My Mom Is A Torture Loving, Italian/Catholic, Fascist and Fox News Viewer

New York City, Republican National Convention Demonstrations  FOX News building 48th and 6th Ave., August 2004. Photo by Robert Corsini

New York City, Republican National Convention Demonstrations. FOX News building, 48th and 6th Ave., August 2004. Photo by Robert Corsini. Copyright 2009 Aboriginal Media Inc.

It’s truly stupefying that today, in the midst of the Obama era,  that legions of Americans continue to find it so easy to rationalize and doggedly defend the Bush administration’s torture program.

As more details are revealed it’s clear that never before in human history has such a complex system of abduction, international rendition, and judicial and legislative manipulations been employed to advance and empower an extremely narrow yet far reaching political agenda.

Bush and Co. have turned American democracy on its head and redefined political criminality and neo-fascistic hubris while injecting their poison into the minds of untold millions of Americans via a compliant and self-serving media system. They have rendered Orwell’s horrific vision for the future of humanity in ‘1984’, quaint.  But above all, what is most astonishing to me is how they have made my 86 year old Italian-Catholic, Jesus loving mother, embrace torturers and denounce Peace Makers.

My two brothers and I used to have a good laugh when my parents would talk about the ‘good’ Mussolini brought to Italy. For my entire adult life, spirited political hyperbole and great food have always been a part of my family’s dinner table experience. ‘Pass the ravioli – the Japs deserved two nuclear bombs!’ ‘How could you say such a thing I thought you believed in Jesus?’

A study released in April by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press indicates the more often people attend church, the more likely they are to support torture. Sadly, the sobering data supports my own personal struggle growing up in an extremely conservative, Italian Catholic family.  I will always remember my parents’ deep-seated belief that the biggest mistake ‘Il Duce’ ever made was aligning himself with Hitler (I think Hitler saw it the other way around) and how amazing my mother’s gnocchi were.

Even in the face of obvious political malfeasance and criminality, my parents always justified the ‘right’ and demonized the ‘left’. Diabolical acts like the bombing of Cambodia or My Lai or the blatant illegal dabblings of Richard Nixon, seemingly antithetical to the 12 years of Catholic education I received were always ‘justifiable’.

Although my mother would never admit it, she probably would grant the benefit of the doubt to the nefarious and twisted ambitions of the Inquisition. Murder and torture in the name of Jesus are ‘A- OK’, as long as the Pope gives his blessings, unless the Pope contradicts the President – then that’s another story.  My mother is a truly wonderful and beautiful woman — she is just so profoundly frightened by what she has been told about the world, that her value system has been turned inside out.

My parents were children of Italian immigrants and have been ardent Republicans, defenders of Nixon, detractors of FDR, haters of the Beatles, unions, gays, environmentalism and consumer advocacy.  As far as African Americans go, suffice to say that the angst ridden look on my parents’ faces is forever etched in my mind when I told them an African American girl (and Catholic) asked me to her prom and I accepted.

It was the first indication that I was on a different path. Although neither of them completed college, my father (now deceased) and mother were great, committed loving and intelligent parents who encouraged their three sons to aim high and achieve great things. But there was always this ever-present layer of fear based bigotry on their part that tainted our relationship and generated extremely frustrating and painful arguments.

Enrico Romolo Corsini was a proud first generation, Brooklyn born, Italian-American and a WWII and Army Air-Corps veteran. When we argued politics, he would always make me prove my claims.  I would say to him, ‘Dad – the Soviet Union lost 20 million people during WWII’ and his classic response would be, ‘Show me where you read that! Who wrote that?…That can’t be true!’ and I would respond angrily, ‘Here it’s in your Encyclopedia Britannica!’ And I would open the volume and read down to the casualties. He was silent, then grumbled. Although it took a lot of effort, God bless his soul, Dad’s ego would succumb to the weight of evidence, albeit grudgingly.  My mother is another story altogether.

My own political evolution toward a liberal point of view probably began on the day I witnessed a Catholic nun strike a six year old boy.  Sister Mary Agnes, Principal of Holy Family grammar school was tall, skinny and had beady-eyes. Her coke-bottle lenses on 60s style pointy eyeglasses made her eyes shrink to the size of steely-cold ball bearings.  She was scary. I clearly remember the day Sister Agnes made a young boy stand on a bench so she could have a clean swipe at him and reared back and slapped him across the face.

He collapsed to the asphalt.  I caught the act of blatant child abuse from a distance as I was crossing an empty playground following recess – I was in eighth grade. More profoundly disturbing than the act itself, was the lack of response and incredulity my parents exhibited towards the revelation when I recounted the story.

This kind of ‘denial’ scenario would extend into my high school years when my brother and I would report to our parents the strange behaviors of a certain Franciscan priest who liked to wrestle 9th graders in an isolated room during ‘Saturday detentions.’  He was the Dean of Discipline. No joke. If you beat him, you could get out of your detention. He had a disgustingly protruding stomach and would take groups of a half dozen juvenile ‘detainees’ to a remote classroom, clear the desks and begin his matches.

He would make his opponents wear a leather ‘protective’ jacket to avoid marks and bruises and he liked to smother challengers with his massive gut. Being well trained football players, both my brother and I were able to defeat him, but only after nearly choking him to death in a head lock.  I remember his eyes would bulge as sweat poured down his face – and he just wouldn’t give up. And although there was no overt sexual contact that I witnessed, I now understand that near asphyxiation was part of his sexual fetish. He was ‘getting off’ and we were ‘weirded’ out.  My parents thought it was funny and we weren’t sure what to think.

