Monday, June 30, 2008

Iran escalating covert operations against U.S.

Of course, the above headline would be unthinkable, but the reverse is routine — U.S. escalating covert operations against Iran. If Iran had conducted a "major escalation of covert operations against [America] aimed at destabilizing its leadership" including "conducting crossborder operations from [Mexico]," it would be "wiped off the map," to borrow a phrase President Ahmadinejad never used about Israel.

Moral Universalism, the most basic moral principle, tells us that's what's good for the goose is good for the gander, and if we continue to violate this priniple thorugh interventionism in foreign countriues, before long the chickens will again come home to roost. Charley Reese's latest title encapulates how the rest of the world, like it (and sadly, many do) or not, sees us — Rogue Nation.

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A Catholic Worker Call for Interventionism?

Deacon Methodius of Notes from Underground, blogging from due south of the country in question, has the disturbing news that the "Fellowship of Reconciliation is calling for the US Congress to stop the violence in Zimbabwe" — The Christian Radical: Tell Congress: stop the violence in Zimbabwe.

"As Americans," the statement begins, "we are compelled to use our position as a global power to call for an end the the violence and for a restoration of democratic rule in Zimbabwe." Comments the good deacon, "One of Mad Bob Mugabe's excuses is that he is protecting Zimbabwe from American imperialists like George Bush -- and when American peace organisations make calls like this, who can gainsay him?"

That such a call for interventionism should be supported by a Catholic Worker outfit shows that it is not only in matters of traditional piety that the movement has strayed from its venerable foundress, Dorothy Day; it has strayed from her principled pacifism as well. Would a woman who opposed American entry into World War II call for intervention in Zimbabwe?

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Democracy, the European God that Failed Africa

Democracy: The God That Failed by Hans-Hermann Hoppe comes to mind reading this article by Thomas Fleming — African Democracy. The author describes how "a stable and prosperous country known as Rhodesia was bullied by smug Europeans and Americans into holding bogus elections that propelled a Red Chinese backed terrorist named Mugabe into the presidency of the renamed Zimbabwe," and how recently, "the citizens of Zimbabwe, when asked who was their country’s greatest political leader, put Ian Smith at the top."

Knowing what’s best for poor people, from Stuff White People Like, explains how those Western left-liberal Mugabe supporters from 1980 can now call for intervention to oust him in 2008 without blinking a eye.

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Монгол

OhmyNews' has a review by Howard Schumann of a film that this lover of epics will have to see — 'Mongol': Grand Storytelling. The reviewer highlights "the stunning cinematography, a sumptuous score by Tuomas Kantelinen and battle scenes that are thrilling though not stomach turning." He says the film "has been called hagiography, but it is grand storytelling with a humanistic bent in which personal relationships trump bloody conflict." The trailer:


Mongol (2007) looks to be better that the last biopic I saw on the Khan, The Conqueror (1956), starring John Wayne in the title rôle. Here an old post of mine showing the man the film chronicles in a different light than that to which were are used — Genghis Khan -- Classical Liberal. And this one dispels a certain ignorant myth about Asian men — The Great Progenitor.

UPDATE: Dear reader Clare Krishan, in the comments to this post, reminds us that the Khan's daughter-in-law, Sorghaghtani Beki, was a Christian and alerts us to the existence of a review of the film by Fr. Damian Howard, S.J., who calls the film "a corrective to a smug, self-congratulatory liberalism which needs to learn that fidelity to the best of an ancient code, enlivened by a new rigour, generosity and selflessness is not necessarily a way of proceeding totally foreign to the best instincts of the West" — Film review Mongol [Thinking Faith - the online journal of the British Jesuits].

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Korean Antiques


The above photo is from an informative JoongAng Daily article by Moon So-young on the subject — Antique market thrives in city’s lesser-known Dapsimni district.

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Wither Cuba?

Cardinal Jaime Ortega of Havana "questions the campaigns influenced by the 'liberal ideologies' of 'first world countries' that go 'beyond combating the rejection or ill-treatment of homosexual persons' and exalt individual freedom to 'unacceptable levels' thus promoting the mentality that 'anything goes'" — Church in Cuba questions government’s promotion of homosexuality on the island.

The last time I gave any thought to Cuban gays was when I saw Fresa y chocolate (1994), a pretty good movie in which "a cultivated, homosexual and skeptical young man, falls in love with a young heterosexual communist full of prejudices and doctrinary ideas." The film was about genuine tolerance and freindship, not sex, and a major theme of the movie was the "Cuban government's oppressions toward homosexuals." Now, it appears, even hardcore communists are going the way of the "lifestyle left."

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Anti-Subsidiarity

"Instead of supporting the family, many governments are usurping its prerogatives ," begins MercatorNet's Brian Lilley — Who needs a family when you’ve got a government? The author asks, "If as Pierre Trudeau said, the state has no place in my bedroom, why does it insist on sitting in my living room?"

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A Woman's Right to Choose a Sex-Selective Abortion

"When the leading advocates of reproductive choice cannot agree, things begin to look interesting," begins MercatorNet's Carolyn Moynihan — Cracks in the population consensus. The feminist dilemma is this: are some "choices" more equal than others, or is the decision of an Easterner to murder a baby because it is female no less morally repugnant that the decision of a Westerner to murder a baby because it is inconvenient?

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The Humanitarian Cull

"Countless millions of people in developing countries have been robbed of their human rights and dignity by a movement still regarded as humanitarian," begins MercatorNet's Rosa Linda Valenzona — The shameful history of population control. It's an excellent exposure of some of the worst evils of our times; I would only suggest that the word "humanitarian" is used correctly by these evildoers, as they have no interest in individual human persons, but in the meaningless abstraction they call "Humanity."

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The Reform of the Reform

Chiesa's Sandro Magister on "the latest decisions by Benedict XVI in liturgical matters" — "The Pope Does Not Put On Prada, But Christ". Signore Magister quotes the master of pontifical liturgical celebrations, Monsignor Guido Marini, on "the fostering a mutual enrichment between the two forms of the Roman rite: in such a way, for example, that in the celebration according to the missal of Paul VI (the ordinary form of the Roman rite) 'will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage.'"

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The Division of Labor

The Ludwig von Mises Institute's Jeffrey Tucker "attempts to explain the most important idea in the history of social analysis" — Cooperation: How a Free Market Benefits Everyone. He does an excellent job at it, noting how the idea "was first described with rigor by late-medieval monks working in Spain," and concluding that "it is not necessary that all people of the world have the same talents in order to benefit from cooperation" but rather that "it is the very diversity of the human population that makes it advantageous for them to work together and trade to their mutual benefit."

When the author summarizes that "isolation and self-sufficiency lead to poverty," the northern part of a divided country in which I reside comes to mind. Mr. Tucker is certainly right about state planners trying to impose "isolation and self-sufficiency" on a people, but I cannot help but sympathize with a Henry David Thoreau who tries to give it an individualist go, asking, "Where is this division of labor to end? and what object does it finally serve?"

[link via A conservative blog for peace]

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"McCain and Soros: The Most Dangerous Man in America, Bankrolled By the Most Evil Man in the World"

Chronicles Magazine's Srdja Trifkovic at his best — The Dream Ticket. Here's what he says about the former:
    John McCain is the most dangerous man in today’s America because this likely next occupant of the White House combines a muddled world outlook with an imbalanced personality, limited intelligence, and low character. Like Vladimir Ilich Lenin or Ted Kaczynski, he needs dehumanized adversaries and loves to hate, never mind the ideology. He pours scorn on powerful countries such as Russia or China, or weak ones such as Serbia, not because it makes any sense from the point of view of this country’s security interests, but because they resist—or may resist—what his archneoconservative advisor Robert Kagan terms America’s Benevolent Global Hegemony. He screams at his subordinates, red in the face and foaming at the mouth, and calls them names. He graduated 894th of 899 from the Naval Academy in Annapolis and famously lost five jets over Vietnam before finally being taken prisoner. He has taken money from his party’s declared enemies while simultaneously seeking that same party’s presidential nomination.
The rest of the article is devoted to "one of the most evil men in the world."

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Has Mad Crowd Disease Paralyzed Korea?

I don't live in Seoul, something for which I am even more thankful these days, and have no way to assess the situation there, but this Dong-A Ilbo article paints a pretty grim picture — Korea Falls into Coma. Who'd've thought that the the importation of American beef would have led to "a vacuum in the state administration." Hey, maybe the protesters are doing some good after all.

