Food Riots in Venezuela

It is useless to have an ideological outlook that ends up using the poor to serve political and personal ends. Ideologies end up poorly. They do not work. Ideologies have an incomplete or sick or bad relationship with people. Ideologies do not take into account the people. For proof, just look at the last century. Where did those ideologies lead? To dictatorship, every time, always.  
~Pope Francis, meeting with Paraguayan social movements

This just breaks my heart. One of my closest friends is Venezuelan and I have happy memories of spending time in Caracas on the occasion of her wedding twenty-some years ago.  It was by no means a perfect country -- there was abject poverty side-by-side with great wealth, and there was corruption-- but it was free, and it had a growing middle class, and there was a sense that it was a nation on the rise with a lot to look forward to.  Then came Chavez and socialism, and here is Venezuela today. You can't buy toilet paper no matter how rich you are. You have to stand in long lines for food staples. And when food deliveries arrive, this is what happens.

A plomo limpio vean esto que saqueo en Venezuela. . .#opina #compartelo
Posted by CUBA 630 on Wednesday, 29 July 2015


Pretty good piece in The American Thinker about Planned Parenthood and blacks.  I have one quibble, perhaps it's more than a quibble, which is that the piece makes use of this oft-repeated-among-pro-lifers quotation: 

“We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”

I wish folks would quit citing that, because in context I don't think it means what it's purported to mean. It comes from a letter in which Sanger recommends recruiting black doctors and pastors to promote birth control to blacks not to hide an intent to exterminate the entire race, but because blacks were backwards and superstitious and likely to think that without one of their own to reassure them. 

Which is still plenty racist, I grant. And here's an abundance of actual quotations considering blacks inferior, and Sanger's actual "Negro Project" to make it unnecessary to muddle things with a juicy quotation taken out of context.  

The larger point, however: that Planned Parenthood targets the poor and desperate -- which in this country means targeting blacks and immigrants-- is well-taken. 

While Blacks make up 25 percent of the NYC population, 46 percent of abortions were Black babies. Shockingly more Black babies were killed by abortion in NYC than were born alive. By contrast, Whites make up 44 percent of the NYC population but only account for 12 percent of abortions. Margaret Sanger’s dreams are being realized. Where is the outrage in The Big Apple over #BlackLivesMatter?

Well, given the recent and ongoing exposure of Planned Parenthood for trafficking in fetal organs, it just goes to show that #BlackLiversMatter. 

Nate Beeler, shamelessly pinched from The Washington Examiner.

Dude, We'd Like to Focus on our Actual Problems If You Don't Mind

The president went to Kenya and gave them a lecture about gay rights even though he'd been asked not to. The president of Kenya responded very courteously, but said, in essence, "to hell with your cultural imperialism." Do you notice how hesitant and uncomfortable President Obama looks in this clip?

The Hidden Music of All Creation

BVXI, or Papa Benedict, as it turns out he would have preferred to be called, was given honorary degrees from two Polish universities the other day, and gave this little talk at Castel Gandalfo to mark the occasion.

It's about music, which he says is born from the experiences (one or more) of love, pain, and connection to the divine:’s third place of origin is in the encounter with the divine which, from the beginning, is a part of that which defines the human reality. It is this encounter of man with the totally other and the totally great that elicits even more so new ways of expression. As a matter of fact, perhaps it could be said that even in the other two areas – love and death – the divine mystery touches us and, in that sense, it is the fact of being touched by God that constitutes the origin of music, all told. I find it moving to observe how in the Psalms, for example, singing alone does not suffice: appeal is made to all instruments. In this way the hidden music of all creation – its mysterious language – is aroused. With the Psalter, in which the motifs of death and love are also operative, we find ourselves right at the origin of the sacred music of the Church of God. One can say that the quality of music depends upon the purity and the greatness of the encounter with the divine, with the experience of love and of pain. The purer and truer this experience is, the purer and greater also will be the music that is born and develops from it.

LOVE that phrase "the hidden music of all creation," and think the last line of that paragraph is worth thinking further about. The purer and greater the love, the sorrow, the contact with God, the purer the music. It suggests there can be music that is not just "bad," but rather, false. 

