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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I'm Bored

I don't know abuot the rest of you, but the whole talk of financial meltdown has me bored.

How many "the sky is falling!" diatribes have we heard from the press in the last few years? Since the non-event of the Y2K computer disaster we've been told that the earth is getting too warm, too cold, too oily, too wet, too dry, too few species, too many humans, yada, yada, yada, I don't care anymore.

I'm tired of having a bunch of news yahoos running around trying to scare me into buying their mouth.

We aren't looking at a Great Depression.
That's just crap.

If anyone recalls, the 1929 stock market crash was followed by a pretty good economic year. The market ended up tanking in the 1930's because the country (a) was on the gold standard, (b) was trying to inflate Britain's currency to help her get back on the gold standard, thereby putting our own currency at risk (c) suffered the catastrophic weather pattern which caused the Dustbowl and (d) was run by a clueless Democrat, namely FDR, whose stupidity prolonged the problems.

I know the "clueless Democrat" point is kind of redundant, but bear with me.

Today, we aren't in a depression.
We aren't in a recession.
We haven't had a percentage loss on the market anywhere near where the 1929 stock crash went.
The weather hasn't destroyed our food prices.
Oil prices are actually pretty low, given where they have been over the course of the last twelve months.

One of the non-economic reasons for the Great Depression was a lack of consumer confidence in the government, driven in part by the fact that the USSR - which was economically cut off from the rest of the world - suffered no serious consequences from the event. As a result, a lot of people thought the US should follow socialism and dump the whole capitalist mindset.

The lack of confidence in the system was driven by the Kremlin, a shining city on a hill. Sure, that city was built on the bloodied corpses of millions, but when did that ever stop America from wanting to follow the almighty dollar (cf. the modern abortion industry)? If the USSR was economically successful with socialism, then we should follow suit. That was 1930's-style thinking. The economic malaise was driven in no small part by a lack of clear or coherent vision.

Today, as pointed out above, NONE of the necessary pieces are in place for a repeat of the Great Depression.

We aren't on a gold standard, so we have very little economic reason to suffer a depression. Inflation, sure, but not depression.

There is no alternate economic choice. Does anyone really want to follow Russia's economic policies? How about Venezuala? Saudi Arabia? Timbuktu?


Now, here's an alternative.

Has anyone considered that maybe we have too many banking institutions?
Maybe a lot of them they need to fail.

And, given the differences in the economy between 1930 and 2008, there is no necessary correlation between the number of brick-and-mortar banks and the rest of the economy.

In 1930, no one would have dreamed that a big city might have just one dominant newspaper. Now, it's quite easy to conceive of a town that has no newspapers at all.

In 1970, no one would dream of a television with more than three stations. I got rid of mine because there are too stinking many channels.

Why can't the same be true about banks?

The internet allows a lot more initiatives in wholesaling, retailing and banking then was ever possible during the 1930s. We have a different economy, a different currency, different economic conditions, even the weather is different.

If this were truly a serious crisis, Nancy Pelosi wouldn't have made a five minute speech designed to piss off the opposition. If this were truly a serious crisis, the Democrats should have been able to pass the bailout bill on a party-line vote.

But this isn't a serious crisis. It's a load of bull.
Where did the 700 billion bailout number come from?
According to Forbes Magazine, it was picked out of a hat.

"In fact, some of the most basic details, including the $700 billion figure Treasury would use to buy up bad debt, are fuzzy.

"It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number.""

Who wants the $700 billion? The same homosexual lobby who has been fronting for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the last five years: Barney Frank and the dancing Democrats.

As early as the CArter administration, the banks were ordered by the Democrats to give money to people with lousy credit. By Clinton's administration, they had to do it or go out of business.

By this century, the banks found the business lucrative, both Democrat and Republican Congresses covered the bad investments with insurance and then got kickbacks from those same banks to keep the game going.

Now, our Congress - being good little pimps - want to make sure they provide the financial insurance that the banks paid all those decades of protection money for (like some Nevada prostitutes, after Congress forced them into the trade, the banks decided they liked it), so the Congressional pimps cook up this government bailout and scream about the sky falling if their little racket doesn't get it.

