Support This Website! Shop Here!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Jail vs. Execution

The Bernie Sanders crowd is sending around a meme that looks like this:



While it is true that we incarcerate more people than China (2.2 million vs. 1.7 million) while having only one-fourth China's population, the meme fails to account for executions. Let's compare the execution rate for all the countries in the world that still perform executions (three columns on the right) versus the incarceration rate for all the countries in the world that still perform executions (two columns on the left). Both data sets are sorted highest to lowest:

Country Total executed (Min) Per Million Jail rate Country
(2014)[4] People (2014) (inmates per 100,000 pop)
 Equatorial Guinea 9 11.567 ????  Somalia
 Iran 289+ 3.707 ????  Palestine
 Saudi Arabia 90+ 2.925 698  United States
 North Korea 50+ 2.079 600  North Korea
 Iraq 61+ 1.701 306  Belarus
 Jordan 11 1.665 290  Iran
 Somalia 14+ 1.309 269  Taiwan
 Yemen 22+ 0.881 229  United Arab Emirates
 China 1,000+ 0.7 220  Singapore
 Sudan 23+ 0.593 164  China
 Palestine 2+ 0.44 161  Saudi Arabia
 Singapore 2 0.366 161  Malaysia
 Belarus 3+ 0.317 154  Vietnam
 Taiwan 5 0.213 150  Jordan
 Afghanistan 6 0.192 133  Iraq
 Egypt 15+ 0.173 132  Equatorial Guinea
 United States 35 0.11 76  Egypt
 United Arab Emirates 1 0.106 74  Afghanistan
 Malaysia 2+ 0.066 53  Yemen
 Pakistan 7 0.038 50  Sudan
 Vietnam 3+ 0.033 49  Japan
 Japan 3 0.024 43  Pakistan

As can quickly be seen, Equitorial Guinea has the highest execution rate, at 11.567 per million, while the US has the highest incarceration rate, at 698 per 100,000.

But, in terms of execution rates, the US is at a paltry 0.11 persons executed per million, while the Chinese execute seven times as many at 0.7 per million. 

Only Japan and Pakistan have both low incarceration and low execution rates. Most of the remaining countries balance being high on one list with being low on the other list. Equitorial Guinea, for example, has a very high execution rate, but a relatively low incarceration rate. 

So, we could reduce the incarceration rate the same way China does - we could execute many of our criminals. I'm not at all a fan of capital punishment, and the solution seems ridiculous to me. Worse, I somehow suspect that solution will not satisfy Bernie supporters.

If Bernie really wanted to make the United States look bad, he should compare our incarceration and execution rates to that of Pakistan. Pakistan - perceived by most Americans as a backwater, violent Muslim nation - is low on both lists. On the other hand, we don't have Pakistan's mob violence or murder rate. Pakistan's murder rate, for instance, is 7.7 per 100,000, while America's is only 3.3 per 100,000. If we cut out the 6% of  the US population that commit half the murders in America, America's murder rate would be around 1.6, very low indeed.

But, that having been said, the incarceration rate is something to be concerned about. If America is the land of justice, that is, if most American prisoners really belong in prison, then Americans really aren't very nice people. On the other hand, if Americans really are essentially nice people, then we have a serious problem with our justice system. If nothing else, we should contemplate the fact that, when it comes to capital punishment, we are on a rather short list of nations, and most of the other nations on that list are not very nice.

Bernie's meme may be somewhat misleading, but refuting it is not as pleasant as one would hope.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Trump: Put Up or Shut Up

Trump supporters really have no basis to be concerned about the upcoming Republican convention. If their man is as good as he represents, he can walk in with 100 delegates, but still walk out with the nomination.

Of course, if he walks in with 1200 delegates and does not get the nomination, we know the reason: Trump is not the negotiator he pretends to be. He is a fraud.

So, let's not hear any cries of "theft!" from Trump supporters.
Trump has a chance to put up or shut up.
My bet is he does neither.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Illegals and The Unionized States of America

It is often said that illegal immigrants take jobs from Americans. The assertion is laughable. Let me demonstrate.

