Friday, February 29, 2008
Presidential Race Round-up
Never count the Clintons out, but it appears that she's blown it ─ Clinton’s Cringe-Worthy Moment. She sounded like a whiney schoolgirl, which is not how to become the first woman president.
"Obama will not 'rule out' using private security companies like Blackwater Worldwide in Iraq" ─ Obama’s Mercenary Position. And he shows more of his interventionist colors in this speech ─ October 2002 Speech: Against Going to War With Iraq. Citing the War of Northen Aggression and our alliance with Stalin, he said, "I don’t oppose all wars." (Neither do, only offensive ones, even if fought for a "good" cause.)
A self-described "fundamentalist Christian Conservative" on "one of the few people ever born in America who deserves to wear the badge of 'Great American'" ─ Bunk to Ralph Nader's critics!
"Rid us of this militarism and corporatism and make life a little bit easier for us all whether we are gay or straight, black, brown, white and whether our original homes are within these borders or elsewhere," is a call I can agree with, although I might disagree with some of the specifics ─ Why Dennis Kucinich Still Matters.
Stop the presses! A candidate with something to say ─ Congressman Ron Paul Speaks on “Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy”.
Labels: America the Beautiful, Foreign Policy, Heresy, Iraq, It's the Stupid Economy, Palestine, Politics, Politricks, Ralph Nader for President, Ron Paul for President, The Catholic Faith, The Dismal Science, Ugly America
Empire is the Issue
Not only that, but this "promiscuous intervention" is bankrupting us, corrupting us, and threatening our very existence.
Kim Jong-chul, "The Rockin' Leader"
- According to some analysts the Clapton invitation is clearest signal possible. The North Korea Daily, an online paper that closely monitors events in the country, wrote that if Jong-nam had been chosen his father would have invited Euro Disney characters. In 2001, Kim Jong-nam was caught trying to enter Japan on a fake passport, apparently to visit Tokyo Disney Land, raising his father’s ire. Clapton’s coming could by contrast mean that the country’s future lies with Jong-chul.
The Politically Correct One-Drop Rule
The controversy: "Is Fred Armisen, who is not African American, 'black enough' to embody Obama on 'Saturday Night Live'?" Would a black actor be "white enough" to play the biracial Obama? Would a half-Ugandan not be half-Kenyan enough, or a half-Kikuyu not half-Luo enough, or a half-Nebraskan not half-Kansan enough?
This PC-version of the one-drop rule is as absurd as the insistence that fokls once called "colored people" now be called "people of color."
State Intervention in the Family ─ From the Reformation to the Khmer Rouge
- The struggle that took place from the Reformation to the nineteenth century clearly established the principle that the new master power beyond the family was to be the state. Thus the same general process that took place in Greece and Rome has been repeated in Western society. From the laws of Solon (639 b.c.) through the reforms of the sixth and fifth centuries, the state in Greece took over more and more of the social control formerly dominated by familism and religion. Roman history followed the same course. If we view the meaning of its changes, we see that Western society has undergone an almost identical process.
And from this report that two "kingpins in the brutal Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, 82-year-old Ieng Sary and his wife Khieu Thirith, 75, now bide their time in detention awaiting trial for crimes against humanity... [are] in separate cells [and] ha[ve] requested conjugal visits" ─ Cell swingers in Cambodia:
- To add irony to insult, Sary and Thirith, who was the Khmer Rouge's social affairs minister, both worked setting policy for the Khmer Rouge, a significant plank of which was to dismantle the traditional family structure. Husbands, wives and children were separated into separate gender-based work collectives. Marriages were routinely forced on individuals simply for reproduction to support a productive workforce.
Kalyanee Mam wrote in The Endurance of the Cambodian Family Under the Khmer Rouge Regime: An Oral History that "Marriages were usually forced upon individuals for reproductive purposes only, since most couples who were married were soon after separated from each other and rarely met afterwards. After reproduction was achieved, it was not important for couples to remain together, since their time and energy were required on the work field."
"An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," as some have pointed out, was meant to limit retribution, introducing the idea of reciprocal justice. A victim of assualt could not call for the death penalty, for example. Our Lord took the idea further with His call for forgiveness and love. Of course, this does not mean that a society should let the violent roam free. But the non-violent?
Who was it who said that one could judge a country by the condition of its prisons? One can also judge a country by the people it imprisons.
Hanpig2002 in Ulsan
I'm Pretty Close to Being a Centrist
God Save the Prince
Thursday, February 28, 2008
If Thy Television Eye Offend Thee, Pluck it Out
The most momentous event in my family life in 2007 was the removal of our televsion from the living room. Ironically it was my wife, the biggest television watcher of the family, who suggested the move. Where the television once sat we have plants. Our living room is now truly "living" and our family life has improved dramatically for it.
A Surge in American Money Thrown Down the Iraqi Drain
In linking to "a so-depressing-it's-funny article written by Nir Rosen in Iraq," Steve Sailer says "[t]he whole situation makes Catch 22 sound like Euclid's Elements" ─ "Concerned Local Citizens". Mr. Sailer sums up the situation:
- John McCain is running on a strategy of Winning in Iraq, but nobody seems to know whose side we are on these days. We started out being on the side of the guys who are most closely associated with Iran. Lately, we've been on both sides at once. But nobody seems to be on our side.
