Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Sky is Falling! Obama to Glen Beck – Alarmists Abound

President Obama photo San Fransico Sentinel

So much for Hope and Change – the American Public appears to have been handed Gloom and Doom instead, given the reaction to the mortgage crisis vis a vis Freddie and Fannie, and the subsequent house of cards that started with the triumvirate of Bush, Pelosi and Reid, and began to collapse when President Obama took office. The tone of “Fear” – as in “should we not act fast, we’ll be in grave danger”, rammed a massive spending bill down the throats of tax-payers, loaded with other “goodies” that regulate various aspects of our lives, otherwise known as: typical big spending government oversight, liberal political think. An article from Real Clear Politics speaks to the tone of Fear used by the Administration in order to affect the passage of this bill. The questions every American should be asking is whether the fear was real or contrived – if the fear of President Obama is real, then we are in serious trouble – those who are fearful tend to react – not act in the face of crisis. The point is, however, no-one truly knows what drives the President.

Polls released this past week by both CNN and FOX show a decline in approval rating between 60-67% (dependent upon the poll). The President’s approval rating the first week of office was 83% by some accounts - meaning in less than one month – his approval rating has fallen 16 points, should this monthly trend continue, by April, he will enjoy an approval rating of 35% or, a rating comparable to his predecessor. One can assume this decline in approval is not, part and parcel, his reaction to the Financial Crisis, rather a culmination of incidents including questionable appointees.

Glen Beck- photo CNN via

Enter the right: Glen Beck, talk radio host and Fox News Commentator, is upset with the stimulus and sheer amount of waste and debt involved. (Who isn’t?) That said, in a broadcast last evening, Beck broke the “fear barrier” by “predicting” that a “Revolution” was at hand. Speaking with a string of experts, Beck outlined the “doom” that is may or may not happen: Bank Holidays (where all assets are frozen) by order of the President, Militia’s (ok he may have a point here), that are drilling in the event of “civil unrest”, the need for families to store food and plan to defend themselves. The premise, martial law will be imposed to deal with riots and unrest and possibly insurrection against a government run amok, due to food shortages, money shortages and massive unemployment, not to mention passage of the Fairness Doctrine.

What is telling is that Amazon has been doing a brisk business in Survival Guides and assorted accessories in recent weeks. There is a featured “Survivors Forum” with the two most popular threads: The New World Order Survivor, and Mass Corruption Runaway Government & collapse of our Nation. This is fear driven by politics of fear (real or imagined) and those that profit from fear (Mr. Beck may be sincere in his conservative values, but fear appears to sell.)

This is the most likely scenario: Those moderates and Republican’s that voted for President Obama due to total disillusionment with the Republican Party and the Bush Administration and a very weak candidate in John McCain (reality), will shift sharply within the next two years: in 2010 it is more likely now that Congress will receive a “conservative makeover”, meanwhile, those Democrats who have been in lockstep with Pelosi, Reid and company, will be forced to choose between their jobs and their ideology – with an end result of a halt and reversal of legislation that is at the very least, objectionable to a majority. In 2012, that message will be sent to the White House, it is difficult, at this point, to envision President Obama in a second term. Is it entirely his fault? Resoundingly no – to be fair, expectations for a one-term Senator from Illinois who had zero experience, were exceedingly high, no-one, and that bears repeating, no one could live up to the parameters set for this one man by his own constituents and the moderates who voted for what they felt were the lesser of two evils. It also needs to be realized that our current economic “crisis” is similar in scope to the economy of the 1970’s (which no-one seems to be talking about.) Unemployment, run-away inflations, bank bailouts, gas lines, and high interest rates, were all part and parcel of the Carter administration. It is true that the scope of this stimulus package dwarfs all previous versions, however, it is also true, that the economy has recovered, on more than one occasion, with the election of a fiscal conservative to the White House (and members of the Congress who would, regardless of party, work to reduce the pain of the people.).
The lesson one must take from this current “crisis” is in an historical context - it is merely a pattern of politics and economics, one which, certain individuals will use “crisis” for political gain (in this case, in error), while others will use “crisis” for financial gain. In any event, one can be assured that change is constant and guaranteed under the constitution through the process of elections, therefore, the only “revolution” that will take place, logically, would be in the voting booth in 2010 and 2012. Let us just hope that, as history repeats itself, we do not make the same mistakes and place yet another political party in control of both the Executive Branch and the Legislature. The Republican control of all branches, followed by Democrat control of all branches, and the ensuing rhetoric from the imbalance in ideology, created an atmosphere of do-nothing to panicked finger-pointing. Additionally, committed ideologues cannot now, nor ever will be able to function as bi-partisan; it is those willing to meet in the middle that will do the most good. Although these names have been bandied about, for good or ill, they exemplified a government that worked for the people: Ronald Regan and Tip O’Neil. One can also add, Newt Gingrich and William Jefferson Clinton to that list. One can rest assured that in the near future, there will be others to add to that list, and the cycle will continue.

