Saturday, December 30, 2006

Eid al-Adha Eve

The first paragraph of Robert Fisk: A dictator created then destroyed by America:
    Saddam to the gallows. It was an easy equation. Who could be more deserving of that last walk to the scaffold - that crack of the neck at the end of a rope - than the Beast of Baghdad, the Hitler of the Tigris, the man who murdered untold hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis while spraying chemical weapons over his enemies? Our masters will tell us in a few hours that it is a "great day" for Iraqis and will hope that the Muslim world will forget that his death sentence was signed - by the Iraqi "government", but on behalf of the Americans - on the very eve of the Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, the moment of greatest forgiveness in the Arab world.
Click on the lick to read the rest.

[link via]
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Blog Break

Blogging to resume on The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, i.e. the First of January.
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Veritas? Quid est veritas?

Mr. Paul Craig Roberts, who's becoming one of my favorite commentators, on the lies of our times: The Disrespect for Truth has Brought a New Dark Age.
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Because Dead Men Tell No Tales

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Chinese Chickens Coming Home to Roost

The devastating social effects of meddling with the family are beginning to be felt: In China, elderly feel impact of 1-child rule.
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The Honorable Gerald R. Ford on the War in Iraq

From an "an embargoed interview" from July 2004 quoted in Ford Disagreed With Bush About Invading Iraq:
    "Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq. They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction," Ford said. "And now, I've never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do."

    In a conversation that veered between the current realities of a war in the Middle East and the old complexities of the war in Vietnam whose bitter end he presided over as president, Ford took issue with the notion of the United States entering a conflict in service of the idea of spreading democracy.

    "Well, I can understand the theory of wanting to free people," Ford said, referring to Bush's assertion that the United States has a "duty to free people." But the former president said he was skeptical "whether you can detach that from the obligation number one, of what's in our national interest." He added: "And I just don't think we should go hellfire damnation around the globe freeing people, unless it is directly related to our own national security."
[link via A conservative blog for peace]
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My Students at Work

When they aren't meeting me for English tutoring, the students of the Graduate School of Life Sciences at the Pohang University of Science and Technology are busy conducting research that might lead to a cure for AIDS: Anti-AIDS Protein Mechanism Found.
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The Factory of the World Slaves Away

To stock the shelves of Wal-Mart with cheap stuff that used to be made better in America: Chinese work 94 hours per week to make toys.
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The Truth About Chile's September Eleventh

Mr. Paul Craig Roberts from Pinochet’s Demonization Exemplifies Propaganda's Power:
    In truth, Allende overthrew himself. He disregarded the constitution, permitted private property to be seized by communist organizations, tolerated and assisted the formation of armed groups that operated independently of the government, and disorganized the economy to the extent that there were food shortages.

    In left-wing mythology, "the popularly elected Allende" was overthrown by the tyrant Pinochet. This is far from the truth. Allende received only 36 percent of the vote and was appointed president by the Chilean congress after Allende swore an oath to respect the constitution.

    Three years later, on Aug. 22, 1973, the Chilean congress censured Allende for violating law and the constitution in order to "establish a totalitarian system absolutely opposed to the representative system of government established by the Constitution."

    Allende was censured for "making violation of the Constitution and the law a permanent system of conduct" and for "systematically trampling the powers of the other branches of government," while at the same time "violating the civil rights of the citizens guaranteed in the Constitution and permitting and stimulating the formation of illegal parallel powers, which constitute a grave threat for the nation."

    Allende was censured for systematically violating private property rights and illegally taking over 1,500 farms from their owners and hundreds of businesses. The resolution condemned Allende for aiding and abetting the establishment of illegal armed groups that "intend to replace legitimately constituted powers and serve as a base for the dictatorship of the proletariat." The resolution noted that this goal was publicly acknowledged by Allende himself.

    The censure of Allende called upon the military to intervene and oust the Allende government. Housewives, unable to find food for their families, had been calling for military intervention for months. When the women would encounter military officers in the streets, they would throw corn kernels at their feet and cluck like chickens.

    The military had to be forced to act by the elected representatives of the people. The irony is that Allende would likely have been pushed aside by the parallel government that he was allowing communists to create.
Maybe American housewives when seeing American officers should "throw corn kernels at their feet and cluck like chickens."
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Peak Oil, the Mainstream Media, and the Globalist Agenda

Mr. Roy F. Moore of The Distributist Review responds to one of my posts with an excellent one of his own: Media Concentration and Supressed News.

Ironically, in misinterpreting an ambiguous statement of mine, Mr. Moore comes up with a post with which I agree entirely. Here is my clarification from the comments to his post:
    I meant that the Mainstream Media (MSM) has not picked up on "Peak Oil" not the "Lie of Peak Oil."

    The MSM promotes a globalist agenda, as it has done with Global Warming, so it would seem that it would promote Peak Oil to futher that agenda. But Peak Oil does not serve the globalist cause.

    I think the MSM is ignoring or burying Peak Oil because the solution to Peak Oil is relocalization, not globalization.
For the record, I believe Global Warming to be true, but that it warrants local solutions.
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Inter-Korean Race-Based Nationalism

Mr. B.R. Myers explains why South Korea continues to aid North Korea in this WSJ piece: 'Concerted Front'. The answer lies in what I find most unsavory in the Korean character:
    This support is not meant to expedite unification, which South Koreans are happy to put off indefinitely. Nor has it much to do with concern for starving children; by now everyone knows where the "humanitarian" aid really goes. No, the desire to help North Korea derives in large part from ideological common ground. South Koreans may chuckle at the personality cult, but they generally agree with Pyongyang that Koreans are a pure-blooded race whose innate goodness has made them the perennial victims of rapacious foreign powers. They share the same tendency to regard Koreans as innocent children on the world stage--and to ascribe evil to foreigners alone. Though the North expresses itself more stridently on such matters, there is no clear ideological divide such as the one that separated West and East Germany. Bonn held its nose when conducting Ostpolitik. Seoul pursues its sunshine policy with respect for Pyongyang.
I, for one, would find Korean "Race-Based Nationalism" more palatable if it were based on something more positive than a shared and exaggerated sense of victimhood.

[link via The Marmot's Hole]
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Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Iranian Epistolarian

I look hope the contents of this letter are soon released: Pope gets letter from Ahmadinejad.
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Gerald Ford, Rest in Peace

Here he is pictured with my two favorite Beatles:

Former U.S. President Gerald Ford (R) is pictured with George Harrison (C) and Billy Preston (L) in the Oval Office in this December 13, 1974 file photo. Ford, 93, has died, according to a statement from his wife Bette on December 26, 2006. NO SALES NO ARCHIVES REUTERS/Courtesy Gerald R. Ford Library/Files (UNITED STATES)

[image and text Yahoo! News Photo]
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This photo, however staged for propaganda purposes, speaks a thousand words:

One of two North Korean soldiers, center, plucked adrift on the sea on Dec. 9 was repatriated at Panmunjeom yesterday after being treated at a South Korean military hospital. A second North Korean soldier, more severely injured by the ordeal, crossed the inter-Korean border on a stretcher.

[image and text from Fit and going home]
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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Another Reason to Marry Your Cousin

Noting that "[i]t makes people more loyal to their extended families than the state," links to this Christian Science Monitor article: Why cousin marriage matters in Iraq.

The article notes that clans are "'governments in miniature' that provide the services and social aid that Americans routinely receive from their national, state, and local governments."

It should be noted that such unions are not impediments to marriage under the rules of Consanguinity (in Canon Law).
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A Defense of Peak

Mr. Tracy Fennel of Antes de la caída offers a brilliant one in Peak Oil and Distributism or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

My take is quite similar to his. If Peak Oil were "a globalist lie" you'd think the mainstream media would have picked up on it by now. I hold out "hope" in part because the "relocalization" peak would bring would allow Distributivism to flourish.
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Imperial Rome Redux

The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel, in a post entitled Legio Patria Nostra, links to this disturbing developmet: A U.S. military 'at its breaking point' considers foreign recruits.