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China, Bibles, and the Olympics

A Catholic News Agency report that "50,000 bilingual booklets containing the four Gospels will made available in the Athletes’ Village in Beijing and five other Olympic Cities" — China to permit limited Bible distribution at Olympics. This tidbit on Bible puplishing in the country:
    The Bibles themselves will be printed by Amity Printing Press at a new multimillion dollar facility which opened in Nanjing last month. Amity produces one Bible every second. It produced its 50 millionth in September.

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Happy Pauline Year!

"The communities of Asia feel themselves to be 'descendants' of the work of Saint Paul, who presented the Christian faith to the pagans" — Pauline Year begins for Churches of Asia as well. I feel blessed to belong a parish dedicated to Saint Paul the Apostle.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Vive la Résistance!


The above photo from South Korea's premier leftist organ, The Hankyoreh, depicts the village of Dongpirang — The Montmartre of Tongyeong. The municipal government moved "to redevelop the village, to the objections of village residents," who responded with an "art contest to draw attention to the residents’ plight." The paintings "stand guard over Dongpirang, or East Hill, ensuring that its residents continue to have the right to live there." "The municipal government of Tongyeong has not yet initiated its redevelopment plan."

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Teheran, Washington, Tel Aviv

"If Bush is discussing war on Iran with Ehud Olmert, why is he not discussing it with Congress or the nation?" asks Patrick J. Buchanan today — Who's Planning Our Next War? One cannot help but be reminded of these words spoken by the great Russell Kirk (1918 - 1994) shortly before his death: "And not seldom it has seemed as if some eminent Neoconservatives mistook Tel Aviv for the capital of the United States."

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One Day in the Life of Shin Chul Ho

One man's story that has managed to trickle of out of the D.P.R.K. — Political Prison Camp-Bound Due to the Defection of Wife and Daughter. Hats off to the good people at Daily NK for bringing stories like these to our attention.

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The Liberation of American Beef

"5,300 tons of US beef, held in cold storage since October, will now be inspected and put on sale" — Seoul revokes ban on USA beef import sales. This comes after "Washington agreed not to export beef from cattle older than 30 months." This has enraged the herd in Seoul, as evidenced by these headlines today — Protesters physically block U.S. beef import, Central Seoul Becomes 'Lawless District', Candlelight Vigils Become Anti-Gov’t Protest, and Has the Gov't Given Up on Law and Order?

I count myself fortunate, as I said yesterday, to live in President Lee Myung-bak's hometown and not to have to endure the Mad Crowd Disease afflicting Seoul and other big cities. In fact, a local mom and pop (ŏmma wa appa) grocery store has had for some months a counter festooned with stars and stripes and "USA Beef" signs just waiting to sell the stuff.

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Catholic Justices Secure Second Amendment

Call me crazy, but I thought this had been decided 219 years ago — In a landmark ruling, Supreme Court says Americans have a right to own guns. Anyhoots, it's a good decision, and it is interesting to note that the Court's five Catholic justices, including Justice Kennedy, all voted correctly, while its remaining Protestants and Jews all voted incorrectly.

Saint Gabriel Possenti, a.k.a. Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, a.k.a. Gun Saint, pray for us.

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The End of Air Travel

"America's aviation system could be at risk of collapsing by the beginning of next year," begins Alexandra Marks — Major turbulence ahead for airlines.

Reading End of the Binge, William Howard Kuntsler's September 12, 2005 cover article for The American Conservative, was when I first became aware that "[t]he airline industry as we know it will cease to exist." I'd like to get one last one-way flight in for my family and then, after that, good riddance I say.

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Zora Neale Hurston, Segregationist

An interesting post on the great Zora Neale Hurston, who was "by far the leading black figure on the libertarian old right" — Segregation:
    Hurston opposed the end of segregation. A prominent black intellectual, a prominent member of the Harlem renaissance, opposed the end of segregation in the United States for what she believed would be its inevitable damage to black culture and distinctiveness. Integration, she argued, would only reinforce the idea that the only notable difference was skin color, and encourage ethnic identity as opposed to cultural identity. Essentially, she believed segregation was a good thing, ultimately, in allowing the development of a strong, well-defined black culture that was a good and wonderful thing, which she experienced during her formative years, and which she ceaselessly advocated. In her writing for Fire! Magazine, which she published alongside Langston Hughes and Wallace Thurman, she argued that black writers should not abandon dialect-writing; where some maintained that it further reinforced the idea that blacks were to be subordinate, Hurston held that strong dialect was essential to black culture, and should be clutched tightly and cherished.
Their Eyes Were Watching God, by the way, is a great read, hard at first because of the dialect until the reader realizes that the dialogue should be read aloud.

[link via Catholic and Enjoying It!]

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A Self Described "Ron Paul Democrat"

Daniel McCarthy on Bob Conley — The Best Democrat Since Grover Cleveland? We need more Bob Conleys, especially to replace the Lindsey Grahams and other "scowling ninnies of the Bush Right" (to borrow Bill Kauffman's phrase).

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

"Bu-shi" Cowers in Fear Before the Candle-Wielding Korean Race!

Not only has the most powerful man on earth "canceled plans Tuesday to visit Seoul next month amid protests over U.S. beef imports," reports Washington's Moonie-newspaper, "his administration made a key concession to North Korea by allowing it to exclude atomic bombs from a required disclosure of its nuclear activities" — Bush cancels trip amid Seoul protests. To make matters worse, even after winning concessions from the Americans on the beef issue, "a violent rally erupted in central Seoul with protesters smashing police buses blocking the way to the presidential Blue House."

What worries me is that these "victories" will lead the herd in Seoul to an even greater orgy of that infamous Korean pride, borne of a 5000-year-old inferiority complex, 3000 years older than the country's recorded history. They'll see this as a triumph over the country that's subsidized their defense for the past six decades, allowing them to go from a sub-Saharan level of poverty to being the world's twelfth largest economy. The left-nationalists protesting in Seoul would like nothing better than to goosestep next to their brethren on the other side of the DMZ, as long as they were able to keep their cell phones, hip-hop clothing, and "double-eyelid" surgery (and I've seen photographic evidence that the last item on that list at least has made its way up north).

Thank God I live in President Lee's hometown and only have to read about this nonsense.

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Traduttore, Traditore?

In this case, the Italian adage about a translator being a traitor is not applicable — MBC’s excuse maddens translator. It was the producers of the Korean "news" program "PD Diary" who were the traitors, and they are making the poor translator into a scapegoat.

Jeong Ji-min, the translator who worked on the controversial broadcast about mad cow disease in April, says, "While I was checking the translation, I told the producers repeatedly and strongly that linking a downer cow and mad cow disease is a distortion." On the show, "Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease" was wrongly translated as "human mad cow disease." The producers also argued that the "translation of 'dairy cow' as 'mad cow disease-infected cow' was not a poor translation, but a translation with interpretation."

Ironically, this is the same show that correctly and bravely exposed disgraced cloner Hwang Woo-Suk for the unethical fraud that he was, and was taken off the air after the public outcry that a Korean "hero" had been questioned. A show that once fell victim to public mass hysteria turned around and instigated it.

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The Reform of the Reform Continues

PewSitter.com links to two stories covering the same promising news — Pontiff to distribute communion to kneelers and Pope prefers Communion on the tongue, Msgr. Marini says.

The Mass of Paul VI is all we have to choose from over here in Korea, a reality that doesn't bother me as much as one might think it would. (I try not to let religion be source of contention in my life, as it seems to be for many bloggers; that said, the first thing I'll do when I return home to America will be to find the nearest Traditional Latin Mass.)

The "communion line" is the norm here, and I'm not the type to try to stand out by kneeling and taking communion on the tongue, however much I recognize the superiority of the gesture. (I stand out out enough already.) Sinner that I am, I never feel my hands are clean enough to touch the host. I usually up one of my kids so that the priest would has no option but to place the host on my tongue.

Even with Summorum Pontificum, I do not expect to see traditional forms of piety returning to Korea anytime soon, just as I do not expect to see liturgical innovations in Korea either. One thing that can be said about Koreans is that you know what you'll get. I also don't expect to see traditional forms of piety returning en masse anywhere in the world, nor do I expect to see a great decline in liturgical innovations anywhere in the world.

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Antiwar Warriors Speak

  • "There is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes," says Major General Antonio Taguba in this damning interview — Retired General: "The Current Administration Has Committed War Crimes". "The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."


