Monday, 30 November 2009

That Cameron Apology

Now, how about for everything else?

Knowing In The Biblical Sense

About that Relate counsellor sacked for refusing to do homosexual stuff: what good would he have been, anyway? How would he have known what to do?


Really? Nothing here about all the old Communist, fellow-travelling and Trotskyist Blairites, not to say anti-monarchist Lib Dem students, who now surround David Cameron. In fact, positive sorrow at the departures of the likes of Stephen Byers.

The Truth About American Nukes In Japan


Happy Holidays

There should be a public holiday today (and on Saint George's Day, Saint David's Day and Saint Patrick's Day), with no Christmas anything until it was out of the way.

Away with pointless celebrations of the mere fact that the banks are on holiday. If we had proper holidays as in other countries, then everyone, even shop workers and distribution drivers, would get them, as in other countries.

Concilio et Labore

The lucky people of Manchester now have the chance to kill off identity cards once and for all.

Simply by doing nothing.

Well Equipped

To come home.


Minority Rule?

There is a majority on the floor of Holyrood against an independence referendum, so it won't pass. The SNP did not win the Election outright, and should remember that.

Never mind at Westminster, where, unless there are now a few hardened English separatists on the Tory benches, the only votes in favour would be the SNP, Plaid Cymru, and the SDLP if they fancied losing the Labour Whip. Plus a few Labour or Lib Dem MPs from English seats who never again wanted to be able to look their Scottish or Welsh colleagues in the eye.

The same applies at Westminster where further devolution is concerned, whether to Scotland or to Wales.

Persian Protection

There is precisely one outstanding threat of a nuclear strike by any state against any other. That other has no nuclear weapons, has the maturity of the world's second-oldest continuous civilisation rather than an entirely and quite indiscriminately immigrant confection of anti-British Marxist terrorists within living memory, and has not started a war in modern history, in very marked contrast to her aggressor. Frankly, if anywhere has to have nuclear weapons, which I loathe with every fibre of my being, then it could not be clearer which of those two would be preferable. Most unfortunately, the reverse is the case in practice.

Motor Failure

According to Boris Johnson on The World At One, there are only 250 people waiting for social housing in the North East.

And "the motor of the UK economy" is the City, bailed out at the expense of the hated public sector workers as whom the City Boys are surprisingly not being paid, and of a manufacturing sector still more than twice the size of the whole of financial services.

Vote Tory in Scotland, Wales, the North and the Midlands? No? Then the Tories cannot win a General Election.

But what, then, is the point of New Labour?

Broken Cable

And so the threshold on the daft Mansion Tax goes up, and up, and up.

No tax on income below ten grand is, if anything, rather a tame proposal. And Cable himself is good. Several Lib Dems are, whether as local communitarian populists or on single issues.

But their party, on the other hand...

One Hundred Years On

Today is the centenary of the rejection by the House of Lords of Lloyd George's People's Budget. But a vote for the Lib Dems today would be as pointless an expression of any Nonconformist social conscience as it would be of any identification with the 1930s peace-mongering of Sir Herbert Samuel (see the Lib Dems' record on Afghanistan, and before that on Yugoslavia), or with Emlyn Hooson's vote against accession to the Treaty of Rome, or with Nick Harvey's vote against Maastricht and Simon Hughes's abstention, or with the unique role of David Alton in British public life, or with the grave doubts about devolution in the Lib Dem strongholds of rural Scotland and rural Wales, mirrored in the high No vote to the regional assembly in the parts of Northumberland and County Durham where they do quite well. For any of that, you are just going to have to look elsewhere.

On last night's Westminster Hour, someone or other called for a "left-of- centre" House of Lords, in which Labour, Lib Dem and Cross Bench peers (the last now with sectarian Left backgrounds far more than you might think) would frustrate a Cameron Government. But why would it want to? That Government would be thoroughly "left-of-centre", or, to use the more usual term, "Centre Left". Which is to say, it will have followed academic Marxism from economic to social, cultural and constitutional means, though with the ends unchanged: the destruction of the family, private property, and the State.

Nothing better illustrates this than the Cameroons' heavy dependence on Demos, the Communist Party continuity organisation whose Director, having given us a Sunday Supplement about Liberalism, will next week be treating us to "the intellectual roots of Labour as a party of the Centre Left". So don't expect any of this. No one must know that such a movement ever existed. If they did, then they might want it back...

Choose Life

Ludovic Kenndy was wrong about a very great deal. But not about the cause on which that true conservative, Geoffrey Wheatcroft, pays tribute to him:

In Oxford today a memorial service is taking place for Sir Ludovic Kennedy. He died at 89 after a remarkable life – a naval officer who witnessed the sinking of the Bismarck, a television journalist, a prolific author – but he will be remembered above all for his passionate commitment to justice, and the need to right the worst injustices of all, the execution of men falsely convicted.

Although Ludo Kennedy might not have been surprised, he would have been contemptuous of people in the Tory party and press who now demand the restoration of capital punishment, and do so in a way which suggests complete ignorance of his life's work. We evidently have a generation of reactionaries too young to remember it, and too dogmatic to grasp elementary facts.

Almost the first thing Kennedy wrote was Murder Story, a play about the Craig-Bentley case. One of our nostalgists for the noose recently referred to this case, deriding the way "the last Tory government posthumously pardoned Derek Bentley ... even though ... he was given a perfectly fair trial". For a single sentence, this is a veritable compendium of error.

In November 1952, Bentley and Christopher Craig, two teenage petty criminals armed with a pistol, were discovered breaking into a warehouse in Croydon, and Craig shot a policeman. The two were tried, convicted, and sentenced by Lord Goddard, the lord chief justice. While Craig at 16 was too young to be executed, the 19-year-old Bentley was hanged in January as an accessory.

This required a very tenuous interpretation of the law after a shockingly misconducted trial. Apart from the fact that Bentley had a mental age of 10, he had been under arrest for several minutes when the shot was fired. Goddard refused to allow defence counsel to tell the jury they could convict for manslaughter instead of murder, or let him add his own plea for mercy to that which the jury did make.

It was not a government pardon. The case was one of the first referred by the criminal cases review commission to the court of appeal. In July 1998 (under Labour, not Tories) the court quashed the conviction as a patent miscarriage of justice. Lord Bingham spoke remarkably strong words about his predecessor. Goddard's summing up had been "a highly rhetorical and strongly worded denunciation of both defendants and of their defences. The language used was not that of a judge but of an advocate (and it contrasted strongly with the appropriately restrained language of prosecuting counsel)."

Then in 1961, Kennedy's famous book Ten Rillington Place showed Timothy Evans had been wrongly convicted and hanged in 1949 for murdering his infant daughter, a crime in fact committed by John Christie. Even though Christie was subsequently tried and hanged, a campaign to secure a pardon for Evans was brushed aside by successive home secretaries, although they could only do so by insisting that two men had murdered the same person on separate occasions.

In the end, justice was done, even if it came a little late. The heroes were Labour home secretaries of a happier vintage than we have seen recently. Roy Jenkins granted a posthumous free pardon in 1966 after, more admirably still, a conscience-stricken Lord Chuter Ede had joined the campaign (although as the home secretary who had approved the execution he had less to gain than anyone from reopening the case).

Our hang 'em high brigade might argue, as an 18th-century judge did, that even a man executed for a crime he hadn't committed could be said "to have died for his country" by inspiring terror in criminals. But most of us regard the fact that no innocent man has been hanged in this country for 45 years as something to be grateful for, and something we owe in no small part to Ludo Kennedy: a good deed by a good man.

Capital punishment is, with nuclear weapons, one of the two ultimate expressions of statism as idolatry. No wonder that Enoch Powell was against both of them.

Votes For Prisoners?

No, Marcel Berlins. A thousand times, no.

There could not be a clearer example of why no ruling of, among other things, the ECHR should have any effect in this country unless or until confirmed by resolution of the House of Commons.

How many European countries do let prisoners vote? Very, very few, I'd bet.

Anyway, if you want votes for prisoners, then vote Lib Dem. If you don't, then don't.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Veni, Veni, Emmanuel

Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Controlling Interest

Nick Cohen is good on a convicted crook's un-repaid funding of what is at its centre a Eurofanatical, anti-family, pro-crime, pro-drugs party, while operating in the country at large as a Neither Of The Above franchise which it hopes will be extended to this constituency in May, as I am now told several times per day that only I can stop, since the local Labour Party has written off this seat because of the almost physically violent public fury at how the New Labour mafia has handled the selection process.

But Cohen is bad to call for State funding. State funding of anything must entail some degree of State control, which can often be necessary and beneficial. For political parties, however, it would be lethal. Only parties that met the organisational and political requirements of some committee would be able to afford to contest elections. Some committee such as, say, the Euston Manifesto Group. If, that is, it still exists.

Toff At The Top

This is funny.

This is not.

In Class

I do not know what Fiona Millar is worrying about. A government steeped in the public sector and its unions hasn't managed any of this (thank heavens, but that is not the present point), so Michael Gove and the other dilettantes haven't a hope in hell.

Dubai World?

Congratulations to the Swiss, by fifty-eight per cent to forty-two, and by twenty-three cantons to three. The loaded opinion polls are rubbish. Their real purpose, not of measuring public opinion but of influencing it, has spectacularly failed to be met. And the True West lives.

