Obama Beats Romney .... but Obama v. Santorum is Very Close - Republicans are deciding who will be their nominee. They want the candidate that has the best chance to win the White House.
Regardless of whether Romney or Santorum wins, the Democrats are going to run an very negative campaign. The reason is simple: the Democrats have very few accomplishments to talk about - govt. regulation has increased, the stimulus didn't stimulate anything but local government., the unemployment rate only remains under 10% because millions of potential workers have dropped out of the workforce, the development of domestic energy has been shelved in favor of the “Solyndra's” of the world, private auto employment growth was helped by violating existing bond indentures and pumping in govt. funds, etc.
Of course, the problems are not of Obama's making. It is true, a recession induced by failures in the financial sector are always most difficult to correct. It is also true, America has over many decades allowed its employment in the manufacturing sector to wane while allowing financial sector employment to soar. Finally it is true, a terrible error was made when Glass Steagall was repealed allowing the “ risk taking" investment banks unchecked access to the conservative deposit base of "FDIC insured" commercial banks.
No, Obama failures are not in causing the great problems of today; Obamas's failures are in choosing policies that either make things worse or impose future costs that the nation can't afford.
So Obama, lacking a positive message, will have to go negative against either Santorum or Romney.
Against Romney, Obama will be "discussing" Bain Capital's outsourcing, down sizing, and wage cutting that hit many Americans . The people are becoming increasingly sensitive on all these issues as the recession lingers on. By the time of the November election the typical swing voter will feel physical revulsion at the Bain stories Obama will be airing hourly..
While Romney is struggling with his Bain problems his religiously conservative Republican base will bey cool because of his switches on abortion. Romney's libertarian Republican base will be repulsed by Romney's involvement with govt. mandated health care in Massachusetts, finally there will always be a group that doubt his Christian credentials because of his Mormon religion. These various Republican groups will be lukewarm supporters at best or in many cases side line sitters.
Romney does benefit from his personal good looks and his attractive family. However, all in all, his negatives are likely to overwhelm his positives.
Santorum has a chance of winning because he will be able to energize both the social and economic conservatives. He comes from middle class people and speaks their language regarding culture and values, but he also has a solid conservative, job creating economic message. Obama will try to exploit the reproductive health issue trying to separate the Catholic and fundamentalist voters from their leadership through massive negative advertising. The fundamental leadership is likely to hold firm using their sermons and media to drive home the importance of following God's direction not Obama's. The Catholic leadership is more problematic. Will they in the end support a conservative practicing Catholic against the irreligious, liberal Obama? The election will in the end turn of what the bishops do. Given their prior history on Obama and even on Catholic Senators like Leahy, Biden, Kennedy, Murray, Landrieu, etc. their decision is not a forgone conclusion. This will be a pivotal election for the Catholic hierarchy. Will they actively defend their position from ten thousand pulpits across America, or will they fold and let Santorum fall as the relentless Obama attack on Catholic teaching and Santorum rages across America's television screens?
A PLAN OF ACTION FOR THE CATHOLIC HIERARCHY
Many correctly point out that a majority of Catholic use birth control. Without pointing the finger at Catholics who use birth control, the Catholic hierarchy needs to address family life in a positive, forthright way pointing out that the Santorum way of life has created such great joy through their faith and their many children. The objection that both parents need to work full time to maintain a middle class life style can be anticipated and answered by pointing out the Santorum economic plan would ease the pressure on middle class parents making it easier to maintain a middle class lifestyle with only one income. This economic plan would allow Catholic mothers to stay home , have larger families and fully enjoy and properly raise their children.
Catholic leaders are scared to death of losing their tax free status, so they might take up a plan of writing pastorial letters to be read on Sunday talking about a "mythical Catholic family" without mentioning the Santorum family by name but keeping the parallels so close all would come to recognize the Santorum family. The themes of the letters should shift around. Do three Sundays on family life and the blessing of a large family; then do three Sundays on the economic plan that reduces taxes and brings well paid jobs back to the US. The letters could weave themes from Rerun Novarum with ideas found in Santorum's platform. The people would figure out that the Santorum family and the Santorum economic plan was being explicated.
Obama could hardly complain if the word “Santorum” was never mentioned from a Catholic pulpit. ............. (prepared by Hugh Murray on 3/4/2012)
Hogeland’s Book Reveals Much about Alexander Hamilton's Bazaar Personality - In 2006 William Hogeland brought out a book entitled The Whiskey Rebellion which focused on the many hundreds of farmers living in the Pittsburgh area in the early 1790's who used whiskey stills to convert their bulky grain harvests into distilled spirits which could be more easily and profitably transported across the Appalachian mountains to more populous coastal cities.
