Friday, October 31, 2008

Personal Aside: Liberals Will Apply Bad Nostrums to Get Votes No Matter What—i.e. Part I: The Minnesota Experience.

Part I. That’s the Way Liberalism Works.

Barack Obama and his followers will apply bad economics and set back prosperity even further in the United States because that is the way liberalism works. Why? Because that is the way liberalism…which is a major philosophical disorder…works. Liberalism runs in a straight line back to the Enlightenment (a period of time with a lovely name but which involved denial of reason to know objective truth). While Aristotle and Aquinas postulated man is social by nature, Enlightenment thinkers made a subtle but yet distinctive difference: man is not social but “sociable.” The difference: man needed a social contract—for protection of rights said John Locke, to implement the general will said Jean Jacques Rousseau. Meaning the origin of the state and ensuing rights did not come from God but from man and ultimately the state. The best description would come from Hannah Arendt: “The Declaration of the Rights of Man at the end of the 18th century was a turning point in history. It meant…that from then on, Man and not God’s command or the customs of history should be the source of Law.”

Locke, upon which much of our governmental theories were based (notably that child of the Enlightenment, Jefferson who deserves his place on Rushmore but who was a weird concoction of contradictions) was a majoritarian…meaning that he saw natural law as coming from the will of the majority: no absolutes. Jefferson espoused this; Hamilton did NOT. For decades the nation was run by those who carried on the old Aristotlian-Aquinas mind-set by intellectual inheritance. Then it started coming apart. What we have now, folks, is utilitarian positivism in much of our courts. Utilitarianism can go one of two ways—either harshly individualist capitalism…or extreme libertarianism… or statist collectivism. Both reject the natural law tradition including the principle of subsidiarity which stresses the role of intermediate family and voluntary groups which ease the abrasion between individual and state.

The Minnesota Lesson I Learned.

As an octogenarian I’ve seen utilitarian positivism in both parties but primarily in the repository of raw liberalism, the Democratic party. Once a proud party, it has degenerated much in my lifetime. Beginning with my experience of 46 years ago when I was a top aide to a Republican governor of Minnesota. The Minnesota Iron Range was dying because iron ore was running out. Unemployed miners…solid Democrats to the core…were embittered at the mining companies because they had lost their jobs. The Democratic-Farmer-Labor party nurtured their grievance, rubbed their scabs raw, because such bitterness translated into a huge total of Democratic votes that kept Hubert Humphrey and his friends in power. In decades passed, a heavy tax had been levied on the mining companies to make them pay for extracting an irreplaceable resource from the ground. It was a fair tax and indeed the mining companies WERE extracting an irreplaceable resource. The resource tax was mandated by the state constitution.

Now the Democratic party whipped up anger with the unemployed miners to make the mining companies pay with a higher ore tax. Well, the mining companies began to pull out of the Iron Range since there was no purpose to their remaining there. The DFL retaliated by running a hate campaign with the unemployed against the mining companies. But it was a standoff: the unemployed were not getting anywhere by railing against the mining companies. Enter my Republican governor. He pointed out that the mining companies had discovered a new way to rehabilitate the Range. In the tons and tons of slag dug up in the mining process, a low grade ore was discovered that could be removed by a manufacturing process. The low grade ore could be converted to acceptable high grade ore. The mining companies were willing to invest millions in machinery to extract the low grade ore from the slag. The low grade ore was called taconite. Taconite could be a boon to the unemployed Iron Range.

It was clear—the process of removing the low grade ore from the mountains of slag was NOT a mining process but a manufacturing process. And to invest in the manufacturing process, the mining companies needed relief from the taxation that had been applied to the original process of extracting ore from the ground. But the embittered unemployed miners, stirred by Hubert Humphrey and the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party said nope, not on your life…we are not going to grant concessions to these evil mining companies who want to evade their rightful share of taxes.

The unemployed miners fell for this bitterness hook, line and sinker. They didn’t realize that manufacturing is different from rich ore extraction. In any event they weren’t about to let the evil mining companies which had laid them off profit. There was an impasse. My boss the governor was elected narrowly in a heavily Democratic state on a pledge to help alleviate unemployment on the Range. We…he and I…met with the mining companies and found that they were alienated by the bitterness of the unemployed miners and the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party. The companies told us “listen, we don’t have to build in Minnesota. We have mountains of slag in Michigan as well. We’ll go there where we have more receptivity.” They needed assurance that the old iron ore resource tax would not be applied to their manufacturing process. They needed assurance and we devised one. We suggested an amendment to the state constitution that would certify the production of taconite was a manufacturing process and not to be covered by the old ore tax. They agreed.

We went back and tried to sell it to the DFL-controlled House all during 1961. It didn’t budge. We went to Washington and tried to sell it to Hubert Humphrey, the ruling baron of the Democratic party in Minnesota. He saw it as a concession to the mining companies. I said to him—“Hubert, for God’s sake, don’t you understand the difference between manufacturing and mining? Don’t you understand that this will mean spiraling employment on the Range?” He bobbed and weaved but having known him as a journalist, I knew what was behind those beady eyes. The taconite amendment would be put up to the voters in the election of 1962 for inclusion on the ballot in 1964. l962 was the same year we…the Republican governor…would be running for reelection. If this became a popular measure, we would be reelected, the taconite amendment would be placed on the ballot for 1964 and it would possibly start a renaissance with the Iron Range workers voting for jobs and the Republicans…with possibly the Republican governor profiting and, who knows, even running against Hubert one day! No, nope, nosirree. Better the Range go unemployed than take that dastardly gamble.

We campaigned on two fronts…for our own reelection and support of voters for the taconite amendment in the election of 1962 (I always chided the governor that he was seemingly more interested in the amendment getting approved than his own reelection). Minnesota was always to be a Democratic state but as the fall of 1962 loomed, it looked like we were ahead and the taconite amendment might be accepted by the voters for consideration later. Humphrey saw this as a great threat. We were on the way to reelection in mid-October, 1962 when the Cuban Missile Crisis hit the Kennedy administration.

“Cuber” and Highway 35.

Kennedy had come to Minnesota (indeed in those bucolic days I drove out to the airport and using my driver’s license ended up at the ramp with my governor when he came down the steps). Then he left, wearing a hat—unusual because he never wore one…Pierre Salinger saying he had caught a cold. Not so. He had been informed of the Soviet missiles in Cuba and was heading back to Washington. The story broke the next day with his speech to the nation. He pronounced Cuba “Cuber.” Massachusetts-style.

Suddenly the whole complexion of the campaign changed. We were shut out of the news for more than a week because the national and Minnesota media concentrated on the heroic figure of John F. Kennedy facing yet another test in national security policy. Russian missiles had been discovered in Cuba and Kennedy was demanding they be removed. Immediately he received heroic coverage in the media…a slim young auburn haired movie-star-like president standing up to the crotchety old phalanx of Russian despots. Of course no one in the media cared to recall that the Missile Crisis was chapter two of a catastrophic blunder a year earlier when Kennedy lost his nerve in the Bay of Pigs imbroglio and cancelled air cover causing the project to fail. I figured out how to crack the media by capitalizing on the crisis. My guy was a member of the National Governor’s Conference civil defense committee. We got the chairman of the committee, Nelson Rockefeller, to demand he and my guy go to Washington to meet with JFK and Robert McNamara and so with a plane load of media we went, cracking the cocoon. We got saturation coverage for the meeting at the White House but the news play was definitely Kennedy’s and the aura that was produced in the electorate was heavily Democratic—with only days to go before election.

As Longfellow has written of another subject: “You know the rest in the books you have read.” The nation thrilled to see the Russians supposedly…supposedly… back down. Kennedy was adjudged the winner and with it came a gigantic surge of pro-JFK admiration across the land. If Chris Matthews were around then he’d have said he felt a tingle go up his leg (by the way, I always thought this reference he used to Obama was…well…unmanly). Unknown at the time was that Bobby Kennedy had cut a secret deal with the Kremlin that we would remove missiles from Turkey if they would recompense in Cuba…and keep it quiet so his brother could savor the favorable press. We dismantled our missiles in Turkey which gravely weakened the defenses of the West but the media portrayed it as a glorious victory for this young photogenic president. Now we know the truth. The only one who doesn’t recognize it is Father Greeley who alone says the Cuban Missile Crisis was a victory for the man whom after the assassination the erratic Greeley seriously publicly recommended be made a Doctor of the Catholic Church—on a par with Augustine and Aquinas.

The aura that swept across the land for Kennedy wasn’t enough to dislodge us but Hubert Humphrey took care of that. In the last few hours of October he unveiled a so-called “scandal” involving 13 feet of concrete poured at unacceptably cold temperatures for a stretch of Interstate 35 near Hinckley…poured, he charged, in cold weather at the insistence of my governor so he could dedicate the portion of the highway for his own political aggrandizement. Then to make it official, Humphrey got the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads (then in the Commerce Department) to cancel the portion of the interstate that was to be paid by the feds—90%. I discovered that the highway worker responsible for orchestrating the “scandal” was a brother of a high DFL operative. Did the media care? Nope.

With that supposed contract cancellation in his pocket, Humphrey announced that the taxpayers of Minnesota would have to pay the entire cost of the Interstate at a cost of tens of millions of dollars due to the Republican governor’s piggish, loutish insistence on pouring the concrete.

Of course the pouring of the concrete wasn’t done at our behest. Dedicating a portion of the Interstate was of minimal significance and we never bothered thinking about it. But between the Kennedy aura and the Humphrey charge of evil collusion, we lost reelection by…get this…91 votes out of 1,250,000 cast. We lost the election but the taconite amendment was approved…and was placed on the ballot for 1964. So paradoxically, the man who charted the rescue of the Iron Range was deprived of victory while two years later the amendment was passed…with DFL and Humphrey’s own support. Taconite gave some resurgence to the Iron Range. We were out of office and Hubert Humphrey took the bows. The rehired miners shouted “God bless you, Hubert!” Hubert said: aw, it was nothing.

Thus in one fell swoop Hubert got rid of his potential challenger through circumnavigation of a hideous lie. Months after election 1962, the Bureau of Public Roads issued a clearance of the project and restored the federal funds.

Laughing About it Afterwards.

I, of course, kept in touch with Hubert long after returning to private life and represented Quaker in Washington. Later, he laughed his head off about the dirty trick in a meeting with me…without the slightest twinge of conscience. I grinned feebly but not inwardly. The trick had caused me to leave Minnesota, return to my homeland of Chicago and get a much better job than I would have ever gotten up there. But as I grinned and looked at his beady eyes, I thought: You sonuvabitch. I felt Hubert was a patriot on the essentials of the Vietnam war, but of his character I never lost the feeling. He was a sleek political animal…always a leopard ready to pounce…a plastic man on the make. Like someone else I know.

