Previewing President Obamas State of the Union Address

Wednesday, January 27, AD 2010

[Updates at the bottom of this post as of 1-27-2010 at 4:20pm CST]

Victimhood personified by a modern liberal of the Democratic Party.  Where is Harry “the BUCK stops here” Truman?

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3 Responses to Previewing President Obamas State of the Union Address

  • I am sure he will discuss his spending freeze proposal. Supposedly, he increased government spending by about 25% but only plans to freeze about 4% of his spending.

  • Maybe you should go back and read Ronald Reagan’s and George W. Bush’s first state of the union addresses. Did they personify Harry “The Buck Stops Here” Truman? I think not. They talked about where the country wason the day they gave their speeches in terms of how the country had gotten there – in other words, they looked back. So, Reagan and Bush 43 must have been cases of victimhood personified by “modern” conservatives of the Republican Party, don’t you think?

  • Linda,

    They talked about America in general.

    They didn’t cite the previous president’s name and blamed him for all the problems that they were still having.

President Log

Tuesday, October 6, AD 2009

Obama Clueless


The Frogs were tired of governing themselves. They had so much freedom that it had spoiled them, and they did nothing but sit around croaking in a bored manner and wishing for a government that could entertain them with the pomp and display of royalty, and rule them in a way to make them know they were being ruled. No milk and water government for them, they declared. So they sent a petition to Jupiter asking for a king.

Jupiter saw what simple and foolish creatures they were, but to keep them quiet and make them think they had a king he threw down a huge log, which fell into the water with a great splash. The Frogs hid themselves among the reeds and grasses, thinking the new king to be some fearful giant. But they soon discovered how tame and peaceable King Log was. In a short time the younger Frogs were using him for a diving platform, while the older Frogs made him a meeting place, where they complained loudly to Jupiter about the government.

To teach the Frogs a lesson the ruler of the gods now sent a Crane to be king of Frogland. The Crane proved to be a very different sort of king from old King Log. He gobbled up the poor Frogs right and left and they soon saw what fools they had been. In mournful croaks they begged Jupiter to take away the cruel tyrant before they should all be destroyed.

“How now!” cried Jupiter “Are you not yet content? You have what you asked for and so you have only yourselves to blame for your misfortunes.””

Like most conservatives, after last year’s election I thought that Obama would prove a President Crane as far as conservatives were concerned.  With large Democrat majorities in the House and Senate I assumed that Obama would implement changes in this country to send it on a left-ward trajectory.  Instead, other than passing the Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, sometimes erroneously called the Stimulus bill, Obama has accomplished virtually nothing, a fact which even Saturday Night Live is now mocking. This is astonishing considering the size of his victory last year and the strength of his party in Congress.  Or is it?  I believe there were clear clues from the background of Obama that this might occur.

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2 Responses to President Log

  • I think it is incautious of Martin Peretz to offer a clinical diagnosis of a man he has only seen on the news. What is notable about the President is his tendency to plumb the shallows of whatever endeavour he sets himself to: he is admitted to the bar, apparently elects to forego any sort of clerkship, is (after a year) hired as an adjunct at a law school, publishes no scholarly work in twelve years on the faculty, is (after two years) hired as an associate at a law firm, is not granted a partnership and is classified by the firm as ‘of counsel’ after just three years in their employ, is elected to the state legislature, is identified with what notable amendments to the Illinois Revised Statutes nobody knows, allows his membership in the Illinois bar to lapse to a status of ‘inactive’, is elected to the federal legislature, spends about 40% of his time running for higher office and votes ‘present’ a good deal, and so forth. What kind of a lawyer is he?

  • “What kind of a lawyer is he?”

    One who obviously never wanted to engage in the practice of law. To be fair to Obama I’d say about a quarter of law school grads fall into this category.

    Obama seems to be very good at getting where he wants to go, but once he is there he doesn’t seem to do anything except move on to the next goal. I wonder what his goal is after the presidency.

France Tells Obama To Cowboy Up

Friday, October 2, AD 2009

Obama Sarkozy

Never in a million years would I have expected a Frenchman, any Frenchman living today, to chide an American president to be a man.  Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan are rolling over in their graves as French President Nicolas Sarkozy reminds President Obama, our president,that “we live in a real world, not a virtual world“.

This episode between Sarkozy and Obama occurred prior to President Obama’s I have a dream of a world without nuclear weapons disarmament speech as chair of the United Nations Security Council meeting on September 24.  An American holding the chair of the U.N. Security Council was a first, so the foreign media was out in force attracting global attention.  Unbeknownst to the world at the time President Obama, as well as Sarkozy, had intelligence that Iran had an illegal uranium enrichment facility.

So instead of using the bully pulpit as the leader of the free world and his superior oratory skills to admonish Iran at the United Nations Security Council, Obama chose to give his I have a dream of a world without nuclear weapons disarmament speech. The New York Times reported “White House officials,” did not want to “dilute” his disarmament resolution “by diverting to Iran.”

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27 Responses to France Tells Obama To Cowboy Up

  • The emperor has no clothes. The European leaders recognized this including Mr Putin, etal His constant campaigning for his own edification and ego instead of strong deliberate leadership is obvious to most people. His approach is to go to his constituents when he needs help and to have a deaf ear to those who have experience and do not want to repeat history.

  • This sucks becuase that wuss is our president. I know that Rush said he wanted him to fail and I agree to a point. Nationalize health care, kill more babies, rasie taxes – yes, I want him to fail at that.

    As Commander in Chief and Head of State, no, I DO NOT WANT him to fail, I want him to be a huge success.

    Sadly, as expected, he’s failing.

    The parallels with Carter are striking and Iran knows that BHO is more concerned with how he looks than what he does. They are going to use that to their advantage and our detrmient and he might let them.

    I think BHO just launched his campaign for beloved leader of the world with no nukes, no mean talk show hosts and everyone gets a pony. Awww, how sweet.

    Gimme a break. I want my president with big brass ones.

    “I just signed legislation outlawing Russia (China, Iran, N. Korea), bombing begins in ten minutes”

  • Hmm…I would prefer a President with spine when he needs it…and the brains to know how and when to use it. “Big brass ones” often lead to trouble.

  • *Tosses red meat*

    I’d like to build on what c matt says and question whether “putting Iran in her place” is really in the best interest on either America or Iran. What would such a confrontational approach really accomplish? All this would do is provoke Iran into hardening its position and making things much more difficult for the fledgling opposition movement there.

    Words are important, but supposing that strong words are a substitute for prudent action is ridiculous.

  • NauticalMongoose and C Matt,

    Excellent analysis, but isn’t their position already hardenned? What part of “remove Israel from the map” can Iran do more on?

    I’m not advocating a massive shock and awe campaign, just some tough sanctions, inspections, and timetables.

    There are levels of degrees that are attributed to “confrontation”.

    Not to mention funding the Iranian people to overthrow their Mullah overlords with money, intelligence, and possibly weapons (more so if we are already doing this).

    We can also put the squeeze on them by massing troops both from Afghanistan and Iraq with Pakistan following with their troop deployments. In addition we can arm both the Iraqi’s and Afghans to the teeth (more so the Iraqi’s) and really pressure Iran to give it up.

    Just some thought.

  • Tito,

    You are assuming that the Iranian leadership is rational. I don’t think they are technically insane but I think they are looking for a fight and winning it, as far as they are concerned, is simply causing massive damage and chaos. If they are wiped out in the process, then they are martyrs, whoopi. Their goal is the benfit of Dar al Islam, not Iran.

    You cannot reason with a mentality like that. Sadam was actually a megalomaniac but he could be reasoned with, or bought. We picked the wrong target in 2003 and now the right target is in our sites, yet, we aren’t handling it well. This is where regime change makes sense.

