Wednesday, August 17, 2022



The liberal media, as well as liberals in general, just don’t get it. They don’t understand why a significant number of Americans, almost half, believe President Trump’s re-election was stolen and not just from corruption at the polls, but how the media banned Trump, a sitting president, from social media like Facebook and Twitter, not to mention those who wrote in support of him. 

There indeed was a massive left wing conspiracy fought on multiple fronts to skew the election. Liz Cheney’s committee on January 6th is just another example of that, but geared toward 2024 as was and is the raid on the former president’s home.

Is he corrupt? You betcha and every politician in this country and what is currently happening. It is a train wreck in slow motion and God only knows where it will all end up.

But please note this New York Times condescending reporting on Republicans who are fighting back, regardless of President Trump and their adulation of him (and Church leaders might learn something from all of this and losing touch with rank and file Catholics who more and more are writing off the Church and her institutions):

Representative Liz Cheney’s martyr-like quest to stop Donald J. Trump has ensured her place in Republican Party history. But her lopsided defeat in Wyoming on Tuesday also exposed the remarkable degree to which the former president still controls the party’s present — and its near future.


TJM said...

She is an “elitist” and clearly out of touch with her constituency. A Hillary clone

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Self-Righteous Bravado" is hogwash.

And, yes, we DO understand why a significant number of Americans believe, in spite of ALL the evidence to the contrary, that the election was stolen from the former president. If you or any of your half-dozen or so regulars want to understand, although I doubt it, why there is so much fact-ignoring self-delusion, you can start with Richard Hofstadter's 1964 (NOTE the year) essay "The Paranoid Style of American Politics."

The media did not "ban" Trump. Just as you have rukes for posts here, the plaftorms that did not allow Trump to use them have rules, rules he arrogantly refused to follow. He got himself thrown off.

There was no "raid" on Mar-al-Lago and his passport was not "stolen" as he claimed.

John said...

The passports were taken illegally. When the lawless act commited by the FBI was exposed by Mr. Trump, the FBI sheepishly returned them. Passports are usually confiscated to prevent their owners from leaving the country. Even you, Fr. K, cannot believe that the ex-president was going to try to escape. Where would he go? Do not say: Russia!

Interestingly, the passport incident also indicates the mindset at the Justice Department, that Mr. Trump was guilty of something. The FBI's job was simply to make sure there is something in those boxes to convict Mr Trump. If they find nothing what is to prevent them from "finding" something anyway. At least Mr. Trump is convinced that the Democrat machine is not above such shenanigans. You cannot blame him for believing this because the FBI had tried to do just this previously.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John - The former president is, without question, a flight risk. He has money, he has motivation.

Trump said the FBI, "..stole my three Passports (one expired), along with everything else."
Nothing was stolen, unless you think that federal agents with search warrants are "stealing" when they take evidence or other goods from a location they are legally empowered to enter and search.

OBVIOUSLY the DOJ thinks they former president is "guilty of something." If anyone is just coming to this realization, then they have not been paying attention.

If the former president had not taken "those boxes" with something in them, there's have been no need to search them.

And if you think that, "If they did this to a former president then they might do this to me," then I would suggest you don't take top secret documents home with you when you lose your job as a government employee.

TJM said...

Yet our resident Democrat operative masquerading as a Catholic priests ignores that Hillary Clinton did far worse things from destroying the hard drive on her computer and operating a “pay to play” foundation. We have a two tier “justice system” now, one for Dems and another for Republicans. Fortunately we have Democrat constitutional scholars like Dershowitz and Turley who agree with me and not the leftist cleric always coming to the defense of the Party of Death.

Mark said...

I agree, of course, about the general corruption of our politics and of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Beyond that, I will leave it to Father Kavanaugh to attempt to dismantle the edifice of lies and misconceptions propagated by Trump and his allies. As for Liz Cheney, doubtless she has political ambitions that her principled stand will help further, but I have little doubt that she is sincere and principled (just as Rusty Bowers and some of the other conservatives and Republicans who testified against Trump before the January 6 Select Committee were sincere and principled in their testimony when challenging Trump’s Big Lie). She—and they—have my admiration for their moral, and indeed physical, courage and give me hope that perhaps all is not lost for our Republic after all.

