Monday, November 30, 2009

National Catholic Youth Conference...and Obama???

I had the privilege of attending the National Catholic Youth Conference last weekend. Overall, it was outstanding. Great speakers, great events. This is surely due to the host bishop, Bishop Robert Finn; reason being that the NFCYM - National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry - is a rather liberal (heterodox) organization. They do some great work though.

What I did not understand at the Conference, though, is why 20,000 Catholic Youth needed to hear from the United States amabassador to the Holy See.

Miguel Diaz, a theologian influenced by Liberation Theology (not at all truly Catholic, or even Christian, actually-it basically believes God does not care about personal sin but only injustice against large groups of people, and that God suffers when they suffer...a changing God...a non-eternal omnipresence...) had his faced blasted all over the big screen and he started his message with something along the lines of "I was honored that President Barack Obama appointed me the first Hispanic-American ambassador to the Holy See."

I chuckled. This is not race baiting, but that is not a big deal. It would be like a Scotch Irishman getting excited that he was appointed first British ambassador to the Holy See. The way he said it, though, makes it seem like more of a milestone than it really was.

He then went on about how he is working with the President and the Pope to build bridges and help others. There was much more Obama talk than Pope Benedict talk.

The big question I have though, is why? The NCYC conference NEVER heard from Bush's ambassador to the Holy See (who is a Catholic in good standing, by the way). It has never heard from one before. Why this guy, all of a sudden? Given the absolute praise-fest that Dr. Bob McCarty, president of the NFCYM gave Obama in the wake of his election, it should not have been as big a surprise as it was.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Health Care Reform? Amend the Constitution

Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is the federal government authorized to offer "health insurance." The same goes for the federal government's ability to "manage" health care, health care costs, etc.

It's not a question of whether universal health care is a good idea.

It is merely impermissible under the U.S. Constitution. There is only one way to properly remedy that if you believe in universal health care programs: amend the Constitution.

The Progressives -- who should call themselves "socialists" and/or Marxists to reflect their true beliefs -- know that the American people would never go for a constitutional amendment.

So they intend to do an "end run" around the Constitution and the will of the American people.

They might succeed if you do not raise your voice.

And if they do succeed there is no limit to how much damage they will do to the basic freedoms we enjoy in America. Under the guise of "health care reform" Progressive bureaucrats will tell you how to eat, live, play, work and care for your family. There are criminal penalties built into the pending legislation that will threaten the finances (property) and freedom (going to prison means losing one's right to assembly, gun ownership, even curtailed speech) of anyone who dares challenge their unconstitutional actions!

This is closer to the old Soviet-style gulag tactics than anything the people of the United States have ever experienced.

Once it goes into effect, who will challenge health care reform in federal court to test its constitutionality? Only those who dare to risk massive fines and imprisonment.

It would be far better for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to lose his floor debate vote on Saturday night than for us to take the risk that either House or Senate versions of health care "reform" become law.

Please take a few minutes to call your senators. If they support "reform," let them know that you will make it your life's work to see that they are defeated for re-election. If they oppose "reform," tell them you are thankful and ask them to work on their colleagues who are on the fence.

Few events in our lifetimes are as critical as this issue. We could well be the generation that stood by while freedom disappeared, not from enemies abroad but from those enemies of freedom among us.

Do not kid yourself that you can live with health care "reform." As described in the 2,074 page Senate bill, jobs will be killed and taxes will be raised.

Despite what the bill's supporters claim, the federal deficit will increase as a result of this legislation. You cannot get something for nothing. You cannot say that a program will cost nearly $900 billion over the next 10 years and then claim that it is deficit neutral. The money has to come from somewhere. It will either come from more government borrowing and spending, or they will make it up in higher taxes and fees, or cuts from Medicare which the states will have to supplant from their budgets.

All this during a time of economic crisis unsurpassed since the Great Depression.

Worse, the "scoring" of the bill conveniently only covers the first 10 years, the first three of which there is no actual money being spent, only taxes being collected. The real costs hit home in year 11 when it is estimated that it will create a $2.5 trillion drain on the federal budget for the second ten years.