That’s an example of rampant positivism, elevation of personal ambition at the expense of people out of work who suffer. Let us be realistic and say Hubert didn’t know a thing about the natural law…he was a small town pharmacist turned pol who knew only one thing: how to hustle. He was ignorant of the law that provides an objective standard of right and wrong, a law that depends on the power of the individual to distinguish the objective wrongness of an act from the subjective culpability of the person who performs it.

Next, in Part II, I’ll apply the same rampant positivism to the present day and what could possibly happen in the next presidency if things go as they might.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Personal Aside: If the “Catholic Vote” Goes Obama, the Responsibility is Clear.

As with all polls in this volatile election year, indices of ethnic support (excluding the monolithic 99% black vote going for Barack Obama) are chancy. Still, “The Washington Post’s” Chris Cillizza writes that white Catholics have been a weathervane for presidential elections. In 2004 they backed George W. Bush over John Kerry, 56% to 2000 Bush over Al Gore 52% to 1996 Bill Clinton over Bob Dole 48% to 1988 George H. W. Bush 56% to Mike Dukakis’ 1984 Ronald Reagan 57% to Walter Mondale’s 1980 Reagan 52% to Jimmy Carter’s 1976 Jimmy Carter 52% to Gerald Ford’s 1972 Richard Nixon 57% to George McGovern’s 42%.

Now the number of white Catholics backing John McCain has purportedly shrunk. Back in mid-June McCain had 60% to Obama’s 34%. By Oct. 24 McCain led Obama 51% to 46%. The last polling by the Post/ABC has Obama taking the lead with 48% to 47%. At the same time, I—as one Catholic—have seen more Catholic bishops taking the lead to point out that the pro-life issue trumps all others (as indeed it does). What’s the problem here?

I would submit three reasons. FIRST, one out of four Catholics attends mandatory weekly Mass: due to the cratering of affluence and accompanying decadence and extraordinarily weak ecclesial leadership that has decimated all serious religious worship…as well as the lamentable lack of teaching from the pulpits. If you don’t go to church you can’t get the message…even when, in rare cases, the message of the moral law is imparted clearly and unmistakably which it rarely is in many parishes. SECOND, while we have seen more outspoken bishops speak out on the issue of life across the country than before, the number is still pitifully small. In this city—the command post of the Democratic party nationally, the campaign headquarters of the Obama for President effort, the stamping ground of powerful Democratic “Catholic” pro-abortion politicians—this archdiocese regards itself as having discharged its responsibility with one puny letter signed by ecclesial officialdom. To all intents and purposes the signal issue of this campaign has been muffled. As one bishop informed me, “after all, Joe Biden is a Catholic.” God help us.

Longtime silence and covert cooperation with the Democrats by ecclesial officialdom has seen Chicago and Illinois become the host of the party of pro-abort Catholic Richard M. Daley, pro-abort Catholic U. S. Senator Dick Durbin, pro-abort Catholic Attorney General Lisa Madigan, pro-abort Catholic Comptroller Dan Hynes, pro-abort Catholic Lt. Governor Pat Quinn, pro-abort Catholic Todd Stroger president of the Cook county board, pro-abort Catholic Emil Jones, the president of the Illinois Senate and many, many others, people of great political influence who are absolved from criticism…all of whom troop to the altars to receive the sacraments without question. (Among those trooping up to receive the body and blood of Christ has been the former Republican state treasurer, pro-abort Catholic Judy Baar Topinka—but her influence now is minimal). Other prelates have raised questions but not in Chicago. Oh no, that would be unseemly. There are always superb examples of parsing and pop theological sophistry to evade measuring up to responsibility.

In addition two priests in “good standing”
have used their roles to flagrantly propagandize for the pro-abortion Democratic party: Rev. Michael Pfleger who leads Democratic rallies in his church, who was told to take some time off a few months ago but who has returned to the political wars stronger than ever and enhanced by the gentle slap he received on the wrist and the Rev. Andrew Greeley, a raving partisan whose photograph in roman collar signifies the church and who writes a weekly newspaper column that crusades for the election of all pro-abort Democrats from Barack Obama down to the most minor Democratic official…in reward for which he attends sparkling dinners and operas as a media celebrity with high ecclesial officialdom. Charles E. Coughlin and Archbishop Francis Beckman who identified with anti-liberalism in an earlier day were silenced and in the case of Beckman removed from the ecclesial see. That was then. Greeley and Pfleger are invaluable auxiliaries to the Democratic party and as ringleaders of a ruling Cook county party are far more powerful than were Coughlin or Beckman who were gadfly irritants to FDR. Greeley and Pfleger are locked in to the state and national party. They cannot be touched.

The THIRD reason here at least has been failure until now of instruction in theology and philosophy in the universities…the absolute license granted misnamed and misdirected so-called “Catholic” universities which benefit from faux religious identification…but who have been allowed to carry that mis-labeling due to vacillation, timidity, weakness, lack of resolution and plain and simple pro-Democratic accommodationism. I refer to liberal Democratic pro-abortion spawning grounds De Paul and Loyola which not only propagate anti-Catholic teaching and immoral behavior but conduct classes for the unformed and highly vulnerable young on how to celebrate homosexuality with all the glory attendant thereto. And without their “Catholic” identification endangered, threatened or even questioned.

More later on how the Church taught its flock legitimately in the 1930s when so many of its blue-collar members…immigrants… became Democrats—most for good reason…and how many of today’s spaghetti-spined shepherds allow their sheep to stray into danger of eternal hellfire through the un-contradicted appeals of Judas goats such as Douglas Kmiec, the “National Catholic Reporter” and errant priest-theologians and non-theologians but cynical politicians as Pfleger and Greeley. But suffice for now.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Personal Aside: More Cross-Eyed Journalists—Those So Democratic They Can’t See Straight…Yes the Constitution Has Failings Which Victimize Us All


The Cross-Eyed and the Not So.

Whatever you may say about David Brooks of “The New York Times”…and he drives me nuts with his pop sociology…he is not cross-eyed Democratic. His column veers on issues from left to right, usually settling down in the middle (which I don’t like but so be it). My favorite columnist is the nationally syndicated Charles Krauthammer. He is no social conservative, is not cross-eyed Republican or Democrat, but has a definite philosophy on foreign and domestic affairs that is center-right. I think he has learned much from his early days as a speech-writer for Jimmy Carter. Now he brings to commentary an unique perspective—that of physician and psychiatrist (although he no longer practices this trade). I get more out of his writing and caustic commentary on television than I do virtually anyone else.

Here at home, the great offenders…cross-eyed Democrats who can’t see straight…start with the “Sun-Times’” Mark Brown. A middling poor writer, he is visceral, predictable, with the depth of a pie-tin. Further on in the paper you find Neil Steinberg, a much better writer than most who has a style with definite flair. I don’t categorize him as cross-eyed Democratic because, frankly, I think his stance as a brash, New York-style loudmouth who doesn’t care whom he offends, is a pose. I think his loud-mouth posturing is based on marketing—fashioned cynically to a niche audience to which he is supposed to appeal…the youngish, live-for-today corporate exec who doesn’t have the guts to express himself outrageously as does Steinberg and who enjoys the self-admitted secular, non-observant Jewish wise-guy attitude which conveys not a little anti-Catholicism. Steinberg is far more astute than Mark Brown who is ordinary succotash and cauliflower in his observations.

Laura Washington, an occasional Op Ed, was trained by my old friend the late John McDermott when he ran “The Chicago Reporter.” Laura has come a long way writing as a professional black without a trace of equanimity. She is a variant of most contemporary black commentators to whom there is no such thing as black racism—only white. Her Democratic party affiliation is swallowed whole by her as an accompanied ingredient of being black. But she doesn’t have the rage…the anti-whitey fervor…of Mary Mitchell. Mitchell is cross-eyed in the extreme but she recognizes it and joyously decapitates her victims, all of whom are conservative.

Zay Smith who does Q-T (Quick Takes) is one of my favorite and is not cross-eyed despite his strong Democratic affiliation. I cherish him because he is extraordinarily funny and a great ribber. I’d like to meet him sometime. On the other hand, Stella Foster is cross-eyed which failing she imbibed from working too long with Kup. More later.

The Constitution and Obama.

Some of my conservative colleagues have misinterpreted, I think, the import of Barack Obama’s WBEZ-FM statements on the Constitution—not on the Marxist concept of income redistribution. Obama said correctly the Constitution does not prescribe the means for reparations or reimbursements for what he felt was centuries long injustice by whitey. I interpret what he says as that the civil rights leaders erred grievously by petitioning the courts when the courts had no remedy at hand to employ the radical means of redress Obama wishes for, especially the Marxist idea of redistribution of income. The civil righters should have concentrated on political means to achieve this Marxist goal, Obama says.

Some has misinterpreted this as a signal that Obama has criticized the Constitution for possessing flaws. I don’t think you can find that evidence in his remarks. Suffice it to say he goes on to endorse redistribution in his follow-up words which the wily Stephen Chapman of the “Tribune” doesn’t care to comment on.

The Constitution as written is an ingenious document but that doesn’t mean it was designed without flaw. As a document that does not mention God, it implicitly recognized a natural law but its defect was to avoid mention of a moral arbiter, external to the state to apply meaning of that higher law. The founders left it to the people to decide and by doing so showed their indebtedness to John Locke who was a majoritarian. With that vacuum left by our founders, it is not surprising that in successive years, government itself moved in to fill the vacuum. This is positivism. And increasingly, positivism has become the reigning legal philosophy in the United States. The deciding point came with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, a brilliant villain, who said “truth was the majority vote of the nation that could lick all others.” He defined law as “a statement of the circumstances in which the public force will be brought to bear upon men through the courts.”

Failure of the founders to cite the moral arbiter in the Constitution (when they could have easily done so: the Declaration contains six notable references to God) has made possible successive errors by followers of Holmes. Holmes was a natural born tyrant for all his brilliant rhetoric and his being canonized as a great jurist by such plays as “Yankee from Olympus.” He wrote “the sacredness of human life is a purely municipal ideal of no validity outside the jurisdiction. I believe that force, mitigated so far as may be by good manners, is the ultima ratio and between two groups that want to make inconsistent kids of world, I see no remedy except force.”

If you want to go back to find the source of thought where Obama is coming from…in his Harvard Law classes et al…you need not go beyond Holmes.

“Roe v. Wade” is the culmination (for now) of positivism in American law. There the Supreme Court ruled it need not decide whether the unborn child is a human being—but held instead that whether or not he is a human being, he is a NON-PERSON without entitlement to the right to life. The decision written by Harry Blackmun (whom I knew slightly in Minnesota when he was general counsel to the Mayo Clinic) echoes Holmes who wrote…scarily…”I see no reason for attributing to man a significance different in kind from that which belongs to a baboon or to a grain of sand.”