But so does the pseudo-West. Its brash, vulgar, debt-based, drugged-up, whore-ridden, worker-persecuting colony of godlessness, rootlessness and International White Trash in Dubai is on the brink of collapse. But who will be moving in? None other than Abu Dhabi, expected to make the abaya compulsory as a representative example of its price for a bailout, also including complete political control of the UAE. If so instructed by this Islamist-neocon confederation, a miniature embodiment of that global alliance, the American Presidential candidate who is now the Secretary of State promised to nuke Iran. Still, at least they are not seven British protectorates anymore, eh?

Watch out, Switzerland. You have done well today, striking out as an outpost of Biblical-Classical civilisation which refuses to have the architectural features triumphalistically added to the churches of once-Christian Asia Minor, once-Christian Mesopotamia, the once-Christian Levant, and once-Christian North Africa. And striking out against the consequences of the pseudo-West's dismemberment of Yugoslavia, as it now wishes to dismember Belgium, to be followed by Britain and indeed Switzerland. But when it comes to usury, drugs, prostitution, secularisation, and all the other defining features of the pseudo-West, you have a lot of work to do. You have made a start today. You must follow through, or you, too, will end up going cap in hand to the likes of Abu Dhabi.

Watch out, Switzerland.

And watch out, Britain.

In The Brown Stuff

From The Observer to the Mail on Sunday, the message is clear, if not quite stated: no foreign company should be buying up anything as British as Cadbury. If it needs to "consolidate" or else send jobs abroad, then our fault is to allow the importation, never mind under so archetypally British a name, of the products of such unpatriotic undercutting.

Every Little Helps

From the dairy farms of Britain to the banana plantations of the Windward Islands, they want Mandelson to come good on an ombudsman for British supermarkets. So he should. For a start.

It is very high time to make the supermarkets fund investment in agriculture and small business (investment to be determined in close consultation with the National Farmers’ Union and the Federation of Small Businesses) by means of a windfall tax, to be followed if necessary by a permanently higher flat rate of corporation tax.

In either case, there must be strict regulation to ensure that the costs of this are not passed on to suppliers, workers, consumers, communities or the environment. By, for example, a Supermarkets Ombudsman. So, where and when would this position be advertised, and how and by whom would the eventual appointment be made?

First, They Came For Demjanjuk

All the way back in 1969, when (indeed, precisely because) many senior and numerous middle-ranking Nazis were still alive, the Germans granted themselves a general amnesty.

That is why they now feel the need to track down any poor Slavic squaddie in his extreme old age in order to “try” him, far beyond absurdity, as an accessory to twenty-eight thousand murders, none of them committed in Germany, a country of which he has never been either a citizen or a resident.

We should take note. To assuage much the same guilt, some poor British squaddie may very well be made to pay for the letting off the hook of every American who really mattered in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Left-Wing Case For Nuclear Power

Rod Adams writes:

It is well known that much of the opposition to nuclear power in the US, Europe, and Australia comes from people who are normally considered to be on the political left. David Walters, a self confessed socialist and long time labor activist has a different point of view. He believes, like I do, that abundant, clean, reliable, atomic energy is a boon for the working class.

Power plants provide good, stable jobs, often at union wage scales. They enable a vibrant local economy and good public infrastructure based on the plant’s addition to the property tax base and the salaries of the workers that get spent in local establishments. They allow generational employment with opportunities for young people to keep living and working in the towns where they grow up if they want to.

Do follow the link.

End The Healthcare Hysteria

Froma Harrop writes:

Doctors would jab sharp instruments into King Henry VIII's arm and drain blood out of his body. The best medical minds of the 16th century prescribed bloodletting as a means to “rebalance the body's humors,” the spring equinox being the ideal time. Henry didn't argue with his physicians. After all, Tudor England had the best health care system in the world. Later doctors told later kings that bleeding was of no medical benefit. The kings did not thunder: “Off with your head. My health care will not be rationed.” They said: “Great. I hated that.”

But they were not stuck in America's health care debate, where foes of reform greet any effort to curb unnecessary treatments with hysterical rants about rationing. Any real conservative would regard the enormous wasteful spending in American medicine as a wonderful opportunity to save money without undermining quality of care.

Every society must engage in difficult discussions on what insurers, be they private or government, should pay for. Arguments over very expensive drugs that extend lives only a few weeks or organ transplants with little chance of success are tough, but they are valid. Americans, however, can't even get a sane conversation going about procedures that do nothing or even cause more harm than good.

The underlying issue isn't what treatments one may have. You can buy as much health care as you want with your own money. The issue is what the taxpayers will cover.

60 Minutes had an eye-popping segment on what Medicare spends on patients in their final two months — $50 billion last year — and where the money goes. Up to 20 percent of these patients ended their lives hooked up to machines in noisy intensive care units. One woman complained that her dying mother was visited by 25 specialists who gave her dozens of tests, including a Pap smear for cervical cancer, a slow-growing disease.

Like that daughter, many of us wouldn't want this invasive medical care for someone we love, even it were free. But it's not free. The taxpayers are bearing these costs, which left unchecked, will bankrupt America.

Remember the moronic “death panel” circus? Phony conservatives so vilified the sensible idea of having Medicare cover advance-care planning consultations between doctors and patients that it had to be ripped out of the legislation. Their twisted logic amounted to this: Taxpayers should be forced to pay for medical tortures that dying people never wanted.

Even healthy 25-year-olds should do advance-care planning in the event that disease or an accident leaves them unable to make medical decisions. That means having a living will and naming someone to make medical calls on their behalf.

A government task force recently released a study indicating that the number of mammograms now being prescribed hurts more than helps most women. Cost was not a consideration. But the demagogues re-emerged, accusing government of denying women potentially lifesaving tests to cut costs and of telling physicians what to do. All the task force did was supply data that might lead some doctors to order fewer mammograms for the benefit of those patients at low risk of breast cancer. Medicare continues to pay for annual mammograms, and any woman who wants more breast x-rays than an insurer will cover can open her own wallet.

The bottom line for reform's enemies is not patients' health and certainly not the taxpayers. For them, the only bottom line that counts clearly belongs to the economic interests feasting on the status quo.

Had Henry VIII learned that he had been bled only because the court physician wanted more business, a lot more blood would have flowed than his.

The Return of Liberal Populism?

Michael Lind writes:

Is a Jackson revival under way? I'm referring not to the late King of Pop but to the 19th century populist president whom his opponents called "King Andrew." According to Michael Barone, in the 2010 elections Republicans have a chance to knock Democrats out of as many as three dozen insecure congressional seats in "Jacksonian districts."

By itself, this would merely reinforce the identification of the Party Formerly Known as Lincoln's with the white South. But in a time of popular anger over banker bonuses and lobby-hobbled government, the themes of Jeffersonian and Jacksonian populism have appeal far beyond the Scots-Irish enclaves of the Appalachians and Ozarks. Witness the calls from Democrats as well as Republicans for President Obama to oust Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and pay more attention to Main Street than to Wall Street.

In itself, American populism is neither left nor right. Translated into economics, Jacksonian populism spells producerism. For generations, Jacksonian populists have believed that the hardworking majority of small producers is threatened from above and below by two classes of drones: unproductive capitalists and unproductive paupers. While government promotion of public goods like defense, infrastructure and utilities that benefit all citizens is acceptable, Jacksonomics is suspicious of crony capitalists who owe their fortunes to political connections (can you spell B-A-I-L-O-U-T?). And Jacksonian producerism naturally is haunted by the nightmare of a class of the idle poor, who are capable of working but instead live off the labors of others and lack an ownership stake in the community.

Reform movements have succeeded in the United States only when their programs resonated with populist and producerist values. Lincoln's antislavery Republicans succeeded where the earlier Whigs had failed because the Republicans persuaded Jacksonian farmers that snobbish, parasitic Southern Democratic slave owners were a greater threat to white farmers and white workers in the Midwest than rich Republican bankers and industrialists in the Northeast. Lincoln's Hamiltonian program of aid to railroads and national banking had to be sweetened with the offer of Western homesteads for yeoman farmers before former Jacksonian Democrats would join his coalition.

In the 20th century, the most popular and enduring legacies of the New Deal have been the programs compatible with small-d Jacksonian democracy -- public spending on infrastructure like dams and electric grids and highways, the promotion of single-family home ownership, federal aid to education and Social Security and Medicare, two entitlements tied to individual work by means of the payroll tax. In contrast, welfare for the nonworking poor was always unpopular with most New Deal Democratic voters, who preferred public works programs like the WPA, CCC and CETA to relief payments for the poor and unemployed. Although he broke with the New Deal tradition in other ways, President Bill Clinton was true to its spirit when he collaborated with the Republicans in converting "welfare" from an unpopular federal entitlement to state-based workfare programs.

All too often in American politics the populist distinction between producers and parasites has been mapped onto the racial division between whites and nonwhites. But the Jacksonian republican concern about freeloaders is not, in itself, racist. And it has frequently manifested itself in anger at the freeloading rich as well as the freeloading poor. At the moment, populist anxieties about the nonworking poor or illegal immigrants receiving medical coverage are eclipsed by populist anger at federal bailouts for well-connected Wall Street bankers who pay themselves titanic bonuses for unproductive gambling with other people's money.

Here, one might think, would be an opening for the center-left. And yet the Obama Democrats, unlike the Roosevelt Democrats, cannot take advantage of the popular backlash against Wall Street. Why?

One reason is that the attempt of the "New Democrats" like Clinton, Al Gore and Obama to win Wall Street campaign donations has been all too successful. As Clinton's Treasury secretary, Robert Rubin helped complete the conversion of the Democrats from a party of unions and populists into a party of financial elites and college-educated professionals. Subsequently Obama raised more money from Wall Street than his Democratic primary rivals and John McCain. On becoming president, he turned over economic policymaking to Rubin's protégé Larry Summers and others like Timothy Geithner from the Wall Street Democratic network.

