Friday, May 28, 2010

Personal Asides: Did Liz Get Fired or Did She Resign? Search Me says Obama Although He’s in Charge (Supposedly). More.

        Feast of St. Augustine of Canterbury*  
       [Note: I didn’t post yesterday because my two computers, the big one in the basement and the lap-top went out at exactly the same time.] 
                                 Barry,  Liz Was Fired.
      From now on, I’m totally in charge Barack Obama told his news conference yesterday.  Well, came a question, the top administration official in charge of stanching the oil leak is Elizabeth Birnbaum, director of the Mineral Management Service of Interior…a Harvard law grad, former editor ofThe Harvard Environmental Law Review—no Bush holdover but an Obama appointment circa 2009.  Question:  Was Liz fired or did she resign? asked Jackie Calmes of The New York Times.  Obama, the man in charge, didn’t know.  Well, Barry,  she was fired nicely-nicely  by Ken Salazar.  He called her in and said sorry, but somebody’s gotta be the goat and unfortunately it’s you.   
       Obama followed the age-old formula pursued by governmental liberals when they’re under attack for delay in response…and that’s to itemize all the people involved in response, all the supplies that were sent. Just as Janet Napolitano answered the Arizona immigration mess.  No direct answer,actually, just a list of things that were done.  And the concluding statement that the government’s regarded this as Job 1.  
       Look for Liz to take a big job with BP next with a big raise: that’s the way Washington has always worked.  
        For those who don’t understand that lethargy in government response is a bipartisan thing, here are the things the Barry people didn’t do ala Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. They 
      …haven’t moved  on setting up barrier berms, temporary little islands that could block the oil flow from flooding the fragile wetlands and marshes.  It requires  okays from the Corps of Engineers and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Louisiana asked permission May 11—no answer as yet…meanwhile oil is flooding the shores. 
      …haven’t decided a thing on dispersants, the chemicals used to break up the oil on the surface and speed its evaporation. On May 8, Louisiana sent an urgent request to BP asking it not to use the dispersants as it would kill the fish. EPA countermanded the state and told BP the dispersants could be used 4,000 feet below the surface.  No communication with Louisiana officials who found out about it in the newspapers. BP still refuses to do it; now EPA agrees.   
     …still haven’t acted on Louisiana’s request to mobilize all boats to deploy booms and containment devices.  Result: Lousiana had to go to the locals.   
    Then there’s the p. r. aspect of it. Most times No Drama Obama looks good by not getting flustered, the way John McCain did during the economic meltdown…temporarily ending the campaign, running around like a chicken with its head cut off…then re-entering the campaign.  Obama was calm all the way.  This time, calmness seems to register insouciance. 
                      Then there’s the 1,200 Guardsmen to Arizona.
        In the news conference, Obama made it seem as though it was in the works all the time.  If it was, why didn’t he tell the lawmakers he met with on the same day it was announced? The fact is they’re only temps and will hold down desk jobs freeing law enforcement to do the job.  But for how long?   
                     Followed by Joe Sestak (D-Pennsylvania).
          Obama said there will be a federal report issued shortly clearing up the question of whether the Democratic senatorial nominee was really offered a job to get out of the way for Arlen Specter or not—saying that when it comes out, everything will be hunky-dory.  Odds are strongly that Emanuel (now in Israel for his son’s bar mitzvah) was not vague.  But Sestak will likely say what he should have said all along after he won the nomination—hey, we all say things during the heat of battle. Forget it. 
                   Finally, the Drive to Get Rid of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” 
          The Botox, wide-eyed witch from San Francisco, is putting the heat on…just as she did with ObamaCare…to ditch “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and has mobilized a fierce pincers drive on the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff to bow in response to powerful gay pressure, gays being one of the key special interest groups in the Democratic party.  The defense secretary wants to wait for a Pentagon report on its effect, but Botox Nancy can’t wait: too many impatient ones in San Francisco and elsewhere.  Doesn’t matter if it wrecks the military services—which it assuredly will.  She pushed the House yesterday to approve abolition of don’t ask, don’t tell…which will probably result in her secular canonization enabling them to put her photo with accompanying vigil light next to that of Tab Hunter in the Gay Galaxy Hall of Fame, San Francisco.  
       *: St. Augustine of Canterbury [circa AD 604]. The Italian who is one of the prime saints of England; a pupil of Felix, bishop of Messana and a companion of Gregory, later to become pope.  Augustine was a monk, later prior of St. Andrew’s monastery on the Celian Hill, Rome. Having known Gregory before he was pope, he was tapped to head a mission to evangelize the Brits.   The party wanted to scrub it at first (not Augustine) but Augustine laid down the law and they were augmented by French priests—now 40 in number—when they landed at Ebbsfleet, Kent in 597.  They were greeted coldly by  King Ethelbert of Kent who was overlord of the other tribes south of the Humber—but he gave them a house in Canterbury while he thought over whether or not he wanted to be baptized. 
      Eventually Ethelbert gave in and with his leadership many Brits volunteered to be baptized.  Augustine built the first cathedral at Canterbury, founded the monastery of Saints Peter and Paul just  outside C
Canterbury’s walls and another church at Rochester. Augustine grew close to King Ethelbert and helped him draft the first draft of Anglo-Saxon laws which still survives.  Gregory, one of the great popes,  was undeniably the prime apostle to the Angles but he gave Augustine a lot of leeway and Augustine ranks second in that hierarchy. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thoughts While Shaving: Obama to Send 1,200 Guardsmen to Arizona but When They Leave—Then What? More.

  Feast of St. Philip Neri* 
                                A Public Relations Move—That’s All.
        Where’s the president’s shrink—if he has one? Barack Obama meets with Republicans on the Arizona immigration mess…holds forth as he has in public that the law is possibly unconstitutional…gets huffy with the lawmakers—and after they go back to the Capitol they’re told via e-mail that he’s sending 1,200 troops along with $500 million to serve as a stopgap in Arizona, something he neglected to tell them a few hours earlier in their meeting. 
        Not that the sending troops there for a short time will do all that good. When they withdraw, the same problem will be there.  Of course there’s enough embarrassment to go around.  John McCain, the hot-tempered who had agreed with Obama on immigration a few years ago and got burned for it, is now all blood and guts.  Then he didn’t want to call the solution he worked out with Ted Kennedy amnesty—but it was.   
         The answer is: build the damn fence. Round up a few hundred thousand of the unemployed for whom Obama cries his heart out every day, send them to Arizona and build the damn fence. 
                                   The “Bribe” to Sestak.   
          As one who’s been around politics just about all my life…starting as a reporter in `53, a political operative in Minnesota in `55, a congressional aide to two congressmen in `58-59, a governor’s press secretary in `61-63, a corporate lobbyist `61-`69, an assistant commerce secretary `69-71, a foreign service officer getting the Peace Corps appropriations through the Congress `71, back to corporate lobbying `72-`91, head of the anti-vote fraud unit in Chicago `74-84…on and on.  And I can tell you this: the idea of someone importuning a guy running for office to give it up in return for something better that can come down the line in the future is standard operating procedure. 
        In short, what’s the big deal?  But stick around for the answer.
          I’m telling you: it’s been done since the early days of the Roman Senate B. C. So what is there different about Joe Sestak announcing that he was importuned by the Obama administration not to run against Arlen Specter on a promise that he would get a high federal job? Technically it’s “so what else is new?”  However, stay tuned: except for a few things. 
    1. The charge coming from one who is now a Democratic senator-elect which he is repeating against his own administration…and continuing to hold to that statement … is definitely serious.  The usual way an offer is made comes something like this.  Rahm Emanuel…and that is presumably the guy who made the offer…says Joe, the president has a very high opinion of you as do we all.  He has said many times that a 3-star admiral like you belongs front and center in an administrative office, making decisions that affect national security.  Now of course since you’re running for the Senate, that’s off the table but his admiration for your abilities is unbounded.

