Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Whistling Dixie Over the Heroic Bailout Defeat

Lew Rockwell explains why "the thrilling defeat of their criminal bailout package, a package shot down by independent members of Congress on both sides, ... was a revolutionary act in the best sense of that term" — The (Near) Death of the State. In addition to being a defeat of "what was surely the most horrible and outrageous bill to ever come before Congress," today's good news "could mean that we can begin an economic recovery from the Fed-generated bubble that should have and would have burst years ago but for artificial props by the Fed."

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Seventy Years Ago Today

Patrick J. Buchanan on the much-maligned visitor to Adolf Hitler's apartment in Munich — An Amicus Brief for Neville. Read at your own risk; it might provoke a thought.

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The Hindu on a Hindutva-Inspired Atrocity

"The Orissa government has failed to take any action, under the law of the land, against those who committed bestial crimes — the gang rape of a 28-year-old Catholic nun and the brutal attack on a Catholic priest who courageously resisted their attempts to force him to participate in the atrocity," begins Parvathi Menon, reporting for the Indian daily — Nun was gang raped and priest brutally assaulted in Kandhamal.

The author quotes Blessed Teresa of Calcutta's successor Sister Nirmala in her description of "one young sister, consecrated to God, who was administrator of an institute, being hunted out of her hiding place and stripped naked by the mob and her virginity grossly violated in public, without any help from the police present there."

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The Dao of the Dow; Make Way for Wu Wei

The "falls of 3,000 or 4,000 points on the Dow" predicted on Sunday by the scaremongers — Bailout failure 'will cause US crash’ — did not materialize — U.S. stocks slide, Dow plunges 777 points, as bailout bill fails.

Wu wei (無為), or non-action, as advocated by Congressman Ron Paul (R - TX) and the Austrian School Economists who mentored him, might just spare us from what the good doctor warned of a few days ago — The Creation of the Second Great Depression. Here, the congressman speaks:


As Lew Rockwell wrote recently in Bush the Socialist and Destroyer, the choice before us was either to "buckle down for a year-long recession and then get on the path to financial and economic soundness" or to "set off a calamity that will last a decade or more, and perhaps even wreck civilization as we know it." Congress, miraculously, has chosen the former, perhaps by listening to voices of wisdom like that of Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D - OH), seen here in this video linked to by Liberty vs. Leviathan:

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Invest Shariah

Professor Liaquat Ali Khan states that "the Wall Street has noticed that Shariah-compliant investments--which avoid speculative risk and debt-ridden greed--have fared much better in these troubled markets" — Meltdown in American Markets.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

A Word in Defense of Chinese Businessmen in Africa

I am usually in the habit of agreeing with Peter Hitchens, Anglican paleocon younger brother of atheist neocon Christopher Hitchens, with whom I am in the habit of disagreeing, but I think the brothers' shared Trotskyite background might be responsible for this article by the former — How China has created a new slave empire in Africa. The article begins with a harrowing twelve-paragraph account of the journalist's car being attacked by a mob of angry Africans, followed by these telling words:
    Why did they want to kill us? What was the reason for their fury? They thought that if I reported on their way of life they might lose their livings.
Word, it seems, had gotten out that the white man had arrived to help the black man by telling the latter's story of exploitation by the yellow man. But what if the African mob had had a point? What if they, and not Mr. Hitchens, had known what was in their best interest? (Knowing what’s best for poor people, from Stuff White People Like, comes to mind.)

Say what you will about Chinese businessmen in Africa, and I am under no illusions about them or their practices, they are not backed up Gunboat Diplomacy or Mercantilism. To me, it seems that these Chinese entrepreneurs, in setting up shop in what might be called a hardship post, are simpling filling a void that most Europeans or Americans would be unable or unwilling to fill, and it is quite possible that Africans will be beneficiaries.

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Our Asian Owners Will Be Pleased

Senator Harry Reid had said that he wanted to "come up with a final agreement before the Asian markets open Sunday night" — Who do These Clowns Think They Represent? — and it appears that he has succeeded — Tentative bailout deal is reached. How do you say "kowtow" in English?

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Nam Hyun-hee


"The petite beauty, with her curled hair and suspenders, hardly looks like the ferocious foil fencer that lit up the stage in August," says interviewer Jean Oh of Korea's first female Olympic fencing medalist, pictured above — Silver medalist Nam still up for a fight.

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Orissa (Still) Burning

Some grim headlines — Kandhamal (Orissa): man killed, dozens of Christians' homes burned; Kandhamal, Hindu fanatics burn down house of sisters of Mother Teresa; India’s Catholic bishops ask government to subdue violent Hindu radicals.

Mark Shea said it best two weeks ago: "It turns out that the whole 'Abrahamic believers evil and intolerant/Eastern pagans gentle and earth-affirming' narrative is wanting in accuracy" — Christians in India Still Being Brutally Persecuted.

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Donghae's Bukpyeong Parish Church

Here's a beautiful church from 1959 that has managed to keep the original stained-glass windows and stations in tact — 천주교동해북평성당.

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Western Architectural Gems in Seoul

Robert Koehler visits two of them in his latest photo-essay — Chungjeonggak and PROK Missionary Education Center. If ivy-covered brick is your thing, be sure to click.

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Merry Michælmas!

Today is the Feast of Saint Michael the Archangel.


Great prince of heaven, Saint Michael, to thy protection commend my soul and body, and, by the glory which thou possessest in heaven, I beseech thee that thou wouldst ever assist me, particularly at the close of my life; that thou wouldst strengthen my faint-heartedness, and obtain for me from God the remission of my sins, and an entire submission to His holy will, that my soul may depart full of comfort. Then receive it, and bring it, under the guidance of the holy angels, before the face of God, to enjoy the contemplation of Him for all eternity. Amen.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saint Magdalene of Nagasaki







Above, images of Saint Magdalene of Nagasaki, a.k.a. Santa Magdalena de Nagasaki, from various parishes in the Philippines, where she appears to generate much devotion.

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The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

  • Ivan Eland says "the Republicans have gone socialist and the Democrats are advocating the corporatism of Italian rightist dictator Benito Mussolini" — Republicans on the Left and Democrats on the Right.


  • "How did the United States of America, the richest nation on earth, whose economy represents 30 percent of the Global Economy, arrive at the precipice of a financial panic and collapse?" asks Patrick J, Buchanan — Day of Reckoning. "The downsizing of America is at hand," he concludes.


  • "When I think of America’s future, I crave the opacity of dope," says John Zmirak — Sadomasochist Nation/ "Surveying the pile of rubble and pools of sewage produced in these eight years," he writes "I am left almost speechless. What possible combination of ideology and incompetence could have ruined such a great country so quickly?"
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    McBama Lost the Debate

    James Ostrowski summarizes — The Debate in a Nutshell:
      McBama favors the Billionaire Bailout.

      McBama won't say what programs have to be cut to pay for the Billionaire Bailout.

      McBama thinks "we should never hesitate to use military force."

      McBama wants to escalate the other unwinnable "land war in Asia" (Afghanistan).

      McBama is not sure about whether to start a third unwinnable land war in Asia, against nuclear power Pakistan.

      McBama would go to war against Iran for the sake of Israel if necessary. He is not sure if he wants to talk with the Iranians before bombing them.

      McBama thinks that Russia is the villain in Georgia.

      And the winner of the debate is: Ron Paul, who said recently that there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties.

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    Dilkusha


    Pictured above is one of two historical Western-style houses in Seoul — Timeless legacies, untimely disputes. It was built by an American Protestant missionary family and its name means "heart's delight" in Hindi.

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    Friday, September 26, 2008

    Want to Save Your Family Between $10,000 and $20,000?

