“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up.” Karol Cardinal Wotyla (Sept. 1976)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Barack Obama Persona, Part I: A Detached President

As aforementioned, here is my take as to what the driving forces that makes up Barack Obama’s persona. Admittedly, I have absolutely no clinical training and my psychology classes numbered two in college, but hey… that never stopped an Irishman before.

My first observation is that I believe Barack Obama is a very detached person. Detached in many ways, but first and foremost detached from his emotions.

Sadly, his father abandoned his family when he was only two years old, which left the President without a male role model and the chance of forming this primary attachment in his life.

In addition, his mother sent him to live with his grandparents in Hawaii when he was ten, but permitted his half-sister to stay under her care. The separation was only one year, but again it strikes me as unusual and was probably not the best scenario to enhance the attachment of a maternal bond in Obama's life.

A few years back, I read the book Snakes in Suits. The book described at length how to spot psychopaths in the workplace. According to the book, one characteristic that distinguishes this group of people is that they are usually great public speakers. The philosophy behind this line of thought is that psychopaths do not have any connection to the words that saying; they are just words with no attachment to a conscious, emotion or to their feelings so the words freely flow unobstructed producing a great result.

When a normal person has to talk in publicly there is frequently stuttering and nerves that come out. These normal people have attachments to their words and emotions.

Now let me say very clearly I DO NOT BELIEVE our President is a psychopath, and I do not believe all great public speakers as psychopaths, but I do believe that the President’s emotional detachment may be a contributing force in allowing him to excel in public speaking.

Multiple political pundits have cited that Obama delivers his speeches in a way that a college professor would instruct a class. I think this is a fair observation. College professors instruct those around them at an elevated, professional level, void of interpersonal interaction. This again is where Obama excels.

During New York’s 2008 Al Smith Dinner (a dinner where presidential candidates humorously roast each other), Republican-nominee John McCain freely cracked jokes at the podium, even defaming himself often, frequently breaking out into laughter and shared his enjoyment with the whole room. When it was President Obama’s turn, to date, I have never seen Barack Obama appear more uncomfortable and squeamish than when he tried to deliver pre-written humorous punch lines at this dinner. Humor is an emotion, if you are detached from your emotions it is very difficult to laugh and be comfortable with your humorous side.

Moreover, cited repeatedly on this blog was the fact that Barack Obama was the only representative in the Illinois State Legislature to vote AGAINST the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. This piece of legislation protected babies that survived botched abortions and were breathing on their own. You really have to have ice in your veins to vote against this bill with no pings of conscious… or be very detached from any emotion.

I had a good amount of fun in this blog goofing on Obama’s Styra-foam pillars at his Denver convention speech. If you think about the back drop that Obama chose on this most important night of his life... it was a visual back drop of hard, cold, impersonal stone. Am I reading too much into this?

The Obama camp will tell you they copied JFK’s theme at his 1960 convention, but I would argue that Kennedy was a very detached person as well. Detached from his emotions and conscience. Multiple mistresses, shady dealings, etc... Kennedy was also a dynamic orator.

Obama was very comfortable with this colossus Coliseum theme, and the large-scale scope of this production also protected him from any smaller intimate setting that could possibly leave him exposed.

We have a very detached President.

Friday, July 24, 2009

America Shrugs with Consequences

Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged has been getting an intense amount of play over the past year. For those who are not familiar with the book, the WSJ’s Stephen Moore does a good job in giving an overview of Rand’s writing:

"… the moral of the story is simply this: Politicians invariably respond to crises -- that in most cases they themselves created -- by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs . . . and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism."

The 30-thousand-foot overview behind the selected title of this book revolves around the mythological figure Atlas, who held up the burden of the whole world on his shoulders, and what happens if all the hardworking people who contribute all the tax dollars that make everything run and provide for so many non-contributors decide to "shrug" one day and not do it anymore, or by the growing tax burden of the government eventually fail in their responsibility.