Thirty years later Father Chris Kearney has been caught up in the church’s self-inflicted wounds of sexual abuse, scandals and mendacious cover-ups; in a way, a victim himself of unfathomable denial. Honestly, Father Chris was a likeable person. He wasn’t brutal and had a quirky sense of humor that most students liked. But he was sick and needed help. His behavior went on for two decades at the same High School implicating administrators, teachers and priests alike for their lack of attention and inaction.  Everyone knew that Father Chris was a little ‘odd’ and no one did anything about it, including hundreds of parents.  That’s where the real crime began.

Two hundred cases later and after nearly a billion dollars in liability has been paid out, Archdiocese of Los Angeles Cardinal Mahoney has publicly apologized for the church’s transgressions including those of Father Chris – and my mother remains dismissive and even refused my suggestion to see the film ‘Doubt’ with its uncanny presentation of the complexity of Church’s pedophilia cover-up scandals.  One thing I can say about my Mom is that she has been consistent and tenacious in her denial.

For obvious reasons I left the church far behind as I began my college years at UC Santa Barbara, much to my mother’s disappointment. Ever since, although I love and would do anything for my Mom, she and I have had a highly antagonistic relationship primarily based on the moral hypocrisy she consistently displays between her ‘faith’ and the reactionary socio-political values of her cherished GOP and its sacrosanct media mouthpiece, the FOX News Channel.

She’s fans of Hannity, Bill-O, Rush and others of similar demeanor. Over the years, for my own mental health, I just had to accept the familial divide – but the task has proved to be more challenging than I ever could have imagined. Both my sense of spirituality and commitment to non-violence have been fundamentally challenged by my own mother, her self-righteous Catholicism and myopic Republican doctrines.

My life experience, education and professional work would say one thing, and she would say the opposite. Whether my insights from spending two years in the Peace Corps or my work producing

 Downtown Los Angeles,  -- March 2003.  Anti-War demonstration, one month prior to the invasion of Iraq.  Photo by Robert Corsini

Downtown Los Angeles, -- March 2003. Anti-War demonstration, one month prior to the invasion of Iraq. Photo by Robert Corsini. Copyright 2009 Aboriginal Media Inc.

documentary films about the inner-city, she would always say ‘…why do you care so much about those people?’ For most of my life I was able to accept the differences between us, enjoy her as a loving mother well into my adult years and appreciate her impeccable Italian cooking. Then came the attacks of September 11th 2001 and everything changed, including the nature and tone of our political differences. Dinner at Mom’s has never been the same.

As America prepared for war and revenge, Pope John-Paul II admonished the Bush Administration publicly for its bellicosity and condemned all acts of vengeance. For once in my life I was able to feel inspired and hopeful that perhaps all was not lost with the church if the Pope was able to stand up for the essence of Christianity.  Of course, we all know the outcome of that story. George Bush Sr. was immediately dispatched to the Vatican for a private audience with the maverick ‘Pontiff’. John-Paul would not budge on his position and the elder Bush returned to Washington licking his wounds from the greatest diplomatic defeat of his political career.

It’s no coincidence to me that soon afterward, the ‘revelations’ of the Catholic priest pedophile scandals reached fever pitch across the nation and especially here in Los Angeles.  It seemed as though every day there was another nightmare story about priests having violated children. But the question begged to be ask, why all of a sudden did the issue explode into the mainstream when people had known about the church’s pedophile problem for a very long time?

It appears that there was a clear political consequence for the Pope taking the position he did. The American Catholic Bishops have fallen into line ever since and not a word in the pulpits about the ‘immorality’ of the war – and by extension, torture. The behavior of the American Bishops toward President Obama speaking at Notre Dame University’s commencement is yet another example of their profound hypocrisy. Pre-emptive war is acceptable, but not a woman’s right to choose.

But shockingly when I brought up the Pope’s position on the war to my mother, her response was ‘…well, that’s what the Pope is supposed to say? What are we to do, nothing?’ Then she accused me of being naïve. It was at that moment that I came to the incontrovertible conclusion that my mother is really a fascist because her response to the world around her was and remains grounded in fear, racism and arrogant American ‘exceptionalism.’ Facts be damned – we need to kick some ass.  The Constitution is just another piece of paper.

The extent of the Bush-era global catastrophe is just beginning to emerge in the hearts and souls of Americans.  It’s clear that Obama’s rise to the presidency was unequivocally enabled by the vast numbers of anti-war activists who marched consistently throughout the Bush years.  I was one of them.

Despite my personal responsibilities, family and work, I marched, organized and committed hundreds of hours in the Los Angeles area working on a grass-roots level resisting the push to war and subsequent occupations. For me it was a simple question about what I wanted for my toddler son and teenage daughter – I refused to allow the Bush crimes to go unanswered – that somehow, I had to make an extended effort to challenge the status-quo.

One day in March of 2003 I was visiting friends and family in Europe just prior to the invasion of Iraq. I recall browsing the magazine rack in an Amsterdam bookstore and came across a Newsweek issue displaying the cover story “Bush and God”.  I was aghast at the image of the President – striking a very ‘Calvinist’ and prayerful pose.  A young Senegalese immigrant was standing next to me and sensed my displeasure with what I was seeing.  He said to me, “America doesn’t deserve this.” It was one of the most profound and personally impactful statements about our country I had ever heard – from a West African immigrant, in an Amsterdam bookstore.

