Monday, December 19, 2011

NYT OP-ED: ISRAEL "CHEESY"

Among many unforgivable sins, Israel is "cheesy," says Roger Cohen in an op-ed piece on Israel in the New York Times. The editorial starts as a complaint about an ad run by Israel , appealing to Israeli expatriates to come back to Israel, but the article quickly turns into an all-around "I hate Israel" denunciation.



Mr. Cohen sniffs that the Israelis offend the Egyptians by being dismissive of Egyptian democratic aspirations.  The Israelis may be dismissive, but let's stop for a moment and consider. The Egyptians just voted the Muslim Brotherhood into power. This is a group that wants to dissolve the Egypt-Israel peace treaty.  Israel should be cheering here?  5,000 people were chanting "we shall kill all the Jews" the other day at a Muslim Brotherhood rally.

Ouch.

Benign Muslim Brotherhood Members.

The Egyptians themselves can be quite dismissive of their recent election: read about the cynicism, confusion, and fear in Egypt during the run-up to elections. I wish the Egyptians all the best, but giddy optimism does not seem prudent.  The Egyptians elected violent Anti-Israeli parties into power.  Just because they were elected democratically doesn't mean Israel has to cheer.

Hitler got elected, for goodness' sake.  A democratic process does not ensure marvelous results.  As I am sure we here in the U.S. are well aware.

See more on the Egyptian elections here.

Mr. Cohen also notes that the Turks are offended that Israeli commandos killed some Turks on a boat in the Mediterranean. These Turks (a) were trying to run an Israeli blockade of the Palestinians (the blockade is permitted under international law) and (b) decided to battle it out with Israel commandos who boarded their vessel to enforce the blockade.  The results, predictably, involved a number of dead Turks.

Lesson learned: a blockade is a military operation.  If you try to run it you risk getting killed.  Don't start fighting with the commandos when they come on board to enforce the blockade unless your goal is to die.  In which case, well played.  Read more here.

BTW, the reason for the blockade is that the Palestinians keep importing rockets, which they shoot at Jewish grandmothers and babies. I wonder how Mr. Cohen would look at things if Canada kept lobbing rockets into Manhattan.

Mr. Cohen, still sniffing, tells us, quoting Leon Panetta, that Israel should "get to the damn table" with the Palestinians. May I ask "what table, Leon?"  The "commit seppuku" table?  That seems to be the only one the Palestinians have set.  Apparently the use of "damn" is unintentionally accurate, as in the "straight to hell with you" table.


This weird talk reminds me of a great song about negotiating with zombies who want to kill you and eat you. The zombie chorus sings "all we want to do is eat your brains; we're not unreasonable - I mean, no one's gonna eat your eyes." Watch Jonathan Coulton perform here.

This could be the Palestinian theme song.

The Palestinians don't want land for peace, except in the sense of getting all of Israel (land) and getting rid of all the Jews (peace).  "Land for Peace" has already been tried by the Israelis. They've given up land and still have no peace.

The Obama/Panetta agenda here seems to be modeled on Neville Chamberlain's adroit diplomacy at Munich in 1938, when he fed Czechoslovakia to Hitler on a lovely "Peace in Our Time" platter (watch YouTube footage of Chamberlain's speech at the link).  Chamberlain happily believed Hitler would stop threatening the rest of Europe if England gave him part of Czechoslovakia for breakfast.  Sadly, after occupying the rest of Czechoslovakia in about 18 minutes, Hitler still wanted elevenses, in the form of Poland.  And lunch: Norway and France.  And then tea and dinner: England and Russia.


Just as Hitler had no intention of honoring the Munich pact and stopping with the Sudetenland, the Palestinians have no intention of honoring negotiated agreements with Israel. They want Israel dead and gone.  Israel is an affront to their version of Islam.  We should believe the Palestinians, just as we should have believed Hitler, in Mein Kampf.  

Hamas is the very popularly elected ruling party in Palestine.  Hamas is also a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.   MB just received 37% of the popular vote in Egypt, and may win as many as 50% of the seats in Egypt's Parliament.  MB wants to "renegotiate" the Egypt/Israel peace treaty.  Reflection on Hamas' policy may give us some insight on exactly what Israel finds so distasteful in the Muslim Brotherhood.

