Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

Sen. Arlen Specter evidently reached satisfactory terms from the Democratic Party and evaded a likely-terminal primary challenge by Club for Growth Chairman Pat Toomey. It's fascinating to see the media establishment attempt to spin this as a story of an intolerant Republican Party driving out its thoughtful moderates, when in fact the only principle Sen. Specter has consistently embraced throughout his career has been the political survival and advancement of Arlen Specter.

E.J. Dionne demonstrated his capacity to completely misunderstand the conservative worldview in his analysis that the Republican Party sought ideological purity in order to strengthen its former majority. In fact, the Republican Party seeks to achieve its platform, just as the Democratic Party does. Strangely, only the Republican Party is capable of ideological rigidity in the eyes of the establishment media--as demonstrated by the legions of Democrats speaking out against, say, Roe v. Wade.

In the end, once again, it seems that unforgiveable rigidity of the Republican Party turns out to be its refusal to purge the Pro-Life movement from its ranks.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

What's the Matter with Iowa?

The Governor of Iowa weighed in mendaciously yesterday on the Iowa Supreme Court's abusive ruling on homosexual "marriage," declaring--in a trope familiar to pro-choice Catholic politicians--that, while he personally felt marriage should be a bond between a man and a woman, he couldn't impose his personal, religious preferences which were only "a tenet of my personal faith."

The dishonesty of his position was compounded by his declaration that "I am reluctant to support amending the Iowa Constitution to add a provision that our Supreme Court has said is unlawful and discriminatory," overlooking the fact that such an amendment would not make the provision unlawful or discriminatory under Iowa law.

The real point of the misruling, as with the abortion misrulings over the last 35 years, was to continue the overturn of the influence of traditional sexual morality in public affairs. As with the abortion cases, we see that elected officials will first plead helplessness in the face of judicial activism, and then declare the matter "settled law," as though the law, in this case, were anything other than the whim of the Supreme Court.

The core purpose, as I pointed out earlier, of civil marriage is to establish a social commitment to and privileging of the procreation AND upbringing of children by legally committed pairs of mothers and fathers. Whether or not homosexuals might choose to commit themselves to such relationships is not of interest to this state commitment, since maximising the private pleasure of the married couples is not a state interest, any more than making sure, say, a significant number of Jews choose to enter into the hog-slaughtering business.

What's at issue here is the right of children to a committed mother and father from the first day of their lives, and the means the state takes to promote and defend that right. Presenting the children that some putative homosexuals bring into homosexual relationships as the children of that homosexual pairing, as the Iowa Supreme Court did repeatedly to attempt to obscure that core commitment, strikes directly at the biological reality of the perpetuation both of the nation and of the human race.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Purpose of Marriage

In the course of Philo-Junius' examination of the illegitimacy of the Iowa Supreme Court's decision mandating the absurdity of homosexual marriage, it may be useful once again to remind everyone of the traditional meaning of marriage, taken from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, which the Iowa Supreme Court felt keenly enough to spend three pages arguing veiledly against under the heading of "Religious Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage", even though the arguments themselves are not exclusively religious, nor, unfortunately, did they form any coherent part of the defendants' arguments, making the Court's shadow-boxing even more telling:

"DEARLY beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate...therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men's carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.

First, It was ordained for the procreation of children...

Secondly, It was ordained...to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry...

Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity..."

Friday, April 03, 2009

Another Iowan Discovers Secularism

In addition to refueling the joke-tellers of the northern Great Plains for years to come, the absurd decision of the Iowa Supreme Court striking down the state's statute defining marriage as a state between one man and one woman provides at once both a striking example of advocacy adjudication in the text of the decision, which verges both on the maudlin in its treatment of the plaintiffs' case and their "committed relationships and the morally obtuse in its bland denial of the obvious centrality of the mother-father partnership to the upbringing of children, and also a textbook case of judicial supremacy resulting in the complete evacuation of any semblance of democratic input on issues our secularist ruling classes have decided for themselves.

