September 10, 2016 1 Comment
Are Trump and Putin worrying you? Here are Bill and the gang with their take on it.
This has been kicking around for a bit. It’s still valid though, and I suspect there are lessons here for us as well.
The view from the Anglosphere
September 6, 2016 7 Comments
And so the Catholic Church last Sunday recognized St. Teresa of Calcutta as a saint. It was pretty obvious even during her lifetime here on earth, but even in the church bureaucrats gotta bureaucrat. It’s always been so, in fact, that how organizations stay on track, so I’m mostly kidding here.
But she wasn’t. Working with and for the poorest of one the world’s poorest cities, she accomplished miracles, showing their plight to the rich and the powerful.
But her work for the powerless went well beyond the precincts of Calcutta. Her most powerless client was always the unborn, who she worked incessantly to save.
How remarkable it was to hear this small woman at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994
By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.
The entire address can be read here. It is interesting to note that then-President Clinton and his wife, Hillary, sat stunned through the five-minute standing ovation that answered her address. You, like me, know what side of that controversy we want to be on.
And controversy it has been and continues to be. Here’s a bit from Breitbart about why the left hates her so.
So the questions again present themselves: Why so much hatred? Why so much deep-seated anger against this woman?
Sifting through the literature dedicated to smearing the legacy of Mother Teresa, one discovers that all the arguments against her really boil down to two, which the Left can never forgive: her vocal and intransigent opposition to abortion and her overtly Christian spirituality that moved her to pour herself out for her fellow man.
All the other reasons given—that she provided inferior health care, that she was occasionally irritable with coworkers, that she accepted donations from morally ambiguous characters—are really just a cover for the two that irked the Left to the point of hysteria.
And hysteria it has been.
In a noteworthy 1986 essay published by the international abortion giant Planned Parenthood, titled “Mother Teresa, the Woman of My Nightmares,” one gets a taste of the profound odium stirred up by this simple religious sister.
“This very successful old and withered person, who doesn’t look in the least like a woman, especially when she raises her clenched fists in prayer, and who, for us, is a very suspect holder of the Nobel Prize,” Planned Parenthood wrote in its official publication Sexualpedagogik, “has become for us the symbol of all that is bad in motherhood and womanhood, an image with which we do not wish to be associated.”
“You, you nightmare of women! You unliberated, enslaved wives, mothers, nuns and aunts, what do you want from us, who have finally decided that we are going to take control of our bodies, our children, and our destiny into our own hands?” it ran.
Abortion, in fact, formed the centerpiece of Mother Teresa’s definition of poverty and all that is wrong with the world. The three most public speeches of her career—her acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, her Harvard Commencement address, and her words at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.—all focused on abortion as the greatest social injustice in the world today.
I have no trouble at all telling between them “Who is on the Lord’s side”. Nor do I have any trouble knowing where I should (and do) stand.
September 2, 2016 9 Comments
Both of us here actually prefer to deal with underlying causes of the problems of our civilization, which is fine but we also realize that current events (and their daily alarms) are also part of our brief. We ignore quite a few, mostly because if you are moderately aware, you will find them easily enough. That’s all well and good, but sometimes we do think we should comment on some of them.
You may have heard that in about a month, America is due to turn over control of the internet to the United Nations. Sounds pretty harmless to most, I suppose. But is it really? Is it a good idea to turn over the last real bastion of free speech to an organization that thinks Cuba, China, and Saudi Arabia are valid choices to judge human rights violations? Doesn’t strike me as a very good idea. Our friend Cultural Limits wrote about this recently, including part of an email dated 2014 from George Soros’ Open Society Foundation that is relevant.
“Our freedom of expression work furthers the free exchange of information and ideas via the media and internet, and proposes to begin to address the free expression and association rights of NGOs. The internet has been a key tool for promoting freedom of expression and open societies — as in the Arab Spring — and is a potential safeguard against monopoly control of information in such places as China and Central Asia,” page 19 of the document notes.
“But it is also presenting underaddressed challenges, including lack of regulation of private operators that are able to decide, without due process procedures, what information is taken off the Internet and what may remain. A ‘race to the bottom’ results from the agendas of undemocratic governments that seek to impose their hostility to free speech on the general online environment. We seek to ensure that, from among the norms emerging in different parts of the world, those most supportive of open society gain sway.”…
One of the “Program concepts and initiatives” listed in the document is to “Promote — by advocating for the adoption of nuanced legal norms, and litigation — an appropriate balance between privacy and free expression/transparency values in areas of particular interest to OSF and the Justice Initiative, including online public interest speech, access to ethnic data, public health statistics, corporate beneficial ownership, asset declarations of public officials, and rights of NGOs to keep information private.”