NARAL (Pro-Abortion Group) Heralds Election of Pro-Abortion Legislators – Catholic Voters Guide

A quick guide for all Catholics, (or any given denomination that does not support Abortion): In light of Pope Benedict’s warning to Catholic legislatures this past week, following the short meeting with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (As head of the Vatican State, not head of the Catholic Church (a snub in itself) - the Pope noted it was every Catholics duty to uphold life at every stage. The Bishop of Scranton, (Pennsylvania), has taken up Benedicts tone, baring pro-abortion activist from any St. Patrick’s days masses or parades.

With this new tone on Abortion set by the Pope, the following may be a beneficial guide for lay people when considering candidates in 2010 (let alone the “stimulus package”). NARAL’s (pro-Abortion) website offers congratulations to all representatives that either won or held onto a seat in 2008 - those who have worked tirelessly for abortion rights, are noted with an asterisk as being endorsed by NARAL. The List From ProChoiceAmerica (NARAL)

Sen. Barack Obama *
Gov. Christine Gregoire, Washington
Gov. John Lynch, New Hampshire
Beverly Perdue, North Carolina
Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Montana
U.S. Senate
Sen. Max Baucus, Montana *
Mayor Mark Begich, Alaska *
Sen. Richard Durbin, Illinois *
Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa
Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts *
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey *
Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan
State Speaker Jeff Merkley, Oregon *
Sen. Jack Reed, Rhode Island
Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire *
Rep. Tom Udall, New Mexico *
Rep. Mark Udall, Colorado *
U.S. House of Representatives
Rep. Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii - 01
Rep. Gary Ackerman, New York - 05
State Sen. John Adler, New Jersey - 03 *
Rep. Rob Andrews, New Jersey - 01
Rep. Michael Arcuri, New York - 24
Rep. Joe Baca, California - 43
Rep. Brian Baird, Washington - 03
Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin - 02
Rep. Melissa Bean, Illinois - 08
Rep. Xavier Becerra, California - 31
Rep. Shelley Berkley, Nevada - 01
Rep. Howard Berman, California - 28
Rep. Tim Bishop, New York - 01 *
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Oregon - 03
Rep. Rick Boucher, Virginia - 09 *
Rep. Bob Brady, Pennsylvania - 01
Rep. Bruce Braley, Iowa - 01 *
Rep. Corinne Brown, Florida - 03
Rep. Lois Capps, California - 23
Rep. Michael Capuano, Massachusetts - 08
Rep. Russ Carnahan, Missouri - 03 *
Rep. André Carson, Indiana - 07 *
Rep. Kathy Castor, Florida - 11
Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Michigan - 13 *
Rep. Yvette Clarke, New York - 11
Rep. William Lacy Clay, Missouri - 01
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Missouri - 05
Rep. Steve Cohen, Tennessee - 09 *
Gerry Connolly, Virginia - 11 *
Rep. John Conyers, Michigan - 14
Rep. Joe Courtney, Connecticut - 02 *
Rep. Joseph Crowley, New York - 07
Rep. Elijah Cummings, Maryland - 07
Rep. Susan Davis, California - 53
Rep. Danny Davis, Illinois - 07
Rep. Peter DeFazio, Oregon - 04
Rep. Diana DeGette, Colorado - 01
Rep. William Delahunt, Massachusetts - 10
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Connecticut - 03 *
Rep. Norman Dicks, Washington - 06
Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Texas - 25 *
Rep. Donna Edwards, Maryland - 04 *
Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota - 05 *
Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Illinois - 05
Rep. Eliot Engel, New York - 17
Rep. Anna Eshoo, California - 14
Rep. Sam Farr, California - 17
Rep. Chaka Fattah, Pennsylvania - 02
Rep. Bob Filner, California - 51
Rep. Bill Foster, Illinois - 14 *
Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts - 04
Mayor Marcia Fudge, Ohio - 11
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona - 08 *
Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York - 20 *
Alan Grayson, Florida - 08 *
Rep. Al Green, Texas - 09
Rep. Raul Grijalva, Arizona - 07 *
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Illinois - 04
Rep. John Hall, New York - 19
State Sen. Debbie Halvorson, Illinois - 11 *
Rep. Phil Hare, Illinois - 17 *