Obama has moved from that point to the stage where as chairman of judiciary in the Illinois senate he saw no reason to differentiate infanticide from abortion…as when he successively denied nutrition and medical care to struggling infants in pain from abortion. Thus he is indeed the new Herod—but the seed of his beginnings came from failure of the founders to define a moral arbiter in the Constitution when they had done so in the Declaration…which inevitably produced an civilized monster like Holmes and his intellectual progeny, Barack Hussein Obama.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Personal Aside: “Tribune’s” Steve Chapman Explains it All for You: See, Obama’s Redistributive Regret is Something Justice Scalia Might Say. Sorry, No Cigar.

Chapman in for Bentham.

The “Chicago Tribune” has leapt into the fray to be the first publication to defend Barack Obama’s redistributive remarks with an essay by Stephen Chapman that should be entered into competition with those of Doug Kmiec for blatant sophistry. Chapman masquerades as a libertarian but is really a liberationist radical nihilist who pioneers in trying to repeal the ancient principle of contradiction. The principle, devised by Aristotle and refined by Aquinas, has taught Western thinkers that a thing cannot be and not be at the same time under the same aspect. It is self-evident; no rational person can doubt it. Thus it is good for a hungry man to eat a sandwich but not a barbed wire sandwich since it would ruin the human stomach. Gasoline is good for the car engine; not sand or sugar which will ruin it. Chapman follows the dictum of “whatever” under the false rubric of “liberty.”

The first self-evident principle of practical reason is that good is to be done and promoted and evil is to be avoided. Kmiec, an intellectual giant in a pique because he was passed up for high judicial appointment by Reagan and the two Bushes despite his earlier support of pro-life, knows the principle totally. Willfully however he has endorsed Barack Obama and has written extensively that an opponent of abortion can support Obama because…while he does not deny that under Obama Supreme Court and other appointments will advance abortion—and his candidate has pledged himself to sign as a first order of business a “Freedom of Choice” Act which will nullify all other programs to restrict the practice…abortions can be reduced by a flurry of increased appropriations for liberal programs such as more funds for maternal care. Thus the Kmiec demonic false rationale fails the barbed wire sandwich test: with a president who would advance abortion by legislative and other means, the counsel to provide more federal funds for maternal care while abortion proceeds apace with radical steps and judicial appointments fails the test of rationality.

Kmiec understands his argument to be duplicitous; he knows its falsity full well. He knows the history of jurisprudence and has told me much of it, going back to Sir Edward Coke. His argument, then, falls into the classification of demonic…and the priest who refused him the sacrament was correct (just as the malleable, political accommodationist Roger Cardinal Mahony who rebuked the priest was not). If he were just to have erred intellectually, he would not have been the very cogent man whom not long ago as a pro-lifer wrote eloquently about constitutional means and until a few months ago was a leader of the Mitt Romney campaign for president. Knowing evil and willing it as truth is the definition of demonic strategy.

Not so Chapman. I don’t know him but in reading him it’s clear he’s just a sophist: trying to answer one phase of the argument while skipping the major. To perceive Stephen Chapman’s sophistry, one must first study the Obama statement the then state senator made on WBEZ-FM, the Chicago public radio station in 2001. Unlike his plea to be let off the hook on the Billy Ayres friendship and patronage…that he was eight years old when Ayres bombed the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol for which he has never expressed regret…Obama has no answer to this. When he said these things he was an adult, 40 years old, and a lecturer in law at the University of Chicago. In the extensive interview, he explains that the civil rights movement failed to create a “redistributive change” in its appeals to the Supreme Court. “And I think one of the tragedies of the civil rights movement was that the civil rights movement became so court-focused, I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and organizing activities on the ground that are able to bring about the conditions of power through which you bring about redistributive change and in some ways we still suffer from that,” said Obama.

Chapman argues that in describing how Obama felt the courts should not get into the business or redistributing wealth, Obama shares the view of Antonin Scalia. He stops there and is satisfied he responded to the challenge, ignoring or forgetting the fact that Obama’s goal is redistributive change through “conditions of power.” Obama never says the Supreme Court’s refusal to redistribute was correct; he merely cites it as a fact of history. He says “one of the tragedies of the civil rights movement” is that it spent too much time in the courts and not enough time organizing
”conditions of power” i.e. politics to gain redistribution.

Nice try, Chapman but no cigar. Your boss, R. Bruce Dold, whom I have known somewhat but not well, a pro-abort Catholic, has shown himself smart indeed to send you to do public battle with a red hot poker rather than go himself. He knows too much to even try. As a philosophical innocent, Chapman had no way of knowing how philosophically Aquinas described a bad law…such as abortion or forced redistribution against wage-earners’ will…can be proved unjust in two ways.

“First, by being contrary to human good…either in respect to the end, as when an authority imposes on his subjects burdensome laws, conducive, not to the common good but rather to his own cupidity or vainglory; or in respect of the author, as when a man makes a law that goes beyond the power committed to him; or in respect of the form, as when burdens are imposed unequally on the community, although with a view to the common good…Secondly, laws may be unjust through being opposed to the Divine good: such are the laws of tyrants inducing to idolatry or to anything else contrary to the Divine law; and laws of this kind must nowise be observed because, as stated in Acts v. 29, we ought to obey God rather than men.”

Chapman, the philosophical innocent wouldn’t know, but perhaps Dold would know from his long neglected Catholic theology that we do not ask whether a human law achieves the greatest good for the greatest number ala Jeremy Bentham which we discussed yesterday—but as with the history of earlier jurisprudence—whether a human law is in accord with natural law. Our senses and intellect tell us what is. A thing is not known through the senses alone but through the intellect with the aid of the senses. The intellect abstracts and takes into itself the thing in its essence.

My saying this blog is a car does not make it so. It is a judgment only and whether it is true or false depends on whether it conforms to reality. Try to put a key in this blog and try to start its supposed engine and you will discover it is not a car. So the first act is simple apprehension: this blog is a blog. The second is judgment, a simple cognitive action “in which” says Aquinas “something is known to be in a certain manner, or not to be so.” Example: this blog is composed of words.

The third is discursive reasoning—i.e. all men are mortal; Stephen Chapman is a man therefore Chapman is mortal. Remember this reasoning was phrased by Aquinas but not invented by him but by ancient non-Christian philosophers: Aristotle who wrote of “natural justice”; Cicero who wrote “law is the distinction between things just and unjust, made in agreement with that primal and most ancient of all things, nature.” Cicero was the first one to write, “if the principles of justice were founded on the decrees of peoples, the edicts of princes or the decisions of judges, then justice would sanction robbery and adultery and forgery of wills, in case these acts were approved by the votes or decrees of the populace.”

Again, Chapman is ignorant of these things; I doubt Dold is. I KNOW Kmiec is not. And Obama, who has not heretofore exhibited the slightest understanding of Judeo-Christian thinking, can well be…as either invincibly or vincibly ignorant ala Chapman…but in any event the worst example of our modern decadent, lawless society wrapped up in a genial young man on the make—a legal positivist who shirks absolutes of any degree--who will certainly do all he can to wrench the law from its arm socket and redistribute the “spread it around” as he said…whether we like it or not.

Chapman is ignorant; Dold is a Catholic corporate trimmer; Catholic Kmiec’s actions are demonic. All represent the failings of this decadent age.

Which is why I echo that ancient slogan:

Nobama! Keep the change!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Personal Aside: If an Obama Victory Comes, It Will Be Exactly What This Nation Deserves. Decadence Not Mere Loss of an Election Will Have Produced It.

My best guess is that John McCain still has a chance. While Barack Obama leads in every indicator I’ve seen, the needles are fluctuating wildly. Harold Macmillan’s original theory of politics…that they are caused by “events, my dear boy, events”… has proved out thus far with one international event and a domestic one. The international event that rescued the McCain campaign was the assassination of Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan last December 27, 2007. From that time on, John McCain’s stature as a leader in his party and nation anent foreign affairs took hold. The domestic (spiraling later into global) which sent all Republican fortunes reeling including McCain’s was the economic meltdown of Oct. 1, 2008. Frankly, only an episode of significant intensity—most probably an international crisis involving possible war—can rescue McCain now. But don’t discount one. I remember the last days of October, 1962, an off-year, when Republican fortunes were on the rise only to be short-circuited by the Cuban Missile crisis. My own Republican governor of Minnesota was rated a distinctly probable victor in a tough state. What happened to revivify John Kennedy then can work the other way now. Can.

The way crises are popping like firecrackers, one could easily happen as late as 50 hours before election and still change the equation. If it doesn’t and Obama is elected what is likely to happen? The one thing not to do is to blame McCain or the campaign. The sweep of history is far-far more significant than that. It will be the last chapter in a long decline.

In the long view, as Allan Bloom has said, the West started its moral decline with the so-called Enlightenment where science began to spring free from religion and then challenged it with great projects of science and the law. Thereupon a secular consciousness and material well-being began to rise to the extent that the Church could not put the genie of God-centered thought back into the jug. Where philosophy had been based on Thomistic melding of reason and faith, Jean Jacques Rousseau began to assail such belief. Nietzsche followed by concluding that such faith-based rationalism cannot defend itself theoretically. Thus where does reason turn when men insist that faith-based reason cannot be discovered? It turns to MAN. Nietzsche in a real sense relegates man to the role played by Satan in Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” Nietzschean nihilism becomes nihilism: American style. From this came Max Weber, the German sociologist. His book “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” when translated into English dropped a bomb on the old certainty that built this nation.

Thus Nietzschean nihilism reached these shores in Weberian disguise. But earlier Hume’s skepticism was eroding British philosophy culminating when Ludwig Wittgenstein moved to England and linked arms with Bertrand Russell. But from the standpoint of what Barack Obama will bring to us, consider that he would represent the first president who will officially smite asunder the old relationship of common law and natural law. Even Bill Clinton paid lip-service to the old relationship when he declared that while abortion should be legal, it should be rare. Up to now it could be said that whether presidents knew it or not, they basically followed the Old Order which is to believe the basic inclinations of man are five:

1. To see the good which is ultimately the highest good which is eternal happiness; 2. to preserve himself in existence; 3. to preserve the species, i.e. to unite sexually; 4. to live in community with other men; and 5. to use his intellect and will to know the truth and make his own decisions.

Barack Obama by coming of age in a nihilistic age rejects these considerations. Whereas our past presidents, good or bad, knew it or not they embodied the fact that ther is a real world out there, created by a loving God who wants us to choose to be with him eternally in heaven. We can really know this world and the nature of the things in it, including ourselves. We can really know what is right and wrong. If we act according to our nature especially by faith in God, we can obtain our final desirable end. Moreover the human law is part of God’s plan and only through adherence to natural law and divine law can a society reach lasting justice and peace.

Obama is a man of this age…and would be the first president of our nihilistic age…by rejecting the old truths. Remember when he said he could not calculate when life begins because it’s beyond his pa grade? Remember when he said he would not want his daughters “punished” by a child conceived out of wedlock?