Too bad.

"But Steve, this isn't local! European banks are also going under! This is worldwide!"

Honey, I've got news for you.

European banks have been cracking for years. They will crack regardless of what we do or fail to do. Europeans don't have the population growth or the immigration growth necessary to sustain their economies and they haven't for years. That's why they are slowly dying. If the Muslims weren't wiping them out, someone else would be. The failure of their economy isn't exactly news.

Ultimately, this latest news story is the result of a protection racket gone bad, a racket that created a lot of businesses that don't need to exist, and it isn't going to cause that much of a ripple in the economy when they go away, because they weren't necessary to begin with.

Get it over with and let the rest of us get on with our lives.

Friday, September 19, 2008

When Voting is a Mortal Sin

The promotion of the culture of life should be the highest priority in our societies... If the right to life is not defended decisively as a condition for all other rights of the person, all other references to human rights remain deceitful and illusory.
~Pope John Paul II

A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Notes On Some Questions Regarding The Participation Of Catholics In Political Life

[A]bortion and euthanasia are crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it.
Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, #73

[C]ooperation [in evil] occurs when an action, either by its very nature or by the form it takes in a concrete situation, can be defined as a direct participation in an act against innocent human life or a sharing in the immoral intention of the person committing it. This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it. Each individual in fact has moral responsibility for the acts which he personally performs; no one can be exempted from this responsibility, and on the basis of it everyone will be judged by God himself. (cf. Rom 2:6; 14:12).
Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, #74

A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion

Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia [...] While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion

When we were working on the document 'Faithful Citizenship', and the issue of whether or not a person's adamant pro-abortion position was a disqualifying condition, the general sense was 'yes that is a disqualifying condition'.
Bishop Vasa, Diocese of Baker, Oregon, describing US bishops’ deliberations

We are blessed in the 21st century with crystal-clear photographs and action films of the living realities within their pregnant mothers. No one with the slightest measure of integrity or honor could fail to know what these marvelous beings manifestly, clearly, and obviously are, as they smile and wave into the world outside the womb. In simplest terms, they are human beings with an inalienable right to live, a right that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is bound to defend at all costs for the most basic of ethical reasons. They are not parts of their mothers, and what they are depends not at all upon the opinions of theologians of any faith. Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being “chooses” to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.
Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York, Statement on Nancy Pelosi

Personal opposition to evil cannot be reconciled with willing cooperation in its acts… The purpose of civil law is to defend the common good; the common good cannot be defended by legislating what is evil. To defend the legality of abortion, one must either deny – in the face of divine revelation, the consistent teaching of the Church, the natural law, and scientific evidence – that abortion is an evil, or admit to cooperating with the evil it represents.
Bishop Walker Nickless, Diocese of Sioux City, Statement on Senator Joseph Biden

Proportionate Reasons

Any politics of human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing, and health care. Therefore, Catholics should eagerly involve themselves as advocates for the weak and marginalized in all these areas... But being 'right' in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the 'rightness' of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community.
US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Living the Gospel of Life, #23(emphasis in the original)

Certainly policies on welfare, national security, the war in Iraq, Social Security or taxes, taken singly or in any combination, do not provide a proportionate reason to vote for a pro-abortion candidate.
Archbishop John J Myer, A Voter's Guide

When we have someone who [supports legal abortion] then the other issues, in many ways, do not matter because they are already wrong on that absolutely fundamental issue. [Perhaps] If we had a candidate in favor of a war in Iraq in which we decimate the entire population and we kill as many civilians to impose as much terror on everybody as possible to make sure . . . but we don't have that issue with capital punishment, with the war in Iraq, [or] with the present Administration.
Bishop Vasa, Diocese of Baker, Oregon, describing US bishops’ deliberations

Abortion is a foundational issue; it is not an issue like housing policy or the price of foreign oil. It always involves the intentional killing of an innocent life, and it is always, grievously wrong. If, as Sen. Biden said, "I'm prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception," then he is not merely wrong about the science of new life; he also fails to defend the innocent life he already knows is there…. his strong support for the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade and the false "right" to abortion it enshrines, can't be excused by any serious Catholic.
Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archdiocese of Denver and Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley, Archdiocese of Denver, Correcting Senator Biden