    If Iraq was designed as a flanking manuever to Iran then that is fine, although we could have accomplised with much less loss of life (both our soldiers and Iraqi civilians) and much less cost. Any way, would-ah, could-ah, should-ah. We’re here. Iran needs massive pressure and a regime change – not like 1979.

    Boy don’t you miss the Shah. Friendly, checking Russia, selling us oil – we removed him and look what we got. Who was it that did that? Uhm, ah, o yeah Obama’s big daddy Carter. Here we go again.

    Now were’a my 8-track?

  • Today’s Iran is another disaster that the Peanut Farmer, Carter, was actually responsible for.

    It would be all too easy to blame it on a supposed senility on his part; more likely, it was due to his alarmingly incredible incompetence.

  • The more Jimmah’ speaks, the more Billy Carter looks like a genius.

    Anyone has any Billy Beer to spare?

  • AK,

    The Iranian middle class is rational.

    It’s the Islamic extremists, unfortunately who are in power, that are irrational.

    Malaise in America?

  • The middle-class is always rational, which is why we are always the targets of every ISM ideology.

    All ISMs eventually lead to a master oligarchy (minority) and compliant and fearful slaves (majority) — no middle class.

    Tito we could also say, “The American middle class is rational. It’s the leftist extremeists, unfortunately who are in power, that are irrational.

    Who’s in the White House? Barrack Carter-LBJ-Wilson???

    I don’t know about malaise but you could put on a sweater and lower the thermostat, what with all the global cooling, er, no, global warming, er, no, climate change, yeah, that’s the ticket, climate change going on, huh?

    He was right about one thing, we are a bad country, worse than in the 70s, and it is becuase of people just like him.

  • Looks like a case of ” Big hat, no cattle.”

  • Alright, I’ll show my lack of knowledge here, what’s an “ISM”?

    I’m sure it’ll come to me as soon as I press “Submit Comment”.

  • Tito, think of political ideologies: Liberalism, Conservatism, etc.

  • Thanks Donald, I think waaay too much about some things.

  • Exaclty Donald.

    SocialISM, CommunISM, FascISM, CollectivISM, ObjectivISM, CorpratISM, ObamunISM. . .

    Didn’t you ever see Ferris Bueler’s Day Off?

  • Why Abe Froman, aren’t you the sausage king of Chicago?

  • I was, but then we lost the 2016 Olympics becuase of some incompetent named Barracks, or something like that.

  • Here is instance in which Obama failed to show any backbone.

    The Uninted States and other Westen nations show such hypocracy and we wonder why Iran and other Islamic nations tell us to go to hell.

  • Awakaman you’d have a point if Israel was threatening moslems with nuclear annihilation as Iranian leaders have repeatedly threatened Israel. Since they haven’t your comment is as pointless as those in the 30s who pointed to French military spending as justification for German rearmament. Iran is the problem, not Israel.

  • Don,

    Why should Israel bother to threaten? They know when push comes to shove, the U.S. will either take actions themselves or support Israeli action. Hasn’t Israel flirted with the idea of bombing facilities? If they did that, wouldn’t THEY then be the real aggressors?

    In all seriousness…what does ‘cowboy’ing up on Iran exactly look like?

    Iran may indeed be led by people who are a bit unhinged, or have bizarre political positions… but that doesn’t necessarily translate to insanely using nuclear weapons.

    Iran is a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty. They have a right to nuclear power. Have they not also alerted the IAEA of their intent to bring a power plant online months prior? We’ve known they’ve been on that track for awhile now.

    Iran is also surrounded by nations that DO indeed nuclear weapons, and not all of them are models of sanity either. Pakistan. India. And Israel herself, who both refuses to sign the non-proliferation treaty and to acknowledge her possession of weapons.

    Of what interest would it be for Iran to actually USE a nuclear weapon? Nuking Israel wouldn’t just kill Jews, it would kill many Muslims as well in Palestine… supposedly the very Muslims they sympathize with. How would it benefit Iran, who are Persian, do wind up killing Arabs? Iran would be isolated from their own neighbors for such an action!

    This is to say nothing of the international response. The world would attack them and their allies would abandon them. Their would be a great temptation to respond with nukes as well… likely those ‘secret’ Israeli ones.

    Does Iran really want to join the United States as only the second nation in history to use nukes against people?

    And how exactly would sanctions help? IIRC, Iran does not even refine its own fuel. The idea that we’d cut off their gas is only going to hurt their middle class… the people most likely sympathetic to the west’s position. It will easily worsen the conflict.

    Obama put himself in this position because it was HE who talked tough on Iran (and Pakistan/Afghanistan) during the election. My guess is he only did that so that he couldn’t be accused of being a weakling.

    It seems to me that Iran’s biggest detractors here in the states will only accept one course of action: the military kind. Its not enough that Iran is surrounded either by either US troops or nuclear powers. The sense I get is diplomacy is as about meaningful to the hawks here as it was in the run up to Gulf War II.

    If I were Iran I’d put my hands up in the air and let all the inspectors they want into my country. Not because I’d feel compelled to prove I was telling the truth, but because Washington DC has proven to be as insane as any other foreign government. Unfortunately my biggest fear is that, like Iraq’s leader appearing weak in front of their people and the Middle East, letting the west have it’s way is not a pill they can swallow— and the world will end up with yet another tragic mess in the region costing unnecessary blood and treasure.

  • Anthony anyone who doesn’t think the Iranian regime is seeking nuclear weapons to use them just has not been paying attention. Ahmadinejad has made his intentions clear:

    1. “Israel must be wiped off the map … The establishment of a Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world . . . The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of the war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land.”
    October 26, 2005
    (In an address to 4,000 students at a program titled, ‘The World Without Zionism’)

    NB The translation of this quote is debated and has also been read as “Israel must disappear from the page of history”

    2. “The Zionist regime is an injustice and by its very nature a permanent threat. Whether you like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation. The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm.”
    April 14, 2006
    (In a speech at the opening of the “Support for the Palestinian Intifada” conference on April 14-16 hosted in Tehran)

    3. “Today, they [Europeans] have created a myth in the name of Holocaust and consider it to be above God, religion and the prophets … This is our proposal: give a part of your own land in Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to them [Jews] so that the Jews can establish their country.”
    December 14, 2005
    (Speaking to thousands of people in the Iranian city of Zahedan)

    4. “The Zionist regime is the flag bearer of violation and occupation and this regime is the flag of Satan. …It is not unlikely that this regime be on the path to dissolution and deterioration when the philosophy behind its creation and survival is invalid.”
    August 18, 2007
    (Address to an international religious conference in Tehran)

    5. “A new Middle East will prevail without the existence of Israel.”
    August 4, 2006
    (as quoted by Malaysian news agency Bernama website)

    6. “In parallel to the official political war there is a hidden war going on and the Islamic states should benefit from their economic potential to cut off the hands of the enemies.”