Assume an employer has contracted with a union to employ only union labor. Over time, the employer decides to find cheaper labor and brings in non-union workers. Now, in reference to the agreement the employer has with the union, the non-union workers are illegals. But, from the non-union workers point of view, they have not violated any agreement. They aren't part of the union, they haven't violated any contract because they are not under contract with anyone. The employer has violated his contract, but the scab labor, the "illegal" labor, has not.

Union leaders often characterize the "illegals" in this situation as having taken jobs, but they haven't taken anything. They didn't force the employer to hire them. They simply took a job that was offered. What was the last job anyone "took" from an employer? Can someone walk in with a gun and force The Man to hire him? Can I seriously threaten a prospective employer with car-jacking if I don't get the position or don't get my paycheck? Does anyone get a job by zip-tying a prospective employer during the interview and savagely beating him down to the ground until the position is attained? Do we actually think that's what illegals are doing? Are they "taking" the job from the employer?

How do these illegals even get jobs? Employers give them jobs. Period. We act as if America is really just one big union shop, where everyone has to have the union card before being allowed to work here. But is that what America stands for? Seriously? Even when it comes to government welfare, the situation is not significantly different. Government pays farmers to keep fields lying fallow. Government pays workers not to work. We call it "welfare". Government offers the job, hands out the money. Half of the Mexican population lives below the poverty line. When your kids are hungry, what kind of fool would turn down free money?

Conservatives like to decry union violence. How are Americans who try to stop illegals from getting jobs any different from the union thugs who prevent men and women from crossing picket lines to feed their families? Are the same conservatives who endlessly complain about the shortcomings of the "blue model" and the unions now seriously going to treat illegals as if they were scab labor in the Unionized States of America? Yet, isn't that precisely our beef against things like the perfectly legal H-1B visa? Doesn't the H-1B feel like the employer is bringing in scab labor?

We need to stop saying illegal immigrants take American jobs.
Quite obviously, that statement is completely erroneous.
American employers take those jobs ... and give those jobs to whomever they please. American hiring practices are 100% of the problem. But, once you acknowledge that, you simultaneously acknowledge that your beef isn't with the illegal immigrant at all. Your beef is with the American employer.

The point is, the employment of illegals is not up to illegals.
American business leaders are the ones who supplant American workers.
Illegals literally have no control over that.

So, if you don't like seeing illegals working for a living in these United States, take it to the employer and leave the illegal out of it. The illegal doesn't control who hires him OR who pays him. He's just trying to win the lotto, same as anyone else. He can't even get a ticket (a job) unless an American employer, whether government welfare officer or private industrialist, gives it to him.

Ask yourself: why it is that so many of us adhere to the same script when it comes to illegals and jobs? Why do we suddenly become the voice defending American Big Business? Trump and his friends trained us to do this, they taught us to attack each other. We compete for jobs against each other. How many times have we had to roll over and beg just to keep our paychecks? In that respect, in the respect that we hold jobs at the mercy of our employers, are we any different than the illegals?

Regardless of our citizenship, it is you and I who go down into that mine and dig out that coal at the risk of our own lives so the employer can live in the mansion on the hill. If you honestly think Trump and his friends are going to change the way they work to please either the citizen worker or the illegal, if you really think they don't enjoy watching us attack each other, don't enjoy busting up our quasi-union, then we will get what every union miner ever got from union management - the shaft.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Immigration Up, Crime Down

Image 1



Image 2




UPDATE:

I didn't know about this 2015 WSJ article that says exactly the same thing. Great minds think alike.

