Friday, January 29, 2010

Thoughts While Shaving: Bobble-Head Biden Makes Throttlebottom Look Astute as Veep.

                              Feast of St. Francis de Sales*
                                          Bobble-Head Biden. 
             “I think maybe he has Parkinson’s,” said my wife as we watched the State of the Union address.  She wasn’t referring to Barack Obama but the man sitting up on the dais behind him…the man with the fluorescently   glowing teeth produced by the dentist applying  power bleach of highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide after the patient was hooked up to a dental tray.  
              Perched high above Obama’s right shoulder, Vice President Biden distracted from his boss’ performance, his hair jostling with the gesticulation.  As senator from Delaware in his 40s, he started to lose his hair so he went to the same surgical hair-plug doctor that Bill Proxmire had visited and submitted to the procedure where grafts of hair follicles and scalp were painfully transplanted from one region of the head where the remaining hair is healthy to the bald spots on his pate.  
            As a corporate lobbyist for a company with some holdings in Delaware I started visiting Biden in 1973 when his hair was full, extending through 1976 when it started to turn sparse, all the way through 1991 (my last lobbying year) when it returned to the texture of new-mown turf.  
        “Look,” my wife said as his head jerked up and down. “Is that Parkinson’s or not?”  Not just head bobbing but he was at the same time flashing his alabaster molars, grinning as if he was in on a private joke, the gesticulating matching every verbal nuance Obama was making, his head bouncing rhythmically to his boss’s rhetoric. 
           “All that happened,” Obama was saying, “before I walked in the door!” At that point Biden’s bobbing turned savage, undisciplined as the head twitching hit a dramatic crescendo.   
             No, I said, that’s just Joe.  He is ecstatic that 30 million are watching Obama talk and that he can get them to see him. 
             Head-bobbing on camera is harmless enough.  What really was pitiable was when in a frenetic moment when as a candidate for president vying for the 1988 Democratic nomination he talked about his rise from poverty…abject poverty…where he worked in a coal mine in Pennsylvania…struggled, got up at 4:30 every morning to study, becoming the first member of his family to go to college.  The audience gasped.  It was edifying. 
            Inspiring yes, but it wasn’t Joe Biden’s experience. It was Neil Kinnock’s, an oracular Laborite running for the House of Commons.  Portrayed in a gripping film, Biden appropriated it for himself. He had been carried away by the script that he neglected to document wasn’t of his life. That episode of pathological resume misappropriation ended Biden’s presidential quest in 1987, a year before the skirmish really started.  Before that he was asked by a person in a town-hall audience what his academic credentials were. 
           Biden took umbrage at the question and shouted, “I think I have a much higher IQ than you do!”  He told the group “I went to law school on a full academic scholarship—the only one in my class to have a full academic scholarship!”  He added “I ended up in the top half of my class” He concluded “I graduated with three degrees from college.” 
          Not even remotely close. He graduated 76th in a class of 85. He later was dragged almost by the scuff of the neck to clarify and apologize via the media.  His Syracuse Law School career was almost terminated when he submitted a paper in which he plagiarized from a law review article. After receiving a grade of F he was permitted to retake the course.   
          Biden had a tragedy in his life. Shortly after his election to the Senate in 1972, just 30 years old, his wife and infant daughter were killed in a car accident and his two sons were seriously injured (he has since remarried to Dr. Jill Jacobs, an educator in Delaware public schools. Did this tragedy unhinge him and spur him to invent resumes and challenge a heckler to an IQ contest?  No, a senate staff member told me, pleading for anonymity, that the tragedy didn’t do it. His boss was always goofy.   
            Goofy he is, without a doubt. Nevertheless Biden has led a charmed life because the supine media keeps his bumbling past as a closely held secret.  Still stuff gets out. He’s supposed to be a foreign policy expert.  He voted against the Persian Gulf  war in 1991 but voted for the Iraq War Resolution in 2002, although he later criticized the war.  He voted against a timetable for troop withdrawal; indeed he demanded more troops for Iraq. The voting record is a crazy-quilt pattern of contradictions.  Also although the media were compliant they couldn’t help reporting that he proposed dividing Iraq by giving Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis there own regions.  
            Somehow, unaccountably, Biden was picked by Obama for vice president. On the campaign trail as the nominee, he told Katie Couric that the nation needed a reassuring voice…like FDR’s when after the 1929 stock market crash when Roosevelt went on television to steady the populace. Couric recorded it dutifully. Later of course her researchers told her that FDR was not president in 1929, that television was not operative in 1929.  The media didn’t give it much play, paying more attention to how dumb they felt Sarah Palin was. 
            But the Biden goofyness has gone on. In September 2008 at a mass rally Biden asked Missouri States Senator Chuck Graham to stand up. “Stand up, Chuck, let `em see you!”  Then an aide rushed over to tell him that Graham was paralyzed.  “Oh, God love you!” chortled Biden.  “What am I talking about?  I tell you what—you’re making everybody else stand up, though, pal. I tell you what: Stand up for Chuck!” 
           It never ends all the while Letterman, Conan O’Brien and Leno love telling stories about how dumb Republicans—usually conservatives—Dan Quayle, Sarah Palin et al are.  During the 2005 Senate confirmation hearings for Justice (later Chief Justice) John Roberts, Biden, then chairman of Judiciary asked him this: “Can a microscopic tag be planted in someone’s body to track his every move?  Can you rule on that?”  Everyone looked perplexed and Biden changed his tack. 
          And whenever he gets tense he can enliven a speech with an exciting anecdote.  In the last campaign he told an audience that his helicopter was “forced down” on…get this…”the superhighway of terror” by Afghan extremists. Actually snow forced the helicopter pilot to land and wait out a storm…When the budget deficit reached over $1 trillion under Obama for the first time in history, the vice president told an AARP meeting “Now people say, `What are you talking about, Joe?  You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’ The answer is yes. That’s what I’m telling you!” 
             Always a clutch hitter when crisis looms, Biden went on network television on April 30, 2009 to warn Americans to stay out of confined spaces such as subways and planes or they’ll catch Swine Flu. Public health officials had to rush to the media to douse the scare tactics.  Reporters looked for Biden but he was nowhere to be found. 
            So with all these goofy things, on reflection it’s not so bad if all we get from Joe is with head-bobbing during Obama’s speeches.  Considering him becoming president if something happened to Obama, observers credit the president with being astute in the selection of Biden as his Number Two.  No one wants Obama to be endangered considering that the man who praised  FDR’s TV speech in 1929…a statement Ms. Couric accepted as truth…succeeded to the presidency. 
      *: Feast of St. Francis de Sales [1567-1622].  Born in his family’s castle at Thorens, Savoy he became a bookworm and heavy-duty scholar, receiving his doctorate of laws at age 24, a record. His family’s connections could have got him a senatorship and lucrative law career but he nixed it all for the clergy, becoming one of the most talented missionaries in Church history. As a missionary in the Chablis, it was very tough duty because the populace was rebelling against the misconceived activities of the Duke of Savoy to impose Catholicism on them by force.  Francis had to make clear to the Duke that being converted the old-fashioned way by persuasion and logic was the way to go.  
       Thus with magnificent reason and eloquence he became one of the great leaders of the Counter-Reformation, becoming Bishop of Geneva, founding schools, teaching catechetics and founding with Blessed Frances de Chantal the Order of the Visitation…members called the Visitandines.  Two of his books are classics, “Introduction to the Devout Life” and “Treatise on the Love of God” which are still read today. His cause became the first beatification to be promulgated at St. Peter’s in Rome.  He was made a Doctor of the Church in 1877 and is patron saint of the Catholic Press.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Personal Aside: Obama Oh-So-Slightly Tacks Center—But Not Nearly Enough…Arizona Gives Us the Chance to Dump McCain: Hallelujah!

 Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas*
                                        Rhetoric Closer but No Cigar.
            In his State of the Union last night President Obama moved rhetorically, not practically, oh-so-slightly toward the political center—but missed by a country mile to accommodate the views of a nation which by polls and election returns has shown it has moved to the farthest reaches of center-right.

            In an 80-minute speech which was well delivered but far too long, Obama ceded very few points to the Right when analyzed cogently…but here were some faint inducements:
    • He endorsed nuclear energy.  Long a bugaboo with the frenetic Left, he made a passing reference to our building more nuclear plants but left the details…including goofy regulations which can make such plant-building unprofitable…unspecified.
    • He endorsed a $38 billion tax break for small business—probably the first formal recognition in concrete policy that recovery depends upon inducements given to job-creating business to expand.

           To counter these inducements to the right, he tossed out red-meat to the Left which constitutes his political base…including these things:
    • For possibly the first time in U. S. history he denounced a Supreme Court ruling while members of the Court sat directly in front of the House rostrum. This was, to me, an old State of the Union watcher who in 1958 watched from the House gallery Dwight Eisenhower address the Congress during the height of the Cold War, by all odds the most electrifying point in the speech.
         I thought his Dutch Uncle talk to a co-equal branch of     government by leering at their faces from his vantage-point on the podium was the most electrifying… but at the same time most offensive… part of the speech—the most violative of separation of powers since FDR lambasted his Court by calling it “the nine old men” and launched a failed drive to pack the Court (yet liberalized the Court by his threat to pack it which produced a shift in its ideology, known as “the switch in time that saved Nine.” 
         Obama’s brazen attack on the independent Judiciary was prompted by the Court’s vote last week (5 to 4) which allowed corporations to utilize 1st amendment rights to express their political views to the American people—not by corporate contributions but by ratifying their right to free speech which liberals feel is discriminatory, not withstanding that labor unions have long exercised that very right.   Of course, media corporations have always exercised that right—General Electric which runs NBC for instance as well as the giant newspapers.  It’s just the non-media ones have been deprived by acceptance of the view that free speech should be curtailed by non-media corporations—a fallacious theory that the Court decided fails the test of the Constitution. 
    Staring down at them from High Up in a mode of imperial autocracy,
Obama urged the Congress to pass a statute which would rectify the decision—a blunt challenge to the Court as the jurists sat impassively.  Given the new zest for opposition to Obama’s leftward proposals in the country, I imagine that the battle to pass the legislation which prior to Massachusetts should have been easy to pass, now will be difficult given the rightward temper of the country. 
           Then Obama courted one-by-one the exotic components of liberaldom, including the gays by
    • Calling for the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military, a cardinal overture to the Left. 
    • Calling for yet another “stimulus package” describing the first one, amounting to $787 billion, a “success” even though three members of his administration appeared on TV talk shows Sunday…Axelrod, Jarrett and Gibbs…and none could agree onthe number of jobs purportedly created or “saved”—blowing a kiss to labor and the statist Left…despite the fact that this would further jeopardize the economy and add to the deficit.       
    •   Calling for tougher lobbyist restrictions on what he called “the Special Interests” which clearly means big corporations whom he pummeled relentlessly in demagogic populism to appeal to the craving of the Left since to the Left the constitutional right to seek redress of grievance should be outlawed to business but available to labor unions and exotic liberal groups.        
    • Resorting to the old bromide that dates back to William Jennings Bryan of 1896 in Chicago by calling for higher taxes on the “rich” heedless of the fact that penalizing the rich direly affects their ability to improvise with entrepreneurial investments, massaging the anti-corporate Left which so freely ignores lobbying registration anyhow, viewing their activities a “the people’s work.”  
    • Pleaded again for passage of his mammoth health care bill, repeating the old nostrum that it will cut the deficit at the same time bringing full and complete health care to everyone in the nation which is an economic possibility to even an 8-year-old but not apparent to an orator in full swing turning to multiple teleprompters.

                                             The Same Old Obama.
             In essence it was the same old Obama Leftist nonsense only slightly repositioned to make a posture that it was more moderate.  He hasn’t learned a single thing from the drastic change in political climate…the elections of Republican governors in heavily blue New Jersey, in somewhat purple Virginia and the sweep of a Republican senator in liberal sacrosanct Massachusetts.
                        Surprising Snub of Obama by Emanuel.

                I think I detected something after his speech that I haven’t seen commented on.  After the president left the rostrum he did what every president does, shake hands with his administration leaders sitting at the foot of the podium.  When he got to Rahm Emanuel, Emanuel seemed to turn away frostily and Obama moved on.   Did you see that as well?  This seems to confirm a few weird actions circulating about Emanuel in the last few days.  
               One was the surprise leak…or at any event disclosure…last week in a Washington Post gossip column that Emanuel was thinking of the possibility of returning to Chicago to run for mayor!  It was so impolitic that it almost smacked of political suicide.  If Rich Daley decides not to run which is highly-highly unlikely, I can guarantee you that this fulminating little vituperative sleaze-ball famed for spraying the “f” word to every man and woman with whom he comes in contact is not going to have any chance of being considered as successor. Daley ignored response and a day or so later Emanuel was obsequious in his praise of Daley as the greatest individual of the 20th and 21st centuries.  
               Okay, so maybe Emanuel just got into some bad ice at a cocktail party and blurted it to the wrong person.  I’d have let it go at that except that the other day on Katie Couric he appeared and said that the Massachusetts defeat need not have happened—it was preventable.  An amazing statement that led Couric rightly to follow up and ask who was responsible—“was it you?”  Emanuel drew himself up in self-righteous anger and said: “Was it me?”  She clarified and said, well wasn’t it the White House?  It was clear Emanuel was not about to take the rap for the loss.  But he has been blamed for the defeat, mainly by Celinda Lake, Coakley’s pollster.  
              Actually, Emanuel deserves major blame for Obama’s plummeting stature—but, make no mistake, the central part of the blame should fall on Obama who is himself a Far Left president, certainly the most ideologically port-side president ever to have been elected. But Emanuel was responsible for misreading of the 2008 election as a mandate to pile the plate heapingly high with every exotic wish of the Left.  His own statement that an emergency should not be wasted was key to that.  My feeling is that what we’re seeing is the soon-to-occur departure of Rahm Emanuel as the goat for Massachusetts and everything else bad that’s happened to Obama. 

