Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Personal Aside: A Very Interested Reader in Rome.


As many of you know, I publish a weekly column in “The Wanderer,” the oldest national Catholic weekly in the United States. A priest who just returned from a decade of service in the Vatican tells me the newspaper has a very interested reader in Rome…one who after his Mass sips kaffee und koogan and reads U.S. periodicals…adorned in white, wearing a matching skull cap…one who speaks German as his first language but who is also fluent in English, Italian, French, Spanish, Latin, ancient Greek and biblical Hebrew. If he kept to his reading habits last week and perused the paper thoroughly…as he is wont to do…this is what he read about America’s politics and president:

For the first time last week, it became obvious that the American public is now struggling with a bi-polar notion of Barack Obama.

America Bi-Polar on Obama.

In the sensory hemisphere of the public brain, Americans are clearly enjoying the sensation of being seduced by his undeniable charm. On The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno, the president of the United States was brilliant: relaxed, chatty, witty, silken…and awful. Awful at comparing his poor bowling score to what could be compiled by Special Olympics bowlers composed of physically and/or mentally impaired individuals. But the slobbering pro-Obama media minimized it and finally whooshed it all away. If George W. Bush had said that, there’d be a ring of wheel-chaired invalids circling the White House howling at his insensitivity.

On Leno he co-mingled mastery of economic jargon with enough command of numbers to impress viewers and tossed in hip allusions to Simon Cowell and Kevin Eubanks. Who are they? Cowell is the acerbic Brit critic who appears on American Idol. Eubanks is a black jazz guitarist who leads Leno’s studio orchestra who habitually slumps in leisure clothes as he strums…often the butt of Leno’s jokes on marijuana use, and porno viewing. Obama, riffing about Cowell and ribbing Eubanks for wearing a suit and tie (for the first time on TV) clearly pleased his strongest demographic (after blacks) kids 18 to 29.

This sensation-tingling hemisphere of the public brain loves him.

But the second hemisphere of the public brain, rationality, is terribly worried about the economic fate of their nation and the carelessness with which a majority believes spending and spiraling debt are being managed. No hint of the seriousness confronting the nation came through from the president on Leno but did a few days later on 60 Minutes—but from the CBS interviewer, not Obama. Once again Obama sprinkled his discussion of the most serious economic nature with jokes and one-liners reflecting blithe lack of concern and nonchalance. It prompted veteran liberal interviewer Steve Kroft to exclaim: “Are you punch-drunk?” The giggling stopped. It was clearly the most insolent question I can remember being asked by a reporter to a president.

Still, Kroft had a point. Increasingly, many Americans are worried that for all his charm, Obama may not have the depth to handle the job. It was probably this reason that Obama decided to go dull and non-charismatic in his second news conference where the teleprompter was replaced by a huge flat, TV-like screen which rolled his initial remarks.

The AIG Bonus Flap.

Seemingly everyone, last week…Congress, the president and the media…professed outrage with bonuses paid by federal funds to executives of AIG’s financial products division who caused the meltdown. But the bonuses were not a surprise to Treasury, Obama or congressional leaders because they sprang from a firm contract made months ago which was publicly reported in Bloomberg and Barron’s weeks ago.

Both White House and congress knew they were concluded with a firm contract between Tim Geithner, now treasury secretary, then New York Fed president, and AIG for a very good reason. Only those who inadvertently created the mess have the expertise to get AIG out of it and were they to leave, both AIG and the Fed would have a devil of a time unwinding it. Although a huge p. r. gaffe as we approach off-year elections, the bonuses amount to exactly 1/18,500th of the $3.1 trillion federal budget. This recession was not caused--nor is it being worsened—by such bonuses. The recession is caused by lack of credit spawned by dearth of confidence produced by no plan (at least until now) to detoxify the banks.

Far worse than the bonuses themselves was the media smokescreen the president and a coalition of senators whipped up to dodge blame. The president says he was “stunned” to discover the bonuses in the bill he signed and neither he nor his staff read fully. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) suggested bonus recipients should return the money and then commit suicide, citing imperial Japanese tradition when one is caught in dishonor—a statement for which he has refused to apologize (of course, he’s up for reelection next year).

Demagogues in the Senate hatched a plan to reclaim the money by unconstitutional confiscation. It involves violating the constitution’s Article I, section 9, clause 3--through specially onerous taxation: 90% for those getting the bonuses. This is nothing less than a Bill of Attainder …an act of a legislature declaring persons guilty of some crime ex post facto, punishing them without a trial and confiscating their money by taxation applicable only to the supposed offenders. The bill is on hold as New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo works his way down the list “convincing” bonus recipients to pay it back. He’s extracted by force…threatening to release to the public the recipients’ names…$50 million thus far—thuggery which qualifies him for a role in The Godfather IV if one is made.

By staging the phony uproar the Congress hoped to divert public anger from the pols to AIG. But…for me anyhow…the measured response from an exec veep of the company’s financial products division published in “The New York Times” made a lot of sense that these guys have been made the goats. Three denizens of Congress who were particularly repulsive last week: Barney Frank, of course, the lisping, swarthy tub of lard with a boyfriend at the appropriately named Fannie Mae…Charles Grassley who suggested AIG bonus recipients should return the money and commit suicide…and, of course, the most pompous bore, Chris Dodd.

Also, showboat Dems and Republicans capitalized on the public outrage over the bonuses to barbecue an innocent guy who had nothing to do with the bonus awards: Edward Liddy, the public-spirited Chicago executive, former Allstate CEO and G. D. Searle CFO who volunteered to run the company for $1 a year pro bono after it ran into trouble. Shouting mad lawmakers who had just given themselves a raise of $4,700 a year to their $175,000 salaries constituted the most flagrant hypocrisy in modern memory, even by Capitol Hill standards.

Worsening Budget Woes.

Breaking at the same time as Obama’s appearance on 60 Minutes was news from the Congressional Budget Office (now run by Dems) showing the Obama budget will produce $9.3 trillion in red ink from 2010 to 2019—a full $2.3 trillion worse than the White House had predicted. The CBO says deficit under Obama policies will never dip below 4% of the economy’s size—figures most economists see are unsustainable over the long run. Moreover by the end of the decade the deficit will likely exceed 5% of GDP, a seriously dangerous level.

Still Obama indicated he will not cut back on the original tenets of his budget including energy, health care and education. Of course not. Rahm Emanuel has applied his bare knuckled Chicago style to the problem, saying “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. It’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Accordingly, Obama is using the emergency to enact the most revolutionary upheaval of society in the country’s history--enormous spending and federalization grabs in energy to “find new sources” and clamp on a cap-and-trade tax (not utilizing the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and the Outer Continental Shelf) in health care heavily nationalize it and in education to nationalize it with universal access to college as the goal.

Also last week came the long awaited Geithner plan to bailout banking’s toxic assets, aimed at unclogging the nation’s credit system. A coordinated effort by Treasury, the Fed and FDIC, it depends on a mix of federal and private funds to do the job. Commented University of Illinois law professor Larry Ribstein in probably the best surmise of the plan: “So now we have an elaborate shell game. The government subsidizes private equity companies to buy the assets at inflated values…[but] buyers are exposed only for the minimal payments they’re making on these hugely leveraged deals…[and] taxpayers who provided most of the money will bear most of the loss.”

If the Geithner plan works, Obama can riff his way through his first term without much worry. But if it doesn’t, get ready for a real pitchfork brigade composed of activists from left as well as right. The budget is so expensive Obama may not be able to sell this to his own Democrats. This is what has led no less a liberal prognosticator as Charlie Cooke to reason on ultra-liberal Obama idolater Chris Matthews’ MSNBC’s Hardball last week that the public may well be feeling buyer’s remorse, believing it made a grave mistake in giving unchecked power to the Democrats in Congress last year while electing Obama. When Dem apologists Cooke and Matthews shake their heads, something powerful’s afoot.

2010 Will be the Reckoning.

People are gravely concerned that in the words of Will Rogers, the Democratic Congress doesn’t seem to pass administration spending measures anymore: it just waves as they pass by. Obama handed over to ex-`60s hippie Nancy Pelosi of all people the important stimulus bill and it came back laden with non-essential liberal wishes, including repeal of the welfare reform legislation okayed under Clinton…which Obama cavalierly signed into law without reading.

Those midterm elections can easily do to Obama what midterms did to FDR whose high-powered New Deal suffered setbacks in 1938 when the Depression and unemployment didn’t abate. Then the GOP didn’t need to win a majority, or anything like this to do it: in `38 the congressional ground game changed with only one upset--the election of Robert A. Taft. Taft energized a coalition of Republicans and southern Democrats that spared the country from the New Deal’s worst excesses, managing it as uncrowned leader of the Senate until his death in 1953.

In 2010 vital conservative candidates will challenge wheeler-dealer (and liar to boot) Chris Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat who is long overdue for retirement. There will be a hot primary that could well dislodge wily old Republican Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania. Even if a Democrat wins the general, it will be a welcome draft of fresh air to get rid of that ancient turncoat.

Even impregnable Democrat House members can be great fodder for other congressional races. The names Charlie Rangel (D-NY), John Murtha (D-Pa), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)—all serious ethics violators--are all well known across the country. They’ll replace the names of Jack Abramoff the fixer and Cong. Mark Foley (R-Fl.) listed as horrible examples in 2006 used by the Dems to wrest control. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi who has called federal interference with illegal aliens “un-American” can be a wonderful campaign aid for the GOP.

Then there are some favorable demographics for the Republicans. Off-years almost always show a slackening of voter turnout in behalf of an administration. Catch these numbers: whites who supported McCain by 55% to 43% were 74% of the electorate last year but they constituted 79% in the last off-year of 2006 and will likely top it next year. Voters ages 18 to 29, Obama’s biggest age group last year, ranked at 18% last November but amounted to only 12% in 2006.

One bit of good news about the economy has to do with social issues many authenticist Catholics are interested in. With so much on Obama’s plate and his need to attract coalitions for his programs, he’s not likely to move aggressively on FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) or to tamper with the “conscience clause” affecting Catholic hospitals. He doesn’t need to alienate everybody all at once.

So don’t despair. All I can do is quote Bette Davis’ immortal line in 1950’s classic All About Eve: “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

Notre Dame’s Commencement Speaker.

