Is the Iraq War responsible for our deficits? Reply

By Tom Quiner

The Iraq War is plainly not the cause of our soaring deficits. Graph prepared by Randall Hoven for The American Thinker.

Voices on the left are clear:  our fiscal problems are the result of an unnecessary war on Iraq forced on the country by former President Bush.

Democratic Party strategist, James Carville, is blunt:

“It was under Mr Bush that the deficit spiralled out of control as we fought an unnecessary and endless $3,000bn war in Iraq…”

Writing in the Washington Post, Linda Bilmes (a member of Harvard’s faculty) and economist Joseph Stiglitz were even blunter:

“The Iraq adventure has seriously weakened the U.S. economy, whose woes now go far beyond loose mortgage lending. You can’t spend $3 trillion — yes, $3 trillion — on a failed war abroad and not feel the pain at home.”

Writing in The Nation, Christopher Hayes is bluntest:

“First, the facts. Nearly the entire deficit for this year and those projected into the near and medium terms are the result of three things: the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush tax cuts and the recession. The solution to our fiscal situation is: end the wars…”

The Iraq War certainly makes voices from the political Left emotional.  Fortunately, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has weighed in with a detailed financial analysis of he war’s cost.  It turns out the folks above were just plain misinformed.

It is certainly fair to argue if the fruits of our efforts were worth the tremendous cost to our nation.

Reasonable voices can debate if the removal of a mass-murdering dictator and the establishment of a democratically-elected government were worth it.

Reasonable voices can argue if the piece of mind knowing that the country truly is free of weapons of mass destruction are worth it.

The jury is still out on Iraq, and a healthy debate should continue on whether the price was worth it.

However, when it comes to deficits, the debate is over.  The CBO spells it out.  The war accounted for just 3.2% of federal government spending while it lasted.

Look at defense spending under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson in the 60s when it accounted for 46% of all federal spending.  Contrast that with Bush II when defense spending was less than 20% of federal outlays.

The chart above really lays it on the line.  The last year Republicans were in charge of the budget was 2007.  Deficits exploded after Democrats took over.  The biggest culprit is Obama’s stimulus package which will cost far more than the Iraq War ever did.

We went to war with Iraq on the basis of a bipartisan Congressional resolution.

And for the record, we went to war with Iraq on the basis of bipartisan Congressional Iraq War Resolution (H.J. Res 114).  In the House, 82 Democrats voted to go to war; in the Senate, 29 Democrats voted to go to war.

The next time you hear an angry voice blaming our deficits on the Iraq War, tell them to talk to the non-partisan CBO.

Which art is more beautiful? 2

By Tom Quiner

Beautiful. Transcendent.


I stepped into the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Museum several years ago and got the shock of my life.  The “art”, and I use the term loosely, was ugly.

It was pornographic.

It demeaned.

It was the kind of art that pulls you down into the muck.

What happened to beautiful art?  I’m talking about the kind that lifts the soul, that thrills the senses, that simply “transcends.”  It’s out there.  But most of it was created before the 20th century.

The greatest art ever created was created in the name of Christ.  After all, what can be more beautiful than Jesus Christ?

And yet the Christian world has let the secular world take over the defining and creation of art.

The time has come for a renaissance of Christian art.  The time has come for Christians to become active participants in creating and supporting Godly beauty in the name of art.

Pope Benedict XVI is leading the way.  Did you hear what he did earlier this year?  He invited artists from around the world to meet him at the Sistine Chapel.  The great singer Andrea Bocelli was there, as was award-winning film composer Ennio Morricone.  In all, 250 artists representing different disciplines heard the Pope call on them to “renew the Church’s friendship with the world of art.”

He’s talking to you.  And he’s talking to me.

He’s talking to the third-grader in art class.  Create beauty.  Share beauty.  Absorb beauty.

Think about it.  What are God’s attributes?  Truth.  Goodness.  Beauty.  Beauty is vital to the well-being of our very souls, for beauty is the reflection of God’s truth and goodness.

Let us create art that reflects that kind of beauty.

“Beauty … can become a path toward the transcendent, toward the ultimate mystery, toward God,” says the Pope.

The world will be won by beauty.

“The world will be won by beauty.” Part 1 Reply

By Tom Quiner

I am exactly like you.  I love beauty.

Every human soul is instinctively attracted to beauty.  This modern world needs more beauty.  To that aim, Quiner’s Diner will begin a regular feature titled “The world will be won by beauty.”  We will occasionally post a work of art that transcends this world, that allows us to imagine the divine, namely God’s pure love.