All Americans should take note of what is now happening in California. The social programs and government spending have exploded so much in the past decade -couple with the state taking in less tax revenue due to the downturn in the economy - that it has left a $24 billion dollar short fall.

As a result, on May 18th, Governor Schwarzenegger had Californians go to the polls to see if they can be tapped a little more on the tax side to compensate for the state’s fiscal irresponsibility. The Times Union reports:

"Just weeks ago, California voted down by an almost 2-to-1 margin their political leaders' grand compromise to stop the state's fiscal hemorrhaging. The compromise comprised six ballot initiatives. Of these, five lost with at least 63 percent voter rejection. The only one that did pass -- with 74 percent support -- was one prohibiting state lawmakers from raising their salaries if the state budget was not balanced."

Atlas shrugged, government's taxation of "We the people" had hit the bottom of the tank. Taxpayers sent a clear message to Sacramento that it was time to address the issue of their uncontrolled spending -- they would not give one more dime in taxes. The awful reality of the non-sustainable fiscal course that California chose to take will now result in their day of reckoning and have dire repercussions, hit harshly, and sadly target many of those most in need, as the Mercury news reports :

"Schwarzenegger has proposed dropping 500,000 families from the welfare rolls and wiping out Healthy Families, a program that subsidizes health insurance for children of people who work but are still poor. One million poor children would lose their health insurance in that little sleight of hand."

Alan Keyes many years back stated that if Americans knew the enormous amount of taxes they contributed to our government would go to those in most need, they would be OK with the tax burden because America has a very good heart at the end of the day. I totally agree with him.

California's day of reckoning is a direct result of the abuse of greedy government spending, political payoffs and non-deserving individuals and organizations who all milked the system. Heartbreakingly, those is desperate need of society's care will be clumped in with welfare-light cases as the California's buzz saw comes.

Pat Buchanan has a very sobering column showing the striking similarities between the course that California has been on for the past decade, and where the country of America right now is heading. Reading this column was an extreme downer, but doe not make it any less noteworthy.

Social programs now are over 60% of the U.S. budget, so these cuts will be inevitable as the interest on our trillion dollar debt grows to a higher percentage of our budget and the government needs to compensate from somewhere.

While America's day of reckoning is not here yet, it is without a question coming. We would be wise to review and revamp these programs now, carefully taking the time and diligence to protect those in real need. Maybe we should come up with a numeric rating system, putting those severely handicap at the top priority of the list, and able-body people who have been on welfare for more than a year at the bottom. This is a far more compassionate and moral solution then to arrive at the point where we have to throw hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people off these programs indiscriminately, on a moment's notice, five years from now. This is where we are sadly heading.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Barack Obama: A Six Month Pause Comparison

On the morning after the 2008 Presidential election, a wildly-enthusiast Obama co-worker told me he was going to be one of the greatest presidents in American History. In order to temper this blind affection, I made a bold statement to him that I believed, within four years - or the end of Obama’s first term, the George W. Bush Presidency would have a higher approval rating than the Obama presidency. At that time, Barack Obama had an 80% approval rating in some polls, while the departing President Bush was at the extreme other end of the approval rating with only 20%.

As I made this bold statement, I thought of a quote by Richard Nixon in his autobiography. At the 1959 kitchen debate with Russian Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, Khrushchev was waiving his "We will Bury You!" bravado as Nixon recounts:

'Khrushchev arrogantly predicted to me,' writes Nixon, ' your grandchildren will live under Communism.' I responded, Your grandchildren will live in freedom.' At the time,'Nixon now concedes, 'I was sure he was wrong, but I was not sure I was right."

I felt the same way about my Bush/Obama approval rating prediction. I knew he was wrong, I wasn't sure I was right.

Well, this morning while making a 4AM escape from a Nashville hotel, I was greeted with today’s edition of USA Today. The front page listed a Gallup comparison on all the Presidents’ approval rating since Harry Truman after their first 6 months in office:

Truman: 82%
Kennedy: 75%
Johnson: 74%
Eisenhower: 73%
Carter: 67%
Bush Sr.: 66%
Nixon: 65%
Reagan: 60%
Bush Jr: 56%
Obama: 55%

Clinton: 41%
Ford: 39%

As you notice, right now Obama is tracking behind GW Bush. Maybe I should have 'gotten odds on my statement.

