Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On Drilling

Don't get too excited with regard to Obama's volte face on offshore drilling. Ian Murray, writing for National Review Online's The Corner, clues us in on what's really afoot.
...while all the talking heads are chattering about Obama’s supposed pragmatism, the EPA will release today its final rule to allow California to regulate greenhouse gases from automobiles under the Clean Air Act. That’s the real story, because once a “pollutant” (remember, we are talking about carbon dioxide, the stuff we exhale) is regulated under the Clean Air Act, it becomes subject to further and further regulation. The President will have the power (the obligation, according to well funded environmental lawyers) to regulate anything larger than a mansion — your small business, your office complex, your apartment building.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nov. '10: Double Trouble for Dems

From Howard Fineman, writing for Newsweek:
A Democratic senator I can't name, who reluctantly voted for the health-care bill out of loyalty to his party and his admiration for Barack Obama, privately complained to me that the measure was political folly, in part because of the way it goes into effect: some taxes first, most benefits later, and rate hikes by insurance companies in between.

Besides that, this Democrat said, people who already have coverage will feel threatened and resentful about helping to cover the uninsured—an emotion they will sanitize for the polltakers into a concern about federal spending and debt.

On the day the president signed into law the "fix-it" addendum to the massive health-care measure, two new polls show just how fearful and skeptical Americans are about the entire enterprise. If the numbers stay where they are—and it's not clear why they will change much between now and November—then the Democrats really are in danger of colossal losses at the polls.

Shroud Image

The History Channel is featuring a special on the Shroud of Turin. Scientists applied the latest in computer and 3D technology to come up with the most accurate picture ever of the man of the shroud. Looks fascinating.

From the USAToday:
Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the health care overhaul signed into law last week costs too much and expands the government's role in health care too far, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, underscoring an uphill selling job ahead for President Obama and congressional Democrats.

Those surveyed are inclined to fear that the massive legislation will increase their costs and hurt the quality of health care their families receive...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Five-Thousand Fessios

The priest faces the east instead of versus populum, Gregorian chant and Latin are preserved, reverence for the Blessed Sacrament is upheld, tabernacles are front and center, translations are faithful to the original text, continuity instead of impromptu and helter-skelter...and so on. You are in a Catholic Church in America.

Wake-up. It was all just a nice dream. Enter reality: liturgical life in the United States.

The priest positions his "chair" to face the people and talks (down) to you as a teacher does to a five-year-old. The altar is referred to as the table; the Eucharistic Sacrifice is the "family meal". Fr. Fireside Chat cracks one excruciatingly painful joke after another. He saunters about in the nave to get closer to the people and to make them feel totally awkward by forcing them to answer stupid questions in front of everyone. He croons about the warm fuzzies that come from helping old ladies cross the street, and about love and other controversial stuff. The responses are schmaltzy and less inspiring than Stewart Smalley. The tabernacle is crammed into one of the dark corners of the church, barely visible but for the small candle (hopefully) flickering next to it. People kibitz loudly before during and after Mass about everything but God and Sacrament. The self-inflated, "Just try to ignore us!" choir usually acts as though they're performing on Broadway with Carol Channing.

In short: Out of control. And this is simply the average parish. I'm not even going to get into the clown Masses, the relentless incursions of feminism, or other far more egregious things that are all too common in far too many parishes. The way things are, one must feel relieved if it's bad, because at least it was not that bad.

Here's an excellent article on the liturgy from Ignatius Insight. Written by Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J. in 2000, it covers all the basics about what's right and what's wrong about liturgical life in America since Vatican II. While reading this, I couldn't help but think, what if every priest in America had the liturgical vision of Fr. Fessio? (And hence, the odd title for this post) Things no doubt would be vastly different from today. His observations on the origins of Gregorian chant are fascinating, while his thoughts on Archbishop Rembert Weakland are enlightening, if not all that surprising.

Another question that kept cropping up was this: Where is there a correct implementation of Vatican II? In other words, where is the much vaunted "reform of the reform"? Now, I'm not suggesting that all priests are in error or sinning when it comes to facing the people, etc. Fr. Fessio elaborates more on this in his piece. But things vary so much now from parish to parish (some far worse than others of course) and all the aberrations outlined here by Fessio have long since become the norm. As a result, one would be hard pressed to find a parish in America that conforms across the board to the actual and not imagined reforms of Vatican II. In light of this, I can understand the rise in popularity of the Old Latin Mass and can see why so many find in it a secure refuge.

An excerpt:
Let me tell you what it [Vatican II] did not say. The Council did not say that tabernacles should be moved from their central location to some other location. In fact, it specifically said we should be concerned about the worthy and dignified placing of the tabernacle. The Council did not say that Mass should be celebrated facing the people. That is not in Vatican II; it is not mentioned. It is not even raised in the documents that record the formation of the Constitution on the Liturgy; it didn't come up. Mass facing the people is a not requirement of Vatican II; it is not in the spirit of Vatican II; it is definitely not in the letter of Vatican II. It is something introduced in 1969.

And, by the way, never in the history of the Church, East or West, was there a tradition of celebrating Mass facing the people. Never, ever, until 1969.

P.C. Nation

Well, maybe not yet at least, but with a story like this one, perhaps it's not too far down the road. From ABC News:
One week before the most solemn day in the Christian year, the city of Davenport, Iowa removed Good Friday from its municipal calendar, setting off a storm of complaints from Christians and union members whose contracts give them that day off.

Taking a recommendation by the Davenport Civil Rights Commission to change the holiday's name to something more ecumenical, City Administrator Craig Malin sent a memo to municipal employees announcing Good Friday would officially be known as "Spring Holiday."

"My phone has been ringing off the hook since Saturday," said city council alderman Bill Edmond. "People are genuinely upset because this is nothing but political correctness run amok."

What kind of person is satisfied with rulings like this?

Responding to Contemptible Slander

Fr. Raymond de Souza has done a magnificent job debunking the outrageous allegations against the Holy Father regarding an abuse scandal in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Every Catholic should read it. It can be accessed here.

George Weigel and Jay Scott Newman have also written an excellent defense piece, well worth reading.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

We Knew It All Along

What this health care bill was really all about, that is.

Democratic Senator Max Baucus had this to say:

"Too often, much of late, the last couple three years, the mal-distribution of income in American is gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy and the middle income class is left behind...Wages have not kept up with increased income of the highest income in America. This legislation will have the effect of addressing that mal-distribution of income in America."

When you pause to think about what he's saying here, and what the ramifications will mean for this country, it's truly frightening. This kind of class warfare rhetoric is exactly the kind of drivel that socialists have been spewing for decades. The Dems. used to be a little better at concealing their true colors and loyalties, but now that they're flying high in the majority, the mask is starting to fall off.