Could a voter’s preference for the candidate’s positions on the pursuit of peace, economic policies benefiting the poor, support for universal health care, a more just immigration policy, etc. overcome a candidate’s support for legalized abortion? In such a case, the Catholic voter must ask and answer the question: What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years? Personally, we cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Kansas City, KS; Bishop Robert Flinn of Kansas City, MO, On Moral Responsibility

MORTAL SIN Due to Action

For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose (1) object is grave matter and which is also committed with (2) full knowledge and (3) deliberate consent."
Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1857 (emphasis in the original document).

[M]an can never obey a law which is in itself immoral, and such is the case of a law which would admit in principle the liceity of abortion. Nor can he take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion, #22

[I]t is a correct judgment of conscience that we would commit moral evil if we were to vote for a candidate who takes a permissive stand on those actions that are intrinsically evil when there is a morally-acceptable alternative.
Kansas Catholic Conference of Bishops, Moral Principles for Catholic Voters

In the United States in 2008, abortion is an acceptable form of homicide… If you vote this way [for a candidate that supports or promotes abortion], are you cooperating in evil? And if you know you are cooperating in evil, should you go to confession? The answer is yes…
Archbishop Charles Chaput, Group of Bishops Opposed to Kerry

Senator Joseph Biden has been told not to approach the Eucharist in the Archdiocese of Denver and the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania because of his stance on life issues. Subsequently, fifty-five (55) United States Catholic Bishops have publicly denounced Vice Presidential Candidate Senator Joseph Biden for his anti-life stance.

Catholics who support pro-abortion candidates participate in a grave evil. They must show a change of heart and be sacramentally reconciled or refrain from receiving Holy Communion.
Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Pastoral Letter to Address Church Teachings on Voting

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Competition


"Mark Penn (Ex-strategist for Bill Clinton): Well, no, I think the people themselves saw unfair media coverage of Senator Clinton. I think if you go back, the polls reflected very clearly what "Saturday Night Live" crystallized in one of their mock debates about what was happening with the press.

I think here the media is on very dangerous ground. I think that when you see them going through every single expense report that Governor Palin ever filed, if they don't do that for all four of the candidates, they're on very dangerous ground. I think the media so far has been the biggest loser in this race. And they continue to have growing credibility problems.

And I think that that's a real problem growing out of this election. The media now, all of the media — not just Fox News, that was perceived as highly partisan — but all of the media is now being viewed as partisan in one way or another. And that is an unfortunate development."

Not from McCain's point of view, of course.
It's part of his election strategy.

It seems my interpretation (below) of McCain's motives were not entirely without foundation.
See here and here.

I should begin this discussion by declaring a small bias.
If it weren't for the fact that we're both already married, I might very well propose to Sarah Palin.

It is so incredibly refreshing to see her in the VP slot.
It would be even better if she were running for President, but that's certain to happen in four or eight years, so I will wait patiently for that particular joy.

But my enthusiasm over Sarah is not the point of this essay.

As I watched her speech at the Republican National Convention last night, I realized a couple of things.

First, we finally have one of us in a position of power, and by "one of us," I don't mean just a pro-lifer. Sarah Palin has the common touch because she is common people. Five years ago, she was a PTA mom. She is not an Ivy Leaguer; she thinks Skull and Bones (the secret club at Yale which boasted both George Bush and John Kerry as members) is what you find in when you stumble on a wolf-pack kill. Not since Andrew Jackson - the man who destroyed the National Bank - and Abe Lincoln have we had a person so highly placed who came from such humble background, and even they don't compare, because both served in Congress before entering high office.

What does this mean? It means, if she is successful, that the Ivy Leaguers are washed up. You don't need a degree from a high-falutin' university to be great. This is the harbinger of a much greater change.

Many people have commented on how the Internet is a great equalizer. On the Internet, nobody knows if you are a dog. On-line courses can be taken from anywhere, by anyone, offered by anyone to anyone. I have written elsewhere on how the computer is destroying the great publishing houses; the former glorious gateways to publishing are slowly coming apart. A similar movement may be in store for the Ivy League.