                                       Dumping McCain.
              The best book of the 2008 campaign is Game Change.  If you go to page 272 you’ll find Candidate John McCain in full flower…shouting at the top of his lungs the “f” word repeatedly.  McCain was probably the best candidate Republicans could have found in 2008.  No Republican could have been elected during a highly unpopular war and in the midst of the worst economic meltdown since 1929.  Given this fact, McCain did better than almost everyone else and brilliantly added a component that stimulated the grassroots, the nomination of Sarah Palin.
                Still, it’s time to get rid of the Maverick and let him retire at age 74 as the war hero he indubitably is.  He should get off the stage.   He has been a very mixed quantity for many years, having foisted on the country the McCain-Feingold Act that had no business being passed, was based on liberal prejudice and now has been vitiated by the Supreme Court. He has been such a recalcitrant old explosive tyrant to live with that he has turned off his wife Cindy and his daughter Meghan. Make  no mistake, they’re embracing same-sex marriage at the same time Old John is trying to rebuild his frayed relations with the Right is an attempt to torpedo this little Short Fuse.   
      J. C. Hayworth is running against McCain in the Republican primary.  Here’s hoping we can send him off the scene of political battle where one day he embraces the Right, one day the Left and with his distressed family caused by his own selfishness and overbearing.  For the family’s sake let’s give John a farewell salute and a one-way ticket to Phoenix or any of his six other houses Cindy has supplied him with and which he cannot quite remember. 
    *: Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas [AD 1225-1274].. I was named Thomas after my maternal grandfather Thomas F. Cleary whose name was bequeathed from Irish who cherished Thomas the Apostle, the Doubter. But of course ever since I walked into Ernie’s class on the first day, Sept.14, 1946, I heard about Aquinas and have grown to love his postulates…listing a Thesis e.g. “It has been maintained that government is a good.”  Then follows a series of objections.  Followed by Thomas’ reason: “On the contrary, I aver that…” How I loved Ernie’s portrayal of those postulates which went on largely for four straight years until 1950. We believed in fact that Ernie, as he swept by our student chairs, reciting from memory the arguments, that Ernie WAS in fact Aquinas.  Aquinas was born near Aquino, Italy and was sent…believe it or not…at the age of five to the Benedictine monastery at Mount Cassino as an oblate to begin his education.
      In 1239 they thought he was coming home an educated man at age 14 but alas to their discomfiture he wanted to continue his studies and went to Naples to continue his education…and, Ernie said, unfortunately, to join of all things THE DOMINICANS!  His family was so angered that members kidnapped him and held him captive for 14 months hoping he would change his mind. He was immovable so he rejoined the Dominicans and continued his studies at the University of Paris.  Thus began formally the matriculation of one of the greatest minds ever to serve the West and
Catholicism received its greatest and most towering intellect.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Personal Aside: Junior Skipping Debates in Favor of TV Ads Paid by Big Daddy… WTTW Debate Shows GOPers At Their Feisty Best.

           Feast of St. John Chrysostom* 
            Junior Doesn’t Have to Debate if He Doesn’t Want To: Nyaa!
            “Junior,” the Republican candidate for governor, Andy McKenna, Jr. didn’t show up to debate with the other contenders on WTTW last night week because…well…he didn’thave to. Invitations had gone out on the debate last November 3 but Junior couldn’t fit it in to his schedule although the others did.  Junior skipped a downstate TV debate too.  