          That would clear it up.  Sestak would get the idea and reconsider.  And if it came out, there would not be the slightest chance that it would wound Emanuel or the administration.    
    1. But something tells me that, having known Emanuel as I have in his salad days when he was…as he used to say…raising “Jewish money” for Richie Daley…his short temper under stress might well have made him short-cut the niceties.   Talk about Obama having a thin skin. You’ve never seen Emanuel pressing a point as I did in the `80s when he was living here. If in fact it was Emanuel, as Washington circles seem to hint, and Sestak resisted, saying he had put enough of his prestige on the line already and had the feeling he could beat Specter, I can readily imagine Emanuel saying this:

      Listen, you dumb [expletive deleted but relates to Sestak’s parentage] you think I have the time to [sexual practice explicitly described]around with you?  You keep on with this and you’re going to [sexual practice explicitly described] this administration all for your[invocation of the Almighty’s powers of condemnation] glory and the Republicans are going to capitalize on this and win the seat.  Don’t you understand that you [another reference to the ancestry of Sestak’s mother]?  Now get this and get this straight…you either take this offer or [allusion to God punishing Sestak in hell] you, you will be on the [explective referring to defecation] list with us, get me?  Think that over you dumb [deleted explective relating to I illegitimate birth]. The offer is there and you better think about it good and long.   
       If that was the nature of the inducement, watch out if Sestak has it on tape or if he so testifies under oath. It wouldn’t lead to impeachment but if the identity of the one making the offer were ascertained, could well lead to his being fired.
        Again, proper and circuitous inducements have happened all the time in politics but something tells me this wasn’t the route taken.  Not if it was Emanuel.  
        Now with all this hideous man talk out of the way, we go to the Saint of the Day.  
       *: Saint Philip Neri [1515-1595]. Twice in my lifetime, I have knelt before the perfectly composed body of Philip Neri…looking for all the world as if he were just put on display for the first night of the wake  at Kenney Brothers on the South Side—skin unutterably rosy, beard full and black, his brown cassock though less than immaculate.  The first was in 1938 when I was 10 and visited the Church of Santa Maria in Vallicella not far from Rome.  The second was 19 years later, same place.  Not a bit of change; his whiskers were still crisp and black.
         Philip Neri was born in Florence, the son of a notary. He was educated by the Dominicans, then took a job in a firm run by his rich uncle who planned to make Philip his heir and CEO of the company. But Philip had other plans. He experienced a deep longing for God, left the company, went to Rome without a penny to his name, lived in a garret, made enough to live on by teaching his landlord’s two sons.  He spent two years doing this, studying, living like a hermit, teaching the two kids.  He then became a priest, lived with a community of priests at San Girolamo della Carita and started what he called the Congregation of the Oratory.  The priests there lived a common life and were obedient to Philip but they did not renounce their property.   
         Philip was gifted with a charming and warm personality and as result was very successful in winning converts and congregations to his side. In 1575 Pope Gregory XIII gave him a broken down old church, the church of St. Maria, in Vallicella—but Philip had it pulled down and raised sufficient funds to build a better church, a building paid for by the rich but worked on by poor but able artisans. Philip’s talent at mediating was so great he was tapped to be a diplomat between France and the Holy See; he was very successful and averted a war.  He worked very hard at his church hearing confessions, speaking, consulting.  On May 25, 1595 after a full day, he surprised everybody by saying, “Last of all, we must die.”  He had been known as a practical joker but this was no joke. That night he suffered a hemorrhage and died. John Henry Newman much later sought to emulate him by starting an Oratorio in Birmingham and London built in the second half of the 19th century.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Personal Asides: What a Dirty Trick on Kirk. More.

       St. Bede the Venerable*      
                                  Is There No Decency Left? 
     I’ve never been a fan of Mark Kirk but even I…even I…wouldn’t pull the trick played on him yesterday by Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.  
       The biggest political question today is this: why would Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. think of endorsing Mark Kirk for the Senate over Alexi Giannoulias? 
       And the second is this: what can Mark Kirk do to avoid Rep. Jesse Jackson’s endorsement given Jackson’s precarious position as federal probers investigate connections he may have had with Blago to get appointed to the Senate? 
        Only one answer to Question 1 makes sense. Forget this stuff that down deep Jackson has a deep respect for Kirk’s service.  That has nothing to do with politics as they are played here.   The only possible one is that Jackson feels he has been dissed…ignored…by The Squid…in Washington and Chicago… since his troubles have surfaced anent Blago.  Which means he wants to get even.  If he can survive the current trouble, Jackson will have nobody to thank but his lucky stars.  Obama and his coterie are very-very distant; Daley and his followers are barely on speaking terms with him.    
         In response to Question 2, nothing can be done to ward off an endorsement if Jackson is determined to convey it.  One thing is certain: the idea that the endorsement will trigger a flood of black votes for Kirk in November is preposterous.  African Americans are the most indentured of Democratic voters.  They feel they are untrue to their race by voting Republican.  An endorsement by Jackson would start a series of wild, highly unrealistic, unbelievable but nonetheless acceptable rumor among blacks that somehow, somewhere a “fix” is in—which might have something to do with warding off a likely indictment from Patrick Fitzgerald who was named by a Republican president as U. S. attorney. It wouldn’t do Jackson any good and certainly wouldn’t help Kirk.  
         The only value an endorsement would have is that Jackson is serving notice that he should not be counted in the Squid fold if he happens to beat the rap.  Not for the Dems or for Obama in 2012.  But then again, Jackson could sit on his hands and the floodtide of black Democratic votes would continue to go for Obama.  So the purpose is pure “stick-it-to-my-enemes”—or revenge against his party for treating him during these days of watching and waiting as if he were radio-active. 
                                   The Obama-ites Get Scared. 
         The huge oil spill in the Gulf is not just a regrettable incident. It wreaks of irony. It’s been the Republicans who have pressured to drill oil under the ocean.  Not Obama.  Obama decided to toss the Republicans a bone when Cap and Trade was foremost.  That will teach him!  No good deed goes unpunished. 
      The Republicans generally have clammed up with the exception of Bobby Jindal but the Obama people are absolutely terrified since one of their captive interest groups, the Greens, are outraged at what they feel was the unutterably dumb thing Obama did to approve the drilling…and furthermore incensed at what they perceive as the ungodly long time BP has taken to try to get a handle on the thing…and not a bucket of oil has been drained off. 
         No one is more panicky than Ken Salazar the Stetson-hatted Interior Secretary.  Yesterday he was making noises that the big powerful federal government should elbow BP out of the way and take over the cleanup itself.  But when Gibbs the White House press secretary got the Commandant of the Coast Guard to go to the rostrum, this guy…Thad Allen…showed a powerful command of the facts and contradicted Salazar from the start.  
         The fact is this: The Feds don’t know a thing about cleanup. The only people who have the equipment to do this is BP.  There is no chance the Obama administration can salvage itself from the political tactic it used to mollify conservatives earlier…which has resulted in the biggest eco disaster in the history of the country—maybe the world. 
    *: St. Bede the Venerable [AD 673-735]. Not just a biblical scholar for the first historian of Britain, he was born near Sunderland on land owned by a Benedictine monastery.  He was ordained priest in 703 and kept his nose stuck in scriptures the entire time living a life that for all of us would have been exceedingly boring. But without Bede we would not have the finest commentaries on the scriptures which have served as a basis for everyone else. He produced 25 books of scriptural analyses.  But beyond that…in the secular realm…Bede wrote the first cogent history of the British isles, “Ecclesiastical History of the English People” in 731. 
         When he died, Saint Boniface wrote: “The candle of the Church lit by the Holy Spirit was extinguished.”  The poet Dante impressed by the scope of Bede’s works named him in the “Paradiso.” In 1899 Leo XIII gave him the title of Doctor of the Church and set his feast for this day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Thoughts While Shaving: Once More the Old-Old Routine ala Gun Confiscation. ...More.

