Monday, November 24, 2008

Strength with a Smile

Ever since Archbishop Raymond Burke left St. Louis to take up his post at the Apostolic Signatura in Rome, the archdiocese has been under the care of the archdiocesan administrator, Bishop Robert Hermann, until a new ordinary is named in the near future. The son of fourteen children and a St. Louis native, Bishop Herman has marvelously demonstrated the kind of resolute leadership that committed Catholics across the nation are so desperately seeking. (As an aside: I've had the privilege of having dinner with Bishop Hermann on several occasions; on one of which, he was enthusiastically showing off the slick features of his new iphone. Snapping a picture of the food on the table, he said, "When you turn the phone this way, the photo adjusts to the new position of the screen!")

While perhaps lacking the star power of archbishops Burke or Chaput, the perennially cheerful Hermann nevertheless raised more than a few eyebrows with his forceful preaching on the priority of voting pro-life in the run-up to the Nov. 4 election. In his homilies, letters and, most recently, at the US Bishop's Conference in Washington, Hermann relentlessly hammered home the fundamental moral issue facing our nation in the debate over abortion. Evoking the courage of our soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hermann passionately challenged his brother bishops to take seriously the moral imperative to boldly lead Catholics in confronting the unparalleled evil of legalized abortion. Many Catholics I've spoken to in St. Louis are pleasantly surprised, not by Hermann's uncompromisingly pro-life tone, which everyone expected, but at the degree to which he has risen to the occasion after the departure of Archbishop Burke and the forcefulness of his message to the US bishops. Speaking to his fellow bishops, Hermann delivered the following stern challenge:

"We have lost 50 times as many children in the last 35 years as we have lost soldiers in all the wars since the Revolution. I think any bishop here would consider it a privilege to die tomorrow to bring about an end to abortion. If we are willing to die tomorrow, then we should be willing to, until the end of our lives, to take all kinds of criticism for opposing this horrible infanticide."

Asked to elaborate in an interview given after the conference to the St. Louis Review, the archdiocese's Catholic weekly, Hermann said the following:
We have campaigned to save baby whales, and yet we vote in pro-abortion politicians-which doesn't make any sense whatsoever...There should be 50 million more Americans in our midst, and anyone under 35 can look around and say, "Where are they?" And, "I'm very lucky to be alive."

We are grateful for all the soldiers who have died to defend our freedom. But at the same time, we aren't making similar efforts to protect the unborn.

If American youth are willing to go to war and lay their life down to defend our freedoms, then every bishop should be willing to give up his life, it it meant putting an end to abortion. And if we're willing to do that, then we should be totally fearless of promoting this cause without being concerned about political correctness, without trying to build coalitions with pro-choice people.


On Obama's pro-abortion stance: "When he promotes abortion, he is, whether he knows it or not, targeting blacks, because they have been targeted by Planned Parenthood with abortion information and facilities in their neighborhoods. So he and Planned Parenthood are helping to reduce the African-American population in this country."

Where else, among our leaders, are we hearing this kind of clear instruction?

Three cheers for Bishop Hermann!

Bailouts and Faux Capitalism

Here's a good piece by Reihan Salam, from
Bailout capitalism is crony capitalism: the marriage of the socialization of risk and the privatization of profit. In this upside-down world, the taxpayer bears the brunt of failed decisions while crony capitalists make billions when times are flush. Notice what has happened since the bailout of the financial sector. While some have condemned it as a massive giveaway, others have decided that they too are deserving of federal largess. This is a mentality that will sap our economic vitality and, as melodramatic as this might sound, undermine our democracy. We badly need politicians who are willing to apply the same set of rules to big guys and to little guys. If Republicans are ever going to make a comeback, they need to make the case against never-ending bailouts of the rich and connected.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What an 11-Year Old Can Teach the World

I gather Brenden said he saw angels come for him just before he died last Friday. Certainly they did.

Brenden Foster, 1997 - 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Public Officials Flunk Basic Civics Quiz

This study, coupled with the video a few posts down of dimwitted Obama supporters, helps explain November 4, and so much more.
WASHINGTON (AFP) – US elected officials scored abysmally on a test measuring their civic knowledge, with an average grade of just 44 percent, the group that organized the exam said Thursday.

Ordinary citizens did not fare much better, scoring just 49 percent correct on the 33 exam questions compiled by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI).

"It is disturbing enough that the general public failed ISI's civic literacy test, but when you consider the even more dismal scores of elected officials, you have to be concerned," said Josiah Bunting, chairman of the National Civic Literacy Board at ISI.

"How can political leaders make informed decisions if they don't understand the American experience?" he added.
The exam questions covered American history, the workings of the US government and economics.