            The reason he doesn’t do debates is he doesn’t do well in them. This is because of a birth defect. He was born terminally bland.  So bland, in fact, that if he had been at WTTW he would have been overshadowed in aggressiveness by the host, Phil Ponce.  Besides when you’ve got a mega-multimillionaire daddy who funds your campaign and pays for the commercials, who needs a debate where things can go wrong? 
             The highly paid media strategists paid by Daddy tell Junior--correctly—that he does far better on silent film TV commercials looking thoughtful than talking on them.  A deep-voiced announcer says Junior is a bear-cat, tough-guy, ferocious on cutting the budget and fighting taxes, declaring he won’t accept a tax increase.  They’ve since Junior McKenna is in the top-three candidates for governor without having said a word, staying away from most controversies, having his media people say his schedule won’t allow for debates and dodging ramifications of issues that go beyond bumper-sticker slogans.
                  Andy Says Nothing, Looks Great in Commercials.
          But we do have him looking tough in his commercials. Sure, he looks over at his running mate, Matt Murphy for reassurance .  That’s because Murphy is a state senator and has been in the fray for a few years, unlike Junior.  Matter of fact every other Republican running for governor has got to this point by themselves—except Junior who’s got there through Senior, his old man. But anyhow the commercials Senior has paid for his kid are triumphs…one showing a baby wearing a Blago wig.  But it’s revelatory that Junior looks up at Murphy for reassurance.  Murphy is an adult. Andy’s one too but he doesn’t really fit the part.
          His opponents say Andy put his own name in a poll paid for by state money.  He won’t ever do that again. It happened when he didn’t ask Senior about it—and Senior would have gladly paid for a poll himself…but Junior never thought about that.  After the poll was taken, Junior kept the findings to himself, not telling anybody he was thinking of running.  What’s the big deal?  
        Now as state chairman, the guy whose job was trying to find the best candidate for governor he asked all the candidates what their ideas were for governor. Asked them how they planned to raise money. That’s all true. But it didn’t amount to much information since nobody but he had so rich a Daddy.  Nevertheless, peeking at their plans was helpful: no doubt.
        Once he was asked by Joe Birkett how he—Birkett—fared in the survey. It happened that Birkett was rated much higher than Andy. Somehow Andy kept the numbers to himself. So Birkett thinking his numbers were negligible, made other plans and dropped running for governor.
         When he was caught, it was embarrassing for a while for Junior. Then a Republican lawyer, chairman of the state GOP finance committee, allowed that he—the lawyer—thought of adding Junior’s name…thus sparing Junior from blame. Sort of careless of Junior to allow the lawyer to do it…but then, remember what the narrator Nick says in The Great Gatsby?Says: “They [the rich, those who have been born to a high position in life] were careless people, Tom and Daisy. They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness. They can use their wealth to escape whatever they choose.”  
        Finally it was determined that the lawyer didn’t do it—Junior added his own name.  No big deal, is it? Junior can reimburse the state party…and life goes on.   But back to the campaign for governor.
                     Picture Junior Shouting “NO!” to Madigan?   
        I sometimes think that since Junior’s not assertive but very bland, it’d have been better if Junior’s old man was running, even at the age of 81 (my age).  The old man has fire. Junior?   
         Behind the multi-million-dollar TV buys, you see maybe a floor-walker at Macy’s, the old Marshall Field; or a timid parson in the back office of a Presbyterian church, or a shy freshman on his first day at Phillips Exeter.  You don’t see Junior saying no to Mike Madigan can you?  Or fighting back when Mike Madigan says NO,  can you?  He looks as though hearing “no” from anybody would cause him to hide behind a sofa in terror.
       Daddy’s commercials could get Junior elected governor and if so it proves that money can buy anything.  Still, though a supporter of the free enterprise system, somehow when you look at Junior, you can’t see him saying NO to anybody.  
       Despite Andy, Sr. having either personally funded Junior and/or scooped up as much largesse as his two hands can carry from his decades of blue-chip connections:  his former board membership on the Tribune which did wonders in winning the paper’s editorial endorsement…
       …Senior’s string of current and past board memberships: executive chairmanship of McDonald’s, of AON, Dean Foods, Notre Dame, Skyline Corp and, former chairmanships of the Chicago Cubs and the White Sox…as well as a covey of cushy civic memberships allowing the old man to network in behalf of Junior with his pals also of the Big Money: the Museum of Science and Industry; the Economic Club. 
          Initially, Senior advised Junior to go straight up from the executive suite to U.S. senator and challenge the incumbent Peter Fitzgerald in the 2006 primary.  He was told to be angry that Fitzgerald’s no-team-player independence, refusal to sign on to Illinois pork projects was not good: and so Ray LaHood schooled him on challenging Fitz…yeah, the same Ray LaHood who now is Obama’s transportation secretary—of course you might say to me: why bring that up?
        Fitz bowed out because Chairman Topinka, Speaker Hastert and Bill Cellini signified it would be a very expensive primary…not withstanding that Fitz had cited George Ryan for trying to turn the Lincoln Museum into a patronage dump, refused to support Boss Daley’s O’Hare expansion—and horrors! Named a tough U.S. attorney to prosecute the Combine. Then Junior was convinced by his Dad to run for the Senate anyhow but he lost well down the list to State Rep. Jim Durkin who was starved for money so Dick Durbin won. 
        After losing the Senate nod to Jack Ryan…Ryan later quitting, his berth taken by Alan Keyes…Junior turned to Daddy and asked: what to do?  Daddy said he’d do well to get political management experience. So Daddy’s money made Junior State Republican Chairman in 2005.  Junior’s critics say: Nothing happened.
                      Lots Happened During McKenna Chairmanship.
          No, wait—that’s not right.  Lots happened! From the time Junior took over as State Republican Chairman to the day he stepped down and ran for governor, here’s what happened: Republican Judy Baar Topinka got nominated for governor and lost even though the incumbent, Rod Blagojevich, was knee-deep in ethics trouble…Republicans lost the state treasurer’s job so that the Dems controlled all state constitutional offices including both houses of the legislature….Republicans lost the 11th district seat held by the retiring Jerry Weller to Democrat Debbie Halvorson…Republicans lost the 14th district—a solid Republican one held by the party for many decades and until lately Speaker Dennis Hastert—to Democrat Bill Foster…the Dems elected a freshman, Phil Hare in the old Tom Railsback district, the 17th.  
         And oh yes, I forgot.  In 2008,   Republicans ran a candidate for the U.S. Senate a physician named Steve Sauerberg to oppose incumbent Dick Durbin.  Durbin won 68% to 29% because Sauerberg was under-financed.     
           So it isn’t like nothing happened when Andy McKenna, Jr. served as state Republican chairman.   Lots happened: just none of it good. 
          After that experience as state chairman, Junior took Senior’s advice and resigned that GOP job.  He had gained enough experience to run for governor.                                        
                             The Republican WTTW Debate.
          I’d say they all did well.  Kirk Dillard, my favorite, did well…his experience and thoughtfulness came through even though he didn’t try to interrupt.  I thought Dan Proft did very well: showing himself to be a phrasemaker and excellent advocate.  Adam Andrzejewski the first timer, showed extraordinary insight and forensic skill—he’s got a future.  Jim Ryan was frankly surprisingly remarkable. He seemed like the patriarchal father of the group—extending the great maturity that comes from his long service to the state. He handled his political disadvantages in such a way that he was really compelling.
          Andy McKenna, Jr. did better than he would have had he shown up for reasons explained earlier. Bill Brady interrupted everybody, hurling barbs at them…heckling them, really, but as often with a heckler he unintentionally created sympathy for those he interrupted and sought to throw off subject.   Dillard brushed him away like a pesky fly.  I rooted for Ryan when he fought back against Brady’s machine-gun chatter. This was probably the first time being heckled for Andrzejewski and he did very well.  I don’t remember Brady heckling Proft because, wisely, he knew he would be verbally decapitated if he did.   
       *:  St. John Chrysostom [AD 347-407] is one of the greatest Fathers of the Church. Born at Antioch, Syria the son of a pagan Roman soldier and a Christian mother, developed an early love of the Church from her, baptized (as was then the custom) as an adult, studying theology under Diodorus of Tarsus, volunteering to live the life of a hermit under St. Basil of Mopsuestia. But life in a cave almost ruined his health and he returned home to become a Deacon, then a priest.  He was k known as plain “ John of Antioch” until he started to preach—then he was given by his hearers the name “Chrysostom,” or “the golden tongued.” A natural scholar he preached extensively on the New Testament—88 homilies on John alone, 90 on Matthew, 32 on Romans. 
          Against his will he was named Patriarch of Constantinople, reforming the Church, abolishing pomp and luxury, sending missionaries to the East. No diplomat, he assailed the luxurious dress of Empress Eudoxia where craven politicians in the Church demanded he be exiled. He was just about to leave when an earthquake literally scared the devil out of Eudoxia and fearing the wrath of God, she rescinded her order. But John being John, he immediately enraged her again so the exile was put back in place. He was sent to Pityus at the far end of the Black Sea.  He died on the way from exhaustion brought on by long forced marches by foot, through stifling heat and inclement weather. His writings have survived until this day and he was declared a Doctor of the Church and patron of teachers by Pius X. .

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Personal Aside: If We Regain the Presidency in 2012, Let’s Make it Mean Something!