LewRockwell.com and the Dignity of Man
- I always got the impression from LRC that, where it counts, it's one of the few libertarian sites to really celebrate the dignity of mankind — all mankind, all its peoples, from all nations, religions and ethnicities. Not with stupid multicultural egalitarianism, but actual respect. It's not overbearing, but subtle in just the right, respectful way. This comes through most often, I think, when you take note of other cultures by linking to fascinating articles about archeology, world history, etc. In particular, LRC has emerged as one of the best, most anti-Sinophobe sites on the net, which is becoming increasingly important, what with the paleocons, neocons, and theocons all picking on China (along with the anti-Wal Mart left).
The fact that the overbearing PC types and white nationalists both find LRC unsatisfactory is a good sign. Too bad for the forced integrationists and forced segregationists alike that, when people have the freedom, the world is a little more interesting, and truly diverse, than either black and white, or a statistically contrived mixture of the two.
Catholic Davids vs. Goliath Samsung
The Reactionary Utopian on the American Lenin
- At this point it is probably futile to try to reverse the deification of Abraham Lincoln. Next year, if I know my countrymen, the bicentennial of his birth will be marked by stupendously cloying anniversary observances, all of them affirming, if not his literal divinity, at least something mighty close to it.
No doubt we will hear from the high priests and priestesses of the Lincoln cult: Doris Kearns Goodwin, Garry Wills, Harry V. Jaffa, and all the rest of the tireless hagiographers of academia, who regularly rate Honest Abe one of our two greatest presidents, right up there with Stalin’s buddy Franklin D. Roosevelt, father of the nuclear age and defiler of the U.S. Constitution. Such, we are told, is the Verdict of History.
But if Lincoln was so great, we must ask why nobody seems to have realized it while he was still alive. The abolitionists considered him unprincipled, Southerners hated him, and most Northerners opposed his war on the South. Only when the war ended and he was shot did people begin to transform him into a hero and martyr of the Union cause. But that cause was badly flawed.
The Declaration of Independence, which Lincoln always quoted selectively, says that the American colonies of Great Britain had become “free and independent states” — separate states, mind you, not the monolithic “new nation” he proclaimed at Gettysburg. The U.S. Constitution refers constantly to the states, but never to a “nation”; and this is a fact we should ponder.
Not Just an Asian Thing Anymore
The Almighty Euro
Siblings in China?
UPDATE: One-child policy misinformation being planted in Western media, warns SPUC.
Requiescat in Pace, Mr. Buckley
Here's to the State of Mississippi!
I'm not neutral. I grew up in Western New York with my Granny from Mississippi living with us in our three-generation house. It was she who catechized me with the fundamentals of the Christian faith, and also entertained me with stories of Water Moccasins and other such things not readily found in the suburbs of Buffalo. The Baptists excommunicated her, either for smoking cornsilks or for dancing ─ I can't remember ─ and she became a Methodist, the ecclesial community into which I was baptized.
She grew up poor, side by side with blacks, unlike those of in the "integrated" North. One of her earliest memories was of the injustice of her father not allowing her to play with her black friends when she reached age 13. Later, she welcomed my black uncle, her daughter's husband, into our family. Her vision was the one Tanya Tucker sang in I Believe the South Is Gonna Rise Again:
- Our neighbors in the big house called us redneck
Cause we lived in a poor sharecropper shack
The Jackson's down the road were poor like we were
But our skin was white and their was black
But I believe the south is gonna rise again
But not the way we thought it would back then
I mean everybody hand in hand I believe the south is gonna rise again.
- We drove into this lovely town of antebellum mansions and magnoliafragrant avenues, stopping at a local eatery. I am a hopeful romantic and expected to find vatic old black men whittling on benches, laconic loafers drawling wittily on courthouse steps, and tomboyish Nelle Harper Lee hiding in the bushes, taking it all down. Eh, not quite, Bill. The first Columbian we encountered was a sullen youth from Teenage Central Casting, playing the usual corporate schlock on his boombox. We entered the diner and were seated behind four ladies with mellifluous Mississippi accents. They spent the next half-hour recounting the plot of the previous night’s episode of Friends, that vulgar and witless NBC sitcom by which archeologists will someday condemn our civilization. I wanted to confront them, plead with them: Look. Here you are, citizens of the economically poorest yet culturally richest state in the union, the state that gave us Eudora Welty, the Delta Blues, William Faulkner, Muddy Waters, Shelby Foote, and yet you not only consume but crave the packaged products of cocaine-addled East/West Coast greedheads who despise you as ignorant rednecks and stupid crackers. Get off your knees, Mississippi!
Ron Paul and Ralph Nader
"Ron Paul supporters aren't ignoring you by accident sir," says Gary Wood, "they simply can never embrace you as you are not a defender of the Constitution so precious to most of us" ─ Ron Paul Supporters Ignore Ralph Nader.
(Mr. Wood links to the candidate's Twelve Issues that Matter for 2008. I find myself agreeing with most of them.)
In the strange bedfellows tradition I so enjoy, a suggestion that "[Nader] could have been Ron Paul's perfect running mate" ─ Ralph Nader Could Have Been Ron Paul's Ying [sic].