Among the questions asked of some 2,500 people who were randomly selected to take the test, including "self-identified elected officials," was one which asked respondents to "name two countries that were our enemies during World War II."
Sixty-nine percent of respondents correctly identified Germany and Japan. Among the incorrect answers were Britain, China, Russia, Canada, Mexico and Spain.

Forty percent of respondents, meanwhile, incorrectly believed that the US president has the power to declare war, while 54 percent correctly answered that that power rests with Congress.

Asked about the electoral college, 20 percent of elected officials incorrectly said it was established to "supervise the first televised presidential debates."

In fact, the system of choosing the US president via an indirect electoral college vote dates back some 220 years, to the US Constitution.

The question that received the fewest correct responses, just 16 percent, tested respondents' basic understanding of economic principles, asking why "free markets typically secure more economic prosperity than government's centralized planning?"

Activities that dull Americans' civic knowledge include talking on the phone and watching movies or television -- even news shows and documentaries, ISI said.

Meanwhile, civic knowledge is enhanced by discussing public affairs, taking part in civic activities and reading about current events and history, the group said.

Reading history? Substantive discussions? Following current events? The cultivation of these activities is unfortunately disgracefully lacking in contemporary society. Parents don't engage in them, so it's not surprising that the youth follow suit.

Bob Woodward on Clinton as Sec. of State

Bob finally got something right.
Being president is about control, and tell me who ever controlled Bill or Hillary Clinton. They can't control each other. ... I think it's because Warren Buffett and Paul Volcker and others have convinced Obama, 'You're going to have to focus like a laser on the economy. That's issue Number One. And give Hillary and Bill the world.' ... I think people are fantasizing or smoking something if they think Joe Biden's going to call Hillary Clinton up and say, 'This is what we want you to do.'

Friday, November 21, 2008

High Hopes

Louisiana Gov. Bobbly Jindal tops The Washington Post's top-ten list of Republicans to watch over the next couple years. A 100% pro-life Catholic, Rhodes Scholar and political wiz, Jindal could be just the antidote to rid the nation of the Obama virus once and for all come 2012.
1. Bobby Jindal: There is NO hotter commodity in the Republican party these days than Jindal. Jindal is the rare candidate who both reformers and establishment types find appealing, and as a 37-year-old Indian American he is -- literally and figuratively -- the sort of new face the party is pining for. While Jindal is hot right now, it's important to remember that he is the governor of a state with a complex political scene -- meaning there will be myriad opportunities for Jindal to falter over the next few months and years.

On that final sentence: The exact same thing could be said of Obama, only that more eyes will be on him.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Liberalism: Act IV

Let's review: So far, Obama has called forth from the political graveyard of the 1990's such retreads as Hillary Clinton, Tom Daschle and Eric Holder for prominent roles in his administration. (Lest we forget, the sempiternal liberal Joe Biden is his VP.) And it looks like he's just getting warmed up. By doing so, Obama confirms what conservatives had been loudly proclaiming from the rooftops prior to the election that, beneath the thin veneer of garish rhetoric and talk of "change," Obama represents a mere repackaging of tried-and-failed, stifling liberalism. He will not set out on a new course but will simply follow the policies of archliberals like FDR, LBJ and Bill Clinton.

Judicial Totalitarianism Revisited

Why am I not surprised? From the AP:
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - California's highest court has agreed to hear legal challenges to a new ban on gay marriage, but is refusing to allow gay couples to resume marrying until it rules.

The California Supreme Court on Wednesday accepted three lawsuits seeking to overturn Proposition 8. The amendment passed this month with 52 percent of the vote. The court did not elaborate on its decision.

All three cases claim the ban abridges the civil rights of a vulnerable minority group. They argue that voters alone did not have the authority to enact such a significant constitutional change.

Utter nonsense! To say, as the gay rights movement does, that a particular group (in this case the voters) lacks "the authority to enact such a significant constitutional change" represents the height of hutzpah that is unfortunately all too characteristic of the intolerant bigots on the left. Isn't it this group, after all, that is aiming to enact the most sweeping historical, cultural and societal change in history by demolishing, via judicial fiat, the immutable definition of humanity's oldest natural institution? And they have the temerity to lecture us about lacking due authority?