Another initiative is to “Establish states’ responsibility to collect data necessary to reveal patterns of inequality, and define modes of collection that are effective and protect privacy.” (RELATED: UN Internet Agenda Tied To George Soros)
Throughout the document, OSJI’s position appears to be that private actors on the internet must be brought under international control in order to prevent them from suppressing each other’s freedom of expression and speech.
CL’s emphasis and noting that this was part of the cache that was wiped from the DCLeaks website.
[…] (This would be the end of Charity Navigator and like websites that keep non-profit claim transparent and honest.)
Fortunately for the rest of us, The Daily Caller saved a copy of the communications and is able to deliver a steady drip of information that will never be reported on the regular news organs. The optics are not good for anyone who thinks that American-style freedom of speech would be maintained in any sort of international takeover of the internet. This document very clearly presents the case for stamping out messaging that does not fall in line with the Open Society agenda.
I agree, and I wouldn’t bet on the survival of many of the sites you have come to depend on either. I simply don’t trust the UN at all on this sort of issue. In fact, while I tend to be sceptical of even the US, we are much better about this than even the UK, with their penchant lately for uneven application of so-called hate crime legislation (not to mention any objective definition of the very vague term).
But most of us do understand freedom of speech, and that it is a fundamental right of a free society, going back officially to the First Amendment, but its roots are in the Declaration’s list of natural rights. Over at The Calvinist International, they reminded us the other day that Sir Edward Coke (one of the major legal interpreters in 17th century Britain, and one of the most read books in colonial America) said this about natural rights
The law of nature is that which God at the time of creation of the nature of man infused into his heart, for his preservation and direction; and this is lex eterna [the eternal law], the moral law, called also the law of nature. And by this law, written with the finger of God in the heart of man, were the people of God a long time governed, before the law was written by Moses, who was the first reporter or writer of law in the world. The Apostle in the second chapter to the Romans saith, Cum enim gentes quæ legem non habent naturaliter ea quæ legissunt faciunt [For when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, naturally do the things of the law]. [..] Aristotle, nature’s secretary, lib. 5. Ethic. saith, that jus naturale est, quod apud omnes homines eandem habet potentiam [It is the law of nature, which has the same force among all men].
You may be quite certain that both Tom Jefferson and Jemmy Madison had read and understood this passage quite well.
August 29, 2016 4 Comments
Mark A. Signorelli had an article in The Federalist the other day, that I think is important for us to think about.
As the accumulating crises confronting the Western world stuff our newsfeeds more and more each day, a certain broad narrative about what is happening seems to have gained near-universal acceptance. It says the populations of Western nations are presently ruled by an incompetent and out-of-touch “elite,” who evince no regard for, or even knowledge of, the people’s will on a variety of issues, ranging from immigration to free trade to education.
In response, the citizens of these nations have demonstrated their contempt for these elites in fairly dramatic ways, from the Brexit to the rise of the Front National to the Donald Trump campaign. It is a contest between populism and elitism, we are told, that defines our political moment. […]
I’ve said it, so have most of you, sometimes with approbation and sometimes with dread. It is how it appears. But is it so?
Consider the writing of Ta-Nehisi Coates. If there is anywhere we can look into the heart of the sort of people running the world, it is here. The Left has lauded this author up and down as one of their most outstanding thinkers for his writing on race. I do not wish to enter into the quality of his arguments here. Rather, I want to call attention to the attitude or spirit that pervades his work.
Coates repeatedly councils his son (and, by extension, his readership) that the institutional structures of the country he was born into are incorrigibly malignant, having their origins in violence perpetrated against black people. He tells him American society was built on “looting and violence” against his ancestors; that brutality against blacks is its “heritage and legacy”; that power is irrevocably placed in the hands of white persons under the sway of a “demon religion” of racism. He warns him that the police force of his country is endowed with the legitimate authority to kill and abuse him. He laments that his place in his society, as a black man, will always be subject to a “cosmic injustice.” He also dismisses the hope that anything could change these conditions as chimerical; that he can see “no real promise of such a day.”
Again, I am not interested here in the extent to which any of these claims may be justified. I simply want to ask: What is the pervasive tone of all these claims together? The answer is plain to see: Alienation from those in power, and a persistent rancor against the institutions in which that power is located. An incurable sense of outrage and resentment. Suspicion of the political structure as such, with no suggestion that it could be reformed (and, in fact, explicit denial of the possibility it could be). Clearly, we have here a state of mind akin, in all its essential features, to the populist mentality. […]
I’ve surely noticed that and am confident that you have as well.