Erupting for authenticist Catholics last week was the latest Notre Dame outrage. Disregarding the counsel of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the university invited Barack Obama to deliver the 2009 commencement…yes, that Obama who as state senator personally strangled the Illinois Born Alive bill twice in the legislature, voting to deprive babies born from botched abortions to receive nourishment or comfort…and yes the same Barack Obama puts as top priority passage of FOCA…the self-same Obama who diverted money from adult stem cell research where cures are achieved to fund the murder of human embryonic cells where cures aren’t and who called it taking politics out of science…a diabolical U-turn in logic.

In fact, Notre Dame along with many other big name behemoth schools of learning is not a Catholic university but a Catholic-in-name-only university (CINO). That includes Georgetown, DePaul and Loyola here in Chicago and many, many others across the country.

What happened to them? Three things: (a) changes in the schools’ bylaws insulate faculties from head office accountability…(b) changes in boards of trustees from those devoted to Catholic education to big donors, many non-Catholics but also Catholics unacquainted with articles of the faith…and (c) secular-style marketing that has deemphasized Catholicism for widespread secular appeal to get more students and grants for big bucks which pay for exorbitant salaries going to some supposed “big name” professors.

This means that in most large CINO universities, the president is not much more than a figure-head, fund-raiser and faculty recruiter. The two big constituencies that pull much more weight are (a) the faculty and (b) the trustees (composed of big donors, well established ex-pols with clout to get federal or state grants, and tokens: blacks, Hispanics, women et al).

As one who has taught part-time at many, let me tell you the object of the game is prestige which lures the money. Recruit big name professors, pay them a ton of money and they will attract the students. And for commencements, get a big name. Obviously there is no bigger name than the president of the United States (or POTUS). To land a president is irresistible to hefty donors, the faculty, the media and the graduates who say “my school had a bigger celebrity than your school” meaning “my degree is more prestigious than yours is—nyaa-nyaa!”

You can write letters of protest to the Notre Dame president to ease your own blood pressure (his name: Father John Jenkins, CSC) but all you’ll get is a nice letter back.

What, then, to do? You can lobby big donors and alumni to protest…but often big donors are ill-educated on Catholic matters and alumni are often too engrossed in making their livings to care much. In my estimation when all fails, it is best to beg the local bishop to consider applying the nuclear option.

The Nuclear Option.

It starts by petitioning the local bishop to consider withdrawal of the Catholic designation from the offending university. The bishop could start off by making the threat at first privately, then publicly in the media. If he has the inner resolve to carry it out, there’ll be some personal suffering on his part. Assuredly the media will make him look like Tomas de Torquemada (the Spanish inquisitor-in-chief 1420-98) and the offending school will be lauded as a “champion of academic freedom.” But make no mistake, for a bishop to even suggest publicly he is considering removing “Catholic” would stress the seriousness of the matter. And if only one Ordinary is serious, it could cause an earthquake that could make changes. An Archbishop Raymond Burke now in Rome would have been the type of courageous individual who could make that announcement…and failing favorable negotiations…make it stick.

And if the school allows its Catholic designation to be stripped? My feeling is this: it’s far better to have only Catholic universities which do not violate their covenant than to have big name ones which mock Catholicism. Many CINO-run schools run roughshod over values, morals and traditions. DePaul in Chicago where I part-time taught advertises itself as the “largest Catholic institution of higher learning in the country.” It actually foments training in the homosexual culture for freshmen with a minor in so-called Queer Studies. What value is DePaul to Catholicism? The same with Loyola of Chicago where I was an adjunct professor.

In my view, nothing…even being libeled as a Torquemada…is as bad as allowing false teaching that contradicts the reason these schools…our country…and our Church… were founded.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Personal Aside: Mary, Mary Quite, er What?...Lavender Clergy Stunts Catholicism’s Growth…and Two Thoughts While Shaving.

Mary, Mary…

With superb liberal self-righteousness…brimming with much fervor as advocate herself …“Tribune” columnist Mary Schmich is thrilled that Loyola’s law school has allowed a panel to support same-sex marriage with evidently no formal contrary views represented by a contradictory speaker. The forum was conjured up by a group that calls itself “OUTlaw.” Schmich’s heart went a-tremble as she wrote Friday that “flat-screen TVs all over the school were advertising the presentation.” A Loyola faculty member is its counselor.

Then she happily reported that State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) who’s openly gay and an AIDS victim will be there to push his civil union bill and so will lawyers urging same-sex marriage hailing from Iowa and California. “But [more than anything else] the fact that one of Chicago’s Catholic institutions was opening its grand `ceremonial courtroom’ to same-sex marriage advocates” justified her elation. Ergo: when a Catholic institution caves, it’s heady stuff.

She described an OUTlaw co-founder as society reporter of old would write of a bride’s gown at a wedding: A OUTlaw co-founder is “a slender guy with short auburn hair, neatly dressed in slacks, a white shirt and a navy pullover.” If I didn’t know better I would have surmised Schmich had a crush on him.

A second point intriguing Schmich is that there will evidently be no opposition views represented on the panel but will serve as a gusher of anti-traditionalist propaganda that runs only one way: pro-same-sex marriage. She concedes “students will come to argue” i.e. but they will presumably be in the audience—not serving on the panel. This is very like the brand of “advocacy” endorsed by Herbert Marcuse in “One Dimensional Man” [1964] who argues America should not be confused by cross-currents of disagreements but should center on rigid hard-left advocacy as form of social control…which certainty fits Schmich’s own column-ing style on social issues of importance to her anent homosexuality.

As a former adjunct professor there and knowing how the gay movement cherishes dissent, I will say that a lonely heterosexual in the audience to defend the tradition of 5,000 years in the West will have to withstand charges of intolerance, bigotry and Neanderthal-ism from two quarters: panelists and the overwhelming number of fellow attendees. There will certainly be no support for orthodoxy from the lavenders and emasculated neuters, comprising the preponderant Jesuit clergy at Loyola who defer to the university president’s own ideologically fragranced beliefs.

As the conclusion of her column, Schmich, walks with her OUTlaw companion to the ceremonial courtroom where the “symposium” will be held…with this purple prose descriptive:

“The ceilings soared and Chicago rose across the walls of windows. Out in the changing, growing city old buildings crowded next to new ones and next to buildings so freshly under construction that you couldn’t know exactly what they’d look like, only that one day soon they’d be there and that once they were there we’d take them for granted.

“Just like, I’m betting, same-sex marriage.”

I’m willing to take that bet. On my side: the long tradition of Judeo-Christian thought that while eschewing hatred or persecution considers homosexuality incompatible with God’s plan for human sexuality…natural law, scripture, and Tradition…the recognition that we are all under God’s judgment, that we are all lost and condemned sinners, that we are all born with a sinful nature that spurs sinful thoughts and actions, that the most important message is the promise of forgiveness and eternal life for which God sent his Son into this world to live a perfect life and die a perfect death as payment for our sins…concluding with this: homosexuals leading celibate lives will be immeasurably aided by Christ’s promise to all of us born with malefactions: that if we take up His cross we will find our burdens light.

Isn’t it a shame Loyola doesn’t have the fortitude to summon up another symposium so the case for which Ignatius Loyola stood can get a hearing?

But that wouldn’t rate a column by Mary Schmich.

The Lavender Clergy.

The gay rights movement now has become an indissoluble part of a mental disorder known as “modern liberalism” which moved from the domain largely of one political party in my younger days to the status of civil religion in the United States.

This new liberalism of gay rights which is essentially hedonism…self-masturbatory gratification…has invaded the precincts of Catholic education and has supplanted the Church’s philosophy and theology in many key faculties. The chaos stemming from radical, heretical theological interpretations of “the spirit of Vatican II” helped. The gradual diminishing of the role of university president has helped the growth immeasurably…along with the rise of the all-powerful faculties and the abdication from responsibility of university trustees: once scholars themselves, now largely people of wealth and political influence with no permanent convictions except that the universities should cultivate “prestige” so as to rake in more money.

As a new civil religion, liberalism has moved into Catholic intellectual life by embodying perceptions of victimization…the need to satisfy child-like claims to entitlement…bolstering feelings of envy: the rich should have the obligation to pay higher taxes imposed by the government purportedly to benefit those who are poor…rejecting the sovereignty of the individual to the overriding power of big government: all spuriously linked to the so-called “social teachings of the Church.” Homosexuals are seen in the same way black slaves were since 1620 except that…the dogma goes…homosexuals are still despised. Hence the Church should depart its old dogmas on sex as a conduit for procreation and embrace a new order.

Seminaries and religious orders beginning in the 1940s…including at my own Saint John’s of Minnesota which was once a traditional Thomistic-directed university…crafted an entirely new schema of “responsibility” which denigrated capitalism, rose up the “idealism” of labor unions and then moved to embrace government as the solver of all problems. At the same time came the sexual revolution and the Benedictine monastery’s Fr. Godfrey Diekmann OSB was ready to pounce. His new theology which began as a refreshing commentary on the old moved steadily leftward with an outreach in politics that continues today.

Diekmann was a man’s man, an athlete and in no ways a lavender—but his revolutionary theology cratered the campus in later years. Revolutionary thinking creates revolutionary living. No one less than the abbot of Saint John’s confessed to homosexual predatory practices and the campus has degenerated into just another secular near-behemoth.

Women were regarded as victims, chattel who were required to have as many children as the lustful husband caused her to bear: they should be aided not by natural family planning which is acceptable under Thomistic rubric but artificial contraception. Hence the struggle against “Humanae Vitae” and the decision by many error-prone theologians to accept artificial birth control. It so happened I was on hand when the first towering heretic emerged to transform much of the contemporary thinking of church scholars. Diekmann OSB became a major dissenter of “Humanae Vitae”. Then the cause moved to a so-called woman’s right to control their own bodies notwithstanding that the unborn child within them was also a person. This was denied and abortion rights were propagated in Catholic universities, not as a formal teaching at first but under-cover: now as a teaching formally prescribed by many professors at Catholic universities.

