Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Downfall IV: The Self-Destruction of Obama – The Economy UPDATED

This morning brings the surprise news that the nation’s economy as measured by GDP shrunk by 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2012.  The news media is stumbling all over themselves to explain this with “one-time factors” and the like.  And, of course, there are various reasons a large economy grows and shrinks.  But there is one very important one-time factor behind this shrinkage that is being ignored – the re-election of Barack Obama.

There is no question that companies, businessmen, and investors made negative decisions because of the re-election of Obama.  That included mass layoffs and hour reductions, some more publicized than others.  The inevitability of higher taxes, Obamacare, and no telling what executive orders and regulations prompted many to go into economic self-preservation mode instead of the investing, hiring, and risk-taking a healthy economy needs.

And, still, after getting higher taxes, Obama has let it be known that his idea of a “balanced approach” to reducing deficits is even more higher taxes on the evil “Rich.”  So we are back where we were in early 2009, when it seemed every week brought new Leftist attacks on economic freedom from the Obama regime. 

If Obama would just lay off (No pun intended), declare victory, and let it be known that he will henceforth leave businessmen and investors alone and not raise taxes or pile on regulations any further, at least then they would know what the playing field is and make constructive economic decisions based on that.  But Obama clearly is determined to impose his Leftist agenda without relent.  Therefore the economic playing field remains uncertain, muddy . . . and likely to get worse.

The resulting weak economy will likely be a major cause of his political downfall.  Admittedly, Americans have been more patient with Obama on the economy than I had expected, mainly because things were difficult when he came in.  But that patience is not limitless.  Another year or two of economic stagnation or worse, as this morning’s GDP may be foretelling, will sap much of the goodwill toward Obama and make the electorate more disposed to stop tolerating his diverse enormities.

As I’ve mentioned before, a good economy can make people overlook and forgive a lot from a president.  See Bill Clinton.  But a bad economy . . .

Downfall is an ongoing series anticipating and tracking what I expect will be the self-destruction of Obama.

The first post may be found here.  The series may be found here.



Ed Morrissey goes yard on Obama’s malignant neglect of the economy and debunks some of the absurd blame-deflecting.  I cannot do better than him.  So get thee hence.

But I do have to add that the continued efforts by the noos media and Democrats (Forgive the redundancy.) to ignore the elephant in the room, namely that Obama’s re-election put a hit on the economy, amuse me greatly.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Seattle Gun Buy-back Turns into a GUN SHOW!

I love this (mild language warning at the link) for so many reasons:

Police officers in Seattle, Washington held their first gun buyback program in 20 years this weekend, underneath interstate 5, and soon found that private gun collectors were working the large crowd as little makeshift gun shows began dotting the parking lot and sidewalks. Some even had “cash for guns” signs prominently displayed.

I love that an anti-gun plan did not work out quite as planned, that it resulted in an impromptu GUN SHOW in Seattle of all places. 

I like the demonstration of how the free markets work better for everyone than government substitutes.  Gun collectors got guns.  Gun sellers got more than $100 to $200 “chump cards” (or IOUs when those ran out) and got to get out of a long buy-back line.  As one buyer said, “Why not offer them cash versus a gift card? I’m still taking the guns off the streets; they’re just going in my safe.”


(For those who are wondering, the all caps “GUN SHOW” is a tip of the hat to those wonderful GUN SHOW billboards we see sometimes. . . here in flyover country, not in Seattle.)

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Episcopal Church Welcomes Hates You

Remember all that talk about unity and “reconciliation” we used to hear from Episcopal libchurchers? At least as far as Presiding “Bishop” Schori is concerned, it was utter bull crap.

She (and many/most other libchurchers) does not consider orthodox Christians worthy of reconciliation and fellowship but worthy of exile or worse.  A lovely example of that is her opinion of Bishop Mark Lawrence:

I tell you that story because it’s indicative of attitudes we’ve seen here and in many other places.  Somebody decides he knows the law, and oversteps whatever authority he may have to dictate the fate of others who may in fact be obeying the law, and often a law for which this local tyrant is not the judge.  It’s not too far from that kind of attitude to citizens’ militias deciding to patrol their towns or the Mexican border for unwelcome visitors.  It’s not terribly far from the state of mind evidenced in school shootings, or in those who want to arm school children, or the terrorism that takes oil workers hostage.

To put “tyrant” or “school shootings” or “terrorism” even in the same sentence with Bishop Mark Lawrence boggles the mind and displays a delusional hatred of the orthodox.

Face it.  When it comes to those in control, if you are a robust orthodox Anglican Christian, The Episcopal Church doesn’t welcome you any more.

