Friday, April 29, 2005

Quote for today (Canadian political situation)

"This is not a Parliament. It is more like a bad episode of 24."

-Canadian (really a Newfie)
political commentator Rex Murphy on
last night's CBC newscast, The National

Garlic oil-miracle cure

I just wanted to point out that garlic oil seems to be a miracle cure for an ear infection. My ear infection, which I mentioned yesterday, is not completely gone, but my condition is drastically improved.

Last night, Nicole poured a few drops of garlic oil down my ear, and we let it sit immobile for a few minutes. Then all the filth and infection in my ear came out with relative ease, even though there was quite a lot of it. Today, my ear feels a whole lot better.

Garlic oil: If the drug companies controlled its distribution, it would be worth thousands of dollars an ounce.

Press conference

The President had a prime time press conference last night, something that is significant because this President rarely has them. The primary purpose of the sudden call was to address the issue of Social Security reform, the Sacred Cow that threatens to make George W. Bush an extremely unpopular leader overnight.

One thing that people have to give Bush credit for is that he is willing to deal with the issue of Social Security when previous Chief Executives and members of Congress were afraid to touch it for fear of what it would do to their political future or their historical legacy. The President has even said that he wants to establish an income-based system of Social Security distribution. In other words, the less money you make when you work, the more Social Security you will receive, whereas if you make more money, the government presumes that you can better afford to save for retirement and you will receive less.

What is the Democrats' reaction to this? Well, that party has cried for an income-based distribution of Social Security for years. Now that the Republicans have agreed to such a thing, the Democrats are crying that the GOP wants to rob "some Americans" of their Social Security. The Democrats remain the party of political opportunism.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Some of my favorite pictures of the Pope

Our Holy Father has always been loyal to the Magesterium

"Truth is not subject to a majority vote."

"Protestant brothers and sisters, listen up...all your base are belong to us!"

How could you not trust this face?

"Remember now...God loves you, and His Church does too!"

This man knows how to "Pope!"

A reminder

I just wanted to take a moment to remind readers that, while these pages can be viewed with Internet Explorer, they are best viewed with the latest version of Mozilla or Netscape.

Of ear infections and Canadian elections

For those of you who are regular readers of mine here at the World, you know that this is an unusually late hour in the day for me to be delivering a first post on this blog. Unfortunately, I had a project that demanded my time and attention this morning, and that delayed the time in which I could get online to post.

In addition, I seem to have come down with an ear infection this morning. It has been years since I have had one, and man is it painful. Needless to say, your right ear being in constant pain does not lend itself to quality writing abilities. Fortunately for me (but not for Nicole) she had an ear infection earlier this year, which means that the drops are still around the house, and are about to be put to good use.

Despite Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin's deal with the New Democratic Party to save his Government, Canadians may be headed for an election yet. Conservative Leader Stephen Harper says he will attempt to bring the Government down at the "earliest possible opportunity." Harper knows that on a motion of no-confidence, he'll have the support of the Bloc Quebecois. It sounds like he is also banking on the support of at least two of the three independent MPs, which would mean that he does not need to worry about which way the NDP might vote.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Entitlement culture

To hear some people talk about Social Security, you'd think that the system is just dandy, in fact, you'd think that the largest influx of retirees in world history (let alone the U.S.) were about to flood the system. The reality, of course, is that Social Security is in a great deal of long-term trouble. The Democrats don't want to admit that the problem is a serious one (the osterich syndrome), and the Republicans don't want to go into too much detail about how serious the problem is for fear that the GOP will alienate a key constituency, since many older voters vote Republican (and they turn out to vote).

The other problem is the AARP, the country's largest lobbying group, which represents Americans 50 and older. To that organization's credit, they are truly non-partisan, caring only that both parties pay attention to the concerns of seasoned citizens. Since the Depression, our nation has created such an entitlement culture that there are very few of us who have not utilized some sort of government entitlement whether we realize that fact or not. We, as a people, believe that we are entitled, through our elected representatives, to vote ourselves largesse from the federal and state treasury. Bankruptcy of the state and economic collapse be damned, we want our check. The members of the AARP have been conditioned to accept the fact that they are entitled to a Social Security check each month, whether they have prepared for their retirement or not.

I don't want readers to take me wrong, here. I don't favor abolishing Social Security or getting rid of various and sundry programs. The only reason I don't favor this is because the entitlement culture has become so ingrained in the modern American psyche that it would take generations upon generations to wash away. People in this country need to realize that if you want something like Social Security or any other so-called entitlement, such things can only be maintained when both the government and the people practice fiscal responsibility. We cannot expect government to give us the best care when we are sick or old, because government will always do an inferior job in seeking to save a buck. If we as a people want the kind of social care that we say and believe that we deserve in America, then we ourselves must take the lead in providing that care for ourselves.

Canada update

In a sense, it is not a surprise for me to write here that the Liberal Government of Canada will survive, at least in the short term. It will do so because Paul Martin simply used taxpayer money to buy his way out of an election by bargaining with the Marxist NDP.

