Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
“The reputation of the so-called science of global warming just reversed course,” our resource analyst Byron King observes, continuing today’s theme. “It's more like ‘political’ science now -- literally -- and there are 3,000 e-mails to prove it.
“Last week, the global warming movement crashed, along with its holier-than-thou ‘only we can save the world’ aura of empirical certitude. Down with the ship went the last semblance of unblinking, unthinking willingness to submit to draconian, Procrustean ‘cap and trade’ legislation against fossil fuels.
“The cause of the crash was a batch of purloined e-mails from the University of East Anglia and its Climate Research Unit (Climate Research Fabrication Unit is more like it). When the contents of the e-mails hit the fan, the U.K. Telegraph headlined that "This Is the Worst Scientific Scandal of Our Generation."
“The East Anglia e-mails reveal a transnational cabal of scientists whose ethics and methods mirror those of Stalin's favorite biologist, Comrade Trofim Lysenko. That is, these modern Merlins of global warming have massaged the climate data to fit their preconceived anti-CO2 theories. For many years, the climate change Godfathers have humiliated and intimidated scientists who dared to disagree. They've squashed dissent. They've blackballed academic journals that didn't toe the line of politically correct global warming wisdom. And they've done it all under the rubric of ‘peer-reviewed’ science -- where they are the peers über alles. Nice work, if you can get it…
“To my way of seeing things, the proposed remedies for global warming never added up. Now, with the release of the East Anglia e-mails, we know that things were never supposed to add up. The whole global warming and remedies process is designed to lasso a perceived ‘environmental’ problem and use it to fulfill a laundry list of campus-Marxist political agendas. And quite a bit of the mainstream West swallowed it, hook, line and sinker.”
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Although the RC Blog endorsed Will Nance for the nomination in yesterday's primary, Steve is a solid choice and will make an excellent Senator for the 37th Distict. We have no problems supporting his campaign and will work hard to elect Steve Hunt in January.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Many people were shocked when the University of Notre Dame, long thought to be America’s premier Catholic university, in May, 2009, invited President Barack Obama to be its commencement speaker and to receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. It was not the first time that Notre Dame had hosted a U.S. president, but since President Obama had come into office with such a pronounced and unapologetical pro-abortion stance—verified within the first few days of his administration when he quickly removed by executive order those obstacles to untrammeled abortion put in place by previous administrations—it was hard to understand how a Catholic university could single him out for special honors.
In 2004, in fact, the Catholic bishops of the United States had issued a statement on “Catholics in Political Life,” in which, among other things, the bishops had declared that:
The Catholic Community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors, or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.
Notre Dame’s honoring of President Obama was thus a direct contravention of the position that the Catholic bishops had expressly established on the question of honoring pro-abortion politicians. The bishop of the diocese in which Notre Dame is located, the Most Reverend John M. D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, pointedly declined to attend the university’s commencement and declared that Notre Dame had chosen “prestige over truth.”
In the controversy that blew up and lasted for several weeks after the announcement of Notre Dame’s invitation to the pro-abortion president, more than 80 American Catholic bishops publicly spoke out against it. This was an unprecedented public reaction by bishops, but then the university’s action was an unusually defiant and even crude and insulting rejection of the bishops’ responsibility to lay out and make clear what the proper reaction of Catholic institutions ought to be on one of the principal moral issues of the day. Equally unprecedented were the more than 350,000 signatures of Catholics who signed a petition protesting the university’s action and asking Notre Dame’s president, the Reverend John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., to rescind the invitation.
Thus, many Catholics were scandalized and, indeed, shocked that a Catholic university would turn out to have so little regard or respect for Catholic teaching on the very grave issue of legalized abortion in America—against which the Church’s opposition has been made so unmistakably clear in the numerous statements issued over many years by the bishops and the popes. Abortion is not just another neutral or indifferent or optional matter in the Catholic view.
According to Charles E. Rice, emeritus professor at the Notre Dame law school and the author of this new book which, ably and concisely, tells what did happen to Notre Dame, Catholics are right to be dismayed and scandalized by the university’s action. However, according to him, they should not have been shocked by it, or perhaps even surprised. For according to him, what happened to and at Notre Dame went back a very long time. He shows that Notre Dame “made a wrong turn four decades ago,” and has been acting on wrong principles—antithetical to authentic Catholic faith—ever since. Notre Dame, according to him, has not been a Catholic university in the true sense for quite a long time.
Professor Rice traces the university’s wrong turn back to something called the “Land O’Lakes Statement,” a manifesto issued by a group of Catholic academics and college presidents meeting in Land O’Lakes, Wisconsin, back in 1967. This Statement was subscribed to (if not largely inspired by) the very well-known president of Notre Dame in those days, the Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C. According to the Land O’Lakes Statement:
The Catholic university today must be a university in the full modern sense of the word, with a strong commitment to and concern for academic excellence. To perform its teaching and research functions effectively, the Catholic university must have a true autonomy in the face of authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical, external to the academic community itself. To say this is simply to assert that institutional autonomy and academic freedom are essential conditions of life and growth, and indeed of survival, for Catholic universities, as for all universities.
In practice, this claim to “autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of whatever kind,” amounted to a declaration of independence by the university from the authority of the Church. The Church was no longer seen as necessarily defining what was authentically “Catholic” and what was not. In no way did Notre Dame and the other Catholic colleges and universities that subscribed to the Land O’Lakes Statement cease to be subject to the rules and laws of the state, or of accrediting, licensing or of funding agencies and the like. It was just the Church’s rules that were effectively set aside. The Land O’Lakes Statement was very instrumental in the secularization of many Catholic institutions, beginning in the 1960s.
It was primarily to counter this pernicious secularization of Catholic higher education that prompted Pope John Paul II to issue his apostolic constitution on universities Ex Corde Ecclesiae (“From the Heart of the Church”) in 1990. Subsequently, the U.S. bishops issued their own “Application” of Ex Corde Ecclesiae for this country in order to try to modify or even reverse the secularization of so many Catholic colleges. However, the fact that Notre Dame nevertheless felt justified in honoring President Obama in defiance of the bishops’ policy indicated that the bishops still have a long way to go to restore the integrity of Catholic higher education.
In this book, author Charles E. Rice accurately and effectively chronicles some of the deleterious effects of this straying off the right path of authentic Catholicism on the part of Notre Dame (and many other Catholic institutions!). By declaring the teaching authority of the Church to be “external” to the university, as the Land O’Lakes Statement did, these institutions, in effect, set themselves up as competing moral authorities to the Church. Henceforth, the university would decide what was right and wrong according to its own criteria, regardless of the Church’s teaching.
Professor Rice discusses a number of cases where Notre Dame went off the moral tracks long before the Obama invitation. As early as the 1960s, for example, the university was holding conferences with such organizations as Planned Parenthood and the Population Council to examine whether there might not be an alternative “Catholic” position on birth control different from the traditional teaching which Pope Paul VI reaffirmed in 1968.
Later, in 1984, Notre Dame famously provided the platform for New York Governor Mario Cuomo to inform the world that Catholic politicians could be “personally opposed” to abortion while enabling and promoting it through the public offices held by them.