Questions: Who are Max Baucus, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, etc., etc., to determine what is "too wealthy" for a private citizen? What do they think individuals and/or corporations do with their extra income? Contrary to popular Uncle Scrooge myths regarding the wealthy, no one merely sits on their extra cash so as to revel in their status, or stuffs it under a mattress. That's not how wealth is created. Extra wealth is almost always reinvested back into the company in order to hire more workers, buy/replace new or old equipment, produce more goods, reward productive employees with raises, and so on. Extra money is also placed in savings accounts to accrue interest. These banks then lend this money out with interest to others who may want to start a business, etc. Sapping excess capital from "the wealthy" via punitive taxes and confiscation will only serve to harm everyone in the long term.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Answer the Question

While I'm not a huge fan of Bill O'Reilly, he does a fine job of exposing the truth regarding the penalty that's coming to all who refuse to get health insurance. Congressman Weiner refuses to answer the question: WHO does the penalizing? Answer: The IRS

Sign of the Times

Another winner from the AP:
DUBLIN - As long as Ireland has had pubs, Good Friday has been off-limits as a "dry" holy day — until now.

A Limerick judge ruled Thursday that the city's 110 pubs can open April 2 because the city is hosting a major Irish rugby match attracting tens of thousands of visitors. This will be the first time in the history of the Republic of Ireland that pubs anywhere in the country will open on Good Friday.

Such a judgment would have been unthinkable in the Ireland of old, where the Catholic Church enjoyed unquestioned authority from the public and deference from the government. Commentators were quick to suggest that Thursday's judgment represented a watershed in the shifting relations between church and state in this rapidly secularizing land.

Sad, but not unexpected.

Castro Congratulates Obama

From the Associated Press.
HAVANA (AP) -- It perhaps was not the endorsement President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress were looking for.

Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro on Thursday declared passage of American health care reform "a miracle" and a major victory for Obama's presidency, but couldn't help chide the United States for taking so long to enact what communist Cuba achieved decades ago.

"We consider health reform to have been an important battle and a success of his (Obama's) government," Castro wrote in an essay published in state media, adding that it would strengthen the president's hand against lobbyists and "mercenaries."


Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Jonah Goldberg, writing for National Review Online:
The endgame was to get the young and healthy to buy more expensive insurance than they need or want. “Expanding the risk pool” and “spreading out the risk” by mandating — i.e., forcing — young people to buy insurance is just market-based spin for socialist ends. A risk pool is an actuarial device where a lot of people pay a small sum to cover themselves against a “rainy day” problem that will affect only a few people. Such “peace of mind” health insurance is gone. What we have now is health assurance. With health assurance, there are no “risk pools” really, only payment plans.

Under the new law, all the exits from the system are blocked. You can’t opt out or buy cheap, high-deductible Acme car-type insurance, even if that’s what you need. Ultimately, even that coercion won’t be enough to make the whole thing work, because the “cost curve” will not be bending.

Profit-hungry insurance companies were never the problem. (According to American Enterprise Institute economist Andrew Biggs, industry profit margins are around 3 percent, and the entire industry recorded profits of just $13 billion last year, close to a rounding error in Medicare fraud estimates.) Rather, health-care costs have been skyrocketing because consumers treat health insurance like an expense account. Putting almost everyone into one “risk pool” doesn’t change that dynamic; it universalizes it. And eventually, the only way to cut costs will be to ration care.
Emphasis added

Profit: Bad, Confiscation: Good

During a recent interview, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made the following statement regarding the profits of drug companies:

"Well, the drug companies will have their profits reduced by close to $90 billion over the lifetime of this bill. That's part of the strategy moving forward."

Sebelius and Obama, targeting the unfair profits of avaricious private companies, just like all good socialists. This is supposed to be good for health care in America? Where do these folks think that companies get the spare cash to fund research and development, and hire new workers? Where do new drugs and treatments come from? PROFIT

Watch the interview here.

Ryan's Response: Repeal, Replace

From The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Congressman Paul Ryan aptly outlines some of the high costs of the health care disaster.
The yearlong partisan crusade - right through its ugly conclusion - revealed that this debate was never about policy but rather a paternalistic ideology at odds with our historic commitment to individual liberty, limited government and entrepreneurial dynamism. The proponents of this legislation reject an opportunity society and instead assume you are stuck in your station in life and the role of government is to help you cope with it. Rather than promote equal opportunities for individuals to make the most of their lives, the cradle-to-grave welfare state seeks to equalize the results of people's lives.

We must begin anew on mitigating the disaster from this health care debacle. Let's repeal the costly missteps before they hit with full force. Let's make certain we do not simply retreat to an earlier point on the same path to decline. Let's chart a new direction that will restore the promise and prosperity of this exceptional nation - and let's do it together.

Meaningless Order

Obama's executive order, ostensibly to prohibit public funding for abortions, is meaningless. Bart Stupek and company have been played for fools by Pelosi and her cohorts. Executive orders are directives issued by the president that deal primarily with the prerogatives of the executive branch of government, i.e., those working under the direct authority of the president. The extent to which these orders can interfere outside that branch is dubious. The bill signed by Obama allows individuals to obtain policies which can fund abortions. That is the LAW. The executive order cannot trump explicit stipulations in a law. The executive order is simply smoke and mirrors so that the soi-disant "pro-life Democrats" can reassure their constituents that they stood for principle. They did nothing of the sort.

The Truth Slips Out

Representative John Dingell (Democrat) admits what this health care law is all about: "Control the people".

20 Ways to Eliminate Our Freedom...

Brought to you by Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi. One way would be bad enough, but twenty...

From David Hogberg, writing for Investor's Business Daily:
Of course, the bill is supposed to provide us with security. But it will result in skyrocketing insurance costs and physicians leaving the field in droves, making it harder to afford and find medical care. We may be about to live Benjamin Franklin’s adage, “People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.”

Send this link on to as many people you know.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chief Justice vs. President

Will Roberts deliver the coup de grĂ¢ce to Obamacare?

Bill McCollum, the Attorney General of Florida predicted today that the healthcare law could very well make it all the way to the Supreme Court. I have often drawn a parallel between the Obama-Roberts rivalry and that which existed between Thomas Jefferson and Chief Justice John Marshall. Marshall was Jefferson's arch-nemesis par excellence, repeatedly defying and foiling the popular president with a flurry of brilliant rulings that struck at the very core of Jefferson's vision of limited government. It looks like the roles are reversed today, with an Orwellian president and a restrained chief justice. It would indeed be fascinating to follow the hearings if this law makes it all the way to the high court.