My return flight to Los Angeles was booked through Washington-Dulles and I decided that I would seize the moment.  I purchased some foam-core and made a sandwich placard that read ‘War is Not the Answer’ on both sides. I tied the placards together, wrapped them in paper to cloak the message and boarded my flight from Brussels to Washington-Dulles.  I had a 90 minute lay-over and my plan was to unwrap the placard, slip it over my shoulders and walk in silence down the center of the United Airlines terminal.

I was nervous, sweating yet determined.  As I traversed the polished floors of the concourse making my quiet, yet highly visible demonstration against the war in the heart of American power, my action became a study in American ‘realpolitik’ as I gauged the range of responses from outright thumbs up support from African American airport janitorial staff, to hateful disdain and hard looks from pilots and cowboy-hat toting Texans. After walking up and down the crowded terminal several times, subjecting myself to a gauntlet of jeers and sneers before thousands of people,  I sat down to pull myself together before making my connection to Los Angeles.

I was surprised that I wasn’t arrested – but I knew the key would be not to utter a word as I walked and it worked.  While sitting down, still shaking from the intensity of the moment, a teenager was crossing the terminal with his mother, approached me and said, ‘Sir, I want to thank you and shake your hand for doing what you just did. It was the most courageous thing I have ever seen.’ As he turned and walked away tears welled up in my eyes because a total stranger, a teen no less, completely understood and appreciated the meaning and intention of my action – while I could only expect disdain from my own family if they ever knew what I had done.

Although the peace movement in those years failed to stop the war, it did succeed, despite a near total media blackout and negative bias, in demonstrating to the world that many millions of Americans stood in public opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. My mother called me an ‘anarchist’ as I flew to New York City to demonstrate against the Republican Convention in 2004.  She said that I was ruining my life by becoming one of ‘them’.

I have to say Mom was right in some ways. I was a rare ‘forty-something’ activist, new to the game and I was definitely the exception among people I knew.  My activism did undermine my work as a producer and my marriage suffered as well. But at the time, I followed what was deep in my heart and at the core of my being.

Despite the myth of a ‘liberal media’ broadcasters, newsrooms and production companies marginalized and ignored the masses of demonstrators standing against the war.  They would often find ways to silence and  purge individuals within their companies who dared challenge the mindless ‘group-think’ that lead America into the ‘quagmire’ we’re in today.  I’m fully confident that my anti-war work has soured numerous job opportunities for me over the years.  It’s sad, but true and a sacrifice that I chose to make.

Just recently my daughter was home from college and had dinner with her grandmother and one of my nephews. Following another of Noni’s fine homemade Italian meals, my daughter called me almost in tears and said ‘You won’t believe what Noni said about Obama – that’s he’s the anti-Christ and that closing down Guantanamo Bay show’d that he’s weak and that we have to torture these people to defend ourselves.’  Unfortunately and more significantly I learned that my 20 year old nephew agreed with all of these FOX News/Dick Cheney talking points stating, ‘Sometimes you just have to torture….’

The lesson has been painful and consistent.  Fascism is a dark and twisted human phenomenon that transcends gender, ethnicity, borders, cultures, political parties, religions and even families.  It lives with us and against us. It’s capable of justifying the worst, fear based and manipulative aspects of humanity;  murder, torture, racism and war – even pedophilia. It steals lives and brainwashes and organizes masses of people to act against their own self-interest and that of their grandchildren, friends and families. It’s diabolical in nature and cloaks itself with many disguises – fascism lives on the ‘right’ as well as the ‘left’.  It’s a cancer that feeds on our fears and insecurities and easily proliferates like the Swine Flu, into a pandemic catastrophe.

Things are indeed changing in America and President Obama is leading the way. But unfortunately the architecture of fascism in America is both physical and psychological and remains firmly entrenched.  The new brand of American fascism’s deconstruction will transcend our lifetimes and may not succeed. As long as people like my 86 year old, Italian/Catholic mother can justify torture and diminish peace makers – it’s easy to understand how Hitler drove the world to the brink of oblivion with the support of his compliant and manipulated populations.

The ‘good German’ Nazi enabler, lives right next door and sometimes even within our own families. When masses of fellow Americans can attribute the worst of motives to Obama’s overtures toward diplomacy and peace and prohibitions against torture, the country has already crossed the threshold into fascism. Turning this paradigm around will require progressively minded Americans to confront and dissuade the forces of misguided hubris, ignorance and racism everywhere they find them, both in our personal and professional lives.

People cannot support torture while claiming to be Christian – they are mutually exclusive.  Just like fascism and democracy.  Sorry Mom, I love you and your pasta, but you and masses of other right-wingers out there and not the Beatles, homosexuals, Muslims, hippies or rappers, have undermined the footing of American democracy.

You have abandoned your own Christian values of humility, forgiveness and compassion and have empowered craven, greed driven politicians to frighten our nation into submission.  It takes far more strength of character to stand for peace, than succumb to war. This is why Jesus was tortured and murdered by people who feared the truth. Fascists all of them!

Robert Corsini is a documentary filmmaker, producer and writer.  Born and raised in Los Angeles, a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara and a former Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, West Africa. Mr. Corsini has produced television news and various incarnations of ‘reality’ television for nearly twenty years with dozens of national credits with NBC News, Discovery Channel, TLC, PBS and PAX to his name.