The sexual revolution virtually destroyed the women’s religious Orders. It also propelled men, principally, to examine their own sexual identifies. Some who believed themselves homosexual decided to go where men are: cohabit in seminaries and monasteries where they can find similarly affected fellows. They became priests. Then bishops. Then bishops who recommended others for the priesthood. Then priests who recruited their buddies to the seminaries. Not all became involved, of course, but the prevalence is significant. Throughout, honorable religious stood their ground. The identity of the Church was greatly helped by the personal prelature “Opus Dei” for one, which…although I am not a member…shows often to me at least that it is the authentic Church in exile.

Those who became involved in homosexual encounters and then repented were blackmailed…indeed are blackmailed now…so that in fear of discovery of their past they are held captive by their clerical fellows who know much about them. Some notable bishops and cardinals are in that condition. But throughout the ordeal good priests, good brothers, good lay organizations have continued to thrive.

Still, lavender is a major condition of much of the clergy…including much of the ecclesial leadership today. At my old university the sexual revolution raged so greatly in the `70s that the school itself for all practical purposes is a secular factory concentrating on a range of subjects but not distinguished by any theological vision beyond advocacy of political liberalism. I was, for all practical purposes, the last commencement speaker there to deliver in 1977…who spoke of any theological matters: in my case pro-life. The reaction was intriguing. The faculty sat on its hands and refrained from applause when I concluded. The student body, never having heard these ideas before, was dazed. Only the student body’s parents roared their approval and responded with a standing ovation. A high academic leader of the university…a priest…sniffed: “That was, er,er,er very interesting.”

Interestingly enough, he died a few years later—of AIDS.

The Lavender Clergy populate most old-line Catholic universities with which I am acquainted and has much…very much…to say about the conduct of dioceses. In doing so they are tied inextricably to the liberal Democratic party. Am I pessimistic? Actually, no.

Anyone who knows the history of this Church understands that it has survived for 2,000 plus years not because of luck but because it is Divine—from servitude and persecution under the Roman imperium, the flourishing of heresies, the near collapse to the barbarian, the rise and near fall to the Muslims, the crusades, the rise of Protestantism, the Inquisition, the Renaissance, centuries of war. But not only troubles flourished but indeed its building of western civilization: invention of the university, invention of modern science, the highest development of painting and sculpture, the composition of great music, preservation of western civilization by the monks, the creation of modern philosophy adapted by Augustine and Aquinas from Aristotle who had been largely forgotten down to the genius of William Shakespeare whose plays written in times of persecution show brilliant Catholic insights. But most of all the saints both canonized and unrecognized—from the great pillars of strength to the humble nuns who sacrificed much to teach and minister to the weak.

Thus the Lavender Clergy is just another painful period which we shall endure. Why? Because Christ said this Church shall survive to the end of time. But in all these difficult times, don’t count on the indomitable role of bishops to stand the guff. When Henry VIII ordered all Catholic bishops to take a blood oath of obedience to him as head of the Catholic church in England in the 16th century, there were 25 bishops: of which 24 obeyed.

The sole one who dissented was John Fisher, bishop of Rochester, England who was sent to the Tower of London. To dissuade Henry from decapitating Fisher, the Pope made Fisher a cardinal and so notified Henry saying that Fisher’s red hat was on the way to England. Henry responded: save your time; Fisher’s head will be on its way to Rome. Fisher is the only member of the College of Cardinals…the only one…who was martyred…of a group that has taken red—the symbol of blood—as emblematic that they are to sacrifice all…even their lives…to uphold the faith.

He is now incardinated as Saint John Fisher [1469-1535]. From that time on, the Church has been under attack from many quarters—now principally with the sexual revolution…then with Henry VIII’s autonomy…but it is noteworthy that we have not seen a cardinal in our time or within the cognizance of church historians who have validated the tenet of the cardinalate. Today you can’t find a cardinal to even consider stripping the designation “Catholic” from an erring and heretical CINO institution, can you?

Since I started writing of this subject, there has been an indication from one writer that actually Edward Cardinal Egan stripped the Catholic designation from two relatively minor Catholic universities…but on examination I find that while he condemned them, he did not take the formal nuclear option. If you have found differently, please tell me either in a note to this website or to me personally at thomasfroeser@sbcglobal.net.

Two Thoughts While Shaving.

1. Many-many thanks to steadfast reader Mike Buck who has loaned me a video which will enable me to view…for the first time ever…a Will Rogers film. It is “Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” I shall view it this week as I gently sip my obligatory one…yes one…scotch and soda and will return it and another he has sent to Michael upon completion.

2. My thanks to a reader who passed along to a canon lawyer my recommendation that as a last resort a CINO university could be threatened by the bishop with the possibility of withdrawal of the Catholic designation. After I read the canon lawyer’s finding, I took it up with an authenticist bishop and we come to loggerheads.

The canon law expert says that with the exception of Catholic University of America there is not one “Catholic” university in the United States where a local Ordinary could bring serious canonical pressure to bear for the reason that every one of them is organized solely from the perspective of civil law i.e. none of them are canonically erected, pointed out by Prof. James Coriden in one of his commentaries to the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

In addition to which an expert opinion was prepared in 1983 by Msgr. Frederick McManus, professor of canon law that stated canons 807-814 were prepared with reference to European universities but don’t apply to American “Catholic” universities…copies of which were sent to the presidents of every “Catholic” university in the country.

Thus, the canon law expert concludes, a local Ordinary’s authority is limited to vigilance over faith and morals. Exactly, I say!

I discussed his finding with a famed authenticist bishop (not of this diocese, understandably) who is himself a canon lawyer and dismissed it with an impatient wave of his hand. He said flatly a bishop has jurisdiction over the name “Catholic” which is applied to university’s in his diocese…and that he would be happy to move the matter to Rome for confirmation, believing the role of the bishop would supersede any hair-splitting archangels-dancing-on-the-head-of-a-pin view of a bureaucratic hidebound canonical theoretician.

He cited also the fact that since the Ordinary’s authority has jurisdiction to vigilance over faith and morals (although he declined to accept that a bishop’s authority is “limited” to this) universities which honor pro-aborts and holders of scandalous views would fall into the jurisdiction…along with those which present plays such as “The Vagina Monologues” and so-called “courses” as Queer Studies: 101 that are being offered at DePaul. If these are not detrimental to faith and morals, he says, what is?

And so it goes. My personal lay view is that if a bishop were to push stripping the designation, Rome would be hard-pressed to stand against him on the vigilance over faith and morals question.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Personal Asides: A Flashback to the Old Morality.


Your responses to my “Thoughts While Shaving” earlier this week have started me going. Forgive an octogenarian for droning on.

Nelson Rockefeller.

Los Angeles’ Cardinal James Francis McIntyre condemning the lifestyle of Gov. Nelson Rockefeller when Rocky ran for president in the California 1964 primary was sniffed at by one of my readers… who said that plain and simple divorce (not infidelity or remarriage) was once considered a no-no for presidential candidates…his implication being, I suspect, that outdated views of morality are bound to change to make room for our enlightened ones.

Divorced presidential candidates were frowned upon throughout the years as a general stance of public disapproval but no not explicitly by the Catholic church. There was some civil disapproval of Adlai Stevenson II for that reason when he ran for president in1952 and `56….and there was a was a very slight no-no extant against Ronald Reagan. But no Catholic prelate issued any statement whatsoever about either candidate’s divorce.

Rockefeller’s divorce after 32 years of married life didn’t by itself constitute a grave public scandal—but his remarriage did--because he broke up two families to do it: his own and that of Margaretta Fitler Murphy, a young mother of four small children. He had been divorced earlier without much bad press when a fire in the governor’s Albany mansion broke the story when in the middle of the night both Rockefeller and Mrs. Murphy had to climb down the fire escape in full view of the media. An inherited multi-billionaire, Rockefeller…arrogant that he had enough money and clout sufficient to surmount his troubles and be elected president anyhow…was the natural choice for president until this happened. He proceeded apace to marry her; she was denied custody of her children, signifying that the court felt she was unfit.

Women Angered.

Women of the time were first to rage at the scandal—not McIntyre. Then came the secular media. Things died down for a bit but then Happy Murphy Rockefeller appeared in public with pregnancy well underway…which triggered secular media coverage and angered women once again: indicating that it had been an adulterous affair. That too died down but at the time of the California primary, Happy Rockefeller became ready to deliver which spurred public opprobrium again. Cardinal McIntyre’s comment was acerbic but well in line with the public mood at the time. Happy Rockefeller delivered Nelson Rockefeller, Jr. in time for the election.

What didn’t help was Rockefeller’s jocular reference to the matter to the media as he boarded his private plane to fly back to New York after hectic campaigning: “I’ve got two shows opening up at the same time!” That did it. But even then the California primary was close: Goldwater 51%, Rockefeller 49%. Rockefeller withdrew after that loss.

Another writer to this blog dismissed it all by saying McIntyre was a racist and close to the John Birch society. Meaning I guess that only racists and fascists would object to marital infidelity and family breakup—although how he conjures this puzzles me greatly. Anyhow, he is wrong about McIntyre’s “racism” and John Birch membership. He was a conservative …no doubt about that…and an advocate of the Tridentine Mass, the same Mass that Benedict XVI has sanctioned.

Rocky’s Insistence on Decorum Did Him In.

Rockefeller later died…as I said yesterday…in the arms of his 25 year old mistress with whom he was cheating on Happy. But there’s an interesting story in connection with that told me by a close Rockefeller aide who had key roles in Rockefeller’s presidential runs and who stayed on his personal payroll through the vice presidency and into his return to private life. On the night in question, Rockefeller was having dinner with Happy and a few friends when he feigned he had forgotten something at his office and had to get it right away. Instead of going to his office, he went to the apartment of his young mistress. Once engulfed in amorous pursuits he suffered a major heart attack. The young woman didn’t know what to do so she called her best friend, another young woman who lived nearby.

Both of them advised the semi-conscious Rockefeller that they were going to call the paramedics. With his last breath Rockefeller told them no, don’t you dare, it will be a scandal. Instead he directed them to help him dress and deliver him to his office where they were to call the paramedics. Of course anyone suffering from such a serious attack should have medical attention immediately. By the time they got him transported via car and up the elevator to his office and called the paramedics he was dead. Thus pride and concern for his righteous reputation could well have been the cause of his death.