From "US Homicide Rate at 51-Year Low": "...cities and counties that border Mexico tend to have much, much lower homicide rates. The city of El Paso Texas, for example, which is of course within the jurisdiction of Texas's lax gun laws, has one of the lowest homicide rates in the world, at a mere 0.6 per 100,000 (as of 2012). El Paso has long been considered to be one of the safest cities in North America (and one of the most Hispanic cities, as well)."
"According to geographic data, actually, it appears that in New York, immigration may have even reduced crime, or at least correlated with lower crime rates. As explained by Chrissie Long, a graduate student at the Harvard Kennedy School, the study found that “immigration actually appears to have a protective effect on crime,” as the presence of immigrants in New York neighborhoods “often means decreased crime rates.
As for specifically Latino immigration, a major factor in the national immigration debate and for Southern border states, Long notes that it had almost no “net effect” on total crime, and “Latino immigration is correlated with slightly less violence.” That finding matches other national surveys. A study of several American cities from 1990 to 2000 found the places with largest spike in immigration also had the “largest decreases in homicide and robbery during the same time period.” 
 The facts are clear, but the public is ignorant of the facts:
They might start by pointing out that numerous studies going back more than a century have shown that immigrants—regardless of nationality or legal status—are less likely than the native population to commit violent crimes or to be incarcerated. A new report from the Immigration Policy Center notes that while the illegal immigrant population in the U.S. more than tripled between 1990 and 2013 to more than 11.2 million, “FBI data indicate that the violent crime rate declined 48%—which included falling rates of aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and murder. Likewise, the property crime rate fell 41%, including declining rates of motor vehicle theft, larceny/robbery, and burglary.”

Falsely Crying Rape

False rape reports account for 17% of all sex assault accusations in the military:
In 2012, there were 2,661 completed investigations, meaning that the 444 false complaints accounted for about 17 percent of all closed cases last year. False reports accounted for about 13 percent of closed cases in 2009.

Half of all rape accusations are false:
In a follow-up study of rape claims filed over a three-year period at two large Midwestern universities, Kanin found that of 64 rape cases, 50% turned out to be false.4 Among the false charges, 53% of the women admitted they filed the false claim as an alibi.

How many reported rapes are false?
Here's what we do know: The 2 percent number is very bad and should never be cited. It apparently traces its lineage back to Susan Brownmiller's legendary "Against Our Will," and her citation for this figure is a single speech by an appellate judge before a small group of lawyers. His source for this statistic was a single area of New York that started having policewomen conduct all rape interviews. This is not data. It is an anecdote about an anecdote.
The 41 percent number beloved of men's-rights activists is better; it involves a peer-reviewed study by Eugene Kanin 

False rape reports
At whatever rate such cases occur, they should not be dismissed as statistical blips: These lies can have tragic results. Two years ago former California high school football star Brian Banks, who had spent five years in prison for raping his classmate Wanetta Gibson, was exonerated after Gibson contacted him to apologize and admitted making up the attack. In 2009, New Yorker William McCaffrey was released after serving four years of a 20-year prison sentence for a rape his friend Biurny Peguero had made up to explain her injuries from a fight with several women. In 2012 a Michigan man, James Grissom, was freed after nearly 10 years in prison when the woman who accused him, Sara Ylen, was caught making another false allegation (and faking cancer to bilk money from insurance companies and sympathetic donors). Even without a wrongful conviction, the consequences of a false accusation can be devastating—from a terrifying middle-of-the-night arrest to lengthy pretrial detention.


New York DA Admits Half of Rape Claims are False
That false allegations are a major problem has been confirmed by several prominent prosecutors, including Linda Fairstein, who heads the New York County District Attorney's Sex Crimes Unit. Fairstein, the author of Sexual Violence: Our War Against Rape, says, "there are about 4,000 reports of rape each year in Manhattan. Of these, about half simply did not happen."
Craig Silverman, a former Colorado prosecutor known for his zealous prosecution of rapists during his 16-year career, says that false rape accusations occur with "scary frequency." As a regular commentator on the Bryant trial for Denver's ABC affiliate, Silverman noted that "any honest veteran sex assault investigator will tell you that rape is one of the most falsely reported crimes." According to Silverman, a Denver sex-assault unit commander estimates that nearly half of all reported rape claims are false.