    Want to save your country from "exactly the sort of panicked response that could turn an economic downturn into a depression — just as happened in 1929-1931"? If you answered yes to either of these questions, consider signing this Petition to Stop the Bailout.

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    The Austrian Moment?

    The Catholic moment was then-Lutheran pastor now-Catholic priest John Neuhaus' idea that "this is the historical moment at which Roman Catholicism has a singular opportunity and obligation to take the lead in reconstructing a moral philosophy for the American experiment in republican democracy."

    Could not this be an historical moment at which Austrian Economics has a singular opportunity and obligation to take the lead in reconstructing an economic philosophy for the American experiment in republican democracy?

    In the midst of the current crisis, I see no one else offering anything else but more of the same. Austrian School Economists, in contrast, point not only to the causes to, but also to the solutions of, the current crisis, as a reading of the many articles linked to on this blog in recent days may suggest.

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    LRC on the Meltdown and Bailout

  • "Anyone who has read a good economics book would be quickly reduced to laughter and tears by George Bush's ridiculous economic address to the nation," says Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. — Bush the Socialist and Destroyer. The choice before us is clear: "buckle down for a year-long recession and then get on the path to financial and economic soundness" or "set off a calamity that will last a decade or more, and perhaps even wreck civilization as we know it."


  • "We are in this crisis because of an excess of artificially created credit at the hands of the Federal Reserve System," says Ron Paul — The Austrian School and the Meltdown. "The solution being proposed? More artificial credit by the Federal Reserve."


  • "On Thursday morning, September 18, 2008 a tragedy almost befell the 450 billionaires and 3,000,000 millionaires that live in the United States," begins — U.S. Titanic. "The billionaires were on their way to becoming millionaires and the millionaires were about to leave the club. Luckily, Hank Paulson, U.S. Treasury Secretary, felt their pain."


  • "As the Austrian economists know, the root cause of this financial crisis is the spendthrift US government and the resulting inflation by the Federal Reserve which created this bubble," says Jacob Steelman — No Bailout for Financial Firms. "A lot of money was made available by the Federal Reserve so the wizards on Wall Street invested in high-risk investments and the investments ultimately went terribly wrong."


  • "Paradoxically, apparently many people think a lack of regulation contributed to the current financial meltdown," says Shelby Moore III — Govt Regulation Caused The Crisis. "Exactly the opposite, government control is the cause."
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    The Kossoy Sisters and Erik Darling Perform "Bowling Green"

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    A Message from Ron Paul

      Dear Friends:

      The financial meltdown the economists of the Austrian School predicted has arrived.

      We are in this crisis because of an excess of artificially created credit at the hands of the Federal Reserve System. The solution being proposed? More artificial credit by the Federal Reserve. No liquidation of bad debt and malinvestment is to be allowed. By doing more of the same, we will only continue and intensify the distortions in our economy - all the capital misallocation, all the malinvestment - and prevent the market's attempt to re-establish rational pricing of houses and other assets.

      Last night the president addressed the nation about the financial crisis. There is no point in going through his remarks line by line, since I'd only be repeating what I've been saying over and over - not just for the past several days, but for years and even decades.

      Still, at least a few observations are necessary.

      The president assures us that his administration "is working with Congress to address the root cause behind much of the instability in our markets." Care to take a guess at whether the Federal Reserve and its money creation spree were even mentioned?

      We are told that "low interest rates" led to excessive borrowing, but we are not told how these low interest rates came about. They were a deliberate policy of the Federal Reserve. As always, artificially low interest rates distort the market. Entrepreneurs engage in malinvestments - investments that do not make sense in light of current resource availability, that occur in more temporally remote stages of the capital structure than the pattern of consumer demand can support, and that would not have been made at all if the interest rate had been permitted to tell the truth instead of being toyed with by the Fed.

      Not a word about any of that, of course, because Americans might then discover how the great wise men in Washington caused this great debacle. Better to keep scapegoating the mortgage industry or "wildcat capitalism" (as if we actually have a pure free market!).

      Speaking about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the president said: "Because these companies were chartered by Congress, many believed they were guaranteed by the federal government. This allowed them to borrow enormous sums of money, fuel the market for questionable investments, and put our financial system at risk."

      Doesn't that prove the foolishness of chartering Fannie and Freddie in the first place? Doesn't that suggest that maybe, just maybe, government may have contributed to this mess? And of course, by bailing out Fannie and Freddie, hasn't the federal government shown that the "many" who "believed they were guaranteed by the federal government" were in fact correct?

      Then come the scare tactics. If we don't give dictatorial powers to the Treasury Secretary "the stock market would drop even more, which would reduce the value of your retirement account. The value of your home could plummet." Left unsaid, naturally, is that with the bailout and all the money and credit that must be produced out of thin air to fund it, the value of your retirement account will drop anyway, because the value of the dollar will suffer a precipitous decline. As for home prices, they are obviously much too high, and supply and demand cannot equilibrate if government insists on propping them up.

      It's the same destructive strategy that government tried during the Great Depression: prop up prices at all costs. The Depression went on for over a decade. On the other hand, when liquidation was allowed to occur in the equally devastating downturn of 1921, the economy recovered within less than a year.

      The president also tells us that Senators McCain and Obama will join him at the White House today in order to figure out how to get the bipartisan bailout passed. The two senators would do their country much more good if they stayed on the campaign trail debating who the bigger celebrity is, or whatever it is that occupies their attention these days.

      F.A. Hayek won the Nobel Prize for showing how central banks' manipulation of interest rates creates the boom-bust cycle with which we are sadly familiar. In 1932, in the depths of the Great Depression, he described the foolish policies being pursued in his day - and which are being proposed, just as destructively, in our own:

      Instead of furthering the inevitable liquidation of the maladjustments brought about by the boom during the last three years, all conceivable means have been used to prevent that readjustment from taking place; and one of these means, which has been repeatedly tried though without success, from the earliest to the most recent stages of depression, has been this deliberate policy of credit expansion.

      To combat the depression by a forced credit expansion is to attempt to cure the evil by the very means which brought it about; because we are suffering from a misdirection of production, we want to create further misdirection - a procedure that can only lead to a much more severe crisis as soon as the credit expansion comes to an end... It is probably to this experiment, together with the attempts to prevent liquidation once the crisis had come, that we owe the exceptional severity and duration of the depression.

      The only thing we learn from history, I am afraid, is that we do not learn from history.

      The very people who have spent the past several years assuring us that the economy is fundamentally sound, and who themselves foolishly cheered the extension of all these novel kinds of mortgages, are the ones who now claim to be the experts who will restore prosperity! Just how spectacularly wrong, how utterly without a clue, does someone have to be before his expert status is called into question?

      Oh, and did you notice that the bailout is now being called a "rescue plan"? I guess "bailout" wasn't sitting too well with the American people.

      The very people who with somber faces tell us of their deep concern for the spread of democracy around the world are the ones most insistent on forcing a bill through Congress that the American people overwhelmingly oppose. The very fact that some of you seem to think you're supposed to have a voice in all this actually seems to annoy them.

      I continue to urge you to contact your representatives and give them a piece of your mind. I myself am doing everything I can to promote the correct point of view on the crisis. Be sure also to educate yourselves on these subjects - the Campaign for Liberty blog is an excellent place to start. Read the posts, ask questions in the comment section, and learn.

      H.G. Wells once said that civilization was in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow. For the truth is the greatest weapon we have.

      In liberty,



      Ron Paul

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    A Message from AIG

    I got one today. "I know you and Western Confusian [sic] have covered quite closely the unfolding financial market news this past week and I wanted to quickly send you some new information," says the author. He states that his purpose is "to share the facts with you and your blog’s readers about AIG’s strong commitment to Asia - and to all of our insurance policy holders globally."