The ex-mistress, incidentally, is one of the better paid woman in Manhattan. Whenever she gets the notion she wants to write it up she gets another endowment.

Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman.

The only divorced (and remarried) man to serve as president was, as we all know, Ronald Reagan. He married actress Jane Wyman who by the time she married him had been married twice earlier although the press didn’t report this at the time: nor did they dig up that fact after Reagan became president.

Circumstances of the Reagan-Wyman divorce are unknown. In her last interview (before dying at age 90 in 2007) Wyman denied that Reagan’s interest in politics caused the breakup. What did according to one of Reagan’s oldest confidants was Wyman’s infatuation with actor Lew Ayres…a conscientious objector in World War II…although that is problematic. At any rate she didn’t marry Ayres but married another guy some years later, divorced him and remarried him before ditching him for good.

Jane Wyman was a troubled, mixed up woman who found peace in her old age by associating closely with Catholic Loretta Young who led Wyman into the Catholic church. Wyman became a very serious, devoted Catholic and lay member of the Dominican Order. In fact she was buried in the habit of a Dominican nun.


The temper of the times was heatedly against marriage breakup and adultery: witness Ingrid Bergman, a married woman who went to Italy to film “Stromboli” which was directed by Roberto Rossellini. She did the film, fell in love with Rossellini and became so controversial that a United States senator, Edwin Johnson, took the floor of the chamber to condemn her and urge her to stay in Italy and not come back.

Bergman’s husband, Dr. Peter Lindstrom contested for custody of their child and won custody. She married Rossellini and had twin girls with him. When she did come back as the mother of Rossellini’s twins she decided not to go to the Academy Awards to receive her Oscar but had Cary Grant receive it for her. Ed Sullivan considered having her on his show but as a publicity stunt invited his television audience to vote on whether she should appear. The yes votes topped the no’s but Sullivan decided against it anyhow. Instead, Steve Allen had her on his show and became the hero of the hour for liberals by the grandstanding. Allen was not the first nor was he the last to so grandstand for liberal, “tolerant” applause—gestures that remain with us yet.

Sorry I went on for so long. My thanks to yet another correspondent who told me how I can find Harold Lloyd and Will Rogers films for which my deepest gratitude.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Personal Aside: Thoughts While Shaving.


1. Money.

Notre Dame…Georgetown…Marquette…Xavier…Seattle University…University of San Diego…Marymount…Saint Ambrose…Saint Joseph’s…Seton Hall…Saint Louis University…Villanova University…Saint John’s of Minnesota…Mount Mercy…DePaul…Loyola of Chicago. On and on.

These are some…but only a fraction…of the CINOs (Catholic colleges in name only) who are working actively against the teachings and theology of the Catholic Church—no matter what their presidents—either weaklings or Quislings, secular faculties and faithless trustees—say. According to the “Chronicle of Higher Education,” professors at Georgetown were ranked seventh of all U.S. colleges and universities in contributions made to Barack Obama. Pamela Trotman Reid, president of Saint Joseph’s College in West Hartford, Connecticut, told a reporter for the “Hartford Courtant” that Obama is “a kindred spirit.”

I don’t have much faith that there is any bishop extant who has the moral strength to even threaten privately to withdraw the Catholic designation from such colleges. The only one who possibly could have summoned the strength to do this was Archbishop Raymond Burke who just coincidentally…just so happens…was transferred to Rome where he presides over a glorified marriage court.

There’s only one way to do it and that is to hit a bishop where he feels it most—in the purse. If there is a contributors’ strike in a diocese where an offending college is…if enough contributors say “that’s it unless you act to threaten to withdraw the Catholic designation from the college”…something will happen. Sad to say but at this time of moral decadence money is the only thing that will do it.

I had a call yesterday from a well-meaning priest whom I don’t know who apologized for calling so late but said that while he was saying Mass and reflecting on the Annunciation, it just struck him…just struck him…that possibly someone might ask the Ordinary of this archdiocese to try to do something. As if that hadn’t been tried. Just came to him: an idea. Why don’t you ask the Ordinary to… Forget it.

How long will it take until Catholics get it?

How long?

How long will it take until Catholics understand that letters alone won’t…can’t… don’t do it?

Or that demonstrations alone won’t…can’t…do it?

How long will it take until people understand that big-name Catholic colleges are in it for one thing: prestige which is tied to dough?

How long will it take until people understand that bishops are ecclesial cum political creatures with the same failings—dependent as pols are on contributions…favorable secular media…the approbation of the powerful? Who enjoy just as pols do the worshipful admiration of the crowd when you trot down the aisles with miter and crosier? That and the fawning, the reverential “yes your excellency (eminence), no your excellency (eminence).” Ah that and flashing the jeweled ring foremost.

All these things will be in jeopardy…you’ll be transferred to work the Dewey decimal system in a Vatican basement…if contributions dry up?

Once there is a contributors’ strike in a diocese with college reform in mind, things will happen. Only then.

It shouldn’t be too hard for a dolt to understand much less a well-meaning Catholic, should it?

2. Emanuel.

This prematurely graying, wizened little snake whose sinewy ballet dancer form makes your flesh crawl garnered a lot of money in only 14 months as a board member of Freddie Mac…$320,000. He was named to the board as a payback by Bill Clinton whose fellatios with an indentured female intern on taxpayer time which debased the presidency Emanuel defended to the press without throwing up. Emanuel’s surname in Hebrew means God is with us.

It was a foul-breathed little rodent resembling Emanuel who ran the list on sexual mores of congressmen from 20 or more years earlier and got many to back off. God is with us. Blackmail. One major congressman was told: look at what we can do to your children if this decades ago liaison ever came out? God is with us. The congressman said go ahead. It happened and the congressman in his old age was humiliated: God is with us.

Freddie Mac’s board met six times a year and Emanuel was not named to any of its working committees which would have tied him down from his other private duties which involved using Bob Rubin’s expertise so Emanuel could get the hang of investment banking: God is with us. However as a board member Emanuel also qualified for a $20,000 annual director’s fee in addition to the three hundred plus grand. God is with us.

It was during Emanuel’s tenure that Freddie devised a plan to gain more political clout, earning for it a $3.8 million fine from the FEC for illegally using corporate resources to host fundraisers for politicians. My-my, I wonder who on the board put it up to that? And it just so happened Emanuel was the beneficiary of a party after he left the board when he was running for Congress: God is with us.

It was during a 2000 board meeting during Emanuel’s term that its lobbyist R., Mitchell Felk outlined a strategy to protect Freddie from so-called congressional intrusion: God is with us. The strategy wasn’t very original—as old as Chicago politics. Essentially: rent the Congress. So Freddie Mac ran 80 fundraisers…most of them for Republicans (who were then in control of Congress) raising $1.7 million for congressional candidates despite a federal law banning corporations from direct political activity. The fundraisers worked wondrously for a time: God is with us.

Freddie Mac CEO Leland Brendsel…who was later ousted… hosted a fundraising lunch for Emanuel’s 2000 campaign: God is with us. It raised $9,500 from top Freddie officials: God is with us. Emanuel received $25,000 from donors indebted to Freddie Mac—more from that source than any other candidate running for Congress at the time: God is with us. In return when he went to the House Emanuel sat on the committee that was given oversight for Freddie Mac. Later after the heat came on his subcommittee launched an investigation to find out what corruption was going on at Freddie Mac. Emanuel missed every one of those meetings: God is with us.

Emanuel spokeswoman Sarah Feinberg says Emanuel “can’t remember” anything about the meeting where Felk outlined his plan for politicizing Freddie Mac but he may have been there: however he’s not sure.

His earnest prayer: no one finds out more than that. I’m pulling the other way but my name is derived from a Germanic reference to a serf gardener which my people were for centuries in Catholic Bavaria.

But things have a way of even-ing out before the lights finally go out.

I hope so. God be with us.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Personal Aside: Thoughts While Shaving.


1. Old-Line Catholic Hierarchy vs. Today’s.

Last night before going to bed I was reading “Before the Storm: The Rise of Barry Goldwater and the Making of the American Consensus” by Rick Perlstein—and I was struck by one thing. In the California presidential primary of 1964, a newly-divorced and remarried Nelson Rockefeller…who had just broken up another family as well as his own to marry a mother of four young children, a woman who lost custody of her children but who married Rockefeller anyhow…was running for president. He was opposed by Barry Goldwater.

In the campaign, Francis Cardinal McIntyre, the prelate of Los Angeles, announced Catholics loyal to the tenets of their faith should not vote for Rockefeller because of his willingness to break his marriage vows. By today’s standard this would be an astounding thing for a Catholic archbishop to say. But McIntyre said a Catholic’s duty is to do all he can to ensure that the moral stricture of the country is observed—not only by Catholics but by people Catholics elect to high office.

Two questions: Can you imagine the uproar this would have today in the country as well as the Church? But it was not regarded as unusual in 1964 because Catholicism’s view of marriage was taken as a given…and to no surprise, Cardinal McIntyre expressed the church’s position and drew his conclusion.

Was McIntyre judgmental? The 70-year-old Rockefeller…former vice president of the United States and well-known moral invertebrate … died in the arms of his 25-year old mistress with whom he was cheating on his second wife who had given up her children’s custody to marry him. Where do we find prelates like McIntyre today?

2. Will Rogers Films. Why Can’t We See Them?

When I was a child, Will Rogers was not only a popular daily columnist and former Ziegfeld star but was a film actor with a good many movies to his credit. Yet…I don’t know about you…but I have never, ever seen one on late-night or anywhere else. I wonder why not. For that matter in this era when old-time films are being resurrected, why haven’t we seen Harold Lloyd who was one of the funniest comics of all time?

3. Eddy Curry Role Model.

There he was on page 8 of the “Sun-Times”…the slack-jawed seeming moral invertebrate Eddy Curry, the former Thornwood high school basketball standout who now plays for the New York Knicks. One could call him an animal scattering his seed where it will…seemingly impervious to anything remotely like the moral law…but animals don’t come on to one another of the same sex—and Curry is being sued by his former driver for allegedly propositioning him for gay sex.