The Episcopal Church hates you.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Letting the “Pro-Choice” Mask Slip

The pro-abortion crowd usually does their best to dance around the fact that abortion involves two lives, that of both mother and child.  But on occasion they will let their mask slip. 

The first time I can remember seeing such slippage was while perusing the appendix of the Human Life Bill hearings back in 1981.  (Yes. I was quite a political nerd back then.)  I have no idea where I have misplaced that tome and do not remember the names, but in said appendix was a letter from a head of a pro-abortion organization breezily stating that the question of whether the unborn child is a living human being was irrelevant.  That was an eye opener.

Much more recently, Salon, namely Mary Elizabeth Williams, has let the mask slip again:

I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that’s what a fetus is: a human life. And that doesn’t make me one iota less solidly pro-choice.

Well, at least she is honest.  And honesty can be a rare commodity amongst the “pro-choice” crowd.

But her admission confirms that the advocates of unfettered abortion, particularly those who think those of us who oppose abortion should be compelled to help provide it, do not care so much about choice as they disregard the sanctity of life.

About Justice Scalia’s Cap at the Inauguration

I could not bear to watch much of the festivities Monday. But it has come to my attention that Supreme Court Justice Scalia wore a cap both stately and jaunty at the Inauguration.

It turns out the cap was a gift presented in 2010 from the St. Thomas More Society of Richmond, Virginia and “is a custom-made replica of the hat depicted in Holbein’s famous portrait of St. Thomas More.”

To echo the conclusion of Matthew Schmitz of First Things:

Wearing the cap of a statesman who defended liberty of church and integrity of Christian conscience to the inauguration of a president whose policies have imperiled both: Make of it what you will.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On Post-modern Discourse and its Progeny

The decline of politics and religion in the West, particularly in the United States, can be explained by a number of factors.  But among them is the decline in discourse brought about by Post-modern thought (And I use that last word loosely.) and discourse.

Living Text has posted one of the best descriptions of Post-modern discourse I have come across.  Most of this will sound all too familiar to my engaged readers, who may find that it explains a lot of what passes for debate nowadays.

Postmodern discourse
Over the past half century, a competing mode of discourse, the one I call postmodern, has become steadily more entrenched in academe. Following are ten of its hallmarks, as Roberts and Sailer describe on their blogs:
• "persons and positions are ordinarily closely related," with little insistence on keeping personal identity separate from the questions or issues under discussion;
• "sensitivity, inclusivity, and inoffensiveness are key values";
• priority on "cooperation, collaboration, quietness, sedentariness, empathy, equality, non-competitiveness, conformity, a communal focus";
• "seems lacking in rationality and ideological challenge," in the eyes of proponents of modern discourse;
• tends to perceive the satire and criticism of modern discourse as "vicious and personal attack, driven by a hateful animus";
• is oriented to " the standard measures of grades, tests, and a closely defined curriculum";
• lacking "means by which to negotiate or accommodate such intractable differences within its mode of conversation," it will "typically resort to the most fiercely antagonistic, demonizing, and personal attacks upon the opposition";
• "will typically try, not to answer opponents with better arguments, but to silence them completely as ‘hateful’, ‘intolerant’, ‘bigoted’, ‘misogynistic’, ‘homophobic’, etc.";
• has a more feminine flavour, as opposed to the more masculine flavour of modern discourse;
• results in "stale monologues" and contexts that "seldom produce strong thought, but rather tend to become echo chambers."

That sounds like Twitter run amuck, does it not?  It also sounds like most of the Left and Libchurchers although others are certainly not immune from Post-modernism’s influence on their thinking and discourse.

I wonder how one can have a fruitful discussion or debate with those with such a mindset.  Really, Post-modernism is in many ways post-rational.  How does one discuss things rationally with those who have rejected the rational in favor of identity and subjective impulses?

Moreover, debate amongst Post-moderns has become downright dangerous as Rod Dreher points out:

This has a lot to do with why intelligent people in professional settings keep their opinions and their thoughts, however apparently benign, to themselves. If somebody from an official victim demographic takes offense, the emotion is often considered sufficient grounds to find the person guilty . . . .

You may think that the rules of modern discourse will absolve you upon examination of your case. That is a dangerous assumption to make.

For Post-modern discourse is coming to prevail, making attempts at rational discourse not only difficult, but indeed even dangerous at times. Conservative and libertarian bloggers more prominent than I can tell you some stories about that.    

In such a toxic atmosphere, it is all to easy to fall into either of two attitudes: an aggressive one that finds discussing matters with adversaries so pointless that defeating them is the only viable course, or a passive one that avoids engagement and discussion out of self-preservation.  (I admit that I have fallen into both attitudes from time to time.)

