Thursday, October 26, 2006

Newspaper as Political Assassin

It’s not uncommon for candidates for public office to begin campaigning as much as two years in advance of an election. Witness the folks already on the trail regarding the presidential shootout in 2008. John Kerry actually has never stopped campaigning since he lost the prize in 2004, speaking stentorily (and ever so boringly) from the mountain at every opportunity. Of course, Johnny-Boy/Buddy Biden has been at it since 1988. John McCain seems to stop by his office or the Senate chamber only between his appearances on various TV outlets. Throw in Ecologist First Class Gore, Queen Hillary, Dr. Frist, newcomer Obama (breathless appearance on Meet the Press recently – an absolute Tim-Russert-scoop-deluxe), top litigator Edwards and various and sundry other wannabes and there’s quite a crowd.

The strangest two-year effort regarding an office-holder – but in reverse – has just occurred in Lexington, Ky., however. The city’s monopoly newspaper, the Lexington Herald-Leader, has just finished publishing a four-part, front-page-above-the-fold Pulitzer wannabe entitled – in bold headlines – The McConnell Machine. Multi-pages were devoted to this obvious effort at establishing a two-year head-start on what is obviously the paper’s main agenda, to wit, the defeat of Kentucky Senator (Senate Majority Whip) Mitch McConnell in the senate race of 2008.

This effort, as explained by the paper, was the brainchild of former editor Marilyn Thompson, whose greatest journalistic effort to date was the sort of “outing” of the late Senator Strom Thurmond as the father of an illegitimate, mixed-race child (gasp) way, way back when, never mind that this was one of those “open secrets” in the Beltway (no gasp there). Ms. Thompson had a slight problem when she hatched the McConnell hatchet job – not enough cash to sic a reporter on the expose full-time for six months to do a comprehensive number on the senator.

So…she applied to something called the Center for Investigative Reporting and actually received a grant of some $37,000 or so to support one of the paper’s own reporters, who apparently sort of took a leave of absence from the dull routine of castigating republican office-holders in general and switched to an attempted political assassination of one, in particular. That’s a bona fide head-start on 2008.

In the meantime, the paper (Knight-Ridder property) was sold to McClatchy Newspapers, the head honcho(s) of which took a dim view of this shenanigan. After a review by McClatchy, the company determined that reporting by staff members should be paid for by the newspaper. Well…of course, but that’s so…well…so boringly ethical. The money was returned to the CIR so it could carry out further political assassinations for papers of the L-H-L ilk, meaning “take the money and run!”

The reporter used up the six months (what a life!) and heaved and huffed and puffed and delivered himself of four segments with the titles “Price tag politics,” “Foreign aid wins friends,” “Two for the money,” and “A lucrative connection.” It was iterated and reiterated that McConnell had gained no money illegally, had gained no money for himself, and had done nothing wrong. This, of course, had the unintended consequence of proving the depth of honesty the senator possesses, but apparently no one at the paper realized this. Ms. Thompson might have caught on, except that she moved on during the process to become national investigations editor (what else?) for the Los Angeles Times, presumably to use her talents in such endeavors as engaging the Center for Investigative Reporting to do the heavy lifting.

In the process, McConnell’s wife, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, was dragged along apparently to indicate the sinister side of McConnell’s nepotistic machinations, notwithstanding that Chao was appointed to her job by the president, not her husband. McConnell does for the entire party (raise funds) what most senators do primarily just for themselves. Unlike the Clinton/Gore amateurish and illegal approaches (the Lincoln bedroom sales, the poverty-stricken nuns, Johnny Chung, for instance), McConnell does things above-board. He’s a professional, untouchable, as the paper has discovered no doubt to its chagrin, and eminently successful…in an ethical sort of way, which would naturally be hard for the Lexington Herald-Leader to understand.