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47 Responses for “My Mom Is A Torture Loving, Italian/Catholic, Fascist and Fox News Viewer”

  1. Kay Ebeling says:

    Wow, what a well written article making such important points.

    However, the pedophile priest scandal did not ever reach enough of a fever pitch, indeed only a fraction of the story has come out, because the Catholic bishops use PR and consultants to stymie news coverage- even to shoot down the survivors who are vocal. Like me. As a result the true story of the pedophile priest crimes and conspiracy has never been told in its full extent.

    Dear Mr. Corsini, can you help me produce a documentary style reality / True Crime series about the pedophile priest crimes across the country? It would be based on the blog I produce, City of Angels network at –

    Maybe we can combine meager forces to fight a malicious foe…

    Kay Ebeling
    Hollywood California

  2. hrh says:

    Fantastico! Bravo, Signore!

  3. Lonel says:

    Thanks for the article—Too many so called catholics have their heads buried deep in their arses

  4. Mark says:

    A great article on a topic that always baffles me: how did the wingnuts get that way in the first place?

    A small correction, though: it’s a “deep-seated” belief, not a “deep-seeded” one:

  5. jaxo says:

    Interesting read.

    Why do we still insist people are “wonderful” and “beautiful” when they are filled with such hatred? I get that it is caused by fear… but maybe if we quit treating these people as “wonderful” except for that little fascist/homophobic/racist etc. thing, they would not be accepted in society and change their ways.

  6. Ces says:

    Weak minded and feeble! Be happy you have courageous individuals prepared to do the unspeakable to protect your cowardly self.

    Your bitterness shines brightly and your focus is completely wrong!

  7. julia says:

    THE EXTREME JESUIT OATH.(which is part of the congressional record in US congress) can shed light on torture/hatred/retailiation ideas and practices which run both covertly and overtly in the church to this day.

  8. Richard Sinnott says:

    Thank you Mr. Corsini, for your courageous piece and actions in protest of american policy.

    My story is similar, except we’re Irish Catholic, not Italian.

    It is very depressing to see where our country is today, and moreso to consider our trajectory.

  9. Thanks Mark for spotting that error. That is now corrected.

  10. Anon says:

    I think I cried a little, after reading your article. Your courage astounds me, but at the same time your story saddens me to think of the current state of our country.

  11. HoosierJude says:

    That was amazing. I am going to have to do some soul-searching, gather my courage and figure out how I can be of some help to this cause.

    Thank you for this article.

  12. Kat says:

    I can agree with you that torture and pre-emptive war are wrong. But I’m wondering if babies deserve the same compassion you give to those in the middle-east and at home. Yes – the Republican agenda has gotten us into some terrible messes, but let’s stand up for the unborn in this world as well – who deserve the same chance at life as everyone else (and don’t deserve to be tortured to death in their mother’s wombs). When you can stand up for everyone, then you’ll have my support.

  13. Nicholas Piazza says:

    Don’t speak to your mother. Write her out of your and your children’s lives. In fifteen years when she is dying of breast cancer in a crooked old folks home call her up and say, “you can come live with me if you admit you were wrong about universal health care.” Worked for me.

  14. victoriag says:

    This article is TERRIFIC!! I have known many women religious during my 60 Plus years as a Roman Catholic; but I never saw a nun or priest hit a child. All however, were pretty cold blooded, especially when it came to the sexual abuse I experienced as a child. No one seemed to care that I had been physically, sexually and spiritually butchered. I wasn’t even seen by a physician, and I needed one very badly. I was sent for 5 sessions of “counseling” at Catholic Social Services but, even as a child, I knew this was their way of trying to find out how much the offending priest had hurt me; and whether I was going to keep my mouth shut about it. On this point the clergy, the church, my parents, everyone had nothing to fear because I was little, terrified, confused and easy to manipulate. The pervert priest was not punished and went on to more unsuspecting parishes and even more, unsuspecting victims; Over 200, In Fact.

  15. truthseeker says:

    “A study released in April by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press indicates the more often people attend church, the more likely they are to support torture.”

    This is not surprising. Catholicism is filled with pain, punishment, torture and violence.Some of the artwork and sculptures etc. are downright gory and spooky.I gave up Catholicism for Lent years ago and never looked back. It is a disgusting religion and I want no part of it. Good riddance.

  16. Dan says:

    Nick and others are correct. Knock off the pasta dinners. Unless and until the perfect pasta moms and gold lamee popes understand that their bevavior has consequences, they will persist in it. To respond otherwise is to give tacit approval — and that, in the final analysis, does them and the rest of us a disservice. These emperors have no clothes!

  17. John Coyne says:

    Mr. Corsini –I am the editor of this site(take a look) and would you be interested in being interviewed on the site. Thank you. John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64)

  18. Hi John
    I will contact Rob for you and pass along your kind offer.

  19. Bill Canata says:

    Like, Michael Moore and Stephen Colbert, I am a devout Catholic . To say that Catholics are not social progressives overlooks the history of activism in the United States. With the clear exception of abortion, the ordination of women, and same-sex marriage, Catholics have a clear leftist bent, especially for social justice (education, poverty, peace). Catholics also endorse evolution and teach it in Catholic schools. I notice over the last few years that people like to lump Catholics (and some mainline Protestants) together with Evangelicals, which could not be less accurate. Here in the northeast, with few exceptions, Catholics are actually Democrats not Republicans.

