Thursday, October 30, 2008

Learning Of Ourselves

VDH has written a rather profoundly introspective piece on ourselves as revealingly gleaned from the rather abrupt and unexpected Sarah Palin candidacy, which essentially demonstrated how skewed our values and worldly perception have become.

It is not a pretty assessment, verbally castigating us for our rank deviation from righteousness and for how deeply we have strayed from what would be considered iron-clad standards maybe a generation prior, when we still had our heads screwed on right.

It appears from his assessment that we, or maybe more appropriately many of those belonging to the enlightened class of political pundits and media in general, have collectively taken leave of our good senses, thrown away and shunted aside the wealth of accumulated wisdom of our ages, and cast our lot with the ragged divestiture of traditional values and disgusting amorality that now appear to have taken hold of our social ruling class.

Warped values and callous cynicism to traditional values endeared and zealously guarded by generations past.

All in the hallowed name of political expediency, or maybe crass ideology. And maybe for the self-anointed intellectual media class as sneering putdown or arrogance against somebody so differently cast from the template that they have molded for themselves – an unwelcome outlier with very plebian origins and clothed with the humble accoutrements of upbringing outside the gilded environments of privileged families, renowned affinities and connections, and educational haughtiness in revered ivy-league schools.

Such snickering and dismissive gesture reserved for somebody so far below their perceived hallowed cognitive abilities, and privileged backgrounds.

Sarah Palin has been dressed up and played for a fool, like a court jester to be ridiculed and shooed back to oblivion. Or so they believe.

But the true winner and the one who has opted to take the higher moral ground, in all this is without a doubt Sarah Palin herself. Because she has unmindfully dismissed them all with the same nonchalant vigor and passion that they have denigrated her. Unobtrusively attending to her business and pursuing and espousing her believed causes before the huddled masses of the electorate, without mind and rancor to the many that have chosen to ridicule her.

Shame on them! And the day of reckoning hopefully will find them stripped of their base thoughts and shorn of their flagrant arrogance. And then hopefully, they can begin to feel self-dread and real shame.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Race to the Finish

We have barely 7 days to go before election time. Some SEO keywords to remember in trying to learn about the Obama-Biden ticket:

Unrepentant terrorist William Ayers - Obama’s favorite neighbor

Convicted Chicago landlord Tony Rezko

Rev. Jeremiah Wright - Damns America; and hateful Rev. Phleger

Community Organizer ACORN - Obama’s anointed

Massive voter registration fraud in Ohio and in at least a dozen other states, either under indictment or being investigated by FBI – credit all to ACORN

Annenberg Challenge papers and Stanley Kurtz – how to muzzle free speech and freedom of information

Thuggish methods in shutting down dissent – now includes a TV station

Unvetted past of Obama – undergraduate studies, school records, etc.

Unguarded “spreading the wealth around” comment. Bring me the good old socialism

Campaign contributions fraud – fictitious donor names and unauthorized charges to credit card accounts.

Obama – post-racial race-card player

When the rhetoric appears too good to be true, it usually is.

Guard your vote, vote with an opened mind.

Monday, October 20, 2008

..the journey of 7000 miles starts with ...

...packing your toothbrush.

Here we go again. Another arduous trek to the far Far East. Another 48 hours of uneasy travel before tired feet can land on familiar soil. And before it could even commence there is the confusing and beguiling chore of making sure everything needed, included those many items you are being asked to bring along, are all dropped and neatly bundled inside the cramped quarters of two small valises.

But the appointed time comes like clockwork and onward we drive to the airport. This time the trek takes on some easy changes and tweaking, taking on a different airline that will now be headed to a point due south and requiring only an overnight ferry ride to the ultimate decision. But now within the elongated time frame of about 48 hours.

I cannot be wrong when I exclaim that no passenger ever relishes such a tortuous trip, trying to steer easy in very cramped seats over a long period of time, and then jumping from one venue to another (airport to downtown, to pier, etc) with dragged luggage in tow. Not a lovely sight and process, indeed.