A committed secularist he is a follower of Jeremy Bentham who said the purpose of law is to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. Good is defined as pleasure. In law that view has been inculcated by Hans Kelsen [1881-1973] who exerted a tremendous influence on American law in the same way that John Dewey (who lived at the same time) gave us relativism in philosophy and education. Kelsen, born in Austria, author of his country’s constitution between the two world wars, rejected the possibility of natural law and as a renowned professor at Columbia denied the “metaphysical view that there is an absolute reality, i.e. a reality that exists independently of human knowledge.” He adopted philosophical relativism which he described as the “empirical doctrine that really exists only within human knowledge and that, as the object of knowledge, reality is relative to the knowing subject.” The Nazi rule of law came from Kelsen despite his best intentions. When we remove absolutes, remove natural law, you substitute human convenience for law.

Philosophical relativism, taught Kelsen, which has become an accepted part of contemporary legal studies (so accepted that it is granted without attribution), teaches that “what is right today may be wrong tomorrow.” He stated, “the minority must have full opportunity of becoming the majority. Only if it is not possible to decide in an absolute way what is right and what is wrong is it advisable to discuss the issue and after discussion submit to a compromise.” The problem, of course, is that when the majority is in control of the political process decide to oppress the minority there is neither moral nor legal recourse. We are seeing this now even before the campaign is over. We are seeing it in the declared intention of Obama to enact a misnamed “Freedom of Choice Act” which would negate all laws passed heretofore to curtail abortion. We see it in Nancy Pelosi’s acknowledged intention to pass a misnamed “Fairness Doctrine” that will curtail the rights of conservatives on talk radio to the labor of finding spokesmen from the Left to have “equal time”—despite the fact that in the marketplace of free ideas they cannot muster a popular following to deserve a hearing. It is Kelsenism.

Mark my words, under this nihilistic Kensen legal philosophy the legislator decides what law will be useful and in accord with the basic norm as determined by himself. There is no higher law of nature or of God and the ultimate criterion is force.

More later. But what is coming in an Obama election is the advent of another Dark Age. We have all but elected Obama because of our own indolence and the, up to now, materialistic luxury that has given way to decadence. Learning like purity of morals have faced great decline. Education has largely failed; the Church…mine particularly… has failed greatly. Too many bishops have become parsing parsons, flaccid, weak, intimidated by political power. The lack of trained minds and precise language…so replete at our nation’s founding…is glaringly obvious today. The Dark Age of Obama will lead us to great suffering. With respect to unborn…and born…life, it will be like the coming of another Herod. Remember his thorough examination of then State Sen. Patrick O’Malley who introduced the Born Alive bill only to have it throttled to death by Obama: his cold, almost Nazi-like questioning of life and his cold detachment…exhibited four straight times…to killing the possibility that born human life shall have the benefit of nourishment or medical care. Herod is not an inexact description of this man who comes to us with a smiling face under the guise of civility. And there is a punitiveness to his followers. Already one Catholic bishop who wrote that Obama is another Herod has been hauled before a court because he has violated “the separation of church and state.” Are they kidding us? When Fr. Pfleger struts and endorses Democratic candidacies in full view of the altar?

This Barackian coldness, enveloped in a figure of grace and sophistication, is the embodiment of another Great Herod. But the victory shall not be caused by Obama alone. All the institutions that otherwise should be counted upon to deter this usurpation have failed: journalism which has prostituted itself to a fawning supplicant…the Church which has surrendered much of its authority to recognize practical politics (witness “Fr.” Andrew Greeley replete in photo attired in roman collar who writes of the god he adores, the Democratic party)…higher education…much of business (Paul Volcker, Warren Buffett who support Obama).

In short, ladies and gentlemen, we are in for it. Coming unless an event will detour it, will be the living representation of Jeremy Bentham. Man’s “only object is to seek pleasure and to shun pain…Evil is pain or the cause of pain. Good is pleasure or the cause of pleasure.” And of course the majority shall determine what ought to be done to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. This is what this Great Experiment in democracy has produced for us—and much of it predates Obama. The principle of utility is the sole rationale for legislation. Man has no intrinsic worth. His only end is the attainment of pleasure. That and the avoidance of pain.

That’s all for now. More sometime soon. Sleep well tonight. Few will realize it when it hits on November 4. Remember, from the Dark Ages there came a rebirth and the gateway to Christianity’s most glorious age. The hitch: you and I won’t be around to see it and there will be much suffering…by us, our children and progeny…until the fullness of time is realized. We’re likely to be in the desert a long time. Most of us will die there.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Personal Aside: Charles Krauthammer’s Analysis of Why Liberal Women Detest Palin…The Obama Insult Machine. If You’re a Critic, You’re a Racist.


Self Loathing.

I referred yesterday to the comment of Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report” on Fox News concerning why the most virulent critics of Sarah Palin happen to be liberal women.

Krauthammer is a former psychiatrist who has won a Pulitzer for his insightful columns. Here is his rationale:

“What’s remarkable about the reaction to Palin is not only the unfavorable. It’s the loathing, the absolute hatred that you hear, especially from intellectuals, feminists, sort of East Coast, West Coast, pointy-headed. And it’s because--. In the 1980s you had the Margaret Thatcher and Jeane Kirkpatrick who were considered because they were not liberal, they were conservative. They were actually—it was said of them as has been said of Sarah Palin they were not women because you couldn’t be if you were a conservative. You were, by definition, a patriarchal thug. And if you happened to be a woman, it was simply in women’s threads. The viciousness with which she [Palin] was attacked as a contradiction in terms—a conservative woman.

“In Palin’s case, I think what it adds up to is her decision, at her age, with four other children, to have a Down Syndrome child. This, too, as Joseph Epstein wrote, in feminist circles: if abortion is not about this, what is it about? And they look at her as sort of a back room—a backwater hick—who for religious reasons went ahead and had a child that they would never have. Underneath it, I think, deep underneath it, I think it’s a self-loathing on the part of these feminists, knowing that she did a virtuous thing and a generous act that they would never have undertaken. And her having undertaken it is an affront to them: a silent rebuke.”


Barack Obama the other day beseeched a crowd of worshipers not just to extol him but when they perceive attacks “to get in their [the opposition’s] face.” Of course that has already happened twice in this town on WGN Radio when old-fashioned Soviet-style attempts were made to bludgeon the station to prevent having an author of an anti-Obama book appear on the Milt Rosenberg show. The gang has picked up a new female recruit, just in time for Hallowe’en. You can see her silhouette framed against the harvest moon as she rides nightly with her fellow Valkyries straight out of Wagner’s “Die Walkure.” She signs her name on my Reader’s Comment but wants the world to know her as EA. In a monumental rupture with civility, she has called me a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

You see, because I have been critical of Obama, the unforgiving E. A., a white liberal, a naively, simplistically polarized lady who equates the smallest critique of anything black as racism (to her there’s only one variant: white racism; there is no black racism), has repeatedly suggested I am a racist…and in Comments two days ago that I don a white hood and sheet and join the KKK. Just to remind you of the sweet tolerance these white liberals have for dissent…the ones who will likely ram through the Congress the repeal of AM radio license for conservatives to have talk shows…the ones who recruited a lawyer to protest the IRS to stop a Catholic bishop from expressing his opinion on the moral issue of the election (while allowing numberless black churches like Saint Sabina’s here to convert religious worship into partisan rallies for Obama).

I would remind her: one more salacious crack like that, E. A., and you will get your true name plastered up and down on this website. So grow up, calm down, take a Midol and relax.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Personal Aside: A Black Catholic Bishop Talks Genocide…Charles Krauthammer on Liberal Women’s Hatred of Sarah Palin… “Tribune’s” Cross-Eyed Endorsement of Obama and Morgenthaler.


Bishop Martin D. Holley

An African-American Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, D. C. in a statement to Catholics put the abortion issue squarely on the line…in terms once used by the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson 30 years ago, before Jackson ditched his pro-life views in order to get ahead in the national Democratic party.

Here is the statement made to D. C. African-American Catholics by Bishop Martin D. Holley, himself one of 14 children:

“Over hundreds of years, African-Americans have traditionally been pro-life. A pregnant unmarried couple could count on someone in their families to help raise, love and educate their child well into adulthood. This has happened more than once in my own family.

“Today, discerning what is morally correct is a difficult challenge for many in the African-American community because the “Roe v. Wade” decision has the greatest impact on black, unwed women who live in an urban environment where there may not be much support from family, friends or social service networks. Today the number one cause of death in the African-American community is abortion. We have lost over 13 million lives. To put that in perspective, that is one third of our present black population. 1,452 black children are lost each day to abortion!

“The abortion challenge in the African-American community is deeply interwoven with many other concerns. The black family constantly strives for social justice in confronting racism, poverty, violence, a lack of education, high unemployment, substance abuse, incarceration, AIDS, teen pregnancy, a lack of affordable housing and many other needs. These concerns often tend to push the primary moral issue of abortion onto the back burner, when, in reality, it clearly must be at the heart of our discussion on the survival of African-American people. Through evangelization, preaching and solid catechesis, the Catholic church will need to intensify its efforts to reach the broad African-American community. Stated plainly: With abortion in the black family, there is no future, only further extinction.

“Next time we consider silence in the face of carefully sown confusion among Catholic faithful, let’s acknowledge out loud that the consequences of our silence may well fall disproportionately on people of color.”

Krauthammer on Palin Hatred.

On Fox News’ “Special Report” last night, moderator Brit Hume asked panelists Nina Easton (“Fortune”), Fred Barnes (“The Weekly Standard”) and nationally syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer their views on the highly registered hatred of liberal women for Gov. Sarah Palin. Krauthammer, a Pulitzer prize winner and former psychiatrist, gave the most measured reply. I don’t have the full text as of this writing (Wednesday night) but it appears today (Thursday) in www.realclearpolitics. Look it up.

The Cross-Eyed…and the Straight Sighted.

So cross-eyed Democratic he/she can’t see straight applies to the writer of the “Tribune” endorsement of Jill Morgenthaler for 6th district Congress over Rep. Peter Roskam. The paper has always paraded itself as the more business-oriented publication but in fact the morally crippled Tower editorial denizens under pro-abort Catholic R. Bruce Dold consider anti-life first and foremost when they dip their pens in their poison inkwell…for one reason and one only: to identify with the country club mentality that has always been antithetical to issues greater than the everlasting buck. The fact that the language reflects chilly-hearted ultra-libertarianism makes me think it was written by Stephen Chapman who has never seen a cause worth fighting or dying for since he distrusts all absolutes save Ayn Rand selfishness.