    I leave you peace; my peace I give you.

  20. Ken Dobler says:

    Incredibly, well written. I have the same issue with my family. I have great difficulty dealing with people so ignorant, and unwilling to question their political belief system. Thanks for the terrific read….k

  21. Al kersa says:

    Through my family and close friends, I have heard what the protestant part of the republican base thinks of the Catholics in private.
    They vomit on them. Can’t admit it publicly of course, but they still
    have this inner feeling of born superiority.
    A lot of them are open-minded people, but sometimes, when the ‘tribal’ boundaries are touched, the quickly revert to their deep-rooted hatred, out of fear I guess.
    “I won’t let my daughter be f**** by a catholic”.
    It is mind-boggling to me that either Catholics or African-Americans could ever vote for the (modern) republic party.

  22. Norah says:

    Mr. Corsini, What a beautiful article. I understand and feel so much of your pain. The lack of attention and focus given to those who were abused by the religious has sickened me, and as of yet I have not recovered. And Kat’s comment is understandable. But is the goal to pass a bill outlawing abortion or to work to end the need and reasons for abortion? I heard Kathleen Kennedy state that under the Clinton administration abortions dropped, in part, do to the support services available to woman. Under the Bush administration abortions rose dramatically due to cutting of those support services. Another example of American hypocrisy that pervades the right wing agenda. I am grateful for Obama, this may be our one chance to make things better.

  23. Chris says:

    Wonderful piece, and you cannot be more correct. I only wish there was a way to guide these people out of fear and accept other for who they are. Hate and fearmongering only gets us further into a hole as a society. I appreciate the time and effort you put into your endeavors please don’t loose heart and keep fighting for the sake of our society.

  24. Robo says:

    Uh, the bible condones torture and slavery. Christianity and torture are NOT mutually exclusive.

  25. Margaux says:

    Incredible! Thank you Dad

  26. Joe says:

    An excellent piece. First, according to Christian doctrine, the words of CHRIST (hence Christ-ian) overrule that of the old testament. Christians like to justify actions by referring to the Old Testament when they are blatantly against the teachings of Christ.

    Second, to the author. I hate to say it but more often than not you have brutally misused the word fascism, implying it to mean many things it does not. I could write a detailed criticism of this, but a simple look up in the good old Brittanica could shed as much light.

  27. Joe says:

    My first statement was to Mr. Robo, not the author by the way.

  28. Robo says:

    Matthew 5:17-19

    The Fulfillment of the Law
    17 – “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 – I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

  29. Joe says:

    Robo: And when exactly did Christ say that the laws that were exclusive to Hebrews now applied to Gentiles, which, up until that point, were only bound to the Noahic comandments?

  30. Gunny says:

    “Ces says:
    July 26, 2009 at 11:33 am
    Weak minded and feeble! Be happy you have courageous individuals prepared to do the unspeakable to protect your cowardly self.
    Your bitterness shines brightly and your focus is completely wrong!”

    I suppose I am one of those individuals you speak of Ces. I’m guessing you are not like most chickenhawks. I spent 13 years in the Marine Corps until medically discharged due to combat injuries. Thousands of people,including many I knew died in Iraq for lies. Lies that kept changing whenever the old lies were no longer. I stayed not for the scumbag Bush who should be in jail but for the other Marines. There are many who have seen and done unspeakable thing that you refer to as protecting people and there are many who think like me. if you think its such a great idea then get your ass over to the Army recruiter. They will take anyone these days. But I’m going to guess that like most of the Bush administration you have other priorities.

  31. Chris says:

    What ss funny is that you fail to see your own hypocrisy. You say the war was wrong. All thought I don’t see you stating why you are against the war but I am assuming it is mostly due to the loss of life. While I am anti-war, I am also anti- abortion. What is the difference between killing a grown human who is fighting in a war and a fetus who has not even had a chance to live?

    You need to realise that everyone is a hypocrite. Everyone is partial to the issues they care about the most. The left supports some freedoms ( abortion,looser laws concerning controlled substances), but they wont allow other freedoms(the right to own a gun, the right to discriminate). It is not like Bush and Obama are so different. Obama has done nothing to reverse the Bush era policies concerning domestic spying and wont even listen to the arguments of cancer patients who would like medical marijuana. He also is increasing the governments size and the scope in which it controls our lives. Remember that Nazi stands for the Nationalist SOCIALIST party. The Nazis rose to power on a lot of the promises that Obama is making right now minus the issues involving the jews.

    I think most people would trade the life of any enemy combatant to stop a second 9/11. They would do the same to us. And the inmates at Gunatanmo are bad, thats why no one else will take them including the countries they came from.

    One more note- A lot of Europeans are mad because we went to Iraq. They said it was none of our business. You say we shouldn’t have gone. Well remember that American intervening is what brought down not only Mussolini but Hitler as well. All those people forget that WW2 in Europe was not our business either.

  32. Matt says:

    Addressing some of the things mentioned by Chris in the post above:
    ” What is the difference between killing a grown human who is fighting in a war and a fetus who has not even had a chance to live?”
    I’m pro-choice, to use biased american terms, but I’d like to make something very clear: People who are for abortion don’t consider themselves for killing under specific conditions. Rather, we have a different interpretation of when a human life ‘begins’. Pro-lifers consider a human life as started upon conception, whereas pro-choicers usually go by one of the deadlines or definitions set by doctors and made into law. We’re as much against killing as you (possibly more, as I’ll show in a bit), we just don’t consider abortions murder.