The financial industry is now to the Obama Democrats what the AFL-CIO was to the Roosevelt-to-Johnson Democrats. It is touching to watch progressives lament that "their" president has the wrong advisors. "We trust the czar, we simply dislike his ministers." Obama owed his meteoric rise from obscurity to the presidency not to any bold progressive ideas -- he didn't have any -- but rather to a combination of his appealing life story with the big money that allowed him to abandon campaign finance limits. According to one Obama supporter I know, the Obama campaign pressured its Wall Street donors to make their contributions in the form of many small checks, in order to create the illusion that the campaign was more dependent on small contributors than it was in fact. Even now President Obama continues to raise money on Wall Street, while his administration says no to every progressive proposal for significant structural reform of the financial industry.

There remains the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, represented more in Congress than in Obama's White House -- and more in the House than in the Senate, a dully complacent millionaires' club. Can congressional progressives compete with conservatives to channel popular outrage? Unfortunately, progressivism in the form in which it has evolved in the last generation does not resonate with populist producerism.

To begin with, most of the moral fervor of the contemporary center-left has been diverted from the issue of fair rewards for labor to the environmental movement. In theory, environmentalism ought to fit the populist narrative of defending shared goods against special interests. Indeed, clean air and water legislation and public parks and wilderness areas are broadly popular with working-class Americans, not least hunters and fishers. But many environmentalists insist that global warming must be combated not only by low-CO2 energy technology but also by radical lifestyle changes like switching from industrial farming to small-scale organic agriculture and moving from car-based suburbs and exurbs to deliberately "densified" cities with mass transit. Whether environmentalists propose to engineer this utopian social transformation by tax incentives or coercive laws, the campaign triggers the populist nightmare of arrogant social elites trying to dictate where and how ordinary people should live.

Even if it had not been eclipsed by moralistic lifestyle environmentalism, contemporary economic progressivism would be crippled by its own priorities. New Deal liberalism was primarily about jobs and wages, with benefits as an afterthought. Post-New Deal progressivism is primarily about benefits, with jobs and wages as an afterthought. This inversion of priorities is underlined by the agenda of the Democrats since the last election -- universal healthcare coverage first, jobs later.

It is only in the post-New Deal era that universal healthcare has become the Holy Grail of the American center-left, rather than, say, full employment or a living wage. Sure, Democrats from Truman to Johnson sought universal healthcare, and Medicare for the elderly was a down payment for that goal. But the main concern of the New Dealers was providing economic growth with full employment, on the theory that if the economy is growing and workers have the bargaining power to obtain their fair share of the new wealth in the form of wages, you don't need a vastly bigger welfare state. Having forgotten the New Deal's emphasis on high-wage work, all too many of today's progressives seem to have internalized the right's caricature of FDR-to-LBJ liberalism as being primarily about redistribution from the rich to the poor.
This shift in emphasis is connected with the shift in the social base of the Democratic Party from the working class to an alliance of the wealthy, parts of the professional class and the poor. And progressive redistributionism also reflects the plutocratic social structure of the big cities that are now the Democratic base. Unlike the egalitarian farmer-labor liberalism that drew on the populist values of the small town and the immigrant neighborhood, metropolitan liberalism tends to define center-left politics not as self-help on the part of citizens but rather as charity for the disadvantaged carried out by affluent altruists. Tonight the fundraiser for endangered species; tomorrow the gala charity auction for poor children.

At a recent event in Washington, I was surprised when a Democratic senator said, "The major threat facing America today is the class divide." The speaker was Jim Webb of Virginia, the self-conscious heir to Scots-Irish Jacksonian populism. He went on to attack the inhumane treatment of prisoners in American jails and the avoidance of military service by the American elite.

Populists like Webb are rare in today's Democratic Party, while the Republicans, for all their folksy rhetoric, offer nothing but the economic program of their Wall Street Journal/Club for Growth wing. If mass unemployment and slow growth persist for years, some sort of third-party, "Middle American" populist movement in 2012 seems possible. (Lou Dobbs: tanned, rested and ready?)

Could a new wave of populist independents be steered into the Democratic Party? Alas, that seems unlikely, if Democrats are viewed as the compromised, establishmentarian governing party. Moreover, the Republican Party benefited from the last two populist upheavals. Richard Nixon built the generation-long hegemony of the Republicans on the anger of George Wallace voters, and, following the campaign of Ross Perot in 1992, Newt Gingrich captured anti-system reformism to build a Republican congressional majority for most of the period between 1994 and 2006.

In each case, liberals and progressives indiscriminately rejected the populist voters. The Wallace voters, most of whom were New Deal Democrats, were dismissed by most liberals as though they were motivated by nothing but opposition to racial integration. In 1992 the New Republic published an idiotic cover with Perot dressed as Mussolini, implying that he and his supporters were crypto-fascists. Today ridicule of the bombastic Sarah Palin shades all too easily into loathing for the lower middle class.

It would be much easier for the Republicans to rebuild the conservative-populist coalition that dominated American politics from 1968 to 2006 than it would be for the Democrats to rebuild the kind of liberal-populist coalition of the New Deal era from 1932 to 1968. Will the Democrats be marginalized a third time rather than empowered by anti-system populism? In the next few election cycles we may find out.

The Church Militant

Although he doesn't mention that the Bishops were in favour of the Bill itself but most unfortunately sympathetic to coverage for those who subvert the implementation of Catholic Social Teaching by engaging in the sin of illegal immigration, nor that Obama had in any case ruled out signing either any such coverage or any federal funding of abortion, Patrick J Buchanan writes:

With the House debate on health care at its hottest, the U.S. Catholic bishops issued a stunning ultimatum: Impose an absolute ban on tax funds for abortions, or we call for defeat of the Pelosi bill.

Message received. The Stupak Amendment, named for Bart Stupak of Michigan, was promptly passed, to the delight of pro-life Catholics and the astonished outrage of pro-abortion Democrats.

No member was more upset than Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, son of Edward Kennedy, who proceeded to bash the Church for imperiling the greatest advance for human rights in a generation.

Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin responded, accusing Kennedy of an unprovoked attack and demanding an apology. Kennedy retorted that Tobin had told him not to receive communion at Mass and ordered his diocesan priests not to give him communion.

False! The bishop fired back.

He had sent Kennedy a private letter in February 2007 saying that he ought not receive communion, as he was scandalizing the Church. But he had not told diocesan priests to deny him communion.

As Rhode Island is our most Catholic state, Kennedy went silent and got this parting shot from Tobin: “Your position is unacceptable to the Church and scandalous to many of our members. It absolutely diminishes your communion with the Church.”

The clash was naturally national news. But Tobin’s public chastisement of a Catholic who carries the most famous name in U.S. and Catholic politics is made more significant because it seems to reflect a new militancy in the hierarchy that has been absent for decades.

Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., just informed the city council that, rather than recognize homosexual marriages and provide gays the rights and benefits of married couples, he will shut down all Catholic social institutions and let the city take them over. Civil disobedience may be in order here.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York sent an op-ed to The New York Times charging the paper with anti-Catholic bigotry and using a moral double standard when judging the Church.

During the “horrible” scandal of priest abuse of children, wrote the archbishop, the Times demanded the “release of names of abusers, rollback of the statute of limitations, external investigations, release of all records and total transparency.”

But when the Times “exposed the sad extent of child sexual abuses in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish Community ... 40 cases of such abuses in this tiny community last year alone,” wrote the archbishop, the district attorney swept the scandal under the rug, and the Times held up the carpet.

Dolan singled out a “scurrilous ... diatribe” by Maureen Dowd “that rightly never would have passed muster with the editors had it so criticized an Islamic, Jewish or African-American” faith.

Dowd, wrote Dolan, “digs deep into the nativist handbook to use every Catholic caricature possible, from the Inquisition to the Holocaust, condoms, obsession with sex, pedophile priests and oppression of women, all the while slashing Pope Benedict XVI for his shoes, his forced conscription ... into the German army, his outreach to former Catholics and his recent welcome to Anglicans.”

Dowd, said Dolan, reads like something out of the Menace, the anti-Catholic Know Nothing newspaper of the 1850s.

The Times’ refusal to publish the op-ed underscores the archbishop’s point.

Nor are these the only signals of a new Church Militant.

The Vatican has reaffirmed that Catholics in interfaith dialogues have a moral right if not a duty to convert Jews, and reaffirmed the doctrine that Christ’s covenant with his church canceled out and supersedes the Old Testament covenant with the Jews.

When Abe Foxman, screech owl of the Anti-Defamation League, railed that this marks a Catholic return to such “odious concepts as ‘supercessionism,’” he was politely ignored.

The new spirit was first manifest last spring, when scores of bishops denounced Notre Dame for inviting Barack Obama, a NARAL icon, to give the commencement address and receive an honorary degree.

Among the motives behind the new militancy is surely the wilding attack on Pope Benedict for reconciling with the Society of St. Pius X, one of whose bishops had questioned the Holocaust. The pope was unaware of this, and the bishop apologized. To no avail. Rising in viciousness, the attacks went on for weeks. Having turned the other cheek, the church got it smacked.

In his May address to the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke said, “In a culture which embraces an agenda of death, Catholics and Catholic institutions are necessarily counter-cultural.”

Exactly. Catholicism is necessarily an adversary faith and culture in an America where a triumphant secularism has captured the heights, from Hollywood to the media, the arts and the academy, and relishes nothing more than insults to and blasphemous mockery of the Church of Rome.