The falsehoods shot through this decision are legion; Philo-Junius will spend some time refuting them in turn, but will begin with an enumeration of the more glaring:

"Almost every professional group that has studied the issue indicates children are not harmed when raised by same-sex couples, but to the contrary, benefit from them."

"The legislature, in carrying out its constitutional role to make public policy decisions, enacted a law that effectively excludes gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage."

"Thus, the right of a gay or lesbian person under the marriage statute to enter into a civil marriage only with a person of the opposite sex is no right at all. Under such a law, gay or lesbian individuals cannot simultaneously fulfill their deeply felt need for a committed personal relationship, as influenced by their sexual orientation, and gain the civil status and attendant benefits granted by the statute."

The mind reels at the bald mendacity of this reasoning. The "deeply felt need for a committed personal relationship, as influenced by their sexual orientation" has been by this ruling made the essential, defining element of marriage, overwhelming all state or social interests.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

THIS is the smartest woman in the world?

It turns out that Hillary!, in addition to not knowing anyone who can translate "reset" into Russian, or that Russian is written in a Cyrillic alphabet, also is profoundly ignorant of Mexican culture:

"During her recent visit to Mexico, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an unexpected stop at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and left a bouquet of white flowers “on behalf of the American people,” after asking who painted the famous image.

"The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was miraculously imprinted by Mary on the tilma, or cloak, of St. Juan Diego in 1531. The image has numerous unexplainable phenomena, such as the appearance on Mary’s eyes of those present in the room when the tilma was opened and the image’s lack of decay."

When she got into the limo to go to Guadalupe, did she ask, or did anyone bother to tell her WHY the photo op was considered a good idea?

Thank heavens the smart people are in charge now...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Formal Cooperation with Evil

President Obama to deliver Notre Dame’s Commencement address.

The cooperation of the Notre Dame faculty with the culture of death, by providing its current champion a platform from which to obfuscate, scandalise and confuse the faithful is duly noted--can anyone stop them?

For the Love of Heaven, Let Them Die

Rattner: GM, Chrysler May Need 'Considerably' More Govt. Money

Ailing Detroit automakers GM and Chrysler may need “considerably” more government bailout money than they've already asked for, said Steve Rattner, Treasury's de facto "car czar."

So far, GM and Chrysler have asked for $21.6 billion. But Rattner said that figure could go as high as $30 billion or $40 billion, according to an interview earlier today on Bloomberg TV, The Post's Kendra Marr reports.

There's no evidence that any amount of money is going to solve GM and Chrysler's problems, which are entirely wrapped up in outrageous and unsustainable labour costs. GM has basically staked its survival on hikes in federal gas taxes to keep gas at about $4 a gallon to force consumers to buy their alternative fuel automobiles. For the sake of the transportation industry and the U.S. economy in general, these two corporate vampires need to be staked and buried at a crossroads.

Is Anyone Who Can Add REALLY Surprised?

From The Washington Post:

U.S. Federal Deficit Soars Past Previous Estimates

"Deteriorating economic conditions will cause the federal deficit to soar past $1.8 trillion this year and leave the nation wallowing in a sea of red ink far deeper than the White House had previously estimated, congressional budget analysts said today.

"In a new report that provides the first independent analysis of President Obama's budget request, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted that the administration's agenda would generate deficits averaging nearly $1 trillion a year over the next decade -- $2.3 trillion more than the president predicted when he unveiled his spending plan just one month ago. "

Here's your change.

"Great Job, Brownie"

Obama to Leno: Geithner doing 'outstanding' job
By MARK S. SMITH – 4 hours ago

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) — President Barack Obama says his embattled treasury chief, Timothy Geithner, is doing an "outstanding job."

Philo-Junius will say it first:

"President Obama just don't care about taxpaying people."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Letting the Contempt Show

Steve Pearlstein of The Washington Post evidently got his bailout talking points today:

There's nothing remotely fair about using taxpayer money to rescue a free-market financial system from the mistakes of the financiers. But the reality is that we can punish the bankers or we can save the banking system, but we can't do both at the same time.

