Obama Green Czar Van Jones Resigns Under Pressure

Sunday, September 6, AD 2009

Obama Adviser Resigns

Van Jones resigned under pressure from conservatives and Republicans as more information leaked out concerning the character of his person.

After insulting Republicans and being found out as a “Truther”, someone who believes President Bush allowed 9/11 to occur, his past transgressions and militant associations became to much for the Obama administration to bear.

Being a self-avowed Communist and a black nationalist also contributed to his downfall despite the mainstream medias blackout of reporting any news that may harm President Obama.  In the end the American people were able to relay their displeasure at another Obama mishap without ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post doing their best at doing a horrible job of journalism.

This says a lot about President Obama’s character and vetting process.  Especially after spending 20 years attending the racist Jeremiah Wright’s church and his ties to the Weatherman Underground terrorists, it is becoming troubling that our own president even associates with people of such poor character.

A bitter and disturbed Van Jones wrote in his resignation letter that ordinary Americans are “… using lies and distortions to distract and divide.”jimmy-carter

It not only looks like our president shows signs of incompetence, but he also makes some pretty poor choices when it comes to choosing members of his administration.  His vetting process is a lark and the rest of America is finally realizing the nightmare we have on our hands.

Jimmy Carters second term.

_._

To read more on Van Jone’s resignation go to the Washington Times article by Christina Bellantoni by clicking here.

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21 Responses to Obama Green Czar Van Jones Resigns Under Pressure

  • Van Jones definitely did not have the background or the socio-political character for a job in the administration, but as far as I know …

    1. All presidents have problems vetting especially below cabinet level staffers.
    2. CNN actually described some aspects of this guy two days ago, but I agree they have been slow to investigate farther. I saw Glenn Beck’s piece on him and though I don’t respect his opinions or his sophomoric style, he did show some video that we would not have seen on other networks.
    3. Obama will have to go a long way to equal the two presidents who had the worst appointee records (resignations plus indictments) – Reagan and Bush 43.
    4. Obama is finding that his policy of not hiring former lobbyists (except for 2 notable exceptions) has made filling job vacancies more difficult than he expected.
    5. It seems over the top to call this incompetence. Incompetence was installing the Shah of Iran, the Iran-Contra scandal, not being honest with the American public before invading Iraq and then doing so with half the needed number of troops. Those are examples of real incompetence and those examples have far more dire moral consequences than not adequately vetting Van Jones.

    Regarding Beck’s expose, even given the fact that his more militant background was a terrible choice for someone in the WH (and I haven’t really seen the proof yet), the video of Van Jones discussing the changes that have occurred in the environmental movement are actually quite well described. Beck did his smart-alleckey-6th-grader-who-knows-everything best at rolling his eyes in his little picture-in-picture box when Van Jones explained to some audience somewhere that the environmental movement has gone through three phases so far. The preservation phase, which was the initial Teddy Roosevelt / John Muir phase of sectioning off large areas of land to preserve landscapes and specific species. Then in the 1960’s was the war against toxics – with the clean air and water acts ( signed by Nixon of course), that was initiated by Rachel Carson (not “Carlson” like Beck kept mispronouncing).

    Both of these have ended up being pretty important and very popular phases, unless of course you just don’t believe the government has any role to play in anything other than the courts and the military. But at least 70% of the American public perennially supports these kinds of environmental laws and regulations because most people either feel a moral obligation to being responsible to the land or to people down wind, or they see the personal economic and health advantages in having a cleaner environment. Yet Beck twisted his face and rolled his eyes as if they were the dumbest things he had ever heard.

    The last phase that Van Jones mentioned was I’m sure the one that Beck and many objectivists probably thought was the most objectionable, that the big thing now is “environmental justice.” It certainly sounds forbiddingly academic and liberal, and that is probably how Beck interprets it, but it actually just means that people are just as important if not more so than the environment and that environmental degradation tends to most severely affect the poor and least powerful in society. This is far more interesting and important than it may seem at first.

    The idea is that environmentalists have spent so much time trying to protect mountains and regulate acid rain and save the whales, that people have been ignored. This is a pretty sophisticated and realistic blend of conservative and liberal values that is quite powerful. Van Jones’ background meant that he often (I guess, I only saw one clip, but that is obviously enough to condemn him in the minds of most people) saw this as rich white people putting chemical plants and mine tailings in communities of people of color. That is a dramatic overstatement, but it also happens to coincide with facts. It is of course more of a matter of poor communities of every race or ethnic group that ends up accepting the wastes of the affluent communities. And it is mostly the rural who have to have the coal plants or the wind turbines or the vast solid waste dumps that service the urban centers.

