Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dr. Ron Paul (R-Tx) in Eight Minutes and Fifteen Seconds

The non-interventionist speaks on the House floor about just war, foreign policy, economic principles, the Constitution, and patriotism:

Bookmark and Share

Three at Three from Antiwar.com

Chuck Hagel and the Return of the Old Right- by Justin Raimondo begins with this quote from the Senator:
    I think these issues are starting to redefine the political landscape. You are going to see alliances and relationships develop that are based on this war. You are going to see a reorientation of political parties.
...and ends with this postscript by the author:
    I can hardly wait to hear the groans and squeals of the "antiwar" Left, or at least a vocal and intensely partisan faction of it that will denounce Hagel as "reactionary" and unacceptable. Some people will prefer a pro-war Democrat like Hillary Clinton, who denounces the Bush White House for supposedly being too soft on Iran, to an antiwar Republican such as Hagel, who so clearly sees the danger of this war spreading beyond the borders of Iraq.
Hysteria at Herzliya - by Pat Buchanan ends with this reality check:
    Not once since its 1979 revolution has Iran started a war. In any war with America, or Israel with its hundreds of nuclear weapons, Iran would not be annihilating anyone. Iran would be risking annihilation.

    Not only has Iran no nukes, the Guardian reported yesterday, "Iran's efforts to produce highly enriched uranium … are in chaos." That centrifuge facility at Natanz is "archaic, prone to breakdown, and lacks the materials for industrial-scale production."

    There is no need for war. Yet, Israelis, neocons, and their agents of influence are trying to whip us into one. Senators who are seeking absolution for having voted to take us into Iraq ought to be confronted and asked just what they are doing to keep us out of a war in Iran.
The Crime of the Century - by Paul Craig Roberts includes this indictment:
    The invasion of Iraq under false pretenses comprises solid grounds for impeaching both Bush and Cheney and for turning them over to the War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague. Under the Nuremberg standard, to commit unprovoked aggression is a war crime.

    Among the consequences of Bush's monstrous war crime are the deaths of tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, the destruction of Iraqi civilian infrastructure, the outbreak of civil war between Iraqi Sunnis and Shi'ites, the spreading of this sectarian conflict throughout the Middle East, and the consequent destabilization of the region.

    Try to imagine all the lives, careers, hopes, and families that Bush has destroyed. Try to imagine the fate of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees, the departure of educated and skilled Iraqis from Iraq, the ultimate horror of civil war that is only beginning.
Bookmark and Share

War and Sports Metaphors

Mr. Daniel Larison of Eunomia offers this Sen. Richard Lugar quote in his post, And I Thought Iraq Would Be Decided By The Running Game:
    Some commentators have compared the Bush plan to a "Hail Mary" pass in football — a desperate heave deep down the field by a losing team at the end of the game. Actually, a far better analogy for the Bush plan is a draw play on third down with 20 yards to go in the first quarter. The play does have a chance of working if everything goes perfectly, but it is more likely to gain a few yards and set up a punt on the next down, after which the game can be continued under more favorable circumstances
Whenever I hear these kind of statements─and we hear them quite often─my question is, how is the football-ignorant foreign media going to translate this?

Going to a deeper level, Mr. Sean Goncalves, writing for AlterNet, explains "[w]hy sports metaphors don't work for war" in Are You Ready For Some Football? He ends by quoting Russell Baker: "In America, it is sport that is the opiate of the masses."
Bookmark and Share

A Muslim Schindler

The story of Tunisian aristocrat Khaled Abdelwahhab, the First Arab nominated for Holocaust honor:
    Abdelwahhab served as an interlocutor between the population of the coastal town of Mahdia and German forces, Satloff said.

    When he heard that German officers were planning to rape Odette Boukris, a local Jewish woman, he gathered her family and several other Jewish families in Mahdia — around two dozen people — and took them to his farm outside town. He hid them for four months, until the occupation ended.
Bookmark and Share

"A Blunder of Hitlerian Proportions"

So said retired US Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor of Mr. Bush's "war against all" in Iraq: Bush's three-front blunder.

I guess this answers Mr. Jim Lobe's question: Who Is the Enemy?
Bookmark and Share

Syria, Torture, and Diplomacy

I don't get it: We can't talk with the Syrians to help bring about peace in Iraq, but we can get them to torture a Candadian citizen for us: Canada offers $8.9 million, apology to torture victim / Man wrongly IDd as extremist was sent to U.S., then Syria.
Bookmark and Share

Iran Roundup

The Guarduan's Simon Tisdall, from Bush 'spoiling for a fight' with Iran:
    US officials in Baghdad and Washington are expected to unveil a secret intelligence "dossier" this week detailing evidence of Iran's alleged complicity in attacks on American troops in Iraq. The move, uncomfortably echoing Downing Street's dossier debacle in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, is one more sign that the Bush administration is building a case for war.
Yep. I heard the report on the news today and knew just what it meant.

Once bitten, twice shy, it seems some of our leaders see what's happening: Senators warn against war with Iran.

Writing for the Asia Time Online, Leon Hadar notes that with both the Israelis and the Saudis pushing for an American attack, The writing's on the wall for Iran.

This WaPo* article notes that our Arab allies are not happy: With Iran Ascendant, U.S. Is Seen at Fault.

*Use BugMeNot.com to bypass registration.
Bookmark and Share

Civil Disobedience Against the Equality Act

Forwarded by a commenter: Church: we'll make gay rights martyrs. That's an unfortunate headline; here's the story:
    In a change of tactics, Church officials now say they will not close down adoption agencies as a result of new laws forcing them to deal with applications from gay couples.

    Instead, they will deliberately break the law in order to bring a case to court. The Church believes it could then challenge a guilty verdict through Article 9 of the Human Rights Act, which upholds the freedom of religious expression.
I'm afraid this is only the beginning:
    The Church is now also warning of other examples where its members may find themselves breaking the new legislation. Once passed, the Equality Act, will ban any discrimination in the provision of services on grounds of sexuality.

    The spokesman added: "We will see priests prosecuted for saying they are not renting the hall for a same-sex celebration." He went on: "What about the Christian bookshop which refuses to stock gay literature? They will all be breaking the law."
The Equality Act! Did ever a law have a more Jacobinical name? How about some real equality: no special protection?
Bookmark and Share

Sidebar Overhaul

Last night, I made some changes to this blog's sidebar. I added two new quotes and, for the sake of brevity, removed the following ones:

    To act without clear understanding, to form habits without investigation, to follow a path all one's life without knowing where it really leads -- such is the behavior of the multitude.
    Mencius

    But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice and madness, without tuition or restraint.
    Edmund Burke

    We have heard enough of liberty and the rights of man; it is high time to hear something of the duties of men and the rights of authority.
    Orestes Augustus Brownson

    Order is not pressure which is imposed on society from without, but an equilibrium which is set up from within.
    José Ortega y Gasset

    Tradition! We scarcely know the word anymore. We are afraid to be either proud of our ancestors or ashamed of them. We scorn nobility in name and in fact. We cling to a bourgeois mediocrity which would make it appear we are all Americans, made in the image and likeness of George Washington.
    Dorothy Day

    When, I wonder, did we in America ever get into this idea that freedom means having no boundaries and no limits? I think it began on the 6th of August 1945 at 8:15 am when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima... Somehow or other, from that day on in our American life, we say we want no limits and no boundaries.
    Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Also, I added a slew of fine blogs:If I have forgotten to include your blog, just let me know with a comment or an email.
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Left Is Losing Its Bogeyman

Mr. Darryl Hart reports that "[w]ith a new generation of leaders preaching social justice over cultural concerns, the Religious Right may not remain an automatic Republican constituency:" Leftward Christian Soldiers.

Who now will hardcore cultural leftists use to scare the American populace?
Bookmark and Share

Misson (Almost) Accomplished

From TCRNews Musings come links to these articles from last year: Bush's Petro-Cartel Almost Has Iraq's Oil and Bush's Petro-Cartel Almost Has Iraq's Oil (Part Two).

Turning to the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel: "So if -- according to plan -- oil was the end all along, was civil war the means?" asks Johnny Anonymus in Effing It up Old School. Scary thought, that.