So let's take a quick stroll through Hamas' clearly expressed point-of-view on Israel:
  • "Our ultimate plan is [to have] Palestine in its entirety. I say this loud and clear so that nobody will accuse me of employing political tactics. We will not recognize the Israeli enemy." (Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, Future News TV, June 15, 2010, Source: MEMRI.org) 
Hamas, voted into office by the Palestinians in 2006, does not recognize Israel, whose borders were created by UN mandate in 1947. Hamas views all of present day Israel, including the land within the borders established by the UN, as theirs, under Islamic law.


Israel's neighbors have waged multiple wars of extermination against Israel since 1948. Having lost them all, the "neighbors" haven't given up. Give them an  "A" for persistence and consistency.
  • "We do not recognize the Israeli enemy, nor his right to be our neighbor, nor to stay (on the land), nor his ownership of any inch of land. . . We are interested in restoring our full rights to return all the people of Palestine to the land of Palestine. Our principles are clear: Palestine is a land of Waqf (Islamic trust), which can not be given up." (Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas leader and candidate to the Palestinian legislative council, Palestinian TV, January 17, 2006, Newsday)
  • "Palestine is Islamic . . . Jews have no right in it, with the exception of those who lived on the land of Palestine before World War I." (Hamas official Halil Al-Hayya, Al-Hayat newspaper, November 11, 2010)
Here are a few readings from Hamas' charter, to which they have steadfastly adhered:

  • "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).
    • "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."
    Mr. Panetta refuses to believe what the Palestinians say. What they say is that there is only one "solution" for the Palestinian question: Jihad.  One solution for the Jews.  Where have I heard that before?  I'm drawing a blank here.


    The rest of the world did not believe what Hitler said in Mein Kampf, at least not until he attacked Poland in 1939. A few years later, with 6,000,000 murdered Jews and Europe a smoking ruin, everyone was a little embarrassed they hadn't taken the chap more seriously.

    Western disbelief in Hamas' stated purposes is bizarre, fruit-cake, Halcion and Peyote influenced whacko.  Nevertheless I hear otherwise perfectly sane people uttering this nonsense all the time, as if the Palestinians were spoiled children who won't really set fire to the house, as they say they will.  They just want a little ice cream, is all.


    The Palestinians and Israel's other neighbors have been uttering these deadly threats with perfect sincerity since 1947. They've backed up the threats with actions - with their lives, in thousands of instances.  They commit acts of war on a daily basis.  Hamas is waiting for one of their faithful sponsors, the Iranians, to get nuclear weapons, which should greatly improve Hamas' chances of annihilating Israel.

    Hamas must believe we are brainless and illiterate.

    Mr. Cohen finishes his bitter editorial with this smug comment:
    •  "Here’s a suggestion for an ad campaign that might fly: A smiling Netanyahu shaking hands with the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, beside the slogan: Come home to peace. Forgive me for dreaming."
    Since the Palestinians are committed to murdering Israel, Mr. Cohen's happy ad will probably have to wait. I suspect Netanyahu will refuse to snuggle with Abbas until Hamas stops lobbing rockets into Israel as part of its policy of genocide.



    I don't want to presume, but that's my best guess.

    Perhaps the Palestinians could discard genocide as the cornerstone of their Israeli policy.  Maybe that's asking too much.  Perhaps Mr. Cohen could write something sniffy about the Palestinians' genocidal foreign policy.  Maybe that would convince them to stop all that sassy talk.


    Mr. Cohen and Mr. Panetta's fulminations about Israel are morally and intellectually incoherent.  Intellectually, because unless Israel decides to commit suicide, their own self-interest dictates an attitude of complete mistrust and military readiness toward Hamas.  Morally, these fulminations are incoherent because there is no equivalence between Israel's policy toward Palestine - one of guarded and understandable suspicion - and Palestine's policy toward Israel - one of genocide.

    None.  Doesn't matter how fine a gossamer thread of sophism Mr. Cohen spins, zero is the moral content of the Palestinians' brief.  Until Hamas renounces genocide and accepts the existence of the State of Israel, Israel owes them not a thing, not intellectually, not morally, not economically, and certainly not politically.

    So sniff on Mr. Cohen.  No matter how many times you multiply zero, it still equals zero.

    Saturday, December 10, 2011

    HORKED

    My 22-year old daughter casually introduced me to a new word a few weeks ago. At least, it was new to me. I have been mulling it over ever since.

    I mentioned I liked her jacket and she said she had "horked it."

    Huh???

