In fact, I think all of us who share that aim should rally behind Randy on the first ballot to send a message to the other contenders.
You can do so here.
Read it all. He rightly talks about the liberal embrace of crass utilitarianism and puts the torture of terrorists in the right perspective. I just wish that voices on the right that are defending waterboarding would re-examine their "it worked" arguments. Neumayr writes:
If achieving world peace required torturing a single baby, asks a character in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, would it be worth it?
"Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature -- that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance -- and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth."
The liberalism that Barack Obama seeks to complete answers Dostoyevsky's question with an emphatic yes. What is Obama's abortion-on-demand-forever policy but the building of a modern American way of life upon the graves of tortured babies? And not just the unavenged tears of one baby but millions of them.
This week, however, Obama did avenge the tears of terrorists. World peace, he said, isn't worth theirs. He lectured the CIA that "What makes the United States special and what makes you special is precisely the fact that we are willing to uphold our values and ideals even when it's hard."
Obama's prim pontifications about America's "values and ideals" inspired Chris Matthews and Jack Cafferty, among other deep and careful thinkers, to mull over the question: If torturing terrorists works -- as the Obama administration had to admit grudgingly this week -- is it okay? No, of course not, the chattering class proudly concluded.
One wonders why. What do they care? Having already accepted abortion and euthanasia -- which are nothing more than the expedient killing of the unborn and the elderly -- why should the expedient torture of terrorists, a lesser evil, trouble them? Oh, that's right: the terrorists are guilty and the guilty under the ministrations of modern liberalism never suffer. Pain in modern life is for the innocent.
It is a little late in the day for Obama to worry about America's moral reputation. Resisting evil even "when it is hard" hasn't interested liberalism for at least four decades. It rests on an ideology of expedient evil and crass utilitarianism.
With St. Paul, Western civilization, before modern liberalism ransacked it, said: "One may not do evil so that good may result from it." But then modern liberalism came along and reversed the formulation and now insists in the case of everything from therapeutic cloning to killing unborn children to dehydrating the elderly that one should do evil so that good may come from it.
Obama only now rediscovers the Christian ethic for terrorists, even as he weaves the "fabric of human destiny" with the tissue of tortured children.
TORONTO, ON April 30, 2009 - The Catholic Civil Rights League today expressed disappointment that changes to the Alberta Human Rights Code have not addressed the problem of the commission hearing free speech cases. The League has long argued that such provisions should be removed from the Code. This section of the Code has been relied upon in the past to attack Bishop Fred Henry for statements made in a 2005 pastoral letter about the re-definition of marriage, and to prosecute Pastor Stephen Boissoin for a letter to the Red Deer Advocate.
The Alberta government introduced amendments Tuesday to the province's human rights code that will enshrine sexual orientation as a ground of prohibited discrimination, with a companion provision to allow parents to remove their children from teachings that conflict with their religious or moral beliefs.
But the government declined to make changes that would strip the Alberta Human Rights Commission of its power to adjudicate cases of free speech, an area which has proven to be highly contentious.
The Stelmach government has said in the past that free speech issues are better handled by the hate laws in the Criminal Code rather than the commission.
However, with Bill 44, the Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Amendment Act, the province appears to have decided the federal laws provide insufficient protection and that the commission should continue ruling on free speech cases. "People have lost faith in the commission," Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett said Tuesday, according to a report in The Calgary Herald. "We want to make sure that it's a transparent, equitable system."
Says Phil Horgan, CCRL President, “This reform was an opportunity to protect free speech, particularly speech based on religious belief, and it is unfortunate that this has not occurred. This portion of the provincial code, like its cousin, Section 13 in the federal Human Rights Code, can be and has been used to stifle the expression of religious belief just because not everyone agrees with it, or with how it was expressed. Human rights commissions were designed to prevent discrimination in everyday living, such as employment and the provision of services. They should not be adjudicating free speech cases.”
The problems with human rights commissions addressing free speech cases include the absence of due process, the ability to bring complaints free of charge while respondents must defend themselves at their own expense, and the absence of a presumption of innocence or normal rules of evidence.
In addition to the complaint against Bishop Henry, which was eventually withdrawn after considerable expense for the diocese, previous charges include 1) the complaint against Stephen Boissoin, a Protestant youth pastor fined a total of $7,000 in 2008 and ordered never to speak or write publicly in future about homosexual conduct. The case is currently under appeal, and 2) a complaint filed against Ezra Levant, former publisher of the Western Standard, for publishing the controversial cartoons satirizing the Prophet Mohammed in 2006.
