It is a wholesome and uplifting exercise to dream occasionally about what an ideal world might look like. Clearly, such ideas are far from the messy realities of the world as we know it today but lifting our gaze to the clouds can give us courage as well as direction.
So, what would a world look like if democratic capitalism were universally practiced instead of restricted to our own country and a few of our friends? First, we have to describe what we mean by “democratic capitalism”. Keep Reading
The soaring rhetoric with which President Donald J. Trump concluded his 2019 State of the Union address was totally unexpected, but as uplifting in its own way as that of Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy. And we need to be lifted up – from the pettiness and willful blindness which have characterized much of our political discourse as our loyalties and pronouncements have descended into a cauldron of partisan gamesmanship.
As author John Daly observed on “The Dr. Larry Show” last week, the American public has taken to looking at politics as a competitive sport where there must be winners and losers. This perspective has been both led and followed by the news media. Smaller and ever smaller incidents, actions and words are being analyzed in terms of who won and who lost. Fox News has even scheduled an end-of-week quiz every Friday night called “Winners and Losers”. Keep Reading
By Bob Livingston, 2018 University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, 296 pp
This is the extraordinary story of an extraordinary man. Bob Livingston’s memoir starts with his beginnings in a troubled family through his time in the Navy, law school, first jobs and finally his entry into politics as the first Republican Congressman from his district near New Orleans, LA since before the Depression.
The story hits its rhythm, as they say in sports, as his 22 years in the U.S. Congress unfolds. The climax comes when he ascends to Speaker, only to have it snatched away at the last minute.
Along the way, Bob explains in simple language his common-sense politics and comments on past and current people and events from his own perspective. What emerges is a very attractive conservative philosophy which is worth reading for its own sake.
The reader is also struck by the author’s honesty, even humility — a quality not commonly expected in a politician. This perspective is particularly evident as he details the background and events surrounding the House impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton. That segment adds a first-hand account of his part in that historical epic, with all the pathos and tragedy he and his supporters experienced. Equally enlightening is his assessment of the impact of those sad days through the years that followed. Altogether a valuable and occasionally riveting addition to the literature of that era.
As the platform – and actions – of the Democrat party have become more actively pro-choice on the issue of abortions, questions have begun to surface more widely as to whether a practicing Catholic can in good conscience be a member of the Democrat party? It is true that there are a number of very prominent Democrats who also profess to be Catholics, including 2016 vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and former Vice President Joe Biden, among others.
The tipping point is the increasingly adamant position of the Catholic Church in opposition to abortion in any form. As research shows more clearly the viability of the fetus at a very early stage, the basis of the Church’s position has evolved from disapproval of abortion as a birth control measure to condemnation of abortion as a form of infanticide, i.e. murder. Keep Reading
The immigration situation in the United States is a total mess. Yes, we need barriers where terrain permits. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. To snapshot the most urgent challenges, let’s look at three of the categories of immigration policy that need to be fixed: 1) border enforcement, 2) citizenship qualifications, and 3) visa procedures.
Barriers – Right now there are long stretches of the southern border which have no impediments to anyone crossing from Mexico to the USA other than the occasional presence of Border Patrol agents. There are not enough of these agents available to present a consistent obstacle to trespassers. In fact, it would take an army to effectively guard all these approaches. The only effective deterrent in such terrain is a wall, such as that in San Diego, which has reduced alien traffic by 96% (since 1986 before the wall was built.) Also, such barriers work both ways to prevent human trafficking in and out of the USA.
Catch and Release – current laws provide that anyone caught illegally entering the USA can be deported back across the border, UNLESS the individual claims asylum. In that case, the person must come before a US judge who will determine whether the claim is valid or not. Since the word is out among the masses, nearly all the illegals now claim asylum. But there are not enough judges to handle the caseload of thousands of migrants. Nor are there anywhere near adequate facilities to house the asylum-seekers until they can appear before the court. This has led to “catch and release” the defendants with a summons to appear before the court sometime in the future, usually months. These folks are turned loose – in many cases never to be seen again.
As we look around at the Christmas decorations, programs,
ceremonies, shopping, cards, greetings and the whole
Christmas season, what messages do we get?
What does it all mean?
Clearly, something unusual and good is in the air. People seem friendlier, parties and benefits are everywhere. Charities, soap kitchens, and the Salvation Army are busier than usual.
When we think of the origin of Christmas, we realize that it began as a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Today, however, it is possible to go through the entire Christmastime without ever hearing that name. Many children are taught that the central figure of Christmas is Santa Claus on his mission of kindness and goodwill.
So, what about this Jesus Christ? Is he still important, even relevant? Keep Reading
Aaron Rodgers is taking heat for the Packers’ losing season. Forget 400+ passes without an interception. IMO, Mark Murphy should be taking a lot of that blame. Rodgers is an extraordinary QB, not only for his arm strength and accuracy, but also because he is a master at extending a play. Many of his “miracle” passes have been caught by the few receivers who understand how to get open during the extra time Aaron manufactures. They have developed a special set of skills to complement Rodgers — skills so unusual that neither they nor Aaron can work those miracles alone. The primary player in this Packer generation has been Jordy Nelson. Murphy traded him to save money. The kids who came in behind him haven’t had time to learn what he knew. The only other Aaron twin is Randall Cobb, who spent most of the year on IR. Adams and the other Rodgers are coming along but they are not there yet. So, management decides to make the Packers a running team. When that doesn’t work, Murphy fires McCarthy. When that doesn’t work, they start blaming Rodgers. IMO, they should start at the top!
The 2016 update of the 2010 U.S. Census shows the current distribution of the U.S. population at 80.3% urban and 19.7% rural. (Michael Ratcliff, Geography Division, U.S. 2010 Census Report, issued December 2016) This simple fact is perhaps the most significant reality in the current political polarization of the United States’ electorate. On its face, it signifies that the current Republican Party is doomed to disappear unless it can make some fundamental changes.
To detail some of the differences between urban and rural realities, let’s look at a few. Keep Reading