Philo-Junius invites Mr. Pearlstein to demonstrate this contention which, despite being noticeably repeated by many usual suspects of the media establishment, has never actually been proven.

The key to every con is to appeal to the mark's fear or greed and force them to make a quick, unthinking decision. Pearlstein and his ilk are merely running the same racket.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

If Sarah Palin Is the Answer, Could You Please Repeat the Question?

Bad news for the Palindrones in the latest poll numbers released today. Yet a 35% plurality of conservative bloggers polled say she's their first choice for the nomination at this point.

Still, we'll see if she has anything new or interesting to say at the NRCC/NRSC dinner in June, if her staff can indeed see to it that she makes it there.

Geithner and Obama

It is fairly well known that Timothy Geithner's father, Peter Geithner, worked extensively with Barack Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, through their common projects in Asian microfinance under the auspices of the Ford Foundation from the 1970s into the 80s.

What might not be as well known is the ongoing role of the Ford Foundation, after its capture by left-establishment figures such as McGeorge Bundy in the 1960s, in influencing the direction and development of African-American political developments from that period to the present day. A 2007 article in the Journal of Urban History sheds significant light on those ties, and, coupled with other studies of Obama's meteoric ascent through the Chicago African-American community--without benefit of any clear consitutency there--strengthens Philo-Junius' contention that it is not President Obama who indeed oversees Tim Geithner and his associates, but the other way around.

It is therefore Philo-Junius' contention that Geithner will indeed weather the current storm over the piddling $170 million in AIG bonuses--the ongoing devaluation and debasement of the U.S. dollar is a hugely more significant undertaking, one which so far has passed without any mainstream media concern.

Monday, March 16, 2009

"Of Course the Fundamentals Are Sound...

...now that WE'RE in charge."

From Fox News today--just connecting a few dots:


"Out of touch."

"Incapable of understanding" the economic crisis.

That's how Barack Obama and his presidential campaign team described John McCain last year when the Republican candidate famously said "the fundamentals of our economy are strong."

But now President Obama and his advisers are adopting similar rhetoric as they try to build public confidence in an economic turnaround.

"Of course the fundamentals are sound," Obama economic adviser Christina Romer said Sunday.

The Obama Administration's presumption of the average American's stupidity is astonishing.

Of course, we ARE the ones holding the bill for trillion dollar stimulus packages, so maybe we shouldn't argue with the assessment, now that it's out in the open.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Declaring Victory in the Culture Wars

New York Times columnist Frank Rich crowed victory atop the dungheap yesterday, declaring that the right's anemic response to Obama's various leftist movements on social policy represent the capitulation of the right on most social issues.

Unfortunately, recent experience leads Philo-Junius to concur. The ongoing soap opera of Bristol Palin, coupled with such past episodes as the shameful case of Mark Foley, David Vitter and Larry Craig have demonstrated that most rightists will in fact overlook or forgive nearly any moral transgression as long as they believe it advances their overall political interests. The German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer had this to say about the willingness to presume upon God's forgiveness:

"Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like a cheapjack's wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut-rate prices. Grace is represented as the Church's inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! And the essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using and spending it are infinite. What would grace be, if it were not cheap?

...In such a Church the world finds a cheap covering for its sins; no contrition is required, still less any real desire to be delivered from sin. . .

Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything, they say, and so everything can remain as it was before.

...Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, (it is) baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."

Cheap grace was always the preserve of the 60s-era leftists who have come to dominate the Democratic Party; it now seems that the gangrene has become politically systemic.

The ability of a free people to maintain self-rule has always hinged upon the ability of the self-governing people to restrain themselves: if cheap grace is indeed now the political consensus we cannot expect self-government long to endure. If the Republican Party can no longer credibly enunciate a compelling case for traditional morality coupled with the clear belief that its own standard-holders are to be held to an especially high standard, its appeals to dedicated social conservatives will inevitably be exposed as mere opportunism.