    7. “Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces…. Although we don’t accept this claim, if we suppose it is true, our question for the Europeans is: Is the killing of innocent Jewish people by Hitler the reason for their support to the occupiers of Jerusalem? If the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces in Europe — like in Germany, Austria or other countries — to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe.”
    December 8, 2005
    (While speaking to journalists at an Islamic summit in Mecca)

    8. “The Zionists are the true manifestation of Satan . . . Many Western governments that claim to be pioneers of democracy and standard bearers of human rights close their eyes over crimes committed by the Zionists and by remaining silent support the Zionists due to their hedonistic and materialistic tendencies.”
    February 28, 2007
    (to a meeting of Sudanese Islamic scholars in Khartoum)

    9. “Thanks to people’s wishes and God’s will the trend for the existence of the Zionist regime is downwards and this is what God has promised and what all nations want…Just as the Soviet Union was wiped out and today does not exist, so will the Zionist regime soon be wiped out”
    December 12, 2006
    (Comments to Iran’s Holocaust Conference)

    10. “Though the enemy had made preparations for not allowing Iran (president) to make his voice heard, but, they could not succeed and thanks to grace of God the world people heard our voice.”
    September 30, 2007

    11. “Zionists are people without any religion. They are lying about being Jewish because religion means brotherhood, friendship and respecting other divine religions…
    They are an organized minority who have infiltrated the world. They are not even a 10,000-strong organization.”
    August 28, 2007
    (At a news conference in Tehran)

    12. “With God’s help, the countdown button for the destruction of the Zionist regime has been pushed by the hands of the children of Lebanon and Palestine . . . By God’s will, we will witness the destruction of this regime in the near future.”
    June 3, 2007
    (Speech, as quoted by the Fars News Agency)

    13. “Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate cease-fire must be implemented.”
    August 2, 2006
    (as quoted by Iranian TV)

    14. “[N]o Muslim nation would put up with this entity [i.e. Israel] in Islamic lands, not for one moment … If it’s true that the [Europeans] committed a big crime in World War II, then they must take responsibility for it themselves, and not ask the Palestinian people to pay the price … Those countries that support this regime [Israel] were terrified at the suggestion that [Israel] should be relocated to their neighborhood. So why should the Palestinians and the countries in our region accept this entity?”
    (In a speech before an audience in the Iranian city of Qom, aired on television)

    15. “They [the United States] think they are the absolute rulers of the world.”
    October 29, 2005
    (Marching in a demonstration alongside a crowd of students in Tehran)

    16. “It is not just for a few states to sit and veto global approvals. Should such a privilege continue to exist, the Muslim world with a population of nearly 1.5 billion should be extended the same privilege.”
    June 19, 2005
    (In an interview with state television shortly before his election)

    17. “Iran’s enemies know your courage, faith and commitment to Islam and the land of Iran has created a powerful army that can powerfully defend the political borders and the integrity of the Iranian nation and cut off the hand of any aggressor and place the sign of disgrace on their forehead.”

    18. “Soon Islam will become the dominating force in the world, occupying first place in the number of followers amongst all other religions.”

    19.”What is important is that they have shown the way to martyrdom which we must follow.”
    [President Ahmadinejad’s comments on an aircraft crash in Tehran that killed 108 people in December 2005].

    20. “Is there a craft more beautiful, more sublime, more divine, than the craft of giving yourself to martyrdom and becoming holy? Do not doubt, Allah will prevail, and Islam will conquer mountain tops of the entire world.”

    21. “Our revolution’s main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi.”

    22. “The wave of the Islamist revolution will soon reach the entire world.”

    23. “We don’t shy away from declaring that Islam is ready to rule the world.”
    January 21 2006

    24. “Our enemies should know that they are unable to even slightly hurt our nation and they cannot create the tiniest obstacle on its glorious and progressive way.”
    April 28 2006

    25. “By the grace of Allah, we (will be) a nuclear power.”

    26. “If you have burned the Jews, why don’t you give a piece of Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to Israel. Our question is, if you have committed this huge crime, why should the innocent nation of Palestine pay for this crime?”
    April 19, 2006

    27. “The UN structure is one-sided, stacked against the world of Islam.”
    June 8, 2005
    (In an interview on state television)

    28. “Are they human beings?… They (Zionists) are a group of blood-thirsty savages putting all other criminals to shame.”
    (as quoted by Iranian TV)

    29. “The Zionists and their protectors are the most detested people in all of humanity, and the hatred is increasing every day.”
    July 13, 2006
    (as quoted by Iranian state television)

    30. ”We say that this fake regime (Israel) cannot logically continue to live. Open the doors (of Europe) and let the Jews go back to their own countries.”
    April 24, 2006
    (In a news conference held on April 24, 2006)

  • Additionally Anthony do you seriously believe that a regime which butchers its own people would have any qualms about using a nuke on Tel Aviv as the final solution of their Jewish problem?

  • Don,

    I’m certainly not defending the Iranian regime, its attitude towards Jews or Israel or how they treat their own people. What I am trying to do is get a sense of what the political reality is before the Hitler comparisons start flying. Quickly scanning through your litany of quotes, I only see a reference once to ‘nuclear power’ and no references specifically to using nuclear weapons.

    Yes, every couple of months Ahmadinejad says something ridiculous and racists about Jews and it is plastered on every news service… but how are we to know this is not grand standing for his own people? How can we really understand the context his saying these things, a part from our own biases? He mentions that the Soviet Union was wiped off the map…. indeed it was, without a single shot or nuclear weapon for that matter. So like all things politicians say… their meaning can be rather open ended.

    Would the Iranians use a nuke against Tel Aviv? Perhaps. But like I said, the consequences for them would be incalculable. And I’d be willing to bet that the more the rhetoric or sanctions escalate in the U.S., the more likely the Iranians will indeed lash out with a demonstration of WMD capability. Our policy could end up cornering them into doing the very thing we are trying to prevent!

    Don, there has to be some sobriety on these topics before— once again— we march to the tune of pre-emptive war. Iraq was a bungling of an large and ongoing magnitude, and the U.S. really can’t afford the same deal with Iran.

    There has to be a genuinely moral way we can create a path to peaceful relations that do not involve more slaughter. We should be trying to understand the Iranian’s situation and work towards making their goals and our goals the same— namely a self-sustainable Iran that is peaceful.

    I don’t believe that the only way to prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons is by making war. We aren’t there yet. It deeply bothers me to see such a push in that direction.

  • American Night: Everyone gets a pony?

    Geez, I’d flatten a pony! Obama can’t even get THAT right. We don’t even get a grownup-sized horse!

    **France** is laughing at us.

    I just… wow. That’s so wrong in so many ways. I think I’ll start calling myself a Canadian.

  • Don:

    This guy had nukes – a lot more than Iran and we survived.

    Quit your worrying Chicken Little.

  • Hardly reassuring Awakaman since the world came within inches of a nuclear war in October 1962. Additionally Khrushchev was a rational leader. Ahmadinejad is many things, but I supect that rational is not among his attributes, and, in any case, he and other Iranian leaders have given every indication that they will use nuclear weapons once they have them.

  • I agree that Ahmadinejad having nukes is not as bad as Bin Laden having them, (it is generally acknowledged that nation states are not as irresponsible as terrorist groups) but the risk is certainly greater than Khrushchev, and that was pretty bad. Most experts believe that the use of nukes by a bad actor is only a matter of time, unfortunately.

39 Responses to Obama's World Apology Tour

  • Yeah, the apology shtick is getting old. That’s not nearly so bad as his string of gratuitous insults against the British, though. It suggests he’s carrying his dad’s grudges.

    And treating Zelaya as some kind of Christ of the Americas has been gobsmackingly awful. Here’s hoping Oscar Arias can rescue us from our efforts in Airbus Diplomacy.

    OTOH, his diplomatic chops in Russia were very good and I thought he handled the Armenian Genocide issue about as well as he could have during his visit to Turkey.

  • Agreed Dale, on all counts. I thought freeing the Iranian “diplomats” captured in Iraq in 2007 was a mistake unless he has a quid pro quo from the mullahs. I think they have been behind the uptick in bombings in Iraq as a way of attempting to warn Obama from taking advantage of the meltdown underway in Iran.

  • Could you please enumerate all the ills that Obama has blamed the United States for, in which the United States had no responsible hand, that justifies your wording, “all the ills of the world”?

  • You do have to give credit where it is due and President Obama handled himself well in Russia.

    But I’m not sure anyone noticed as the mainstream media heckled Governor Palin relentlessly.

  • Global warming and American values such as freedom and liberty.

  • I know Obama never misses an opportunity to complain about his predecessor, but I confess I’m not sure what specific events the cartoon is referencing.