Idaho Sheriff Indicates Many "Rapes" Are Actually Consensual
“The majority of our rapes – not to say that we don’t have rapes, we do – but the majority of our rapes that are called in are actually consensual sex.”
Facing  Polygraphs, 27% of "Rape" Victims Admitted to Having Lied
Charles P. McDowell, a researcher in the United States Air Force Special Studies Division, studied the 1,218 reports of rape that were made between 1980 and 1984 on Air Force bases throughout the world (McDowell, 1985). Of those, 460 were found to be "proven" allegations either because the "overwhelming preponderance of the evidence" strongly supported the allegation or because there was a conviction in the case. Another 212 of the total reports were found to be "disproved" as the alleged victim convincingly admitted the complaint was a "hoax" at some point during the initial investigation. The researchers then investigated the 546 remaining or "unresolved" rape allegations including having the accusers submit to a polygraph. Twenty-seven percent (27%) of these complainants admitted they had fabricated their accusation just before taking the polygraph or right after they failed the test. (It should be noted that whenever there was any doubt, the unresolved case was re-classified as a "proven" rape.) Combining this 27% with the initial 212 "disproved" cases, it was determined that approximately 45% of the total rape allegations were false.
In fact, only 2% of rape accusations are true:
That's why rape shield laws exist. They're meant to protect victims, but it's now becoming clear that the "victim" in many accusations is actually the accused. Activists often claim that the number of false accusations is between 2 percent and 10 percent. But these statistics refer only to accusations that are proven false. An equally small number of cases result in convictions, so following the same logic, we should also be claiming that just 2 percent of rape accusations are true.
Characteristics of a False Rape Report
Therefore, if you were going to file a false report of sexual assault, you would probably describe a sexual assault that looks like the stereotype of “real rape” that we have discussed at such length throughout this article. For this reason, it is not surprising that the potential indicators of a false report are actually the same as the stereotypic characteristics of “real rape.” 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Time for a Constitutional Convention

"...While it is rioting in rapine and insolence, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world; because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Proposition: If the electorate produces a Clinton-Trump matchup, we will have conclusively demonstrated the Constitution is wholly inadequate to govern us.

Thus, it is only right and proper to call a Constitutional Convention, because we are no longer worthy of the original document. We must take on an oligarchy, an aristocracy, socialism, communism, or some other form of government better suited to the wretches that we have become.

When SCOTUS legalized contraception and abortion and the country largely accepted the judgement, the adult electorate had already shown the United States was an empty husk. At this point (2016), we're just catching rocks that bounce about in the rubble.

If we were to take Weigel's analysis, none of us are the priest - all of us are, at best, the wife, who took years to figure out what the priest knew immediately.

I have been pointing out for years now (see here, here, here, here) that Vatican II is not the cause of anything, rather, the post-VCII age is the symptom of the yawning catechetical gap that existed prior to VC II. VC II just revealed us for what we really were, that's all. In that sense, VC II got it right decades before Trump made it clear to the American voter - we are an empty shell.

Discuss.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

When the White Knight Triumphs

The federal government sends foreign aid, in the form of both economic and military assistance, to other countries every year. Something less than 1% of America's four trillion dollar budget is spent in this way. Broken down, it looks like this:
In fiscal year 2013, the U.S. government allocated the following amounts for aid:
Total economic and military assistance: $40.11 billion
Total military assistance: $8.03 billion
Total economic assistance: $32.08 billion
of which USAID Implemented: $17.46 billion
Recently, I have seen a lot of very liberal people, people who applaud our foreign aid contributions, get deeply upset that private corporations ship jobs overseas. US corporations paid roughly $6 trillion in wages each year from 2001 to 2011. So, ten years at $6 trillion per year: $60 trillion in wages. Meanwhile:
... over the 2001-2011 period, U.S. workers who were directly displaced by trade with China lost a collective $37 billion in wages as a result of accepting other lower paying jobs.
Notice: the feds handed over $32 billion out of $4 trillion in one year in direct payments overseas: less than 1% of each year's annual budget. Meanwhile, US corporations handed over $37 billion out of $60 trillion in jobs and wages overseas (while giving out an additional $4 to $5 billion a year in straight-up charity). That's less than 1% of American jobs sent overseas in a decade. Liberals celebrate the former and lament the latter. Why?

