Saturday, August 30, 2008

On Senator Barack Obama's Choice of Joseph Biden For Running Mate:

Though I wrote this text (sans the first paragraph and seventh footnote which were composed today) back on August 25th, the delay in posting was due to Senator John McCain's impending announcement of a running mate upon which I wanted to get my long-held prediction of whom it would be in under the line so to speak. Then, when my usual political prognosticating skills failed me when Sen. McCain chose the dark horse Alaska governor Sarah Palin, I wanted to put down some ultra-preliminary thoughts on that which I will probably expand upon in the coming days and weeks. (I am still stunned by the news on that front admittedly in more ways than one; ergo the brief nature of my still undigested first thoughts as expressed in that posting.) But now with those more immediate tasks being tended to, it is now time to weigh in on the choice of Sen. Joseph Biden by Sen. Barack Hussein Obama so without further ado...

There are going to be plenty of people who will write long threads on why Senator Joseph Biden should be rejected as vice president and second in line for the presidency. Some even have set up sites on the matter such as Steve Dillard and Christopher Blosser's latest Catholics Against Joe Biden. And while they will undoubtedly post a lot of material to point out Sen. Biden's views and how they are incongruent with Catholic principles, my approach to the subject of Sen. Biden is much simpler.

As I see it, if there is any more reason to question the fitness of Joe Biden to be either vice president or president of the United States, this is the reason why in a nutshell:

I strongly support Roe v. Wade. I wouldn't have a specific question but I would make sure that the people I sent to be nominated for the Supreme Court shared my values; and understood that there is a right to privacy in the United States Constitution.

And no, I am not saying that the reason he is unfit is because he supports Roe v. Wade though that is itself problematical in more ways than one as I have noted not a few times in the past.{1} The reason Sen. Biden is so unfit to be president or in any position to be president is his stance on a presumed constitutional right to privacy. And I say this as someone who personally believes such a right should exist at the federal level. Or as I noted last year when discussing the subject of presumed "constitutional rights" paraded around by not a few people advocating various agendas:

I cannot recall if I have said this on the weblog in the past or not (as I cannot find anything in a quick archive search) but I am not opposed in principle to the idea of a federal right to privacy. The problem is, there is no constitutional foundation for such a position; ergo those who want to see one should do what they can to amend the Constitution to reflect that right. Otherwise, they should have the decency to admit that they do not give a damn about the Constitution at all. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa June 29, 2007)]

The bottom line is that what is and is not "constitutional" is not a matter of personal whim but must conform itself to objective criteria. I am not saying that the constitution is a brittle document by any means but the idea that the words themselves somehow "evolve" to mean different things depending on the whims of various agenda provocateurs (regardless of whom they are{2}) does not sit well with me either. The very notion is so absurd on its face that I have sought to illustrate it via absurdity in the past but thus far no "evolving constitution" proponents have stepped up to accept my challenge.{3}

But at the same time, lest anyone think such a position of mine involves an interpretation that is too literalist, I have had a completed text on tap pertaining to how constitutional issues need to be viewed to bridge the gap between the extreme unconstitutional approaches of those who commonly consider themselves "progressives" and the extreme unworkable approaches common to many who consider themselves "conservatives." It has been mentioned probably a half-dozen times or more since the first jottings of a draft were put together earlier last year{4} and most recently mentioned in a notifications posting to this weblog.{5} But that is neither here nor there presently speaking; I merely note it there so my approach to Sen. Biden's judicial perversion{6} is properly understood in a nutshell for the time being.

Oh and as for Senator Biden's statement that "the next Republican that tells me I'm not religious I'm going to shove my rosary beads down their throat", a question comes to mind which we must put to the senior senator from Delaware; namely this:

--Does it have to be a Republican???

For though your humble servant is a longtime Independent voter{7}, we would have no problem telling Sen. Biden he is not religious and he can give it the old college try on us if he likes. Heck, we would even be willing to pose as a Republican if need be :)

Notes:

{1} Perhaps most completely in this thread:

On Fundamental Rights, Common Law Principles, and Abortion (circa February 1, 2007)

{2} No matter whom they are and I say that about those who claim that the constitution either embodies the right to an abortion or outlaws abortion: both presumptions are erroneous. And as allowing those who agree with you to engage in the same sort of constitutional manipulation as those who do not agree with you (and whom you would castigate for doing so) is both illogical as well as unethical, no more needs to be said on the matter at this time than that.