Then there was the inexplicable refusal of Notre Dame president Father John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., to come out against campus performances of the obscene play “The Vagina Monologues.” Professor Rice records a statement of Father Jenkins that no anti-Semitic play or speech would ever be permitted at Notre Dame since it would be “opposed to the values of a Catholic university.” Yet over a number of years Father Jenkins could never bring himself to affirm that this wretched play crudely exploiting women and depicting, yes, actual violence against them was even more opposed to those “values.”
The arguments of Father Jenkins aiming to justify the Obama invitation are no more convincing than his arguments justifying the performance of this obscene play on campus. They are embarrassing, in fact. One can only wonder how the trustees of Notre Dame could countenance such leadership as that of Father Jenkins. Professor Rice recounts the whole sad tale of the commencement fiasco in several brief but hard-hitting chapters. It is all here, not only the serial missteps of the university administration, but the admirable, dignified, and prayerful counter-steps, mostly led and inspired by students. The book thus fulfills the promise of its title in answering the question, in adequate and carefully documented detail, of what happened to and at Notre Dame.
In addition, the book contains a very informative Introduction by long-time Notre Dame Professor Alfred J. Freddoso throwing further light on the whole affair. It also reprints the inspiring talk to the Notre Dame Response Rally by Father Wilson D. Miscamble, C.S.C.—showing, thankfully, that not all of the Holy Cross fathers on the campus are of the caliber of Father Jenkins!
Although Professor Charles E. Rice thus provides as lucid and cogent account of the whole Notre Dame/Obama affair as could be expected—and abundantly shows what happens when the Church’s teaching authority gets laid aside!—it still remains something of a mystery how America’s one-time premier Catholic university came to such a sorry pass. One tantalizing clue, however, perhaps lies in the reported statement of former ND president Father Theodore Hesburgh that before a university can be “Catholic,” it must first be a “university” as understood by the secular “modern world.” This was to get it exactly backwards: a university must first be in conformity with the Catholic Church as “the teacher of truth” (Vatican II, Dignitatis Humanae, 14) before it can be a true Catholic university.
Kenneth D. Whitehead’s latest book is "Mass Misunderstandings: The Mixed Legacy of the Vatican II Liturgical Reforms" (St. Augustine’s Press, 2009). He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Catholic League.
Copyright © 1997-2009 by Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
America was founded upon sound conservative principles grounded firmly in human nature and not in radical idealism. And today, we see that these principles, though under attack from the Left, are still very much alive.
So, despite these tough times, Conservatives and Americans have much to be thankful for:
1. The United States Constitution. The single most important and timeless document of our nation's Founding, the U.S. Constitution lays the framework for a government that protects the natural and unalienable rights of every American. The Constitution, the key to our greatness and the bulwark of our liberties, offers an antidote to the Left's radicalism.
2. America's Armed Forces. The brave men and women of the armed forces have dedicated their lives to preserve and protect our liberties and defend the principles that inspired our Constitution. As President Harry S. Truman told Congress in 1945: "Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices."
3. A Conservative America. Recent Gallup polls find that an overwhelming majority of Americans – 40 percent – identify themselves as conservative, as opposed to liberal or moderate. After all, Barack Obama campaigned last year on promises of lower taxes, spending cuts and a stronger national security because he knows what principles appeal to the American people.
4. Growing Conservative Momentum. This year, the Left's big-government plans -- and there have been many – have sparked a big reaction from Conservatives around the country. From the April tea parties to the August town hall meetings to the September protests in Washington, concerned Americans have made it clear to politicians that they remain devoted to our founding principles even if their representatives have abandoned them.
5. The Sputtering Liberal Agenda. In part because of the firm conservative response, the liberal agenda is wobbling somewhat. While they continue to pose a grave threat to the nation, radical ideas like socialized medicine, new taxes on energy and handouts to Big Labor have been slowed or stalled in Washington. The Left has so far accomplished relatively little, but lest we grow overconfident we should remember that they still hold the levers of power.
6. Conservative Victories. The landslide victories of gubernatorial candidates Bob McDonnell in Virginia and Chris Christie in New Jersey – both states that the Left had counted on to remain in their camp – demonstrate a growing public demand for conservative solutions. Election Day saw other conservative successes as well, including a referendum protecting traditional marriage in Maine.
(Source: Amanda Reinecker, The Heritage Foundation)
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The Republican primary includes three candidates -- Nance, former Fairfax Co. School Board member Steve Hunt, and former Bush 41 and 43 appointee Marianne Horinko. After listening to all three candidates in person, reviewing campaign literature, and listening to those with strong political ties in Northern Virginia, RC Blog felt most comfortable supporting Nance.
There are many in the Fairfax County GOP who feel that Hunt has "paid his dues", which he has, and deserves the nomination. There is no arguing that he has been a "team player" for many years and has even received the endorsement of several former Cuccinelli staffers and supporters. Nance has received the endorsement of several prominent national Conservatives, including Kay Cole James and Senator Santorum.
In considering both Nance and Hunt, RC Blog was disappointed that Hunt failed to mention any Pro-Life issues during his 10-minute presentation before the Fairfax County Republican Committee on why he deserves the nomination. RC Blog feels that Nance is the best and closest alternative to Cuccinelli as the 37th district's senator.
Don't forget to vote on December 1 at Centreville High School!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
“It is clear that foreign terrorists and terrorist groups have committed acts of war against the United States, and that our national security requires that we respond accordingly. This means that President Bush’s prudent actions and the military response which he led should continue as our answer to these attacks.
Congress overwhelmingly reaffirmed their commitment to military commissions in 2006, which have historically been the way that we respond to acts of war. To abandon our two centuries of tradition and to substitute some new civilian procedure as a response to such attacks endangers the security of our country and our national interest.
It was a tragic mistake to decide to abandon the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, which was designed physically and legally to handle these types of cases. It is a further tragic mistake to now bring the detained war combatants into the United States and to employ civilian criminal procedures which were never intended for this type of situation.
The U.S. Constitution protects American citizens and visitors from the moment they are suspected of criminal wrongdoing through a potential trial. These same protections are not, have never, and should not be granted to enemy combatants in war, since it is clear that regardless of the outcome of the trial, these detainees will likely remain in the custody of the United States.”
Monday, November 16, 2009
A report released Friday by the non-partisan and independent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency in charge of running Medicare and Medicaid, blows the lid off of every one of Obama’s claims. All of the following quotes are from the report itself:
Health Care Costs Increase: “In aggregate, we estimate that for calendar years 2010 through 2019 [national health expenditures (NHE)] would increase by $289 billion, or 0.8 percent, over the updates baseline projection that was released on June 29, 2009.” In other words, Obamacare bends the cost curve up, not down.
Millions Lose Existing Private Coverage: “However, a number of workers who currently have employer coverage would likely become enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program or receive subsidized coverage through the Exchange. For example, some smaller employers would be inclined to terminate their existing coverage, and companies with low average salaries might find it to their - and their employees’ - advantage to end their plans … We estimate that such actions would collectively reduce the number of people with employer-sponsored health coverage by about 12 million.” In other words, Obamacare will cause millions of Americans to lose their existing private coverage.
Millions Pay Fines Yet Remain Uncovered: “18 million are estimated to choose not to be insured and to pay the penalty associated with the individual mandate. For the most part, these would be individuals with relatively low health care expenses for whom the individual or family insurance premium would be significantly in excess of the penalty and their anticipated health benefit value.” In other words, 18 million Americans will either face jail time or be forced to pay a new tax they will receive no benefit from.
