Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"Trotskycons" In Their Own Words

The New Oxford Review's Dale Vree provides a superb treatment of the subject in this 1995 essay: What Is a Neoconservative? -- & Does It Matter? Indeed it does matter. Let us let the neocons speak for themselves.

First, Jonah Goldberg:
    Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show we mean business.
Second, Christopher Hitchens:
    George Bush may subjectively be a Christian, but he -- and the US armed forces -- have objectively done more for secularism than the whole of the American agnostic community combined and doubled.
[Explains the author, "Smashing Islam paves the way for democracy, abortion, homosexuality, pornography, etc."]

Third, Michael Ledeen:
    We tear down the old order.... Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions, whatever they may be.... We must destroy them to advance our historic mission... It is time once again to export the democratic revolution.
Fourth, Stephen Schwartz:
    [T]hose who are fighting for global democracy should view Leon Trotsky as a worthy forerunner.
Finally, that "worthy forerunner" himself:
    We must rid ourselves once and for all of the Quaker-Papist babble about the sanctity of human life.

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The Lies of James Cameron

In anticipation of the Canadian director's upcoming mockumentary, let us recall how he distorted history in his most popular film. From this First-Class Tribute to Men of Titanic, a reflection on "the sort of manhood Alan Alda wouldn't recognize:"
    There were only 16 lifeboats. Three hundred sixteen women were saved, with 57 children. More than 1,300 men -- passengers and crew -- went down with the ship after a relatively orderly evacuation of "women and children first."
[For a detailed analysis, see Titanic Disaster: Official Casualty Figures and Commentary. Learn, among other things, the wrongness of "Leonardo DiCaprio as one of those heroic third class passengers who were, as we know from the casualty figures, less heroic than the bourgeois passengers in second class."]

"Chivalry, gallantry, bravery and grace" still meant something in 1912. Father Thomas Byles of the Titanic, defamed by Mr. Cameron, was but one of those fine men who went down with the ship, serving his flock in steerage.

Of course had Mr. Cameron told the true story of those fine men, he might have edified a generation of young males the world over, but he would not have garnered this endorsement, quoted from China Paints Titanic Red:
    Suggesting that the movie... evinces Communist values, providing "vivid descriptions of the relationship between money and love, rich and poor," China's president Jiang Zemin has given his unqualified backing to the film...
Turning our attention to the upcoming media event, coinciding neatly as it does with the Lenten season, Mr. Stephen Hand offers this refutation, unfortunately quite needed in these times of historical and cultural illiteracy: Bible Scholars: Ten Reasons Why Jesus Tomb Claim is Bogus.

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Cheap Shots in the Defense of Liberty Are No Vice

Prof. Clyde Wilson's latest, In Defense of Cheap Shots, is one of his best. The first paragraph follows:
    Some good readers of this site have complained that some of us—Paul Craig Roberts, Dr. Fleming, and even the mild-mannered and ever temperate Yours Truly—are guilty of taking “cheap shots,” of making over-heated accusations and using exaggerated language to describe the transgressions of George Bush and his regime. I reply that tyranny is usually incremental and always presents itself as necessary and for the public good. Thus, it should always be guarded against and opposed at the threshhold. If our forefathers had not observed this rule, there would have been no American War of Independence.
The "cheap shots" taken by the Old Rightists at www.ChroniclesMagazine.org, where Prof. Wilson writes, and at Antiwar.com, LewRockwell.com, and Sobran's, are not really "cheap shots" at all. Rather, they are spirited arguments in the best of the American political tradition. Reaction is no dinner party.

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A Patron Saint for the Second Amendment

Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, whose feast was yesterday, is the topic of this article by Peter Vere: A Saint for the Church Militant. More on the "Gun Saint" from the article:
    Two incidents in St. Gabriel Possenti's life are particularly notable for their evidence of manly virtue. The first took place when the saint was still young. He had been traveling through the woods to visit his uncle when a man approached him along the path.

    The man proposed that the two travel together for companionship. St. Gabriel Possenti agreed. As they passed an abandoned shack, the stranger accosted the saint, suggesting actions for which God obliterated Sodom and Gomorrah.

    "You fiend," St. Gabriel cried as he brandished his hunting knife. "If you touch me I'll stick you through."

    The assailant fled without further prompting.

    There are times when a Catholic must turn the other cheek. Yet St. Gabriel shows us there are other times when a Catholic must stand and fight. How many of our young people could be saved from sexual predators by being armed with the example of Saint Gabriel?

    Which brings up the second incident in which St. Gabriel Possenti demonstrated the virtues of Catholic manhood. Again it involved a potential rape, but this time the victims were a couple of young virgins. The perpetrators were two soldiers-turned-brigands who were part of a larger gang pillaging the village.

    Rather than hide in the monastery like the rest of the clergy, St. Gabriel Possenti approached the rapists and grabbed their revolvers. With a pistol in each hand, he ordered the brutes to unhand the crying maidens.

    The bandits laughed. The rest of their gang came over and mocked St. Gabriel's cassock bearing our Lord's Sacred Heart. They pointed out that a single seminarian was no match for over a dozen battle-hardened soldiers.

    Just then a small lizard dashed between the saint and the brigands. With a pinch of the trigger, the seminarian shot the lizard dead. "The next one will be through your heart," he told the gang's leader.

    The soldiers let go of the young ladies, returned the stolen loot and extinguished the fires they had lit, then fled the village. They knew better than to test the manly virtue of this man of God. For St. Gabriel Possenti did not abuse his strength, but rather he used it to defend the weak against unjust threats of violence.
Interesting that the "Gun Saint" should hail from Assisi, home to a more well-known saint. There is no contradiction between these two saints; they simply illustrate the breadth and scope of the Catholic Faith.

More can be learned from the St. Gabriel Possenti Society.

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Cui bono?

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The Emasculation of Nature

This could potentially explain a lot: Pollutants change 'he' frogs into 'she' frogs.

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Self-Esteem Run Amok

Words of wisdom, from Study: College students more narcissistic:
    "We need to stop endlessly repeating 'You're special' and having children repeat that back," said the study's lead author, Professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. "Kids are self-centered enough already."
Prof. Twenge's book is entitled Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled--And More Miserable Than Ever Before.

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Korean Soldier Among Those Killed in Cheney Assassination Attempt

May Sgt. Yoon Jang-ho, 27, and the others who lost their lives, rest in peace: South Korean Soldier Killed in Afghanistan. The article notes that he was "the first South Korean solider killed in a terrorist attack abroad since the country dispatched thousands of troops to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2002." To the best of my knowledge, the South Koreans have performed an exclusively non-combat role in both countries, making Sgt. Yoon the first to die at the hands of the enemy.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Coherent Foreign Policy

The next President of the United States on Saudia Arabia, Pakistan, and the Mideast: With Friends Like These… by Rep. Ron Paul. The nutshell version: disengage.

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The End of the American Narrative

"Has the American narrative authored its own undoing?" asks Prof. Michael Vlahos, writing for The American Conservative, in The Fall of Modernity, one of the best reads you're likely to come across in a while. Here's the first paragraph to whet your appetite:
    We are losing our wars in the Muslim world because our vision of history is at odds with reality. This is a well-established condition of successful societies, a condition that inevitably grows more worrisome with time and continuing success. In fact, what empires have most in common is how their sacred narratives come to rule their strategic behavior—and rule it badly. In America’s case, our war narrative works against us to promote our deepest fear: the end of modernity.
If only our policy-makers had glanced at The End of the Modern World by Father Romano Guardini, written in 1956.

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The Consequences of Globalism

For all those Left-liberals who look back fondly on the Clinton years, a reality check from Prof. Paul Buchheit in The Income Gap:
    Between 1990 and 2000 in the U.S. worker pay and inflation remained approximately equal, while corporate profits rose 93% and CEO pay rose 571%.
Of course, this is not to say that things have gotten any better during the Bush years.