Shortly after the war began, I told my students that I was opposed to it, but that I didn't think it was about oil. I believed that our rulers were genuinely convinced─wrongly, of course─they could succeed in remaking the world in America's image. I dismissed talk of oil as the Left's reduction of everything to economic terms. It's beginning to look like the Left was right about this all along, as Messrs. Bush, Cheney, and Rumseld prepare to laugh themselves all the way to the bank.
Bookmark and Share

Conformity, Monopoly, and Piracy

Mr. Michael Kanellos, editor at large at CNET News.com, offers this interesting article About South Korea's 'dependency' on Microsoft, in which he quotes a Korean blogger describing a situation my fellow Mac-users here will be quite familar with:
    This nation is also a unique monoculture where 99.9% of all the computer users are on Microsoft Windows. This nation is a place where Apple Macintosh users cannot bank online, make any purchases online, or interact with any of the nation's e-government sites online. In fact, Linux users, Mozilla Firefox users, and Opera users are also banned from any of these types of transactions...
Mr. Kanellos on this situation:
    To some, this looks like the ugly face of monopolism and bad decisions by government leaders and large corporations. But there is actually a much simpler reason why people in South Korea have so much Microsoft software.

    They steal it.
Mr. Kanellos' site is acting rather slow today. Perhaps South Korea's infamous keyboard warriors, seeing their nation slandered in this way, are setting about to shut down Mr. Kanellos' site ─ using pirated Microsoft products, of course.
Bookmark and Share

Abstract Art and Atonal Music

"Spengler" of the Asia Times Online on why people can pretend to stomach the former but not the latter, from Admit it - you really hate modern art:
    Why is it that the audience for modern art is quite happy to take in the ideological message of modernism while strolling through an art gallery, but loath to hear the same message in the concert hall? It is rather like communism, which once was fashionable among Western intellectuals. They were happy to admire communism from a distance, but reluctant to live under communism.

    When you view an abstract expressionist canvas, time is in your control. You may spend as much or as little time as you like, click your tongue, attempt to say something sensible and, if you are sufficiently pretentious, quote something from the Wikipedia write-up on the artist that you consulted before arriving at the gallery. When you listen to atonal music, for example Schoenberg, you are stuck in your seat for a quarter of an hour that feels like many hours in a dentist's chair. You cannot escape. You do not admire the abstraction from a distance. You are actually living inside it. You are in the position of the fashionably left-wing intellectual of the 1930s who made the mistake of actually moving to Moscow, rather than admiring it at a safe distance.
He makes a good point. I can appreciate "the random dribbles of Jackson Pollack," having grown up with several of them in my hometown's art museum, but I cannot really enjoy them. In the same way, I appreciate but do not really like Schoenberg and Free Jazz. However, listening to Bach or New Orleans Jazz or seeing the work of El Greco or Art Deco buildings really moves the spirit.
Bookmark and Share

Separate State and Church!

From Britain overrules Church on gay adoption:
    Britain will not exempt Catholic adoption agencies from a new anti-discrimination law that the agencies say would not allow them to refuse to place children with gay couples, Prime Minister Tony Blair said.
This looks more appalling than it may be; my reading of the article leads me to believe that only agencies that receive public funds will be affected by the law.
Bookmark and Share

Monday, January 29, 2007

Cheap Living and Old Technology

Mr. Sergei Boukhonine has a delightful article on something I've been doing for decades, avoiding state-of-the-art gadgetry and getting by with yesterday's technologies: Technical Obsolescence and the Art of Living on the Cheap.
Bookmark and Share

Plastinate Porn

"They'll call this necrophilic display 'education' and 'science,' and they'll call anybody who objects a 'prude' and a 'fundamentalist,'" commnets Mr. Rod Dreher in his post about Western Civilization's next sign of reversion to barbarism, Weimar-arama.
Bookmark and Share

Impeach for Peace and Freedom!

Jodin Morey of Impeach Bush for Peace offers a very detailed and well-documented two-part chronicle of the president's high crimes and misdemeanors:If his predecessor was impeachable─and I am convinced that he was─the current president is immensely more so.
Bookmark and Share

Sunday, January 28, 2007

South Korea to Be Second Only to the United States

From Annual Income of 159,000 Households Tops $200,000:
    U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs said that South Korea's per capita GDP will become the second largest in the world after the United States by 2050, predicting a solid economic expansion for Asia's fourth largest economy over the next few decades.

    It expected Korea's per capita GDP to reach $81,000 in 2050, outpacing Japan with $80,490 and Britain with $79,200. The U.S. is projected to record the largest per-capita GDP of $89,660.

    The investment bank said that Korea's income level will become one of the world's highest as its economy will continue to expand, powered by next-generation growth engines, including bio-tech and high value-added service industries.
With so many variables, I'm skeptical both that the US will remain number one ─ if it is now ─ and that South Korea will become number two.
Bookmark and Share

The World Loses a Writer

Some selections from the diary of Lee Jeong-pyo, 13, a sixth grader at Deungchon Elementary School: Leukemia Victim Leaves Diary Behind. May he rest in peace.
Bookmark and Share

Culture of Death Watch

Bookmark and Share

Mr. Bush's Third War

In Bush Is About to Attack Iran, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts quotes General Leonid Ivashov, vice president of the Academy on Geopolitical Affairs and former Joint Chief of Staff of the Russian Armies:
    Within weeks from now, we will see the informational warfare machine start working. The public opinion is already under pressure. There will be a growing anti-Iranian militaristic hysteria, new information leaks, disinformation, etc.... The probability of a US aggression against Iran is extremely high. It does remain unclear, though, whether the US Congress is going to authorize the war. It may take a provocation to eliminate this obstacle (an attack on Israel or the US targets including military bases). The scale of the provocation may be comparable to the 9/11 attack in NY. Then the Congress will certainly say 'Yes' to the US president.
The general says the attack will come by April.
Bookmark and Share

Yet Another Scathing Review

"Richard Dawkin's tale, full of sound and fury, raises questions about his own grip on reality," says Mr. Phillip Elias, University of New South Wales medical student, in his review: The God Delusion. Mr. Elias cites other scathing reviews from people who might normally be in Prof. Dawkins' corner:
    Dawkins’ closest ally, Daniel Dennett, sees some use in religion, and is not convinced that it should be “hastened to extinction.” Physicist Lawrence Krauss, writing in Nature, wishes that author would just “play to his strengths” and avoid sermonising. Marxist Terry Eagleton describes Dawkins as “appallingly bitchy…theologically illiterate” and argues that he doesn’t even speak for all atheists. In fact he only really represents the “English middle-class liberal rationalist”.

    Richard Kirk gives the most scathing review, describing the book as “an exercise in contempt…an ill-edited and garrulous diatribe.” The constant criticism is that Dawkins doesn’t know his enemy -- he sets a straw man in its place. But this isn’t the end of it. Dawkins sets up a straw man, and levels his lance at the hay bales in the next paddock. He then curses the stable hand for putting them there and abuses the livestock for causing the whole ruckus. This quixotic behaviour is exemplified in his central argument. Dawkins believes that the so-called God Hypothesis -- that “there exists a superhuman, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us” -- is scientifically testable. Science, in the modern sense, is the study of the natural or physical. So how can it test a hypothesis that is, by his own definition, supernatural and metaphysical?
Bookmark and Share

Friday, January 26, 2007

Coup d'État in North Korea?

The Lost Nomad has the rumor: Is Kim Jong-Il under house arrest after a power struggle?

North Korea being not exactly an open society, the details remain sketchy, and the useful idiots that form South Korea's government have denied the rumors. There have been rumors of an imminent overthrow for some time now, and it was said the nuke test was the Dear Leader's attempt to get the military back on his side.

My impression is that there are sensible minds in the North Korean leadership who do not think it is a good idea for their country to remain in isolation and poverty just so as to maintain the Kim personality cult. Could the Dear leader's removal have made it possible for the latest "breakthrough" in negotiations between the United States and North Korea in Germany?
Bookmark and Share

Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jin-suk Interviewed

Sandro Magister reports on an interview with His Eminence conducted last year by Gianni Cardinale: Mission Asia: The Laboratory is South Korea.