But like everything in our fleeting lives, this too will pass.

From one world to another, really.

From all the current turmoil in the beleaguered economy, in the over-heated politics, and all the vexing problems in between that is the US today. To the pervasive extreme poverty conditions, the grueling heat that tropical weather typically is, the overall chaotic living conditions in many congested cities, and all the other vexing problems inherent in most cities of 3rd world countries, that the old homeland is.

Not much changes, really. If one is used to both.

This will be an appropriate time to witness the trickling-down effects of this global economic meltdown, as it invariably affects all those surprised countries waiting in the periphery, waiting with bated breath how the big players in the global economy will handle their end of this gigantic problem .

For truly, we are a globalized and interdependent economy and community. For this particular country especially where 10-12% of its GDP is derived from inward remittances coming from its workers and former citizens living or working abroad, it is singularly of extreme importance.

So we will soon see.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fooled By A Fool?

With their snide, or being coy or cute commentaries, some bloggers or commenters in many blogs I visit appear to be playing and baiting others to go down into a baser level of political discourse, fancying themselves a lot smarter and wiser than the objects of their ridicule. And maybe they truly are a lot smarter.

But to those I humbly suggest that they take the exercise of looking themselves up in the mirror, and measuring and gauging what they have done in their own lives, like what laudable impacts they have had not only on their persons but on the people around them. And to compare themselves with the people who are subjects of their ridicule and unkind criticism.

Compare themselves to say, a Sarah Palin, adjudged by a host of personages as the thoroughly dumb and hick VP candidate. In running and ruling as governor of her state, she has had to compete with a round of “smarter and wiser” people who were vying for the same position, and she has had to deal also with countless people, both private citizens and public officials, who have had dealings with her state of Alaska. And one can set aside her stints as mayor of her small town and commissioner of her state-wide energy commission. And since she carried as much as 80% approval ratings, then this dumb woman must have fooled a lot of Alaskans. Imagine counting the number of intractable fools in a state of almost 700,000 people!

Take that little exercise it could be elucidating, and leaven that liberating experience with a rereading of the lesson of the Pharisee and the publican.

Consider this as just some rambling observations from another equally intractable fool.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Who Said Elections Can’t Be Funny?

Here usually naughty Howard Stern, of all people, plays the maestro:


Hey, maybe all voters should be asked why they vote for a certain candidate, before they are actually given their ballots. Much like when one goes through the citizenship process where each candidate is asked several questions about US history before actually being sworn in.

Questions like: What was the cause behind the US Civil War and what resulted from it? The slavery issue which resulted in Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Which truly was one of the questions asked me during my naturalization interview. And I actually gave that answer above.

Was I right?

Some Introspection On The US Election


It is now only 21 days and less than 7 hours before the appointed date of November 4th, when the entire currently harangued nation goes to the polls – to express the electorate’s choices of candidates, their anger, their partisanship, and for whatever other plausible reasons citizens exercise their patriotic duty of suffrage.

As it stands, most polls, whether non-partisan or not, show the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, leading comfortably and consistently against John McCain of the Republicans. And this trend started bumping up almost in cadence when the economy started unraveling, commencing with the stock brokerage mess, to the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac dance of death, and consequently with the oozing credit meltdown.

Being with the party of the current administration, it is only being realistic to ascribe to McCain the default blame for the problems of the economy. Fairly or unfairly, administrations thrive or die whichever direction the economy takes, whether a smoking gun can be traced or not. It simply is conventional wisdom to blame or credit the current administration whatever happens in the economy at large.