Across the way at the “Sun-Times,” kudos to the courageous, straight-eyed Lynn Sweet for breaking stride with her newspaper’s tireless fawning of Barack Obama to condemn the callous way Obama’s p. r. minions are charging the media spectacular seating rates to cover their candidate on election night in Chicago…She along with the superb city hall and city/state investigative staff gives her paper a one-upmanship over the “Tribune” which has only two commentators of quality—but superlative they are: one who deserves the Pulitzer, John Kass—far better in insight and perspicacity than any other “Tribune” writer in my 60 plus years of reading the paper and who will get it one day…and the other the matchless Op Ed columnist Dennis Byrne. Always a top-drawer talent is the “Sun-Times” cartoonist Jack Higgins who exceeds the best cartoonists either paper ever had, from Jacob Burck to Cary Orr, John McCutcheon and Joe Parrish.


But I must say it is continually John Kass at the “Trib” who amazes me at the quality of output but also the fine historical and literary grace he has…viz the correct and brilliant use of Shortshanks for His Honor. Unrivaled.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Personal Aside: What Will a President Obama be Like? Look at the Governance Style of Other Axelrod Clients.


Deval Laurdine Patrick lived as a child in a two-bedroom apartment in the Robert Taylor Homes housing project. He was tapped, molded and marketed by David Axelrod for the Massachusetts governorship contest in 2006. Axelrod, born fairly upper and radical in New York city, is a shrewd merchandiser of unusual African American candidates who can catch the favor of white liberals and money people. Not that Axelrod isn’t savvy to the ways of the Dem machine world: he is since he’s one of Mayor Richard M. Daley’s plum advisers. He also makes millions as an astro-turf lobbyist for the city: not as a registered brass-rail hanger-on but as an orchestrator of media concoctions that sell Daley’s choice ideas like the Olympics in 2016.

Dem machine regular he is, but still Axelrod has long held a theory that in the selling of a candidate, particularly black ones, issues and dull statistics-wielding don’t count—symbols and pretty word pictures do and they have to sound like they’re reformers. As far as getting by an electorate, the propping up of attractive black candidates worked. Only one hitch: after election nothing worked. . And that’s the way it has been with the shining paragon of Hope, Deval Patrick who is now the failed and continuing-to-fail governor of Massachusetts. With Barack Obama supposed to usher in a new era of idealism and “hope,”—indeed often the very same words that Axelrod candidate Patrick did—it’s instructive to see why Axelrod’s black candidates often fail to live up to promise and often inculcate widespread cynicism and in some cases virulent media rage when they govern. Indeed by Axelrod’s own testimony (in a laudatory New York Times article) Obama’s campaign rationale was field-tested on Deval Patrick.

Patrick the Obama Model.

First the inspiring liberal bio—ripe to attract idealistically liberal media types. Get this: abandoned by his father, Patrick was in middle school here when one of his teachers referred him to a national organization set up to identify blacks for an academic supercharge. He went to prestigious Milton Academy in Massachusetts, then to Harvard following which he worked with the UN in Africa. Then back to Harvard where he was enrolled at the law school. Awarded a JD. Worked for legal aid, became a partner in a law firm that ultimately folded.

Caught the eye of the Clintons and was named assistant attorney general for the civil rights division where he so enforced prisoners’ rights laws one warden called him a “zealot.” Being a zealot for prisoner rights canonized him with the media. Following the Clinton years he took a prestigious partnership at Day, Berry & Howard and after huge media exposure (as a member of the UAL board where he encouraged the airlines to offer domestic partner benefits to all employees), he was named vice president and general counsel for Coca-Cola. Tired of commuting between Massachusetts and Atlanta, he retired after six years and ran for governor of Massachusetts. He served on the board of ACC Capital Holdings, with extensive financial interest in Massachusetts. Media were impressed.

Next the personal stuff—Married to an attractive female lawyer, specializing in labor and employment law: good for media interest. He leads a highly publicized fight “against anti-gay marriage” i.e. the traditional marriage amendment which intrigues the media. More: one of his daughters announced she’s a lesbian—and he and his wife stood by her, getting huge coverage. Media like gay rights stuff.

Now the Axelrod campaign running on high octane idealism—brimming with slogans including “Yes We Can!” Can do what? Who knows? Another: “a time for hope!” Hope for what? Answer: it’s up to you. He didn’t stress issues but his own biography and he will fight entrenched back-room politics. The only entrenched backroom politics in solidly one-party Massachusetts is in his own party but nobody cares—the idea resonates. . Massachusetts liberals thrilled as he becomes only the second elected black governor in U.S. history. Unstated. Never mind. His victory in 2006 hiked the Democratic margin—already a supermajority—in both Houses of the state’s legislature.

The bright new beginning at the inauguration, propelled by civil rights symbolism, so revered by the trendy media. At Axelrod’s suggestion, Patrick broke with the tradition of being inaugurated in the old House Chamber of the Massachusetts state house. Instead, he was sworn in and delivered his inaugural address on the west portico of the state house, facing Boston Common. Why? More people could witness this breathtaking introduction to “more transparent” governance. Also, as Axelrod noted, as he took his oath, he faced a monument to the first black regiment in the Civil War. That made liberals tingle. But wait! There’s more! His hand was placed on the famed Mendi Bible, belonging to John Quincy Adams, former president and later congressman who as a lawyer won the case to free the slaves from the ship La Amistad in 1839, memorialized (in many cases inaccurately) by Steven Spielberg’s 1997 film for Dreamworks. Brilliant glitz.

I can tell you, folks: news media loved it. Especially when the new governor said (in words written by Axelrod): “I come here to change politics as usual.” Then these words: “What’s missing from politics is hope!”But a tip-off of trouble to come: the transition team he named excluded any members of the legislature, which media cheered but alienated lawmakers of both parties. Also the new governor’s chief of staff had no experience in politics, an Axelrod sales-point to the media but didn’t thrill the various interest groups to be dealt with: organized labor, the police unions.

Ah but then came…

....the Governmental Letdown.

After all the pretty photo ops were taken and filmy rhetoric delivered, it became time to govern. The poetic words dissing old-time politicians rankled Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, veteran Democrat.

First, there were little things that smelled old-time hack politics but which irritated the media and ordinary people greatly. Item: like a machine lifer, he decided the draperies for his statehouse suite were too drab so he ordered new ones at cost of $11,000. Media frowned and taxpayers drowned the statehouse with letters and emails. They pressured him to pay for the draperies out of his own pocket. Item: he felt the car the governor rode in should be upgraded, so he upped the customary car lease for a Crown Victoria to a Cadillac. Media growled. More letters, phone calls and emails. Again they forced him to pay for the upgrade personally. Item: he decided his wife should have the services of a chief of staff, so he hired a former campaign worker at a cost of $70,000. Media shouted and the emails turned into a tsunami: “what’s this? Is this is New Politics?” The new hire quit.

The gaffes continued and got bigger. Item: trying to do a favor for a company where he served on its board, ACC Capital Holdings whose mortgage subsidiary. Ameriquest, was in meltdown, Patrick phoned former Clinton treasury chief Robert Rubin of Citigroup just as an old-time hack would, using his connections. This was truly the Old Politics since Citigroup has huge holdings in Massachusetts. Again a firestorm and Patrick dodged, saying he called Rubin as a private citizen. But he’s not. Thus the Messiah of the New Politics was getting his toga tainted by special interest mud.

Then came the bigger more consequential errors where Axelrod’s so-called “refreshing independence” came into play—the all-thumbs style of a dilettante. Normally a Democratic governor should be expected to get along with a Democratic Speaker but it was not the case with Salvatore DiMasi whom Patrick had vilified along the campaign trail as one of the old fashioned baronial types. DiMasi picked Hillary Clinton as his candidate in the Massachusetts primary; Patrick endorsed Obama. In the primary the Dem pols went with Clinton overwhelmingly, repudiating the new governor. Then came Patrick’s bid to allow three gambling casinos into the state which he proclaimed would generate thousands of new jobs and mega-millions in revenue. But Patrick neglected to consult legislative leaders, the first rule in Politics 101.

Not only did DiMasi administer a sharp defeat to his governor when the media went to the governor’s office to get a comment, they found he was—guess where?—in New York city signing a $1.1 million book deal extolling his new way of governing generating excitement which pleased Axelrod. But not the Boston media. His once high popularity sank like a stone to 41% with 56% disapproval. And media which had led the charge to elect the bright young Harvard candidate of change turned on him like a junkyard dog. He now is regarded as a man who couldn’t live up to the hype. His onetime pledge to cut property taxes has been scotched. Now, says The Wall Street Journal, Patrick’s popularity rating at 45% is “still 20 points off its inauguration high.” The reason: Patrick can’t govern. Marooned he’s nervously eying reelection but hoping a President Obama will rescue him from Boston and give him a cabinet post. No comment has come from David Axelrod—who has been too busy duplicating Patrick’s p. r. for Obama.

If the Patrick case history were the only one in Axelrod’s file, it wouldn’t be news worthy. The fact is, there are several. All black candidates echoing the Axelrod lefty tirade of opposing the old order of doing this…then falling back on the cynical old style of machine dealing, cutting back to “independence” and failing in the governmental attempt. Here are some others:

Stormy Mayors with the Same Mantras.

With past mayoral candidates, Axelrod picked old-line machine pol types but merchandised them as anti-machine independents…with terrible results in governance.

Chicago’s Harold Washington: Here was not just a barnacle-encrusted Dem hack but one who had done time in jail before he was mayor (non-payment of state taxes), a first even for Chicago (jokers said Cook county jail even sported a banner for a short time: “Washington Slept Here!”) Aha, but then he turned reformist which turned the media ga-ga. Axelrod handled his 1987reelection, after the change was made with the same refrain Axelrod guided his 1987 reelection continuing the line that has been Axelrod’s unique refrain, designed to get quick and easy media. Washington, a former Dem machine hack but from this city’s Hyde Park, changed his attitude late in his career and blasted decades of machine rule. He intrigued the media, proclaimed he would reform patronage, refused to work with the patronage-prone Democratic party and so battled with his own party for his first term that the city that works got a new name, “Beirut on the Lake.” Axelrod ran the image bubble machine for the reelection that blamed all on (largely) white intransigence in the city council—but as one who knew both sides, I can say the mayor refused to deal—utterly. Washington was hugely governmentally ineffective though a media-centric mayor, one who could never make peace with disparate elements—largely isolated from much of the publics that were non-minority. He toppled dead at his desk four months after reelection at age 65, a liberal icon but a tragically ineffective mayor largely because of his own doing because he preferred to be seen as a racial symbol.

Detroit’s Dennis Archer: Axelrod took charge of the image-making for the Dennis Archer campaign for mayor of Detroit in 1992. Archer was a prominent black former judge and a former machine worthy. The old lion mayor of Detroit, Coleman Young, also black, was in ill health and retiring. Archer rallied liberal-radical elements, announced for office with a typical Axelrod idealistic burst of rhetoric declaring “The days when a handful of politicians can sit in a back room and carve up this city are over. It’s time to open the windows and let fresh air into city hall!” Media was entranced when Archer declared “Detroit for all! All for Detroit!” Nice catchy slogan. Predictably Young was outraged. He backed an opponent to Archer. Archer won with a minority of black votes and indeed won reelection but battling with the city council dismayed many. A recall drive was mounted to ditch the idealistically liberal mayor. There were some economic gains but Archer had had enough and he bowed out.