If the federal government can send federal money to overseas in order to provide economic assistance, why can't private companies do the same thing? That's all the corporations are doing when they ship out jobs - corporations are just making wealth transfer payments. Which I thought Democrats loved?

So, for those of you on the liberal left, explain why the dissonance. Do people in China not have a right to work for a living? Mexicans shouldn't be employed... is that it?

"Ah," I hear them say, "but those people deserve a living wage!" Ok. But what kind of living wage comes with a free check from the American government? When all the bribes are done, how much of these government-to-government transfer moneys end up in the pockets of corrupt officials? Meanwhile, how much of the corporation-to-individual transfer payments get lost that way?

At least with Nike, IBM, Apple, et. al, we are relatively sure we know how much money each individual worker walked away with. We can count very precisely how many poor people now have at least some change in their pockets. With government-to-government transfers, we don't ever really find out. For all we know, that money gets transferred straight from a government bank account to the local president's private Swiss account. Even better, with corporation-to-individual transfers, we actually get something back: an iPhone, a pair of sneakers, something. The poor get a chance to contribute, to make a difference in the world. With government transfers, we get the fleeting good will of a ruler who may be assassinated tomorrow, and the poor get nothing at all.

So, I ask again, on what grounds do liberals get upset about American jobs getting shipped overseas? What precise liberal principle is violated? Individual poor people get money, Americans get cheaper goods, accountants get paid well to tax-shelter the profits... aside from the American worker, who loses?

And even the American worker isn't really any worse off. As a result of job transfers, he gets the same cheaper goods every American non-worker gets, and, if government transfers were to replace the corporate transfers, he would have gotten shafted ten times worse on the taxes anyway. After all, the government has to get the 10-fold increase in money they give way from someone. America's middle class is richer than 95% of the rest of the world. It's not like anyone else was ever going to pay for this wealth transfer, no matter who initiated it.

So, again, why the outrage on the left when corporations move jobs overseas? Do you not like the fact that we can actually track poor people and watch them become wealthier because of their new jobs? Is that what upsets you? Or do you just not like anyone but government acting as a white knight?

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Why We Eat Fish and Muskrat on Lenten Fridays

On seeing a recent NPR piece concerning Lenten fast rules, an economist of my acquaintance remarked:
I was just chastised for poking fun at the apparently important theological ramifications behind a debate that is also apparently central to the core of Christianity. I was reminded that the importance of Lent is to revisit medieval arguments about the edible appropriatness of land versus aquatic mammals. 
Wanna know why fewer people are going to church?

What gave rise to his mirth? Why, the discovery that the Church classifies animals in a different way than modernity does:
Many Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays in observance of Lent, the season of penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter. The church has made exceptions — at times, in some places — for aquatic mammals such as beavers, muskrats and capybara....  According to Dolly Jørgensen, an environmental historian in Sweden, the medieval theological debate about forbidden foods during Lent didn't distinguish between mammals and fish, but rather, creatures of the land and sea. So, while meat from chicken, cows and sheep was considered off limits, "other animals that spent their time in the water qualified as aquatic and could be eaten at Lent," she wrote.
Although both economics and theology are frequently considered to be non-sciences, both actually ARE formal sciences. And, just as theologians should be careful when they assess what appears to be ludicrous in economics, so economists should be careful when they assess what might seem to be, at first glance, ludicrous in theology.

In Christian theology, water is tightly linked to baptism (Ephesians 5:26). And, again, according to most Christian theologians (some Protestants being the sole exception), baptism is understood to be the means to salvation (1 Peter 3:21). Succinctly put, water = baptism = salvation.