    Just think of THIS juxtaposition. It is often the more conservative rural communities that absorb the problems of the perhaps more liberal urban populace and the largely mixed suburban communities. This environmental ethic pushes back on the affluent Greenpeace model of environmentalism – the cadillac environmentalists – the kind that some feel Gore represents. This should be something that someone like Beck should learn about, rather than smirk at.

    This new phase in environmentalism is a far more compelling and based upon a more sophisticated morality than the early forms of environmentalism and I think would be a great thing for Catholics to investigate. There are the Native Americans, loggers and ranchers who sometimes get kicked off land rather than allowed to be stewards of the land. We see the poor in LA breathe the toxic fumes of chemical plants while the rich of LA preserve their beach front views. The list becomes incredibly long when we see both corporations and governments force indigenous peoples out of lands so that they can be clear cut and then ruined or turned into vast national parks, both of which are not sustainable without people living in them.

    As bad as Van Jones was, he did at least articulate this phase and it means there is at least a more sophisticated discussion of environmental policies in the White House than has been there before. I just hope that conservatives can learn about this and see the ethics and basic decency of it before merely seeing it as just another liberal means of government intrusion.

    Too bad that whole message gets lost in the political gotcha-ism that makes for more compelling TV.

  • Tomorrow’s news:

    Van Jones was pushed out because he’s black.

  • Not since Joe McCarthy shuffled off this mortal coil in 1957 has anyone made a career by accusing people of being communists. Glenn Beck has resurrected the practice. Not only has he found a cabal of secret communists, he has uncovered an entire communist corporation chock full of commies. The name of this company, you may ask?

    THE NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMPANY!

    You heard me right, boys and girls. The network that gave us Uncle Miltie and Ma Perkins has apparently been secretly sending subliminal messages endorsing Marxist doctrine since it was formed in 1926. This would make perfect sense to me. Every time I watched the Rockford Files I had an unexplainable desire to read Das Kapital. But seriously, folks. Twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union, red baiting not only seems silly, it’s also kind of nuts. It’s not-at-all surprising that an organization would give this idiot a forum (after all, he’s on FOX Noise). What’s really stunning is the fact that his ratings are relatively high and that so many Americans take his word as gospel.

    All kidding aside, half-witted ideologues are a dime a dozen. What separates Glenn Beck from his peers is the fact that he is doing some serious damage to the country he professes to love so much. For all of the comparisons to the Nazis he likes to make with regard to Liberals, Beck’s program has much in common with Adolf Hitler’s 1923 screed, Mein Kampf. Eighty-six years ago, Hitler attempted to arouse the anger of his fellow Germans by spouting half truths and utter nonsense – exactly what Glenn Beck is doing in 2009. So much of the insane dialogue that has been spewed forth at these Town Hall meetings across the country in recent weeks might have been lifted straight from a transcript of any of Beck’s programs.

    Beck and his twisted ilk have done the seemingly impossible. They have deflected the blame for America’s current economic distress toward Barack Obama. An incredible feat when you take into consideration the fact that the President is one of the few people in government today whose guilt in the matter is almost nil. They have also let loose with a vengeance the very worst angels of the American nature. Opening this Pandora’s box was relatively easy. Closing it might prove to be a bit of a problem.

    Deep in their hearts
    They do believe
    That they shall undermine someday….

    http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

    Tom Degan
    Goshen, NY

  • So it’s Glenn Beck’s fault that Obama hired a 9/11 truther? Wow, the left really is a wreck today.

  • Methinks Mr. Degan is googling “Van Jones” and spamming this Beck Derangement Syndrome essay far and wide today. Appears very generically ranty and Kos talking-pointish.

    A bigger question is by what lights can the President can assign $30bn from the public fisc to someone who doesn’t have to be confirmed? The czar proliferation could use a legislative rollback or at the very least a court challenge.

  • Apparently “personal responsibility” is not in the vocabulary of liberal extremists.

    It’s always someone elses fault and not their own.

  • Tito — I suppose I’m infamous for pointing out intellectual double standards but that works both ways in the game of politics. You always blame the other side…

  • ‘You always blame the other side’ is a general statement, not an accusatory one.

  • I agree that the proliferation of “czars” is a problem and that this administration has obviously created more than any other. However I also think that there are real and obvious reasons behind it. The size and complexity of American society has grown at an alarming and almost unnatural rate. The government has grown in size, as seen in the budget, at a similar rate, but has not grown in terms of sophistication. This of course gives adequate fuel for some conservatives to say that the government is far bigger than in 1776 … well, yeah, but so has Wall Street and so has multi-national companies and so has the military and so has the media, etc. Everything is bigger and more complicated.