And the polls reflect that conventional wisdom. Whether truly McCain and the current administration should be blame solely for all the accumulated mess is a very debatable issue. For one, people could mention Democrats, Cong. Barney Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd, and tie them up neatly with the unregulated down spiral of Fannie and Freddie; and even Obama for surprisingly huge contributions received after being in the Senate for barely 3 years and his association with disgraced Fannie head Franklin Raines. But others could argue that that is beside the point. The truism is that whatever happens in the economy will be blamed on the entire party of the current administration. Unless of course, the refuting narrative becomes so compelling as to offset this truism. Are the facts on this case as revealed compelling enough? That remains to be seen – within these crucial 3 weeks, which we are counting down.

That aside, what could be the reasons why the polls are skewed toward the Democrats the way they are? Is the crazed economic situation the whole determinant and reason for this shift, granting that we are in very uncharted grounds when we start analyzing what is happening in the economy? And what we are undergoing partakes of such historic proportions not before experienced in terms of magnitude and global reach, though many knowledgeable economists would opine that they are witnessing similar events as in the 30’s. But the absolute figures are astronomically bigger than those depression years.

It is worth mentioning that prior even to the primaries, most of the pundits on both sides either have acknowledged or been resigned to the fact that the forthcoming election was for the Democrats to win, regardless of which candidate eventually got the party’s nod. The 2006 election presaged that ominous prediction, because it was precisely that election when the Republicans lost both houses and where even its continued hold on the Executive department became very tenuous. Because of the badly-handled wars, the almost indiscriminate increases in spending by both Congress and the Presidency, and throw in there the almost-illogical hatred for this current president –not only by members of the opposing party, the media, the global communities represented in parts of Europe, the Muslim world, and etc., and even by those in the blogosphere who had forum to express in and time to spend, this administration never had any chance to recover from its dismal approval ratings. And it may well be leaving the WH in January with that same dismal number tacked on its back. Though a sour consolation could be that the current congress dominated by the Democrats has an even lower collective approval rating - hovering in the high teens.

Anyway, three weeks before the voting while the expected leader is indeed enjoying that lead, it still is not a done deal. Meaning, victory has not yet been locked in as had been prognosticated what seemed like an eternity ago. It is still a competitive race. The current leader is already declaring an eventual landslide, while at the same time continuing to pour in resources every which way, outspending the competition by something like 4 to 1.

So what could account for the race being still a close call and continues to be hard-fought? At one point, the leader had pre-empted any subsequent loss by claiming that white voters will continue to be hard pressed overall to vote for a black candidate and will thus tend to skew polling by withholding their innately prejudiced choices. The dreaded Bradley effect in US elections, which coming from some quarters could account for as much as 5-6% in the total votes difference.

Again all those put aside, to what could we attribute the results of current polls? What issues propounded by the party or the candidates could possibly be responsible for these results, again putting aside all the qualifying statements above? The personal qualifications of the candidates? The trust and confidence the people have for what they know or have been told about the candidates? The ability to spend more for electioneering? What about the glaring and defiant partisanship of the media?

Let’s start with economic plans, since we are in the midst of a tremendous and all-reaching economic crisis that promises to financially obliterate many of us unless stopped and rectified. Polls suggest that the public has more confidence with Obama rather than the experienced McCain with regard to who could do better with the economy. But what exactly can he do better with the economy beyond the campaign rhetoric, which one is sure has been sifted and gathered together by a formidable cadre of renowned Who’s Who in Economics circles? This particular campaign is not averse to the public knowledge out there that there are at least 300 advisors ready to give advice to Obama. His recorded experience in the field is paper thin.

And many people are having a problem trying to understand a campaign rhetoric that keeps repeated regularly in stump speeches. A tax-cut for 90% of the American people! Taken at face value, it sounds very ambitious but laudable project. But how does it stand the truth test since 40% of the population does not pay income taxes anyway? It is a tax credit, the campaign explains. But anybody filing a tax return knows that a tax credit is a deduction to one’s tax liability, and a deductible is a deduction to either income or expense. If you are not paying income taxes, what is there to do a tax credit to? But you get a check for the amount of your credit anyway, it is further explained. So the truth is it is not a tax cut, but what we normally call welfare payment that will be given out to those who may not have any tax liability but also to those that that do not show any income at all. One can simply imagine the gravity and size of this new type of welfare entitlement.