"The Young Fogey" at A conservative blog for peace, in linking to coverage of the same story from an alternative source, asks, "Wasn't this one of the things that helped topple the Roman Empire?"
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Lee Kuan Yew's Authoritarianism Not Confucian

Prof. Sam Crane dispels an oft-repeated myth in Repeat After Me: It's Not About Confucianism....

The crux of the sinologist's argument:
    The ideological underpinnings of the Lee autocracy are not particularly "Asian," and certainly not "Confucian." These kinds of formulations are simply a veneer, used to cover over the power realities of a one-party authoritarian political system. We can find the strategies for maintaining the power of the ruler in Han Fei Tzu and Machiavelli. It is about Legalism and Realism. Nothing exotic in all of that.
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Ron Paul on the Democrats and Iraq

The Honorable Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) from 2007 Promises More of the Same:
    Anyone who voted for Democrats last month expecting a change in our Iraq policy was sorely mistaken. Incoming congressional leaders have publicly stated their support for increasing troop levels, and Democrats have no intention of pursuing any serious withdrawal plan in Congress. They will not withhold war funding. The war will plod on, and Democrats will call for more of the same.

    In Washington, the answer to every problem is always more of the same. If a war is not successful, escalate it – or even start another one. This is our only policy in Iraq, where we don't even know who the enemy really is. Can 1 in 10 Americans even distinguish between Sunni, Shia, and Kurds? Unless we rethink our senseless policy of endless occupation, regime change, and nation-building in the Middle East, we must expect more of the same: More troops injured or killed, more spending, more debt, more taxes, more militarism, and especially more government.
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A to the K in the DPRK

Mr. Kim Min Se reports on the Kalashnikov in North Korea’s Military Weapon, World’s Best Firearm AK-47.
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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The End of Kim Jong-il?

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Midnight Mass

[image from 밝지만은 않은 지구촌 성탄절]

Mignight Mass at a parish in my wife's hometown was a religious experience. The Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei were all sung in Latin─ well, not the Kyrie─by a heavenly choir. Two special guests, Buddhist monks, were seated in the front row.
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Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Blessèd Christ's Mass to All

Glory to God by Kim Ki-Chang, a.k.a. Woonbo (1914 ~ 2001); image from World's Great Madonnas
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Is Iran Next?

"Could Bush Start Another War?" asks Mr. Scott Horton. I fear the answer to that question may be yes. The buildup has already begun (Second U.S. carrier sets sail for the Gulf), and Tel Aviv has spoken (Israel Think Tank:Only Military Act Will Stop Iran-Report).

The war with Iraq took me by surprise. In my naïveté, I didn't think an American president would launch a full-scale war against a country that had neither attacked nor posed any threat to us. If there is a war with Iran, I will not be surprised. In fact, I think an attack is in the works.

A war with Iran will confirm two things. First, it will conform that our president is insane*. I don't say this glibly, but rather with the requisite trepidition and horror such a realization calls for. Second, it will confirm that America is indeed the junior partner in the alliance with Israel**. Dismiss that claim with the call of "anti-Semitism" at your own risk.

*See Mr. Paul Craig Roberts' Is Bush Insane?

**See LRB | John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt : The Israel Lobby.
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What do militant Western secularists and Chinese communists have in common?

They are both atheists and they both see Christianity as a threat: Chinese Christians in riot trial. The difference is that the latter have power (but are losing it) while the former lack power (but are gaining it). Should they gain power, we will see these kinds of kangaroo court show trials in the West as well.
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Apocalypto's un-Americanism

Mr. Rod Dreher offers a lengthy and informative review with I was (mostly) wrong about Mel Gibson.

It's well worth a read. This bit stood out:
    Gibson seems to be endorsing the social cycle theory of history, and saying that civilizations may come and go, but the family endures, and in the family is our hope. And that idea -- that the family, not the individual, is the natural basis for society -- is deeply Catholic, deeply conservative, deeply true -- and deeply un-American.
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Catholics, Confucianists...

and now Environmentalists: The German arm of Greenpeace Comes out Against ESCR.

I got my start as what some might call a "Luddite Leftist" and think there is much room for cooperation on common issues. Even half-a-life ago, I never understood how the organic shoppers at the Lexington Cooperative Market I worked for supported abominations like contracepton and abortion, which I saw clearly as part of the consumerist, materialist culture to whch I though we stood in opposition.
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The Paleos Were Right (And Still Are)

"The saddest issue on which we have been proved correct is the war in Iraq," notes Dr. Thomas Fleming, editor of He continues, "Today, virtually everybody knows. Even the Dallas Morning News has conceded the truth:"
    Prior to the commencement of hostilities in Iraq, a small but vociferous faction of paleoconservatives and foreign-policy realists argued that the United States was careening into catastrophe. Some argued from prudential grounds that attacking Iraq would cause more problems than it would solve. Others argued from traditionalist conservative convictions about the nature of men and societies that it was delusional to think that America could, by force of arms, impose liberal democracy on a nation that lacked the cultural and institutional capability for it. These thinkers were not only ignored, but some were anathematized from the right as unpatriotic.
Following are two articles published today. First, Mr. Patrick J. Buchanan weighs in on the American Anglican schism in The Real Schismatics and Bigots. Second Mr. Paul Craig Roberts opines on "the Christian culture that has held Western civilization together for 2,000 years" and which is "worth holding on to even by atheists" in The Greatest Gift of All.
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Religion and Order

"Mounting evidence demonstrates that regular religious practice benefits individuals, families, and communities, and thus the nation as a whole," states Mr. Patrick F. Fagan in his very well-documented article Why religion matters even more.

The quote from the Sage at the top of this blog's sidebar comes to mind:
    To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.
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Giant Squid Vid!

The world's largest invertebrate species filmed for perhaps the first time: Researchers catch giant squid. Follow the link to the video.

[link via Flos Carmeli]
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Confucian Tenets Today

Prof. Sam Crane of The Useless Tree posts two stories today that "are a great illustration of the continuing relevance of Confucian ideas to modern life" in Caring for Children, Caring for Elders.

He uses the articles to convey several Confucian tenets, among them: (1) "human potential is shaped by close and loving social relationships;" (2) "family connections, and especially parent-child connections, [are] the earliest and most basic social network for any individual;" and (3) "we all create our moral selves through the enactment and protection and preservation of our closest loving relationships."
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Friday, December 22, 2006

More vs. Luther

    Yet how different Luther was from Thomas More; they might even be cited as the two great figures representing the 'medieval' and the 'modern' world. Luther disobeyed his father completely and irrevocably, while More remained the model of filial piety... More moved easily within any institution or hierarchy to which he became attached; Luther was seized by violent fits of remorse and panic fear in any fixed or formal environment... More obeyed and maintained the precepts of the law; Luther wished to expel law altogether from the spiritual life. More believed in the communion of the faithful, living and dead, while Luther affirmed the unique significance of the individual calling toward God. More believed in the traditional role of miracles; Luther saw visions. More's irony and self-detachment were very different from the intense seriousness and self-absorbtion of Luther.
─ pgs. 224-5 of The Life of Thomas More by Peter Ackroyd.
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Roh and Lincoln

The South Korean president again compares himself to The American Lenin. Here he is quoted in Roh Lashes Out at Former Defense Chiefs:
    I did the same as Lincoln. The difference is that I came under fire for doing so. It’s very depressing. I tried to copy Lincoln but it didn’t work. It's no fun at all.
Mr. Roh, you may be many things, but you're no Lenin Lincoln. The Korean people can thank God for that!
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Time for "The Decider" to Decide

This is what Mr. Bush's War has come down to: Losing Lives or Face: Time to Leave Iraq - by Doug Bandow. God rest the soul of the next poor guy who gets blown apart by an IED.
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Another Reason to Eat Whale

From Inuit diet touted as health tonic by Ms. Margaret Munro:
    [T]he traditional Inuit diet is high in selenium, common to whale skin, and likely explains why prostate cancer is almost unheard of in the north, as are most other cancers.
My wife's ancestors in Ulsan have been eating whale for 8,000 years.

