29 dicembre 2008

The night we waved goodbye to America... our last best hope on Earth

by Peter Hitchens, Daily Mail

Anyone would think we had just elected a hip, skinny and youthful replacement for God, with a plan to modernise Heaven and Hell – or that at the very least John Lennon had come back from the dead.

The swooning frenzy over the choice of Barack Obama as President of the United States must be one of the most absurd waves of self-deception and swirling fantasy ever to sweep through an advanced civilisation. At least Mandela-worship – its nearest equivalent – is focused on a man who actually did something.

I really don’t see how the Obama devotees can ever in future mock the Moonies, the Scientologists or people who claim to have been abducted in flying saucers. This is a cult like the one which grew up around Princess Diana, bereft of reason and hostile to facts.

It already has all the signs of such a thing. The newspapers which recorded Obama’s victory have become valuable relics. You may buy Obama picture books and Obama calendars and if there isn’t yet a children’s picture version of his story, there soon will be.

Proper books, recording his sordid associates, his cowardly voting record, his astonishingly militant commitment to unrestricted abortion and his blundering trip to Africa, are little-read and hard to find.

If you can believe that this undistinguished and conventionally Left-wing machine politician is a sort of secular saviour, then you can believe anything. He plainly doesn’t believe it himself. His cliche-stuffed, PC clunker of an acceptance speech suffered badly from nerves. It was what you would expect from someone who knew he’d promised too much and that from now on the easy bit was over.

He needn’t worry too much. From now on, the rough boys and girls of America’s Democratic Party apparatus, many recycled from Bill Clinton’s stained and crumpled entourage, will crowd round him, to collect the rich spoils of his victory and also tell him what to do, which is what he is used to.

Just look at his sermon by the shores of Lake Michigan. He really did talk about a ‘new dawn’, and a ‘timeless creed’ (which was ‘yes, we can’). He proclaimed that ‘change has come’. He revealed that, despite having edited the Harvard Law Review, he doesn’t know what ‘enormity’ means. He reached depths of oratorical drivel never even plumbed by our own Mr Blair, burbling about putting our hands on the arc of history (or was it the ark of history?) and bending it once more toward the hope of a better day (Don’t try this at home).

I am not making this up. No wonder that awful old hack Jesse Jackson sobbed as he watched. How he must wish he, too, could get away with this sort of stuff.

And it was interesting how the President-elect failed to lift his admiring audience by repeated – but rather hesitant – invocations of the brainless slogan he was forced by his minders to adopt against his will – ‘Yes, we can’. They were supposed to thunder ‘Yes, we can!’ back at him, but they just wouldn’t join in. No wonder. Yes we can what exactly? Go home and keep a close eye on the tax rate, is my advice. He’d have been better off bursting into ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony’ which contains roughly the same message and might have attracted some valuable commercial sponsorship.

Perhaps, being a Chicago crowd, they knew some of the things that 52.5 per cent of America prefers not to know. They know Obama is the obedient servant of one of the most squalid and unshakeable political machines in America. They know that one of his alarmingly close associates, a state-subsidised slum landlord called Tony Rezko, has been convicted on fraud and corruption charges.

They also know the US is just as segregated as it was before Martin Luther King – in schools, streets, neighbourhoods, holidays, even in its TV-watching habits and its choice of fast-food joint. The difference is that it is now done by unspoken agreement rather than by law.

If Mr Obama’s election had threatened any of that, his feel-good white supporters would have scuttled off and voted for John McCain, or practically anyone. But it doesn’t. Mr Obama, thanks mainly to the now-departed grandmother he alternately praised as a saint and denounced as a racial bigot, has the huge advantages of an expensive private education. He did not have to grow up in the badlands of useless schools, shattered families and gangs which are the lot of so many young black men of his generation.

If the nonsensical claims made for this election were true, then every positive discrimination programme aimed at helping black people into jobs they otherwise wouldn’t get should be abandoned forthwith. Nothing of the kind will happen. On the contrary, there will probably be more of them.

