Saturday, November 11, 2006

Any more "lies"?

Chris Fotos gave me a great idea for an open thread:
By the way, Victor, we might be able to add the End to Evil meme itself to your list. Recall that was based, not on Mark's mis-reading, but Mark's non-reading of the Perle/Frum book End To Evil: How To Win The War On Terror. Mark never made it past the colon, and used the book, which he has not read, as part of his attack on a supposed neocon call for secular messianism. Which they did not call for.
OK ... so, I'll open this Combox to document Favorite Shea Lies. Also welcome, "Shea falsely ascribed View X to Person Y." One word of warning. I want people to be as specific and precise as possible. Meaning at least two things:

(1) Only "documented" statements. That is, always provide a precise link and, if feasible, cite the quotation.

(2) Only straight-up fact claims or points of interpretation that are utterly indefensible or based on risibly thin reeds (I will add an example of the latter below). But opinions are out. Saying "Victor is an asshole" might be any number of bad things, but not a lie.

(3) Preferably, cite things that Shea has repeated after having had their falsity or indefensability pointed out to him, especially if his only response was a non-sequitur like "I knew I could count on The Makers Of Fine Distinctions to defend Cheney's lies."

I reserve the right to delete items if I judge them inadequate. I'm all for ridiculing liars, but only with plain facts.

As Chris suggested, I hereby add the "End to Evil" lie:

(ITEM) David Frum and Richard Perle are secular messianists, based on a reading of the book that didn't even reaching its post-colon subtitle

This was pointed out to him here and subsequent, with the only response being his usual "missing the point and dancing past it" act.

Not even a specific explanation from Frum himself about the title means matters. But Karnak Shea, with his infallible charism of reading other people's minds based on four carefully-snipped words, simply flicked his wrist: "Not buying it." As Chris rightly pointed out in the combox, That's Shea's problem.

He has since repeatedly made the claim, one based on 99.9999% ignorance of Frum and Perle's book. In just that single month he used the phrase more than a dozen times just on his main page (who knows how often he may have used it in his comboxes) -- ascribing it to conservatism generally, Front Page Magazine, Dennis Prager, and President Bush; making loopy analogies on space colonization and cloning; and even in reference to a couple of humorous items.

NOTE: One phrase replaced by VJM upon notice that someone whose opinion I care about thought it blasphemous.


Christopher Fotos said...

Man. The Coalition for Fog's research department is awesome. I was going to walk the cat back on the End to Evil book by googling into CAEI. Thank goodness I don't have to go through that exercise.

Christopher Fotos said...

Oh, and for people who may not know the history--Victor links to one of my old comments at Mark's blog, under the name Christopher Rake. That indeed was my online pseudonym for a time, both at PostWatch and on a wide variety of blogs.

Anonymous said...


Well, gentlemen, you asked for it...

Let me present to you my first encounter with The Illustrious Mr. Shea. It was in July 2002. I sent him an e-mail supporting Antonin Scalia's opposition to the Church's revisionist attitude toward capital punishment. Relevant parts of my original correspondence are in regular type. Shea's public response is in italics. My comments for this thread are in bold.

2. In the Mosaic law itself, God commands, "Thou Shalt Not Murder" (not "Thou Shalt Not Kill", a common mistranslation of the Hebrew). Obviously, the OT distinguishes between moral and immoral killing. In fact, God ordered Moses and the Israelites to commit genocide against the inhabitants of Canaan as divine judgement against their abominable practices (such as child sacrifice).

Red herring. The Pope does not call capital punishment immoral.

Note: NOWHERE TO THIS POINT DID I SAY THAT THE POPE CALLED CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IMMORAL. Besides, the late pope actually *did* call capital punishment "cruel and unnecessary" in St. Louis in 1999. How can something "cruel" not be immoral?

4. The Pope's views on the death penalty are nothing more that pseudo-intellectual revisionism. His opinions contradict the opinions of Augustine, Aquinas, More and Newman (among others) on the matter of the death penalty being an appropriate punishment for murder at all times. To insist that Catholics believe those opinions would be for him to place himself above Tradition and Scripture -- which would be nothing short of idolatry.