These bulky grains could have been easily transported by the Ohio/Mississippi river system and then by ocean transport to different populations around the world; but the new American government had not yet negotiated the fair use of the facilities at New Orleans. So that avenue of transport remained closed till the Louisiana purchase of 1803. These western Pennsylvania farmers were forced to use distilling if they wished to convert their crops into cash money.
HAMILTON’S MOVES AGAINST WESTERN FARMERS
Hamilton was a strong supporter of the new central government. He very interested in having the American government levy an excise tax on some product to demonstrate its power under the new Constitution. He came up with the idea of putting a tariff on imported distilled liquor and a sister excise tax on domestically produced spirits. He managed to get his tariff and excise tax passed by Congress in the face of strong opposition to the excise from members representing districts on the far side of the mountains. It was this later excise tax that caused so much trouble for farmers west of the Appalachian, not just in Pennsylvania but in other states as well.
Hamilton’s original error was compounded by setting up a two track taxing system: 1) for large stills that could be easily and frequently inspected by Federal inspectors and 2) another for small stills that were operated for only a few weeks per year by individual farmers or small groups of farmers.
The tax for the large stills was based on actual production. Additionally large stills were given a substantial discount on the tax if they posted a bond guaranteeing the eventual payment of the tax after the exact production was known.
The tax on the small stills was set as a flat charge which assumed the still operated at its full capacity for the 4 months following the harvest each year. Most of the small still did not operate for that much time each year.
The net difference in the tax on a per gallon basis between the two types of operators was fifteen fold (15:1). The small stills were terribly disadvantaged.
The farmers around Pittsburgh were self reliant people and were use to taking matters into their own hands. They decided to intimidate the tax collectors. They were able to stop the tax collections in the region. A retired Revolutionary war General who was the supervisor of the local collectsions was ordered by the disentersto leave but refused , so some hot heads burned his home down.
A split developed within the rebel group - some wanted to secede from the Union and Pennsylvania and establish a new small country - others were more level headed and argued that the group should sign a document avowing support for the US and plead for reform of the unfair tax. One local lawyer wrote a long explanation of the grievance of the local farmers and used his influence in Philadelphia to get this explanation published there.
WASHINGTON FALLS UNDER HAMILTON’S INFLUENCE
At this point, the difficulties could have been handled by the local state court in Pittsburgh if only the Federal government had simply backed off on the discriminatory excise tax. That move by the Federal government would have de-pressurized the situation and allowed cooler heads to prevail.
However, Hamilton wanted a test situation where the rights and powers of the Central government could be demonstrated, so he advocated that Washington use his powers as commander and chief to call out the militia from six neighboring states and march this army across the mountains to subdue the Pittsburgh rebels.
Washington had taken a bad spill off from his horse and was suffering from unrelieved back pain. He agreed to Hamilton’s plan and further he allowed Hamilton to become his second in command. This army kept its commander, Washington, until it reached the first of the mountains. At that point, Washington turned back and left Hamilton to cross the mountains and enter the farming areas around Pittsburgh in command.
Hamilton, who had managed to impose a inflammatory tax, who had arranged to federalize several state militias, who had organize a army of 13,000, and who had marched that army across a mountain range to attack his countrymen, now made the worst decision of the entire expedition. Hamilton decided it would be a waste to successfully prosecute a few dozen low level, hot heads who had actually committed crimes. Instead he wanted to go after some of the better know men, those who were moderate themselves and had argued for moderation.
Hamilton, the true prosecutor temperment , gave the low level wrong doers amnesty from prosecution sure in mind that their testimony would eventually convict the better known people. He arranged to haul a couple of dozen leaders of the Pittsburgh community to Philadelphia for presentment to a grand jury. The grand jury returned a bill of indictment on a handful of these leaders and all of these were sebsequentlly acquitted at trial for lack of evidence. Those who had done wrong things were given amnesty, those who had tried to calm things down were acquitted.
Hamilton made a first class mess of the situation from the beginning, with the tax bill itself, to the end , with all the acquittals, but he did establish the precedents of: 1) nationalization of state militias to quell internal differences, and 2) the power of the federal government to invade uninvited the territory of a state. (These precedents came in very handy during the Civil War.)
The excise tax remained on the books, but small stills were moved out into the woods where tax collecting was difficult. The tradition of moon shining, bootlegging and other law breaking was popularized in song and legend. All this later became a major part of the anti “big central government” heritage of this country.
HAMILTON REVEALS HIS DICTATORIAL URGES
This episode shows a side of Hamilton which is little discussed and deserves more study. America is a Federal Republic where the sovereign states voluntarily enter into a compact of mutual protection and mutual benefit. It was not intended to be a compact that extinguished the rights of the states and the localities, but it is obvious that Hamilton had every intent of establishing the Federal government as having plenipotentiary power to run rough shod over states’ rights and the processes of local authorities.