He goes on to introduce what he says is a new idea for him -- or at least something that has recently caught his attention: 
In different cultures and religions there is present a great literary corpus, great architecture, great paintings, and great sculptures. And everywhere, there is also music. But in no other cultural setting is there music of equal greatness to that which arose from the environment of the Christian faith: from Palestrina to Bach, to Handel – all the way to Mozart, Beethoven, and Bruckner. Western music is something unique that has no equal in other cultures. And this – it seems to me – should make us think.
That called to mind the "evangelization" of Japan through the works of Bach that George Weigel wrote about several years back.

Papa R. talks a little about the tension between using great choral works and an orchestra versus "actual participation." He doesn't resolve the tension, but insists that it should be nothing more than a tension, not a line to be towed to identify sides in the liturgical wars. 

Then he says something perhaps odd, or at least I don't understand it. He uses the liturgies of Pope St. John Paul II as an example of what he's speaking of. 
If we call to mind the liturgy celebrated by St. John Paul II on every continent, we see the full breadth of possibilities for expressing the faith in the liturgical event; we see also how the great music of the western tradition is not foreign to the liturgy but is born and developed in it. In this way, it can contribute anew to shaping the liturgy. We do not know the future of our culture and of sacred music.
I don't recall JP II actually giving much attention to the music of the liturgy as such --and in fact one of the many things the radical Traditionalists hold against him is precisely his letting bad vestments and "native" liturgical dancing and such take place at his liturgies. Maybe that's just for World Youth Day and his other masses had great music? Not sure what to make of that, except that it tells us that BXVI's love for music in the liturgy springs not from some rigid sense of what is permissible, but rather from his own pure experience of love, pain and contact with the divine. 

Paging the GOP

This video is supposed to be an indictment of the racism of Donald Trump & Republicans. But listen to what he says. He's tired of his taxes going to take care of the shiftless and the criminal! If you can't make a Republican voter out of this guy, you deserve to lose.

Everyone Is Insane

I don't know why I even read this story, but what is wrong with us?  A gossip site posts an 8-year-old sex tape of a celebrity with his friend's ex-wife and the celebrity loses his career --and has to apologize--because he used a bad word (I'm sure it was a very bad word) on said tape? Next time, when you are pornifying your acts of adultery and we are stealing the film a decade later, watching the porn and gleefully spreading it, please use better language?

About Those Angry Trump Voters

I think the post two below this one establishes well enough what I think of Donald Trump. I find his comments about Mexicans to be stupid, not so much that they're racist (what he said was clumsy more than hateful), but just that they're dumb. Mexico isn't "sending" us anyone -- and since when has any country "sent" us its best and brightest? Your poor, your tired, your huddled masses -- that's who comes here, at least when we're talking immigrant waves. The question is, do they begin to rise when they get here, integrating and assimilating and becoming Americans -- and that is the question it drives me crazy that no one focuses on -- because we'd have to look at our own policies. (Link is to me on this subject in 2006.) 

That said, here is what Trump is tapping into like the genius self-promoter that he is. Prior to reading that piece I really had no idea the extent of ICE malfeasance or the problem of "sanctuary cities." 

For instance: 
It got little notice, but on May 28, Sarah Saldana, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, admitted in a letter to Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that between fiscal years 2010 and 2014, the Obama administration had released “121 unique criminal aliens who had an active [deportation] case at the time of release and were subsequently charged with homicide-related offenses.”Think about that: 121 times over the past four years, the administration has released an illegal immigrant with prior criminal convictions who went on to be charged with murder. That is one every 12 days.
Every 12 days, the Administration releases a murder into the wild? When you put it that way....And the release rate is even higher for sex offenders: 
ICE also does not routinely notify local authorities when it releases illegal immigrants who are sex offenders. Last month, a Boston Globe investigation found that between 2008 and 2012, ICE released 424 sex offenders into communities across the country — including “convicted rapists, child molesters and kidnappers” — and that “immigration officials have released them without making sure they register with local authorities as sex offenders.” The paper further found that “At least 34 of the 424 released sex offenders . . . were back in jail as of last month, state records show, some for heinous crimes committed after ICE released them.”
If we're going to label college students who got drunk and hooked up with an equally drunk girl who now regrets the dalliance sex offenders, couldn't we do the same for, you know, actual sex offenders?