    Just think of this – even as the population has doubled over the last few decades, and the economy (GNP) has increased several fold, the number of senators, supreme court justices, presidents and cabinet officials have either not changed or changed relatively slowly. Thus when President Nixon saw energy issues as being of such importance and complexity that he did not think the bureaucracy was sufficient he appointed William Simon to be the first “czar” (Time magazine’s term) for a Federal Energy Administration. President Bush assigned William Bennet, the nations first “drug czar” for similar reasons – someone who could push an agenda, but was not stuck in the bureaucracy and thus more independent of the supervisory, management and budgetary responsibilities of the cabinet members.

    Thus liberal and conservative presidents have found “czars” to be useful tools for getting things done and circumventing the traditional territoriality of the more formal departments in government. It is the way presidents can fight bureaucratic gridlock and seem to be more effective, but unfortunately this means they also go without much oversight. Cheney was sort of his own personal national security “czar” when he felt that the State Dept., the CIA and the FBI were not doing the job – with obvious questionable results.

    So as a liberal who tries to be honest and consistent, I think Obama is trying to do too much and is using quicker means to get things done. This has the Van Jones effect of having people in some role of government without legislative oversight and without thorough vetting. I think he should stop creating any more czars, but I also believe that traditional government systems have not adequately evolved to properly keep up with the problems of our hugely diverse economy.

    Tito, “personal responsibility” is absent in the vocabulary of all extremists, that’s why they are called extremists. I’m not sure if you were targeting anyone in particular, but it is not unreasonable to view Glen Beck as an extremist.

    paul, I don’t see anyone as saying it was “Glenn Beck’s fault that Obama hired a 9/11 truther.” So I’m not sure what you mean. It is Glen Beck’s is personally responsible for the accuracy of his claims and the legitimacy of his arguments. My quarrel with Beck is that he is intellectually dishonest, blindly sees only his side of an argument as being moral and uses the tactics of a snarky 6th grader to mock people that he disagrees with.

  • Once again though politics gets in the way of the bigger issues. We need a reasonable, non-partisan way to make decisions on environmental issues and both Van Jones and Glen Beck’s radical politics and character have hurt the cause of honest debate.

  • BTW Andy, no one that I have heard or seen in any media outlet has said that Van Jones was ousted or targeted because of race. I hope we and you are now beyond those easy prejudices and one-liners.

  • MacGregor,

    I don’t believe Glenn Beck would fall under extremist.

    Unless of course he believes Obama isn’t a US citizen and referred to Democrats in a profane manner.

  • My quarrel with Beck is that he is intellectually dishonest, blindly sees only his side of an argument as being moral and uses the tactics of a snarky 6th grader to mock people that he disagrees with.

    Ummm, you just described yourself Mac. I’m not sure what your quarrel with Beck is then.

  • tomdegan’s first line made me laugh.

    Van Jones: I am a Communist.

    Glenn Beck: Van Jones is a Communist.

    The Left: Smears! Wingnut lies! McCarthyism!

  • Paul,

    Could you clarify where you think MacGregor was being ‘intellectually dishonest’? I wasn’t in agreement with all of his points, but they seemed honest enough to me.

  • I can only wonder how many others like Jones are quietly scattered throughout this administration.

    Odd, how President Obama once again finds himself linked to a radical leftist. I’m starting to think it may not be a coincidence.

    Mr. H
    http://www.allhands-ondeck.blogspot.com/

  • I’m sorry paul, but I have spent way too much time typing arguments and links to ideas that i feel have been honest and largely ignored by you already and so describing Beck’s inaccurate propositions/claims, slanted views, logically invalid arguments and juvenile debate techniques would take far too long.

    If you don’t see it for yourself, then I guess one of us is completely blind and I doubt you would question yourself, so thanks for the debate such as it was.

    Donna: There have been plenty of smears on both sides. Van Jones was/is? a communist. Communists can be decent people (they even can be Catholic) and are not a threat to the American way, but they are not good choices for office in the US govt. and so he is gone. Yay, maybe we can get oil company executives to run our energy policy again! ; )

    BTW T. Boone Pickens had a very good talk on energy on C-Span yesterday for anyone interested in a mega-capitalist who works well with Obama and Reid and found the Republicans of the last 8 years to be pretty useless. Other extremely wealthy and pro-business folks like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Larry Ellison and many others actually agree with Obama’s view of the economy and taxes, while the high priest of Reaganomics at the Fed for years, Alan Greenspan (student of Ayn Rand) admitted to the mistakes of his trickle-down, laissez faire, supply-side economic philosophy during his comments to congress last October.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27335454/

    Sorry that these are msnbc and nbc links, but couldn’t find any FOX video.