    She explained that she had borrowed the jacket from a friend a long time ago but had never given it back. She was pretty sure the friend had forgotten about it, and did not really mind, but was also pretty sure the friend would want the jacket back if it came to her attention.



    Honesty demanded my daughter say something more than "I borrowed it." But it wasn't stolen, either, since she hadn't taken it with the intent to "deprive the owner of its use and benefit," and her friend lets her borrow stuff all the time. Hence, "horked" was the exact word for the occasion.

    This was verbal terrain that needed a verb.


    "Perfeck!" says Pop Larkin.

    A dip into the urban dictionary reveals that the verb "to hork" has a variety of colorful meanings, all of which are pejorative and hover around some type of physical or moral chaos.

    Among computer and electronics folks, it is used to suggest that something is not just broken, but is causing mischief: "your code totally horked the build today; those new speakers horked my amp."



    The Canadian usage is the one my daughter adopted. Bob and Doug McKenzie memorably complained that someone had "horked their beer."



    While it is possible to say that Bernie Madoff "horked" 58 billion dollars, it would be inappropriate. "Horking" is the casual misappropriation of stuff among friends and families that is usually tolerated but sometimes causes an explosion in the "horkee." Horking does not involve interventions by law enforcement authorities. We rely on moral suasion to resolve horking controversies.


    Bernie: Something Greater Than Horking At Work.

    ("Horkee" is my addition to the language; just made it up. Thank you.)

    One can also "hork up" something through one's nose, in a fit of uncontrollable laughter. Eternal Optimist remembers saying something funny to a friend at H.A. Winston's, while my friend was swallowing chicken noodle soup. He tried not to spit up the soup, but internal pressure from the joke had to be released, and the noodles came rushing out his nose. This was much funnier than the joke itself.



    Last, and perhaps most objectionably, a cat can "hork up" a hair ball.



    The existence of this particular meaning is likely to hork up all other meanings of the word, I'm afraid, since vivid, ugly meanings normally overwhelm milder associations.

    Nevertheless, I'm glad I horked the word from my daughter.

    ARTSY SMARTSY

    How cool is it to be in the middle of this insanely artistic world?

    There is a lovely artist at work in Internet Land, making beautiful wallet sized acrylic paintings of saints just in time for Christmas!!

    • Carry a picture of the saints around in your pocket so you don't forget the "better angels of our nature," as President Lincoln admonished!
    • Both Lincoln and Washington would have purchased these in volume, if they'd had the chance!! They didn't, but YOU DO!!

    Check out this link!!

    I am related to the artist and am enjoying doting.

    Have fun!

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    FUCHSIA

    Fuchsia was a concept quite foreign to me until I met and married Mrs. Eternal Optimist, whose color palette is hundreds of times more detailed than mine. I have a very typical male "color wheel" in my head, which is to say, not much of one:

    Reddish - Greenish/Bluish - Yellowish - Black/Brownish - White/Grayish.

    That's it. All other color names confuse me, more or less. For instance, I know what purple looks like, but violet? Are they the same? And I am not clear on whether purple is close to red, or brown, or blue. Or all three.

    Fortunately I can learn things if they appear in dictionaries, encyclopedias, graphs or recondite articles. So I had to look up fuchsia. Which is a fascinating word, whatever color it is.

    fuchsia [ˈfjuːʃə] [Noun]

    1. any onagraceous shrub of the mostly tropical genus Fuchsia, widely cultivated for their showy drooping purple, red, or white flowers
    2. Also called California fuchsia, a North American onagraceous plant, Zauschneria californica, with tubular scarlet flowers
    3.a. a reddish-purple to purplish-pink color
    b. (as adjective) a fuchsia dress



    Fuchsia, the dictionary tells me, is of the Onagraceae family, which is "characterized byherbaceous plants having simple leaves, showy flowers with four sepals and four petals, and fruitin the form of a berry or a capsule." Relatives include the clarkia, evening primrose, and thewillow herb.

    Fuchsia is an attractive and popular color for lady's wear -


    But be careful. It is possible to go very wrong with fuchsia.



    The word derives from the name of the French monk and botanist, Leonhart Fuchs, who discovered the plant in Hispaniola in 1703. This makes the word relatively young and virile, and as with most such words, there are several competing spellings: fuschia, fuscia, fucsia. As far as EO can tell it usually takes at least 5 centuries before a word's spelling simmers down.

    It seems that "fewshia" would be the closest representation of how people actually say the word right now, at least in the United States. The spelling, "Fuchsia," is historically consistent, since it tracks the spelling of Mr. Fuchs name.