Mr. Magister begins with some background about the Church in South Korea:
    Another country of the Far East in which the Catholic Church is especially vigorous is South Korea. The faithful there have almost doubled in number over the past ten years, and now make up 10 percent of the population. Here, unlike in Vietnam and China, religious freedom is guaranteed, there is a good standard of living, and the challenges facing the Church are more like those found in the West.
His Eminence elaborates on the "major challenges" facing the Church in South Korea:
    I think of the defense of human life beginning with conception, and of clear opposition to any attempt at genetic manipulation. Unfortunately, our country has become famous throughout the world for the activities of a pseudoscientist who manipulated more than two thousand embryos for research that turned out to be phony. Another challenge that our society and our Church are facing concerns the family. Currently, one marriage out of three ends in divorce after just three years. Not to mention the problem of young people besieged by a mass culture saturated with sex and violence. With respect to these issues, the Catholic Church in Seoul, but also in other places, is on the front line of spreading the Gospel and defending those Christian values that are so valuable for personal happiness, but also for harmonious coexistence.
Later, he describes what the late Holy father termed "The Church of Silence" in the north:
    Before 1949, there were 55,000 Catholics there. When the persecution broke out, many were able to escape, but many were killed. Today some say there are a thousand Catholics there, while others assert there could be three thousand. There is no news of any surviving priests, while the Annuario Pontificio continues to list as “missing” the bishop of Pyongyang during that period, bishop Francis Hong Yong-ho, who would be one hundred years old now. The Holy See does this to draw attention to the dramatic situation that the North Korean Church has experienced, and continues to experience.
He concludes with these words about United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon:
    He is an extraordinary person. He has a deep religious sensibility, although he doesn’t belong to any religion. He has said, however, that if he had to practice one he would choose Catholicism. Maybe that’s because an uncle on his father’s side, who was a capable colleague of mine when I was bishop of Cheongiu and who was outspokenly proud of his nephew, was a fervent Catholic.
Bookmark and Share

Antiwar Republicans

The WaPo* has this profile in courage: Hagel Ponders White House Run As War Criticism Raises His Profile. While Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) is now right about the war and many other issues, Dr. Ron Paul (R-Texas) was always right about the war and is right about almost everything else.

*Use BugMeNot.com to bypass registration.
Bookmark and Share

Three O'Clock Antiwar.com Links

Homage to Herzliya- by Justin Raimondo: "The Lobby wants war with Iran."

Strategic Errors of Monumental Proportions - by Lt. Gen. William E. Odom (Ret.): "Text of testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 18 January 2007."

The Forgotten American Dead - by Tom Engelhardt: "Rural America Pays the President's Price in Iraq."
Bookmark and Share

Atheism's Death Knell

Some excerpts from The New Intolerance:
    Atheism is in trouble. You can tell because its most eloquent spokesmen are receiving icily critical reviews in the very mainstream press that Christians often dismiss for liberal bias.

    Take, for example, the reviews of Richard Dawkins's book The God Delusion that appeared in The New York Times, the London Review of Books, and Harper's. No one would mistake those journals for members of the Evangelical Press Association, but the Times reviewer, science and philosophy writer Jim Holt, upbraided Dawkins for not fully appreciating the intellectual force of classical arguments for God, especially in light of the more sophisticated versions presented by today's theistic philosophers: "Shirking the intellectual hard work," Holt wrote, "Dawkins prefers to move on to parodic 'proofs' that he has found on the internet."

    [....]

    You can also tell that atheism is in trouble because it is becoming increasingly intolerant. In the past, atheists (or secular humanists or freethinkers) were often condescendingly tolerant of their less-enlightened fellow citizens. While they disdained religion, they treated their religious neighbors as good-hearted, if misguided.

    But now key activists are urging a less civil approach.... This newly aggressive mood (Dawkins calls religious education "brainwashing" and "child abuse") is in danger of undermining civil society.

    CT columnist David Aikman recently sounded a warning in a commentary for the Trinity Forum. Sam Harris, he noted, not only advocates a shift from viewing religion as harmless to treating it as dangerous, but he also wants to suppress religion. Aikman evoked images of Mao's China and Stalin's Russia as the future of America—if liberals ever abandon true liberalism.

    Make no mistake; it is that potential abandonment of liberalism that Harris and Dawkins are calling for. Dawkins told the forum in La Jolla, "I am utterly fed up with the respect that we—all of us, including the secular among us—are brainwashed into bestowing on religion." In a blog post cited by Aikman, Harris wrote that he is as "wary" of his fellow liberals as he is of "demagogues on the Christian Right."

    [....]

    The new atheistic rhetoric betrays panic, another sign of weakness. Atheism knows that it is losing both arguments and the global tide. Stories of the global vibrancy of religion are everywhere trumping the grand narrative of evolutionary progress. And the best philosophers are still taking the God-hypothesis seriously.
Let me offer my own evolutionary take on the demise of Atheism: Atheism appeared as a mutant gene from time to time throughout human history, but never really propigated itself widely among the human species until the 19th Century. This mutant gene had its heyday in the 20th Century, in places like the Soviet Union, Revolutionary Mexico, Republican Spain, Nazi Germany, and Maoist China. Those with the mutant gene seemed at this point to be a superior strain as they set about to exterminate those without the gene. Survival of the fittest.

The mutant gene then spread to the postmodern West, where it proved itself to be an evolutionary deadend as individuals with the mutant strain set about to abort, sterilize, contracept, and euthanize themselves out of existence. Now, we are witnessing one last pathetic outbust as the moribund mutant gene passes on to the "dustbin of history" along with the ideas it inspired.

[link via TCRNews Musings]
Bookmark and Share

Distributism in Korea

Mr. Roy F. Moore of The Distributist Review has a post today on the above: South Korean Small Shops Stand Together. Notes Mr. Moore:
    The small shops and markets of South Korea are doing the right thing in joining forces to fight for their local economy and - though they may not know it - for a Distributist future for their country. May they succeed in their efforts. Let us encourage them to work hard and prosper in those efforts.
I've been doing my part by shopping much more at the small shops and markets of Korea these days. I find it a much more pleasant experience than the big shops with their crowds and parking problems. One can get in and get out a lot more easily than at a big box.

In his post, Mr. Moore links to this article: Smaller stores try to survive amid big dogs. From the article:
    "Small stores damaged by large chain stores are now being killed by the ssm’s (super super markets)," said Kim Gyeong-bae, temporary chairman for the committee and president of the Korea Supermarket Association. "Large chain stores are aggressively establishing their affiliate ssm’s. This is ruining the entire distribution industry and driving us to the streets, leaving us without anything."
Bookmark and Share

Sacred Music Friday

Sandrine Piau & l'Ensemble Amarillis interpretent les Motets de Vivaldi:


Sandrine Piau sings Vivaldi (I)
The "Alleluia" from the Motet RV626 "In furore iustissimae irae"


Sandrine Piau sings Vivaldi (II)
The Aria "Spirat anguis inter flores" from Motet RV630 "Nulla in mundo pax sincera"
Bookmark and Share

An Englishman's Protest Against Britishness

"Don't Call Me British," says Mr. Peter Hinchliffe, beginning his fine article thusly:
    In the seventh decade of my life I've decided I no longer choose to describe myself as British.

    I'm an Englishman born and bred, happy to print ENGLISH in the nationality identification box.
Click on the link to read the rest.
Bookmark and Share

Be a Patriot ─ Work Less and Make More Babies

Mr. William Pfaff with some good news from the land once known as the Eldest Daughter of the Church: Birthrate soars in child-friendly France.

Among the many reasons for this trend, this one stands out:
    Another possible birth incentive in France, which may not be copied elsewhere, is its 35-hour workweek. It has been suggested that the French have so much leisure now that they have found nothing more interesting to do with it than have babies, combining fun with demographic patriotism.
Bookmark and Share

Ballroom Dance in Korea

One of the few classes in my undergraduate study that taught me anything was Social Dance 101. Thus, I am quite happy to see something civilized imported from the West take root in Korea, as reported in this article: Dirty dancing goes clean with Generation Gentle. From the article:
    In fact a new term has been introduced to refer to the growing crowd who are flocking to dance halls. They are called "Generation G," a name that refers to "Great people who have Grey hair and live in a Golden age with Graceful and Gentle thoughts."