Rep. Jane Harman, California - 36
Rep. Alcee Hastings, Florida - 23
Martin Heinrich, New Mexico - 01 *
Rep. Brian Higgins, New York - 27
Rep. Maurice Hinchey, New York - 22
Rep. Mazie Hirono, Hawaii - 02 *
Rep. Paul Hodes, New Hampshire - 02 *
Eleanor Holmes Norton, District of Columbia - AL
Rep. Rush Holt, New Jersey - 12
Rep. Mike Honda, California - 15
Rep. Steny Hoyer, Maryland - 05
Rep. Jay Inslee, Washington - 01
Rep. Steve Israel, New York - 02
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Illinois - 02
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas - 18
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas - 30
Rep. Hank Johnson, Georgia - 04
Rep. Ron Kind, Wisconsin - 03
Ann Kirkpatrick, Arizona - 01
Rep. Ron Klein, Florida - 22
Suzanne Kosmas, Florida - 24 *
Frank Kratovil, Maryland - 01
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Ohio - 10
Rep. Rick Larsen, Washington - 02
Rep. John Larson, Connecticut - 01
Rep. Barbara Lee, California - 09 *
Rep. Sandy Levin, Michigan - 12
Rep. John Lewis, Georgia - 05 *
Rep. David Loebsack, Iowa - 02 *
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, California - 16
Rep. Nita Lowey, New York - 18 *
Dan Maffei, New York - 25 *
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, New York - 14 *
Rep. Edward Markey, Massachusetts - 07
Betsy Markey, Colorado - 04 *
Eric Massa, New York - 29 *
Rep. Doris Matsui, California - 05
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, New York - 04
Rep. Betty McCollum, Minnesota - 04 *
Rep. Jim McDermott, Washington - 07
Rep. James McGovern, Massachusetts - 03 *
Mike McMahon, New York - 13
Rep. Jerry McNerney, California - 11 *
Rep. Kendrick Meek, Florida - 17
Rep. Gregory Meeks, New York - 06
Rep. George Miller, California - 07
Rep. Brad Miller, North Carolina - 13 *
Walt Minnick, Idaho - 01 *
Rep. Harry Mitchell, Arizona - 05 *
Rep. Gwen Moore, Wisconsin - 04
Rep. Jim Moran, Virginia - 08
Rep. Patrick Murphy, Pennsylvania - 08 *
Rep. Chris Murphy, Connecticut - 05 *
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York - 08 *
Rep. Grace Napolitano, California - 38
Rep. John Olver, Massachusetts - 01
Rep. Frank Pallone, New Jersey - 06
Rep. Ed Pastor, Arizona - 04
Rep. Donald Payne, New Jersey - 10
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, California - 08
Rep. Ed Perlmutter, Colorado - 07 *
Gary Peters, Michigan - 09 *
Jared Polis, Colorado - 02
Rep. David Price, North Carolina - 04
Rep. Charles Rangel, New York - 15
Laura Richardson, California - 37 *
Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, Texas - 23 *
Rep. Steve Rothman, New Jersey - 09
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, California - 34
Rep. Bobby Rush, Illinois - 01
Rep. Linda Sanchez, California - 39
Rep. Loretta Sanchez, California - 47
Rep. John Sarbanes, Maryland - 03
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Illinois - 09
State Sen. Mark Schauer, Michigan - 07 *
Rep. Adam Schiff, California - 29
Rep. Allyson Schwartz, Pennsylvania - 13
Rep. David Scott, Georgia - 13
Rep. Bobby Scott, Virginia - 03
Rep. Jose Serrano, New York - 16
Rep. Joe Sestak, Pennsylvania - 07 *
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, New Hampshire - 01
Rep. Brad Sherman, California - 27
Rep. Albio Sires, New Jersey - 13
Rep. Louise Slaughter, New York - 28
Rep. Adam Smith, Washington - 09
Rep. Hilda Solis, California - 32
Rep. Jackie Speier, California - 12
Rep. Pete Stark, California - 13
Rep. Betty Sutton, Ohio - 13
Rep. Ellen Tauscher, California - 10
Harry Teague, New Mexico - 02 *
Rep. Bennie Thompson, Mississippi - 02
Rep. Mike Thompson, California - 01
Rep. John Tierney, Massachusetts - 06
Paul Tonko, New York - 21 *
Rep. Edolphus Towns, New York - 10
Rep. Niki Tsongas, Massachusetts - 05
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland - 08
Rep. Nydia Velazquez, New York - 12
Rep. Tim Walz, Minnesota - 01 *
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida - 20
Rep. Maxine Waters, California - 35
Rep. Diane Watson, California - 33
Rep. Melvin Watt, North Carolina - 12
Rep. Henry Waxman, California - 30
Rep. Anthony Weiner, New York - 09
Rep. Peter Welch, Vermont - AL *
Rep. Robert Wexler, Florida - 19
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, California - 06
Rep. David Wu, Oregon – 01