Our new battling bishops may be surprised to find they have a large cheering section among a heretofore silent and sullen faithful who have been desperate to find a few clerical champions.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Afghanistan Needs A Political Push

To get us out.


Pearson's Party Is Over

With absolutely no understanding even of his own base, no more than half of which is so much as ancestrally Tory, Lord Pearson sounds the death knell for UKIP.

Just as Plaid Cymru has only ever been a pressure group for lavish central government spending on, and other privileges for, the Welsh language; just as the SNP is now only a pressure group for ever-higher central government spending in Scotland; and just as even Sinn Fein is now nothing more than a pressure group for the maintenance of a highly localised theme park of Gaelic-Irish Republicanism at the British taxpayer's expense; so UKIP has become nothing more than a pressure group for the party of the Treaty of Rome, the Single European Act, the Maastricht Treaty, and 18 continuous years of three line whips in favour of the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies, to renounce the whole of its own history on the Eurofederalist issue, including the Prime Minister to whose historically baseless cult the remnant activist body and core vote are utterly devoted.

Those of us who stand in the tradition of most of those MPs who voted against the Treaty of Rome, the Single European Act, the Maastricht Treaty, and the annual renewals of the CAP and CFP (whatever happened to those yearly votes?), are now going to have to make our own arrangements. We include half of those who have hitherto voted for UKIP at European Elections, the Elections at which UKIP has hitherto done best.

Ever The Front Line

Neoconservatism's Islamist allies in the Caucusus? You don't say!

Russia is pre-eminent among the Slavs in their mission as the gatekeepers of the True West defined by the recapitulation of all three of the Old Israel, Hellenism and the Roman Empire.

The gatekeepers both against Islamic conquest, whether military or by other means, and (for all the good things that must be said about Confucianism, in particular) against economic, and thus also cultural, domination by South or East Asia.

And now also the gatekeepers against the enemy within, Islamic expansionism's, and Indian and Chinese economic domination's, ally while pretending to be at least the former's foe: the indebted, stupefied, promiscuous pseudo-West that the neocons revile the rest of us for rightly hating.

Quacking Up

Ben Goldacre writes:

This week the parliamentary science and technology committee looked into the the funding of homeopathy on the NHS and the evidence behind the decision of the MHRA, which regulates medicines, to allow homeopathy sugar pill labels to make medical claims without evidence of efficacy.

There were comedy highlights, as you might expect from any serious inquiry into an industry where sugar pills have healing powers conferred upon them by being shaken with one drop of the ingredient which has been diluted so extremely that it equates to one molecule of the substance in a sphere of water whose diameter is roughly the distance from the Earth to the sun.

The man from Boots said he had no evidence that homeopathy pills worked, but he sold them because people wanted to buy them. The man from the pill manufacturers' association said negative trials about homeopathy were often small, with an average of 65 people, and "all statisticians" agreed you need 500 people for a proper trial. Not only is it untrue that you necessarily need this many people; he then cited, in his favour, a positive homeopathy trial with just 25 patients in it.

The best moment was Dr Peter Fisher from the (NHS-funded) Royal London Homeopathic hospital explaining that homeopathic sugar pills have physical side-effects – so they must be powerful.

Can a sugar pill have a side-effect? Interestingly, a paper published in the journal Pain next month looks at just this issue. It found every single placebo-controlled trial ever conducted on a migraine drug, and looked at the side-effects reported by the people in the control group, who received a dummy "placebo" sugar pill instead of the real drug. Not only were these side-effects common, they were also similar to those of whatever drug the patients thought they might be receiving.

This is nothing new. A study in 2006 sat 75 people in front of a rotating drum to make them feel nauseous, and gave them a placebo sugar pill: 25 were told it was a drug that would make the nausea worse. It did get worse, and they also exhibited more gastric tachyarrhythmia, the abnormal stomach activity that frequently accompanies nausea.

A paper in 2004 took 600 patients from three different specialist drug allergy clinics and gave them either the drug that was causing their adverse reactions, or a dummy pill with no ingredients: 27% of the patients experienced side-effects such as itching, malaise and headache from the placebo dummy pill.

And a classic paper from 1987 looked at the impact of listing side-effects on the treatment consent form. This was a large trial comparing aspirin against placebo, conducted in three different centres. In two, the form outlined various gastrointestinal side-effects, and in these centres there was a sixfold rise in the number of people reporting such symptoms and dropping out of the trial. This is the amazing world of the nocebo effect, where negative expectations can induce unpleasant symptoms, in the absence of a physical cause.

And in any case, it doesn't help homeopaths: In 2003 Professor Edzard Ernst conducted a systematic review, finding every homeopathy trial that reported side-effects. There was no significant difference in the rates of side-effects between patients given placebo and those given homeopathic remedies.

The world of the homeopath is reductionist, one-dimensional, and built on the power of the pill: it cannot accommodate the fascinating reality of connections between mind and body which have been elucidated by science.

The next time you find yourself trapped at dinner next to some bore who's decided in middle age that they have secret mystical healing powers, while they earnestly explain how their crass efforts at selling sugar pills represent a meaningful political stand against the crimes of big pharma, just think: some lucky person, somewhere in the world, is sat next to a nocebo researcher.

How can there be any such thing as “complementary medicine” or “alternative medicine”? If it works, then it is just medicine. And it does work, doesn’t it?

The current popularity of these things is, like so much else, the result of our culture’s having moved away from the uniquely Christian rejection of humanity’s otherwise universal concepts of eternalism (that the universe has always existed and always will), animism (that the universe is a living thing, an animal), pantheism (that the universe is itself the ultimate reality, God), cyclicism (that everything which happens has already happened in exactly the same form, and will happen again in exactly the same form, an infinite number of times) and astrology (that events on earth are controlled by the movements of celestial bodies).

Science cannot prove that these closely interrelated things are not the case; it simply has to presuppose their falseness, first established in thirteenth-century Paris when their Aristotelian expression was condemned at the Sorbonne specifically by ecclesial authority, and specifically by reference to the Biblical Revelation.

This is why science as we now understand the term never originated anywhere other than in Mediaeval Europe. And it is why science did not last, or flower as it might have done, in the Islamic world: whereas Christianity sees the rationally investigable order in the universe as reflecting and expressing the rationality of the Creator, the Qur’an repeatedly depicts the will of Allah as capricious.

By turning away from ecclesial authority’s articulation and protection of the Biblical Revelation, and by turning away from the Biblical Revelation itself, the civilisation that these things called into being has turned away from science and towards eternalism, animism, pantheism, cyclicism and astrology, to the extent that a few years ago a Doctorate of Science was awarded to François Mitterand’s astrologer by, of all institutions, the Sorbonne.

And eternalism, animism, pantheism, cyclicism and astrology, inseparable from each other, underlie, among so very much else, each and every form of “alternative medicine” or “complementary medicine”, contradictions in terms that these are.

Food Security: The Ultimate National Security

Although the parts on climate change (not the real problem) are at best unfortunate, and although the part on the historical role of the Church is just plain wrong, The Morning Star editorialises:

Over the next couple of weeks we will see a level of political frenzy let loose on the international stage. Ministers will try desperately to salvage something from the crushed expectations of the Copenhagen summit. I don't doubt the integrity of those attempting the rescue mission. It just feels that they have the same prospects as households trying to resist the floods in Cumbria. In this case it is the sheer force of tidal stupidity within the global community that will sweep away most of our bridges. Without wishing to be facetious, perhaps our best hope of success from Copenhagen is failure.

Global leaders are trying to stitch together a climate change agreement based around many of the assumptions that got us into the mess in the first place. Rich nations still argue that a return to economic growth has to come first. Poor nations argue that they are entitled to a larger share of it. No-one seems willing to question the model itself. "Trade is good for the poor," argue the free-trade ideologues, who choose to ignore that much of this trade is entirely dominated by global corporations. Transnational companies use the assets of the developing world to enhance the quality of their offshore bank accounts, rather than the onshore life prospects of the poor.

None of the big lobbying organisations hovering around Copenhagen argues the case for a post-globalisation economics, in which regionalised economic systems take priority over global ones. Sooner rather than later, the world's leaders will need to understand that "security" issues are displacing free-trade agreements, and will continue to do so. A huge fuss recently erupted over rich companies and countries acquiring land rights in the developing world.

The most dramatic was undoubtedly the deal set up by the Madagascar government. It planned to lease half of the island's arable land to the South Korean company Daewoo. The firm was to get the land for 99 years and pay next to nothing for it. In exchange Madagascar was offered a barter arrangement for infrastructure projects. Such was the level of public anger about this deal that Malagasy president Marc Ravalomanana was forced out of office. The deal has now been scrapped. However, it was not the only land grab that has been taking place.

The UN food and agriculture organisation (FAO) calculated that a recent wave of land acquisitions has taken place in Africa equivalent to one 10th of the continent's existing farmed area. Saudi Arabia already had huge land holdings in Sudan. It has now signed an additional $100 million (£61m) deal for fertile land in Ethiopia. China has agreements for new land holdings in Zimbabwe and Algeria. Egypt has leased two million acres of land in Uganda to grow corn and wheat. A new wave of colonial occupation is taking place. Conquest is by contract rather than by the sword.

In the last couple of months there have been a string of reports about how climate change is dragging Kenya into tribal conflicts about the right to survive. This year's drought is the third year in succession. The rain has been either insufficient or has arrived at the wrong time. Nearly four million Kenyans are dependent on food aid. Thousands of animals have died of starvation and thirst. Fighting between tribes sometimes begins and ends with the slaughter of each other's cattle. Kill the livelihood and you kill the tribe. Often it is only the uneasy brokering of water rationing agreements by tribal leaders that holds off the descent into a raw fight for survival.

