Friday, November 14, 2008

The Catholic Church – Opposition to Pro-Abortion Candidates and Elected Officials Intensifies

A Catholic Priest (AP) in South Carolina is refusing communion to those who voted for Barrack Obama because “the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and supporting him "constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil." This should come as no surprise to those in the press, or the general public for that matter. The Church has intensified its remarks on abortion in this past general election cycle. The opposition to pro-abortion candidates by the Church Bishops is clear - it is simply unacceptable. From refusing communion to John Kerry in 2004, to recent admonitions against Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden from American Bishops, the Church is firming up its stance on the abortion issue and those who support the practice.

The Catholic opposition to abortion is known by parishioners - as are the consequences – although Bishops have become more vocal in the past few elections regarding politician’s who support abortion - that message does not necessarily trickle down to the parishes within a diocese. It was this general election, where Obama was so closely tied to abortion rights (NARAL endorsed Obama over Clinton early in the primary process) and had a solid record of support for the process, including partial-birth abortion (See Saddleback Forum) that prompted the Catholic Church to act more aggressively on this issue. The South Carolina priest is acting in good faith. One may disagree with the process, or the penalty, however,as a Catholic one has to understand that there is a choice to be made between ones faith and ones actions in the world – and should the choice be a political party over faith, then there are consequences. The Church doctrine is what it is – penalties have always been part and parcel of this process. The problem is that most of the parishioners have no idea that they acted out of faith because of the “politically correct” language that is used vis a vis abortion – “pro-choice” sounds benign, and is taken as such – understanding that there is a “choice”, but not clear about what that choice might be. It is understood by those who are involved in abortion issue, either pro or con – but not necessarily by those sitting in the pews. When asked why one would support a candidate that is pro-choice, the answer is simply that the candidate is either of the same political affiliation, or would end a war – however, if the question is worded, would you support a candidate that supports abortion – the answer changes to a flat no. In most cases, the connect is not made between pro-choice and pro-abortion.

Should the Church continue to take a firm stand on this issue, they should take care to use plain language when speaking to parishioners regarding any candidate, regardless of party. To those who would cry separation of church and state, keep in mind that politicians from both sides of the aisle, use the Church as a means to reach constituents during the campaign cycle. John Kerry (D-MA), made sure camera crews were at the ready when he visited local churches in this last election – those sitting at home watching the evening news, see this as the church condoning a particular candidate – it is calculated on the part of the candidate and one can be sure that this example is the norm. There are issues voters, and there are values voters – and then there are the uninformed voters - Many of those who are also value voters chose a candidate in this general election, based not on their religious doctrine, but on a lack of information coming from the Church. Therefore, the Church should take care to educate their parishioners, not two weeks before a general election, but immediately and consistently, should they insist that doctrine be followed to the letter.

For additional information on the Catholic Church and its anti-abortion stand – visit: Priests for Life.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Let’s Not Take Barney’s Word for It - Bailout Transparency Demanded by Republican House Leader, Boehner

On the 11th of November, Barney Frank (D-MA), gave the country the assurance that he was just fine and dandy with the Fed not disclosing who was receiving trillions of dollars in the government aid package – no need for transparency. Placing Frank in charge is akin to having the Fox guard the henhouse. (See Freddie and Fannie.) John Boehner (R-OH) is now demanding that the Fed disclose the recipients of the funds, as well as a list of trouble assets that the Fed is taking as collateral. On the 12th of November, “Boehner, in a prepared statement, also asked the Federal Reserve to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request seeking details about the loans.
The Fed ``should comply with this Freedom of Information Act request, and in the interest of full and fair disclosure, they must begin providing lawmakers and taxpayers all information about how they are using federal tax dollars,'' Boehner said. “

Bloomberg News, reporting on this story, has also requested details from the Fed, under the Freedom of Information Act – a lawsuit was filed on Nov. 7th. Meanwhile, other than the House Republicans and this news outlet, no one else seems bothered by the fact that there is no oversight in the disbursement of trillions of dollars in taxpayer’s money. Boehner recalls that there was bi-partisan agreement during the bail-out negotiations that oversight was part of the deal. However, with past experience, the members of our Legislature should have been suspect due to the dubious involvement of Frank and Company to begin with. Something needs to be done, Pelosi, Frank and Reid are about to bail out the auto industry, and the financial giant AMEX is next in line. Where does it stop - Apparently when the state, guided by the Trio of Incompetence, owns a piece of every failing business in this nation – expecting an increasingly shrinking tax base to pay for it all. This is, of course, unless those who stand up for “we the people”, like Boehner are successful in getting the information from the Fed and then to the people.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Palin Phenomena – Victim of Politically Driven Sexism to Hot Commodity

Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska and 2008 Vice-Presidential candidate, is a force to be reckoned with. Palin, announced as the bottom of the GOP ticket in September, was immediately shredded by the press, for a variety of reasons, most notably the fact that the McCain campaign refused to allow press access – the result: the press, already infused with an emotional attachment to the opposition candidate, sought every opportunity to discredit her. They left no stone-unturned, from the despicable false charges regarding her youngest child, to the benign “Trooper Gate”; hordes of press descended upon the State of Alaska like locusts, hoping to dig up anything to discredit her, and if that failed, as it did, going straight to the fact that she was a “woman”, one who was in touch with her feminine side. The fact that she participated in the Miss America system (the organization that provides the largest volume of college scholarships to women in this country), gave rise to articles which began, “the Governor and former beauty queen”, as if to say, a bimbo from Alaska. She did not attend an Ivy League school; therefore, she must not be as “smart” as those other candidates, and the fact that the RNC provided her a wardrobe, for the family, at a whopping $150,000, was played out as if she were worse than a serial killer. Those that signed up for Google News alerts on Sarah Palin, were treated to hundreds of emails, all negative and all much more mean-spirited than the next – a focus on her education, her personal style, her family, were the norm – not one article came across mentioning her policy positions (unless it was to deride her for being pro-life and a Christian), her style of governing, or her ability to manage one of our nations greatest treasures: the State of Alaska.

The problem was simply that having focused on demonizing Clinton, her pantsuits, her husband, her laugh, until she conceded to Obama, the press was not ready or willing to accept another woman in leading political role in this election cycle. Simply put, she had to go, and what better way than to ratchet up the sexism: Caribou Barbie was born.

Now the election is over, and Palin is being sought out by every major network – why the sudden interest? Math might have something to do with it. The polls taken after the election found that Palin enjoyed great popularity with the Republicans, additionally, she is not an inside the Beltway politician, rather a woman who is most interesting; living on the outskirts of the Continental US, managing a household and a State, and having the ability to pose for Vogue, while taking down a powerful member of her own party – a young, attractive, intelligent woman who reaches out to those who are in the middle. Viewers are more likely to turn into these interviews in larger numbers, boosting ratings that have fallen off with the end of the election. Those that despise Palin will watch looking for further proof that she’s incompetent and those that are merely interested in or are a “fan”, will tune in to learn more about a rare phenomena: a Republican Rock Star. There is no doubt, that she is capable, she has fended off and dismissed the worst that our press had to offer, and came out the better for it. Should she run in 2012, she will be battle ready. Those political junkies and the press are already betting on a 2012 run, and they should. Palin, a natural politician, will be in a prime position in two years time (when the process will begin all over again), and depending upon who assumes the RNC chair, she will come out gunning. Should Michael Steele become the next RNC chair, Palin and those young grassroots, non-beltway, populist Republicans will be a force to be reckoned with in 2012.

A note to those who would find a woman who participates in “beauty pageants” to be somehow inferior: One should learn a few facts regarding the programs available and exactly who these women are: The Miss America Organization attracts budding scholars, and those seeking scholarships in order to further their educational goals. From Rhodes Scholars to the Girl Next Door who hopes of becoming the next Marie Curie, there is little fluff but much substance to these women. A fact: The organization NOW (an off-shoot of the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s”) should be grateful to the Miss America Program. They were desperately trying to get national attention, and failed repeatedly until they protested the 1968 Miss America Pageant. Women’s Liberation finally had the spotlight. Other prominent women who have competed in "Beauty Pageants": Diane Sawyer, and Ophra Winfrey to name but two.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Loose Lips, Sink Ships - There are No Secrets with Obama Administration

Matters of National Defense - What's that?
From leaks to the press regarding the normally confidential transfer of power meetings between the President and President Elect to the disclosure of the First Family Secret Service Code Names, it appears we are in for a very long four years.

Bailout Transparency Not Necessary? Barney “Rubble” Frank: “Trust Us”

Photo Courtesy of

Taxpayers weren’t necessarily sold on the “emergency bailout”, but some may have rested a bit easier knowing that there would be transparency and oversight of the millions of dollars that are being thrown at the likes of Fannie and Freddie and AIG. This week, the Federal Reserve refused to indentify who received close to 2 trillion dollars in tax payer funded loans, let alone the questionable assets that the Fed is accepting as collateral! Enter Barney Frank, the pride of Massachusetts – the same Barney Frank who had his paws on Freddie and Fannie in the first case, assuring the public that all was well with the institutions – right before the big collapse. Barney, in a conversation with Timothy Geithner, a possible pick for Treasury Secretary and current executive officer of the Fed’s New York Branch, feels that the Feds failure to disclose is just fine and dandy.