But this is not to suggest that McCain has a better plan, sifted through and gathered together by his own cadre of advisors. The better issue to bring out is the bitter reality that whoever sits as the new president will not only have his hands full with the problems already festering but his hands will be tied behind his back with all the Federal money now committed and to be thrown into the midst of these economic maladies. So if the people are calling for an economic savior or maybe just a czar, let’s be realistic, neither can deliver the envisioned deliverance.

Personally what ought to count are the personal loads attached to each candidate, or in other words, which one carries less negative baggage to his position. The McCain side has had its yeoman share – the Keating Five connection for which McCain was the only senator exonerated out of the five and the 4 were Democrats, Palin’s unsophisticated ways and working class origins,. But the Obama ticket has more not only to unload but to explain sufficiently to the public. His past continues to be shadowy at best, contrasted with his VP whose over 30 years in the Senate is an open, though quite undistinguished, book. Thus, we need to know more about a good part of Obama’s past – his close associations with unrepentant terrorist William Ayers, what exactly was his role as a member in the church of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his vaunted community organizing work in Southside Chicago which seemed to appear to come out of the pages of the book of radical Saul Alinsky, etc.

We now know practically everything we need, and more, to know about the homespun life of fellow upstart, Sarah Palin, the media, the opposing campaign, and most of her instant detractors have made sure of that.

So maybe some serious attention by our devoted media can be devoted to learning about Obama, especially because lesser known inquiring sources have met with great resistance digging into that past.

Is that too much to ask? Or should we just raise our hands and with bowed heads move forward the inauguration date of Obama’s presidency?

…to be continued.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Could There Be A Catholic Vote

Update and Correction:

McCain may be considered as pro-life if this NPR article is correct.

And BlogHer, which is a community of women bloggers, thinks so, too.

And even NARAL thinks McCain is pro-life, which makes this contest very interesting for Catholics.

A choice between candidates of two parties that are at odds on the issue of abortion and their rights.


Cal Thomas ponders on this same issue in his article at Real Clear Politics, entitled Catholics & Abortion (Again).

As much as 23% declare themselves as Catholics, out of a total US population of 300 million. This translates to about 70 million Roman Catholics, owing loyalty and obeisance to the Pope and the Papacy seated in the State of the Vatican.

In a couple of states Catholics are the huge majorities like New Mexico (84%) and Rhode Island 63%). Massachusetts sits at 47% and the populous state of New York at 38%. But California with its over 35 million inhabitants, 34% declare themselves as Catholics. In numbers that would be about 12 million people. And other states like New Jersey, Vermont, etc., also boast of large considerable segments of Catholics.

With this huge bloc of devoted followers to a religion steeped in traditional practices and doctrines, can we say that there could be a Catholic voting bloc, given that many of the defining political issues partake of a religious or moral nature like abortion, just wages, stem cell research, and even lately the moral ramifications of the continued stay of illegal immigrants in the country?

Traditionally, the religious convictions of certain candidates for political office rightly or wrongly had always been given sufficient notice and evaluation by the pundits and the electorate, with certain religions, or the lack of it, being adjudged more politically viable than others. The less openly religious the candidate generally the better before the discerning eyes of the electorate. And in this slanted climate, the very traditional and at times archaic practices of Roman Catholicism had been more a disadvantage than anything else.

But the late JFK broke that stubborn religious ceiling by having himself elected as President while openly declaring that his allegiance to and practice of his religion would not in any way influence his governance of the country. He stands as still the one and only Catholic to become a US President. John Kerry came close, but no cigar. Currently many Catholics populate the congress and other appointive/elective offices, both federal and state. The SCOTUS has 5 members who are Catholic, out of a total of 9, thus constituting a majority.