    "Dance changes your perception quite a bit," said Mr. Kim. "In the past my idea of entertainment was the same as other Korean men ― namely, drinking until I dropped. Now I don’t think that is the answer for every year-end party. Instead I listen to good music and dance."
Bookmark and Share

Crunchy Conservatives and Crunchy Liberals

EnergyBulletin.net's Natylie Baldwin reviews Crunchy Con Rod Dreher's book in The crunchy mystique.

It's one of the best reviews I've read thus far, coming as it does from the Left. Here are some excerpts:
    As a sustainability activist there were many times when I turned the pages and nodded my head in strong agreement. In fact, there are many points of convergence between this newly identified brand of crunchy (slang for counter-cultural) conservative creature and the eco-hippie crunchy liberal and author Rod Dreher, former columnist for the National Review, readily acknowledges this. He discusses the social and environmental breakdown caused by a corporate consumerism run amok and the antidotes of simple, small, local, and organic that is in many ways indistinguishable from Greens. And he's even peak oil aware, citing the inevitable decline of cheap and easily accessible crude as one of several events that will require an eventual reorientation of American society toward a more local and conservationist way of life.

    [....]

    The "crunchy con" ethos as outlined by those who share it is a reflection of this trend among those right of center, rooted in a conservatism that has largely been forgotten amidst the corporate apologist and neoconservative cacophony of the last several decades. Dreher spends a good portion of his book criticizing the holy reverence of the corporate-controlled "free market" that has hijacked modern conservatism, often at the expense of families, local communities, and the environment -- three priorities conservatives like Russell Kirk, whom the author evokes as one of his biggest philosophical influences, used to place the foremost value on: "The fundamental difference between crunchy conservatives and mainstream conservatives has to do with the place of the free market in society. Crunchy cons believe in the free market as an imperfect but just and effective means to the good society. When the market harms the good society, it should be reined in." (page 31).

    [....]

    The economic structure that Dreher does champion includes elements of distributism and subsidiarity, is human scale and consists of independent local businesses and family farms. The chapter outlining the benefits of sustainable small farming is one of the most convincing and down-to-earth pieces I've read in support of the slow-local-organic food movement. Instead of just another wonky polemic pissing and moaning about all that's wrong with our current industrialized system, he manages to capture the real benefits enjoyed by those living this alternative life such as the delightful bonds of community and the sensuousness of a connection to earth, its rhythms and its bounty[.]

    [....]

    Another source of ideological baggage that limits the appeal of the left is sugar-daddy socialism which underlies the "tight focus on programmatic ideas." Traditional conservatives have their finger on the pulse in the sense that most people don't want to simply substitute the government behemoth for the corporate behemoth in American life. The principles of anarchism and sustainable community-based economics have become more intriguing to grassroots activists lately in the search to throw off both exploitation and dependence. And when the leader of a new brand of conservatism is singing the praises of private co-ops then you know some very interesting possibilities are afoot.
Be sure to read the review in its entirety.
Bookmark and Share

South Korea Rejects Litigiousness

Common sense from the Land of the Morning Calm: Court rejects South Korea's first anti-tobacco lawsuits. The article quotes the court's ruling:
    Although there is pathological correlation between their smoking and the diseases ... there is no evidence to acknowledge that the lung and larynx cancers of the complainants were caused by smoking the cigarettes sold by the defendant...

    Pathological causality is statistical correlation between specific causes and diseases on the assumption that other conditions are equal. Therefore, it is difficult to apply the causality to individual cases to determine the causes for a specific disease of an individual.
Bookmark and Share

The Black Legend of "Hitler's Pope" a Red Character Assassination

Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking intelligence officer ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc, notes that "[t]he KGB made corrupting the Church a priority" in Moscow’s Assault on the Vatican.

Not only is it "beyond any reasonable doubt that the leaders of the Soviet Union took the initiative to eliminate the pope Karol Wojtyla," there was a "deliberate Kremlin effort to smear the Vatican, by portraying Pope Pius XII as a coldhearted Nazi sympathizer." The commies even infiltrated the Vatican and "succeeded in pilfering hundreds of documents connected in any way with Pope Pius XII out of the Vatican Archives and the Apostolic Library."

I have read rumors of Catholic seminaries being inflitrated worldwide in the '60s and '70s by commies who later became sex perverts or heterodox bishops. Lt. General Pacepa's account makes this seem all the more plausible.

[link via open book]
Bookmark and Share

U.S.S.A.

An excellent introduction to Cultural Marxism incarnated as Political Correctness and Multiculturalism: The New Soviet Union: America And The West.
Bookmark and Share

"The Black Rome"

Bookmark and Share

Special Protection for Abortionists

There's something wrong with this story from my hometown: Abortion Doctor's Killer Convicted Again. The first two paragraphs:
    BUFFALO, N.Y., Jan. 25 - A man already serving time in a state prison for the sniper-shooting death of a doctor was convicted Thursday on a federal charge of targeting and killing the man because he provided abortions.

    The jury deliberated about four hours over two days before deciding James Kopp violated the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act in the 1998 slaying of Dr. Barnett Slepian.
Mr. Kopp was perhaps justly convicted of murder, even though Dr. Slepian was guilty of mass murder, but to convict him again for the intent of his actions amounts to convicting a man for a thought crime.
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Straight Talk from Her Majesty's Director of Public Prosecutions

Noting that "it is actually a war on ancient freedoms," LewRockwell.com links to this Guardian article that quotes Sir Ken Macdonald: 'There is no war on terror'. Some excerpts:
    London is not a battlefield. Those innocents who were murdered on July 7 2005 were not victims of war. And the men who killed them were not, as in their vanity they claimed on their ludicrous videos, 'soldiers'. They were deluded, narcissistic inadequates. They were criminals. They were fantasists. We need to be very clear about this. On the streets of London, there is no such thing as a 'war on terror', just as there can be no such thing as a 'war on drugs'.

    The fight against terrorism on the streets of Britain is not a war. It is the prevention of crime, the enforcement of our laws and the winning of justice for those damaged by their infringement.

    [....]

    We wouldn't get far in promoting a civilising culture of respect for rights amongst and between citizens if we set about undermining fair trials in the simple pursuit of greater numbers of inevitably less safe convictions. On the contrary, it is obvious that the process of winning convictions ought to be in keeping with a consensual rule of law and not detached from it. Otherwise we sacrifice fundamental values critical to the maintenance of the rule of law - upon which everything else depends.
The Korean War was called a "police action" while it was indeed a war. A genuine "police action" would have been the proper response to 9/11.
Bookmark and Share

It's the Land, Stupid

Mr. Joseph Pearce's Small Is Still Beautiful blog focuses this week's discussion on the land with a post, Grounded in the Land, which begins with this quote from E.F. Schumacher:
    Among natural resources, the greatest, unquestionably, is the land. Study how a society uses its land, and you can come to pretty reliable conclusions as to what its future will be.
On a similar theme is a post from Mr. Tracy Fennel of Antes de la caída entitled Suburban Fat, which links to an article that "explores the relationship between how we design and build our communities, and the health of the lifestyle choices those communities reinforce."
Bookmark and Share

A Royal and Most Catholic Engagement

"The engagement has been announced between Mr Anthony Bailey, KCSS, of London, younger son of Mr and Mrs Colin Bailey, of Drumcannon, County Waterford, Ireland, and Princess Marie-Therese, younger daughter of Prince Peter von Hohenberg, of Vienna, Austria, and Princess Christine von Hohenberg, of Salzburg, Austria:" Papal Knight to marry Princess.
Bookmark and Share

No Atrocities Please, We're British

Bookmark and Share

Education for the Gifted

Here is Mr. Charles Murray's call for "a revival of the classical definition of a liberal education:" Aztecs vs. Greeks: Those with superior intelligence need to learn to be wise. Some excerpts:
    The encouragement of wisdom requires being steeped in the study of ethics, starting with Aristotle and Confucius. It is not enough that gifted children learn to be nice. They must know what it means to be good.

    [....]

    The gifted should not be taught to be nonjudgmental; they need to learn how to make accurate judgments. They should not be taught to be equally respectful of Aztecs and Greeks; they should focus on the best that has come before them, which will mean a light dose of Aztecs and a heavy one of Greeks. The primary purpose of their education should not be to let the little darlings express themselves, but to give them the tools and the intellectual discipline for expressing themselves as adults.
[link via The New Beginning]
Bookmark and Share

A Movie I Want to See

In addition to Apocalypto (2006) and Children of Men (2006), this film reviewed by Mr. Gary North of LewRockwell.com is on my to see list: Dreamgirls: A Real Musical.