  Our Lady Help of Christians*
                                   Paris and Toyious.   
       Prayer vigils, marches, oracular speeches by charismatic preachers, bouquets placed tenderly in front of houses, collections of guns at $75 apiece which include some World War I style rifles with bayonets. And then there’s the red-faced Daley, jowls waggling, trying to change the subject of law enforcement impotence by continuing to placate civil libertarians by opposing the death penalty and implying that inanimate objects like guns go off by themselves…thus freeing everyone from guilt.  And the continued cataloging of intriguing first names to killers…Paris and Toyious 
       Not to forget the routine tantrum struck up by Daley who painfully sought to change the subject of why gun confiscation isn’t working by playing to the pit and playfully offering to shove a rifle up a newsman’s posterior orifice.  But the names Paris and Toyious stick with me.  Someone…evidently their mothers (or more likely grandmothers)…searched far and wide to find these names—names that are rarely if ever heard. I’ve got to thinkToyious was made up. Was Paris McGee named after the capital of France or the Greek mythological figure?  And then there’s Toyious Taylor.  
        Toyious Taylor.  Perhaps if their mothers and/or grandmothers (they obviously have missing fathers…sperm donors…since that’s the sad story of poverty that media won’t really explore because of political correctness) had spent as much time cherishing their uniqueness as human beings as they did searching for intriguing first names—before they sent them out to run the streets—a lot of people would be better off and some would be alive today.   Paris McGee.  Toyious Taylor.    
       Did you ever hear the name Toyious before for either man or woman?  Let me know.         
                                   Don’t Cite Hawaii-Please.    
     The bald, almost unutterable truth is that the national Republican leadership is flagging and failing to take advantage of a hot anti-Democratic mood in the nation.  While the party won the first district of Hawaii over the weekend, the unpalatable truth is that the winner, Charles Djou, got less than 40% of the vote and his Democratic challengers racked up 58%.  We’ll see what happens when Djou has to confront a single Democratic challenger in November. 
       I sound like a pessimist but it’s time for realism. While the GOP has done well in governors’ races and senate contests, insiders know that the victories in Virginia and New Jersey governorships are due largely to Gov. Haley Barbour, the brilliant governor of Mississippi who was a very successful RNC chairman.  Scott Brown won his own victory in Massachusetts without much help from the Republican Senatorial Campaign committee until the latter part of the campaign.   
        The first failure for the Republicans was New York 23. For the Republicans to have lost New York 23 on Nov. 3, 2009 was due to crass ineptitude.  The district had been in Republican hands congressionally for the most part since 1873.  The party convened in a motel lunchroom and nominated a very liberal GOP woman state lawmaker who was sadly out of touch with the party.  She was Diedre Scozzafava who supported same-sex marriage, federal funding for abortion and the Democrats’ favored card-check organizing for unions.  Her husband was a solid Democratic and union organizer.  The mismanagement began locally but extended to Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), chairman of  the RNCC and Newt Gingrich of all people who advised the party that Scozzafava was the “realistic” choice. 
        Along came the New York Conservative party which nominated Doug Hoffman, a true conservative.  Three days before the election, Scozzafava dropped out and endorsed…you guessed it…the Democrat, Bill Owens. The results were: Owens (D) 49%, Hoffman, Republican-Conservative 45% and Scozzafava whose name was still on the ballot, 5%.   The defeat that shouldn’t have happened is due to Sessions and the inept lack of coordination from Michael Steele, the RNC chairman who was too busy getting on TV promoting Michael Steele for the future national ticket to run an effective RNC.  The failure was to listen to that prattling know-it-all Gingrich who bills himself as “the smartest man in the room” and Sessions with Steele bumbling along as usual. 
         The next failure for the Republicans was May 18, 2010 and Pennsylvania 12. This was the Jack Murtha seat. The Republicans ran a campaign featuring TV commercials attacking Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama neither of whom were on the ballot.  The Democratic candidate, a former aide to Murtha, campaigned on the issues—opposing ObamaCare, Cap and Trade, stressed that he was pro-life and hotly against tax increases. Who cares about Nancy Pelosi or Obama when the Democrat draws the line that strictly on the issues?  The Republicans poured $1 million into the race to no avail as the GOP candidate, Tim Burns got 45% to the Democrats’ Mark Critz’s 53%.   
         The answer: Michael Steele who has been tabbed as a poor manager and hyper-expensive RNC chairman…flying first class and ordering in the midst of a stiff recession a GOP winter meeting to be held in Hawaii…should be canned.  He is utterly no good for this role and was picked as a kind of affirmative action candidate to counter a black president which is ridiculous.  The sad thing is that the GOP can’t or won’t get rid of him because he’s black.  See—that’s what comes from playing the race game anyway.  
       Sessions is another stoop who should be dropped off a pier. He’s pointing to Hawaii 1 as an argument that he should stay but everyone knows Djou won because of division in the Democratic ranks which brings no great astuteness nor credit to Sessions and his committee.
           *:Our Lady Help of Christians. For some reason or other…don’t ask me to speculate about this new-fangled Internet stuff at age 81…the search engine I’ve been using to compile these bios is failing. Did you ever hear of that happening before?  I haven’t. If you have a solution write me at  All I know is that this title was invented by St. John Chrysostom.  When I hit the search engine, sure enough it identifies Chrysostom but when I press further, all disintegrate.  Weird.  Can you help or do I need an expensive technician to come in? H-e-l-p!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Personal Aside: Rand Paul Finds that Political Correctness Still Rules—Temporarily I Hope.