As to the charge of "pseudo-intellectual revisionism" I don't think this means much of anything beyond polysyllabic name-calling. His opinions do not "contradict" the worthies you mention for the simple reason that JPII does not call the death penalty immoral...

See my earlier comment.

This is not a matter of believing the "Minimum Daily Adult Requirement" of Church doctrine. This is a matter of serious, intelligent moral decision-making (something that the Church seems less and less able to do, unfortunately, as exemplified by its response to the sex-abuse scandals).

Right. The American bishops are always in lockstep with JPII.

Where did I *specifically* refer to the American bishops, especially since the clerical sex-abuse crisis was an *international* phenomenon?

I ... will never forget the sterile, academic statements made by the American bishops about McVeigh's execution; the death penalty can never bring the murder victim back, only God can take life (even though He gave guidelines in Exodus and Deuteronomy under what circumstances it might be taken) and other such drivel. Cardinal McCarrick of D.C. even compared those relatives who witnessed McVeigh's execution to those who watched gladiatorial contests in the Roman Colisseum.

Such statements revealed the bishops' ultimate insensitivity to the victims of murder and their survivors. But why should we be surprised? After all, as the Talmud says, "Those who are merciful when they should be cruel will be cruel when they should be merciful".

Doesn't that saying typify the bishops' (and the Pope's) delayed reaction to sexual abuse by clergy?

I don't think the Pope's reaction is delayed....that, of course, is neither here nor there in your demand for a crueler Church that doesn't let "repentance" get in the way of the lust for blood.

Given Catholic teaching for *centuries* (up until EV), how can calling for the execution of murderers equate to a "lust for blood"?

Bravo to Justice Scalia! He has tremendous courage. Would that more Catholics had the same instead of the lemming-like deference to authority that marks too many so-called "orthodox" Catholics.

I guess if you are going to put "repentance" in quotes, it's probably not surprising you put Catholics who disagree with you in quotes too. FWIW, I think Catholics (like Scalia) who disagree with the Pope's prudential judgment have a perfect right to do so. I do not put them in quotes and insinuate they are heretics.

Well, I guess that Tom McKenna has a perfect right to disagree with the Pope's prudential judgement on this issue. Or does he? Hmmm, let's see...Oh, I found these rather interesting comments TIMS made on Nov. 10:

"I demonstrate an insufficiently insatiable hunger and thirst for death, death, death, and more death, so that means I regard Saddam as a victim, you see."

"McKenna, whose blog is more or less devoted to obsessing over how to execute as many people as humanly possible, is naturally orgasmic at the idea of hanging Saddam. Failure to be thrilled at the death of a human being and a general agreement with Pope John Paul that it's better to forego executing people unless you really need to is, for McKenna the ultimate crime and the source of numberless entries on his vengeful blog."

"The Cafeteria is wide open for business on the Right too! If the Magisterium so much as gives a whiff of threat to your favorite obsession, feel free to heap contempt on it! It's okay because you are True Catholic[TM] and a red-blooded American who doesn't have to bother with what some Polish Euro-weenie says!"

Anonymous said...


Finally, I would like to add the following comments in March 2004 from Dale Price's blog that Victor Morton made in my defense. At the time, Shea was engaging in a campaign to follow me on every Catholic blog in creation and start flame wars by making personal attacks and arguing non sequiturs:

I swore I would never again acknowledge Mr. Shea's existence, but this thread is a perfect example of why Joseph is right that (Shea) is pursuing a persecutionist vendetta.

The reader will note above that the thread, prior to Joseph's first post, had not involved Mr. Shea. Further, it had nothing to do with the war on terrorism, nuclear weapons or just war, the state of Islam or anything else remotely related to Joseph's comments. Further, that Joseph's comments did not introduce those topics.