Damian Thompson has some happy news that the Pope's "brand new red and gold silk baroque vestments bearing the heraldic motifs of Leo X" are "pre-Tridentine, let alone pre-Vatican II" ─ Pope's new look: pre-Tridentine baroque. Says the author, "Liberals will be aghast: in most English cathedrals, it is de rigueur to wear minimalist robes that look like they were left over from a Jon Pertwee-era episode of Doctor Who."
What Ron Paul Has Done for America
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
- Theodore Roosevelt is one of my greatest political heroes. The 'strenuous life' was T.R.'s definition of Americanism, a celebration of America's pioneer ethos, the virtues that had won the West and inspired our belief in ourselves as the New Jerusalem, bound by sacred duty to suffer hardship and risk danger to protect the values of our civilization and impart them to humanity. 'We cannot sit huddled within our borders,' he warned, 'and avow ourselves merely an assemblage of well-to-do hucksters who care nothing for what happens beyond.
"The Collapse of Western Civilization"
Ancient Cultures of Death
- We meet a beautiful child named Amalé, who was unfortunate enough to be born to an unwed mother who was a member of the Kamiurá tribe in Brazil. The Kamiurá tribe has a simple, iron rule: children of unwed mothers are to be buried alive, by their own mothers. And so, he was.
Amalé, however, was fortunate enough to have an aunt who is not a member of the death cult that is becoming so popular among the Western cultural elite. She had the audacity to rescue her nephew and flee with him to Brasilia, Brazil's capital, where a charitable organization run by Protestants, and supported by Catholics, cares for victims of such "traditional practices."
But Amalé is one of the fortunate few to survive the murderous customs of Brazilian indigenous societies. Three other babies whom Amalé's aunt tried to rescue were killed after she was caught with them. Amalé escaped because he was too weak to cry until he was out of harm's reach.
According to Marques, hundreds of babies are murdered every year in Brazil for similar "offenses." Perhaps they are born crippled, or with some sort of disease. Or perhaps they are simply twins, or have a birth mark, or are born out of wedlock. They are buried alive, strangled, hung, and even hacked to death with machetes.
One of the books I read as a student in Chile has as its title El imperio socialista de los Incas. It seems that in human history, more often than not, when attempts are made at some sort of "socialization" in which the whole matters more than its individual parts, people end up being sacrificed.
The good news that should not go unreported is that the descendants of the cultures described above do not want to go back ─ Peruvians Decry Protocol on Legality of Abortion and Brazilian lawmakers and leaders sign pro-life manifesto.
A Letter from Yorkshire
Lee's Big Ditch
Here Come the "Obama Republicans"
- Meritocracy is at the core of American conservative beliefs. So let's face it: George W. Bush has been the worst U.S. president in memory. His administration has been inept, corrupt, and without accomplishment. After this performance, why give the Republicans another turn at the helm?
Let's give the other party a chance, even if its policies are not exactly what conservatives may like. In America, we call it "throwing the bums out."
Hope always sells well in America. Reagan understood that, and it is one of the reasons he was a great and beloved president, even if some of his policies were flawed. As Hillary Clinton, Obama's rapidly fading rival for the Democratic nomination is finding out to her dismay, policies can be an overrated commodity in presidential elections that really matter.
The hope that Obama is holding out for Americans is one of reconciliation -- racial, political, between the wealthy and the poor, and between America and its allies. This is powerful stuff, and dwarfs the narrow technocratic instincts of Mrs. Clinton, whose schoolgirl approach to the campaign has justly earned her defeat after defeat in the primaries.
Just as Reagan had his "Reagan Democrats" who were attracted by his message of hope after the malaise of the Jimmy Carter years, Obama will have his "Obama Republicans," attracted by the hope of national reconciliation and healing.
Reviews of the NY Phil in the DPRK
However, I found most intereting this one from Daily NK - The Hub of North Korean News, an online resource run by defectors hoping to highlight the plight of their homeland ─ Hope New York Philharmonic's Performance Is a Nice Little Present for North Korean People. The analysis of the concert:
- In North Korea, only few people can enjoy classical music. Most members of North Korean orchestras such as the Chosun National Symphony Orchestra or Yun I Sang Orchestra studied music abroad at a young age, and have a high level of performance skills.
In fact, classical music is not included in the curriculum of North Korean middle and high school. Therefore, not many people would likely have enjoyed the radio broadcast of the Philharmonic concert. Some argue that North Korea is just pretending to open its door and the world is serving as a foil for the country.
Nevertheless, there must be those who wholeheartedly yearn for freedom of music in North Korea and the Philharmonic concert must have awakened their passion for music.
Inspiration from music would not directly lead to a fundamental change in North Korea. As long as the Philharmonic concert was able to touch the hearts of Pyongyang citizens, however, it would will be appreciated as a successful performance.
UPDATE: Commenter Jason Choi of KoreanCatholic has sent along some video links ─ New York Philharmonic Plays An American in Paris in DPRK North Korea, New York Philharmonic Plays Overture to Candide in DPRK North Korea, New York Philharmonic Plays Arirang in DPRK North Korea. Do play the last one.
Why Does the Eco-Left Hate Country Music?