    The rest of the message includes links meant to reassure policy-holders, to which I will not link here, and a mentioning of the "definitive agreement with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York." I'll leave the reader to make his own conclusions.

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    A New Blog

    Bart Fuller's excellently titled Liberty vs. Leviathan is one to watch out for.

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    A Jesuit Economist Weighs In On the Bailout

    Four-hundred-and-three years ago — Mariana Fights Inflation, 1605. An excerpt:
      Our focus today... will be his treatise On the Alteration of Money (De monetae mutatione). Mariana wrote this pamphlet, published in 1605, with the hope that the king and his court would be dissuaded from further debasing the realm's money. At the time, the king's treasury was depleted, due to "long and drawn-out wars in many places and by many other problems…" To replenish the treasury, the value of existing money had been doubled and new coins of copper of less weight and without the traditional small amount of silver had been issued. The debasing of silver was being considered also. Mariana could not help but speak out and saw himself as one "who defends the truth … and points out the public threat of dangers and evils" the kingdom faced. In his mind, this was "the most serious of issues to arise in Spain in many years."
    The bailout will have the same effect of "further debasing the realm's money" and is also prompted by "long and drawn-out wars in many places and by many other problems." Nihil sub sole novum.

    [link via Liberty vs. Leviathan]

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    Mukho Parish

    Another beautiful little Korean church that gets the stations wrong — 천주교묵호성당.

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    A Yurt Church


    The above picture shows "Father Ronald Magbanua say[ing] Mass at his Good Shepherd Parish church made of felt tents, in Ulaanbaatar" — Catholics In 'Tent' Parish Prepare For One More Winter.

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    Francis Taro Aso Not Japan's First Catholic Prime Minister

    "Former Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira (1979-80) was also Catholic," informs the author of this article — A Christian candidate for Japan's premier post. The article also notes that "the Aso family, related to the royal family, has ancient Catholic traditions that date back to the island of Kyushu, site of the first Christian evangelization effort in the 16th century and later, in the 19th."

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    Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury on Marian Truth

    His words, given where Saint Bernadette of Lourdes first saw what His Grace described as "an anonymous figure, a beautiful lady, a mysterious thing, not yet identified as the Lord's spotless mother" — Anglican archbishop comes under fire for homily at Lourdes. The criticism:
      The archbishop later was criticized by the England-based Protestant Truth Society, a group of Anglicans and nonconformists committed to upholding the ideals of the Protestant Reformation.

      The Rev. Jeremy Brooks, the group's director of ministry, said: "All true Protestants will be appalled that the archbishop of Canterbury has visited Lourdes and preached there.

      "Lourdes represents everything about Roman Catholicism that the Protestant Reformation rejected, including apparitions, Mariolatry and the veneration of saints," he said in a Sept. 24 statement. "The archbishop's simple presence there is a wholesale compromise, and his sermon -- which included a reference to Mary as 'the mother of God' -- is a complete denial of Protestant orthodoxy."
    To deny that Mary is the "Mother of God" is to deny that her Son is God. But let us focus on what the archbishop said:
      And Bernadette -- uneducated, uninstructed in doctrine -- leaped with joy, recognizing that here was life, here was healing... Only bit by bit does Bernadette find the words to let the world know; only bit by bit, we might say, does she discover how to listen to the Lady and echo what she has to tell us.
    Below is a selection of scenes from The Song of Bernadette (1943), one of the finest films ever made, set to Perry Como's fine rendition of the lovely Ave Maria by Franz Schubert:

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    If Norman Rockwell Had Been North Korean...


    He might have painted something like "Day of vaccination" by Jong Myong-il, pictured above, which is found in this article on an exhibit in Berlin — Painters of Juche Life? The landscapes and traditional oriental paintings in the article are well worth a view.

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    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    Paul or Paulson?

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    North Korea's Motherly Racialism

    Dismissing the "misperceptions... that North Korea is a hard-line communist state, a Confucian patriarchy, a 'rational actor' frightened by a bullying America, a theocracy devoted to a weird cult of self-reliance, and so on," B. R. Myers says "the country’s true ideology is a race-based, paranoid nationalism" — After Kim Jong Il. More:
      To put its myths in a nutshell: The Korean people are too pure-blooded, and therefore too virtuous, to survive in this evil world without a parental leader. Note that oddly androgynous word “parental.” Because the Korean race is born good, it has no need for an educating father figure like Stalin or Mao; instead, Kim Jong Il appears in the personality cult as more of a maternal figure. The function of this “great mother,” as the official news agency acclaimed him in 2003, is not to teach, but simply to nurture and protect. The so-called Mother Party sees its own function in much the same terms.
    The author, who teaches North Korean studies at South Korea's Dongseo University, elaborated on that theme in this four-year-old article — Mother of All Mothers. The idea that "[t]he Korean people are too pure-blooded, and therefore too virtuous, to survive in this evil world" can be heard south of the DMZ as well, but there is little talk of "a parental leader" anymore.

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    Kurt Vonnegut's Armageddon in Retrospect

    A recently-discovered "searing eyewitness account of the ‘obscene brutality’ that inspired his novel Slaughterhouse-Five" — The blood of Dresden. As you know, Mr. Vonnegut "was a prisoner of war in Dresden during the allied bombing raids and was later forced to dig out bodies from the ruined city." He speaks of the "100,000 evil men, women, and children (the able-bodied were at the fronts) forever purged of their sins against humanity." An excerpt:
      It is with some regret that I here besmirch the nobility of our airmen, but, boys, you killed an appalling lot of women and children. The shelter I have described and innumerable others like it were filled with them. We had to exhume their bodies and carry them to mass funeral pyres in the parks, so I know.

      The funeral pyre technique was abandoned when it became apparent how great was the toll. There was not enough labour to do it nicely, so a man with a flamethrower was sent down instead, and he cremated them where they lay. Burnt alive, suffocated, crushed – men, women, and children indiscriminately killed.

      For all the sublimity of the cause for which we fought, we surely created a Belsen of our own. The method was impersonal, but the result was equally cruel and heartless. That, I am afraid, is a sickening truth.
    [link via Antiwar.com]

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    America's Permanent Alliances in Asia

  • "General Douglas MacArthur said that old soldiers never die, they just fade away," begins Doug Bandow's latest — A reason to bring US troops home. "It seems that old military commitments also never die. But they also don't fade away - they live on forever." He concludes with the reminder of "the disappearance of any need to defend countries that have grown wealthy while their potential enemies have dissipated."


  • Here's another reason to bring the boys home 55 years after the Korean War ended — Seoul, Washington resume talks on funding U.S. forces. "Washington has asked Seoul to increase its share... citing the principle of fair cost-sharing" only to be told that "the Seoul government is worried that the negotiation may trigger another public uproar similar to that over the Korea-U.S. beef deal in April."
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    The Luther Decade Begins

    "One will then discover a Luther who is full of the power of faith, whom one cannot simply make Catholic, whom we find provoking and even alien in many respects, but from whom even Catholics can learn," says His Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper, "as Protestant churches in Germany prepare to launch a 10-year series of events leading up to the 500th anniversary in 2017 of the Lutheran Reformation" — We can learn from Luther too, says top Cardinal. His Eminence also "said he also hoped Protestantism would return to the faith of Martin Luther, 'who would have been deeply averse to all of today's liberal tendencies.'"

    Raised as I was in a denomination that can best be described as High Church Lutheranism, I always get kick whenever Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott is sung at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

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    The McCain Suspension

  • The Brits get it, or at least Oliver Burkeman does, calling it "the most absurd, impetuous and nakedly disingenuous suggestion that has ever been made in the history of politics, including Ancient Greece and the rudimentary organisational systems archeologists have identified in the lives of early man" — John McCain pulls the old 'let's suspend the campaign' trick.