Millions Lose Medicare Advantage: “Section 1161 of Division B of H.R. 3962 would set Medicare Advantage capitation benchmarks … We estimate that in 2014 when the MA provisions would be fully phased in, enrollment in MA plans would decreased by 64 percent (from its projected level of 13.2 million under current law to 4.7 million under the proposal).” In other words, 8.5 million seniors who currently get such services as coordinated care for chronic conditions, routine eye and hearing examinations, and preventive-care services would lose their existing private coverage.
Millions Placed on Welfare: “Of the additional 34 million who are estimated to be insured in 2019 as a result of H.R. 3962, about three-fifths (21 million) would receive Medicaid coverage due to the expansion of eligibility to those adults under 150 percent of the FPL.” In other words, more than half the people who gain health insurance will receive it through the welfare program Medicaid.
Seniors Access to Care Jeopardized: “H.R. 3962 would introduce permanent annual productivity adjustments to price updates for institutional providers… Over time, a sustained reduction in payment updates, based on productivity expectations that are difficult to attain, would cause Medicare payment rates to grow more slowly than and in a way that was unrelated to, the providers’ costs of furnishing services to beneficiaries. Thus, providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantive portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable and might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries).” In other words, the Medicare cuts in the House bill are so out of touch with reality that hospitals currently serving Medicare patients might be forced to stop doing so. Thus making it much more difficult for seniors to get health care.
Poor’s Access Problems Exacerbated: “In practice, supply constraints might interfere with providing the services by the additional 34 million insured persons. …providers might tend to accept more patients who have private insurance (with relatively attractive payment rates) and fewer Medicaid patients, exacerbating existing access problems for the latter group.” In other words, those 21 million people who are gaining health insurance through Medicaid are going to have a very tough time finding a doctor who will treat them.
Reacting in part to Friday’s CMS report, Robert J. Samuelson writes in today’s Washington Post:
The disconnect between what President Obama says and what he’s doing is so glaring that most people could not abide it. The president, his advisers and allies have no trouble. But reconciling blatantly contradictory objectives requires them to engage in willful self-deception, public dishonesty, or both.
There is a reason why as more Americans learn about Obamacare, the less popular it gets.
Friday, November 13, 2009
If George W. Bush had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take Laura Bush to a play in NYC, would you have approved?
If George W. Bush had reduced your retirement plan's holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved?
If George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?
If George W. Bush had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVD's, when Gordon Brown had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?
If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought this embarrassingly narcissistic and tacky?
If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, would you have approved?
If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the non-existent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?
If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes, would you have approved?
If George W. Bush had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to "Cinco de Cuatro" in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, would you have winced in embarrassment?
If George W. Bush had misspelled the word "advice" would you have hammered him for it for years like Dan Quayle and "potato" as proof of what a dunce he is?
If George W. Bush had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he's a hypocrite?
If George W. Bush's administration had Okayed Air Force One flying low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they actually get what happened on 9-11.?
If George W. Bush had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans, would you want it made into a major ongoing political issue with claims of racism and incompetence?
If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?
If George W Bush had proposed to double the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?
If George W. Bush had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?
So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive?
Can't think of anything? Don't worry.
He's done all this in his first 10 months – so you'll have three years and two months to come up with an answer.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The three Dems have made their concession speeches and the three GOPers have made their victory speeches.
The Cuccinelli speech was great as he focused on First Principles and his plans as the Commonwealth's top lawyer. He also broke out a McBollinelli broom for the three-man sweep.
In addition to these three victories, one of Virginia's most liberal delegates, Chuck Caputo, is looking like he will be overtaken by Conservative Jim LeMunyon in Western Fairfax County.
Still too early to tell what is going to happen in New Jersey or NY's 23rd House District.
In looking forward to next year's gubenatorial elections, the RC Blog has targeted Wisconsin Conservative Scott Walker as one of the top conservatives in the nation and we will work hard to help him get to Madison.
Living in Sen. Cuccinelli's senate district, we proudly supported him in his campaign for AG on the day of his announcement on March 30, 2008. We here at the RC Blog are extremely proud of him and the campaign he ran, both in the primary and in the general election.
With 2 percent of the votes in, Cuccinelli leads Steve Shannon by 34%. Leads by Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling are similar.
Wasn't it only 12 months ago that we were all told by the "experts" that the "Age of Reagan" was dead?
More posts to follow tonight....
Monday, November 2, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
How ironic that in a week in which the Post underwent a physical "facelift" (new fonts, setup, etc.), it would still show its true colors at a slanted liberal paper.
If you did not read the column, here is a link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/21/AR2009102104195.html
I will give the Post editors some credit for running two letters to the editor in Monday's edition that went after Mr. McCartney's slanderous article:
Why voters like Ken Cuccinelli
Monday, October 26, 2009
Robert McCartney's Oct. 22 Metro column bashing state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax) -- I guess your editorial page was just too crowded that day -- missed the main attraction of the attorney general candidate to a weary electorate: his honesty ["Cuccinelli: In your heart you know he's to the right of right"]. In this era of constant media spin, advocacy journalism on news pages and "balloon boy" escapades, it is refreshing to find a politician that you can trust.
I have walked precincts for Ken Cuccinelli in his past two elections. He is hardworking, intelligent and direct. Time and again, I have seen him win over voters who might not agree with him on a particular issue but are impressed with his command of the facts, straight answers and willingness to listen to the other point of view. Very few voters in Fairfax County have ever come across a politician other than Cuccinelli who will give them a straight answer.
It is refreshing and inspiring.
Margaret Baker, Clifton
The writer is a volunteer in Ken Cuccinelli's campaign.
With Republican Ken Cuccinelli II significantly leading his opponent in the polls for months in the race between two Fairfax County legislators to become Virginia's next attorney general based on legitimate campaign factors -- debate results, grass-roots campaigning and positions on issues important to voters -- your paper decided it was time to do its part to engage in an effort to defeat Cuccinelli in his contest against Democratic Del. Stephen C. Shannon.
Robert McCartney's column was an obvious attempt to persuade Virginia voters to ignore the facts of the campaign and stop the social conservative before it's too late.
I would hope that Virginia voters would consider the experiences, endorsements, strengths and weaknesses of the candidates as the basis for their vote and not the biased intentions or assertions of Mr. McCartney.
Voters can see for themselves the differences and positions of these two candidates by conducting an Internet search for "Ken Cuccinelli Steve Shannon Debate." There are numerous videos from their debates available to view. The results are astonishingly clear as to who should serve as the next attorney general, and they validate why Cuccinelli leads in the polls.
Kevin O'Malley, Centreville
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Below are links to download the audio from each part. These talks are great for both Catholics and non Catholics and make for a better way to enjoy a morning or afternoon commute.