The Senate bill encodes into law the payment of monies for elective abortions. Without a doubt this will be the version that becomes law, if either does.

Killing unborn children is not health care. No American should not be forced to pay into an abortion fund to pay for something that they believe is murder.

I could go on and on, but the simple fact is that the Constitution does not authorize this or any other federal health care planning regime. If I knew nothing else, it would be all I would need to know.

Let's stop this thing. Now.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

An Open Letter to the Catholic Bishops of the U.S.

I've spent most of a week agonizing over this.

I've prayed about it. I've pondered the variables. I've played "devil's advocate" with myself.

But I believe, finally, God has inspired me to raise my voice, on behalf of my family and all other Americans, whether they are Catholic, Protestant, or of any other persuasion, or none at all.

My message is this:

With or without an amendment protecting the unborn, the health care reform packages that are working through Congress are evil.

They should not be supported by anyone or any organization that values our unalienable, God-bestowed rights of life, liberty or conscience. I would add that I believe this list should include pursuit of happiness and property, but I know that some of you bishops have a hard time going there.

In the U.S.C.C.B. bulletin that went out to Catholics nationwide this month, you said that all the bills before Congress thus far are "seriously deficient on the issues of abortion and conscience, and do not provide adequate access to health care for immigrants and the poor. The bills will have to change or the bishops have pledged to oppose them."

You have asked for us to pressure our representatives and senators to "fix" these bills with pro-life amendments.

You do not go far enough. You are not looking at the Big Picture. You are painting yourselves into a corner, politically, and us with you.

With all due respect to your position as bishops of the Church, I must raise these questions:

Since when is it moral for a government to mandate (force) its citizens to purchase a product (health insurance) or face massive fines and prison sentences?

Show me where, in Catholic social teaching, this is an acceptable means of achieving a desirable end? Where is your precious "freedom of conscience" in this?

Where in Scripture does Jesus tell us that it is our individual responsibility to surrender our free will to the State in order for good deeds to be performed?

And not only our free will to decide for ourselves how charitable we wish to be, but our free will to decide how we will take care of the health needs of our own families, and of ourselves.

Where does Jesus admonish us to accomplish the work of the Church through the coercive dictates of government action, and surrender our future choices forever to a system that will crash our economy?

With all due respect to your teaching offices as bishops, when you are teaching on matters of faith and morals -- salvation and righteous living -- I am bound by faith to accept these teachings. And I do.

But corporately, as you "guide us" through the U.S.C.C.B. you have strayed from the parameters of your teaching office. You are pledging to throw your strong support behind the creation of an unprecedented federal bureaucracy in which the individual choice (free will) of individuals and health professions will be subordinated to the collective "wisdom" of government bureaucrats. You are playing politics.

"The poor you will always have with you ..." Jesus reminds us. But you have potentially traded our God-given freedom away in exchange for a socialist answer to a perennial problem based on a big "if": "If" the government promises not to force taxpayers to pay for abortions.

"If" you trust the Mao-loving denizens of Congress and the executive branch to keep their promise more than a year or so, you are naive.

If the United States has enjoyed one of the highest levels of health care in history, instead of supporting a centralized system that will lead to rationing and income leveling, you should be asking why the system worked in the first place, and then ask how that success could be translated to more people. Instead, you accept the Marxist premise that unequal distribution of income and health care resources is an indictment of the system that can only be remedied by a Marxist solution.

How about instead a Christian solution? Or have you given up on that?

America developed the greatest economy and health care system known to humanity because of its guarantees of individual liberties. People were free to take risks and find new, innovative ways of doing things. America is not perfect, but then no nation can meet that standard.

Under government control, risk-taking is frustrated and regulated. Innovation will go elsewhere. Regulations will bloom like a million flowers in a People's Cultural Revolution, and Christian healers will be shunted to the dark alleys where abortions (allegedly) once were performed.