This role model for black youth is married with four children and has sired two children (one now dead) child by a woman who was slain reportedly by her former boyfriend who is being held without bail. The murdered woman leaves a 3-year-old illegitimate child of Curry named Noah. Now a judge has ordered that Noah be consigned to live with Curry and his wife and children. Can you imagine how this kid is going to be treated by Curry’s wife and children? Fighting for custody of the 3-year-old is his grandmother, mother of Curry’s late girlfriend.. Can anyone not hope that she will win her appeal of the court ruling?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Personal Aside: An Appeal to Bishops—Consider the Nuclear Option for CINOs.


What can authenticist Catholics do about Notre Dame which has invited Barack Obama to be its 2009 commencement speaker—an invitation Obama has accepted?

Catholics can…(a) write the president, Rev. John Jenkins, CSC but will get a very nice letter back. They can (b) write the president of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Francis George and they will get a very short, crisp letter back saying he does not have jurisdiction over Notre Dame, thank you and please pray for me as I pray for you as we pray for all etc.,etc., etc.

They can (c) write the bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Bishop John Michael D’Arcy and ask him to pressure Notre Dame to change its mind. They will get a pro-forma letter back.

They can (d) make a list of the trustees of the university and write them, try to pressure them. Not very effective.

Finally, by organizing a group of alumni they can write to and visit the bishop, Bishop D’Arcy and urge him to employ the “nuclear option.” The nuclear option belongs to every Ordinary—the power to remove the Catholic identification from the offending school. A negotiation can begin where the Ordinary says that unless the university behaves like a Catholic institution, it should not misrepresent itself as one.

There is no doubt that for an Ordinary to do this is to go to war with the virulent secular “mainstream” media which will label him as a Torquemada (after Tomas de Torquemada [1420-98] who by dint of ancient myth is listed as being the arch-enemy of the free, speculative intellect and occupies the same level in secular media Hell as ugh! pro-lifers and ultimately Dick Cheney. Grossly untrue but given how much mythologizing the media do with Obama, how can you rectify 600 plus years? To media which oversimplify everything, a Catholic university doesn’t orchestrate fervently anti-Catholic, anti-life crusades, it is interfering with “academic freedom.” Not withstanding that the entire university system of the West was organized under Catholic, monastic auspices since the University of Paris and Oxford. Who cares? What is history to a liberal?

Assuredly, for an Ordinary to even raise the possibility of stripping Catholic identity will strike a match that could launch a revolution to reclaiming Catholic universities. And face it, it’s better for them and for the Church if they lose the ID since they won’t be falsely advertising their wares and we won’t have to endure the embarrassment of belonging to a Church that stands for one thing and seeing a so-called “Catholic university” like DePaul and Loyola doing another…such as the active promotion of Queer Studies: 101 aka how to become a gay.

You can write letters of protest until you’re blue in the face to presidents of universities and nothing will happen. For one thing, university presidents are prisoners of the system…they’re fund-raisers named for malleability a and diplomacy to get along with faculty, trustees, big givers. Universities are run largely by all-powerful faculties, meaning they’re on auto-pilot…all powerful trustees composed of fat cat Babbitts and callous pols. The name of the game is big bucks but that only comes from “prestige.” Line up a famous professor by paying him big bucks and your college has “prestige.” Line up a president to speak at your commencement and your college has “prestige”…and then crass graduating students can say “my college has the president of the United States as commencement speaker and yours doesn’t—nyaa, nyaa!”

But if there is a concerted program to find ONE bishop…ONE bishop…who will consider the nuclear option against an offending CINO Catholic-in-name-only university…a revolution can be engendered that will turn the thing around. It may or may not in the one in Fort Wayne-South Bend. I can tell you one thing: don’t waste your time in this town until a few years down the pike when there’s a change.

Obviously a net gain will be won if only one behemoth “CINO” factory that call themselves “Catholic”—Catholics-in-name-only…or CINOs…loses its Catholic designation. Better for the Church, better for us. Better for America.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Personal Aside: Frightening Words from a “60 Minutes” Interviewer Conjectures a Scary Scenario.


Frightening Words.

Words I never, ever, expected a reporter to ask a president:

“Are you punch-drunk?”

They’re frightening. Unnerving. No one had been moved to ask this even of Richard M. Nixon when he was so unnerved by the prospect of impeachment that he was saying goodbye to the oil paintings on the wall… and when he asked a startled Henry Kissinger to kneel down in the Oval Office and pray with him.

But the words were asked incredulously by…not a conservative talk show host or a Republican critic…but by Steve Kroft for the consistently liberal CBS-TV’s “60 Minutes” after President Barack Obama was pressed by the TV reporter on the serious economic status of the country, in answer to which Obama (to quote “Politico”) was “laughing and chuckling several times while discussing the perilous state of the world’s economy.”

“Are you punch-drunk?” asked Kroft.

“No, no,” said Obama. “There’s gotta be a little gallows humor to get you through the day”—and he laughed again.


All along…from the very first interview Obama gave me as a freshman state senator in 1997 on my Sunday night WLS program…until today Obama’s great strength has been to lean back relaxedly and talk jocularly, mixing some statistics with light stuff. Later on he worked closely with David Axelrod to perfect a style that is indisputably popular with the entertainment-focused 18 to 29 year set that comprised the largest single bloc of voters who supported him. The cool-cool demeanor he showed me in 1997 worked because as the Prince of Suave he fielded calls from the audience where he parsed the answers so deftly that almost everything he said made some sense to everyone. They were interlaced with the conjunction “but.” He favored gun control BUT understood the 2nd amendment. He favored progressive taxation BUT wanted incentives increased for entrepreneurs.

The style worked wondrously…running for the Senate and president. He seemed to be an entirely new creation: passionate when needed (ala Hubert Humphrey)…ironic when needed (ala Gene McCarthy)…hip but not like JFK, rather like Robert Redford in “The Candidate” with the film’s poster showing Redford blowing a massive bubble with his gum. Smooth ,witty but disturbingly off-center. All these things.

Last week on “Chicago Tonight with Jay Leno”…even granting the blip on the Junior Olympics (which for others would have made them toast but for Obama was a slight gaffe)…he mingled discussion of the economy with a comment on how guitarist Kevin Eubanks had dressed up with suit and tie for the occasion…a funny story told with a professional’s understatement about the Secret Service wanting him to ride 500 yards to an event rather than walk. In a sense as I watched it, I admitted the coolness but I was also frozen in my seat: anyone who joshed about Eubanks’ attire when facing what could conceivably be a recession worsening into global depression must not appreciate the gravity of the situation.

And then last night. Today (Monday) the administration will announce yet another new government entity, the Public-Private Investment Program, to purchase as much as $1 trillion in toxic assets on banks’ books. He has already proposed a $3.1 trillion budget and insists that he will press forward with radical and extremely costly expansions of health care, education and environmental programs.

These are obviously such grandiose projects when contained all together…and now with the toxic bank assets $1 trillion…and with Obama chuckling lightheartedly about it…that they obviously prompted Kroft to ask this.

For contrast, consider if Franklin Roosevelt went on his first Fireside Chat where he described his banking reforms and spun off a few gut-busting jokes. Or in addressing Congress on Dec. 8, 1941 citing the Pearl Harbor attack as one “which will live in infamy,” he first allowed himself to make an observation about the bald pate of Speaker Sam Rayburn who was sitting on the podium above. Or if Bill Clinton, interviewed on “60 Minutes” by the self-same Steve Kroft, , over his alleged marital infidelities while holding hands with this tense wife, would have tossed off a one-liner to lighten the situation.

Yesterday the entire “New York Times” editorial page was after him for one reason or another: the main editorial, Tom Friedman, Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich. They all came at him from different perspectives…mostly because he wasn’t liberal enough. But the underlying tone was the agenda is half-baked…and while the style is appealing in a theatrical way, an insouciance…lighthearted nonchalance inconsistent with the nation’s grave problems… comes through.

Well, he isn’t showing gravitas. So what? The liberal press argued for eight years that Bush was lighter than a Panama hat. But this lack of seriousness is something else. Chuckling as he answered questions on what may well become the worst economic crisis in the nation’s modern history?

No wonder Kroft asked the president of the United States if he were punch-drunk.

I know this: if this insouciance doesn’t change, the Democratic party in the Congress will be leading the charge to the exits. Those pols don’t have the same TV charm and damn if they’re going to go down the drain for this guy in 2010.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Personal Aside: Four Thoughts While Shaving…40% of U.S. Births Illegitimate?

Thoughts While Shaving.

1: Has anyone checked to find out if the Obama people ever paid the city of Chicago for the Grant Park election night victory rally…or is that discourteous for anyone in the media to ask? We don’t want to interpose on The Messiah at an inconvenient time right after he told Jay Leno that he was “astounded” on hearing of the AIG bonuses when the circumstantial evidence is beginning to show his anger is feigned and that he knew all the time—only to decide to get theatrically worked up when the bad news started to erupt.

2: A Chicago couple posing as Kenyan refugees whose lives were in danger scammed more than $800,000 from an order of Carmelite nuns in Wisconsin. “You feel like you’ve been stepped on,” Mother Marie Andrew, superior at the Carmelite monastery in Des Plaines said. Really? How would you feel if you had given to the Order? In fact, where would this Order get $800,000 to give away to an individual couple? No one should give to a religious organization…particularly Catholic nuns these days… without checking the mental acuity of its leadership. A superior who would confer $800,000 on one couple with a sob story should either be banished to the kitchen to peel potatoes or to a reliable shrink--and the rest of the Carmelite Order examined to see who also signed off on the fleecing--no two ways about that. Bubbleheads who run religious orders are starting to resemble those who run the U. S. Treasury…and are almost as profligate.

3: Cardinal George had a one-on-one with Obama in the White House the other day before the president headed West to escape the AIG heat. Pardon me, but did any of the religious beat Kept Media in this town inquire what they talked about? Or do we have to wait until Mother Superior, Colleen Dolan, the temperamental circuit judge’s wife who runs the Ministry of Information decides what we are to know? It may have been about Catholic hospitals and the “conscience clause.”

4: You know that cute cardboard cutout of Obama that photographers affix in Lafayette Square across from the White House…where you can stand next to the cutout and appear to be conversing with him? It fools some people as does “Chicago Tonight’s” daily presentations of so-called issues in the news—except that its issues are all one-sided…from the left…are all cardboard thin…and all Phil Ponce does is smile and ask a few antiseptic questions. Not that Ponce can be confused with the Obama cutout in the park: Ponce’s lips move and he blinks.

