. We urge you to put aside partisan politics and pass a federal budget that reflects the moral priorities of the wide majority of Americans. We urge you to work for, not against, the common good of all of America's citizens and not just a privileged few."

At a time when the Bush Administration is making threatening statements against Iran and Syria, failing to offer any reassurance that they do not intend permanent military occupation of Iraq, and initiating new programs for the renewal of nuclear testing and the weaponization of space, the idea of stealing funds from poor Americans to pay for all this militarism is the height of immorality. As Catholics, in support of our Church’s significant contributions to care for the poor in America, we denounce efforts in Congress to rush through legislation that mendaciously exploits the Gulf Coast hurricanes to cut the social safety net for all those who have been confined to or pushed into poverty by the economic policies of the current administration.

October 28, 2005

Falsifying the case for War in Iraq: Bush defends aide who lied to protect Cheney

President Bush spoke publicly after Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald announced five indictments of Vice-President Cheney's closest aide for lying and obstruction of justice. Mr. Bush said, "Scooter (Libby) has worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people and sacrificed much in the service to this country. He served the vice president and me through extraordinary times in our nation's history." Nowhere in his remarks was any reflection of the fact that two years ago he indicated that he wanted to "get to the bottom of this" outing of CIA agent Valery Plame Wilson, and would personally hold accountable anyone who was involved.

What is now completely clear is that Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney themselves were fully complicit from the beginning in the effort to humiliate their critic, Joseph Wilson, and then falsely pleaded ignorance when this issue threatened Mr. Bush's reelection prospects. Like their case for war in Iraq itself, their response to the Plame issue was illustrative of their lack of reverence for the truth. The fact that possibly hundreds of thousands of people have died as a result of their dishonesty is what’s really at the heart of this case.

The real tragedy is that every Republican in Washington knew that the intelligence was being overhyped to launch a war of greed in Iraq, and none raised their voice in protest. Even now, many of them continue to defend the killing in Iraq, the policies promoting torture (see this week's Washington Post editorial), and the colonial-style exploitation of that country's natural resources. These actions are all anathema to Catholics and other people of conscience.

Senator John Kerry spoke for many when he said, "Today's indictment of the vice president's top aide and the continuing investigation of Karl Rove are evidence of White House corruption at the very highest levels, far from the 'honor and dignity' the president pledged to restore to Washington just five years ago."

Saturday, February 24, 2018

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"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

"On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."

First Inaugural Address, President Barack Obama

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