Monday, December 21, 2009

Thoughts While Shaving: What’s the Rush on JPII Canonization?...Ben Nelson’s Quick “Conversion” to ObamaCare…Obama Crafts the Oslo Speech.


John Paul II.

I’ve been a longtime fan of Pope John Paul II…more so that many other popes whose prelature I accept in the Catholic Church…but do you mind my asking a simple question: What’s the rush?

Hurrying to canonize him before the normal five-year period for consideration looks a bit contrived. Having died in 2005, he’s not going anywhere, is he? As the Catholic Church invented what is now regarded as politics, is there a significance to JPII’s advance being tied to Pius XII’s? In other words, could it be that since Pius’ canonization is unpopular with the Jews because of a foolish piece of fiction, a play, “The Deputy” and an historically illiterate book, “Hitler’s Pope,” that have no basis in reality, a two-fer has been structured? Does tying Pius to a very popular, charismatic figure, would solve the problem?

What bothers me somewhat is this: I hope it doesn’t generate the tradition that one pope should initiate canonization of a predecessor. I yield to no one in my fealty to (a) the papacy and (b) the warmth and genuine generosity of John Paul II but I ask again: what’s the rush?
Can you help me understand this? Write to me at

Ben Nelson’s “Conversion.”

The cynical way Barack Obama hustled Ben Nelson for 30 pieces of silver and the 60th vote for the cause of federalizing a sixth of the economy will be his…and Nelson’s…Waterloo. The deal involved the state of Nebraska wherein Obama promised to have the U.S. government cover Nebraska’s estimated $45 million share of Medicaid coverage over a decade. For this payoff…a crass, Chicago Way style of paying for votes on the barrelhead…Obama, the purported idealistic Messiah got his way with a program that will submerge the quality of medical care in this country, lead to single payer and likely rationing. So one can say to Sen. Nelson what St. Thomas More said to Sir Richard Rich in paraphrase: All this for…paying the Medicaid bill for…NEBRASKA?”

Obama’s Crafts the Oslo Speech.

With popularity numbers falling down around his ankles…and with late night satirists making fun of his winning the Nobel after only a few months in office…Obama had had his two most important operatives concentrate on what he would say in Oslo. He called in his closest operatives from The Squid-- his ace media strategist, David Axelrod and his ace opportunist, Rahm Emanuel.

Axelrod whom I have known for 30 years is not a speech-writer per se but an image-maker. Emanuel I’ve known for 20 years and is not a speech-writer either but a back alley operator with as many reservations for niceties as Mack the Knife. Emanuel came up with the idea Obama ought to backtrack from his earlier “peace at any price” stance and come up with a reaffirmation of the old Just War theory that has permeated Catholic theology since Aquinas. Axelrod agreed and decided that he would supervise its preparation. Emanuel recommended that the most recent convert to The Squid write that part. Who would that be? Doug Kmiec.
Kmiec, born in Chicago and whose relatives toiled in the bowels of the old Richard J. Daley Squid, is the former conservative Justice Department appointee who, miffed at not getting a high judgeship, turned against the Republicans and endorsed Obama, one of highpoints (for the Dems) of the 2008 campaign for which he was given ambassador to Malta.

Kmiec contributed one short exposition of the “Just War” to the Nobel draft. But the grunt rhetorician for the black president, a white Catholic, Jon Faureau, age 27, a graduate of Holy Cross (the White House director of speechwriting) did the rhetoric. Faureau, a bachelor, got drunk with his buddies a few months ago and was photographed dancing with a cardboard cut-out of Hillary Clinton. Minor flap. Clinton got very mad. Now Faureau has orders to be a devotee of Niebuhr by which I mean Reinhold [1892-1971], the Protestant theologian whom Emanuel, a Jew, has been publicizing as Obama’s favorite theologian. To the starry-eyed New York Times columnist, David Brooks who touts a history degree from the University of Chicago and loves to put on that he’s deep himself, Obama gushed reciting stuff Axelrod had prepared: “Niebuhr! I love him! He’s one of my favorite philosophers!”

What do you see in Niebuhr? asked Brooks. “Oh,” trilled Obama in his best Harvard faculty lounge style, “I take away the compelling idea that there’s serious evil in the world and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. I take away…the sense we have to make these efforts, knowing they are hard and not swinging from naïve idealism to bitter realism.” This is what Brooks recounted in his column in The New York Times. No different than what Sister Bonita OSF told me at Saint Juliana grade school in 1937 but Niebuhr who went to Elmhurst College in suburban DuPage later convinced the Yale faculty lounge lizards that he was on to something.

