California Democrats kill licensing reform

Reason’s Steven Greenhut reports that a California Senate committee killed a bill, by a party-line 6-2 vote, that would have eliminated licensing requirements for a range of activities, including fitting and selling hearing aids, barbering, and performing custom upholstery services.

While licensing requirements are supposedly designed to promote public safety and health, these rules are rarely relevant to the job at hand. Additionally, such restrictions are usually supported by parties that benefit from barriers preventing newcomers into their respective lines of work.

What’s worse, such requirement require poor Californians to jump through unnecessary hoops in order to work, which leads to fewer of them being employed.

California has the nation’s highest poverty rates, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau standard that includes cost-of-living factors. A good starting place to address that problem is to chip away at unnecessary barriers to work. Trade groups, however, recognize that the best way to inflate their members’ pay is to raise the cost of entry for others—and the more fields regulated this way, the more it keeps poor people in the welfare lines.

“One out of every five Californians must receive permission from the government to work,” explained a 2016 report from the state’s official watchdog agency, the Little Hoover Commission. “What once was a tool for consumer protection, particularly in the healing arts professions, is now a vehicle to promote a multitude of other goals. These include professionalism of occupations, standardization of services, a guarantee of quality and a means of limiting competition among practitioners, among others.”

Consider the freedom issue there too. We need to ask the government for permission to work?

The Little Hoover study found that the laws succeeded mainly in keeping “Californians from working, particularly harder-to-employ groups such as former offenders and those trained or educated outside of California, including veterans, military spouses and foreign-trained workers.” The problem is particularly acute for ex-offenders who often are barred from entering a variety of fairly low-skill professions by licensing rules that forbid them from entering the market.

However, when the Hearing Healthcare Providers of America and the California Nurses Association tell state Democrats to jump, don’t expect them to think about the little guy before they ask “How high?”

 

Did you know libertarianism is incompatible with Catholicism?

Me neither!

Fortunately, Holy Inquisitor Mark Shea has cleared it up for us:

Libertarianism is the religious superstition that individualists don’t need the help of society, that the state only does evil, and that your average FOX brainwashing victim on a fixed income will be fine because the 1% totally care about him and certainly will defend him when the Party of Trump robs him of Social Security and Medicaid.

He writes more, but it’s at the same level of detritus as the above.

There are three points I’d like to make about the above gordian knot of silly accusations disguised as a series of indignant j’accuses! against the demon spawn known as libertarians.

First, to claim that individualists don’t need the help of society is hogwash. If anything, the opposite is true. Civilization flourishes through voluntary interaction, not coercion. The economy, which provides the material support for a civilization, flourishes through the division of labor, the nexus of exchange, and the accumulation of capital. Libertarians simply believe that none of these three functions require the state, which is a monopoly of violence in a given society.

Second, regarding the nature of the state, need I remind Mr. Shea of Augustine’s observations on the matter in the City of God?

Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you who does it with a great fleet are styled emperor.” (Book IV, Chapter 4)

I’ll address Shea’s accusation about how libertarians view the state once he addresses how Augustine views it.

Finally, where in the hell does Shea get the idea that Trump wants to get rid of Social Security and Medicare? Because Shea clearly knows, or at least ought to, that Trump has no intention of getting rid of either.

When Donald Trump was elected president in November, it was on the heels of numerous campaign promises. One of those key promises was that he would leave Social Security and Medicare as is. Trump has suggested that America has an obligation to its seniors to honor its commitment to pay their Social Security benefits.

And yet Trump’s assurances about both programs don’t prevent Shea from conflating that a) Trump really really does want to eliminate them, and b) libertarians control Fox (if only), and 5) the 1% really want free markets, when more and more of them have become rich through crony capitalism.

(By the way, Mark, crony capitalism means that big companies use government connections to create laws and regulatory burdens that reduce competition and increase profits. For them. Just so we’re clear.)

Beyond the ridiculousness of the above sentence, there’s one particular string of words, which when written by a more charitable writer would be called a paragraph, I want to address.

