Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fact-checking Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech

FactCheck.Org has a report today on how the nominee’s speech lines up with the facts, and found several discrepancies:

Accused President Obama’s health care law of funneling money away from Medicare "at the expense of the elderly." In fact, Medicare’s chief actuary says the law "substantially improves" the system’s finances, and Ryan himself has embraced the same savings.

Accused Obama of doing "exactly nothing" about recommendations of a bipartisan deficit commission — which Ryan himself helped scuttle.

Claimed the American people were "cut out" of stimulus spending. Actually, more than a quarter of all stimulus dollars went for tax relief for workers.

Faulted Obama for failing to deliver a 2008 campaign promise to keep a Wisconsin plant open. It closed less than a month before Obama took office.

Blamed Obama for the loss of a AAA credit rating for the U.S. Actually, Standard & Poor’s blamed the downgrade on the uncompromising stands of both Republicans and Democrats.

You can read more here.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

The 'Catholic labor priest'?

The 'Catholic labor priest'?

Should you vote?

Jason Brennan, author of The Ethics of Voting, suggests that most people shouldn’t vote.
Citizens have no duty to vote, but if they do vote, they must vote well, for what they justifiedly believe will promote good government.

There’s nothing morally wrong with being ignorant about politics, or with forming your political beliefs though an irrational thought processes—so long as you don’t vote. As soon as you step in the voting booth, you acquire a duty to know what you’re doing. It’s fine to be ignorant, misinformed, or irrational about politics, so long as you don’t impose your political preferences upon others using the coercive power of government.
Most of us probably assume this applies to those with whom we disagree. But it applies to all of us. You can read more here.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Poverty USA Website Offers Statistics, Stories, Resources To Catholics

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) and the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have created a website where “Catholics can learn about the state of poverty in the United States and concrete ways they can make a difference.” From the news release:
The website . . . will feature selected news stories related to the state of poverty in the United States. Also, on the county-level view of poverty statistics, visitors will be able to find examples of local organizations working to alleviate poverty in their communities.  
“We are committed to providing educational content related to poverty as well as hopeful examples of what we can do to make the state of poverty better,” said Ralph McCloud, national director of CCHD. "We welcome comments regarding the new site or suggestions for future feature articles or guest editorials."
To learn more about the website or sign up for an e-mail newsletter, go here.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Majority of Catholics favor stricter gun control

According to a new poll released today by the Public Religion Research Institute, in partnership with Religion News Service, a majority of Americans favors passing stricter laws, with 62 percent of Catholics favoring tighter gun control laws.

The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest who called for tighter gun control after the movie theater massacre last month, offered several reasons why U.S. Catholics may be more likely to support it.

"Catholics may congregate more in urban centers and may be more exposed to violent crimes than people in other parts of the country," said Martin, the author of "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything."

"And Catholics might be more sympathetic to government regulation, because the church has always seen legitimate government as one way of expressing the will of the people," Martin continued. What's more, he said, "there might be a slightly greater appreciation for the notion of the common good, which is enshrined in Catholic social teaching, in addition to individual rights.
You can read more here.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Talking Poverty

The Consultation Center, Siena College, the Commission on Peace and Justice, and several local parishes are presenting panel discussions that will allow attendees to:
- Appreciate the totality of issues that must be explored when Catholics consider voting and ongoing political advocacy;  
- Understand how Catholic Social Teaching speaks to the totality of issues;  
- Gain some sense of how economic issues in particular are impacting people, especially the poor and vulnerable.
This panel will be offered in three locations from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.:

Wednesday, September 19 St. Pius X Parish 23 Crumitie Road, Loudonville

Thursday, September 20 St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish 2216 Rosa Road, Schenectady

 Thursday, September 27 St. Michael the Archangel Parish 175 Williams Road, Troy

For more information, please call the Consultation Center at 518-489-4431.

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, who will lead a Day of Reflection at the upcoming Kateri Tekakwitha Peace Conference, was interviewed by the Times Union on Saturday. He offered the following answer in response to the question, "Why is nonviolence powerful?"
It's the radical thought of Jesus. Love is nonviolence. His whole purpose was to exemplify that love can change the world. It gets down to the root. The root cause of violence is violence. When you respond to violence with love you can transform the world and yourself.
The entire interview is here. More information about the conference is here.


Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Unlikely Reformer

Infamous former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who went to prison for 43 months for practices that earned him the title of America’s most notorious lobbyist, is now working to reform the practices that made him immensely wealthy and influential. In an interview at City & State, he says of today’s lobbying enterprise:
I think the system is corrupt in a very refined way. It’s not crudely corrupt like it used to be where it was not at all a bother to anyone that someone would walk into an office such as Lyndon Johnson’s when he was the Senate Majority Leader and hand him a sack of cash. That was the old days. Now it’s much more refined and more polite, but it’s certainly corrupt. So the system is corrupt, but I don’t think the people view themselves as corrupt. I didn’t view myself as doing anything wrong in that respect and that’s the problem; that it’s commonplace to engage in, in essence, bribery because no one is trained to think of it as bribery. And so I think most people in the system are good people but they are in a system that itself in its core is corrupt and certainly many, many, many take full advantage within the boundaries of the law and some, like I, go over the law, over the boundaries. It’s not necessary to go over the boundaries, but even within those boundaries there’s tremendous capacity for corruption and for acting despicably.
The rest of this fascinating interview is here.

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Monday, August 06, 2012

Quote of the day -- Hiroshima

“I firmly believe that the demand for freedom from nuclear weapons will soon spread out from Hiroshima, encircle the globe, and lead us to genuine world peace.” - Kazumi Matsui, Mayor of Hiroshima, Japan, at ceremonies marking today’s 67th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of that city.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Tax reform decoded

A new Tax Policy Center report “shoots more holes in the popular mythology that some sort of comprehensive 'tax reform' will offer the White House and Congress an easy path out of the country's debt and deficit problems.”
If Congress has any hope of defeating armies of lobbyists and doing away with beloved tax breaks like the mortgage interest deduction, it will take bipartisan cooperation. The two parties will have to hold hands and jump off this particular cliff together. And even by taking 100 percent of the tax breaks away from the wealthiest Americans, the Tax Policy Center analysts could not keep the tax code from growing more regressive under the Romney plan.
How will real reform work? You can read more here.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

A bottled water-free zone

Catholic News Service reports on this new development:
It was back in October 2010 that a group of students at John Paul II Collegiate in North Battleford began their journey to make their school a bottled water-free zone. Nearly two years later, their perseverance is having a significant impact: the school soon will become a bottled water free zone as new water refilling stations have been installed. It was after a presentation by Audrey and Clarence Briand, members of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, on the environmental and societal impacts of bottled water that a group of students felt compelled to act. "I thought it would be cool to take this on," Meghan Mercer said. The Briands were part of a campaign launched by CCODP to raise awareness of the growing trend to privatize water and the importance of countering that trend by drinking from public water sources whenever possible.
The entire story is here.