  • JH,

    Our arrogance of freedom.

  • If the truth about American foreign relations and policies is oftentimes a story of imperialism, power politics, superpower abuses, elitist self-interest, geopolitical gain at the expense of human rights, and service to something other than the universal common good- then I would expect that any American from the top-down should be willing to acknowledge those instances in history, or those ongoing abuses- if they are someone of solid character and good will. Zealotry and “my country right or wrong” nationalism is not the stuff of Catholicism to be sure. It is interesting that whenever someone goes public with criticism of American foreign policies, wars, coups etc.. they are labeled as blame America First anti-patriots, just like Jewish voices who are critical of Israeli policies and wars are labeled as self-loathing Jews- they usually are not called liars, interestingly. Of course the Christian ideal of taking the plank out of one’s own eye first is conveniently placed to the side.

    The truth is not always a happy one, and to mock those who acknowledge or apologize for past private or social sins that have harmed and killed people is simply not something I will stand on the side of the road for. One can claim ignorance of these sins I suppose, but for the well-read and the well-travelled, it just isn’t an option. It is hardly an excuse to point out the greater sins of other people, other nations- that is something I encounter all the time with teenagers- but it is totally unacceptable in adult religious community.

    I would love to see Obama apologize for every abortion ever sanctioned or encouraged in this country and every country where it was promoted by American governmental or organizational operatives. President Bush should have gone to some of those Third World countries and apologized for the past and present American promoters of abortion as a right to kill the innocent and “save” the planet. And I want to see all the crimes against humanity and international law, and the universal common good committed by American “interests” to be brought to the light. Every life harmed or killed as a consequence of my nation’s willful intent to do something self-serving and/or just plain awful or evil- I will take some measure of blame for. I expect any leader of this country to be of a similar character- but I have yet to find such a leader who I could put my full support behind.

    As reference books for the various charges to be made against the history of American relations with the rest of the world or those continued in the spirit of the colonizing Europeans through neo-colonial machinations I recommend the following writers: DAvid Fromkin, Tim Weiner, William Blum, Chalmers Johnson, Chris Hedges, Stephen Kinzer, Stephen Schlesinger, Robert Dreyfuss, Said Aburish, Edward Said, Greg Grandin, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, John Perkins, Ron Paul, and Pat Buchanan are some of the authors I can see as I look at my book cases. Other books on the Rwanda genocide and Clinton/Congress passivity, and the cases of Mobutu and Lumumba are books that I don’t have in front of me but linger in my thoughts.

    I expect some or many may be tempted to throw out some personal attack or some obscure quote or misquote from one or more of the authors here listed- it is so easy to hide behind name-calling like “leftist” “liberal” “populist” and all the rest- but I would include Pope John Paul II’s landmark encyclical “On Social Concern” written in 1987 as an excellent back-drop to this history these international relationships. I am Catholic, I am not beholden to the gods of liberalism or conservatism, I am subject to one God, and He does not seem to fit in the narrow boxes of American political ideologies. I served my country for six years in the National Guard, I believe in a strong, well-defended America, but I am not proud of my own personal sins and I am not proud of America’s collective sins- and I infer from Scripture that we are to some measure judged as nations. I believe that if you have the opportunity to apologize for something you have done personally or by association, you should go for it. To humble oneself is not a sign of weakness but of strength- at least in the Kingdom of God where I am aiming to spend the lionshare of my time someday.

  • I’m not so sure the role of the United States is to go around the world and say this is the way it’s got to be. We can help. And maybe it’s just our difference in government, the way we view government. I mean I want to empower people. I want to help people help themselves, not have government tell people what to do. I just don’t think it’s the role of the United States to walk into a country and say, we do it this way, so should you.

  • Tim,

    I don’t apologize for being a Catholic first and an American second. I love my country and when someone apologizes for the rising of the tides or for Muslims killing Muslims, then I am offended.

    President Obama is a charlatan and a foreign policy weakling. If he thinks that apologizing for every “perceived” offense done by the United States will make everything better, then I still believe in the tooth fairy.

  • Furthermore, if we’re an arrogant nation, they’ll resent us; if we’re a humble nation, but strong, they’ll welcome us. And our nation stands alone right now in the world in terms of power, and that’s why we’ve got to be humble, and yet project strength in a way that promotes freedom.

    I think that is all President Obama is trying to do.

  • Awakaman,

    You and I and every other conservative can understand to certain degrees what President Obama is trying to accomplish, but to publicly make it a policy of the United States thinking that the dictators of the world will turn around and become benevolent is short of ignorance and closer to ineptitude.

  • Its one thing to apologize where there are clear wrongs. It would be good if it was not constant. Otherwise it seems false and self-loathing. Excessive love of oneself is not good. Neither is excessive self-criticism. Especially if it is not done in a constructive spirit.

  • Tito:

    The two statements I put in the com boxes above were made by George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential debates with VP Gore. I don’t believe that GWB circa 2000, or any other conservative denouncing US arrogance around the world, e.g., Ron Paul, believed that being a more humble nation would cause dictators themselves to become more democratic, rather our humility as a country is meant to impress the masses within those countries.

    Nothing would inflame Americans more than a foreign government trying to tell our country what to do . . . which is many feel such animosity toward international organizations which try impose jurisdiction on the US and its citizens, such as the UN and International War Crimes Tribunal.

    Likewise, nothing is going to cause North Koreans to support Kim Jong-il or Iranians to support Ahmadinejad more than direct foreign intervention into their countries’ affairs. If you want to move Ahmadinejad from a corrupt 70% victory to a 99.9% honest victory then let Israel drop the first bomb and the “green revolutionaries” will all be joining the Iranian Revolutional Guard.

  • Awakaman,

    Reread what I wrote.

    I’m not disagreeing, I just don’t like the way President Obama is doing it and his reasons.

  • Yes- I do agree that only things that are truly moral wrongs should be apologized for- I was speaking more to the principle that being humble and apologizing from the heart for real wrongs that have actually hurt or killed people- that is something we should encourage our representatives to do. I won’t say that Obama has all his priorities in line- obviously- I would write the same piece if it was Bush or Obama in the presidency.

    I think there is also a false-sentiment that can be part of a leader apologizing- Clinton came across a bit like that- you can apologize too much or too easily, like it was nothing- all for show- so it is important to do the right thing for the right reasons- I won’t make a claim either way for obama- I always hope for the best, and my wife and I pray for obama and his wife to have deep pro-life conversions for example.

  • Tim,

    This is where you and I are in complete harmony of agreement.

  • By the way Tito what did Obama do in Russia that was so great? Continue to give Russia the finger by insisting that it was right and proper that they be surrounded by NATO/US client states? Tell them to back off from intervening in Georgia and the Ukraine when the US’s intervention has been just as eggregious? Is it his insistence that the US has the right to surround Russia with its weapons systems (because of Iran . . . right)?

    Again, if Russia or any other country tried to do this in the Americas we’d be screaming to high heaven and threatening to bomb the hell out of them.

    Don’t worry with his poll numbers dropping Obama will soon create some external enemy that we must fight and will cause American’s to rally around the flag and their illustrious leader.

  • I still believe in the tooth fairy.

    Hard to determine which is the more ridiculous: Obama’s World Apology Tour or Tito Edward’s Magic Mystery Tour? *wink*

  • This is sick.

    I wish Obama had actually apologized for the ills of his country. I wished he would go to Hiroshima, get down on his knees and beg forgiveness for what the US did there in 1945. I wish he would apologize to the Iranians for deposing Mossadeq and imposing the shah in 1953 (more than anything else, this would embolden the resistance). I wish he would apologize for the support for the thuggish regimes in Latin America, most notablty under Reagan, that saw so many Catholics being harassed and killed. I wish he would apologize to the Vietnamese, to the Cambodians, to the Iraqis.