As for abridging "the civil rights of a vulnerable minority group," I think the one bunch that actually fits the bill for a beleaguered "vulnerable minority group," relentlessly harassed, routinely insulted and caricatured is faithful Catholics! Further, who doubts that, had Prop. 8 failed on Nov. 4, the sybaritic gay rights crowd would today be extolling the tolerance and wisdom of the enlightened Californian voter over the baleful forces of the antediluvian religious right? If they thought that there were such grave legal violations with the original referendum, they should have boycotted the vote and taken it up in court later. Doesn't their mass participation in the referendum process evince at least some tacit consent to abide by the final verdict of the voters?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Note to Obama: How about a government bailout for post-grads. grappling with student loans?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cell Phone Etiquette

I found this useful list of cell phone commandments online and I think it is worthwhile to review. Solecisms with the cell phone rank near the top of my list of pet peeves and while, de temps en temps, I am not as faithful a follower of these norms as I ought to be, this is one area where I really do try to adhere scrupulously to the rules. Brought to you by Dan Broidy:

1. Thou shalt not subject defenseless others to cell phone conversations. When people cannot escape the banality of your conversation, such as on the bus, in a cab, on a grounded airplane, or at the dinner table, you should spare them. People around you should have the option of not listening. If they don't, you shouldn't be babbling.

2. Thou shalt not set thy ringer to play La Cucaracha every time thy phone rings. Or Beethoven's Fifth, or the Bee Gees, or any other annoying melody. Is it not enough that phones go off every other second? Now we have to listen to synthesized nonsense?

3. Thou shalt turn thy cell phone off during public performances. I'm not even sure this one needs to be said, but given the repeated violations of this heretofore unwritten law, I felt compelled to include it.

4. Thou shalt not wear more than two wireless devices on thy belt. This hasn't become a big problem yet. But with plenty of techno-jockeys sporting pagers and phones, Batman-esque utility belts are sure to follow. Let's nip this one in the bud.

5. Thou shalt not dial while driving. In all seriousness, this madness has to stop. There are enough people in the world who have problems mastering vehicles and phones individually. Put them together and we have a serious health hazard on our hands.

6. Thou shalt not wear thy earpiece when thou art not on thy phone. This is not unlike being on the phone and carrying on another conversation with someone who is physically in your presence. No one knows if you are here or there. Very disturbing.

7. Thou shalt not speak louder on thy cell phone than thou would on any other phone. These things have incredibly sensitive microphones, and it's gotten to the point where I can tell if someone is calling me from a cell because of the way they are talking, not how it sounds. If your signal cuts out, speaking louder won't help, unless the person is actually within earshot.

8. Thou shalt not grow too attached to thy cell phone. For obvious reasons, a dependency on constant communication is not healthy. At work, go nuts. At home, give it a rest.

9. Thou shalt not attempt to impress with thy cell phone. Not only is using a cell phone no longer impressive in any way (unless it's one of those really cool new phones with the space age design), when it is used for that reason, said user can be immediately identified as a neophyte and a poseur.

10. Thou shalt not slam thy cell phone down on a restaurant table just in case it rings. This is not the Old West, and you are not a gunslinger sitting down to a game of poker in the saloon. Could you please be a little less conspicuous? If it rings, you'll hear it just as well if it's in your coat pocket or clipped on your belt.

Dumb and Dumber Democrats

This short video is incredible. Depicted here is a sampling of Obama supporters immediately after they pulled the lever (or connected the line) for Obama on Nov. 4. The clip is on a study conducted by John Ziegler that aimed to uncover how the media kept the public in the dark about Obama, while at the same time inundating them with negative and exaggerated stories about McCain and Palin. I believe it's the combination of that and, frankly, the rank stupidity of the booboisie that brought us to this point.

Obama and Jefferson?

There is a particular clique of conservatives who are expressing the hope that Obama, despite his liberal creds., will govern as a moderate. Chris Buckley comes to mind as one of the more conspicuous doyens on the right articulating such an expectation. How realistic is this? Call me cynical but I'm not too inclined to believe that Obama will govern from the center. This may be his m.o. for the first term, but if reelected (God forbid) he would most likely push his left-wing agenda to the hilt, without quibbling about causing offense to the Right. But we'll cross that bridge when we reach it. (Hopefully, Obama will be derailed in '12 by Gov. Jindal.)

But what about the first term? Just how will President Obama govern? After the election that witnessed the elevation of Thomas Jefferson to the office of the presidency in 1800, his most ardent Federalist foes predicted utter disaster for the nation at the very least, the collapse of the nation at worst. But upon taking office, Jefferson shirked certain vestiges of his radical ideology, as articulated in earlier letters to James Madison written in the 1790's, and governed with a surprisingly moderate hand. To be sure, there was much of the Federalist agenda that carried over into Jefferson's presidency, like the national debt and the central bank. Jefferson loathed both things but he recognized that there was little he could do as president in terms of getting rid of them completely. His Treasury Secretary, Albert Gallatin, actually ended up following through with many of Alexander Hamilton's policies. Jefferson, who throughout the presidency of Washington claimed that Hamilton was a crypto-monarchist, himself exercised the greatest display of executive power when he signed off on the Louisiana Purchase, an act that no one seriously doubted was grossly unconstitutional. For this is why John Quincy Adams opposed the measure. The opportunity was simply too good to let slip away so Jefferson, with a blush, bent the rules a bit and with the stroke of a pen, more than doubled the size of the nation. Understandably, Hamilton took note of his nemesis' executive solecism with a bit of mirth. Upon taking office, Jefferson promised to "sink Federalism into an abyss from which there shall be no resurrection of it." But he soon learned that he couldn't rejigger everything and that pragmatism had its proper place. Federalism as a political Party was on its way to extinction but for better or worse many of its fundamental policies remained, thanks to Chief Justice John Marshall, as various bits and pieces were assimilated by subsequent Parties.