There is no love lost between the two. Obama voted against Roberts' confirmation, joining only twenty-two of the more radical Democrats in doing so. Further, Roberts has recently offered a not-so-subtle critique of the president for his churlish and utterly classless lecturing of the justices during his State of the Union address. Obama, and much of the left, were indignant over the court's landmark ruling that overruled an unconstitutional campaign finance law that curtailed free speech. And so, in response, the president saw fit to single out the justices, who were sitting a mere ten feet away, and upbraid them, much to the glee of the assembled sycophantic Democrats. So it will be interesting, to say the least, watching these two heavy weights battle it out over the issues of the day.

Marshall and Jefferson

Downward Trend

From CNN:
Washington (CNN) – For the first time, a CNN poll has found that a majority of Americans disapprove of President Obama's job performance.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Monday, 51 percent of respondents disapprove of Obama's job performance and 46 percent approve of it.

Obama's approval rating has dropped steadily each month since December, when it was 54 percent. His highest approval rating in a CNN poll was 76 percent in February 2009 shortly after he took office.

And so it begins.

November Retribution

This piece from the Telegraph gets it right on the money:
Never before had landmark legislation – the bill reshapes one-sixth of the American economy – been passed without even a smidgen of bipartisan consensus.

The process took 14 months and at times showed politics at its ugliest, with closed-door horse-trading (despite Mr Obama's trumpeting of a new transparency) and grubby deals like the notorious "Louisiana Purchase" and "Cornhusker Kickback".

Almost every other political priority was pushed aside and the "laser focus" on jobs that the White House kept promising never materialised.

The result could be a drubbing at the polls in November, when Republicans hope to seize back control of the House of Representatives and possibly even the Senate.

Although Mr Obama claimed that the Democratic bill health care "runs straight down the centre of American political thought", the roll call of congressional votes and opinion polls tells a different story. The reality is that in American terms it was a Left-wing measure.

A recent IDB/TIPP poll found that 66 per cent of political independents – those who will decide the midterm elections – view Mr Obama to their Left. He may sound like a centrist and even view himself as one but to most Americans he is a liberal in a centre-right nation.

In securing health care victory, Mr Obama's Democrats portrayed those opposed to the bill as bigoted, uncaring or just plain stupid. Although there were rhetorical excesses and scare tactics on the other side, that is a dangerous political strategy when a majority are sceptical about what you are doing.

Mr Obama came into office in January 2009 on a wave of national goodwill and with significant political capital. In winning on Capitol Hill, he spent all of it and more. Now, he is running on overdraft – and could find himself bankrupt come November.

Sunshine State to File Suit

"The health care reform legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last night clearly violates the U.S. Constitution and infringes on each state's sovereignty. On behalf of the State of Florida and of the Attorneys General from South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Pennsylvania, Washington, North Dakota, South Dakota and Alabama if the President signs this bill into law, we will file a lawsuit to protect the rights and the interests of American citizens." ~ Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum

And from Reuters :
In addition to the pending lawsuits, bills and resolutions have been introduced in at least 36 state legislatures seeking to limit or oppose various aspects of the reform plan through laws or state constitutional amendments, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

So far, only two states, Idaho and Virginia, have enacted laws, while an Arizona constitutional amendment is seeking voter approval on the November ballot. But the actual enactment of the bill by President Barack Obama could spur more movement on the measures by state lawmakers.

More states to follow?

Keeping One Eye on the World

An image that should cause alarm for everyone

Yeah, things at home are far from peachy, but affairs overseas aren't much better. Former ambassador to the UN John Bolton discusses the recent flare up with Israel and rapprochement with Russia.

From The Daily Beast:
What should Americans make of this behavior: When blindsided by an ally [Israel], the Obama administration reacts with fury, but when slapped by a “peer competitor” [Russia] (to put it diplomatically), Obama’s team smiles benignly?

Even more importantly, what do our foreign friends and adversaries think of this juxtaposition? How does the rest of the world read President Obama, and what do their assessments imply for U.S. foreign policy in the coming, and potentially very turbulent, years?

The obvious point, no less telling for being obvious, is that the president has a peculiar set of priorities for dealing with friends and adversaries. Obama, however, clearly believes that such conduct, strange as it is to Americans, shows to the world his administration’s even-handedness, which will in turn strengthen his subsequent diplomatic leverage in a range of international crises.

But Obama is flatly wrong. Publicly criticizing allies and stroking opponents will produce precisely the opposite result: appalling the former and encouraging the latter. If Obama persists, our global position will rapidly deteriorate as friends distance themselves for their own self-protection and adversaries grow more adventuresome. If this and other recent behavior is what Obama and Clinton mean by “smart power,” we can readily conclude that they don’t understand either word in their slogan.
Rich Lowry, writing for National Review Online, ticks off five reasons for conservatives not to despair over what happened last night. Yes, it's bad, but there is a fix.
Public opinion. Democrats were never able to convince the public of the merits of their reform — despite having the highest-profile platforms in American politics, including a president who wore out his teleprompter-festooned bully pulpit for a solid year. Liberals comforted themselves by saying that the bill gained popularity at the end. But look at the Wall Street Journal/NBC News polling on Obamacare. In September 2009, 39 percent thought it was a good idea, 41 percent a bad idea. In January, it was 33 a good idea, 46 a bad idea. The latest poll had it at 36–48 — basically flat from the beginning of the year. Fox News polling had the bill at 38 percent approval and 48 percent disapproval in mid-September 2009, then at 34–57 in December, and 35–55 in its latest survey — again, essentially flat. The public has displayed an irreducible reservoir of common sense throughout the debate, which will be something crucial to draw on during the fights to come.


An except from Robert George's contribution to a National Review Online Symposium on health care:
Congratulations to the Republicans for standing firm and united against the giant step that is being taken towards refashioning the United States of America as a European-style social democracy.

As for the Democrats who joined the Republicans in voting against the Obama-Pelosi health bill, their “no” votes should give them no immunity in November. This is not a time for sentimentality. We should target the Democratic “no” voters for defeat no less vigorously than we will be targeting the “yes” voters.

First, many of the Democrat “no” voters were prepared to vote “yes” had their votes been needed to pass the Obama-Pelosi bill. They were given permission by the Democratic leadership to vote “no” in the hope that recording a “no” vote would enable them to hold their seats against Republican challengers by falsely claiming that they opposed this travesty. Second, even the sincere Democrat “no” voters are culpable: Their votes for Pelosi as speaker helped to put the House in the control of left-wing Democrats.
Bill Bennett, writing for National Review:
Abraham Lincoln said that among free men, there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet. I have that in mind this morning as I think of its corollary: When our elected leaders so flout the will of the people and play games in order to do so, nothing can prove as powerful as the use of the ballot — and in eight months we will show our elected leaders just that.

