My dear friend Aaron Harris has a great article in this week's Baltimore Examiner on how liberals often ignore the threat that is the spread of Islam. It isn't politically correct to admit that the religion as it is practiced in much of the Middle East leads to a highly dangerous and volatile mentality.
Aaron and I did not see eye to eye on the issue of the war in Iraq when it began, but we agree completely on the nature of the Islamic threat as a whole.
As a few of you may know, in addition to blogging here at The World, which is my first and original weblog, I also blog for an operation out of New York City called Where I Stand. Founded by liberal (but he is quick to point out, no friend of Castro) Cuban-American Nick Oliva, WIS functions as a sort of opinion/news service for folks who-like me-not only like to blog, but enjoy reading the blogs of others. I write for WIS, but I am not often graced with the time to wade through everyone else's work on a day-to day basis. When I am able to do so it is a real pleasure because for the most part this is a very talented group. On the Left the assortment of writers includes an attorney who currently works in Saudi Arabia, a novelist and publishing consultant, and the founder. On the Right, the list includes an editor and college instructor, a former political candidate and current Republican Precinct Committeeman from Idaho, and humble ol' me.
I happened on to a discussion yesterday in which one blogger asserted that "Clinton was the only President to pay down the debt." That is patently false, of course, Clinton did not pay the debt down. The statistics could be seen on the National Debt Clock during every year Clinton was in office. Not a single day during Clinton's term did the debt go down. The last President to truly pay the debt down was none other than Andrew Jackson, who was able to do so in part because he had the guts to tell the advocates of the National Bank to go to Hell.
Yet many a modern Democrat believes the lie that Clinton actually paid down the debt. There was a balanced budget during Clinton's administration, but why did that happen? It would not have occurred had Republicans not been insistent to the point of shutting the government down to ensure that it actually happened. In the meantime, Clinton blamed Republicans for the shutdown that ultimately resulted in the balanced budget that he later tried to take all the credit for.
So what's the point? Not only is the debt going up, but it has continued to go up for a very long time. Is it even right for Presidents and leaders of either party to speak of "balanced budgets" when you can't have a truly balanced budget with a debt that high? It is a great deception.
I had the opportunity yesterday to see the tail-end of EWTN's 25th anniversary special on the internet. I have to admit to being especially inspired by the work of the nuns and Franciscan Brothers at the "Global Catholic Network." We are living in a time when not only does lukewarmth in matters of faith prevail as the daily norm for Christians of all backgrounds, but Catholicism is often mistaken viewed by non-Catholics as a faith that embraces liberalism. Mother Angelica set out to show the South, the rest of America, and the whole world that authentic Catholicism is not only not some creature of the Left, it is (by modern standards) "conservative" enough to put the most hardshell of hardshell Calvinists to shame, especially on issues such as the issue of the protection of human life-you simply can't get any more pro-life than the authentic Catholic position.
That said, it is a valid criticism that some raise which points out that the Church has no ideology. A Catholic might be conservative or liberal in his or her political leanings, but above all, a Catholic is to be a Catholic. Rather than say "I am a conservative Catholic, I am a liberal Catholic, I am an "American Catholic" (and no you aren't, you are a Catholic in America), I am such-and-such a Catholic, Catholics should simply embrace being Catholic.
The problem, of course, is that many Catholics in this country can't stand the idea of doing that because it means they would have to embrace the Church's teaching in totality. Many liberals can't stand that because it means they have to stand up and defend the lives of the unborn and they can't support those who will not do the same, even in the voting booth. An extension of this is that neither are we free to contracept our families away, we must accept and love all children as the Divine Will of God and as a gift from the Father.
On the other hand, many conservatives can't bring themselves to fully embrace the teachings of the Church either. Doing so requires many of our folks to accept the right of employees to organize if they so choose, requires Catholic employers to pay their employees a decent wage and says that good working conditions and even affordable health care are not a privilege, but a right (seeRerum Novarem)-though it is worth noting that the Church also has traditionally maintained that those issues are best handled at the most local level possible and with as little government involvement as can be done.