    Please understand that this is a question of definition and interpretation, rather than some sort of evil will on our part. If you disagree with our definitions, fine, let’s have that debate instead, but understand that we do not actively wish to harm or kill any living human.

    With that out of the way, I’ll move on to the point of this debate. I’d like to preface this by saying that I’m an atheist, but that I still have been raised under, and adhere by, values of Christian origin. Love thy neighbour, do unto others, etc.

    “I think most people would trade the life of any enemy combatant to stop a second 9/11. ”
    I wouldn’t trade the life of anyone for anything. Killing is wrong, nomatter the reason. The same goes for torture.
    The United States, and the rest of the Western world for that matter, can only justify our ideas of democracy and human rights as “the right thing for everyone”, if we show a sort of moral superiority in the first place. We can’t tell people to be civilized like us, if we’re not civilized ourselves in the first place. Torture and killing of prisoners, captives etc is never ok.

    “They would do the same to us.”
    Maybe they would. But we’re supposed to be the morally superior side here, let’s not stoop to their levels. We’re better than Al-Queda, let’s act like it.

    “And the inmates at Gunatanmo are bad, thats why no one else will take them including the countries they came from.”
    Some of them have been tried, proven guilty and sentenced, and yes, they’re unequivocally bad people. A lot of them, however, were sold as “terrorists” to the CIA by locals in Afghanistan for a profit and are now stuck in diplomatic limbo because noone wants a Guantanamo-inmate, regardless of whether he’s actually been proven guilty.
    And this is the crux of the matter, I’d like to remind you again of a crucial tennet in the American judicial system: You’re innocent until you’re proven guilty.

  33. James says:

    Mr. Corsini:

    I’m not going to attempt to defend the Republican party. I call myself a conservative but I can’t claim to stand behind the majority of the actions of the Bush administration. I would ask what “details” and facts you are referring to when you speak of the Bush administration’s torture program, but since you went to the trouble of writing this lengthy commentary I’m going to assume that you have done your homework. I will say now that I have not, and will attempt not to comment on parts of your commentary that require knowledge of facts as opposed to subjective opinion.

    I like to think that I tread the middle road between liberalism and conservatism to a degree, but I will admit that fundamentally I am more conservative than liberal. I value the environment and believe in greater regulation of industry for the protection of the global ecosystem. I believe in a mother’s right to choose. President Obama’s frank talk and personal accountability are a breath of fresh air to me.

    However, I believe that liberalism (specifically, the American Democratic party) places too much responsibility on the government to protect its people from themselves in a nation of which one of the founding ideals is personal accountability. I think that America’s occupation of Afghanistan was justifiable given the circumstances, but I will agree that Iraq was not. I think that responsible, ethical capitalism is a good thing, as long as it is properly regulated and not allowed to get out of hand, as it did when banks began accepting huge degrees of risk based on a simple ineffective equation, and began handing out predatory sub-prime mortgage loans.

    The point I’m trying to make is that not all conservatives out there are fascist, torture-loving Fox News Viewers who watch Hannity and Rush and O’Reilly and Glenn Beck and all of them. Of course you know that, but I feel compelled to defend those moderate conservatives out there.

    I believe that Americans grow up today with no sense of civic duty. Perhaps it has to do with the proliferation of information in the modern age; we can’t, in good conscience, just turn a blind eye to things and radicalize ourselves now that we know the truth behind the issue concerned. Back in the earlier days of the 20th century, propaganda was more effective (and both sides of both wars utilized it to great effect) than it is now for that reason.

    Regardless of the reason, our sense of civic duty has been replaced with a sense of entitlement, ‘because we’re Americans’. We’ve gotten complacent because we are not used to having to compete for our spot on the top of the global power chain. The reason that the type of blind ‘fascism’ and factionalism persists in today’s society is because American citizens as a general majority don’t avail themselves of objective information and news. Part of that has to do with the rampant capitalism of American media (it’s all about the ratings), which means that everyone is slanted in one direction or another because the more outrageous their headline, the more people are likely to buy a copy of their product. But the other part of it is just that we are used to being told what to think, and we don’t care enough anymore to weed out the objective from the subjective, and then form our own subjective opinion based only off of objective facts.

    That’s what we need to fight against. We need to champion education and information, not sensationalism. We need to champion personal accountability instead of trying to protect our citizens from their own voluntary ignorance. We need a reality check.

  34. Herb says:

    I commend you on a well-written piece, but don’t agree with your assumptions and conclusions at all. Matter of fact, I think you have a very wise mom. The wisdome that comes from experience. She’s lived thru more than you probably can imagine and came away with a freedom loving spirit. True, she may appear insensitive to your liberal viewpoint, but she has come to realize (as we all do eventually) that real evil does exist. If you think that just being peace-loving and non-confrontational will win the day with the likes of Kim Jung-Il and Adnadinijad (forgive my spelling if it’s off)….then you are sadly in for a well intrenched life of servitude under the harsh lives of those in those two countries. Why do you suppose that the Iranian people are making such a fuss these days? They are dying in a fight for freedom and honesty and integrity in their government. Pacifism hasn’t worked for them.

    I don’t champion any abuses, some of which you described above, but I think you, likewise, have your judgement clouded by the misconception that our freedoms and way of life came at little or no cost. Not true. There IS evil in the world, and we have to fight it when we can.

