Friday, August 29, 2008

On Experience

Since when did Barack Obama consider experience a political desideratum? His entire campaign has been nothing but a carefully contrived, Hollywood-fashioned spectacle to dissemble his complete lack of accomplishments and experience. How rich that he, of all people, is now questioning the credentials of Governor (and former mayor) Sarah Palin.

Rep. Heather Wilson said it pretty well today:

"She's a chief executive of a state. She's a governor, former mayor of a city in Alaska. She's been a businesswoman. She helped her husband run the family fishing business. She's a mom of five and she's a reformer. She's not a Washington insider. She's been a reformist governor and very strongly supported in Alaska."

"You know, Governor Palin has more executive experience than Senator Obama, Senator Biden, and Senator Schumer combined because those guys have never run anything. So I find that quite amusing."

"I was very disappointed with Senator Obama's choice of a running-mate. He chose somebody else who's a Washington insider from the East Coast who knows nothing about the west and Senator McCain surely does. I'm also very pleased that he's chosen as his vice president, the chief executive of the oil producing state in America, strong energy credentials and the energy issue is very important to Americans."

Here's a short McCain-Palin promotional video, made before the announcement today, that features Gov. Palin firing an assault rife with Alaska National Guard members. No doubt it will provoke the scorn of the anti-gun lobby...and the joy of Second Amendment enthusiasts:

The Ticket: McCain/Palin

Some thoughts on the GOP ticket from National Review Online:

Palin on the Horizon

Sarah Palin with her husband and four children (she has since given birth to her fifth child)

It would be a bold move but that's just what the GOP needs right now. A mother of five, Alaska governor Sarah Palin is strongly pro-life and pro-family. She's a fiscal conservative and a proud member of the NRA (Palin is an avid hunter and fisher). By all accounts, she is extremely intelligent and articulate. In addition to her years in public service, she has has a background in journalism. Gov. Palin would be a pleasant contrast to the gruff and grumpy Joe Biden during the VP debate. Let's hope the rumors of her selection prove true.

Palin visits a wounded soldier in Germany

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Liberal Retread...Anything But Change

Fireworks, spotlights, 80,000 fawning disciples, a stage set to the theme of a Greek temple and a colossal ego to boot. Am I the only one who is getting a bit tired of the spectacle that is the Obama campaign? In terms of the issues, where's the never before seen "change" with the nomination of the street organizer turned senator named Barack Obama? He represents nothing but a young face for the worn-out, tried-and-failed policies of an undiluted liberalism that can be traced right back to the Progressive Era and FDR. He is simply a representation of the '92 Bill Clinton, minus the gubernatorial experience and renown prurient excesses. Certainly both share an insatiable ego, which explains why they can't stand each other personally, despite the pathetic convention charade to demonstrate their "unity." Mark my words: No one wants Obama to lose this election more than B & H Clinton. 2012 is right around the corner.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Unexpected Vigor

The flood of unequivocal statements from bishops taking Nancy Pelosi to task for her ludicrous abortion remarks last Sunday are most welcome. Many committed lay Catholics were surprised, relieved and refreshed by the force of the bishops' remarks. It seems that, when it comes to issues of moral clarity, some bishops were weary of taking a back seat to clumsy politicians. Question: Will deeds follow words if Pelosi persists?

Monday, August 25, 2008

As Predicted...

We can count on certain bishops to act like bishops and respond forcefully to the likes of Nancy Pelosi. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver put out a response to Pelosi's Meet the Press diatribe, where she gave us her convoluted interpretation of Church history regarding abortion. Here's an excerpt from a news story. A link to the entire letter follows.

The Archdiocese of Denver argues that since Speaker Pelosi claims to have studied the issue “for a long time,” “she must know very well one of the premier works on the subject, Jesuit John Connery’s Abortion: The Development of the Roman Catholic Perspective (Loyola, 1977).

The statement recall’s Connery’s conclusion: “The Christian tradition from the earliest days reveals a firm antiabortion attitude . . . The condemnation of abortion did not depend on and was not limited in any way by theories regarding the time of fetal animation. Even during the many centuries when Church penal and penitential practice was based on the theory of delayed animation, the condemnation of abortion was never affected by it. Whatever one would want to hold about the time of animation, or when the fetus became a human being in the strict sense of the term, abortion from the time of conception was considered wrong, and the time of animation was never looked on as a moral dividing line between permissible and impermissible abortion.”