- We were celebrating two weeks of rafting down the central river in that ungulate- and predator-rich paradise at the outpost’s big honky-tonkish nightclub, where the DJ kept playing country songs, to which all the locals would loop around gracefully, clasped together. But my compadres kept making faces of disgust at the music and asking the DJ to put on something else. He’d oblige with reggae, mostly, and we’d wave our limbs vaguely, dancing solo and free-form as white people have danced to rock-and-roll since the mid-1960s. Everyone else would sit down to wait this other music out. It was not a great movement-building exercise. How far were you going to get with a community when you couldn’t stand their music or even be diplomatic about it?
Noam Chomsky in Asia Times Online
The Traditionalism of Easy Rider
- RANCHER (Warren Finnerty): You fellows can sit down here... (To BILLY (Dennis Hopper)) Would you mind taking off your hat? ... We thank thee, Lord, for these thy gifts received from thy bounty. In the name of Thy only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen... Where you fellows from?
WYATT (Peter Fonda): L.A.
WYATT: Los Angeles.
RANCHER: Los Angeles... Is that a fact? When I was a young man, I was headed for California, but... Well, you know how it is.
WYATT: You sure got a nice spread here.
RANCHER: Yeah, I sure got a lot of them. (Looking at his many children) My wife is Catholic, you know? (To his wife (Tita Colorado)) Can we have some more coffee?
WYATT: No, I mean it. You've got a nice place. It's not every man that can live off the land, you know? Can do your own thing in your own time. You should be proud.
- BILLY: Where are you from, man?
STRANGER ON THE HIGHWAY (Luke Askew): Hard to say.
BILLY: Hard to say? Where are you from, man?
STRANGER: It's hard to say because it's a very long word, you know?
BILLY: I just want to know where you're from.
STRANGER: The city.
BILLY: From a city?
STRANGER: Doesn't matter what city. They're all alike.
- We have planted our seeds. We ask... that our efforts be worthy... to produce simple food... for our simple taste. We ask that our efforts... be rewarded. We thank You for the food we eat from other hands... that we may share it with our fellow man... and be even more generous... when it is from our own. Thank You for a place... to make a stand. Amen.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
A Reactionary Film
- I don't really have to convince you that Easy Rider is a reactionary picture, do I? The only characters that are depicted as unqualifiably virtuous are the homesteading family, living on their own acreage, raising their own food, teaching their own young... The only American Dream worth the snores is based in liberty and a community- (or family-) oriented independence, which the filmakers associate with the country's founders. Dennis Hopper (an admittedly unorthodox Kansas Reoublican) and Peter Fonda (a gun-loving libertarian) did not make a movie glorifying tripping hippies and condemning the southern gun culture; rather, as an exasperated Fonda explained, "My movie is about the lack of freedom. My heroes are not right, they're wrong. Liberty's become a whore, and we're all taking the easy ride."
I go on about what I am sure is now a ludicrously unfashionable movie because Easy Rider was groping toward a truth that might have set America free. The hippies and the small-town southerners gathered in the diner; the small farmers and the shaggy communards: they were on the same side. The side of liberty, of locally based community, of independence from the war machine, the welfare state, the bureaucratic prison whose wardens were McNamara, Rockefeller, Bundy, and the wise men and wealthy men who had never grasped Paul Goodman's point─or perhaps they had grasped it all too well, and wrestled it into submission─that "[i]t is only the anarchists who are really conservative, for they want to conserve sun and space, animal nature, primary community, experimenting inquiry."
It is only the anarchists who are really conservative.
- Easy Rider Documentary: Shaking the Cage (Part 1 of 7)
Easy Rider Documentary: Shaking the Cage (Part 2 of 7)
Easy Rider Documentary: Shaking the Cage (Part 3 of 7)
Easy Rider Documentary: Shaking the Cage (Part 4 of 7)
Easy Rider Documentary: Shaking the Cage (Part 5 of 7)
Easy Rider Documentary: Shaking the Cage (Part 6 of 7)
Easy Rider Documentary: Shaking the Cage (Part 7 of 7)
As does Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan's first term ─ Kosovo and the Empire Crazies.
And an anonymous reader of this blog does as well:
- The Kosovo Albanians enjoyed virtually all the rights of an independent state except for the right to sell the mineral resources in the Kosovo. What does that tell you?
Could it be that it was in their intere$t$, and those of their backer$ to declare independence rather that settle their differences because of these resources.
Decadent Reactionary Bourgeois Music in the Worker's Paradise
Hillary Highlights the Hussein in Barack Hussein Obama
The New Face of the People's Liberation Army?
Monday, February 25, 2008
Dr. Mao's Tao of Tea
[link via Metanoia]
- Guardian and Independent readers are comfortable with the notion that Creationism is the preserve of swivel-eyed American fundamentalist Christians. They are much less comfortable with the reality that Islam is the main engine of Creationism in the world today.
Pray for Obama
- They are right to worry, I'm sorry to say. If some nut shoots him, aside from the personal horror, it would be a worse blow to the country than 9/11, I think. The 9/11 attacks brought us together as a country; an Obama assasination would tear us apart.
I hate even to bring it up, but people are talking about it, and it's a real threat. A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail at the paper from some random racist who spoke about a nonspecific violent end for Obama; I forwarded it to federal authorities, and ended up talking to an agent about it.