Sins and Confession -- Click Here to Listen or Download (21.9 MB, 48:01)
The Holy Eucharist -- Click Here to Listen or Download (22.6 MB, 49:34)
Our Blessed Mother -- Click Here to Listen or Download (24.1 MB, 52:46)
Morality and Life -- Click Here to Listen or Download (27.3 MB, 59:40)
The Importance of Prayer -- Click Here to Listen or Download (24.6 MB, 53:44)
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I am not the only one who sees a strange anomaly in the Oslo committee awarding Mr. Obama the Nobel Peace Prize last week. Considering that his actual nomination had to have taken place before February 1st when he was not even two weeks in office, he could not have possibly done anything to merit this award and he certainly hasn't done anything since! In fact, the winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize is the shameless leader of the war against unborn children around the world; his alliance with Planned Parenthood testifies vocally to his pro-death agenda, not to mention his wiping out of the Mexico City Policy to fund the death peddlers around the world. His administration's debates about whether to send 40,000 more troops into Afghanistan seem mildly aggressive in comparison to the war against babies. It is just astounding to think that neither Mahatma Gandhi nor Pope John Paul II received this Prize in their lifetimes, a fact that speaks volumes about the Scandinavians' sense of what constitutes true peace-making.
Keep in mind that American policies can have huge consequences around the world. Already we are seeing evidence that the anti-life movement has been tremendously emboldened by the election of America's strongest abortion promoter ever and one who "released funds" to abortion-promoting organizations by wiping out the Mexico City Policy on his third day in office. In very real terms, this meant the unleashing of terrorism on the unborn with American dollars and influence. Our affiliate in Tanzania recently reported to us that a new sterilization campaign has blanketed his beloved country because the anti-lifers know that they will get away with it now that the US government has no veto power over these things. The UN and the European Union have already been putting pressure on pro-life Catholic countries like Poland and Malta to legalize abortion, and just last week Ireland voted Yes to the Lisbon Treaty which a year ago they had turned down cold. This EU treaty will cajole, slacken and manipulate another pro-life country into eventually legalizing the killing of its own babies. It's just a foot in the door to taking away Ireland's sovereignty on the issue of life and will undoubtedly have a huge long-term impact on the country.
There will be no peace in any society as long as a nation accepts and/or endorses the principle that babies are disposable commodities and can be murdered at will. HLI missionaries continuously tell the remaining pro-life nations that abortion is a war on children which no society can long survive. Its effects are entirely negative and will never get better. Furthermore, there are certain conscientious persons in every population that will fight with every fiber of their beings to see that abortion is never normalized or accepted as a good, and social conflict will be the inevitable outcome. Society will suffer because of the millions of women and men who will be both physically and emotionally injured by abortion and the millions of families that will be destroyed as a result. The worst effect of this war on children is the deadening of conscience that the unrepentant killing of innocents has on the national soul.
Clearly, those who want peace must work for it in a concerted effort to protect the most vulnerable citizens of a nation, not in the good intentions of war-mongering politicians. The Nobel Peace Prize should have been given to the thousands of men and women praying in front of the killing centers of our world and working in the crisis pregnancy centers consoling the desperate women who need peace and resources to choose life. These are the real heroes who actually do have something to show for their peace-making efforts. More peace has come to our world from the pro-life movement than the Nobel Committee could ever dream of.
Tell that to the leftists in Oslo. Tell that to Mr. Obama, war-monger-in chief against the children of this world.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
by Dave Coleman
At the close of the Constitutional Convention, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin what type of government the Constitution was bringing into existence. Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
What allows the kind of excesses that drive conservatives and libertarians mad is the fact that most Americans don’t know what the heck Ben Franklin was talking about.
Most Americans today think that “republic” is simply another name for “democracy”.
Not so. The difference between a republic and a democracy lies in the ultimate source of official power. A republic gets its authority from a charter – in America’s case, a Constitution.
The Constitution places limits on both the government and the governed that no referendum can undo without first amending the Constitution. Amending the Constitution requires 2/3s of states (no voters) to accomplish.
The Founders knew the difference between a Republic and a democracy. That is why they chose a republic.
There is but one kind of republic, since a republic is constituted according to the rule of law, rather than the whims of either the government or the governed.
Democracy (from the Greek, “demos=mob” and “kratos=rule”) comes in many forms. A direct democracy is one which is ruled entirely and directly by the people; to decide on an issue, the question is put to the vote of the population and the majority of those votes determine the outcome.
Benjamin Franklin explained the threat democracy poses to liberty thusly: "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"
In a representative democracy, citizens elect people to represent their interests in the government, and these representatives determine how issues are decided.
In a republic, people may vote for their representatives, but the state’s responsibilities are limited because they are clearly bound by a charter. Freedom is realized by the willingness of the people to live by the dictates of the charter.
The republic’s charter -- in America’s case, the Constitution – is what protects and guarantees the individual’s rights.
The Declaration of Independence spells out the guarantor of those rights, which is why those who wrongly believe America is a direct democracy and those who would like to change America into a direct democracy hate the preamble so much.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. . . .”
The Founders elected to make God the Guarantor of American civil liberties because what the Creator endows, government cannot take away. Unless the Creator is a myth. If the Creator is a myth, so are your God-given rights. The government then has authority over them as a matter of course.
Founding Father Patrick Henry’s observation has been amply proved over the past half century: "It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains."
When America was truly a Republic, the United States was a society in which people could, by and large, engage in any occupation or economic enterprise without a government license, permit, or regulation.
When America was truly a Republic, people could accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth without government interference, because the Constitution did not permit the government to levy taxes on income.
When America was a republic, the government was not permitted to take care of people — no Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, education grants, or foreign aid. America was compassionate, but every citizen was expected to pull his own weight. Charity was the province of the family or the church. It was not the responsibility of government.
The Founders understood that once the government got into the charity business, a significant segment of the population would shift their dependence from family and faith to government handouts.
That would empower the government with the ability to introduce practically anything they wanted by saying that opposing it might threaten Social Security, welfare, unemployment insurance, or, as is currently being debated, health care.
The Obama White House wants health care because threatening Social Security only scares seniors. Threatening welfare only scares that segment of the population that depends on their monthly check. Threatening unemployment insurance only scares the unemployed.
But EVERYBODY needs health care. And if the only place to get it is through the government, then a threat to universal health care would scare everybody.
Thomas Jefferson wrote the Charles Yancey in 1816; "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
A recent study of 1000 Oklahoma high school students found that only 3 percent would be able to pass the U.S. Immigration Services' citizenship exam, while incredibly 93 percent of those from foreign countries who took the same test passed.
Only 28 percent of Oklahoma students could name the "supreme law of the land" (the Constitution), while even less could identify Thomas Jefferson as the author of the Declaration of Independence.
Barely one out of every four students knew that George Washington was the nation's first president. None of the students correctly answered 8 or more of the 10 questions, and 97 percent scored 50 percent or less.
The problem is not limited to Oklahoma students. It's a national problem.
A similar study in Arizona found that only 3.5 percent of public high school students would be able to pass the citizenship test. A survey of American adults by the American Civic Literacy Program resulted in some equally disheartening findings.
Seventy-one percent failed the test. Moreover, having a college education does very little to increase civic knowledge, as demonstrated by the abysmal 32 percent pass rate of people holding not just a bachelor's degree but some sort of graduate-level degree.
The Founders understood that the only way to guarantee that freedom would survive in the new republic was through an informed citizenry — one educated on basic rights and freedoms.
As Thomas Jefferson wrote, "I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education."
Jefferson also recognized that "[the People] are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."