Ok, back to Obama. So there may be precedent for a politician like Obama to assume the office of the president with somewhat tempered ambitions. We are already starting to see this with his team's assessment of the prisoners held at Guantanamo. He campaigned vigorously on the promise that he would close it, lickety-split. But he now seems to be equivocating a bit. Time will tell. Another interesting item on the agenda will be the fate of the terrorist surveillance system employed by the government since 9-11. There was much hue and cry among liberal hacks prior to the election, alleging the violation of civil liberties and Democrats like Obama dutifully promised to revise the way information is harvested so as to better protect Americans from having their privacy violated. (Please, spare me.) It will be noteworthy to follow how consistent President Obama will be with his campaign pledges to oppose initiatives like the Patriot Act, now that he bears unique responsibility for securing the nation. Open homosexuals in the military will be another hot-button issue which will force Obama to square his campaign rhetoric up against the recommendations and preferences of the military's top brass. On other social issues, I predict Obama will govern as a doctrinaire liberal. He has a comfortable majority in Congress and only on the extremely controversial issues, like the Freedom of Choice Act, will an effective resistance in the form of a Republican filibuster likely hold up in the Senate.

Obama's past experience as legislature, however paltry, also bolsters my pessimism. Despite his soaring panegyrics on the virtues of Republicans and Democrats coming together, Obama has always preferred to eschew bipartisanship in favor of liberal purity. It is true that Obama's constituency in Illinois demanded liberal policies from him. With that in mind, there may be some chance that Obama, realizing that the majority of Americans are not carbon copies of south side Chicago Democrats, may position himself somewhat to the center. But lest we forget, this is a man of immense ego. Obama believes that his mandate for "change" is strong. Last week he said that, upon taking office, he plans to "hit the ground running." Interpret that as you wish. In so many ways, Obama is no Jefferson. I expect little from the former in terms of moderation, good judgement and balance. But maybe he'll surprise me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Just Say "No!" to More Bailouts

Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute offers his commentary:
To hear the bailout people talk, you would think that taking a firm to bankruptcy is akin to sending it to the mortuary. That is false. Bankruptcy is more like intensive care. It's where we have always sent our sickest companies.

Sending taxpayer money to GM will not help it in the long run. Our economy will be saddled with tossing resources at a struggling company indefinitely. The sooner GM reorganizes and becomes more efficient, the sooner our economy will begin heading in the right direction.

Sears and the Troops

At a time when piling on big corporations and the top executives running them is very much in vogue among the apparatchiks in New York and Washington, the following anecdote, relayed to me via email, offers a breath of fresh air.
How does Sears treat its employees who are called up for military duty? By law, they are required to hold their jobs open and available, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being called up.

Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all called up reservist employees for up to two years.

I submit that Sears is an exemplary corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution. I suggest we all shop at Sears, and be sure to find a manager to tell them why we are there so the company gets the positive reinforcement it well deserves.

On Credit Bubbles, Central Banks and the Gold Standard

Perhaps not the most interesting subject for readers but Gerald P. O'Driscoll Jr. offers some advice on salvaging the economy and on putting into place policies that would avoid the fiscal disasters we've witnessed of late. Unfortunately, it seems as though neither political Party is serious about the addressing the root causes of the problem; i.e., the leviathan entity of the Federal Reserve, the explosion of "free" credit, the abolition of a commodity standard such as gold which would confer actual value on the dollar, etc. Driscoll's advice being scholarly, sound and prudent, Obama is unlikely to take heed.
Mr. Obama needs to stop the next asset bubble from being inflated by imposing a commodity standard on the Fed. A commodity standard (such as a gold standard) imposes discipline on a central bank because it forces it to acquire commodity reserves in order to increase the money supply. Today the government can inflate asset bubbles without paying a cost for it because the currency isn't linked to the price of a commodity.

With a commodity standard in place, the government would also have price signals that would alert it to the formation of a bubble. Why? Because the price of the commodity would be continuously traded in spot and futures markets. Excessive easing by the Fed would be signaled by rising prices for the commodity. In recent years, Fed officials have claimed that they cannot know when an asset bubble is developing. With a commodity standard in place, it would be clear to anyone watching spot markets whether a bubble is forming. What's more, if Fed officials ignored price signals, outflows of commodity reserves would force them to act against the bubble.