In order for leftism to be effective, it must first dissolve the sacred covenant between word and thing -- which is where truth resides -- and replace that bond with mere power.H/t Dr. Sanity, who adds:
This is the magic through which they can make the Constitution mean anything they want it to mean, or redefine marriage, or say that the Geneva Convention applies to terrorists, or that rough interrogation intended to save lives is torture, or that Israel is responsible for Muslim terror, or that Boy Scouts are bigots, or that there is a right to abortion, or that Porkulus is stimulus, or that terrorists are freedom fighters, or that Gitmo is a gulag, and on and on and on.
This, I think, is the nub of the crux of the gist of problem. There is no question that reality is "ambiguous" and subject to multiple interpretations. However, that should not be taken as an excuse to believe that all interpretations are of equal value. Nevertheless, this latter belief is the hateway drug into the various pneumapathologies of the left, e.g., multiculturalism, moral relativism, the "living Constitution," etc.
Again, if there is no objective way to arbitrate between competing versions of reality, then it comes down to a matter of raw power. Or, as Obama put it, "I won."
This is obviously how political correctness has slithered its slithery way into every corner of reality. In the world of political correctness, it is always 1984. Take the example of Miss California. Because even beauty pageants are run by tyrannical leftists, all points of view are of equal validity. However, if you voice the incorrect truth, then you are punished. You see? Perfect nonsense -- not the liberating kind, but the oppressive kind, AKA hell.
And it is hell, quite literally, for hell is anyplace that is beyond the rule of reason -- where reason, quite simply, does not apply.
METAPHYSICS (What is existence?)----> EPISTEMOLOGY (How do we know it?)
The answers derived from these two branches lead directly to the Ethics (how should we behave?) that one chooses to adopt and to the Politics (what degree of force is permissable?) that one practices.
For those of you who think all this philosophy business is too abstract and irrelevant to your life; you are very very wrong. Catastrophically wrong.
These ideas have everything to do with your life and how you live it. They are also the crux of why the world we live in seems to be more and more incomprehensible and insane. When you start off with the belief that reality doesn't exist outside your own head, then, it is just a very short--and minor--leap to accepting that words don't matter and can change meaning; or that it doesn't matter how you behave; that everything is relative anyway, including truth and morality.
But, as Bob points out, just because reality is ambiguous and sometimes difficult to determine; it hardly gives us carte blanche to say that every interpretation is of equal value and should be treated as such. That way lies madness...and madness is exactly what we are dealing with in today's world.
Ilan Halimi's Muslim torturers/murderers phoned the family on several occasion during the period Ilan was held hostage s and made them listen to the recitation of verses from the Koran, while Ilan’s tortured screams could be heard in the background.
23 people participated in torturing Ilan, another 20 were involved indirectly. The custodian of the building gave them the key to an apartment where they said they wanted to "keep someone."
Three weeks of unimaginable torture. Three weeks. So many clues. So many guilty animals partaking in the continuing torture in their "homemade concentration camp."
"Deborah's debut, The Defilers, is the first fiction book I've read in years. When she sent it to me, she described it as "an airport novel", and indeed, some smart mass market paperback publisher should snap it up. This police procedural has it all: exorcisms and the occult, murder, cultish kiddie p*rn, romance -- but Deborah didn't win this year's Best New Canadian Christian Fiction Award for nothing. Believe it or not, she manages to tell this twisted mystery tale without graphic sex scenes -- or even swearing -- but this isn't "goodie goodie" tacky "Christian" fiction, either.
Each chapter is a cliff-hanger. It was a fun, yet reverent read, with lots of unexpected plot twists (and characters who aren't who you think they are...) to keep you guessing. I think most of my readers would be quite touched by the angry heroine's faltering journey back to the faith.
Deborah's own faith history is harrowing in its own way. She has more about the book, including reviews, at her site."
Here are the changes that Stelmach approved. He's actually giving the HRC a $1.7 million raise.
That's right. In the face of their abusive conduct, their bullying and censoring, their Islamic fatwa against me for publishing a cartoon, and their atheist fatwa against Rev. Boissoin, he's actually rewarding them with a 25% pay hike.
Look at the bottom of that backgrounder if you want to see just how dense Stelmach is. In his rationale for clotheslining Blackett's proposals to dump the censorship provision, Stelmach writes this incomprehensible bumf:
Alberta's human rights legislation will balance freedom of speech with our responsibility to others.
Huh? I know about my freedom of speech. It is an ancient, inalienable right. It happens to be enshrined in Canada's Bill of Rights and Charter of Rights. But this "responsibility to others"? That's a legal concept now? So my freedom of speech -- my right to publish a magazine, Rev. Boissoin's right to give a sermon -- is limited by some new responsibility to -- I love this part -- "others"?