But survey after survey proves that most Americans are constitutionally illiterate, and our young people are not much better. Despite the millions of taxpayer dollars spent on education, American schools do a terrible job of teaching the basic freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
That’s by design. If Americans don’t understand how their government works, they won’t be able to tell when it is broken. The idea is for it to be so beyond repair as to require a ‘do-over.’
That is one of the reasons that the Obama administration has gone after FoxNews with such venom. This isn’t a defense of FoxNews – if they need defending, they are quite capable of defending themselves on their own.
This is an observation about the state of American government, not FoxNews.
Controlling the news is the first step along the road to totalitarianism. The Democrats control MSNBC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and strongly influence ABC. Fox is the only outlet Obama doesn’t dictate terms to – and so Fox has become an obsession.
Obama has declared FoxNews off-limits to all senior members of his administration, clearly hoping that by shutting FoxNews out, the administration will be more able to control the debate.
Here is the difference between a democracy and a republic. The Palestinian Authority is a democracy. Hamas was elected by a democratic election in Gaza. Hugo Chavez was elected president of Venezuela via a democratic election.
Al Gore was ALMOST elected via a democratic election when the Supreme Court stepped in to enforce the Constitution’s Electoral College system.
That’s the difference. America is still, at least marginally, a republic. But whether or not we can keep it is another question altogether.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
CBO today said a modified Senate Finance Committee healthcare overhaul bill would cost $829 billion over 10 years, a modest increase over the original $774 billion price tag, and will decrease the deficit by $81 billion. Changes to the measure appear not have altered coverage, keeping the number of Americans who will have insurance as a result of the proposal at 94 percent.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Here's the latest from Senator Cuccinelli's "Compass" newsletter:
Finance reports were due today, and I wanted to share some interesting figures with all of you about the numbers between us and our opponent:
He had 388 donors over $100. We had 810, more than double.
He had 115 donors of $100 or less. We had 1386, over 10 times as many small donors!
Our total number of donors set the all-time record for number of donors to an AG campaign in one finance period with 2,196 (more than four times our opponent's 503). Mind you, we didn't just break the record, we shattered it. The previous record was 1,179. THIS is a tremendous measure of our grassroots support - thanks to all of you that have donated!
We outraised our opponent, $617K to $534K. We have now outraised him in both reporting periods since the convention; however, his year-long head start (he did not have a Dem nomination contest) has him up in cash by about 2 to 1, so please donate again today at www.Cuccinelli.com!
One of the most interesting factoids from our opponent is that he has 11 donors that gave $10K or more... 7 of the 11 are unions, 1 is a plaintiffs' litigation law firm, and 1 was the Democrat Attorneys General Association.
We will keep pushing to bring more people into this campaign, but we need your help! Please invite friends and family to donate too, as we still have lots of ground to make up.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
This piece appeared in "National Review" recently and was written by Heritage Foundation's Brian Riedl. This is the best summary of why the stimulus failed. It is long, but well worth the read...
Why the Stimulus Failed
Fiscal policy cannot exnihilate new demand
Conservatives have correctly declared President Obama’s $787 billion “stimulus” a flop. In a January report, White House economists predicted the bill would create (not merely save) 3.3 million jobs. Since then, 2.8 million jobs have been lost, pushing unemployment toward 10 percent.
Yet few have explained correctly why the stimulus failed. By blaming the slow pace of stimulus spending (even though it’s ahead of schedule), many conservatives have accepted the premise that government spending stimulates the economy. Their thinking implies that we should have spent much more by now.
History proves otherwise. In 1939, after a doubling of federal spending failed to relieve the Great Depression, Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau said that “we have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. . . . After eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started . . . and an enormous debt to boot!”
This repeated failure has nothing to do with the pace or type of spending. Rather, the problem is found in the oft-repeated Keynesian myth that deficit spending “injects new dollars into the economy,” thereby increasing demand and spurring economic growth. According to this theory, government spending adds money to the economy, taxes remove money, and the budget deficit represents net new dollars injected. Therefore, it scarcely matters how the dollars are spent. John Maynard Keynes famously asserted that a government program paying people to dig and then refill ditches would provide new income for those workers to spend and circulate through the economy, creating even more jobs and income. Today, lawmakers cling to estimates by Mark Zandi of Economy.com that on average, $1 in new deficit spending expands the economy by roughly $1.50.
If that were true, the record $1.6 trillion in deficit spending over the past fiscal year would have already overheated the economy. Yet despite this spending, which is equal to fully 9 percent of GDP, the economy is expected to shrink by at least 3 percent this fiscal year. If the spending constitutes an injection of “new money” into the economy, we may conclude that, without it, the economy would contract 12 percent — hardly a plausible claim.
If $1.6 trillion in deficit spending failed to slow the economy’s slide, there’s no reason to believe that adding $185 billion — the 2009 portion of the stimulus bill — will suddenly do the trick. But if budget deficits of nearly $2 trillion are insufficient stimulus, how much would be enough? $3 trillion? $4 trillion?
This is no longer a theoretical exercise. The idea that increased deficit spending can cure recessions has been tested, and it has failed. If growing the economy were as simple as expanding government spending and deficits, then
The simple reason government spending fails to end recessions is that Congress does not have a vault of money waiting to be distributed. Every dollar Congress “injects” into the economy must first be taxed or borrowed out of the economy. No new income, and therefore no new demand, is created. They are merely redistributed from one group of people to another. Congress cannot create new purchasing power out of thin air.
This is intuitively clear in the case of funding new spending with new taxes. Yet funding new spending with new borrowing is also pure redistribution, since the investors who lend
Even during recessions — when total production falls, leaving people with less income to spend — Congress cannot create new demand and income. Any government spending that increases production at factories and puts unemployed individuals to work will be financed by removing funds (and thus idling resources) elsewhere in the economy. This is true whether the unemployment rate is 5 percent or 50 percent.
For example, many lawmakers claim that every $1 billion in highway stimulus will create 47,576 new construction jobs. But Congress must first borrow that $1 billion out of the private economy, which will then lose a roughly equivalent number of jobs. As transportation-policy expert Ronald Utt has explained, “the only way that $1 billion of new highway spending can create 47,576 new jobs is if the $1 billion appears out of nowhere as if it were manna from heaven.” Removing water from one end of a swimming pool and dumping it in the other end will not raise the overall water level. Similarly, moving dollars from one part of the economy to the other will not expand the economy. Not even in the short run.
Consider a simpler example. Under normal circumstances, a family might put its $1,000 savings in a certificate of deposit at the local bank. The bank would then lend that $1,000 to the local hardware store. This would have the effect of recycling that spending around the town, supporting local jobs. Now suppose that, induced by an offer of higher interest rates, the family instead buys a $1,000 government bond that funds the stimulus bill.
The mistaken view of fiscal stimulus persists because we can easily see the people put to work with government funds. We don’t see the jobs that would have been created elsewhere in the economy with those same dollars had they not been lent to
In his 1848 essay “What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen,” French economist Frédéric Bastiat termed this the “broken window” fallacy, in reference to a local myth that breaking windows would stimulate the economy by creating window-repair jobs. Today, the broken-window fallacy explains why thousands of new stimulus jobs are not improving the total employment picture.