Philadelphia’s John F. Street: Axelrod ran his campaign ads and repeated his mantra that the old style gang would be replaced by idealistic governance from former Dem hack Street. Result: Street was listed in the April 17, 2005 issue of Time as one of the three worst big-city mayors in the United States. During a reelection campaign, the FBI acknowledged it had placed recording devices in his office as part of a massive investigation of city corruption. Among those fingered by the feds was Street’s brother who allegedly traded on his relationship with the mayor to obtain lucrative city contracts but who failed to pay taxes on more than $2 million in income. Corruption reigned supreme but few news stories rivaled the IPhone controversy. He was spotted standing in line for hours in front of an AT&T store, waiting to get the highly anticipated Apple iPhone. Embarrassed, he left and went to his office but placed two of his security guards to hold his place in line. No longer mayor but regarded as just about the worst in Philly history, Street is teaching at Temple University. Teaching what? Urban politics, of course.

….Looking at the Future with Obama.

Carefully merchandised by Axelrod as a breath of fresh air and a refreshing independent, Barack Obama is, of course, anything but. Using Axelrod style rhetoric, Obama matriculated here in Chicago as a young hustler on the make, playing the old Dem machine game: using the government treasury to get ahead, understanding the need to steer pension funds and investments to help your pals whereupon they will help you back. Hyde Park, once at war with the old Daley outfit, has been assimilated and now happens to be the far-left wing of the machine but heavily in the machine. Obama had a choice to support an anti-machine Democrat for president of the Cook county board or a dying hack: he picked the dying hack. Then he stuck with the hack’s incompetent son, Todd Stroger. Not to do so would have upset Mayor Richard M. Daley, the powerful Stroger family that is tied to the Daleys, Emil Jones his machine mentor and would have been against the interests of now-convicted developer felon Tony Rezko.

But all the while the goofy boob media, here and throughout the nation, buys into Obama who spins rhetoric both he and Axelrod concoct that hangs in the air like haze, wonderful to inhale but entirely nutrient-free. If Obama is elected, it will be interesting to see if he ends up like all the other Axelrod clients: ineffective and at the end, paradoxically, savaged by the fickle media who brought him to power.

A look at the past Axelrod candidates and what happened to their governance should provide a solid tip-off for the educated voter.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Personal Aside: O, What a Friend We Have in Joe! …and John!



Either Joe Biden IS mentally deranged from those two prior aneurisms… or he is a Republican mole…or he has been struck by a thunderbolt, tossed from his chariot on the way to Damascus and has been electrified into telling the truth. In any case, here is the October Surprise, delivered gratis by not just a Democrat but the Democratic vice presidential nominee, lifted from the Senate chamber and moved to Barack Obama’s side by nature of his expertise in foreign affairs basis his chairmanship of the Foreign Relations Committee.

As the world either now knows or will shortly, this is what Biden said—captured on video tape—in a fund-raising speech delivered Sunday in Seattle:

“Mark my words, it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did Jack Kennedy. The world is looking. Remember, I said it standing here, if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy [Obama]. And he’s gonna have to make some realluy tough—I don’t know what the decision’s gonna be but I promise yhou it will occur. As a student of history and having served with seven presidents, I guarantee you it’s gonna happen.”

The remarks were the second of this type Biden delivered over the weekend. At a fund-raiser in San Francisco, he said Obama’s challengers will “find out this guy’s got steel in his spine” when he is tested.

By saying these things, Biden moved the focus of the campaign from the economy where Barack Obama wishes it to remain to national security and presidential testing in times of crisis where John McCain is dominant.

There is nothing inaccurate with Biden’s statement. But as a so-called “student of history,” he should remember than the last time a young, 40-something president was tested in this way, he was John F. Kennedy—and the testing left JFK, the nation and the Free World at a disadvantage.

In 1960, Kennedy, a backbench U.S. Senator…but still with much more experience than Obama has compiled up to now… had won a very narrow race against Vice President Richard Nixon who claimed that Kennedy did not have the essential gravitas in foreign policy experience to be president. Nikita Khrushchev saw Kennedy flinch on his first national security outing when only a few weeks after inauguration, the young president signaled a go-ahead with the April, 1961 Bay of Pigs landing but lost his nerve and canceled air cover for the invaders, causing a debacle that humiliated the U. S. before the world. Later that Spring, JFK met with the Soviet leader in Berlin.

He later told James Reston of “The New York Times” and Hugh Sidey of “Time” that Khrushchev had decided he—Kennedy—was weak, untested and irresolute as result of the flubbed Bay of Pigs landing. Accordingly Khrushchev launched the building of the Berlin Wall which blocked east Germans from fleeing the Communist zone to the West. Khrushchev followed up by sending missiles to Cuba, necessitating Kennedy to go eyeball to eyeball with him, endangering the peace of the entire world. The only way Kennedy evaded further humiliation was to agree secretly via his brother Robert to withdraw U. S. missiles from Turkey—about which the U.S. was kept in the dark.

Kennedy told Reston that Khrushchev had so misgauged America’s failure of will that America would have to double its military involvement in Vietnam to shore up its apparent resolve. Thus this young, largely untested president by failing the test, (1) sacrificed hundreds of lives and much U.S. treasure in the abortive Cuban landing; (2) precipitated Khrushchev’s building of the Berlin Wall which was a feature of the Cold War until 1989 and (3) indefinitely enlarged America’s participation in Vietnam which cost over 40,000 lives.

So-called “student of history” Biden has given a remarkable object lesson to Americans by causing them to concentrate on the signal attribute of John McCain. The tough old buzzard…steeled in experience in war and peace… will not likely be misjudged by either terrorists or hostile world leaders. It is sure that Biden knows what he’s talking about—that the world will want to test Barack Obama. If anything, Obama is as unsure and uncertain, is as wobbly as it is possible to be in his lack of experience. At least John Kennedy had had a few years in the House and two terms in the Senate plus valuable experience overseas as the son of an ambassador who wrote as a college thesis the reasons for Britain’s weakness which led to Hitler’s aggression in his book “Why England Slept.”

David Axelrod worked throughout the night trying to squeeze this lemon handed him by Biden into lemonade. His solution: try to indicate that McCain’s intemperate nature could blow up a war. Nice try, David but no cigar. You’ll earn your fat media fee this week, for sure. Assuredly, you’ll have ample help from the cross-eyed media but it may not be sufficient.


Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) regaled a crowd yesterday by saying that like all other presidential candidates, Obama and McCain have been asked whether they prefer boxers or briefs. Obama chose boxers but McCain answered: Depends.

Another highpoint for the liberal tittering class by the windsurfing expert.

Incidentally stock in H.J. Heinz rose 14% yesterday which prompted the Bostonian, the richest Senator basis his marriage to Teresa, widow of the late John Heinz of the catsup foretune, to confess romantically that he’s fallen in love with her all over again.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Personal Asides: The Cross-Eyes Continue. Irrelevant “Tribune” Endorses Obama…And Colin Powell. The Soldier’s Revenge.



Sam (“You Made the Pants Too Long”) Zell’s Red Eye makeover has just endorsed Obama and they dutifully sent editorial page editor R. Bruce Dold to the Land of Nod (“Chicago Week in Review”) on WTTW where cross-eyed Joel Weisman (so Democrat he can’t see straight) conducts an orchestra of mostly pro-Obama sea-lions leaping to catch tossed fish.

Not that the “Trib” endorsement is news: the paper’s longstanding pro-Obama “news” coverage has been a tip-off. Still, Dold is not cross-eyed; he’s straight, well-intentioned, a Republican basically but county club, very. Which also means he is a corporate maven to the soles of his shoes and does what he’s told. His editorial “board” is all cross-eyed and a wonderful band of gargoyles they are. Including one nihilist named Stephen Chapman whom they say is a libertarian they picked up at a fire sale from “The New Republic.” Chapman is nothing of the sort but an old fashioned leftist who doesn’t believe anything is worth fighting…much less dying…for. Then there’s their cross-eyed race specialist hired to inform guilt-ridden chalky Winnetka types how it feels to be black, Clarence Page (now who do you think HE favors for president?)

Now one reason they endorse Obama is Sarah Palin because her resume is so slight—with no reference to the fact that next to Obama’s dinky credentials her experience as a governor of a major state, oil and gas commissioner who negotiated with industry, is filled to overflowing. The real reason is …gasp…pro-life which Dold knows full well is why he was told to object objects to notwithstanding he’s a Catholic is that Palin is pro-life which is anathema to the Tower. But that doesn’t bother Dold. Give Dold a script and he’ll keep a reasonably straight face as he sells. Another reason they endorse Obama: the savvy Obama economic team. V-e-r-y impressive. Forget the ideas Obama has advanced. Forget the fact that a recession is the worst period to clamp on a tax hike, forget that Obama’s plan to hike taxes on corporations ignores that RIGHT NOW the rate of 35% is second highest in the world, that 663,000 small businesses that pay taxes vis-à-vis the top rate and major generators of U.S. jobs. Nope. This doesn’t interest the “Trib,” the supposed pro-business paper.

What impresses them is the list of economists Obama has recruited, not the ideas. You know…the TEAM.

The real reason is marketing the newspaper to avoid the oncoming disaster for it—nothing to do with the U. S. Nor ideas. The marketing angle is skewed to what the target: the affluent (or what used to be) upper middle. Pure business decision. Country, ideals, ideas, issues have nothing to do with it. That comes right down from the top, from the stubby little guy with the goutee, fringe haircut, eyes like slits, a dead ringer for the portrait of Lucifer on the old wooden match boxes . Yes, that guy, the swaggering egomaniac with the sulfurous language who uses the “f” word to subordinates…the tough little guy,—yes that one: the one who drives the motorcycle—the Sam who made the pants too long.

Actually the time has come when no one cares who Dold is or what the “Trib” believes today because they can’t find the editorial page anyhow in this ceaselessly ponderous USA Today look-alike that leaves ink smudges on your hands. That’s bad news for Dold, who has slaved so obediently to follow Sulfurous Sam’s marketing edict. He’s had to backtrack from a standard of once cock-sure editorials that take stands to the old evasive eras…pro-con and then a shrug “who knows?” For a time there Dold was actually turning out an acceptable editorial product. He’s back to the old time “stay tuned” and “time will tell.” He will certainly be the last editorial age editor in the paper’s headlong rush to the bottom. My guess: the “Sun-Times” will beat them but my wish is the “Trib” would fold up first. It would serve Little Lucifer his just desserts. The way they goofed up the makeover…a case of a mountain groaning and a mouse runs forth… makes me think my wish will come true.