You can't please everyone, so rather than try, perhaps Catholics should try standing up for the things we believe are right and good and true and let the chips fall where they may.
Senator George Allen has taken a lot of heat in the last few days because he referred to a demonstrator who was apparently working for his opponent as "macaca," which can be interpreted as an insult meaning "monkey," or worse-a racial slur (the demonstrator was of Indian background).
Here is the context of Senator Allen's remarks.
Now I have a confession to make: I haven't yet decided who to support for the White House in 2008 because I never like to make that kind of decision before the field is closed, but I like George Allen quite a lot. I have always thought highly of the man because he has been unafraid to say things that make people uncomfortable. He has especially been outspoken in standing up for States' Rights (he once called the Late War "a four-year struggle for independence and sovereign rights.") and for pro-life issues. Allen's conservative credentials simply can't be questioned. These kinds of positions make me more likely to support the man, not less. The day such a man is sworn in as President of the United States, I want to be at the inaguration and I think the Marine Band should play Dixie and God Save the South-it would be sweet revenge for Appomattox.
Rob Huddleston even has a new blog up in support of Allen and tackles the issue of Allen's apparently off-the-cuff remarks at a tour stop in his latest post.
The problem is simple here. I don't think Allen meant to be racially insensative or harmful to that fellow (who was acting silly by all accounts), but that is not the point. I am a believer in States' Rights and Compact theory as much as the most ardent member of the paleoconOld Right, but this is still 2006 here. It isn't just for the sake of politics that we ought to desire the lack of racial bigotry-we ought to desire that because all men are equal in the eyes of God and we have come to recognize that. I think Senator Allen does too, but we must be careful of the things we say and do in the most conservative of conservative circles, because it does not matter that harm was not meant by words and actions, all that matters is that the Enemy seeks to divide us so that they may conquer.
Bob needs to mend some serious fences up here. Our friend and one great guy, Dave Oatney, is a man of conviction and has to be convinced.
It is very true. I have spoken out against Bob Corker, but not merely because I supported Ed Bryant. I have spoken so strongly against Bob Corker because I believe his "conservative principles, positive results" campaign is the biggest display of political cross-dressing since Bill Clinton. All we have to go by is Bob Corker's record. Corker talked about what a great mayor he was, but the United States Senate is not a Council meeting in Chattanooga. His record on issues that he will wrestle with as a Senator from Tennessee is either bad or nonexistent.
I recognize that our government must have newcomers from time to time to keep things as honest as they can be in Washington, and Mr. Corker will certainly be new to the Senate. However, even those new to the political arena can usually be pinned down in such a way that we know where they stand. We cannot do this with Mr. Corker.
Bob Corker tells us that he is pro-life, yet in 1994 he said he didn't think government had any business protecting the life of the unborn. His story about when his conversion of heart came about, and how it occured was constantly changing during the Primary campaign.
Bob Corker does have a record as a tax hiker. He tried to campaign on the notion that he was a tax cutter by saying that Chattanooga had the lowest property tax rates since the 1950's. That part of the story is true, but what his campaign does not say is that while the tax rates went down, the taxes went up.
Can Bob Corker convince me that he's changed? Well, I am not willing to write anyone off and I know people can change, but when I say "change" I don't mean convenient election year change, I mean reform and renewal of mind and heart backed by action as well as words. For Bob Corker to convince me that I should support him, that is the kind of change he must demonstrate to David Oatney. Yes, Bob Corker has quite a way to go before I can be convinced.
In addition, the observance of the Holy Day calls us to abstain from any unnecessary work unless said work should pertain to leisurely enjoyment. Those required to work today since the Feast falls during the work week are dispensed from this.
Every so often I will post something here that I have written for another venue and is written in the context of that venue, but that I feel is pertinant to current affairs and deserves an even wider readership because of its relevance to the present local, State, national, or World situation. Today I am posting a piece I originally wrote on Where I Stand yesterday about Latin American Politics and the situation in Cuba because I think the discussion that it is already provoking and can further provoke is timely considering the present situation in Cuba.