Last night the cardboard cutout handed his assignment over to a surrogante. And there was this “panel” on the fatal shootings of 26 Chicago public school kids thus far in 2009. Because WTTW-TV is so intellectually crooked it can’t lay straight in bed, the panelists all brayed about gun-control…which is the liberals’ solution to crime in the streets. Not a word about generations of broken families leading to kids joining gangs and out all afternoon and nights… starting with LBJ’s Great Society and continuing to this very day. Not a single spokesman for anything else than gun “control.” WTTW believes this is what the public television audience believes…it is overwhelmingly secular, non-God-centered, pro-Obama.

To hear them talk, you’d swear those guns just go off by themselves…none of the youth were responsible—but gun-dealers, of course, are. Not a single word about the necessity for those who sire children to marry. And the cardboard cutout, Ponce, nods in wide-eyed approval. It’s hard to tell if he understands: his private persona is about as vacuous as his public one.

40% of all U. S. Births are Illegitimate.

A preliminary report from the National Center for Health Statistics reports that a stunning 1.7 million babies were born to unmarried women, accounting for just under 40% of all births in the U.S. Have you seen any editorial commentary on this in either Chicago newspaper…or, say, The New York Times? No? Neither have I. The reason is that this country has become a secular, non-God-centered country. And major religions are collecting great stores of funds to feed and clothe the homeless but not in any sense invade their dignity by preaching to them.

My own Catholic church is a case in point. Over on the south side Fr. Michael Pfleger bounces off the wall in his regular rallies against the firing of guns that evidently go off by themselves…without a word of aimless, rootless youth without family stability roving the streets—and gets away with turning his Masses into political rallies. The archdiocese does little by homily, teaching or pre-marital counseling to encourage family stability: nothing said demonstrably on abstinence, nothing substantial in official teaching mode in opposition to birth control, no discipline exercised to channel the clergy to provide the true word of God. All too often, the front offices of “social concern” in the archdiocese are merely articulators of secular “compassion,” which is taken to mean federal largesse and more…many more…pork chops.

That’s because in this archdiocese as in so many others…the church militant has been emasculated, has been secularized and often serves as a way station for the Democratic party. Why else do you think 54% of Catholic voters nationally cast their ballots for Obama? They weren’t reached, is one reason. And the reason they weren’t reached is that the great unmentioned scandal is that a hefty chunk…one cleric estimated 75%...of the priests are active Democrats who get along with their superiors by not mentioning what they don’t agree with: the need for solid family structures based on marriage…the horror of abortion…the need for sexual abstinence with the singles. Don’t tell me instruction of the ruling cadre of the pro-abort Catholics in the Democratic party is going on behind closed doors in a discreet form by the archdiocese. Don’t even try to sell that canard here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Personal Aside: Don’t Blame You, Don’t Blame Me—Blame that Fella Behind the Tree! Dodd Admits He Did the Dirty AIG Deed but at the Request of Treasury.

Sen. Russell Long (D-La.), longtime chairman of Senate Banking had a favorite wisecrack that he delivered when politicians tried to wriggle out of blame: “Don’t blame you, don’t blame me. Blame that fella behind the tree.” For the past few days, the Congress…principally Democrats since they were 99% responsible for the stimulus package…wallowed in an orgy of demagoguery for something that was clearly the Congress’ (and the administration’s) fault. The contract with AIG was written into these agreements by Geithner more than a year ago…long before the company was partially nationalized. Frankly, this snafu is the biggest argument against socialism or quasi-socialism that Obama is crusading for.

The question was: how did key employees in the very division in AIG responsible for its near-destruction end up receiving bonuses…and how did the offending contract get affixed to the bill? And how did it happen that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner who was the very architect of the AIG bill when he was president of the New York Federal Reserve bank…the same Geithner who understood the entire bailout…not know the bonus was included. Even allowing for human forgetfulness how did he miss the stories in Bloomberg and “Barrons” that the contract was included? And after he found out…following the president’s signature…why the delay in telling him?

Yesterday Congress put the $1 a year CEO of AIG on the hot seat…but it was an exercise in hypocrisy and cowardice. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of banking, denied putting the contract into the bill yesterday, saying “The language that I wrote on executive compensation had no dates in it like this at all. When my language left the Senate it did not include it. When it came back, it did.” Frankly, the bonuses to the offending executives constitute .097 of the bailout…but the administration still is responsible because it hustled the bill through the Congress so quickly no one…including the administration…could adequately digest it. The Democrats have been talking about revenge, passing a rider on the legislation especially singling out AIG…but that would be unconstitutional since it would be equivalent to a Bill of Attainder. Now the Dems are talking about breaking the contract by a ruse…a 100% rate of taxation—but that would be a Bill of Attainder as well.

Well, that statement was a barefaced lie. Dodd admitted yesterday that he was the author of the offending language…but in typical cowardly fashion, attempted to put the blame on Geithner. Dodd’s shelf life in the Senate can well be ended next year because of this and charges of undue cozyness with the financial services industry. He has been shown running very slightly ahead of his likely Republican challenger or a tad behind him. This bomb about AIG should do it.

Dodd is one of the Senate’s ranking leftists on Latin American foreign policy, a shill for the Castro brothers and a consort of Daniel C. Ortega in Nicaragua during the days when Ronald Reagan wanted to aid the Contras. He was also a major playboy compatriot of Ted Kennedy. A pro-abort Catholic, he divorced his first wife and after a legendary career of being the body’s most indiscriminate skirt chaser, remarried. However he differs from his great and good buddy Kennedy by declining to receive communion…which is one great mark in his favor.

Of course the media is focusing just as David Axelrod wishes—on the horrific company AIG…not the incompetence involved in passing it…not the lies of Chris Dodd who finally owned up to writing the contract…not the weird lapses in the Geithner role and his inexcusable laxity in not telling the president early…not in blaming the administration for leading the Congress in a pig-race to get the thing passed without reflection.

No, none of these things are examined. Only the evil AIG. It is amazing how diligent the “mainstream media” are to pursue the line most advantageous to Obama.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Personal Aside: The Chamber of Horrors at Treasury.

This guy Barack Obama and Tim Geithner make George W. Bush look like a genius. However it will be very instructive to see how the major…ahem …“objective media” like Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson play this latest dustup at Treasury about the bonuses for AIG’s Financial Products subsidiary that has been responsible for the near collapse of the giant insurance company.

Here AIG execs get $165 million of taxpayer money used for bonuses for these executives who screwed up AIG for a job well done! Not only that, Treasury only found it out on March 5 that the bonuses were to be paid…but news of this had been carried in “Bloomberg News.” Nobody at Treasury or in the White House read it, evidently.

An official at treasury discovered this three days after Obama announced that an additional $30 billion will be expended…March 2. But Treasury Secretary Geithner wasn’t informed until March 10! News travels slowly in the treasury bureaucracy. Geithner phoned AIG to protest the bonuses on March 11. And it was not until the following day…March 12…that Geithner told the White House about this (the info was passed to Obama the same day).

The curious thing is that Geithner himself as president of the New York Federal Reserve bank should have suspected as much when in that capacity he gave AIG a loan for $85 billion. The provision was contained in the bill that Congress passed, added by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of Senate Banking, who is very-very close to financial institutions and who received the number one largesse of campaign contributions from AIG…more than $100,000. Sen. Obama placed second, also getting more than $100,000.

Now reportedly Obama wants treasury to fix it. Wha-a-a? Doesn’t he know that the contractual part of legislation that was passed and signed by the president cannot be abrogated? Can he fathom the serious economic dislocation that could happen if business gets the idea that everything else the feds pass in Congress can be abrogated?

With this remarkable case history in administrative efficiency, can you calculate how this team that can’t shoot straight will handle a true military-foreign policy-nuclear threat? Scary.

If this had happened on Bush’s watch, there would be cries for him to be impeached on grounds of incompetence, misfeasance, malfeasance. Wanna bet the media will sweep this under the rug?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Personal Aside: Let’s Hear a Little About Patrick Whose Feast This is, Shall We?


As everything in our country deals with Self, it is not surprising that on the feast of Saint Patrick there is much adulation of the Irish and very little mention of him whose life we are supposed to honor. The celebration of Patrick has been superseded by the Irish celebrating themselves. There is nothing more pagan than this charade here of dying the river green and having all the Irish Catholic Democratic pro-aborts…their Celtic faces puffed with pride…marching purportedly to honor a saint of a church they have no business belonging to since at any other era the whole bunch of them…the mayor, house speaker, senate president, governor, comptroller, attorney general… whole Chicago city council Irish population except the 41st ward’s Republican pro-life alderman Brian Doherty…should have been excommunicated for violation of the center-most stricture that has been in existence since the council of Elvira in A.D. 305.

I wholeheartedly include other faithless ethnic Catholic Democratic groups in this classification but the Irish Dem pols are particularly offensive in their trumpeting of ersatz cafeteria Catholicism: i.e. Catholicism that is all green with no responsibility. Top of the list is Andy Greeley, faithless to his theology to my mind, and for the last 15 years at Mass I pray for him after communion. I can only add that the fractured skull he received when he fell from a taxi while wearing an Obama cap has driven some sense of orthodoxy into his cranium.

Faux Catholicism by the Democratic Irish has been going on for many years. For one thing, their chauvinism drives me mad. Long before any Catholic espoused abortion…as a half-breed (half Irish, half German, named after my maternal grandfather, Thomas F. Cleary who started Joe Gill in the Democratic party…I remember my German father sitting silently while my mother’s Celtic cousins rattled off the kinds of Irish there are. They are, they said: lace curtain Irish, cut-glass Irish, shanty Irish, pig-in-the-parlor Irish.

To which he added: “bicycle Irish.”

Bicycle Irish they said: what kind are they?

To them he growled, “the kind that make your ass tired.”

I have always loved my father but I think I adored him after that.