The point is not to deflate asset bubbles, but to avoid them in the first place. Imposing a commodity standard is a practical response to the repeated failures of central banks to maintain sound money and financial stability. What would be impractical is to believe that the next time central banks will get it right on their own.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Three-Ring Circus Photo-Op.

Send in the Clowns

Serious observers will agree: the mise en scène in Washington, ostensibly arranged to "fix" the economy, is a charade through and through; a shallow gimmick put on by world leaders to demonstrate to the masses that they care about the economic plight afflicting us, which, lest we forget has come to us singularly via their own screwy Keynesian at best, socialist at worst policies. If we're lucky, our leaders may cut taxes (good) yet they invariably ratchet up spending a hundred-fold (very bad). Our currency is devalued per diem by a Treasury run by unelected, shadowy potentates whose bills print out with the fluidity of water gushing from a mighty river, and we're supposed to believe that these folks in Washington will rise to the occasion and set everything right?

I can no longer take these people seriously. What substantive results, beyond the obligatory photo-ops. intended to convince us that they care (they don't), are we supposed to anticipate from a group as ideologically heterogeneous as this: Our George Bush to Spain's useless Zapatero, Italy's cheeky Burlusconi to leftist celeb. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (Who? That is, Argentina's gaudyily vested president). As ideologically opposed as this bunch may be, one one thing do their minds converge: all share a belief that the government should "do something." Well, if they had done nothing at the very beginning, we wouldn't be at the present juncture of financial confusion. It's precisely because the doyens constantly feel the urge to "do something" that things have gotten so wonky. Try doing NOTHING, just once, please!

While somewhat ironic, it is also deeply vexing that this group of ne'er-do-wells view themselves as uniquely qualified to clean up the huge mess they themselves left in the middle of the floor. It pains me to include a good man like President Bush in this group but I must. He too shares a healthy portion of blame. Just the other day and with a straight face, he warned against excessive government intervention in the economy. This, only a month or so after he signed into law the scandalous eight-hundred billion dollar "rescue package," which amounts to the most far-reaching display of government meddling in the economy since the days of the Great Depression. And this, from a Republican president who campaigned as a conservative and enjoyed six years of a Republican congressional majority, whose spending bills, mind you, he vetoed not once. Well, I remind myself, Bush ran as a "compassionate" conservative, and it is in this seemingly benign adjective, that we uncover the root source of his fatal deviation which has brought our Party to the bitter nadir of political exile. As for Obama, the closet socialist-with-a-smile, he will only further sink the economy (not to mention the entire nation) into the smothering abyss of the big government nanny state. Our hope is that real conservatives will rise from the smoldering heap of ashes of the now-defunct and discredited crop of current Republican leaders.

Bush and co., exit stage right.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Prop 8 Opponents Attack Elderly Woman

This video pretty much sums it up, revealing the nation's most conspicuous advocates of "tolerance" to be nothing more than totalitarian, anti-Christian goons. 69-year-old Phyllis Burgess appeared at an anti-prop 8 rally in Palm Springs holding up a large cross, only to be immediately set upon by a hyper-aggressive band of splenetic libertines. Burgess was immediately accosted by the tightly wound group and, in an act chock-full of symbolism, the cross was ripped from her hands and stomped into the ground. A reporter present attempted to get Burgess' side of the story but the interview had to be aborted as a result of the heated shouting.

So revealing, this vignette is. Again, where's the tolerance on the other side? One wonders what these dyspeptic miscreants would have done to the poor woman were there no cameras present to document the events. Then again, Burgess is obviously a tough old lady. I'm sure she could have handled herself just fine against this foppish group.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Google Earth Does Rome

This is pretty neat.

Battle Stations

Statistically, the same number of Americans describe themselves today as "conservative" as they did in 1984 at the apogee of the American conservative movement. Therein lies the hope, and the challenge. From Tony Blankley, appearing today in The Washington Times:
Consider that in 1980, when Ronald Reagan won his first presidential election, the public was self-identified as 46 percent moderate, 28 percent conservative and 17 percent liberal. But by the 1984 Reagan re-election the public had shifted to 42 percent moderate, 33 percent conservative and 16 percent liberal - a statistically significant shift to the right. In those four years Mr. Reagan had convinced 5 percent of the electorate to move largely from moderate to conservative. And that 5 percent have stayed conservative for 24 years, right through the 2008 election. It is that 5 percent that has made America a center-right country, rather than a centrist country - allowing a fairly conservative Republican Party to win both congressional and presidential elections most of the time.