The election of 1994 was an elephant stampede in the wake of ethics scandals, higher taxes, more spending, and a failed health-care bill. This year, we’ve seen ethics scandals, higher taxes, more spending, and a health-care bill achieved by an upside-down view of political power and constitutional perversion — the 2010 election will be a clearing of the jungle...

Don’t take my word for it; here’s the New York Times today: “Never in modern memory has a major piece of legislation passed without a single Republican vote. Even President Lyndon Johnson got just shy of half of Republicans in the House to vote for Medicare in 1965, a piece of legislation that was denounced with many of the same words used to oppose this one.”

Lawsuits Ahead

States are gearing up to sue the federal government over this monstrosity. From The Wall Street Journal:
Folks in Virginia...appear eager to challenge the bill on two other grounds as well — that Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce does not extend to a bill this far-reaching, and that the bill conflicts with a state law saying that no Virginian shall be compelled to buy insurance.

“This is such an incredible federal overreach,” said Virginia’s attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli added, however, that there was “no rush” to enjoin the bill from taking effect, as the so-called “individual mandate” does not take effect until 2013...

Writing at the Washington Post, Georgetown law prof Randy Barnett thinks that the Commerce Clause argument might give opponents of the bill the most ammunition. Writes Barnett:

While Congress has used its taxing power to fund Social Security and Medicare, never before has it used its commerce power to mandate that an individual person engage in an economic transaction with a private company. Regulating the auto industry or paying “cash for clunkers” is one thing; making everyone buy a Chevy is quite another. Even during World War II, the federal government did not mandate that individual citizens purchase war bonds.

Ryan's Prediction

Saturday, March 20, 2010

GOP on the Rise?

From Politico:
As Democrats frantically tried to cobble together votes to pass their sweeping health care reform legislation Saturday, House Republicans began a victory lap of sorts.

First, in a meeting of the House Republican Conference, the GOP’s leadership rallied the troops with flourishing rhetoric about regaining the majority in the fall.

“I don’t know, quite frankly, whether victory will come on the third Sunday in March or on the first Tuesday in November, but victory will come,” House Republican Conference leader Mike Pence of Indiana told Republicans Saturday afternoon.

And when they emerged from the room to speak to the media and a crush of video cameras, House Republican leaders were met by a boisterous crowd of citizens screaming “kill the bill” and nodding in unison to their promises to continue the fight to derail the legislation.

Saturday’s schedule gives an idea of how confident Republicans are feeling.
Regarding tomorrow's vote on health care, Obama said today, "Do it for the American people"; the majority of whom are vigorously opposed to the measure. He has no idea (or does he?) of how furious Americans are to hear this kind of "father knows best" condescension...and from such a tyro, no less.

The Experience-Gap

Mark Steyn, writing for National Review:
Investor’s Business Daily argues that the “health” debate is really a proxy fight on the size and role of government. According to their poll, 64 percent of people think the federal government has “too much power.” Correct. But a big chunk of that 64 percent voted less than 18 months ago for a man and a party explicitly committed to more government with more power, and they’re now living with the consequences. Obama is government, and government is Obama. That’s all he knows and all he’s ever known. You elected to the highest office in the land a man who’s never run a business or created wealth or made a payroll, and for his entire adult life has hung out with guys who’ve demonized (deemonized?) such grubby activities. Many of which associates he appointed to high office: Obama’s cabinet has less experience of private business than any in the last century. What it knows is government, and government’s default mode is to grow, and grow.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pelosi Invokes St. Joseph to Push Health Care

Pelosi incorrectly asserts that today is the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker (May 1). This short video is a perfect follow-up to yesterday's post:

Outrageous. Thank you Catholic schools of America. You're doing great work.

Ryan on CNBC

Rep. Paul Ryan once again offers his sharp analysis of the job-killing elements of the health care bill.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Themselves to Blame

High profile Catholics and Catholic organizations have emerged of late to announce their support for the DISASTROUS, abortion-fueling, Constitution shredding health care bill. The Catholic leadership in the nation (the USCCB) is right to vigorously oppose the bill. That said, they share a healthy portion of blame for the rampant confusion among US Catholics, especially when it comes to ethics, abortion in particular. (We won't even get into the near total breakdown of a coherent liturgical culture.) For far too long, bishops have allowed dissident Catholics in the public square to flout the Church's teaching with utter impunity, all the while touting their fidelity and devotion to Catholicism. The bishops will release a milquetoast statement (if we're lucky) to "correct" the errant Pelosis and Bidens of the nation, but then slip smoothly back into feckless silence, content that they've done their part to uphold the integrity of the Church's teaching. This happens over and over again, year after year, decade after decade. And so now, the chickens have come home to roost. And we're to be surprised? Outraged?

Thanks in large part to the ineffectual Catholic leadership in America (minus some very noteworthy exceptions), we live in a nation where most Catholics think it's perfectly alright to pick apart the Church's teaching and pocket what they find quaint and jettison what is unseemly or unpopular. And if bishop X doesn't like it, tough! What's he gonna do? Issue a statement? You know how Pelosi is shaking in her Ferragamo heels over those fierce statements. And in most cases, the politicos and dissidents have a point, since they know they can push the envelope as far as they like. They play the bishops like a stradivarius. For their part, the bishops, having issued their STATEMENT won't do anything of real consequence, having washed their hands of the matter, and will return to those really controversial subjects like helping the poor and loving your neighbor.

Where is the Catholic Tea Party Movement for those interested in defending the integrity of the Faith in and out of season? Where do I sign up for that?

Out with the Old

Army training: 1943

From the TimesOnline:
It was a decisive weapon on America’s Civil War battlefields, crucial for US troops going over the top of Flanders’ First World War trenches, carried on to the beaches of Normandy in 1944, and used in hand-to-hand combat in the jungles of Vietnam.

Despite such faithful service, however, the US Army has called time on the bayonet by scrapping basic infantry training with a weapon that has become part of army folklore since its introduction to military arsenals in the 16th century.

Although American soldiers do not generally go into battle with bayonets fixed to their M16 or M4 rifles — unlike their British counterparts with their SA80s — bayonet drills have been a vital part of training for decades.

Now they are being scrapped as part of the first significant revamp of the army training regime in three decades.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Wrong Prescription

Sen. Coburn, M.D.