Not only is Beyoncé Knowles the most classically beautiful woman in America today, Classic Motown is some of the best popular music America has produced. Here's what Mr. Roger Ebert had to say of the sound in his review of 8 Mile:
    As it happens, on the same day that "8 Mile" was screened in Chicago, I also saw "Standing in the Shadows of Motown," a documentary about the studio musicians who created the Motown Sound. The contrast was instructive. On the one hand, a Detroit white boy embracing the emblems of poverty and performing in a musical genre that involves complaint, anger and alienation. On the other hand, black Detroit musicians making good money, performing joyously, having a good time and remembering those times with tears in their eyes. What has happened to our hopes, that young audiences now embrace such cheerless material, avoiding melody like the plague? At least in their puritanism they still permit rhymes.
Bookmark and Share

What Was Conservative About the President's Speech?

Nothing, as will be made clear by a reading of the Text Of Bush's State Of The Union Speech, except perhaps his mention of the "rite of custom" at the beginning.

Then he immediately starts talking about "large endeavors under way and others that are ours to begin." Yikes.

I agree about "impos[ing] spending discipline in Washington, D.C.," but what about the $360,992,716,103 spent in Iraq at the time of this post?

He did mention "earmarks" but said nothing of signing statements.

"With enough good sense and good will, you and I can fix Medicare and Medicaid -- and save Social Security." Really? Good sense and good will is all it takes?

Still think Mr. Bush is a conservative? I've got six words for you: "the No Child Left Behind Act."

"My second proposal is to help the states that are coming up with innovative ways to cover the uninsured." How about letting these states help themselves?

His idea for "a legal and orderly path for foreign workers to enter our country to work on a temporary basis" was tried and failed in Europe.

I was happy to hear support for keeping "America's environment clean" but doubt that "the way forward is through technology." How about conservation?

Perhaps fellow citizen José Padilla should also benefit from "a fair, impartial system of justice" and a "timely ruling."

I need not comment on the several paragraphs supplied by the Ministry of Fear, except to say that the president finally knows the difference between Sunnis and Shias, now that it's too late.

"The great question of our day is whether America will help men and women in the Middle East to build free societies and share in the rights of all humanity." Yikes.

"The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others." Yikes.

And what of Julie Aigner-Clark and her $200 million business bringing TV to newborns?

Nope, the Palæoconservatives and Palæolibertarians are right: Mr. Bush is a Jacobin.
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"Operation Mind Our Own Business"

"The Young Fogey" with a link to Ron Paul the great’s Mid-East peace plan.
Bookmark and Share

South Korea Moves in the Right Direction

Ten years of Jacobinical rule will come to an end in eleven months, if this LA Times* article is correct: South Korean race is a liberal-free zone.

The damage, however, may already have been done, as this result of a survey of teenagers indicates: "When asked whether it is better to live in equality though being a little worse off, 43.7 percent said yes while 34 percent said no" [from Ideology Conflict Heightens Over Economics Textbooks*].

*link via The Marmot's Hole
Bookmark and Share

The Run-up to the Iran War

You're with me if you find this headline a bit ironic: U.S. warns Iran to back down. After all, the article does not begin with the phrase, "A second Iranian aircraft carrier strike group now steaming toward North America..."

You're with me even more if you feel nauseated at the thought of the entangling mess our president seems hell-bent on getting us into. "El Cid" reminds us to pay close attention to the president's upcoming State of the Union address: Looking For Clues. He quotes from an article that asks, "Years from now, will we refer to these early days of 2007 as 'the run-up to the Iran War'?
Bookmark and Share

Outsourcing Parenting in Pohang

Little Pohang gets a story in The New York Times: Boot Camps Gaining Popularity With Korean Parents, Not Kids. From the article:
    [T]he biggest fans have been parents who believe that their children, raised in economic affluence, have forgotten the values, especially hard work, to which the parents attribute the country’s economic success. They say they also believe that a dose of boot camp, at a cost of $40 a person, is a good way of giving their children a leg up in the country’s demanding public school system. Many children are dragged to the camps kicking and screaming.
I'm all for teaching kids the value of hard work, but that can be done better at home than in a five-day program. From what I've seen, Korean kids are not given chores at home, as that might take time away from their all-important studies. Of course, living in a high-rise apartment as most Koreans do, there is no lawn to mow, no gutters to be cleaned, no firewood to be stacked, etc. Again, we are faced with a problem created by inhuman modern living conditions.
Bookmark and Share

Childhood and the Church

Not only did Holy Mother Church give us the university and the hospital, she also gave us childhood, contra the Modernist dogma that parents began loving their children in the 19th Century. So argues the book reviewed by Ms. Amy Welborn in this post: When Children Became People.

This explains why as the West reverts to its pagan and even barbarian roots, children are less and less valued, seen as a mere "choice."
Bookmark and Share

Head for the Hills

    If there is justice in the world, you should partake in it. If there is none, you should live in isolation.
I was struck by the above Confucian analect, quoted in Poli-fessor, an article about Korean professors participating in politics. The more I think about it, the better that cabin in the woods sounds.
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Antiwar.com Links at Three

Bookmark and Share

State Buddhism

From Burma 'orders Christians to be wiped out':
    The military regime in Burma is intent on wiping out Christianity in the country, according to claims in a secret document believed to have been leaked from a government ministry. Entitled "Programme to destroy the Christian religion in Burma", the incendiary memo contains point by point instructions on how to drive Christians out of the state.

    The text, which opens with the line "There shall be no home where the Christian religion is practised", calls for anyone caught evangelising to be imprisoned. It advises: "The Christian religion is very gentle – identify and utilise its weakness."

    Its discovery follows widespread reports of religious persecution, with churches burnt to the ground, Christians forced to convert to the state religion, Buddhism, and their children barred from school.
Click on the link to read the rest.

[link via open book]
Bookmark and Share

New Year Grand Sumo Tournament Grand Finale

Asashoryu's victory from Sunday is now online (the third bout on the video):

大相撲初場所 朝青龍vs琴欧洲vs白鵬
Bookmark and Share

Виктор Цой & 崔健

"The Last Hero of Russian Rock," Viktor Tsoi, and "The Father of Chinese Rock," Cui Jian, share Korean ancestry and a surname:


Виктор Цой


崔健 一塊紅布
Bookmark and Share

Pope John Paul the Great in the News

Bookmark and Share

Murder in Turkey

"Is it all just a coincidence?" asks Mavi Zambak in Killing of Hrant Dink and Fr Santono: too many similarities.
Bookmark and Share

War and Rumors of War

Mr. Wayne White, former Middle East analyst for the State Department’s bureau of intelligence and research: ‘US plans broad attack on Iran’.

[link via A conservative blog for peace]
Bookmark and Share

Monday, January 22, 2007

Requiescat in Pace, Abbé Pierre

A story from the eldest daughter of the Church, Abbe Pierre, French campaigner for the poor, dies:
    Abbe Pierre, a Roman Catholic priest who abandoned wealth to campaign for the homeless and became one of France's most-revered men, died on Monday aged 94. 

    His death was announced by French President Jacques Chirac who said France had lost "an immense figure, a conscience, a man who personified goodness". 

    Abbe Pierre was taken to Paris a military hospital earlier this month suffering from bronchitis and died at 5.25 a.m. (0425 GMT) on Monday after failing to recover from the lung infection. 

    The frail Roman Catholic priest, who spent most of his life protecting people dumped on the margins of Western society, was little known outside his own country but was cherished at home as a modern-day saint. 

    Abbe Pierre -- "abbe" is a traditional title for priests -- worked with the French Resistance in World War Two and began campaigning for the homeless in 1949. His Emmaus chain of hostels for them is spread across 38 countries. 

    His militant stance in favour of the poor kept Abbe Pierre, a national icon in his trademark black cape, beret and walking stick, consistently ahead of entertainers and politicians in popularity polls. 

    Born in 1912, Henri-Antoine Groues was the fifth child of a Lyon silk merchant but gave up his wealth to become a monk. 