What's needed is a move away from this neoliberal ideology, embraced also as it is by neocons, and move toward the principles of Distributivism, which holds that "[t]he means of production should be distributed as widely as possible among the populace; they should neither be hoarded by a oligarchy, nor controlled by the government."

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For the Separation of Family and State

Free and compulsory education: Authorities Ask German Homeschooling Family to Give up Custody of Other 5 Children. "Home schooling is illegal in Germany under a law dating back to Adolf Hitler," notes the article's author. This is paricularly ominous:
    An appeal to the European Court of Human Rights failed last year when the court ruled Germany’s enforcement of the law did not violate the rights of parents to educate their own children, saying the interests of the state in educating children took precedence over the views of the parents. [emphasis mine]
Readers may want to respectfully let their concerns for the Busekros family be known:
    The Minister of Justice in Bavaria:
    Beate Merk
    Prielmayerstr. 7
    80335 Munchen
    Tel. +49 89 5597 1799
    Fax +49 89 5597 3580
    Email: beate.merk@stmj.bayern.de

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Against Chronocentric Modernist Ideologues

Prof. Mitchell Kalpakgian gives us an excellent essay detailing the differences between The Classical & Modern Habits of Mind. We might say the classical mind was generalist, the modern specialist. The latter's self-limitation to it's narrow field, Prof. Kalpakgian argues, leads to "modern thoughts such as preventive war, same-sex 'marriage,' human cloning, politically correct education, legalized abortion, and no-fault divorce [that] originate in man-made ideologies that do not correspond to real facts or objective truths based on authority, experience, or reason."

On a simlar theme, Mr. Tracy Fennel, "vowing to combat the myth of progressive history," takes on his fellow professional historians in The Cro-Magnons of the 16th Century. Says Mr. Fennell of his colleagues' thinking, "Somehow man only became fully human with the arrival of the automobile, or the printing press, or electricity or the computer, whatever the yardstick of modernity may be."

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Mr. Bush's High Crimes and Misdemeanors

Mr. Jodin Morey gives us a detailed account:

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Ralph Nader Calls for Impeachment and/or Resignation

From Asymmetrical Warfare in Iraq:
    Hold Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney to the rule of the U.S. Constitution. Commence impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives. In the meantime, the public should demand their resignation. Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew resigned for far less "high crimes and misdemeanors." What is at stake here is the global position of the U.S.A. and its own national security.

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My Cup o' Tea

Tea at Trianon is a very learnèd blog brought to us by Elena Maria Vidal, "[w]ife, mother, historian, etiquette instructor, and wedding planner." She is the author of two historical novels, Trianon, a Novel of Royal France and Madame Royale (the sequel to Trianon), which she discusses in this interview:Two recent posts give a hint of what you can expect from her fine blog. The Chevalier de Saint-Georges introduces us Joseph Boulogne (1745-1799), ... known as "le Mozart noir" or "the black Mozart." In Skellig Michael, we learn about a rock in the middle of the sea inhabited by Irish monastics and "the 'green martyrdom' sought by the monks, the penitential life of strict fasting, solitude, silence, poverty, chastity and obedience."

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A Lenten Miracle in Naples

"Brother Elia, whose face, hands and feet appear covered in blood each Lent is revered by fans from the country's poorest to World Cup-winning footballer Francesco Totti:" New "Padre Pio" awaits his Lenten torment. "Doctor Carlo Marcelletti, one of Italy's foremost heart surgeons who witnessed his suffering last year, said the phenomenon was 'scientifically inexplicable'."

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From Deindustrialized Italy to the Factory of the World

From a kind reader comes news of a film she describes as an "Italian morality tale about trade with China,"Stella che non c'è, La (2006). A plot summary, from Mr. Bruno Giussani's review, Don't miss "The Missing Star":
    The story in short: Vincenzo Buonavolontà (literally "Vincent Goodwill", played by a perfect Sergio Castellitto, picture below) is the maintenance manager at an Italian steel mill that has been shut down. In an old-vs-new-industrial-country theme, the furnace is being sold to China. Vincenzo knows of a potentially dangerous structural flaw in a control unit, tries to alert the Chinese, but can't get their attention and the furnace is shipped. Vincenzo is a worker who cherishes values that seem today regrettably out of fashion: loyalty, a job well done. He decides to travel to Shanghai, where he discovers that the furnace has already been resold by brokers who have little interest in what he has to say. With the help of a translator, Liu Hua (convincingly played by newcomer Tai Ling), he travels through the cityscapes and landscapes and industry-scapes of contemporary China searching for the furnace. Amelio clearly uses Vincenzo's quest (for the furnace as well as for himself, mirrored in Liu Hua's own tribulations) as an excuse for a quasi-documentary about today's China and its extreme paradoxes, immense scale, absurd contrasts and engaging growth. If you've never been to China, that's a reason by itself to see this movie.

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A Peculiar Legacy of the Peculiar Institution

"He's in a mighty good family," said Doris Strom Costner, a cousin of the late senator, upon learning this news: Sharpton's Ancestor Was Owned by Thurmond's*. The reverend's assessment, quoted in the story, was not incorrect: "In the story of the Thurmonds and the Sharptons is the story of the shame and the glory of America." He also spoke of "healing" and "com[ing] together on some genuine level."

But I'm particularly struck my Mrs. Strom Costner's words: "He's in a mighty good family." What a beautifully aristocratic sentiment! Of course, I do not deny the abuses that took place under slavery or aristocracy, but history is much more complex than the simplistic Marxist charicature we've all been force-fed. The reality is that many, perhaps most, slave-holders and aristocrats were God-fearing people whose sense of paternalism and duty led them to sustain, protect, and defend their slaves, serfs, or servants and even treat them as members of an extended family.

When it comes to blame, let us remember these words from that great lover of Liberty, Alexis de Tocqueville (1805?1859), from Democracy in America:
    When I see the order of nature overthrown, and when I hear the cry of humanity in its vain struggle against the laws, my indignation does not light upon the men of our own time who are the instruments of these outrages; but I reserve my execration for those who, after a thousand years of freedom, brought back slavery into the world once more.
If we are not to blame "men of [Tocqueville's] time," much less should be blame their descendants.

*Use BugMeNot.com to bypass registration.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Shilling for the Antichrist

This sounds just a tad familiar, from Film-Maker: 'I Have Christ's Coffin':
    Titanic director James Cameron believes he may have discovered Jesus's lost tomb. He said DNA evidence and statistical analysis of a set of 2,000-year-old stone coffins found in Jerusalem in 1980 suggest they once held the remains of Christ and his family. Cameron said tests on human residue taken from the ossuaries believed to be those of Jesus and Mary Magdalene indicates they might have been a couple.
A century ago, the standard line was that Christ never existed. His existence could not be proven; therefore, He didn't exist. When it was shown that the same methodology could also "prove" that Napoleon never existed, it was dropped. Now, all of a sudden, not only can we "prove" that Christ did indeed exist, we can also "prove" that everything orthodox Christians have believed about Him for two millenia is false.

The James Cameron Conspiracy Theory is starting to sound a little bit less crazy; a "documentary" aimed at fomenting doubt about Christ is just what you might expect from a 33° Mason.

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Iran─We're Already There

Two stories on "clandestine operations in Iran... 'guided by Vice President Dick Cheney:'" Foreign devils in the Iranian mountains and US covert operations helping Muslim radicals. Perhaps we can make an educated guess as to whose hand was behind this act of terrorism: 18 reported dead in Iran bus bombing.

Let me see if I can get this straight. We're backing one Shi'a government against a Sunni insurgency, fomenting another Sunni insurgency against a different Shi'a government, and at the same time fighting both the Shi'a Madhi Army and Sunni Al-Qaeda. In the long run, who will be playing whom? The Founding Fathers, who warned us to Beware of Foreign Entanglements, are rolling over in the graves.

But what more could we expect under the "leadership" of a "decider" who exclaimed, "I thought the Iraqis were Muslims!”?