In the current milieu, VP candidate Joe Biden is a Catholic. Sarah Palin was baptized Catholic as an infant, but changed religion as a teen in Alaska. The honorable Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is an avowed Catholic, I suppose in the grand Italian tradition.

In the past, Church authorities had been somewhat ambivalent in shepherding their faithful, most especially those in very visible public office, to the strict observance of their tight-fisted dogmas and doctrines. Thus, many Catholic politicians even on the national level could publicly contravene doctrine without much repercussion. Some may even say, could resist Catholic doctrine with impunity. Of particular contention has been the issue of abortion, which according to strict Catholic doctrine is legalized killing of human life.

But of late, certain interesting developments may bring out this issue more contentiously in the current campaign and may even draw deep and distinct, though under the surface, political lines, depending on how Catholics at present view their religion and its practice.

It was this Pope who as Cardinal finally laid down more unequivocally how Catholic politicians should regard their offices and their religion. It was this Pope who postulated that the public actions and policies of Catholic politicians should be congruent with their private religious beliefs. Should they espouse policies and programs that are incoherent with Church doctrine, the Church rules against them. Which may be interpreted to mean that if a politician cannot change his political choices, then he cannot continue to be a member of good standing in his church?

On the other side of the spectrum, with the weakened state of the Republican party, which traditionally has been pro-life or anti-abortion, the other party the Democratic, which has historically been represented as the vanguard of abortion rights, has of late become more publicly assertive about its stances on abortion, again openly defying those whose faith does not look kindly on those questioned practices. The party has wrested this golden opportunity to rally its people using the feminists’ clarion call of abortion and reproductive rights, or in the more nuanced pro-choice lingo, of women’s right of choice.

I foresee a clash between the two sides, though I cannot tell how it can develop sufficient legs given the very limited time frame between now and the November election.

This much we can deduce that the resurgence of the McCain campaign, who is himself a declared pro-choice candidate, can be attributed to the selection of Sarah Palin, his opposite on the abortion issue. With her in the ticket, the GOP is suddenly competitive. She is strictly anti-abortion, and as we have seen very traditionally so – like allowing the birth of her last son who had been early on diagnosed as suffering from Down syndrome; and allowing the continued pregnancy of his teenaged but still unmarried daughter. Her large family also helps solidify this qualification, a large family that is ever visible in her political sorties.

So we can then surmise that in the quiet of their solitude, whether at home or in the voting booth, earnest Catholics agonizing as they are with the difficult current choices of candidates, will also introduce in their inquiring minds the issue of abortion which clearly is against their Church’s teachings, emphatically brought to the fore by a Pope who has been unequivocal about it.

On the Democratic side you have a non-Catholic Christian Obama who is not only pro-choice but has taken positions considered more extreme compared with the mainstream of those espousing the same cause. Then you have Catholic Joe Biden who favors abortion and even through public pronouncements continues to deny or is unaware of the teaching of his Church on this issue.

On the Republican side, we have a John McCain, forever a maverick in his party taking the opposite stance on this issue. Then you have a Sarah Palin, once a Catholic but now a member of a Protestant denomination(s) but who is staunchly anti-abortion and presents unapologetically and unashamedly her large family as proof positive of her firm stance.

So where will the earnest Catholic vote stand, if indeed they could vote as a bloc?

Acknowledgment: Graphics from One Nation Under God site.

Catholic Money: To Community Organizing

The revelations detailed out of a report and discussed in this blog, which appears to be a Catholic site with at least one Jesuit contributing an article or two, is very surprising to say the least.

Its being made public may not do much damage to the campaign of Obama, but as stated in the blog if anything this particular revelation has opened the eyes of the public, especially the unknowing Catholics who unwaveringly contribute with open hearts and minds to their parishes thinking their little “widow’s mite” will in some good way help the poor.

The sunlight shed on this subject of community organizing in Chicago has brought to light the ugly underpinnings of what started or was intended as a laudable and commendable project which the Church openly supported, all with the noblest of Christian virtue.