[link via]
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President Roh Moo-hyun, a Lapsed Catholic, Remembers the Martyrs of Korea in Diatribe

The South Korean president, it seems, has gone over the edge, if one is to agree with this account of yesterday's speech, from A President at a Dead End:
    Since the foundation of the Republic of Korea, no president has insulted and disparaged the people as nakedly as this. No president, in fact, has scoffed at and ignored the nation's elders and trampled on our traditions and culture like the incumbent. No president has exposed his hostility toward our allies like him. The only lucky fellow who somehow escaped this barrage of abuse was the dear leader up North. Koreans had better prepare for a decisive moment.
Pretty damning stuff. Nevertheless, I am beginning to feel some sympathy for the man, Jacobin or not. That a man so unqualified became leader of a nation says more about electoral democracy than it does about him. Also, he is right that South Korea can and should take on its own defense. Whetever the case, there was this moment of lucidity in the darkness of yesterday's speech, in which he remembered the Martyus of Korea:
    As an example of our tradition of intolerance, he cited the persecution of Catholics, numbering hundreds at a time and 8,000 in or around 1866.
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Feng Shui, Karma, and the Next United Nations General Secretary, Confucian Scholar Ban Ki Moon

Mr. Martin Fackler of the International Herald Tribune, overstating his case a bit perhaps with The Wise Man from the East™ allusions, offers this report: Ancient and modern South Korea meet in the man chosen to lead the UN.

From the article, this image and text:

The family graveyard of Ban Ki Moon, who is set to be the next UN secretary general, in his South Korean hometown.

Also from the article, these claims:
    Cho Jun Hyung, a retired television station manager turned feng shui master, says Ban's appearance fulfilled a 2,500- year-old Chinese prophecy, first uttered by Confucius himself, that a "world dominator" would emerge from the northeast, meaning neighboring Korea.

    Cho says Sangdong has exceptionally good feng shui because it sits at the navel of the Korean Peninsula, and a nearby row of three mountains channel in natural forces. "This is very rare geography," he said. "In America, Massachusetts and Ohio have similar alignments, which is why they produce so many presidents."
[This leaves me wondering why my homeland, Western New York, has produced so many anarchists, from Leon Frank Czolgosz to Bill Kauffman to me.]

Mr. Ban is, in fact, a kind of Christian, as I posted here: The New Secretary General's Religion.
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Nineteen Hundred and Fourteen's Christmas Truce in the Great War

[image from 'une Trêve Entre Tranchées Ennemies']

A story that never fails to inspire, here is an account of The Christmas Truce of 1914 :
    Although the popular memory of World War One is normally one of horrific casualties and 'wasted' life, the conflict does have tales of comradeship and peace. One of the most remarkable, and heavily mythologised, events concerns the 'Christmas Truce' of 1914, in which the soldiers of the Western Front laid down their arms on Christmas Day and met in No Man's Land, exchanging food and cigarettes, as well as playing football. The cessation of violence was entirely unofficial and there had been no prior discussion: troops acted spontaneously from goodwill, not orders. Not only did this truce actually happen, but the event was more widespread than commonly portrayed.

    There are many accounts of the Christmas truce, the most famous of which concern the meeting of British and German forces; however, French and Belgium troops also took part. The unofficial nature of the truce meant that there was no one single cause or origin; some narratives tell of British troops hearing their German counterparts singing Christmas carols and joining in, while Frank Richards, a private in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, told of how both sides erected signs wishing the other a 'Merry Christmas'. From these small starts some men crossed the lines with their hands up, and troops from the opposing side went to meet them. By the time officers realised what was happening the initial meetings had been made, and most commanders either turned a blind eye or happily joined in.

    The fraternisation lasted, in many areas, for the whole of Christmas day. Food and supplies were exchanged on a one to one basis, while in some areas men borrowed tools and equipment from the enemy, in order to quickly improve their own living conditions. Many games of football were played using whatever would suffice for a ball, while bodies that had become trapped within No Man's Land were buried.

    Most modern retellings of the Truce finish with the soldiers returning to their trenches and then fighting again the next day, but in many areas the peace lasted much longer. Frank Richard's account explained how both sides refrained from shooting at each other the next day, until the British troops were relieved and they left the front line. In other areas the goodwill lasted for several weeks, bringing a halt to opportunistic sniping, before the bloody conflict once again resumed.
Several first-hand accounts from both sides are recorded on this site: HELLFIRE CORNER - The Christmas Truce- 1914.

Also worth reading is this article, Soldiers Against War by John V. Denson, from which comes this photo of British and German soldiers fraternizing:

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Saint Nicholas in Mother India

Dressed as the bishop he was:

Auf einem Elefanten reitend und mit einigen Tagen Verzögerung erreicht der Nikolaus am Sonntag die Residenz des deutschen Botschafters in Neu Dehli.
[image and text from via Nikolaus in Indien]
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The de-Christianization of Iraq

Brought about by Mr. Bush's War: Half of Iraq's Christians Have Fled, Says Prelate.
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A Monk, a Cardinal, and Orphans

Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, right, yesterday with Reverend Monk Jigwan, the executive chief of the Korean Buddhist Jogye Order, at Seunggawon, a Buddhist-run orphanage in Anam-dong, northern Seoul. The cardinal was returning a visit made in April by Monk Jigwan to a Roman Catholic-run orphanage.
[image and text from Many happy returns]
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Preparing for Peak

"[T]here is not much time left for a world economy to be driven largely by oil," says Dr Shokri Ghanem, Chairman of the People’s Committee, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) of Libya, quoted in OPEC says peak oil near.

Father John Rausch suggests that "bio-fuel derived from agricultural crops figures as an invitation to people of faith to reconsider their lifestyles" in Growing away from fossil fuels.
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O Occupied Town of Bethlehem

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ha Ji-won Possessed by the Ghost of Hwang Jin-i

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Christian Zionist Endtimers

Mr. Bill Berkowitz writes of the foreign policy influence of those who confuse the modern State of Israel with the biblical Israel: Holy warriors set sights on Iran.

"It's time to hire a deprogrammer to take these neocons to a soundproof motel room and slap some sense into them before they get us all killed," said Mr. Gary Brecher in His God Must Be Crazy.
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Relocalized Cuba

This article by Mr. Kurt Cobb how Cuba's economic isolation has allowed it to focus on self-sufficiency and organic farming: Cuba's strange path. The article serves as a reminder "that the supposedly advanced systems of modern industrial civilization float on a sea of cheap hydrocarbons."
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Close Encounters of the Political Kind

This is great fun. Mr. Rod Dreher has the deatils of the The Chuck Colson Award:
    I am looking for all contact - spotting in the street yesterday, autograph collected in your youth, meeting held with, picture taken with, gift received from, or whatever - with political figures.

    Now famous is fine but semi-famous is even better, faintly ludicrous is best of all. Pictures are particularly welcome, especially if they show the semi-famous figure doing something prosaic.

1. At an anti-Klan rally in Philidelphia in 1988, I had a conversation with Workers World Party presidential candidate Larry Holmes (not the boxer). He asked about the hairstyle a pretty young female (anti-racist) skinhead we spotted was sporting, a shaved head leaving only bangs. I responded that it was called a "Chelsea." He said it looked cute and I agreed.

2. A friend and I refused to shake Bill Clinton's hand at a 1992 Democratic debate in Buffalo, NY because we were supporters of Jerry Brown, whose hand we did shake.

3. With my own eyes I gazed upon the radiance of General Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte at an Independence Day celebration in Santiago in 1993
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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Buchananite Picks

I try to wait until my print edition arrives until I link to any articles from The American Conservative. Well, it arrived today. Below, I'll give a brief description of some of the articles to help the reader decide if he wants to read them in their entirety.

They Only Look Dead by Scott McConnell charts the long, strange history of the neocons, and forecasts what might be their future strategies.

How to Lose an Army by William S. Lind warns against extending "Operation Provide Targets" in Iraq to Iran, which would turn out to be "Operation Cornwallis."

Prisoners’ Dilemma by Gerald J. Russello notes that "[i]ndefinite detention of terrorist suspects poses a challenge to America’s most valuable legal traditions."

Sins of Commission by James Bovard chronicles the Bush régime's reliance on "torture, secret prisons, and no accountability."