UPDATE: "We're playing the Sunni card in the Middle East – and that means playing footsie with al-Qaeda:" America's Alliance With bin Laden- Justin Raimondo.

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The New Eugenics

"In developed countries, there is a growing interest for the most sophisticated biotechnological research to introduce subtle and extensive eugenics methods in the obsessive search for the 'perfect child'," said the Holy Father, quoted in Pope speaks out against "designer babies".

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It's the Jews!

They're keeping Americans of Korean descent down. At least that's the theory of Prof. Lee Won-bok, a Korean cartoonist who's work is reported on in this story: Anti-Semitic cartoons spur outrage. The outrage spoken of has come from Americans of Jewish and Korean extraction; I haven't heard a peep of outrage over here in Korea.

A few years ago, I was lent Prof. Lee's book on Korea, translated into English. It was a huge waste the hour or so it took to flip through it. His essential thesis, that Korea is the Italy of Asia because both countries are peninsulas, was laughable. He ignores, for example, the fact that Italy is shaped like a boot and Korea a "lumpy phallus," in the immortal words of General Douglas MacArthur.

Prof. Lee's ideas have a lot of currency, though, as I've heard them regurgitated by university students and others on numerous occasions. People these days don't seem to have the time, inclination, or even ability to read books without pictures, and they like their ideas simplistic.

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Baby Boxes

An idea from India comes to Japan: Public cradles against abortion. From the article:
    Following India, which last week launched a "cradles scheme" against abortions and foeticide of girls, the Japanese Health Minister approved a decision taken by a hospital in Kumamoto to have a "baby box" for the public.

    Hospital officials said the box was intended to ensure absolute privacy for those parents who wanted to abandon their newly born babies. The "box" is an incubator which is always working and monitored by a nurse of the hospital. Babies can be put there through an opening in the hospital wall.

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The Israel Lobby Ratchets Up the Pressure

For Mr. Bush to expand his war: AIPAC Demands "Action" on Iran. Author Gary Leupp quotes Israeli Defense Force chief artillery officer Gen. Oded Tira as saying, "[A]n American strike in Iran is essential for [Israel's] existence."

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The Korean Wave Returns to Kiribati

After Korean fishing boats were banned twice from docking there, On South Pacific island, Korean fishermen again looking to buy sex. Here's how the second ban came about:
    In 2005, the problematic behavior of Korean fishermen became so serious that Kiribati authorities decided to prohibit Korean ships from docking there. The decision came after the head of Kiribati's Roman Catholic Church urged the government of President Anote Tong to step down if it could not solve the prostitution issue in the country. [emphasis mine]
Those of us in Korea remember this from when the story broke two years ago: "Prostitutes in Kiribati are referred to as "korakorea" because of the nationality of their most frequent clients."

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The High Cost of Rapid Industrialization

The Hankyoreh, South Korea's main Leftist organ, reports: High levels of uranium, radon found in water supply. How high? "1,640㎍/ℓ uranium, 54.6 times the U.S. standard."

A related story from the same source: S. Korean children have higher toxic metal levels in blood and urine. From the article:
    According to the survey by the Ministry of Environment last year, South Korean children aged 8-13 have a mercury level of around 2.42 parts per billion (ppb) in their blood.

    Comparable figures in other countries are 1.0 ppb in Germany, 0.34 ppb in the United States, 17.6 ppb in China and 6.6 ppb in Japan, the survey showed.

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Mary and Mohammedom

New Oxford Review's Jim Coop gives us much food for thought in this article: In 1531, Mary Intervened to Prevent a Clash of Civilizations. He is of course looking back to "the prevention of an armed revolt of the Mexican Indian population" and "the greatest mass conversion to Christianity in the history of the Church," both of which were brought about by Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Mr. Coop is also looking at the contemporary situation with what Hilaire Belloc termed The Great and Enduring Heresy of Mohammed. These two paragraphs of Mr. Coop's article stand out:
    Therefore, might Mary serve as the bridge between the Western and Islamic worlds? Actually, many Moslem women not only resemble our Lady in their style of dress but also in the practice of a virtue that Western women must once again embrace if Western civilization is going to endure, let alone expand. That virtue is chastity.

    Many years ago, Archbishop Fulton Sheen noted the difficulties Christian missionaries were having in converting Moslems to the Faith. He proposed a solution to the problem: Fostering devotion to the Virgin Mary. In his book The World's First Love, he wrote, "It is our firm belief that the fears some entertain concerning the Moslems are not to be realized, but that Islam will eventually be converted to Christianity. This will not happen through the direct teaching of Christianity but through the summoning of the Moslems to a veneration of the Mother of God.... Because Moslems have a devotion to Mary, our missionaries should be satisfied merely to expand and develop that devotion with full realization that Our Lady will carry the Moslems the rest of the way to her Divine Son."
Read also this classic by Fr. Ladis J. Cizik: Our Lady And Islam: Heaven's Peace Plan.

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Feeding Confucian Scholars

The New Beginning links to this review of a book by Prof. Ahn Dae-hoe of Myongji University in Seoul: Leisure in Lives of Choson Scholars. This passage stood out:
    In the writings of Yi-ik (1629-90), a renowned Confucian scholar and upright civil minister who published work under the penname Songho, Ahn finds lessons about abstinence from food.

    "I like books by nature and do not produce a single strand of cloth or a grain of rice on my own, trying just to read books every day. Am I not just a tick in this world?" Yi wrote. He found the best way to soothe his conscience was to eat less.
Observing the contemporary Korean aversion to getting one's hands dirty with work deemed menial, I imagine the Christian solution to such scrupulous thoughts never crossed Yi-ik's learned mind: plant a garden.

I recently came across a scholarly observation that one of Christianity's greatest contributions to the West it formed was the dignification of physical labor, especially agricultural labor. Indeed, when the great monastic orders of Europe were not busying themselves with the preservation and advancement of civilization, they were growing food and, perhaps more importantly, making beer! America's own Confucian scholars, the Founding Fathers, were, by and large, gentlemen farmers. The great American Taoist, Henry David Thoreau, went even further.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

For Liberty and Against the Welfare/Warfare State

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The Ben Franklin Code

National Treasure (2004) is a movie with as many plot holes, inaccuracies, and absurdities as The Da Vinci Code (2006). A willing suspension of belief for either of these films will not suffice; to make them believable for the half of the population with triple digit IQs would require a lobotomy. All that makes "Treasure" a slightly more watchable film than "Code" is that the former doesn't take itself so seriously, and the fact that it showcases the Germanic beauty of Diane Kruger.

The film's greatest slander is portraying Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737–1832), the sole Catholic signer of The Declaration of Independence, as one of the nine Freemasons who signed the document. The movie was, in reality, little more than a Masonic propganda piece─I'd like to see who bankrolled it. In the end, the cop with the Masonic ring saves the day for our heroes.

The goals of the secret society are shown to be nothing more than the establishment of a limited─not world─government and the guarding of the world's art and historical treasures from the evil British in order to share them with all of humanity. In fact, the film is unabashedly Anglophobic; villians have English accents and sinister sounding names like "Ian."

Don't waste your time with this poison. A better use of your time would be to read this entry from The Catholic Encyclopedia: Masonry (Freemasonry).

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Leftist Post-millennialism

Two from the archives of one of our favorite atheists, the late Murray N. Rothbard: The Menace of the Religious Left and Saint Hillary and the Religious Left.

Like other leftists, religious leftists attempt to Immanentize the eschaton, i.e., establish heaven on earth. Attempts to do so generally end in hell on earth, like the the second bloodiest conflict in history, the Taiping Rebellion, an attempt by a self-styled "younger brother of Christ" to establish the "Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace" [太平天國].

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Relics

I was struck by this bit of La Chanson de Roland (1090), quoted in Mont-Saint-Michel & Chartres by Henry B. Adams, in which the hero sings to his sword:
    "E! Durendal cum ies bele e saintisme!
    En l'oret punt asez i ad reliques.
    La dent saint Pierre e del sanc seint Basilie
    E des chevels mun seignur seint Denisie
    Del vestment i ad seinte Marie."