So I can't publish a magazine if someone "other" than me doesn't like it. So Rev. Boissoin can't give a sermon if someone "other" than him doesn't like it.
And then there's this gem:
Jurisdictional issues are complex, but recognizing the responsibilities that come with freedom of expression is also important.
That's not just grammatically novel, it's legal junk. I've read our Charter a dozen times. Where is the list of responsibilities that I have to submit to before Stelmach will let me have my freedom of expression?
I think Lindsey Blackett should quit cabinet and announce he is mounting a leadership campaign to unseat Stelmach.
Yet torture is wrong because it can never serve a moral purpose. It serves instead only an immoral purpose: the destruction of an individual’s personhood. It is violence against the imago Dei, the image of God carried by every person.
Crucial to the use of torture is the intentional, systematic, step-by-step reduction of identity and selfhood, the purposeful diminution of the person as person, as the image of God cheapened to something less, to something “unperson.” The “other” is depersonalized. It is this process of thinking which gives us license for abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, and torture—everything that strips the person of personal humanity.
The enormity of the crime is of course granted. I don’t ever want to see Khalid or the others like him released. But I certainly regret that my government tortured him. His torture may have begun in a manner that was thought, even sworn, to be a measured and reasoned response for protecting a civil populace, part of a wider battle being waged to prevent actual and imminent dangers. But torture remains and will always be an abominable assault upon the imago Dei. At some fundamental level we declared that Khalid was not made in the image of God. From that, all else was inevitable.
However it was initiated—all the lawyerly vetting that went on, and all the jabber about military necessity and keeping America safe—Khalid’s torture ended up being nothing more than torture, and only that. Somewhere well before the one-hundred eighty-third trip to the waterboard, torture was no longer merely an unproductive means of coaxing information from a suspect. It became an impersonal bureaucratized process that swiped his individuality. It was a form of mental murder.
Along with an account of Khalid’s crimes also must come an account of his humanity. Personhood carries an elementary dignity, even when the person carrying it is one of our cruelest enemies.
Come on, who’s surprised? The White House-engineered photo-op of low-flying Air Force aircraft that caused terror in New York City this week epitomizes the Age of Obama. What better way to mark 100 days in office than with an appalling exercise in pointless, taxpayer-funded stagecraft.
The superficiality, the unseriousness, the hubris, the obliviousness to post-9/11 realities: They were trademarks of the Obama campaign and they are the tattoos on his governance.
He never leaves home without his teleprompter. All the Obama world’s a stage. Or a world ready to be staged.
So, is it any wonder he would staff his White House Military Office with a clueless paper-pusher who saw nothing wrong with spending inordinate government resources – and recreating 9/11 havoc — to update Air Force One publicity shots? And who planned, believe it or not, to do the same in Washington, D.C., next month, where 53 passengers and 6 crew members on board American Airlines Flight 77, and 125 military and civilian personnel inside the Pentagon were murdered by the 9/11 jihadists?
All for some damned publicity shots.
The photo op cost $325K plus.
Scaring the crap out of thousands of New Yorkers on a Monday morning: priceless.
There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s government.
We actually have many friends living in New York City, at least two of whom were looking up at the sky as one of the President’s Boeing 747’s appeared to come out of nowhere on what appeared to be a collision course with the Statue of Liberty. One of our friends freely admits to, in her own words, “soiling herself” in the very literal sense, believing 9/11 was happening again because, in her own words again, “Obama has been taking the side of terrorists and not doing anything to stop an attack”.
People running through the streets crying, soiling themselves, believing we’re under attack again.
Welcome to the Golden Age of Hope and Change, already in progress…for EXACTLY 100 Days today.snip
Knowing all of this, the President of the United States thought it was a great idea to take some great publicity shots for his own personal use, so he had one of his planes scare the absolute, literal, fill-in-the-blank, out of New Yorks.
Or more aptly, it’s what our teachers used to call foreshadowing. For, going all the way back to Cassandra at Troy, colossal disasters are presaged by the smaller-scale hubris of the vain and narcisisstic: being so painfully myopic about a photo open identifies fatal flaws in an administration we do not believe will take seriously enough the chatter and background noise that could prevent another attack on this nation. We hope for Heaven’s sake we are wrong, but we truly do believe this President is having so much fun with his celebrity and all the many perks of his “historic presidency” that he and his staff are now completely removed from reality.
Not realizing buzzing New York with a massive jet plane would cause many New Yorkers to head home for a change of undies is a sure indication of a deep, lasting, permanent, terrifying flaw in the abilities and competence of this administration. Evidence keeps coming out that the White House was directly warned by New York officials that its plan would cause mass chaos and emotional distress, but the current President chose to do this needless and expensive photo op anyway.