To avoid defeat, Martin simply buys his way out of accountability! The sad part of all of this is that it seems perfectly acceptable to many people in Canada. If the people of Canada wish to keep such filth at the highest levels of government, they have no right to complain about the corruption of that government.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Kung-Fu Labour

If you are at all familar with the British political landscape, you know there are just days to go before a Parliamentary election. As usual, the Labour Party is about to win that election by burying substantive issues, as leftist parties tend to do. How do they do this? Using the martial-arts tactics of Kung-Fu Statesmen!

What on earth is this?

Matt Daley wants to know if he is too anal about the name of a so-called Catholic forum at Bowling Green State University. I don't know if he is or not, but it sounds suspicious to me.

Russia could never be trusted

I have said many times that something was to be said for the Cold War era, because in those days it was very clear who America's enemy was, and it was easy to prepare our forces to fight that enemy, even if the fight itself would be an apocalyptic one.

Russian President Vladimir Putin may be yearning to return to that age in a political sense. Over the weekend, he told the Russian Parliament that "the collapse of the Soviet Union was the worst geopolitical catastrophe in the last 100 years." In addition, Putin has begun to jail those opposed to him on trumped-up charges. Doubtless, he'll try them before kangaroo courts. Putin apparently longs to relive the Soviet era. This longing for a return to the Soviet Union would explain his attempt to rig the election in Ukraine and oppose admittance to NATO of former Soviet Republics.

I have no emnity against the Russian people, however I have long believed that the Russian state could not be trusted. Any of us who grew up during any part of the era of conflict with the Soviet Union know that our country had to endure 50 years of Russian/Soviet lies and deceit. It would not surprise me if the so-called Great Reform has been a big lie as well. Just when we thought the world had changed, perhaps our old enemy was never dead to begin with.

Howard Dean's big mouth

Howard Dean has opened his big mouth again over the weekend, once again talking about something about which he has no real clue. He told a conference that the Democratic Party needs to reach out to Catholic voters by reminding us that "the social agenda of the Catholic Church and the social agenda of the Democratic Party are virtually the same."

Oh really? If that has become the political situation, someone at the DNC forgot to send me the memo. If the social agenda of the Church and the Democrats are the same, that means that the Democratic Party has seen the light on some very important questions:

Such a declaration would mean that the Democrats now accept the integrity of Holy Matrimony as a part of their platform. It means that the Democrats no longer accept the notion that homosexuals should have the same rights in law as a validly married couple.

Further, if the social agenda of the Democrats and the Church are in unison, it means that the Vatican and the Party have come to agreement on the question of life. The Democrats accept at a national level that life begins at conception and deserves protection in law.

If the social agenda of the Church and the Democrats have achieved unity, this would also mean that the Democrats have now embraced the idea that children and their parents deserve the right to choose whatever school they would like to attend, whether that school is public, private, or parochial. No child should be confined to one kind of school merely because their family is poor.

If the Democrats have changed their position on these matters, somebody please let me know. Otherwise, I'll chalk this up to Howard Dean's big clueless mouth.

To be fair, no one can confine the social agenda of the Catholic Church to one political party. In this sense, the Church is very different than many other churches in America. The Church is not a political entity, so it is free to stand up for what is just and right, and in doing so, the Church does not care who it offends, and may sound like a conservative Republican one day and a liberal Democrat the next. This is because the Church is concerned with what is right and what is wrong, not with what is politically expedient, or what party agenda to attach itself to. Someone with a truly Catholic mind would do well to explain this to Chairman Dean.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Benedict Meets the Press-not quite

I had the occasion Sunday morning to watch Meet the Depressed with Tim Russert. The topic was the installation of Pope Benedict XVI. There were three people on the program who were faithful to the Church. One was an Opus Dei priest, one was the editor of First Things, and one was Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, founder of Ignatius Press. They were countered by three heretics plus Russert, including a Bible-quoting (out-of-context) Newsweek reporter, a so-called Sister of Mercy, and a former Vatican correspondent from the dominant newspaper in New York, which does not deserve a link here.

All I have to say after watching the spectacle is that Father Fessio is to be commended, he has stood uncompromisingly for the truth, even in the face of his own religious superiors. In this case, he let Tim Russert have it. The exchange went something like this:

Russert: Father Fessio...women's ordination, married priests, and birth control. Can't the Church just lighten up here? The times have obviously changed, technology has changed. Can't the Church just change its teaching?

Fessio: No Tim, the Church cannot change its teaching. Of the things you mentioned there, only the issue of celibacy could be opened, but that is a matter of discipline, not doctrine, not dogma.

Russert: But the Church can change its teaching....

Fessio: No the Church can't. We can have new understandings of a teaching come to us from the Holy Spirit, but we can't change the teachings of the Church that have been passed down.

Russert: Why can't the Church change its stance on birth control?

Fessio: Tim, are you willing to give me an hour to explain to your audience the real answer to that question? No? Well, you are reducing the truth to a bunch of soundbites here. Catholic teaching can't be explained in soundbites. I want to tell everyone watching that for every hour they watch something like this on television, they should read a good book for four or five hours. One hour is not enough for the truth.

Russert: I think an hour is a balanced treatment....

Russert is a Catholic, at least he purports to be. If he is a good Catholic, perhaps he should explain to his audience why the Church cannot change its teaching. He ought to know the answer...if he is as Catholic as he claims.

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