It is against this background that you must make your own judgements about Qatar's acquisition of 40,000 hectares of Kenya's Tana river delta to grow fruit and vegetables for consumption by Qataris. Britain also buys huge quantities of green beans, cut flowers and fresh vegetables from Kenya. These are produced using water that Kenyans no longer have for themselves. It is a form of water sequestration - transferring the "embedded water" in goods from the south to supermarket shelves in the north. At some point the poor will refuse to play. But the revolt may not begin with the poor.

Australia has begun a "security" rethink about fishing rights around its territorial waters. It has threatened to cut the nets of boats in what it regards as its domain. The actual confrontation may not be with Russian or Japanese "fish factory" ships, which hoover up vast tracts of the sea bed. It is the lives and livelihoods of small Indonesian fishing communities that are more likely to be threatened. International objections came in thick and fast when the Philippines suspended all rice exports in the middle of a food crisis of its own. But when big nations take action to protect their food security interests, it is only a matter of time before the whole ball game changes.

A new protectionism - food security - will come to override trade agreements or market liberalisation. And so it should.

The alternatives are civil war or tidal population movements in search of food and water. The trouble is that rich nations want access to cheap food, but not the refugees that cheap food ultimately produces. India is building a 2,500-mile fence to keep out would-be refugees from Bangladesh. The US has done much the same with Mexico. They are joined by a collection of oil-rich, water-poor countries whose own food security needs are being met by buying crops out of the mouths of the poor.
Still, the World Trade Organisation, International Monetary Fund and World Bank demand market liberalisation as a precondition of debt relief. Over the last two decades aid and investment in sustainable agriculture has plummeted. What we need are policies that protect the traditional rights of smallholders and family farmers. What we get is huge international pressure on the poorest of countries to sign away land deals under the pretext that common land is "unused" land.

The same presumption was made in the early years of imperial expansion. Explorers from France, Spain, Britain and Portugal were handed a papal bull which allowed them to claim the lands they "discovered." It was the church doctrine of terra nullius - an assumption that these were empty lands, regardless of the indigenous societies which may have lived there for thousands of years. Then, as now, land acquisition was based on superior force. Then, but not now, there was land and water to spare.

Today we need new policies which treat water as the scarce resource it is, which live modestly within the limits nature sets and which tread respectfully around the irresistible force that water can also become. The connections between Kenya and Cumbria are that they each tell us that management of water and land are central to our future survival. How we manage crises will be an unavoidable challenge, even for climate sceptics. If the climate scientists are right, however, a return to "business as usual" economics will only accelerate the shift from crisis to chaos. A half-hearted deal in Copenhagen would speed up the process.

Rich nations will not shell out sufficient cash to deliver food security and energy security programmes in the south. Without this the south will not sign up to any climate change agreement. Rich nations will not agree to live on less and to share more. They want the world to be as it was - business as usual and a transformation without tears.

They wish.

Maybe it is better to face up to the fact that today's global institutions - and the mindset of the negotiators - are themselves not fit for purpose. They will not save a place for us on the planet. Perhaps only an abject failure in Copenhagen can force a break from the politics that created the mess in the first place. As Einstein is famously credited as saying: "The thinking it took to get us into this mess is not the same thinking that is going to get us out of it."

Giving A Suffolk

As instructed by CCHQ, the Tories of Central Suffolk and Ipswich North have selected ... oh, someone or other.

Who cares?

As in South West Norfolk, and indeed everywhere else, where is the candidate with an absolute commitment to the monarchy, the organic Constitution, national sovereignty, the Union, the Commonwealth, the countryside, grammar schools, traditional moral and social values, controlled importation and immigration, and a realistic foreign policy, which is a no less absolute, and indeed inseparable, commitment to the Welfare State (including farm subsidies), workers’ rights, consumer protection, the co-operative movement, strong communities, conservation (not environmentalism), fair taxation, full employment, proper local government, a powerful Parliament, and a base of real property from which every household can resist both over-mighty commercial interests and an over-mighty State?

Gosh, what a phone call! I don't know how you got hold of my mobile phone number, but, well, gosh. Let's just say that it is certainly all go in this cause here in North West Durham.

Days Like These

In America, Christmas shopping does not start until the day after Thanksgiving. If Saint Andrew’s Day were (with Saint George’s Day, Saint David’s Day and Saint Patrick’s Day) a public holiday throughout the United Kingdom, then Christmas shopping could be held back until the next day.

Which, by happy coincidence, is the First of December.

Who Is Sarah Palin?

My Post-Right colleague Jack Hunter writes:

Why do so many people love Sarah Palin? Why do so many hate her? I cannot recall a politician in recent memory that has been both so loved and so reviled for no discernible reason.

When Palin was announced as John McCain’s running mate on the 2008 Republican presidential ticket many conservatives were intrigued, including me. It was reported that the Alaskan governor had been a member of Pat Buchanan’s “Buchanan Brigades” during the commentator’s presidential bids in 1996 and 2000 and that Palin had ties to the secessionist Alaskan Independence Party. An “America First” states rights’ radical on a major political ticket? Palin did not sound like the average Republican.

And yet today, even removed from the constraints of the McCain campaign, Palin sounds fairly conventional. Asks’s Justin Raimondo: “Where and when has Palin ever articulated a coherent alternative to the orthodox Republican doctrines of supply-side economics and endless war?” Raimondo is right. What, exactly, differentiates Palin from the average Republican bear?

Or should that be “moose?” It seems that Palin– the attractive, outdoors-loving “hockey mom”-is popular solely because of her personality, not any specific policy positions. Notes columnist Steve Chapman “Who needs policy? In her world - and the world of legions of conservatives who revere her - the persona is the policy. Palin is beloved because she’s (supposedly) just like ordinary people, which (supposedly) gives her a profound understanding of their needs.” When dissecting political cults of personality, it would seem that Palin has become the Republicans’ Obama–handsome, charming and a human comfort blanket for partisans.

It is also true that Palin is hated because of her personality. The venom spewed at Palin by the mainstream and liberal media sounds like a bunch of catty women slandering another on a drunken Saturday night. Once again, policy-wise, why should Palin be any more despised than, say, Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner? Where do they differ ideologically? Catty women have never needed a specific reason to trash talk the prettiest girl in the room. Similarly, Palin’s mere existence is all that is needed to earn the continued scorn of the Left.

This is not to say that Palin’s presence has been completely insignificant. A hero to the Tea Party set, Palin has quickly come to represent anti-government, grassroots outrage. But using sporadic, nominally-conservative rhetoric with no ideological platform or voting record to back it up is not exactly a firm foundation for any would-be “conservative champion.”

Raimondo notes the major difference between the personality-driven Palin and more serious, policy-driven leaders like Texas Congressman Ron Paul: “What is especially irksome, however, is that there is indeed a populist champion of the Tea Party grassroots, someone with the knowledge, the organization, the proven fundraising ability, and the principles to lead the GOP out of its ideological and political morass: Ron Paul… ‘Palinism’ is a hairstyle. Paulism is a bona fide movement. The first has no future — no, she won’t be a major contender, come the presidential sweepstakes, as George Will predicted on the Stephanopoulos program. The second IS the future, if the GOP is to have a future.”

When conservatives have been dubbed “Paulite” or “Buchananite” it has always been meant to describe someone with libertarian or traditional conservative leanings. Being a “Goldwaterite” had similar, specific conservative policy implications in the 1960’s, as did “Reaganite” in the 80’s. But what is a “Palinite?” I’m not sure anyone knows. I’m not even sure she knows.

And it’s a problem. As Raimondo notes, when it comes to addressing the grievances of Tea Party conservatives, that Paul’s platform is far more ideologically sound does not change the fact that the Congressman is not exactly Mr. Personality. Even Paul admits this. And yet his brand of libertarian conservatism has found a sizeable audience based purely on the power of his ideas.

Palin has found a sizeable audience based purely on the power of her personality. In fact, Palin’s most rabid fans don’t seem too concerned about her policy positions, if at all. Perhaps the best definition of a “Palinite” is one who emotionally invests himself in Republican identity politics. For Paul’s fans, the man is a philosopher. For Palin fans-she’s Oprah. Whereas Paul represents a political platform in need of more personality, Palin is a personality desperately in need of a political platform. The title of her new book is “Going Rogue,” but where, exactly, has Palin gone off the Republican plantation ideologically? Simply wrapping up the same old Bush Republicanism in a prettier package is not “going rogue”–it’s going wrong.

Only time will tell if Palin will turn out to be just another Bush Republican. But when judging political figures, it is only logical that we first look at their politics. What are Sarah Palin’s? What is Sarah Palin? We may never know.

Over here, she is increasingly compared to Margaret Thatcher. That is correct. Like Thatcher, she has no coherent political philosophy whatever, and is attractive to her supporters, not as an aspirational figure, but rather as a validation of their own failings.

Friday, 27 November 2009

UKIP Has Rannoched Itself

Admittedly, it had no other serious option.

However sterling (so to speak) may be the work that Lord Pearson does on learning disabilities and as Chairman of the Deerstalking Committee of the Countryside Alliance, the fact remains that he is a close friend and ally of Margaret Thatcher, with all that that entails, although presumably they never discuss the Single European Act.

But half of the UKIP vote for Strasbourg, based on its geographical distribution, must be Old Labour or (especially in the West Country) Old Liberal rather than Old Tory. Add together the Tory and UKIP votes in Wales, London, the South West, either of the Midland regions, or any of the Northern regions, and you get an absurdly high figure for the number of natural Tories living there.