  • "As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq" — Anti-War Soldier Jonathan Hutto: People, Not Politicians, Will End the War in Iraq. "Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home."
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    Love Me, I'm a (White) Liberal (Obama Supporter)

    One can always count on a true radical to speak truth to power — Ralph Nader, White Guilt and Black Nationalism. Says our favorite man of the left:
      He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful. Basically he’s coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it’s corporate or whether it’s simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up.
    Dylan Waco of The Left Conservative, in linking to the above, builds on Mr. Nader's "fine job [of] destroying the myth of Obama as a 'black nationalist'" and suggests "conservatives, traditionalists and other 'small is beautiful' folks, can only dream of an authentic black nationalist getting anywhere near the White House." Says Mr. Waco:
      While black nationalism has its ugly and unrealistic side (the obsession with reparations for slavery, topping the list), the reality of the matter is that the basic program and dominant themes of black radicalism would be a marked improvement for our society. Small bands of self-reliant families, that are reflexively opposed to the corporate cartel class and the big government welfare statism of the modern world do not endanger whites, America or White America. Conservatives who know nothing about black nationalist and black power movements have created a "black radical" straw man, without understanding what in fact such radicalism has historically represented. That the same people who rant about the dangers of an Obama presidency, regularly cite Booker T. Washington as an appropriate model for black Americans, is a telling example of how clueless many of these people are (Obama is above all a globalist. Washington was a conservative black nationalist).
    This post's title comes from the great Phil Ochs song Love Me, I'm a Liberal, which begins thusly:
      I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
      Tears ran down my spine
      I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
      As though I'd lost a father of mine
      But Malcolm X got what was coming
      He got what he asked for this time
      So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

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    The Best Newspaper Online

    Asia Times Online is a newspaper recommendable for everyone to read daily, regardless of what continent he calls home. Below are three stories featured today:

  • Nick Turse takes a look at "the mega-tax-funded payouts" paid out in "a clockwork-like manner" to the "ever-expanding military-corporate complex" — The Pentagon's merchants of war. He notes that "the basic Pentagon budget [is] now clocking in at roughly $541 billion per year - before 'supplemental' war funding for Iraq, Afghanistan and President George W Bush's 'war on terror', as well as national security spending by other agencies, are factored in."


  • Gareth Porter on the "threat by the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki this month to reject the United States-Iraq status of forces and strategic framework agreements" and "the apparent rejection of the agreements by Iraqi Shi'ite leaders is the absence of a US security guarantee against foreign aggression" — US pushes Iraqi Shi'ites closer to Iran.


  • Ehsan Ahrari on the "mini revival of the neo-conservatives in the United States as they attempt to put the record straight about their policies that led to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the alliance with Pakistan" — Neo-con redux? The author worries, as should all of us regardless of nationality that "[t]he neo-cons' campaign to establish 'uncontested American supremacy' without care for the long-term implications for the lone superpower's global interests or reputation will start again with gusto."
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    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    What the White Man Can Learn from American Indian Patriotism

    Writing for the Los Angeles Times, author Michael A. Elliott on "the kind of patriotism that is too big to fit on a lapel pin" — The patriots who killed Custer.

    Observing "that patriotism is rarely simple in the Indian country of the American Plains," Mr. Elliott reminds us that "at the same time that they are sending men and women to fight on behalf of the United States, many American Indian communities continue to claim their independence from it." Notes the author, "Non-Indians who attend celebrations like the Little Bighorn anniversary are often surprised by the exhibitions of U.S. patriotism." By way of example, he says, "Indians from across the northern Plains come to celebrate the history of resistance to the United States, but they include color guards of Native American veterans, often in their service uniforms, carrying American flags."

    Bill Kauffman for one, that voice of "the peace-and-love left wing of paleoconservatism," gets it, as do the cast of colorful patriots from American history who appear in his books, Look Homeward America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals and Front-Porch Anarchists and Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism. The "scowling ninnies of the Bush Right," as Mr. Kauffman describes them in the latter, do not.

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    How Korea Got America to Capitulate on Beef

    "Whenever the negotiations were at risk of failing, I produced a picture of the candlelight demonstrations," reports South Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon, quoted by Robert Koehler — Korea Using Anti-Americanism as a Negotiating Tool.

    The American role in the neocon world order is, after all, as "security exporter." Beef or cars or anything else of value we might still produce is of as little or no consequence as are the Americans who produce them.

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    Saving Jews and the Moral Theology of Deceit

    John Zmirak on how the venerable pontiff slandered as "Hitler's Pope" (a charge its author has long since recanted) in fact "helped save Jews and Serbs from genocide through (among many tactics) ordering priests to issue fake baptismal certificates" — The “Lies” of Pope Pius XII. Mr. Zmirak states that "some folks really have seemed scandalized at this great pope’s willingness to wield deceit" and goes on to explain why this need not at all be a cause of scandal.

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    The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Fourth Amendment

    Congressman Ron Paul, sounding like a Founding Father, reminds us that "decimating the protections that our Constitution provides us against the government is far more dangerous to the future of this country than whatever external threats may exist" — Statement on FISA.

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    Orwell and Rand Were Right

    Up until recently, I had always thought the Huxleyan dystopia was closer to our present reality, but today, Justin Raimondo looks at contemporary Oceania and recalls the "Orwellian presentiment that the world of the future is bound to be poorer and, simultaneously, engaged in constant warfare" — Is War Good For the Economy?

    Mr. Raimondo speaks of "the general shabbiness of Orwell's dystopia, what with the constant shortages and the way thing always seemed to be literally and physically falling apart," and reminds us Oceanians of "the cost of our expanding overseas empire that is driving us into bankruptcy." He says, "The main beneficiaries of the present system... are the new plutocrats," those whom "Ayn Rand referred to as 'the aristocracy of pull,' the principal villains of her famous novel Atlas Shrugged, i.e., corrupt businessmen who succeeded on account of their political connections rather than their entrepreneurial skill."

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    Patrick J. Buchanan on the Allies' Terrorism

    "Did Hitler’s crimes justify the Allies’ terror-bombing of Germany?" asks peacenik Pat Buchanan, rebuffing a hostile review of his new book by "[a]theist, Trotskyite and newborn neocon" Christopher Hitchens — Morality—Trotskyite vs. Christian.

    In 2005, Mr. Buchanan wrote Hiroshima, Nagasaki & Christian morality, in which he describes the atomic attacks rightly as "terrorism on a colossal scale." At the time, I brought his argument up in a (drunken) discussion with a friend and colleague who describes himself as a "flaming socialist." Surely, I thought, this was an area on which an Old Rightist and a Leftist could agree. Boy, was I wrong, I learned, listening to the tired old arguments of Truman apologetics. A New Leftist, however, would have agreed.

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    Truman Was Duped

    On the fifty-eighth anniversary of the opening of hostilities, an old letter to the then-president of then-Czechoslovakia sheds light on the origins of America's first major undeclared, unconstitutional, and illegal war (in which, I am proud to say, my grandfather served) — Stalin meant to lure U.S. into Korean War.

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    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    King Ody­sseus Was Right

    As Immanuel Velikovsky knew, it is sheer hubris and folly to dismiss celestial events described in ancient texts — The Odyssey astronomically accurate?

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    Offshoring Is Not Free Trade

    So says Paul Craig Roberts, after dismissing the idea "that the United States is a 'superpower,' when she is dependent on China and Japan to finance her wars in Afghanistan and Iraq" — The Decline and Fall of the American Economy: Offshoring Our Security:
      Libertarians and free-market economists mistake offshoring for free trade and, therefore, assume that offshoring is beneficial. Offshoring is not trade at all; it is international labor arbitrage. Trade takes place when, for example, U.S. industries compete against Chinese industries in domestic and foreign markets. Free trade is based on different countries specializing in areas in which they have comparative advantage.

      Offshoring is based on the desire for absolute advantage by achieving lowest factor cost. U.S. corporations move their production to China in order to maximize profits by minimizing labor and compliance costs.
    On a similar note, I'd say libertarians and free-market economists mistake big business for free trade, ignoring the massive government subsidies, in the form also of welfare supplements or infrastructure development, that make their very bigness possible.

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    Koreans Awakening to New Educational Possibilities


    At first glance, the "Gandhi School" and the "Peace Flower School" are the type of institutions to which I'd consider sending my kids — Are there alternatives to public education? (Thus far, the only alternative considered by Koreans was to send their kids abroad at enormous cost, financially, socially, and, most destructively, familially.) At second glance, I'm not so crazy about "courses on feminism, human rights and psychology," or the fact that "the yearly educational fee for middle school students attending Gandhi School is 7.2 million won ($6,916)."