That is why it is so vital for both the Republican Party and a newly aroused conservative movement to work feverishly to make the case to the broadest possible public for our right-of-center views over the next four years. Mr. Obama has not made his case yet. Just as Mr. Reagan won in 1980 in part because a lot of moderates were tired of Jimmy Carter - double digit interest rates, stagflation, Soviets in Afghanistan, Iranian hostage crisis - so a lot of moderates voted for Mr. Obama because of housing market crash, financial crisis, drop in 401(k) account values, and two wars.

Mr. Obama will try to convert those temporary moderate and conservative votes of his into permanent liberal and moderate voters, just as Mr. Reagan did in reverse between 1981-1984. If we conservatives can make our case, the election of 2008 will be a blip, just a kick-the-bums-out election. If Mr. Obama makes his case, he may have moved the center of political gravity to the left for a generation. Every conservative man and woman to battle stations.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Bishops Caucus

Catholic Bishops are meeting to hash out, among other things, a more uniform approach in dealing with pro-abortion Catholic politicians. There have been many positive signs over the past several months on that front, indications of a growing sense of fed-upness, with a good number of bishops issuing substantive and forceful denunciations of Catholic politicos like Nancy Pelosi and good ol' Joe Biden. No doubt, some are realizing that they face a new sort of beast in the soon-to-be minted Obama Administration and the enlarged Democratic congressional majority, with their firmly anchored pro-abortion platform and pretty much pro-everything-that-is reprehensible-and-abominable-to-the-dignity-of-the-person social policies.

Pat Buchanan said it nicely the other night when he predicted that the cocksure Obama will, without a doubt, govern from the far left but that he will gloss over the ugly shades of extremism with a sunny veneer of moderation. This m.o. is exactly how Obama has managed to reach the pinnacle of power. History demonstrates that Obama's voting record, whether in Chicago or in DC, has been one of undiluted, doctrinaire liberalism and that he succeeds remarkably in wrapping up (and thereby concealing) his radical agenda in warm, innocuous language that clouds the true danger of the actual policy. He says, for instance, that he wants to reduce the number of abortions and that "this is something we can all agree on regardless of our stance on abortion." Well, by airbrushing out every law that restricts abortion, as he firmly intends on doing asap, how on earth does it compute that we should expect to see a drop in the number of abortions performed? What Obama says is one thing, what he does is quite another. He's been able to maneuver himself up the ladder of power thanks to a combination of verbal dexterity (put more truthfully, chicanery) and the simultaneous inability of people to discern the record from the rhetoric. Thus disarmed, they slowly nod their heads in agreement and think, "Well, that seems to make sense." Game. Set. Match. Mr. Obama.

How will the bishops respond to all of this? Well, incredibly some are cautioning that the "tone" of the message ought be massaged so as to not cause too much offense among the faithful. This is so tiring. Let's try this again: The bishops need to speak with one voice, clearly, unequivocally and forcefully, now more than ever before, that it is totally unacceptable for a soi-disant Catholic to support, in any way, a politician who advocates the illusory "right" to an abortion.

Enough with the nuanced prayers that blend together in one broad sentence our uniform opposition to abortion, to war and to capital punishment, as though we are incapable of making moral distinctions between acts that are intrinsically evil and those that are not. Enough of the "we can agree to disagree" insouciance and stalemate that seem to be the habitual end result of the stand-off between bishops and liberal Catholic politicians, election after election. Enough of parish priests thinking that there is no need to thunder from the pulpit from time to time in the run-up to an election on the moral imperative incumbent on every Catholic to vote, first and foremost, in opposition to abortion and in favor of life. And finally, enough of the gushing river of impunity with regard to pro-abortion Catholic politicians who unleash their scandalous malarkey on national television regarding the Church's stance on abortion.

Bishops should know that there are legions of faithful Catholics who are chomping at the bit to back them up in the public square. All we're looking for is some leadership and backbone.

The Totalitarianism of the Left

Governor Schwarzenegger, of the peculiar state of California, is encouraging the high court to overturn the perfectly legitimate amendment to the state constitution, passed last week, that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. This is absurd. If Proposition 8 would have gone down in flames, who doubts that the gay rights lobby would be celebrating the triumph of the will of the people? However, when the end result disappoints them, they demur and cry, "Unconstitutional!" The totalitarian strain in the homosexual movement, and the left in general, rears its ugly head. Ignoring the fact that such basic things shouldn't be up for a vote in the first place, if Schwarzenegger and his allies in the homosexual lobby think that overruling the will of the people is a worthy testament to the spirit of democracy, why don't we convince the Supreme Court to overrule the presidential election as well and put McCain (or better yet Gov. Palin) in the Oval Office?

Monday, November 10, 2008

A brief exchange between Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev saw the latter attempting to convince the former of the superiority of Communism, to which the Iron Lady huffed, "Don't be silly, Mr. Gorbachev. You can't even feed your own people."