             Feast of St. Polycarp*
            The devastating (for Democrats) Republican victory in Massachusetts last week is still only a slight breeze…a breeze that will likely turn into a stiff wind this November and a hurricane in 2012 that will remove socialist-redistributionist Barack Obama and his radical  Chicago Squid allies from office.
           But it’s important that the change that comes must be true—not just a reshuffling of a namby-pamby “moderate” GOP president for a Dem one with the same-old, same-old tactics melding into virtually one party.
                         Don’t Co-Opt the Tea Parties for GOP Purposes.
           That means it’s important that the Republican who comes to power will not be an get-along, go-along…one who will not exercise a veto as did George W. Bush for the first term of his presidency--but one who will fight for the drastic changes in the economy that are needed to restore national solvency. 
            To ensure a real conservative revolution ensues up to 2012 and beyond, that fabulous grassroots tsunami known as the Tea Party Movement should in no sense be co-opted by the Republican party as former Vice President Dan Quayle advised last week.  
                           Clamp Down on the Fed.
            In addition to cutting unnecessary spending, the new Republican president should issue a strict policy concerning the Federal Reserve Board: To (a) submit to a comprehensive audit which it has resisted, (b) revert to what it was originally designed to do—guard the stability of the dollar and not jiggle with the money supply that produces boom and bust—or (c) run the risk of being abolished, the president declaring that he prefers abolition if there is no reform.
          That would mean no more policies of artificially cheap credit which caused the housing bubble, spurting dough to banks which became awash in money that was printed out of thin air, making mortgage loans available to everyone, prodding people to buy mega-mansions they could not afford.           Further it would signify a return to the wise policy of Andrew Mellon, the Treasury Secretary of the `20s which was ignored by Herbert Hoover.  In 1920 when a downturn hit after World War I,  Mellon’s sage advice was followed—and the market was allowed to self-correct, spurring full recovery a year later. 
           The next Republican president should also have the gumption to oppose any future attempts to grant bailouts to banks that are “too big to fail,” and any “rescue plan” that impels the Fed to okay billions of dollars to “save” Fannie and Freddie—or anything like the notorious prescription drug benefit under George W. Bush, passed by a GOP Congress in 2003.  Bushies told the Congress it would cost $534 billion and which now has been adjudged as $1.2 trillion for this decade alone.
     Moreover the next Republican presidentshould fight to return to Americans their right to use precious metals as a medium of exchange to protect themselves from ruin by utilizing gold and silver if they so desire. 
                               Returning to Declarations of War.  
           The next president should take a very dim view of this nation’s record of not asking for a congressional declaration of war but sending troops to battle with either no congressional authorization or with mischievously concocted bogus evasions. The argument is that today foreign attacks and crises can occur within a few hours which makes the declaration of war impracticable—but it doesn’t hold water. Congress approved our entry into World War II a day after Pearl Harbor, Dec. 8, 1941…with only one dissent, Cong. Jeannette Rankin [R-Montana] who also was dissented from World War I)  and FDR signed it the same day—although as a resolution, it didn’t need to be signed (he wanted a photo-op). 
       To supplant the Constitutional provision, a so-called War Powers Act was re-passed over presidential veto in 1973 whose constitutionality has never been tested.  It requires a president to ask Congress to approve his warlike action  48 hours after it’s occurred and stipulates that the forces involved should not be utilized in war for more than 60 days without further authorization. 
     This legislation is patently ridiculous. If an army is sent to war who in the Congress will have the guts not to back up “our fighting sons and daughters” with an instant resolution?  And after 60 days of warfare, who in the Congress will muster the fortitude to deny support for “our fighting men and women”? 

           Bypassing the constitutional provision started with—you guessed it, the author of many other bad ideas--Woodrow Wilson with the Mexican incursion of 1916.  Wilson, after all, saw himself as an improvement over Jesus Christ. At Versailles in 1919 where he argued for creation of a League of Nations,  Wilson declared “why has Jesus Christ so far not succeeded in inducing the world to follow His teachings? He taught the ideal without devising any practical means of attaining it.  That is why I am proposing a practical scheme to carry out His aims.”  He was referring to the League of Nations.

      We can also thank Wilson for creation of the Federal Reserve and the federal income tax through the Underwood Tariff that utilized the 16th amendment, placing a 1% tax on individual incomes over $3,000 and an additional graduated surtax of from 1 to 6% on incomes over $20,000.  
      In October, 1913 Wilson pledged the U. S. will never again acquire territory by conquest. Sounded good but he wasn’t exactly a constitutionalist.  Wilson initiated a foray by troops into Mexico without a declaration of war. It happened in 1916 when Mexico temporarily arrested U.S. sailors at Tampico.  Wilson demanded the country fire a 21-gun salute to the American flag. 
           After Mexico declined, he dispatched Marines to occupy Vera Cruz.  Then Pancho Villa, a Mexican revolutionary, raided Columbus, N. M. and killed 16 Americans.  Angrily, dismissing a case for a declaration of war, Wilson arbitrarily sent 6,000 troops under Gen. John J. Pershing to chase Villa hundreds of miles into Mexico. Pershing’s favorite lieutenant, George S. Patton, Jr. returned with the bodies of three bandit-generals strapped to his vehicles similar to game killed by hunters for which he was promoted to captain.
                                  Truman’s Korean “Police Action.”
        If Wilson’s incursion into Mexico was minor league, the “police action” that launched our participation in the Korean War was an enormous constitutional breach.  It was compounded by President Harry Truman’s evasion of congressional authority by winning a UN mandate to expel the North Koreans from the South and not going to Congress at all.
      Truman went the UN route because he feared even the Democratic-led Congress would not declare war and that Ohio’s Robert Taft would single out Democratic responsibility for triggering the invasion  of  the South (because Dean Acheson publicly excluded Korea from our line of defense in a speech at the National Press Club).  So Truman never asked for it. In fact he was in denial, maintaining we were not at war at all.  A reporter questioning him said, “well then it’s a police action.”