    But he will not to any of this, because the swell of nationalism is too strong – it overwhelms our common humanity. Genuine repentence takes courage. John Paul had this kind of courage. Over and over again, he apologized for every ill the Church had committed over the years. He was in no way personally responsible for any of this, but he stood up as the representative of the Church and — in doing so — he bolstered its moral authority. Perhaps you think that John Paul’s “apology shtick” also got old?

    If you cared about the moral authority of this country, you would do the same. And to trot out such rubbish as this is “blaming America for every ill” in the world makes as much sense as saying that John Paul blamed the Catholic Church for every ill in the world. As I said, the pope showed courage. But nationalism is the ideology whereby small men hide behind big guns, isn’t it?

  • I agree with MM on this, though very re-worded.

    “…American values such as freedom and liberty.”

    Our values don’t always square well with the natural law. Our consumption rates and vanity does not square well with the Gospel.

    I think America has done great things for the world. But, there are many things, we as a society should repent for that I believe many refuse to because “they” did this or “they” did that — the one thing about politics is I think it blinds us so much to social sin and this tit-for-tat nonsense really has to stop.

    So, I’m going to cordially disagree.

  • Tony, for you it is always blame America first, last and always. Your hatred for this country and its inhabitants knows no bounds. Pointing out flaws in America is one thing; yours is a tiresome, endless venting of your spleen against this country. If I were you I would find another country to live in more suited to your sensibilities. I am sure that Erehwon is accepting immigrants if Utopia has met its quota.

  • Tony is the blogger now known as Morning’s Minion. He and I have been dueling for years, back to the time when he blogged under the name TonyA.

  • Tony,

    I wish he would apologize to the Iranians for deposing Mossadeq and imposing the shah in 1953 (more than anything else, this would embolden the resistance).

    Interesting you neglect to ask Carter to get down on his knees and apologize for the far worse dictatorship he brought to Iran, Islamic Fascism….shows us were your true sympathies lie.

  • Ahh — Thanks, Don!

  • Typical “hate America” leftist hyperbole.

  • “Typical “hate America” leftist hyperbole.”

    Yes, if you can agree that there is such a thing as “typical ‘yay America’ right-wing hyperbole?” 🙂

  • Eric,

    I can agree to that as well.


  • For Tony, just in case his blood pressure is a little low today!

  • Tito,

    This is why we’re friends 🙂

  • Very fun, Donald, but I prefer the version by the south park guys, even if it does use rather crude language!

  • You are a good sport Tony! Bravo!

  • If the state of Virginia can apologize to its own citizens for its compulsory sterilization laws, surely the US can apologize for some of the things it has done to other countries over the years.

  • “awakaman”: how dare you talk about the dangers of “letting” Israel drop the “first bomb”? Israel is a sovereign nation that is responsible for its own national security and safeguarding the lives of its people. While true that Israel and the U.S. are strong allies, Israel cannot and will not allow Iran to threatent genocide and then gain the capability to carry it out. Do you care so little about the lives of Israelis that you would express the immoral view that they do not have the right to defend themselves against Iran, or whoever threatens them with annihilation for that matter? You sound like an Islamist shill. Moreover, Obama is a fool if he thinks he can bargain with an Islamist regime. Is it his ignorance of the nature of evil, or is he just a cold, heartless shade who would lie to Israel in order to cater to Islam?

  • I fail to understand how an apology from someone that hasn’t hurt me helps.

    The Congress resolved to apologize for slavery. OKAAAY… And this helps because?

    Isn’t the blood of Americans that died to free their fellow man a tribute for that wrong? If not, why are mere words, spoken by those who did not do the wrong to people long dead, any better?

    I don’t think apologizing for the wrongs committed by one’s country is the place of a President… Maybe a Congress, but certainly NOT a President.

    Besides, much of what has been posted here is about posturing. This is to say that those who want the US to apologize more speculate that it will advance our foreign policy as much as those of us who believe that such apologizing damages it. Posturing is posturing and it has no more moral authority because it wears the mask of humility.

  • I believe apologies have been made for both the Potato
    Famine and the Trail of Tears. I doubt if they matter much to my deceased Irish and Cherokee ancestors. On the other hand if anyone is suffering from an excess of guilt about either of these events, perhaps a large sum of money paid to me would help assuage these pangs of conscience? I know it would help me feel better!

  • What about the clearances of the Scottish Highlands??? Can I get something for that? Oh, and the Fenian Raids??? The attempt to annex Canada during the War of 1812 (mind you, there was payback with the burning of the White House, heheh)?

  • Matt,

    Canada doesn’t know it, but they are our 51st state.

What does President Barack Obama actually MEAN?

Wednesday, May 20, AD 2009

For consideration: an excerpt from President Barack Obama’s commencement speech at Notre Dame:

The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm. The gay activist and the evangelical pastor may both deplore the ravages of HIV/AIDS, but find themselves unable to bridge the cultural divide that might unite their efforts. Those who speak out against stem cell research may be rooted in an admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son’s or daughter’s hardships can be relieved.

The question, then — the question then is how do we work through these conflicts? Is it possible for us to join hands in common effort? As citizens of a vibrant and varied democracy, how do we engage in vigorous debate? How does each of us remain firm in our principles, and fight for what we consider right, without, as Father John said, demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side?

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18 Responses to What does President Barack Obama actually MEAN?

  • I didn’t interpret the president as naively asking us to put aside our differences and just get along. His point in these words was 1) to acknowledge that we do have serious differences – conflicting and irreconcilable differences – in how we understand justice and over what means we advocate in building a just society and 2) ask how we can work through these conflicts without putting aside our differences or demonizing the other. His answer to this question is implied in the first quoted paragraph: we work through these conflicts while recognizing that the other really is concerned for justice, even if we think that the other’s conception of justice is gravely wrong. To be sure, this is a difficult road in our pluralistic and postmodern society. We disagree not only about particular actions and behavior, but over the very meaning of justice and how justice should be applied.

  • The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm.

    this is a none to subtle slur against those who offer their lives to protect our nation. It is implying that the soldier is a war-monger, and the lawyer a peace-monger. Soldiers do not make policy, they do not decide when war is necessary. When war is necessary then all who are able must fight.

    In fact, without soldiers, efforts at peaceful conflict resolution are completely useless.

  • I can see the soldier and lawyer disagreeing on the steps necessary to protect the nation. I just think that when the lawyers mess it up they join the soldiers in the fight. Solidarity and all.

  • Phillip,

    and I can see the tinker and the tailor disagreeing. So what? There’s nothing about the profession of soldiering that makes one pro-war, and that’s what Obama is implying. Lawyers resolve problems “peacefully”, soldier’s resolve them “violently”.

    It’s a false dichotomy.

  • Kyle,

    Thanks for commenting. I comprehend the President’s advice about ‘not demonizing the other’ and call for a civil discussion. Those familiar with my own blog will understand I’ve long been an advocate for a more civil and charitable discussion.

    But I admit what gets to me — not only here but throughout the campaigning — is the talk of “working through these conflicts” and “join hands in common effort”. What does this actually mean with respect to abortion and ESCR?

    Granted, we can perhaps say that our President may want abortion to be “safe, legal and rare’ — but he will maintain that the “right” be preserved to commit abortion and will strive to repeal any legal restriction put up by those who conscientiously stand for protection of life.

    We can concede that those advocating embryonic stem cell research are motivated by a noble aspiration (to end sickness and suffering); but our President has insisted nonetheless that embryonic stem cell research continue — and at the financial expense of those who believe it to be a grave evil.

    What “common effort” can actually be accomplished with respect to these matters, when two clearly conflicting principles are at play?

  • Let’s not forget that this president at the same time as he authorized funding of baby-killing embryonic stem cell research, he cut off funding for actually successful and non-baby-killing adult stem cell research…. common ground? Give me a break.

