Hope for Tomorrow 3


By Tom Quiner

victory-square-pope.jpg

A proud country has been crushed by an evil adversary, beaten into the ground, one-fifth of their population killed in a mere six years.

It gets worse.

The county is then taken over by another, equally sinister country, one that, much like the soul-sucking Dementors in a Harry Potter book, attempts to suck the very soul out of the country.

The tyrants attempt to suppress the rich heritage of their victims.

They prevent churches from being built.

They carry crosses out of existing churches.

They demand that merchants remove any vestiges of God and Jesus from their walls.

Free enterprise is halted.

What follows is 34 years of hell for a nation abandoned by her friends.

And then things changed 31 years ago yesterday.  A plane landed in the weary country’s capital.  A man in white stepped off the plane.  He smiled and knelt and kissed the ground.

Karol Wojtyla was home.  Now known as Pope John Paul II, he was about to unleash a force beyond the understanding of the Nazis or the Communists.  Stalin had once mocked a Pope because he has no troops.

He was wrong.

Following a few remarks, the Pope was taken to Victory Square in the heart of Warsaw.  The Communist government had restricted publicity on the Pope’s itinerary in the hopes of minimizing crowds.

It didn’t work.

One million people were there.  One million!  Joyous humanity stretched as far as the eye could see.  Hope was tangible.  Hope!  Poland desperately thirsted for a mere drop of hope.  They were about to receive a gusher.

The Pope came to celebrate Mass before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  His homily changed the world.

The Pope asked rhetorically “why, precisely in 1978, after so many centuries of a well established tradition in this field, a son of the Polish Nation, of the land of Poland, was called to the chair of Saint Peter? Christ demanded of Peter and of the other Apostles that they should be his “witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

“Have we not the right, with reference to these words of Christ, to think thatPoland has become nowadays the land of a particularly responsible witness?

But if we accept all that I have dared to affirm in this moment, how many great duties and obligations arise? Are we capable of them?”

The communists were beginning to squirm.

All of this was taking place on the Vigil of Pentecost, the birth of the Church when Christ sent the Holy Spirit upon the earth.  Catholics believe in the “communion of the saints,” that during the Mass, all the angels and all the saints are present.

The Pope invoked them:  “It is good that my pilgrimage to Poland on the ninth centenary of the martyrdom of Saint Stanislaus should fall in the Pentecost period and on the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.Fulfilling the desire of Paul VI after his death, I am able to relive the Millennium of the Baptism on Polish soil and to inscribe this year’s jubilee of Saint Stanislaus in the Millennium since the beginning of the nation and the Church.

“The Solemnity of Pentecost and that of the Most Holy Trinity bring us close to this beginning. In the apostles who receive the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost are spiritually present in a way all their successors, all the Bishops, including those whose task it has been for a thousand years to proclaim the Gospel on Polish soil. Among them was this Stanislaus of Szczepanow, who paid with his blood for his mission on the episcopal chair of Krakow nine centuries ago.”

Saint Stanislaus is revered in Poland with an intensity that Americans may not fully understand.

What the Pope said next was amazing:

“To Poland the Church brought Christ, the key to understanding that great and fundamental reality that is man. For man cannot be fully understood without Christ. Or rather, man is incapable of understanding himself fully without Christ. He cannot understand who he is, nor what his true dignity is, nor what his vocation is, nor what his final end is. He cannot understand any of this without Christ.”

Christ was the enemy of communism.  And yet the Pope proclaimed to one million down trodden Poles that it was Christ, not the State, that is the true reality!

He was provocative …

“Therefore Christ cannot be kept out of the history of man in any part of the globe, at any longitude or latitude of geography.”

He was adamant …

“The exclusion of Christ from the history of man is an act against man. Without Christ it is impossible to understand the history of Poland, especially the history of the people who have passed or are passing through this land. The history of people. The history of the nation is above all the history of people. And the history of each person unfolds in Jesus Christ. In him it becomes the history of salvation.”

At that moment, the Pope ruled Poland.

He gazed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier:

“The history of the motherland written through the tomb of an Unknown Soldier!”

He talked about redemptive sacrifice:

“I wish to kneel before this tomb to venerate every seed that falls into the earth and dies and thus bears fruit. It may be the seed of the blood of a soldier shed on the battlefield, or the sacrifice of martyrdom in concentration camps or in prisons. It may be the seed of hard daily toil, with the sweat of one’s brow, in the fields, the workshop, the mine, the foundries and the factories. It may be the seed of the love of parents who do not refuse to give life to a new human being and undertake the whole of the task of bringing him up. It may be the seed of creative work in the universities, the higher institutes, the libraries and the places where the national culture is built. It may be the seed of prayer, of service of the sick, the suffering, the abandonedall that of which Poland is made.”

Poland’s blood, sweat, and tears were about to bear fruit.

For fourteen minutes, the crowd interrupted the Pontiff with cheers, with songs, with a primal cry of “We want God!  We want God!  We want God!”

He let them go on, because he knew they needed it.  Deliverance was at hand in the presence of an army of saints and angels in communion with a million praying souls in Victory Square in the heart of Warsaw, Poland, in the heart of communism.