Keynesian economists counter that redistribution can increase demand if the money is transferred from savers to spenders. Yet this “idle savings” theory assumes that savings fall out of the economy, which clearly is not the case. Nearly all individuals and businesses invest their savings or put it in banks (which in turn invest it or lend it out) — so the money is still being spent somewhere in the economy. Even in this recession, with tightened lending standards, banks are performing their traditional role of intermediating between those who have savings and those who need to borrow. They are not building extensive basement vaults to hoard cash.
Since the financial system transfers savings into investment spending, the only savings that drop out of the economy are those dollars literally hoarded in mattresses and safes — and there is no evidence that this is occurring en masse. And even if individuals, businesses, and banks did distrust the financial system enough to hoard their dollars, why would they suddenly lend them to the government to finance a stimulus bill?
Once the idle-savings theory collapses, so does all the intellectual support for government spending as stimulus. If there are no idle savings to acquire, then the government is merely borrowing purchasing power from one part of the economy and moving it into another part of the economy.
Even foreign borrowing is no free lunch. Before
I’ve purposely ignored the Federal Reserve, which actually can inject cash into the economy, but not in a way that constitutes stimulus. Congress can deficit-spend; Treasury can finance the deficit spending by issuing bonds; and the Federal Reserve can buy those bonds by printing money. Any economic boost is then due to the Federal Reserve’s actions, not the deficit spending — and of course the Federal Reserve will have to raise interest rates, slowing the economy again, to bring the resulting inflation under control.
If government spending doesn’t cause economic growth, what does? Growth happens when more goods and services are produced, and the only true source of this is an expanding labor force combined with high productivity. High productivity in turn requires educated and motivated workers, advanced technology, adequate infrastructure, physical capital such as factories and tools, and the rule of law.
Government spending could boost long-run productivity through investments in education and infrastructure — but only if politicians could target those investments better than the private sector would. And it turns out that politicians cannot outsmart the marketplace. Mountains of academic studies show that government spending generally reduces long-term productivity.
Furthermore, most government programs that could increase productivity don’t work fast enough to counteract a recession. Education spending cannot raise productivity until its student beneficiaries graduate and enter the work force. It can take more than a decade to build new highways and bridges.
The only policy proven to increase productivity in the short term is to lower tax rates and reduce regulation. Businesses can grow only through consistent investment and an expanding, skilled workforce. Cutting marginal tax rates promotes these conditions, by creating incentives to work, save, and invest.
It’s happened before. In 1981, President Reagan inherited an economy stagnating under the weight of 70 percent marginal income-tax rates. Under Reagan, the top rate fell to 28 percent, and the subsequent surge in investment and labor supply created the strongest 25-year economic boom in American history.
Such tax-rate reductions are superior to tax rebates designed to “put money in people’s pockets.” Rebates — like government spending — simply redistribute existing dollars. They don’t increase productivity because they don’t change incentives: No one has to work, save, or invest more to get a tax rebate. The 2001 and 2008 rebates failed because Congress borrowed money from investors and foreigners and redistributed it to families. Not surprisingly, any new personal-consumption spending was matched by corresponding declines in investment spending and net exports, and the economy remained stagnant.
If conservatives wish to provide economic leadership, they must get this argument right. The stimulus is not failing because it is too small or because too much of it is being saved. It’s failing because Congress can only redistribute existing demand, not create new demand. This recession will eventually end. The more serious, long-term danger is that President Obama’s Europeanization of the economy will bring the same slow growth, stagnant wages, job losses, high taxes, and lack of competitiveness that have plagued Western Europe, leaving the United States at an ever-growing disadvantage with Asian countries not so afflicted.
To prevent this, conservatives and free marketeers will need to promote policies that support long-term prosperity. The first step will be articulating why big government does not bring economic growth.
To prevent this, conservatives and free marketeers will need to promote policies that support long-term prosperity. The first step will be articulating why big government does not bring economic growth.
Mr. Riedl is a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
I have created a web page on the ReaganConservatives.us site, which includes my audio recordings of some of the talks. I strongly encourage everyone to take a look and listen/download the talks. I have also included a PDF of the "First Principles Reader" produced by the three hosts, which is an excellent document to read and keep.
I will keep everyone informed of additional events like this in Washington. Special thanks to Heritage, Hillsdale, and Federalist Society for allowing me to record and create the page...
Saturday, September 5, 2009
From "American Thinkers" Geoffrey P. Hunt....
Barack Obama is on track to have the most spectacularly failed presidency since Woodrow Wilson.
In the modern era, we've seen several failed presidencies--led by Jimmy Carter and LBJ. Failed presidents have one strong common trait-- they are repudiated, in the vernacular, spat out. Of course, LBJ wisely took the exit ramp early, avoiding a shove into oncoming traffic by his own party. Richard Nixon indeed resigned in disgrace, yet his reputation as a statesman has been partially restored by his triumphant overture to
George Bush Jr didn't fail so much as he was perceived to have been too much of a patrician while being uncomfortable with his more conservative allies. Yet George Bush Sr is still perceived as a man of uncommon decency, loyal to the enduring American character of rugged self-determination, free markets, and generosity. George W will eventually be treated more kindly by historians as one whose potential was squashed by his own compromise of conservative principles, in some ways repeating the mistakes of his father, while ignoring many lessons in executive leadership he should have learned at
But, Barack Obama is failing. Failing big. Failing fast. And failing everywhere: foreign policy, domestic initiatives, and most importantly, in forging connections with the American people. The incomparable Dorothy Rabinowitz in the Wall Street Journal put her finger on it: He is failing because he has no understanding of the American people, and may indeed loathe them. Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard says he is failing because he has lost control of his message, and is overexposed. Clarice Feldman of American Thinker produced a dispositive commentary showing that Obama is failing because fundamentally he is neither smart nor articulate; his intellectual dishonesty is conspicuous by its audacity and lack of shame.
But, there is something more seriously wrong: How could a new president riding in on a wave of unprecedented promise and goodwill have forfeited his tenure and become a lame duck in six months? His poll ratings are in free fall. In generic balloting, the Republicans have now seized a five point advantage. This truly is unbelievable. What's going on?
No narrative. Obama doesn't have a narrative. No, not a narrative about himself. He has a self-narrative, much of it fabricated, cleverly disguised or written by someone else. But this self-narrative is isolated and doesn't connect with us. He doesn't have an American narrative that draws upon the rest of us. All successful presidents have a narrative about the American character that intersects with their own where they display a command of history and reveal an authenticity at the core of their personality that resonates in a positive endearing way with the majority of Americans. We admire those presidents whose narratives not only touch our own, but who seem stronger, wiser, and smarter than we are. Presidents we admire are aspirational peers, even those whose politics don't align exactly with our own: Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Harry Truman, Ike, Reagan.
But not this president. It's not so much that he's a phony, knows nothing about economics, is historically illiterate, and woefully small minded for the size of the task-- all contributory of course. It's that he's not one of us. And whatever he is, his profile is fuzzy and devoid of content, like a cardboard cutout made from delaminated corrugated paper. Moreover, he doesn't command our respect and is unable to appeal to our own common sense. His notions of right and wrong are repugnant and how things work just don't add up. They are not existential. His descriptions of the world we live in don't make sense and don't correspond with our experience.
In the meantime, while we've been struggling to take a measurement of this man, he's dissed just about every one of us--financiers, energy producers, banks, insurance executives, police officers, doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, post office workers, and anybody else who has a non-green job. Expect Obama to lament at his last press conference in 2012: "For those of you I offended, I apologize. For those of you who were not offended, you just didn't give me enough time; if only I'd had a second term, I could have offended you too."
Mercifully, the Founders at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 devised a useful remedy for such a desperate state--staggered terms for both houses of the legislature and the executive. An equally abominable Congress can get voted out next year. With a new Congress, there's always hope of legislative gridlock until we vote for president again two short years after that.
Yes, small presidents do fail, Barack Obama among them. The coyotes howl but the wagon train keeps rolling along.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Of course green jobs are complete fiction. For starters, nobody, including the Obama administration, even has a definition for what a green job is. Furthermore, research both here in the U.S., and abroad, has repeatedly demonstrated that subsidizing high cost renewable energies destroys more jobs than it creates.
But that is what makes Jones such a perfect fit to be Obama’s green jobs czar. It turns out that Jones is no stranger to crazy. The Washington Times Amanda Carpenter reports that along with comedienne Janeane Garofalo, ex-Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin, and Howard Zinn, Jones has signed 911Truth.org’s 9/11 Truth Statement which calls for an investigation by then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer into whether the Bush administration may have had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.
That’s right, Obama’s hand picked Green Jobs Czar doesn’t believe al Qaeda is responsible for 9/11, instead he accusses President George Bush. Crazy is as crazy does.
(Source: Heritage Foundation)
U.S. payrolls have dropped by 6.9 million to a total of 131.2 million since the recession began in December 2007, the government data showed. Unemployment has increased by 7.4 million during the recession to stand at 14.9 million.
The 216,000 decline in payrolls was close to market expectations of a 233,000 drop, but the unemployment rate rose higher than the 9.5% level expected. The unemployment rate was 9.4% in July.
Details of the August report were generally weak, however.
Payrolls fell in most sectors of the economy except for health care. Total hours worked in the economy dropped by 0.3%, long-term unemployment worsened, and the number of people working just part time who want full-time work reached 9.1 million, up 278,000.
The number of people who've been out of work longer than six months nudged up to 5 million, representing about one-third of the unemployed.
An alternative measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those forced to resort to part-time work rose to 16.8% from 16.3%, marking the highest on record dating back to 1995.
Average hourly earnings on the month rose 6 cents, or 0.3%, to $18.65 an hour. In the past year, average hourly earnings are up 2.6%.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
We must, as a matter of precept, pray for the salvation of heretical Catholics like Senator Edward Kennedy, but we do not have to praise him let alone extol him with the full honors of a public Catholic funeral and all the adulation that attends such an event. There was very little about Ted Kennedy's life that deserves admiration from a spiritual or moral point of view. He was probably the worst example of a Catholic statesman that one can think of. When all is said and done, he has distorted the concept of what it means to be a Catholic in public life more than anyone else in leadership today.
Obviously we don't know the state of Senator Edward Kennedy's soul upon death. We don't pretend to. We are told by the family that he had the opportunity to confess his sins before a priest, and his priest has said publicly he was "at peace" when he died. For that we are grateful. But it is one thing to confess one's sins and for these matters to be kept, rightfully, private. It is another thing entirely for one who so consistently and publicly advocated for the destruction of unborn human beings to depart the stage without a public repudiation of these views, a public confession, as it were.
It is up to God to judge Senator Kennedy's soul. We, as rational persons, must judge his actions, and his actions were not at all in line with one who values and carefully applies Church teaching on weighty matters. Ted Kennedy's positions on a variety of issues have been a grave scandal for decades, and to honor this "catholic" champion of the culture of death with a Catholic funeral is unjust to those who have actually paid the price of fidelity. We now find out that President Obama will eulogize the Senator at his funeral, an indignity which, following on the heels of the Notre Dame fiasco, leaves faithful Catholics feeling sullied, desecrated and dehumanized by men who seem to look for opportunities to slap the Church in the face and do so with impunity simply because they have positions of power.
It is not enough for Kennedy to have been a "great guy behind the scenes" as we have seen him referred to even by his political opponents. It is also not praiseworthy to put a Catholic rhetorical veneer on his leftist politics that did nothing to advance true justice as the Church sees it or to advance the peace of Christ in this world. Every indication of Senator Kennedy's career, every public appearance, every sound bite showed an acerbic, divisive and partisan political hack for whom party politics were much more infallible than Church doctrines. Whatever one's political affiliation, if one is only "Catholic" to the extent that his faith rhymes with his party line, then his Catholicism is a fraud.
As the Scriptures remind us, there is a time for everything under the sun. This, now, is the time for honesty about our Faith and about those who are called to express it in the public forum. If we do not remind ourselves of the necessity of public confession for public sins such as Senator Kennedy was guilty of, then we are negligent in our embrace of the Faith and we are part of the problem. As Pope Benedict has reminded us recently, charity without truth can easily become mere sentimentality, and we must not fall into that error. A Catholic show of charity for the family must not eclipse the truth that is required of all with eyes to see and ears to hear.
Senator Kennedy needs to be sent to the afterlife with a private, family-only funeral and the prayers of the Church for the salvation of his immortal soul. He will not be missed by the unborn who he betrayed time and time again, nor by the rest of us who are laboring to undo the scandalous example of Catholicism that he gave to three generations of Americans.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Here's the report from Jeff Mason of Reuters:
The Obama administration will raise its 10-year budget deficit projection to approximately $9 trillion from $7.108 trillion in a report next week, a senior administration official told Reuters on Friday.
The higher deficit figure, based on updated economic data, brings the White House budget office into line with outside estimates and gives further fuel to President Barack Obama's opponents, who say his spending plans are too expensive in light of budget shortfalls.
The White House took heat for sticking with its $7.108 trillion forecast earlier this year after the Congressional Budget Office forecast that deficits between 2010 and 2019 would total $9.1 trillion.
"The new forecasts are based on new data that reflect how severe the economic downturn was in the late fall of last year and the winter of this year," said the administration official, who is familiar with the budget mid-session review that is slated to be released next week.
"Our budget projections are now in line with the spring and summer projections that the Congressional Budget Office put out."
The White House budget office will also lower its deficit forecast for this fiscal year, which ends September 30, to $1.58 trillion from $1.84 trillion next week after removing $250 billion set aside for bank bailouts.
Record-breaking deficits have raised concerns about America's ability to finance its debt and whether the United States can maintain its top-tier AAA credit rating.
Politically, the deficit has been an albatross for Obama, a Democrat who is pushing forward with plans to overhaul the U.S. healthcare industry -- an initiative that could cost up to $1 trillion over 10 years -- and other promises, including reforming education and how the country handles energy.
Republicans have pounced on Obama for planning to spend too much when deficits are so high, and the issue is likely to loom large in next year's Congressional elections.
Obama, who has promised to halve the deficit by the end of his four-year term and likes to remind constituents he inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit from former President George W. Bush, says bringing down healthcare costs is critical to long-term deficit reduction.
Treasury markets have been worried all year about the mounting deficit. The United States relies on large foreign buyers such as China and Japan to cheaply finance its debt, and they may demand higher interest rates if they begin to doubt that the government can control its deficits.
"It's one of those underlying pieces of news that is liable to haunt the bond market at some point in the future," said Kim Rupert, managing director of global fixed income analysis at Action Economics LLC in San Francisco, referring to the revised 10-year deficit projection.
Many economists think it is unlikely the government can curtail spending, which means taxes would have to go up to cover the rising costs of providing retirement and healthcare benefits to aging Americans.
Higher taxes, which could slow economic growth, are also a major concern of voters on both sides of the political divide. Obama has promised not to raise taxes on Americans making less than $250,000 a year.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
"Cuccinelli's AG Bid Solidifies Virginia Conservatives"
by Seth Mclaughlin
August 13, 2009
Republicans in search of political momentum heading into Congressional races next year are keeping a close eye on Virginia's gubernatorial campaign. But for a better barometer of where the conservative brand stands with voters, they also should be keeping tabs on the state's race for attorney general.
That's because the fight features two lawmakers from the voter-rich Northern Virginia suburbs that helped Democrats last year pick up the state's 13 electoral votes for the first time in 44 years. And, perhaps more important to the future of the GOP, the campaign features one of the staunchest, smartest and straightforward conservatives The Old Dominion has to offer: state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli.
For Virginia conservatives, Cuccinelli, a lawyer, husband, pro-life Christian and father of six, is the total package.
"When you have been around as long as I have you can tell the real deal from the fraudulent and Cuccinelli is the real deal," said Craig Shirley, president of Shirley and Banister Public Affairs in Alexandria, Va. and author of "Reagain's Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started it All." "A lot of people who profess to be conservatives or Reaganites don't really get it, and Cuccinelli does."
The first Republican from Northern Virginia on the party's ticket since 1993, Cuccinelli rounds out a strong GOP lineup that includes former Attorney General Bob McDonnell, the gubernatorial candidate, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who is seeking re-election.
McDonnell, who spent part of his childhood in Fairfax County, called Cuccinelli "a conservative who knows how to win tough elections."
"Ken is a proven vote getter in Northern Virginia, where our party needs to do better," he said. "That's extremely helpful for our chances in November."
Shaun Kenney, former spokesman for the Republican party of Virginia and popular conservative blogger, took it step further by saying that Cuccinelli, also known as "Cooch," offers something the rest of the Republican ticket lacks. "McDonnell and Bolling are good Republicans. They are good conservatives, but they are not great conservatives like Ken Cuccinelli," Kenney said.
For six years, Cuccinelli has served as state Senator in the 37th district sandwiched in western Fairfax County between the Democrat-trending Beltway to the east and the more Republican-friendly areas to the west. He won the seat in a special election in 2002 and again a year later. He squeaked out another win in 2007 - despite the area's changing demographics, President Bush's dismal poll numbers and being outspent by his Democratic challenger.
Through the battles Cuccinelli has emerged a darling of social and religious conservatives who are enthusiastic about his supporting legislation to substantially curb abortion access, crack down on illegal immigrants, defend property rights and fight what he has described as "the homosexual agenda."
Shirley said Cuccinelli also should win kudos for successfully calling on Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine last month to hold a special session to deal with a recent U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that said the government must make scientists who prepare lab reports in drunken-driving and drug cases available for cross-examination by defense lawyers. Cuccinelli warned the decision left prosecutors in legal limbo and jeopardized prosecutions already in the pipeline. Kaine later agreed. "He was ahead of everyone else on the that issue," Shirley said.
What makes Cuccinelli's electoral success so impressive is the 37th district has become a political graveyard for Republicans. Last year, voters there backed Obama and former Gov. Mark Warner in his bid for the U.S. Senate. It favored Jim Webb over George Allen in the 2006 senatorial race. And a year earlier, it opposed Republicans running for top statewide office - including McDonnell and Bolling.
Supporters say his success comes from his unapologetic refusal to buck conservative tenets. For example, in 2007, when Democrats said he is too extreme because of his support for gun-rights and opposition to taxes, abortion and gay marriage, he embraced it. But other Republicans ran the other way and lost, leaving Cuccinelli as the GOP's last remaining state Senator from the region.
"The policy proposals I put forward apply to the real world, but they all come with the conservative philosophy," he said. "I can explain every position I've got. People know where I stand. Whether people agree with me, or don't, I have always been a straight shooter. They appreciate that, unlike a lot people, I am consistent across the board and they know that. For a lot of people that is refreshing."
This approach has helped him open an 11-point lead in his race against Delegate Stephen Shannon, also of Fairfax County, according to a recent SurveyUSA poll.
The poll comes after local elections this year that also seem to bode well for the GOP as it looks to regain footing in the greater Washington metropolitan region and among swing voters nationally.
In January, Republicans came within 16 votes of grabbing the Alexandria seat of former state Delegate Brian Moran who left the post in his failed pursuit of the Democratic nomination for governor. (Two months earlier, Obama had carried the same district with 75 percent of the vote.) In February, Republicans came within a little more than a percentage point of winning the chairmanship of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Then in March a Republican won the county board's Braddock District seat for the first time in a decade.
"Virginia is basically conservative," Cuccinelli said. "The exception to that is Northern Virginia, which is not conservative or liberal, but has been hostile to Republicans in recent years. But it is not this year. Northern Virginia looks a lot different in 2009 than in 2007 and that is even before we get to the November election."
He believes part of the impetus for change is the "buyer's remorse" some voters are having after witnessing President Obama's first eight months in office. "Clearly that plays a big role. I think people are getting something they didn't bargain for and are reacting very strongly to it," he said.
The SurveyUSA poll drove home the point by showing that 13 percent of Obama voters plan to cross over to support Cuccinelli, while 8 percent of McCain supporters plan to cross over to support Shannon.
The bottom line is Cuccinelli's political profile may have been tailor made for a statewide campaign he is a known commodity in Northern Virginia, holds a record that appeals to the more conservative parts of the state and is benefiting from having a Democrat in The White House.
"I hold my own in NOVA and I believe I go with issue advantages to the rest of the state," he said. "It's a good combination and obviously Northern Virginia is the 800-pound gorilla that has been a tough nut to crack in recent years."
And a win this year could propel him onto the national stage, where the GOP is hungry for a conservative figure to rally around.
"I hope he is thinking about that," Shirley said. "He definitely would be among the rising stars in the Republican party."
But first things first, Shirley says Cuccinelli is focused on the coming weeks where elections in Virginia and New Jersey will take center stage in national politics and Democrats will pour money and energy into wooing voters.
President Obama has already stumped with Creigh Deeds, the Democratic candidate for governor, and will likely continue to do so for the entire Democratic ticket. Meanwhile, Shannon, who began the race $900,000 ahead of him, has posted an attack ad on his website questioning why Cuccinelli has not denounced a Republican candidate for the statehouse who encouraged her supporters to fight Obama's policy by saying, "We have a chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box."
Cuccinelli called the ad a "desperate" attempt to move the campaign away from real issues and tie him to someone he has never campaigned for. He also said it is a sign of what's likely to come because Democrats realize what is at stake.
"I am going to have a dogfight on my hands come September and October," he said. "If we roll through in a state that Obama won and took to Democrats for first time in 44 years and we come back and sweep it, that will give Blue Dog Democrats a pause in Congress," Cuccinelli said. "They will not want to go along with their liberal cohorts. Second of all Republican candidates in 2010 will get a jump start out of Virginia."
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