David Out of the Lions’ Den by Doug Bandow is a review of David Kuo's book, in which the Evangelical tells what led him to leave the White House.
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Our Little Corporal

"Iraq is Bush's Waterloo – will it be America's, too?" askes Mr. Justin Raimondo in Napoleon in the White House .
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Lee Jung Seop (1916–1956)

Writing for, Ms. Yumi Kim tells a sad tale that "reminds us of the devastating effects of war on individuals" in A Story of an Artist.
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The Once Almighty Dollar has an article linking in turn to seven articles about the greenback's decline: Dollar hegemony - Dec 19.

Particularly of interest is the last one, Ms. Judi McLeod's Debut of the 'amero', which suggests that "[t]he People's Republic of China... will be the country that will force the creation of the`North American Union' (NAU)."
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Ignoring the ISG...

and the unanimous opinion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: Iraq troop buildup idea worries generals. "The Decider" had decided. God help us.
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Church and State in South Korea

Korean Protestants and Catholic educators stand united against inflitration from the Jacobinical Roh Moo-hyun régime. Here's the story in a nutshell, from Religious groups revive protest against new private school law:
    Angry Protestant and Roman Catholic organizations announced yesterday that they would close their private schools if the National Assembly did not make changes to the law governing private schools. Separately, the National Council of Churches in Korea, a liberal Protestant group that earlier supported the law, changed sides yesterday and called on the Assembly to revise provisions in the law that were approved late last year.

    At that time, the Assembly revised the schools law to require that a quarter of the governing board of a private school be appointed by a committee free of any influence from the chairman of the school's board. It also allowed the government to fire members of a school board and replace them temporarily with its own nominees in some cases.
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Why They Hate Us

No, thet don't hate for our freedoms. If that were the case, would't they hate us less as we continue to lose those freedoms? Prof. Nany Snow gives a detailed account of why they hate us with The losing battle against anti-Americanism.
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Another Reason to "Loath the Man"

"The Dear Leader" enjoys our trash: NK Leader a Fan of “Desperate Housewives”. Here's an idea: Kim Jong-il and the American First Lady could together watch the show the both are said to love: Laura Bush: "If Those Women On [Desperate Housewives] Think They're Desperate, They Ought To Be With George"...
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Nineteen Ninety-Seven All Over Again?

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America Is a Christian Nation (and a Calvinist one, Too)

Prof. Sherman A. Jackson, an Americn Muslim, excerpted from Even American Atheism is "Christian":
    I think there is very a strong case for considering America a Christian nation. If we look at such common religious constructs as "sacred," holy," "spiritual," "sin," even "religion," we find that our understandings of these things are deeply informed by Christian sensibilities, a Christian heritage and a Christian intellectual landscape.

    Indeed, one might even argue in this context that even American atheism is hopelessly "christian." A deranged man walks into a nursery and opens fire on the children. The rhetorical response of American atheists is commonly, "How could a just and merciful god allow such things to happen?"

    Such a question, of course, would have no meaning for a Zoroastrian or even an Muslim who happened to be a Mu‘tazilite (which I am not). For the Zoroastrian, such events are not sponsored by a just and merciful God; they are the work of the god of evil. For a Mu'tazilite, God is not responsible for such acts; humans are. But for American atheists who see this as an indictment of the CHRISTIAN god, such an event would go down as another justification for their rejection of God, period.
Indded. I'm reminded of these remarks quoted in American Catholics As Cultural Protestants:
    Archbishop Francis George of Chicago made a startling statement during the Synod of Bishops for the Americas in November 1997. Archbishop (now Cardinal) George said that U.S. citizens "are culturally Calvinist, even those who profess the Catholic faith." American society, he continued, "is the civil counterpart of a faith based on private interpretation of Scripture and private experience of God." He contrasted this kind of society with one based on the Catholic Church's teaching of community and a vision of life greater than the individual.
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One More Reason to Like the Thai Coup d'État

Mr. William Sparrow reports: Thai Junta: Sex tours no more.
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Father Cho Kwang-ho

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Good News for China

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A Message to the Republicrats

Messrs. Jodin Morey and D. Larkin Corvin, in Impeachment Good for Republicans and Democrats:
    Ten years from now, when your child asks you what you did to stop Bush's systematic destruction of the foundations of our democracy, you'll have to say, "well, nothing, honey. We had an election to win." Actually, you may want to make sure you tell them in person, to avoid the wiretap surveillance.

    And Republicans, you're like the football coach who pridefully refuses to pull a player off the field after everyone else can plainly see the need. The sooner you pull the man, the more highly respected you'll be. The longer you wait, the more you tie your party's future to the corruption and incompetence that has already been attributed to this administration.
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The "Anti-Korean Wave"

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Against a Golf Course

Miss Shin Jeong-eun, I'm with you: Success for one-woman protest atop tree.
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An Aristocratic Passing

Fr. Jim Tucker of Dappled Things informs us that Lord Mowbray and Stourton has died. The first two paragraphs of the obituary:
    Lord Mowbray, Segrave and Stourton, who died on Tuesday aged 83, was the premier baron of England and the head of one of the oldest Roman Catholic families in the country.

    A cheerful, Wodehousian figure, known for his piratical eyepatch, Lord Mowbray was well-liked in the Upper House and, during his 40 years on the Conservative benches, seemed to progress almost seamlessly from Bertie Wooster to Lord Emsworth, contributing a mixture of geniality and erudition to House of Lords proceedings.
Click on the link to learn more about this "sole direct descendant of one of the 25 signatories of the Magna Carta" and "longest-serving Knight of the British Association of the Sovereign and Military Order of Malta." His defense of aristocracy:
    "Perhaps one of the best things to be said in defence of the aristocracy, if it needs defending," he declared in 1966, "is that aristocrats have a real detachment from things. They are not 'yes' men — they have nothing to gain."
Makes one want to read Waugh, does it not?

Requiescat in pace, milord.
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A Donor Baby's Lament

The Useless Tree is a worthy new addition to this blog's sidebar. It's author, Sinologist Prof. Sam Crane, is a Christian gentleman who offers "Ancient Chinese Thought in Modern American Life."

His most recent post, More on Sperm Donors and Fathers, examines the issue from a Confucian perspective, which is the same as the Catholic perspective. He quotes Miss Katrina Clark from her recent article in the WaPo:
    Those of us in the first documented generation of donor babies -- conceived in the late 1980s and early '90s, when sperm banks became more common and donor insemination began to flourish -- are coming of age, and we have something to say.

    I'm here to tell you that emotionally, many of us are not keeping up. We didn't ask to be born into this situation, with its limitations and confusion. It's hypocritical of parents and medical professionals to assume that biological roots won't matter to the "products" of the cryobanks' service, when the longing for a biological relationship is what brings customers to the banks in the first place.
Indeed. The post-pill West sees the procreative act as a recreational one. The result is that children are no longer a blessing, but have become an option, a consumer choice, a fashion accessory. From that mindset comes this idea that there is some inherent "right" to children, a "right" possessed by all, be one single or homosexualist. Sadly, real people are involved.

Pray for Miss Cheney's poor baby.
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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Humour Most Ænglican

─quoted by "The Young Fogey" in Spotted: wicked sense of humour among Episcopal liberals
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Leftist White Supremacists in Korea

A European site takes on self-described "despoiler[s] of Korean maidenhood" who insist that "Korea will join the 21st century on the issue of inter racial dating" in a post entitled Leftist White Supremacy: not in my name.

Say what you will about the collectivist politics of, Mr. Svyatoslav Igorevich is right in calling these types─and I've met many of them─"leftist bigot[s]." There is something profoundly disturbed and disturbing about the mindset of these "despoiler[s] of Korean maidenhood" whose mission, to paraphrase a friend, is to "save Korean women from Korean men." You're with me if you're nauseated.

In the grand "sexual politics" tradition, these globalist despoilers are trying to elevate their sexual liaisons to some great geopolitical plane. Perhaps these sex Jacobins see themselves as doing their small part to help the Wilsonian endeavor to bring Democracy to the world, or to "Take Up the White's Man's Burdon" where that vile progressivist imperialist poet left off.