If you think supporting this kind of system will gain you favor with God, you might want to rethink that. Jesus had little use for government in His ministry, and government hasn't changed much in 2,000 years.

If you think supporting this kind of system will gain you favor with the elites in Washington, D.C., you are seeking the approbation of "the world," and are thus deluding yourselves. The world will never love you if you stand with Christ, and the only way to curry its favor is to stand apart from Him.

That is the path that leads to destruction. You should know this.

There is no compromise with evil, and no compromise with those who have evil motives behind their gleaming smiles.

One of the architects of the current health care reform push is SEIU president Andy Stern, who wants to "equalize" the disparity of wages globally, and he sees health care reform as the tool to begin this process.

Do you really want to throw the weight of the Catholic Church behind this effort?

Please reconsider your position and quickly. Do not consign this and future generations of Americans to state control of their lives out of a well-meant but flawed belief that government can provide to the have nots more efficiently than the Church.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

First Shed Your Freedom; Fat Will Follow

Hugo Chavez is urging Venezuelans to lose weight.

President Hugo Chavez said in a televised speech Friday that "there are lots of fat people" in Venezuela and advised his supporters to exercise and eat healthy to trim their waistlines.

"I'm not saying fat women, because they never get fat," he added. "Women sometimes fill out."

Chavez, whose oil rich nation is now experiencing power outages and shortages of various kinds, is pushing his socialist "Bolivarian Revolution" hard.

Don't worry, Hugo. Under socialism, lots of people lose weight. And rights. And lives.

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It's Polite But Is it Presidential?

Barack Hussein Obama bows again.

This time to the Japanese emperor.

Some will "tsk, tsk" and remind us that Obama is the President of the United States.

And I will reply, "Don't tell me. Tell him."


Thursday, November 12, 2009

The End Run on Gun Rights Via the U.N.

A few important points on a Thursday morning.

The Obama Administration has given the "green light" to the United Nations to negotiate a treaty that will "regulate the marketing, transfer and brokering in firearms."

If you think the Second Amendment will magically protect you from the effects of this proposed treaty, think again. The Supreme Court has generally held that international treaties trump domestic legislation AND basic protections of the Constitution.

Former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr has blogged about this development. I don't care what you think of Bob Barr; he's been very good on gun issues.

This is what you need to know:

1) When any Obama official -- and many Democrats in Congress -- reassures us that they have no intention of messing with the Second Amendment, what they mean is that they won't need to. They are planning an "end run" around the Constitution.

2) We cannot afford to maintain the Pelosi-Reid machine in Congress by sending Blue Dogs to Congress. Sure, they may be "hunting rights" supporters (but are they "gun rights" supporters?), and their hearts may be in the right place, but their very existence as registered Democrats mean that they keep Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in the drivers' seats. For the sake of individual liberties and traditional American freedoms, we must "clean House" and Senate in 2010 and replace them with people who will defend the Constitution.

Notice that I said people, not Republicans. The Republicans need to clean their house of Progressive elements. I believe this can be done, and a whole hell of a lot easier than the Democratic party, but we have to demonstrate the will, as the electorate, to force the issue. Each candidate needs to be vetted by We, the People, to make sure that individual liberties will be safe on their watch and they will not suddenly start supporting big government (socialist or socialist light) solutions to perceived problems.

If the American people lose their individual right to "keep and bear arms" we will take a huge step toward tyranny. Our Founders knew this and it was generally accepted as a truism throughout most of our nation's history. The Progressives have worked hard to dumb down our schools and demonize gun ownership in the last century. To the extent that people are asleep on this issue, they have succeeded.

Awaken your neighbors; teach your children. Write your congressman and don't let him get away with making a distinction between "hunting guns" and "guns for personal protection."

The Second Amendment says nothing about hunting.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

10.2% Unemployment? An Historical Perspective

Would someone please inform the Associated Press that a working knowledge of American history is essential for reporters attempting to cover the nation today!