    While in dialogue we at times must be “diplomatic”, we need to speak truth to power as it were and not allow the opposition to dehumanize the victims by conceding to their erroneous language.

  • I do not believe that Obama has any interest in justice for the unborn. He regards their lives as worth less than nothing if their mothers decide to abort them in the womb. His idea of a compromise is hot air for the pro-lifers and “abortion now, abortion forever” for the pro-aborts. His calls for dialogue on this issue are deeply duplicitous and purely an attempt to divide and weaken the pro-life cause.

  • Matt,

    Chill. My point wasn’t that soldiers were pro-war. Most I’ve known,(and I was in the Navy for seven years active and 14 reserve) are not. My point was that lawyers (and others) are quite capable of screwing up the safety of the nation and that soldiers were then obliged to suffer to restore it. I just wish that those lawyers would have to bear the suffering along with soldiers.

  • Phillip,

    You’re right, but I don’t believe that’s what Obama is thinking.

  • Oh I don’t either. I think he’s a Chicago politician and and first-rate liar. But there you have it.

  • “I think he’s a Chicago politician and and first-rate liar.”

    As an Illinois downstater I was brought up to believe there is no difference between those two categories!

  • I defer to your experience Donald.

  • Chris,

    Good questions. Obama seems to think that we can work through these conflicts while he implements policies that don’t just require us to tolerate what we hold to be evil, but require us to participate in those evils. That doesn’t strike me as a common ground approach. Either we as a society fund ESCR through our taxes or we don’t. There is no middle ground there. Regarding abortion, each side can at least work to reduce the number of abortions, but here as well we see issues with no middle ground: funding abortions, for instance.

    Personally, I think a good place to start is for both sides in these difficult conflicts to approach the conflicts and those involved assuming good motives, namely, a shared concern for justice. I’m of the opinion that legal victories in these conflicts last only as long as there is a consensus in the public to support them, so if we want to outlaw abortion and other practices, then we have to build that consensus. In my view, that consensus cannot be built when we’re demonizing one another and assuming the worst motives.

    Of course, there’s no magic trick to building consensus. I don’t expect it to happen, actually, but I hope for it.

  • Either we as a society fund ESCR through our taxes or we don’t. There is no middle ground there. Regarding abortion, each side can at least work to reduce the number of abortions, but here as well we see issues with no middle ground: funding abortions, for instance.

    Precisely. My concern is that sometimes this “come, let us dialogue together” is, whatever the noble motives of the advocate (in this case our President) is tantamount to an embrace of relativism.

    And it makes me wonder if Obama’s truly considered that the Church’s teaching that “no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being” is as absolute as, say, opposition to slavery.

    It’s simply not something that a Christian will negotiate away through dialogue, no matter how civil. We can “dialogue” about this conviction with President Obama or NARAL or whoever until we’re blue in the face, but when it comes down to practical policy — something’s got to give.

    In my view, that consensus cannot be built when we’re demonizing one another and assuming the worst motives.

    I’ll concur with you there. Thanks for responding!

  • Kyle,
    Civil rights laws and the judicial decisions that advanced them were forged without a social consensus. They were necessary anyway, because they were right. While they certainly did not serve to immediately alter hearts and minds, they did contribute to that phenomena over time. Indeed, Roe itself was a lawless judicial decision that flew in the face of laws reflecting popular opinion; and over time it contributed to public acceptnce of abortion. In any event, social consensus is legally irrelevant as long as their is a constitutional barrier, however contrived and phony, to legal change

  • Mike,

    I don’t deny the effect that law can have on shaping people’s beliefs, but for laws to remain on the books in a democratic society, they must, in the long run, have the support of the people. If the people remain divided or against a law, then that law is not long for the world. Consider how easily President Obama swept away recent pro-life legislative gains. On the abortion issue in particular, we are going to see a lot of back-and-forth until the country generally comes to see the issue one way or another.

  • Kyle, the back and forth you describe is minor because of Roe. Roe stacks the deck against the democratic process. While that process would produce very imperfect results, those results would be far superior to those that Roe permits at this time. More specifically, the state of the abortion laws in this country is far more pro-abort than is the state of public opinion, precisely because Roe does not allow public opinion to be expressed in law via the democratic process.

    I fully agree that persuasion is important and that persuasion requires that one normally assumes good faith on the part of opponents. But it does not follow that repealing Roe would be feckless or unimportant. That simply could not be more wrong.

    Finally, it is naive to assign good faith to all. What Obama did in Illinois to sabotage the state’s Born Alive Act cannot be explained away as simply good faith disagreement. He lead the effort to ensure that children born as a result of an attempted abortion procedure would not be entitled to ordinary care unless the attending physician pronounced the child “viable.” In other words born children, who in the eyes of a single doctor are not viable, may lawfully be discarded as trash. He justified this effort by citing his concern for Roe, a concern that in this context is so stupid on so many levels that it must be regarded as insincere. Sincerity is a prerequisite to the good faith you value. It is not universally present.

  • I didn’t say that we should always assign good motives; I said we should assume them when we approach these conflicts. Of course, our assumptions may be later proved or disproved.

    For the record, I don’t think overturning Roe would be feckless or unimportant.

The Obligatory Obama Speech Post

Sunday, May 17, AD 2009

After months of discussion, Obama finally gave his commencement address at Notre Dame University today.  Due to a near fascistic exercise on the part of the ND administration, the event was virtually free of any signs of protest, and Obama made full use of the event to do his “don’t you wish you could be as moderate and measured as I am” shtick which we know so well from the campaign.  The text is as follows:

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15 Responses to The Obligatory Obama Speech Post

  • Let me add to that faith part and also what troubled me. Right after that he said:

    “And within our vast democracy, this doubt should remind us to persuade through reason, through an appeal whenever we can to universal rather than parochial principles, and most of all through an abiding example of good works, charity, kindness, and service that moves hearts and minds.”

    Now Obama has touched on this theme before

    Now what is troubling as you tell Catholics to be sure to base things on reason (I think we have a good hisotry of that) he fails to mention the important side of the coin that Secular folks have as a part of this bargain

    As he stated last year

    “But what I am suggesting is this – secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King – indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history – were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their “personal morality” into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

    Moreover, if we progressives shed some of these biases, we might recognize some overlapping values that both religious and secular people share when it comes to the moral and material direction of our country.”

    That was missing and in a Speech that was watched by millions perhaps a tad unfortunate. Especially as we have seen recently even by using Reason on issues of abortion and gay marriage any hint of our religious viewpoint gets us dismissed. As we in a striking section of the Iowa Supreme Court Opinion on gay marriage

    I do wish Obama had not omitted that

  • Obama did what Obama always does: he gave a glib speech that does not stand up under more than a few minutes cursory analysis. Much more disturbing to me was the reaction of most of the Notre Dame students who acted as if they were at an Obama rally, including ritualistic chants of “Yes We Can” to drown out protestors speaking up for the unborn. Whatever knowledge most of the students received during their college days at Notre Dame, the key Catholic teaching of the duty to defend innocent human life seems to have been carefully omitted.

  • “What troubled me….” How laudible and sensitive, jh. So the ceremony site was devoid of outside pro-lifers. Then again some of those pesky dinosaurs
    were present among the graduates. That is, those on other parts of the campus praying for Dear Leader’s immortal soul. And that of Father Jenkins. Who can brag tut tut pulled off that one. But not so fast. Note that in the past five days,both Presidents have hotwired the pro-life movement. Based on the hundreds of noble souls who spent quality time in some of South Bend’s finest holding tanks. Including my new hero, Father Westin- what was it, arrest 22, 23, anyone counting? Frankly, the conditions were never better for a movement that had been gulping wind of late. An extraordinarily pro-abort POTUS combined with the ND President whose idea of dialogue is the equivalent of the grumpy old man shouting You Kids Stay Off My Property was superb in bringing the issue of the babies front and center. I even saw brave souls hauled off on my local 6 a.m. teevee newscast so even the MSM had to cover their arrests. So everybody claims victory and goes home. Perhaps as much ‘dialogue’ as Father Jenkins will allow. Along with the increasing financial hole caused by decreased contributions becaused of the invitation. That won’t be filled while he has the job.