The harm that such an atmosphere can do is obvious.   A society unable and/or unwilling to discuss rationally matters of import amongst themselves is a profoundly divided society virtually by definition.  Further, if one group, unwilling to consider the concerns of others nor the restraints of the rule of law (which is a rational construct after all), gains enough power to overrun others . . . .

On this anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I think we can see for ourselves what the results of that can be.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Festal Epistles of St. Athanasius

Tomorrow, Eastern churches commemorate St. Athanasius.  So this is a good time to mention that I have begun reading his Festal Epistles.

As Bishop of Alexandria, it was his responsibility to announce to the church in Egypt the date of Easter each year.  By Athanasius’ time, most of the rest of the church as well delegated this task to Alexandria in part because of the reputation of Egypt’s astronomers.

When writing his letters announcing the date of Easter, Athanasius also exhorted the faithful to keep the feast and preceding fasts rightly and with godly living.  And having read the first three epistles, I can already testify that it is edifying and, yes, convicting reading.  I heartily recommend it for pre-Lenten and Lenten reading and reflection.

The Festal Epistles are also interesting in the study of church history.  He makes mention of his numerous conflicts and takes on heretics.  And his 39th Epistle (367 A. D.) has at least one of the earliest lists of the New Testament Canon.  (I’ve read that it is the earliest such list extant, but have not yet studied enough to confirm that.)

So as the Pre-Lent season nears, (Septuagesima is January 27th this year.) I heartily recommend Athanasius’ Festal Epistles and look forward to continuing to read them myself.

Obama wants doctors to spy for him.

It is clear from his anti-gun executive orders that Obama wants doctors to spy on you for him.

Some doctors already have no problem with spying for “the authorities.”  Obama wants the rest to follow their good example.

This is not only creepy; using doctors as spies and tools of the regime is the stuff of totalitarian regimes.

Have I mentioned Obama has a totalitarian streak?

Friday, January 11, 2013

On Louis Giglio - When Political Incorrectness is Too Correct

Under pressure, Louis Giglio has withdrawn from giving the Benediction at the Inauguration of The One because he said BIGOTED stuff like the following back in the 90’s:

We must lovingly but firmly respond to the aggressive agenda of not all, but of many in the homosexual community. … Underneath this issue is a very powerful and aggressive moment. That movement is not a benevolent movement, it is a movement to seize by any means necessary the feeling and the mood of the day, to the point where the homosexual lifestyle becomes accepted as a norm in our society and is given full standing as any other lifestyle, as it relates to family.

How DARE he say something so . . . so . . . uh, well . . . correct.  He was right on target as to what would transpire.  He was downright prophetic even.

I thought liberals liked “prophetic.”

The worst thought/speech crimes to Lefties are those that tell the truth. 

To put it another way, nothing is more intolerable to what used to be the “tolerance” crowd than political incorrectness which is . . . correct.

Louis Giglio was too correct for his own good.  And isn’t that what Christians are supposed to be?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Downfall III: Obama’s Totalitarian Streak Goes Mainstream?

I think yesterday afternoon’s Drudge homepage deserves a revisit.

I have long maintained that Obama has a totalitarian streak.  But I cannot recall that being asserted so strongly in a mainstream venue before Drudge yesterday.  And Matt Drudge is no fool and no extremist.

Now although I am convinced Obama’s totalitarian streak will contribute greatly to his downfall, I am unsure whether the perception of his totalitarian streak will be much of a factor.  Americans often criticize and ridicule their presidents, but most do not want to countenance the thought that a current president has more in common with Hitler and Stalin than with Washington and Lincoln.

Oh sure, Leftist loons called W “Bushitler”, and some of the brilliant vanguard on the Right, such as yours truly, have noted Obama’s streak.  But more mainstream and influential voices have not asserted such about Obama . . . until yesterday.

I still doubt whether many outside the Right will perceive Obama as getting his totalitarian on.  But . . . but him going after guns may be the tipping point that gets more people to fear that we do have a President more akin to Stalin than to Lincoln.  That largely depends how much he is willing to play the dictator in going after guns.  I do think he is more willing than some think.  And, as I mentioned, vigorous reverence for the 2nd Amendment crosses party lines.  This is an issue that can set off the alarms of a great many Americans.

Having said that, Presidents have acted too much like dictators before - FDR and Nixon come to mind - and few, rightly or wrongly, came to see them as having a totalitarian streak.  So I still doubt whether the perception of Obama’s totalitarian streak will be much of a factor in his downfall.

