Acton President Rev. Robert A. Sirico is in Washington, D.C. to participate in the papal visit to the US; tomorrow he will be attending the Pope’s address to the US Congress. In the meantime, he’s being called upon to comment on Pope Francis’ trip and the challenges the Pope will offer to both sides of the political debate in the United States. Below, you can view Sirico’s interview on Bloomberg TV from this morning. And stay tuned to the PowerBlog for more updates on Acton experts being tapped for commentary on the Pope’s visit.
Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico joined host Laura Ingraham on The Laura Ingraham Show while stuck in Washington, D.C. traffic resulting from the arrival of Pope Francis in the city. They discussed the the optics of the Pope’s arrival at the White House, his comments there, and what to expect as the Pope addresses Congress tomorrow morning.
We’ve posted the audio of the interview below; our thanks to The Laura Ingraham Show for the kind permission to share this audio with you.
Pelosi said Pope Francis’ encyclical “really made an important impression on the world” and noted that citizens “who might reject a policy initiative spoken by a government official in the United States, really cannot ignore his holiness Pope Francis on the subject.” Pelosi made the comments Monday during a visit to the Milan Expo 2015 world’s fair focusing on food security issues, and as President Obama prepared to unveil later in the day new regulations demanding steep greenhouse gas cuts from U.S. power plants.
Obama also said Monday that, as Pope Francis made clear in his encyclical on climate change, the fight against this global problem is “a moral obligation.”
US President Obama unveils Clean Power Plan
The Clean Power Plan is widely seen as the cornerstone of President Obama’s desire to secure a global treaty at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this December, an event which Pope Francis’ recently-released Encyclical Laudato si’ also seeks to influence.
Heartland Daily Podcast – Craig Idso: Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change
H. Sterling Burnett, Somewhat Reasonable
Burnett and Idso discuss the work of the center in general and in particular his response to the Pope Francis’s comments and encyclical on climate change. In his recently released paper, “Stewardship and Sustainable Development in a World of Rising Atmospheric CO2: A Biblical Perspective on Humanity’s Relationship to the Biosphere,” Idso agrees with the Pope that we must be concerned with making the world a better place for present and future generations. In contrast to the pontiff, however, Idso argues increased CO2 and continued, broadened use of fossil fuels is the way to accomplish that goal.
British journalist Tim Montgomerie notes that Barack Obama gave some unsolicited advice to the U.K. recently (suggesting that they spend more on defense.) Montgomerie thought it only fair to return the favor.
1. Montgomerie says America should not invade other countries unless we plan to follow through.
George W Bush did at least stick with Iraq and his so-called “surge policy” delivered a reasonably stable nation by 2008. Obama than walked away and we know what happened soon afterwards: ISIS and Iran walked in.
2. Don’t be weak; it’s far too provocative to the Putins on the world. (more…)
Today at Think Christian I reflect on President Obama’s State of the Union message last night. I think it was perhaps the best speech I have heard him give in terms of delivery and general tone. There are numerous things that one might quibble with in a speech of that length, of course.
My TC piece is an attempt to help us to put into proper perspective political promises and policy proposals. I look particularly at the question of economic inequality and the assumptions underlying the government’s redistributive actions.
As Danielle Kurtzleben puts it, “Obama is making a case that the economy’s distribution engine is broken, and that the recovery simply won’t fix it. His solution is for government to approach redistribution as a positive good rather than a necessary evil.”
I have a can’t miss prediction: tonight, when President Obama gives his seventh State of the Union address, he will describe the state of the union as “strong.” (I’ve made this prediction on this blog the past two years, so I’m hoping for a trifecta of prescience tonight.)
Admittedly, predicting that the state of our union will be described as “strong” is about as safe a bet as you can make when it comes to politics. Over the last hundred years presidents have described the State of the Union (SOTU) in various ways — Good (Truman), Sound (Carter), Not Good (Ford). But it was Ronald Reagan who started the “strong” trend in 1983 by referring to the SOTU as “Strong, but the economy is troubled.” Since 1983, “strong” has been used to refer to the SOTU in 27 addresses.
Here is how the state of the Union has been described over the past hundred years:
On this edition of Radio Free Acton, I was privileged to speak with F. H. Buckley, Foundation Professor at George Mason University School of Law and author of a number of books, his latest being The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America.
The story of American Government is the story of the rise of presidential power, which has seen its fullest, and – for those who believe in the principles of the Constitution and oppose one-man rule – most unsettling flowering in the presidency of Barack Obama. How did a country that was founded on small-r republican principles go from overthrowing the rule of the King George to essentially creating its own elected monarchy, which George Mason, one of the founding fathers, considered worse than the real thing? Buckley discusses this process and our current political dilemma.
Later this week, we’ll post the video of Buckley’s lecture on the same topic, which he delivered yesterday at the Acton Building’s Mark Murray Auditorium at an event co sponsored by Acton and The Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
In a lengthy World Affairs piece, journalist Roland Flamini takes the position that Pope Francis is a “major player” on the stage of global foreign policy. Flamini examines the pope’s travels in the Holy Land and the Ukraine, noting “that the non-European pope is shaping his own foreign policy course.”
The article also discusses the pope’s meeting with President Obama, noting that while the pope is firmly “anti-consumerist,” Obama is the political leader of a country where shopping is a “sacrament.” Kishore Jayabalan, who heads the Rome-based Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, was asked to summarize the difference between the two men.
They have very different starting points,” he says. “The pope can use his office to raise moral concern about the unborn and inequality but there’s not a whole lot he can directly do about it.” It’s the president who has the means and the power to take action but hasn’t, in the view of the Vatican. Also, the pope has been quite outspoken about the global economy and global capitalism not helping the poor, while Obama “presides over a free-market economy” and “recognizes that the global economy has helped the poor: people in Asia, Africa, and parts of Latin America have benefitted from free trade.”
Phil Lawler at CatholicCulture.org voices what should be obvious: that by taking federal money and grants, the Catholic Church has put herself in a very awkward place. Money from the government always comes with strings attached, and those strings have tied the hands of too many Catholics.
Earlier this week, President Obama handed down an executive order that requires the cutting off of government funds from “any organizations that discriminate against homosexual or ‘transgendered’ persons. This executive order is not aimed solely at the Catholic Church; many others will lose federal contracts.” The U.S. Catholic bishops have opposed this move, but since Obama did this as executive “fiat” it is hardly something one can legally oppose. That’s okay, says Lawler.
So how can the Church respond? That’s easy. Stop taking federal contracts. President Obama doesn’t want help from the Catholic Church. Say it’s a deal; don’t give him any.
What would that mean, practically speaking? It would mean things would get really messy, especially in terms of health care, human services, and services to the poor. (more…)
When President Obama signed Executive Order 13653 about a year ago, he relabeled the great debate that was known first as global warming and then climate change to “resiliency.” He set up an Interagency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience with three co-chairs and representatives from at least 30 listed departments, plus appointees. He also created the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, which will be made up of more than 2 dozen representatives across the nation including Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell.
The task force “will provide recommendations to the President on removing barriers to resilient investments, modernizing federal grant and loan programs to better support local efforts and developing information and tools they need to prepare” according to the White House. So it looks like there will be a carrot-and-stick of government funding for local government units.
The task force has already met with President Obama twice, in December and January, to begin working on its recommendations. It is on a tight clock as Obama has asked to get responses within a year to begin working towards implementation. And according to Mayor Heartwell Obama is willing to do whatever it takes to get the recommendations put into motion, “The President made it very clear to us that he expects that what he’s going to get done over the next 3 years will largely be done through executive order”. (more…)