Fiorina the Green

In violation of my own policy to pay no attention to presidential politics until after Labor Day at least, I watched this snippet of Carly Fiorina. I really like her style. In my head I'd dismissed her until, unable to sleep one night, I caught her at that Iowa venue a few months ago, which was re-playing on C-SPAN in the middle of the night. I was really impressed -- especially with how knowledgeable she sounded not only on economic issues, but foreign policy, which I did not expect. See what you think of this -- and ignore the stupid clip title. It's not a particularly hostile interview and there is no red meat of the sort the headline promises, so you will be disappointed if that's what you're looking for. I hope she makes the "first tier" of debates. She will sharpen the others in a way the GOP needs.


A Trump Two-Fer

These two pieces in tandem scratched an itch for me, because I am so tired of the purge-our-way-to-electoral-majority crowd, and its allies, the "look! there's a corrupt republican! Therefore I don't have to vote against the progressives" crowd, both of which are just versions of people who are at heart anti-political and unwilling to be part of a political community. You've probably seen Jonah Goldberg's "intervention" for Trump fans, because it's been everywhere. He enumerates all of Trump's actual positions, none of which have the least thing to do with conservatism. 

I’ve written many times about how I hate the term RINO because conservatives should consider themselves Republicans in Name Only. The Republican Party is a vessel, a tool for achieving conservative ends. It’s nothing more than a team. Conservatism is different. It’s a body of ideas, beliefs, and temperaments. The amazing thing is that Trump is both a RINO and a CINO. I’m sure he has some authentic and sincere conservative views down in there somewhere. But the idea that he’s more plausibly conservative — or more loyally Republican — than Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, or any of the others is just flatly absurd. It is vastly more plausible that he is a stalking horse for his dear friend Hillary Clinton than he is a sincere conservative. 

But the money quote is this: 
Look, these are rough times for conservatives, for reasons too lengthy, and all too familiar, to go into here. But none of our problems — demographic, political, cultural — can be solved unless conservatives take the cause of persuasion to heart. All of our problems can be fixed by convincing people to join our cause. That is what politics is about — persuading people that their interests and concerns are better addressed by coming to our side. And, given the degraded nature of our culture, I won’t deny that having a celebrity on our side has its utility. But it’s only helpful if that celebrity convinces people to switch sides. As a purely mathematical proposition, it is insane to believe that Donald Trump will convert more voters than he will repel.

People no longer understand basic terms (ask anyone criticizing "capitalism" what he means by that word, and then we can have a conversation) and no longer share basic suppositions, so if you are going to be so lazy as to keep shouting at them without taking time to educate, then you deserve the devolution of civilization you are enabling. 

And that's where Kevin Williamson comes in, with a nice polemic that devolves a bit from the high note Goldberg sets -- he's a little condescending-- but it felt good. There are RINOs and CINOs, but there are also WHINOs. 
The WHINO is a captive of the populist Right’s master narrative, which is the tragic tale of the holy, holy base, the victory of which would be entirely assured if not for the machinations of the perfidious Establishment. Never mind the Democrats, economic realities, Putin, ISIS, the geographical facts of the U.S.-Mexico border — all would be well and all manner of things would be well if not for the behind-the-scenes plotting of Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and their enablers, who apparently can be bribed with small numbers of cocktail weenies. The WHINO is a Republican conspiracy theorist, in whose fervid imaginings all the players — victims, villains — are Republicans. Barack Obama? Pshaw. The real enemy is Jeb Bush.

A little more...

At FreedomFest, I did an interview with Matthew Boyle of Breitbart Radio, a nice enough guy but a pretty good example of the WHINO style in American politics. What about Romney? Boyle demanded. Romney, he said with absolute assurance, lost to Barack Obama because millions of conservatives stayed home, finding him insufficiently committed to their cause.The first aspect of what is wrong with this analysis is obvious: It assumes that a “real conservative” who couldn’t beat Mitt Romney in a Republican primary dominated by “real conservatives” would have defeated Barack Obama in a national election not dominated by conservatives at all, i.e. that Romney was the weakest candidate except for all the guys who couldn’t beat him.

The point is not "Mitt Romney lights my fire."  The point is: nothing at all substitutes for the hard work of persuading people. You should read the whole things either to be heartened or slapped awake, but Williamson's closing point should be a slogan: "Whining is no substitute for winning." 

From the Twitter