Last month, Peggy Noonan conveyed the thought that all great Presidencies are to known by just one sentence:

"The Sentence [philosophy] comes from a story Clare Boothe Luce told about a conversation she had in 1962 in the White House with her old friend John F. Kennedy. She told him, she said, that "a great man is one sentence." His leadership can be so well summed up in a single sentence that you don't have to hear his name to know who's being talked about. "He preserved the union and freed the slaves," or, "He lifted us out of a great depression and helped to win a World War." You didn't have to be told "Lincoln" or "FDR."

Noonan says Obama’s great sentence should be: "He brought America back from economic collapse and kept us strong and secure in the age of terror."

Sadly instead, Obama’s statement will read, "He was responsible for double-digit inflation due to the Fed's printing of money to cover his unprecendented, drunken-shopaholic-type spending on his failed fiscal and social programs."

After watching Barack Obama for the past 6 months, I finally understand what makes him tick. I am going to lay out my thoughts on what I believe are the three elements that make up his persona over the next few days.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

President Obama Met America Tonight

Away from his Washington Press Corps enablers, President Obama threw out the ceremony first pitch at tonight's baseball All-Star Game in St. Louis.

I told a co-worker today it will be a referendum on Obama, to see how America's heartland greeted him.

The Wall St. Journal confirms he was booed:

"Obama is still wearing jeans as he runs out of the dugout for the first pitch. And they’re booing him. Because he’s wearing a White Sox jacket. You have to admire the President of the United States running out to the pitcher’s mound in St. Louis while wearing a Chicago jacket."

Yeah, it was the jacket, not the 16% under/unemployment rate and the fact that the deficit passed a trillion dollars this week.

I carefully listened to the crowd reaction, and I would put the negative reaction at 60-70%.

The President offered the National League Sonya Sotomayor's empathy ruling for not winning in eleven years, and ignored a groundskeeper who asked him where all the other shovel-ready jobs were.

The Sports Examiner: "Obama booed more at All Star game than Manny in New York return"

Liberty and Tyranny

I am currently making time in my overloaded schedule to read Mark Levine’s book Liberty and Tyranny.

Being a frequent listener to Levine's radio show, what struck me the most about his book is how truly scholarly this undertaking was. It has close to 40 pages of footnotes and documentations in the rear of the book. I know that Levine has an incredibly bright legal mind, but he is also an entertainer and humorous talk show host so I was expecting this book to be somewhat an extension of his persona and his radio show. However, this book reads like a dissertation. It is full of Federalist history, noted democratic philosophers and pertinent, historic quotes. Being 40% through this book, I am beginning to think that this is a book for the ages. Similar to Adam's Smith's Wealth of Nations. It is not your usual let me cash in on my fame by offering my thoughts bounded. This book is far above any book written by his contemporary talk show hosts or present day politicians. ("There, I said it!")

One of Levin's points that made me reflect the most was the notion that property is an essential part of Liberty. Being a Social Conservative, I always gravitate towards the “Freedom of Religion,” “Freedom of Speech”, “Inalienable Right to Life” as my prime definition of Liberty, but Levine made me pause on the concept of property.

And more than my layman’s definition of property, which I think is anything that I have to mow on Saturday, Levin is talking about any fruit of your labor. Your house, your salary, your business, your retirement accounts - - the legal definition of property which is anything that is owned by a person or entity (real and personal).

Levin states:

"In the civil society, private property and liberty are inseperable. The individual's right to live freely and safely and to pursue happiness includes the right to acquire and possess property, which represents the fruits of his own intellectual and/or physical labor. As the individual's time on earth is finite, so, too, is his labor. An illegitimate denial or diminution of his private property enslaves him to another and denies him his liberty."