Well, then, on to memorialize Patrick whose feast this is. His name was Patricius Magonus Sucatus. Of course he was not Irish at all but the son of a British-Roman official, born in a sector of Roman-controlled Britain. Patrick’s grandfather was a priest as in those days no law of celibacy had been imposed on the Western clergy. Patricius tells us in his “Confessions” that as a boy “I did not know the true God.” Then while straying from his home at age 16 he was kidnapped by pirates and sold as a slave to the pagan inhabitants of Ireland.

There he served as a slave for six years near Ballymena in Atrim upon the slopes of the mountain now called Slemish and went from there…still in captivity…to the coast of Mayo. They put him to work tending goat herds and in his loneliness he found God. He tells us how “constantly I used to pray in the daytime. Love of God and His fear increased more and more and my faith grew and my spirit was stirred up so that in a single day I said as many as a hundred prayers and at night nearly as many so that I used to stay in the woods and on the mountain to this end.”

At the conclusion of six years he heard a voice in his sleep warning him to be ready for an effort that would bring him back to the freedom and the land of his birth. Accordingly he ran away from his master and traveled 200 miles to the coast where he begged his way on to a ship and made friends with the sailors with whom he shared a difficult and frightening journey.

There was a shipwreck and they…the sailors and Pat…traveled through many miles of uninhabited land in Gaul until finally at the age of 23 Patrick was restored to his kin. His course was set and he announced his determination to become a monk. He left his family for Gaul and studied theology at the monastery of Lerins, becoming ordained in 417. Good bishops were scarce in those days and no sooner was Pat a priest than Saint Germanus ordained him a bishop and sent to Ireland in 432 where he was to succeed St. Palladius, the first bishop to the Irish, who died a year earlier.

On his own with full authority as a bishop, Patrick traveled the length and breadth of the small island, converting it to Catholicism, founding the cathedral at Armagh, stirring the populace to learning about the faith, standing firm against the pagan chieftains whom he repeatedly overcame by miraculous means. In his “Confessions” he wrote “Daily I expect either a violent death or to be robbed and reduced to slavery.”

He died in 461 in the midst of a great struggle as he condemned the slaughter of a group of Irish Catholics whom he had converted by an army of invading Welshmen who to his great anger (he had a blowtorch temper) were also Catholics. He died at Saul on Strangford Lough in Downpatrick and his following has flourished ever since.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Personal Aside: Was “The Council of Trent” Exclusive? Anybody Who Read this Blog and Heard it On the Radio Could Go!...Obama Follows Axelrod’s Left-Wing Formulation Which Began in Chicago and Spread Nationally. But Won’t Last Long.


Council of Trent Exclusive?

Our neighbor over at the “Illinois Review,” Fran Eaton, is huffy because the Council of Trent…composed of conservative movement leaders who met Saturday to help Rosanna Pulido…didn’t send Eaton a personal, engraved invitation. No one got one: it was advertised on this blog and on my WLS radio program and people who wanted to come just simply came. Evidently that kind of average folks invitation isn’t to Eaton’s liking. Somebody who told her she’s a Superstar who deserves special treatment and fawning has made a big mistake. Eaton hints that she’ll probably sit this one out on Pulido because Eaton wasn’t carried into the crowd on a gilded chair like one of the early popes.

This is the second time I’ve been clipped by the huffy, unpredictable idiosyncratic Eaton whom I had as a guest lecturer a my college course and invited to be on my show (she was too busy)—and I’m fed up with it. I’ve praised in the past as an excellent journalist but now no more Mr. Nice Guy. With your cavalier attitude, m’dear you’ll wait a helluva long time to get another bon mot from me.

Axelrod’s Local, Now National Influence.

It’s no surprise to this observer that the Obama administration is beginning to run into trouble with Gallup showing the new president is less popular at this stage of his administration than was George W. Bush.

The reason is clear. He has taken a basically center-right country (which until the fall `08 meltdown was supporting John McCain over Barack Obama by 5 points)…and wrenched the steering wheel hard-left. Obama’s direction reflects the new Chicago Democratic way of doing things—as distinct from the old. And it all has to do with the great influence of David Axelrod, who is far more powerful than was Karl Rove under Bush.

First, let’s examine the old Democratic party of Chicago and Cook county and the new as shaped largely by Axelrod.

Old Man Daley.

The man we fondly refer to in this town as “the old Mayor Daley,” who served from 1955 to 1976, was indubitably the best mayor we ever had…possibly the best mayor the nation ever had… at a crucial time in U.S. urban history. He was instinctively a Burkean, reflecting the philosophy of the Irish-born parliamentarian Edmund Burke [1729-97] whom I am sure the old man never read but whom he would agree with warmly if he had. Like the great Whig conservative, Burke, Daley, Sr. believed instinctively that if it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.

Old Man Daley revered the Cook county Democratic machine, was its chairman longer than he was mayor and liked being Chairman better than being mayor. He closely followed the blueprint drawn by the party’s chief dialectician, Anton Cermak, an unlettered but street smart Bohemian…a free-thinker, not a Catholic… known as “Push Cart Tony.” Multi-ethnicity was Cermak’s credo as Cook county board president and mayor from 1922-33. All except blacks. Then they were Republican and would only be accepted as Democrats unless willing to play the machine game.

In his politics, Richard J. Daley religiously followed Cermak. But in addition, Daley’s traditional conservatism was an indispensable attribute. Here Daley stood firm as he weathered disputes over school segregation, inferior black schools, riots and counterdemonstrations, the coming of Martin Luther King to the city who led marches, rent strikes and even anti-Vietnam war protests aimed at him. And, of course, the big one which no other mayor ever faced: the insurrection of hippies, well-intended white do-gooders and hard-core lefties at Democratic national convention of 1968—dissenters who his police to beat up with billy clubs…often cruelly…in Grant Park.

Old man Daley determined that while he wouldn’t play the race card ala Democratic mayor Frank Rizzo in Philadelphia, he also would refuse to kow-tow to black extremists who threatened to burn his city. Nor would he try to reason with suburban-spoiled white, over-educated Harvard bums urinating on cops in behalf of “peace.” Essentially, he understood that too much compliance with blacks’ wishes or white radicals’ demands would lead to loss of his white, middle class base of support.

All through his 23 years as chairman of the Democratic party and 21 years as mayor, Daley remained true to the Cermak canon. The liberal establishment media raised un-shirted hell with him (Mike Royko won a Pulitzer as reward for his colorful newspaper columns) but the old man wouldn’t budge from his conservative largely working class-based stand, resembling a tough but loving father with his family. Toughness included his order to police during riots following King’s death: “Shoot to kill any arsonist or anyone with a Molotov cocktail in his hand because they are potential murderers. Shoot to maim or cripple anyone looting any stores in our city”…and his malapropism to Walter Cronkite during the Dem convention, “the police are there to preserve disorder”—which Cronkite snickered at but which the bungalow belt tacitly understood while hating Cronkite’s very guts for smirking at their mayor.

Then a small white liberal, anti-machine wing of the Democratic party here…forerunner to the new Chicago Democratic party…the misnamed “Independent Voters of Illinois,” called him publicly “a flagrantly racist mayor.” Still he refused to back down—even to deal with Jesse Jackson and Operation Breadbasket. Daley’s housing programs were attacked as insufficient to solve integration (critics were right but Daley knew integration could not be attained by fiat). He was assailed for police corruption (on this critics were absolutely right: a wholesale scandal involved policemen from the Summerdale precinct who burglarized homes at night) but at no time was he probed for venality or theft of funds since everybody knew he sought power nor money.

As result, despite all these challenges, in his last run for reelection, in 1975, at age 73, having suffered two strokes a year earlier (with all the stress placed on him, no wonder!) he defeated one black civil rights leader and one white reformer in the Democratic primary, the white, Billy Singer, having played a key role in unseating Daley delegates at the McGovern convention of `72 (and who may well have been rented for the election to divide the liberal vote, Singer having bargained away what’s left of his soul to become a consort of the convicted and disgraced Eddie Vrdolyak…the conservatives’ own crook… in property deals).

Beating Off Attacks from the Right.

Daley’s conservatism reflected his traditional Irish Catholicism. As the media and everyone else knew he attended daily Mass at his working class Nativity of Our Lord parish which aided his politics immeasurably. That bungalow conservatism served him well including winning the warmhearted allegiance of cops and firemen who provided superb protection for private property, the cops knowing that if they banged a few heads in getting the job done, their department would loyally look the other way.

This conservatism gained heavy support from the then conservative business community which aided him in fostering an environment for economic growth and which supported his successful bid after huge controversy for two major freeways (the Kennedy and the Eisenhower) coursing through the city…the Kennedy where Daley engineered, at minion Danny Rostenkowski’s pleading a neatly-arranged a curve to avoid St. Stanislaus Kostka’s church in Rosty’s district. He succeeded…despite huge protests…in engineering a massive relocation of homes and small businesses to build a University of Illinois center on the west side. Despite the furor, contractors, banks and Loop businesses were pleased that the city seemed clean, its books balanced, credit rating good and its leaders populated city commissions and boards.

In like manner, Daley took risks with his popularity socially to keep his socially conservative identity intact. Two notable political challenges came from the right—from his ex-friend, ex-Springfield roommate (when both were state legislators) and ex-Democrat, fellow Catholic Benjamin Adamowski who ran against him.

In 1963, among other allegations …high taxes, corrupt police, wastrel spending… Benjamin Adamowski, then GOP states attorney and Daley’s challenger for mayor…who had a gigantic Polish American following… charged that Daley had secretly approved distribution of condoms to the poor via the city welfare department. This stratagem sought to dislodge the Catholic conservative middle class from Daley. The archdiocese then was a lot more aggressive on the Church’s anti-birth control issue than its weakling later prelates have been so it was a tough issue for the Old Man.

Daley hotly denied he had authorized it and their distribution was immediately stopped (for the duration of the campaign, at least). After the condom charge failed, Adamowski played the race card. He came out against the city’s ad hoc open housing which Daley supported but kept quiet about, Adamowski catering to white fear of black incursions. He challenged Daley to do the same…saying that since the national Democratic party favored open occupancy, Daley must affirm or deny.