Libertarianism is Murray Rothbard’s belief that a child is a parasitic invader with no right to life because it cannot pay its parents for the property and labor it demands in order to be carried to term and raised to adulthood. If they choose to do so, they may. But if they decide to abort it or drive the child to a remote location and abandon it they may do that too. They owe it nothing.

It may come as a mild surprise to Mr. Shea that libertarians, who believe individuals have free will, do not always agree with Rothbard.

I mean, it’s not like Rothbard is a god or anything…

Sure, he wrote profusely, and was a genius when it came to economics and political philosophy. However, my Catholicism (you know, Mark, the thing you claim that I don’t believe) informs my strong disagreement with his view that a pregnant woman has the right to abort her child.

Father Jim Sadowsky, who taught philosophy at Fordham and was a friend of Rothbard, disagreed with him strongly about abortion as well:

But is the infant a trespasser the moment his presence in the womb is no longer desired? Does he have no right to be there? Murray [Rothbard] and Walter [Block] simply assume that the infant has no right to be in the womb. Yet it is by no means evident that their answer is the correct one. To say that x is trespassing is to say that he is somewhere where he ought not to be. But where should a foetus be if not in its mother’s womb? This is its natural habitat. Surely people have a right to the means of life that nature gives them? If the home in which the infant grew were outside the mother’s body, we should all see that to expel him from that home would be to deprive him of the nature-given means of life. Why should the fact that his nature-given home lies within a woman’s body change the situation? What is a woman’s womb for except to house the infant’s body? It is nature that gives the child this home, this means of life. When we cast him out, we are depriving him of that which nature gave him. To do this is to violate his rights.

However, that did not stop Sadowsky from being attracted to Rothbard’s libertarian thinking. As David Gordon wrote in his obituary of Father Sadowsky:

What attracted him to the libertarian point of view was its individualism: libertarianism rejects the notion of a collective interest apart from that of individual persons. In this he found echoes of one of his favorite thinkers among the scholastics, Francisco Suarez, who maintained that political authority rests on consent. If this idea were followed to its full implications, Sadowsky thought, it would lead to anarchism, an implication he fully accepted.

You remember the scholastics, right, Mark? Or did they advocate child killing as well?

Frankly, Shea’s schtick against libertarianism is getting really, really old. It is uninformed, uncharitable, and in the end, boring.

I am going to close this post to repeat my plea.

I don’t mind if Catholics don’t agree with libertarianism. I do, however, reject any attempt to demonize an otherwise compatible political philosophy with Catholicism simply because one decides not to view it and its adherents charitably.

Hopefully, at some point, Mr. Shea will be willing to talk to his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, who just happen to have a different perspective than him, in the manner they deserve.

Until then, talk to the hand.

 

 

Trump fires Comey. Chaos ensues.

Given the hullabaloo over President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, perhaps it’s best to start this post with a silly joke.

I’ll let Scott Adams of Dilbert fame provide it. After all, he’s a professional:

What do Bernie Sanders’ hair and CNN have in common today? They are both saying, “Comey” every time you look at them.

I feel better already!

Both Republicans and Democrats hated Comey, albeit for different reasons. Republicans were appalled when Comey publicly cleared Hillary Clinton, on dubious legal grounds and inconsistently with DoJ/FBI procedures, of charges that she obstructed justice when the FBI investigated her using a personal server for her State Department email. Democrats called for Comey’s head after he re-opened that investigation weeks before the general election, only to close it days for before it.

In fact, Lifezette reports that a reporter reminded Senator Chuck Schumer of his earlier call for Comey to be fired at a press conference yesterday:

“Sen. Schumer, you told me last year before the election that you lost confidence in Jim Comey because of how he handled the email scandal,” one reporter said. “Do you think that the president’s explanation … has credibility?”

“I never called on the president to fire Director Comey,” said Schumer.

Schumer then said Trump should have fired Comey earlier in his young presidency if he had some of the same concerns as Democrats.

It was a clever ploy. But it cannot hide the fact that Democrats have hated Comey for months. Many blame Comey for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s losing the election. Comey famously released a letter to Congress just before the Nov. 8 election indicating that he was reopening an investigation into how Clinton handled classified emails.

Comey, being Comey, closed the new investigation in record time, ending the investigation two days before Election Day and enraging Republicans by publicly declaring he still would not recommend charges against Clinton.