I heard the quote above on the radio once.  I did a little digging and discovered it is a variation of Dostoevsky’s quote:  “beauty will save the world.”  The 19th century Russian philosopher, Vladimir Solovyov, had this to say about Dostoevsky’s words:


“Dostoevsky not only preached, but, to a certain degree also demonstrated in his own activity this reunification of concerns common to humanity–at least of the highest among these concerns–in one Christian idea.

Being a religious person, he was at the same time a free thinker and a powerful artist. These three aspects , these three higher concerns were not differentiated in him and did not exclude one another, but entered indivisibly into all his activity.

In his convictions he never separated truth from good and beauty; in his artistic creativity he never placed beauty apart from the good and the true.

And he was right, because these three live only in their unity. The good, taken separately from truth and beauty, is only an indistinct feeling, a powerless upwelling; truth taken abstractly is an empty word; and beauty without truth and the good is an idol.

For Dostoevsky, these were three inseparable forms of one absolute Idea. The infinity of the human soul–having been revealed in Christ and capable of fitting into itself all the boundlessness of divinity–is at one and the same time both the greatest good, the highest truth, and the most perfect beauty.

Truth is good, perceived by the human mind; beauty is the same good and the same truth, corporeally embodied in solid living form. And its full embodiment–the end, the goal, and the perfection–already exists in everything, and this is why Dostoevsky said that beauty will save the world” (Vladimir Soloviev, The Heart of Reality, trans V. Wozniuk, p. 16).


What is beautiful?  Schubert’s Ave Maria, composed by the legendary composer in 1825, three years before his untimely death at thirty-one.

The version sung in the video above is by “The Priests,” a trio of Irish priests who have gained popularity in recent years.  They sing the traditional Latin version:

Ave Maria Gratia plena
Maria Gratia plena
Maria Gratia plena
Ave, ave dominus
Dominus tecum

Benedicta tu in mulieribus
Et benedictus
Et benedictus fructus ventris
Ventris tui Jesus

Ave Maria
Ave Maria Mater dei
Ora pro nobis pecatoribus
Ora, ora pro nobis
Ora ora pro nobis pecatoribus

Nunc et in hora mortis
In hora mortis, mortis nostrae
In hora mortis nostrae
Ave Maria

Here is the well-known English translation:

Mother Mary

Hail Mary,
full of grace,
the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

Schubert’s melody is beautiful, a perfect tribute to the second most beautiful human being God ever created:  Mary, the Blessed Mother of our Christ.

Why TeleMed abortions should be halted 3

By Tom Quiner

Maggie DeWitte, Executive Director, Iowans for Life

I attended a rainy outdoors press conference this afternoon in Des Moines, Iowa, on a subject that will have national implications: TeleMed abortions.

For the uninitiated, TeleMed abortions are abortions that take place without a doctor physically present.  The doctor dispenses advice from afar via a computer screen. Planned Parenthood (PP) is the agency utilizing TeleMed abortions.  They’re using Iowa as their guinea pig with the hope of rolling it out nationally.

PP likes the idea of TeleMed abortions because of their profit potential.  Their costs are lower.  And it helps solve the growing problem in the abortion industry:  fewer doctors are willing to perform abortions regardless of the money.

With TeleMed, abortionists are able to leverage their time and increase their “productivity” be aborting more babies throughout the state on the same day.  This is the business model of the future for an industry running out of doctors.

Iowa Right to Life (IRTL) has warned about this procedure for a long time.  PP in their usual inimitable style called IRTL liars, claiming they only publish ideology, not truth. It turns out that it was PP who was being disingenuous all along.

A new issue has come up regarding TeleMed abortions.  Is it legal?  Iowa law mandates that a physician must perform an abortion.  In addition, FDA regulations state that RU-486 (the abortion pill used in TeleMed abortions) may only be used up to the seventh week of pregnancy.

PP is apparently in violation of both laws.

That leads us back to today’s press conference.  Leaders in the Pro-LIfe movement throughout the state of Iowa have asked the Iowa Board of Medicine to intervene and acknowledge that TeleMed abortions are in violation of existing standards.

In a letter to the Iowa Board of Medicine signed by 57 different groups, it was argued that “a physical examination never occurs by a licensed physician who is supposed to perform the abortion.”

By law, it’s supposed to.  The letter points out another concern:

“… the mother never sees her ultrasound, as it is privately e-mailed to the doctor at a different location.”