  • Darwin you might be interested to know that even the Progressive Mr Winters has thoughts similar to you over at America’s blog

    Obama Gets a C minus at Notre Dame

  • Take no comfort from the sop Winters is throwing to pro-lifers. His buddies at Commonweal were orgasmic over the Obama spiel. But what can we expect? For forty years, our catechesis has insisted that “Be nice” is not just the cardinal moral virtue but the only moral virtue. Obama has spent enough time around Catholics (and hired enough of them to run “Common Good” websites) that he had no problem standing up in front of a bunch of expensively but poorly educated kids and giving them back exactly what their Catholic school teachers have shoveled at them from first grade up to their Notre Dame graduation. Naturally, they ate it up.

  • JH,

    I would imagine that for someone like Winters, who actually imagines that Obama might make a good faith attempt to do something positive in the pro-life realm (on the “reducing need for abortion” side of things, of course) and meet Catholic Democrats half way, it would be even more disappointing. Obviously, if Obama had in fact made some statement that seemed like a positive move towards the Church’s position in this speech (even if it was something as basic as saying he’d gone too far by promising to sign the Freedom of Choice act — which is unlikely to be passed in its original form in the first place — and instead promising to veto it if it reaches his desk as being “too extreme” — a promise that would itself be as empty as his original one to sign it) Obama would have totally cut the legs out from under his conservative Catholic critics and handed those like inters a major victory.

    Of course, unlike Winters, I would never have imagined that happening in the first place. But if it had, it would have been a signal defeat.

  • Gerard, I think you’re right. While the idea of the one of the nation’s most prestigious Catholic institution giving an honorary law degree to a politician who professes a view of the law that is so contradictory to Catholic values cannot be considered a good. The effects may well be as you say. And what’s more, I bet we will see stronger, greater and more unified actions from the bishops in the future.

    I think the text of the degree is enough to make any thoughtful Catholic vomit, but even if that’s just my bias, any bishop who thought it prudent to give Fr Jenkins the benefit of the doubt and keep quiet through this is probably feeling rather disappointed and probably resolved to head this sort of thing off in the future.

  • I ma actually optimistic in some ways. I don’t think many of these Bishops and Cardinals have taken kindly to this. I also think they perhaps have been taken about with the name calling toward them.

    Again though what can they do. I think we all realize that United States Bishops Conference actual Jurisidcational authority has often been a question. See debates on the Citizenship document. Now we see it as to a 2004 explict directive

    However what is shocking is this provides that even the Bishop of the Dicoese where these Catholic Universities reside are pretty much powerless. Having the local Bishop have such a disconnect from a University is troublesome.

    So I am not sure what the Bishops can do or how they are going about doing it

  • Good speech, Barack.


    So do you actually think that, or is this just the obligatory “one in the eye for the conservatives” reaction?

  • Someone on Bill Bennett just pointed out that “open hearts and open minds” is part of the United Methodist creed… it is most certainly NOT part of the Catholic creed.

  • So do you actually think that, or is this just the obligatory “one in the eye for the conservatives” reaction?

    As if it had to be asked . . . . But hey, at least michael came up with something above school-yard taunts and obscenities here.

  • What strikes me as particularly dunderheaded about the speech is his repeated and detailed invocation of the Civil Rights movement to prove his points. Does he honestly not know that most pro-lifers see themselves as the abolitionists/civil rights movement part two, or does he actually want to douse himself in unintentional irony?

  • “Good speech, Barack.”

    His teleprompter must have been working.

  • I walk into church and there is a sign on the window that says “Contact your congressman to vote against the abortion bill.” This sign went up sometime after the first of this year. My immediate question was, “Hey, where were you during the election? “ I must digress here to tell a short story. During last week’s mass (yes, I am Catholic) a sudden political discussion arose regarding the invitation by Notre Dame University to Mr. Obama to speak at the graduation. Obama is outspoken in his support of abortion rights. He asks us to be tolerant of differing view points. I guess he means we should tolerate the killing of unborn humans. Now we can get into an abortion discussion but that is for another time. Anyway, during the impromptu discussion (right in the middle of a prayer, no less,) Mr. Obama’s position on abortion was condemed, but his positions on the economy, forgien policy, and health care and the death penalty were applauded by several members of the congregation. One would assume that those people voted for Mr. Obama and by extension, the policies of the Democratic party. Now we all know what happens when we “assume.” But it would be safe to say that these people voted for Obama because they wanted money to be appropriated for universal health care, for welfare payment to the poor, welfare payment to the banks, welvare payments to the car companies (and by extension the unions, thereby giving the unions control of the car companies, thereby giving contol to the government, thereby giving control of a large part of the economy to the Democrats) and money to many other “worthy” causes. So in the end it is really about money…government money. (Just an aside…it’s not government money, it’s money extracted from taxpayers, eventually at the point of a gun if it if someone wanted to take it that far. Oh yeah, and money borrowed from the Chinese, who I’m sure have nothing but the best interests of the United States at heart. But I digress again.)

    “Uhh…you digress alot…what’s your point?” you ask.

    My point is, that if someone is against abortion, why would they ever vote for a Democrat in the first place? Every Democratic office holder is always and everywhere going to support abortion. Well maybe not some local office holders but they belong to the political party that will always and everywhere support abortion. Voting for a Democrat is like giving the ax to the executioner. Do you think he’s going to put it down and lay down with the lambs when it comes time to support abortion? The chance to strike a blow against abortion was at election time! Why was it not taken then? Oh yeah, I forgot. It’s so we can get government money to support “human dignity.”

    God says he knew us BEFORE we were in the womb. So as the liberals are so fond of saying, “the research is in, there is no longer any question.” Human life began BEFORE conception. Are we going to cut that life short for our thirty pieces of government silver? Where is the human dignity in that?

What's Empathy Got To Do With It?

Friday, May 8, AD 2009

Doug Kmiec has a rather bizarre article up at America entitled The Case For Empathy: Why a Much-Maligned Value Is a Crucial Qualification for the Supreme Court. If the article is any indication, I suppose we should be thankful Obama didn’t make any off-hand remarks suggesting ‘creativity’ or ‘imagination’ were traits he would look for in a potential Supreme Court justice, if only because it might have lead to more essays like this one. After some preliminary gushing about, you guessed it, empathy, Kmiec explains what an empathetic justice would accomplish:

To do this, it is possible that [Obama] will mine for legal talent in unusual places, but it is more likely he will attempt to find a nominee with appellate court experience whose skill set also shows the capability of challenging methods of interpretation that otherwise wouldn’t give empathy the time of day. If Obama succeeds even with this more limited challenge,he will have exploded the notion  that swapping out a Souter for a new, most likely younger and intellectually energetic, justice is without effect.

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11 Responses to What's Empathy Got To Do With It?

  • Nice job dismantling what is just a mess of a column. Kmiec manages to somehow sink further and further. It’s truly remarkable.

  • I assume that Kmiec believes all of this intellectual prostitution he is currently engaging in, repudiating wholesale intellectual positions he held throughout his adult life, will ultimately gain him a federal judgeship or some other plumb from the current administration. Trading self-respect for advancement is always a poor, not to say pathetic, bargain.

  • I think it’s time we simply stop paying attention to Mr. Kmiec. To call him a hack would be generous. Far too many words have been wasted on him already.