        “Yes,” said Truman, “that’s exactly what it is.”  The war that was not called a war but was what the reporter called “a police action” took 33,471 American lives.
         Since Truman got away with not asking for a declaration of war, other presidents felt they could follow suit—but ironically not the 5-star Republican general who followed Truman to the White House, Dwight Eisenhower who nevertheless ended the Korean War by passing the word to the North Koreans that unless they agree to make peace, he—Ike—would see to it that they and the Red Chinese were blasted out of existence with the H-bomb. True, he didn’t need Congress’ approval to make a back-of-the-hand verbal threat.
         As the Chinese didn’t have nuclear weapons then, the  off-the-record vow of  annihilation by the general who won the war in Europe gave them pause and they caved.
          But unconstitutionality was resumed after Ike.
        On April 7, 1961, John Kennedy surreptitiously ordered an invasion of Cuba  involving 1,500 Cuban exiles trained by the CIA at Cochinos Bay (the Bay of Pigs).  No congressional authorization. Next he raised the number of “military advisers” in South Vietnam to 16,000. No congressional authorization.
             Finally on Oct. 22, 1962 he ordered that “any ship of any kind bound for Cuba from whatever nation or port will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons, be turned back.”  He wanted the USSR “it shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring full retaliatory response against the Soviet Union.”  Not even a hint of a possible declaration of war.
                               LBJ’s Bogus Gulf of Tonkin.
         In August, 1964, Lyndon Johnson reported to the Congress that North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked the U.S. destroyers Maddox and Turner Joy in the Gulf of Tonkin. We retaliated with bombing attacks against naval installations in North Vietnam. Johnson condemned the North for “open aggression on the high seas.”  He did not ask for a declaration of war; instead, Congress gave him an open-ended commitment to “take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.” 
       The congressional resolution was substituted as a legal basis to justify our going to war—a war that lasted from 1964 to 1975. Why no declaration of war?  There was ample time to pass one! 
      Answer: the Congress was wimpy and wanted Johnson to take the responsibility. The Gulf of Tonkin matter was a lie. In 2005 the National Security Agency’s secret files were opened and it was found that  the story of North Vietnamese aggression against us was a hoax. In fact the Maddox started firing on the North Vietnamese first.  American dead in the Vietnam War: 58,154.  We were told a domino effect would tumble all of Asia if we desisted.  We did not succeed in Vietnam and the war ended in a Communist victory.  Today Vietnam is our trading partner and has a functioning stock market.
       Richard Nixon expanded the Vietnam War to include incursions into Laos and Cambodia but the Democratic Congress, which had readily given its approval to LBJ under the spurious Gulf of Tonkin, heatedly objected and passed the War Powers Act over his veto. 
       Under Gerald Ford, on May 14, 1975 Cambodian gunboats seized a U.S. merchant ship, The Mayaguez enroute from Hong Kong to the Thai port of Sattahip near Poulo Wai island.  No declaration of war was asked but in a daring rescue two days later, U.S. forces recovered the vessel and all 39 crewmen. In the rescue, however, 41Americans were killed.
       Under Ronald Reagan on Oct. 25, 1983, with no congressional sanction or declaration of war,  the U.S. sent 10,000 troops to invade the West Indies island of Grenada, the smallest nation in the western hemisphere to rescue hundreds of Americans threatened by a Marxist military coup there, ridding the island of the Marxist regime and Cuban military personnel.
                               Bush I: Panama, Iraq and Somalia.   
       George H. W. Bush sent forces without a declaration of war to Panama on Dec, 20, 1989 to capture its de facto leader, Gen. Manuel Noriega who                          was wanted in Florida on drug-trafficking charges with no declaration of war.
      Also after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait where Saddam Hussein formally annexed the oil-rich emirate,  Bush launched Operation Desert Storm to free Kuwait with no declaration of war--a coalition with the U.S. joined by 15 other countries including Saudi Arabia, on January 17, 1991--to liberate Kuwait.  More than 541.000 U. S. troops were involved which suffered 148 casualties. Another episode: On December 4, 1992, Bush sent 28,000 U.S. troops to Somalia in 1989 to combat famine which turned into a bloody military struggle: no declaration of war.  
        Bill Clinton approved troops sent to Haiti to oust Haitian strong man Raoul Caras without a declaration of war.  In 1999 he sought to stop ethnic cleansing and genocide of Albanians by nationalist Serbs in the former nation of Yugoslavia by dispatching U.S. troops in a NATO bombing campaign without a declaration. 
                              Bush II: Afghanistan and Iraq.
         Of all the presidents none have received more criticism for initiating war more than George W. Bush —but the criticism was lodged that the invasion of Iraq from which he secured the resolution under the War Powers Act was based on false information that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (none were found)—not that the war was formally undeclared. 
         The twin invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were made as result of the 9/11 attack by terrorists on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Somerset county, Pennsylvania.  Over 3,000 Americans were killed and more than 6,000 injured, the most destructive terrorist attack in U.S. history. With a congressional resolution—but no declaration of war—but with UN and NATO approval--he ordered bombing of al-Qaeda camps and Taliban military forces in Afghanistan. Ironically Bush was more concerned about winning UN approval than getting the Congress’.
       Bush worked mightily to gain UN support for his U.S. led invasion of Iraq—much harder than he did trying to persuade our own lawmakers.  Instead the Security Council approved a resolution demanding Saddam Hussein declare where all its alleged weapons of mass destruction were, stop supporting terrorism and oppressing Iraqis. Dissatisfied, congress passed the resolution on Iraq—not a declaration of war—and the U.S., Great Britain and 30 other nations prepared for war. On March 23, the coalition launched an attack on Iraq.
           So the first order of international business for a new Republican president would be, I suggest, to restore observance of the Constitution and ditch the probably unconstitutional War Powers Act.
                Reducing the Size of Our Military Occupation Forces.
         Along with restoring the Constitution on declarations of war, the next Republican president should—to save money and cut back on over-involvement in globalism—end the over-extension of our military throughout the world where troops are not needed.  We now have more than 200,000 troops stationed in 144 countries and territories throughout the world.  Of this number there are 100,000 in Europe where war is unlikely to break out: Germany, Italy, the UK, Turkey, Spain, Iceland, Belgium and Portugal.  We have 75,000 in Asia (including Japan).  There are 6,000 troops in Panama.  These troops basically serve as policemen, saving our rich allies the expense of defending themselves.
            Civil Liberties—But Not a National Suicide Pact.
         But I part company with those ultra-doves, a strange amalgam of  those on Left and the Libertarian Right, who say we had 9/11 coming because we are too pro-Israel…when we have given far more billions to Arab nations than to the Israelis… and who criticize so-called abrogation of terrorists’ “civil liberties” in fighting the war on terrorism. Preservation of civil liberties is important but ridiculous liberal legal constructs should not be construed as a national suicide pact.  The PATRIOT Act is a matter of self-protection—for us.  Terrorist combatants who are out to blow us up should be tried in a military court—not a civil federal one where under the weak Obama practice they are given the very constitutional privileges stemming from a nation they are trying to destroy. Dangerous terrorist combatants should be held inviolate from the people they want to destroy without legal counsel and without knowing the charges leveled against them if by freeing them on technicalities they are at liberty to kill us-- no matter what the ACLU says. 
           While this new president’s at it, he should pare “foreign aid” to the bone.  Israel’s making big bucks because it’s ditched socialism  for entrepreneurism; the Arabs have enough oil to pay their bills and fight their own “poverty.”
           These are just a few ideas for the resurgent conservatism that will, God willing, reclaim what’s left of America in 2012.
       *: Feast of St. Polycarp [circa AD 69-155]. He was a disciple of John the Evangelist and ordained by John as bishop of Smyrna, in present day Turkey.  A tough old bird, he couldn’t agree with Pope Anicetus on what day to celebrate Easter, so they split the difference, each celebrating it on his own favorite day.  Polycarp became the vital link between the age of the original apostles and the 2nd century church fathers. Polycarp kissed the chains of Ignatius of Antioch as Ignatius passed by on the road to martyrdom and agreed to look after Antioch as well as Smyrna. When Emperor Marcus Aurelius began a persecution, Polycarp refused to sacrifice incense to the gods and acknowledge the emperor’s divinity. Thus the emperor ordered him burned at the stake—but the flames refused to consume Polycarp, and in fact, stirred by the wind, formed themselves like the sails of a ship and encircled Polycarp so that no harm be done to him. In desperation the emperor ordered him to be speared to death.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thoughts While Shaving: It’s Important Ben Bernanke be Confirmed by the Senate—and Guess Why?...It’s Great Scott Brown Won but Don’t Get Too Attached to Him.

   Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul* 
          This torturous fiddle-faddling by the Senate over whether or not to reconfirm Ben Bernanke as head of the Fed is ridiculous—led by the  Democratic Left.  I’m not nuts about Bernanke although he was named by George W. Bush (in fact not nuts about the  Fed itself since it exists without much audit and is in fact a 4th branch of government until and unless its powers are trimmed and is compelled to stop jiggling with interest rates creating boom and then bust)…but let’s be clear about one thing.
          If Bernanke isn’t confirmed can you imagine whom the Messiah would appoint to that most important of all economic jobs?  Well, guess.  Let’s see: Somebody guilt-ridden about our “moral debt” to support the 3rd world, somebody who feels the TARP spending was too low, somebody who relishes beating up on big business, someone who believes strongly in income redistribution via high taxes.  
           That would morph into Paul Krugman, 58, professor of public and international affairs at Princeton, a Nobel Prize winner in economics for analyzing trade cycles, a very visible and public-voiced liberal who writes a weekly column for The New York Times.  Krugman’s academic luster and high popularity with the Left would get him confirmed by the Senate unless and until there’s a filibuster—but his appointment  might very well be the death knell for any substantial recovery.
                        About Brown: Don’t Get Too Attached!

