Thursday, October 30, 2008

Crowds and Populism

Here's a thought provoking piece by Fouad Ajami appearing in the Wall Street Journal on the logic behind Obama's crowd appeal.
As the late Nobel laureate Elias Canetti observes in his great book, "Crowds and Power" (first published in 1960), the crowd is based on an illusion of equality: Its quest is for that moment when "distinctions are thrown off and all become equal. It is for the sake of this blessed moment, when no one is greater or better than another, that people become a crowd." These crowds, in the tens of thousands, who have been turning out for the Democratic standard-bearer in St. Louis and Denver and Portland, are a measure of American distress.

Iraqis Choose McCain

Maybe overseas aid wouldn't be such a bad thing after all.
"The Iranians believe that if Obama is elected he will not take action against them despite their nuclear ambitions. That worries me," said Ali, sitting on an old bench in Al-Zahawi coffee shop.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Overseas Aid

From the AP:

Palestinian Ibrahim Abu Jayab, 24, is seen next to his computer, in his family house in Nusayrat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008. A young Palestinian in a Gaza refugee camp is doing his part to get out the vote for Barack Obama. With a little help from the Internet, 24-year-old Ibrahim Abu Jayab is cold calling random American families from his parent's home imploring them to vote Obama.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Funny 24-Seconds with Bob Hope

Taking It a Step Further

As if the ever-present band of contumacious Catholic politicos in favor of abortion was not bad enough, now we are seeing, with Pelosi and Biden, vocal Catholic politicians in favor of abortion who claim that the Church herself has "wrestled" with the issue for a long time. These people are out-scandalizing themselves by the day. Catholic friends of the unborn await a more severe response from the bishops this time around to answer this outrage.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The UN-Obama Love Affair

For any undecided voters out there, here's a little UN political advice to ponder. From the Washington Post:

"It would be hard to find anybody, I think, at the U.N. who would not believe that Obama would be a considerable improvement over any other alternative," said William H. Luers, executive director of the United Nations Association.

That pretty much sums it up. McCain could receive no better praise than the blithering derision of such UN blatherskites as Mr. Luers.

Obama Favors Redistribution of Wealth

In this radio interview from 2001, Barack Obama laments the failure of the Supreme Court to enact policies favoring the redistribution of wealth. In retrospect, he thinks the civil rights movement provided a great opportunity to push, via the courts, policies that would have "spread the wealth around." He sees that it's now up to the legislative branch of government to pursue such policies. Call it whatever you like but this is not constitutional.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Here are a couple striking images I found online. The first is, obviously, a view inside St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The other is an interior shot of the Protestant Crystal "Cathedral" in California. The images say enough with regard to Catholic and Protestant uses for sacred art in expressing theological realities.

As I studied the images, I began thinking about how easily words lose their original meaning when carelessly tossed around without respect to their etymology. As learned Catholics and Orthodox know, "Cathedral" implies an episcopal authority, literally, a bishop's "seat" from which he oversees and guides the Church. But most all Protestants reject that idea as contrived popery. Yet, a word like "cathedral", loaded with historical and ecclesial significance is latched on to the thoroughly bishop-less Crystal "Cathedral" and no one seems to notice the glaring discrepancy. Other examples of sloppy word usage abound: Love, marriage, church, to mention a few, are stripped of their intrinsic meaning and molded to fit the trends of the day. "Love", or luv, is just a warm, fuzzy feeling, where more often than not eros is confused for caritas. "Marriage" is reduced to a fancy arrangement between two people who luv each other. "Church" is just any organized body of believers who come together to pray.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Military Overwhelmingly Backs McCain

Voters should consider the reasons why our military, by a 3-1 margin, prefer John McCain to Obama. God bless them. What do they get that 49% of Americans don't? Perhaps experience has taught them something.