Welcome to Hope and Change, people.
We hate to say this again, but it’s only going to get worse from here, too.
Read the whole post.
The simplified case that waterboarding is categorically evil goes something like this.
“Applying extreme coercion to a human being when he is entirely in your power is inherently evil. This is why, like most universally-recognized evils, torture is done in dark, hidden places. Those who skillfully do interrogations on our behalf – doing difficult work in the worst conditions – have refused to waterboard. You sit in safety, unwilling to actually pour water down the throat of a human while he gags, struggles and thrashes in agony strapped to a table 36 inches from you; instead you write words that egg on the worst among us. If you can not see that torture is wrong, you live in a different moral universe than I. You’re a monster.”
The simplified case that waterboarding is not inherently evil goes something like this.
“We live in a violent world. While there must be limits to what we do to defend ourselves, simply describing the unpleasantness of waterboarding doesn’t cut it. We must do lots of terrible things to other human beings during war in order to prevent yet-worse things from happening. Inducing fear in a manner carefully calculated not to produce physical harm is not torture, and is very, very much less severe than most things done in war. Your supposedly refined moral sentiments are vanities; failure to consider bad versus worse consequences of our actions is the real abdication of moral reasoning in an environment of extreme violence. You live in a bubble that must be protected by methods that you find distasteful, without confronting the fact that if we were to follow your scruples, evil men would rule and do far worse things. You’re a child.”
This deep moral disagreement of course creates the practical political problem of how to reconcile these conflicting views. Beyond this problem, however, I think that any thoughtful person who aggressively advocates for one position or the other surely asks himself in quiet moments: “Am I certain I’m right?” The waterboarding critic asks himself “Am I being naive?”; the waterboarding defender, “Am I losing my soul?”. Nobody’s experience of life is comprehensive. Many, many people hold each position. These facts are presumably enough to give any thoughtful person pause, even if they will not voice these doubts publicly.So, if the deeply-entangled questions of strategic effectiveness and ethics both have non-obvious answers – and if we need to decide, not just wring our hands endlessly – how should we answer them?
I’ve been trying, like many Americas, to think this thing through. There is the altogether practical question: Did torture help us? Did it make America safer? Was the information really good, helpful, in thwarting terrorists? Did it actually in fact spoil pending plots? Frankly, the evidence is mixed.
But I really don’t care. Whether torture “worked” or not as an interrogative tactic is far from the main question. I’m a pastor. I think as a pastor, which is to say as a parish theologian. I don’t care if these guys shrieked like little girls on the playground and blubbered out plots for everything from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre to knocking over Bagdad candy stores as juvenile delinquents. Torture is morally wrong. It is morally wrong, theologically speaking, because it is an attack upon the imago Dei, upon the image of God inherent to every human life.
Now, I’m not so dumb or so liberal that I can’t understand and remember and share the anger the September 11 attack produced in America, nor was I the least bit hesitant in supporting the studied determination of making sure that nothing like it ever happens again. But if there is anyone suggesting the American homeland is safer today for having abandoned the ordinary principles of humane treatment for prisoners in American custody, then he’s a moral midget. Torture is not what Americans do. Not if we still have some lingering respect for the rights with which God endows humanity.
That said, I would still rather have Dick Cheney as Vice President than Joe Biden. Why? Because Biden has no problem in violating the human person when it comes to babies in the womb. He probably also approved these "enhanced interrogation methods" when high-ranking members of Congress were told about them. And he would probably lie about his support.
Dick Cheney, as Vice President, was the twisted, relentless, ruthless love child Batman and the Penguin biologically could never have. He may even be a robot sent from the future to keep us all from harm. He was, without question, the exact Vice President needed at just the right moment in history. Who knows what he was up to, but we’re certain, 100%, that it helped keep this nation safe for the last eight years.
It’s probably what he’s still working on now, from somewhere secure and undisclosed as you read this.
And Cheney never needed to be babysat. Whenever he said strange things on television, there was clearly an alternative motive at work. Most of his oddball appearances on the Sunday morning shows were so ballsy that even though they often made steam shoot out of our ears at the time, we laughed at how utterly brazen and in your face they were. Cheney was the master of the F-U, in a way we doubt we’ll ever see in politics again. When one reporter, in March of last year, told Cheney that 3/5 of Americans thought the Iraq War wasn’t worth it, Cheney said, “So?”.
Great Merciful Zeus, that’s ballsy. Refreshingly so.
Joe Biden would have said something memorably ridiculous in response to the same question, but more likely than not he would have made up crazy nonsensical things, and contradicted himself as he stumbled and rambled his way to commercial.