Example: the worst-hit by this deadly makeover has got to be Eric Zorn…not cross-eyed, definitely liberal but with an independent mien who used to be the entrée to the Metro section and who now is cast adrift God knows where in the morass of the inky mélange The interesting thing is that what makes a paper worthy to be advertised in…picked up on the newsstand…and delivered to your doorstep…is known as “character.” That the “Tribune” had…long ago bartered away by the very first of Col. McCormick’s unworthy successors, Clayton Kirkpatrick. When the paper STOOD for something in the field of ideas it was fun to pick it up. Now it is every bit a throwaway as the “Sun-Times.”

When Sulfurous Sam hears the word “character” he reaches for his revolver—or turns on his motorcycle ignition. He distrusts anything to do with the word. Just remember, Dold is the one they tell to write the editorials but he has some residual character. Nobody else has. It’s sulfurous Sam, the son of refugees, who decided quite on the spur that Obama won’t…can’t…do much to hurt Israel so let’s go with him and look good since he’s going to win anyhow.

Anyway, what the hell. Let Israel take care of itself; we got my newspaper to shore up and to do it we got to get Kenilworth thinking like Kenwood that we’re with them in relevancy. With that, a hop on the cycle, a kick start and WWWWWWWRRROOOOM! Tie-less in Gaza.

The Soldier’s Revenge.

In the interim between serving Richard Nixon as HEW secretary and returning to Washington as Ronald Reagan’s secretary of defense, Cap Weinberger was a board member and an influential one of The Quaker Oats Company whom most fellow board members stayed in touch during his retirement, until his death two years ago. He was a guest several times on my radio show promoting books he had written.

When history is complete, it will be told that there was a hawk on the Reagan cabinet and a dove. Both once worked for Bechtel. The hawk was the secretary of state, George Shultz. The dove was Cap Weinberger. The dove was something…not quite…like George McClellan. He spent billions building up the armed services but dawdled at the brink many times and almost always…unless he was overruled…opted for peace. The hawk was a Ph.D, an ex-Marine who had been dean of the U of C business school who was not skittish about calling for use of the military. Both fought inside the tent like animals. Weinberger set out the rules the country should follow for engagement that required total and complete support of the populace for war. Shultz argued…realistically…that the post-Vietnam syndrome in the country—and a lessening of the old indomitable will—meant that there are very few times when a populace would support a war. In other words, the last fully supported war—World War II—would not return, Shultz said, so we have to face it. There will be times when the president will have to act and risk the consequences.

Reagan got burned in Lebanon when he sent Marines there and a good number were killed by insurgent terrorists when they bombed the Marine barracks. He withdrew them. He was always a good deal closer to Weinberger anyhow—basis the fact that Cap was his state commissioner of finance in California and steered him safely over many rocky shoals. Thereupon Reagan with Cap’s help turned the Teddy Roosevelt theory on its head. TR said “speak softly and carry a big stick.” Reagan spoke loudly, toughly but didn’t do all that much in the combat department. This “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” resonated but Reagan triumphed by convincing the USSR it couldn’t compete with us.

Weinberger was the guy who saw the value in Colin Powell starting from the time Powell served in a White House fellowship during the Nixon days when Cap was OMB director and HEW secretary. Despite the fact that Powell was severely downgraded by his officer at Fort Carson, Colo., Gen. John W. Hudacheck who said he was a poor leader who should not be promoted, Weinberger made Powell his senior military assistant during the 1983 invasion of Grenada and the 1986 air-strike on Libya and pushed him ahead quickly. Weinberger wanted an ally as national security adviser and in 1987 he got his favorite, Powell, named to the post at age of 49.

Skipping ahead, after he served as chairman of the joint chiefs under George H. W. Bush (and Bill Clinton), Weinberger convinced George W. Bush that he’d be a great asset as secretary of state designate during the 2000 campaign. Dick Cheney didn’t think so since he felt he saw Powell flinch in the first Gulf War—but saw the utility in a popular black having great p. r. value in the campaign as a potential secretary of state. In the run-up to the Iraq War, Powell was the odd person out: Weinberger of course was retired and there were few who echoed his old restraint, although Dick Armitage, Powell’s deputy, did. The new national security aide to Bush II, Condoleezza Rice, was more aligned to the hawkish Dick Cheney and Bush than to her old associations. Don Rumsfeld the secretary of defense was not greatly interested in following Powell’s lead given that Powell had blocked Rumsfeld with Reagan and Bush I.

There is no doubt that Colin Powell could have had almost anything he wanted from the Republicans. He had much to give them: a glittering resume, the priceless asset of blackness for a party that had no major black adherents. But he felt he had made sufficient concessions serving with conservatives and that if he made further he would compromise his manhood. His black friends put the pressure on him and so during the months when Powell was being considered for veep, Powell made it clear he was still a bona-fide “black man” in the popular, liberal sense of the word: meaning pro-affirmative action (after all, he was a product of it, was he not?), pro-abortion rights, pro-activist Supreme Court nominations. By so doing he ended his career before it began as a candidate.

All the while, the Bush people made Powell useful by force-feeding him to support their view of the Iraq War—a view with which I personally approve. Powell was a good soldier but his reputation took a heavy hit after the WMD debacle and he was loath to defend the War much. He left after the first term and vowed to get even. He maxxed out to John McCain in 2007 to show Bush his displeasure, he saw that at a certain point Bush and McCain would get together. He determined to show his black manhood in 2008 by standing up to his former white bosses and endorsing Barack Obama.

He not only endorsed Obama he leveled some serious charges at the Republican party. He helped Obama by savaging McCain on a key element of McCain’s campaign—Obama’s radical associations. He struck at Republican nominations to the court. It is noteworthy that Powell savaged Republicans for appointments, the same ones who named him national security adviser, chairman of the joint chiefs, secretary of state—and who made his son Michael chairman of the FCC.

At bottom, Powell was a young man on the make who allowed himself to be helped by a conservative secretary of defense who upped him to senior status and saw that he got 4 stars, a top White House appointment and chief of staff. But wilting from pressure of his friends that he was an Uncle Tom sell-out, he refused to make any concessions to ideology which would have given him a certain boost for veep. Then when his Republican patrons used him as a front for selling the war on Iraq, Powell the malleable went along and took the heat. Essentially a very weak position. If Powell opposed the Iraq War initially he should have resigned—the honorable thing to do. He chose not to. But he got even.

He got even yesterday on “Meet the Press.” But for all of it, for a man from Harlem who made his way in the dog-eat-dog world of military and politics, he came out very well. From receiving a bad report for lack of leadership and with a very-very sparse combat record he emerges top dog in national security in the White House, a 4-star and chairman of the joint chiefs, then secretary of state. He suffered a few scars as secretary of state because he wasn’t tough enough to either resist his superiors or strong enough to quit his post. But he got even. He screwed the Republicans in the end.

And if…as appears likely…Obama gets in, Powell, 71, might have even more opportunities in the future to get even with those Republicans who had promoted him affirmative action-style. In a sense it’s the old story with many blacks who came up in the 1970s:

The more whitey does for blacks out of noblesse oblige is simply selfish-- to make whitey feel good about himself. The hell with that. Whitey will have to pay for his liberalism feel-good stuff.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Personal Aside: Cross-Eyed Commentators—Those Who Are So Democratic Party-Oriented They Can’t See Straight.


But First, the Straight-Eyed.

Herewith begins a series of reviews on Chicago area newspaper columnists and TV reporters I called “cross-eyed”—so committed to the Democratic party they can’t see straight.

As we begin, let’s salute the straight-eyed. One is John Kass of the “Tribune” who should get a Pulitzer and is far ahead of the late Mike Royko for his perspicuity on local and national issues. Kass cheered the conviction of Scooter Libby, for example (while I didn’t) but he has been brilliant and unrelenting on his perception of the Daley machine’s co-optation of the left…at marked variance with the old order of Daley’s father. Kass’ analysis of the Hyde Park contingent and Billy Ayres has been the only glimmer of light in a Chicago media that has been almost unrelievedly impenetrable by the supine pro-Obama set.

Another who is straight-eyed…and you’ll be surprised to hear me cite her…is Lynn Sweet of the “Sun-Times.” She is undeniably a liberal but she’s a journalist first. Ever so often the Obama people do something that sticks in Lynn’s craw. She has the ability…based on her first-hand knowledge of politics (she probably knows the trade down to the nuts and bolts better than any other presidential-covering journalist to sift through the chaff put out by the Democrats. Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel, the Cassius-duo, are leery of her since she can puncture their armor at any moment.

Still another is Fran Spielman of the “Sun-Times” who covers city hall and does not allow herself to be romanced or intimidated by the Daley administration, resulting in fair, accurate and fearless coverage. I will always remember her writing in a news analysis story that Rahm Emanuel owes his soul to Daley. Aside from John Kass, no one else would ever say that unvarnished truth. The only exception I would make is that Emanuel sold his soul to Daley lock-stock-and-barrel when he was raising Jewish money…a proficiency at which he was deemed expert… many years ago.

More of the straight-eyed in subsequent issues.
The Cross-Eyed.

We start with Carol Marin the political columnist of the “Sun-Times.” She made her mark as a smooth TV anchor and feature reporter where her views were not readily known. Then came her rebellion at Channel 5 when management wanted to include Jerry Springer as a commentator. She left with a tsunami of favorable publicity but what wasn’t realized at the time was that her renegotiation was up for grabs and she might not have been retained anyway. But it worked. She has a smooth TV style--but as soon as she went over to the “Sun-Times” her mood 1960s Mother Superior attitude…literally…conveyed her true beliefs, that of a morally superior dilettante in politics who wants to enable true social justice on earth. Social justice means the welfare state…and which party better represents this goal than the Dems. All tied up in her sense of religious self-rectitude —which betrays, of course, a sense of vacuous non-theology.
Her first column was to celebrate that 14-carat phony with a self-embroidered history of radical activism from yesteryear, Studs Terkel, 96, a self-promoting agnostic windbag who named one of his kids after declared Communist stage actor and singer Paul Robson and , to hear Terkel tell it in his rasping voice which thrills his listeners since they fathom the real man of the street is talking… marched with the Wobblies, braved assaults from the club-wielding goons in the Armour strike, endured beatings with Walter Reuther in the Detroit sit-down strikes of the 1930, fought the white racists who opposed blacks swimming off a South Side pier in the 1920s, was black-listed because of his opposition to that hideous Joe McCarthy…all the stories inflating in coloration by the year—some invented out of whole cloth--while Ms. Marin beamed expressively and accepted his supposed man-in-the-street lingo as true genre.