Schumer indicated Comey’s handling of the matter was a deal-breaker.

“I do not have confidence in him any longer,” Schumer said of Comey on Nov. 2.

However, because the wrong president fired Comey, we are now in the midst of a constitutional crisis. Or something like that.

As Reason’s Jacob Sullum reports:

“We are in a full-fledged constitutional crisis,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) declared on Twitter last night after hearing that Donald Trump had fired FBI Director James Comey. New York Times columnist David Leonhardt agreed. So did Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), although Blumenthal described the crisis as “looming” rather than “full-fledged.”

Yet Sullum points out the obvious; the president has clear authority to fire the FBI Director for whatever reason:

“Under the Constitution,” notes South Texas College of Law professor Josh Blackman, “the president has the absolute power to fire principal officers, such as Director Comey, at will. In that sense, Trump’s actions were entirely constitutional.”

(By the way, I love it that Democrats were silent when Obama attacked Libya without congressional authorization, thus creating the current refugee crisis in Europe, or don’t see an issue with the TSA routinely violating American’s fourth amendment rights who happen to fly, but become butthurt when a non-Democratic president fires someone.)

Meanwhile, Stephen Colbert found it necessary last night to reeducate the sheep known as the Democratic electorate on how to react to the firing:

Tuesday during the taping of CBS’s “The Late Show,” host Stephen Colbert announced the news that FBI Director James Comey had been fired by President Donald Trump.

Colbert’s left-leaning audience cheered.

Colbert reacted by saying, “Huge, huge Donald Trump fans here tonight.”

However, we now come to the core question, why did Trump fire Comey?

While Scott Adams argues that this was a strong move on Trump’s part that exhibits “some ballsy Presidenting”, such a move only works when we know what Trump is trying to achieve. And if there’s anything that Trump has demonstrated since becoming president (**cough** Syria **cough**), he can change his mind in an instant in terms of what he wants to do.

Sure, folks like Susan Rice, Loretta Lynch, and even Hillary Clinton should be feeling more nervous today than they did yesterday. But is Trump really focusing on sending them to jail? Who the hell knows? Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, thinks that Trump most likely fired Comey because he neither liked nor trusted him. Given what we know, that’s as good as an explanation as any other.

While the political world explodes in morally indignant outrage, I’m going to wait to see what Trump actually does before reacting.

In the meantime, I’m going to find some more silly jokes.

UPDATE: Roger Stone gives Alex Jones his take on Trump firing Comey.

 

California bill lets comrades be comrades

Communism

It looks like California will be hosting another coming out party soon, but this time for communists.

Breitbart reports that the California Assembly recently passed a bill that would remove provisions that allow members of the Communist party to be fired. The bill would also eliminate California’s official opposition to communism.

However, the bill would not touch provisions that bar state employees who belong to organizations that “advocated the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of any state by force or violence.”

Should Governor Brown sign the bill, state law would reflect the obvious: far too many government employees, of which there are far too many, are socialist leaning at best, and full on communists at worst.

The Daily Bulletin, a local newspaper for the Los Angeles area’s Inland Empire, ran an article in 2013 about the fact that a significant number of public school teachers who are closet communists:

“[State law prohibiting employees from being communists is] a remnant of the Cold War era and should have long been dropped from the Educational Code,” said Juan Lopez, the California chairman for the Communist Party USA.

Communists aren’t a registered political party in California, but they’re still around, and in good numbers, he said.

“We have more teachers that have joined the Communist Party than any other professions,” he said.

“More than anything, we laugh about it,” said Luis Rivas, a member of the Southern California Young Communists League. “Historically, in the U.S., there’s always been this pretty turbulent tension between the U.S. and Soviet Union.”

Yeah, that is pretty hilarious. I mean, how many communists teach history (or economics) in public high schools, yet somehow avoid discussing with students the fact that communist regimes killed at least 94 million people in the 20th century?

What a hoot.

But that’s ok. At least communists can safely come out of the closet, and they can be welcomed for who they are with open arms.