Length of Term in Office House of Representatives, 2 years, Senate – 6 years, President – 4 years. Next election: 2010.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Unforeseen Impact of the Stimulus Package: What’s Left in Your Wallet?

Immediately following the President Obama’s signing of the Stimulus Package, otherwise known as the “American Reinvestment and Recovery Act”(full text here), Wall Street Reacted by taking a sharp downturn on Tuesday, falling 297 points to close at 7552, the lowest level since 2003. Some may argue, that Wall Street symbolizes the wealthy, (which is what a certain political party is banking on), however, the fact remains that most pension and retirement plans, public and government, are tied to the fortunes of the stock market – the more the term “nationalized” is bandied about the more Wall Street reacts.

In addition to dwindling retirement holdings, middle income consumers are also facing an increase in the interest rates on credit cards. Interest rates have doubled on some cardholders, regardless of credit score - this from banks who were on the receiving end of hefty bailouts. What to watch for: rising rates on Certificates of Deposits. During the Carter Administration, (there are some interesting parallels) interest rates on CD’s (for those who had the money to invest), rose to double digits. Unemployment was through the roof, and inflation (on the rise now), went to the double digits. Also impacted rates on new home loans (21%) and used car loans (26%).

No one knows this better than those in the trenches – pouring good money into bad ideas, (or time-tested methods that have failed in the past), are known to those in the economic trenches. This week, CNBC’s, Rick Santelli, “lost it” on the floor of the Chicago Exchange. In a rant on the home mortgage bailout, Santelli was joined by traders on the floor booing in response in response to the mortgage bailout portion of the Stimulus plan, cheers went up when Santelli suggested a Chicago Tea Party (the original Boston Tea Party a direct result of taxes levied on the American Colonies, that certain Patriots refused to pay. The taxes were assessed to reimburse England for the costs incurred by the colonies during the French and Indian Wars. Logic follows that the founding fathers in Boston, MA we’re basically tax dodgers – and our Great Nation was founded on the principal of Tax Evasion. (Or, in this case, Mortgage Evasion.)

CNBC has a poll up (here) which asks respondents if they would participate in the Chicago Tea Party. The non-scientific polls indicate that 92% of respondents would, indeed, like to join in. Where is the confidence in our Government to haul the private sector up out of the mire (originally created by the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fiasco), and on the road to recovery?

To those with any sense of history, specifically as regards to the ups and downs of the American Economy since the first Tea Party, it is a general rule that government intervention is sometimes required, but in the form of oversight, not direct intervention and ownership of programs that create massive deficits that benefit a few, and hamstring the majority with – taxes. When the tax base erodes, due to high inflation and loss of jobs (due to overtaxed corporations taking their business elsewhere or closing all together), there simply will be no money left to support these programs. Enter true middle class tax cuts in order to stimulate the economy – but that won’t take place unless there is a revolution of sorts, in the next two general elections. One would hope that given time, this stimulus package would provide some relief, albeit temporary to those who truly need assistance, and would act to jump start a very troubled economy. It is not an overnight process, that said, American’s, in general, are not patient people, seeking the quick fix, from a President whose approval rating continues to decline, dropping an additional 5 points to 60% this past week , because expectations were based on the “hype” of hope and change, not the reality of governing. The question remains, will the backlash continue, and will more “Tax Tea Party’s” be on the horizon?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pope Benedict Reads Riot Act to Pelosi – Will the Pope Rock the Catholic Vote in 2010?