[limk via The Marmot's Hole]
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Jorge Washington, Sí; Jorge Bush, No

"It is our true policy to steer clear of entangling alliances with any portion of the foreign world," wisely said our first president, quoted by the Honorable Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas)─who else?─in The Original Foreign Policy, going on to elaborate:
    I believe our founding fathers had it right when they argued for peace and commerce between nations, and against entangling political and military alliances. In other words, noninterventionism.

    Noninterventionism is not isolationism. Nonintervention simply means America does not interfere militarily, financially, or covertly in the internal affairs of other nations. It does not mean that we isolate ourselves; on the contrary, our founders advocated open trade, travel, communication, and diplomacy with other nations.

    Thomas Jefferson summed up the noninterventionist foreign policy position perfectly in his 1801 inaugural address: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.” Washington similarly urged that we must, “Act for ourselves and not for others,” by forming an “American character wholly free of foreign attachments.”

    Yet how many times have we all heard these wise words without taking them to heart? How many claim to admire Jefferson and Washington, but conveniently ignore both when it comes to American foreign policy? Since so many apparently now believe Washington and Jefferson were wrong on the critical matter of foreign policy, they should at least have the intellectual honesty to admit it.
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Not You!

Time gets it wrong; Mr. Patrick J. Buchanan gets it right: Person of the Year: Ahmadinejad. Here's why:
    [T]he refusal to select Ahmadinejad reveals an unwillingness to confront hard truths. For putting his face on Time's cover would have done a useful service, jolting America to a painful realization. Not only George Bush, but the United States, its Arab allies and Israel, had a dreadful year, as Iran emerged as first beneficiary of a war fought by this country at a cost of 25,000 dead and wounded.

    What the choice of Ahmadinejad would have said is that Iran is in the ascendancy in the Middle East and it is not inconceivable that the United States is headed for defeat, not only in Iraq but Afghanistan.


    He inspires all who hate Israel and Bush's America. And, according to the Zogby polling today, that is a majority which, in some once-friendly nations, is approaching near unanimity.

    Ahmadinejad, a man of words without real power, is the big winner of 2006, because Bush, America, and Israel were the big losers.
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Pfaff on Dawkins

An excerpt from Atheists and fundamentalism by Mr. William Pfaff:
    Richard Dawkins, of Oxford, describes religion, or the "god delusion," as he calls it, as comparable to the child's fear of the bogeyman under the bed: a mental virus programmed into children at a susceptible age by adults who are already victims of the virus, so that the disease of religious belief propagates itself despite the good sense of scientists like himself, whose arguments fall on deaf ears.

    A comparable deafness actually seems to me to afflict Dawkins and some others in the scientistic camp, perhaps more culpably, since they seem indifferent to a huge and deep dimension of human experience, and ignorant of fundamental issues of philosophical, or pre-philosophical and theological, speculation that concern most people in the course of their lives.

    Their belief that only the measurable exists excludes the primordial question of why anything subject to scientific measurement - or anything else - should exist at all.

    This question surely occurs at one or another time to nearly everyone. It reportedly occurs even to astrophysicists, who find that it is not a subject that offers a prudent career choice, since it tends to lead into the taboo zone of the "Uncaused Cause" (as it was called in medieval philosophical thought).
Mr. Pfaff paraphrases philosopher Ronald Dworkin on "scientism" as "the reductive view that 'nothing that cannot be measured and explained through the methods of the physical and biological sciences exists' - so that 'love, beauty, goodness and freedom must be illusions.'"
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Gloom in South Korea

From Professors Pick Chinese Phrase to Define 2006 by Ms. Kim Rahn:
    The year 2006 is being evaluated as the year when people’s discontent reached a critical and frustrating point, according to a survey.

    In a recent survey, more than 48 percent of 208 professors surveyed selected a four-letter Chinese phrase "milunbulu" (密雲不雨) to sum up South Korea’s economic, political and social situation, according to the Professors’ Times Monday.

    It literally means "thick cloud but no rain," or "thick cloud blankets the sky but it does not rain."

    It illustrates a situation in which people seldom accomplish anything although conditions are mature. In such a situation, people easily get irritated and thus their anger and discontent can explode.

    The phrase is widely viewed as the best in illustrating the current situation of Korea’s politics and economy and Northeast Asia, as everything seems murky with no solution in sight, the survey showed.
Click on the link to learn about the runner up, "kyogaksalu" (矯角殺牛).
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A Ceauşescu-esque End for Kim Jong-il?

Ms. Yang Jung A reports on a lecture by Mr. Takesada Hideshi, researcher for Japan's National Institute for Defense Studies, on "5 scenarios of Kim Jong Il’s regime collapse": "Revolts in North Korea, High Chances of Regime Change".
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Monday, December 18, 2006

Be Prepared

Ms. Sharon Astyk has a comprehensive list of 100 Things You Can Do to Get Ready for Peak Oil. The editor notes that "these suggestions go far beyond the usual stale sustainability tips for consumers" and "offer rich challenges, good food, and meaningful family and community experiences." She lists twenty-five for each season. Below, I'll we post some of my favorites:

    2. Your local feed store has chicks right now - even suburbanites might consider ordering a few bantam hens and keeping them as exotic birds. Worth a shot, no? You can grow some feed in your garden for them, as well as enjoying the eggs.

    7. Check out your local animal shelter and adopt a dog or cat for rodent control, protection and friendship during peak oil.

    22. Take a hard look back over the last winter - if you had had to survive on what you grew and stored last year, would you have made it? Early spring was famously the "starving time" when stores ran out and everyone was hungry. Remember, when you plan your food needs that not much produces early in spring, and in northern climates, A winter’s worth of food must last until May or June.


    1. If you don't can or dehydrate, now is the time to learn. In most climates, you can waterbath can or dehydrate with a minimum of purchased materials, and produce is abundant and cheap. If you don't garden, check out your local farmstand for day-old produce or your farmer's market at the end of the day - they are likely to have large quantities they are anxious to get rid of. Wild fruits are also in abundance, or will be.

    7. Consider either home schooling or engaging in supplemental home Education. Your kids may need a large number of skills not provided by local public schools, and a critical perspective that they certainly won‘t learn in an institutional setting. Teach them.

    18. Encourage pick-up games at your house. Post-peak, children will need to know how to entertain themselves.


    11. Discounts on alcohol are common between Halloween and Christmas - this is an excellent time to stock up on booze for personal, medicinal, trade or cooking. Pick up some vanilla beans as well, and make your own vanilla out of that cheap vodka.

    14. Fall is the cheapest time to buy livestock, either to keep or for butchering. Many 4Hers, and those who simply don't want to keep excess animals over the winter are anxious to find buyers now. In many cases, at auction, I see animals selling for much less than the meat you can expect to obtain from their carcass is worth.

    22. While I wouldn't expect deer or turkey hunting to be a major food source in coming times (I would expect large game to be driven back to near-extinction pretty quickly), it is worth having those skills, and also the skills necessary to catch the less commonly caught small game, like rabbits, squirrel, etc...


    3. The Winter lull is an excellent time to get involved in public affairs. No matter how cynical you tend to be, nothing ever changed without engagement. So get out there. Stand for office. Join. Volunteer.

    12. Grow sprouts on your windowsill.

    23. Memorize a poem or song every week. No matter what happens to you, no one can ever take away the music and words you hold in your mind. You can have them as comfort and pleasure wherever you go, and in whatever circumstances.

    25. Winter is a time of quiet and contemplation. Go outside. Hear the silence. Take pleasure in what you have achieved over the past year. Focus on the abundance of this present, this day, rather than scarcity to come.
The other suggestions are excellent as well.
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Why They Like Señor Chávez

Mr. David R. Henderson, from How to Undercut Chávez Peacefully With Less Military, Not More:
    It's true that Hugo Chávez is a brute angling to become a dictator. But it's also true that Chávez is far more libertarian on one of the main issues affecting South America than his counterpart who heads the U.S. government, George Bush II. George Bush II has continued the policies of his predecessors by threatening to impose sanctions on South American countries, especially Colombia, that don't go along with the U.S. government's drug war. Under the Anti-Drug Abuse Acts of 1986 and 1988, which Bush supports and has made no attempt to repeal, not only U.S. foreign aid, but also "permission" to ship legal goods to the United States, is conditional on the adoption of narcotics-control initiatives in foreign countries. The U.S. government has set itself up as the "certifier" of whether these countries are doing enough to comply. How does a country get certified? Try eradicating your own citizens' coca crops and, if that doesn't work, try letting the U.S. government send in its own agents to try to wipe out their living. On this issue, George Bush II is far more brutish than Hugo Chávez. This one difference, though of minor importance to most Americans, is hugely important to South Americans who live in Peru and Colombia, countries whose societies have almost been destroyed by the U.S.-initiated drug war.
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Great Black & White Hope?