In any case, the paper might grab a Nobel for its efforts, that institution’s hatred of this country (except for that virtual denizen of integrity – Jimmy Carter) being well documented. After all, Yasser Arafat rated a Nobel, proving that even an orangutan could qualify.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Monday, October 23, 2006

Ramadan as Slaughter

Every culture has its periods of emphasis on one thing or another, especially those having to do with religion. There are no month-long observances in this country, although there are seasonal time-blocks devoted to getting ready for specific observances. Currently, the country is already beset by planning and buying related to Christmas, still two months away. For a few days, Thanksgiving will be front and center next month as families and other groups have reunions and express appreciation to God for their blessings.

Perhaps the nearest thing in this country to an extended time-frame devoted to a specific religious observance is that of the Lenten season, lasting 40 days and leading up to “Holy Week,” including “Maundy Thursday,” “Good Friday” and “Easter,” the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. There’s no intensive change from the routine during this time, though some celebrants forego the use or practice of something considered to be either of great value or great pleasure. Actually, many jokes are made regarding the practice, since the notion of sacrifice is not all that popular. In any case, this season is one of solemnity and personal/institutional emulation of Christ’s care and love for others.

Not so everywhere. Muslims finished their month-long observance of Ramadan on 21 October. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. The Month of Ramadan is also when it is believed the Holy Quran “was sent down from heaven, a guidance unto men, a declaration of direction, and a means of Salvation.” It is during this month that Muslims fast. It is called the Fast of Ramadan and lasts the entire month. Ramadan is a time when Muslims concentrate on their faith and spend less time on the concerns of their everyday lives. It is a time of worship and contemplation.

During Ramadan, Muslims, in fasting throughout the day and taking body-nourishment only at night deny themselves for high-flown purposes, and there can be no doubt that millions of them take the observance quite seriously. They celebrate the end of the season with a sort of holiday and then return to the usual routine.

In Iraq, Muslims celebrated this Ramadan by the wholesale killing of each other and anyone else available, giving the lie to the meaning of the observance, turning it into a bloodletting of immense proportions – hundreds of people slaughtered simply because they were in the wrong place at the right time or vice versa, depending on the viewpoint. In October to date, they have also killed between 70 and 80 American GIs, who thought they were liberating a people who would care for each other, set up a government, and generally institute a society that would be the antithesis of what they endured under Saddam.

Instead of taking advantage of the liberation to do good, terrorists (all Muslims of one stripe or another) have planted bombs on bicycles in order to kill their own people in the marketplace; planted huge bombs in cars in order to blow up police stations and kill Iraqi policemen by the score; shot or mortared anyone thought to be a peacemaker of some sort. In short, Muslims have wreaked havoc upon Muslims – in the name of Allah (God) – at the very time when they should have been discovering ways to get along with each other…in order to follow what the imams say is the Muslim way, that of doing good.

Ramadan has been a time when it seems that some Muslims are even more obliged and gratified to kill other Muslims than they are to kill Americans. Saddam, at least, was not all that religious. He killed for very personal reasons, i.e., to control the populace and fill up many banks with money in his name – manifold hundreds of millions, much of which was spent to build those 40 palatial residences scattered throughout the country. He feigned obeisance to the alleged peace-emphasizing Quran when it suited his purposes…or did he?

Suppose the Presbyterians, Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, and Jews all decided to break out their M-16s during Lent the next time around, put together some “dirty bombs,” and celebrate the “peace that passeth all understanding” for 40 days and nights by annihilating each other in the public square, in churches and synagogues, on school playgrounds, etc. That, apparently, would be the Osama/Zawahiri/Saddam observance of Lent. God help us.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Thursday, October 19, 2006

300 Million, Western Civilization...and Oblivion?

The nation was 125 years old before its population reached 100 million, but gained its next 100 million in only 52 years and its next 100 million in less than 40 years. Its center of population was in Maryland in 1790, Kentucky in 1880 and Missouri by 2000. By 2050 there will be well over 400 million citizens, less than half of them Caucasian for the first time in history. Counting the some 55 million people potentially accruing to the 47 million abortions since 1973 and the potential offspring of the earliest aborted fetuses, the population might have been 355 million. Life expectancy at birth was 47 years in 1900, 68 in 1950, and about 78 today, but anyone making it to 76 can expect another 12 years, on average.