{3} The same concept has been reiterated numerous times in the past starting on this weblog with these words:

The writer of this post would like to take this opportunity to to invite anyone who believes in an evolving constitutional interpretation to email him if they are fans of Texas Hold 'Em and are interested in playing for money. For your humble servant is not only a pretty decent poker player but he also has in mind starting a game with people like you for money to illustrate by demonstration the logical absurdity of your positions: Texas Hold 'Em with "evolving rules."[...] Something tells your host that such a game would amply clarify the absurdity of the "evolving constitution" position in precise proportion to the amount of money the promoters of the "evolving constitutional interpretation" theory lost their cash in the afore-proposed card game. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa May 25, 2005)]

Oh and lest I forget to mention it, I owe some credit to Dr. Walter E. Williams for the germ of the idea expounded upon above.

{4} With the election on the horizon for 2008 and wanting to avoid for the sake of his own sanity too much focus on those issues beyond what is necessary to do, it seems appropriate to write as time allows on some of the systems and principles that shaped the outlooks of the Founding Fathers of the United States.[...] Part of the reason for this decision is because there is a significant imbalance in politics today and we want to propose a remedy for the common problems inherent in the political approaches of both major parties. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa April 17, 2007)]

{5} The long-talked about and finished[...] posting on the necessary third way in politics that is needed between the nonsense approaches of the radical conservatives and the radical liberals which are unworkable and unconstitutional respectively. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa August 2, 2008)]

As I noted in the above excerpt, the thread has been in a form requiring of a final review before it is ready for posting. (If memory serves I finished it in the final week of 2007.)

{6} I do not intend to go into the subject of judicial perversion at this time though suffice to say, it has been covered at sundry times and in divers manners at this weblog in years gone by and will be again as circumstances or my mood to discuss it again present themselves.

{7} Lest more recent readers think my disgust with the Republicans is something of recent vintage, here are some threads from newest to oldest via the archives:

As a twelve year independent voter...I have to look at the alternatives and put my "ideal candidate" mould aside. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa January 9, 2008)]

But then again, it is easy for someone such as myself who has long been independent of the two main parties to take that stance. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa September 3, 2007)]

Thank God the present writer is an Independent voter of ten years standing is all he will say about that at the present time. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa November 24, 2006)]

But one advantage to being an Independent is that I have no sense of "party betrayal" on the matter; hence I am more detached in some ways from it than loyalists are. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa October 10, 2005)]

Two years after the 1994 midterms, I divested myself of the Republican moniker and have remained an Independent voter. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa November 6, 2004)]

[F]or the record, this Independent actually has contemplated the idea that Bush needs a fight against someone like Lieberman. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa December 9, 2003)]

I identified myself as a Republican in the mid/late 1980's and the early 1990's. Since the 1996 elections, my eyes were opened and I stopped affiliating with the Republicans seeing in far too many of them a profound betrayal of classical conservative principles. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa November 6, 2002)]

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Friday, August 29, 2008

On Sen. McCain's Selection of Governor Sarah Palin as His Running Mate:

Before posting the planned thread on Joe Biden, I want to take this moment to note that my usual prescience in political prognosticating went awry with Senator McCain's choice of vp this morning.{1} Susan Palin is quite unknown overall but she fits the bill of what I went over would have been preferable in a vp pick for McCain despite my view that Romney was basically in the bag as the pick. Or as I noted yesterday when referencing an early morning chat thread on the matter:

McCain has supposedly already decided the vp to be announced Friday. I think it will be Romney...

frankly a conservative vp from a state that is a tossup may be a better pick though particularly if that conservative is a woman...

I am not [saying] Romney would be a bad pick mind you, just selecting a woman from a key battleground state with solid conservative credentials would really make the Biden pick look [worse] than it is cause Biden is not change. a woman vice president has only been tried once and on a [ticket] that had no prayer of winning. and this would be a conservative woman which would be a better vp first anyway. [Excerpt from a Chat (circa August 28, 2008) as recorded in a Rerum Novarum posting (circa August 28, 2008)]


Truthfully, I did not have any particular candidate in mind when writing those words because (i) I was pretty sure the pick would have been Romney and (ii) I could not think of any conservative women who actually fit all those parameters. And Governor Susan Palin of Alaska does not fit all of them either. She is from Alaska which has 3 electoral votes which McCain was going to get anyway.