Political Excommunication

From Deroy Merdock:
While much of Bush’s spending has funded defense and the War on Terror, most of it vanished into the furnaces of No Child Left Behind, the 2002 Farm Bill, the 2003 Medicare drug entitlement, the 2005 highway bill, the 2006 ethanol mandate, at least 69,341 earmarks, and much, much more. In 2001, Bush launched federal embryonic stem-cell research. By 2008, he added the word “nationalization” to the American vocabulary, and underscored it with nearly $1 trillion in bailouts and Third World—-style government ownership stakes in banks and financial houses.

Bush has kept America safe from terror attacks since September 11. The liberations of Afghanistan from bin Ladenism and Iraq from Ba’athism were vital victories for national security and human rights. Until this year’s mortgage meltdown, his tax cuts fueled robust growth. Good work.

Nevertheless, Bush is the GOP’s Jimmy Carter, a weak bumbler who embarrassed his constituents, betrayed his philosophical movement, sank his party, and eventually surrendered the White House to the opposition, this time led by the Senate’s Number One liberal, still in his first term. Bush should retire quietly to Texas, where he can drive his truck, chop wood, and avoid the limelight for the balance of his natural existence.

Out with the old, as they say. The current GOP leadership should be swept aside. There are plenty of promising young conservative stars on the horizon who should be given the reigns of control; Governors Palin of Alaska and Jindal of Louisiana come to mind. In the House, I've been impressed with Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who boasts shrewd economic knowhow. Here, Ryan discusses the future of the Republican Party.

Here is the link to Paul's website:

Sunday, November 09, 2008

On Change and Revolution

Verb Sap. to Obama & co.
Every eschatological promise within history fails to liberate us; rather, it disappoints and therefore enslaves us. That is why the mythological glamor that has been added onto such concepts as change and revolution has to be demythologized. Change is not good in itself. Whether it is good or bad depends on its particular content and how it relates to other things. The opinion that the main task in the struggle for freedom is that of changing the world is, I repeat, a myth. -Pope Benedict XVI, taken from Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions

The Only Way Forward: Conservatism

"How many times do we have to run this experiment before Republican primary voters learn that 'moderate,' 'independent,' 'maverick' Republicans never win, and right-wing Republicans never lose? -Ann Coulter

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Left's Simulacrum

Obama fancies himself as the liberal counterpoise to the conservative Ronald Reagan. It is hoped that "Obama Republicans" will emerge as a reliable voting block for the left in the wake of the '08 election just as "Reagan Democrats" carried the Gipper to victory in the elections of 1980 and '84. True, Obama's victory was not as ringing and thorough as was Reagan's, to be sure, but conservatives cannot afford to be passive to Obama's political machinations and designs for our nation. Put simply, Obama seeks piecemeal motions with the end goal of a permanent realignment of our nation's policies to fit the agenda of the far left. His November 4 inroads forged in the sanctum of the Republican south demonstrate the potency of his threat and the perils of his appeal. His weapon lies in his remarkable deftness at inoculating the American people from the foul stench of his leftist radicalism. Masquerading as a unifier and a post-partisan, all the while hypnotizing half the nation with his soaring rhetorical wizardry, Obama hopes to advance his agenda under the auspice of "change." The remarkable thing is the spectacle of half the nation seeing right through it while the other half falling completely for it.

As president conservatives wish him and his family health and safety. That said, the great conservative hope is that the mighty rigors of the Oval Office will draw back the curtain, expose Obama for the callow vulgarian he is and render him defenseless to the swift boot of the American people on Nov. 4, 2012.

Secularism and Jihadism: United Against the West

The Ottoman Siege of Vienna

From a fine review of Herb London's latest book: America's Secular Challenge: The Rise of a New National Religion
Militant Muslims, for their part, perceive that the fissures now visible in the foundation of Western resolve — due in part to the corrosive effects of radical secularism — present opportunities they can exploit, cracks they can pry open. During a recent seminar on his book in New York City, London made a perceptive comment in reply to a question on what might be fueling the rise of extremist Islam at this historical juncture: “Perhaps it is because radical Islam recognizes a cultural weakness in the West,” he said. As he puts it in his book, “[c]ertainly part of the reason for the recent tumult is the belief circulating in the Islamic world that a secular West no longer has the will to resist Islamic jihad.”

Friday, November 07, 2008

Nota Bene

From the The Wall Street Journal:
Democrats won big on Tuesday but not big enough. The voters' rebuke of the GOP was brutal, though not so cruel as to hand Mr. Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid the 60 votes they needed to grease a sweeping agenda. The GOP still owns a filibuster, and that is as big a factor in this new "era" as is our president-elect.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Some Rough Thoughts on the Election

As I look over the wreckage of election '08, I cannot say that I am totally surprised. Rather disappointed? Yes. Angry? Yes. Frustrated by the self-centeredness of millions of my fellow citizens at having elected a socialist for president? Yes. But surprised? No. Nevertheless, hope for our Party's long term future blends with the requisite melancholy of defeat.

