Monday, December 11, 2006

I know I've been away for a little while ...

And I would like to start by seconding everything Victor said about the late Ambassador Kirkpatrick.

I've been traveling (and wouldn't you like to know where) and I come back to read the following. Once again quoting Buchanan (apparently opposition to the war gives him a pass on this as Tom Connelly noted) and Larison, Mark sees it as yet a reason to agree with the following comment:
Everybody in the whole world (except the Anglophone centre and right) predicted disaster, more-or-less of the kind that occurred. Hippies did. Gaullists did. Andean peasants, Buchananite reactionaries, John Paul II, Al Gore, the career US military, pulp novelists, realist IR professors and pissy arts students all saw this one coming. I know it’s kind of embarrassing for the English-speaking right to admit that they didn’t have the foreign policy chops of the Berkeley Women Studies’ department, but them’s the facts.

That may be a nice theory, but it's also counterfactual. As Niall Ferguson has noted on more than one occasion, even if the neocons were completely wrong in all their works that doesn't make the anti-war crowd right. Now I know that Mark is aware of this because he linked approvingly to a Ross Douthat blog on First Things in which he writes the following:
It was critiqued, of course, but mainly by left-wing shouters like the “poets against the war,” and, what seem in hindsight like the best arguments against the invasion—the conservative arguments against it—were often conspicuous in their absence. One of the great virtues of the conservative movement has been its willingness to encourage debate within its own ranks, and on the question of invading Iraq—the most momentous question, so far, of the post–September 11 era—I think the movement didn’t live up to those standards, and we’re all the worse for it.

So much for consistency, I guess. Either everybody was for the war or everybody was against it (a far better characterization would be that most of America was for the war and most of Western Europe and the Davos crowd was against it), take your pick on this one. As to his quotation from the Catechism, I would note that the Vatican whose recommendations he is now castigating anyone who still supports the invasion now holds that the reconstruction of Iraq holds that religious and political leaders should support Iraq's reconstruction, an event that will most assuredly not be served by reverting to the isolationism so enjoyed by his paleocon and anti-war buddies. I'm going to keep pointing out the Vatican's current view on the subject as long as he keeps using its stance from 2003 as a convenient rhetorical club.

He then tries in a very bad attempt at parody to mimic our views on torture with regard to human sacrifice, which given that our views are identical to those of Jimmy Akin and Dave Armstrong (as he would learn if he ever read what we wrote here for content) once again illustrates that while all animals may be equal, but some are more equal than others.

As a way of explanation in the combox, he explains his behavior in the following terms:
I could take the tender feelings of the Coalition more seriously if the blog were not filled to bursting with personal insults and profanity directed my way (though I'm happy to report that they draw the line at fat jokes and dogmatic declarations of my Nazi sympathies), as well as Star Chamber investigations of guys like Mr. Comerford. If the parallel between the Maya scholar and the linguistic acrobatics of the Coalition causes discomfort, don't blame me for pointing it out.

First of all, I really don't think you want to cry outrage at personal insults being injected into the debate at this point given the number you sent our way long before this site was set up. Not that we really mind, but you called the tune and now it's time to pay the piper. I understand that Jimmy Akin wants the insults removed from the debate and I'm okay with that, but we're more than happy to dance as soon as Mark names the tune. Additionally, both the fat jokes and the claims that Mark would have been a Nazi came out in the comments and were promptly dealt with as soon as myself or Victor expressed our disapproval. Judging from some of the loonies that have popped up at CAEI over the last several years, one would think Mark would sympathize.

As for the Richard Comerford thing, Mark characterizes it as:
Ah well. If it's *only* Mr. Comerford, then I guess a Combox Star Chamber is just fine. Pay no attention to Mr. Connelly, who was rightly repulsed by this little conclave of character assassins digging for whatever dirt they could find. Keep defending it. Nothing disturbing about that at all. Comerford is clearly an Enemy of the State and must be destroyed. The Coalition is a force for righteousness.

... See. The thing is Mr. Comerford isn't, like, guilty of doing anything except saying "Torture is a bad thing" in some comboxes So I'm unclear as to what necessity there is in self-appointed Inquisitors like the Coalition to be searching for dirt on him. I'm sure the Coalition would all love to have their histories equally well-researched, gossiped and speculated about, but for some reason, they've neglected to do this service for themselves.

But do keep pettifogging and making excuses for this repellent behavior. It just makes my point about the Coalition all the more clear.

First of all, I understand Mark's point about this "investigation," as I don't like cyber-stalking on general principles for a variety of reasons. And if Comerford were making the same types of arguments that Mark or Zippy do, that would be fine. While I am extremely leery of anyone engaging in digging up personal dirt online, I am even more leery of buying into appeals to authority on as complicated as those that Mark has raised and he has repeatedly invoked Comerford as such in these debates. The ironic thing is that he then proceeds to get furious when we dare to question his view of Veritas Splendor.


Frank Sales said...

Mark is plainly furious so I won't bother addressing his incoherent ramblings except for one point. Comerford invited all and sundry to look up his case online, gave the cite, and proudly advised that it was the thickest file in the courthouse. How is taking RWC up on his offer any kind of "investigation"?

Christopher Fotos said...