As the late Steve Neal, no conservative, pointed out in a column Terkel never did anything of note for the “working class,” is in reality a b.s’ing blatherer of tales who would long since have been thrown out of a neighborhood bar for inculcating terminal boredom, since he has lived far longer than most and has license to exaggerate scandalously without fact-checking. Aside from a brief acting career on early TV, Terkel’s has done nothing noteworthy except to snap on a tape recorder and capture stories from first-hand participants for which, as a canny capitalist, he paid nothing but from which he made a fortune for himself—beginning with “Division Street America.” A self-proclaimed man of the people, he deliberately never learned to drive and rides a bus, taking care to sit by the window where he, festooned in his red-checked shirt, can be quickly glimpsed. I debated him once at Bughouse Square. A coward when confronted, this giant puff ball self-inflated turned into a clawless pussy cat. I actually went easy on him after he caved. It was the first time he was ever called on any of his stories because his recollections were at variance with history. Marin the dilettante swallows it all.
The late John McDermott a once squishy soft liberal but always a truly authenticist Catholic (who changed to a Reagan voter because of the pro-life issue,…and who was for years an office mate of mine)…once embarked on a self-designated campaign to encourage Marin, either a fallen away or fallen away wanna-be to re-embrace the faith. According to McDermott her conditions involved the whole swath of feminism: contraception, abortion rights, keep-your-hands-off-my-womb, women priests, women bishops, gay rights. Oh, said I, sarcastically, by all means let us immediately reformulate 2000 years of theology so Carol will go back to the church! He never gave up on her and remembered her in his prayers every day. I said: save your breath.
So Democratic party cross-eyed is she that when she interviewed Henry Hyde for her paper she had to put in the piece that she told him she came from a family where the women never voted Republican—as if anyone cares…but it was her way of squaring herself to write about him at all. Her way of getting an insight into how the presidential campaign is going is to sit down with David Axelrod whom (ith her little girl naivete) he thinks will give it to her straight. So cross-eyed is she that she actually believes this stuff.

And of course she is also the cross-eyed political editor of Channel 5 and cross-eyed contributor to “Chicago Tonight” on Channel 11 (the latter sorely missing the cerebral presence of John Callaway). His successor, the rudderless Phil Ponce. Ponce…a “tennis anyone?” subject…would be an excellent lead in a revival of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” his bland face unblemished by horrid thought lines caused by introspection as he has not been overly burdened by ideas (only a dab with a powder puff is needed to erase his 50 something years). Under the fashionable but mindless leftism of manager Dan Schmidt who is intent of pushing the gay agenda which is his special interest, Ponce regards panels as consisting of only those who fundamentally agree with liberal positioning…with him doing nothing more than shooting his eyes from guest to guest like a tennis game watcher). Incidentally, we will have a litter of Ponces to watch for at least another generation as he has sired two sons who are on other TV stations, interchangeable, inoffensive, eager to please look-alikes…and maybe more to come.
Elizabeth Brackett is an interviewer on the WTTW show but not cross-eyed. More about her later.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Personal Asides: Axelrod’s Invention of New Debate Rules. Will You Believe Me or Your Own Eyes?...Chris Buckley for Obama…Abolish the Current Catholic Charities and Form a New One.



Until recently the most devastating thing that can happen in a debate or a two-man talking head confrontation on television is after one participant claims his opponent wrote something which the adversary hotly denies, to have the originator of the charge produce a paper that shows indeed what the adversary wrote. In years past, I debated David Axelrod numberless times and while I never called him on something he had written…because in his early years he was careful not to write much…it was understood as a given that one debate partner could trump the other by waving the paper of proof.

But since then, Axelrod has moved from his always slippery confrontation in debate to a negation of fact notwithstanding that one’s eyes tell you so. It is a logical outgrowth of the relativism, the disdaining of all absolutes, that in recent years has guided this wily eel who wears the toga as “reformer” when he works for Barack Obama and the opposite when he lobbies (without registration) where he is indentured to the Daley administration. While his candidate inveighs against the pernicious force of lobbyists, mere technicalities keep him from admitting that Axelrod is a heavy, deep-pockets lobbyist for Mayor Daley…a case from which the slavishly pro-Obama, supine, boob media avert their eyes.

Now the tall, pale-faced Artful Dodger with drooping mustache has pioneered yet another strategy which vitiates the presence of all objective truth. Appearing on Fox News Sunday with a McCain aide, the McCain person properly said that Axelrod defended in written word the principle of patronage for political service. Axelrod looked at the camera and just said it was all a lie. The viewer is left to hear the charge and denial. After the television show it was demonstrated that Axelrod did indeed write a tract for the “Tribune”—but that is of no concern to Axelrod as he blunted the charge while the show was on. Not that what Axelrod wrote was faulty. There is, of course, ample justification for a modicum of legitimate patronage in city government based on political activity—which the early Axelrod (in indentured service to his Daley master) wrote…but the first reaction is to deny-deny-deny in order to get by an embarrassing moment.

Axelrod has brought his Axelrod theory of anti-intellectual lying and denial of fact to the presidential debate featuring his candidate. Obama’s calm demeanor and sad shaking of his head fits in well with the abject relativism and negation of absolutes his mentor is famous for. Once when we were friends, Axelrod related a story about Tom Keane, the city council finance chairman who went to jail under Richard J. Daley for lining his pockets on real estate deals. That was when Dick Simpson had first come to the council—a near north idealistic professor. Axelrod said as Keane walked out of the council chambers he muttered about Simpson, “he really believes this stuff, doesn’t he?’’

There was a time when Axelrod did too. Wealth, proliferation of big money contracts, the chopping up of his soul into tiny fragments to serve different and often contradictory masters have produced a beady-eyed gerbil on the make. Too bad, He has become a great tutor for another guy on the fast make who denies insatiably, sure that checking the facts is too arduous for average viewers to do. This tactic is similar to that of Joe Biden who invents scenarios involving national security which get him by on the stump and in debate which research has never quite been able to catch up with.

The Lincoln-Douglas debates were brilliant exercises in two exemplars of thought. They exist because the two propounded well the issues that divided the nation. If Axelrod had any influence with either—but let us say Douglas--he’d have the Little Giant simply deny-deny-deny, get on the train and make it to the next stop where depending on the mood of the geographical electorate he would either affirm or deny a charge which suits his convenience. This decadence in political strategy can well be called Axelrod-ism. And the media admiringly think it’s cute.

Oh there’s another Axelrod-gerbil reaction that satisfies the boob media. Unable to shake questions about his boss’s killing the Born Alive bill four straight times in the legislature, he first said it was different from the congressional bill that passed. No. Then he said there was adequate legislation to prevent babies born from botched abortions from being allowed to languish and die—as one did in Nurse Jill Stanek’s arms in the hideously misnamed Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn. That didn’t work either since many protections were passed to safeguard blacks since the Civil War—three amendments and numberless civil rights laws.

So now Axelrod has ordained that the response to this charge is that it is “disgraceful.” Disgraceful it is but not the charge. Of course the supine, star-struck media here accepts what he says at face value.

Christopher Buckley for Obama.

We have all noticed in genealogy the tendency of great men to provide disappointments in their progeny. Some with the Adamses plus a few notable exceptions-- but the F. D. Roosevelts certainly. Sen. Robert Taft sired a weak kid named Bob Taft who in the Senate could never make up his mind about anything…and HE produced another Bob Taft as governor who was corrupt. The English Catholic church had in the 1940s and `50s its greatest living apologist in Frank Sheed who spoke in defense of traditionalist theology in Hyde Park, taking on all covers. With his wife Maisie, he formed a great publishing house. His great masterpiece of theology was “To Know Christ Jesus.” Such magnificent heritage went to waste with their son Wilfred, a fop who inherited a literary style which he used to denigrate his parents in the book “Frank and Maisie.”

At least Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s only child, Arthur, changed his name and melted into the scene as a cocktail party pianist, recognizing that he was not up to his father and grandfather…where he probably drinks himself in insensibility every night but at least he’s quiet about it. Now we have Bill Buckley’s son Christopher who is a literary celebrity of sorts but evidently cannot confront his father’s reputation—so he veers off and endorses Barack Obama. We cannot know for sure but something must have weakened the sperm count in his conception.

I am probably the only one who feels that Richard M. Daley is not fit to loosen the sandal straps of his late father Richard J., because of one major fault. Richard J. took risks with his popularity and saw himself hated by the liberal boob media while he saved this city from becoming another Detroit. Richard M. began by assimilating the left into a new variant of a machine and presides over it with higher popularity than his father has had. But if Richard M. has succeeded by the Machiavelli strategy, he has become weakened and impotent by a disparate coalition where he fears to displease anyone. The biggest thing a mayor can do is not to plant flowers or beautify or built multi-millionaire parks with huge cost overruns. It is to protect the lives of the citizens in his community.

Rudy Giuliani decided to do this by taking on the ACLU and defending his police department against the antics of so-called “human rights” advocates including the editorial board of “The New York Times.” Richard M. Daley is a tool of the ACLU left he assimilated and has hired a police superintendent who is a hugely overpaid body builder who has never walked a beat—with the result that his police department has no respect for him and recognizes that if they stick their necks out Daley will flee to the protective cover of the ACLU and the radical Father Pleger who is on the police board.

“Catholic”? Charities.

The other day Terry Scanlon, president of the Capitol Research Center in Washington, D. C. which gives dispassionate scrutiny to charities, spoke at the Catholic Citizens of Illinois meeting and said what we all know—that huge double digits of federal money come to the Charities nationally, trickle down to the state and local archdiocesan levels…and turn the once pristine arm of Catholic social action into just another federal largesse machine, dispensing stuff the Church is opposed to and looks the other way—contraceptives, abortion referrals on occasion et al. In one diocese, Richmond, Virginia, Catholic Charities arranged an abortion for a young pregnant woman.

At the session were two women who are employed by Catholic Charities here. Their case was somewhat persuasive. Much of what Charities dispenses is invaluable to the poor (apart from the contraceptives and on the quiet abortion referrals). What to do? What to do is simply this. George Cardinal Mundelein started Catholic Charities during the Depression and it received largesse almost from the outset from the federal government. But now the federal monies blur the distinction between Church and government. Everyone agrees that in the broad overall, The Salvation Army is an efficacious agency. What should happen if we had an archdiocese with the courage to divide the causes dividing God and mammon is to strip Catholic Charities to the bone, reject federal grants and turn it all over to the Army. Then start a smaller one with a private budget…thus sparing the Church from the embarrassment of violating its strictures, allowing it to have crucifixes on the walls et al. In essence a true smaller but purpose-directed Catholic Charities…and let the Salvation Army do the rest.

This won’t sit well with the man who really runs things in the Church here, Chancellor Jimmy Lago (which is his baptismal name and not used here as a term of endearment) who was once head of Catholic Charities and who is the top bureaucrat with legendary connections to the Cook county and Illinois Democratic party. But there may come a time, who knows, when Jimmy will be gone.