Rich argues that taking sides in the culture wars has reduced the Republican Party to the party of the Bible Belt. Philo-Junius argues that abandoning the culture wars will reduce the Republican Party to risibility, but that the Republican leadership must acknowledge and repair their badly damaged credibility as standard-bearers on these issues.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thomas Friedman Answers the Bell

Friedman takes his private equity overlords' marching orders with enthusiasm in today's NY Times editorial (registration required), the takeaway line:

"...we need to get a market going that would bring fair value and clarity to the “toxic mortgages” crippling the balance sheets of our major banks. This will likely require some degree of government subsidy to private equity groups and hedge funds to get them to make the first bids for these toxic assets by guaranteeing they will not lose. This could make great policy sense, but be a nightmare to sell politically. It will strike many as another unfair giveaway to Wall Street.

"Unfortunately, the president may have to look the American people in the eye and explain that 'fairness is not on the menu anymore."

So to sum up, it isn't fair, and it is a giveaway. Nice work, Tom; your paymasters will no doubt be pleased.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Here's Your Change

Tomorrow's Post includes news of the Treasury Department's trillion-dollar plan to make sweetheart loans to private equity firms to encourage them to buy up high-rated asset-backed securities, drawing the winners from the last years' casino markets back into the game.

Philo-Junius for one would like to be the first to welcome our new private equity overlords--George Soros is presumably at the head of the line. But Philo-Junius cannot help but imagine the rioting in Democratic neighbourhoods had the Bush administration attempted such a breath-taking giveaway. Does anyone still maintain that the Republican Party is the party of the rich?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Spinning the Message

It's interesting to note the careful wordsmithing the White House and other Democrats have hammered out in their ad hominem campaign against Rush Limbaugh. The current, precise phrasing of the indictment against Limbaugh is that Limbaugh "hopes the President's economic policies fail" (to quote Robert Gibbs from yesterday).

Philo-Junius thinks that's artful, because it implies that Obama's policies can succeed if everybody claps their hands and thinks happy thoughts. What Limbaugh has not stated out loud, but needs to make clear, is that what he means is that he wants Obama to fail in his attempts to implement wrongheaded and dangerously ideological policies based on flawed understandings of economics and human nature.

The issue is not whether conservatives or Republicans want Obama to "do well." Many conservatives hope and pray that a blinding light of providential revelation indeed strike Obama on the road to Damascus, or Tehran, or wherever, and he realise the manifold errors of his ways and be converted to the understanding of the inevitable failure of attempts to manage the U.S. economy and finance from above, and that, changing his goals, he leads the American economy to recovery and from strength to strength.

But that is not the course he has set, nor the one which a gambling man would wager Obama would ever undertake. Obama is attempting to implement policies which will impair the prosperity and social fabric of the nation for years to come, even if some believe (as some Democrats believed of G.W. Bush) he does it with the best intentions.

When someone sets about organising a campfire in an old-growth forest in the middle of the worst drought on record, it's not mean-spirited to hope he doesn't pull it off. This distinction is what Limbaugh needs to enunciate to defuse the attacks on him, and it is the distinction that we can expect the White House and its surrogates to most artfully attempt to efface.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Newt To Swim Tiber?

Say what you like about his checkered personal life or his fading prospects on the national political scene, but the New York Times Magazine profile on Newt Gingrich (registration required) let fall the following little nugget:

"At a moment when the role of religious fundamentalism in the party is a central question for reformers, Gingrich, rather than making any kind of case for a new enlightenment, has in fact gone to great lengths to placate Christian conservatives. The family-values crowd has never completely embraced Newt, probably because he has been married three times, most recently to a former Hill staff member, Callista Bisek. In 2006, though, Gingrich wrote a book called “Rediscovering God in America” — part of a new canon of work he has done reaffirming the role of religion in public life. The following year, he went on radio with the evangelical minister James Dobson to apologize for having been unfaithful to his second wife. (A Baptist since graduate school, Gingrich said he will soon convert to Catholicism, his wife’s faith.)"

Philo-Junius can't wait to see Newt, Nancy Pelosi and presumptive Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius slapping backs and bonding at the next Archdiocese of Washington Lenten Fish Fry.

I Can Has Chairman Who Doesn't Think We're Nazis?

