Thursday, April 18, 2024

How many Kennedys does it take to screw in a light bulb? The Kennedy clan endorses Joe Biden

How many Kennedys does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Six. One to hold the light bulb and five to drink until the room spins around.

How many Kennedys does it take to screw a relative? About a dozen. That’s the approximate number of Kennedys who snubbed RFK Jr.’s presidential bid by endorsing Joe Biden.

Six of RFK Jr.'s siblings—Kerry, Kathleen, Rory, Christopher, Maxwell, and Joe Kennedy II—were among the relatives who cozied up to our cognitively challenged president.

In other news, Bloomberg won my nomination for the Joseph Goebbels Shameless Propaganda Award for this paragraph in Bloomberg’s Kennedy endorsement story:
Securing the endorsement of the remainder of the Kennedy clan is personal for Biden, who considers Kennedy’s father, Robert F. Kennedy, a senator, US attorney general and presidential candidate, as a political idol.
The Kennedys are finished as a political dynasty. But did they have to take a dive for Joe Biden, a morally bankrupt, demented geriatric?


The Kennedy family with Biden on St. Patrick's Day
Photo credit: People Magazine

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Civil War is a swashbuckling movie, but it's not prophetic

I caught the matinee showing of Civil War yesterday. It's a thrilling movie with several flaws, but well worth seeing. I have two criticisms.

First, director Alex Garland’s dystopian film posits a civil war between the United States and the Western Forces, comprised of the rebel states of Texas and California. Both sides field conventional armies equipped with jets, helicopters, tanks, and armored vehicles.

This scenario is implausible. If the United States implodes, it won't be because Texas and California fight a conventional war against the federal government. America will likely fall apart due to an external shock administered by hostile foreign powers—Russia, China, or Iran. Our enemies will not conquer us with missiles. Instead, our country will fall apart when our adversaries destroy the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency and our economy collapses.

Second, Alex Garland’s apocalyptic tale is told from the perspective of journalists who risk their lives and the lives of other people to get shocking photographs of the carnage of war. In the movie’s concluding scene, photojournalists Lee and Jesse are seen scurrying behind an Abrams battle tank in an attack on the White House. They come across as adrenalin junkies fanatically obsessed with their careers. I found them totally unsympathetic.

I encourage people to see Civil War. It is an entertaining movie on the level of the Indiana Jones flicks and the Mission Impossible series. Just remember this: America will not unravel because Texas and California besiege the White House; it will crumble when McDonald’s hamburgers cost fifty bucks apiece, and nobody wants to buy U.S. Treasury bonds.

Photojournalists chasing a Pulitzer Prize

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Are the Democrats Anti-Semitic?

Until October 7th of last year, no one cared a fiddler's fart about the Palestinians. The world has long known that Palestinians residing in Gaza lead miserable lives. And the world knows that Israel mistreats Palestinians living in the West Bank. Until recently, no one cared.

Then, on October 7th, Hamas terrorists stormed into Israeli towns and raped, tortured, murdered, and kidnapped Israeli civilians. Israel went to war against these barbarians, and now everyone feels sorry for the Palestinians.

College students in the nation’s most prestigious universities regularly demonstrate against Israel’s military campaign against Hamas, even though Hamas holds American citizens in captivity. Some demonstrators openly display their anti-Semitic prejudices.

American politicians have also undermined Israel. Senator Chuck Schumer, the nation’s senior Jewish politician, publicly called for a regime change in Israel’s wartime government—an act of betrayal against the only democracy in the Middle East. President Biden gave his seal of approval to Schumer’s treachery, calling Schumer’s comments “a good speech.”

Elizabeth Warren, the native Oklahoman who represents Harvard in the U.S. Senate, gave her legal opinion that Israel’s war against Hamas qualifies as genocide. Genocide! What an outrageous accusation to make against a nation made up of the descendants of the world’s most famous victims of genocide.

I have heard all the mendacious justifications for abandoning Israel—once America’s closest ally, and I don’t accept any of them. In my view, Americans who undermine Israel in its existential battle against Muslim terrorism are anti-Semites.

I have nothing but contempt for the anti-Israel college demonstrators who have no complaints against the Biden administration’s pro-war policy in Ukraine. That senseless conflict has cost more than half a million casualties. And I despise all the oily Democratic politicians who have stabbed Israel in the back for no more noble purpose than to win Muslim votes in Michigan. 

Political expediency is a poor disguise for bigotry.