  • The Crunchy Cons don't get it, or at least Rod Dreher doesn't, blathering about "a man who wants to talk about fixing the economy, versus a man who is actually on Capitol Hill right now doing the hard work to actually fix the economy" — Obama talks while McCain acts.
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    American Conservatism in a Nutshell

    "The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were based on the premise that government was the great threat to freedom, and the purpose of a constitution was to limit the power of government," simply says Alfred S. Regnery, whose new book is reviewed here by Ray Nothstine — Conservatism, Then and Now.

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    The Celts Posed to Saved Western Civilization Again

    The book titles How the Irish Saved Civilization and How The Scots Invented The Modern World come to mind reading this article on how "Scottish conservatism may help bring down the government at Westminster and its obnoxious legislation on human life" — Light from the north?

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    The Medieval Progressive Era


    In the above clip from the documentary film The Birth of Freedom, "Sam Gregg reminds viewers that in order to make meaningful comparisons regarding the living standards of peasants in Medieval Europe, we must be mindful of historical context and technological progress to that point" — Short 4: If medieval Europe was so great, why were most medievals poor? Speaking of the "500 years of technological and intellectual development," Dr. Gregg reminds us that "people in the Medieval period were certainly better off than your average slave living in ancient Rome, ancient Mesopotamia, or ancient Greece."

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    Taro Aso, Catholic Aristocrat

    Two articles on the man who'll lead Japan — Conservative Catholic Elected Japan Prime Minister and Taro Aso with a silver spoon. Not much as been said of his religion, but from the latter comes this bit about his family background:
      His family pedigree may surprise some people as it reflects much of Japan's modern history.

      Aso's great-great-grandfather is Toshimitsu Okubo, one of the men who contributed to opening up Japan by downing Tokugawa Shogunate during the Meiji Restoration in the late 19th century. Even opposition DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa, 66, cites Okubo as one of his most-respected historical characters. Aso's grandfather is the late prime minister Shigeru Yoshida, the most powerful post-World War II leader who conducted postwar reconstruction. His father-in-law was the late prime minister Zenko Suzuki.

      Aso's younger sister got married to the eldest son of Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Mikasa, the current emperor's uncle and aunt. Beside those well-known figures, also related by marriages are Prince Fumimaro Konoe, Morihiro Hosokawa, Nobusuke Kishi and Shinzo Abe - all former prime ministers.
    There seems to be hope, then, that the veneer of Japan's democracy is just that, a veneer, and that the country is still at heart ruled by an aristocracy.

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    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    Justin Raimondo on Meltdown and Empire

  • "The problem is that some men think they are gods," he said the day before yesterday — The American Empire: Too Big to Fail? "In the end, however, we will all pay the price for their hubris – the guilty as well as the innocent – as the American empire meets the fate of its Soviet predecessor, and for the same reason."


  • "The problem... is that an empire, far from being a benefit, is nothing but a burden," he says today, continuing on "the autumn of our old republic" theme — Decline and Fall.
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    Humor vs. Empire


    The above is but one example from this link sent along by the Western Standard's Kalim Kassam — If American foreign policy had a gift shop, what would it sell?

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    How Do You Say "Subsidiarity" in Korean?

    A decision by Seoul archdiocese-run Kangnam St. Mary's Hospital to let go of her "dispatched workers" has provoked some controversy — Workers Of Catholic-run Hospital Question Morality Of Its Labor Policy. I tend to side with labor against management in any workplace dispute, but in this case, the blame lies elsewhere.

    The real culprit here is a "law on dispatched workers, enacted in 2006, [which] stipulates that employers can only engage such workers for two years, after which they must directly employ them if they still want their services." What the article does not say is that to "directly employ" a worker means giving him guaranteed life-time employment with a pension. It is often not in the employers economic interest to do this. Thus, this "law meant to protect non-regular workers" actually does them great harm.

    I know whence I speak; this law almost cost me my job. Fortunately, a functionary at my university found a way around the law, by almost doubling our salaries (not to mention our teaching loads) and thereby putting us above the law's income exemption. Both employer and employee were satisfied with this arrangement, and a new contract was drawn up circumventing government interference.

    The Principle of Subsidiarity would go a long way to solve this problem. which "holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization." Says David A. Bosnich, "It conflicts with the passion for centralization and bureaucracy characteristic of the Welfare State."

    Kangnam St. Mary's Hospital and every other employer in the country should be allowed the draw up contracts with its employees without government interference. Employees and well as employers would both benefit.

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    Bail Me Out From Bailout Commentary

    It's too overwhelming!

    From Asia Times Online:
    • Hossein Askari and Noureddine Krichene on what "could prove to be disastrous for US public finance, economic growth, the dollar, relations with major foreign holders of dollars, the global financial system, and could ignite the worst inflation in the economic history of the United States and reverse globalization to levels not seen since the Great Depression" — Paulson plan throws oil on fire.
    • "In a pure capitalist system there would be no state bailouts," says Martin Hutchinson — The wrong rescues. "There would also be a very small state sector, so little temptation for such bailouts, and a highly competitive financial system in which no one institution could grow dominant."
    • Spengler says "the problem is that Wall Street, like the ethnic godfather in the old joke, has made America an offer it can't understand" — E pluribus hokum or When the gamblers bail out the casino.
    • "Paulson and his motley crew have brought forward the end of American and even Western economic power," says Chan Akya — Terminal velocity.
    • "Will the Chinese people, with their economy slowing and their urban population now used to a rapidly rising standing of living, object to the nation's treasure being frittered away, essentially to be used as kindling in American backyard suburban barbecue pits?" asks Julian Delasantellis — Rules, leverage and the fall of man.
    • Henry C K Liu on "the tendency of bankers to make bad loans based on an expectation that the lender of last resort, either the Federal Reserve domestically or the International Monetary Fund globally, will bail out troubled banks" — Too big to fail versus moral hazard.
    From Common Dreams:From CounterPunch:
    • The Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., speaks of "the death of the republic" and a "breathtaking insult to the Constitution" — Bail Out on This Bailout.
    • "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency," says section 8 of the proposed legislation, quoted by Mike Whitey — Mushroom Clouds Over Wall Street.
    From LewRockwell.com:
    • "Hank Paulson, has committed our future generations to trillions in obligations for the sins of his buddies on Wall Street," says Jim Quinn — The Mugging of America.
    • "Has the AIG bailout been a rewarding experience for you and your family, well worth a thousand dollars subtracted from the college funds of your children so that a CEO who crashed his company can afford a mansion in the Caribbean?" asks Joe Schembrie — Your Bill for the Bailouts.
    • "Contemporary America is rather like an overdosed crack addict sprawled face-down in the gutter," begins Steven LaTulippe — Quo Vadis, America?

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    Make Business, Not War

    "Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki has already hinted that what he really wants is 2,300 Korean businessmen instead of 2,300 Zaytun soldiers," reports GI Korea — ROK Army to Complete Withdrawal from Iraq this Year.

    Our milblogger "ha[s] been against the Zaytun deployment before the unit was ever deployed because I figured the unit would not be allowed to do much of anything meaningful which is evident by the fact they can’t even go to a local market place to buy supplies in the highly friendly and secure Kurdish region of Iraq." I think the only fatality they suffered was from someone cleaning his own gun.

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    The Radical Patriot

      The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.
    I came across the above quote yesterday; here it is included among many more — H.L. Mencken on Liberty and Government.

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    Frankenhwang Down Under

    Hwang Woo-Suk, who "fraudulently reported to have succeeded in creating human embryonic stem cells by cloning" and was "indicted on embezzlement and bioethics law violations," has found supporters overseas — Shamed scientist to get patent.