    I'm in favor of the historically consistent spelling, for several reason. As this is my blog, I will elaborate.

    First, English is filled with words that don't "sound out;" the letter values we give the words don't actually translate into an accurate rendition of how we say the word. This tendency is much derided, both by native speakers and foreigners.

    EO, however, finds the habit heartwarming. It is much like visiting with elderly friends and family on Sunday. Even though they can barely hear, and conversation is almost impossible, their remembrance of things past fills one's heart with a longing for good and happy times, honest and kindhearted friendships.

    The process reminds you that you are not alone; your life is neither the beginning nor the end. You are just here for a little while, and have a duty to those who came before and after you to be kind, gentle, honest and courageous.

    Thinking about old words reminds me of the Venerable Bede, who apparently wore something that could pass for Fuchsia while translating the gospel of John into the Anglo-Saxon tongue, circa 735 A.D.



    Contrary to my generation's world-view, we did not invent the English language ourselves. We received it from others who were gracious enough to love us, feed us, change our diapers, and teach us to speak.

    Second, there are plenty of alternate spellings in use, but none of them are overwhelmingly better than "fuchsia." Spelling it "fewshia," as it is currently pronounced, would be a visual abomination. We forget that writing is ultimately a visual art. No sense in being ugly.

    Third, unless an odd spelling causes auto accidents or results in the death of special forces operatives, better to leave well enough alone. Pronunciations change constantly, and the less you monkey with changes in spelling the less confusion you sow among native speakers.

    Baffling spellings that reflect ancient pronunciations are a small price to pay for having a highly adaptive living language. Given its history of invasion and dominion by foreign tongues, it is a wonder English survived at all. We should not begrudge our Mother Tongue her idiosyncrasies.


    One of the results of reducing a language to writing is to slow down the rate at which the language changes. The consequence is that generations of people far removed are able to speak to each other relatively easily through the written word. You would probably not understand one word in 50 of the Middle English spoken by Geoffrey Chaucer, but we can read his Canterbury Tales with a surprising level of comprehension.



    If we were constantly to change spellings to reflect each generation's different pronunciation of words, written English would change as swiftly as spoken English. That would be a very sad thing. Shakespeare is much more enjoyable as part of my native tongue, however far removed, than as a foreign language.

    So then, I say leave the spelling of Fuchsia alone. It honors Leonhart Fuchs and has the benefit of consistency and some logic. Leaving it alone does require us to learn to overcome the slight divergence between the written word "Fuchsia" and its actual pronunciation.

    If this proves a problem, here is a prayer from St. Bede to help.



    I am sure the English speaking peoples, having thrice in the past century saved humanity from the forces of evil (the two World Wars and the Cold War), and having traveled to the moon and back on a whim and a dare, are up to this trifling difficulty.

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    DEMOGRAPHIC ZOMBIES

    As a general proposition, Western Europe, Japan and most of the Muslim world - and especially Iran - are "Zombie Nations" that have committed national suicide. Demographically speaking, they are the living dead, and we should be aware of this fact when we are dealing with them.


    This is the cheerful point of a fascinating book I just read, titled "How Civilizations Die," by David Goldman.

    "Population decline is the elephant in the world's living room. As a matter of arithmetic, we know that the social life of most developed countries will break down within two generations." So begins the book, which develops themes from turgid U.N. population studies into an absorbing and sobering picture of the chaos likely to envelope the world over the next 75 years.


    The problem is that large swathes of the world's population have stopped having children, or stopped having them in numbers sufficient to replace the current population. Birthrates in every Western European nation, and all of the western former Soviet republics, have fallen well below replacement level. Replacement levels vary, depending on a variety of factors, but world wide the level is around 2.3 children per female. Any rate that is less than 2.0 is well below replacement level, no matter where you are.

    The sad reality, as the author points out, is that the rate at which a population has children is not a scale with evenly distributed consequences. It is not like walking down the cellar steps, when at each step you are one foot closer to the bottom and one foot further from the top. Instead, it is more like walking down steps to the bottom of a deep pool. There is a world of difference between being 6 inches above water and 6 inches below. One is alive and the other is dead.


    There are three startling aspects of the book. The first is included within the parenthetical following the title, "And Why Islam is Dying, Too." Iran is facing national extinction in the very near future because, in one generation, its population has gone from having 6-7 children per female to less than 2. The Iranians are quite aware of this, and spend a lot of time fretting about it. So do the Turks, who face the same problem. We in the West, however, go on assuming that because they are Muslim nations they are having babies like mad.