   Feast of St. Andrew Bobola*  
                                      Political Correctness.
         Now we all know fascism is a Leftist trait. Hitler and Mussolini were Leftists, not right-wing as can be seen from their respective parties’ ideological primers: national health care, government-merger-with industry, cradle-to-the-grave welfare.  Franco was an authoritarian not a fascist: he beat the Reds who sought to take over the country for Communism (while Ernest Hemingway wrote so winningly of this effort) and held government securely until the return of the monarchy which he desired.  Indeed, when Hitler demanded that he release Jews who fled there for concentration camps in Germany, Franco refused—and risked an invasion because of it.  Yet there you have political correctionists saying Franco rates with Hitler and Il Duce.  
        As one who was in Austria in 1938 when I was ten—a family ostensibly touring (my father was an officer of the Hamburg-American Line North German Lloyd, the company then owner of two of the fastest ships afloat, the Bremen and her sister ship the Europa—we were in Vienna for theAnschluss…the peaceful acquisition of Austria by a favored son…and then in Germany itself (Bremen, Berlin, Hamburg et al), I noticed the tenseness of a nation girding for war.  
       American boys wore knickers then, with long multi-colored stockings; German boys wore either short pants or trousers. I felt the mocking laughter zing from German kids when I walked down the street with my Mom and Dad.  Many years later I discovered we were there for other reasons.  Sure, my Dad, who spoke and wrote German fluently, had been given a bonus for extraordinary salesmanship by his German-owned company—and was a highly regarded member of the then large Chicago German-American community (secretary of the then prestigious Germania Club)…but he had also begun a covert relationship with the Chicago FBI (which became full-time after 1941 where he worked as a translator and analyst of German affairs until `46.)  
          The mood was, as he later told me, one of idea-repression…but the repression came in subtle ways—not a guy pretending to read the newspaper while his ear cocked to overhear conversation.  No the pressure was such from the beginning of Hitler-ism that there was engendered what we now know here as political correctness.  The laundry list included these things: of course, nothing good was to be said about Jews…nor even questioningly about Hitler or the 3rd Reich…nothing favorable about comparisons between Germany and the U.S. (the infamous Olympic Games two years earlier  were still smoldering where Jesse Owens—a (gasp) non-Aryan-- defeated Hitler’s supposed best athletes). Of course nothing…absolutely nothing…about the outcome of World War I or Versailles…nothing good about FDR…  But the political correctness involved not just saying nothing favorable about the preceding but saying good about one American: Charles Lindbergh, of course, who had praised the Hitler regime, hated the Jews as did his old man the left-wing Farmer-Labor congressman from Little Falls, Minnesota-- and had been awarded the equivalent of the Iron Cross for so saying.  
                               A Refugee from Hitler at Saint John’s. 
        Later when I went to Saint John’s University in Minnesota (1946-50) I came to know Fr. Bernard Strasser OSB.  His older brother was Otto Strasser who was an early follower of Hitler, participated in the Munich beer hall putsch but who broke with Hitler largely over Hitler’s deranged anti-Semitism. Because of that rupture, of course, Otto and his brother Bernard had to flee Germany. Bernard came here (his brother staying in Europe where he entertained fantasies of returning to Germany and overthrowing Hitler)  and joined the Benedictine order. 
         At St. John’s,  Fr. Bernard taught German (of course) but was very much interested in discussing the Hitler era (after all, when I  was a Saint John’s the war had just concluded and Germany was in turmoil).  Fr. Bernard told me much more about idea-repression that occurred in those years and basically agreed with what my Father had said: that enforcement came less from a Nazi secret agent hiding behind a lamp post but as an insidious kind of thought-corrective like poison that covered the land.  
         I hate to break the news to you like this—but in my estimation liberal or left-wing political correctness (there is really no other kind: who heard of right-wing political correctness?)  in this country is very much in vogue…almost with the same repulsively repressive context as I understood it to be in Germany.  Achtung! You are un-American if you don’t understand the need to “make the rich pay higher taxes in punishment for being successful and exploiting the poor working stiffs.”  
                  Discrimination in Employment Using the People’s Money. 
        The great sanctum sanctorum idea is civil rights. Now it so happens that by conventional liberal reckoning, I’ve done a fair bit for civil rights myself, having designed as assistant commerce secretary under Nixon…for which I pray for penitential forgiveness daily…a variant of affirmative action known as the 8(a) program or the process whereby government would award federal contracts on a quota basis to minority business and manufacturing firms.  It is duplicated, of course, in every city of the nation.   By God for doing this I ought to have my own bronze plaques with perpetual vigil lights burning in every NAACP and Urban League office in the country—but on returning to private industry and my sanity I repented of my sin and feel that I unwittingly betrayed a good part of the free enterprise system by depriving racial minorities of the freedom to use their wits and incentive to climb up the ladder as do all other ethnic groups…establishing a bogus sense of “entitlement” for skin color..a pay-back for slavery when their own people in Africa sold them out to white English and Dutch slave traders. .  

           Now as you realize, even the saying of this…or the writing of it as I just did…is an example of political incorrectness.  Yet as a partial originator of a key item of the liberal agenda in 1969-70 I regret that political correctness inculcated by the Left deprives us of even the opportunities to debate this liberal clich├ęd truism.  
          I regret to say that even after I participated in this government-sponsored discriminatory program based on race and race alone, I didn’t have the wit to reject it.  I ended up rejecting it in order to save my own political skin.   
       The program was underway in my office and the Small Business Administration over which we had sway…along with every other agency of government on minority enterprise.  But the Nixon administration was cognizant of the forthcoming election of 1972.  One day in New York city I visited with a famous man who served on our advisory committee—a black businessman from New York city, retired vice president-personnel of “Chock full o Nuts”—a coffee concern.  He was Jackie Robinson, the first African American to break the color barrier in the big leagues in modern times.  He was then very ill with diabetes which had ravaged his brothers as well. 
          Jackie called himself an independent. He worked for Nelson Rockefeller in the `50s, both as a consultant and political advisers; he supported JFK for president in 1960; he supported Rockefeller’s abortive run for president in 1968, then switched to Nixon.  He was within a year or so of his death (which came in October, 1972).  He told me to watch out. He said: I’ve been hearing that the Nixon guys are using federal contracts that you may have sanctioned to cut deals for black support in 1972. That was enough for me.  And while I had nothing to do with it, if the deals Ehrlichman was reportedly making in the White House ever got out, I’d take the rap.   This is one of the reasons…not the only one…that I grew disillusioned and fought with my boss, the secretary of commerce (Maurice Stans who later headed the finance division of the Committee to Reelect) and the White House crowd.  
             I have no proof of any deals that were made but I can tell you that His Solemn Majesty Jesse Jackson appeared very-very interested in the program at that time. I could get him on the phone at a minute’s notice.  Later after I was fired I went to the Peace Corps and then back home, returning to Quaker Oats.  From that vantage point I watched Watergate unfold and saw how the Nixon people tried to hang it all on John Dean.  I had known Dean slightly, never had a great feeling for him…but I think what he did in Watergate was an abortive act to save his own skin (but it was too late; he did federal prison time).  
            In short, I was damn glad I was fired from that job. It turned me sour…very sour…on government discrimination in favor of minorities which is just as bad as discrimination against minorities—in fact even worse since the discrimination is waged out in the open with federal money. 
                               Back to Political Correctness. 
            Once back in the private sector, I became a rather vocal conservative…you can say I’m vocal, I guess.  It’s fair to say I am hotly anti-liberal. And the thing that vexes me the most is the attitude of political correctness that attaches thanks to university intellectuals and the media to liberal ideas.  Which brings me to Rand Paul, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from Kentucky. 
            Paul spoke out courageously the other day wishing that federal laws mandating integration did not exist.  This got him into a great deal of hot water.  The Democratic National Committee flooded the news wires with belligerent statements: SEE?  HE’S A RACIST! And the headline in the major liberal papers is: HOW DID THE MEDIA FAIL TO SEE THIS UNENLIGHTENED (CODE WORD: RACIST)  VIEW IN THE PAST?  
        Of course quite quickly Paul said that the 1964 Civil Rights Act is “settled law.” And so it is. But the attack dog liberal media won’t let him forget it.    And as one who worked in countless political campaigns in two states for a living, I know what Paul said was foolhardy, dangerous and may have jeopardized his election. I think what he said was foolish: water over the dam. But to even say this speculatively is to run the risk of ruin.  And God I hate this kind of liberal mind-set that denies or punishes free speech.  
          In this country you cannot even speak historically about passage of certain legislation  without condemnation. That mind-set controls just about 99% of the Democratic party.  Interestingly enough, the guy who won Murtha’s seat in Pennsylvania…his former administrative assistant…got elected going contrary to Political Correctness in that conservative district by campaigning pro-life, anti-ObamaCare and anti-Cap `n Trade.  This hasn’t come out by the Dems who say his election was a bellwether for Democratic victories this Fall.  Show me other districts where Dems will be  running on pro-life, anti-ObamaCare and anti-Cap `n Trade.  Nowhere.  Certainly not in heavy Squid Illinois.  
          I can tell you I’ve run into thought control myself, in my own beloved Church when my prelate insisted on writing to people I barely know to shut me up from writing on my own blog.  With two Ph.D’s he’s walking around with the reputation of high-mindedness and moderation.  Not so. The liberal nature…the liberal university background…which I observed at Harvard…insists on Bismarckian,  Germanic-style thought discipline. Invested with the bishopric ring as an authentic successor to the apostles, he’s no different.   Just thinks he’s immune from criticism.  Not while I’m around.  
        Take a look at WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” and see how the panels are structured, the questions served up by the “hosts”…i.e. Elizabeth Brackett on the subject of education reform, asks a token conservative panelist what his thoughts are…and he starts in on vouchers. She says sweetly “uh, we’ll get back to that subject in a moment…” and turns to another guy who says more tax money is needed, a subject she dwells on lovingly.  Then with 5 seconds to go before closing she’ll turn to the first guy and say “apart from the issue you brought up earlier on school vouchers, what solution do you have?”  
       See what I mean? That kind of stuff.   Sly political correctness which is only slightly different than the strategy used by the Josef Goebbles types in media and without who whenever historical retrospective in discussed in, say, civil rights throw up their hands and yell “racist! Racist! Racist!”  
      _*: St. Andrew Bobola [1591-1657]. Of an aristocratic Polish family, he was born in Sandomir, Poland and became a Jesuit in 1609.  He was assigned to a parish in Vilna before he was made superior of a monastery in Bobruysk. When an epidemic of fevers broke out he demonstrated exceptional care in nursing the sick.  Later he was sent on a road as a missionary and was very successful in leading whole villages of Eastern Orthodox Catholics into communion with Rome. 
        Rebellious Cossacks descended and drove Jesuits from their churches and colleges.  They took refuge in Podlesia where Prince Radziwill offered them his house at Pinsk in 1652. This was captured by the Cossacks who subjected Andrew Bobola to great torture and demanded he renounce his faith which he steadfastly refused to do.  He was scorched, flayed, mutilated and finally beheaded. His body was taken to Moscow by Bolsheviks where it was examined and found uncorrupted. It was removed to Rome but returned to Warsaw where it is entombed in the Jesuit church there.  He was canonized in 1938.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Personal Aside: Am I Crazy Or Is Obama Helping Us Defeat Him in 2012?

