The politics of the Middle East is in flux, which may be the only thing all Americans can agree about. The most important long-term U.S. foreign policy objective in the region, stability, sought by presidents of both political parties for decades, does not sit well with flux. We are thrilled to see despots deposed, but we worry about what may follow. Americans, of all people, must stand for democracy, but we worry about the influence of radical Islamicists in these newborn democracies. What to do?
The first GOP caucus will be held on January 3, right after the holidays. So, E.J. Dionne's column this morning about the range of tax proposals coming from the GOP points to a particular difficulty they face: Who wants to be defending Scrooge-inspired policies at Yuletide?
Just a reminder, that on Wednesday, Catholic University is hosting a day long conference on human trafficking. The event will include a panel of survivors of torture and trafficking as well as a panel of advocates. A keynote address by Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, who leads the State Department efforts to combat trafficking and a closing address by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick round out the program.
The event is free and includes continetal breakfast and lunch, but organizers ask everyone to register so there is enough food and chairs for all.
You can register here.
The conference is sponsored by CUA's Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies, The Franciscan Action Network and Franciscans International.
Cathy Grossman, religion reporter for USAToday, has some early reactions to the document released by the Vatican today on the global financial crisis.
Great lede: "St. Peter's Square, meet Zuccotti park."
The Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has issued this morning a new document dealing with the global financial crisis. It is bound to cause a stir and I suspect Mr. George Weigel is already looking for his red and gold pens to tell us what we can ignore and what we must follow in the current text. (He will be disappointed: There is next to nothing in this document that will cause Weigel to get out his gold pen!)
This morning's Washington Post has a front page story on what it calls Sen. Marco Rubio's "embellishment" of his family's history. Rubio has previously, and on many occasions, said that his parents fled Cuba after Castro's revolution when, in fact, they came to the U.S. in 1956. The article correctly notes that those Cubans who fled Castro had a cache and that those who came before were often viewed with suspicion, so mixing up the dates would have served Rubio's political career.
Frank Foer at The New Republic raises some hard-headed questions about the Occupy Wall Street protests. I share his concerns about the practical political effects of the protests. All it takes is one moral idiot wearing a Che Guevara tee-shirt and an Obama button to make a devastating attack ad. (And, yes, if you wear a Che Guevara tee-shirt, you are a moral idiot.)
There is a Romanticism about much of the commentary regarding these protests. I am suspicious of Romanticism per se. It is fine, even uplifting, to listen to five minutes of Wagner, but if you listen to five hours, you are going to think about invading Poland.
Ignorance is not bliss, at least not if you're part of the 70 percent of Republicans who can’t bring yourself to develop a mad crush on Mitt Romney. It is an almost daily occurrence that one of the other candidates demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of a critical issue. This is a big problem for the GOP.
I know, I know. The Pope is the special guardian and promoter of the unity of the entire Church. Consequently, I have no objection to his efforts to reach out to the Lefebvrist schimsatics and try to get them to return to the fold.
But their leader, Richard Williamson, has recently repeated his belief that the Jews are collectively responsible for the crime of deicide, a claim specifically rejected by the Second Vatican Council and every Pontiff since. Of course, this is one of Williamson's problems with Vatican II. But, really, when one is so aggressively anti-Semitic, the question must be posed: Why do we want these hateful people back?
The new Prime Minister of Libya has announced that Moammar Qaddafi was killed in fighting around the city of Sirte.