The crowd quieted, and the Pope said:

“All that in the hands of the Mother of Godat the foot of the cross on Calvary and in the Upper Room of Pentecost!”

And he invoked their history:

“All thatthe history of the motherland shaped for a thousand years by the succession of the generations (among them the present generation and the coming generation) and by each son and daughter of the motherland, even if they are anonymous and unknown like the Soldier before whose tomb we are now.”

And he invoked the many who sacrificed for Poland:

“All thatincluding the history of the peoples that have lived with us and among us, such as those who died in their hundreds of thousands within the walls of the Warsaw ghetto.

And then he cried out to the Holy Spirit:

“And I cryI who am a Son of the land of Poland and who am also Pope John Paul III cry from all the depths of this Millennium, I cry on the vigil of Pentecost:

Let your Spirit descend.
Let your Spirit descend.
and renew the face of the earth,
the face of this land!”

The day was June 2nd, 1979.  Fast forward to June 4th, 1989:  Lech Walesa is elected President of Poland.  Communism is dead, beaten by a humble Pope and his army of a million praying Poles and angels and saints.

It was so impossible.  But it happened.

Is there hope for tomorrow?  Ask anyone in Poland.

***

I am writing a musical based on the Pope’s epic visit to Poland, tentatively titled “The Pope of the People.”  Check back to this blog for updates.  In the meantime, to experience the magnitude of his trip to Poland, you can order an incredible documentary titled:  “Nine Days that Changed the World” at Gingrich Productions:  http://www.gingrichproductions.com/


A Memorial Day tribute to two Presidents Reply


By Tom Quiner

This is a trivia quiz:  who was the most unpopular President to ever leave office?

  1. Richard Nixon
  2. Harry Truman
  3. George W. Bush
  4. Herbert Hoover

The answer is Harry Truman.  His popularity rating was a scant 22 percent when he left office in 1952, worse even than President Nixon’s 24 percent at the time he resigned from office.

President Truman’s popularity has grown over the years.  I pay tribute to him this Memorial Day weekend because of two characteristics Americans find attractive in their leaders.  Mr. Truman spoke plainly and honestly.  He could be profane, but you knew where he stood, because he was a plain talker.

The second characteristic which is especially appealing these days was his willingness to take responsibility for the actions of the government.  The sign on his desk said it all:  “the buck stops here.”  Contrast that philosophy with the current occupant of the White House who is still blaming his predecessor for every wrong in this country, including the gulf oil spill.

Conservatives of yesterday and today bristle at President Truman’s liberal domestic politics, including his support of National Health Insurance.  Nonetheless, let us honor this man who was a practitioner of forthright leadership at a difficult time in our history.  America needs you Harry Truman!

Let us honor another President, Ronald Reagan.  You’re noticing a trend here, aren’t you?   Both of these Presidents were born in the Midwest.  I’m kind of partial to Midwesterners.  I’m especially partial to this President.  I could give you a hundred reasons, but let me leave you with two.

First, Mr. Reagan had a specific vision for America and the world.  One of them was to “defeat the ‘Evil Empire.’ “  The political left and the Media (excuse my redundancy) ridiculed his vision.  Even more interesting, so did many conservatives.  Détente was the operative political strategy of the age among Nixon conservatives.

President Reagan won.  The Evil Empire lost.  And as a result, the entire world won.  A man with a vision and conviction is a force to be reckoned with, and President Reagan was a force we have seldom seen in this country.

Second, Mr. Reagan saw that the greatness, the strength of this great land flowed from the people.  He was an optimist who encouraged us to believe in our own strength, our own ability to succeed and prosper if only government would get out of the way.

What a contrast to the current occupant in the White House who views Americans as being weak, as in dire need of massive government intervention in our lives. America needs Ronald Reagan more than ever.

God bless you President Reagan.  God bless you President Truman.  Thank-you for your contributions to America.  You served your nation with honor and dignity.

We salute you.

Was Sarah Palin right? 1


By Tom Quiner

Let us revisit a notorious statement from last year:

“The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.”

Sarah Palin, August 7, 2009

Ms. Palin was excoriated by the Obama administration and his cheerleaders in the media for her use of the term “death panel.”  Her statement is worth revisiting in light of who President Obama nominated to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

Obama has mandated massive cuts in these two programs.  The new administrator will make those cuts. That man, should his nomination be approved, is Dr. Donald Berwick of Harvard Medical School.

Let us review Dr. Berwick’s philosophy so we can put Ms. Palin’s fears to rest regarding “death panels.”  I have accumulated several of his quotes which sets out his vision for medical care:

• Talking in London to the Brits about their system, he said:  “I hope you will never, ever give up what you have begun.  I hope you realize and affirm how badly you need — how badly the world needs — an example at scale of a health system that is universal, accessible, excellent and free at the point of care — a health system that, at its core is like the world we wish we had: generous, hopeful, confident, joyous and just.”

Free care is what he wants.  Don’t we all!  But Dr. Berwick is just getting warmed up:

• “I am romantic about the National Health Service; I love it.”

In other words, he believes in a single payer system.