    Not so.

    As these nations have become more literate their birthrate has dropped to the same level as Western Europe's - that is, down to the "catastrophic" level on the birthrate speedometer. The difference is that it took Western Europe hundreds of years to reach this state, while most of the Muslim nations of Northern Africa and the Middle East have managed to do it in one generation.

    Having children at less than replacement rate creates an "inverted population pyramid," in which the number of working age people keeps getting smaller compared to the number of elderly dependents. A poor society reaches crisis stage more quickly than a rich society - there's less money to cushion the fall - but neither one can support the inverted pyramid for very long. At some point any society having children at less than replacement level topples and collapses, as did Rome, and before it, Greece.

    Here are "diamond-shaped" population pyramids for Hong Kong and Japan, from 2006, reflecting a fall of their total fertility rate below replacement levels 30-40 years ago:

    From "World Population Collapse: Lessons for the Philippines" by Gregory D. Gaston

    The diamond-shaped population graph means that people with jobs will have to support relatively few children and a relatively few elderly. This contributes to an economic boom, since workers get to keep a bigger share of their earnings than if they were supporting lots of kids. This works great, for a little while, like swimming underwater with your snorkel.

    But the next generation has a big problem. They will have far fewer workers supporting a larger and rapidly growing number of older dependents. And they are unlikely to start having lots more children, because that will make their lives even more burdensome, in the short run. Thus, once you start down this road it is very difficult to reverse course.

    The second startling aspect of the book is the speed at which this collapse happens. One hazily thinks of this as a possibility "out there" somewhere. Quite the contrary, the Turkish president has announced that his country will collapse by 2038 unless people start having 3 children. Like right now. Ahmadinejad has said the same kind of thing in Iran. As the book points out, Westerners think this is all nutty fanatical Islam talk, but sadly, the math is quite correct, give or take a few years.

    By the last half of this century, Western Europe and the western tier of former Soviet republics will be in the process of social collapse as a result of their below replacement birthrates. Some countries will collapse sooner, some later, some will have more money or more immigration or smarter financial planning. But in the end they will all be sucked down the demographic maelstrom. At least they will if they don't change their childbearing habits immediately and radically. Not a likely prospect.



    The third startling aspect of this book is that demographers have identified two key contributors to the decline of birth rates: increases in female literacy and a decrease in religious faith. Thus, for example, there are only two traditionally Western nations that are still having children at replacement rate: the United States (just barely) and Israel, both of whom have near universal female literacy but also have relatively high levels of religious faith. And within those nations, the people contributing most to replacing our populations are religiously zealous people.


    When women in a rural and backward society become literate, the desire to have children takes second place to the economic possibilities opened up before them. Even more significantly, when people lose their faith they lose their desire to have children, at least enough children to allow the society to survive. The only factor that has consistently counteracted the tendency of female literacy to depress birthrates is fervent religious faith.

    In Iran, only about 2% of the population go to mosques regularly. It is not the case, as is commonly supposed, that the population is radically religious. Far from it. The ruling elite is, but that's about it. Iran is about as religious as France, which is to say, not at all.

    The author goes on to point out that theories of rational social and political behavior break down when a "player" becomes convinced (rightly or wrongly) he is about to die. Someone with 3 months to live often views the world - and risk-taking - quite differently from someone not faced with death.

    The same for societies. Sometimes they accept their fate and die quietly, but often enough they get frantic and engage in near hopeless wars in a last-ditch effort to survive.

    Not a pretty picture, but a fascinating book. I could not help remarking the fact that since the time of the Rev. Thomas Malthus the elite in Western society have obsessed about over-population as the great demographic catastrophe facing civilization.



    This obsessive notion has been systematically falsified by events for the past two centuries. The prophecies of doom have proven, in the event, to be precisely wrong. Curiously, this has not stopped the caterwauling prophesies, or the enormous push to reduce birthrates. These efforts have proven "successful," by and large, except among the deeply religious and the illiterate.

    With "successes" like these, who needs failures?

    A curious side-note: looks like Pope Paul VI got it just exactly right in Humane Vitae, and his many and sundry critics got it, well, dead wrong. Have a look here.