Nick has a pretty good post on Castro, Cuba, and Latin American politics. Being a Norteamericano by birth, I do think it is much more difficult for me to comprehend the Latin political mentality than someone like Nick who was born in Cuba. I wouldn't presume to tell somebody who is from Latin America that I know more than they do about the Cuban or Latin mind. This does not mean, however, that I do not have an informed opinion, so I hope Nick doesn't mind my using his words as a springboard for my own here.
Latin America is rather friendly to leftists. That is the understatement of the last hundred years. Hell, even some priests have been in on the leftist non-conspiracy to take over all of Latin America and have gained the censure of the Vatican as a result. I have come to believe that the reason Latin America is so friendly to to the Left, however, is because in many Latin American countries, the Right is not a part of bipartisan or multi-partisan democracy, but tends to trend toward dictatorship and to oppress its opposition. Since the Right (Bautista in Cuba, for example) tends to bend toward dictatorship, the knee-jerk reaction is to have a Left that moves in the same direction on the opposite end of the political spectrum. During the Cold War, both the United States and the Soviet Union took advantage of this phenomenon, with the Soviets proping up Leftists oppressive dictators, and the Americans propping up Rightist ones. With a few notable exceptions, many countries in Latin America have trouble keeping a democratic government in place because they have never really known one.
I want to see Fidel dead more than most, but I cringe when I think of the "transition" period. Cubans in Cuba are afraid that Cubans in America will overrun the place. This is a sentiment that has been furthered by the fact that Cubans in America have every intention to go in and overrun the place.
There is likely a great deal of truth in this, but where can the line be drawn? There were and are, in fact, many Cuban families in the U.S. that were run out by the Castro/Communist regime there. When that regime is finally gone, would it be right to tell them "well, you can't go home now?" Its a legitimate fear, though. The trouble is going to be how to deal with the situation. I doubt there is an easy answer.
1. Fidel's death will bring instability to Cuba. 2. Instability will disperse power and break the tenuous hold of "the party". 3. Cubans in America are wealthy, powerful, motivated, and have been walking in the desert for 40+ years waiting for the 90 mile causeway to open up.
Is number two necessarily a bad thing? Seems to me that you can't have a real free government unless the hold of the Party is broken. When the instability does come to Cuba, someone will come along and fill the vaccuum. The great question will be who will that be and is it someone who will want to be a dictator or be a beacon of freedom?
Davidson County Chancellor Carol McCoy ruled Friday that a man who gave himself the middle name of "None of the Above" cannot use that name on the November ballot. David "None of the Above " Gatchell wants to place his full name on the November ballot when he runs for Governor and U.S. Senate.
He does have a point in that other candidates have been allowed to use their nicknames on the ballot, despite no Tennessee law requiring or mandating the practice. Gatchell plans to appeal.
As silly as Gatchell's idea is, this is America, and a man has the right to be called whatever he wants to be called, and to appear by the name he wishes to be called if he or she wishes to put their name on a ballot.
If Rob chooses to back Corker, it certainly won't change my feelings of friendship and admiration for him. He's paid his dues in the conservative movement, and no one can question his commitment to the Cause-it is Rob's decision, it is a licit and a valid one that a lot of conservatives are making right now. However, I do not feel myself free to back Corker for one reason: I will not be used.
For too long, true conservatives have been good soldiers and when our men and women might lose their Primaries, we've fallen into line with the winner in order to keep the worst of two evils from being elected. What have we gotten in return? The truth is that we have gotten very little, and the small things we have managed to get (our two Supreme Court Justices, for example) are thrown to us like table scraps are thrown to the dogs. Sometimes it makes me feel like the "masters" are sitting at the table saying "there there-nice conservatives...good bone, isn't it?!"
I have had enough of this phenomenon. We aren't going to have any real influence in the GOP anymore if we simply do what the establishment wants. The only way that we can keep what influence we have in the Republican Party is for our people to stand up in unity and say "we are not going to take this anymore-if you want our support, we demand action and results.
Those of you who are making the decision to back Corker need to hold him to that standard.
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