And if those who voted for Obama were all proving their anti-racist nobility, that presumably means that those many millions who didn’t vote for him were proving themselves to be hopeless bigots. This is obviously untrue.

I was in Washington DC the night of the election. America’s beautiful capital has a sad secret. It is perhaps the most racially divided city in the world, with 15th Street – which runs due north from the White House – the unofficial frontier between black and white. But, like so much of America, it also now has a new division, and one which is in many ways much more important. I had attended an election-night party in a smart and liberal white area, but was staying the night less than a mile away on the edge of a suburb where Spanish is spoken as much as English, plus a smattering of tongues from such places as Ethiopia, Somalia and Afghanistan.

As I walked, I crossed another of Washington’s secret frontiers. There had been a few white people blowing car horns and shouting, as the result became clear. But among the Mexicans, Salvadorans and the other Third World nationalities, there was something like ecstasy.

They grasped the real significance of this moment. They knew it meant that America had finally switched sides in a global cultural war. Forget the Cold War, or even the Iraq War. The United States, having for the most part a deeply conservative people, had until now just about stood out against many of the mistakes which have ruined so much of the rest of the world.

Suspicious of welfare addiction, feeble justice and high taxes, totally committed to preserving its own national sovereignty, unabashedly Christian in a world part secular and part Muslim, suspicious of the Great Global Warming panic, it was unique.

These strengths had been fading for some time, mainly due to poorly controlled mass immigration and to the march of political correctness. They had also been weakened by the failure of America’s conservative party – the Republicans – to fight on the cultural and moral fronts.

They preferred to posture on the world stage. Scared of confronting Left-wing teachers and sexual revolutionaries at home, they could order soldiers to be brave on their behalf in far-off deserts. And now the US, like Britain before it, has begun the long slow descent into the Third World. How sad. Where now is our last best hope on Earth?

Find this story at www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1084111/PETER-HITCHENS-The-night-waved-goodbye-America--best-hope-Earth.html

08 dicembre 2008

Abortion's Aftermath

Dangerous Side Effects Amid a Heated Debate

By Father John Flynn, LC

ROME, DEC. 7, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Abortion and life issues in general were one of the hot topics in the recent elections in the United States. If the latest news is any indication the topic will continue to be at the forefront of attention.

According to a study published in the December issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, women who have an abortion have a higher risk of developing mental health problems.

On Nov. 30, Medical News Today published a summary of the study, carried out by researchers from the University of Otago, New Zealand. The study was based on research with a group of over 500 women born in the city of Christchurch, located in the south island of the country.

The women were interviewed six times between the ages of 15 and 30. In addition to questions about any pregnancies and abortions they were also given a mental health assessment each time.

Out of the group there was a total of 686 pregnancies, to 284 women, before they reached 30 years of age. Out of this total there were 153 abortions, involving 117 women.

The researchers found that the women who had abortions suffered rates of mental health problems that were about 30% higher than other women.

Nevertheless, the study concluded that the effects of abortion were only responsible for a moderate effect on the mental health of women. According to the researchers the study did not support a conclusion that abortion has a “devastating” effect on women’s mental health, but it did clearly reject the pro-abortion position that abortion is without any adverse effects.

“Abortion is likely to be a stressful and traumatic life event which places those exposed to it at a modestly increased risk of a range of common mental health problems,” the authors concluded.

Conflicting studies

The issue of abortion and mental health is one that has been at the center of debate for some time. Earlier this year the American Psychological Association (APA) declared that it found no credible evidence that abortion causes mental health problems, reported the London-based Telegraph newspaper Aug. 18.

Brenda Major, chairman of the APA's task force on the issue, did acknowledge, however that the evidence of mental health risks associated with women who have multiple abortions is more uncertain.

According to the Telegraph the task force did find that some studies found women who have abortions experience feelings of sadness, grief and loss, and some may even suffer depression. At the same time they said there was no evidence that this was caused by the abortion in itself.

The conclusions of the American Psychological Association did not go unchallenged. The conclusions of the task force did not follow from the literature reviewed, declared the Family Research Council (FRC), in a press release dated Aug. 14.

"Other experts have noted that the selection criteria for including studies in the review was enormously biased, and that the report did not quantify the numbers of women likely to be affected by abortion,” commented FRC president, Tony Perkins.

“Consensus exists among many social and medical science scholars that a minimum of 10% - 30% of women who abort suffer from serious, prolonged, negative psychological consequences,” he said.

Psychologist Vincent Rue also disagreed with the American Psychological Association, according to a Sept. 9 report published by LifeNews.com.

Rue said that the APA position is at odds with a statement by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Britain released earlier this year. The British group warned that the issue "remains to be fully resolved," that additional study was needed and that women should have access to counseling about possible consequences.

Rue also made reference to an Aug. 23 article in the British medical journal the Lancet, which cautioned that, despite the APA pronouncements of abortion being psychologically safe for women, there are risks involved.

Not trivial

The Lancet, Rue explained, said that while there is no causal link between abortion and mental ill-health, the fact is that some women do experience psychological problems after an abortion and this problem should not be trivialized.

The declaration by the Royal College of Psychiatrists referred to by Rue was even more explicit about the risks of abortion. According to an article published March 16by the London-based Times newspaper, women may be at risk of mental health breakdowns if they have abortions.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists recommended updating abortion information leaflets to include details of the risks of depression. “Consent cannot be informed without the provision of adequate and appropriate information,” it said.

It’s not only women who can suffer following an abortion. At the beginning of the year a conference of pro-life activists in San Francisco heard about the effects of abortion on men, reported the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 7.

The most striking session, the article said, featured the testimony of men whose partners aborted. Jason Baier told the crowd he suffered years of depression and addiction. "I couldn't get the thought out of my head about what I had lost."

"The lived truth of peoples' experience is very hard to dismiss," said Vicki Thorn, who runs post-abortion counseling programs for the Catholic Church. "It's time we ... affirm the pain that fathers feel," she said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Side effect myths

Depression isn’t the only controversial issue regarding the side effects of abortion. Anti-life pressure groups often argue in favor of allowing abortion in order to prevent women from the risk of dying as a result of illegal abortions.

This is a false myth according to Father Thomas J. Euteneuer. In an article he published June 6 by LifeNews.com, he recounted the experience of Nicaragua, where abortion was made illegal in 2006.

At the time pro-abortion activists argued this would mean more women dying due to back-street abortions, but in fact data from Nicaragua’s Ministry of Health show a decline in maternal mortality.

In 2007 there were just 21 maternal deaths, compared to 50 maternal deaths the year before.

Father Euteneuer explained that along with prohibiting abortion authorities increased prenatal services for pregnant women, along with greater medical attention during childbirth.


Benedict XVI addressed the topic of abortion when on May 12 he spoke to members of Italy’s pro-life movement. The three decades of legalized abortion in Italy has led to a decrease in respect for the human person, he declared.

The Pontiff acknowledged that there are many complex causes that can lead to the painful decision of proceeding with an abortion. At the same time, he continued, the Church continues to proclaim that every human life is sacred.

Allowing abortion has not solved the problems women face, the Pope argued, instead it has only added another wound to an already suffering society.

Benedict XVI called for increased support of mothers and families, along with continued efforts to defend human life.

“For Christians, in this fundamental context of society, an urgent and indispensable field for the apostolate and for G! ospel witness is always open: to protect life with courage and love in all its stages,” he stated.

Every person is known, loved, and wanted by God, the Pope noted.

“Whoever profanes man, profanes the property of God,” he added. A sobering thought indeed, given the millions of abortions that have taken place in recent years.