Now, Christ's death in the flesh on Friday, and His burial on Friday is ALSO linked to baptism (Romans 6:4 we are buried with him in baptism so that we might rise to new life). So, since Christ walked the earth, died in the flesh and was buried in the flesh, Christians have historically not eaten the flesh of land animals precisely to commemorate that Christ died in the flesh during Lent - the period when we suffer with Christ and spiritually die to our sins with Him.

However, since Christ died precisely to accomplish our salvation, and water is our salvation, we may eat the flesh of water animals, because that reminds us WHY Christ died in the flesh - to save our sinful flesh through the washing that is baptism.

If you have ever wondered why Catholics eat only fish on Friday, it is precisely because fish - the creatures that swim in baptismal waters - link together Christ's suffering, death, burial and resurrection.

And if you never knew this until now, well, that's the state of Catholic education today.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Why America Will Pay for Trump's Wall

If Mexicans sent $21.3 billion in US dollars to Mexico in 2013, and if Trump himself said in early February that his wall would probably cost $8 billion, then wouldn't Mexico be paying for our wall with our money?

Isn't the claim made that all those illegals are stealing American jobs? They took that money from Americans as surely as if they stole American wallets. It was our money, until our jobs were stolen, right?

So... in what sense is Mexico going to pay for our wall?

Is Sex Dirty! Thank God, Yes!

The Answer: Of COURSE sex is dirty.
But not for the reason you think.

Look, when a rabbi reads from the Torah, as soon as he finishes reading, he has to go and wash his hands, because the Holy Torah has defiled him.

How can a holy thing defile you?

When I was a boy, we would play outside until the street lights came on. In the twilight, as I approached the door, my mother would sometimes snap on the porch light and exclaim, "My heavens you are dirty! Get in here right now and take a bath."

Now, if I were a Jewish rabbi, the proper response would be, "I'm not dirty. I was fine out in the field just a minute ago. It's the light. The light made me dirty!"

Sex is participation in the divine act of creation. Through sex, we assist God as He creates an immortal being. We aren't worthy of that kind of work, but He allows it, even requires our participation in it. So, when we participate in the work of the God Who is Life, we become aware of our own unworthiness, our own sinfulness. We recognize that we are dirty.

Sex makes us dirty in the same way the porch light makes us dirty. I explain this and much more in my book, Sex and the Sacred City.
Question 2:
Now, when this question is raised, a related question often comes with it: why does religion get so upset about sex? Can't they just leave it alone and go do something else? The Answer: Nearly every religion has detailed rules about sexual behaviour precisely because every religion deals with the problem of suffering. We know there is suffering in the world. The existence of suffering is considered, by every religion, to be a sign of the world's broken-ness. Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity - all the major religions are centered in helping men and women deal with the suffering they encounter in life. Christianity is the most obvious, of course, since it is centered around a crucified man. What is the easiest, most sure-fire way to bring suffering into your life? Having sex with the wrong person, or even having sex with the right person at the wrong time (e.g., before you are married). You can spend the rest of your life returning to the error, trying to figure out how to remove yourself from the suffering the event brought you. The question really isn't why religions have such stringent rules around sex. The question is, why do so often insist on causing ourselves this kind of suffering?

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Pacifism Against a Sinful Peace

We may have a horrific choice ahead, a choice between Hillary Clinton and her alter-ego, Donald Trump. I have already publicly indicated that I have no intention of voting for either one. I am not a politician. I am not required to sell out my principles in order to support the most popular of two equally evil candidates.

There are those who agree with this analysis, but hold up the Amish as an example to follow. They argue that we should at least vote the down ticket, the local elections, even if we cannot find a way to stomach the national candidates. That is one solution. But can we go even further?

Many consider it some kind of civic sin to not participate in the political process. Is it?
If war is just the continuation of politics by other means and
It is not a sin to refuse to participate in a sinful war (war-time pacifism) then
It is not a sin to refuse to participate in a sinful peace (political pacifism).
Now, it is possible for war to be just, or moral. If a war is just, then, clearly, we might sin by refusing to participate in that just war.