Responding to the charge with nearly incomprehensible slangy Bridgeport idiom delivered with a number of grunts and coughs, Daley’s syntax became so blurred that no one figured out exactly where he stood (semanticists still dispute what Daley’s position was on the issue). Adamowski later ruefully told me: “This guy appeared to be against birth control for welfare recipients and for racial brotherly love among the races! Listen, as his roommate in Springfield when we were both in the legislature, I know better on both counts.”

Maybe so but Daley never allowed himself to be characterized as either too liberal to support his Church’s moral strictures and so much an Archie Bunker race baiter (no matter what the liberals charged) that he contradicted its social teachings.

That strategy got Old Man Daley through the period of Roe v. Wade where, with liberals of his party in firm support and his Church against, he never, ever expressed support for abortion (he just didn’t talk about it). The next two white Catholic Democratic mayors, Mike Bilandic and Jane Byrne followed his lead.

Washington: “You’re a Sack-Full of A-------!”

Then came liberal Democrat Harold Washington: a lefty to the core. Axelrod was his media guy. It’s unpopular to say it now because as the first black mayor he’s venerated by the media but Washington was a bitter black racist, albeit likeable. He tangled with angry whites on his city council and added a bitterness to race relations by shouting about old man Daley, “I give no hosannas to a racist nor do I appreciate or respect his son!”

Washington’s dynamism involved embracing verbal pyrotechnics unrivaled since the days of the last Republican mayor, Big Bill Thompson who displayed a cage with a rat in it before an audience, publicly addressing the rodent as his Democratic opponent to the delight of Chicagoans. Washington got away with it because of the fawning, guilt-ridden favoritism of the media.

Once on a public radio program when he was a Congressman, I asked Washington why he was aligned with a few black House members who voted against confirming Gerald Ford as vice president…when even Andrew Young, the civil rights leader who represented Georgia’s 5th district supported him. To me Washington’s stand was a kind of toxic partisanship. I also asked why he was the only member of the Black Caucus to decline to meet with Ford right after he became president. Washington sputtered an elegant sentence using his favorite word “burgeoning” and waited for a break in the program when the director went to a staid public radio announcement in behalf of a museum.

When we were off the air during the break, Washington wheeled around to me to me and growled in his resonant baritone, “you know, Roeser, you’re a whole sack-full of a-------!” We then both doubled up with laughter. When the show returned to the air, none of us could restrain our mirth. For his candor, I have always had high regard for him…as a politician, not as a mayor.

A man of gargantuan excess, he would wolf down cheeseburgers as he rode in his limo to his Hyde Park residence. Those cheeseburgers killed him. In 1987 he toppled dead at the height of his power, having won reelection and final mastery over the council. The undertaker discovered he weighed an astounding 300 lbs. which he hid well with a tight-fitting girdle to pull in his enormous gut.

All the while during Washington’s era, the Heir Apparent, Richard II was serving an uncontroversial two terms as States Attorney of Cook, the top prosecutor. He never tried a case personally (he made three attempts to pass his bar exam) but when space opened up in the mayoralty…where he could capitalize on being the white against a weak black mayor people, a very nice but ineffective Gene Sawyer whom people called “mumbles”… Daley was ready.

With trumpets blaring, it was the ascension of Richard II—but in no way like his father with the exception of imperfect English idiom. His new consultant, David Axelrod, a veteran of Harold Washington runs, convinced him times had changed and social liberalism was the course to pursue. It was not Axelrod’s call alone but that of a cadre of Daley advisers including his brother Bill. But Axelrod was the chief exponent of accommodating the left. To an extent they were right—but there is no doubt in my mind that Daley could get elected…and reelected…without caving to the left. He does because his insecurity is such he fears losing votes. He doesn’t have the firmness the Old Man had.

So…in line with the Axelrod formula… rather than maintain the old stolid Bridgeport stance of his father… Daley moved left unostentatiously (his artsy wife supported it) and also relocated downtown. Convinced the city had changed, was now modishly liberal and his church, under Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, was soft-pedaling its old social conservatism, Daley got away with it. There were no challenges to his new stance from the modishly liberal media nor from his church. He was cited as the model “new wave” of mayors with an old familiar name.

With Daley II the Game Changed.

The ringmaster of change in the media, Axelrod…an ex- New Yorker whose mama had been a reporter in the `40s for the modishly radical PM newspaper (then known as the uptown edition of the Communist Daily Worker)… has had Daley II hugging all the liberals…including radicals like Billy Ayres…to his bosom so as to avoid a fracture in the party…taking a markedly different path to accommodate them: a path divergent from his church and its moral strictures (supporting abortion rights and same-sex marriage). He rode in gay rights parades and dedicating a new state-financed museum to “gay culture”.

Thanks to Axelrod, this won Daley new allegiance from the liberal media. Upshot: the left has no place to go so it supports Daley every time he runs. Why not? But there is such a thing as renting out one’s soul. There’s no doubt Daley’s done it. And when he blusters most at news conferences…his face reddening…is always the occasion that he’s in denial. Thus far Axelrod has seemed right…right, that is, if you want to be regarded favorably by WTTW-TV’s audiences—the ever-smiling p.r.-type Phil Ponce who never offends and whose eyes dart uncertainly from guest to guest like he’s watching a tennis match…Blondie his sidekick questioner who comes from the tony 43rd ward originally and who ran many years ago as a lefty “reformer” against the old machine…and who else? Oh, how could I forget: Carol Marin of the prematurely orange hair…the unoriginal media monopolist (Sun-Times columnist, NBC political reporter, WTTW political reporter)…whose stale, unvarying views fit these lazy thoughtlessly lefty times having been pre-cooked in the `60s.

Two Big Mistakes with the “New” Politics.

Axelrod believes all his clients should be endowed with the Cult of Personality. Rather than have his client Richard M. Daley be chairman of the Cook county Democratic party as was the Old Man, Axelrod argued the mayor should be the focus. Thereupon a faceless pol was made chairman and instead of job applicants going through the local committeemen and up through the party machinery to City Hall, they went directly to City Hall where they they were placed.

Alas this turned out to be a big mistake which could be fatal for Daley. Old Man Daley had wisely put party functionaries between him and the hiring process… buffers…to protect him from the dirty business of sending city workers out to the precincts to work the polls. With Richard II, all top level political hires were run by machine bosses who worked right under Daley’s nose…including his director of personnel (now serving jail time)…who fixed their civil service exams, got them placed and saw they were assigned to get-out-the-vote tasks where they were needed (as for example, for Axelrod’s buddy Rahm Emanuel’s 5th district campaign when he ran for Congress).

But as the Old Man could have told his son, this put City Hall right in the line of fire of a federal prosecutor such as Patrick Fitzgerald. Fitz sent a string of Daley operatives to jail and today one, Al Sanchez head of Streets and Sanitation, who is on trial could be getting ready to sing like a canary about Daley. This would never have happened under the Old Man.

A second Axelrod-engendered mistake involves the Chicago police. Following the dictum, Daley usually has supported the ACLU whenever a cop is accused of “brutality.” So, the men and women in blue now think Daley will never back them up (they’re right!) …which is the reason they don’t over-exert themselves chasing criminals. Result: For the first time in 10 years, last year, Chicago topped New York city and L.A. in murders with 426 compared to 417 (New York) and 302 (L.A.). Rudy Giuliani became known as “the nation’s mayor” because of one thing: he cleaned up Times Square. And he did it by backing the cops against the ACLU almost every time.

Last year when Giuliani was here campaigning, I talked with him for a short time and asked what his opinion of Daley is. He said not for attribution, he’s making one big mistake. He’s not siding with the cops. I made a lot of mistakes, he said, but I never let the ACLU ruin the department. He’s got a point.

When the police came under fire last year, Daley booted an old-line superintendent and hired a $350,000 FBI man who never walked a beat. He cracks down on the cops whenever they rough up an offender. Fr. Michael Pfleger, the radical pastor of St. Sabina’s, is on the police board and he always sides with the “victim” and never the cops. Result: there’s a strong case of “blue flu” where police just do the minimum. If Daley loses the Olympics for 2016 (which to me wouldn’t be fatal: it’d be desirable) it’s because the city is unsafe. Still he doesn’t get it. That’s because Axelrod doesn’t. As Bill Daley doesn’t and Tim Degnan doesn’t. And Maggie doesn’t.

He’s not Axelrod’s clone but Daley runs his politics as Axelrod advises —to the left. Daley’s at all pro-abort and gay rights functions, rides in gay parades and has dedicated a state-financed museum to gay “leaders.”

And Axelrod’s other big client, Barack Obama…who doesn’t need influencing from Axelrod since he was born left (but whose image is overseen by Axelrod)… operates to the left as well. Now that Axelrod is installed in the White House as Ideologue-in-Chief, he’s the architect of the tone the presidency takes.

Leftward Goes the Presidency.

Axelrod, whom I’ve known for 30 years, is not a fiercely pro-Israel Jew. He’s not overly observant, nor does he go to bed every night worrying about Israel, shall we say. Like Obama, he believes we’ve abused detained terrorists at Gitmo…and is “concerned” (isn’t that the word they all use?) about “human rights” for people who are out to detonate us.

Similarly, both look at our recession as a pretext for launching a Fabian socialist revolution which Axelrod favors entirely although he’s too good a spinner to level on that score.

Thus with this country already deep in recession, Obama is proposing hundreds of billions in additional spending on (a) universal health care, (b) universal postsecondary education), (c) a massive overhaul of the energy economy. As Obama and Axelrod are re-distributionists, they feel all the necessary tax hikes can be squeezed out of the richest 2%.

How powerful is Axelrod? Much more so than Rove was although he plays it down. Rove was the guy Bush sent for when he had a specific political problem (example: how to sell partially privatizing Social Security—which, incidentally, Rove didn’t handle very well. But Rove did extraordinarily well on managing communications for 2004). Rove was a project manager. Unlike Axelrod.

Axelrod is Obama’s radical dialectician… specializing in how to sell redistribution to the media and public in soft, cuddly tones. He says he’s interested in selling the person rather than a policy wonk—but when he sells the person, he sells the ideas…basically undiluted ideas his Mom had when she worked for PM.

There—does that scare you? But let me leave you with a consolation. They’ll do heavy damage…but they’ll fail. They’ll destroy themselves and I’ll be around to see it.

And when the conservative backlash comes, it’ll be much stronger than the so-called Reagan Revolution.