By the way, TJM, speaking of sincerity and principle, I notice that at the weekend Alan Dershowitz praised Biden’s record as a “moderate” and was quite critical of Trump, much to the chagrin of the Fox News host (looks like the Fox wolf is going after the straying sheep as he attempts to leave the fold for Martha's Vineyard):

TJM said...


I understand you have to maintain your creds with the faculty set but you are dead wrong. Biden a moderate? Trying to destroy working class livelihoods in his war on fossil fuels, allowing illegal aliens to flood the US, while the Democrat mayors of DC and New York rage against Republican governors calling their bluff, desiring to overturn the Dobbs decision, and promoting transgenderism by denying school lunches to States who won’t acquiesce. Do you think, at all?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...


Your political analysis skills, Good Father, are sorely lacking.

The "Nation" doesn't elect Members of Congress. They are chosen by the electors in the districts where they serve.

Wyoming has ONE congressional district.

That ONE district is not "almost equally divided by Republicans and Democrats." It is 69.87% Republican.

Hence, that a Republican candidate should recieve the lion's share of the vote in that district is hardly a landslide. Heck, it's not even a pebble rolling down the hill in Richmond Hill. Since 1980 that district has been represented by a Republican. Since 1890, the district has had 24 Representatives, 17 of them have been Republicans.

TJM said...


Ah, the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" approach. Nice that you like the Cheneys aka warmongers all of a sudden. The Big Lie is that this was an insurrection. I would call the BLM riots where billions in homes and businesses were destroyed an insurrection. It is rarely reported that Pelosi and the Capital Police turned down President Trump's offer of the national guard and that the Capital Police OPENED the doors to let the protestors in.

Here is what Jonathan Turley had to say about the January 6th Committee's modus operandi:

"JONATHAN TURLEY: That's one of the problems that the Democrats are going to have to confront. Not just that most people have moved on. They got to the condemnation stage two years ago. So they're trying, as The New York Times said, to reframe their argument for the midterm elections. The Times was referring to Democrats telling them that. But the question is, will it work? Because unlike other commissions and committees historically, this one doesn't have any other side. So even with like Pearl Harbor, with Watergate, with our wars during the Bush administration, it was all bipartisan. And sure, that makes for a messy scene, that makes for people pushing back, but it also gives it an authenticity that was entirely missing yesterday. The fact that they edited quotes like that, just really was quite glaring, you're not even trying to look like this is any type of true investigatory proceeding."

Father K is conveniently ignoring that the Biden administration is not protecting Catholic Churches, Supreme Court Justices nor pregnancy counseling centers from attacks following the Dodd decision nor has his DOJ prosecuted any of the perpetrators. I would think a Catholic priest would be demanding protection for them.

If Dershowitz called Biden a "moderate" that is where I part company with him. A moderate does not attempt to punish schools by withholding lunch money intended for children because they will not push the LGBT agenda, or declaring war on the fossil fuel industry thus driving up the cost of oil and gas which harms the little guy, the ones the Dems claim to love, or demanding that the Dodd decision be overturned (even though Biden when he still had a few brain cells left early in his career pushed for a Constitutional Amendment which would have achieved the same result as Dodd).

rcg said...

Classified documents of any level may be declassified by The President. If they are not then they may be retained with permission of the controlling authority for that document who may specify how they must be stored and handled. If those requirements can’t be met, then the controlling authority should ask that they be returned. I do not know if any of that was done before calling for the raid.

The public is largely ignorant of handling classified material and can be manipulated by misinformation. It is disappointing to see the government clamour about classified material when the handling is easy to explain and the exceptions are legion with similar situations a daily occurrence. The event seems to be selective and politically driven.

It bears a disturbing similarity to how the previous presidential election was handled because the rules and methods are easy to explain, but explanation was avoided. The same goes for the riots in The Capitol Building which was political theater to delay a procedural activity but is being exaggerated to justify the murder of an unarmed woman.

The government owes better explanation and far better restraint to the people. In this way it is a secular twin to the hierarchy of the Church.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

rcg - The proper authorities asked repeatedly for the return of the purloined papers. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) asked in May of 2021 that the papers be returned. There was no return of papers.

In the fall of 2021, lawyers from NARA again contacted lawyers for Trump asking for the return of the material. They did not receive the material.

In January 2022 15 boxes were returned, including some pages that had been torn up. Still, material was missing.

In February 2022 NARA asked the Justice Department to investigate/intervene. In April and May Trump aides were interviewed.

In June 2022 four investigators met with Trump lawyers to ascertain the whereabouts of the materials and seek their return.

And on and on and on until, having NOT received the papers as required by law, the material was retrieved under federal subpoena.

As for declassification of documents, this is a multi-step process involving those individuals and agencies affected. There is to date no evidence that any such process was followed. A president can't just say "This is declassified."

Ashli Babbit was not murdered. She, along with hundreds of others, were involved in a violent attack on the US Capitol in an effort to prevent the certified Electoral College Ballots from being counted. In attempting to break down a door that would have given the rioters access to the House Chamber, she was shot by a member of the US Capitol police.

She played a stupid game and she won a stupid prize.

Jerome Merwick said...

As soon as I read your headline Father, I knew you would draw out all the "experts" to beat that old dead horse one more time in their little echo chambers.

No thanks.

rcg said...

Requests are made and date exchanges are often slow at that level. Several past presidents have had the same requests and replies without the dramatic response from the government. Even damaged or missing data.

The woman murdered in the Capitol was breaking a law that does not have a death penalty. That event was preceded by several months of violence with greater destruction and personal injury, that was used to justify further violence. Yet this one person deserves the death penalty for threatening to make politicians late for an appointment. There is no effort to excuse what was done by rioters but the government is *required* to operate above the conflict, even and especially when it is one of their own involved.

monkmcg said...

Seems like everyone wants to argue the political angle. I'd rather hear from those who still trust that the hierarchy in the Church is still primarily concerned with helping souls get to Heaven. The vast majority of self-identified Catholics have either stopped practicing the faith altogether or have stopped believing in core aspects of it. Meanwhile the Pope talks about climate change and the US bishops tolerate or promote active homosexual clergy.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

rcg - Ashli Babbitt was not murdered and bringing the death penalty up is not germane. She was shot because she was attempting to break through a barricaded door inside the US Capitol in order to obstruct the counting of Electoral College votes, votes that were certified by 50 states, 29 of them run by Republicans.

"Making politicians late for an appointment" is a gross misrepresentation of the rioters' actions.

I don't know where you get the notion that "the government is *required* to operate above the conflict." The officer who shot Babbitt was acting in 1) self-defense and 2) in defense of the actions of the government of the United States. He was doing his job when copnfronted with a mob that threatened him and everyone in the House Chamber. I suspect that if a few more officers had used their weapons to repel rioters that day, not necessarily killing anyone, things would not have gotten so completely out of hand.

Mark said...


Although you were slipping and reverting again in your first reply to me, with your snide remarks about my faculty and asking whether I think at all, at least in your second reply you seem to have finally realized that I never said Biden was a moderate. I said Dershowitz said Biden was a moderate. I have no interest whatsoever in discussing whether Biden is, or is not, a moderate as such discussion promises to be completely fruitless and futile.

What is not fruitless and futile is to point out how Dershowitz appears to be a self-promoting opportunist who bends as the wind blows. You should be suspicious of those legal academics such as Dershowitz and Turley (or, for good measure, Tribe), who constantly seek the limelight. Such people_can_be genuine, but their apparent constant need for attention is at least a red flag suggesting that their opinions might be untrustworthy and calculated, if only subconsciously, to pander to a particular audience (and, of course, to sell as many copies of their books as possible).

Call me a cynic, if you want, or at least someone who does not appreciate the role of the public intellectual in our media saturated society, but for various reasons (the above included, as well as the fact that the media invariably get it wrong), I have told my law school not to include me on any “experts” list of faculty members whom the media may consult for comments on events of the day.

By the way, the reason I have referred to my own book on this Blog is to provide context for my comments here, so that you and other readers may better understand where I am “coming from.” As I hope you are realizing, it is not at all from where you have previously thought or from where you might otherwise expect, and that when I say I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican, I really mean it. Now, if you want to have a conversation with me on that understanding, I am happy to do so, but not otherwise. So, no more snide remarks please.

Mark said...


Regarding the Cheneys, there is no inconsistency in admiring someone’s character while disagreeing with the policies they advocate. Moreover, I restricted my admiration to Liz Cheney (saying nothing about her father) as well Rusty Bowers (with whom I am sure I would also likely disagree on several matters) and other witnesses who testified against the Big Lie.

Perhaps it is symptomatic of the parlous state of our politics that some seem unable to make these sorts of distinctions and that so often character seems to follow politics, as in the case of all those craven Republicans who reportedly cannot stand Trump and wish he would go away, but who dare not challenge the Big Lie because they are afraid of him and the power he has over the Base. For such politicians, it seems, political ambition and a cushy job trump principle (pun intended). Sad!

Mark said...


I understand your frustration with the talk about politics. But for me politics is relevant to spirituality for several different reasons, not the least of which, in the present context, is that honesty and integrity matter. Does that make sense?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Mark - I would add that politics should be relevant to all of us since it is the process by which we order our lives together. If I want to end disorder in my society, I must act politically. If I want to seek justice for all, I must work through the political process. If I want to protect the environment, using the political process is a good way to go. If I seek to overturn unjust laws, I must be politically active.

That politics is "dirty" or politicians "corrupt" is, it seems to me, an inadequate excuse for giving up. When has it ever been otherwise?

Mark said...

Father Kavanaugh:

I agree completely. Doubtless like you, I would follow Aristotle and St. Thomas, rather than St. Augustine, on the necessity and nature of politics. I would only add that I think we can do better than we are doing at the present time in seeking justice and the common good. Therefore, to the extent we can improve our politics, especially by improving the quality of our political conversation and political leaders, we should strive to do so. This calls for us to exhibit the better angels of our nature, not the worse. On the other hand, we can, of course, hope for no more than the “best practicable” government and not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. But the higher we aim, the more likely we are to reach this goal.

Perhaps many turn to people like Trump because they sense that our current system is seriously broken and more corrupted than it could, or should, be. In some cases, this means “lashing out” in anger. Being extremely corrupt himself, however, and all too willing to capitalize on such sentiments for his own selfish purposes, Trump is most assuredly not the cure, but is symptomatic of the disease and part of the problem.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Contextualizing... Robert Hofstadter's "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" describes this "style" as being part of the political warp and weft of the United States for at least 150 years. (I read the whole essay at Now it wants me to subscribe to access the full article, Maybe if you read it on your first look, it won't stop you.)

There's a follow-up - "The Paranoid Style: Rereading Rishard Hofstadter in the AFtermath of January 6" by Brad Parten. It can be found at

Both offer some comfort in that they remind us that this mess is not unique in our generation. Both also offer a challenge - how are we going to get beyond (maybe survive) the present moment.

Mark said...

Father Kavanaugh:

Thank you for the reference to the Hofstadter essay, which (given your warning about a paywall after the first reading), I look forward to reading when I can devote the time to doing so in one sitting. I have, however, now read the follow-up piece by Parten.

In addition, although I have only scanned it and although much of it consists of statistical analysis, the following recent study promises to be quite illuminating too:

As for hope for the future, all this confirms me in thinking that I might be on the right track in my own Chapter 8, beginning with Jack Sammons' phenomenological account of an ideal grassroots political conversation, which--we would perhaps say through grace--may morph into one focused on Thomistic Aristotelianism -:)