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    Confucian Education and Liberal Arts

    Sinologist Sam Crane has an interesting post noting the similarities btween the two traditions — Doing Well v. Doing Good. He notes that the former has its Six Arts, "rites, music, archery, charioteering, calligraphy, and mathematics." Prof. Crane contrasts these with "modern American liberal arts pedagogy," as his blog is dedicated to "Ancient Chinese Thought in Modern American Life." This blogger thinks a clearer comparisoncan be made with the classical Trivium, "grammar, logic, and rhetoric;" and Quadrivium, "arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy."

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    Neo-Hamiltonianism

    Conservative Heritage Times theorizes that "the lower public support falls for Bush’s costly and counter-productive military adventures, the more other-worldly his dwindling supporters turn," citing as an example "Robert Kagan’s latest agitprop" which asserting, in CHT's words, that "Neoconservatism is really THE American way of governance – and the foundations of this ideology of an interventionist, highly-centralized government backed by a massive, aggressive military were laid at the founding of our Republic" — Neocon Nation: Neoconservatism, c. 1776.

    Kagan is wrong that "Neoconservatism is really THE American way of governance" but right, much to our detriment, that it is "AN American way of governance." He's also right that "the foundations of this ideology of an interventionist, highly-centralized government backed by a massive, aggressive military were laid at the founding of our Republic." These evils can be traced back to the person of Alexander Hamilton, who, Russell Kirk (1918-1994) was careful to point out in his tome, The Conservative Mind, was not part of the tradition he defined. Thus, Kagan may be right, but he's still wrong, as was his hero, Hamilton.

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    Monday, June 23, 2008

    Refugees Caught Between Iraq and a Hard Place

    "Our war has displaced 4 million Iraqis since 2003, including 2 million now living beyond its borders in tough conditions," notes Morton Abramowitz — The shortchanging of Iraqi refugees. The author continues:
      Yet we have allowed this vast, potentially destabilizing refugee burden to be borne mostly by Syria and Jordan. We have provided some aid to host countries but none to Syria, and we have allowed only a trickle of Iraqis (fewer than 10,000 so far) to resettle in the U.S. -- far fewer than have been taken in by Sweden.
    Back in the early '90s, I was a volunteer for Journey's End Refugee Services, Inc. Two Iraqi Shi'ite brothers who had foolishly answered Bush I's call for insurrection stand out in my memory. They were nice enough guys, and spent their days listening to sermons on cassette tapes, but they were probably unassimilable into American culture. They ended up stealing funds from the organization that settled them and headed for Detroit. I could hardly blame them; the difference between an Episcopalian like the president responsible for their situation and the Mennonite at the head of the non-profit assisting them was probably as unintelligible as the divide between Sunnah and Shi'a was to Bush II.

    Short of genocide, nothing is as bad as sending a population into exile, which is what we have done twice in Iraq. Taking in refugees may be the honorable thing to do, but it is hardly a solution, as any refugee will tell you.

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    Tibetans On the Rampage Again

    But don't expect it to widely publicized, as the victims are Muslims and "the Tibetan exile community [is] reluctant to publicize incidents that might harm the international image of Tibetans" — Tensions rise between Tibetans, Chinese Muslims.

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    The Earth Goddess Demands the Blood of Men

    "Gaia Theory and Deep Ecology are two handmaids of the Culture of Death," says Professor Anne Barbeau Gardiner, taking on the worst of "misanthropic ecofascism" — Human Sacrifice on the Altar of Gaia.

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    The Fog of War Crimes

    Unlike the fake conservatives who "melt at the sight of a man in uniform" (to borrow Bill Kauffman's phrasing), Old Rightists Justin Raimondo and Christopher Manion are unafraid to question the exoneration of these killers in marine uniforms — Imperial 'Justice' and Does Haditha Sound Familiar? Thank God for my Granny from Mississippi, a Radical Reactionary if there ever was one, who instructed me at a very young age to never, ever, join the military.

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    High Crimes and Misdemeanors

    Articles by Paul Craig Roberts, Robert Perry, and Joseph L. Galloway respectively — A Totally Lawless Regime, Democrats Have Legalized Bush's Crimes, and Gen. Taguba Knew Scandal Went to the Top.

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    Sunday, June 22, 2008

    The Good Doctor, Just War Doctrine, and the U.S. Constitution

    Leave it to the Baptist Dr. Ron Paul to have offered new insights into the Just War Doctrine in these words from a speech on the floor of the House in the lead-up to the unjust war — Opposing the Use of Military Force Against Iraq:
      I also want to mention very briefly something that has essentially never been brought up. For more than a thousand years there has been a doctrine and Christian definition of what a just war is all about. I think this effort and this plan to go to war comes up short of that doctrine. First, it says that there has to be an act of aggression; and there has not been an act of aggression against the United States. We are 6,000 miles from their shores.

      Also, it says that all efforts at negotiations must be exhausted. I do not believe that is the case. It seems to me like the opposition, the enemy, right now is begging for more negotiations.

      Also, the Christian doctrine says that the proper authority must be responsible for initiating the war. I do not believe that proper authority can be transferred to the President nor to the United Nations.
    That last point is brilliant! Paragraph # 2309 of Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, "The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good." Catholic neocons hinged their war apologetics on that one line. The U.S. Constitution - Article 1 Section 8, however, states that among the "Powers of Congress" is "To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water." Dr. Paul quotes the father of Constitution, James Madison: "The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has, accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war in the legislature."

    This has, of course, not been the case since President Truman usurped congressional powers with the UN-mandated "police action" in Korea in 1950. There is no guarantee that a war declared by Congress would be just, but there is a greater chance than it would be than one initiated by a unitary executive. Would congressmen, answerable to the people, have declared war on Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, or Iraq (twice)?

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    We're Doomed!

    This is my kind of headline — Everything seemingly is spinning out of control. The article begins with this litany:
      Midwestern levees are bursting. Polar bears are adrift. Gas prices are skyrocketing. Home values are abysmal. Air fares, college tuition and health care border on unaffordable. Wars without end rage in Iraq, Afghanistan and against terrorism.
    It is high-time that we question, useful as the ideals may have been in the past, the "can-do, bootstrap approach embedded in the American psyche" and our "country's sturdy conviction that destiny can be commanded with sheer courage and perseverance." The false god Progress is dead.

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    American Pig-headedness on Beef Exports

    "The pig-headed refusal of the U.S. government to implement more thorough inspections of beef is costing us plenty," declares this editorial from the Great State of Texas — Korea's beef with America. From the article: "Bizarrely, federal officials have even sued a Kansas slaughterhouse to stop it from performing additional voluntary testing in an effort to regain skittish Asian customers." (That particular asininity was the impetus for this post a month-and-half-ago — Mad Cow Disease and the State Monopoly on Regulation.) The editorial concludes: "Is all this damage – political, economic and geo-strategic – worth it to protect the U.S. beef industry from doing what it ought to be doing for American consumers anyway?"

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    The Allies and the Final Solution

    Pat Buchanan dares to mention the inconvenient truth that "for the six years before Britain declared war, there was no Holocaust, and for two years after the war began, there was no Holocaust" — Was the Holocaust Inevitable? His conclusion: "The Holocaust was not a cause of the war, but a consequence of the war. No war, no Holocaust."

    And then there is always the question of why the Allies did not lift a finger to stop the Holocaust, by say, bombing the railway lines that led to the camps? Perhaps the answer to that question is pointed to in these paragraphs from a book review by Thomas J. DiLorenzo — A New Look at How World War II Happened:
      In 1918 Eleanor Roosevelt complained about being invited to a party by financier Bernard Baruch, saying "I’d rather be hung than be seen at" the party because the attendees were "mostly Jews." Her husband Franklin, noticing in 1922 that one-third of the freshman class at Harvard was Jewish, "went to the Harvard Board of Overseers, of which he was a member," leading to a change in admissions policy such that "over a period of years the number of Jews should be reduced one or two percent a year until it was down to 15%."

      Churchill published a newspaper article on February 8, 1920, in which he apparently took a break from his unbridled hatred of everything German to declare that his "real enemy" was "the sinister confederacy of international Jewry," which he blamed for communism.

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    The Baroque and Ancient Music Compilation to End All Baroque and Ancient Music Compilations


    The Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 50th Anniversary Edition was "released to celebrate the 50th anniversary... one of the most important and adventurous early music labels." The collection is a remarkable deal at $100 for fifty, yes fifty, CDs, at least here in Korea; the collection doesn't seem to be available stateside. In the U.K it's £59.98. Being introduced to the glory of Girolamo Frescobaldi was alone worth the price. According to the liner notes, the label was founded by a "committed Christian with firm political beliefs" and named after a phrase from a post-war Christmas message from Venerable Pope Pius XII!

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    Keep the State out of the Bedroom

    That was refrain from our friends on the lavender left before Lawrence v. Texas, and one must admit they had a point, but now, only a few years later, they are more than eager to invite the state back in to sanction their relationships.

    Thomas Fleming called the recent decision in California "a declaration of independence from the human race" — Sex and Marriage in San Francisco. In the future, he says, "we can expect to see a whole series of taboos collapse like dominoes: incest, sex with children, and cannibalism–consensual of course, we’re not savages after all." Dr. Fleming describes how the state got into the marriage business:
      The state’s involvement came during the period of the Reformation. Luther disliked the Catholic Church’s intervention in certain cases (recognizing clandestine marriages against the parents’ wishes) and turned the regulation of marriage over to the princes. In England, the land of infinite compromise, the Church remained the regulatory agency, but the Church was under the supervision of the Crown and Parliament. If the Protestants made a mistake, it is a mistake that can best be recognized in hindsight, since their object was to strengthen families, not to weaken them.
    By way of a solution, he proposes that "the welfare state and the massive taxation imposed to sustain it means that a married couple, unless it wishes to forfeit the economic and legal relief derived from the state’s recognition of their union, will have to secure a license, but Christians should begin to regard that document as nothing more serious than a dog license."

    Charley Reese is more conciliatory: "if you are against gay marriage, then don't marry a gay person" — On Gay Marriage. To "busybodies who want to stick their nose in other people's business" he says "let us all mind our own business." He concludes that "if the state recognizes a contract – which is all marriage amounts to, in secular terms – it by no means sanctifies anything" and "whatever is holy and sacred about marriage is a matter of religion, not a state marriage license, which is no different from a plumber's license."

    Both the paleoconservative and the paleolibertarian come to the same solution, get the state out of the marriage business.

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    Friday, June 20, 2008

    The Thai (and Vietnamese) Way and Gays

    "Although still old fashioned in many ways, Thai society has long accepted - even embraced - its lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgendered (LBGT) communities," begins Asia Times Online's "Sex in Depth" correspondent William Sparrow in his latest piece — Miss Tiffany, a good son. The author notes that "unlike many Western or allegedly more modern nations, Thais rarely discriminate or ridicule." I've been to Thailand, but am not that familiar with the culture, but what Mr. Sparrow says rings true for another culture with which I am more familiar, the Vietnamese.

    After a chance encounter in a laundromat back in 1992, I found myself swept into Buffalo's Vietnamese community. A precocious (and extremely cute) thirteen-year-old girl, accompanied by her nineteen-year-old half-black half-sister, invited me, a college sophomore "slumming it" in a cheap but beautiful century-old Buffalo West Side rental, to "come to house mother me." They were both fresh off the boat and it seemed like an interesting opportunity. The linguistic and culinary lessons began at once, and I was instantly charmed by the most hospitable and mirthful people I've ever encountered.

    The Tang family (they were half-Chinese, they proudly stated), were my introduction to Buffalo's Vietnamese community, which was at the time 3,000 souls strong. I befriended and was befriended by several families, as well as by an individual or two. There were basically two types of families, those headed by single mothers of Amerasian children roughly my age and those headed by patriarchs who had been released from a decade or more in commie "reeducation camps" for having served with the South Vietnamese Army. These families, the former "dysfunctional" and the latter "functional," got along well in their diaspora, while in the America in which they lived such families would remain literally and metaphorically "miles apart."

    Getting to the subject of this post, it was among the Vietnamese that I was first exposed in any real way to "homosexual persons," called "be de" in Vietnamese. I remember a half-black Amerasian guy (who, like many half-black Amerasian guys, could have passed for an American black fellow until he spoke) who wore pink nail polish and spoke with a pronounced lisp in Vietnamese. A friend's sister was the long-term "femme" to a "butch" (the "butch-femme" dynamic seems to be endemic among Asian lesbians) before she went straight and married a stand-up fellow in the only Catholic wedding I've ever attended.

    What struck me most was that obviously homosexual couples (they may well have been chaste, for what any of us knew) were routinely invited socially to homes of the most conventionally conservative families. I am not sure to what extent this was a function of being members of a small community in a diaspora, but it struck me then and it strikes me now as a rather healthy arrangement respecting the dignity of persons regardless of their "sexual orientation."

    At the same time, there was no clamoring among the be de for "rights" or "special treatment." There was no talk of "marriage." Others joked about them, but the be de didn't seem to mind, and they certainly didn't file lawsuits or call for "hate crimes" legislation. There was no talk of "equality" and no be de wanted to adopt children. And there was no fixed be de identity, as my friend's sister who went from a butch's femme to a husband's wife without leaving her social milieu proved.

    The Thais and Vietnamese seem to practice what the "Young Fogey" has wisely called "tolerant conservatism." The more I think about it, our Western politicized approach to the subject, on both sides, is utterly laughable.

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    More on the Anglican Schism

    A statement "supported by the heads of key African churches including Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda" and others has "formally declared the end of the worldwide Anglican Communion" — Hardline archbishops declare Anglican split.

    "Once a decade, hundreds of bishops of the international Anglican Communion meet in Canterbury, England, for the Lambeth Conference," but this year "more than a quarter of the invited bishops are expected to boycott the conference and attend a rival meeting for conservative Anglicans in Jerusalem, called the Global Anglican Future Conference" — Conservative Anglicans Plan Rival Conference as Split Over Homosexuality Grows.

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    The Basques of Japan

    There is much of interest in this article about the "Caucasian people" who "were [once] spread all over Japan" — "Purification of memory" in Tokyo, Diet acknowledges that Ainu are indigenous. The article reports that "the government will solemnly recognise the historical fact that many Ainu were marginalised and forced into poverty with the advance of modernisation, despite the fact that they have the same legal rights as all other Japanese." Moderns might well be reminded of what "modernization" has more often than not meant:
      With the process of modernisation, known in Japan as the Meiji Restoration (1868), a policy of the forced assimilation of the Ainu was begun: their language was outlawed, they were forced to adopt Japanese names, and their land was distributed to Japanese immigrants....

      With the annexation of Korea (1910), the imperialist government applied to Korea the same method of assimilation used for the ethnic Ainu minority, and from 1931 to 1945 tried to apply it also to China and to other Asian countries.
    The relationship between the Basque and Ainu has long intruigued me. Had Saint Francis Xavier made it to Hokkaidō, he may have encountered long-lost relatives.

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    The Weakest "Pro-Life" Headline Ever

    It has to be this — John McCain Keeping Open Mind to Embryonic Stem Cell Research Alternatives. Only the most anti-science anti-life ideologue (and they do exist) would not keep an "open mind to embryonic stem cell research alternatives" since these ethical "alternatives" have been the only ones to produced any credible results.

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    Gore Vidal on Clinton's Presaging of Bush

    Here's an article that appeared eight days after 9/11 in a Mexican paper ("No US publication dared run it"), and has been retranslated back into English — Black Tuesday. The entire essay demands reading, but I will simply excerpt some parts for those who think the current president's predecessor was somehow better:
      Although Clinton was to win the election, he did many opportunistic, but dim-witted things. He battled the opponents of the anti-terrorism law – which gave the attorney general the power to use the army against the civil population – by annulling the Posse Comitatus principle of 1878, which prohibited, under any circumstance, the use of the military against our people.

      Habeas corpus, the heart of Anglo-American liberty, can remain suspended if there is a terrorist in the city. Upon being criticized by groups and individuals demanding respect for the Constitution, Clinton called them "unpatriotic." Then he waved the flag and, in true blockhead fashion, said: "No one can be patriotic or pretend to love his country and despise his government."

      [....]

      But after the Oklahoma trauma, Clinton said that those who didn’t support his Draconian anti-terrorist legislation were terrorist conspirators who were "coverting the United States into a sanctuary for terrorists." If the usually calm Clinton could so foam at the mouth, what can expect of the bellicose Bush after Black Tuesday?

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    Miracle on the Tigris and Euphrates?

    Pepe Escobar states what should be obvious to even the most ignorant ahistorical American; a Miracle on the Han River will not be repeated in Mesopotamia — Why Iraq won't be South Korea. Labelling the proposal "to force a neo-colonial Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)" on the country as "Bush's last stand," the author suggests "a US-style, wealthy consumer society, a demilitarized client state under benign US protection" is not coming anytime soon.

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    Come Home, America, From Korea

    Doug Bandow's latest — Strengthening the US-South Korea Alliance: For What? An excerpt:
      The point is not that the South Koreans have dissed America over beef and therefore the U.S. should leave. Rather, the circumstances in which the alliance was originally created have disappeared. The mutual defense treaty was a means to protect South Korea and allow it to become self-sufficient. American policy succeeded. Preserving the alliance today turns the means into an end, with the U.S. empire-builders attempting to generate new justifications for a security commitment which has fulfilled its ends.
    Pat Buchanan put it more bluntly a few years back: "If the 60 million Koreans, North and South, were raptured up to heaven, how would America be imperiled? — More Troops—or Less Empire.

    "She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all," said John Quincy Adams of America. "She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."

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    Bipartisanism in the United States

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    Two Against Tyranny from Paul Craig Roberts

    First, "The Father of Reaganomics" offers an endorsement that manages to be both guarded and ringing at the same time — Elect Obama or Fall Into Tyranny.

    Second, he takes on a man who "stands outside the Anglo-American legal tradition" — John Yoo, Totalitarian. Echoing the theme of the first article, the author concludes, "In a Yoo-McCain regime, the terrorists you will have to fear are those in your own government, against whom you will have no protection whatsoever."

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    Ex Oriente Lux

    This seems an excellent way forward, or rather, backward, to unity — Orthodox leader suggests "dual unity" for Eastern Catholics. The idea:
      The Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople has responded favorably to a suggestion by the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church for a system of "dual unity" in which Byzantine Catholic churches would be in full communion with both Constantinople and Rome.
    If I'm not mistaken, there is a church in the Levant in communion with both the local Catholic and Orthodox bishops.

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    What Was Anglicanism and Marriage

    What began with Henry VIII's "marriage" to Anne Boleyn has ended with last week's "marriage" of two clergymenWorldwide Anglican Communion at an End says Nigerian Primate.

    I hate to seem to disparage the communion which took in as a guest for six years a fellow like me raised in High Church Lutheranism (I was unable to find a church in Asia) and from which I learned the richness of Anglo-Catholicism, but it seems the communion responsible for the disatrous 1930 Lambeth Contraception decision has been plagued throughout its history from heterodox misunderstandings of Sacrament of Marriage which have finally brought about its end.

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    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    Korean Students Abroad Take Over Another Department

    Fully half of the doctorates awarded in "one of the university's finest departments" went to Koreans — Koreans dominate in Bible studies at Hebrew U. Granted, the department "awarded only six new doctorates" this year, but the report notes that "dozens of Koreans... [are] learn[ing] Hebrew at an advanced level and study the Bible in Israeli universities." Now, if only we could get Korean Catholic priests to be as enthusiastic about Latin.

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    Ron Paul on the Broken Window Fallacy

    War may be the health of the State, as Randolph Bourne suggested, but, despite what most people believe, it's the death of the economy — War, Economy Can't Be Decoupled. An excerpt:
      War takes what would otherwise be productive economic capacity and transfers both that capacity and the wealth it would generate in normal, peaceful times into far less economically viable activities. It also impacts budget priorities in ways that are detrimental to our nation. I have often pointed to the fact that we are building bridges in Iraq while they are collapsing in the United States.
    The Broken Window Fallacy, as articulated Frédéric Bastiat, says as much.

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    "Theodore Roosevelt: An American Sissy"

    The title of that essay, which the reviewer says "will sober up any sensible reader tempted by the neoconservatives' cloying cult of Teddy," makes me want to buy the entire volume — 'The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal'. In an essay titled "Black Tuesday," he describes the George W. Bush administration as having delivered "the knockout blow to our vanishing liberties by phone-tapping, unlawful deportation of suspects and powers to arrest and detain individuals."

    [link via LewRockwell.com]

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    Nancy "AIPAC" Pelosi

    Madame Speaker stands accused of having "removed a section from a bill passed by Congress which would have barred the U.S. from going to war with Iran without a congressional vote" (not that the U.S. Constitution - Article 1 Section 8 has anything to say about that), and, worse, having done so at "the behest of the leadership of Israel and AIPAC" — Ron Paul Claims Pelosi Spiked Iran Bill.

    Says the good doctor: "And then, the astounding thing is, when asked why, she said the leadership in Israel asked her to. That was in the newspaper, that was in 'The Washington Post,' that she was asked by AIPAC and others not to do that." The article notes that Congressman Ron Paul's accusation is corroborated by the Asia Times Online, our favorite newspaper, and by his friend Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

    Pat Buchanan had Madame Speaker figured out more than a year ago — The AIPAC Girl. So did Justin Raimondo, who once ran against her — Pelosi's Betrayal.

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    A Who's Who of Antiwar Conservatives

    Richard Spencer presents "a highly useful catalogue of 50 conservatives, of various stripes, who’ve opposed the Iraq war," assembled by Daniel Flynn— Conservatives who said no. I was glad to see my former representative Jack Kemp on the list.

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    Major General Antonio Taguba, Patriot

      This report tells the largely untold human story of what happened to detainees in our custody when the Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture. This story is not only written in words: It is scrawled for the rest of these individuals’ lives on their bodies and minds. Our national honor is stained by the indignity and inhumane treatment these men received from their captors. The profiles of these eleven former detainees, none of whom were ever charged with a crime or told why they were detained, are tragic and brutal rebuttals to those who claim that torture is ever justified. Through the experiences of these men in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, we can see the full scope of the damage this illegal and unsound policy has inflicted-both on America’s institutions and our nation’s founding values, which the military, intelligence services, and our justice system are duty-bound to defend.

      In order for these individuals to suffer the wanton cruelty to which they were subjected, a government policy was promulgated to the field whereby the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice were disregarded. The UN Convention Against Torture was indiscriminately ignored. And the healing professions, including physicians and psychologists, became complicit in the willful infliction of harm against those the Hippocratic Oath demands they protect.

      After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.

      The former detainees in this report, each of whom is fighting a lonely and difficult battle to rebuild his life, require reparations for what they endured, comprehensive psycho-social and medical assistance, and even an official apology from our government.

      But most of all, these men deserve justice as required under the tenets of international law and the United States Constitution.

      And so do the American people.
    The above is the preface from a new book, reported on here — War Crimes Committed and Justice Denied.

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    Free Speech Under Threat in South Korea

    Both the herd and the state are moving against it — Radicals Threaten Freedom of Speech and Public Order and Internet free speech to be restricted. The former editorial is from one of the "country’s three major dailies" targetted by "a systematic and organized move by socialists disguised as grumbling netizens." The latter piece, from a leftist daily, laments the fact that "[t]he administration and the ruling Grand National Party are moving to control public opinion on the internet that is disadvantageous to them."

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    Buchananite Obama Strikes Again

      I don't think an agreement that allows South Korea to import hundreds of thousands of cars into the U.S. but continues to restrict U.S. car exports into South Korea to a few thousand is a smart deal.... Allowing subsidized and unfairly traded products to flood our markets is not free trade... We cannot stand by while countries manipulate currencies to promote exports, creating huge imbalances in the global economy. We cannot let foreign regulatory policies exclude American products.
    The above statemnts were made in Flint, Michigan on Monday — Obama Renews Attack on Korea-U.S. FTA.

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    Catholic, Doctor, Nationalist, Assassin, Calligrapher


    Above is a calligraphic piece by Thomas An Jung-geun, the man who shot Itō Hirobumi, from this article — ‘안중근 의사 최후 친필’ 중국서 경매.

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    Pluto Is a Planet!

    This change in nomenclature is cold comfort for those of us who support the ninth planet's planetary status — Some “dwarf planets” are now “plutoids”. Here's how Bill Kauffman "frame[s] the Pluto question" in Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Anti-War Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism:
      Clyde Tombaugh, the Kansas amateur without formal credentials, discovers a planet in the most laborious way possible, using a crude device called a blink comparator, in a triumph of sheer stick-to-it-iveness at the American original Lowell's private observatory. The astronomers of 2006 whose discoveries knocked Pluto from the elect were credentialed professors using computers in government-subsidized facilities. No man born with a living soul can fail to take Pluto's side.

