Saturday, March 01, 2008

Points to Ponder:

Every age has its heresies, and the one to watch in the nuclear age is that which ends by venerating life at the expense of all other values. We cannot know whether God plans the end of the earth to synchronize with the discovery of planet-shattering technology, but there is nothing in the advent of nuclear energy that authorizes the new idolatry, which is to love life better than life's meaning. [William F. Buckley Jr.]

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Diary from the Road (Bob Geldof)

Considering some of what I will be saying about the man in the coming days (possibly tomorrow time-willing) it seems appropriate to note some of what President Bush has done which does not get much press in America for reasons which (to put it nicely) are patently uncharitable.

It is also worth noting that Geldof's approach on this is admirable. He does not agree with the president on some issues -including a few of significant nature- but he does not let this be cause for discord between them sketching a balanced human profile of the President. Anyway, that is all I plan to say for now except to recommend the above article for readers to peruse.

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Miscellaneous Threads Worth Reviewing:
(On Senator Hillary Clinton)

Senator Clinton is reaching an important point in her campaign. As we have noted a few times now the plan to discuss the Senator John McCain nomination subject{1} and also plan to note publicly some of the things we have long said privately about certain political figures{2}, it seems appropriate to touch on the other nomination taking place between rival Democratic party senators.

As many know, Senator Clinton has lost about fourteen primaries in a row since Super Tuesday when she failed to put away Senator Barack Hussein Obama as she presumed she would. The New York Times has an interesting editorial which posits a parallel in Senator Clinton's election approach and the Iraq war strategery of President George W. Bush. Here is the thread in full:

The Audacity of Hopelessness (Frank Rich)


For those who do not know, the title of the article is a paraphrase of the title of a book written by Senator Barak Obama{3} her opponent in the Democratic party race for nomination. The hypothesis of the article is interesting to say the least -here is a key part of the article where it is summarized:

It’s not just that her candidacy’s central premise — the priceless value of “experience” — was fatally poisoned from the start by her still ill-explained vote to authorize the fiasco. Senator Clinton then compounded that 2002 misjudgment by pursuing a 2008 campaign strategy that uncannily mimicked the disastrous Bush Iraq war plan. After promising a cakewalk to the nomination — “It will be me,” Mrs. Clinton told Katie Couric in November — she was routed by an insurgency.

The Clinton camp was certain that its moneyed arsenal of political shock-and-awe would take out Barack Hussein Obama in a flash. The race would “be over by Feb. 5,” Mrs. Clinton assured George Stephanopoulos just before New Year’s. But once the Obama forces outwitted her, leaving her mission unaccomplished on Super Tuesday, there was no contingency plan. She had neither the boots on the ground nor the money to recoup.

That’s why she has been losing battle after battle by double digits in every corner of the country ever since.

Now those interested in the facts on the ground over abstract activist polemics are aware that there has been a change of direction in Iraq brought on by a variety of factors. I have written in the past eight months on both the fact that the surge strategery is working{4} and also in some detail as to both the politics involved{5} and many of the reasons for why things in Iraq have been going rather well for a while now{6} whereas for some time since the end of the combat operations they were not.{7} But that factor noted, the parallel could be realized if Senator Clinton goes on a "surge" of her own which it would appear she plans on doing. However, there is one significant difference and it is the time factor involved.

For President Bush as a lame duck president despite exiting office on January 20, 2009 will be turning over the Middle East situation to a successor whereas Senator Clinton will either achieve the nomination or not within the next four to five months.{8} Time in other words is not on her side whereas with President Bush in this area time has turned the situation over there in his favour though due to the nature of these matters, it would be naive to say that this is in any sense definitive. (Even if we may in the future look back upon 2007 as akin to 1943 in the Second World War; namely, the point where the tide had turned towards victory.)

I will go out on a limb and say that the March 4th primaries in Ohio and Texas will prove to be either the turning point for Senator Clinton in the positive sense of putting her back into the race or in solidifying a near-insurmountable mountain for her to climb in order to win the nomination fairly.{9} So in a certain sense, Mr. Rich's hypothesis is a good one as far as it goes.

Real 'Work'? Clinton Swipes at Chelsea's Profession (ABC News)


The problem with manufacturing class envy or otherwise seeking to demonize entire classes of people -be they by sex, race, religion, profession, or whatever- is when it comes back to bite you, it can bite quite hard. Besides, for someone who wants to tax every perceived "high earner", it is strange that Senator Clinton herself does not seem to want people to know about her tax returns!!! The reason is almost certainly because we are dealing with a double standard here: one for Senator Clinton and one for the others in her tax bracket. But then again, Senator Clinton's comments show she is not very well versed with the subjects of either taxes or economics...a subject for another time and beyond the scope of this posting though it will be noted here in brief nonetheless.

Notes:

{1} [I]t is just about time to talk about McCain rather than merely the others running against him lest we fall into the same trap as those who for eight years played the pathetic and predictable "anybody but Bush" card. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa February 24, 2008)]

{2} Yes this is a bit vague but it will clarify itself when the discussion in footnote one is finally tended to on this weblog as it will be in the coming days.

{3} The book title was The Audacity of Hope.