Photograph: Catholic News Agency

Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Speaker of the House, and third in line to the Presidency (lest we forget), met with Pope Benedict on Wednesday. The Pope met with Ms. Pelosi as the Head of State of the Vatican, specifically not the “Head of the Church”, which, in itself was significant. Pelosi, along with other pro-abortion Democrat candidates, consistently use their Catholicism during campaigns, either by professing to be “ardent Catholics”, or making “newsworthy” appearance at churches; while vigorously campaigning for a women’s “right to choose”, and receiving endorsements from pro-abortion organizations such as N.A.R.A.L. CNA (The Catholic News Agency) has been reporting this meeting and printed the following from the Vatican:

Immediately after the meeting, the Holy See’s press office released a statement saying, "following the general audience the Holy Father briefly greeted Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, together with her entourage."
"His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in co-operation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development."

Further, Pope Benedict allowed no camera’s or press during the brief meeting, taking away any opportunity for Ms. Pelosi to use the press to further political ambitions. (It is estimated that Catholics make up one of the largest voting blocs in the United States and are a key “swing vote” in U.S. elections. , Additionally, 70% of Hispanics identify themselves as Catholic )

Benedict's Vatican, has been, by far, the most vocal in opposition to politicians and abortion worldwide. In October of 2008, the Prefect of the Vatican's Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, labeled the Democrat Party – “the Party of Death” in response to the pro-abortion policies of the majority of the party’s figureheads. The Pope’s statement issued after the private meeting with Pelosi, constitutes a strong rebuke of all Catholic Politician’s who profess their faith and then, to pacify their backers and some constituents, rely on the excuse of “choice”. Benedict is clearly not buying any of this.

Reuters reported that Ms. Pelosi issued a very brief statement after her meeting at the Vatican, however, did not mention abortion, rather praised the Catholic Church on its stance on peace and global warming.

A Catholic “pro-choice” group (oxymoron) “Catholics for Choice”, headed by Jon O’Brien, in an interview with “The Hill” hoped that the meeting with Pelosi would focus on “bigger” issues than abortion: “That would be a real conversation about choice, instead of this micro-obsession with abortion,” O’Brien said. “They made a very intelligent, diplomatic move.”
The Groups Website Article entitled “Catholic Voters and Policy Makers Lead the Way” written this past November by Mr. O'Brien praises the election of Barack Obama and the role Catholics played in electing such a pro-choice President, the following excerpt is chilling to this Catholic:

As pro choice Catholics, we celebrate the election of a pro choice President who has been a strong supporter of abortion rights, comprehensive sexuality education and access to reproductive health care. The next administration will have to work hard to repair the damage done to reproductive right during the last eight years: the Global Gag Rule, abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, subordinating science to personal belief, and a pervasive program against family-planning efforts. Undoubtedly, concerns about America’s economic security and military engagements overseas will garner a great deal of attention. However, we urge the next administration and Congress to also work for advances in reproductive health care in the US and abroad.

In other words, Mr. O’Brien and like-minded politician’s who are staunch advocates of abortion – against the teaching of a Church they profess to follow faithfully - merely use the Church to promote their agenda.

What Mr. O’Brien and politician’s like Ms. Pelosi, Biden, John Kerry, etc. had banked on in the past was the disconnect between Catholics, specifically, moderate politically minded Catholics and more traditional Conservative Catholics, as well silence from the U.S. Church and the Pope. However, Benedict is far removed in temperament from John Paul, and the growing evangelical base within the Catholic Church, the inclusion of a very conservative Hispanic Catholic population coupled with an increasingly vocal group of U.S. Bishops, may actually put an end to the game of mixing politics and church by pro-abortion politicians seeking re-election.