Mark has been defaming people for at least a good couple of years now. That's become his niche--not Mary, not defending the Magisterium or Benedict and John Paul, not researching and honestly recounting Church history. Defamation, punctuated by occasional semi-apologies, followed by slander and abuse. I guess it's a living, though one that's become harmful to the reputation of Catholicism.

But given his long-established pattern of abuse, his criticism of CFF as some kind of provocation is shall we say creative.

As for predictions about the war, this is just an old conceit, well-trodden at the intersection of the left and the paleoright. Mark and Pat and their friends do not for some reason recall all the antiwar predictions that didn't come true. These include massive environmental damage, refugees on an historic and catastrophic scale, and tens if not hundreds of thousands of U.S. military deaths.

Well, let no fact slow Mark down. And they don't.

Anonymous said...


You know, Mark's talk about the CFF engaging in "Star Chamber" proceedings and digging up dirt on those who disagree would be too precious if it weren't so blatantly dishonest.

For nearly four years, Mark engaged in an obsessive, one-man, search-and-destroy mission against yours truly. Why? Because I had the audacity to question his views vigorously and, all too often, rudely. Nevertheless, Mark's campaign of harassment took the form of 1)Trying to start a campaign to prevent Front Page Magazine -- which is not a Catholic outlet -- from publishing anything I write 2)trying to get me banned from every Catholic blog he could influence 3)imposing himself on every conversation in which I was engaged 4)attacking me with non sequiturs that had nothing to do with the subjects I was addressing so he could draw me into flame wars that would get me banned.

Don't believe me. Believe Victor Morton, who wrote the following on Dale Price's blog more than two years ago:

I swore I would never again acknowledge Mr. Shea's existence, but this thread is a perfect example of why Joseph is right that he 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 stalkign siren. And Joseph is right to protest it.

As for the 'I merely posted it' defense of the Front Page letter, give thou me a break. Yes, you did just print the letter, and followed it with this comment, after which I will sign off. Read them and see if this defense would be any more convincing coming from the king's musings about Thomas a Becket:

I am still waiting for a public apology from Mark for his public misfeasant behavior.

Phillip said...

I disagree with your points about the "investigation" though I would contend that it was not even an investigation. Mr. Comerford cited a case in support of his credentials. This case was publicly available and was reviewed. No violation of privacy nor breach of trust was committed.

Mark has unfortunately on five separate occasions listed Mr. Comerford as an expert to support his arguments. These arguments also include this:

"Richard gives me great hope. One of the weirdest things about this episode is the curious notion that Jimmy, or I, or Zippy, or Cardinal Dulles, or Fr. Harrison occupy some sort of quasi-magisterial role. Check the comboxes on Jimmy's blog. Guys like Jeff approach Jimmy's argument with an astonishing attitude of "Iacobus locuta est. Causa finita est." People who agree with me have sometimes done the same thing with me on this and other issues. That's bad, because we are not the Magisterium and people shouldn't treat us as though we are.

However, beyond that, we are members of the Body of Christ, and as such have an obligation to further its mission."

Of course we all have a role in advancing the mission of the Church. Additionally, some like Mark have made this role public. Taking on such a role makes the obligation to ensure the sources quoted as authorities truly are.

Unfortunately for Mr. Comerford, the case cited by him does not support most of the claims he has made on Mark's and other's blogs. It further cast serious doubts about his authority on torture or issues related to the special forces.

Finally, as a veteran myself, I find it offensive for someone to make claims of his military service which have little or no basis in fact. This is dishonorable and far from meritorious. To consistently do so in a public forum is at a minimum disgraceful. To taunt others to exam a public record which exposes such actions is arrogant at least.

Mark may rant away, but he is running from a very contemptible error that is in no way Christian nor does it honor the Body of Christ.

Steve Golay said...

I became Shea-banned after I mocked his smart-ass twisting of Joe's name into D'HIPPOLITOLIZATION: suppose, as a tag for a way of argumenting he finds especially revolting, or something like that.

I turned the trick onto him by asking his little community how one would define SHEAIFICATION.

How would you?

Guess that was a bit nasty of me - but, oh well, if you can't stand the heat don't (so on and so on).

Anonymous said...


I've noticed that this week is Mark Shea's Quarterly Catholic And Enjoying It! Pledge Drive. Show your contempt for Shea not only by refusing to buy his wares, but also by telling other people not to buy them until he stops acting like a bully.

torquemada05 said...

I had forgotten about the whole special forces claims in everything else. I think it goes without saying that if he is claiming service he didn't do (somebody want to bring me up to speed on the particulars) then it's fair game to note that.

Phillip said...

Provide your email and I will send the court documents.

torquemada05 said...

I don't have the time (or the interest, to put it quite honestly) to read through court documents with my current workload. Care to make a quick summary?

Phillip said...

Commerford's case is seeking credit for time served to reach 20 years for military retirement. In the documents it shows he served 9 years in the regular army and 10 in the Mass. National Guard. He was seeking time credited when he was disabled. The disabling conditions reported are stomach ailments which one Doc called reflux remedied with over the counter meds.
There was an eventual agreement that Comerford would be assessed at a Coast Guard facility (this after missing several other scheduled appts at other facilities). While at the Coast Guard facility he argued with the doc. claiming fraud and abuse and after two hours was escorted from the base after the doc became afraid of his behavior.

Comerford's case was eventually dismissed but I think if you go above to the Pinochet exchange you see some of what was concerning. There are other things in the documents that support concerns.