Nope. Mr. Justin Raimondo writes: O-bomb-a and the War Party.
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Wake Up America; It's Already Too Late

Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army (Ret.), tells it like it is in Six brutal truths about Iraq. Click on the link to read and dispel the six myths—here are the introduction and conclusion:
    Mythologies about the war in Iraq are endangering our republic, our rights, and our responsibilities before the world. The longer we fail to dispel them, the higher price we will pay. The following six truths, while perhaps not self-evident to the American public, are nevertheless conspicuously obvious to much the rest of the world.


    The Iraq Study Group’s recommendations could be used to dispel these myths and prompt a rapid withdrawal, but it remains to be seen if either the president and his aides or the Congress can or will use them for that purpose. The “one last big try” aspect of the recommendations, if pursued vigorously, will just make the final price the catastrophe higher. The media, by dispelling the foregoing list of myths, could make that less likely.
[link via]
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A Glimpse into Holy Russia

Whether you do so to listen to the heavenly music or to "ogle the pretty lasses in headscarves" be sure to click on this link to a video post by Singaporean convert to Orthodoxy Constantine: The Beauty of Russian Orthodox Chant.

It makes this Catholic long all the more for the day when Holy Mother Church again breathes with both her lungs.
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Against Factory Farming

If only Prof. Peter Singer cared as much about disabled babies as he does about farm animals*.

Nevertheless, I agree with much of what he says in Pigs, calves, and democracy, in which he writes about two initiatives in Arizona and Florida that he says "restored my belief in the compassion of ordinary Americans." From the former comes "an act to prohibit tethering or confining a pregnant pig, or a calf raised for veal, in a manner that prevents the animal from turning around freely, lying down, and fully extending his or her limbs" and from the latter "a proposal to ban sow stalls."

Realizing perhaps that the term"animal rights" sounds absurd to most of us, including this blogger, Prof. Singer uses the term "animal welfare," which suggests Man's duties toward animals. This is the same terminology used by former Bush speechwriter Matthew Scully, author of Dominion: The Power of Men, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy, in which the issue is addressed from the Christian perspective.

Especially convincing is Prof. Singer's appeal to the past:
    Those who know little about modern factory farming may wonder why such legislation would be necessary. Under farming methods that were universal 50 years ago, and that are still common in some countries today, all animals have the space to turn around and stretch their limbs.

    Today, however, about 90 percent of U.S. breeding sows - the mothers of the pigs that are raised and killed for pork, bacon, and ham - spend most of their lives locked in cages that measure about two feet by seven feet (0.6 meters by 2.2 meters). They are unable to turn around, lie down with their legs fully extended, or move more than a step forward or backward. Other sows are kept on short tethers that also prevent them turning around.

    Veal calves are similarly confined for all their lives in individual stalls that do not permit them to turn around, lie down, or stretch their limbs. These methods are, essentially, labor-saving devices - they make management of the animals easier and enable units with thousands or tens of thousands of animals to employ fewer and less skilled workers. They also prevent the animals from wasting energy by moving around or fighting with each other.
Treating farm animals as "production units" is a gross violation of their animal nature and a sin against responsible stewardship. Mr. Wendell Berry of Kentucky has written extensivley on the ecological and social destruction wrought by agribusiness and the industrialization of farming, most notably perhaps in The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture.

Benthamite efficiency advocates will no doubt raise a stink about factory farming keeping prices low. Perhaps, but at what cost? How much value are we willing to subtract from our food? Factory farming is indeed efficient, efficient at bringing poor quality and diseased meat to as many tables as possible. Given the avialablity of cheap meat, is this story any wonder: Americans Fattest People on Earth: U.S. Census?

I've recently made the switch from buying imported to locally raised beef. Sure the cost is much higher, but the taste is superior and I value it all the more. The best meat I've ever tasted is the freshly slaughtered beef my in-laws procure from their connections in the countryside. Also, rather than indulge in Gluttony, I find myself eating less and leaving the table satisfied rather than stuffed.

Religions understand the importance of food. Saying grace before and after meals is a fundamental part of Christian daily life. Our fellow Abrahamites goe even further with kosher and halal proscriptions, applying especially to meat. American Indians, as we all know, prayed to the Great Spirit after the kill.

We are what we eat, and I'd rather know my meat came from an animal than from a "production unit."

Again, if only Prof. Singer cared as much about disabled babies as he does about farm animals.

*See Death with a Happy Face: Peter Singer’s Bold Defense of Infanticide and A professor of infanticide at Princeton.
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The Coming Dollar Crash and End of Sovereignty

Mr. Roy F. Moore of The Distributist Review in China and the Dollar Crisis:
    Thanks to the Bush presidency continuing the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, shipping manufacturing overseas, promoting “free trade” policies and pushing for a World State run by globalists like himself, the dollar has lost 30% percent of it’s value against the Euro. This weekend, in economic talks with Communist China, the Beijing regime told their American counterparts that the PRC intends to get rid of her US$ 1.1 trillion this weekend. Doing so would smash the weakened dollar, setting off a chain of events that would - literally - create a Second Great Depression.
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Killing Killer Elephants

Reading this story from Mother India, Killer elephant named after Osama slain, I recalled this brilliant essay from Burma, Shooting An Elephant by George Orwell, and was led to this opinion about Iraq, Orwell's Elephant And The Parading Of Qusai and Odai Hussein.
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Korean Buddhist Statuary

Pictured below are the Seokguram Buddha and the Maitreya Bodhisattva (Banga Sayusang), from Buddhist statues convey the spirit of the Koreans:

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Nativity Movie

Mr. M.Z. Forrest, The Discalced Yooper, has a Review of "The Nativity Story", a movie I have no plans to see. He says the movie is, as I expected, "one long exercise of confirming anything that is holy is just plain ordinary."
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Conservatism 101

What the Heck is a Paleoconservative and Why You Should Care may be the title of Dr. Dan E. Phillips' piece, but it is really a concise history of the various streams of American conservative thought. Since there no mention of Rush or his clones, this might be an educational read for ditto-heads. The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel linked to the article a few days ago.
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Straight Talk on the One-Child Policy

MercatorNet's Deputy Editor Carolyn Moynihan takes on China's One Child Policy and the de facto one adopted by much of the rest of Asia and the West in Only child? Sorry, no job. She notes that Chinese employers are increasingly seeking hirees from rural familes exempt from the One Child Policy.

"The family is the original cell of society and brothers and sisters provide a natural introduction to friendship and daily opportunities for character training," she correctly states.

She concludes by addressing the geopolitical ramifications of societies of only children:
    Whether true social harmony, Confucian or otherwise, can be built on a foundation other than the family itself remains to be seen. It is not even certain that a couple of years of boot camp discipline, or any other form of compensation for natural family life, can produce the workforce that China needs to realise its global ambitions. Japan, after all, has a very disciplined workforce, but its economic might is sinking along with its birthrate and the weakening of the family.

    Are there some lessons in this for the rest of the world? After all, the population of most countries has been manipulated almost as thoroughly as that of China through the semi-official "two-child policy" of the last half-century -- an ideal that increasingly defaults to "one". Don't we have our own armies of little emperors, well-drilled in consumerism but ill-prepared for the demands of daily work and responsibility?

    Certain experts in their ivory towers continue to rabbit on about over-population, but it is gradually dawning on the rest of us what "demography is destiny" really means. If our destiny is to be a vibrant economy and social harmony, we had better stop interfering with the family. Otherwise the West will implode with most of Asia leaving the Muslim world to clean up. At least that will solve the war on terror.
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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Family, not Welfare

Having grown up in one, I agree wholeheartedly with what Mr. Stephan Hand writes in this piece: The Extended Family: A Remedy for Hardships and Modern Alienation.