These days, in the mad dash to the final vote (or deemed "vote") on health care, there is such a superabundance of articles and commentaries on the bill currently under consideration that it is nigh impossible to keep track of it all. Moreover, many of them are littered with indecipherable minutiae and legalistic hair splitting (intentionally, I believe), making them almost impossible to puzzle out. It's difficult to find a commentary that cuts right to the chase with unambiguous language. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. has done just that, penning an exceptionally clear analysis of the problems with the current bill and what should really be done instead to fix the problem of affordability.
The fundamental problem in health care is cost. Every family knows that cost reduces access. As a nation, we spend twice as much on health care as any other industrialized country, but we aren’t any healthier as a result. A study by Thomson-Reuters shows that one in three dollars in our more than $2 trillion health care system does nothing to help people get well or prevent them from getting sick. If members of Congress focused their time and energy on allocating the health care dollars that are already in the system more efficiently—by reducing fraud and the costs associated with defensive medicine, for instance—we could lower cost and improve access overnight.

The bill before us, however, fails to do that. Instead, it builds on a broken and bankrupt system. The Senate bill will put 15 million Americans in the Medicaid program, which is bankrupting states and denying care to millions of American. Forty percent of doctors restrict access to Medicaid patients because reimbursement rates are so low. The rest of America will be funneled into the insurance industry the White House has been demonizing.

Supporters argue that the bill will save taxpayers $100 billion over 10 years, but this estimate is a sham. The numbers Congress gave to the Congressional Budget Office include 10 years of tax increases but only six years of benefits at the back end. This is unjust and deceptive Enron-style accounting. No homeowner would allow a bank to tell them they have to make mortgage payments for four years before they can move into their new home. Yet that is precisely what Congress is telling the American people.

Read the full text here.

Cuba Libre

From the BBC:
Cuban police have arrested the wives and mothers of political dissidents at a demonstration in the capital, Havana.

About 30 members of the "Ladies in White" were stopped as they marched alongside the mother of a prisoner who died last month after a hunger strike.

They were demanding the release of some 50 government critics who are still being held after mass arrests in 2003.

Laying the Groundwork for a Takeover

Writing for National Review, Mark Steyn offers an astute comparison of the health care bill signed into law in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney and the present, disastrous health care bill in Congress.
According to what he's [Romney] told at least a couple of NR audiences I've been among, he sought to solve a problem that doesn't exist — ie, that the uninsured are using emergency rooms as their family doctor, and supposedly the rest of the populace has to pick up the tab for that in increased health-care costs. In fact, ER use by the uninsured is in rough proportion to their percentage of the population, and the rest of the populace has to pick up a far greater tab for the under-reimbursement of doctors by Medicare. In other words, Mitt misdiagnosed the disease, and his prescription was a bigger dose of it:

The result is all the problems familiar to patients in socialized systems — longer wait times, fewer doctors, overstretched emergency rooms — with the uniquely American wrinkle of dramatically increased costs. Mass. residents now pay 27 percent more than the U.S. average...

The Massachusetts State Treasurer now says Masscare nationwide will bankrupt America. No doubt. But first it will drive out doctors and private insurers, providing the perfect pretext a half-decade down the road for politicians to step in and move to full-blown single-payer governmentalization. Obama wants that. So, from his point of view, Obamacare makes sense. Mitt presumably doesn't want that. So what was he thinking?

Homegrown Terrorists

From the Associated Press:
ISLAMABAD -- A Pakistani court charged five young Americans on Wednesday with planning terrorist attacks in the South Asian country and conspiring to wage war against nations allied with Pakistan, their defense lawyer said.

The men -- all Muslims from the Washington, D.C., area -- pleaded not guilty to a total of five charges, the most severe of which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, defense lawyer Hasan Dastagir told The Associated Press.

Someone should ask Tom Hanks about this. I'm sure he would have something intelligent to say.

Hollywood Drivel

Said Tom Hanks in an interview with TIME:
Back in World War II, we viewed the Japanese as 'yellow, slant-eyed dogs' that believed in different gods. They were out to kill us because our way of living was different. We, in turn, wanted to annihilate them because they were different. Does that sound familiar, by any chance, to what's going on today?"

So WWII, in particular, our fight against the Japanese Empire, was rooted in intolerance for their "different" way of life. We have not learned from our errant, unenlightened ways apparently, because now we're out to annihilate the Muslims, according to master historian Tom Hanks. I think there's a little bit more to it than that, Tom.

Victor Davis Hanson offered the only appropriate response to such malarkey: "Hanks' comments were sadly infantile pop philosophizing offered by, well, an ignoramus."


Some welcome news from across the pond:
Catholic adoption society wins court battle over gay rights exemption:

A Catholic adoption society has unexpectedly won a High Court battle against legislation forcing it to consider homosexual couples as parents.

Catholic Care had said it would have to give up its work finding homes for children if it was made to comply with the new anti-discrimination legislation.

The Charity Commission had rejected its plea to an exemption under the Sexual Orientation Regulations but a High Court judge this morning allowed the adoption charity's appeal.

Mr Justice Briggs, sitting in London, ordered the commission to reconsider the case in the light of the principles set out in his judgment.

Catholic Care, which serves the dioceses of Leeds, Middlesbrough, and Hallam in South Yorkshire, was the last Catholic adoption charity to continue its fight against the equality legislation.

"Equality legislation." Thank heavens we don't have Obama and Pelosi legislating "equality" (yet).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Planned Parenthood: "Abortion Kills a Baby"

From LifeSite News:
WASHINGTON, DC, March 16, 2010 ( – It is an inconvenient fact.

According to a pamphlet unearthed by the pro-life group Live Action, back in 1952, Planned Parenthood - today the largest abortion provider in the United States - told women that having an abortion was a danger to their lives, health, and fertility, and kills a baby.

Live Action’s investigative journalists have uncovered the pamphlet from Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) that emphatically espoused an anti-abortion position, while explaining artificial birth control: “the use of medically approved methods to postpone pregnancy until you are ready for it."

Teacher Says

From Politico:
First lady Michelle Obama had tough words for grocery manufacturers Tuesday, telling them to “step it up” in their efforts to provide healthier foods to children and curb obesity.

At a conference at Washington’s Grand Hyatt Hotel, Obama talked about her own efforts on the childhood obesity front, explaining that her goal was to “finally make this national public health threat a national priority.”

“I’m here today to urge all of you to move faster and to go farther, because the truth is we don’t have a moment to waste,” she said in a 20-minute address. “So, we need you all to step it up.”