    So on we march, off the cliff's edge, the elites in government, academia, and the media urging us onward, ever onward, in the precious and holy name of global population control, while the actual catastrophe we face is not a population explosion but an implosion, with its attendant Demographic Zombie Nations (DZN) lurching about in spasmodic death throes.

    The prescribed "cure," it turns out, is far worse than the "disease."




    "Oh, the humanity . . ."

    - Radio announcer Herbert Morrison's famous words
    while witnessing the Hindenburg disaster in 1937.

    Saturday, November 26, 2011

    CONSCIENCE THINGY

    Nancy Pelosi says Catholics have a "conscience thing." She says Catholic health-care providers are ready to allow women to "die on the floor" rather than provide an abortion.



    All this cropped up as part of her steadfast opposition to amendments to the federal healthcare law. The amendments provide a "conscience exemption" for employers (like the Catholic church and social agencies) who don't want to pay for abortions or abortion counseling, either directly or through insurance.

    Ms. Pelosi says these amendments let hospitals “say to a woman, ‘I’m sorry you could die’ if you don’t get an abortion.” She says her opponents “may not like the language,’’ she said, “but the truth is what I said. I’m a devout Catholic and I honor my faith and love it . . . but they have this conscience thing’’ that puts women at physical risk. For more on Ms. Pelosi's "conscience" comment, take this link.

    "This conscience thing." Really? And liberals mocked Bush The Elder for talking about the "vision thing?" I suppose we have to give Ms. Pelosi a break, since she's from California. They struggle with a lot of concepts out there, like, whatever? Maybe we should call it the "conscience thingy."

    Catholic health care providers strongly disagree with Ms. Pelosi, not about the conscience thingy, but about putting women at physical risk.

    Ms. Pelosi and her peeps want to force the Catholic church and hospitals, and other people morally opposed to abortion, to provide abortion and abortion counseling coverage in the health insurance that they are compelled to provide under Obamacare. There will be no "choice" about providing abortion coverage. Here is some coverage of President Obama's take.

    A few comments. First, the reporting on this subject is an example of "tabloidalism," a word I just invented. Tabloidalism is only vaguely concerned with whether a Kardashian wedding is in fact a fraud, or whether Brad and Angelina really are splitting. The truth is not the story; the story is the story.


    Just so with Pelosi and the "conscience thingy." The concern does not seem to be with the truth (or falsity) of what she says, but with the posturing and name-calling. People want to be entertained.

    Of course, one crucial difference between Kim Kardashian's wedding and the health care exemptions is that the exemptions are about life and death, genocide, and religious freedom. That's all I'm talking about.

    The tendency toward tabloidalism is part of the eternal struggle over what people want versus what they need. For instance, lots of people want cocaine, but they don't need it. And lots of people don't want religion, but they do need it.

    What they want may be expedient, but what they need is truth. This was Pontius Pilate's test, and he flunked, as would most of us. He asked "what is truth?" when confronted with Truth in the flesh. When confronted with a choice between eternal Truth and what I want, I tend to fall over myself grasping what I want, while torturing my conscience until it tells me what I want to hear.

    The technical term is concupiscence. Anyway, tabloidalism indulges what we want at the expense of what we need.

    In 99% of life's circumstances, there is truth and there are lies, and you can determine which is which. It just takes a little work. The other 1% of the time is spent listening to tenured professors talk about ludicrously unlikely hypotheticals in which truth and a correct moral choice are unclear.

    Back to Ms. Pelosi. In Nancy Pelosi's view, allowing people to refuse to provide abortion services for others is "savage:" “When the Republicans vote for this bill today, they will be voting to say that women can die on the floor and health-care providers do not have to intervene, if this bill is passed. It’s just appalling.” For more on Ms. Pelosi's "savage" comments, here you go.


    Here's the legislation Ms. Pelosi finds "appalling:"

    "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to require any health plan to provide coverage of or access to abortion services or to allow the Secretary or any other Federal or non-Federal person or entity in implementing this Act to require coverage of, access to, or training in abortion services."

    Read the whole bill here. You can read a summary of the issues here. You can read a summary of the voting on this bill here.

    In fact this "appalling" vote was not "to say that women can die on the floor and health-care providers do not have to intervene . . ." The legislation simply denied the federal government the power to require the Catholic Church, and others of like mind, to fund abortions, abortion insurance coverage, and abortion training.

    Outrageous. Appalling. Savage. Slaughter of the Innocents.