Meanwhile, those of us who believe in liberty and free markets need to be extremely careful in how we expose our ideas, particularly in the People’s Republic of California, lest we be subjected to ridicule and demands that we’re fired from our jobs.

It’s almost as if we need to maintain online aliases!

Go figure.

UPDATE: Here’s a refresher for the commie history and econ teachers about the enormous death and suffering communist regimes inflicted on their peoples.

Demonizing normalcy

Portions of the left-wing media are buzzing about how 16-year-old Deja Foxx lit into Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) at a recent town hall meeting in Mesa, Arizona. Foxx was upset about his vote for federal legislation that allows states to not provide Planned Parenthood funds for family planning services.

While the video of the exchange between Foxx and Flake is below, I want to focus on how Foxx framed her question to him:

“I just want to state some facts,” Foxx began. “I’m a young woman; you’re a middle-aged man. I’m a person of color, and you’re white. I come from a background of poverty, and I didn’t always have parents to guide me through life; you come from privilege.”

She went on, “I’m wondering, as a Planned Parenthood patient and someone who relies on Title X, who you are clearly not, why is it your right to take away my right?”

Refinery29 reports that in an earlier roundtable, Foxx explained “why Planned Parenthood is so important to her.”

“I am a ‘youth on their own’ — meaning I don’t live with my parents or have a permanent home,” she said in a transcript provided by Planned Parenthood. “So when I needed birth control and reproductive health care, I didn’t have anyone to help me navigate the health care system.” Because she didn’t have access to her state insurance card, her care was completely covered by Title X funds, she said.

(By the way, isn’t it odd that at a time when alternative media is looking into the hideous nature of pedophilia, Planned Parenthood is asking a 16-year-old girl without a permanent home to speak about her concern about possibly losing access to birth control? )

Both the framing and substance of Foxx’s question is loaded with fallacies, facts that ought to be irrelevant, and demonization tactics.

When Foxx says she wants Title X family planning funding to continue as before, she basically wants the federal government to pay for her birth control. She is arguing she has a positive right to that, meaning someone else pays for something to which she’s entitled. However, the problem with positive rights is that other people pay for something for which they receive nothing in return. Under normal circumstances, that is called theft. True rights are negative rights, in which people have a right to not be harmed by other people.

Regarding whether Flake’s vote for the legislation was a good idea, the “facts” she cites are irrelevant. Or at least they ought to be. Who cares if she’s a woman person of color, and he’s a middle-aged man? Why should it matter that he had a stable family life, and she doesn’t? And what does it even mean to say one person is “privileged” and another person isn’t?

However, these facts matter when asking a far different question: why are you, a middle-aged white man, trying to keep a woman (girl?) of color like me down? Because that’s essentially the question Foxx asked Flake.

Once we recognize that Foxx is fighting over maintaining her positive right to birth control, the ridiculousness behind her question becomes abundantly clear. However, to maintain that “right”, another moral context needs to be created within which her ability to receive birth control makes sense. Hence, it’s bad enough that Foxx’s free birth control (to her, at least) may be taken away, but the one voting for that is everything she isn’t.

Normal.

Apparently, her free goodies are far more important than living in a stable and loving family, and maintaining healthy relationships.

While it’s easy for me to criticize Foxx for her unwarranted attack on Flake, in many ways I feel sorry for her. She should have a sense of security that comes from living within a stable, loving family, but she doesn’t. Unfortunately, given her need for birth control, at sixteen, she attacks a decent man for being decent.

I cannot imagine the pain she must have incurred in her life for her to come to that position.

While she is clearly wrong in what she says, I hope that she has the chance of getting what she clearly needs and wants.

Normalcy.

CalExit leader leaves movement with bizarre statement

Scott Shackford of Reason reports that current California succession efforts have been suspended because one of its key proponents has decided to live permanently…in Russia.

One notably bizarre, disorganized push to turn California into its own country is dead—at least for now. Its leader, Louis J. Marinelli, announced that he is canceling the petition and pulling up stakes. While he said he believed in the struggle for California’s independence “from the United States so we could build the kind of country that reflects our progressive values,” he has decided on a new path.

He’s decided he’d rather live in Russia, which is not exactly famous for its progressiveness.

In a missive released yesterday afternoon he said that life in Russia would offer him “a future detached from the partisan divisions and animosity that has thus far engulfed [his] entire life.”

Marinelli’s statement is particularly telling not only about why he wanted California to secede, but the progressive mindset in general.

Marinelli claims that a key motivation for being involved with the CalExit movement was the US government’s handling of the immigration status of his wife.

Throughout this campaign, I have been primarily motivated by a personal struggle I have had with the United States government since 2012. That personal struggle revolved around the immigration status of my wife, a foreign national who I brought to the United States to live believing at the time that it was the best country in the world. For years, our marriage suffered as politicians in Washington argued and bickered about immigration reform while the American people expressed their anti-immigrant xenophobia.

For years, our family, like so many other families in California, suffered without the relief of comprehensive immigration reform. Unable to work, study, or travel internationally, and forced to live each day with the possibility of deportation, my wife was forced to live in the shadows. At times, it was difficult for me to even look at her, ashamed for what I had done, putting her in that situation, simply by bringing her to this country.

These paragraphs raise a fundamental question: what was it about Marinelli’s marriage with a non-American that made it so difficult for him to get his wife a green card? After all, the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services appears to provide clear instructions on what Americans can do to bring their spouses into the country as permanent residents.

While USCIS’s process for evaluating such applications are designed to evaluate whether a marriage is genuine, Marinelli doesn’t bring that up as an impediment. Rather, he’s bleating about Washington’s supposed failure to bring about “immigration reform” and the supposed xenophobia of Americans. However, neither the lack of immigration reform nor American xenophobia should have prevented his wife from getting a green card. The premise that his wife “was forced to live in the shadows” is simply ridiculous.

What makes his cries against xenophobia that much more ridiculous is that in 2015, Marinelli opened a “California embassy” in Russia, all while trying to get a green card for his wife. However, that doesn’t stop Marinelli from comparing American xenophobia to the love that can’t help but pour out of the hearts of progressive Californians.

While Washington refused to act and the Americans continued to spew their hatred towards immigrants, Sacramento actively worked to protect our immigrants. And the people of California embraced our immigrants with open arms and with love and with respect.

It’s really easy for California politicians to proclaim the love of immigrants when national and state taxpayers pay for the welfare state at both levels. But I digress.

It was this contrast between Washington and Sacramento and between the American people and Californian people which shifted my allegiance from the United States to California. It was this contrast which motivated me to start this campaign for independence.

And so, thirty-six months ago, I started the Calexit campaign in order to establish a country where my wife would not need to live in the shadows and where my family would feel welcome. And I wanted a country to be proud of again… and California, unlike the United States, is a great source of pride for me. But three weeks ago, my wife finally received her green card and now my personal struggle against the United States government has ended.

He can’t pretend that he’s fighting the evil U.S. government anymore. The pretext is gone.

However, once a drama queen, always a drama queen.

His sense of victimhood does not prevent him leaving the movement with flair, stage left.

As I have stated in the past, I do not wish to live under the American flag. I do not wish to live under the American political system or within the American economic system. Regardless, I had long planned to eventually return to occupied California [if you only knew, buddy. Mr. Fool] and struggle for her independence from the United States so we could build the kind of country that reflects our progressive values. However, while my frustration, disappointment and disillusionment with the United States remains, these feelings now point me in a different direction. I have found in Russia a new happiness, a life without the albatross of frustration and resentment towards ones’ homeland, and a future detached from the partisan divisions and animosity that has thus far engulfed my entire adult life.

Consequently, if the people of Russia would be so kind as to welcome me here on a permanent basis, I intend to make Russia my new home.

Let’s follow the bouncing ball of Marinelli’s decision-making process, shall we?

The dude marries a Russian. She files for a green card, which takes a while for her to receive. Marinelli conflates American bureaucracy with xenophobia. He uses California’s cheap love of immigrants as a pretext for CalExit. Meanwhile, he opens a “California embassy” to Russia, where his wife is from. Once she gets her green card, he not only announces that he’s leaving the CalExit movement, but proclaims his desire to live in the progressive utopia of Russia for the rest of his life.

This is your mind on progressivism. Any questions?

A discussion about personal sovereignty, federalism, and yes, secession in the United States is long overdue. However, the CalExit movement will most likely die on the vine because of its feckless leaders.

Perhaps truer federalist and secession efforts will arise in its place?

Only time will tell.

 

 

MSM is fake news, no matter what Trump says

Now that the half-life of any positive media Trump may have received from his actions relating to Syria, MOAB, and North Korea has passed, he has gone back to slamming the media as “fake news”.

While this blog has ditifully chronicled how the media has been unfair to Trump, now would be a good opportunity to provide more current examples of fake news.

Unfortunately for the Orange Outrage Machine, otherwise known as the President, those examples relate to his recent foreign policy tantrums.

Justin Raimondo explains it much better than I can:

[H]ere is a group of people – journalists, politicians, and other Very Serious Persons – who have hated our new President from the get-go. He’s Hitler, he’s Mussolini, he’s Pepe the frog! He’s this, he’s that, he’s Our National Nightmare! And yet the minute he starts bombing foreigners he’s suddenly not so bad after all. Over at the Washington Post, David Ignatius, the CIA’s journalistic front man, says he’s “becoming a credible foreign policy leader.” Ruth Marcus opines that we’re witnessing “the normalization of Donald Trump.” Finally, she enthuses, “rationality is dawning” on the forty-fifth President! Among the liberal elite, the hosannas were well nigh universal. As Ann Coulter noted:

“Cable news hosts gushed, ‘Trump became president of the United States tonight!’ On MSNBC, Brian Williams called the bombing ‘beautiful’ three times in less than a minute. Sen. Lindsey Graham (one of the ‘women of the Senate,’ according to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg) compared Trump to Reagan. The New York Times headlined an article, ‘On Syria Attack, Trump’s Heart Came First.’”

Fareed Zakaria’s joy over the bombing seemed to indicate that, for him, it was practically an erotic experience. And this weird bloodlust wasn’t limited to the liberal precincts of the commentariat – far from it. When we dropped the MOAB on Afghanistan, Kimberly Guilfoyle  practically had an orgasm over at Fox News. Sitting there in her low cut red dress, her breasts heaving with passion, her lips parted, and an ecstatic smile plastered on her heavily made-up face, she hailed the bombing as if it were the climax – so to speak – of a pornographic movie: “America is back!” Oh, yeeeesssss!!!!

In short, if Trump doesn’t toe the liberal/neocon line to the T, the media portrays him as wanting to put liberals, feminists, and gays in concentration camps. But when he drops bombs in hell-holes on the other side of the planet, the media is aroused into sexual ecstasy.

This isn’t news reporting. This is a cry for help.

Meanwhile, after the foreign policy chaos he has unleashed over the past two weeks, Trump’s cries of fake news are nothing more than crocodile tears. Granted, the MSM are still lying sacks of incapable of reporting without a liberal slant while pretending to be “objective”. However, if Trump can’t remember what he told voters while campaigning, he’s just another politician.

And therefore part of the problem.

 

 

What does “Blessed are the poor in spirit” mean?

If there has been any passage in Jesus’s Beautitudes that I have struggled with the most, it is this:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:3

The phrase “poor in spirit” has simply boggled my mind. I simply couldn’t understand what that phrase means.

Fortunately, Fulton Sheen explains in his small yet powerful book The Cross and the Beatitudes his interpretation of this critical passage:

Our Blessed Lord came into the world to destroy this acquisitiveness and this subservience of moral to economic ends by breaching the blessedness of the poor in Spirit. It is worth noting immediately that “the poor in spirit” does not necessarily mean the indigent or those in straitened circumstances of life. “Poor in spirit” means interior detachment, and as such includes even some who are rich in the world’s goods, for detachment can be practiced by the rich just as avarice can practiced by the poor.

The poor in Spirit are those who are so detached from wealth, from social position, and from earthly knowledge that, at the moment the Kingdom of God demands a sacrifice, they are prepared to surrender all.

The Beatitude means then: Blessed are those who are not possessed by their possessions; blessed are they who whether or not they are poor in fact are poor in their inmost spirit. – pp. 49-50

Finally, that phrase makes a lot of sense!