    "Ah, Durendal, how fair you are and sacred!
    In your golden guard are many relics,
    The tooth of Saint Peter and blood of Saint Basil,
    And hair of my seigneur Saint-Denis,
    Of the garment too of Saint Mary."
This explanation from the author:
    To the warriors, the sword itself was the religion, and the relics were details of ornament or strength. To the priest, the list of relics was more eloquent than the Regent diamond on the hilt and the Kohinoor on the scabbard. Even to us it is interesting if it is understood. Roland had gone on pilgrimage to he Holy Land. He had stopped at Rome and won the friendship of Saint Peter, as the tooth proved; he had passed through Constantinople and secured the help of Saint Basil; he had reached Jerusalem and gained the affection of the Virgin; he had come home to France and secured the support of his "seigneur" Saint Denis; for Roland, like Hugh Capet, was a liege-man of Saint Denis and French to the heart. France, to him, was Saint Denis, and at most the Ile de France, but not Anjou or even Maine.
Here's an article on the topic that appeared today: Relic Fascination

Finally, here's a second-hand relic I could see myself tooling around in, Saint Padre Pio's car:


[image from Web, Su Ebay Auto Benedetta Da Padre Pio A 950.000 Euro]

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Professor Clyde Wilson on the American Leadership

From There He Goes Again—More of the Way We Are Now:
    Ortega y Gasset described the creeping malady of the modern West as “the sovereignty of the unqualified.” Could there possibly be a better description of American leadership?

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Downwind from the Factory of the World

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Customs, Traditions, and Habits vs. Ideology

Echoing Edmund Burke (1729–1797) and Russell Kirk (1918–1994) , this excerpt from The Next Conservatism by Paul M. Weyrich and William S. Lind :
    Ideology, a child of the French Revolution, says that according to thus-and-such set of abstract principles, reality must be thus-and-so. Inevitably, reality is too complex to fit the ideological Procrustean bed. When that happens, the ideology in question decrees that certain aspects of reality, those that conflict with its precepts, must be ignored. If the ideology, through politics, achieves control of a state, it uses the power of the state to enforce its decree. Anyone who dares doubt that all of history is a factor of the ownership of the means of production or of the superiority of Aryan blood or of the inherent evil of white men and Western civilization is penalized by the state. If the ideology gains sufficient power, the penalty becomes the concentration camp, the Gulag, or the bullet into the back of the neck in the basement of the Lubyanka.

    Real conservatism rejects all ideologies, recognizing them as armed cant. In their place, it offers a way of life built upon customs, traditions, and habits—themselves the products of the experiences of many generations. Because people are capable of learning over time, when they may do so in a specific, continuous cultural setting, the conservative way of life comes to reflect the prudential virtues: modesty, the dignity of labor, conservation and saving, the importance of family and community, personal duties and obligations, and caution in innovation. While these virtues tend to manifest themselves in most traditional societies, with variations conservatives usually value, they have had their happiest outcome in the traditional culture of the Christian West.

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Winning Little Hearts and Minds

    US Soldiers Taunting Iraqi Children With Water Bottles

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Sea Monsters Are Real


As big as was the half-ton creature recently caught by the Kiwis─New Zealand fishermen catch massive squid on Yahoo! Photos─it was likely a puny lightweight in comparison to what lurks in the deep sea. Take, for example, this 2003 account, from Squid attacks and a mast failure: a Jules Verne saga:
    “I saw a tentacle through a porthole,” said Olivier de Kersauson, skipper of the 34-meter (112-foot) tri Geronimo, via email from his boat a day after the incident. “It was thicker than my leg and it was really pulling the boat hard.” The squid locked onto one of the tri’s hulls and rudder, slowing the boat down and making steering all but impossible, according to the speed-crazed Frenchmen onboard. After rounding the boat into the wind, the squid apparently dropped off and swam away, no doubt casting a look askance at the crew with one of its dinner-plate eyes. “We didn’t have anything to scare off this beast, so I don’t know what we would have done if it hadn’t let go,” de Kersauson said. “We weren’t going to attack it with our penknives.”

    Didier Ragot, a crewmember who witnessed the attack, reported how the squid glommed on: “The tentacles were as thick as my arms plus the waterproofs. Amazing! To begin with it was jammed between the top of the rudder blade and the hull and then it sent two of its tentacles down to the base of the rudder blade and grasped it right the way around at fence level. I saw it astern after it had let go, and I reckon it was about 10 metres long: absolutely enormous. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen one so big: it shook the whole boat and it was rather worrying at the time.”
[image from The Illustrators of Jules Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires]

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Ethicists Be Damned!

Ominous news today: Korea Reignites Stem Cell Engine. From the article:
    "Some express concerns that stem cell research is stagnant here. But we are still committed to it," Park said in a press conference.

    "Regarding human embryonic stem cells, we are seeking to conclude to what extent we will allow that form of research by next month. We also plan to finish revisions of the Bioethics Law later this year," Park [ Jong-koo, vice minister for science and technology innovation,] said.

    [....]

    "If we have to decide things by a majority vote early next month, cloning research will be resumed since two-thirds of the members support it,’" said Prof. Cho Han-ik of Seoul National University.

    Cho leads the 20-member bioethics committee consisting of six ethicists, seven scientists and seven government officials. Only the ethicists are against cloning research.
    [emphasis mine]
I repeat, "Only the ethicists are against cloning research." The seven scientists and seven government officials, predictably, have no qualms. What's the point of having ethicists on the committee in the first place, if they are only going to be trumped by a majority vote. Life and death issues arising from innovations should be decided by consensus, as juries do. If there is no consensus, stay put.

[This puts me in a bit of a professional pickle. One of the hats I wear at my university is that of the English tutor for the Graduate School of Life Science. I help students prepare presentations of their research to be given at international conferences. Should my university initiate ESCR, I will refuse to offer any assistance to students involved in this research. So far, I have had no ethical concerns whatsoever with the scores of students and researchers, many of them committed Christians, I've met. Quite the contrary; they are involved in wonderful and exciting projects that could mean better lives for millions of suffering people.]

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First War and Death, Then Famine and Pestilence

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God's Rottweiler on Factory Farming

    Certainly, a sort of industrial use of creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible.

    ─then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now the Vicar of Christ, quoted in Trappists can't swallow Eggs Benedict
Here are four of my previous posts on the topic, in reverse chronilogical order: Against Factory Farming, Dog Meat, Factory Farming, and Animal Welfare (Not Rights), On Factory Farming, and Animal Welfare.

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Three Left Hooks from CounterPunch

"From the Gulf of Tonkin to the Persian Gulf," historian Robert Fantina suggests we are forgetting Santayana's sagely warning: Repeating History. Pray for our boys─and, to our shame, our girls─sitting on those ships over there. Remember the Maine! Remember the Lusitania!

Kevin Zeese on a real antiwar Democrat, the Honorable Senator Mike Gravel: Finally, a Populist Antiwar Candidate. I'm still backing Dr. Ron Paul, but the more good men─and, to our credit, women─ in the running, the better.

The Illinois Students Against the War on a fake antiwar Democrat: Why We Protested at Obama's Speech.

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Axis of Torture

    We knew damn well if Maher Arar went to Syria, he'd be tortured. It's beneath the dignity of this country, a country that has always been a beacon of human rights, to send somebody to another country to be tortured . . . Let us not create more terrorism around the world by telling the world we cannot keep up to our basic standards and beliefs.

    ─The Honorable Senator Patrick Leahy, questioning Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on the CIA's kidnapping of Maher Arar
"Is This America?" asks the pro-life, atheist, civil libertarian, Jazz critic Nat Hentoff, beginning his article with the above quote.

Aside from being revolted by the anti-American Bush Administration, I'm perplexed at how it can cooperate with this junior member of the Axis of Evil when it comes to torture, but not when it comes to providing stability in Iraq.

[link via Catholic and Enjoying It!]