I say, let's place the decisions of leadership solely in the rugged, calloused hands of those charged with the heavy responsibility of actually fighting for the freedoms adumbrated in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution...of course I say this tongue in cheek, but the statistic serves as a sober reminder: It's easy to sit back and blog, watch tv, whine, pettifog, welcome obesity and other less attractive symptoms of leisure and affluence ... basically reaping the benefits of our "rights" while letting others do the heavy lifting when it comes to defending them.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Obama's Abortion Extremism

Robert George, a highly respected scholar and author, discusses the depths of Obama's extremism on life issues, abortion in particular. Comparing Senator McCain with Obama, George offers some thoughts:
But on abortion and the industrial creation of embryos for destructive research, there is a profound difference of moral principle, not just prudence. These questions reveal the character and judgment of each man. Barack Obama is deeply committed to the belief that members of an entire class of human beings have no rights that others must respect.

"...members of an entire class of human beings have no rights that others must respect." A somewhat ironic position for an African American to champion.

Here is the link to the piece in its entirety:'s%20Abortion%20Extremism_.xml

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Liberal Endorses Obama, And We're Surprised?

The endorsement heard round the world: Today on Meet the Press, Colin Powell, the liberal, pro-abortion former Secretary of State, has thrown his weight behind the candidacy of Barack Obama. The media is covering this with the kind of jubilation that accompanied V-Day. Powell is a "Republican" in the way that I'm a liberal Catholic. He's not, really and I'm not, really. It is well known that ever since he bolted from the Bush Cabinet he has been a disgruntled statesman in exile. The Bush Administration, in Powell's narrow and self-centered oculus, failed to fully appreciate the greatness that is Colin Powell. Throughout his tenure as Secretary of State, Powell was overshadowed by Cheney, Rumsfeld and, to a certain extent, Rice. Ever since, his bruised pride has been trolling to get even and rehabilitate his marginalized reputation. So here we are. Said a prominent Republican: "Powell cares a lot about his reputation with Washington elites and he thinks he was badly damaged by his relationship with the Bush administration. So this is a way to make up for what he regarded as not being treated well by the Bush administration, not being given the due deferenece he thinks he deserves."

Powell criticized what he considers to be unfair Republican attacks on Obama, especially those questioning the extent of his relationship with 1970's terrorist William Ayers (or, as the media refers to him, "a former radical"). In the same litany of predictable plaints, Powell questioned McCain's judgement in having selected Gov. Sarah Palin as his candidate for vice president. So we should consider the capacity for sound judgement, or lack thereof as Powell sees it, when speaking about McCain's decisions but we dare not do so when studying the reasons behind Obama's numerous radical acquaintances stretching back decades? Judgement, it seems, is a one-way street for Mr. Powell. Plowing through his belabored apologia pro Obama Powell foamed that Palin is not ready to be president, whereas Joe Biden is. "But at the same, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president. And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made." The interlocutor, not surprisingly, failed to follow-up with a reasonable question to ascertain what, according to Powell, makes Obama ready to be president over Gov. Palin, who has spent more time in public office, possesses executive experience (which Obama lacks) a list of significant achievements (which Obama lacks) and an eighty-percent approval rating from her constituents (which Obama lacks). And to top off the list of favorite Democratic talking-points, Powell echoed the belief that the United States needs a president who cares about what "the world" thinks; someone who is occupied with “conveying a new image of American leadership, a new image of America’s role in the world.” How trite. A "world" to be sure, that marches many a step to the left on every issue, whether economic, geopolitical or social.

Don't be fooled. Powell is a liberal to the core and he was irked, frightened even, by the unabashed conservatism of Sarah Palin and the likelihood that she will veer the GOP to the right, regardless of the outcome of the election. Again, Powell: "And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign, and they trouble me. And the party has moved even further to the right, and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift." Powell seeks as his desideratum a liberal brand of Republicanism or he'll have none of it. That is how to read this yawn-inducing endorsement.

And as for poor judgement, not to mention bad taste and gaucherie: Powell likes hip-hop. Need we say more?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Archbishop Chaput on Obama

From the AP:
Denver Roman Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput labeled Barack Obama the "most committed" abortion-rights candidate from a major party in 35 years while accusing a Catholic Obama ally and other Democratic-friendly Catholic groups of doing a "disservice to the church."

"To suggest — as some Catholics do — that Senator Obama is this year's 'real' pro-life candidate requires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, or moral confusion, or worse."