  • Don,

    I am not sure what Kmiec’s purpose is, and I would like to think he is not just angling for a spot on the federal bench. People do change their minds, and sometimes those changes are dramatic.

    That said, based on my (admittedly limited) observations of legal academia, Kmiec’s arguments are an embarrassment to the profession. I can’t imagine any of the professors I’ve had over the past three years writing this type of nonsense, regardless of their political persuasion. Kmiec should be extended some sympathy given that he is writing for a non-specialist audience, but even that is no excuse for the type of misstatements and shoddy argumentation on display here, particularly since these views are diametrically opposed to views he held less than two years ago.

  • Until he starts making the barest acknowledgment that he’s done a 180 on principles and views held until the Adventus Obamus, he’s not entitled to the benefit of any doubts.

    And I agree, John: this essay is absolute pablum. The principle of “empathy” is entirely situational and subjective. Take Heller: “Well, you know, Doug, I empathize with people who don’t have efficient police protection and private security forces guarding their gated suburban communities. Whose empathy is entitled to more weight in the law?”

    Oh, and I love how he refers to Obama’s record as a law professor without giving any examples to bolster his point. This essay is embarrassingly empty propaganda for Obama. Which is probably why America was so eager to publish it.

  • Where is all his talk of Natural Law!!! DO people recall in many of his Catholic Online articles and other places Kmiec would always put in several paragraphs that he believs the law should the Natural Law as seein the Declaration of Independence and esp Right to Life as being inaleiable

    Where is that here? Now it was nonsense to think that Obam would give us a Natural law judge in the first place and Kmiec never explined how it would happen

    But looking through this entire article where is the natural law theme.

    In fact as to SOuter , who was a huge postivist and did his thesis on Justice Holmes) there is no mention of that.

  • In reading through comments on another blog, I learned that Prof. Kmiec has Parkinson’s disease. Here is a link and some excerpts to an article he recently wrote about Parkinson’s and embryonic stem cell research:

    Over time, however, all Parkinson’s patients know that after a short span the medication fails and we also know what that means. We have uncomfortably witnessed our future in the lives of longer suffering brothers and sisters…So you would think that when President Obama, for whom it was my privilege to campaign, gives permission for embryonic stem cell research that some say holds a Parkinson’s cure that I would be grateful and encouraged. Yet, I am not. While I believe the President’s desire to separate science and politics is well considered, there can be no separation from ethics,

    To avoid cooperating with an intrinsic evil, this trembling hand is not to take hold of any medicine or participate in any medical treatment advanced by research involving the destruction of a human embryo. Easier said than done – or by me, even written down. But then, in this Easter time we are reminded that we belong to a Church where the very son of God allowed himself to be put to death so that others might live.

    The article contains, naturally, some defenses of the Obama administration, but I think perhaps I will make a conscious effort to display more sympathy for Prof. Kmiec (if not for some of his arguments) in the future. Anyone with such a difficult and debilitating illness is in need of prayers for their physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being. Our Lady of Sorrows, ora pro nobis.

  • “Empathy” [Einfuehlung] is one of those German make- believe emotions; an attempt to displace the more obvious and traditional word “sympathy”.

    It’s a faker’s word. As in Mr. Clinton’s “I feel your pain”.

  • This analysis makes vastly more sense than Kmiec’s article, and you didn’t even get to the part where he explained how lacking in “meaning or lasting effect”–not to mention empathy–is “coerced morality” of the sort some villainous people propose as a solution to the problem of abortion in America. It’s too bad your analysis can’t also be printed in America, but it seems they only accept submissions from prominent pro-life Catholics like Douglas Kmiec.

  • Isn’t justice supposed to be blind anyway???

  • Pingback: How Long in the Wilderness? « The American Catholic

Irony Alert

Friday, April 24, AD 2009


Hattip to The Catholic Key BlogComments of President Obama at the Holocaust Memorial in Washington.

“It is the grimmest of ironies that one of the most savage, barbaric acts of evil in history began in one of the most modernized societies of its time, where so many markers of human progress became tools of human depravity: science that can heal used to kill; education that can enlighten used to rationalize away basic moral impulses; the bureaucracy that sustains modern life used as the machinery of mass death — a ruthless, chillingly efficient system where many were responsible for the killing, but few got actual blood on their hands.”

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5 Responses to Irony Alert

  • Good post.

  • Two posts ago (the Colbert Report post) has 0bama lecturing us about losing our moral bearings. This is one sick dude.

  • I don’t know which possibility is scarier: that he may be completely oblivious of the obvious parallel, or that he is perfectly aware of it and doesn’t care.

    The major challenge for Catholics in the next four years will be to mount a credible opposition without allowing it to be characterized as “partisan politics.” Won’t be easy.

  • Great post Donald!


    The major challenge for Catholics in the next four years will be to mount a credible opposition without allowing it to be characterized as “partisan politics.” Won’t be easy.

    not with his communications department in bed with pretty much the whole of the media, and liberal Catholics like Kmiec shilling for him.

You've Seen One Frenchman, You've Seen Them All

Sunday, March 22, AD 2009


Apparently, hattip to Gateway Pundit, our President isn’t sure who the President of France is since he sent a note to former French President Chirac, and Sumo I do hope you are fully recovered, with this sentiment in it:   ‘I am certain that we will be able to work together, in the coming four years, in a spirit of peace and friendship to build a safer world.’  The current President of France is not amused.

For the benefit of any Obama staffer who may come across this, the current President of France is Sarkozy.  Your boss has had his picture taken with him.  He has a supermodel new wife.  There are no poodle bite mark scars on him.  There, never let it be said that I am unwilling to help the new administration!

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9 Responses to You've Seen One Frenchman, You've Seen Them All

  • Donald,
    Can you say with certitude that Sarkozy possesses no poodle bite scars? Didn’t think so.


  • You got me there Daledog!

  • You’ve seen one Frenchman, you seen ’em all.

    So the photo is of……… two Frenchmen? 😉

  • “You’ve seen one Frenchman, you’ve seen them all.”

    So your photo is of……….two Frenchmen? 😉

  • Oh my. First hunch is to question the veracity of the story because while I can believe Obama is that inept, I can’t believe that there wasn’t someone along the line who didn’t know better. I mean, even if the presidential staff is sub-par, someone had to know who the president of France is. If they did know and it was a calculated move to snub the sitting president and give props to a fellow traveler, it would not only be a stupid thing to do, but a frightening insight into the “new kind of diplomacy”.

    Hmmm, I’m wondering if it is the latter. There are examples of the far left in this country abusing common sense and violating diplomatic protocol in order to favor their foreign comrades. i.e. Kerry and Harkin coddling Ortega. Teddy Kennedy offering to assist the Soviets by politically opposing the President and essentially being a publicist for them.

    This wouldn’t rise to that level, but it is a huge blunder regardless of the circumstances.

  • “So your photo is of……….two Frenchmen”

    Ah Don, if only it were so!

  • Rick, in regard to your comment I would actually prefer that it be a simple act of incompetence. If not, I hope Obama can find an advisor who can define “diplomacy” for him. A liberal Democrat President who can manage to get a President of France mad at him obviously needs lots of help in this area.

  • I have to admit I’m a bit disappointed. It appears there is another more likely explanation – Obama was writing in response to a letter from Chirac regarding Chirac’s new foundation. This is the supposed word in the French press, but then, given the current state of under reporting throughout the “news” world, who knows what really happened…

    There are more if you simply Google the matter. It might not be a brilliant political move, but it doesn’t seem to have been as completely idiotic as we might prefer to think.

  • I think you are right Cheryl, although the letter does still strike me as odd in its wording. Either the staff work was sloppy, or Obama was trying to get a dig in at Sarkozy, since he and Chirac have hated each other since 1995 when Sarkozy backed a rival of Chirac’s for President of France.