For the last century, the large universities have been the gatekeepers to political power.
Unless you graduated from the right school, where you met the right people and were brainwashed with the right values, you could not attain high office.

The universities have been the political version of the Mafia, they are gangsters who had to be paid off, they get kick-backs in the form of government loans. For the professors and the policy wonks, it is La Cosa Nostra - Our Little Thing.

But that may be changing, and to the extent that it does, Sarah Palin is the face of that change.

But can this really be accomplished?
That's my second point.

Sarah is in a race against the clock.

Serious pro-lifers have never made it this high precisely because the vetting process kept us out. In the lower 48, the leftist news media have regularly destroyed the reputations of any moral person whom they cannot first subvert. We all know the stories: Jesse Jackson, Al Gore, Dick Gephardt, Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and many more: these politicians all began their careers with pro-life sentiments, but the news and political machines ground them all down. The vetting process subverted them, it demonized and destroyed anyone who clung to pro-life principles. You have to agree to kill children if you want real political power in this country.

Even those who made it through the process with some semblance of pro-life sentiment came out battered and bruised. There was a reason Ronald Reagan and the two Bush men never appeared at a DC pro-life anniversary march. They didn't want to be seen in public with us. When Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota, was held out as a favorite for the McCain pick, he responded by refusing to make his usual appearance at a pro-life event in Minnesota. When suddenly faced with the possibility of being President of the Seant, Pawlenty, for the first time, found himself unavoidably detained at a city council meeting twenty minutes away.

Politicians are afraid of being tarred by the media and the university policy wonks as pro-life whackos.

But Sarah Palin did not go through the process. She didn't go through the Ivy League nuthouse. She lives in Alaska, she came out of nowhere and beat the system in a state the media had never paid much attention to. Thus, she never had to accomodate the fruitcakes on Meet the Press or the homosexuals who run the New York Times front page. She was never taught to be afraid of them.

The media hate Christians because Christians - good Christians - aren't afraid of them. As Christians know, perfect love casts out fear. As Christians know, we are not to fear the one who can take our lives, rather, we fear only the loss of our souls. If they can't make us fear them, they can't control us, and it's all about control.

A woman who can disembowel a moose does not fear a prancing man with a microphone.

So, now Sarah is racing to get to the American people before the American media and machine politics can destroy her.

And this is the third point.

Sarah's speech last night merely confirmed something I've been ruminating on since she was chosen. John McCain chose Sarah Palin not only because he's a maverick, but also because he's a maverick who likes to get revenge. He's got a mean streak in him a mile wide, and I have a certain respect for that. Being mean can, under certain circumstances, be just.

The media dumped John McCain for Barack Obama, and he wanted to get even.
So he picked Sarah Palin.

He knew full well what Sarah Palin would do to the news rooms. The Sarah Palin pick wasn't just meant to pick up Hillary supporters, it was meant to tear the news rooms apart. He intended to ignite a civil war. Either the newsies would tear each other apart as feminists fought the Obaminationists, or the newsies - by heaping contempt on Sarah Palin - would dig their own grave with us, the public who employs them through our purchase of their mindless chatter.

The Internet had already begun to knock the supports out from under the MSM, or this tactic wouldn't have been possible. But because they are already weakened, because they no longer fully control the channel, McCain's plan will work. He's flooding the channel with more reality than they can process, more reality than they can chew up and spew out.

The Sarah Palin pick was meant to destroy them.

We identify with Sarah Palin. When they spit in her eye, they spit in our eye. And this particular cat fight is not being held in a dark corner of a small town where the politicos and the newsies abide over it like a dark fog, this fight is in the middle of the American national rodeo coursing through channels that are no longer fully controlled.

So, here's the question: can Sarah Palin get out in front of the people often enough? Can she make her natural resonance with us grow strong enough to out-pace the drumbeat against her?

If she can, then the world is changed, and for a very simple reason.
Sarah Palin is a normal, pro-life woman.
Once the nation gets a taste of normal, I don't think we'll settle for any more plastic men.