• “You cap your health care budget, and you make the political and economic choices you need to make to keep affordability within reach.  You plan the supply; you aim a bit low; you prefer slightly too little of a technology or a service to too much; then you search for care bottlenecks and try to relieve them.”

In other words, you ration.

• “You could have protected the wealthy and the well, instead of recognizing that sick people tend to be poorer and that poor people tend to be sicker, and that any health care funding plan that is ‘just’ must redistribute wealth.”

Translation:  socialism.

Last year, President Obama signed a bill which funded the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (aka Healthcare Rationing Council).  Here is Dr. Berwick’s take on what comparative effectiveness is all about:

• “The first is to determine whether a therapy works or not. The second is to determine how well the therapy works compared to other therapies. The third is to do a cost-benefit analysis. If a new drug or procedure is effective, and has some advantage over existing alternatives,then does the incremental benefit justify the likely additional cost?”

Now we get to the nitty-gritty:  if you’re paying for your own health care, you get to make those decisions yourself.  If the government is subsidizing it, as they shall under Obamacare, they make the decision, not you.

Dr. Berwick makes it clear what that will mean to you:

• “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care, the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.”

Will healthcare be withheld (rationed) to some sick Americans?  According to the President’s nominee to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the answer is yes. That’s what rationing means.  Some get it, some don’t, and you don’t get a say in it.

Call it what you want:  Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research or a death panel, the result is the same.

Government job growth continues 2


By Tom Quiner

The rest of the media is catching up with Quiner’s Diner.

Last week, we wrote about the explosion of new government jobs under the Obama administration at the same time employment in the private sector has plummeted.

We wrote about how these government jobs are overwhelmingly directed to government unions who overwhelmingly support one political party (here’s a clue: it’s not the Republicans).

We wrote about how these government union jobs enjoy wages and perks that far surpass the private sector.

This story has finally trickled down to the Drudge Report.  Here was their headline today:

“Obama redistribution victory:  private pay plummets, government handouts soar.”

Here was a headline on the Des Moines Register this morning:  “Federal work force isn’t facing cutbacks like private sector.”

Here was the USA Today’s headline:  “Private pay shrinks to historic lows as gov’t payouts rise.”

The USA today quoted University of Michigan economist, Donald Grimes who said: “the trend is not sustainable.  Reason: The federal government depends on private wages to generate income taxes to pay for its ever-more-expensive programs. Government-generated income is taxed at lower rates or not at all.  This is really important,” Grimes says.

The Register stated that “average compensation for federal civilian workers increased nearly twice as much as did the private sector from 2000 to 2008.”  When you include all their perks and wages, the average federal civilian worker earns $119,982.

President Obama plans to add 274,000 MORE full-time civilian workers to the Executive Branch, HIS branch alone, by 2011.  That doesn’t include the rest of the government.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that private sector, construction, manufacturing, and business services all lost more than 100,000 jobs in February. Even worse, the service-providing sector lost more than 375,000 jobs.  On the other hand, government jobs continued to explode with 9000 new jobs in the same time period along with another 26,000 jobs in the education and health service fields.

The Obama/Pelosi/Reid team are pursuing a conscious course of action:  to redistribute wealth.  One of the savviest ways to do it is to transfer it to government unions who pay them back with campaign contributions and votes at election time. In fairness, that’s politics.  But it comes at a price.  The folks who pay the bills, namely the entrepreneurs and employees of America’s small businesses, have to sacrifice even more to support folks who live much better than they do.

Are you okay with that?

Boswell earns 100% score on the “Pelosi Index” 1


By Tom Quiner

By and large, Iowans are sensible and frugal.

Yes, Des Moines and Iowa City have their fair share of big-spending liberals. But most Iowans have been blessed with some common sense.

That leads me to Central Iowa’s Congressman, Leonard Boswell.  I think Mr. Boswell is a good guy.  Having said that, I disagree with him on most major political issues.

I spent some time on The National Republican’s Trust website, and they produced an interesting index.  It’s called The Pelosi Index.  Here’s what the site says about it:

THE PELOSI INDEX, analyzes and tracks every member of Congress’ true voting record and details how often these self proclaimed moderates vote to support Pelosi’s radical transformation of America.”  It tracks the votes cast on 12 key Pelosi legislative initiatives.

Get more details here: http://nationalrepublicantrust.com/PelosiIndex/index.php

Congressman Boswell, a Democrat, earned a perfect score of 100 percent.  So did other Iowa Democrats, Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsback.

By contrast, Republicans Steve King and Tom Latham earned a zero rating.  I commend them for voting against these bills.  The legislation included in The Pelosi Index tripled the Bush deficits in one year.

America cannot sustain that much spending without creating financial instability and prolonged economic hardship.

This November, we have a golden opportunity to do something about our deficits: elect a Republican Congress.  According to the late, great economist, Milton Friedman, spending declines most when we have a Democrat in the White House and a Republican controlled Congress.

Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich were a dream team in some respects.  Let’s give Congressman Boswell a much deserved retirement.  We need fiscal restraint, and Congressman Boswell has demonstrated he’s not about to provide it.