It is clear now why Jefferson and Hamilton could not, and did not, remain in the first Presidential cabinet. Jefferson realized Hamilton was putting the Washington administration on the wrong course and retired to Monticello to await his opportunity to become President. Presumable hoping to set things right after Hamilton’s mischief making.
During his life, Hamilton used his brilliance and craftiness to intrigue against many including John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr and even the great George Washington. It is not hard to understand why Burr did not follow Hamiton lead and waste his shot at their duel. Instead Burr took careful aim and mortally wounded Hamilton .
.................................. (Prepared by Hugh Murray on 3/20/2012)
Nonie Darwish Deserves more Attention in the United States - Nonie Darwish is the daughter of an Egyptian Army General. She came to the U.S. in her twenties and later converted to Christianity.
She has written books on her experiences and about Islam. Her most recent book is entitled "The Devil We Don't Know". In this book, she discusses the injunctions which Sharia Law imposes on the leaders of majority Muslim countries. These leaders are entitled to grasp power and hold it so long as they impose Sharia. They may hold power so long as they attack non-Muslim countries that share a border with their country. These leaders are required to oppress the non Muslims in their countries. Any leader who makes peace with a non-Islamic country is to be assassinated. When Sadat signed the Camp David accords he said that he had just signed his own death warrant. He was correct; he was assassinated about one year later.
Ms Darwish also points to various Sharia laws that make it impossible for an Islamic country to change politically or culturally, to become democratic for instance. Under Sharia all "experimentation or change is forbidden". Sharia requires that all educational institutions condemn non-Muslim religions, so all Muslim youth are indoctrinated.
She pointed out that most of the Sharia laws she talks about in her book comes from a classic Muslim book called “Reliance of the Traveler”, a text created by Islamic leaders who did a careful review of all available Islamic writings following the death of Mohammad.
This book explains why attempts to change the political system in Muslim countries is ultimately impossible. All those who count themselves serious students of the problems in the Middle East should read this book. ....... (prepared by Hugh Murray on 3/31/2012)
Presumption, Incredulity, and Voluntary Doubt: All Three Flourish in the Typical American Parish - The typical Catholic parish in America is composed of a wide array of people operating with various degrees of knowledge about their faith and with various levels of acceptance of the precepts of their faith. You know the categories:
..a) the true believers who accept the church's teachings but keep their point of view to themselves knowing that if they speak up they will offend others;
..b) the agitators for change who will advocate for the latest fad idea for changing church practice or morals (ie married priests, acceptance of active homosexuals, legal abortion, etc.) This group oftentimes has no clear idea of what the Church teaches or Why all this group wants is change, and
.. c) the mostly good Catholics who believe and practice most of what the Church teaches but have a couple of things which they really don't want to follow (ie birth control, engage in sex out of wedlock, cheat employees in business, etc.); this group does not want to reform their bad behavior and they also do not want to admit that they are chronically sinning.
The above break down has avoided the usual Catholic breakdowns of clergy vs. laity, married vs. single, and young vs. old. The fact is members of these tradition breakdown groups are found in each of the groups set out earlier. There are ushers who agitate for change and there are ushers that are true believers and there are ushers who mostly support Catholic doctrine but have carved out an exception or two for themselves. The same is true of all the other types of parishioners.
The title of this talk mentions the typical American Parish but it also mentions three little discussed sins. At this point a little refresher course of these three sins is appropriate:
.. a) Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. If cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness.
.. b) Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assert it
.. c) Presumption occurs when man presumes upon God's almighty power or his mercy (hoping to obtain forgiveness without conversion and glory without merit.)
Now comes the point where characteristics of the sins are matched against the characteristics found among the American parishioners.
.. a) The true believers are generally committing the sin of Incredulity because while they are aware of the truths of the their faith they refuse to assert those truths to their fellow parishioners who fall in the other two categories. They are keeping truth to themselves.
..b) The agitators are presuming that God will save them even though they have made no attempt to really learn the truths of the faith or put those truths into practice in their lives. They are so caught up in changing the church that they have no thought of reforming themselves, they feel they are going to get by on the magic word - LOVE.
..c) the mostly good Catholics are voluntarily doubting one or perhaps two of the Church's teaching. They are engaged in a process which will lead to spiritual blindness. One sin left to fester creates the fertile ground for another and yet another; the process of rationalizing sin is deadly.
So it seems everyone in the modern American Parish is sinning one way or another against the first Commandment. On second thought - if this is too harsh an indictment to possibly be true, the author with your permission withdraws his paper. ................. (prepared by Hugh Murray on 9/24/0 revised 4/20/2011)
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