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    Ahmadinejad Is Right

    Non-interventionism, the Founders' foreign policy, might well have spared us this mess — Iran president blames Wall Street turmoil on U.S. 'military engagement'.

    That's big of him, considering that his country has been the main beneficiary of American "military engagement" in Iraq. Perhaps he would be willing to lend us some money for the favor we've given him. After all, being in debt to the Chinese was unimaginable not too long ago. Why not the Iranians? The American way of life, as we we know, is non-negotiable.

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    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    Taki Theodoracopulos on Alpinism

    "Walking up mountains is not only healthy, it gives a man time to think," he begins his latest piece — Wanderlust. "In fact, climbing in solitude offers one marvellous inner adventures, with epiphanies being the order of the day."

    Instead of driving to work as my colleagues do or taking the twelve-minute walk as I used to, I've been hiking the hour-long route through the modest hills behind my university since the new semester began. I cannot report any major "epiphanies" yet, but I have had a few minor ones.

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    Ron Paul Was Wrong About Iraq

    "Are we willing to bear the economic burden of a $100 billion war against Iraq, with oil prices expected to skyrocket and further rattle an already shaky American economy?" asked Congressman Ron Paul six years ago last week, he reminds us in this article, in which he notes that "we have already burned through around $550 billion in Iraq, at a rate of about $2 billion per week" — Whose Iraq Predictions Have Come True?

    He's the sponsor of H.R. 2605: Sunset of Public Law 107-243 Act of 2007, which he calls "the first step to stopping this bloody war, and the consequent bleeding of our treasuries."

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    Rectification of Names at Guantánamo (or, the Banality of Gitmo)

    "When words lose their meaning, people lose their liberty," said Confucius, or at least says a loose paraphrasing of The Analects of Confucius - Lun Yu XIII. 3. (320), a saying that comes to mind vividly reading this statement of former National Guardsman Christopher Arendt (any relation to Hannah of Banality of Evil fame?) — Calling Gitmo What It Is:
      There was one other thing I wanted to address, about the use of the term "detainee." We were told it had to be detainee. It had to be detainee. If it's a prisoner, then they are a prisoner of war, and subject to entirely different laws. If they're detainees, they're subject to no law whatsoever, because there aren't laws for detainees. Because they are called detainees, they don't get trials and there is no code for how they're treated. It's semantics, and we need to pay attention to those; they're important. It's the difference between calling something a detention facility and a concentration camp, even if they're the same thing.

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    November Was Decided in April

      They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
    Thus spake Senator Barack Obama five months ago of the voters who will be deciding this election — Candidates fight it out in must-win Pennsylvania.

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    A Majority of Koreans Still Want the U.S. Out

    Despite the rosy spin in this headline from a local "conservative" daily — Support rises for U.S. troop presence: poll. In detail:
      Around 6 percent of the respondents said U.S. troops should completely withdraw from South Korea, while another 45 percent said they should leave gradually. The combined figure, 51 percent, rose steadily from 39 percent in 2003 to a peak of 62 percent last year. About 34 percent said they want U.S. troops to stay for a significant period, while another 15 percent said they wanted continuous U.S. presence.
    This is also interesting:
      Only 12 percent said the two Koreas should be reunited, though another 43 percent said reunification is desirable. The combined 55 percent is three percentage points lower than the figure in 2007. In 2005, 61 percent said the two Koreas should be reunited, dropping to 54 percent in 2006.

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    Ron Paul Takes Bob Barr's Advice and Endorses Chuck Baldwin!

    The American Conservative's Daniel McCarthy brings the good news to our attention — A New Alliance - By Dr. Ron Paul. The statement concludes:
      The Libertarian Party Candidate admonished me for “remaining neutral” in the presidential race and not stating whom I will vote for in November. It’s true; I have done exactly that due to my respect and friendship and support from both the Constitution and Libertarian Party members. I remain a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party and I’m a ten-term Republican Congressman. It is not against the law to participate in more then one political party. Chuck Baldwin has been a friend and was an active supporter in the presidential campaign....

      I’ve thought about the unsolicited advice from the Libertarian Party candidate, and he has convinced me to reject my neutral stance in the November election. I’m supporting Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate.
    Several months ago, Mr. McCarthy, a.k.a. The Tory Anarchist, contrasted Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party with Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party, concluding, "Baldwin is more radically conservative and anti-statist, as far as I can tell, which commends him" — A Choice in November.

    The "radically conservative and anti-statist" Baptist minister will get my support and vote this November.

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    엄마!

    "I already lost my adoptive mother," says Sandra Leatherwood, who was born Kim Jeong-ae in Busan in December 1951, the daughter of a Korean mother and an American soldier. "I don’t want to lose two mothers" — Dying cancer patient seeks lost Korean past.

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    That Korean Zeal for Education

    "Quantity Not Quality" might be an appropriate motto, as the country "ranked a poor 53rd among 55 nations in terms of university education meeting the needs of a competitive economy" — Korea Near Bottom of the Class for Education.

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    Monday, September 22, 2008

    Church vs. State in Vietnam

    "In what is believed to be the biggest public protest since 1954, over 10,000 people have gathered in Hanoi to protest the demolition by the Vietnamese government of the former Vatican nunciature in order to turn it into a public park and community centre" — Biggest protest since 1954 over Hanoi old nunciature demolition. The text of a message issued today — Urgent Letter of Appeal of The Federation of Vietnamese Catholic Mass Media.


    The above photo, of "Vietnamese Catholics, who couldn't get inside the cathedral due to the building being full," is from a secular report on the events — Hanoi: Church must end vigils or face legal action. Some beautiful images of the above church, exterior and interior — St Joseph Cathedral Hanoi, Vietnam.

    One need not understand Vietnamese to be moved these videos:





    That the second one should begin with the picture of Pope John Paul II tells us that his towering witness against Communism still inspires.

    Our Lady of La Vang, ora pro nobis.

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    Kids These Days

    "All those punk kids are dropping their electric guitars and picking up fiddles and banjos," says the man interviewed here about "old time music, banjo playing, and the new folk revival" — Interview With Carolina Chocolate Drops' Dom Flemons. He continues, "Any of those fast rhythms, you can play them on a banjo ... I don’t know what to say about what's going on, but I do think we're on the cusp of an old time music revival here."

    Hardcore punk and American folk music share the same DIY ethic, which is simply an expression of Distributivism or, as it should be known stateside, Jeffersonianism. Still, I pray Mr. Flemons, twelve years my junior, is right, as the music he plays is infinitely more wholesome. His group, the Carolina Chocolate Drops (click on the link for some great free music) is the best thing to come along in American music in a long time.

    "The Carolina Chocolate Drops hit the big time with a new-rustic style," says this interview with Mr. Flemons — Gotta Be Ramblin’ On — from which the following photos come:


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    Taro Aso, Catholic Cigar Smoking Goldbug

    "He would be Japan's first Roman Catholic prime minister," says this report on the man — Japan ruling party chief a colorful politician. More: "He smokes Cuban cigars, loves comic books, wears gold necklaces and has a reputation as a fighter who often makes off-the-cuff remarks."

    Will this signal a second Christian Century, Japan’s 16th, in which up to 10% of the population became Catholic only to be literally decimated in violent persecutions that saw believers crucified in Nagasaki and elsewhere? Probably not.

    [link via The Marmot's Hole]

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    Right Liberalism

    The newly renamed Versed in the Permanent Things links to a 1999 obituary by First Principles' William F. Campbell — Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn: A Remembrance.

    Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (1909 - 1999) was, as we knew, "a personalist rather than an individualist or a collectivist" who "detested the excesses of the French Revolution, communism, and Nazism." Mr. Campbell mentions the Portland Declaration as "the most succinct statement of his principles." A bit on his liberalism:
      Although he was far from being a free market ideologue, he was an unabashed defender of the classical liberal understanding of the market. Erik constantly fought the mushy, reactionary elements in the Catholic Church traumatized by economic liberalism. He participated in conferences and dialogues between European Catholics, bishops and priests in the hierarchy, and economic liberals, attempting to straighten up the occasionally cloudy thinking of the Church which existed prior to Centesimus Annus. I will have to rely on Erik’s Catholic friends to tell that story in more detail and recount his loyalty to and admiration for the current Pope.

      Erik’s economics were shaped most closely upon his friendship with Wilhelm Roepke. Roepke was also Russell Kirk’s favorite economist.

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    Naomi Klein Blames the Victim (the Free Market)

    Of course, there are those on the Left who get it to a certain extent — Wall Street Is Licking Its Chops at the Bush Team's Multi-Hundred Billion Dollar Giveaway Plan; 'Taxpayer Ripoff': Many Economists Skeptical of Bailout; The Middle Class Must Not Be Forced to Bail Out Wall Street Greed; Wall Street Socialists.

    But then there are those who, against all evidence, blame the victim — A Crisis of American Capitalism and Free Market Ideology is Far from Finished.

    Particularly bizarre is that last article above, by Naomi Klein, who is something of a guru. She says that "with Wall Street rescued by government intervention, there's never been a better time to argue for collectivist solutions." Is not the trillion-dollar bailout the "collectivist solution" par excellence, since we're all paying for it?

    Ms. Klein says, "During boom times, it's profitable to preach laissez faire, because an absentee government allows speculative bubbles to inflate." The Austrian Business Cycle Theory tells us that it is government intervention not "an absentee government" that creates the artificial booms in the first place by flooding markets with an increased supply of "fiat money."

    (Lew Rockwell and Congressman Ron Paul, in contrast, place blame where blame is due, in print and on TV respectively — Understanding the Crisis and Ron Paul Explains the Crisis.)

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    Ivan Illich on Americanism

      The compulsion to do good is an innate American trait. Only North Americans seem to believe that they always should, may, and actually can choose somebody with whom to share their blessings. Ultimately this attitude leads to bombing people into the acceptance of gifts.
    Comments by an anonymous reader bring to our attention the above quote, from and article about its author — A Turbulent Priest in the Global Village.

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    Venerating the Relics of Saint Andrew Kim Taegŏn



    The opportunity to do just last presented itself after the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass yesterday. The Catholic Faith came to Korea in a unique case of self-evangelization; after Confucian scholars had read The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven by Matteo Ricci, S.J., this blog's namesake, Saint Andrew Kim Taegon, Saint Paul Chong Hasang, and the Martyrs of Korea established Holy Mother Church. Like the Confucian scholars, I read my way into the Faith, but had it not been for the 103 Korean saints, there might not have been a church on this peninsula for me to convert into when I did six years ago.

    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

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    Saturday, September 20, 2008

    Jane Mayer and Maher Arar on NPR


    Just today I read his story in her book, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals, an absolutely horrifying account of what our government has become, one which all citizens should read; today, they both speak on public radio — Jane Mayer: The Dangers Of Extraordinary Rendition and Canadian Citizen Imprisoned By U.S. Speaks Out.

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    Cob Houses

    You've seen them in Korea, whether or not you knew what they were (and I did not); The New Beginning has links galore about them overseas — The Barclays Self Build Cob House, More on cob, and More on cob houses. These photos are from England and California:







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    عيد الفطر

    To our allies — Message from Vatican to Muslims calls for cooperation in defending the family. The message concludes: "Dear friends, now that your fast comes to an end, I hope that you, with your families and those close to you, purified and renewed by those practices dear to your religion, may know serenity and prosperity in your life! May Almighty God fill you with His Mercy and Peace!"

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    United in Death

    War and empire are not the only things they agree on — McCain, Obama Defend Embryonic Stem Cell Research.

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    Is the American Way of Life Still Non-Negotiable?

  • "The system is collapsing, exactly like the Albanian pyramids collapsed," says Italian finance minister Giulio Tremonti, quoted here — Europeans on left and right ridicule U.S. money meltdown.


  • Chris Cook, former director of the International Petroleum Exchange, on what's next — Oil market collapse waiting to happen.


  • "The market meltdown calls for a return of character, a return of thrift," says Brian Lilley, Ottawa Bureau Chief for radio stations 1010 CFRB in Toronto and CJAD 800 in Montreal — Wall Street’s meltdown speaks to a loss of character


  • Chris Clugston "make[s] the case that we—all Americans—through our distorted worldview and resulting dysfunctional resource utilization behavior, are responsible for our 'predicament', and that we lack the collective will to take meaningful action to mitigate its catastrophic consequences" — America’s self-inflicted societal collapse


  • Dave Lindorff on who pays — Hang Onto Your Wallet! The Government Is About to Rescue Us.


  • Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. rightly says "fiat money" is to blame— Understanding the Crisis.


  • "The new era will see a more sober and much diminished America," says Patrick J. Buchanan — The Party’s Over.


  • The John Birch Society weighs in — Wondering What to Think About the Financial Meltdown Here's What Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, and Others Are Saying.


  • The man who saw it coming — Ron Paul, The Nostradamus Who Predicted the Current Financial Crisis
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    South Korean Appeasing and A-whoring

    It is interesting to note that the amount the South Korean government spends to appease to North — Inter-Korean Projects 'to Cost W14 Trillion' — is roughly equivalent to the amount its private citizens "spent domestically on prostitutes last year" — 14 Trillion Won.

    Combined, the two figures amount to more than the 26.7 trillion won budgeted for defense in 2008. I'm sure the American taxpayer, who subsidizes South Korea's defense as his own economy implodes, will be happy to learn of the these numbers.

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    Friday, September 19, 2008

    Tomorrow's Memorial


    Saint Andrew Kim Taegon, Saint Paul Chong Hasang, and the Martyrs of Korea, pray for us.

    Catholic catechumen offers a succinct hagiography — Royal Scholars to the King become Catholic:
      Breaking with tradition in 1984, Pope John Paul II canonized 103 saints, not in Rome, but in Korea. Korea is the only place in the world to become Catholic through books and the grace of Jesus Christ. When Catholics in Korea asked for a priest in a letter to Rome, the pope did not know where Korea was. Many of these scholars ended up being killed.

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    The Pope and Islam

    An excerpt from Sandro Magister's latest — The Surprising Geopolitics of Joseph Ratzinger, Pope:
      [T]he first action of Benedict XVI that made a worldwide impact was the long and substantial lecture that he gave at the University of Regensburg on September 12, 2006. He literally shook the world, for both the right reasons on the wrong ones. That lecture explained the new pope's view of the Church and of the West and his plans for them, including relations with Islam.

      According to the canons of geopolitical realism, Benedict XVI should never have delivered that lecture in its entirety. He should have had it reviewed and purged beforehand by the diplomatic experts, something that he intentionally declined to do. And a number of people in the Vatican curia criticized him for this.

      And yet, two years later, the facts tell a different story. Despite the alarm of the Cassandras, a dialogue emerged between the Catholic Church and Islam that had never existed before Regensburg, and had even seemed impossible. This dialogue is not only intellectual – represented, for example, by the initiatives following the "letter of the 138 Muslim scholars" – but also political. The political dimension advanced considerably after the audience at the Vatican on November 6, 2007 – the first of its kind in history – between the pope and the king of Saudi Arabia.