It would no doubt cause Coates and his many besotted admirers horror to learn they are close spiritual kin to the Trumpistas of the world. Nonetheless, it’s true. […]
It is why the people running our civilization have never developed the virtues necessary to carry out their duties adequately. Determined to always think of themselves as persons out of power, they never learned to regard themselves as persons with power, and all the responsibilities power entails. They never learned to imagine the kinds of moral formation that would fit a person for rule, rather than for protest. [..]
This is a key point, I think, that many of those in power have simply never prepared themselves for the responsibility that comes with the position. They cannot take responsibility because they have convinced themselves that they have none. Thus the ludicrous situation of the President’s closest advisors claiming to “Speak truth to power”. Just who do they think has power, anyway?
Once we account for the historical dimensions of our situation, we can discern the ruinous consequences the politics of resentment has had on the character of our present leaders. It will cure us of any temptation to engage in different varieties of that politics, as they make themselves available in the populist movements of the time.
Well, one hopes so, anyway.
via Why The Elites Are Really Populists At Heart, do read the whole thing™.
August 28, 2016 2 Comments
The outrage of the week is the exorbitant rise in the cost of the EpiPen Auto-Injector. Predictably, the progressive left immediately jumped into full battle mode and trotted out its favorite boogie – capitalism. And just as predictably, they are looking to government to fix it.
The price to cash-paying customers for EpiPens is up some 600 percent to 700 percent over the past decade, with cash customers paying as much as $840 for a two-pack – though coupons are available that would bring the price down to around $650. (Hoping to dampen criticism and head off congressional hearings, Mylan announced yesterday it would begin offering a savings card to reduce the cost by as much as $300.) This is for a $2 ($4 for a two-pack) dose of medicine – a medicine available in Canada for about $100 without a prescription.
So EpiPen maker Mylan is coming under the scrutiny of the congressweasels – although that scrutiny has been tempered by the revelation that Mylan’s CEO Heather Bresch is the daughter of Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Over the last several days, Senators Chuck Grassley, Amy Klobuchar and Richard Blumenthal and Representative Elijah Cummings and others have called for information, investigations and explanations from and of Mylan. Klobuchar and Blumenthal are calling for price fixing – a form of collectivism that always fails and leads to shortages and more corruption.
If that’s where they’re looking, they’re looking in the wrong place.
In the years 2012 and 2013, Mylan spent about $4 million lobbying Congress and the Food and Drug Administration. The result is a defacto monopoly on epinephrine injectors. The FDA’s rules require companies with competing injectors to exceed the specifications required by Mylan, and so far the FDA has killed or stymied almost every potential competitor that’s come along. One epinephrine injector allowed into the market is dubbed “inferior” and rarely prescribed.
In 2013 Congress passed the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act that provides schools with financial incentives (read money from the federal treasury) to stock epinephrine injectors in case of emergency. The approved injectors are EpiPens, of course. The primary lobbying group pushing the bill was the group Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). The primary corporate sponsor of FARE is Mylan.
EpiPens have an FDA-mandated one-year expiration meaning, whether used or not, patients are cowed into tossing their old ones in the trash and replacing them and the doctors write new prescriptions each year. The government, through Medicare and Medicaid, pay whatever Mylan decrees the price to be, sans applicable deductibles.
You see what has happened here, I think. They came up with a good idea, and then they got the government to guarantee a monopoly by regulating all others off the market and then mandating a short shelf life (which may or may not be justified) thereby continuing the sales momentum.
Nothing even vaguely capitalistic about the whole story, it’s simply a matter of using government to promote your product. EpiPen may be the greatest thing since canned beer, or the worst since Nero bought a fiddle. I simply don’t know. What I do know is that if there were three, or five, or thirty competing models from various companies, you’d be unlikely to be paying $840 for a two-pack, and doing it every year.
August 20, 2016 7 Comments
Ronald J. Pestritto, dean of the graduate school of statesmanship at Hillsdale College, joined The Federalist Radio Hour to discuss the rise of progressivism in American history and it’s role in shaping our government and modern politicians.
Pestritto’s research on the birth of American progressivism has lead him across the party lines as well as to politicians like Woodrow Wilson. “It’s really amazing how thoroughly [progressivism] comes to dominate politics and political culture toward the end of the 19th century,” Pestritto said. “The idea of progress and the power of that is deeply embedded.” […]
Later in the hour, Domenech and Pestritto discussed whether constitutional limits and ideas are even something that voters actually care about anymore. “Since the election of Barack Obama, we’ve had an extraordinary window of opportunity… to talk about constitutional principles,” Pestritto said. “I worry that the current election cycle season may mark the closing of that window.”
Pretty interesting stuff, I think you’ll enjoy it.