    "Abbe Pierre represented the spirit of rebellion against misery, suffering, injustice and the strength of solidarity," Chirac's statement said.
Ora pro nobis.
Bookmark and Share

A Day That Will Live in Infamy

Today is "the high holy day of the of the culture of death:" The meaning of January 22.
Bookmark and Share

Thoughts on the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament

Congratulations to the great Asashoryu [朝青龍 (Долгорсүрэн Дагвадорж - Dolgorsüren Dagvadorzhon)] on his 20th Emperor's Cup: Asa ends with authority.


I was unable to see the final match, but had been following the tournament. I have been interested in the sport for ten years from the time I found myself living in a Korean university dormitory with NHK as one of three channel choices. I was hooked immediately. What other sport includes such tradition and ritual?

Here's an earlier victory by the Mongolian yokozuna:


平成十九年大相撲初場所十四日目 朝青龍vs栃東

My favorite rikishi, however, is Takamisakari, for the same reasons that make him so popular in Japan:
    Although he is not the fastest or the strongest or the most skilled rikishi in the ring today, Takamisakari is far and away the most popular wrestler among Japanese, due to his childlike naivete, his total lack of pretense or affectation, and his prebout antics, the most famous of which is his habit of slapping his head several times - *really* hard - before he steps into the ring. This head-slapping ritual usually brings the loudest roar of the day from the crowd, topped only by a Takamisakari victory.

    [....]

    It is said that Takamisakari's pre-bout head slapping ritual began early in his career when he suffered an injury in a bout which took several months to heal. When he returned to the ring, he had become very hesitant, fearing that he would reinjure himself, and lost bout after bout. Finally, he developed the ritual of slapping himself violently before each bout to rid himself of his fear, and has continued to do so until this day.


    [from Takamisakari@Evrything2.com]
Here is Taka's "pre-bout head slapping ritual" caught on home video:


高見盛
Bookmark and Share

John Song Hae-bung, Servant of God

Interestingly, he was martyred not by the commies but for suspicion of being one: Martyr's Beatification Cause Moves Forward: Korean Layman Worked With Poor. From the article, his story:
    ...John Song was the eldest of a Catholic family, and entered the seminary in 1944.

    After Korea's liberation from Japanese occupation, he left his theological studies to dedicate himself to active missionary work. He opened schools and homes for orphans and the poor in the Diocese of Incheon.

    When the Korean War broke out in 1950, he was falsely accused of being a Communist. He was arrested and killed by a death squad, reported Fides.
[link via The New Beginning]
Bookmark and Share

The Return of the Mutaa

From the WaPo* this article on the new Iraq: Temporary 'Enjoyment Marriages' In Vogue Again With Some Iraqis. From the article:
    The Shiite practice began 1,400 years ago, in what is now Iraq and other parts of the region, as a way to provide for war widows. Banned by President Saddam Hussein's Sunni-led government, it has regained popularity since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq brought the majority Shiites to power, said clerics, women's rights activists and mutaa spouses.

    "During Saddam's time, there was no religious freedom," said Faris al-Shareef, a sheik who lives in the mainly Shiite city of Hilla.

    Opponents of mutaa, most of them Sunni Arabs, say it is less about religious freedom and more about economic exploitation. Thousands of men are dying in the sectarian violence that has followed the invasion, leaving behind widows who must fend for themselves. Many young men are out of work and prefer temporary over permanent wives who require long-term financial commitments. In a mutaa arrangement, the woman is entitled to payment only for the duration of the marriage.
I've blogged about this before: A Scandalous Doctrine of Islam.

*Use BugMeNot.com to bypass registration.
Bookmark and Share

Professor Clyde Wilson on Freedom

From The Way We Are Now—Self-Government:
    The whole history of freedom in the English-speaking world centers on the insistence that the people not be taxed without their consent duly given. Like so many other civilized principles it seems to have disappeared from the American consciousness. As has the notion that local authorities have any power or right to act in defense of their people or exist for any purpose other than to impose orders from on high. The spirit necessary for genuine local self-government has vanished, almost unnoticed.
Bookmark and Share

The Holy Father to the Longsuffering Catholics of China

    The Church expresses its profound gratitude for the inspiring witness of the bishops, priests and lay faithful, who without compromise, have maintained their loyalty to the see of Peter, often paying a grave and painful price by doing so.
[quoted in The Pope prepares a letter to China's Catholics]
Bookmark and Share

"We Are All Armenians"

So chanted hundreds of righteous Turks, "We are all Armenians, we are all Hrant Dink." Serge has the report: Pro-Armenian journalist murdered in Turkey.
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Can Capitalists Get Away With Rape and Murder in Communist China?

Not when the people get wind of it: A 16-year-old girl is murdered, crowd of 20,000 torch hotel where she worked. I am usually opposed to such manifestations of mobocracy, but when the rule of law is essentially nonexistent, as seems to be the case in transitional China, this proverb becomes all the truer: Vox populi, vox Dei.

The artilce notes that "[i]n recent months, protests have drawn larger crowds and anti-government demonstrations have grown increasingly violent." Keep your eyes on the sleeping giant.
Bookmark and Share

Science and State vs. Ethics

The potential for profits and prestige trumps ethical concerns: Korea Mulls Allowing Research Using Cloned Embryos. From the article:
    "[National Bioethics Committe m]embers are split into two opposing camps on whether or not to allow studies and experiments with cloned human embryos. We are struggling unsuccessfully to find a happy medium," said Prof. Cho [Han-ik of Seoul National University], who leads the 20-member committee.

    "We may have to decide things by a majority vote next time. Then cloning research will be resumed because roughly two-thirds of the members support it," Cho said.

    The committee is composed of six ethicists, seven scientists and seven government officials. Only the ethicists are against cloning research while others are for it.
    [empasis mine]
The looming majority vote illustrates why consensus is so important in these issues. The burdon of proof falls upon the innovator, and if consensus cannot be reached, such innovations should not be allowed to proceed. This eighteen-month-old article reminds us of who these noble ethicists likely are: Catholic, Confucian Groups Speak Out Against Hwang.
Bookmark and Share

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dr. Ron Paul in '08!


Dr. Ron Paul (R-Texas)

Here are some endorsements of the man who has both Palæoconservatives and Palæolibertarians suddenly feeling like there might be a candidate for whom to vote.

The op-ed contributor author of Ron Paul Explores Presidential run in 2008 notes that he "has been hailed by many as the 'only true conservative' left in the U.S. Congress." Not only was he "one of six Republicans to vote against the war in Iraq," he also "voted against the Patriot Act in 2001 and again in 2005, and strongly endorses American withdrawal from the United Nations."

In Ron Paul bid for President is possibility, Mr. Matthew Quinn reminds us that "he is one of the few members of Congress who consider the constitutionality of a law before they vote on it." Mr. Quinn notes, "A Paul administration would put curbs on America's out-of-control government spending" and "would put a stop to the erosion of Americans' civil liberties that began under the Clinton administration and accelerated under Bush." His stellar congressional record is cited: "voted against... subsidies and other forms of corporate welfare," "opposed Clinton's military adventures in Bosnia and Kosovo, Bush's invasion of Iraq and recently has been active in opposing a possible American pre-emptive strike on Iran."

In Paul has worthy messages to spread, Mr. Michael Morris lauds "Paul’s message of governance within the confines of the U.S. Constitution, restrictions on government interference with our everyday lives and desire to find a workable, realistic solution to bring our troops home from Iraq without the Middle East imploding..."
Bookmark and Share

Neoconservatism Shorn of its Idealism

It's back to being about protecting "America's staunchest ally against international terrorism" now: Democracy Languishes, but Neocon Strategy Lives - by Jim Lobe.
Bookmark and Share

Hinduism in Russia

Pre-Christian Russia, mind you: Ancient Vishnu Idol Can Change View on Russian History. This will likely come as welcome news to adherents of Neo-Eurasianism.

[link via LewRockwell.com]
Bookmark and Share

Call 202-225-4965

And tell Madam Speaker you support H. J. Resolution 14: Stop the Next War- by Justin Raimondo.
Bookmark and Share

The Next President of the United States on YouTube

Dr. Ron Paul (R-Texas) on the House floor three days ago, discussing the surge, 4GW, Somalia, the coming attack on Iran, and peace: Ron Paul - Gulf of Tonkin

On hard money: Ron Paul on Federal Reserve, banking and economy

His speech on the House floor on July 10, 2003:
Bookmark and Share

"The Miracle of the Longevity of Father Kao"

Happy Belated Birthday, Father Nicholaus Kao Se-tsean: Oldest Chinese Priest Celebrates 110th Birthday.
Bookmark and Share

Qing Dynasty China and Bush Dynasty America

Mr. Bush's War is not another Vietnam or Korea but America's Opium War , and the Americans are the Chinese not the Brits, argues Prof. Dmitry Shlapentokh of the Asia Times Online.