The following AP Video puts the meeting and the Pope’s view of Politician’s and their role as “Catholics” into perspective: (Note: there are 1,057 articles in a Google Search: “Pelosi and the Pope”)

Speaking as an Evangelical Catholic, and a values voter – to cast a vote for a politician who pro-actively campaigns on the abortion ticket – regardless of religious affiliation would run counter to conscious for this Hispanic, first generation American. To use a phrase form one of the commenter on CAN’s article regarding the Pope’s stand: “Benedict Rocks!” It remains to be seen, with the 2010 elections on the horizon, how this will play out in states that have a significant block of Catholic voters.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Afghanistan – Revisited – Obama’s Political Troop Deployment

President Barack Obama has ordered the deployment of 17,000 troops to Afghanistan , the LA Times notes that the increase is part of a campaign promise made by Obama to refocus efforts in that arena. Afghanistan, however, has a long history of giving the boot to outsiders, the various tribal factions which cause constant friction aside; one has to add to the mix, the religious zealots of the Taliban and the long-standing relationships between the tribes and the “camps” that house the “so called terrorists” (One has to wonder what Helen Thomas is smoking).

Afghanistan has a long history of repelling “invaders” , a condensed, easy to read, treatment on the subject by Frank W. Thackery and John E. Findling can be found online at , Google Books. The Soviet Union, the last country to make a military excursion into Afghanistan, spent ten long years battling the terrain and a people entrenched in Islamic Fundamentalism. In an attempt to prop up a communist regime, the Soviets found that simply giving more freedom to women, for example, resulted in a backlash that resulted in a pounding defeat. The incursion is often referred to as the Soviet’s “Viet Nam”.

The question remains, therefore, have times changed so dramatically in the course of 20 years, that an increase in U.S. Military on the ground in Afghanistan will fare better? The government is, for all intents and purposes, a Democracy (thank you President Bush), and is working towards improvements in a country that’s terrain makes for safe havens for those pesky Islamic Fascists. The fact that the culture is deep rooted in tribal relationships, and many of those tribal leaders have responsibilities to either members of Al Qaeda or the Taliban adds to the problem. From the perspective of History, even the great Genghis Khan found Afghanistan to be problematic, therefore one would reason, that, given the fact little has changed, the addition of 17,000 troops will do little to put a dent in the continuing carnage.

The U.S. Military in Afghanistan, under General David McKiernan, requested an entire brigade (60,000 troops) - the President is “thinking about it”. It might be wise to recall that Lyndon Johnson, and his struggle with the Viet Nam war. Johnson avoided the initial call for major troop deployments. The difference between the two Presidents, Johnson inherited the mess from Kennedy, however, Obama campaigned against Bush and his involvement in Iraq, and focused his rhetoric on the “missed opportunity” of capturing Bin Ladin in Afghanistan. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pelosi and the Pope – Nancy goes to the Vatican

Photo: Reuters - Catholics Protest against Pro-Choice Politicians

The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Benedict will meet with U.S. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday. The report was confirmed by the Catholic News Agency yesterday. The Pope, in meeting with Pelosi, will do so in his role as Head of State, rather than his role as the Head of the Church – further, the article notes that the meeting will be private, giving no chance for Ms. Pelosi to turn this “audience with the Pope” into a “photo opportunity”. Pelosi is characterized in the article as a self-described “ardent Catholic”; however, she is also, contrary to church teaching, an ardent supporter of abortion – which is a sticking point with church leaders in the U.S. as well as those within the church who are pro-life.

During the general election of 2008, the Catholic vote played a significant role in the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency, regardless of his support for abortion. Catholics, for the most part, have traditionally voted Democrat, and with an estimated 30 million Catholics living in the United States, they are a voting bloc politicians would be best to court. It was not insignificant that Joe Biden, taking on the role of running mate to Barack Obama, was touted as a “Catholic”, in most news articles - this was noted as a direct attempt to attract the Catholic vote. Additionally, the support of Caroline Kennedy (another big Catholic name), in the early stages of the campaign, went a long way towards doing the same, especially in the Northeast where the family dynasty has the most support.

With 2010 elections on the horizon, it behooves the Speaker (who, incidentally appears to rule the roost in Washington), to do her part for the Party, and appear to be devout enough to meet with the Pope. (Granted, one is not supposed to be judgmental regarding another’s religious inclinations, and it could very well be that Ms. Pelosi is seeking to be exonerated, in the Catholic tradition of confessing sins (Abortion support), in order to be absolved. The crux of the matter is that once forgiven, Ms. Pelosi would have to become an ardent pro-life advocate – which flies in the face of traditional Democrat Party values and not-insignificant financial support from pro-abortion groups such as NARAL.)