The demographics are simple enough and the reasons, though not the methods, for the phenomenal changes are not complicated. Life expectancy at birth in the African nations of Swaziland and Zimbabwe is only 33 and 39, respectively. Their people are time-warped back to the Middle Ages, when life expectancy in Medieval Britain was 33 years. By contrast, Europeans developed a “Western Civilization” that carried over to this country.

This doesn’t mean that everything regarding Western Civilization has always been civilized, defined as “characterized by taste, refinement, or restraint.” Slavery, the backbone of the economy of the entire world for millennia right into the 20th century, could hardly be reckoned as a product of civilization, though the ending of it can. Saudi Arabia (not Western-oriented) did not officially end slavery until 1962, but that was only100 years later than the U.S. Germany’s perpetration of 11 million deaths in the total holocaust of the 1930s-40s is another case in point.

The keystone of Western Civilization lies in its emphasis upon individualism, education, curiosity, and the understanding that anarchy is anathema to survival, or at least “quality” survival, whether thwarted by the abuses of monarchy/dictatorship or simple communal mayhem – every man for himself. These characteristics were embodied in Martin Luther, perhaps the father of the Reformation and certainly the driving force in successfully establishing that the individual stands on his own feet before God and man, his obeisance to the former fashioning his relationship with the latter.

The arts and sciences as developed in Western Civilization, tempered with the importance of recognizing the Judeo-Christian God as the Supreme Being defining the “way to live and let live,” have afforded this nation the dominant position it maintains among all the nations. Painting, music, writing have flourished in an atmosphere of freedom secured by technologies used to both enhance the quality of life and protect the citizens against danger from both within and beyond the nation’s borders.

The relatively well-educated products of Western Civilization who came here were searching for a place to live and maintain a society. Their counterparts went to South America concurrently but just searching for a place to do business. The differences between North and Central/South America connote the result. Though the neighbors to the south, blessed with abundant natural resources but sadly lacking educational opportunities and leadership, are making progress in pulling themselves into the 21st century, they are light-years behind the U.S. For instance, the GDP of Brazil, the same size as the “lower 48,” owns a GDP of $1.5 trillion ($8,100 per capita), while the U.S. GDP is $11.8 trillion ($40,100 per capita). The colonizers left a dark continent eventually, but stable governments are sadly absent throughout the region and conducted mostly by despots, while poverty is extensively pervasive.

The colonizers of the U.S. stayed the course and invited the world into its “melting pot” of humanity, with successes virtually too amazing to believe. A strange paradox is obvious, however. There are now those, particularly in academia and in mainstream religious denominations, who constantly try to lay a “guilt-trip” on the nation for the very success it has enjoyed. Inherent and most important in the progress of the nation have been unity of purpose, one official language (English), and the nuclear family as the basic unit of society.

For the last three decades, the notion of unity has been degraded by the elitists in favor of multiculturalism and diversity. In other words, the people’s differences with each other have been deemed more important than their similarities, one outgrowth – among many – of this approach being the insistence upon Multilanguage, notwithstanding either its silliness or obtuseness with regard to practical considerations and as a unifying concept.

This approach destroys the effectiveness of the tenets of Western Civilization, since by definition multiculturalism advances other forces as equal when, in effect, they are not. This is not to disparage other cultures; rather, it is to insist that the approaches of other cultures have not produced the results endemic to this nation. For example, African music has contributed to posterity little more than rhythm and simple instruments and harmonies with virtually nothing written, while musicians in the countries of Western Civilization have produced instruments of every description and everything from simple ditties to complicated symphonies to majestic church music, with elaborate methods of producing written notation and text.

Technically, the American Indian had not even made use, at least extensively, of the simple wheel when the first settlers arrived, having remained primitive when people in other parts of the world, principally those of Western Civilization, had been inventing everything from printing to sailing vessels to guns. Again, this is not to disparage the culture, intelligence, or lifestyle of people; rather, it is simply to state the obvious.