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    I've Got a Man-Crush on Gore Vidal


    Watch the video above with the great patriot of the Old Republic and tell me you haven't got one, too.

    [link via The Left Conservative]

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    Who Are Yoo to Scrap the Eight-Century-Old Great Writ?

    Glenn Greenwald draws our attention to "the now-standard though still-blatant falsehoods" of a particularly sinister man, who happens to be a Korean-American — John Yoo's ongoing falsehoods in service of limitless government power. Says Mr. Greenwald, "It takes an indescribably authoritarian mind to believe that one's own Government should have the power to put people in cages for life without having to provide them any meaningful opportunity to prove that they did not do what they are accused of."

    By way of contrast, let us remember the words of the great philosopher Lin Yutang, quoted by Jacob G. Hornberger in Tyranny and the Military Commissions Act: "Personally, I think that one writ of habeas corpus is worth more than all the Confucian philosophy ever written."

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    Wednesday, June 18, 2008

    Jim Webb for Veep!

    "Jim Webb isn't a liberal; he's a reactionary," says Richard Just, trying to convince his fellow liberals to reject "a vice president who harbors a worldview that is fundamentally illiberal, not to mention downright creepy" — Webb of Deception.

    Mr. Just even quotes a piece saying his place on the ticket would mean "the most sophisticated right-wing reactionary to run on a Democratic ticket since Grover Cleveland." So being "opposed [to] imperialism, taxes, corruption, patronage, subsidies and inflationary policies, while adhering to the principles of classical liberalism," as was the great Grover Cleveland, who was also "a committed isolationist who had campaigned in opposition to expansion and imperialism" and "reversed policy and withdrew the treaty for the annexation of Hawaii," makes one a "right-wing reactionary," while being a mass murderer the likes of Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, or Clinton makes one an enlightened liberal. I see.

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    Hippocrates Lives in Ecuador

      Science teaches that human life begins at conception... If it is also true that it is affirmed by religion, it does not for that reason cease to be a strictly scientific truth, to be transformed into a religious opinion. He who denies that human life begins with conception does not need to contend with religion, but science. To deny this certainty of biology is not to express a lack of faith, but a lack of basic knowledge of human genetics, something that is even known by the general public.
    That is part of a remarkable statement reported on here — Ecuadorian Obstetricians and Gynecologists Issue Thundering Manifesto Against Abortion. From the statement, another inconvenient truth: "To affirm that the woman can do with her body whatever she wishes, besides being a conceited claim, has absolutely no basis in science: the embryo is not part of the body of the mother, nor is the fetus an internal organ of her body: the DNA of the embryo is distinct from that of its parents."

    The Hippocratic Oath, it will be remembered, obliges doctors to "perform the utmost respect for every human life from fertilization to natural death and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life." Will the "post-Christian" West listen to its great pre-Christian pagans?

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    Back from Organic Uljin

    Today, we returned from Uljin, our favorite corner of the Korean peninsula. What strikes the visitor most about this county are the healthy farms, like those described by Mr. Wendell Berry of Kentucky in The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture:
      The health of a farm is as apparent to the eye as the health of a person. To look at a farm in full health gives the same complex pleasure as looking at a fully healthy person or animal. It will give the same impression of abounding life. What grows on it will be thriving. It will will seem to belong where it is; the form will be a considerate response to the nature of its place; it will not have the look of an abstract idea of a farm imposed upon an area somewhere or other. It will look cared for--groomed, so to speak--like a healthy person or animal; it will look lived in by people who care where they live. It will show no gullies or galls or other signs of erosion. The waterways and field edges and areas around buildings will be grassed, something that becomes more necessary the steeper the ground is.
    That is precisely what I saw in Uljin. Most of the farms I saw there were either hillside farms or very small plots, unfarmable under "agribusiness" standards. The town, too, is beautiful and green, with many flowers. It is no surprise that Uljin hosts an annual organic food festival. If there's a place I could settle in Korea, it would be Uljin.

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    Monday, June 16, 2008

    Quit Korea!

    Antiwar.com links to Doug Bandow's latest, in which he reminds us, "We are told that U.S. troops must remain in South Korea to defend that nation from ever-diminishing threats, threats which the ROK is capable of handling" — Ending the U.S.-Korea Alliance.

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    Off to a Familiar Place

    The family is heading for a two-night stay in beautiful Uljin, our favorite place in Korea. If you look at a road map, you'll notice that the county is about as far as you can get from a major highway on the peninsula. It's located in the northeasternmost part of the Gyeongsang Provinces, which we call home and which if I never left again I wouldn't mind that much. There was a time when I wanted to see new places and experience new things. That time is long gone. I'd just as soon stick with the places and things I know. God willing, we will move back to America, to where I'm not yet sure, but when we do, we hope to settle for good.

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    A Call for Interventionism

    Ted Widmer, a former speechwriter for President Clinton, gives a particularly hateful title to his piece calling for America "not... to disengage from the world" but rather to "speak forcefully about freedom and democracy before a world that is not naturally inclined to either" — America isn't over. His title is hateful because it equates interventionism with America.

    Widmer hides his talk of "the full weight of American power" and "the moral authority to intervene" behind humanitarian platitudes. He lauds "the surprisingly rich American tradition of liberal internationalism." He heaps praise upon four of the only five presidents worse than the current one: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franlkin Roosevelt. (He leaves out Harry S Truman.)

    After reading Widmer's piece, and you feel the need for a shower, read this — The Original American Foreign Policy.

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    Gore Vidal on Same-Sex "Marriage" and Empire

    Or rather not on same-sex "marriage," as he masterfully deflects a question from NY Times reporter Deborah Solomon — Literary Lion. The relevant excerpt:
      You live in California, where last month the State Supreme Court overturned the ban on same-sex marriage. As someone who lived with a male companion for 50-plus years, do you see this as a victory for equality? People would ask, How could you live with someone for so long without any problems of any kind? I said, There was no sex.

      Were you chaste during those years? Chased by whom?

      Are you a supporter of gay marriage? I know nothing about it. I don’t follow that.

      Why doesn’t it interest you? The same reason heterosexual marriage doesn’t seem to interest me.

      If we look at the situation apart from you — It’s my interview, so we’ve got to stay with me.
    Good for him! More than a year ago, I posted an interview in which the great man, when asked a similar question, responds, "The word 'gay' has never been used by me until this very moment" and then murmurs, "The Empire is my target" — Gore Vidal Interviewed in Hong Kong.

    [link via The Tory Anarchist]

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    More Buchananite Wisdom from Barack Obama

      You can’t get beef into Japan and Korea, even though, obviously, we have the highest safety standards of anybody, but they don’t want to have that competition from U.S. producers... {I]f South Korea is selling hundreds of thousands of cars to the United States and we can only sell less than 5,000 in South Korea, something is wrong.
    The above statements were quoted by Robert Koehler — I Get the Feeling Obama Doesn’t Like Korea. Of course, the senator is right; "something is wrong." His rival, in contrast, sees nothing wrong, a fears that "partnership in a dangerous part of the world could be harmed by casting aside our trade agreement with South Korea" — McCain Throws Weight Behind KORUS FTA. The, FTA's are part of empire, and what does the American worker get out from the empire? Ivan Eland asked the same question just the other day — Ungrateful Allies:
      Despite plundering their colonies at gunpoint (for example, the Spanish Empire looted the gold from Latin America) and creating sheltered markets for their goods overseas (for example, British mercantilism), even the formal empires of old were not cost-effective, according to classical economists. The informal U.S. Empire that defends other countries abroad using alliances, military bases, the permanent stationing of U.S. troops on foreign soil,, and profligate military interventions is even more cost-ineffective. U.S. forces cannot plunder, and rich allies, such as South Korea, excessively restrict their markets to U.S. goods and services.
    Real free trade might well benefit American workers, but not "mercantilism in disguise," as Jeffrey Tucker points out — Free Trade versus Free-trade Agreements.

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    Pro Omnibus

    Pro multis means "for many," Vatican rules, ran a headline a while back, referring to the correct translation of the phrase "qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum" from the First Eucharistic Prayer; we learn today from Damian Thompson that Summorum Pontificum is intended pro omnibusTraditional Mass for 'all the parishes'.