In Chaput's own words:

Three Simple Questions

From Live Science:

The survey, conducted between April 30 and June 1 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, measured the political knowledge of 3,612 U.S. adults. Participants were asked to name the controlling party of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. secretary of state and Great Britain's prime minister.

Overall, just 18 percent of participants answered all three questions correctly.

Pathetic. Less than a few weeks from the election, a revelation of American ignorance this severe is less than encouraging.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Lewis on the Greatness of Friendship

It always benefits me to revisit passages in anything penned by C.S. Lewis. One of my favorites is his timeless work, The Four Loves. The sources and objects of affection, friendship, eros and charity are explained with striking clarity and brilliance. Lewis' section on friendship enlightened me greatly when I first came upon it and returning to his observations is a task I dutifully and gladly take up from time to time. That friendship exists not only between persons, both human and angelic, but between man and God Himself is something to ponder. Lewis traces the divine origins and destiny of true friendship in the passage that follows:
True friendship is the least jealous of loves. Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth, if only the newcomer is qualified to become a real friend. They can say, as the blessed souls in Dante, "Here comes one who will augment our loves." For in this "to love is not to take away." ... we possess each friend not less but more as the number of those with whom we share him increases. In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious "nearness by resemblance" to Heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed increases the fruition which each has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah's vision are crying "Holy, Holy, Holy" to one another (Isaiah VI, 3.) The more we share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall all have. -C.S. Lewis

Joe the Plumber Brings Back Reagan

Amity Shlaes discusses how an Ohio plumber named Joe Wurzelbacher reignited conservative passion. Wurzelbacher stood up to Obama by questioning his redistributist economic plan that would, despite his protestations to the contrary, heavily burden small business owners.

Here's a clip of the Joe/Barack exchange:

A Democratic Super Majority?

In a sobering piece, the Wall Street Journal speculates on the consequences of a liberal super majority in Washington, were Obama to win the election and, as highly expected, the Democrats consolidate their majorities in Congress. Certainly, a prospect to fear.
In both 1933 and 1965, liberal majorities imposed vast expansions of government that have never been repealed, and the current financial panic may give today's left another pretext to return to those heydays of welfare-state liberalism. Americans voting for "change" should know they may get far more than they ever imagined.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pro-Life + Pro-Obama = ???

A priest friend recently commented on the number of Obama-Biden bumper stickers in the parking lot of his parish. The Nancy Pelosi/Meet the Press fiasco only confirmed the exigent problem of loose canon Catholics in the public realm. Certainly, most of the blame for the endemic confusion among Catholics regarding public policy can be traced directly to the lamentable dearth of proper catechesis in Catholic schools. It's a problem that now spans generations. Here, George Weigel picks apart the specious pro-Obama arguments offered by the left-leaning Catholic cognoscenti in the run-up to the election.

Monday, October 13, 2008

On Distributism

I feel somewhat reluctant to post further material on the economic theory of distributism, also known as corporatism. A scholarly critique can bring unwarranted attention to a moribund subject. As it is, distributism has been so thoroughly discredited by learned economists that it is only clung to by a small cadre of Catholics. What's the point in beating a dead horse?

That said, Dr. Thomas Woods does a nice job picking it apart, again, for those interested.

Monday, October 06, 2008

On Electing Democrats

I received this observation in an email today.

What do the top ten cities with the highest poverty rate all have in common?

Detroit , MI (1st on the poverty rate list) hasn't elected a
Republican mayor since 1961.
Buffalo, NY (2nd) hasn't elected one since 1954;
Cincinnati , OH (3rd)...since 1984;
Cleveland , OH (4th)...since 1989;
Miami , FL (5th) has never had a Republican mayor;
St. Louis , MO (6th)....since 1949;
El Paso , TX (7th) has never had a Republican mayor;
Milwaukee , WI (8th)...since 1908;
Philadelphia , PA (9th)...since 1952;
Newark , NJ (10th)...since 1907.

Einstein once said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

It is the disadvantaged who habitually elect Democrats- yet are still disadvantaged.