           Bill Bradley, the last commonsense Democrat of national stature, was as you know not just one of the greatest basketball players of all time (with the New York Knicks) but a superb New Jersey senator, a former Rhodes scholar and mathematician who ran unsuccessfully for his party’s nomination in 2000 when his commonsense support of tax reform and Reagan budget-cutting caused him to lose to…ahem…Al Gore. Bradley tells about a time when he was in a slump with the Knicks and goofed up three free-throws in a row whereupon the Knicks lost a bid to the championship.
         As soon as he got home…this being before the days  of e-mails…a messenger came to his door with a telegram.  It was from an angry fan who signed his name.  It said: 
          “Bradley, the next time you botch a free-throw like that, I’m going to shoot your dog!”
            Shoot your dog!
           Bradley sent the guy a return gram and cautioned him to grow up and be an adult.  The game is just a game.  No use being so dracon or taking it out on a poor little dog.  “Besides,” Bradley said, “for your information I don’t have a dog—so grow up!  So you can’t shoot my dog but even the concept is sickening to me!” 
            The next day two messengers came to Bradley’s door and delivered an expensive crate with air-holes punched in. Once it was opened there was a roomy cage and inside, eager to get out, was a beautiful russet-haired cocker spaniel to whom Bradley’s kids took to with whoops of delight. While they frolicked with the spaniel, Bradley opened the note attached. It was from the same guy and said…
           Bradley, don’t get too attached to this dog!”
          In the same spirit, I ask conservatives who along with me thrilled to the Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts last week, not to get too attached to him.  It’s wonderful that we have a 41st vote; I’m ecstatic that the Senate has another member who is against health care, sealing its doom, against cap and trade et al.   But don’t get too attached to him.   Especially for heaven’s sake don’t start talking him up for the presidency.  He’s only 50. Let him simmer.  Don’t repeat what Democrats did to another supposed glory boy, Obama.  For the closer you get to Brown and learn more about him, the less you may like him…or some members of his family.
            Scott Brown has all the impediments that one is expected to have who comes from a chaotic family.  Remember Bill Clinton whose mother was nothing more than a gambling tramp?  Whose imbroglio with a boy friend made young Clinton get up in the middle of the night and have to mediate between his mother and a raging boy friend?  You think that experience doesn’t do something to a guy?  Well, just look at Clinton and the bimbo eruptions.
            Scott Brown’s background is just like Clinton’s only worse.  His mother and father were each married three times.  Scott Brown at age 9 had to get up in the middle of the night and prevent a male visitor to his mother’s bedroom from cutting her ear-to-ear with a butcher knife. Trying to pay his tuition to law school motivated Brown to pose semi-draped for Cosmopolitan.  Call me a sexist but women who model and pose do what women have done for two millennia.  A man who does so looks and indeed is…well…unmanly.  Can you imagine this revelation made of a candidate 20 or 30 years ago?  The fact that it was sloughed off…by the media…and more noteworthy by us…indicates the decadence caused by the slime in which we live and breathe.
            Now…there’s more.
            Remember election night when Brown appeared on stage with his two gorgeous daughters?  He declared the younger one, the one who nearly won American Idol “available” at a rally covered by the national media. Why was the younger girl…on the stage with her family in mid-winter in Boston (and having lived for a year in Cambridge I can tell you those winters rival Chicago’s)…why was this younger girl on stage in a strapless evening gown with bare shoulders when everyone else was sweater-clad, buttoned up in woolies to the chin?  Why didn’t her mother, the Boston television reporter Gail Huff, check her kid out before her appearance on Victory Night?
           And about Gail Huff…the media covering Brown were exceedingly friendly. They didn’t cover the shoddy, sleazy film she made as a young actress years before…a film in which she was celebrated performing simulated male masturbation.  I’ve seen it on YouTube. A forgiving God was working for Brown during the campaign else that film could have caused national repercussions and have easily lost the election.  Nauseating. What sort of woman would make this thing?  What sort of mind-set?  
           Enough.  Paraphrasing the words the Knicks fan used on Bradley: Don’t get too attached to Brown…or his family.
     *: Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul [AD 34].
       This story is one of the greatest ones in history of the Church…how he was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, born between AD 5 and 15…how on the eighth day after his birth at his circumcision he received the name Saul…born at Tarsus in Cilicia (modern-day southeastern Turkey), by privilege a Roman citizen. How his parents sent him to Jerusalem where he was instructed in the law of Moses by Gamaliel, a learned Pharisee whereupon  Saul became a Jew of the strict observance, embracing the party of the Pharisees, of all the most severe. He became a tent-maker, a trade that he continued on occasion even after his apostleship. You have read how he participated in the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, taking on the task of watching the discarded garments of the young men who hurled the stones…discarding their garments so as to have more freedom in hurling the huge stones at the kneeling, praying Stephen.  Augustine wrote: If Stephen had not prayed in his moment of death, the Church assuredly would not have had St. Paul.
          In the fury of his zeal, Saul applied to the high priest for a commission to arrest all Jews at Damascus who were flirting with Christianity.  In fact he was one of a company on their way to Damascus to confirm that appointment when he was felled by a Great Light.  Then of them all, only Saul heard the voice: “Saul, Saul, why persecutest  thou Me?” Saul, blinded, cried out: Who are you?  The answer: “Jesus of Nazareth whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the goad.” Meaning by persecuting My Church you are harming yourself.  Saul: “Lord, what wilt Thou have me do?”  Christ told him to arise, continue to Damascus where he would learn what was expected of him.  Blind in Damascus at the home of Ananias…Ananias trembling at having as houseguest the notorious Saul the Christian killer...being told by Christ: “…[H]e is a vessel of election to carry My name before the Gentiles and kings and the children  of Israel and I will show him how much he has to suffer for My name.”
         Ananias placed his hands on Saul, saying “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to thee on thy journey has sent me that thou may receive thy sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 
        The rest you have heard in the books you have read…and the readings of Paul’s epistles at every Mass. He was executed the same day as was St. Peter, in the same city—Rome—in AD 67 according to St. Eusbius, by beheading according to Tertullian.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thoughts While Shaving: Ron Paul’s Advice to “Take Out the CIA”…The Sun-Times’ Anti-Catholic, Bigoted Refusal to Endorse Dan Lipinski.

                   Feast of St. Vincent of Saragossa*
                                       “Take Out the CIA!”