In the Machiavellian world of U.S. politics, the meeting between Pelosi and the Pope, may be the result of the election of Michael Steele to the Chair of the RNC. Steele, a devote Catholic, who is pro-life, and has a Catholic pedigree that features a strong Catholic education, including “a few years at the Augustinian Friars Seminary at Villanova University, in preparation for the priesthood, before deciding instead on a career in civil service.” Therefore, the opposition party (Republicans) now have a bonafide Catholic at the helm, both an historical event and political boon that has been grossly overlooked (or under-reported).

What to look for in the coming days: Glowing reports of the meeting between Pelosi and the Pope from sources such as the New York Times, CNN and CBS, unless of course, the meeting either offered no press coverage, or is truly a personal visit of repentance. Alternately, the Vatican has a YouTube channel, updated frequently, for those who would follow this particular meeting. The most recent video from the Vatican appears below and focuses on the need for – confession. Timely.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Great Depression and the New Deal – Comparison Current Economic “Crisis”

The Great Depression was brought about by several factors including a breakdown of the Gold Standard a system whereby governments “back” their printed currency with gold. In the late 1800’s, Democrat William Jennings Bryan, a Congressman ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Presidency against William McKinley, based on removing the Gold Standard. The Gold Standard Act was repealed in 1933, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The Market Crash of 1929 followed another depression in the late 1880’s, the nation’s spirits were high after World War I, spurring investments and “stocks” were traded without any regulation. When the market crashed in 1929, consumers became reluctant to invest, credit was available, and the Federal Reserve banking regulations were not effective. This led to bank failures - in the first 10 months of 1930, 744 US banks failed and 7 billion dollars in deposits had been frozen (Bank Holiday). As the failures continued (9000 banks total), borrowers did not have time to repay loans, construction ceased, and those banks that did survive instilled strict lending practices. Simply put it was currency with no backing, a subsequent lack of credit, and panic from the consumer that drove the country downward.

The fix was the “New Deal”, a program devised by President Roosevelt that put American’s back to work – the unemployment rate was at 25% - his stimulus included infrastructure projects that allowed able bodied American’s that did not have a job, to build highways, women were put to work in factories making low-cost clothing. He instituted social security for those too old to work, and all programs he instituted were thought to be “temporary” – once the economy righted itself, the “dole” would end.

F.D.R. must be doing 360’s in his grave.

How does today’s economic crisis and the subsequent “American Investment and Recovery Act”, compare to that of the 1930’s? It is true that there has been an economic downturn, specifically regarding Wall-Street; however, the market has not “crashed”. The effect of the lax lending practices of major banks required by Federal laws, effectively led the default of loans and subsequent foreclosures in the housing market. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, government “banks” for all intents and purposes, were the first to go under; and as larger private banks bought the “toxic” assets from failing institutions, they too needed a bit of aid from the government. Consumers are, right now, reluctant to make major purchases, and several banks have been closed, but the scope and the numbers are not sufficient to make a valid comparison between the two economic crises. The intent of the TARP was to free credit, however, without oversight, some banks who received funds did little to nothing to ease the credit necessary to keep retail and other sectors moving and layoffs followed. The panicked reaction of both the Bush and Obama administrations further exacerbated the problem. It had not, however, reached the proportion of the 1930’s – enter the Stimulus – indeed there is some job creation (short-term) in the bill, however, most of it is special projects otherwise known as “pork” – additionally, the creation of bureaucracies to oversee programs have created jobs with the Federal Government. There is tax breaks included, for those not currently paying taxes, and those paying taxes are receiving so little ($13.00 per week), that it would not fill a gas tank, let alone, instill consumer confidence. Temporary work programs serving all facets of the nation’s economy intended to alleviate a high rate of unemployment (a true New-Deal approach), is not included in this Act.

Now the question remains, as there are few valid comparisons between the 1930’s and today, will the Administrative Panic of 2008-2009, insure that the nation will slump further, with little to no tax relief for individuals and corporation that drive the economy? That remains to be seen – however, should this package prove to drive the middle class taxpayer to the brink, political fortunes of those who took the New Deal out of scope, and made the decisions this past weekend I the Senate, may end up poisoning an entire Political party.

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