    Wait, no, that was Herod killing all the babies in Bethlehem. That's Ms. Pelosi, standing up for Americans' right to slaughter their children. And the American people's right to compel everyone to pay for abortion, no matter their "conscience thingys."

    So confusing. Anyway, Ms. Pelosi's a peach. But what does she mean she's a "devout" Catholic? Maybe she's using "devout" in a very special way, as in a "mortally sinning" Catholic? I never knew "devout" could be used that way.

    Ms. Pelosi's Lesson for Today: It's okay for big-shot politicians to lie when they are trying to preserve the sacred right to commit genocide.

    50 million dead children since 1973. I wonder what My Generation will be named? Probably not the "Second Greatest Generation." Maybe "The Savage Generation?" How about "The Suicidal Generation?"

    Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

    ***

    "We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other?"
    Mother Teresa

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    PROGRESSIVISM

    "We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive." C.S. Lewis

    I had a friend who, a few years ago, told me that since all I could do was criticize, I needed to get out of the way and let the new Administration roll up its sleeves and get to work.



    Well, my friend, there have been lots of Progressive sleeves rolled up the last 2 1/2 years. We have a Progressive President who has been busy borrowing money to pay out a King Kong sized Progressive stimulus to just about everyone. We have taken 10 trillion in debt and increased it to 14.5 trillion in 2.5 years, based on promises that this would stimulate the economy.

    The President and his economic advisers promised that by this point in time the economy and unemployment would have turned around. I'm afraid not.

    The stimulus has failed. The economy stinks, unemployment stinks, government indebtedness stinks, and each is stinking worse every day.


    Candidate Obama came into office because people wanted him to fix the economy. In every measurable way this Administration has failed to improve the economy. By his own campaign rhetoric, President Obama should be a one-term President. See the video.

    In order to see the future under Progressivism, President Obama's ideology, let us look at one of the sectors of society where Progressives have been in control during the last generation: the American public school system.

    A bit of personal history here. Eternal Optimist attended a small religious private school for part of his high school education. A college friend of my parents paid the tuition; I still thank him.

    EO also attended a public high-school in Big Cold Town (BCT). Typically, far more money is spent on each student in public schools than in the kind of small religious private school I attended.

    In the public school, EO's acquaintances did not spend time studying in the evening. Rather, they spent their time at a local shopping center, purse snatching and stealing car stereos.

    During class, EO's acquaintances kept up a low-volume commentary on their sexual exploits. When they got tired of this, they would dwell on the alleged homosexuality of one of their favorite victims.

    Periodically these acquaintances were excused from class on some sham or other in order to go get high. At the time I thought the teachers were idiots. Today I realize the teachers were just happy to have these fellows stoned. They were less disruptive that way.

    EO tutored one of his fellows for a history exam. This fellow was by no means the most felonious of EO's acquaintances. During this tutoring session the fellow and his girlfriend were unfamiliar with the term "fascist." EO mentioned Benito Mussolini. Blank stares. Adolf Hitler: Crickets.


    EO managed to explain where Europe was, and that there had been a big war over there back in the 1940s. We missed a lot of nuances, such as Hitler's rise to power and the economic consequences of the Treaty of Versailles.

    One conclusion EO came to while in high-school was that these mopes did not belong in school. They were openly contemptuous of learning and did everything in their power to make life miserable for all those around them.

    Society (in the form of me and other students) would have been better served if some Marine had whipped their mope asses routinely.



    The cause of all this misery was the idiotic system set in place to "govern" the students, which had done away with the idea of prompt, effective discipline, including expulsion.

    By the way, not that it should matter, but the mopes about which I am speaking were all white kids. Progressives may need to re-read that fact, because by now all good Progressives have questioned whether I am a racist. That is what Progressives do when someone criticizes them.

    Progressives go to places like Exeter, Amherst, and Brown. Must be nice. There Progressives murmur sweet Progressive nothings to one another and establish social policy for the rest of us, the consequences of which they avoid for themselves.


    President Obama, in true Progressive fashion, does not send his children to a public high school, but does insist that the poor people living in Washington, DC, should be good sports and send their kids to public school. He scrapped the voucher system the people voted in so they could avoid sending their kids into the crapulous, pustulant, scrofulous DC public school system.

    Republicans had to bludgeon the President into re-funding the voucher system in D.C. Oy vey. This hypocrisy keeps the NEA pushing millions into the President's re-election campaign fund.

    If it sounds like EO maintains a chip on his shoulder, he does.