    Just a few examples of people who know far more about the economy and capitalism than Glenn Beck. Beck is really just a comic who has gotten a shtick.

    As for Beck’s extemism too many YouTube videos and so little time.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MI_0Kt_e3Go

    Here is Beck’s juvenile snarkiness …

  • Sorry, somehow the last YouTube is not the one I thought I had put in for “snarkiness” because he wasn’t snarky there. Wow, I didn’t know these actually got imbedded in posts like that.

  • but I have spent way too much time typing arguments

    No kidding.

  • MacGregor: You’re much more charitable to the movement that murdered 100 million people in the last century than you are to Beck. Jones certainly doesn’t give Republicans (“***holes”) the benefit of the doubt.

    “Communists can be decent people.” Sorry, I take issue with that. If someone truly knows the history of Communism and the crimes committed by the followers of Marx and still calls him or herself a Communist, then no, that person is not decent. You might as well talk of decent Nazis.

    May I suggest reading “The Black Book of Communism?”

    Slurs on both sides, my foot. I am unfamiliar with Beck (I don’t have cable), but the “right wing slurs” in this case consisted of accurately quoting Jones.

Lenin, Stalin, and the Secret War Against the Vatican

Sunday, August 30, AD 2009

Adolph Hitler’s evil twin in terror, Joseph Stalin, once remarked “How many divisions has the Pope?”.  This was done in response to the  future saint Pope Pius XII’s[1] disapproval of his policies.

Well it wasn’t a mocking tone nor was it a sarcastic remark in reference to the Vatican.  It was a serious concern to the ‘meddling’ of the Catholic Church in thwarting Communism’s attempt at world domination.  Stalin was well aware of the tremendous moral power that the Vatican wielded and Vladimir Lenin implemented the full power of the KGB and the eastern bloc spy agencies to monitor and undermine the mission of the Catholic Church.

A new non-fiction book by John Koehler titled, Spies in the Vatican, has recently come out that documents the final twenty years of the Cold War and how it played out as the Soviet Union and their allies infiltrated the Vatican.

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4 Responses to Lenin, Stalin, and the Secret War Against the Vatican

  • The French Revolution must have been a pretty long lasting catalyst, I guess, as the Romonov’s fell more than a half or full century later, depending on how you count such things, with the intervention of minor things like Napolean and WWI, again depending on how you count it.
    And although 70 years of “athiestic terror” may have occured, subsequetly, I can’t say that it was much worse than the centuries of very theistic terror that occurred under the rule of the Romanovs.

  • Lenin, Marx, and most Socialists and Communists have read up and were inspired by headless French intellectuals from the French Revolution.

    It’s an invention called the Gutenberg Press that has been able to facilitate the knowledge of evil.

    As for the Atheistic terror, more people died under Stalin and the Soviet Union in 70 years than all the previous centuries combined under the Romanovs.

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Pope John Paul II Doesn't Sound Like A Reaganite

Saturday, July 11, AD 2009

Here is a good portion of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis written in 1987 and is followed up by Pope Benedict’s most recent. It is a relevant passage because it deals directly with the subjects dealt with in the ongoing discussion on “Guatemala” et al, on the debated need for apology/examination of our American conscience for abuses- or some would argue not- by our American leadership and elite interests, in regard to other nations- particularly poorer, weaker ones. There seems to be the idea floating around in conservative political circles that Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan were cut from the same cloth. I do not believe the approach to foreign relations by those who praise the Reagan/Bush years, holds up to Catholic scrutiny. But here are the words of our previous Holy Father- and no I do not accept the argument that we can distinguish where the Peace and Justice crowd at the Vatican is speaking and where the Pope is- that sort of treatment of these official Encyclicals is beneath my contempt. I will offer commentary on the latest encyclical after I have time to digest it, I refuse to rush my judgment on such important Church offerings. :

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4 Responses to Pope John Paul II Doesn't Sound Like A Reaganite

  • A letter from a “sandalista” (a non-Nicaraguan supporter of the Sandinistas) on her reaction to Pope John Paul II’s visit to Nicaragua in March 1983:

    “Katherine Hoyt
    National Co-Coordinator
    Nicaragua Network Education Fund

    Matagalpa
    March 16, 1983

    Dear Folks–

    Well, I promised to write about the Pope’s visit and so I guess I must even though I would rather not even think about it much less write about it! I feel that the visit to Central America as a whole has meant a return to a pre-1967 Church: before Paul VI’s encyclical “Popularum Progressio”–which specified the cases in which insurrection and rebellion would be justified–and the 1968 Latin American Bishops Conference at Medellin, Colombia, which gave the big push to liberation theology.