Today's report on the (shocking!) jobless rate of 10.2 percent contains numerous egregious examples of historical cluelessness. And that's the most positive spin. A more negative assessment is that the AP writer and his editors know fully well that they are disseminating partial truths and mendacious inaccuracies.

The first problem occurs in the lead sentence: "The unemployment rate has surpassed 10 percent for the first time since 1983 -- and is likely to go higher."

This is not quite true. During the Clinton years the unemployment data were tweaked to separate those who recently lost their jobs from those who have given up looking for work. Before 1994 all were lumped together. So to be accurate, it must be said that the 1983 unemployment number was about 7.5 percent BETTER than today's report! The AP hides this contraction in plain sight a little later in its report:
Counting those who have settled for part-time jobs or stopped looking for work, the unemployment rate would be 17.5 percent, the highest on records dating from 1994.
It should also be noted that a percent of the work force today represents a lot more people than in 1983. And vastly more than 1933, which is the time-line you would have to travel to see unemployment data comparable to what we are seeing now.

Reporter Christopher Rugaber wastes no time in committing his second error: the second sentence. He echoes White House spin as fact.
Nearly 16 million people can't find jobs even though the worst recession since the Great Depression has apparently ended.
Yes, the Obama faithful are claiming the recession is over by massaging the numbers for the 3rd Quarter by ignoring the fact that Cash for Clunkers and the first-time home-buyers credit, both fully subsidized by the taxpayer, created enough of a bump to make it appear that the economy is on the mend. Government cannot spend us into prosperity when the private sector cannot obtain financing from banks wary of government meddling. The reporter's willingness to accept the Geithner/Obama spin with no qualification -- "apparently" is not a qualification, it's acceptance -- is poor journalism.

The reporter does not adequately explain to us why the economy shed 190,000 "net" jobs yet some 600,000 more Americans are out of work:
The Labor Department said Friday that jobless rate rose to 10.2 percent, the highest since April 1983, from 9.8 percent in September. The economy shed a net total of 190,000 jobs in October, less than the downwardly revised 219,000 lost in September, but more than economists expected.

The jump in the jobless rate reflects a sharp increase in the tally of unemployed Americans, which rose to 15.7 million from 15.1 million. The net loss of jobs occurred across most industries, from manufacturing and construction to retail and financial. That tally is based on a separate survey of businesses.
It isn't so much of an explanation but acceptance of the government's use of the lesser figure.

But Rugaber does gives us some humor as he quotes Dan Greenhaus.
"It's not a good report," said Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist for New York-based investment firm Miller Tabak & Co. "What we're seeing is a validation of the idea that a jobless recovery is perfectly on track."
Jobless Recovery. Another innovation from our current administration.

The fourth egregious lack of historical context occurs as Rugaber does not do a followup on this next quote:
"You need explosive growth to take the unemployment rate down," Greenhaus said in an interview Thursday.

The economy soared by nearly 8 percent in 1983 after a steep recession, Greenhaus said, lowering the jobless rate by 2.5 percentage points that year. But the economy is unlikely to improve that fast this time, as consumers remain cautious and tight credit hinders businesses.
In 1983 President Ronald Reagan twisted the arms of a Congress controlled by Democrats to lower tax rates and open up domestic energy production. An economic boom began that, even though tempered in 1986 by higher tax rates when the Progressives in Congress struck back, continued largely through the '90s.

Instead, we see the Bush tax cuts about to disappear next year, and new rounds of tax hikes in the pipeline as Obama and the Progressives push for expensive new programs on health care and energy.

But the AP's economics writer leaves these facts undisturbed and his younger readers in the dark.

So you have to ask: Is the AP treatment by accident or design?

Either way, it's disgraceful and unworthy of a once great news-gathering operation.

The truth of our national economic crisis is buried near the end of the article:

October was the 22nd straight month the U.S. economy has shed jobs, the longest on records dating back 70 years.
There are records that go back beyond 1939, but apparently the reporter does not want to use them. He doesn't even use "1939" as a benchmark. My guess is that he doesn't want to remind anyone that we are in "Great Depression" territory.

But we are.

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