Pelosi Reinvents Catholicism

Yesterday on Meet the Press, Nancy Pelosi uttered probably one of her most stunning inanities on record (and there's a long list) while talking about abortion and the question of when life begins. Moderator Tom Brokaw asked her the same question that stumped Barack Obama last week: When does life begin? The blatherskite Speaker, summoning all her arrogance and stupidity, took it upon herself to act as the official spokesperson for the Catholic Church.

As an ardent practicing Catholic, uh, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition, and, uh, senator -- uh, I'm -- senator -- Uh, St. Augustin' (sic) said at three months. We don't know. The point is is that it shouldn't have an impact on a woman's right to choose. Roe v. Wade talks about very clear definitions of when the child -- uh, eh, er, first trimester, certain considerations second trimester, not so third trimester. The -- the -- there's very clear distinctions.

Incredible. Now, there will always be "Catholic" politicians like Pelosi, like Kennedy, like Biden etc., politicians who prostitute the faith for the shallow glamour of Georgetown cocktail parties and appearances on Meet the Press. More troubling than the moral falseness and hypocrisy of these duplicitous politicians is the sheepish reticence of the east-coast cadre of American bishops. There are some notable exceptions in the American episcopacy. I'm thinking of Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, and Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln. But all too often, statements like Pelosi's go unanswered. Where is the leadership here? Where is the vigilant, fearless zeal for souls that guided stellar bishops like Raymond L. Burke of St. Louis? Pelosi will bluster and yawp as always. She's unlikely to change. But what I'd like to see change is the apparent insouciance of much of the Catholic leadership in the United States toward "Catholic" politicians acting in clear dissent from Church teaching.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Pagan Roots of Liberalism

Here's an excerpt from a fascinating piece by Michael Knox Beran. Using Barack Obama as a paragon of the modern liberal man, Beran limns the essentially pagan origins of modern-day liberalism. His observations on liberal culture and celebrity are particularly noteworthy.
Four: Liberalism’s celebrity elites have spawned an artistic culture that makes a fetish of what is hellish in human nature: in contrast to the art of Dante and Baudelaire and Dostoevsky, the new poetic culture of Warhol, Madonna, and their imitators offers its devotees no insight into the possibility of transcending, through divine grace, what is hellish in us. Obama worked to “block a bill that was designed solely to protect the life of infants already born, and outside the womb, who had miraculously survived the attempt to kill them during an abortion.”

Five: The poetry of liberal celebritydom is characterized by a rhythmic primitiveness evident in the monotonous backbeat of the bass drum (that primal, Jupiter Tonans thumping that often emanates from passing cars). Pope Benedict calls this music “Dionysian” both because of its “cultic character” and its power to enslave the soul to the “elemental passions.” Yet in spite of its brutish qualities, the new music has to a great extent replaced, as an educative force, the West’s older poetic culture which, before it was scrapped as a teaching tool by liberal educators in the last century, provided for the intergenerational transmission of artistic and spiritual culture.

Obama’s strategy is based on exciting, in the electorate, the same hysterical and cultic enthusiasm that the Pope has rightly diagnosed as a sickness of modern secular culture.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

From this week's National Review:
"San Francisco liberals are amusing themselves: They have proposed to name a sewage plant after George W. Bush. Their proposal is on the November ballot. This is appropriate, because conservatives specialize in cleaning up the messes of liberals."

A Fragile Victory

Bing West writes in the Wall Street Journal on the success of the war in Iraq:
The war I witnessed for more than five years in Iraq is over. In July, there were five American fatalities in Iraq, the lowest since the war began in March 2003. In Mosul recently, I chatted with shopkeepers on the same corner where last January a Humvee was blown apart in front of me. In the Baghdad district of Ghazilia -- where last January snipers controlled streets awash in human waste -- I saw clean streets and soccer games. In Basra, the local British colonel was dining at a restaurant in the center of the bustling city.

For the first time in 15 trips across the country, I didn't hear one shot or a single blast from a roadside bomb. In Anbar Province, scene of the fiercest fighting during the war, the tribal sheiks insisted to Barack Obama on his recent visit that the U.S. Marines had to stay because they were the most trusted force.

The war turned around in late 2006 because American troops partnered with Iraqi forces and tribal auxiliaries to protect the population. Feeling safe, the population informed on the militias and terrorists living among them. Then, in the spring of 2008, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki attacked the Mahdi militia of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr that controlled Basra and half of Baghdad. The militia crumbled under pressure from Iraqi soldiers backed by coalition intelligence and air assets.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

In Defense of the Speculator

Truth be told, I get a kick out of defending those who are routinely pummeled by the left and the mainstream media, i.e., the pope, President Bush, "big oil," etc. Especially when it comes to matters of an economic nature, most of the left's criticism is purely emotion-based, rooted in nothing but good intentions. Brought to you by Prof. William Luckey:
After showing in the last article that the “greedy oil company executives” do not set oil prices, and to say they do is not only ignorant but calumnious, it is left to demonstrate that so-called speculators do not set the prices either.
To understand the whole thing we must examine what’s called the futures market. If you needed 1000 “pork bellies” today, you would have to pay what is called the spot price. That is the current, going price for pork bellies needed right away. Today one would have to pay 66.4 cents per pound of pork bellies. But supposed you needed the same amount of pork bellies in three months. You could purchase them now for delivery in three months using the futures price--63.5 cents per pound. The delivery might be for 10,00 pounds. Holding supply of pork bellies constant, i. e., there are no biblical plagues or miraculous increase in farm animals, you would pay a lower price for those future pork bellies, because it is a guaranteed sale for a pig farmer. So he would let these go at a discount. This is done by a contract, which means when the contract time is up, you get the pork bellies, which, if you are a butcher, you are glad to get.

One may, however, purchase pork bellies in the futures market without ever intending to actually receive them. One can contract for the same amount of pork bellies at the futures price, set to deliver to the holder of the contract in three months. In this case, the contract purchaser wants to hold the contract, but sell it to someone else prior to delivery, hopefully at a price closer to the higher, spot price, thus making a profit. Holding supply constant, those who need pork bellies now will look to you to sell them your contract. If demand increases, they will be willing to pay more for your contract, than they otherwise would. If the supply is greater than expected, they can get a better deal elsewhere, and if you sell, it might be below the futures price you paid originally.

It’s the same with petroleum, but the market is in a situation where the demand is increasing and the supply is more or less constant. If I buy a futures contract for 1 million barrels of petroleum for a three month delivery, which I do not want, the likelihood that the spot price offered prior to the delivery date will be higher than the futures price I paid today—due to the increased demand and constant supply. As a speculator, I will make a profit, not because I cause the price to increase, but because I correctly guessed that petroleum demand would be outstripping supply in the future. (This is not rocket science) Again, it is supply and demand, and the speculators are merely gamblers, although, for the time being, higher petroleum prices are almost a sure thing.

So, our Catholic television commentator and the Congress are completely wrong headed in wanting to control speculators. They do not control the price of petroleum. If, suddenly, the supply increased noticeably, the speculators would lose money because the price would go down due to drastically increased supply.

What some people won’t say to get viewership, or do to get votes.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Obama the Postmodernist?

Here's a nice piece by Jonah Goldberg from the USA Today:
Asked to define sin, Barack Obama replied that sin is "being out of alignment with my values." Statements such as this have caused many people to wonder whether Obama has a God complex or is hopelessly arrogant. For the record, sin isn't being out of alignment with your own values (if it were, Hannibal Lecter wouldn't be a sinner because his values hold that it's OK to eat people) nor is it being out of alignment with Obama's — unless he really is our Savior.

There is, however, a third possibility. Obama is a postmodernist.

An explosive fad in the 1980s, postmodernism was and is an enormous intellectual hustle in which left-wing intellectuals take crowbars and pick axes to anything having to do with the civilizational Mount Rushmore of Dead White European Males.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Remembering Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“[T]ruth eludes us if we do not concentrate with total attention on its pursuit. And even while it eludes us, the illusion still lingers of knowing it and leads to many misunderstandings. Also, truth is seldom pleasant; it is almost invariably bitter.” -Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, from "A World Split Apart"