    On this recent visit John Paul II spoke in words easily understood by the Right as support for its cause: You peasants live in unjust and inhuman conditions but don’t be tempted to rise up in arms against your oppressors; and Archbishop Romero was a martyr but we must not allow his memory to be manipulated politically, etc., etc. But this I’m sure you know. What you’d like to know is our experience of his visit here.

    Well, the government and the Church working together made a tremendous effort to mobilize all means of transportation available in the country so that 800,000 people, approximately 36% of the total population, saw the Pope, either in Leon or in Managua. (Older people, children under 12 and pregnant women were asked not to brave the heat.) Everyone who wanted to go had the chance.

    Victoria [my 13 year old daughter] and I went on the bus to Managua two days ahead. We saw on television his arrival at the airport with Daniel Ortega’s very appropriate (but, I hear, badly received by the U.S. press) quotation from a 1921 letter from Bishop Pereira of Leon to U.S. Cardinal Simpson protesting U.S. intervention in his country. The Pope was even then quite cool and we could see that he lectured Father Ernesto Cardenal, but his airport speech was pretty good. The service in Leon went off quite well. The only objectionable thing that he said in his homily was about the “strict right of believing parents” to not see their children submitted in the schools to “programs inspired in atheism,” something that has never been contemplated here.

    Well, after watching all this on TV, we ate lunch, I put on my sunscreen and we (Victoria and I) took off walking on the prescribed route to the Plaza [19 of July]. It took us almost an hour, from 1:40 to 2:30, to get there. (Access to the Plaza was completely open, by the way.) First we got behind some people who had brought ice chests and stools so because they stood on the stools and blocked our view, we moved over to the right among simpler folk. (It turned out that that first group was composed of Archbishop Obando supporters–there were maybe 40 or 50 thousand of them all together right up in front.) Most of the crowd where we were was composed of simple Christian revolutionaries, women of AMNLAE [the women’s association], peasants of the ATC [farmworkers association] who had had their hopes falsely raised by all sides, church and state, that the Pope was going to say some words of consolation to the families which daily lose loved ones to the counterrevolution, especially since just the day before 17 outstanding members of the Sandinista Youth Organization, killed in an ambush, had been buried after a memorial program in this very same plaza. Certainly if the head of a foreign state visits a country the day after a busload of teen-agers killed in an accident have been buried, he is expected to make SOME sympathetic remarks. However, the Pope studiously avoided making ANY sympathetic words either publicly or privately to the Mothers of Heroes and Martyrs who gave him their petition for peace. He could have said a few words of sympathy and won over that crowd easily and satisfied the Sandinista leaders who weren’t expecting more than a crumb. Then it wouldn’t have mattered how strongly he spoke about Church unity under the bishops. Both sides would have been both satisfied and disappointed. But he was extremely careful not to give even a crumb to the revolution and I think no one expected this unrelieved bleakness.

    The Mass began at 5:00 and as the revolutionaries in the crowd began to get the idea of the way things were going, they began to demand “A prayer for our dead,” “We want peace,” and “We want a church on the side of the poor.”

    When that terrible sermon (which demanded that we abandon our “unacceptable ideological commitments” for the faith) was half over I began to feel sick as a result of two and one half hours standing in the sun in the crowd and extreme distress at the direction the Pope was taking. Victoria insisted that we move back to a place where the crowd was less dense and we could sit down and buy some water in plastic bags. By this time the sun had gone down, the horizon was red from so much dust raised on the outer edges of the Plaza, people were chanting “people power, people power” now, too, along with “We want peace,” and the Pope was having a hard time moving along with the Mass. At the silence between the consecration of the bread and that of the wine, a women broke in with a megaphone to say (in respectful tones, actually), “Holy Father, we beg you for a prayer for our loved ones who have been murdered,” or something very similar. The Lord’s Prayer somehow never got said and only a few people were given communion (one was the mother of Daniel and Humberto Ortega who was with the Mothers of Heroes and Martyrs, having lost another son, Camilo, in 1978). Finally at 8:00 p.m., the Pope gave the last blessing and was off while the vast majority of the crowd stayed at attention to hear the Sandinista Anthem.

    Daniel Ortega’s impromptu speech at the airport as the Pope left was enough to make one cry. He almost begged the Pope to make one solid proposal for peace in Nicaragua, to say one word, to give that one crumb that he was not willing to give. We heard only part of it as we were walking back to Toyita’s house, dirty exhausted and I, of course very distressed by the whole visit and certain we were headed for schism. One of the last slogans somebody had cried out as the Mass was ending was one of anguished defiance: “Because of Christ and His Gospels, we are revolutionaries.” That seemed to just about sum things up.

    While I showered, I turned the radio on to the BBC 9:00p.m. news. The British announcer, in typical understatement, said that the Pope had just finished saying the “most unusual Mass of his career in Managua, Nicaragua.”