Must-Read Comparison of Vietnam and Iraq
- Everybody likes to say that they support the war; few actually do. I recall my own service in Vietnam. In the popular myth, the public turned against both the war and the soldiers who fought it, but I had no experience like that. Rather, I was not only welcomed home, but the VA system and the VA benefits were excellent. But then the whole country was actually involved in the war. Every mother's son carried a draft card and could be called at any moment. Further, we were asked to actually pay for the war with a surcharge on our income taxes. Further, the news was relatively uncontrolled, and the war was broadcast into homes on a nightly basis, in a way that simply is not permitted today. This war, on the other hand, is an abstraction to most of us; we do not have any personal contact with it. It is largely a political issue, for those interested in politics, and for only a very few a personal issue. It is fought by a “professional army” while the rest of the country absents itself. Even the name, “The War on Terror,” is more of a marketing device than a real description. And we are not even asked to pay for it; rather, we have placed the burden for fighting it on the young (and the unlucky reserves) and debt for it on our children and grandchildren. We are asked to “support” this war, but not to inconvenience ourselves in any way over it.
Two From John Zmirak
"Can anyone imagine--please grant me a moment of poetic license here--that the conservative movement in America might be strongly influenced by Trostkyites?" he asks in this brilliant satire ─ Saying “No” to Tenured Fascists.
- It’s little short of a miracle that someone with such well-defined, angular views has managed to win ten terms as a Republican congressman representing a rural district in Texas. It speaks well of the people of the Galveston area, where Ron has been a practicing doctor lo these many years, that they aren’t easily fooled by Washington spin-meisters and neocon pundits sitting in Manhattan. I only hope that they hold steady in their uniquely American orneriness.
- Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees.
According to diplomat and author Peter Dale Scott, the KBR contract is part of a Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal the removal of "all removable aliens" and "potential terrorists."
The New Religious Right
Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Qatar
Foreign English Teachers of Korea Unite; You Have Only Your Distorted Image Here as Criminal, Drug Using Pedophiles to Lose!
Peak Oil 101
Another Gongso (公所)
"Pilgrimage for World Peace"
An American in
- The report praises the initiative taken by the Orchestra, financed by a wealthy Japanese woman who lives in Italy, but underlines that “Gershwin and Dvorak [composers whose music is due to be preformed according to the program ed] cannot possibly compete with pieces such as ‘Defending the Homeland’, sung by soldiers during the 1950 civil war”.
This notwithstanding, the North Korean propaganda machine has ordered that all posters that may “offend the American imperialists” be removed from the streets of the capital. Zarin Mehta, the Orchestra’s executive director, also confirms that during the concert the flags of Washington and Pyongyang will fly “side by side”.
Ralph to the Rescue
Dr. Ron Paul's run was, and is, an amazing accomplishment, but as clear as it is that he will not win his party's nomination was his statemnt that will not make a third party run. His campaign achieved more than we had imagined it would, but less than we had hoped and prayed for. More Americans than ever before, especially the young, now realize how detrimental empire is to our republic, but, alack, much of America, especially in the G.O.P., is too jingoistic to rethink the un-American Empire. And we still need at least one voice in Congress to cry "nay" ─ The Committee to Re-Elect Ron Paul - 2008.
Justin Raimondo made the Naderian case in Pat Buchanan's magazine, The American Conservative, four years ago ─ Old Right Nader. Part of the author's account of his visit to a Nader for President rally:
- What we have in this country, he declared, is “corporate socialism.” You should’ve seen the dirty looks I got as I applauded vigorously. Socialism, to this audience, doesn’t have anything to do with corporations, it can’t. But Nader is no Red; he knows better. Although all 11 varieties of Trotskyists were there in full force, earnestly hawking their pamphlets, the rhetoric that was coming from the stage was hardly music to their ears.
Nader’s distrust of bigness, either corporate or governmental, his fear of centralized power, his sharp critique of the managerial-bureaucratic mentality, all recall the distinctively American tradition of individualist populism. Just as Nader rebelled against the corporate socialism of the Democratic Party establishment, so the mostly Midwestern progressives turned against the New Deal when it became a stalking horse for corporatism and war. Nader’s views are attractive to the Left but are rooted, at least in part, on the libertarian and populist Right.
- Run, Ralph, run. Run left, run right, run as constitutionalist liberal, as antiwar patriot, as a man proud to stand in the Bryan-La Follette-Gene McCarthy-Paul Goodman tradition. You'd be surprised at how many Main Street conservatives, disaffected Republicans, and pissed-off libertarians wish you well. Hell, I probably disagree with half your platform but I wish you more than well. As night falls in what used to be America, the bedfellows get ever stranger.
Labels: America the Beautiful, Foreign Policy, It's the Stupid Economy, Leftism, Novus Ordo Seclorum, Paleoconservatism, Paleolibertarianism, Paleoprogressivism, Politics, Ralph Nader for President, Re-elect Ron Paul, Republic Not Empire
Right-Wingers for Barack Hussein Obama
Antiwar.com's Justin Raimondo lauds the fact that "Obama has become more outspoken in his opposition to the Iraq war as the campaign has progressed, and not only that but has denounced the 'mindset' among our rulers, and the leaders of both parties, that led us into that trap to begin with" ─ The Year of the Insurgents.
By way of contrast, "If it simply came down to Iraq, where McCain has always been wrong and Obama has, more or less, always been right, I could probably see my way to cheer some modest cheers for Obama, but it isn’t and can’t be just about Iraq, even as important as the war is," says Daniel Larison ─ Obama And The Antiwar Right.
Mr. Larison is right, of course, but the war has become issue numero uno for me if only because the most important issue, abortion, will be skirted as it has been for the last 35 years no matter who sits in the Oval Office. Both parties want status quo on abortion as it maintains their bases. The war is then one issue which could break America, so it comes down to McCain vs. Obama, as a patriot, I'll support Obama.
The Tao and Consequentialism
The Independent Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate
- In the years of the 1919-1922 Greek-Turkish war, Mustafa Kemal, the Republic of Turkey's first president, won an unconventional ally. A Greek Orthodox priest from Akdag Maden in East Central Anatolia, Pavlos Karahisaridis - later to become widely known as Papa-Eftim - joined Turkish nationalist forces in their struggle against Greece. His mission was to win the loyalty of the hundreds of thousands of Turkish-speaking Orthodox living throughout inner Anatolia, the Karamanlis, and create an Orthodox subdivision of the Turkish nation.
Abortion Claims Another Victim
- Living is hell for me. I should never have had an abortion. I see now I would have been a good mum. I told everyone I didn't want to do it, even at the hospital. I was frightened, now it is too late. I died when my babies died. I want to be with my babies - they need me, no one else does.
The Shocking Lack of Rapes on American College Campuses
- It's a lonely job, working the phones at a college rape crisis center. Day after day, you wait for the casualties to show up from the alleged campus rape epidemic -- but no one calls. Could this mean that the crisis is overblown? No. It means, according to campus sexual-assault organizations, that the abuse of coeds is worse than anyone had ever imagined. It means that consultants and counselors need more funding to persuade student rape victims to break the silence of their suffering.
Adios, señor Chávez
I agree with Mexican leftist novelist Carlos Fuentes that "Chávez is a tropical Mussolini" and would be glad to see him go, but never, ever, by American intervention. Rather, I'd like see him transitioned out of power by the efforts of his own countrymen or, failing that, by regional forces. But I agree with the dictator on one thing ─ Hegemony or Survival by Noam Chomsky is a great book.
Congratulations, President Lee
Friday, February 22, 2008
- Chinese mythology is unique in that though it is populated by hundreds of gods and goddesses and supernatural beings like dragons, there is no concept of an all-powerful divine entity or God. Conflicts related to rebirth (found in Hinduism) and sin (found in Judaism, Christianity and Islam) are conspicuous by their absence. Chinese culture is very this-worldly . What matters is the here and the now. Social ethics and morality matter more than spiritual issues. Three thought processes have influenced Chinese thought – Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism.
Kevin R. C. Gutzman on the Constitution
Here, in a week-old article linked to by The New Beginning, he takes on critics of his own book ─ Recovering the Actual Constitution.
Paul Craig Roberts on the Protect America Act
Preempting Sibel Edwards?
Give Water Torture a Try
- For anyone not clear whether something is torture, here is a simple test: Try it. Not under controlled circumstances, when you know that it will stop. Try it for real. Find some sadist accountable to no one. Stick with it long enough to see the irrelevance of sterile debate at a safe distance. Does water actually enter the lungs? Does it matter?
- Unless you have been strapped down to the board, have endured the agonizing feeling of the water overpowering your gag reflex, and then feel your throat open and allow pint after pint of water to involuntarily fill your lungs, you will not know the meaning of the word.
Waterboarding is a controlled drowning that, in the American model, occurs under the watch of a doctor, a psychologist, an interrogator and a trained strap-in/strap-out team. It does not simulate drowning, as the lungs are actually filling with water. There is no way to simulate that. The victim is drowning. How much the victim is to drown depends on the desired result (in the form of answers to questions shouted into the victim's face) and the obstinacy of the subject.
Why Do the Serbs Hate Us?
Brave New Kosovo
- Article 25 of the draft document on the "Right to Life" removes protection from the unborn stating that, "every individual enjoys the right to life from birth," and Article 26 grants "the right to make decisions in relation to reproduction in accordance with the rules and procedures set forth by law," further giving each Kosovar "the right to have control over his/her body in accordance with law."
The draft constitution specifically ensures that "no one shall be discriminated against on the basis of … sexual orientation" but gives no special protection to the traditional family. In fact, the English version of the draft article on the "Right to Marriage and Family" leaves out mention of men and women, stating only that "Based on free will, everyone enjoys the right to marry and the right to have a family."
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Long Live Free Liechtenstein!
- Liechtenstein became a sovereign state in 1806 following the Holy Roman Empire’s dissolution. Until 1918, it was closely linked to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but entered into a customs and monetary union with Switzerland following World War I. After inter-war instability and a successful effort to avoid being swallowed by National Socialist Germany, Liechtenstein began its rise to prosperity in the 1950s. The growth which made it one of the world’s richest countries had many causes, but central to Liechtenstein’s success were two factors.
The first was the decision to specialize in activities which Liechtenstein did extremely well: financial services and high-tech industries. The second was Liechtenstein’s adherence to Adam Smith’s famous observation, “Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice.”
Thus not only have Liechtensteiners profited from the fact that the state takes relatively little of their wealth, but they are not burdened with the type of opulent welfare bureaucracies that characterize “Social Europe.” Hence Liechtenstein’s government regularly runs surpluses rather than deficits. Its unemployment rate is presently 2.7 percent....