In-the-know conservative reviewers of Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto all say the same thing: the Mark Levin you’re used to hearing (or tuning out) on radio – who harshly yells “Shut up, you dummy!” at callers, and comes off as a slightly saner version of Michael Savage – is nowhere to be found between the covers of his blockbuster book.
Liberty & Tyranny is more infuriating than inspirational, therefore. However, the fact that millions of readers have taken the book to heart most certainly is.
At this point, Levin’s Liberty & Tyranny is one of those books all American conservatives now have to read, whether they want to or not, because it has struck a nerve with enough readers to hit #1 on Amazon.com and stay there for weeks.
Will Liberty & Tyranny have a lasting impact? Obviously, it is too soon to tell. For now, Levin has helped restore the passion, patriotism and sense of purpose of countless ordinary Americans in truly trying times.
I've ordered the book.
If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, ". . . believe also in Me" (John 14:1 ), not, "Believe certain things about Me". Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in— but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.
PSALM 141. Domine, clamavi.
LORD, I call upon thee; haste thee unto me, / and consider my voice when I cry unto thee.
2 Let my prayer be set forth in thy sight as the incense, / and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.
3 SET a watch, O LORD, before my mouth, / and keep the door of my lips.
4 O let not mine heart be inclined to any evil thing: / let me not be occupied in ungodly works with the men that work wickedness, neither let me eat of such things as please them.
5 Let the righteous smite me in kindness, / and let him reprove me; it shall be as oil for the head;
6 Let not my head refuse it; / but still my prayer shall be against their evil doings.
7 BUT mine eyes look unto thee, O LORD God: / in thee is my trust; O cast not out my soul.
8 Keep me from the snare that they have laid for me, / and from the traps of the evil doers.
9 Let the ungodly fall into their own nets together, / and let me ever escape them.
If America is to survive the coup, we must elect leaders like Lt. Colonel Allen West
What, then, should our stance be in this existential confrontation? I think we should emphasize the very great virtues and achievements that we have built on our legacy of tolerance and show a willingness to criticize and amend all the vices to which it has also given undue space. We should resurrect Locke’s distinction between liberty and license and make it absolutely clear to our children that liberty is a form of order, not a license for anarchy and self-indulgence. We should cease to mock the things that mattered to our parents and grandparents, and we should be proud of what they achieved. This is not arrogance but a just recognition of our privileges.
We should also drop all the multicultural waffling that has so confused public life in the West and reaffirm the core idea of social membership in the Western tradition, which is the idea of citizenship. By sending out the message that we believe in what we have, are prepared to share it, but are not prepared to see it destroyed, we do the only thing that we can do to defuse the current conflict. Because forgiveness is at the heart of our culture, this message ought surely to be enough, even if we proclaim it in a spirit of irony.
The Left want an enfeebled West to Just Give Up and submit to a new Islamisticly-inclined collectivism based on 'cooperation' on the state's terms.
Conservatives say that the West is not feeble, but needs to get back to some core values to keep the forces of extremist, nihilistic Islamisticly-inclined irrationality at bay.
I would say we need to get back to core principles not values, because values is a relativistic term. We need to get back to Truth. Western civilization has a rich repository. Let's revive it.
"The Truth" by Michael D'Antuono
On his 100th day in office, President Obama will be "crowned" in messianic imagery at New York City's Union Square.
Artist Michael D'Antuono's painting "The Truth" – featuring Obama with his arms outstretched and wearing a crown of thorns upon his head – will be unveiled on April 29 at the Square's South Plaza.
According to a statement released about the portrait, "The 30" x 54" acrylic painting on canvas depicts President Obama appearing much like Jesus Christ on the Cross: atop his head, a crown of thorns; behind him, the dark veil being lifted (or lowered) on the Presidential Seal. But is he revealing or concealing, and is he being crucified or glorified?"
NEW YORK, April 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Painter Michael D'Antuono has cancelled the planned public unveiling of his latest work "The Truth" at NYC's Union Square Park on President Obama's 100th day in office due to overwhelming public outrage. The artist's decision was based in part on thousands of emails and phone calls; online blogs and other public commentary received in the first 48 hours following its release.
For one such as I, who is rarely “outraged” by the all of the tedious pop-culture “art” that tries to provoke (and guarantees itself headlines) by bastardizing the name or image of The Christ, this image brought forth a surprisingly visceral reaction from me. I threw up a little in my mouth.
That, I suppose, means this is powerful art. After all, neither The DaVinci Code nor Madonna’s Summer Concert Tour Disco Crucifixions have ever elicited more than a yawn out of me.