No one is a fan of childhood obesity. In fact, this story from Scientific American discusses a possible link between food stamps and obesity...anyone surprised? Think about that for a minute: food stamps, ostensibly issued to combat poverty, i.e., not having sufficient food and/or other essentials, are linked to people eating too much. But in the grand scheme of things, who is Michelle Obama to be lecturing this and that segment of society? Tune her out. (Remember, this is the woman who, on two different occasions during the campaign, asserted that this was the first time in her life that she was proud of her country. Of course, we're to believe she misspoke. That's not what she really meant. Sure. Whose church did she and her husband belong to for twenty years, by the way? Jeremiah something...right?)

If the Orwellian (or Huxleyian) pooh-bahs of this Administration decree that childhood obesity is a "national public health threat", what will stop them from passing a law, or laws, out of feigned concern and even through appeals to national security, that result in dictating what and where we can eat, what restaurants can serve, or what food companies can produce? The answer: nothing.

There's a better way to fight obesity. We could start by severing the bond once and for all between our paternalistic government and those ensnarled by its alluring entitlements. Then, we'll begin to teach the newly liberated masses a little something about self-reliance and self-respect, two qualities which the left in America, for about forty years and running, has worked feverishly to snuff out.

In the end, all parties would be better off, except the government.

Pelosi's "Scheme and Deem"

Can a bill pass in Congress without an actual vote on the particular bill? The obvious answer (according to the Constitution): No

But that is not how Pelosi and co. view the law and the Constitution, as applied to them.

From CNN:
Pelosi also may try to help unhappy House Democrats by allowing them to avoid a direct up-or-down vote on the Senate bill. The speaker may call for a vote on a rule that would simply "deem" the Senate bill to be passed. The House then would proceed to a separate vote on the more popular changes to the Senate bill.

House Republican leaders will try to block the procedure, a House GOP aide said Tuesday morning. They will try to force a vote on a resolution requiring the Senate health care bill to be brought to an up-or-down vote, the aide said.

Senate Minority Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, referred to the maneuver as Pelosi's "scheme and deem" plan Tuesday morning.

Newman's Day

Great news: Pope Benedict XVI will beatify Cardinal Newman when he visits Great Britain in September.
With the Church’s formal announcement today of the beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman, The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) announced a partnership with the Oratory founded by Newman in Birmingham, England, to promote Newman’s canonization and awareness of Newman’s legacy in the United States.

The partnership includes an American pilgrimage to England for Newman’s beatification, a U.S. prayer campaign for Newman’s canonization, and the appointment of the Oratory’s provost as a distinguished research fellow for CNS.

The Church confirmed this morning that Pope Benedict XVI will preside over Newman’s beatification in September in Birmingham.

Reining in the Big Guns

This story seems to be getting a lot of attention today. From the The New York Times:
KABUL, Afghanistan — Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan, has brought most American Special Operations forces under his direct control for the first time, out of concern over continued civilian casualties and disorganization among units in the field.

“What happens is, sometimes at cross-purposes, you got one hand doing one thing and one hand doing the other, both trying to do the right thing but working without a good outcome,” General McChrystal said in an interview.

Critics, including Afghan officials, human rights workers and some field commanders of conventional American forces, say that Special Operations forces have been responsible for a large number of the civilian casualties in Afghanistan and operate by their own rules...

Previously, Special Operations forces in Afghanistan often had separate chains of command to their own headquarters elsewhere. That remained true even after General McChrystal was appointed last year and consolidated the NATO and American military commands under his own control.

Good or bad move?

The Obama Orchestra

Here are six short minutes of schmaltzy rubbish guaranteed to turn your stomach. (Wait for the narrator to chime in, reading Hallmark Card excerpts gleaned from Obama's tedious speeches.)

Liberals like Obama love to wax lyrical about "shared values" as a convenient way to avoid discussing objective morality, or anything in concrete terms for that matter.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Augustine's Definition of a Christian

He is a Christian who follows the way of Christ, who imitates Christ in all things, as is written: "He who says that he abides in Christ ought himself to walk just as He walked." He is a Christian who shows mercy to all, who is not disturbed by any injury, who does not permit the poor to be oppressed in his presence, who assists the needy and helps those in want, who sympathizes with the sorrowful and feels the grief of another as his own, whose goods all share and no one feels slighted, who serves God day and night, who reflects and meditates on His precepts at all times, who makes himself poor in this world to become rich in the eyes of God, who suffers himself to be despised among men that he may please God and the angels, who is seen to hold nothing concealed in his heart, whose soul is simple and spotless, whose conscience is faithful and pure, whose whole thought is directed to God, and whose whole hope is in Christ, who desires heavenly rather than earthly possessions, who contemns earthly goods in order to acquire divine. As for those who love this world and who are content and well pleased with this life, hear what the Scriptures says to them: "Do you not know that the friendship of this world is enmity with God?" Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of this world becomes an enemy of God.
-Saint Augustine

Real Reform and Diversions

Representative Paul Ryan, in a brilliant Washington Post piece, cuts through the static and gets to the heart of what the debate on health care is really about:
If this debate had actually been about health care, we could have worked together to get a grip on costs, make quality care more accessible, address exclusions for preexisting conditions and realign the incentives of insurance companies with those of patients and doctors. Yet this process -- including its embarrassing conclusion -- demonstrates that the debate has never been about health-care policy but, instead, paternalistic ideology.

Sending a Message

A cross and this is how The New York Times would like us to see him?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The View from Afghanistan

Popular myths are dispelled regarding the war in Afghanistan in an article appearing in The Washington Post. For example:
1. Afghans always hate and defeat their invaders.

The Afghans drove the British Empire out of their country in the 19th century and did the same to the Soviet Union in the 20th century. They do fight fiercely; many American troops who have been deployed both in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years have asserted that the Afghans are stronger natural fighters.

Yet, the people of Afghanistan do not despise foreigners. Despite downward trends in recent years, Afghans are far more accepting of an international presence in their country than are Iraqis, for example, who typically gave the U.S. presence approval ratings of 15 to 30 percent in the early years of the war in that country. Average U.S. favorability ratings in recent surveys in Afghanistan are around 50 percent, and according to polls from ABC, the BBC and the International Republican Institute, about two-thirds of Afghans recognize that they still need foreign help.

And before we mythologize the Afghan insurgency, it is worth remembering some history. In the 1980s, the United States, Saudi Arabia and others gave enormous financial and military assistance to the Afghan resistance movement that eventually forced the Soviets out. That group grew to about 250,000 in strength in the mid-1980s. But today, the Taliban and other resistance groups receive substantial help only from some elements in Pakistan -- and diminishing help at that -- and collectively, they number about 25,000 fighters.

Finally, though U.S.-backed Afghan forces overthrew the Taliban after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, today's international presence there does not amount to an invasion. Foreign forces are present at the invitation of the host government, which two-thirds of Afghans consider legitimate, if somewhat corrupt.