Since the 1960s-70s, the era of “if it feels good, do it,” the family has been under attack, to the detriment of the society and even to the extent of states having to pass constitutional amendments forbidding the “marriage” of a man to a man, as if such a thing is possible in the natural order of things. In 1921, the number of divorces was 13% of the number of marriages and in 1960 the figure was about 25%. Today, the number of marriages and divorces are equal at 50%. The behavior leading to this sad state of affairs belies the “characterized by taste, refinement, or restraint” description of civilization.

Since the 1980s, the hippy-dippy, flower-children generation of the 60s-70s and their offspring have been operating the nation’s institutions as its social fabric – the family – has disintegrated. Not even the magic of Western Civilization will hold together a society marked by coarseness even as it is availed of the brightest brains in the world, such coarseness defined by men and women unable to form inviolable commitments to each other and their children.

It is the element of Western Civilization that has made this country what it is. If those who are in the process of rewriting history to make this nation the devil of the ages and multiculturalism the new foundation undergirding the society are successful, the United States will pass into the oblivion that overtook other great civilizations, such as Rome and Greece, which also rotted from within.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Saturday, October 14, 2006

"Domestic Partner" Con Game

The trustees of the University of Kentucky are facing the domestic-partners-benefits question having to do with whether or not to extend to unmarried “partners” and their alleged dependents the same rights and privileges accorded only to eligible employees and their families/dependents. According to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate, 11th Edition, a domestic partner is “either one of an unmarried heterosexual or homosexual cohabiting couple especially when considered as to eligibility for spousal benefits.” So, for university purposes, the domestic-partner issue has to do with cadging unauthorized perks from a citizen-owned institution the things legally authorized and officially documented only for spouses and families, principally those contingent upon the marriage contract.

On 02 November 2004, Amendment 233A was overwhelmingly approved by the voters and made a part of the Kentucky Constitution: “Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized”.

In Kentucky, homosexuals may not legally be married to each other, thus the “partners” are not accorded standing accruing to spouses for consideration(s) provided by the state or institutions regulated or supported by it. It would appear that no benefits are available for any individual not legally married to an eligible recipient, or a dependent not having family standing, as in the case of children in either homosexual households or heterosexual shack-ups. The law – actually carrying the weight of the Constitution – seems quite clear.

Even if the institutions are self-insured and employees usually pay part of their health-insurance premiums, the state has the power to regulate them. A land-grant college or university is an institution that has been designated by its state legislature or Congress to receive the benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. UK, a land-grant institution, is subject to governance by the legislature, which has the last word as to how the higher-education institutions (indeed all publicly supported institutions) will be operated, notwithstanding the responsibilities of respective trustee/governing boards.

Kentucky law – actually Constitutional mandate – does not even recognize an undocumented relationship, the obvious conclusion consequently being that no public institution may do so for any purpose, including those concerning financial matters. The taxpayers of the state pay the freight, as do the parents of most students, and these taxpayers have spoken in a landslide vote extending the ironclad fist of the Constitution. This is true for all other states where this is an issue. Private institutions can do as they please, and a couple of Kentucky colleges do the domestic-partner thing, as do some industries in Kentucky.

Lexington, Ky., Mayor Teresa Isaac tried to impose the domestic-partner benefit on Fayette Countians by executive order in 2003, but was turned back immediately by the governing Council. Her bizarre action was perpetrated by the claim of a homosexual city employee that his partner (lover, whatever) should be entitled to the benefits of a wife. The partner was neither infirm nor unable to work and pay his own way…and certainly could never be a wife.

Those who insist that this domestic-partner issue is related only to a religious belief – therefore not a matter with which government can be concerned since it automatically becomes a church-state issue – are widely off-base. It’s a social issue, first and foremost, since it derives from what can inarguably be called the “natural order of things.” Letting down the bars on this “natural order” is tantamount to condoning perversions on a grand scale. One has only to look at nations such as the Netherlands, where both same-sex marriage and “consensual incest” are legal, to see the result. What’s next – legalized bigamy…tripartite marriages…harems…all supported by the state?setstats