Or, maybe the rise of my bile had nothing to do with the power of the image, and indicated only that I am powerfully sick of seeing the iconic trappings of my Lord and Savior adorning a man who -until the last 100 days- hadn’t so much as run a hot-dog stand. He’s healed no one, lifted no one from suffering and poverty, invented nothing, taught nothing. Though he has been raised-on-high by his connections and by a sycophantic press that has crumbled upon itself with the strain of supporting him, Obama has himself raised nothing but (for some) expectations, (for others) trepidations and, (for everyone) taxes.
It is really creepy.
Although they are more discrete than Louis Farrakan, who once opined that when Obama opens his mouth, it is the Messiah who is “absolutely” speaking, I begin to think that these artists and journalists really do want to communicate Obama-as-godling and messiah, even if they say otherwise. In this I am jumping off an idea from Richard John Neuhaus’s American Babylon; Notes of a Christian Exile, where he wonders if some Protestant Americans -those bereft of liturgy and sacraments- have not created a sort of ecclesiastical substitute for those things in their intense nationalism. That is, are they making up for what is lacking in their worship -the outward pageantry, the sensory cues- within their patriotism? And interesting question, it prompts me to wonder if the journalists, artists and others who are dipping toes into the Lake of Faith that is Obamism (or jumping in with gusto) are not also trying to supplement their Secular Humanist beliefs (or their insistent atheism) with a sense of transcendence that is otherwise lacking.
If you don’t like a Eucharistic Procession, an endless campaign with a messianic center will do. Anything to enhance the faith.
Speaking of faith, Obama is a guy who goes to Georgetown and has them cover the name of Jesus before he speaks. He tries to sell his economic plans on Jesus’ parable of the building on sand or rock, but can’t be bothered to utter Jesus’ name. But he has never, not once, told these people to stop with the messianic stuff. He’s a Christian, right? He sat in Jeremiah Wright’s (for better or worse) Christ-professing pews for 20 years. He allowed George Stephanopolous to correct him when he said “my Muslim faith” in order to clarify his Christianity.
One would think that as a Christian, Barack Obama would have long-ago asked his supporters to stop the messianic stuff. He is a politician; he could diplomatically have said, “you know, guys, I’m not the messiah, let’s tone it down, can we? The comparisons to JFK, FDR and Abraham Lincoln really are enough…” That would have been charming and it would have stopped this nausea-inducing messianism in its tracks.
H/t Gay and Right
The reason western governments tolerate such incoherence can be found in what political theorist James Piereson has called “punitive liberalism.” Guilt and liberalism go hand-in-hand, Piereson says. Contemporary western liberals might be convinced of their moral superiority — they know what is best for the world — but they suffer a deep sense of guilt. Unlike previous generations of liberals, today’s decadent liberals no longer believe in the primacy of freedom. Nor do they regard liberalism as a fighting creed.
Instead, they indulge in high-minded dreams for improving the world that ignore geopolitical realities. This dream is rooted in guilt, Piereson argues. Liberals look at the sad state of the non-western world, compare it to the affluent societies of Europe and North America, and, well, feel guilty.
According to the doctrine of punitive liberalism, the West is guilty of endless historical misdeeds — slavery, imperialism, war, genocide, capitalism, environmental destruction, male aggressiveness, etc. — and, therefore, deserves chastisement. For the effete liberal, this means apologizing for the actions of ancestors, making reparations for past conduct and endless abasement to history’s perceived victims — namely, anyone who isn’t white or male or Christian.
No one denies the West has a dark side to its history, but perhaps we should remember that moral horrors are not limited to western civilization. Arab countries continued the slave trade long after it was outlawed in the British Empire in 1883. Even today Africans enslave other Africans as child soldiers.
Why doesn’t the Muslim world condemn those Afghan men who stoned Afghan women during rally for women’s rights? What about the killing in Darfur, the ethnic slaughter in the Congo or Robert Mugabe’s withholding of food from Zimbabweans who don’t support his dictatorship? Did anyone raise these human rights violations at Durban II?
It is well to remember that it was western ideas about freedom and the sanctity of the individual that gave birth to concepts of rights and freedoms that the non-western world now pretends to adopt. By contrast, the writings of Islamist intellectuals — Hasan Al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb and Ayatollah Khomeini, for example — refer to a worldwide totalitarian theocratic order. It is these ideas that Ahmadinejad and his Islamist supporters feed on in their denunciations of Israel.