Not that Liechtenstein is likely to be intimidated by Germany’s recent actions. The country has a proud reputation for defying some formidable bullies. In 1945, a group of Russians fleeing Communist tyranny crossed Liechtenstein’s border seeking refuge from the Red Army. Despite lacking an army and in the face of overwhelming force, little Liechtenstein refused to give up the refugees. In 1993, the Nobel Prize winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn called this act an “outstanding lesson in courage.”
Solzhenitsyn contrasted it with the behavior of the Western powers who handed over thousands of anti-Communist Soviet citizens to Soviet forces, who swiftly dispatched them to the degradation and death of Stalin’s Gulag.
Benedict in China
- If we don't arrive at a decent level of religious freedom, what can the Pope do in Beijing? Meet the president of the country? And then only see the official (state-backed) community.
So, today, a trip to China is unthinkable, even if it's the desire of Pope Benedict. But today there are not the conditions for this to happen.
Korean Hallowed Ground
The War Party on the March
Chinese Translation of Bishop Karol Wojtyla's Play
The Bishop of Hippo and the Separation Between Church and State
Chinese Takeover of North Korea?
The author makes seveal fascinating observations, among them: (1) that "around 2002 Chinese diplomats and politicians concluded that the collapse of the North Korean state would not serve China’s interests and thus should be prevented or controlled;" (2) "that if the demise of Kim Jong Il and/or his regime leads to social disruption and chaos, the Chinese will try to obtain the UN peace-keeping mandate to restore order in the northern part of the Korean peninsula;" (3) that "if... reforms are undertaken without unification with the South, the North Koreans will not compare their state and their consumption level with those of rich South, but rather with their own sorry past, and as a result they will have less psychological reason for discontentand;" (4) that while "State-sponsored nationalism is an important feature of the South Korean ideological landscape and lip service to unification as the nation’s supreme goal is made by all political forces in Seoul.... "the policy of the South Korean government over the past 10 years has been deliberately aimed at postponing unification, seen as a source of great troubles, and it remains to be seen whether South Korea will be able and willing to assume responsibilities and risks in case of a major crisis."
Taguba, Watada, Yee
What Do P'yŏngyang and Baghdad Have in Common?
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Our "One-Night Stand" Culture and Economy
- In the essay “The Whole Horse” Berry describes our culture and economy as patterned on “the one-night stand.” What he means is that in an industrial economy, relationships of significance or meaning have been severed even as the pursuit of pleasure or satisfaction intensifies. For instance, in a one-night stand buyers and sellers do not really know one another before the event. They enter into it more or less anonymously and then commit to stay away from one another, and deny all consequences, after the transaction is complete. (Norman Wirzba)
In contrast to the sexuality of the global industrial economy rooted in the contractual politics of commodified possessions and litigation, the sexuality of community as Berry defines it is rooted in the trust of marriage and its leitourgia—the visible and social cultivation of the works of love. . . . Those liturgically bound in the sacraments of love may not afford to be thus litigiously “liberated” from the communal disciplines of affection and loyalty, lest they find they have become alienated selves in a shared world characterized by suspicion, competition, and violence where all human eye contact has become uncomfortable, indeed dangerously untrustworthy. (P. Travis Kroeker)
Sex Before Dating
- The “date” still exists among college students, but it is couples who are already in an exclusive relationship who do it. In other words, the pathway to a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship where a couple might go on a date begins with hooking up. In the dating era, students would go on a date, which might lead to something sexual happening; in the hookup era, students hook up, which might lead to dating. This is a reversal of the traditional order of things. The problem is that many college men are pleased with the status quo; they can hook up and if they want to pursue an ongoing relationship they can, but they are under no obligation to do so. Women, on the other hand, get increasingly frustrated after freshman year with how often it seems that hooking up leads to “nothing.”
The Isolationism Canard
Edward A. Olsen offers some "straight talk," concluding that "[Dr. Ron] Paul's commitment to constitutionalism, fiscal prudence, federalism, small government, and avoiding the strategic entanglements that the founding fathers – especially Washington and Jefferson – warned against makes him the only true conservative among the Republican presidential aspirants" ─ Non-Interventionism Is Conservative.
Novelist Henry W. Clune
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Washington's Birthday Reads for Catholics
- Precisely at the epoch when the American colonies, having, with Catholic aid, achieved liberty and independence, coalesced into a constitutional Republic the ecclesiastical hierarchy was happily established amongst you; and at the very time when the popular suffrage placed the great Washington at the helm of the Republic, the first bishop was set by apostolic authority over the American Church. The well-known friendship and familiar intercourse which subsisted between these two men seems to be an evidence that the United States ought to be conjoined in concord and amity with the Catholic Church. And not without cause; for without morality the State cannot endure-a truth which that illustrious citizen of yours, whom We have just mentioned, with a keenness of insight worthy of his genius and statesmanship perceived and proclaimed. But the best and strongest support of morality is religion. She, by her very nature, guards and defends all the principles on which duties are founded, and setting before us the motives most powerful to influence us, commands us to live virtuously and forbids us to transgress. Now what is the Church other than a legitimate society, founded by the will and ordinance of Jesus Christ for the preservation of morality and the defence of religion? For this reason have We repeatedly endeavored, from the summit of the pontifical dignity, to inculcate that the Church, whilst directly and immediately aiming at the salvation of souls and the beatitude which is to be attained in heaven, is yet, even in the order of temporal things, the fountain of blessings so numerous and great that they could not have been greater or more numerous had the original purpose of her institution been the pursuit of happiness during the life which is spent on earth.