    For a vision of America's future under Progressive ideology, you need only examine the raving success story that is American public education:

    compulsory, hideously expensive, pathetically ineffective, impossible to jettison.

    I'm just saying.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    SAINTS AND KARDASHIANS

    Friday I walked through the check-out line at WalMart and saw that Kim Kardashian had checked into rehab. Apparently her recent, much celebrated marriage was a hoax designed to make money. At first I thought Ms. Kardashian was going into marriage rehab, but then realized I was mistaken. Curious about the concept of marriage rehab, I did a little research and found there are indeed marriage rehab centers, which seems fitting, given society's gross failure to make marriage work.

    Ms. Kardashian was not, it turned out, going into marriage rehab, but rather, a substance abuse program. These have become a kind of secular rite of penance.

    It is sad that this is front-page news, read by millions. I realize people thirst for gossip, because exultation over the mess in which others find themselves has a kind of sick, tonic effect on one's own sense of self-worth. This is part of what makes blogging so popular. Profiting over this lust for gossip is on par with profiting from selling cocaine.

    On a brighter note, the last few days have seen a spate of Memorials to saints. As these saints have not made the cover of the National Squalor recently, and are unlikely to anytime soon, I thought I would give them some love right here. The Eternal Optimist is just trying to do "his bit," as the English used to say during the War (that's WWII, for you younger folk). We are engaged in another kind of War, that has gone on for two millennia, and promises to continue for quite a while.

    Without further ado, our recently Memorialized Saints:



    Saint Josaphat
    , born in a little town in then Lithuania (part of modern day Ukraine) in approximately 1580. He died at Vitebsk, Russia, on November 12, 1623, beheaded and shot. The Catholic Church celebrates his memorial on November 12. He spent his life preaching the gospel of Jesus throughout his homeland, living a poor and pious life, and earning a great deal of hatred over his success in converting people to Catholicism. Eventually his success at evangelization cost him his life. The Church celebrates a Memorial to St. Josaphat on November 12.


    Saint Martin
    , Bishop of Tours, in the province of Gaul (modern day France), was born in the Roman province of Pannonia (in modern day Hungary), about 316, and died at Candes, Touraine, in approximately 397. He entered the Roman army at an early age and was converted to Christianity there. Once he finished his time in the army he went to Gaul to study under St. Hilary, a famous bishop and theologian. St. Martin spent his life traveling among the pagan Gauls in the west and south of France, converting them to Christianity. For many centuries the memory of this kind and deeply virtuous man was revered in France, and his tomb was the site of pilgrimages. Sadly, the church that housed his tomb was sacked by Protestants during the Reformation, and then completely destroyed during the French Revolution. The revolutionaries built a road through the church to prevent its ever being rebuilt. Notwithstanding Revolutionary road-building, the Church remembers St. Martin with dignity and reverence, and celebrates his Memorial on November 11.


    Saint Leo the Great
    , Pope during the 5th century, was born in Tuscany of an aristocratic family on a date unknown, and died in office, as Pope, in 461. During his day the Roman Empire was beset by barbarian invasion and had largely disintegrated in the West, while the Church was beset by heresies that denied both the humanity and the "Godness" of Christ. The Church was plagued as well by bishops and priests who were lax in both their personal morality and in their Church practices, essentially making both up as they went along.

    Leo is titled "The Great" because he addressed all of these issues at once during his Papacy. He intervened by personal appeals to deter Attila the Hun and other barbarians from invasion and destruction. He insisted on personal holiness and financial rectitude in his bishops and priests and followed up on this with intense energy and determination, fighting on many fronts at once. And he defined for the Church that Christ was both fully God and fully Man. Since Leo's day the Catholic Church has accepted this teaching as fundamental to its understanding of Christ and His work of salvation. The Catholic Church celebrates its memorial to St. Leo on November 10.

    * * *

    The saints remind us that human virtue and evil have not changed dramatically over the last several thousand years. We've gotten better at the technology of amplifying evil, but the basic impulses are the same.

    Sadly, marriages arranged for the sake of money are nothing new. The Church is still plagued by bishops and priests who live immoral lives and teach rotten doctrine. Radical ideologues still trash religion, and jealous authorities murder pious religious people.

    It is good to know that the "great [] cloud of witnesses" is watching and praying "how long, oh Lord?" up in heaven. Hebrews 12:1, Revelation 6:10. Here is a recent addition to the illustrious crew.