{4} On the war front, the Iraq surge strategery is on the whole going pretty good. The Bush Administration is wisely understating this a bit in the period before a progress report due in September is released. No matter what the report says, it is going to be spun in as negative of a fashion as the msm and its willing seditionist comrades allies in the Democratic party and other places have a vested interest in seeing defeat in Iraq by any means necessary. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 11, 2007)]

{5} On the Iraq Situation, the Military Surge, and Playing Politics (circa August 21, 2007)

{6} On the Situation in Iraq as of Early November 2007 (circa November 9, 2007)

{7} One of the reasons I have not reacted to every news story on this subject the way so many do is because the principles whereby I formulated my original position on the military involvement in Iraq nearly five years ago has not changed and will not change. That being said though, it does not mean that I have always liked the way things have been done over there. Now I did not to my knowledge say anything publicly[...] on it but for the better part of two years I was admittedly not happy with what appeared to be our approach to post-war stabilization and development. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa November 9, 2007)]

{8} There is also the possibility that she may lose in pledged delegates and yet take the nomination at the convention by swaying the "super delegates" to vote for her.

{9} See footnote eight.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Points to Ponder:
(From William F. Buckley Jr.)

Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive.

I would like to electrocute everyone who uses the word 'fair' in connection with income tax policies.

We are so concerned to flatter the majority that we lose sight of how very often it is necessary, in order to preserve freedom for the minority, let alone for the individual, to face that majority down.

I would like to take you seriously, but to do so would affront your intelligence.

The best defense against usurpatory government is an assertive citizenry.

Liberals, it has been said, are generous with other peoples' money, except when it comes to questions of national survival when they prefer to be generous with other people's freedom and security.

Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.

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William F. Buckley Jr. Dies at 82 (Breitbart)

The above article is a fine retrospective of the life of one of the foundations of the modern conservative movement. All movements of history which seek to gain currency otherwise than through brute force have to start intellectually before they can gain traction politically. Though Senator Barry Goldwater predated William F. Buckley Jr. both in age and also in his involvement in politics, it was the Yale educated William F. Buckley Jr. who put an intellectual face onto conservatism{1} of the sort that for some time had been lacking. And it was from this foundation that the candidacy of Senator Goldwater was able to build and plant the seeds for the future presidency of Ronald Wilson Reagan.

While Buckley was a staunch anti-communist -including his admirable support for the substance if not the exact content of Senator Joseph McCarthy's correct stance on the influence of communists in positions of government and media, etc.{2}- he at the same time played an important role in weeding from the conservative tree the xenophobic extremists of the John Birch Society which was of no small importance for a variety of reasons too numerous to go into here.{3} A lot more could be said about the respectability that William F. Buckley Jr. brought to conservatism but one key element is his humanity: he was not dour but instead of generally good humour. This undoubtedly was another important element of humanizing what was previously viewed as some kind of mechanical socio-political philosophy but I do not want to go too long on this posting both for my limits of time and also because a life is not going to be adequately summed up in a single posting anyway.

WFB was a true renaissance man as that term is properly understood. It is certainly the hope of this writer that his contributions to the conservative cause not be forgotten -particularly in our time where from many appearances conservative principles have been either ignored or otherwise downplayed in the sacrifice of ethics and principles for expediency. And while we may say more on this matter later on, at the present time, that is all we have time for.

Lord please remember William F. Buckley Jr. In baptism he died with Christ: may he also share his resurrection, when Christ will raise our mortal bodies and make them like his own in glory. [Roman Missal: Eucharistic Prayer III From Masses for the Dead]

Notes:

{1} Barry Goldwater was an intelligent man but not an intellectual.

{2} I certainly do not like and would not endorse the manner in which McCarthy went about it even though in fact and principle he was right.

{3} In a nutshell: every movement has its extremists and if the latter cannot be moderated either by exhortations of prudence or otherwise contained, they need to be rooted out lest they become the presumed spokesmen of the movement.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Go Ralph Go!!!

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Mike Huckabee kills two birds with one stone pointing out here that he is both an opportunist and also that many pro lifers are geopolitically dumb as a sack of hammers precisely as I have said many times over the years -most recently here.

If Hucksterbee thinks he would be a more conservative choice than McCain, he is nuts. I am not about to say that McCain is a conservative of course -at least not yet{1} but Hucksterbee is certainly not. As one friend astutely said back in December "Huck is like Dubya on steroids." I have to say that I concur with that assessment if the record of Hucksterbee as governor of Arkansas is scrutinized in accordance with conservative principles.

More could be noted on this but since McCain is on the verge of officially clinching this anyway{2}, it is just about time to talk about McCain rather than merely the others running against him lest we fall into the same trap as those who for eight years played the pathetic and predictable "anybody but Bush" card. But that is all I have say on this matter at the present time.

Notes:

{1} I am not going to claim that Senator McCain either is or is not a conservative in this posting -only that the last person who is credible on discerning this matter is President George W. Bush for reasons I have delved into in the past and probably will in the future. (When I go into my view on Senator John McCain as both a nominee for and possible future President of the United States in light of recent developments.) [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa February 16, 2008)]

{2} As of this writing, John McCain has 918 delegates to 217 by Mike Huckabee. Even Mitt Romney who has suspended his campaign has more delegates (286) than Huckabee so the nominating process is for all intensive purposes over mathematically.

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