Not long before he passed away, William F. Buckley Jr. remarked on how Republicans, having grown "slothful", needed to undergo a "re-pristinification". In other words, the Republican Party needed to cleanse itself from the accretions that are all too often concomitant with political complacency. Would I have preferred to have won the election? You bet. But this loss, if we are shrewd enough to learn from it, can serve as a means of purgation in order to return to the principles forged and advanced so successfuly by Reagan in the last century. Catholics know from theology that purgation is a painful yet necessary experience on the path to perfection and, no doubt, the purgation we are about to undergo as a Party in exile will cause some strain.

For whatever reason, John McCain and George W. Bush, while honorable men and infinitely better qualified than Mr. Obama to guide the nation forward, chose not to lead as conservative visionaries. Again to quote Buckley, in reference to President Bush: "He's conservative but not a conservative." McCain, to an even greater degree, ran as a "maverick", which is to say, a scattershot and unreliable conservative. The effect this had on the base was fatal. He tried to shave off some conservative essentials (as in his loathsome spearheading of "comprehensive immigration reform" last year) in the hope of picking up support from Latinos, independents and moderates. Well, we can see from the exit polls how errant that strategy was; all the aforementioned groups broke for Obama by significant margins. By all means, go after these targets, but do so as a conservative, relying on the powers of reason and persuasion.

A final observation: Sarah Palin was not an albatross on the McCain campaign. This is a myth advanced by liberals and conservative-lite Republicans who were embarrassed by Palin's down-to-earth, folksy appeal. The excitement she brought to the campaign was remarkable. At times was she a little rough around the edges in the face of a hostile and smug media? Sure. At times she was a little unprepared but that is not the same as being unqualified. In a few years, she'll be even better suited to run nationally. Here's to Palin-Jindal in 2012!

On Obama

The two parts of his past and his future proposals that I deplore spring from the fact of his being the most extreme proponent of abortion in the U.S. Congress. Given the fact that 35 percent of all abortions in the United States are sought by African-American women, it is surprising that Senator Obama has been such a great defender of the institution of abortion, which since 1973 has taken the lives of more than 43 million infants in the womb. For many of us, abortion is an even more grievous abuse of power over others than slavery, and to argue for “choice” to abort another human being is no more morally plausible than to defend the right to choose to enslave another.
-Michael Novak

Initial Thought

Well, if they survived Communism in Poland...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Who Knows Obama?

Here's a remarkable montage, put together by Mr. Limbaugh, of admissions from New York media doyens Tom Brokaw and Charlie Rose on how little they actually know about Barack Obama. It comes from a recent interview with Brokaw on The Charlie Rose Show

ROSE: I don't know what Barack Obama's worldview is.

BROKAW: No, I don't, either.

ROSE: I don't know how he really sees where China is.

BROKAW: We don't know a lot about Barack Obama and the universe of his thinking about foreign policy.

ROSE: I don't really know. And do we know anything about the people who are advising him?

BROKAW: Yeah, it's an interesting question.

ROSE: He is principally known through his autobiography and through very aspirational (sic) speeches.

BROKAW: Two of them! I don't know what books he's read.

ROSE: What do we know about the heroes of Barack Obama?

BROKAW: There's a lot about him we don't know.

You'd think that as journalists they'd consider it their responsibility to uncover these mysteries. It's unbelievable.

Prelates and the Free Market

Professor Luckey offers some words of wisdom in his latest post:
According to a report from the Zenit News Service, Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, recently insisted that the "logic" of the market be changed. He said that the logic “was till (sic) now that of maximum gain, and therefore the most investments possible directed toward obtaining maximum benefit. And this, according to the social doctrine of the Church, is immoral.” This is because, according to the Cardinal, the market “should be able to benefit not just those who invest capital, but those who participate in the step of making it grow, that is, those who work. ...

Aside for the fact that some of the terms he used are too vague to make any judgment about, like “maximum benefit,” the economics in his statement would be more appropriate of a kid, rather than a Cardinal...I have long argued in my writings that churchmen who have no real economic training or understanding prescind from making remarks like this which mislead the faithful, and portray the sui generis (self-generating) free market economy as an operation run from the top by a few greedy people constantly plotting to withhold wealth from the ordinary folks.

With comments like Martino's, it comes as no surprise when traditional Catholics, similarly uninformed on economics, parrot such clichéd malarkey. The free market creates/has created more prosperity and wealth for more people on earth than any other economic arrangement in history. As Luckey intimates, intelligent observers should tune out Democratic talking points and detach abuses of the system, which are brought about externally through government tinkering, from the actual system.