The article is full of fascinating observations, but I found this analogy of "Americans as Qing Chinese" most convincing:
    Similarly to the Chinese of that era, most Americans believe that the US is the most efficient society and has the best of everything: economy, education, health service and military. This new "Middle Kingdom" is the best of all possible societies, surrounded by "barbarian" Europeans, who have a bastardized, low-quality version of US culture and need to work hard to achieve the US level of perfection.

    According to this view, Orientals such as the Chinese are truly barbarians, for they do not have democracy or human rights, use slave labor, and are totally unconcerned with "multiculturalism" and "sexism". Nothing good could come from this society, and if "barbarians" produce better and cheaper goods than do residents of the "Middle Kingdom", it is only because of "unfair practices".
Pride goeth before a fall.
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Atheism, Reincarnation, and Torturing Muslims

The great G.K. Chesterton once said, "When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing -- they believe in anything." With that truth in mind, Mr. David J. Theroux takes note of the loony and sinister beliefs of one of the English-speaking world's "evangelical atheologians" in Sam Harris: Believing in Almost Anything, the first two paragraphs of which follow:
    As one of the Big Three, ready-for-prime-time, evangelical atheologians and best-selling authors of anti-religious books this past Christmas season (the others being Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett), Sam Harris (author of the books, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason and Letter to a Christian Nation) has received a mountain of favorable media coverage and has been toasted by celebrity scientists, philosophers, and media pundits for his "courage," "insight," and devotion to "scientific truth."

    However, what has somehow been overlooked, until now, is that Harris not only believes in reincarnation, Buddhism, Hinduism, and a wide assortment of New Age mysticism, but in abandoning what he considers to be the "immorality" of Christianity and its teachings of natural moral law and the universal rights of mankind, he alternatively supports water-boarding and other forms of torture so long as such practices are used against Muslims and others he disapproves of. Needless to say, he was also an early supporter of the war in Iraq, including the bombing of civilians, et al.
Click on the link to read the article in its entirety. Linked to is this article: Sam Harris's Faith in Eastern Spirituality and Muslim Torture.
Bookmark and Share

A Black Day in Hawaiian History

The Old Tôde reminds us that today ─ yesterday already in Korea ─ is/was Overthrow Day, "the CXVth anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom." Be sure to read his thoughts on the matter.

Here are some previous posts of mine about the last great American president, a fellow Buffalonian who opposed all this Imperialist tomfoolery: Grover Cleveland and Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono.
Bookmark and Share

My Solution to the So Far from the Bamboo Grove Controversy

The title of this post refers to the story reported on in these posts and articles: U.S. textbook slammed for describing Korean rapes of Japanese women in 1945, Korean Parents Angry over "Distorted" U.S. School Book, and Book Claims Koreans Raped Japanese.

The problem is that history is not neatly divided between victims and victimizers, as some would have it. If someone other than DWEMs are labelled as victimizers, conflicts will ensue between groups that have learned that a victim status carries much weight in the United States these days.

Here's my solution: throw the book out and replace it with Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Some ─ mostly white liberals ─ will object that the book uses the n-word to describe Jim. I just finished adapting the book into simpler English for a Korean audience, and I can tell you that Jim is the wisest and most sypathetically treated character in the whole novel.

Why should American middle school kids be reading a novel that takes place in colonial and post-colonial Korea when they are not reading American classics?
Bookmark and Share

Downwind from the Factory of the World™

Perhaps this explains the respiratory problems I and everyone I know have been having:



Toxic Haze From China Blankets Korea

Within the Factory itself, it's even worse: Shandong farmers use water for drinking and irrigation from a river as black as ink.

So much for the idea that centrally-planned economies take care of the environment.
Bookmark and Share

Globalized Seoul

There's no Chinatown to speak of, but there's a "Russian street," a "Mongolian town," a "Nigerian alley," and an "upscale French village" reported on in this article: Seoul's foreign neighborhoods take root.
Bookmark and Share

Raping Girls to Fight Terrorism

The War on Terror™ seems to have brought its share of terror to Somalia's girls: Ethiopian troops accused of atrocities in Somalia.
Bookmark and Share

Malthus Was Dead Wrong

In an effort to debunk the prevelent myth that "humanity can't feed itself because of the lack of land to cultivate food," Mr. Roy F. Moore of The Distributist Review links to this article about "Biointensive Mini-Farming" by Mr. John Jeavons: Cultivating Our Garden. As the author notes, this is simply a return to traditional agricultural methods:
    This miniaturization of agriculture is not new. Small-scale sustainable agriculture has supported such widely dispersed civilizations as the Chinese 4,000 years ago, and the Mayans, South Americans, and Greeks 2,000 years ago.
Those interested might like to take a look at this work, recommended by Mr. Wendell Berry of Kentucky, first published in 1911: Farmers of Forty Centuries; Or, Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan.
Bookmark and Share

"Austere, Severe and Ethical"

From Meet the inspiration for the latest Versace look - the Pope's secretary:
    Donatella Versace has often raised eyebrows — and hemlines — with her outrageous designs for women. Yesterday, however, she stunned even blasé fashionistas by launching a "clergyman look" for men, inspired by Father Georg Gaenswein, the handsome 50-year-old private secretary to Pope Benedict XVI.

    The outfit, modelled at the Milan menswear 2007-08 winter collection, features grey-black trousers and jacket with a clerical-style collar. "I was thinking of an austere, severe and ethical man. I find Father Georg’s austerity very elegant," said Ms Versace.
Click on the link to read the rest.

[link via The New Beginning]
Bookmark and Share

"The Eternal Gift"


Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen narrates this Traditional Latin Mass filmed on Easter Sunday, 1941 at Our Lady of Sorrows church in Chicago.
Bookmark and Share

Many Thanks

The post below reminds me that there are many other bloggers to thanks for linking to this site, among them The Old Tôde (Tener vn hixo -- Plantar vn árbol -- Eſcribir vn libro), An American Professor Teaching in Guangzhou China Expat SEO Trade Consultant Blog, half-baked taters, Basia me, Catholica sum, Reasoning Repaired, and Santificarnos.

There are others unacknowledged here, who mutually linked to my old blog and I thank them as well for updating their links. I plan to update my sidebar, so if your blog is not mentioned here or yo9u would like a link, just eave a comment. Thank you all!
Bookmark and Share

谢谢, 敎授!

I'd like to thank Prof. Sam Crane of The Useless Tree for the link. I visit his blog daily for "Ancient Chinese Thought in Modern American Life."
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"No question, 2006 was a lousy year for Iraq."


Notice the president's maniacal smirk when he utters the above line in this interview: President Bush Defends Decision to Send Additional Troops to Iraq. I've never been more convinced that the man is insane.

Here's just what that "lousy year" entailed: 34,000 civilians killed in Iraq last year, says UN. I guess then today would might qualify as a "lousy" day: Deaths top 100 in Baghdad bombings, shootings.

N.B.: The image is from a different interview (Transcript: Bush Interview), but the maniacal smirk was identical. Ask my mother; she was sitting next to me and shouted at the screen in disbelief, "He's smiling as he says it!"
Bookmark and Share

A Fellow Buffalonian Patriot on 2008

Mr. James Ostrowski of Buffalo speculates on a Paul vs. Clinton race in The Great Unknown. An excerpt:
    A Ron Paul candidacy in the Republican primaries is a historic opportunity. The last Jeffersonian president was Buffalo’s own Grover Cleveland who left office in 1897. This campaign is an opportunity to take care of a lot of "old business" that has accumulated since that time.
Another Jeffersonian president! Now there's an idea. Of course, when Dr. Ron Paul filed his papers a few days ago, the media was quiet, quite unlike the frenzy the accompanying Sen. Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.* doing the same.