 Feast of…sorry I goofed. Today is the feast of  Bernardina of Siena (whose story I wrote up yesterday).  We’ll take a saints’ day off today.  
                                  Help Me Figure It Out.
          The president of the United States stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the president of Mexico and attacks the state of Arizona for passing an immigration law in response to no action for a national immigration law which has ranked far down the U.S. president’s priority list. 
          Now I ask you: Is this smart politics?  Or what?  Does he really think there’s that strong a Lefty movement in this country after the disillusionment thus far with his time in office? Phoenix ranks second in the world on kidnapping because of an influx of illegals.  Obama attacks the Arizona law which he says encourages racial profiling—but the Arizona law duplicates the federal law in most particulars.  Two of his top cabinet officers have admitted that they shot the bolt against the law without reading it—Attorney General Erick Holder and Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano.  No one has asked if Obama has read it.  
         And now at a time when a heavy majority of the U. S. favors the Arizona law…in the face of all these things—when Obama himself has not been able to avoid charges that he is a 3rd Worlder who has criticized and apologized for the United States throughout the world…in the face of photos taken on his foreign travels showing him bowing deferentially…almost in an inverted U…to foreign potentates…in the face of all these criticisms—with his numbers tumbling...with all these things going on what does he do? 
        He stands out front of the White House with the President of Mexico and lambastes a state that is desperately trying to curb the tsunami invasion of its borders.   
         My question is: Is this guy so Far Left, so diametrically obtuse to political realities here at home that he is once again siding with critics of America the day after he and his party have taken a belting in the elections—the question being: Does he know what the hell he is doing to himself and his party—or what? Or does he care?  
          I almost think he is working in league with the Republican National Committee in churning out weird photo ops for the GOP to capitalize on.  
           I ask this seriously: Is this his way of committing political suicide? There was a time in the Truman administration, in 1951, when the White House seemingly joined to help its enemies. The two-term limit amendment was ratified in 1951 and made an exception for Truman who was president when the ball started rolling for its passage. Truman had intermediaries in the field, looking at New Hampshire et al.  All the while, seemingly blissfully unaware, the White House was committing one terrible goof-up after another.   
        Corruption was rampant; the Kefauver committee was investigating the administration up one side and down the other; 161 employees of the Justice department were either pushed out the door to “resignation” or were fired outright for corruption. The assistant attorney general of the tax division was indicted for accepting favors.   
          It got so bad that the attorney general, J. Howard McGrath decided to hire a Simon pure special investigator to ferret out corruption. It worked out too well. The guy found so much corruption the AG fired him.  The heat came on the administration for firing the special prosecutor that Truman fired McGrath.  
         In the middle of this Truman wrote a letter to the music critic of The Washington Post which was so semi-literate that it was withheld by The Post out of decency, else the nation’s confidence in the presidency would be destroyed…Truman saying that because the guy’s review of his daughter’s singing was so bad he, Truman, wouldunman him, hit him below the belt and smash his testicles.   At the same time we were in an undeclared war in Korea—a war that the Congress didn’t even vote a resolution on as it has with Vietnam and twice with Iraq… but which declared by Truman as a “police action.”   He wrote a letter to the commandant of the Marines and charges “the Marines have installed a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin’s.”  
        When the steel mills were involved in a strike, he arbitrarily seized them and forced them to operate—an act that was judged unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.  Still determined to run for president in 1952, he joined the New Hampshire primary and got licked decisively by Estes Kefauver.  That decided it. Truman picked up his marbles and decided to retire.  
         My question is: Isn’t Obama behaving in a sub-rational way if he wants to run again for president?  Is it purposeful or doesn’t he understand that there’s a soft rage burning against usurpative government here.  
         Standing in the rose garden with the president of Mexico assailing Arizona is the worst thing he could do.  And as the media don’t understand what’s happening, he just keeps on doing. 
         Oh yes. Is the Arizona law racist?  Not to the average citizen interested in protecting our borders.  But Carol Marin has read the full text and, unsurprisingly, finds it is racist.   
         That’s why WTTW-TV is doing so well in its latest subscription drive.  Left-wingers like Marin who are front and center.   
          My thesis is this: Obama is so left-wing that he doesn’t have a clue as to the temper of the country.  He thinks blasting Arizona and making nice-nice with the president of Mexico is…hey…good for the Latino vote. Forget all else.  
           You tell me.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Personal Aside: Sweet Justice Visits Specter. Rand Paul’s Victory Exciting Indeed. More.