“``I talk to Geithner and he was pretty sure that they're OK,'' said Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat. ``If the risk is that the Fed takes a little bit of a haircut, well that's regrettable.'' Such losses would be acceptable, he said if the program helps revive the economy.
`Unclog the Market'
Frank said the Fed shouldn't reveal the assets it holds or how it values them because of ``delicacy with respect to pricing.'' He said such disclosure would ``give people clues to what your pricing is and what they might be able to sell us and what your estimates are.'' He wouldn't say why he thought that information would be problematic. “

To recap, the Fed is not disclosing who is getting the 2 trillion dollars, nor the types of risks being assumed, and Frank is ok with this because Geithner is “pretty sure that they’re ok”, and would not say why disclosing this information would be problematic. Barney Frank’s advanced degree in Economics doesn’t appear to be serving the tax payers – perhaps because he doesn’t have one. Barney is also bringing the Massachusetts model of decriminalizing Marijuana to the national stage. Barney might not be the crackpot many in his district believe (granted he was re-elected handily due to weak opposition), but this move may answer the question: “What’s he smoking?”

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Republican Party - What went wrong in 2008 – The Brand and The Entertainment Factor

There is a lot of finger-pointing going on at the moment – from within the Republican Party and from a gleeful press - as to what caused the failure of the McCain campaign. From McCain’s “soft of Obama” demeanor to an “untested” Palin, a feeding frenzy is taking place – to what end? After eight years of an administration that was never accepted by the Democrats or a press who relentlessly attacked every policy move, foreign or domestic – it was inconceivable that any Republican would be successful in 2008. Additionally, “we the people”, are fickle. The Presidency has devolved into nothing more than a personality contest – from Ophrah to the View and Leno to Letterman, the candidates we’re treated as more “celebrity” than politician – Cable and Broadcast news followed suit, paying as much attention to what was said on the “View”, as to any policy positions. It’s about connecting with and pandering to an Entertainment medium in order to reach the “masses”. It is also degrading to the office these individuals seek.

President Bush was besieged by negative press and negative publicity the moment he set foot in the White House – bitterness over the 2000 elections was nothing compared to palpable hatred that followed in 2004. While it is a fact that the media leans, for the most part, left, it is also a fact that little was done to reach out to the American public through the media – when attacked by the New York Times or any cable or broadcast network, the administration remained silent. When the Democrat leadership used the medium to consistently attack the President, he did nothing to fight back, rather, refused to dignify the consistent attacks. Unfortunately, in today’s age, refusing to acknowledge the power of the media is short-sighted to say the least.

There were, of course, other factors: the biggest being the disconnect between Washington Republicans and their base – in the last 6 years it was difficult for many conservatives to tell the difference between a Republican or a Democrat when it came to spending, special interests and scandals. That said when the new “crop” of candidates emerged in 2006 – those that were most comfortable with the media appeared to fair better; whether it was a question of mutual admiration or not.

Former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee could be found on every network, news to talk shows – Huckabee had a instant connect with the media, until of course, he looked more like a front-runner, the gloves came off, and the attacks began; and they will continue because Huckabee, and those Republicans that can connect with the people on a more personal level through Entertainment, are a real threat to the Democrats and those “progressive journalists” who know how fast four years go by.

Sarah Palin is a stunning example of random and specific attacks by both her own party and the press. Palin, who’s support among the Republican base (which itself is derided by the press), is at 60% or better, connected more with those that were working class, than McCain, who represented Washington as usual, despite his long history of bi-partisanship. That history was what bothered most conservatives, it was Palin who brought them back to the fold and now she is paying the price. From the ridiculous squabble over a wardrobe to the anonymous tips emanating from staffers who want to hitch their wagon to Washington, there are, a week after the election, consistent negative articles as well as requests for interviews – Palin, a danger to the left because of her popularity, is also a hot commodity with the press for the same reason, and like Huckabee, she is not backing down, rather standing up and taking the time given to reach out to the base and beyond.

The charge that the Republican Brand is damaged is interesting in that it ties politics to personality - placing a political party in the same category as fast food restaurant or hybrid car – that is also true of the Democrat Brand, which faired this election – simply because they understood how to manipulate the media and the entertainment mediums. Enter the fickle “we the people”. One has to understand that President-Elect Obama is now under great scrutiny and in even greater demand, not only must he govern based on the campaign promises, he must also continue to play the part of “rock star politicians” in the press. Should he fail in either, he will begin to face the same criticism as his predecessor. Those that cannot conceive of this scenario need only look back at the love-hate relationship Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan had with the press, the difference being that those Presidents did not have to deal with Leno, Letterman and the View. There stakes are greater today, and the pressure for “celebrities” to continue to please the American Public is unprecedented. Sarah Palin understands this better than most, so do other “off-beltway Republicans” like Michael Steele, and Mike Huckabee. Should the interviews and interest, be it love or hate, continue past 2009, then one can see a new “Brand of Republican” emerging, one which can compete with the other brand – Coke vs. Pepsi, so to speak. Is this new idea of politician as celebrity dignified and does it represent the Office of the Presidency? In simple terms - Yes.

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