Levine makes a very compelling argument that as our government assaults and commandeers our individual property through taxes and regulation we move from a state of Liberty to a state of Tyranny.

It made me rethink property in relation to Liberty. I should not have been surprised by this, the American Revolution was based on Taxation without Representation, a government that was attacking the patriot's personal property. The Founding Fathers for the most part had Freedom of Religion, and Ben Franklin was turning out his free speech daily newspapers. These were not the problem in 1776.

Another very interesting point Levine made was that our Constitution is a bedrock set of principles that can not be open to each generation's interpretation. The Liberal's bogus, “Living, breathing document” claim is just that:

"The Conservative may ask the following questions: If words and their meaning can be manipulated or ignored to advance the Statist's [read Liberal] political and policy preferences, what then binds the allegiance to the Statist's words? Why should today's law bind future generations if yesterday's lawy does not bind this generation? Why should judicial precedent bind the nation if the Constitution itself does not?"

The argument is that if one generation interprets the Constitution in a certain way, and the next generation then comes and interprets it in a completely opposite way, the legal document then conflicts itself and has no true meaning. He points out The U.S. Constitution is in fact a legal document with words that have a bedrock, absolute and a contractual meaning.

I would highly recommend this book for your beach reading.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Love Affair with Unions

One hundred years ago, unions served such a vital and necessary role in our society. They prevented low-level employees from being mangled in heavy machinery and made sure that the owners of businesses did not view human employees as a disposable, replaceable commodity and just a means to their financial wealth. “A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work ,” or something like that…

Today, the very unions that once protected people from be exploited, now have become the exploiters themselves.

For two of the last three weeks on my way to work, I passed union members making a significant presence outside a local business that is apparently not in any rush to negotiate a new contract with them. These members have blown up about six 10 ft.-tall inflatable rats on the business’ lawn, hoping to draw attention to this business and embarrass the management into signing their probably over-reaching contract.

Unbeknownst to these members, is that the general perception of those of us who work in the non-union sector have towards unions is being reinforced 10-fold by their protest.

Each morning, I, and all other numb commuters, drive past this protest and see all the union members sitting on their comfy fold-out chairs, chatting to each other as they slowly drink their morning coffee. Not a care in the world. To expand any effort to even form a picket circle and exert any spec of energy is completely out of the question. Too much sweat. Not their gig.

I think it is a good time here to draw a comparison from one of my past experiences.

While attending a Catholic college during my formative years, a large donation was received by my college from a donor who was involved with U.S.’s campaign in Nicaraguan. Due to some horrible violence towards some nuns in this country, the Dominican Sisters at my college were enraged and all up in arms. They planned to picket everyday in front of the college to show their extreme displeasure at the college accepting this contribution. Needless to say it is a Public Relations nightmare to have nuns picketing in front of your establishment. They get paid next to nothing, and spend most of their time praying for others. Most of these dear sisters were in their later years, and had to hobble with their self-made picket signs (might I say with excellent penmanship) as best they could because of their declining health. They were very determined to forcefully and energetically show their displeasure by a lot of effort!

It was such an upsetting scene, that some students who could not watch anymore of this spectacle decided to help these sisters carry their picket signs, not even understanding where Nicaragua was or what their beef was. Nothing less than a visual on this could do this scene justice, believe me...once again a complete P.R. nightmare.

Getting back to our IHOP-rat-inflators, now compare those seventy-year-old nuns to these group of thirty and forty-year-old men sitting on their , er…., lawn chairs eating a buttered bagel as traffic rolled by going to their livelihoods. On one morning, I saw all of these protesters finally display significant movement as they abandon their posts to attempt to form an orderly line - - at the coffee truck. (Hence my IHOP reference)

Finally, this protest ended last week. My morning commute was met by the first morning in two weeks without the enormous snarling rats lunging at my car as they bounced on the lawn. No one missed them except for the guy who owned the coffee truck. I sadly concluded the business must have buckled.