I am a Harvard law professor, and I know genocide when I see it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Israel flies the flag of no quarter. Americans are morally obliged to back Israel's play

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler," Albert Einstein observed. Indeed, it is a mark of intelligence to analyze a jumble of complicated information, come to a straightforward conclusion, and decide what to do.

Unfortunately, our intellectual elites rarely try to make things as simple as possible. Instead, they obsess about complexity and often conclude that a particular problem is so complicated that it is insolvable. Homelessness, for example, is a complex problem, so tangled and tricky that San Francisco can't figure out how to keep people from defecating in the streets.

Sometimes, however, our failure to grasp the essentials of a problem leaves us with moral paralysis. Overwhelmed by complexity and contradictions, we do nothing even when the proper course of action is so apparent that even a child can understand what we should do.

Israel is in an existential battle with Hamas. What Hamas terrorists did on October 7, 2023, is so horrendous that Israel is justified in doing almost anything to eradicate Hamas. Israel's existence is at stake. That's a simple fact.

Thus, Israel flies the flag of No Quarter.  In my view, the United States, Israel's only major ally, is morally obligated to back Israel's play. That moral obligation stems from the Holocaust.

Unfortunately, the Biden administration fails to grasp the simple morality of Israel's war aims. The U.S. sends weapons and munitions to Israel, but it joined the feckless call for a ceasefire that would weaken Israel and benefit Hamas.

Enabled by our misguided President, pro-Palestinian protest groups have sprung up on the nation's college campuses, revealing latent anti-semitism in academia.

Astonishingly, Senator Chuck Schumer, America's senior Jewish politician, is undermining Israel by meddling in the Jewish state's domestic politics. 

None of this underhanded and cowardly behavior will deter Israel from doing what it must do for its own survival, which is to annihilate Hamas.

In short, the unwillingness of America's political and intellectual elites to recognize the simple fact that Israel is fighting for its survival is morally indefensible and will only prolong the suffering of innocent Palestinians and Israelis.

Photo Credit: Jack Guez/Getty Images

Monday, March 25, 2024

Dear Bishop Douglas Deshotel: Excommunicate me too!

A few days ago, Bishop Douglas Deshotel, prelate of the Lafayette Diocese, excommunicated Scott Peyton, a former Catholic deacon whose son was sexually molested by a Catholic priest. The priest, Father Michael Guidry, pleaded guilty to molesting the boy and is now in prison.

Excommunication is an extraordinarily harsh punishment to impose on an errant Catholic, especially an anguished Catholic whose son was sexually abused by a Catholic priest. What did Mr. Peyton do to deserve Bishop Deshotel’s wrath?

It seems Peyton angered the bishop by writing a letter that expressed his disillusionment over his son’s molestation and the way the Catholic Church handled it.

After “deep reflection,” Peyton wrote, he had decided to “leave the Catholic Church and the diaconate.” He also wrote that he was distressed by years of reports about sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

“The magnitude of these revelations,” Peyton wrote, “has deeply shaken my faith and trust in the institution to which I have dedicated a significant portion of my life.”

Peyton stressed that his decision to resign from the diaconate and leave the Church was not a rejection of his Christian faith. “Instead, it reflects a conscientious objection to the way the Church has handled cases of sexual abuse and a desire to distance myself from an institution that, currently, falls short of the values it professes.”

I think Bishop Deshotel miscalculated. If every Catholic whose faith was shaken by the Church’s sexual abuse scandals deserves excommunication, then millions of people are going to be kicked out of the Catholic Church.

I confess that my Catholic faith has been deeply shaken by hundreds of reports of child rape—rape that was covered up by dozens of bishops on the advice of their lawyers. So, Bishop Deshotel, I invite you to excommunicate me too.

Scott and Letitia Peyton 
Photo credit: The Advocate

Sunday, March 24, 2024

A long history of child molestation by priests in Lafayette Diocese. Maybe some bishops should go to jail

In 2016, I wrote a letter to Bishop Deshotel,  reporting that I had been treated rudely by Monsignor Richard Mouton in the confession booth. After asking several shocking sexual questions, Monsignor Mouton refused to confess me because I was divorced.

I delivered the letter to Bishop Douglas Deshotel on September 14, 2016. It is now 2024, and I have yet to receive Bishop Deshotel's response. 

I learned later that Monsignor Mouton was one of the priests in the Lafayette Diocese who figured in the sexual abuse scandal involving Father Gilbert Gauthe, who was eventually convicted of sexually abusing children. In 1984, the Lafayette Diocese settled claims by nine child victims for more than $4 million.