Those voters stand in the tradition of the Attlee Government, which refused to join the European Coal and Steel Community on the grounds that it was “the blueprint for a federal state” which “the Durham miners would never wear”. In that tradition, Gaitskell rejected European federalism as “the end of a thousand years of history” and liable to destroy the Commonwealth.

Most Labour MPs voted against Heath’s Treaty of Rome. The Parliamentary Labour Party voted unanimously opposed Thatcher’s Single European Act. 66 Labour MPs voted against Maastricht, including, in Bryan Gould, the only resignation from either front bench in order to do so. Every Labour MP, without exception, voted against the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies annually between 1979 and 1997.

Half of the French Socialist Party successfully opposed the EU Constitution. And the No2EU – Yes To Democracy list at the 2009 European Elections included in London Peter Shore’s erstwhile agent.

Some of us would wish to vote for such candidates. Whom we are therefore going to have to be.

Restoring Real Trust

Those on the Right who want to bring back the matrons abolished by the Tories are entirely correct.

And those on the Left who want to abolish the unaccountable Trusts introduced by the Tories are entirely correct, too.

Send It Back

It is very simple: no extradition treaty should have effect unless ratified by the other party, and none should be ratified unless it accords equality to the parties. That precludes, among a whole host of other things, extradition to the United States on nothing more than probable cause when prima facie evidence is required for extradition to the United Kingdom.

The End of Catholic Ireland?

That is what the Dublin Political and Media Classes want. But Catholic Ireland is still more than safe in the six counties that remain within the United Kingdom.

There will always be Catholic schools in the United Kingdom, and Westminster will never introduce abortion to Ireland, a fact which is the last chance of preventing Dublin from doing so and thus restraining Westminster. That fact depends entirely on the continuation of partition.

In Northern Ireland, the inspection system was always more rigorous. But even so, almost everyone in the Irish Republic was educated by the Catholic Church. That is the wider context, providing the necessary senses of perspective and proportion to this story.

Commonwealth News I

Radical Royalist writes:

The Australian Monarchist League's National Conference on 7th and 8th November in Sydney.

Kevin Rudd had sent a message to the Conference, which is full of surprises. See for yourself [RR has the facsimile, which I can't seem to copy].

"I congratulate the Australian Monarchist League for its achievements over the last 17 years."

Well, well, Prime Minister, that includes the defeat of the republicans in 1999. Did you forget?

By the way, neither Liberal Party leader Malcolm Turnbull nor the leader of the NSW Liberal Party Barry O'Farrell bothered to send messages. Kevin Rudd must be a closeted Monarchist.

"Closeted"? Why so? Bernie Grant was "closeted when he strong defended the monarchy because of its role in the Commonwealth. Lucky Australians, that they can still vote for a party in the inherited tradition of, here in the Motherland, the trade unionists and activists who dismissed an attempt to make the nascent Labour Party anti-monarchist.

Of the delivery of the Welfare State, workers’ rights, progressive taxation and full employment by a political movement replete (both here and in Australia, among other places) with MBEs, OBEs, CBEs, mayoral chains, aldermen’s gowns, and civic services; a movement which proudly provided a high proportion of Peers of the Realm, Knights of the Garter, members of the Order of Merit, and Companions of Honour, who had rejoiced in their middle periods to be Lords Privy Seal, or Comptrollers of Her Majesty’s Household, or so many other such things, in order to deliver those goods within the parliamentary process in all its ceremony.

Of Peter Shore’s denunciation of the Major Government’s decision to scrap the Royal Yacht, and his support for Canadian against Spanish fishermen not least because Canada and the United Kingdom shared a Head of State. And of the Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party, founded out of the trade union movement specifically in order to secure for the British workers of Gibraltar the same pay and conditions enjoyed by other British workers.

Some of us would wish to vote for such candidates. Whom we are therefore going to have to be.

Commonwealth News II

Although I am in touch (I can say no more) with a figure in Harper's party who is trying to secure the creation of a Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs, Dred Tory writes:

Now we hear that the CPC is sitting at 36.6% support nationwide. Adjust this percentage for the size of the sample and the typical number of eligible electors who routinely bother to vote, and you'll end up with a core base of Harperoid support roughly equal to the number of Canadians who think Elvis is still alive.

It must be depressing to have methodically violated each one of your principles, shredded every last vestige of your dignity, executed every conceivable act of political defalcation, pandered--on bended, rug-burned knees--to every key ethnic, regional, and ideological special interest, and still be forced to rise dejectedly from your sweat-drenched carpet with 36.6 measly per fucking cent. It must be enraging. It might even be enough to make Harper suspect that Canadians hate him as much as he hates them (as if that's even possible). Really--what will Harper have to do to push himself into majority territory? He's already degenerated into a cheap song-and-dance man--literally.

I fear that his advisors may soon press him to adopt extreme measures. I'm not at all prepared to discount the possibility that we shall see Harper strip down to his boxers, slather his Falstaffian gut in canola oil and perform a pole dance to "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" on The O'Reilly Factor if he doesn't see his numbers go up, way up, by Christmas.

So for God's sake--if you ever get a phone call from a polling company, please express total, undiluted support for the CPC. We need to give the party a false sense of security (the higher their numbers, the quicker they'll dissolve the House), and, more importantly, we need to keep Harper's clothes on. Think of the children, people.

In a few months, we shall have had four years of minority CPC ministries. I wonder if those legions of committed Harperoids who expatiate endlessly on the chess-masterly brilliance of their leader and the unprecedented productivity of his reign are really prepared to set his "accomplishments" against those of other minority governments. I think they're not, actually--so I shall do it for them.

Let us list what Mike Pearson managed to accomplish during four years of his five-year premiership:

* the establishment of universal health care, the Canada Pension Plan, and the federal student loan program;

* the adoption of the Maple Leaf as our official flag [boo!];

* the institution of the 40-hour work week and a minimum wage;

* the unification of the Canadian Armed Forces;

* the negotiation and ratification of the Auto Pact;

* the total overhaul of our immigration system, including the elimination of racial criteria and the adoption of the points system we use today;

* the supervision of Canada's massive Centennial celebrations;

* the re-establishment of cordial relations with America whilst taking a public stand against the Vietnam War.

That's what four years looked like to Canadians during the Pearson era. Look at that list: there's hardly an item that does not describe a colossal event--each one brought about by a minority government that faced in John Diefenbaker's Tories arguably the bitterest, most implacably obstructionist Opposition a Canadian government has ever encountered. Amazing. And Pearson pulled it off without once feeling the need to perform amateur cabarets whilst shrine-hopping on Club-Med-like Indian "trade missions".

Now, here is Harper's four-year legacy:

* a fixed-date election "law" he's already broken;

* a so-called Accountability Act whose main provisions remain unfulfilled;

* free trade with Columbia.

That's the lot. That's what Stephen Harper has to show for four years of facing the most pathetically invertebrate Opposition and the most thoroughly demoralised Liberal Party in our post-BNA history. That's the evidence, we are told, of the man's consummate political acumen.

There's no need to await the official conclusion of Stephen Harper's tenure. The trophy for the most negligible prime ministership since Sir John Abbott's has been awarded. There was no serious competition.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

The End Of Cap And Trade?

Gore courtiers are like those radical feminists whom Obama wants to deselect themselves by voting against the Healthcare Bill if the ban on federal funding of abortion is still in it: Clinton supporters who never wanted him and of whom he would love to be rid. He is drawing the lines for a purge of his own party and a very serious challenge to the continued viability of the other one. There will be more lines to come, very soon.

Vienna Sausages

The use of "wiener" in America is one of the many examples of how Germanic American culture really is.

Anyway, male genital mutilation is no more acceptable than female genital mutilation. Shame on Austria's Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, that it has taken the latest political vehicle of the Third Lager to point this out.

And Still Only Two Days In

My six thousandth post.

We are only two days in, and already we have "learned" that (for the benefit of the American market) there was no link to 9/11, that there were no WMD, and that Saddam Hussein would have been toppled by an internal coup anyway.

The one and only argument advanced for British participation in the Iraq War was the existence of Iraqi WMD (not a "programme") capable of deployment within 45 minutes against the British bases on Cyprus. No one bothered to ask why Iraq would want to attack those bases, and in any case the whole thing was totally false.

Lord Butler sat and waited for a journalist to ask The Question, and was left dumbfounded when none of the spineless hired help did so. But some of them seem to have grown backbones since then. Why don't the rest?

And why doesn't everyone who admires the American neoconservatives ask what it is about them that makes them so attractive to Tony Blair, of all people? If he loves them so much, then why do you? Are you hoping for some of the vast wealth that he has acquired, and is continuing to acquire? That is the real story: Blair's blood money. When is there going to be an inquiry into that?

The High Court of Parliament

Having abolished the Law Lords in the service of the peculiarly American theory of the separation of powers, They presumably also wish to abolish all quasi-judicial functions of Ministers or of local council chairmen, as well as the role of the judges in making the whole of the Common Law, and much else besides. All because of something that They once heard on The Wire, or The Simpsons, or whatever.

And then what? As will eventually be found to be the case, both trial by jury and trial by magistrates are contrary to Their other pet cause, the jurisprudence of a foreign court interpreting a foreign document. They, who object to the quasi-judicial powers of Ministers accountable to Parliament, also loathe both juries and magistrates, and for the same reason, namely hatred of the people at large.