Innocuous or not, Obama's years as a community organizer were supported, in part, by Catholic money dispersed by the USCCB.

Barak Obama - was lead organizer in Chicago for the Developing Communities Project, it received a $40,000 Catholic Campaign for Human Development grant in 1985 and a $33,000 grant in 1986.

While he was in Chicago Obama was trained by the top Alinskyian organizers. One mentor was the ex-Jesuit, Greg Galuzzo, lead organizer for Gamaliel. The Developing Communities Project operated under the Gamaliel Foundation, a network of Alinskyian organizations that receive 4-5% of all Catholic Campaign for Human Development grants each year.

The Developing Communities Project, which hired Obama as lead organizer, was an offshoot of Jerry Kellman's Calumet Community Religious Conference. Kellman, another of Obama's mentors, was himself trained by Alinsky. The network of community organizations Alinsky founded, the Industrial Areas Foundation, receives about 16% of all Catholic Campaign for Human Development grants annually.

ACORN itself, very closely identified with Obama, recieves Catholic Campaign funding:

After Obama went to Harvard Law School, he returned to Chicago and taught Alinskyian organizing to ACORN staff. Although ACORN has a different structure than other Alinskyian networks, its tactical philosophy and world view are formed by men who were trained by Alinsky, in a sort of diabolical apostolic succession. Obama ran ACORN's 1992 voter-registration drive, Project Vote, and in return received ACORN's endorsement for Illinois senator. ACORN annually receives about 5% of Catholic Campaign for Human Development grants.

The report ends ominously:

After 40 years of funding the bad guys, it's time to stop. a sort of diabolical apostolic succession

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Now What?

The last VP debate showed us that the people can listen and are listening. Almost 70million of us tuned in, primarily to listen to a woman who spoke and used words to flesh out ideas, in the self-same manner that we hear said in conversations among ourselves and among neighbors. No nuanced embellishments or uncommon words to express common sense ideas. And in a voice and intonation revealing authenticity and genuineness, not designed to impress and overwhelm. And to top it all, quite unapologetic about her humble but noble origins.

So what to do with that precious opportunity? People are lending their ear. This is crunch time with barely a month left before we all go to the polls.

What about starting with freeing the facts and bringing them directly to the people, not filtered, nuanced, or intended to impress and overwhelm.

Let’s start learning the facts that appear to be disregarded by the electorate and partisans who derive their info filtered by an irreversibly biased media who has undeniably taken a side and party operatives who will not allow unvarnished facts to get in their way so long as they get what they want out of this election.

So here is an article from respected economist and political commentarist, Thomas Sowell, Do Facts Matter.
Right now, the polls indicate that a whole lot of the people are being fooled a whole lot of the time.

The current financial bailout crisis has propelled Barack Obama back into a substantial lead over John McCain-- which is astonishing in view of which man and which party has had the most to do with bringing on this crisis.

Read and reread this short article for a general understanding where a good part of the blame should lie for this cascading economic crisis we are all laboring under.

Do not be too impressed by the beautfiul language and witty sayings of men. My standard is not one of words, but of action. - adapted from Imitation of Christ, Thomas a' Kempis.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sarah Palin: In Her Own Words

Will the real Sarah Palin show up on the debate tomorrow?

Another video is available here.

Profile Of A Debate Moderator

Michelle Malkin does a riveting profile of the moderator for tomorrow's vice-presidential debate.

And from the looks of it, it does not appear to be fair to get somebody who may have a conflict of interest, based on her previous commentaries, and even on the book that she has written.

Read Michelle's entire write-up and judge for yourselves.

In the meantime, here is the YouTube video on Ms. Gwen Ifill's remarks after the Palin acceptance speech at the RNC:

And as Instapundit openly wonders:

On the other hand, if, say, John Stossel or Bill O'Reilly were the moderator, I suspect that we'd be getting a lot of squawking from the same journalistic "watchdog" types who think there's no problem with Gwen Ifill.