But Israel isn’t the ultimate source of their hatred. Israel has nothing to do with Pakistani mullahs lashing a young girl for violating Shariah law. Israel’s existence has nothing to do with Afghan men throwing acid in the faces of schoolgirls. Even if Israel didn’t exist, the Islamists would still hate the West.That so many western leaders remain unwilling to accept this reality, preferring to wallow in their western guilt syndrome, is dangerous.
In fact, they are in an absolute frenzy of undoing, and the smell of hysteria is overwhelming.
This hysteria is absolutely essential for them to be able to remain on the [psycho]path of denial: the Democrats and the left have staked so much--their entire self-concept, in fact--on losing in Iraq and the evil of George Bush and the Republicans, that they cannot be satisfied with merely winning the Presidential election. 'Hope and Change' was just a motto for them, it was the only way they could continue to keep their eyes closed.
This is emotional excess that disguises a severe, disabling anxiety; an anxiety that has been tenously held in check by the psychological denial that came before. It is as if the bizarre national depression the media have been hyping for the last eight years suddenly flipped into a full-blown mania--with all the euphoria, grandiose ideas and plans, delusions of grandeur, wildly impulsive spending, irritability and inappropriateness one sees in an acute manic episode.
It is the Greek temples and the Obama Presidential Seal to the nth power. And it is symbolic of the lengths to which many in this country, led by the political left and the Democrats, will go to in order to maintain their psychological denial at all costs so so as to continue to be oblivious to the danger in our world.
Barack Obama may chose to become the first president to prosecute his predecessors for carrying out official duties in ways disapproved by their successors. If so, we can guarantee: He will not be the last.
And if he finds himself prosecuting America’s counter-terrorism combatants before the conviction of a single enemy international terrorist – in that case, prepare for a firestorm.
And then little Saul grew up and wrote Rules for Radicals, and dedicated his life to ... the very same art of whipping up mobs that his parents fled from. Rules for Radicals might have been written by a medieval mob agitator; only a few words need to be changed. 'Pick the Target, Freeze It, Personalize It and Polarize It.' Substitute "heretic" or "witch" for "target" and you have all the religious persecutions in human history. Substitute "blacks," and you have a Dixiecrat lynch mob. Substitute "whites," and you have all of J-Wright's sermons at Trinity United, Chicago. It's all the same thing. Human nature doesn't change. Alinsky:"Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution."Funny thing is, Emma Lazarus thought that America was the revolution those huddled masses were looking for.Alinsky did not write his little book of Rules against the Tsar of Russia, nor against mob demagogues in general; rather, he wrote it in a rage against free market wealth, against capitalist individualism, against the prosperous middle class and its most successful home, the United States of America. Alinsky became the hero for other agitators -- people who used to call themselves "communist agitators." Those were not shameful words when little Saul was growing up, they were proud words.Agitare comes from the Latin word for "stirring up," the same root as the word "activist." A "community activist" is just a slightly different name for the old phrase "communist agitator" -- one who stirs up a group, just like those old hairy demagogues in Tsarist Russia and Poland, and then in Soviet Russia, Germany, China and Cambodia, in Rwanda and Kosovo, the Punjab and Indonesia ....Question: How is it that little Saul Alinsky, child and grandchild of victims, became the new persecutor?Here is a strange twist of fate. Starting with the huge expansion of the US college campuses in the Sixties, Saul Alinsky's little book went viral. Alienated middle-class kids with no personal experience of poverty or suffering -- in the sense that blacks knew it in the South and the Jews and many others in Europe and Asia -- they all went around with Alinsky's Rules for Radicals in their backpacks. Radicalism became romantic. Alienated and ignorant kids yearned to become Che Guevara and kill the capitalists. That's how rich kids like Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn learned their theology. It's how they became heroes in their own eyes. Such saintly people, giving their all for the poor and helpless.
The National Review Online links to a 2007 Washington Post story:
The entire bleeding government of the United States appears to have lost its collective head and engaged in practices that are both abhorrent to our traditions and a violation of national and international law. The idea that Los Angeles was “saved” by torturing people misses the point. What certainty is there that other, legal means used on the prisoner(s) might not have yielded the same information? This piece by Heather McDonald in City Journal a few years ago that goes into detail about our early attempts to get information from battlefield detainees clearly shows that the real professional interrogators didn’t have to break the law in order to glean excellent, actionable intelligence from al-Qaeda prisoners. They skated quite close to the edge but never went over, according to McDonald. And these interrogations were taking place at the same time the whole torture issue was roiling the Bush Administration - a bureaucratic battle of which the interrogators were unaware.
In short, we’ll never know if using legal methods would have gotten the same results. And that’s one of the things that bugs the hell out of me. Even the Los Angeles plot was not a ticking time bomb scenario for the simple reason we didn’t know about it until the “enhanced interrogation techniques” had already been used. Hence, retroactive justification for their use is a non-starter.