  Feast of St. Bernardino of Siena.*
                                      Specter Outsmarted Himself.
            That canny old fox, seeing that he was going to be beaten by Pat Toomey, switched parties.  Well actually, he came home to the Democratic party because Arlen Specter started out in Philadelphia as a Democrat, then became a Republican, then as a denouement switched yet again back to the Democratic party…where…Deo Gratias…he lost to liberal Democrat Joe Sestak. 
         A few things about Specter.  (1) He typifies the worst in politicians because his only concern is saving his neck. (2)  But when he’s bought, he stays bought. Example: In 2004 he was just about defeated by Pat Toomey in the Republican primary when President George W. Bush came in to campaign for him.  The private deal they cut was this:  “Listen, Arlen.  I think we can pull you through but I gotta tell you I’m not doing this for the love of Arlen Specter because frankly, old friend, you and I have been on different sides for many issues. I wasn’t around but I can’t forgive you for knifing Bob Bork, although you did support Clarence Thomas. I can’t forgive you for opposing Rick Santorum.  But here’s the deal.  I get you reelected and you continue as chairman of Judiciary but you must…and I mean MUST…give my judges—especially Supreme Court judges—a fair shake which means…Arlen…you HAVE TO VOTE FOR THEIR CONFIRMATION.  If you say no, I’m outta here right now.  That’s the deal.  Do you say ok?” 
          Arlen said okay and Bush appeared, he sent Cheney and had his chief of staff attend a Specter fund-raiser; and Santorum did as well (which contributed to Santorum’s own defeat two years later when conservatives strayed from his fold). And Specter kept his part of the bargain. He not only voted for Roberts and Alito, he saw to it that they got confirmed.  Which meant that you can say about Specter, once bought, he stayed bought.  
          But now it’s all over. My druthers were that crafty old Arlen would win last night because he’d be duck soup for Pat Toomey to beat in November.  Joe Sestak is another pro-abort Catholic who rises above principle on social issues.   In Congress he was the highest ranking service man to be elected.  A handsome dog but I would hope that his 90% ADA record could be used against him in this conservative season.  He also is a twister, introduced a resolution to pull troops out of Iraq but continued to vote for war appropriations. 
          I think if the climate continues as it has, Pat Toomey can edge out ex-admiral Sestak.  
                                  Rand Paul: How Sweet it Is!
           Rand Paul’s smashing…and I mean smashing…victory as Republican senate nominee in Kentucky  sends the word to the country clubs that principle means something.  To me this was the delight of the night.  All that Dem talk that because he’s distinctly conservative he will be easy pickins’ for the Democrats to beat, doesn’t reflect how conservative Kentucky has become.  After all, look at Bunning (who ran into trouble only because of his erratic behavior) and Mitch McConnell and you’re going to tell me that Rand Paul is out of synch?  Sheesh!  See, I can write like a kid too. An 81 year old one. 
                                  Blanche Lincoln’s a Dead One. 
          People over at the Daily Kos who supported ultra-liberal Arkansas Lt. Governor Bill Halter are saying that history sides with Lincoln who has won runoffs before and went on to win the general—although, assuredly, they want their pinko buddy Halter to take it.  Well…sorry not so this time. Polls have been unremitting in showing that the Republican nominee Rep. John Boozman can defeat either Lincoln or Halter.  Especially Halter.  But I think Lincoln will come out of the runoff the victor and lose to Boozman.   
                                   The Murtha District Stays Dem. 
           In the general election…the special election…to replace the late Rep. John Murtha (D) in Pennsylvania 12…the John Murtha seat…the winner was Mark Critz, Murtha’s administrative assistant over Republican businessman Tim Burns.  The 12th is one of the nation’s most scenically beautiful but hardest-pressed regions, hard-bitten farmers (descendents of those who triggered the Whiskey rebellion in 1794) and now a district which is heavily coal and steel country.  The good news here is that Critz will just have time to get settled when he has to run for reelection next November when Republicans will have another crack at him. 
             All things considered, not a bad night. Not bad at all.   
*: St. Bernardino of Siena [1380-1444]. He was a Franciscan friar, born at Massa Maritima near Siena where he father was governor.  He was left an orphan in 1384 and raised by an aunt.  He showed an early interest in learning and voraciously devoured books on grammar, rhetoric, jurisprudence, theology and took a degree in canon law.  When an outbreak of epidemic broke out and many physicians and nurses died,, Bernardino and some friends took charge of a local hospital.   
      Then he joined the Franciscans as a friar, living at Colombaio near Siena where his monastic cell can still be viewed. He discovered he had a talent for preaching and was sent by his superior to Tuscany and then Milan where he became very popular.  He was given permission to be an itinerant preacher, traveling throughout Italy on foot sometimes preaching 3 or 4 hours a day.  The crowds were so large he had to use a pulpit in the open air.  He began a devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus.  He was tough on human weaknesses. He would conclude his sermons by holding up a weather-worn plaque with the initials I H S.  One day he excoriated gambling with such intensity that a local manufacturer who made cards and card-tables became impoverished. The gambling manufacturer thought for a while and then went into business making I H S plaques: and he did very well indeed.

       In 1473 he became vicar general of the friars and set up schools of theology at Perugia and Monteripido.  When his health broke down, he retired as vicar general and returned to preaching, this time riding on a donkey rather than walking.  He refused three bishoprics in his lifetime: at Siena, Ferrara and Urbino.  El Greco produced a masterpiece of a portrait of him.  He died of natural causes and from the outset was reverenced as a great saint.  

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thoughts While Shaving: Rand Paul’s Likely Victory Not all That Bad…Other Hopeful Signs Tonight…Rahm’s Classy Language.

       Feast of St. Eric of Sweden.*
                                  Rand Paul.
        To the establishmentarian Republicans who mourn Rand Paul’s likely victory tonight in the Kentucky senatorial primary, I say: Lighten up. The rising conservative majority can use some tempering with a bit of Robert A. Taft caution about too-much foreign entanglements rather than total solidarity concerning foreign-military adventures.  Paul has impressed me with his domestic courage including his willingness to advocate raising the Social Security retirement age to 70.  Long overdue.  I can take dissent on some other things in order to get this courage in the Senate. 
        They say he’s not as nutty as his old man who wants to end the national intelligence function and who says we got what we deserved on 9/11 because we were too involved overseas.  I’ll take the promise that Rand isn’t Ron. That’s good to know. I don’t particularly like his criticism of the PATRIOT act but a little dissent is worth it.  
       Anyhow during the Senate’s great years in my lifetime…conservatives came in many different varieties: the foreign policy nationalism of Taft (by all odds the greatest Senate intellectual in my lifetime), the healthy criticism of Taft’s surprisingly liberal education and housing programs by Virginia’s arch-conservative Democrat  Harry F. Byrd, Sr., the brilliant criticism of Taft’s somewhat blind eye on tax cuts by Colorado’s Eugene Milliken and George Malone’s pestiferous criticism of  what he called Milliken’s blind-sidedness on trying to cut innovative research programs in the military.   
       It’s the meld that makes a great caucus…a dash of this, a splash of that. Have no fear: Rand Paul belongs.  
                            Here’s Hoping… 
        …that McCain loses to Hayward and finally has a chance to discover how many houses he owns due to his marrying a multi-millionaire lady.  I sorta kinda hope Specter wins so as to make it easier for Pat Tooney to defeat him in November—but I don’t think that’s possible so we’ll be saying farewell to the biggest phony who ever inveigled the two party system… 
                 Rahm’s No-Class Act’s Unclassy Language.  
         Since I first met Rahm Emanuel when he was a wee sprout raising what he called “Jewish money” for Daley, I have been disinclined to believe he was anything more than a smart-alecky, wisecracking ultra-pragmatic heel who would eagerly chisel the gold out of his dead grandmother’s molars to make earnings come out even, saying in effect, Hey, the old lady ain’t got use for them anymore. They’ll fetch a good price in the gold market.  See what I mean: no class. 
        That early judgment has been ratified with every stage of his so-called political growth: the chiseling way he fabricated bogus “anti-Semitism” on his first run for the Congress after a feeble senior-senior citizen in Nancy Kaczak’s campaign goofed and said he thought Emanuel had dual citizenship…the way Tomczak was allowed to go to jail for recruiting Water Department workers to work precincts for him (at his demand made to Daley minions)…the way the Clinton White House manipulated threats of revealed sexual peccadilloes which was largely the contrivance of one man…the sudden transformation of Rahm the political manipulator to Rahm the Investment Banker where he made millions through political connections in merely following by-the-book formulae regarding a Com Ed merger 
        [continued]…the egregious use of his board membership on Freddie Mac where he earned $300,000 plus salary for six meetings a year and escaped criticism for the horrendous mismanagement of the agency during his time on the Board…the scandalous way passage of ObamaCare was handled with lavish federal payoffs to Louisiana (the Louisiana Purchase) and Nebraska (the Cornhusker payoff) all handled by Emanuel. 
         Yesterday meeting with some Rabbis, Emanuel tried to set the disastrous Obama-Israel policies into focus.  His statement to the Rabbis: “We screwed up the message.” My personal opinion is he doesn’t care how the Middle East turns out so long as he’s protected from blame.  He goes through the paces of Judaism but I’d be very surprised if he and Axelrod give a personal thought to its policies. Like the secular Jews Norman Podhoretz describes, the Second Torah is the religion of secular liberal Democratic accommodation.  Hence the slip-shod use of language to Rabbis who are concerned about their Faith:   
         “We screwed up the message.”  Yes Rahm but I’ll amend it. You’re screwed up.  Screwed up from the accumulated weight of many years of indentured service to a party that is concerned not with values but the cost of cutting deals.  
        *: St. Eric of Sweden [AD 1161].   He was recognized in most parts of Sweden as king and his line lasted for a century. He helped establish Catholicism in Upper Sweden and built the first large church for the faith at Old Uppsala.  All laws and constitutions were collected at his orders and were contained in one volume, known as King Eric’s Laws. But he was soon challenged by heathen Finns who made incursions into his territories.  A good general as well as king, Eric vanquished them and he commissioned the bishop of Uppsala, later to become St. Hilary, to evangelize the people. 
        But Eric’s zeal for the Catholic faith angered some nobles who entered into a conspiracy with Magnus, son of the king of Denmark.  While he was at Mass the conspirators rushed upon him, killed him and beheaded him on May 18, 1161.  He was regarded as the principal patron of Sweden until the Protestant Reformation. His relics are contained in the cathedral at Uppsala and his effigy appears on the country’s coat of arms.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Our nation has learned many things from the Greeks. And it is about to learn more. Sadly.