Without a resolution of the House of Commons (itself elected more proportionally and from candidates selected by means of something like an open primary system), no ruling of the European Court of Justice, nor or of the European Court of Human Rights, nor of the Supreme Court, nor pursuant to the Human Rights Act, should have any effect in the United Kingdom. The High Court of Parliament is precisely that: The High Court of Parliament.

And as such, it cannot co-exist with a Supreme Court detached from Parliament and, being Supreme, both enjoying and, soon enough, exercising the right to strike down the Statute Law with no one to in any position to do anything about this monstrous overthrow of democracy and liberty.

The present judiciary is riddled with old Communist Party activists and the like from back in the day. As in the form of New Labour, a project which now controls both parties, the student sectarian Left of the 1968 generation has now staged its coup.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The World At One

Featuring Councillor Joe Armstrong, with whom I have not always seen eye-to-eye, but who knows what he now has to do if he wants, not only an MP who is local and who is older than 22, but also an MP who possesses an absolute commitment to the Welfare State, workers’ rights, consumer protection, strong communities, conservation (not environmentalism), fair taxation, full employment, the co-operative movement, proper local government, a powerful Parliament, and a base of real property from which every household can resist both over-mighty commercial interests and an over-mighty State, which is a no less absolute, and indeed inseparable, commitment to the monarchy, the organic Constitution, national sovereignty, the Union, the Commonwealth, the countryside, grammar schools, traditional moral and social values, controlled importation and immigration, and a realistic foreign policy.

An agent is required, Joe - How about it? Why not?

Parliament Is Our Supreme Court

Rulings such as that today should have no force unless or until ratified by resolution of the House of Commons.

Extremists, Indeed

I don't want schools run by Hizb ut Tahrir. But nor do I want every state school in England to be controlled, either by Michael Gove of the Henry Jackson Society, or by Ed Balls of Labour Friends of Israel. How many wars has Hizb ut Tahrir started? How many seats in our legislature has Hizb ut Tahrir sold in its criminal purchase of British foreign policy?

It was David Cameron whose vehicles toured Ealing Southall blasting out in Asian languages that Hindu, Muslim and Sikh festivals would be made public holidays under the Tories. It was his “Quality of Life Commission” then proposed giving the power to decide these things to “local community leaders”. What else would those figures be given the power to decide in return for filling in every postal voting form in their households in the Bullingdon Boys’ interest, and making sure that all their mates did likewise?

To the statelets thus created – little Caliphates, little Hindutvas, little Khalistans, and so on – people minded to live in such places would flock from the ends of the earth, entrenching the situation for ever. Perhaps when the ultra-Orthodox have been denaturalised by Avigdor Lieberman and his loyalty oath, then Cameron can just give then Stamford Hill, or Salford (bye, bye, Blears), or Gateshead? Then again, perhaps it will be the secular Ashkenazi ultra-nationalists who come to realise that the only way of living the dream among no one but themselves will be if they accept a little bit of Britain, of all places, in which to do so?

In that case, we may as well take the “dissident Republicans” as well, even if we will still need some here else in which to put those currently accrued to Jim Allister. Will it be Lefebvrists or liberal Catholics, neither very big but each now with the characteristics of an ethnic group, who require such provision? Will it be hardline Anglican liberals, or those conservative Evangelicals who oppose women bishops but could never go over to Rome? Again, each could almost pass for an ethnic minority now, and will be a fully fledged one within a single generation. Perhaps it will be all of them. Plus many, many, many more besides.

Oh, well, we may as well make the best of it. Let us identify the “local communities” to which, in the event of a Cameron victory, we will be evacuating the Christians of Orissa, Darfur, Iraq and Palestine. Just for a start.

Beat This

Lessons on domestic violence, as a separate subject? From where, pray, is the curriculum time supposed to come? Physics? Modern Foreign Languages? Oh, no, I forgot. The only schools still teaching those won't be teaching this anyway.


Surely not? First invading Iraq was agreed years before 9/11. And now this. I am struggling to cope. Aren't you?

Ainsworth On Obama

And he himself is doing what? Pulling us out? No? Then they are both as bad as each other.

Leaving Things Settled

Evan Haris was at it again at PMQs. There is a certain Spot The Deliberate Mistake quality to proposals to make the monarchy more egalitarian or (God help us all) "meritocratic".

The Act of Settlement is good for us Catholics. It reminds us that we are different, and it does us the courtesy of taking our beliefs seriously by identifying them as a real challenge.

I question the viability of a Catholic community which devotes any great energy to the question of ascending the throne while the born sleep in cardboard boxes on the streets and the pre-born are ripped from their mothers' wombs to be discarded as surgical waste. Far from being a term of abuse, the word "Papist" is in fact the name under which the English Martyrs gave their lives, and expresses the cause for which they did so, making it a badge of honour, to be worn with pride.

The Protestant tradition is a fact of this country's history and culture. No good purpose would be served by denying it its constitutional recognition. And we must never countenance alliance with those, such as Harris, who wish to remove Christianity as the basis of our State. Parties, such as his or the SNP, that wish to abolish Catholic schools need not imagine that noisily seeking to repeal the Act of Settlement somehow makes their position any better.

As for male primogeniture, it, too, sends an important signal: that the male line matters means that fathers matter, and that they have to face up to their responsibilities, with every assistance (including censure where necessary) from the wider society, including when it acts politically as the State.

On matters such as this, we should listen to the voice of Recusancy, currently in the Commons (and it has been largely "reformed" - what an appropriate word! - out of the Lords) the voice of the gloriously anti-war Edward Leigh more than anyone. He has no time for this proposal, and rightly sees the whole thing as an excuse to bring the question of the monarchy to the floor of other Parliaments, particularly in Australia.

There is only one circumstance under which these changes could begin to be justified, namely that any Realm or Territory may leave the family defined by our shared monarch unless they were given effect, though not otherwise. Which is considering doing so?

Civil Partnerships For Opposite-Sex Couples?

There is a perfectly simple way for cohabiting couples of opposite sexes to acquire the rights that this innovation's proponents have in mind. It is called marriage. That, at least so far as the pure legalities are concerned, is what marriage is. So I'm sorry, but I don't understand. Or is it just that civil partnerships do not need to be consummated?

A New New Commonwealth

With Rwanda about to join the steady flow of new members unconnected to Britain in any colonial way, it is time for a New New Commonwealth, headed by the British monarch with all that that entails, but open to anywhere having no dispute with any of the Queen’s or her successor’s Realms and Territories, and desiring to take a (basically and ultimately Christian) stand against globalisation, the American military-industrial hegemony that Americans themselves have now rejected at the polls, European federalism, Islam, and economic domination by China, all of which are closely connected. An ideal member would be Madagascar, where the next meeting of the Francophonie is to be be held. For that matter, an ideal member would be France. But the really obvious member would be Belgium.

Quo Fata Ferunt?

The BBC is beyond parody. Even though Bermuda has consistently rejected Independence at the ballot box, whom could the Beeb find to interview on the occasion of the Queen's visit? A pro-Independence politician, and old white man who reluctantly accepted independence s inevitable, and, er, that was it.

How Do You Like Them Apples?

Suffolk Swedes, indeed! Suffolk is the county of Aspall cider and Copella pressed apple juice, both of which I heartily recommend.

What with the Suffolk Swedes and the Turnip Taliban, will Cameron get the message that everywhere beyond the South East, where the Tories already hold most of the seats, he is despised, even as nearby as Suffolk and Norfolk?

No. He won't.

Casey: Pro-Life, Pro-Healthcare

In Time, no less, Amy Sullivan writes:

The point of the Oct. 21 press briefing was to highlight Senate Democrats' outreach to faith-based organizations. Illinois's Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, spoke approvingly about all the policy areas that religious leaders have been working on with Democrats before adding, "And not just on negative issues like abortion." Across the room, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, a pro-life Catholic, listened in silence. A few minutes later, a reporter asked his opinion on abortion coverage in the Senate version of health reform. "We want to make sure that there is no federal funding of abortion," began Casey, but Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow quickly cut him off.

"We do not have funding for abortion services in these bills," she said. "Senator Casey doesn't need to worry about it. He can vote for health reform."

Casey smiled patiently but stood his ground. "We need more work done on this," he said.
Shaking her head, Stabenow jumped in again. "This health care debate is not about changing current policy on abortion," she said. "There is no funding for abortion. So there should be no problem." Unfortunately for Stabenow and other Democrats, in the month since that meeting, abortion has become very much a problem — if not the biggest hurdle — in passing health care reform.

The debate must feel familiar to Casey, who watched his father, former Pennsylvania governor Robert P. Casey, battle with President Bill Clinton and Planned Parenthood over his pro-life stance. Governor Casey successfully defended his tightening of Pennsylvania's abortion policies all the way to the Supreme Court, and would likely have challenged Clinton for the 1996 presidential nomination if his health hadn't suddenly deteriorated (he died in 2000 at the age of 68, seven years after receiving heart and lung transplants). And so now, the son of the man often called the father of pro-life Democrats finds himself facing the biggest issue of his three years in the Senate: a debate over federal funding of abortions that threatens to bring down health care reform.

Any hope that pro-life Democrats were going to go quietly into the night was shattered in the final hours before the House passed its version of the health care bill on Nov. 7. Sixty-four pro-life Dems joined most Republicans in voting for an amendment authored by Representative Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat, which aims to ensure that no federal dollars can go — directly or indirectly — to funding abortions in the new health-insurance marketplace that is envisioned by the bill. Pro-choice advocates insist that the amendment goes too far, beyond the decades-old Hyde Amendment, the federal law that prohibits funding of abortions through Medicaid and other federal health plans except in the case of rape, incest or to save the woman's life. By restricting abortion coverage through the so-called exchange, critics say, the Stupak amendment will end up limiting the availability of abortions, especially for the low-income women who would qualify for federal subsidies to help purchase policies. Stupak charged that the Dems' compromise proposal, which would have segregated public funds from private funds that could be used to pay for abortions, was tantamount to subsidizing murder.