    I would ask, why you feel that those commentators on Fox are not objective in their shows? Yes, they have opinions and those doing commentary will argue their points with vigor, but almost every one of those shows willing asks for opposition viewpoints and gives them a platform to air those views. That cannot be said for most of the other news organizations.

    You are naive in believing that evil should not be confronted and your mother is right to react out of fear. There are things in this world you MUST fear, else you hasten your own peril.

    What do you think of your champion of anti-war now that he’s in office, or haven’t you noticed that he’s following that majority of the same policies that President Bush did? What about all the promises he made of solving our economic woes? Now we’re in triple the debt, as his policies go into affect. Have you no worries about the future generations that will have to pay for all of this (which, by the way has done little to improve the lot of the average American….give that after we had to have it voted in immediately, yet only spent 1/10th of the simulus…you know that bill by Congress that was to “jolt” the economy back to life and keep unemployment below 8%). Ain’t worked much, has it.

    No, I think your mother may be wiser than you give her credit for. She’s felt the pains of the depression, and no doubt knows the agony of living under a tyrant. I still believe the Constitution should rule, and if you can document any abuses by ANY person, President or otherwise, who violates that…..they should be tossed in prison for a very, very long time.

    That’s my take on it.

  35. Robert says:

    I feel for you, It really twists my head around that my parents are much the same, racist, bigoted, religious etc. and, nothing said to them will change it. The reason why, it is really quite simply, their system of under standing is based upon belief and only belief. There is no rational analysis, no comparisson of different ideas and the basis behind those ideas, an absence of continually questioning those in power both in government and business. They are locked into the idea that things never change, that you can’t challenge the system and that people can never really control their own government. So I do the only thing I can, I politely (most times) but continually try to educate them about invalidity of some of their most dangerous and offensive beliefs.

  36. Janine Ferguson says:

    Awesome article Rob!!! Very well written. It reminds me of some friends of mine who also have completely differing beliefs systems than their parents do, on lots of subjects. It’s more common than you think. Hope all is well. Keep writing!

  37. tjc says:

    Such are the dangers of propaganda, Unfortunately the same type of propaganda and misinformation that help Germany turn a blind eye to the holocaust is happening again, this time under the guise of a first amendment right to free speech by Fox News Channel and its ilk. Sadly and most alarming Fox News is on course to bring it’s dangerous hypocrisy worldwide, airing in Costa Rica, Peru, We need to bring back the FCC safeguards that once protected American broadcasting: the rollback of the Fairness Doctrine and the other provisions that were virtually eliminated by the Communications Acts of the 90s.

  38. Joe Catechissimo says:

    Well written article, but completely one-sided. I don’t see how you lefties who thrive on tolerance and racial sensitivity could elect a man who participated in a racist, Farrakhan-loving church. I also have a huge problem with folks who are upset about our having waterboarded less than a dozen terrorists, yet who don’t care that scissors are plunged into 8-month fetuses and their brains are suctioned out. You folks on the Left are as wierd and despicable to us as we are to you.

  39. Stephen Pitt says:

    Simply put, it’s the Republic v Fascism time.

    Problem: The fundi ministries and fascist news surrogates have so dumbed Americans down they are now unable to even know history and what fascism is.

    Ladies and gents: This is precisely how Germany did it in the thirties.

    Great work TPR and welcome back.

  40. Yellowbird says:

    Funny how basic Catholic upbringing ran hand in hand with mafias and with fascism and now with American mafia/fascism. Or should I more clearly state that the reach of the fascist catholic church is purely international?

    You see, this insistence on bowing to power and accepting AUTHORITY with all caps indeed, seeds the growing mind of youngsters to accept that they will be sheep and the masters will rule them.

    That is the biggest reason religion sucks. It destroys the creativity of the masses.

  41. Caelie says:

    Brilliant! SO good to see the experiences & feelings I’ve always had with my own family put into words! I’m forwarding it, but substituting “fascist Dad” & Born-Again Brother” & “Homophobic fascist cousin”!

  42. Jack O'Brien says:

    As for the anti-torture statements, what would you do if you had captured an enemy terrorist/ partisan and you had the choice between torturing him or letting his comrades murder innocent civilians are you honestly telling me you wouldn’t torture him? The other day a group of shall we say “foreigners” abducted a 14 year old girl right off the street on Norton street ( i used to live on the adjacent street) and raped her. Now if these people are by some chance caught by the 5 police in the State of New South Wales then they will most likely get less than ten years each. Now is it so inhuman of me to want these people dead? If it were up to me these people forfeited their right to live when they ruined that girl’s life. It seems quite obvious and natural to me that they should be put through the most intense possible pain for the remainder of their short lives. How can anyone argue? Why should they be simply sent to prison where they get fed and housed by the taxpayer? Seems to me this post is just more so-called “leftists” patting each other on the back and pretending like they are the ones who are risking something by speaking out and that they are somehow courageous and progressive for being politically correct. it is actually the so called “right wingers” who are silenced, at least in Australia where I live. If i so much as point out how multiculturalism is the worst custural plague since communism (in that it seems progressive and in regular people’s interest but actually only succeeds in destroying culture and profiting those in power) then I am labelled a racist and fascist. (I’ve since decided that I must be both of these things but so what?) I don’t know how it is in other countries but in Australian cities it is difficult to even “spot an aussie” anymore. We aren’t allowed to sing Christmas carrols in schools (although Mosques keep springing up) and yet as usual the only people who are accused of intolerance are white males. We even have racist laws that give government payments and special employment only to Aboriginal people. So call me a racist, I don’t care because as far as I can see all that means is that I put common sense and my own people’s interest above the political correctness enforced by the “progressive” left.