And so on.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rebooting Reagan for 2010

"I don't care if Republicans or Democrats are in charge, if you allow politicians to spend money, they'll do it." -Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio, one of the many promising new faces in the conservative movement, discusses his own race for the Senate in Florida, and also the future of the Republican Party in an interview featured in The Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Rubio says he won't shy away from social issues if asked. He is pro-life and says he would support a Senate filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee under some circumstances. But his campaign is staking out an updated version of the Reagan agenda. "We're focused on jobs and national security," he says, "because those are the great and profound national issues of our moment and that's what 95% of our campaign is based on."

Front and center is the idea that, fiscally, the federal government is running off the rails. That Washington should be "taking borrowed money to fund the general operation of government," he says, "and that somehow the government will build so many roads and bridges that everyone will have a job for the next 30 years is absurd."

Which leads to Job One: To get spending under control in Washington, Mr. Rubio would support a constitutional amendment to balance the budget, something Florida already has in place. "I don't care whether Republicans or Democrats are in charge," he says. "If you allow politicians to spend money, they'll do it."

Amen to that.

Cell Transfer

Thought you'd heard of everything? From the BBC:
Officials in the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia have announced a scheme to let prisoners shorten their jail terms by spending time in a monastery instead.

The scheme for petty criminals has been proposed by the country's Orthodox Church and government officials.
It comes as prisoner numbers in Georgia continue to rise and so too does the popularity of the Church.

Friday, March 12, 2010

46% Approval

New lows for O

From the Telegraph:
Two leading Democratic pollsters yesterday criticised Mr Obama for being deaf to public opinion. Patrick Caddell and Doug Schoen, who conducted polls for former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton respectively, wrote in the Washington Post that the "blind persistence in the face of reality" of the president and his advisers ran the risk of "unmitigated disaster in November", when midterm elections will be held.

Advantage, Iran

From The Washington Times:
U.S. policy holds that Iran will not be permitted to develop nuclear weapons, but Tehran doesn't feel it needs Washington's permission. Nuclear weapons represent the ultimate insurance card against regime change, will give Iran unprecedented leverage in the Middle East, and potentially will enable Tehran to assume an offensive posture against its enemies, including America, the "Great Satan."

The U.S. government is signaling to Tehran that Washington lacks the will to respond should Iran develop and test a nuclear weapon. This was made painfully clear by Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who recently said that an Iranian bomb is "potentially a very, very destabilizing outcome" but taking military action to prevent it "also has a very, very destabilizing outcome." Equivocations like this instruct Tehran to continue on its current course because the United States can't tell the difference between a world with a nuclear Iran and a world without one.

Unveiling W. Wilson

Wilson and Obama: Connecting the Dots

Writing for National Review's The Corner, Jonah Goldberg hits on a slew of good points regarding Progressivism and Woodrow Wilson. In doing so, he also links to an outstanding piece by George Will, who comments on Wilson's folly and, more importantly, highlights the strains of Wilsonianism found in Obama.

Here's an excerpt from Will:
Wilson, once a professor of political science, said that the Princeton he led as its president was dedicated to unbiased expertise, and he thought government could be "reduced to science." Progressives are forever longing to replace the governance of people by the administration of things. Because they are entirely public-spirited, progressives volunteer to be the administrators, and to be as disinterested as the dickens...

Wilson was the first president to criticize the Founding Fathers. He faulted them for designing a government too susceptible to factions that impede disinterested experts from getting on with government undistracted. Like Princeton's former president, Obama's grievance is with the greatest Princetonian, the "father of the Constitution," James Madison, Class of 1771.
Emphasis added

NBC Takes Sides (big surprise)

NBC's Andrea Mitchell pleads with a Democratic congressman to finish the deal on health care.

States and Their Rights

"Resolved, That the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government . . . . and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force. . . . that the government created by this compact [the Constitution for the United States] was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; . . . . that this would be to surrender the form of government we have chosen, and live under one deriving its powers from its own will, and not from our authority; . . . and that the co-States, recurring to their natural right in cases not made federal, will concur in declaring these acts void, and of no force, and will each take measures of its own for providing that neither these acts, nor any others of the General Government not plainly and intentionally authorised by the Constitution, shall be exercised within their respective territories." - Kentucky Resolution, 1798, drafted by Thomas Jefferson

"I see, as you do, and with the deepest affliction, the rapid strides with which the federal branch of the government is advancing towards the usurpation of all the rights reserved to the States, and the consolidation in itself of all powers, foreign and domestic; and that, too, by constructions which, if legitimate, leave no limits to their powers." -Thomas Jefferson to William Branch Giles, 1825

Boycotting the State of the Union

George Will has an idea worth considering:
George Washington delivered his report on the state of the union in person, as did John Adams. But the third president, Thomas Jefferson, put his thoughts in writing and dispatched them to Congress. Such presidential reticence is impossible to imagine in the Age of Obama, but Jefferson disliked the sound of his voice and considered it monarchical for the executive to stand above the legislature and lecture it.

In 1913, however, Wilson, whose guiding principle was that the world could not hear too much from him, delivered his report in person. He thought the Founders had foolishly saddled the nation with a Constitution of checks and balances that made government sluggish or paralytic. Hence charismatic presidential leadership was needed to arouse public opinion that could compel Congress to bow to the president's will. The Founders thought statesmanship should restrain public opinion. Wilson's watery Caesarism preached that presidents should spur that dangerous stallion. He just knew he could control it...

The prolixity that is the defining characteristic of modern presidents blurs the distinction between campaigning and governing, and positions the presidency at the center of the nation's consciousness. This gives presidents delusions of omnipotence and makes Americans susceptible to perpetual disappointment and political dyspepsia.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


A short clip on SEAL training:

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Thomas Sowell writes on education:
People are all born ignorant but they are not born stupid. Much of the stupidity we see today is induced by our educational system, from the elementary schools to the universities. In a high-tech age that has seen the creation of artificial intelligence by computers, we are also seeing the creation of artificial stupidity by people who call themselves educators.

Educational institutions created to pass on to the next generation the knowledge, experience, and culture of the generations that went before them have instead been turned into indoctrination centers to promote whatever notions, fashions, or ideologies happen to be in vogue among today’s intelligentsia.

Monday, March 08, 2010


An excellent article from the Telegraph tracking the implosion of the Democratic Party:
It is a universal political truth that administrations do not begin to fragment when things are going well: it only happens when they go badly, and those who think they know better begin to attack those who manifestly do not. The descent of Barack Obama's regime, characterised now by factionalism in the Democratic Party and talk of his being set to emulate Jimmy Carter as a one-term president, has been swift and precipitate. It was just 16 months ago that weeping men and women celebrated his victory over John McCain in the American presidential election. If they weep now, a year and six weeks into his rule, it is for different reasons...