However, she is a woman and this gives Sen. McCain the chance to counter the meaningless "change" mantra of Sen. Obama with a genuine change of pace. I refer to nominating a woman as a vp running mate on a ticket that actually has a ghosts of a chance of winning{2} and as a substantive addition rather than merely trying to get attention.{3} By contrast, Governor Palin has been the governor of a state and mayor of a city: both of which are positions of executive governance. And while the msm will predictably pounce on her thin resume for governing, the fact is, she is more qualified to be president than Sen. Barack Obama is. I may supplement this posting with another from the archives which I believe was blogged last year on the issue of executive experience being important in a presidential candidate{4} but for now that is all I will say on that matter.

From a strategery standpoint, Sen. McCain added a strongly conservative woman running mate with executive experience. This will enable him to potentially attract some discouraged women voters who are angry at the way in which the Democrats and Sen. Obama disrespected Sen. Hillary Clinton{5} and will make Sen. Biden look really bad if he tries to employ his usual thuggary on her. Plus, is it wrong of me to like the idea of a conservative woman vice presidential candidate standing on stage wearing a dress instead of a pants-suit???

Excellent selection Sen. McCain: certainly better than that of Sen. Obama's pick about which I will speak of next.

Notes:

{1} And on this occasion I am very gladly be wrong with a prediction.

{2} Sen. Walter Mondale had no prayer whatsoever in 1984 as anyone who was awake at the time realized.

{3} This is basically what it was as Rep. Geraldine Ferraro had no particular standout skills for this position.

{4} I cannot remember at the moment if I blogged that thread or not.

{5} And yes, I am no fan of Sen. Clinton but she was disrespected by the DNC as well as the msm in the mania of both to proclaim the ObaMessiah.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Briefly On Senator McCain's Selection of Vice-Presidential Nominee:

I drafted a text a couple days ago on the subject of Sen. Joe Mama Biden being picked as Sen. Barack Obama's running mate but will shelve it temporarily to deal with the subject of Sen. John McCain's impending choice of running mate. It seems appropriate since it would take a lot less work to quote from some chat threads we have participated in in recent weeks to provide readers with an inside look into how we have been assessing these matters so without further ado, here are some threads from chats with Kevin Tierney{1} and some others:

Kevin: well the AP says Obama's pick is Biden

me: hmmmmm. that is better than Bayh whom some had predicted

Kevin: expect to see Biden's quote from his run in 2000 about the White House not being the place to learn experience

me: better I mean in not as strong a vp. McCain should hold off his vp selection until after the Dem convention and then make a blockbuster announcement on it. [Excerpt from a Chat (circa August 22, 2008)]

As I mentioned to another friend, I actually viewed the possibility of Obama/Bayh as being a formidable ticket:

me: I was worried when Drudge opined that it might be Obama/Bayh. I think Obama/Biden is more vulnerable.

[XXXXX]: I don't see who he'd attract with Biden.

me: precisely. Bayh on the other hand would be an asset. McCain needs a solid conservative vp to counter. [my] bet is it willbe Romney. not that he is the best out there mind you

[XXXXX]: Who would be the best (in your opinion)?

me: just that is most likely I believe at this point -Romney's business acumen would be helpful to McCain. ideally Bobby Jindal...it will not happen though.

[XXXXX]: Yeah, I was thinking Jindal except for his age.

me: Jindal is an Indian Republican prolifer Catholic: pretty untouchable there. maybe someone like JC Watts. [He is] a black former congressman who is conservative and pro life. with Obama going for an outwardly proabortion Catholic McCain needs to have a solid conservative on board: someone less controversial viz conservative credentials than Johnny Mac is but at the same time, able to reach out to non-died-in-the-wool sorts. [Excerpt from a Chat (circa August 23, 2008)]

And finally there is this thread from shortly after midnight this morning with another friend where there was no shortage of typos in it on my part due to being tired at the time:

me: McCain has supposedly already decided the vp to be announced Friday. I think it will be Romney...

me: frankly a conservative vp from a state that is a tossup may be a better pick though particularly if that conservative is a woman...

me: I am not [saying] Romney would be a bad pick mind you, just selecting a woman from a key battleground state with solid conservative credentials would really make the Biden pick look [worse] than it is cause Biden is not change. a woman vice president has only been tried once and on a [ticket] that had no prayer of winning. and this would be a conservative woman which would be a better vp first anyway. [Excerpt from a Chat (circa August 28, 2008)]

I post these threads to make it clear that I have been on the hook claiming it would be Romney for some time now{2} and though he would be a solid pick, a better one would be a conservative woman from a state with a fair number of electoral votes which has gone for the Democrats by a smidgen the past two elections. So if that candidate can be from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, or Pennsylvania,{3} that would be the best from a strategery standpoint. But in time we shall see if that is what Sen. McCain does.