Father Gauthe's hellish behavior, which included anal intercourse and oral sex with children, first became public in 1983. However, it came to light in the course of litigation that Monsignor Mouton had received reports from parents in 1976 that Father Gauthe had kissed two boys.

Monsignor Mouton was the pastor of the Catholic church in Abbeville then, and the preditory Father Gauthe was the assistant pastor. According to reporter Jason Berry, who wrote a book about the Gauthe tragedy, Monsignor Mouton responded to news of Gauthe's misbehavior by "ordering [Gauthe] to move to an upstairs bedroom in the rectory."

Seven years later, Gauthe's sexual predation became public knowledge, and the parents of some of the victims contacted a lawyer.

 Monsignor Mouton, apparently hoping to quiet things down, invited Roy Robichaux, father of three of Gauthe's victims, to come to the rectory for a little chat. Robichaux told Monsignor Mouton that he was notifying other parents whose children might also have been victimized by Gauthe.

According to reporter Berry's account, Monsignor did not approve. "Should anyone get hurt, Mouton admonished, the guilt would rest on Roy [Robichaux] for making it public."

Monsignor Mouton also said something that profoundly shocked Mr. Robichaux: "Think how Gauthe's mother would feel."

Robichaux responded as any good Cajun father would under the circumstances. "How in the fuck do you think the mothers of these kids feel?"

But Mouton continued to downplay what happened to Robichaux's three children. "The boys were young, Mouton said gently. They would bounce back and get over these things."
Later, Mouton telephoned Robichaux and offered to hear the three children's confessions. Robichaux reportedly said no. "My sons do not need confession! They did nothing wrong."

Priests have sexually abused children in the Lafayette Diocese for almost half a century. In 2019, Father Michael Guidry pleaded guilty to molesting the teenage son of Scott Peyton, a Catholic deacon. Guidry went to prison, and the Diocese issued a three-sentence apology.
Earlier this month, Bishop Douglas Deshotel excommunicated Mr. Peyton, the victim's father! Why? Apparently, because Mr. Peyton admitted that the sexual abuse of his son by a priest had shaken his faith.
Sexual abuse of children by priests in Lafayette Diocese has gone on too long. Maybe it's time to start putting some bishops in jail.

Father Gilbert Gauthe, convicted of sexual abuse in 1985


Jason Berry. Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children. New York; Doubleday, 1992.

Jason Berry. The Tragedy of Gilbert Gauthe (Part 1)Times of Acadiana, May 23, 1985.

Mary Gail Frawley O'Dea. Perversion of Power: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2007.
Steven Marcantel. Former deacon excommunicated from church. The (Baton Rouge) Advocate, March 24, 2024.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Wages are up, grocery prices are going down, and inflation is under control! Paul Krugman slings Joe Biden's bullshit

 President Biden issued a statement a few days ago assuring us that the economy is robust and we're all getting richer. Here is what he said:

Inflation is down two-thirds from its peak, and annual core inflation is the lowest since May 2021. Wages are rising faster than prices over the last year and since the pandemic. Prices for key household purchases like gas, milk, eggs, and appliances are lower than a year ago. Inflation is down, while unemployment has remained below 4% for the longest stretch in more than 50 years.

In short, Americans have become wealthier since Joe Biden took office. Unfortunately, many Americans are so fuckin’ dumb that they don't realize how prosperous they are.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, chief spear carrier for the progressive left, asked why Americans are so down on the economy. Why are they ignoring "fancy statistics" showing that "America is doing pretty well"?

Krugman thinks many Americans have been duped by "the false narrative that the economy is doing badly."

I hate to break it to you, Paul, but that's bullshit. You may not know this, but millions of Americans living on fixed incomes in flyover country do their own grocery shopping. I'm one of those people. Every time I go to the grocery store, I am shocked by the price of food and paper goods.

Property and auto insurance costs have also spiraled upward, rising 26% over last year. Homeowner's insurance costs have risen, too—by 11%.

Krugman urges Democrats to argue that Biden inherited a damaged economy "and led us through the aftermath to a much better place."

I think that's bad advice. If the Democrats want to win this year's presidential election, they need to fall back on the political tactics that have worked so well in the past: race-baiting, ballot harvesting, and frivolous litigation.


Paul Krugman: Slinging Joe Biden's bullshit
Photo credit: Leigh Advisory