   Feast of St. Paschal Baylon*  
          From the ancients,  Socrates, Plato and Aristotle came these notions: there exists a transcendent moral order…it is smart to support the principle of social continuity i.e. continue with the devil you know rather than the devil you don’t…it is good to live by prudence which Plato saw as the chief among virtues…and finally to always keep in mind the principle of imperfectability, remembering that the human condition ensures there can be no perfect social order on this earth. 
        Modern liberalism here has forgotten these axioms but as the polls show, liberalism is now a decaying U. S. political fad—soon to be replaced by those who strive to return this country to the above Greek precepts.
       And we are about to learn one more thing from Greece.  Modern Greece. The chaos there is a warning about what may happen here if we pursue the same course the Greeks have.  There’s rioting in the streets and a kind of  out-of-this-world madness.  Fire-bombs are being tossed and many thousands of people who have been on the government dole are rebelling—angry government workers insisting they will not take pay cuts…outraged retirees…demonstrating unionists…irreconcilable socialists. 
        None other than a once-liberal writer on the economy, Robert Samuelson of The Washington Post (no relative to the late liberal economist Paul Samuelson) looked soberly at Greece last week and wrote: 
        “What we’re seeing in Greece is the death spiral of the welfare state. This isn’t Greece’s problem alone…Virtually every advanced nation including the United States faces the same prospect. Aging countries have been promised huge health and retirement benefits which countries haven’t fully covered with taxes.  The reckoning has arrived in Greece but it awaits most wealthy societies. 
       “Americans dislike the term `welfare state’ and substitute the bland word `entitlements.’ The vocabulary doesn’t alter the reality. Countries cannot overspend and over-borrow forever.  By delaying hard decisions about spending and taxes, governments maneuver themselves into a cul de sac.” 
         Tough words.  But this former liberal has enough liberalism still sticking in him that he parses words and pulls his punches.    But here are tougher ones not from a journalist but a private letter from a  partner at a venture capital firm by the name of Bill Frezza:
      “Wake up America!  How many million unionists are we expected to carry on our payrolls?  How long can we keep government employees on defined benefit pension plans while the rest of us scramble to fund out 401[k]s?  How many more people are we going to drop from the income tax rolls as we lean on a smaller and smaller slice of citizens to carry an ever greater percentage of the load, leaving the rest free to vote for tax increases? How large a swath of our population can we pretend to keep supplied with newly manufactured economic rights like free healthcare as Social Security and Medicare careen toward insolvency?  How many more do we think we can borrow from the Chinese to fund day-to-day government operations?  How long do we think we can afford to police the world?”  
           That’s why I and other say: Rescue Greece?  Let `em feel the pain from plunging into unmitigated socialism.  It’ll do them good…and do us good to relearn the lesson we have forgotten.  Especially us. Our national debt has now hit $12 trillion—a ratio of GDP to debt ratio of 94%.  Greece’s score is 113%.   
           Liberalism that breeds permissiveness in all manner of things is what has given us this chaos. And there’s no better laboratory with which to examine it than my hometown which gave birth to The Squid.  
                            Illinois a Lefty Microcosm of the Nation.   
           Here in Illinois…home of Barack Obama and The Squid…we’re on the lip of the precipice that overlooks the chaos that is Greece. Our government is completely Squid from top to bottom: Squid governor, Squid legislature, all Squid constitutional officers.  In fact it’s a good test laboratory for the nation and deserves a look-see at all its imponderable squishy-ness for it is nothing more than a microcosm of the nation. 
         The Squid legislature has just adjourned without having the guts to face up to the problem. The gap in our budget…as result of (a) a liberal Republican governor now doing time in the penitentiary…and (b) two Squid Democratic governors, one of whom may well join the GOPer in stir, Rod Blagojevich who is currently trying to taint the jury pool (he needs one dissenter to walk free) and who is trying to rope in Obama so as to pull the national administration down with him to get even  with fancied injustice… and the current Pat Quinn, as inconstant in belief as an airport windsock….is $12.7 billion in the red, $6.2 billion to get rid of the structural deficit and another $6.5 billion to pay off past due bills.   
          This hideous overspending is due to an outrageous plethora of “services”—huge salaries and pensions to public officials,  near criminal waste and abject media sympathy for anything remotely approaching “public services.”  High taxes have driven out industry. Undue tolerance for waste has turned stomachs. Result: the quality of candidates is abysmal and the mainstream media xx’s out all those as “reactionary and unelectable” who want to institute true spending reform.  
          The choices are (a) cut spending to the bone, (b) raise taxes and (c) borrow money to pay its current obligations.  Squid Speaker Catholic Mike Madigan is loathe to do any of these things because he doesn’t want to jeopardize his Squid majority which has to run this November. He wants a tax hike but would like to evenly share the blame with the Republicans who are too smart to accommodate him.   
        Madigan is co-head of The Squid with a man he doesn’t get along with very well—Richard M. Daley.  Madigan is a careerist, a laconic kind of thin-lipped Irishman who is rigidly disciplined (eating an apple for lunch which he cuts carefully into 4 equal parts) and is a dry, abstruse type who looks like all the juices of humankind have been squeezed out of him by the vise of politics.  He’s interested really in three things and Illinois’ well-being is not one of them. First, in holding together his House majority so he can continue to be Speaker. Second, pushing the career of his pro-abort, pro-gay rights step-daughter, Lisa, the state attorney general for whom her proud poppa pressured everybody—social service agencies he funded as everything else, to prop down money for her first campaign.    Third, keeping friends in the Cook assessor’s office so he can continue to rake off millions in law fees adjusting property taxes downward for his clients.  
        The media are with very few exceptions…I can only think of one who’s a columnist friend of mine on The Tribune, John Kassallies of The Squid,             generally siding with the case to raise taxes and praising Madigan as astute.
                                     The Squid-Dominated Media. 
         The media here are handmaidens to mythic liberal views which they don’t challenge because of fear they will be charged with—horrors!—political incorrectness and so as not to inconvenience The Squid!  One is crime.  Among the top cities of the nation, despite Squid police propaganda to the contrary, Chicago is close to becoming the U. S. murder capital.  The reason is clear albeit hideously unpopular with liberals.  Since 1982 it has succumbed to the blandishments of Mayor Daley and the liberal media by banning private ownership of handguns and rifles by inventing a registration process so complex it is next to impossible to complete. 
       The political reason for the handgun ban was clear.  Nobody in The Squid has the guts to challenge the ACLU-spurred liberal soft prejudice against increase in capital punishment.  Nor blame chaotic urban lifestyle on absence of strong families because it would harm relations with influential black pastors—and my own Catholic archdiocese—which is not doing its  job of condemning promiscuity, excoriating the   living together by couples and the resultant spiraling of illegitimacy.
       In order to have something to say that is politically correct, the churches and editorial boards pretend the murder carnage is due to this city having too many guns! As if to pretend that these guns go off by themselves and kill people without a modicum of human responsibility.  So the city pays $75 for each gun turned in.  A waste of money but The Squid is behind it because this pretends to get at the problem. Thus the crusader Fr. Michael Pfleger leads gun collections to great media fanfare with which, in the absence of strong archdiocesan leadership, he dramatizes himself with the media as reigning panjandrum of “morality.” 