Notes:

{1} Kevin is the only one who has said he does not mind his name being used when quoting chat threads. The others have not given such permission and I will almost always due to the private nature of such communiques presume anonymity of the person I am chatting with when using chat material on this blog. (As well as omitting or slightly altering to conceal anything that would hint at whom they may be.)

{2} I have a chat thread with Kevin from May of 2008 where I first mentioned Romney as the vp but decided to not post it here due to the editing it would take to post the material and not include certain other more confidential material (as well as a darkhorse prediction Kevin made at the time that I do not want to reveal without his permission to do so first).

{3} States where the margin of victory for the Democrats the past two elections was around 3% or less.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

If I wrote every year on the birthdays or the passing of those in my family, close friends, figures of varying influence in my life, there would be nothing else to write about.{1} Serendipitously, I remember some of them regularly and others not so much so but for some reason, I remembered the other day that Stevie Ray Vaughan (SRV) passed on in August of 1990 at the age of 35 when a helicopter he was flying in crashed in Alpine Valley, Wisconsin. I checked and noticed the date which happens to be today and decided it would be fitting therefore to remember him in some fashion. I will do so in two ways, the first of which is posting the lyrics to a song Jimmie Vaughan co-write with some of the Neville brothers in remembering his brother called Six Strings Down. Without further ado...

Alpine valley
In the middle of the night
Six strings down
On the heaven-bound flight
Got a pick, a strap, guitar on his back
Ain’t gonna cut the angels no slack
Heaven done called
Another blues-stringer back home
See the voodoo chile
Holding out his hand
I’ve been waitin’ on you brother
Welcome to the band
Good blues-stringin’
Heaven-fine singin’
Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Been lis’nin’ to your playin’
Heaven done called
Another blues-stringer back home
Lord they called
Another blues-stringer back home

Albert Collins up there
Muddy an’ Lightnin’ too
Albert King and Freddy
Playin’ the blues
T-Bone Walker, Guitar Slim
Little Son Jackson and
Frankie Lee Sims
Heaven done called
Another blues-stringer back home
Lord they called
Another blues-stringer back home
Lord they called
Another blues-stringer back home
Heaven done called
Another blues-stringer back home
Lord they called...


The second way is with a video of his performing. In pondering which one to use, I decided to use this one of SRV with his childhood hero Albert King{2} playing Stevie Ray's original composition Pride and Joy circa December 1983{3} from an album I reviewed here.




May they rest in peace.

[Update: I accidentally used the code for another shorter instrumental outtake jam from Blues at Sunrise rather than the one from Pride and Joy. I apologize for that and will add the code for the latter performance to this posting as well below this text. -ISM 8/28/08 10:57pm]



Notes:

{1} I do not want to discuss this matter right now except to say that I realized the other day when talking with my mother that I had significantly underestimated both the number of familia and friends deaths the past eight and a half years but also the number of funerals I had attended in that span. I may say more some other time on that but after a while it all blurs together (unfortunately).

{2} Albert died in 1992 at the age of 69 and is also mentioned in Six Strings Down.

{3} This was not long after SRV released his debut album Texas Flood.

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The "points to ponder" installment from yesterday was excerpted back in June for eventual use when I decided the time was right to do so. The problem is, I could not recall whom the "he" was in the original sentence and ascribed it to Senator Barack Obama. Today I stumbled across the source I got the quote from and realized that the criticism was not aimed at something Senator Obama had said but instead something Senator John McCain had said. Despite wanting to do so otherwise, as a matter of ethics, I must note my mistake so consider that notation made with this posting which will be added to yesterday's posting in the form of an update.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Points to Ponder:

[Update: Please see an important corrective to this posting which is noted here. -ISM 8/27/08 9:15pm]