*I use the senator's full name not for some anti-Muslim scare-tactic, but for its euphony. His middle name (حسین) means "handsome" or "good."
Bookmark and Share

Confucius vs. Jeremy Bentham

Mr. Taru Taylor, from Confucianism Is Philosophy Not Religion:
    Confucianism is a philosophy of personal moral responsibility. It is an existential code of ethics. It is therefore, in essence, neither political, nor economic, nor social. It is no less individualistic than Western Utilitarianism.

    Unlike Utilitarianism, which sees the individual as a pleasure-seeker, Confucianism sees him as a moral agent. The Confucian does not pursue happiness. He does the right thing.

    The Utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham conceived a "hedonistic calculus" for every Utilitarian to calculate maximal pleasure and minimal pain. This is the Western counterpart of the Confucian's moral compass. Enlightened self-interest on the one hand; circumspection on the other.
Substitute the word "Modern" for the word "Western" in the penultimate sentence and I'd agree completely.
Bookmark and Share

The World to Come

Dr. Carolyn Baker ofeers a review of the dystopian film: Children of Men: everything your denial keeps you from seeing. Says she, "It offers us a grisly snapshot of a future that does not have to happen but one that is guaranteed if humans continue to infantilize themselves with denial—literally choosing to be 'children' rather than mature 'men' and women."
Bookmark and Share

Another Reason to be Glad Wal-Mart Left Korea

The company that bought it out is treating its workers with decency: E-Mart Cashiers Get Full-Time Status.
Bookmark and Share

The "Insane War Criminal in the White House"

Mr. Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration, begins his latest, Bush Must Go, with this question:
    When are the American people and their representatives in Congress and the military going to wake up and realize that the United States has an insane war criminal in the White House who is destroying all chances for peace in the world and establishing a police state at home?
Bookmark and Share

The Political Conversion of Choi Hong-jae

How the South Korean was mugged by the North Korean reality: Former student activist now embraces conservativism. Some excerpts:
    Choi does not waver on the point that Kim Jong-il is 100 times worse than former President Chun Doo-hwan, whose regime he was once hell-bent on overthrowing.

    [....]

    [H]e began to believe that the North's food shortages were due not to U.S. sanctions or the collapse of the Soviet Union, but rather to problems within the North.

    [....]

    He is now a full-fledged believer in the market economy. After all, he reasons, whereas a few countries have failed in the implementation of a market economy, every single country that has not employed one has failed.
Bookmark and Share

The Nineveh Plain and Iraqi Christians

His Excellency Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk "has warned that Iraq is moving towards a terrible division with the US doing nothing to stop it:" Iraq breaking apart, local bishop says . Emereging from the ashes will be Kurdistan, Sunnistan, and Shiastan. Whither the Christians?
    For Archbishop Sako, natural gas-rich Kirkuk is a time-bomb, "a source of dangerous tensions". "Huge interests and dangerous tensions gravitate around Kirkuk," he said.

    The Archbishop added that "Christians are confronted with increasing difficulties."

    Accoding to Archbishop Sako, some people are thinking of gathering Christians in a specific area, the Nineveh plain, which would serve as a buffer zone between Arabs and Kurds.

    "The Nineveh plain is largely surrounded by Arabs and Christians would serve as a useful and undefended buffer zone between Arabs and Kurds."

    However, Archbishop Sako believes that it would be preferable "to work at the constitutional level and each area to guarantee religious freedom and equal rights for believers of all faiths throughout the land, including Christians who can be found everywhere".
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Links at 3:00

Bookmark and Share

The World Day for Migrants

This advice is as true for Americans and others in Korea as it is for Koreans and others in America: Pope: Migrants Should Heed Host's Values.

I would just add that we migrants should heed the best of our hosts' values, which are not difficult to identify. In Korea, tradition and elders are, or were, respected. In America, we form, or formed, Tocquevillean voluntary associations.
Bookmark and Share

No More Handshakes in North Korea

I, for one, would refuse to shake his hand anyway: Kim Jong-II opposed to handshakes as alien, unhygienic.
Bookmark and Share

A Society of Control Freaks

Prof. Sam Crane's blog, The Useless Tree, offers "Ancient Chinese Thought in Modern American Life." Today, the sinologist addresses the issue of Selling Embryos. Among the many important points he makes is this one:
    What strikes me about this whole endeavor is the desire to control and manage every aspect of human life. It seems that we are losing our capacity to accept that some things, like the biology of child-rearing, are and, perhaps, should be beyond our control.
Indeed. We seem unable to accept any natural limits on anything. Our national creed of "freedom of choice" is making us into monsters. We seem to reverting from adolescence to childhood to toddlerhood in wanting things our way.
Bookmark and Share

Globalization is Neither Small Nor Beautiful

The Small is Still Beautiful blog is up and running and dedicating its second week to Counting the Cost of Globalization. I am a bit surprised that Mr. Joseph Pearce, an Englishman, would choose the American spelling of the word, even if it is superior.

All kidding aside, anyone from Buffalo, NY like myself would have no trouble counting the costs, as our poor steel town was one of the big losers in the deindustrialization of America. Ironically, I now live in another steel town on the other side of the globe, a town whose boom seems to be ending.
Bookmark and Share

Energy Depletion and the Future of Freedom

Prof. Michael T. Klare asks, "Is energo-fascism in your future?" The author notes that the "basic features, largely unnoticed, are developing today:"
    The transformation of the U.S. military into a global oil protection service whose primary mission is to defend America's overseas sources of oil and natural gas, while patrolling the world's major pipelines and supply routes.

    The transformation of Russia into an energy superpower with control over Eurasia's largest supplies of oil and natural gas and the resolve to convert these assets into ever increasing political influence over neighboring states.

    A ruthless scramble among the great powers for the remaining oil, natural gas, and uranium reserves of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia, accompanied by recurring military interventions, the constant installation and replacement of client regimes, systemic corruption and repression, and the continued impoverishment of the great majority of those who have the misfortune to inhabit such energy-rich regions.

    Increased state intrusion into, and surveillance of, public and private life as reliance on nuclear power grows, bringing with it an increased threat of sabotage, accident, and the diversion of fissionable materials into the hands of illicit nuclear proliferators.
Bookmark and Share

Buy This Book!

An old and dear friend has written a book whose themes will resonate with many of this blog's readers. Clicking on the images below will lead to ordering information:

Bookmark and Share

Monday, January 15, 2007

Should Mr. Bush Be Hanged?

As the head of Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti is ripped from his body ─ Saddam aides hanged, anger at beheading "mishap" ─ the question does come to mind. For the record, I'd oppose capital punishment for Messrs. Bush, Blair, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest, but I'm surprised that the case for their trial as war criminals is not brought up more often.

The prosecution's case would seem to be pretty clear-cut; Principle Vl of Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal, 1950 lists "[p]lanning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression" as one of the "[c]rimes against peace" for which Germans and Japanese swung. That the neocons called their war against a country that neither attacked not threatened America a "preemptive war" doesn't change anything. Also for the record, I oppose international tribunals; it would suffice to impeach the president for high crimes and misdemeanors.
Bookmark and Share

Daring to Doubt Darwin

Don't expect me to join the herd in mocking this story: Dinosaurs, humans coexist in U.S. creation museum. Catholics and others would be wise to pay a visit to the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation, and also to learn about the Catastrophism of Immanuel Velikovsky. Intellectually satisfying options to the standard narrative are out there.
Bookmark and Share

Sixty-Seven Years Old

Bookmark and Share

15:00 KST is Palæolibertarian Time

Today's updated articles from Antiwar.com and LewRockwell.com:

The next president of the United States on the surge toward Iran and Syria: On the Mideast Escalator - by Ron Paul.

The editor agrees: It's All About Iran - by Justin Raimondo.

Don't let the next war come as a surprise: Get Your War On Bush Plays Casus Belli Card Against Iran by Chris Floyd.

Ms. Dahlia Lithwick defends Jose Padilla and the rest of us agaisnt The Imperial Presidency.

This is nothing short of a 'Crusade' Against an Evil War - by Charley Reese.

Beware an empire in decline: The Collapse of the Bush Presidency Poses Risks by Glenn Greenwald.

Attempting the impossible: Making Sense of the Bush Doctrine by Karen Kwiatkowski.

Looking back at the nightmare: How It All Began by Charley Reese.
Bookmark and Share

Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.