This is a big deal.  Nine out ten women who see an ultrasound of the baby in her womb change their mind and don’t go through with the abortion.  Is PP putting their patient first … or their profits?

Finally, the letter to the Iowa Board of Medicine points out the psychological implications of the TeleMed abortion:

” [PP abortionist] Dr. Tom Ross trivializes what happens at home as the “miscarriage experience.”  Anyone who has suffered a miscarriage will attest that it is emotional, traumatic, and can result in individuals being grief-stricken for a long time. [See article below.] To trivialize this is shameful.”

Jennifer Bowen, Executive Director, Iowa Right to Life

Speakers at today’s press conference included Maggie DeWitte, Executive Director ofIowans for Life, Jenifer Bowen, Executive Director for Iowa Right to Life, and Monsignor Frank Bognanno, pastor at Christ the King parish.  In addition, Kris Gaspari gave a heart-wrenching description of her life after having an abortion.  I have reproduced her remarks below and encourage you to read them in their entirety.

Ultimately, TeleMed can result in traumatic outcomes when unprepared mothers see the remains of their baby in the toilet.  Does she simply flush it? PP is used to discarding baby’s bodies everyday.  They’re okay with it.  It’s a critical source of their profits.

But it is devastating to a woman.

Let us hope the Iowa Board of Medicine intervenes to help end this unique form of exploitation of women in Iowa.  If they don’t, it will be coming to a state near you soon.

Restore dignity and save lives 1

By Kris Gaspari

Kris Gaspari speaks at a press conference outside the Iowa Board of Medicine

Proverbs 12, verse 17 states: “When you tell the truth, justice is done, but lies lead to injustice.”

17 years ago, I chose to allow Planned Parenthood to take the life of my unborn baby. I was a single parent, grieving the death of my mother and the end of a marriage. I was struggling to survive. I wish someone had told me the truth. I wish someone had told me that the mass of tissue growing inside me had 10 fingers and toes, a heartbeat…and a future if I chose life. That day devastated me. Not only did my child die, a part of me died, too. I was filled with shame and regret and vowed to take that secret to my grave. A year later I found myself in an abusive relationship, certain that I deserved any pain I was going through–and it was made even more clear to me that I deserved punishment when I found myself in an emergency room with a ruptured ectopic pregnancy that nearly took my life. Instead of burying a baby, I buried my emotions….and I buried them deep. I woke up after surgery, disappointed that I was alive.

Years later when I held my now 12 year old daughter for the first time, I was given a glimpse of what I’d thrown away. I was overcome with remorse, sadness and shame. I became what I call the “overprotective Mother Bear.” I secluded myself, became less social and fell apart. I promised God that I would be the best mother that I could be. And that I was sorry for what I’d done. Four years later, I found myself facing another failed marriage and a question hung like a cloud over me. “What in the world was wrong with me.”

You all have heard the poem “Footprints.” So many years of my life was one set of footprints. The day I finally hit rock bottom  and confessed it for the last time, I forgave myself and started walking on my own two feet. Through the help of my church family I started to heal. One night I read an article in the Knights of Columbus publication “The Columbian” about post abortion syndrome. The woman in the article could have been me. All the symptoms described were what I had been suffering from for all those years. Instantly, I felt a peace that I had never felt before and I was filled with hope. I was normal after all — what I had done was not. Jesus could, and would, heal me.

I started that healing journey with my church and then attended a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat 4 years ago. I got my life back. My dignity was restored. The shame was lifted. I honored the two children I had lost. But most of all I got Christ back to the center of my life.

I will be praying that the hearts of medical staff are opened to a new awareness of how telemed abortions will deeply traumatize women. Emotionally and physically they will be at risk. This is not safe, nor ethical. As part of my healing I forced myself to look at pictures of aborted fetuses. I was devastated at what I saw and those images will be with me forever. I was traumatized. I can’t comprehend how one would cope with the emotions of this process and then be left alone to deal with the remains of what was once an innocent life. I urge you to think about dignity and respect. These are lives we’re talking about. Lives worthy of a future and ethical medical care.

In the middle of the night a couple of years ago, I woke up and thought I was talking in my sleep. I realized that I wasn’t. I was talking to God. I heard His voice tell me “to tell the truth. Be silent no more.” That’s why I’m standing here today. To speak the truth.  To give women and men who suffer, hope.  To educate our youth and our communities on the effects of abortion.   To show that if I can heal, you can heal and that by exposing the truth, we can restore dignity and save lives.