When the State took on many of the traditional duties of the family, e.g. taking care of the young and old, the family withered.
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"Kim Jong-il’s Mother Undressed"

Mr. Robert Koehler reports on a lurid tale almost too bizarre to believe: North Korean nudes for human rights and Jesus?
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The Anti-Imperialist League

Prof. Thomas Woods on the "cross-ideological organization against empire" whose most famous member was Mark Twain: The Anti-Imperialist League and the Battle Against Empire.

[link via]
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The Duties of Man

Duties Before Rights is an excellent interview with Signore Stefano Fontana, director of the Cardinal Van Thuân International Observatory, "instituted to promote the social doctrine of the Church at an international level."

Signore Fontana's answer to the first question:
    The question is not to deny rights, in fact the opposite is true. The point is that we have to understand that without duties rights spiral upon themselves, they annul each other. In the end, the babel of rights leads to the triumph of the right of the strongest. The rights themselves, in order to be truly such, must accept the priority of duty over them. This is the right way to protect rights and the Church has always done that.
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A Late Christmas Present from the Pope?

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Western Confucian NOT Best Asian Blog

I could have told you as much, but the votes are being tallied and One Man Bandwidth is currently in the well-deserved lead for first place in The Asian Blog Award…. According to OMB:
    Just for the record, I viewed the China Law Blog CLB and the Western Confucian WC as the two top blogs competing for the award.
Thank you. Yours truly came in sixth place with 1.01% of the vote. Perhaps I will console myself by reading Democracy: The God That Failed.
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The 2006 Weblog Awards: Best Asian Blog

I'm a Finalist! This is truly an honor, and a surprise. If you like, vote early and often; one vote is allowed every twenty-four hours. The date and time of this post reflect when the polls close, so please scroll down for updated posts.
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Friday, December 15, 2006

The Crunchy Con on Therapy

Mr. Rod Dreher, the Crunchy Con, has three posts on the topic of our therapeutic culture as of late.

In The Sexual Revolution may not be questioned, Mr. Dreher excerpts from a review of a memoir by a campus health professional who chronicles the damage the "sexual Jacobins" have inflicted upon young women.

In "The Triumph of the Therapeutic", he discusses the 40th anniversary edition of the work of that title by Prof. Philip Rieff.

In Therapeutic triumphs in high school, he suggests that "we're so afraid that our kids are going to feel bad for failing at something that we're making them crazy."
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Huntington Redux

Ms. Dominique Moïsi, from The global clash of emotions:
    The Western world displays a culture of fear, the Arab and Muslim worlds are trapped in a culture of humiliation, and much of Asia displays a culture of hope.
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Peak Metal and Coinage

"Given rising metal prices, the pennies and nickels in your pocket are worth more melted down than their face value — and that has the government worried:" U.S. Mint bans melting pennies, nickels. Your pennies and nickels are now worth 1.73 and 8.34 cents respectively.
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A Soldier's Message to America

From a 21-year career military man: Protect Your Own Freedom. Be sure to read the whole thing. Here's a taste:
    I do not protect your freedom - there is no nation on Earth capable of invading the United States (except Mexico). You could do without me and a million more like me.

    I can do nothing about your congress, president or courts as they strip away more and more of your freedom each day. I suppose I could sail home and lead a military coup - hold power for a short time - and reestablish a democratic republic based upon natural law, true federalism (states' rights), individual rights/responsibility, and separation of powers. But really - who would actually follow me in such a quest?

    Folks should stop thinking that other people protect their freedoms - so long as they hold such a view they will continue to lose those freedoms. It is time decent Americans stood up for what is theirs.
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Nationalized Healthcare?

"National Socialist medical policy thus offers an excellent case study of what happens if a nation embraces the slogan that the common good is higher than the individual good," concludes Mr. David Gordon in The National Socialist Medical Welfare State.
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Stay the Course?

Carl von Clausewitz wouldn't say so, suggests Mr. Byron W. King in Unconventional war strategies.
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Korean Leaders in the News

As a South Korean takes the helm of the World Government, an heir apparent may have emerged up North: Ban Takes Oath as UN Secretary-General and Successor of Kim Jong Il Chosen?
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Thursday, December 14, 2006

An Alternative Energy Source

A 50-megawatt plant built on a garbage dump: South Korea builds world's largest garbage-fuelled power plant.
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"Why do you ask me these questions at five o'clock?"

The Democrats restore confidence in the leadership of the most powerful country in history: House intelligence chair calls al Qaeda Shi'ite. Here's the story:
    Is al Qaeda a Sunni organization, or Shi'ite?

    The question proved nettlesome for Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, incoming Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

    "Predominantly -- probably Shi'ite," he said in a recent interview with Congressional Quarterly, a periodical that covers political and legislative issues in Congress.

    Unfortunately for Reyes, the al Qaeda network led by Osama bin Laden is comprehensively Sunni and subscribes to a form of Sunni Islam known for not tolerating theological deviation.

    In fact, U.S. officials blame al Qaeda's former leader in Iraq, the late Abu Musab al Zarqawi, for the surge in sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shi'ites.

    But Reyes' problems in the interview didn't end with al Qaeda.

    Asked to describe the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Congressional Quarterly said Reyes responded: "Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah," and then said, "Why do you ask me these questions at five o'clock?"
If folks like Messrs. Reyes and Bush are the most qualified people the Republicrats can offer, is it any wonder that we find ourselves in the mess we're in, trying to enforce peace in the proxy war between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran that is developing in the vacuum we created?
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Soy Beans and Feminization

This might explain the "Flower Beautiful Man" (꽃美男) phenomenon here in Korea: Soy is making kids 'gay' by Mr. Jim Rutz.

For the record, given the source (WorldNetDaily), I'm a bit skeptical, but here's the explanation:
    Unfortunately, when you eat or drink a lot of soy stuff, you're also getting substantial quantities of estrogens.


    Research is now showing that when you feed your baby soy formula, you're giving him or her the equivalent of five birth control pills a day.

    Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality.
Soy is bad for girls, as well as boys:
    If he is a she, brace yourself for watching her reach menarche as young as seven, robbing her of years of childhood. If he is a boy, it's far worse: He may not reach puberty till much later than normal.


    Worse, there's now scientific evidence that estrogen ingredients in soy products may be boosting the rapidly rising incidence of leukemia in children.
All is not lost; doenjangjjigae is still okay:
    Soy sauce is fine. Unlike soy milk, it's perfectly safe because it's fermented, which changes its molecular structure. Miso, natto and tempeh are also OK, but avoid tofu.
[link via Dappled Things]
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Old Testament Violence

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Despicable Atheism

OhmyNews International's Mr. Nicolas van der Leek attempts to answer "[w]hy the godless are despised" in Attacks on Atheism, building the standard straw men about religious wars and morality motivated by fear of punishment. He goes as far to dismiss the anti-Christianism of Hilter and the Atheism of Stalin, implicating instead the fact that they were born Catholic and Orthodox respectively.

Hitler, Stalin, Mao and their ilk were all fulfillments of the Dostoyevskian prophecy, "Without God, all is permissible." State Atheism leads to gas chambers and gulags.

The number of Christians alone killed by Atheists in the 20th Century far exceeds the death toll in all the religious wars of world history: 32,000,000 Christians Killed by Atheists. Add to that number the tens of millions of others of different faiths or political persussions and you get an idea of why people should be very wary of Atheism.

These words written over three hundred years ago explain why in order to preserve Civilization, there should be no toleration of Atheism:
    Lastly, those are not all to be tolerated who deny the being of God. Promises, covenants, and oaths, which are the bonds of human society, can have no hold upon an atheist. The taking away of God, though but even in thought, dissolves all; besides also, those that by their atheism undermine and destroy all religion, can have no pretence of religion whereupon to challenge the privilege of toleration. (John Locke, Treatise of Civil Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration
On the personal level, Atheism acts as a crutch. It gives folks a prepackaged worldview, and saves them from having to think for themselves or to seek answers to or even ask life's difficult questions. Atheism is the opiate of the egotistical.
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It's the Oil, Stupid!