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    Our True Policy

    "The principle of nonintervention is neither liberal nor conservative in orientation, and at the inception of the Republic it was accepted as a commonsense," says Robert Scheer — Empire or Republic? Mr. Scheer reminds of of the counsel from the Father of Our Country to "moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism."

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    Servant of God Father Emil Kapaun

    A Korean War Army Chaplain described as "a heroic priest and chaplain to the men that he served," he "stay[ed] behind with the injured," "was captured by the North Korean and Communist Chinese forces," and "died while in a North Korean Prisoner of War Camp in 1951" — Father Emil Kapaun’s cause for sainthood to be officially opened.

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    Sunday, June 15, 2008

    We Can Make Beautiful Music Together


    The tantalizing possibilities of a right/left decentralist/localist organic/traditionalist coalition are hinted at in the video above — Earl Scruggs & Joan Baez - Love Is Just A Four Letter Word.

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    Saturday, June 14, 2008

    McCain Is Not Conservative Because He's Not Liberal

    "Burke was liberal because he was conservative," said the great Russell Kirk (1918 - 1994) of the great Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797). The opposite is true of the illiberal fake conservative Republican, as evidenced by this article — McCain slams Supreme Court on terrorist detainees.

    It seems to me that to be a conservative, at least in the English-speaking world, one must be to a greater or lesser extent a (classical) liberal, so tied up has our cultural tradition been for the last 800 years with the idea of liberty and its jealous protection. We Anglo-Saxons stand for placing limits on power; McCain stands for power.

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    Conservatism and Lord Acton's Dictum

    Glenn Greenwald reports that while in England, "to this expansion of the Government’s detention power comes from the British Right," in America, "skepticism of Government power — which lies not only at the heart of most key British reforms over the last 8 centuries but also at the heart of the American Founding — is precisely what has been missing almost completely from the American Right" — Conservatism vs. Authoritarianism: The British vs. The US Right.

    The author lauds the British Right's "expression of conservatism true to its ostensible principles of individual liberty and limited government power" and the "rare exceptions on the U.S. Right which have opposed such Draconian powers — the Ron Pauls, Bruce Feins and Bob Barrs." He also notes "the greatest blasphemy on the American Right is to oppose endless expansions of Government power or to insist on some limits on the Government’s surveillance and detention authority."

    I wonder how much of this is based on the simple fact that the "right" is out of power in England and in power in America. After all, say what you will about the Newt Gingrich congress, they did at least oppose the Clintonian wars of aggression.

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    Practical Anarchy

    A conservative blog for peace links to a post by Jorge Sánchez, The Wingèd Man, on a subject close to my heart — Thoughts on Anarchism. Back in 1988, I was an attendee at something called the "Anarchist Ungathering" in Toronto, Canada. There, I learned about Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy's heretical magnum opus, The Kingdom of God Is Within You, which led me back to God.

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    The Manchurian Candidate

    Douglas Valentine exposes the "war hero" who "provided his voice in radio broadcasts used by the North Vietnamese to demoralize American soldiers" — John McCain: War Hero or North Vietnam's Go-To Collaborator?

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    Jeffersonian Agrarianism vs. the Food Crisis

    Noting that "industrial farmers have long enjoyed federal largesse unavailable to their Jeffersonian counterparts in the form of massive subsidies, some in payment for not growing crops that are too abundant on the market, some simply handouts to the already wealthy," Gregory McNamee pens a gem — The Food Crisis. He asks farmers to "repay the taxpayers’ generosity by marketing your wares close to home" and eaters "to learn to grow your own food, to return to local agriculture."

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    Ivan Eland on America's Entangling Alliance With South Korea

    The best anti-imperial arguments come from the libertarian right, not the humanitarian left, and this gem from Antiwar.com is one of the best arguments ever written for us to chuck this fool un-American empire business — Ungrateful Allies.

    "The accusation that the American beef is so tainted is a protectionist and nationalist canard," he says, "because it has long been certified as safe." He points out that "South Korea has not fully opened its auto market to U.S. exports, while its own car sales to the United States have soared." He reminds us that "under the protection of the U.S. shield, South Korea has grown from a poor, backward country into one of the world's economic powerhouses." He notes that "the formal empires of old were not cost-effective, according to classical economists," and that the "informal U.S. Empire that defends other countries abroad using alliances, military bases, the permanent stationing of U.S. troops on foreign soil,, and profligate military interventions is even more cost-ineffective." Here's something I've been saying for sometime now:
      South Korea is not the only wealthy U.S. ally to reap the rewards of a U.S. security guarantee, while not fully opening its market to the United States. Japan and most of the European NATO allies also do the same. The foolish U.S. policy of continuing to subsidize the defense of these now rich countries – all economic competitors of the United States – allows them to reduce the drag that added defense expenditures would impose on their economies. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy has to bear the costs of defending the world.
    Mr. Eland suggests "the radical step of abrogating these outdated formal and informal alliances and security guarantees and gradually withdraw all of its forces from South Korea, Japan, and Europe." I only take issue with the adverb "gradually."

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    American Protestants and the Revival of the Korean Alphabet

    Journalist Lee Hyo-won reports on a book by scholar Lew Young-ick — Essays Trace US, Japan Roles in Joseon's Downfall. After detailing the 19th intrigue over the pensinsula that led the the downfall of the royal dynasty, there is this account:
      Despite the American government's unwillingness to abide to treaty conditions like providing more American officials on time, ``private'' Americans, namely merchant-financiers, diplomatists and missionaries, strongly influenced the political, economic and cultural spheres ``quite out of proportion to their numbers.'' In particular, American missionaries built modern hospitals, churches and schools.

      Protestant institutions were the main vehicles for promoting social reform, and even contributed to the rise of the modern Korean identity by using ``hangeul'' (Korean alphabet) rather than Chinese characters in their publications. Today, Korea is home to the largest Protestant community in East Asia, with Christianity being the leading religion among Koreans, ahead of Buddhism by about 7 percent (National Census Bureau).
    I'm not sure how aware the average Korean is of the American Protestant role on the revival of the marvelous Hangul alphabet, which was promulgated in 1446 by King Sejong the Great but outlawed by his less enlightened heirs. Even when it was not forbidden, the literati rejected it in favor of Chinese characters, deeming it worthy of only of women and the lower classes. The nobles tried to teach the American missionaries Korean by using Chinese characters, which is an impossible task. Once the Americans discovered Korean had a native script that was not only easy to learn but highly phonetic, the quickly adopted it to spread the Gospel. At approximately the same time, Russian Orthodox missionaries were doing the same thing with Koreans in the Russian Far East. In a unique case of self-evangelization, the Catholic missionaries who came decades earlier were Korean literati who had learned the Faith in China.

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    Agata Mroz, Requiem æternam...


    Like Saint Gianna Beretta Molla before her, her testimony was, in the words of Auxiliary Bishop Marian Florczyk of Kielce, Poland, an example of "love of life, motherhood, the desire to give life, the heroic love of an unborn child" — 2005 Polish Volleyball Champion Sacrificed Her Life for Unborn Child.

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    Maybe Rick Santorum Was Right

    About W. being "the first Catholic president" — English paper announces President Bush may be considering Catholicism. From the article:
      A friend of President Bush, Fr. George William Rutler, who converted to Catholicism in 1979, stated that Bush respects how Catholicism was founded by Christ who appointed Peter as the first Pope. "I think what fascinates him about Catholicism is its historical plausibility," said the priest. "He does appreciate the systematic theology of the church, its intellectual cogency and stability." Fr. Rutler also mentioned that the president "is not unaware of how evangelicalism -- by comparison with Catholicism -- may seem more limited both theologically and historically."
    The article reminds us that "Bush has received criticism from Catholics who point out that his invasion of Iraq is strictly against the teachings of the Vatican."

    The original report has more details on the "intimate meeting in Rome as rumours mounted in Italy that the president may follow in Tony Blair's footsteps" — George W Bush meets Pope amid claims he might convert to Catholicism. The report also reminds us that "the Holy See deplored the war in Iraq," but also correctly states that "on ethical matters he has always had a line that is practically identical to that of the Vatican." This, however, about his Catholic brother who conserted to marry a Mexican woman, is something of which I was entirely unaware:
      Catholics have noted that during the contested election in 2000, Jeb Bush travelled to Mexico and prayed to the icon of Our Lady of Guadelupe. His victory was announced by the Supreme Court on December 12, the feast day of the Lady of Guadelupe.
    Es posible. As they say, "Dios escribe derecho aun sobre lineas torcidas" (God writes straight even over crooked lines).

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.