Let us stipulate that Joseph's comments about nuking Mecca et al are something less than orthodox (they are not insane or Satanic, because, as I once repeatedly and without answer pointed out to Mr. Shea, the Church does not condemn any possession of nuclear weapons as a sin, which means SOME uses of them have to be moral despite the unquestionable fact they kill civilians en masse).

Joseph did not attempt to engage Mr. Shea, did not attempt to hijack his blog, did not refer to him. So it's rather unconvincing to hear "I've spent a great deal of time avoiding you. You're like a bad penny. ... I keep running into your obnoxious and abusive crap on blogs I regularly read." Everybody has some people they don't like, or can't imagine engaging even for the sake of collegial disagreement, someone at St. Blogs whose orthodoxy they question. Tough titty. (See me engaging Suspicious Severity or whateverhisnameis.)

Mr. Shea's disagreement (he is not a bishop and has no real authority in these matters, so nothing he says can ever rise above that) is not an excuse to try to destroy somebody's reputation by repetitively injecting himself wherever Joseph may go, talking about whatever subject Joseph may, and calling him Osama bin Laden or a mass murder advocate. This was NOT disagreement with somebody, but an attempt to demonize a human being, to make him anathema as such, to pursue him like a stalking siren. And Joseph is right to protest it.

Christopher Fotos said...

Mark stated the following in the second torture debate thread at Chris Blosser's blog (I think "Chris" refers to me, but I'm not sure):

Once again, I have to remind Chris that I haven't made any pronunciations about people being inherently evil, nor have I read minds about motivations. I say that certain *arguments* and propositions are evil....(shown here)

But Mark has described Ledeen himself, not only his arguments, as "evil." He deleted several of those descriptions in the same exchange that led to my being banned, but some remain. Here is one:

It is a measure of Ledeen's evil that he persuades a decent fellow like you to fight such battles on his behalf. (shown here)

I have also noted Mark described Ledeen as "scum." (shown here)

It is unclear whether this can justifiably be assigned as an example of Mark lying for having claimed I haven't made any pronounciations about people being inherently evil. Perhaps in context Mark meant only that Ledeen was untidy.

Mark's claim that he hasn't "read minds about motivations" should provide other opportunities to add to the list. I'll add one, perhaps by tomorrow sometime, as I put this discussion aside for the moment in pursuit of a life.

Roger H. said...

Mark's perpetuation of the lie that Alberto Gonzales advocated torture.

I seriously doubt Shea ever read Gonzales' memos, which were readily accessible on the 'net, and to this day I have no idea how he can turn a technical legal analysis which essentially concludes the Geneva Conventions do not apply to al Qaeda into a cattle call for torture.

Victor said...


Keep the punches upstairs.

For the curious, the low blow has been deleted.

Steve Golay said...

Mark wrote in his own comboc. Of course, you've all seen this. It strikes me as revelatory:

"He seems to call out in his post for others to come and defend bush but of course bans those that do so.

Documentation please?
Mark P. Shea | Homepage | 11.11.06 - 1:14 pm | #

HE WANTS DOCUMENATION OF WHAT? Of those he banned! He'll truliy wants that? Should someone start a "Shea Banned" blog so we can all tell out excommunication stories? Is he daring us to do that. Now THAT would be some documentation!!!!

Steve Golay said...

One would think Mark Shea would feel overjoyed at Bush's misterm "kick in the pants". It doesn't come across in his recent postings.

Whatever a close look at the returns actually reveal, the world sees this as another Somalia. In their eyes it's not only the President that is down: America herself, poised to be kicked front, back and in-between.

Is this dampening Mark's glee?

Maybe we can keep a list for him of "stuff" that happens now that the Big Lier is down and out:

1. Hezbo'allah walked out of the government. One stray shot and the campaign is on to make Lebanon Christian free.
2. Supreme Court resignation with little chance of getting a good man in.
3. Russia has dropped its mask (amazingly, so easily in the last few days). It wants its empire back.
4. Keep your eye on New Jersey - we are going "Beyond Gay Marriage". (Read Stanley Kurtz's recent archive on NRO). This would not be the case if the man wasn't kickable.
5. Hammas has, the day after the election, publicallly thrown off all restraint.
6. Syria (right after the election) publically busied itself for war.