"The only way for an overall solution to the Iraqi tragedy would be for the Bush administration to give up the oil," writes the Asia Times Online's Mr. Pepe Escobar in US staying the course for Big Oil in Iraq.
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Is the Pope a Peaknik?

Perhaps. From comes this story: Pope calls energy alternatives a source of peace.

Of course, this is not an infallible ex cathedra pronouncement. But neither should it be lightly dismissed, as it inevitably will by the same Amercanist neocon cafeteria Catholics who dismissed the antiwar messages of this Pontiff and his predecessor.
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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Dear Leader and El Máximo Líder

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Another Reason to See Apocalypto

The neocons hate it: "Gibson's comparison between Mayan and American civilization is deeply offensive," says's Mr. Ben Shapiro in Mel Gibson's Apocalyptic Stupidity.

When the same work of art manages to offend both neocons and politically correct liberals, you know it's got to be good. This film, by the most public Traditionalist Catholic, seems to be the film for Palæoconservatives, Palæolibertarians, Reactionary Radicals, Peakniks, and their fellow travellers.
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Chamorro Resistance

    Japan and South Korea make noises, the people there antagonize the U.S. military, so the U.S. responds... They say you don't want us there, we'll go to a place where people have no say over what we do, and that place is Guam.
─ Mr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua, quoted by Mr. Aaron Glantz in Natives of Guam Decry US Expansion Plan
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The 1937 Conservative Manifesto

Dr. Troy Kickler reports on a remarkable bi-partisan initiative from sixty-nine years ago: Taking on FDR: Senator Josiah Bailey and the 1937 Conservative Manifesto. Here are is ten points:
    1. Immediate revision of taxes on capital gains and undistributed profits in order to free investment funds.

    2. Reduced expenditures to achieve a balanced budget, and thus, to still fears deterring business expansion.

    3. An end to coercion and violence in relations between capital and labor.

    4. Opposition to "unnecessary" government competition with private enterprise.

    5. Recognition that private investment and enterprise require a reasonable profit.

    6. Safeguarding the collateral upon which credit rests.

    7. Reduction of taxes, or if this proved impossible at the moment, firm assurance of no further increases.

    8. Maintenance of state rights, home rule, and local self-government, except where proved definitely inadequate.

    9. Economical and non-political relief to unemployed with maximum local responsibility.

    10. Reliance upon the American form of government and the American system of enterprise.
I am especially in favor of the last three points, as they are in keeping with The Principle of Subsidiarity, which "holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization."
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Kathleen Battle/Christopher Parkening - Gounod's Ave Maria

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Some Erhu Music

The Erhu is a two-stringed Chinese fiddle. This first piece is the famous "Second Spring Reflecting the Moon" ("二泉映月") composed by Blind Abing, in my opinion one of the loveliest melodies ever written. Here it is performed by a soloist backed by a Chinese classical orchestra:
This second piece is a masterful performance of Nikolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee by an erhu soloist backed by a Western orchestra:
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On the Juke Box

A 20th Century composition perfomed by Europe's eight-century-old boys' choir: Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols sung by the Escolania de Montserrat.

The War Requiem by the same composer, intersperses the Missa pro defunctis with the antiwar poetry of Wilfred Owen (1893-1918). See the Text of the War Requiem.
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The Vatican and Gypsies

As a Romani quadroon, this story peaked my interest: Pastoral Care of Gypsies Being Discussed. Here is the story in its entirety:
    A meeting began in the Vatican for national directors who oversee the pastoral care of Gypsies.

    The meeting, which opened today, is focusing on relations with the itinerant population that numbers 36 million worldwide, half of them in India.

    The purpose of the meeting is to study and stimulate the implementation of the "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of Gypsies," the first document of the Church, in its universal dimension, dedicated to gypsies and published on Dec. 8, 2005, by the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.

    The organizing Vatican dicastery stated in a communiqué that the meeting is being attended by the national directors of all those countries in which there is a specific pastoral program for Gypsies. Included are European countries, the United States, Mexico, Brazil and India.

    Participating in the meeting for the first time are representatives from Bangladesh, Chile, the Philippines and Indonesia.

    The Gypsies, known by different names, such as Romany, constitute a specific ethnic group which probably originated in northwestern India. In Europe alone their number oscillates between 9 million and 12 million, primarily in Eastern Europe.

    In his greeting to the participants, Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the pontifical council, expressed his observations, reflections and ideas on the guidelines, in an effort to identify the most appropriate ways to disseminate it and the correct interpretation and implementation of its content.
[link via open book]
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Our Lady of Guadalupe ─ Exterminatrix of Barbarism

Mr. John-Henry Westen on human sacrifice and the Patroness of the Unborn: Gibson's Apocalypto Connection to Spanish-Language Film "Guadalupe". The author gets his pre-Columbian empires mixed up, but nevertheless makes a valid point.
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Kim Crow

Mr. Christopher Carpenter reports: No Foreigners Allowed: Discrimination Legal in Korea. I've never once experienced anything but positive discrimination in ten years, but of course I'm not Black or Southeast Asian. Also, I have short hair and dress conservatively ─ I do not own a pair of jeans.

Many of the White English "teachers" I've come across who complain about Korean "discrimination" ─ while at the same time rejoicing at finally having achieved victim status ─ believe Koreans recoil at the color of their skin, not at their dreadlocks, tattoos, facial piercings, or filthy clothes. Westerners who dress to offend and complain when Koreans take offense are like the girl in my class who complained that when she wears a miniskirt her male schoolmates look at her legs.
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Korean Catholic Nuns' Contribution to Science

    By becoming nuns, we made the difficult choice not to have children. By donating our brains, we can help solve the mystery of Alzheimer’s disease, and give the gift of life to the next generation in another way.
─ from Nuns Devoted to Alzheimer Research
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Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Iraq

Mr. Dahr Jamail reports on the "hopelessness and despair, and the pervading belief that 'today is better than tomorrow'" in Iraq as a living hell.

Κύριε, ελέησον.
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Mark Shea on the Irrationality of Atheists

Some excerpts from Things I Don't Understand About Atheists:
    One of the many things I don't understand about atheists is their curious insistence on saying the religion is a purely natural phenomenon, coupled with their great outrage at religion.


    One of the consequences of their view is that all human thought is, at the end of the day, purely a consequence of irrational biochemical forces in the brain, not of Reason. Yet they have staked their claim on a faith in Reason, and most particularly, in Reason vs. Religion. Their dilemma seems to me to be summarized by another conflicted atheist, JBS Haldane who, when he wasn't fudging the data to fit with his faith in Stalin, was observing, "If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motion of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true... and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms."


    And, of course, the big question is: if religious thought is simply the product of preordained biochemical programming (given that all thought is simply caused by the movement of molecules in the brain and is not the product of a rational created spirit which is linked to, but not bound by, the brain), why should we think that the thoughts of Dennett and Dawkins and Harris are not just as much the irrational epiphenomena of their particular brain molecules doing their irrational thing?
The folks who smugly call themselves The Brights ain't too bright, it seems. The Psalmist was on to something when he began Psalm 13 with the following: "The fool hath said in his heart: There is no God" (emphasis mine).
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Female Soldiers

    Tell me - do just societies send women and girls to foreign lands to fight and die?
─ Palæocon milblogger "El Cid" remembering Megan McClung, killed last week in Al-Anbar Province.
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Here's to your health!

Men live longer on four beers a day, Catholic uni researchers find

An English chemistry professor once told me that twenty four Guinns and an egg had all the daily nutrients needed to sustain a human being:

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"From Vulcans to Vultures in Iraq"

Prof. William S. Lind on the ISG, from Knocking Opportunity:
    The Iraq Study Group Report is not a recipe for defeat, but an acknowledgment of defeat. Therein lies its value, and its function. It offers the Bush administration the bi-partisan fig leaf it needs to cover its defeat in Iraq and our inevitable withdrawal.
[link via The New Beginning]
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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.