Mr Obama benefited in his campaign from an idiotic level of idolatry, in which most of the media participated with an astonishing suspension of cynicism. The sound of the squealing of brakes is now audible all over the American press

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Hangover Effect

From the Telegraph:
In many respects, Barack Obama was the ultimate candidate for the television age. He looked fantastic and sounded wonderful. He soared above politics and made people feel better about themselves.

Ability to get things done? Track record? Such petty considerations seemed beside the point in 2008 for Obama was the very culmination of history. It was almost as if the then Senator for Illinois symbolised the end of politics, the point at which the perfect candidate drew a line under grubby partisanship.

Now, Americans have woken up from that dream and are living with the hangover. Neither history nor politics ended when Obama's ascended to the Oval Office. The recession is biting, unemployment is still hovering just below 10 per cent, the deficit is soaring and there is still gridlock in Washington.

Having elected two Senators as President and Vice-President for the first time since 1960, Americans are likely to look once again towards the more traditional stable for commanders-in-chief - the governor's mansions.

Emphasis added. Note the hints of Romanticism, Hegel and Marx here. This is really how people viewed the biracial Obama, i.e., the eschatological embodiment of the perfection of the World Spirit; that we had finally reached an endgame in our messy politics and partisanship with the arrival an unblemished man who was unlike anything we had ever seen before.

Truth is, Obama is not exceptional, he is not post-partisan, he represents nothing new under the sun. He's just your typical liberal politician, only with less experience.

Smoke Screen

Mark Steyn:
I’ve been saying in this space for two years that the governmentalization of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture. It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make limited government all but impossible. In most of the rest of the Western world, there are still nominally “conservative” parties, and they even win elections occasionally, but not to any great effect (let’s not forget that Jacques Chirac was, in French terms, a “conservative”). The result is a kind of two-party one-party state: Right-of-center parties will once in a while be in office, but never in power, merely presiding over vast left-wing bureaucracies that cruise on regardless.

Friday, March 05, 2010

A Corrupt Bargain

Is the White House doling out perks in exchange for votes in Congress? Sure seems like it. Watch this short clip. The Democrat offers no substantive rebuttal to the accusation, except to fall back on rehashed talking points that by now have run their course.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Obama and the Malignant Narcissist Checklist

A fascinating piece from James Lewis, writing in the American Thinker:
Obama is the exception. Lots of people talk like narcissists -- when teenagers get grandiose, or when they start to lie to and manipulate their parents, it might be just a phase they're going through. Lots of people preen and strut on life's stage without losing their sense of proportion. But I think Obama just turned all his grandiose talk into irrevocable action. I don't think we've had this extreme and radical a president ever before in American history. Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR took radical actions, but only at a time of huge national crises. We don't have a national crisis today. Obama is our national crisis...

1. "Common to malignant narcissism is narcissistic rage. Narcissistic rage is a reaction to narcissistic injury (when the narcissist feels degraded by another person, typically in the form of criticism)."

2. "When the narcissist's grandiose sense of self-worth is perceived as being attacked by another person, the narcissist's natural reaction is to rage and pull down the self-worth of others (to make the narcissist feel superior to others). It is an attempt by the narcissist to soothe their internal pain and hostility, while at the same time rebuilding their self worth."

3. "Narcissistic rage also occurs when the narcissist perceives that he/she is being prevented from accomplishing their grandiose fantasies."

Obama fits the bill for these traits and others listed by Lewis. Creepy, no?

Insufficient Justice

From the Times Online:
Germany's biggest terrorist trial of recent times has ended with jail terms of between 5 and 12 years for four Muslim radicals who plotted to blow up US military installations, airports and night clubs in the Frankfurt area.

"You planned a terrible bloodbath involving an incalculable number of deaths," said Judge Otmar Breidling, sentencing the men in a bomb-proof Duesseldorf courtroom. "There has never been an attack on such a scale on German soil, nor has any such plan been hatched."

The men, said Judge Breidling, were planning to bring the Islamic Holy war to the heart of Europe and spark explosions that would have been several times more destructive than the London Tube bombs of July 7, 2005. They collected about 750kg of hydrogen peroxide — the same substance used in the London attack — arranged for detonators and had scouted out targets. Thanks to electronic phone intercepts supplied by the CIA and a series of blunders by the plotters, the German police got wind of the gang, kept it under observation and secretly swapped the deadly chemicals for a harmless diluted mixture.

A whole 5 to 12 years behind bars for Muslim fanatics caught hatching a "second 9-11" ... don't we all feel safer?

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Obama vs. Obama

Watch this. Obama decried vigorously in years past precisely what he's advocating today.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Yoga Stations

I'm passing this tidbit on second hand, but it comes from a reliable source. At Washington University's Catholic Student Center, Yoga Stations of the Cross is being offered to the students. Incredible. My unsuspecting friend entered the chapel to find the students and priest sprawled on the floor, shoes off, contorting away. Needless to say, he bolted the scene. It is at times like this when one feels as though he's entered the Catholic Bizarro World.

Yet another example of just why, as Fr. Hardon used to say, "There's so much work to be done."

Monday, March 01, 2010

Milton Friedman and Earthquakes

Both come together in this though-provoking piece, appearing in The Wall Street Journal:
It's not by chance that Chileans were living in houses of brick—and Haitians in houses of straw—when the wolf arrived to try to blow them down. In 1973, the year the proto-Chavista government of Salvador Allende was overthrown by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Chile was an economic shambles. Inflation topped out at an annual rate of 1000%, foreign-currency reserves were totally depleted, and per capita GDP was roughly that of Peru and well below Argentina's.

What Chile did have was intellectual capital, thanks to an exchange program between its Catholic University and the economics department of the University of Chicago, then Friedman's academic home. Even before the 1973 coup, several of Chile's "Chicago Boys" had drafted a set of policy proposals which amounted to an off-the-shelf recipe for economic liberalization: sharp reductions to government spending and the money supply; privatization of state-owned companies; the elimination of obstacles to free enterprise and foreign investment, and so on...

By 1990, the year he [Pinochet] ceded power, per capita GDP had risen by 40% (in 2005 dollars) even as Peru and Argentina stagnated. Pinochet's democratic successors—all of them nominally left-of-center—only deepened the liberalization drive. Result: Chileans have become South America's richest people. They have the continent's lowest level of corruption, the lowest infant-mortality rate, and the lowest number of people living below the poverty line.

Quod erat demonstrandum...or, in its more colloquial rendition, booyah!