      Even after Regensburg, one aspect that distinguishes the relationship with the Muslim world inaugurated by Benedict XVI is its apparent imprudence. Pope Ratzinger is not afraid of alternating gestures of openness – one thinks of his silent prayer in front of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul – with actions at odds with diplomatic caution. He had no qualms about granting an audience to Oriana Fallaci, one of the most committed critics of Islam, which she believes to be violent by nature. At the Easter vigil at St. Peter's in 2008, he baptized Magdi Allam, a convert from Islam and a radical critic of his religion of origin. But what is most astonishing is the heart of Benedict XVI's reasoning. The pope is asking Islam to undertake the same kind of demanding self-renewal that the Catholic Church carried out over the span of two centuries, beginning at the time of the Enlightenment.
    One is reminded of the Spanish proverb ─ "Dios escribe derecho con lineas torcidas" (God writes straight with crooked lines).

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    Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, Ora Pro Nobis


    "The Holy See has proclaimed the war on Iraq to be an unjust war," observes this New Oxford Review editorialist, recounting the martyrdom of Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, who "refused to serve in Hitler's army" and "was beheaded by the guillotine in Berlin's Brandenburg Prison on August 9, 1943" — An Unknown Hero Has Been Beatified. "How many Catholic soldiers have refused to serve? How many of us have the courage of Bl. Franz Jägerstätter?"

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    Depressing

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    Defensa de la Catedral de Neuquén


    Jeff Culbreath brings to out attention the "chilling video" above, in which "a group of young men [and women] - praying the rosary - defend their cathedral against a pro-abortion mob in Argentina" — “and the gates of hell shall not prevail …” The mob seems very truly demonically possessed. Most dramatic is hearing the “Ave Maria” invoked against some vulgar variation of the Left’s ubiquitous “El pueblo undio jamás será vencido (The people united will never be defeated)” chant.

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    The Media Turn to Dr. Ron Paul

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    U.S. Out of Korea and Japan!

    Noting "the South Korean-Japanese quarrel over who owns 33 worthless bits of rock," Doug Bandow says that "both South Korea and Japan would be more secure if they acted in tandem on geopolitical issues" but "neither feels much pressure to do so as long as Washington provides both security guarantees and military garrisons" — Time to Tell Irresponsible Allies No Thanks. His conclusion: "It's time for Tokyo and especially Seoul to behave like serious members of the international community rather than spoiled teenagers, and provide responsible leadership in East Asia."

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    "Senator O'Bush on Afghanistan and Iran"

    William S. Lind, Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation, explains — Why Obama is Wrong. The first two paragraphs:
      A few weeks ago I wrote a column explaining why Senator John McCain is wrong on Iraq. In contrast, Senator Barack Obama is largely right on Iraq. Whether he would follow through on his plan for withdrawing U.S. troops is another question. The Democratic foreign policy establishment is no less Wilsonian than its Republican counterpart, and once it has used anti-war voters to gain power it will want to show them the door as soon as it dares.

      But if Obama is right on Iraq, he is wrong on Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. His prescriptions for each are so close to the policies of the Bush administration that if McCain is McBush, Obama appears to be O’Bush. It seems many voters’ desire to climb up out of the Bush league altogether is doomed to frustration.

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    Return to the Good Life

    "Contemporary liberalism's insistence that morality is a mere matter of rights and obligations empties life of its ethical meaning," arrgues Edward Skidelsky — The return of goodness. "We need a return to the virtue ethics of the pre-moderns, and a renewed conception of the good life."

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    Best Anti-Obama Ad Ever


    The above — posted by The American's Conservative's Daniel McCarthy, saying, "Ah, if only…" — almost makes me want to vote for the man.

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    Candidate's African Connection Becomes Campaign Issue

    Raised by the Left, of course — Sarah Palin Linked Her Electoral Success to Prayer of Kenyan Witch Hunter. Pastor Thomas Muthee, the Alaska governor's very own personal Jeremiah Wright, "has given guest sermons at the Wasilla Assembly of God on at least 10 occasions in his role as the founder of the Word of Faith Church, also known as the Prayer Cave."

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    Where Filial Piety Meets Catholic Piety


    "On Sunday mornings, Ai Xiaoying and Wang Dongmei hold a two-hour prayer gathering in Dunshang for whoever shows up, usually about 30 people" — Catholic Community In Remote Jiangxi Village Struggles To Keep Faith Alive. "Priests visit infrequently, so the middle-aged women lead fellow Catholics in reading the Gospel, praying the breviary, praying for people's petitions, giving faith testimonies and singing hymns."

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    The De-Christianization of Iraq

    Lee Jay Walker takes up a "neglected issue" and concludes that "the destruction of Christianity in Iraq is taking place because of misguided American policies and because the Christian community is not deemed to be important" — Iraq and Destruction of Christianity since Invasion by America. The author asks two simple but important questions:
      So did more Christians leave Iraq under Saddam Hussein or under the American led coalition? And did Saddam Hussein introduce Islamic Sharia law or was it introduced under the American led coalition?
    The heretical adherenets of Christian Zionism who shilled for this war would say that those who've fled aren't really Christian, but Catholic and Orthodox.

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    Collateral Damage in the War on Down's Syndrome

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    Hilter's Pope?


    Venerable Pope Pius XII , ora pro nobis.

    "Pius XII? That is the only human being who has always contradicted me and who has never obeyed me," said Der Fürher of Pope Pius XII, whom the historical record shows to have "intervened publicly as well as in secret to save Jews and to encourage Catholic institutions to shelter them" — Interfaith symposium defends Pius XII. More — Symposium Finds "Stunning" Facts About Pius XII and Pope says Pius XII "spared no effort" to help Jews.

    Still, the "Hitler's Pope" smear manages to stick despite the author of the book having reversed himself in the Economist on Dec. 9, 2004. The historical record doesn't seem to matter, either; James Bevis noted that "Hitler sent German troops into Rome to occupy the Vatican, assassinate the curia, and kidnap Pope Pius XII" — Hitler's Mad Plot to Sack the Vatican. The author also informs us that "Hitler called the Pope a 'Jew-lover' and a 'demon in white robes,' while Pius considered the Führer a barbarian."

    The origin of the smear has been indentified; Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking intelligence officer ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc, disclosed the "deliberate Kremlin effort to smear the Vatican, by portraying Pope Pius XII as a coldhearted Nazi sympathizer" — Moscow’s Assault on the Vatican. This myth, it seems, is the anti-Catholic version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

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    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    Deadly Darwinism

    "Not long ago, mainstream scientists who shaped social policy were Darwinian materialists who favored eugenics for population control," says Anne Barbeau Gardiner — The Darwinian Basis for Eugenics. "Today, mainstream scientists who shape social policy are still Darwinian materialists, only they favor different varieties of (and names for) population control."

    Alexis de Tocqueville (1805 - 1859) had these clowns figured out decades before Origin of the Species:
      The materialists are offensive to me in many respects; their doctrines I hold to be pernicious, and I am disgusted at their arrogance. If their system could be of any utility to man, it would seem to be by giving him a modest opinion of himself; but these reasoners show that it is not so; and when they think they have said enough to prove that they are brutes, they appear as proud as if they had demonstrated that they are gods.
    It is noteworthy that Professor Barbeau Gardiner's article should mention that "Clarence Darrow argued... that criminals were 'programmed for crime by material forces over which they had no control.'" The real hero of The Scopes Monkey Trial was his opponent, the great progressive, populist, pacifist, Protestant William Jennings Bryan, who assisted the prosecution out of his abhorrence of Social Darwinism, a fact the propaganda piece Inherit the Wind (1960) conveniently flushed down the memory hole.

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    The Inconvenient Truth of the Population Implosion

    Natalie Thomas reviewes the "newly released documentary film set to shake up the way the world’s population concerns have been portrayed over the last forty years" — Demographic Winter is upon us. The review reminds us of "the fact that it is a lack of property rights that is the main cause of famine, not overpopulation." Reminding us "that only a small percentage of the world’s population consumes the majority of the world’s resources," Ms. Thomas suggests "the problem is not overpopulation, but overconsumption, greed and an inability or unwillingness to share resources."

    She identifies the main cause, at least in the West:
      While finances and lack of support play a role in people’s attitudes toward reproduction, it is actually not the major cause of declining fertility rates. It is something more deeply embedded. The Sexual Revolution has significantly changed the developed world’s attitudes to sex, marriage and children.

      The aim of the Sexual Revolution was to open up the way for people to be sexually active without consequence, without future responsibility and without the need for the lifetime commitment of ‘patriarchal’ marriage. Contraception and abortion played a key role in this.

      Today, however, it is clear that future generations are paying the price for this ‘liberation’. The widespread use and promotion of contraception and abortion has led to a subconscious belief that children are not a gift to help further the world but a burden on parents, society and the environment.

      Happiness is seen to come from career, romance, travel and personal growth, not from commitment, monogamy and obligation to others. Happiness is about living for oneself.

      These values have transferred to future generations, despite feeling that the previous generation has failed them. As a result, people have delayed children to pursue their careers and hobbies. Unstable sexual relationships have led to a delay in marriage and children.

      Cohabitation rates have increased and in this less stable relationship people are having fewer children at a later age, if at all. Single motherhood has increased dramatically.

      The focus on self-gratification, immediate happiness, avoidance of responsibility and desire for absolute freedom has been carried into marriages, leading to a rise in no-fault divorce.

      With this possibility in mind people are reducing the number of children they have in case of the worst. Also, children from divorced marriages are having fewer children later in life when they feel more secure, or having no children for fear they will also have a failed marriage.

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    Depleted Uranium Comes Home

    Well, not really; if it were to come home it would be to the Pentagramgon, not to the good people of the Gem State — How 6,700 Tons of Radioactive Sand from Kuwait Ended Up in Idaho. "The sand was a gift of the Kuwaiti government," says author Penny Coleman. Perhaps we should call it re-gifting, shouldn't we?

    Fellow Buffalonian and Catholic traditionalist Paul Likoudis penned the best article I've yet read on the topic — The Morality Of Weapons Systems. Included is a link to some photographic evidence of your taxes dollars at work rightly described "gruesome beyond description" of "newborn Iraqi babies, born without heads and limbs, sometimes they are blood red, sometimes black, sometimes covered in an unknown white film, sometimes with gaping holes in their torsos that expose their internal organs."

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    Mr. Obama's War

    The war the senator pushed for about seven weeks ago — Barack Obama Urges Invasion of Pakistan — is already be underway, and he's not even president yet — The American War Moves to Pakistan. Now that's leadership!

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    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    What Did the Framers Know About Hop-Hop?

    The Unitary Executive's stripping people of 800-year-old habeas corpus protections is perfectly fine, but the City of Riviera Beach's establishing of community standards is verbotenBaggy pants ban "unconstitutional," rules US judge.

    Does the word "unconstitutional" mean anything beyond what this or that judge doesn't like? I'm not a constitutional lawyer, but I don't recall "saggy pants" being mentioned in the Constitution of the United States, but then again, who would expect a "quaint" document, to borrow Alberto Gonzales' phrasing, to have anything to say to the Hip-hop Nation?

    For the record, baggy pants are not a concern of mine either way, and if the Federal Government decided to ban them I would oppose the measure, but local communities have the right to establish their own standards. These are local matters, not constitutional ones. Let Riviera Beach be Riviera Beach and let South Central be South Central, for crying out loud.

    This misapplication of federal power is all the more reason to abolish the 14th Amendment, which, as Thomas DiLorenzo reminds us, "has greatly centralized power in Washington, D.C., and has subjected Americans to the kind of judicial tyranny that Thomas Jefferson warned about when he described federal judges as those who would be constantly working underground to undermine the foundations of our confederated fabric." Better yet, let's return to the Articles of Confederation.

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    Pigs Are Pigs, Not Production Units

    Say what you will about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who brought this story to light, I think we can all agree that "slamming piglets on floors and leaving them still wriggling to die, beating animals to death with metal rods and inserting rods into sows' private parts" is evil — Video shows shocking farm cruelty to pigs. The original story has the video (not recommended) and documentation of even crueler abuses — Undercover Investigation Reveals Hormel Supplier Abusing Mother Pigs and Piglets.

    Such systematic cruelty, I think it safe to say, is only possible at a factory farm, and would be unthinkable on a small-scale farm like that of Gene Logsdon, who wrote of the "severe disconnect between our society today and the realities of the food chain" — Yes, I care for animals and then I eat them.

    Matthew Scully, George Bush's former and Sarah Palin's current speechwriter, who wrote Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy and Fear Factories: The case for compassionate conservatism—for animals for The American Conservative, made the following eloquent statement which I quoted three years ago — On Factory Farming:
      In the same way that human beings are prone to abusing any other kind of power -- by forgetting that we are not the final authority. The people who run our industrial livestock farms, for example, have lost all regard for animals as such, as beings with needs, natures, and a humble dignity of their own. They treat these creatures like machines and "production units" of man's own making, instead of as living creatures made by God. And you will find a similar arrogance in every other kind of cruelty as well....

      An environmentalist can oppose factory farming because it's reckless stewardship. A conservative can oppose factory farming because it is destructive to small farmers and to the decent ethic of husbandry those farmers live by. A religious person can oppose factory farming because it is degrading to both man and animal -- an offense to God.

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    Kangnŭng's Jumunjin Parish Church

    This little yellow church from 1955 — 천주교주문진성당 — clearly shares an architect with Kangnŭng's Imdang-dong Parish Church, that "little blue church from 1955" I posted about recently. Comments left on that earlier post hold true for this church as well: "The external architecture is very fine, but the interior is stark, almost Calvinist" and "A pity about the Stations(?) though..."

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    Ayn Rand vs. Trig Palin

    "Somebody owes Whittaker Chambers an apology," writes Neil Parille to the LewRockwell.com Blog, noting "the Objectivist hatefest over Palin’s decision not to abort her child" — Objectivist Hatefest.

    (In his famous December 28, 1957 review, Whittaker Chambers wrote, "From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: 'To a gas chamber — go!'" — Big Sister Is Watching You.)

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    Neo-Palin

  • Patrick J. Buchanan notes that "the neocons who tutored George W. Bush in the ideology he pursued to the ruin of his presidency.... are moving even now to capture this princess of the right and hope of the party"— The Neocons’ Palin Project. He concludes that "the battle for Sarah’s soul is not over" and asserts, against all evidence, that "the lady is no neocon."


  • The man who'll get my vote this Novemeber looks at the evidence and has some questions about her suggestion "that even war with Russia is a possibility" — Chuck Baldwin on Palin. "Has Russia deployed troops along our borders? Has Russia threatened to invade the United States? Are McCain and Palin truly willing to launch a war with a nation that has thousands of ICBMs in its nuclear arsenal, when our own security has not been threatened?"
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    The Next World War?

    The neocons said they wanted World War IV, and now it looks like they might be getting it, as these stories today attest — Iraq's Nouri Maliki breaking free of U.S. and Pakistan troops ordered to open fire on US raiders.

    The neocons sure picked a fine bunch of allies over there. Wouldn't it have been better not to have attacked and occupied countries that had posed no threat to our security? Letters of Marque and Reprisal, not wars, as spelled out in the Constitution of the United States, were the correct response to the September 11 attacks, as Congressman Ron Paul proposed a month later — September 11 Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001 and Air Piracy Reprisal and Capture Act of 2001.

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.