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Against False Mathematical Certitude

Prof. Sam Crane of The Useless Tree posts today on Useless Arithmetic, the title of a book by a father-daughter team of geologists who "are pointing out the limits of scientific thinking and proposing other observation-intensive methods for discerning natural patterns and processes." An excerpt from a review of the book:
    When coastal engineers decide whether to dredge sand and pump it onto an eroded beach, they use mathematical models to predict how much sand they will need, when and where they must apply it, the rate it will move and how long the project will survive in the face of coastal storms and erosion.

    Orrin H. Pilkey, a coastal geologist and emeritus professor at Duke, recommends another approach: just dredge up a lot of sand and dump it on the beach willy-nilly. This “kamikaze engineering” might not last very long, he says, but projects built according to models do not usually last very long either, and at least his approach would not lull anyone into false mathematical certitude.

    Now Dr. Pilkey and his daughter Linda Pilkey-Jarvis, a geologist in the Washington State Department of Geology, have expanded this view into an overall attack on the use of computer programs to model nature. Nature is too complex, they say, and depends on too many processes that are poorly understood or little monitored — whether the process is the feedback effects of cloud cover on global warming or the movement of grains of sand on a beach.
We might call the Pilkeys scientists against Scientism.

The "false mathematical certitude" spoken of reminds me of the first episode of the great Krzysztof Kieślowski's made-for-TV series "Dekalog" (1989). A young boy is taught two very diferent worldviews: one from atheistic, rationlist father, the other from his devout Catholic aunt. The father uses official temperature readings over a series of winter nights to calculate that the ice will be thick enough for his young son to safely skate on a nearby pond. The father, lulled into false mathematical certitude, sends his son off to skate unaccompanied... Cut to the end and the father is kneeling before The Black Madonna of Czestochowa in an empty church that is still under construction before he starts tearing the place up.


[As an aside, my field, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, is rife with what Prof. Wolfgang Smith called The plague of scientistic belief. Glance at the charts in half the papers in the field and you'd think you were looking at theoretical physics! In the first year of my master's program, I was awestuck. But I soon realized that most of it was hogwash. What is needed to be a good language teacher? (1) A solid knowlegde of the grammar, phonology, and history of the target language, (2) as much as possible, the same for the learners' first language, (3) some basic teaching techniques, and (4) most importantly, a good personality. ]

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission

Already down the Orwellian "memory hole" is this two-week-old story: Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission hears nine charges against Bush, Blair, Howard.

Say what you will will about the country─I spent more than a year there and would say it's a fine, tolerant, prosperous, dynamic society─Malaysia is no third-world backwater to be lightly dismissed. Surely this is more newsworthy than that playmate who died or that singer who shaved her head and went into rehab.

The commission is chaired by former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, more affectionately known as Dr. M, and prosecuted by Matthias Chang, a Chinese-Malaysian Catholic. Here are the details of the nine counts against the indicted:
    Chang said Bush, Blair and Howard, through a deliberate plan of deception, falsehood, forgery and outright lies, misled their respective Congress and Parliament to wage war against Iraq which was a "crime against peace."

    The trio were also being charged for embarking on a systematic campaign to destroy Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine economically and militarily, he said.

    He said the third charge against them was for ordering the destruction of vital facilities essential to civilian lives in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine while the fourth was for the bombing of schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, residential areas and historical sites and conveniently labelling the destruction as "collateral damage".

    The three leaders were also charged with allowing the use of weapons of mass destruction that inflicted indiscriminate death and suffering against civilian targets such as the cluster bomb, napalm bomb, phosporous bomb and depleted uranium ammunition, said Chang.

    The sixth charge said that Bush, Blair and Howard have fraudulently manipulated the United Nations and the Security Council as well as corrupting its members to commit crimes against peace and war times, he said.

    Through the aforesaid conduct, Chang said the three had destroyed the environment of Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine.

    The eighth charge was that Bush, Blair and Howard ordered and condoned the violation of human rights, specifically the civilians in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba as well as other prisons known and unknown in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and anywhere else in the world.

    The last charge spelled out that Bush, Blair and Howard systematically controlled and manipulated, directed and misinformed the mass media so as to incite war to achieve their military objectives in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine.
Here is some more background on the story: "Natural Law" Allows For Setting Up Of KL War Crimes Tribunal and Former U.N. envoy says war tribunal by Malaysia's Mahathir is a farce.

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The Greens Say Impeach

A statement quoted from the party's press release, Iraq War is Impeachable, Not Just a 'Strategic Blunder':
    The Iraq War didn't fail because the White House and Pentagon botched it strategically, although it's evident that the invasion was undertaken without regard for the protection of many U.S. service personnel (e.g., inadequate body armor; illegal use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus, which also harm civilians), the need to secure Iraq's borders, and other basic military necessities. The Iraq War was an inevitable disaster, said Green Party leaders, because it was a preemptive invasion of one nation by another, justified before the public by manipulated intelligence estimates and a disinformation campaign (false claims about WMDs; Saddam Hussein's collusion with al-Qaeda; Saddam's purported threat to neighboring countries and the U.S.), with minimal consideration of the outcome (mass Iraqi civilian deaths; probably civil war; international outrage, especially among Muslim and Arab nations; empowerment of radical religious and terrorist groups in the region).

    "Preemptive invasion is illegal under international law. Congress must treat the Iraq invasion as a criminal atrocity, requiring impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, and investigation and criminal prosecution of those responsible for the war," said Rebecca Rotzler, co-chair of the Green Party and Deputy Mayor of New Paltz, New York.

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NY Times Article on the Globalization of Korean Marriage

The Grey Lady* discovers a decade-old story: Korean Men Use Brokers to Find Brides in Vietnam. The most ubiqutous roadside signs, expecially in rural areas, are those advertising brides from Vietnam. Why? Market forces:
    More and more South Korean men are finding wives outside of South Korea, where a surplus of bachelors, a lack of marriageable Korean partners and the rising social status of women have combined to shrink the domestic market for the marriage-minded male. Bachelors in China, India and other Asian nations, where the traditional preference for sons has created a disproportionate number of men now fighting over a smaller pool of women, are facing the same problem.
How did this problem come about?
    The widespread availability of sex-screening technology for pregnant women since the 1980s has resulted in the birth of a disproportionate number of South Korean males. What is more, South Korea’s growing wealth has increased women’s educational and employment opportunities, even as it has led to rising divorce rates and plummeting birthrates.
I guess the Grey Lady has no need to mention the phrase "sex-selective abortion." I suspect that most pro-aborts, being feminists, would be rightly disgusted by the idea of aborting a baby solely because it's a girl. But really, if it's wrong to kill a baby because it's female, why is it wrong to kill a baby because it's inconvenient, doesn't have blue eyes, or for any other reason? What makes some "choices" in this matter more acceptable than others?

*Use BugMeNot.com to bypass registration.

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Mother Jones' Iraq Study Group

From Antiwar.com comes a link to this crash course with everything you wanted to know but were too disaffected or apathetic to ask: Iraq 101. Here's the intro:
    All right, no more excuses, people. After four years in Iraq, it’s time to get serious. We’ve spent too long goofing off, waiting to be saved by the bell, praying that we won’t get asked a stumper like, “What’s the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?” Okay, even the head of the House intelligence committee doesn’t know that one. All the more reason to start boning up on what we—and our leaders—should have learned back before they signed us up for this crash course in Middle Eastern geopolitics. And while we’re at it, let’s do the math on what the war really costs in blood and dollars. It’s time for our own Iraq study group. Yes, there will be a test, and we can’t afford to fail.

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NFP in the News─So What?

I'm not one of these Catholics who harp day and night about Natural Family Planning (NFP), although I admit that there is no legitimate alternative for those who need─need, not "want"─to limit their number of children. I'm a bit creeped out by those in what might be called the "NFP Ministry," as if this were the Catholic answer to the sexual revolution and everything were finally "groovy." Let the women of the parish discuss this stuff after Mass behind close doors, I say, while their husbands are at the neighborhood pub.

NFP is roughly analogous to Annulments; both are legitimate but, I suspect, also grossly overused. Perhaps we could say that NFP should be "safe, legal, and rare," or at least "rarer" than it is. You could say I'm a fan of the "natural" part but not the "family planning" part. More Natalism, less NFP!

That said, I could not help but notice this story from Auntie Beeb, which cites a German study concluding that "[a] natural family planning method is as effective as the contraceptive pill:" Natural contraception 'effective'*. "[A] nd infinitely safer," notes LewRockwell.com in linking to the story. [Of course, it goes without saying that NFP's effectiveness or lack thereof has nothing to do with it being the only legitimate form of limiting family size.]

I can already hear the reaction from the Sex Jacobins: "But this violates inalienable human rights by forcing women to abstain on certain days of the month!"

*"Natural contraception" is an oxymoron since nothing is used or placed in contra conception. That would be like calling abstenance a "safe sex" method, or calling the avoidance of people with the flu an innoculation.

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Strange But True

In addition to being Paleolibertarianism's premier site, LewRockwell.com links to unique stories from other news sources. Here are three from today.

First, a strange variation of The Cargo Cults in Vanuatu: South Sea tribe prepares birthday feast for their favourite god, Prince Philip.

Second, made of gold and believed to have been worn by a strikingly tall female soothsayer or priestess in ancient Persia: 5,000-year-old artificial eyeball found.

Third, another reason why I try to get eight hours a day (but seldom do): No sleep means no new brain cells.

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Korean Beauty


The above set of images, from ‘팔도미인도’ 뜯어보니…“평양=최지우形, 장성=송혜교形”, show the ideal beauty of the past from, clockwise from the upper left, Chinju, Seoul, P'yŏngyang, Kangnŭng, and Changsŏn. The headline compares P'yŏngyang and Changsŏng to contemporary beauties Choi Ji-woo (최지우) and Song Hye-kyo (송혜교) respectively, pictured below:

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The Lord of Heaven Teaching (天主教) in the Middle Kingdom (中國)


The beautiful image above comes from an excellent article by Tom Pauken II, Perhaps Catholics Can Succeed in China, which provides a comprehensive picture of the complex situation of the Church in China as well as of Sino-Vatican relations.

He begins with the premise that "[i]t's safe to assume that Catholicism and Communism don't mix." We might think of the former as an irrestible force and the latter as a unmovable object. But that would be to forget Poland and the the Church's role in the fall of Communism, made all the more ironic by the monster Stalin's famous quip asking how many divisions the Pope had.

For a more inside account of the situation of Catholics in China, visit the The Cardinal Kung Foundation.

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The Homelessness Industry

Seoul Times' U.S. columnist Thomas Emmon Pisano, a victim of the gloablist neoliberal de-industrialization of Amerca, finds himself yet another homeless veteran in America. It is not often we get to hear a first-hand account of homelessness from a talented writer, and he shares his thoughts in The Anatomy of Homelessness. Some of his observations:
    Here is what I see; Los Angeles Family Housing is a "Bum Factory" crudely put they take the homeless and process their numbers and who cares about the end result, in other words, they would rather put me back in their system and get the revenue for a failed attempt at rehabilitation (of which I have no need of rehabilitation, because I have no addiction, medical or mental problems). I guess you could say that I am a victim of circumstance. Still I am another number in which the Fat Cats can claim to line their pockets.

    [....]

    To prevent homelessness is far from the minds of the individuals who work there. It even seems that they encourage homelessness and want the clients who falter in the program to re-enter their facility, as I was encouraged to do, I guess; in order to get their grant numbers up and keep the funding flowing.

    [....]

    It is in this reporter's opinion that Los Angeles Family Housing cares only for the funding it attracts and the people that they are suppose to help are irrelevant as far as the results are concerned.
This blogger has worked in community organizations both as a volunteer and as a full-time paid employee. Observing myself and others, I believe that it is hard if not impossible not to become cynical and jaded while making a living off the misery of others.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta once said that she wouldn't do what she did for a million dollars. Charity can only be freely given. Servant of God Dorothy Day insisted that charity was a call "[n]ot just for impersonal 'poverty programs,' government-funded agencies, but help given from the heart at a personal sacrifice." Local governments might have some limited role to carry out in the endeavor to alleviate misery, but the bulk of the effort should be carried out by volunteers. That's the American way.

Let us also not forget to pray for Mr. Pisano and others in his circumstances and remember There But for the Grace of God go I, or, for our secularist friends, There but for Fortune...

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Hard Times Ahead

"This week's data on the sagging real estate market leaves no doubt that the housing bubble is quickly crashing to earth and that hard times are on the way," begins Mike Whitney in The Second Great Depression. The author goes on to present a litany of dismal economic data showing that we are, indeed, doomed.

If Mr. Whitney's article does not convince you, perhaps the fact that "[f]ormer World Bank Vice President, Chief Economist and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz has predicted a global economic crash within 24 months" will: Former World Bank Chief Economist Predicts Global Crash. Mr. Stiglitz also "drew ominous parallels to the development of the NAFTA Superhighway and the North American Union."

How to proceed? First, we need to remember that Small is Still Beautiful. We need to work toward Distributivism guided by The Principle of Subsidiarity. Above all, we need to counter the Threat of Globalization. Rather, Global Relocalisation is what we need to strive for. Peak Oil is but one scenario that could bring this about; a global great depression could do the same.

In the meantime, we might find inspiration from Charles Dickens' Hard Times or this classic of New York hardcore:
    Cro Mags - Hard Times
"Never surrender. Never go down."

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Lenten Readings

The Holy Father delivers a counter-cultural message for the faithful: Lent for conversion not self-fulfilment, Benedict says. here's the full text: Pope's message for Lent 2007

The New Oxford Review's Noel J. Augustyn notes that the season for penance ain't what it used to be: Lent: Time for Another Parish Party?

The Catholic Exchange's Mark Shea notes that our "Protestant friends have nothing to worry about" with the season: The Gift of Lent.

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Klinton's Amerika

From the Left, Alan Maass and Jeffrey St. Clair take a look back "at the scene of eight years of crime" in Talking About the Clintons. Here's a taste:
    The Clinton administration opened the doors for Bush Junior in ways that Junior's father never did. Aside from the obvious Oedipal things going on with Bush Junior, his father hasn't been a big help to him. But Clinton certainly has. When Bush talks about his "other father," people are assuming that he's talking to the supreme deity. But I think that maybe it's Clinton who's on the speed dial.

    Because in so many ways, Clinton provided the final transition between decaying old-style liberalism and the new neoliberalism and neoconservatism--which are kind of incestuous first cousins.
Also from the Left, Robert Scheer looks at the "unrepentant hawk" and front-runner for the Democratic nomination: Hillary’s Calculations Add Up to War.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

William Wilberforce, Evangelical Politician

    Secularists such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris describe the beliefs of the faithful as a "delusion" and akin to "insanity." Wilberforce endured similar scorn. He was lampooned for his "damnable doctrine" and dismissed as a "treacherous fanatic."

    Modern skeptics should remember that the great campaign against the international slave trade was not led by atheists. It was fought by people with deep Christian convictions about the dignity and freedom of every person made in the image of God.


    ─Joseph Laconte, from British abolition's faith-based roots
William Wilberforce (1759–1833), and other Classical liberals like Edmund Burke (1729–1797) and Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859), understood the importance of religious values for free societies, something modern American Left-liberals disingenuously reject. I say disingenuously because they only raise a stink about "legislating religion" when it comes to policies they disagree with. Revs. Jackson and Sharpton are above the fray, either because their ideas are politically correct or because leftist white supremacy only allows for religious belief among races deemed "less progressive."

Also, none of these folks─not Wilberforce, Jackson, Sharpton, the Pope, not even Falwell or Robertson─was or is taking about "legislating religion." They are not suggesting laws that mandate belief in The Divinity of Christ or The Trinity, for example. At worst─really at best─religious people in politics are using their religious principles and traditions to inform them on social issues. If abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and same-sex marriage are solely religious issues, than so are slavery, murder, and rape.

These are not religious issues, of course, which is why an atheist like Nat Hentoff can arrive at the same position on most issues that a Catholic like me does.

Here's the trailer of the film opening this Friday, on the 200th anniversary of the end of Britain's slave trade:

    Amazing Grace Movie Trailer

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Dies Cinerum

Today is Ash Wednesday for those of us in the West, the first day of Lent. While not one of the Holy Days of Obligation, why not consider paying a visit to your local parish to receive the blessèd ashes? At the very least, keep the following in mind:
    Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.

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Ron, Ron, Run!

The Ron Paul 2008 Presidential Exploratoy Committee website is up and running online. Dr. Ron Paul (R-TX), a pro-life obstetrician, leans towards Paleolibertarianism on most issues and Paleoconservatism on others.

He would have America return to Non-interventionism, the Gold standard, and States' rights. He would have America Abolish the Federal Reserve, Abolish the Income Tax, and Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment.

The good doctor is a prolific writer as well. Collections of his articles can be found at Antiwar.com's Ron Paul Archives and LewRockwell.com's Congressman Ron Paul Archives.

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Anti-Abortion Photo of the Day

A photo of miracle baby Amillia Sonja Taylor, born at 21 weeks and six days gestation, weighing less than 10 oz. and just nine ½ inches long, from World's most premature baby thrives:


If the person holding little Amillia proceeded to chop her up into little pieces, we would call her a murderer. Yet, if she did the same act in an abortion "clinic," we would call her a doctor, despite her violation of the The Hippocratic Oath to "perform the utmost respect for every human life from fertilization to natural death and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life."

Here's more on the story: “Non-viable” Baby Girl Survives Birth at 21 Weeks, Weighing Under 10oz.

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Indian Christian Hospital Feticide Story

Some clarification, perhaps, from Fundamentalists accuse Christian hospital of illegal abortions:
    The Anglican Bishop of the Church of North India, Laxman L Maida, said the episode was a “false scandal blown out of proportion by the media and extremists”. He told AsiaNews: “The Mission Hospital in Ratlam has honestly served the neediest people irrespective of creed for 100 years.” Maida claimed that the polythene bag with the remains was due to “negligence of the sweeper and not illegal procedures of the hospital”. This was, he said, an “anti-Christian conspiracy against missionaries and their services”.

    According to another version, the Bajrang Dal movement – the youth wing of the fundamentalist Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) – accused the Mission Hospital of illegal abortions and of hiding the foetuses.

    The hospital denied this and explained that the bones belonged to some stillborn babies whose bodies were abandoned by their parents. The Bajrang Dal activists started shouting provocative slogans against the hospital and some exaggerated the number of bones found to cause more commotion and to strengthen their accusations.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Reformed Christian on Just War

A Presbyterian professor of history offers a long and detailed chronicle of American militarism in America and the Christian Theory of Just War by John J. Dwyer.

The author also offers the history and a description of the Just War Doctrine. As a Catholic, I rejoice at reading these words from a Reformed Christian:
    Honorable men and women hold to both Pacifism and Christian Realism, but it is the theory of Just War that I believe has most scripturally animated the Church’s approach in the nearly two millennia since its first advocacy. So whence the concept of Just War? One of its earliest known advocates was Ambrose, the noble Fourth Century Bishop of Milan. Now here was a man. He stood up to the Empress Justina, threatened to excommunicate Emperor Theodosius I if he did not repent of his wickedness in massacring a townful of people, and was the mentor and guiding light of Augustine of Hippo, perhaps the greatest thinker the Church has ever produced. If you have ever read any portions of Augustine’s City of God, you understand.

    Indeed, Ambrose played the man till the end of his life. As the German tribes closed in on a Rome governed in its final days by Christian emperors, those emperors realized they needed to know when they could justly wage war. And the Christian soldiers who now filled many of the Roman ranks sought to know if and when they could honorably serve as warriors. Ambrose and other leading thinkers of the Church put much thought to the subject. So did Augustine as he witnessed the Empire crumble. Others did too, including Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica and elsewhere as he exhorted the feudal lords of the Middle Ages toward justice and charity in war and admonished them against waging war for ungodly reasons or in ungodly ways. For instance, the Church-approved "Peace of God" codified the protection of non-combatants in war, and its "Truce of God" outlawed the waging of war on the Lord’s Sabbath Day of rest.
The author also offers this " consensus catalog of guidelines" based on the summation of "conservative evangelical Presbyterian minister and economist Ron McKenzie of Christchurch, New Zealand:"
    First, a Just War must be waged by a legitimate government authority. That is, not by private citizens, pirates, or usurpers. Also, its cause must be justifiable self-defense – as opposed to seeking the territory or property of others or furthering one’s own economic, social or political interests – and its intent to restore a just peace, fair to all. And it must have a reasonable expectation of success in accomplishing that goal.

    A Just War must only be fought as a last resort, when every conceivable alternative has been exhausted. Its use of force must be proportionate in response to the wrongs committed. For example, burning every home within a five-mile radius of a partisan ranger ambush of uniformed regular soldiers would not be a proportionate response. Or bombing those homes from 15,000 feet in the air when they contain no soldiers.

    Other tenets of Just War with solid Biblical basis include not having a large standing army (Deuteronomy 17:16, 1 Kings 10:26-29, Isaiah 31:1) and not possessing offensive weapons (Deuteronomy 17:16), Just War does not allow for the attacking and damaging of the land that is God’s creation (Deuteronomy 20:19), for "the tree of the field is man’s life," and "the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof." This item alone precludes the use of nuclear weapons, which by nature harm both the land and non-combatants. And, the defensive military alliances so common in recent generations – and so loathsome to America’s Founding Fathers – are decried in Isaiah 31:1–3 and elsewhere.

    Rev. McKenzie, the New Zealand minister, further illumines the Just War philosophy when he writes how "God determines the appointed times of the nations and the timing of their rule. (Acts 17:26). No nation has the authority to invade another nation to change its government (even if it is evil). A nation cannot even be invaded to establish democracy. "Democracy," McKenzie continues, "must come from the hearts of the people, it cannot be enforced from the outside." Most attempts by great powers to establish ‘better’ government by force in other nations have failed, because the spiritual forces that control the nation have not been defeated (Daniel 10:13)."

    And finally, non-combatants must be preserved from harm. That is, "collateral damage" is not allowed for, nor acceptable, however "regrettably." The first Geneva Convention on War in 1863, and others since, have minced no words: attacking defenseless cities and towns, as well as plundering and wantonly destroying civilian property, are war crimes, performed by war criminals.
What does the above say about Mr. Bush's "preeemptive" war against a nation that neither threatened us nor had the means to do so?

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What We Hope for from Ron Paul

    Let us hope and pray that Rep. Paul’s candidacy... embarrasses some "conservatives" into re-adopting the limits contained in a document their stated guiding philosophy used to consider more than a rhetorical flourish.
─ from Will vs. Paul on the Constitutional Limits of Government by Dan Phillips

The media would not let Dr. Ron Paul win the election in a million years. But if he decides to run and the buzz gets loud enough, the media will have to take notice, and then maybe some of his ideas will get across to a larger audience.

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Why do the Neocons Rage?

About the North Korean nuclear deal? The answer is found in The Dear Leader Plays Bluff Poker by Eric Margolis:
    American neoconservatives are furious at President George Bush for what they claim is pandering to "axis of evil" North Korea in order to achieve a desperately needed foreign policy success after so many gross failures.

    What really worries them, of course, is that direct talks with North Korea raise the obvious question: why not direct talks with Iran over its so far peaceful nuclear program? The neocons want war with Iran, not talks, so the example of North Korea is undermining their carefully developed strategy.
The correct approach to North Korea would have been to let the Chinese deal with the issue. Now we face the sickening reality of spending more American taxpayer money to prop up the Dear Leader's gulag archipelago.

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"Christian" Hospital in Molech's Service?

The "Christian Medical Hospital" in central Madhya Pradesh, it seems, has been committing mass murder in the form of "feticide or infanticide" on girls: Police unearth over 400 baby bones in India.

Veni, Domine Jesu.

UPDATE: From Fundamentalists accuse Christian hospital of illegal abortions:
    The Anglican Bishop of the Church of North India, Laxman L Maida, said the episode was a “false scandal blown out of proportion by the media and extremists”. He told AsiaNews: “The Mission Hospital in Ratlam has honestly served the neediest people irrespective of creed for 100 years.” Maida claimed that the polythene bag with the remains was due to “negligence of the sweeper and not illegal procedures of the hospital”. This was, he said, an “anti-Christian conspiracy against missionaries and their services”.

    According to another version, the Bajrang Dal movement – the youth wing of the fundamentalist Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) – accused the Mission Hospital of illegal abortions and of hiding the foetuses.

    The hospital denied this and explained that the bones belonged to some stillborn babies whose bodies were abandoned by their parents. The Bajrang Dal activists started shouting provocative slogans against the hospital and some exaggerated the number of bones found to cause more commotion and to strengthen their accusations.

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Bad News for the Neocons

People aren't buying their narrative: Worldwide Poll Finds Most Reject Clash of Civilizations Outlook.

This blogger believes in a very different clash of civilizations, or rather, a clash of civilization vs. anti-civilization. In the former camp, we have people of different cultures and religions who want to maintain their own ways. In the latter camp, we have gloablist secularists who would erase the cultural and religious differences in the name of "multiculturalism," which, paradoxically, will only serve to produce a monoculture. Of course, this is not meant to ignore the very real differences among the world's civilizations, only to point out the common enemy we face.

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Turn Off the Lights

"I think most of us ought to be preparing for a life without electricity, regardless of whether we believe that peak oil may cause disruptions in the electrical grid," says Sharon Astyk in her latest offering, It isn't gridcrash that makes the lights go out. Notes she, "Electricity for private homes is something that was not necessary through most of human history, and is not truly essential today."

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Papal Message to the Orient

    Many countries of the Orient today celebrate the new lunar year in the joy and intimacy of the family... To all these great peoples, I wish them serenity and prosperity with all my heart.
─ from Pope sends new year greetings to Asian countries.

Here in Korea, most folks celebrate, as we did, "in the joy and intimacy of the family." Perhaps what I enjoy most about the holiday is that it affords one the opportunity to drink alcohol at 8:00 AM.

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Prof. Chalmers Johnson on the Empire

In 737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire, we are offered an expert from Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic by Chalmers Johnson. I found this tidbit interesting:
    Interestingly enough, the thirty-eight large and medium-sized American facilities spread around the globe in 2005 -- mostly air and naval bases for our bombers and fleets -- almost exactly equals Britain's thirty-six naval bases and army garrisons at its imperial zenith in 1898. The Roman Empire at its height in 117 AD required thirty-seven major bases to police its realm from Britannia to Egypt, from Hispania to Armenia. Perhaps the optimum number of major citadels and fortresses for an imperialist aspiring to dominate the world is somewhere between thirty-five and forty.
Of course, that could be dismissed as a mere coincidence. Most of the article is devoted to a cataloguing of the staggering scope of the Empire. For example, the author notes that with 29,819,492 acres worldwide, "the Pentagon [is] easily one of the world's largest landlords."

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"Blind to the Consequences of Offshoring"

The patriot Dr. Paul Craig Roberts turns his sights from the "war criminal in the Whitehouse" to his fellow economists in his latest offering, Economists in Denial.

In his article, the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration suggests that his colleagues "long ago ceased to think objectively about free trade[, which] has become an unexamined article of faith." He cites a study that "shows that the case for free trade has been incorrect since the day David Ricardo made it," and suggests that if this is the case, "America's free trade policy rests in fantastic error."

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Monday, February 19, 2007

The Mediæval Mind

The holiday afforded me the opportunity to catch on some much neglected reading, and I was finally able to finish The Life of Thomas More by Peter Ackroyd.

The author does a fine job of bringing to life not only the man but also his times, and he makes it clear that the tale ends not only with the beheading of the martyr but also the end of Catholic England. In fact, it becomes apparent that Saint Thomas More's execution is one of many nails in the coffin of the Mediæval World and the ordo et traditio it embodied.

Ironically, More was, in his time, a humanist and a reformer. He was a pioneer in the edcuation of children and women. But when it came to the Faith and other essentials, he could never be the "newe man" that his contemporaries strived to be.

On page 400 is found this very Catholic, constitutionalist, and traditionalist appraisal:
    It has often been surmised that the trial of More represents the defeat of the individual conscience by the forces of the emerging nation-state, but that is profoundly to misunderstand his position. Conscience was not for More simply or necessarily an indvidual matter; as Lord Chancellor he had been charged with the application of conscience to law, but upon general and traditional principles. At his trial he was affirming the primacy of law itself, as it had always been understood. He asserted the laws of God and of reason, as they had been inherited, and he simply did not believe that the English parliament could repeal the ordinances of a thousand years.
Politicians have been placed under his patronage. In these times, which seem a lot like those of More, it would be wise for them to read of his life.

Next, I'll turn my attentions to a book by a man who merits a chapter in Russell Kirk's Conservative Mind, Mont Saint Michel And Chartres by Henry Adams.

The following statement by the self-described "conservative Chrsiyian anarchist" makes it clear that he knew which to be the Greatest of Centuries, and it was neither the 19th or 20th in which he lived. In it, he contrasts the Virgin, or spiritual power, with the Dynamo, or physical power: "All the steam in the world could not, like the Virgin, build Chartes."

I start this book shortly after having finished another book in which another famous Adams, his grandfather, who also appears in Kirk's tome, was the protagonist: Black Odyssey: The Case of the Slave Ship 'Amistad'.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

새해 福 많이 받으세요!

Have a Very Happy Lunar New Year!
[Bloggging to resume Monday]
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Three O'Clock Links

Another Republican dissents: No Blank Check for the Pentagon - by Rep. John J. Duncan Jr.

"More proof the Israelis were shadowing the 9/11 hijackers:" The High-Fivers- by Justin Raimondo.

The next war: Scrambling to Frame Iran - by Stephen Zunes

A republic can stop it: Can a U.S. War With Iran Be Prevented? by Karen Kwiatkowski.
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Conspiracy Theorist/Realist Videos

While I'm not ready to endorse every claim in this video, I'm also not one to dismiss the nefarious nature of Masonry (Freemasonry). Whatever the case, what in God's name are murals so creepy and sinister─not to mention of such questionable artistic merit─doing in a major American airport? Take a look:


Denver Airport Conspiracy


[For fear of bearing false witness against certain powerful people, I have removed two videos covering the New world order, 9/11 conspiracy theories, the Illuminati, the Bohemian Grove, the Skull and Bones Society, the USA PATRIOT Act, the Carlyle Group, AIDS dissent, and other issues. Let it suffice to focus discussion on their substantiated high crimes and misdemeaners, chief among them the shaming of America with an illegal war of aggression against a country that neither attacked nor threatened her.]

My thoughts on all this? Is is that implausible that neo-pagan, occultist, humanists are trying to establish a world government, or, if you will, neo-gnostics to Immanentize the eschaton? I might not sign off on all the details, but from the occasional glimpse through the cracks, what goes on behind the closed doors of power looks pretty sinister.

One thing that this could explain is why such discord is being sowed in the Muslim world, which now seems on the brink of a Sunni-Shi'a civil war. We must ask ourselves, who would be more likely to stand up to the NWO, a citizen of what some call the post-Christian West or the man on the Arab Street? What better way to eliminate an enemy than by making him kill himself? Chickens will, of course, come home to roost in the West, which will just cause us to clamor for more "protection" from the authorities.
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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.