[links via Vox Nova]
How Do You Say Gongso (公所) in English?
I've posted gongso photos of my own before. Here's one I drove by just this morning, although today it was covered in snow ─ A Rural Korean Gongso. And this gem is over one hundred years old ─ An Accidental Day Trip into Korean Catholic History.
Were You a DC, Marvel, or Mad Magazine Boy?
We do, however, agree on this:
- I seem to recall at some point DC and Marvel put out some collector's issues involving their most popular characters in the same adventure. That struck me as dangerously weird and unsettling for some reason.
Woodrow Wilson, Small-A Antichrist
- On February 1, the Orlando Sentinel reported that the Catholic Church has recognized the final miracle required to make a saint of one of Wilson’s greatest enemies, Habsburg Emperor Karl I. It seems that a Florida Baptist from Kissimmee, at the encouragement of a Catholic friend, invoked Karl’s intercession for help with metastatic breast cancer. As the Sentinel notes: “A judicial tribunal convened by the Diocese of Orlando and officially concluded Thursday has found that there is no medical explanation for the woman’s dramatic recovery, and more than half a dozen doctors in two states—most of them non-Catholics – agreed.” That makes two miraculous interventions attributed to Karl, enough for the pope to certify that Karl is in heaven.
It’s rarely remembered now, but Woodrow Wilson set as one of the primary war aims of the U.S. as she entered (thanks to his careful maneuvering) World War I the destruction of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. As a multi-ethnic state based not on 19th century nationalism but ancient dynastic loyalty cemented by a majority Catholic faith, it offended his modern notions of what should constitute a country—and as a good Princeton academic, who was in addition convinced that he personally embodied the Will of God, Wilson knew that he could do better.
[link via LewRockwell.com Blog]
Ut Unum Sint
- [T]he real breakthrough, [Cardinal Kasper] said, was that "the Orthodox agreed to speak about the universal level -- because before there were some who denied that there could even be institutional structures on the universal level. The second point is that we agreed that at the universal level there is a primate. It was clear that there is only one candidate for this post, that is the Bishop of Rome, because according to the old order -- ‘taxis' in Greek -- of the Church of the first millennium the see of Rome is the first among them.
"Many problems remain to be resolved, but we have laid a foundation upon which we can build."
Chinese Jokes About the Dear Leader
At the museum, there is a painting in which Adam and Eve are holding an apple.
A Briton says, “They are Britons. The gentleman is sharing a delicious apple with a lady.”
A Frenchman says, “They must be French. They are walking around in the nude.”
A North Korean says, “They are North Korean. They have no clothes and little food but think of themselves as living in paradise.”
Korea's Palæo-Confucian Catholic Reformer
With my meager earnings from Newstex, this blog's syndicator, I've ordered Chong Yagyong: Korea's Challenge to Orthodox Neo-Confucianism, the first book I put on my wishlist on October 13, 1999.
I had read a book entitled Confucian philosophy in Korea, and Jeong Yak-yong was the only philosopher detailed in the book who left a deep impression on me. From the chapter in that book devoted to the thinker whose nom de plume was Dasan (茶山), "Tea Mountain," we learn that he was a proponent of what was then known broadly as "Western Learning," which, we learn, "encompassed not only Christianity but also Western science as they were introduced together by Jesuit missionary scholars." But he remained within his own tradition: "He took an independant stand towards Western Learning, considering that while scientific technology should be used to improve the lives of people, the cultural heritage of East Asia should be preserved with renovation and reconstruction, creatively incorportating some Western influence."
He sought to reform Neo-Confucianism by eschewing its metaphysical ponderings and returning to the humanistic and practical teachings of Confucius. From the aforementioned book, this passage should resound with any Catholic, conservative, classical liberal, or particularist:
- Tasan valued human culture as the concrete road to follow the way of Heaven. Culture is not just an accumulation of artificial decorations, but the very expression of the endowment given by Heaven to a community. Just as there are varietied of endowment, there are bound to be various cultures, each of which has to be respected in its own right. Tasan carefully distinguished Confucian teaching from Chinese culture, for while the former is a norm for truth, the latter can be corrupted with secular customs. He appreciated Korean culture as something equal to Chinese culture. Each culture embodies its spirit into the rites which are typified in the ritual act of sacrifice.
The Gospel According to Rashōmon
Last night in the snowy quietude of the Tonggosan Recreation Forest, I finished Shūsaku Endō's A Life of Jesus. The most remarkable part of the book comes when the author, a novelist by trade, attempts to piece together from the various Gospel narratives what happened during Our Lord's Passion. Like the landmark movie Rashômon (1950), which tells the same story or a murder and rape from four different perspectives, he attemps to get behind the real events of those fateful days. Says the author:
- The psychology of the disciples as I have stated the case, is not explicit in the New Testament, but between the lines we cannot escape the feel of it. Even I as a solitary novelist in the Orient can sense that much.
Non-Totalitarian Sledding in Korea
- The kids are not free to run around and sled on their own. They obediently line up with plastic sleds at the top of the hill at numbered gates and wait for the whistle of a lifeguard-type fellow before cruising down the slope.