Stupak's provision passed the House, but with both sides vowing to vote down the final product if the amendment is included (pro-choice) or left out (pro-life). So it's up to the Senate to find a workable compromise. On the face of it, the Senate is more heavily pro-choice than the House, with only 40 solid pro-life votes (38 Republicans plus Casey and Ben Nelson of Nebraska). But with practically no Republicans except for Maine's Olympia Snowe looking even open to the possibility of voting for the Senate bill, majority leader Harry Reid will need every single one of his caucus' votes. What's more, there are seven additional Democrats who have in the past voted to ban federal funding of abortions and another four who have mixed records, having voted in the past to ban so-called partial-birth abortions. Add to that the unknown quantity of some of the freshmen, such as Virginia's Mark Warner, Colorado's Michael Bennet and Alaska's Mark Begich. While the pro-life movement probably doesn't have the 60 votes needed to add a Stupak-like amendment to the Senate bill, abortion is an intensely personal issue for many politicians, one that could make or break their final votes.

All of this has made these 15 Senators — three of whom, including Reid, Bennet and Arkansas's Blanche Lincoln, are facing tough races next November — top lobbying targets of pro-life groups. And the person they expect to be wrangler in chief of this nervous group? Casey. "He's our No. 1 target to influence others," says Joy Yearout, spokeswoman for the Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life fundraising group that has seen activity increase 50% in the past two years (the group is already running $130,000 worth of commercials against Reid). "Casey ran as a pro-life Democrat, and it's time he deliver for his constituents. His father had such a legacy on the issue and you'd think he'd want to augment that." Getting something passed in the Senate has taken on extra urgency, says Douglas Johnson, legislative director of National Right to Life, because pro-life groups believe House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is considering simply passing the Senate version rather than trying to merge the two chambers' different bills into one finished product.

Casey is working on an amendment, though it might not be the one Johnson, Yearout and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — which has also lobbied heavily on the issue — might hope for. Casey's amendment would boost services to pregnant women to help educate them on their choices. "I think it would help a lot of folks on both sides feel more comfortable about the bill," Casey says. That certainly won't go far enough for pro-life advocates who say the current language in the Reid bill — a version of the separation-of-funds idea — is "an enormous disappointment, creating a new and completely unacceptable federal policy that endangers human life and rights of conscience," as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote in a letter to the Senate last week. While Casey is speaking with other Senators on the issue and is considering other amendments, he's "not drawing any lines in the sand," he says. "I just think that there's going to be enough momentum to get a bill passed that one issue — even one very important issue — will not prevent passage." That said, when pressed, Casey, with a faint smile on his face, echoed the same line he told Stabenow in the meeting with faith leaders: "There's still a good bit of work to be done."

Obama has promised not to sign any Bill authorising federal funding of abortion. It's not going to happen. If those still pining for Hillary don't like that, then let them vote against the Bill, which will get them out of the Democratic Party and, if it votes with them, will get the worse than useless Republican Party, as such, out of the pro-life movement.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Obama, India and China

Has Obama "snubbed" democratic India and "kowtowed" to repressive China? Well, what if he has? The world is as it is, and not as one might like it to be. But, with very rare exceptions (Peter Hitchens, Scott McConnell), undergraduate Trots never grow up. They just become neocons. Thank God that the neocons are no longer running the White House.

China is going through the gangster capitalist phase from which Russia is now emerging. As Russia needs every encouragement in Medvedev’s (decidedly un-Putinesque) reassertion against both Communism and capitalism of her true, profoundly Christian culture, so China will need every encouragement in reasserting against both Communism and capitalism her true, Confucian culture, which is not only extremely nonbelligerent, but also strikingly open to completion by, in, through and as classical Christianity.

Yes, India is the world’s largest democracy, although rather a lot of her people vote for very nasty parties indeed. And yes, India is a coming economic superpower; but China is an actual one, to which America is hugely indebted. India, in fact, is part of a specifically British rather than American sphere of influence, by no means always to America’s liking, but that is just tough. If there is a lesson here, then it is that.

The Manhattan Declaration

It is certainly a very interesting and welcome document, with a very interesting and welcome list of signatories, several of whom have been active in this sort of thing for decades. The text itself indicates the first signs of a shift back towards mentioning Catholic Social Teaching and the Evangelical tradition of work for social justice. In the days of things like Evangelicals and Catholics Together, they never used to bother, when they thought that the Republican Right might deliver the goods, especially on abortion.

Well, they have clearly given up waiting for that one. That, too, is interesting and welcome. Expect future products of this process to say exactly what they have been longing to say for years as much about global capitalism and its wars as about sexual promiscuity and its abortions, and about how all these things are connected. And expect that, in turn, to bring some very interesting and welcome, not to say otherwise unexpected, people over to Rome, which has been proclaiming the catholicity of these concerns for ever.

Iraq Invasion Agreed Before 9/11 Shock

What is to be the next startling revelation?

Scotch This

One among myriad examples that the “free” market is totally anti-conservative.

Off The Field

Those of us who have had to deal with Biblical criticism are no strangers to academic fields defined by predetermined, highly politicised conclusions which the fields are then constructed specifically in order to "prove", to the exclusion of anything and anyone who might, by adopting a method which does not presuppose the approved conclusion, arrive at a different conclusion entirely.

At least more broadly, Marxists are the past masters of this. But they are very far from unique. "Free" market economics is another example. So is the thinking underlying the racist, misogynistic and class-oppressive population control movement. And so is that currently associated with the theory of anthropogenic global warming (although that is only the latest problem to which the same old solution is proposed), with its attack on proper jobs, on access to a full diet, on mass opportunities for travel, on the right of the poor or the non-white to procreate, and on economic development in the poorer parts of the world.

Of course, all of these are closely connected. And they are all as closed and as fundamentally fake as Marxist historiography or Biblical criticism, which are also, when put into practice, vicious enemies of the poor, the non-white and the female.

Civil Rights

The Police should not call the rest of us "civilians". They, too, are civilians, whom we pay to do what, should the need arise, we could and would all do for free. That is why, for example, they should have the right to strike. And that is why that bastion of old-school trade unionism, the Police Federation, is absolutely correct in defending the entitlement of the whole community to that for which the whole community pays, namely the Police protection of each and every one of the whole community's members. All of Her Majesty's subjects are, as such, equal citizens, equally entitled to the services of Her Majesty's Constabulary. As so often, the Crown guarantees in principle the equality defended in practice by the trade union movement.

MPs Are People, Too

If charged, then they have the right to face their accusers in open court, and, where applicable, to be acquitted by a jury of their peers. There is far too much secrecy in out justice system, and one of the most flagrant examples is secret acquittal of the charged on the part of the CPS. Acquittal without due process is as repugnant as conviction without due process. The innocent charged have the right to hear an open court declare to the world their innocence. Even if they are MPs or Peers.

Democrats Need Luksik

There are four main party candidates for the Senate seat in Pennsylvania. One is the sitting Senator, Arlen Specter, hilariously trying to re-invent himself as a Democrat at his age. Against him in the primary is Congressman Joe Sestak, a social ultraliberal and a war agenda enthusiast who duly endorsed Clinton against Obama. However, it must be said that he is a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act. Sestak is polling well.

Across the aisle are Pat Toomey and Peg Luksik. Both are pro-life Catholics, so that the election of either would, to that extent, make Pennsylvania Republicans the equals of the Pennsylvania Democrats of Senator Bob Casey, sponsor of the Pregnant Women Support Act, and son and namesake of the state's ferociously pro-life old Democratic Governor. But Toomey is also President of the Club for Greed and fully signed up to its motto of "invade the world, invite the world, in hock to the world".

Luksik, by contrast, not only takes the standard pro-life positions and supports the traditional definition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman, but also supports the Second Amendment, supports closing the borders and enforcing immigration laws, supports the right of parents to direct the education of their children, opposes using American troops as the world’s police force, believes that "our military should only be put in harm’s way when American territory or lives are in jeopardy", supports every effort to make America energy independent, opposes "any treaty or organization that seeks to undermine America’s sovereignty or weaken our Constitution", supports making English the official language of the United States, opposes judicial activism (although she doesn’t specify which examples), opposes the bailouts, supports a requirement that all federal government officials comply with all rules and regulations they pass, supports "fair trade in the international marketplace", supports auditing the Federal Reserve, supports "a total revamping of the federal tax codes to make them simpler and fairer" (although, again, without specification), and supports ending all secret earmarks.

Alas, she also professes to "oppose government programs that seek to redistribute wealth from those who earn it to those who want it" and to oppose the "death tax", although on healthcare she says only that she opposes "rationed care for seniors, the disabled, or any other group of citizens", which of course is not on the agenda. Frankly, she is the best of the four. The Democrats, and especially Sestak, could do with being beaten by Luksik, and then they might finally get the message: "If you’d only run a pro-life, pro-family, anti-war, economically and culturally patriotic supporter of public healthcare and the Employee Free Choice Act, then you wouldn’t now be one vote down on public healthcare and the Employee Free Choice Act". And the Republicans might finally get the message, too: "You can only win what is now a naturally Democratic state in the Northeast, not with an Arlen Specter, but with a pro-life, pro-family and anti-war economic and cultural patriot".