Anonymous said...

Ivan says

Even a passing aquaintance with Shea's blogging style, will show that he has a fundamentally dishonest way of dealing with criticism of his views. He will blog with provocative title such as 'The rubber right meet their inner Nazi' and lie in wait for the unfortunate poster with the inevitable 'I hate all muslims and cats' post. Shea then uses it a launching point for another interminable 500 word rant
never failing, this time, to remind us that his original intention was only to turn us into propah Catholic gintilmen. He reminds me of the smartass schoolboy who after asking all sorts of dirty questions about the sister, pretends to be the aggrieved party after the punch-up.

Then too whatever respect I had for him as an honest commentator on current affairs evaporated after he took to referring to Gitmo as a gulag. Imagine if you will a civics class in which a teacher talks about the horrors of the Lubyanka, or the liquidation of the kulaks or the conditions of the zeks or the meat grinder of the Soviet prison labour system which built all those canals. (All of which and more has been recorded for all posterity as a kind of inverted Inferno by A I Solzhenitsyn in the staggering Gulag Archipelago.) Imagine in such a class a student inspired by the same inanities as Shea saying 'But madam the Gulag wasn't so bad, why in Guantanamo the prisoners actually gained weight!' One would want to smack that student, but this is what Shea achieves, the leftist dream of turning words into the whatever he wants them to mean. Since then (perhaps on advice from the Chekhov fan) he has dropped the 'gulag' tag, but his instincts were so wrong then that he can't be anything more than a posuer.

Anonymous said...


You Asked For It, Part II...

On previous Catholic blogs, I mentioned the fact that Cardinal Bernard Law prayed to Allah and bowed to Mecca in a suburban Boston mosque in 2002. Shea would repeatedly say "Law did not bow down to Mecca." So how does he handle this excerpt from the Boston Globe's story of Nov. 25, 2002:

Law shares prayers, feast, hope with Muslims

By Scott S. Greenberger, Globe Staff, 11/25/2002

WAYLAND - It was Sunday, and Cardinal Bernard F. Law had come to pray. So, wearing a gold crucifix and a flowing black robe with red trim, Law removed his shoes. Then, as the imam chanted the sunset prayers, the bishop knelt with his forehead just inches from the carpet and offered praise to Allah.

Anybody who knows anything about Islam knows that Muslims face Mecca when praying. Yet Shea denies this?

Anonymous said...


P.S.; Victor, thank you for deleting my questionable post.

Anonymous said...


Finally, Shea's attacks against McKenna have no merit because the current pope, as head of CDF, allowed for disagreement concerning capital punishment, as his letter to the American bishops in July 2004 demonstrated:

Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

Christopher Fotos said...

Anybody who knows anything about Islam knows that Muslims face Mecca when praying. Yet Shea denies this?

The brief excerpt doesn't make me very happy, to say the least, but one wonders how a Boston Globe reporter got into the head of Cdl Law to determine that he "offered praise to Allah."

Anonymous said...


Chris, there are a lot of Catholics who think that Allah is the exact same thing as Yahweh. Shea makes this point when he says that Maronite Christians use the world "Allah" in their liturgies. The fundamental difference, however, is that Muslims mean something quite different when they talk about Allah -- and it's not Yahweh.

French Catholic historian Alain Becancon had an excellent article in the May 2004 edition of Commentary magazine ("What Sort Of Religion Is Islam?") delineates the differences between the Catholic and Muslim understandings of God -- and illustrates why Catholics become infatuated with a kind of de facto syncretism when it comes to Islam.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if Cardinal Law operated under such a quasi-syncretist set of assumptions.

torquemada05 said...

It is far more than just Maronites who use Allah in their liturgies. I can confirm from both personal and anecdotal experience that most if not many Arab Christians do.

And while Joe may take considerable issue with me on this one, I believe Lumen Gentium states that "together with us [Catholics] they [Muslims] adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day." It goes on to explicitly identify this God with Yahweh. Recognizing this fact does not seem to me to be at odds with the view that Muslims have a very distorted image of God. After all, so do Calvinists and any number of other Protestant sects but no one doubts that they worship Yahweh.

paul zummo said...

I don't know if this qualifies as a lie, though this might be one for the "pot meet kettle" category. From the comments section at Blosser's latest:

I don't think Ledeen the epitome of evil. I do think him a proven liar and a deeply dishonest man.

Trolly McBadpost said...

"Chris, there are a lot of Catholics who think that Allah is the exact same thing as Yahweh. Shea makes this point when he says that Maronite Christians use the world "Allah" in their liturgies. The fundamental difference, however, is that Muslims mean something quite different when they talk about Allah -- and it's not Yahweh."

Yes, but no one's conception of God is any more identical with God than is someone's conception of you identical with you. Less so, in fact, given what St. Thomas analogy of being tells us.

Anonymous said...

Joe sez...

Mark said on his blog today that he doesn't know whether or not we should try and win the war or get out. Torquemada05 has continuously said that Mark believes that we should get out.

I believe that Torquemada has continuously ascribed to Mark the opinion that we should get out. Should he (Torq) apologize?

Anonymous said...

Joe sez...

Sorry for the redundancy.

Victor said...

Paul quoted Shea:

I don't think Ledeen the epitome of evil. I do think him a proven liar and a deeply dishonest man.


I mean ... "Ledeen is an evil man," I could actually get behind, in principle, as something consonant with what Shea has said -- "he has advocated for X"; "X is evil," etc. (Leave aside the strength [sic] of the given case.)

But "liar"???? "Proven"????

Words. Fail. Me.

roger h. said...

But "liar"???? "Proven"????

The problem with Shea and his Mini-me's regarding Ledeen is that they misconstrue Ledeen's opposition to the military invasion of Iraq as a claim that he opposed waging a war at all. As illustrated here Ledeen was not against waging a war with Iraq. In light of the book he wrote in 2002, what Ledeen opposed was waging a war with Iraq in the manner that it was carried out by coalition forces in March 2003. Ledeen, it seems, would have preferred a more "behind the scenes" approach, like fomenting a palace coup.

Anonymous said...


Torquemada O5, the Protestants' view of God is infinitely closer to the Catholic view than the Muslim view. Unfortunately, the same Church officials who are so willing to appease Islam will not see this.

Regarding Lumen Gentium, I would love to know how much of it was influenced by the work of French historian Louis Massignion, who popularized the ideas of the Koran as a kind of biblical revelation and of Muslims as being among Abraham's spiritual children. I don't know; I'm simply asking.

Besancon, whom I alluded earlier, said this about Massignon in his Commentary piece:

"An entire literature favorable to Islam has grown up in Europe, much of it the work of Catholic priests under the sway of Massignon's ideas."

I wrote the following about Besancon's ideas in "How Will Rome Face Mecca?" for Front Page Magazine:

Islam rejects the doctrines of atonement and redemption that define Christianity and Judaism. Moreover, no concept of a covenant between God and humanity exists in Islam. Instead, Allah decrees his law "by means of a unilateral pact, in an act of sublime condescension (that) precludes any notion of imitating God as is urged in the Bible," Besancon wrote.

Islam also rejects the Christian doctrines of original sin and the necessity of mediation between God and humanity. In the Koran, Jesus "appears... out of place and out of time, without reference to the landscape of Israel," Besancon wrote.

Most importantly, Judeo-Christian and Muslim concepts of divinity revolve around one irreconcilable difference:

"Although Muslims like to enumerate the 99 names of God, missing from the list, but central to the Jewish and even more so to the Christian conception of God, is 'Father' - i.e., a personal god capable of a reciprocal and loving relation with men," Besancon wrote. "The one God of the Koran, the God Who demands submission is a distant God; to call him 'Father' would be an anthropomorphic sacrilege."

Steve Golay said...

Regarding the notion that Muslim's and Christian speak (pray) the same God-Talk. Bat Ye'or (as always) puts out a good summary: