Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On Self-Possession

There are many Catholics who imagine that they can remedy the ills of society by returning to a more primitive lifestyle, where all work is done by hand and there are only simple machines and no companies. Not only do those who fall for these utopian schemes wish to have everyone live in squalor and work themselves to death, but they say that this is what the Church teaches. They forget that sin comes not from social institutions, but from the very heart of man, and no tweaking of a system will make that evil disappear. Ultimately, all of these well-meaning Catholics are, as Wojtyla says, inoculating themselves against self-possession.
-Professor William Luckey


Archbishop Burke: Democrats Risk Becoming "Party of Death"

I was just piecing together a work-related email to Archbishop Burke when a friend brought this story to my attention. It seems that Burke is still making headlines in America from his new position as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican's highest court, in Rome.


Bankruptcy Better Than Bailout

Jeffrey Miron, a learned economist from (of all places) Harvard speaks the truth about the current "crisis". It's one of the best pieces I've read on the subject.
The current mess would never have occurred in the absence of ill-conceived federal policies. The federal government chartered Fannie Mae in 1938 and Freddie Mac in 1970; these two mortgage lending institutions are at the center of the crisis. The government implicitly promised these institutions that it would make good on their debts, so Fannie and Freddie took on huge amounts of excessive risk...

The fact that government bears such a huge responsibility for the current mess means any response should eliminate the conditions that created this situation in the first place, not attempt to fix bad government with more government.


Marx to the Rescue!

In his Communist Manifesto, published in 1848, Karl Marx proposed 10 measures to be implemented after the proletariat takes power, with the aim of centralizing all instruments of production in the hands of the state. Proposal Number Five was to bring about the “centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.”

If he were to rise from the dead today, Marx might be delighted to discover that most economists and financial commentators, including many who claim to favour the free market, agree with him.
-Martin Masse
Read more:

An afterthought: Can anyone imagine Ronald Reagan or Bill Buckley supporting this maladroit and now, thankfully defunct piece of legislation? If a Democratic president had proposed such a bill, NO Republican would have raised a finger to help it through Congress.

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people; it is wholly inadequate for the governance of any other." -John Adams

Would a man like Obama, who as a youth drank heavily from the cup of post-modernist dogma, agree with Mr. Adams? Perhaps he would agree...and it is precisely for that reason that he will, however surreptitiously, set about to dismantle our political and cultural traditions, traditions rooted firmly in Western thought.
This video shows Congressional Republicans back in 2004 warning of the lack of oversight at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. All the while prominent Democrats smugly brush aside all warnings regarding Fannie and Freddie, defending them to the hilt. Astonishingly, the Democrats go further by ripping into the very regulators they are now claiming to be on the side of. Today, Democrats are attempting to rewrite history. People need to know the truth. Watch the video.

Killing the Leviathan

The scandalous financial bailout bill has failed. Socialism has been averted, for now. Bush is absolutely wrong to support this bill, which would have amounted to nothing less than the most expansive intervention by the government in the economy since the Great Depression. Gingrich's analysis of the president, on the video below, is right on the money. Here's to the House Republicans and the cadre of 94 Democrats (who must have been getting an earful last weekend from their constituents in Middle America) who put the brakes on this monstrosity.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Archbishop Dolan Editorial

Archbishop Timothy Dolan's editorial insertion in the debate over pro-abortion Catholic politicians is most welcome. This comes from the Crossroads section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
It was not the bishops who started this rhubarb but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), who took it upon themselves to explain Catholic teaching on abortion to the nation - and blundered badly.

Now, to be sure, church teaching highly respects the charism of civic responsibility and political leadership as belonging to the laity, not the clergy, a tenet especially strong in the writings of Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and defends as well a properly understood separation of church and state, so clear in Pope Benedict's remarks in France just two weeks ago.

But church tradition is equally clear that bishops are the authentic teachers of the faith. So, when prominent Catholics publicly misrepresent timeless Church doctrine - as Biden and Pelosi regrettably did (to say nothing of erring in biology!) - a bishop has the duty to clarify. Cardinal Justin Rigali and Bishop William E. Lori were thus hardly acting as politicians, "telling people how to vote," but as teachers.


Explaining a Disaster

Newt Gingrich picks apart the monstrosity that is the Wall Street bailout supported by congress and the president.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Third Party Option

I spoke with a friend today who informed me of a conversation she had with an acquaintance of ours. Politics was the topic of both conversations and the subject of third parties came up. This other friend, a good Catholic, is standing pat with his decision to vote third party in November in favor of the Constitution Party (if memory serves me correctly). Among traditional Catholic circles, third parties often entice a good number with their laudable goals of returning immediately to the America of the founding: smaller federal government, greater deference to states' rights, the abolition of the plethora of federal agencies, etc. That's all fine and good but whatever happened to living in the present? Put simply, those goals are impossible to achieve now. Incremental stages will be the only possible way we can begin a return to first principles. A McCain presidency, followed up by the more conservative Palin, just might present us with the opportunity for the gradual stripping down of the size of the federal government. We know exactly what we'll get with a President Obama: bigger everything, ultra-liberal Supreme Court justices coupled with perhaps irreversible moves to the Socialist position. With Obama on the cusp of a devastating victory, the stakes are too high this election to tinker around with the completely unrealistic objective of electing a third party candidate. Intelligent people, rooted first in principle but guided by pragmatism, should be able to see this. Ideologues, I'm afraid, are just incapable of it. The total votes that a third party candidate may garnish in November will be small enough to be forgotten in a season or two but perhaps just large enough to help maneuver Obama into the White House. But hey, third party groupies can rest on the lonely laurel of having "made their point." The abortion issue alone should be enough to compel good Catholics to make the best choice, given the circumstances. But ideologues, on the right and left, often have trouble in the "given the circumstances" category.

National Review
, that rag of "neo-conservative" jingoism so scorned by the far right, put it nicely recently: "We hope liberty lovers who help Obama win enjoy their higher taxes, socialized medicine, and far-Left Supreme Court appointments."

Conservative Gains in Japan

Japan has its first Catholic prime minister in Taro Aso.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

from John Milton's Paradise Lost

As not of power, at once; nor odds appeared
In might or swift prevention; but the sword
Of Michael from the armoury of God
Was given him tempered so, that neither keen
Nor solid might resist that edge: it met
The sword of Satan with steep force to smite
Descending, and in half cut sheer, nor stayed
But with swift wheel reverse, deep entering sheared
All his right side; then Satan first knew pain,
And writhed him to and fro convolved; so sore
The griding sword with discontinuous wound
Passed through him, but th' ethereal substance closed
Not long divisible, and from the gash
A stream of nectarous humour issuing flowed
Sanguine, such as celestial spirits may bleed,
And all his armour stained ere while so bright.
Forthwith on all sides to his aid was run
By angles many and strong, who interposed
Back to his chariot, where it stood retired
From off the files of war; there they him laid
Gnashing for anguish and despite and shame
To find himself not matchless, and his pride
Humbled by such rebuke, so far beneath
His confidence to equal God in power.

Oil Drilling Q & A

"The Drilling Bill that Bans Drilling" by Jeff Jacoby

Saturday, September 20, 2008

On the Merits of Being Self-Assured

"While Obama appears to have been on a lifelong search for his identity, Palin has never wondered who she was or where she was from...Unlike most successful female politicians, she's not afraid of her femininity. She doesn't need to posture as a man, flaunting pant suits and a tough personality to demonstrate her strength (take note, Hillary)."

In terms of gauging character, these devastating clinchers sum up everything one ought to know about Palin, Obama and Clinton.


The Geopolitics of Pope Benedict XVI

Here's an excerpt from a thoughtful essay by Sandro Magister entitled The Pope of the West:
If John Paul II was the pope of dazzling intuitions, Benedict XVI is the pope of methodical reasoning and action. The former was above all image, the latter is mainly "logos." John Paul II made an impact with these words from his first homily as pope: "Be not afraid, open the doors to Christ." The words already contained a glimpse of the peaceful revolution that he would inspire in Eastern Europe, and not only there. But the first action of Benedict XVI that made a worldwide impact was the long and substantial lecture that he gave at the University of Regensburg on September 12, 2006. He literally shook the world, for both the right reasons on the wrong ones. That lecture explained the new pope's view of the Church and of the West and his plans for them, including relations with Islam.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Catholics for Catholicism

Here's an interesting piece from The Telegraph that speculates how Obama's selection of the "Catholic" Joe Biden might actually cost him Catholic votes. The article notes how a growing cadre of US Bishops are displaying renewed virility in slamming the band of Catholics for a Free Choice politicos like Biden, Pelosi, et al. Some of the comments are funny: "Go back to the Middle Ages, again, you Catholics..." Ah, the British!
There are 47 million Catholic voters in the United States. One quarter of all registered voters are Catholics. At every presidential election in the past 30 years the Catholic vote has gone to the winning candidate, except for Al Gore in 2000. This year 41 per cent of Catholics are independents - up from 30 per cent in 2004. Psephologists claim practising Catholics were the decisive factor in the crucial swing states in 2004: in Ohio 65 per cent of Catholics voted for Bush, in Florida 66 per cent. They were drifting away in disillusionment from the Republicans and split 50-50, until Joe Biden worked his magic. This is electoral suicide by the Democrats.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Economic Woes: Who's to Blame?

A worthwhile piece from Investor's Business Daily:
The untold story in this whole national crisis is that President Clinton put on steroids the Community Redevelopment Act, a well-intended Carter-era law designed to encourage minority homeownership. And in so doing, he helped create the market for the risky subprime loans that he and Democrats now decry as not only greedy but "predatory."

Yes, the market was fueled by greed and overleveraging in the secondary market for subprimes, vis-a-vis mortgaged-backed securities traded on Wall Street. But the seed was planted in the '90s by Clinton and his social engineers. They were the political catalyst behind this slow-motion financial train wreck...

Obama and Democrats on the Hill think even more regulation and more interference in the market will solve the problem their policies helped cause. For now, unarmed by the historic record, conventional wisdom is buying into their blame-business-first rhetoric and bigger-government solutions.

While government arguably has a role in helping low-income folks buy a home, Clinton went overboard by strong-arming lenders with tougher and tougher regulations, which only led to lenders taking on hundreds of billions in subprime bilge.
Market failure? Hardly. Once again, this crisis has government's fingerprints all over it.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Words and Deeds

Here are some excerpts from a coruscating piece by Gerard Baker, appearing in the Times Online:
The essential problem coming to light is a profound disconnect between the Barack Obama of the candidate's speeches, and the Barack Obama who has actually been in politics for the past decade or so.

Speechmaker Obama has built his campaign on the promise of reform, the need to change the culture of American political life, to take on the special interests that undermine government's effectiveness and erode trust in the system itself,

Politician Obama rose through a Chicago machine that is notoriously the most corrupt in the country. As David Freddoso writes in a brilliantly cogent and measured book, The Case Against Barack Obama, the angel of deliverance from the old politics functioned like an old-time Democratic pol in Illinois. He refused repeatedly to side with those lonely voices that sought to challenge the old corrupt ways of the ruling party.

Speechmaker Obama talks about an era of bipartisanship, He speaks powerfully about the destructive politics of red and blue states.

Politician Obama has toed his party's line more reliably than almost any other Democrat in US politics. He has a near-perfect record of voting with his side. He has the most solidly left-wing voting history in the Senate. His one act of bipartisanship, a transparency bill co-sponsored with a Republican senator, was backed by everybody on both sides of the aisle. He has never challenged his party's line on any issue of substance.

Speechmaker Obama talks a lot about finding ways to move beyond the bloody battlegrounds of the “culture wars” in America; the urgent need to establish consensus on the emotive issue of abortion.

Politician Obama's support for abortion rights is the most extreme of any Democratic senator. In the Illinois legislature he refused to join Democrats and Republicans in supporting a Bill that would require doctors to provide medical care for babies who survived abortions. No one in the Senate - not the arch feminist Hillary Clinton nor the superliberal Edward Kennedy - opposed this same humane measure.


Visiting the "Eldest Daughter" of the Church

"It would be a disaster if today's European culture could only conceive freedom as absence of obligation, which would inevitably play into the hands of fanaticism and arbitrariness." -Pope Benedict XVI in France


As Obama's poll numbers plummet and liberals quake in terror at the prospect of a McCain-Palin administration, evidence amasses that the left in America is spiraling out of control. Extreme fits of behavior are often indicative of desperation. Exhibit A: Today, Whoopi Goldberg asked John McCain the following jaw-dropping question: "Should I be worried about being a slave, returning to slavery (that is, under a McCain Administration)?" Uh, Ok. Now, given that Goldberg never actually was a slave, her question about "returning to slavery" is a bit strange but I bet that McCain, given his 5-year stint in a POW camp, has better first-hand knowledge than Goldberg of what life as a slave is actually like.

Lately, Barack Obama is being directly compared, via his position as a "community organizer," to Christ and Governor Palin to Pontius Pilate. Is there a precedent for this degree of maniacal hatred and bile in American politics? That which was once viewed as an axiom, an inevitable Obama landslide, is now fading and Democrats are left to unleash self-destructive salvos of vitriol against Governor Palin.

Prominent Democrats are sounding off:

Susan Sarandon, Democrat: "Jesus was a community organizer and Pontius Pilate was a governor. That's all I have to say!"

Donna Brazile, Democrat: "Jesus was a community organizer. Pontius Pilate was a governor, and perhaps they should understand the role of a -- a community organizer to help people in distress."

Congressman Steve Cohen, Democrat: "I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that the parties have differences, but if you want change, you want the Democratic Party. Barack Obama was a community organizer like Jesus who our minister prayed about. Pontius Pilate was a governor."

Keep it up fellas.

Revolting as it is, this anecdote is extraordinary revelatory, as it follows the narrative of liberation theology to a tee, which translates orthodox Christianity into a quasi-Marxist cocktail of nothing more than the need for "social justice" and working against "the system." Liberation from sin is glossed over with an ideology of political liberation from an oppressive regime or class.

First Lady Blasts Abortion

Rosario Murillo, the First Lady of Nicaragua, ripped liberal feminism and defended the policy of her husband's government that outlaws abortion in Nicaragua. Here are some excerpts:
"Their [liberal feminists] values represent the Old Society, exclusive, unjust, and impoverishing... where men and women...prefer to raise pets instead of children, and depopulate and disharmonize the Earth. This is junk 'feminism'... And furthermore, as I already said, it is in the hands of women who neither live as women, nor know the feminine soul, individual or collective. They ignore our daily battles; they are not the flesh and bone of a woman. They have no family ties or stable affections; they disdain those blessed ties of unconditional affection, indispensible for healthy human development...Favorites of 'elegant' perfumed democracy, they are able to mix politics and sexism, like totalitarian and exclusive judges, who only recognize their own models, their particular lifestyle options, their emotional criteria, and their political tendencies. They don't admit that women opt for routes that are constructive for women, with an inclusive conscience, a maternal instinct, and a sense of family, of a couple, and of human brotherhood. They do not accept that men and women believe in a different future, and that we work together, creating the indispensable difference between today and tomorrow.

Despite the Ortega's checkered past, we give credit where it is due.

The Whole Story

The Obama campaign has taken to mocking Senator McCain for not being very deft with computers and email. Obama spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said the following:
Our economy wouldn't survive without the Internet, and cyber-security continues to represent one our most serious national security threats, It's extraordinary that someone who wants to be our president and our commander in chief doesn't know how to send an e-mail.

But a story from a Boston Globe article back 2000 fills in some important gaps:
McCain gets emotional at the mention of military families needing food stamps or veterans lacking health care. The outrage comes from inside: McCain's severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes. Friends marvel at McCain's encyclopedic knowledge of sports. He's an avid fan - Ted Williams is his hero - but he can't raise his arm above his shoulder to throw a baseball.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dear Mr. Obama,

*It should be noted that this is not a McCain-sponsored ad. The funds to make this video came from private sources.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hollywood Bilge

There's nothing like experiencing (again and again) the peerless doltishness of Hollywood celebrities. The most recent display of the all-too-familiar collective idiocy emanating from the bowels of tinsel town was brought to us by Matt Damon. (It's a pity too because I liked some of his movies...) On the the candidacy of Gov. Sarah Palin, Damon offered these insightful words:

"I think that pick [Sarah Palin] was for political purposes. But in terms of governance, it's a disaster...You do the actuary tables, there's a one out of three chance, if not more, that McCain doesn't survive his first term, and it'll be President Palin...It's like a really bad Disney movie, The Hockey Mom. 'Oh, I'm just a hockey mom from Alaska,' and she's president...She's facing down Vladimir Putin and using the folksy stuff she learned at the hockey rink. It's absurd."

Damon's bizarre screed continued but, out of a deep consideration for the time and standards of the readers, I'm going to pull the plug.

Hmmm...when sizing up degrees of absurdity, which comes out on top:

a) An elected official from middle America with a strong record of accomplishment (not to mention an 85% approval rating from her constituents), who stands a good chance of becoming the next vice president?


b) The rank hutzpah of a delusional screen performer who is desperate for relevance in the real world and thinks that what he has to say regarding serious, grown-up matter is actually worth listening to?

Maybe if Palin dances on "Ellen" she'll earn the endorsement of Damon.

Monday, September 08, 2008

A Good Poem for Good Men

by: Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

Friday, September 05, 2008

On the Trail

Yesterday, Barack Obama admitted in an interview with Bill O'Reilly that the troop surge in Iraq has succeeded "beyond our wildest dreams." Note, he didn't say beyond "my wildest dreams." By using the third person "our" Obama is attempting to inoculate himself from the derivative harm of his own short-sighted folly in opposing the surge and predicting its failure. Gov. Palin eviscerated Obama on his rhetorical three-card monte at a rally today in my home state of Wisconsin.

He (Obama) said it (the troop surge) was doomed to fail. But just last night, Sen. Obama finally broke and brought himself to admit what all of us have known for quite some time, and that’s that thanks to the skill and valor of our troops, the surge in Iraq has succeeded. I guess when you turn out to be profoundly wrong on a vital national security issue, maybe it’s comforting to pretend that everyone else was wrong, too.”

Some AP shots from the rally:

The Cult of Obama

After stopping at a cafe with a friend, we returned to the car to discover this business card pinned underneath the windshield wiper. Just as I was about to rip it to shreds, I thought I'd retain it as more evidence of the bizarre cult of personality that shadows Barack Obama, or, as Oprah is fond of calling him, The One. The image is striking in its religious undertones, not so subtly conveyed. With the omnipresence of a god, a solemn and saintly Obama benignly gazes down from the clouds to his children below as fluttering doves form a laurel wreath on his head. HOPE incarnate has arrived for the left. Unbelievable.

The overwhelming majority of Obama's supporters are enamored with a contrived story of an "accomplished" man who has, as his sole achievement, pieced together a quasi-religious political movement rooted in undiluted liberalism tinged heavily with the machinations of liberation theology and the radical black power ideology of the sixties. The remarkable thing about this movement is the total yawn-inspiring vapidity of its jejune front-man.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

"Simply Stunning"

From across the pond, here are some pull quotes from a piece appearing today in The Sun, an online periodical in the UK.
What's the difference between a hockey mum and a pit bull?, she asked. Answer: One wears lipstick...

What will have scared the enemy camp most is the devastating series of prime-time punches she landed on the jutting Obama jaw...

Showing steel beneath her magnolia jacket, she slaughtered his lack of experience, his vanity, his emptiness beneath the windy waffle...

It was the most powerful demolition of the Democrat hero I have heard in two weeks on the US election trail...

How the Democrats must be regretting Hillary isn't running with Obama. Barack's sidekick Joe Biden looks a dull old dog compared with the ball of fire that is Palin.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Yes, She Can

Sarah Palin delivered a remarkable speech tonight. She presented herself and her family to America just as they are: a typical family, with its ups and downs. A poignant moment came near the beginning with the encomium Palin offered for her eldest son Track who will be heading out to Iraq in a week or so. “I’m just one of many moms who will say an extra prayer each night for our sons and daughters going into harm’s way.” The euphoric crowd gave Track a great ovation. She also mercilessly ripped into Barack Obama for, among many things too numerous to number, his effete reference to "personal discovery" when talking about running for the presidency. She stripped the thin veneer of "experience" and "change" from the neophyte Chicago politician and successfully made the case for true leadership and real change. "In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change."

Say hello to the new feminism.

A Story on Track Palin:

Aborting Leftist Feminism

Any speculation that the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin for the Republican ticket might temper radical feminism's contempt for the right can safely be put to rest. As the next Clarence Thomas of American politics, Palin embodies exactly what liberals loath even more than the white man, i.e., the articulate pro-life woman and her potential to direct the future of feminism in America. Make no mistake about it, Palin's pro-life stance, (not to mention her qualifications and looks) is the principal reason for the left's scandal-mongering tizzy. The Democrats, liberal women in particular, are petrified by her potential to remake American feminism as a conservative movement. They are old and dying off, Palin is young and taking off. This alone explains the hysteria, slander and malarkey surrounding her candidacy. For liberals, abortion remains the primordial "right" which, if all other gains are to be lost, must be defended to the death. (Talk about diabolical!) No one threatens that tenuous "right" more than Gov. Palin.

Monday, September 01, 2008

American Demands

From George Will's fluid pen:
At the nation's founding, Americans believed that government exists to protect people in the exercise of their pre-existing "natural" rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But time passed, bringing us FDR and Oprah and other facets of modernity. Now Americans believe that government exists to create new rights for them, and to solve their problems, and that it can do so only if politicians empathize with voters' conditions and "feelings," and that perhaps politicians cannot do so if they do not live lives of conspicuous normality.


Sister Betty, It's Come to This?

From the AP: Protester Betty McKenzie, a nun from St. Paul, Minn., gives a peace sign after she climbed under a barricade outside of the Landmark Center near the Xcel Center during an anti-war rally at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., Sunday, Aug. 31, 2008.

Peace sign flashing, habit spurning, cropped-coiffure donning liberal activists, dolled up in polyester clearance-rack accouterments from Wal-Mart: How did female religious orders in the US fall so far, so fast? Sister Betty, please, ixnay with the granola peace sign, pick up your rosary, don a habit, stand outside an abortion clinic and make your foundress proud.