[Obama] doesn't like obscene profits being made anywhere. Is anyone talking about the hedge funds? Is anyone talking is anyone in congress talking about the hedge funds? You know why? They are not talking about the hedge funds because the hedge funds give them all kinds of money. The hedge funds, these guys Chelsea Clinton works for a hedge fund. John Edwards worked for a hedge fund. Al Gore works for a hedge fund, owns his own hedge fund. Nobody wants to talk about hedge funds. You want to talk about obscene profits. Now, I don't believe this is an obscene profit. I really don't. I think if you can make this kind of a profit, God bless America. God bless America. But here's their profit margin. Their profit margin in hedge funds is 87%. 87% profit margin. That is printing money. So you want to talk about an obscene profit margin, there it is. Again, as a capitalist I say God bless you. But that is ten times the profit margin of oil. Oil's profit margin is about 8.5%. This is ten times the profit. Why are we going after them? How about healthcare facilities? 48%. Publishing, periodicals, magazines is 34%. Information delivery services, 23%. Silver is 22%. Application software industry is 22%. Shipping, 21%. Well, not anymore. Copper is 19%. Tobacco products, 19%. Drug manufacturers, 17%. Insurance brokers, 16. Beverages, wineries, distilleries, 15%. Long distance carriers, 15.8%. I mean, railroads, railroads, 13.9%. Steel and iron, 13.8. Cigarettes, 13.7. Integrated circuits, semiconductors, 13.6. I mean, the list goes on and on and on and on. Money center banks, 10.8. Hotel/motels, 10.6. Asset management, 10.5. Beverage, Brewers, 10.5. Resorts and casinos, resorts and casinos are 10.5. Casinos are 10.5. Oil is 8.5. I mean, when a casino makes 10.5 and a hedge fund makes 81.7, you've got to ask yourself what's an obscene profit margin. Why aren't you going after those guys? That's not the way this system works, and as soon as America figures this out, these guys are toast. [Glen Beck]

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Miscellaneous Musings and Threads Worth Noting:

Briefly on a few items from the recent news...

Russians dig in despite promised Georgia pullout

Russia has really had an inferiority complex since the end of the Cold War. It is ridiculous for them be so concerned about Georgia's affiliation with NATO or Poland wanting to have a missile shield for their own defense unless they have designs on reacquiring former territories like Georgia or Poland.

From a tactical standpoint the invasion of Georgia was stupid in one respect. There had been negotiations with the United States for missile defense systems for Poland but they had dragged on and popular sentiment amongst the Poles was 63% opposed. But after the Georgia invasion, all of a sudden the government of Poland and the people of Poland realized what was at stake and polling showed over 70% approval: a significant reversal in a short period of time.

The bottom line is, a sovereign nation has the right to defend itself and the idea that Poland should leave themselves open to invasion by the Russian Bear should the latter decide to do so is akin to saying that Poland's right to exist is subject to Russian whims. This is an intrinsically suicidal position to be taking and anyone with a sense of history on these matters -not only the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939 but the near-invasion of 1980{1}- should support Poland on this matter regardless of what they may personally think about the idea of missile defense or whatever. And props to French President Nicolas Sarkozy for brokering a ceasefire in the recent South Ossetia conflict. Moving on...

Obama Picks Biden for Running Mate

I will write a bit on this shortly. And finally...

Japanese create stem cells from wisdom teeth

If ever there was a doubt that the issue of fetal stem cell research still had viability{2} this latest finding by Japanese scientists settles the matter once and for all as far as your humble servant at Rerum Novarum is concerned. God bless the Japanese scientists for this amazing and non-ethically troubling solution.

Notes:

{1} Most people probably no longer know that the Soviet Union was on the verge of invading Poland in late 1980 after the US elections.

{2} The question is, does amniotic stem cell research violate any of the fundamental rights of man -the first of which is life. I cannot see how it would considering that cells themselves do not constitute life and from all that we know about biology if these are cells which are shed by the embryo are easier to maintain in lab conditions than stem cells extracted from a fetus. Wherever or however we want to argue the issue of where life begins, it is not arguable that amniotic stem cells do not constitute life. And knowing that should make how we approach the stem cell research issue at Rerum Novarum both evident and obvious: amniotic stem cell research is fine while fetal stem cell research has more problems from a procedural standpoint and more potential Pandora's Box problems from both the moral and ethical realms. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa January 23, 2007)]

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Points to Ponder:

The only way to gain an authentic self-esteem was through one's unswerving commitment to reason and reality. As reason is man's fundamental, defining characteristic, the one that distinguishes him from all other species, it was a man's commitment to reason as an absolute that should serve as the proper standard for measuring his stature. This was a biological fact of reality, and could not be debated. Those who had defaulted on their fundamental philosophic responsibility (namely, thinking) were of no concern to me. They were hapless individuals, who were constantly buffeted about by every chance intellectual trend that came along…When I attempted to politely explain this to the hysterics - the mystics, who were emotionally driven --...they seemed to regard it as heresy and declared me a lunatic. Not only did they not care, it frightened them, as what was most shatteringly terrifying to them was to be regarded as different, to lose approval of the pack. [Mike Mentzer]

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