But it said perception does become a factor, yesterday’s Drudge may prove to be a moment of import.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Downfall II: Biden Threatens “Executive Orders . . . Executive Action” Against Guns

When I began my Downfall series yesterday, perhaps you thought me a bit paranoid when I suggested Obama might “play the dictator in going after guns.”  But it’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you:

"The president is going to act," said Biden, giving some comments to the press before a meeting with victims of gun violence. "There are executives orders, there's executive action that can be taken. We haven't decided what that is yet. But we're compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and the rest of the cabinet members as well as legislative action that we believe is required."

And if you think I’m over the top in pointing out Obama’s totalitarian streak, then do not look at the homepage of Drudge today.

 If the shoe fits . . . 

The Church of Nigeria on CofE Bishops and Civil Partnerships

The Church of Nigeria and its Archbishop has now joined other Global South Anglican churches and bishops in decrying the Church of England making clerics in Civil Partnerships eligible for bishop’s mitres.

The Church of Nigeria Responds to the Church of England Bishops and Civil Partnerships

1.     The Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) meeting for their annual retreat held from Jan 7/11, 2013, at the Ibru Centre, Agbarha Otor, Delta State, Nigeria, heard with dismay the news of the recent action of the Church of England House of Bishops. The decision to permit homosexual clergy in civil partnerships to now be considered for the episcopacy is one step removed from the moral precipice that we have already witnessed in The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada.

2.     When the Church of England failed to exercise its legal and moral right to opt out of the civil partnerships legislation in 2005 warnings were given in England and around the Anglican Communion that this was a first step towards the recognition and institutionalization of behaviour contrary to the plain teaching of scripture and reaffirmed for all Anglicans by the 1998 Lambeth Conference in its Resolution 1.10. Sadly those warnings were ignored and we now face the next step in a process that could very well shatter whatever hopes we had for healing and reconciliation within our beloved Communion.

3.     We are also grieved by the timing of this decision coming only days before the retirement of Archbishop Rowan Williams and before Bishop Justin Welby becomes the new Archbishop of Canterbury. We urge the House of Bishops to reconsider their decision so as to allow for a full, prayerful and sober reflection on the call on all clergy, especially bishops, to live holy lives and not encourage what are, at best, morally ambiguous partnerships that make it impossible for a bishop to be a wholesome example to the flock. Especially since the supposed assurances of celibacy, while perhaps well intentioned, are both unworkable and unenforceable.

4.     As a House of Bishops, while we acknowledge that we all fall short of God’s call to holiness, we dare not compromise the clear teaching of our Lord on faithfulness within Holy Matrimony and chastity outside of it. Sadly we must also declare that if the Church of England continues in this contrary direction we must further separate ourselves from it and we are prepared to take the same actions as those prompted by the decisions of The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada ten years ago.

5.     In all of this we continue to give thanks for the mercy of God newly revealed to us in this season of The Epiphany and we are filled with gratitude for the millions of faithful Anglicans within the GAFCON/FCA community who have not ‘bowed the knee’ to the contemporary idols of secularism and moral expediency.

6.     Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
In Christ’s service

The Most Revd Nicholas D. Okoh
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate

Two points stand out to me.  First, as the Archbishop of Kenya’s statement, this statement clearly addresses clerics in Civil Partnerships being eligible to become bishops.  Liberals will surely try to twist this and other statements as opposing those with a gay orientation as bishops no matter how holy and chaste a lifestyle they lead.  This statement does no such thing.

Second, paragraph 4 makes clear there is a limit to the Church of Nigeria’s forbearance toward the Church of England.  If the CofE continues to act more and more like Episcopalians, then they shall be treated like Episcopalians, with de facto excommunication.  This is the clearest warning of this from the Global South that I can recall.  (But readers are most welcome to comment and inform my memory if it is lacking.)

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Downfall: the Self-Destruction of Obama – Guns

I really should not be making any more political predictions after my prediction of a Romney win. The one thing I got right is that it was "useless"!

But I can’t help myself when I think I am seeing something momentous unfolding, and that is the self-destruction of Obama.  His re-election has unleashed his arrogant Leftism already beyond my worse expectations.  And I so believe (and pray) it will backfire on him, that I have decided to begin a Downfall series of periodic posts on his self-destruction.  

I think a series is needful because I already see so many seeds of Obama’s downfall that two or three posts will not suffice, not to mention I expect his downfall to be a process, and a messy one.  And I do think it will be a self-destruction.  As after his 2008 election, Obama again has so much good will in the country that if he were somewhat sensible and responsible he could go down as a very successful president.

But sensible and responsible he is not.