    Of course it was a boost for the counter-revolutionaries and we are seeing an increase in the number of battles right now, some close to Matagalpa–near San Ramon and San Dionisio–and all anybody talks about is war. This has had serious repercussions in our Paulita who has developed a terrible fear of war and what might happen to us all. She starts crying when anyone talks about battles or civil defense measures in school.

    Write soon.

    Love, Kathy”

    http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/47/030.html

    John Paul II was a complicated man and he was often critical of the West, but in the confrontation between Democracy and Communism John Paul II was much closer to the position of Reagan than the Catholic Left of the time.

  • Here is a good portion of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis written in 1987 and is followed up by Pope Benedict’s most recent. It is a relevant passage because it deals directly with the subjects dealt with in the ongoing discussion on “Guatemala” et al, on the debated need for apology/examination of our American conscience for abuses- or some would argue not- by our American leadership and elite interests, in regard to other nations- particularly poorer, weaker ones.

    How does this stratospheric complaint about global political economy ca. 1987 have much to say about the parsing of responsibility between the U.S. Government and Guatemala’s political class?

    There seems to be the idea floating around in conservative political circles that Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan were cut from the same cloth. I do not believe the approach to foreign relations by those who praise the Reagan/Bush years, holds up to Catholic scrutiny.

    Just out of curiosity, what aspects of that ‘approach’ do not? While you answer that, consider what discontinuities existed between the Reagan Administration and its predecessor. Increased military expenditure, promotion of democracy abroad, modernization of nuclear arsenals, confrontation with foreign reds (in El Salvador, &c.), and subsidy and training of insurgencies challenging communist governments were all policies that had been adopted by his predecessor, albeit more tentatively, by 1980.

    But here are the words of our previous Holy Father- and no I do not accept the argument that we can distinguish where the Peace and Justice crowd at the Vatican is speaking and where the Pope is- that sort of treatment of these official Encyclicals is beneath my contempt. I will offer commentary on the latest encyclical after I have time to digest it, I refuse to rush my judgment on such important Church offerings. :

    You quote an introductory paragraph, three paragraphs which are drily descriptive, one which locates the antagonism of the West and the East bloc in their dissimilar political economy (though blocs and mutual antagonisms are the rule with or without such dissimilarity). The equivalence drawn between Western media and that of the Communist bloc is foolish. The succeeding paragraph (“International relations, in turn,…” is again uncontroversially descriptive. The next (“Although at the present time”) is not much more so.

    Then…

    two concepts of the development of individuals and peoples both concepts being imperfect and in need of radical correction. This opposition is transferred to the developing countries themselves, and thus helps to widen the gap already existing on the economic level between North and South and which results from the distance between the two worlds: the more developed one and the less developed one.

    This is one of the reasons why the Church’s social doctrine adopts a critical attitude towards both liberal capitalism and Marxist collectivism. For from the point of view of development the question naturally arises: in what way and to what extent are these two systems capable of changes and updatings such as to favor or promote a true and integral development of individuals and peoples in modern society? In fact, these changes and updatings are urgent and essential for the cause of a development common to all.

    Whether it be the Holy Father speaking or krill suspended in some Vatican dicastery, passages such as this do not provide even minimal guidance for the faithful policy-maker. What does ‘true and integral development’ mean? N.B. by 1987, ‘liberal capitalism’ was a fair description of the political economy of … Hong Kong. The occidental countries had with scant exception adopted some variation of what Paul Samuelson called the ‘mixed economy’, featuring considerable income redistribution, collective consumption, and ratios of public expenditure to domestic product north of a third.

    Countries which have recently achieved independence, and which are trying to establish a cultural and political identity of their own, and need effective and impartial aid from all the richer and more developed countries, find themselves involved in, and sometimes overwhelmed by, ideological conflicts, which inevitably create internal divisions, to the extent in some cases of provoking full civil war. This is also because investments and aid for development are often diverted from their proper purpose and used to sustain conflicts, apart from and in opposition to the interests of the countries which ought to benefit from them. Many of these countries are becoming more and more aware of the danger of falling victim to a form of neocolonialism and are trying to escape from it. It is this awareness which in spite of difficulties, uncertainties and at times contradictions gave rise to the International Movement of Non-Aligned Nations, which, in its positive aspect, would like to affirm in an effective way the right of every people to its own identity, independence and security, as well as the right to share, on a basis of equality and solidarity, in the goods intended for all.