  43. PJBurke says:

    Excellent article, Robert

    It certainly is mystifying that so many Catholics embrace torture, given that the Church itself condemns it (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, Sec. 2297-98), and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has a whole web tutorial on the immorality of torture:

    But perhaps they’re just not pushing the parish priests to do much on the issue at Sunday Mass.

    But I have the same sorts of issues in my Irish Catholic family as you report… and all of the more religiously observant (and pedantically pious) are the Faux sNooze watchers, the torture-lovers and war-mongers, and are the most fact-averse regardless of issue.

    Propaganda works… and is working. There seems to be little concern in the Congress that such deliberate manipulation-by-disinformation is being engaged in, so its likely that there won’t be any relief from the constant barrage of lies and distortions any time soon.

    To me, it seems more and more obvious that the time to get out is sooner rather than later… before all of the local police departments start thinking that torture ‘works.’

  44. athensguy says:

    Jack O’Brien uses a false dilemma in his post.

    As people become less educated, logical fallacies such as Jack’s become more effective. It is possible for someone to become less educated over time, which apparently has happened to many racist torture supporters over the last 10 years (prior to that I didn’t pay much attention).

    Of course left wing and right wing are ill defined, probably generally the definition is “I consider myself X wing, therefore all that disagree with me are Y wing”, which is a pretty crappy definition. It is possible to have a socialist dictatorship, but that could not be fascist unless control of the social infrastructure reverted to the dictator or companies controlled by him.

    I would put fascism in the top right corner, which, btw is where almost all of the Republicans and Democrats fall, too. The bottom right corner is pretend.

  45. Sarah says:

    I have these problems with my Catholic mother-in-law, more or less. I am a conservative moderate, and she is a straight down the ticket Democrat. The thing is, she’s against gay marriage, couples “living in sin” and is more than ready to judge her own family as well as mine for our perceived questionable morals, but all she can tell me about why she doesn’t like Bush is because he lied (what, she can’t even tell me). I am no fan of Bush, don’t get me wrong, but I expect people to have reasons when they say something like that. She invites herself to my home, and gets offended and huffy when I have a friend over who happens to be gay. I’m confused. Wasn’t I (as the allegedly more conservative one) supposed to be the homophobe, not the other way around? I was also looking at one point at hiring someone to come clean my house, and one of the people I was looking to hire was gay. She told me that if I hired this person, she would not be visiting my home (Oh, darn!).

    Ignorant people, regardless of sides, are just infuriating.

  46. Buck Ofama says:

    Well well well…. what do we have here? Looks like a nice, good ol’ pinko taffy pull. And how’s your messiah doing now? Yes, it’s 2 years later and it only took this long for America to see what a sorry mistake was made.
    Of course you and yours couldn’t be happier, after all a declining America is a desirable America. Well, the rest of us (the majority BTW) are watching enthusiastically as the pendulum swings back TO THE RIGHT! In the meantime. we’re marveling at, “the most transparent administration America has ever seen”.

  47. John Aiken says:


    Was it you or one of your brothers that was in my class back there at ‘ol St. Francis High? Read your article & brother, did it bring it all back ….lots of memories, mostly bad one I suppose. Like you, was brought up in an Italian, conservative environment where no one questioned authority, certainly not the Catholics or the Government.

    As far as the politics goes, it’s become apparent that neither side of the aisle is looking out for the +300 million Americans they supposedly represent. Furthermore, the pillaging of our country by these ‘elected officials’ (where do we start – with the Bush family owning Diebold, our voting machines; the electoral votes, not popular votes, decide our election winners; the fact that Corporate America IS our government – anyone notice how many ex-Goldmans are in positions of power? etc.).

    The real problem isn’t the basic human nature being demonstrated by our government officials (and every government globally) – it’s the same basic human nature exhibited by the many Catholic priests gone mad with power.
    We can’t change human nature, but we can focus on the root of the problem – the money.

    If you study how our central bank (the Fed) and it’s counterparts in nearly every other country on the planet have inserted their fiat currency into our economic system, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s really wrong with man’s nature.

    Central banks were repulsive to our founding Fathers – Thoma Jefferson wrote:

    I sincerely believe…that the banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale.
    –Thomas Jefferson

    I deny the power of the general government to making paper money, or anything else a legal tender.
    —Thomas Jefferson

    A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take everything you have.
    —Thomas Jefferson

    It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning. The one aim of these financiers is world control by the creation of inextinguishable debt.
    — Henry Ford

    The idea that the Fed creates fiat currency (backed by nothing), then loans to our country at TAX-FREE INTEREST (sound interesting yet?) Do you know what our country payed in 2011 on just the interest? Over 230 BILLION dollars – no principal, just the interest. Sound like the Fed’s got a good business model?

    Ever wonder why our own Treasury Department (which mints our coins) doesn’t simply print U.S. Dollars? At no interest?

    Educate yourselves, learn of the history of debt-based currency & our never-ending reliance on borrowing it:

    Rob, I’ll have to track down more of your work – while I don’t agree with all your opinions, I do believe that if we can educate ourselves about how the world actually works, we can collectively begin to ‘overturn the tables of the moneychangers’ (the only time Christ ever got angry).

    Cheers –

    John Aiken

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