Philo-Junius doesn't have a lot to say about the moderate Republicans' disdain for Rush Limbaugh, except that one can't fight a runaway freight train of nationalisation and leftward social engineering with nothing, which is all we've seen from the moderates since the financial meltdown, but he does strongly feel that any party chairman who nods and agrees with a hostile interviewer who characterises one's party as "reactionary" and party events as "like Nazi Germany" is one who really doesn't need to come to work the next day.

If Michael Steele had an ounce of self-respect he would tender his resignation today, and let someone who doesn't think Republicans are Nazis have the job.

It's been asked if Steele might have been able to stir himself to some reaction if Hughley, say, had offered Steele a plate of Oreos during the interview; somehow I think Steele would have done something other than nodding and attempting to "relate."

Bluffing the KGB

The hot story this morning at the Washington Post is the Obama administration's attempt to enroll Russia in Obama's half-hearted attempts at containment of Iran (which, we learned Sunday, now has the materials for an atomic bomb--oops) and the mullahs' attempts to acquire the ability to produce atomic weapons.

The question, though, is this: given Obama's deliberate humiliation of Poland's government for its support of the missile defense facilities, what reason does the Russian government have to believe that Obama is seriously intending to complete the project he's now attempting to bargain away?

If Russia is already going to get what it wants from Obama on missile defense--namely returning it to the research-and-development curiosity-we-never-intend-to-deploy box in which it was kept throughout the Clinton years, why would anyone think that this offer alone would be persuasive to the former-KGB clique which runs the Russian government?

Hoping for change, Philo-Junius supposes.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Thinking about the Sinking of AIG

News today about the parlous state of AIG, and the strong likelihood that the government will ultimately wind up owning AIG lock, stock and bookkeeper, gave Philo-Junius the urge to investigate the process of cleaning up AIG's books. It seems that when the credit-default swap mess was first unearthed during the collapse of Lehman Bros. last summer, that AIG's CDS exposure was about $400 billion, and now has been unwound to about $300 billion.

Question for discussion: given the fact that AIG has demonstrated the complete failure of its risk-modeling and effective bankruptcy, shouldn't the primary objective of U.S. government involvement be the transparent marking down of the swaps--the underlying systemic risk whose threat Geithner and Obama maintain we must address?

Some have argued that the swaps should be simply declared null and void as improperly registered insurance vehicles--why is it necessary to continue to pretend that these instruments have any effective value other than what the U.S. government ultimately chooses to assign them? Isn't the value ultimately assigned to these instruments a central question of public policy?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Confirmation Question for Sebelius

Q: Given your public statements that you believe abortion is wrong, do you believe that Roe v. Wade was correctly decided, in that it held that the life and health of unborn children were of no concern to governments?

Readers are welcomed to append their favourite questions below.

Some have said that abortion, and Sebelius' well-publicised entanglement with the abortion industry in Kansas--embodied by partial-birth-abortion specialist George Tiller--might overshadow Sebelius' qualifications to be Secretary of Health. In fact her stance on abortion IS her primary health-care qualification; she has made no national news in the last four years on any health-related issue EXCEPT abortion.

Now, we cannot delude ourselves that the 54% of Catholics who voted for Obama are going to suddenly have the scales fall from their eyes, but we do need to demonstrate that "common ground" really just means "you look the other way and we'll do what we please."

The fact that both of Obama's nominees (first former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle, now Kansas Governor Sebelius) for Secretary of Health and Human Services have been putative Catholics scolded by their bishops for their intransigence on abortion demonstrates the mendacity of the Obama position on abortion, especially where Catholics are concerned.

UPDATE: The New York Times is less than enthusiastic over the choice: "But on matters of health policy, which she will oversee if her nomination is confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Sebelius’s efforts to forge bipartisan consensus have rarely succeeded."

UPDATE: The crypto-secular National Catholic [sic] Reporter wheeled out a press-release-cum-"news"-article shilling for Sebelius reporting the support of several of their usual suspects in dissent praising both Sebelius and the choice. Obama's secular infiltrators within the Church were well-prepped, it seems.