          No one here brings it up but the ban has been a huge failure. Before it took over, as the Washington Times editorialized the other day: Chicago’s murder rate had been tumbling compared to the nine other largest cities as well as the nation’s 50 largest cities, the five counties that border Cook county and the U.S. as a whole.  After the ban, Chicago’s murder rate rose relative to all.  In fact, during the first 19 years of the ban there have been only three when the murder rate equaled the number when the ban began.  
         In fact the Chicago ban is identical to the handgun prohibition in Washington, D. C. which has just been ruled unconstitutional.  The Washington ban was also cheered by the liberal intelligentsia—deeply interested in preserving the gun-control myth. But statistics pop the liberal bubble. 
       As the Australian Shooter Magazine wrote prior to the decision: “If you consider that there has been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theatre of operations during the past 22 months and that [there have been] a total of 2112 deaths, that gives the firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000 soldiers. The firearm death rate in Washington, D. C. is 80.6 per 100,000 for the same period.  That means you are about 25% more likely to be  shot and killed in the U.S. capital which has some of the strongest gun control laws in the U.S. rather than Iraq. Conclusion: the U.S. should pull out of Washington!” [italics mine].  
          The Supreme Court decision dealt with Washington, D. C. as a federal enclave.  It is now considering the identical Chicago ordinance—and is likely to rule the same way.  But speaking of the Supreme Court…
                              The Mystery Woman Elena Kagan  
          Surprise: while gossip on her sexual orientation reverberates, it’s the country’s ranking professedly gay journalist, The Atlantic’s liberal Catholic Andrew Sullivan who was first to demand to know if President Obama’s Supreme Court pick, Elena Kagan, is a lesbian.  Sullivan wrote that if one wants to know want Kagan’s sexual practices are during confirmation, the inquirer should not be called a homophobe. 
        The White House is heatedly denying it and put maximum pressure on CBS News to remove any suggestion from its blog that she is gay.  CBS wrote that “Kagan will be the first openly gay Justice.”  Later the writer amended it to say: “I have to correct my text to say that Kagan is apparently still closeted—odd because her female partner is rather well known in Harvard circles.” 
         Ah, but it’s strange is it not…an administration that glories in “diversity” and whose press office releases everything that could possibly be asked about Kagan, celebrating a liberal culture that glories in celebrities who come “out,” is strangely old-fashioned about disseminating facts about the personal life of the 50-year-old, never married U.S. Solicitor General whose hair is cut with the severe boyish bob worn by the hundreds of  single women who flock to Melissa Etheridge rock concerts.    
          Senate Republicans are mum about the issue, of course. But there are some clues that beg for further development.  The biggest one is Kagan’s war against U.S. military recruiting on campus when she was dean of  the Harvard law school. On Oct. 6, 2003 she disseminated a letter to “Harvard Law School community” which complained against what she called “the military’s discriminatory recruitment policy” i.e. don’t ask, don’t tell.   
            She wrote: “The military deprives many men and women of courage and character from having the opportunity to serve their country in the greatest way possible. This is a profound wrong—a moral injustice of the first order.”  On Sept. 28, 2004: “[T]he military’s recruitment policy is both unjust and unwise.”  On March 7, 2006: “I hope that many members of the Harvard Law School community will accept the Court’s invitation to express their views clearly and forcefully regarding the military’s discriminatory employment policy.”  If she is confirmed, she will have to rule on a challenge to a change in the law.  Wanna bet how she votes?  
           Intriguing that so-called top-flight legal scholar Kagan calls it “the military’s policy” when it is required in legislation passed by a Democratic Congress in 1993 and signed into law by the Clinton administration which Kagan was later to join as associate general counsel to the president. 
             All the same, mainstream media picked up the Obama Squid’s talking points last week that Kagan’s political views are a mystery, that in fact she may be more conservative than people know, etc.  Strategy to get her confirmed without a hassle.  Actually, on the issue of life, Kagan recommendation to her boss Bill Clinton was to veto the partial birth abortion ban—and Senate Republicans are pressuring to get her memos released in time for confirmation hearings.   
             Kagan is a true adopted member of The Squid—although she only lived a few years in Chicago while a member of the University of Chicago law faculty when she lived in Lincoln Park. That allowed her to meet then U of C law lecturer Obama who was preparing to start his political career. Earlier she had served as clerk to the Squid saint Abner Mikva who was the farthest left federal appeals justice in Washington…and who left it to become the Clinton administration’s ethics watchdog—but who was snoozing when Clinton had his notorious affair with a 22-year-old intern resulting in his impeachment when he lied about it under oath.  Mikva thought Clinton should not have been impeached for lying about his relationship; with Monica Lewinsky because…well, you know…it was a personal matter. 
                                Teddy Roosevelt on Immigration. 
            The father of 20th century liberal activism Teddy Roosevelt is far from my favorite president but in my estimation he was right-on when he wrote this about immigration in 1907. 
             “In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else—for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed or birthplace or origin.  But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American and nothing but an American. 
            “…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American but something else also isn’t an American at all.  We have room for but one flag, the American flag…We have room for one language here and that is the English language.  And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”   
*: St. Pascal Baylon [1540-1592].  A simple but holy friar, he was born near Aragon, Spain to a poor shepherd family. He tended flocks as a youth while also acquiring an elementary education and a mystical religious awareness.  He joined the Friars Minor as a lay brother at the monastery of Loreto and loved the austerity.  He tended the poor and the ill with good humor.  A delightfully childlike (but not childish) man, he once performed a dance before the statue of Our Lady like the famed Jongleur de Notre Dame. He spent hours before the Blessed Sacrament every day and served all Masses at the monastery, one right after another.  In most of his waking hours he was the porter, the man who opens the monastery door and attends visitors.  
         A simple man, he edified all those around him. One day a group of people came to the door and asked if they could go to confession.  The father guardian (who was the monastery superior) was otherwise engaged and  told Pascal “Tell them that I am out.” Pascal said: “I will tell them that Your Reverence is otherwise engaged.” No, said the Superior. “Tell them I am not at home.”  “Forgive me, Father,” said Pascal. “I must not say that because that would not be the truth and would be a venial sin.”  The Superior winced and said o.k. he would hear their confessions. 
         Once he was sent on an important mission to France, carrying important letters to Father Christopher de Cheffontaines, the Breton scholar who was minister general of the Observants.  It was very dangerous for a friar to wear the habit at that time.. On his way he was apprehended by the French Huguenots who stoned him twice. He reached his destination but the effects of the stoning remained with him all his life.  He returned to the monastery but died there shortly thereafter at the age of 52.  He was beatified in 1619 and canonized in 1690.  He is the patron of Eucharistic devotions and Congresses.