I made my feelings known about the release of the memos here. But it is apparent that Gutfeld, who claims to be a fan of 24, hasn’t been watching very carefully recently because if he had, he would have known that Bauer had come to grips with his guilt in breaking the law and wanted America to know why he did it. He wasn’t evading responsibility. But he questioned whether anyone who didn’t have the full story could judge him without standing in his shoes.
This is the latest attempt to whitewash history on the part of torture advocates; it worked so why get all bent out of shape? I will be the first to make the case that we cannot judge what went on in a vacuum, employing the premise that the law is the end all and be all - a force into and of itself - and that any slight deviation from the spirit and the letter of the law must be punished severely. This is the absolutist position and I am not comfortable with it. The law was never meant to be a straitjacket. Otherwise, the entire population would be walking on eggshells.
But these aren't mere "GOP charges." In December 2007 the Washington Post (notorious for being easily spun by Republicans) reported:
In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.
Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.
"The briefer was specifically asked if the methods were tough enough," said a U.S. official who witnessed the exchange.
Congressional leaders from both parties would later seize on waterboarding as a symbol of the worst excesses of the Bush administration's counterterrorism effort. The CIA last week admitted that videotape of an interrogation of one of the waterboarded detainees was destroyed in 2005 against the advice of Justice Department and White House officials, provoking allegations that its actions were illegal and the destruction was a coverup.
Yet long before "waterboarding" entered the public discourse, the CIA gave key legislative overseers about 30 private briefings, some of which included descriptions of that technique and other harsh interrogation methods, according to interviews with multiple U.S. officials with firsthand knowledge.
With one known exception, no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter. The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).
Individual lawmakers' recollections of the early briefings varied dramatically, but officials present during the meetings described the reaction as mostly quiet acquiescence, if not outright support. "Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing," said Goss, who chaired the House intelligence committee from 1997 to 2004 and then served as CIA director from 2004 to 2006. "And the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement."
The Liberals are also in lockstep with the CHRC's desire to march in time to the beat of their cultural marxist masters at the U.N.This is similar to the drumbeat of transnationalism being heard south of the border. The Obama administration has people who would like to put America under international laws so that the Constitution and its precious amendments could be bypassed.
The Libs propose:
• the CHRC be given the power to monitor the implementation of our commitments and obligations to enforce its recommendations;
This means subservience to the UN plain and simple, the goal is to do an end run around our elected officials and judiciary. I see new HRC legislation calling for an end to the Defamation of Islam as a main plank in the Liberals next election platform.
Ottawa, Saturday, April 25
I've been invited to the Ottawa International Writers Festival this weekend. I'm speaking at two events on Saturday. The first is a panel discussion on the West's place in Canada -- what a great subject! It's at noon, featuring Gordon Pitts and moderated by Richard Cleroux of the Hill Times. Tickets are $15.
The second is all about my book. It's at 4 p.m., hosted by Alison Buchanan. It's also $15
Like limiting marriage to monogamous, opposite-sex couples, the incest taboo can be seen as primarily meant to benefit children, not adults, and to do so at the cost of some adults’ freedom of choice regarding their sexual partners and family structure. It’s an example of where the needs and protection of children, and society fulfilling its obligations in that regard, take priority over individuals’ preferences.
Even some people who advocate decriminalizing incest admit that they have a “yuck factor” response to it. This can be an expression of a moral intuition that there is something ethically wrong in the conduct that causes that reaction. We need to listen to our moral intuitions and, as recent research shows, “examined emotions”, not just our cognitive reason, in deciding what is and is not ethical.
In conclusion, we need to keep in mind that an important function of the criminal law is to establish and uphold our most important collective, shared values. And, paradoxically, that role of the law is more important in a secular society than in a religious one, because in the former the law is one of the few games in town available to do that.
Read the whole thing.
I was able to see about 20 exorcisms, some of which Father Gary participated in. The thing that most surprised me was the relative normalcy of the people who had come to be prayed over. You could even have conversations with them. Of course once the exorcist began praying the Ritual then all that would change and the person would react, sometimes violently. Most of the cases I saw were of the milder sort where the person coughed, or just sat completely still. However I did see a few violent ones in which the person thrashed and their personality changed and they began speaking in a gruff and guttural voice that to me sounded very unnatural. In those instances I was really struck by the intense suffering that these people undergo.
Another thing that surprised me was the way the exorcist went about praying the Ritual. Initially I expected things to be more dramatic in the sense that the exorcist would be shouting and really berating the person. Instead the exorcists I followed were very calm and prayed the Ritual almost under their breath.