               Excessive libertarianism leads to anti-patriotic, anti-defense anarchy where it joins hands with the Left.   It is toward this end that Rep. Ron Paul…whose initial economic prescriptions are excellent…has been moving with a vengeance.  During the 2008 presidential debates he came close to agreeing with the psychopathic Left that the U. S. has itself to blame for intruding in the Middle East.  That’s only a half-step away from those who have claimed that Bush planned and carried out the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers because of a conspiratorial wish to involve us in a war on the side of Israel.
              Last weekend,  in an address to the Campaign for Liberty, a non-profit educational group he founded, Paul said this (captured also on YouTube):
            “There’s a coup.  Have you heard? The CIA runs everything!  They run the military. They’re the ones over there lobbing missiles and bombs on countries…And of course the CIA is every bit as secretive as the Federal Reserve…And yet think of the harm they have done since they were established [after] World War II.  They are a government unto themselves. They’re in businesses…They take out dictators…We need to take out the CIA!” 
           Pathetic. Let this former foreign service officer tell him that the rap against the CIA isn’t that it is running the country but that it isn’t doing as well as other nations’ intelligence units to safeguard this country.  
          This is what I’ve long perceived with Paul’s foreign policy…as distinct from much of his cogent economic policy expressed in his two books I just finished—End the Fed(where I don’t go as far as he but certainly endorse a congressional audit and believe its power should be drastically scaled back to its central mission of defending the dollar and not playing with interest rates which trigger boom and bust cycles)… and Revolution where, apart from foreign-defense notions, he states his economic ideas thoroughly and with erudition.
           His defense views, such as they are, coincide with the most drastic ideas that are commonplace expressed in The Daily Kos—the ideas that America has been essentially an evil enterprise, an enterprise controlled for the most part by a foreign-leaning cabal.  Toward the end of his life when he was growing dotty, Eugene McCarthy whom I knew very well, echoed the same thing about the CIA and America generally: abolish it and have us apologize to the world and beg forgiveness for our “sins.” A sad end to a cerebral man I covered and for a long time admired..
            Abolishing the very mediocre CIA would of course leave us defenseless to our enemies.  Like Paul, McCarthy in his dotage postulated that if we would retreat from the world, we would not have any enemies. I am one with both of them about us severely reducing our foreign commitments regarding aid and troops stationed in countries around the world but that is not all that they want. 
       They want us to retreat to our borders…and sadly, use the late Sen. Robert A. Taft as their model. Taft never remotely said anything even close to that.  You can’t convince Paul of that since he uses Taft as an lodestar for Paul’s foreign policies—the same Taft who, had he been nominated in 1952, would have picked General Douglas MacArthur for his running-mate.  And MacArthur wanted to bomb China to win the Korean War.  (Later, as president, Eisenhower passed the unofficial  word to the Chinese that if they wouldn’t put pressure on North Korea to settle the war at Panmunjum , he’d by God see to it that they got the H-bomb delivered post-haste. They complied quickly).   
              In my last meeting I had with McCarthy in 2003 in St. Paul (where he was attending Elmer Andersen’s 95th birthday), he zeroed in on Israel and what he believed were a cabal of Jewish bankers and manipulators which had gained stranglehold over George W. Bush.
             There was no reasoning with him but I pointed out that if the Jews had such control over Bush, they sure didn’t show it at election time where they regularly endorsed and contributed to Bush’s enemies to the tune of 72%. And as the Democrats were their favorites, the Democrats such as Carl Levin, a Jew himself, is notably unsympathetic to any military incursion in the Middle East which as it happens would be advanatageous for Israel.  (Since then Barack Obama has made no bones about the fact that his thumb is on the scale weighted against Israel and hasn’t lost Jewish support: the reason being that secular Jews have largely embraced a new religion: liberalism with all its canons for weepy sympathy for the Palestinians etc.). 
          Back to my conversation with McCarthy.

        He said that’s true (about Levin and other highly placed Jews including those who run The New York Times) but then his argument shifted.
          It was that the goofy…his term…evangelical Christians were in lockstep with the Jews because the bible thumpers believe that they must be looked on with favor by Christ who was a Jew.  I responded this is true but the Jews largely dislike…even despise… the Evangelicals (witness the Jewish-run New York Times) because they believe the bible thumpers are trying to convert them—which isn’t true…and the Jews are embarrassed by the nauseously excessive fawning given to them by Pat Robertson and his colleagues—which causes Jews endless teasing by colleagues.  By then I could see that McCarthy, then 87 was tiring.  He underwent a coughing spasm so serious I thought he’d die right then and there.  End of conversation and that was the last time I saw him. 
                              The Sun-Times’ Anti-Catholic Bigotry.
             So much for the thought that Jim Tyree will affect the far-Left Sun-Times in any way, positive or not. It’s one thing to hope that Tyree would, as leader of the consortium that runs the tabloid, exert any responsible leadership in turning its wheel the slightest tad center-ward.  It’s neo-Marxist editorial page is driving it out of existence…all the while Tyree. not much more than a ruddy-faced South Side Irishman of traditionalist Democratic habits, is counting the paper clips, proclaiming some peculiar kind of Establishmentarian detachment that he will not apply any editorial tug of change in the wheelhouse. 
              But there was hope that he could exert an adult counter to the raving anti-Catholicism that has dominated the editorial and features pages…not withstanding that a few CINOs…feather-light Tom McNamee, editor of the editorial page…Carol Marin its political columnist…Richard Roeper its aging stereotypical boy columnist long in the tooth…are writing there.  There simply is no counterweight to the reigning anti-Catholic bigot who garners a full page every few days for his hate-the-Church fulminations, Neil Steinberg. All these twerps are continuing unmolested in the Tyree era.
             And now it’s even worse. It’s one thing for the paper to take a far-Left liberal position…vehement pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage… in its editorials but anti-Catholicism has even spouted there in its candidate endorsements.  Rep. Dan Lipinski, a Democrat, has an ADA voting record of 90%, an ACLU of 82%, League of Conservation Voters of 100% and Family Research Council of only 58%.  Still the goofy Left Sun-Times editorial page under the supine follower-of-orders McNamee wouldn’t endorse him.
             Why not? Lipinski is a hated pro-lifer and voted for the dreadful Stupak amendment “which prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for insurance plans that cover abortions.”  Opposition to public monies for abortion is not only right down the middle of the American consensus, it happens to be consonant with Lipinski’s deeply held conscience. No good says the brayingly raucous Sun-Times under CINO owner Tyree. Tyree is evidently one of a band of brothers of South Side Irishmen…Daley, Burke and all the rest of wobbly pragmatists… who rise above principle where his Church is concerned in favor of the Democratic party. Does this bog well for the future of the Sun-Times? Let Tyree look to Massachusetts, see how the Irish blue-collars voted  and draw his own conclusions for his paper’s future. 
              And lest the Tribune’s Dold snigger, he’s almost…not quite.,.. as bad.
    *: St. Vincent of Saragossa [circa AD 304].  Instructed in theology by none other than St. Valerius, bishop of Saragossa, the city in northeast Spain. Vincent was ordained a deacon and preached to the people but was apprehended along with his sponsor Valerius by Dacian, the governor of Spain who reported to the cruel Emperors Diocletian and Maximian.  Dacian had earlier put to death 18 martyrs at Saragossa but he placed Vincent in jail at Valencia where they experienced severe hunger and other maladies.  Dacian hoped their imprisonment would shake their constancy but not so. Valerius had suffered from a speech impediment so he ordered Vincent to answer for them which Vincent did—outraging Dacian. Dacian allowed Valerius to be banished but subjected Vincent to excruciating torture, including having him stretched on a rack and his flesh torn with iron hooks.
        Without protest or complaint, Vincent endured this which caused Dacian to explode in rage and return Vincent to prison. He died there and Dacian commanded his body be thrown on a marshy field. It was but a raven appeared and defended it from being devoured by birds of prey, whereupon Dacian still not satisfied ordered that it be stuffed into a sack and tossed into the sea. The body in the sack was washed up on a nearby shore, identified as Vincent from which many miracles were obtained.