For the first post, I will point to what may be the worst miscalculation of Obama so far, not just in his 2nd term, but in his entire presidency, his decision to go after guns.

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Massacre, Obama thinks now is the time to push his desire largely to disarm the American people.  He thinks he now has the political capital to do so.  That could be a disastrous miscalculation.

Obama does not get how attached Americans are to their guns and gun rights.  And it’s not just supposed “bitter clingers” he infamously pointed to in 2008.  Strongly pro-gun people include a lot of Democrats and Independents.  The NRA endorses a number of Democrats (some of whom are now betraying gun owners, by the way).

And those gun owners do more than just “cling” to their guns.  They take action when they perceive their 2nd Amendment rights are under threat.  Note the current soaring gun and ammo sales.  And note the coming political backlash.  Few things can get many Americans angry as the thought of the federal government coming after their guns.  Alex Jones’ appearance with Piers Morgan gives a flavor of that.

And make no mistake about it – Obama’s proposed federal gun registry is rightly perceived as one step away from gun confiscation.

When Obama finally begins to understand the full extent of the anger he is unleashing, it will be too late for him politically.  This issue alone could turn out millions against his party in 2014 and turn him into the lamest of lame duck presidents.

I see only two ways for Obama to escape this scenario:

1. The economy is doing so well and soon that people forgive just about everything else.  That is exceedingly unlikely as I may address in a later post.

2. The most obnoxious of Obama’s proposals are quickly defeated, and he then backs off so quickly that guns are not a big issue in 2014.

That is possible.  Perhaps gun grabbing has so little support in Congress that it is shot down quickly.  But the thing is Obama has a sordid record already of using lawless means when he cannot get his way through lawful means.  His recess appointments when there was no recess are among the examples.  His regime has already made noises of taking steps apart from Congress to restrict guns. 

If Obama plays the dictator in going after guns . . . let’s just say it could get ugly.  We will need to pray that only political means are needed and used in stopping Obama’s excesses.

But Obama is going after guns.  And I do think it will be the beginning of his Downfall.

Monday, January 07, 2013

What did ++Kenya Really Say About Gay Celibate Bishops?

On Epiphany Sunday, The Independent did its part to stir up controversy in the Church of England with a story on a statement by the Archbishop of Kenya which supposedly opposes gay celibate bishops.  Shame they chose to save ink by omitting what the statement clearly addressed – clergy in Civil Partnerships being eligible for bishoprics.

Judge for yourself.  Here is the statement in full (Emphasis is mine.):

As we enter the season of Epiphany we rejoice in the splendour of the light that has dawned upon us in the appearance of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Yet it is a great sadness that before the New Year has hardly begun, the life of the Anglican Communion has yet again been clouded by compromise with the secular preoccupations of the West.

The decision by the Church of England’s House of Bishops, just announced, that clergy in Civil Partnerships can be eligible to serve as bishops will create further confusion about Anglican moral teaching and make restoring unity to the Communion an even greater challenge.

The provisions of the UK’s Civil Partnership legislation mimic marriage for same sex couples and are clearly designed on the assumption that such couples are sexually active. While it is true that the House of Bishops require bishops with Civil Partners to be celibate, this proviso is clearly unworkable. It is common knowledge that active homosexuality on the part of Church of England clergy is invariably overlooked and in such circumstances it is very difficult to imagine anyone being brought to book.

However, the heart of the matter is not enforceability, but that bishops have a particular responsibility to be examples of godly living. It cannot be right that they are able to enter into legally recognised relationships which institutionalise and condone behaviour that is completely contrary to the clear and historic teaching of Scripture, as reaffirmed for Anglicans by the 1998 Lambeth Conference in its Resolution 1.10.

The weight of this moral teaching cannot be supported by a flimsy proviso. In his teaching about marriage, Jesus reaffirms that marriage is the coming together of a man and a woman in accordance with the pattern of creation itself when he says ‘from the beginning of creation God made them male and female’ (Mark 10:6). For the health and well being of both church and society we must promote this great God given gift of marriage without compromise and ambiguity.

The Most Rev’d Dr Eliud Wabukala
Archbishop, Anglican Church of Kenya  and Chairman, GAFCON Primates Council.
Epiphany Sunday 2013

Abp. Eliud’s statement does not directly address the situation of a gay cleric who leads a single celibate lifestyle, including not being in a civil partnership, although it can be interpreted as being fine with that.  The statement does clearly address the eligibility for bishoprics of those in civil partnerships, and rightly so methinks.

But God forbid that The Independent should pass up an excuse to paint orthodox Christians as mean and narrow-minded.