    The first portion of this paragraph is again descriptive. The terminal portion, an endorsement of the Conference of Non-Aligned Nations, actually was likely at a variance with the views of the Reagan Administration. It was incumbent upon the Holy Father to explain why he thought the Conference of Non-aligned Nations, that international gathering where Togo could weigh in on Timor, was significant to those not on the payroll of its secretariat. Now, if my memory serves me, one of the Conferences in this era (in 1983 or 1984) passed 11 separate resolutions attacking the United States and not a one attacking Soviet Russia, so it would not be surprising for anyone in American politics this side of Ron Dellums to find the Conference repellant. How does this jibe with the Holy Father’s carefully balanced complaints?

    22. In the light of these considerations, we easily arrive at a clearer picture of the last twenty years and a better understanding of the conflicts in the northern hemisphere, namely between East and West, as an important cause of the retardation or stagnation of the South.

    This is not a statement of discrete empirical fact, but it does presume a settled understanding of the dynamics of economic development that was not in fact the case in 1987 – or now.

    The developing countries, instead of becoming autonomous nations concerned with their own progress towards a just sharing in the goods and services meant for all, become parts of a machine, cogs on a gigantic wheel.

    The best sense that can be made out of this passage is that it is an endorsement of conceptions of the international economic order associated with characters like Immanual Wallerstein. That also would be at a variation with the Reagan Administration. It is also controversial quite apart from that; Efforts to empirically verify through statistical method the conceptions of this school of thought were not notably successful.

    This is often true also in the field of social communications, which, being run by centers mostly in the northern hemisphere, do not always give due consideration to the priorities and problems of such countries or respect their cultural make-up. They frequently impose a distorted vision of life and of man and thus fail to respond to the demands of true development.

    The referent here was contemporary efforts by UNESCO to erect a ‘New World Information Order’ incorporating controls on the Western press. The Reagan Administration withdrew from UNESCO at the close of 1984, in part for this reason and in part because the agency was internally mismanaged (“a third world kleptocracy” in the words of one critic). So, yes, this is at variation with the Reagan Administration, but with a great many others. Michael Kinsley had this to say about his colleagues in the press: “[UNESCO’s behavior] caused them to lose some of their cultural relativism, and their patience.”

    Each of the two blocs harbors in its own way a tendency towards imperialism, as it is usually called, or towards forms of new- colonialism: an easy temptation to which they frequently succumb, as history, including recent history, teaches.

    That is more Cyrus Vance than the Reagan Administration, ’tis true. It could use some elaboration.

    It is this abnormal situation, the result of a war and of an unacceptably exaggerated concern for security, which deadens the impulse towards united cooperation by all for the common good of the human race, to the detriment especially of peaceful peoples who are impeded from their rightful access to the goods meant for all.

    Bipolarity and the presence of weapons of mass destruction were certainly unusual, as was the ideological dimension of internationial conflict. We do need to ask the question as to whether ‘united cooperation by all for the common good of the human race’ really characterized previous historical era, as this comment seems to suggest.

    Seen in this way, the present division of the world is a direct obstacle to the real transformation of the conditions of underdevelopment in the developing and less advanced countries. However, peoples do not always resign themselves to their fate. Furthermore, the very needs of an economy stifled by military expenditure and by bureaucracy and intrinsic inefficiency now seem to favor processes which might mitigate the existing opposition and make it easier to begin a fruitful dialogue and genuine collaboration for peace.

    23. The statement in the Encyclical Populorum Progressio that the resources and investments devoted to arms production ought to be used to alleviate the misery of impoverished peoples41 makes more urgent the appeal to overcome the opposition between the two blocs.

    This is also at a variance with the Reagan Administration. The thing is, I doubt you will find many third world countries in 1987 who had a ratio of military expenditure to domestic product exceeding .03, bar those in the midst of internal insurrections or wars of national mobilization. IIRC statistics I was scanning at that time, such was particularly true in Latin America.

    Today, the reality is that these resources are used to enable each of the two blocs to overtake the other and thus guarantee its own security. Nations which historically, economically and politically have the possibility of playing a leadership role are prevented by this fundamentally flawed distortion from adequately fulfilling their duty of solidarity for the benefit of peoples which aspire to full development.

    It is timely to mention – and it is no exaggeration – the a leadership role among nations can only be justified by the possibility and willingness to contribute widely and generously to the common good.

    There are several problems with this statement. One, is there a well established means by which international transfers of public capital induce sustainable local development?; two, to what extent are such transfers inhibited by specifically military expenditures?; three, how is it that ‘global leadership’ can be said to be conferred by virtue rather than merely being the artifact of power politics – something that exists rather than something that is ‘justified’?