Imagine my surprise when this last Monday morning, the rats were back with all of their helium glory. Each protester found their chair-leg-marks in the lawn from 10 days prior and once again set up their defiance "sit-in" (bonus points on the pun) on the same exact spot where each member sat previously. This week of absence didn't make sense to me, then it hit me. It was like a light bulb going off. Last week was a holiday week. The union couldn’t get enough men to picket on days that would interfere with their member’s own holiday plans, or even worse their union did not want to pay these men time-and-a-half for picketing and working on a quasi-holiday (July 4th was a Saturday, making the prior Friday the observance), a condition that I am sure is in the contract that they are demanding from the targeted business.

My Irish grandmother always used to say there is always something to laugh at. She was so right. It is really comical.

So all your union protestors infront of Clare Rose in Melville, NY, try to sell your grievances with a little more effort, and just do not sit there waiting for your benefits.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 2, 2009: The Date of the Washington Press Corp's Independence

Congratulations to the Washington Press Corp for striking a blow for their Independence and finally being weened off the Obama Kool-Aid. They are getting fed up with these pre-canned press conferences where the Obama Administration has previews of the questions to be asked and personally hand selects the reporters to called on. Chip Reid from CBS opened Wednesday's confrontation with Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, then Helen Thomas woke up from her 11AM nap and drove a truck through it:

"This is an open forum for the public to ask question," said Chip Reid of CBS News. "But it's not really open?"

"Based on what?" responded Gibbs.

"Based on the information ... on how the audience and the questions are being selected," said Reid.

"How about this: I promise we will interrupt the AP's tradition of asking the first question. I'll let you ask me a question tomorrow on whether you thought the questions at the town hall meeting that the President conducted at Annandale...."

"That's not his point," interrupted Helen Thomas, correspondent for Hearst Newspapers. "That's, that's not his point. His point is the control from here. We have never had that in the White House. I'm amazed at you people who call for openness and transparency and control.

"You have left open the suggestion that you are pumping the answers," Thomas continued. "It's shocking. It's really shocking."

"Let's have this discussion at the conclusion of the town hall meeting," Gibbs said.

"No, no, no. We are having it now." claimed Thomas. "It's a pattern. It's a pattern. It isn't the question. It's a pattern of controlling the press."

I would highly recommend that you follow this link and watch the video of this exchange. This truly marks a turning point in Obama's relationship with the Press. Nothing will demise this Presidency quicker than losing his love affair with the press. They have been the front line in concealing all of Obama's warts.

Best of VCR: Inalienable Rights

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

This is the most famous quote in American history, but sadly many people don’t understand the exact meaning of it.

If you go up to the common man on the street, and ask them what the definition of an "unalienable right" is, they would be in trouble. Normally, people say it is a right inherent to a person or they are born with it. This answer misses the true definition.

So I ask how can we understand and defend this phrase when most of us can’t define it?

The definition of this great term, "unalienable rights", that Jefferson so carefully chose in this powerful document that unleashed freedom around the world is precisely defined as a right that "can not be transferred, taken or forfeited." It is held and controlled on the Divine level; we have no control of our unalienable rights, or anyone else’s. Jefferson knew if we had any possibility of controlling these rights on any mortal level, even controlling our own, the government would sooner of later seize them and control them. Jefferson purposely put these rights on the Divine level because they would forever be out of the grasp, and control, of the man-made government.

So… by this document, we can not "transfer" these rights: Doctors, friends or spouses can not make the decision on our behalf when our life should end. Physician-assisted suicide is in direct conflict with this document.

By this document, we can not have these rights "taken": Abortion is in direct conflict with this great document. Terri Schiavo’s starvation death/Euthanasia is in direct conflict with this document.

By this document, we can not "forfeit" these rights: Capital Punishment is positioned that the guilty has forfeited his right to live. A district attorney once told me this is the legal logic behind putting someone to death. This reasoning is in direct conflict with this document.

It is worthwhile to review this document every year at this time. Unfortunately, the Declaration of Independence is just a historical document, with no legal barring. We have to work to make these absolute principles part of our lives and laws.

Enjoy the 4th of July! God Bless America!