But, everyone also recognizes that we can justifiably refuse to participate in a war that we consider sinful. Now, as CS Lewis pointed out, "If war is ever moral, then sometimes peace can be sinful." The thought is initially startling, but clearly accurate. This is, after all, the reason a just war is waged - the peace is sinful, and can no longer justly be borne. If we can refuse to participate in a sinful war, then we must also be able to refuse to participate in a sinful peace.

When can we refuse to participate in a sinful peace? Consider the four criteria of the just war, namely.
  • the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
  • all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
  • there must be serious prospects of success;
  • the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.
In a sinful peace, we may have no "serious prospect of success(fully)" removing the sin while retaining the peace, so we cannot justly wage war. What can we do in this sinful peace? That is, what can be done, short of war, when the political process itself has been so corrupted that we end with a choice like Hillary vs. Bernie vs. Donald? The first two are clearly fungible. If you have reason to doubt Trump's recent conversion to a "conservative" outlook, then all three individuals are entirely fungible. Voting for any particular one creates essentially the same consequences as voting for either of the others. If this country actually reaches that point, then voting, participation in the process, is merely validation of the process. My vote merely rubber-stamps horror.

Now, opponents of non-voting might point out that the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
2240 Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country (emphasis added)
Why yes, yes it does. But the Catechism also says:
2311 Public authorities should make equitable provision for those who for reasons of conscience refuse to bear arms; these are nonetheless obliged to serve the human community in some other way. (emphasis added again)
If war-time provisions can be made for those who cannot, in good conscience, fight an unjust war, then - by the same principle - provisions can also be made for someone who cannot abide the electoral farce that exists in an unjust peace. Just as someone can refuse to contribute to the 98% electoral victory of Josef Stalin, so that same someone can refuse to contribute to the electoral victory of either candidate in a Hillary vs. Trump contest.

And there is good reason to do this. As has been pointed out elsewhere, you can't vote with a question mark or an asterisk. A begrudged vote for Hillary/Bernie/Donald is identical to an enthusiastic vote for the hydra-headed beast. Both the enthusiastic vote and the clothes-pin-on-the-nose vote  count the same, a vote for any one of them has the horrific effect of contributing to that one actually getting the office. Even if the one I vote for does not gain office, even if one of the others gets the office instead, s/he can still point to my vote against them as at least a blessing of the process. No matter what happens, my vote validates their occupancy of the office.

Catholic Faith does not require me to validate a politician's office. For instance, in a monarchy, I would validate the office by granting public assent to the actions of the king. Thomas More became a political pacifist, he dropped out of the political process, he refused to give his "vote" of assent to the actions of the king. Instead, he "voted" by resigning the royal office that had been given to him and retiring to private life. His refusal to "vote", his refusal to give assent to the political process, led to his death as the king's good subject, but God's first. The king recognized More's refusal to participate in the monarchy's political processes, his political pacifism, as an act of war against the government. Thomas More was declared a saint for refusing to participate in an unjust political process.

In a democracy, I validate the office holder by voting. When I consciously refuse to vote, I imitate St. Thomas More's action. Not voting is not "taking no action." I can choose not to have sex with my spouse on fertile days.I can choose not to bear arms in war. I can choose not to vote in order to avoid validating ANYONE in the process.

And so, I can become Thomas More, retiring to the countryside, refusing to participate in the corrupt political process which gave us the fake "choice" between Hillary and Donald.

Many feel the process can be saved, so they will write in a candidate. That is a valid opinion to hold, and a valid course to follow. We could tear off the offensive part of the ballot. We could leave parts blank. Or we can refuse to vote at all, we could retire from the irredeemably corrupt political process, as Thomas More did. We are allowed to repudiate the entire process. We can refuse to participate in both a sinful war and a sinful peace.

And, if our political pacifism fails, then we have a final option.
Remember the Battle of Athens.