    If a nation were to succumb more or less deliberately to the temptation to close in upon itself and failed to meet the responsibilities following from its superior position in the community of nations, it would fall seriously short of its clear ethical duty. This is readily apparent in the circumstances of history, where believers discern the dispositions of Divine Providence, ready to make use of the nations for the realization of its plans, so as to render “vain the designs of the peoples” (cf. Ps 33[32]: 10).

    What exactly is its ‘clear ethical duty’ in the realm of international relation?

    24. If arms production is a serious disorder in the present world with regard to true human needs and the employment of the means capable of satisfying those needs, the arms trade is equally to blame. Indeed, with reference to the latter it must be added that the moral judgment is even more severe. As we all know, this is a trade without frontiers capable of crossing even the barriers of the blocs. It knows how to overcome the division between East and West, and above all the one between North and South, to the point – and this is more serious – of pushing its way into the different sections which make up the southern hemisphere. We are thus confronted with a strange phenomenon: while economic aid and development plans meet with the obstacle of insuperable ideological barriers, and with tariff and trade barriers, arms of whatever origin circulate with almost total freedom all over the world And as the recent document of the Pontifical Commission Iustitia et Pax on the international debt points out,42 everyone knows that in certain cases the capital lent by the developed world has been used in the underdeveloped world to buy weapons.

    See above on the ratio of military expenditure to domestic product. Here are some figures from 2004, courtesy Global Security. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/spending.htm. I believe that global product is now about $60 tn, so the $1.1 tn devoted to military expenditure is less than 2% of the total.

    If to all this we add the tremendous and universally acknowledged danger represented by atomic weapons stockpiled on an incredible scale, the logical conclusion seems to be this: in today’s world, including the world of economics, the prevailing picture is one destined to lead us more quickly towards death rather than one of concern for true development which would lead all towards a “more human” life, as envisaged by the Encyclical Populorum Progressio.43

    Here we pose the question: in 1987, had median life expectancies been increasing, or decreasing? Was global food production per capita improving, or not?

    Tim, we have to regard the statements of our bishops on matters outside of faith and morals with the antecedent assumption that they understand of what they speak, and we should be taught by them. The thing of it is, they can and do adhere to conceptions of their social world the empirical reality of which is controversial and so for a reason so we are in conversation with them on these matters. That applies to the late Holy Father as well.

  • I don’t know if you are familiar with our site, the Catholic World Report, but we have a “Round-Table” wherein J. Brian Benestad, Francis J. Beckwith, Father Joseph Fessio, S.J., Richard Garnett, Thomas S. Hibbs, Paul Kengor, George Neumayr, Joseph Pearce, Tracey Rowland, Father James V. Schall, and Rev. Robert A. Sirico share their thoughts on Caritas in Veritate.

    It’s located at:
    (http://www.catholicworldreport.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=121:cwr-round-table-caritas-in-veritate&catid=36:cwr2009&Itemid=53).

5th June, 1989 A.D.

Friday, June 5, AD 2009

Tianasquare
Sometimes one image serves to sum up an event in the world’s memory.  For the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, that image is probable the one of the “tank man” — a lone protester who was photographed on June 5th, 1989 when he briefly stood, unarmed, before a tank column and stopped it.

There is not agreement as to who the “tank man” was, and most reports suggest he was arrested by the secret police and executed within the next two weeks.

In those heady days, it seemed possible that within a few years communist dictatorship would be nothing more than a memory, but twenty years later the communist oligarchs in China have learned to accomodate freedom and enterprise enough to remain in power.  And the tank man’s dream remains unrealized.

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4 Responses to 5th June, 1989 A.D.

  • “And the tank man’s dream remains unrealized.”

    I suspect that in the long run the Chinese will remember him and his dream well after the leaders who murdered him and so many others in 1989 are all but forgotten.

  • My 7-year-old son who wants to be a priest told me yesterday that he wants to be a missionary priest. I can’t remember his exact words, but it was something to the effect of wanting to preach about Jesus all around the world like Paul did, and then something about working against “those bad old communists”.

    Honestly, I don’t know WHERE he gets this stuff.

    😉

  • Donald, I pray you’re right about that.

    I watched much of the Tiananmen Square coverage from my father’s hospital room. Dad had had a severe stroke. One day, I was sitting there next to my unconcious father, watching the “tank man” brave the might of the Communist tanks, and I saw my dad’s hand move a little. I looked at him. His eyes were open and he was looking at the television screen. “That’s wrong,” he said. It was the last thing I heard him say. (And very appropriate, if you knew my dad. He was a news hound and could not watch the news without giving us a passionate running commentary on every story.)

    Several days later, my sister told me he had told his then 9 month old grandson, “I love you.” Those were his last words.

    I can’t see footage of Tiananmen without thinking of my father, a crusty old WWII vet who had fought against tyranny and hated it with all his being.