Later Axelrod tried to give Obama an intellectual’s gloss he read part of Niebuhr at Emanuel’s suggestion but not as deep as Emanuel, when he got to Original Sin late one night, fittingly fell asleep. Nevertheless he merchandised Niebuhr and Obama in the campaign and prettied up Obama as deep. Deep with a capital D. Very Deep. In a fallen world, power is necessary. Big time stuff. But nothing that a Squid alderman hasn’t learned…and in spades.

Bartender Axelrod Concocts a Mixture.

After the kid Faureau began the draft it went to Emanuel and Axelrod. Axelrod, poured a heady double shot of Niebuhr in it and, Squid-style, gave the theologian no credit. Axelrod was the bartender who ginned up the final draft…call it draught…of the Oslo speech. He contrived to add a little of this and a little of that. Start off with a hefty dose of Niebuhr without attribution. Then, insert a slight touch of pride-in-country to the Lefty draft, shake it vigorously for 30 seconds, add ice and pronounce that American voters should like it, it being immaterial to Axelrod what the Norwegians thought. (Indeed in a beautiful sample of poetic justice, Obama gave the upward raised index finger of scorn to the Norwegians but more of that later).

When Faureau got the draft back he tried to add more guilt-ridden liberal stuff about American preoccupation with power but Axelrod drained it off. Moreover now he added a touch…just a slight touch…of old fashioned America Exceptionalism. Emanuel agreed with Axelrod, Faureau was unhappy but the job was done.

There was so much Niebuhr in it without attribution it worried Faureau. The way Axelrod, a former Tribune political reporter paraphrased Niebuhr was rather sloppy. The original Niebuhr: “Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime.” Obama at Oslo: “We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes.” The original Niebuhr: “We take and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization. We must exercise our power.” Obama at Oslo: “I face the world as it is and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people!”

The central part of the speech was this, an echo of every Cold War president from Truman to George W. Bush (excluding, of course, Jimmy Carter who thought Americans were too fixated on opposing Russian Communism---until, of course the Russians invaded Afghanistan). Obama talked about “the core struggle of human nature” between good and evil. Pure Bush the Younger declaring that war is both folly and necessary when our liberties are threatened.

Clever bartending but I say this: The speech was a failure because none of them—Axelrod, Emanuel, Faureau or Obama don’t understand what won the Cold War for America.

Obama said, for example, we won the Cold War by “the architecture of peace.” That’s not Niebuhr. That phrase is from the kid writer Faureau which passed by Axelrod and Emanuel but the imagery is faulty. How does architecture win a war? The only way architecture can foment any action is to cause, let’s say, a wall to fall down—which is by being lousy architecture.

Obama labored on. Two things, he said, won the Cold War. The Marshall Plan and the United Nations. Wha-a-a?

The Marshall Plan and UN Won the Cold War?

Let this writer, having lived as an adult through the Cold War remind Obama, Emanuel, Axelrod and Fareau: The Marshall Plan was sold here as a plan to stabilize western Europe from communism, yes—but also had an underlying ballast of economic self-interest for us: building the economies of ravaged Europe so they could be our trading partners. It ended up making us the undisputed masters of the world economy.
We even offered aid to the USSR and its captive nations which turned it down (a great mistake on our part to offer it; a greater one on their part to reject it).

Then to say that the United Nations helped win the Cold War is the utmost folly. There have been 140 wars waged in the world since the UN was founded in 1945 which resulted in the deaths of 20 million people. The big ones were the Korean War, ended under Eisenhower…the Vietnam War which petered out with our defeat…and the two Iraq wars along with the Afghanistan engagement that proceeds without the UN’s mediation at all.

Tough U. S. Defenses Won the Cold War.

Well, then, what did win the Cold War for us? The one ingredient Obama never mentioned and which wasn’t stirred up by Bartender Axelrod in the speech-content cocktail, understood by Emanuel. referred to by Faureau or grasped by Obama: military deterrence. Take a look. The Berlin Blockade (1945-46) was won by us airlifting supplies to the West Berliners, foiling the Russian effort to isolate West Berlin. The Korean War (1950-53) which ended when President Eisenhower, a 5-star general passed the word unofficially that he was ready to break the impasse by resorting to nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula and Chinese mainland.

The Berlin Crisis (1961) which resulted in the building of the Berlin Wall after which JFK increased military strength in the army from 873,000 to more than 1 million, doubled the draft rolls and pushed the Air Force numbers up by 28,000. The USSR backed down leading Kennedy to address the Berliners in June, 1963 by saying “I am a Berliner” but which was so mispronounced that it came out “I am a doughnut.” Then The Cuban Missile Crisis portrayed as an exhibition of American military strength (but which was actually a standoff since privately we agreed to pull missiles out of Turkey to accommodate Russian desires). We lost our only war in Vietnam (1959-76) where Lyndon Johnson lost his nerve and Richard Nixon following Watergate was impeded by the Democratic congress which cut off aid to South Vietnam causing the defeat.

After Jimmy Carter’s surrender of the Panama Canal came the Hostage Crisis (1979-81) in failing to act when 53 Americans were held hostage for 444 days during the early days of the Iranian Revolution, Ronald Reagan instilled a newborn pride of country. He met the USSR invasion of Afghanistan by stepping up defense expenditures, reviving the B-1 bomber Carter had cancelled and deploying Pershing missiles in West Germany as well as insisting on development of research on the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). American military expenditures convinced Gorbachev privately that the USSR’s future was a lost cause. Reagan then countered with a brilliant plan for zeroing out all nuclear missiles which Gorbachev rejected; later under the administration of George H. W. Bush, the USSR collapsed.

Why don’t Barack Obama and U. S. liberals understand this? It is because they have abandoned conventional liberalism for Leftism which is a substitute for religion. They have increasingly become like the early Church father Tertullian [A.D. 160-220] who was deprived of canonization because of hard-headedness which led to schism with the orthodox Church where his passionate resistance to facts shattered his effectiveness, he insisting on certum est, quia impossibile (it is certain because it is impossible) and credible est, quia ineptum est (it is believable because it is ridiculous).

Obama Stiffs His Nordic Idolators.

Now to the part I alluded to before how Obama stiffed his Norwegian

As the world knows, Obama won the Nobel Prize not because of what he did but because of the concerted support of five Norwegian leftists who were elected by the left-leaning Norwegian parliament. It all started going south or leftward 20 years ago when the Prize went not to Ronald Reagan who put such pressure on the Soviets that the totalitarian government tumbled, but on his adversary, Mikhail Gorbachev who struggled to keep his tyranny afloat, who was nevertheless praised by the committee for “helping to bring the Cold War to an end.” The 1994 Prize went to Yasir Arafat who never deviated from his yen to “drive the Jews to the sea.” In 2002 the Prize went to former president Jimmy Carter, a spectacularly inept president—but the Prize seemed to be a rebuke to George W. Bush. Three years later it went to former vice president Al Gore for his work in “global warming.” Since then the source of many of the statistics for the so-called world malaise has been discredited.

The prize to Obama was described by the Associated Press
as “at least partly a slap at Bush from a committee that harshly criticized Obama’s predecessor for his largely unilateral military action in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.”

Therefore it is, for this writer, delicious to savor the rudeness with which Obama scooped up the Prize. He (a) cut short his visit to Oslo, (b) neglected to dine with the Nobel committee which voted him the Prize, (c) skipped an Oslo news conference, (d) turned thumbs down on an Oslo state television interview, (e) rejected plans that called for a visit to an exhibition in his honor at Norway’s “Peace Centre”…and the worst insult of all. Can you believe this? Obama refused to take lunch with the King of Norway, Harald V!

Here he was: Harald V, king of Norway, second cousin to Queen Elizabeth II, 63rd in line to the British throne, admiral of the Norwegian fleet (which came along with his kingship), nominal head of the official Church of Norway, Grand Master of the Order of St. Olaf, Recipient of the Royal Victorian Chain, Knight of the Garter and…get this…Prince of the Holy Roman Empire (which, as cynics like to say, is none of those things: holy, Roman or empire but which came to him through his old German heritage).

Consider the irony: This president whose lineage is so spotty his staff refuses to release his original birth certificate disses such superbly patrician, pristine king whose ancestors go back 1400 years! And are those Norwegian liberals phony! They who love to prattle about their wish to democratize and make egalitarian the world raised a furor some years back when Harald married…of all things…a commoner. But their inner snobbery came to the front when Obama formerly of Indonesia and lately of the Chicago South Side couldn’t find time for their King.

Poetic justice.

I love it!

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