Perhaps the most egregious reason given for the domestic-partner perk (not counting the overarching one of political correctness) is that its inculcation is necessary to bring UK into research-university top-20 land; in other words, the brightest and the best brains are so overwhelmingly owned by homosexuals or those unwilling to make a marriage commitment that they must be cajoled and pampered into blessing the university with their superior abilities. What hogwash! The basic unit in the society is the family, already under enough attack without an institution of higher learning condoning its anathema. Even if the perk were legal, on the basis of plain common sense it would be intolerable.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Speaker Hastert - Political Scapegoat

The latest scandal in the Congress has to do with Florida Congressman Mark Foley’s lewd e-mails to pages who have served in the House of Representatives. Apparently Foley never touched one of the pages, all boys, but his e-mails have certainly marked him, a homosexual and at least a potential pedophile, as unfit to either serve in the Congress or be in the presence of young people.

This is an election year and so the opposition has its long knives out, strangely aiming a stab-in-the-back for Republican House Speaker Hastert, accusing him of not protecting the pages, even though Foley never touched them and Hastert claims to have learned of the e-mails only recently. How have other speakers fared when similar situations have arisen? Consider the cases of Illinois republican Dan Crane and Massachusetts democrat Gerry Studds. Crane had sex with a 17-year-old female page and was never reelected; Studds had sex with a 17-year-old male page and was subsequently reelected five times.

The difference between the Crane and Studds cases (1983) was caused by demographics and the same outcome would be the same today regarding the same circumstances. Folks in Illinois took a dim view of Crane’s actions, while Studds’ lurid act of perversion was perfectly acceptable to folks in Massachusetts, in which marriage between homosexuals was legalized in 2004. In 1983, Studds, the homosexual who had violated a 17-year-old boy, actually mooned (virtually, of course – turned his back on) the House when he was being censured.

Stephen Gobie ran a homosexual prostitution ring from Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank’s home. In 1987, the Washington Post broke the story. An attempt to expel Frank, himself a homosexual, from the House of Representatives failed on a vote of 390-38, but he was censured with a vote of 408-18. Frank's political career has survived and he still serves in the House of Representatives, in line to chair the House Financial Services Committee if the democrats recapture the House in November. The speaker in 1983 and 1987, Democrat Tip O’Neill Jr., kept his office.

In 1974, Democrat Wilbur Mills, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, was caught up in his affair with stripper Fanne Fox, billed as the “Argentine Firecracker.” While out with Mills, Fox, with two black eyes, was found thrashing around in the Tidal Basin on the Mall in Washington, while Mills had scratches and broken glasses. Both were drunk. The speaker at both times, Democrat Carl Albert, stayed right in place.

Current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi supported California Congressman Gary Condit’s candidacy five or so years ago for reelection despite his affair with an intern, Chandra Levy, who was later murdered. In California, where homosexual marriage was approved by the legislature last year, that’s not a problem for Pelosi – another case of demographics. The democrat House leader, presiding over landslide-size majorities, was not expected to resign in any of these cases, so the drive against Hastert is purely political. He was not hounded to resign in the Condit affair, either. Foley apparently didn’t touch anyone, but Crane, Studds, Mills, Frank, and Condit did.

In October 1964, just weeks before he faced reelection, President Lyndon B. Johnson was told that his close friend and most trusted aide and father of six, Walter Jenkins, had been arrested on a sex charge, caught with another man in a YMCA toilet. Jenkins, of course, resigned. Even though Jenkins had high governmental clearance at a time when such was never granted to a homosexual because of the possibility of blackmail, Johnson’s opponent, Senator Barry Goldwater, did not make an issue of the matter, another way of not holding one man responsible for another man’s behavior.

The quintessential example of sexual perfidy in government, of course, was provided by former president Bill Clinton, who apparently had a great time dallying with intern Monica Lewinski and others, even coughing up $800,000 to Paula Jones and her lawyers to settle a lurid suit out of court. Besides the well-publicized hands-on violations/perversions, one wonders how a phone-sex conversation would compare to an e-mail. Clinton was impeached in 1998, not for the sexual misconduct, perverted and otherwise, but for perjury and obstruction of justice in his attempted cover-up. The Senate did not think the matter serious enough for removal, so the democrat rush to judgment regarding Hastert is not even small potatoes, though unbelievably hypocritical, even by Washington standards.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark